Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Divine Appointment Regarding Learning Styles?!

You know what I never gave much thought to as a public school teacher? Learning styles. Let's face it...In a classroom of 34 children, it's impossible to teach to every child's preferred learning style. Of course I did differentiate for those students who really struggled or really excelled, but for the vast majority of the students, I chose the learning style that fit most of them and was the easiest to implement in a public elementary classroom. There isn't anything wrong with this. But...How fortunate homeschoolers are for having parents who can cater to their learning style?! Imagine the deep love of learning that can be fostered through this! 

Two days ago God set up a meeting for me at Hobby Lobby. I walked in and saw a lady from my bible study looking through the devotional set up at the front of the store. Really, it almost made me laugh because it couldn't have been a more divine appointment. Anyway, this lady unschools. While God has not called me to that, He sure used her to tell me what He wanted me to hear about teaching my own children. 

This lady, who has never been a formal teacher (but who has homeschooled for 18 years!) told me that I needed to truly watch how Strong B wants to learn. Tiny B is very structured and can sit and learn for long amounts of time. She is very eager to please me. Strong B is 4 years-old. And a boy. And at this point in his life doesn't want to sit for 2-3 hours a day like Tiny B does to learn. He wants to climb trees and use sticks to draw letters. He loooooves reading but he doesn't want to do tons of formal activities with it. And he shouldn't have to, because he's 4!

I told my husband that God had truly put it on my heart to teach him in a way to grow his love of learning that is already present. I'm homeschooling and this is one of its biggest advantages! So I started yesterday.

I'm so thankful that with my Mother Goose Time curriculum I can tailor it to their needs. We began yesterday with reading "There's a Cow in My House" which was the book that was included with this month farm theme. 

We read it and I used my Stopliight Questions to further his understanding. I asked Green light questions which are literal. "Where was the cow sitting?"

I asked Yellow questions which are inferential. "Why did the cow do that?"

I asked Red questions which are "off the page" questions and apply to their own lives. "If you were the cow, would you do that?" 

This truly engaged him, and it built upon his reading skills. We keep talking about how he'll be reading soon, and boy is he excited!

I love the focus on Literacy in MGT.

We made a horseshoe after which was a Made to Create activity. He was interested in it but only for a few minutes, which is fine, because that's he learns.

Then I took him exploring on a trail. He picked up a stick and I asked him to draw the letters that he knew. He only wanted to draw an "A" because he had things to do, such as pretend he was protecting me from the bad guys. And that was fine. Because he's still learning. And you should have heard our conversation! This guy is smart! He listens so much! 

I also let him have his first piece of gum. Tiny B was at her charter school on one of the two days a week that she spends there, so today was all about him. 

I'm loving learning about my children and listening what God has to tell me about them. I hope that I never stop hearing His voice regarding how to teach my children. It's beautiful. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Post 3 of My Denise Austin Program Series--Week 9!

I really can't believe that I'm already in Week 9 of Denise Austin's 360 Program. I'm going to share my successes with you so far, and really let you know just how much I have changed in these nine weeks.

I want you to understand that I am not "glamorous"in any way, and neither is any aspect of my life. Just look at my deck in the second picture of this post and you will see. I'm busy. I don't have the ease of a big exercise studio or even more than five feet to myself to work out. This is often where I work out: In my backyard watching Denise on the computer with my dog right in front of me. 

And my four year-old son three feet behind me, playing with his cars. 

It really drives me insane that everyone feels this need to be three feet away from me at all times while I work out, but I'm told that I will miss this someday, so I try to cherish it! 

Nine weeks ago I embarked upon this journey with Denise's program, and I was in a sad place. I struggle with depression, and I'm trying to not be so embarrassed to discuss this more. It's necessary for people to see that they are not alone. Nine weeks ago I was feeling heavy from a twenty pound weight gain and I literally could not get my eating or my feelings under control. I knew that I had to fight and I decided to use Denise as part of my battle plan to get myself out of the mud pit. 

