Homeschool 2021/2022 School Year Choices {5th, 3rd, 1st, and K}

This homeschool year, we are starting slowly. This is the first year we have taken a full blown summer break … we have done maybe a week’s worth of school since the end of May, and filled some time with lap books and other fun schooling activities. We’ve really taken off the majority of days for pool time (because I just can’t resist!), gardening time & family trips; and we have loved every minute of it!

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2021

Our main core as a family this year will be continuing through Sonlight Core D (Bible, History, and Read Alouds), which is American history. When we finish this core, we will move on to Core E, the second half of American history.  After doing several years of wold cultures and world history, we are very much savoring American history. I’d like to focus on President’s and state capitols this year. There are so many great read aloud, and readers for US History. Just not enough hours in the day for all the books!

I am also finishing reading through the P4/5 Core with my youngest 2. They will be K and 1st this year; they are less than 2 years a part, but one is a fall baby and one is summer, so they’re close in grade levels. We made the choice a long time ago to keep our fall babies back a grade (they don’t meet most cut offs anyway, and like many states we aren’t required to school until age 7). We are very happy with that decision; but I like them being the older in their “grade” for the purpose of Co-op, sports, and church activities. I will start Core A with them at naps and bedtime once they finish P 4/5.

Math- We will be using tag dating site free for our math, as always. My kindergartener will be using their K2 books, and I hope this bridges the gap between K math and 1st grade math for her. I will probably add in gay dating services nyc  for her as well. I think CLE K2 combined with some math games and a little Saxon K, will be a fine math foundation.

Science- I just haven’t made up my mind here. I really love Apologia’s science programs. We would do thethunder bay dating sites free if we go with Apologia … we really need to complete the Sonlight Science for Core D *but* every time we go to do the science, my kids already know  everything we are discussing (thanks Wild Kratts), so I just feel blah continuing with it. I know I don’t have to finish it, but I hate to leave it incomplete; also, it isn’t only animals and biology. Core D Science covers lots of other fun topics, so I should just persevere.

We will also add in No Sweat Nature Study again. We have really enjoyed these classes, and are building some great nature journals.

Language Arts- My beginning readers (K and 1st) will be using AAR plus The Good and the Beautiful. My older 2 will continue with The Good and The Beautiful, in levels 3 and 5. This includes spelling, some phonics, grammar, some writing, and geography. The 1st grader is a great reader, so lessons with her are pretty smooth. The K wants to read so badly, and was killing all the CVC words we practiced on our Florida vacation (during snuggles in the morning). So we are looking forward to her reading this year.

We add in Explode the Code, and Wordly Wise to our language arts. My children love both of these, and it does improve their skills, along with giving extra handwriting practice. I like them because of all this, plus they provide independent work for my children; so while I work with one student on language arts or math, the others have some independent work that keeps them on task.

Handwriting- We begin with Handwriting Without Tears, and after the PreK and K books, we move on to A Reason For Handwriting book K and then A. I like giving my children lots of good handwriting practice. They usually fly through both K books, but then Book A isn’t as difficult and they’re better readers by then, making the copywork easier. My 3rd grader is in their first cursive book. My 5th grader has done so many handwriting copyworb books, and she likes them so much. This year I got her the Memoria Press cursive book … I think it is a poetry copywork.

Extras- We are doing logic this year, with some workbooks I found on Rainbow Resource. They do problems logic in their math, but this is just extra practice; my husband wanted to be sure they were hitting logic, so we are going to try it this year.

My 5th grader is doing French from Memoria Press, which she is sooo excited about. I think I couldn’t given it to her for her birthday and she’s been just as excited. We are adding in some new sets of Brain Quest for fun, Fandex Presidents and States, and Kanoodle for a little brain teaser game.

We are using the Answers For Kids boxed set for our Bible discussions, along with the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes added to our morning basket time.

We are praying over our homeschool year that each step taken is led by the Lord, and that our words glorify Him. I am truly grateful for the blessing of our homeschool journey, even during the hard days (especially) or mornings when life feels heavy, I know the relationships we are building are worth it. At the end of the day, the math and reading, and science topics don’t save my children. Jesus does. And while we love learning (just one reason we homeschool), learning to love each other and serve one another on really hard days, is maybe one of the best things I can give my children. Or at least show them day in and day out.

I hope yall found this helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or why/how we do it, let me know and I can go more in depth for you!

