Saturday, February 8, 2014
Aren’t we all a little bit.
We our going to be beginning our 4th year. WOW! So we have just been finding our way.
Katey doing a math lesson.
Our first year began with about 6 months or so of de-schooling. Lots of reading and math games. Spending time as a family and doing a few unit studies together. After that we settled in and purchased Math-U-See and added that in. That year we just slowly added stuff in and took some away.
At the Children Learning Center in Yellowstone
Our next year we joined the Schoolhouse Review Crew and got a real feel for what eclectic feels like. LOL. We did not stick it out with Math-U-See. We moved on to Life of Fred and trying out anything and everything we received from the crew.
A picnic after visiting the fish hatchery
This past year we tried virtual schooling while remaining on the Schoolhouse Review Crew. That was crazy. We went with K12 and they really keep your days so full. The kids also began some co-op classes. Talk about over doing it that year.
The Dinosaur Museum.
This year we are going back to doing it on our own with very literature rich curriculum base. K12 left hardly any time for reading for fun and we would like to get back into that. We are also sticking with some of our co-op classes.
Using the Discovery Scope at the beach.
Like I said, we are still finding our way and even if something works great at one time, it may not fit our needs in the future. We remain flexible and open minded.
Creating a home, complete with a swimming pool, for the bugs.
We do always try to fit learning and exploring in at every opportunity.
Read what other methods the crew is using.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Laundry is not my favorite activity.
I just had to find a way to pawn it off on my kids.
No, I am only joking. (sort of)
Here is how I taught my 8 year old to do laundry. Really, if I would have thought of this sooner I could have taught her sooner. Stay tuned below to see some laundry tips from me.
I used a Sharpie marker to show the line where she should fill the laundry soap up to.
I used the same Sharpie to mark a star on the washer where she would put it for regular loads.
She is able to turn the water on this way. She is not aloud to wash from the Whites/Specials bin or from Daddy’s Work Clothes bin. I can’t tell you how much having her simply switch the laundry helps me out each day.
I have came up with a few tips that will get your little ones helping with the laundry.
Let’s start with the wearing of the clothes.
- I make them wear their pajamas two nights in a row. (unless of course some catastrophic event causes otherwise)
- I do not over buy clothes. My children have about 7 everyday outfits each. The more clothes your family has the more the laundry can pile up.
- I do not let them change clothes unless required – like to dirty to go somewhere or to clean to do something.
- We have dirty clothes hampers throughout the house. One in each bathroom (except the guest) and one in each of the kids rooms.
Okay how I wash the clothes.
- I do a batch or two a day. I do not have my older kids wash just their own clothes. They are all required to help switch the laundry when it needs it.
- I set a morning alarm to start the laundry. I set an alarm in the afternoon to switch it over. I set a final alarm in the early evening to do the final switch to the dryer. If the alarm goes off and I am not home, I text someone who is to switch it.
- I taught even my 8 year old how to do the laundry. (My older kids too!)
- We have simple laundry sorters. Darks, Lights, Towels and Sheets, Daddy’s Work Clothes, and Whites/ Special
- If something needs special washing you are required to put it in the Whites/Special bin yourself.
- Every day I assign someone to be in charge of laundry. They have to collect the dirty clothes, sort them and start the first batch. As well as switching out subsequent batches. I am the only one who can do the whites/specials. We do a rotation for laundry and dishes jobs.
- I have a “clean clothes area” in my bedroom. That is where the designated laundry person must take the clothes to after they are dry.
- Every 2 or sometimes 3 days we all get together in my room and someone sorts the clothes into piles of who’s they are. Someone folds towels. Someone helps Tyler (3 years old) with his clothes. Everyone is responsible for taking care of their own clothes.
- Doing it this way only takes about 10 minutes every night and we all just work quickly and usually listen to some music while working.
Do you have any more laundry tips?
Friday, January 10, 2014
Whew, I finally feel like we might actually get back into things.
The week before this I spent some seriously needed time individually with each child.
My 4 year old and I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies! Man, they were YUMM!!
He turned the mixer on too high of a speed after adding the flour and well, you see.
We also incorporated “Project Friday” into our schedule. I helped my 8 year old make rice bags with her new sewing machine that she got for Christmas.
My 7th grader chose music as her project and she has been practicing piano and teaching herself to play the guitar.
My 9th grader chose to work ahead on his personal finance course (which is online) He likes the course, so that is what he chose to work on.
During our first week back to school I also incorporated a new way of planning. I gave my 9th grader, my 7th grader and my 3rd grader free reign in their planning. I had them each give me the list of things they were going to do each day. Each morning I would have them give me their plan and approve it or suggest a few changes. I honestly tried to leave it as they had it, but when something like daily reading was missing, I would suggest they add it. By doing this they actually got their whole lists done each day. It was amazing. There was no nagging on my part and it was lovely. I did it again this week as well. I will most likely do it again next week too, but I will add back in my “Family School” time. That I plan and they will also have some type of guideline to follow. I am still working all that out.
