With a smaller house I feel I’m always rearranging. Our kids have switched rooms a few times, we’ve rearranged our living room multiple times to accommodate the needs of our kids at different ages, and I’m constantly re-organizing and moving things around to make it as functional and comfortable as possible! Starting homeschooling last year caused some additional rearranging also. Did I say I re-arrange a lot? Ha! I’m trying to make things accessible for the kids, but not have them out all the time.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on updating our hallway and our two hallway closets. Let me show you the before (and this is also before we replaced our carpet with wood floors)…
I originally got the first piece of furniture to store diaper bags, baby carriers, etc. The bottom was just one big open space so it worked well for that. Since we no longer need those baby items (insert tear/happy dance), it became a place to hold board games. I then began to think that board games don’t deserve a whole piece of furniture in our house!! It was hard to keep things organized with the bottom being one big open space.
I was on the hunt for a more functional piece of furniture when I saw a piece on one of my favorite home decor bloggers feeds. You really should follow Brooke at Nesting With Grace if you don’t already! She has a smaller home also and said this dresser was great for storing art work and crafts. I thought it would be perfect to keep our extra homeschooling crafts in! I also kept a few drawers empty for random things.
The basket on the ground next to it is our “clutter basket”. When I find little clutter things around the house (socks, hair clips, legos, matchbox cars,…) I just toss them in the basket. When I have time, or when its full, I put everything away. As I go through it, I also toss what I can.
I used this pretty artwork from Minted, titled A Mother’s Embrace, to somewhat hide our thermostat. I don’t cover it all the way, because we use it a lot. It’s nice to be able to just scoot that photo over if I DO want to cover it though 🙂 I might add, I would probably keep it covered and just move the photo when I wanted to use thermostat, but my husband won’t do that. lol
I’m excited to have this updated and more functional space for my family! As always, thanks for heading over to my blog!
So we aren’t huge New Years Eve partiers over here. And by that I mean my husband and I don’t feel like we need to stay up till midnight. Or maybe I should say our bodies won’t let us?! Such is life with littles 🙂 I still want to celebrate in a little way so we just bump our midnight up to 7 o’clock!! We started doing this since we’ve had kids and its been perfect.
I usually just decorate a little, have a fun drink (kid friendly!), we turn a kids countdown on Netflix, end it with some loud blowers and maybe a dance party! 😉 If you need some lights to dance with, try this. I mean, its nothing crazy, but its fun to do a little something. When the kids are a little older I might start doing time capsules or something, but at this age they would probably just want to open it the next day! ha.
This year I grabbed a few decorations at Target’s dollar section (er, $3 section). The star garland is from an Etsy shop Cheerful Trimmings, but her shop is currently closed for Christmas. I would recommend her for other party garlands or banners you may need in the future, but if you need one quickly this one from Amazon looks great and is $9! I also decided to make my own kid-friendly-slightly-fizzy-drink. I think Sparkling Cider would be too “spicy” for their likin’ and it has a lot of sugar anyways! So I just mixed
Honest Apple Juice with a splash of Sprite…and garnished with a raspberry!
I did a trial run and it was a hit. I think the sparkly plastic champagne flutes made the drink THAT much better. The kids were giggling and giddy as they drank their “adult” drink. 🙂
A super easy snack idea is cheese stars and crackers! The cheese stars make it a little festive, but its still good healthy snack before bed. If you need a star cookie cutter, check out this one! I like having the different size stars because you can make the tiny stars from the leftover cheese and not waste as much! You could also make star sandwiches, cookies, etc.!
Here are a few books about New Years Eve we will be reading (click title to see more):
The Night before New Year’s Eve. A fun book that talks about New Years prep! I feel like reading books about the holiday or event just help everyone get more excited about it!
Squirrels New Years Resolution. I think this is my favorite. Its a cute book that talks about what resolutions are. The animals make some sweet, character related resolutions and I think it can bring up good family conversation! 🙂
Ok friends, thats all. Like I said, its nothing fancy…but if you have multiple littles, being too elaborate might be stressful. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself?!! I was reading some ideas on Pinterest of different games and activities and I decided we would stick to our simple celebration for this year. Just spicing up some apple juice in a fancy cup and a straw already makes them feel like its a celebration. 🙂 I hope you can make some special memories together this New Years Eve!
