Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The First 10 Blog Posts I Wrote

Today I'm pulling out some old posts from the depths of insanity (i.e., the first few months this blog existed) and sharing them. I simply cannot pass up the chance to humiliate myself with a good link up.

Reading these again made my brain cry.

Welcome Post (12 June 2010)
This one has more views than it's worthy of. Probably because some folks come to the blog and scroll to the very first post thinking it's going to actually say something of value about the blog or the author. For the record, it does neither.

Sleep (14 June 2010)
Random rambling and whining about why the Agents aren't sleeping.

This Is What I Do, Part 1 (23 June 2010)
Aside from one Wordless Wednesday post, this has the fewest views of anything on the blog. Not surprising, because it sucks. But, that clearly didn't stop me from adding a part two and a part three. My Beginning Blogger Self had no control.

This Is What I Do, Part 2 (24 June 2010)
Skimmed this and learned that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away my kids went to bed between 8:00 and 8:30. Ha.

This Is What I Do, Part 3 (24 June 2010)
I wrote this on the same day as Part 2 (above) because clearly I needed to further expand the madness just hours later. I just re-read this post and . . . I can't even.

Writing (28 June 2010)
Relatively benign but pointless post about Anne Lamott and sh!@#y first drafts.

Feeding Baby (30 June 2010)
This has a decent page view count for such an early post. I must have shared it on another blog during World Breastfeeding Week or something. I don't remember.

Nothing posted at all for July or August 2010. I know we traveled twice during this time (a two-week trip to Germany and a one-week trip to Disneyland Paris). I may have also deleted some of these posts during a major blog reorganization a while back. (I shudder to think that the remaining posts in this list are the ones I deemed worthy of keeping. Eek.)

Travel Fun (3 September 2010)
The highs and lows of our final trip as a family of four (to Disneyland Paris).

Not nearly as interesting as a similar post I wrote a few months later.

Boob Talk (23 February 2011)
All I can say about this one is I think it was supposed to be funny. (Spoiler alert: It's not.)

And a bonus one, simply because I couldn't resist once I saw what the very next post was. Also, it was the same date as the 10th one, because apparently I used to have a thing for posting twice in the same day.

On Second Thought . . . (23 February 2011)
The post where I kinda sorta maybe almost admit that homeschooling the Agents is on my radar.

These are pretty much all the posts I wrote prior to creating a Facebook page for the blog. (It's here, BTW. You could click on it and like it. Hint. Hint.) Which means almost no one read any of them. (Not like people are falling over their keyboards to click on my links now, but at least now there's a chance someone on social media somewhere might take pity upon me and toss out a page view here and there.)

Fellow bloggers, what gems do you have hidden in your early archives?

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Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I would love to connect on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Instagram, or Bloglovin.
I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Linking up with Tuesday Ten co-hosted by Rabia at The Liebers and Lisa at The Golden Spoons.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Our Homeschool Days Look Like Right Now

At least once a year, usually more, I like to draft a blog on what our everyday craziness looks like. From a homeschooling perspective, it's interesting to see what kinds of activities dominate our days at different grades/ages. From a parenting perspective, it's nice to look back on our various "seasons" and know we survived. Plus, they are just plain fun to re-read.

This is what our homeschool days look like right now. Our students are third grade, first grade, and portable tornado. 
I mean, we also have four-year-old.

I try to be up no later than 6:00, and the Senior Agents (ages 8 and 6) are typically downstairs before 8:00. Our littlest Agent (age 4) still sleeps the longest; he doesn't join us until closer to 9:30. 

Early morning time for me means coffee, drafting blog posts, reading, and catching up on social media. The girls might take turns with the Kindle, read a book, color, or just play one of their made-up games. If Agent A isn't downstairs by 9:30, they go to wake him up.

No later than 10:00 we have some fruit and begin planning our day. I'm not sure when the "fruit as first breakfast" thing started, but somehow it became an everyday thing. Recently we evolved into having a bigger "brunch" type meal somewhere between 10:30 and noon. This involves some combination of pancakes, eggs, bagels, bacon, muffins, French toast, yogurt, or more fruit.

The rest of our morning and early afternoon generally don't follow any particular schedule. Kids play, read, have art time, or just make up crazy games to play. I clean or write or do other Boring Mommy Stuff while simultaneously offering any necessary assistance. If they ask, I play/read with them (and sometimes I volunteer just because I like to play/read with them) but they don't need or want as much hands-on direction as they used to. Honestly, now that the Agents are all out of the high intensity baby/toddler stages, my mothering "work" is more of the supervisory and mediation variety.

We're all kind of homebodies, but if/when we do leave the house it's almost always late morning. Which means we get the oh, no school today? question a lot. Still, this works better for our schedule so that's what we do. We like to be home by early afternoon. We're fine with only having "plans" one or two days a week.

I don't find staying home most days to be constricting in any way; in fact, we enjoy the unhurriedness of it all. (That is totally a word.) Especially when we'd have to deal with snow and ice and single-digit temperatures, not having to be anywhere most days is not a negative for us, it's a luxury.

