Colorful Solutions

So The Boy can no longer lounge about until I’ve asked him for the 18923776th time to get ready for the day…

We sat down and created a list of self care responsibilities that must be completed upon waking and before breakfast.

We also outlined regular weekly activities so that when an opportunity arises we can look for conflicts easily.  And of course we made it a fun and colorful art project as well with snipping and pasting and stickers.

The Complete Calendar
Weekdays planned with regular activities…
The Boy’s personal calendar – ‘His Idea!’ he says

I  try to squeeze as much writing in to his days as possible – as you can see we’ve got a long way to go with legibility 😉

The Boy wanted to ensure he would’t forget the days of the week OR how many of them there were 😉

He decided he also needed a monthly calendar to outline special days throughout the coming month!

The Boy’s plan for Saturday the 29th

Another colorful and crafty project we did this past week was a math chart.  It is helping The Boy understand number placement and more!  Plus it just makes checking our math so much more interesting 🙂

The Boy setting up a problem

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A Day at a Time

I mentioned in a previous post that we are still struggling to organize our home / work / learning time a little better here…

As with other things in life, I have been leaning toward what is working, instead of deciding what works and aiming for that.  It makes me appear lazy though to some… so I do a bit of hustling as a front or come up with a spiel just to quash any uneasiness others may have… the people pleaser in me…

The Man has faith, I think ;), in my abilities to coordinate The Boys learning experiences.  My sister also accepts that I want the best for The Boy and that I am still finding out what that means.  The both have some questions but generally leave me to it 🙂

But for others; my parents, former co-workers, friends, and so on…  honestly, the fact that we are homeschooling this year hasn’t even been a topic for discussion for most of these groups.  They have probably just assumed that The Boy is back in his private school…  I’ve been out of touch with so many friends since The Baby – but that’s a whole ‘nother issue – they ask more general questions –Hows the family? Hows the house? Are you sleeping, yet? -when I talk to them now since it has been so long.

We have no curriculum.  He takes no regular classes.  We don’t do workbooks.

It is proving to be a difficult concept for most people who were traditionally schooled.

We don’t really unschool (yet? lol )… in fact, I try to avoid saying we do any variation of it so to avoid looking like a poser.  We’re in this middle ground right now; a difficult style to explain to folks on either end of the spectrum.  I don’t even know if it IS our style – a few more eyebrows raised – it just so happens to be what we are doing at this time.  We get up, at no specified time (though bedtime is generally routine which translates into a general time of alertness in the morning), The Boy completes a few self-responsibilities (washing up, brushing, dressing), breakfast is had and then the general plan is to pick a book in the morning to squeeze in sometime during the day before bed, and we take the day as it comes…  We have a few activities that are routine throughout the week (meet-ups / park days / trips to library / etc) but they are optional still and may or may not happen.  This, of course, works much better for us with The Baby in tow.  Who knows what the plan would be if we didn’t have to accommodate for feedings / changings / naptimes … but we do… and next year it’ll be a different game plan entirely I’m sure.

What is working right now

– Getting The Boy excited(?) about keeping track of responsibilities and planning – we created this weekday planner and charted out the months planned activities thus far.

– Journal-ing what we have done everyday and being consciously thankful for those things – The Boy knows this as ‘pick 5 things [you are thankful for]’ – usually a dinner or bedtime activity.

– Reading at least one book a day; The Boy has also picked Monday morning as the time frame for ‘reviewing’ his favorite book read by writing out information such as title / year of publication / things he liked / etc.

– We have a weekly Playground meet-up, Games Day meet-up and Sports Day meet-up as well as a planned hike (weather permitting) to Trader Joes for ‘Kids Corner’ every week

– The Boy picked Wednesdays for a trip to the Library.  This week he will finally be getting his own library card – Super Exciting

– We typically meet with a friend of mine for an outing, usually a hike, during the week when we are all available.

– Math – the key is keeping it happy and enjoyable for all of us – right now consists of us alternating creating problems for one another that we solve on our own and then together.  The Boy thoroughly enjoys penning out looooooooong equations for Mommy to solve with at least that many O’s.  We practice some in our heads, some written, use the TI-83 a bit, and we have also developed this cool chart that has proven to be quite fun.  We also have been baking a bit more together and are discussing fractions / measurements.

– The Boy has also taken a (free / intro) Yoga class, been to a Wildlife reserve, enjoyed an Indonesian Festival and so much more.

