The meaning behind Firefly!

Firefly is a nickname given to me by my husband. I was attending Girl Scout camp with my daughter, Makayla, and was in need of a camp name. He came up with Firefly because he said I lit up a room every time I smiled. It stuck...Firefly...that's me!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homeschooling...And Mostly Loving It!

I recently began using the letter of the week program created by for my three and a half year old and so far we love it! My daughter enjoys all of the activities and moves through them rather quickly. Plus, as we complete many of the activities and file them in a three ring binder I realize that a portfolio is being created without even trying. In the beginning, I was laminating everything but since my daughter is the last in line in our home and I don't have any friends interested in the program for their very young ones I need not spend so much money and time laminating everything. I do highly recommend this for anyone who has multiple young children that will be using a preschool program. It's very simple and straight forward with complete lesson plans included. For my six year old son, we began using the PACE program last year and moved through the Kindergarten pretty quickly but I wasn't overly thrilled with how things have been going since he started the first twelve weeks of first grade back in February. I was starting to cut things I didn't like out of his daily work and finding myself increasing his work in other areas. He wasn't really enjoying things and neither was I, so I decided to totally change things up for him. I already had (for years) the Which Way USA? program from Highlights magazine so we decided to start doing a state a week as our Social Studies. We also have a very expansive collection of World Explorer binders covering hundreds of animals which has become our new Animal Sciences curriculum. We intend to study a new animal each week where we will build a lapbook on all that we have learned throughout the week. We are going to continue using the Mathematics PACE's, however, we are definitely going to pick up the pace. The program had him working on the first PACE while he wanted to do more and worked so well that he moved himself to the fourth PACE before he would have even finished the first one. For Reading, I am turning to the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading because I like the straightforward direct instruction approach offered. I am also using the Speechercise CD to assist him with his speech delay. Of course, we are getting lots of reading during our library time for both of the little ones. My oldest two are continuing with School of Tomorrow's Accelerated Christian Education and working fairly well at their own paces. It may take my older son a little longer than is the norm to complete his high school program, however, I would much rather that they take the time they need than just be socially promoted and passed through a system with the mere goal of getting done. We aren't sure where the older two are headed yet but our 16 year old son has begun expressing an interest in Computer Sciences and our 14 year old daughter has expressed an interest in Early Childhood Education. I'm excited for what lies ahead and nervous at the same time! What an exciting time in all our lives!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Teenage Angst!

Last night, Shawn and his girlfriend of 6 months had a little bit of an argument. Ok, it was kind of monumental to talk to Shawn. I'm worn out! Fortunately, after spending some time together at our house today everything is back to smooth sailing. But it made me stop and realize something. If the worry and concern for my son and his relationship with his girlfriend and the hurt that he was feeling was forefront in my mind and heart, I wonder how hard it was on my parents when I was a teenager and my relationships were my entire world. It's easy to look back on as an adult and realize that it was such a small part of things but boy was it EVERYTHING to me back then. I remember at one point feeling like I didn't want to live if I couldn't be with my boyfriend. Wow! And where is he now? Who knows? And really, who cares? It's hard to impart the knowledge that I have based on my life experiences to my own teenagers who are dealing with the same things now. For one, teenagers don't believe that we, the adults, were ever teenagers and faced these same sorts of issues. Second, do teenagers really listen to us...I mean really? For the most part, I do think my son takes my advice and hears what I have to say as long as it doesn't involve chores or school. Third, they just don't believe or want to believe that the likelihood of a serious, long lasting relationship developing from the one they have at sixteen is unlikely at best. Well, for now, crisis averted and all is well with the kiddos again! Phew! She is a great girl and we love her!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catching up!

