My Self Control

I really really really can’t wait for school to start…even though i have so much to do.  I find it ironic that our next main topic of study is Self Control.  Why?  Because I am so far behind in everything that I need to get done!  Between cheer and football season, the crochet projects I’ve promised to people, the sewing projects I’ve promised to people, getting ready for the Back to School Back Pack Bash at my church, catching up on my grading, and then the regular Mommy chores…I am overwhelmed and out of discipline.

Do you ever get that way?  I am over-committed, on a regular basis.  And I need to get back in control because Children in Action is starting in September and I’m not ready for that either!!!!!

So how am I going to emphasize self control when I don’t have it????  First things first…I need to get back into a school routine.  And I have the bones of that done….I just need to really emphasize being disciplined.  I kept a fairly tight schedule yesterday and Barbie noticed.  But I got more done yesterday then I did last week!  I’m working on waking up early as well.  So we will be running a tight ship during cheer and football season so that I can get everything done.

Here is my schedule for school…Kind of;)

I’ll be waking up at 5:30 am: praying, stumbling to the laundry room to start the first load of laundry, grabbing a cup of coffee (or green tea) and then going to do my morning devotion.  Once finished, I’ll start my second load of laundry for the day, go wake up the kids, and then work out. (Yes, I’m trying it again!  I’ve stuck with it for 3 weeks this time!!!)

Once the girls are up and going, I leave them in charge for the half hour it takes me to shower.  They will make sure the boys are ready for the day and they are ready for the day.

Then I’ll cook breakfast.  We’ll have breakfast while I’m reading a book to them.  Our first biography this year will be about Adoniram Judson (he was a missionary in Burma).

We’ll finish eating and doing our kitchen chores then head to the living room for our Family Wisdom Search.  Quick note on our Kitchen chores.  Every one has their own chores and I set the timer for 15 minutes.  While they are picking up the kitchen, I’m folding and then starting a new load of laundry.  They all come and get their pile of clothes when I call them. Our Wisdom Search we only do for about 15 minutes as well.

Then on to our Wisdom Booklet, Music, and their Project Work.  While they are working their projects, I’ll be cooking our main meal of the day.  We all eat together, do Kitchen chores, and then I’ll have about 15 minutes on the computer to check facebook while they are being silly and goofing. 😉  Or arguing with each other, depending on the day. 😉

Next is English.  Barbie is completely independent in this except for grading.  BAM! and Kissy are on the same level, and the boys are all on the same level.  So I will take turns teaching while the groups are doing independent work.  Because of me teaching – this will be 1/2 hour.  This will also give them time to study for spelling, vocabulary, and dictation quizzes.  How they do on their quizzes will determine if they move up a minor level or not. 😉

And then Math for the kids – this is pretty much independent and gives me time to grade the work they have done so far…logging it for the children that have report cards. (If we study math that week as a school, the kids will have a break during this time)

After Math, the boys have a break.  They can choose to work on what they haven’t finished school wise or their chores.  But let’s be honest…they’ll play!!!!  The girls will be taking turns doing typing lessons.  On days they don’t have typing, they have the same choices as the boys (except for Barbie…she has SAT prep class).  What will I be doing?  Working on my “to do” list of the day.

Now it’s Super Clean Time.  We all work together cleaning one room of the house.  We get as much done as we can in 1/2 hour.  The kids hate this time…but they like it better than doing it individually.  We power through!!!!!

Then the girls will do their Independent Science while the boys take turns playing on the computer.  (If we have science as a school that week, the girls will not have science).  I will be working more on my “to do” list!  After about 1/2 hour everyone has free time!  Me too!!!!  This is when I get to crochet, sew, or read!    Then I’ll get our snack ready, and pre prepare anything we need for dinner.  We’ll have a snack…clean up real quick, and get ready for football!

When we all get home, we take turns showering, and eating.  We are doing a family wisdom search at that time as well!  I will tuck all the kids in…and then read myself to sleep!

After looking at all of that, do you see why I need self control??????

If I don’t, I will easily throw everything that needs to be done and play on facebook or computer games all day.  It’s way too easy to do!!!!!

Reading all of that made me tired!!!!  And it’s time for me to start cooking!  Gotta get on the schedule!  Have a blessed day all!!!!

 

Homeschool 101: Planning

Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty as they say.  It’s time to really talk about how to schedule.  *****WARNING:  FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL HOMESCHOOLS!******

In fact, you may read this and think, “In a Pig’s Eye!”.  Or you may read this and think, I’ll take this idea or this idea and use it, but the rest of it, no way!

