My Homeschool Day

My three littles

It has really been a great while since I shared a little about me. So I decided to share a little about my typical homeschool day. A day that can sometimes be great, or really bad.

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In our home, we believe in structure and discipline. So when my husband or I tell our child to do something, we expect them to do as they are told. Immediately without question, and with a good attitude. We also expect it to be done well. So now let’s be honest, I am talking about children. So, we both know that doesn’t always happen. We need to be real. I mean, hey, I don’t want to fix the kids a snack sometimes. After all I just finished cleaning the kitchen. I don’t want to make a mess again! But my kids expect me to do it with a happy attitude. So I have show an example to my kids, because they will mirror me and my attitude.

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So why am I sharing all this, well, it’s because we all have limits. We all know about expectations and we all know what kind of work, self-control, understanding, and time comes with homeschooling. Now, I love homeschooling my kids, but we all have moments. I know for a fact I am not alone. I have heard my friends talk about their yelling moments that they are not proud of. And frankly, neither am I with mine. I don’t like to get angry and lose control. But honestly, I do, I turn into a Godzilla mama, stomping through the house because my kids just won’t sit and get their seatwork done!!! Or clean up their toys because I have asked them for the 6th time today. Because I want to move on and do something else!!!! I would like to do more fun activities like, sewing, painting, cooking, etc.

the boy sewing

So, I hate to admit it, but my kids sort of freak out, and sit down and diligently do their work, quickly, might I add. Now, I am not proud of my explosion. I feel guilty. I feel horrible. I have failed to be a good example. So what if my kids finished their work. I have failed to show proper self-control. Now I have to sit my kids down and apologize, admit that I was wrong and tell them how I should have behaved, and wouldn’t that have been better. I of course get the unanimous, “yes!”

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My kids accept my apology and we all move on. But the reality is. This has turned into a cycle. Certainly not every day, but often enough. So what can I do to keep this from happening. Well, I restructured my daily schedule to allow more breaks. This helped alot. But, the best part, is what what a fellow homeschool mom shared with me. It was her “Over Time” or “Do Over” plan that just won me over. It has worked wonders with my kids so far.

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So here’s what it is, your child should be able to finish a subject in a certain amount of time. Sometimes they just don’t feel like doing it and if you allow it they will sit there for a couple hours and not complete their work. This bugs me to no end. Because it puts my whole day behind. Well, with this “Over Time”, (which is what I call it in my home). Has got them a little more focused on what needs to be done. So for example, let’s say my oldest needs 20 minutes to finish English, and she just doesn’t feel like doing it. Okay, Let’s put it aside for you to do with daddy when he gets home. You can finish it with him. Now let’s move on to spelling or phonics, or even reading. You know how long it should take your child to finish any given subject. Just give them that time limit. If they decide to goof off, okay, “Over Time”. So far it has been great! My kids just want to play with daddy, so when they see I am serious, and follow through with what I say. They immediately shape up. Sometimes they know we have a busy Friday night, and they think they can get out of it. Well, it becomes weekend work with daddy. I have things I would like to do outside of seatwork and I am sure you do too.

Kids at Zoo

So anyhow, I wanted to share my friend’s idea, and encourage you to give it a try. If you are anything like me you will welcome the change.

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“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

A is for Apple

A-isforapple

Ahhh, we have finally arrived at Fall. My favorite time of year. At least it is now starting to feel like fall over here in California. The extra cool crisp mornings that lure you into the kitchen to bake something yummy. With apples or pumpkins as the main ingredient. Before I sit to  enjoying a cup of coffee or hot apple cider. I love to open my doors and windows and invite the cool air to dance around my house. I give into the putting on a light sweater in the house, and cuddle on the sofa with the kids. Then and read some good books while they enjoy a home baked treats and enjoy a hot chocolate while bundled in a blanket.
But fall doesn’t mean we stay in the house. Oh, no. It is the perfect time to explore the world God made and the wonder of his perfect creation. As leafs change color and fall to the ground, we learn why that happens and why it is a part of His perfect plan. We hunt for acorns, walnuts, beech nuts, hickory, and maple seeds. We visit apple farms and pumpkin patches. We just plain have fun!

This week we focus on the letter “A” and apples in particular. We have done apple crafts, tasted a variety of apples, and I even got to make up some apple recipes.

Apple pickin’ is always fun when you get a group of friends and all go together!
Even more so when you get to all do some apple tasting together.
Of course we learned about Johnny Appleseed!
Even had the chance to see what else is growing!
This was our favorite, the Fuji.
     Once we were home, we begun some crafts. We painted some plates red with a clothspin and sponge.
Then we added a brown paper stem and a green leaf out of felt.
We also made this simple apple muffin recipe.
1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 egg
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
Pre-heat oven to 400. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and make a well in the center. Then add egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix well. In a small bowl, put chopped apple, cinnamon and sugar. Stir apple mixture until all apples are coated then add to muffin batter. Spray muffin tin with Pam spray and spoon batter into muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.
More fun with the letter “A” coming soon!
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The Little House in the Big Woods; Log Cabin house

little house cabin

After reading chapter 3 and learning about what the Ingalls do inside the log cabin house. I thought it would be fun for the kids to draw what they think the inside of the house looks like. We discussed how small a log cabin home would have been, and that each corner of the home would serve as a “room” does today.

