It’s Fall and Our First Year of Homeschool!

Here we are in September!!!

I love this month!  My birthday of course helps kick it off pretty well 🙂

And we’ve already enjoyed a few cooler days this week! I love the changing seasons and made my first pot of stew for dinner tonight! YUM!

 

We officially started Home School this week! We did a little bit of preschool learning last year but didn’t really stick to a plan or schedule and honestly Mommy got a little lazy with it… but it was a freebie year since William was still only 3/4. 🙂

 

But this year is different. We are ready for Kindergarten in this house!! William is so excited! And after getting over the first bout of intimidation I’ll admit I’ve become pretty excited too! He is still only 4 (will turn 5 first part of January) But we really don’t think it’s to early to start him.. He has already mastered so many of the basics that you would expect to have him learn before kindergarten that I couldn’t imagine repeating them all again! So we are moving forward!

I am blessed in the fact that William does really love to learn. He wants to know how things work and why and would take everything a part in the process if he was allowed.

 

For this school year our main focus will be basic Math skills and learning to read! Along with Bible memorization and just learning from things around us.. we will be keeping things pretty laid back as we reach these goals.

 

I certainly don’t want to come across as a “Homeschooler Blog” as in, you should come here for advice or anything.. but I do know that I’m not the only one just starting out, so maybe if I share some of the things I’m learning, it could help you too.. us newbies should stick together ( and read the real expert home school blogs too) 🙂

We start our day off with prayer and calendar time with this awesome calendar I made from pinterest!

calendar

 

Here is where I found this awesome idea and the FREE printable.  This blog is pretty awesome so make sure you sign up to follow her for more tips and tools!

Home Preschool Calendar Board

Also, I’m hoping to just fill our lives with great habits and more structure (something that I should have already been enforcing but we won’t dwell on that!) So, now we start our day off with teeth brushed, making beds, and actually getting dress which has been super hard for my boys to understand, they want to know where we are going! hahaha

 

For Math we went with Math-U-See curriculum. I really like how hands on it is with manipulative blocks and that it includes number recognition, writing numbers and geometry shapes all in one book! We are starting with the Primer

 

Now I do know that some people say this method is a little to close to “common Core” for their liking and that opinion is fine. But especially at this young age I don’t see us running into any issues. I find it to be a great method for solidifying our number recognitions and counting. Plus, I think the beauty of Home School is that you can find what works for you and your child.

For reading I decided to get Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. Recommended by a friend. You really can’t beat the price and it’s a full reading/writing curriculum in one book. Even the teacher’s notes (which are nice and extensive) are in the one book! I really like how the lessons are planned and I’m excited to teach William how to read. I found a lot of fun printable to go along with these lessons. Including a number chart so William can put a sticker on each lesson as we complete it. Also there is an Ipad version so later we’ll be able to practice our sounds on the iPad!

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ number 1-100 chart to mark off or place sticker after each lesson is complete.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ practice cards

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ practice sheets

For Bible we will be focusing on our Awana Club work! Our family has fallen in love with Awana!! I encourage you to find a group near you! Or even ask your church to start one!! Awana is so Christ-centered, gospel-focused. They concentrate on memorization of Scripture and Christ’s unspeakable love for every child!  William is in cubbies this year and James is in puggles. William will be working through his honeycomb book. He has a memory verse and a story to read each week. Also, most weeks he’ll have some extra stuff we can do during school as well.  Puggles offers some awesome parent cards to be able to reinforce what they are learning each week, here at home! They have awesome suggestions about bringing the gospel into everyday life and showing even little James how much He Is Loved!!

This Mamma loves that even at 2 years old James’ class is learning a lot!! They are going through Creation right now!! I love that they are taking the opportunities they have with even the youngest to share Jesus’ love for them. It isn’t just childcare while everyone else is in their classes!!

Side note: Ryan and I are volunteering too! We asked that we not be in our boys age group to give them and us a little space 🙂 so we get to work with the 8-10 year olds and we are having a blast!! Again it is so gospel-focused that these kids are memorizing verse after verse each week. And I love that I’m dwelling on them too as I help the kids! Anyways, all that to say we love Awana! 🙂

As for any other learning lessons.. I have a lot of products left over from our attempt last year and have been giving William little things to do because he loves them so much!  So,it might be a page about same and different, mazes, just practicing writing numbers or letters, etc. I have lots of flash cards about space and animals. And some learning games. So in a round about way I think we’ll learn a little science, a little history, a little health, a little of everything!

