Thursday, July 30, 2015

First Field Trip and Baby Update

Today we took to the big city for our first real field trip and my OB check up for baby #3. We started the day with a visit to one of our favorite libraries, and ended with rainbow sherbet from Baskin Robbins-the boys declared together that it was the "best day ever!!" (As an aside, we have a lot of those lol!)

First stop-the library. After filling our backpacks to the brim with new books to explore (mostly dinosaur related) we enjoyed an awesome storytime program. Aren't these kiddo librarians just about the most energetic, colorful bunch you've ever seen? Engaged kids= thankful me!
From the library and after a quick detour to Kohls, we made our way to a favorite family lunch spot-Pei Wei! I was bound and determined to have it at some point during my birthday week. As usual it did not disappoint, and I'm happy to report that Evan's chopstick skills are improving with each visit. :-)

Thankfully, my doctor's visit was mostly uneventful-just what you want to hear! This was just a routine check up and we were in and out within 20 minutes-praise the Lord. I'm measuring right on schedule(surprisingly), my blood pressure is great, the scale is tipping and little boys heart is beating strong. So far the boys have been to every baby appointment with me, and really enjoy listening to baby brother's heartbeat each time. For myself I'm definitly getting a bit more uncomfortable at this point, and have already begun to experience the lower back and pelvic pain that I *feel like* should be reserved for those last few days and weeks. Ahh the joys of pregnancy round three!

Bennett still thinks it's time for the baby to come out of my tummy every time we go to a doctor's office. I can only imagine how exciting it'll be for him when we can finally say "YES, we're having the baby today."
Our OB's office is just down the street from the NC Art museum, so I couldn't resist planning a trip! I looked online before hand and found this really fun "Tour in a Tote" feature for kids, and knew it would be there perfect guide to our little field trip. The website describes the tote as "A free lending resource for young visitors to explore works of art in the permanent collection through kid-friendly, interactive prompts."
Evan was especially interested in the Egyptian section, but nothing caught his eye quite like this painting of the revolutionary heroes. It was his favorite of the whole museum and I have to say I'm impressed with his taste.

Bennett found himself at home in the colorful modern art section. At one point here Evan made quite the face at one exhibit in particular(a pile of broken glass on a giant serving tray) saying "that's not art...that's a mess." I couldn't help but laugh, he's definitely my budding realist.
To top off our long day we stopped by Baskin Robbins on the way home. I was secretly craving some rainbow sherbert, and didn't think the boys would mind the stop. Talk about cool points.
And now that the day is done and I've got two tired boys tucked into bed, it's time finish off that leftover birthday cake...

Monday, July 27, 2015

A glance at schooling year round

School in July? Why yes, we have chosen to homeschool on a year round calendar.  As I've seen the trend exploding in areas around us and spoken with seasoned year-round friends, I like what I see and am excited to incorporate it into our own homeschool. Of course, this break from the traditional school calendar is brand new to me, and as such I anticipate regular pauses throughout the year to evaluate if it's working for our family.

I realize that not every type of calendar or style of school is ideal for each individual family-homeschooling year round is what we've chosen as best for our family in our current season of life, and I'm so excited to share our journey with you sweet readers here on my blog!
A nod to Pinterest for keeping our calendars cute!
Mainstream public schools often utilize the year round calendar to accommodate more students where overcrowding is an issue. Here are some of the benefits we hope to reap by schooling year-round...

More time, less stress
A traditional calendar lends 36 weeks to schedule your school year, where a year round schedule generously offers you 52! That's a lot of time to get your schooling in! For myself I know I have about 30 more days planned than the state required 180, which gives me the freedom to take off an extra day here or there(for sick days, impromptu playdates, and say, having a baby) without feeling like I'm getting behind. And yes, those 30 days are outside of my already scheduled track outs, family birthdays, and holidays. #breathingroom

Also, that extra time allows us to really stop and explore areas of interest that arise. Whether it be dinosaurs, the solar system or subtraction, homeschooling in general-and especially on a year round calendar-will give us the flexibility to really camp out and dive into those subjects. Conversely if Evan turns out to be a struggling student in any particular area(ahem-reading!), we can take the extra time to master that skill without feeling hurried.

