Thursday, July 31, 2008

Public School or Home School??

I have been debating for months on what to do about Motor Mouth and school. Chicago's school system is very complicated. There are neighborhood schools, magnet schools, cluster schools, magnet cluster schools, montessori, private, and Catholic schools. For all except for your neighborhood school, you have to APPLY in the fall for the following school year. Some schools require testing to get in. We got here too late for any options other than our neighborhood school.

I have been debating as to whether I should send Motor Mouth to our neighborhood school or homeschool. 

Motor Mouth had such a horrible school experience in Tulsa last year at his private school, after a couple of months, we tried to get him into a public school but it was too late and there were no more spaces.  I don't want Motor Mouth to have another year like that, or he might hate school forever.

In Chicago, our neighborhood school gets mixed reviews. Some people say they would send their child there, others say they would keep him home for the year, or homeschool. Last evening, I was at Motor Mouth's karate class. One mother said she would not send her son to our school. She said her mother-in-law taught at the school - I'm thinking she would know. One father said he would send his son there for kindergarten but not grade 1. 

We met with the principal, vice principal and the 3 kindergarten teachers. The school seems fine. The kids seemed fine. The school gets okay/mediocre grades from the 50% of parents reporting. It's literally right in our backyard, so it is convenient. Our main concern is that the curriculum covers exactly what Motor Mouth learned in K4.

I've been talking to homeschool moms in Chicago and Tulsa. My friend from Tulsa told me about the K12 Virtual Learning program. I checked it out online. It's $1400 for the year!! Ha! And I thought $800 was pricey for the program my friend from Chicago wants me to do with her. 

After some more research, I found the exact same program offered through Chicago Public Schools. For FREE! AND they GIVE us a computer AND a printer AND the books for FREE!! No uniform required. All we pay for is print cartridges and paper.

The program is a 3-fold combination of virtual lessons, textbooks, and in-class. Motor Mouth would be required to go to a classroom one day each week. They have a few more Kindergarten spaces open. Motor Mouth is practically accepted. 

And, the facility where the in-class will be held is a newer facility (5 yrs-ish) and only about 2 miles from our home!

I am so excited about this!!

Family Fun Night - Pirate Theme Night

This week's Family Fun Night found us on the high seas for our Pirate Themed night with Pirates of the Caribbean on the DVD player and the soundtrack played in the background. 
Preacher Man, Soccer Man, Big Blue, and Bear joined us.

Flying the Pirate flag on our vessel
Lego Pirate Ship (made by Motor Mouth)
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Captain Jack Sparrow
Getting a little of the Captain in him

Mini Me looks like she has a little of the Captain in her
Scary Pirates
Table centerpiece
Treasure Chest
Treasure Map (Daddy did this)
All good pirates have tattoos...!
And eye patches
Little Pirates chowing down
Pirate plates and napkins
First Mate Meal - Skull Sandwiches
Skull Rice Krispies
Captain Meal - Human Body Parts
Captain Meal - Maggots
Captain Meal - Human Teeth
Captain Meal - Seaweed
Treasure Hunt Coloring Activity
Pirate and his Wench!
And the good news....No one got scurvy!!

Now, please go check out Whittaker Woman who is the author and queen of all things related to Family Nights. 

Shout Out #2

I'm finding out there are closet viewers...Here is a shout out to my silent crew because I don't want to miss anyone:

Amanda D
Park Crew

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Building Relationships

This Sunday, I really felt like I was a part of our new church family. It was my first Sunday feeling this way. This is HUGE for me. I felt loved and accepted.  I felt like I am a visible part of our church - our church that is the reason why we moved our family to this city, 7 & 10 hours from most of our family and friends. 

First off, J couldn't come meet us, so he sent Andrew to drive us to church. The teachers in the kids' classrooms remembered each of them by name.  Walking into church, I ran into Nordic Princess, saw Man in the Know, and Engaged Girl, who I brunched with on Saturday, was one of the ushers. When I walked to the sound booth to sit with J, 3 guys told me where to find J, including Art Boy. I found J but ended up sitting with Pie Town, his volunteer. 

I personally knew 4/5 of the band members on stage and I know the person #5 is married to. When Pie Town and I sat down, I saw Di Eye from my Weds mom's group and her husband. One of the ladies from my new mom's group sat behind us. The guy sitting next to us recognized and greeted me. 

Going to pick up the kiddos, I ran into Les Mom from my Weds mom's group. Last week, I met the sister of Jaxn, our pastor. This week, she remembered my name.

Afterwards, at the church picnic, I hung out with the Worship and Technical Arts crew and Chicka (sans George). I got to see Mobium in line for BBQ. After lunch, Soccer Mom and her family came over, as did JJ and her family. I ran into another of the new mom's group ladies, and I got to spend time getting to know J Mom4 and her family. As we left, we came across Jon , Cre8ve Chaos, and Pretty Little Thing. 

What was great, is Motor Mouth and Mini Me know most of these people by name so they also felt connected. Many of these people are who J rubs shoulders with daily. J felt really connected as well, but I know it meant a great deal to him that the kids and I felt it too. We had an awesome day with our new people.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Writing Workshop - Session 2, Part 2

Let me say, I have the best, most considerate husband in the world! 
Today, J came home from work early, at lunchtime, and made gourmet mac & cheese for the kids'. Gourmet mac & cheese? Yes. J cooked the cheese mixture with extra shredded cheese and heavy whipping cream in a separate pan. It was pretty amazing.
Afterwards, J parented the kiddos because I couldn't. 

I did not go to my writing workshop. It's the first class I've missed. 

I had several sessions in the last 24 hours. After my first session, J carefully laid out a thick towel, creating a comfortable environment for me.
I was in-session with this...

Family Friday - 07/25/08

No need to adjust your screen. J had to work on Friday, his day off. 
We didn't have a Family Friday. 
He worked on Saturday too. 
And crashed on Sunday.

Karate Kid

Motor Mouth started karate tonight. 

He told the instructor he saw 'Kung Fu Panda' and that he eats 'Kung Fu food'. Mercifully, I was home with a migraine and tossing my cookies. J was the parent experiencing Motor Mouth in action.

MotorMouth, is not allowed to talk at all in class. He must watch and follow directions. This should be very interesting.

New Mom's Group - 07/25/08

On Friday, the kiddos and I tried out a new mom's group. This group meets on different days than our current group.

We were invited by Pure, who told me about her mom's group, at her daughter's birthday party. 

We met at a great park that has 2 sets of playground equipment, a mini train, mini house, swings, a water feature, and lots of grass to run and play on.  

The park is a far (15-minute drive) but so worth another visit with the 3 or 4 of us. 

Kids Kraft Day - 07/24/08

On this Kids Kraft Day, the kiddos used markers, paper, glue and popsicle sticks to make their unique creations.

Adventures of the 3 M's - 07/26/08

Off to a rough start

Very rough

On Saturday, the 3 M's discovered their favorite park was open!! This playground is located at MotorMouth's school - practically in the backyard. The 3 M's trekked over there. Mommy had a headache, so she refrained from chasing MotorMouth and Mini-Me and climbing over the equipment. As a result, Mini-Me made some serious big girl headway.

Mini-Me reached all the way out from 4-ft in the air and managed to climb down on her own!

Three Times!!!
Mommy thought there might be a trip to the ER. Daddy was at work with the car, so she had to figure out Plan B, just in case.

After the playground, the 3 M's tried eating popsicles again. 
It was moderately better.