Here is Kylie’s interview. I found it so interesting to see what the girls answered the exact same with no knowledge of what the other one had said. I also love what Kylie wants to learn this year :)
I did a little interview with each of the girls (separately so I could get more authentic/individual answers, although they did answer some things the same) to find out what the like and don’t like at the time they are starting preschool. I think it will be a fun tradition for us. I had to make my own since all the premade ones I found online said “My First Day of…” and since we kind of all-the-time homeschool that wasn’t really applicable to our family. Here are Alyssa’s answers:
So basically I am just going to post once in a blue moon. You’ll just have to deal with that. Today I wanted to talk about the curriculum we have chosen for our girls this year. Age wise they should be in preschool, but they are ready for closer to kindergarten curriculum, we believe. Here is what we have picked!
We chose a combination of programs to try to give them a full range of learning activities. Happy Phonics has a lot of games and activities while Explode the Code is work books. We went with book 2 because the girls already have a knowledge of all the letters, capital and lowercase, the sounds they make, and how to blend letter sounds to make words. They also prefer to be more challenged than review old information.
Math: Math-U-See Primer
I am so excited to try Math-U-See. It is a multistory, mastery math program. There are manipulative blocks, work books, and a DVD instruction to basically help any type of learner. Being mastery based it does not correlate to a specific grade, more the complete understanding of each skill. The levels are named for letters in the Greek alphabet. We started with primer, which is the first level. It does not assume learners know anything and starts by introducing numbers 0-9. This will be review for the girls, and we may end up skipping forward a little bit. Not everything will be review though, which is why we selected this level. Here is what the book covers:
- Counting objects and developing numeracy
- Understanding place value
- Recognizing number names and symbols
- Reading and writing numerals
- Understanding addition and subtraction with concrete and representational models
- Understanding and writing the symbols +, – and =
- Addition and subtraction of select numbers
- Telling and writing time by hours and minutes
- Recognizing & drawing rectangles, squares, and circles
- Measuring length by repeating units
- Introducing halves and fourths
- Counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 100s
- Reading, writing & interpreting word problems
Science for the kids actually happens everywhere, from our garden and yard, to the Springs Preserve, to our kitchen, but these kits are fun little experiments for them to begin to learn some basic science skills. A favorite part for me of all the curriculums is that between Clifford, the blocks of Math-U-See, and the games of Happy Phonics most of their learning involves playing, which is so appropriate for this age.
Arts and Crafts is an easy one because my kids draw, paint, play with play dough, sidewalk chalk, etc. everyday at least. All of this is supplemented by the many, MANY books we check out from the library and own at home. And that’s it! That’s what we’ve picked for this year. I’ll try to post some updates along the way and let you know what we like or don’t like about all of the programs. We plan to start on the first Monday in September, but the girls have been seeing everything arrive in the mail and keep asking to start using it. I wonder how long this excitement will last, for all of us!
The girls received a subscription to Green Kid Crafts as part of their birthday present this year and the first box arrived yesterday. This morning we sat down after doing our daily calendar time and did the first craft.
Then it was time to pour it into each mold. They mostly did this themselves and did a great job.
Then we waited for them to cool. After about 1/2 hour we had our finished project!
I tried to convince them to save the other crafts for another day, but they were just too excited we had to do one more.
Fizzy Bath Balls
For this one we used baking soda, citric acid, one tea bag, coconut oil and an 1/8tsp water.
They helped stir all the ingredients together and then packed the mixture into easter egg halves for the mold.
The finished project for this one has to dry and harden overnight so we put them on a plate with a towel. They had a lot of fun and I think the girls will be really excited to use their new crafts the next time they take a bath.
First, let me give you the good news. Despite being woken up early from their nap, everyone was very well behaved at the doctor. Even Wyatt who thought sleeping for only 1/2 hour was a good idea. We went into the first room and they did the EKG. Quick and painless.
