Friday, December 23, 2011

Gratitude Not Attitude

From Pre-Thanksgiving

Holidays are always very special, but extremely hectic for me. Its a time where I can share with my family a great meal. I always work too hard, this time of year especially. Most often I take for granted that I'm very lucky to have the ability to wake up to the people I love every day. Instead of sitting down and appreciating the company of my family, I run around making sure there is an abundance of food, and things are clean. I process and can all through summer and fall, I over do the holiday meals. I forget to sit down, and rarely sleep. I am working on writing my cookbook, (again) I HAVE to keep up with Neo-Homesteading. With homeschooling, potty training, doctors visits and housework.... I am just teetering on bat shit crazy. 


Although Riley's homeschooling isn't without hiccups, overall he is happier and kinder than most kids I know. Without a doubt he will not be bullied, he will not have a substandard education. As selfish as it may sound, I truly feel under valued. Not long ago I made the mistake of asking Riley what he would eat if I were to die tomorrow. With a glimmer in his eye he said CORN DOGS! (As if he were anticipating the moment.) I very often wonder if everything I do actually matters? Why not just give them the corn dogs and chicken nuggets they want? So I created an activity that encouraged everyone to show gratitude instead of attitude. Make paper your place mats and encourage everyone to write 10 things they are thankful for. Sharing with my family my stories and meals is a way I'm trying to share with them my "10 things" every day. To them I feel I have to force the subject but it is worthwhile. I was surprised to find out that both Stephen and Riley really do appreciate the things I do. They both included things like family, home cooked food, raw milk and of course me! 

It kills me a little each day to work myself to the bone, so while most people are setting resolutions to lose weight, or quit this or that. I am telling myself that next year I will try to relax more. My lack of patience doesn't help anyone, the clean floor doesn't make my kids feel loved and the date and raisin cookies no one eats, well they sure don't help me out in the "appreciated" department. If I were more patient and calm, we would probably all be happier. So needless to say this week and next, I'm chilling out. Riley has limited "schoolwork" and the bulk of my housework and writing will be done with limits attached. Stephens Genius Idea: Work for -x- amount of time and sit the F* down. What an idea! I'm looking forward to not doing dishes at 1 am.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Your a Mean one... Mr.Grinch-


Homeschooling has been a continuous struggle. Every day feels like walking a mile up hill on nails. I'd like to say things have gotten easier but for every great day we have, there are 4 that suck twice as bad. The holidays have been crazy. We welcomed Kimchi, a 12 week old elf-sphynx kitten to the family. In retrospect I probably didn't need one more thing on my plate with homeschooling and potty training, but he has definitely brought sunshine to our world. Riley is a very bright young man, his major flaw being his iron will. Under no circumstance will he be respectful, and at no point is he willing to adhere to any structure. 

Mini Mr. Grinch

Essentially he has become my Mr. Grinch. I say I love you, he say's "that's lame." I understand that eight is the beginning of a difficult age bracket. With homeschooling, his happiness is my burden, and mine alone. I try, try, try. I cry, cry, cry. Every single day I wake up and sing to him, (You are my sunshine!) every day I'm faced with a sour puss with a grumpy face. It breaks my heart, but although I'm typically fairly self-defeating I'm trying. I know that homeschooling is going to not only give him the best attention he can get, but it allows him to not deal with the public school drama. Frankly speaking, from our previous experience I doubt I could pay them a million dollars to even think about tolerating him. These people are paid to deal with kids but rarely treat them as children at all. He's my "problem," and I realize this. It's the way it should be. Too many people send their kids off expecting the schools to turn them into well adjusted adults. Honestly schools have become institutions where dreams, happiness and personality go to die. (insert rant here.)  I love him dearly but his angry ways are killing me. 

This is what "hard work" looks like. 

When he's not  deliberately trying to be mean he is a really delightful and beautiful soul. He's nurturing, caring and absolutely funny. Although his humor is often entirely inappropriate, I can live with it. Quite often his dark humor shows a sign of intelligence. We are about half way through the curriculum we got from the school. I'm thinking I might buy some first grade work books as filler to make his second grade work seem less heavy. Last week we were set back with a nasty flu, so far I'm the only one who's been un-phased by it. (knock on wood) Riley was in the ER getting an IV drip, last year the poor kid had pneumonia, the year before tubes were put in. 

Every Momma knows, when you want to get something done... Leave Bait. 

Every day I see homeschooling blogs that seem to all paint the prettiest picture. Happy, healthy, non grumpy kids that are just dying to learn. Although I can't avoid thinking the grass is so much greener, I'd like to think there is a huge benefit to having such a willful child. The bright side of the dark side is that one day maybe my willful child may grow to be a willful adult that can make a change. Being different in the face of adversity has done well for me. I'm pretty happy being pessimistic, intelligent and out of the ordinary. 


Am I "happy?" No, not by normal standards. My glass is, and probably always will be half empty, but it gives me the drive to hope for a glass that is full. Day after day I ask myself this: Is he happy? Would he be happier doing something else? The answer is always the same. I know without a doubt that this is the right choice. Homeschooling both of my boys will result in a better education because they are getting one on one care, and they are not being faced with bullies. (young and old) The answer to their hyperactivity will never be to shove a pill down their throats, and I will never point and laugh and call them fat, pimpled, stinky or dumb. They are given the opportunity to think freely. Raising free thinking individuals is hard, VERY hard. Trying to put them into a little box of "should be," just doesn't work out for anyone. Would I prefer Riley took the stick out of his ass? ABSOLUTELY, but being a Grinch.... I guess I can live with it. Not that I have a choice.. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

1st Field Trip: Lehigh Valley Zoo (Smart Fun!)




This is LITERALLY the only picture I got that wasn't a blur. 


Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

Today in celebration of Riley's birthday we had our very first "homeschooling field trip." Yesterday was his 8th birthday and I gave him a day off. We've had good days, we've had bad. Overall homeschooling is one day at a time. You would think year two we wouldn't still have so many speed bumps but Riley is about as stubborn as they come. Today was a really nice change of pace. Chaotic, but fun. We trekked down to the Lehigh Valley Zoo. The drive was a bit long, (an hour and a half) only made longer by a pit stop due to Connor throwing up all over himself, and a detour...and of course some traffic. Thankfully Momma's a pro and packed a change of clothes. We got there just in time to see the penguins get fed! Penguins being Riley's favorite animal he was thrilled to see them wobble here and there. Although we really went to see the penguins the highlights of the day were scattered. The lorikeets in a small quiet setting was really nice. Riley was able to experience them without a huge crowd and limited chaos, sort of. We gave Riley his little nectar cup and as the chubby, jolly little birds popped all over him he proceeded to squeal, panic and run.  A scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchock's "the birds", only much, much more comical. (In the mean time Daddy had one try to move into his hair and pick his pockets) Then there was "The Scratcher". Momma why is that kangaroo scratching his *^&$*, (Riley why do you scratch your *@%#^*?) Oh, well is it male or female. (It's scratching its *$&##^$*)... Oh. Goofy crazy goats, and a really enthusiastic ostrich rounded out the fun. Although it was chilly we spent almost 2 hours peacefully visiting the exhibits. We've been to Columbus zoo many times, and although its great fun and lots to see, the crowds can be a bit of a burden. (especially for Riley who can not hear well) This zoo was small, clean and I wasn't paranoid that my kids would run off and end up in someones basement. Can't wait to visit again when its a little warmer. 

Lehigh Valley Zoo Website: http://www.lvzoo.org/
 SCHNECKSVILLE, PA 18078 | PHONE (610) 799-4171

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, and neither was our curriculum.

Today marks our very first day for the 2011-2012 school year. Our house is a construction zone, everything is a mess but none the less, today was Riley's first day of second grade. We began working on review material, going over long vowels, math and some other general reading and writing. Going over a lot of what we did last year will probably take at least a few weeks. In general the bulk of Elementary school work seems to be re-doing the same subjects over and over, adding a little bit of material each year. Getting back into the groove of things will probably take some time. There's a lack of patience, and once again resistance is lurking. Every day with Riley undoubtedly will be at least mildly difficult. I've never known anyone other than myself to be so stubborn and difficult. Knowing his personality well, I know that I can't expect a change over night. We're building one day at a time. I imagine it will take years before he is ready and able to just absorb what I'm saying, and even then I have no doubt he will still disagree for the sake of disagreeing. (not that I know anyone like that...) My goal is not to shake him into submission, I don't expect overnight success, but for this year I want to simply convince him that respecting the process will pay off. Eventually the voice of reason will speak to him and maybe, possibly he will embrace it. Until that day I remind myself "Rome was not built in a day." 
My curriculum was not built in a day either. Starting towards the end of last year I began putting stuff together. I returned our first grade material and picked up our second grade Math and English from the public school. I submitted our portfolio and then? I immediately started looking here and there for additional work books and reading material. We are fortunate enough to have a lot of things lingering here and there. I've accumulated a lot of books over the years even before we started homeschooling. I had a lot of material around from when I was a kid, friends have given us things, and I've purchased some hard to find items. Reading at home whether you home school or not is important. Only parents can build a proper foundation to  a child's character. They learn the most important things from you whether your shooting for that or not. (Like when my two year old swears, its not because he heard it somewhere else.) So with Riley in mind building our curriculum became combining practical with functional. Some work books are busy work, some are real heavy. I've found that with Riley if I give him new material, or overwhelming material all the time then he just goes AWOL. So this is it, year two begins. Wish us Luck! 
Following is what we are doing for Riley's Second grade school year. I have come up with a combination of material that we borrowed from the school as well as workbooks and materials we have purchased, printed or downloaded ourselves. We are not religiously affiliated or following any specific program. Our "curriculum" is a hodge podge of this and that, our reading list grows as we go. These are some of the products we are using this year.

Second Grade Curriculum
Scott Foresman- Reading
enVision- Math

Smart Alec- Reading Comprehension Grade 2 (purchased at Five Below)
Smart Alec- Math word Problems Grade 2 (purchased at Five Below)

Monday, July 25, 2011

One year down- PA Home Education Portfolio (First Grade)


Summer has flown by, any other summer hasn't had near as much significance for our family as this one. We've been out of town for family emergencies, we've had our ear infections, we've gone through the essentials of summer chaos and more importantly, this year was our very first summer off from homeschooling. I feel like a kid again, the anticipation of the school break! No long days of arguing, no days of working on school stuff at 9 at night (because we spent the day running necessary errands), no early mornings fussing over school plans...just good old fashioned summer vacation. With that said, obviously we made it through our first year of home education.We had our very first home school evaluation, our first portfolio and our first approved review. Some days it seemed to really go by slowly and painfully, other days seemed to pass before I knew it. Riley truly is thriving best at home and he's a million times happier, he's a totally different kid. 

Unfortunately, I've come to realize that most of the difficulties of homeschooling involve the paperwork. That seems to be life, dealing with the government is always the worst of it. It's not really a huge deal but it is stressful for me to have these expectations and it can be a pain to document things so thoroughly. Its the paperwork that intimidated me the most in the beginning and its the red tape that continues to frustrate me today. The only benefit of this mess is that we're SUPPOSED to have  textbooks and curriculum provided free of charge. Although I would gladly give it up if they'd give me back my tax dollars, I'm currently dealing with the school district about what they are choosing to lend. Legislation says they owe it to me, they're saying this district does not actually use text books for social studies, science, history etc. Its baffling that law dictates "appropriate education" with an extensive subject list, but they don't have books? I guess we'll see. With that said I did compose Riley's portfolio for the year, it was emailed to the school district as a PDF file, (easy peasy!) and we received our approved review from the superintendents office. Score! The bulk of the portfolio follows, hopefully it is useful for someone who may be wondering about what they need to do for a "state approved" portfolio. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Patriots Blood is the seed of Freedoms Tree - Memorial Day



Today is memorial day, today is a day meant to commemorate the fallen soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we as Americans often take for granted. We are the "entitled" nation that often forgets how we became free in the first place. From the revolutionary war that declared us to be free people, to the world wars, Vietnam and even the war we are still fighting today... our liberties and freedoms have come at a great cost. Freedom is not free, in fact freedom is quite the opposite. The cost is not monetary, it is far more significant and absolutely valueless. The cost is life itself, the cost of our liberties is measured by a vast number of lives who have been lost or affected by the ravages of our wars. 

More often these days I feel like our most significant holidays have become commercialized and twisted into something that devalues the true meaning of the day. This day has become an official "beginning" of summer and cookouts. It represents to most simply a day off from work,  barbecues, swimming and leisure. However great it may be that summer is finally here, it is important that we appreciate our friends and loved ones, but also we absolutely can not forget the true meaning of this day. In countless houses across this nation, families are gathering mourning the loss of loved ones, servicemen who died serving our country. Many families are still missing loved ones who have not returned from over seas, because they are still sacrificing their own liberties so that we may sit here with our hot dogs and beer. 

