Posted in Parenting, Resources

2 Things to Do for Yourself on Mother’s Day

As a mother, especially as a homeschooling mother, it can be easy to get frustrated, discouraged, and downright grumpy. With your kids stuck to you most every moment of the day and the homeschool year still dragging on, it can be hard to keep perspective on it all. Why did you decide to be a SAHM or a WAHM? Why on earth did you start homeschooling anyway?

things to do for yourself on mother's day

2 Things to Do for Yourself on Mother’s Day

There are two things I try to do for myself every year and they both involve reading, something I find very difficult to ferret out time to do these days (as a homeschooling WAHM)! Mother’s Day is the perfect time to treat yourself! You can even sit back in a bubble bath and read (my personal favourite) or tell your family you’re going to the local coffee shop for an hour. So, what should you read to get some perspective and stay refreshed?

1) Read a book about parenting. We’re all parents first, regardless of how or where are children are learning. It can be easy to feel like nobody else is going through the same challenges with their kids. Reading a parenting book can remind you that we ALL go through those challenges! And even more important, you’re not a bad parent because your children aren’t perfect Stepford children! Mine sure aren’t. To my horror, one of them even turned into a fairly typical teenager, ack!

Reading a parenting book also reminds me of all those little skills or tricks I have learned in the past and have someone forgotten to use. This includes, listening to my kids and getting their eye contact and/or putting a hand on their shoulder before requesting something of them. It’s easy to be so focused on what needs to be done that we forget about connecting! This year, I’m already reading great parenting books from the parenting section of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

Because I’ve been more of a grumpy mom than a great one recently, I’m starting with From Grumpy to Great.

2) Read a book about homeschooling. Even if you’ve been homeschooling for ten years like me, reading a book about homeschooling can not only refresh you, but give you new ideas. Most of the time I like to read a book I’ve never read before, but sometimes I will pick up old favourites like The Well-Trained Mind and read over their personal stories to give me a boost.

This year, I’m starting with Homeschooling Day by Day.

What books will you make a point of reading this year? What things to do for yourself on Mother’s Day would you recommend? Please let me know in the comments below!

Happy homeschooling and parenting!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Homeschool Information, Resources

Final Day to Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

**This Sale is Over. Watch for More!**
Ultimate Homemaking Bundle**This Bundle is no longer available, but feel free to click here for the links to each ebook to purchase individually.**

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is available for just one more day!

You asked, we listened. We’ve heard from many who want to buy the bundle, but simply don’t have it in the budget until May 1st. Since the sale ends for good on Monday, April 28th at midnight, we’ve come up with a way for you to have your cake and eat it, too. From now until the sale ends on Monday night, you can choose to order the bundle but defer payment until May 1st!

By completing either of these payment forms, you are purchasing the bundle today, but your card will be charged on May 1st, 2014 in the full amount of $39.97 (Kindle version) or $29.97 (PDF version). Once it has been processed, you will receive access to your bundle.

 

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price. Here are the pay now, buy now links:

 

Bought separately, these books would cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97 US!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. Grab yours before it’s gone!

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Learn all about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and all the great books included about homemaking, homeschooling, and more, here!

Remember, this bundle is available for ONE MORE DAY and ends tonight, Monday, April 28th at midnight.

And don’t forget, you get a 15 day risk-free guarantee! If you don’t like it, request a full refund within 15 days.

I hope you enjoy this bundle for your home and homeschool!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

 

Posted in Resources, Reviews

Always Icecream: For girls only – Review

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Always Icecream is an online learning site for girls only, in grades K-8.   Girls earn $coops by participating in learning activities such as practising math, geography, language arts, science, typing and more. They can then use these $coops to have some fun playing games, decorating their very own homes in MiniWorld, and feeding their virtual pets on Pet World.  We received a free membership to Always Icecream in exchange for an honest review 🙂

