Some people are planners by nature. I am not one of them. I have tried many planners since we started homeschooling, paper and digital. Digital is not a favorite of mine, I like paper. Turning a page and watching the ink spread across the paper as you write, makes me feel productive. Planning is still not my strongest point, I kind of like flying by the seat of my pants sometimes. Flexibility to me is a must, so my planner is used as more of a guide, not a life line. The Old Schoolhouse's Hey Mama planner is awesome, there are a lot of calender's, lists, charts and encouraging passages to go with it. Plus you only print what you want to use, it is 175+ pages, and thru Educents you get the Hey Mama 31 Day Devotional to go with it. I downloaded this and it is totally worth it! An amazing resource and they are offering it for free for the next 24 days. Hop on over to Educents and check it out.
Let's be honest. Nobody wants to talk about PMS, well most people. It usually falls under the category of TMI (too much information). I for one am not totally comfortable just openly discussing this - all too real problem. The picture above is how I am feeling this week. It is like having multiple personality disorder, or taking the mental disease "bi-polar" for a test run for a few days. I have not always suffered from PMS, luckily I still don't suffer from cramps. After my 3rd child it has hit me like a brick. It is terrible. I am physically and mentally extremely exhausted, my mood swings (I try really hard to hide them) feel like Sybil. This morning, I woke up with yet another headache, 3rd one this week. At the same time, we were going to have the best day ever, that lasted maybe an hour. My moods were and will be again tomorrow, all over the place. Lavendar and Clary Sage have been diffusing off and on throughout the day. The picture below shows what I am fighting for daily, well for the next few days.
Fighting the schizophrenic voices in my head, is a constant battle. Being fairly laid-back, my version of PMS is probably not nearly as bad as some, but it feels horrid to be. I don't lose my temper easily, or over react ever. So, for one week the last few years, my kids have to think I have gone crazy.
Homeschooling is not easy to begin with, but the reward at the end of each day is priceless. This morning didn't go exactly as I had planned, but it went. Then we had a few really good hours, very productive. My middle son, who last year, loved to buck everything is starting to show a lot of perseverance. Of course, the time I did over react, was my fault. He was doing his cursive copywork, and wanted to show me it. I was in the middle of something else, so he went over to build Lincoln Logs with his younger brother. I assumed he had finished. You do know what they say about the word "assume". When I looked at it, he was not even half finished, I kind of got after him for leaving the table without finishing his work. He just wanted to show me how well he was writing, he stormed up the stairs, I felt absolutely horrible. The cursive was impeccable, for just learning. An apology was issued and due praise was given.
The rest of our day, I decided would flow better if we were a bit more relaxed. We still did all of our lessons, especially the core lessons. Math, Grammar, English, were all finished and we even managed to work in Science and History. Which by the way, we are loving the U Read Thru History program!
For me, homeschooling can be hard, it is always rewarding, but with PMS it is an all out roller coaster ride. How do you deal with PMS during your school day?
*The links below are affiliate links - all opinions are my own*
Super short post. I am trying to get my kids excited about the election process. We all know that it can be boring, especially for kids. With the age of the internet, it can be a lot more engaging. We are doing a poll to see who the GOP favorite is among regular, everyday voters. We want to compare our results with those of the media. So I am posting the poll, after your vote you can see the results. Please help us out, the more votes we get the more accurate it will be. If you would be so kind to share this, we would really appreciate it!
*May contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
I love to cook. Let me take that back, I USED TO love to cook. I would plate the food, and make it look all pretty. Then I met my husband, who at least pretended to like the food I made. Turns out he is just as picky as our three kids. Then came our kids, I love our kids, I don't love how particular they can be. Kids don't appreciate pretty, plated food. Sometimes, I don't think kids even taste the food they are eating. They are either complaining about it, or devouring it so they can get back to playing. So cooking for me has become a chore, a hard one. It is hard to try to find a recipe that everyone may like. The past year, I have just decided I am making what sounds good to me, they can eat it, or pick around it. I will no longer be a short order cook.
The last few years, we have been homeschooling, which means one less income. I have started trying to get organized and meal plan, to save unnecessary trips to the store. The ones where you totally space out what you were going to make for dinner. Today has been one of those days for me, it happens. Which brings me back to meal planning, it is too much work for me. Planning meals, then writing a grocery list...blah, blah, blah. I have other things to do, not only do I have 3 kids, I have 2 unruly dogs that need to be re-trained. I have found a few great websites that have the planning and list already done for me, and they are frugal. Granted if you have growing boys, the part about it making enough for left-overs, for us it did not happen (Aldi Freezer Meal Plan). Here are the links to a few of the meal plan sites, most of them are free, the Aldi one you can pay her a small amount and all the planning steps are done for you. Totally worth the almost $3.00!
Meal Planning Sites
*This site contains affiliate links - any thoughts or opinions are my own.
Tonight, I am going to look at taking an unscheduled break while homeschooling. This is my second year homeschooling. I have to admit, I have let Pinterest, Blogs and even listening to some others who homeschool get to me. It is not always a bad thing. A lot of these things and people have given me all kinds of ideas and inspiration, but I compare. When I let myself fall into this habit, I always come out the loser.
