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Sunday, June 29, 2008

He wants a beach theme

I can't talk much about homeschool right now but I can share the current quests I have been on. In our master bedroom, we have the standard beige walls that comes with new construction and I've dressed the bed with ice blue sheets with a natural/ecru blanket bedspread. Our bed is a mahogany sleigh bed sort of like the one pictured.

As soon as I figure out how to connect my camera correctly to the computer, I'll provide pictures because the furniture is actually very pretty and provides the chocolate brown color I wanted for the bedroom which is why I went with just blue and a natural color on the bed. Here's the accent rugs I've put on both sides of the bed.
And the one accent pillow on the bed as you can see matches the rugs wonderfully. I have hung cream drapes on the windows to keep the space feeling light and airy. The only thing left in this room is to find artwork for the walls.

When I was pulling all these color combinations together, the blue, creams and browns...dh mentioned that it reminded him of the beach. I thought that was a great thing, the beach is a relaxing place, which is exactly the feeling I wanted for the bedroom. Somehow that conversation sealed it in dh's mind that we should have beach themed art in our bedroom. Specifically the marsh since we have a lot of local marshland.

In a way to escape the unpacking of the house, Camille and I went out Saturday to look for new bookcases and I searched for bedroom art at all the major department stores in the Savannah area. We went to Linens and Things, The World Market, JC Penney, Sears, Michael's Art, Home Goods, Belk, Macy's and many more looking at all the art pieces that were available. I'll tell you one thing, if you want artwork of shells- go to Home Goods or a store like it, stay away from the big department stores. Similar prints had a difference of $50 between the stores.

I didn't find anything that captured the essence of relaxation I wanted for our room without making it look kitschy. At one time I would have decorated a nautical themed room with obvious items but now that I've matured in my tastes, I do not want a "Welcome to the Beach" sign hanging in my room. Lol, oh if I could just show you the things that dh has pointed out to me that have made me cringe! He thinks that we need a ship wheel clock and oars on the wall. At one time I would have agreed but not now, thankfully.

I have finally found the prints I want to add to the bedroom, by a favorite local artist so that is a bonus in my book. These will satisfy dh's desire for marsh and my desire for a relaxed but elegant room.

Catboat Through the Marsh by Ray Ellis






Dusk at Tower Hill by Ray Ellis


My only concern is that the bottom one has more blues and greens than the top one online but viewing them through different websites shows that the colors may be more similar than not. See the color differences between the two web images? Of course the bottom one with the muted colors complements the Catboat Through the Marsh print better. I personally think the bottom one is most color accurate due to how the overall piece looks, the reflection in the water is clearer and the bank looks more realistic.

I'm going to visit the Ray Ellis Gallery in downtown Savannah to find out if they are the right colors before buying them. Which is sort of laughable, I may have to save for these if I want them professionally framed.


 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Set-backs

Sigh. A bookcase collapsed yesterday morning as I was putting our books on it. I guess the Wal-Mart bookcases are not meant to be taken apart and re-assembled after a move. It's just a thing but this is a MAJOR set-back for setting up the learning room. I have so many books that need to be put away and until I can put them on a bookshelf, I won't know which ones will go into storage.

I also do not want to put anything on the walls until I have the books put away. Camille and I went shopping for bookcases yesterday and I think we've settled upon two unfinished wood bookcases 36" wide x 84" tall.

I'm also purging books again. I've also made the very hard decision to stop using BookMooch.com for a while and donate all of the books to the library. Although I will still be buying books for Tapestry, I just cannot have any temptations for 'other' books, we have a wonderful home science library right now and plenty of books to read. I just don't have room for everything plus I want to tighten up our budget. I'm saddened by this but I think it's a prudent decision given that we're living in a smaller house right now.

The falling bookcase also severely damaged one of the children's chairs so I need to replace those as well. I'm very upset about all of this, I'm the bargain-hunting queen and my bargains have been destroyed. I want to replace their chairs with folding ones, I'm just not sure whether to get wooden folding chairs which would look nice but may get damaged more easily or get two plastic ones like these. I want folding chairs so we can store them away if we want.

