The First 3 Days of Homeschooling

In homeschooling on July 5, 2015 at 7:00 am

It wasn’t all rainbows and puppies, but it wasn’t tear inducing either. It feels like we are slipping into a routine. Mal is learning to hover around the girls and play with all the books they read and the tools they use.

Yes, that is a paintbrush in his mouth.

For the entire recap, Day 1 was met with excitement from Elly and Brooke. They were thrilled to see the stack of books and magnet letters I laid out the night before.

Thanks to our local Pottstown Regional Public Library, the books were all new to us. After an hour of homeschooling, we jumped in the car and traveled to Weavers Orchard for their storytime and fruit picking.

We listened to them read Blueberry Shoes.

Then armed with pint containers, we were directed to rows and rows of blueberry bushes.

We all had fun picking blueberries, even Malcolm who ate a mix of blueberries, mulch, hay and dirt.

The funny thing is that we read books everyday and we pick fruit at Weaver’s Orchard on a fairy regular basis, so it felt weird to call it homeschooling. May all school days be so easy.

Day 2 was met with some griping and whining, even though I started school off with a Froot Loop sort and count activity. I even let them eat the Fruit Loops and they still complained! I truly believe Elly thought that if she complained enough, then I would forget this whole homeschooling business and she could go back to riding her bike from sunrise to sunset. Thankfully, Elly hates being sent to her room more than she hates school, so she gritted her teeth and trudged through. Brooke tried a more passive approach of just not paying attention, so I took that into account when planning for future days.

Do you believe Elly griped the loudest over making an octopus craft? It involved pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and glue, all fun stuff.

Day 3 went smoother than the previous day. I pulled out a sand art craft and dangled it over their heads for half of the school time.

Though they were excited about practicing their handwriting in the sand and then making their sand craft, they were content to continue school even after the craft was over. We ended the day with a water color painting.

All in all, I am cautiously optimistic about Week 2.

The Month Long Homeschooling Challenge

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2015 at 12:16 am

Starting July 1, 2015, I will attempt to homeschool my two daughters.

My goal is to homeschool them for the entire month of July. I will record our daily achievements and failures here. I’m sure there will be plenty of both.

I have yet to decide if I will operate on a 4-day schedule or a 5-day schedule. I should make up my mind now because if I wait till Friday morning to make up my mind, I know now what I will choose. There is no amount of coffee that will make me jump out of bed and skip over to the school desks. Plus, I don’t drink coffee. I prefer tea and tea doesn’t have nearly enough wallop in it to motivate me.

But, why am I challenging myself to homeschool my children, especially when Elly had an ideal first year of preK? Everybody should have a school experience like she did.

Elly was in a classroom with 11 other kids this past year and the best preschool teacher in town. Her principle was also amazing. I couldn’t have found a better learning environment if I scoured the surrounding area.

Perhaps the best answer is that I want to. It would be fun and rewarding. (Somebody remind me of this statement on day 10).

Another reason is that as wonderful as Elly’s teacher was and as many good friends that Elly made, it was a struggle to get Elly to school everyday. Elly was excited about school if there was a field trip or a special party. If it was an ordinary day and too many days were ordinary days, Elly complained, threw her shoes informing that she was not going to school, and rattled off all the reasons she hated school: it was boring, she didn’t like anybody, she had to sit still forever and she missed her family (all far-fetched tales except the last). There was a stretch there where Elly cried everyday before and after school. It was heartbreaking and then it started to wear on the family. Brooke picked up on Elly’s dislike of school and now she mentions that she doesn’t want to go either. It did get better the last 2 months. Elly cried less, but she seemed to regress in other areas.

Will next year be better? Well, she will be 2 months older and God willing 2 months wiser, so I would hope so. Yet, it’s not looking good. Four days after school ended, Elly has started her campaign called “I’m Never Going to Kindergarten”. Actually, if I’m honest, the campaign started after her class took a tour of the Kindergarten class about a month ago. The tears have already started to flow. When the tear tactic doesn’t work, Elly resorts to negotiating. She has wonderful suggestions. Some of them include never growing up and never learning anything. Then, she thinks that she wants to be a scientist or a farmer, but she would just do all of her learning at home.

Maybe Elly will want to go to school when she sees Brooke going to school too. It’s possible, but it’s also possible that Elly will dig her heals in and pitch a fight no matter. She is remarkably stubborn. It’s a fact I am proud of and extremely frustrated with.

Am I rewarding my daughter’s bad behavior?
I’m not sure stubbornness is bad behavior, but if it were, I would say no, I am just not putting all my eggs in one basket. Homeschooling is legal and a better alternative to playing hooky.

What if my July Homeschooling Challenge is a resounding success?
I don’t know where it leaves me. I don’t know if I should homeschool my daughters for a year or for any amount of time.
My only hope is that I learn something this month that will help me make an informed decision. If nothing else, I will learn if I can stick to a teaching plan for 30 days. You will be my witness. I apologize in advance for the whining and crying you may hear.

A Quilt for Malcolm

In Quilts on March 8, 2015 at 2:07 pm

This is the quilt I had hoped to finish before Malcolm was born in September 2014. Then, I was certain it would be finished in time to be wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. 2 months later, I finally quilted the last stitch.

Thankfully, Malcom neither understands nor cares that the quilt was 5 months late. He is mighty impressed about his toes though.

This quilt was made not just by me. Two other talented women helped.

The quilt was started by my neighbor’s mother, Janet Hunter. It was the last quilt she has cross-stitched. She passed away before she could finish it. My neighbor was unable to throw it out. Knowing how much I loved to sew, she gave it to me.

It took me some time before I decided how I wanted to complete it. After a few minutes of trying to cross-stitch, I knew I wouldn’t be doing that! Yet, I wanted to keep the original design of a moon. One day when I was digging through unfinished projects, I spotted the quilt next to a torn shirt of Dan’s. It looked like the perfect moon.

After appliqueing the moon and hat, I added another layer of batting and a back fabric.

Then, my favorite part began: hand quilting. It took me several months to quilt all the layers together.

I couldn’t be happier with the final result.

To always remember how and why I made the quilt, I had Judi of JDK Wallets make a quilt label by hand. She outdid herself by adding the cute touches of the moon, boy and stars.

Though I already picked out the fabric for my next quilt, I am going to take a small knitting design break. After I submit my latest design to a magazine, I will pull the ironing board off the wall and set to work.


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