Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's a New Year!

It's a brand new year, and as I'm sure many of you are doing, I am thinking big about what this year could hold for our family. Lots of dreaming. Some list-writing. Some reading. Some praying.

For us, 2010 is the year to really hook into homeschooling in a more formal way. I have to say I can hardly wait to start! Saraya and I decided today that we'll begin school again the week Stuart starts back (a week before Term 1 officially starts for the kids). Aside from maths, we have everything we need and are ready to start. Monday-Friday will be our school days, though I imagine a lot of informal extension and definitely maths extension will happen on Saturdays when Stuart is around. :) Let's just say he's a much more enthusiastic maths teacher than me!

I'm pretty sure my biggest homeschooling hurdle this year will be this gorgeous little guy right here.....

Ah, William. He is a bundle of love - affectionate, cuddly, confident - and curious. And determined. And stubborn. And well into the typical 2-year-old behaviour we all find so challenging, even though he's still 5 months off being 2. The last couple of months I've been praying about how to balance his needs and the other children's needs during our school week, and thankfully now have a few answers, things to try! The other night I ordered a good-quality toddler pouch for those times he wants/needs cuddles when I need to spend time doing table work with Saraya.... but he will be contained so hopefully those toddler fingers will keep away from the work! I'm determined to not only survive the year, but to enjoy it!! I'll let you know how we go. And I would love any advice from any homeschooling Mums out there regarding keeping busy toddlers happy. :)

So much learning has been happening through the holidays anyway, we haven't really stopped schooling. It's just like that. When you read with your children, go places, talk constantly with them about everything, involve them in what you are doing, teach, listen, explore, play and leave resources out for them to use/discover - that is all great learning! It's been such an enjoyable holiday so far. Lots of family time, and lots of visitors too. We have some family coming to stay this week which will be so nice. And friends for tea tonight. And Friday night. Yay!

The children all got puzzles for Christmas and now they have all been completed at least once. :) Elijah had his first attempt at a 100 piece puzzle yesterday and is proud to have it done, with quite a bit of help! I think puzzling will be on the agenda for leisure-time throughout this year.

And gardening! Having the vegie patch dug out is exciting, and thanks to Wendy and Phil who gave us a Green Harvest voucher for Christmas, I have seeds ready to go into it. Thanks guys!

This sweet Garden Notes journal Cathy bought for me last year has been in my hand the past week as I have jotted down thoughts and plans and yes, dreams. :) I want to wind the gardening and food-growing into our daily lives this year. I'm hoping to increase the amount of food we can grow ourselves. New Year's Eve I wasn't out partying; I was at home, and after watching a comedy series I love with Stuart I got onto Daley's online and bought 6 new fruit trees. They should be delivered this week and I'm hoping to plant them into our orchard before Stu goes back to work. Got to get some more fruit trees into the ground in the next couple of years so we've got time to fully enjoy them!!! It will take a few years for most of them to begin fruiting.

So, it's a New Year and I can't wait to see what the year holds for us all. What are your plans / hopes / dreams for the year ahead? I'd love to hear them!


sarah in the woods said...

I hope all goes well with your homeschooling in the year ahead. Toddlers are my biggest challenge. Wish I had some good advice for you, but I need some myself. Actually, one little tidbit, since you all are having warm weather now - do as much as possible outside. Even table work. Little ones seem to get into less trouble outside. Now what to do in the winter? If you have any great ideas, please pass them along!

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I should do a blog post on toddlers and homeschooling! One idea that worked for the twins when we were doing bookwork - maths, spelling etc was to buy them their own workbooks with stickers - even though it was way beyond them and they stuck all the stickers in the wrong places and scribbled on the work pages, they felt important, as they wanted to do homeschool too! I bought cheap and bright coloured workbooks from Aldi.
I'm hoping to get back into more formal unit study work this year and need to work in activities for the twins. I have set them up a book and play area of their own but I know they will want to do what the others are doing, so we will have to do lots of hands on activities. I will try and share some of our unit activities that toddlers can join in that still provide the older ones with teaching opportunities. E.g during a unit on Maps the children had to build sandcastles on the deck, the older ones then had to tie strings around in concentric circles and measure their 'hill' and do a drawing to show how hills are represented on survey maps. Of course the toddler at the time loved this activity and made her own 'hill' and was totally occupied. Do you want more of these ideas? Let me know!

Katrina said...

I hope all your homeschool plans work out as you have planned for 2010. Good luck.

Saminda said...

