Pregnant or a New Mom? I’ve Got Just the Thing for You!

[This post contains affiliate links. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are completely my own. See my full disclosure policy]

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I love babies. I guess that comes as no surprise coming from a mom of eleven. Pregnancy has also been something I’ve usually enjoyed, despite some difficulties in the last couple. I have read so many books on pregnancy and childbirth that I could probably be a labor and delivery nurse with no training at all. My youngest is 10 months old now, and the one book I wish I would have had would have be Baby Ready – Preparing for and Adapting to Life with Baby.

This week, my friend Monica over at HappyandBlessedHome.com, has launched this amazing eBook, and I promise, it will be a blessing to you.

As I stated earlier, I have read my share of pregnancy/new baby books, but one of the things that this book has is heart. In a world inundated with facts and figures, it was so refreshing to read a book that is personal, rather than clinical. Believe me, Monica knows her stuff, and I’m sure there’s so much you will relate to. She has two children and has given birth at 30 weeks and at 36 weeks, so she’s been on both sides of the fence with a preemie and an almost full-term baby. She has also endured what some may have considered a difficult time during pregnancy, but her book exudes sheer joy.

Although I do not have a newborn baby, there are still some topics addressed that are still relevant to me. I really appreciated the tips on getting your baby to sleep because, at 10 months, Kenzie still has me up at night. Another of my favorite features is an exhaustive list of baby gear that includes items for newborns up through the early toddler years. I also happen to love the freezer meal recipes she’s included, which look particularly delicious. You don’t have to be pregnant to appreciate these meals!

As if this isn’t enough, she also has some wonderful freebies, including: free baby gear and magazines, free nursery planner and nursery wall art, free prayer cards for pregnancy and baby, free eBook for first-time dads, and/or the free guide to baby play.

As a part of the launch, from now through March 31, 2014, readers of There’s No Place Like Home will receive a 30% discount on the book and all the printables, but hurry because the offer does not last long. To redeem your discount, use the code 30LAUNCH. That brings the price down from $7.99 to $5.59!

Baby Ready includes:

Things you can do to prepare for baby’s arrival

  • FREE Baby Gear Linksstar baby ready book
  • Freezer Meal Recipes
  • Nursery Set-up
  • Baby Gear Recommendations
  • Baby Registry Checklist
  • Selecting an Obstetrician
  • Hospital Tour Checklist
  • What to Pack for the Hospital
  • Pregnancy Tracking Apps
  • Baby Name Planner

Make life easier after baby is born

  • Baby Tracker
  • Breastfeeding Tips
  • Bottle-feeding Tips
  • Get Baby to Sleep
  • Packing a Diaper Bag
  • Getting Organized
  • Babysitter Checklist
  • Recommended Reading
  • Marriage Resources

The book is 32 chapters and 115 pages of valuable information including resources, links and more.

For a limited time, “Baby Ready” also comes with the following:

  • 40 Printable prayer cards to pray through pregnancy and for baby based on Psalms 139 and 121, and Proverbs 3
  • Cute nursery wall art printables (8 1/2″ x 11″) perfect for almost any nursery – six styles to choose from (print, frame, and display) and
  • Nursery planner printable with varying room dimensions and standard size nursery furniture for planning your nursery’s layout
  • The eBook – “Twin Dad Talks: Help For First-Time Fathers Navigating Pregnancy” by Michael G. Crider
  • Free “Baby Games” printable from Spit and Sparkles blog with great ideas for baby play
  • This collection would also make a great baby gift for an expectant or new mom in your life.

    Interested? Click here to purchase and receive the eBook and all the printables for only $7.99 in one easy download. And don’t forget- from now through March 31, you will get a 30% discount by using the coupon code 30LAUNCH.

    Babies are such a blessing. Why not enter this new phase of life with confidence? Enjoy!

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An Unschooling Day- Our Way

Since I’ve been writing so much recently about our homeschooling philosophy, I thought I’d write about our day today to give you an idea of what we do. My husband had a vacation day today, and it was over 60 degrees outside (finally!), so this will be a little more exciting than what we’ve been doing the last couple of months, which has basically consisted of crafts, reading, and complaining about the snow.