I'm also at a stand-still with the learning room which is a major hub in our home that has been sorely missed for the last month or so. I've sincerely considered just getting concrete blocks and planks of wood, lol. I can't do that b/c of 4 year old Danny due to safety issues. I wish I had someone to come over and help me configure our learning room, making sure I'm using the space in an optimal way because I have a computer desk that is 59" wide now and I can't figure out how to place it in the space. This is what I have now, and yes, I used a couch to represent my desk. If you consider what 3 feet actually is, it isn't much space. The two white squares in the walls are windows and above the 2 shelf bookcase is the dry erase board. At least where I think I should put it. The tv has to be on the wall it is because that is where the cable connection is.

Today my goal is to unpack all of my clothes and bathroom items while enjoying home-improvement shows. I'll also work on the pantry if I get a chance. I cannot stand visual clutter and I'm impatient right now to get into a normal routine that doesn't involve unpacking or organizing stuff. I'm a little frustrated and a bit overwhelmed. Happy nonetheless but still overwhelmed.

I hope to post pictures soon.

 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back Where I Belong




You Should Live in a Small City



You are definitely an urban person, but not any old city will do.

You want a city that matches you well. For you, big cities lack individuality.

You prefer a smaller city with lots of personality, local culture, and history.







You Are 40% Yankee, 60% Dixie



You're a pretty even split of Yankee and Dixie. You've probably traveled around a lot in your life.

 

Monday, June 23, 2008

The First Week

It seems like a looong time ago since I last posted. We're in our new home after moving last Tuesday, which to me feels like 2-3 weeks ago with all that has been going on. After church yesterday I finally got to work on building my desk which I had received for my birthday but we had decided to keep it in its box until after we moved.

Looks nice huh? It took me 4-5 hours to put together, I put the rollers to the lap tray on wrong at least 3 times. Lol. I was reading the instructions and all the bits and pieces around me, among boxes of books. Our new learning room right now consists of this desk and boxes. My goal today is to figure out the layout of this room and get the bookcases up. We lost two bookcases in the move. The hard part is figuring out how to configure the room to maximize the space and storage. I've got to get it done though because we need to get back on our lessons. Today Camille will be reading, doing her multiplication copywork and a lesson or two in Primary Language Lessons.

I haven't taken pictures of the new house yet because my camera's charging dock wasn't hooked up until last night and I want to take "final" pictures without the ambiance of moving boxes. I have 6 boxes so far of items that will be going to Goodwill.

Our house is 1/2 the size of the one we have moved from but it's nicer. We have met our next door neighbors, both families with younger kids. Our backyard has a slat-privacy fence, in which the kids have met the neighboring kids at and played with through the fence. One neighbor mom came over, rang the doorbell and said, "We received an invitation through the fence to come over and play. Is it all right?" Lol, of course it is!

The kids are happy, Camille is thrilled, her dad is a 15 minute drive away. Danny has asked when we're going to go home twice now but thankfully when we approached the entrance to our neighborhood yesterday after church, he said, "we're home!"

I have been working non-stop on this house since we moved in. I did take a break though, since we're closer to family the kids went away for a night. Camille went with her dad and Danny went to spend the night with his Poppa (Dh's dad) which allowed dh and I to have a date night. I'm sure we've gone out before in the last 4 years but this was the first time it really felt like a date night. Both dh and I are happier overall, Savannah is home and our moods have lifted considerably. We went downtown had dinner, walked a little and went to see...

From the creators of the hit shows Lost in the 50's and Jukebox Journey comes this new hit musical that covers all of your favorite songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's! From beach blankets to the BeeGees, it's three decades of Big Hair and Big Fun!

It was a wonderful night just with dh, we really enjoyed ourselves. Of course the trade-off was allowing Danny to go with his over-indulgent Poppa but we feel it was worth it although we're still battling the "gimme-gimmes" with Danny 3 days later. I can't wait to go visit my parents and see their new kitchen, they've been under construction for the last 4-5 months, expanding the back of their home. The visit will have to wait until August, I want them to have a chance to enjoy it before I descend with the kids, plus I want to establish a few routines here before leaving.

Okay, back to work for me- I have boxes to unpack and bookshelves to build. Hopefully we'll be able to do a weekly report this week, complete with new pictures of our home.

