Happy 7th Birthday, Audrey

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 Audrey is 7! Audrey came and snuggled me this morning as I was lying in bed and I told her the story of her birth. She never gets tired of hearing it!

We started our day with donuts. Audrey’s choice was pink with sprinkles (you may notice a theme). The kids enjoyed their donuts while marveling at the creature that was outside our dining room window (I’m sorry, Kylene, you may need to avert your eyes).

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 Nathan looked it up and taught the kids a lot about this particular gal. She is harmless unless you are her male suitor.

We made a cake (pink with pink glitter sprinkles). Audrey helped with the decorating.

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 She wore her pony shirt. It went with the cake and the present she got from us.

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 If you know your My Little Pony trivia, you will see that Audrey is now the proud owner of Princess Twilight Sparkle. Today we had to re-watch the episode where Twilight Sparkle became a princess. It was a great day!

Time sure does fly.

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Guest Room

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Today we did a little sprucing up in the guest room. My dad and Joyce arrive on Sunday and I wanted it to be somewhat ready for them.

I added white sheers for the window ($9.99 each).

I found a nice cabinet/nightstand at Goodwill that was in good shape and much more sturdy than anything of comparable price at local stores.

And Nathan hung some of our family photos on the wall for me when he got home.

I still feel like the photos are a little small for the wall. If I find something cheap that fits better there, I may move the pictures to the other side of the room. For now, it works. It looks more warm and homey.

K12 TNVA Rant

Since last February, we have used the k12.com Tennessee Virtual Academy(TNVA) as Ethan’s school. They sent us all the curriculum and he was assigned a teacher and had online class connect sessions throughout the week. We had a rough start last year. It took weeks for me to get a response to questions I asked his teacher. Finally, we got that smoothed out. I thought that this year would be better.

Well, TNVA had very poor test results from their students last year. So, they made some changes. The changes resulted in the school assignments taking much longer to complete. Most days Ethan would work on school work from 8 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. He did have a lunch break, but that was pretty much the only time he wasn’t working on school.

Ethan was given quizzes on things that the curriculum had not covered and the teacher had not taught. When I mentioned that to the teacher, she said that he had to do it even though they had not covered it because it was a 3rd grade standard of Common Core (TN adopted the Common Core standards). How she expected him to know the answers, I have no idea. At the beginning of the year, Ethan did a test to get a baseline of his knowledge for the year. They like to have that to measure how they progress from the beginning of the year until the end. Ethan’s reading scores were high. VERY HIGH. His teacher offered me no support in supporting Ethan in this and continuing to challenge him.

Last week Ethan sat in an online class for 10 minutes with his hand raised (virtually through the online software) and his teacher never even acknowledged him. He had a question about the assignment. This happened twice during the same class connect session.

With all the issues that we faced, we decided it was a no-brainer to withdraw Ethan. We are more than capable to teach him ourselves. In fact, he will be challenged more by not being in the public online school. I know what he knows and what he needs to work on. I know when he understands a math problem and I’m not going to waste his time by making him draw a picture and write a paragraph to show me why 5×2 = 10. If you don’t have kids in the school system, you probably think I’m joking. I’m absolutely not.  I understand that kids need to be able to show that they understand what they are learning, but there comes a point when you understand a child is bright that you do not deduct points from them because they didn’t write a clear enough paragraph explaining how they came to their answer.

We are breathing a huge sigh of relief to be done with that chapter. Moving on to much better things!

 

Long Day

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Today kicked my tail! So, I thought I would post some fun photos of Isaac to make me smile.

Ethan is sick. He got sick last night (stomach flu) and he was still feeling sick today. No more puking, but he had no energy and still felt a bit nauseous. He hardly ate anything and even turned down a cookie!  We called it a sick day and spent the day watching cartoons.

We’re hoping tomorrow he feels better.

Ethan The Creative

I love that Ethan loves to create things. Today he is working on a picture. He’s learning perspective. Foreground, background. It’s fun to watch him learn.

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 There seems to be a bit of a creator/builder inside of each of us. I see it more often in children. They love to make things with blocks and playdoh and painting and coloring are common. Sometime it gets snuffed out as we get older. Other times we find new creative outlets like room decorating and house construction. 🙂

I love you, Ethan! Keep creating!

Guest Room Ideas??

Want to help me “finish” the guest room?

 

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This next photo shows more the room, but the lighting is bad since I took the photo when it was dark and I’m having camera issues!

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What would you add?

 Curtains. What kind? What color?

Something for the wall?

Night stand?

Give me your best creative and inexpensive ideas!

Conversations At Our House

A few weeks ago, I was talking with the kids about how they could start researching and testing out careers that they are interested in right now. I began questioning the kids on their interests and suggesting things that they could do to see if they really enjoyed that work.

Ethan volunteered that he wanted to program. Perfect. I know someone who is very good at programming and happens to enjoy teaching it. We can do that.

Audrey announced that she wanted to work on a farm. I’m not sure if I know anyone with a farm, but I think I can easily find a place nearby that would let her visit to see what kind of work is involved in the care of horses, chickens, and whatever else she thinks she wants to care for.

And then it was Isaac’s turn. He confidently reported that he wanted to kill villains. Ummmm…….  I had nothing. I’m going to have to get back to him on that one.

In other news, in the spirit of promoting entrepreneurship, I suggested to Ethan and Audrey that they could start a business. It seems like they are planning to start making cards and paintings/drawings. This is going to be fun. I told Ethan that he needs to write up a proposal to request grant money from the grant committee (hee, hee…) to get some money for his “start up”. He is going to research how much money he thinks he needs to get started, how much he thinks he can sell them for, and how he plans to promote his business. Audrey has already told me that she doesn’t want to make a lot of money :-). This is going to be fun. Would you like to see one of the original prototypes?

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Embracing This Stage

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 School started for us at the beginning of August. So, the crazy move chaos and starting school happened at the same time for us. I’ve been feeling the tension between the responsibilities I have as a mom, wife and teacher and the “extra” things that I do.

It is no secret that we homeschool our kids. We feel like that is what is best for our kids at this stage. But it has been hard and I hesitate to share about the struggle because I know that there are people out there that think that homeschooling isn’t a good choice and are looking for reasons to discourage it. I even had a person that I know that is a teacher tell me that I needed to put my children in an appropriate school with qualified teachers. And there is the insecure space in all moms that sometimes chooses to affirm their own schooling choices by speaking negatively about the choices of others. I wish we could all see the schooling decision as an individual thing that isn’t a statement about anyone else. Our decision to homeschool doesn’t mean anyone has to defend their decision to send their children to a public school.

Anyway… this year I have been convicted that I wasn’t embracing this stage like I should be. I was treating my children like they were interrupting all the things I really wanted to do. I had been feeling stressed out and irritated with them. I have not been taking advantage of this time with my kids the way that I should be.  I have not been intentional enough about working with the kids on things that I think are really important. Last week, I talked to Nathan about it and I prayed about it and felt like it was time to step back from some of my “extra” responsibilities. It was a hard to decision, but one that brought immediate peace.

My calling right now is to pour my energy into my children and teach them all that I can.

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 I’m embracing homeschooling now in a way that I wasn’t before. This is the life that God has given us and I want to make the best of it.

Fun Weekend

I have no photos since I left the camera at home, but I had a fun weekend with a group of women from our church. We ate too much, stayed up too late, laughed a lot, met lots of new friends and got to hear from our speaker (Cheri Keaggy). She spoke for a couple of sessions and did a concert on the last night. And now I’m so tired I can hardly see straight. It’s good to be home with my family. Apparently, they had a great time without me!