Gift Guide For The Homeschooling Mom

Inevitably the question always arises. “What do you want for____(Birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day…) and you struggle to find a good answer. So I decided to put together a gift guide for the homeschooling mom to give you ideas! You could even just email your husband this blog post to give him ideas and he could surprise you this Christmas!

Some women want all practical gifts, and others love a little splurge when it comes time for gifts. I’m a combination of both, so you will see that on this gift guide!

Gift Guide For the Homeschooling Mom! You might be difficult to buy for, but never fear, send this blog post to your husband for ideas!

 

  1. Comb Binding Machine– Let’s just jump in with a super practical gift! My friend recently gave me something she had printed off and bound, and I was surprised that I had never even thought of getting one of these. Now it’s high on my wish list! I can see how practical it would be for printing off workbooks for the children, and ebooks for myself.

2. Scotch Laminator – I received this two years ago and love it! I’ve laminated a lot of printables for school, or flashcards that come in a set that I want to keep nice. Every homeschooling mom should get one!

3. Pencil Sharpener – You know how frustrating it is to not find pencils, or not find any that are sharpened! I’ve been through several pencil sharpeners during our school years, and so far the one that has lasted the longest is the manual Carl-Angel Pencil Sharpener. My mother in law gave it to me a few years ago and it’s still going strong!

4. Instant Pot – these are all the rage and for good reasons! I love cooking frozen chicken breast from Zaycon in this, and baked potatoes are so moist and yummy. Brown rice also turns out nicely in here. I need to try more recipes, but for what I currently use it for I’m really happy. I have a 6 quart and it works ok, but would love to get an 8 quart one day. These are even better than crock pots for homeschooling moms in my opinion. How many times do you forget to set out the meat and it’s still frozen at 5:00, or you just don’t know what you are going to make? But if you want to use a crock pot, this will function as one!

5. Teaching From Rest Book – You have to stay encouraged as a homeschooling mom. The days can be so long and difficult! This book will bring you immense encouragement and it’s an easy, shorter read. A must have book!

6. Essential Oil Diffuser – I pulled my diffuser out from the box when we moved and it didn’t work anymore. I just purchased a new one from Amazon so we will see what I think. I’m thinking about joining Young Living again under one of my best friend’s to get their starter kit, as I’m out of some of my favorite oils (Thieves, Peppermint, Lavender, Peace and Calming) and that’s another great gift idea! Essential oils could help calm you down on a frustrating homeschooling day!

7. The Homeschool Planner – Do you need a new planner, or want to try something different for 2018? Grab this PDF homeschool planner that we created and then have it printed out and bound as a gift!

8. Lilla Rose Hair Products – It’s hard to get up in the morning and look put together. Some days homeschooling moms are tempted to stay in their pajamas, but I always encourage moms who read this blog to try and get up and get dressed! It can really help you be more productive. A Lilla Rose Flexi Clip is a super easy way to fix your hair in a minute or two and make it look nice! If you need Sizing or Styling ideas, watch this video.

9. Homeschool Mama Shirt – Why not go ahead and share at the grocery store that you are a homeschooling mom with this t-shirt? You know they are wondering when you come in at 10:00 AM with your five school age children with you! HA! I think this is a sweet shirt!

10. Diffuser Necklace – this is another gift high on my list this year. I love how this one looks and I’ve been really wanting to try it! Put a few drops of essential oil in the necklace and you can smell it for several hours. This would be great for soothing oils, or essential oils for headaches.

Reversable Tote Bag

11. Reversable Faux Leather Tote bag – Homeschooling mom’s need good bags. Whether you want a larger purse to hold the diaper and wipes for that toddler, or you want to stash a few books and a planner in your purse, I’ve found I prefer carrying a little bit larger purse. This reversible tote bag looks classic and super nice, and it should hold up well! Another item on my wish list (I’ve seen a blogger use this tote for a few years now!).

