Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The end is near.....

I feel it and it makes me sad, summer is coming to an end.

Today was our last day of swim class and I noticed it's also the last full week of August, can you believe how fast time is ticking away?

I began the summer by putting our planned activities on a calendar including work trips, classes, vacations and visits from friends and I remember saying "by the time all of this passes we'll be getting ready to pack out and leave Italy".  At the time I remember feeling nothing but pure joy at this thought but now I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm ready to move somewhere else and ready for a new experience, but, this has been the best summer with some truly great friends and I don't want that to end.  What is it about your last months in a place that really make you start to fall in love?  I'm not sure, but I'll admit these past few months have found me the most content I've ever been here in Naples.  Maybe it's the knowledge that the end truly is near?  Or maybe it's an answered prayer?  I'm not sure, but I'm thankful for the peace that has settled on my heart lately.

Back to the last day of swim class, I'll add a little "bragging" here - both boys "graduated" out of their current level.  Now, this is not all that surprising for Lewis as he shot through the levels like a rocket, this was his year for swimming to "click".  The funny thing being he doesn't want to move up to level 4 since he's seen that class and thinks they swim waaaaay too many laps.  William on the other hand started the swim season rather hesitantly, as in "I'm NOT getting in the big pool!".  He bloomed in his preschool class with Miss Sarah and proudly moved up to level I with Miss Lauren.  He has made so much progress, he's jumping off the side, swimming away from the side on his own and he even went down the slide yesterday!  Today, much to my surprise, Miss Lauren recommended William move up to Level II, whoa.  His face beemed with pride, my sweet, swimming boy.

We've spent every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at swim class, we've enjoyed late afternoon swims followed by picnics in the park, we've had so much playground time with our friends.  Next week all the "normal" kids go back to school so our playdates will significantly decrease, the pool closes so we can't go there - it's going to get boring around here - don't go Summer, DON'T GO!!!!

At least we have our September guests and a trip to London to look forward to plus we can get on a more normal school schedule as we've been doing half in the morning before swim class and half in the afternoon.   Of course, by the time we get back on a schedule it will be time to move throwing everything out of whack again, such is life in the Navy.

Speaking of the Navy, we still haven't received our orders but praying they come soon.  Merely receiving them doesn't get us out of here any earlier, but it does allow us to get the ball rolling on the painful and slow process of checking out and it allows for the planning our trip home to the States, so the sooner the better.  Let's all get to praying and see if we can get this one answered!

Enjoy your last days of summer, I know we're going to make the most of every moment.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We survived

Today marks the end of Paul's "staycation" and his triumphant return to work.  I know it's been a bit quiet here on the blog but I've been hiding in strange places hoping Paul won't notice I'm doing nothing.  Just kidding, sort of.  I'm happy to say we all survived and I avoided participating in any painful "projects".  He was a busy, busy man during his two weeks off but luckily he decided that my part in all of the excitement was to keep the boys at bay during the hard work (which I sort of took seriously but they LOVE being with their Dad so I may have sent them to the garage once or twice just so I could have some peace and quiet).  He also did quite a bit of relaxing and hanging out with his little guys which they all really needed (and so did I).  We spent many afternoons in the pool and playing in our back yard and made a few trips to the big pool at Carney Park.  We also took advantage of the lovely weather and had the boys ride their bikes in the park which is something they don't get to do often enough for fear a crazy Italian driver will run them over.  Just kidding, sort of.

The highlight of the staycation was a girls only trip to the Island of Ischia for a day of relaxing!  My friend Jennifer and I left behind all our men (she too has two little boys) and grabbed a ferry over to the lovely island.  We made our way to Negombo Spa and spent the day testing the waters in the natural thermal pools, relaxing by the beach and enjoying a delicious lunch seaside.  OK, it was the highlight for me, I'm not sure Paul would agree but since he's not here we'll go with it.

We took a week off of school in order to allow the boys extra time with Dad but got back to work last week. OK, that's not exactly true.  I hadn't planned on taking the week off but apparently having Daddy around was a bit of a distraction and keeping them focused became impossible.  SO,  we're back to school and currently enjoying "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" as our book, a family favorite.  We kicked our school morning off with some fun-

You can't do that in public school!  The boys have been very interested in pretend play lately so why deny them their fun?  Buzz and Mr. Pirate are working on the letter "C" and handwriting.  

As for my B90 challenge I'm right on schedule, yea!  We're currently reading in Psalms which is positively refreshing after the previous 3 or 4 books.  After I finish tomorrow's chapters I'll be half-way finished, day 45, yippeee! 

Did I mention we're having the best weather ever?  This is my third summer in Naples, Italy and this is by far the best August I've experienced.  It's so nice we may just decide to stay another few years.  Just kidding.

Buona Notte!  Good Night!   

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another milestone for Lewis

Yesterday marked another accomplishment for Lewis, one he has longed for the entire summer.

As you may recall both boys have been taking swimming lessons all summer and both boys have improved so much that I still stand amazed watching them in the pool.  It seems something has "clicked" and they're both so much more comfortable in the water than when we started.

