Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Preschool: Daily Routine

  Another blog topic change- let's see if this one sticks.  For those who don't know, I decided to start a home summer preschool program for my daughter with special needs (Addie).  I invited several of her typical peers to attend so that she can learn in cooperation with other little ones her age, and my hope is that she can make some developmental gains by interacting with children who are demonstrating age-appropriate behavior and cognitive skills.  The preschool is aimed at kids ages 3-5, and the curriculum is not specifically designed for special needs children.  However, the small class size gives me the chance to give Addie one on one attention, keep her on task, and give her hand-over-hand assistance when needed.  I'd like to share lessons and projects with other preschool parents in the off-chance that someone else might find the information useful.   
    So, a typical day at our home school will begin with a devotion from Dr. Mary Manz Simon's Little Visits With Jesus.  (Available at We then look at the calendar and discuss the date, month, and day of the week, as well as any special holidays coming up.  Next, we take a look outside and talk about the weather and relate it to the current month and season.
    We then head to our desks to discuss the letter of the day.  We go over the ASL sign, the different sounds the letter makes, and the shape of the letter.  Students brainstorm different words that begin with the letter of the day and get a chance to practice tracing over the letter printed on the whiteboard.  Students then are given a worksheet with a series of letters and are instructed to either circle the letter of the day, or cross out any letter that is NOT the letter of the day.
    We usually break for snack at this point and take a bathroom break.  We return for learning center time and craft. The centers and crafts are related to the unit theme.  The centers change as the unit changes- approximately every two weeks, and the craft will also relate to the letter of the day.  Before we head out for recess, we read the story of the day.  
    We then either head outside to the swing set or to the playroom for about fifteen minutes, and after we wear out the kiddos a bit,  we come back inside for our final circle time.  The final time includes reflection and sharing about what we've learned, a few songs related to the unit theme, and then a concluding prayer.  
    I hold preschool either two or three days a week, depending on my youngest son's therapy schedule.  (We have a developmental First Steps therapist come to the house every other week to work with him.)  We have 26 classes set up for the summer corresponding with the alphabet letters.  My main objectives for the course are that the kids would be able to recognize all of the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and name the sound(s) the letter can make.  We are also working on numbers, colors, shapes, fine motor and gross motor skills.  Our first unit is a fairy tale theme, so in my next post I plan on providing more detailed information about the unit's learning centers, books, and crafts.  

Miss Adaliah loves her preschool time!  (Photo by Sara Carter)

Friday, September 09, 2011

This Old House

So folks who know us know about last year's home purchase and the massive undertaking our quirky fixer upper is proving to be. Our more polite friends and family affectionately refer to the situation as "Carter's Folly". The rest just straight up call us morons. In any event, I was looking through photos of the house before we started working on it, and I was reminded of just how much we've accomplished over the past year. I plan on posting some before and after pictures of the rooms we've done so far, and perhaps we can get some feedback on what to do with the remaining space. First up on the docket will be the kid's room.

This was one of the least offensive rooms in the house at the first viewing. As you'll see in future posts, the former occupants of the home (a beauty salon/day spa) felt that painted plywood subfloor was a perfectly acceptable flooring option. So that was problem number one. The home also had an extremely inefficient and antiquated boiler system with registers all over the house. We updated with a forced air/geothermal unit, so those registers had to go. Finally, the room had a funky paint job with the leaves and such, and the pictures don't quite capture the amount of cobwebs and dust and overall dinginess. In the next post I'll show ya'll how we transformed the room with carpet, a snazzy paint job, and some good old fashioned elbow grease. (I've been watching way too many DIY shows.....)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Frugal Traveler


Ah. Kids are sleeping, cakes are baking, and I have some spare time to sift through pictures of our recent vacation to the east coast. Vacations are such an important part of American family life. They provide us with great anecdotes, and they seem to make up a large chunk of our childhood memories. Everyone's family does the vacation thing a little differently. Some can afford to fly to the destination, rent a car, stay in a nice hotel, eat out every night, and visit some local tourist attraction every day. Others simply pack a cooler and a tent and rough it pioneer-style. My husband likes to combine the two. He likes the civilized hotel-style vacation, but he doesn't like to pay for things. As a result, we employ a Four-Seasons-meets-caveman form of vacationing that I thought I would attempt to describe in a series of blog posts. Now, not all of the examples I give are entirely true, but everything is at least rooted in fact, and all of the stories are somehow inspired by mine and my husband's vacation experiences from childhood to present. I'll start with Part One: Accommodations later this week. In the meantime, check out my Facebook profile for vacay pics. Or check out the updated cake blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Choler hates a counselor

