Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Odd Girl Out

Do you know the little song from Sesame Street - "One of these things is not like the others"? That explains this picture.

There are only 6 players on Sassy Pants's team; 3 of them are girls. Do you notice the pink on the 2 other girls in this picture? They're girly girls. Sassy is not. She's wide open. She was shoving down the boys on the field during her last soccer game.

Link up your Wordless Wednesday post here:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Laundry

A couple years ago, I posted how I dealt with my nemesis - laundry. Since then, my small people are a couple years older, and they have been forced to become more responsible, which has changed my laundry routine a little.

Now each of the older 3 have a day in which they are responsible for laundry. Since Ballerina and Little Red share a room, Ballerina does laundry for both of them. Same with Soccer Girl and Sassy Pants - Soccer Girl does laundry for both of them. Sassy and Little Red both help with folding the clean clothes and putting them away.

Monday is Ballerina's day.
Wednesday is Soccer Girl's day.
Friday is The Boy's day.

The rest of the days I do laundry for Robb and myself, as well as towels, sheets, etc.

I'm loving the fact that the small people are old enough to help out more with household tasks. Eventually I plan to have them all helping so that I can sit around and eat bonbons all day. I mean, so that they will be self-sufficient when they leave home.




Friday, February 22, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

I'm going to be honest - I am not one of those homeschooling moms who makes her own bread, grows all her own vegetables, butchers her own cow, etc. Sometimes I even feed my kids fast food (insert gasp here).

All moms (not just those of use who homeschool) need to feed our small people. So many times we're so busy during the day that, before we know it, it's time for dinner and we have NO idea what we're going to make. (Or at least this is what happens to me.)

So I'm starting a new weekly feature on Fridays - Food on Friday. Hopefully it will keep me thinking about what to serve my family each week, and we won't eat nearly as much fast food or junk.

This week's Food on Friday
Pepperoni Pizza Muffins
Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup store bought pizza sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. (I use a well-seasoned Pampered Chef stoneware pan so no need to grease it.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Whisk in milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the batter. Divide among muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 25-30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the muffins with the sauce for dipping.


Do you have any recipes you would like me to feature on Food on Friday?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Snow

We got a little bit of snow over the weekend, which is unusual for where we live. The last time we had snow was December 2010. Sassy Pants took a bucket outside with her to catch the snow.

Share your Wordless Wednesday with us!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creating a Homeschool Schedule


About a month ago, I wrote about how important having a schedule is for me in my homeschool. So that leads to the question,

How do I create my schedule?

First I figure out which subjects I can combine my small people for.

Next I determine how much time I need to give each subject.

Finally I sit down with a blank spreadsheet and start fitting in all in like a jigsaw puzzle. I go ahead and fill in the things we all do together - Bible, history, breakfast, lunch, and read-aloud. Thankfully, other than those subjects, The Boy does most of his schoolwork independently, just coming to see me when he needs assistance. So his is easy to fill in. I make sure that I work with Sassy Pants early in the day so that, when I need her to go play quietly while I work with the other girls, she doesn't NEED my attention as much.

Book basket is an independent reading time for the older kids. I check books out from the library and add in others that we own that are about topics that we're studying. It's a perfect time for me to work on kindergarten, especially phonics, uninterrupted with Sassy since the older ones don't need me to help them with anything.

Independent work for The Boy:
At the beginning of every week, I print out his weekly assignment sheet. Everything except history and science is independent for him. He knows that he can come ask me questions any time he needs, but for the most part, he's pretty independent.

Independent work for the twins and Little Red:
I don't have room to do workboxes, so I've modified it into work folders. They each have their own color folders that are numbered.

Inside each folder, I put either an index card with their assignment written on it or a worksheet. Independent work includes:
  • daily devotion time
  • Spanish
  • handwriting
  • spelling
  • assigned independent reading (different from book basket time where they can choose what they read)
  • math facts practice
  • grammar review worksheets
  • journal writing 
  • vocabulary

I also like to give them some "fun" things intermixed with their academic.
  • 30 minutes of Wii or computer time
  • Practice soccer skills (for Soccer Girl) or ballet (for Little Red and Ballerina) for 30 minutes
  • Practice typing for 15 minutes (We have a cute typing tutor computer game)
  • Take Buddy (the dog) outside to play for 15 minutes
  • Do an activity with Sassy (which also helps to keep her entertained and not grow bored playing quietly all day)
They just go through the folders in order until either they complete them all or we reach the end of the school day (2:30pm). Anything not done will just be one of their first few folders the next day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simple Things Sunday - My Sock Monkey

Yesterday, Sassy had her first soccer game of the spring (really, spring in February?) season. Since it was a bit chilly at 10am, she went with the sock monkey look. 