A lot of what we do are things I previously would have tried to squeeze into our busy schedules anyway.  But now we have more time to reflect and discuss.  Its no longer a whirlwind of activities.  We don’t have to ‘review’ what we just learned at one activity (in the car, mommy fighting traffic nodding ‘ uh-huh’) while on the way to activity number two.

We are still de-schooling but I am looking forward to it all 🙂

Time Management – One Lifetime Available Only

My insides feel like they’re jumping about … every time the “Order Confirmation” appears on my screen from Etsy.com! Its only happened, you know, twelve times, but still so exciting! Its like a breathing in new air of inspiration! I can totally make this happen! I am going to be able to buy that vacation home in the Adirondacks and live off my Vintage sales! The Man still rolls his eyes a bit when I exclaim ‘I’ve had another order!’, but I think he is slightly more encouraged each time 🙂

I have discovered that creating treasury lists helps bring like-minded shoppers to your shop. Plus its much fun – like window shopping but less sad because it has purpose!

It is quite reaffirming knowing that I actually have an eye for these things… I’ve always thought I had a gift 😉

Since we’ve begun our ‘Eclectic Homeschooling’ (which according to this survey of homeschooling types is what we’re doing), I’ve been trying to get everyone on a schedule, albeit a quite fluid one. For the last two weeks we’ve been sort of rolling with the punches when it comes to ‘learning time’. This however does not seem to be the approach we need right now; perhaps once The Boy is accustomed to being at home and not having free time all the time it will flow a little more smoothly. He is still in ‘weekend mode’ all the time though and hasn’t gotten used to the idea of periods of learning time here at home when he is staring down his Lego’s…. It has led to many unfortunate days of unhappiness. So we have begun to plan out our days a bit more; we do not, however, apply a time but rather a sequence of events. This leaves room for late nights that provide for late mornings or whatever event we want to join in on with our various home school friends.

I am still aiming to organize my time a bit better… I’ve penned all of my responsibilities and ambitions out and am currently trying to fit them all in one lifetime. It seems it shan’t be possible….Since the start of typing this I have put The Baby back to sleep three times, brought the diapers and covers in from where they were drying outside, tidied up the kitchen in hopes that The Man won’t be dismayed with the state of our house when he gets home, and have been looking for my tape measure for the last twenty minutes…. Currently working out a schedule for updating my shop and my blog on a regular basis … I’ve even committed to writing a few guests posts (!) so I’ve really got to get it together!

To all those Wonder Women out there – Have any tricks of the time management trade?

Remembering how I live for CHANGE…

Soooo…

“My forte is change” <— Remember that?

My dear husband is still coming to terms with my fondness for all things new and shiny.  Big changes are headed our way and yet again each shift in our lifestyle is compounded with another seismic shift.  It’s all happening at once and keeping him stressed and me busy as usual …I’m enthused and he lets a little worry out the window each time he realizes I will win him over 😉 … he gives into my charms a bit easier every time.

All of the wonderfully awesome things I had been eyeing on Post 1 are on the back burner now… Fun-er, more exciting things I have found!!

To start – I have opened my Etsy shop (!) … Aaaannd have had two whole sales! Yes!!  It’s still very new and green but I’m working on building it and feel thrilled that I have crossed that bridge!  I joined Etsy two or so years ago with the intent to open a shop.  I let life sit her ass in front of me too long – I leap-frogged and got a clear view of what I needed… The Man better hang onto his seat 🙂

I have also (finally!) convinced my husband to let me Home school our eldest!  Trust, when I say convince, I don’t mean I just asked.  My friends literally congratulated me when I divulged that he finally agreed.  To be honest, this was one time when I was nervous that he wouldn’t budge…  Sooo YAY!  I am very excited for what this means for The Boy and ultimately our family.  At this point I am still in planning mode – I lean more toward ‘un-schooling’ though am not completely convinced that’s best for us and I am trying to keep my excitement to a minimum and keep my mind open to possibilities.  I could use any input I can get!  This year ( “first grade” ) is a “trial” and The Man has made it clear he wants verifiable proof that things are actually getting done and evidence of behavioral/academic improvement for The Boy… 🙂

Lastly,

-THIS major life change is one brought on by The Man for once –

My mother-in-law will be moving into our home when she returns from a trip abroad.

It’s amazing how small our three bedroom home seems now trying to figure out where everyone’s  life will fit.  We have been anticipating this change but had thought we had some time before it happened…. either way there will certainly be ups ( live in sitter = first date night in three months, at least) and downs (any tips for privacy, anyone?), but it’s happening and we ought to make the best of it.

— maintaining a High-RAW diet (about 85 – 90 %)  but more on that soon 🙂 —

Cheers to CHANGE!