Monday, May 7, 2018

Answering Reader Questions: Spring 2018

When I asked y'all what questions you had for me a few weeks ago I wasn't really anticipating the focused nature of the questions.  In my mind I thought I would get a few questions covering a wide range of topics, but for the most part all of your questions were focused on some very similar topics, and I actually had some questions asked multiple times.  So today I'm sharing my answers with you :-) Reader Questions- Life with the Hawleys
How did you learn to DIY?
The Mr. & I have DIY in our veins.  We both grew up doing mission work.  He helped with his church & I helped with mine.  I've honestly, since elementary school, never taken a spring break or beach week; I've always packed my vacation time with mission work.  In doing that, we've learned how to do so many things.  You might be surprised, but I can lay shingles, insert insulation, install tile, and cut drywall.  What we don't know.....well there's YouTube for that ;-)

Are you going to homeschool for kindergarten?
Yes. And No.  The plan right now is to homeschool for primary education, but we're honestly taking it one year at a time and even one child at a time.  What works well for one child might not work as well for the next, and so I'm open to seeing how each child learns best.  While we do have a tentative plan, we are also keeping an open mind to seeing what works best for our family at every stage.  It's a fine line between committed to a plan but also flexible and listening to how our kids are responding.

Where do you find age appropriate objectives for your preschool curriculum? What are your favorite preschool resources?
To be honest, I would say: trial & error.  The first thing I did when we decided to homeschool was to look up what students were going to learn in kindergarten in our public school system, and decided that I was going to teach the things to prep my children for kinder.  From there I did a lot of research on what my methods were going to be, & how I would deliver those concepts (more info about that here & here).  I started working in one week units, and that did not work well for us.  Everyone was so frustrated, so we moved to two week units & it was a much more relaxed environment and my kids excelled at that pace.  Initially with my units I thought I would teach just uppercase letters & the corresponding phonetics and that we would add in lowercase letters later, but about 2 months in, Dutch told me what the lowercase 't' looked like.  I remember staring at him, saying, "how did you know that?!"  So I changed our units to do uppercase & lowercase letters along with the phonetics.  So with timing, I initially thought too quickly, but with content I didn't think fast enough.  So it was just trial and error, and continually watching my kids for clues as to how much information they could handle at a time.  And that really is one of the beautiful things with homeschooling, that a curriculum can be tailored for each child's needs.  For us right now, and I realize that this could change tomorrow, I pick a letter for every two weeks.  The letter I select is not in alpha order.  I pick a letter that will get a lot of exposure at that time (ex: in the fall we did 'F' & 'P' because we would see "fall" and "pumpkins" a lot and get a lot of practice. At Christmas we did 'J' for "Jesus".  At Easter we did 'E' get the idea).  For each unit of letters, each child will have a book unit that will some how tie to the letter, and then I will try to find a bible story, science activity, life skill, math, and language arts objectives that go with that letter.  For example, with the letter 'M' we learned about Moses' life and The 10 Commandments, miracles, money, measuring, melting, more vs. less, months of the year, music, microscopes, making muffins, & magnets in addition to handwriting & letter phonetics.  I find with my kids, at this age of cognitive development, if we have all of our objectives with a similar theme, we get a lot of reinforcement from various avenues and it sticks.  Occasionally I get too ambitious & realize "okay this is too much for right now" and I will just put it away for later.  My favorite resources right now are and Teachers Pay Teachers.

What does a typical weekday look like for you? When do your kids sleep? When do you sleep?
These questions made me laugh, not because it's a bad set of questions, so much as my answers are convicting.  It's a nervous laugh.  Our weeks are never the same; every single week is different.  Ever the optimist, I'm always waiting for a "normal week".  Since having children, I've never had a normal are evolving & so our schedules change or stuff pops up, but this is the general structure that we start from:
-Every morning we are up and dressed around 8:30.  We do breakfast, & then our morning basket activities and books at the breakfast table until 10:30ish.  The kids have free play until Ellis naps around 12. 
-On Monday & Wednesdays, Dutch and I have "Book Day" where we just read books all afternoon and talk about the things we read.  All of the books we read some how connect with our unit (as mentioned above).  The kids will switch for naps around 3:30pm.  Ellis will help me finish dinner and we will work on her book unit until 5.
-Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays are full school days.  So while Ellis is napping, 12:00-3:30 Dutch will have do his formal school work (Language arts, math, science, activities, workbooks, etc.), and then Ellis will do her school until 5.
-Dinner is at 6, and then the kids have free play time until 7:30.  They have their bath, every other night, watch 1 episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, daddy reads 1 book, and then in bed by 8:15pm.
So that addresses when the kids sleep, but when do I sleep? Honestly I have a horrible answer for this.  I honestly don't sleep a lot.  Once the kids go to bed, I catch-up with the Mr. & his day, and after he goes to bed, I clean the house, do laundry, prep for school the next day ( I'm doing right now).  By the time I finish doing everything, my introverted brain needs to decompress.  I'd rather be sleepy and sane than rested but overwhelmed.  I usually go to bed somewhere between 2 and 3 in the morning.  I get up at 6:30 to get the day going.  I don't sleep a lot; I think grad school prepped me for little sleep.  I would like more sleep, but I just have not found a way to do that and still get everything that needs to be done done. I'm not a person that gets grouchy if they don't have enough sleep, and I'm not a napper, my body is just on this circuit and has been for almost 2 decades.  It's not the healthiest sleep pattern and I know I need better self-care, but I just have not figured it out yet.  I have plenty of room for improvement.

Do you think you'll go back to work? Do you miss work?
Am I a stay at home mom? Yes
Am I a working mom? Yes
Am I a work from home mom? Yes
I am not a label.  Meaning, I have no idea what I am.  I'm all of the labels? None of the labels? A brand new label? I really like my worlds separate so I don't talk about work around here out of respect for my students, but I actually never stopped teaching.  In fact, I never even took maternity leave (read above: I don't know how to vacation or sleep.....not that maternity leave is a vacation, but you know what I'm saying).  I'm still teaching undergraduate and graduate students at the university level.  Some days I teach all age groups, from teaching my own 2 year old all the way up to 65 years old.  I love teaching and it is just part of me.

What is the hardest part of parenting?
Just one?! Gosh there really are a lot of hard parts to parenting.  I guess what I'm currently struggling with is weariness.  What I mean by that is the continuous character training; always having to "be on" and saying the same things over and over and over again. Having two toddlers is a continuous teaching moment, and while I know I just said I love teaching (and I do), it is really hard to do the continuous teaching that toddlers need to develop their character.  Teaching an adult, they can express what they do or don't understand, but with a toddler it may be a LONG time before you see the fruit of your labor or to even know if you're headed in the right direction.  It's a joy to have children where I can even say that I'm weary, and trust me I don't take that for granted for one second, but it is draining sometimes.  However, every now and then I get a little glimpse of fruit that keeps me going.
Phew, that was a lot of chatting.  I hope I answered y'alls questions and didn't bore you.  Is this something you'd like me to do again? Send me a message or leave a comment if you would like to see more posts like this :-)
xoxo Darby


StephTheBookworm said...

WOW, can't believe you go to bed so late. I am a GRANDMA! I am usually in my bed by about 9, then I read for a bit and play around on my phone. Lights out for me is by around 10:30. I am a MEAN person when I'm tired though, and also tend to get sick or migraines when I don't sleep enough (why the newborn days are so hard for me) and I LIVE for a good nap. Hahaha! I wish I could function on less sleep... I could get so much more done! Love how productive you are!

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