Pictures from our Snow Day

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The was the 3rd shoveling time for our storm. We had to shovel one more time after the snow stopped on Monday. It was up to Ethan’s waist at the road where the plows piled up the snow.

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Like any good homeschooling family, we had to make snow ice cream.

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No more melting snow. I miss the warm weather of last week. Only one more month of snow, right?

Snow Day

Nathan got to stay home today. It snowed all afternoon and evening and started again this morning and snowed most of the day. Today’s snow was pretty light. I can’t find official snowfall totals for out area, but it seemed like we had at least a foot of snow. We shoveled 4 times!

I’m getting ready to head to bed so I can be rested for my day back to “work” tomorrow with Nathan gone.

My weigh-in was good on Sunday. I was down almost a pound. The ticker on the side of the blog doesn’t reflect that because it had rounded up from before. To be on track to hit my goal weight by my birthday, I need to lose another pound this week. Not sure if I’ll work hard enough for that, but we’ll see.

Tomorrow will be a day of getting back on track with our routine, controlling the laundry pile and making better food choices (today was not good).

So happy to discover that we’re going to have a NEPHEW!

Kindergarten Update

Would it surprise you to know that I have read through the Mn Dept of Ed. standards  for Kindergarten? You can find the K-12 standards here. I read them because I respect the hard work that has gone into putting them together and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

I thought I would write out the sequence we’ve gone through this year as Ethan has started to learn to read(we do more than handwriting and letter sounds for kindergarten, but this is the stuff I wanted to write out):

For the first 10 days-

Reinforcing recognition of alphabet letters. Lots of singing and games. Making sure to teach L M N O P all as separate letters  and not” ellemenopee” and also testing letter recognition out of “order” so I can make sure it’s not just the order that Ethan has memorized.

After the first 10 days were done, we switched to our regular schedule which introduces a new letter every 6 days. During those 6 days, we do all kinds of fun activities around learning to write the letter and to remember the sound the letter makes. I don’t want to infringe on the copyright of the folks that wrote my curriculum, but in general, it’s handwriting, singing, cutting and pasting projects, flashcards, games and drawing. It sounds so simple when I write it out and, in some ways it is, but I wasn’t educated to be a kindergarten teacher and wouldn’t have necessarily though of some of these things on my own.

After 5 times through the cycle, we had learned enough consonants and vowels to start putting letter sounds together and to start beginning spelling. By lesson 9, there are story pages for the student to read.

We’ve made it through 16 of the 26 letter sounds and it’s starting to really click for Ethan and I. The reasoning behind the exercises makes more sense and I can really see how well it works. I have a video on our camera that showcases Ethan’s spelling skills, but I need help getting it off the camera and onto the computer. By the end of this school year, Ethan will be comfortable reading consonant-vowel- consonant words. He’ll be ready to move on to more vowel sounds.

For Math, we’ve used Math U See. The only problem I have run into is that Ethan’s math skills surpass his writing skills. He will know the answer, but he’s still working on learning to write the numbers. In those cases, I have him tell me what the answer is and I will model the number for him or let him choose the appropriate flashcard so he has it in front of him to copy onto his paper. Last week we worked on adding 10’s and this week, we’ll learn counting by 10’s.

I’ve had my recent moments of panic and doubt comparing to other kids, but I’ve been talked back down off the ledge! I don’t need to compare Ethan to other kids. We don’t have to see how quickly we can get through to the next thing because that doesn’t matter. When Ethan is 20, it wont matter that he learned to read or write at age 4 or 8 as long as he has mastery of each of the skills that he’s learning. It wont matter that he finished kindergarten math early or spent extra time on it. A lot of that stuff is just about bragging rights for parents (in my humble opinion 😉 ). I’m trying to keep in mind that understanding and mastery of each concept is the most important thing.

Also, when the local school district has a snow day, Ethan isn’t  aware of that and we still do school 🙂

Made it through the weekend!

