Category Archives: Life

#5thOnThe5th: A New Year

5th on 5th series
It’s January 5th, 2015 (1/5/15) and it is the first day of 5th grade for KC & KJ here at MunroePalms Learning Centre. As usual, the 1st day NEVER goes as planned. So even though what I planned was short and light, to be followed by a trip to the Botanical Garden for a nature walk. We did not make it to the botanical garden.

What Happened?

Well, we began our day with a nature study of a different kind. When MrC. attempted to place the box of  Christmas decorations in the storage shed he discovered a couple of frogs had made themselves a winter hideaway. He immediately solicited the twins’ assistance in gently evicting these special guests. They were successful and made a comfy place for the little amphibians in a bucket. I observed from a safe distance.
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After that excitement settled down I  was able to  make progress on  reintroducing the CORE 3:  Bible, Math,  & English. Then, MrC. surprised us  all  with a trip to the pet store for new fish.
5 fish for 5th grade.

Since we didn’t have time to drive across  town to the botanical garden, I took the  boys to one of the parks close by. But, I didn’t realize that both boys also brought along their reading books. As soon as we arrived KC & KJ sat on the swings reading.wpid-wp-1422868706587.jpeg

Seriously! I had to confiscate their books and tell them to “Go Play!”

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

 

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Who Moved My Cheese?

Yeah. I know… you read the title of this post and you’re wondering where I’m going with it. Well, Who Moved My Cheese? is the title of a book. A book I read many years ago with MrC during the first few months of our marriage. It’s a book about change. The changes you go through in life and how you respond to them. So, when I began to contemplate my feelings over the recent changes in my life, these were the words that filled my brain and most accurately expressed my thoughts:

Who Moved My Cheese?

cheese

For those of you that don’t know me in real life, and maybe those who do, the past couple years have been crazy busy, in our family life, as well as our homeschool. Many changes, adjustments with me being pushed and pulled out of my comfort zone. #CHANGE
A big part happened as more and more opportunities opened up for us to encourage other parents, especially those from within our demographic, to be more proactively involved in the education of their children. We have always felt that whatever the avenue chosen: Home School, Public School, or Private School; Every set of parents should be active advocates for their children as individual students.

From that stance, quite a few opportunities began to arise for me to assist and consult with other parents deciding how best to educate their children during the current or changing season in their lives, recommending curriculum resources, or loaning some from off my bookshelves. Which also culminated in/ended up including hybrid homeschooling 2 additional boys, along with my own 3, assisting in the delivery of core academic instruction. #CHANGE

I love homeschooling and the additional time it has given me with my sons. Helping them advance in their strengths and supporting them through their academic challenges. When asked, we have always explained our choice to home-educate as “currently the best option for their educational environment.” Well, at the beginning of 2014 it began to be more evident that that particular statement no longer rang true for CJ. MrC and I had a couple small discussions (faculty conferences) about our options. My first choice was the local private school that offered Enrichment & Elective Classes on Mondays and Core Curriculum Courses Tuesday-Thursdays with an optional Study Hall on Fridays, (We do not have time for me to list all the many many reasons why I thought this was perfect.) it was not a plausible possibility.
Reasons being: I no longer had a separate vehicle since my car died (i.e. HouseBound Homeschoolers), our budget could not accommodate the financial burden that would require, we would be attempting a 2nd Semester admission, and there was already an extensive wait-list.

Walking to the Bus Stop

Walking to the Bus Stop

Then came a quick trip away for me to assist in a family multi-state relocation. The longest time for me to be separated from my husband and sons in all our lives. #CHANGE  During that time MrC took the reigns on the day-to-day operations of MunroePalms Learning Centre. (Isn’t he just Awesome?) That opportunity freed my heart and mind from being so intensely focused on our homeschool. (Isn’t it good to rest? Even for just a little while.) So, when I returned MrC was ready to discuss enrolling CJ into our local public school and I was ready to listen and follow his lead. #CHANGE

This brought about BIG CHANGES!!