This morning Luke approached me and said,
“Mom, I haven’t done my bookth (not a typo- he has a lisp) in a long time. Where are my bookth?”
“They’re in the basket with the other workbooks. Do you want to do them?”
“Yeth.”
He decided that he was going to work on math today, so after about 3 pages of math- very basic addition and subtraction- he went on his merry way playing his boyish games around the house. I have to add that, despite his lisp, his voice is very husky, so it sounds really comical.

Anyway…Ireland saw him doing his workbook, so she wanted to do her “school work.” I printed out some free letter printables, and she worked on those for a while. Ireland is the oldest child that’s never been formally taught, (she’s 4) and she whizzed through these papers before I could even tell her what to do. She really loves doing worksheets, so I’ve bookmarked the website because I have a feeling I’ll be visiting it a lot.

Soon after, we all ate a quick breakfast (sausage corn dogs for the kids, a banana nut muffin for me) and did our chores so we could get ready to go to the trout nursery, our field trip for the day.

It was so sunny and warm outside, I felt like doing cartwheels, but I held back because I didn’t want to have an aneurysm. We really had a great time, and I took lots of pictures.

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It really is beautiful there, and the contrast between seeing the snow on the ground, and the warm weather was unbelievable. There’s some fabulous wildlife there, also. Every time we go there, Devin and I have always talked about the time we saw an enormous crane in a tree. It seriously looked like a pterodactyl. Well, there are a lot of information boards throughout the nursery, and we actually discovered from reading one today that the “crane” we saw was actually a herron. We also saw a poor fish swimming around that had its entire back ripped open, possibly by a herron. Poor thing. I’m sorry to say that I’ve never noticed these information boards before. Maybe they’re new. Regardless, we learned a lot from them, like how to tell different types of trout apart. Caollin, for some reason, has always called the yellow ones “Goldilocks,” but today we found out that they’re actually called “Golden Rainbow Trout.” I think she’ll still call them Goldilocks. 🙂 We also never knew that the little hatchlings are called fisherlings.

On the way home, there was much discussion about fish. Devin hopes to one day have a koi pond. Dillon wants a piranha pond, of course. Dillon quizzed us on the types of trout and then told us which kinds he’s caught while fishing.

Afterwards, we stopped at the shopping center. Shawn took Devin, Dillon, Caollin, London, Luke, and Kenzie into Family Dollar with him, while I had Arianna, Bailey, Ireland, and Summer with me into Dollar Tree. Even though Shawn had two more kids than I did, he told me that the cashier complimented their good behavior, while my cashier, on the other hand, told me I have my hands full after witnessing Ireland crying because she couldn’t find anything to buy with her penny and Summer taking it upon herself to grab a Snickers bar off of the counter and open it (which I then had to buy). Then she tried the same thing with Skittles and so on and so on. Sigh…Why are kids always better behaved for their dads? I really want to know!

We came home and had spaghettios for lunch, then straightened up again because the house gets messy that fast. Since Shawn was home, I let Dillon and Devin play World of Warcraft with him, while the other kids played for a while. Arianna kept herself busy doing theatrical makeup again. Today she made herself a pumpkin.

After a while Devin came downstairs, and I reminded her about the shooting assignments she hasn’t done for her photography class. It turns out that she didn’t know how to work the manual settings on her camera, so I took her over to Dan’s Camera, where she got a 30 minute lesson on how to work her camera. They gave her so much information that she was even taking notes. It was definitely worth the trip because I honestly just expected them to spend 3 minutes telling her where everything was, and that was it. I even started to get worried after a while because I know they give photography lessons there, and the man was being so thorough, that I started thinking um…am I going to get charged for this? My fears were unfounded, and the only thing I ended up paying for was an SD card for Arianna’s camera.

We came home, and I made dinner- homemade hoagies and Checker’s fries. The kids did their prospective Life of Fred math books. Then, Devin came down and took a Greek mythology quiz from last week, and we went over her algebra self-test together.

So…this is what we did today. Who knows what we’ll do tomorrow? Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, and we’ll actually get outside again!

What have you done today?

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Share the Wealth Sunday

Can a Christian Be an Unschooler?

