Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Party

We had our Christmas party last week at my good friend Dawn's. She is a gifted hostess, she has chosen to use her home to bless other Mom's who need fellowship with other women (as we all do!). She has sure blessed me with her and her family's friendship, my kids adore her's and we grownups get along pretty well too;)
So there are 4 families that get together every second week at Dawn's house. We bring goodies and chat while our kids play together. There are a lot of boys. I have 3, Dawn has 4, G. has 2 (plus 2 girls who are in school) and T has one 12 year old girl that hangs out with Dawn's 12 year old girl. The girls often entertain A. as well, which is awesome for me. With all the boys there is a lot of sword and gun play and a lot of running around outside. Lots of fun to be had.
Here are some pictures from our Christmas get-together, the kids had a fun gift exchange where they could open a new gift or take someone else's. I hate those games, but the kids enjoyed themselves.
Here are some photos I took, unfortunately no individuals of my big guys, but I think I got everyone else! Here are all the boys during the gift exchange. The frames on the others are by Angela Sharrow. Click on the images for full size views.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Disappointed Mommy wanted cake:(

Oh darn! The Provincial Museum has free admission this weekend and free cake for those with December Birthdays! My Monkey boys birthday is December 31!!! I so wanted to take the kids there today. But we have spots. My girly has what look to me like chicken pox! She was vaccinated, but apparently her spots missed that memo. Oh well, I guess we will just have to pay to go to the museum later. I LOVE the museum! My kids fave parts are the dino and prehistoric exhibits and the Aboriginal peoples exhibit. Maybe next week. If no one else here gets spots!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What Tony Hawk Believes

This is a terrific essay by Tony Hawk about doing what you love. I love where he talks about his careers teacher in school giving him heck for working ahead in his workbook. I don't know about you, but I am not interested in raising good little employees. I would like to raise children who love God, are self starter, free thinkers, life long learners and adults who follow the path they feel is right for them. No 'good employee' ever invented something wonderful and useful, or composed amazing music or created inspired artwork.
Not that you shouldn't do your very best at any job or occupation you are in, what I am talking about is being a person who just does what they are told and does not think for themselves, never thinks about finding a better or easier way of doing something, doesn't aspire to anything more in their lives.
Enjoy listening to this short essay with your children.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Well we are taking the month of December off of bookwork. I need a break:)
I think we are all relieved that Nanowrimo is over and we are putting away our novels for now. I am so pleased that the boys seem to enjoy writing now, it is an answer to prayer. I look forward to reading their stories after Christmas, their imaginations astound me! Neither boy reached their word count goals, they did not even come close. But they attempted something huge! And I am proud of them for that. I think we will edit their stories and then I will put them into small hardcover books for them. And maybe I can convince them to give them away to relatives as well!
I am looking forward to diving into Canadian history after Christmas, I have to remember to order my books from the library and CHER. I plan on getting a ton of historical fiction as well, we all enjoy that. I may even try to pick up a bunch of the American History Adventures in Odyssey as well. The time periods will line up and it is great to know the American stuff as well. Plus Daddy loves it! I hope to find some big chunks of planning and organizing time this month. Planning for school and organizing the whole house including school stuff we aren't using right now.
Maybe I can get the kids to do some 'science' in the kitchen, I need some Christmas baking done!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today I actually sat down with the boys and read with them. It has been a really long time since I have done that, like at least not in the month of November. So we each read a chapter in the bible, we are going through the gospels in honour of the holiday season approaching. Then we each read a chapter in The World of Columbus and Sons. The kids and I totally love this history series by Genevieve Foster. It is linear history told in story form, looking at what was going on in the world during the life of certain historical figures. Augustus Caesar; Christopher Columbus; and George Washington. I want to pick up the George Washington one as we will be starting our Canadian History unit after Christmas.
I have given up having them work mostly on their novels this month, they were mostly fooling around on their computers and getting little writing done. So we were back on most of their regular studies. Math, Geography, French, writing/language arts... what am I missing... oh science, we had experiments to do today, but for some reason I am out of tissue! We need Kleenex for all 4 experiments. They are a series and the last 3 look to explain the results of the first. Cool!
I have gotten my housework back on track this week too, to my huge relief. I was feeling so overwhelmed by the tasks I was putting off to write, that I couldn't write at all. I am hoping in the next couple days to catch up on my writing, now that my bathrooms are sparkly and my laundry is folded.
Speaking of which, I really need to go switch the laundry now!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Homeschooler get-together

Yikes, I haven't posted here in a week!
Today we had our first official homeschool day at the Servus Centre, the recreation centre that we regularily go to. I finally took the initiative and sent out an email to a couple of my homeschool groups and asked if people would be interested in getting together there for an afternoon. There is a regular get together of homeschoolers at another recreation centre in the area every Friday, but it is at least a half hour drive for me. And I hate the highway out there in the winter. Anyway, it was awesome! 5 or 6 other families attended with children ranging in age from 2 to 15. I met the most wonderful women, I can't wait to get to know them better. Most of them were around my age and all extremely friendly, and a number of them were Christians as well. Not that age and Faith matter, but it is always nice to have some common points of interest when beginning a new relationship.
Everyone decided that they would like to do it again, and we are going to meet up again next Monday.
My social schedule is jam-packed this week, not sure where writing and school are going to fit in. We don't usually have a lot scheduled during school days, so I guess one week won't hurt us too much.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Found some terrific music websites today. This Canadian one has wonderful unit study-style teacher kits. Completely cross-corricular, check out the Vivaldi Four Seasons one, looks terrific!

