Sunday, January 20, 2019

Homeschooling with a toddler

 I have a very active 2.5 year old son, Z. He loves to be involved in our learning time. Story time means pulling the book out of my hands and possible throwing it. Going over our lessons means keeping him busy with things to 'write'. I've thought about doing busy boxes...I just don't seem to have time to put them together (I do plan on making some up this summer for next school year).

He's a very good little boy, he just wants to have things to play with and still be around us. I've done blocks, but they don't seem to hold his interest for long periods of time. I will add in all honesty I don't want huge clean up messes. Well when I was looking for activity ideas for Christmas I came across this neat little table from Simplay3. I really liked how he had two sections to have playtime in. I also wanted this for indoor play. We've used it with play doh sets as a table and he really liked it. I also found water beads. I've never used these before, but they are fantastic! Not only did Z love them, but the older two C and M loved them too. Especially when we added them to their marble maze toy Q-Ba-Maze. I'll be honest my kids had rarely touched the maze toy and I hadn't pulled it out since Z became mobile because I obviously didn't want marbles lying around the house. I still don't trust Z with marbles, so we used these water beads and they kids had so much fun! They ended up enjoying them so much I went ahead and used some gift cards from Christmas and order a couple to add on sets. While they were building separately and then combining their work I was seeing a number of ideas about using these in a co-op class!

I added the links to everything I mentioned! I do receive compensation if you buy through one of the links I supplied here today. 

I would love to hear from any of you with other great ideas to keep little hands busy during the school day! Or if you decide to try water beads with a maze toy! Love to hear what you think!

Monday, January 14, 2019

What I've been up to!

Last week I went over to Target and spotted Kristina McMorris' new book Sold On Monday! I love Kristina's books and the little I know of this story is it is based on a picture. I know exactly what picture inspired this novel. I haven't had a chance to crack it open yet (story of my life). I want to make reading, or more so reading books for my enjoyment as part of my New Years resolution. I have really missed reading fiction and missed blogging about books. I will definitely post a review once I get a chance to read it. 

I also mentioned I've been trying to spend more of my time crocheting as well. I love crocheting and I find it very relaxing. I recently finished two small baby blankets. One I'm keeping for my stash. They always make sure wonderful gifts, but they tend to take awhile. I used to be great about having a few blankets, booties and hats on hand for gifts. Sometimes I'll just add a hat or pair of booties or sometimes put together a whole set. The other blanket I finished I made for a friend who is about to have a baby girl. I went to add the boarder to it last night and I couldn't find the actual pattern. I had planned on also adding the link to it. I'll keep going through my Pinterest account to see if I can't find the right pattern. I ended up just single crocheting around the entire blanket and leaving it as is. It looks cute, just not as cute as I would have liked. Plus she's having her baby tomorrow so I am out of time!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Back at it!

Well we officially started back homeschooling. We ended up taking off way more time than I had planned to, but the truth was we needed a break. I would also like to add we needed a reboot of our curriculum, but I can't say I did much with that. It's not to say everything wasn't working. Most things were. I will say science...oh science how you always seem to allude us. That is our biggest homeschool hurdle. I will say I took a look over at the Simply Charlotte Mason website and printed out their living books list for science books. I spent some time getting a number of the books from our local library before we started back. We had a three day school week and we read two of the books from the science grade 4-6 list. I'll be honest and say my kids enjoyed them. Usually when I read science they get this glazed over look in their eyes. I am not CM homeschooler, more eclectic if I'm being honest, but I do love living books! We've been reading landmarks with our history spine and the kids love them. I think we will continue reading through the suggested science books.
For Christmas, I made sure little Z received many gifts to help keep his little hands and mind occupied while we homeschool. Now he is very good at playing on his own. He knows C and M will play with him as soon as they have the opportunity (and honestly sometimes in the hopes of playing with him may lead to a break). So far, (for the whole three days we've been back) he's been really good. I was a bit nervous since he had so much attention over the Christmas break. I do think the new toys helped. I didn't pull some of them out of their boxes until this week. I also cleaned out his toy room and put some toys upstairs and I'm hoping to bring 'new to him' toys down when needed. 

I am planning on being better about arts/crafts. The kids love them and I don't mind pulling things out to do. The problem I have--is I always feel so behind. I'm not even sure who I feel I'm behind! We do keep busy with a co-op once a week, but the kids are doing great with their studies! One of the reasons I wanted to homeschool, was so my kids had more time with hands on...and yet we rarely do anything hands on. Again, one of the things I'm hoping to reboot for homeschool!
Well, I have more to add like I got a new book from Target I'm super excited to dive into plus I was going to share my crochet blanket I'm working on, but this will have to wait. I have potatoes in the oven and I need to get the pork chops started.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year New Me!

As I mentioned awhile back, I want to make sure I'm blogging a bit more. I'm still not blogging as much as I would really like to be, but today is New Years Day and so I thought here is my opportunity to kick start my blog back up!

I had promised pictures of our new built ins for our new home and so I decided this is where I would start. This first picture shows off some of my beautiful built ins with most of our current homeschool book library. I have the younger years packed up for our little man Z. Down below I keep games, art supplies, and other homeschool odds and ends. In our new home I don't have a set school room.

