Friday, December 04, 2009

Happy

Thanks so much to my sweet friends who stopped by to comment on my silly post yesterday! I have missed you all so much! For what it's worth, I did spend a little more time yesterday playing with this layout and while it still might not be perfect, it's just going to have to be good enough. As Shannon correctly guessed, time is a precious commodity around here! I'd much rather spend it with my family than in front of the computer. :)

I feel terrible, though, that's it's been so long since I've posted anything of real substance! Obviously I've fallen way behind in posting our Alphabet Path progress, but it's still coming along nicely. We've worked our way through letters G, H, and I since I last posted learning notes, and they were quite enjoyable! I've discovered that I rely very heavily upon our Magic School Bus books for many of our science lessons. "H" week, for example, found us learning about Hurricanes, the Human body, Heat, and animal Habitats. I'm so glad we've developed such an extensive collection of wonderful kids books! In addition to reading these, we also completed suggested activities from the Magic School Bus website. Those were SO much fun! Our favorites were the "Polar Bear Blanket" and "Walrus Mitt" we made to further investigate heat and insulation. (Here is a printable instruction sheet for the experiments.)





I'm well pleased with how this school year is working out. I remember feeling so burned out by this time in the two previous years we've been homeschooling, but for some reason (like maybe the fact that I'm actually planning as I go?), this year is just going so smoothly. It amazes me, actually, that we are able to do so much without really having spent much money on anything. I never did order my "dream" curriculum in September, due mostly to procrastination but also because it was just so expensive, but what we have is so perfect for the kids right now! Dylan and Caitlyn are working their way each day through some math workbooks Darren picked up at Barnes and Noble last summer; Dylan is using Level 2 and some Level 3 while Caitlyn is using Level 1. I like them a lot, and the children often ask to do more pages than I've actually assigned, so I know they like them, too! For language arts, we are really enjoying two workbooks that I picked up at our used bookstore. They were in like new condition; no markings whatsoever! And I think they may be my children's favorite workbooks. Caitlyn's is 101 Things Every 1st Grader Should Know About Reading, and Dylan's is an old school copy of Sky Climbers! I googled it because I was curious about what grade level it was, and apparently it's used in fifth grade. He loves it, though, and it's perfect for him! We've always used CHC workbooks for language in the past but, while completely lovely, they just didn't stimulate his mind at all. It makes me so happy to see him so excited to work in this book! Every week, I also print out these alphabet word lists for our letter of the week. It's not terribly advanced vocabulary for Dylan, but it provides him the opportunity to practice his cursive, which is what I really want, anyway. And the print worksheets are just right for Caitlyn! (I want to thank Blair again for directing me to this website! It's awesome!) For history, we're reading our way through An American Story, which I like for it's nice introduction to American history in short, easily readable stories. (The bulk of our schoolwork, in fact, consists of read-alouds, which is especially perfect now as I draw nearer to my due date!) We're continuing our USA scrapbook for our geography, although I have to admit that poor Kentucky and Louisiana have been put off for two weeks now! We've just been so busy that for some reason, these are the first to go when I'm looking for a place to scale back. I know we'll get back to it soon, though, and it is so beautiful to page through our finished entries!

Religion, obviously, is an ongoing "lesson" in our home that really doesn't need formal texts. We live it every day. Our Advent celebrations are well underway, and I'm so pleased this year with how nicely it's all come together. We light our Advent wreath at dinner each night and then have our Jesse tree reading immediately following our meal, while still gathered around the table. Last year I bought the most outlandish purple foil, pre-lit tree thinking it would make a totally awesome Jesse tree for this year, but when I set it up it was just so ghetto that I couldn't even bear the thought of using it as such, LOL! It's boxed back up in our garage now and our sweet, traditional little tree has taken it's place. I like it much, much more. :) I printed these cute ornaments (scaled down first to four sheets per page), then cut them out, laminated them, and attached loops with a needle and thread for hanging on our tree. We're using the suggested readings from the table at the bottom of this page, referring to both our family bible and children's bible, which in many cases, I think, is more easily understandable for our little ones. Last year I bought a cute, colorful little wooden house with doors numbered from 1 to 25 on clearance at Target after Christmas, even though I wasn't sure at the time how I'd want to use it. I LOVE what I've come up with, though! We have SO many beautiful Advent and Christmas books that I really wanted to take the time to read them each day. I gathered up our favorites and typed their titles on cardstock tiles which I placed behind each door leading up to Christmas. I've made a master list for myself so I know which books are coming up on each day, so I can accordingly plan simple little activities to go along with some of our stories. This weekend, for example, we'll be reading Gingerbread Friends and Gingerbread Baby and making gingerbread houses and/or people for the very first time. :) Our manger is all set up and awaiting the placement of more key characters each Sunday as we draw closer to Christmas!





It snowed here AGAIN last night and the children are just begging to go out in it! I'm so glad Darren's home today to help me. Last week when it snowed, I felt like it took me all morning just to get the kids bundled up, out the door, play for awhile, then back in to strip down for warm baths, not to mention all that wet laundry and sweeping and mopping afterward! Whew! I do love the snow, though, so it's totally worth it! Here's a glimpse of our backyard this morning:



Absolutely beautiful! Oh, and I just have to share these pictures I took last night, too, while Darren was reading our nightly story and the snow was just starting to fall:



I love my little family! Also, for those of you wondering, my pregnancy continues to progress well! I'm 31 weeks now, and I'm seeing my midwife weekly now with ultrasounds each week to measure cervical length, fetal fibronectin checks every two weeks to determine the probability of preterm labor, continued 17P injections every Monday, and I just received my two doses of betamethasone this week to speed baby's lung development just in case he does decide to come early. I really don't think that will be the case, but I'm taking every precaution just in case! I've cut way back on my work hours (two 6 hour shifts per four week schedule) and I'm letting Darren do all of my major "nesting" for me! We've picked out a name, set up the bassinet and changing table in our bedroom, bought a new car seat, and last night while I was at Savers with my mom I just couldn't resist buying about a dozen darling little outfits! Time is just flying by and I can't believe that very soon we will finally be meeting this little one!

Hope you all are enjoying a blessed Advent! It's been so nice to "chat" with you again. :)

6 comments:

Jill said...

Lovely to hear from you and see what you've been up to. Your home looks so beautiful and peaceful. I would just love to come visit you and have a real chat by the fireplace. :)

Lacy said...

Love your advent wreath- so beautiful! Also been clicking around your blog a little. Like your St. George cupcakes ;-)

Dessi said...

Sweet Melissa, so happy you are back. I wish you a blessed Advent and wonderful New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Romania ,
please read the blog – My heart His words – at Humbled and convicted , my friend Tammy Nischan from Kentucky wrote them the story and some pictures of some hungryes poors kids , what we try to help them in future and especialy for Christmas .Our LORD will be so proud of us if we will do something!
I love you blog,
sweet blessings and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Violeta

Melissa said...

Melissa,

Hi! I linked here from Jessica's site. I was so confused reading through the comments about baby Rose's birth, because my comment was entered in at the wrong time. Then, I realized that you and I have the same name and made almost the exact same comment! I just had to check out your blog! You have a beautiful family. I'll keep you in my prayers for a safe pregnancy. Merry Christmas!

Shannon said...

just thinking of you... hope you and baby are doing well!