Thanks Sarah, yes I had already thought of the 'schooling outdoors' thing - Will is much happier and more independent outside! I hope you get through Winter okay- just relax, this time will pass and you will get through it! :)
Ann, thank you; as always you are full of good ideas. And yes, pleeeease write a post on toddlers and homeschooling. The thing about WIll is he's not a distructive child, he's not off painting the walls or emptying out the pantry- he just wants me. Me, me, me! So that's why I've gone with the carrier idea. I hope it works. :) He's a bit little for stickers- he'd love to do it WITH me, but I'm desperate to find things that will amuse him independently. Any more ideas?! :) xo

Chocolate Vegetables said...

I am lucky to have a couple of older children, 11yo and almost 8yo who will be sharing the entertaining of my toddler here (very similar age to Will) but if I didn't have them my plan would be to school during his afternoon nap. Has Will dropped back to just one nap yet, or is he still doing a middle of the day nap or two?

I love this product although I haven't made up as many bags as I would like to have to be useful. My 4yo loves the ones I have made.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW

Sandra said...

Some great ideas from the other commenters.
Have a wonderful and exciting 2010 Saminda.
Learning sure is an all year thing, if you put your mind to it.
I love the idea of more fruit trees. They definitely are a great way to go! And you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Helen said...

Hello my friend. Sorry I've been a little out of contact - know you're busy enjoying Stu. But yes, lots is happening over here, and yes I would LOVE a coffee and chat. Bit desperate really. Sounds like you're on top of school for this year - exciting isn't it!! Let me know when is a good time - I can come there or whatever suits. Any night except maybe Fridays. Love ya heaps.

AmFriend said...

Plans - Renew a health care license that is set to expire soon, vacation at my favorite National Park once again this summer, relish the time spent with my niece, attend at least 2 weddings, welcome another niece or nephew to the family. Pray more!

Hopes - To make more friends, find a church home (now that I am on more "normal" shift), strengthen familial relationships, to lose weight.

Dreams - That God continues to boost my self-confidence and self- esteem, that once I am happier and healthier He will bring a man of faith into my life for companionship and possibly a long term relationship. Return to college for an advanced degree.

Renata said...

I enjoy reading your plans for the year. Your orchard sounds great. I also have big plans for my garden this year!
Sorry can't really help with the toddler thing as my boys were 3. I did give them "schoolwork" of their own to do if they wanted to, but generally they just played together joined in Ellie's phonics lessons for the songs & stories. I hope you are enjoying your holidays!
God bless
Renata :)

Kimmie said...

What fun to order an orchard!

Homeschooling with toddlers...oh there are loads of helps online I am a google search of blogs and homeschooling with preschoolers (preschoolers and peace is one that comes to mind).

I had baskets with all kinds of goodies for them to play with, foam letters, a basket with magnet letters and a cookie sheet to stick them too, a little bucket with water and some water toys (think ***need TOWELS), board books with a tape that mama has read the books outloud for them to do the beep to turn the page...(read slow!!)

makes some homemade playdough and keep it in the fridge to let them squeeze (it has so much salt...they won't like the taste...and it is non-toxic)

make a little book out of stapled pages- sit them in their highchair and tell them it is school time...let them work with fat crayons, pencils, chalk while you work with the olders.

a small kiddie pool filled with toys or balls in the kitchen can be great for loads of time. Letting them play with your kitchen pots, pans, scoops, ladels can be fun for them too.

colorful cording with wooden beads (make sure that the cording is short, as it could be a choking hazard if they are left without a watchful eye).

Putting a small pot of pudding on a *safe* sitting area so they can *paint* a picture...(if they put their fingers in their's PUDDING!)...give them paint brushes, cut clean sponges and let them create (you will probably need a bath though.)

Move school to the bathtub...let the toddler have a bath, while you teach a lesson to the older kids from the bathroom floor (hey, spread a blanket, the older kids will think it is fun!)

Ask the pizza place if you can buy (or have) a bunch of the white rounds they put the pizza's on. The toddlers can paint them and then use them to make stepping stones out of...make a game that you can only step on the *stones* , sew little beanbags to toss with your older kids, let the toddler toss them into baskets, on the pizza *stones* or count with them.

Let them sort socks, or large buttons (so long as they won't put them in their mouths).

Makes some flannel board pictures...make your own simple flannel board for them to stick their flannel shapes on to...or flannel people, numbers, animals....the big kids could make them for the toddler.

****Teach them to clean up before you get the next thing out.****

Montessori method has many great preschool ideas that could be applied to homeschool.

If you are brave you could make a tiny bowl of paste (flour and water mixed) and let them glue torn pieces of paper (from magazines, the newspaper, wrapping paper)...messy but FUN!

okay...this is probably total chaos instead of help...but my intention was good Saminda ;-)

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted


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