My Crazy Life

How is everyone doing? I don’t know about you all, but I am SO ready for fall weather!! It has been so hot, humid, and just plain yuck here. I am ready for boots, scarves, cute hats, plaid jackets, colorful leaves, and pumpkin EVERYTHING!

But with fall comes the start of my crazy life… and I seriously mean crazy!! So this is what I am up to:

I am teaching 19 dance classes a week for Dancexcel. Yes, 19. I am so excited to meet all of my classes, and spread my love of dance to all my students.img_7202

Then I added another dance project called Reach Out and Dance. This is a program based on another called Rosie’s Theater Kids… Rosie as in Rosie O’Donnell. I get to go into public schools and teach school kids dance in place of their normal gym time. It is a really great project because I feel like it is giving back through my talents and it exposes kids to dance who don’t pay for classes at a studio.

AND earlier this month I auditioned for and was cast in a local production of Beauty and the Beast through a company called Mighty Goliath Productions. I am so excited because I am always on the production team end of musicals and it has been a very long time since I have been actually IN one! And even better, my co-worker/bride to my bridesmaid/partner in crime Miranda is also in it with me. She has never done a musical so this is a new experience for her, making it even more fun for me!

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(We just ended our teaching night so forgive the sweatiness!)

Then aside from my crazy career, I also have not one for two homeschool co-ops- FLOW and Nature Rangers. And of course, playdates/field trips/reading/ meal planning/ cleaning/ zoo-keeping/ and life. Lol, and I didn’t even mention Klint and all of his schedule! img_7215

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What does your crazy life look like? Lay it on me!

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Money Smarts

One of my goals this year is to get a real hold on our family finances. We have made a lot of dumb choices in the past and while we have learned from those mistakes there is a lot that I know we could improve on. Getting the kids on board with cutting back on expenses is part of this goal so I decided to create some printables to help the girls actually see how savings and spending works.

The girls have jobs that are non-paying as they are for the good of the family as well as paid jobs. While Gabby is very good at saving her money, she often forgets how much she has. And Amelia lets money run out of her hand like water, more often because she doesn’t have a saving goal in mind.

Feel free to save these for your own use and let me know how they work for your family!

Allowance Sheet blank Family Job Sheet Goal Sheet Paid Jobs Sheet

No School is Old School

This week many of our friends went back to school. Photos of smiling children sporting new backpacks, donning new clothes, excited to venture into a new world. Of course, many of our friends’ lives continued as if nothing was different, it was just another day with children about. 

These past two years we have taken a very loose, laid back approach to schooling.  Gabby learned what she wanted, when she wanted, how she wanted. Amelia caught on to Kindergarten topics with ease since they are just basic concepts that were everyday ideas. However, as Gabby has gotten older I’ve noticed that her knowledge was really imbalanced- stronger in the arts and science, not to hot in the math and language arts area. Sure she can write a story, but her grammar is way off and she has no idea about the parts of a sentence or story. This wasn’t a big deal, until I think about what her career goals are and I realized that high school and college are more than likely in her future. 

So what’s a unschooling mama to do? Well, I’m not going to all of a sudden go all “school at home” on everyone, that’s not an option. But there has to be more of a routine, and definitely a clearer record of what we learned and when. Also, I want to delve deeper into topics, not just graze the top of them. Luckily I have some brilliant friends who are in the same place I am arriving and after talking with them this is what we came up with.

Cover page copyA place where I can keep track of lesson plans, pocket ticket stubs, hold sheet music, and store pamphlets from all of our outings. I can pre-plan themes, jot down what books we are reading, and not lose my sanity come portfolio time. 

This is my Monthly Theme Page:

Sept to NovDec to FebMarch to MayJune to Aug

Here is the Weekly Outlook, where I can see a preview of anything big in the week, like lessons, parties, and special events. I also can keep track of any books we are working on, which will be super helpful! 

Weekly OutlookAnd finally, here is my Daily page, where the girls will check off their “Have to Do’s”, they can see what the lesson of the day is, and I can make notes of anything that needs more work or they really like. 

Daily Color no personalizedSo here’s to some colorful creativity to keep us on task, help with the record keeping portion, and still maintain some of the fun, carefree homeschool spirit we are accustomed to! 

Today

Today it was freezing out… again. So we ventured out to the Cleveland Rainforest to warm up and visit some of our favorite animals. It was a lot of fun and a welcome feeling, the warmth and humidity. The animals were playful and thankfully the zoo wasn’t too crowded. IMG_5794

After the zoo we ventured out for lunch and then a quick trip to the library, which turned out to be not so quick. I don’t know what it is about libraries, but they suck me in. I could spend hours at the library, curled up in the chair with a good book. I always try to limit how many books the girls take home, but really I am the one who needs a limit. I always get more than I can carry! The girls love exploring the different libraries and meeting new kids. IMG_3581

One of the coolest books that I found was one called Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn. It is basically a junior covert art installation how-to. I love it!! All the projects in the book are simple, very do-able, and sneakily cute- everything the girls and I like!

