Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Days

Having 4 kids six and under is challenging. Some days challenging is an understatement, others I feel like I actually might have things together. One of those days happened recently. The baby slept, I was able to get out my camera and document some of this...I felt renewed.

We have been having some really nice days in Arkansas lately. It's still warm enough to enjoy being outside but not totally hot. One afternoon we decided to take school outside on a blanket in the back yard. 

Jackson works so much better when he's not being forced to sit down. If he can stand, hop, lay down, basically anything to keep from sitting completely still, he is much better off. 

We had a major victory this week. Jackson read for the first time! At the advice of a friend we ordered a set of Bob books. These are a set of 12 easy readers. They start off with a couple of book containing only 3 letters. We've been working on letter sounds for several weeks and I really wanted to see if he could apply that in a practical way. He did great! He read two of the books. It was slow but he was so proud of himself. I got to watch that light bulb come in inside of him. He gained a lot of confidence in himself too. 

It is the coolest thing to be able to watch your kid, especially one that has struggled, get something.

It gave me a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to homeschooling. It's amazing how God does things like that. I think it was the day before that I had a mini breakdown to Jordan about being a horrible parent/ teacher, our kids aren't going to learn anything kind of deal. Those are hard moments, especially when you know God has called you to do this but you totally feel inadequate. 
I also think it's God's way to get me to depend on him. He brings me to situations where I know I can't continue on without Him. It's pretty cool to sit back and watch how it has unfolded now that I'm on the other side of it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bread Making

My parents sold their house earlier this year. One of the things I got to claim from their downsizing was a bread maker. I've made some bread here and there in the oven, but the hours of keeping it warm enough to rise is not easy to do in the winter. It's also a big mess to clean up, etc...  I decided to get the bread maker off the shelf and try a recipe. 

I found a recipe for Simple White Bread online. It had honey in it, so I thought it would be a good appetizer/dinner bread. We usually have crescent rolls with most meals, but I started figuring up what I was spending on that every month and it came out to around $20...Just on have with dinner. Craziness.

The first loaf I made was with all-purpose flour. I didn't have any bread flour and wanted to see if it was worth it before I bought a different kind of flour. It turned out good, but it didn't rise quite as much. It was delicious though. After I got Jordan's stamp of approval (he's a meat and bread with every meal kind of guy), I bought some bread flour and bread machine yeast.

The best thing about bread makers is that you throw all the ingredients in and let it go. It does the mixing, rising and baking all in the same place without even having the check on it. And a bonus, it makes me feel super domestic without really doing much. The house also smells amazing for about 3 hours.

I'm still looking for a good bread recipe for sandwich bread- this one is a little too sweet. I also want to find a dough recipe for biscuits. Preferably one that tastes like pillsbury because that's the only thing the rest of my family loves. I'm more of a fan of floury homemade biscuits, but finding something to make everyone happy is a little harder. If you have any bread machine recipes for those, please send them my way!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Homeschool Year

We started our homeschool year about 4 weeks ago. This is our 2nd year of homeschooling. We decided it would be best if Jackson did two years of Kindergarten. Ava is starting her first year of Pre-K. She just turned 3 so I expect she will do two years of that.

I have been spending most of my time on Jackson and Ava.

Jackson has been doing so great this year! It's a lot of fun to watch him learn new things. This is the first year he has really been interested and able to focus. I made a daily schedule and also a schedule for the year. At the pace we're going we should be able to get through Kindergarten and 1st grade by next Summer. 

The best part is being able to spend the days with them and experience new things. I love that we can do school outside, go on field trips and set our own schedule. 

I have a lot of people ask about our curriculum. We started out with Abeka last year. It did not fit with Jackson's learning style AT ALL. He hates worksheets and I felt like it moved too fast for him. We started over this year with Explode the Code for reading/phonics and Apologia Science- Astronomy. For math we are doing a series of workbooks from Harcourt Math. I had planned on doing Math U See but found the Harcourt curriculum at a yard sale. I loved it and thought it would give Jackson a good review of patterns, numbers and counting. After we got into it I decided to order 3 more sets of workbooks for the other kids as they get older. 

I may have jumped the gun a little but since they were only $7.64 I couldn't complain. 
We will still start Math U See as soon as he finishes these workbooks.

We signed Ava up for the HIPPY program. It is through the local school district. A person from their office comes to our house once per week to give us a new packet for the week. Each one has 5 lessons to do that week. She is so eager to learn and I thought this would be a great way for her to get involved. She has been learning to write her name and started learning her colors and shapes. 

It's been a good last couple of weeks. Since I made a schedule for the day that has really helped make sure we get everything done. The kids seem to be enjoying it so far too.

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