My decision was not easily made. I have tried a million diets and exercise plans. I have failed miserably most of the time in both of these areas. My twenties were spent trying so many different plans and failing at every single one. I finally found success at age thirty-three and lost fifty pounds, but I unfortunately gained it back after two pregnancies and a child with special needs. I lost sixty-five again and kept it off until May of this year--the month where I lost control of my healthy habits and could not get my footing no matter what I tried. I had turned forty in April and was in the best shape of my adult life, and then it all fell apart due to not putting my needs in front of other's wants. I think this is a common life theme for many of us. 

Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, you cannot gain control of your eating?? And every day you "start" your "new life/new plan" and by dinner you simply cannot control it any more and you find yourself going WAY over your calories? And then you try to work out but find every excuse in the world to push it until "tomorrow?" For those of us who struggle with emotional eating, perhaps the hardest part is sticking to it. For the past few years I have lived a very healthy lifestyle with whole foods and exercise and then it was gone, and it was scary.

People who have lost large amounts of weight and gain some back know just how scary it is. My twenty pound gain terrified me because I knew that in a few months I would easily gain back my sixty-five pounds.

So I made checklists and prayed and talked my husband's ear off about which program I should try to get myself back in control.

Choosing Denise's program was what put me back in the right mindset--the mindset to stick this out and FIGHT. I'm fighting my way back into my jeans that fit me in May and I'm almost there! 

-Every night I FIGHT the urge to eat eat eat eat but it is getting infinitely easier. It has taken many weeks to get to this place, but it is so much easier. 

-Every morning I get up and immediately put on my workout clothes and look forward to my exercise date with Denise.

- I smile when I'm doing the videos and I feel my muscles working. I'm in Week 9 and I'm starting to see the "old me" emerge. I see muscle definition and I even flexed in the mirror today!

-I ate two persimmons yesterday even though they are higher in calories. Why did I eat them? Because they are healthy and because I want to be healthy. I'm gravitating towards healthy food now and starting to crave it. 

-I'm almost in my old jeans that I wore in May! I put them on every week and today was the first day that I could probably get away with wearing them again (I'm not going to because I really like the jeans and I don't want them to rip, but I have a feeling that I will easily be wearing them in a month's time). It is amazing. 

-I have more energy, and I'm even taking the kids and my new puppy on a thirty minute walk daily because I crave the exercise. Three months ago I had to force myself to get in my friend's pool and move my body just a little bit. 

-My depression has lifted. Exercise and healthy eating are an integral part of the treatment for depression. 

Denise was the perfect person to stand with me in this battle. 

My smile here is real. (The purple box fan in the background once again demonstrates just how unglamorous I am).

I am in no way going to pretend that this is the last battle that I will ever fight regarding my weight and my health habits. I believe that it is going to be a lifelong struggle and that some times will be easy and some times will be dreadfully difficult. I'm so thankful that I have this battle under control. Finally.

I wanted to leave you with a picture of the motivational video that Denise had for me last week. Her short videos are a treat to look forward to. I just love them. 

In my next post in my Denise Austin series, I'll share the exact reasons why this program has worked so amazingly well for me. 

**You can find my first blog post on this program here. 
**You can find my second blog post on this program here
**You can find my fourth blog post on this program here. 

I was compensated for this blog post but it in no way affected how I viewed the program or wrote about it. It is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On the Farm (and Learning How to Homeschool!) with Dance n' Beats

I would say that my biggest homeschooling struggle so far has been learning how to teach two different-aged children at the same time. This has boggled my mind because I used to teach a classroom full of up to 34 children at one time! I had them leveled into groups and they would do independent work during our center time. I had students in the same grade who would often be up to three or four grade levels apart in performance, but I was able to teach them all at the same time. This is not a problem for teachers. So why in the world has this been so hard for me? With my own children? Of which there are only two? I realized that it's because they are both so young and really can't do much "work" independently. So I've really been exploring ways in which to make our days successful even while they are so young.

