April 29, 2015

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Welcome Wordless Wednesday Blog Hoppers!
This Wordless Wednesday is brought to you by a perfect moment of Disney storytelling!  

A youngling's first day of Jedi Training Academy...

who should show up but Darth Vader?
Thank you to Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting!

Focused on the Magic

April 25, 2015

Go the Distance | Homeschool Diaries

Sonlight is having a monthly blog linkup this year, in honor of their 25th anniversary. Find out how we decided to homeschool in the February hop and my best advice for new homeschoolers in March.
April's prompt:
Share a day in the life of your family. What does your family’s homeschool schedule look like?

What exactly does a day in the life of a homeschooler look like?

Scheduling Sonlight by balancing breaks, goals and real life.
A day in the life of our first year with Sonlight.

That's like asking what a fruit looks like. Sure they're all loaded in fructose and produced through photosynthesis, but like a kiwi and a watermelon, each day has a very different flavor. This year I have a 6 and 8 and a half year old. We just started into our second year of homeschooling in March using Core C, Science C and Language Arts 2 and 3.

Here's our plan:
Christopher's Weekly Planner
Each child has a binder with their math, language arts, handwriting and science worksheets inside for the entire week. The cover has a kind of flow chart to their day.

      Day at a glance:
  • Bible Study
  • Memory Verse
  • Question of the Day
  • Math Drill
  • Handwriting
  • Math Lesson
  • Language Arts Reader Pages
  • Math Worksheet
  • Independent Readers
  • Science
  • Core Readers
  • Go Try Something!
I do not list times or meals on the list because on Monday I attend Bible Study from 9:30-11:30 and on Thursday Chris goes to homeschool soccer league, so our schedule flexes mornings to afternoon as the days shift. We prefer days that our work is finished up in the morning, but a loose schedule keeps our priorities in order without getting caught up in the details.

Ideally here is our schedule:
6:00 AM
The kids wake up and get ready to go (wearing clothes, teeth brushed, beds made.)
7:00 AM
Breakfast and Bible study and memory verse work. Dishes washed and pet fed.
7:30 AM
First round of school work while everyone is fresh.

Homeschooling In Real Life
Homeschooling in real life:
You rearrange the room to give the kids a couple feet between their desks so that they don't bother each other so much.
Your daughter gets "lonely" and does her seat work on the floor to be closer to her brother.
8:15 AM
Break to run in back yard and climb the wisteria.

Lots of free time to learn and grow how she wants.
And climb the wisteria!
8:30 AM
Second round of school. Almost all of the independent work is completed by the end of this round.
9:15 AM
Second run around break.

Fresh air is wonderful!
Sparring in the back yard.
9:30 AM
Finish individuals. Group work, science and core readers.
10:15 AM
Break number 3 to run amok, read what they want or play.
10:30 AM
Mid-morning snack and finish any group work left.
11:15 AM
Start making lunch and start chores.

Mopping is super fun for some reason.
I'll take it while it lasts!
1:00 PM
Park or play dates or swim.
3:00 PM
Clean up house. Errands, etc.
5:00 PM
Ben home.

Helping make food?
Also fun.
Evening activities around house.
Bedtime routines.

Here's what homeschooling looks like in real life:
Once upon a time, actually a Wednesday toward the tail end of March...
Most mornings, my husband leaves for the gym and work around 4:30am. Today, I alternate between pretending I'm still asleep and praying until around 5, then I wake up for a run and a bottle of water.
If it's a good day, l'll get a shower in before Kylee comes out to join me. She knows she is allowed to do her Bible study and read quietly in her room from 6-6:30, but she comes over and lets me know that is what she is doing anyway.