I also spent some time reorganizing myself. I made new Mom’s Main Planner, with my blog planer, my daily planner, and some homeschooling stuff in there.
I made a budget and bills binder too. I have always had my bills in a file, but I wanted a better way to keep them and I am watching my budget closer so I am giving the binder a try! I also am figuring out how to have my kids earn electronic time. I am looking into some ideas now and how they will work within our family.
One day Katey wrote a thank you letter for a Christmas gift. It is my hope that this weekend she will get the rest of them written. I really need to get her writing more.
I got crazy and joined a 1000 mile challenge at work. I could totally do it, except for one little rule. You CAN’T use every day walking. The 1000 miles has to be above and beyond that. YIKES! I am at about 3 miles. I better get on that.
Our newest addition to our family has actually been quite enjoyable. I think her name should be Angela the Tarantula, but Katey insists her name is Hook Fang.
This week our co-op started back up and I now teach two classes at it.
I teach science using Considering God’s Creation by Eagles Wings. We began our weather unit and I can’t wait for us to make our very own weather stations over the next few weeks.
I also teach a teen cooking club. We had our very first meeting this week. It went very well. I had them make sausage calzones, no bake cookies and we made smoothies with spinach in them.
I am actually feeling an rush of excitement for the final half of this school year. I have to imagine we will be getting so much done. I sure hope I am right.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Let’s face it, it’s pretty cliché to have the New Year’s resolution of a healthy lifestyle.
You know why that is the one main thing so many people want to change? Because it’s your health, your mind, your body.
Who doesn’t want to feel better and enjoy life more?
Of course, we all do.
Weeding Out Wheat is a book that will make you think twice about how you go about getting a healthy - feel good lifestyle.
I recently reviewed this book called Weeding Out Wheat written by husband and wife team, Luke and Trisha Gilkerson.
Together these two have read numerous medical journals and studied what the bible says about wheat. They have also studied wheat and the changes that have happened to it and other foods throughout history.
With all their research they saw how complex all this is. It can make your head spin. So they decided to write a book sharing much of their knowledge that would be understood by the everyday person.
This book is just over 100 pages and really does make for an easy read. It did make me think about what I put into my mouth and how I feel afterwards.
I appreciate that this book was not written to be above my head and was not dumbed down so much that I felt like a child. It gave me enough information that I feel I can make an educated decision about my health. They sight all there sources are are honest if something is speculation or scientifically proven. The changes that have happened to wheat are substantial.
I suggest reading this book and making your own decision about your health.
We decided to majorly cut back on wheat. We may even end up cutting it out completely.
Research shows all the problems wheat causes even if you don’t have full blown Celiac Disease.
This review is part of the Bow Of Bronze Launch Team Review. Check out more here!
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. There are also freebies. There are also just links to products without affiliate links. I'm trying to show what we did and where you can find it, not to sell you a product...although if you decide to buy one of them, please feel free to use the links and support a fellow homeschooler. I was given a free copy of the book in order to write this honest review.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
This past year big changes happened in our household.
I was still working part time. Things were good, the weather was cold. We were into the swing of things schoolwork wise. I was still using Five in a Row, as well as Amanda Bennett’s Winter Wonders Unit Study. We did our really fun Simple Machines Unit also!
This month was filled with science. We did a science experiment recap to show off all we had done so far. We were still getting into what our family looks like with me working part time. My then 3 year old had to get 7 stitches in one toe! And I showed you how I began to menu plan and what my all around crazy life looks like. Plus we had a fun Homeschool Co-Op Valentine’s Day party!
During March my kids had some art projects on display at our local museum. I played catch up quite a bit. The end of Feb we have 2 birthdays in our family too! I talked about those in March though. My husband also changed jobs in this month, which was a semi long process. Changing jobs in the oil field is tough. His one job was keeping him so busy it was hard to look for another one. He just wanted the change, and he got it.
In April I began working even less hours. YAY!! We were settling in to dad being gone even more and having even weirder hours. I taught my 8 year old how to do laundry! A decision I will never regret! I took my 14 year old turkey hunting on my own for the first time. We also went as a family. Softball season was in full swing for us and our co-op added a new class for girls, so Katey and Emily both joined.
May is the month I quit my job. So I thought. I gave my notice and on my last day my boss asked me if I would come in and cover shifts if needed, on a case by case basis. I agreed. This equaled to me working 0-10 hours per week. My co-op debate class also ended. The weather warmed up and we spent lots of time outside. Katey had a National Cheer Competition. I spent some of the month stressed out of my mind. I also shared with you my very favorite love story!
We traveled some more! I spent some time rambling. Which seems to be how I communicate the best. haha. We did some fun summer nature study stuff. I highlighted our summer so far too! Things slowed way down for my husband at work. He was home a lot more.
I showed you all that I am not perfect. I went back to working about 10-20 hours per week. I started teaching a science co-op class. I got promoted at work to a supervisor. I quit my biggest time waster. Things at Paul’s work stayed pretty slow, which is good and bad. Tyler and I took a fun parent child bitty ball class.
