Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Balancing Books

I often wonder if Paul being in public school is the best thing for him.  For the first few days of school he was bringing home homework that was totally inappropriate for his level.  His assignment was to learn about and recognize different genres.  He still struggles with reading at the kindergarten level and should be working on phonics.  After the second day I wrote a letter asking for different homework.  I figured that I could slowly bridge the gap by working with him at home at his own level.  The teacher sent home a 2nd grade math book for him to work on at home.  It's perfect.  In addition to that he is learning division.  I am pleased with the progress he makes in our one hour after school but I do wonder what he is learning during school. My plan is to homeschool him next year as a sixth grader but I think about starting him sooner.
John and the kids like to play chess.   Now all of the homeschoolers know the rules.
Not sure what prompted this goofy exercise but I thought it was worth a picture.
After dinner Anastasia, Julia, and Galina walked round and round our kitchen table this way.

How Did You Find Me?

I enjoyed reading the comments on Meredith's blog about how people met her.

I too would love to know how you found me.

Was it when you first read our blog? How did you come across it? Do you know us in real life? Did you find us on FaceBook? Did a friend give you my email? Did an agency give you our contact info? Did you find us randomly?

Come on-- share. It would be fun to know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Dennis Update and Blog Posts Worth Noting

Praise the Lord that Dennis is home and doing so well! I mean-- so well that it hardly seems like he had surgery. The doctors and nurses who cared for him today were so awesome that he was sweetly staring at me when I came into see him after his surgery. He has paper tape instead of plastic tape so he is not even trying to itch his face. I think this alone has already made his experience so much better. Yay! Today is also Caleb's birthday! Dennis thought it would be cool to get pictures of them looking like super heroes.

Since I don't have alot of time to blog today, I thought I would share a few posts that I read recently.

Reasons to Homeschool According to a School Teacher

One Need

Newborn Domestic Available Adoption-- Only 4k in fees

Feel free to share any posts that you found worth noting.  Thanks!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caleb's Birthday Bash!

Happy Birthday Caleb!  Can't believe you are already 15!
Sorry your party fell on the hottest day of the year.

John barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs.
Daddy ate up in the play place with Alex and Dennis.
After swimming and eating, the kids played volleyball. 
It was wonderful getting to know Caleb's friends.
Everyone sang so loud I bet the neighbors heard!
Alex and Dennis were very popular at the party!
It was fun to hear Caleb read all of his cards.  The ones that played music of course ended up in Dennis' hands.
The evening winded down with Julia playing piano and people singing.  It was great!

Caleb you are quite a young man!  We are very proud of you!  Can't wait to see what you do this next year!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Elbows Up

It is finally the weekend.  And we are celebrating a birthday.  I went to a Mexican food store to stock up on corn on the cob.  6 for $1 is a great price so I bought enough to freeze some too!
Tonight we are barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers with potato salad and corn on the cob.  Yum!
Galina shucked the corn.

This picture of William is quite funny.  We have a rule-- No elbows on the table.  Yesterday table etiquette was taught to the girls during Nutrition.  After so much grief over the no elbow rule, they finally saw that John and I were not just making up crazy rules but we are actually trying to teach good table manners.  They get it.

William does not.  He still finds ways to have his elbows up at the table without them actually being on the table. 
Things going on in the Reed house currently:
battling ants in the yard
preparing for Dennis' upcoming surgery
preparing lesson plans for two theme units on Microbes and Islands
trying to plan and budget for a vacation in Winter
cutting up old t-shirts to make rugs
trying to get Jacaranda seeds to germinate

What are you up to?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seeds and Smoothies

The kids have been begging to make smoothies. So for our homeschool snack a few days ago, we made them with strawberries, orange juice, bananas, yogurt, and milk.
This is one of Dennis' first drawings in kindergarten.  Isn't it cute?  He has been hesitant to go to school a few times, but now that he carries a picture of our family in his backpack, he is becoming happier each day about going.  He always comes home excited to share about his day in kindergarten and the tears are less and less and so I am pretty sure he is just getting used to the new routine.
This is a great book full of math puzzles.  The kids work on it when they finish with school early.
I am so excited to have these seeds!  I just planted them.  Can you guess what plant they are?
Dolly got a much needed haircut.  Then the girls gave her a bath.  She looks so cute now!
My 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls are learning about nutrition this year.  I love teaching it... especially when I see the girls applying what they have learned.  I am very proud of Annalyn who is keeping track of her increased water intake.
The kids enjoy playing on the bars that we put up.  All of them practice pull-ups now, but they mostly just climb the bars.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Digest 20