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Today I’m continuing on with the second question posed to me in the comments of this post.[Please note-I have removed the comment at the request of the author. She was not intending to appear judgmental. She was just curious.] Here’s the question:

2) The method seems to put the child instead of the parent in the leadership position -which doesn’t mesh with my understanding of Christianity

This is not the first time I’ve heard the inference that unschooling is disobedient to God’s word. Again, as I answer this, this is how we do this in my family.

My children have boundaries. They also have responsibilities that I fully expect them to accomplish everyday. We have ten kids still in the house, so obviously, there are rules they are expected to follow. Believe me, my children know who the authority figures are in the house- and it’s not them!

I give them freedom in learning, not a free for all. My children are encouraged to pursue their own interests to their hearts’ content. I am there to guide them, offer suggestions, and ensure that they are treating each other with respect. I do not put them in a room and say, “Okay, kids- have at it! I’ll be back in an hour or four!” I jest when I say this, but I get the notion that some people truly think this is what unschooling is all about. If anything, unschooling requires even more parental involvement because we have to have our eyes and ears open all the time and pick up on the tiniest clues that tell us what our children are interested in, so that we can find resources and activities that our kids may like.

Another comment I’ve seen in many a blog post is (I’m paraphrasing) that “God’s word teaches us to train up our children, and unschoolers don’t do that because they are not giving their children formal lessons.”

Okay, let’s stop right there. The verse they’re referring to is this:

Proverbs 22:6-
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What is this verse speaking of? Certainly not how to teach math, grammar, or geography. It’s speaking of training up your children so that they are obedient to God. So that they do His will. That’s it. And, unless the four versions of the Bible I have are wrong, there’s no addendum that says:

And be sure to use Abeka or an another quality curriculum when you do this, so that it’s done properly.

Please don’t think I’m anti-curriculum. I have tons of it. I’m just making a point that there are many ways to teach your children about the Lord or any “school subject” that do not involve textbooks. There’s nothing wrong with using them for that purpose; there’s a lot of really good literature out there, but it’s not the only way. Another great passage that gives credence to this is:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

This is what unschoolers do! We don’t view learning as being done at certain times- it is happening all the time! And specifically speaking of teaching our children about God, this happens throughout the day, and, as I’m sure it is with traditional homeschoolers, as well, it is a natural thing.

Read the Bible to your children. Talk to them about sin, redemption, and grace. And do it in whatever way you choose because, no matter how you do it, God knows your heart. And He knows mine.

What are your thoughts?

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Homeschool Evolution- Year Round Homeschooling

Today Hip Homeschool Moms has published a post written by yours truly! I actually wrote this before our transition into unschooling, so it’s been interesting to go back and read it again. In this post, I discussed about why we chose to school year-round and what difference it makes.

Be sure to head on over and check it out!

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More Unschooling Questions Answered

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Boy, my recent posts on unschooling have opened the floodgates for questions, and that’s great because I’m still new to this whole unschooling thing, too. Please don’t mistake my passion on the subject for expertise because I’m surely no expert here. Having said that, I’m excited to attempt to answer these inquiries the best that I can. Always remember, though, that unschooling looks different in every home, so I can only refer to our experience with it.

Here is part of a comment that was written for yesterday’s post.[Please note that the comment has since been removed at the request of the author.] I will follow it with what I hope is a satisfactory response.

1) The majority of unschoolers I know have grown up to be rebellious young adults. I cannot help but wonder if this is related to them not learning school-related discipline. They might learn certain academic subjects quite well, but I am concerned about the character development.

I’ll start with the section on rebellion-

I really can’t answer this in a completely factual way because I have never met any other unschoolers. This homeschooling method is rather rare, so I’m surprised to hear that anyone has met so many formerly unschooled adults that an opinion like this could be formed in the first place. I have, however, met many, many rebellious young adults who graduated from public school, so this is where I believe the lack of “school-related discipline” theory is flawed.

My oldest child graduated from public school. He used to come home daily with tales of the “discipline” taking place in his school. Kids texting, painting their fingernails, listening to music, and doing each other’s hair during class was a rather commonplace thing. My son’s science teacher actually gave up halfway through the year and would just sit at his desk for the entire period because the kids were so unruly. Obviously, discipline in the schools is becoming quite the rarity. So, rebellious adults from public schools-check.

