Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Organizing for Another Year of School...

This year we will have a 4th grader, a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader, and a Kindergarten student. On top of that, I will have a 22 month old and a 2 month old. I started organizing for our next school year in May.

The main "curriculum" that we will be using for our history and science is Classical Conversations. Our family is doing Classical Conversations again this year based on our experience with the program last year. I love how the kids learn a history timeline, history, science, geography, math, English, art, do weekly speeches, etc. It is a wonderful program!! One of the best parts of the program is that it enables me to do history and science with everyone that is on the same subject matter. I will have all four students in the Foundations class and this year A(9) will start Essentials. I have to be honest that Essentials is scaring me. As I was organizing everything, I was looking through her curriculum for the year. Let's just say that the teacher will be learning along side the student. :) The different parts of speech and diagramming sentences is just one facet of the class, one that was not my favorite subject in school (I hated diagramming sentences). She'll also be doing weekly essays along with many other things. Her classes will keep us both busy.

This year due to our situation (i.e. a 22 month old and a 2 month old), we decided to do Bob Jones Distance learning for G(7) and N(6). The girls will watch a DVD daily that has a teacher instructing them on that day's lesson. The length of the class is anywhere from 15-30 minutes. They will be doing English, math, Bible, and Spelling using the curriculum. They then do the book work on their own after watching the instructor. This will enable me to help them while also having the flexibility to deal with the little ones if I have to. A(9) is doing math using the distance learning program. S(4) will be doing Classical Conversations, Chinese, and learning the basic kindergarten subjects (letters, sounds, numbers, etc). Technically she wouldn't be starting in traditional school since her birthday falls after the cutoff by 13 days. We have opted to allow her to start since she has requested it. The nice thing about starting her "early" is that we have flexibility in the next year to adjust her level if we need to.

So how did I organize? Well, the Bob Jones material came in about 10 boxes...which was a little intimidating! I organized their material into binders and the dvds in to dvd containers. I may have to adjust some things as we begin to see if everything is working right. Each one has their own school bin in their given color...A(9) is orange, G(7) is yellow, N(6) is red, and S(4) is blue. We assigned each kid a color so that we can color coordinate things. For example, as they get older if they each have the same hair brush, we can color tag them so that they know which one belongs to them. Each day they will take their bin out and begin their work. I try to have a daily "to do" list for each of them. This allows them to know what they need to do each day.

The next thing that I organized (which I just finished this week) is their supply bins. The lady at the Bob Jones booth has 5 kids. She gave this great idea to mark each supply piece so that if you find something around the house, you know who it belongs to. I thought this was a great idea and I'm even taking it one step further. I will charge the girls $.05 per thing that I find. I want them to learn to clean up after themselves and keep things organized. Since we are involved in numerous classes both at home and outside the home, I created different bins. We have a Classical Conversations supply bin (in a metal lunch box), a Chinese supply bin (small plastic pencil box), and a homeschool supply bin. Each pencil, eraser, sharpener, crayon, etc is marked with their color tape. Below are some pictures of just how I have organized them. I don't know how long these will last or look nice, but at least we start the year out on a good foot. :) If you have any additional ideas that you think will help us out, just let me know.

Monday, July 9, 2012

#6 Has Arrived...

J (2 weeks old) arrived into our lives!! Here is her birth story...this is more for me so that I do not forget her story. Once you have had so many children, each story starts to blend over the years.

I was past my due date and I was getting desperate. I had been induced for my first four pregnancies. M(20 months) came on her own and that labor was so much better then being induced. I went to the doctor on my due date and they did a NST. Everything looked good so I was given the A-OK to not be induced until 41 weeks. My doctor doesn't feel comfortable letting me go longer then that given that #3 (N6) was a big baby and got stuck. So, I had a deadline in my head. Monday I was going to be induced. I started formulating a plan of things to try to get me to go into labor. My dear husband kept reminding me that I couldn't go into labor on Friday because he had a very important meeting at work that he needed to go to. So, I didn't take any drastic measures to try to help nature along until Friday night. My friend from church was due two weeks after me and we had been going to the mall every day that week and walking. It was wonderful to get some exercise and fellowship in at the same time, especially given that it was a nice air conditioned environment.

