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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School









Yesterday was Spirits VERY first Day of School. It was
pretty exciting for him. He was so excited to hear that today
was the day. I'm not sure what he expected but I think some
things weren't as he thought they would be but we had a great
time just as it was. For some reason he thought he'd be playing
lots of games on the computer. I'm not sure why he thought that.
I think I may just have to set him up with Starfall for awhile today.

Being part of the cyber school ment some choas with the
school. I read my announcements for the day. Filled in some of
my schedule and then just sat back and spent time teaching my
children. It's best sometimes to disconnect and be with your family.

We started out with a fun game just to get our brains working
and to get Superboy to review on his grammar skills. Something
He tends to struggle with. I took the time to include Spirit.


I had created this game sometime back. It is made with
ABC stickers creating a path from start to finish. Spirit
rolled the dice and then named the letter he landed on.
Superboy had to think of a word that was either a verb,
adjective or noun. He got to pick which is was but was not
allowed to use noun everytime. (that was the easiest for him)

This is just a sampling of what we did that day. It was a
wonderful beginning to his educational career.

Next week I will share more of what we did this week.

Blessings
Nikki
Monday, August 29, 2011

What is Toddler Time?










My little sweet girl “Sweet Pea “is two. She has
grown entirely to fast already. I know too well how
fast children move from each step of childhood.
“Sweet Pea’s” development has gone pretty much on
target. She started walking when she should be walking
and her fine motor skills are astonishing. She has been
beading small beads for quite some time now. However
her speech is a bit delayed. She is possibly saying 10
words or less but has proven time again that she
understands what we are saying to her. She has created
almost her own type of sign language. ( should have taught her
the real thing) It is almost comical watching her explain
when she doesn’t like something. Odd noises come
out as she acts out the scenario. Our pediatrician is
not concerned about this lack of language. She feels
that any day she will just begin talking. There are times
that oddly enough entire sentences come out only
to not be heard again.



Naturally when I started planning for our upcoming school
year I wondered what I could do with “Sweet Pea” while
the others are having their lessons. I will need much
constant time with a beginner reader (Spirit). I wanted to
make sure I had the time to hone in on some of her
language issues besides the usual talking to her and
repetition. Plus I wanted to make sure that I had time
for her each and every day in some way with her being
the 5th and smallest child. So, with her in mind I created
Toddler Time.



How Toddler time works:

Toddler time is broken into week long activities.
There are seven different activities that are to
be completed within that week time. It doesn't
matter if I do one per day or more than one as
long as we work together those 7 times that week.

The weeks are set up that Some overlap into the
following month but are generally a big part of that
particular month. I thought I may write the date
above the week just for my own information in planning.
Another words part of the days in August might be
added to september to create full weeks. The lesson
plan sheets are set up this way. In case you seem
confused by the charts. You can get your own
Toddler time Activity sheets and planning pages
in my file for share. It is expained more in there.

Toddler Time Activity and Planning pages


When she completes all 7 activities each week
my child will receive a sticker for that week.

If we are on vacation a particular
week then we will mark that on the week but I think
toddler time is simple enough that we can continue
through. It doesn't matter what day of the week
the activities are completed or in which order.

Below are the activities broken down for you.

Reading 20 minutes- Reading with a toddler
can be difficult but there are fun ways to do this with
your child. Create a space for your little one that is
relaxing and without distraction. Read throughout the
day don’t try 20 minutes at once. Choose short books
that will build vocabulary. Reading doesn’t always mean
reading. Engaging in the book by pointing out pictures
is vocabulary building as well. There are 4 reading blocks
per week for reading time. However with "Sweet Pea" we
will probably read everyday.

On the back of the monthly activity page is the planning page.
(you can print it that way or have it seperate.) On the planning
page you will find a book list area.
This is a place you can write books you want to read
to your toddler or the books you did read. I plan to use
ours as a record of the stories we read together.

Sharing Rhymes and songs-
Choose rhymes and songs your toddler can
participate in and along with you. Repeat the same few
for the entire month. Little ones enjoy the repetition
even if parents do not. I created a list of a few
simple rhymes that we may use this year.
Many will be added as we go.
Finger plays and songs


Art- You can choose what your
little one can do. You know your toddler the best and
know his or her abilities. Some ideas might be play dough,
finger painting with pudding, gluing shapes, sticking
stickers, coloring, and stamping. Try not to give young
ones a set example let them create and have fun with
an open ended result. On the planning page you will
find an area to plan your art. This way you can be sure
to have the supplies on hand.

*Note: I also took a post it note and attached it to each
month with the supplies I need or any preparations.
This will help when I am busy with older children.

Concept Basket- This is how I plan
to set up my concept basket.You can do yours to fit
your needs. My older children have workboxes but I
think for my toddler a free for all basket might be
best. I hope to put in a few new toys or activities for
her to play with. Things she can do alone after
possibly some guidance from mom. That mom
time is important too but then a self exploration
is needed as well. See what happens. We will play in
the concept basket on Monday and then I will leave
it out for the week for her to play in it alone.
It will be put away on Saturday
evening so I can prepare it for the surprise on the
following Monday. (Planning pages for your concept
basket are on the back page along with the book list
and art activities.)