The website is artsalive.ca

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This morning I walked up to my dh as he was making coffee and he put his arm around me and said, "Welcome to the crazy house."
I replied with a tired sigh, "Welcome to my everyday."
There was a huge Pokemon battle brewing in my kitchen, all three boys pretending to be different Pokemon complete with super loud sound effects and Pokemon battle moves. The noise level was deafening, the action a little disorientating.
"Of course," I added, "There is not always a Pokemon battle in my kitchen."
"Just think, if we weren't home educating, there might never be a poke battle in your kitchen," dh reminded me.
Tears started to fill my eyes as I watched the bunch of them having fun together, the older kids including the younger ones in their play. I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to watch them grow together and that they have this opportunity to know each other and teach each other. If they were in school I think it unlikely that they would be so willing to play with each other, their interests would be so diverse.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I must have spent hours yesterday downloading and unzipping those children's recordings. Why could there not have been a nice torrent file available? There is a link on that page to another page that has old Disney recordings among many others and they are available in a torrent file that I will download as soon as I get some file sharing again.
My kids really enjoyed listening to stories all day as they avoided their schoolwork like the plague.
I decided that since they wasted Monday and Tuesday supposedly working on their novels all day, but not actually writing, that I was going to keep doing their regular school with them and let them write when they were done.
They are both behind in their word counts now. B is perfectly capable of reaching his and catching up by spending a few extra minutes here and there. But I am afraid of R, my reluctant writer who is 10, feeling overwhelmed and just giving up or being frustrated. It is really important to me that they have fun with the novel writing, I want writing to be enjoyable for them. I know that school took the fun out of writing for me. Especially the crappy high school English teachers I had, who taught us absolutely nothing. NOT A THING. The teacher I had for grades 9 and 10 was in the middle of a nervous breakdown, and came to class only very sporadically. His substitute let us watch videos most of the time. Often women's weight-lifting competitions. weird.
In grades 11 and 12 I had the drug-dealing, stoner teacher. I am not exaggerating in the least, he actually sold pot to students. He did not know any of the 20 students names, unless they partied with him. All we did was read aloud in his class and we had 3 essays to write which he randomly assigned a grade to, based on if he could put a face to your name or not. After handing in my second essay and receiving a C ( a mark I had never seen on a paper of mine before!) I refused to hand in anything else. I didn't think it was worth my time to let him grade my work. At the end of the school year he had us come to his desk and tell him what grade we deserved, so I said a B. I had never received lower than an A in English, but I figured with a C on my paper that wasn't gonna happen. He gave me a B, the lowest percentage B.
When I wrote my departmental exams I received honors and scholarship qualification, thanks to the excellent elementary school teaching I had received. Nothing on the exams had been taught to me in all of my high school career. but the basics were all there in the back of my head I guess.
anyways, after my experience in high school I decided I hated writing. And I do not want that for my kids. They have amazing imaginations and I want them to be able to express those thoughts on paper.
So I decided for R, I will spend at least one day a week as his scribe for his novel. I will let him just tell me the story and I will do the typing and help get his word count up. So that is how I will spend my afternoon.

I took a deep breath...

and went to my room to enjoy a book and some stolen treats.
Thanks Jane:)
They did eventually finish their work, I am still waiting on chores, but the 10 year old is not going to Taekwondo.
Sorry for unloading:)

Help me please.

I can not begin to explain my frustration to you. The boys were ready to start school at 9 and they sat at the table with their math. It is 11:15 and they are still sitting there and are not finished. They have tortured their younger siblings, used the bathroom repeatedly, fought with each other, stared into space, thrown things at each other, made annoying noises, sang, rolled their eyes, stomped their feet, knocked their chairs over, thrown more things, but they have not done their math.
B at least pretends to do his math. R outright mocks me. I stayed calm for over an hour. I asked R to read his questions aloud to me so I could make sure he was doing them. He sputtered and argued and outright mocked me. He does not do it. I repeat myself every few minutes, "Read me each question and your answer." He gives me dirty looks, stares me down, laughs, mocks. He does not do his math.
He had a page of multiplication drills, no big deal. Very easy. He refuses to do them. He is now rapping. and interspersed with the rapping is humming the macarena. I just screamed at him to just do his work. and I told him no taekwondo today. and I called their father and asked him to come home today and discipline his sons. (his? oops I mean ours. grr.) Their father is sleeping for nightshift, I am sure he did not appreciate my call at 11:15 am. But I am at the end of my rope.
Can anyone give me any ideas? This behavior is not okay, and I am a pretty good disciplinarian usually. I don't make idle threats, I follow through with discipline when it is needed. I do not allow this sort of behavior.
What is happening here? I am seriously gonna lose my mind. I don't know if I can deal with him anymore today without screeching. I hate that.
I just keep repeating myself. Read each question aloud to me. NOW.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Free Children's Music

