Sunday, May 17, 2015

Homeschooling: Why?

We are finishing our FIRST year of homeschool this month!
I survived!
I was challenged a ton, but I also had a ton of fun. I think the kids did, too.
Even on days where my patience failed me, they still wanted to be home with me!
I know I have a lot to learn, but I wanted to dedicate a few posts as to why/how we homeschool.  I love reading these posts on other blogs, and they have helped me learn a lot.

Field trip to the pumpkin patch in October!

  I have read a lot of Christian blogs about homeschooling, and many people will say they felt "called" to homeschool. I think this "calling" is the Spirit telling you that this is what you should be doing right now. For me, it was a little seed that grew and grew once it was planted! 

    Cash and Cosette attended a Montessori school last year that was pretty great. 18 kids per class, a full-time aid, monthly field trips...About halfway through the year, I noticed that Cash's teacher was pretty fed up with him.  He was getting in trouble every day for "wiggling" during circle time and got his recess taken away often (resulting in more wiggling...)
  In April, he got banned from further field trips after his class went to the beach to look at tide pools and he *gasp* climbed a rock and kicked at a wave (apparently, this was a "look-but-don't-touch" beach trip that they had bussed three hours to.
  Yes, Cash definitely needs to work on his behavior, but I could also tell that he was not thriving at all in his classroom. It was Montessori, but there was little handiwork involved.  His teacher mentioned several times that she did not understand how to blend Common Core and Montessori. She told us she had to cut out a poetry unit and lots of p.e. to fit her lessons in, and that did not sit right with me.

Cosette, on the other hand, had an excellent teacher and really thrived...except she had a meltdown every day after school. The schools here start at 7:40, so we had to wake the kids up by 6:30 to get everyone ready to go in time...which was no fun.

I began having lots of anxiety about keeping my kids at public school, since Cosette would have Cash's teacher the next year, which would not be a good fit for her. 

I read a few books about homeschooling over the summer, and it sounded really appealing to me.  Still, I thought I would try them at a regular school in September, since it was my old elementary school and didn't think it was too bad. It was bad. 
My anxiety rushed back, and I just knew that they were supposed to be home with me. I asked them if they wanted to try it, and they were totally on board.  I wouldn't be yelling at them to find their shoes every morning? Yes, please!

I applied to a homeschool charter school and got accepted within two weeks, even though I was #75 on the waiting list. I had to have an interview about why I wanted to homeschool, and I found my answers were simple:
1.) I wanted my kids to have lots of poetry and art, which they weren't getting in regular school.

2.) I did not agree with waking children up at all, especially at 6:30 every morning.
3.) My kids deserved the opportunity to go at their own pace with learning.
4.) Learning should be fun! It should not be "must show principal that I am teaching common core standards CS2.1.1." or "we're supposed to cover American History until 5th grade.

So that's it. That's why we're homeschooling :) How we are homeschooling is definitely a work in progress, but we're getting there!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Legoland 2015!

Legoland does Homeschool Days on Mondays throughout the Winter, and we were able to go with some friends last Monday.
It was rainy off and on, but there were no lines!
The kids had so much fun!
Mini-land New York.

They are working on a new Star Wars exhibit--so we watched builders put this giant Lego replica of the Death Star together.

The kids got to take a class about gears. They had to construct their own Lego rollercoaster and get it to go super fast.

Meanwhile, the toddlers constructed a baby cage!

Coco and Matthew working well together! Matthew's family homeschool theme this year is LEGOdyssey!

Meeting a giant Emmett! Quincy was screaming in fear outside the shot.

They had the actual Lego set-up that is seen at the end of the Lego movie, so everyone got a kick out of that. Also, we got to go to Sea Life aquarium next door. It's small but has some sharks, which the kids loved.

And of course, the Southern California life:
Field trip: success! Traffic: fail!
But we all had a good time and would do it again :)
Also, Cash got a haircut after this, so you don't have to worry.

Arthur is 1!

Arthur turned 1!

We had my family over to celebrate and had the traditional Hulihan first birthday cream puff.

He loved them! He ate two! Good job, Arthur!

He got lots of balls and some books for his birthday. 
I can't believe my baby is 1!
At 1, Arthur is:
-taking one nap a day
- has six teeth
- still not walking, although he likes to assisted-walk
-sleeping long and deeply at night
-loving food, especially peas and strawberries
- my most mellow child. He loves to just crawl around looking at things.
He does shriek occasionally, but he is still super cuddly and sweet.
His favorite activity is taking everything out of my purse and trying to put everything back. Repeat for all drawers in the house.
Also throwing stuff into the bathtub that doesn't belong in the bathtub.
We sure love our little baby bear!

Quincy is 3!

Quincy turned 3 at the end of January!

He asked for a soccer cake (this looks like a failed "Nailed It") Haha!
My frosting was too runny--oops!

Grandma and Grandpa traveled the long two blocks to come celebrate!

Like the typical middle child, he was dragged to all of his siblings' activities that day, poor guy.  We owe you one!

At 3, Quincy loves:
--Teen Beach Movie (he loves singing along)
--Playing blocks and play dough
--Refusing naps and insisting on only wearing sweatpants

After opening his presents, he went back to dragging around a little tote bag with his favorite toys, a mini Book of Mormon and a stuffed horse stolen from Cosette.
He knows what he likes!
We sure love this fun little guy who wants to be part of all the action and loves
being super active!

Christmas and our Exchange Student!

Christmas came and went! 

It was eventful this year, because two days before, we met our exchange student from Tokyo, Moeka Okabe.

This was our first time having an exchange student, and it was fun--especially because we really love and have experience with Japanese people.
We tried to keep her entertained and went to the Science Center, mini-golf, movies, and other stuff I recorded with our iPad camera.

After two weeks, her group returned to Japan.
Moeka was so sweet, and we hope to see her again!