Tuesday, May 28, 2013

School's Out For The Summer!!!!!

School's out for the summer!!!! Or is it???

Actually, school is NOT out for the summer! After watching what happens when we do take a full summer break, I realized that it is just too much time off. I do like giving them a break - and let's all be honest, as much as I love teaching them and get great joy watching them learn, I enjoy a break now and then as well.

So what I have decided is that we will be learning this summer, but at an even more relaxed pace than we are at. I tend to be a relaxed homeschool mama to a point anyway - somedays, we are just busy trying to get everything done that needs attention, and sometimes we just have 'one of those days' where we don't get to the classroom. And I think that's A-Ok! I don't try to make a habit of it, mind you, and I am always trying to be a little bit better about getting a good routine in, but life just happens whether you plan it or not, and you have to learn to roll with the punches. So that is what I try to do. 

This summer, we are going to be *hopefully* having a ton of fun, and getting some great learning in as well. I told my children yesterday that I had some great plans for this summer, and pretty much gave them a mild run down of what our summer will be like. So I thought I would share it, and maybe get some good input on what others are doing as well. 

I have some goals that I would like to see them meet this summer.

Little Mama - I would like to see her get through all the multiplication and division charts from Livable Learning and do some review of long division with remainders. These are things she already knows fairly well, especially the basic multiplication facts. However, I wanted to make sure that the memorization is VERY ingrained in her mind. I also hope to keep her enticed in some fun fraction work. We have these great command cards that My Boys Teacher made over at What Did We Do All Day  and we use them, along with our fraction circles (these are the ones we have). That is all I am setting for her. Easily accomplished, but not too much that it will be overwhelming, I hope.

Hoss - Like Little Mama, his goals are fairly the same. I am making him go through the addition and subtraction charts, although he is well past simple addition and subtraction, just to ensure memorization to help him. We  have done static addition with up to 4 digit numbers, as well as static subtraction with 4 digit numbers, but I have to admit to not reaching dynamic yet. This can wait if he isn't interested yet - I don't mind starting out his '3rd' grade year with it. However, he really does like math, so I'm hoping to squeeze some in here and there. He also is working through the fractions materials, so I'm sure we will see them being used quite often. He is really looking forward to multiplication, and has picked up on some of the more basic problems on his own, so we will probably already be started on that before the official school year starts in September. Other than that, whatever he wants to do in Math is up to him.

*Notice the trend - I am trying to keep their math going! I think too much time away from it is slightly dangerous and can often times leave you backtracking for a couple weeks at the beginning of the new year, trying to get their minds thinking about what they have already learned.

Miss Priss - Her goal is to get through the numbers from 1-100 and be very quick to identify them. I also want her to be deep into basic addition and subtraction. She is my worksheets girl - so I am trying to keep her as interested in the materials I have as possible. We are currently working A LOT with the hundred board, and with our unifix blocks/bars - you can see them in action here . I am also hoping to get in some good language and reading with her. This is about the time that Little Mama began to really read well, and although I know that every child takes their own pace, I feel like I have missed a lot of opportunites with her somehow, and I'd like to focus on teaching her to read this summer.

Bug - 

I want her to be able to easily identify 1-20 by the end of the summer. This may be too easy and too small a goal, and she may go farther, but I would much rather set a small goal and go beyond, than not reach it at all. I am doing many things to work on recognition of these numbers, and we are close to beginning the teen board (mine is not an actual board, but a replica printed out that I got *free* from the same link above to Livable Learning). I would also like to work a lot on pre-reading exercises and maybe even we will see her sounding on some small words *hopeful*. She knows the beginning sounds of all consonants and the short vowels, so that is not totally unreasonable. 

Buddy Boy - my goal is just to keep up with him!!! hahahaa - actually, as odd as it sounds, I would like to use this summer to establish a good tot school routine. I do think you can mix tot school and Montessori very easily. One of the points of Montessori is to have a prepared environment, where the child can work independently on whatever interests him/her. The point of tot school is to have undivided attention given to your toddler, to be able to follow their lead and teach through play. When meshing those two definitions together, it's quite simple. So what I am hoping to do is use our coffee table to create a space just for Buddy Boy, where I will have trays that the others CAN use if they choose, but the activities will be geared mostly to him, although Bug may find them appealing, and possibly even Miss Priss. I want to dedicate thirty minutes of my morning to working solely with hiim - the others can definitely be busy with school if they want, but if they want to do something else, they can - somewhere else, quietly. That way I can ensure he is learning all the things that were easier taught when I had fewer children to be keeping up with. I don't want him 'lost in the mix', so to speak, just because I am busier now than I was when I only had 1 or 2 children.