Being a military brat, I have a devout appreciation for those who stand up and are willing to serve our nation. Although I may not agree with the agenda's and purpose of these wars, American men and women, our soldiers have stood united to protect us. They are standing their ground and serving their country because it is their job. They are men and women with minds of their own that signed up to protect and serve, regardless of their marching orders they do as they are told because it is their duty to honor and obey. Today and most days I spend a great amount of time teaching my children about the value of freedom and what sacrifices are made so that we may be different from other countries. We've discussed in detail incidents like the Tiananmen Square massacre, and how in many places across the globe simply speaking out or standing your ground protesting something you believe in, is grounds to be brutally murdered. This day is a day to give thanks to those who have protected us, it is a day to be whole-heartedly grateful for what we have. Today is about remembering every one of our fallen soldiers, every man and woman who served this nation for a greater good, every child who lost a parent, for every soldier who remembers a brother or sister they lost in combat. I urge everyone to reach out and educate your children about what today really means. Today is a day to give thanks to all of those who have served our country. Thank You! 

"The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree. " 
- Thomas Campbell





Arlo Guthrie, When A soldier Makes It Home

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Patriots are Men Of Action: Forgetting Our Rights, Losing Our Freedoms, teaching the next generation to think for themselves.

Things have been insane around here. I really was hoping to regularly update however sometimes like with schooling and everything else "planned," life just gets in the way. Day to day I'm often just struggling not to go insane. We are doing our work regularly, some days are just easier than others. Riley is doing absolutely wonderful though. We have off and on points. One week he's a complete head case, the next he sits and shows absolutely insane improvements. He's reading and writing with great improvement and some days he has the most miraculous light bulb moments. I can not be more proud of him. He's thriving and doing so wonderful, day after day he impresses me.  I completed the homeschooling portfolio and had it evaluated by a state certified teacher, the next step is actually submitting it to the school district. I was lucky to have a decent evaluator, she seemed really  nice and down to earth. That alone was a great comfort because frankly I'm increasingly infuriated  by this entire process. Its sad that we pay among the highest taxes in the nation and I not only have to pay for an evaluator, but I also have to purchase all of the curriculum. Its an outrage that the government charges people such ridiculous taxes in the first place, the fact that I have to pay, pay, pay and jump through flaming hoops on top of it just pisses me off. 

I feel absolutely violated by the government more and more each day, and I know other people do as well. I've always felt that the two things you never air publicly are your opinions of religion and politics. Its like calling someones kid ugly, you just don't want to insult something so personal. I've kind of had enough with that though. I think that this new wave of government is destroying what used to be a great country. Communists. We once stood as a united country that stood for the right to be different and now we're bending everyone over and robbing them blind. Practically numbering our population to make them look alike, think alike, walk, talk and eat alike. Everyones pushing socialism because it makes sense on paper. The idea of everyone living and loving in a happy healthy world sounds great, but where does this money come from? It comes from taxes and is just ridiculous to me that I'm supposed to bend over for it. I was raised to be an individual and I find that cause and effect is a life lesson every child should learn. You work so that you may live, working hard and having whats yours taken from you is awfully unfair and even children get that. You earn your allowance, Here's $5. Now I'm taking 50% of it and giving it to that kid over there... "but he didn't clean my room, I did". Yup, thats taxes buddy. Being a single income family the laws really do not favor us. We choose to have a traditional family, I chose to be with my children over working and I can't help but to feel I'm being punished for doing what I feel is the right thing. I'm educating my children at home in spite of the challenges, over coming the challenges is a learning experience for us all and hopefully it will only make us stronger as a family. 

Our forefathers would be outraged at what this country has become, its a disgrace to what this country once represented. Look at us now...  "Shared Prosperity", warantless searches?  The taxes we're paying for what? The FDA to try to outlaw people eating raw meat? To pay for people who don't even want to bother trying to get a job? Or to the increasing debt that they just keep pushing? When I'm in debt I don't go and extend my credit limit...I stop spending. It seems like common sense but I guess D.C didn't learn that lesson, they have magical wands they wave that makes it all better. Oh no wait, they just keep increasing taxes because they don't know how to control themselves. Where will it end? It seems more and more that our "freedoms" are taken for granted and becoming non-existent. We can not consume un-pastuerized milk but we can eat fast food that comes from a factory slaughter house that fortifies meat with ammonia. (Not only is it gross, but its whats in school lunches) We can not do many things however, we can inject botulism into our face. Its all just ridiculous and ass backwards.

"Patriots are men of action"
I can only hope that more and more people feel the same way, we need a revolution to fix this mess and all the "change". Our kids deserve to live in the America that was intended, not this wreckage. Shared prosperity is not teaching our children to stand up and be responsible, its teaching them that they can have someone else pay their way if they fall on their face. Charity is good in theory but forced charity is theft. The idea of socialism is just bad for teaching life lessons . Government needs to butt out, and put my wallet down. I honestly do not give two -ishes about half the stuff people stand up and complain about, but my wallet and my belly... I deserve the right to eat and live. "My Rights End Where Your Nose Begins." I really don't care what others do as long as it does not affect me or my families well being. At what point will people say "you don't have the right to steal from me", or "you do not have the right to tell me what I put into my body." Or how about the right to privacy? Warantless searches? Where will they stop? Its scary. If people don't stand up for it, we'll all continue to be prisoners of someone elses ridiculous agenda's. The moral of the story is that more and more each day  I'm very glad that my kids are here with me. As much as I'd like to say "believe because I say so" I make an honest effort to really encourage them to think for themselves and form their own opinions. When Riley was in public school I felt like he was invisible and treated like a number, discouraged from being different and thinking differently, encouraged to be just like everyone else. I'm very glad that we have the opportunity to teach our children to be individuals, maybe one day he can change the world and make it a better place... Maybe.

"The heart of a fool is in his mouth, the mouth of a wise man is in his heart"- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, February 28, 2011

Super Riley!

