Monday, April 23, 2012

Homeschooling, day one

We officially began homeschooling this morning. I like to think that the world is our school and we are always learning, but today we started following the schedule from our Sonlight curriculum. It's a very light program for this age that only takes about 20 minutes, which is very appropriate for our attention spans right now :)

The teacher's guide is laid out in a way that shows you which books you need each day, and which passages from each book you'll read. It also gives some ideas of other activities to do to round out the lessons. The first day of each week, a memory verse from the bible is introduced, and the rest of the days we read from a children's bible. We also did a passage from the Berenstein Bears Science Almanac, which talked about months of the year, a poem about Mother Goose, a story about a crafty rabbit who outsmarts a tiger, and a short poem about a chick hatching from an egg. From there we went to the computer and watched a video of a chick hatching from an egg, which they thought was very cool, but then they wanted to see other animals coming out of eggs. That's a lesson for another day ;) There is a workbook that came with the curriculum that works on basic skills like same/different and pencil control. Jebriel struggled with the same/different concept because of the language, and Vivi wasn't ready or willing for the workbook, so she'll start hers later.

My happy pupils, ready to begin!

I also got a supplemental workbook about shapes for Jebriel. Each shape has it's own chapter and there are tracing activities which will help him learn these shapes, and also prepare him for learning to write letters later on. He was very focused, and enjoyed the workbook activities. He preferred the activities that required a pencil over those that required him to color something with a crayon. I think the pencil feels more grown up :)

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Sunday, April 22, 2012


The time has come, we ordered our first homeschool curriculum and it came on Friday! I had been going back and forth trying to decide what to do for the first couple of years, whether unschooling (providing the resources without the workbooks and 'school' time and letting the learning come solely through play and curiosity) or if the schedule and order would be best for us. Because Jebriel came from an orphanage that had a daily schedule, he's happiest when we have a routine to follow. He always needs to know what we are doing next, and what we are doing after that, and throughout the day we discuss the schedule, all the way up through bedtime. I decided that a curriculum with a little bit of structure would work best for us right now.

We decided to try out Sonlight, which is a Christian curriculum with a big focus on literature, cultures, and history. The preschool curriculum has very little math and basic science, mostly animals and plant type stuff, and a lot more stories, and poems. The curriculum packs for the older age groups look like a lot of fun, we'll get to do some really neat science stuff! I'll be working with Jeb and Vivi together, since Vivi is ahead in a lot of things and Jeb is behind. This curriculum has a lot of flexibility to help them work on their individual strengths, and Journey will get to tag along on the reading parts of it.

The box came during naptime, but I waited until the kids were up to help open it. They pulled all the books out and flipped through some of them, and Vivi and Jeb found the kids' scissors I ordered for them. They went right to work cutting through the packing paper while Journey started grabbing books and making little stacks of them around the room. I started explaining to them that we were going to have morning lessons and reading so that we can learn new things, and they begged to learn new things right away!

I grabbed a book called 'What's Under the Sea?' and we started reading. We got to a little section about anglerfish, who have a light on their head to attract little fish, and when the fish come close, they eat them. They asked to see the anglerfish eating, so we went to the computer and found a Youtube video of an anglerfish eating. When Eric came home from work, they excitedly told him all about anglerfish and their light, and demonstrated how fast they eat the little fish.

This is going to be fun!

Eric's birthday, the silly post

We knew that cake time at bedtime could get a little crazy, but we tried to pack a lot of fun into the day, and by the time we got back from the park, it was 8:30, which is when we usually start winding down and getting into the bed time routine.

It started when Journey started loudly enjoying her cake, and when we laughed about it, it made her get goofier. Then the older 2 joined in.

Then Vivi noticed that she didn't have a letter on her piece, so I scooped one off the cake. Then Jeb noticed he didn't have a letter either, so I just grabbed the frosting bag and started writing letters on their cake. Then their fingers.

then their faces!

Oh yes, we are the world's coolest parents ;)
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Eric's birthday, the serious part

I got the kids up early (yes, Vivi insisted on sleeping in her pretty dress) to make breakfast for Eric's birthday

Giving daddy all of their homemade cards

After church, lunch, and naps, we went to Kensington to see the baby animals. It was chilly! I took about 10 pictures of this, and in every one, Vivi has her mouth open in that goofy pose, silly goose! The older kids liked the animals, Journey is still afraid of them. I thought her fear of animals might have been because she couldn't see them very well with her vision problems, but even with her glasses she wants nothing to do with any animals.