That is the individual goals I have. I am also going to give them an opportunity to try and set some goals for themselves, if they would like. 


NOW - on to the really fun stuff!
We have a great nature center here in town that we love to visit (you can see pictures from it in this post ) and I anticipate many trips there, and maybe even some canoeing on the lake that shares the property. 

I am sure there will be many trips to the park, and riding the small train that runs through one of the local parks in our town.

This was a picture of Buddy Boy last year, enjoying a snocone after one of our many train rides!

We also participate in the summer reading program every year! This picture below was all of the kiddos, plus their cousin Big 'Z', when they had completed the program. For every five books they read, they have to record them in their catalog, and then can turn it in for prizes. After they read 25 books, they will have completed the program, and my independent readers really like this part, because they get their names in a book, which will then be put back on the library shelves for everyone to be able to see that they completed the program.


 Normally, we go to the library every Tuesday (check out my post here to see what role the library plays in our routine). However, in the summer time, I have seen the story time crowd get up to 80 children and parents. So we tend to slow down on the normal Tuesday trip, and instead go at different, hopefully less crowded, times of the day. And usually we go two, or even three, times a week, instead of just one. We are also going to participate in another reading program for the first time this year, which is held by a church library in town that we have a membership to. It is carried out in the same fashion, with the exception of the name-in-the-book. I am looking forward to this time of the year, although it means A TON of reading on my part, because I have to read the books to the ones too small to read themselves, and this year I am going to let Buddy Boy have his own card and prizes, so that means for every FIVE books that one particular child has to have before getting the next level's prize, I will be reading 10-15! Whew! 

This is where I am going to sneak in a lot of writing! I have printed out book report forms and also some homemade 'chapter review' forms, and the oldest three will be filling these out all summer long. We have not done many book reports, so I created some simple 'chapter review' forms that they can fill out after each chapter, that way at the end, they can use them to help in filling out the book report form. I have hopes of making each a binder to keep them in, and that way we can watch progress from year to year. I will share more of that at a later date, along with where I got the book report forms from! 

Those are our grand and marvelous plans for this summer!

I hope you all are making great plans on enjoying the summer, and remember - half the fun is letting the fun happen on it's own. It may sounds like I have the whole summer planned out, but in reality, there is a lot of time in there for spontaneous fun things to happen!

   



  

Why We Homeschool

I have been wanting to write a post for a while on why we chose to homeschool. I decided now is as good a time as ever, since we have been very busy with school the last couple of weeks, and yet my camera has not made an appearance to show what we've been doing. 


Let me start out by saying that I am a public school graduate, as is my husband. I went through all 12 years in a public school, save Kindergarden - I attended a private school for that one year. I had some AMAZING teachers, and some that just didn't cut it. I had wonderful elementary teachers that I still remember by name and occasionally see them around town - it's always nice to see them and get to say hello, even introduce my children if they are with me. I had some very effective, great teachers throughout junior high and high school, and then there were some that you could tell only taught because that was the simplest degree that they could get through college with - the easiest decision, or some (like my 10th grade Math Teacher) who were a coach and had to fall back on their Math major to be able to teach a class during the day, when what they really enjoyed was the coaching they did in the afternoons and on Friday night. So I would be lying if I were to say that there are no good teachers in public schools - I know some that are wonderful, as well, and truly enjoy doing what they do.  

However, when we started having children, the Lord started showing me just how important our roles as parents are to our children. That is where the decision to homeschool started - not with the desire to give an extraordinary education, but the desire to raise up Godly girls and boys, to one day become Godly men and women.

Now I am sure that you are wondering what that has to do with homeschooling your children, but I believe it has everything to do with it.

Psalm 127:3 and 4 says - "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth."



