Next, from the email box:
1. Where do you get your headbands?
I love this question, and I get it quite a bit. I'm always always happy to refer readers to the Precocious Etsy Shop. I've purchased five headbands from there, and I wear one almost every day. They do cost more than one you could get at the store, but they are actually two headbands in one (they reverse), and they hold up very well. I'm still wearing those that I bought a couple years ago, and like I said- I wear them almost daily! Primrose got her first one for Christmas, and she loves it- they are way more comfortable than traditional headbands.
2. I saw your history booklist, but I'm wondering what else you use for history curriculum?
If you've seen the reading list, you've pretty much seen our history curriculum. :) That list will be added to as the year progresses- I only add books after we read them. I started the year using a new history curriculum and quickly learned that it wasn't worthwhile. We're better off reading our way chronologically through American history. How do I pick my selections? Mostly I'm pulling from Sonlight's recommendations and Jessica's excellent booklist. We're not reading everything on those lists- we just read whatever we can get at the public library (note: I'm cheap). Mostly we read aloud all together. Occasionally I give Primrose an additional reading assignment, but the girl reads voraciously as it is, so it seems a little silly to assign her extra at this point.
We are putting together simple notebooks as we go along (I'm talking very simple- please do not think gorgeous scrapbooky notebooks with stickers and artwork, beautiful maps and such. Think as simple as it comes.). I pull activities once in a while from History Pockets books (so far we've used ideas from Native Americans, Plymouth Colony, and Colonial America). Sometimes I print off a notebook page or a map, if I can find a cheap or free one online (and if I'm energetic enough to look!). Often the kids will narrate to me what we just read, and I'll either write it for them or type it out. Prim can write her own. They like to illustrate these narrations, and we've found a few Draw Write Now books helpful in that regard (especially books 2, 3, and 5).
We really don't do many hands-on projects. When we do get around to something hands-on, I document it thoroughly. Sheila told me to do that. While looking over her kids' (awesome) school notebooks from years past, I commented that they sure did a ton of projects! "Not really," she said, "But if you take a lot of pictures, then it seems like they did, and you don't feel so guilty about not doing them." Sheila, needless to say, is my kind of homeschooler. ;)
Anyway, at the beginning of the year I did manage to make Wampum beads with the kids, and I made sure my camera was handy to document the novelty of the experience. I printed those pictures out and stuck them in their notebooks. When they grow up and lament my lack of hands-on-project-mamability, I will show them proof. We DID make clay beads. Once. ;)
The simplicity of our history studies cannot be overstated. For the most part, all we do is read and discuss. The kids learn a tremendous amount this way, especially when the books are interesting and engaging. We only add written work when we feel like it (read: when I feel like it, lol)- usually just a couple times per month.
Anyway, because I'm pretty sure you are still visualizing something far more beautiful and complex than what we actually do (I know how you are!), I'm going to show you four pages from Tulip's book.
Nope- not a single fancy notebook page in sight. These are all just blank pieces of paper with pictures glued on, narrations recorded, or (in the third one down) a drawing Tulip copied right out of a Draw Write Now book and some information from our reading (narrated by her, written by me). Simple, simple, simple. No superstardom here, I promise! Our main focus is on the reading (because that's where I think the learning is at, but also because it fits my teaching style best).
3. When are you going to have your baby?
Okay, fine- this obviously isn't a question from my email, but I'm sure you're all just dying to know, right?
No? That's just me?
Well, we've made our guesses 'round these parts:
Andy: Feb 16th, between 2-3 am
Sarah: Feb 11th, 8-9 pm
Primrose: Feb 12th, 1-2 am
Tulip: Feb 15th, 2-3 am
Snapdragon: Feb 17th, 1-2 am
Clearly I am the most optimistic person in my family. What's all this 2 am business about???
Wanna make your own guess? Leave me a comment and tell me what your guess is for our day of reckoning. After the baby is born, I'll send a little somethin' to whoever guessed closest-- like, maybe... one of my favorite books from last year. Or something. (Hints: I'm due on Feb 17th; I've always delivered between 39-40 weeks, but I've never been late).
(Another hint: if you guess a day after my due date, I reserve the right to ban you from my blog. I'm just sayin'. I want me some baby, and I won't tolerate anyone who says I have to wait much longer to have her.) :)
4. What is the best way to make a gluten-free pregnant lady happy?
What, you don't believe this was a real question, either? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.
Here's how you do it: knock on her door 10 days before her due date. Hand her a package containing various muffins, cookies, and a large bag of sandwich rolls- all homemade, all gluten free- and tell her to put them in the freezer for those first baby days. If you wanna really go overboard, slip a takeout menu and gift card to her favorite restaurant into there, too. She'll squeal when she opens it, because that restaurant is right next door to the hospital, which pretty much guarantees good post-delivery eatin'.
You will make her day, I promise. (Thank you a million times over, Sheila! You are the best!)