Christmas is coming which means … all the kids will be home from school!! I’ve seen a lot of, “I won’t be able to get anything done!” so I just wanted to share a few things I’ve learned since we started homeschooling (aka, kids home all the time)! Now, I’m NO expert in this, and this won’t solve all your problems, but I just want to help in anyway I can! I’m also encouraging myself with this daily, because I don’t/won’t ever have these things perfected. Ok, so here are a few tips and ideas:
Lower your expectations. Our children have lots of needs. Oh, wait, you knew this?! 😉 Its always “Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, can you help me? Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I spilled. Mom, I finished going to the bathroom….oh wait, I’m not done yet. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, he/she hit me. Mom, so-and-so took my toy! Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I broke you’re stuff as we were bouncing off the walls. Mom, I’m not going to listen. Mom, you really think you can pee in peace? Mom, I wet the bed. Mom, I had a bad dream. Mom, I’m hungry. Mom? mom? MOM!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
And then times all that by the number of kids you have.
Ok, you get the point! HA! I’m constantly getting annoyed and then constantly reminding myself that yes, they have needs. My job is to care for the needs, nurture, love and be an example to them. And to be honest, sometimes I think they go overboard and we do just flat out need a break. Amen? But we have to remember that they do need us. They need our help, our love and our patience. And one day they won’t need us so much, remember that too.
Plan your days. I really noticed I had to do this when we started homeschooling. I had to be very intentional to plan ahead with school, outings, and activities. I try to plan and prep projects for them to do, game ideas, a fun outing I could take them on, or even plan just having a day at home. By doing this I can also plan MY tasks. If we are spending a whole morning at the zoo, I need to wake up earlier that morning to start some laundry, pack the lunches, and tidy up so we don’t come home to …well, our own zoo. If I don’t pack the lunches before, or while I’m making breakfast, I get way too behind and everything is more chaotic. It’s even HARDER to get out the door. While we are on this topic I will say I also plan their “TV” time. For example, if we are going to the zoo, I’ll get them ready and then turn on a show while I load the car and do a quick tidy. Use it strategically as an aid instead of turning it on just because they want it on. 🙂
It worked out really well because right about when the school year started our local Walmart started grocery pick up. If you haven’t heard of it, you order online, reserve a time slot to pick up, and they bring your groceries out to your car. All the things. It has saved me so much time and stress!! Before I would either take all 3 kids, or have to spend kid-free time…at the store. Boo. If you don’t have a store locally that does this, there’s also the option of Walmart delivery to your house with non-perishable items to your home…free of charge if you spend $35 or more. Or maybe you have Amazon Fresh! I do make Costco trips and a random store trip for a few things, but its better than doing a big shopping trip with kids! Anyways, maybe try something like this if you are worried about taking the kids out shopping when they aren’t in school (and not to mention fighting the crowds!).
When you have things you just have to get done (wait, when don’t we?!) try spending some quality time with the kids first, and then do your tasks. For example, sometimes if I do have to take them grocery shopping, I’ll take them to a park first…something they like, and something that burns some energy. If I have to get some work done around the house we will play out front first, or I’ll try to do something intentional with them. I then feel better about telling them, “Ok, mommy has to get some things done now”, and they usually do better after I focus just on them. Maybe you could set up some train tracks, set them up with a project, build a fort, etc. And YES, you’ll still be interrupted, but I do think it helps…even a little 😉
Make everyone have “down time” in the afternoon. Even if they don’t nap because they’re usually at school, still do it. Make a certain hour quiet time…aka, keep-mom-sane-time. I think its good for everyone. They can take a nap, read, play quietly with legos, etc.
Give them some chores to do, and maybe add incentives. As most of you know I’m on a purging frenzy. So last week I actually told my kids I would pay them if they got rid of toys! My husband said, “So we spend money on toys, and then we pay them to get rid of the toys?!” Ha! But, they got excited when they came out with some trinkets and got a quarter…they even went back for more things to give away. To me, its worth the $1 I spent 🙂
Use the crock pot. I know this is random but, when life is a little crazy, crock pots can help that mad dinner hour! Here are a few of our favorite recipes the whole family enjoys.
