Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May is Strawberry Month

The last few days of May are upon us and unfortunately for us, the beginning and END of strawberry season is also upon us. Indiana has had horribly hot and unseasonable weather...in the upper 90s and no rain for over a month. Some fields don't have any strawberries and others are saying that we are going to have maybe a two week window to pick (and one of those weeks are already gone!)

So, in honor of strawberry month and the short strawberry picking season, we are going to have a strawberry weekend. Here's a fun list of activities we're planning:

-strawberry picking
-making strawberry jam
-reading The Little Mouse, The Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear and Bread and Jam for Francis
-making strawberry-lemonade slushies
-making play strawberries for Reagan's babies

I love the idea of themed weekends, days and weeks. Definitely doing more of those this summer!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homeschooling and Keeping House

Did I mention I started a facebook group a while back, for those of us who homeschool? If you're interested in joining, request to join here.

Alright--on that said homeschool forum, there was a question about how to get it all done--cleaning, that is, and homeschooling. I think it's a bothersome question all of us face. And while I maintain that having 1 child is sometimes harder than having several children (and other times not), this is one time where having 1 child wins out. She is my biggest helper and, if it's something I just need to *DO*, she can entertain herself (for a little while at least) or watch a video.

But lately I've been thinking how I'm going to handle two or three (when we become foster parents) and still juggle homeschool, court/visitation/check-in sessions, possibly taking 1 or 2 of the children to public school (we cannot homeschool foster children according to the state) and still get meals and cleaning done. 

Let's face it, I'm not that good at doing it all with just one.  SO, I've come up with some thoughts that I think *might* help me, and maybe, just maybe, might help some of my friends as well. Here goes!

1.  Keep a clean house. Yep, I know..that totally defeats the purpose of this post. But hear me out. If your house is a disaster right this moment, enlist the help of your husband to get the kids OUT OF THE HOUSE for the day and spend your free time (yeah, sorry, I know this is going to really not be fun) getting the house in order. Organize, purge, get it cleaned. I have Josh do this ever so often to do a big purge or clean.

2.  Make it a top priority to do a 15 minute clean at night before bed. Yes, I know sometimes you're so exhausted you literally fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow. But force yourself to do the 15 minute sweep right after putting the kids to bed. NOT before you go to bed. AFTER the kids go to bed. Otherwise, you really will be too tired and will end up putting off until tomorrow. Bonus: get your husband to help and then enjoy some time together before you nod off.

3.  Make it a RULE that the toys get cleaned up before bedtime. No matter if bedtime was already 30 minutes ago...the toys need to get picked up before the kidlets go to bed. This is TOUGH. Enforce it. Take privileges away if necessary. Trust me...we finally, after 5 years, have been able to follow through on this. It is so much easier to start off with a clean no-mess playroom every.single.day.

4.  Institute quick pick up times throughout the day. Not only for the kids, but for you too. Look, there are some blocks on the floor no one is playing with..ok kiddos, let's have a race, who can get the blocks back in the fastest? Oh, Sally won? Well here's one mini chocolate chip for you! (Yes, bribery is sometimes good!) Running through the living room to throw that dirty diaper away and you spy three cups and a plate? Grab them!

5.  Enlist the children's help. Children as young as two can have chores. And they feel pride in their work for helping. Check out this list for ideas for chores for various age groups.

6.  Realize that at this season in your life, you aren't going to have the perfect house...and that's ok. (Yep, I *just* got to this stage too, after 5 years!)

7.  After you've given the children chores, LET THEM HELP. Yes, I know that's redundant. But it's so hard to stand back and watch them smear the dust all over the shelf instead of actually get it clean. If you can, take a second and show them how to do it, but don't redo it (unless it's absolutely necessary)..I've had to learn this lesson the hard way too!

8.  Declutter. Less stuff=less stuff to clean.

9.  Don't feel bad about using videos or computer time to get something done that really needs to be done. Have 5 kids and a floor that makes you WORK to lift your foot each time you walk across it's sticky yuckiness? Stick a Veggie Tales on and mop the floor--it's really ok.

10.  Make your children ask for permission before getting messy things out. That's a new rule in our house. You want to play with something messy, like oh....water? glue? craft supplies? You ask first. Same goes for snacks. Or have a drawer that they can help themselves to a snack, AFTER they ask  you if that's ok. It cuts down a lot of mess!

11.  Here's my own personal biggest, best idea for keeping a clean house that I have ever come up with: Every single morning, before breakfast we straighten all of the bedrooms. I may even start breakfast cooking before we begin cleaning, but we do.not.eat. until the rooms are cleaned. Talk about motivation! Sometimes, if breakfast is taking a while to cook or heat up, we'll even straighten up the living room and bathroom as well.