Vacation and breaks
(Otherwise captioned-...because summer in NC is just too hot-I'd rather be inside!)
Who doesn't love a good break? I do! And by year round schooling we can have even more of them. For myself I know I prefer smaller breaks spread more often and evenly throughout the year verses one or two larger ones. I think that consistent, little breaks over the year will also lend itself to less "burn out" on both student and teacher ends.

And if we were more of a vacationing family(never say never), we can take time in the off season. Read-generally cheaper rates, and fewer crowds!

Ideally we won't experience as much summertime learning loss, which means less time in review and more productivity moving forward. There are basically less adjustments of getting back into a "school" routine because we never left it in the first place. Even with smaller breaks spread evenly throughout the year, school will inevitable become part of our normal, year round lifestyle.

which brings me to...

Real Life! 
I envision learning and growing and exploring together to be part of our natural everyday lifestyle-more than for just 180 days or 8-10 months of the year. One blogger said it like this..."Real life is happening all around us – things like moving, babies being born, job changes, sicknesses, vacations, and holidays – homeschooling year-round allows us to live life, enjoy it, and learn from it as well."

And P.S.- when my boys are all grown up and functioning as adults in the real world, they won’t be taking 2-3 month long vacations from their jobs(most likely), so why would they do it for school?

Last but not least, here are some basic facts(most NC specific) on the year round calendar for your reading/learning pleasure...

  •  Year-round students are in session the same number of days as traditional calendar students. All North Carolina pupils receive 180 days of instruction; the difference is the way the vacation time is allotted throughout the year — either in a large block during traditional summer or more frequent breaks on the year-round calendar.
  • As of 2014, 46 states offer schools with year round calendars.
  • Wake County year-round schools utilize the 45/15 calendar. 45 days (or nine weeks) of instruction followed by 15 days (or three weeks) of vacation. Students enjoying the 15-day vacation periods are considered “tracked out.”
  • Holidays, such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are generally shared between year-round and traditional calendars, but be sure to check your specific track for any possible changes. 
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Baby reveals and beach boys

    A few weeks ago we celebrated baby #3 with a fun gender reveal pinata. Turns out the pinata was a stubborn one and took quite the beating before the candy fell. It was actually pretty hilarious, and I think everyone enjoyed their (many) turns at bat. The news has been out for a while now but to debut it here on the blog-it's a BOY!!!!
    For those that have offered their condolences(yes, even you well meaning cashiers at Target), let me declare proudly that are very excited to welcome another bouncing boy into our family. Every baby is a blessing, and we are so so thankful for this healthy, growing little gift. In Evan's words, "Brother's day is going to be AWESOME now!!!"

    In recent baby news, he is so active lately and often keeps me awake with his not so tiny kicks. I can hardly believe we're past the half way marker, though my belly happily reminds me! Baby boy also has a name now but we are waiting a bit to reveal it as the battle for his middle name continues to wage on.

    A few days after our fun pinata party the boys and I braved the sharks and spent a few fun days at the beach with my family.  My sister and nephew have been in town from Texas and we have loved sharing sweet times with them! The boys really loved the beach this summer. Evan was especially brazen in the water, my true beach bum at heart Bennett turned into quite the sandman, and all the littles enjoyed digging for sand crabs with Aunt Sami. Thanks to high tides and an super wide sandbar, the boys even had a few surfing lessons from Poppy!
    A shout out to Gigi and Poppy for bringing us all to the beach to make these fun memories-and special thanks to the sharks for staying away!

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    First days-Kindergarten!!!

    It happened. Today in the life of Scott family stories marks a huge milestone-the beginning of our homeschooling journey. I'm excited beyond words to embark on this adventure with my biggest boy, and looking forward to seeing him learn and grow as he rocks out Kindergarten.
     We did a lot of fun "first day" activities that I hope will stick out for future traditions, starting with a super special breakfast(thanks to the hubs for running out to Panera for muffins and bagels!).

    As I plan to structure most days, we worked on our "3 R's" in the morning(Reading, wRiting and aRithmatic). After lunch and a short quiet time we came back together for an art project and fun science experiment, both of which enforced our monthly unit study "Under the Sea."
    Shark Art(sideways)

    We found this awesome science project via Pinterest(click pic for link). I can't even express how  thankful I am for the wealth of *free* resources available on the internet now.

    Oh, and I should also mention we enjoyed "recess" at the pool-just one perk of doing school year round in July. 
    I hope to document our homeschool days as best as I can, so stay tuned for blogs of a more school-y shade. Kindergarten day 1 is in the books!