Being new to homeschooling, I feel like I have to keep up, or prove that I know what I am doing all the time. I don't. I need a break, and I am sure my kids need a break from me; for a few days (of being their teacher). I need to stop obsessing about lesson plans for a few days, take a few steps backwards, and breathe. I am not going to feel guilty, my sanity and patience has a lot to do with whether they have a good or bad day. I am going to share a few blog posts. Posts that helped me feel "not guilty".
I am not going to feel guilty about trying to get done with school just to please others schedules. I need to make sure my kids are happy and learning. My sanity and my kids sanity is going to come first. I will admit, I am a people pleaser. Homeschooling has been good for me. I am learning to plan and organize my families schedule (and keep it). When I was working, I was always very organized, just not at home. All of this learning, planning, organizing is very overwhelming; especially to a non-planner. This break will benefit our homeschool, even if it is only for a few days.
When I first started this journey, and quit my job, I thought it would be so easy to be; mom, wife, teacher, house cleaner and chef. This has been the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing I have undertaken. It is impossible to execute everything perfectly, and keep everyone (including yourself) happy. So, we are taking an unscheduled break from school for a few days, to unwind and recharge. I hope you find the links to the blog posts below, as helpful as I did. I want you to know, that you are doing great! Let's make a vow together to stop trying to "keep up with the Joneses", and as my sister likes to say "worry about our own front porch".
Taking A Break From Homeschool
It's A Trap!
Ten People Who Make Homeschooling Harder
Signs of Homeschool Burnout and How to Recover
If you need a break, then take one. Don't feel guilty, I'm not going to.
*Affiliate links below - all opinions are my own*
As I sit here watching Heart of Dixie (my guilty pleasure) I am debating whether or not to write this post. People get so offended now days, I guess we can't always worry about who we offend. People also have a choice whether or not to be offended, being offended is sometimes (not always) a choice. On to my potentially offensive post, while sipping my glass of Pinot. I am and have always been vain; yes, some people I know may not know this. I am talking about physical fitness.
I have been so disappointed in myself lately (last 2 years) that I don't want to go out. Why? Because I don't look like I used to. I have always been physically fit, somewhat so after my 1st child. I am still not in bad shape, but NO where near where I think I should be. My husband doesn't seem to mind, either that, or he doesn't want to hurt my feelings (kudos to him). When my husband and I got our first "real" honeymoon in Puerto Rico (Yes, it was a business trip for him, but not me) I had every reason to get in shape and fast! Nothing like a little motivation.
Now I belong to the local YMCA, and I see moms of every shape and size. I also envy them all for their differences. I envy the ones who are obviously-out-of-shape and revel in it, they aren't ashamed of what their bodies did and what they look like now ( it is a lot of work). I also envy (and wonder) the moms who are in better shape than any 20-yr-old dreams of, and I wonder how do they accomplish this. Is there a happy medium? Being a mom isn't easy. Choosing priorites are different for everyone. So how do these moms, that appear to have it all, do it? I don't believe you can have it all. Yes I am religious, I believe in prayer and god, but I don't believe he gives everyone, everything they ask for. I believe sometimes, regardless, we have to work for the extras we want.
I am a homeschool mom. I thought this would solve all my problems. I thought my kids would instantly be geniouses (not true), I thought I would have all the time in the world to become a fitness queen (not true), I thought my housekeeping skills would be greatly admired, especially by my husband (again - not true). Being a homeschool mom, is a lot of work. A LOT OF WORK. Don't get me wrong, I usually love it. Yes. There is always a child that has to push it, but are they really, or are they just pushing the boundaries our our thought boxes. OK, now I am blabbering.
I have seriously neglected my and our physical fitness. I have neglected teaching them healthy eating habits, I have been too worried about their academic status. I have realized what a waste this has been. I am trying to prove to the public school system why homeschool is better. I have seriously failed. Homeschool is not better because we outshine (normally) on testing, it is better because we can tailor to our individual students needs (and our own). Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and for me this is true. As the saying goes "I run to outrun the bitch." I need to outrun this on a daily basis, however in the winter this is not easy (especially for those lucky of you who live in the south).
Well this past week, I have exercised 5 out of 7 days! I am back in the game. It is not only good to be an academic example, but also a physical example. How can I teach them to be only brain smart and think they just assume the need to be physically healthy (smart). I can't. We need to lead by example. By this, I don't mean we need to be fitness models, but we do need to model healthy living, including regular exercise. Below is the video I did yesterday. I normally did P90X (no where near this fitness level now) but these videos are excellent, and they are free! If you can afford to give them a donation, they deserve it.
