Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Jovi and Corbin currently love telling jokes.  I don't remember how he came up with it, I think Jovi made up a joke and Corbin added a variation, but Corbin's favorite joke is about his stuffed hamster, Squeaky.  "What does Squeaky do when he's bored?"  "He goes ice skating!"  Hilarious laughter ensues.  Sometimes he changes the punchline, aparently Squeaky has lots of options when he is bored, but ice skating is his favorite.  Corbin has never been ice skating, I'm not sure why Squeaky likes it so much.

Jovi's favorite joke was told to her by Laura. 
"Knock, knock"
"Who's there?"
"Interrupting cow."
Interrupting co-"
"MOOOOOO!" (obviously intterupting the previous statement)
There are now many variations on this joke, the interrupting pig, the interrupting duck, the interrupting cheese (introuduced by Juan, the cheese says "Cheese, cheese, cheese!").  They both love any jokes, but those are their favorites.  Jovi is old enough now that she gets most punny (haha) jokes and Corbin will laugh at anything if Jovi does so it is a lot of fun.  Do you have any good jokes to share?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homeschooling Update

I haven't updated about homeschooling in quite a while.  In November I realized how unhappy I was with most of the programs I had chosen.  I blame it on a few things, but mainly on my inexperience, a lack of knowledge about my preferred teaching style with one student and a bad sense of how much time an activity should take.  I still think the curriculum I chose, (Five In a Row) is an awesome curriculum, but it is not awesome for me.  A curriculum is only as good as your implementation and I couldn't implement it well.  My problem with FIAR was that I thought I would love unit studies, where you study one thing, in this case a picture book, in depth and then move on to a different topic.  I found that I didn't like the constant changing of topics, I needed more continuity.  The constant changing made me feel stressed.  You are supposed to be able to use the FIAR lessons as is, just open and teach, but I felt I had to add stuff which was making me spend three or more hours lesson planning each week.  This planning added more stress. Then, because I had planned so much we wouldn't get to everything (and Jovi was seriously young when we started so her attention span was pretty short) which just caused me to be more stressed and discouraged.  We were getting further and further behind "schedule" so I just dropped everything except for reading and math.  But then Jovi's math program, which was easy and she was speeding through, got very hard.  There wasn't enough practice for her to master anything.  She was getting frustrated.  I was feeling frustrated and guilty for not doing more with her.  We needed a change.

I did a lot more research and chose a new program, Little Hearts For His Glory (yes, it is as Protestant Christian as it sounds).  It gives a biblical world history overview, includes every subject and is Charlotte Mason influenced, including the use of short lessons.  We kept our handwriting program, Handwriting Without Tears, and our reading program, Phonics Pathways and Starfall.com, but switched everything else.  Without homeschooling experience I would have never chosen this program.  I would have looked at it and said,  "No way, this is not what or how I want teach.".  I would have thought, "1-2 hours a day and I can teach all the schooling Jovi needs?  No way!"  I was very wrong.  I have found it to be a perfect fit for Jovi and I right now and am so grateful that we switched. 

The things I love about this program are: 1. It is truly open and go.  I read the lesson plans for the week (about 15 minutes) on Sunday and am ready for the rest of the week.  2. The layout of the lesson plans is SO easy to use.  Each day is shown on a two page spread with boxes around each subject.  I can easily track what we have done and what we still have to do.  3. The lessons are short.  We do at least 8 lessons/subjects a day, but since each lesson only lasts about 10 minutes Jovi stays interested in all of them.  We can also easily do two days of work in one day because of the length of the lessons.  I can occasionally add more things to do (like extra science and art) and not feel overwhelmed.  4. Jovi really likes the lessons.  A lot of them include acting stuff out which she loves.  5. The chapter books we read are wonderful.  They are, Favorite Thornton Burgess Animal Stories Boxed Set (Sets).  The chapters are short enough that she actually asks for more.  The morals are wonderful and since they are "old" she is being introduced to a whole set of vocabulary that she isn't used to hearing.