1. Chicken Pot Pie. My whole family loved this! And we even splurged and made the Pillsbury Grand Rolls to go with it.
2. Teriyaki Chicken. I just boil some rice and steam broccoli to make little chicken teriyaki bowls! I feel like what sauce you use makes a big difference, I like using this one. 🙂
3. Shredded Chicken. I couldn’t find a recipe for this but its something my mother-in-law shared with me and the whole family loves it because its basic! Here’s the jist: Throw in a few frozen chicken breasts, add a tsp or 2 of minced garlic and 1/2 a diced onion, cover 3/4 of the way with chicken broth, and then add some salt, pepper and a few TBS of cumin. Cook on high for about 6 hours. Shred the chicken then make burritos, tacos, or nachos!! Super yummy and easy!
Savor the time with them! Savor the fact you don’t have to rush them off the school. I love our slow mornings at home! Take a minute to breath and slow down…even if you have a million things to do.
Here are some ideas (if you need them) of things you can do:
Pack a picnic lunch and explore a new spot
Build a fort and watch a movie with a projector. (See here for a good priced projector!)
Pick a puzzle for the family to work on throughout break! My kids enjoy this puzzle and this puzzle! If you’re kids are a little older, click here and here for a few fun ideas!
Try a new park or indoor trampoline place (especially if its snowing where you live!)
Take them out for a treat. I love taking the kids to starbucks, letting them eat a bagel, and just hanging out together! It’s kind of our thing now. Sometimes it’s a little crazy, but its fun. I find if I’m away from all the tasks at home I can focus on them more.
Have a “theme” day. The other day we talked, crafted, and read about reindeer! I also printed a world map and they colored in where reindeer live. It was a fun way to learn! This is the book we read, and then I used good ol’ pinterest to print some things out!
If you are traveling, order a new book on CD! The DVD player in our car broke this summer and I’m actually glad about it! We now listen to a book on CD instead, and sometimes we mix it up with fun kid music. This is the book on CD my son is really enjoying, and these are some fun kid songs for the car!
Have a day with no plans. I think its just good for everyones soul sometimes 😉
I hope my simple ideas were helpful in someway! And I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas celebrating with those you love!!!
Alrighty, here is the gift guide for her…or you!! I have most of these items and the ones I don’t have…are on my wish list. Ok, well, I don’t really have a wish list I make. It’s just a nicer way to say, “I want them!!” 😀 Happy Shopping!
«In the Kitchen»
Whip Cream maker. If you want to up your coffee game (or hot chocolate, or ice cream sunday, or pie, or…), then you should probably get this. You just pour a cartoon of whipping cream, and then maybe add some powdered sugar and vanilla, screw on the charger (N20), shake it and….yummy whipping cream without all the preservatives!
Stainless Steel French Press. Speaking of coffee, this is how I make mine. I know the Keurig is the big, quick coffee maker that is in right now…but nothing like a good french press cup of coffee! I like the stainless steel because it won’t break 🙂
Circular Wood Cutting Board. I think its fun to have cutting boards for more than cutting! They are great for serving, putting drinks on, or using as a placemat.
Easy Lunchboxes. Ok, I know this isn’t really for YOU, its more for the kids, but I wanted to share it because these have made my life easier (my sister actually bought our for me as a little mothers day gift!). If you’re out and about you just toss this to the kids and they can eat it in the car or wherever you are. I don’t know why but it just feels so much more convenient. Sometimes even if we are home all day I’ll make lunches at breakfast time (so I don’t have to dirty the kitchen) and just pop off the lids and give it to the kids. They think its fun too!
Moscow Mule. Even if you don’t want to drink a moscow mule, these are just cute mugs to serve sparkly water or stick some flowers in 🙂
«For the Home»
Macrame Plant Hanger. I’m sure you’ve seen this hanger on my instagram feed before. It adds some fun to boring corners for a reasonable price! The pot I have in mine is 10inches in diameter, just to give you an idea.
Macrame Table Runner. I don’t have this table runner yet but its on my wish list! I love the texture it adds to a table!
I do have placemats that are similar and sometimes I use them as part of my centerpiece! These are a good option if you want macrame placemats.
Anvil Woven Belly Basket. I just ordered this for myself…maybe for a plant or some toys! Very reasonably priced from what I’ve seen.
Rose Gold Watch– I found this watch at Target and I just love the simplicity and price of it!