When I was in public school, the local Catholic school was well-known as a haven for rebellious teens, and I’m pretty sure they were given much discipline there. So, rebellion in private schools-check.

I don’t know any homeschooled adults, but I have read plenty of anti-homeschooling tirades written by none other than people who were formerly homeschooled. And I mean traditional homeschoolers, yet traditional homeschooling is full of structure and discipline.

So from this information, I can come up with these points:

Public school kids can become rebellious adults.
-Private school kids can become rebellious adults.
-Homeschooled kids can become rebellious adults.

And I’m going to take a gamble and say that

-Unschooled kids can become rebellious adults.

Notice the broad spectrum of learning and discipline styles. Rebellion can happen in any kind of environment, certainly not just unschoolers.

Now onto the section about character development.

I think it’s important to note that we are not radical unschoolers. Radical unschoolers do not enforce rules in their homes. In this form of unschooling, children can decide when they go to bed, what they eat, what they will do with their time, whether or not they will brush their teeth, and are not expected to do chores. THAT IS NOT WHAT WE DO. We have ten children; that’s a lot of cleaning and laundry and dishes to do, and we all have set jobs that we do. My children make messes, so they will help clean up. My children eat, so they will help with dishes. I am very strict about this aspect of our life because a family of this size will not function if we are not a team, which brings me to the other aspect of character development.

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We live in close quarters with each other, so learning to get along is crucial to a peaceful (as peaceful as you’re going to get with twelve people under one roof) life. My children are also being raised as Christians, so serving others is a high priority here. You will often find my children weeding the neighbor’s garden, shoveling her driveway, or helping their Grandma at her house. I can assure you that character development is not an issue here.

Some of you may notice 11 kids here. Our oldest is 20 and no longer lives at home, which is why I always refer to just 10 kids.
Some of you may notice 11 kids here. Our oldest is 20 and no longer lives at home, which is why I always refer to just 10 kids.

As for character development in public school…well, I wrote a little about that here.

If you’re interested, I wrote a post back in January giving a basic rundown of a typical unschooling day. Feel free to browse my archives, as well, because I frequently write about what our days are like.

I hope this has given you a better picture of what our unschool philosophy- our life philosophy- is all about.

Any other questions? I’d be more than happy to address them.

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Weekend Review- Creativity Abounds!

Caollin made this just this morning- the idea was completely her own!
Caollin made this just this morning- the idea was completely her own!

We’ve had quite a fun week here at the Sangrey House. To top it off, our snowfall was measured in inches this week, instead of feet, so that was a big plus! (Sigh of relief). I think actually seeing the sun this week has had a positive effect on all of us. It’s been long overdue!

On Monday, I finally got my implanon removed, so that’s a huge weight off of my shoulders. Arianna went with me and had the pleasure of watching them take it out. “I could see your meat, Mom!” Yeah, great. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I had my head turned the other way. Although she’s only 12, she also got to listen to my doctor badger me about birth control. Even though it was uncomfortable, it was a good opportunity for her to see me stand behind my pro-life stance, so some good did come out of it.

Devin went to the eye doctor on Tuesday for her contact lens teach. She’s waited so long to be rid of her glasses, so she’s really excited. Arianna also got to watch her lesson, too. (She’s just been around for everything lately!)

Wednesday, my husband had a vacation day, so we headed out to Staples for a new whiteboard to replace our chalkboard.

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We had the chalkboard for about seven years, so it served its purpose, but it was time to move on…and the fact that my kids colored all over it with crayon didn’t exactly help, so I really couldn’t use it anymore, anyway. After picking up a few more things there, we headed to Dollar Tree for some bins for organizing and some odds and ends for crafting.

Other than those few excursions, we’ve been homebodies the rest of the time…and that’s the way I like it. All of the kids have been so creative this week in so many different ways. And the thing is, I didn’t initiate any of these activities. Everything was their idea. (Although I did print out some free placemats to color from Write Bonnie Rose.) This is why Dollar Tree is so great. I’m able to get all sorts of goodies there for $1 each, and the kids’ imaginations soar!

