Tuesday, August 14, 2012

House Tour 5 - Upstairs

   The girls' room and our bedroom are both upstairs, along with the bathroom that Chimera has claimed.

B has the top bed, and ZoKo has the bottom bed. The portacrib is full of stuffed animals Cabbage Patch Kids, and My Little Pony soft babies. The bin storage rack has plastic food, small dollhouse pieces, and Barbies.

The rest of the girls' room. The Snoopy chest is toys. The spaceship chest is doll clothes and such. The shelf units are for "special" items and keepsakes. ZoKo has the one on the left and B's is on the right. It varies as to which one is actually organized at any given time. The plastic houses toward the right are for Barbies.

The girls' closet is small (although larger than ours). There is a dresser on each side of the doorway inside it. On top of each girl's dresser is her purple/pink tackle box for hair supplies, lip glosss, and body lotions.

I don't like dressers. So this is the "dresser" in our room, a freestanding closet that sits along the wall across from our bed.


House Tour 4 - Basement & Library

     The basement contains our library, Ms. Bunny, Ponyville, dress up clothes, the game collection, and my holiday decorations.

 This is the main portion of our library/reading area. It houses our fiction literature, assorted stuffed animals, a US map rug, two bean bags, a Lion King chair, B, and Ms. Bunny (the green triangle in the bottom right corner is her roof).

Here's a side view of B and a front view of Ms. Bunny in her cage.

This is the secondary library area (it backs up against the shelves in the reading area). It contains all future textbooks and educational games on the shorter bookshelf. The taller one contains science, history, and health reading books. I need two more shelf units in this area, but have not found any cheap enough yet.

This is the side wall of my basement, and the reason I need two more bookshelves in the science & history reading section...

Also stored in the reading area, on the side wallis my holiday/seasonal stuff. Sorted in tubs by holiday, this includes decorations, books, movies, cards, and stuffed animals.

Across the walk-path from the textbooks sits these bookshelves. Kids' board games on the left unit, with card games on top of it. The right one contains encyclopedia sets, including Goldenbook, Childcraft, an illustrated history encyclopedia sets, a people of US history set, and a few science encyclopedias (hidden behind the blue tub).

Ponyville... enough said. lol

Continue the tour with House Tour 5 - Upstairs

House Tour 3 - Dining Room & Living Room

     On to the dining room, also known as the craft supply room and the school room...

 The craft supply shelves next to the dinner table. The tubs contain, things like crayons, glue, scraps of paper, and pipe cleaners. The black notebooks are seasonal activities and coloring pages, and the books next to them are craft books. The books on the shelf below the construction paper are "how to draw" books and notebooks of blank paper. The shelf above the construction paper has science experiment kits.

On the other side of the dinner table is another bookshelf. This one is loaded with 3 ring binders of activities and lesson pland for language arts, science, and history (organized by individual topic). The purple/white cage houses BunBun, our miracle bunny that has almost completely recovered from complete paralysis due to a broken back. He can now walk just fine, and is still working on learning how to hop again. The empty 3 ring binders stacked are ones I have not finished organizing papers to fill yet.

KiKi's favorite place in the dining room is the mddle of the open floor. It's great for puzzles.

This shelf sits opposite the table and contains the textbooks and notebooks currently in use, as well as "school" supplies for B and Odie. It also houses the dictionary, thesaurus, almanac, atlas, and globe.

Backed up to that bookshelf is ZoKo's desk in a homemade little cubicle. She does very little work here.

This is one of the places you're likely to find ZoKo doing work, my living room. Oh look, a Chimera...

This is another place she likes to read. Curled up with Super Fluffers on the living room floor.

Continue the tour with House Tour 4 - Basement & Library

House Tour 2 - Kitchen

     Now for my kitchen. Not the part used for cooking food though, lol. Rather the parts the kids go for.

This is the first thing you will see as you enter my kitchen, a KiKi surrounded by shredded paper/cardboard. It's a big de-stressor for him. Just step around the kid and don't slip on the shreds. The big Tigger behind him is known as his car drive Tigger. And Chimera (the cat) makes his first appearance during this little tour.

