Oh, the places you’ll go…

It’s no secret…I love to travel.

Last year, we visited Utah (and hit 3 National Parks doing so), spent a week on the beach in North Carolina, and traveled to Europe (sans kids).

We like to travel.

I want the kids to see as much as they can and instill a love to various places in them.

This coming year? We have more traveling planned. A week in Colorado (primarily Denver/Colorado Springs area) for a wedding. A long weekend (sans kids! {hopefully}) at Snowbird in Salt Lake City. A cruise through the Caribbean with Disney. I’m hoping we can get a trip to Washington DC at some point as well. And it won’t happen, but I would love to go back to Germany.

That last trip may be a few more years off, but one can dream, right? (ah, Munich! I miss you!)

I firmly believe that life is meant to be lived, that schooling doesn’t happen just in a classroom.

I want to take the girls to Europe. I would love to visit every state in the USA. And in time, I’m sure we will make it happen.

I’m impatient though :-P.

Where do you love to travel? DO you love to travel? Anyone know of anyone needing someone to help spread the word regarding their resort, because that would be AMAZING. Hook a girl up!

~Kelley

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Months like this…

…are why I particularly love that we homeschool.

I’d love to say it’s because everything is clicking and going fantastically. However, that would be a complete and total lie.

Right after the New Year, ALL of us caught the flu. I’m not talking we were slightly ill. Kind of wish we had been tested (still a little annoyed), but am pretty sure we had the real deal. It. Was. Bad.

And then this week, we were “blessed” with the stomach virus going around. Ugh.

However, I didn’t have to worry about contacting a school or worrying about falling behind.

And I didn’t have to deal with getting a child to school in the morning after her sister and I had been up all night.

This particular benefit to homeschooling is pretty awesome.

(Now praying that since we’ve caught the big two illnesses this year, we will be healthy!)

~Kelley

Homeschooling the ADHD Child

I do not have all of the answers.

In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to say that I have even 25% of the answers.

We’re just starting this journey after all.

I’ve mentioned Paige and the challenges we have with her in the past. She’s 6 and ridiculously active. Constantly needing something to occupy her attention. And if what I want her to do doesn’t fall in her wheel-house, her attention span is approximately 30 seconds.

But here’s what I’ve found.

Paige can do work well above her years…IF SHE CAN VERBALIZE IT. So things like writing? Long math worksheets? Those just don’t work.

It will take her an hour to do 2 pages of work if I require her to write the answers herself. With me writing her answers? 5 minutes. We can get through 1/2 of one of her workbooks (about 25 pages) in about 30-45 minutes.

I know there are quite a few people that believe that what I do is cheating. I know that writing is necessary (and she does still do some writing, just not as much as perhaps some of her peers), but not at 6. 10? Definitely.

She loves reading, but has to read out loud. Math is easy and she picks it up quickly, but more than 5 or 6 problems and she’s drawing on her paper.

Work is rarely done at the table or her desk. A wiggle chair helps, but isn’t enough. So most of the time, she’s rolling around on the couch. Or running circles in the living room.

If the material we are working on isn’t challenging, forget about it. I actually picked up a 3rd grade workbook to ‘test’ her at Costco the other day and other than a few concepts we’ve never gone over, she was getting it. I have a feeling I’ll be ordering both 3rd and 4th grade when I order her Language Arts and History curriculum. Not exactly a cheap proposition, but we will use it anyway, so might as well (especially since it’s going to be 20% off and give me bonus points {join Homeschool Buyers’ Co-op!! It’s free!} on the 31st of this month).

With Paige, I feel like I have to be constantly ‘on’. I can’t just skate by as a teacher. I have to constantly figure out how to help her learn. How to make things more hands-on.

Honestly…it’s exhausting.

And then there’s the social aspect. The child knows no strangers. She doesn’t understand most boundaries. Things like hugging and telling someone you just met that you love them isn’t always the best idea. Teaching that she shouldn’t be doing that feels wrong. This world could use a little more love, you know? But people get the wrong impression and quite frankly, it’s scary how much trouble she could get in these days. Hands off, no touching…yadda yadda yadda.

So now I’m curious. If you’re reading this, how do you homeschool? How do you deal with a highly distracted child? How do you keep learning interesting?

I’m sure we will be changing many times throughout our journey. Sure that what we do this week likely won’t work next week. But it’s still better than many other alternatives.

 

~Kelley

Dilemmas

Some days are good, some are bad, some are happy, some are sad, and some are just ridiculously over the top frustrating you don’t know what in the world to do next.

Last week seemed to be filled with days described last.

So frustrating.

Barely any school got finished and what did get done, was usually done with yelling and tears. Honest to God, you would’ve thought I was telling Paige that I was forcing her to write a 10000 page report, instead of a few simple workbook pages. Heaven forbid that math get done (we are now behind where I’d like to be by about 8 lessons *sigh*).

