Thursday, January 29, 2015

LEGO Education

Give me a 'L'!
Give me an 'E'!
Give me a 'G'!
Give me an 'O'!

What does that spell? LEGO Education!

It was unanimous in my home that Legos were the 'in' thing to do with everyone, so we have used them a good deal here recently.

I made the kids personalized Lego cards - what I could probably call Lego Command Cards - that cover a variety of areas. I will be sharing them soon, along with a little bit more about how we use them. In this post, I just thought I'd share some pictures of what inspired me the most and what they've been doing with them. 

Hoss has a hard time telling writing a story. One day, though, he and LM made this (pictured below) and he orally gave me an amazing story about what was going on, who was good, who was bad, what they were all doing, why they were doing it, etc. You get the point. I realized that he was able to think through what was in his brain with them. Add that to the aforementioned love of all things Lego and I knew we were on the right path.

So I made the command cards and each child does at least one a day. I take that back - LM, Hoss, and Miss Priss have a Lego Card expectation on their cards each day. We have yet to reinstate the expectation cards for Bug, but she has still fairly consistently done one a day as well. I'll show you a little of what they've done now, and try to get some more pictures shared soon.

*Spell your name using Lego pieces*

Buddy doesn't have cards, but he has quite often taken the idea he heard from someone else's card and done his version of it. This one, I believe, was made after Hoss had a card that read:
*Choose ten lego pieces and build something with them*
After Hoss did this, he had to write down what he built and what he wanted to say about it.

Bug did the same :)

These pictures are from Miss Priss' first attempt at the card that read:
*Build anything you like. Have Mama help you take pictures and make your own instruction book with them. Then, give the book and pieces to someone else and let them try to build it again using your directions*

(If you read this post, you can note here that the picture of her was her reaction to this the first time around. She didn't make it any farther than this, BUT still was required to finish it at some point. A couple days later, she picked it back up and we are still working on it - which is teaching her the finer points of an ongoing project, instead of trying to shove a lot of work in one day.)

Those were the first couple of days - we have had this going for a couple of weeks now, but also been working on getting my husband ready to leave, so we didn't have school time every day.
They have also been enjoying a lot of art, after getting a couple different art sets for Christmas. There has been a great deal of painting going on, and the hallway is still full of pictures taped to the wall, paintings at different levels of difficulty. :)

This is the umpteenth time that I have worked on this post, both in draft and in my mind, and writer's block is finally starting to lift! Thank goodness!

My husband is off to school :(

 so although in some ways I will be much busier, I will also be able to find a new normal once again :) and will hopefully have a more regular blogging schedule once again. Looking back, that doesn't seem like much. Truth be told, there is generally a great deal of things that get done around here, but don't get pictured. It's just more fun to look at a picture of something than just read it. Math gets done every day, LM and Hoss are doing well in History and learning to research specific topics. Language has gone well, with Hoss and Miss Priss finishing up work on compound words and root words in preparation for some work together in prefixes and suffixes. All things that I wish we'd done sooner, but what matters is that we are doing them now. I just can't possibly capture it all and still be able to teach with so many doing different things, all at the same time :) . 

If you are following me at all (goodness knows by now, you've probably seen a little too much dust on the blogger address for No Greater Honor lol) I hope I can continue to be an encouragement to you and that you find a few minutes of enjoyment and a break while checking out what we've been up to! I plan on making a point of getting some more blogging in, seeing as how I just passed up my 2nd blogiversary! :) So hang in, and Lord willing you will be seeing more of what I have the HONOR of doing every day!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Warts and All

There is a story about the famous portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely, and Oliver Cromwell. At the time, Cromwell was Lord Protector of England. Lely had already done royal portraits before Oliver Cromwell commissioned his work personally.  Lely's painting style was fitting with the custom of the time - paint your subject to flatter them whenever possible, and necessary. Royalty especially expected them to be painted in the best possible light. 

Enter Oliver Cromwell. 

