To the New Homeschool Mom

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If this will be your first year as a homeschooling mom, my heart goes out to you. That first year or two can feel so incredibly overwhelming, and I wish every single mom had an experienced homeschooling mom to mentor her through those years.

To the New Homeschool Mom...you don't have to feel overwhelmed!

I went into homeschooling my children feeling very prepared. After all, I was homeschooled k-12th grade myself and I thought I knew what homeschooling days looked like. However, I must say they look totally different from the perspective of being the teacher versus the student. As the teacher, doubts quickly arise and you wonder if you are making wise choices for your child or ones that will hamper their education.

As parents we only want the very best for our children. We don’t want our children to fall behind. We don’t want them to not be reading when it seems like all the other 5 year olds around them are. So, naturally, we push and encourage, and spend hours reading reviews to find the perfect curriculum for kindergarten.

Kindergarten back to homeschool pictures!

The thing is, what if your child doesn’t need a fancy curriculum for kindergarten? What if it could actually do more harm than good?

I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple during the pre-k and kindergarten years. That actually goes into first grade as well.

Since I have six children, I’m now at the point that my little ones want to do a workbook because they see the older ones doing schoolwork, and they want to feel involved. So I get them simple workbooks to keep my pre-k children busy. Some of the books I’ve used are:

Rod and Staff About Three Set 

Horizon’s Preschool Book One and Two (I never get all the extra stuff that goes along with this, and the teacher’s guide is totally not needed.).

Simple workbooks from Costco (they are cheaper, but honestly not my favorite).

That is just to fill in for those times when all the other children are sitting at the table, and they want to be there as well.

My idea of kindergarten “curriculum” is one filled with snuggles on the couch while mom reads books, dancing around the house to classical music, finger painting at the table, dot markers with an activity book,  stickers and paper, scissors and paper to cut all sorts of shapes out, and plenty of outdoor time for play and nature exploration.

Preschool years are so much fun!

Learning can happen naturally at this age. Yes, the ABC’s need to be taught, but it doesn’t have to take 3 hours every day with worksheets and a $400 curriculum package. Instead it can happen while they help you bake and you sing the ABC song with them. Numbers just seem to be learned naturally, and usually by the time they are ready for a kindergarten math book, they know how to count and can write the numbers with help. But what if they’re not ready? Don’t stress about it. Give it some time and they will most likely come around!

While the pressure just seems to keep increasing that children should learn how to read in kindergarten, most of my children have been 7 before they are actually reading. Some of my children have been close to 8, but they are never “behind” because once they take off reading, watch out! I can barely keep them out of books and they devour everything they can get their hands on!

We use All About Reading to learn how to read, and I’ve been so thankful for this easy to use curriculum. I’ll confess, I really dislike teaching children to read. It’s a tedious job that requires a lot of patience as they s-l-o-w-l-y sound out each word. But then when you see it all start to click, what a joyous day!

My preschool age child loves to use the Pre-Reading level with All About Reading!

Right now you can follow along the All About Learning Blog as they offer a free series of cut and paste alphabet crafts for preschoolers.
ABC Crafts

If you are wanting an actual curriculum for pre-school and kindergarten age, I have two that I would highly recommend.

The Heart of Dakota Little Hands to Heaven is a really sweet book for children ages 2-5.

Little Hearts for His Glory is for kindergarten age, for children 5-7.

A Year of Playing Skillfully – This is an investment, but it’s one that would be worth it if you have several children close together! I stumbled across this company at one of the homeschool conventions we attended this spring with our businesses. We were set up very close to them, and my 7 year old daughter couldn’t stay away from their booth! She was totally in love with all of the hands on activities they had there, and I was so impressed with the beautiful pictures and lovely ideas that this curriculum has. You can actually use it for children ages 3-7.

So what about first grade? It sounds nice to keep it simple during the itty bitty years, but surely you have to get serious when first grade rolls around, right?

The only thing I do in first grade is reading, math, and handwriting. That’s it. And then I read to them whenever I can. Besides that I let them play, build legos, play dolls, be outside, and enjoy life as a child. The time for more serious book work is coming, but I’ve found that’s all they really need at this point. Younger children in a larger family might naturally pick up some history or science if you are reading it to the older ones, but don’t feel like you need a fancy science program. The one year I tried using BJU science for a first grader it was almost ridiculously simple and not worth our time.