My Dad sent me this link the other day for arts reformation dot com. This page is filled with Children's recordings, mp3's of vinyl records from the 50's and 60's. I am madly downloading them as we speak. Tons of recordings of Fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes as well as interesting schooly stuff like Songs Children Sing: Germany or Italy or...
I am also interested to have a listen to their Children's Introductions to: (orchestra, ballet, Shakespeare, multiplication.....)
I can't wait to unzip some of these files and share them with my kids!

Word count as of November 6

Just wanted to say, before I got in bed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

word count for day 5

Word count as of last night
Me: 7004
DS#1: 3440

We all fell behind on the weekend, but it was a good learning experience for us. We can not reasonably expect to write on the weekends, we often have hockey at 6:30 in the morning and often til 11 pm. Activities fill our weekend schedule to over-flowing. I figured out how many words it would take each day for us to only write on weekdays. 2300 for me, 1400 for ds #1 and 560 for ds #2. ds #1 and I made our word counts yesterday, but I am afraid it is too much for my younger son. He is stressed at falling behind and now the new bigger word count is stressing him. 400 words a day is a huge stretch for him. Going from maybe writing 5, 5 word sentences a day to 400 words a day in a very short period of time is a big deal. Add to that his extreme difficulty with spelling I really think I may be pushing him too far asking for that extra 160 words a day. Yesterday he wrote for hours and hours and still did not meet his goal, I don't want him to feel like he can't do it, I want it to be fun for him. But I want his goal to be achievable for him.
Not sure what to do about this for him, I will try to schedule at least 2 hours on the weekend days for him to write I guess. Maybe that will be less stress for him.
Any ideas?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Busy weekends = no writing

Okay okay, I know I told you to bug me about my word counts every day. My word count for the weekend? About 800 words.
I learned something about my family, we do not have time to breath, eat, or sleep on weekends-never mind writing. So I reconfigured our word count needs. I figure to only write on weekdays I need to write 2300 words each weekday, so that is what I am gonna do. That being said, I have had company today and am on my way to hockey right now and I have the flu. So I will be writing tonight after hockey as long as I can keep my peepers open.
My boys have been writing all day, so I should be able to post their counts as well.
Thanks for asking guys, I will keep you updated.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Word counts for Friday.

Me: I just finished right this second with 4245 words.
DS#1: 2025, he was finished pretty early today, I am thinking he could have done the whole 50000 instead of just 30000. But I didn't want to push it, I like them liking writing!
DS#2: 809 and still loving it. I just can't express how excited this makes me. I am so flippin' proud of my little authors!
I am tired of writing now, so I think that there will be no blogging for me today. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Woo Woo! We have all surpassed our word count goals for today!
Kristen: 2141 goal: 2000
DS#1: 1012 goal: 1000
DS#2: 407 goal: 400

Okay, well we surpassed them by a very few words, but still! We are all super excited, and maybe a little high on sugar. I told the boys we would work in half hour increments and try to reach our quarter goals each half hour. When they reached their quarter goals they could reward themselves with a break and a Halloween treat. Worked wonderfully! I think we are off to a wonderful, positive start on our novel writing journey. The boys were a bit intimidated by the whole word count thing before today. But now that they have reached their goals today with seeming ease, they both feel a bit better about the whole thing. You should have seen my 10 year old beaming with pride as I told him how proud and excited I was for him. Last year it was like pulling teeth to get him to write 5 sentences. It could literally take him 10 hours to not accomplish even that. He fought me at every turn. Today he sat and happily wrote 400 words. In less than 2 hours! I am so excited for them. And for myself too. I actually feel like a different person since I decided to do this. I feel like someone who may have something to contribute to the world. I have really struggled with that, so it is a really wonderful feeling. I am actually excited by my life again. I can't wait til January when I start my University courses!
had to share, so excited over here!

It is started!

K, I wasn't gonna start tonight, cuz I am so bag tired. But I was too tired to close the computer and I looked up and it was midnight, so I opened my word processing program and wrote, "This is my novel." and then the words just started coming out of my fingers. 367 of them in 15 minutes. So tomorrow I only have to write 1300! ;) I seriously can not keep my eyes open or I would have kept writing, but I wanted to post my progress.
Good luck to the rest of you, can't wait to hear how you are all doing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Horrid Prose is my goal.

