Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dual-purposing the playroom

Earlier this year we completed a much needed project. Turning my office into a playroom for the kids. I wasn't really using it anymore and our family room was being overrun with planes, trains and automobiles. It turned out awesome and the kids have enjoyed it immensely. However, it has started to become crowded with new toys, his/hers fold out sofa chairs, bean bags, MORE stuffed animals, etc. When I decided to use the playroom for some of the writing work and crafty fun of homeschooling, I knew some things would have to be moved out of the room, on the down-low.

So, today when Milli was sleeping and Optimus was swimming, I secretly moved a parking garage, a karaoke machine, a dora tent, and two plush animal rug things into the garage and I moved a few carefully selected, neglected toys to the garbage.

Let's hope they don't notice!

Now there's a table to sit at - moved from its hardly used spot in the family room

The calendar I bought from discountschoolsupply.com. That box coming in the mail was like Christmas! Just gotta get Superman to hang it up for me :)

Still don't know what to do with this little pile of, I don't know what to call it. Tiny playmobil pieces, a clay martian, and a crucifix. Just your typical playroom

Still plenty of toys - and still WAY too many stuffed animals

Here is the organization I'd like to present to you...

and this....

But then I'd have to bring the camera down a couple inches to reveal this...

And show you a pic of my bookcases that store my biblical commentaries, old forgotten things, and now my homeschooling supplies. It ain't pretty, but it's functional

I cried. And then I got busy.

So yesterday morning was a bit of a challenge. I was in an email conversation with two good friends who are homeschooling their kids also. These are really the only two friends whose blogs I will probably read when it comes to homeschooling (since we've already established that I get overwhelmed looking at too many blogs). Well, for whatever reason, I was feeling particularly anxious about starting homeschooling next week, most likely because I hadn't even GLANCED at the teacher's guide. As my friends were talking about how they scheduled their entire year out, or how they were supplementing with this curriculum or that, or how they were trying to bridge the gap and teach two kids at once - my brain went on tilt.


You know like when the pinball machine just freezes because the ball got jammed somewhere? That was my brain.

Because they are two of my very dearest friends, I had no problem telling them of my mindset.

Intro pity party:

"Honestly you guys I feel like you are out of my league... this is burying my brain... I'm not wired up like you guys... It's just now how I'm set up... I'm so behind I have no clue what a popsicle stick chart is... blah... blah... blah"

I was bummed.

It's amazing how Satan knows exactly when to push our insecurity buttons. I had just come off a high from speaking briefly in front of our entire church congregation for 3 services. The experience was great and I felt so affirmed and confident! Teaching and preaching is my gifting after all.

Less than 24 hours later, I'm almost in tears. Insecure about... teaching? Teaching? The very thing I did as a pastor over adults for a couple of years? The very ministry I feel called to? How did that happen?

Well my friends wouldn't have any of my attitude. As good friends do, one quickly offered to meet with me so we could talk about the curriculum and support each other. The other sent me this reply:

"I like that you are not wired like me :)

1 Corinthians 12:27-33

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

You have your own gifting and that will be evident in your homeschool. You are a gifted teacher. Love u, D."

Gotta love friends.

So yesterday I took the time to get familiar with the material and plan out the next few weeks. It was liberating to go through and take out what I knew wouldn't work, or what I felt was too much for kindergarten. As soon as I got my hands on it and could formulate a plan I started to feel much better. Then I had the opportunity to go for a walk with a third friend who just started homeschooling her two older children and it was an awesome opportunity to process all of my concerns and get some great insight and advice.

I'm telling you. Gotta love friends.

So tonight I have my encouragement/support meeting and tomorrow I will begin, for real.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Now I've gone and done it

I still can't believe it.

I bought a laminator.

Yes, you read it right. A laminator. I swear I never saw myself as a laminating type of gal. I still don't really buy that I am. But alas, I am the proud owner of one. I think the deciding factor was when I found out they were inexpensive and could be found at my friendly neighborhood Target. Oh, and I bought one of those sliding-cutty things too, that scrapbookers use (I presume because it was in the scrapbooking section). That has helped cutting out all sorts of letters and bits that will be used with my curriculum. By the way, I justified my succumbing to the pull of the laminator by rationalizing that I will need to preserve some of the teaching tools I am using with Noah so I can use them with Milli in 2 years.

I tested out my new toy tonight, reminding myself of how my husband is every time he gets a new apple product. I have to admit it was fun! However, I am realizing that while all the kids on my street are starting school tomorrow, I am still in the "gathering materials" stage. I better get a move on!

The cool sliding-cutty thing (I don't care too much what it's really called!)

Introducing...drumroll please.... the laminator

Prepping the pieces to laminate

Here they come!

Friday, August 12, 2011

When do I start?

I'm trying my hardest to remain stress-free as I plan to start my first year of homeschooling. Thankfully, it's kindergarten, and I don't need to worry about a specific amount of hours for the state or anything like that. However, everyone around me has started already, and I can't help but feel like I'm behind. I'm not, and it's really about whatever schedule I want to create, but I can't help but feel anxious about it!

I can already tell this is a lesson I will be learning over and over in this journey:

Don't compare yourself to everyone else
- just do what God has given YOU and YOUR kids.

I had planned on getting all of my supplies together last week, but 2 year old Milli came down with a horrendous virus that peaked at a 106.5 fever. It was ROUGH. Then I took Optimus for a day to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to get him out of the house and get us both away from the germs. Poor guy needed a break from all the sickness.

I have a "shopping cart" full of various items from discountschoolsupply.com - clay, pencils, stamps, writing sheets, etc. But I haven't ordered them yet. Hoping I will have everything ready over the next couple of weeks and ready to start in the beginning of September.

I don't know if anyone will ever read this blog, as I haven't shared it with anyone, but I think it will be helpful for me somehow. If you do come across it, please say hello!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Collecting materials

So I added to my growing stack of materials that are piling up for our first official day of homeschooling. I'm not sure when I'll start, probably sometime near the beginning of September. I can't believe it is only a month away!

Today I found some great stuff in the dollar section at Target. Alphabet letter stamps, dry-erase writing boards, a fun weather chart, and a cool addition tool. I also picked up a book on dinosaurs because I know we will be covering those in one of the weeks of the curriculum I'm going with.

For my 5 year old son's kindergarten year I have chosen to use My Father's World curriculum. I have one friend that used it for a year and loved it, and another friend that just started it. It is structured to be used every day I believe, but at the CHEA convention I attended they recommended that a kindergartener should have school three days a week for 45 minutes a day. And that 45 minutes should include a few breaks for playtime. They must know my son and his short attention span! This is one of the only bits of information that kept me from running out of the building that day. I can DO 45 minutes a day, 3 days a week. This gave me hope.

I love that this curriculum looks a the world from a Christian perspective and will teach my son at a very young age about God as the creator. I already teach him that on my own, but I think this will be cool.