12. The Life Giving Table – This isn’t a homeschooling book, but I think Sally Clarkson is an amazing author, and mentor from afar. This is her latest book and I have it on my nightstand to read! Bring some life back into your mealtime and home through the inspiration and guidance found in this book.

13. Paper Cutter – Homeschooling moms have a lot of paper projects, and this paper cutter will be a big help! I recently had a friend help me with a project and she used this paper cutter. It made the job so much quicker!

Some other ideas I thought of are an Amazon Prime membership, or a Stitch Fix gift card! Homeschooling moms don’t spend a lot of time pampering themselves or going out shopping for clothes, so this is a fun way to have clothes delivered at home from a stylist.

I’d love to know what is on your wish list this year? I love hearing what others are wanting to get! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good and The Beautiful Handwriting Curriculum

With six children I’ve gone through a lot of different handwriting curriculum, but so far my favorite has been The Good and The Beautiful Handwriting curriculum! We discovered it for this school year and I purchased it almost on a whim. I love change, I love to try new things, and so it’s been working out really well!

So far all of my children have told me they love this new curriculum, and they all do it without grumbling. That’s a win to me!

There are six levels in this curriculum, and kindergarten or first grade starts in level 1.You can purchase these books in a PDF download so you can use them over and over again with your children, or you can purchase the books already printed with a nice cover.

I decided to do the printed books this year, but I kind of regret not purchasing the PDF downloads. These don’t take a lot of ink to print, so if you have a larger family the PDF download is a great option. If you purchase PDF’s and they just sit on your computer though, definitely get the printed version!

You can see a video I made of our children sharing what they like about this curriculum. You will hear Sophia screaming at the end of the video…I almost filmed it over again and just decided it’s real life and you will understand what it’s like to have a 2 year old in the house!

I started our kindergarten child in level 1 and it’s been the perfect fit this year. You learn all the letters, and towards the end of the book you start writing short words and sentences.

Our 2nd grade child is in level 3, which introduces some cursive. They are copying poetry, Bible verses, grammar rules, alphabetizing, and drawing.

I put our 4th and 6th grade children in level 4 together. Our 6th grade child is a boy who has never cared what his handwriting looks like. I wanted him to really get a good foundation in cursive, instead of rushing through it and to have something easier to enjoy this year. The handwriting books all have 100 pages in each one and I knew we could cover two books in one year.

At first glance the handwriting books may look simple and sweet – which they are. But these are actually different than a lot of other handwriting books out there as quite a few of the lessons include pictures to color or draw! There are beautiful pictures of children to color, and boxes below the handwriting lesson to draw assigned pictures.

Because my children all love art (thankfully they take after Sean in art, I can barely draw a stick figure!) they have really enjoyed this part of the handwriting curriculum. I’ve been thankful that it incorporates the art into handwriting. Consider this…if a child learns to slow down and draw a nice picture in handwriting, couldn’t that help him slow down in his writing assignments?

Do I expect perfection in my children in regards to handwriting? No I don’t. Partly because my mom had me work on handwriting from K-12th grade. I have a huge notebook of copywork assignments I did from Jane Austen, Shakespeare, the Bible, Poetry, etc from when I was in high school. I didn’t mind doing it, but I didn’t like feeling like I could never reach the desired goal. You can definitely read my handwriting but it’s not the most perfect, desired handwriting out there. I encourage my children to give their best, and at times I make them erase a page and do it over again. But I pick my battles and I’ve not chosen handwriting to be one of those battles.

If the handwriting curriculum you are using is not a good fit right now, try a new one! Don’t struggle through an entire school year with a handwriting book that your child hates, it’s an easy fix to switch to a different book! If your child is the artsy sort, chances are they will love this curriculum!

I also wanted to let you know that through November 11th, you can get the book list on the Good and the Beautiful website totally free! This has been a great resource, and will help you find wholesome, classic, moral books for your children to read! Go grab it here and print it off to keep your children busy reading!

 

The Good and The Beautiful Preschool Curriculum

Where was this curriculum at years ago when my oldest was in preschool? It’s seriously what I tried to find and never could.

What am I raving about?

