Sunday, April 26, 2015

Headed to Alaska

I will be co-hosting the Sonlight booth at the Interior Distance Education of Alaska curriculum fairs next week. I will be traveling and working with my friend, Judy. I am looking forward to visiting Alaska again this year!

Here's our itinerary:
Monday, April 27. Fly from Denver to Anchorage.
Tuesday, April 28. Drive from Anchorage to Kenai.
Wednesday, April 29. Convention in Kenai. Drive back to Anchorage.
Thursday, April 30. Convention in Anchorage.
Friday, May 1. Convention in Anchorage.
Saturday, May 2. Drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
Sunday, May 3. Day of rest.
Monday, May 4. Convention in Fairbanks.
Tuesday, May 5. Convention in Fairbanks.
Wednesday, May 6. Drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage.
Thursday, May 7. Fly from Anchorage to Denver.
As you can see, it's going to be mostly driving and working... not a whole lot of time for recreation. But still, it's sure to be an adventure. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Scheduling Our Homeschool

I have to admit I was a pretty laid-back homeschooler. We didn't have a set schedule that we followed every day. Instead, I tried to cultivate good habits with lots of flexibility.
Early on I discovered that it was best for me to get up early, before the children did, to have a chance for some quiet time and to mentally prepare for the day. If I slept in and didn't get up until they came and woke me, it seemed like we were running behind all day. Generally I tried to get up between 6:30 and 7:00, and be ready to start school by about 9:00.

The "seat work" (written work) was most challenging for my kids, so I found that it was good to start the day at the table working on math, spelling, and language arts while the kids were still fresh. After about an hour, we would take a break and have a snack. The kids could run around a little bit and I could change a load of laundry or something like that. 
After the break, we came back together for the "fun" part of the school day... the time when Mom reads to the kids. Sometimes we would cuddle on my bed, or sit on the porch swing or a blanket in the yard. Most often, I sat on the couch and the kids played on the floor while I read to them. I found they actually listened better if their hands were busy.
Most days, in the early years, we were finished with school before lunch time. Early afternoons were designated as "quiet time." The girls outgrew naps at about age 4 or 5, but we still observed the down time for several more years. Mostly it gave me a break in the middle of the day... and I feel like it was good for the kids to learn to entertain themselves quietly. Late afternoons were for playing outside or running errands.

As the girls got older, they spent more hours doing school, and were able to work more independently. I did continue to read aloud to them all the way through high school, as they enjoyed that, and it gave us wonderful opportunities to discuss what they were learning.

We made homeschooling and learning part of our lifestyle, so it was easy to keep a flexible schedule.

This glimpse at "a day in the life of a homeschooler" is part of Sonlight's 25th anniversary blog party.
Sonlight Blog Party

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Saga of the Lilacs

 Of all the places I've ever lived, I think the Denver area has the wackiest weather. Last year the lilacs were just beginning to bloom the week before Mother's Day. We have a lovely stand of tall lilac bushes along the back of our deck and I was so looking forward to enjoying the delicate color and delightful fragrance of lilacs in full bloom, when we got hit with a late spring snow storm.
Spring snow is wet and heavy. The leaves and blossoms hold the snow and weight the branches down. So that was the end of the lilacs last year. I was hopeful that this year would be different. The weather was milder and the lilacs budded out earlier.
They weren't quite in full-bloom when we, again, got another spring snow storm. Again, the branches were weighted down with the heavy snow. I was so disappointed, just sure that was the end of lilacs for another year.
However, the temperature hovered just above freezing, so the lilac blossoms were tenaciously hanging on. I thought it still might freeze during the  night last night...
...but it didn't. This morning, when the sun came out, I was happy to see the branches beginning to spring back up as the snow was melting away.
One large branch had snapped off, so before the flowers had a chance to wilt and die I went out and "harvested" them...
...and arranged them in a lovely bouquet to enjoy indoors.

I'm so glad the lilacs survived this year!

(High drama in my backyard, right?)