I did think about using our dinning room as our homeschool room, but honestly we kinda homeschool all over the house and this built in keeps stuff organized and just out of reach for Z (he's 2 and into everything).

I have some space to add more books and my husband did use some of the space. We have an office with built ins for him, but our oldest daughter moved back in with us and she is currently using that room. So his books are here and in our upstairs built ins until he gets his office.

This second built in is in our upstairs hallway. I'm using these shelves for my books and the last two my husband is using. I have more books underneath, in my bedroom closet and bedroom nightstand. Eventually they'll all be here. When we moved I donated well over 100 books. It wasn't the easiest thing to do! I wanted to keep so many of them, but mostly it was to be a book hoarder. The truth was I donated books I was pretty sure I wasn't ever going to read. I want our home to look nice and have space for me to bring in more books that I really do believe I'll read.

I've been better about not bringing in too many books for myself, but man have I loaded up on books for my kids! I haven't even shown you the books on their bedroom bookcases! It's not that bad, but we definitely have a lot of books. And yes there is a pile of library books on the shelf, too!

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Growing a Homeschool Mom

Last time I posted, I mentioned that I am a part of a Mother's Culture club. I really love this time with these other moms! I'll be honest with you and tell you last week I thought about throwing in the towel and stop homeschooling. I am so thankful for my friends who listened to me and then encouraged me.  It felt good to vent and not be told, "just send them to school". Even if you aren't a homeschool mom it is such a reminder of the importance of good friendships.

Ok, so back to the point of my post! I realized I mentioned my group, but failed to mention any of the books we've read. Here are the books we've read together and had some great conversations about.


As the popularity of William Bennett's Book of Virtues attests, parents are turning more and more to children's literature to help instill values in their kids. Now, in this elegantly written and passionate book, Vigen Guroian provides the perfect complement to books such as Bennett's, offering parents and teachers a much-needed roadmap to some of our finest children's stories.

Guroian illuminates the complex ways in which fairy tales and fantasies educate the moral imagination from earliest childhood. Examining a wide range of stories—from "Pinocchio" and "The Little Mermaid" to "Charlotte's Web," "The Velveteen Rabbit," "The Wind in the Willows," and the "Chronicles of Narnia"—he argues that these tales capture the meaning of morality through vivid depictions of the struggle between good and evil, in which characters must make difficult choices between right and wrong, or heroes and villains contest the very fate of imaginary worlds. Character and the virtues are depicted compellingly in these stories; the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. We are made to face the unvarnished truth about ourselves, and what kind of people we want to be. 
Throughout, Guroian highlights the classical moral virtues such as courage, goodness, and honesty, especially as they are understood in traditional Christianity. At the same time, he so persuasively evokes the enduring charm of these familiar works that many readers will be inspired to reread their favorites and explore those they may have missed.


Have you fallen into a routine of checking boxes? Do you wonder why you don't have time to focus on building your children's character and love of learning?
That can change.
Better Together teaches you how to design a part of your homeschool day where the entire family can learn together. This time, known as "Morning Time,” has exploded in popularity since its inclusion in Sarah Mackenzie's bestseller Teaching From Rest. Now homeschool mom and former teacher Pam Barnhill breaks down the practice for every homeschooler.

Inside you'll discover:
  • Why every family can benefit from Morning Time - no matter what homeschooling method they use.
  • The secret to building relationships by delighting in learning together.
  • Practical tips for a successful Morning Time.
  • Resources, book lists, and ideas. You will return to our selections again and again.
  • Examples and interviews from moms showing how it looks in their homes.
Better Together is the indispensable guide to creating a time in your day to focus on the things that matter most in your homeschool.


It was back in the 1980's when Cindy Rollins, then a new mom in search of the best ways to teach her baby son, first heard about homeschooling. Thirty years and nine children later, Cindy has become a popular blogger, podcaster, and award-winning teacher. This is her story. It's a story of big families and cross-country moves and small-town living. It's about great books and morning times and nursery rhymes. It's the story of a dedicated mother's journey toward the Truth and the family she brought along with her.


Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living.
Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, most education today falls short of this goal.
For the Children's Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience.
For the Children's Sake will benefit parents and teachers in any educational setting-homeschooling, public school, or private school.


Narration, the art of telling, has been used as a pedagogical tool since ancient times. Over one hundred years ago, Charlotte Mason methodized narration and implemented it in scores of schools in Great Britain. Over the past few decades, educators in the US, mostly in home schools, have followed her guidelines with outstanding results.

This book discusses the theory behind the use of narration and then walks through the process from beginning to end, to show how simply "telling" is the foundation for higher-level thinking and writing.

While narration has grown popular among homeschoolers, it also works well in the classroom. In this book, you will find sample narrations and many resources to help you use narration with your students in any setting. If you've been wanting to try narration, but haven't felt confident enough to rely on an unfamiliar method, this book will give you the tools that you need to make the process easier.

People are narrating every day, and this book will show you how to make that natural activity a vital part of education that enhances children's relationship with knowledge and allows them to grow into skilled communicators.

So these are the books we've been reading together and talking about. We have really learned a  great deal about homeschooling, but even how to be better mothers. I haven't reviewed any of these books, but I did give them all five star ratings on GoodReads.