A heritage can be defined as something that has been handed down to you from others. My #1 goal as a mother is to hand down a Godly heritage to my children. To speak of, teach, and demonstrate God's love and salvation through daily life. But how can I do that, when I send them away for 7-9 hours a day (that is allowing for after school functions, etc, as they get older). A child in public school leaves home, generally, by 7:30, and won't get home until about 3:30. And as they get older, if they are involved in any after school functions, that can be as late as 4:30 - 5:00. But supposing they do get home by 3:30 - that means they have been gone for 8 hours of the day, and will only spend half that time with the family before having to go to bed. How can I possibly 'train up the child in the way he should go' (Proverbs 22:6), if he is only around me for half of the day? Especially when you consider that in those four hours they are at home, there is possibly homework to do, dinner to cook, and showers to take before they get in bed. When do I get the chance to sit with them? Read to them, or hear their heart? Before I go further - I am not saying it is impossible to do all these things when your child is in public school. I am just trying to highlight the missed opportunities that I would have, should I choose to send them to school each day.

God gave these children to my husband and I - to train up, raise up, and prepare for the world they will have to live in. I heard it best by a woman who was asked if she was sheltering her children. That can cover many different areas, and I won't go into all of them (although I agree with sheltering children to a point, giving them time to be ready to learn some hard lessons). She was asked how she would respond to someone who said that she was sheltering her children. Her answer - "I would say that it is wise to shelter a young plant. You would not put it out to try to grow in a harsh environment, but rather take care of it, shelter it, and give it good roots in order to ensure it's strength and ability to survive". I believe that we must be ever watchful of what goes in or children's minds, for it is the gateway to the heart. I have a righteous desire to give my children a good foundation in ALL things, both educational, and spiritual, and for reasons that I don't have to explain, that just can't happen in a public school. There are other options, of course - private school, christian school - but those were financially  out of the option, and regardless - I still felt the calling to homeschool.

So. armed with God's call, and a desire to do the best I could, we embarked on our homeschool journey when Little Mama was four years old. Because of birthdays being the way they are, three of my children would have started school almost a year later than most of the other children - three have Sep. birthdays. I decided that I didn't want an age limit that I was used to deciding when I would start them, or what grade they would be in. So I started teaching them when I felt they were ready, and if they weren't ready to 'move on' to the next grade level, I kept them right where they were. For example, Little Mama started preschool at 4 and moved on the next year, whereas Hoss started at 4, and spent 1 1/2 years at the preschool level, and then moved up to the 'Kindergarten' level.

So that is why we homeschool. I do want to give them the very best educational opportunities that I possibly can, and devote a GREAT deal of time to doing all I can to be prepared to teach them all I can (you have to be careful about all this, though! Read my post here about keeping your time balanced as a homeschool mother). However, my focus isn't on raising genius', but raising children who love to learn, and are ready to live for the Lord and stand for what is right, no matter what others are doing. 


 WHY I CHOSE MONTESSORI  

I also thought I would include why I decided to use Montessori. This part will be a little shorter - I promise!!! As most of you that have read my posts probably already know, we started out very traditional-based in my approach to teaching. The thought of 'hands-on' seemed wonderful, and yet out of my reach. I had no idea where to start with that, so I just didn't try. That sounds pretty pathetic - I know - but the Lord met me right where I was and everything was fine. We homeschooled four years that way, using books that I got from anywhere and everywhere. My husband was concerned about many things with homeschooling - I was definitely the one to push reassurances that it would be okay, and I honestly think he still worries sometimes, but don't we all? When Little Mama's first test scores came back from the state last week, and we saw first hand how well she was doing, it was a comforting relief to both of us! Back to where I was - I have used many different resources. I have gotten MANY great printables (FREE!) from DLTK and ABC teach has free printables, as well as many other places that I can't recall now for it has been so long since I have used them. If you are reading this and aren't interested in Montessori, but are interested in free printables - who isn't??? - a few good places to go are Free Homeschool DealsHomeschool Giveaways, and once again, I have to recommend Deb at Living Montessori Now, because she has a daily free printable on her LMN facebook page. I try to use free printables whenever I can, even in using Montessori, because I knew that I wanted to be as less of a financial strain as possible. Not because my children aren't worth investing money in, but because I wanted to be a blessing to my husband. That often times means more work on my part, or using my imagination and stretching it to re-create materials or teach them in a different way, so that I can get less expensive materials/tools in which to teach.


For the rest of the story on why I chose Montessori, you can read my posts here and here to read how I came to love Montessori, and why it has become so useful in trying to not only help my children learn easier, be together in what we are doing, but also to LOVE it!   

And now you know why we homeschool! I hope this has encouraged someone that may be debating whether to homeschool, or just starting out, or someone in the trenches just as we are and may possibly be re-evaluating why they are homeschooling, as well. Don't give up - don't get discouraged because things aren't always going right - they never will always go perfectly, but if we handle that in stride, it will teach our children to do the same! There are many supporters of homeschooling that can be found and can encourage all of us on our own personal journeys!     

