Friday, September 14, 2012

September Garden Update

fall lettuce

background: broccoli and cabbage
foregound: walking onions and asaragus fronds

acorn squash


the only carrot that survived

giant sunflower

my sweet girls, and our new roo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back at the Books, 4 students this year!

Our first week of school went smoothly and with a few adjustments, I hope to see the rest of the year follow suit. I realized that somehow I'd neglected to get Emma a Language Arts book (I had thought her Creative Writing covered that, but it didn't) and the Phonics I'd planned for Mayda didn't pan out. So the first day of school ended with a quick trip to the Teacher's Corner (they have an online catalog!) to get a few Spectrum books to fill the gaps. They are my favorite stand in. :) This is also the only store where I can find my school assignment charts, and they are cheap too!!! (see how we assign school here.)

This year we mixed up a few things and it is working our better than I'd hoped. Here's the run down:

Tyler is in 5th grade and is using Saxon 6/5 for Math. He is sharing the 5th grade A'Beka history (Old World History and Geography) with Emma. He is also sharing Science with her for part of the year, (A'Beka Investigating God's World) and then will go on to study in God's Marvelous Works (Rod and Staff) for the second semester. They are also sharing a daily devotional and a supplemental Art course from Usborne. We are going through the Art book intensively before an upcoming Art Museum trip. Tyler also has general studies in spelling, language arts, reading comp. and handwriting. Interestingly, after years of terrible handwriting that caused me to hold off on adding cursive, we discovered he has AMAZING cursive and will probably never print manuscript style again. :) Now if we could just get past the creative writing block!!!

Emma is in 4th grade, and is sharing the above subjects with Tyler (History, Science, Bible, and Art.). She is going to stick with Modern Curriculum Press math for one more year before moving in to Saxon. MCP just fits her style better, and I actually found it a more challenging math curriculum than Saxon. That was actually a surprise. She also has spelling and then her writing, language arts, and geography are all from Spectrum. I'm really enjoying Emma and Tyler sharing several subjects. His reading skills and her creativity of thought make for better understanding of the text, not to mention better discussions I don't even have to facilitate.

Mayda is in 1st grade this year. I debated moving her up since we were so hit-or-miss with her Kindergarten last year. It was really hard for her to focus with Wyatt running around having so much fun NOT doing school. :) I was concerned she wasn't reading at a first grade level and she insists she cannot read at all, but when we sat down with her reading comp book, she read like a pro. She now insists she can only read when I am there. :P She is also studying geography (basic maps), Bible, writing, science (Christian Liberty Press, LOVE them for lower grade science!), Spectrum phonics, and math. I may have to find her a harder math book. The 1st grade book we're using is so easy she's already pages ahead of where she should be.

Wyatt is using My Father's World for Kindergarten this year. (Read My Review Here.) Since he only turned 5 yesterday we hardly consider it Kindergarten. At our house we do 3 years of what we call K-1st., since what they are studying could range all the way from K to 2nd and we start at the age of what would be pre-K and just go for it for a little longer. Socially he's still your typical pre-K, although his vocabulary is amazing compared to Tyler and Emma at this age. (I don't compare anyone to Mayda; she's just a completely different bird!)  We like MFW curriculum right out of the box, and while I was worried it would take too long for him to get through each day, it's actually quite easy. We are supplementing the science with selections from CLP science book (aptly named "My Father's World"), and I may pick up a math workbook since the "counting to 100" will be over mid year and is not much of a challenge for him. I'm enjoying the fun approach it has for learning each letter by associating each week with a new letter sound and an animal or concept that begins with it. Since it covers lots of creatures, we are also using the Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader ,and he LOVES that.

I was really worried that I'd spend the year trying to talk to 4 kids at once and lots of chaos, but that hasn't happened at all (yet). Tyler and Emma work together on science and history, only pausing for a quick quiz from me from time to time. During that time Mayda works independantly on math worksheets while I do MFW with Wyatt. When Wyatt is done I do reading comp with Mayda and then switch off on answering math issues with the big kids. Overall we are enjoying it and have mostly been done by noon each day, with lots more reading in the afternoon while the little ones nap.

Hopefully my mid year assessment will be this happy!  To celebrate our first week of school, we went swimming at the lake. It was colder in the water than I had anticipated! hehehe...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Firsts, Lasts, and Always...

As a scrapbooker, I have always celebrated firsts. First haircut, first bath, first smile. I have pictures, stories and pockets full of memories. They are all stuffed into books and overburden my bookcases in the living room. I remember the excitement of each first, they are easy to recognize, as my kids do things they never had done before. So easy to document, celebrate, and remember. 5 years ago I first held my little baby boy, Wyatt. and I will never forget those first moments of sweetness.

Last fall I attended Women of Faith in Denver, and I heard Karen Kingsbury read her new book, Let Me Hold You Longer.

When she was done, there wasn't a dry eye in that room filled of thousands of women... as we all missed our kids and grieved our yesterdays. I think the only book that made me cry more was "I'll Love You Forever."

So today is a last... the last time I'll have a 4 year old. Tomorrow is a first: first day of my "baby's" fifth year... but I'm not crying, because I choose not to dwell on yesterday OR tomorrow. I'm here, now, in the best time of my life. Sure, there are things to look forward to: life at the end of the budget, the feeling of a clean kitchen after all the hard cleaning is done, a time when we will leave suffering behind and spend eternity in the GLORY of the Father... But when it comes to my kids, today is the best day. I'm in no hurry. THIS is my favorite stage, and it always will be. In five years, when they are *gasp* 16, 15, 11 and 10... I will still say the same. " THIS is the best it's ever been, and I love where we are right now."

I am so thankful for my kids, and for their sweet bed time prayers tonight. At no prompting of my own, they each thanked God for giving them 5 years of Wyatt's life. And Wyatt thanked God for all the great mail he's been getting. (thank you friends for flooding our mailbox and making his birthday wish come true!) Yes, this is a great day, and so will be tomorrow when we look through his baby book and remember his firsts, his lasts, and then we will celebrate the day. And he will get more mail and say something funny, I'm sure. And he will even love this 'Mater' cake the kids helped me make tonight.


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