Category: homeschool

The Scarecrow Who Loved Hay
by Jonas P. Nebel

Once upon a time, there was a little scarecrow who loved hay. Whenever he got some hay in him, he got squishier and squishier until he got bones. Then he began to walk and walk, all the way to the airport. When he saw a airplane, it looked like a bird. Whenever he saw the airplane-bird, he climbed onto it and it started to fly. Whenever it landed, it landed in Georgia. In Georgia, he met my Grandmama. Then he met my Poppa, my Nonna, and my cousin Ethan.

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We joined the United Christian Home Schoolers of Owensboro last month, and we got to take our first group field trip this week!

A few firefighters showed us around the downtown fire station. We got to see all the gear they wear, the vehicles they use (there was a pump truck, a ladder truck, a rescue truck, a 4-wheeler, and a boat, in addition to the fire chief’s bright red pickup truck), and some of the cool equipment they have (like a night-vision heat detector thing, the proper name for which I’ve completely forgotten).

It was a blast!

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For preschool-at-home, we did a week about colors. Susannah absolutely adores “doing school” and woe to the mama who doesn’t have something prepped for every single day, because this kid doesn’t understand the concept of weekends or days off.

We made a rainbow flip book (she ripped the Indigo/Violet page the next day, hence
the tape). On the back side of each page I wrote down things Susannah told me were each color.

Another day, we made a poster by sorting printed pictures into color boxes.

And what preschool week would be complete without a little fingerpainting?
This started as an exercise in mixing colors (red + yellow = orange, etc.) but quickly turned
into normal toddler chaos.

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Man, I love flipping my calendar to September. The promise of cooler fall days ahead – the change in the morning light streaming through the windows – the first day of school – I really love this time of year.

Apparently that love of September is genetic, because Jonas woke up yesterday morning proclaiming that he couldn’t wait another minute for school to start. And he definitely couldn’t wait until after Labor Day. He didn’t even want to wait for Monday! One of the joys of homeschooling, after all, is setting one’s own schedule. I considered putting him off until Monday (which was my original plan, drafted back in early June before my mom got sick) and then I changed my mind. If he wanted to start Kindergarten on the first Saturday of September, well – why not?! I’m sure the day will come when he’ll beg instead to put off our first day for a few more weeks 😉 and besides – this school year may have a number of unplanned interruptions as we travel back and forth to Georgia to be with my mom during chemo treatments and suck – so we’ll get a little bit “ahead.”

It was a lovely first day – actually a little light on the academics, since ABeka begins the math curriculum with some very simple review work, the phonics lessons are half-as-long as normal, and there’s no reading until Day 6! (Wacky. I think it must be set up that way for classrooms, where you spend the first week wasting using a lot of time explaining classroom procedures and learning to walk in a line and traveling around the school to learn where the nurse’s office and cafeteria are located. At home, there’s really no great reason to put off diving right in, if you ask me.)

Pictures to come!

~~~~~~

Susannah is just… words fail me sometimes when I want to describe this kid. Her newest ‘thing’ is walking around with her eyes shut. WHY? Not a clue. If you figure it out, let me know. She eats her oatmeal – with her eyes closed. She asks for a drink, then stands there with her hand extended for the cup – with her eyes closed. She follows her brother down the hall – with her eyes closed. And with her chin lifted and turned at an angle. It’s kind of sassy, actually. The pose is a little bit highfalutin’ – maybe she thinks she’s too good for us all of a sudden.

She’s about 80% daytime pottytrained, which is AWESOME for a 19-month-old. And yet…. (one day she will hate me for this story, so I might post it and then take it down. We’ll see.) She has been pooping in the potty for months, but recently she’s had a few times when she didn’t go until after she’d been put down for naptime or bedtime. Rather than call out for me, she has instead taken off all her clothes – pulled off her diaper – and thrown poop onto her floor. Like a monkey in a cage! A poopy, stinky, disgusting monkey. The first time it happened I was shocked. The second time it happened I was grossed completely out, but thought that putting her to bed in zippered footie pajamas would solve the problem. The third time in happened (in which she unzipped and disrobed completely from said pajamas) I have decided she’s just really wierd. And apparently has no qualms about touching poop. YUCK! I am just hoping & praying her system will get back on track for pooping during daytime hours, so she can go back to using the toilet like everyone else around here.

