A peak inside our homeschool and a really great podcast

Some people don’t really count preschool at home as homeschooling but in my world it totally counts. I’ve been calling our family a homeschool family since my children were born. Homeschooling is so much more than the time spent on book work. If you’re a homeschooler you’ll understand that homeschooling is both a mind set and a way of life.

Yesterday was the first day of school in our area. Over the summer I never really stopped doing preschool activities with E, I just kind of worked them around other summer fun and family time.

I recently was super excited to be able to purchase quite a bit of Mother Goose Time curriculum from a friend who was selling several months worth at a tiny fraction of the cost. Instead of telling you all about it I’ll invite you into our day through pictures and let you see for yourself.

This month’s theme is Alphabet Island. It was actually the Mother Goose time June theme but since I bought it from someone who didn’t use it, we’re using it in August. It doesn’t matter at all what order the months are used. Today we are focusing on the letter’s R and Q and the theme of the day was all about crabs.

 

After dancing around to our circle time song (which I don’t use every day or else I would go crazy from it being stuck in my head!), E put up the number 15 on our calendar and we reviewed the month and day of the week. We had a huge storm roll through this morning that left flooding in some areas so E appropriately moved the dark clouds and the rain to the empty spot on the board. Without being too lengthy I introduced her to the letter Q and the letter R discussing the sounds they make. E looked at the crab photo and noticed that the crab’s eyes are black.

Each month of the curriculum comes with a CD of music that matches the theme of the month. This month’s CD is Dancing on Alphabet Island. It’s reggae inspired music, a very danceable beat. The ribbons above come one for each month but since E already knows her colors I just gave them to her and T.J to dance with. 

 

 

Today’s craft was a crab made out of a soufflé cup filled with red sand so it makes noise when it’s shaken. It came with a sheet of different eyeball stickers and E decided to make a monster crab with using 3 sets of eyeballs. The little lego things came with the curriculum and they have all sorts of uses. Today’s suggested activity was to float them in water and let the kids pretend to be crabs and use salad tongs as their “claws”. We did that one outside!

The curriculum comes with a square that can be tossed and new photos can be put in the sleeves each day but I had gotten rid of the one I had before I was offered a good deal on more of the curriculum. Since I didn’t have the square to use for today’s game, T (my husband) made a cardboard one for the kids last night. For the game we used a towel to toss it into the air and every time it landed on the crab the kids would do the crab walk. If you haven’t done that in a while- it’s a good work out! The curriculum provided word cards as well for kids who are reading but we stuck with the photos.

While T.J napped E and I worked on her alphabet island workbook. I was explaining to her the difference between the words aquarium and aquatic and I used the example of an aquatic center. She asked, “Can we go to an aquatic center?” When I surprised her by saying yes she gave me the honor of being told that I was “sometimes nice.”

We really did pack up and leave! I had been wanting to check out the new aquatic center built here in town and it was raining so it seemed like a perfect time. We spent about 2 hours there and then got home right before their daddy did.

I think E’s favorite part of the day was when we watched youtube videos about crabs. There was one video where an octopus was eating crabs inside a crab trap and then escaped. It must have left an impression on her because she kept talking about it and she insisted daddy watch it when he got home.

On another note, this morning I listened to this podcast by Amy at Raising Arrows. It resonated so much with me that I really felt emotional while listening to it. Do you feel burdened by homeschooling? Listen to these words of grace and wisdom that are so freeing!

https://www.raisingarrows.net/2017/08/homeschooling-purpose-rap-podcast-019/

Here’s a hint… and “World Schooling”

This morning before the kids woke up while I got dressed and tidied up my bedroom and bathroom I listened to this power of moms podcast. I listened to it a long time ago and I’ve been thinking about it and wanting to listen to it again.

So here’s your hint… We’re going to be traveling internationally. That’s kind of an understatement about the situation but it’s your hint for now!

Like most areas of my life I’ve spent so much mental energy thinking about how to make this trip productive I’ve forgotten about the fact that this trip is going to be fun and adventurous and educational and an amazing bonding time for our family! We are going to a place in the world that will allow us to interact with people from all over the world all at once!