Basket ideas to get you started:
Items for tactile sensation, large wooden beads, and
cards with animal pictures, family photo book, blocks,
animals, clothes pins and jar. Anything my tiny tot
can do alone.

This is a view of the planning pages. I left my book Lists
blank as I plan to fill them in as we read to see what
we complete and how our reading changes as the year goes.
I also wrote in pencil so that I could erase or change it
if I find other ideas we'd like to try instead. Sometimes
the blogs are full of great ideas.




Filling in the chart- For my child’s
chart I plan to check off the activities we complete.
On the back worksheet of the Toddler time guide is
the planning page for mom. By the end of the year
I will have a fun record of all that my child did. The
milestone box at the bottom of the page is to
mark those things that she exceeded in. Such as
words she now says or a gross motor activity she
can now complete. It is to keep me motivated and
a record for my little one as a memory. My intentions
are to post Toddler time activities on Monday along
with Tot school. You may use our activities or create
your own. Just remember don’t make the activities
to hard for your little one or to school like. This is
meant as some fun time with mom.

PLAY IS LEARNING!



Nikki

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bible Links

This year I will be teaching lots of bible.
In our co-op I will teach 3 bible classes
Elementary, Middle and high school. In
our home we will have devotionals and family
bible night. At our church I will be helping
a friend lead and organize activities for children
prek-5th and supervising the nursery. Sheww Sounds
like a lot but really it's all a blessing and I enjoy
every moment of it. In my research I came across
some neat bible links.

Cartoons- This is a super fun way to start a bible
lesson. How about a funny cartoon to get you started.
Some would be great for discussion.

Bible Printables- Coloring pages, stickers, certificates,
Calendars and Bible verse card Generator.

Preschool Bible Crafts- Bible Crafts arranged in ABC
order. Many fun ideas to inspire young art.

Children's Ministry- Lots of great ideas for teaching
children, managing your sunday school programs,
and nursery . (lessons could be used for home use)

Effective Childrens Ministry- Similar to the above
link but with many different ideas.

Mini books- Mini bible storys/books to print

Christain Preschool Printables- large resource
of colorful printables.

Hands on Bible- Free lessons by logging in
with a private password to hands on bible lessons.

Genesis Bible Study- 11 week bible study on
Genesis


Bible Study Planet- 325 bible studies for kids that
covers the entire bible.

Bible Class books- Free activity books for bible class

Home School bible- 8 weeks of bible. Lessons look
interesting but the lessons end there. Looks like
an incomplete bible plan but a good start.


This is the beginning of a list. Hopefully it
will grow over the year.

Blessings

Nikki
Saturday, August 27, 2011

High school and Beyond


Before School starts each year we begin
to prepare our hearts and our children . We pray.
We shop for supplies, we set up areas for study,
and we select curriculum. Much of this is done for
young children but what about our teens. How
can we prepare them for School.

First pray. Pray for guidance for yourself this year
for patience, understanding and wisdom . This may
just be the year your child knows more than you.
Pray over your child. Pray for his or her future
choices. This is a time of independance and change.
It can be a confusing time for parents and teens.
Encourage your teen to pray for his/her needs as well
and if you are not sure they prayed then pray
over them some more.

Allow them to set up and personalize an area
of study. Allow them the freedom to study where
they are most comfortable. Set up ground rules about
what is to be done in that area. Such as no TV, no
Cell phone, no facebook or perhaps no music. I allow music.
As long as it is not a distraction to them then it is allowed
in our home. You choose you know your child. You can
always allow it on a trial basis and if it doesn't work
then move on. You could also be very specific such

as only during math will you allow music or facebook
over lunch etc...

Let your student choose their supplies. I bought
the bulk of the items for my children when they
weren't along but did take Princess to pick out her
own planner. Over the years I have worked very
hard to get her to the point of greater independance.
School is no different. She chooses her courses and
will now schedule her days.

Independance should
be moving into other areas of life as well. As you
are organizing your household make sure you have
your teen beside you. This can be an everyday activity
it doesn't need to be set up as a lesson but you will
feel more confident in them as adults one day if you
teach it to them now. One day soon your child will be
on their own. Teens should know by now basic care of
the home, Cooking, laundry, etc.. Begin to walk them
through other situations that may come up
such as a plumbing problem. Who would you call and
why. These are the things you don't think of to show
them. When they were young you did these things

without a thought . Now is the time to talk them
through these tasks so one day when
you are no longer here they can take care of
themselves and their families.


Blessings,
Nikki
Friday, August 26, 2011

Keep and Store You Childs Art

I love my Children. I love everything they do and say, even
when it really isn't something to love. With all the
school papers around it can become a paper nightmare.
Especially when it is something a child has drawn on and
would like you to keep. You might hang it somewhere
for a bit but then what. If you throw it away yourself
you might get some complaints if it is found later in
the exit pile. You will be met with a big pouty frown.

