Didn't have the best week ever, but we're still hangin in. We are making some progress with Delaney's anxiety issues, but not hearing anything new about the school issues. I'm waiting to hear some more from her teacher before I decide whether to leave her in the K12 program or not. Sadie needed to have some bloodwork done this week before her routine checks coming up. It took us four tries on three different days (first two couldn't get the right authorizations at the closest lab, went to a different lab, then couldn't get her veins to cooperate on the 3rd try -- but got a hole in each arm, then let's just say she wasn't much in the mood on the 4th try, but at least we got the blood they needed!). Mind you this is in the midst of various other doctor appointments for Delaney, and our "regular" crazy routine. I think that about sums up what I'm willing to put out on the internet. ;-)
Lucky for us one of our longtime homeschool friends is having us over to celebrate a birthday this afternoon, and we will all R E L A X !! I think I'm finally figuring out how to take some of this in stride, but it has been an exhausting couple of months. Yeah for Friday!
This has been one of those busy seasons of life for our family. I haven't really been sure exactly what I wanted to write about it, either. Delaney has been having some profound struggles and we have been working as a family to figure out solutions, being stretched all along the way. I think I am getting better at not completely shutting other people out as I hunker down through a difficult patch, which I guess is an improvement! There have been some great things happening along with the hard things, too. Ava and Sadie continually surprise me with their eagerness and capability when it comes to their schoolwork. Josh has been enjoying his start into Boy Scouts. All of the girls are thorougly enjoying their time at dance class.
Another interesting tidbit is that we are awaiting news about a home we are trying to buy as a short sale. Still in the neighborhood but already has most of the upgrades we were wanting to do to this house, so it would save us a lot of labor. It is on a much better lot, so that would be nice, too. We probably won't find out if we get it for another two months or so.
I am really looking forward to General Conference this weekend. I was reading an address from the last one that was timely for me. "We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most." I think that Heavenly Father gives me that test over and over. Maybe I'll pass it one of these days. ;-)
The first week of K12 was a bit of a bumpy adjustment, for a few reasons. First, we were unaware of the fact that you're supposed to follow a specific schedule to SLOWLY build up to a full schedule. That information was only given in an online info session that I was only able to successfully login into on the 2nd afternoon. That was a big bummer, and I give K12 a big punch in the stomach for not including that info in either an email or a big bright sheet of paper with the books or something, for cryin out loud! Once we got that figured out, it was much smoother. However, it was still surprising to find out that not only do we need to log at least 180 school days, but we also need to log an average of 6 hours per school day. I also have to log how long each kid works in each subject. We were used to a pretty flowy, 4 hour-ish school day. We're getting used to the new schedule, though. I still think that 6 hours is pretty long for a homeschool day (you can be so much more efficient that I really think 5 hours would be PLENTY).
All of that said, I really love the curriculum. If I could cough up the cash, I would go ahead and put Sadie on it as well for 1st grade (our school doesn't take kids younger than 3rd grade). LOVE it. I also love how the schedule is set up so that you can login, see what needs to get done, check your overall progress, etc. I also love how our school itself is set up. There are many opportunities for a kid to learn a particular concept, with a variety of techniques and learning methods. The program is worth all of the paperwork hassle I mentioned above, easily.
I have been spending a lot of time with my Delaney, who is still not quite up to grade level on reading. I don't want to go into lots of detail here for the sake of her privacy, but I will say that she is a complex creature but I am confident that we'll get her all figured out! The good news is that she is a confident, enthusiastic student, despite her weaknesses, and that's all I can ask for.
You don't see Josh much around because he really digs into the fact that he can access his own lessons on his own schedule. That is right up his alley! He takes my laptop into his room and gets to work. What a great kid!
I have discovered that Delaney and I like listening to nature/yoga-ish music while we work. It keeps me calm . . . aaahhhhhh. I am starting the countdown to my Florida getaway, though!
