A Thursday Funny

Here is funny for you all to enjoy!  It had my homeschool children laughing at the table so much I had to stop homeschooling for an hour.  🙂

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Behavior Boot Camp

I am starting to plan the rest of the semester and home school year. In looking over what I what to accomplish I realize the children’s behaviors and attitudes have slowly been changing over the past couple of months. The cleaning is not being done to our standards. The children are becoming more disrespectful toward Richard and I and each other. They have started up with more backtalk when asked questions or told to do something.

Another area I have noticed is lack of first time obedience. I have slacked off on the enforcement of this. I think is my lack of enforcement is contributing to the back talk and disrespect.

I am planning on taking the first week or two of January after our break and having a “life skills” crash course. I will be re-instructing the children on the correct ways to clean things like the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. I will be reassigning chores. I will be enforcing first time, positive obedience. I will also be enforcing positive interactions with parents and each other, no more sassy talk or negative comments will be made toward each other. And I want them to hold me accountable too.

So the new year will be ushering in Behavior Boot Camp. I foresee interesting times ahead in the coming weeks.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Only in a Homeschool

Homeschool was put on hold Wednesday. Dad and the boys had Life Skills training that needed to be done. While pulling out our school books for the day, the book shelf collapsed. I think it is time to go through and move some of them out of here. It is hard to believe how many books you accumulate in just two years, I don’t want to think about how many I will have when it comes to an end in 15 years or so.

But I love the fact we do homeschool. In the midst of a “crisis” we can just switch gears and move on to something as important as learning how to reinforce shelves.

Next up the boys will be researching how to build stronger storage shelves. We will need the stronger shelves for both homeschool books and our pantry storage, so they will be killing two brides with one stone, as the saying goes.

Richard will teach them how to read the plans, how to calculate the amount and types of wooden boards needed. They will figure out how much hardware is needed. They will inventory the tools to make sure we have them all that we need. Then they will take a trip to the big box hardware stores to price the options and calculate the price per shelf.

After that is all done, they will calculate how many shelving units we will need for the homeschool, garage storage area, and the basement storage areas. Then we will all sit down and prioritize which shelves need to be built first based on the stability factors of the existing shelves. Once this is all done, we will lay out a plan for construction of the shelves based on the available cash flow.

This project will use Math, Reading, Life Skills, Personal Finance, Economics, Budgeting and PE. Not mention social skills and a couple of field trips. Sounds like a great unit study to me!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Advent Lesson Plans

I love the Advent and Christmas season. This is my 2nd year of homeschooling through the  holiday season. I began homeschooling in January of 2010. Last year we were all recovering from the horrors of the year, so we just heaved a sigh of relief and did the bare minimum.

In my years of researching how I wanted to live the liturgical year with my family, I dreamed of following Elizabeth Foss’s Advent and Christmas lessons using the Tomie de Paola books. This year I am doing it. I ordered most of the books. Some are out of print and hard to find, but I was able to find most of them at decent prices. I am still looking for The Lady of Guadalupe. If you find it at a good price please let me know.

My older ones will continue with their course of studies, and will be doing the family activities. For Faith Formation will be using Holy Heroes Advent Adventures.

I will be moving some of the books around to make sure they match up with Feast Days during Advent. I am also adding some stories from Tomie de Paola’s Book of Bible Stories. This is noted with a (B) next to the story. Another book is used that is called Hark! A Christmas Sampler. That is noted by an (H) next to the story title.

Week One: November 27 – December 3
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona and Jingle the Christmas Clown

Read An Angel Visits Mary (B)
Discuss the Annunciation and what it meant to Mary, Joseph and the world

Read Merry Christmas, Strega Nona.
Make pasta like Strega Nona
Make glitter glue star decorations
Make apple star prints on brown craft paper for gift wrap

Read Jingle, the Christmas Clown
Make a Gift Coupon for each member of the family. Illustrate them Tomie DePaola style
Make a gingerbread stable for Jingle’s animals. Use animal crackers.

Read The Legend of the Birds (H)
Make star cookies using the recipe in Jingle, The Christmas Clown.

Week 2: December 4 – December 10
The Country Christmas Angel, The Clown of God

Read The Gift of the Littlest Shepard (H). Compare the gift of the shepard with the gift of the juggler.

St. John Bosco could juggle. Research how this skilled helped his ministry.
Learn to juggle.

Read The Country Christmas Angel
Compare pictures of St. Nicholas with de Paola’s drawings. Draw your own pictures of St. Nicholas.

Week 3: December 11- December 17 (This will spill into Christmas week)
The Legend of the Poinsettia, The Night of Las Posadas, and Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi

Read about Christmas Plants in Hark! A Christmas Sampler.
Research Mexico. How is Christmas celebrated there.
Make a Holiday Flan
Learn about the Creche. Read Francis, The Poor Man of Assisi.
Make tissue paper flowers the traditional poinsettia colors of red, white, pink.
Describe Los Posadas.

Week 4: December 18 – December 24
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Jesus is Born (B)

Read Jesus is Born (B)
Discuss the meaning of God becoming man

Read Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Illustrate the mysteries of the rosary.
Read the Donkey’s Dream.
Read The Donkey’s Song (H)
Break out the calendar for the new year and write all the Marian Feasts on the calendar.
Read The Legend of the Rosemary (H)
Make rosemary candles

Weeks 5 and 6: December 25 – January 6
The Legend of Old Befana, The Three Wise Kings, Strega Nona’s Gift

Read The Littlest Camel (H)
Read Babushka (H)
Read The Legend of Old Befana
Read Strega Nona’s Gift
Read The Three Wise Kings
Learn all the verses to We Three Kings
Make stars from translucent paper to hang in the windows.
On January 6th, leave a little gift at a neighbor’s door with a note signed “Old Befana”
Make cardboard Crowns, decorate with jewels as you memorize Bible verses.
Make a King cake with treasures baked into it. Serve with wassail punch.

