Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to someone.......

Sometime soon, I ain't sayin' when, but my birthday is around the corner.  I feel great!  I will be 36 and it's OK!!!  I love my thirties :)  I have lost over 30 lbs this year and am sure it will mean a longer, healthier life with the wonderful family God has given me!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Math For Mom Part 3 -- Budgeting Our Time

Math is a most dreaded subject for many moms, and possibly moreso for homeschooling mothers. Numbers are not my best area, for sure. But this series is not for giving you pointers or hints for how to better teach your child math. This is Math for Mom!

You'll find my thoughts on budgeting our money here and using space wisely here.  Accountability for the numbers doesn't stop with the ledger, though.  We must be careful to be wise stewards of the time we have been given - for our husbands, our children and our homes.   
There are are many tools available to help with this area. For homemanagement, you might try the MOTH resource at  Organizing your homeschooling might be best served with the workbox method.  Even just a daily checklist can be helpful.  Flylady could be the answer for getting a morning or evening routine established.  I found some great ideas at, also.  It really doesn't matter which tools you use.  The important thing is that you do it.  Be consistent.  If it doesn't work, tweak it or move on to something else.  Try not to be so loyal that you can't think outside the box and seek what will be the best for your own family.  If you know that something particularly works for you, keep it.  If it ain't broke......
If you know that you have a shortcoming in a certain area, make yourself accountable.    For example, if menu planning and grocery shopping are a struggle, get together with a friend and make menus together. Then, switch off babysitting so that you can both shop peacefully.  You will be a blessing to your own home and serving others, not to mention that you will likely spend less doing so! My husband is not home in the evenings, so a schedule is a necessity and nearly every single night looks the same when he's working (within about 30 min or so).  That is my accountability because I am looking forward to the peacefulness of a quiet home by the evening.  But there are plenty of times when I have to have to write myself a "to do" list by the computer so that I don't get carried away or piddle away my time while doing what began as a  worthwhile endeavor. 
Our children also have to be trained to use their time wisely. I have a variety of personalities in my children to admire.  There are dawdlers and there are highly motivated ones.  I do know by now that nagging doesn't work.  There must be absolute consequences for incomplete, untimely or poor work.  I feel it is a disservice to not train my children to use their time wisely.  For example, a child who does not complete an assignment that is given a reasonable amount of time to finish will find himself sacrificing his free time.  This is not carried over into chore time.  It is completed during personal free time. 
In closing, I also want to mention that I do often find that if I am having a particular problem with my children, that if I examine closely I find that the Lord is having the same problem in me.  I must be exhibiting wise use of my time if I expect my children to do the same.  To not do so is teaching them hypocrisy in addition to foolish stewardship of their time.  And time is short.  We never get another chance at today.  When it's done, that's it.  I am working at making today a special day-every day.  I keep trying harder at making sure that each today is the best today I could give and that I've invested wisely.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laundry Day

Every one has one household chore that they do not sincerely prefer, right???  Right?  Tell me it's not just me.  Pleeeease.  Even if it is just me....I do not prefer laundry.  At.  All.  None.  I have tried ten thousand laundry schedules and routines.  I'm ever evolving on that one.  One thing doesn't change, though.  By the time children are around 6 or so, I am diligent to make it ever so easy for them to do their own laundry.  Yes, I'm a whiner and I'm selfish about it.  I confess.  I have repented and try diligently to maintain a grateful heart for the clothing and appliances and fresh water and all that we need to keep cleanly clothed.  I do....

Laundry with children:  At around age 4, they become my laundry helper on a fairly regular basis.  They help transfer clothing and remove clothing from the machines.  Also, they begin to learn to put a simple shirt on a hanger.  They are with me and just "practice" on this for a loong while.  Sometimes, the child might not have a dresser ( we use baskets across the shelf in their closet) and keeping that organized is not an issue.  Right now, our littlest helper can put a shirt on a hanger.  She has four containers across her shelf in her closet.  One for socks/undies, one for jammies, two for folded pants .  Shirts, sweaters, dresses and skirts are hung.  It keeps it simple and streamlined and very functional.  My boys, who share a room, do theirs together.  Each can hang/fold all of his own pieces.  There are two plastic drawer carts in their room and each has one to hold socks/undies/jammies/pants.  It's real simple here.  My oldest can do hers however she likes and is not prone to having laundry issues, so I give her organizational liberty on that.

 I went through a rather long period of time when everyone had an assigned laundry day.  Everyone of laundry age loved that one, that way they knew what to expect.  They sometimes still revert back to it.  Lately, I've been doing A laundry day.  As in, doing it all on one day and not having to think about it again till next week, or  at least the end of the week.  That goes OK, too.  I don't really care as long as it gets done and is not lingering.  It's a huge thorn in my side.

Laundry Products: I'm about as simple as it gets in this area.  I like smelly stuff.  My family does.  My husband likes the smell of fabric softeners.  There are less expensive, natural alternatives, I know.  I do use the Aldi brand and all agree that it is nice.  Also, I try to keep detergent to 2.00 or so per bottle because we do so much.  I did try to make my own.  I gave it a good effort.  I used it all.  I was not impressed with the clothes that needed a lot of help.  I generally stick with Aldi there, too, unless I have a coupon deal going on-usually from a drugstore.  I have no complaints with the Aldi cleaners as of yet. 

Sorting--I'm not real particular there, either.  Again, I just want it done!  When we were on the assigned days system, we did  not sort and each person just used cold and had about one load.  If they had two loads or more, sorting became a possibility.  Now, with the once a week method, we definitely sort and I do feel like I'm doing laundry the "right" way, like my Mama taught me.  But, honestly, I really couldn't care less if linens are in with my socks.

I'm soo open to hearing more on laundry simplifying and scheduling...any help is welcome! Leave me a comment and tell me how you get it done. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monthly Newsletter for Our Family

So, I mentioned in another post recently that I would like to post through the process of writing a monthly newsletter from our family.  I am not committing to doing this every month of the year-I like to set myself up to succeed as many times as possible!  We had a lot of "stuff" going on in February and I thought it might give us lots of good material to write about.  Also, once the articles are composed and illustrated, I may work on a little desktop publishing with the two older children just to test the waters and see how they take to it. 
You can click on the picture and see our list..there was a move we helped Grandparents make,  an anniversary, special Valentine's breakfast and more!

Today, I used our time to recall events from the past month.  Tons of stuff to write about here!  I gave them a little bit of time to chew on it and then choose the article they wanted to write about.  Then, we brainstormed the topics that they chose. 

I hesitate to state just how far we will get tomorrow because I make lots of plans, but the Lord sometimes has His own plans for our school days!  But, tentatively, barring intervention, I plan to help them get through a rough draft.  My 3rd grader will probably only be required to compose about two paragraphs.  My 5th grader can come closer to one page.  My 1st grader will dictate to me while I type his out and the preschooler--well, she's a whole 'nother story!!

I'll let ya know how it goes :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Part Two: Hands On Grammar

I guess I should have mentioned in my previous post on this method that reverse operations serve a purpose as well. :) 

What I mean is, I have taken a  pattern of cards and given them to the children and they produce a sentence (can be silly ) that correponds to the part of speec on the code cards.  It helps them to create as much as identify.  They present it to the group and disputes are welcome.  This is how they learn--working it out, proving themselves, building confidence in their skills.  It works for me!