Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Our 2008 Christmas wet really well yesterday. The girls had tons of fun opening their gifts from Santa. Maggie enjoyed tearing paper. That was her thing. Today the girls are just sitting back and enjoying their school free day and playing with all their toys. We'll be starting back with school on the 29th unfortunatly because in Feburary I'll be going to Cincinnati with Maggie for surgery and visits with some of their specialists so dad is going to be taking over the school stuff while I am gone but I sure would like to get as much done as I can so we don't get to far behind. Our summer this year is reserved for Philidelphia when we go to the VACTERL Conference. We are going to use that time to vacation too. This year Marilyn is studying American history and so this is a great opportunity to show the girls some real American history.
The girls got a lot of great presents from grandma and grandpa as well. Those presents are sitting up at the farm since everything was just a sheet of ice yesterday and since our parking lot is so far from our apartment it would of been impossible to bring it up. But with a Christmas miracle tomorrow is going to hit to a balmy 65 degrees. I just wish it would stay like that for the rest of the winter. Hope everyone enjoys the pictures , warning.. a few scary pictures of me. I did not have a good night's sleep due to Maggie not feeling well. She had kept me up all night long. So I felt awful getting up at 8 am.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thinking about Next Year

Can you believe that its only the middle of the school year and I'm already thinking of what we will be doing for school next year? I can't believe it either but I am. I have been really considering homeschooling my oldest two on my own next year. They are definitley getting burnt out from taking the PSSA's. They just cringe when they hear the word even. My oldest is begging to be homeschooled without a cyber for next year so I have talked it over with Tim and I've really been thinking about it and we just may take the plunge. Katie isn't so sure. She thinks she might want to go with Agora but with all the problems and strange changes that are occuring I don't think we will go that route. If she wants to use K12 like her third sister then I may go with PAVCS or some other K12 school. But not Agora. Unfortunatley the school is just burning kids out and I don't want that. I do though feel that Katie will like being homeschooled on her own.
I do need the break of schooling at home. You ask , what is the difference? There is a big difference. With homeschooling you can use your own curriculum, take the time that you need to learn concepts, and just enjoy learning. With schooling at home you are basically bringing a public school in your home, and its just more demanding. We have to keep plugging along wether they get it or not. Of course I know one isn't really any easier then the other. Homeschooling in Pennsylvania requires a lot of paperwork on my part. Keeping portfolios, doing evaluations, keeping Physical Education logs. So I would be trading the ease of the cyberschool keeping all that paperwork for me versus to having to do it myself next year. But if this helps keep the love of learning for my girls , that's what we will do.
I haven't decided if I will keep Hannah in K12 yet. I just may and do it as long as it works for her. So far K12 seems to be working really well for Hannah. I wish I could purchase it myself but it is WAYYYY to expensive. Totally out of our budget. So I will need to use a cyberschool in order to use K12. At this point I feel as long as its not broke with Hannah we'll stick with it until it doesn't work for her or if I get burnt out. Which ever one comes first.

I haven't yet set a curriculum for Marilyn and Katie yet. Other then I know I want to use something a little more self paced. Something that doesn't require to much prep time or very little. Something they can use on their own and come to me if they have any questions. So I have boiled it down to Christian Light and Ace School of Tomorrow. I think I may use both curriculums and add in some great living books to read. Of course this isn't all set in stone. This is just what sounds really, really good to me at the moment. Actually I wish I could do this all right now. Because I'm really burnt out myself plus we have to go to Cincinnati in Feburary and the thought of having to drag all these books and computers with us just makes me feel tired thinking about it.
While I'm typing here I'm asking the girls if that sounds like a good plan and they definitley think so themselves. Sounds good to me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Tot Box

Maggie has been enjoying Tot School quite a bit. I have found quite a few wonderful websites along the way to give me more ideas and to help create some things that would be much cheaper then if I bought them. Child Care Land has alot of free printables on their website for preschoolers. Including number cards, file folder games, printable table mats and more. I decided to print some lacing cards and laminated them with packaging tape. Yes, you heard that right. Packaging tape. I have found it alot less expensive and just as durable to use as regular contact and laminating paper.
So began Tot Box. Tot Box is our wonderful items I bring out when I am doing school with Maggie's older sisters. This keeps her busy for a little while and for the most part. In her Tot Box I added in the two Tot Books that I have made. Then her lacing cards , traceable sheets which again I laminated with packaging tape and we use Washable crayons. The sheets I found where from Just and . We experimented with dry erase marker but that was way to messy. Also in her box I included her unifix cubes. Maggie loves to make lots and lots of towers and some paper along with her crayons that we bought at Once Upon a Child. They are neat as they are triangular in shape. Her file folder games are included and her Color Forms that someone from our homeschool group gave us. She loves the Color Forms. I plan on adding more items to her Tot Box but this is what we have so far, and I think we may just need a bigger box. But for now Maggie is enjoying all these fun items in her box.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas For VACTERL

