Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No surprise

I guess it is no surprise that I have disappeared almost completely from the blogging world. I miss having the time to journal our school experiences and share the news with all of you. However, I am enjoying the time I have been spending with my boys. We are loving AZVA and K12 curriculum. It has become an answer to my prayers. I go to bed exhausted, excited for tomorrow to come. I had no idea how much fun learning could be.

I can honestly say that I am achieving goals, developing good habits, and feeling totally and completely accomplished at the end of each day. I was worried that I would have regrets, that I would flash back to days with just one more kiddo left at home. I am so happy to say, I don't. I never look back, some days I have doubts, wondering if this is what is best for them. Those doubts are always squashed quickly when I see their behavior changing, I hear them talking about what we learned, when I see them use their new skills, and always when I hear them play the piano. Since we started homeschooling the boys have been practicing twice a day and they are absolutely amazing.

How are they liking it? They tell me everyday how much they love it. Spencer's class sent him letters and I asked him if he missed them and he said, "Yes, I liked school. I just don't want to go back to school." I totally know exactly how he feels. Yes, I liked the quiet days at home, shopping with just one kiddo, going out to lunch with my husband, and crafting up a storm. I just don't want to go back to it.

Now a little about Maggie. She is still in school and I miss her more and more everyday. I know she loves her friends and she loves her teacher and that makes me happy. She is getting ready to be tested for the Gifted program at school so I know she is growing by leaps. I know one day she will be ready to come home and learn with us and when she is I will greet her with loving open arms. In the mean time I will continue to support her in every way possible.

My husband he is a great support. I know he thought I was crazy and that the entire experience had the potential of making me crazier but he supported me. He is my faithful substitute and honorable go to guy. I love him for that!

There is always a BUT.... I need to slow down. I started a new job (if you call singing, playing and doing crafts with toddlers a job) a month before taking on this awesome homeschooling responsibility. I work very few hours and only two days a week but sometimes the lack of communication with my employer causes problems. I am also a Committee Chairman for a Cub Scout Pack that keeps me pretty busy. AND I try my hardest to participate in Maggie's school activities. This keeps me EXTREMELY busy and at times the combination makes me feel overwhelmed and a bit CRAZY (funny farm crazy). Separately when everything flows smoothly and I am organized I always look back and think, "Man I am good!"

All in all I am very excited and happy with my new life. That is truly what it is a new life, completely selfless and totally wonderful.

Just in case you were wondering, YES, I am still planning on starting a homeschooling blog and I have even decided on the name; Outsmarted 4 to 1. I can't wait to begin designing it. Spring break is coming soon maybe I will find the time, if not summer is just around the corner. If you want to keep semi-updated on our homeschooling lives you can go here Outnumbered 4 to 2.

Goodbye for now!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't look now but it happened!

I guess it happened! I didn't think it would, I read that it might........

Well friends, this Afterschooling mom has gone Homeschooling mom. On Monday I am pulling my Spencer out of school too. I am surprised myself and I am absolutely speechless every time someone asks me, "WHY?". That is a tricky question for so many reasons. I respect public education and understand the importance and the amazing role that it plays in the lives of so many children including my own. So in no way do I want to discount the public school system. I think basically I just want them to myself. I have loved having Matthew home and our relationship has grown by leaps and bounds. Matthew and I often find ourselves saying, "Spencer would love this". So why not?

Maggie will remain in Kindergarten (she loves it) and possibly come home for first grade. I will not continue to Afterschool her in the same was as I was before as she is very tired by the end of the day and has a hard time with the extra. Instead I will read the girl to death and enjoy listening to her read to me (which she is very good at).

I hope not to disappoint as I have loved the Afterschooling program and the enrichment that it has provided for my family. I have loved blogging about it and looking back and reading about our GREAT success and times I needed a life line.

Saying goodbye to Afterschooling is a bitter sweet thing for my husband and I. We have loved spending that extra time with the kids and enriching their learning. However, minus the homework and plus the free time equals MORE FAMILY FUN! We plan on continuing religious studies the same as before but adding more outdoor time, Science experiments, trips to the library, parks, bike rides, hikes and the list could go on forever.

I am going to keep my blog going it will just have a new name (still thinking). Thanks to all or should I say the few moms that read and shared in my Adventures in Afterschooling. Please do not leave me, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One Week Down

At the end of the year I always ponder on the idea of a New Years Resolution. This year I wanted something all inclusive, something that said it all in one word. I decided that this year I would resolve to be more self-less. I would spend more time on others (especially family) and less time on me. Unfortunately I had become my own time hog. I want to do this so everything else can wait.

Last week I started homeschooling..... My New Years Resolution for 2010 is this.

I resolve not to loose myself

It was a great week! I was so glad I started it off by reading "The Well Trained Mind". I felt so prepared after reading that book and I had direction. Good thing because we ran into some trouble with enrollment at AZVA and school didn't officially start until Thursday. Matthew spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday working on things my friend Nicholle (AZVA teacher) gave us and learning about Classical Education. He also took time to prepare his space and fix up an old desk we bought at the Goodwill.
I am SO glad to be on track with AZVA, Matthew was given an Advanced Learning teacher and I had the opportunity to speak with her on the phone Friday evening. She filled my brain with LOTS of helpful information that will get us headed in the right direction.
I am really on brain overload, my brain muscles are sore but that just means they are getting BIGGER, COOL! The only downfall; between homeschooling and afterschooling I am teaching "ALL DAY". Making a schedule and plan is next on my agenda.
As Always... I will keep you posted!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Books for mom

I just read the book "The Well Trained Mind" and I encourage all to read it. I was really excited that the first part of the book mentioned afterschooling even though it is primarily for homeschooling families.

