Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two important birthdays

We have had two big birthdays in the last few months. Adam turned 8 in July. Because my camera was lost for the summer, my pictures were all on Katie's camera, so I am finally just posting about this important date in Adam's life.

Adam was specifically chosen to come to our family when he did, I believe. He is gentle, sweet, quiet and easy to get along with. He finds himself right between two very strong personalities, so he keeps the peace and sets the example by asking quietly for what he wants (almost unheard of around here) and then waiting patiently until he gets it (even more rare!) Unfortunately, he doesn't always get what he asks for as quickly as the louder, more demanding family members, but we are so grateful for his gentle spirit in our home. Adam and Josh are best friends, so much so that Adam was a little lost when Josh went on an overnight campout with Dad and the Scouts with weekend. Adam lost his two front teeth in the past couple of months, and I just think he is the most handsome 8-year-old boy around with those big teeth coming in that he shows off with that great big smile! We sure love Adam!!
Here is a picture from Adam's Jedi Training Academy birthday party that the big kids helped me throw. They had a great time, especially when Darth Vader made his appearance. (Note the light sabers are swim noodles cut in half and then decorated with duct tape at the end--these were an idea from another blogging friend and were a big hit that didn't cause any pain when they accidentally missed their mark)

Adam is now our newest, and only, Cub Scout. Guess who is his Wolf den leader? Dad!!

The next big birthday, after a merciful break to let Mom catch her breath and Dad save a little money, was Anna. Anna turned 2 on September 15. I can't believe our little baby is 2!! She spent the morning of her birthday happily playing with play dough. That very much sums up how Anna spends her days, happily. She plays happily with her brother and sisters, happily tries to change her cloths over and over, happily finds the marker pens to color on some paper (or herself), happily tells you she wants a snack. Although she can really make a mess, she is an absolute delight to the whole family.
It was fun to buy Anna gifts and then watch her open them. First, she only wanted to open one and then play with it. We could have stopped at the stroller and doll. We coaxed her into opening the play cell phone, as well as the dress-up shoes. She has been happily playing with them all ever since!! (We also got her a puzzle, and Jeffrey has been happily playing with that.)
Happy (late) birthday, Adam and Anna! We love you both so much and are so grateful that you are part of our family!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home schooling pros and cons

We began school last week. We took full advantage of our freedom as home schoolers to finish our summer before turning back to school work. After such a long break, I had forgotten some things about home schooling that can be troublesome.
One thing is that baby always climbs on the table and plants herself/himself in the middle of the action. That first day, as I sat there watching this unfold, I thought back to eleven years ago when Joshua was the baby and it was our first year of kindergarten with the twins. Joshua would do the same thing, getting himself right in the middle of all the action, ripping papers and spilling school supplies all around. Lots of home school moms have all kinds of organized plans for avoiding this (like putting the baby behind a gate) but I am just not one of those moms. So the baby is often plopped smack in the middle of whatever we are doing, until I can take a moment to put her back on a chair where she belongs. I think it's annoying now, but I bet it will be one of the things we laugh about (and think back fondly on) over the years!
Beth and Josh hard at work.
On the other hand, here is one of the things I love about home schooling. Little people and big people get to spend lots of time together all day long. Here, Josh is doing his math while Jeffrey and Anna sit next to him playing. I love that! So when you pick up a stick, you really do pick up both ends of the stick. I suppose it's worth it to me because, although the little ones bring chaos in their wake, they also bring a lot of love and sweetness too.
Completed bird feeders--everyone was very happy about their efforts, though we haven't seen any more birds around to observe yet.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Public School Learning Curve

Last week, Daniel took his first ever public school quiz. We had studied together the night before, according to the teacher's instructions, and he knew the information well. The next day, I checked his score on-line. He got only 30%. What?! I emailed the teacher to see what happened. He didn't know either and said he was surprised, as Daniel seems like an attentive student. The next day, they compared the test to his answers and discovered that, instead of filling in the scantron bubbles on the answer sheet, Daniel had circled them. It is actually amazing he got any correct at all! The kind teacher taught him about scantron testing and gave him credit for 8 out of 10 instead of 3 out of 10. : )