It’s a newer curriculum called The Good and The Beautiful. They have curriculum the complete elementary level and are working on high school right now. We are using the Language Arts this year and really love it for our older ones, but today I want to focus on the preschool curriculum.

Is it possible to find a preschool curriculum that your child loves, it’s easy to use, and it’s also affordable? Yes! I’ve found all of those things in The Good and the Beautiful curriculum!

The Good and The Beautiful Preschool Curriculum

When I look for curriculum to use with my little children I’m looking at it with the perspective of having a larger family. I only have so much time to spend with my preschool/kindergarten age child. I also don’t want to spend $100 or more on a preschool curriculum. I’d rather invest in good quality toys that they can play with (like wedgits, Duplo legos, Melissa and Doug toys), read them books and let them play outside for hours on end. The actual book work at the table needs to be shorter lessons for both mom and child at this age.

I’m using this preschool curriculum with my Kindergarten age child (she is 5.5). This is pretty common for me, as I don’t stress about doing actual preschool workbooks at a young age. Deborah is grasping the concepts really well at this age and we are quickly working our way through the book. At this point I’m hoping to be done with this by Christmas, and we will start the Kindergarten curriculum the first of the year.

So what does this curriculum actually teach?

The Preschool level is working on learning letter sounds and names. I love that it teaches both at the same time. I strongly dislike programs that teach just the name of the letter, only to go back the following year and teach the sounds. It is possible to learn both at the same time, and this program makes it so easy to do that! The child is also learning about numbers, colors, shapes, counting, rhyming, sorting, order of events, and also enjoying beautiful art work.

The main book is what you use every day with the student. There is no teacher guide, the instructions are written in the student book for what to say to your child. At this age it’s really not hard to teach. 😉 A lesson can be 2-3 pages long which is just right for this age. Right now she normally learns a new letter, or reviews the letter she learned the previous day.

You introduce the letter to your child, and learn how to write it. You then might practice writing it with play dough, and after that you count together. When you turn the page there is a beautiful art picture that you show the child and you use that picture to learn colors and practice letter sounds.  All these are old fashioned sweet pictures of animals and children.

The day is done! 🙂

Every lesson is different, but that gives you an idea of how it goes.

The Good and The Beautiful Preschool Curriculum

Included in this curriculum are flip books with letters on them, you use those flip books to drill the letter names and sounds. You also have an activity packet with different games for the child to use. These come on glossy card stock paper in full color.

For a child who is 5, I also include handwriting and extra math work. We use the level one handwriting book from The Good and The Beautiful. All my children are using this handwriting curriculum and they all love it!

Deborah needed extra help with writing her numbers so we are going through the Rod and Staff preschool book on numbers. She has already dramatically improved, so after she is done we will start the Horizons Kindergarten math book.

The Good and The Beautiful Preschool Curriculum

On a side note, we just got these erasable gel pens and the children are all loving them. They actually do erase and work nice for the Heart of Dakota notebooks that have glossy paper. I normally don’t let her use a pen in her workbook, so she thought this was great. 🙂

The Good and The Beautiful Preschool curriculum is only $36.00, which I feel is the perfect price for what you get! Yes you can grab letter books at the dollar store but you will be missing out! I’m thrilled with the progress we have already made in our school year so I had to share with you all!

And no, I wasn’t paid to write this post or receive any sort of income off affiliate links from The Good and The Beautiful. I just genuinely love this curriculum so much that I wanted to tell you all about it!

 

Teaching Children Practical Life Skills They Have To Know

The more children I have, the more I realize how essential it is to teach my children practical life skills.

They can’t wait until they get to college before they learn how to do basic skills such as laundry, doing dishes, how to sweep a floor, etc.

Teaching children to be diligent in their morning chores is crucial to how the rest of the day will go for the whole family! A clean house is a much better start to our school day.

I grew up learning a lot of life skills because of my mom’s health. She had epilepsy her whole adult life, and I have early childhood memories of being with her right after a seizure. As I grew older I definitely learned to help around the house, and how to care for her when she was in bed with her Lupus.