Anonymous said...
I'm really interested to know why your girls are being home schooled but your boys (with the exception of William) attend regular school.I admit to being sceptical concerning homeschooling (you don't have a BA, or Masters of Education) but am even more concerned that your girls are not exposed to the world. Are they being educated to marry?
August 23, 2011 11:44 PM

When I read this comment I thought to myself-- "It's time to do another digest." "Are they being educated to marry?" ??? Honestly I am not sure how to answer.
Um-- yes??
Yes we are educating them about the value of a good marriage and being a spouse, but we are educating all of our kids about marriage. I mean-- isn't that our job? But... if you are referring to us homeschooling our girls in lieu of going to college... um... no we are not. That is their choice and their choice solely. Since you asked, I will share. Our girls are being homeschooled for many different reasons. A few of our girls were not getting the help they needed at school even with an IEP. With homeschooling each child works at their ability despite the grade they are in. This allows them to thrive! The junior high here is not that good. If you'll notice, all of the kids except for Rachel who is in highschool are of the junior high age. This is one of the toughest ages which makes it the perfect time to homeschool. We talked about Rachel going to highschool, but she chose to stay home. Next year Annalyn and Julia will be going into highschool and if the three of them choose to go to school, that is something that we will consider.

As to being a skeptic.... I was there. A year ago, I was against it. I was sort of left no choice when I was told there was no room for one of my sons to attend the same school as all of his siblings. That is when the researching began. The charter school that we are a part of has so many resources-- online programs like Rosetta Stone and Discovery Education, a resource center full of tons of curriculum at my fingertips, virtual tutoring with a live teacher, virtual classrooms, extracurricular activities, etc. This experience has been very rewarding and has me learning so many new things. Not just the kids.

Our Nest said...
William's food lists are funny! A friend recently introduced me to Kahn Academy which has online instruction for many subjects, particularly math and science - thought you might be interested.www.khanacademy.org
August 24, 2011 8:37 AM

I looked into this. It is really cool! Thanks!

MrsD said...
"when Sasha sees the Pacific Ocean...?" ??? :)
August 22, 2011 11:23 PM

Yes, we would love to have him come and visit us. God willing we are heading down that path. However... I am discouraged by what I have heard about the chances of him getting a visa are. I am open to suggestions.
Hime said...
Yummy! I have a friend whos birthday is the same day!Happy Birthday, or as they say in Japanese, Otanjyoubi Omedetou!
August 20, 2011 10:37 AM

Welcome Hime! I wanted to make sure you saw my response. I have sure enjoyed your comments! Thanks!
Sara said...
How fun!!**I made your cheese fruit pies......so easy and so good!
August 22, 2011 3:12 PM

I just bought lemon and cherry pie filling. We'll be making these soon! Glad you enjoyed them as much as we do.
MommaMindy said...
You were SO wise to just thank and compliment. I have made many mistakes by correcting their mistakes FIRST...they don't hear the praise afterwards.That is a way my kids show me love, too, by making me coffee. I guess coffee is my love language. :)
August 17, 2011 7:31 PM

Mindy, I have done the same thing. Live and learn. And even after you learn, you forget. At least I do. We have something in common. I love me some coffee too!
Bethany said...
That's a rough start to a school year :( please don't be too mad at the little girl...remember she is the same age of Dennis, a little girl that might have been emotional and overly anxious about school...and when children that are upset already start crying it is HARD to make them stop.... hope it gets better!
August 16, 2011 10:36 PM

I totally get what you are saying, and I appreciate your gentleness. In fact I appreciate all of you who left me constructive comments. I am not mad... but I was hurt for my little boy and of course disappointed. I still don't even know who the little girl is. All they told me was that they found her response to be odd since her grandmother has a huge physical difference. The school moved her to another class.

Anonymous said...
I think she was frightened. It is unfortunate but you should take responsibility for his teeth. You said way back you were not getting the rotten ones fixed, maybe you should have. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, just keeping it real. You and your family see Dennis everyday and never notice his eye but for someone who has never seen Dennis he might appear scary until they get to know him. Unfortunately, your family lives in the most body and looks conscious State that there is.Hope the rest of his week is better. Kristen
August 17, 2011 7:46 AM

Kristen, are you for real? Are you trying to be nice? Helpful? Oh paaaalease. Thank you for wishing that his week went better. It did. As for commenting further-- I won't.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Back Into It

It's been interesting... and busy around here.  School has started for everyone including my eight homeschoolers.  We are using all sorts of curriculum this year.  With so many choices from Glencoe Science to Prentice Hall Algebra, from Read Naturally to Reader's Choice, and Maps, Globes, and Graphs to Draw Write Now-- it's not hard to find what works best for each child!

