Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Goals

There's so much I want to cram in this summer and so little time! At the beginning of the summer I sat down and wrote out my goals and put a bunch of stuff on the calendar to try and squeeze the most out of those blissful months known as June and July.

I say "cram in" and that makes it sound like we are running around like hamsters on a wheel all summer. This is the wrong visual. One of the best things about summer is going at a slower pace and enjoying lazy days. One of our favorite things to do in the summer is swim. We usually go to the pool once a day and sometimes twice a day. It is just so relaxing and fun for us to be at the pool as a family. We also participate in three summer reading programs. I love carving out extra time to read aloud to the kids. This afternoon Clara brought me a stack of books and we read for an hour on the couch. I loved watching her smile or be puzzled or concerned at the twists and turns in the stories.

While enjoying a more lazy pace, I also decided to write down specific summer goals because I have found that I am much more likely to accomplish things and make meaningful memories with my children if I write down my goals.

My summer goals are threefold.

1) Have fun! I have listed specific things to do in this category, including VBS, backyard camping, art projects, riding a 4-seater bike on the canal downtown and going to an IMAX show, and taking the kids to an amusement park. We checked off that last one on Friday when we took the older two kids to King's Island. They are the perfect ages to ride on all the "under 48 inches" rides and water slides together. Kevin and I enjoyed riding on mini-roller coasters with them or just watching them smile and laugh and bond together more as sisters and friends. I hope we can take them every year.

2) Work on house projects. The two big ones are painting three rooms and sewing curtains for my dining room (with Kevin's mom to help--I am seriously not the natural seamstress!). The kids have been at VBS this week and I have been scattering animal crackers around the house to occupy Sophia while I paint. She did take a nap one morning too and that is when I got a half bath painted! Isn't it amazing how different a room can look with just a coat of paint?

3) Plan for the coming school year. I already have my curriculum purchased. I also have the school books semi-organized. Now I just need to read through the curriculum and plan reading assignments and simple projects for each of the 24 weeks of our Classical Conversations group. Thankfully Kevin agrees I need some alone time to do this well, and I am going to book a hotel room and get away for 24 hours sometime in July to organize everything into folders. My theory is that 24 hours of advance planning will make the next academic year go much more smoothly.

I also wanted to share my new favorite homeschool resource. It is called "All Through the Ages: History Through Literature Guide." This absolutely wonderful book gives you lists of tons of books--both fiction and non-fiction about many historical time periods and historical figures. It lists books about history both chronologically (e.g. books about World War II) and geographically (e.g.,books about Japan). There are also book lists about famous artists, scientists, mathematicians, etc. Books are also organized based on grade level and there are both fiction and non-fiction books listed for all grades K-12, within each genre. So for instance, if we are studying Monet, I can find a picture storybook about Monet for Meredith at the 1st grade level. I am so excited. This book will be so helpful!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Reading to Dogs

Our library, like many libraries, has a read-aloud-to-dogs program called PAWS to Read. I signed up Meredith to do this for the first time and it was a huge hit! I think it also gave her more of a confidence boost. I have noticed her reading aloud to her sisters more. And she also checked out a few chapter books from the library to read to herself for the first time.

Her dog's name was Lance and he was very attentive:

She held the book sideways most of the time so he could see the pictures too:

Clara cracks me up. She put Sophia on this pink unicorn and dragged her around the whole library:

Here is Meredith reading Amelia Bedelia. :)

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Favorite Parade

Our favorite parade is the Indy 500 parade--lots of noise, cars, and action, in addition to all the typical stuff that makes a parade so great! Usually we show up at the last minute and stand for the parade. This year we decided to buy seats with our good friends the Thomases! We bought our tickets through our bank, and it included a lunch. The kids thought it might as well have been Christmas because they each got a whole Coke all to themselves!! It was fun to see the kids enjoy the parade with their friends.




And I had to include this picture of Kevin, grilling on Memorial Day weekend in the rain. It's Memorial Day weekend. You just have to grill, regardless of the weather. :)

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Zoo with Samantha

We enjoyed hanging out with the Schrages and seeing little Samantha over Memorial Day weekend!

Sophia's first time to pet the sharks:

Grandpa treated the kids to a carousel ride:

With cousin Samantha!

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Sophia's First Library Class

I finally signed Sophia up for her very own library class! Poor third-born.




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Self Education

If I have been semi-silent on Blogger lately, it's because I have been spending every spare moment reading Don Quixote! A friend recently asked me to join her and another friend in reading and discussing the classics, using Bauer's The Well Educated Mind as our guide. I was thrilled to be a part of this because there are so many classics that I still haven't read and it's going to be so much more fun doing it with friends!

I especially appreciate Bauer's approach to the classics, reading chronologically within each genre. She lists five genre's in her book: novels, autobiography and memoir, history, drama, and poetry. She writes about how to approach the great books, and has an introduction to approaching each genre specifically.

We met this last week to discuss Don Quixote, which is considered the first novel (the first work of fiction about the individual). We spent probably an hour and a half talking just about the book, and then some more time just chit-chatting. I am really excited about this endeavor!

Reading Don Quixote (picture by Meredith):