The books are all lined up and ready to go, now I just need to get all of the odds & ends supplies organized and we'll be ready for Monday! (If Photoshop was behaving itself I'd label what everything is in this photo, but for some reason it can't find my catalog and wants me to start a new one?? Have to get that worked out . . . )
For posterity's sake (since most you have already heard this), I'll document the fact that we're starting K12.com this year with Josh and Delaney. Basically it works like a virtual academy. Those two will be official public school kids this year and will be assigned a teacher, but will complete their work at home. They will get together with their classmates and teacher in the flesh every month for field trips, etc. All of the curriculum and supplies are free to me (paid with public funds). My impressions are that this might be a great mix of what homeschooling and public school each have to offer. I have loved this curriculum for years but didn't have the $$$ to shell out for it as a strictly homeschool option, so now that the virtual academy option is available for our school district, we're giving it a whirl! This particular academy only starts with 3rd grade, so Sadie will do 1st grade with "regular homeschool."
One of the book recommendations I had for this summer was Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I handed the first book to Josh and he expressed his great displeasure at the assignment. (He HATES reading fiction, esp long-looking fiction!) However, a day or two into the book, he couldn't put it down, and has now flown through the four available books in the series (the final book has not been released yet) and is badgering me to hurry up and finish, too (I'm about to finish the 2nd book myself)! So, I just have to add my two cents that this series is fun and great for even reluctant readers. Just be prepared to buy your own -- the library copies are always gone!
Josh just walked by and I asked him to add a quick review:
"I love this series. It was really nicely written, sometimes you forget that it is just a story!"
I came into the girls' room one morning to find a comforter "wall" over the bottom bunk bed. I lifted the corner and found Josh & Delaney peacefully reading a cat encyclopedia together. Buried in stuffed animals, I might add.
You can get a good idea for the new color in the girls' room from this picture. It changes from a light blue in natural light to a lavender when the light is on in their room. You can also see that Ryan finished painting the beds white, and it looks really great!
Things have been a wee bit nuts around here the last couple of weeks. I know, but I mean even MORE than usual! The good news is that Ryan is driving home today and starts work back here in The Great State on Monday. Then I won't have to keep the crazy all to myself!
We were geared up to attend a LEGO robotics competition in Houston mid-May, but due to some scheduling conflicts we weren't able to go. Instead, we hosted our own competition from the comfort of my living room. Frankly, I think watching from the couch might be the way to go!
Josh and Sadie were on a team together (and another sibling pair made up the other team). Josh was in charge of driving the robot, and Sadie was in charge of moving the robotic arm up and down on his command. There were a series of "carriers" that contained Scrabble tiles that they needed to get into various scoring zones. The funny thing is that in our practices, Josh & Sadie had been having a LOT of issues, but the day of our "competition," they managed to do really well! It was fun for all. Of course we had to finish the day off with some Settlers of Catan (the disease is spreading, hee, hee).
I put the other mom in charge of scoring (I did the 2 minute timer). That way the kids can plead their case to her, as was happening here! I'm smart like that. :-)
These particular friends and another family we've known for a long time decided to join together last Friday night to have a year-end medieval feast. All of our older kids happened to be studying medieval history this last year, so it was perfect. Misty (my judge friend above) also happens to have a gazebo in her backyard that would be perfect for our "knighting" ceremony, so she hosted the dinner at her house. Yep, I'm smart like that. :-D
My kids as we went in -- Josh & Delaney decided to be peasants, and Sadie & Ava were princesses. (Due to aforementioned craziness of my life, the kids threw together these costumes in the last 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave!)
We had a medieval dinner, so of course you weren't allowed to use utensils!
Our medieval students each gave a short presentation on a significant historical figure of their choice from their studies. Josh chose Tariq bin Ziyad.
My two littles decided to show off some of their schoolwork from this year. It was an impromptu decision, so their big brother helped them.
At the end we held a knighting ceremony, wherein each kid was knighted by their father to advance to the next grade and get bragged on a little bit. Since Ryan wasn't able to go, Josh knighted his sisters and then I knighted him. It was actually choking me up a bit. They have been so blessed to have good friends to grow up together with (some of whom happen to be their siblings).
That marked the end of our 2008-09 school year, woohoo!!
We'll take off two or three weeks to play and get our house ready for the arrival of Denny & all of our extra CA furniture, etc and then we'll start back up for some summer school projects.