Are yall ready for the school year? Or school week? Or school semester/term?  You’ve got this mamas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 month (26 weeks) baby schedule/summary- Baby #5

Oh my goodness! Baby 5 is getting sooo big. The days are so much fun with him in them, we are all just in awe of his sweetness.  The boy only cries if he really has a complaint, and even then it isn’t much. He like to be in the middle of everything and has started a little signing (for “milk”). At 5 months he was over 99% on length and 88 or so on weight. He is going to be tall like his daddy.

Right now, at 27 Weeks, Sir is eating solids for 3 meals. First he nurses, then takes a bottle of supplemented formula/pumped milk, then he downs almost 2 cartons of Stage 2 baby food!  He is a big eater, to say the least. Im not making his baby food right now, I just don’t have the time. The most I do is grind oats for adding to his purees. But he doesn’t like solids from our plates yet, only purees.  He gets sooo excited to eat, but put a solid in his mouth and he isn’t a happy camper. haha

He is napping after 2 hours of wake time.

Right now his 3.5hour routine looks like this:

  • 730am- nurse, bottle, solids
  • play time with siblings in the floor/watch mama work out
  • 930- nap
  • 11am- nurse, bottle, solids
  • play time with siblings, sibling read books to him, play in floor
  • 1pm-nap
  • 230pm-nurse, bottle
  • outside play time- biggest sister pushes in stroller outside, play on picknick planet, parent wears for walk in woods
  • 430pm- nap
  • 530- up, nurse
  • 6ish solids, family time (especially loves hanging with daddy), bath some nights
  • 700pm-nurse, bottle, in bed by 73opm

Sir’s play time consists of all the things above, including time with me, being read to, laying on my bed while I get ready, being toted by siblings, etc. haha. He get SO excited when big sister puts on his coat to go walk outside. He loves being outdoors, in true Wright Baby fashion.

Developmentally, he is trying to talk. He will move his mouth while watching yours, as you talk. We practice “mama” a lot, but he isn’t quite there yet 😂 He has just started reaching for things, like his toy ball. Tummy time, belly surfing, and spinning around are so much fun right now. For about 3 weeks he started practicing rolling in his sleep, and wouldn’t roll over from his belly to back, but would just cry instead. So one of us would go in and flip him over …

But now he has started flipping over and sleeping happily on his belly. Yay! He LOVES bathtime and really gets excited to play in the water.

He is such a sweetie; we could not ask for a happier baby. He’s been such a blessing to our family.

—————-

In the next month or 2 I expect his naps will get super messy (ie- fighting the cat nap before bed, not being able to nail down a good wake time length for the other naps, thus getting over tired), and we will take the leap to a 2-3-4 schedule. This is when baby takes a nap 2 hours after Morning Waketime, then 3 hours after that nap he takes a 2nd nap, then 4 hours after he wakes from nap, he goes to bed. This is the last nap change before dropping to 1 nap around a year old.

baby #5 has definitely been different than my others.  His naps have been a dream *knock on wood* and he is a higher sleep needs baby- meaning he needs longer naps plus his solid 12 hours at night, than typical. So he may hang out at our current routine longer than my others. By 7 months I think most of my others were on a 2-3-4 schedule ( which is definitely easier than chasing the infant optimal wake time length!).

 

 

 

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Simple Self-Care Tips for Mamas

 Life is full, mamas. It is hectic, and crazy sometimes … definitely a little chaotic, but gloriously full. In the midst of all the sleepless nights, the diapers, the homework or teaching (if you homeschool like us), the laundry and the errands, we must make time for ourselves. That time should be rejuvenating; it should give life to our bodies, our spirit and our minds. Please, please don’t limit your self care to sugary coffees at high priced coffee shops and manicures. There is a time and place for those things- but on a weekly, and dare I say *daily* basis, we need to take care of ourselves!

Get Moving

Find an activity that motivates you to move! Maybe you’re in a season where you need to step up your movement game- add walking outside at a brisk pace to your routine. Or if you need to take it down a notch from heavier workouts, do the same! A brisk walk is good for the body and mind, allows us to decompress, breath fresh air, and get out of the house or office. If walking seems boring, add music, find a favorite podcast, or just start listening to nature on your walk. Stretching and pilates are other great ways to restore your body, give it time off from stress, and  decompress. Fancy getting the kids involved? Then consider taking them roller skating, walking at the park or zoo, or swimming!