If you want to use the template we used, you can get it here.

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So here my sweet little Peanut thinks that they would have to sleep on a really tall bunk bed. That way everyone has their own bed. My other 2 kids basically did the same thing.

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This one was drawn by my son. He included the bunk bed, a trunk for all their blankets and clothing, a fireplace with Pa’s gun on top of the fireplace along with his homemade bullets and supplies he needs to make them. I love that he included an attic with a trunk for the off season clothes.

Afterwards, I had my peanut play with the Lincoln Logs and build her own log cabin.

A simple and fun little activity for the kids to do.

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Letter “L” Activity

Letter L Activity

Here is a quick little activity to keep your preschooler busy for a little while. If you are like me you have at least a few foam sticker letters laying around this activity will be simple.

So obviously, the letter “L” stands for letters, hence the use of odds and ends of our foam letters. You can either draw a bubble capitol (we say “mommy”) letter, or click here for our letter “L”, from Letter of the Week.

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Usually my Peanut colors her letter before cutting it out. So I was surprised she chose not to this time.

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Funny, how out of my 3 children, she has been the best at using scissors at a very young age of 3. Now at 4, she is a pro at cutting out paper shapes and using the glue stick without getting out of hand.

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Now it’s time for letters!!!

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Something about little kids and stickers. It really can keep them busy. Your child may be different from mine, and may pile up the letters, that’s okay, it’s fun!

I hope you enjoyed this simple idea for the letter “L”.

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I look forward to sharing my Lion puppet tomorrow!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Muffins

WWchocolate muffins

I must admit I have been enjoying my time in the kitchen. I like my children, really enjoy having a sweet treat. But as a mom to 3 kids, I want to be healthy and show my kids how sweet treats can be healthy too. Or at least not as bad of some of the other choices out there.

As a homeschool mom, or even a at-home-mom, all eyes are on me. They are watching everything I am doing, I need to be mindful because they will grow to mirror what I do.

So enough of the blah blah blah.

Here is the recipe;

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (coconut oil will work too)

3/4 cup  mashed banana

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1 large egg

3/4 cup plain yogurt (I used homemade)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin tin and set aside.

In a bowl stir together oil, mashed banana, salt, sugar, honey, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Then set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon.

Then mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Then add chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin tin cups and place in oven for 12 minutes. You won’t want to over bake these muffins! Remove from oven and gently remove with butter knife onto cooling rack and enjoy!

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Muffins will keep in air-tight container for 4-5 days. you can keep frozen for up to 2 weeks. I like my homemade items to taste fresh not dry and stale.

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Now I wish I could take credit for this yummy recipe, but I can’t. This recipe is one I tested from Cookin with Mima. Our family has adopted it as a family favorite, so I wanted to share it with you. Please feel free to check out her page and her recipes. YUM!

Preschool craft for the letter “S”

Life is good with an active preschooler. But, I admit the biggest issue with homeschooling older kids is, having  an arsenal of lots of ideas to keep those little hands busy. Just to free yourself so you can teach the older children. So here are a few more ideas on what to do. Some of these will require a little help from another child or you.
Now I must admit, I like having big letters for the kids to color and cut and do something with. So here I will share with you the letter S print out. I recommend printing this out on cardstock so it does not tear into pieces so easily. I will usually have my daughter color it and cut it out. Then since this is the letter S. I will have her wind a string around it.

Click here for the “S” pattern.

She loves her crafts!
She loves her crafts!
This one really enjoys cutting. It will take more time with the card stock paper but will hold up to the string winding.
I tape one end of the string to the back of the letter then let her wrap the string around the S.
 I have her sing “The S says “Ssss, the S says Ssss. Every letter makes a sound, the S says Sss.”
Sorry for the terrible pictures. I am use to outdoor pictures and am working on getting better with indoor pictures.
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I hope you enjoyed this simple project!
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Alphabet Quilt Project For Toddlers

L- quilt square

As you know, as a homeschool mom, you are always on your toes coming up with creative ideas to keep little hands busy. Now I admit, this particular project will not be for all children, but for a select few. But this also creates an opportunity for a little Mommy & Me Time. For those with little ones that can not do this all by themselves.

A year ago, my daughter would not have been able to do this project on her own. She would have needed me to stick the needle into the fabric, so she could then pull the needle and the tread through the fabric, repeating this process until we are done. This year, I am able to prep the square of 7″x7″ fabric, and cut out the letter of the week. Then I can let her whip stitch it on with minimal help from me.

This school year we are moving through the alphabet 1 letter at a time (last year it was 1 letter every 2 weeks). This week we are working on the letter “L”. We are beginning our 30 square quilt, it will be 6 across and 5 down. I am still deciding how I will decorate the “extra” squares, maybe hearts or something else.

For “L” template click here.

Quilt square supplies

So we gather our supplies; scissors, pins, needles, thimble, coordinating thread, 7″x7″ fabric square (child’s choice), and fleece letter “L”. I decided on fleece because it is soft and will not fray.

sewing L

Then I let my little peanut to sew on the letter “L” on using the whip stitch. I did help her with turning corners, but all in all, she did it all by herself. The best part is looking and all the little wild stitches she made as she learns to sew. All those imperfections are the best part of her first square.

Alphabet Quilt Project

I hope you have the opportunity to make one with your toddler too.

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Next week we will work on the letter “A”!