Friday, September 30, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal (9/30/2011)

In my life this week…

is great thanks!  The week may have begun with a cold that I cannot kick, but it also included a wonderful first day of our fall homeschooling co-op and is ending with the celebration of Jack being 15 month’s old today and Mike and I seventh betrothal anniversary.  Yep, seven years ago today, as the sun set over the sea, it rose on the beginning of our lifelong commitment to each other.  With a betrothal at the beach, followed later by a marriage in the church, we doubly-promised each other our steadfast love and that is one promise we honor!

In our homeschool…

  • delighted in our first day of Catholic Homeschool Co-op and playground fun on Monday.

  • called off Montessori Morning studies on Tuesday because of Mommy feeling beaten down by congestion, headache, earache, slight fever and general malaise, but still enjoyed snuggled-up reading time, some practical life around the house, free time outside in the yard, work on Jack’s speech development at his Early Intervention appointment, use of self-control and courtesy during Jack's well-baby appointment and a bit of formal learning and assessment for the big kids. (Luke read Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers to me and Nina shared which letter sounds she knows.)
  • got our mouths “more familiar” with sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash soup in a family (minus Daddy) food study with our super feeding specialist on Wednesday, worked our minds and bodies in the waiting room or sensory gym (depending on who you are referring to) during Luke’s OT appointment, enjoyed a Mommy Blogger luncheon for Signature Moms, had storytime snuggles and enjoyed some time outside, when the kids built fairyhouses.

  • made and used some three-part reading cards to go along with the first few Bob books that Luke is working on, did a little letter study with Nina, played with our St. Jerome and the Lion story basket, practiced deep breathing during our behavior modification appointment, did practical life work (or chores) together, enjoyed Drama Kids classes and more on Thursday.
  • stayed home playing with our St. Jerome and the Lion story basket props on Friday morning instead of joining one of our co-ops at a playground because Mama not only feels cruddy but has almost no voice left and then ????  Let’s let the day unfold.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Let your classroom or learning environment reflect your philosophy.  We revamped ours with Montessori and Sensory ideals in mind this year and have been learning and living in it well so far.

I am inspired by…

my sister. 

As we turn the calendar page to October tomorrow, I have been thinking about the cancer journey, followed by marital issues, my eldest sister faced seven years ago as I was heading into marriage.  It was such a tumultuous time for her, yet she still bubbled over with happiness and hope for me as I entered into my hopeful “happily ever after”.

Today, like all of us, my sister has crosses to bear and challenges to meet.  She remains strong through them and models resilience so often.

I do not get a chance to speak with nor see my big sister much, but I often think of her – all we shared as kids, all we do not share now, but don’t “need to” because even when our lives’ paths have us running in different directions, we know the true north of our family love keeps us bonded…  Also, of course, how amazing she is to have survived cancer and divorce and to still come up fighting.

As I face far lesser challenges, I think about my sister’s strength and pray that I will never have to call on similar fortitude.  But, if I do, I know she is there – to understand and to cheer.  In truth, she is there for that anyway, just as I am for her.

Praise God for keeping my sister here with us through cancer and prayers that hope, strength and a sense of faith blossom within her daily.

My favorite thing over the past week was… 

enjoying simple moments, such as pre-bedtime board game fun with a Franklin board game – just another few minutes in the Million Minute Family Challenge – with bonus early learning and social skills discussion thrown in.

What’s (not) working for us…

is my cold and our weekly rhythm!

With the symptoms of a cold in full force, I am so off this week – throughout the day and night.  That only complicates the fact that I seem to have neglected fully considering some key elements of keeping plates as parent, homemaker, Dramakids teacher, homeschooler and person with an interest in writing balanced when I established our Fall 2011 weekly rhythm earlier this month.  In particular, the whole homemaking plate seems to be piled high and toppling over.  Gotta fix that!

Question I have…

Is a rewards-based behavior modification system really right for us?  The behavior mod people we are working with are lovely folks who specialize in ABA, an evidence-based system that seems to work largely on rewards.  Although there have been some improvements around here since they have been coming, I cannot say that I completely buy into the whole reward thing.  It seems rather like pet training to me.  So, I am praying over it, thinking about it and also wondering, does anyone have a non-rewards-based method of behavior modification they might suggest?