Womens Pom Pom Beanie. This is similar to one I found, but I like this one because you can take the pom pom off to easily wash the hat!
Bible Study Journal. This is just a good tool I came across and wanted to share! Its a simple way to journal and set your heart right for the day!
Portable Projector. Ok, this is kind of random but I’ve been borrowing my moms projector and its pretty fun! If you’re like me and can’t write very nicely on chalkboards, this is a good solution. AND/OR you can have family movie night outside or anywhere! I linked this one based off of reviews, but maybe a cheaper one would be just fine 🙂
Rifle Paper Co 17 Month Agenda 2018. Maybe you’re like me and can’t use your phone as your calendar…you need the good old fashion pen and paper. Here’s a cute one 😉 And that concludes the guide. I hope you found this helpful!!!!
I want to start this post by saying there are so many good books out there! But because there are so many I feel like it can be overwhelming to know which ones to get! So, I simply want you to think of this post as you and me sitting down over coffee, sharing some fun books we have come across! 🙂 Please feel free to leave some of your favorites in the comments below for everyone else to see!
(Just click on the title of the book and it will take you to the product link)
Press Here. This is a fun interactive book that grandma introduced us to! If you haven’t seen it you should take a look 🙂
3. O’Shae the Octopus. This is a sweet book about an octopus who has two extra arms. He discovers “that although it can be hard for others to accept his differences, embracing what sets him a part can truly make him sensational”.
4. The Big Book of Bugs. I love books that are loaded with lots of fun pictures and learning! This is one of those books 🙂
5. This is How We Do it: One day in the lives of seven kids around the world. The title explains this book! A book about 7 kids in different parts of the world and what a day in their life looks like. When we went through this book my oldest was so interested that some people live in huts and eat such different foods! I want to start opening my kids eyes to the diversity there is in our world!
7. The watermelon Seed. My sister got us into this book! My kids think this crocodile with a wild imagination is hilarious!
8. This Moose Belongs to Me. This is just a fun little book book about a boy and a moose! And the cover is so cute I use it as decoration in the boys room 😉
9. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden. This is such a good book on how all the stories of the Bible create an overarching message about God’s wonderful plan to redeem his rebellious people! “In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung—a best-selling author and father of six—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.” It was even a good review and summary for me!
I did a little research on advent and it can begin anywhere from November 27-Dec 3, as the season of advent is 4 weeks from Christmas. It can be observed with various rituals and traditions. I don’t believe, however, you have to follow a certain ritual, or exact date to celebrate Advent. For me it is simply a time to prepare my heart as Christmas approaches…as we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
ad•vent ⁄ ‘ad,vent / – the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
I also want to instill this in my children. That Christmas is not just about gifts, trees, and lights…but about the birth of our Savior! That IS Christmas!! So, I want to share with you some advent cards I am reading and the advent devotions we are doing with the kids this December! There are many great ones out there, but this is what we landed on for this year 😉
1. The Wonder of the Greatest Gift– By Ann Voskamp. My mom gifted this Advent set to us this year and the kids were so excited (I actually was surprised how excited they were) !
This set has a devotional book for everyday along with an advent calendar door to open. Inside the doors are ornaments to hang on the big paper tree pop-up! My the end of advent the tree will be decorated with pictures that all tell a story..the greatest story of all!
2. The Jesus Story Book Bible. This is a great Bible for kids! The description reads, “The Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner in the religion category, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.”
This year on instagram I happened to stumble across Crew & Co. They have created advent cards that go along with the storybook Bible! I was so excited. The cards have a verse with an illustration on them and the title of what Bible story to read!
3. Christmas Advent Calendar Cards. These are beautiful scripture advent cards by ColeyCreated! If you’ve been following along with me you will have already seen them 🙂 I’m also sharing them on my insta stories everyday so we can read and reflect on them together!
I hope these have given you some ideas, either for this year or next 🙂 As always, thanks for reading!!
If you’re like me, you don’t want your kids to accumulate a lot of “junky” toys that they’ll probably be over in a few days anyways. It just create more clutter in our homes…and we don’t need more clutter! And maybe you are already stressing out a little bit thinking about all the things they will get for Christmas??! Or is it just me?
I’ve put together a gift guide of items that encourage imagination, promote learning and creativity, and help burn energy!
