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Can’t believe it’s report card time already. Also that they give letter grades in Kindergarten. Also that grades still exist. Also that I have to say things like ‘it doesn’t matter what color you end up on at the end of the day, we love you no matter what.’ and also ‘I’m sure if you’d rather read during your punishment time than play a game, that they’d let you, go ahead and ask’… and ‘honey the kids that end up on red aren’t bad kids, just good kids having a bad day’…. got that one in just under the wire–Let’s face it, red days provide more stimulating discussion than the others. Also some rules, while necessary, are stupid.

 

***************

 

I started this post in September. I had a lot more to say about it back then and even more now… but the general gist is that even though her teacher is very nice, Kindergarten doesn’t really seem like the place for our kid. She has spent a few days in the first grade classroom and seems to be thrilled to learn new things there.

 

But I’m not convinced that’s the answer either. She has brought home so… and mean SO many bad choices. Not to mention illness. Her vocabulary and thinking skills are moving backwards. She went from a kid that worked through what was bothering her to just shutting down and throwing a tantrum again. We’d just gotten over that and had a few good months before that started up again.

 

If my kid is continually being sucked downward and pulled backward, how can I keep her in school?

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Joy topic: find a happy place

Posted December 17, 2014 By Jill
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Where is your happy place?

Somewhere quiet….even asleep this family is unbelievably loud.

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Joy: in text form

Posted December 16, 2014 By Jill
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One of the topics for NaBloPoMo in December was about the funniest text you have received. Since we don’t text that often, and usually it’s for a specific purpose (we use e-mail, not text for nearly everything) there’s not that much funny there.

 

But I did get something joyful this morning: I made my hubby a breakfast casserole for him to take this morning for their all-day graze buffet– you know it’s Christmas gotta eat all day at work! Also there’s one in Thursday, too. Wow. Anyway– digress much?

 

So he got up and baked it this morning, I had to stumbled out of bed and find the very smeary recipe for him to put it in the oven, and was going to get up when it came out to see him off. Apparently I missed by about 1/2 an hour– but the kitchen still smelled wonderful!

 

Number one, can I get an amen that he did that himself instead of me getting up at 3 am to do it, or whatever (slight assistance aside) and number 2… the text.

 

He sent something along the lines of ‘it is a good dish and maybe I should take you out for breakfast next week as a thank you’…

 

knock me over with a feather… so sweet.

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Kids’ club visit

Posted December 15, 2014 By Jill
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Visited the kids’ club at church today. It’s every ‘full school day’ Monday after classes let out until 5. My husband has been a volunteer for the last 3 years with the oldest group (5th-6th). It’s nice for them to have a guy around. A lot of them don’t have men in their lives full time, or maybe just ones that don’t take the time. The majority of the teachers/helpers are women and girls.

 

I stayed down with our 3 year old until the rest of the kids showed up after school. Matt does carpool for 2 other kids after school on that day (typically we are bus people here), so we got dropped off. Baby was happy to play with new toys until then. Dropped in to say hi to the 6 year old (bumped to 1st grade class for maturity reasons) and give her a hug and spent the rest of the time in my husband’s class. I helped out here and there but mostly was an observer. I’m sure that they’d like to have me full time, but as it was… I have a 12 month old. She was hanging onto me until another adult (our pastor) nabbed her and took her to play in the office. There’s a lovely new baby toy on the bottom shelves :-) It was nice to be out with other people doing ‘normal’ things.

 

This is a valuable part of our kids’ lives and the life of our small church, so it’s great that I got to see it first hand.

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Joy in Christ- Share it like the kids

Posted December 14, 2014 By Jill
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The kids always put their all into the Christmas program at church. This year thankfully there were no angel halos shredding silver tinsel all over the carpet. No ties around heads or rope sashes for shepherds and crowns covered in foil for the wise men. The kids just sang. It was epically bad and beautiful at the same time. They were bouncing, uncooperative, loud, rowdy, but sang with a large amount of joy and pride…..

 

For every cringe or outright giggle we had as parents tonight as the 6 year old near yelled Christmas carols and the 3 year old stepped on everyone’s toes with her blue sparkly cowboy boots– there were at least a dozen faces we could see smiling, giggling, and erupting in pure joy at the antics of the kids program.