Feed Your Body

Good food really does fuel your body. If you want to get the best result out of the food you eat,  then you should know that this starts with using quality ingredients. Use fresh ingredients as often as you can, and make sure you nourish yourself with the right foods-healthy fats, whole carbs (ie:not white bread), and colorful fruits and veggies. Anchor fruits and carbs with a filling protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels, and eat to full, but not stuffed. This will work wonders for energy levels!

Avoid sugar, simply because it is bad for our energy, our blood sugar, and it is addictive. I wouldn’t give my kids cookies or cokes to stay awake in a mid day slump, so I shouldn’t do that to my own body! Self care is important mamas-we can’t take care of them if we don’t  take care of ourselves.

Drink water! Yes, lots and lots of clean, purified water. Water that comes from a filter like the Berkey is great; we love ours! The water really does taste different, and we are protected from all the run off pesticides and chemicals in our water. Do a little digging on hormone disruptors in the environment and how you can avoid them- interesting stuff. =)

Stay Connected

Connecting with family and friends is important-we have to make time to snuggle, give hugs, talk, look deeply into other human’s eyes, and actually connect. Connect over morning   coffee on the weekends (our favorite!), make breakfast together, laugh about the past, or read a good book together. Strengthening relationships helps us improve our self care as well as just being part of our self care.

Mama Self Care Tips

Source: Pexels (CC0 License)

Visit Your Physician

Keeping up with our routine appointments can be important- especially when we have medical needs that require annual or frequent visits. Find a doctor, dentist, and ENT that align with your beliefs and need. Having routine blood work done for vitamin D, hormone, and thryoid levels can be huge part of self care. Even hearing specialist can be important depending on your family- Click here to find out more about that. Our family sees an ND, and a wonderful family practitioner for most of our needs; we are also seeing an ENT for a preauricular pit that needs to be looked at for one of our children soon.

 

Make Sleep a Priority … a BIG Priority!

Not getting enough sleep can impact our  health greatly- from depression to weight gain, when we don’t get enough quality sleep, our health suffers.  Avoid caffeine late in the day, get in some outdoor time as often as possible throughout your day, get barefooted in the grass, and drink all your water each day. These are the top things that help me get to sleep well, and stay that way.

If you struggle with anxiety, or waking in the middle of the night, grab an essential oil diffuser, and diffuse a (high quality brand) essential oil blend; we love lavender and cedarwood together for deep, lasting sleep!

What are your favorite self care tips?

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Make More Time in Your Day

Time is one of those luxury items we all dream of, but is always slipping between our fingers. If only we had more time to do this or that…

We often don’t realize we are wasting time throughout our day! But we have a lot more of it than we may think. In fact, with a few planning tips and organization, we can free up a couple of hours or more in a day!

Whether you want to relax in a bath, get creative with crafting, or pursue your studies, the illusion of not having time disappears when you create a space for self care time. Are you ready to give it a go? 

Create a Schedule That Works for You 

The best way to manage time is to keep track of what you need to do and what you’re getting done in a day. Whether you’re following a study schedule for mom, are a work schedule, or a fitness workout schedule, the key to making it happen is to embrace a routine. Indeed, when your routine dictates a set of habits that guide you, you save time throughout the day. It’s easier to find a free slot to squeeze in some studying, pilates and weight lifting, or whatever else you want to do, when the rest of the day is fully organized. 

Don’t Sweat the Little Things 

We tend to waste precious time in details that don’t matter. Being able to prepare ahead for the day-to-day routine can make sure that youre not rushing, forgetting, and flustered. Why should you wait until morning to make breakfast when you can prepare a simple and healthy pot ahead of time? The same principle applies to your evening meal. You can schedule some time on Sunday for batch cooking so that you don’t have to worry for the rest of the week.

Share the Household Responsibilities

Being a mom doesn’t mean that you should be the only person in charge of maintaining the household. Cleaning requires a lot of time, but you’ll find that sharing chores with your family can make sure that everyone does their part. Ultimately, it’s an important lesson for our children; they need to learn to clean up after themselves and participate in basic tidying up tasks. 

This is a great way to free up time for yourself, and your kids! Decluttering and throwing out “stuff” that is unused, broken, and missing pieces makes for a much faster, easier cleaning up! Delegate jobs to the kids-putting away dishes, vacuuming, picking up the floor, dusting, folding laundry, emptying waste baskets, and even cleaning bathrooms can be done by children of different ages.