As a Mom I don't want to be discouraging. So what
are we to do with all that creative work.

Display It- First and foremost Display it. Art is meant to
be seen. Create an area or a special place for art to
be presented. It could be as simple as your refrigerator,
or a clothesline in your school room. You could also
find a special area for framed work , an empty hallway
perhaps. The framed work can change when other
special pieces are presented. Try these
Store and Display Cabinets. They hold up to 50
pieces.

Mail it- Suggest to your child to mail their work.
You can mail it to grandparents or other family
members who may want to keep it as their own
special keep sake from your child. You could also
write a thank you on the back and mail it to local
business that your child enjoys. My son often
hands out his art to his church family friends.

File it- Each year of school my children decorate
a folder created from a piece of poster board.
We fold it in half and staple the sides shut. For
larger pieces you can use the entire board and
tape the sides with some box tape.

Purge and Clean- If a child completes
some art they'd like to keep but not display or mail
then we put it in the folder . We keep this folder
the entire year and then at the end of the
year we go through our art keeping only those
that are the most special to them. Sometimes
they are willing to throw something out that
they perhaps made at the beginning of the year.
You can also create a limit on the keep pile.

Display it again- After this purge and
clean stage have an art open house or a co-op open
House to display their art creations from the year.

Scrapbook it- Once your keep pieces are determined
decide which ones fit into your scrapbook. Mom
you don't need to complete this yourself. Enlist
your creative ones to help put it together.

Take a photo- If the piece is to large to keep or
awkward like a sculpture then take a photo of
it ,put it in your scrapbook and throw the item out.

Chest or trunk- Store the scrapbook, large pieces and
sculptures you just can't throw away. Wrap in tissue
paper . Keep in a room temperature environment.
Garages, basements, and attics often fluctuate
in temperature and may ruin all of your hard work.



Blessings,
Nikki
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book List for Boys


Today I want to share a book list that was composed
from some friends on the yahoo groups. This list is
created with boys in mind. Good reads that boys ages
9-12 may enjoy. Some are also good for children
that completed book 5 in Barton Reading and spelling
program. If a book is to challenging for your child then
break it into sections to help to make it less threatening.
Use your finger 5 to find out if a book is to challenging.
Open the book to any page. If you don't know a word
hold up one finger. If you get to the bottom of the
page and you have 5 fingers held then this book is
to challenging for you. Put it down for a later time
or ask mom to use it as a read aloud.

(PS I have not reviewed all of these book suggestions
always use your descretion when choosing books)

Series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snicket

Hank Zipzer series by Henry Winkler

Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos

Author Christopher Paul Curtis

Author Roald Dahl Percy Jackson

Star Wars

Diary of A Whimpy Kid Series

Gary Paulsen Wayside

Peter and the Starcatchers39 Clues

FableHaven Series

Kane Chronicles series

Rangers Apprentice series

Dragonology(or any of the Ologies)

Wishbone mysteries

Warriors series

Chroniles of Vladimir Tod

13th Reality series

Magic Tree House series

Heroes of Olympus series

Pagan Chronicles (based on medieval times...so not
what you think when you read the title)

Three investigators series

Little House on the Prairie

The Dark Cyrstal

Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Charlie Bone series

The Tapestry Series

Septimus Heap book series

Eragon book series

Ink Heart Series

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series

Percy Jackson series

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher

Qrail Quest series

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Harry Potter Series

Animorphs series

Dragon Slayers academy series

Beast Quest series

Dragon Keepers series

Guardians of Ga'Hool series

Secrets of Nihm series

Dragon Riders of Pern

Children of the Lamp series

The Ruby Key

The Keys to the Kingdom

Skeleton Creek series

Trackers series

The Well between worlds

Deltora Quest series

The Key to Rondo

Captain Under Pants series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

The Indian in the Cupboard

The Black Stallion series

Seekers series, Warrior series is similar I think - same author

The Great Brain

Septimus Heap series

anything by Rick Riordian (The Lightning Thief)

How to Train Your Dragon


If you'd like to add something feel free.

Blessings
Nikki

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kindergarten Recognition





Before we start Kindergarten next week I wanted a way to
keep track of what Spirit knows as far as his language
skills go. I want to make sure that he is understanding
a concept well before we move on. I am just that type of
orderly personalitly. I like to see things all together plus
I think it would be fun for him to see this later on.

Before we begin phonics the most important thing is for
him to know all of his capital letters. Lower case are
part of our curriculum and the letter sounds. As you can see
he knows most of the letter names but is missing a few
we will work on those first. I tried to show him the lower
case but I noticed he was referring to the upper case
chart so I stopped. I'll have to create flash cards
seperate before we test on those.











Learning the letter sounds is so important and this is
why I want to keep close watch on them. I can also
at a later time reprint the sheets and try again as a
review to make sure he has them down really well
before we move on.


Letters, sounds, sight
The file itself is called letters and is also accessable
in my side bar in file for share.


