Psalm 55:22a

I am sharing these on my personal blog and it occurred to me today that I should probably share over here, since this blog has about 15 times the number of readers!

I have found a new hobby of sorts, combining my love of photography, God’s Word, and graphic design! I am searching back through tons of old photos I have taken, like this shot above, and finding verses to go with them. My prayer for myself is that I will hide God’s word in my heart more and more as I do this. My prayer for you is that some may be encouraged by seeing and reading these from time to time. I am also uploading these to my public Phanfare account in case anyone ever wants to print one out. If you do want to print it, you just go to the menu box on Phanfare and click to “Download Hi-Res” then you can print it yourself or upload it to print from wherever you order photos.

I hope these bless some of you as much as making them blesses me.

Update on my Mommy-Status

Prayers were answered in the way I had hoped for, I can honestly say I feel SOOOO much better. I am reflecting now, what did I do differently? What do I need to keep doing?

One answer is VERY clear to me and I don’t know why it took me so long to get back in the groove. About 4 days ago I began reading my Bible again, I mean really reading-not just a verse here and there. I chose Romans. When I read, I study a particular book. I read through it every day for many days, reading the same book over and over again. I read notes, I highlight, I pray. I will be reading Romans for awhile and am already on my 3rd read-through. I made a promise that if I was able I would read my Bible while nursing Ladybug. What a blessing this has been to me.

I also feel physically better so I was more able to be actively involved with the boys, which made for a much better day. We played out on our new deck…Played in the backyard, did Tot school, did 2nd grade, and had a very “new normal” day. That’s what I meant in my last post about finding normal again. I am searching for our new normal, I know it will be so different, but aspects will be the same and I long for those and the new of normal to set in. Yesterday it did a bit and it felt so good.

Ladybug even napped outside on the swing while I hung out with the boys. Spending time with them (instead of avoiding them) was a big plus for me, they were better behaved and I tolerated the naughty moments much better.
As I sat on our backyard swing, I noticed our beautiful plant blooming in front of me. My husband bought this plant 2 years ago and it bloomed beautifully the first year and last year it only produced 1 flower. As I sat and started at it this year I was amazed…look how many flowers it has…God’s blessings are abundant in my life, just like the flowers on this plant. I am so thankful. I am thankful I am in the Word again, I am thankful for the grace I am offered not only from God but from my husband and children. I am thankful to have a blog with so many friends I have never even met in real life. I am thankful for my real life friends who just know when I am not right and step in to help me. I am thankful for this morning. The fact that it is 6:55 am, I am up, all is quiet, all is well. As I said, God’s blessings are abundant.

Confession Time

A photo on a blog is a split second in time with NO soundIt occurs to me every now and then that this blog makes me appear WAY better than I actually am in real life :). As I look back through photos posted here I sometimes laugh at how much they DON’T show. A picture is a split second in time…with NO sound. My Tot School weekly reports are so cute of Krash, I love looking back at them, but often think, “man I wish it was as good as it appears to be!”

We’re having a rough time around here. Ladybug is 5 weeks old and is a dream baby-seriously, she is the perfect example of a perfect baby–sooooo easy. The boys on the other hand-NOT SO EASY-to put it mildly. And me as a mom? Let’s just say I am not so easy right now either. I am easily frustrated with them, big time, and I find myself longing for the next time Ladybug needs to nurse so I can just sit quietly.

I just had to get this small bit of info out there for you all so that my blog doesn’t *lie to you.* I am real, I am struggling to get my act together as a mom, I am praying for the day I feel 100% physically better (cuz I still don’t). I am longing for normal, thought we had it, but realized it’s not quite here yet. I’ll let you know when I find it (if ever).

Tot School

~Krash is currently 36 months old~

Krash had a great week this past week! We are still struggling with the schedule transition but we’re getting by!

He worked on his new file folder game, but this one was a bit much for him, he didn’t really understand that you had to match the 2 colors.

He had fun hunting for bugs
He learned to use the electric pencil sharpener and LOVES it…Noah’s ArkMusic Time!!! We got out our song notebook and had fun singing through most of our songs!!! He got these new Vehicles in a Box Puzzles and I was surprised that he LOVED them!!! He did really well with them too, which also surprised me!New pouring with new $1 items from Target! I gave him one puzzle and just the shapes for that puzzle. He did a good job with it!I added 2 bottles (coffee creamer and almonds), more pom poms, and colored clothespins to his exploring tray…He LOVES the bottles and the pom poms…The boys drove cars through the tubes… And K, wanted to put his snack into the bottle too…
We built a new deck!!!!! K had a blast watching it be built and helping during the final stages…K went to a wedding with us on Saturday, this was how I kept him quiet. He’s got a helicopter and yes he is laying on the sidewalk. My hubs was in the wedding, so it was either let K have a bit of freedom or everyone hear him scream in protest as I force him to sit still.

He had tons of fun after the wedding!!!!
This is his best buddy, Daniel. His Mommy is one of the biggest reasons I am a homeschooler!!!!

If you have a tot (approximately ages 1-3) at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

If you’ve never read this: Go HERE 1st for more details- please do!!! Then if you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email-links to homepages will automatically be deleted).

New: when you add your name(blog name) to Mr. Linky will you put your tot’s age (in months) after it, like this: 1+1+1=1 (36 mos)? I think this will help new readers a lot as they look for ideas for their specific aged tot!

If you are unsure of how to add your direct link to Mr Linky-I added a tutorial with photos here, scroll down to see it!