Much of this month was spent having a nervous breakdown. I had to take time off work and make big changes in my house. Paul’s work is still slow. So now I am feeling the pinch financially. I was finally able to blog about a day trip we took in the summer sometime. In all honestly I am still having a rough time with everything.
I decided to work 30 hours a week this month, to help with bills and Christmas. Paul’s work is still slow. His schedule is so erratic though that we never know when he is working or not. He went to North Dakota for 3 weeks to work. Working 30 hours a week is extremely hard for me. I have been noticing that I have been letting things that are important to me and my family slack. I will share more about that in my goals for 2014 post.
We decided we were going to move on short notice. We did a really fun, neat Christmas Study! Katey was in a Thanksgiving play and my friend and I sewed the costumes for it. We traveled for Thanksgiving and I did my very first once a month grocery shopping trip. I decided to do a homemade Christmas gift for each of my kids. I learned to crochet and made Tommy a beard beanie and Emily a ear warmer. I sewed Katey a cute skirt. Tyler’s isn’t quite done yet, but his will be a super hero cape.
We decided that we were not going to move. I still am working 30 hours per week. Paul’s work is still slow and expected to pick up, but for now it looks like I will have to keep up with the 30 hours a week working. We had our first ever snow day! We got 25” in less that 18 hours. We did a lot of snuggling and reading. We went to the mountains and got our Christmas Tree and the girls were in some plays. We had people come up to visit us for the holidays and our house was completely full! We had so much fun. We had a simple but amazing Christmas. It was so relaxed. I took a week off work and have been enjoying being lazy, even though I should be getting caught up, or lesson planning or something. But I am feeling so good relaxing, spending time together with my family, hanging out in sweats with my hair in a bun. November and December have their own detailed re-cap. Since they were both such busy months!
That’s my wrap up for the year! Whew!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I’ve been having a hard time in my life in recent months. I knew something had to change. I just wasn’t sure exactly what it was. I have a lot on my plate.
I am juggling more than I could ever imagine. I have thought long and hard about the upcoming year and the word I was going to choose for it. One day, just like that, it hit me. Smack in the head, literally. It’s a good thing too, since that’s probably the only way I would have even seen it.
My word for 2014 is Balance.
Some things I have already done to help jump start this new “Year of Balance” are:
- I revamped my planners and made the whole planning process simpler.
- I cut back my hours at work. I was just gone too much
- My husband and I took a budgeting course that will hopefully help our budget balance better. The substantial loss of income has hit us and we are looking to clear that up!
- I am limiting myself and my family in the things we say “yes” to.
- I made some screen time tokens for my children to help them balance their free time and the use of electronics.
- I have been aiming for more balanced meals.
- I joined a 1000 mile club at work to help balance a healthy lifestyle.
This is a whole work in progress and I realize that, so I don’t expect to be balanced just yet.
I am ready!
Bring on the balance.
What are ways you find balance in your life? Talk about it!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
December showed us winter is amongst us. We got a storm with 25” in less than 18 hours! We had our first ever homeschool snow day. –The next day- We spent the day shoveling and snuggling and reading.
The temperature dropped hard core and it has been incredibly cold ever since! I’m talking 10 degrees F. for a high on many days.
We have spent many days doing inside activities.
We got to go to a special reading time with Santa at our library. This was a neat intimate setting and he took time with each child. We were very lucky to get tickets to go to this. - It pays to know your librarians.
My science class had a rock identification day. This was incredibly fun for each of them!
We went and chose out our Christmas tree and did our fun tradition of going out to lunch after words.
I took on a new hobby. Crocheting. I learned how, thanks to some books from the library, a friend and some You Tube tutorials. I made a bunch of Christmas gifts. Including head bands, ear warmers and a beard beanie.
We made cinnamon rolls, like we do every year. We always give them out as our neighbor/ friend gifts. They are amazing! This year I am pretty sure that people gave me gifts just so they could get a batch of cinnamon rolls in return. I don’t take credit for the recipe. It’s the Pioneer Woman’s. I use this recipe so often during the holidays that I printed a copy, laminated it and it goes in with our holiday decorations. So every year I pull it out.
I made the best “ugly sweater” if you ask me. It was “ugly sweater day” at work and I couldn’t resist. I love it!
The girls were each in their own Christmas plays and Tommy was a behind the scenes, lights guy for one.
We dipped pretzels in chocolate on Christmas Eve. This is also a tradition in our family. We usually dip the long stick ones, I just couldn’t find those ones this year. We live in a small town.
Christmas Day rolled around and the most um, interesting gift received was Katey got a Rose Hair Tarantula. She named it Angela the tarantula.
I got a crock pot! I don’t know how I was living with out one! I have already made dinner in it twice.
That’s our December wrap up. Looking back I am grateful that we were able to keep and do so many of our traditions even though our lives are so busy.
Do you have any fun December traditions?