Monday, July 28, 2014

Year 2, Week 2-ish

     I say 2-ish because this week had a lot of reworking.  I was attending my first Classical Conversations Practicum which also included tutor training.  Monday we were able to get our work done, but my plans for the rest of the week were just all over the place.

     My daughter was at the practicum with me attending the Geo Camp while my son stayed at home with The Principal.  I left him with my son's scheduled work for the week.  Tuesday's work was completed, no problem.  Wednesday was a different story.  My husband and son were volunteering at the practicum in the morning but on their way home after lunch they were rear-ended, just a few minutes and blocks from where I was.  I thank God that my son was not sitting in his usual spot in the back...that side took the brunt of the hit and had my son been sitting there he would have incurred substantial injuries.  God had his hand on both my son and husband because I know it could have been much, much worse.  They walked away a bit achy but unharmed.  When I got to the scene my son was still shaking and visibly upset.  Needless to say, both husband and son were too shook up to even think about school work and I let them skip doing any work on Thursday.

     With that, school was back in session Friday and Saturday.  Both kids are finding their rhythm, though my son needs to learn to be more patient with himself.  He gets frustrated when he doesn't get something right the first time and I have to remind him that he's still learning.  He's stresses out about his grades (his math program grades him automatically as he answers the questions) and gets upset to the point of giving up when he gets something wrong.  I let him know that the grades are just an indicator for me that he has to review it again, not that he's failed.  I even showed him how I'm allowed to delete the grade so that he can start over again.  That seems to calm him down.

     That's our week 2-ish.  It was a jam-packed week and I'm about to start another one with Vacation Bible School.

     Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Year 2, Week 1

     That title is a work in progress.  Since I'm homeschooling both kids this year I can't call it "Kindergarten, Week what-have-you" because my kids are in different grades.  For now I'll just call it "Year 2".

     Our first week started out slowly, trying to ease our way into the schedule.  We had to adjust to the puppy as well.  Frequent puppy "potty breaks" were timed to give the kids a break from learning, without being too much of distraction.  That is also a work in progress.

     Other than that, the kids are enjoying themselves.  We're studying the California Missions this summer and mapping them as well:

     They drew out California (with the help of The Principal) and I hung their pieces on a wall.  On Friday I printed out labels for them to stick on the right place.  We're studying them in the order of their founding and the kids get to see how far each mission is away from the other.  So far, we've studied the first three missions.  I'll post pictures of their maps toward the conclusion of our studies.

     We're also reading The Wizard of Oz.  Now, I read this to the kids just a few months ago, but our Language Arts curriculum begins with this book and my kids don't mind hearing it, again.  The good news (and the reason I chose this particular curriculum) is that we get to read some great classics later on.  I can't wait!

     That about wraps it up.  Oh, wait!  I have some exciting news!  In a previous post I mentioned that I had been asked to be a Classical Conversations tutor.  I didn't say whether or not I had accepted, since I wanted to get more information and The Principal and I wanted to pray about it.  I'm happy to announce that I will be leading one of the classes for the 2014-2015 school year.  I feel honored and blessed that our Director asked me to assist is this growing homeschooling community.  Praise be to God!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


     I've never given my kids an allowance.  Frankly, I didn't know where to start and I felt that "paying" them to do their chores was counter intuitive to what I was taught; that you help out around the house because that's what families do and you take care of what you've been blessed with.

     I've seen firsthand what that kind of payment system does to some kids, my son included.  As a child with special needs all of his behaviorists implemented a reward system (I think it falls under ABA Therapy) and while it may work with some kids with special needs, it backfired with my son.  He started to only do things if he was going to get something.  Before he even began the task he would ask what he would get.  Other times he would straight up ask, "What do you have for me?" before even knowing that anything was going to be asked of him.  Then he started asking people for gifts.  People that he'd see weekly, like the deli guy at Whole Foods.  This was obviously not acceptable.

     Hence, I was hesitant to give them an allowance.  I mean, I never really had one.  My parents graciously gave me money when I needed it and I knew to be thankful when I received it and to not be greedy; never taking for granted the hard work they put in to make sure we had what we needed.

     I was hesitant until I saw this:

T's Chore Chart.  I've covered the names.

     This was created by my eldest step-daughter for her three kids and she kindly shared it on Facebook.  My husband showed me and I immediately liked the idea.  My kids already have a chore chart; it was the allowance part that really caught my eye.  I liked that the $5.00 was already theirs to begin with but it's the child's cooperation and work that determined how much they actually got by the end of the week.

     Now, as I don't have anymore wall space for another whiteboard, I instead took their chore chart and tweaked it a little bit.  They are laminated so that we can use dry erase markers on them.  Their charts will be hung on a kitchen cabinet so that they can easily see what needs to be done and where they are (I think I saw a magnetic strip somewhere that I can stick to the cabinet and then just place a magnet on the back of the chart.)  Below is a picture of my son's chart, partially filled out.

My son's chart.  Just so you  know my daughter is at $3.90
Tick marks are $0.25 and dots are $0.10.  There was a lot of whining
and tattling going on.

     Since chores usually get done (It's the reminding that I have to constantly do and the tattling I always hear!) I chose to deduct $0.25 from their allowance.  Reminding them or repeating myself to get them to do something cost them $0.10 every single time and of course lying cost them a $1.00.  Brilliant idea T!

     I put this together rather quickly, so I may make changes as needed (luckily I have a laminator!)  Perhaps I need to re-word some things, but for now we're using this. I don't know if you can see it but on the bottom right I also have a small image that lists the Fruits of the Spirit.  This is to serve as a reminder what they should focus on as they do their chores and interact with others.  "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." -1 Thessalonians 5:18

     I also want them to learn how to handle their money sooner than later, which is the reason I decided to give them an allowance.  Financial responsibility is rarely taught and most young adults don't have a real clue how to go about it.  Giving my kids an allowance gives them a head start.  Out of their allowance 15% will go to the church, 15% will go into savings and the rest is for them to spend.  I probably should have put that on the chart as a reminder.  Oh, well.  See, I knew I'd have to make changes!

     Regardless, thank you T for coming up with this fantastic and easy chart.  Awesome!