Saturday, January 15, 2011

Phonics Pathways review - good for one who already reads well

I sent a message out to my homeschool group about whether or not I should continue with a phonics program since Andrew already knew how to read. With more difficult texts, he is still a slow reader but he is a competent one. He can read almost anything put in front of him. He would still rather me read to him but if I make him read a chapter of the novel I am reading or one of his chapter books, he could do it with relative ease. So my main problems with phonics programs is I am always feeling like I am jumping into the middle of one and I don't know where to start. Do I start with book 1, book 2..would this program help at all?

The overwhelmingly popular response from my group was Phonics Pathways. One book and it took their kids from A to Z in phonics. I am a collector of curriculums so when my friend offered to sell it to me at a low price, I decided to go for it. She ended up giving it to me which was even more of a bonus (thanks Suzanne!).

I am very impressed. A 200 page book and the place that I started with my proficient reader was in the 50s. The reason being is that it has a high emphasis on spelling too. Spelling rules such as after a short vowel, there must be two consonants before you can add a Y so double the last consonant if there is only one. And it's a K not a C before an I or an E. I can spell "funny" and "kite" correctly but I didn't know that there was rules involved. So I was very pleased to see that I could work more on his spelling and the reason why words are spelled certain ways and this is more useful to me right now than getting him to sound out words as he seems to be able to sound out more and more 3-4 syllable words each day. This weeks words included communicating and understanding..not too shabby..hey that used the Y rule. :)

So I give Phonics Pathways an A+. I am overwhelmed with the number of subjects that I am doing right now since I am doing both GCA and 1st grade Well Trained Mind at the same time (oh..have I not mentioned that? Yeah I's insane!) but I hope to add in some Spelling Workout too as that also has been highly recommended. The first book is pretty basic so I figured that it could also be used as a handwriting supplement. We will see.

Still loving school and my organization streak this month has carried over to lesson planning too which makes me less stressed and enjoying school more! Would love to hear from other moms on how your school year is going? :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day #10 Laundry Challenge - 2 days and now it's DONE!

Our laundry area is in the garage so I I have one shelf and then I just use the top of the dryer to hold stuff. It wasn't too bad but I did need to clean out the overflowing lint trash can and see what exactly was on that shelf.

For the main part of the laundry challenge, I decided that the laundry should be DONE. We have an electric blanket that is hard to wash that I think has been out there for at least two winter seasons. We also have a high chair cover and a baby car seat cover that needed to be washed and my "baby" is two. So I had some miscellaneous catch up to do in addition to all this plus 3 more baskets upstairs.

Well I discovered that the shelf had brake oil that was here from when we bought the house. Umm..ew. There was other stuff that needed to go but mostly I just put it back neatly and wiped down the shelf and the tops of the washer/dryer. I also swept the laundry area floor.. Ooo aaa I can see the floor and before mentioned electric blanket is drying. Yea!

But here is the real accomplishment. ALL laundry put away in respective drawers. New towels and sheets on the beds for everyone. I get to re-claim my beautiful blue couch. And I have NINE empty laundry baskets. Ahh the sight of empty laundry baskets...Isn't it just gorgeous??

Time to kick my feet up and relax. Glad that we are only do half school this week. Today's challenge was the freezer which I decided was not a good thing to do while trash service is canceled so that will have to wait until later. I needed the extra time to do laundry anyway. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day # 9 Toy Organization - Going from Ugh to Wow!

Day 9 on my organizational challenge is toy organization. I was going to put this off for as long as possible but since it was today's challenge, I decided to go ahead and plunge in. It took hours. See why...

So obviously in addition to an organizational problem, I also have a cleanliness problem. I admit that I am not as good as getting the kids to pick up as I should be. Part of the problem is that my solution to cleaning up the rest of the house is to gather up all their toys and dump them in their room without putting them away. Now that I have it cleaned up though. It's easier to keep it clean and I will also soon be rolling out a kids clean system involving their specific tasks written on craft sticks and me handing out the craft sticks to the kids to complete the task.

Here is after..What's that you see? I think other people call it a FLOOR. Who knew this room even had one! In corresponding order to the before pictures...

So where DID all those toys go? Well one of my secrets is that the closet in this room has a chain lock on the top. And Chris built shelves for the closet and there are many trucks, bins, hats, puzzles, etc that live in the closet and I have control over what comes out. I don't like a free for all on the toys. I have too many for that.

