Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

My family has been having a lot of fun with the winter Olympics.  We are using a unit study by Amanda Bennett and it has day by day activities that let us include language arts, vocabulary, research, history and more.  Today we watched a video from the viewpoint of a train passenger going through Siberia then learned about Freestyle Skiing and some of the competitors in that sport.  We found out that this was first introduced in 1988.  After watching the videos and answering some questions, we looked up the four daily vocabulary words in the dictionary and my son also wrote down the quote of the day.  We found some more articles and pictures in magazines and newspapers and cut them out and put them in our Winter Games 2014 notebook too.  Then for art, my son made a huge wall chart with 8 different countries, drawing and coloring their flags, and making columns for gold, silver and bronze medals.  We added the tally marks for how many medals those countries have won so far and will add the tally marks each day.

These activities have been lots of fun and they have really piqued my son's interest in the Olympic games.  His favorite sports is the new Slope Style Skiing and he has watched all the heats for both men and women and watched the finals.  We have watched some skating together, both speed skating and individual routines, but this isn't something he is really interested in.  Tomorrow, I believe, the bobsled's start and we have already learned about them in our unit and watched a few videos and my son is ready to cheer on the USA teams to victory.

Amanda Bennett has many good weekly and month long unit studies for kids, especially good for homeschoolers, but useful for parents who want to do somethings with their kids in the evening too.  You can look at them at http://www.unitstudy.com/index.htm.  We have bought the Winter Olympics and are currently doing that one, but I also have the Baseball and Football units ready to go and I recently bought a pack of 7 countries to do in our geography unit starting in March.  They are so much fun and they are easy, while still be very challenging and educational.  I love them!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Making the Most of a Friday

Today my alarm did not go off, but thankfully I woke up on my own at 7:15.  I got in the shower and made coffee, put in the laundry and welcomed my daycare baby.  From 8-9:30 I proofread my work for my company and made corrections, did more laundry and then my son, daycare baby and I met my daughter and granddaughter for a morning at Disney on Ice in the city.  We rode the train and got there in plenty of time to get the girls a fun light and find our seats, which were fantastic and only two rows off the ice.

The kids all enjoyed the show, which I agree was good, but not their best.  The fall productions are always better.  We got to see my niece and great nephew there and a few friends.  When the program was over, the little ones even got to go close to the ice and see the characters, wave and high five.

We cut it close getting home and heading right back out to our class at Chelonia Ecoadventures.  We were ten minutes late, but they hadn't started yet, so Dakota didn't miss anything.  They learned about dolphins today and the care they get, all done by play acting.  The little girl who was the dolphin did a particularly awesome job!

When we got home, I did some chores and finally got everything off my old computer and set it back to the original factory condition.  The good thing about that was that the WiFi had stopped working months ago and it had gotten very slow, but after resetting it, the WiFi worked again and it was quite speedy!

For dinner I made the younger son a homemade chocolate chip waffle, his request, and the older son and I had spaghetti, per his request.  My husband was working "trouble" work today for BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) after our ice storm up north on Wednesday.

I finally settled down for the evening with my computer and of course, way too soon, my eyes are gritty and tired.  The opening ceremonies for the Olympics are on and we watched them as a family, but now that the USA has gone through the parade, I think I'll tape the rest and head into bed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Waiting on the Night

Yesterday was so crazy busy, right up until the time that I closed my eyes at 10pm, that I could only get through today by looking ahead to 5pm when I would have a few blessed hours of down time.  I had to get up very early to get my daycare baby in at 6:30, then drank my coffee, stripped my bed, saw my son off to college, took a shower, got things ready for the day in the girls' room, made chocolate chip muffins then took my M/T daycare child to school, drop off my younger daughter at work, come back and meet my older daughter with my granddaughters, feed everyone then get school work started!  All before 9:30!!

The girls were playing very well today and Dakota and I started our day watching Olympic short videos on Comcast about some of the athletes and sports.  He is getting very interested in the upcoming events!  Then he went into the diningroom and pulled up the writings he is working on at his computer and when he was finished two of them and ready to save the third, we proofed and edited them and printed the finished products.  We came into the livingroom and played a round of Renaissance Go Fish and then began the first two parts of Meet the Masters, Paul Cezanne.  Meet the Masters is an excellent program, although initially a little pricey, but you have each set of art lessons and programs for three years.

We took a lunch break and I desperately needed some downtime, so I put the girls to bed and told my son he could have an hour.  I planned to eat and do nothing but relax.  Well, by the time I changed over the laundry, got my infant granddaughter settled, called both Baltimore City and Baltimore County Recycling to find out why my recycling wasn't going to be picked up and got my lunch ready I had a whole 10 minutes to relax!

