For those of you who use math worksheets for your children, I have recently discovered this free worksheet generator. I went looking because it’s difficult to find drill sheets for the +11 and +12 addition facts and this way I can create my own. They have quite a few different types of worksheets,and you can set your own parameters. I hope it’s helpful to some of you!
I’m working on getting our logs finished of our hours of schooling this year. I’m pretty sure the four oldest have enough hours for the year, and Katie is pretty close, but I still have to go back and back sure the kids got everything on their log sheets, add up the totals, etc. And I’m finding it quite helpful to visit the archives of my blog to jog my memory about various activities for each month. A nice serendipity.
This afternoon, we met up with Dad and Mom Smith and several families from our home school support group at nearby Shaw Nature Reserve. We’d been there once before, and thoroughly enjoyed our first taste of it this year, taking a close to 3 mile hike.
Also, Dad and Mom Smith bought us a family membership for our birthdays! The membership covers up to 10 adults (children 12 and under are free) and includes admission to Shaw, the Missouri Botanical Gardens (including the Children’s Gardens), and the Butterfly House. The part of it we will use the most is the admission to Shaw Nature Reserve. It’s about 15 minutes away from us now, and has so much to offer! But we’re looking forward to checking out some of the other spots, as we’ve lived in the St. Louis area for almost 9 years now and have never been to any of them. We’re also hoping to take some friends and family to enjoy some of these displays of God’s creation.
I just couldn’t pick a few pictures to post, so I’m embedding another slideshow. Just click on it to go to the album (where you can see large ones and/or download full size pics). Enjoy!
Here’s some digital “specimens” from our trip to Shaw Nature Reserve today. Click on the slideshow to get to the Picasa album.
Kolbi asked yesterday how I get all these projects done. My “I have no idea” answer got a little long for the comments section, so I thought I’d turn it into its own post.
Really, I have a lot of questions in this area myself.
I do honestly question sometimes, “how did I get all that done today?” Yesterday, for example… I mended a shirt for Jonathan, cleaned out the bottom of the pantry and brought in all the kitchen/pantry stuff that was still on our front porch, folded laundry, printed/”bound” part of a book for school, sorted/moved a bunch of wood outside, did two silhouettes, etc. And sometime in the late afternoon, my back totally spazzed on me and I’ve been able to move very little without pain ever since. So it’s not like it was a full day.
I also often feel overwhelmed with how much I have on my plate. Mt. Washmore is rarely conquered for more than 1 day out of every 2 weeks (and that just includes Jonathan’s and my laundry, along with towels/sheets/blankets). I have many many boxes left to unpack. My front porch is the picture of “white trash” living. We’re still behind on our homeschooling.
And I question my priorities. Do I really mother my children like I should? Do I spend too much time hiding in my room? Do I let words like “independence” and “responsibility” mask words like “laziness?” When it comes to homemaking, do I have my priorities straight… is it more important to have pretty stuff on my walls and improve my tablescaping skills? Or should I try harder to tackle the piles of stuff on my front porch? And in the bigger picture, do I truly hunger and thirst after the God of my salvation like I say I do? Does the way I spend my time reflect His priorities?
I don’t have answers to all those questions. And really, I’m okay with that. Life is a journey. I’m learning and growing, and my Shepard is infinitely patient and kind. He is also faithful, and He will complete the work He’s begun in me. Woot!
In the meantime, here are some of the things that are working in my favor right now…
Sometimes, I manage to multi-task. For instance, right now, Kate and Grace are beside me, using the dice to practice addition while they move their “guys” around the Jr. Monopoly board. There’s no goal, except to add and move, and they’re loving it.
Also, I try to instill as much independence/responsibility as I can. This comes in many forms. The children supposedly do their own laundry (once they’re old enough), though I still need to keep them on-task in this area, and I often drop the ball. The older four are divided into two teams that rotate dishes/clean-up responsibilities monthly. They generally fend for themselves for breakfast (I want to get better about providing simple and well-rounded food for them for breakfast), and often a couple of the older children put lunch together.
Way too often, though, I forget to multi-task and I forget to have the kids keep up with their end of things. So I just want to clarify that I am NOT Supermom/Superwife! I’m just a woman seeking to follow her Shepard, stumbling often, and always being picked back up. Because HE is the SuperHero. I fail, I fall, I wander. He comforts me, picks me up, and tracks me down when I get lost. And I am unspeakably thankful.
I have this tremendous sense of freedom and relief today. You see, yesterday afternoon, I finally caught up on my home schooling paperwork – woohoo! Logging hours is my bane, and I keep saying that someday I’ll stay on top of it through the school year and not have these weeks-long marathons in May and June where I go through papers that are months old, making sure they’re all recorded properly so that if we’re ever called to turn in our required paperwork, it will be ready.
Not all of the Blessings are completely done with school work for the year, but they are all going to do at least math throughout the summer months, and have scheduled reading time in the afternoon, which will catch up those that don’t have quite enough hours. So, for all intents and purposes, we are on summer break. Yay!
I have soo much to do that I have been setting aside, first for the busy-ness of the legislative session, then for the urgency of figuring out if we need to cramp in last minute hours of school.
Last night, I had a wonderful time sorting through my 3 big tubs of sewing and craft stuff. I was hoping to find some fabulous material for some window mistreatments. I didn’t find any, but I did get my tubs nicely organized, which I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while. We also had a blast looking through my Lord of the Rings quilt blocks, from a block swap I did several years ago. I even started thinking more seriously about putting some of them together, lol!
Then there’s all the writing and blogging that I’ve been wanting to do, the catching up with friends – including those I’ve recently discovered on Facebook (hi Merri!), the house organization, the planning for next school year, the enjoying the summer with my husband and children, etc. etc.
Yay for summer break!
This was our first year to participate in our area home school field day. I think all of us were glad we went – it was a great experience.
Here are some random shots…
Some of you have heard me state before that the one blight I see on Missouri homeschooling law (which is really one of the best in the country) is the logging requirement. It’s been my biggest struggle in homeschooling, though I think I’ve finally found a system that is helping me keep it under control.
At the beginning of May, I figured up the hours we had and realized that we had an unbelievable number of hours still needed for the younger two. I’ve been feeling totally overwhelmed with the idea of trying to work in these impossible hours of schooling during May and June, while I’m doing some serious nesting and will be having a baby.
Yesterday, I realized that I had logged almost no “non-core” hours for most of the year. So yesterday evening, while the guys played the great railroad game 1835, I reconstructed some of the non-core hours that are a part of our weekly life (like running around outside = PE; washing dishes/helping with dinner = Home Ec, etc). I found that I actually DO have enough hours for this year at this point – for all the required loggers. Woohoo!!!
So this week is going to turn into a wrap-up week, and then we will be off school until at least the beginning of July!! Praise the Lord!
Note to self for future use: Log the Non-Core hours from the beginning of the “school year” and you will have less stress!!