Then we went into another room and waited for the doctor. It was actually the same doctor who checked the girls out when I was pregnant, in the NICU and saw Kylie for her two month follow up. She had a PDA that wasn’t closed all the way at birth. Just another thing that wasn’t fully developed a month and a half early… go figure. Anyways, he didn’t remember us but I have liked him every time I have met him, and he was great with the girls.
On the other wall there actually was a kids movie playing, but I love that my kids were more interested in watching what the doctor was doing.
Now for the great news. Their hearts are perfectly fine. Just an innocent murmur that may come and go as they grow up. Nothing to give a second thought to again. Whew. That feels great.
And look what Alyssa asked how to write when we got home.
Needless to say I am feeling very thankful today.
The kids birthdays are only 20 days apart, so this year I opted to schedule their annual checkups all together. The girls usually insist on going with Wyatt in case he is scared and needs his big sisters anyways, so this basically saved me a whole trip. In the past he hasn’t really “needed” them, but when I took him to get his pictures taken he would not even go into the room until his sisters got there, so for now I appreciate their help. Russell took the morning off to help so it was a whole family affair. I scheduled the appointment for as early as possible to help minimize the wait time. My policy is when flying or going to the doctor the earlier the better! Less chance for things to get thrown off.
The girls got weighed, measured and had their blood pressure taken. I missed all of that because I was with Wyatt trying to get his height and weight. He was not having any part of it and I actually had to step out of the room because he kept jumping off the scale towards me. Even if I was not near him! As soon as he was done he stopped crying and we all went back to the room. The girls each made a trip to go pee and then the doctor was there. Pretty short wait this morning. Wyatt went first since he was the trouble maker and I had to hold him down, while Russell held his head, while the doctor checked him out. He was not interested in helping at all. The doctor said afterwards “any kid that can put up a fight like that must be pretty healthy.”
Kylie went next and demonstrated for the doctor how she could balance on one foot. Other questions he asked were “Can she identify at least four colors?” “Can she stack blocks at least five high?” “Can she draw a circle?” “Can she draw a stick figure with at least three body parts?” The answers were all yes, and actually the questions made me sad. Other than kids with physical or mental disabilities or delays, I really just ache thinking that there are four year olds who can’t name at least four colors. Anyways, Kylie was not shy and did everything the doctor asked her to do, and talked to him as well. We were curious what the little light he used to look in their ears was called. An otoscope. We were right about what to call the tool they use to bump the knee. A reflex hammer. And we learned about the light he used to look at their eyes (different than the ears) called an ophthalmoscope. Russell and I love using the correct terms for things with the kids any chance we can, so this was great to learn. Alyssa went through the same routine and was really brave and helpful as well. No shots were needed and our doctor, who I really like, was supportive when we told him he were going to homeschool. I asked if we should be concerned about childhood illness that they wouldn’t be exposed to by not going to school and he very casually said “They will still be around other kids. They will be exposed just fine.” I love not feeling like I ever have to defend our decisions to our doctor. He was also very supportive when we chose not to circumcise Wyatt.
The only other thing that happened was that he heard a heart murmur in both girls. He didn’t seem concerned at all and told us heart murmurs are extremely common in kids and they often there is nothing wrong. He is referring us to a pediatric cardiologist just to have it checked out to be sure. Kylie saw a cardiologist once when she was about two months old because she had a PDA that wasn’t closed when she was born. At that time everything looked great and we haven’t had to go back since. I am not especially concerned, but it will be nice to know everything is 100% with them soon.
I told you we were going to try a little gardening this year, and since Las Vegas soil sucks, we decided to go with the “above ground planter box” route. Russell built the box (thanks to some plans from Sunset magazine) out of redwood last week, and this week we finally selected a spot and filled it with some nice organic soil specifically for growing vegetables.
