Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alphabet Games

Caleb loves putting together this alphabet puzzle all by himself.  He uses Maddie's "scroll" that has the alphabet written out already and follows along adding one letter at a time.

I am finding it a huge challenge to keep my boy busy during school.  I can think of lots of fun activities to do with him but I am not able to sit with him as I am reading to the big girls.  There are only a few tasks that he enjoys by himself.  Puzzles are one thing he really likes so I have been gravitating to those for now.

After he adds a letter, he sings the whole alphabet up to the letter he is on, trying to figure out the name of the letter he needs next.  What a smart little guy:)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Skirts From Grandpa

We got a box in the mail today from Grandpa Russ.  
Inside were 4 fun pettiskirts in all different bright colors.  What a fun surprise!!

These skirts are so twirly.  They love them.

We had a trip to the park planned and all 4 girls wore their skirts.  

 Watching the bunnies in the bushes.

 Little Caiter is just one of the kids these days.  She does whatever they do.  They are all really great at helping her along and keeping her up with the pack What fun my kids have together {most of the time}.  I love it when they get along!

Five kids {soon to be six} might seem like a lot to most people but when I look at this photo, I see 5 individuals who are each an important part of something fun, safe, rewarding and lasting.  They will always have each other and I can't think of much else in this world {aside from living out God's purpose in our lives and sharing His word} as worthwhile as raising a big, close, crazy happy family!!

Grandpa Russ:  The skirts were a huge hit.  Everyone was thrilled and they raved about them all day long.  A big thank you for that spontaneously random fun package!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Showing Off

The girls and I went to Value Village last weekend and found these ballroom dancing heels in Mailee's size...for 2.99!  She was so thrilled and has been obsessed with her "high heels" ever since!  (She is not allowed to actually wear them anywhere...they are just for fun, for dress-up) She asked me to take some photos so she could email a picture to her Aunty Shelley.

Here is the photo we were taking.  Then we got interrupted...

Cait toddled over, bent down next to Mailee's heels and smiled with her little head tilt right at me!

 Because Mailee and I were laughing at how cute she was, she got really bold and started showing off...

 She smiled pretty for the camera for a few minutes...

 She also showed us how she can scribble, I mean color with a pencil.  What a cutie!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tea For Six And A Few Letters

Last week we had some really fun moments at school.  

I wont get into the challenges, they are there and we are working through them.  
{Homeschooling my 3 girls while one rambunctious 4 year old bounces around the house and one tiny toddling cuteness on legs distracts can imagine the obvious challenges!!}

But back to the FUN STUFF that is more enjoyable to read...

Here's Mailee on the front deck sipping chai tea at 8AM while the neighbourhood kids walk by on their way to school...very satisfying:)

Being able to help the Pumpkin Pie sip some Chai while listening to Mom read while sitting on the deck watching the neighbourhood kids walk by wearing heavy backpacks...very, VERY satisfying:)

Yellow stickies are my new best friends.  Every night I go through the books and label the pages we will be covering in the morning.

This year we are heavily focusing on Geography and the people that live in other countries around the world.  We have mastered the 7 continents, all the oceans, how to locate a country on a map or globe,  and are now beginning to "travel" from one continent to the next learning about many of the countries and people, their religions, languages, what they do for work, what the kids do for fun...I am so excited to help the kids expand their understanding of the world and the people that live in it.  To be honest, I am learning a lot too!

We are studying all the other subjects too.  The girls enjoy science and math and work diligently at their english even though I can tell it is not "fun" for them.  We started spelling this week and I was excited to find out after giving placement tests that both Mikayla and Mailee are already spelling above their grade level (props to KCS and their own brains).  Mikayla has signed up for the Spelling Bee, she really enjoys spelling.

We have so many books that we are loving.  I will have to talk about each one separately at some point.

I am avoiding science experiments...the first one involved earthworms and dirt.  Eek!  Don't worry, I will make sure they get to dissect a frog and all that horrible stuff, I may need Mike for back-up btu I will be sure it all happens!!

The kids are really enjoying our "letter writing".  On Monday they get to draw a name out of a hat.  The "hat" (glad-ware plastic storage container) is filled with the names of all our favourite people that do not live int he same town as us.  The kids love picking names on Monday!!

This activity is awesome for working on their writing skills, polishing their handwriting skills, encouraging them to think about the person they are writing to and writing something personal to them, learning how stamps work, post office, etc.

My kids love to make the letters look cool...I must admit, that is my favourite part, too!!