The simple fact is, no two homeschools look-alike.  No two homes look-alike.  I have a friend, she came over for dinner the other night in fact.  She has 6 children, just like I do.  But she is not real big on schedules.  She knows what she would like to get accomplished, but for the most part, she follows her children in what they want to learn…and the entire family just digs in and has at it!  And it works for her….wonderfully!!!!!  Her children are happy, they have a love for learning, and they ARE learning!  Tremendously!

My family can not do this (and my friend and I actually had a conversation about this).  I’ve tried the no scheduling thing….I clean and the kids play legos!  That doesn’t work for me.  So I schedule.  I OVERschedule.  I’m trying to do better on this, by the way.  Leaving more room for relaxation and play.  In fact, this year I bought several games for school – just don’t tell the kids they are learning games, OK?????

You have several options for scheduling (which I believe I’ve mentioned).  You can school year round.  You can school only when the public schools are in session.  You can do a Sabbath schedule.  I even ran across someone who does a monthly schedule (they school for four weeks and break for one)!

Papi and I have come to the conclusion that we prefer the Sabbath Schedule.  We school for 6 weeks, then take a week off.  We do that six times, with several weeks off during Christmas (this year we are actually taking off the entire month of December). This actually gives us a 7 week Summer Jubilee!!!!

Once you’ve figured out about what your schedule is going to look like, you can actually plan it out.  I have done the planning for the entire year before….but it really doesn’t work for me.  I get very stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan….especially if someone is running behind on something.  So this year I have a NEW PLAN.  You ready?  It’s pretty revolutionary (tongue in cheek).  I’m going to only plan for each Unit.  In other words, in the week I have off….I’ll plan in general for what we will do the next 6 weeks – and do more intense planning the Friday before we actually do that week.  Did I confuse you?  Ok – let me break it down. 😉

I have a planner.  I know what I want to get accomplished for the 6 weeks.  I want to go through the entire Wisdom Booklet and the kids to get through the Language Arts that goes with the Wisdom Booklet.  AND I want them to work in Math, Keyboarding (for the girls), and Science (for the girls).  So this will be what my scheduling looks like.  During Sabbath week I will read thru the Wisdom Booklet and plan what week we are doing certain things.

So I will have a title each week for Scripture/Music, Resources (that’s what we are working on in the WB), Projects, Additional Studies (Language Arts, Math, Keyboarding, and Science) and Other (this is for Service Projects, play dates, other stuff that is going to be done that week).

I will read thru my Wisdom Booklet, making special notes of supplies I might need to purchase for each week, Picking Memory Verses we will be working on, researching books to pick up at the library and finding fun hands-on projects to drive the points home.  I will write it all down in pencil in my planning book in my “Notes” section.  I will check where everyone is in Math, Keyboarding, and Science and decide where I would like them to be by the end of the unit.  If they need something particular for a science project, then I will put that down in my “to buy” section as well.  Believe it or not, even with 6 kids…this usually only takes me a couple of hours.  I easily get this done during the first two days of our Sabbath break.  If I need something I know that I can’t get at the local market, i’ll order it (if budget allows) right away.

So within a couple of hours, I have a more specific idea of what is going to happen in the next 6 weeks.  Then each week (Friday or Saturday), Papi and I take about 1/2 hour together and really go thru what we will be doing the next week.  We scan through everything, we even plan our family devotions out for the week so that they reflect our focus for the week.  We break down what we will be doing each day, including family projects, individual projects, and final quizzes.  After that, I take about 1/2 hour to get any extra stuff set up that I need to….items for crafts, maybe a poster board with our Character Focus and goal or if we will have an extra focus.  Then I’ll go through their Math, Keyboarding, and Science, and write what I would like them to accomplish for the entire week.  And finally, I write down the plan for each day in Language Arts.  This will take me about 1 to 2 hours.  Sometimes I break it into 2 days, just for my sanity. 🙂

Now I want to warn you.  And this is something that I really need you to hear.  So If I’ve said it before, it bears repeating.  Homeschool is NOT Public School at home.  Let me say it again….Homeschool is NOT Public School at home!  Please, as you are making your day-to-day schedule, don’t make your kids work for 8+ hours.  They don’t need to do so!  Public school is 8 hours because they have 28 kids in a class. Several years ago I read several books by Charlotte Mason and I truly LOVE the way she does school.  NO CLASS should be longer than 15 minutes.  Except math, and that should only be 30 minutes.

I don’t have the minute to minute schedule made out for next school year, yet, because things have changed A LOT in the last couple of months.  But I do have an idea of what a day MIGHT look like, so I’ll give you a little glimpse in the mind of this crazy Homeschool Mama.