The curriculum is based on Classical learning and is an amazing resource for anyone that has not been introduced to this learning method. After reading the book I was convinced of the importance of and absence of classical learning in the lives of my children. I really wanted to absorb every aspect of this book and make room in my brain for permanent storage space. I know that remembering every idea, resource, term, and other fascinating qualities of the book is nearly impossible(I will have to buy the book). However I know that I will retain that need and desire to make classical education a part of my children's lives.

Note: The book is long but it has curriculum ideas and resources from kinder to high school. I just read through the beginning of the book, kinder thru 4th grade information and the ending chapters.

This book is amazing and inspirational and I know that you will love it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Finally, time to sit down

Oh my goodness Christmas time is SO super busy. I have been wanting to share some of our fun activities we have been doing with our "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" Theme. It has been the perfect theme for this time of year.

First we read the book and discussed the different domino affects and IF they would have given the mouse all of those things.
Second the kids set up dominoes, knocked down dominoes, set up dominoes, knocked down dominoes.....
Third they each picked a cookie recipe and got to work baking. YUMMY!!
Fourth we pulled out our "If You Give A Pig A Pancake" and "If You Give A Moose A Muffin" books and read them. Once again we discussed the domino affects and the kids each took turns telling which book was their favorite and why.
Lastly the kids are working on their own If You Give a ______________ a _____________ stories. I am hoping to find time to have them share their stories on our blog. They are so creative and their illustrations are fabulous (of course I am the mom).

A Christmas Story...
Each year Grandma and Grandpa ask for a service project for their Christmas gift. This year we decided to take the yummy cookies the kids baked along with a Book of Mormon with their testimonies and deliver them to friends. I love that nothing holds the kids back from sharing the gospel. It comes so easily for them and they are so excited to do it. My husband and I also shared our testimonies and we were a bit nervous, another testimony of the importance of being like little children.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big News...

I can't believe how nervous I am about this. Today I withdrew my oldest son from school, YIKES. I have enrolled him in AZVA public school. It is a very exciting thing for both of us. I have struggled for so long to get him the gifted learning he needs that I knew it is was time for a change. My husband and I both agree that because he learns differently then other children he should be taught differently. This has been a struggle for us as parents from very early on and is now affecting our relationship with our son. As well as affecting his confidence and self esteem.
It will be another new adventure to post about. I love adventures it 's just that first step into the unknown that is a bit frightening. I will keep you posted with our progress.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I want to start with math and explain what I have chosen to do for math and why. First off this was one of the hardest areas for me to find peace with. This is an area that both of my boys excel in and I knew they weren't being challenged at school. I went through many forum discussions on the topic and looked into two of the most frequently used math programs for Homeschoolers; Singapore and Saxon. Both definitely worth looking into.

I decided on Saxon math and printed the placement tests for my boys and prepared to purchase the materials at the grade level they tested into. However I started to wonder about adding to or teaching different concepts on top of the math load they already received at school. I decided to check out the Kumon learning center close to our home to see what they offered for math. I was so impressed that if I had the money I would have enrolled all of my children in math and reading that very day. Unfortunately I did not have the means to do so. Instead I took with me the knowledge and realization of the importance of mastering their math basics.

I gave this a lot of thought and realized that at school they cruise through things so quickly that they lose the basics. This helped guide me in the direction that I wanted to go with math for Afterschooling in our home.

Each day when they finish their homework they work on mastering their basic math skills. For instance; Matthew my fourth grader has been working on mastering his multiplication and division in the form of Internet games, worksheets, flash cards and a multiplication music CD. It is also not uncommon for me to give him some addition and subtraction worksheets or flashcards, moan. Spencer my second grader is working on mastering double digit addition and subtraction. Of course at some point they master the skill and move on to the next. I was lucky enough to attend the Kumon parent meeting and receive an outline of math masteries so I use that as a guide as well as my must have grade level Core Knowledge books.

Some days they have a little amount of homework giving them a good amount of time for math and other days they end up with no time for math. Homework comes first.

Honestly trying to find a math program to challenge my boys was becoming a life journey for me. I was so focused on two things; finding the perfect math curriculum and getting them working at the level they should be and not the pace of the school. Because of this Afterschooling was becoming frustrating and didn't feel beneficial to the kids. Once I decided that mastering the basics was the direction I wanted to go everything fell into place. And guess what, it is free and less time consuming for me. Leaving me time to plan for more of the FUN stuff.

Oh yeah, did I tell you we played with dominoes today? It is all part of our "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" unit study we are working on. Chain reactions, the kids had a blast! Winter break is coming soon and this unit study combined with an upcoming service project is sure to make it a fun break for the kiddos.

Any who, whatever you decide to do with math just remember what I almost forgot, Afterschooling should be fun, enhancing and not stressful for anyone. Good luck and I would love to hear about what you have found for math.