Thursday, March 23, 2017

Big Thoughts While Doing a "Make and Play"

A few nights ago, in the midst of doing kindergarten homeschool with Tiny B, the kids and I had a sudden urge to do Mother Goose Time. It was later at night and I was tired. But we needed something fun and creative. We needed to breathe. So we took out a "Make and Play" and began making turtles for our Pond theme.

We had just gone on a field trip to the zoo that day so our minds were filled with thoughts of animals and their homes and habitats. We talked about turtles and their shells and I told them all about how my grandad loooooves turtles and collects turtle glass figurines.

We were having a great time. I was just amazed at how much Tiny B has grown since we started MGT. She's getting to the point of being able to do the projects almost completely on her own.

And then I started thinking about how sad I will be to stop Mother Goose Time this summer. Strong B was premature, so where his birthday falls, he should attend kindergarten in the fall. He would be the absolute youngest. If he would have been born on his proper due date, he would be in transitional kindergarten or have another year of preschool. Tiny B's birthday was exactly the same and I chose to "keep her back" which really meant that she went to kindergarten when she should have gone if she hadn't been premature. It ended up being the perfect decision for her, and therefore, I am doing the same thing for Strong B. While I sometimes daydream of his going to kindergarten at an actual school next year and I can start working in our business, I know the reality, which is that he would only be going because he was premature, and that my heart wants to homeschool, so he shouldn't be going to a daily school anyways.

So what I'm trying to say is that I don't know exactly what charter school we will be attending because of our move (and I don't even know where we are moving!) but I do know that Strong B will be "doing transitional kindergarten." And up until this moment I thought that I would move on to the charter school's TK curriculum.

But I don't know if I'm ready to stop Mother Goose Time. This program has carried me through Tiny B's transitional kindergarten and it continues to be a part of her kindergarten experience. We integrate it into her fine motor practice and we write about our themes. Strong B has grown so much with it through his preschool year.

As we were doing this project, they both kept talking about how much they loved Mother Goose Time. 




And the 2017-2018 themes really, really interest me. 


I have a lot to pray about for sure. God has guided me so well every year ever since I first enrolled Tiny B in the public special needs preschool at 3 years-old. As a tiny girl she attended that school four days a week and took the bus to and from school, a thought that I can't imagine now. But God knew that it was exactly what she needed. So I trust Him now to tell me what to do next year. 

My prayer is that I will always be open to whatever God wants me to do with their education. If He wants me to send them to full-time public school, I will be ready, just as I'll be ready to pull them from charter school and fully homeschool under my own name. 

Every year is an adventure in trusting God.



A Trip to the Pond to Truly Experience this Month's Theme!

Last week we started our new Mother Goose Time theme, which is the Pond. As our frigid SoCal winter is coming to a close (I kid, I kid) I was reminded of the pond not too far from our home which has the makings for a perfect "intro" to our unit. We are moving soon and it's at times like these when I realize how much I will miss our town.

We brought three pieces of bread for each kid. Tiny B fed all of the pieces to the duck in a matter of minutes while Strong B watched and waited. Perhaps it is telling of their personalities. Strong B then offered Tiny B his last pieces when she cried that she had no more. He is becoming such a gentleman. My little baby boy who was such a firecracker compared to her, is turning into a contemplative and sweet soul.

I've been so tired lately. I wonder if it's my autoimmune disease or thyroid or the month that I've spent sick, or if it's simply being a mom. It's a different tired than I used to experience when we were in the midst of tube-feeding and hospitals and surgeries. That was a scary tired and this is a "how can I possibly homeschool and keep my home clean and my family fed and raise my children to be filled with God and happiness?"

They are best friends. They have a language together that I do not understand. I cherish these times of utter exhaustion and know that these days are fleeting. When will they start brushing their own teeth and we no longer have to help them? When will they decide when to shower on their own and when will I stop getting their pajamas and towel for them when they are done with their bath?

One of our first lessons we did was to create a pond in the little clear containers that MGT had given us. 

I don't do the lessons in order. I choose them based on interest and what I feel that we are in the mood for that day. I love having this freedom. It is in stark contrast to how I ran my classrooms for ten years. There will come a time when I won't have this freedom, and I'm already feeling it with Tiny B's kindergarten curriculum, but for Strong B and his little preschool self, this is perfect.

Tiny B made her muddy pond in her jammies and played outside for a few hours this way. I wonder if my neighbors think I am insane.

