Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Daily School Schedule-

It's almost time.
Just a few short weeks.
And school starts!

What does that look like for us?
I'll tell you!
But remember, every home and family is different.
Our way is not the right way,
It's a way

I share this with you who ask,
"How do you get it all done?"
"How much time do you spend on school?"
"How do you homeschool and do the 'mom stuff?'"

Every year looks a little different but is generally organized the same way.

This year we get to participate in a co-op and I am so excited for this fun addition.
So, Mondays will be completely set apart for co-op,
No additional schooling will be required.
However, we do have some classical music scheduled in our curriculum,
So we will listen to that in the van as we drive to co-op.

Tuesday and Thursday:
8:00- teach 4th grader grammar 
     2nd grader will work independently on 'seat work.'
8:15- teach 2nd grader language arts lesson
8:30- math
9:00- writing
10:00- recess
10:15- reading
11:15- Independant/seat work
12:00- lunch and read aloud followed by recess
1:00- My Father's World (history, science, art, music, Bible)
     this year we will be studying the time period from Creation to the Greeks.
2:00- Finish any unfinished school work

8:00- teach 4th grader grammar 
     2nd grader will work independently on 'seat work.'
8:15- teach 2nd grader language arts lesson
8:30- math
9:00- writing
10:00- recess
10:30- Art/Music/Projects
12:00- lunch and read aloud followed by recess
1:00- Finish any unfinished school work
     or we may go on a hike, go to the gym to swim... I've got a few ideas. :)

8:00- Review our verses we are learning in MFW, sing verse songs, pray, and read 
     Wisdom With The Millers (shorts stories to teach the proverbs).
8:30- grammar and language arts lesson
9:00- math
9:30- writing
10:00- recess
10:30- MFW 
11:00- Independant/seat work
12:00- lunch and read aloud followed by recess
Early day!

In my next post I'll explain how and where I get my 'mom chores' done.;)


Monday, August 7, 2017

It's OK To Let Them Play

I've had a few conversations recently about curriculum for the littles.
Although there are so many options available, 
I'd like to encourage those with littles to consider a slightly different approach.

Let the littles play. :)
Their time for being little is so short.
Their time to be in books and study will be here before you know it.
And with curriculum and schedules comes less time to simply play.

And much can be learned through play.
Thinking of others.
Thankfulness (for toys, games, activities).
Enjoyment of God's creation (at parks, in the yard, on a walk).

But these lessons take time, patience, and consistency.
In hindsight, I wish I wouldn't have jumped so quickly into math and science
And used the time instead to slow down 
And focus on character training.

By character training, I don't mean finding the best curriculum, 
(Although there are some great books to use along with good training).
But rather, I mean, slow down and 
Teach, show, and model good character skills.
Take the time now, while your littles are still young,
To watch them play and guide their interactions.

Do your children obey quickly and cheerfully?
Do they treat you and their siblings with care and concern?
Are they respectful?
Are they diligent and hard-workers?
And most importantly, do they know the love of Jesus?

Teaching your children how to obey you, 
And to respect each other as an act of love and devotion to God
Is of utmost importance, especially in the early years.
Teaching them to resolve conflict 
And be peaceable with one another
Will benefit them for a lifetime
And make a world of difference when you need to run a tighter schedule.

All these important areas become much more difficult to address
When your day's schedule is filled with math, science, and history.
As the balls you juggle increase,
So too the difficulty in keeping them in the air well.

So, for now, teach them to love God, and love others.

Because of Jesus,


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I Don't Have It All Together!

I'm gonna say it again,
I don't have it all together.

Some of you have seen what I have done over the years.
You've seen my IG pictures and FB posts.

Yes, I've run a marathon.
I've even gutted out an ultra-marathon.
I've used cloth diapers.
And made my own laundry detergent.

I thought baking my own bread was no big deal,
And so for awhile I did that, too.
I cooked my own baby food,
And mixed up our cleaning products.

I loved DIY projects, 
And filled my days creating, all while homeschooling.

Back then, others put me on a pedestal.
I knew how others viewed me.
And so I tried to balance up there,
Doing all I could to maintain that image
And be the perfect little housewife.

And then I crashed.
It's hard to teeter up there on that pedestal. 
I even believe the health issues I later discovered
Came because of these unrealistic expectations I put upon myself.

And so I come to you now in what I hope is a much more humble position.
I stand among you,
Not above you.
I will continue to share my experiences with you.
But I am still learning SO. Much. Myself.

I don't have every room completely organized.
I don't have everything labeled and color-coordinated.
My schedule doesn't always work.
I now buy my laundry detergent
And our bread, too.

My kids don't always obey cheerfully on the first time.
I (more often than I like to admit) loose my patience.
I get frustrated.
I am frail.
And, at times, I cry.

But through all of this I am learning.
This, my friends, is what the Cross is for.
I won't be able to do it all.
I will fail.
But because of His grace, 
I will pick myself up.
Over. And over. And over again.
I will cling tightly to my Savior's hand.