And now Chimera would like to show you the pantry, or rather the door of it. As well as KiKi's drawing desk and paper shred stash (Chimera's favorite place to sleep). On the inside of the pantry door is my newest organzation tool. I got the idea from a different blog, but have no idea which one. It is a poster frame with 6 sheets of scrapbooking paper in it. The clear plastic of the frame is good for dry-erase markers, and you can put anything you want to in the frame. (There are more detailed photos below.)

Above the organization board is an over the door hanger I got from Target for $2.50. It works perfectly for storing my measuring cups/spoons so my drawers are less cluttered and I don't have to dig for the right one. The collection is very low right now due to baking yesterday.

Here's a full view shot of the organization board.

Panel 1: "Quote of the Day"

Panel 2: Family/Household Chores (mark off list), Current Bills, To Do List, and Weekend Plans.

Panel 3: Shopping List, Finances, and Animal Care chart.

Panel 4: I have no use for this panel yet, besides that I liked it and it fit well with the others.

Panel 5: B's Weekly Chore Chart and B's Daily Chores (mark off lists).

Panel 6: ZoKo's Weekly Chore Chart and ZoKo's Daily Chore Chart (mark off lists).

     Again, all of the chore lists and charts are written on the scrapbook paper prior to insertion, so a dry erase marker can be used to draw a line through each as it is accomplished. Most of the rest of the board simply has titles or headlines written down so things can be filled in and erased at any time. The girls' weekly chore charts run on a 2 week rotation, because B goes to visit her mom every other weekend. This keeps things consistant as to who is expected to do what when it comes to work.

Continue the tour with House Tour 3 - Dining Room & Living Room

House Tour 1 - Boys' Room

     As I was looking through my email and reading other blogs this morning, I remembered that I keep meaning to post pics on here of our house areas, and I keep forgetting to. So, consider yourself warned. The next few posts will be graphic - as in, having pictures - and show a small glimpse into my home. We're starting this little tour with the Boys' Room.

This is what the boys' room looks like when a KiKi has been playing in it. You can easily see KiKi's crib, the big red ball the kids climb in (the girls love to hide in it), the Clifford "spring horse", an air inflated turtle floor pillow, the spaceshuttle table (for the magnadoodle and a spinning gear toy I don't know the name of), the slide (the newest addition to the room), and the giraffe chair. Oh, and the KiKi.

Here's the corner with the crib in it. Kota (the ride on dino) is still a favorite of the older kids too. KiKi likes Clifford. The metal bar behind the yoga ball belongs to the rebounder trampoline I found for KiKi.

A better view of the rebounder trapoline, yoga ball, and a Tigger...

 Odie's bed is in the corner, with a better view of the big red ball and the slide. And a mostly headless KiKi.

This is the closet of the boys' room. That's a lego table and bin set on the left, a ride on Tigger in the middle, and storage bins for balls, toys, and stuffed animals on the right. And the giraffe chair.

Continue the tour with House Tour 2 - Kitchen

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Closet Cleanout & More

   Once every 3 months (quarterly), we do a "closet cleanout" weekend. That happens to be this weekend for summer. So, the girls are both emptying their dressers and closet space onto my living room floor. Then they have to try on every article of clothing that they own, and sort it into three piles: Keep, Maybe, Pass On/Box Up... At the end of it all, they get to go through boxes of "new" clothing from yardsales and such, and pick out some new clothes.
   We sort out the clothing once each season, but with where we live in SW Missouri, it's not practical to sort by the season. You're likely to have one or two chilly days in summer and a few hot days in winter around here... This is an all weekend affair, and I'm hoping we get it done by tomorrow night. :) I might even post a few pictures of the aftermath. Maybe.

   I dyed my hair last night, and cut it. It's now black. Planning on adding red dye for highlights in a week or so. If I feel like it. Anyway, my Mutt and I were talking while I was rinsing out the dye, and he said that hair dye had to be invented by a man who got sick of always looking at the same chick and wanted the fantasy of someone different. I told him he was wrong, that hair dye had to be invented by some chick who wanted to look more like her sister in order to win her husband back... I won. :) ...I'm sure that neither of those are right, but that wasn't the point. It gave us something to talk and laugh about, another moment to feel a little bit closer to each other.