We are rather fond of our pajamas in this house. I think it's a homeschooling thing.

The "ponds" sat out for a few days. They ended up stinking, much like a real pond can, but we didn't see any insects that had found our ponds inviting.

We've since moved on to snakes and frogs. We've already begun talking about our next theme, which is "Birds." The days are long but the years are short, so I've heard and am starting to experience. Tiny B is almost seven and I don't know where the time has gone. I'm thankful for days of ponds and pajamas.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our First Investigation Station! (Why Did I Not Do This Before??)

Tiny B goes to school two days a week and I spend those two days with a very sweet boy who loves being in the backyard. Strong B can play by himself but I'm discovering that both him and his sister get lonely when they're without each other. They both get cases of "I wish I had someone to play with!" I never had that issue because I was raised as an only child. 

On this day Strong B had a bad case of it and therefore I decided to stop our Mother Goose Time Nursery Rhymes theme early and start up with Ponds. I pulled out our crispy new box and tore it open to see what adventures hid inside.

I opened the Teacher Guide and saw an Investigation Station that intrigued me. The Investigation to Create lesson went perfectly with it, so I combined the two. 

I excitedly sent Strong B outside to find the makings for a duck habitat. 


I threw the books and materials on my bed and began putting the lesson together in my head. Basically, both lessons called for the children to create a duck habitat. Normally I'd take them to a pond prior to the start of this Pond theme because I don't believe they have a ton of prior knowledge on it. But, desperate times (a bored 4 year-old!) call for desperate measures (starting a theme without introducing prior knowledge!) 




As he looked for materials, I set up his Investigation Station. I put it right near my bedroom window so that over the following week he could play there while I laid on my bed and relaxed. Smart, right?! I'm becoming a smart homeschool mom!


These duck manipulatives are the cutest. 


We began with some basic things. 


Then I gave him the Invitation to Create materials. I had wanted him to glue the blue cellophane paper to a plate to be used as water, but he wanted to cut it up to put in the pond tub. That's even better--he's using his own imagination (I guess that's what Invitation to Create is all about!) and he's practicing his fine motor skills using scissors.


I put on the Pond CD as a preview of the subjects that we will learn about for this theme. It's adorable. 


I laughed when I noticed that the "I'm Sorry" song had been brought back from a year and a half ago with the Friends and Family theme I believe. It was Tiny B's favorite song at that time and at the time of this post writing, it's been on constant play mode which has caused a bit of annoyance for Strong B and daddy. Ha!!


Strong B used the really nice magnifying glass that came with this theme. 

He put together his dirty duck pond which really is perfect being that ponds are dirty and contain lots of stuff. 


He also played this game with the leaping frogs and tried to land on particular numbers. 


What a sweet day this was. I always plan to clean on those "relaxing days" when Tiny B is at school, but it never happens because Strong B so desperately wants this time for attention. As my mom says, "These are the best days of your life." I'm so tremendously thankful to Mother Goose Time for the last two years for providing a lifetime full of sweet memories for me and my children. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles with LifeFit. Post 10.

This morning as I looked at Denise Austin's Lifefitbydenise Facebook page, I saw a post she had made that truly spoke to my heart. She wanted the community to share how they have overcome an obstacle recently.

I personally believe that life is a set of obstacles. Over the last seven years, since the birth of my one pound daughter, I have waited for things to get "easier." And it surely has! As of last year we chucked the feeding tube and that perhaps has been the biggest change for me. We don't go to three doctor appointments a week anymore and I'm not spending my day praying that she will somehow walk. (She accomplished this at two and a half years-old).

Although things have gotten much easier on that front (I truly can't even begin to describe the toll that the last seven years have taken on me), there is always something.

 There is always something.

It's either a big life event that is stressful or awful or even wonderful (even the wonderful can cause obstacles!) or small everyday life events that cause us to fall off course.

My most recent obstacle has been my health. Nothing terrible has happened but these small health challenges have thrown me off my course. I started Denise Austin's program in September and fell in love. I did two rounds of her 360 program and lost twenty pounds to make for a grand total of sixty-five pounds lost. In December I started passing a kidney stone (I do this about twice a year) and needless to say, I had to stop working out for a while. The holidays came and went and I started passing another stone for about four weeks. At this point the thought of starting to work out again was scary as it felt like the muscles that I had so proudly worked on had almost completely gone away! I put my plan in place to start another round of the program and then I got the cold that had put everybody out of commission. I haven't been sick in five years--all of those years of teaching germy kids has built up a super immunity, but my time had come.  So for two and a half weeks I struggled to even continue to do my mom duties.