Monday, May 13, 2013

Montessori at Home E-Book giveaway!



                        This is a giveaway you won't want to miss!

Over at What Did We Do All Day, My boys Teacher is giving away a great bundle, thanks to the combined efforts of John Bowman (author of the Montessori at Home E-Book) and Montessori Print Shop.

The Montessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle contains the newly published 3rd edition of John Bowman's Montessori at Home:  A Complete Guide to Doing Montessori Early Learning Activities at Home with 3-6 year Old Children and 21 printable Montessori Print Shop materials that are recommended in the eBook!


I had no idea such a thing existed when I started looking in to Montessori almost a year ago. Originally, in fact, my thought plan was just to implement the Montessori method a little bit to help keep my younger two busy, so I could traditionally homeschool the rest. That, of course, quickly changed when I fell in love with the Montessori method of teaching. This e-book would be a wonderful one to have if you have preschool/tot-school age children, or if you are a later started and just want to give your older children a good, but quick, foundation in principles that they might have missed out on (you can see my post here about why you would want to do that). 

For some great posts on what you can expect to see in the Montessori at Home e-book, visit Living Montessori Now's Montessori Monday posts that show the 1,000 - 10,000 activitymarbles and golf tees, and  building a flashlight and pipe building. These are all great! And the best part of this giveaway is, Montessori Print Shop is including 21 printable materials that go hand-in-hand with the book!

So to enter, hop over to What Did We Do All Day's giveaway post, read about the giveaway, then find the rafflecopter at the bottom of the post (be patient - it might load slowly) and start filling out the entries, including two entries that can be made daily! 



THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!





Saturday, May 11, 2013

Candy, anyone?

We have had an extended 'Weather theme' in our house the last few weeks. I thought we would be finished by now, and already moved on, but we are just now moving through the different types of weather-related emergencies - tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. 

One thing I wanted to share, just for fun, was a little game we played outside   about a week ago. It was such a nice day, and I just couldn't see not going out to enjoy the weather. So we got a quilt and headed out right after breakfast.    



I tried to take a few pictures, hoping for one good one.
You can see the results of THAT project at my
Spring pictures post



I was going to read them a couple books about the wind and talk some about that, but jets and helicopters flying overhead, and a construction crew across the street, kept that from happening. So after a slight diversion of watching the skies, and some running around from the kids, we settled back in. I decided just to show them a little something about evaporation. They had already learned the term evaporation, what it meant, and how the water cycle works. I wanted to show them that when water is evaporated, it doesn't fall back to the earth in the same place.  



I took our small glass beads (dollar store find) and made a miniature 'ocean' out of them. I explained how most of the water that is evaporated comes from the major bodies of water - oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, etc. Then I did something that the kids are never allowed to do. I threw our materials! :) I know - sounds crazy - it was a controlled toss. Actually, what I did was lift some of the beads in the air (evaporation), then showed that when they fall again, in the form of rain, they could fall anywhere (hence the small toss in the air, which caused the beads to scatter a bit on the blanket). The kids thought this was rather funny, and helped me put the 'ocean' back together again. 

Then I decided to make it a little bit more fun (I had already thought about doing this, but wanted to gauge just how interested they were before I pulled out all the stops and went forward with my idea).

Insert CANDY!


Amid the squeals of excitement, I told them we were going to do the same experiment again, except this time, my hands would be the ocean, and the water would evaporate - but THEY were going to be the different places that the rain would fall. So I did a controlled toss again, and they raced to grab the 'water' for themselves.  







I know this was a bit of a stretch as far as a lesson goes. The truth is, though - it got the point across very well, and in a very fun way. Before we came outside, everyone seemed to be in 'one of those moods' that wasn't very conducive to a good work period in the school area, and this was my way of getting them out of that mood, and also teaching them something both fun and important to know. No one had actually approached me with that question, so I am not sure if it was a NEEDED explanation or not - but I knew it wouldn't hurt to make sure and cover this, just in case. 

And it was fun getting out there with the kids for a little while - although we may have looked just a little strange to people driving by, but what's new? :)

Hope our little game brought you a smile this Spring/almost Summer day! Go out and enjoy the time with your children, even if it's a little silly!   


Sunday, May 5, 2013

School Days


I know it seems like :everyone: has a 'School Days' post somewhere on their blog, but there was just no better way to title this, unless you want to call it a mish-mash-of-photos post! 