 

Anyways, this podcast is so inspiring and so much fun to listen to! Listen in on a conversation with a mom with 5 kids who took them on a trip around the world. It includes how they afforded it, comical stories from their trip, tips for traveling for young children and more. She also makes a case for why experiencing radically different things as a family is really positive for a family. I also really now love the word “Worldschooling”. Yeah, that’s my hint, we’re going to become a World school family!

https://powerofmoms.com/encore-make-family-travel-dream-reality-episode-177/

Are you going to see the eclipse?

Have you heard about the total solar eclipse that is going to be visible from the U.S August 21? We are going to travel to another state so that we can be in totality and get to witness first hand the moon completely covering the sun. Haven’t heard about it? What about shadow snakes? Have you heard of those!? Check out the video below!

Neat huh? We’re going camping for the first time as a family, it should be an adventure!

 

Well, I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me. We’re showing our house today, tomorrow, and then we are having an open house Tuesday!

Bible time with little children

At some point during the day when things are calm and I’m not in the middle of doing anything- usually late morning but sometimes in the afternoon, I say to the kids, “Bible time!”

I have a toddler and a very active four year old. Sitting down for a Bible lesson just isn’t going to happen right now. Each day we go to the same spot- the nursery. It’s baby proof, there are toys and a rocking chair. I close the door so the baby doesn’t escape and I pull a bucket of toys out of the closet. They can play, the only rule is no talking during Bible time.

I start off by singing the same song every day. “This is the day that the Lord has made.” I clap my hands, act animated and they ignore me and play with their toys. I don’t ask them to participate. I read them a chapter out of the book of Proverbs. Today since it’s the 8th I read them Proverbs chapter 8. After I ask E, “Is there anything you want to pray about?” She always responds no. (one time she responded horses so I thanked God for horses.) I then ask T.J, “is there anything you want to pray about?” He can’t talk so he doesn’t say much lol.

That’s it. I then tell them we are done. It lasts about 10 or less minutes.

Why do I do this?

Because even if they are just ignoring me and playing with their toys I think it’s important that they see their mother reading the Bible each day. Even if they don’t participate I think it’s important that they hear me pray over them, I believe that eventually they will learn to pray by hearing my prayers. I don’t think they comprehend any of the Proverbs but I believe that the discipline of faithfully reading them the scriptures will eventually grow fruit as they grow in understanding. I don’t know when that will happen but I will keep offering it through reading it to them until one day they do understand.

A couple other benefits are they have to practice a certain measure of self control since there is the no talking during Bible time rule. Also, they are hearing a portion of good literature and proper english each day that from an academic stand point is important for language development.

One day maybe they will join in with me for the singing. Even if they don’t I know E knows the song after hearing me sing it every day and I know T.J recognizes it.

I don’t try and get them to participate in any way other than  making them be in the same room as me and not talk. Our Bible time gives them an opportunity each day to observe my relationship with God and I pray for them that they will come to know God themselves.

I’m not 100% consistent but most days we get it done. Sometimes if my husband is driving I use that time as an opportunity to read to my trapped audience. 🙂

Do you have a Bible time with your toddlers and preschoolers? If so, what do you do?

 

Lots of changes around here!

Around our household that is!

We’re selling our house! We meet with a realtor and signed the paper work. We had our house re stained this week and we are getting granite counter tops put in before she comes back in a couple weeks to take photos. We’ve been working hard getting things looking good and fixed up. We’ve been talking about selling for several years now. A few years back we tried to sell it but it sat on the market for a year with no offers. The realtor kept telling us we needed to put some money into the house for it to sell but we didn’t. This time we are so maybe things will move a little quicker.

This week a water pipe that we didn’t know existed at the front of our property got ran over and burst so a lot of this week was dedicated to unexpected water issues. My husband has been working to make things right for the next owner instead of the crazy maze of pipes that he was finding. Our house was someone’s DIY project and every time we work on it we say we will never in the future buy a house that someone says they built themselves. There has been endless stuff wrong with it because it was built by someone who obviously trying to figure it out as they went along. We’ve put almost 10 years of work into it though so it’s sellable at this point.

