Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Early Bird...

Yesterday the 2 older kids and I went to a bird and beaks class. We drove about 45 minutes away to a camping lodge where a woman name Jan Wells holds classes for homeschoolers once a month. 
The kids and I had so much fun! We got there in the morning and didn't leave til the late afternoon. 
First let me tell you about Jan Wells. Her company is called Within these Pages, she is from New Zealand and was a elementary school teacher with 26 years of experience. Now if you are like me and hear that, we can be skeptical. The education system stinks but she was trained in New Zealand where the literacy rate was the best in the world. She was so nice and I can tell she absolutely loves what she does now!! This was our first time meeting her and her excitement was infectious. The kids were not bored at all! She prides herself on being very Charlotte Mason based with some Jan mixed in.

                                                       The kids sat through a slide show q&a about birds their beaks and were not bored! Did I say that already, heehee. I was intrigued as well. We learned that when you look at its beak you can take a good guess of what they eat. But just looking at one thing is not all there is. Field markings are important too, does it have a brown or black crown? Bars of color on it's wings? We also learned why their feet look the way they do. After a packed lunch we went out on our field study and observed the birds. The kids did some math too! They had to take a tally of the birds that were preening, swimming, climbing, perching, flying building a nest or running. There were birds everywhere so they had no problems finding them. We stopped at different points on our field trip. We noticed in which areas birds were in the air mostly, or at bird feeders or constantly working on their nest. In the process of our search my daughter found a old nest she was able to add to her treasure bag.
Jan made sure they the kids were writing and drawing in their nature books that she had them make before we went out.
On top of some great field work they were able to see butterflies, tadpoles and many other little critters. I will tell you about the tadpoles tomorrow.

There were spots that they stopped at with beautiful sitting areas and they sat quietly and observed. The moms also sat quietly and appreciated the silence and listened to the songs and chirping of the Sparrows, Robins, Mockingbirds, Cat birds, Cow birds and many others. 
When observation was over we headed back and put their tallies on a larger paper and made a bar graph. They reviewed what they learned and got some follow up activities to do this week. We are to select a species, listen to its sounds, observe weather, get some bird seed and weigh it in the morning put it out and at the end of the day weigh it again to see the average consumption, sketch the birds at the feeder and head to the library. 
It was such a fun day! The kids learned so much about birds and cant wait to head back for another class next month!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

our week

Our week has been a little crazy. The most important thing is that we had over 60 tornado's is our area yesterday! We are stationed at Fort Bragg and a lot of people lost their homes or are still with out power. Please be praying for North Carolina! We are very lucky it missed us, but the damage can be seen 10 minutes from our home. Many of our friends are displaced. 

On a lighter note, we have finished our school year this last week! We are very excited and the kids really have no idea that all the nature walks and studies we have been focusing on is actually work. They are just excited to be out and on trails. Last week we went with another family on a nature trail walk in Moore County. 4 of 5 of her boys came and 2 of my girls. What we mostly saw was a lot of controlled burning going on. But we did attempt to catch a sneaky lizard. 
Also this week we went to Clark nature Center and did a home school butterfly class. That included  ranger telling us about butterflies, doing craft and trail walking to catch them. I think the most fun we had there was in their play garden where they can dig, water plants and just play. 
This coming week we will have family in town from our home state California. I am sooo excited to meet my new little niece Brenleigh. I cant wait to hold her! We have another nature walk planned for the majority of the day on Wednesday and will be learning about birds. I love this time of year, it is gorgeous outside which is rare in NC. 

I haven't forgotten about my last blog. I was researching schedules and I am mid The Well Trained Mind book right now. This book has been so helpful and I will for sure be using a lot of it. I have also been going through, "Planning your Charlotte Mason Education," by Sonya Shafer. Her book is so easy to understand and very helpful. I most likely will be combining the two. 