She has so much fun. In addition to playing soccer, she entertained us during a dead ball with a little dance, captured above.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Revolutionary War Field Trip

To finish up our study of the Revolutionary War, we took a field trip today to the Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site here in South Carolina. I absolutely loved seeing the "light bulb" go on when we read the signs that talked about how Gen. Cornwallis used it as his headquarters in South Carolina, as they realized that it was the same person who surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown. My history buff, Ballerina, kept telling us that this was the most awesome field trip ever.

The Kershaw-Cornwallis house (pictured above) is actually a reconstructed house. Built by Kershaw in 1777, it was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1977.

There are other buildings on the grounds that are original, but restored, buildings from the area, like this cabin.
 


They also had the "stocks" that the red-heads had to try out.

The redoubts that were used as defenses and the magazine foundation were fun for the small people to run around on. Soccer Girl even was running around pretending to shoot people.












While we were at the magazine area, I looked over to see Sassy Pants sitting there with a forlorn look on her face. I asked her was wrong, and she told me she was lonely. I'm not sure what that was about, but it made for some cute pictures.

The grounds themselves were just gorgeous to walk around. I found that my daffodils aren't the only ones confused and blooming early; there were several blooming there as well.






The Boy and Sassy found a ladybug which brought Sassy lots of joy since she is our ladybug.




Friday, February 1, 2013

A Problem with Youth Sports



We've been involved in youth sports for the past 10 years as parents, and before we even had children, Robb coached youth basketball. Over the past 10 years, we've had small people playing t-ball, baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. They've played a variety of levels - from Upward (church league) to recreation to club/select/travel. Robb and I have been parents, team managers, coaches, and league board members.

All that to say that over the years I have formed an opinion as to what is a major problem in youth sports:

Adults

There. I said it. Adults are one of the main problems in youth sports. Now I admit, it's not all adults, and that's not the only problem. But many adults are a large problem. In fact, according to Stop Sports Injuries, by age 13, 70 percent of kids drop out of youth sports. The top three reasons: adults, coaches and parents.
Here are some of the adult behaviors I've noticed that I think are a problem:

Parents who have their children in sports for their own glory. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a parent whose own ego is wrapped up in his/her child's sports. Children who are playing sports so that their parents can live out their own childhood sports fantasies all over again. Children who started a sport because they enjoyed playing, and who lose that love because they're pushed to be better, faster, stronger, whatever, simply so their parent can brag.

Parents who think their child will be the next Kobe Bryant, Albert Pujols, Lionel Messi, or Peyton Manning. This kind of goes along with the first point. According to Statistic Brain:
  • There are currently 35 million children (ages 5-18) playing organized sports each year. Only about 2 million of those are playing high school soccer, basketball, or football. 
  • The odds of a high school basketball player making it to the NBA are 1 in 10,000.
  • The odds of a high school football player making it to the NFL are 1 in 6,000.
  • The odds of a high school soccer player receiving a full ride to a Div I or II school are 1 in 90.
More than likely, Little Johnny or Little Susie is not going to go pro in his/her sport. As adults, we should be helping them to foster a love for simply playing the sport, not for any potential pro contract they probably won't be receiving.

Parents and coaches who forget that they are dealing with children, NOT professional ball players. It's sad to watch coaches and parents who are screaming at children for, well, being children. Children are still learning. Part of the learning process is making mistakes. They aren't going to make every basket, stop every goal, hit every ball. Having adults screaming at them from the sidelines probably isn't going to increase the probability that they'll do it right the next time. In fact, for most children, it will give them higher anxiety, which will result in more errors.


Parents and coaches who set poor sportsmanship examples. What are we teaching our children when we yell at the referee during a game for 7 and 8 year old children? I know it's frustrating to see a bad call, and, I'll admit, there have been times when I've yelled at the ref myself. I'm not proud of that. Ironically, my children don't remember the ref's call as much as they remember how I behaved because of it. We've all heard the stories of fights breaking out among the parents at a youth sports event. Is it any wonder that our children blame parents, coaches, and other adults for not wanting to continue to play?

Coaches who play favorites. The goal for recreational youth sports should be to have fun and learn the fundamentals of the game. It isn't fun for a child to play very little, nor are they learning anything by sitting on the bench. Just because Little Johnny can hit a home run every time he's at bat or Little Susie can dribble circles around the other kids doesn't mean they should play every minute of the game. The other players will develop far more by actually being in the game as well.

I know how easy it is for us as adults to get caught up in our children's sports. It's easy to try to live vicariously through our children. However, as adults, we need to be bigger than that. We need to set aside our personal agendas.
Let our children be children.

 Let them play because they enjoy playing.


Tots and Me
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