Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Typical Trip to Library

Thursday is library day. So I sorted through the many books on the shelf and even had the kids gather the library books from their rooms so we could load up the bag and head out to the library.
The shelf looks a little bare once I have the bags full of all the books we need to return. This one cube on our big bookshelf is where library books are supposed to stay. It doesn't always happen. Often we have too many to fit in one cube and the one above also has a bunch of library books as well. A few books also end up in bedrooms and a few seem to live in the car.  We have been pretty lucky so far. We haven't lost any books yet. This is amazing considering how many books, cds, DVDs and such we check out.

The kids are always excited to go to the library. For a number of reasons. But the biggest reason is that they get to play the computer at the library. I started this a few weeks ago. The library has a number of computers in the children's section that are reserved for children to use to go onto the internet. I decided to let my kids do this at the library instead of at home since this way all three can be on at the same time rather than spend the entire afternoon asking how many more minutes until so and so's turn is over.

 The only downside to this plan is.... Molly.  I have to find something for her to do for an hour or so, while the other kids play on the computers. We first comb the library for the books I need. Then I let her loose (free of the stroller) to play puzzles.

She likes this for a few moments. Then she discovers the rows and rows of books on the shelves all around her.
This is where she spends a few minutes pulling books off the shelf and I try to reshelve them back into the right places. It is hard to keep up with such an expert book puller. I often try sit and read a book with her but it is just too exciting, being in such a colorful, book and toy filled place.

She runs over to the little kid computer that has a few games on it for the small kids. I guess she figures everyone else gets to play so why not her.

She quickly looses interest in this since she has no idea what the mouse does. She just likes to copy what she sees others doing. Once she is done she runs back to the shelves.

Audio books this time.

Then she pushes the stroller down the aisles and randomly picks books off the shelves and puts them in the basket. (I think we came home with a few good ones that she picked out)
Back to puzzles again. Today she decided to keep a binky in her mouth. Usually she only uses it for bedtime but I relented and let her have it today because last week she did a lot of screeching while we were at the library. That excited screech is just too much in the "silence" of the library. So for a quieter trip today I figured we would give it a try. It seemed to keep her quieter but not any less busy!

Next we checked in on the other guys to make sure everything was still alright. They were lost in the world of Webkinz or Lego star wars.  I don't think they even noticed us walk by. 

The library has a display case that is filled with a child's collection of something. It is often legos. It was Littlest Pet Shop or something last I remember.  This week it was some little painted figures, mostly cats. Molly took a few moments to look at them and bang on the glass.

Return to the kids and give them the 5 min warning. Molly.... or I should say... I can't go on much longer.
Molly and I sit down and do a coloring page. She is surprisingly good at scribbling. I don't remember the others being that interested in coloring.  Molly knows right where the crayon boxes are and likes to take out and put crayons back into the box.  I just have to make sure they don't get dumped out and all is well.
Finally all checked out. Each kid has their own bag of books. They have their own sections of the library that they visit to gather their favorites. Sophie goes for the math books like G is for Google. She also picked out another American Girl book to read.  Ian loves the non fiction section and brings home books about airplanes, tools and some random animals that he found interesting. Henry filled his bag with a few Clifford books and I believe a Berenstain bears book or two.  I picked out a few of the Halloween books from the pulled aside Halloween stash. (I can't believe it is already time for Halloween books!?!)
The shelf is full again. It never sits empty for long. I didn't have many new books to gather for school so most of these are just fun books for us to give a read through.
Sophie wasted no time digging into my book bag to see what I brought home.  She loved the drawing book I picked out.
She set right to work on a unicorn. It turned out really well.

Ian too jumped right into one of the books we brought home.

Henry was thrilled with the Halloween books and had me read each one to him before they could be put away on the shelf.

A successful trip to the library. Everyone has had a good time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A message to the Tooth Fairy

Dear Tooth Fairy,

My kids wanted to leave you a note to explain a few things. They are tired of you forgetting to come. They don't accept excuses like "There were so many kids to visit she has to spread them out a little" or "Perhaps she was broke and needed to come when she had a little more cash on hand".  I understand completely. They are loosing teeth so quickly it is hard to keep up. And money is tight for everyone.

These kids also are starting to leave you "invoices" or notes explaining what they are expecting to find under their pillows. I think last week Sophie said she so excited that she was going to get a charcoal grey Webkinz cat. She was disappointed when all she found was a dollar under her pillow the next morning.