Homeschool mornings.
Sneaking in her early morning Bible study.
Some days she'll wander out at 5:30 or even 5:00 for a sweaty hug, but today she "slept in" until 6:00.
Chris is asleep.
6:30 AM
I really should hop in the shower, but some days my blog or email or Facebook feels more pressing. I go in and check on Kylee and get her started with getting dressed, brushing her hair and making her bed. Then I squeeze in a quick shower.
Chris is still asleep.
7:00 AM
Kylee is starving! I start making oatmeal for everyone.  The tea kettle whistles and hot water, cinnamon, almond butter and berries go into the oatmeal. Kylee is thrilled and sings about her breakfast then dumps her dishes onto the counter next to the sink. (She can't reach the water to rinse her own dishes yet, so I wait until she runs off before I rinse it for her.)
Chris is still sleeping.
7:20 AM
The big yellow public school bus collects a half a dozen children from their parents at the end of our driveway, less than fifty feet from my son's bedroom window. The noise wakes him up but rather than wandering out with his bed head to eat his oatmeal in his PJs he launches right into recreating Palm Sunday in LEGOs. I pop in to remind him it's a school day. He runs out and feeds the cat then eats his breakfast slowly while we start our school day with our Bible verse of the week and Bible study. I work with my daughter and Kylee completes her handwriting, math, phonics and language arts pages.  She reads her independent reader (The Beginner's Bible, Tower of Babel) out loud to us. All of her independent work is done and public school isn't in session yet. I flip the laundry.
8:30 AM
Christopher is finally awake enough to finish his breakfast, wander off to get dressed and rejoin us for a snuggled up story time. We are reviewing Usborne Book of World History which means we will have timeline figures. Chris slowly sorts through his baggies of figures in search of the Golden Age of Greece, Pythagoras and Ptolemy reading each one as he goes. Kylee dumps her bag all over the carpet and quickly finds two of the figures. Kylee pulls out her colored pencils and starts coloring immediately. Chris worries he's "getting behind" and scribbles all over his first one to "get it done." We take a while to talk about diligence and doing things properly.
Reviewing is fun, because the kids like feeling that they know this part of history (which they do!) but I'm ready to get back into learning new things.
If only for the reason that the children would like to slowly reread each of the 23 pages we're reviewing today. I let them, but it makes for a very long morning. We all get up for a water break and a stretch.

Climbing trees? Why not.
Climbing in the lianas.
9:30 AM
We read through Window on the World, and the kids color their timeline figures while we read Aesop's fables. Chris starts in on his handwriting while I read our chapter from Red Sails to Capri. It's amazing to see how much longer the children can pay attention to stories now than they could last year. We decide to double up on science most Wednesdays to leave our Fridays a little emptier. (Friday afternoon we spend at the park with our homeschool group, so pulling a little forward helps out.) Today we're learning about bears and tigers in the Usborne Book of Knowledge. I help both children spell out their answers on their worksheets.
10:30 AM
Kylee runs off and gets her baby doll to teach her how to braid. Chris finishes off his spelling work and I help him with his language arts and diamond notes (learning to structure writing.)

Homeschooling in real life:
Sometimes my main dude wants a chair and sometimes he prefers to stand up.
I check my email while he brainstorms. He's mostly done with the exception of his math.
11:15 AM
Kylee watches a PBS documentary on bears while Chris finishes up with his math assignment. I finally take a quick shower.
11:45 AM
Lunch for everyone. I flipped the laundry. Chris fed the cat. Kylee took care of the dishes. I started the dishwasher.
12:15 PM
The kids both watched an episode of "How the States Got Their Shapes" while I put away all of our school supplies and read the instructors guide for tomorrow. I had enough time to blog for ten minutes and started this post!
12:45 PM
Everyone got their shoes and water bottles. I applied for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On The Road" Tour.
1:00 PM
We hopped in the car.
1:30 PM
I organized a playdate at our church's indoor playground. Athena, Amy, Laura, Terri, Natalie, Leslie, Keely, Wendy and I visited and commiserated. Four of us homeschool. three  have kids in private preschool and the last has two darling three year olds who don't do much yet but have fun and run amok. We talked about annoyances and broke up fights between the children  and encouraged one another. We visited and commiserated and planned and dreamed and held each others kiddos and all those mom things. We all said that we should do this more often. My kids end up sweaty, tired and happy.
3:00 PM
Back into the car we pop.
3:30 PM
FaceTime with Mimi! My lovely mother in law reads the kids a chapter of a book once a week, so right now they travel west with Laura Ingalls with her as their guide. Chris draws while he listens. I blog some more and flip the laundry. After the story Kylee runs off with the phone to show Mimi some things she's been working on during school as well as some of her favorite toys she's been playing with while Chris continues his drawing.
4:00 PM
I get a turn to talk to Mimi. While I'm on the phone I pull the clean dry sheets out of the dryer and make our bed. I spend the next half hour sorting out and folding clean laundry then talk to Ben as he drives home.

Laundry Ninjas.
In fairness I did ask them to fold the shirts they've wrapped around their heads.
I do not recall telling them to be ninjas.
The kids each put away their laundry in their room and I finish up putting our laundry away then do a sweep all over the house to put everything in order. Ben gets home and I get both kids quietly reading so we can talk for a bit.
5:00 PM
Ben takes Kylee out in the yard to hack up the overgrown hedges. Chris ventures out to help as well after much persuasion. Sweaty smelly kids come in, shower and hop into their jammies. Time for some pajama dinner!
5:30 PM
I start making a pancake breakfast dinner with veggie bacon as a treat for helping daddy in the yard. Kylee and Chris play while Ben showers.
7:00 PM
Both kids head to their rooms for bedtime and I squeeze in my Bible study. The kids are allowed to quietly read in their beds until 7:30 or 8, but Chris has been pushing this later and later lately. Ben and I catch up with each other, social media and then veg out. We're watching our way through an older (but new to us!) season of Bones on Netflix.
8:30-9 PM

For more windows into daily homeschool life, visit the April blog party!