I created one as well for our basic site words. I
printed this one three times . One for tallys and one for
able to read, and one for able to spell. The tallys will represent the
number of times that he read and viewed the letter.
This will occur 5 times within 5 different days before we
will move ahead to the next word. We will work on
three words at a time.



If you would like the worksheets above for your own
records you can download them
 
Blessings,
Nikki
Monday, August 22, 2011

Toddler Time


Young Toddlers are so amazing. They are growing
and learning each and every minute of the day.
They can be silly, cranky,demanding, giggly, lovable, and
teary all within a few minutes time. It's so much
fun watching them grow and exciting to watch
when they finally understand something new.

The toddler age for me is the age I love the most.
I love showing little ones things they have never noticed
before. Each new object or activity can keep them
engaged for hours or seconds. You just never know.





Not knowing is part of the reason I created Toddler time.
With 5 children and "Sweet Pea" being the youngest
it is often hard to enjoy time with her that isn't
rushed from one activity to another. I wanted to
make sure that I made the time for her because
she is well worth it.





I am sure you are wondering what Toddler time is
all about and you will find out...

Next week and each Monday after I will share our Toddler
time activities with you. It's also a great excuse
to take lots of photos of my little tot. You can follow
our program with us or you can create your own plan,
using my planning guide sheets.







Our activities will be geared toward a 2 year old
inquisitive little girl.







So Don't forget Stop back to find out all about
Toddler Time!!






Blessings Nikki












Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where to Start...



It has been a somewhat emotional week. It was the
end of a time and the beginning of the old and new.
I spent the last few days at work just enjoying the wonderful
group of ladies I work for and the children that attend. I
am going to miss them so much. There is a possibility that
I will be back there one day. It has been left open for me to
do so which is extremely nice of them. It has been
a wonderful place to work. At times I hesitate to leave
completely. God will show me what to do.

It is funny because I wanted to be home again so much
but now it feels bittersweet. Sweet because I can
be with my children again all day. Bitter because I have
made a lot of really great friends. Who I hope to keep.

"The beginning of the old and new" Might not make
sense to you. I guess what I mean is that I know
this experience of staying home so it is something
"old hat" to me. New too because there is so many
things different, such as Daddy's health risks,
job insecurity (although he is back I am still unsure),
heart starting college and sweet pea starting toddler
hood. So many wonderful experiences to try and
some that are scary but are probably in our future.
No one knows what the future will hold and there
is no sense in trying to guess. We will take the
days as they come.

and so it begins again.

Blessings

Nikki

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Much or To Little



Much of the time I hear parents talking about teens
that are not supervised. You know the ones I am
talking about . They can be rather rude , roaming
your neighborhood, and ruining property. With these
teens it is obvious that they are probably not receiving
the attention they require or the parent is possibly
being to harsh and they are acting out in reaction to
the strict discipline. There are mountains of reasons
for this type of behavior we could analyze it all day.

Lately however I have noticed a large amount of moms
that are well... to involved. They are still out there
trying to fix their child's problems and I am talking
every problem. It has surpassed them that
their children have grown up. You know you have
met one of these parents when you suddenly feel as
if you are the one in school again. Completely involved
in that social drama of who said what and who did what.
It is especially difficult if your child is pulled in the
situation. Suddenly instead of the teens handling
things you have this parent who is super imposing
on their child. (which will also cause rebellion)
Sure there are times when it is necessary to jump in and help .
They are still learning and developing as to what is safe and sure.
But if you are getting involved in the he said she did drama
then probably its time to give your child some
resources as to handling these type of situations. It is
time for mom to sit out. Communication is a skill we
all need to work on at times.

1- Avoid gossip it is not impolite to excuse yourself
and walk away. If someone is talking about someone
else more than likely they are talking about you too.

2- Reverse the theory- If you are talking about someone
to a friend they will feel you are not trust worthy. That
you are probably talking about them. Hold you tongue.

3- Don't put it in writing. (advice from grandma)
Don't write anything to personal on paper or it may
be used against you. Do not write everything
you feel on Facebook.

4- Pray- if something is bothering your child
encourage them to pray.

If a parent needs to get involved just remember
that your child probably made some mistakes in this
situation as well. Make sure you give your child and the other
children a chance to work it out first. This is the last resort for a
parent to get involved. Listen first before you react because
no one wants to hear bad things about their child.
Right away you hit the defense. My child doesn't lie.
Or my child doesn't talk about others. Just hang on and
remember we are all human. More than likely both sides
are adding to the fire. If talking doesn't work then
separation from a friend for a time might be the way
to go. Just please make sure the problem is worthy of
a parent involvement. To often we are quick to jump in.
We are not able to fix every hurt as our children grow.
oh , I know we'd like to . It is hard to see your child
hurting. Think back on your life and you will know that
hurting sometimes helps you grow.


God bless,

Nikki

Friday, August 19, 2011

Legacy of Home education...

On a walk from the post office my son says that one day
he will have a great big pool, a big swing set and
a sand pit. Oh and a really big house.

“Wow”, I say “you will need a really good job for all of that.
You will have to work hard.