Riley did a complete and total 180 this weekend at soccer. The first 10 minutes of his game he started fiddling but with enough positive reinforcement and Momma screaming like a lunatic he seemed to just click. I think a lot of his issues with the games is the chaos and the noise. He cant really hear any one thing clearly and its just a cluster of energy. He's played goalie before but he never really focused. This week his goal was right near where I was sitting so I was able to sort of coach him through the entire game. LOOK HERE THEY COME! STOP DANCING! (seriously he was doing the sixties go-go cage girl.) All of the sudden something just clicked. That ball came barrelling at him and he dove on it. He saved 12/15 goals and manned up. 

I'm so proud, I'm not thrilled he got kicked in the face (obviously) but the fact that he took it without blinking really showed that he was into the game, finally. Afterwards I could not tell him enough how proud I was. We praised him and as a result he said "you know momma? I'm proud of myself too! You we're right!" We took him to lunch and he got himself a dragon ball z game. Although I guess this could be seen as bribing I was just so amazed at how great he did. Last week his team got spanked in an awful way. It was seriously tragic. No one knows that score because it was just THAT bad. This week he had a sub coach that addressed Riley at his level and I think that also made a big difference. He doesn't focus very well in stressful situations, having someone look him in the eye makes all the difference. The team lost by only 1 point. Next week might be good, maybe they'll actually win? Not that it matters but maybe it will make them feel good. I never really understood the soccer mom thing. I kind of get it. Its nice to see a piece of you do good. Its easy to get caught up in the moment, most of all its so nice to see your kid doing something, being good at it and having fun. Now hopefully we can find something else for him to do for physical activity. Unfortunately I don't think public school sports allow homeschoolers to participate. When I was a kid it was township, which is a much better set up. Then again there was just an abundance of kids that participated. Now days it seems to not be so popular.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fraboom Online Childrens Museum


Although my husband mentioned Frabooms launch a bit ago just last night we finally got around to checking it out. Fraboom is an online Childrens Museum designed to really encourage a childs learning through play. The website hosts live classes where children can interact with teachers live, and there's plenty of games interactive books and videos. Previously we've been using Linux based programs for Math and Typing, there's really only two and Riley's not a huge fan. Fraboom is by far the best online source of creative learning I've found. So far our biggest complaint is that things are "under construction". You can use the site for free or pay a $5.99 per month membership. Although we paid the membership I'm not noticing much difference as of yet. Riley spent over two hours playing last night and even with classes cancelled today I look forward to seeing how this innovative source evolves.

The Big Q?- Socializing


One thing that homeschooling has changed drastically is Riley's outgoing behavior. Although I know socializing is the question every homeschooler faces, one of the primary reasons we sent Riley to regular school was because we felt he needed to be around other kids to develop in a normal manner. His hearing impairment has caused speech abnormalities and his hearing loss affects a lot of his behaviors directly. (Even though we pay some of the nations highest school taxes we are not allowed to make use of speech therapy unless he attends the school.) Being in crowds, loud places or in stressful situations he simply dissolves from the inside out. He acts out in a negative manner or simply just starts "tweaking" and babbling almost incoherently. When other kids treat him poorly instead of ignoring it he reacts instantly. Self-control is not his strength and although most kids his age are developing their ability to scheme and lie Riley is still pretty naiive and oblivious. They stole from him, bullied him and tormented him.

We enrolled him in YMCA indoor soccer because at one point he begged, begged, begged to do it. He is a very active child who thrives best when physical restrictions are not demanded. So self-discipline and activity seemed like a naturally great decision. After the very first soccer practice we realized uh-oh...he hates this. Week after week he's complaining and frustrated that "team sports would be better if there weren't other people." Sometimes when we go to the library he does good with other kids but mostly he just seems to be genuinely disinterested in other people now. Its almost as if going to school everyone treated him like he was a pimple that needed popping, now that he feels happy and safe theres a withdraw occurring. Why talk to other people if they're just going to be mean? I can't say that I disagree with him at all, which unfortunately is probably part of the problem. I can relate 100%, I genuinely dislike social interaction. As I get older people seem to only get ruder and louder. When interacting with other kids theres a concern Riley will offend them (or more likely their parents), or on the other hand they will give him an "education" I'm not wanting to explain away. Probably one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is getting rid of the unpleasant side effects of being around the diversity of character. Realizing that I'd dissolved all of the negative energy from coming into my home was possibly the biggest relief (aside from his release of stress and happiness). No more WHAT DID YOU SAY? ...WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT? THEY DID WHAT? Nope, thats all folks. Done.

I don't want him to be grown and feel like I've shielded him. I don't want the kid to feel like bubble boy, however at this very moment I have no solution and no reasonable answer in sight. Him and his brother are closer than ever, they play from dusk til dawn and are increasingly more in tune with one another's personalities. He does have a friend in the neighborhood he plays with once a week but is this enough? We don't live in a completely desolate location however there does not seem to be an abundance of resources for homeschoolers groups that don't involve signing up for a charter school. I guess it will play out on its own. What do other people do? Am I the only one who's freaking terrified of dealing with other parents? We're not really social butterflies naturally, I've not really had friends all of my life. I grew up half of my childhood in a military family. I would make a friend or two, and then move. As I became a teenager I was surrounded by really negative personalities that I escaped when I met my husband. Since then its been just me and my boys. Meeting new people really is not my strong suit. Women especially TERRIFY me, play-dates and micro-managing-mommy's just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. I could be wrong entirely, but I guess I'll just keep looking around. Best I can do right

Happy House Project


Each week we've been making an effort to have semi fun-schooling days.  We live in Pennsylvania so theres strict regulation on our homeschooling process. We have paperwork that needs to be pushed and requirements and deadlines to keep in mind. To make the week somewhat less boring we've started throwing in wild card days. We have 4 days a week that we do Language Arts- Reading and 10-14 worksheets, Math- 3 to 4 lessons or around 6 worksheets, Wild Card Lessons- Science, Health, History, art, music. (reading and art projects) In addition to the "work days" we have just naturally grown into the process of starting our day with educational shows and documentaries, theres additional reading for fun and computer time. As we ease into this process I'm finding more and more resources that are useful for us. Homeschooling has become an around the clock lifestyle that just happens to involve 4 days a week of a stricter schedule that includes paperwork. I've mentioned that I feel children should ALWAYS be learning about values and morals, every moment of every day a child's character is being developed, but in a big way I'm noticing that homeschooling has transformed learning into an all the time experience. When Riley was in Public school he wanted nothing to do with the things he was "learning". He was overwhelmed and being forced to try and keep pace with their strict routines. The kids were not even allowed to go to the bathroom. (I've heard so many stories of children pee-ing their pants because they were either too afraid to ask to go, or simply told no.) In the past week my son has actually asked for MORE reading. Being able to read things he finds interesting that are at his level has made every bit of change. Although we spent almost two weeks reading "Lilly can read" once he finally pressed on he was ready and able for the next lesson. He's no longer the weird kid who can't hear or talk right. His learning needs are being addressed and as a result I truly feel he's learning better than ever.


