homeschooling

Roman’s First Day of Preschool

September 14, 2016

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

Today marks one week since I took these pictures and one week since Roman’s first day of preschool. Over the years, I’ve shared how I’ve gone back & forth between sending my children off to school and homeschooling. About a year ago, I began bringing Roman to church with me on Sundays and leaving him in the church nursery with the teachers and other children. To my surprise, he loved it. There were no tears, not even close! He made friends immediately and he was always looking forward to going. Then, over the summer, I enrolled him in art camp for a few days. Again, he loved the experience and didn’t flinch when I walked away. It is clear to me that he really enjoys being around other children.

Since Marina’s birth, it has gotten more and more difficult for me to homeschool Roman. Marina was a high needs baby and continues to be a high needs toddler. I’ll write in detail about that, but for now, suffice to say that effective homeschooling has become next to impossible (for me!).

In any case, now that Roman is in his second week of preschool, I can see how much he is growing & thriving already. He adores his teachers and his friends. He’s learning new things and experiencing interpersonal relationships in a way that I never could have provided him at home. I am very happy with our choice to send him. He goes to school twice a week — on Wednesdays & Fridays from 9:00 am to 11:30 am.

Roman’s school is a modern Co-Op Nursery School located in my church (which is also where I work!). The school is nonsectarian (not faith-based) and it’s very family-oriented. Parents are encouraged to be involved as much as possible. It is strictly a nursery/preschool, meaning that it is not a daycare (there are no infants, and no full-day program available for working parents). There are two classes–a class for two-year-olds and a class for three & four-year-olds. I love the school’s philosophies which include hands-on learning, class trips, outdoor play, science, music, and art.

I was a little bit emotional on his first day, but mostly I was just as excited as he was. There were no tears shed from any of us, which really surprised me. I thought I would be Miss Waterworks, but it all went off without a hitch. While some of the other little ones were nervous, Roman wasn’t at all. In fact, he ran straight up to his teachers and greeted them with a big hug. One of the teachers said, “Wow! We’re used to getting this kind of love on the last day, not the first!” My sweet, loving boy. He fills my heart with a warm pride that I could never put into words.

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

First Day // livelovesimple.com

Here’s hoping that the rest of the year goes as smoothly & wonderfully as the beginning has. xo

a picnic by the lake & a preschool decision

August 17, 2015

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

Over the weekend, we went to a picnic hosted at a local summer camp. Outings are tricky these days, what with a toddler & tantrums & an ever-unsettled little baby girl. Still, we soaked up the day, enjoying the little bits of summer that are left. Sunshine skies, burgers & dogs, beer, corn-on-the-cob, family. I’ll take it.

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

On a separate-but-related note, the picnic was hosted by a local men’s group that my father belongs to. There were many other families there, some with babies & toddlers, too. Roman had a rather unpleasant incident that involved him taking another little boy’s toy & then having an epic meltdown upon having to return it. Actually, he didn’t return it. We took it away from him & let’s just say it did not go over well!

Anyway, all of this sort of cemented something for us that we’ve been thinking a lot about — we want to enroll Roman in preschool, two days a week for a few hours each day. It was a difficult decision to arrive at. Ya’ll know how much I love homeschooling him. On top of that, I’m pretty much the biggest control freak ever and the thought of completely relinquishing control and handing him over to someone else is terrifying to me. I’ve never left him with anyone beside my mom, mom-in-law, and my very trusted aunt — and even then it’s only been a handful of times and mostly because it was absolutely necessary.

Still, with all of that being said, it’s clear to us that while Roman is doing exceptionally well “academically” (does that even make sense for a two-year-old?), he’s a little behind socially. He loves other kids but he’s terrible at sharing and frankly he’s so independent that in social settings he kind of takes toys to the side and does his own thing. It may be that he just prefers solitude — both M. and I are incredibly solitary people — and that’s totally fine, but the not sharing thing has got to change. Moreover, we want to give him the opportunity to be social.

We’ve been spacing out Roman’s vaccines so he’s a little behind on the state requirements. We’ll have to get him caught up which should happen by early autumn, so it will likely be another month or so before he gets started. In the meantime, we’re setting up tours, we’re talking about school & building excitement around the idea for him. Even if, in my own heart, I’m sick with worry and uncertainty.

Enrolling him in preschool doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop homeschooling him or that we’ve decided against homeschooling him come time for kindergarten. We haven’t made that decision yet. It’s just something that we feel is important for where he’s at right now, developmentally. With me being a stay-at-home mom and with the limited amount of exposure that Roman has had to other children (most definitely due to my own solitary nature) we feel like this is the right step for him & for our family at this point. It’s nerve-wracking but it’s also exciting and I can’t wait to see my baby boy blossom even more.

picnic by the lake // livelovesimple.com

Here’s hoping that you had a beautiful weekend & that a great week is on the horizon. xo

homeschooling // toddler preschool

August 11, 2015

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

A few weeks back, I took a bunch of the littles’ clothing to the consignment store to sell. While I was waiting for our clothes to be sorted, I walked around & discovered that the store also sells gently used childrens’ books. What a dream! I picked up two new books to add to our collection. Please Bring Balloons & Who’s on the Farm?. I just love the bright colors & adorable illustrations in both of them. Roman particularly loves the farm book because it’s a “lift-the-flap” book, and he adores lifting those little flaps.

