Sunday, May 31, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

five 'snapshots' of my life at present--no people, no arranging, no cleaning.

to join in on the fun contact Sarah at The Napping House.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Phonics Update

We've made it another week. The girls are catching on quickly and I'm liking the program thus far. They've learned the short o sound and reviewed the l sound. They've learned that you code a short o with a breve. In teaching this week I remembered by I originally like Saxon Phonics--because it teaches children how to decode words by teaching them to codes/symbols (breve, macron, accent marks, how to divide words into syllables, etc.). Basically, if you look at a word in the dictionary, part in between the / / is written phonetically and this is what this program teaches in addition to learning the sounds. I'm liking that.

I've decided to keep the girls together on the K level for the rest of the summer. We're only working on it 30 minutes a day. It's easy enough for the younger and just when my older is getting bored, we're learning a new code. So, we'll see how far we get by the fall and I'll reassess then.

My son is over hearing these lessons and can make both the l and short o sounds. I'm not including him yet but don't mind him being in the room with us. Overhearing is a great way to learn!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

8 Things: I Need Less Of

Join 8-Things

so I couldn't resist especially since today's 8 Things have to do with the whole 'doing less' revolution.

8 Things I need less of:

1. stress--most of this, unfortunately, is self-given. yeah, i have a lot of 'normal' everyday kind of stress: kids fussing & screaming, too much to get done, running late, etc. but in looking at the stresses of my life there is enough that i am placing upon myself. as much as i'd like to say they or he or she it's really me. i've got to value myself more than this. i am choosing not to accept it from myself any more.

2. perfection--one of my stresses. in attempting to make things 'perfect' in my world i place a lot of pressure on myself. the need for deadlines. the lack of sleep i get because i'm either trying to complete tasks or feeling down about not completing them.

3. fear--i don't have a lot of fears. but the ones i have are big ones. the fear of being alone. the fear of being found out--that i'm not what i seem to be. i mean, i am, who i am but not always who i'm supposed to be. fear of being a disappointment to those who matter. again, i'm working diligently on these because i'm learning that those who matter really want to see me--not the image (see pledge of authenticity).

4. clutter--everywhere i look in my house is clutter. ok, this isn't all true. i've spent the last few days cleaning my dining room, bathroom and kitchen and the girls' room. so THOSE spaces are mostly de-cluttered. however the rest of my house is full of clutter. i'd like to move to getting rid of what doesn't have a place. whether it's paper, clothing, books, toys, etc. i really do need less of this in my life!

5. stuff--this is slightly different than clutter to me. it can become clutter when it doesn't have a place but the bottom line is we just have way more than we'll ever use. as a teacher i used to collect and save everything. teaching in public school where resources were quite limited, i learned to create things from leftovers and got into the very bad habit of thinking i'd use something later. it just turned into MORE stuff and clutter around my house. i've given away most everything related to teaching only keeping a bookshelf full of what i'll actually use with my kids now that we're homeschooling. i've gotten into a good habit with clothing! i immediately give away outgrown clothes!! we've even stopped shopping for more than necessities so as to not add to the amount of stuff (the grandparents send enough things to the house for the kids, so my dh & i don't need to add to it! wink, wink!).

6. chores--i really have too much to do. i mean, looking at my list from the other day (at least what i shared there), most of these things are necessities. like laundry and washing dishes, and cooking for the kids and bathing them and cleaning up around the house. i am starting to include them in chores. well, i've always included them, but their "help" hasn't really been help--it's actually been MORE work for me. now that they're starting to be more 'helpful' i guess i need to allow them to do what they can. but somehow this feels like more chores for me--overseeing, instructing, demonstrating, reminding, re-doing, etc. (screaming to no one in particular) WHERE DOES IT END????? (deep sigh)

7. worrying--i can usually keep things in perspective but there are times, now that i'm a mother, that my thought simply run wild!! now, some of my worrying is based in reality (past, first-hand experiences) but a lot of my really big worrying fits are not. i believe that this is in my genes and i'm seeking to create better habits of thinking and speaking to myself.

8. BS--yeah, i still have to deal with some of this....and i just have to say. i need even less!!

if you'd like to join Magpie Girl in 8 Things click here.

Do Less

Join the Do Less Campaign

yes, yes, much easier said than done.

and depending upon how i read this it could be "do less" (less meaning not more) or "do les" (my nickname les short for leslie). hey, i'm already liking this 'revolution!'

so in my blog reading i've stumbled across another really good one: Magpie Girl. it's amazing to me just how many awesome things are out there just waiting for me to come across them. the movement started on this site is simply to do less. i find myself always, no ALWAYS, feeling like no matter how much i do there is still a TON, MOUND, continuous piling heap of things on my 'to do list.'