Finally doing our first 2 science tests today. We did the reading so long ago that I let them do the tests 'open book'. We just have Rosetta Stone French left to do today. I have to load the program onto their new computers for them I guess.
I need to spend some time prepping for my novel writing, I don't even have characters yet. My main character will be a Mom, like me. Write what you know is the phrase that keeps coming to mind, so I guess I will. I really have no idea for my plot yet, I love mystery stories, but nothing is coming to mind yet. I hope to get some rough planning drawn out, research done, but I have a feeling I will be mostly winging it. The point really is to get a really terrible rough draft finished, just get the words hammered out and see where that takes you. Quantity over quality at this point, and I have to say that may be the only way I ever do this. I am such a perfectionist that my creativity is often snuffed out by my need to have everything just so. I want an awesome rough draft that requires little editing. Well that is never gonna happen. Evah!
My fingers are itching to get started on this, to get dirty and make mistakes as the esteemed Miss Frizzle likes to say. What freedom!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a novel?

Well, not much to say here. We haven't done much lately. We have fallen behind in science and I have fallen behind in my marking, but it is all good.
The boys are terribly excited because their new laptops finally arrived last week. Dad has spent hours installing drivers and software and working out bugs with tech support. But right now we are all sitting on the couch blogging. Yay!
I signed up the 3 of us for Nanowrimo next month. National Novel writing month. We are gonna write novels, for me that is 50000 words in a month. Should be a crazy, carpal tunnel syndrome filled, caffeine fueled month.
The kids will write less, I think about 12000 word for my 10 year old and 30 000 for my 13 year old. The kids nanowrimo site is really great, I printed off their workbooks for us. The wb takes you write (I mean right;p) through the whole process, helping with character and plot development, etc. There is a teacher area on the kids site that I am finding helpful as we prepare.
I can't wait to get started on our novels, there are a bunch of nanowrimo activities in the city for us to get involved with although mostly for adults. I am hoping to attend a bunch of write-ins and get my word count up sans children.
I need to go mark math so my son can do his test. my favorite thing to do. marking. hm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peace in the Storm

My head hurts from the frustration of today, I think my blood pressure has been elevated all day. My cheeks are flushed, I feel a bit light-headed, my shoulders are hunched and tight, so I am sitting down with a cup of tea to vent and relax.
Why can't they just do as they are asked. Why is it when I put their little sister in the tub and am not in the room, they run downstairs to play computer games. Why is the flippin' computer on? Why can I not stop getting after them and watching like a hawk for even one minute without them goofing off/sneaking off? Why do I think getting upset, or yelling is gonna make one iota of difference to them getting their chores/school finished.
This afternoon their close friends were coming over, I thought this would be great motivation for them to get done quickly. Apparently not. I had to run to the store this morn as we had no groceries for breaky or lunch. Did they do anything but make a mess while I was gone? no. So when I got back I had a new mess to deal with. And their dad is trying to sleep with all the kid noise and the yelling mom noise. Not good.
I disliked them immensely today.
My little monkey boy came up at the point when I was ready to completely go over the edge. He had just put pants on after his bath and was clean and damp and cute. He crawled in my lap and asked if I would cuddle him. So I made a choice. I wrapped him up in my arms, inhaled his sweet scent, felt his little arms wrap around my neck and his little voice coo, "I love you Mommy."
I felt my pulse settle, my muscles relax, my breathing slow as I looked in his beautiful hazel/green eyes and said, "I love you my sweet."
Thank you God for my beautiful children, and moments of peace.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the Science Centre

So yesterday turned out much better than expected school-wise. We were done at noon, so that is a major bonus. We still haven't done our science test, so no science this week, but not that concerned. They did spend the day at the Space and Science centre. I think next time we go there I will take them to a show in the planetarium, I LOVE the planetarium! And there are a bunch of new Imax movies out that we could see, but only the 13 year old likes to go to those.