Things I’m working on… 

To be honest, it might take less time and space to list things I am not working on.  Or, rather, to be really honest, it might be so if I were considering things I was or will be…  Today, I feel so cruddy that as soon as I complete this entry I plan to hunker down, turn my mind down as much as possible and simply pace myself for the day while attending to the children.

I’m reading…

an enormous pile of library books in little snatches, plus the regular armloads of children’s books.  More exciting this week for me though is that Luke is reading a bit more on his own.  Many, many months ago, he’d begun to sound out words and to want to read, but when I actually busted out Bob books and similar, he didn’t choose them with the same enthusiasm he devours books I read to him or ones he pages through.  So, I opted to quietly remove them for a while.  This week, he still isn’t begging for them, but he sure seemed proud to read a few Bob books the other day and delighted in making sentences with the Bob book-related 3-part cards I made him.

I’m grateful for… 
  • the happy morning vocalizations of my 15-month old beautiful babe.

  •  the satisfaction and delight  of my four-year-old as she sliced grapes for her brothers at breakfast

  • the imaginary adventures my getting-close-to-six year old takes his siblings on.

  • hugs and a quick backrub from my husband before he went off to work, wishing me better health as the day unfolds.
And, that was just since I woke up.  Truly, my gratitude list is long.  I should focus on it more often!
I’m praying for…

  • a friend who has lost several souls to Heaven in the past years and has been graced with another now.  Please join me to pray that she and the babe get through the first trimester without incident.
  • grace and wisdom as Mike and I continue in our marriage journey.  May we align ourselves and our actions even more to His will.
  • all those affected by cancer.  It is so difficult to deal with such seemingly “wrong” and “unjust” diseases, but as with all things, God is with is through the journey.  May all who struggle with cancer feel His presence multi-fold!
  • all caretakers that are down or out for any reason – illness, cold, exhaustion, whatever.  It can be difficult to keep up with the energy of little ones or the needs of the elderly when you aren’t feeling up to par yourself, but God does not give us the call without giving us the grace.  May we each remember to focus on that grace instead of on whatever ails us and may we serve our charges well.
  • all those struggling with being single.  Every year as my Betrothal and Marriage anniversaries come up I think about how many years I spent sad, angry, hopeless or otherwise feeling negatively as a Singleton.  Sure there were times I loved being single and enjoyed life, but there were also dark, lonely, searching times.  Had I just trusted that God had a plan for me, single or married, a little better, I could have appreciated the stage I was in even more.  I truly pray for trust, faith and happiness for all single people – whether they are single for now or forever.  

Photo to Share 

Fun, friends and vestibular input after Monday's Co-op.  These are the moments you cannot make happen -- the ones that only unfold when given time and space to do so.

Pop on over to The Homeschool Mother's Journal 
to find many examples of encouragement, reality and hope.

I am also sharing this post at Heavenly Homemakers since this past week was filled with such gratitude for me.
Disclosure    If you click the Amazon links at Training Happy Hearts and purchase anything, I may earn a small percentage to use towards our homeschooling expenses.   We thank you for supporting us should you choose to do this.


Karen said...

You look beautiful in that picture - almost as beautiful as you look when you are surrounded by lots of little ones looking for you to give them more fun things to do....

Congratulations to you and Mike!

Hope you are feeling better

God Bless

Martianne said...

Thank you, Karen! Your comment is so sweet. And, I love being surrounded by the little ones.

IndigoChild said...

Congratulations to you all on your does anyone have a non-rewards-based method of behavior modification they might suggest?
Well not much of a method, and yes I do go for the rewards thing too, but with a 5.5 year old boy, who has some really shocking tantrums, and a normally stroppy but enchanting 2 year old, I end up running out of ideas and resort to 'No' and the reason why. I find that if I stick with it and walk away from the tantrum it does pass with good results. PS this works when I have the nerve of steel. Not so easy when I'm feeling weepy or tired. Cheers, Nik


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