Understand Where Down Time is Going

It’s useful to track down the time you spend being idle. Tech devices, such as smartphones or TV, can steal away precious time from the things we love, the things that bring value to our life! You only meant to write a birthday message on a friend’s Facebook wall, but almost an hour later, you’re posting a funny meme… (who, me?!)  Oops, where did the time go? While there’s nothing wrong with either of these activities, be careful not to fall into the trap of mindless browsing-news, comedy channels, and social media are time traps!  Turn off the devices and see if you get inspired to do something different with your time!

You can’t save time without introducing some rhythm and method to your day. Set a routine that works for your family, and make sure that everybody gets involved! (maybe the kids would like to get chores done before breakfast? or after?)

Most importantly, be aware of  blind spots when it comes to time- whether it’s a social media app, reading the junk news, or binge-watching Netflix favorites.

What steps will you take to manage your time?

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

This entry was posted in routine.

Livestock Guardian Dogs (puppies) and Goats (kids)

A little bit about how our days work with LGD puppies & goats, goat kids, their jobs, temperament, behaviors, etc. This was filmed back in June. I will do another update soon! I plan to make a series on our

  • feed/schedule
  • vetting
  • supplements
  • kidding/disbudding and banding

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Self Care: Creating a Mama Morning Time Routine

 

Morning time can be a hard concept when you aren’t a morning person.

Growing up, I needed a good 20+ minutes to wake up before I could function, I didn’t eat breakfast willingly, and I walked around in a fog until lunch time. Haha (not really, but it took a while.)

Not much has changed, except now I have coffee, 4 children and a farm + an amazing husband. I learned after baby number 4 I have to take care of myself.

Mamas, this is the only body and mind we have. We need time, whether introverted or extroverted, to think through our day before the littles rise. We need time to talk with Jesus, read God’s Word, and pray before the world needs us.

Taking time for ourselves isn’t a luxury, it is imperative. We cannot take care of the people we love if we don’t take care of ourselves.

Self Care-Morning Time with Jesus

How to Make Time

Rise before the kids. My husband usually wakes me up before he leaves for work, around 530/6am. When he is traveling, or if he leaves very early, he texts me or I set an alarm.

When I had infants, I sometimes put my morning time on the back burner, but there were days I could squeeze it in-before the 5:30AM feeding wake up, or the quick nap from 6am to 7am before baby started his day. Some mornings are just more hectic than others, especially when there are tiny babies involved. Using the time at the end of the day for a quick devotional or mini art journal session does the trick, too. I remember the hours between baby going to sleep for the “night,” and waking for a middle of the night feed (7pm-11pm) were usually a good time for me to take “me” time before catching a quick nap.

Even today, with an 8, 6, 4, and 2 year old, we implement rest time from 1-3pm. The older 3 don’t usually nap, but the 2 year old does. I take this time to unwind just for me- I set the older 2 kids up with audio books, handicrafts, or alone time in their own space. During this time I am able to stretch, load up my water cup, have a healthy snack, and read a good book, journal, or sometimes sleep!

Getting Excited and Preparing for Success

  • Have your tools on hand

Keeping a tote with my favorite study Bible and a good devotional, like Help Club for Moms, gets me excited about my alone time with Jesus. In my tote I keep my Bible journaling highlighters, a few of my favorite pens for my Bible, sticky notes for marking things I want to come back to for studying, and all my favorite devotional books. (A video coming on that tote, soon!)

I love having all of my tools at hand; anything I am led to do, I can do right then and there. Whether it is copying a favorite verse to my planner for the day, reciting a special prayer from Prayers that Avail Much, doing a little art journaling, or just reading God’s Word, having it all together keeps me motivated, and accountable.

***You can use anything you have on hand for a tote-an extra book bag, backpack, basket, or old purse. There is no need to buy new things, when you probably have something on hand that will work! When you find your groove, and have worn out your repurposed tote or Bible, then treat yourself to a new one. =)

  • Set the coffee pot timer

Yes, this is seriously something that excites me and keeps me motivated.

Hearing the coffee pot beep right after my alarm wakes me, means I can go straight to the kitchen for a fresh cup of coffee… And you can’t lay down to drink coffee, so might as well sit up and read the Bible while you’re at it, right?! If you don’t do coffee, use the timer for a pot of hot water for making tea, hot cocoa, or whatever your favorite hot beverage may be.

