Showing newest 17 of 20 posts from June 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 17 of 20 posts from June 2010. Show older posts

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homeschooling with Boys

I had a conversation recently with a friend who is homeschooling her 6 year-old son.  We were talking about different curriculum options and she was looking for my opinion - which I am always happy to give, sometimes even if I'm not asked!  My oldest is only 9 years-old so I am certainly no expert, but these are a few things that have worked for us.  My 9-year-old and 7-year-old are as different as night and day, yet these suggestions have worked for both of them.

1.  Have him answer questions orally instead of requiring writing.

2.  Use oral narration to check for comprehension.  When you read something interesting isn't it fun to share the information with someone?  I don't think I have ever said "wow, this is fascinating.  I can't wait to answer the questions at the end of the section!"  At dinner Dad is usually the recipient of the fun facts from the day.

3.  Don't be a slave to the curriculum - use what works.  You really don't have to finish a workbook or
do every single page.  It's okay to drop something for a few weeks and come back to it at a later date.

4.  Let them keep their hands busy with legos or blocks while you read.

5.  Play games.  I need to do more of this, but playing games teach a whole host of things, such as counting, taking turns, and good sportsmanship.  Plus it's fun!

6.  Ask your son what he is interested in learning about.  Of course in life there are many things that we do simply because they must be done, whether we like them or not.  Laundry, cleaning toilets, changing sheets on a bunk bed are a few that I can think of, but we still have plenty of time to learn about things we are truly interested in.  Boys they are usually interested in things like snakes, frogs, trucks, trains, or sports.  A whole lot of learning can occur while delving into these interesting topics.

7.  Whatever you do keep it short and sweet.  Short lessons with lots of in between time for moving around, chores, outside time, or whatever is necessary.  Boys need to move and it makes learning time much more productive.

All of these suggestions can be used with girls too!  None of these are anything new or earth-shattering, but they really can make learning more enjoyable for the whole family.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Words of Wisdom on Adoption

I was skimming through one of Dr Ray's books and noticed the review on the back from a woman named Rose Malavolti.  What caught my attention was that it listed her as "mother of sixteen".  I decided to try and google her name to see if she had a website.   This is what I found, I encourage you to take a listen:

and this:


Friday, June 25, 2010

Hotel Travel

I just had to pass this site along.  If you have 3 or more children and you have tried booking a hotel room, then you know what I am talking about!!

We will definitely be using it when we go "across the border" in a couple of months.  Love it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Busy Bee Bags!

In my attempt to find some activities for Jonah, I came across Busy Bee Bags.  I placed an order and our Busy Bee Bags arrived.  I was going to hold out for a rainy day, but what I didn't know was that Jonah would crash on his bike and desparately need something to help keep him busy.  I was so thankful to have a bag full of ready made crafts!  On Monday Jonah made a cute pirate hat.

On Tuesday he did a great job painting a cute little lizard with his "wrong" hand.

I was surprised but even Jacob wanted in on the action.  I thought he might be too old, but he loved making spider webs with glue and colored sand.  It may be because he is so craft deprived.  All my kids are pretty craft deprived, getting crafts together is one of the (many!) things I don't do well. 

They turned out really cute!

(never mind Jonah's scratched up nose!!)

I am very happy with the crafts and materials that arrived in our Busy Bee Bags.  {I am not affiliated with these bags, I just like to pass along a great resource when I find it!} They are nice quality craft items and she didn't skimp on the materials.  She sent a entire bottle of glue for the spider web craft that Jacob made.  I will definitely be ordering again.  I am anxious to try the ABC/123 bags when they are available again.  I think this would be a great birthday gift for any young crafter you know and the mom would be eternally grateful!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Projects

Summer is a good time to get some projects completed.  More free time during the day to do things here and there, and soon baseball will be done for the season (yippee!) and there will be a little bit more time in the evenings.  I worked up a list a few weeks ago so I would have some goals to work towards.

❀ Re-organize learning room...I did spend a day on this already, but I have more to do.