This letter got put in the mailbox this afternoon.  On it's way to someone really special!  Maddie made the card and envelope, wrote a rough draft of the letter and then rewrote a final copy all alongside her big sisters.  What a fun way to spend an afternoon together!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Art Project at Home

On Tuesday of last week we made memory verse posters.  The kids rushed through all their other work to get to this fun project.  I gave them each the freedom to choose whatever color of cardstock they wanted, opened up the craft box and announced that they had free reign of everything.  I taught them how to salvage the excess glitter and then promised I would not get involved.  

I actually left them alone at the table during craft time!!

This may not seem like a feat of great self control but if you know me or have ever done crafts with The Craft Nazi{eh hem...ME} then you would know how much resolve it took me to allow my children the freedom to enjoy craft time on their own and let them do it their own ways!!

I am quickly learning that my kids can do a lot of things and their way does not always have to be my way.  Eeps.  This year I will hopefully learn to find a happy balance between being in control when the time allows and stepping back to watch them succeed at the right times.

I have not done so much thinking, figuring, reading or measuring since I was in school myself.  I have discovered where the line is that divides the continents of Europe and Asia and I have helped draw a "to scale" map of a bedroom.  

All 4 of my oldest kidlers said John 3:16 by memory and although the older two already knew it, I loved the look of pride on Caleb and Maddie's faces when they had accomplished this task!

Maddie said "Mom, I have John 3:16 in my head AND in my heart!"

How sweet to hear those words from an excited little 6 year old and how rewarding to be home for her exciting discovery!

Caleb asked me if he could say the verse.  
I really hadn't planned on him doing it and I had no idea he knew it.  What a good boy!

Cait was so excited when we sat her in her high chair with her own box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper!  We all watched her as she worked those crayons.

Two handed grip!

Action shot.  Look at her little hand go!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day Of {HOME} School

Potentially, we could have started at 10.  We could have worn our jammies all day, we could have gone to the beach with a bunch of the other homeschoolers for the "not back to school beach day".

We could have.
But we didn't.  
That's not us.
At least that's not me.

We got up at 7, made beds, ate breakfast, did hair, got dressed, stood out front and took the traditional "back to school" photo and were all ready to go at 8am.  All that went really smoothly and quite "perfectly" for the most part.  The rest of the day was a little rough and not quite as seamless as I envisioned it.

I didn't think about the fact that my kids would still act like my kids during school hours.
I guess I thought they would display the exemplary behaviour I have heard about over the years from their school teachers.

Not so much.

All the same family drama followed us into the schoolroom.

"She's sitting too close"
"you took my pencil"
"that's not fair"
"I want a snack"
"No! I don't want to do that"

At times I was wondering if this was going to work but I had a peace the entire day.  I had one thought that kept rolling through my head; the kids are home with me, that these hours together are going to be quality hours of working toward a goal together as a team, that their character and the health of their souls is going to be enriched by these hours spent together and that this is such a fantastic opportunity to embrace this role that I have as their mother, their teacher, their sister in Christ!!

As comforting as those thoughts were, they were battled by the rest of my feelings.  I get hung up on the schedule and the panic that it may not all get done or that we may fall into laziness or that we {I} might fail miserably.

YIKES!!!  I suppose I need to relax a bit.  K maybe a lot but give me a break, baby steps please!

Anyways, I am excited to try again tomorrow.  All the kids were also very eager to know what we would do tomorrow so I think that is all in all a WIN for team Banman!

I must add here that Mike is the best team-mate a girl could ask for!  He has taken on the math responsibility, been willing to help and offer encouragement, and he's cute to look at too:)

And the rest of our team...

Caleb: Starting Preschool.

Maddie: Starting Grade One

Mailee: Starting Grade Four
(she won the award for changing her outfit the most times before school started:)

Mikayla: Starting Grade Five
(she had hot pink converse she was planning to wear for the picture but she had freshly painted nails so that prevented her from being able to put on her shoes:)...thought you may appreciate the inside scoop!!

Look at those little scholars!

Never too young to learn something new!
(check out that new owie...she ran into the corner of a wall yesterday)

So proud of his finished project!

My little *teeny* bit of structure!
(they wipe things off as they finish their tasks.  When their row is clear, they are done for the day!)

Maddie spending some learning time with Caiters.  SO cute!

Here she is showing off her "work".  She was very proud and so was Maddie!

Posing for my picture, my last little team member!  Caitlyn: not yet a school girl but VERY interested in all the new activity at our house!!

I am excited to take on this new challenge.  Not sure how I will make bows and plan birthdays and sleep and have a new baby too but I am sure that God has a plan and the more I ask, the more He will guide me.