The science centre is a pretty cool place. On the main floor there are 3 permanent galleries. The Police services gallery has a mystery for the kids to solve, you get to walk through the crime scene and collect clues; watch news clips about the 'crime'; listen to witness statements; and then take all your evidence to the lab where you learn all about forensics. I love that part. You compare fingerprints, DNA strands, fibres, learn tons of stuff about forensics through hands-on activities. Then you decide who you think did it, enter all your evidence in a computer program and it tells you if your case against the defendant was successful. It is so cool, I love the little news clips you get to see-all recorded by local newscasters.
Next is the human body gallery. It is set up like an old-time carnival fun house. Very bright and noisy and has hands on activities to learn all about your body and senses. The boys love the gallery of gross, containing jars of boogers, feces, urine, stomach acid, any icky thing in your body. (all fake of course)
The third gallery on the main floor is the Green's Garage and Garden. You learn about the environment, weather, recycling, gardening/growing, water and erosion, etc. In the Garage, they have a remote weather forecast studio, where you can record your own weather forecast complete with real footage of real weather. When you are done you get to see yourself on the 'newscast'. Huge hit with my kids.
On the main floor there is also a stage for live science demos about various topics and the Imax theatre.
Upstairs there are tons of hands on activities/brainbusters on all sorts of topics. There is the outer space gallery with tons of computers to do simulations, view NASA photos; there is a space shuttle to walk through (my kids love to sit on the space toilet), a solar powered mini Mars rover to try to maneuver across the terrain; oh tons of cool stuff. They have a computer lab and a Lego Mindstorms lab in there as well. Next to that is the discovery gallery for the younger kids. There is a blocks and trains area; a water table area, complete with wave machine; a science crate, preschool computer area that has a beehive in the summer; and the top area has a giant floor piano, funhouse mirrors, puppet theatre, giant puzzles. All my kids can spent hours there. Up from that are some classrooms.
The last gallery is the feature gallery that changes themes several times a year. They had an awesome dinosaur display recently and now have a Lego Starwars display. This area also has a bunch of hands on physics and body mechanics type displays and a huge lightning in a box.
On the third floor is the planetarium, can't wait to go there again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday. ugh.

I don't want to be a teacher today. I kinda want the day off from being a mom too. I haven't managed to shake off the blahs that have been doggin' me the last week. Started as pms, but hasn't really gone away, guess I should have got into bed before 12:30am and then actually gone to sleep instead of reading til I couldn't see anymore. I have a hard time falling asleep when I am in bed alone. ugh.
It is 10 am and I am yelling already. I have asked them to clear the table and wipe it so we can get some schoolwork done numerous times. There are still bowls on the table. I didn't do my marking last night. I watched tv and read blogs. My house is a shambles, I didn't clean last night either. Often during the week I make the excuse that I can't do a good job teaching and keep a perfect house at the same time. But to be honest, neither has happened this week. And I would honestly rather have a clean house, but I think education is more important.
I get really tired of the constant vigilance needed to be here with all 4 kids everyday and trying to raise them to be Godly, responsible, educated, etc...... It is not like they often show any self-motivation to do any of the things I think they need to do. I have to constantly remind them to get back on task; to get back upstairs and back to work; to turn of the flippin' tv, get upstairs, and get their blinkin' work done! I hate that! I want them to love learning, not think it is some job to be done.
Sometimes I just want to give up. Sometimes I am just tired of it all. That is today. I want to go get prettied up and go out into the world of grownups. Anybody want to go for coffee?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Science Centre Homeschool Day

Our first homeschool day at the Space and Science centre! So exciting:) I haven't signed up for many homeschooly things since we have lived here, we have a pretty busy schedule of outside activities as it is. And with Daddy's often extremely busy work schedule, we like to spend whatever free-time we have with him. And I am not that connected in the homeschool community here. anywaysss...
I did it. I signed the kids up for some classes, even my almost 4 year old! We love the science centre and go quite often, and I think this is a great opportunity to see science in action in a way that is difficult at home. And a very awesome bonus is the likelihood of meeting some other home-educating families in the area. I did see a few familiar faces there, and the kids had a blast in their classes, even if they are little know-it-alls. We asked them what they learned and were informed that they knew all that stuff already. hmmm. well.
They did think the new Star Wars Lego display was pretty cool! And the Robot wandering around, and the lightning-in-a-box. One thing I appreciated is that there were lots of staff on hand and all the displays were operational. Often when we go during the week, it is really quiet and certain things are not up and running.
Everyone here is sick with a cold, but we are managing to keep up with most of our bookwork. I do need to catch up with our marking though.
Off to drive the big kid to Bible study, Mom's taxi is never idle:)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Daddy teacher

I am sick. ugh. I can`t bweede. My fwoat huwts. wah.
Dh let me stay in bed this morning til 10!! When I got up, he and the boys had to brag that they were already done 2 and 3 subjects! I was surprisingly just happy they had done so, rather than jealous that they were doing for Dad, what they rarely do for me. I have often felt a bit jealous of his ability to get them to listen in the past. But more recently he has had a taste of some of our worst days at home, so he is more understanding of my failings and I am just thankful for his successes.
Anyway, I felt really good that my trying to get them into the habit and schedule of doing certain schoolwork regularly and used to the fact that certain hours are for school, chores, meals, free time is working. wow, run-ON! sorry.
I did not have such a productive day. I need to clean my house. I need to wash and fold laundry. I need to go grocery shopping. So not happening.
Today I drank tea or coffee, wiped my nose, read science with the kids, blew my nose, did grammar with them, blew my nose, drove to Taekwondo, blew my nose. Now I am curled up on the sofa, blowing my nose and rubbing my itchy eyes and eating cough drops.
I am so thankful that dh is home, he has helped tremendously with the kids this week, and taught them a lot too. Hopefully I feel better tomorrow, cuz dh has yard work to do, he can`t be doing my jobs all day!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Day with Friends