 

If you want to spend the early years teaching practical life skills that would set a solid foundation for the rest of their life, check out Skill Trek. It’s a brand new program that just came out, and I’m excited to use it this year for all of my children! It goes through the teen years, but starts in Pre-K and has simple life skills for children to work on. Some of these life skills we just forget about teaching, so it’s nice to have it all laid out.

Learning happens in real life so immerse yourself and your children in it. Get off Facebook, shut the computer for awhile, turn off the TV, and live life. It will do your child a world of good if you bake cookies with them, read stories to them like Billy and Blaze, and then maybe set up the sprinkler for them to run around in.

Blessings on your new school year mama. It’s all going to be ok. Take a deep breath, and then go pull out a book and read to them. You will be amazed over how awesome the year will go if you focus on relationships over bookwork.

 

 

Modest Monday and a Link Up!

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I know I just showed this dress on a Modest Monday a few weeks ago, but it was so easy to just grab it and go for church that I wore it again this Sunday! Right now most of my clothes are still packed up, so all my Halftees are in a box somewhere. This dress didn’t need anything special, so I went with it.

We have been working on getting our wood floors finished this past week. I’ve been in super old clothes while we have been staining the floors, but thankfully for the most part they are turning out great! We had one stain appear on the floor after we put the stain down, so we are getting a professional to come in and see if they can fix that spot. We start the many coats of polyurethane this week, that should be an adventure! I’m so grateful for my husband’s experience with wood (he was a cabinet maker for 6 years) which is helping us save money!

I’m also thankful for my flexi clips. I’ve worn one literally every day for weeks now, as they have been fantastic about keeping my hair out of paint, stain, and out of the way while we took wallpaper down.

I’ve been working on getting our school room set up in our basement, so I’m excited about getting the last of my new books in the mail and for us to get started soon!

What I Wore

Dress – Rose Floral Maxi Dress 

Shoes – Zulily

Flexi Clip – Lilla Rose

Link Up Time!

Please feel free to share posts about anything concerning being a godly, feminine woman. Topics include: modesty, being a wife, mother, homeschooler, homemaker, cooking, sewing, etc.

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Do Not Bow To The Gender Idol

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Somewhere along the way it has become a crime to say there are inherent differences between a man and a woman.

And it has happened in my lifetime.

Another evidence of this just recently cropped up in the news. A senior engineer from Google wrote a company memo suggesting, among other things, “that men and women biologically differ in many ways.” He went on to suggest that these biological differences, though small, contribute to different strengths and weaknesses in men and women.

He said that “women on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things…These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas.”

This man ended up being fired by Google for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

What a sad world we live in.

For centuries it was a given that there are clear differences between men and women that contribute to clear differences in their strengths and weaknesses. Now it’s considered shameful to acknowledge this. Now everyone must bow before the altar of gender equality. This man refused (or forgot?) to and it cost him his job, maybe his career.

So there are real and present consequences for asserting that there are substantive differences between men and women. Does that mean we have to go along with it? Absolutely not.

To be sure, there’s a fiery furnace of sorts that awaits those who openly maintain a clear distinction between sexes (and the furnace grows hotter when you say that this distinction was purposefully designed by God). The good news is that just as this same God supported Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego for not bowing before the idol of their day, so he is willing to support those who refuse to bow before the idol of gender equality. This is not to say that we will not endure ridicule, or the loss of our job, or worse, but as long as we remain faithful, especially in the midst of the fire, God will be faithful to help us in all our troubles.

What’s the alternative? Should we begin to pretend that, generally speaking, men and women don’t look, act, or think different than one another? Should I treat everyone I meet like a man? Or a women? Actually, if gender distinctions don’t exist, what are we all supposed to be? Have the powers that be decided that yet?

I really don’t care if they have or if they ever do. I am a woman and I feel privileged to be so. I will raise my daughters to cultivate the virtues of womanhood. I will raise my sons to cultivate the virtues of manhood; and I will raise both of them to embrace the differences between men and women and to rejoice in the God that made them. It should not be a shameful thing to acknowledge the peculiar strengths and weaknesses which men or a women possess respectively; God ordained it so and we should not try to pretend otherwise.

What if we acknowledged that men generally (please, I beg of you, don’t forget I just said generally) are stronger than women, and there are certain jobs they just are better suited for. When you drive by construction jobs, why on average do you see more men out there working then women?

Why can’t we accept that women can be (on average, generally speaking!), much more relationship minded, which makes them more suited for certain jobs? We women love connecting with people, and we are good at talking through what we feel.

