Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeschool Update

So, we are about 9 weeks into our Kindergarten year since we decided to do school year round. I posted back in June what we were planning on using in the different subjects. And just thought I would update and share how it is going and what we have tweaked.

We ended up ditching our science curriculum pretty quickly. It was great but it was just too much for Max this year. So, we stuck it back on the shelf and will try it again later! Instead we have just spent time reading and learning about wherever Max's interests are in science (which are all over the place! But, lately has centered around storms). We also haven't done a whole lot in the way of Geography outside of pointing to things on the map when they come up and learning the continents.

One thing we added that I hadn't planned on doing has been a lot of memorization. We came across a poem a little while ago that seemed fun so I decided to read it to the kiddos. They memorized it right away and started asking for new poems! I was just amazed at how quickly and easily memorization comes to them. They are little sponges I tell ya! So, we have been memorizing shorter poems (mostly about animals of course!). We also memorize a Bible verse every week and have just started memorizing the Operational Definitions of Character Qualities.

I am honestly not trying to sugar coat it but outside of a few pouty moments initially, when Max would rather play Legos then sit and do his math book, things have gone swimmingly. We have managed to not have any crying melt downs (on either side!). Sophie and Jack are great during school time and we haven't had any issues with that. I think the key to our success for our family was starting slowly and adding in one subject at a time. It was much less overwhelming on all sides and no one seemed to notice when subjects were added in.

No doubt we will hit a few bumps along the way but so far we are off to a great start and feeling really grateful that God has led us down this path. It really has been a great opportunity for me to step out in faith and for our entire family to grow closer together.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sophie Nichole turns 4

4 years really goes by quickly...

I am so thankful for this time with our sweet little Sophie-Girl. I can't wait to see how God uses her outgoing and spunky personality for His glory!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Off

I decided that we would take this week off from homeschooling. We have done 8 weeks of "school" so it just seemed like maybe it would be time to take a break. I can't help but laugh a little because our first day off doesn't look very different from a typical school day. We spent close to an hour reading this morning, we went to the library, and now the kids are sitting listening to a book on tape while they color which will be followed up by painting and then afternoon chores. The only difference has been we didn't sit down and do a formal math, phonics, and handwriting lessons this morning. 

I love that though. I love that there isn't a huge disconnect between "school" and "home". I love that learning activities are what the kiddos like to do for fun. And I love that they are learning even on days we don't try. Yep, I am pretty sold on this whole homeschool thing...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Laundry Room Closet {Make-Over}

I am sorry! I know I was already here earlier today! I just couldn't wait to post my laundry room project. And by "my" of course I mean my mom and dad came up with the plan and got the materials and Nick and my dad installed it all! But, I think this is going to be a game changer in my laundry life! 

So, I had this idea that it would really simplify my life if I were able to keep the kiddos everyday clothes in baskets in the laundry room. Each kiddo would have about 7 days worth of daily clothes in the current season that I could just fold and throw in their baskets and they could get dressed from that (including p.j.s and underwear). I also wanted to be able to hang up Nick's work shirts and our other hanging clothes straight out of the dryer to avoid wrinkles. 

I have a closet in my laundry room straight across from my washer and dryer that I have never known what to do with. It had sliding doors on it when we moved in and a bar straight across. I guess it was a coat closet? But, we have a coat closet in our entry way so we never really used it as that. So, it usually became a place to throw junk. Eventually I decided to take the doors off and put a bench there which was cute but not functional. 

But now, I think this closet has finally fulfilled it's closet destiny! Behold...

A basket for each child's clothes (an empty one for Baby #Quatro!). A place to hang. A counter top for folding. And baskets on top for storage!

Like any project in this house I am sure I will tweak a touch. I am thinking maybe I need to get white baskets on the top for better balance? And then I want to come up with some sort of cute way to label the fronts of the basket so we can easily tell whose is whose. But, the beauty of it is... it is totally functional and I can start using it now! So... I better go do some laundry!

{Catching up and What I am Reading}

Happy Saturday Morning! We are enjoying a quiet one here at our house and I am loving it. We don't have any plans this weekend and I am just thrilled about it! With Nick's job (he doesn't get home until after 6) our family time on weekdays is super limited. So, I am attempting to make our weekends calmer so we can soak up the family time! But man, it is hard to make that happen! But, this weekend it is happening!

On Monday Nick and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary! We had officially celebrated in July when my parents took the kids for a couple days. But, my mom was sweet and offered to watch the kiddos the evening of our anniversary so we could go to dinner. It was such a huge blessing for us. We went to dinner at Kitaro (one of those Japanese hibachi places!) and had the best time. It was fun to reminisce and talk about how far we had come in 7 years. We both agreed that we are totally different people than we were when we got married and we definetely have a different view of what marriage actually is as opposed to what we thought it was going to be! We couldn't help but laugh at some of the truly terrible marriage advice we got from well meaning people at the time. A lot of people gave us advice on "keeping things fair" and "making sure you both split up the work" and all sorts of things like that. So yeah, we had some false expectations in the beginning! But, let me say, I am more grateful than ever that I married Nick Ramsey. God has been so faithful to us and anything good in our marriage is truly a testament to who He is!