Today was our bi-weekly get-together at a friends. She decided she wanted to do something for others with the house God has given her and wanted to have regular contact with other Moms. So she host an afternoon at her house where we bring snacks and have coffee and play games or just chat. All the kids get together and play, and the Moms can relax and reconnect. It is absolutely perfect. She has made an effort to reach out to some Moms who may be a bit isolated, or new to town, Moms who need to connect with other women. I am so thankful for her. I tend to be a bit shy and introverted, so I am so thankful that God has given me some extroverted friends. We as women so need to connect with other women, it fulfills needs in us that no man ever could. God created us for community, we are social beings and we need to interact with each other. It is actually physiologically beneficial for women to be in social situations with other women as well as being psychologically beneficial.
So we had a wonderful visit, ate lots of veggies and dip, drank coffee and played a game of Yahtzee. We have a lot of children between the four of us, but we barely see or hear them, they do quite well together.
We even managed to get some book work done this morning before we went over there, and now my big boys are playing a board game with my little ones. Man I love my kids, they are so cool about being big brothers and share so much of their time and energy with their younger siblings.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Civic Election

Yeehaw! So pleased with our evening last night. We put our little ones to bed and had some family time doing our bible reading. Then Daddy led a discussion on current events that he turned into an a lesson on civic elections, educating us on what the positions in civic government are, who is running etc. He showed us a website called Edmonton Election dot ca where we could find all the information for ourselves. Thanks Dear, you are a terrific teacher.

We then did our science reading about what science is not and are all ready to learn about scientific method today and to do our experiment.

Reading the boys journal/blogs today, I can see we have a lot of work to do on punctuation and grammar. YIKES! I try not to criticise or correct journal, as I just want them to write, to be in the habit of writing. But R is writing a great story that I had a hard time following as he used 3 or 4 periods for 300 words, and not one comma.
Tomorrow, first thing, USE OF COMMAS!
We are learning lots about Canadian rivers this week, for instance, did you know the longest CDN river is the Mackenzie, while the largest is the St. Lawrence? Every year when we drive through the Rockies into BC and cross the Continental Divide, Daddy explains what that means. That all the rivers to the East of the divide flow to the Atlantic or the Arctic, and all the rivers to West of the divide flow into the Pacific , so the kids had an even better understanding than I did on how the rivers flowed into and out of lakes and each other. I realize that the divide gets more complicated than that, but that is all we have covered so far:)
I think we had another fairly productive day today, and I am pleased with their progress so far. I need to have a bit more discipline in teaching writing, it is kind of the sore spot for all of us, but considering that I like to write so much it shouldn't be too hard to pass that along.

Science Website

World Wildlife fund has a neat educators site.
wwf dot ca slash school
"WWF-Canada is proud to offer Schools for a Living Planet, an educational program that provides educators with access to over 30 curriculum-linked, printable in-class activities for grades 3 to 8. Each grade’s unit has a unique environmental theme with material carefully designed to meet curriculum expectations in English, Social Studies, and Science."
This is Canadian and ment to meet Provincial standards in Alberta, BC, Ontario and all 3 Territories.
Subject areas are Grade 3: Forests Alive; Grade 4: Exploring Habitats; Grade 5: Mackenzie Valley; Grade 6: Diversity of Life; Grade 7: Marine Protected Areas; Grade 8: Water

Example of lesson outline:
The Water Unit Includes
One Reading Passage
Five In- class Activities
• Activity 1: Salt Water vs. Fresh Water
• Activity 2: Living With Water: Polar Bears
• Activity 3: Mapping Our Water
• Activity 4: Case Study: Drought
• Activity 5: What You Learned
Wild Ideas – Supplemental Projects
Curriculum Links

There is also a kids site that is very similar to the main site, I haven't had a chance to explore it much.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cool links

I found these today.
Homeschool Hacks, a very helpful blog site full of lesson plans; links for everything imaginable with reviews; jam packed with every topic imaginable.

News Flash Five from pbs kids: a current events/news site for kids, complete with lesson plans and 'how to teach' guide for parents/teachers. This site is terrific, I am gonna be using this with my kids.
as I am typing this, the pbs kids site seems to be not loading, so try that one tomorrow:)


Preschool was so fun today! When Meme got here we played play dough for a while and then we went for a leaf collecting walk. The three preschoolers had so much fun, as did I, snapping photos of them. We took a little jaunt around the neighbourhood, looking at the beautiful fall colours, saying hello to neighbours and racing.

