Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Looking for Teachable Moments


     "MOM!" How many times do you hear that word in a day? Over the past 23 years, I have heard that word at least 50 times a day. I remember the first time our oldest son said it.  I cried.  I thought it was the sweetest word I could ever hear.  Now,  I will admit there are times I cringe when I hear that word being yelled across the house.  It doesn't bring the joy it use to. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom, but let's be real it can be hard some days.  

      So what do we do when our children are crying out for our attention?  How do we handle the day to day squabbles?  What if Suzie and Jerry are fighting again and Tommy will not sit and do his schoolwork?   Well, you could just run to the bathroom and hide {yea right!} or you can choose to look for teachable moments throughout your day. It's all about getting to the heart of the issues.


     It's important to step back and ask yourself why your child is acting out or disobeying.  Sometimes they can't convey their feelings with words, so they express it with actions. You have to be able to figure out what is going on at the time. 

      I use to handle issues by using band-aid parenting to curb the bad behaviors of my kids. I wanted a quick fix, so I would yell at them or send them to their rooms instead of getting to the root of the problem.  What is at the heart of the issue? Some children will do anything, and I mean anything, to get our attention.  It is our job to assess the situation and find a solution that will have a long-term effect.

     Would you like to know how we should handle these opportunities to teach?  Here is what we need to do step by step:
  •  When we see our child acting out, we should stop and pray before reacting.  We want to act not react during their bad behavior.
  •  Don't feed the misbehavior. No yelling or screaming.  Quickly remind the child that their behavior is not acceptable and that they need to stop.
  •  Sit down and talk with your child. Ask them why they are acting in this way. Allow them to share their feelings, but remind them it must be done with respect. 
  •  After you talk for a while, explain why the behavior was wrong and give them other ways they could express their feelings. {Now would be a good time to get the Bible out and show them verses that will help them next time they are feeling out of control}
  •  Pray with your child. Let them know that you are there and that God is there to help them. 
     
     I know it isn't easy to be calm, cool and collected in the heat of the moment, but our children need us to be. They need our guidance, not our frustration when they are acting in a way that is inappropriate.  That is why we need to be in control of our emotions even when they're not. You do this by praying each day for God's strength to see you through it all.  Read your Bible and allow God to teach you so you can instruct your child. Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you look for these teachable moments. You will find that you will also learn as you teach.  



     

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of The Everyday Family Chore System



     I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to improve our home and the way we do things.  I love things to run smoothly. I was thrilled to find out we would be reviewing  The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking. I want to make chore time a learning experience and not just a job.  The system taught in this book is perfect for teaching our children responsibility and life skills.

     The book begins with an introduction then the system is broken down into three parts:

  •  Part One - Laying a Foundation
  •  Part Two - Implementing the Plan
  •  Part Three - The Actual Chore System
     
     In Part One, you will be taught the importance of laying a foundation for your children.  Vicki Bentley states that "Child training is the first step to successful home management training."  I have to agree with her 100%.  The best way to train our children is to be godly examples for them to follow.  If they see us serving others and serving God, they will more than likely want to do the same.  If they choose to make a wrong decision along the way, we need to let them learn from their mistakes and allow them to see the consequences of their actions.  

      If you have ever read my blog before today, you know that I am a huge believer that we must teach our children godly character qualities from the moment they can understand what we are saying. As they grow in character, life skills will be easier to teach. They will have the right heart towards their work.  Vicki talks about similar things like this throughout Part One. 

     Part Two is where the work begins..... You get to implement what you have been taught in Part One.  I absolutely love the life skills checklist that is included in Part Two.  It will give you a list of chores that are age appropriate.  This will help you when assigning the jobs to your family members.  

     Vicki gives you several ways to go about setting up your home management system.  It's all about making the system work for your family. Each family has different needs, so she makes it easy to design around your particular season of life.  If you have all little ones, you will set up your home system differently than a family with teens or a mix of ages. I love how adaptable it is. 

     This is what we came up with using her suggestions for the reproducible job labels and how-to-do-it cards found in Part Three. 

Our laminated how-to-do-it cards

Our chore chart with jobs.
 I printed the job cards
from the book, then we glued them
 onto clothes pins.


