August 28, 2009

Our Preschool Routine

So it seems like we are establishing a routine for our days. I'll be interested to look back in the spring to see how much has changed.

I am doing preschool at home with Katrina and Alex and then they will be going to the Academy preschool class on Fridays.

We are using a mixture of things: most of the books are from Sonlight P4/5 with the addition of some 5IAR/classics and some suggestions from "Janet's Preschool Schedule" off the yahoo Sonlight preschool group. I greatly modified her schedule to fit in our needs and wants but it was nice to have a framework. Alex is using A Beka Numbers and Skills and Letters and Sounds. Katrina is using A Beka ABC-123 and Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code. Recently a friend gave us the kindergarten level of Math-U-See. I tried it out to see if she likes it (it presents the concept on a video and then there are workbook pages for the week, she LOVES videos so I thought it may be a hit) and since she did two weeks worth in the first sitting I decided to keep going with it.

So we start with breakfast, usually job time though sometimes this waits until our first break. Then we read some stories, take a break to play, stories, break to play, etc. Sometimes stories are long and play is short, sometimes we get in one short one before they are bouncing out the door to play outside. Lunch. Max goes down for a nap shortly after lunch then the big kids color (markers are the hot tool right now which is why we wait until Max is down, on crayon days Max gets to color too). Then Alex goes down and Katrina does her "reading" with me - we are up to two letter blends with the occasional three letter word. Then Katrina has her rest time. If she doesn't sleep she is up first and we do her math or coloring while I prep dinner. Then the boys get up, more stories and play depending on the day.

We definitely don't run on a schedule - we won't be doing the same thing at 10 AM every day - but the days have naturally flowed into this routine and it seems to keep everyone happy, and me feeling like I'm doing something with my days, so I'll stick with it as long as it works!

August 22, 2009

Summer Events

This year was the first year of summer at the lake house. We, along with my parents and Justin's parents, purchased a house on Cayuga Lake at the end of last summer. The winter was spent remodeling and now, though not finished, the house is ready to be enjoyed.

We had a gathering for Memorial Day/Katrina's 4th birthday which we found that the house and grounds can easily handle 60-some people. The week around July 4th Justin took off of work and our family spent the time together at the lake. Justin left and my family came in - my aunt, two cousins, three kids of my older cousin and her husband, as well as my mom. My aunt lives in Boston, older cousin in VA beach, younger cousin in NYC so it was fun getting everyone together for a little while.

After everyone left, it was just me and the kids. Up until this point there had always been someone at the house that I could leave Max with to take the big kids down to swimming lessons and crafts (the town runs free swimming lessons daily and crafts twice a week during the summer 2 miles from the house). The park has a nice playground as well as baseball and soccer fields - not bad for a tiny town! I was determined to keep going with the swimming lessons so off we went - a double stroller for the boys, lots of snacks, sand toys, towels, etc. Alex pretty much turned into swimming lesson drop out, opting to play on the playground and sand but since everyone was happy, that was fine. I never thought the lake house would give me the confidence (or make me gain the confidence) to venture out with all of them but I'm glad it did!

The end of July brought us home for a week so Katrina could do a gymnastics camp, 9-12 every day for a week. She had a blast! It was interesting having a couple hours a day with just the boys.

August brought a boys fishing weekend at the lake, which Justin decided Alex was old enough to tag along for. While he was gone, Katrina and Max went to Springdale Farm to celebrate the Davis twins 2nd birthday. The farm has animals to look at, a petting area, a playground and picnic area. Nice (free) place.

Then Alex and Katrina did an evening VBS at a little church about 5 min from the lake. While they were there Max and I explored the local library, cute and very small. I think our living room is about the size of the main room! We came back to Rochester for another VBS at a friends church and then it was off to family camp.

The way we do family camp is more of the Marriott of camping - no tents for us...we stay in a lodge that provides sheets and towels. The kids rode bikes, played games, Katrina did crafts, Justin played softball and ran a volleyball tournament - it was a great time. A major accomplishment that came out of it was Aunt Kelly getting Katrina to conquer her fear of the pool. Even with swimming lessons, Katrina was not ready to leave the side of the pool. Some how Kelly got her to start swimming all over the place, with the help of a blow-up tube! Now she is begging to go in Grandma's big pool every day!

August is winding down now and the start of Academy is looming ever closer. We'll be back down at the lake on and off as long as the weather holds I think. Looking back on the summer we did manage to pack quite a bit in!