  •  There has been #CHANGE for CJ: adjusting to the much longer school day, riding on the school bus, 7 different classes in 7 different classrooms with 7 new teachers, being constantly surrounded by hundreds of other children, and the demands of additional homework to be done after that already long day at school. #CHANGE
  •   There has been #CHANGE for MrC: not having as much time to interact with CJ during the weekdays, due to his work schedule, and now having to capitalize on the weekend. #CHANGE
  •   There’s even been #CHANGE for KC & KJ: who miss CJ during the day, despite the way he would do “big brother things” to purposely get on his little brother’s nerves. #CHANGE
  •   And of course, there’s been #CHANGE for me: adjusting to being apart from my oldest son (Yes. I know it’s only a few hours a day. I did say I was adjusting.), adjusting to no longer being CJ’s main academic instructor, surprisingly mourning the books, activities, field trips and curriculum I won’t have the opportunity to teach and share with him, and also surprising was dealing with the guilt of what I should’ve/could’ve done differently with him. #Major  #CHANGE

So, how do you respond to change?
Do you freeze in denial, not moving one way or the other?   Maybe.
Do you see “the bigger picture,” quickly making the necessary adjustments?   Maybe.
Or do you “take it in stride,” because you were aware, watching, observing your surroundings?   Maybe.

I look back and see how The Lord slowly and gently prepared my heart to be more open and accepting to the multitude of #CHANGE in this season. Isn’t it amazing how The Lord will bring something back to your remembrance from long ago?

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As I wrote this post, I decided I should attempt to locate this book. After a visit to my local used bookstore, I can now reread this book and better answer the question:

Who Moved My Cheese?

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

A New Start

Last year, our first day of school got sidetracked by the appearance of a gigantic spider; the in-depth chase, hunt and subsequent slaughter of said gigantic spider; and then we never got it back together.

The first day of school NEVER goes as planned!!

So, this year I decided to start the way we ended last year, on a Tuesday. This was a strategic decision because our local discount movie theater is only $1 on Tuesdays. That’s right, I planned for things not to go according to plan. The ideal plan anyway.
Of course, there were still bumps in our day but the big points were accomplished:

»»  P.E. & Prayer in the morning: led by MrC
If only everyday could start this way. Alas, a Man must work.
»»  Science Fiction in the afternoon: “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Discussed the possibility of time travel and observations in the continuity, or lack of, within a series.
»»  Home Ec/Life Skills in the evening: Job$
They needed to be reassigned and reinstated.

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There has been quite a bit of readjusting going on here, which I’ll elaborate in another post later this week. And unlike the past 8 years of our homeschool journey I am not even close to having everything prepared, planned, or even somewhat organized. I might explain that later. But, today was a New Day. A Successful Day. With many more to come. #aNewStart #MPLC2014

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

Motherhood: Is It A Dream?

“I’m Living My Dream…..” (Allyson: Mom’s Night Out)

When I was really young if you asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up, with a big beaming dimpled smile I would reply, “When I grow up I’m going to be a very Very VEry VERy VERY famous actress.” Since I loved musicals, whether shown in the theater, the cinema, or at home on VHS, singing was naturally included. At least in my mind. I loved being in the school plays but I was never one who begged for attention or felt the need to be the absolute focus of the spotlight. Believe it or not, I was shy.image
As I continued to grow and transitioned through a big family relocation I became comfortable in a supporting role. I helped. I assisted. I supported.
After a while, women in my life found themselves pregnant, all in various ages and stages of their lives. While they were happily and nervously preparing to be single mothers; I found myself assisting, supporting, encouraging them.   I could complete a baby registry with the main essentials, set up a crib, diaper change a baby extremely quickly and accurately even while blindfolded.

I look back at those times, and know that it wasn’t just me helping them. It was me “going to school.” Me being taught. My education. Yes, even the blindfolded diaper changes during baby shower games.
It was God preparing me for the desire of my heart. My own family. Me mothering and nurturing my own children.
While even as I dreamed of being a “very Very VEry VERy VERY famous actress,” I always knew I would have an amazingly loving husband and a few children, beginning with a son. Somewhere along the line my dream shifted, adjusted, became re-prioritized.

When I gave my heart to the Lord,
He gave me a new desire for my heart.
So now, I AM living My dream.

And this heart is morimagee full than I ever imagined.  Despite certain circumstances, God has allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the process of each of my three pregnancies. He not only blessed me with my first born son, but I have birthed three amazingly handsome sons (who look just like daddy).  Don’t get me wroimageng. Motherhood is not all roses and daisies.   Motherhood is hard. Let me say that again:

 Motherhood Is Hard!   But, it’s worth all the work.
Many people know that 1st Corinthians 13 says
“Love is Patient, Love is Kind….”

