...Also known as we are so busy living life, things get lumped into one post! :-D
Good month, so far! We just cherish the times we have to be together, enjoying life; these good memories provide a sense of security and a strength so that when the difficult moments come, we can get through them better. (They always come!) It's counted as blessings when we are happy, healthy, and learning and accomplishing a lot!
Dental appointments for the two youngest are done (phew!) and Daddy has had two trips out of town this month. We all got to tag along on one to California this week! Yippee! The boys spent time with their paternal Grandma earlier this month at her home and also with my Mom, as well as some uncles and aunts. We've visited with cousins who came in town for a soccer tournament, too.
The cub scout troop Pinewood Derby was this month and our oldest and his Dad worked on his car. He is excited for his design (a ninja sword car). He has worked diligently on his Bear requirements and receives his Bear badge in February.
|Cubscout Pinewood Derby 2012|
Dad introduced some new games this month. The boys and he all hop on computers and play Terraria together, which the boys really get happy about. We also have been playing a board game called "Pirate's Cove" and the kids and we have a blast. Gaming is not something that I envisioned for our family when my kids were babies, but I am happy that this interest of my husband's has found it's way into our family culture. I love to see how it brings us together now that everyone is getting older and how everyone enjoys that time to be together. I am learning to enjoy this aspect more!
On the "education" front, the two oldest boys have been learning the Articles of Faith each morning by singing a primary children's song with me. The plan is to learn the first 6 (of 13) this year before summer. We are on number 3 right now. The boys have also been continuing their writing practice and reading games/lessons. Our oldest does copywork, writing out the article of faith that we are working on. Our second oldest's copywork is writing letters and tracing shapes that strengthen his writing skills. They each have their own folder. They've done really well in their work and keep progressing.
For each day that they successfully complete their tasks, they get to pick a small toy or treat out of the treasure box and at the end of the week, they can choose a cooler toy (things bought on clearance by Dad). This has been fun for them to look forward to and keep them motivated day-to-day. It's also nice to be able to say, "I want to help you get this done so you can earn your prize!" (instead of begging or bargaining) Great tool to build partnership between me and the kids in their learning.
We call this time our "table time"; I work with one boy at a time. It takes about 15 minutes for each child to complete what we do together. Every once in a while we take a day off or a week off when we travel. Home education is awesome because it works for us, not the other way around. ;-)
Last year, when I was doing Ambleside Online Year 1 with our oldest son, I did more reading aloud, but this year it seemed best to include our second son and to work on some reading and writing basics with both of them. The rest of the day is theirs to choose their activities, and this has been working out really well.
The other "subjects" just flow from everyday life, like completing cub scout requirements, watching programs on Netflix or PBS, cooking or baking, and creating things (like weapons with tape and cardboard). There's a lot more they do, but that's a sample.
Home education for our family in this way, at this time in their development, instills in the kids a habit for making time for study, as well as keeping an emphasis on spiritual and character development, while keeping their own curiosity and interest alive by allowing plenty of time to choose their own activities. It's a good balance.
Another great part of our home education is that when the kids' needs change, we can easily adapt and change what we are doing to fit those needs. As they grow and mature, our learning time will also, to some extent.
We continue to talk about character traits / values during daily life when the teachable moments happen (honesty, accountability, work, forgiveness, compassion, etc), and also listen once a week to CDs with songs and stories about character traits. In the evening, we have started a goal as a family for 2012 to read passages from The Book of Mormon each night. We are using the reading list in this month's issue of The Friend magazine. Last year, we read in the KJV New Testament, and the year before that, we read in the KJV Old Testament. It's been working out well to read a verse or two at the table after dinner while the kids color on paper. We've been saving their drawings in plastic page protectors in a 3 ring binder to enjoy looking at throughout the year and afterward.
Hm, what else have we been doing lately?
Lots of baking...mmmmm, brownies! A few batches later, I have a great recipe using sucanat (unrefined cane sugar), whole wheat pastry flour (you could substitute spelt), and using cocoa powder and chocolate chips. VERY tasty. Thank goodness lots of people around here eat brownies, so I didn't have to eat them all myself. (could have!)
Mmmmm, gooey cinnamon rolls. As I test recipes to add to our collection, we get to eat sweet treats. At least they are homemade and in moderation. (I've also been testing a recipe for salmon chowder, whole grain biscuits, and a few others)
This one's a winner! Made with whole wheat flour (hard white), the dough is made using my bread machine on the dough setting (easy) then baked in the oven. The frosting is raw honey, cream cheese, vanilla, and spices. Our oldest gave me permission to make these for his birthday instead of cake, lol.
Baking cookies :-) Our cute 4 year old guy (to the right in the photo below) found the book "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" and asked me to read it to him....and then of course, when you read a book about cookies, they wanted to make some. So we did. The other kids wanted in on the baking; this was when our oldest son was at cub scouts for the evening, so I called this moment "mommy scouts". Fun!
Cookin' in the kitchen with sister...she likes to help chop mushrooms. Of course, she asked to wear an apron (it's what cooking people do, right?)
Roller skatin' in the kitchen!
Out of the kitchen, we had nice weather here and there, so we spent time outdoors.
We went on walks, played at the park and also met friends for park days, some rode scooters or bikes, and of course, lots of playing in the front or back yard. I enjoyed the warmer-than-usual weather and sunshine a lot. What a treat.
Our baby keeps on growing and growing!
He or she is now about 28 weeks gestational age.
I am enjoying the second trimester and about to "graduate" into the third.
Playing in the dirt while Mommy plants blueberry bushes...our 4 year old guy was a big helper and filled up the Smart Pot grow bags with soil with me. Sis played nearby.
Come next year, when our baby will be celebrating his or her first birthday,
we'll harvest our first berries.
More garden photos to come; there's more planting to do next month!
Be well, friends, and may
the moments you share with your family
be a blessing for you, too.