This stuff is just normal life stuff, but nevertheless, was an obstacle.

On Sunday I told myself that enough was enough and I was going to start another ten-week round of LifeFit even if I was still hanging on to my cold. So I remembered what a life coach had told me several times, which was to actually schedule my workouts in my planner. So that's what I did. (I'm starting with the workouts in Week 2). And I placed a "Never Quit" sticker right next to it because I knew I needed that visual reminder. Stickers make everything better.

I started my third round of the program and I am praying that by the end of this round, I will finally reach my goal weight. I've been trying to reach this elusive goal weight and lose my last seven pounds for a few years now. Obstacles are the reason it has not happened. I'm trying to change my viewpoint and rather than looking at pounds lost, I'm trying to look at health and fitness attained. My body is a far cry from what it was eight years ago at thirty-two. I can run and jump comfortably and buy clothing at regular stores. And I've reached this weight while spending years in and out of hospitals and appointments with my daughter. Surely I can do combat with my last seven pounds and if my body just doesn't want to go there, surely I can just love my body as it is and continue to love being fit and healthy?

Yesterday I did "Shape Up With Me" which was on my Level 1 program schedule. I've decided to do Level 1 again because I've lost a lot of strength in the last few months. This is a small obstacle, and in a few months I'll be back to where I was. I love that I can tailor the program to my fitness level.

The video was purely toning and I was a bowl full of jelly in all of these areas that the workout hit.

I took my kids to the duck pond because that is my son's preschool theme for the month, but also because I knew that I needed to remain active that day in order to feel myself coming back health. Our whole family went and breathed in the crisp air while we raised our heart rates briskly walking the pond. 

If you have an obstacle, no matter big or small, learn how to step above it.

And settle into realizing that this life is full of obstacles and we each have to find our own way to overcome them. 

I am compensated for this post but I promise that my views are always my most honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Recipe For Magical Fun (with Fine Motor Skill Practice Included :)

What is one recipe to make two children excited, super-focused, and filled with imagination?

You tell them that you're going to pull out Mother Goose Time's "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" lesson bag and make wands.

You simply set out the "Make and Play"card for them along with the materials (and add some glitter glue of your own if you'd like) and tell them to create until their heart is content!


Before you know it, you'll see fine motor skills at work! Lots of pincer grasps with those cute little fingers, loads of experimenting with just how much glitter glue one can pile on a small piece of paper, and quite a bit of collaboration as to what they will do with their wands when they're finished and the impossible glue drying waiting game has commenced! 


*This recipe works best on an afternoon after lots of math, reading, writing or other big responsibilities have taken place and magical fun is a necessity.

*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.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dance n' Beats: Nursery Rhymes!

We pulled out our Mother Goose Time Dance n' Beats tonight. I slept all day due to being so sick, so I woke up in a frenzy of guilt regarding low little time I've given my children this week. Perhaps this is a normal feeling, especially because I'm in charge of their schooling? I hadn't thought about what would happen with their homeschooling when I'm sick for a while. I don't have a sub for them...ha! So I guess the answer is that homeschooling moms just do their best when they're sick. That's all we can do.



All of the songs were nursery rhymes. So cute.

Tiny B does not like the warm up song because it's the same on every DVD and therefore it bores her. I was surprised though that she knew that she had to do it. She told her brother that it's to "warm up so that they don't hurt their bodies."

Right now we are preparing for moving (we don't know where or when..) so all of her tutus are in a box. Every time the dancer wears a tutu in these DVD's she says, "I wish I had my tutu to wear just like them" and she gives me a puppy dog look. I love her spirit. I never imagined when she was the size of a mouse in the NICU that she would possess such spirit.

I love that Strong B loves Dance n' Beats so much now. He wouldn't do it for our entire first year. Now they both love to perform. It's also practice for his tumbling class. 


Two weeks ago I was struggling with worry. Now all I'm struggling with is wanting so badly to be healthy. I had a kidney stone for about three weeks and now I'm on Day 9 of sickness...That's a long time of not being healthy. I will celebrate my health soon. What an awesome reminder of how blessed I am to normally be healthy. As much as it's not fun, reminders like this are good. They help us to see the blessings we have that we take for granted.

*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.