Since this is the wonderful holiday season it definitley is the time for learning to give then to recieve.
Right now a friend of a VACTERL family is running in a marathon in Dallas and she will be giving all donated monies to the VACTERL Network. This is such a wonderful gift as the VACTERL Network is such a wonderful family resource. Every other year families from all over the world (literally) get together and talk and chat and compare notes. Its a wonderful three days to get to feel like your finally not alone in the world and your surrounded by people who totally understand what you go through.
Children with VACTERL are like snowflakes. Each and every single one of them have different health problems. But the one thing that we all do have in common is we understand what it is like to deal with multiple medical things.
So in the spirit of the season please stop on over and donate as much or as little as you would like. It started off being for just our friend's little boy but it has turned into so much more.
Again all money donated will go to the VACTERL Network and all monies will be used to make next year's conference possible and hopefully will keep the prices down to a minimum so that everyone
who wants to be there can be.

Click on VACTERL Marathon to donate now!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Japan Stick book and Hannah's Sentence Book

Thought I would share a few pictures of our Japan stickbook that we made this week and Hannah's sentence book. These two items followed the K12 curriculum.
For our Japan stick book this is what we used :
1. The cover is cardstock with a red circle traced from an old DVD.

2. The first page is an outline map of the country of Japan. We had gotten this off of ABC Teach .

3. The second page I drew a mountain and had Hannah cut it out herself and we pasted some white paper on the top for snow. This is Mt. Fugji!

4.The third page I coped from Homeschoolshare from their Chose a Country Lapbook. I used the Famous Artist Hotdog book , The Weather Cone Pocket, and the Capital Matchbook and Graphic.

5. Page 4 is our Crayola Kimono girl and a small hotdog book with clip art of different things found in a Japanese home ( shijo, futon, tea table).

6. Page 5 is a cut out of the Bullet Train (Shinkensan) and the three modes of transportation in Japan ( bike, kago, rickshaw).

7. Page 6 is a Japanese Tea Party invitation and I cut out a picture of the girls having a Japanese tea party. Hannah was dressed up in her "kimono" made from bed sheets and they sat on the floor and had a fun tea party.
Also on that page I printed clip art of a Bento (Japanese lunch box) and had Hannah draw on the inside of what she would put in her Bento box. Then again from Homeschoolshare's Chose a Country lapbook use their recipe holder and copied a recipe for Nikujaga ( Meat and Potatoes ) from Kids Web Japan

8. Page 7 I cut and pasted an image ( I googled it) of the Japanese alphabet. Cut it out , laminated it and stapled it to the top of the page. We then copied a shape book and wrote Hannah's
name in Japanese ( and wrote a small book of all the Japanese numbers and their characters and I had Hannah write each word ( 1 ichi, 2 ni, etc).

9. Page 8 I copied a bunch of clip art and we made a collage of the different sports played in Japan. We read on the Kids Web Japan website about the different sports and I had Hannah paste them in her book.

10. Last but not least is the Samauri coloring sheet. Hannah colored that and we pasted it on the last page. ( )

In the end this was a fun book to make and it was hard to give up because it turned out so nice. But hey , we can always make another one and I'm sure Hannah's teacher will really like this.

I also made a cute little book with Hannah's sentence assignment. I had her write her sentences for each picture that I had in her book and then cut and pasted them into the book. I took a photo of Hannah and used Microsoft word art to make the title of the book.

I made this by cutting a file folder in half and then tracing on construction paper the outline of the pages and glueing them on to have a nice colorful background. I used the other half of the file folder to go inside the book and I used Elmer's Craft Bond Spray Adhesive. I took a paper towel and cut that in half and put it on both sides and sprayed a small amount in the middle of the book and held the other half down until the new pages stuck to the book.

Hope these ideas stem new ones for all of you.