It's a Wonderful Life…

with the Mace family.

Happy New Year 2015

(I actually had this written and was planning on posting it over a week ago.  I just needed to add a few things, but lack of sleep has made it hard to remember to do it.  Another post will be coming shortly)

It’s been a week or two since I posted, so I thought I should probably write something.  Whenever I go to long without writing a post, I forget some things.  We are into our third week of school after Christmas, and still very slowly getting into the swing of things.  Over Christmas, I review what was and was not working in our school day and made some changes, that seem to be working.  B is growing more independent in his studies, doing science and history with us, but needing me for his writing curriculum.  On the other hand, Gav is very dependent on me in every subject.  While this might seem like solutions to this would be easy, it truly hasn’t been.  Gav needs more breaks than we had going, and needs to work in shorter bursts.  Gav needs to start earlier in the morning, but B is wanting to sleep in and start later in the morning.  Really it was about coordinating time for B and I to do writing at just the right time, and working everything else around that.  The hardest part has been getting myself ready for school as early as Gav needs, as I am not a morning person and take time to wake up.  Of course, it’s winter and dark in the mornings still, even on sunny days, which doesn’t help with the waking up factor.

So anyway, things are working out, school is getting done at a decent time and B is actually getting his work done by 2pm or 3pm every day.  The days of him constantly doing school work are done, our schedule that we started the year out with has really helped B with that.  It’s such an accomplishment for him, he’s been working hard at focusing and getting it done.  We still have days were he has forgotten something, but who doesn’t.  This year we also made our own planners tailored to  each of us, and I know that has helped B out a lot with being more organized.  He gets a weeks worth of homework on Monday, and that enables him to work ahead, which often times he does.  We also have character goals and academic goals that we work on.  Over Christmas we reviewed these and found B had met one academic goal (Getting schoolwork done in a timely manner) and two character goals (Being more patient and kind, Work on being more honest).  I thought I would share his goals for the 2nd half of the year, which started this week for us.  Academic goals:  1. Become better acquainted with multiplication facts, 2. To have a better attitude when it comes to writing, 3.  Read and learn more about animals.  Character goals: 1. Be a better friend, 2.  Be more helpful.  B and I sat down at the beginning of the year and wrote these together.  There is one academic and character goal per quarter.  I was very proud of him and put stickers on his goal sheet for those he reached.  In 9 weeks, we will revisit them again and see where he stands.

Gav also has goals.  His academic goals that he reached are: 1. To be able to write a sentence, 2. To be able to read with very little help grade level books, 3. To be able to skip count by 2, 5, 10, (which he has partially reached, needing only to skip count by 5’s to reach this, which he will in his math book).  Character goals reached: 1. To pray every day to be more obedient.  I was really proud of Gav when he came up with his character goals.  After listening to B and I set some, Gav knew just what he wanted to work on.  With no help from me, he listed his character goals.  These are the ones we will be working on:  1. Be more gracious to God, 2. Listen better to my teacher, 3. To be more kind to my friends.  His academic goals are: 1. To be prepared for the next math book, 2. To be able to write fluently and read at grade level with no help, 3. To learn cursive (which we added in Dec. per Gav’s request).  This is the third week of cursive, and it’s slowed down a bit.  Gav’s enthusiasm has waned a little, but he is keeping at it and driven to do it.  We are powering through all the other subjects.  It’s really amazing how much he has picked up on his own.

Well not much more going on around here.  Just busy with the usual!

xoxo

Amberly

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Ch Ch Changes….

As the title suggests, a lot of changes are going on.  The first being a new computer!  Now I can get back to blogging, not that I did it all that frequently anyway, but you know, I can post whenever I want:)  While it’s not super important, we got rid of the laptops (except for N’s work one, that one kind of has to stick around) and bought a family computer for all of us to use.  Hmmm, I see typing lessons in someone’s future!  And just another non exciting piece of news, we got a bookshelf!  First I guess I should tell you we have ridiculous amounts of books.  Our boys bookshelves are full, like really full, as in so full B is going to need another and Gav is ready to get a bigger one.  And that’s just our children!  N and I had boxes, and by boxes, I mean 10+ of books in the garage because we ran out of bookshelf space.  We own heavy books, so we can’t just get one of the cheap ones, we have to get real wood bookcases.  And those are much more pricey.  We’ve just kind of put it off, keeping the books in boxes in the garage and hoping we didn’t need one of those.  Now we only have 4 boxes we couldn’t fit.  Big success!  And it only cost us $20 + two dvd stands we traded to get it.  Score.

