(important) Things I do With my Kids EVERY Day.

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about curriculum, and where I get my ideas for home school activities. I’ve been asked about how our typical day goes here in our household-schoolhouse, so I am here to put all other Mommy’s minds to rest…

We don’t follow a strict curriculum. 

We don’t have a strict schedule. 

We just wing it. Every single day.

The way I see it, the more you are out and about doing things and taking in your surroundings, the more ideas can come together. So we try to do just that.

However, each day there are certain things I make sure to accomplish with my children, not just because my kids enjoy these activities, but I feel they are the most important for their growth, learning, and over-all maturing as tiny humans.

#1: We read. Some days, especially rainy days, my eyes grow sleepy with the amount of books we read together. Some days, after I have read my max, I suggest Parker “reads” to his sister. There are certain books he has memorized and it’s good practice for him as well. Ava enjoys the time with big brother too.

#2: We do chores. Allowing the kids to “help” with miscellaneous projects and chores around the house may mean that things get done in three times the amount of time it should take, but it’s so important for the kids to feel involved, needed, and doing chores gives them a very basic work ethic. The majority of our chores involve the animals, so that adds to the excitement for all of us. The chickens, bunny, goats, and dogs all need fed and cared for daily so Mama’s helpers are never empty-handed. When it comes to indoor chores, both my kids have found areas inside the house that they prefer. Ava loves helping in the kitchen; putting away groceries, and organizing cabinets are her specialty. Parker enjoys real organization, usually with his toys, or Daddy’s tools.

#3: We eat together. Frequently. Sharing meals is especially important to me. It’s that time during the day when you can all sit and actually be present together. I am, and always have been one of those women who eat all day long, and I am raising my children to have the same good habits with food as well. I enjoy making healthy family meals, so I hope all our kids grow to not only have appreciation for that, but will take my love for healthy food and apply it to their lives as they grow as well.

#4: We snuggle, kiss, hug, and tell each-other we love each other. Sometimes Daddy gets a bit overwhelmed with how lovey his son is especially, but I don’t care. I adore the fact that our family is so loving towards each other. Sure, it may be a tad embarrassing when the kids insist on pulling up my shirt, and my maternity pants down so they can kiss baby brother in my belly while we are grocery shopping, but there’s no way I could ever stop them. Having lost loved ones, I feel it is necessary to never waste a moment to tell someone you love them. And I am thankful my children are learning to do the same.

#5: I scold or discipline. There’s no way around it. When you have an almost 2 year old, and an almost 4 year old, there will be chaos as well as tragedy and tears. I grew up with firm parents, yet they were not overly strict, there was a good balance. However, I was raised to know respect, and good manners, and I expect my children to learn the same. So when they do wrong, we discuss it. Sometimes I raise my voice more than I like, and sometimes I cry as well. However, I refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with anything and everything, because those children grow up to be teenagers as well as adults, and they are our future.

#6: We get outside time. This is the Oregon coast, so you never know what the weather will be, and though we’ve been lucky this winter, usually the rain is too atrocious to even think about spending time outside. Lately, we’ve been loving the sunshine, even when the air is brisk and cool, we can bundle and get fresh air. The kids and I have been the beach a few times the last week, and have been feeling overwhelmingly blessed by the lack of wind! Fresh air is needed for keeping their little, growing brains functioning. Fresh air is needed for Mama and clearing her mind. Fresh air is good for immune health, mood, and so much more. It’s a wonderful thing, being able to raise our children on our eight acres that also happens to be within minutes from a quiet beach and having space to explore.

#7: We have “school” time. Though each day the schedule may vary, we do sit down and work on school work. Every day we do something, some days we do much more than others. At the preschool stage, I let my son guide me a bit more than I lead him. It’s important he doesn’t lose interest so I let him tell me how long he wants to focus on school work. When we need a break, we take one. If we don’t accomplish much, we go back to that lesson again. I have a weekly theme each week, and we will do projects based on that theme. Most weeks, we also add in things we’ve learned in the past and do reviews as well. I had a full school-years worth of themes planned out, but have rearranged as needed.

#8: We have REAL conversations. We use REAL facts, and REAL (even sometimes slightly uncomfortable) words. In this day and age, there are nicknames and slang terms for everything. We are very realistic with our children. After all, this is real life. Both Mommy and Daddy are/have been involved in the health care and/or fitness fields and the human body is no joke to us. We use the correct terms, and its actually quite fascinating how fast our nearly four year old picks up things we talk about with him. He could tell you the longest muscle in the body and talk to you about what bones he saw in an x-ray. We don’t use funny cover-up names for private parts, and just the other day Parker drew a picture of him and Daddy, stick figures of course, but they both had penises. (Insert blushing cheeks here…but also very proud Mom for him being anatomically correct.) When we talk about plants, and animals around our house, we make sure we share the correct info with our kids so they learn as we explore. If Parker has a question we aren’t entirely sure of an answer, we look it up and find the right answer.

