Thursday, October 30, 2014

Field Trip

We had the opportunity to visit a local sand and gravel pit recently with our homeschool co-op. They had a miniature sized version of the real thing perfect for the kids to play with and learn what each section does before seeing the real thing.

We learned how the dirt is scooped up, deposited onto a conveyor belt that takes it to a sifter, washes them, and then separates the rocks and the sand onto their own conveyor belts which drops them into piles.

It was neat to see some of their antique machines and that most of them still work!

I found the whole process rather fascinating and the kids enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Enjoying the Ride: Our Homeschool Adventure So Far

Do you remember this post? Well, it took me almost all summer but I jumped on the homeschool train. After two months, I'm now 100% sure it was the right choice for us.

I was really unsure about actually doing it because I have never seen myself as the homeschooling type and it just wasn't something I wanted to do. Not to mention the kids can be really stubborn about taking directions and learning from me. I wasn't sure how I would be able to teach two completely different kids in different grades with an extremely curious and active toddler in the mix too. And let's not forget that I have a deployed husband and this mama gets zero breaks to be alone.

After going back and forth, weighing the pros and cons, I decided to go for it. After all, I can always change my mind if it isn't working. There were just a few reasons that really pushed me to my decision. For one, our public school system we live in is not one where I want my children to be. Two, come winter, I absolutely do not want to be driving my kids to school every day to the next closest public school in the snow. No, thank you! And three, when Gabe comes home for his R&R or when we want to visit family, we do not have to plan anything around the school's vacation days.

I then researched a few different homeschool curriculums but nothing stood out as the one I wanted to follow. The kids are still really young so I headed out to the book store and bought oodles of workbooks for Alena (2nd grade) and Christian (K and 1st grade).

Christian just barely missed the cutoff for Kindergarten last year and is ready for 1st grade. His writing needs some work before that though. He's breezing through the Kindergarten books so I have no problem moving him up to 1st grade early (I'm guessing after the new year). That's one of my favorite perks of homeschooling! He has his moments where he is just so sloooow. But for the most part, Christian does his work without hassle. He just likes to talk and talk and wiggle around which increases the amount of time it takes to finish.

Alena has surprised me the most. She has always been the most stubborn when it comes to me showing her how to do anything. She would fight me so much until I either gave up or we were both nearly in tears. She has her days of resisting but does rather well for the most part.  

On top of learning at home, we participate in a homeschool co-op one day a week. They had several classes for their grade/age group to choose from and they chose Insects, Sports, and Art. There are around 10 families that attend so not too big and we all really love it.

The kids are enjoying the experience and doing better than I expected. Christian does especially well with not disturbing Alena and I when she is doing her schooling for the day. Alena likes to hang around and "help" Christian with his work. In other words, she hovers over his shoulder to give him answers or prove how she is smarter than him. We're working on her being better about that though.

I try to schedule our lessons around Noah's nap time (usually 2 hours long) so that we can do it uninterrupted. There are plenty of days where that doesn't happen and we just have to work around that. Thankfully, he is pretty good at entertaining himself. Sometimes I sit at the table or we sit together on the couch while I nurse Noah. We just make the best of the situation and do what we can.

All in all, we are embracing being a homeschool family. I really do love the freedom it brings to our day and how I don't have to drive anyone to school! Honestly, I never expected this much less to enjoy it, but I do. WE do. I would like to encourage anyone who is on the fence about whether to homeschool or not to give it a try. Jump in and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Festivities

From September through December, the Fall season brings on many festivals and bazaars around our area. Every weekend is a different one with plenty of things for the kids to enjoy. Here's just a couple that we've visited.

Our first stop was to my hometown's Heritage Day. There were a variety of displays demonstrating how things were made in the old days. The kids each got to make their own candle by dipping string into the wax, walking around the roped off square, and repeating with each lap. After about 10-15 minutes of dipping, we had candles! Makes you realize how easy we have it to be able to flip a switch and have instant light.

There was also a blacksmith demo on making nails.

While we were there, a random turkey comes waltzing through the park. Apparently this turkey was coming and going through there all day. Hah.

Alena and Christian also made some rope. It was the neatest thing to watch and even though I watched how it was made, I'm still confused as to how the twine twisted onto itself into a rope!

That same weekend, another local town was having their Pumpkin Festival. It was really cold so we did a few activities, grabbed some deep fried Oreos (you must try them!), and headed home.

For a couple bucks, you could squash a pumpkin with a heavy wooden hammer. We were standing a good 10-12 feet away and still got pumpkin guts splattered on us.

SOOOO good and so fattening!

After a flashlight hay maze and the Oreos, we stopped for a quick picture before escaping to the warmth of the car.

Has anyone else been enjoying the abundance of Fall festivities?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Monday

A little happy cuteness for your Monday.

Christian wouldn't do it to kiss Noah's other cheek so we settled for sitting off to the side with smiles. 

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall is Here

Fall has officially arrived in NE Ohio. The leaves are turning bright oranges, yellows, and reds, the air is crisp, and everything is all about pumpkins. This isn't technically the kids' first Fall season, but it is their first "real" Fall since Arizona's Fall months consist of 80 degree temps and no changing or falling leaves.

My sister's house is in the woods so there is an abundance of leaves to rake and jump into. The kids are experiencing many 'firsts' this year. One of them is a leaf pile and Alena and Christian loved it! Noah, not so much. He did like kicking the pile but not actually sitting in it.

See Noah's face? Hah!

My sister not only lives in the woods, but on a quiet dirt road too. It's a great place to take pictures.

Found a perfect tiny leaf.
Is anyone else out there loving the beauty of Fall?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Short Visit

We recently took a trip to Michigan to spend a few days with the in-laws. Our first stop was to my father-in-law for a day. As soon as I got out of work on Monday, I picked up the kids and off we went. I thank my lucky stars every time we take a trip because the kids are such good travelers. But how backwards is this first pic? I was sure Noah would fall asleep right away but instead, he stayed up most of the trip and Alena and Christian got a 2 hour nap!

 The following day, after breakfast and cleaning up, my FIL treated us to some fun at a mini golf/arcade joint. To the shock of us all, we each got a hole in one! After finishing up with mini golf, we headed inside to use up the 100 tokens my FIL had gotten for us to play games.
Watching grandpa shave.

We could not get him off this thing.

That evening, we said goodbye to my FIL and headed to my MIL's house. She was already in bed when we arrived so we got on our pj's and hopped into bed.
The next several days were spent enjoying our visit. The kids spent much of the time outside with my MIL's chickens and jumping on the trampoline.

Grandma teaching the girls to bake bread.

Boarding with his uncle.

 Being that Alena is always around boys (with 2 brothers and my sister's 3 boys), she was in heaven hanging out with my SIL's kids (they have 4 girls!). I got these cute pics of Alena and her cousin close in age doing a puzzle book together and sharing secrets. :)

All in all, a good visit. The kids are excited about the fact that we can now see everyone more than once a year. That means more cousin time!