More or Less Homeschooling & Home-making Adventure

I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu planning continues

Well I searched Hobby Lobby for a half priced frame for my menu board. No luck. The ones I like are still too expensive. So back home to scrounge through what I already own. I found a shadow box that we only use for state fair entries.

I lined it with black card stock and then rummaged through my scrapbook paper for black and red paper. After layering the paper inside the shadow box, I wrote the days of the week on the glass.

I just taped this week's meals to the inside of the glass. I am going to use the board as is for a few weeks and make my improvements before I do anything permanent.

Not bad for scrounging! I guess it's time to go grocery shopping since I know what we are eating this week. I'll post more on my meals in another post.

Happy planning!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Menu Planning

My parents gave us a 1/3 of a cow for Christmas. My son shot his first deer this fall. And my husband is bringing in hogs whenever he has time. So, for the fist time in years my freezer is full of meat!! I'm so excited! Now, what will I do with all this? Also, with all the activities my kids are involved in at night, I just don't have time to plan or cook. But this year I do NOT want to spend so much on eating out and would rather save that money for home projects. So, what do I do? I've been researching a Menu Planning Board. I've seen lots of ideas on Pinterest. I'm still searching for just the right board for my little country Italian kitchen. Here are some of my inspirations:

Love the side dishes are included here!
This wonderful blogger has posted all of her 106 meals for download! Love it!

This was the first menu board I ever saw. Simple and so easy!

There is no tutorial for this but it's pretty self-explanatory.
I'm actually leaning towards this one but hiding it on the side of a cabinet.

This one has recipes with the board! Awesome!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Projects for 2013

With a New Year comes so many ideas and dreams of how to be more organized and refresh my little home. Last year was a flop with the organization plans that I posted! I always have good intentions and then life takes over. I'm sure that will happen again this year, but I have a plan. Insert me smiling here :)

Rather than posting what I hope to accomplish, I will post what a DO accomplish! I'm always on Pinterest. Why not start making some of those ideas and post them as I finish them!!

OK, with my New Year's plan ready to implement. I'm going to get started!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Changes

So, it's been a long time since I posted. Life took over in the spring and I felt like I was drowning in a lake of good intentions and overwhelming expectations of myself and my children. I never did finish my planning and organizing projects. They are piled up and waiting to be continued. School didn't go like I had hoped. I love AO, Simply Charlotte Mason, & HUFI and the Charlotte Mason education, but I was finding that I was becoming too task oriented and my children were hating school.

To bring myself back to reality, I reminded myself of why we homeschool.

1. I want my children to be grounded in the Word of God and to see Him in every aspect of their life and the world.

2. I want my children to have a love of learning that will continue into their adult life.

3. I want them to be kids and enjoy their childhood, having time to play outside, explore, and enjoy adventurous times.

4. I want them to learn the truth rather than the watered down versions of truth and history that I see all around me.

After getting myself realigned with my purpose for homeschooling, I went to the big homeschool bookfair/conference in our state. Did it help me? NO, I was now worried about how close my oldest is to high school and how I did NOT feel he would be ready. Then college is around the corner. How can I get it all in and not ruin him and his future with my decisions for him. Oh, what a sad experience that was!! I kept coming back to the booth of My Father's World. I spoke to three different Mom's/reps for MFW. The last one I spoke with explained that she start MFW with her 7th grader and starting at Creation to the Greeks was not a problem at all, even with starting the history timeline over again in 9th grade. That was a huge concern of mine. I was already planning on starting our history rotation over again at Creation this year but I didn't have it in me to prepare the curriculum myself this year.

I had purchased Simply Charlotte Mason's guide but I was tired of trying to prepare for the year for 3 different children. It had just gotten to me this year. The guide looked good, but I needed more. So, after much stressful contemplation, I purchased MFW Creation to the Greek. While carrying that box to the car, I felt a relief come over me. I wouldn't have to hunt for each book this year. Everything was in my hands. I wouldn't have to spend hours typing out our schedules. I had a book in my hand that is already listing what needs to be done each week.

Now, just to be fair, that was a little scary for me. I don't like someone telling me what I have to do each day because if life sneaks in and we get off schedule, I freak out about not finishing a subject for Monday on Monday. I know. I'm ridiculous. Welcome to the world of a Type A personality.

As I began to read through the curriculum, I saw how easy it would be to implement my love for Charlotte Mason's ideas into this already prepared program. I did add a few items from my SCM guide. I don't feel like MFW has enough reading for the students, so I used the SCM guide and the AO booklist to add to our reading. I added the individualized items for each child and I was ready in a third of the time as years past. Wow! What a burden lifted. Don't get me wrong. I have had guilt of abandoning my love for AO but this is what I needed this year! I am determined to give it a try.

So, how did we get involved in Classical Conversations? This is not CM at all!! Well, a CC campus came to my church. They are starting their history rotation over again at Creation, just like our homeschool. I was tired of fighting my children to get school completed and to do a respectable job (not just scribble down something and say, "I am good with this work.") The idea of positive peer pressure was very enticing to me. And this is how we could find fun in school again. At CC, they do art projects and science experiments every week. I always cut these out first in our school if time is pressing. That is some of the fun aspects of school.