So here you go, starting with outdoor activities moving indoors (Some of the beginning items are a little more expensive, but keep scrolling and they’ll lower in price if you’re not looking for bigger gifts!) ;-):
iBert Front Safe-T-Seat front facing. This bike seat is so much fun for the littles…a front facing view! Our little guy loves this and it makes family bike rides a blast! I have gotten so many questions and comments as we are out riding around!
Micro Mini Scooter. Another item our kids have used for countless hours (I mean COUNTLESS!) is the Micro Mini Scooter! It rides so smoothly and has 3 wheels to keep the kids safe! Its by far the best scooter we have come across! If your child is younger (under 2 or 3) you can buy a little seat that switches out for the handle bar! Click here for seat! If your child is 5-12 years, the Micro Maxi is the next step up. Our oldest has this.
Trapeze Bar. We have a trapeze bar hanging from a tree in our front yard and it is always popular with my kids and any friends that come around! I didn’t really want it at first because I thought it looked kind of tacky but, its definitely worth all the fun the kids have on it!
Spin Out Bike. This bike is super fun for kids 5+! Mommy has tried it before and let me tell you…its spins fast! A little boys’ dream (or girls, but we know boys like fast!). 🙂 Our oldest got it for his birthday last year and he couldn’t reach the pedals very well so daddy rigged up some wooden blocks for the pedal. He loves it!
Bubble Machine. My mom puts this in her back yard and all the grandkids love it! Its like a bubble dream come true and keeps the kids entertained 🙂
Kidkraft Vintage Kitchen White. This is a litter bigger item but as you can see from my instagram feed, we love our little white kitchen! I also added it because this is the best price I have seen it!
Easy Playhouse Cardboard. I realize this is basically a glorified cardboard box, but its a little more fun, especially if you need a gift idea! 🙂 Its fun for the kids to decorate and then once it starts falling apart…toss it. I love the idea of this!
Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit. This is a fun yet educational gift! We did this a few months ago and all had fun watching the process of caterpillars turning into butterflies. I will warn you that it doesn’t have the actual caterpillars, instead the kit comes with a voucher to purchase them, which is $8. So if you want to cover the cost you can just include $8 🙂
9. Alpha-bots. These are fun, but a sneaky way to learn for little ones! The kids have to transform the letters into robots. Great for hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and imagination!10. Boogie Board writing tablet. My mom bought this for our oldest (who is 5 years old) and he thinks its so fun and cool! Even our two year old likes to use it. They can practice writing or drawing and erase it with the click of a button. Its a good way to keep kids entertained in a waiting room or in the car!Another option is the Boogie Board Scribble ‘n Play,11. Train Set in Wooden Case. This wooden case folds up into a little briefcase and all the trains go inside. When you’re ready to play, it opens into a fun little train track! It’s a good toy for younger siblings to take along if they have to wait for older siblings at a sports practice, music practice, etc! I even take it to Starbucks for the kids to play with while mama sips her coffee 😉 12. Magnetic Blocks. These blocks are a good staple toy! They fit nicely in a little storage container and it keeps the kids entertained, all while enhancing creativity! 13. Car Mat. Grandma bought us a similar rug a few years ago and we still play with it! I don’t have it out, as we don’t have a lot of room, but I roll it up and store it in their closet. I think because they don’t see it every day its a fun activity when I do bring it out!
13. Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. This is one item we don’t have YET, but its on the list to get the kids for Christmas! It was recommended by my friend who teaches Kindergarten, and I would trust her recommendation. Kids have to build their maze and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the programmable mouse! They have to problem solve and use critical thinking, but its in a fun way!
14. Omaker Portable Bluetooth Speaker. Ok, this item is PER request of my oldest Levi, lol. He was asking what I was doing while making this gift guide and I told him I was sharing some fun things we like with our friends. He said…tell them about DANCE PARTIES!! So I figured I’d share the speaker we use. 😉 Its a pretty reasonable for a bluetooth speaker! Its even waterproof and we take our dance parties out in the pool (I will say we haven’t gotten it wet, so I don’t know HOW water proof it is). Also, if you really want to spice up your dance party, like us, you need THIS!
Thank you so much for reading my gift guide, I hope it was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions.