“My son replies, “If my wife works too we will have a lot
of money. Oh wait though what about homeschooling. We
can’t both work if we school our kids at home.

“and so it continues…
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review - Little Boy Jesus- Toddler Book




I had the most difficult time finding these board books online.
I have to admit that I got ours for free from our church.
The children recieve tickets for Sunday school attendance.
Then they are able to pick out a few prizes or one prize.
"Sweet pea has been able to retrieve several of the baby
blessing books by Alice Joyce Abel and she just loves them.
Her Favorite is called Little Boy Jesus.

The edges of this book are soft for little ones. Each page
including the cover has something to feel and touch so
baby can interact with the story. On each page you
are looking for little boy Jesus because he is hiding.
You will peek under a table cloth in his mothers kitchen
and see him playing with blocks. You will
find him under A cloth barn door, a soft sail in a boat,
and behind a wagon on a Donkey.




This book is extremely durable and has gone through
many grocery store trips, meetings and sunday services.
I eventually found this book at Finders Cheapers used
for $4.-$5. dollars. Possibly you may find it somewhere
else. I hope to purchase a few more of her books in
the future.


(About the book Nook- I created the graphic for the book nook
to look like a carnival because that is where I found the love
of books with my dad. He is a book collector and I have become
one as well. When I was young our hospital had a carnival to
raise money. They still have this today. One area of the fair
grounds was a entire room of used books. I loved picking out
something new to read and so I created book nook to share
my book finds. You may leave a comment to share your book
find if you like. Books are contagious. :)


Blessings
Nikki



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Ready for Kindergarten...


It is that time of year when you see all of the back to
school sales. Pencils, back packs and new school clothes.
The magazine isle at the grocery store flashes articles
of back to school ideas, clothing styles and getting your
child ready for Kindergarten. They discuss what to bring the first
day, how to pack your lunch , and how to deal with
anxiety. Todays post is to share how public school children
might get ready for Kindergarten and then how us as Home
educators get ready. What are the differences?

School: Shop for back to school paper, pencils
backpacks, clothes, and the Latest fashions, While
they are on sale. You want to create a good
first impression.

Home: Shop back to school sales and stock up while
you can on all of the deals to make it last through
the year. You can skip the clothing until later when
they go on bigger drop down sales because you don't
need brand new clothes when you probably will be
In your PJs anyway.


School: Check on line for time of your bus route
and make sure your back pack is filled the night before.

Home: Excitedly wait for your packages to arrive in the mail.
Its like Christmas to get all your new school books and supplies.
The UPS man is your friend.



School: Get to bed early so you are rested for the big day.

Home: Have a late night back to school picnic.
Stay up , enjoy the fireflies and your barefeet in the
grass. Your school work is ready for you on your desk.
You don't need to prepare anything.



School: Wake up early

Home: Sleep in until you are ready. You
have all day for your lessons.


School : Eat a quick breakfast before running out
the door. Make it simple so your child isn't anxious about
being late.

Home: Make breakfast as a family, You Kindergartener
can make the toast and help set out the plates for
breakfast. Have a leisurely breakfast and talk take
time to talk with your children.


School: Child meets his teacher at school and is
worried about the new day but soon is listening
on a carpet, a story that is new to him. He isn't sure
of his new place or friends just yet but will learn in time.

Home: School begins snuggled under a warm blanket
reading your favorite rendition of the Three bears.
While your Kindergartener giggles and talks out about
the parts he or she likes best.


School: The day ends with an exhausted child. Your
child jumps up and down to tell you the many
tales of the day.

Home: Your school day ends with Daddy coming home.
Your child jumps up and down telling dad all the things

you did today as you smile because you were there to see it.




School: Now its time to go through the piles of papers
to fill out and homework to do. Bathes to prepare and beds to
get into.

Home: Now it is time for family time and relaxing
before baths and bedtime. Maybe we could even stay
up again and watch the stars and look at them
through a telescope because learning never stops.


Blessing
Nikki


(If you have one to add feel free. It was a fun list to make.)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Mom's Journal- Staying Put



As of Today this is my last week of work. I know
how important it is to be at home with my children.
It can be difficult to have a relationship with them.
It is more difficult when you aren't there
most of the day. I remember to well how it felt for
my parents to always be working. I love them both so much
and wanted to spend time with them even if it didn't
always seem that way.


Memories:

For a time mom was home with me when
I was young. I remember the smells, the house and the
well being I felt. We had fun dancing to records,
baking cookies , making shrinky dinks and I even
remember us gardening. I had a little shovel to dig in the
dirt with, I imagine it was more to keep me busy so
mom could get something done . I remember these
small things more than the big. I know there
were big beach trips and camping activities. Yet
I remember the little moments with them the most.
I think those little moments matter. They shouldn't
be under estimated.

and so I won't.On Aug. 19th I will be home again.
I still want to find away to help someway with the
income but I hope to station myself right here where
I belong and where they belong. One day to soon
they will fly away. I want to sit in each moment
and make it last.

