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Friday, December 18, 2009

Ready or not Christmas is coming...

Do you ever wish you could hit the pause button? That's how I feel right now... I want to hit a button that would bring everything and everyone to a standstill for a day or two... or three but still allow me to get stuff done. I feel like I am so behind and I am not sure if I am ever going to catch up!! There isn't one Christmas decoration up yet, some gifts still to be bought, baking to be done and in the midst of all of that we are reorganizing the classroom (which I am pleased about...see why in my previous post).

I am trying my best to make it Christmas-y around here even if the obvious Christmas time things are not evident. We have been playing Christmas music, I have been reading the kids the Christmas story a little at a time for our Bible lesson each day and we spent the whole day on Wednesday making Christmas ornaments which WILL go on the tree at some point before Christmas morning! The kids had fun making these (but I think I had more fun!) Here are some pictures of our creations:

We saw these cute reindeer in a craft book we checked out at the library and I had the clothespins waiting for me to do something with. They were fun and easy to make although most of it was hot glued so the kids picked out the colour ribbon the wanted, the bell, the googly eyes and I helped them put it all together...


I saw these stars and snowflakes on Mama Jenn's blog and knew the kids would like them... I was right. I would have made mine a little less colorful but I gave them full artistic liberties!

These wreaths are my recreation of a kit I saw advertised on Oriental Trading. They too were fun for the kids to put together.

Lastly, these are snowflakes the kids decorated for a contest a local toy store was having... their entries gave us a coupon for 10% off craft supplies so I will be sure to use that in the near future!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Workbox Adventure begins...

If I had been blogging regularly, you would know that my latest pursuit in the homeschool sphere of my life is workboxes. I stumbled upon the concept while reading the many homeschool blogs that I peruse. What exactly are workboxes and why am I so excited about them?

The WorkBox System was developed by Sue Patrick and is "An effective teaching system to reduce your organizational time and increase your child's self-control, independence and learning." You can find out more on her website. There are tons of other blogs outlining how others have used workboxes... here is a great link to some of those.

It became clear to me a couple of months ago that I needed to develop a system to organize what I did each day with each child. Since September I have tried various methods, created many forms, made tons of lists and nothing seemed to work in the long run. Having 3 different age and ability levels to teach, I want to be sure each child is getting exactly what they need. I loved the concept of Tot trays which I have been using with Buttercup (and a little with LiLi) but I was having the problem of where and when to set up the trays as we have limited space. I am also trying to encourage KaiKai to be more independent. He spends a lot of time coming to ask me how to do something, or waiting for me to give him the next thing to do. He is a child who likes to have a plan and know when something is going to start, end and every step in between. When I began reading about work boxes I started using a 5 part intray to layout KaiKai's work each day. He loved that... he could go and get on with his worksheets/ activities and only come to me if there was something I had to work with him on. The limitation with the intray, is that I can only fit a sheet of paper on each tray... If I have a puzzle, game, manipulatives to go with an activity, or a textbook, they will not fit on the tray.

There are a lot of ideas in Sue Patricks book which I eventually ordered and read that are helpful and some that I will tweak as have many who have used the system. The original system uses a cart with 12 shoe boxes but people have used a number of different types of shelving and trays. So what would work for us and the limited space that we have. I couldn't possibly find room for 36 boxes and there was also the challenge of not having Target or Walmart to run to to find the sterlite or rubbermaid containers/ drawers that many were using. I spent tons of time on line and at our local hardware store looking for the perfect solution and then a friend suggested the Ikea Trofast system. It looked like it would work for us. There is a company here that places your Ikea order and then ships it on to the island (for a significant markup but oh well what can you do :) Because of the holiday season the said it would probably be in in mid January... okay I would have to wait, using my improvised system.

I was so excited yesterday when the company called to say the order was here and ready to be collected!!! Yay!

I can't wait until they are set up... since we are on Christmas break after tomorrow I won't plan on using them until January so I have a couple of weeks to get things organized the way I want it. Stay tuned for more on workboxes...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Metamorphosis of a Procrastinating Perfectionist

Over a month and I have not blogged :( I have created so many blog posts in my head but I never seem to find the time or motivation to actually sit here and blog... WHY??

I LOVE reading other peoples blogs, I LOVE the thought of having my own personal record of our adventures, I LOVE other people being able to keep up with our adventures through my blogging, I LOVE the comments left by others who have been inspired by ideas I have posted, and I LOVE the possibility of making friends through blogging....

SOOOOO... why haven't I been blogging??? I think I could come up with 1000 reasons focused on not having time to blog.. and I really don't have a lot of time, BUT I think the REAL reason is that I am a perfectionist which manifests itself in procrastination. I think I have fear that if it is not perfect than it is not worth doing... but I raise the bar for myself WAY TOO HIGH. I am afraid to fail so I don't do it at all. It has taken me 36 years to figure this out about myself but as I think back through my life and all the times I have started and not completed things that is the underlying reason.

So I am going to work on not having to do things perfectly, not setting the standard at impossible, and not comparing myself to others... not just as a blogger, but as a mother, wife, Christian... and all the other roles I find myself in. This is a work in progress... change takes time... change takes effort... change is possible through Christ...