Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Last week, we officially started school. Home school, that is. Two weeks ago the public schools around here started, and I thought that once I saw the busses around our neighborhood, saw the swarm of cars dropping off and picking up at the designated times at the elementary school, that I'd feel, at best, weird.
But it wasn't. And it isn't. We're just doing a little schooling. But it's fun and easy and fits right in with the flow of living. Sometimes the brothers bug us, but it's cool. We take care of what we have to do, and then continue on. Hannah seems to be blossoming since we've started some concrete lesson time. She's so excited to read a three letter word, she can barely contain herself. And I can barely contain my joy at getting to do it all with her. I don't feel like I want her out of my hair, at least not most of the time. And for that there's "Quiet Time."
The other day at the park, I watched her playing with her friends, imagining stuff up and acting it out, getting into little spats, and then making up, creating cozy houses out of grass and dirt, and my heart was full. She's got great friends. Friends whose parent's I KNOW and TRUST. Parent's that are MY friends too. I know who she sits by everyday. Me. And her brothers. And more often than you'd think, her homeschool buddies! Her church pals! Her grandparents! Her godmother! It made me think of this book I've been reading.
It probably won't be super duper fantastic fun every day, day in and day out. I know that. But it's the right thing for us right now. It's do-able and fulfilling. It's kind of exciting!
So here's what life with two wee ones, and homeschool kindergartener on a day we stay home looks like:
Wake up.
Make beds.
Tidy up.
Get dressed.
Eat breakfast.
Clean up after ourselves.
Chores. (Like watering the garden, laundry, etc.)
Play. (Outside, mostly.)
Lesson Time. Phonics, Bible, Math, Lesson book* activities.
Read books.
Prepare lunch.
Eat lunch.
Read more books.
Nap for little ones.
Quiet time for Mom and Hannah (Could be time to play with stuff that she likes to do without her brother interrupting, could be a video I approve of, could be drawing. I just need about an hour of not getting any one anything to drink to stay sane.)
More book reading.
Craft or Activity (like a phonics game).
Chores before daddy comes home.
Prepare Dinner. Sometimes the kids help. Sometimes I make them go outside so I don't go bonkers while slicing onions.
Then once dad gets home, its a whole different routine.
*Her Lesson book is just a sketch pad to contain all her lessons. So far it has some re-told-in-her-words Bible stories, illustrations, as well as some number and word writing practice. Some crafts are glued in as well, like a leaf she found on our walk (the walk I lost my phone on - now I will really always remember that day) and she just took some construction paper and placed it over the leaf and colored over it with crayon to get the leaf print. I think it will be fun to see her progress over time, and to be able too look at her lessons for reference and for fun. I remember in high school my most favorite teacher taught my US History Class. He had us all use a notebook for all our lessons and had us illustrate them, and even color them. It really aided in remembering the material, and made the class a pleasure instead of a drag. I even still have them and recently looked over them fondly! Hannah is a pretty artistic person, and has always loved to draw. I'd like for her to practice and pursue drawing as one of her life-skills and hobbies. She has said she would like to be an author and illustrator one day, that is if she doesn't become a ballerina/librarian.
So, Natasha asked me why I considered homeschooling in the first place, and maybe some of the above explains it. But I really don't feel like I should have to "let go" of my 5 year old. I really don't care if my kids are a little geeky. In fact, I'd prefer it. I myself hated school. I cried every end of the summer. I felt sick every recess. I hid things from my parents. I became peer dependent. Jason had troubled teen years. I want my kids to stay innocent as long as possible, and I'm not sure that that is a priority for a lot of parents. I'm not going to let my kid dress like a stripper in training, and I really don't want to have that fight with my little girl. I think all the testing is stupid. I think all the homework for little kids is even stupider. So I'm going to keep my kids close and make no apologies for it. I don't think kids need school to be well-socialized, well-rounded, functional, happy people. Being Orthodox, I like that we can go to a Liturgy during the week if we want to, or if there is a special feast that day. Lets face it, the world is getting yucky. Being a Christian with traditional views is becoming increasingly unpopular. The word "bigot" keeps coming up an awful lot. Are there good schools? Sure. Are there wonderful teachers? Of course! But there are a lot of crappy schools, and for every superb teacher I had growing up, there were about five stinkers. With everything, there is no guarantee on children. I don't know what kind of people my kids will be when they all grow up. I pray for them a lot. But I want to rest assured that I gave it my all, that I questioned the status quo, and made a firm decision to do the best thing for my family. Like so many things I have discovered in recent years, we can do better than what is considered "normal." God help me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Find It Prayers