Organization FAIL..We got this under the bed storage unit. Seemed like a good idea at the time. There is all that space under the bed after all. But it's horrible. The dividers are weird and have a gap at the bottom and once you open the whole thing, it becomes like those bins (see before pic #1..I hate those too and put them in the other kid's room) where they just dump every toy. So because I can't get to the store to buy a shelving unit to hold a bunch of cutely labeled plastic boxes, this will have to do for now.

Stay's challenge was laundry organization to which I decided to take on as getting every single piece of laundry in the house done and put away including all the little quirky things that have been in the laundry room for months because I just haven't gotten a chance to deal with them (i.e. some curtains that need to be bleached and an electric blanket with annoying instructions). This challenge is going to take two days for me. So more tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day # 6 Get organized - Dresser drawers

I am obsessed with organization blogs. It's what I do when I am on much needed back breaks from the actual organizing. I wish I still knew which blog it was from but I had clicked through from a blog where I am doing my challenge and I don't remember which one it was. But I have brand new way of organizing the clothes in drawers and I love it! I started on my own drawers but no pictures of transformation there. I then moved onto Peter who has wayyy too many clothes stuffed into his drawers.

Here is the before picture of his pants drawers. And yet somehow I managed to get it closed every time. This isn't all his pants though. Sometimes I leave them on top of the dresser.

And this is the after of the pants drawer. The lady's secret least for shirts and I applied them to to fold them over one more time and put them side by side instead of on top of each other. So now they are nicely organized by style and the great thing about this method is I don't have to search through any other pants to find the one I want. I just grab what I want. The other great thing about this is when I am stuff more pants in, I squish them more rather than adding to the top where it causes the drawer to go all haywire and messed up. I did learn though that cords don't roll well so they are still folded the old way. This includes the laundry that needed to be put away so it is about 5 more pants than the before photo!

And here is the after of the shirts drawer. You can see I still have more space for even more shirts. Peter (age 3) also thought this was very cool because he got to look at all the designs of his shirt before he picked out the trucks one that he wanted to wear that day.

Stay tuned...I think tomorrow is under the kitchen sink day! Or maybe the pantry..I need to see what I am going to eat for the rest of the snow days since I didn't go to the store. :)

Day # 4 & 8 Get organized - Coat Closet/Linen closest

I am doing an organization challenge over at A bowl full of lemons.

Day 7 was the linen closet and Day 8 was the coat closet. I don't own a coat closest but we do have a junk closet that shares space with some clothes and shelves that contain our linens. We have a linen closet but we don't use it because of the cats. :( So I decided to tackle this closet today and I was surprised that it didn't take me as long as I thought. That's because practically everything I touch is getting thrown into a box for goodwill. So far for 2011, I am up to 8 boxes.

The Before picture of the junk portion

The Before picture of the linen closet portion

The after portion..probably could still stand to purge some hangers but still it's an improvement!

And the after of the linen closet. I purged a lot of linens but mostly I just re-folded a bunch of them. My only complaint is that it's really hard to fold mattress covers and king sized sheets and make them look pretty. But it's the linen closet after all so who cares!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Saviour for our sins

Andrew was talking to Peter one day about Heaven and I asked him who was going to Heaven and he said "I am". And I asked him why and he told me it was because he prayed to God that he believed in Him. I further questioned to see what he believed him about and he said "that He is the Saviour from our sins." Apparently he did this several weeks ago while he was playing at the kitchen table. He didn't say but I assume it was a conversation he had with God while playing legos. We talked for quite awhile and he seems to truly understand that Christ was God's son that died on the cross for us for our sins. Since he prayed to God about believing in Him, he has started praying by himself. We still have our family prayer time too but I am so happy that he feels comfortable with praying to God by himself when ever he feels like it.

A few years back, Barrett taught a parenting class and encouraged us to not use the phrase "ask Jesus in your heart" when we are talking about salvation to our kids. That stuck with me and I have never said those words to Andrew and I am so glad because it was such a sweet sweet moment when he told us that he believed that Jesus was the Saviour for our sins. Chris and I look forward to disciplining our sweet Andrew to develop his own relationship with Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

John 14:6 Jesus answered "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.