Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homeschooling with a New Baby

I have recently heard a few concerns about homeschooling with a new baby in the home. This is something we have dealt with this past year. I love my baby.

But adding a new baby to  life & then homeschooling, it challenging. So I thought I would share a few tips & tricks that work for us. Now keep in mind, I am not an expert by any chance. In fact, I debated whether or not I should even write this post, because I feel inadequate at times. But here we go anyways.

#1. Keep it simple.

For us the simpler I can keep things the more consistent we are with doing them. Life gets tricky enough by adding a new baby don't make it harder by adding complex curriculum as well.

One example is our history curriculum. Story of the World. I love it because it can be as simple as reading a chapter over lunch (which we do frequently) or as complex as building models. I can decide how much we do.

# 2 Be Flexible

The joy of a new baby is wonderful. We have loved watching our newest addition grow & change over the months. But this also had meant that our schedule isn't the same now as when he was a newborn & slept all the time.

     I know what time I want school to start in the morning & the things I want to accomplish & learn by lunch & after lunch. We don't go by an hourly schedule. The babe doesn't know that at 10:30 I really wanted him asleep so we could make things explode for science. Or that I need one on one time with my oldest. So instead I tell my kids when the baby is down for his nap this is the time we will be doing one on one stuff. When I plan knowing that I just have to be flexible I get less stressed out & we still usually accomplish what we need to.

# 3. Take advantage of mini learning sessions.

So your baby was sick all night & now your morning is spent in the Dr. office instead of homeschooling. Don't stress. Just use this time to teach your kids about staying healthy, doctor & nurses, spreading germs ect
The baby is taking an extra nap, great! Grab your kids & work on some extra projects you have been meaning to do.

Spend your time driving listening to books on tapes, reviewing phonics, or adding up house numbers. You get the idea.
    You may not have large groups of time any more, but 10 minutes here & there can certainly add up!

# 4. Record what you do each day.

This was taught to me by another homeschooling mom. I love it. I record little bits that we do throughout the day. Here is an example:


I just type mine up in the notes on my phone. It's small & I always have my phone with me. I can email it later to print out & save. You may want to use a notebook   Just jot down notes on what you did. You may notice that mine are not even complete sentences, just put something down.  It helps on those days were you feel like you haven't done anything to realize that indeed you are doing more than you realize.

# 5- Have a quick grab bag.

I have a shelf that has what I call my quick grab bag. These may be bought science experiments, dollar store crafts, or kits I put together when I had extra time.

    These are my life saver for days we need to go school but I was up all night with the baby & I am exhausted.  Or day one of my kids is sick. Or life got crazy & I didn't get things ready like my original plan. You know those days. I can grab one of these off the shelf & there we go. We have it all ready to go, it painless & quick & I feel good that we still did something that day.

# 6 - Have your kids help..

In the midst of our school day almost everyone has a time that they are responsible for the baby. Keep in mind my oldest is only 8, & even my 5 year old can be in charge if entertaining him for 15 minutes. My other boys can change a diaper, get him dressed, & feed him.  This teaches them responsibility & helps lighten my load as well.

# 7 - Last but not least - Enjoy it!!!!

In the end some days are smooth as silk & others are as bumpy as a dirt road. The trick is to remember they all grow up too fast! The homeschooling journey is like running a marathon & this piece of time is just a short mile in the journey. So enjoy snuggling the baby. He will be big before you know it.
nursery inspiration
( from Lay Baby Lay)

- Tiffany

P.S. I am linking this baby up to Hearts for Home Weekly Blog hop

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Playing with Clay

Playing with clay. For Christmas we were given a huge tub of sculptors clay & my kids have loved it. I had every intention of teaching my kids a lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. They have wonderful lesson plans & instructions on how to teach our kids, but on this particular day we had just finished up a history lesson & used the clay to go as our additional exercises. The boys were to build a cup or bowl. My little dude, just made whatever his heart desired. We used the coil method. In which you make snakes & then coil them into the shape you want. 

After they are rolled out into long snakes you coil the clay into shapes you want. In our case cups.  Then if you don't want the coils you can smooth it with a little water & sponge.

             Then let them dry. It took our particular clay about 3-4 days of air drying. We did have the problem of having our handles fall of our cups, but I don't have a solution yet to this problem. I know there is one yet, but I haven't researched the answer. Sorry.

My little dudes Fish.

