Thursday, March 28, 2013

Only in the spring I find my kids riding their bikes, playing baseball, and riding the snowmobile all in the same day.

...only in the spring does the mud in the entry not bother me quite so much....the sun is shining, that keeps me happy :)

well, that and finding my 7 year old trying to clean everyone's mess up with paper towels.  I gave her a mop.  We were both grateful.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Leadership Training and our 7 yr old

Last night after dinner we had the usual "Who's going to clean up" question.  [We used to have a rotating schedule but we've temporarily deviated from it]
7 year old Elizabeth suggested she be in charge.
"Great!" said her 11 yr old brother, "that means YOU have to be at the sink."
"Not so, " said her father, "the person in charge gets to delegate.  That means she gets to decide who does what."
At first we were met with looks of fear.  Elizabeth having that kind of power over us?!
She looked at her oldest sister and said, "You go away.  You have college (homework)."  Then she asked her 15 yr old brother if he had homework to do.  When he said yes she freed him as well.  Then she told her 11 yr old brother to do the dishes and her 9 yr old brother to help with the table and sweep the floor."
She seemed very excited so my husband pointed out, "Remember.  You get to delegate.  But you are the one ultimately responsible for making sure everything is completed correctly and need to stick around until everyone is done."
Well, it worked out great.  Everyone did their chores without complaining....wondering aloud when they get to be in charge.  And Elizabeth was seen smiling, making one final sweep with a dishcloth before she was the last one out of the room.  I might have implement this system.  Nice to have someone else do the topside review :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pretty is in the eye of the 15 mo old beholder

Today I dressed Abigail in a little red sweatshirt with a walrus cross-stitched on the front.  It is certainly not a very feminine looking shirt...and I really love dressing my little girl in pinks and purples. 

But my Grandma (RIP) cross-stitched the walrus on this shirt years ago and gave it as a gift to one of her brothers.  I just felt I owed to her to have my little Abby wear it at least once.

Abby didn't seem to really notice.  But when my husband got home she ran to meet him at the door (as usual) and pointed to that little walrus and said, "Pretty!"

I'll have to make sure to dress her in that shirt at least once more very soon so I can get a picture of her with her pretty walrus. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A book/movie review by teens (one of which happens to be mine ;)

Hi all, I just wanted to put a plug out about a new blog my oldest daughter and her friend have created to share their reviews of some books and movies.

I don't want to spoil anything, but below you will find their first post.  I am only placing it here to help encourage you to check out their site.  Reading it just might cause you to click over there....

They are both avid readers and the oldest in their families.  People often go to them for book suggestions/ questions/ their opinion on age appropriateness of a book/ etc.  Maria Gianna has been my go to reader in this house for quite awhile.  I like the fact that the girls not only give a review but they also give their reasons why they deem it appropriate for certain ages.  Every family is different, and every child is different...therefore, they have given you some tools to help you choose whether or not something is appropriate for your child. 

As our kids get's hard to keep up with any pre-reading.  Especially those voracious readers!   Hopefully this helps!

Welcome to our (Maria Gianna and Stacy's) blog! We both are very strongly Catholic, and believe that our Faith and morals affect everything we do. We realize that it is often difficult to find morally acceptable media in our culture today, and would like to make it easier for parents and older teens to navigate their way through this dangerous jungle.
We would like to point out that we will be reviewing many forms of media with mature themes, and would like to warn parents of younger teens that this blog should probably not be viewed without parental supervision. We will try to keep everything as tame as possible, but cannot promise that the content here will always be age-appropriate.
We hope you find our reviews to be helpful! Please feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. Also, we do take suggestions for books and movies to review, but we cannot promise to review any piece of media that we have serious moral objections to.

Thank you!
~Maria Gianna and Stacy

P.S. Please forgive the fact that our Chesterton widget does not have a picture of Chesterton, but rather of George Washington. It is disappointing, but unfixable. This does not detract, however, from the awesomeness of Chesterton, nor does it negate the coolness of the widget.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The roles of the big kids