#9: I let the kids entertain themselves. Not only does this give me a small mental break, or chance to pee without them, but it’s important for the kids to use their imaginations and try to problem solve without supervision and being able to ask for help the second they need it. They learn to get creative. Sometimes they learn what failure feels like. All important things.

#10: We pray and talk about the bible. I cannot express how deeply my children have changed my life. My husband and I both were raised christian, but becoming a mom has only encouraged my heart to grow with the Lord, and for that, I am thankful every day. Ava’s favorite book for her Grandpa Stacy to read when we go visit, is a toddler bible. We pray at bedtime, and we try to throughout the day as well. Teaching the kids to have a relationship with God, helps me do the same.

Whew! 

Seems like such a long list, and after reading through all nine bullets, there’s no wonder I am tired by the end of the day. It’s 100% worth it. My babies deserve as much as I can possibly give them, and I want to be the Mama that gives them unlimited memories as well as work towards raising them to be the best tiny humans they can possibly be.

stay at home mom

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Sight Words to Learn

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Sight words.

What are they, and what are the importance of them?

Sight words are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode. 

The level before reading, that’s where sight words come in handy.

Many kids learn sight words best through memorization rather than phonics. I plan to play it by ear and see how Parker takes on this challenge. If he shows me he should advance a little, we will add more phonics into our daily sight word lessons. Either way, I believe that for early readers, memorizing sight words is invaluable for literacy.

There are many words our son already knows, can recognize, spell, and write himself. However, in order to help encourage growth we are beginning a list of sight words once we start home-schooling in a few weeks. The list of words I have put together are ones that are small enough so that they are not overwhelming, but common enough to be used frequently in stories, and workbooks he may use and come across. I also added words that tie easily into biblical teachings, because for our family, that is important as well.

This is a rough list of the words I put together this morning. I say “rough” because I am sure I will adjust, and add at some point in our lessons. I am sure I have forgotten or not thought of a few important words, so those will be added in as necessary. My plan for the words is to split them up evenly through out the school year, a new letter every week. Because the school year is 43 weeks long, and there are only 26 letters, we will repeat them for review.

Parker wont be four until February, so again, the fact that I get to do these lessons with him already just blows my mind. The kid has a brain for learning. 

 

sight words

*Note that there are not many “x” words, so I added a couple that still use the letter, just not at the beginning. *

I am uncertain as to how I will utilize all the words. I have a few ideas. Either I will make flash cards, use dry erase boards, use magnet letters, or one of the many other creative ideas I will pull out of my hat! To be honest, I am sure each week will be a different strategy, to keep interest.

 

Preschool Home-school Themes

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Being mama full time definitely is a lot of work. Emotionally, as well as physically, it’s very demanding of me. But, I wouldn’t want my “job” to be anything other than this. This is the most important job I could ever have. And since our oldest, Parker, is somehow almost at school age, I begin a new adventure!

Parker will be four years old in February, so this September, when school season begins, we will start a preschool routine. I think I might be more excited about this than anyone else, mostly because I know I now have more excuses to get creative and be a kid and learn myself.

Preschool…usually fun stuff. 

However, still very educational.

Our boy is ahead of the game in a sense that he has been learning for the past two years, and to him, “school work” has always been fun.

A few days ago, while my husband was home, I had a chance to actually put together a full school year of weekly preschool themes in which I plan to schedule my weekly and daily work around. I figured for the youngsters, themes are something to look forward to every Monday morning. (Heck, even us adults like themes, am I right?!)

I figured I would share our list of weekly themes, in case there are any other mamas out there who are stumped at where to begin with homeschooling a preschooler, or even a kiddo at an older age.

Preschool Homeschooling Themes rainbow

We are teaching based on our core values, Biblical references, and Oregon guidelines for early learning and kindergarten through the Department of Education.

Each day of the week will be broken up into individual lessons based around the overall theme. In addition to the weekly themes, I will be creating a list of sight words that will be learned alphabetically as the year progresses. 

As for Avaley, she will be two at the end of December, so we will come up with a “younger” version of many of the same activities Parker will be doing. She is still learning shapes, colors, animals, and things like that.

I now have a month to finish getting everything in order, and I know August is going to fly by! This is a new thing to me, homeschooling. So if there are any other moms with any pointers and/or advice, it would be very much appreciated!