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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The dreaded question...

 One huge reason I started this blog was so that I could remember on hard days why I wanted to homeschool my children. Why I decided to up root everything I and my children knew and to change our whole world. Another was to have a place to send those who ask that dreaded question of "Why are you homeschooling? What was wrong? Wasn't everything ok in Public School?" At first I wasn't offended by this question being asked because it really was just innocence coming from friends or family who were trying to really understand where I am coming from. I'm glad at the time that they came to me with those questions because it helped me think of MORE reasons why I decided what I did. I had to continue to grow my list. Then there are those people who come at you ready to argue anything you say and just are against WHAT YOU DECIDED FOR YOUR FAMILY! I found myself basically having to prove my point to these type of people. Convince them that what I was doing was right for MY family. Do you know what goes on day to day with each person in my family? No? Well good thing I do! Good thing I know enough to make those very important decisions for those people who are relying on me to raise them. I came home after feeling a little discouraged thinking that I was punishing myself by "forcing" myself to stay at home and homeschool my children. I told my husband that I need to get better at telling people why I am homeschooling my family. That its hard to tell people every reason and remember every reason in those 5 minutes of our discussion. Then I came to the conclusion.. Nope! I dont need to explain myself! This is my business and if you truly wanted to know why you would dig for more information and follow my blog and understand why :)

 Today I came across this blog post and loved it!

From A Homeschool VICTIM Who Obviously Survived!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My favorite links!

As a first year homeschooler I like when people share information with me since I am so unfamiliar with this whole new world. 
I will continue to add to this post as I find new favorite links! 
Whether it be free printables, games, learning websites, etc. 
I will also post that the list is/was updated when I add to the list. :)

Enjoy!


Curriculum Websites:


Seriously this website has been a life saver in our urgent decision to decide to homeschool. A friend suggested it to me thinking it will be ok for me for a couple of weeks... but honestly I love it, my kids love it! I don't see us switching up as of right now. Alot of people complain that its way to much computer time. My children love games. They learn from it. So why change it?! PLUS its already planned out for you! We do Math, Reading, Language Arts and "PE/Health". The Reading I'm not a huge fan of because the stories were on right now aren't holding my children's interest very well. So we might find something to replace it with next year. As far as History I am doing Famous Americans Mini Booklets and we find things about the person we are learning about to throw in the mix. A video, a book, a website that has information about them and sometimes we do mini research reports. Science, I am using a text book for that one so we have more reading time. We also do Zoology right now. We do mini books with that and also find things to add in about the animals we are learning at the time. We do when we have time Art, Science Projects and Homemaking. We do Scripture Study every day whether its reading or coloring or doing a craft to help us learn. 


This is what I use to get MOST of Alexander's curriculum from. We use this for our Preschool Co-op. Its completely free too. Just a bunch of the cutest ideas and FUN printables. Seriously another life saver!!! 


FREE Printables: 


Not everything here is free but you can find TONS of free printables on this site! I love it!!! 


Videos: 



Support Groups:

There is ALOT out there. You just have to look. On Facebook just start typing in homeschool and tons pop up! You can even get specific and put in your area with the word homeschool. Or your curriculum you use along with homeschool.  Here are some I have discovered that fit to my needs. I haven't taken advantage of them all yet as like I said there is ALOT!













Brainstorm for ideas:



Homeschool Perks:


Halloween Fun




Daddy took us to Trail of Treats while Mommy was busy with Church activities.  Lexie is a "Zombie Bride" (We didn't do make up. Saving that for Halloween night.), Dakota is a GI Joe, and Alexander is a Ninja.

I have to admit shopping for costumes this year was a little crazy! They were throwing out all these crazy Zombie and Death things they wanted to be. Very new for me. Lexie was determined to not be a Princess anything, like she always is.











So we had this whole fun Homeschool Halloween Party planned with some of our favorite Homeschooling Families but Alexander was sick the whole weekend before and the night before and the day of so it was best to not bring the germs around everyone else. We were sad to have to stay home and not join in so I said we can have our own fun party that night with Daddy for Family Home Evening. I couldn't just let all those ideas and items go to waste that I had prepared. ;) So we played Halloween Bingo with Candy Corn for our markers like 3 times. Everyone got prizes. Then we played Bobbing for Apples in the Bathtub haha!!! Because our bucket was extremely dirty and needed bleached down and I didn't want the kids to bob in bleachish water after cleaning it. Then we played Minute to Win it Wrap the Mummies. So we all took turn wrapping each other with toilet paper! It was a fun night.



