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Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes

I've been so absorbed in schooling that I've fallen way behind in everything else, including this blog.  Honestly, I feel so back-logged that I don't even know where to pick up.  But, I was reading Melody's blog today and thought...that's how I should do it.   I decided to play catch up with 7 Quick Takes Friday

First Day of School - Take 1
We started school a few weeks back and it went horribly.  I mean, really bad.  The children resisted me at every turn and had horrible attitudes.  But I persevered and kept at it all week...that was one long week!  Thankfully, Todd had some vacation days he needed to use or lose so we took the next week off and had family time.  We thought about going somewhere, but decided there were plenty of things within an hour drive that we should take advantage of.  So, we began our stay-cation (vacation when one stays at home.)

Kraft Family Stay-cation Day 1 - Off to the Races!
It was a beautiful late summer day in Minnesota.  We loaded up the kids and took them to the horse races at Canterbury Park.  Madeline adores horses and was super excited.  She even borrowed out horse-themed apparel to her sisters...now that's sisterly love!  We watched four races and placed small bets on them.  We ended up breaking even for the day as the "winnings" paid for our admission and covered the losses.
Placing our bets.

Kraft Family Stay-cation Day 2 - Day of Park
This was another picture perfect day.  We made a list of some favorite parks across the metro area and took off for the day.  This didn't cost anything other than gas (which for Big Blue is no small thing!) and our meals out.  I was going to pack lunch, but hey, we were on stay-cation.  So I figured Mom should get a break too!  The kids had a blast and played their hearts out.
We made an impromptu stop at Minnehaha Falls.  The children had never seen it and couldn't take their eyes off the beauty and wonder of God's creation.

Kraft Family Stay-cation Day 3 - Apple Orchard
Amazingly, the weather was fabulous for a third day in a row.  We went to a local apple orchard.  It wasn't just an orchard, however.  They are a working farm and do a great job educating children and adults about farm life.  There were a bunch of farmyard animals that the children were encouraged to pet, feed, and play with.  We packed a lunch and ate at a picnic table under a shady tree.  Ahhhh....life really doesn't get much better than that!
There were a few huge bins like this filled with corn, much like a sand box.  The kids could have spent the entire day in there!

Kraft Family Stay-cation Day 4 &5 - Back Yard Camp Out
We had some friends bring over a tent and we pitched our tents in the back yard.  We grilled out and had a bonfire with s'mores.  We had breakfast together and lots of fun and laughs!  This is one of our favorite things that we do each fall.  Since the tent was up, we kept it up a second night.  Why is it so much fun to sleep anywhere but your own bed when you're a kid?
All the men-folk working on one of the tents.

First Day of School - Take 2
All great things must come to an end.  So I took a day to rethink our school schedule and routine.  Here is what I came up with...I blew it!  I got the kids up on day one of week one and just jumped right into our school day.  There was no "hoop-la" or anything special to set the day apart from any other day.  This struck me as I watched all the parents walking their children to the bus and taking photos of them getting onto the bus on the first day of school.  

I bought a "Welcome" banner and decorated our school room a bit.  I wrote a note to each of the children about how excited I was for the new school year and how proud I was of them.   I also made these pencils for each of the four big kids from Catholic Cuisine.

I have to say, that making the day different and having a few special treats made a big difference.  Lillian said, "Mom when will I start 2nd grade?  I really like that yummy candy pencil and I'd like another one!"  I guess the little things do make a difference!
Welcome sign with each of their names and grade hanging from it.  They want it to stay up all year...we'll see!
I used the template for the Rollo pencil - didn't it turn out cute?  And it was so easy!

Webinar Writing Class for the Big Girls
This is a completely new experience for the Kraft family.  Up to this point, I have taught the children all core curriculum subjects.  They do take dance and art with other teachers, but I am not artistic or able to dance well so that made sense.  I, however, was a certified reading/writing teacher in my previous life.  I completely understand the how of teaching writing. My struggle....TIME!

I actually purchased the IEW program and was very happy with it, but was not consistent in doing a lesson/assignment each week.  It was killing me to have this outstanding program sitting on my shelf that was getting only occasional use.

I knew of a fabulous writing teacher who offered classes to home schoolers, but she taught about an hour away.  This was just not a feasible option.  This fall she began offering her classes via a webinar format.  I bit the bullet and signed the girls up for the class...two weeks late! (ugh!)  We're still playing catch-up and will be relieved when we're on schedule.  The girls are really enjoying it and the guilt about paying for a class I am capable of teaching is lessening a little bit each day (sigh).

Now you're caught up on most of what's been going on in our family life.  There are more details to fill in, but that's for another day.

God Bless!

Heather :-)