 

Casey bounced up and down at the music and her sister’s voices.

 

Nothing will beat K as Mary 3 years ago screaming ‘don’t touch my baby’ at a harried boy playing Joseph looking at the doll in the manger. I’m glad we can laugh now about it all. We couldn’t see then how funny it was.

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Joy: Yourself or others

Posted December 13, 2014 By Jill
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Topic: Do you think you maintain a good balance of making yourself happy while making other people happy?

 

Excuse me while I laugh at this thought. One of my friends told me that I didn’t even have myself on the proverbial ‘to do’ list. I’m trying to change that. I got a haircut. It wasn’t to donate my hair. I got my eyebrows waxed. First time in around 7 years. They need done again. Would be great to have a time to run and get it done. But trying to keep a toddler captured is just impossible. Maybe in the spring?!? Maybe if the weather stays good right at Christmas I’ll be able to do it while my hubby’s on vacation. Now that would be awesome!

 

I bought myself a couple of pairs of pants earlier in the year. All 3 of them were clearanced out, but they fit! Well, they did then. Now they’re too loose! But I did shop for one pair on my own, it took 2 hours, but I did find one pair. Being short and round is not pleasant, ya’ll, even just ‘sort of round’ is not pleasant. Especially with short legs. Silly clothing makers.

 

Anyway, I would say I expend most of my energy on making the kids and my hubby (and anyone else I happen across) happy. I occasionally think about something that would make me happy, candy, a certain food, or a project to do, but the last is a lot more rare. I tend to buy something and it takes months to get to it, but eventually I do and it makes me feel good that I finally got some time for me.

:-)

 

I derive a lot of joy from seeing my kids happy though, so, maybe it’s selfish to make my kids happy? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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Who has the most joy? NaBloPoMo topic

Posted December 12, 2014 By Jill
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Who is the happiest person you know? What is their secret?

 

The happiest people I know are my kids.

 

Huh. I’m not really sure that sunk in the first time I read through it. The happiest peopleĀ  I KNOW are MY kids. My kids are HAPPY! Yeah! I’m totally giving myself a pat on the back for that.

 

The baby is happy. She is cuddled, warm, fed, clothed, bathed, completely taken care of by… us. She feels loved. She doesn’t need external things to make her happy, she just is a part of the family. My 3 year old is happy. She has toys, her favorite TV shows, plays with puzzles, looks at books, and focuses her energies on growing and learning. Extra chocolate, please. My 6 year old… well she’s happy when she’s home. I don’t know about school. Her teacher says she frowns a lot. We know she’s bored. We know the bus ride is bad when there’s a substitute driver. She doesn’t enjoy all her time taken up by school, but she’s very happy reading, spending time with her family, and asking us questions. She’s rarely unhappy until she realizes she’s ‘out of time.’

 

So I think what I can learn from this is… their secret? Is doing what makes them happy, learning and growing, without account as to what anyone else wants them to do. When they teach themselves and follow their own path, that is when they are their happiest. Baby learning to walk? So proud of herself, and huge smiles. Three year old drawing letters ‘in the air’? She wants to show us over and over again! Six year old with big dreams? She shares them with questions, growing her stories, her thoughts and her horizons.

 

I know as adults we can’t always get everything we want. But they’re little. And for now… that’s enough.

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Thoughts on a Thursday: Schooling

Posted December 11, 2014 By Jill
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This seems to be on my mind a lot lately. I may have mentioned it before, either on here or my personal Facebook account. We knew all along (well since she learned to read at age 3) that Keeley would have trouble in school. She’s gifted in reading. Before she even started school, she was pulling down The Boxcar Children and Magic Treehouse series of books for herself to read. Actually reading them. Understanding them. At age 5. The co-hort she went into at mid-year now has a couple of kids that can read. Certainly not on that level.

 

Before school started, we had people saying, (paraphrasing) what she’s not going to school yet? Oh the age thing, yeah that gets you every time. Too bad they can’t do anything about that for smarter kids. She’s going to be so bored. You should really save for private school. You’re not sending her to public school are you? They’ll crush her spirit. You should really send her to private school. She’s going to be so bored. What are you going to do?

