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Growing Up

Growing Up, Nest Building

First Day of School 2018

What a beautiful homeschool space! I would love to learn here!

We just finished our first day of school for the girls (and AG, by surprise) in our updated homeschool space.  I know it is Labor Day. But Labor Day means Daddy is home and I have help for the day. We also have our first community day with Classical Conversations tomorrow.  I am trying to alleviate the busyness of the morning tomorrow whilst establishing an understanding that we do school AT home.  I had to explain this to the girls a few times because excitement has an affect on their ears!

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Growing Up

Awesome Alphabet Books

Awesome Alphabet Books - must have Picture books for little learners

We have some young alphabet loving learners in our house!  It started early for my oldest girl and I think she passed it down to her sister and her brother.  G was able to sing the alphabet (with some little stumbles) at 18 months.  And just a couple months later, she had the whole thing.  Then she started working on learning the letter sounds.  By the time she was 4 she had just started reading (through a combination of phonics and sight words) without me “teaching her to read.”

To a lesser extent, W (5 years-old) is interested in the alphabet.  She has known all the letters for a long time and is proficient at writing them, too.  But she is less interested in finding out what sounds they make.  Teaching her to read has been an extended process which requires much patience.

And on her heels is AG (2 years-old).  In love with all things letters and books, he is well on his way to becoming a reader.  His most requested picture books are alphabet related.  And he spends much of his time identifying letters.  And he loves to match the “big” letters to the little letters.

I share this as an awed observer because kids (in general) amaze me.  They are seriously little sponges that make learning look completely natural and fun!  The way learning should look!  I did very little to help my kids fall in love with the alphabet.

But as I sit back and wonder at my kids and their learning to read without me, I try to evaluate.  I think, “What made this possible?”  And I come up with two specific things over and over:  Continue Reading

Growing Up

A Preamble Flag Activity

Create a Preamble Flag to learn the Preamble to the US Constitution and celebrate America's freedom and flag.

This past year our girls learned the Preamble to the US Constitution.  Well, I should say, we ALL learned it.  Previously, I didn’t know it past “We the people!”  This homeschooling thing is good for all of us!

Anyway, as we were working on memorizing the Preamble, I had an idea for a simple craft for the girls to do in order to help them spend some time with the words.  It is a sort of puzzle to make the American flag.  I spent a long time creating it and when I printed it out for G to work on, she informed me I had gotten it wrong.  I guess it took me so long to do the craft, she memorized the Preamble in the interim.

In fact, the Preamble states, “We the People of the United States in order to form a…”  I was leaving out “of the United States.”  Nothing like having a 6 year-old correct you.

There is always a good reason to celebrate our freedoms as Americans, right?  So, I thought I would share our printable puzzle activity with you. Continue Reading

Growing Up, Nest Building

Why Your House Smells Like Diapers

Face it: your house stinks because of diapers. Here's what you did wrong and how to fix it fast! These diaper pail solutions will help solve your current diaper pail problems.
This entry is part of 32 in the series Baby Days

I have been on an extended run of diaper duty: SEVEN YEARS (!!) with no end in sight! Four kids under 7, means A LOT of diapers and A LOT of, ahem…smells. I know I am not the only homemaking mama that has tried it all to make sure that when welcoming guests into her home, they are not immediately tipped off to the fact that my day is full of diaper duty. Because, let’s be real:

DIAPERS STINK!

It took me almost 5 full years of diaper duty to discover the real-deal solutions to the diaper stink problem in my home, and I know you are going to want to know this, too!

We currently have two little ones in diapers. Ugh… and I have been working on this problem since long before we had our second baby. We discovered some things along the way that helped; but I solved the entire diaper stink problem.

First: You are Doing it Wrong!!

I was, too!  Don’t worry, you can fix it! Here are the common STINK situation problems and how to remedy them.  Continue Reading

Growing Up, Pennies from Heaven

Mom’s Secret Homeschool Book Weapon

one homeschool mom's secret to filling her homeschool with books, audio and e-books. Find books on popular book lists for classical homeschooling, Charlotte Mason, and more.

We are unabashed book lovers.  This home is FILLED with books of every sort.  And we are approaching our homeschooling situation with a sort of mash-up of literature-based, classical, and Charlotte Mason learning.  (I love a good homeschool book list!)  That means we

READ.

A. LOT.

While I will never leave my first love (in regards to reading): physical books; I  have discovered a secret book weapon.  And it is ROCKING my world lately.

You see, with 4 kids in our house (all under the age of 7), I read a lot of books.  Check out some of our favorite books here.  The books we read just aren’t always books for me.  I read picture books, chapter books, living books.

Books, books, books. Continue Reading

Growing Up

Simple Effective Baby Sign Language

Super simple Baby sign language. Communicate with baby with these 5 signs that are life-changing!
This entry is part 30 of 32 in the series Baby Days

We joke around that babies are SO sweet…until they start to say, “NO!”  But there is a short period of time in baby’s life when she simply doesn’t have words (not even, “No”).  The inability of our little ones to fully communicate what is going on in their heads can lead to various outbursts that look like tantrums or frustration.  But it IS the earliest form of communication for them – we just can’t quite understand them.

Figuring out a way to communicate effectively with baby at this crucial early time in her life is life-changing!  If you are like me as a mom, you cherish the littlest moments with your sweet child; savoring each “Goo” and “Gah.”  But, you often struggle when it comes to the not-so sweet moments.  The grunts and the growls, the screams and screeches are likely the last thing you were looking forward to while gently caressing your pregnant tummy and dreaming of mommy-hood.

That is why I am so thankful for baby sign language.

I am not a child development expert and I have no credentials other than being a mom of four.  But I highly recommend learning some very basic baby signs and teaching them to your little ones, starting at a very early age.  We have practiced simple baby sign language with all four of our little ones with great success.   Continue Reading

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