 

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Taking a Hiatus

We are moving in a week. I'm packing the computer and other hardware now because I just don't want to think about it later with all the other details. I'll still have access via my laptop but I'm going to do my best not to use it until the day's end. I won't be posting here until after we are moved. It's so surreal, next time I post here, I'll be doing it in our new house. I anticipate posting again on the 19th or 20th, depending on what's happening. Life is about to change.

 

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Swiffer Rock Star


video

 

Big City Girl



She rode the subway, climbed to the top of the Empire State Building, met the Statue of Liberty, saw Ariel on Broadway, frolicked in Central Park and had a fabulous time with her dad.

I can't help but be a little jealous but I'm so grateful she's able to do things that I've never been able to do. He better stop taking her there, the minute she turns 18, she'll want to run off to New York City.

 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

How I Plan a Year

Length of the Year
First I determine how long our school year will be and our starting date. For third grade and preschool, we have a proposed start date of September 15th and the year will be approximately 40 weeks long with most of the subjects ending at 30-36 weeks.

The curricula we use determines how long the year is but also how we approach our lessons. In keeping to a 4 day week, the year gets extended.

I use Tapestry of Grace as our weekly organizer, it has 4 units which allows me to create 4 quarters of our year easily. I've decided to take at least a week off in between quarters and plan for the next quarter within that week off. I also account for usual times off like Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Curricula Weekly Approach

-Explorer's Discovery Genesis= 30 lessons, each lesson is broken down into days so it will take 30 weeks to finish

-Horizons 3 Math= 160 lessons. Since we want 4 lessons a week, this will take 40 weeks to finish.

-Prima Latina= 30 lessons, 1 lesson a week will take 30 weeks to finish.

-Explode the Code- books 7 and 8 have 28 lessons combined which will take 28 weeks to finish if we do 1 lesson a week, I plan to start Simply Spelling after we finish these.

- Primary Language Lessons will be at Camille's pace but I aim to do 2 lessons a week, which will allow us to be done with PLL by the end of 3rd grade if we stay on track. I'm not too concerned about finishing on time with this.

-Écoutez Parlez French Oral Program is designed to cover 1 unit per 9 weeks so that is what we'll do.

-TOG is designed to cover 1 unit per 9 weeks.

- Science is *my* subject to design so aligning it perfectly isn't very important to me but if I were using a curriculum, I would schedule this out according to quarters, 9 weeks each.

- Classically Cursive= 1 page a week as needed, no plan needed for this.

-Building Critical Thinking Skills Book 1= no plan needed, this is informal, I've given 1 day for this as much as Camille wants to do in 30 minutes.

-Art and Music= Drawing with Children will be organized, 2 lessons a week and the finish date is not important to me. Music is organized by quarter with an informal approach.

- Poetry Memorization= I just schedule these as I think Camille will be able to handle them but having a master list of poems to memorize for the year helps tremendously. I also took the time to schedule them according to content and when we'll approach them during the year, for example poems about Christmas happen during Christmastime, poems about Spring will be done during Spring.

Once I've figured out how each curriculum will fit into my year, I created an overview (pictured above) of the subjects I want to keep track of our progress with. History, Math, Poetry, Music and Science are the most helpful for me to have on a schedule to glance at. The rest can be "do the next thing" for the most part.

How to figure out how many lessons during the week:

Products like Explorer's Bible Study and Prima Latina have instructions or are formatted to have daily lessons so all I need to do is figure out how often we want to do them. I have chosen to do both daily which makes it easy to follow their format.

Horizons has 160 lessons, which could be 5 days a week for 32 weeks (160 divided by 5=32) but I've chosen to do 4 days a week (160 divided by 4= 40).

How many lessons total= 160
How many days a week you think you want to do the lessons= 4
Divide those and you have how many weeks it will take to finish the total lessons (160) by the number of days (4 days a week).

Creating a Daily Routine
After I have our overview of the year, I create a proposed daily routine.

I figure out what time to get up, how long it will take to get the kids ready for the day (realistically) and how much time to spend on each subject. I plug in the information about how often lessons will be for each subject to complete our yearly schedule and then work out any kinks I see. Everything after lunch is really extra, this year I'm going to try a purposeful use of our afternoon time.


