Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year Projects

I have a few projects on my brain right now as we start the new year.  There is something about the weeks following Christmas that leave me feeling inspired.  The house is de-cluttered, the air is fresh, and everything feels new and exciting.  Even our first day of school today has gone well.  I think I love January.

One of the projects that has moved toward the front of my brain, is of course our pending fifth child.  (That sounds so utilitarian and not at all maternal, doesn't it?)  Up until now, the baby hasn't been on my brain a lot.  Don't get me wrong - I am very excited for this new arrival.  It's just that when you already have four kids, you don't find yourself lost in baby-thought as much as with the first baby.  Actually, mostly I've just been "lost" and not much in "thought" at all.

So anyway, the baby is our next big "event" and now that we are through the holidays we are thinking about it a bit more.  Over the weekend we spent some time thinking about names.  Pretty much we just spent a few hours vetoing each other's suggestions.  Also up for discussion are things like; where is the baby going to sleep, what kind of stroller do we want, and how are we going to fit five kids in our car.

Speaking of "where is the baby going to sleep?" brings me to the next possible project we are tossing around.  Adding about 550 square feet to our house.  We came up with the idea of punching out our family room wall and adding a bonus room off the side of the house.  We figure we can live with our current four bedrooms, but that we really desire more room for the family to spread out.  A place for the kids to go off and play.  So we thought a bonus room on the main floor would be perfect, since we all know kids like to be close to the rest of the action.

Well what started as plans for adding a square bonus room has now turned into a 50% increase in square footage, including a bedroom, bathroom, media area, craft area, play area and storage closet.

I'm pretty sure we're pricing ourselves out of our own idea, but we'll see.  There might be some flexibility if we do as much as we can ourselves, and do things in phases.

And speaking of demolition, the kids had their own demo-project going on today.

Lastly, I am doing some thinking about the way we are currently home schooling.  We are currently using the K12 program, which has it's pros and cons.  I have really appreciated the fact that all our curriculum, supplies, and even computer were sent to us - for free.  However, that also meant that I didn't have a say in what kind of curriculum we use.  Plus, surprisingly, I haven't enjoyed being as "married" to the computer as we have been.

So I had a great conversation with a friend last week (Mary at Owlhaven) and got some great tips about "going rogue" on our home schooling.  Mary answered a lot of my questions and took away a lot of the fear I've had about choosing our own curriculum and doing our own thing.

I am definitely leaning towards going our own route for next year.  But I am even considering switching things up for the rest of this year.  Again, it's not that K12 has been terrible or anything.  In fact, without that program and the fact that they completely held my hand through our first start at home schooling, I probably wouldn't have had the guts to give it a try.  It's just that I am craving a simpler way of doing things - picture grabbing a math book and sitting at the kitchen counter, and incorporating more of "life's lessons" into our learning.

So anyway, that's everything that's on my mind this week.  We will be praying about these things and hopefully making the best decisions for our family over the next few months.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Shana -

We did the same thing this year - decided to change from K12 after using it for 4 years. Like you, I appreciated the hand-holding and the everything-supplied aspects of K12, but (also like you) I got tired of being so attached to the computer.

So, this year we are using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Awesome, awesome, awesome. :) Everything is totally Bible-based, and the curriculum teaches the subjects in a way that is easy for my kids to understand and learn. There are 12 little booklets (+/- 30 pages) in each of 5 subjects - math, english, social studies, science and word building. The kids do 5 pages out of each book every school day, so they are done with a booklet within 2 weeks. After all 12 booklets are done, they are finished for the school year.

So, anyway .... check it out at if you want. The price is about $300 per kid for the entire year of curriculum.
My kids have LOVED it, and I have even noticed a positive change in our family dynamic because of being so focused on God's Word all day. This is very different from the highly-secular K12 program.

Best wishes in your new adventure!


Anonymous said...

Shana, I'm anxious to hear how this all turns out after you make whatever changes you make.