Have you made your Advent plans yet?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Spring is springing!

The weather is fabulous here! The rain has FINALLY left the area and we have had sun and warm (actually HOT, think 85 degrees) temperatures this week. Of course that makes life interesting at the zoo. The kiddos do not want to sit down and focus on their work; they want to be outside running around. Can’t say I blame them.

I am going to revamp the schedule and on good days give them all a couple of “recesses” throughout the day. One of my greatest joys all the way through middle school was getting the break, two to three times a day for recess. In our school system if the children get ONE 20 minute break day in elementary school, they are lucky. That was one of the reasons I brought the children home. I want them to enjoy life rather than being cooped up in building all day on nice days. What better way to enjoy spring, except by being out there in it.

I still struggle with meeting the expectation of making sure they are progressing. I figure as long as they are working daily on the basics, they are progressing. Throw in science, history and art at least once a week each and we are good. Lord knows when Patrick was in school and struggling all he was doing was reading and math. He would have is regular classes and then be pulled out for “remediation.” He also had an after school reading program. No wonder by the time he got home he was D.O.N.E!  And honestly, he wasn’t progressing there.  He has made more progress the past year than he had in four years in the “box” school.

A wonderful lady on my Catholic Moms board made a point when I mentioned my struggles there. She told me: Homeschool exists for the family, not the family for the homeschool. I strive to remember that daily. We homeschool for the benefit of the entire family, we don’t have to do school at home. I keep repeating this when I get caught up in the “but homeschool isn’t done” mode.

Pack up your books kids and head outside. I will call you in for dinner!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Tumultuous Thursday

Wednesday was a horribly busy day here, most of it spent out of the house at various doctor appointments. I dislike those days. I didn’t even attempt to do the laundry because I didn’t have a chunk of time at home to even make sure a load was completed.

For those of you who don’t know I am a big fan of the follow it though method of laundry. I won’t start a load unless I know I can complete all the stages: wash, dry, fold and put away. That way I never wind up with a mountain of clean clothes sitting somewhere. That to me is an invitation to quickly become a pile of dirty laundry.

So Thursday will be a great day to try and get caught up. We are expecting the rements of Tropical Storm Nicole to hit. It looks like a lot of rain and wind with some possible flash flooding in certain areas will be hitting here tomorrow morning and through the afternoon. So I will have time to catch up on the laundry and figure out my main level organizational plan and maybe, just maybe try to get a start on it.

The upstairs is looking good. I am enforcing an evening room clean up after dinner so the children’s rooms are staying neat. The master bedroom is no longer a dumping ground. I have assigned each child a day to wipe down the bathrooms so the never get to the point of gross. I am pleased that the upstairs is functioning wonderfully.

Now I need to transfer that concept to the main floor. My nemesis remains the buffet. As much as I promise myself that I won’t let it get out of hand, within two months it is back to overflowing with papers to be filed, junk mail, and other “stuff.” Not to mention it is now the homeschooling hub so a lot of activity goes on around there daily. It is a work in progress to figure out what will work for us.

Here is hoping I can get something figures out that will work for us. You all have a wonderful dry day!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

It is S-L-O-W-L-Y getting better.

The stomach bug is slowly working its way out of the house. Thursday night Abby and Marian had it the worst. Last night and today Emma had a relapse, which is not surprising since she had a very light case of it earlier.

Tomorrow I take Liz back to school. I am praying that we stay well enough to get her back to campus without a mishap. She is looking forward to getting back to a routine. She will be taking five courses this semester. I am sure she will have an intereting adjustment to that course load.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the rest of my children are home from school. It is the end of the second quarter, so the teachers all have two days student free for teacher work days. Whatever.

I am sure it will be interesting trying to Patrick to do his work. Think I will use a bribe of the Wii for everyone. If Patrick isn’t give enough quiet time to get his work done they don’t get to go on it. If he doesn’t concentrate enough to buckle down and get it done, then he won’t go on it. I think we will just do the basics of Language Arts and Math. That will make it a bit easier for all.

Have a blessed Sunday.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Homeschooling family now….

The 1st week of the new year and it was definately interesting.

First off we are getting into the homeschooling routine. We finally brought Patrick home. He continued to struggle in school and not succeed. He was getting frustrated and so were we. So his official last day was December 23rd. We actually started homeschooling over the break at his request.

We are still settling in, but so far it is going well.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Changes a coming….

This as definately been a mixed up week. Monday and Tuesday were snow days, meaning the children were off from school. Everyone one was betting Wednesday would be too. But nope, the idiots at the Board of Education decided to have a 2 hour delay on the last day before Christmas break. Why? What learning was done? I doubt very little. Oh the fourth grade classes HAD to take thier math test today. Gee I wonder what the scores will be?

Given my disenchantment with the public school system and the whole special education process we have a big change happening. We are bringing Patrick home! Since all the fourth grade was doing today was a math test, I kept him home. I dropped off the required paperwork. So as of today Patrick is a home school student. While they others were off, we were starting to work. I must say that so far it has been easy. We have three days under our belt, so I am sure it will get tougher.

So today we dropped the bombshell on the school and Patrick said good bye to all of his teachers and friends without a tear. I am so thankful for that. So now we join the ranks of a homeschooling family, not quite how I would like it (I would love for all my children to be home) but it is a start!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome