Friday, July 31, 2009

Homeschooling Update

working together to create a go-kart out of a cardboard box

It's that time of year again...when I look over what we accomplished last year and sigh. Somehow we never seem to make it through all my crazy lists - goals, books, projects. So looking over the past 12 months, we did accomplish a ton, just not what was on my list. I realized that we had so many extra things scheduled that we really struggled to get our "book work" done. Not that that was a bad thing, just that that's what happened. Also, the stress of Brad's layoff really did affect us as a family. I wasn't as focused on school as maybe I should have been and adjusting to having Daddy home all day every day maybe did affect us. After a couple of months, we did get into the groove and he was great working with the kids too. It's just that it interrupted our rhythm a bit.

found him reading in his bed today

But, for all that we missed, we gained so much. My oldest may not have read all the books I wanted him to read, but he did jump the hurdle to advanced reader. In fact, he's in the middle of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy now. I think that's a pretty amazing thing. My middle guy and I have made a lot of progress towards figuring out how best to work with each other. He's on his way to being a reader too. And my girl is chomping at the bit to start preschool this year. I think we are on track (whatever that means) and I'm not disappointed by our progress. Over the weekend, I plan on coming up with a plan for next year. I have some ideas for things I want to change to better meet our family's needs. I love AmblesideOnline and it will still play a huge role in our home learning, but I've had this nagging feeling over the last couple of months that I need to make some adjustments to make it a better fit for us. Hmm, I need to think about this some more. I'll post my plan soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Excitement in the Neighborhood

This charred bush caught on fire this evening. This area is behind our house next to the arroyo (or drainage ditch if you're not from New Mexico) and bike path. We saw it when it was really on fire, but I didn't get a picture. Thankfully, it wasn't spreading quickly to the other bushes and weeds around it.

The fire truck arrived via the bike path. For some reason this was especially funny for my kids.

The firefighters got the hose out and everything. My kids sat on our fence and watched the whole thing. They were so excited to see an actual fire and then watch the firefighters in action. They were thrilled when the firefighters honked and waved at them as they left. Thankfully, the whole thing wasn't serious. But, it did provide us with some excitement this evening.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Handmade Birthday Gift : Pencil and Paper Case

The flame version was my first attempt at a paper and pencil case. I made a few of these about a year ago for my boys and for a couple of gifts. I thought they came out pretty cute, but they had some major design flaws. First, the ribbon to tie it together was frustrating for my guys that couldn't tie bows at the time (not to mention the bow is just a little bit feminine looking.) Also, there was nothing to keep the pencils and pad of paper from falling out if the case was ever tipped over. And, at least with my kids, they had a difficult time keeping it in the upright position at all times. The last frustration was that the pad of paper had to be taken out of the case to draw. In the car, that meant juggling the pencils still in the case (but constantly falling out) with the pad of paper separately. In the end, these were tossed to the side because they just weren't very functional.

As I was searching for ideas for a birthday gift last week I stumbled on this paper and pencil holder at the Skip to My Lou website and blog. The blog is really wonderful! It's full of all kinds of ideas including a great list of handmade gift ideas. Since her design solved all of my design flaws, I decided to give it a try. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I used an old pair of jeans for the denim in the inside as well as a short section of the jean waistband for the closure. I used some scrap floral and lavender material for the cover and pencil pocket. Instead of a snap or button, I used iron-on velcro. I think the velcro will make it really easy to open and close. This one was obviously a gift for a girl, but I think it could very easily be made very boyish with different fabric. I'm really excited about that, because I sometimes struggle with handmade gift ideas for little boys. All three of my kids have already requested them too!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fireworks Day!!!

That's the greeting Brad and I woke up to this morning, "Happy Fireworks Day!" The kids were so excited. We had a fun night chatting with neighbors while watching all the little fireworks, the kids with sparklers and the big illegal ones being set off all around our neighborhood. We had quite the show!