******BONUS******* Gift idea for HIM:
OK, guys can be hard to buy for (or maybe the man in your life is like mine and has a lot of hobbies and he knows exactly what he wants and just orders it himself 🙂 ). This is a super fun way for them (or you!) to kill insects, especially flies! lol My husband bought this for his brothers, dad and brother in law last Christmas because he likes his so much!
This is a super easy centerpiece thats great for winter and Christmas time! I started with a eucalyptus garland I found in the wedding section at Hobby Lobby. Its about $10 with a coupon or when its 50% off! I mean, I never pay full price for something there! I then just wove some cheap metallic twig garland throughout the eucalyptus. I got this one last year, but I saw one similar at Michaels this year for just a few dollars.
I then placed three metallic/pink candles from Target’s dollar section evenly throughout. Besides being pretty they smell delicious too!
My mom found some Antler stems at Michael’s for 75% off and gave one to me! I think on sale they were $5 a stem. I used some wire cutters to cut them into 3 individual antlers and stuck (I know thats not a fancy name, but thats what I literally did! 🙂 ) them throughout the garland! And there you have it, an easy centerpiece! Happy centerpiece making!! 😉
Oh my goodness I had so much fun making this little antler headband! I’m just going to give you a quick run down on what I did!
I took an old navy blue headband my daughter had, but never wore, and ripped off the bow. I then added some pipe cleaners to create the antlers. I cut stripes from a brown paper bag and made my own modge podge with Elmer’s glue and water. It took me a while to realize it was easier if the stripes were a little thinner. I also added too much water at first and the paper was too soggy and not sticking. About halfway through I got out my blow dryer, rubbed some glue over the edges, and “dried” them down.
Wrapping the paper was the trickiest part for me, but once I figured out a system it went a lot faster. I didn’t take any pictures during the process because I had glue all over my hands. And to be honest I wasn’t sure if it would turn out anyways! 🙂 Once the pipe cleaners were covered enough, I used the blow dryer to quicken the drying time and then let it sit for an hour or two (simply because I had to get my son from school and put kids down for naps!) before painting. I used acrylic paint and used gray, white, black and hints of brown. I just mixed and brushed! The whole process so far was from Pinterest and then I just finished the rest how I wanted!
I only had gray felt so thats what I used for the ears. I wanted another color so I cut an old shirt to add a brownish color. My supplies were low so I had to get creative! Ha! I had recently purchased some fuzzy, faux sheep skin fabric to possible cover a stool I have so I just cut a few little squares to add some fuzziness to the ears! I glued them on with a hot glue gun. I ended up painting the whole headband with the same colors as the antlers to hide the navy blue.
I set it outside in the sun to help dry while I got out some flowers (ended up being too big), greenery, and felt balls. After playing around with a few ideas….I ended up with this….
Later that evening the boys dressed in camo to go “hunting”, Emi girl was a little deer and we went exploring while mamma took pictures. I had such a fun time making it and watching Emi enjoy it!
My husband and I had our second date at starbucks, which we closed out, talking for hours about our families, how we were raised, etc. When it came to education I told him I was homeschooled from 2nd grade to 8th grade. He just started laughing. I laughed with him but thought “Oh great, this super cute, nice, baseball player now thinks I might be weird because I was a homeschooler.” So I stumbled on trying to explain… to which he cut me off and said, “No, I’m laughing because I was homeschool till 8th grade too!” So, before I go on about why we are choosing to homeschool this year, I just want you to know, my husband and I have been on the other side!
I want to preface what I’m about to say with a few things. First, we are taking it one year at a time. I felt called to homeschool this year for various reasons, but we are keeping an open mind and heart year to year. Secondly, I don’t agree that there’s only one right way to school your children. Whether it be public, private, or at home…all can be great!