I let the kids make their own individual cakes for Eric, then they frosted them and dictated what to write on them. Jeb's is the square, Vivi's is the cupcake shape on top, and Journey's is supposed to be a princess. Their cake messages cracked me up, and they were all so proud of their creations!

We had hot dogs for dinner, which is a special treat around here. Vivi's mouth followed the hot dog, and not the bun, so you can see half a hotdog, but the rest of the bun is hanging down below her chin :)

After dinner we went to the park

And then we went home for cake, which is where the silly post begins :)
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Journey's birthday party

We had a really good turn out for Journey's first American birthday party! She had 3 grandparents and 3 great-grandparents there (including my grandma from Florida) as well as a ton of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who came to celebrate sweet Journey. It was a pretty busy party and I didn't get many pictures, but here are some of the more important parts:

I made a from-scratch stawberry cake with strawberry frosting for my dye-free girl. It turned out cute, and really yummy!

 Decorations-I picked red because she wanted an Elmo party, and I let her pick a 2nd color, so of course she chose purple :)

The munchies-Greek dip with pita chips, a rainbow fruit salad (yes, I'm aware that I did it backwards-Eric chose to notice that just as I finished with the purple grapes on the outside-oops!) and goldfish crackers.

Getting ready to sing-Journey was overwhelmed and not interested in all the fuss by this point

Big brother helped her blow out the candles

Big sister enjoying her dessert. She had one cupcake, then said "Mommy, may I have another cupcake?" Since it was a party, I said "sure honey". She looked at me and said "Mommy, may I have another cupcake?" I said "yes you may". Then she looked at me in disbelief and said "another cupcake??" As if I wasn't hearing her correctly, because surely I wouldn't let her have 2 whole cupcakes in one sitting! Silly girl :) I said "Yes, you may have another cupcake" and she finally believed me.

The men
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Thursday, April 19, 2012


We don't get visited by any woodland creatures on Easter Eve, so we started our Easter morning by corralling the kids in our bedroom and we watched part of Here Comes Peter Cottontail while Eric hid some eggs around the house. The kids didn't quite get it, although Jebby caught on and thought it was funny when he found an egg in a silly place like the toy microwave.

After all the eggs were found, we told the kids to hide the eggs for us while we went in the bedroom. They called us out a minute later, but all of the eggs had just been dumped in a pile on the floor and the kids were giggling. Maybe next year :)

We gave them their special Easter present, chocolate bunnies, and after they ate them for a few minutes, it was time to get dressed for church

After church they had an Easter egg hunt, and a bunny for pictures! After our experience with the Zoo mascot, I didn't think anyone would want to go near him, but Jeb thought he was hilarious and wanted to stand there with him all day! Vivi thought he was cool for a minute, and the only way I got Journey in the picture was by going around behind him, she was afraid of his face!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Egg dyeing day

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Jeb's first soccer class!

Jebriel is the kind of kid that, when excited about something, can focus on nothing else. We've casually mentioned for the past couple of months that we had him signed up for soccer, but didn't really start talking about it until last week. And all we've heard since we told him is "Soccer class today? Right now? I need to play soccer right now!"

Sunday morning we told him that he got to go to soccer the next day, so when he woke up from his nap he said "Soccer today??" And alllll day Monday he kept saying "Soccer time?" We explained a million times that soccer wasn't until after dinner time, so when he finished breakfast he said "Pancakes is dinner, Jebby go to soccer class now!" Same thing with lunch. The day dragged on for him, until about an hour before dinner when he dragged me to the clock and said "Soccer time???" with an exasperated voice. I showed him where the big hand had to be before we could leave and reminded him that we hadn't eaten dinner yet. He inhaled his food and ran off to get dressed, then stood by the table saying "Soccer time, let's go!"

This kid isn't excited at all!

Warming up (it was actually freezing and SO windy)

Team shirt, they are the Tim Hortons Timbits haha! He didn't know he was going to get an official soccer shirt, so he was beside himself! (the day after soccer class when I sent him to get dressed he tried to wear this shirt again)

There's a parent participation portion of the class, and Jeb chose me as his partner :) You can also see in the picture below that he's wearing plaid dress socks-apparently I don't know much about soccer equipment and his regular socks didn't go up high enough, so the shin guards made his legs itch...the only tall socks he has are his dress socks. And I know this because when he wears dress socks, especially with shorts, he pulls the socks all the way up to his knees :)

There was a little bit of sister interferance in this picture, poor Journey doesn't have a class yet, so she decided to take that matter into her own hands ;)