Henry (age 11) does most of the work with the chickens.  Others do help throughout the day by checking for eggs or bringing them table scraps...but when something needs to be done, it's Henry that we call on.  Usually Wyatt (9) helps him clean the coop.  He was sick. So this is Elizabeth (7) helping out.  She needed a little more direction from Henry but they got along very well and she did what she was asked to do.
Funny how the older kids just kind of slip into a role of their choosing.  Terese (13) enjoys cooking and makes most of our meals either by herself or with help from me or one of the other kids.  Either way, just before dinner, we usually find Terese in the kitchen helping out.
Nathan (15) has pretty much handled lawn work (with help) and snow removal (with help).  When it snows he's the one who gets outside and plows a path for Anna (18) to get out and off to college.  He doesn't do it alone (too much for one person) but he is the first one out and last one in.  And, I can count on him to make sure everything was done properly.  He's also the one to spearhead a major cleaning/reorganizing/let's get rid of stuff! plan.
Anna is mostly busy with college.  She does stop at the store and pick things up for me (though she's had a broken foot since early I try not to ask her).  She will also fill in when needed. 
We are trying to make sure all the kids are "trained" in on all jobs.  Everyone should know how to cook, clean, do laundry, etc.   But my teens (and my 11 yr old) have all found a niche they like.  And I love that.  They are helping out the family in an area they enjoy.  As long as they don't balk when asked to do something else I'm fine with them sticking to what they enjoy.  They are good at what they enjoy.
The rest are have their favorite jobs...but at this point they mostly do what I ask them to.  Their various skills are shining through though.  Wyatt did tell me one time, "Mom, your jobs in the house are really boring.  I like working in the garage with dad a lot more."  Yep, can't say that I blame him.  Washing the floors, folding laundry, dusting, etc.  those things just can't compete with rebuilding a lawn tractor :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We don't take snow days....we take fun days

I remember this quote from a homeschooling dad a couple years ago.

When my kids found out that many of the area schools were closed they asked if we get a snow day too.  I asked them..."is it going to be any harder for you to get to the schoolroom? "

OK, just so you don't think I am too mean here, they did get plenty of outside time this morning shoveling!  Recess and phy ed rolled into one!  And, we have a much lighter school load today.  They will get plenty of time to shovel and play in the snow, but they did do some school work as well.

Time for two quick prayers?

My 14 year old nephew/godson hit his head a couple of weeks ago while sledding and got a concussion.  He has been out of school per doctors orders now for 2 weeks.  Yesterday he was finally cleared to return to school half days this week and returns to the doc on Monday again.  I wonder if those Monday trips are the highlight of his week?!  His first day back?  Snow day!  Oh the irony!  And Friday they have off.  I hear he is very B.O.R.E.D.

Our 15 month old Abigail returns to the orthopedic surgeon for another hip dysplasia recheck next week.  Hopefully we can ditch the nighttime brace!   She used to not care, as long as I slipped it on after she fell asleep.  But lately she is finding it very annoying.  She even squirmed out of position in it one night and woke up with the straps still attached to her but the brace doing nothing.  Talent :) 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A few picture reasons why I love homeschooling

Disclaimer:  Sibling time and family time is not only found in homeschooling families.  I don't mean to imply that it isn't.  It's just that by nature of being together all day long...they get more time together.

Time for sibling relationships to flourish.  Henry is pretty good at drawing and Elizabeth really wants to learn.  The two got together and decided that he would give her drawing lessons.  They are both enjoying them.

Time for field trips.  Sometimes.  I am making more of an effort to take my 5 youngest on some short/ free field trips while my 8th and 9th graders are at classes at a local co-op one day a week.  It's harder for them to take time off, but we will include them on one or two trips this year.
And, our field trips have a three-fold purpose. 
  1. Education, at on this field trip they worked on identifying fish in a giant aquarium.
  2. An escape from cabin fever.  While the 4 kids pictured here have daily recess outside, 15 mo old Abigail and I do not.  That's her nap time and my time to help the older kids without interruptions.
  3. Family I harping on this?  I have seen the kids pair up differently, get excited to show a younger sibling something they found, etc.  Our last field trip was to a nature center and they took great joy in showing things to Abigail.  We will invite friends to some of our field trips, that's just plain fun!  But we will definitely keep some for just us.

The following picture really has nothing to do with the joys of homeschooling.   I just thought it was neat.  I have no problem giving my children an A+ for a perfect score.  But I have always told them that there are no  A+'s  in handwriting because there is always room for improvement - it's pretty hard to turn in a perfect handwriting page.  But, Henry consistently turns in pages like the this one.  Yes, if you look closely you can tell which line he copied and which is freehand.  But they are pretty close!