Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A boy and a Train

Being a mom to two children is always an adventure. The fact that they are six years apart and in completely different stages of their lives and that one is a boy and the other a girl only adds to the fun. For the most part they get along pretty well with each other but they can also rub each other the wrong way. With that being said it is good for them to have their own time and be able to do what they want. This weekend Lauren spent the night with my parents (where she has all her "girls" and gets to learn many new life lessons from my Mom) and had some new experiences.
While she was gone Austin and I hung out most of the day and then Mike and I took him over to see some train cars that Van Alstyne is trying to restore for a park. I love how such simple things excite my children! Austin was so excited to go see trains and that Daddy was going. When Lauren was in school Austin and I hung out all the time but he hasn't had a lot of time with Mike and I without Lauren. So yesterday was really fun for him.

He was so excited to stand by a train
He was more excited to get in!!

I'll let you walk through this little picture journey of him roaming around the trains and sitting different places on the second train...

Austin wanted to take a picture of us :)

As you can see he enjoyed his time running around a train and being a boy.  I love the little things that make a child so happy.
Until our next adventure...

Friday, August 27, 2010

End of Summer

Can you believe how fast the summer went this year?  Did you have a good summer?  Any vacations or big activities?  We had a great summer, lots of work on our house to get ready for our big party we had.  August 12 was Mike & I's 10 year anniversary so on the 14th we had friends and family over and celebrated our first 10 years.  We had a really good time.  Thank you to all who came and celebrated with us.

Once we got the party behind us it was time to shift focus to Lauren and school.  As I mentioned in my last post we made a huge decision for Lauren's schooling and she is attending an online charter school (Texas Virtual Academy at Southwest).  Since this was our first week I decided to tell you how it has been.  The few weeks before school started I went through all the books that were sent to us and tried to get prepared.  We couldn't see the lessons before this week so I couldn't fully prepare and I felt it.  We had to do an "Introduction to online learning" video for each subject before it would give us our lessons.  I felt a little lost a times and pretty disorganized but it got better each day and I feel really good about the school. 
Lauren has done really good this week with staying on task and dealing with my craziness of not knowing which book we need and what I need to do.  I have been so proud of her.

First day of school in our "classroom"

When Lauren was young I did not think I would be teaching my child at home.  When I say that most people think I am homeschooling but we are officially enrolled in a Texas school and have to meet all the state guidelines.  Yes, I am her "learning coach" but we have a teacher for all assignments and to answer to.  (We just found out our first set of assignments are due September 10.)  I am excited to take this journey with her and even though it is only the first week I have really seen how much the last two years in public school have effected her learning and focus.  We knew the lack of being pushed and harder lessons ware having an effect but, with little concern from the school because she was a "good" student and made straight A's we didn't know the true effect.  It has been interesting to see the areas she is getting frustrated and needs work.  With having to be held up to wait for slower students she doesn't know some of the review things.  Great schooling when somethings haven't even been taught.  With all of that said I am positive we made the right decision in pulling her from the public schools.

It has been interesting this week to see how much we have to complete each week and how much we will be dealing with our teacher and our "class".  Our teacher lives in Duncanville and is basically a one room school teacher, she has more than one grade in her "class".  There is a lot of contact with your teacher with class meetings and teacher conferences.  I am excited to have a chance to really help Lauren excel this year.  We have our first class meeting online next week and will get to meet others in our class.  We have an actual meet the teacher at the beginning of September where we will have a face to face with our teacher and other leaders in our area and parents and students.  We are excited to meet the people we will be dealing with this year and going on field trips with.

Lauren is excited because we already have our first science project.  She said if we get to do fun stuff like this the first week this is probably going to be a REALLY fun year.  We had to get Mealworms and we have to observe them for our lesson on metamorphosis.  Did you know mealworms turn into beetles.  We will be observing them everyday and waiting for the change.

The life-cycle of a mealworm
One of our concerns with Lauren schooling at home was Austin.  Having a 2 year old running around while trying to teach a 3rd grader, could be bad news.  I must say though he has done great this week.  I have gathered some things here and there to work with him on ABC's, numbers, colors and other basics.  The beginning of the week since I felt so lost I didn't have much time to do anything with him but today we got to sit and work with some of the flashcards I got for him.  He really enjoyed doing it and it made me feel like we will be able to do this.  I can work with Lauren and Austin and we will all learn.  I know it is only week one (and our teacher told us it will probably take 4 weeks to settle in) but I am very confident in our decision and I know next week will feel more normal (with a little prep from me).

So how was your first week of school (if you have kids or are a teacher)?  Do you attend public, private or something different and how do you like it?

Until next time...enjoy the end of summer weather (even though summer is over for our children).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Catch Up

I know, I know...it has been WAY too long since I have blogged. There has been so much going on. I will give a quick catch up and write more on some of the big things later.

My last post was just before Halloween so since then.....my youngest sister and her husband bought a house in the same city I live in, we had Thanksgiving, Christmas, started a new year, had two birthdays, my middle sister bought a house and we have redone the inside for her to move in (you can go to http://cowgurlsblessing.blogspot.com/ and see that project) , and we have made a big decision for our daughters schooling for next year.
So I will start with the most recent, our school decision. We have had a hard time with the school Lauren has gone to the past two years. She came into the school ahead so we knew there would be an adjustment period but we are at the end of our second year and still waiting for the lessons to challenge her. We have also had issues with the teachers she has had and the lack of structure in the classrooms. After much research, prayer and discussion we have decided to enroll her in the Texas Virtual Academy. It is an online charter school. I will be taking over her teaching at home with the guidance of the school and a local teacher we will be assigned. Unlike typical homeschooling we will have lesson plans and assignments sent to us for everyday. We will have to answer to the teacher and follow all Texas guidelines. We know this will be a challenge for all of us but we are very excited to start this in the fall. We are already looking at ways to schedule my days (cleaning, laundry, etc.) into school days. Lauren was a little worried about not seeing her friends but when I told her she can still talk to them and see them and we will have fieldtrips with other students from this school in the area she was excited. We will take it one day at a time and for now we are only looking at this for one year. We will see as we go how we all adjust to this and we will decide later what we will do for 4th grade and foward.

Austin is growing growing and talking up a storm. He loves to talk and be outside. Next year will be very interesting with him as I will find things for him to be learning during the school day also.
We really think this will be the best thing for Lauren in the long run and I think she will really enjoy learning with more challenges. I will let you know in the future how this goes.
Time to begin a new adventure!!! If anyone has done this or has helpful suggestions please send them my way.
Since it has been so long, here are the most recent pictures of the kids. We took these this weekend while driving around.
Until next time...