Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Honesty - my top 20.

Well, how does one start such a post? Have you ever known the appropriate response, but not taken it? Well, call me that girl. So often I know the truth, know the best response, but still go right on ahead and just be little ole fleshly Tina. I believe it is the human condition. Thanks to God for saving us from ourselves. I know I surely need the saving.
I'm about to list off many things that I Know about myself. Blogland readers may, or may not know them about me, so don't comment on how wonderful I am (okay, you really can comment like that - lol!). I really do not have self esteem issues, and more than that I know I am loved and redeemed by my savior and Lord. I'm just puttin' this out in cyberland so the truth about me is known. I'm as imperfect as they come, living my life under a shroud of grace and hoping daily to be like Jesus and less like, me. So here's my Honesty List. For easy reading sake, I'll number them, but rest assured I know the list won't be totally inclusive, just what I think of for now. I may even add to it over time!
1. I'm lazy. Really. I know you're thinking, "All you do with school and managing your home? No way would I call you lazy." I am. I have to Make myself do all those things. I would be perfectly content to sit down and read a book or watch a movie, all day, every day. I don't like house cleaning at all -- not even a little bit.
2. I procrastinate. So badly that I have learned to get all of my lesson planning done in the summer, or it just won't get done. If left to my own devices, I'd be late and last minute for all things.
3. I Am STUBBORN. Probably not the biggest surprise on the list! I am as hard and bull headed as they come and it takes a compelling case to change my mind.
4. I have very little patience, particularly for adults. I have grown into a patient person with children, but I still struggle with adults. People get on my nerves when they behave "stupidly"
5. I am a know-it-all. When I belive something, I believe it to my core. It's tough for me to waiver.
6. I hate political correctness and often rebel against it. Words like Tolerance and Multi-culturalism make me cringe.
7. I have a sick sense of humor. I really love stupid movies, especially those that really don't encourage the precepts of my faith. I just can't help it. I could watch Harold and Kumar marathons.
8. I am a brat. I was raised to be so spoiled, that it is easy to fall right back into throwing fits when I don't get my way.
9. I yell at my children a lot more than I ever thought I would and when I *hear* myself, I feel terrible, although, sometimes, I do feel they deserve it, which leads to guilt for feeling that way.
10. I can escape on my computer and completely tone out the rest of the world. It can be a problem.
11. I love to cook, but hate being required to cook, so I often put off dinner until 30 minutes before I need to get it on the table. Stupid, b/c I really do love the process of cooking. So on days where I can cook b/c I want to, I cook a lot and freeze. That helps with my procrastination.
12. I have a love-hate relationship with my husband. I love him more than any person on this planet. He also makes me angrier than any person on this planet. I have broken things in my anger for him, thrown things (expensive things like a $4,000 bike), thought terrible things about him, cursed, spat and mocked him more times than are reasonible. Yet, at the same time, I have offered more patience and love for him than any other person (if only he could see that, I don't think he does) which leads to #13.
13. I'm presumptive. Always gets me in trouble.
14. I'm enthusiastic to the point of band wagon. I get so overzelous, then I fizzle out. Not a good example for my children.
15. I overeat. I love food. It's a problem. Enough that my weight is out of control and I follow the roller coaster diet pretty much all the time. Do well. Don't. Do well. Don't.
16. I hate exercising. It's a necessary evil for me so I don't turn grossly obese, but I really hate it. Don't find anything about it appealing.
17. I lean towards a dirty mind. I am forever finding falic comedy pops in my mind. It's a terrible shame. Something I really keep to myself (except for now)
18. I can be very mean. I know how to cut through a person and have been known to carve away. (I really hate this about myself)
19. It is easy for me to put others before my family, as I can be a people pleaser.
20. Although mild in comparison to others, I have lived my share of promiscuity and partying. Never too over the top, but enough to know I want better for my children.
That's my current top 20. I am far from ideal. Nowhere close to perfect. I know this about myself and have been shown much from the Lord on judgement, or rather how judgemental I can and have been. Really a shame. I am so far off in so many ways, I really have no business to sit in judgement of anyone. I know this and while I walk in constant imperfections, I have an example before me. I am so thankful Jesus has saved me from myself.