 

I wanted to investigate homeschooling. My husband put his foot down. It’s hard to blame him. I had this notion (put in my head somewhere) that Kindergarten was at the 2nd grade level from where WE went to school. So I spent all fall when I was pregnant with Casey (Sept-Nov) forcing her to sit still at a table for 2 hours and do worksheets. That was an unmitigated disaster. She didn’t want to sit still. She didn’t want to do the worksheets I wanted her to do. She didn’t want to be forced to learn things.

 

Now… I will say that on good days, no one threw a fit (including me- hormones raging and all)– and we learned something. I would venture to bet we learned something every day, even if it was just how to wear each other out. Even if it was how to persevere- we learned something. We learned that she worked better at her own pace. We learned that she really enjoys coloring and being artistic. We learned that on her own timetable, she can learn amazing– and I mean amazing things. We learned that our casual ‘faux’mschooling that we had done BEFORE that was really all she had needed in the first place. Throw her out some m & m’s, or make an example out of pretzels? She could count, add, subtract to her heart’s content. Pop a worksheet in front of her? Your chances were about 60/40 of it going well. We discovered that if you print out math problems with turkeys or snowflakes on the page, she’d do them and then adore the graphics. We learned that she’d learn so much from reading that it would astound you, and that given the chance she’d check out just about anything out of the library and come up with random facts weeks later. Those 3 months? They taught all of us a lot. Then we had December through August to just have down time and relax– and learn a LOT more than we did in those 3 months.

 

Funny how that works.

 

With everyone’s words still swarming in my ears, and prayers raining down for her teacher, we loaded her off to school. She didn’t want to go– it was her sister’s birthday and she wouldn’t be with her– she would miss it. She met her teacher. For a few days, she did fine. Then she got bored and started to misbehave. We chatted with her nightly (and every morning on the walk to the bus) about behavior. Over and over again. Eventually the lectures clicked and she started doing things positively to get herself noticed. She’s had good days ever since October. She learned that it gets her activities on Fridays. Candy. More candy. (Guess who got a cavity!) and of course.. more candy. We discovered the huge pitfall of school—she got zero playtime and very little sleep. When we wanted to do things on the weekend– she was completely crushed because of course– that was her ‘free’ time. She felt like a jailbird already. It’s become a nightly, and daily, and all weekend sort of battle. She wants to be free to play and learn what she wants to learn, but school keeps getting in the way. She never has time to read (she has to read Kindergarten AR books to test on at school, and they are too easy)… she doesn’t eat much breakfast, she doesn’t get enough sleep, she’s hard to get out of bed. She doesn’t finish her lunch most days (not enough time) and of course she’s now hounding on about tray lunches (which she won’t eat)– all because ‘some trays’ have a sticker that gets them guess what? Candy. She drags her feet and argues the entire time before leaving in the morning. She can’t put on her pants. She can’t stand up. She can’t put on her shoes. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. My positive ‘I can do it myself, let me be first in line’… can’t do anything. She cries at the drop of a hat, and it’s not manipulative. She’s really struggling. Her vocabulary has slipped. She uses ‘ed’ on words she knows are incorrect. Because everyone else still does. Those advanced skills we taught her? Gone. Everyone has been a lot more ill, including high fevers that kept us at home for days on end. Yes we know it came from the school. She’s also learned to blank face lie. That’s nice, of course. Now don’t get me wrong, she’d tell a white lie now and again– but it’s become everything out of her mouth. I don’t know. I don’t know. I didn’t do it. Seriously. Why don’t you believe me? EVERYONE does this. Everyone does that. I’m NOT LYING. Seriously. I’m not. *sigh*

 

There are positive things, of course. She enjoys talking to the other kids. But we of course did not send her to school in order to learn from the other 5 and 6 year olds. We didn’t send her to socialize. We sent her to school to learn something educationally. So far…. she’s not learning what we want her to learn. Sure she stands in line. She is quieter. She is more patient. But maybe she’d have been those things anyway.

