Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Crazy Scouts

Last night, Henry had a Board of Review at the Boy Scout meeting.  A Board of Review is kind of like an interview, and in that interview three committee members of our troop decide if the scout is ready to be advanced to the next rank.  Well, after several months of working on his advancement, it was decided that Henry had fulfilled all of the requirements of 1st Class Scout!!  He has been going to almost every scout meeting, camp out and service project this year, and has been doing as many merit badges as he can, so we are very proud of his commitment and hard work.  He will not be wearing his scout neckerchief anymore because a first class scout wears a "bolo", or a shoestring tie.  He will get that tie as well as his new rank badge at our next court of honor in a couple of weeks.

After the meeting, I wanted to take a quick picture of my scouts before they went to bed.  They were still kind of excited from the meeting, so for the first few pictures, I just let them be squirrelly. 

In this one, when I was taking the picture, I noticed that Seth had his eyes closed for a few seconds.  As soon as I snapped the picture, he said, "Uh, sorry...I think I blinked."  Funny guy!  I was laughing so hard!

Seth was kind of full of it.  :)

As soon as they got that out of their system, I finally wound up getting a nice picture of my scouts. 

I told the boys that I remembered another time when they were goofing around taking pictures after an advancement in scouts.  Seth had just become a Tiger Cub at a Pack Meeting.  He was 6, and Henry was 8.  I showed the boys the pictures...

and we all agreed...
that some things...

never change.  :)

I love my scouts!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

An Eagle Scout Ceremony

This past summer, Henry volunteered at a fellow scout's Eagle project.  This scout put many of the boys in his troop as well as their parents to work landscaping our town's cemetery.  The finished project is beautiful.  It is kind of neat that this project is one of the first things that you see when you come into our town, and our boys can watch the landscaping mature over the years and know that they took part in it.  The boy scout who organized this Eagle project was granted the Boy Scouts' highest honor, the Eagle award.  Henry, Seth and I went to his Eagle Court of Honor today.    To hear about this scout's journey from a Tiger Cub first grader to an Eagle Scout senior was so moving, especially because we are on that journey now with Henry and Seth.  There were so many memories shared by people who had watched and helped this young man grow up to be the Scout he is today.  It was so good for Henry, Seth, and all of the younger scouts to see.  It was good for me to see as well because it reaffirmed our commitment to this program and to this community of good people.  :)  (See Henry and Seth in the front row?  They are the second and third scouts from the right.)

Henry was asked to take part in the color guard for the ceremony.  It was his first time to do this, and it really meant a lot to Henry because he really admires this new Eagle Scout.  Henry did a great job!

Congratulations, Nick!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Puppy Playdate

Today we had a houseful.  We had our four children, plus two of their friends, Moxie, and a playmate for her!  One of Caroline's friends she met way back in preschool got a Wheaten Terrier from the breeder we used for Moxie.  So, somehow these two dogs are related.  We think that Moxie is Hershey's great aunt, or something like that.  The day went really well, aside from the fact that I pretty much got nothing done because I was supervising two crazy furry hooligans.  ;)  Moxie and Hershey had a blast playing, and the kids had a blast watching them.  Here's a clip of Moxie and her new BFF in action...

moxie hershey 044 from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

Homeschooling Evan

At the beginning of the school year, all of the kindergarteners had an assessment of their skills.  Unfortunately, the assessment showed that Evan was behind in several areas.  He was so frustrated while he was taking it that he started to cry quietly and asked his teacher to help him.  His teacher reassured him and told him just to do his best.

His teacher called me that night to tell me that story, and it just about broke my heart.  I knew that he was not where he should be, but it killed me that he felt so badly about it.  When he told me that other kids knew more than he did, I felt even worse.  I wanted Evan to feel confident at school.

So I knew we needed to catch him up, and needed to make some big changes at home to get him there.  I decided that with Evan going to kindergarten in the afternoon, I would home school Evan in the morning.  As soon as we dropped the other kids off at school, we would start.