God Bless,

Nikki

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Teen Talk - Independence

At this time I have two teens in the house of varying
ages and one on his way (age 11). One went through the teen years
without much ta do about nothing. She will turn 19 next week.




Her personality though has always been easy going so it
really wasn't surprising that she was even tempered through the
teen stage. She asserted her Independence at a very young age and held
her ground through it all. I allowed her the space and she
handled it well and still handles it well. I have more trouble
with her growing up then she has. (soft sniffles)


Enter my 14 year old. She was always afraid of everything
and clung to me. He anxiety over took her in the form of
ADHD. I moved her slowly through each phase of development.
She has been always by my side and the child that has
needed the most attention to guide her to feel self assured.
With a slam that self assurance has pummeled me.
I am glad for it and afraid of it at the same time.
Recently... She has decided that now is the time to
take her stand on the independence front and she is taking
it with grand strides. I get comments like Mom why are
you here? Why are you staying? You can go. I'm fine.
I don't need help.

Rest assured that the comments did bother me at first . She has
always been by my side, I have always helped her
through this or that but I realized that this
was her way of standing up and saying I am ready to
begin moving somewhat separate from my parents. Oh no
maybe not even somewhat, Wholeheartedly. However




Mom fights for somewhat since 14 isn't the age for all out
letting go. Now I find myself in new territory with her. I




had once pushed her ahead to new adventures and now I
find myself reining her in a bit and at times
stepping on eggshells. When did that happen?

It can be difficult to have a relationship with a child when
they are finding who they are. It takes work to hold it together,
to help them round themselves out. It is important to spend
a lot of time talking and to know when to stop talking.
I have trouble with the stop talking part. The older child
and I have always talked things to the end of the earth
and back . The 14 year old likes to think it through herself
and only let you in on little secrets. You have to read
between the lines to hear her heart. You have to be a
parent paying attention. It is hard but don't give up because




in the end your relationship is what matters most.
(probably talking to self here)

Sometimes the words say leave but the heart tugs else
where and wants what the words don't say. For awhile
I was disheartened by the pushing from me but then I noticed
that the needing was a bit different but still present.
I'll always be her mom after all. It never goes away.
She doesn't need me as much maybe as before or maybe
she needs me even more. It is just more suttle.

The other day we got home from an activity and I stopped the
car. She got out and came to my side and stood. I opened
the door and she watched and helped as I took the baby
out. Silent words. She needed my security in that moment
without words. That's what I mean. Those simple moments
of just being with your teen. Not telling them how it is
or isn't but just being quiet with them. Their minds are
constantly moving and thinking. That silence forms a bond
that maybe you didn't know existed and helps them think
through their new Independence.


Blessing,
Nikki
Friday, August 12, 2011

Writers Notebook






Writing…

Many of us shake and quiver at the thought of writing.
We may enjoy blogging or journal writing as adults but to
teach it just makes ones skin crawl. It is especially frustrating
when you have a creative child and yet they are not writing.
He tells stories to me just about daily but putting those thoughts
to paper just seems like an impossible task, until now.

Over this past summer, I spent it reading many books on writing ,
reading blogs on writing and researching online articles about
you guessed it writing and I think, think ,think that I will be
able to teach my son how to write. I am feeling confident
about the task and I hope to share with you our journey.

I’d like to include my readers with this meme called
Writing Wonder which will not just include my son but all levels
of writing. This year I will be teaching to a toddler,
a kindergartener, a 5th grader and a high school student.
If you have a blog entry to share on writing then add
your link in the comments section.

Before we are beginning to write I wanted a way to organize our
writing material. I want this to be a place where we can keep
all of our work and look at how much we improve as we go
a record of our year in writing. I decided on a writing notebook.
First I wanted his/our tools in the notebook since pencil loss
seems to be a huge problem here. Just about as bad as
those missing socks in the dryer. I think I have a sock and pencil
thief. The very front of each of our notebooks will hold a pencil bag.
(With my son in mind as he losses everything he touches)
Inside the pencil bag I have included several pencils as I
can imagine his will go missing after a bit despite my best efforts.
We also put in pens, highlighters, small post it notes, erasers,
and a mini pencil sharpener. We can add things to it as we see fit.
This writers notebook possibly would look a bit like a writing
center in a classroom.


I didn’t have page dividers on hand so I decided to use
different colored file folders as the dividers. If you are doing
this cut your file folders in half. You may have to size them down
to fit the three ring binders you are putting them in. Then
hole punch your dividers. You can decorate them if you like and
create label tabs for each section. I created writing sections
for five different categories but you may add more if you find
a need. I created a table of contents with each being connected
to a color folder. This will help in finding his/our information.
Below are a list of the writing tabs and my thought on their uses.




Writing Tools- This will be where my son will keep rubrics,
checklists on writing and graphic organizers. We will place them
in as we find the need and put them in clear protection plastic
so they can be written on with a dry erase pen and reused later.

My Journal- This one is self explainitory. There will be times
when they can write whatever they like and times I
assign something to them. I created a journal from a notebook
for myself so that I can write alongside them. (More on this in
the future. )

Best Writing- This area will be used for our best writing
assignment. There will a process in choosing these special pages.