I was once an outdoor education, hands-on science teacher. I used to be a fun teacher. Over the years, I had become boring, cranky, and too task oriented. My children didn't have the joy of a fun teacher who loved to teach. CC has brought that back for me. I am a tutor for the 10 year olds and I HAVE to play games with them. It's part of the curriculum. This is what I loved about outdoor education.

So, after much debating, praying, and stressing, I finally signed up as a tutor. Wow! Relief again! The decision was made and now it was simply time to start. CC and MFW is going well together. We are now leaving MFW in the CC timeline, but everything else goes perfect with what I am doing at home. I do not have to beg, plead, or threaten my children to get their school started or completed. They come to me and make sure we get it all in. They don't want to arrive at the writing portion of CC and not have it finished. That positive peer pressure has been wonderful addition! They love having lunch with their friends and having an hour of free time to play with friends in the middle of the day. The funniest part, is how excited they have been to take their lunch with them. Maybe it's the snack items we don't usually get. I don't know. But they love it! They have learned so much in just a few short weeks.

This may not be for everyone and I do apologize to all my fellow AO'ers. But I didn't completely abandon AO. I still love the idea. I just found that I am terrible at implementing it all on my own. I wish there were more AO families near me. I think that would have helped so much.

I wish we could put together a program like CC has created for a Charlotte Mason education homeschool co-op that would be as well organized and prepared as CC. I believe more families would find the help they need in the gentle art of education with more guidance and local support. I know the yahoo groups are good and helpful but there is something special about having the curriculum laid out for you with other families and then diving in depth on your own. At least, this is how I feel.

I don't know what is in store for us in the future, but I am very pleased with our homeschool this year. That is exactly what we needed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 5 - Challenge - Organized Mommy

This month will get us starting to organize our paper life. This month, grab your handy-dandy notebook and write down your bills, when they are due, etc. If possible, try to find any insurance paperwork as well. It may be time to review those policies to see if they need updating.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 4 - Organized Mommy

Life is starting to take on a normal pace after the month of holiday that we take each year. I finally have my cards finished and now I will implement them completely for the first time this year.

Challenge #4: Papa Blessings

A few years ago my husband was feeling very left out in the family. The kids were so young and demanded 99% or more of my attention. The toys were constantly thrown everywhere. Dinner may have been prepared on time or very late and usually cold. His towel usually had dirty hand prints and he couldn't find his things when he needed them. He wanted a place of his own in the midst of chaos. At first I resented this, especially since I felt that I was doing everything for everyone and getting nothing for myself.

At that time, I was reading Debbie Pearl's book, Created to be His Help-meet. This book sure opened my eyes as to my role as a wife. I wanted to be a better wife but I was so tired and really just wanted some "me" time. But with small, intentional changes, our marriage really took a turn for the better. Debbie says the easiest change to make is to smile at your husband every time you see him. I didn't realize I wasn't smiling. That little expression of love started the changes and grew our marriage. I couldn't believe it was working. We always want to change our spouse but Debbie says we must change ourselves to be what God has called us to be. Boy is she right.

I decided to start a system to help him feel as if he too were important to me. I cleared a shelf in the bathroom cabinet and organized his things nicely. When I showed him his shelf, he was so excited. We don't have room for a man-cave but a shelf seemed to do just the thing for him.

From there, I implemented "Papa Blessings". I made up a list of things around the house that would make him feel special, thought about, and give him a comfortable, peaceful home to come back to each night after a hard day at work. I divided these "blessings" up between all four of us and we start them at 4:00. By the time Papa gets home, the house is straightened, the kids are calming down, and dinner is started.

The change in his attitude about coming home was dramatic. He noticed the change weeks before I told him what we did. I didn't even tell him until he asked. When he heard the name, he felt important again. There was a time when I gave him my full attention, then I didn't have any energy left by the end of the day, now with only a few intentional ideas, he feels validated. That is my role as a wife.

So what are our "Papa Blessings"? Mine will be different from yours.

Papa Blessings
Hang a clean towel in the bathroom
Take out the bathroom trash
Wipe the counter
Light a candle to make the house smell better than dog
Clear the toys away from the entrance of the door on the porch
Straighten the living room and give a quick vacuum

I also read a book by Focus on the Family about the smells of the home. It said do whatever we, as mothers and wives, can do to make memories that smell. How many times do you smell something and it takes you back to a time? Some ways to make "smell" memories are bake bread in the bread machine as often as possible for dinner, light special smelling candles during specific activities, bake cookies on the same day each week while having a game, special talk time, etc. These are only some ideas. My family loves it when I try to make "smelling" memories. I don't do it as often as I'd like but my husband loves this.

So, what is your challenge? Make your husband feel special when he comes home from work by implementing "Papa Blessings". Make a list of items around the house that bug your husband and make an effort to focus on these items each day around 4:00. They don't have to be big or time consuming. You won't believe the joy this will bring him, and you in the end, as well. Then you can just imagine the teachable moment to your daughter about her role as a wife and to your sons about choosing a wife who puts him first, after God.

British History Timeline

Though we are using Ambleside Online for our curriculum, I've really revamped it for myself. We are starting our Term 2 tomorrow for this school year and focusing on British History with Our (An) Island Story. I found this great link to Timeline Characters of the Kings & Queens of England on fellow AO Mom's blog: Little Homeschool Blessings. I am so thankful for this. I think this will make a great addition to our study.