Well Last weeks Wild Card day was Health and Safety. We read seven books relating to emotions, safety and honorable characteristics. (stop, drop and roll. lets talk about keeping safe. peacefulness, respect, self-discipline. tolerance. little squarehead) We also went through the bathroom and kitchen and discussed grooming, bathroom rules and kitchen safety. For our project of the day we made our "happy houses" that included the key words we learned and developed a "happy place". What makes you happy? Who makes you Happy? It was another lesson on cause and effect, how do our actions relate to other peoples feelings. How can being compassionate make you a better or worse person? We discussed tolerance and differences in people. Why do people act negatively towards those who are different from them? Why do people feel they all have to be the same as everyone else? Is it ok to not like someone? 

The final "project for the day" was baking cookies. Cooking is chemistry too! It was a math lesson, safety lesson and a snack. We discussed wet and dry measure, irreversible change and the general rules of cooking and kitchen safety. Although I admit a good portion of the safety-day was explaining to Riley why its SO IMPORTANT to clean up after yourself and wash your hands and brush your teeth he seemed to not be annoyed by it and it worked. 

Happy House Project
Using construction paper we formed a front of the house that had windows with our happy words. On the reverse side we made lists of people and things that make us happy. You can make any sort of model, 3D or even just draw a picture.

Vocabulary:
Health (brush your teeth, wash your hands, eat well)
compassion (consider how your actions make others feel, THE GOLDEN RULE)
confidence
courage
self-discipline (self-control, how does learning improve your character)
tolerance 
respect (self-respect, respecting others and animals)
peacefulness
happiness

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Land Preservation Project


I've been a bit backed up on documenting our projects as we go. I "mean to" get around to it but don't. Its not crucial I suppose, but I'm really trying to accurately depict our homeschooling journey and how things are going. Its really me writing as I go for my own personal voyage into what I hope one day will seem like the obvious peaceful journey that has produced happy, well adjusted children. Because frankly every day still seems like a shot in the dark. 

There's really no hiding the fact that I am a bit of a tree-hugger, so a lot of our science currently is "natural science". It seems to be age appropriate and it goes across the lines for all first grade curriculum. One thing I've found difficult about homescholing from a secular perspective is the science. Specifically speaking, I don't like modified science curriculum, and I also don't subject to the idea that children only need to learn natural sciences. It's strictly a personal opinion (Of course everything about homeschooling is personal opinion/preference.) I feel that schooling should be supplemented with religion, not altered by it. Morals, values and maybe even religion are something our children should be learning every moment of every day. Developing a child's character content is the single most important lesson he or she will ever learn. I do want my kids to learn about a variety of things that are age appropriate and finding lessons is a pain. I'm really just making stuff up as I go.


My family has a love for nature and over the years we've discussed many things relating to "Neo-Homesteading". We talk about why its healthier to live more sustainably, how its better for our bodies and how its lower impact for the environment to try to live locally. We frequent pick your own farms and preserve and store our own produce/meat as much as possible. The relation of earth to table I feel is a CRUCIAL lesson, now days especially. In the age of processed, chemically altered, hormonally engineered sterilized food products, the idea of real food seems to be entirely foreign. Although this is a controversial opinion I do feel that theres a fine line between eco-friendly and eco-nazi. "Green" is the new key phrase for a modern day cult following. The PETA generation is pretty much an overwhelming force that I feel thrives on trying to guilt people into being liberal zombies.


Teaching Riley about "environmentalists" has become something thats handled gently per say. For this project I wanted needed to introduce the importance of our impact on our surroundings. It was a lesson on cause and effect. Although Riley specifically has been well educated on chemicals and engineered-preservative packed food, I really don't want him beaten into submission. I don't want to be "that mommy." I don't want to be the nut bag that explains with vigor why my kid thinks toilet paper is evil. I struggle some days more than others but I don't want these lessons to be scare-tactics. I want him to naturally think about his cause and its effect on others and/or his surroundings. I'm a firm believer that I am a free-thinking individual and my children deserve the right to form thoughts and opinions of their own. I do find it to be a beautiful thing when my son says "that has germs" or "this taste better without chemicals" but I'm willing to accept that its normal for kids to like nuclear orange boxed macaroni. Its not a mark upon my success as a mother.


Reading books, looking at pictures and remembering the parks we've visited, and the foods we've eaten is really a great experience to share with the family. It may seem silly but describe an apple tree as a natural resource that may no longer exist if not respected and a kid will relate it to, Wait no more apple juice? That would suck. If a child shakes hands with the farmer that allowed us to pick his fruit it becomes real to them that food does not just magically appear somewhere and that we should not take anything for granted.
Land Preservation Project- 
Reading, we borrowed multiple books from the library. Land preservation, trees and our environment were the general topics of discussion. I was able to find a few worksheets around the net. Some from http://www.education.com and some other sources I cant quite remember. Our reading list is constantly growing I keep meaning to update it in my Curriculum tab. (and I will soon) 

Vocabulary words-
Preserve: To protect or keep something in its natural state
environmentalist: A person who believes that land and resources should be preserved.
Pollution: contamination (to make dirty) of water, soil or air by harmful chemicals. Pollution is caused by factories, cars and other sources. 
Atmosphere: chemical gases that surround a planet
Recycling: processing used things into new products to reduce the use of fresh material 
Natural Resources: land or raw materials provided by nature
National Parks: A reserve of protected natural, or semi-natural land owned by the government set aside for animal protection or human recreation.

Tree Facts-
Tree's help make rain
Trees provide oxygen for us to breathe
Tree's can provide food
Trees can be used to make various materials from paper, houses or even medicine. 
Trees provide shelter for animals. 
Tree's provide shade and reduce energy use. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Walking

 

For a few weeks now I've been meaning to get out and about. There were a few days where it was 40-60 degrees and I was just kicking myself thinking "if only" I felt like getting out and about. The melting snow resulted in ankle deep mud and snowy days just seemed too freakin cold. Either way I was relatively sure that although I spent $25 for Connors new boots, he would not be thrilled to wear them. 