When we arrived back home the kids sorted through their leaves and arranged them on the wax paper squares I gave them. I ironed their arrangements and then we framed our creations. They were so proud and our artwork looks very festive hanging in the window. The big boys were very into this craft too, B actually put together his own leaf collage, R was supposed to be doing math corrections, so he couldn't take part. Daddy and I talked to them a bit about autumn and the changing seasons, we let them play a game about seasons on the computer, and then Daddy printed some cool fall colouring sheets for them. After colouring they had snack and played trains til Meme's Mom came and got her.
For my school age kids, it seems that we are falling into a rhythm for school. There are a lot of distractions in our house though, so one or the other of them is often finishing assignments after 3 o'clock. I would really like to have things done by 3 or even noon each day, that will take a lot of discipline on all our parts, and keeping the preschoolers busy and out of the boys hair. Daddy is home this week, so he was helping R with area calculations - he is such a good teacher, way better than me actually. I organize well, but he is definitely the teacher of the two of us, I sometimes wish he could teach them full-time, rather than the 4 or 5 days a year he is usually home. This year is better than most though, he has already been home a number of days.
We did the usual basics today: Math, journal, Handwriting, Geography/SS, French, we didn't get to grammar or our report writing course. I am hoping I can get the boys to do some science before bed, science works better when the babies are sleeping!
I was so disappointed last week when I realized that we were not actually finished our geography unit. We were only done the sheets I had already photocopied, :) not the whole course. Oops! Today's sheet was about Canadian rivers, had to pull out the atlas today-I love to look at maps, so I was excited. Right now I am trying to get them to finish their chores, it is often like pulling teeth, be dh and I are getting much at following through and giving clear, step by step instructions. I actually need to type them up and post them for the kids, and for dh too;)
Feeling optimistic for the year ahead, we are off to a good start. I am gonna order some books this week, our funding is available now! Love new books! I have tons to order for our Canadian history units.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does anyone have any advil?

My head feels like it is gonna explode! I am feeling very frustrated with my children and myself. My kids don't seem to be able to complete anything without me reading over their shoulder. I had such high hopes for today when I woke up and my boys were already working on their school. Their father and I had a big talk with them last night, and I thought maybe something was finally sinking in. Well after math and writing, that all fell apart. It was time for science, they had an experiment to do, which means fun kitchen mess and that they have to do a lab report. Well they put the experiment together, anticipated a mess, so they took it out to the back yard. After the experiment was completed (the balloon on the bottle one, nice fun easy) they were to come in and record their observations and clean up, finish their science reading and maybe to the last quick experiment of the chapter. Then it was lunch and chore time.

Well they played outside with their siblings for a bit, I allowed this and after a while I went to go get them. They came in and instead of getting down to it, they disappeared into the family room to watch tv. Forbidden! There is to be no tv on school days. NONE. They are not even to go down there during school time. Over and over I had to go and drag there butts back upstairs. More often I was yelling from upstairs. I hate yelling for them. especially considering how good they are at ignoring me.

Ugh. I was so frustrated while writing this I actually had to stop writing and go take a time out.
I took them to Taekwondo later and went to sit and have a coffee with the preschoolers. They had hot chocolate, or as Girly likes to say, "Foccee, kid foccee!" Daddy joined us when he got back to the city from his job-site, it was really nice. Then he sent me to get my nails done while he went to pick up the big boys. Then he put them to bed and took me out for dinner and drinks! It was awesome. Sometimes he does a really good job of taking care of me when I am at the edge of my sanity:) I was then ready to cope with Friday! Love you honey, thanks!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I love preschool!

I made the mistake of telling my 3 year old that we could work on his new preschool stuff as soon as his sister went down for her nap. Well he asked this before breakfast and she doesn't take her nap til 2 pm. It has been a very long day for Juju. He has asked me 30 times if it was time for Girly to take her nap. I told him that Girly doesn't take a nap til after lunch, and then made omelette's for breakfast. He thought that must be lunch and than it must be Girly's naptime!
Girly must feel kinda bad that Juju wants her in bed rather than playing with her. Right now they are chasing each other around the couch, guess they are both okay.
I had a big morning of teaching planned, but we got a bit sidetracked. After grammar, B curled up with Juju to read him a story. It ended up with all four of them curled up in a blanket nest with the Dr. Seuss treasury I bought at Costco yesterday. I think that is pretty much a perfect morning of school. The boys are working on math now, Ryley of course is avoiding and giving me a hard time, and the babies are gonna eat lunch. Hopefully the boys will get their science experiment done this afternoon and some writing. Juju and I should have some fun with preschool stuff.
Okay, we pulled out the Hooked on Phonics kindergarten and started on the learn to read. We did the first activity which are letter name flashcards and a cd. He got bored before the activity was over, very repetitive, but I think we can do a couple reps and then put it away for next time. He wanted to try the video game, so we put in the cd-rom. It has an I-spy game for letter recognition, it was fine and he enjoyed it. He then tried the letter sound game, he doesn't know many of the sounds yet and the first thing he noticed was that the dog named Pop, turns his head away if you answer incorrectly. "Why does he turn his head backwards when I get it wrong Mom?" It bothered him, and when I thought about it, it bothered me too. It felt like rejection to my sensitive boy. When you get it right, Pop turns his head into the page, towards the child. The next thing he said is, "Dogs don't talk Mom." That made me giggle, he didn't say anything about the dog wearing clothes though.
Other than that he enjoyed the activities. I will have to keep an eye on it, and see if I think it is more positive or negative overall. He so wants to learn, he is so hungry to gain the skills to read and write and basically do whatever his brothers can do. I don't want to do anything that will dampen that thirst for knowledge.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Sunshine