Cromwell preferred to be portrayed as a gentlemen of military bearing, but was known to be opposed to all forms of personal vanity. When Lely came for Cromwell's painting, he supposed he should paint him in the same manner. However, I'm sure he was surprised when he heard Cromwell reply: "Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint your picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughness, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me. Otherwise, I will never pay a farthing for it."
 Though it's not proven that he said this, the information only coming from a conversation recalled after Cromwell's death, it is said that this is the origin of the common phrase - "warts and all". 

Warts and all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here it is.

Sometimes, my children don't want to do school. Sometimes, they get in a slump and don't want to get out of it. They get stuck in the "School is not what I want to do today, and I don't feel like doing what I need to do, and I really don't care how much fun it might be" kind of mood.

There you have it - raw reality. Just so you never think we have the perfect routine and have it all figured out. We are in the trenches here, wading through deep water and some days just feel like I'm barely holding my head up, to be honest with you. Life, however, is not made of all things planned. Life, I have learned, is in the interruptions!

So don't lose heart my homeschooling friends :) Real life isn't full of Pinterest moments and perfect blog posts :) It's just working hard to get something done, even when rough days come, even  when you have to teach your child(ren) that we can't succumb to tears and frustration, but keep on, keeping on! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Where We Are Now And What We Are Up To

Well, I didn't expect it to be almost the middle of January before I got back to blogging. Life wouldn't have been possible without this break, though. Things got so hectic, and probably will continue to be a little busy for the next couple of weeks as we try to enjoy as much time as possible with our family all together, and also try to prepare my husband to leave us for a 5 month stretch, then do a turnaround and leave again for 2 months. That's five months of  3 seasons worth of clothing, two types of uniforms, and so much more to get ready!

Anyway, that has nothing to do with school and everything to do with life right now.

A little update on the things we've been doing since the beginning of December. First of all - we moved, temporarily. If you didn't read the last post, the kids and I are staying with family (my mother) while my husband goes to an intensive, 5 month long school this year for his job, then follows it up with 2 months of OJT (on the job training) at a base not too far from us that already has the same mission our AF base is converting to. We spent a great deal of the month of December packing, storing, getting rid of, or moving our things from one place to another. We were able to be finished just in time for Christmas rush to set in. We did have a wonderful Christmas, though. The kids had their first Christmas program through the homeschool music group we are a part of.

Everyone - well, the kids - all got new bicycles for Christmas! We have spent many days outside giving them a chance to ride. Some days were nice enough to do so, and some days - it was all I could stand to let them be out 30 minutes before going in to warm up.

Yes, that IS Bug outside, on a bike, in a robe. Since, apparently, when you get both for Christmas, they must be used simultaneously. :)

More legos were added to the stash that we brought with us. This set was actually pretty cool - it comes from the LEGO Technic line, which, when put together, was a fully assembled pull-back-and-let-it-go car. I see more of these showing up in the future. Hoss loved putting this together.

New Years was started the same way we do every year - at church, where we have preaching and fellowship until almost midnight, then pray the new year in! I pray that God's Hand works through our family this year and that we are a better testimony than last, and His grace can get us through the tough days that  may lie ahead!

Oh, and we got a sweet gift :). My nephew, Big Z (who has shown up in blog posts occasionally, especially in the summer) got a new little sister for Christmas. Baby fever has definitely settled in with Buddy Boy getting older, so snuggles with this little joy are welcome any time! She shall henceforth be known as 'Little E'. :) 
(and yes, that is a onesie with an 80's throwback to Home Alone!)

A little Montessori practical life? Maybe.... or, just Miss Priss' attempt to make her bicycle faster so she could beat Hoss in a race around the block.

A little more practical life help, with Bug and Buddy Boy working together to get him ready to play. 
(note the tongue of concentration!)

And lots of fun, free time! Four out of five of my kiddos got together one cold afternoon to have a tea party. The girls love tea parties. Buddy Boy, well - he's just in it for the cookies :) 

That's a little glimpse of the non-school time that is going on. I will try to update you in the next few days about our rolling start back in to getting some school time in and the changes that have to take place in our circumstances. 

If you want to see more daily life - uncut, raw footage (lol) - you can find me on Instagram. Just request to follow - I don't mind at all approving a request, I'd just like to know who's looking at the pictures before they see them :) 

I hope everyone is having a great New Year!

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