Organize kitchen - done!

❀ De-clutter closets and clothes - mainly the master closet (again!)

❀ Research Fall plans
     -unit study ideas
     -plan more crafts liturgical & otherwise
     -First Holy Communion year!

❀ Plan Fall schedule

❀ Alphabet books for Anna & Leah

Photo book for Leah - done!

❀ Plan Tea Times for Fall

❀ Reading, Reading, and more Reading - for all of us

❀ Continue with lots of outside time
    -bike riding
    -trampoline time
    -pool excursions
    -oodles of ice cream

❀ Front porch chats after kids are in bed (I need to research some mosquito deterrents!)

What are your summer plans?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jonah and his bike...

collided with the pavement on Saturday evening.  The bike is fine, Jonah, not so much.  A few bumps and scrapes on his face (his nose!) and his stomach.  A possible fractured wrist.  Other than being disappointed that he can't do much, ie no swimming or bike riding, he is in good spirits.  Really, this isn't too surprising - Jonah is the daredevil of the family and was bound to end up with a broken bone at some point.  Thankfully it wasn't too serious and we are praying he heals quick!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wrapping up the Week~6/18

We are wrapping up a good week here at our house.  Our first week without preschool!  We were all extremely glad to not be spending two mornings of the week in the car.  We have some specific things were are going to work on with Leah over the summer to keep her speech momentum moving in the right direction.

Summer Reading →  Bob is finishing up reading The Complete Chronicles of Narnia series to the boys. Not sure what is next up on their reading schedule.  The girls and I have been reading the Little House Friends easy reader series.  It is a good introduction to the Little House series that they aren't quite ready for yet.  I am still enjoying Anna Karenina.

Summer Projects → On Tuesday I pulled everything out of drawers and cupboards to clean and de-clutter the kitchen.  I have been needing to do this project for a while and I am glad to have it done.

Summer Outings → We went to the park Thursday for lunch and a nature walk.

Upcoming Events → Father's Day!  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rosary Roses

A few months ago I ran across this blog that had the cutest idea for helping little ones pray the rosary.  I don't crochet so it was something that sat in the back of my mind for a while.  For the last year or so we have tried to say a decade of the rosary each morning.  During the school year I was good a remembering while we were in the car for preschool mornings, but would often forget on other days.  This summer I wanted to get back into the regular habit and thought the roses would help the three younger children feel like they were participating a bit more.

I threw the question out there to a couple of homeschooling groups I am on and lo and behold someone offered to make us some roses!  Three sets of roses arrive earlier this week.  Ten red roses for the Hail Mary's and one white rose for the Our Father.

The best part is the Beatriz has offered to make the roses for others!  She will charge $15 per set (10 red and 1 white) plus shipping.  It will take her about one week from the time you place your order until she can ship them out.  I think this is a great idea for a baby shower gift or a birthday gift.  They are very well made and will hold up to lots of use by lots of little fingers.  You can contact her at

I would like to say that all of my children sat quietly and piously for the decade today now that they had the roses, but that's not the way things work in our house!  However they do have a tangible thing to hold and admire while they are praying, thanks Beatriz!

If you would like more info on the rosary, please look here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sandhill Crane

Today we were out and about and saw something that caught our attention.  We turned the car around and went back by the area to take a second look.  Fortunately, we had our trusty, albeit a lot a little battered, field guide in the car with us.  We discovered we were watching three Sandhill Cranes make their way through a field.

We read a bit about the bird and then listened to the bird call it makes on our audio CD companion.  I love these little unplanned moments!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Anna & Levi

It was just about this time last year when we changed our adoption direction from Jamaica to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  God had a different plan for our family!  This picture of Anna and Levi was taken shortly after they arrived in foster care.  They have grown and changed so much in the last year, it's hard to believe they have only been with us for six months.  

This photo represents such a turning point.  For us it was joy and excitement, we were blessed to be adding two more children to our family.  For them it was a whole host of unknowns for the future as well as sorrow regarding the past.  This photo is also the earliest picture that either have of themselves.  Most of us have photo albums bursting with photos of our first years.  As much as adoption represents a loss of very many things, it is also cause for great hope and joy...

