Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trying to find "THAT" book.

You know, "THAT" book! The one that will get the kids so interested in reading they'll really want to start doing it more and more...My oldest (the one that's turning 21 WAY to soon) hated reading for YEARS. It was torture not just for him, but for me as well to try and get him to pick up a book! He was something like 11 before he really got into reading and then he just took off! Read every single one of the Lemony Snickets "A Series of Unfortunate Events". Every single one! So with the girls taking after him some what in the reluctant reader category I decided to try and find something, ANYTHING, that might tempt them to read more...I've tried this book and that book. They found a few they really like for instance..
A book about a very special fish who does marvelous things, until we wishes he was just like all the other fish..
And this one they thought was cute...
About a frog who does princely deeds and at the end is rewarded with his own little castle..
But trying to find a chapter book has been hard. Nothing sounded good to them. We've tried a few that I think they WILL like when they are a bit older but was a bit to hard for them right now. I thought about doing The Little House series with them, but they didn't seem to interested in it. So I went thru some of Josh's old books and found the Harry Potter series. They hadn't heard of Harry Potter so I told them just a tiny bit. They seemed interested enough to give it a try. We've finished the first 3 chapters now and they are excited to start number four tomorrow! I'm not sure how long it will last but hopefully it will keep them excited enough that they'll decide reading CAN BE FUN! They are at least picking up books and trying to read them more and more..With us sitting down each night to read a few pages (or a whole chapter!) I'm hoping they'll fall into the habit of reading each night on their own. Right now we do it as "circle" time. I sit one one bench the girls each have their own bench (and yes, for Ari it is a bit hard to sit still for long so she tries as long as she can then moves a bit while still staying close enough to hear it) even Dominic will pull himself up on a bench and sit to listen. Maybe, just MAYBE he'll be the one that loves reading right off the bat! One can always hope!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily life...

  Someday's you start out all put together, and by the end of the day...

I had someone recently ask what it's like to homeschool and why we choose it. As I've mentioned before there are so many reasons and it's different for each family.  That being said, is homeschooling always fun and exciting?

Well, no, but neither is life in general. Homeschooling just like anything else has it's ups and downs. Some times its wonderful and other times you just deal with it. We have days we don't feel like doing anything, other days we have so much scheduled I have to wonder what exactly I was thinking. Somedays it's wondering if they are getting "enough" then there are days when you actually see that they do get the info. There are days when you think how much easier it would be to send them to school. Some days it's the dealing with a kid who can't sit still (Ari has now been "rocking out" for 45 minutes...she has to slow down at some point doesn't she?) Winter can be worse for us, grey cloudy, wet and cold so we don't always get to go outside and with 2 kids (Ari and Dominic) who pretty much NEED to be outside on a fairly regular basis, this year we'll be taking advantage of the indoor play place! Use what you have! It can be hard when you have a calmer child who is ready to sit down and one who is easily distracted and always on the move. Trying to do one on one...yeah, somedays that just doesn't happen.

Yes, it's hard at time not to "compare" your kids with kids in public school (and yes, sometimes in the comparison YOUR kids come out on top...and sometimes they don't). Try not to do it. It's a completely different kettle of fish! Besides, if your interested in taking them OUT of public school, why bring it home to compare to what your kids are doing there as well? Kids all develop a little differently and are ready for things sooner/later than their friends.  Try not to compare to other styles of homeschooling kids as well. It's really hard to try and compare someone who does unschooling to someone who is much more structured! They learn different things and different ways. Is it hard not to do this? sure is! I even caught myself doing it last night! Just be aware what your doing and if it's actually helping you at all.

Hang out with other homeschoolers/unschoolers! We all learn new and interesting things and can always add (or take out) something that we like (don't like) to our "school". Do not limit yourself! Ask questions if your new, or just observe for awhile and see how things "work" in other families. Don't put a time restriction of  trying it for one year! That first year is SO hard trying to figure out what works for your kids, what works for you family and you might find  you start out one way and finish out a complete 180 from where  you started!

Today...Today is all about the books. They want to read and read and read...guess I'm off to do some reading. Ari has finally tired herself out and can sit and listen. She really needs that physical outlet on a daily basis, or she gets worse and worse! That's one of the things that did get noticeable on vacation. She did pretty well on the days we were out walking etc. but on the "down" days it's a bit harder for her.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cobra Museum of Modern Art

Dominic stayed with Omi and Opa while the rest of us headed to Cobra.
After seeing so much of the early stuff (from Ancient Egypt to the Dutch Masters and everything in
between) It was time to see some of the "new" stuff.  

The girls were told they'd have a "test" at the end of the visit and went "WHAT?!?!"  LOL. 
So we looked at the different paintings, sculptures etc. talked about the different textures, layers and colors the new stuff had compared to the older stuff. Then at the end of the day we asked them which did they like better the old stuff or the new stuff, which was their favorite artist, and why. They thought that was a pretty easy test! Kaitlyn likes the old stuff (Rembrandt, Van Gogh) better and thought some of the newer stuff was just odd while Arianna thought she actually like both for different reasons. 
After our visit to Cobra it was over for a fast eat (The museum is actually right next to a small shopping area). We stopped at the fish market for snacks...