Here's a small and lousy cell phone pic of the new me. lol 

     I'll try to find some random tidbit to post again tonight or tomorrow, but who knows. Mutt keeps telling me I should post on here more often, that maybe it'll help with my current stent of depression (about 2-3 months now). I don't know... Right now, he's just as bad as I am though, most of that is personal so I'm not going to go into excessive details. Let's just say it's really hard for a married man to find a decent chick to actually talk to, and leave it at that.

     Right now, the Cow laying next to me snoring is making me tired, so I think I'm going to go wash a French Press and have a vanilla latte. I'm out of raspberry flavoring. :(

     Till next time, Peace Out. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Family's Education ~ 2012-2013 School Year ~


     Here in Missouri, the official homeschool year runs from July 1st to June 30th. This means that ZoKo is a little over a month into the new school year. She's technically in 4th grade right now. Our goal is to have her mostly progressed to 5th grade by Christmas or New Year's Day. We'll see...
     This year we are continuing our eclectic homeschool methods from last year. She has a textbook/curriculum base (A Beka as primary, various publishers as secondary), with a heavy emphasis on classic literature (thank Amazon for their wonderful database of free Kindle books), and unit studies to supplement (yard sales rock!). This year, however, we are going to be doing the unit studies as a family learning time on a monthly schedule, including B even though she will be attending public school again.

     Right now, ZoKo's current curriculum is as follows:
               Science..... Understanding God's World (A Beka, gr 4)
               Math..... Arithmetic 4 (A Beka, gr 4)
               History..... Communities & Resources (Silver Burdett, gr 3)
                              (she has already completed A Beka History, gr 4)
               Grammar..... God's Gift Of Language A (A Beka, gr 4)
               Comprehension..... Dinosauring (Houghton Mifflin, gr 4)
               Penmanship..... Penmanship Mastery 2 (A Beka, gr 5)
               Health..... Enjoying Good Health (A Beka, gr 5)
          All of these books (aside from Health and Comprehension) were started prior to July 1st.

     She is continuing to read a lot, and I'm not even going to pretend to keep track of book titles this year online. She currently reads from 1 science book, 1 history book, 2 classic literature books, and 2 independent reading books every day. This totals about 2-4 hours of straight reading every day, plus free reading time (usually on the weekends).
     She has been on a summer schedule of 3 days per week for curriculum and 5 days per week for reading. This will be moved up to 4 days per week for curriculum this week. The reading stays at 5 days per week.
     So far, she has clocked in a total of 178.25 hours out of the mandatory 1,000 yearly hours. This means she must average 17.5 hours per week or 2.5 hours per day for the rest of the school year...


     Officially, KiKi is only 4.5 years old and is too young to homeschool. Unofficially, this keeps that state off my ass about enrolling him in public preschool. So, he is registered as a homeschooler for this school year. I am using the unschooling approach with him, anyone who knows him will understand why. I will be updating the following list of approved activities per category as he discovers/achieves them...

                    Light ray exploration with CD
                    "How It's Made" on TV
                    Dinosaur sorting and anatomy exploration
                    Reading science books with family
               Math & Logical Thinking.....
                    Lego building and organization
                    Car sorting
                    Puzzles and logical thinking/problem solving
               History & Social Studies.....
                    Holiday celebration and observation
                    Game etiquette and social observance
                    Socialization and public etiquette
               Language Arts & Communication Skills.....
                    Button communication practice
                    Speech therapy (field trip)
                    Practice lines and circles on MagnaDoodle
               Physical Education & Health.....
                    Craniosacral treatment and relaxation techniques
                    Occupational therapy
                    Physical therapy
                    Tigger racing
                    Practice jumping on rebounder and in crib
                    Coloring pictures
                    Coloring CD's
                    Random drawing on MagnaDoodle

     So far, he has racked in 66.00 hours out of 1,000, meaning he must average 20.00 hours per week or 3.00 hours per day for the rest of the school year.

...Family Unit Studies...

     Last year, I tried doing weekly unit studies with just the girls. Then it became just holiday unit studies on the day of that holiday. Yeah, I'm sure you can guess how successful that endeavor was... So, this year, we're doing monthly unit studies as a family. Pick one topic at the beginning of each month and focus on it (as a family) for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Read books, watch tv shows, do lapbooks, make crafts, whatever I can come up with. The girls are very excited about this, and even moreso once they figured out Daddy would be participating. We plan on picking August's topic this evening. I will keep you posted. :)