Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Any of you ever heard of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo?  Well, after 3+ years of a spinning world, it appears I have been properly diagnosed and treated.  When I first started experiencing vertigo, it was ear issues.  I just assumed that's what it always was.  I'm usually sensitive to my left side and tend to "spin" when I lay on that side, turn my head too quick, etc.  A few months ago I went to the doctor because it was really bothering me and I just figured it was inner ear issues again.  Instead, my ears were perfectly fine and the doctor suggested it was Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.  She referred me to Physical Therapy for it.  Who knew you could get PT for vertigo?!  Let me tell ya though - it has worked!  Granted, the PT was NOT pleasant.  (Is PT really ever pleasant?)  Remember those little hand held games where you tilt it around trying to get the little silver ball in the holes?  That's what the therapist likened the treatment to.  She had to move my head around, make me dizzy, and readjust some things.  So far so good! 

First Field Trip

Friday the girls and I went on our first field trip of the year.  Audrey finished all of her lessons a day early, so we took a trip to Gainesville, GA to INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids).  We went last year on Audrey's only kindergarten field trip.  She loved it!  Maddie had not been so this was fun for her.  We actually bought a year family membership and will be able to visit a variety of Children's Museums across the country.  There are some in Atlanta, Knoxville, and Chattanooga that we'll easily be able to go to.  Looking forward to it.  Here are a few pictures from our day:
Serving in the diner.

Playing in the Vet Hospital.  (BTW, turns out we know that little boy's parents. Small world.)

Maddie weighing the dog.

Captain Audrey

Co-Pilot Maddie

Maddie loved digging in the garden.

Milking a cow!

She even added the boots.  :)

Grocery shopping (Mommy is the cashier)

Just her size.

She loves the Salon.

My little actress/model playing in the dress up clothes.

Actress/Cheerleader =)

Week 2 Review

I know, I'm jumping the gun a bit.  The school week isn't over until tomorrow, but we're really finished with the bulk of our stuff.  Tomorrow will be a good review and finishing up of some things.  We've been a little more flexible with our schedule this week.  The days were a little longer than the first, but we threw some extra "recesses" in.  ;)  Maddie starts preschool next week, so this is her last full week at home every day.  The girls have enjoyed playing.  No worries, we have gotten all the essential information in and even added a few things of our own.

Audrey has thoroughly enjoyed The Boxcar Children (ok, mommy has, too), so we jumped a week ahead and finished the whole thing.  She made her own diorama of the boxcar.  I was very proud of her creativity!  We also finished her reading assignments a day early.  She has done very well with her reading.  We've been talking about similes, commas, short a sounds, and double consonants this week.  We finished up with a creative writing assignment about her family.  It's always fun to hear what the kiddos think about their family!  =)

In our history core, we've looked at ancient civilization and Egypt.  We did some virtual tours of the Pyramids, learned how to mummify a person (which she thought was very cool, btw!), and made some Egyptian neck dressings.  Fun stuff!

The kid is going through math quite easily right now. She's a little bored.  So, we just touched on lessons  2-4 and started 5 today.  I have a feeling we'll be moving through to 6-8 next week.  I realize that most of this is review for her for what she already knows.  But, this will give us more time to get into the new stuff more in depth and not worry about not having enough time this year.  I think she's going to be fine.

Handwriting is still a bit of a struggle - an attitude struggle, that is.  I've done less "lessons" in writing and just made the corrections as needed through copywork in other subjects.  I have noticed an improvement already in these past two weeks.  :)

She's still not overly excited about Science, but we did work with the planets a little bit more.  We made our own mnemonic for learning and remembering the order of the planets.  (My Valentine Eats Mommy's Jellybeans Says Uncle Norton.)  We attempted a model clay solar system, but that was a project FAIL.  They looked pretty good, but wouldn't stay on their strings to hang.  Mommy clearly doesn't do well with some of these projects.  We're all suppose to be learning here, right?

We are continuing our reading through Egermeier's Children's Bible Story Book.  I really like it!  Audrey is retaining the information well.  I've found some great supplemental work to go along with it - like coloring sheets, puzzles, quiz sheets, etc. 

Derek started teaching Audrey Tai Chi today.  (Yes, dear, I know that is not the proper spelling, so feel free to comment with the correction.)  ;)  In September, D will be with Audrey on Thursday mornings while I sing and participate in our Women of Worship Bible Study at church.  D agreed to add this to their time together.  I think she enjoys in.