Zoe has been insisting that she needs to be the center of attention, so that has been a hindrance. She’s at that age where everything within grasp is worthy of going directly into her mouth. And no matter how many safe things you give her, she’s going after everything else. Pencils, yarn, crayons, paper, hair…

It’s funny, my most difficult child was actually the best. I guess the yelling did have one child paying attention.

Except, I don’t want to be that mom that’s constantly yelling.

Nor do I want school work to be such a battle that the girls end up hating learning.

I’ve made Paige’s lessons short. If she actually does the work in a timely manner, she can be done in about 2 hours (and I don’t mind her breaking it up, just as long as it gets done). And in fact, those are only the days that I have to do her science with her. The other two days should take about 1 to 1.5 hours.

But what actually happens is that she struggles to stay on task and school can take all day (and often ends up running over to the next day). I have us on a 4 day a week schedule, so that’s usually not a big deal. Unfortunately, we’ve had a few busy weeks in a row and now I feel like we’re rushing to catch-up before I ship them off to Camp Oma’s House for 10 days.

I get SO annoyed when she just can’t do her lessons. It just kills me to see her screw around and miss questions when I KNOW she knows the material.

And maybe that’s the issue. I feel like she needs to go through what I’ve (we’ve) picked out for this year and I’m hesitant to push her ahead another year, but I’m also wondering if she isn’t just ridiculously bored because she either knows the material already or is picking it up so quickly that she needs to be challenged more.

When I sit and enter her math in for her (she’s usually dancing around the kitchen), she gets 95% of the questions correct. When I make her do it herself, that drops to 80% or even lower.

PART OF THE REASON I CHOSE THE MATH THAT I DID WAS SO I DIDN’T HAVE TO SIT WITH HER TO DO IT! Trying to work on a computer with a 7 month old is a fruitless endeavor.

I’d do it during Zoe & Kira’s nap, but Paige still needs that time to lay down and quite frankly, I need that break from the kids.

How do you judge what level your child needs to be in?

How do you know when it’s time to just give up on your plans?

What would you do in this situation?

Honestly, as frustrated as I can get, I’m happy I can homeschool her because I can only imagine the amount of trouble she would be in on a daily basis. Her school is never done while sitting, she’s either standing or laying down and CONSTANTLY moving. And we have a saying in our house “in goes air, out goes noise”. Paige has to be constantly talking or singing.

I’ve read threads about what others do, I’ve tried different approaches…I just don’t know where to go from here.

I also want to respect wishes about how my husband wants her to be schooled (which means no unschooling or montessori methods).

I know it will get easier as the younger ones get older and can entertain themselves (well, when Zoe gets older. Kira is surprisingly independent and will join us and do some of her books or read and play by herself all day), but I don’t want Paige to suffer in the meantime.

I want school to be fun, I want her to WANT to learn. I wish I knew what I needed to do to accomplish this.

Why homeschool?

That’s a question we get often. Usually followed by “I could NEVER do that” or “I just LOVE my time alone when the kids are at school!”.

You know what? I daydream of having time to myself and a house that stays clean for more than 2 minutes. I lose my temper more than I should and in no way, can claim to know everything I need to teach my kids.

But I still feel like it’s the best.

Paige (6) is the only one who is currently being homeschooled. (Kira is 3 & Zoe is 6 months, so they have a while) She has NO attention span or impulse control. It’s to the point where I’m debating seeking at actual ADD/ADHD diagnosis just so I can talk to someone about how to help her. If she were to go to school, it’s almost certain that they would want her to go on medicine (which we are against until it becomes an absolute necessity). Or she would be like my brother and labeled a trouble-maker. Like him, she’s a good kid who just has difficulties at time.

Then there’s common core. Ugh, don’t get me started. NCLB, common core, WHATEVER they want to call it is horrible (and yes, I know those are two separate programs, however, they both stink). The federal government needs to stay out of the school systems and let the teachers teach. Sure, there are horrible teachers who don’t deserve a job, but do we need to move in such a direction that the teachers are merely facilitators? What happens to the “good” teachers then? I had some fantastic teachers growing up and there is no way their teaching style would work with the new “guidelines”.

Now, I would very likely drive the girls to school, if they were to go. But the behaviors and attitudes I’ve seen? Yeah, I don’t want my girls around that all day. Believe me, it’s bad enough with them just being together.

Academically, Paige is extremely advanced. Part of why I’d like to get her a diagnosis is to see if she qualifies as gifted. She’s 6 and registered with the state as being in kindergarten. However, she’s in 2nd grade curriculum for Language Arts and History and 3rd grade for Math (other subjects aren’t by grade). She’s been reading chapter books for a good 6 months. And I honestly feel like her two 2nd grade curriculum classes are too easy. Child would be bored out of her mind if we were to put her in a school setting where she had to do what the class was doing. I understand that I could fight to get her into a gifted program or attempt to make sure her teach challenged her, but why deal with that when I can keep her home and tailor her school to her?