Tiny B is 6 and has a kindergarten curriculum given through her charter homeschool that I need to cover. Strong B is 4 and doing Mother Goose Time. My "plan" was to homeschool Tiny B in the mornings while Strong B plays, and then do MGT with Strong B in the afternoons. Well, I have not been successful in implementing this, because Strong B wants to homeschool right away and wants to learn first thing in the morning! He doesn't want to "go and play" by himself while we have such wonderful learning going on! So, I tried doing MGT first with Strong B while Tiny B played, and can you guess what happened?! Tiny B saw all of the beautiful MGT learning that was happening and couldn't stand to not be a part of it!

I'm still working my way through this and my guess is that it will be a never-ending "obstacle" that I will need to work my way through depending on their ages and what day it is, because we all know that some days are seamless and some days with children are like poking your eyeballs with needles. One thing that is totally changing my viewpoint is that I am reading "Teaching from Rest" by Sara Mackenzie and she is teaching me that I need to not look at this as an "obstacle" but simply as what God has chosen to give me in my daily life, and that He will bless it. I need only to do my best and rest in knowing that God is doing the real work.

So, would you like to know how I'm solving this obstacle circumstance? We are starting our day with Mother Goose Time and Tiny B is participating equally with Strong B in this, because it is beneficial and fun. She is learning and she is loving learning. Isn't that the goal of education? I'm learning to have confidence in changing her kindergarten lessons I'm given. When I taught a classroom full of 34 children whose parents completely trusted in me to teach their children the objectives, I felt confident in making up my own lessons as long as they taught the objectives. So there is absolutely no reason that I shouldn't feel that same confidence now with my own children!

After we have done our MGT activities, I set up a station for Strong B to play with. Today I used the corn and pictures and ideas from our MGT Silo lessons. I brought out the MGT manipulatives that I've collected over the last year, and he has been playing with this for a long time. And guess what? Tiny B wants to play with it too, so she's playing during our homeschool breaks.

I'm going to end this post showing how I began this morning, even before our MGT Silo lessons. We did Dance n' Beats and it got their wiggles out, got them focused on thinking about the farm, which is our monthly theme, and warmed up their brains for their homeschool day.

Thursday is the next day that I homeschool, and might be what feels like a complete flop on my end, but as long as I do my part and keep God at the center and ask Him for guidance during our day, He will bless it.

Making a Muddy Pig with the Invitation to Create by MGT

These Invitations to Create from Mother Goose Time have been so cool for a number of reasons. I still have a lot of thoughts to share on it, but for today's post, I just want to walk you through how I did "Muddy Pig." It was simple and sometimes I just love a simple project. Not lots of planning--just fun.

I set up the area and had the kids go and find sand in the backyard. They both complained that they didn't want to get their feet dirty. I mean, really?! Homeschoolers are supposed to be walking around barefoot all day and doing homeschool-y things such as raising chickens and picking vegetables and living off of the land. Anyway, Strong B finally agreed to it and helped me set up.

They didn't know what the foam was for, so I told them that it was a paintbrush, if that's what they wanted it to be.

They started applying the "mud" (brown paint) to the pig and I put on our "On the Farm" CD because for some reason listening to the music for the theme makes the lessons even more fun than they already are. 

This is what Strong B came up with in about three minutes. He was done. He said that he had put the mud on the pig and can he go and play now.

Until...he saw that Tiny B had sprinkled sand on her muddy pig and then he realized how super cool it is to use sand in an art project.

So he delicately covered his muddy pig in sand. Isn't that an awesome fine motor activity? I love seeing him use his pincer grasp. He has these big puppy dog hands that are so cute and uncoordinated (much like every 4 year-old) and watching him pay attention to detail is definitely something new.

And then they finished. If I was to do this same project again I would ask them to tell me a story about their pig. I'm a big fan of extending activities, especially in the moment when they are excited.

Absolutely adorable.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Sweet Boy Gets His First Glimpse into the Wonderful World of Reading

Sometimes in the midst of mind-blowing exhaustion, we get little glimpses into something very special that encourages us to keep on going and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Today I was so fortunate to experience this.