Did I mention we got a dog this week?  Yeppers - she still doesn't officially have a name.  Her original name is LuLu.  Her shelter name is Tootsie.  I don't particularly care for either, but we can't seem to agree on anything else.  ;)  She has enjoyed school with us this week, as well.

That's it for this week's review, though I will leave you with one funny.  Since we finished with the Boxcar Children a week early, we started reading The Secret Garden.  I had been reading to her for a while when she decided she needed to get up and do something.  She says, "Can you pause it?  I'll be right back."  Love that kid!
Math is much easier with a doggie on your lap!

The Boxcar Children Diorama complete with grass, real pine straw beds, Jessie & Violet, a clothesline, waterfall, swimming pool, and fire pit.

Daddy is a great teacher!

Week One Done

Well, we survived our very first week of homeschool!  Yay!  We had our ups and downs, but mostly ups.  I'm learning more about my child and her learning styles.  She is a pretty smart cookie if I do say so myself.  :)  But, she's also pretty darn stubborn when it comes to things she doesn't like..... handwriting.  We'll make it through though.  I did notice that she's singing her handwriting technique songs she's been listening to this week.  Maybe they'll help more than me standing over her telling her over and over how to do it.  :)  I thought I'd share a few things that I have learned this week:

1.  Be flexible!  I heard this over and over at the conferences I went to, but this week I discovered what it truly means.  A pretty little schedule written out neatly in an organized binder looks nice, but that doesn't mean we're going to stick to it exactly!  If she says, "Read me more", than by all means I'm going to keep reading!  If she wants to build more math problems and work through our science block - we'll do extra tomorrow.  :)

2.  Be prepared!  I did a pretty good job this week of being prepared, but one day I spent a little less time and it was the day that was the least productive.  It is important that I know exactly what needs to be done and have everything ready to go.

3.  No TV before school!  One morning I allowed her to watch a cartoon before class so I could get a couple of things done.  Not a good idea.  It immediately gives her an unproductive mind set and it's hard to get her back into the groove.  It's important to start school as soon as possible.  She did a good job sticking to her morning "Busy Bee's" routine.  We just have to jump into class afterward so we don't lose momentum.

4.  It takes time!  I spend a lot more time at night than I thought I would preparing for the next day's lesson.  I'm sure in time I'll have the hang of it and won't have to spend quite as much time preparing.  As for lessons, it takes us about 4 hours a day to get through everything.   Gives us a full afternoon to have fun and spend time together.

5.  Be creative!  Take every opportunity to teach.  It's about making the lessons come to life.  If she finds a bug and wants to know about it - run with it!  Turn it into a lesson and find out as much as possible.  If  something isn't working, do something different.  Teaching her without her knowing it is priceless.  ;)

6.  My kid is cool!  Not that I didn't know that before, but I've really enjoyed spending time with her this week in this capacity.  She's a smart little girl and she really enjoys learning.  I love watching her get excited about learning.  And, I'm grateful for the opportunity to share along beside her and not miss out on her education.

So, that's the wisdom for this week.  I'm sure there will be many more insights and "ah, ha" moments this year.

Happy Copywork =)

New roller paint and rainbows.

Prepping the box for our Solar System activity.

Third Day Is a Charm

Third day is a charm.  :)  No meltdowns to report.  I kinda threw the original schedule out the window and followed my instincts.  I had both girls today so we started with our daily calendar activities (Audrey actually got downstairs first and did all the changes herself).  Then we sat in the floor and read some of our library books.  I also had Audrey read with me while reviewing some of our sentence structure and capitalization rules we've been working on.  I pulled out some flashcards for sight words.  Afterward we did our Bible study with some copywork.  We also turned on the Handwriting CD for fun and had an impromptu dance party while we learned some writing skills.... and to my surprise Maddie then picked up a marker and wrote letters on the whiteboard!

The girls wanted to play outside a few minutes and in the process found a rollie pollie in the yard.  Audrey asked if she could keep it as a pet until we get our dog Saturday.  We found a container to put it in.  She named him Harold.  :)  She was asking me questions about it that I didn't know, so we researched and made a lesson out of it.  (I'm really liking this!)  She even spouted off some facts to her Nana this afternoon.

I decided to go back to the science lesson today since she had not been so receptive Monday.  I got her involved in a coloring sheet while I read to her.  It sparked some excitement in her when she remembered she had seen an episode of Magic School Bus related to what we were studying.  So, I found it online and let the girls watch it.  Even Maddie was glued to it.  The show reiterated what we had been discussing.  What really surprised is that before we watched the show, she was telling me lots of details - and it has been several months since she's seen it. 