White fish bites in one container and mussle in the other. Both girls gave them each a try and of course, each liked one but not the other. Kaitlyn liked the white fish better while Arianna thought the mussel had a bit more flavor! Some days we just can't agree on anything! After a fast snack we walked around the shopping area and then headed back home. 
We all had a wonderful time during our vacation. The girls were sad to leave, but happy to be back home as well.  The flight home was long. Instead of our normal direct flight we had a stop and layover which turned our normal 10 hour flight into a 14 hour flight (not including the time for the layover) to say the least we stayed in a hotel the first night before driving the 2 hours home the next morning. 
Dominic took the first week to try and adjust by waking up every morning between 4 and 5 which of course made for some VERY long days for me! The girls bounced back pretty fast with just a couple of early mornings and of course Hans started back up at work the following Monday so he didn't get much rest between at all. 
Now just to get back to our normal routines...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Van Gogh

Finally! The one the girls have been wanting to go to! We had museum cards (which are good for the whole country not just Amsterdam) so we did get into a shorter line. However, now they also have a timed line. Where you make arrangements to be there at a certain time and basically go right in..Yeah, I suggest that one! Of course its nice to have the museum card and not have to pay for each museum, etc. every time you go. We got our money's worth with the museum card!!
Anyway after a short wait (about 20 minutes) we got in. One of the wonderful things that they have done (along with a lot of the other places) is having activities for the kids. A treasure hunt, or a question/answer page with things to search for  thru the exhibit. It helps keep the kids entertained and engaged with the art and gives the kids an "end goal" for each museum. The girls had a great time, looking at the paintings, discussing what they were looking at and filling out all the questions in their treasure hunt. Dominic did great as well! He did NOT want to be in his stroller but was willing to be carried around the museum. I think we left the museum with Van Gogh remaining their favorite artist. After the museum we walked around town, played in the garden at the Rijksmuseum, and found some fun stuff...
Here are the girls playing at the Rijksmuseum.

 The fountain is built in such a way that you can stand in the middle and all kinds of patterns go off around you (and you don't get wet!). The girls had a great time playing in the middle of the fountain and watching the progression of the water. After playing in the water we walked past a violinist playing in front of the museum and had to stop to listen to him play. Dominic was fascinated with the music and motion.
Of course we couldn't leave Amsterdam without stopping in a few shops. And look what we found! A shoe that was absolutely MADE for Kaitlyn (no, we didn't let her buy it).

 Then we found  MY kind of treat...Buy a shoe and eat it too! Yep, Chocolate foot wear...
I was pretty proud of myself for not giving in and buying at least one! All in all we had a wonderful day, grabbed a bite to eat and then headed home. One more stop before we head back to the states...Cobra Museum of Modern Art...


We headed down to Leiden on Thursday, after we found out that the museum would be closed on Friday for the local festivities. You can read more about WHY they celebrate Oct. 3rd here. Since the festivities were moving in, and we were going to have other plans on Saturday, we headed on over! The girls enjoyed their first train ride short as it was and before we knew it we'd arrived in Leiden.

 They have a WONDERFUL exhibit! I thought the kids would really enjoy the Ancient Egypt one (and they did) but they really, really liked the Ancient Greece exhibit! Guess we need to finish up the Ancient Egypt stuff and get a move on to Greece!
We did find a wonderful little book in their shop (after having some coffee and a delicious slice of pie) that we purchased for the girls. Has all kinds of wonderful activities to do on Ancient Egypt but of course it's all in Dutch! So Dad and the girls have some projects to complete together as well as some that I had already planned for them. I did find a couple of things for them for Ancient Greece as well, but since those looked like we could get them here in the states I didn't purchase them (I figured we were already running out of room on our take home bags!).
The day was a bit overcast (as you can see in this picture) but no rain!
We really lucked out in the weather department while we were visiting The Netherlands! Some days were just beautiful, and only two days had a little bit of sprinkles! The weather wasn't as hot as we had at home so it was (at least for us) a great just "warm enough" temp that we could wear sweaters but anything heavier would have been to hot.
We had a great day at Leiden and another short train trip home. Our next big adventure would be visiting Van Gogh!

Ancient Egypt and more...

After visiting the science center and the maritime museum, The hubby and I took a day to ourselves and visited the Rijksmuseum again followed by a nice dinner at Bojo's (Indonesian food). After dinner we walked around Amsterdam for awhile before heading home. The next day we grabbed the kids and headed out to the Allard Pierson Museum which has a small exhibit on Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Roman empire. It was a nice overview and got the kids curious.

 After a short visit we headed home again, but decided that we'd take a short train ride and head down to Leiden and the museum down there that has a wonderful exhibit on the same things as A. Pierson just larger.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

All kinds of stuff going on!

So we made it back home to the states and are slowly trying to get back to "normal". Of course we've only been home a day now and well "normal" just doesn't seem to fit with the family. We get home and my oldest has decided to go to work with his dad and will be flying out in a week to Florida! We wish him the best of course while we will miss him! Can't wait to find out how he likes living in that area.
The list of things to catch up on is huge and daunting at times but we will slowly work through everything. Then of course with Josh moving out we have some "extra" space so we can re-organize (again!) and have some more room for everyone. That does mean that we can get Josh's room all ready for the girls and get Dominic into his own room and get his stuff out of the front room. Which of course also means we get to paint and decorate a couple of bedrooms, so the girls are excited again about their "new" room they'll be having.
I also have a bit more posting about our trip to do which I'll try and accomplish in the next day or two as the weather is going to be rainy and I won't be working outside like I'd originally hoped! We've also already made our first trip to Lowe's, our home away from home and picked up another 9 cube shelving unit and will get one more before long so we can finish organizing the living room. We've already made a couple of changes to what we think we will do for long term living room set up, although this time it wasn't me with the change in idea's so I can't be blamed for this one! LOL.