The afternoon work was done in the livingroom.  Dakota finished his lesson on Simple Machines for Science.  Yesterday it was catapults and levers.  Today it was gears, wheels and axles and pulleys.  He got out a set of gear "blocks" that someone had given us and worked with them for awhile, then we read the text and he did the workbook that went with it.  I am very pleased with Harcourt's Science and I love having the workbook and science experiment ideas.  Dakota watched a video on KhanAcademy about Least Common Multiples and then did the math lesson that went along with that.  KhanAcademy is an awesome program I just found (thanks Kris!) this weekend and I love how it explains the math concept!  Last, but not least, we finished Chapter 30 of Story of the World, learning about how Buddhism began.  Dakota listened to the reading then answered the comprehension questions and did the map work.  Only 9 more chapters for Volume 1 and then we are going to have a little geography fun with countries to finish up third grade.

Now I am sitting next to our new electric fireplace with a glass of wine, playing on my computer and getting ready to watch last week's Ghost Hunters and some other DVR'd programs until my husband comes home.  I so needed a night like this.  Tonight and tomorrow early are supposed to be icy so I am most concerned about getting my men home safely tonight and then we will possibly have a delay of the kids coming tomorrow.  As far as my little son and I, we will be warm and dry, inside, once again praising the joys of homeschooling.  I only wish I had homeschooled all my kids and I really, really wish I never had to stop homeschooling my other son.  There are so many benefits to it and time at home in the winter snuggling with your kids can't be beat.

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Really AM Busy

Being an at home mom and home educator, not to mention a grandmom/daycare provider, doesn't leave you much time during the day to relax.....and I also hold a "real" job that I do at home for a psychology company.  Family and friends, especially family, don't seem to remember that being "at home" is not synonymous for "doing nothing".  My phone rings off the hook and I hesitate to turn it on silent with a college age son driving his commute and two daughters and my husband out in the world who may need help.  My younger daughter stops in during the morning some time for coffee.  That's fine.  I have a daycare child before and after school on Monday/Tuesday and she is hoping for a ride to work on those days so she doesn't have to take the bus.  It's not the best way to start a productive school week, but I can live with it.  My 2 year old daycare baby usually arrives around 8.  Mom is good about dropping her off quickly and being on her way.  My oldest daughter brings her daughters around 8:45 and stays for a quick coffee or bagel.  It's hectic, but I do enjoy when my daughters have time to share their lives with me.  Then there is breakfast for the two toddlers and my 9 year old and the baby to feed, so by the time any sort of normalcy returns it's 9:30.  My older son calls often for a number of important and maybe not so important things.  My mother calls to "check in" and often drops in and this is a huge distraction.  If I don't answer the phone, it's for a reason.  Please don't continue to call and call and call and call and when I answer say "are you home?" or "what are you doing?"  Today I said, exhasperated, "I AM TEACHING!" and she said.....:"oh, so you aren't home?".   YES!  I am a homeschooler!!! If it's between 9 and 3, the odds are I AM TEACHING!  So she says she will be dropping by.  And she does...randomly, right after I get the toddlers down for a nap.  She knocks on the door before she comes in, which sets both dogs to barking, which wakes the baby.  Then she is all over the baby so now the baby is fully awake.  She wants to know why she can't see the toddlers....sleeping....toddlers are asleep at 1 in the afternoon.

So I finally get lunch, feed the baby again and get my son back on track for school in the afternoon.  Then my work calls.....6 times....every 10 minutes.  I work from home on my own schedule!! Stop calling me!  And if I don't answer, the boss calls and chews me out. I need a new job.  And to make it worse, the secretary is rude and condescending.  Then my younger daughter calls to yell and vent that her surgery was not a success and she needs physical therapy and.........and then I am trying to text my husband to find out if his mother has had a stroke and then......all the while, trying to teach.

I am frustrated.  I have worked all day....ALL DAY, and now I have to work all night for my company.  I have tendonitis or something that is causing me wrist pain.  My mind is foggy and sore from thinking so much and mind juggling my life today and I have at least two or three hours of work to do yet and dinner to make.  I don't want to!  And tomorrow I will do it all again.  And again.  And again.

I am busy!! Yes!  I am home!  but I am BUSY!!!  I work!  Hard!!  I am not sitting on the couch eating bonbons with my feet up!!  Give me a break.  Call in the evening.  Manage your own problems.  Don't make problems where there aren't any.  Don't call me to gripe about something I can't fix.  Don't assume that "dropping in" is okay in the middle of the day because I "don't work".  If you only knew.