Today was a day that I was simply determined to get out. I had my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday and since then I've been burrowing like a hermit. (much worse than usual.) Not only do I have my typical anti-social desire to be left alone, but I truly feel like a dying animal that just needs to just retreat to die. With life still going on around us, schooling has been full force. No matter how I'm feeling, the show must go on. Some days are tragedies others comedies... some days I simply ask myself how the hell did I get myself into this? (and why, oh WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING PANTS!?)  Generally speaking we aren't very active in the winter. I figured if it wasn't today, then when? Connor was probably going to end up screaming and peeved, he may or may not try to take off his shoes during the middle of our walk but hopefully... we would all get some fresh air and make it home alive.


Natural Science Lesson: Animal Prints (Turkey's)
Within the past few weeks we've been frequented by plenty of these local visitors, turkey's. We've been able to take note of them each time and discuss them here and there. Out on our walk we were able to take notes on our local critters. We were able to note how animals act in winter. Natural Science is probably the easiest hands on Science for us to learn since we are surrounded by so much wildlife. There are plenty of deer, black bears and for whatever reason this year there's an abundance of turkeys. We've also got a lot of  black squirrels in certain spots, which are probably my favorite. (besides bats.)

During one PBS special we learned that birds are living dinosaurs, or the closest living thing to a dinosaur. So during our walks we can point out "the dinosaurs" and talk about how they act. Why don't some of them migrate? (Answer: Some birds have adapted to their local habitat and don't need to migrate.) Then of course the obvious question... Why do we eat them, and why cant we eat those turkeys? (Note: There's no easy way to explain that they are probably super tasty but it is not the right season to get those turkeys. Momma doesn't feel like getting a fine.) Pointing out things like "wow that squirrel is really fat" may seem trivial but its a great opportunity to discuss how animals fatten up to keep warm. (much like momma and daddy, only for them its practical)


Every day we're loving and learning, even though some days I'm kicking myself thinking I did not do something perfect. I'm really amazed at how much Riley absorbs from day to day. It may not be a well planned routine of a-z scheduled learning but on good days he's actually genuinely interested ... well ,sometimes. I tell myself that not everything can be a winner. Not every single lesson will encourage a "hooray"! The lesson of our winter walk for me was that sometimes getting out of the "schedule" can be the best thing we do. It can't rain all the time right? I'm still learning to just deal with the day as it comes, and he learned about turkeys and fat black squirrels.

We've been watching documentaries and cartoons, as a result they don't associate "learning" with being bored and miserable. Frankly its also kind of leverage, If you do "x" and we can get to our fun activity. We still have days that doing his AM reading takes an hour, (for 6-7 pages) days like today however are treats. He's actually asking to read more.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kindly Welcoming February


All together this week was relatively peaceful. We had a few drama-blessed days , for the most part I'm keeping in mind that life will not stop being chaotic simply because I chose to homeschool. Life happens in between, during and after "school". Riley's had a few days where he's just told me to get bent, but for the most part I feel that this week was really great overall. Monday for science we read a few books about the solar system and to "act it out" we created a paper model solar system. (Take that pottery barn, I've got a solar system in my dining room. How not trendy we are!) He really seemed to take an honest interest in it and we had fun with it. 


For groundhog day we made little dirt cakes, kind of looks like monkeys, or just dirty little somethings? Not overly educational, I was hoping for a bit more of an ohhhh, I get it! Instead Riley barely showed interest. "You mean a beaver predicts the weather? I thought that's what satellites do?" No, Riley its a groundhog and its just superstition. Super what? I guess honestly it was just a clever way to find an excuse to make sweets, all in all I thought it was cute. I got to make cupcakes which always makes me happy. 


A few of the other days were less than informative but we did cover our mandatory Language Arts and Math. We've been reading about the pilgrims for a while now, its something I truly find important.  I was able to visit Plymouth Plantation multiple times as a kid and its memories that have stuck with me. The basis that these people left their homeland, risked their lives and sacrificed creature comforts so they could be themselves is a great foundation for what he will be learning as we go. We started reading about George Washington and how he led our country to be free. The declaration of independence, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and President's day are things we're doing. The freedom to be an individual is very important to me. I don't want to traumatize him, but in time I want him to learn that the worlds always been at war with itself.  The American Revolutionary war I approached in a way that it was about freedom, not necessarily power. At some point the details will come into play but for right now I just want him to understand that freedom is important. 

Sometimes war is a result of the desire to be free, sometimes war is simply political and un-necessary. However it plays out I want him to appreciate that we have freedoms today because of people from the past that left the bread crumbs along the way. Also he's remembering men and women sacrifice their own lives today. I grew up in a military family and policy aside, I've always stood by our  forces. Human beings as a whole seem to have this inner desire to make everything the same. Religious wars, wars of race and now days  even teenagers seem to be at war with one another based on hair cuts and sneakers. This desire to force others to be the same is just not my thing. I've been ostracized for one reason or another for as long as I can remember. My boys need to learn that they are different just like everyone else. Differences should be respected and many of life's troubles simply may not exist if people learned to shut up and live and let live.

Next week we will probably start our Geography lessons and Pennsylvania History. We stared out the window and admired the winter weather a lot of this week. I planned on going for a winter walk, two days went by and it just never happened. Wishful thinking I guess. There's always next week.

Your rights end where my nose begins... The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

Solar System Project-  
Read books and discuss the solar system. Use construction paper to cut and design planets or paint spheres to make a mobile solar system. Hands on projects brings the subject to life and although its slightly "un-cool" to have a solar system in your living space there's a great deal of progress when a child can visualize and re-live a subject.  

Groundhog's Day Cupcakes- 
Discuss groundhog's day and then make dirt cakes. You can use any brownie or chocolate cake recipe with a buttercream frosting. Mix cookie crumbs into the frosting and decorate little "groundhog critter" faces with cookies for ears and candies for facial features.  

The Recipe I used is Here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Case of an Urgency Plan

Yesterday, where do I begin? Yesterday was absolutely our worst day yet. Friday afternoon Riley decided that doing his PM assignments was out of the question. We were having company over and with that rattling through his brain he was not able to focus. Over the weekend I decided that YMCA soccer was enough for him to do and that we all needed and deserved a break. (so we did not make up Friday's missed work over the weekend) Monday comes along and he goes bonkers. All hell breaks lose. It took two hours just to get him to the table and 6 1/2 hours to complete his days reading and written assignments. Usually he can do this in about 3 hours. There was crying, screaming and nasty words all around. I felt so defeated and quite honestly devoured by a 7 year old. It was awful but the good news is, its over and today is a new day. 