The program is not perfect by any means.  We don't use the devotional that was included.  Not only do I not agree with some of it, it is extremely harsh, there is so much talk about sinning and sinners and our evil hearts.  It is not how I want my children introduced to religion.  The science is extremely weak, we do extra science to supplement, especially since science is one of Jovi's favorite subjects.  The have craft projects, but we add extra art too.  Overall though I feel it is a wonderful program for us.  It is also helping me understand how to write lesson plans that will get done.  We will be using a different program next year, but I am so glad I found this one for this year.   

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ice and Snow

Last weekend the temperature was in the 60-70s.  You didn't even need to wear a jacket.  On Tuesday, the temperature dropped to below freezing and sleet fell all night.  We woke up to an inch or more of ice everywhere.  The city shut down, everything was closed.  Wednesday and Thursday it continued with below freezing temperatures along with rolling blackouts to avoid power failures.  We are very close to some nursing homes so we were not included in the rolling blackouts, at least I assume that was the reason why we weren't included.  On Friday we were supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow that turned into about 5 inches of snow by the time it stopped falling.  We had some fun playing in the snow yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was super powdery snow, snowmen were impossible to make.  We found ways to have fun anyway, like snowball fights and playing Jovi's made up game called "follow the snow tracks".  Someone makes tracks to a hiding place and everyone else has to follow the tracks to find them.  Today the snow is melting, but there is more winter weather in the forecast so we will see what the next week brings.
One good thing about an icy/snowy week is that we got a lot of school done and I was even able to sew a bit.  We ended up doing 4 (modified) weeks worth of work in one week and now we are on schedule to finish school by the end of June.  I made the kids a bunch of doll diapers, attempted tiny doll clothes (a bit of a disaster, but Jovi still likes them) and have started finishing all of my UfOs (unfinished objects).  I now have one baby boy gift, and am working on a whole stack of baby clothes that will turn into future shower gifts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Potty Training


So, I go into a bit of detail on this post.  If you are squeamish consider yourself warned.  I am going into a bit of detail because I can't remember Jovi's potty training experience at all and wish I did, at least the basics.  I know she trained shortly after Corbin was born (which might explain why I can't remember) and I'm assuming it was fairly quick and painless because I DON"T remember and I can usually remember traumatic events. 

We tried potty training Corbin back about 6 months ago.  He got the pee thing down really quickly, but refused to poop in the potty.  Yes, I know we are supposed to use the correct words, but we don't.  Then a week into it he decided he didn't want to use the potty at all.  Several accidents later I gave up.  We still talked to him a lot about using the potty.  We read potty books.  He would occasionally ask to pee on the potty, and go, so I knew the connection was there.  He wanted nothing to do with pooping on the potty.  I decided not to push until last month.  I started telling him that three year olds at our house had to wear undies and use the potty.  I was very matter of fact about it.  It is just the way things are.  He would say he still wanted his diapers.  I would tell him all the great things he could do when he was potty trained like go to the IKEA kids class and stuff. 

Then, the day after his birthday, I pulled out the undies, Jovi's old potty chair, some serious bribes (including M&Ms and monster trucks) and we were ready to go.  If Corbin sat on the potty and "tried" he got a couple of M&Ms, if he actually went, he got more M&Ms, if he went poop he got a monster truck.  The first two days there were some accidents, but after that he was pee trained.  He has had 2 accidents since those first two days and he was really involved when they happened.  You could tell he totally forgot he needed to go.  Pooping was much harder, her really fought it.  He would hold it and complain about tummy aches until he couldn't hold it anymore and then he would go, but it would hurt and so he wouldn't want to go anymore and hold it... it was a vicious cycle.  About the second week he got a handle on it and I am happy to report he is now fully potty trained.  The bribes went away very naturally, none were needed (or even asked for) by the end of the second week.  I don't even have to ask him if he needs to go (the answer is always no when I ask), he comes and tells me.  I have no more children in diapers, I can't say I'm sad about that.  It is exciting to be a diaper free household.