  • Your Favorite Way to Connect with Jesus

Maybe journaling and devotionals aren’t your thing? That’s okay- there are so many ways to connect with Jesus. I keep the KLove app on my ipad and turn it on often. Worship music while reading or praying is a great way to start your day!

I also have the YouVersion app on my phone and ipad- there are so many quick daily studies for all walks of life- mamas, dads, youth, elderly, widows, parents with special circumstances-if you can think it up they have study for that topic or person. Their verse of the day may be just enough to fire you up for the day.

Podcasts are another wonderful way to take time for yourself, even when you don’t have the time or energy to sit and write/read/journal. Two of my favorite pastors to listen to on my podcasts app are: Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley. You can also listen to them online, via those links.

I grew up with both of these pastors; being form the south there is something about those accents that make my heart sing, too. But they speak Biblical truth; that combined with their love for God and His people make listening to and studying through them very easy.

Mamas, I hope you have found something helpful here that will fire you up for self care time with Jesus.

Sometimes it is as simple writing on a scratch piece of paper the things we want to accomplish when we wake, so we don’t forget to do them! Remembering to start and stick to a new routine can sometimes be difficult-make it easier on yourself.

Look for the next post in this series, which will touch on other forms of self care!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Creating Your Homeschool Space {modify & adjust}

Modify & Adjust

Our dining area probably looks like a mini classroom to some.

I often read advice from one homeschooler to another, “you don’t have to do school at home,” and they’re right, NO, you don’t.  (actually, I am certain I’ve written that before..)

We certainly don’t- our homeschool looks much different than a typical classroom.

But I am not going to deprive our learning environment of helpful tools for the sake of not creating a “classroom at home.”

Someone asked in a homeschool group recently if everyone hangs school posters, ABCs, etc on their walls.

Of course some did, many did not, and some of us trained teachers spoke up with what we know to be true:

If it isn’t at eye level, and isn’t used/referred to almost daily, it probably won’t be used.

My A-ha! Moment

After Christmas I took down our school calendar.

And today I am putting it back up.

I took it down, partly, because it was ONE more thing in the house, and I am tired of things and stuff … but also because it looked like school.

But you know what?!

WE USED THE CALENDAR!  Like, every dang day.

We looove moving the days of the week, the kids enjoy pointing to the dates.  They do well keeping up with the days, and reading a calendar. And frankly, I use it when I need to glance at the month when I am thinking about our activities, travel and such.

Clearly, my “ugh, this room looks like a classroom and there is stuff everywhere, MUST. DE. CLUTTER,” arrow was misguided.  There are probably many other things I could have removed, that would make it feel less cluttered in our home … But our big, ugly, blue school calendar that screams “preschoolers live here,” wasn’t one of them.

We use and enjoy that big ugly school calendar.

It is not like me to question what I know to be true.
And I know what works for us.
I recently wrote a post about changing how you do things because other people’s voices get in your head… y’all I never thought a post like that would resonate with me.  Not because I am immune to self doubt, but because if there is one thing I do not doubt, it is my ability to homeschool my children.

Be Confident in Your Decisions

When we feel doubtful about the process, methods, or our atmosphere in general, we should take it to the Lord.

I know I often find myself frustrated or questioning things, and going forth in prayer is always the most helpful (although in true human fashion I try to figure it out on my own with little in the way of results).

If you want to have a room especially for homeschooling, that has posters, maps, colorful designs, and handwriting charts around the room, DO IT!  Just because you dress up your area with useful tools doesn’t mean you stand at a chalkboard and teach like a public school classroom, (or maybe you do? and that’s fine too).

I recently purchased a waaaay to big for our area larger whiteboard for our homeschool, because I couldn’t fit much on the little art one we had.  I do not stand and teach from it (my husband made an awesome ledge for it to sit upon), but we have it so that we can fit our ideas, brainstorm for topics together, keep different topics of review posted, etc on the board.

(It also helps me with review throughout the week- if I can see what we are studying or what they are interested in, then it is in my brain.  For me, out of sight out of mind is SO true, and I will completely forget what we are wanting to do, enjoying, etc.

In our home, it is about making literacy part of the environment (another post coming on that soon).