This morning Ian woke up, having left his 2nd lost tooth in a week under his pillow and was also upset that it was "just a dollar". He explained that he got $1.50 for his last tooth.  He felt like he should have gotten at least that much. I tried to tell him that he should be happy that the tooth fairy visits at all. She doesn't have to come and leave a bit of money. She doesn't come to every kid in every country.  He was still a bit disapointed as he put his measly bill in his piggy bank.

Poor Henry is often having me check his mouth for loose teeth and still I can't see any wigglers.  Start saving those quarters and dimes because I am only guessing his demands for cash and prizes will be even greater than those of these other ungrateful children.  We may need to come up with a better plan. Either that or make these kids stop growing up so fast.

I think you are doing a great job. I will have to try to teach my children better manners and some gratitude.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yet another week.

I don't know where the time goes. I haven't posted since my last weekly report. This blog isn't just supposed to be these boring record keeping type of posts. Hopefully I will do better.... at least I will try to do better. Life just seems to fly by. I have been reading a lot of great posts about family on the blogs Chocolate on my Cranium and We Talk of Christ. I especially enjoyed this post. It was just what I have been feeling this week. I know I have been a bit of a bear. I think Cranky,highly irritable and easily provoked would sum up my state the last few days. I don't know exactly why but, my goodness, I have just felt wrung and worn out.

Anyway... on to what we actually accomplished.

Henry -
  • I read to him every day. He got to choose any book on the shelf and I read it to him. This may sound like a easy thing but often he just gets sucked into the books I am reading to Sophie and Ian for history or something and he get forgotten so I have been trying to make an effort to read him something that he chooses and asks me to read. Luckily most of the books on our shelves are good ones so I don't feel like we are wasting our time at all. In fact a lot of them are Before Five in a Row books and Five in a Row books that he has been picking so I informally do some of those FIAR things with him. His favorite book this week was The Red Carpet. Our library system only has one copy of this great book.  I will be so sad when I can't check it out anymore!
  • He did a few pages of the Explode the Code 1 book. I think he is doing about 2 pages everyday. That feels good to him and I think anything he is willing to do it good.
  • He read to me. Sometimes it was Bob books and I have started to introduce the McGuffey primer. He seems to be doing alright with the short McGuffey lessons so that may work out better for him.
  • He did a little coloring, cutting and pasting with our History Pocket stuff.

  • Explode the code each day. He is doing 4 pages everyday which means he goes through 2 lessons each week. 
  • One Singapore Math lesson each day. 2A doesn't seem too challenging for him yet.
  • Finished reading My Father's Dragon to me and started Elmer and the Dragon  as well as the First McGuffey reader. He is reading really well now. 
  • Participates with all our history reading and activities
  • Copywork each day from The Family proclamation

  • So, so close to finishing Singapore Math 4A. She loves getting to use the triangles and protractors to measure and create angles.
  • Is reading to me from the McGuffey reader each day. I think she is reading the Third one to me and then Narrates to me. I am trying to actively do narration with each of the kids when they read aloud to me. It is one of the Charlote Mason skills I have sort of done but now I am actively doing it with the kids.
  • Copywork from the Family Proclamation each day. 
  • Participated in the reading and activities we have done with our Civil War studies.

Now one thing I have changed recently is to stop hitting myself over the head about not doing science. I am going to try something new. Rather than alternate days with history or add it in when we can, I am just going to do a unit of history for a few weeks and then a unit of Science. So when we finish our Civil War study in about 2 or so weeks we will then do our science about motion and simple machines.  I am hoping this way we can do our study and not be so distracted by feeling like I should be doing the other subject as well. I have just been having a hard time doing both. So one at a time sounds good right now.  I may even get around to adding in some Latin and such back in. Not this week though. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Need to make a few changes.

We are now a month into our "school year" and I really don't feel like we have hit our groove yet.  We are doing the most important things but not getting to a lot of the extra things that we usually try to cover. It isn't that it isn't planned. We just never seem to have time and energy to get to all the different subjects.

Music - Sophie got a recorder and a Teach yourself to play recorder book for her birthday and she is enjoying it. She always does better when she does it on her own so I thought this would be a good way to help her learn to read music. So far she has learned Mary had a little lamb and knows the notes and fingerings for that song. This is a vast improvement over the recorder blasts sounds that used to come out of the recorder. Now if we could just teach the boys to play and not just blow as hard as they can, it would make me very happy.

I would like to start doing a musician each month but haven't gotten it in yet. 

Art - I picked up a Draw Write Now book from the library booksale this week. The kids have all been drawing all sorts of Native Americans and pilgrims in their sketch books.