Riley is the type of kid that just pushes your buttons just to see if it works. Lately I feel that he's really testing the waters to see how far he can push me. "If I push her far enough can I get out of my work?" I'm not the most patient person in the universe and I fully accept this. I've said from the beginning this is about me learning as much as it is about him learning. We're both a work in progress I suppose. He's made major, major improvements since the homeschool transition. He's wonderful and as a whole he's entirely a new person. A wonderful and delightful kid most of the time. Now that he's not as stressed out its like a miracle how loving and sweet he can be.  He is genuinely interested in  learning about things and he's willing and capable to change his behavior often by me simply telling him no. 

At times he makes up his mind that he will not do anything. These are the times  its quite honestly like arguing with myself. (Stubborn + stubborn = chaos) I continue to explain to him that working with me at home 4-5 hours a day is the alternative to having 8-9 hour days PLUS HOMEWORK.  (Not to mention the fact that he's treated like a person here. He can pee, eat and talk when he wants to.) His only responsibilities are to do his school work, clean up and be respectful. Most days so far we've had a pretty good time of it. We wake up, follow our routine and even though there is a good deal of the mental pushing and pulling everything works out. Some days Riley will not even write his name though. I kind of feel like as he's relaxed and acted more civilized I've been treating him more as an "equal". I really hate the fact that every time I give him an inch he walks all over me. I hate to refer to monkey behavior but quite honestly I feel as if my child demands to be treated like a monkey. I'd really like to know... why do we have to sling shit  every single morning just to establish that I am the dominant monkey? 

At what point will this no longer be a daily tug of war? After the storm calmed I really felt the urge to get out and about. Under normal circumstances I probably would have just said forget the arguing. We're going for a walk. I'd considered going to the store but we have limited resources and not only do we have no money to spend at the store, but I also have damaged tires we can not afford to replace right now. Seeing as its been 15 below, walking is not quite an option. We really need to come up with an in case of emergency plan. In case of an urgency to do something else....anything else but school work. Grab finger paints? ...mmm dirty, indoors? no way. Bake cookies? Thought about it but then I'd end up making them, eating them and having to clean up. I'd really like to develop and grow to a point where instead of having an anxiety attack there's a backup. A logical well planned solution. Anything but bickering.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why, Oh, Why? Sweet potato Pie! (The cycle of Pie)


Almost all first grade curriculum's and objective lists suggest teaching your first grader about plant growth and "processes". The most common I've seen in book after book is about the growth of a frog from tadpole to amphibian. There's one worksheet after another that instructs the child to label the example story in order of how it occurred from 1-5. Well that's no fun now is it? How about we take a story from our reading book and apply that  to the food cycle. How about to the cycle of pie! From plant to pie? Now that's a story I can dig my teeth into. 


Riley and I lately have been having the discussion of food and what happens to people who do not cook? Although adorable that he thinks he will "starve to death" without his momma to cook for him. I wanted to take this project a little further. We've been frequenting pick your owns for years pumpkins, strawberries, apples and blueberries are the staples in this house. He's seen me grow pumpkins (only to have the deer eat them), he's helped make jam too but he's never really fully grasped the concept of this was a seed a farmer planted, it became a plant and then produce that we purchased or picked. With this book Why, oh, Why? Sweet Potato Pie! By Anne Rockwell we were able to practice reading as well as have a hands on natural science project. We learned that sweet potatoes are grown, picked, cooked, and last but not least eaten. Although we are Northern folk and sweet potatoes are somewhat  foreign, Riley quickly warmed up to this project when he realized  that pie was involved. This project helped with the question "Where does my food come from". It also helped with his reading and his desire to... eat pie.

Link To The Neo-Homesteading.com Recipe 

Why, Oh, Why? Sweet Potato Pie! 
(By Anne Rockwell)
From everything I've seen this is totally out of print. I located it in a curriculum book we are borrowing from the public school. Below is the story. It can be sang or read. We started off reading it a few times and then sang it to a rhythm.

Pa picks sweet potatoes one by one.
Why, Oh, Why? Sweet potato pie!

Grandma bakes them till they're done.
Why, Oh, Why? Sweet potato Pie!

Gramps stops chopping.
Ma stops washing.
Tom stops swimming.
Why, Oh, Why?
Sis stops swinging. 
Bob starts singing.

Come and get my sweet potato pie!
Everybody coming one by one.
Why, Oh, Why?
Sweet Potato Pie!

Everybody eating till there's none.
My, Oh, My. 
Sweet Potato Pie!

Words to Practice- sweet, by, stop, oh, them, swing, eat, sing, why

Monday, January 17, 2011

Social Studies Vocabulary- Happiness

hap·pi·ness (noun)

1. good fortune : prosperity
a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy  
b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience 

Project: 
Dialogue-  
This can be written or printed or you could simply ask your child the questions.

What is Happiness? 
Happiness "Senses"-
Happiness looks like: 
Happiness tastes like:
Happiness feels like: 
Happiness sounds like:
Happiness smells like: 



Riley's answers:
What is Happiness? Happiness is a feeling that makes you feel good. Happiness is when momma is silly. 
Happiness looks like: Connor 
Happiness tastes like: Hot dogs
Happiness feels like: Vibration (yes that's really what he said)
Happiness sounds like: Santa
Happiness smells like: Cookies

Riley's Synonyms or "Happy Feeling" words-
excited, sharing, smile, proud, silly

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. 
-Mark Twain

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- Abraham Lincoln

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. 
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sing a Song-  
If your Happy and you Know it, lyrics and chords

Social Studies Vocabulary- Habitat

hab·i·tat (noun)

1: The place where something is commonly found
a : the place or environment where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives and grows  
b : the typical place of residence of a person or a group

Project: 
For a hands on project I asked Riley to form a "habitat" of some sort. We discussed the vocabulary word and what it meant.  My initial "lesson plan" was that we would choose an animal. It sounded ideal at least. He had a plan of his own however, he came up with making an environment or habitat for his halo action figures. "Jorge and Emile like to be outside." So he developed a theory as to what their ideal habitat is. How does the weather effect their behavior? Do they have predators? etc. Although somewhat silly it helped him acknowledge the vocabulary word in a way that was fun and interesting to him. It was a hands on arts and craft project that introduced a new vocabulary word.  

