Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Alphabet Review

I got an idea for a chalk board design around Easter time and didn't do it right away, but eventually got to it... soooo rather than kicking myself for not being "on time".. or the time that I wanted anyway, I should realize that it's an awesome thing that I ever get to any of my "great ideas" at all, right?

 Alphabet review and also a chance to talk about who God is.  I also focused our school a bit more on math review and I read through all the animal antic books again with the girls along with other things.

I had help with the chalk board on the bottom right.  :)

 Chocolate chips can come in handy with doing math.  I totally have good memories from when I was a kid around their age and my Mom let me use chocolate chips to help me do my math.
 It was a little more complicated in person with how I ran this lesson with all the ways we added up all the numbers, but I can't very well take pictures of all that.
 Even the four year old got to do some school with chocolate this day!
Melissa and Doug numbers puzzle... says the number when you move the puzzle pieces.  I got this mainly to help with all those confusing "teen" numbers that the little ones get all jumbled up when counting
And speaking of counting and the teen numbers-- I also got this poster (which I highly recommend) that is great for visual learners.  You can see their other products for math here So, I talked to one of the advisers at this site and they said that the numbers 1 through 10 words were supposed to be sung to the tune of "Ba ba black sheep".... which I didn't know, but did a youtube search and learned the tune.  I got the poster and THEN, what???  The rhyme for 11 through 20 (which was the part I especially was interested in) was a totally different rhythm and didn't match the 1 through 10 words or tune.
As a musical person this drove me a little crazy.  We were sort of "rapping" the words instead of singing them to the tune they were SUPPOSED to go with and the night before I was supposed to wake up way too early to catch the flight to visit my family up in Washington state my brain was full of how in the world to fix the words so they'd actually work well together.  See video below to know how I changed it!  I've also played this video for my girls while we eat breakfast or lunch or something to give myself a little break.

 And THEN for most of May were were able to visit my family!  The kids got sick one after the other after the first week was over though so we stayed close to home and didn't get to visit as many people as I would have liked.
 I got to wear these wraps that Jamberry sent me just because I promoted to "Lead Consultant"-  How cool is that?
 Since we were resting a lot there was some of this going on, but the little one looked so cute all matching with Gramma.  ;)
 We went to some of our favorite little stores while we were there.  (Got to help the local economy!)
 My Mom bought a bunch of flowers so we could pot them all and her stairs would be all lovely with blooms!
 The kids spent a LOT of time outside running around and catching butterflies.  I hadn't had much school planned for up there, but what with the sicknesses and then the very good use of the outdoors I didn't have them even do as much as I'd planned.
 Hiking up in the woods!
 Hanging out with cousins happened as much as we could possibly make it happen!
 Don't forget the tea parties at Grandma's house!  That is always a must.
 ALSO, their cousin's cousins (yes that was on purpose) had a cat with kittens!  They were beyond excited to get to hold some kittens for a while.  This was the first time they remember getting to hold little kittens.  It's sad to think that some kids have never gotten to play with tiny kittens!

The middle one especially spent as much time as she could holding the kittens. so so sweet.  :)
 I also had fun playing with Jamberry's "Nail Art Studio" and created the designs above!  They got approved so quickly that I was able to order them and got them up there even before I left!  The two on the left I got doubles of because I wanted to give them to my Mom for her birthday.  Hard to see, but the far left is pictures of lilacs that I took while I was up there!  And the middle one is of pictures my little brother had designed with a computer program.  My oldest especially who is closest to her Uncle loved wearing those and thinking of him when we got back home.  :)
 This is what the lilac ones looked like on.  I so love lilacs!  I wish I could find something that smells like them in the right way.  Usually the fake scents just don't cut it.