In Progress- These are pieces of writing that are in the process
of being worked upon. They may be pieces not completed or
pieces that we may come back to at a later time.

Literature- This is an area to write about literature that we have
read together or on his/her own.

Word list- Word list are list of words to help with creative
writing and idea points. (More on this at a later date)

And one that I don’t have in our notebook but thought I
may add is Poetry. Have you ever used a writer’s notebook yourself?
If you have what was included in yours.

(PS this will be posted Thursdays I'm running a little late this week. :)
Add your writing adventures to the comments section )
Blessings,
Nikki


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Curriculum will you use?

The homeschool Question of the season. It's the question
you hear all over just before the start of school. Home
educators are all asking What curriculum will you use for that?

We have used from the very beginning and will continue to
use Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School. (PAVCS)
www.pavcsk12.org


Why did we choose PA Virtual?

High Quality Curriculum

Much of the curriculum is provided. I feel K12 is a high quality
curriculum. My children enjoy the way it is laid out.

Support
I wanted support that I could count on in the event
that I needed help while teaching. I am still my child's
main learning coach but I have the ability to call
upon "teachers" or tutors to fulfill my child/children's
needs. We can have instant tutoring online or even
answers in email . There are also classes for moms/dads to take,
which is always encouraging.

I want to send out a Special thanks to Mr. Ford for
helping Princess with her math. You have a special
way of showing her that she is able to understand.
She has learned so much from you.
Thank you for all your time with her.

"It takes a village to raise a child"
Why not a whole educational one.

Family support needed:

Again with the village...Daddy was uncomfortable home
educating. He felt I would be completely alone but was willing
to try out the Cyber School. I think he was concerned because
of his learning disabilities. He knew how hard it was for
him to learn and he wanted to make sure that we
were able to provide many choices. We have Cyber schooled
now for the last 7 years.

Able to reach each learning style

I have freedom to teach as it fits the needs of each
child. I just check the lesson objectives and choose
the best way to present an activity to my children.
K12 presents lessons with different learning styles in
mind. I am able to then choose the way that works
best for my child. We can vary or take some things
out as needed. Perhaps put things in as well, which
we often do. There is freedom in cyber schooling.

Planning is simple

Much of it is planned out for me already. A lot of the grunt work
is done. I just use the guide as an outline as to what we will learn.
How I present it is up to me. It take me about 2 hours on Saturday
to look over material. Add in what I like, take out what I like,
grade papers and create their learning schedule for the week.

Where is God?
Despite the fact that this is a public school I still
am able to teach bible . However
often I find it comes up within the curriculum anyway.
My children are raised as Christians so the questions come
easily through the day. If curriculum doesn't match our beliefs
we discuss that as it comes to us and I present what
we do believe. Great opportunities to learn what we
are against in this world.


With that this is the curriculum we will use this year


Princess- Grade 8
Pa Virtual
Math -Algerbra A
General language Course
History- World History
Science- Earth Science
Technology course
Physical Education- Focus Co-op
Art-Focus Co-op
Music- Focus Co-op
Health-(Not provide by cyber school Mom is
working on a plan)
Bible- Say what you mean by Jo Jo

Superboy 5th grade
Pa Virtual
4th grade language
+ Barton reading and spelling program
Rest of curriculum is 5th grade
Physical education- Focus Co-op
Monday classes with Holly in September-Oct.
Health- moms plan
Art- Focus and Cyber
Music- Focus and Cyber
Bible- Undecided

Spirit Age 5
Pa Virtual
Physical education -Focus co-op
Health moms plan
Art- Focus and Cyber
Music- Focus and Cyber
Bible -ABC of Old testament

Sweet pea age 2
Toddler time
(More on this later)


PS if you are living in Pennsylvania and are instested in Pa
Virtual please send me a message and I am able to
request material to be sent to you .

God Bless
Nikki
Monday, August 8, 2011

Job Change


I watched my children play yesterday. Really watched
them........

I gave my notice at my part time job. It's a
little scary to say the least. Daddy is back at the lumber
company, which you may know. We are hoping he can
stay for a long time or at least until he can find something
a little less physical. That type of activity isn't good for him
day in and day out. For now though it is work. I've gotten
sort of used to having some money in my pocket that belongs
solely to me.
I know that sounds a little selfish but it was nice for
a time. That money in my pocket and being really
here with my children definitely outweighs the other. I didn't
know how much I loved being home with them until
I couldn't be there all of the time. I have much work to do here.
I have left so many things go in discipline and in the care
of our home. I am ready to dig back in and with a
Mothers heart that only God could give me. I didn't
even realize that I had stepped back from it.

I just pray that we made the right choice financially.
My hope is to be able to take some classes online and
make a change for us. I want to plan for a career that I
will be able to do from my home. You just never know
when your spouse may be off or scary to say but gone.
It's good to have a back up plan. That's what these
classes would be my back up plan. I have much
research to do to find that right school for me and if
we can afford the classes.