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope." Jeremiah 29:41

Friday, June 11, 2010

Call the Plumber

Today Jonah was working on a science "experiment" with his side-kick Sarah.  Something that involved a water bottle, water (of course!), and a rock.  Pretty soon the two of them came downstairs to confess to what they had been up to.  Jonah said "Mom, the toilet is a little bit clogged and you just need to call a plumber". 

Those really aren't words a mom wants to hear.

I went up to investigate.  I could see the remains of the crushed up water bottle and the rock, as well as a bucket and a towel on the floor.

Not a great sign.

"What did you put in the toilet?"

"Only some water and scrapes from rock (??)"

"Anything else?"

"Well, a small piece of crayon"

"Sarah, did anything else go down?"

"Yes! Pieces of wood"


I decided to flush the toilet again and see what happened.  Thank God the toilet flushed...Jonah must have been praying hard!

He looked at me with a big smile and said "Wow Mom, you should be a plumber!"

For more of Kids Say the Darndest Things go here

Free Adoption Resource

Here is a free resource from EMK Press.  Lots of good articles on realistic expectations for that first year at home with your new child.  Be sure to take a look!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

That's Crazy!

We spent this past Saturday at a baseball tournament.  Both boys were involved, so it meant some running around and coordinating schedules so both boys could get to the correct field at the correct time.  Bob helps with both teams so it usually leaves me (and often my parents!) with the four younger kids.

As I was getting their lunch ready and they were sitting on the blanket waiting, a mom of one of Jacob's teammates asked how old they all were.  I went through their ages and she said "that's crazy!".  She then confirmed that I was indeed Jacob's mom and I mentioned we had another son playing on the 8U team, her reply "that's crazy, you guys are crazy!".  Then some more of the usual questions followed... "Are they siblings?"  etc, etc.   Again the reply was "you guys are crazy!".    I walked away from the blanket for a moment and came back with something else and she said to me "I was just curious, I didn't mean anything by the questions" and I said in return "It's no problem, we get those questions all the time".  And we do.  Our family looks visibly different than other families so we do open ourselves up to more stares and more questions.  I am not really sure what causes more attention, the fact that we have six children who are fairly close in age, or the fact that we are an "international" family.

While we do often get many nice comments about our family, we also get the "that's crazy" response too.  Obviously this mom realized that her comments were a bit awkward.  I don't think my response or lack of response to "that's crazy!" was anything impolite, I am just not sure what kind of response she was expecting from me.   She certainly wasn't paying me a compliment.   She could have chosen to ask her questions and then made no comment at all.

We have made these choices for our family simply because they have been our choices, not because we want or need validation from others.  I often wonder why people feel they have to comment at all?   We do feel blessed at how God has chosen to form and grow our family and we love to talk about adoption.  We also hope in some very small way that we can encourage others to consider adoption.  It really was the whole point of making our blog public so that people can see, even though we are not biologically related, we still are a real family in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Activities for Boys

Jonah is always asking to do a craft, but I never have any ready made craft things for him to do.  It's always so frustrating to find a fun craft, but never have all the materials around.  The Sticky Mosiacs have been a great success, but I knew he would eventually like some other things to create.  I was envisioning some crafts that he could pick up whenever the urge struck and that would also require minimal help from me.  Lo and behold I think I have found exactly what we were both looking for at Busy Bee Bags.  She offers a bag for boys that I think he will be thrilled with.  She also offers an ABC/123 bag (currently retired until September) that the girls would enjoy in the fall.

I love the idea of a nature journal as an ongoing project.  I showed Jonah pictures from this blog the other night and he agreed that it would be something he would like to pursue.  We found some spiral bound journals that we think will work.  I bought one for myself as well, I thought it would be a fun mom and son project that we could do together.  Another one of my "inspire, not require" ideas.  That seems to be my theme for the summer!  Here is another site that gives more information on how to get started with a Nature Journal.