William is the only boy being homeschooled this year.  Let's just say that we will all be blessedly challenged!
Here is his latest list.  Of course it's about food.  If you happen to be a boy and eat something off the girl list
-- watch out!  You might be called a girl food eater!
All the kids are getting back into chess.  I guess if something sits out long enough, it will get noticed.  We are also on our second puzzle.  It would probably be going alot quicker if it wasn't a repeat.  Anyone want to do a puzzle exchange?
I finally went to Winco-- my cereal store.  We eat lots of it around here.
Rachel did Annalyn's hair the other day.
It turned out cute!
I finally got the call.  Dennis is scheduled to have surgery on Monday.  When I told him he asked if it would hurt.  I told him that it probably would but that I would have great medicine to give him that would make him feel better-- and no school for seven days!  That made him shout hooray!

Last night John and I went out to a movie.  It was long overdue... and romantic.  We watched "The Help" and thought it was awesome!  Definitely one I don't mind my kids watching.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sudak on the Black Sea

The day before we left, David asked us if we wanted to go to the sea.  Up until then we had not went  sightseeing, but then again I am not much of a sightseeing person.  Julia was excited to go... Sasha had never been to the sea... so we went.
The bus ride over was interesting.  We took one bus out to the main highway hoping that we could flag down another bus that happened to be going to the sea.  You never know how long till the next bus or you might get lucky and someone might stop and offer you a ride.  After waiting in the hot sun, we flagged down a bus that we thought was going to Feodosiya only to find that it was going to Sudak.  So Sudak it was!
From the bus station we caught a taxi that took us straight to the Black Sea.
Everyone was in skimpy little bathing suits.  First thing we saw was a little boy wearing a thong speedo.
Trust me when I say that Julia was overdressed in her one piece.
The water was luke warm and there were no waves.  But Sasha was like a little kid in the candy store with excitement so I can only imagine what it will be like when he sees the Pacific Ocean for the first time! 
There were lots of activities on the beach.  From para sailing to massages-- there was something for everyone!
Here is what looks like a castle that sits on the cliff at Sudak.
Sasha wanted to make sure that he got lots of pictures!
It was very hot on the beach.  The only place we could find that had shade was this biker restaurant.
The decor was quite interesting.
After trying to order five different things on the menu only to be told that they can't make it, we were told that their fryer was not working.
David ordered a couple of sandwiches.
Julia said, "Watch.  I bet they are going to come back and tell us that they don't have bread."
Sure enough, the waitress came back to tell us that they didn't have the right kind of  bread that the sandwich is normally served on.  It was hilarious.
Next, David asked for an iced coffee.
"We don't have that."
David said, "Please bring me a cup of coffee and a glass of ice then."
As we finished up our meal the place began to fill up with young adults who were ordering alcoholic beverages.  Before we left, I had to use the toilet and of course it was the kind you had to stand and aim into.  Let's just say that I had to rinse my foot.  I wondered how the drunk women who wore heels managed such a toilet... or better yet.  What if they had to hug the toilet? Yuck!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Can You Say Birthday?

Today we celebrated Paul's birthday!
He requested hamburgers for dinner.
He ate a double!  Paul can sure eat!
When it was time to open presents, we realized that Annalyn used a hundred pieces of tape to wrap hers.
"Wait!  Wait!"  I shouted.
And I reused the tape since I had only taped the corners when I originally hung up this map.
Paul loved opening up all his gifts. Earlier in the day when a brother figured out what Paul's big present was
and told him-- John began the "rumor" that it was a snake and a new case to keep it in.  Soon, even Adam was convinced it was a water snake.  I even had him believing that Paul could take it in the bathtub to play around with.
Come time Paul opened up his big present-- everyone was really surprised-- just like a birthday present should be!
John took all the kids that wanted to go over to a local skate park.
They all enjoyed themselves so much!
Especially Paul1
Paul is doing so many new things on his board!
It's like all of a sudden the boy turns 11 and gets all brave on us!
Happy birthday Paul!  You are such a joy to have as a son.  Hope your day was special!
Julia made chocolate cream pies!  Mmmmmm!
Dennis gobbled up two pieces of pie and a big sugar cookie!