Oh and PS...Heart bought her first car Saturday. I am so
excited for her. She saved enough all on her own and bought
it with her money. She is so proud of it. Now
she will have to get that drivers license. I expect
it to happen soon. She is doing really well with driving.
Probably only needs to practice parking some more.

Time changes so much. Soon my oldest will be in college.


God Bless
Nikki
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Nook- Montessori at Home by Heidi Spietz


Montessori at Home by Heidi Spietz


I have noticed around the blogosphere that
there seems to be a large interest in play
based learning. It is extremely exciting for
me to see that there are so many others
that have the same philosophy and approach to
learning. I have noticed as well a recent
interest in the Montessori style that seems
to have exploded upon the blogs. It is
possible that these blogs have existed for
awhile but I have only found them now. I
decided to check into the style myself to
see what it is all about. I searched our
local library and came up with the book
Montessori at Home by Heidi Spietz.




The basics behind Montessori begin by
teaching your young child to be able to do
basic home skills and general maintenance
of self so that they can become sufficient
individual. These are basic skills of life
that everyone needs to know and we often
assume that our children acquire on their
own. Our expectation of this knowledge is
to be self learned with little guidance.
Parents often assume their child will know
how to do these things by being and seeing
them demonstrated. There is the
possibility that the steps to washing
an apple are not explained or verbally
spoken. The steps of teaching begin
with the parent showing the child
and verbalizing the act of washing the
apple. The parent then steps back
and allows the child the opportunity to try
washing the apple on their own without
interference from the parent. (Which is
probably the hard part.) If the child
struggles he/or she is encouraged to
continue through to feel the accomplished
end result. These steps would be used to
teach dressing themselves, moving a
chair, closing and opening doors, visiting
a restaurant, eating, etc...

As a child grows and is ready for formal
learning, they will be able to begin reading
and math using the three period method.
First period would be presentation of the
object or lesson. For example if I had a
square and a triangle I would present it to
the child. I would talk about each and
present them to the child pointing out the sides
and angles of each and naming them. In Period
two it would be time for the child to show
me the triangle and square by being prompted
to point to those objects. In the third period
the child would now name the objects. In this
way the child would build upon his vocabulary.


What did I learn from the Montessori method so far?


I enjoy the literalness of the lessons.
I began to think if I have verbalized much
of the “basic skills” to my children. My
thoughts went to Spirit (age 5) and I thought
of those skills that he learned without a
lesson of instruction, such as dressing
himself. We practiced this task on a daily
basis until he could put his arm through
the sleeves and put his legs in his pants.
There was no literal lesson. It was
imprinted in our daily lives like many of
the skills mentioned for basic discovery.
There we a few of the tasks that I thought
I may like to show him. I have been thinking
for awhile now how beneficial it would be
for him to be able to pour his own drink.
The literal steps of Montessori may be just
what he needs for this particular activity.
However I do not feel it would be necessary
or beneficial for us at this time as
a family to walk through these necessities
as a lesson for all of the basic skills.
Moreover we would learn many of them as
part of our daily lives. It was nice though
to see these skills in a list and pick
out the ones we are lacking on and can
build them using this style and approach.

Then we arrive at formal learning.
With many approaches to learning I
think that we may try the periods for some
of our lessons. I like to try different
ways of presenting something to a child
and choosing the ones that work best.
I will be using the period method for
some of our upcoming beginning skills and
may try it with the older child that
struggles so with vocabulary. Much of
the approach to learning is hands on and
that is what I like most about it. I
like to allow the child the ability to
really touch and feel what they are
learning about.

The last paragraph in the book sums it up...

“If we are to assist a child through this
learning process, we must become more patient,
respectful and giving. For it is only in this
type of environment that true learning and a
sense of fulfillment occurs”


A true statement for all Educational styles.

God Bless
Nikki
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who is God Spoken by a 5 Year old....





( Photo: by my daughter Heart)

“God is so powerful that he doesn’t need a helmet”

“If you put all of the churches of the
world on top of each other that is GOD”


Spirit Age 5



Monday, August 1, 2011

God's Eye




The eye of God is always upon us. He
is always there !
History: God’s Eyes are used by the Huichol Indians
from western Central Mexico in sacred ceremonies.
When a child is born, they are used as an
offering to the god who protects children.
The God’s Eye is kept in a sacred place
and the father adds a piece of yarn each
year until the age of 5. It is viewed
as something that will bring you good luck
and represents the eye of God watching over you.


Our Project:
Envision a young child with cancer. Sitting in
a hospital wrapping yarn and giving the eye
of God to other children in the hospital as
a sign of HOPE. When this child passes her
father takes on this childs HOPE and continues
the journey. Creating God's eyes for many
children. He asks of others to spread Gods
HOPE. That is just what we did.

If you'd like to
Learn how to Make a God's eye.
Click on the link above. Our God's eyes will
go to this local man and his family for them
to ditribute to our local hospital. You can
Do the same in your town.


Blessings
Nikki

Keep in Touch

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Rejoice in the Lord Always.