Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our First Week back, and Changes

So, we completed our first week.  It was quite busy.  Chemistry is a big hit - the kids love it, and they will look forward to it, and so it will be a nice motivator when the kids are not happy about doing work. 

I investigated a school program, and joined up!  Alaska has many homeschoolers, and so they offer some pretty good programs.  I was quite resistant last year, but this year I took some time and looked into one of them.  You can homeschool in Alaska without registering with the local district, and that's what I did last year.  But, my son needs some assessments in reading, writing and math.  I think its dysgraphia (learning disability in writing) but, it might not be, or there may be more.  So, by enrolling, I can get the help we need, perhaps.  I will also get a bunch of money for curriculum, supplies, and a family laptop!  I have wanted to purchase a number of things, but our home school budget it a little stretched right now.  I have nearly everything we need, but now I can go to Amazon, Walmart, etc. and get the things on our wish list.  I can sign the kids up for private swim lessons too! 

My daughter will need to take a standardized test this Spring, but that's ok.  I can do what I want with the results.  She might get frustrated by this, but it will be a good experiment for the future. My son doesn't need to take any standardized tests. 

So, we went to the doctor, and the kids got school physicals.  We dropped off our registration packets, and tomorrow the TB tests will get checked and we pick up the physicals to turn in to the school.  I have already begun spending some money on items.  Rosetta Stone is on my wish list.  I can download chapter books to our kindle programs, and I have ordered a music series - about composers.  The first one is Beethoven Lives Upstairs.  I also ordered a children's typing program. 

We will start learning about New World Explorers this week in Social Studies.  The kids will do many projects and create a Lapbook.  We are reading about David Livingstone - a missionary to Africa, and Math, Reading and Writing are in full swing. 

Baby tore apart my school room, it was like a mini tornado going through, but I've moved some things and its better.  Schooling with a toddler is very educational!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School Tomorrow?!

The war cry has gone out, "Nooooooooo!  No school tomorrow MOM!" 

Yah, my kids are less than excited to start back to school.  I think it will be an adventure.  I will school with a toddler in tow.  He gets into everything!  He is one busy kiddo. 

So, we will start back tomorrow, and I should be getting prepared, but I have zero time and zero energy.  It will just happen, and I'll fix it as we go along. 

My husband is away, I am exhausted every evening and lack the energy to accomplish much.  I am exhausted during the day. 

So, I will put the coffee on, set the alarm, and crack open the books tomorrow.  I have actually set up some stuff for Chemistry, so I'm not totally unprepared. 

My daughter is 9 and a 4th grader.  My son is 7 and a 2nd grader.  That really means absolutely nothing.  We just pick up where we left off.  I get to do that, as their teacher. 

Goals for tomorrow:

1) Get up at 8 AM with the alarm app on iphone, wake baby who will be asleep in bed with me.
2) Fix breakfast for all, drink beloved coffee, put baby in pack n' play and shower
3) Bring whiny and angry children downstairs, as they tell me how much they hate school and miss Summer.  School day plus lunch and baby nap somewhere in there . . . .
4) Introduce Chemistry with neato lab, that my kids will actually love (this is my motivator)
5) Math and Reading
6) Handwriting without Tears
7) Read Aloud a Missionary story (Ida Scudder, missionary in India from 1870-1960)
8) Cook dinner (pizza?)
9) Eat dinner, kids play outside afterwards
10) Bedtime routine- Little Visits with God devotional book and Bible, Prayers, Read a couple Chapters from: Tales of the 4th Grade Nothing
11) Everyone to bed, me too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Camping Trip(s)

Well, we went camping last week.  We were very prepared for our car camping trip.  Except, we were not really prepared.

First, I tried to fit my sleep mat and baby's Peapod sleeping area in the back of the minivan.  Well, they didn't fit.  So, then I tried sleeping on just my mat with the back of the van closed.  I am a bit too tall.  Once I started to load up our gear, there was no way that baby and I could sleep back there anyways. So, we needed a new plan. 

The new plan was to borrow a tent!  We borrowed a 5-6 man tent from the MWR (Morale-Welfare-Recreation?) Its a military service, and they lend out equipment on the base.  I also borrowed a cot, and a few Thermarest sleep mats.  So, we finished packing up and we were ready to go. 

The campsite was gorgeous.  We drove down a dirt road in Pasagshak - to Surfer's Beach.  There was a creek, salmon berry patch and we were right near the ocean.  So pretty!  The kids played while we set up camp.  Baby loved it!  Guess what, the tent was extremely difficult to assemble.  It was missing half the guide lines to the rainfly, and you don't camp in Kodiak without a rainfly.  It was also missing all the stakes for the rainfly.  We made due, because my husband is creative. 

That night, we made a campfire, and we roasted marshmallows, to make smores.  Baby only cried a little bit at bedtime.  When I went to bed, I quickly realized that my camping mattress was awful.  There would be no sleep for me.  Oh, and the camp cot was terrible too, and unusable.  It was very narrow, as well.  Baby woke screaming at 2 AM, but of course I was awake anyways, because my entire body was in pain.  It was raining in the morning.  Also, we could not cook anything, because I forgot the propane at home.

So, we made another plan.  We drove home, about 45 minutes away, and I borrowed another tent from the MWR.  This one was a dome tent, and sleeps 3-4 people.  Then, I bought a BIG COT, seriously, this thing was huge, and a brand new Thermarest mattress at the local sporting goods store.  We drove around trying to find various camping areas with the baby screaming.  We settled on White Sands Beach, in Monashka Bay, on the other side of Kodiak. 

It was just as lovely here, at Monashka bay, and the salmon were jumping out of the water.  What a sight!  Even the baby was laughing, it was so cool!  Everybody went fishing, and my husband caught three pinks, which he threw back.  The BIG COT did not fit in the tent, in fact, had we actually fit it inside the tent, no one else would have fit.  But, this tent was easier to put up.  It had all its stakes and guide lines.  Inside it was very cozy, but we all fit.  My sleeping mat was awesome (we all slept well, even the baby), and I was able to cook spaghetti, because I remembered the propane.

In the morning, in true Kodiak fashion, the weather changed from 20% chance of rain, to 100% rain and rain all day.  So, although we were dry (husband put a tarp over our screen room, and it was awesome), my daughter was cold and unhappy.  So, the kids hung out in the car.  Baby feel asleep on daddy, for 1 1/2 hours.  During this time, I loaded the car, and became a drenched rat.  I noted that I needed better rain gear, like an actual rain coat and rain pants.  I don't actually know how I made it a whole year without these things. 

So, we went home.  But, there was still fishing!  And, my husband and son each caught a pink salmon.  Fresh pinks are ok (not the best, most people just throw them back), they are what's in your canned salmon.  We grilled them up anyways.  My son was so proud to have caught his first fish of the season.  It was ok to be home, because, Baby came down with a fever.  He is ok now, but it last 3 days.

So there it is, camping in Kodiak, the Summer of 2012.  Phew!  I will try to get pictures up here, but I need to figure out my new phone.  Sorry!