I have been trying to get some organizing projects done around the house and hope to do a few more this weekend. My parents are coming over later today to help with one of them (and let's be honest... by help I mean do the whole thing). They are amazingly handy when it comes to house projects and I am very thankful they are willing to help us! So, I will hopefully have a fun blog post on that later this week!

I have also been reading some great books lately I thought I might share with y'all in case any of them interest you! If you haven't noticed I read about 5 books at once! It is kind of a bad habit and maybe a sign of me having some weird form of ADD or something. But, either way!

2 of the books I am reading right now are uber practical which is just what this mom of soon to be 4 children needs!! Like I know ANYTHING about having 4 kids? HA!

The first is Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.
Large Family Logistics
It is full of the nitty gritty practical things that you have to do with a large family. Tons of tips on laundry, cleaning, and just making it all work. I keep a highlighter in my hand while I am reading this one and am finding so many useful tips in it! I know for some people 4 kiddos is not a large family but for me that is twice as many kids as I grew up with so I am gearing up! Ha!

My other practical book is Managers of Their Chores by Steven and Terry Maxwell.
Managers of Their Chores (Managers, 1)
This is a guide to children's chores. A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook asking what kind of chores people had their kiddos 3-6 doing. My kiddos do a lot to help but we don't have regular chores or any sort of system so a friend recommended this book and another friend loaned me a copy to read! Plus, The Duggar Family said they used this book so let's be honest... it has got to be good! I am certainly getting a lot out of it so far.

The next book I am reading is one I think I will be recommeding to every woman I know! (I can't say for sure because I haven't read the whole thing but unless the author goes crazy at the end I think this book will go down as one of my all time favorites. It is Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Horger Alsup.
Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives (Re: Lit Books)
First I must say what this book is NOT. It is not a dry theology text that you read to fall asleep at night. It is NOT a light and breezy girly book avoiding the tough issues. It is a hard hitting look at who are God is and what we should know about him, written from a woman who has learned some of these things in the trenches and then shares her story with us. I have already realized some false things I was believing about God. I think this book would benefit a woman who has been a Christian her entire life and has read through the Bible 26 times and it would also benefit the woman who is still trying to figure out who this Jesus is.

Side note: On Monday I finished my Bible in a Year reading plan! I read through the entire Bible for the first time and I did it in one year! This is something I have attempted to do every year since I first became a Christian but I never kept up with it. I am so excited to have finally done it!

Okay, back to books... The last book is the one we are reading for our discipleship program at church. It is Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne Grudem.
Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know
I am just starting it but am enjoying it so far! I think some of the content will be the same as Practical Theology for Women but told in a more straightforward manner. Either way, I am excited to learn about God! And I think this will be a neat book to talk about with my friend Crystal as we go through it together.

I hope you all have a good weekend! It will be another birthday week around here for us as our little Sophie Lou turns 4 on Tuesday and then we will party it up the next weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What about Sophie?

Surprisingly, since we decided to homeschool the #1 question I have gotten is "What are you going to do with Sophie? Will you teach her preschool or will she do Kindergarten with Max?"

Something along those lines... So, I thought I would kind of share my game plan and what I believe about educating for preschool!

Nick and I have found that the "school of thought" when it comes to education that we most agree with is Classical Education. Read more about it here. So, I basically believe before age 6 kiddos really don't need much "formal" education. So, we will continue with Sophie doing what we have been... teaching her the alphabet and letter sounds through play, songs, and everyday conversations. Learning math through playing and talking about everyday situations. We will continue to read to her every book she will sit through, playing games, and answering all of her questions about the world.

I don't force my kiddos to sit down and do worksheets or book work at this age. Any handwriting practice that happens is simply because she wants to do it and we stop as soon as she gets bored. For now I think the best thing for Sophie's handwriting is encouraging lots of coloring and drawing to work on her fine motor skills and then when she is 6 (or wants to) we will start to get serious about handwriting.

Sophie is actually at a huge advantage though because she likes to be involved in my school time with Max. So, she learns a lot through listening. And I do have some little workbooks for her so that whenever she wants to sit down and "do school too" she has some stuff to work on. Although more often than not she just covers the workbooks with stickers... but hey! That is fine motor skills, right?

Whenever Soph is ready and knows all of her letters and sounds I will have her start on the Kindergarten Hooked on Phonics books. But, that could be in a few months or not until she turns 6 and I am perfectly happy either way. Educating my children is not a race to make sure they are reading before all the other kids. And I never want to make them feel like they are being used to make their mom look good.

So, that is our current plan for our little Sophie bug! If I had to guess I think she will probably learn to read earlier than Max because she is showing more interest but I am fine either way. She is always welcome to join in whatever we are doing and if she wants to sit down and do book work we will make that happen. But, for now, we are having fun and enjoying her childhood!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guess who is 2?

Jack Ramsey made his blog debut exactly 2 years ago today. One year ago we celebrated him turning one year old with a circus bash. And this weekend we celebrated our sweet two year old in tractor style. We are so thankful for our little man. He keeps us on our toes with his strong personality but I know God is going to use his BIG personality for BIG things. We love you Jack Jack.