All Set to Start the '09/'10 School Year

Boy does that title seem surreal or what?! I cannot believe it is the school year 2009/2010. This means it is exactly twenty years since my senior year of high school. I feel so old - and yet at times it seems like it was just yesterday. I'm sure many of you know just what I mean by that.

The summer break is almost over. I don't know for sure who is more excited by that - me or my princesses. Oh - they won't tell you they are excited. But I can tell by the fact that they are bored with everything that they are more than ready to get back to having something constructive to do all day long. I, too, am excited. (But then again, I always enjoyed school - I was a bookworm geek who actually enjoyed school and learning new things. I cared about getting good grades, and studied hard to get them. Well, actually I studied hard in college. I was sidetracked with danceline when I was in high school, therefore I would gladly accept a B+ on a test in exchange for spending all my time on the sport I loved.)

While the princesses have spent their summer break having lemonade stands, reading books, watching way too much TV, and playing with their neighborhood friends (all two of them), I have had my own agenda.

I had three main goals for my time. First, I wanted to get all of our lesson plans into my HomeSchool Tracker Plus software. But, I didn't just want to enter the assignments; I wanted to enter things in as lesson plans so that next year I can simply reassign the activities that will remain the same and put in the specifics with a few keystrokes. This has been a long-suffering project, as I changed things many times in the entry process. But, I think that all the time and effort will really pay off next summer when the planning process will be much easier. Second, I had to decide how to deal with Princess L's MFW Kindergarten. I decided to create my own HST+ lesson plan, not so much for keeping up with grades, but to make sure I don't fall behind. We will only be doing kindergarten with her three days a week, as she is technically still only four. So, as this curriculum is based on a six day cycle, it will take us two weeks to finish a lesson. This has her taking a year and a half to get through kindergarten. We will still consider her pre-K, however, as we will keep her with her age peers for activities and church events. Finally, I spent time thinking through how to implement Sue Patrick's Workboxes with our princesses. Princess E said she wanted to keep things how she was doing last year, so she will not be doing them. She will, however, be assigned a few boxes to help Princesses L and M complete. Princess S has these set up on two shelves in her room. She currently has a desk next to them, but I am looking into moving that desk into Princess L's room and getting her a simple table desk with an excersize ball so she can move around to her heart's content. We are looking into getting her tested for SPD, and are implementing a few strategies to deal with it. I bought the shoe rack as suggested by Sue Patrick, along with shoe boxes, but will only have one for Princesses L and M to share. I will not be putting any of the kindergarten work in there, only various activities for them to do individually with their older sisters. Princess M will do two activities with each sister, and Princess L will do one with each sister. I am hoping that this gives me enough time to work one-on-one with Princess L, give them each dedicated time with each sister, and hopefully keep the house from getting as chaotic clutter wise as it has in the past.

Another goal was to once again re-evaluate how we do chores. It has been difficult to keep track of and make sure they are done. The chores themselves have not yet changed, just the system used for tracking them. We are trying to decide whether or not to utilize allowance.

Princess M has hurled herself into the terrible twos! It is not uncommon to hear her high-pitched shriek when you tell her "no" or "stop", or to see her throw herself backwards onto the ground if she doesn't get her way. I've been reminded that this is the time to nip it in the bud. However, seeing as how the past methods we've tried have not exactly worked, I'm not sure how to do that. Fun times!


Happy Independence Day!

What better thing is there to do on Independence Day than serve people?! We went this morning, as we do the first Saturday morning of each month, to prepare meals for a local men's shelter. Because it was a holiday, we did a picnic theme meal. Our church is selling brats to raise money for a missions trip. At the end of the time, they will cook up about 60 extra brats. So we didn't have to worry about that. We also made potato salad, chicken salad, brownies, pumpkin bars and sliced watermelon. The job that the kids have each time is to put together goody bags for the men. In each bad is a shirt, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, candy bar, gum, and other little trinkets. They have an assembly line to put these together and have a blast doing it. The host family have been doing this for years and have everything down to a science. It is a lot of fun! One of these days, we are going to go help with the serving portion as well. We haven't thus far because I think the two younger princesses would be a handful.