Making foam crafts
Making foam crafts
Caollin making her little robot person. She inspired the other kids to make them, as well.
Caollin making her little robot person. She inspired the other kids to make them, as well.

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Dillon spent hours building World of Warcraft Lego sets this week. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Several of the kids built with the Lincoln Logs, too.

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I almost forgot. Devin, Arianna, and I also went to A.C. Moore for Devin’s art supplies and to Party City for Arianna’s theatrical makeup. Devin has just started taking a drawing and painting class at the local art school, and, so far, she loves it. Arianna is still obsessed interested in makeup of all kinds. This week she’s made her own lip balm and makeup remover.

Attractive, right?
Attractive, right?

She’s really starting to rub off on Caollin and London because now they’re trying to do theatrical makeup on the little ones. Today London decided to put red nail polish all over Summer’s hands to look like “blood.” Yeah, apparently, I’d better watch her more closely.

Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and Bailey have all been busy writing stories on the laptops. Okay, Bailey was only copying words out of a book, but he’s 6. I was really excited to see him doing that.

Score!
Score!
Caollin writing and illustrating her story
Caollin writing and illustrating her story

Lastly, my husband got World of Warcraft, so Devin, Dillon, and he have been spending time playing that together. In truth, I wasn’t too thrilled about this, until I found out that there’s so much to it. I almost did a backflip when I saw the kids using maps to navigate around the worlds. Geography- check.

Friday I expect to be more of the same, although we will be going grocery shopping, so there will inevitably be a conflict over who gets to go with. I’m not taking all ten of them. That’s for sure!

Kenzie never makes it into my posts, so here she is!
Kenzie never makes it into my posts, so here she is!

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Have a good weekend, everyone!

How’s your week been? Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

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Share the Wealth Sunday

Welcome to Strewing Central!

These are a few of the baskets I use for choosing  items to be strewn.
These are a few of the baskets I use for choosing items to be strewn.

Since writing this post a few days ago, I have received a flurry of questions about strewing- what it is and how I do it. I guess my definition would be placing potential objects of interest in strategic areas around the house with the hopes of inspiring learning. So I guess that answers what it is.

Here’s how I incorporate this method… Before we started unschooling, I used to keep all of the children’s toys in their bedrooms to help keep our living area clean. This helped with our downstairs being readily fit for company at a moment’s notice, but it caused a problem. Our children rarely spend time in their rooms. They spend a good 90% of their waking moments almost literally at my feet- even the older ones. I’m certainly not going to complain about them wanting to spend time with me because, let’s face it, a lot of children don’t want anything to do with Mom and Dad. While I didn’t think about this much while we were homeschooling because I always kept them busy with all sorts of projects, this really posed a problem when we began unschooling. They didn’t want to be upstairs, but there was nothing left for them to do downstairs. This may have contributed to some of the blank stares I used to get when we first started this method of learning. So, obviously, the solution has been to keep some most of their activities downstairs.

Doing foam crafts
Doing foam crafts

Obviously, this makes for a much messier house, and, therefore, more frequent bouts of straightening, but it has been so worth it. Toys that sat around for months are now being played with, and, honestly, it’s much easier for me to keep track of puzzles and games when they’re where I can see them.

These legos are kept in our living room. They're sitting on top of a bin full of picture books.
These legos are kept in our living room. They’re sitting on top of a bin full of picture books.

Although keeping the toys (I keep referring to toys- remember, children learn through play, so don’t discount them as learning resources.) out and in full view has worked wonders, it’s sometimes not enough. You know how after you walk past something a hundred times you kind of just start to ignore it? That happens here, too. So what I’ve started doing is pulling out a few items everyday and placing them on our dining room table. I don’t call attention to them. They’re just there. Sometimes I’ll lay out a few puzzles, some freaky facts science books, crayons, and paper. The other day I found some US states cards, so I put them on the table with an atlas and some blank maps. Somedays they’ll get used; other days they won’t, and that is fine. My goal is to remind them that it’s there, and sometimes that is enough because a week later, I’ll find them playing with said toy. Some days my strewing items are a hit. Today I gave the kids a plastic bin filled with foam sheets, foam shapes, glitter glue, and crayons. That kept them quiet for quite a while. I also pulled out our solar system model that comes with an interactive tablet today. I found Luke(5) listening intently to the narrator this morning, and today at bedtime, I was reading The Magic School Bus book to Bailey about our solar system, and he was able to answer the questions correctly…and it wasn’t because I ever taught it to him.

