Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Restarting my day

Our week has started a little slowly this week.  My eldest was sick on Monday after having 2 horrible weekend days so school just didn't happen for anyone (hmm, might have been partly me being distractible too).  Yesterday my 6 year old had a high temperature and went to bed early.  Today the eldest has mostly recovered.

Now it is time to hit Reset and restart our day/week.  I got this idea from FlyLady initially.

Off to do those things that haven't yet got done from my morning list and then reprioritise what is left and write out a plan.  The day can still be a good one if I make a plan and work my plan.

Later tonight I will go through my school schedule and decide what can be dropped, what can be skimmed and what can be rescheduled.

Best wishes
Jen
Off to get butts into gear.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 26 August 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

I have been thinking about my priorities and working on them.  I still need to find some balance with household chores vs homeschool vs personal time, but it is always going to be a balancing act so I should just get used to being part of a circus and enjoy the good times.

In our homeschool this week…

We are having a 2 week rotation this year for school with Science one week and History the other.  So far the first History week has gone well.  I am proud to say that I have not got caught up on doing my plans exactly as set out, yet we are still learning and covering the basics.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
 

I will need to drop a new baby present off to a friend this week.  Trying to plan a visit is difficult at this time of year when the kids are sharing sniffly noses and coughs.

My favorite thing this week was…
 

It is Spring here so we had one school day out in the backyard in the beautiful sunshine.  I was able to get a table and chairs set up out there and just toted out my crate of books.  Lovely, and so much better than the dull light of inside.  I think we will be doing this more often.

What’s working/not working for us…
 

Listening to our Story of the World chapter in the car while I run necessary errands works well.  I have discovered though that not catering to the 3 year old's mood first in my plans does not help my day to run smoothly.  I don't like it when my plans don't work but this is only a season and we will get to cover these topics again as I work on a 4 year rotation for Science and History.

Questions/thoughts I have…
 

How do you make new friendships when it seems everyone around you has so many friends already and doesn't seem interested in forging new ones?  Both my son and I could do with help in this area as we are getting quite lonely and it really hit home when I had only 3 possible people to talk to when I was worried about my health and 2 of those were busy with baby matters and the 3rd is overseas.

Things I’m working on…
 

I am going to the gym again but not as often as at first.  My dh is working on losing weight too at the moment and is doing a program with shakes.  He is losing a lot of weight whereas all I seem to be losing is motivation.  I need to really just get to the gym every day I can.  And even if my work out doesn't seem successful I should remember that just attending can count as a success too.

Best wishes
Jen

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to school after a Loooonnnngggg Break

This time of year is a real drag.  I have just got the kids back to playing outside because the weather is warmer yet due to the very same weather factor I am super tired due to grass allergies.

And then on top of that I have to wrap up the last year of school and plan the next year's work.  (I school September to August to fit in with receiving our tax money that I use for new curriculum.)  Not so easy when you are dragging just to stay on top of housework.

Well, all the planning has been done.  I very realistically planned out my calendar for the year so we have 44 weeks available for school.   Then I worked out our lessons to fit 36 weeks worth of week into 40 weeks of 9 days per fortnight, giving me every second Friday as a project day, big errand day or even a catch up day if we were slack on getting our work done, and a buffer of 4 weeks for illness.

I am hoping with the incentive of a park day or a project day that we will work to get all the assigned work done each fortnight.

So far this week has gone quite well.  I am a little behind on my list but it is just a long list of little things that will be knocked over quickly once I start them.

I am also using alarms on my phone to keep us on track too.  Technology can be my friend if I use it carefully.

Best wishes
Jen


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Stress-filled Week

It has not a whole lot of fun here recently.  I had a black out last week that, after a range of tests, we could not find a reason for but in the meantime I did a fair bit of thinking about what I do with my days and what I worry about.

Funnily enough I worry mostly about money.  With a larger than average family (4 kids) and my husband's income being fairly low for the industry in which he works it has been getting harder and harder to just get by.  I get very nervous about anything that might change our lifestyle drastically as we just don't have much of a buffer to cope with any changes.

Then I was thinking a bit more and I realised money comes and goes.  It is possible to create more.

But time is another thing altogether.  Yesterday is gone, the last 12.5 years of raising children is gone.  Have I used it effectively?  I can budget my money and make sure all my responsibilities are met, but do I do the same with my time?  I won't get a chance to increase my time with my children if needs be later.  I will only have 24 hours in a day, no matter how hard I work on being frugal, or how hard my dh works on bringing an income into our household.