 

We’ve talked about private school, but of course their monthly fee is enough to cover a car payment. Add in the extra driving and yanking the other kids out of bed, or away from their own pursuits to shuttle her back and forth doesn’t really seem fair. Not to mention that we do have other kids, and while you ‘pay’ for free public education, it’s still a lot cheaper than private school. Not to mention that private school still sorts kids on age level. It still sorts them into classes of 20 kids. It still teaches to the lowest students and lets the gifted kids be bored. It doesn’t meet our needs, family situation or budget.

 

You know what does? Homeschooling. Not everyone wears matching pinafores and drive a 15 passenger van and be a shamer type of homeschooling. More like what we’ve already done, you know, before Kindergarten got in the way. One that allows you to eat a long lunch. It allows you to read appropriate reading level books. That allows you to work on the kind of math problems you want, have art more than once a week and do the same project everyone else does. No standing in line. No bus. Doing things (appropriate) on our own timetable (even weekends if we want) without feeling like we’re ‘stealing’ all her free time. One that allows you to be gifted. Work at a higher level. Without being punched by a 3rd grader repeatedly. Without having kids steal your stuff. Break your stuff. Bully you. With all the fun subjects you’d already be learning anyway, but one on one.

 

It’s something we’re seriously considering. I don’t need any negative feedback. I’m not asking for opinions. I’m not even asking for support. But when the system fails your child, you go out and be their advocate. When it still fails your child, you have to take action. We’re exploring our options and considering timing. That is all.

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Wordless Wednesday: Fauxmschooling Letter A

Posted December 10, 2014 By Jill
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My 3 year old is learning the alphabet. We started with A.

Sign language/coloring page http://www.pinterest.com/pin/192036371586461198/

Sign language/coloring page

Books introducing ABC and apples

Books introducing ABC and apples

Animal books

Animal books

Animal coloring page http://www.pinterest.com/pin/192036371585606586/

*Animal coloring page

More letter A, alphabet, and apple books

More letter A, alphabet, and apple books

 

We cut up an apple, talked about seeds, how seeds turn into plants, and ate the apple. We also stamped painted apple onto one of the worksheets.

We enjoy downloading letter worksheets and more from education.com.Here are a few scattered from A-D. Check out my profile for other collections. 10 free downloads a month.

*Color the animal by description (and baby animal pages from 1+1+1) This is pictured above and we did MANY more worksheets from this pack. After this letter, I decided to use a write-on and wipeable pouch (found online or in stores around August- larger stores more frequently) for most worksheets that aren’t strictly coloring sheets. I can’t wait to get to “D” because there is a Doc McStuffins pack! I love this site, and it’s free.

Begins with the letter A (Melissa and Doug have quite a few printables- here’s another one: Letter A maze)

Sign language letters I thought it was worth discussing sign language as we went along, and the coloring pages are fun to look at as well.

For more Fauxmschooling, check out these pins: Fauxmschooling.

We try and balance a LOT (a LOT!) of reading on nearly any topic to go with a handful of worksheets, to include mazes, tracing letters, etc. It doesn’t matter what books you read, as the important thing is introducing kids to letters and their sounds. It’s the beginning of learning their sounds and sounding words out, which is helpful for larger, unfamiliar words that aren’t memorized in kids’ early years.

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We tried quinoa today

Posted December 9, 2014 By Jill
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It got mixed reactions. It was a pre-packed mix that had brown rice in it. You add a seasoning packet and let it cook. Let’s just say I don’t have a good track record with brown rice. I’m very happy that I still have it in my system. Chewier than I thought. My hubby really liked it. The 6 year old did superb with it. Apparently someone had told her about it just the other day at school? I find that hard to believe, but whatever. The 3 year old gave it a good spit but finally chewed up one bite. She looked very thankful that she didn’t have to eat any more of it. But seriously.. we don’t make them eat things that make them gag.

 

We tried another trick of course giving it to them along with veggies while the steak was still on the grill. Veggies first. It worked brilliantly. At least for the veggie part.

 

We’ll have to try it again some time. Maybe on it’s own without the rice next time.

 

 

 

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