My husband however did not grow up learning a lot of life skills. His mom is one of the most devoted mothers I have met. Her life revolves around her family, and she did a lot for Sean growing up. He was required to do some chores, but he said it would take him a day to fold some laundry.  He did put away dishes but doesn’t remember doing any dishes. (A side note, I asked my mother in law if I could share this on the blog and she said it was ok. I love her a lot, so I’m not trying to put her down here!).

When we got married, it was a hard adjustment for me to realize he didn’t know how to pitch in and help do the dishes. I literally walked him through how to fill the sink full of soapy water, what side of the sponge to use, etc. He was so painfully slow at doing it that I could barely watch. We became pregnant with our first three months after getting married, and I was really sick that first trimester. Sean was very tender and sweet, but couldn’t fix me meals – he barely knew how to boil water!

Thankfully he has come a long ways over the years, and will even pitch in and do dishes once in awhile. His biggest strength is doing laundry, which I’m immensely grateful for. He is also a perfectionist, and is way better at organizing our home than I am! So our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out.

I’m determined that my children, both male and female, will know all the basic life skills necessary to run a house, and feed themselves some proper meals when they leave my house.

Here are some things that I feel are important for any child to learn.

How to make their bed – that being said, most of my children don’t know how to do that yet. Ha! Since we had bunkbeds at our last house I took pity on them. I remember being in a bunkbed when I was little and that it was so hard to make that top bunk! Now that we moved to a new house, we have enough room to have regular beds and they will all be required to make them.

How to do dishes – This is a harder job than it sounds, but every child needs to learn how to do it! I have some children that struggle doing this task, and others that can do it more easily. However every child should know how to wash dirty dishes. I think they should know how to hand wash them and how to use a dishwasher.

How to do laundry – Some ladies do a better job of teaching laundry than I do. I’m not as picky about cold water/hot water and separating all my colors out each time. However my children definitely know how to fold clothes, and even my little ones can switch out the clothes.

How to prepare a meal – Every young teenager should be able to make a meal from start to scratch and serve their family. It can be super simple, but children have to learn how to cook!

These are just the bare basics that children need to know. There are so many other things they need to learn, like how to tie their shoes, use a sharp knife, how to have good manners, change the oil on the car, and so many other life skills.  However it can get overwhelming trying to teach everything to your children. Life can slip by and the more children you have the harder it is to teach everyone.

That’s why I’m so excited about a brand new program that just came out called Skill Trek. We are going to be using it this year, and my children already love it!

Skill Trek will step in and help teach your children an amazing amount of practical life skills through videos, and PDF guides they read through. The family behind Skill Trek has seven children and they understand the challenges involved in making sure each learns life skills. I have my 5 year old through my almost 14 year old using this program. New videos are continually being recorded and added to Skill Trek, so they can always keep learning new skills!

Our oldest son watched a video about how to check the oil in the car, something we had not covered with him yet. Sean is going to go out with him to the van this week and watch him check it. Another child read through a guide on how to fold laundry correctly, something this child really struggles with.

While I love homeschooling, it can be exhausting to constantly be the only one teaching your child everything. I love how Skill Trek comes alongside you and helps you out as a parent!

Skill Trek has monthly and yearly subscription plans, and discounts are available if you enroll more than one child in the plan. They even have a family plan that covers up to 8 children!

I plan on including this in our homeschool week. Every Friday we will cover a new skill and continue to work on the skills we have already learned.

The life of a parent can be very hectic. We focus so much of our attention on teaching our children all the core subjects in school that we often neglect to teach them some some simple skills. Skill Trek was designed, not to replace you, but to come alongside you and fill in those gaps to ensure your children acquire many of life’s most basic but useful skills.

If you are interested in Skill Trek, you can use the coupon code: MODESTMOM to save 10% off, through September 7th only! That code saves you on monthly or yearly subscription plans!

This post contains affiliate links and was sponsored by Skill Trek. All opinions are strictly my own.