~~~~~

It looks like my mom will start chemo later this week. Plans are still up in the air for when Jonas, Susannah, & I will drive down there – at first Mom didn’t want me to be there during her treatments, in case she was very sick; she didn’t want to scare the kids. Then she said she just wants to see us, so we should come on down (but Chris doesn’t want me driving with the Labor Day holiday traffic). So, we’ll see. Please pray for her as she heads into her treatments, and pray that I will be able to decide when to go down & for traveling safety as I drive.

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(translation: this is a post of random ramblings in a lame attempt to catch up a little bit!)

I’m on an energy high today. Susannah randomly slept 7 hours straight last night. Gasp! I know. We’d gotten into some bad sleep patterns on our trip (11 days in Georgia) and a couple of days ago I had hit a WALL. Venting to my friend Crystail helped, and then brainstorming with my Mom helped even more (it’s always nice to hear about what worked when I was a baby… I think Susannah is probably a lot like me, personality-wise) with the result that I tried a less-intense approach when Susannah woke up around 10:30 pm. The current working theory is that she gets overstimulated and needs LESS “stuff” (singing/walking/bouncing/rocking/swaddling/etc/etc/adinfinitum) – so I tried to be gentle and unobtrusive, less eye contact, just got in there, changed her diaper, put her on her potty, offered her the breast – which she didn’t want, loosely swaddled her with her arms more free, handed her a stuffed lamb, laid her on her bed, and walked out. Five minutes of cooing to the lamb and she was out like a light – until almost 6:00 a.m. Who knows, it might be a fluke, but I got some AMAZING sleep last night for the first time in a long time. :0) Yay for small victories.

A cute Jonas-ism: {in the kitchen}
Jonas: Hey mom, you ‘member “hop-flops?”
Me: You mean flip-flops, like the shoes?
Jonas: {look of aggravation} NO, “hop-flops.” You know!
Me: Do you mean, hop scotch? When you jump on the numbers?
Jonas: {now looking really peeved} NO! HOP! FLOPS! You know, it’s like toast! With sprinkles!
Me: {slowly dawning} Ooooooh, do you mean, Pop-Tarts? {note: he has never eaten a pop-tart in his life}
Jonas: {relief} Yeah! Pop-Tarts!
Me: {confused as to what this conversation is even about} What about Pop-Tarts?
Jonas: {dreamily, laying head against his hand} I love that commercial.

School is going really well. We’ve taken a couple of weeks off for the holidays (partly for our trip to visit all the relatives in/around Atlanta, and partly because we just haven’t gotten back into our normal routine now that we’re home) but we’ll get back into the swing right after Christmas. Jonas is reading short-vowel words, and he’s starting to figure out a few of the long-vowel words without any direct instruction on that yet. His sight-word vocabulary is skyrocketing; it just amazes me. It’s funny that we really can’t spell anything we don’t want him to overhear, and he can read a few words off of the news scrolls on TV now, not to mention road signs and store signs galore.

I’m starting to think ahead to next school year already; I am considering using the ABeka K5 curriculum – at least their math and language programs, and possibly the Bible curriculum. I’m still comfortable supplementing my own science, art, and social studies at this grade level 🙂 I think the math might be a little bit of a stretch, but they use a “spiraling” approach that goes back to reinforce earlier concepts with LOTS of repetition, so it would be easy enough to adapt it to suit his needs if it is too much at first. And the phonics program would probably be a lot of review of what he already knows right now in the beginning – but I love the way they cover the “special rules” for phonics. I’m going to have to do a little more thinking & researching about the manuscript vs. cursive question. If I go ahead with ABeka, I will probably try to get my hands on some of the materials used since purchasing the whole shebang brand-new is kind of expensive! But a quick look on eBay today turned up a little bit of everything, so at least I feel good that they’re available “pre-loved” if that’s what I decide to do.

Christmas is only a week away! I still have one more item to shop for and one more sewing project to complete. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? I’ve never cut it this close before – clearly having two kids, plus a husband working nights, is taking its toll. I’m also going to try to assemble a digital Christmas card, so wish me luck on getting it all done in time!

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I got this in my email inbox this morning – it’s a good follow up to my post about being so tired!

“The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally “turn off” like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work.

Unfortunately, as a young homeschooling mom, I was missing out on my much needed sleep…” Read the rest here.

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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