Here is a video of me dunking the kids in the water. Oh! And I SOOO wished I could have caught it to record it but Dakota seriously was trying so hard to get an apple that SERIOUSLY the child did a front flip somehow into the tub and was totally soaked after landing completely in the tub. I could not believe what happened. That child... I tell ya!





We have another fun Halloween night coming up and if I get any photos I will post those here too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Preschool Co-Op

Today we learned the letter Ee, shape Diamond, number 4, and the color Purple. Preschool is so much fun because look at all these cool printables that you can print out and have the kids do. I laminate them and keep them for Alexander to do while I am teaching the older children when he feels like hanging out in the school room with us.

Writing sheets. I laminated them so I could keep them and they use Erasable Markers to draw on them.

We used these to put the numbers in order.


I laminated this to keep forever. It's a puzzle.

I laminated this to keep forever. It's a puzzle.

We use these to play a matching game. Match the colors!

We use these to put in order and/or I lay them out NOT in order and call out numbers and the kids jump from number to number when they see the number I called out.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

* We have joined the Karate Bandwagon

We found a Groupon a friend told us about for Karate. Dakota has been wanting to join for years buts its so pricey. I didn't want to pay alot of money and it turn out he didn't like it ... like soccer. So this Groupon was perfect. He saved his birthday money and paid for it himself. I told him if he followed through with it and he took it serious we would talk about him continuing each month. He is having a good time with it. I was impressed with just the first class. They are teaching him to listen, follow directions and respect (Yes Ma'am Yes Sir) and too speak up, be confident and have courage and know who you are. Its pretty awesome watching! I have much respect for his instructor. He is really good with the kids and served in the Army. I hope this is a blessing for years to come for Dakota and us! Here is a few videos and a photo to show off some of what he is doing!



 

 






Monday, October 20, 2014

Finally! A day of no tears!

If you follow me on Facebook you probably have seen my status updates. Or if your apart of the homeschooling groups I am in you probably have figured out that homeschooling this last week was hectic and not so fun for us. Let me catch you up:

October 14th: "You'd think being up at 7 am getting started for the day that I would be running out of things to do but nope. Going non stop! Wheww!!!"

October 16th: "Yup! Mom of the year! Totally bribing toddlers to clean up and they get candy! Shaking my head as they run off screaming "Yay!!! Candy! Candy!!!" Sorry Adam, all your candy corn is gone!"

October 16th: "I seriously have a freakin elf stealing stuff that is making it difficult to continue with my day. We lost a Reading Journal that needs to pop up... and now a schedule for the week with all my notes and scores on it. I have looked everywhere each time. When it pops up hopefully sooner than later I'm probably gonna feel silly for loosing it."

October 16th (Homeschool group post): "How many of you get through half of the school day and just kinda give up for the day at times? This week I have had a couple of days of that. I have frustrated children because they seem like their brain has just had enough and/or bickering children. We pick the rest up the next day. But it puts us behind for the next day."

October 16th: "Uhh my child! We got fed up with school today (mommy and the kids) so we stopped early. I was exhausted and wanted a nap but thought the kids really needed something fun and uplifting of the spirits so I tiredly said: "How about we go right now and pick out your costumes?" They were excited. We went to walmart (right down the road) and they didn't have what we wanted so we drove 20 minutes to another place to look and found some. Then he left a very expensive costume in Rockwall in a store and forgot it while we were in another store shoe shopping. So we get home and find that out. I start stressing out because I JUST got home from this long shopping trip and am so tired. Thinking I am gonna have to go all the way back I try to make the best of it and see if a friend can just watch the kids while Adam and I have alone time and go back and get it. And find out my friend I called is right by the store we left it at!!! Seriously so grateful! I'm worn out! lol"

October 17th (Homeschool group post): "Do you have a child that just cannot follow directions no matter how many times you sit and look them in the face and say I want you to listen to my directions ... I need you to do this this way.You have to send them off a handful of times before they finally half follow instructions."

October 17th: "I am making a last minute unplanned trip to the Gentle Zoo right now. Any friends want to join me? I will be there for a few hours. Text me!"

October 19th: "It was so nice to get away for the weekend and no worrying about schooling and discipline and just be! Refreshed for a new week!"

So we got away for the weekend. And today went great without any tears, any frustrations and we finished the whole day!!! Sometimes you just need to step back and have a little fun and have a new scenery! I also am holding the kids to them getting "field trips" once a week IF they do all their school work without tears and whining and we finish the whole day that is planned. Last week our field trip was the Gentle Zoo. Maybe this next week we will go see a movie. Who knows! But if bribery works for me then hooray!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Are My Hero!

