Monday, January 31, 2011

Keeping Homeschool Simple

As I was reading my daily blogs I stopped by Happy Hearts At Home and there was a link to a wonderful article called Helpful Advice For Homeschooling Elementary School Aged Children. The article is about keeping homeschooling simple and I was happy to read it.

There are so many things to think about when it comes to homeschooling. It's nice to have a reminder that simple homeschooling can benefit everyone.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In My Life This Week...

This week has gone very well. The kids are not sick anymore and they are running around as usual. The weather here is snow, snow and more snow. I am starting to feel trapped within the walls of my home. I find myself day dreaming about Spring when the kids and I can get outside!

In Our Homeschool This Week...

We have started narration with history. We worked on a chapter and instead of making the kids do the review questions I had them narrate what they just read. The kids informed me that they preferred this to answering boring questions. I was also surprised to see how much each child wrote. We are using the book Robin Hood for read aloud and narration practice for my 4th and 7th grader and The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh for my 1st grader and pre-schooler. (If he feels like jumping in)

Places We Are Going and People We Are Seeing...

We really need a field trip! All the snow makes it hard to get five kids anywhere. I think we will visit Grandma and Grandpa and that's about it.

My Favorite Thing This Week...

More of my Charlotte Mason books came in the mail this week, so I have been reading all week long!

What's Working/Not Working For Us...

Narration is definitely working. I may cross that over to Religion too. Not just the Bible, but also The Catechism. One thing at a time.

Homeschooling Questions/Thoughts I have...
As I said, my thoughts have been on Spring. I can't wait to have the kids start nature journaling. We live in the suburbs/city so I figured we could journal about our back yard garden. I am going to get a game called The Garden Game, and the kids will help me plant and take care of the garden while journaling. I would like to find some good living books about gardens, any suggestions are welcome.

A Photo to Share...

I have been praying for inner peace and a feeling of peace for my homeschool for a while. I finally feel like my prayers are being answered. The photo of the day is a peaceful place dedicated to the peace I am feeling.

To read more Homeschooling Mother's Journals visit The Homeschool Chick!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child's mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the result of any process of disciplinary education. A creative fiat calls it forth. 'Let him narrate'; and the child narrates, fluently, copiously, in ordered sequence, with fit and graphic details, with a just choice of words, without verbosity or tautology, so soon as he can speak with ease."
(Vol. 1 Part IX.--The Art of Narrating, p.231)

I have been reading everything I can about the Charlotte Mason method of Homeschooling and I am loving every word of it.

My children have been doing school at home, so I am easing this method into our homeschooling. Slowly taking "school" out of our homeschool.

I have started with narration. Right now my children use text books. They read something, do the review questions, and then I correct their mistakes.

I have started having them read from their text books and then narrate to me and each other what they have read. This is the homeschool I have been searching for. We have had great discussions, my 6 year old even discusses what my 7th grader is narrating. I have also noticed that when my husband gets home, the kids are eager to tell him what they learned that day. They want to narrate to him as well.

Last night as we said prayers my husband was discussing with the kids about how everyone makes mistakes. He got on the subject of Noah and Moses and how they also made mistakes. This sparked my children's attention. My Daughter suggested that my son read about Moses and she would read about Noah and then they could retell what they learned to us the next night.

I sat there quiet, smiling to myself thinking, I found it! This is how my children like to learn.

You can download a free sample of the handbook on narration.

As I said, we are going to be implementing the CM method slowly. I can already see an improvement by using a tiny bit of what the method suggests. I'm excited to learn right along with my kids!

This site has been very helpful to me, Simply Charlotte Mason. Another helpful place is the group on Facebook called, Hip Homeschool Moms. The people in that group are great and so helpful. It is a group for all homeschoolers not only those using Charlotte Mason.

I hope this journey keeps going well for us and I'm looking forward to the new things to come.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week

This week has been slow. Four out of five children have been sick. I have managed to keep up with workouts, dinner, and school, that's about it. I am excited for Saturday! Nana is coming over to watch the kids so my husband and I can get a very much needed date night!

In our homeschool this week

School is coming along. I am very excited that I switched my daughter's Science to Exploring Creation with General Science. I love it! We have done two experiments about atoms that were incredibly easy. (I like easy experiments)

Places we are going & people we are seeing

As I mentioned above my husband and I have a dinner date on Sat. Yay! On Sunday we will be attending the Cub Scout Pine wood Derby Race. My son is very excited and so are we!

My favorite thing this week

My favorite thing this week has got to be that all the sick little ones I have are starting to look and feel better!

What's working/Not working for us

I think I will be getting rid of most of the curriculum we are using now. The Science we are using that I mentioned above, is great! We will stay with Saxon Math and the religion we are using, but I think we will say good-bye to everything else. Our reading program, Alpha-Phonics is working quite well with my first grader. I'm happy I gave it a try.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have

I have been researching the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and I think that is the direction we are going to go for next year. I ordered a few of her books to read. Right now our homeschool is school at home, very dry. I think CM may be a good fit for us.

