Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mania At Mia's

The grandtwins are hanging out with us this week, to see what preschool would be like at Mia's house.  Since it was Monday, we decided to begin with the letter M. The boys went on a scavenger hunt to find mustard, maps, markers, make-up, music makers, and money (which somehow ended up in someone's wallet instead of on the "M Museum"  table).

Then we practiced writing Mm and colored pictures of Monkeys and Mummies. After an early lunch we went to Mass and talked about Mother Mary.

Naptime was followed by Matching Mini Madonna Masterpieces. Science consisted of a quick look through astronomy books focussing on the phases of the Moon.  We ended with a cooking lesson.

Mall Pretzels 
(Ok, I know that one was a stretch- but it was a nice lenten snack). 
Better enjoy it now. They grow up so quickly.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Smoking Hot Homeschooling

I've been doing more than my fair share of complaining lately. Seems this homeschooling gig used to be more fun in the early days. Lately we've been stuck on the same ol' lesson: "For Every Action There Is An Equal And Opposite Reaction."  For Example: I say, "Let's get moving and finish the schoolwork (and the housework) so we can get to the fun stuff."  Their reaction is to whine and dig in their heels- while productivity comes to a screeching halt. And yet another day passes without getting to the illusive Fun Stuff. Why is it soooo difficult to work with these boys lately???? Might as well browse Facebook and read a blog post or two while I wait for them to get busy. Right?  Probably not. Well, maybe, if it means reading this post by Heidi, at Busy Mom. Turns out it isn't a boy thing. It has nothing to do with the kids at all. I have simply lost my vision. I lost my vision for our homeschool, and for our family in general. It seems to be a common theme this time of year. My friend, Jennifer, agreed," I will join you in finding a vision. As my youngest complained the other day that school is just work. He wants to just learn, not sit and do work all the time."

Time to put less value on the task list and more value on the person in front of me at the moment.  In case I was wondering if this  renewed vision was what Christ would want me to pursue, another friend, also named Jennifer, confirmed it in a Sappari Solutions Workshop which referenced 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families and this blogpost on Creating a Positive Family Culture. 
So I ditched the regularly scheduled day, to read and pray 
and listen to podcasts. I learned a lot. (Well, re-visited old lessons with a refreshed mindset, anyway). 
AND it was exciting…..
 AND it was FUN…..
 AND it was decided that we DO need more learning 
without so much Work! More hands on experiences 
and fewer workbook pages. 
(Finally set off those smoke bombs we made in January)
 AND we definitely need fewer Mommy Melt-Downs 
over that pesky task list.
AND we REALLY, REALLY needed a Wednesday night star gazing party, complete with roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, good friends and football on the lawn. A delightful evening to break up an otherwise monotonous week. After the other families said their good-byes, the kids and I stayed up ridiculously late ON A SCHOOL NIGHT to learn about the winter sky. We learned the difference between sighting the Little Dipper and Orion's Belt, and between the red glow of Betelgeuse and Jupiter or Mars. We laughed and talked and sang Mumford and Sons songs around the fire pit with a dear young priest that stuck around for the "after party." We told funny stories about growing up in a large family (Fr. Stephen is #8 of 10). We ate lots of chocolate. Then we called it a night. We called it a Very.Very.Good. Night.  Lesson Learned. 

I'll be trading in February Burnout, for Smoking Hot Homeschooling to wrap up the academic year. Lent provides the perfect opportunity to make a habit of keeping things in proper perspective. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mom's the Bomb

You might be a Catholic Homeschooling Mom if you have sugar and alum crystals growing at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima, in your kitchen.

You might be an Organized Homeschooling Mom if you have a chart for everything: school assignments, chores, meals, behavior, work schedules, youth group activities, sporting events, and music lessons.
You might be a Crunchy Homeschooling Mama if your windowsill is home for scraps for the hens, peelings for the compost, soil test kits for the garden, and medicinal teas for cold and flu season.  Smell the eucalyptus diffusing through the sick bay?

 You might be an Incarcerated Homeschooling Mom if a nosy neighbor mistakes the empty casings from the soil test kit for something suspicious during an impromptu visit.
You might be a Smart Hoomeschooling Mom if this contact information is affixed to that handy dandy chore chart, for such occasions.




