Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There will be more to come...

I first have to reclaim my laptop from my 7 year old and 5 year old. They recently discovered the world of Webkinz and have laid claim to my laptop for one or two hours a day since. Not only that, they are actively getting me addicted to the arcade games on Webkinz, after all they get the benefit of the webkinz cash. Insert eye roll here. I have several layouts finished this weekend, that I will be posting over the next few days.

In the meantime, I read something that struck me. Many of you know that I homeschool my children. In one homeschool newsletter I was reading this morning I read the following:

"Expectation: A standard of performance expected of someone. When I read this definition, several things struck me. First, that a standard of performance has been set and accepted. For many years, educational standards were just observations of what children commonly learned at different ages or grades. Tests assessed whether a child had learned what most other children the same age had learned. Meeting commonly held standards meant that you generally knew what others your age knew. Since standards didn't seek to accelerate progress, most students did, in fact, match up with their age mates eventually.

Somewhere along the line, those expectations changed from being descriptive (telling what children learned) to prescriptive (telling what children should learn). As you know as a parent, observing what your child knows versus what she should know is an entirely different feeling. One is informational, and the other is stressful. The stress comes because you have to change your child to fit the standards."

Emphasis added. What do you think? As a first time mom, we watch our children avidly for those first skills: grabbing a small object, rolling over, lifting up on their arms, etc. And often we take our babies to the pediatricians at the first sign of their NOT accomplishing a milestone "on time", only to have the pediatrician tell us, "Go home. Relax, all kids do not do things at the same pace or in the same way." So we relax. We reassure ourselves that they will accomplish those things, they may just take a little longer.

Is this applicable to education? Have our standards progressed from being descriptive to prescriptive as the author states? Are we pushing our children too much, too fast?

I have a healthy respect for old schoolhouses, those one room schoolhouses. Everyone at different levels learning together. The one thing I have taken from my reading about those schoolhouses is the focus on basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In my opinion, we cannot progress in our learning if we do not have those basics mastered. Yes, mastered.

So in our school day, math, phonics, and reading get priority. Those are our first three subjects of the day. Sometimes those are the only schoolwork we get accomplished. And in my opinion that is okay. I don't need for my 7 year old to understand ancient history, or astronomy, or speak Spanish, or play the piano like Mozart. I need her to be able to read, write, and do math. Everything else is just icing on the cake. I don't need to compare my teaching to the public school's curriculum, because, in my opinion, they try to do too much in too little detail. All the civics, social sciences, teaching tolerance, and exposure to different cultures. Sounds great. But it's detracting from the basics. I can do the civics, social sciences, tolerance, and expanding their horizons in our daily lives out and about town. And certainly as they get older they will be studying more subjects in more detail.

But right now? If they can read me an age appropriate book, I'm stoked. There is nothing better in the world. And to see my daughter's face when she realized she got every problem correct on her math test. Opinions?

Thanks for visiting as always!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4th Birthday

Have I mentioned I'm terrible when it comes to the big event layouts? Yeah.

So I'm just now doing my son's 4th birthday layout. He turned 5 almost 3 months ago. And no, I haven't done the 5th birthday layout yet.

Anyway, I used Close to My Heart's flip flap pockets to add more pictures to the layout (both the pic of my son and the pic of the birthday cake have more pictures underneath them). Pretty much everything except the felt, the scooby doo, and the "4" are from Close to My Heart. The felt (stars and border) is from Fancy Pants, the scooby doo was from an extra invitation (that I made into a card for his presents), and the 4 is using a die cut from Papertrey Ink.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Took a nice long weekend with the family. Mostly hung out and cleaned house, but that was nice too, in its own way. LOL.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! I hope you are enjoying this find Monday. I have the valentines I made for my family to share today.

This first one is completely cased from Janelle's blog. She received the highlight from Papertrey Ink's Make it Monday Challenge and I knew I had to do this for my husband's valentine.
I used my cricut (the heart from Lacy Labels) to make my heart mask. The sentiments are from Papertrey Ink stamps (Borders & Corners: Hearts and Heart Prints) and one from Little Yellow Bicycle ([all you need is love] stamp from their Love Letters line). Inks (black and cranberry) and the love medallion are from Close to My Heart. The ribbon is also from Little Yellow Bicycle's Love Letters line. What do you think? I love it, and can't wait to try it with some other themes, particularly Christmas.

These are the valentines for the kids. Totally inspired by Nichole Heady's blog here.

The cards are actually luggage tags again cut with my cricut (fabulous finds cartridge). I then covered the front in strips of ribbon and cut with scissors.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

37th Birthday

This is a birthday card I made recently for a friend's birthday. I was a bit apprehensive about making a cupcake birthday card for an adult, but I think she liked it. The cupcake and numbers dies are from Papertrey Ink, as well as the stamp set (Big Birthday Wishes), the paper (Wings) and ink are from Close to My Heart. I placed the numbers through my xyron sticker maker upside down and then covered them with prisma glitter.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Love of Reading...

Here is the most recent layout I've done of my kids. My daughter has started reading chapter books to herself, and I was excited to get this photo of her reading to her little brother. The book is one of the Frannie K. Stein books. My kids love those books!

These pages are from the Lucky Workshop on the Go kit. I rotated the pages 90 degrees and altered them a bit to fit my photos. The round reading stamps are from Papertrey Ink (All Booked Up), the alphabet stamp is Old World Alphabet from Close to My Heart.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jumping right in again...

No talking about that long absence. Really. I'm not going to apologize or anything. These things happen. Homeschooling has taken a lot more of my free time than I had even imagined. But now, I think things are settled in. I'm happy with the way our curriculum is going. Daily school is going smoother. So I hope to return to blogging more frequently.


So here are a few cards I made using the Wings Workshop on the Go from Close to My Heart. I did alter them a bit, added some glitter etc.

I'm really rather excited about the spray pens that Close to My Heart are now carrying. :)

Thanks for visiting!