Our sweet baby girl finally arrived the end of July! She was a bit "late" but worth the wait. I had typed up the looong birth story but don't really feel like doing the edits to put out in the public domain. (If any of my friends are really interested I can share with you.)
Three weeks in and we are all still adjusting. I realized I am in the new mom haze today when I got the youngest two napping and big kid playing on my Kindle and I was faced with what to do with my "free time." Do I a.) shower... so very needed b.) nap... also needed or c.) eat something. Well if you've ever been a mama nursing a newborn you know I chose c. Eating wins! I might squeeze in a shower too but sadly a nap just won't fit.
People keep asking how I'm doing with three. Honestly? Some days are better than others. So far it is harder going from 2 to 3 than it was to go from 1 to 2. My middle kid is still very "two" in his actions and he needs more hands-on parenting than I feel I can give at times. The older one is better but he has his moments too. He is just newly 6yo so it's not like he's super grown up either. But hey, everything is a phase with kids so I know things will change again (and again and again). I'll find a new normal at some point here.
I have also been in planning mode for the new school year. First grade for my 6yo and some pre-school for my (almost) 3yo. I have put together a board on Pinterest for all the Charlotte Mason Style resources I have been collecting. Sigh. There are almost too many homeschool choices these days! I have an idea of what I want to cover this year but still am less than confident about how it will come together. I suspect I will feel something like this the beginning of every school year though.
My kids are super cute and funny and I generally like being with them. On we go!
Well we survived our first "official" year of homeschool! It really was an easy transition from the pre-k things we did the previous year. We just added a bit more structure and specific programs for math and handwriting. My two main goals this year were to get W started reading and writing. I am really happy with the progress he made this year. He can do copywork and write his name now. He still needs some more phonics instruction but he knows lots of sight words and does pretty well with the simple BOB books.
I really enjoyed the curriculum we chose. We completed (most of) Five in a Row Vol. 1 and part of Vol. 2. Reading these classic picture books with the boys was really fun. It surprised me that some of the books I thought they would love got a lukewarm reaction, but some I wasn't sure about were big hits. (Ping!) All the (free) extension activities on Homeschool Share and various homeschool blogs made it easy. There were so many great ideas to choose from.
I like this scripture memory system. We didn't get through many verses so far but I am definitely going to continue to use this from here on out.
Starfall.com was a favorite with both boys. I used it as an incentive to get through our seatwork. Once W finished they could play on there for 30 minutes or so. I paid for the full access version of the site. They have lots of great phonics and math activities among other educational games and songs.
Mostly I enjoyed the flexibility that homeschoolilng afforded us this year. We didn't do "school" (meaning seatwork) everyday but we did hit about 4 days a week on average with our basics. Sometimes we could fill in on Saturday if we missed a day. Nature class, story time and other activities outside of the home rounded things out. Reading and learning are a part of our everyday life regardless of what is on the lesson plan!
What didn't work...
Keeping the 2yo occupied was a real challenge! And when he was occupied with busy bags or whatnot, the other always wanted to be doing what the little one was. I am hoping that next year he will either be able to do some simple workbook pages or entertain himself for that period of time when W needs 1-on-1 instruction.
Me getting sick. Sick mama = Chaos
Circle time, while a good idea, didn't seem to jive with the 5yo. I liked the routine of starting our school time with some hymns and songs, but it didn't last past the first quarter of the year. Will have to tweak this next year.
And for Next Year...
Still pondering this one. I would like to join some sort of support group or co-op for the social aspect, but my feelings on co-ops are a whole 'nother post. While I love the Charlotte Mason style, I am a bit overwhelmed by all the reading and narration that is required for the year 1 plans. We are only half way through FIAR Vol. 2 so I might continue with that while slowly adding in some more CM principles. I will continue with the math and handwriting programs. I have heard great things about Explode the Code phonics workbooks so they will likely be added in as well. My grand plans of continuing regular instruction until baby #3 is born (EDD 7/7!!!) have been put aside this month. The nice weather and my crazy active boys have had us out and about most mornings. It's been beach, berry picking, playdates, park, children's museum and repeat!
I love being a mama to two crazy wonderful little boys. Baby girl is due 7/7/12. I love living near the Jersey Shore. (No, not that one.) I love creating, learning and getting my hands dirty. Thanks for visiting my little corner of the WWW!