We usually homeschool in the family room in the little school area that I've set up. Today we had to do our schooling in Tiny B's and Strong B's very small room because my husband was having a client over. We own a small home business. So I lugged all of Tiny B's kinder stuff and Strong B's Mother Goose Time stuff into the room and set up the tables and we started. I'm still struggling with how to teach them at the same time, and I'm beginning to see that this probably won't be very effective for another two years. Strong B is four, and let's face it...Four year-olds are not independent creatures! 

I set up Tiny B with her math and I pulled out Strong B's Experiencing More Literacy workbook from MGT. First he did a maze which led to "farm" things (being that that is this month's theme) and the letters to spell COW. He traced the letters and the maze and then was ready for another page. I decided to use one of my favorite activities in these workbooks, which is when they have an ending such as "at" and you pull a strip of letters through a slit to form words such as "cat," "mat," "sat," etc. Today's activity was the ending "en" and letters such as "P" and "T." 

Strong B knows his letters and their sounds but he is very shy about it and lacks confidence for sure. I think that he sees his big sister doing all sorts of marvelous things (as he has for years now) and might feel intimidated. I MUST work on this! Anyway, we worked on what "en" sounds like and went over all of the letters on the strip, and as we pulled them through the barn, we read the letters. It wasn't easy and it definitely took me helping him and giving him plenty of cues. But as we did it again and again, he gained such confidence. Then he yelled, "Look at me! I'm reading!" Which he certainly was.

How sweet were those moments today. Crowded in a tiny room with two small children and a poodle puppy making shenanigans the whole time....Entirely annoying at first, but then entirely sweet and was this boy's first sweet experience of reading words by himself.

I pray that I never forget these sweet moments.

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Post 2 of My Experience with the Denise Austin 360 Program--A Day with the Program

I'm so excited to share some more of my experience with the Denise Austin 360 Program. This is my second post on this program, and you can find my first post here.

In this post I will walk you through my day and show you just how I incorporated Denise's program and how it has given me hope, just as it does time and time again. I think seeing this program in action will really explain why this has touched my heart so deeply.

This day in particular was a slow day, with no outings except for sports in the evening. It was a nice respite.

On the outside, I'm a 40 year-old mom to a 4 and 6 year old, who partially homeschools, was a former public school teacher, attends church and church activities, has been married for almost 20 years, and has had 6 years of struggles as we continually work on getting my beautiful micropreemie daughter to eat enough to support herself after her feeding tube wean a year ago. On the inside, I'm kinda a mess. At least I feel like a mess a lot of the time. Maybe most of us do??

I woke up in the morning and we had to homeschool in my children's tiny room because my husband was meeting a client in our family room. (We run a small home business). It was certainly NOT easy accomplishing this and by the time we were done I knew that I had to do my daily Denise Austin workout or I would not make it through the day without yelling at my sweet kids. So I got them prepared to play while I worked out (They know that they cannot interrupt me unless there is blood) and I worked out in the family room as they played dolls and cars around me (but not closer than 3 feet because they must stay that far away and they know this :)

My workout today was a harder one which included cardio, kickboxing, and tabata. Everyone is just raving about tabata and it's benefits for weight loss, including Denise.

It was called "Super Charged Cardio Burn" and boy was it all of those things.

It was hard but her smiling face got me through. Her constant encouraging words are crucial to my staying in the game. Especially today as fatigue has got me by the throat. 

This picture somewhat sums up my workout space...Weights and dog toys. And small children not pictured here who are waiting with baited breath for me to finish my workout so that I can get them lunch.

Throughout the day I had been texting my cousin with an ongoing conversation about how dieting/eating for health/working out is a constant battle. For us, it is not something that will magically take care of itself, I don't think. Unless God does a miracle, which I don't doubt can happen, but I just don't see that miracle happening for me. So for the rest of my life, I will have to be completely health-conscious. I want so badly to get to my goal weight so that that battle can end. I'd just like to start the battle of maintaining, please. Really, I've been losing weight for 8 years now, twice in that period with very large drops, and I'm fairly tired of it. The diet yo-yo'ing is not healthy for the soul or the body. 