Friday night I decided to try a few different "natural" methods that are supposed to help induce labor. Although I had tried almost everything before with previous pregnancies, with #5 I did a few different things in one night. I was willing to try that again to hopefully get labor going. I scheduled a reflexology massage (a glorified 1/2 hour foot massage). I also got Mexican food for us to eat that night (covers the spicy category). I tried a few other methods listed on-line and then I tried Castor Oil. I had never done this method before and to be honest, I would tell any one never to try it. Castor oil is just a thick oil that is hard to swallow, even in a drink. It floated to the surface so once my drink was "done" all I had was this huge glob of "oil". I couldn't drink it and I'm sure I didn't take the whole dose. Whatever I took "worked". I was sick that night not feeling good from the Castor Oil. Even eating spicy salsa didn't cover the nasty aftertaste that Castor Oil left in my mouth.

On Saturday morning at 1:00am, I woke up thinking that the Castor Oil was still making me feel miserable. I got up and I was still out of it. I realized that the "pain" stopped and then started again a few minutes later. I went back to bed wondering if I was in labor. Another "pain" hit and I started thinking this is it!! That contraction woke up my husband. With #5, we stayed at home from 4-7am. We were only at the hospital a half hour when M(20months) made her appearance. So, once my husband realized that this was it, he packed up everything and told me to call the neighbor. A lady at church had offered to watch the kids, but my husband figured that we needed to leave NOW. He didn't want to deliver the baby at home or in the car. My wonderful neighbor, who is also a great friend, came over and we left for the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 1:30. We had to go in through the ER due to the time of day. I had to wait in line to tell "check in". At this time I was panicking a little because the contractions were close together and were pretty intense. I finally was called to the counter and I told them that I was in labor with #6. They stuck me in a wheelchair and told me to wait in the hall for the L&D nurse to get me. After about 5 minutes, my water broke. I have never had my water break on its own. It was crazy. If you ever want to get the attention of the whole ER (besides getting shot or something more serious like that), have your water break with #6. All of a sudden I was rushed and they wanted to check me to see if the baby was coming right there in the ER. Luckily I was only 5cm. The L&D nurse started wheeling me upstairs. Between the ER and my room, I went from 5 to 6cm. It was crazy and very intense, not to mention that I was still kind of out of it. It felt like I was in a movie.

It was now around 2am and I had my IV in with medicine since I was GBS+. My doctor showed up and told me that he'd come back and check me around 3:30. For an hour I had intense crazy labor pains. I had decided after #2 to never have an epidural again, so I was doing this without any pain medication. Now, God does something really "nice" for us ladies. He lets us remember that it was painful, but you don't remember just how horrible it is until you are in the midst of it. I do have to say that I was in transition with #6 a LOT longer then I had with my previous pregnancies. Around 3:15, I told my husband that he needed to get the nurse now because it was getting really bad and the baby would be coming. My doctor showed up and by 3:28, J was born. My total labor was just under 2 1/2 hours. It was an amazing and crazy experience. When the doctor was delivering the placenta, he showed the intern something in the umbilical cord. J had a true knot. My doctor looked at me and said that someone was watching over her. I had never heard of a true knot, but I heard him tell the intern that these are very rare. Later in my room I googled it and found out that most babies that have true knots do not make it. A lot of them die in the womb when the cord is pulled tight and some have died during delivery when the cord is pulled tight. I am so thankful for all the people at church who prayed for all of us and that God was watching over our little J.

We stayed in the hospital all of Saturday and then Sunday morning, I was told that I could go home. J tested negative for GBS, so that again was an answer to prayer. The nurses loved it when all of J's sisters showed up to visit. They came three times to visit us in the hospital...my husband was a brave man!!

We are now at home adjusting to our new life as a family of 8!! It is wild and crazy to think that we have six girls. We feel so blessed though with each daughter we have!