But it also says “Love Bears all things, Believes all things,
Hopes all things, Endures all things. ”
Motherhood is ALL those things.
Motherhood requires ALL those things.
Being a mother requires Patience.
Being a mother requires Kindness.
Being a mother requires Bearing.
Being a mother requires Belief.
Being a mother requires Hope.
Being a mother requires Endurance.
Being a mother requires Love.

Motherhood IS Hard.   But, mothers Love Harder.

Until next time, remember:
You’re Growing Greatness.

Round #2: Glasses

image

 Glasses:
 When they’re not on your face,
they’re in the case!!!

That’s the Law. The rule from the first day we left the opticians office. However,  as time went on we all got a little lax in diligently following the rule.
Then a few weeks ago, someone in this photo (whose identity I’ve chosen to  protect) left their glasses on the floor right beside their bed. Late that night a loud  crunch was heard as those glass frames were crushed into 4 pieces.

Fortunately, it was only 3 months since The Rule was instituted, and so they were  still covered by the one year warranty. Hooray!

The replacements were picked up today and The Rule still applies, so let us try  this again. Round #2:
 Glasses: 
When they’re not on your face,
they’re in the case!!!

Three Things Thursday: Beginning

Three Things Thursday:

        #1.      I’m Baaacckkk!!!

I’ve had all these ideas for posts. Some I started in unpublished drafts, others I didn’t have time to jot down but then completely forgot about.
To Be Honest, I got sidetracked from my original purpose for this blog. I have made quite a few fantastic friendships through other homeschool blogs, groups and forums. These relationships are so treasured. They continue to inspire and encourage me. But, I did begin to feel a little intimidated by all their amazing designs and content. So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to “jump back in.” When I saw this image I just knew it was perfect.

        #2.     I’m Staying

I would like to say that I’ll  continue Three Things Thursdays.  Posting three things I want to share. About Anything.
But realistically speaking. I”m not a writer. I have a natural gift for editing other posts, blogs, flyers, etc.  There have been so many events I’ve wanted to share but, haven’t managed my time.  may post a few randomly. but I am here to stay. Blogging and posting oh so slowly away.

        #3.     I’m Still Loved

The highlight of my week happened today. While we were sitting together on the sofa “dvd schooling” this afternoon all three of my sons passionately discussed who had the pleasure of cuddling next to me. So, despite the fact that KC, KJ, & CJ are now old enough to wipe off my kisses or not want me to hug them in public, it filled my mummy heart to maneuver a way to snuggle with each of them for the duration of TV time.

toddler twins & meprek CJ & me

I Just Couldn’t Miss It!

fpea 2013


That’s right!
We went to the
Florida Parent-Educators Association HomeSchool Conference
We already had this week scheduled off of school but had other plans. Close to the last minute plans changed and MrC. worked it out that we were able to go. YAY! MrC!
There were so many awesome and amazing moments (including one slight moment of panic from losing my bank card in the middle of the exhibit hall. no worries. it was later recovered). However, the MAIN MESSAGE of the weekend for ME was… Relationship.
Working Slow & Steady with EACH child at THEIR pace is…okay. Great, even.
The parent-child heart-to-heart relationship is the key that unlocks the door to learning!

My Top 5 Highlights:
Read the rest of this entry

How We HomeSchool

this is how...

...we do it.

When HomeSchooling is mentioned various images may come to mind.  Different families approach HomeSchool in different ways, but we all have the same desire to see our children succeed.  Each HomeSchool’s operation may also vary due to the age and needs of the children.  Ours is very much interwoven with our community.

While much of our coursework is done in the convenience of our home, our children regularly benefit from being connected to the community around us, which enhances our HomeSchool experience.   In a way, you can say part of our HomeSchool experience is outsourced to community members who are more prepared to provide different portions of the education that our children need. This is done without diluting our HomeSchool way of life.

What home school looks like for us!

1)      In our home state of Florida, families desiring to home school must either register as a home education program with the local school district, or a private tutor, or a non-traditional private school.  We choose the latter.  Although, when we first began with CJ’s first grade year, we originally submitted a notice of intent to the district for home education.  The district required us to keep a contemporaneous log of academic activities performed for school and submit an annual evaluation.     In the second year we switched to the non-traditional private school umbrella and have remained to this present day.  We are registered under HomeLife Academy, which is classified as a non-traditional private school.   HLA provides an online account where we submit our education plan, receive student and teacher ID, and input our student’s grades.  It is our hub for school records.  We also have access to school counselors for advice to help us select curriculum as well as being a good sounding board for the issues that arise.   We also registered with Florida Parent Educator’s Association, which is our advocate for HomeSchool Families that help safeguard our legal right to HomeSchool.  They also provide an annual FPEA Convention which is full of resources.  Thousands of home schooling families attend.  See the video to get an idea.