The last thing I’ll hit on (because Zoe is melting down and Paige is singing while she does school, which means the level of chaos going on is HIGH), is that our school day is typically over at 12, no later than 1 (unless Paige is really pushing the envelope on how much she wants to test me for the day). They have all afternoon and evening to play, instead of a couple 15 minute recesses and coming home to more homework.

So why do we homeschool? Because at this point, it’s what is best for our children. Because I truly believe that the school systems aren’t doing what they are supposed to for our children.

(Disclaimer – I don’t fault you for sending your children to school. Nor do I believe that everyone can or should homeschool. These are just our personal opinions.)

Our Bodies Unit Study

I’ve decided that at this stage in the game, that unit studies are going to be our best bet. The first unit is going to be about our bodies. Paige already has a pretty decent grasp on body parts, so this will introduce new ideas (like the 5 senses) and solidify what she already knews. We’ll be able to make lap books (to take on the go!), add apps to her phone that correspond, and work at any pace that we need. With what I’d like to cover, I can see some units being a month long (though I highly doubt we’ll do many of those. I can see most being about 2 weeks long (10 school days).

Goals:

Learn and be able to identify the 5 senses

Be able to identify and talk about the systems of the body (muscular, nervous, digestive, skeletal,circulatory, respiratory)

Name three parts of the brain and tell what the do in broad terms (Cerebral Cortex, Cerebellum, Brain Stem)

Name some of the major organs (skin, heart, lungs, liver, small intestines, large intestines, stomach)

In broad terms, discuss how: we breath, move, and digest food

Be able to add all single digit numbers 1 through 9 using manipulatives

Be able to write a short letter with help

Be able to answer simple questions about the books we read together

Begin to sound out words by herself

Books that go along with the unit:

From Head to Toe

The Magic School Bus Inside The Human Body

The Magic School Bus Explores The Senses

Baby da Vinci: My Body

Yo Gabba Gabba: Party In My Tummy

Once Upon A Potty

If You’re Happy And You Know It (for Paige to start reading!)

What Is A Belly Button? First Questions and Answers about the Human Body

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Human Body

Uncover The Human Body

Science

Experiement with the senses (difference between hot/cold, soft/hard, light/dark/ etc.) in the sensory boxes

Make lemon soda to taste

Math

Continue adding 1 through 9 with manipulatives

Using jumping jacks to count and add

Count fingers/toes/ears/etc., of ourselves and everyone in the family

Art

Paper Plate Faces

Color body parts

Trace and color ourselves

Make a “Me” Doll

Hugging hands valentines

Writing/Spelling

Make an “All About Me” Book

Write letters about ourselves

A New Beginning

I’ve left my old blog far too long, so it’s time to start anew.

Quick info on me and my family.

I’m married to a wonderful man (Dave) who is an Intellectual Property lawyer in downtown Cincinnati. Him working as hard as he does makes it possible for me to stay at home with our two girls, Paige (3) and Kira (1). I’ve struggled with post partum depression since Kira’s birth, but have begun to see the light. We’re hoping and praying that a 3rd child will be on the way by the end of this year, which should complete our family. We have two dogs (Chip and PJ), who are incredibly annoying, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Paige is incredibly bright for her age, so I’ve started homeschooling her. Since we started, I’ve found out that preschool level work is too easy! In January of this year, she started working on Kindergarten cirruculum. I’m more than a little nervous about putting my child’s schooling in my own hands, but I honestly dislike the idea of public school.

So why homeschool?

  • Public schools are over-crowded. Anything more than 10-1 is less than ideal in my eyes at the younger ages. How can children grow individually if they are constantly forced into a group?
  • I don’t feel that Paige should be punished for being too smart or even falling behind. Trying to put every child in into one mold just doesn’t work.
  • I personally feel that life is more than sitting in a school room for 8 hours a day. Life is about experiences, about seeing things first hand, about LIVING.
  • Children should be able to work at their own pace and with a cirriculum that works for them.
  • Children need to socialize with all different ages, not just children within a year of their own birth.
  • Family units are disentigrating and homeschooling will (theoretically) strengthen ours.
  • Obesity is a horrible problem and sitting at a desk for 6 hours a day doesn’t help (and our family needs all the help it can get in that area!). Schooling at the elementary age shouldn’t take nearly as long as it does in the public schools.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

I’ll be posting the unit studies that we’re working on and different ideas to have. I’m hoping that this will help me keep track of what we do, so I can keep the state of Ohio off of my back.

Until later.

~Kelley