So on that point I am being much more aware of the moments, and making them count.  And I am going to work on creating more moments, helping my children grow to be the best type of them they can be.

See, stress can lead to good things.

Best wishes
Jen

Monday, August 8, 2011

Working with our hands

I was recently lead to this blog called Wisdom of the Hands and its content really resonates with me.  As you may know if you have been visiting for a while I think that technical drawing is very important for everyone to learn to at least a basic level.  I am also encouraging my boys to use their hands by recently making wooden swords and even  more recently pinewood derby cars

These are not one off experiences.  I intend working with our hands to create to become an every day event here.  Any number of worksheets can not beat the experience and skills gained from creating something in our mind, putting it on paper and then creating it in the real world.  The problem solving involved in making an idea real is an awesome skill and the confidence gained from being able to change your world can grow adults who will give anything a try, who aren't afraid of difficulties or even dreaming big because they know that if you can dream it and you believe it you can create it (borrowing a phrase there).

Best wishes
Jen

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Keeping busy

I have been getting to the gym by 7am for the last 4 days.  Considering I am not usually out of bed until 7.30 I think I am doing very well at getting up and getting going.  I am doing mostly weights but am mixing it up with some ordinary tread mill walking too.  Whether I lose weight or gain due to muscle gain will be interesting over the next few weeks.

The weird thing is that because I am up and going so early and on something that I really want to do it is easy to keep moving all day long doing the things I don't always want to do.  It also means that some projects that have been lingering for a long time are getting done.  I like this.


It also means I am too busy to get time to post anything on my blog and I am not being able to keep up with friends online.  I guess once the back log of projects is cleared a bit it will become easier to get some sort of balance.

The boys will be racing their pinewood derby cars tonight.  I hope that goes well.  Today dh is also establishing some more garden beds in preparation for spring.  We are really hoping to be able to eat a lot more from our yard soon.  And I recently found out we can have up to 10 chickens on our suburban block.  Guess what we are doing next?!

Sadly no school has been happening but one big part of the projects I have been working on is going to make our school room a lot more functional.  It has been too cluttered previously and while I can shuffle it all around lots to make it look "better" sometimes you just need to get rid of some of the clutter.

Best wishes
Jen

Monday, August 1, 2011

Making Pinewood Derby Cars Part 2

These cars have moved from a plain block of pine to some very nice looking race cars over the last 3 weeks.  Dh has now weighted them with lead and there is only a little touching up to be done for them to be ready for racing next Saturday.

Eldest's car from the front

Eldest's car from the back

Second son's General Lee

The side of third son's car

Third son's stripes (excuse the lounge, it had an accident - ask ds1 about it.)

The "phone" that will possibly drive too!

Sleek shape, huh, but will it drive?

We have all had some fun with these and are seriously consdiering continuing to make more and more cars.  Getting wheels here in Australia is not so easy but we are thinking that an overseas order wouldn't be a waste of time.

I have really liked how the boys have seen and learnt the process of creating something in their head and then translating that to paper and then to wood.  I think this is a really important skill.  After all isn't that what we do when we set goals - create the unseen, the intangible first before the concrete.

Best wishes
Jen

Happenings here lately.

So, we have been doing some junk mail delivering which sort of takes over the house 6 days out of 7.  It has been great though to have some way of earning some extra cash.  I pay each child a portion according to the amount of work they do.  The smaller ones are getting about $6-10 a week and the bigger one has been getting about $65-80 a week.  They don't get all of it straight up.  We have been pretty strict since the first time they ever earnt money from their grandparents or by helping us.  One third immediately goes into a long term savings account which they will not get until they are in their 20's.  One third goes into a normal bank account that we call short term savings for things such as big toys or a big experience.  The last third they get in cash.

My eldest has been forgoing his last third and putting it in the bank also.  Over the last 5 weeks or so he has earnt enough to buy himself an Ipod Touch 4th Generation and some accessories.  Now, I don't know much about them, but he is having a lot of fun with it.   He has a new goal already, a laptop.  I really can't argue with that, can I?  Less money for Santa or Mum and Dad to spend.

I am using my hard earned cash to pay for a gym membership.  I haven't been losing weight despite the extra 4 hours of walking each week so now I am doing weights at gym to build some muscle.  I hope that helps as I really don't like weighing 80kg after being 60kg for most of my adult life.

The boys' cars are finished.  I will hopefully post pictures before the big race.

Best wishes
Jen
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