We will start school at 10 am.  We will work in our Wisdom Booklet (together) for about an hour.  But….WAIT….you just said no more than 15 minutes.  You are right.  I did.  We will work on music for about 10 minutes.  Then we will be taking turns reading in whatever resource.  Some weeks that will be in Greek, or really working on tearing apart our scripture.  It could be that we’ll be working in History or Geography or Anatomy.  It really depends on that Wisdom Booklet. We read together, someone reading, taking turns.  So the older kids are reading to the younger, and the younger are working on their reading skills.  I will also be asking questions.  And we will get up for a cleaning stretch midway…so we won’t be sitting for long!  At 11 am, I will assign everyone their projects for the week on Monday and they will all scatter into different rooms to work on them. They will work for about an hour, I’ll be making lunch and answering questions all the while.  They get 45 minutes for lunch, then we do a 15 minute pick up and we’re at it again.  I’m not really sure how it will go from 1 – 2 but I know that each kid will have math for 30 minutes every day.  Some days kids will be working in Keyboarding or Science for 15 minutes.  And everyone will have to work in Language Arts for at least 15 minutes per day.  I have to work out how I’m going to do it, and it really depends on how their Language Arts Levels work out.  I already know that Smarty Pants and Eyes are in the same level, I haven’t tested the other four yet…that’s on my “to do” list.

Then that’s it!  Anything they need to work on after that is their choice (teaching responsibility and diligence is really important).  I want my kids to be independent learners.  It’s important to me that they work independently successfully.  I know for sure all of the kids will want to go out and play for a little bit, until it starts to rain at least.  Then everyone will come in and continue to work on anything they need to finish….”Homework” if you will.  A lot of times the older girls will take their work into the front yard and do their workbooks or projects outside while waiting for the neighborhood kids to get home from school.  Then they put them in my trunk while they talk to their friends.  I know this because after their friends have had a snack and a drink, played some basketball or soccer, talked a little,  and gone home, the girls forget their books in the trunk and can’t find them the next day!!!!!

I always keep in mind that the goals I have for them are just that…goals.  And not every goal is reached.  That’s important.  As long as the kids are working hard and practicing diligence, I’m ok if we don’t necessarily reach our goals.

I hope this helps a little.  If you are having trouble scheduling, please contact me….I am seriously the scheduling Queen and can help you get it set up.  In fact I have ANOTHER friend (wow – 2 – it’s some kind of record!) that I am actually going to help her plan out her “minute by minute” schedule and how to implement it.  She’s been homeschooling for awhile and is sick to death of fighting with her son and math for 4 hours a day!  (No one is winning and I feel her pain). I’ll be happy to help you as well!

 

Traveling with the Horde Day 1

So Papi and I got this crazy idea to have an actual VACATION instead of a Stay-cation. Crazy, right?????  After discussing it thoroughly back in February, we decided to take the kids to the ATI Bible Conference in Nashville, TN.  We paid for the conference, put money aside for travel and for food, and talked about driving all night Friday night and arriving 13 hours later in Nashville.  Yep.  Our equation was this….

1 Truck + 6 kids + 2 very tired adults + 800 miles = Fun Vacation.

Crazier, right????

Up until the week before we were leaving, I believed that was the plan.  Papi would work all day Friday, get home about 4:30 pm (a little early), we would load up the truck, pack some sandwiches, and away we would go.  I would need food for that evening and a movie to put them asleep.  We would take turns driving (let’s be honest, he would drive almost all of it) and hit there about 8 am.  Then we would wander around Nashville until check in at 3 pm.

The week before the conference, Papi and I actually talked about whether this plan would actually work.  We decided it wouldn’t.  So Papi decided we would leave about 11 pm.  The kids would sleep.  We would take turns driving (him driving almost all of it) and get to the hotel in Nashville at about 1 pm on Saturday completely exhausted.  This would take more creativity on my part, because I would need things to keep the kids occupied during the times they were awake.  So I started pinning all sorts of things on pinterest to entertain them, mainly because they weren’t allowed to bring Kindles, mp3’s, cell phones, or anything electronic.

On Tuesday, i think, Papi decided we were going to stay in a hotel in Georgia on Friday night.  The new plan (the one that actually kind of happened) was that Papi would work 1/2 day on Friday, get home around lunch.  Then we would eat lunch, pack the truck, and head to Georgia.  On Saturday we would make the rest of the journey from Georgia to Tennessee.