Afterwards, we needed to do math, so I asked Audrey to teach Maddie.  I was hoping to see if she really understood what she had been taught.  I was able to see what she could do, as well as do our new lesson without her really knowing she was being taught.  LOL  After math we did our Read Aloud books.  Audrey read both stories really well.  I read her a couple more chapters in The Boxcar Children while she and Maddie made an art project with stamps.  I really wondered if she was paying attention, but noticed several times her stopping and listening intently.  And, as always, she answered all the comprehension questions easily.  I'm starting to see that she may be a kinesthetic learner when I thought she was an auditory learner.  She was reading her sight words aloud to me earlier in the day while Maddie was jumping all over her and they were pushing each other over in chairs.  She often complains that she's bored and doesn't like when she has to sit still.  Hmmm... we may be on to something here!  Anyhoo, we ended the day with the first video in our Etiquette class.  Audrey was a little bored with it, but I'll add an activity to it next time and spruce up a little.  :)  I'd call it a good day!
Ok, I don't normally allow my kids to stand on furniture, but she was really into her handwriting music.  LOL

Reality Sets In

I don't expect to post every day, though in the beginning I want to share the ups and downs and the reality of our journey.  Yesterday was so awesome.  Today was a little more "real".  lol  Funny how quickly the novelty of it all dissipates when you have to do things you don't want to do!  We started out pretty well.  Maddie jumped in to some of the activities.  I added her into our Handwriting Without Tears by pulling in our double sided easel so each girl could write as we listened to our music and played along.  She added her own little dance and then was off to play again.  Audrey enjoyed our Bible reading through Genesis as well as history as we talked about how the first people lived.  We took a virtual tour online through the caves and even made some of our own cave drawings.  However, when it was time to sit down and work on handwriting (something she does not enjoy), the attitude monster came out.  We had a few moments that weren't pretty, but it was a good teaching moment.   In an "ugly moment" I was actually able to turn it around and into a math lesson without her really knowing it.  Ha!  For me, day #2 was about realizing early on that not everything is going to go as planned.  We're not going to get everything done every day.  And, it's ok!  I'm learning that I have to be creative when it isn't working.  And, it's ok to put it down and come back and work on it later!

Maddie gets in on the action.  She, too, changed into different pajamas for school. :)

Making cave drawings on stone.

Handwriting activity

Maddie enjoyed it, too.

Maddie's first day of gymnastics.

The Journey Begins....

And, we're off!  Today was officially the first day of First Grade at "Norton Academy".  ;)  Audrey was so excited!  I have to giggle a bit because one of the perks of HS that Audrey has been so excited about is wearing pajamas to school.  lol  So, we went "Back to School clothes shopping" yesterday and she got 5 new sets of pajamas.  She put a new pair on to sleep in last night - and then changed into a new pair for school today.  LOL

I'd say the first day went really well.  Adjustments will need to be made along the way, as expected.  It was nice to have the whole day to ourselves without any distractions.  Tomorrow we'll be adding Maddie to the mix.  Should be interesting.  LOL 