I received an email that I'm sure everyone that is subscribed to this specific blog has received. But it made me feel great and positive and ready to take on the week with school. Hopefully I wont get in trouble for sharing it without asking "copyright issues" but here it is. :o) Enjoy!

Dear Homeschool Parent,
It seems like the word hero doesn't mean much anymore. It's almost a throwback word from America's long past. To make matters worse, the "heroes" our culture does put on a pedestal... seem to crash and burn almost daily. Simply fire up your computer or turn on the TV and it's nonstop scandals involving today's "heroes".
But you know what? I don't think the idea of a hero is old-fashioned at all and I don't believe we should give up on it... ever. What we should do is take a good look at what a hero really is. Personally, it seems obvious that we've let our culture redefine what a hero really is and that's a big part of our problem.
Believe me, as Christians we're blessed with a rich history full of real heroes. And, it's reassuring to know that there are great heroes walking among us today as well. In fact, the number of real heroes today may surprise you.
I don't care if they are volunteering at church, active prayer warriors, doing charity work, working in a nursing home or homeschooling their kids... I see good people doing heroic things all the time.
So how do folks become heroes? How does a homeschool mom or dad become a real hero?
Well, there is a way, a roadmap if you will... along with some good and bad news.
The good news is that what you have to do is for the most part, simple.
The bad news is that what you have to do is kind of hard to do.
So where do we start? Well, first you have to put serious time in. There is no way to cheat the system. You have to show up and you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to it.
If you're a homeschool mom or dad, for example, you have to have your curriculum prepared for each day. Something easy to talk about, but hard to do. Not only that, you have to turn off the TV, close down Facebook, forget your email, stop checking the weather online, shut down YouTube... and you have to do the work of actually teaching your kids.
The next step is even harder yet:
You have to keep growing as a teacher. You have to intensify the family vision and be willing to step outside your comfort zone as an educator. Just as your children grow... you've got to grow as well. Again, easy to talk about, but kind of hard to actually do.
It's important not to retreat into a "safe zone" when it comes to educating your children. There's always a little voice in the back of your head that wants you to stay lukewarm as a teacher, trainer and role model. That's the voice that holds most people back. That's the voice that stops some parents from being great teachers.
And you know what? Everyone's got that voice! But it's up to you to decide once and for all if that little voice is going to rob you and your kids of the greatness God has promised to your family.
Here's the truth: You can't give your children an extraordinary education if you stay ordinary... if you continue to live in your homeschool teaching comfort zone.
And that's your roadmap for a being a true hero. You need to show up every day. You need to work hard at what God has given you to do. You need to keep getting better at educating and keep getting better at training up the next generation in your charge.
And you need to persevere. If you do that day after day, year after year... then I'll tell you how to find a true hero...
Go look in the mirror and you'll see a real hero looking back at you.
I promise.
For Training Up The Next Generation,
Bill Heid
Bill Heid
Executive Producer, Heirloom Audio
P.S. I made a short video about why our kids need great stories now more than ever. The world seems to be almost collapsing right before our eyes. I think it's because we have lost the "story wars" and have no real heroes any more. The new video is short and to the point. I really believe every American family, homeschooling or not, needs to see this important message.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Family Tree

This week we are focusing on 1 Nephi 5 for our Scripture Study. I have an brilliant friend who suggested this craft too me to help the children understand what descendants are. We made a family tree! We talked about family history, descendants, generations, ancestors and our family name. We listened to a couple of talks: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2003/08/one-family & https://www.lds.org/new-era/2009/02/the-value-of-a-good-name Then we went to work on our family tree. As sad as the little tree looks because of inexperience it was fun. Here is the link to this craft if you want to try it for yourself. http://pikadillycharm.blogspot.com/2011/11/paper-bag-fall-tree.html?m=1









Tomorrow we will learn more about the plates of brass. :o)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbus Day Yall!

Humm.... I'm just realizing I didn't plan any activities to do for Columbus Day! Oh well... will add that to our list of to do's for tomorrow! Today was a catch up day for us and since Daddy had off work today (Thank you Triump Bank & Christopher Columbus). Its amazing how much and how fast you can do to catch up at home. We did 3 days of Language Art and Math in less than 2 hours! Whoop Whoop! 
My favorite part of today? 
Was this craft:













Sunday, October 12, 2014

One of my biggest faults

One of my biggest faults with homeschooling is just letting go. I have added art to our daily routine and when I want it to look a certain way I have anxiety when the kids have their own ideas.  Like its really bad! Especially when its something I really want it to look good so I can hang them up for decorations. I understand if you just let their creativity flow that its good for them and then you might get something awesome out of it, but the MIGHT is a big nail bitter with me haha. Lexie has a thing for over crowding her art. I'm trying my best to get her to understand that sometimes less is more. Here is a perfect example of what I mean.  Luca wanted to mostly play at the park when we tried doing his so I let him do his hand print then I cut the hat and let him glue it on. Then he ran off to play so I went to work on finishing his picture for him.  Then a couple days later I let my kids finish theirs at home since they were to busy at the park.  I helped Alexander mostly with his  letting him hold the brush with me. 


