“doing school”

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Last week was our first week of “doing school.” Sam is four and I thought it was time to incorporate a (very) loose preschool program into our schedule. We are still members of our Friday co-op, and while our membership has doubled in size these past six months, many of the children Sam’s age will be attending private preschool this fall, and the younger children (ages 2-3 years) will begin participating in our co-op as opposed to just playing on the floor during “lessons” like last year. Because the majority of the children are younger, the lessons will be tailored to their level, which means that it won’t be nearly challenging enough for Sam, thus the reason for our own program “on the side,” so to speak.
Our lesson is twenty minutes, three days a week. Twenty minutes is about all the undivided attention Sam can give me, and that’s on a good day. I use the Starfall website, which is $35 a year and worth every penny. We play an interactive game based on the letter or number of the day, and then do a few worksheets from our Brain Quest Pre-K workbooks that I purchased from Costco. So far, he is doing well. He likes the interactive games and while he certainly doesn’t know all his numbers and letters (not that I expected him to), I was surprised to discover that he knows all his colors, most shapes and is able to quickly figure out other basic pre-k skills like matching, sorting, and phonics.

I have read that having expectations for a four year old, especially when it’s the first year of homeschooling for both the mother and the child is unreasonable; that it leads to nothing but disappointment and frustration.  I am trying with all my might to keep this advice in the forefront of my mind, but I find myself starting to worry:

What if this doesn’t work? What if I’m a terrible teacher? What if he won’t listen to me, and then he never learns his letters, and then he never learns to read, and then he can’t find a job because he’s illiterate and he ends up spending the majority of his adult life in my basement smoking weed and playing video games all day because he’s a worthless member of society and it’s ALL MY FAULT?!

You get the idea.

It’s only been two weeks, and he’s doing well. Great, actually. I know there will be hard days, days that will affirm these fears. But I’ll try to keep telling myself to worry about those days when they come, and not before. When I decided to homeschool, I knew it wasn’t going to be the easiest path for our family but I did believe and still do, that this is the best path for our family.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

little things

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I once heard someone say that the difference between happy people and unhappy people is not necessarily life circumstances, but the ability to find joy in the little things in life. Happy people find joy in the mundane and see the light in times of darkness. They make games out of their daily chores and find the good in a bad situation. Whether this attitude is derived from their faith, their family or just a God-given ability, happy people make the world a better place. I feel that it is a moral obligation to myself, my friends and my family to be a happy person and I do my best to find joy in even the littlest of things; whether it be a pile of freshly folded laundry, the smell of fresh cut flowers in my dining room or the sound of my children laughing hysterically together in their bedroom when they should be sleeping soundly.  (At least they’re getting along.)

This weekend Gabe was gone on a fishing trip and I spent most of the weekend by myself with the three children. In an attempt to keep a firm grip on my sanity I made a point to capture the little things, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem, that brought me happiness. I thought I would share them with you all.

In the garden: fresh herbs, bees jumping from stalk to stalk on my lavender plants, and my first heirloom tomato of the season

In the orchard: Morning light washing over the Eastern field and the apple trees.

On the needles: My Rosewater shawl is finished and I blocked it yesterday. I’m so in love with how it turned out and I can’t wait to show everyone.

Selfie: I bought a new red lipstick and I wore it all day Friday. Some people might find it ridiculous to wear red lipstick at 9:00 in the morning and they are probably right. But it felt fresh and young, and made me feel more like Sarah, and less like Mama.

I hope everyone else had as good a weekend as I did. Happy Monday, my friends.

wednesday yarn along (and other things)

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Joining Ginny and Nicole.

I finished a pair of socks for Eddie this week, and I plan on knitting her another pair with the leftover Cascade Heritage sock yarn that my mother gave me. It’s self striping and because the sock is being knit in a child’s size, the stripes are quite thick and bold, which I like. The yarn is very bouncy and soft, I think she will like them.

Caleb is growing so much, He turns 9 weeks tomorrow, and he’s already taken on the role of “Easiest Baby,” in our house. He only cries when he’s hungry or tired, his acid reflux has completely resolved itself, and he sleeps for a four-six hour block at night for three to four days out of the week. That might not sound that great to those who have babies who sleep eight hours a night by six weeks (I hate you) but that’s the best I’ve had with any of my kids. I don’t think Sam slept for more than an hour in a row until he was four months old and I had an emotional meltdown one morning and did Cry It Out with him the following evening. He cried for two hours but then started sleeping for 13 hours a night after that, only waking up once to feed. It was a miracle.

Our summer here in Washington has been almost nonexistent this year. Our temperatures are barely reaching 70 degrees most days and it drizzles frequently. My garden looks terrible. I find time to weed it about once a week, which is good, but my summer fruits and vegetables are not doing well. Somehow the chickens made it through the fence into my garden and ate my strawberries, radishes, ALL THE HERBS, and my lettuce. My eggplants haven’t grown an inch since I planted them and my tomato plants are scraggily looking from lack of sun. It’s depressing to look at but I just don’t have the time to give it the extra care it needs to thrive in this cool environment. I have decided that this year it’s survival of the fittest: if a plant manages to grow and produce this year, great, but if it can’t do it on its own without my help, it’s just going to have to die. It is what it is.

We have a mama deer who spends all her days with her twin fawns from last year and her twin fawns from this year eating our apples. I couldn’t photograph the fawns because they are so fast and a little more skittish than the mama but I love watching them. There is an apple tree right outside our bedroom window; I have the perfect view from my glider where I rock Caleb at night. I often sit there and rock him and watch all five deer pick apples off the tree and play chase. The two younger fawns nurse from their mother and she gives them just a minute or two of feeding before kicking them off her so she can eat. There’s a sense of camaraderie there, although she doesn’t know it. Two tired mothers, up in the middle of the night, feeding their babies. I think she likes nursing about as much as I do. Perhaps I should loan her my pump?

 

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