No, we’re not pregnant again if anyone wondered that. For any new followers, we called Wyatt “Sprout” while I was pregnant with him since we didn’t find out his gender until delivery. The sprout I am talking about is the more traditional sense of the word. We decided we are going to try out our green thumbs and see if we can grow some of the food we eat. I like it because we will be able to control more what goes into the kids’ bodies and Russell likes it because we become less dependent on others to provide for our family. The only trouble is that I stink at keeping things alive, especially in plant form. I think I both under-water, and over-water so not matter what I try I end up killing everything. I just can’t seem to find that middle ground between dehydration and drowning. Nevertheless our journey has begun. Russell is building an above ground planter bed (just one for now but hopefully many more in the future) and we started some seeds inside in egg cartons. We have had a few little guys poke through already. Currently we have one cherry tomato sprout and 3 1/2 cauliflower. I am calling one a half because it may already be on the verge of me killing it. It just isn’t as perky as the others. We also have started seeds for carrots, green beans, peas, lettuce, zucchini, and squash. I’m all about honesty over here so I will definitely try to post about our successes and failures along the way.
If anyone has experience with this please send some tips my way. I think I’ll need all the help I can get!
For most people, pets are like kids. In fact, your pets were probably treated like kids until you actually has kids. Then they start getting treated like pets, but even pets are part of the family and when something happens to them you feel the same kind of love and worry as you would for your children. I know because we experienced this yesterday. On Sunday night our 6 1/2 year old dachshund Rusty got hurt and was walking without using his right front leg. We don’t know for sure what exactly happened, so we gave him one night of rest to see if it was better in the morning. It wasn’t, so I got myself up and out of the house to be at the vet as early as possible. I really wanted to avoid having to take 3 small children and one hurt pup to the vet all by myself. Call me crazy. I spoke with the vet and she said they would do an x-ray to be sure but that with the way dachshunds legs are designed (crooked knees) it was most likely a sprain of his ligaments and it would get better on his own. I had to leave him at the vet to get the x-rays since Russell needed to start getting ready for work no later than 8am. So I came home and finished breakfast with the kids and got them all dressed for said dreaded trip to the vet with all of them. We got to see his x-rays but this time the doctor was not as optimistic and said that a part of his bone might actually have separated and poked through the ligament and that the only solution to that would be a surgery where they would put plates in his leg and while he would be able to walk on it without pain, he would lose the ability to bend his leg for the rest of his life. That was not the answer I was hoping for or expecting to get. They were sending his x-rays to a specialist to diagnose and we would hear back sometime later in the day. And this is where the waiting and worrying comes in. And then the moment the phone rang from the veterinarian’s office came and I was so nervous that I didn’t even want to pick up. Thankfully the specialist said that there was no reason to think he had anything more than a soft tissue sprain and that with some anti-inflammatories, lots of rest and some pain medication he would be back to running, jumping, and stomping around in a couple of weeks. Keeping him off it is a little easier said than done since he wanted to follow the kids around often to make sure they are not dropping food anywhere, but I think he is at least on the road to recovery.
If you are my friend on Facebook, you may have already figured this out, but we have decided to home school our kids. This is not a forever decision and we may change our minds in the future as circumstances change, but for right now this is what we think is the best thing for our family.
There are many factors in our decision, but the greatest one is that we truly feel like home schooling will give them the most positive experience to nurture their own inquisitive desires. We want them to grow up with a love of learning, rather than the ability to memorize facts for a single test, only to forget it quickly after.
I grew up in the public school system all my life and while I don’t think I ever had a truly negative experience, there wasn’t much I can say was overwhelmingly positive either. I was fortunate enough to be in an Art Academy in high school that let me focus on the more creative side to many things, but I will confess that is wasn’t until I was in college that I really learned some things that I now consider to basic foundations. I did have some really great and passionate teachers along the way, and I am sure I had my moments that I was less than receptive to what they had to teach me, so I am not trying to blame anyone for my situation. I do feel that practicing some principles like unschooling and child-led learning I will be able to encourage and show our kids just how much cool stuff there is out there to learn.
If you are trying to make a decision about what school option is best for your family, I’d like to recommend the book Many Voices, Many Choices: Choosing Your Child’s Education by Yvonna Graham. She discuses the many options out there and the pros and cons of each.