I also haven't forgotten that I was suppose to be back on some sort of diet..... Well, I did Weight Watchers for 2 days, lol. I also started back on the heavy cream in my coffee :( I cant help it! I'm addicted!!  I haven't taken my dog back out on a walk because I have been busy. I mean jeez, with home schooling nature walks, family coming to town and loosing our power from a TORNADO I just haven't made it important enough.  Thank God tomorrow is a new day! 
Let me say it again, THANK YOU GOD!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaching Three: Schedule?

Teaching Three: Schedule?: "I was looking back at my home school daily plan book. To be honest I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had actual times and exact curric..."


I was looking back at my home school daily plan book. To be honest I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had actual times and exact curriculum Cameron was supposed to be doing her work.
 She and I followed it pretty well I have to say. Since this was our first year home schooling I wanted to be prepared and it helped. But as I look through my planner I see between September and November things started to fall apart. There are no longer any dates or times just topics and a check mark when they are done. I am sure there are many different types of schedules out there. Some people cant get by with this sloppy "organized" schedule of mine. It would need to be printed out and very exact. Some other people are very impressed I have "something" written down! The first picture is some what organized for me, the second picture
 Is written out of pure laziness and this last picture is our schedule as of March! Hey at least I have that written in...But as you can see that's all I wrote in. The rest was done by my "helper" my 8 year old Cameron. She likes to have somewhat of a schedule and she wants to do the subjects in her order. With art always being second or third. She wrote down spelling and to be honest I didn't like her Spelling Workout book so I stopped using it and focused more on grammar. Obviously she hasn't realized that yet, lol. So what I realized is I need to get a schedule down. Maybe not necessarily for me but for her and My little soon to be 5 year old who is starting Kindergarten but is more like first grade level. You would think with my extreme personality this would be simple but it is not. I do things spur of the moment, what ever tickles my fancy. In November I was waking up sitting at the computer and looking through our books and figured out what they will be doing that day. Some things are consistent though. We do Classical Conversations so our memorization work is consistent, Teaching Textbooks is consistent on a daily basis, and usually history because that is covered in CC. 

I need to figure out A PLAN and although I probably wont be religious to it I would like a spine in which we follow. So I am going to re-read my Susan Wise Bauer book The Well Trained Mind and search around the Internet. I do see a lot of free blank printables but that's the problem they are BLANK! If I can see a schedule set up I know I can tweak it. Also I do understand all home schools are different but I just need ideas. What does your typical home school day look like? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

loosing weight 2

Loosing weight blog 2, it's been a few days since my last post and
I haven't really came up with a "plan" but I have added one thing to my day. I cut out my coffee the other morning. Okay before everyone writes that one off completely you have to understand, coffee in itself is great but I add loads of creamer. I did try a at home coffee creamer recipe and it was gross. So since I refuse to give up my daily cup of Joe I have been cutting back on the creamer little by little. It's definitely not as yummy tasting but still works to wake me up. 
I also have gone on daily walks. I am walking the dog daily and leaving the kids at home so I can walk at a faster pace. I know this is not technically a hard work out but for someone who is not motivated at all, this is working. 
I did attempt TRX with my husband's workout plan and well, I am not at that point yet. I wouldn't mind if he does Trx with me. I am sure he will I just have to ask.  I have given myself a goal date too. Not sure if I mentioned this in my last blog.  So that date is July 1st! I think its a great amount of time and y daughter is having her birthday party at the neighborhood pool that week! 
I HATE wearing a bathing suit but it looks like I may have to. This too is weird but I am more motivated after I loose a few pounds. I like to see a few pounds gone before I get fired up to attempt a harder work out. I know it should be opposite, that I should work hard, loose weight and keep going but nope I have to be different. 
As for today I am not sure what I ll do different. Hope fully go on my walk and probably have a light lunch. My breakfast was my gross tasting coffee and a bagel. Okay the bagel was bad but I love my everything bagel. I did nix the cream cheese and only added a little butter. 
Writing all this down makes me feel better! Maybe I will start changing up to two or three things a day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Loosing weight

