Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Year Four: Nice and Easy? That's Not How We Roll

How nice to meet someone so undeterred by things like…reality.
-The Lorax

And so it begins. We've waited for this day and spent the years before this preparing for this wonderful moment in time. 

I will admit, my little sidekick was disappointed in the beginning because we were continuing his education at home. However, I have made some changes to our plans and he has adjusted quite well. 
Not having to wear shoes to school is an obvious plus. 

First things first. My kid is a potato. His words, not mine. Oh to be five and ever so silly!

Now, for those big changes I spoke of. We are actually a part of the public school system. (cringe) BUT, we are online. I researched schools in the area and found none that met my (probably high) expectations. So, I switched directions a bit and searched for online schools in the area.
We settled with K12. It is still early days with it all so I won't give you my full opinion (yet). 
He does have a wonderful teacher and we are doing well keeping up with the schedule and curriculum. 

The boxes from the above picture were organized into the red drawers you see here. I had to make some room, please do not judge me from the looks of my closet! 

Now this, is more or less what we use on a daily basis. Seems like a lot but it really isn't so bad.  

 This is our schedule. Yeah, it made my eyes go big like that too.
Being a part of the public school system (still a little cringe) we are supposed to work a minimum of 6 hours a day since that is comparable to the hours he would spend in a physical school. 

Let me tell you a little secret: he doesn't spend that long on any of these projects so far. SHH!

You see, because I have homeschooled him since before he was 3, he knows just about everything we have covered so far. Because of this, he finishes his work with extraordinary speed. Which is okay with me because then we can play! 
And before you ask... No, I'm not having him moved to a higher grade and I don't want to because I feel as though he needs to mature a little more and I don't want him to be in a place where he'd be uncomfortable if/when he does begin school in a physical classroom. 

Moving on! Here is some of what we do with our school day:

Most subjects have an online and an offline activity. It gives us plenty of wiggle room for breaks when necessary and taking extra time when needed. 

Oh yes. We still play. 

 Sidekick is learning to focus, listen, have patience, and general ninja skills! No big deal. :)

Starting in October, he will be taking a weekly class in Robotics! I don't even know what all he will be learning but in his trial session, he played with robots, magnets, and computer bits to make lights and sounds. He's very excited!

 We have some traveling coming up next week. Mimi will be in charge of making sure he gets his school work done while I have an Intensive and attend class from 8-5 for the week. Like a "real" job. That's going to be a lot of adulting and I am unprepared. HA!

Once we are back home and settled, I will make sure to fill you in on the happenings. 
It's always an adventure!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Year Four: A Big Year Ahead + Big Changes

“But we are all fortunate in one way or another. The task for most of us is to identify in what way that is, would you not agree?”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Oh happy Summer! Your days are coming to an end. I will not miss the oppressing heat but, I will miss the simplicity of our days. As our new school year begins, we are (yet again) in a new home and in a new state. North Carolina has been kind so far and we are working hard to get the most out of our time here. 

First up: Our first family race! Mr. Sidekick shaved 10, yes TEN, minutes off his race time from last year. Sweet boy was hot and over it all but kept pushing to get to that finish line. He makes me so proud.

We are always finding new spots to enjoy nature and places to explore.

My little boy is on his way to karate master! Oh, it'll take a while, hahaha. I'm excited to watch him learn and grow with this new opportunity. 

Yep, this momma is 32. My boys made me this cake and it was both lovely and delicious. 

I asked for a family beach day for my birthday and that is exactly what I got.
It was soul-filling. 

 AHH! We had our best friends visit before they made their way across the country back to their home in Alaska. Sigh, the word Alaska just sounds far away. But, I am grateful that our boys got to make some memories to tide them (and us) over until we see each other again. 

 OK, OK! School! That's why we are all here, right? 
Sidekick is starting kindergarten! I can hardly believe it. We are doing things a little different this year. New home, new rules, new ideas. First of all, I am not planning the majority of his curriculum anymore. We enrolled in North Carolina Virtual Academy. However, he has requested Spanish lessons so that part is on me. Here is a bit of what we were doing before his classes began:

Sidekick wanted Spanish so, he got it! We started with number matching. He finished this with ease thanks to years of Dora and Diego! Did I mention he's reading? No? Oh, well he's reading. He can sound out larger words (with help when needed) and smaller sight words are easy peasy for this kid. I think I'm just here for feeding purposes because I feel like he pretty much teaches himself. 
Below, are the yummy phases of the the moon. Another Pinterest find {here}
We downloaded a plethora of fun activities from here. 


I took the pictures (in Spanish) and had my sidekick find the matching English words. We played this a couple of times and then I let him glue them on (for "safe keeping", he said). 

Next up, our new adventures with our new school and how we survived our first week! See you soon!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Year Three: Week Seven: It's TIME!

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
Salt from My Attic (1928) ~ John A. Shedd

We have had some beautiful weather! It has been so nice to get outside with my sidekick and our pups and enjoy the sunshine. After my week away for my own school, we had to catch up and get back into routine. I just want to praise my mom for a minute; without her, we never would have survived our week apart. :)

We got to have some fun exploring (and eating) before our Mimi headed home. 

 Like I said, we got some gorgeous weather! We walked to many parks in the past couple of weeks. 

 When I asked my sidekick what he wanted to learn about, he asked to learn to tell time. So here we are! There is only so much you can do with time, so I did the best I could! We also have a flashcard pack (Like $1-$3 from Target!) that has both analog and digital clocks on the cards for extra practice. Sidekick got it down in days and now tells me the time everywhere we go. 