I Get Tickled Pink


When I look at this picture of Derik because Johnny looks so much like his big brother, only younger and skinnier! Handsome boys we have.

Now, don't laugh, well, okay, you can laugh, but let me tell you how my twisted mind works. When I was pregnant with baby #4, I told Oman, "This baby is going to be ugly."
"What?"
"All of our children are beautiful. There's always one ugly duckling in every family. She's going to be hideous."
"You're crazy."

Well, I have since seen my Ugly Duckling Theory proven wrong many times over, but I surely did mean it then. When Danni was born, she was beautiful, and she still is! So much for my scientific prowess.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Workboxes for my Lil' Boys

I love to be organized (although, I must admit sometimes my theory is better than my practice). Well, I happened upon all the rage in home school organizations, the Workbox System. As per my general m.o., I am currently adjusting it to fit my space and needs and am to date only doing one box per day for my 1st and 2nd graders, as opposed to one per subject. In the box, I put the activities they have to do daily. We have a "Completed" box, so as they finish the objects, they put them in the Completed box. When their box is empty, they know they're finished for the day. I actually fill up the boxes on Saturday or Sunday evenings for the coming week by using a file folder in each day. Their paper assignments (math, science notebooking) go in the daily folder. Then I place the library books, labeled with a post-it note in the box too. I have used 3x5 index cards for the subjects that I keep in my cubby. So far, so good. It's not as cool sounding as the actual Workbox System, but it is definately helping me to be organized and encouraging the little guys in their school work.

Here's what was in our boxes this week, our first week back, so very light:

1. Science notebooking pages, including a daily spot for narration, mapwork, and animal picture printouts to place in the notebooks

2. Math flashcards - 20 each per day.

3. Library books for history read alouds.

4. Assigned reading (books or stories related to our Zoology studies)

5. Drawing or Writing Journal (They rotate daily, doing both for 15 minutes)

6. Card for Spelling

7. Card for Geography

8. Card for Reading aloud Science

9. Game to play together (like Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Letter cards to spell words, Puzzles)

I'll add photos of my new book shelves from my sweet friend (thanks J.K.) and the new dry erase board I scored for $12 (thank you wtm forum for your know how) b/c I'm very excited about both!

So far so good. Everything went very well in our first week of school!
If you like this idea and would like to see an example of someone who stuck to the original idea, check out this blog. Her boxes look great!

A Novel First Week of School

Well we officially started our 2009-2010 school year this week, although it seemed rather unofficial. For starters, no girls. My foster parents took my dear daughters home on Saturday and have had them for the week, so instead of them starting with me, I sent them with some reading. It worked out, as I had planned to review the last chapter we completed in Zoology anyways, and Danni has been doing her math for 2 weeks voluntarily. Samantha is ahead an entire workbook in her math (she's a math whiz) and we haven't added our electives yet, so it was really a blessing. They have had a blast and my foster Mom and Mom L has gotten to celebrate her cancer recovery with my baby girls. I miss them though. Not nearly enough estrogen in my house when they're gone!

Their absence has allowed me to spend some much needed time with my new student, Antonio. He's a charming and intelligent 6 year old. Let's just say I am NOT impressed with the education he received in his K year of public school. According to what the Gilbert Academy standards have set for K, they didn't teach him squat! Fortunately for him, he had a great K4 eduacation at a nic church school. Fortunately for me, he's a quick study and I only anticipate this inconvenience for 6-8 weeks. He has been a pleasurable student, actually better behaved than my youngest, who is flexing his "I get my way" muscles. Yeah. Not pretty. We're gonna nip that in the bud Real quick!

Our plans for the next month or two will be to add in the little pieces of our school day each week. Thusfar, we're hitting the basics: History, Science, and Math for all, with Phonics and Spelling as remedial work for the lot. I have the older child reading aloud and practicing geography with the little boys so I can finish my lesson planning. I still have a bit to plan and I intend to do so each afternoon for the next month. Not really following Tha' Plan this week, as I have spent extra time on phonics and spelling and have enjoyed some time with friends in the afternoon. It'll be back to business after this weekend though. Having the girls back will force me to be SCHEDULED simply b/c if I'm not, I won't get it all in. Sigh.

