Thursday, May 29, 2008

The End of the Schoolyear, and the Start of Another

Tuesday was the last day of school here. I spent my morning at my son's kindergarten graduation, and then my afternoon at my first grade son's awards assembly. Lots of smiles and fun that day, although I was also a little emotional. I just love and appreciate the teachers my children have had. They have really been wonderful, and I can't help but get a little misty-eyed to say goodbye to them, knowing that we won't be back at school in the fall.

Here I am with my kindy son, and the next photo is my first grader is showing off one of the certificates he received.

The next day, guess what arrived? Our Sonlight order!

My kids were so excited and wanted to get right down to school. :) Well, I managed to put them off, but only until today.

My grand plan had been to take the rest of this week plus some of next week to cement our chore system. Having some kids at home and some kids at school has made it hard for me to get everybody consistently doing chores every day, and it is one thing that is important to me to get under control.

My three youngest boys are 5, 6, and 8, and haven't really had chore areas like the older kids have had. I've tried the buddy system for chores (pairing up an older and a younger child for an area) but it always ends up causing more trouble than it's worth. ("He isn't helping!" "I'm doing all the work and he's just sitting there!!") So I knew the younger boys needed areas of their own. And I finally figured out what those would be.

One son (my Power Ranger) will vacuum the stairs and landing every day.

The other two kiddos are my "Floor Men" which means that they will be cleaning the upstairs floors on hands and knees daily.

All the younger boys are excited about their new jobs and did them happily. In fact, they were so excited about both job options that they had a hard time choosing which one they wanted. The good news is that I might just have managed to work myself out of needing to mop, which would be absolutely wonderful, wouldn't it?!

Another thing we did today was to get out a large jar of coins that we have been adding to for years. We first started it as our "Disney fund" because the kids said they wanted to go to Disney World. Today I got the kids gathered around the table and we sorted, stacked, and counted all the money, and then put it into coin wrappers.

Before we got started we wrote down our estimation of how much money there would be in the jar. Guesses ranged from something around $8 on up to $60. We were all pretty excited to see that we ended up with $82 wrapped, plus a lot more that we had run out of wrappers for!

Now we plan to take a trip over to the bank to open a special savings account for our Disney trip. $82 down and thousands to go......

My daughter has been using Horizons math this year, and although she is able to do it, she does not enjoy it. When we found out about Teaching Textbooks this year, we were very interested. This math curriculum comes with computer CDs that feature a human voice speaking and teaching the lesson, with graphics and words to teach the student. All of the lesson problems can be entered right into the computer program (which is great because the consumable text is quite large), and the student gets immediate feedback about whether or not their answer was correct. The student can also choose to get an explanation of the problem if they did not understand it, and can get hints if they need help.

At the end of each lesson there is a cute little celebratory animation, such as penguins doing the limbo, or animal characters dancing in a conga line. Very cute and entertaining.

The best part of all was that my daughter LOVES the program. She was so excited about it, squealing "I just LOOOOVE this! It's so fun! I want to do math like this all the time!" She did 7 lessons in a row. :)

It was really easy to install, and best of all, it works on our older laptop, which is a major plus since she won't have to get onto one of the computers that is in use more often.

Somewhere along the way a few of my younger boys wanted to get into their new workbooks. Who cares if it's the second day of summer break? I let 'em.

Here is my now-kindergartener, and new second-grader, enjoying their books.

Who knew handwriting workbooks could be so much fun?

We also made a treat...

Went to the library to get a bunch of books....

And somewhere in there I managed to get dinner into the crock pot. Potato Corn Chowder..yummy and kid-pleasin'! (easy and cheap, too)

And now it's time to eat!

What did you do today?

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