Organizing for the Plan
After I have these foundational plans for the year and the week, I approach organizing each curriculum to fit what I have planned. This year that includes creating 4 quarter binders for me but it also includes figuring out how to approach each subject during the times of the week.

History has 4 days planned a week: I plan out what I think will be doable each day.

Day 1: Read core book, start weekly project
Day 2: Finish core book, do mapwork, work on weekly project
Day 3: Read supplement book, work on weekly project
Day 4: Finish supplement book, finish weekly project
If at this stage you don't have enough time to finish the workload, then you need to reassess. Which is more beneficial? Having more time to finish the workload or downsizing the workload to fit the time allotted?

I know I probably go further than most in planning: I organize our workload to fit the plan, including creating notebooks pre-filled as much as I can. This allows me to be organized but also to "do the next thing" without much thought while we are DOING.

This part is hard work- tearing apart workbooks, 3 hole punching them, copying pages if necessary and putting a cohesive notebook together, I also put in empty handwriting paper with lesson numbers on them for non-consumable products like Primary Language Lessons. If we do not do the particular lesson on the paper, no biggie, it's just crossed off with the correct lesson number. This will be a reminder of how behind/ahead we are for what I planned at the beginning of the year.

I think the most important thing to remember during planning is that the plan will most likely change. I've accommodated that by setting up our year in quarters so I can reassess what we're doing each 9 weeks and make changes accordingly.

Happy Planning!

 

What I'm Reading

I have books to read for pleasure!



I'm reading Linda Lear's biography on Beatrix Potter right now and I've just finished wading through Beatrix's family history in the "Roots" chapter. We recently watched the movie Miss Potter so when I realized there was a biography on Beatrix, I decided to read it. So far, I'm enjoying it although I had to concentrate on the details of her grandparents and parents, which I know is foundational information on Beatrix.

In the waiting...

Audubon, Life and Art in the Wilderness by Shirley Streshinsky




Julie & Julia by Julie Powell



I think I'm finally gaining some balance to my own personal pursuits. My plan after Julie & Julia is to read a classic, but I haven't chosen one yet because I don't know what my mood will be when I finish these books.

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chopped it all off


The second photo isn't color corrected but shows the top. This is not the style I wanted but it will grow into the style I asked for.


This is the photo I provided and style I asked for.
Tip: don't take your 4 year old son to the salon when you want 8 inches of hair cut off.

We saw The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian today and it was good. I don't think it was quite as good as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but I haven't read the books to know if it lived up to the author's intentions.

 

I've packed 10 more boxes...

and I'm taking the kids to see the new Narnia movie. Danny and I are getting our haircut. I might be going short again. I have my picture of a hairstyle I like and have had before but I'm leaving the final decision for when I'm in the chair. I've packed 10 boxes so I can leave without guilt. What about our lessons? The house we're living in right now will have a team of painters in it next week so we're getting out of here today while we can. We're living amongst boxes and still have more to pack, I feel overwhelmed and thus lessons are not getting done no matter how easy it would be to do them.

I'm forgiving myself. Today, we're getting out of here. Tomorrow, I'll try again to get lessons done. We're too distracted and overwhelmed with what is HAPPENING, so I don't feel very guilty, just a little. Besides, we've already accomplished our 180 days for the state.

I know that certain friends of mine will want to see the new 'do if there is one so I will post it if it happens. Lol. It's just too hot to have long hair, I love it but I put it up most of the time which negates the purpose of having long hair. The con is that I know how hard it is to grow out, the in-between ugly stages. Sigh. 10 boxes before 10 am, I think that's pretty good!

 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ch-Ch-Changes

This is me, a picture from last September with blonde hair. My make-up, especially on the eyes is a little heavy.


And this is me, this morning with more natural makeup and newly dyed hair. The red tones are actually blond highlights which are hard to photograph. Have I said I need a better camera???


Wow, I have blue eyes! They are actually grayish blue.
It will take some getting used to but I will.
We have 100° summers here in Georgia, I might be getting a haircut soon.

The first thing Danny said to me this morning was, "Mommy, your hair is pretty. I like it."