Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nolan Strikes Again

I guess he thought my plant needed pruning. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Beauty of Homeschooling

I know homeschooling isn't for everyone, and that is ok. There are so many things that I love about homeschooling. It is hard to imagine not homeschooling. Well, there are days I do imagine it, but those mostly come on the grocery days where kids are running down the aisle, crying, begging, or fighting. On those days, it is oh so easy to imagine them being in school, and me shopping with just one child instead of four, and someday shopping all alone. Oh yes, that would be a beautiful thing . . .  Wait a minute this post was supposed to be about the beauty of homeschooling, not my fantasies of peaceful grocery shopping. 

As I was saying, the last few weeks I've really appreciated some of the advantages of homeschooling. This appreciation has not come at the shining success of our educational pursuits. It has been earned through the frustrations and trials of learning addition and subtraction.    

Lydia quickly caught on to the concept of addition and subtraction, and she was great figuring out problems, as long as she could use manipulatives. Her math book quickly moved on to double digit problems and using manipulatives for every one of those quickly became cumbersome. Soon she was frustrated and shut down. She wasn't even able to complete problems she easily figured the day before. I was getting frustrated. We were getting nowhere. 

This is where the individual attention that comes with homeschooling is such a blessing. Instead of her falling behind while the class moved on, we are able to slow it down and work at her pace. She has been playing a lot of math baseball in an effort to sharpen her skills.   We also pulled out a workbook that we didn't use last year. The pages are very simple, and she flies right through them. It all serves to strengthen the foundation and make math a less overwhelming subject to her. 

She still needs manipulatives a lot more than I'd like, but she is getting quicker and gaining confidence. So much confidence in fact, she is teaching addition and subtraction to her four year old brother. For several days now, after her lessons are done, I've found her sitting with Nolan and a beginning addition workbook page. It is simply adorable. 

Our math curriculum is set aside for now. There is no pressure to get through the text or to keep up with the class. Lydia is learning addition and subtraction at her own pace. Right now that pace requires a lot of repetition and patience. The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility to provide her with that. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

They are very literal at that age....

A few weeks ago, Papaw had Nolan (4) and Vivian (2) with him to do chores up at the barn. They all had an unpleasant surprise when they got there. One of the horses was dead. 

Biscuit had recently been weaned from Sophie, and Sophie was being kept in the barn during the process. For those of you who don't know, Sophie was a wild thing. She was easily spooked, not broken, and a big bully in the pasture. Papaw had hoped to be able to work with and train her, but the time to do so was never there.

Sophie was not happy to be in the barn to say the least. She refused food and water for the first few days there. Though she did start to eat and drink, she never was content in the barn. She pushed and pushed at the gate, and apparently some of the block were not solid. She eventually pushed the block out which caused the upper support to fall on her head, killing her. This is what they found when they went to feed the animals that day.

Sophie was hardly a pet. In fact, the kids were scared of her. They were not upset that she had died. Papaw buried her in a big hole on a hill by our driveway.

The other day Nolan was with Mamaw and Papaw. Mamaw and Papaw were talking about the animals and the subject turned to Sophie. One of them commented, "I still can't believe we lost Sophie." To which Nolan immediately replied, "We didn't lose her. She is in that hole by the driveway."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Same Battle, Different Child

On this journey called parenting, one of the things that has amazed me the most is how different every child is.  The fact that two children coming from the same gene pool, raised by the same parents can act and react so differently boggles the mind. 

Our four are no exception. They all have very unique personalities and traits. It is good. It keeps things very interesting around here. 

Though they are all individuals, there also are a few common traits that can be seen in them. Out of the four, the two that are most alike are Nolan and Vivian. The both are independent and strong willed. They both know how to lay on the charm. It is dangerous, I tell you. Adding to it, they both are very active. It is exhausting, I tell you. 

Long time readers have read many a story about the adventures of Nolan. In the last year or so, he really has mellowed out. Not that his personality has changed, he is till plenty ornery, but he seems to have learned to respect the boundaries a little better. Just in time for his little sister to come behind him and push me to my limits again. 

Oh she is sweet, and she is cute, and she knows exactly how to use it. She is full of personality. She loves to run the show. She is not afraid to tell anyone what she wants or thinks. One of her latest insistence's is that she wear her pink cowboy boots everywhere we go. 

These boots were in a bag of items given to us by a neighbor. They are cute, but don't exactly match everything. Viv doesn't care. She wants to where them everywhere. I had to draw the line when she wanted to wear them with turquoise shorts. 

Oh, and do those boots get attention! Vivian basks in it. If we are out somewhere, and someone notices the boots (as if you could miss them) she smiles sweetly, makes sure they have a good view of her boots, and says, "My pink cow boots." She is a charmer! 

Last night the above picture is what I found in my bedroom. How could you be angry with that face? Well I was, for a moment anyhow, until I thought, "What a great picture for the blog."

It isn't just boots, or getting into things she knows she shouldn't. She is pretty insistent on having everything her way all the time. She does not take no for an answer, and will dig in her heels at every turn. 

So, here we go again. I'm gearing up for the battle, reviewing what I wrote a year and a half ago, Dealing with a Strong Willed Child,  when it was Nolan I was battling, and praying that what worked with Nolan works with Vivian too. After all, they are a lot alike, but also very unique. 

Monday, October 06, 2008

Listen up guys

The pastor played this at church on Sunday. Men, this could save your marriage!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tearin' Down the Barn part two

Yesterday was Tim's day off work. So we headed to work on tearing down the barn. Tim and I drove separately. By the time I got there he had all the siding off except one wall. That final wall was covered in tin that did not want to come off. After removing the floor boards and some of the other structure, Papaw and Tim sledged the wall off in one piece.

As you can see, by the time we were down there was not much left. Most of what is left in this picture is unusable. We do have to go back to get the last trailer load of wood, but the tear down is done.