So why are we homeschooling? Well, I honestly wasn’t really planning on homeschooling. Last year Levi went to THE sweetest preschool which we absolutely loved. We sent him 4-ish (it was flexible) days a week from 8:30-11:30. I heard that the private school I used to go to had a half day kinder option, so I knew thats where I wanted him to go. I feel like our society (and satan really) is creating chaos in the family with all the busyness. I knew I didn’t want him to be in school 7 hours a day as a young 5 year old. I’m a big advocate of pushing, encouraging and discipling our children (aka, not let them be lazy and have their way) but I’m also a big advocate of letting kids be kids. I want my child to learn, but I want him to be outside throwing dirt clods, building forts, catching bugs and riding bikes. So this half day kindergarten seemed perfect for us and how I feel! I went to the open house and was told they were no longer offering half day. My heart literally sunk, I had a pit in my stomach, and I fought back tears as I was talking to the teacher. It may sound dramatic, but it was just the mama in me. 🙂 I didn’t want my “just” 5 year old in school till 3:15 everyday, when he still naps 5 out of 7 days! I didn’t want to get him at the end of the day when he was tired and worn out. I didn’t want his siblings to only see him for a few hours before he had to turn in early for the night. And, I also took into consideration his personality. He loved preschool, but some days he said he missed us and just wanted to be home. When he was at school he felt like he was missing out with the family. So the thought of making him go every day, for a total of 34 hours a week, didn’t seem the best for us. My husband and I also agreed that if he was in school he would not participate in any extra curricular activities, such as sports, as a 5 year old. We didn’t want our family to be running here, and there, and not have enough quality family time!
This is when I looked into the schools’ homeschool program. I could homeschool through the school (aka, have help and guidance!) and he had the option to go into the kindergarten class room on Fridays! At first I thought, “There’s no way I can homeschool…I have the other ones at home and theres always a lot of chaos”. Along with the fact that I already have to clean, cook, do the laundry, grocery shop, etc…all while taking care of 3 little ones. But my heart softened to the idea and I felt a peace. Much more of a peace than sending him to school. So, here we are. I’m his teacher.
I totally doubt myself sometimes. Carrying the responsibilities of being a mom, and then adding the job of being your child’s educator is daunting. Even though its kindergarten. I have to teach him the english language, for crying out loud!!! Total shout out to you homeschool moms that teach multiple grades at multiple levels. I have a whole new respect for you! I’m enjoying going through the curriculum and finding fun ways to teach it. I’m enjoying the fact that I get to watch him learn and be so involved. I’m enjoying that we can finish his lessons in less than 2 hours, and he doesn’t have to be gone for 7. I’m enjoying that his siblings are learning with him or that I can postpone starting school because the kids are playing so well together. I’m enjoying that we can learn outside, or do math & numbers on the kitchen floor. I’m enjoying we don’t have to rush out the door every morning to get him to school. I’m enjoying that we can have quieter afternoons and no homework at night.
Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s a lot of things that are challenging. Its a hard concept for him that I’m now his teacher, summer is over, and we have to sit and do things that aren’t always fun. Its harder for him to respect me as the teacher because, I’m mom. I know for a doubt he wouldn’t tell his teacher “I’m only doing one work sheet today, ok? Not two.” He may or may not have said this to me. 😉 But there’s also the flip side of me lacking patience for him. I know what he’s capable of and I want the best for him, so at times its frustrating when he’s not focusing. I definitely get to practice extra patience.
I recently read the book (recommended by a homeschool mom I admire), “Teaching from Rest: A Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakable Peace” by Sarah Mackenzie. It was so insightful in preparing to homeschool! The Lord knew I needed to read it. I was convicted of many things and have tried to change my mindset, as in having more patience and calmness as I teach in our home. I would highly recommend the book if you are even considering homeschooling. A lot of areas can even apply to just being a mom!
We are now a few weeks in and I think our family as a whole is loving this fit. Levi’s teachers at school have been so sweet and accommodating. They always welcome and invite him to other things and he may even be going an extra day a week. I am so thankful for what we have this year! Like I said, we are prayerfully taking it one year at a time, so I’m not sure what next year will look like. I do love the fact that he is plugged into the school so if we do decide to put him in, he knows his classmates. Or if we continue to homeschool, he’ll continue to see them once or twice a week:)
I am not an experienced homeschool mom, but if you have any questions about homeschool and how it works, I’d love to chat! 🙂
P.s. I know a BIG argument about homeschooling is the socialization part. I understand people’s concern, and I agree kids need socialization, but I think depending on the family, there are a lot of other ways to socialize than just school! My husband and I were homeschooled and we felt we had plenty of socialization! 😉 If you have further questions on this, send me a message and I’d love to talk more about it!
Shop our homeschool wall :
Kid Food: Ikea
“Create” letters- hobby lobby
Chalkboard- DIY, See here how I made the green chalk paint (my hubby built the frame and I just put a little stain and white washed it!)