After our house sells we plan to rent for a while until we figure out exactly what we want to do. We want to take our time looking for a new place and there is the possibility we would want to save up money and build a house. My husband is also trying to make some decisions job wise so we’re kind of at a point in our lives where we are trying to decide what comes next.

On a different note, I bought some curriculum for E’s preschool. It’s called Mother Goose Time. I bought just a month’s worth so I could check it out over the summer and see if I like it. At the moment I’m totally overwhelmed by it and it’s taking way more time to get started than I expected. I’m not saying I don’t like it, it’s just taking time to learn something new. (I only got it in the mail 2 days ago.) I’ll probably post about it more later as I get more involved with it.

Anyways! If you’re wondering where I disappeared to that is what we have been up to! Not to mention that the plant my husband works at is in a very long outage and he has been working 72 hours a week for a long time now and still has a long way to go. Life is kind of crazy here at home with a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Sibling fighting has settled in and it has been a tough parenting situation that I am facing for really the first time. Most my days are spent trying to keep these kids from hurting each other! I’ve been reading books and blogs and trying to work through this- if you have any resources to help me help my kids get along then tell me!

A peek into our preschool at home

 

I’ve been asked about pre schooling E at home quite a bit lately so I thought I’d share a little bit of what we’re up to these days.

Tuesday:
For some fun math we had a “number snowball fight.” I would call out a number for E to go stand on and then I’d throw that number of “snowballs” (cotton balls) at her. She would then place the snowballs on the sheet of paper as we counted them together.

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For some name practice I finally found a use for the cereal made of beans gone stale that I bought in the clearance section!

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We read a chapter of the Jesus Storybook Bible. Today I read her the story of Joseph.

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At Arkansas Center For Music Education she got to jingle some bells and maracas and T.J got in on the fun as well.

Tuesday afternoon’s she has gymnastics. She does really well! She’s tiny but she’s strong!

Before bed I read her a chapter from On The Banks Of Plum Creek By Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s said to be a 5th grade reading level book. Reading E books above her age group and that exceed her vocabulary is a part of my homeschooling philosophy. It’s a lot more fun for me as well!

Wednesday:

I’ve done so many things with these circle stickers I had left over from a yard sale this past summer. After numbering them 1-5 I put them on E’s finger nails. We talked about our ages and stuck stickers on our foreheads and shirts with our ages on them. We did some name stickers too. This one shows how fast and easy a lesson can be. (it’s all wrinkled up because I forgot about taking a picture of it until the baby tried to eat it!)

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Wednesday mornings we go to the library for story time. Ms. Emily, the children’s librarian puts a lot of work into the kids having a good time. They play with a parachute and then either do a craft or a coloring sheet. Each week we check out as many books as will fit in our library bag.

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After watching an episode of Sid the Science Kid about airplanes that we checked out at the library, I got on Pinterest and looked up how to make paper airplanes. E liked this one a lot! We went up to our loft and threw them down from up there.

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We worked for maybe 5 minutes, maybe less, on hand writing practice. I use books from the dollar store. E really doesn’t like practicing letters with a pencil. At 3 years old, I don’t push it. I offer it to her and she can try for as long as she is interested and then she can be done. At this age my main goal is for her to enjoy learning and want to learn. Today she worked some on the letter H.

Before bed we read one of her books she checked out today.

Thursday:
E and Daddy spent time reading together this morning when he got off work.

Today we checked out a story time they were having at a new book store down town. I don’t know if we’ll go back next week. It was a huge hassle to park downtown in the middle of the day and there was only a couple other kids and after wards E wanted so badly for me to buy her a book but they were priced 16-28 dollars and I know those same books are at the library.

We ran a bunch of errands today. Since E was a baby I’ve used outings as opportunities to talk with her and teach her. I usually have an ongoing conversation with her as I drive about why I’m stopping or what road were on why I’m changing lanes.