An artist for each month is also in the plan but I haven't been able to do it yet.

Latin - Hasn't even been cracked open

Spanish - Nada

Math - Sophie finished Singapore Math 4A and I think we are going to finally work through Life of Fred before moving to the 4B book.
Ian finished his 1B book and will start the next one soon.
Henry is working on reading and not math right now. But he sits in on Ian's lessons so I am sure he will fly through math once he finally decides to read and write.

History - We have read a number of Biographies about Abraham Lincoln. And listened to a story called Lamp of Freedom about a girl in Missouri and her family that helped with the Underground Railroad. We are going to continue with our study of the underground railroad and Abolitionists next week and then move into the Civil War. 

We have 3 more chapters of Minn of the Mississippi left. We have learned a lot about the geology and life of this river through this reading. We have followed Minn's progress down the river on the map so the kids are geting some Geography.

Science - No science this week. I think some of my problem is that we are doing stuff about air and water right now and since we just did Chemistry a lot of this stuff is review. My kids are kinda bored. I may jump ahead to the simple machines.  They really want to break out that Knex kit I bought.

Language Arts - Ian is starting Explode the code 3 1/2. He is reading really well now but I like that these workbooks give him some reading and writing practice so we are going to continue with them.
Henry is just starting ETC book 1. I am surprised at how well he is doing. Something is starting to click for him and he is reading some very simple words.
Sophie is working on her Book Report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I haven't seen what her notes say yet but she seems to be doing it. I guess we will see when it comes to the actual writing process.

Devotional - We are reading the Book of Mormon each day and having good discussions about the Family Proclamation. My kids expect activities to go along with our Proclamation topic each day and this has been a challenge. There are some days we just sing a song or talk about stuff but we try to color or something to go along with it but I haven't been that creative this week.

Where I am running into the most trouble is that each of my kids require my attention. Ian looses his focus if I am not there watching him do his math and he likes to read the sentences in his Explode the Code aloud to me. Henry of course needs my help with his work. Sophie still needs one on one attention for Math as well. She gets easily distracted and it is hard to pull her back to do her work without a tantrum surfacing.  She just needs me to sit there and watch her work to keep her on task. It is taking up a lot of my time to do this.

I need to tweak our schedule a bit and see if we can get more stuff into our day. I have some ideas but we will have to see if they make a difference.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New developments in the Hair Battle

When Sophie was a little girl she used to let me put her cute little curly locks in pony tails, but only if I parked her in front of a Thomas the Tank Engine video while I combed it. As she got older even the electronic distraction no longer worked and eventually I gave up on getting her hair to look like someone took care of her. She usually has it cut short now, because when it gets long she doesn't take care of it. Her hair gets tangled and looked messy all the time. So for now she has it short. And she looks very cute with her chin length bob.

For her birthday this year I gave her an American Girl Hair care kit. It teaches her how to do different hair styles on her American Girl doll. She has told me it is her favorite gift. She certainly has spent a good amount of time using the new wig brush and hair accessories that came in the kit. She is learning how to braid and do different twists.

She is getting pretty good at some of the hair styles and really enjoys making her doll look beautiful.
I hope some of this hair care will roll over into her taking a little more care of her own hair. So far it hasn't. She just doesn't care if her hair is hanging in her face or that it doesn't look like she even ran a brush through it before going out. For now I just have to be content with the new found fun she is having and the skills she is developing. 

I just don't want to fight about hair anymore.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Proud of my craftiness!

I am not crafty. I took a lot of art classes in school but I don't consider myself an artist. I just don't have the time or the energy to pursuit craft projects. My kids love it when I break out the paints.  They are deprived of creative outlets.

Speaking of creativity..... I am also not good at coming up with my own projects.  I depend on the creativity of others. This project of course isn't original. I found it here and thought I needed to give it a try. She used this activity to go along with the phrase from the Family Proclamation that reads  "All Human Beings are created in the image of God". We did our full body tracings the day we talked about that. Instead I used this idea for the phrase "each has a divine nature and destiny". 

I thought the profile silhouettes would look lovely on my wall. I was lucky and while out shopping found some little painter's canvas'. I was just going to use a watercolor paper or something but these turned out so much better.
I did Molly's for her

I let the kids decide on the color scheme. They decided to use all the colors of the rainbow.  A rainbow is full of possibilities  so I gave them the colors and let them go. Their profiles were printed out and stuck on the canvas.  And the kids were instructed to start in the middle on the cutout and paint outward. Sophie did great and didn't require any touch ups, but the boys' didn't quite turn out as well.