As I said earlier, it was a rough day physically for me. I'm really struggling with my schedule and how many social activities we are involved with. In previous months and during this week, I'd run to the store for some ice cream and pizza. They are my friends, right? They help make all things better, right? WRONG. It's only a temporary fix. Seriously like a one hour fix.

So I opened up one of Denise's motivational video's on her plan, and learned about "Rethinking Your Relationship With Food." My husband watched it with me, as he has lost 50 pounds and recently gained some back. (We are so close that we even gain weight together. Isn't that so sweet?? NO, IT'S NOT SWEET AT ALL). She talked about setting a curfew on the fridge and brushing her teeth to show that no more food is to be consumed after 8pm. But she also talked about allowing the occasional treat. She gets a scoop or two of ice cream every few weeks on a walk and she enjoys it. Food can be so enjoyable. I've never, ever been able to lose with restricting certain foods. Ever. When I lost my first 50 pounds and then I had to lose 65 after my pregnancies, I never banned foods, ever. And I fully intend to do this until goal and beyond. For me, it's about living a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy foods with the occasional treat. I need birthday cake on my birthday! I count calories and stay in the range that Denise recommended for me, and I make sure that I eat lean protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. And if I want that ice cream every few weeks, I eat it and I count it. This is wonderful behavior for a lifetime.

I love her smile and her non-judgmental nature. I do well with kindness and gentleness. She is passionate about health, fitness, and weight loss, but in a kind and empathetic way. And that's what I need, especially right now in the wake of me recovering from some difficult months with no exercise and poor food choices and a hurting soul.

So I went to the kitchen and got out a grilled chicken breast from the night before, measured 4 ounces, and put it in a whole wheat wrap with a small amount of cheese and BBQ sauce, which is similar to the foods on her plan. I counted the calories as I've been doing since I started her program. I stick to what she recommends.

***I wanted a cheeseburger. That would have made me happy for the moment only.

After lunch I came back to the computer and looked at my progress. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with it. Again, there are so may reasons why I lived so many years significantly overweight (probably very similar to most people who struggle with this), but for now I'm just sharing with you that I'm not there anymore. I worked my way down 65 over approximately 2 years (See, I lose weight veeeeeerrrrrrryyyyy slow because I don't restrict types of foods and I don't have enough "willpower" do lose 2 pounds a week. So to lose 7 pounds in 6 weeks is amazing for me, especially as I build lots of muscle! Oh man, you should see the muscles that I've developed in these 6 weeks! Denise does not lie when she tells you that "this program is going to make a huge difference, you'll see!" 

People who have known me from different walks of life have seen me as thin, chubby, very, very overweight, and "normal." I am quite sure that if people read this who have known me over my lifetime, will be surprised in one way or another. We all battle things, and weight is a battle for me. 

My goal is 145. I got to 146 and held there for quite some time. I have no wish to be a bikini model. My husband thinks I'm amazing regardless of my size and I think the same of him. I just want to be healthy and have energy and be active. I've got 14 pounds to go. 

I was able to complete some chores and eat dinner and feed my children dinner. I looked outside my window and saw the moon and know that 8pm is coming soon, and the kitchen will be on curfew. Teeth will be brushed, and I will watch a few shows and be thankful that another day's battle has been completed today. 

**You can find my first blog post on this program here. 
**You can find my third blog post on this program here. 
**You can find my fourth blog post on this program here.
I was compensated for this post, but my writing is my utmost honest opinion. I promise. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Experience with the Denise Austin 360 Program

This is the first post on this blog that is not homeschooling related, and I am so excited to be sharing this part of my heart with you. I love homeschool and education and writing about it, as they truly are a passion of mine, but I've also got so many feelings regarding weight loss and health, as it has been a heavy part of my life (no pun intended) for about eight years now. 

I could write a novel about my weight and why I spent approximately nine years of my adult life overweight. But for now I will simply share a small part of my journey and how that journey has led me to Denise Austin's 360 Program. 