I know the benefits and results of modeling for students- modeling writing, making charts for organizing thoughts, brainstorming ideas, writing the date, using information on the board or from a book.  Just like we model how to read by tracking words on the page with our fingers and blending sounds slowly with our mouths, or how to behave in public, use manners, etc., we can model learning in our homeschool.  That is how I use our white board, but it works for us in this season. 

When it isn’t Working

Modify and adjust.

One of the key terms (how often do I write that ….?) in my teacher’s program was modify and adjust.  Don’t be a slave to ANYTHING in your homeschool- not the curriculum, or the term “unschool”; not the planner, not the table, not the 4 walls of your house, not other people’s expectations, not the lack of curriculum, NOTHING.

If it doesn’t work- modify and adjust.  If the perfect, colorful, fun room you set up never gets used and you really need to turn it into a nursery for the coming baby, DO IT.

If you just can’t handle schooling the the basement (although you have room and shelves and tables), because it is so dark and dreary- MOVE TO THE MAIN FLOOR OF THE HOUSE! (<–this is us!)

If the birds chirping and the green grass outside on a warm spring morning are calling your name- move outside!

It’s ok to be excited and want the very best of everything in your home and homeschool.  But when it isn’t working or useful, when it causes stress/clutter, or isn’t getting results- Try something different.

Modify and Adjust.  =)

What is working in this season for you, that maybe you thought you would never do/use?

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Our Fall homeschool Routine {2018}

Our Fall School Routine 2018

 

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that with each season in life, or literal weather season, we can do what works best for our family.

In this season of both life, and weather, we are enjoying the fall 100%! Waking up to the windows open, crisp fall air, and spending a lot of time in nature is what autumn is all bout. So far, we have watched monarch caterpillars flock to our milkweed, make cocoons, and develop into butterflies.

We have enjoyed collecting different colored leaves as they fall, and acorns we have found. We’ve worked together to prep the garden for winter, and finished the last of our harvest. We have raked leaves to feed to the goats, and enjoyed collecting sticks for kindling.

Each day has a nice rhythm to it and looks something like this:

  • I wake 5:30-6am for my coffee, journal, and Jesus time
  • 7am I get the kids up, we have breakfast, brush teeth, and get dressed for the day, morning chores
  • Some mornings we do our morning basket during breakfast, some days it is in the afternoon. (morning basket is our science, history, a read aloud with the littles, a little memory work and whatever else the kids are into. there are handicrafts involved too)
  • 8/830am I do my workout, then the kids do their brain gym/dancing movements from youtube, or we may do animal walks across the room to mama for a bear hug reward
  • by 9/930 We begin table work together
  • 1130/11:45- lunch time!
  • Everyone goes outside to play until naps
  • Our afternoons are filled with: playing games (Uno, rat a tat cat, and Qwirkle are current favorites), being outside, doing chores on the farm, prepping dinner if needed, and reading aloud from our current family chapter book. Some days we do our morning basket here if we didn’t have time in the morning.

The weather outside (rainy or not) determines during which part of the day we do games, read alouds, etc.

Every-other Wednesday afternoon is still poetry tea time, sometimes it is every week if we don’t have an errand or other plans. I plan to hit the zoo 1x a month to take full advantage of membership and homeschool freedom. =)

As we come into winter, I am sure our routine may change up a bit. But for now, this is working well for our family. Fall is our favorite time of the year!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschooling Through Transitions: the hard times and the happy ones

4 Practical Tips for Homeschooling Through Family Transitions

**Originally published February 2016** I enjoy these practical tips, even now, during seasons of what feels like temporary chaos. My children are older now, we have a small farm, and much more on our plate in this season than normal. These have been wonderful reminders for me! Maybe they will help you as well!

My oldest child is soon turning 5 years old (say whaaaaa?).  I am by no means a homeschool expert; I have researched and read since I was 3 months pregnant with my first child, played around with schedules, dreamed of homeschool room ideas, used a few different curricula and tried different learning activities for my two oldest to try and find them the best personalized learning solutions so that they don’t miss out on their education.

And still, I am a no expert; I don’t think we become experts until we have graduated at least 1 homeschooled child! Haha

In the last few years we have had several family transitions- 2 babies born, rather large moves (one cross country), and job changes for the husband (one job that meant a LOT of travel)- that means we have “schooled” through some tough changes.