So Papi worked 1/2 day, and we packed up the truck….

traveling with kids

 

We finished packing early, and decided to get a head start.  Stopping at Sam’s to get gas, Walmart to stock up on goodies, and McDonald’s for lunch.  We were off!

After about an hour, we hit Yeehaw Jct.  YES, there is a place called Yeehaw Jct.  I even photographed the proof….

Yeehaw Jct

I rewarded the kids for being good.  Each of them got a poker chip.  (Yes, it was a poker chip, no we weren’t playing poker).    We traveled another hour with the kids looking at the incorrect maps I printed for them and trying to figure out where we were.  And we hit Orlando.

Orlando

And the kids each got another token.  But by now, the natives were getting restless….

Restless Natives

(No, Barbie is not picking her nose)….And I started the bidding war.  Each of them had tokens rewarded for good behavior.  Being over and above nice got extra tokens.  They were allowed to bid on picking an activity.  I think Eyes won the first one, picking to play a movie (He paid 2 tokens I think).  So we slipped in one of the Star Wars movies and had a semi quiet ride for the next couple of hours (not counting the blasters going off in the background).  Each hour the first day, each kid earned a token.  We were on a ROLL!!!!! (Bonus was I got to work on the baby blanket I’ve been crocheting for a baby that was due ANYDAY!!!!!Baby Blanket

Two hours went by, each kid had earned 2 tokens, and Barbie won the next bid, electing to play her favorite Christian CD’s for the next hour.  And we had then reached our destination…somewhere in Georgia…..

Georgia on my Mind

 

We hit the Huddle House for dinner (that was a new experience for me) and fell exhausted into bed.  Who knew that driving that far could make you exhausted when you weren’t even driving?????

Saturday Baking Day

1 Corinthians 5:6 and 7 Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

Do you allow your children to have sleepovers? We have for quite some time, but there are days that I think that may have been a bad idea. I remember one particular sleepover several years ago.  Barbie had come home and I was drowsily napping on the couch.   At around 8:30 pm I received a phone call from my daughter’s friend’s mother, who was a very good friend of mine. She didn’t call just to gab, and I could tell this because her opening remark was, “Are you sitting down?” I sleepily answered yes, not aware that my safe little cocoon of peace was about to be blown to bits. She, not so calmly, related that our beautiful daughters (her’s was 9 and Barbie was 10) had been playing a game the night before, and not one we would have approved of. They had been playing and somehow sex came into the equation. We weren’t sure of the exact issue, but knew (through some papers they had conveniently written on) that things had progressed in their game somewhat further then either one of us was comfortable with. We both agreed that something had to be done, but that as both girls were sleeping, we would tackle it in the morning and then confer later.
The next morning I talked to my daughter and after some cajoling, she told me that they had been pretending to have sex (not with each other) and that it had been intermixed with several other games. I then called my friend and relayed what I had been told. This talking to our respective daughters and then to each other by phone went on for a good part of the day. By noon or so, we were both confident that nothing too serious had gone on, mostly just some play that is a natural part of development. We were concerned, however; with where they had gotten the idea from. I was fairly confident that it had come from the other girl, because my daughter is rarely unsupervised by a trusted adult, and the other girl goes to public school. Imagine my surprise when the fact was revealed that MY daughter had been the one starting the play. It was HER idea. I was shocked, and horrified, and not just a little angry.
I immediately went to my daughter and asked where she got the idea from. Imagine how shocked I was when she told me it was from one of MY books. I’m an avid and prolific reader, and will read anything put in front of me. She inherited that (a good thing) and had picked up a couple of romance books that I had received from someone. I didn’t even realize she had them, let alone that she had read them.
Here I was, feeling ever so superior, and it had been ME all along. I had brought the bad influence into my home, and it had corrupted my daughter and her friend. Like yeast added to a batch of dough, it had worked its way throughout my home and expanded on to another home.

Obviously, this was quite some time ago, but it seems the lesson has still not been learned – by ME!  I just recently again went through all of the music in the house and got rid of anything that I wouldn’t want Jesus hearing.  I got rid of any videos that I wouldn’t want the kids watching.  I’m waiting for Papi to go through any video games with me.  And then i will, yet again, go through the books. 😦

It’s pervasive, and sneaky,  It creeps in when you’re not looking – at least it seems that way. So

stop

Make it a point today to really look around your home. Look at what you and your children watch on tv, play on the computer, listen to on the radio, and yes, even read. Are you bringing yeast into the dough of your home? Is it time to get rid of some old things or habits that you are holding on to? It is not just you that the yeast is corrupting, it is spreading to someone you love.  Stop the yeast from spreading.  Get it all out.