 

My Mom will be gathering ideas for Art! And I’m so glad it’s her and not me! hahaha The boys will love it!

Daddy will be teaching sign language once a week too!

 

Reading aloud has not been our strength in the past… Getting the boys to sit for a story hasn’t happened up until a couple of months ago!  So much so that I started reading aloud while they were playing and just hoped they were kind of listening. But things are getting better.

I read on a blog somewhere that suggested reading while the kids are eating their lunch and that has been fairly successful as long as I’ve had a chance to eat my lunch first! 🙂 Also, I’ve expanded our library some, to include books with a little more interest and a few more words than say your average Dr. Seuss… and the boys are really enjoying the stories a little more!

To keep myself accountable, organized and keep a record of what we’ve accomplished this year, I bought this planner from Amazon. I like how much space there is to write out each lesson! There is attendance and even report cards if you want to do that!

All in all I think we’ll enjoy this year. It has it’s challenges with James running around and Mommy feeling tired growing this baby. But, we are praying for a great year!

If you are also  homeschooling  I hope your year has begun smoothly! I’d love to know what blogs you like to follow or anything you’ve found to be helpful!

 

We can do this!! 🙂

Deanna Grace

The pretty little things are getting me pretty excited!

There are some pretty little touches getting done in DIY Kitchen remodel right now and they make a huge wonderful difference!

First, these lights were hung in place. This is the counter that will have my sink and dishwasher.. also, there will be a bar edge on the other side with stools for sitting up at the counter!

lights are in

 

lights bulbs

 

I found these lights at Home Depot! And we added the specialty light bulbs for the antique look! I think they are exactly what I hoped for!

Also this trimming was added to the light box

light box framed up

Little things like trim make such a huge difference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fridge and pantry cupboards were moved into place and I was able to even move stuff in! So that really helps having more items in the kitchen instead of spread through-out the house!

fridge in placeEventually, the plan is to get a nice big fridge and then above it between the two tall cabinets we’ll do a couple of open shelves!

 

 

 

 

 

We are still plugging along. We are cooking with our new oven quite a bit despite the heat. And of course still over using our crock pot and bbq.

But we are doing fine and with amazing results like these how could we not be excited??

boys staying busy during construction days

This is how the boys stayed busy while the guys were working! Rolling cars down the driveway!

 

 

 

Also, our family has a little announcement!!!

 

We are so very excited to be expecting our third little blessing! It’s amazing!!

 

This was our announcement picture… I think it turned out pretty funny! 🙂

 

birth announcement

I hope you are enjoying our DIY kitchen remodel updates! Are you dreaming/planning for a remodel??

Today this Mama had to prove to herself that she really can do it!

train museum trip with mommy Today this Mama had to prove to herself that she really can do fun things all by herself, put away the anxiety and have fun!

I’ve gotten into a habit of always inviting others to come with us places… sure, the companionship is awesome and probably the main reason.. but, also  another set of eyes and hands to hold on to kids is so very welcome!

It has caused me to think I can’t go places and do things with the boys without help!

My awesome mama or friends, whose kids don’t seem to use every public opportunity to show how much of a handful they can be, can be my comfort zone!

There is something I should say about myself here. I have a pretty big problem with anxiety! especially in public places. I envy anyone who can be in a crowd and not have to fight off fears. Some of them, I will argue are legitimate, this world is a scary place. But of course there are also some that are just plain ridiculous and I’m working on it! 🙂 My brain is always working over time with issues (mostly imagined) that can happen , might happen, whatever. I definitely read to many news stories so that doesn’t help things either. But trust me when I say the number of possible (and even most unlikely) scenarios running through my mind at any given moment is astounding!

And then you add in the crazy variables that come with two toddlers with minds of their own… the struggle is real (as the saying goes these days).

So, today we went to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento! If you haven’t been, you really should check it out. This is the second year we have had family passes because the boys just love it there! They run from train to train. Some you can climb in and even turn the brakes and things.. walk through and it feels like you are on a train ride. And then on the second floor there are lots and lots of Thomas and Chuggington trains and tables to play with! It’s always a great time! Also, with the passes we get to ride the 1 mile train ride that goes along the river, when it is running!