Ok, now onto more exciting, or at least more relevant news.  B has braces!  What?!  Yes, you read that right.  On the 17th of this month, they were put on.  So the Monday a week before, he had two baby teeth pulled and handled it like a champ.  The following Tuesday a mold was done of his mouth and a few x-rays.  The 17th he had the braces put on.  It won’t start out a full set as he still has more baby teeth to lose on the top.  They will be placed on the permanent teeth he has now, and the others as they come in.  Head gear, to be worn at night, is looking like a possibility.

Back to school we go!  May was a rough month, where B just didn’t want anything to do with schooling.  So N laid down the law, and told B if he wasn’t going to school, he was working.  B was put to work around the house.  After a week, B said he was ready to start school, but we again started with problems, so it was back to work.  Our stubborn son has realized (at least for now) school is so much easier and this week has been a dream comparatively.  He’s had schoolwork done and has been able to play outside.  Sticking to our schedule is helping and definitely making it easier for him and me.  July will begin Latin lessons for B.  We will have finished Reading Comprehension, Spelling (hopefully), and almost done with Writing, though this last one I’m not sure about.  I don’t know if we are going to take a break or not.  We will be finishing Science and History in July/Aug. and then we will pick up cooking and typing.  I’m really going to try to limit school to two hours, and that’s including the school work that needs to be done.

Gav is reading, slowly, and just easy books, but reading.  And writing.  While he’s been able to write his letters, he’s been working on keeping them in between the lines.  He has started his spiderman alphabet book, which was a big goal for him as this is a special book.  It’s a bit more advanced than a reg letter book, so it’s had to be put off till Gav had more practice. Gav is also requesting daily to do school and has really come to enjoy it.  It makes my heart smile.  Gav has finished his cutting skills book and we will be starting his pasting book.  These are Kumon books that we’ve picked up at the store.  Gav really likes them and enjoys doing them.  The great thing is he can cut and soon paste too while we are reading our history and science lessons.  Gav continually surprises us with the things he learns and the way he interprets what is going on around him.

My little guy is growing up.  In the last few weeks, I’ve seen some behavior changes, ones that signal a new maturity has developed.  Those things I have been repeating are finally starting to sink in and we are seeing the fruit of our labor.  He has made some responsible decisions, and though little, show he is really starting to think before acting.  He has eagerly helped do things I know he would rather not do.  The boys helped pick up some weeds and bush clippings, and were rewarded with either $ or ice cream.  Gav picked $, but wanted to buy ice cream with it, and B pick ice cream.  So Gav and I ran to DQ, and he excitedly and joyously paid for his dipped cone.  He received change back, and you should have seen the delight on his face.  He felt like a big boy!  What B wanted took all his $, so he received no change back.  When Gav realized this, he felt really bad for B and gave him a quarter so he would have some $.  This was almost half of what Gav got back.  His kindness and thoughtfulness was beautiful to see.

Things at N’s work are changing.  His boss was let go at the end of May and as always, that comes with some changes.  He was working toward a particular position, which may not happen now.  The company is making some changes for the future, which we will find out tomorrow evening.  Of course, we are anxious to see if we are affected by these.  The position N was working towards would have had him home more and less travel.  He continues to do well with his company and we’ve recently experienced some perks.  We were able to get into a sold out concert by Michael W. Smith and actually had dinner with him, Nate’s boss, Nate, and Pastor Aaron.  Long story on how all that is connected.  It was really just a business dinner before the concert and didn’t really last that long.  I was so proud of the boys for behaving so well the entire time, even though they  were bored.  The link following is of a video that has gone viral, with Pastor Aaron and his little girl.  This song was part of the business talk, seeing if Michael was interested in doing it.  We shall see what becomes of it!  So who is Pastor Aaron?  Well, he is our church’s music pastor and this fall will be B’s youth pastor.

N has been playing on the church softball team this season and we have loved watching him.  Gav is the loudest (big surprise) and loves to cheer loudly for N and the team.  They have done really well this year and half the fun has been getting to know our church family a little better.