[side bar: awhile back i come across an idea of writing a 'to be' list instead. i must say that has worked...but unfortunately with all that's been going on in my life i've forgotten it and gotten back into this funky 'to do' list thing again.]

in reading more about this whole thing again, it's prompted me to start anew. the first suggestion she gives is to write a 'have done' list just to get a grasp as to what you've actually done. so, i've taken some time to write my list...i will share the highlights of Wednesday:

washed the dishes
washed three loads of clothes
hung up two load of laundry to dry
put one load in dryer
carried baskets of clothes upstairs
folded clothes in baskets
asked children to put their clothes away
reminded children to put their clothes away
checked to make sure clothes were put away
swept floors
put recycling out for pick-up
empty waste baskets
washed kitchen floor
washed bathroom floor
fixed breakfast for children
played songs that children are learning
read children Bible stories
straighten up living room
ironed my clothes for school
assist girls in cleaning up their room
assist son in cleaning up his room
checked email (all accounts)
responded to some foolishness (email)
read a book to my son
took son to potty (can't remember how many times today)
reviewed phonics lesson with the girls
fed the dogs
watered the plants
added bird seed to the bird feeder
swept off the front porch
prepared dinner (which we eat at lunch time)
cleaned up kitchen
read my notes for class
took a shower
did my hair
got dressed ;-)
reorganized bookshelf in classroom
read the girls another two chapters in Charlotte's Web
put kids down for a nap
asked them to get back in bed and take nap
walked son back to his room to take his nap (smile)
played with the dogs
played a game with kids (whack-a-mole)
listened to my children tell me about their dreams
emails photos to a friend
checked homeschool group website & posted comments
read a few more blogs
attended my A&P class
saw a client for a massage therapy session

what's crazy is that after reading all of this again, there are still several things i didn't include. and there are EVEN MORE things that I wanted to get accomplished. i guess in looking at things this way i now question why i would even think that i should be able to accomplish anymore.

so back to this whole 'do less revolution.' the idea is to start acknowledging what i do already. decided what things are most important (that's the task for this week) and figure out what i can let go of. i have to say that there are things i'd just like to do simply because i enjoy them. like knitting and sewing and painting and creating and being outside with the kids and teaching them new things.

i've joined this revolution to get back simple. do important. do less. do les (that's me!).

i'm now starting on this week's task of dividing this 'have done' list into three categories: 1) Things that are absolute essentials. (eating, bathing, sleeping, etc.) 2) Things that feed me/give me good energy. 3) Things that drain me/give me bad energy. To read more about this step click here.

so. i'm off to divide my complete list. will keep you dated on my progress as i learn to better "do less!"

[foot note: Magpie Girl's blog is full of other great things. i'm reading about the Soultribe--which is my next thing (auntie, you'll like this too!!), she also has '8 things' which is something else i want to join in too. but first i need to get my list under control so i'm not doing to much! wink, wink]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sketch Tuesday

subject: sketch something with buttons
this is what my dd age 6 sketched: a shirt & pants.

for more information contact Barb at Harmony Art Mom.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Sharing Monday

Although today is a holiday, we wanted to take a moment to share our book, as this is our first 'Book Sharing Monday!'

The book we chose for this Monday is Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. This is a short story with lots of pictures showing that we are more alike than different. There are people like us all over the world. We read this often.

For more information or to join in Book Sharing Monday or to find a list of others participating check out Serendipity.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

this is my 1st submission for Snapshot Sunday. the point is to share five 'snapshots' of my life at present--no people, no arranging, no cleaning. thought it was a pretty cool idea so i'm participating.

contact Sarah at The Napping House to play (and for more info).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Choose...

to be the best that I can be
I choose
to be authentic in everything I do
my past don't dictate who I am
I choose
I choose

we listened to this song today by India.Arie as i play this CD, all her CDs for that matter, a lot. i heard my girls singing these words over and over from their room.
and i was thinking, yeah, i want that for them. i want to show them what that looks like, how that feels, what that really means.

in reading the new blogs i've stumbled onto (several of them are now on my 'blogs i read/follow' list) i've come across a badge labeled 'I choose authenticity' and finally followed the link today to see what this was all about. it brought me to Brene' Brown's blog/page/info with more information about the whole "movement," if you will. in so reading i decided that this is something i'm not only going to do for myself, but publicly, here in this space, as well.

i'd like to believe that as i've grown older, i've been growing wiser. it's been about 10 years since I made the conscious decision to stop "fakin' the funk," "wearing the mask," pretending something that isn't true. It initially started in response to some unnecessary drama at work with some colleagues. it them moved into my general acquaintance/friends sphere and more recently has moved into my relationships with family. (isn't that strange how it worked that way?)

boundaries are important for every area of one's life. i didn't realize that what may be a 'common boundary' for me isn't for the next person. and it's up to me to open my mouth and use my words to inform the other person when my boundaries have been crossed--i can't depend on or expect them to know what they are. it's sort of like one's personal body space just for ones inner spirit. we often hear it said like "being able to say no." but it also applies to being able to say yes! being able to give yourself totally and completely to the joys in life without finding a reason not to.