My 7 year old daughter has been thoroughly enjoying Always Icecream.  It is the first thing she wants to do when we start our homeschool day.  Whenever my daughter is on Always Icecream, she always ensures she has an atlas beside her, so she can identify countries and states for geography…
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She has also started to learn to type using the “Ice Cone Machine”…
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And of course, besides the educational content, she enjoys a lot of “fun stuff” too.  My daughter loves the virtual pets that hatch out of eggs.  She spends quite a bit of time drawing pictures of her special pets as well…

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One of my daughter’s favourite elements of this site is the educational videos.  She has spent endless hours watching how-to videos on cake decorating, and we made two fancy cakes in our homeschool in one week as a result!  I convinced her to take a break for a little while LOL, we can’t do that every week.  And she spends a lot of time drawing along with how-to-draw videos as well.

Another of my daughter’s favourite parts of her Always Icecream experience is the social part.  She is absolutely tickled pink by all the friends she has in her “Neighbourhood”.  She is able to “friend” other girls and chat with them, visit their mini-homes, and shop in their stores for virtual items they have designed.  This setting is optional, as are a lot of things on Always Icecream, through your parent account.  You can turn on and off each category from “Christian Education” (i.e. Bible Quizzes) to “Math Drills”.  You the parent can also award $coops, whether just because, or as a reward for doing her chores if you like.  Once a week you will also get an email updating you on your daughter’s progress.  Or you can view it online anytime – it shows Your Daughter’s Recent Learning Progress, Moderated Communication (who your daughter has chatted with – all communication is moderated), Educational Videos Watched, and Artwork Created in the past 90 days.

My 7 year old daughter sums up Always Icecream in a word, “awesome”.  I know she’ll be using and enjoying this site for years to come!

Always Icecream has a number of payment options: $0.99 US for the first month, $4.99 US per month afterward or $9.98 for 2 months, $29.99 for one year, or a Lifetime membership for $99.99!  Discounts are also available for multiple children.  You can try it absolutely free right now by going to the Always Icecream website and clicking on “Try It Free”.

To see how other daughters of TOS Crewmates liked Always Icecream, click below:

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Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

The Key to Avoiding Homeschool Burnout

I thought a lot about how I avoid homeschool burnout as I went about my daily activities this week. As I chatted with my husband the other day, I realized that, for me, “keeping fresh” centres around one thing – one of the things that I consider to be a wonderful advantage that we have as homeschoolers: Flexibility.

I take advantage of our flexibility as homeschoolers! Flexibility with:

  • My homeschool day. I realized early on, from chatting with many homeschoolers at first, and then from working with my son while my daughter was a toddler, that keeping the hours of a traditional school day wasn’t necessary when homeschooling. We can get so much done in just a few hours, leaving time for all of us to enjoy interests and pursuits together or separately – and not feeling burnt out because we STILL get down-time even though we participate in a lot of outside activities. I also don’t worry about what time the children get up in the morning. Up until recently my daughter would get up by 10am and my son was up by 7am at the latest. Now they both seem to sleep in until around 9am as my son slowly counts down to his teen years. I am certain in future, when each are full blown teenagers, that they will sleep in until closer to noon as their body rhythms dictate, and stay up late, and I am so glad that we will be able to accommodate that in our homeschool.
  • Field Trips! Sometimes we find out about something that would be a great field trip at the last minute, and we just drop everything and go! Sometimes I can just tell we need a change of venue, and dropping everything and going on a field trip is just what is needed. This can be as simple as a walk in our backyard woods or a trip to the park to finish up our homeschooling outside 🙂
  • Scheduling Breaks. Sometimes I just know when I need a break from homeschool or the children need a break from homeschooling, or ALL of us need a break from homeschooling! I like making the announcement “guess what, no school today,” or “guess what, no school this week.” There are so many things that my children are interested in doing that they are rarely bored – from fibre arts like knitting, to drawing, to making chain mail and jewelery, to writing novels and plays, or reading, or just relaxing and playing some video games, there is plenty to do and enjoy.
  • Curriculum. A wise homeschooler I know has said that you should never be a slave to curriculum, it should be YOUR slave 🙂 If I want to cover a subject a different way for a time, I do. For instance, when studying the World Wars, we’re likely to play a lot of the board game “Axis & Allies” to learn about it. In fact, we like using board games as much as possible in our homeschool, not to mention plays and puppet shows! I also don’t worry if we leave things out of the curriculum – with Tapestry of Grace that is expected anyway, as you can’t possible cover everything, it’s like a buffet.