No matter how uncomfortable or scary our changes have been for the kids, I have found that homeschool ALWAYS makes our home feel like, well … home.  After the latest move my daughter told us she didn’t like this rent house, it wasn’t home.  So, as any mama would do I stayed up that night contemplating what would make all the kids (because she was surely expressing what her 2 year old brother was feeling but couldn’t say himself), feel comfortable again, feel at home.

And I almost immediately knew it was school- school, our Bible, reading, activities, learning and working their brains together, that is what made our house home and gave our days intention.  Homeschooling isn’t just school- it is a lifestyle, it is IN the center of our home, of which the central focus is Jesus Christ.

Schooling Through Transitions:

1. Prioritize:

What is most important to your family?  For us it is reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and Bible/read alouds.  My kids are still very young (though my oldest is ambitious), so our main subjects that require “work” are only for the oldest: reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and copywork.

Science and art are on the back burner until the fall, after we move and get settled in the home we are buying.  (I did this because getting out all the things we need for science and art is a mess while living out of boxes, and keeping the  baby hands off of it in a home that is not exactly set up for homeschooling is hard!  But if your children are older and can work independently and more responsibly, then go for it.) 

Also, make sure you are doing work that everyone loves- because otherwise you are less likely to make it work during the transition.

2.  Start earlier than scheduled in the year:

Even year-round schoolers like us take a break and have a specific date in mind for introducing their full-on school year.  When you are expecting a new baby, or making a move, you know school is going to get delayed at some point.  For us, we have always moved school earlier, again prioritizing the most important subjects, and then taken a break when needed (the week OF moving/baby being born) and then slowly gotten back into the groove of things.

3. Get back into routine:

Most homeschoolers I have talked with or asked have said getting back into the routine of school after a big life event is not only comforting, but helps all the kids behavior wise as well. (And that is definitely true in our home!) 

Most kids do well with structure and expectations, so it would make sense that their routine at home helps with behavior and a sense of stability.

4.  Relax:

At this time, it will do everyone good to relax (I know, easier said than done).  We kept a general routine, but some days I had to get meals made for the week or things packed up for a move, so the kids just colored while we talked about the letters they heard in words I called out.  I know mine are young, but this would be okay to do with olders too!  Reviewing math facts, memory work, having them do copy work and art, etc can get you by until things become more formal after your transitions.  The beauty of homeschool is that in general, we can take breaks when needed and always have time to catch back up (there aren’t hours spent standing in lines, taking bathroom breaks, etc so we can do double the work in half the time when we really need to!). 

So breathe, Mama- relax and find learning opportunities in everyday life to make your life easier through this transition!

How does your family school through big life events?

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18-20 Month Baby Schedule & Summary {baby #4}

{yes, I am 4 months late on the 18month baby summary … I’m just now realizing it is the year 2018, and spring is here}

Wow. just wow!
My how 18 months has flown! I can’t even keep up with her baby summary posts. My how we love our sweet little baby #4.

Development 18 months vs 20 Months

It has taken her longer than the first 3 children, but Squish has started walking and talking non stop (18 months). She is just totting around everywhere; her vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few months. She is saying everything from her siblings names, to pointing and naming objects she wants/needs.

She tends to drag her right foot, which is worrisome, but hopefully that will resolve itself. If it doesn’t we will talk to our doc in July. Her disposition is still pretty tough most days (18 months), she goes through phases where she is extremely happy for a week or 2, and then is incredibly difficult for a few weeks. I’m guessing it is wonder weeks and development related? I haven’t been tracking WW much anymore, but I probably should!

At 20 months, she is now talking EVEN more, is almost always happy, and has really come into her own. She really, really enjoys playing independently, she is a very smart girl, love counting and talking about everything. I often sneak into her room during independent play, before I get her out, and watch as she reads books, dances, and does finger plays to the songs on Pandora (like itsy bitsy spider). She is so full of herself when alone!

Her favorite words are: Lexie, Maxie, Ila, baby, Huck, and every animal sound she can make. We brought Yona (our Anatolian Shepherd) inside for a week or so while she was getting over some tummy troubles (due to her puppy food!) and Coralie REALLY found an outlet for bossing others. haha I think being the 4th, with her 3 older siblings always talking, bossing, and being active around her, she rarely had a chance to be heard. But when Yona came inside, she had someone that had to listen to HER (our dogs are raised to submit to all family members, be calm and quiet around their animal charges and people), so I guess the cure to some of her frustrations was power… that’s a scary thought!