Behind the Scenes ~ Transitioning from Tot School

Behind the Scenes ~ Transitioning from Tot School to Preschool

Krash has recently turned 3, which means it is time to begin the slow transition from child-led Tot School to Mommy-led school. This is not an easy transition and one I struggled greatly with when homeschooling my oldest son during Pre K. Let me begin this post by saying that every idea I present in this post might fail!!! I have not managed this transition successfully in the past and Krash will be the first child I will have completely Tot-Schooled at home and then brought up into PreK. Pac Man attended a 2 day per week pre-school when he was 3 and that accounted for much of our problem with Pre K. Most of it was him missing “Going School” as he called it. So, as you read, please know that these are just my ideas, not my stories of success!

My long term plans for Krash…

  • Krash turned 3 in May 2009. I plan to begin a more formal Pre K program with him in the fall of 2010, when he is about 4 1/2. This is when Pac Man began Pre K and we moved at his pace, I plan to do the same with Krash. I do not push my kids, however I love that homeschooling allows them to move at their own academic pace.

My plan for the next year leading up to Pre K…

  • My plan is to slowly transition Krash from being the leader of school into being more of the teacher-led student. I do not un-school (I personally think it’s neat I just could never handle it myself!), therefore I believe we need to make this transition.
  • I say SLOWLY as I do not want to squash his love for school and learning.
  • If you read my FAQ page about tot school, you will see a long version of what I believe about educating young children. I will still believe this as he goes through this next year and even in the next couple of years, but there will be more teacher-led learning along the way!
My beliefs behind the transition period and how I plan to do it…
  • I am one of those “pick your battle” type of moms. I will fight the big battles in discipline and I will win. I love the quote from Dr. Dobson’s book, The New Dare to Discipline… “when you are defiantly challenged, win decisively.” Basically that we don’t have to engage in every disciplinary battle but when we do choose to engage, we, the parent, MUST win the battle. If we do not-it begins a path of destruction to the child’s idea of who is really in charge. I firmly believe that God is in control of my life and He has placed me as the earthly parent of his children. Although I do not fully understand God’s ways and probably will always fail-I am always trying to be the type of parent God desires me to be. They are after all, HIS children.
  • All that said, I believe this applies with the transition I speak of. I will slowly introduce me as the lead teacher(and decision maker) in small ways.

Some practical ideas for the transition…

    • Already I have begun to expect Krash to complete a puzzle when he begins one. He often likes to do half and I used to let him. Now, I am expecting him to complete what he starts. He battles with me at times, but I remain firm-he always finishes the puzzles now-even if it is with my hand guiding his and him screaming at me :). Below are 2 examples of puzzles he did not choose and did not want to complete…at first. After I convinced him they were fun, he became engaged. He did NOT want to complete the ABC puzzle, but I required him to. Afterwards he felt a great sense of success as we high-fived!!!

  • If he is doing a tray activity, I require him to clean up the tray. I do NOT require him to stay with the tray long-if he’s not interested after a few seconds, that’s fine. I AM requiring him to clean it up. We have always worked on cleaning up, but now it is being enforced all the more.
  • If an activity has a clear ending point, I will begin to enforce following through until it is completed.

 

What are some ways I am NOT transitioning yet…

  • Activities like bead stringing, lacing, drawing, Play-Doh, and others that don’t have a definitive ending point, I am still letting him be the leader with. An example is pictured below. When he said he was done with the stickers, he was done and that’s fine with me!
  • I am not transitioning in the area of choosing activities yet, I am still letting him choose from the activities being offered on his shelf. On the shelf below, I really wanted him to work with the abc beanbags, he did not choose them yet and it has been over a week. I took them off for this week and will try again later!I will sometimes ask if he wants to do a particular thing and show him how, but I will back off if he’s not interested.
  • Gradually as the year progresses this will change.

YOUR tot…

We are all at differing stages of tot-hood, as the age range I suggest- 12-47 months- is a very wide one. It is also a wide developmental range. Please keep this in mind as you read through the ideas of others. I have asked Tot School participants to put their tot’s current age in ( ) after their post on the Linky-I hope this helps you when you are surfing for ideas. Also, please remember that even though specific ages are often given, ALL tots are different. Here’s some general thoughts about Tot-Schooling during this period.

  • The 12 month tots…you are transitioning into Tot School, very slowly. It is basically what you’ve been doing ALL along-playing with your baby. Your own mind just becomes more intentional as you make sure you play each and every day with a variety of toys. This transition will gradually become more and more focused as the year goes on. Keep two words in mind-FOCUS and FUN. Just become more focused while having fun with your young tot.
  • The 24 month tots…this is the heart of tot school time in my opinion. It is the true child-led portion for most tots. This is the stage we have been in the past year and I have posted the most about.
  • The 36 month tots… This is the stage I am writing about in this post-the tots who are spending their year preparing for Pre K. Some tots will need longer than a year to be ready for a more formal Pre K, some will be ready before they are 4. My beliefs regarding readiness are very simple. The child must be ready both academically and emotionally. I believe Krash will be ready academically long before he is ready emotionally. With Pac Man it was the opposite. Every child is different and that’s the glory of homeschooling, we can meet our kids where they are at!

I know my own personal beliefs may not jive with yours, we all have them and they are rarely the exact same! I share my thoughts in case someone can glean some insight from them. Again, I am not saying my way is right, or even works…it’s just the route I plan to take! I will keep you updated as we continue on our journey!

Then-I will begin all over again as my little girl will be turning 1 right when Krash is turning 4! Tot School is no where near over for us!