Homeschool doesn’t have to burn you out, acknowledge that you all need a break sometimes, and keep flexible so you enjoy all those unexpected moments that come up and can enjoy your children while you homeschool 🙂

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

TOS Crew Blog Walk: Week 13

This week we visit more blogs of terrific members of the TOS Homeschool Crew!

1. Clark Clan Craziness – Jill has 4 children and homeschools in Idaho.  I love her post on “Cooking Lessons”.
2. Doxazo Prep Academy – Joy is an Eclectic homeschooling mom of four.
3. My Elastic Life
4. Fun in the Sun – Julie is a homeschooling mom raising four boys in Florida, which explains the blog name!
5. A Teaching Heart – Julie homeschools four children and still has her Christmas tree up 🙂
6. Mindful Ramblings – Beautiful photos on this blog 🙂
7. Simple Thoughts – Julie has been homeschooling for seven years and uses a Charlotte Mason approach.
8. Joy in Our Journey.com – I love Julieanne!  She has the most useful Latina Christiana sheets for help and review 🙂
9. Crazy Homeschool Mama – Katey is a runner and Charlotte Mason style homeschooler with four children, aged 11-19.
10. Walking Home – Kelly is a homeschooling mom of three.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,


Posted in Things to Do, Places to Go

Birdwatching, Dartmouth, Jan 23 & Birdwatching Resources

The Young Naturalist’s Club of Nova Scotia invites everyone to join them on a Bird Watching Walk at Sullivan’s Pond, Crichton Street, Dartmouth, on Sunday 23 January at 1pm.  The volunteer leader is Professor Patrick Kelly, an active member of the Nova Scotia Bird Society.

Please email Laura at yncns@yahoo.ca to notify her that you plan to attend the field trip. If it is pouring rain on Sunday, plans may change.

It would be extremely helpful to have BINOCULARS.  Bringing a snack is a good idea. Please dress very warmly.  Here are some toasty tips that the Young Naturalists learned at a Winter Survival presentation by the Department of Natural Resources:

* Ideally, the layer of clothing next to your skin should not be cotton because cotton holds moisture, which makes you cold. Good alternatives are sports tops, fleece or long underwear (often made of polypropolyene, silk, or wool).
* Socks made a huge difference!  Try not to wear cotton socks.  Wear wool socks or synthetic socks that stay warm even when they’re wet.

If you would like to learn more about bird songs, here are two sites
recommended by the Audubon Society:

Guide to North American Bird Songs and Sounds to help you identify bird
songs from simple to complex, with audio recordings.
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http://sirismm.si.edu/testperl/nasongkey.pl
<http://sirismm.si.edu/testperl/nasongkey.pl>

BirdSong Mnemonics: Ways to remember bird songs
<http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=birding&zu=
http%3A%2F%2Fwww.1000plus.com%2FBirdSong%2Fbirdsngb.html>
http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=birding&zu=h
ttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.1000plus.com%2FBirdSong%2Fbirdsngb.html
<http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=birding&zu=
http%3A%2F%2Fwww.1000plus.com%2FBirdSong%2Fbirdsngb.html>

Thanks, Laura, for the links!  I would like to add Dendroica: An Aid to Identifying North American Birds

Love, Luck &
Laughter,


Posted in Homeschool Information

Homeschooling: A Way of Life

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We’re all homeschoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

Homeschooling is a way of life for our family.  It began long before we had children.  My husband and I would chat about how we would raise our future children.  We understood that       every parent is a child’s first teacher (even teachers will tell you this).  We recognized that there were some holes in our public education and chatted about how we would teach our children things after school that they wouldn’t be taught in the classroom.  We were talking about homeschooling after school and didn’t even realize it!  This eventually evolved into homeschooling our two children, and we are now entering our 6th year of homeschooling 🙂