Dialogue-
What do they eat?
Where do they sleep?
How does the weather effect their Behavior? 
Do they Have predators? (If so what)

Other habitats might include- Barbie or Spongebob. Involving your childs favorite character or television personality is a way to teach them in a fun way.
 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who needs Friday?

For a while now I've always found Friday nights to be "The Night" of every week that I can finally kick off my shoes and let down my hair so to speak. The chaos of Monday through Friday with toting Riley to the bus stop, coming home, fighting with homework, make supper, wake up. Rinse and repeat. Well it was exhausting but something I've come across now days is that homeschooling is exactly that, schooling at home. Go figure eh? I'm essentially Riley's 24/7 Encyclopedia, this switch has just gone off inside of him and the world is all brand new to him. While I'm loving that he's thriving again, a real living breathing boy! I'm exhausted, my husband predicted it pretty much exactly because he knows "everything". I have outdone myself and worn myself down. I'm burnt out. 

Although tired I'm also excited. Lately I'm baffled at how wonderful my kids truly are. I've always known how wonderful they are because frankly they're mine. Don't we all think our kids are great? I'm not the  momma who thinks "oh man my kid is perfect  and does no wrong," but I have to admit most kids really freak me out. I was never one of those girls who spent their entire lives dreaming of being a mommy and a wife. I was the whoops I guess this isn't so bad, I guess we can get married momma & wife. Its a learning experience, I still feel the urge to lysol other peoples children and I have my own kids somewhat "trained" not to touch things I haven't sterilized. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've always loved my kids as-is.  I had no expectations of what was to be because I never really thought that far ahead.  There were so many days that Riley got himself in a world of trouble at school and I would cry just thinking to myself, how did this happen? why? What did I do wrong? Do I not love him enough? In the past few weeks I've not felt that way at all. It might sound selfish but as much as this was for Riley, now I feel loved too! I'm more scared and stressed but my wonderful little boy is back. Riley is becoming a whole new person. He has conversations with me and he says and does things just to be nice. 

Today was his first day of YMCA youth soccer and Riley did something he never ever did before... he acted shy. Riley has always been a strong and boisterous personality. He  demands attention and often gets it, but  not today. He was nervous and not aggressive or boisterous at all (ok well maybe a little). I'm not sure if its good or bad that he's turned in his wild card, but the fact that he's mellowing out is so relieving. All of these years the doctors and teachers have tried to force drugs on us and he's chilling out on his own! He still acts outrageous from time to time but overall he's so different. I've said it over and over but its so strange what just a month can do for a kid. With homeschooling, every day has become our Friday. Every morning we can wake up refreshed and happy just to be us. No shoes required.

Today was refreshing. It was the first day I felt like we were truly "off" since before Christmas. School is closed, ok? Yes, thanks. We had soccer, the grocery mart and then home. That was that. The week is over. I found the best off switch I could. A bath and some leftover Christmas Cookies. Everything was great until Connor found me. Which normally isn't too bad but this time... he learned how to turn on the shower and "blow bubbles" in the tub. (and I don't mean with his mouth) Better luck next time then maybe? Hopefully.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homeschool Day in the Life (SimpleHomeschool.net)

Simple Homeschool: Q & A Friday Tell us About Your Homeschool Day
Today I came across a post on simplehomeschool.net that really excited me. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts I've really been scratching my head wondering what most people do from day to day. I emailed some of the big ones on the homeschooling "blog scene", (soulemama,& pioneer woman) and so far there's been no response. I'm really honestly very curious not just about peoples curriculum but the real knitty gritty. What time do you get up? What's the "routine", is there a routine? Do you have a homeschooling room? How do you stay organized? So although I'm still a young blood I'd like to participate and make my first stab at a useful glimpse into the homeschoolling day in the life.

Today is actually our "12th" homeschooling day. Although we've been practicing since before the Christmas break its only been 12 days logged on our portfolio calendar. I do actually believe in the "un-schooling" philosophy that life itself should be a learning experience, however in addition to that I do also believe in  a somewhat classic structure. (Not only because I feel that kids need it, but also because of the homeschooling regulations in Pennsylvania.) Our homeschooling routine is still very sketchy and up in the air but we're working out the kinks  a little each day. Riley who is 7 is my "official homeschooler", he's a wild card. Some days he sits patiently and loves that he does not have to even get dressed. Other days he's fidgeting, staring at the ceiling and screaming that he's bored no matter what I offer up for him to do. Then there's Connor who is 2, he mostly just tags along on the average day. He patiently and willingly sits at our table coloring or staring at us and shoving cereal up his nose. Also he especially loves playing with my mason jars and blowing  raspberries. I'd like to think he's really dying to learn too, and sometimes I think he's trying but its really probably just because he wants to be where we are and doing what we do.

Yesterday was a very rewarding but full day for us.  It was THE BIG DAY. Yep this is it. We're officially homeschoolers.

  • We woke up around 9 or 10. We did our board time (weather and date) Then our AM school work, this is usually  his reading and English since thats what annoys Riley the most.
  • Went to his old public school picked up the books we are borrowing for his first grade school year. (They gave us a good deal of Reading and English and some math work books.)
  • Public Library- and picked up our library cards along with about 20 reference books (for history, science and health.) 
  • Grocery mart- While we were there Riley was our guidance through the store. He reminded me what coupons I had to use, he helped read the isle signs and most importantly his #1 job...He reminded me to not waste daddy's money.
  • Came home and did PM school work. This is usually Math and flash cards. 
  • I made supper, two suppers actually since Riley will not eat spicy foods.While I was making supper Riley and Connor played on the Wii.
  • I sort of, "kind of" cleaned up then we read a chapter for our history work and I played on the xbox with Riley for a bit. 
  • Computer time - Riley played math and typing games, and then I helped him with Gimp (the Linux equivalent to photoshop)
  • Last but not least by around midnight we finally tucked in for bed. 
Even while we were driving around town we talked about multiple things including the life and music of Johnny Cash (Riley's favorite). It was a good opportunity to discuss rhythm, morals and history. So it was a day packed with enrichment  even in the car he was curious and talkative. By the time its all said and done we went to bed too late and too tired. My house is a  total wreck, I'm a total wreck but it was a good day none the less, its been really satisfying learning about myself and my kids in a whole new way.