As I get older, life gets more mundane, and blog topics get more and more uninteresting. Today's post is all about the terrible service we received at a local grocery store chain. Seriously, that's the best I can do...
Anyway, the anecdote begins as Jason is looking through the paper at my parents' house. He found the sale ad for Strack and Van Til's in Hobart, saw some super coupons, and decided that we needed to stop there on the way home. It was a Sunday evening, so the store was crowded, and as we hunted for the coupon items, we started to realize that most were sold out. We managed to find two of them, and I headed to the courtesy booth to pick up some rain checks, but it was closed. I saw a manager and went to go make sure that I could get them from the register cashiers. He was a bit frazzled-looking, but I figured if I was super nice, he wouldn't be too put out.
"Excuse me," I began, "I needed some rain checks, and I was wondering if I could get them at the...."
"I know, I know! We're out of everything," he said, throwing his hands in the air. I was taken aback, but I decided to continue my question.
"Right, I was just trying to get some..."
"Yeah, you can get them at the register." I thanked him, and found Jason in line, and told him about the harried manager.
"Must be a rough day," he said.
We moved forward in the line, and as the cashier was ringing up the customer in front of us, she noticed Jason's two items and snapped, "You have to spend ten dollars if you want to use the coupons."
"Yup, he replied, "I was going to get some propane, too."
"You have to do that at the courtesy booth, and that's closed," she quickly responded.
Jason paused for a second, "Um.. when is it open?"
"During the day."
He paused again. "So.... I can't get propane right now?"
"I can't get it for you," she said, obviously annoyed. I started to tell Jason that we should just leave the items and go, when the frazzled manager came over and told the clerk that he could get the propane for us. Suprisingly, the clerk didn't seem happy about it, and kept muttering, "I don't know how to get it."
I took the kids out to the car, and waited for Jason to complete the transaction. He was shaking his head as he returned. "Well, she was friendly!" I joked.
"Oh it got worse," he said. I asked him what happened.

Jason could sense the woman's frustration so he tried to smooth things over. Apparently his attempts at civility didn't work so well.
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, "he said. "I really appreciate you helping me out."
She snorted, "Now you're just going to come in when the courtesy booth is closed and demand propane and say that we got it for you before."
"Uh, no? I know that you're not open now, so I'll be sure to come in when you are open. I assure you."
More scoffs. "You'll just tell other people they can come for propane whenever they feel like it."
Jason decided to just let that one go.
After a moment of silence he asked, "Well, what time does the booth close, by the way."
"Eight." Jason happened to glance at the store clock right as she said that. It was 7:59. He got the propane from the manager and skedaddled out to the car.

"Wow," I said. "Maybe she just received some bad news at home or something."
"I dunno," said Jason, "but you should've seen her face when I asked her to write me some rain checks." We pulled out of the parking lot and just narrowly missed getting hit by a car that blew through an intersection. I guess 49 cent eggs come with an additional charge of bitter. Too bad we didn't have the Indignant WASP with us...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

100th Post or A Collection of Lucieisms

-I've been teaching Lucie how to ask nicely for things. She has started to think that if I say no to her requests that she just needs to ask nicely to get them. Example: She was getting bored in a Bible study and kept pretending that she had to go potty to get out of the room. I told her no after her third pottyless trip. She paused for a second, and then LOUDLY asked, "May I have a go poopy, please?"
- Lucie's version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star": Twinkle star, Twinkle star. Wah, wah, wah, twinkle star. Wah, wah, wah, diamond. Twinkle star wah, wah, wah.
-Lucie's version of the Birthday song: Happy Birthday, you, you, you. Happy Birthday, you, you, you. Happy Birthday, you, you, you. Happy Birthday, you, you, you.
-I came into Lucie's room after her nap to find pillows and stuffed animals strewn all over the floor. I asked, "Why did you throw your pillows on the floor, honey?" She responded, "Because Jesus turned the lights off."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Anyone who reads this probably already knows that we have a new family member. "K" is a two month old baby girl who joined us a month ago. This is our first venture into foster parenting, and I think this is a pretty ideal situation as far as fostering goes. She's a very low maintenance baby, and she's a good sleeper. I can't really say too much about the circumstances because of confidentiality issues, but this is for sure about as warm and fuzzy as you can get when dealing with a child in placement. We know that she'll be with us until the end of this month, and we'll see where things go after that. I'm sure once I have time, I'll have some reflections on what it's like to care for someone else's baby, but right now, I'm focusing on not maiming her or the other kids.
No time for more detailed updates, so here are some kid pics. (I can't include pics of K, which is too bad, b/c she was TOO CUTE in her Easter dress.)

Lucie likes age-inappropriate toys.

Josiah's first sweet potatoes.

Easter! Nana made the outfits. Duh.