My last post was about the weather theme that we have been working through in our homeschool, and I like to have a 'point' to my posts when I can, but I always have so many miscellaneous pictures that are still good :) So I figured it was time to have a post about them. 


I found these cards at Dollar Tree months ago, and snatched them up before I could think twice about it. I am very glad I did. We use these for word studies, mostly for Little Mama and Hoss, since they are the readers and the others really don't need them yet. The set you see below are Homonyms, but I also have Synonyms, Antonyms, and Compound words. The first 'presentation' (if you want to call it that) consists of us going over each pair of words and talking about them. For example, with the homonyms pictured, I divided all the sets in to about four groups, so there would only be about 8-10 matched sets, which means we are reviewing close to 20 different vocabulary words each time.  Generally, I go over three pairs of words with him, then stop a do a review of those three, using the three part lesson (for more information on the three part lesson, read this post by John Bowman on the Montessori 3 part lesson). After I know that the child I am working with has mastered the meaning of the word pair, we move on to three more words in our group of 8-10 matches that we are working on.  





I think I have 3 or 4 different groups of words for each category, and they all have some type of 'control of error' on the back, whether it be a certain amount of dots, tally marks, number, or even shape. I keep all the cards in a vegetable tray that was originally purchased for a sorting tray, with the current group of each type of word in it's own spot. I would like to, in the near future, make sentence strips that the word cards can be matched to, and print off small picture cards for the compound words (as in, a picture of butter and a picture of a fly, that can be put together and then discover the word 'butterfly'). Hoss also likes to play a matching game with them, but after I put in the control of error, it took the fun of that away. Okay, enough about the cards. I just wanted to share my ideas for a fun way to teach different types of words.       


I love the concentration that shows on Bug's face in this picture!



This is what she was doing when she gave me that look! A long time ago, someone gave my mother a bag of unifix blocks, and I ALMOST didn't take them - I hate clutter! - I am so glad I changed my mind! In this picture, she is matching the right block bar to the number card. I have used these as a substitute for number rods and bead bars, in the sense that the difference in 1 - 10 is very real with them, and there was a color associated with each number. What I plan on changing - I am going to switch up the colors a little bit, to try to match the Montessori bead bar colors as much as possible - I won't be able to completely match them, seeing as how I don't have pink, but I have a different shade of red that will be put in it's place for now. I think I have every other color I need, including a nice bright yellow that can be in the place of the golden ten bar. These can obviously not do everything the bead bars can, but I knew it would be a step in the right direction. We use them for a number of things - Bug and I use them to help her identify 1-10. In the picture she is using the bars, with large playdough mat number cards from The Pinay Homeschooler, and the small number cards are from this website which has a  *FREE* printable tens and teens board. It's not quite as fun as the real thing, since you can't slide the numbers in and out, but hey - who can argue with free? Due to limited space, I put both the large cards, the teen strips, and small number cards all on the same tray, along with the block bars, and we just pull off what we want when she chooses the tray. Right now, she is not using the teens strip, only the cards to help with identifying 1 through 10. She can recall her numbers very well up to 7, but still sometimes forgets the names of 8-10 when asked to tell me in the 3rd step of the three step lesson. So we will continue with these until she gets that right, and then will move on to the teen strip after showing mastery with her 1-10 numbers. Miss Priss used these, but oddly enough, preferred to use the big cards and only used the teen strips and small cards when coaxed. I think the challenge of the teen strips for some reason was a little bit daunting, so when we used the big cards a few times and she realized how easy it was to match the blocks, she was more open to the teen strips and cards. When I taught Miss Priss the numbers 11-19 with the teen strip, I used the bars the same way you would with the bead bars, except that we just re-used the ten bar every time, and used the correct 1-9 bar to go with it. I hope that makes sense - I only share that for someone who might be in the same place I am, with no actual bead bars yet, but that might have unifix cubes or anything like it. I also have made 10, 10-bars and currently have them on another tray to go with the tens strips. Right now I am working with Miss Priss on recognizing just the numbers 10, 20. 30 and so on, and then we will work on mixing it up - 21, 38, etc. Once again, I find her a little reluctant, so either she is just not extremely interested, or I need to find something different or change it up a little - who knows. Or maybe it's the worksheets that she still loves so much..... :/          



One thing Miss Priss does REALLY enjoy is cards and counters. I have used the very same large playdough mat number cards with small glass beads/stones that I found at the Dollar tree and created a cards and counters work with them for her. If you go to the number card download on the link I gave you, you will see that the cards go all the way to 20. I think I got a little ambitious and put enough counters in there to be able to use all 20 cards! Yes - that's a LOT of beads! Over 200 of them, to be exact! I think I am going to take half the cards out and only leave it at a 1-10 counting work this next week. I know that she knows those numbers, but she has showed almost perfect mastery of the teens numbers, and the number '20', and I think she likes these because they are relaxing and very engaging for her. I don't want to mess that up by making them too complicated.     