And I will remember,
I don't have to have every closet organized,
Or teach the perfect school year. 
I just need to be obedient to what He calls me to do.
And rely on His strength to do it.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Too Much Stuff To Organize!?!

I had a great question last week in response to my last post on organizing. 
Here is the original question: 

I really like this, but I also realize that in order to do it I feel like I'll need to get rid of stuff too- to create the space to have the best things I actually use accessible. Do you have advice on simplifying in order to organize well?

In short, yes, there are solutions!
I have a couple of ideas I have used for situations like this.
First, if possible, get rid of stuff. 
Go through one room or closet at a time and remove stuff you no longer want or need.
Throw away stuff that is broken or no longer usable, donate, or sell the rest.

How do you decide what to keep? 
Ask yourself, do we really use this?
Do I really love this, does it bring me joy?
Now that you have decided what to keep,
You can now organize and containerize it! ;)
(I think I have a post about this! ;))

But what if you are keeping more than you have space for?
Store some for later.
I loved doing this with my boys' toys.
Periodically I would box up one of their collections:
LEGOS, blocks, cars and trucks, puzzles etc.
I would store them away in bins in a location with a bit more room:
Garage, closet.
With less toys around, the job of organizing them was easier.
Every few months or so 
I would trade out one collection of toys for another.
Can you imagine the excitement of seeing 'new' toys again?!
Yep! It was a good solution for us.

Also, a note to homeschool moms,
You can use this same idea with toys and activities throughout the day.
Store away small collections of toys and games.
Bring them out only during designated school times.
This helps bring excitement to the child when the 'new' activity is brought out.
And it keeps them from being bored as they are constantly being given rotating options.

Back to storing for later.
This can easily be done for anything you don't have space for.
Too many shoes?
Store your winter boots and covered shoes, leaving out only your spring and summer shoes.
Place them in boxes or bins and slide under your bed, 
An extra closet, or the garage.
You can do the same with winter clothes.
Rotate your closet to give you more space each season.

I hope this has helped!
I think the key is to simplify.
Remove as many items as possible
To allow for the most efficient way of storing and using your everyday items.

Feel free to ask more questions. I love brainstorming with you!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Place For Everything

Have you heard this one?
A place for everything and everything in its place.
I pretty much love it because I've found that it works!
When everything has a home two great things come as a result:
1) you can easily point people to where it is.
2) it can always be put away.

I discovered when my kids were toddlers 
That they did a great job putting their things away...
When there was a specific place for their stuff.
I've never been a fan of the 'toy box.'
But I do love containers, baskets, boxes...

So, let me share with you a little about containers.
I love that containers hold our treasures in a tidy way.
I love labeling my containers so that everyone can clearly read what belongs in it.
I love using the same containers because they often work better together.
ie: stack or connect or simply are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
I love that containers hold similar items for easy access.
I love that containers keep items from getting lost 
In cabinets, on shelves, in pantrys, cupboards, and closets.
So.... containerize! ;)

A few tips on containerizing:
Know what and how much you want to containerize.
This will help you know how many containers you need.
Measure your space.
This will help you decide which containers will work in your space.
Collect all the containers you need at the same time.
Manufacturers are constantly changing products.
If you want them all to match or coordinate, buy them all at once
Or you may not find them again 
And no one wants one blue basket when the rest are turquoise, am I right?! ;)

Ok, now a bit of a switch...
I want to share a piece of advice I received from my mother-in-law years ago.
And it's really excellent advice!
Place like items together and place them where you use them.
Let me explain.
In what part of your kitchen do you bake?
The shelves and cupboards nearest that area should house your baking supplies.
And keep everything you need there:
Mixing bowls, measuring cups, ingredients etc.
This makes it easier to bake in one place 
Vs running back and forth around your kitchen.
Pretty great advice, right?!

Here's another example.
Where do you wrap and prepare gifts?
Collect all your gift wrapping paper, ribbons, scissors, tape etc.
And keep them together.
Annnndddd store an extra pair of scissors or tape in that area.
This way everything you need is easily accessible allowing for greater efficiency. 

And here's another... oh my, I can't stop!
Cleaning caddies. Don't even get me started! 
They are the cutest.
They come in different colors and configurations and, and, 
And, I want them all!
Store all of your cleaning supplies together in a caddy
So you can grab that caddy and get to work 
Without having to collect your tools and cleaners first.

So, I can kinda hear some of you saying,
(Yes, the voices come through my screen)
I don't have the space for designated baking, and wrapping areas.
I hear ya! No problem!
Get a container! Ha! 
No, seriously, you could place all your items for gift wrapping
(paper, ribbon, bows, scissors, gift bags etc.) in a tote
Store the tote in a closet or the garage,
And bring it out when needed.
That way everything you need is still in one place 
And stored neatly until needed. Bam!

As you can see, I love organizing and containerizing!
I will attach a few pictures to show you how I have done this around my home.
Remember every home and budget is different.
Do what is best and works for you.
There are also so many budget-friendly ways to organize.
Feel free to ask me for ideas on your projects; I'd be happy to brainstorm with you.
And happy organizing!


For my previous post on organization, click here.