When they were done and I pulled up the profile cutout there was all sorts of paint that had gone under and the profiles weren't going to work. And just to make it worse Henry came to look at his and put some paint on the edges where he didn't get paint touched his paint covered finger right in the white part of his head leaving a lovely blue fingerprint. My gasp made him feel so bad and he was almost in tears. I let it dry and tried to think of a solution to the problem.

Henry's before touch up.
Ian's before I cleaned up the edges.

I ended up painting white over the edges of the boys profiles and over the blue fingerprint. They turned out alright and they were all proud of the finished products.
I know they aren't quite hanging straight but I am not a perfectionist and it was hard to line up four boards. 

I think they look great hanging on the wall. And my kids love it that they match our rainbow rug as well.

I am entering this in the Family Proclamation celebration and blog hop. You can find other ideas at Chocolate on my Cranium or We Talk of Christ.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Accomplish Anything?

I feel like I really need to do my weekly report just to see if we actually did some work. Each day seemed to pass without us getting to all of what I wanted to do. So going through the subjects and writing down what we actually did may show we did more than I thought. Lets see......

Scripture - We finally made it through 2nd Nephi. We have had a number of good discussions during our scripture reading time.

Proclamation - We are in the 3rd paragraph and each day we do a small activity that sort of goes along with something in that paragraph. One day this week with played with play dough.

We were making people and trying to guess if they were boys or girls.

This was fun for the kids and reminded me that we need to get some new play dough. This old stuff is looking so dry and yucky.
History - I can't say we did history. I am still thinking about a Civil War unit and gathering books and resources but haven't quite decided to get started. We are about half way through Minn of the Mississippi. That is what we have been doing with the time we would have been doing history. The kids seem to like it. They loved Paddle to the Sea when we read it last year. We have a map that I printed off the internet of the Mississippi and we have been following Minn's progress down the river. They are also learning a lot about snapping turtles as we read along with the bit of Geography.

Science - I don't think we did much science at all this week. Nothings formal at least. We did watch a movie about inventions and the kids have been reading The New Way Things Work book on their free time. They love that book. I am glad Henry got it for his Birthday and now they can read it anytime and we don't have to return it.

Math -  Ian is starting his last section in his Singapore 1B book. This one is about money. He is happy to be done with subtraction. Sophie finally finished Fractions. We did the review on Friday so we get to start something new on Monday.  I had to return Life of Fred to the library since it was requested but I ordered a copy and we will do it when we finish this 4A math book.

Language Arts - We are almost finished with The Little Princess.  Even my boys seem to love this story. They worry about Sara Crewe and want her to be happy again. The book really is better than the movie versions. I am enjoying all the internal things described that you just can't show in a movie.

We did a few lessons from our English for the LDS child but didn't do it every day.

Henry is done with his Explode the Code primers and will be starting Explode the code 1 on Monday. He also has been reading Bob Books to me. So far we have gone through the first 4 little books. He is the one asking me to listen to him read them. He initiates it so we do it. I am not pushing it on him.

Ian is just finishing Explode the Code 3. He is on the last lesson. He is also reading aloud to me each day from different books.

Sophie didn't work on her book report at all (at least to my knowledge she didn't) I did find her reading Harry Potter quite a bit so perhaps she is doing some additional reading to get ready to write. We will see....

I think that is about all we did this week. No FIAR book. No music, although my kids keep practicing the first few lessons in the Teaching little Fingers to play book. They are all still working on using different fingers to hit each key rather than just hit the keys with their pointers. Left hand especially. Sophie is actually doing great! She tries to move ahead but gets frustrated and goes back to the easy ones. This is fine by me since she usually fights piano lessons at all.

We did have a painting art project but I will share that one tomorrow. It was related to our Family Proclamation study.

So I feel alright about our week. It is a Birthday week.

 Both Henry and Sophie had a birthday and that always adds to the excitement, planning and sugar load of the house.
I think the kids rode the carrosel at least 5 times. They wanted to ride all the different animals. At one point Sophie was in tears because she had to ride the Ocapi instead of the Bald Eagle. So of course we had to go one more time so she could ride the eagle.

These pictures are from our trip to a Park and Zoo near us. This is what Henry choose to do on his Birthday.  This is the new tradition. No party just a trip to the museum, zoo or fun place of your choice. It works well.

So we did accomplish quite a bit. We are learning and that is all that matters.