Today at the pet store I helped her count fish and we talked about how much the birds cost. I know this all sounds like just life and not school but that’s the point I’m trying to make- for us they are one in the same.

While we were at the grocery store I made sure to pick up some more cheap salt so we could make some more homemade play dough. She loves play dough! I wish I had gotten a picture of what she ended up creating. She made a pretty impressive octopus!

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Friday:
E woke up tired and clingy. I read her a bunch of books and then she just wanted to lay around. I set up a shape craft for her and tried to entice her to do a shape game but she didn’t feel like it. When she didn’t want to do play dough I knew something was wrong! Sure enough by dinnertime she was running a fever. Thankfully by Saturday morning her fever was gone so it was just a quick bug.
One of the books we read was about a girl who was sick. E could identify!
I told her in 3 year old terms about her immune system and how the white blood cells were working hard to gobble up the virus in her body. She also seemed pretty fascinated when I taught her how her blood is pumped and taught her to feel her pulse on her neck and on her wrist. About every 5 minutes she informed us that her heart was still beating. Good to know! ha ha

Monday:

We were invited over the home of a homeschool mom and friend of mine who is doing a book club/discussion group going through the book For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer.

We made cookie dough for the kids to roll out and cut shapes out of. While the cookies baked and cooled, the kids watched a movie and ate popcorn while the moms discussed the book. Today we discussed habit formation specifically building the habits of self control and selflessness in children.

The kids then got to decorate!

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When I was a kid in public school, the week before break I remember consisting of eating sugar and cleaning out our desks. That means I am totally counting decorating cookies with friends as “preschool time.”  🙂

Everyone enjoy your time with your family this week!

I don’t know that you’ll hear from me on the blog until next year- we’ve got some fun stuff planned for the rest of the year! I’ve got a lot of posts in my head though I want to share come January.

 

 

T.V free rainy day activities

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day (that turned beautiful late afternoon!) I thought I’d share with you some of the ways my kids stayed busy inside.

  1. make something yummy. I usually do fast and easy to clean up breakfast but since we weren’t going any where I took the time to let E help me make some low carb waffles. Sticky deliciousness! img_6927

2. make a treasure hunt. This is something my dad used to do with my brother and I and we LOVED it as kids. It didn’t matter what we were looking for, the thrill was hunting down the next direction. I had E go in her room while I hid the directions. I knocked on her door and with a “pirate voice” presented her with a map. I had directions hid all over, including inside the fridge and stuck to the toilet! The end the map led her to my nail polish stuff and I painted her nails. Can you tell she couldn’t pick which color she wanted?!

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3. Make baby a special spot. I had recently moved our Mark Twain collection that was on this bottom shelf because our 13 month old was destroying them. I put down a blanket and moved most of the baby books that couldn’t be torn from E’s room and set them up on that bottom shelf. It kept him entertained for a good 15 minutes which I realize in baby world is a good amount of time. 🙂 img_6934

4. Play with a sheet. Do you remember in elementary school playing with one of those rainbow parachutes in gym class? My kids love it when we I shake a sheet over their heads or we toss a stuffed animal up in the air. Of course we ended up making a tent! E’s favorite is rolling her up like a burrito, pretending to put hot sauce on her and then gobbling her up. I don’t know why kids love that so much. I can still remember taking ballet class when I was 7 and my favorite part of the class was when the teacher at the end would roll us up in the mats before she put them away and pretended we were burritos! I still remember how much fun that was!

5. Indulge your child’s imagination. Lately E has really been into pretending she is a dragon and asking me to play dragon with her. I cut out dragon shaped feet and after we decorated them taped them to her shoes.

 

6. paper chains. I used to spend hours as a child seeing how long I could make a paper chain! While I ran errands daddy made a really long one with E that is now hanging from the stair railing.

 

As a disclaimer, just because I titled this “T.V free activities” doesn’t mean my kids didn’t watch T.V. ! E watched little Einstein until I’m sure her eyes were hurting lol. Rainy days can be long! (especially when your kids wake up waaaay early and don’t nap..)