And finally, the day ended with relaxation (especially since Moira is getting over a cold, and me getting some Project Life pages done since last night my photo printer came! (Insert SQUEALS of JOY!) Here are two of the pages that I have done- more photos to follow!

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Whew!!!! It was a loooooong day! Tomorrow promises to be another doozy as well, have a good night friends!

Back to School

1524708_10202932691701264_725188947_nDaily life looks a little different today. After 10 years of working on the night shift, Klint switched to days. It’s weird today, just me and the girls. So in order to make my day run a little smoother, and to let me get my own work done like choreographing and cleaning, I decided that we are going to try a little more structure to our day. I am still going to give the girls choices on what they want to learn, I truly do feel like that is the best way for the material to sink in. But we need to all sit together, with everything off, and at least work on the same subjects at the same time so I don’t go nuts doing math with one and English with another.
So how it is going to work is that we would start with a subject and then each girl would work on a different topic within the subject. Amelia is working on basic addition and subtraction while Gabby is working on multiplication. I sit between the two and help if needed. Sooooo much easier than what we were doing before! Topics in social studies, history, art, and science we are going to work on all together and decided on as a family… again, a lot nicer than before when everyone was all over the place. (This is just while they are so young and need me to help as much as they do- once they are older they will pursue their own topics)

Here are some fun activities that we are doing this week:

If you are a homeschooler, what things are you working on this week?

It’s Child’s Play

Yesterday we went to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland for their First Monday event. Every first Monday of the month is free and because I usually work on Mondays we have never been able to attend. It was incredibly packed as you can imagine but since we were one of the first to arrive it wasn’t too bad for the most part. The museum is divided into “exhibits” or themed play areas like a working grocery store, a giant water table, and a farm area complete with tractor and hay loft. We didn’t go into the barn area because it is meant for kids under 4 and two out of the three would have been a little too big. The hit of the place though is their special exhibit, this season it is a dinosaur digging area with over 60 tons of indoor sandy fun!!

museum museum2If you have little ones the museum is a really fun place to visit. It is designed for ages 8 and under so we are reaching the end of it’s appeal for Gabby, which makes it tricky for me. I definitely would recommend going on an “off” time so that your little one can get to experience all the fun areas- Amelia really enjoyed pretending to be a doctor and “fixing” Gabby’s pretend broken arm while Moira loved the house and water play. Everyone loved the grocery store area where Gabby was a banker, doling out money to tons of kids. And let’s not forget all the learning that happens naturally when kids play-

  • Building and creating architectural structures
  • Understanding the different food groups
  • Organizing food in the grocery store by category (i.e. fruits, vegetables, grains)
  • Counting money in the bank
  • Learning seat belt safety and traffic safety rules
  • Observing how dams and various objects affect water flow
  • Gross motor skills from digging in the sand and pouring
  • Learning about paleontologists and site digs

Yay for another unschooling field trip and cheers for another of Cleveland’s wonderful places to visit!!

 

Art Smart

Today we ventured out with the intention of heading to the Cleveland Natural History Museum, but forgot that it didn’t open until noon. Luckily the Cleveland Museum of Art was open and free! Score!! It’s been a while since we have been there but knew that the girls loved the Armory, the Egyptian art, and some of the other exhibits.

What we didn’t know is that a new Children’s area just opened a month ago!!! It was beyond awesome and already the girls are talking about going back soon. Here are some photos from the trip today!

Amelia had a blast matching details in fine art.
Amelia had a blast matching details in fine art.
Gabby created houses with felt shapes.
Gabby created houses with felt shapes.
These blocks were magnetic  (and later we found out very VERY expensive!) and the kids really liked them.
These blocks were magnetic (and later we found out very VERY expensive!) and the kids really liked them.
I adore Frida! Frida puppets are even better!
I adore Frida! Frida puppets are even better!
King Charles II, who Gabby didn't find very handsome at all, lol.
King Charles II, who Gabby didn’t find very handsome at all, lol.

 

We had a very nice discussion about armor and how horses are used in battle.
We had a very nice discussion about armor and how horses are used in battle.
The inside of a sarcophagus, I couldn't believe how bright and lovely the colors were.
The inside of a sarcophagus, I couldn’t believe how bright and lovely the colors were.

There were really nice exhibits that I couldn’t take photos of, but just know that it is shocking to know that this museum is free. We saw tapestries made of gold and silver, shirts worn by royalty, got to play with interactive art displays, and enjoyed showing the girls all the different kinds of art that the world has produced. It sparked my love of art and now I can’t wait to go to the library to get some art appreciation books for the kids.