*Some affiliate links at bottom of post
Today, we kind of meshed everything together after some short morning lessons. I wanted to do something with all of them to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The great thing about homeschooling is if we had a rough night, and did not sleep well, we have the option to sleep a little later. Not too late, just that extra 30 minutes usually does the trick. Much to my surprise, my middle son (who during the school week, is not a morning person) decides to get up early and get things done. Not to get off topic, he had his Samsung Galaxy tablet taken away for a week, for having a bad attitude towards school, specifically math. So, he decided to get up early and get xtra math done with for the day, eat breakfast and he even made his bed! It's amazing what having to earn something back, something they really like, does for motivation. All of this meant, no fighting this morning to get math done. Yay!! Some mornings, some days, turn out almost perfect. Today was one of them. An hour before lunch, all three had finished their shorter morning lessons. We proceeded to study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he was an amazing man and what he accomplished is amazing. We started with the video below, it really kept their attention.
We then watched a BrainPop video about him, which held my 6-yr-olds attention. The videos are just a short introduction to who he was, what he did, and why he was important.
YouTube, I have found is a wonderful tool, for homeschooling! I then found a few worksheets for them to read, one of them had highlighted phrases from his "I have a Dream" speech. You can find it by clicking on the photo below, it will take you to Education.com. It is free, you are allowed so many free worksheets without being a member.
The worksheet above also has a backside, where they illustrate a picture. I then found them one more worksheet, more to do with reading comprehension, they read a passage and answered questions. My 3rd grader was able to do this one without any problems. The worksheet below I got from Enchanted Learning, and I am a member, which was very minimal fee for the year. So far, the membership has been worth it. Click on the image below to be taken to the site and hopefully the page.
We then ended the day with the movie Remember The Titans, which actually took place 3 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, but it deals with a lot of the issues that were faced during the Civil Rights Movement. It is a very inspirational movie. Everyone should be judged on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin, or their socioeconomic status. I am lucky because I grew up in a household, that never pointed out anyone's differences.
Two months and four days after we ordered our HP Instant Ink eligible printer, we received our first ink shipment. No, HP isn't that slow. We had to finish using up the ink in our old printer, and then right before Christmas we installed the new HP printer, which came with ink. We wouldn't have even needed to sign up this soon, if my printer settings (or possibly me) hadn't made a stupid error. I selected three coupons to print from Gordons Food Service, and they never printed. Well 2 days later, 100 pages of duplicate coupons print out! Now, I know I did not print 100 pages of coupons, especially since I can barely remember to use them when I do have them. We went through almost all of the colored ink! I had to sign up in a hurry for the Instant Ink program. The process was unbelievably smooth, and they estimated we would have our welcome pack in 10 days, we got it in less than a week! I haven't inserted the cartridges yet, so when I do I will update again on the entire service. As geeky as this sounds, I am super excited about this program!
* I may make a small commission from the links below.
This holiday season, I feel less in control than ever. The past few months have been so busy, I am already looking forward to summer. I like to enjoy the holiday season, but it seems like every year I am unbelievably stressed out. Why do we as adults do this to ourselves? Why can't we just relax and really enjoy the holidays? Why do I always feel like nothing I do is ever good enough. I can't blame it on anyone but myself. I am a people pleaser, and it is hard for me to speak up and just say "NO". This holiday season, I am going to work on saying "No", I am going to sit back and play with my kids and not worry about whether I am making the perfect dessert or side-dish. The holidays are all about the kids, they are the ones who truly, unequivocally, believe in the magic of Christmas. They don't care if you make the perfect gourmet meal, to prove what a wonderful host and cook you are. Kids just want you to relax and play with them, they don't ask to be ignored or yelled at because we are just "too busy" getting the perfect "whatever" ready. I want Christmas to be simple this year. I want to enjoy the holiday bliss my kids do, I want them to remember the fun of the holidays not the stress that goes along with it. I want to be an example to them, so that when they grow up they can sit back, relax and truly enjoy their families.
What do you do, or have you done to reduce the stress of the holidays and just enjoy it? I believe holidays should be about spending time with your family and especially kids. Unfortunately, it has become a contest to see who is the best host/chef/baker.
My husband and I are looking at purchasing a new printer, specifically an HP printer compatible with their new Instant Ink program. He works out of our home and prints documents quite frequently, while for the last two years I have been homeschooling our 3 children. I normally try to conserve ink, because, lets admit it - ink is not cheap. I normally use the quick print, and try to print most things in black & white. What fun is black & white, for a kid? It can be fun, if it is a coloring page, but I have a 5-yr-old who hates coloring, because it hurts his hand. I would love to test drive one of these babies, before we buy one. Looking at the plans, I really think the $9.99 p/month would be truly worth it. I could actually print in high-quality, and do a few more fun things.
How do you go about getting to test drive a model? If anyone has any contacts at HP, I would be more than willing to blog about this service, there are not a whole lot of "really" helpful reviews out there. Being a homeschool mom three kids, and having a husband who works out of the house, I think I would be a perfect candidate to test drive one of these and write a detailed review. I have an excellent digital slr camera to take photos, of the different qualities and documents.
I don't want a hand-out, I just want to test drive, before I commit to buy. I would need one that is wireless and network ready, since we homeschool we have more than one computer in our home and we have smart phones and a tablet. Being able to print directly from these is also important. The plan looks amazing, for us, I believe it would also save us a great deal of money. So, HP if you happen to see this, shoot me an email. I would be more than happy to write a review for your audience of homeschool moms!