This weekend was a great success! I was a bit worried that all our plans would have to be changed when Ethan started to feel sick on Friday, but he perked up quickly!

The set-up for the Valentine Dinner went smoothly. That was Friday night.

The event itself was on Saturday night. We got there a little early to get the kids settled in their area and then we prepped for taking photos of the guests. Nathan was able to borrow some really cool hats from the theatre professor at Crown. So, we had that as an option, for those who were interested in something a little different for their photo.

Somehow, in the mayhem, Nathan and I didn’t actually get our photo taken together.
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We slept in this morning because of the late night. We missed Sunday School, but church was great and then we had a relaxing afternoon. What a gorgeous day. The weather was fabulous. I was able to go out and do 4.4 miles of running/walking intervals. I’m still taking it easy on my knee. It felt so awesome to be outside. I completed 8.3 miles for the week and I’m remembering how much I love to get out and move.

Because of the timing of the Valentine Dinner, I decided my official weigh-in for the week would be Saturday morning. I had a good week. I made good choices and it paid off. I lost the weight from the previous week. To be on track to meet my goal by my birthday, I need to lose almost a pound this week.

The kids are excited for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. It’s funny how exciting things can be when you’re 4 and 5(almost 6!). Audrey loved her valentine from Nana so much that she carried it around and kissed it over and over again! I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. I’ll have to think of something to make it special.

I hope you all enjoyed the lovely day!

So many things happening!

This has been such a busy week.

Monday- AWANA leaders meeting

Tuesday- Women’s Winter Bible Study started up (I’m co-leading)

Wednesday- AWANA

Thursday- My first ever counseling session. It was great, but it was a pretty emotional experience so I’m wiped out.

Friday- Set up decorations for Valentine’s Dinner at church

Saturday- Valentine’s Dinner

Life has been moving fast and I’m so tired right now, but it’s too early for bed. The tiredness makes me want to munch, but it’s too late in the day to eat (darn it!). I’m going to see how long I can last working on preparing for next week’s Bible study. I’m not so sure my thoughts will be that coherent! It just dawned on me that I could maybe use a little caffeine. That could be awfully helpful 🙂

I didn’t mention the weather yet and I probably should. It’s been freezing cold the last couple of days. The temperature indicator on the van said 11 below on the way home from church last night. The wind chill is making it feel colder. The forecast is for 37 on Sunday though. That will feel at least 50 degrees warmer than it felt yesterday! These midwest states have crazy temperature swings.

Handwriting

Frog Jump Capitals

. . . brought to you by Ethan. These are all capitals that start in the left corner, make a big line down and then “jump” back up to the top corner for the next step.
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Bonus points will be awarded to those of you who can guess what letter my over-achiever son decided to add to his  left corner start “frog jump” page that didn’t actually belong.

As the school year has progressed, I’ve still been on the lookout for home school tools that are economic and effective. I was looking for something to focus more on handwriting. That search led me to “Handwriting Without Tears”. So far, I really like it. It will eventually wean him off of using the gray blocks and starting dots, but in the meantime, it helps to eliminate reversals of the letters (if the student starts at the right place, they wont be able to reverse it without going outside of the box) and reinforce writing the letters the correct way. The teacher’s guide is very detailed. I like that it gives the reason for doing each step and why certain things are introduced and explained the way they are. I loved the “Mystery Letter” exercise we did last week. Ethan had to start at the starting point each time (reinforcing starting at the top and going down), he would write a big line going down, and then he would “jump” his pencil up and wait for me to tell him which letter I wanted to see. Ethan is learning his lowercase letters as well, but I’m working on bigger letters for awhile because they aren’t as hard and I want him to have a sense of accomplishment and he’ll be more ready for the lowercase letters as he keep practicing the fine motor skills.

It’s amazing the things you learn when you are on the teaching end! I’m very proud of Ethan.

Stay tuned for a video showcasing Ethan’s spelling skills!