Yeah, so I spent some time texting with my kid while I was at school.... 

 20 books read, y'all! That's what this face means!

 I was going to wait for the dentist until after our move but, then I didn't. Sidekick did great and we are looking forward to finding our new dentists in our new town. 

 This would be our album cover...if we could sing... 
But no, we are just enjoying more sunshine! 

 He just makes me so happy. I was here at the computer and I heard him banging stuff around behind me. I kept an eye on him without him seeing me and this was the result. I love that our busy boxes still work and get put to good use!

 He set up a breakfast date for us. Be still my heart!

He's had a bit of an independent streak. Every now and then, I'll get him a Lunchables and do his own thing for lunch. This was him, giving me all the directions as he made his pizzas. He's getting so big!

Alrighty! That's all for now. We've got more in the works! See you soon!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Year Three: Week Six: Here We Go!

I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.
Ok, this isn't Mario themed. But one special thing that him and I get to do is go on "dates". We do coffee dates, donut dates, book dates, park dates, ...the list goes on. It's a time when I remember to stop our busy day and just enjoy his company. We already do so much together but this little bit of time is relaxed and all about him. They are some of my favorite memories. 

The sidekick wanted nothing but Mario things for Christmas. That's what he told Santa and that what he told anyone who asked. So me and all my elves (love my family!) searched 3 states for all the Mario we could find. He got action figures, board games, clothes, stuffed characters, the works! He was so happy! This was a Mario Memory game. He made the voice of the characters as he matched them. It was very amusing!

Again, this isn't Mario BUT it's a great scrabble game! This side has words on the board and the other side is blank for when he's older! So fun!

This is one of his Mario imagination stories. We also tell each other stories such as this after story time, in the car, and even whisper them to each other when we are in not fun places waiting for an appointment of some kind or another. I absolutely love fueling his imagination. 
For this one we did use Rory's Story Cubes. We bought ours at a bookstore but you can also find them on Amazon. They are a great way to make him think a little harder about where the story is going to go as he tries to work in all the cubes. 

Ok, no judging my drawing skills! I can only do so much in a rush! This was all my idea though! No Pinterest for this one. I took some of his favorite characters, attempted to draw them, and had him fill in the blanks as we learned about vowels. He had to sound out each name to figure out which vowel was the correct one. It worked really well for a spur of the moment idea!

So upper east coast got some snow. A lot of snow. More snow than I've ever seen without being on a mountain. 

Another Christmas present! Yahtzee! He doesn't quite get the entire concept of the game but, that didn't stop him from beating me. 

I saw several ideas using pipes. However, none of them seemed to be what we needed. So, I made these. Even and odd numbers 1 to 20. Sidekick did great and still reviews them as we continue on.  

Year Three: Week Five: Or So They Say

Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the colour in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty, and your animal spirits, and you will pass for a fine man. 
"On The Conduct of Life" (1822) ~ William Hazlitt

Here is a quick recap of our days from around Thanksgiving until Christmastime. If you know me, then you know I could post MANY more pictures but here is enough to get by so I can catch you up on our days in the New Year. Enjoy!

 There is a wonderful place not too far from our home called Maymont. It is 100 acres that was donated to the people of Richmond by a couple, the Dooley's, who lived there until 1925. They have an interesting history and we love to explore the area. If you ever in the area, it is definitely a place to go in RVA. Click the link above to learn more; it is truly fascinating and great place to homeschool! 
Anyway! This is my sidekick, teaching fish about themselves. They also have turtles, otters, and environmental areas to learn about in the Nature Center. 

 Cousins! For Thanksgiving our cousin friends drove halfway across the country to spend time with us! It was wonderful! 

Since we are both homeschooling families, we did manage to wrangle the kids for a couple of lessons. Although, we pretty much just explored and let them play together. :)
These are their Turkey Feather Names! I can't find or remember where this one came from, there are many variations all over Pinterest but as I have none of them saved myself, we will just call this an original creation. 

 This was also a fun one! We worked in two holidays because...why not? The original idea came from HERE but I up'ed the ante a bit and had the kids work out simple math problems instead of just punching numbers. They did great! 

 After family left, it was time to prep for our travel days! We were about to spend a huge amount of time in a car so I wanted to give my sidekick some new things to amuse him. First up, an i-spy bottle! I had him pick out 5 objects, we used our seemingly endless supply of colored rice (made YEARS ago!), and a empty peanut butter container that I just KNEW I would put to use some day. :)
It worked out wonderfully and is still played with around the house. 

 For some reason, I don't have an after picture of this one. And if I were to take the time to take one and get it on here...well, you wouldn't be reading this now. Ha! I drew some mirroring projects (above), empty candy canes, and a blank tree for him to fill in during those slow times during our travels. It wasn't much but, it was enough to pass the time when needed. 
 Christmas at home was a stressful but happy time. Mr. Sidekick received many gifts and had a great time!

 After we got back home, it was back to work! We picked up with our writing and schooling in general to get back in the swing of things. 

 We also made cookies. Sidekick says he wants to be a cooker (i.e. chef) when he's 7 because then he will be able to open lids. Gotta love a child's thinking process!

 We also got some snow, which means we had hot chocolate! Also, we played Go Fish, puzzles, and every game in our closet while we were stuck inside. :)

Okay guys! There's a quick glimpse of the past few months. Blink and it's gone!