You might be a Frugal Homeschooling Mom if there is laundry detergent brewing in your stock pots. Sorry kids, it isn't italian "gravy" this time.
And if your boys' best bud drops by in time to help mix the potassium nitrate with some sugar….
 and you let them pack it into an empty bathroom paper roll….
 then give them each a candle wick to complete the project…...
You might just be the Most Awesome Homeschooling Mom on the block.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Now I CAN, too!

A visit with my sister is always interesting, enjoyable, productive, and quite frankly, exhausting. She stopped by my house for a few days before meeting her dear husband for a weekend of deep sea fishing. In the few days she was here we prepped for my first canning experience….
Roasted tomatoes and peppers for flatbreads and preserving….
Canned red beans, green beans, corn, chowder, and chili…..


Showed our mom how to bring "Healthy Homemade Wholesomeness" into the new millennium...

 While still keeping with my IBM, "Italian By Marriage," traditions: No bread machine here- all kneading done a' mano. Lots of love in that flatbread.
And in this Panini Dolce- My Favorite!

 Oh yes, Aunt Rene also taught the boys how to make soap (Christmas gifts in the works)
 And hypnotize chickens!

Never a dull moment with my little sis.  Mission accomplished. 

Little House on the Prairie Week 
with electricity………..and wine. 

 La Dolce Vita!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Science Rules! Or is it Rules for Science???

When you've educated your children at home for 25+ years (Oh my! Really- Has it been that long?), there comes a time to replace expensive textbooks with more modern, expensive textbooks. And I am happy to do so. Shopping for school supplies gives me a strange sort of rush. Probably what other women experience when they redecorate their homes. Can't explain it. I LOVE BOOKS! Today's excitement brought to you by: Apologia Young Explorers Science Curriculum. Immersion learning, Charlotte Mason style, is the focus; rather than the typical elementary science textbook which is more of a general science survey.  The note booking journals and textbooks are loaded with experiments which really help young minds remember the concepts learned. And then, there is the notebooking aspect. All of the printables are in the notebook. No searching on the Internet for resources to supplement a dull textbook. I. LOVE. IT.

Last week's lesson - making lava lamps out of old bottles, oil, vinegar, Alka Seltzer, and food dye. What kids wouldn't love that mess? 

I don't know about you, but smiling boys during school hours makes my day.  And yes, we did discuss rules for science. Do NOT eat or sniff or otherwise consume the science projects.  Not even if this week's pan of goo looks like marshmallow cream.

Non-Newtonian liquid or amorphous solid?

Or is it simply a huge mess that will clog the sink? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chicken Run

Remember  when we came home from the Halbert Hacienda after Memorial Weekend, with a Life Science Experiment in tow?

Well, it turned into a fun summer project.  Three little chicks survived the incubation and brooding period.  
The boys named them: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Luckily veto power goes to Mom.  I call one Benedicta (as in Eggs Benedict). Bene for short, because it's Italian. And because she is a she, which is very Good!  It also goes with the name of our pet dog, a Border Collie named Bandita.  Chicken #2 is called Scholastica, since that is Benedict's twin. Abbreviated Schola, in honor of our Classical Homeschool and focus on Latin hymns this year. 
I couldn't think of a name for the third hen, until bright and early one morning- it came to me. PETER. Nuff said.


Dear Husband helped me transform the playset into a chic condo for the "girls."
With three nesting boxes, a rear door for gathering eggs,
and a front gate for easy watering, feeding, and cleaning.
Only problem is, the girls aren't all so girly. Two roos and a pullet; or two pullets and a roo? We are still not certain. But Peter definitely started crowing on a regular basis; so we sent him to live in a more rural area (with my farmgirl friend who currently supplies us with eggs). Natalie is boarding him until we can decide what in the world to do. Should we go with the boys' original idea of "Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?" Not quite sure we are ready to go there. When my Lil Sis shows up for our big canning experience, she is supposed to bring a laying hen to trade out for the roo(s). But I don't think she really wants to transport the crower back home.  We may bite the proverbial bullet and butcher the little guy. After all, organically fed chicken sells at a premium price in the groceries. And my little friend from the country has a few roosters of her own to "relocate." We could build one of these……..

  

………………... or not. You will just have to wait for a future post to find out. 
I know- the suspense, right?