 The 7 year old got to make a lot of (gluten free) pancakes at Gramma's house and now is calling herself an "expert" and so I stared letting her do some of the making of the pancakes here as well.  It's not easy since our kitchen is only about 3 ft wide.. little too snug for two people to try and move around in there, but we were making it work.
 We now (finally!) have ALL the "Animal Antic from A to Z" books!  LOVE these and more importantly the kids really like them.  It's nice to have books with stories that are fun for me to read and listen to as well!  You can find them on
The middle one (7) absolutely LOVES bunnies, and she saw this "I am a Bunny" book that she'd never really been interested in before on our shelf and decided it was the most beautiful book ever.  The pictures are quite lovely.  So, I jumped on her interest with this and have been having her work on her writing skills by copying a page a day.  She can do a great job if she really is trying.  It's been hard to get her enough interested to actually want to try to do well.
 Oh, and also after we got back I sort of randomly bought them a swimming pool so they could use their ball pit balls again that I'd had packed away for a few years.  They enjoyed doing some reading in it as well as all the rolling in it at other times.  After the business and stress of traveling and the initial sadness of missing family when we are back home and trying to get back into a "normal" groove it was fun to have a little holiday of our own for a week.  We went swimming every day and the ball pit was for indoor times to give me a little break.
 Also, I started a new visual journal besides the one I was already using.  It's not a bad thing to have two going!  AND in case anyone was wondering about the gorgeous color on my nails it's Jamberry's "Morning Mist" lacquer from their "fairy tale lacquer set"-- they have some that aren't in the lacquer sets of course, but this particular color is exclusive to this set.  I *love* the color and FYI their lacquer won't give you a head-ache from the fumes because it's free of 5 toxins normally found in polish.. also it holds up better then the toxic cheap kinds, and that up there is only one coat.  The color is super nice and thick compared to others I've used!

 THIS was from today!  I'm preparing for "T week" now that our little (long) review time/vacation/whatever is over.. but more on "T week" later.

Today was baking, school time, swim time, visual journaling, lunch, Wild Kratts, Jamberry biz stuff, chalk board re-designing, more cooking (made gluten free pizzas) more school time (We are now doing "Life of Fred"  BEST MATH EVER!!) some fussy kid time (can't seem to avoid that!) and so on and so on.  ;)
 My oldest did the cork board at the beginning of the review, but we'll keep it on for "T week"
 I was quite proud of my youngest (4) today because ALL by herself she put this train alphabet puzzle together.  I'm not as surprised that she could figure out how to put it together (though that certainly is impressive!) but mostly because she did it by herself!  She tends to want me to help her do even things that she CAN do herself, but just because she wants me right next to her.  This is hard when I need to help the older two and we've had to endure a lot of fussing and crying during school times, but it's getting so much easier than it was!
And here she is eating a tortilla.

Oh, and just a couple last things to keep it real.  You know how Facebook and Pinterest and Blogs can make life look so easy and amazing and really just shows off the best of the best?  Just to keep it honest and hopefully to encourage other moms out there, the video above is of a giggle fit that my girls were having while trying to do their writing.  I thought it was funny too, but it's also "bang your head on the wall worthy" after a while if you are trying to get them to actually accomplish the thing you were wanting them to do for that day!  My 7 year old sometimes gets a word stuck in her head that she thinks sounds funny and keeps saying it and giggling.  This time it was "Burble" .. which does sound really funny if you say it enough!  Little reminder for us all to keep plugging away (or put the books away until they get over the giggle fit!) and not to get mad and yell.  The giggles are going to be a good memory that they will look back to when they think of what it was like when they were homeschooling.

Oh, and another "keeping it real" moment brought to you by the 4 year old who swiped my camera one day without me knowing.  I found about 20 pictures on my camera of the messy house and mostly of the older two bugging each other.  Hello other parents.. does this ever drive you a little crazy too?  I can't tell you how often I have to be the peace keeper in fights through out the day.

I don't have a picture or video to post of the other bit of difficulty we have to deal with in our homeschooling days which is when the littlest one throws a fit of some kind.  It used to be that she'd cry very loudly without wanting any consoling for a good hour and telling me all the things she thinks she wants until she finally realized she forgot why she started crying to begin with.  Usually it will be that she asks for chocolate and I say "no" -- also it might be important to point out that I'm really not that strict and it's not like she's suffering for lack of sugar to begin with.  She's usually just tired and focuses on something like chocolate or a cartoon to feel better and totally freaks out if she can't have it right that second.
The only advice I've got for that situation is to hold the crying kid and just try to keep your sanity.  I watched "Happy" and sang over her crying for an hour one day.  In case you were wondering, I did try to put her in her room so she'd cry away from us.  That always made her freak out more and get louder and hysterical.... Talk about all our nerves on edge!  I mean.. how can the older two hear anything that I'm reading right?  BUT it's getting better slowly and there are less interruptions, so if you are struggling with something like that too, just know it will get better as you keep being consistent and firm but loving with them.
 Also, you'll get all manner of advice about what to do to force your children to obey you, and yes you can force obedience outwardly, but what about their hearts?   Children need to be treated like we want to be treated.  They are people and deserve respect and if we can show them this and love them even when they are freaking out we can teach them to show us respect in other ways.  This might take longer, but I think it's important to focus on treating our kids with respect and grace and try to think of how God parents us with his never ending love that isn't based on our performance. 

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