I lost 50 pounds about 8 years ago, had two babies--one which was born as a micropreemie and had difficulties due to that, had to go on extensive bedrest and was prompted to eat eat eat due to my baby's small size in utero, and I gained the weight back. Again, I lost the weight, plus more, leading to a total 65 pound loss. It was grueling and it took about two years. I ate less and worked out and cooked nutritious meals. I was able to maintain that for quite a while, even through tube-feeding my daughter all day and then later her feeding tube wean at 5 years-old. Then unfortunately May was a very stressful month for me and I lost my mojo. I wasn't able to continue my cooking and my weekly routines and it set some very, very bad feelings and habits into motion. I began not prioritizing myself and my health. My daughter had surgery to close her feeding tube hole. I was too busy. Then my precious dog of almost 12 years got cancer and we had to say goodbye. I dove straight into a bucket of chocolate and didn't come up for air until I realized that my clothes did not fit and that I had to put a stop to it, because if I continued, I could easily be back to where I was within 6 months. 

After losing a significant amount of weight, and putting some of it back on...It feels nearly impossible to get back in the game. But it was absolutely necessary.

In the past I had used workout programs that were very difficult and I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I barely had the energy to get up in the morning. I started by going to my friend's pool with my kids and just moving around in the pool. My only goal was to move my body a little bit. I began trying to come up with a strategy to get this 19 pounds off again, and I just couldn't find something that felt right. The program in which I had lost all of my previous weight had changed and it didn't suit me and I felt lost. Then I remembered something which I had been eyeing for a while, which was Denise Austin's program.

Denise and I go way back to the days of my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I used her "Hips, Thighs, and Buttocks" VCR tape to exercise every day. When I was a sophomore I had a boyfriend who was attending college far away, and so I was lonely and I dedicated myself to Denise's tapes. I adored her! She was upbeat and so happy, and just had a feeling of "lightness" to her. I held onto those VCR tapes for years and eventually gave them away when VCR's became a thing of the past. 

It wasn't until I was 40 and suffering from a 19 pound weight gain and depression that I was to meet her again. 

I will go into more detail in my later posts, but for now, I'll give you a brief overview of what the program is and why it has been crucial in gaining my life back. 

It is a ten week program that tells gives you a complete menu to cook, daily workouts that Denise has chosen for you, and motivational videos.

Every day I open up the homepage and I see the workout that she has chosen for me. It alternates with cardio and strength. The absolute best part about the workouts are that you are able to choose if you want level 1, 2, or 3 when you set up your program. I had initially chosen level 2. My thought was that I had been in the best shape of my life 5 months ago! I could do it! Luckily my husband came in right when I was setting it up and asked me what in the world I was doing. Why did I want to make this hard on myself? Why did I want to set myself up for failure?? So I selected level 1, and 6 weeks later I am still on level one and I absolutely swear that that is the reason why I am working out 6 days a week and enjoying myself so much. 

Throughout her workouts, Denise smiles and talks about being healthy and happy. The two are connected. She often asks me to "smile" and I sincerely believe that this attitude is what is leading me back to health. I have found that it is an absolute necessity for me to work out. The endorphins that are produced are an absolute must to leading a happy life, for me, as well as giving me the desire to eat healthfully.

In the program, she tells you the calorie levels that you need to follow and she provides a complete menu with instructions. I have chosen not to follow the exact menu because I am so so so busy with homeschooling and church and activities and my young children. I am strictly following the calorie recommendations and the meal ideas. I use a few of the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and read the ingredients in each so that I can integrate the food part as much as possible into my life. This is where the main weight loss comes from, of course, as we've been learning in the last years. However, when I do not work out, I find it very difficult to stick to the calories necessary for weight loss. It gives me that extra push.

This week her motivational video was on gratitude. The videos are short but pack a powerful punch, and I try to watch the same one more than once, especially if I am having an especially trying day.

There is also an area to record your weight and measurements on a graph. I will get into that in my next post about this program.