Solar System model
Solar System model

Now sometimes we may have valuable resources that can’t really be strewn, so it’s important to get creative. For example, we just replaced our chalkboard with a white board today. The kids didn’t really take much notice to it because we’ve had the chalkboard for years, and they had started to ignore it. I really thought this could be a great way for the children to write and have fun at the same time, so all I did was this…SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I wrote on it. That’s it, and believe it or not, that was enough. What I had hoped would be used for some writing practice turned into this…

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Now please keep in mind that these are girls who hate math! I was happy as a lark when I saw them initiating math on their own.

Another pleasant surprise came later on. Bailey asked if he could go on Paint on my computer, so I said yes. I thought he was going to draw. A little while later I went to make sure he wasn’t destroying my laptop, and I found him typing the words from a book that I had unintentionally set on my computer desk.

Score!
Score!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about strewing, though, is that it is not meant to force a child to use the chosen activities. Think of it more as just giving your child an idea…maybe for now, maybe for the future, and maybe never. That’s okay. Speaking from experience, I know that the more you push a child into doing something- no matter how you sugar-coat it- the less they will want to do it. Another important thing is not to separate school from life. I’ve actually stopped referring to it as school because it’s so much more than that. It’s living intentionally.

Do you have any other strewing ideas? I’d love to read some new ones!

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An Intimate Glimpse into Life with Ten Kids- February

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     Life with ten kids isn’t easy, but it’s usually not as hectic as most people would believe. Today you’re invited in to our unschooling household- as is…no embellishments (like I would need to do that), no gloss overs. This is the real deal.
     If you’re not familiar with my blog, here is another post in which I listed everyone by name and, if it’s one of the kids, by age. Just to clarify things, we actually have eleven kids, but our oldest, Brendan, is twenty and no longer lives at home. I always feel bad leaving him out, so now that that’s off my chest…on to our day!

February 13, 2014

1:40am- I wake up to use the bathroom and decide to moderate some comments on my blog- I hate to let them sit all night. Shortly afterwards, Kenzie wakes up. She goes back to sleep after a few minutes of fussing. (She’s teething again. I feel like every time I write one of these posts, she’s teething and crabby. Oh, well. Such is life.)

2:45am- I’m still awake- that blasted Dunkin Donuts coffee! Kenzie wakes up again, then shortly falls back asleep.

3:20am- …still awake…Kenzie wakes again. I get her calmed down again. I check my Twitter, since I can’t sleep anyway. I try watching some goofy SyFy movie, hoping it will put me to sleep, to no avail. I don’t know how it is with you, but I need to be watching something that actually interests me in order to fall asleep. Put in my favorite movie, I’m out like a light. Turn on an infomercial, and I’m up all night. So…I put in a Sherlock DVD- the one where Moriarty returns, and I’m out in 15 minutes flat. See?

7:15am- London wakes up and asks me if I can play Yahtzee with her. Not now. Can she make a clay charm? Later. Sigh…I might as well get up.
   Shawn is off today because of the weather. I open the front door to look out and see this-

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Already?

7:45- I hear most of the other kids awake upstairs. Kenzie is content…for the moment.

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8:15- By now Kenzie’s screaming. As you’re reading this, just imagine it as background music because I hear it off and on all.day.long. I make myself coffee and a bagel and cereal for the kids.

9am- Chore time! Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, but that doesn’t stop several of the kids from whining. After a minute or two, they stop, and everything gets done. Chores only take 15-20 minutes, if that.

9:15- I get Ireland, Summer, and Kenzie dressed. Then their dresser falls apart.

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If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

9:30- I went to 5 Below and bought a ton of stuff the day before, so the kids are eager to try everything.

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Little decals came with this kit to cut out and put on the rocks like tattoos. We must have twenty pairs of scissors, but I can’t find any, so I have to use a utility knife. Not particularly safe when you’ve got children surrounding you.