I guess that just leaves me.  Not much is changing for me, except my goal to hit the gym a little more each month.  I’ve been going, but my left knee has kept me from doing what I want and being where I wanted to be by now.  I got defeated for a little bit, but I am back in the saddle.  I feel as if I have finally reached that hurdle and my knee doesn’t bother me as easily anymore.  June was a great month and I am continuing that greatness into July.

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Back to School!!!

I can’t wait to get started!  This year Gav starts doing more things too.  Of course with Kindergarten, it’s lots of fun.  We are going to be studying lots of fun topics, mainly dealing with animals.  I am using technology to make our experience much greater.  B will now be using an IPad for some of his school stuff.  I went through and put apps on I thought he would like, one being a virtual frog dissection for when we get to the amphibians study.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the boys will be studying some awesome things.

We started school this week.  A bit of a rough start being that a lot of the house is unorganized right now.  It’s hard to think while the house is in chaos.  But since we were able to move in a few days early, most of the school stuff was ready to go.  We set up our little area, which serves as the dining room too.  It’s so bright and sunny there, and even on cloudy days there is tons of natural light.  I think it will be a few weeks until we have a grip on this new schedule this year, and sure to be some tweaks to the order in which we do things.

This week we studied ocean currents and tides in science, the early church (Acts) in history, exponents in math, and tried out our new writing book.  The writing program I chose will def take some getting used to.  But other than that, everything went really smoothly.  This year is going to be awesome!  (Have I said that yet?)

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What’s been going on?

We have started the home schooling.  It’s been a rough start for both of us, but that was to be expected.  It’s hard starting a new routine, and even harder when you can’t slack off either.  Our house and it’s layout/size make it hard to set up for school.  We just don’t have a lot of space.  Believe it or not, this does make a difference for us.  In order to do home school, I need to be organized with everything in one place.  Unfortunately, that is not an option here.  This makes it rough on my end because setting up takes longer, and honestly I have yet to find my groove.  And until I find mine, B will have a hard time finding his since he follows my lead.  It may take weeks or even months, which I really hope is not the case.

The problem is I have been spoiled.  In our house, we had two tables, one for eating and the other for school.  All of my things were by the second table and in a rolling cart we have.  The rolling cart makes things too crowded here and I am at the mercy of one table.  I have to move my things from one place to another daily.  It’s not hard, but inconvenient.  Plus, B had a bin for his things.  Now we have to share the same bin.  We have another bin, but it’s being used in the playroom.  This weekend, I will be finding a home for those things and taking that bin for my use.  I really think this will help with the organization.

But it’s not all bad.  We have started zoology for science, with the focus being on flying creatures this year.  It’s a two to three year long study, with each year being broken down into smaller groups of animals.  B picked this out for our study this year and he is very excited about it.  I have had a look through the book and like the anatomy book, it’s very well organized and there is a ton of info.  Other than that we are doing the normal math (fractions), spelling, writing, and art.  For history, we are doing real books.  What do I mean by that?  We are going to read factual books for kids for this subject.  I haven’t found a history program I like, and B didn’t like the one we had done in the past.  The library is going to be our best friend!  Well, at least as soon as we get there.  When I bought B’s books, I added in two that will be very interesting.  One is called “If You Lived 100 Years Ago” and the other “Great Letters in American History”.  I have read through the first one already, but have yet to finish the second.  It’s very interesting and definitely a kid’s read.  The second one is letters from people certain times during American history starting before the Revolution and continuing until the late 1900’s.  Some of them maybe be too boring for B at this age, so I will probably just pick and choose as we cover certain time periods.  If anyone hears of a really good book for us to read, please share it with me.  We love to read as a family and this is something I can include Gav in as well.

Gav is still into the “body book” or our anatomy book from last year.  He and N sat tonight reading it together.  There is a short story in there about ‘Zoey’ the blood cell.  It tells about a blood cell’s journey through the body, using medical terminology, and Gav thoroughly enjoys this.  Crazy kid!

Oh, I have to share this real quick before I end this post.  Gav was in the bath the other night and informed us that if you fart in the bathtub, you make bubbles.  Too funny, right?!

Anyway, we love you and miss you all.  xoxo

I wrote this post a few days ago..

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