in recognizing this for myself and desiring to be more of who i am (as opposed to becoming more like the person others think i should be) i am choosing to be authentic.

so what exactly is being authentic? i'll share what brene' brown has written:

now, if this seems like something that might be inspiring/helpful/needed in your life please take the time to follow the link.

so, today, i'm taking this pledge:

and i hope that in so doing, i can pass a bit more goodness into the lives of my children, family, friends and the world!

being the change....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

outside of doors

after breakfast and doing all the morning rituals we got out to refill our lonely bird-feeder.

[i have to say that in our relocating process all of our bird-feeders, planters, pots, and several gardening items failed to make it to this house. i know they were packed...i saw them get put on the moving van (by the movers) but somehow they didn't end up here. i'm greatly disappointed by this as these items are a bit expensive to replace. so now for plan B! i'm gathering supplies now to make some feeders (milk cartons, paint, sticks, etc) tomorrow as the day is already getting away from us.]

the kids really enjoy watching the birds come and eat. i've got to get my bird book out so we can identify the birds in this region of the county as i don't know all of the ones that drop by for a bite.

while on the front porch, i re-hung my wind chimes. my dh takes them down when he comes home in the evenings as the sound of them drives him insane. i explained that while this may be true for him, the sound of them KEEPS me sane with all the goes on here! lol!

we also checked our hanging baskets of flowers and watered them.

a neighbor, whom i haven't met, passed by our porch and my son greeted her. he's very personable and says hi to everyone! she asked why they weren't in school today. my oldest just right up to say, "we're homeschooled!!" this started a nice conversation. she asked if i'd be willing to homeschool other children...since it caught me off guard i didn't give a straight answer. just went into how she could do it herself and offered her my support. i think i'm a bit too flexible in my schedule to take on another's child and meet their expectations. i invited her to stop by again to chat!

after sweeping off the porch we went into the back to dig in the dirt awhile. today we didn't spy any earthworms...the children did their best to dig for them. no luck today! we did get to watch a small bee gather pollen. i attempted to capture it on my camera so that kids could see it close up--hopefully one of the shots will come out great! we also watched a spider hop across the patio. since we're reading Charlotte's Web right now, the kids are always on the look out for spiders! ;-)

the sun got a bit intense, so we've come in to drink some water and debrief. the kids created some artwork to show what they did this morning. this also gives me a moment to blog about it before getting into the rest of our day!

we're going to be starting some plants: flowers, beans, etc. so the children can grow their own plants. i meant to start this sooner, but, now is better than never. so, i need to look for some resources (books, activities) to read through today to get them a little background. perhaps this is the theme of our lapbook for this month!! yeah, i like that...

i love learning with them, watching them get excited about life around them! there is so much to learn and explore!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

i'm sick of being sick OR learning all the time

since there are five of us in this household (excluding pets) once a 'bug' finally takes one it's only a matter of time before we all come down with it. i tried my best to 'keep my head' above it all, but over the weekend, it finally got me. i have to say that the worst is behind me, but my oldest is still suffering with the aggravating, nagging cough! it we would just get over this last 'hump' i think we'd be rid of the whole thing.

i've aired the house out and have been cleaning up behind everyone so as not to spread around the germs again. (i can't bear the thought of it going around again...ugh!)

we'll be out side in the sun this afternoon, so hopefully the sunshine, in moderation of course, will assist in getting the rest of this stuff out of our systems.

the one great thing about this time, is the girls have been more interested in understanding why they are sick and what is happening in their bodies. we read The Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie the yesterday and they watched the video of it this morning. i overheard my younger daughter (4yo) saying to her older sister (6.5yo), "see, jaya, that's what's happening in your body. those white blood cells are eating up the sickness!"

we've talked a lot about it since. i'll have to look up some additional information in the event they want to know more. so, i guess i shouldn't be too sick of being sick. we're still learning over here! ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

lapbooking monday

i want to get started on a lapbook for May and being that it's May 18th i guess we oughta get cracking. i don't have any ideas. perhaps i'll go and look through some of the lapbook sites that i've signed up for, ugh! just something else.

well, it's my typical monday. but we're already up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, faces washed, sang, read, prayed, and straightened up living room, swept downstairs, have broken up three fights and talked two children down from a temper tantrum, plus the kids have been playing for almost 20 minutes i guess this means it's NOT my typical monday! lol!

the weather is extremely cold again. i'm not asking for blazing heat, just a nice comfortable day (since i've already packed up our winter clothes).

alright, off to the lapbook site to gather some ideas before i start "school" for today.