These are not signs of weaknesses. They are not something to hide away and feel ashamed of.

When the world begins to lose site of who created them, which is God, the perspective of what God created men and women to be gradually disappears.

Stand strong, Christian families. Look to the godly examples we have been given and teach your children to strive after those godly traits. Encourage your boys to be men, teaching them about Moses, David, Joshua, and Noah, how these men stood strong at times, and how they gave into temptations and what happened. Teach your girls about Eve, Ruth, Mary the mother of Jesus, the Proverbs 31 woman, and help them learn from the lives of these women.

Each of these men and women had very important, but very different, roles to play in the kingdom of God. Notice also that these roles were not interchangeable. Moses clearly could not have filled the role of Mary, nor could Mary have filled the role of Moses. They each had unique calling that were suited to their unique abilities as men and women.

The world is quickly changing, but that doesn’t mean the ways of God are changing. His truths are unchangeable, unshakeable, and they endure to the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Babies Deserve A Baby Shower!

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that women love having good friends and eating chocolate.

Ok, so not every single woman out there loves chocolate, and there are those super private ladies who just want to stay home and never talk to anyone.

But I think those are few and far between.

For the large majority of ladies, we love to get together and visit, eat food, and celebrate life with each other.

I’ve always thought it was sad that after the 1st baby, there really isn’t a celebration with girlfriends over other babies coming. I know ladies don’t need a huge baby shower after the first baby, but every baby is such a precious gift! Whether it’s your 1st baby or your 6th, there is cause to celebrate.

If you are a mom of several children (or maybe a mom of many!), the budget is always tight. Throwing a huge baby shower for your best friend might not be financially possible, let alone the thought of buying gifts for all the baby showers you could attend!

But what if it didn’t have to be terribly expensive to celebrate a new baby with a friend?

What about just throwing a diaper party? Any mom can use diapers for a new baby, and it could be such a blessing for her to be surrounded by her friends, celebrating the life of her 4th, 5th….you get the idea.

Here are some ideas of how you could do this and keep it super affordable and relaxed.

(This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers and Luvs at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.)

Throw your best friend a diaper shower! It can be so easy to get together and make that mom having her 2nd, 4th, or 5th baby feel loved and spoiled on!

If you have tea cups or a china set collecting dust, pull it out and spoil your friends with it!

There are so many different beverages you can serve. If it’s during the cold months, definitely serve a warm tea or hot cider.

During the hot months, you can serve a chilled tea, like the Passion Lemonade tea recipe I shared recently. Growing up I didn’t like tea at all, so my mom served juice or chocolate milk at our tea parties. 😉

If you don’t have tea cups, just use some pretty glasses or cute paper cups!

You can’t have girlfriends over without serving a few treats! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Forget about buying an expensive cake; just bake some brownies, maybe grab some fruit, and put it in a nice dish or arrange it neatly on a platter! Sometimes we feel the pressure to have an elaborate display of foods for any party we put together, but it’s really ok to keep it simple!

I grabbed the paper plates and napkins in the photos for $1.00 each! I’m telling you, throwing a baby shower for a friend does not need to blow your grocery budget.

Super yummy brownies! I found this stand last year and it’s a favorite of mine.

You can keep decorations simple. Everything on this table I already had around the house. I’ve had this picture over Sophia’s changing table.

And of course you can’t forget the diapers! One friend could bring a small package of diapers, or several friends could go in on a big box of diapers! Right now at Sam’s Club you can save $10 off two boxes of Pampers or Luvs, or save $18 when you purchase 3 boxes! Plus you can get free shipping when you order through Sam’s Club online, which saves you time. I love ordering anything I possibly can online! I know other moms love to use Sam’s Club pickup, and the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app to save time! This diaper deal is only available through August 22nd. Order one for you, and one for a friend (you can find my reasons on why I only order name brand diapers here!).

Don’t forget how fast babies grow. You don’t want every friend bringing newborn and size 1 diapers to the shower. It’s so helpful to have the larger sizes to pull out as well!

One last idea for the baby shower – set out some pretty notecard paper and have each friend write an encouraging note to the new mom. Even if she has several children, those first few months of having a baby can be challenging and those words of encouragement could be so helpful!

I can’t wait to host some tea parties at our new house with my girlfriends! I’ve already promised my daughters they can invite some friends over for a tea party in September, so I know one will be happening soon. There is something magical feeling about a pretty teacup. It’s calming to the spirit and helps you unwind!

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