A Little of This + A Little of That = A Little Bit About Our Life

Seems like I’ve spent so much time talking about our homesteading plans lately that I thought some of you might want updates on some of the other things in our lives.

Let’s talk homeschooling!

One of the things I enjoy most about homeschooling is the pure excitement when one of the girls suddenly understands a new concept or does something for the first time. It happens regularly here. For example, Lili had an aha moment in math this week and was giddy with excitement. There were lots high-5’s and hugs because she didn’t know what else to do with her excitement over learning a new math concept. Then Naomi had her turn when she wrote her name for the first time without help. Her smile lit up the room as she gave me double high-5’s and hugs. Homeschooling has had more than a few frustrating moments that have made me want to register the girls for school outside the walls of our home, but when I get to experience the ‘aha’ moments, it’s worth all the frustration we may have experienced earlier. And in case you though homeschooling was all chocolates and roses, it’s not. At least not here 🙂

Overall, both girls are really doing well in their homeschool programs. Lili is almost done with kindergarten math and will be moving into 1st grade math soon. She is reading better all the time, although I have a little trouble motivating her to read more. To help motivate both girls to put their noses in the books more often, I set up our own little homeschool library and reading nook. We’ll incorporate more quiet reading time into our day and hopefully both of them will find more enjoyment reading.

Naomi is working on the basics – learning letters, numbers, how to write her name, and scissor skills. She has mastered her colors and can count from 1-15. She is also working on calendar and has almost mastered the days of the week. We are also working on matching, recognizing the differences between small and big, short and tall, or just the difference between pictures such as two boys wearing red and one boy wearing green. Naomi’s attention span is pretty average for a 3 1/2-year-old, so we work on things in short spurts, with playtime in between.

I’ve incorporated some of our homesteading plans into our homeschool curriculum. Right now we’re doing a study on chickens. The girls are going to need to know all they can about the animals we’ll have on our homestead so we’ll also study goats at some point. In a few short weeks they’ll begin a hands-on gardening study as we begin planting seeds indoors for transplant to the garden this spring. Throughout the spring and summer they’ll learn the difference between weeds and plants to participate in all gardening activities. I’m hoping they’ll even learn to like some of the vegetables I can’t currently get them to eat 🙂

Lili is still attending an art class and Naomi is now in a dance class. Since their classes are back-to-back, it allows me the opportunity to work with one of them while the other is in class then switch.

Another part of our homeschool day is cooking and baking. Several times a week the girls assist me in preparing a meal, baking bread, or making some special. They enjoy it and are learning some wonderful life skills.

What’s new with the puppies?

Jagger and Zoey are also in school. They were both in puppy obedience classes and are now in agility classes. Jagger has had 3 classes and Zoey has had 2. Zoey is willing to do pretty much everything in agility except for the tunnel. She takes a lot of coaxing to run thru that big tube, but she does it with a treat at the end. Who am I kidding, she’ll do pretty much anything for a treat 🙂 This can be a problem though as she expects a treat at the end of every obstacles. She runs up and down the A-frame without hesitation, walks the plank like she owns it, and does the little jumps fine. Problem is, she seems to think she needs to stop after each obstacle for a treat so she’ll finish an obstacle and then immediately sit and look up at me like, “I did it, now where’s my reward?” She’s so darn cute!!!

Jagger hasn’t been as willing an agility participant as Zoey. He enjoys the tunnel and runs right thru and doesn’t even mind the little jumps, but getting him to do anything else has been a lot of work. He would simply lay down and refuse to move. We offered him all the really great treats too – hot dog, chicken, and cheese. While the treats worked a little, they just weren’t enough motivation for him to do the A-frame, plank, tire, etc. The trainers finally discovered that taking hold of his collar and pulling him to get him going worked. He even got the point of protesting while holding his collar, but something clicked this week. It was time to get started and he layed down. I took hold of his collar to get him going and about half-way up the A-frame was able to let go. From that point on he did everything I asked him to do without hesitation and he actually seemed to enjoy it. He was happy to get a little treat of chicken or cheese, but the bigger reward for him was that he got to sit on my lap with lots of praise and pets while we waited for the other dogs to take their turn. It was awesome and I now understand how someone can get a bit addicted to Agility. When your dog gets it and does well, it’s awesome! I think we’ll be sticking with it.

What, nothing about our homesteading plans?

Of course I’m going to talk homesteading. After all, it is such a big topic in our home right now, I can’t complete a post without an update on our homesteading plans. Okay, I can complete a post without an update, but I’m not going to this time.

We looked at some property a couple of weeks ago and were seriously considering one of them. Yesterday the property got much more interesting when we received a message from the realtor that the seller wanted to sell us an additional 3 acres of adjoining property. Problem was, he upped the price by $2000 per acre for the entire property. By last night we had decided against pursuing the property. While the price increase was certainly a factor in our decision, there were other contributing factors as well. I’m sure there is a piece of property out there that is perfect for our little homestead, so we’ll just keep looking.

The other change in our plans is our actualy house plans. One of our goals was to downsize. Not necessarily a huge downsize, but smaller none-the-less. After studying our chosen plans over and over and over again I suddenly realized that we wouldn’t be downsizing at all. Quite the opposite in fact!! We studied the plans thinking the square footage included the bonus room upstairs. Nope! It was extra. Those plans have now been tossed and we are still looking. Just like the property, we’ll find the perfect house plans for our homestead.

This really is just a little bit of this and that going on in our lives right now and hopefully I’ll get around to posting some photos in my next post. I’m sure you are all anxious to see pictures of the girls, our little library, reading nook and the dogs. Guess I should break out the camera and get some pictures taken now.

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