Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April in Review

Where in the world has April gone!?! May cannot possibly be here already!?! The end of April signifies the end of year reality check. If vacation starts in two weeks, what can we REASONABLY and RESPONSIBLY complete by then? ;)

We have had a pretty great month... A few highlights!

A fun field trip to the recycling plant! We learned a ton! 

A super fun history unit on the Renaissance!
Lots of giggles over these Mona Lisa's! 

Michelangelo's at work!

Their renditions of God and Adam from the Sistine Chapel:

The Rock Star turned 6! Happy Birthday!!!!

I completed my 7 day No Yelling Challenge
Actually I made it 10 days!!!

 We are plugging away at school work, making great progress! We are less than 2 weeks away from the official "end" of our school year.

As for math and language arts, both E and C completed their regularly scheduled programs and have just been moving ahead with the next level. When time for our family vacation comes, we will put it aside for a few weeks and then pick up a few selected things for our summer schedule.

History! We have been having so much fun! I love the flexibility we have when the kids get interested! We have "continued" on in our history studies, but delved more deeply into the Renaissance. The kids learned so much about Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. They enjoyed reading, discussing, and even making a few attempts at their art themselves. Giggles were plentiful at their joyous yet interesting attempts! We are currently in the Elizabethan period and it is proving to be interesting and engaging as well. I mean who doesn't appreciate "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!"

Science....REALITY: We will need to finish this over the summer! Not a big deal. The kids love it and it is something I don't want to rush through just to "check it off." We will work for a few weeks after our time away. It has been a great year studying Earth, Space, and Astronomy!

The kids have also been working really diligently getting ready for their TRUTH 66 Bible drill coming up this weekend. I have been so blessed to see them and their friends work hard at memorizing tons of God's Word. Such fun and a great reward for a homeschool mom to see!

April is over....summer is so close I can taste it! Well, who am I kidding? Summer is here...tomorrow we are headed to the pool!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Challenge Success!

8 days...I have gone 8 days without yelling at my kids! While for some, this is an everyday occurrence...for me this is a huge success! I still think I am in shock! I set out for 7 days hoping to at least make it one. Goal accomplished and still going strong!

A couple people have asked for me to share some of the things that helped me make it through...

1) Slow down. This is key! When I find myself rushing, I find myself stressed and this yelling. Slowing down, granting the gift of time to my children has been huge!

2) Whisper. Strange I know. I have found that when I get aggravated and go to yell, if I drop my voice to a whisper it comes out somewhere around normal! ;)

3) Smile. It is REALLY challenging to yell while you are smiling. Really..try it!

4) Reality Discipline. I was forced to reassess my parenting and see where I had gotten lax and lazy...in order to keep from being frustrated and thus yelling, I had to remind myself of the natural consequences to offer in all situations...and then be consistent.

Small successes are awesome and I am happy to be celebrating this one! I know I am no where near overcoming this habit, but I am one week closer!


Monday, April 15, 2013

7 Day Spring Challenge

We attended a parenting conference at our church this Sunday, and I have been encouraged and refreshed to make some changes in how I have been parenting.

One statement I cannot get out of my head is:

"Sure, your kids know you love them, 
but do they know you like them?" 

I am so guilty of this! How often do I push my kids away for something "else"?  Something that tells them that what I am doing is more important than them? Facebook? Blogging? iPhone? So not ok!

For the last few months I have really been working on not yelling. It is SOOOO hard! I am improving but not anywhere near where I want to be. I decided to have a focused week on that goal-- A 7 days No Yelling Challenge. Honestly, I have little hope to complete it, but as long as I persist even after I fail, I can't imagine being disappointed with the results!

To help with my goal, I am focusing on a few areas that will help to that end.

1. Slow down. I rush way too much and end up late and frustrated. We as a family need to slow down, give the kids room and time to obey.

2. Limit time online. My biggest distract-er! I need to limit online time especially during school. So hard not to do a quick check of email, Facebook, or blogs when the iPad is already there! But focusing on my kids will allow me to be less frustrated and more in tune to their needs.

3. Invest time other than school. I admit, I am not good at this. I will read, set up projects, and make their environment fun, but by the time the school day is done, I am done! Regular house chores take up the rest of my energy. I am going to work on this. More time just for them to enhance our relationship and let the kids know I truly do LIKE them not just LOVE them!

4. Look ahead. I need to not be surprised by the calendar. Then I am just rushed and we are back to number 1! I need to check the calendar nightly so there are no morning surprises.

I am looking forward to this challenge, and pretty nervous. It is so difficult to challenge yourself out of a behavior that is SUCH a part of you. But it is a habit that needs to go, and I am ready to tackle it head on! I know yelling at them is not affirming them in my love and like of them.

Anything you want to take on and battle in a spring challenge? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The End is Near

No, not the apocalypse, though as a homeschooler it almost seems that way! Summer! My goal each year is to finish our homeschool year by homeschool convention in late May at the latest. We still do some school-lite over the summer, but we end the current year and begin the new grade in June.

The end of the year brings so many emotions to different people. Excitement-- Only 6 weeks left! woohoo! Summer break! Pool, beach, sleeping in, no schedule...we love summer!

But then, the fear of....oh wait, only 6 weeks left?!? We have to get all of this done in 6 weeks?!?


Such a mix of emotions!

My husband and I just got back from a 4 night cruise. Such a crazy time of year and I can honestly say it was one of the best things we could have done. This time of year brings burn out, exhaustion, and just a desire to be "done!" In the midst of the chaos we took 4 days to sit by the pool and relax....kid free. Now I am back and ready to face the last 6 weeks head on!

A few tips to make it through the end of the year:

1) Finish strong. Don't give up. The summer will be here soon, but don't throw in the towel yet!

2) Be realistic. That art program you didn't get to all year? Yeah, probably not going to get priority in the last few weeks. While you finish strong, be realistic about what you can get done in that time.

3) Don't rush it. I know I face the temptation of cramming it all in to say we "got it done." I am a box checker by nature, I empathize! But, rushing equals wasted effort, your kids won't remember it and you and they will probably feel frustrated for the attempt. Be faithful, and be willing to do "more" if you ave to, but don't waste your time by flying through it.

4) Be flexible. If you didn't finish it, you still have summer and the fall...you can continue on if you are enjoying it. Break out of the 36 week box! Enjoy the learning process. And if you are not enjoying it? Feel free to drop it. You have my permission. ;) Find something that works. No, math may not always induce laughter and squeals, but it shouldn't produce constant tears either. Be discerning.

5) Enjoy it. It is so easy to wish away this time of year. We can't wait to get to the next "thing." Change up the routine, get to that fun read aloud you have been putting off, spend extra time cuddling on the couch. If you try to squeeze 10 weeks of school into 6, you and your kids will be frustrated and defeated.... Embrace the joy of homeschooling. And if you are further behind than you want to be? Step up. Work hard, go into the summer, take breaks, and make a plan so you don't find yourself in that pace again.

Sometimes life happens, and you feel "behind." That's where I am right now. A semester of family chaos has left us not exactly where I want to be. As I look to the next 6 weeks and am reassessing the plan, I am telling myself to finish strong, be realistic, don't rush it, be flexible, and enjoy it! Summer is coming!
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