20160627_191624791_iOS 20160627_185801651_iOS california state railroad museum

We (ok it was Mommy)  really felt like we needed out of the house today and so we drove up there! The Lord blessed me with both boys having great attitudes and we all stayed safe and had a blast! The boys shared with the other kids at the toy tables, listened when I asked them to slow down. It was so wonderful!

And guess what I discovered?? I can do it!!!!! yay!

 

 

We even walked down the cobble streets and picked up some ice cream before heading back to the car where there was a fire truck and lots of firemen.. the boys got so excited to see them!! (course they were only at the parking garage because the elevator was stuck.. yikes!!) So, we walked up three flights of stairs and even though the boys were so tired they did a great job!

20160627_210549323_iOS

I’m sure some of you are thinking that it isn’t a big deal. and that I only have two kids… and I am certain there is some level of over reacting on my part for sure.

But, I’ll celebrate this little victory for myself and hope it’s the start of some great growth (and release) for this mama!

 

 

James was a sleep before we even made it to the freeway and William was out less than 10 minutes down the road. I enjoyed the ride home with my iced tea and an audio book!

We’ll go ahead and file this day away as a success! 🙂

sacramento river, bridge

 

Oh and here’s a weird little trick I use when I’m somewhere all alone…

parking garage pic to remember where we parked!

I take a picture of where we are parked.. so in case I don’t remember or I get confused I have something to help! (yes, this is part of the over stressing, over worried part of my brain.. Can you imagine if I couldn’t find the car with two tired and worn out tots in tow??? anyways, it helps me a lot!)

How about you? Are you way more relaxed and can conquer the world with all your kiddos in tow without a second thought? Or do you over think everything and stress when it isn’t necessary?

 

If you do struggle, what are the kind of things that have helped you in dealing with your fears and hesitations? I’d really love to know!

 

 

 

Shared at the Mommy Monday Blog Hop

 

MrsAOK, A Work In Progress

speak life giving words

One of the most important jobs we have as parents is speaking truth and life into these little hearts!

This world will tell them lies, their whole life… And sadly even those of us close to them can aid in breaking down their purpose, and uniqueness.

I know it’s not easy to do this 100% of the time.. I know that I can get irritated over things way more then I’d like to admit. And that truthfully these little guys don’t always act like the amazing loved human beings that they are. In fact they know how to test out their sin nature pretty early.
But one of the ways I’m learning to consistently give them purpose and love and life is to pray truth over them!! In prayer I can tell them, as I’m speaking to the Lord, that they are special, loved, made perfectly, good boys that can choose good choices! I try to pray over the boys truthful, things. Things that are true even when I’m feeling beat, even when they haven’t been obeying or it seems like they aren’t learning to be loving and kind. I can tell them that God didn’t make a mistake when they made them and that the creator of the universe made them for a mighty purpose.

Our value is not made up by all the bad choices we make, the unkind things we do, or the lessons we struggle to learn.. Our value was determined long ago and one day I pray our boys will grasp how an amazing God hand crafted them and filled them with his love and a wonderful plan!

It breaks my heart to hear someone that could use their influence in a child’s life for love and godliness but instead labels them trouble or destructive or essentially broken… I am guilty of falling into this.. Maybe you’ve heard me refer to my kids as “crazy” or something like that and that makes me sad.. Even in a joking manner I am not using the life giving words I could in those moments. Yes my boys are full of energy, they are Ruff and tumble sometimes, they have a lot of lessons they are trying to learn about how to treat others and listen to wisdom. But they aren’t bad boys, they aren’t broken or terrors or wreckers.

They are little boys who were created by a God who loves them just the way He made them, a God who cannot wait for them to fall in love with Him.. And I wait in excited anticipation for that too!!
Until then, I will try to speak the words He speaks to all of us about our value and our ability to follow Him, to love others, and choose right!

And I’m determined to take out the empty, hurtful words in my vocabulary completely.

 

Who needs to hear truth, beyond what they may be feeling or the world may be telling them today? What words of life can you speak today?

 

Let’s do this together! 🙂

 

 

This post was shared over at epicmommyadventures.com
and on the blog hop at http://themrstee.com , www.lifeoffaithblog.com

Bedtime Transitions follow up and an alarm clock review

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using these links.


It’s been 2 weeks since we moved “baby” James into a toddler bed and began the sharing a bedroom adventure! See the original post here.