My next door neighbor has let me copy the homework packets that her son gets monthly from his all-day kindergarten, and that has really helped all year.  It is full of games that we can play together to reinforce what he is learning at school.  We always start out our morning with that.  At the beginning of the year, everyday we practiced identifying all of the letters and their sounds, tying his shoes, reading books simple books from school (like the ones that taught him how to spell color words), reading Dick and Jane and reading his sight words and numbers.  Now he practices things like telling the difference between "b", "d", "p" and q".  (He circles each letter in a different color.)

He practices writing his capital and lower case letters.

Because he has learned all of his sight words, he is now working on practicing how to spell them.  I am hoping that this will help him to spell them correctly in his journal writing.

I worried that Evan was not writing enough in school.  So he has kept his own journal at home.  We date every entry, he draws a picture and then writes one or two sentences about the picture.  We then compare how many sounds and words he got in his "kid writing" compared to "adult writing".  We hole punch his work and put it in a binder so that he can reread his entries and see his progress through out the year.  This particular entry says, "Count Duku (from Star Wars) is taking over this house."  Such a boy!

It has been exciting to watch his writing improve.  His independent work in school shows his progress too.  His "Love List" came home from school the other day, and although I was sad that I was not on the list, I "loved" to see all of the sounds he was capturing in consonants and vowels.  This list reads, "I love Moxie. I love Halo.  I love Lego Star Wars."  He is doing the same in his free writing at home.  On his birthday card he made for his Grandma Orton yesterday, he wrote "I luv yoo!" 

Evan picks out a book for me to read to him everyday.  Sometimes it is a book that he chose from his school library, and sometimes it is from our library at home.  Then it is his turn to read to me.  We have quite a few easy readers that Evan can choose from, all in a drawer in our living room.  He reads books aloud for 10-15 minutes a day.  Oftentimes he is reading to both Moxie and me.  ;)  Moxie is always there too if he needs a break to play ball or wrestle.  What a good dog!

When I need to do a little cleanup, or if I need to take a shower, Evan is only allowed to watch educational TV (like Word World, Super Why, and Sesame Street), or to play educational games on the computer (like starfall.com or pbskids.com).  After school, he can watch certain "non-educational" shows.

Evan has also been practicing how to write his numbers.  Every day he writes the numbers 1-10, and that has really been helping him to not make as many reversals in his writing.  Every few days he writes the numbers 1-50.  It is really impressive how quickly he can do this now.

Recently he began to do XtraMath.  XtraMath is a website that assesses what facts a child needs to work on, and then provides the child with practice on those facts.  It has been a little frustrating for him, especially when he first started, but he is getting the hang of it now.  Knowing those math facts is so critical to success in math, and I'm hoping that regular practice helps Evan with that.

Occasionally, we will take the day off to have a friend over before school.  He has a really nice group of friends in his class, although his favorites continue to be Connor and Ryan.  :)

So that is Evan's day...homeschooling in the morning, Kindergarten in the afternoon, and playtime after school.  I am so happy to be able to witness his progress at home, and to hear that his teacher sees regular improvement at school.  We are at a very different place than we were those first few days of kindergarten, and that is a very good thing for Evan's confidence.  I am very thankful for that.  Good work, Evan!

Friday, March 1, 2013


Ketchup...that's what my favorite third grade teacher used to call the time for her students to finish up all of their incomplete work.  Get it? Catch up?  Ha!  We third graders thought it was hilarious at the time.  :) 

I haven't blogged in a couple of days, and so now I'm playing "Ketchup" with a few miscellaneous pictures.  It's been a whirlwind these past week!

Last Friday our school had a movie night.  The kids came to school in their pajamas and brought their sleeping bags and pillows.  They got to eat popcorn and watch the movie Hotel Transylvania.  They had a blast!

This past Monday Seth had his first official Boy Scout meeting.  The new scouts formed their patrols, and Seth was happy because some of his best friends were in his patrol.  They named themselves the Legendary Eagles.

I was looking through my pictures of Seth's Arrow of Light Ceremony last night and found this gem.  I love that Henry and Seth are so close, and that Henry's friends include Seth too.  :)
A few nights ago, after the big snowstorm, Dave took the kids out to build this...
The Snow Man that ate our hometown!  The kids were so proud!