I really wanted to make sure that I loved it before I did a glowing blog post on it. I always strive to be honest and I wanted to make sure that I absolutely loved it. Denise Austin's program has been absolutely critical in helping me climb this mountain and gain my health and happiness back.

**I have written a second post on this program. Please read it here. 
**My third post on this program has been written here
**My fourth post on this program has been written here. 

I was compensated for this blog post but it in no way affected how I viewed the program or wrote about it. It is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Experience More Literacy and Math Workbooks

I'm going to be honest here and say that I'm utterly exhausted this year. I think I might have said that recently in other posts...Maybe every post? I'm so exhausted that I don't even remember. It is the first year where I am following another curriculum in which I am not in control, and it makes me tired. Don't get me does wonderful things too, such as holds me accountable and ensures that my daughter is learning the appropriate objectives for kindergarten. At this point in my homeschooling, I want direction. Even as a long-time elementary school teacher, I need direction. But the downside is that it almost feels like a race to keep up at times. 

Needless to say, when I do Mother Goose Time for Strong B and even Tiny B, it is like a breath of fresh air, and I want to hold onto this time for as long as I can. I will probably be having Strong B start kindergarten the year after next instead of next year (he was a preemie as well and shouldn't start next year anyway if he had been born at the appropriate time) so my prayer is that we have this year and next year with this sweet curriculum. I can only imagine how much we will grow. I feel no pressure during my lessons with Strong B because I know that if he doesn't "get it" this month or next, he will eventually. We are going slowly and enjoying every moment.

We've been using the Experience More Literacy and Math workbooks from MGT for the first time for him this month. You should have seen his face....He was so excited that it was finally his turn! 

Doing book work is totally new for him and he truly enjoys it. At four years-old, I feel no need to absolutely do book work, but since he is enjoying it, I see no reason not to. It helps him to even further grasp the contents that I am teaching during his MGT lessons.

Jack the Poodle also enjoys the workbooks, obviously.

Tonight we took out the workbooks again because he wanted to, and worked on math. We counted, noticed differences, and discussed shapes.

I purposefully allowed him to use this awful pencil grip for this picture so that I can be reminded for years to come as to how I tried to break him of this habit. Ugh!

Oh, the sweet days of preschool and kindergarten...It's a popular saying that as a mother, the days feel so long but the years feel so short. I think it must also be true of homeschooling. It's an enormous endeavor and every day I'm reminded of the giant responsibility that I carry. I'm so tired but so confident that I'm making the right choice for our family.

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Day's Lesson of Dogs with Mother Goose Time

You'll have to forgive me for the utter realness of some of the following pictures. I wanted to show you one day of Mother Goose Time lessons, and to be truthful, most of my lessons take place in a somewhat messy house. It's life with two young children! And when you're homeschooling, it's almost impossible to maintain a house of order if you want to maintain your sanity. 

We pulled out Day 11 because the lesson was on dogs. This just happened to line up with the homeschooling curriculum from my daughter's charter school on that day, which was "Pets." Perfection! I liked MGT's lesson much, much better, so I used theirs instead.

Jack the poodle is ready for his day's lesson and was ready to be an active participant as well.

I chose to do three of the activities for the day. Usually I only choose one to two, but since I withdrew Tiny B from her one-on-one occupational therapy outside of the classroom, I am adding in more fine motor practice and crafts in our studies. 

We did a "Make and Play" activity which was doggy shakers. I made sure to have them do all of the work to get as much fine motor practice as possible.

MGT has incorporated these high quality puzzles this year. They are beautiful. And yet another chance for fine motor practice as well as the visual practice that I don't know much about, but is so important according to her occupational therapist.

Jack enjoyed putting the puzzle together too. Coincidentally, one of the pieces is slightly gnawed off, Makes it more original I guess.

We used the new beautiful foam cube to roll different feelings and act out those feelings as a dog.

Jack acted the feelings out too, but for some reason, his seemed more "real." Hmm.

I'm so thankful for these fun days of Mother Goose Time and wish so badly that it could follow me through all of our homeschool days. For now, I will cherish it.

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.