I think I will go easy on the book work today, the sun is shining and there is snow in the forecast for later in the week. I am gonna take the kids to the river valley and go for a nice long walk-maybe even to the zoo, the preschoolers should really enjoy that.
Yesterday was really fun. I pulled out my box of Discovery toys preschool stuff. J spent hours doing activities. Matching and sorting games, lots of pre-math stuff, colours, shapes and last night we played an alphabet fishing game with Papa. I let him stay up for a bit after A went to bed so we could play without little destructo hands being involved. It is really fun that he is so into learning and wanting to try stuff.
The boys got their math, handwriting, grammar, journal, geography and science done yesterday and today I need to pick up some red cabbage for our science experiment tonight. I may have to rethink the blogger journaling, because they are spending more time putting in links to games and uploading photos than actually writing.
ooh, Daddy is gonna do a real life geometry lesson today, he need to build some stuff in the garage. fun!
Off to do school.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Well Thursday is here and we are still going strong, a little weak on the chore end of things, but school went fairly well. Happy with the boys participation and they had a lot of fun doing their science experiment today. Another one in the kitchen, we are learning about the history of science and have been talking about atoms. Today they discovered for themselves that heat speeds up the movement of atoms! Exciting stuff.

We went to buy school supplies after taekwondo today! Yay! Who doesn't love new school supplies. Math set, pencil crayons, calculators and on the boring side, loose leaf.

Oh! It rained this afternoon, and hailed, and there were rainbows in the sky. All four were very excited about the rainbows. I feel like God has blessed me with a rainbow the past few days, a bit of hope that perhaps I can help my children to learn and grow.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hump Day

Woo hoo!!!
We put in a full day of edumicatin' today! Math, geography, journal/blogging, writing, handwriting, French, and even a science experiment/lab!! Woopidee doda! So very excited!
Both kids did all their school, and their chores and are now being rewarded with computer time-Star Wars Battlefront is their poison of choice today.
I will admit to being quite frustrated by 10 am and doing a bit of voice-raising, but it did get better.
I had all the kids up before 8, done breakfast and clean-up and dressed by 8:35. It was a great day, I am feeling encouraged finally. Especially because I am planning and putting this all together. Not using a pre-planned out curriculum. I am pulling from different resources I have collected and facilitating their learning! I had planned, and probably still will, buy a computer based curriculum, especially for math and language arts-plus a bunch of awesome books for the kids on Canadian history, both fiction and non-fiction. But it feels really great to be doing it on my own, and succeeding at it. So proud that they are actually getting down to accomplishing their tasks, and even seeming to enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

oh, gotta remind B-man to get the stuff together for our experiments in science, I may just have to open up a bottle of wine tonight-need a cork.

First day

Yay! I am so happy with the way our morning went. I started the boys off with a Canadian geography worksheet which they completed quickly while I did some photocopying. We then did a report writing lesson and started our note taking for a little report on chewing gum.
We also started our Science and then did a math lesson. I found Ryley a Batman math workbook at Costco, it actually looks pretty good and he was really excited to start it. I thought it would be good review for him and maybe I will only do more in-depth study of the areas he is struggling with. He has a really good math brain and finds the repetition of our Saxon math excruciating.
This afternoon I am gonna take them to the playground and then we have taekwondo. We missed the 'not back to school' picnic, but I think we had a pretty nice day regardless.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

try this again

New year, old blog-maybe it will get used this year. The plan for this year is to buy each boy a laptop and Switched-on schoolhouse. The grade 5 and 8 curriculum both centre on American history, so I will be supplementing them with Canadian History, geography and government. All their readers will be either Canadian or American historical fiction or biographies. I have the apologia jr high science program dvd-rom, so we could use that instead of the SOS science, regardless, we will begin with the science dvd on monday as well as resume our Rosetta stone, basic grammar, and do a series on report writing.
This year I want them to learn to work independently, take pride in their work, and become above competent writers. I would love for them to learn to love math.:) I want them to take personal responsibility in their schoolwork and chores. I want to nurture their love of learning! rather than squelch it with yelling and busywork.