The kids and I took a delightful walk this late morning. Hannah walked and helped push the boys in the double stroller. We walked by this quaint little shop that has a lawn and some picnic benches and roses to smell, and asked the nice ladies that worked there if it would be ok if we ran around and explored some time. They said sure, it could be our own private park, any time. I said, "Thanks! We live just a couple blocks away and there isn't really a park close enough to walk to, so that would be great." We were having such a great morning. We slept in a little, I savored a cup of coffee, Hannah and I had a stellar phonics lesson, we sang some pretty silly songs together, and then decided we'd enjoy the cooler weather and take a stroll. I had put my cell phone down on the kids snack tray only for a moment. Well it was only supposed to be a moment. But I think I forgot to take it off. I know I forgot to stick it in the pocket that it was intended to go in with my keys. My keys were there. But where is my phone? Did a little two year old boy decide to chuck it into some bushes? We re-traced our steps. Hannah and I scanned the ground, feeling hot and tired, because the walked ended up being twice as long, and found nothing. I'm not even sure where our land line phone is or what to do now, besides wait for J to come home, and then call our phone provider to cancel service before some one bad finds it and decides to call their long-lost friends in Europe or Mexico. It'd be better if a car ran it over. My imagination is getting the best of me, as you can see. If you don't mind, I'd appreciate some prayers. I'm aware that in the scheme of things, this means nothing, but I'm a weak soul. Thanks. If you need to get a hold of me...Email me. Or call J. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Simple Woman

Daybook FOR TODAY, Fri. Aug. 14
Outside my window...Is a bright sky with trees dancing ever so softly to the otherwise barely noticeable breeze.

I am thinking...About a few things, actually:

Homeschooling stuff. We're going to officially start kindergarten next week. At the recommendation from my dear priest, I'm mostly using this book as a guide, and am for now using Phonics Pathways for my budding reader, and am still hemming and hawing over math curriculum. I want something with lots of tangible aids like manipulatives. While I make up my mind, lots of games with dry beans and noodles will have to do. And I keep reminding myself, that it's just kindergarten, for crying out loud. And right now, if dear Hannah was with the public school kids, they'd be learning the alphabet.

I'm also thinking about tomorrow, which is the day the Church celebrates the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. And a very special some one's name day!

I am thankful for...a fun visit with friends today, that swim lessons are over for the summer, that ballet class will begin again, the two year old is potty trained (YIPPEE!), for a dear husband, a [very] cozy house, and healthy little ones (not really in any particular order).

From the learning rooms...Well, I think I about covered it above, but, we are learning to read, learning to share and use our words, and learning to sit up - each child from oldest to youngest respectively.

From the kitchen...Tonight it's boring ole' pasta and marinara.

I am wearing...Some jean capris and a turquoise top. And as usual, my hair is in a pony tail.

I am creating...Some silly little sketches with watercolor pencils just for fun.

I am going...To church tomorrow morning, and after we are having what is described on our church website as a "festive breakfast" to break the fast after Liturgy. How fun!

I am reading...Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, and On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius (with a very wonderful forward by C.S. Lewis).
I am hoping...For this summer to continue to stay as mild as it has been. And for a wonderful weekend.

I am hearing...Hannah doodling on the magnadoodle, the hum of A/C, and funny baby noises.

Around the house...Coloring books, blankets, a few toys , but a mostly tidy space.

One of my favorite things...a nice cold glass of Kombucha Wonder Drink while James has a marathon nap.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Grocery shopping. Last week J and I went together and got a ton of stuff after planning out the week. Our goal was to not have to go shopping all week. And we did it. I LOVED not having to drag the kids to the store this week, not even once. Also, we have a birthday party to go to, and on Sunday a visit from my father in law for some bbq. And it will soon be my my dear mom's birthday!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Sure wish I didn't cut his head off in this one. But, boy oh boy, is he just a tub-o-love!