Suddenly, I hear Shawn and Dillon upstairs yelling and banging things. Apparently, there was a mouse in my shoe tote. They got it. Yuck.
Unfortunately, all the noise wakes up Kenzie, who fell asleep only 45 minutes earlier.

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She is not a happy camper. Poor thing.

10am- The kids move on to clay, a 3-d animal game, and pretending to be pirates.

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Summer didn’t have a pirate scarf for her head, so she used bubble wrap. Innovation.

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Kenzie is much happier by this time.

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11am- I introduce drawing with Sharpies. Remind me to keep Summer far away from them.

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Since I have to keep a close eye on the kids with the Sharpies, I create my own masterpiece.

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Here’s Summer’s masterpiece. I guess I should have watched them closer.

While we’re drawing, Shawn is busy trying to put together a makeshift shovel. Ours broke the other day when he was shoveling the neighbor’s driveway. Because of the snow there’s not a single store in town that has any in stock.

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Isn’t he handy? It’s actually pretty hilarious because it’s like seven feet tall.

I decide to look outside again.

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Really??

11:30- The kids have exhausted me with their flitting from one activity to another. I put in American Girl- Molly, hoping to get them to sit for a while. Only Caollin, Bailey, Ireland, and Summer stay to watch it. Everyone else, besides Kenzie, goes upstairs with Shawn. That’s fine with me!

12pm- Lunchtime! PB&J uncrustables and beefsteak- they can pick either one. Devin wakes up. Okay, we woke her up.

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She just loves to have her picture taken!

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Dillon’s learned to just ignore me.

12:50- There’s a knock at the door. Our neighbor’s son has shoveled our front steps and sidewalk, since Shawn shoveled his mom’s driveway. (She’s so sweet. She was Devin’s first grade teacher; she’s retired now.) This motivates Shawn to shovel out our driveway out back.

1pm- I read Little House to Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and Bailey. Devin starts her schoolwork. After Little House, I read aloud to London, Bailey, Luke, Ireland, and Summer while Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin do silent reading. They read twice a day- after family readaloud and at 8pm when I help Devin with algebra. Their afternoon reading is usually non-fiction or historical fiction. Dillon and Arianna are reading about mummies, while Caollin is reading a fictional story about a girl in the Jamestown colony. While I read aloud, the kids either play with legos, clay, or do word searches.

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Today after reading time, the kids all do their own thing…look at books, fact cards, or play a solar system game.

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I finally decide to fold laundry that’s been sitting here since yesterday. Then I notice that Summer’s gotten into my makeup…again.

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2:45- I play Yahtzee Jr. with Caollin, London, and Ireland.

3:30- We order dinner from a deli on the corner that is actually open in this weather! Yay for me! Then, it’s chores!

4pm- We eat supper. Delicious, but what a mess!

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4:30- I start cleaning the table but get sidetracked by doing another load of laundry. I put on the anime Ponyo to keep the kids occupied.

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I finish cleaning the table.

5:30- I finally get to my devotions…sort of. Kenzie starts screaming halfway through, so I have to stop.

6pm- The house is quiet, so I check my Twitter and emails.

6:30- Bathtime!! First Kenzie, then London and Ireland, then Caollin and Summer, finally Bailey and Luke.

6:45- Chore time. I know you’re probably wondering how bathtime went so fast…it’s actually still going on. That’s why I put an older kid in with a younger kid…they’re self-sufficient. Okay, except Bailey and Luke. They’re only a year apart and, apparently, aren’t ready for unsupervised bathing because they dumped an entire bottle of shampoo out today. Arianna and Dillon do their math while the house is semi-quiet.

7pm- Ireland and Summer play with clay and legos, while Caollin is fascinated with the Egyptian kit I got yesterday. She even makes a paper mummy to put in the sarcophagus.

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Kenzie’s nice and clean and ready for her devotions!

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I came down the steps and saw Arianna playing with the kids.

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Caollin’s paper doll mummy

Eventually, everyone wanted to be the pharaoh.

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Even pharaohs do math!

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7:15- Caollin moves on to Mind Bender puzzles and then her math. Several of the other kids are in my room on their electronics.

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7:45- Bedtime story…the Family Bible is MIA, so we’ll have to hunt for that tomorrow.