12. Allow toys in only one area of the house. For us, that's the playroom. Toys stay in there almost 95% of the time. There are sometimes I'll let her bring some toys out into the living room, but for the most part, the play room is where they stay. Bedrooms stay cleaner without toys and so does the rest of the house. (A side note: I allow a bookshelf full of books, sleeping stuffed animals and a basket of crayons and coloring books in the bedroom. We use the books and crayons for quiet time.)

13.  If you're cooking something, just go ahead and cook double or make something else that utilizes the same basic ingredients and measuring cups. Double duty and you only clean up once.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Fall Poem by Reagan

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch
I love leaves for lunch

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

All About Reading

Hello? All About Reading people? Yes, yoohoo! Over here! I'd love to 'test' out your Pre-Level 1 on my daughter! Just saying!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschool Room

After much hard work this summer, I'm finally ready to start school with Reagan on the 22nd. (I asked her if she wanted to start earlier and she said 'no, thank you, she'd rather take that extra week of vacation.' Ok. Maybe that's not exactly how she put it, but you get the picture!)

Our plan for this year is to work through My Father's World K, along with quite a bit of add-ons from various blogs (Thank you to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations and Carissa at 1+1+1=1 for all the hard work they do to provide us with items to teach our little ones!) and from various other curriculums. We're also sending Reagan to "preschool" at a local Church twice a week in the afternoons so that she can have some social interaction, along with music and art. Unfortunately she is still too young to be involved in the homeschool group music and art programs.

I think we're going to have lots of fun this year and I'm so excited! I'm going to try to remember that it's more important that she learn about Christ than anything else, and that she doesn't need pressure--this first year should be lots of fun. I'm extremely serious and competitive so this is hard for me to remember, but I'm going to pray everyday that Jesus guides us, NOT ME.

Oh-just a side note: this week I'll also post links to specific materials from other sites that I'm using AND a full list of our curriculum (and links!). But this post is getting much too long to do it here.

Alright, for those of you who are interested, here is our school room. (Technically it's one half of Reagan's playroom, so if you see a completely naked baby doll or tons of toys on the floor in parts of the pictures...just go with it! We also recently installed new UV ray blocking doors to keep the room cooler (as it was formerly a garage!) so you'll probably see installation foam still peeking out as we haven't installed the trim yet!) All that to say--well, this is it.

When you first walk in from outside, you'll see our wire rack full of puzzles and games--a great blocker between the toy side and the school side and keeps all her fun games close at hand! By the way, I get most of her puzzles and games from garage sales-a great place to find lots of homeschool activities!

Next up is a bookshelf with all of our weekly curriculum on the top shelves, msc. items lower and then tons of reference books divided into subjects on the lower shelves. (I prefer to keep these on the lower shelves so Reagan can get to them if she just wants to look at something she happens to be interested in!) We also have tons of craft supplies up top in bins.

Here are my 'filing cabinets'--I use that term loosely! More curriculum and household files here, as well as lots of Learning Packs! (Link to Homeschool Creation Packs and 1+1+1 Packs)

Here's our activity station with 'break' items (ie items in between workboxes--such as working on our number puzzle, working on screwing on and off caps, play dough, listening station, etc!) (The table and chair(s) were another garage sale find!)

Bulletin board that has our 100 chart, the map to color in of the States and our reading list--to keep a record of books Reagan reads (on her own) during the school year. The back has a cork board so I can tack up sentence strips, sequence cards, etc.

Workboxes and another activity bin (this is for smaller paper games and motor skill activities!)

Flag and Pledge of Allegiance

Dry erase board (with spots for color, number, letter and State of the day)


Weather/Seasons and Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday pieces of the calendar board

And attachment pieces..

Songs for Calendar Time and our A-Z Bible Verse Book (to go with the RRPS program that I am using from 1+1+1)

Our schedule strip for our workboxes:

Our tree which I purchased from a teacher's supply store--we plan to hang our Biblical truths from our MFW K package on here.

Reading and Alphabet oversized books (I am in love with the DK big books--I need more!!!!)

Our RRPS Board and school table.

Recyclable storage--hidden under the table! (Can you say crafts?!)

Bottle caps to use for spelling!

And finally one last picture of the room--it's not as adorable as some photos I've seen-but it feels like home :) and that's the point isn't it?

*****Remember, if you see something you are in love with, I'll be posting links later this week to those specific printables from some very talented homeschooling moms!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking the time....

It's so worth it to take the time to share a life skill with your child..but boy is it fustrating when you start! That being said, I no longer have to put Reagan's clothing away...yah! She can do it for herself!
Related Posts with Thumbnails