As homeschoolers, our days don’t revolve around the school bus.  We can take  “field trips” when we’ll have the museum or park all to ourselves, and take a vacation on the off-season.  If my daughter emerges from her room in the morning and just *has* to complete 5 works of art before she does anything else, I don’t have to rush her.  When my son gets an idea for a novel, he can write it down immediately.  Even though our children are almost 5 years apart, they are very close and love to spend time with each other.  When they get the urge to perform skits, plays, and puppet shows together all day long, I simply put aside the planned day’s lesson until tomorrow, and enjoy the show.

My two children have a lot of time to pursue interests.  Because I am not managing 20 children in a classroom, it takes much less time to cover everything.  We are also able to have fun learning, using various board games and card games.  After we’re done with our lessons for the day my children normally engage in various pursuits including:

  • fibre arts such as spinning, knitting, and weaving
  • wood-working and whittling
  • art with various media (playdough, clay, paint, pencils, etc)
  • photography
  • bird watching
  • painting miniatures
  • archery

The learning just never stops, because they have developed a wonderful love of learning.  My children have many “aha” moments in the car, at the beach, or in the pool.  Getting out of the pool one day on the weekend, my 6 year old daughter suddenly discovered the delight of homophones (where and wear), and has been discovering more on her own each day.

In addition, my children spend a lot of time with their parents and thus have learned a lot about how to run a household and do repairs.  They help clean the house and each have daily chores.  They do their own laundry, know how to bake and cook from scratch, and take care of our chickens on their own.  My 11 year old has been known to wake us up for his homemade pancakes and bacon since he was 6 years old, or surprise us with chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon.  He also knows how to chop wood and use tools.

Because we homeschool, my children are able to engage in many pursuits outside the home, as well as music lessons from their mother.  They are in various dance, fencing, drama, and musical theatre classes and summer day camps.  My son in particular is heavily involved in the local drama community and has appeared in 6 plays/musicals since January.  He is having so much fun that we are all going to join him and appear in a play together in December 🙂  My son uses his culinary and dramatic talents to serve on teams at our church as well.  We also volunteer as a family weekly for Meals on Wheels.

If you are thinking of homeschooling, or after-school homeschooling, here are a couple of terrific books to read on the subject:

In addition, there are many wonderful resources and reviews on my blog to peruse, as well as Free Homeschooling Resources.  Enjoy!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • A is for Apple {But right now it’s more fun to pick apples!} — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment has a four-year-old who wisely knows she must forgo the worksheets for now and do things with her mother if she’s going to learn.
  • Baby Talks — Amy at Anktangle talks, talks, talks all day long to her preverbal baby, about simple things and complexities. (@anktangle)
  • Baby University: Little Man, My Teacher — The ArtsyMama shares how her relaxed and patient “teaching” at home resulted in a confident little one when she returned to work.
  • Creating a Sensory Garden — A sensory garden has given Marita at Stuff With Thing and her girls practice in math, science, budgeting, fine motor skills, and more. (@leechbabe)
  • Despite the Big Yellow Bus — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante has surprised many friends by sending her kids off to mainstream schooling — but their learning doesn’t stop there. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Down on the Farm — Megan at Purple Dancing Dhalias describes the multitude of skills her children learn by homeschooling on a farm.
  • Early Childhood Education — First Do No Harm — Laura at Laura’s Blog provides an incredible list of tips to facilitate learning at home.
  • Education Starts At Home — Luschka at Diary of a First Child was happy to realize that learning at home isn’t limited to older children. (@lvano)
  • Every Day Is A School Day — Summer at Finding Summer lists the ways her family learns in this poem of a post. (@summerminor)
  • hands on — the grumbles at grumbles and grunts read her little one Sherlock Holmes in utero. She’ll continue to make learning fun now that he’s on this side of the womb. (@thegrumbles)
  • Have a Happy Heart — Erica at ChildOrganics has days of poop on the couch and oatmeal down the pants when sending her children to school seems like the perfect solution — until she regains her perspective. (@childorganics)
  • Home Sweet Home Schooling — Check out CurlyMonkey’s Blog for a photo montage of how her kids are learning anatomy, architecture, and more — all at home. (@curlymonkey_)
  • Homeschooling — My Needs? — Do you homeschool for the kids, or do you do it for you? Read some thoughts from Home Grown Families. (@momtosprouts)
  • Homeschooling: A Way of Life — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia has children who meet learning with enthusiasm and are becoming self-sufficient at a young age. (@UsborneBooksCB)
  • How We Homeschooled — Deb at Living Montessori Now details in retrospect how her two lifelong learners spent their homeschooling years. (@DebChitwood)
  • Learning at Home With a Preschooler and Toddler — Need some inspiration? Michelle at The Parent Vortex shares her tips and resources for lifelong learning. (@TheParentVortex)
  • Learning at Home: Are We All Homeschoolers? — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings incorporates homeschool ideas even though she plans to send her kids to school. (@sunfrog)
  • Learning From Life — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting doesn’t even have to think about how her daughter learns. She just does it. (@mamapoekie)
  • Learning Through Play — What better way to learn at home than through play? Dionna at Code Name: Mama lists the many ways children learn through play, whether they know it or not. (@CodeNameMama)
  • Learning With Savoury Pikelets — Deb at Science@Home breaks down how cooking facilitates learning. (@ScienceMum)
  • Lessons Learned by Bowling (Yes, Bowling) — What life lessons can you learn from bowling? Ask Jessica from This is Worthwhile. (@tisworthwhile)
  • Life is learning, learning is life. — Kristin, guest posting at Janet Fraser — Where birth and feminism intersect, defends the truth that children are hardwired to learn. (@JoyousLearning)
  • life learning… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children found that structured schooling is about teaching, whereas unschooling is about learning, and her family resonated with the latter.
  • Live to Learn Together — RealMommy at True Confessions of a Real Mommy knows that children learn in all different styles, so only one-on-one attention can do the trick.
  • Natural Parenting and the Working Mom — Jenny from Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares how natural parenting in the Philippines — and learning at home — includes “yayas” (nannies). (@crazydigger)
  • Not Back to School: How We Learn at Home — Denise at This Holistic Life has learned to describe what unschooling is, rather than what it isn’t.
  • Our Learning Curve — Andrea of Ella-Bean & Co. has a special bookshelf set up where her daughter can explore the world on her own terms.
  • School at Our House — Where is learning happening at Kellie at Our Mindful Life’s house? It is pouring all over the floor. It is digging down deep in the earth. It is everywhere!
  • Schooling Three Little Piggies — Despite the mess and the chaos, Melissa at White Noise lets her children into the kitchen.
  • SuperMom versus The Comic Books of Doom! — Mommy Soup at Cream of Mommy Soup realized that if “getting the kids to read” was the goal, it didn’t matter what the kids read. (@mommysoup)
  • The joy of learning at home — Heather at Life, Gluten Free has a daughter who sees magic in the stars and understands the honeybees. (@lifeglutenfree)
  • those who can’t teach — Do you need a superiority complex to homeschool? Stefanie at Very, Very Fine wonders.
  • Too lazy to unschool? — If unschoolers aren’t lazy, Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders if she’s too lazy to live her dream of free-form education. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • Unschooling the School of Me — Rachael at The Variegated Life considers what she’s teaching her son about work as a work-at-home mother — and the extreme work ethic she doesn’t want him to emulate. (@RachaelNevins)
  • What We Do All Day — Alison at BluebirdMama discovered that it’s easier than she thought it would be to quantify how her child learns all day. (@childbearing)
  • Who taught that kid ‘exoskeleton’? — Nervous about how you will facilitate learning at home? Don’t be – they will absorb things on their own! Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma shares her story. (@kitchenwitch)