We’ve also been spending some time working on the alphabet & counting recently. I picked up two beautiful sets of flashcards (ABC’s & Numbers) in the dollar section of Target last week! What a score. They’ve got a bunch of great stuff out at the moment as part of the back-to-school promotions. I also picked up a few packs of stickers, construction paper, and kid-safe scissors.

I’m not really sure who loves this whole homeschooling thing more — Roman or me? I guess I missed my teaching days more than I thought. There is just something so exciting about the end of summer & the approach of autumn. Even though I’ve been finished with schooling for awhile & my babies are a way off from anything formal, I still love all of the promise that a new “school year” brings.

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

toddler preschool // livelovesimple.com

If you have any recommendations for must-have toddlers books, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

in the garden // late july

July 27, 2015

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

Late July brings bounty & beauty to our garden. These are my favorite photographs from the garden yet. I could just sit and stare at them all day. They capture the plant life out there so beautifully. What I didn’t capture is the animal life! It’s constantly buzzing back there. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds (eating insects) are a constant presence. We deliberately cultivated the garden to be fauna-friendly, including plants that are especially attractive to our beautiful pollinators. Hooray for bees & butterflies!

When we returned from vacation over the weekend, there was so much deliciousness to be harvested. We are thrilled that our hopes for a bountiful season have panned out. It’s truly wonderful to eat these fresh, organic vegetables that we grew ourselves from seed!

At the moment, the flowers that are in bloom are zinnias, bee balm, black-eyed Susans, lavender, anise, hostas, and yarrow. We have some flowers that we hope will bloom soon, including one giant one that is seven-feet-tall!

The vegetables that we are currently harvesting are cherry tomatoes (red & gold), salad tomatoes, yellow zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and red cabbage. We’re bringing in lots of thyme & basil for cooking and there’s spearmint for garnishing drinks. We just harvested all of our carrots. Our sugar snap peas are finished for the season. We’ve got two big bags of them in the freezer. We have a crop of fall vegetables coming in strong, too; including pumpkins, broccoli, onions, beets, kale, Brussels sprouts, and winter squash. We’ll be seeding spinach shortly, as well.

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

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in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

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in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

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in the garden // livelovesimple.com

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in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

in the garden // livelovesimple.com

We are very pleased with our garden. It’s been an incredible journey from seed to harvest. It means a lot to us that Roman has had a big role in the process. He helps with all of the watering and harvesting. We love being able to expose him to the labor & miracle of growing food.

Here are the previous phases of our garden this year:

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us. Also, you have no idea how excited we are that we are going to have our own little pumpkin patch this autumn. It’s a dream come true for this Halloween-obsessed lady right here! xo

Toddler Preschool: Watercolors & Shapes // Homeschooling

July 10, 2015

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Over the past couple of years, we have been thinking a lot about public schools vs. private schools vs. homeschooling. I imagine that these thoughts cross all parents’ minds at some point. It’s a big decision and there are so many pros & cons on all sides. It will be a little while longer until Roman is ready for kindergarten and we will be forced to make a decision. For now, he’s only ready for preschool and we’re doing that at home for the time being.

Up until this past month, my homeschooling efforts have been totally unstructured. Roman is constantly learning & developing and I always sort of just went with the flow and followed his lead. Now, at two years and two months, I can tell that he’s craving more. His mind is such a sponge and it’s extraordinary to me how much he absorbs, retains, and learns. I know that this is all “typical” for a toddler, but since Roman is my first child, it totally blows my mind. It’s incredible to watch him interact with the world and to quench his thirst for learning.

Most of what Roman knows now, he has picked up naturally through listening to adult conversations, playing with toys & puzzles, and watching television shows & movies. He has a great grasp on so many concepts & his vocabulary is extensive. I couldn’t begin to explain them all, but some of the concepts that we’ve been focusing on lately are:

  • letters – he can identify 23 out of 26 letters
  • numbers & counting – we’re still working on this & he’s making progress
  • shapes – he can identify all of the basic shapes
  • colors – he can identify all of the basic colors

Another thing that we’ve been doing for awhile is “creating.” Coloring has long-been one of Roman’s favorite activities. He also loves to line things up. He creates “trains” out of everything. He loves to build towers and “birdhouses” with blocks, to gather flowers for bouquets, and simple things like this. Our next step in creating will be some more structured arts & crafts type projects.

Yesterday we went to the craft store and picked up some watercolor paints and a multimedia pad. We also got a tube of colorful, foam sticker shapes. Roman had so much fun learning how to dip his paintbrush into water and then into the watercolor paints. We talked a little bit about mixing primary colors to make secondary colors. It was a little over his head, but boy did he enjoy mixing colors together!

After painting, he added some foam shape stickers to his artwork. I peeled the white backs from each shape a little bit and allowed him to peel them the rest of the way before sticking them onto the paper. I also taught him to put the little white peels into a neat pile rather than throwing them all over the place.

When we were finished we cleaned up his workspace and washed the paintbrushes & water cup in the sink. Then we hung up his artwork using a piece of twine, some fabric tape, and miniature clothes pins. It was the first time we ever put a piece of his work up on display. He was beaming with pride and I felt like my mama heart was going to burst.

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I have so many ideas for more projects to do with him. I can’t wait. I get just as excited as he does. I’ll be sharing lots more of our preschool homeschooling adventures as we go along.

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