August Means Back to School or ..

Back to School pictures, at least!

This past Monday the public schools in our area cranked up the big yellow buses, teachers decorated bulletin boards, and kiddos grabbed their backpacks full of fresh school supplies. Here with the Tribe the big red van is in the shop, the little people decorated their arms with red ink pens, and a huge dent has already been made in new school supplies.

We have chosen to homeschool year round and it has worked out well for us over the years. It is a flex and flow style that I love.  However, August is the unofficial start to a “new school year” and the perfect time for me to snap a picture or two of my children. Nothing fancy, of course. I do, however, require a clean shirt and for hair to be brushed. High standards, I know.

First up is the Younger Crew:

Ezra, two, always adds an element of fun and energy to our days. Why sit and play quietly when there can be sword fights, block demolition, and trying to climb everywhere? But if you bring out a stack of picture books, he will happily sit and listen to you read. He is a joy and delight and thankfully has quite a few more years of learning with dirt and sticks.

Martha is four and not officially starting kindergarten until later. She enjoys being my Baby Girl and is a self-proclaimed princess. When she grows up she says that she will still be a princess. The girl is focused! She is silly, sweet, and smart. Throw in a bit of sassy and that is Martha Ann.

Sam, six, is working hard on building his reading and math skills. He joins his older siblings for history readings and science but always balanced with plenty of time in the great outdoors. Sam loves to talk and talk and talk. He also enjoys read alouds and that is about the only time he is quiet. He was planning on being a movie theater owner and a bounty hunter. However, archaeology has now captured his interest and he thinks digging up fossils would be really cool.

Sarah, eight, is my right hand gal in training. She loves to be busy and loves to have a to do list to check off.  Reading has finally started clicking for her and she is taking off with her books. Math is still fun but her siblings informed her that wouldn’t last. Her future? She wants to do something that allows her to be outside. But working in a museum dusting artifacts would be cool, too. Perhaps Sam and Sarah will work together?

Hannah, ten, would happily avoid not only school but the camera. Ha! Just let her outside to enjoy a good climbing tree and all is well. Hiking in the woods, collecting cicada shells, and playing with our cats are favorite activities. She hopes to one day be a zoologist as she loves all kinds of animals. Hannah also loves to read and one days hopes to have her own library. Sounds like a great plan to me!

This younger crew keeps me laughing. These years are precious and I love watching them grow and learn so quickly. Next up? The Teens!

Just Use Your Brain Power

“Just use your brain power, mom, and check it.”  Last week I order the next level of Fix It Grammar for my daughter, Lydia. (She really enjoys this program.) Her student text was a downloaded product but my teacher’s book is a physical book and should arrive tomorrow. Lydia has already completed a few lessons and wanted to know when I would check it. When she realized I didn’t have my book yet she told me to just “use your brain power and check it”.

She is a funny girl, right? Brain power is to be conserved, young one.

Lydia is not alone in the advice department. Hannah, 10, was eager to share her thoughts with me last week while grocery shopping. I’m not sure if you know this, but a trampoline makes an excellent disciplinary device. Yes, it is. Forget time out or standing in the corner. No need for a swat on the rear end. When your child is misbehaving it is most likely due to bundles of energy and bouncing on a trampoline will solve the issue. I suppose we all have a bit of Tigger in us? To her most heartfelt disappointment, I did not add a trampoline to the grocery list. She is, however, free to run in the backyard or climb a tree when burst of troublesome energy creeps up on her. Or scrub a toilet.

With my house full of witty and brilliant children I am sure more excellent advice will be shared. Consider yourself warned.

I’m a Playdough Mom. And you?

Today we made new batches of homemade playdough. My kitchen was a little messy as we had three different people cooking up batches. It smelled yummy, however, because we made Kool-Aid Playdough.  Before we could eat dinner, the kiddos had to clean up cookie cutters, toothpicks, clumps of playdough on the floor, and I had to snap pictures of really cool creations. My 15 month old encountered playdough for the first time. He thought it smelled and felt fabulous. Unfortunately, he thought he needed to taste it. He quickly learned that he might want to nibble on a cheese stick instead.

I also have a bag of rice waiting to be dyed with food coloring to refresh our sensory bin. In my closet is a box of paint, glitter, and bottles of glue. Yes, we have glue sticks for those quick projects but sometimes you just need a little liquid glue. (And liquid glue allows you to paint your hand with glue and peel it off later. Yes, I’m an adult. I promise.)

I’m not just a playdough mom. I also rock my babies to sleep as long as I can. There can never be too many read alouds. Dirty faces and hands are beautiful. I am an organizational failure. Seriously. I lose my to do lists more than once a day. Planning? Forget it. I am a helpless basket case when it comes to planning. Fancy, themed bento box lunches? Um, grab yourself a pb&j, sweetheart. Those fabulous birthday cakes that look too good to eat? Hey, here’s a bottle of sprinkles. Yes, you can shake them on the cake all by yourself.

So, what kind of mom are you? Glitter makes you shudder? Liquid glue brings you to your knees crying for mercy? Wow! What a fabulous mom you are!!  Never read aloud because audio books are your best friend? Outstanding. Keep rockin’ it , momma. Playdough is only once a year and only outside? Mom, you are amazing.

You manage how many medical appointments for you cutie pie each week? You understand and teach higher math? My. Hero. Not only are you a mom but an author, too? Thanks for giving me a new book to read! Wait. You are a single mom working your patootie off to take care of your kiddos? Keep it up, mom. They will never doubt your love for them.  Working overtime this week to make ends meet? Praying you find time to relax. Yoga pants are your best friend? Hey, you go, girl. I myself love a nice, worn out pair of jeans with a flannel shirt. (Here’s hoping it gets cold enough to wear one.)

Why not give your fellow moms a high five and tell them to keep up the good work. You might want to wash the glitter off your hands first. Just a thought.