To join up next month, check out the link below.

Sonlight Blog Party

April 23, 2015

The Three Mousekateers | Kwaherini

After our adventures with Dory and Marlin in the "Big Blue World," Chris looked forward to visiting DINOSAUR. We scheduled our FastPass+ for right before lunch time, just in case the bumpy ride bothered anyone. After Dr. Seeker told us about our secret mission to retrieve Aladar (an Iguanadon) and Dr. Marsh sent us to load into our time rover, Chris and Kylee decided they both wanted to ride on the outside edge so they could see better.

She's not afraid of any DINOSAUR!
After bumping and screaming and barely escaping before the meteor impact causes mass extinction, the kids were up for some lunch. We picked up a few of the Wilderness Explorer badges and settled in at Mr. Kamal's for a bite of lunch. Both kids normally love falafel and were excited to see it on the menu as we passed by...

Animal Kingdom Day
First thumbs down of the trip...

But neither kid like the falafel. They found the spicing too hot and both ended up eating my hummus and veggies instead. (Both kids are accustomed to spicy Mexican, spicy Cajun and enjoy wasabi with their sushi.) I liked it but agreed that it is quite spicy.
We ended up sharing a picnic table with another family and getting to chat a bit as the sun warmed us up. Jacket tucked into my backpack, we headed over to Meet Disney Pals at the Adventurer's Outpost courtesy of FastPass+.

Meeting Mickey!
Chris and Kylee loved getting to meet the big cheese, of course! And we had a bit of fun telling him about the Wilderness Explorers. Afterwards, we did our midafternoon tradition of relaxing in the parks.
At Animal Kingdom, that means we hit the Boneyard.

Animal Kingdom Day
At the Dig Site
The kids quickly earned their two Wilderness Explorer Badges in the area, and then spent the better part of an hour unearthing a mammoth while I texted with Ben for a bit, uploaded some pictures and sat in the sun.
After a while (and yet more badges), we headed back toward Africa. Enjoying a quick Mickey pretzel for an afternoon snack, we thankfully headed over to the FastPass+ queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris, bypassing the enormous line.

Animal Kingdom Day
Masai and Reticulated giraffes roaming together on the safari.
If you only pull one FastPass for your Animal Kingdom day, pick Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We headed out to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail for a few last minute badges. In all honesty, I had only set aside about an hour for Wilderness Explorers in our planning, so we missed a ton of other things in the kids' relentless pursuit of badges. Thankfully we stuck to our safari time, as that turned out to be the only badge that required riding a ride.

Animal Kingdom Day
Earning their Hiking Badge.

The kids needed to sit for a while after all of the hiking up and around the Pangani trails, so we headed over to the Festival of the Lion King. By the "late" hour of 4:45pm, everyone needed some dinner. Tamu Tamu, situated just at the juncture of the bridge from Discovery Island to Africa, seemed oddly quiet for late afternoon. The menu of chicken and vegetable curries might not appeal to most kids, but Kylee was thrilled.

Animal Kingdom Day
Vegetable curry at Tamu Tamu Refreshments is very mild.
Kylee loves curry, and this vegetable curry was sweet and mild and only the slightest bit spicy.
I was thrilled to discover our third Dole Whip of the trip a "Pineapple Whip Soft Serve".
Christopher, after his disapproval of lunch, opted for the safe sounding "kid's snack box" containing a Dannon yogurt, apple slices, carrot sticks, Goldfish, an apple cinnamon granola bar and a milk.

Animal Kingdom Day
Vacation is a "dessert first" life!
The kids many hours of exploring the wilderness earned them the "Fish" ranking (at 20 badges) and a new secret "Fish" handshake from their Troop Leaders.
The badge stations closed.
After lingering at the Oasis, the kids voted to say "Kwaherini" which means, "Go Well!" to our new friends from the Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Day
The Tree of Life
Since they hiked nearly nine miles, the kids happily collapsed into bed after showers to watch Star Wars Rebels and dream pixie dust dreams.
I hopped onto my iPhone to use My Disney Experience to book a little more magic for our next day at Epcot, a decision Chris would soon regret but led to memories I won't give up for anything!

This is Part 10 of an Ongoing Trip Report "The Three Mousekateers." Additional sections will be found on the
Trip Reports page after they are posted! 
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