hope your monday is going as well as mine...ok, better! ;-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Phonics Update

so we made it through the 1st week of Saxon Phonics Kit K.

both my girls enjoyed it, for the most part. the letter of the week (the K level spends one week on each letter...from what the first several lessons are showing) was the letter L. we identified it, located it among other letters, made a list of words that begin with the sound and found pictures for many of these words.

kari, my 4yo, was right on target with it. as this is for her level. jaya, my 6.5 yo had fun (because i made it fun), but i could tell that she is beyond this. i had hoped to keep them together for would have made my life so much easier!

so i'll be pulling out the level 1 kit and looking through it tonight to see where it starts and where it ends. i want to give her a challenge yet i don't want to frustrate her--finding that delicate balance can be challenging!

i want their experiences with learning to read be a positive as possible (notice i didn't say 'easy'). [smile]

stay tuned for week 2 report!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

from The Prophet

my auntie shared this poem with me today that my 'papa' (her dad) shared with her years ago. as i read it there was something familiar about it...perhaps i've read it b/4.

it's so true. it left me deep in my thoughts.

this is from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet a poem on Children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


...yes, i do think it's important in the development of learning the skill of reading. i've been toying with two methods for awhile now. since i come from an education background, i have to say i'm not scared of the whole thing. but becoming a homeschooling parent, i've started to view other methods other than the one 'traditional' education has promoted/used.

reading didn't come easy for me as a child. i loathed phonics. mainly because it didn't make a lot of sense to me. my memory of phonics from 1st and 2nd grade was a blue workbook in which my teacher made use do pages as homework. i vaguely remember my mother going over it with me. whatever was going on in that classroom during phonics time, i can't say it registers to me now. as i teacher, i hesitate to say that there wasn't anything useful going on. but in my child-mind's view, i was totally lost!

i've kept that workbook, all these years, (there are a lot of read marks in that book) and for what? i guess to save until a time where this stuff actually makes sense. in learning to teach and actually having to teach phonics to my students i FINALLY understood what teachers from days long ago were trying to teach me. it finally rated. if only it could have been then....

so, i've debated which way i'd teach my own children so as not to confuse them or overwhelm them. i'd like to to make some sense to them.

i've been holding a Saxon Phonics Kit for several years now. A former co-worker had several kits and blessed me with a kit for each of the levels (K-2nd). i've actually taught from the 2nd grade level and liked it...for the most part. it is rather 'scripty' (i know, that's not a real word) so i'd read over their script and then teach the lesson using the resources suggested/given. i've also been reading through the method Jessie Wise has in her book The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I like this one as well, as she walks you through each letter and has a neat little poem for learning all the sounds.

i've been going back and forth trying to make up my mind...and all along jaya is begging me to teach her to read. now that kari is 4, she now interested in reading as well. so i said, what the heck, let me jump into something and see what happens.

i've decided to use the Saxon Phonics kit. i'll be starting it with the girls in the morning. i'm laying out all the necessary supplies--the kit provides them! we'll see how they take to this method. i'm going to start them together since this is our 1st formal lesson of phonics. i may have to open the next kit so jaya doesn't get bored. we'll see....

Friday, May 1, 2009

LILIPOH: The Spirit in Life

i saw this in the 'free literature' stand at my local kimberton whole foods market today. i actually picked up several periodicals, the others of which i've seen/read before. i assumed that this one too, would be about wholistic living in some way. and i was right, but not in the way that i thought!

if you've seen this before, you may have more information than i on this...

the cover reads:
LILIPOH The Spirit in Life

This is the Spring 2009 issue and the subject is redefining education (which is what caught me eye).

well, come to find out, LILIPOH stands for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. how cool is that?? once i read this i was like, "give me more!!!"

and now i'll quote the whole byline typed below this definition in the front page of the journal:

"Life can mean the quality of life, inner life, consciousness. In other words, living a life enhanced through understanding. Liberty may mean the freedom to choose how one lives. Pursuit of happiness is a high term which has often been used superficially. It can mean the joy of helping each other along the road of inner and outer health, and toward a better world."

after reading that, along with the 'editor's note' at the top of the page, i couldn't wait to start reading the articles contained in this journal. i have to say, although i've only read the first 4 articles, each has left me with more. whether it's more understanding on a given topic or more commitment to follow the path i'm on with my kids. i'm also thinking, 'why am i just stumbling across this????' and then i answer myself (yes, i do this! lol!) and say, 'because this is just the time you were ready for it in your life!'

this journal is a quarterly publication featuring an anthroposophic approach to health, encompassing holistic therapies, preservation of childhood, education, the arts, community, agriculture, nutrition and social renewal.

i know about most all of them, but will have to read about what an 'anthroposophic approach' is before i commit to knowing this part!

the ads are mainly for Waldorf schools so i'm guessing it may fall into this category. we'll see!

i love learning about something new! here's to LILIPOH!


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