8pm- Bailey, Luke, Ireland, and Summer go to bed. Caollin and London paint Chinese lanterns. Then, Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and London do more silent reading- this time anything they choose.

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I do algebra with Devin (I love the FOIL method!)

9:15- Caollin and London go up to bed, and I start writing this post.

10:53- That’s right now. I’m finishing this up, and hopefully going to bed.

Are you as tired as I am?

What’s your day like??

Linking up with
http://simplehomeschool.net/share-your-day-2014/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SimpleHomeschool+%28Simple+Homeschool%29

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http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/weekly-wrap-up-the-one-with-more-snow/

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http://www.homegrownlearners.com/home/2014/2/14/all-about-love-and-ice-collage-friday.html

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A Mama’s Story

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http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com/2014/02/entertaining-and-educational-chinese_14.html?m=1

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Hip Homeschool Moms

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You Want the Truth About Homeschooling?

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Are you new to homeschooling or thinking about doing so in the future? What do you think of when homeschooling comes to mind? A beautifully coiffed Mom teaching her neatly dressed children, while simultaneously polishing the furniture and baking bread? Exquisitely mannered children doing everything they can to please said Mother? This is my wake-up call to you…that’s not reality!
Don’t fall into the trap of believing all the sugar-coated stories you hear of homeschooling! While there may be amazing families out there who seem to exemplify perfection- this is not the norm! Homeschooling families are real families with real issues, just like yours.
This was almost my homeschooling downfall- I was comparing myself to the fairy tale version of it, and if you’re a new homeschooler, you need to know the truth! That’s what I’m going to tell you today.

– Your house will be messy at times, but learning is happening, and memories are being made!

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My table looks like this at least three times a day.

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It will get cleaned!

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This is where the learning and memories come in.

Remember that your house is lived in 24 hours a day. Don’t beat yourself up if it gets a little cluttered at times. It happens when you’ve got kids at home- all the time.

– Your laundry will pile up, but that’s a great excuse to do school in your jammies!

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Don’t panic. This is extreme- I’ve got twelve people in the house and one washer and dryer.

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Bailey learning in his jammies

Yes, there are going to be days when your kids have to wear mismatched socks (that happens a lot here) or you will remember the night before church that your son doesn’t have clean pants (that happens a lot here, too). That’s okay. It’ll get done. If my kids are perfectly happy wearing their pajamas, and we’re not going anywhere, that’s fine! Less laundry for me!

– There will be bickering and crying at times (and not always by the kids!!), but love and friendship will win out!

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Notice the mismatched socks!

– There will be days…or weeks that you feel just plain burned out, but flexibility is one of the benefits of homeschooling.

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Take the day off and go somewhere!

Put in a DVD or let your kids follow their own interests for a while. Believe me, that’s learning at its best!

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That’s a salamander she’s holding.

– You’re going to want need to be alone at times, but that’s okay! Everyone needs some downtime. If having some alone time is going to help you be a better parent, by all means, do it! If you can’t actually get away (like me), get creative. Take a few extra minutes in the shower, send the kids outside, or let them watch TV (they’ll be fine).

I didn’t write this post to discourage you, but to encourage you. Homeschooling is such a tremendous blessing and joy, but if you go into it with unrealistic expectations,  you run the risk of disappointment, which homeschooling is not.

What advice would you give to new or prospective homeschoolers?

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Linking up with

http://www.happyandblessedhome.com/2014/01/family-fun-friday-week-54.html

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http://www.soyoucallyourselfahomeschooler.com/2014/02/01/new-homeschool-mothers-journal-2114/

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http://momstheword–livingforhim.blogspot.com/2014/02/self-control-is-our-wall-of-protection.html?m=1

A Mama’s Story

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http://the-life-of-faith.blogspot.com/2014/02/mommy-moments-80.html?m=1

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http://www.hiphomeschoolmoms.com/2014/02/hhms-favorite-posts-hip-homeschool-hop-242014/

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http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/2014/02/anything-goes-link-up-11.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+JoyFocusedLearning+(Joy+Focused+Learning)&m=1

http://www.growinghomeblog.com/growing-homemakers-link-134/

 

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