Our day went like this:  Audrey started with her "Busy Bees":  Bathroom, Brush (hair & teeth), Bed (make it up), and Breakfast.  Then we headed downstairs about 8:30 and started our lessons.  We went over expectations, how the workboxes work, reward system, etc.  Then we started with prayer (guess what - we can do that every day at our school!!).  ;)  We did a Bible lesson (Apologia).   We talked about the importance of building strong foundations like that of building a house on solid ground rather than sand.  And, that the Bible is our instruction manual as compared to an architect's blueprints.  Audrey did awesome with all her comprehension questions, made her own blueprints, and wrote & drew in her journal.  Then we went on to history.  Funny thing here - the one thing she said she did NOT want to learn about in school was dinosaurs.  However, the very first page in her Usborne Children's Encyclopedia assigned for today was about dinosaurs.  lol  She enjoyed it though.  I gave her a pre-spelling test for her vocabulary today - she got them all right.  We're working on 'at' words.  She read her assigned story, aced all the comprehension questions, and kept on reading.  She did her copy work a bit.  Then we did our Read Aloud time which is The Boxcar Children.  She was really enjoying it, so we read an extra chapter.  Looking forward to some of the activities with this one!  We'll be reading it throughout the week and some of next.  After that we worked on Math.  She was a little bored with the DVD itself.  (Note to self: watch the DVD myself and just teach her.)  She was pretty resistant to it at first, but once he started explaining the actual blocks (we're learning place values by using manipulatives) she started getting into it.  Again, she aced all the quizzes, activities, and worksheets.  I'm going to review tomorrow because I want to make sure that she understands the concept, not just the "doing".  If I think she's mastered the concept, we may just move on.  I think she was starting to get bored, so I pulled out something just for fun.  We checked out a few computer games from the library, so we put in the I Spy Treasure Map CD and worked on it through lunch.  Man, I love those games!  After lunch I had her do one more math sheet - just to make sure!  Then we went through her Science.  She really didn't seem to care for it, but she did retain the information.  (We're doing a whole year of Astronomy.)  I asked her about some of the things we learned tonight like: What is Astronomy? What is a constellation?  How do the birds use the stars during migration?  At least she got it - even if she didn't like it.  lol  That's ok - we have some hands on activities coming up that I think she'll enjoy.  We also worked on Handwriting Without Tears.  This one I really need to work on.  I think I'm a little confused about the layout of the lessons.  But, we did do some fun exercises with the music.  We're just going to have to take some serious time working on her letters.  She wasn't really taught how to write correctly, so she's all over the place with writing.  Baby steps!

Anyway, that was our day!  She did ask me repeatedly when it was time for recess.  She didn't seem to get that when we were done with everything by 1:30 today, the rest of the day was recess.  LOL  Here are a few pictures from our very first day!

So excited to be a first grader!

Just a little something for the new school girl.

Math time!

Lunch and computer time.

Newest Addition

One of the things my hubby and I like to do is try new restaurants.  We'll drive a little further away from home to try out a new place that he has usually read or heard about.  :)  Today was no different.  We all loaded up and headed to a cool hot dog joint called Barkers Red Hots.  Pretty yummy place!  As an added bonus, one of our favorite shopping spots that we rarely get to visit was in the same shopping center - Trader Joe's!  (For my non-ATL peeps, you seriously need to come visit so you can shop here!)   Right next to the TJ was a PetSmart.  There was an adoption group set up outside and the girls had asked to go see the dogs after lunch.  There was a big crowd gathered around the enclosure that housed the dogs and the volunteers were starting to pack up.  We walked up, looked around, petted a few, and read some descriptions of the adoptable dogs.  Then something miraculous happened.  My husband, the "I'm never going to have an animal in my house" man, fell hard and fast for a sweet little 5 pound gray Chihuahua named Tootsie.  At his suggestion, I spoke with the lady about specifics and before we knew it, we were talking adoption.  I held her and she just snuggled up under my chin and went to sleep.  She is so precious!  She's 3 years old.  She was rescued and is currently in "foster care".  She was used as a breeding dog.  :(  I wish she could have come home with us today, but she is scheduled for some dental work and surgery this week.  We hope to be able to pick her up Saturday.  The more I think about her, the more excited I get!  The girls are just giddy!  They have been wanting a dog for a long time.  Since dog sitting our little friend a few weeks ago, they've really expressed an interest.  I guess it’s time to teach some new responsibilities while giving a sweet little dog some much needed love and companionship.  :)  Here's a picture of her.  These are from their website.  She is currently named "Tootsie".  Audrey wants to name her "Sarah".  I'm throwing around some more ideas like Marley, Molly, or Izzy.  We have a week to decide!

Having Fun!

It's almost time!!  The county kids start school tomorrow, but we're going to start Monday.  We're enjoying a little more summer time.  We took a little trip to Splatters and painted some pottery.  We went to Michaels and bought some colorful glass "rocks" for Audrey's incentive glass.  I'll take pics later and post.  :)  We also made some "Caterpillar Soup".  ;)  And, then "painted" the drive way with water.  Fun times!  (And, I may have snuck away for an hour an got a haircut!)

Our Classroom

Ok, I have to admit... this is my favorite!!  I have been looking forward to being part of this Blog Hop for MONTHS.  Seriously!  I found the 2010 classroom Blog Hop around Christmas of last year and have probably checked every single one.  I just love to see what everyone does!  So, here's ours.  =)  We are very fortunate to have a full basement.  We actually just did some construction because none of the rooms were closed off and my husband started working from home last month.  He needed some privacy - and so did we.  :)  So, here is our new, bright classroom!
This is our newly constructed wall (Daddy's office is on the other side).  This houses her computer, work table, workboxes, her artwork, and some storage underneath.