We have our structured school time after lunch. (Yes; we have breakfast, brunch, and lunch. We're hungry around here, what can I say?) So, typically we don't break out The School Stuff until 2:00-ish, sometimes later. 

Most days we'll work on 3-4 subjects. Because my kiddos are young we focus on math and language arts. Oh, we still cover Everything Else (geography, history, science, health, music, art, PE) throughout the week but the majority of our daily, organized, Momma-sitting-at-the-table-with-them-let's-do-this work tends to be related to the three R's. At their ages, "formal" lessons take surprisingly little time.

Our go-to method for other subjects at this age could be summed up as Read All the Books. At any given time we have 50-100 books out of the library about our current history, science, music, etc. studies. (So we don't get them mixed up with our own, we have an entire bookshelf off the kitchen devoted to just library books.) We do some written work with all subjects, but it doesn't take priority.

The girls both read quite a bit, spending a minimum of two hours a day (usually more) buried in various paper and Kindle titles. In addition to reading about our current school topics, they both love fiction, especially historical fiction (American Girl, Magic Tree House), stories about mythical creatures (e.g., mermaids and unicorns) and modern twists on fairy tales (The Land of Stories, Whatever After).

Agent A is finally patient enough to sit through not just one book, but a whole stack, so we do that at least once a day, often more. (His current favorites include Elephant and Piggie, Olivia, and Curious George.) Other than reading whenever he likes, we don't do anything that would really be considered "school" with him. Since he has a fall birthday, we likely won't until he's close to turning six.

Our late afternoon/early evening time looks a lot like our late morning/early afternoon time. The Agents play, read, and (yes) watch videos or Netflix. They color and draw a lot . . . Agent J even has her own comic book, ha. Mostly they just hang out together and have fun. I love that they are able to enjoy so much free time each day. 

Dinner is usually around 6:15-6:30-ish, which coincides with Hubby coming home from work. Everyone heads upstairs around 7:15-7:30-ish for baths/pajamas and then back downstairs by 8:15-8:30-ish for a movie, snacks, more play time.

We've pretty much settled into a pattern of going upstairs to get ready for bed at 10:00. Everyone (usually) is sound asleep before 10:30. It's later than what we used to do, which means everyone also sleeps later in the mornings, but it's working for now.

Our days are pretty relaxed, and we like it that way. What do your days look like right now?

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Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I would love to connect on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Instagram, or Bloglovin.
I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sharing this post at Simple Homeschool as part of their 5th annual Day in the Life series.

Also linking up with the SHINE Blog Hop hosted by Jennifer at The Deliberate Mom.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How We're Learning About the Presidents

Confession: We rarely have well thought out lesson plans put together around here. We're more of a hey that sounds interesting let's clear off that shelf in the library and talk about that next kind of homeschool. I mean, I like to make plans, and I always have notes of what we would like to study in the not too distant future, and I even document it pretty well. However . . . the actual timing and execution tends to be more Agent-led and spontaneous.

We are quasi-predictable in our rotation, however, including revisiting the topic of US presidents every February. Following are some ways we are working on that right now.

Our go-to method for everything is Read All the Books, and this is no exception. This is just a random list of what we have out of the library right now about the presidency in general, specific presidents, and first ladies. We are attempting to go "in order" and so we are mostly concentrating on the first five. Not to say these are the best books about the subject or we personally love all of them . . . our method of choosing library books is admittedly haphazard. (The last one is an Agent J favorite, though.)

 Abigail Adams by Alexandra Wallner
 George Did It by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
 Presidents of the United States by TIME for Kids
 Show Me the U.S. Presidency by Pamela Dell
 So You Want To Be President? by Judith St. George
 The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness
 The Story of the White House by Marge Kennedy

We recently found the History Channel documentary The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents on Netflix. I thought it would be a bit much for 3rd and 1st grade, but they viewed the whole first episode and asked questions along the way. We will watch the rest of the eight-part series throughout the month.

I'm sure that a re-viewing of Liberty's Kids is in our future as well. If you haven't seen this, it's a cartoon version of the story of the American Revolution and it's awesome. You can get the complete DVD series (40 episodes) on Amazon for like five bucks. The list of celebrities lending their voices to the show will make you chuckle.

Other Stuff
Let's Grow Smart US Presidents flash cards (Yeah; I know. What can I say? The Agents love them.) FYI: I don't know why the price at this link is so high. We picked them up at The Target for a dollar.
Kindle matching game about the US Presidents  (Also includes some basic facts and trivia.)
Presidents of the United States Fast-Fact Book
Hail to the Chief US Presidents workbook

Are you studying the presidents this month? What are some of your favorite resources?

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Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I would love to connect on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Instagram, or Bloglovin.
I can also be reached via e-mail at mommainprogress {at} gmail {dot} com.

Sharing this post as part of the Hip Homeschool Hop at Hip Homeschool Moms.

Also linking up with the SHINE Blog Hop hosted by Jennifer at The Deliberate Mom.