Once they were dry we added paint. It took ours about 3-4 days of air drying time, to be dry enough. I think you could add these into a warm oven to speed the process along, but we chose not to. 

We used an Acrylic paint that I had on hand already.  For my boys that wanted multiple colors on the same cup, we had a have a little drying time in between so the colors didn't mix.

They probably needed sealed once they are dry. We did have to wait patiently in between changing colors at 

times so that the colors didn't mix. They finished them & they looked fantastic. Sadly I don't have 
the finished pictures with me. (I will add them later).

All in all I would say the clay has been awesome for my boys. They are always begging to make things with it & have since created their own village. Creating cars, snow machines & a houses. Clay is something I will purchase more of & continue to use they have loved it.

Just as a tip, I always tape down freezer paper, (waxy side up) for any craft we do. That way my table is protected & it gives my boys a sense of their own working area. Once they are done, I rip of the freezer paper & throw it away & the mess is cleaned up. It works slick & my boys automatically get it out now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Monday - Feb 25-13

This Week's Menu     
    So this week, I am back & forth between the ranch & home. Many people comment on my constant cooking for meals. But you need to keep in mind that when I am at the ranch, I am trying to feed full grown men who have been working hard. A sandwich doesn't last long when they are doing manual labor. The days it is just me & the boys you can tell, because lunch is mellow. Things are going great & hopefully I can stick to my menu little better than I did last week. I did cook a Beef Pot Pie last week for dinner that I loved, the rest of my family doesn't really love pot pie.  But I still might be sharing the recipe in anyone is interested. Anyways back to business, here is this week Menu: 

        B- Sausage & Eggs
        L - Pick up Something
        D- Hot Dogs

         B- Cold Cereal
         L- Sandwiches
         D - Hamburgers & Salad

          B- Muffins & Fruit
          L -Sandwiches
          D- Steak & Potatoes

      B-   Cream of Wheat/Oatmeal
      L -  Macaroni & Cheese
     D-  Spaghetti

       B: Cold Cereal
       L: Leftovers
      D - On The Road 

        B - Oatmeal
        L - Taco Soup w/ Corn Bread
        D -Pork Chops w/Apple Maple Glaze

        B-  Waffles
        L- Cheese quesidillas
        D -  Roast &  Mashed Potatoes
Baking:  Homemade Wheat Bread,  Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies or Lemon Bars

As always I am linking up to Organizing Junkie

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Five

I thought it would be fun to start doing a Friday Five. Five things we love, hate, annoy us or whatever I desire every Friday. 5 things. I will try to stay more on the love side than any thing else. I do like to leave my options open however. :0). So for our first time ever here is our Friday Five:

5 Random things someone in this house hold loves right now!

1. Long Red Underwear
These are my absolute favorite baby pajamas ever. So adorable. I sit and just admire my little boy in these whenever I make him wear them. How could you not?

2. Blogpress App

It has allowed me to start blogging again while on the road. I can input pictures wherever I want, change my font, add hyperlink, ect. It works so much better than blogger that I had before. It makes me happy that I can blog again!!!!

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When asking my 5 year old about his new founded love & why he loves this so much.

His reply, "They are real turtles mom. That someone grew up, & put masks on them. Then they gave them weapons & they are real, live turtles!"

I guess that nothing more needs said.

4. Contacts

I recently got contacts again after going about 3 years without. Love. Why in the world did I ever let myself go without?

5. Chocolate Covered Pomegranate.

I don't even like Pomegranates. These I adore. There are on the side of spendy so I don't purchase them too often. My local SAMs Club is the cheapest place I can find them. If you haven't tried them. I would. It's pure love for these!

What do you love right now?

- Tiffany.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

China & Japan Dynasties.

A few weeks ago we were studying the initial dynasties in China & Japan. Just a little of their initial history from the The Story of the World

Here is some of what we learned:

The Grand Canal took years to dig by hand. The emperor forced every family to send one woman, one child, and one old man to help dig the canal.

The same emperor made them pay 10 years worth of taxes in advance to help pay for it.

The Tang Dynasty of China is known as the Golden Age of China

The Yamato emperor ruled in Japan almost 2,000 years ago & a Yamato emperor is still on the throne today!

We read the legend of Susano & the serpent.

The boys have loved the Story of the World. We are slowly making our way through it all.

Other things we did are:

We watched videos on animals in Asia.

We learned where China & Japan are on the map.