Lewis moved up through the levels of swim class rather quickly, entirely skipping level 2 and going straight to level 3.  In this class, as a special treat at the end the participants are allowed to go off of the diving board.  Lewis had absolutely no problem going off, he bravely accepted the challenge and had a lot of fun being a big boy.   At the end of their last session, he was able to go down the big slides too.  This wasn't nearly as much of a challenge as we took him to the local water park and he had already conquered the slides, but he still enjoyed the fun.

And here's the dilemma.  While he's able to go off of the diving board and slides during swim class he's not able to during regular swim.  Why?  Because you have to pass a swim test to show the lifeguards you're ready for deep end swimming.  The test consists of swimming one lap across the pool using a stroke (no doggie-pedaling) and treading water for one minute.  This may not sound so complicated but let me tell you, it's a wide pool!  Several of Lewis' friends have passed the test this year and dare I say he's been a bit envious.  Passing this test gives you access to all of the areas of the pool including free access to the diving board and all of the slides- a real "big kid" rite of passage.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the pool and had a picnic in the park afterwards with several families.  We came home exhausted and the boys went straight to bed.  Here's a picture of Lewis on his way to dreamland - please notice the new accessory on his left wrist.  And the proud, but tired look on his face.

Yesterday our little big boy passed his swim test and he proudly wore this wristband for all to see that he too could swim in the deep end.  Another bonus to passing the swim test is wearing the blue wristband as a beacon for all to admire and he made sure everyone saw that he too had one.

And he swam, and swam, and jumped and slid and dove and swam and swam.

He's not actually wearing the wristband in this photo because this one is from swim class.
Yesterday I forgot my camera, ugghh.

I wonder how long he'll want to wear the wristband before finally cutting if off? 

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Rite of Passage

Tonight as I was getting dinner on the table, Lewis came in the kitchen and took his carrot off of his plate.  He smiled and said "I'm starving, I can't wait".  OK, fair enough.

Then I turned around as he said "whoa, what was that?"  So I looked closer trying to see what on earth he was talking about and notice a small amount of blood on his lip.  "Did you bite your lip?"  "No" he replied and I thought to myself "why is there a gaping hole in his mouth?"

My baby- B.A.B.Y - lost his first tooth!  HIS FIRST TOOTH!!!

It was barely loose and now it's gone.

He actually ripped the thing out eating a carrot!

After locating the tooth on the floor I ran upstairs to get the camera to take pictures which I'll now share with you. I present to you Lewis the big proud snaggletooth.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Apple Pie and school?

I thought I would take an opportunity to share with you a bit more about how we do school.

We are currently using as our base curriculum a program called Five In A Row.  The concept of the program being you take one really good children's book and read it - you guessed it - five days in a row!

Each day you choose a topic to discuss or a project to do together.  Subjects fall into categories such as Geography, Language, Math, Art and Science.

Last week's book was "How to Make an  Apple Pie and see the world" by Marjorie Priceman.

Our week looked a bit like this
Monday - we read the book and mapped out all of the places she went to get the ingredients to make an apple pie.
Tuesday - we read the book and used flags from each country to play a memory a game - in which order did she visit each country? and what product did she need from each?   We also talked about flags.
Wednesday- we read the book and discussed new vocabulary words and their meanings and different techniques the author used to tell the story.
Thursday -we read the book and colored apples while talking about the different varieties of apples and also how the artwork in the book helps tell the story.
Friday- we read the book and then used real world math by baking an apple pie.
Saturday - this should have been our science experiment day but we were so tired and had a birthday party so we'll tie it in with next week's book.

As we go through the week we place our projects in a folder so we can look back on all we've learned.  I use Homeschool Share for our go-along activities and also for other subject ideas.

This folder isn't complete yet, but you get the idea.

In addition to this, both boys are working through a phonics program called Explode The Code at their respective levels.

Lewis is close to finishing his Horizons K program and will start Math U See  soon.  I didn't really care for Horizons math, though it is a solid program it's also a bit dry and too workbook focused for our tastes.

William is slowly working through a Kindergarten level math workbook from Spectrum.  I originally bought this book to compare to Lewis'  Horizons K math which is, in my opinion, at 1st grade level.  It's a nice easy introduction to Math and William enjoys having his own special workbook. He's doing surprisingly well for a 4 yr. old.  After our move we'll start him in the entry level Math U See.

William is also enjoying his Letter of the Week curriculum  I got at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  The games are fun and entertaining and help keep him busy while I teach Lewis.

For Lewis' handwriting practice I've adapted our own plan by combining ideas from different programs.  The first idea came from A Reason for Handwriting which has the child practice writing Scripture.  Then, I use the verses from Letter of the Week so both boys are learning the same verse each week.

After our move to Bahrain we'll be adding History using The Mystery of History volume I and possibly adding a language.  I'm trying to keep it fairly simple in the early years, not adding too much seat work or busy work.  

All in all it's going well and I think the boys are learning a lot and enjoying school.

Here are some more photos of our pie making day-
The bakers

 Learning math through cooking
Our ingredients- do not make fun of the pre-packaged pie crust - I don't get along well with flour.
Paul came home just in time to help grate the cinammon.  Notice the look of pure joy on his face??
And in the oven it goes.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look into our little homeschool.  You can click on the highlighted curriculum names to learn more about our choices if  you wish.

Now I'm off to read, I'm one day behind in my B90 challenge and I'm determined to catch up today and stay on schedule.