Well, my awesomely wonderful husband got me my own computer separate from our children so that I can take care of our family bills and important things without having it affected by the children's games and such. It's been awesome being able to access whatever I want whenever I want. Something that is mine...ALL mine! With four children I find that there are very, very few things that are just mine. I always find something of mine in someone else's room, usually my teenage daughter's room. Anyway, now that I have my computer set up I'm going to try to blog more often...again. So...what's been happening with us? Well, my teenage son is driving me nuts! Appropriately so, I would imagine, for being 16! He has a super sweet girl friend and is really a good kid at heart. He doesn't get into any of the "usual" teenage trouble you hear so much about kids his age getting into these days. Sure, he's homeschooled (that's another story), but he gets out with friends and chats with friends on his game system quite frequently. He's been around peer pressure but fortunately has enough intelligence, to this point, to not succumb to it. He does help out often around the house since my husband (his step-dad) has been away driving over-the-road, but is there more he could be doing...most definitely. He doesn't understand why he has to do so much more than his 14 year old sister. It isn't really that he has to do more, as I've pointed out to him, but he does have a ton more privelages than any of the other kids since he is the oldest. We pay for his cell phone monthly and I pretty much drive him wherever he wants to go including picking up his girlfriend so they can spend time together. Here's my only real issue with him....He no longer seems motivated to excel academically. We have been using a PACE program which encourages the students to work at their own pace, however, with much prodding his pace has slowed to a snail's creep. He has begun to work more diligently lately, only because the status of his phone and games has been threatened, however, still not interested in anything he is learning. UGH!
My teenage daughter is the opposite of my oldest son. She is more motivated academically than when it comes to helping out around the house. I guess that's a good thing to have them balance each other out. She is working at a much faster pace when it comes to her academics. If she continues on the course she is currently on then she will complete two grade levels before the start of the new year. That's great for her! She's even excited about all of it. But, on the other hand if I wait on her to clean the very few areas of the house that are supposed to be her responsiblity, well, let's just say we would get snowed-in in Florida first. She also is improving in this area but I better not expect results within my time frame. Usually I will just give her a hand in getting whatever areas completed or just shut her door so I don't have to see her room. She's been doing better with that since turning 14 last month. Let's hope this trend continues. Oh, did I forget to mention that she currently has flaming fire engine red hair? Ok, so she's definitely qwerky. She has her own style and does what she likes regardless of others. My feeling on this is that I would rather they get the craziness of dyed hair out of their systems at her age so whenever it comes time to really buckle down and get a job at 16 (or 17, or as soon as someone starts hiring teenagers again (another then they can be done with the experimentation with crazy hair color and styles. Now I do put my foot down on piercings and tattoos which I don't allow until they are adults and can make those lifelong decisions for themselves.
My six year old little boy is a great little guy! He has been resistant lately, as well, when it comes to his "school" work. That is in part related to the fact that he has a very difficult time pronouncing certain letters. It is still difficult for others to understand him at times. He is progressing in the right direction and will get there in his own time without major developmental intervention. He knows 18 of his letters currently. He is a whiz at mathematics. He counts everything and can count fairly high. He can count past 50 when he doesn't get distracted while counting. He tries to help out around the house but still limits himself when it comes to what he thinks he can do versus what he can actually do. The coolest thing about him is he is camo and army man all the way. Check out those sunglasses!
My sweet three year old little princess is so much fun! She has just about all of the time with everything. She's a real cutie pie and smart as can be. I predict she'll be reading words by the time she is four. She reminds me so much of her oldest brother when he was little. She loves to draw and color, play with play dough, do puzzles and most of all watch Dora the Explorer! Everyone who knows her knows she is all about Dora. She loves to dress up and is already proving to be a fashionista. She likes to have her hair done, take a purse, sometimes a hat, wears sunglasses and loves to wear skirts whenenver she goes out. I spend some time reminding her that she is not only pretty but that she is also very smart. It's easy for everyone to tell her how adorable she is and she knows it too, when she says, "I'm a tootie bug!"
These are the loves of my life. Of course, without the support of my most amazing husband to be able to stay at home with them wouldn't be possible. He allows me to vent when it just gets to be too much and supports my decisions with regard to them. He doesn't just cave in to whatever I decide but rather he discusses it with me and sometimes gets me to change my view point to see his ;) I love him more than I thought it would ever be possible in a relationship. No matter how chaotic things get...boy, am I thankful for all of the above and more!!!