We watched Mulan (really just for fun)

We reviewed what we learned last year with The Story of Ping

I think this Magic Tree House book would be fun to read, but we have already read it.

We colored pictures of Samurais.

Initially I was going to take them out for Sushi, but I was without a vehicle.
I was also unsure if they would even like it, so we created a different version of sushi.

I saw one of my friends do this earlier this year & thought we would try.

Rice crispy sushi.

We rolled the outside with fruit roll up.
On the inside of some we put gummi fish.

I realize it is a vast difference between these & real sushi. It was snowy, cold day & for us it was the perfect way to end the school day.

Plus, the boys loved them!

Now we are headed to the land down under to study aborigines.

What history fun are you having?
- Tiffany.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Basic Living: Laundry

Many times people ask me about life in the middle of lambing.

Yes, we still do school.

No, we don't have all the amenities a house does, but that just makes it some days our school lessons are life lessons.

Yesterday for example.

Yesterday morning was a basic living day. You may roll your eyes. & say that is not school. Remember Home Ec from High school?
Not sure why we wait until they are teenagers to teach them basic living skills, but oh well. Moving on.

Yesterday was Laundry day. A day we anxiously await for. Really. A house full of clean laundry is so much better than some of the alternatives around here.

So off the the laundromat we went. Last week my kids had no idea what the word laundromat meant.

We walked in & "what is this place?" were the next words we heard.

There is something wonderful about doing laundry at your own place.

There is also something wonderful about a laundromat. If you value your time.

I walked in at a little after 9:10 a.m.

Filled not one, not 2, but 13 washing machine full of dirty, stinky clothes.

My boys help sort, put in the correct amount of money & start 13 washing machines.

We patiently wait our time:

Then we switch everything over to the dryers & enjoy the mesmerizing dryers.

And patiently wait some more:

And then the boys help sort, & fold & get everything packed back up & away we go.

At 10:35 a.m

13 loads of laundry done. Clothes for my family of six for a week, all washed, dried & folded all in just a little over an hour. That part is awesome!

Plus, my kids are mastering basic living skills. Sure they haven't yet learned how to do certain things, yet, but laundry isn't one of them.

- Tiffany.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Monday

It has been a while since I have done Menu Monday. I thought I needed to go grocery shopping, because I am "out" of food. I decided it's time to get back on track & make my menu 1st. So I checked to see what things I had that need eating 1st & then started planning. It seems now I am not quite as much "out" of food as a thought. :0)!
Menu Monday
B: Cream of Wheat
L: leftovers
D: roast & potatoes

B: Pancakes
L: Stew with French bread from Prudent Homemaker
D: Pork roast & rice

B: cream egg on toast
L: Fried rice with pork
D: Steak & potato

B: French toast
L: Tacos
D: Maple pork chops with veggies

B: Scrambled eggs
L: On the road
D: On the road

B: Ranchos jeuvos
L: Pasta of some form
D: Hawiian Haystacks

B: Pancakes
L: Macaroni & cheese
D: Roasted chicken

Baking: French bread, lemon bars

Linking up as always to Organizing Junkie

- Tiffany.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!!!

We are at the ranch this week & are keeping it pretty simple. No fancy decorations here, but I did have Valentines at the boys plates this morning. (This is something I remember my mom doing for us growing up & have tried to keep the tradition alive with my kids.)

The boys all gave me a present as well, but I forgot to take a picture. Oops.

My awesome visiting teacher dropped by earlier this week with a Valentine for us & it has been awesome!

She made sugar cookies & brought the frosting & fun stuff to put on them!! I love the idea!!

It has been so much fun & we have loved decorating a cookie after ever meal!! Thanks again Audra!! It's such a cute gift & one I am going to have to remember for next year.

I really wanted to make Valentine cookie this year, but wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off. Thanks to Audra we still can!!

She is just awesome!

So we are doing grand & I hope you are all feeling the love this Happy Valentines Day!!

- Tiffany

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beautiful day

Saturday here was a beautiful day.

We stayed in bed an extra few minutes.

We washed laundry & took hot showers.

The sun was shining, all the kids were happy.

The boys practiced reading without putting up a fight.

Everyone helped with baby lambs & sheep.

I got around to getting in with the horses, I have been meaning to do this all week. I finally got the mustang (the grey one) to let me touch her.

My kids were extra lovable.

It was warm, mellow & just a happy day. I love days like that.