We are all adjusting to the change! Mom and Dad most definitely like having their room back, I make sure to turn on the lights every night while I’m getting ready for bed, just because I can! haha
The boys seem to like it a lot and I’ve even caught William trying to convince brother to play “sleeping” in their beds during the day! 🙂

Bedtime is still full of giggles and James tests the boundaries every night, getting in and out of bed.. it’s just so exciting! For now, our solution has been that Daddy goes in there and sits with them at first, until they are calmed down and quiet. James usually falls a sleep pretty quickly. I’m sure they won’t need that for every but I also hope it’s just a sweet time spent with Daddy too!

Thankfully they aren’t getting up in the middle of the night as much anymore. Our problems are mostly just at wake up time now. With the boys waking up at 3 or 4 o’clock, thinking it’s time to start the day??? yikes! So, we decided to try this ingenious invention:

This alarm is called OK TO WAKE and can be set for just lights or an actual alarm sound. With just the lights the idea is that all night long the red light is on and that means you have to stay in bed. But at the time Mom and Dad pick, the light will turn to green!!! And that means it’s ok to get up!

we knew this would take some training but thought if we start now we could use this tool for a long time to come. 🙂

We’ve had it for about a week now. And the boys love it!

The first couple mornings William came out to the living room to early and I was able to ask him if his light was green and send him back for a few minutes… I think it was the very first morning that happened just 2 minutes before it turned green so i sat in there and showed them when it changed!

William has started to wait for the light, and usually rushes out just the minute it switches! Poor James hasn’t had the chance to because big brother makes sure to wake him and let him know it’s on :/ So, that’s the next lesson we are working on. teaching him that it’s ok to come out to the living room with Mommy alone and let your brother sleep. PLEASE! 🙂
So, I’m loving this alarm. It makes sense that they need a visual to help them know when it’s time to get up and play or try to go back to sleep for a little while.

They have both been a little grumpy through these two weeks. Mostly, because of missing sleep that first week. and then it was time change Sunday which always gets them a little bit off.

But I’m hopeful that we will adjust to this new shared bedroom adventure. The Boys will have so many wonderful memories (and a few arguments) and it looks like Mom and Dad will survive it too! 🙂

There are a lot of different options with this kind of alarm… check out a few more.

This one is a stuffed animal

And the one we bought comes in a train or a pink car as well! To find even more of them just enter OK TO WAKE, in the search bar on Amazon!

Anyways, maybe something like this could help in your home! what are you thoughts?

Bedtime transitions

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using these links.


 

Our boys are going through a huge transition during bedtime.
We finally moved James out of the crib (which was in our room) and into a toddler bed in William’s room.
Yikes, James now has the ability to get out of bed on his own!! AND the boys are together and can wake each other up or bug each other to keep from falling asleep.

I have mixed feelings about the challenges. I know it’s important for them to get to sleep and they are so young that once they are wired and silly it’s hard for them to wind down.

But I also remember how fun it was (most of the time) to share a room with my sister
Sisters!

The talks and giggles during bedtime are good memories.. I also remember getting in trouble. Our poor parents 🙂

I sure know now how tired they were at the end of the night, how much they NEEDED it to be bed time for us so they could have just a few minutes before collapsing for the night. I know what it’s like to worry about your kids getting enough sleep so they aren’t cranky the next day too.

And then we have the whole separate issue of once they finally do fall asleep… They now can wake each other up and get out of bed without us……

The first morning after this whole change, we woke to the sound of really loud laughing and running through the whole house, it was 3 AM!! The boys were just having a blast, oblivious to the time or that we were fast asleep. We had to get them back in bed and settled down again… I ended up sitting in their room for a little while just until they fell asleep again. Thankfully Ryan was off that day so I was able to get some sleep later on in the morning.

Anyways, so here we are at this parenting hurdle 🙂 ah sleep. I love it, kids should too! 🙂
Anyone out there have an awesome trick or tip for us??

We have been reading stories at bedtime which I know some of you out there are really great about doing that every night, we haven’t made it a habit lately so I’m excited to start! And hope it helps them both calm down a bit before “lights out”. We also have calming music playing in their room.

I’ve been considering something like this OK TO WAKE alarm clock 

The boys may need something like this to tell them when it’s time to get up and out of their beds.
The signal light changes to green when it’s ok for them to leave their room!

Have any stories about this transition?