It's gonna be one heck of a hefty school year. I'm not excited about the hard work, but I am thrilled about the content: Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Zoology, Chemistry, Literature studies from Little House and Marguerite Henry, and a deep, connected understanding of language arts; and, although I'm not happy about Algebra, the very idea that I have three dc in three different programs pleases me because it means I am teaching to their needs, a goal that is often easy to toss aside for convenience sake.

Before I know it, this year will be a blurr. They all are. I am just pleased that a)I can still home school. It is a great joy for me. 2)I don't have to work this year. Nuff said. iii. I have great kids. They're not thrilled to work so hard, but they are showing signs of understanding that our hard work is not in vain. They are beginning to see the light of college at the end of the tunnell and all the benefits their thourough education will bring them later. For that clarity, from teenagers, makes them great enough for me!

Happy home schooling friends and may my publically schooled friends be active, involved and an advocate for their child's education. Any child can be successful in school, any school, so long as the parents are on top of it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The World Has Lost a Beautiful Person

For my tia, Maria Rodriguez.
Numbness fills my heart. I'm sad, but still too numb to feel it fully. Shock. Disbelief. She was beautiful. Something hard to find today. A beautiful person who gave all she had to those she loved. Generous. Kind. Lovely. Dedicated to her family and her students. The one who only wanted to keep the family together. She wanted peace and happiness for those she loved. A success in the things she touched. An amazing young girl who turned into a beautiful and accomplished woman, despite hard times, despite tragedies of youth. She raised three boys who love each other, love their parents and love life, searching for eternal happiness in all they do. She taught me about having a favorite child -- all of them -- only my children are in on the joke.

I love you, Tia. I'm sorry your were taken from us. You didn't deserve this. You were an amazing woman. I feel like I've lost an entire family -- you were my life line to a heritage long lost and never mine. You gave it back to me with such open arms and joy. You shared stories with me and helped me love those that lingered no more. You were so lovely. So wonderful. You made me want to be a better mother, a loving wife, an excellent teacher because you were those things. I don't understand. I can't fathom anyways. How do I understand this? How could anyone take you away?

My heart and head spin for mis primos. Your worlds were so intertwined, I can't imagine them without you there too. May your spirit rest in the hands of God. May you enter His city. I pray you knew how much you meant to me. I love you, Tia. Sleep well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Path to the Phonics Road to Reading and Spelling (a favorite curriculum in my house)

I traveled a different road with my oldest children and by the time the 4th grade exit came up, we couldn't quite get off the highway. Gaps here. Gaps there. No understanding that language arts is one category with many parts. We had no idea there was a connection to all the work we were doing. Many subjects, too many purposes, too many parts, not too much joy or love of learning.

We could read, although we were kinda weak in phonics. What was supposed to be EZLessons created tears and made sounding out unlearned words difficult because the lessons winded about, with no clear interstate highway-- things were just not connected. Then, when we finished, where to from here? It was like coming down a 100 mile road and winding up at a dead end.

We knew a little language from some First Lessons and followed through by not sparing the Rod. After one year, we had given the tried and true a new name. Dare I say the Staff became Rottin'. We gained a ton of knowledge, but also a dislike for grammar. Eeeww grammar! What a rottin' stench!

We could write without tears, but the time flew by so quickly we could only practice through arbitrary dictation and copywork. Neatness wasn't really a focus b/c it was just too easy to fill in workbook pages and tuck it away for the day.

And spelling...well, list by list still left us with no understanding or Power to comprehend of the rules of the road. Next, A Bucket of letters and rules down another winding road with no clear destination. We could read the signs, but we had no idea what the signs meant and how they could cross over from one list to the other.

Then, a friend mentioned an uncharted road. I got lost in the grid of a convention hall and came across our saving grace, The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. No more gaps. We don't fall into anymore sinkholes in language arts....just smooth, straight, nicely paved roads! It was like a map fell from the sky and we finally had directions that all led to the same place...Language Arts Successville where love of language arts is on every corner and joy comes in 30 minute sessions! We're even learning a little about the construction business as we travel The Phonics Road.

there are references to several curricula in this, all italicized, no offense meant, just having some fun playing with words and sharing a secret to our success :)

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