Sunday, July 28, 2013

Getting Ready for August

So August is around the corner. Yep, already. 

August is always pretty exciting for us. We have A LOT of birthdays to celebrate...both of my boys, my dad, my little brother, a niece and my goddaughter. So much fun to plan and be a part of! I think the boys want a bowling party this year, so that should be fairly easy to put together. 

Another reason August is so exciting, is we start our official Dragon*Con countdown! Costume ideas are running rampant and we're looking through the guest list and noting which ones we want to see the most.  Giddy we are! ;)

I don't really have a lot planned for this week. On Wednesday, the boys and I are going to a state park for an open house homeschool group thingy. I'm not sure of too many details...but a friend has been doing it with her boys for a while, and it's all about nature outdoorsy stuffs (exploring local species, animal habitats, etc), so I know my boys would love it. We would only meet once a month, so it would be something easily inserted into our schedules. 

Other than that, I think we'll concentrate on game play and reading. I'm going to try to stump the boys with words from their spelling lists on the hangman game they play, lol. 

Bailey blew through the first book, and is now on the second book of a new series his dad just finished and loved and recommended. Author Michael J. Sullivan, I believe. Braeden, much to my total delight, has started the Harry Potter series! I love this! A local theater showed all of the HP movies weekly throughout the summer. We saw 6 of the 8 films on the big screen and really enjoyed it. After we watched the last one this past Tuesday, he proclaimed that he was ready to start reading the books. YAY! :D

For now, I'm off to grocery shop (blech) and spend this fabulous Sunday with my guys. Hope errbody wraps up their July in a good way! :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How fast they grow...

As parents, we always find ourselves looking at our kiddos and wondering where our little babies went, don't we? I know I do. All the time. Time just goes by so fast and I'm left wondering if the next time I blink, my kids are going to be driving, or starting college, or getting married, lol.

Why am I all sniveley and reminiscey (yep, for now, those are real words)? We spent some time this week talking about our upcoming school year. Braeden is going to be in the 4th grade and Bailey in the 9th.

Fourth and ninth grades.

Gulp. Whimper. Gulp.

Fortunately we now have a solid plan for both boys. Up until recently, we were still looking for a program that fit with both Bailey and myself. I know I mentioned last week how excited we were that Time4Learning had just announced they are going to offer a homeschool high school curriculum. That excitement hasn't waned a bit. :D

Bailey, even though he won't officially start the next grade level until right after Labor Day, is so excited he's asked if he can spend some time in the high school courses, just to see how they are going to be. Blows my mind that the kiddo is asking to do additional schoolwork, lol.

High school. Man. It was just yesterday when we started our homeschooling journey and he was in 1st grade.

And baby is going into 4th grade. He's going from a "lower school" login to an "upper school" login in T4L and that is a very big deal for him. I remember when he was 2 and 3 and begged to do school like Booboo (to this day, this is still what he calls his older brother and I love it). Now, *I'm* the one doing the begging. He's much more excited about the idea of school, than he is about the actual doing of school, lol. Ah well, it's a cycle. I hit it with Bailey, so at least I was prepared to hit it this time around.

Even though I wouldn't say he's stoked about schoolwork, he is looking forward to trying different things. He will now be able to take the art lessons in T4L, and he seems genuinely interested in taking an elementary online writing course. I'm shocked, but he's spent so much time lately talking to his dad about his writing, and talking to Bailey about his writing, that I guess he wants to explore the creative writing parts of his own brain. I'm alright with that. ;)

Growing up is a good thing. I know that. I'm excited about what their futures hold and I can't wait to see how their lives unfold.

But sometimes it's just so hard to let go of those "little boys" so they can become "big boys."

Fall 2007, so Bailey (turning 14 next month) was 8 and Braeden (turning 9 next month) was 3. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend Getaways...

We don't get to have them too often, but we LOVE them when they happen! This past week, my parents took my boys and my nephew to Daytona Beach for the week. Since this is one of our favorite places to go, the hubs and I decided to come join them just for the weekend.

Even though it's a short trip, it's so refreshing to just have a break, ya know? The boys have had a great time, and have enjoyed their week of unschooling, lol. We will get home tomorrow night sometime, and next week Bailey is taking his first peek at his new high school curriculum...except that it's not new, it's Time4Learning!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited about that, lol? They just announced that they will start offering high school courses, and we were all (yes, including Bailey!) ridiculously happy when we heard the news. Bailey has been using T4L since 2nd grade, so for him, being able to stick with what he knows is wonderful. For me too!

Braeden is going to learn more about science tools and will continue to read the book he's working on. He found an old copy of The Wizard of Oz at a used book store, so he's been reading that and enjoying it.

I will spend the week trying to defend myself from the laundry demon. The boys and I will resume our Harry Potter summer movie marathon with Deathly Hallows Part 1 this week, and at some point, we are hoping to go see Pacific Rim too.

For now, I'm going to get off here and go enjoy my last day at the beach! Have a fabulous Sunday, and a wonderful week! :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do you use #hashtags?

I enjoy social media. For the most part. I try to not whine on Facebook or Twitter (I mostly save that for my lucky blog readers, lol) and I've never posted a "selfie." I do post about my kiddos every now and then, but I also post about myself and my interests. I share funny memes and I follow and "like" a lot of my favorite movies, TV shows, musicians, authors, etc.

Having said all that, I'm a lurker much more than a poster. I read what others are sharing, and tweeting. Why? I enjoy it. We don't have cable or satellite TV anymore, and I sometimes miss upcoming movie trailers or info about the next episode of a show I watch (we LOVE Netflix, Amazon Prime videos and On Demand programming) or the next book by my favorite author.

I also use both social networking platforms (as well as Pinterest too) in my homeschooling. I connect with other homeschoolers, find craft/experiments to do, learn about curricula and materials, find and download printables and games for my boys to play...just everything.

I have been using hashtags on Twitter for a long time. It makes searching for something specific SOOOO much easier! If I want to see what others are talking about in regards to spelling, I can search for #spelling or #homeschoolspelling. If I want to learn more about elementary level animal lessons, I can find others who are talking about #homeschoolelementary or ask for #homeschoolhelp. If I want to learn more about homeschooling through high school, I can look for #homeschoolhighschool info. Granted, you still have to weed through some not-so-useful posts, but for the most part, hashtagging is an incredible search tool.

Recently FB started allowing the use of hashtags as well, and that's been so much fun! I have "liked" an awful lot of homeschool related pages, but looking through them all one by one, or trying to go down my timeline constantly, can be frustrating and time consuming. Not that I don't enjoy it...but some days, I simply don't have time. So looking for specific search terms is a no brainer. :)

Are you interested in learning more about the differences between Facebook and Twitter hashtags? Here is a cool little infographic:

While I enjoy hashtags on both platforms, I'm a wordy sort, so it's probably not surprising that I would enjoy FB more than Twitter, lol. It's really, really hard for me to condense what I want to say into 140 characters. ;)

Anyway, that's really all I wanted to say today...just that I've discovered some really great learning/educational materials and websites through hashtag searches, and that it might be something that many of you would benefit from too. There is a Facebook page, Homeschool Hashtags, that has more information about using hashtags on FB, as well as nice list of hashtags you can use to search and share with. They are adding to this list everyday, and would love your suggestions for new hashtags to add!

Off to curl up in a ball and wait for Friday. I just dropped my boys off with my parents for the week and being the overprotective, sheltering, helicopter mama that I am, I miss them terribly when they aren't with me. :/

Hope you all have a great week!