Workboxes are ready to go! 

This is our classroom wall that houses our maps, charts, calendar, etc.

This is our shelf that houses the curriculum, textbooks, readers, manipulatives, extra paper, and my laminator (that I love!). 

This is my area.  :)  I still have a shelf and some "stuff" to hang, but this is my space.  You can also see the chalkboard that is on the wall between mine and Audrey's desks.

This is actually a large hallway in our basement that is purely for storage.  It still needs some work, but I'm grateful for the storage space! (My scrapbooking goodies are all stored across the hall on the other wall.)  =)

This is just what's behind the curtained shelf.  You'd think we'd been homeschooling for years as much stuff as we have.  lol  We love some crafts!

More crafts, games, and books!

This is actually in the playroom.  I wouldn't dare show you the playroom right now.  It looks like a tornado ran through it.  But, this is one more storage area more for fun games, puzzles, preschool activities, and various worksheets and lessons I've gotten.  This is also a great table for group projects.

2011-2012 Curriculum Choices - First Grade

Hi, everybody!  I'm excited to participate in my first Homeschool Blog Hop!  This is our first year journeying into the world of homeschooling and I can't wait!  I have a first grader and a preschooler.  We have actually made the decision to do part time preschool through a Christian Academy for my preschooler, so I don't have anything formally for her.  Though I do have a hodge podge of resources over the years to choose from.  As for my first grader, I have relied pretty heavily on the recommendations of friends. From all I have seen so far, I am incredibly excited about the choices we've made and am looking forward to jumping in next week!  Here's what we're going with:

Sonlight.  We're doing Core A - Intro to the World: Cultures with the First Grade Readers.  This fulfills Language Arts, Spelling, Reading, Bible, and the added bonus of World History. 

Apologia - We are using Apologia for both science (Astronomy) and Bible (Who Is God?).

Math-U-See - We're starting with Alpha. 

Handwriting Without Tears - First Grade

The Etiquette Factory - This was an unplanned "elective" that I fell in love with at the Southeast Homeschool Expo.  There's 11 lessons that both of my girls will be participating in. They can't wait!

We will also be doing some Sign Language informally with flashcards, books, and the internet.  She will be participating in our Children's Musical program at church.  And, she is on a competitive cheerleading team.  I think we'll have our hands full!
Just like Christmas morning when the FedEx man brought Sonlight!

Happy Homemaker

I am officially a stay at home mom again!  My duties have been handed over to a precious lady that is willing and able to take it on.  I will not feel guilty any more about not financially contributing to my family.  My worth is not measured with money.  I am the mommy and the wife.  My responsibilities are to first take care of my family.  I clean. I cook (sometimes). I pay the bills. I make the appointments and make sure everyone gets where they need to be.  I play with my girls.  I do the grocery shopping.  I educate.  I may not be the best at everything I do and may not always enjoy everything that needs to be done (like the dishes), but I do it because I love my family.  I am incredibly grateful for the role I play in my family.  And, I realize that we are immensely blessed with my husband's job and opportunities that allow me the privilege to stay home.  Until God tells me otherwise, I will stay home without question.  I will not take advantage of the time I have to spend with my children who are quickly growing before my eyes!  It may not be everyone's calling to stay at home with their kids, but it is MINE.  I accept it.  I embrace it.  I am exactly where I want to be.

That is all!

Faith Like a Child

Ok, I'm going to share a personal story - not to brag - there is a lesson.  It is easy to talk about all the cute things our kids say, the sweet things they do, and just simply how precious they are.  I probably share too much about my kids at times - and I'm trying to be more sensitive to that.  But, what I witnessed today was so encouraging.  It just proved to me that kids really are listening to what we teach and say.  And, God uses children, too!

Audrey and Maddie had some friends over to play with for a little while this morning.  I overheard part of Audrey's conversation with her friend.  It went like this:  "I got baptized.  Do you know what that means?  Do you know where Jesus lives today?  In my heart.  Have you made that decision yet?  That is the most important decision you will ever make."  Those, my friends, are some powerful words no matter who says them, but coming from a 6-year old kinda blew me away.  How many of us adults have the courage to say those words?  That was a proud moment!

Even little Maddie is starting to "get it".  A couple of days ago Audrey said her foot was hurting.  Maddie said, "If you want it to feel better, all you have to do is ask Jesus."  Oh, to have faith like a child!
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