I also just added this blog to my blog list so I would remember to reference it and have the boys do some of the challenges this summer.  Other than that Jonah doesn't need much direction from me regarding finding things to do - particularly in the summer.  He can spend hours in the yard, I don't think it will take long at all for his nature journal to be filled to capacity.  Besides, sometimes it is a good thing to be bored!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

I know that the feast day for Our Lady of Perpetual Help is not until June 27th, let's just say I am getting started early!

Recite for 9 days...

See at Your feet, 
O Mother of Perpetual Help, 
a poor sinner who has recourse to You 
and confides in You.

O Mother of Mercy, 
have pity on me! 
I hear You called the refuge 
and the hope of sinners; 
be my refuge and my hope.
Help me, for the love of Jesus Christ; 
stretch forth Your hand to a poor fallen creature 
who recommends himself (herself) to You, 
and who devotes himself (herself) to Your service forever. 
I bless and thank Almighty God, 
who in His mercy had given me this confidence in You, 
which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.

Mary, tender Mother, help me. 
Mother of Perpetual Help, 
never allow me to lose my God. 


Recite the following prayers 3 times each...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

A definition of a novena can be found here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To FB or not to FB

Yesterday I deactivated my Facebook account.  I have been on Facebook for about 18 months, the first year was fun, catching up with old classmates and such.  In January life got a bit busier with the addition of two more family members and my Facebook time was somewhat limited.  In February I decided to give it up for Lent.  For six weeks or so, Facebook was not part of my daily routine.  When Easter arrived I realized that I really wasn't as interested in jumping back into the the FB fray as I thought I would be.  Surprise, surprise, life in FB world got along just fine without my comments and my "likes"!  Who would have thought?

For myself I realized what a time waster I had let it become, and if I wasn't going to be on FB anymore that much, why was I letting my information just there?  I know it is still there, you can't delete your info only deactivate, but still for most of the general public it is not viewable.  I did get the opportunity to reconnect with a few people, and I am glad for that, but for the most part I was really connecting with those I was already connected with.  Do I have huge chunks of time now that I am not facebooking?  No, but it's definitely one less thing on my self imposed "to-do" list most days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wrapping up the Week - 6/4

FIAR:  No Five in a Row book this week.  I am still determining if we are on a FIAR break until fall... I think we are.  However, we have been enjoying this book all week.

Lessons:  No formal lessons. Yippee!  I am not sure who is more happy, me or the kids.  Sarah is very much into her Bob Books and continues to make very steady progress.  I am reading Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books.  I know there are a million teach your child to read products out there and I have tried my fair share, but this is the one that most closely matches how I wish to teach my children to read.  Jonah is still waiting for everything to click with his reading, I think this book is just the tool to help him finally have that "ahh!" moment so it can all come together.

Upcoming Plans: Thankfully the caterpillars finally arrived.  We are anxiously watching them and waiting for the transformation to take place.  We are having a family photo taken this weekend with our Celebrating Adoption photographer.  I have been looking forward to this.  I hope to be able to use a family photo for my blog header and then can you say Christmas cards done in June?? Yes, you can!  Also, after 13 years of marriage, we are getting a new mattress.  It surely is the simple things.

Other Happenings: We had a great Memorial Day weekend.  On Saturday we made our annual trek to the zoo.  Each year our adoption agency has a large reunion/picnic.  Our kids love that particular zoo.  Their favorite part is riding a camel.  Who wouldn't love that?

Sunday we did some work around the house and finally got the garden planted.  Not sure how our little plants will do.  I bought them sooner than I could get them planted and I might have to replace a few of them.

Jacob is learning how to mow the lawn.  He is anxious to turn it into a paying job in the future.

On Memorial Day we rode our bikes to the local parade and then headed to Grandpa & Grandma's to try out the new trampoline.

Even Grandma got in on the action!

Dad and Leah

Uncle Josh, Grandpa, Dad and Leah

Uncle Jim taking charge of the grill


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