Dakota's
Lexie's
Alexander's

Luca's

Friday, October 10, 2014

A few Fall things we have been up too

Here is some photos from things we have been doing the last two days.

A friend was sweet enough to let Alexander tag along for a "preschool field trip" to the Gentle Zoo. 






I didn't have enough energy to walk around that place after just recovering from being sick. So Lexie and Dakota made little cakes in the Easy Bake Oven as our special thing to do while Brother was gone.





Today we made these cute little photos to hang up in our home. This one is Luca's. We didn't finish all of ours yet. But I will take photos of each individuals tonight and post them. We had to come back and rest from the park first before finishing.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Mommy is going back to school ;)

I am finding myself having to keep a cheat journal for myself.  Its been quite a while since I have learned about proper and common nouns, action verbs and linking verbs and greater than less than (alligator sign). Thank goodness I am starting at this level with them in their homeschooling journey because I would be alot more lost ;)

The kids are getting tired of the book we are doing for Reading. Its called "Jolly Robin". They have challenged their-selves to finish the book today. We have 9 chapters to go. 22 chapters in all. I'm getting excited we have almost accomplished a whole book together! While we read this book we do spelling words that choose from this story and they also learn they Roman Numerals. So we read, spell and do math. They also do a summary in their journal after each chapter so I know that they are listening to what they are reading.

Our next book is The Tale of Peter Rabbit. What has been your children's favorite chapter book to read so far? We are getting our Reading curriculum from Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool this year. What is your favorite Reading Curriculum?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Freezer Cooking Day 1 & 2

These last two days I have consumed myself into freezer cooking. I'm sick and tired of wasting our money on fast food because I'm too tired to make dinner each night. I wanted to be who I use to be able to be and get supper on the table every night. Now just going out and buying groceries wouldn't do it for me because by the end of the day I'm to exhausted to throw all this together. So I challenged myself. I made a list of 15 suppers. ALL different - no repeats because I honestly get tired of the same meal to often. Then I came up with 5 breakfasts that I could premake or freeze. Here are some photos I got in the mean time of doing all of this. None are great and none yet are of the finished products. I will take a photo of all I made tomorrow in the end of my freezer cooking marathon. Its better to just get one giant photo ;) So I am doing this challenge all by myself, except from the help of 3 little here and there helpers. They get bored with helping and then they forget how boring it is for a few minutes and then come help some more. I just put on my movie on the XBOX in the living room since my kitchen is open and I can see the tv and I just get busy. Towards the end of the day today I did have to make me a detailed list of what was left to do because I couldn't stay concentrated long enough to remember what needed done still. I am actually pretty darn proud of myself! First day I chopped a whole bag of celery and big bag of carrots. A huge bag of onions. Baked up 16 Chicken Breasts, cooked 11.5 lbs. of hamburger meat. I made a Lasagna, enough pizza dough for 6 mini pizzas, Bagged up Taco Meat with onions and seasonings and made Vegetable Beef Stew. I also made Stuff shells for dinner that night. It was suppose to be one of my freezer meals. But by time 4pm came around I was worn out and didn't want to cook anymore and it was the last thing I was working on that needed cleaned up so I decided to make it for dinner. I did get all the chicken chopped up and separated. The next day I made Goulash, Chicken Alfredo, Ranch Chicken and Potatoes, Italian Chicken Sauce that will go over egg noodles, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with meat and 9 overnight blueberry maple oatmeal. Again 4pm came around. I was worn out and the last thing that needed cleaned up was the Chicken and Dumplings I was working on so that is what we had for dinner :) Tomorrow all I have left to work on are the mini pizzas, Scalloped Potatoes & Ham, Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole, White Chicken Enchiladas, French Toast Sticks, Pancakes, Breakfast Burritos and Breakfast Bowls. Then I can sit back every night while dinners heat up in the oven or crockpot! I am so looking forward to that. Now if I would have recruited some helpers and some babysitters and had lots of energy sure I could have possibly done this in one day but I needed something to keep me busy for a few days anyways :) 
 


My little helpers making the dumplings!




Yes I have 3 crockpots and 2 bread machines. They have their very only special cabinet just for them. I do believe I still need more! Just saying! They get put to work alot around here!