Following The Map

2)      Off Campus:  Connection to my local church has provided additional resources that benefit my children and me.   Once a week I attend a women’s Bible class at my local church.  Infants and preschool children attend child care while school-age children, such as my 9 and 6 year olds participate in a mission’s class taught by volunteers who are members of the church. There, they learn about other cultures such China, India and Egypt , just to name a few.  They often create crafts that depict the culture of each country and they learn social responsibility and Christian values.   It is a great character builder for my boys as it allows them to see how other countries carry out their daily lives.
You can often find us off campus as well visiting one of the nature gardens in Orlando.  Sometimes we meet with other homeschool moms and children making it a group event.  Other off campus activities have included meet-ups organized by other homeschoolers, some of which I originally connected with online.  One of the most recent activity involved a “Back Stage Tour and Party” at a local Chick-Fil-A hosted by The Happy Housewife.

Safety First

Our Host, The Happy Housewife

The children were able to try out the new healthy children’s menu option and I got to try the chicken tortilla salad.  After that, we were able to tour the kitchen and learn about all that Chick-Fil-A goes through to prepare a meal.  The children were amazed to see how many fresh lemons it took to make their famous lemonade.  The food storage was very organized and the kitchen was clean.  The day ended with each child making their own soft serve ice-cream cone from the machine.

We made it ourselves!

One additional element of our off campus activity includes sports.  Upward is a nationally recognized organization that is the world’s largest sports league for children.  They offer leagues for Flag Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Cheerleading.  Our children only participate in UpwardSoccer, but it provides a great sport experience and healthy competition for them.   We also have one other amenity going for us and that is, access to an afterschool program once a week.  Since my husband serves as Director, we are able to visit there once a week.  While I volunteer as a mentor for a student, my sons get to socialize with some of the other students who attend the program.

3)      There are also members of the community that come to our home to deliver services to my HomeSchool.   I have some local friends who are state certified teachers who lend me their ear and expertise from time to time.  This helps me stay on track with our end result.  One of my best friends visits us every week to provide music lessons to my 9 year old.  My younger two are benefiting indirectly, but in the upcoming season we may have to pull them center stage and invest in them more.  For now, my oldest receives guitar lessons.  He can tune his guitar, play chords, notes and identify different parts of his instrument.  He just recently attended and played at his first recital.  I’m ecstatic!

1st Recital

I Did It!

There are many ways to embark on your HomeSchool journey and it is likely to change as you travel down the road.  I hope what I have shared will spark some ideas on how to personalize your HomeSchool and provide the best experience for your family.

Work Space Takes Work

Well, it’s the beginning of a new academic year for us and we recently decided to make improvements on our designated classroom space, which is a transformed carport, now called the Great Room.  The Great Room gives us enough space to house all of our classroom activity.  The only exception is on really hot Florida days and those rare moments when the weather has dropped significantly.  My husband, Mr.C. used cedar wood to enclose it with plenty of open screen windows and doors, which allows for plenty of air flow and natural light, perfect for these active boys.   In the past I have not posted many pictures of our classroom while we worked out the layout, but I’ll post more as we proceed now that I have it looking more the way I desire.

What I do to make it work.

Over the winter break we cleared the desks and freshened up a bit, putting a fresh coat of varnish on the wood desks and reading table as well as on the exterior.  Everyone was involved. Mr.C. also closed in some of the window space to eliminate the occasional overspray of rain drops that blew in from those gusterly winds. He even had me pick up the circular saw to cut a straight edge on the plywood that we’ll put as the underlayment behind the bookshelf  to be constructed behind my desk.  My sons got in on the action as well, helping their dad apply stain to the doors and on the tables you see below.  Having the right space for home school makes class time more respectable and structured for these boys and me.

Bringing back the shine.

A fresh look

CJ doing practical art work using a brush and stain.

Young boys can (and Do) put a lot of wear and tear on classroom items, so to have them involved in the process teaches them a lot about valuing what they have.  It also gives them a sense of appreciation and allows them another opportunity to once again
be the hero.
We have great expectations for the new 2012 school year as my 9yr old  begins fourth grade and the twins begin first grade.  Coming up soon, we’ll post samples of what we do in the Great Room maybe you’ll can get a feel for what our day is like.

1-2-12 (one, two; one, two)

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