I feel a little better after my last blog. I was able to play catch up with a couple of friends! I also was able to talk to a really good friend of mine about how I've been feeling and she was super supportive. She completely understood that this is my life right now. "This" meaning educating my children. I do feel though I still need to find a hobby so I decided that I need to loose my last 10-12 pounds. I won't mention my exact weight but I will mention that I'm at my giving birth weight and so not happy with it! I plan on doing something about it. Not sure what yet but I'm up to any ideas.
I use to love heading out to the gym and was a regular in the past. I also have done p90x, Pilates, yoga, TRX and crash diets. P90x did work but it was so hard and I burned out after I completed the DVDs. I also absolutely love Pilates but it's on the expensive side and my husband is not supportive of the money spent. TRX is great for me in a classroom environment but using it at home is not exciting to me. So what is left and how do I get motivation to even start this venture?
A friend mentioned since I homeschool I should wake up before my hubby leaves and head out on a walk by myself or our neighborhood treadmill. So I woke up early this morning and... Fell back to sleep. My first day was a total wash. Last night when no one was around I had my 4 year old take pictures of me in a bikini. I figured she wouldn't judge me :) but wow when I looked at my iPhone did I judge myself! Ugh! But am I motivated? A little bit! Those pictures are for my personal use only and not even my hubby will see them!
Don't get me wrong people, I love who I am. I am created by our Perfect God! I don't think I'm in need of a huge overhaul. I do know since I am hypo thyroid and struggle with anxiety and have heart palpitations that it's time to get healthy! My goal is to loose this weight by the 1st of July! So here I go.....

Ps... This post was written on my iPhone so I am sure there are many mistakes with my spelling and grammar. Sorry

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The last few days I have come to realize that most of my time has been consumed with home school. Examples are, next years curriculum, web sites I found, blogs I found, books I want to read or my kids to read, book stores to visit, searching ebay or amazon, budgeting to keep my husband happy on all my purchases and most of all talking about all these things all day long.
I had put together a trifold board I wanted to add to my home school and I texted a picture to a friend/ home school mom and her response was," Great but why? Girl you need to get out!" I had not realized all home school moms don't spend most of their waking hours obsessing about school!
Now, I understand that it could be this time of year. It's that time of year where we are almost finished and I am reviewing what we covered, didn't cover, started but never finished covering, and what I want to do differently next year. This can require a lot of time and thought process. The one great thing is there is always another home school mom that is in the same boat and doesn't mind obsessing over it with me.
But I feel bad in a way.. You see I have a lot of friends who do not home school and I have possibly been neglecting those friendships. I am quite sure they don't want to hear me talk about whether or not I bought the right history curriculum for the millionth time. So what do I do?
Do you my friends out there feel neglected? Or are you even reading this "home school" blog? I wish I could promise that I can talk or hang out with you and it not be a thought but that would be a lie. How do I step out of this box, just for a little while? Another fact is I love it! I love to research, to read, to shop for books and all that has to do with it. I don't find it a burden, it doesn't tire me out and I love that I am learning so much in the process. But if even a fellow home school mom finds me a bit obsessive how do I find a compromise?
John 14:27 says Jesus left us His Peace, not as the world gives but how He gives it. Let not my heart be troubled. I know this is a complete paraphrase but I read this thinking no I don't feel troubled when I obsess, lol. I feel troubled about my friends and I want people to except this is me right now. Is this a wrong attitude? When other people find a hobby or something new I sit patiently and listen to it.
So I would love to know how I can balance and if I need to right now? What am I doing for fun? Everything that I am doing right now! I love it! But I don't want to if others are feeling bad.
My God is a balanced God who is not extreme. I on the other hand am a human who is very extreme and I want to find a little piece (peace) of that balance that God is.