She still signs for some things, especially if we remind her to do so, but she will also attempt to say the words for most everything around her-cups, water, eat, more, two (which means more …), up, down, snuggles, night night, baby, please, thank you, stinky, poopy, t.t., potty, nasty, num num, blanket, outside, downstairs, seat (which means put me there or she is demanding someone else sit there). So, lots of vocabulary.

She definitely loves animals, talking, dancing, counting, and toting around her baby dolls. We put a newborn diaper on one of her dolls, and it was game. on. She is now mama to her babies, gives them bottles, swaddles them, puts them to bed. She recently took to a baby blanket that was Lexie’s and requests it all day long, taking it with her wherever she goes; Squish will tot to her crib and pull the blanket from between the rails and just looove on it. She is counting like crazy, knows all her body parts, sings songs with us, and loves organizing toys “just so.” This video was taken just last week, and is a perfect example of her personality!

SNUGLLES! Yall, oh my gosh, the snuggles. This girl has never been much of a snuggler, but more of a “give me want when I want it or I dont want it at all” kinda girl. It has honestly been hard to “love” on her, simply because she so often didn’t want that connection. But now?!  Oooh, now she is a lovey girl, wanting squeeze hugs, wrapping her arms around our necks, and saying “Nuggle! Nuggle!” It is so fun!

I really can’t say how thankful I am that her personality has blossomed so much; it has been hard for all of us to enjoy her… Not because she didn’t meet our expectations, or our views of having a baby, but because we didn’t know HOW to love her- she didn’t accept the ways we showed her love, if that makes sense? We tried everything, she liked food-check, she liked attention 1:1 with me in the mornings- check, She liked telling everyone else no-check … but nothing really screamed “connection” with her. Oooh how I am thankful for grace and what now feels like peace.

We’ve decided she is exactly like her oldest sibling; if Lady had been the 4th in the family, I suspect her very Type A, independent, determined, sweet self would have been exactly like Squish. They also look pretty identical, and really just have the same personality traits. I predict Coralie will be an early reader, a fast learner, and a determined girl like Lady, but we shall see!

18 months to 21 months has been night and day for her; all of our relationships have flourished with her, even the kids. Her ability to talk more, and finding interest in specific things has truly helped her disposition. I feel like even though we have always known her, we are finally getting a peak at what’s been inside those beautiful blue eyes for the last 20 months, or maybe we are just starting to listen? Either way, it is a blessing!

It is funny to watch how she interacts with each of her siblings: Lady she considers her care taker. She helps with Squish’s bath, getting her dressed, taking her downstairs to play, totting outside, sliding, and reaching things. Mister she sees as her playmate; they are silly together, romp, play silly games, get LOUD, shoot guns, and snuggle. The Miss … well, we are working on that dynamic, because the last several months have been all competition! Miss is learning to help care for Squish, and take some responsibility like the older 2, which I think is helping with how she sees Coralie. They both consider themselves the baby, and it is hard on them to share space, attention, and favorite items, but I feel like things are getting easier.

Overall, I am excited for this new phase with Squish!

just one of the gang, watching duckling splish splash

Schedule

So far Baby #4 is still on a one nap schedule- usually she goes down for nap abut 12-12:15, and gets up at 3:00.

So her days look like this:

  • 7am wake, snuggles, breakfast
  • playtime/workout with mama time
  • read school books with us in mama’s room
  • independent play while we do table work, sometimes a snack first
  • 11:15/11:30 lunch
  • 12:00/12:15 nap
  • 3:00 up from nap, snack
  • 5:30/6pm dinner
  • 6:40 bedtime

She is drinking out of a straw sippy, and Thermos brand sippy cups. She enjoys eating some things with a spoon, and I often let her do the last bite of messier foods with a spoon, everything else she eats with her fingers. Her favorite foods are … pretty much everything! We discovered this winter that she has a cashew allergy, and thus probably has a pistachio allergy. She reacts to the oils and the actual cashew nut; it also appears when she has too much peanut butter she reacts? So we are playing that one safe and avoid peanut butter for her most of the time.

She has recently graduated from her Zipadee Zip to a regular sleep sack. I thought this might lead to thumb sucking, since she sucked on the sleeve of all her zipadees and swaddles, but so far I think we are thumb-sucking free!

 

 

 

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