These pictures are of some of our small objects. Little Mama really likes to set up a small scenario with them. Here she took a couple wooden boxes that I found at Target and a plastic bucket that I found at the Dollar Tree, and created her own little world with my objects. I have quite a few, some of them in a 'large' category, and some in a small category - she chose the small ones. I have plans to get a hardware cabinet to store them in alphabetically, so that they are easy to access, but just haven't yet. So these abide in a plastic ziploc bag for now. I usually use them for sound baskets, and spelling eggs (you can find a good example of their uses in my Easter 2013 post) but she found them one day last week and got very elaborate with her imagination and the objects, which warranted a couple pictures!     






I have also been seeing a lot of this ^^^^^^ around the house lately. Out of the blue this past week, Hoss discovered the joy of being able to take something apart and put it back together. I forget what the first thing was that he felt he needed to un-screw, but he immediately fell in love with the art of taking a screw out, taking something apart, and being able to put it back together in an orderly way. This was not something I suggested, I made no practical life work for it - it came from him. A little history inserted here - years ago, when he wasn't quite 2 years old, my husband and I discovered him with his toy tools one day under the small dining table we had at the time. Come to find out, he had managed to loosen all the bolts with his plastic tools! Jump back to present time - there has been a great deal of this kind of thing going on from him - he calls it ' his work ' and has created some followers around the house, which is why you see Little Mama doing the same in the background. While he worked on the grammar farm (insert gasp that I never let escape for fear that it would break his concentration!), she was unscrewing and re-screwing the hinges to our mailbox that comes directly into the house! I have seen many things, including wood supports from underneath our dining table and pieces of circulating fans, coming off and being put back on. I told him the only rule is, he only does one thing at a time, and he better be able to put it back on right, or else he has to explain it to his Daddy. I am thinking I need to find an old fan or radio or something of that nature, that will be okay to be taken apart and put back together, and won't be a financial loss if he can't get it back together again just the right way.    






The older two continue their piano lessons each Thursday, and I *finally* got around to getting all their piano music that was printed into a folder, in sheet protectors, so that they can play through everything they have already mastered each time they sit down to practice. They are allowed to choose to practice any time of the day, and the only rule is that they have to play through all they have learned, and then practice their new music for the week. As much as I would like to sit with them every time they practice, that is an impractical impossibility! So I try my best to listen whenever I can, and usually can catch any mistakes they make by ear. I love watching them progress - Little Mama surprised me a while back by playing one of her pieces, by memory  THROUGH the keyboard cover! I was shocked and made her do it twice to be sure I heard her right. Sure enough, she had memorized where the keys were on the keyboard, and without having to see them, could play the piece. Granted, it was simple, but I still thought it was extremely well :) And Hoss is doing much better than I thought he would! Little Mama has a beautiful, God given voice, that has always matched pitch and tone very well. Hoss, well, doesn't so much, but he is very good at hearing the right note and being able to pick it out and play it. So when I can sit with him, I will 'sing' the name of the note, or the word in the song, and by hearing can remember which note he is supposed to be playing. I recorded a video of him playing, but for some reason, it wouldn't load properly, so this picture will have to do. My favorite part - the fact that he was playing to his beloved 'Rufus' that he has had since he was 2, a gift from my husband right before his sister was born! 

Well, that's it for now! I am tired, and still have some things to do before a new school week begins! 

I hope you are enjoying your school time as much as we are!!!

       
                                       








Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Most Interesting Photo Shoot

I tried to get a good Spring picture of the kids together today, sitting outside while we did our group lesson.



























After 20 shots, I finally gave up. This settles it - I may never have one great, completely normal looking photo again! :) Somehow, I still love the story these pictures tell! (It wasn't until later that I realized someone must have grabbed my camera and left a nice little smudge on the lens) 


I hope you are enjoying your Spring!



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