October is Over

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October has been another busy month, with lots of fun activities and learning opportunities. I still struggle to balance our schedule with enough time at home, so as I don't feel too frazzled with running around. But, I think things are leveling out. Of course, the biggest challenge I face right now is the possibility of a relocation in the near future, and that puts a damper on my enthusiasm to engage in long-term projects, or pay a lot of money for classes and workshops for which we may not be here. However, right now, the kids have a nice balance of artistic endeavors, physical activity, social opportunities and time for some loosely structured academic pursuits. So, all is good.

As for activities, this month, Flo is continuing with art, yoga, ice skating and gym class. Joe is really enjoying his Little Gym classes, as well. I can see it's been a real benefit to him to be in a class setting, where he has to participate in group activities and listen to instruction. Flo passed the second level certificate for ice skating, and was excited about that. We plan to sign her up for one more round of lessons, which run into January, and then we'll see what the New Year holds.

Around the middle of the month, a local homeschooling mom hosted a nice little storytelling workshop. She shared a couple of her favorite stories, including exerpts from The Hobbit, and a new rendition of the Tortoise and the Hare. She also talked about the art of storytelling and gave us moms some great resources to check out. Then the kids had a chance to share a story if they felt so inspired. Flo eagerly volunteered to tell the story of Joseph, who had a little overcoat. This is a story book, but the title Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, which we've read so many times at home, that she's committed it to memory. She conveniently used her brother, Joseph, as a prop.

This month Flo finally finished the first level of the Funnix reading program, which we'd been doing somewhat leisurely for almost two years. Of course, we took a couple long breaks in there, where we just did a lot of reading on our own, but she always liked the format of the program, so we decided to finish up Level 1, and she just started Level 2, which focuses more on reading comprehension. I'm impressed with her progress.

We also started ShillerMath this month, which is a Montessori-based curriculum. I wanted something we could loosely follow, to make me feel like I was covering some of the fundamentals, or at the very least, teaching them HOW to think about math. I started the first level with Flo, which is way too easy, but it's giving me some time to get comfortable with the format, and gives her a chance to build some math confidence.

Social opportunities have been abundant this month. We enjoyed several playgroups, one of which was at a friend's farm, which the kids really enjoyed. We also attended a birthday party at the bowling alley and Flo has had ample playtime with our neighbor's daughter, Dara.

Towards the end of the month, Darren's parents, who have never visited us since we've been married and out on our own, unexpectedly called to say they'd be here on Saturday (the 28th). Yikes! Despite the short notice, we rearranged out schedule to facilitate a really nice visit. They stayed about five days, and we got a chance to take them to DC. The kids love riding the metro. They also got to go trick-or-treating with us on Halloween, and got the tour of our lovely town. It was really great for them to get the chance to see our kids, as it's been three years. We're really happy that they came, as we don't know where we might end up in the New Year.

Because of Nanny and Poppy's visit, we did have to miss one activity we were looking forward to. Another local homeschooling mom letterboxing workshop. But, even though we missed it, it gave us the opportunity to look up some information on the topic, and Flo is particuarly excited about doing a project. The website LetterBoxing.org offers some great information on getting started, so we'll look into that in the upcoming months.

We got a good deal on an iPod Nano this month, from a friend who wanted to upgrade. I actually purchased it for myself, thinking I'd use it on my walks, but it turned out to be much more fun for Flo. We discovered that the iPod store had great stories for kids that you can download to you iPod. We downloaded Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, and she enjoyed listening to this at bedtime for several nights.

Halloween finished off the month, and both Flo and Joe thoroughly enjoyed their trick-or-treating experience around our neighborhood. Joe got quite a stash of candy, almost all of which he couldn't eat due to his allergies. But, despite this, he seemed to simply enjoy the process of acquiring it more than consuming it. Flo recycled her witch costume from two years ago, and Joe insisted on being Peter Pan… again… So, it was an inexpensive year in terms of costumes, which is good. Flo has been carefully rationing her candy, according to the "two piece per day rule." From this point in the year, on through the holidays, I find it to be such a challenge to arm your children with good nutritional sense, so that they're not over-consuming totally crappy foods. I really see a difference in Flo's behavior when she eats too much junk at parties, etc. I try to throw in some solid advice, so hopefully some if will rub off, without me coming off as the food police.

So, there's the month of October… over in a flash…

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