A Photo to Share

Fun in the snow :)

You can read more Homeschool Mother's Journals by visiting The Homeschool Chick

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cloth Diapering : An Amateur's Experience

I have been cloth diapering for a few months now and I really wish I would have started cloth diapering with my first child rather than my last.

I was nervous to try cloth diapering because I thought it would be messy. I have found that it's no messier than dealing with any other type of diaper changing.

There are so many options out there for diapers, so many reviews, so much information it can get overwhelming. I am not a pro, I still consider myself a newbie at cloth diapering but I wanted to write this post for anyone considering it. It can be done, even if you have no clue what you are doing.

Here are my reasons for cloth diapering:
I was tired of buying diapers and spending all that money!
I did not like stinky disposables in my garbage. (I had two in diapers at the time I switched)
The enviorment

There is a lot of options to choose from when you use cloth diapers, here is a list of what I use and what is working for us.

You will need about 24 diapers. This amount keeps me from doing laundry every day. :)
I use bumGenius 3.0 and 4.0 These were recommended by friends and I love them.

I purchased mine through the sites Cotton Babies and Nell's Natural Baby. Cotton babies has diapers on clearance a lot, so always check. Find them on Facebook HERE and you will be notified when certain items are on clearance and you can post questions and you will get answers and info. Nell's Natural Baby is a great site too. They have awesome costumer service, and they have a three month lay-a-way plan if you can't get your diaper stash all at once.

I also use the Workhorse fitted diapers from Green Mountain Diapers, I love theses. You can find Green Mountain Diapers on Facebook HERE. These diapers need a diaper cover and there are many to choose from. I use the Econobum diaper cover, mainly because Cotton Babies had them on clearance for $4.95. They are cute, durable, and the price is good! I only need about 3-4 covers because they only need to be rinsed off after using them. (Unless they are very soiled)

I personally need a diaper sprayer that connects to the toilet. I received a bunch of cloth diapering items on ebay cheap, a diaper sprayer was included.

A diaper pail to put the dirty diapers. (I received a diaper pail in the ebay lot as well) a friend of mine uses a plastic tote container, another uses a plastic garbage can.

A diaper pail liner. I use a Planet Wise Pail Liner. It would be a good idea to get two, but I get by with one.

I also want to get a hanging wet bag for my bathroom.

A smaller wet bag for a diaper bag. (another item in the ebay lot)

I received cloth wipes in the ebay lot. I didn't think I would use them, but I realized it was easy to just use the cloth wipes and put them along with the diaper in the pail. I still use disposable wipes too.

Cloth Diaper detergent. I use Bumgenius detergent. All the sites I mentioned above have cloth diaper detergent for sale.

Solution for cloth wipes. You can by solution or make your own. There are a lot of recipes on the web for making cloth wipe solution. I put a little bit of baby soap in a squirt bottle and then fill it with water. I squirt the cloth wipe and then it's ready to clean.

You can get all kinds of doublers and stay dry inserts. I have not bought any of these because if I use two inserts in one bumGenius diaper my baby stays dry all night. Also I cut up a fleece blanket and lay that in the diaper. Fleece keeps wetness off baby and is a good barrier for when I need to use rash cream. (You can not use rash cream on bumGenius diapers.)

There are cheaper ways of cloth diapering then what I use, but this works for us so I'm sticking to it.

If anyone is thinking about cloth diapering, go a head and try it. It really isn't hard. My 12 year old daughter changes her baby brother all the time. Now my daughter will say she feels bad putting her baby brother in disposable diapers because they are not soft and nice like a cloth

I think she will be a future cloth diaper user. By the time she has kids she will be a cloth diaper pro!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Husband

The New year has been off to a good start. I did get laid off from my job, but thank goodness the whole purpose of the job was for Christmas and extras. I do like the extras, but I must say, not waking up at 5am every morning has it's perks!

I have been taking my vitamins and eating right. The workout challenge I signed up for starts this Saturday and I'm excited to get that going!

Another step in the right direction is my relationship with my husband. We have a wonderful relationship, I would even use the words, "best friends" but as all married couples know, marriage takes work!

I have been working on seeing all the good in my husband and appreciating all he does to be the best husband and father that he can be. And you know, when I consciously look for a these things, I have found that my husband does do quite a bit!

Here are some links to articles and blogs that I have read to get some inspiration on how to be better wife to my husband, and in turn have a better husband. It's a win/win!

I really like this blog. And she writes an article every Wednesday called Wifey Wednesday.

Even if I think I am the greatest wife ever created, and some days I do, it takes work to keep the greatness alive and growing. Husbands need their wife's love and respect, and on super busy days they at least needs some extra hugs and kisses! ;)