This is where I keep our
unused job labels and
how-to-do-it cards
until we need them.


     As you can see we gave it our own flair and I added our family motto 😊.  So far it has been working really well, and the kids like having rotating chores.  They are not stuck doing a chore they don't like for more than a day at a time.  They are also learning how to do different jobs around the house with ease by following the how-to-do-it cards.  I am loving the cooperation we are seeing. Such a nice change from the arguing we were witnessing before.  

     I encourage you to check out Everyday Homemaking. I don't think you will be disappointed. You can also find them on

     
      Would you like to read more reviews of this product 
and others from Everyday Homemaking? 
 Just follow the link below πŸ‘‡

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

Monday, August 21, 2017

What Would I Do Differently?????



     Recently, I read a post that asked the question: "What would you do differently?"  This post was regarding the differences between your homeschooling style now and when you first started.  When I read this question, I immediately thought..... "EVERYTHING!"

     I use to be such a rigid and unrealistic homeschool mom.  For some reason, I thought I had to design our homeschool to look just like a "normal" school.  I thought that in order to give my children the proper education, I needed to mimic what was going on in our public schools. I had us on a very strict schedule. We would get school started every day by 8 and we wouldn't stop until 2 or 3.  I would give my kids two 15 minute recesses and a 30 minute lunch time.  They were required to sit at their desk or table for most of the day.  I would get very aggravated when our schedule was interrupted. 

     As I look back on those days, it makes me want to cry.  I didn't get it at all.  Homeschooling is not about making a school at home.  It's about learning together as a family.  Letting your children explore the world.  Helping them find what they are good at doing.  Giving them the tools they need to accomplish what the Lord wants them to be.  Oh, how I wish I could go back and tell that young homeschooling mom to RELAX!!!!! 


     Our homeschool looks a lot different today. As a matter of fact, it's totally different.  I am more laid back.  We have more time for play. We still have an agenda to keep but it is not a rigid schedule set in stone.  If we feel like taking a nature walk or heading out to the park, we do it. If someone comes over, we feel free to stop our school work and enjoy their company. We don't have a designated school room. We may do school on the couch, floor, or kitchen table. We have books all around the house. We have freedom! We now have a home that feels warm and inviting, not a house that looks like a school. 

     My children have more time to pursue what they love. God has given each of them special talents and it is my job to make sure they have everything they need to develop those abilities. They are happy. I am happy.  Our home is peaceful.  I didn't say our home is quiet because it is rarely quiet. The peace is in our hearts and minds. 




     I will admit that I still have days where I slip back into my old mentality.  I get worried that my children aren't getting enough "schooling", but then I am reminded how well they are doing. They are thriving.  They are learning each and every day.  As I sit and talk with them, I am astonished at how much they know.  There are days they teach me more than I teach them. It amazes me. 

      Homeschooling is an adventure and I don't want to miss anything. I want my children to love their learning experience. I pray that the memories we make today will put a smile on their face when they look back on them tomorrow.  My goal is to instill a love of learning in them that will overflow into their homes one day. 

     So I ask you... What would you do differently? 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Dear Homeschooling Mama.... A Message of Hope


     Welcome to our final day of the Annual Back to Homeschool BLOG HOP. Today we want to offer some encouragement to you! 


     I have a confession to make. Even though I have been homeschooling for almost 20 years, I still have days that I feel inadequate and unsure of my abilities to homeschool my children. On those days, you will find me in tears sitting on the couch. After a good cry and lots of praying, God reminds me that He has called me to do this and He is the one who equips me to be able to teach my kids.  I am not alone!  I don't have to lean on my own strength, He is there to get me through. He has put people in my path that will encourage me and provide advice that I need along the way. 

     No matter where you are on this homeschooling journey, I want you to know that you are not alone.  It doesn't matter if you are in your first year or twentieth year, you need support, encouragement, and someone to help you when you feel that you can't go on.  Homeschooling has many rewards, but it also can take its toll on us mamas.  If we don't have a support system, we tend to get so weary that we fall apart.  

     Each morning I have to get up early and spend time with Jesus.  I know if I don't that my day will not go well. Those are the days you find me crying on the couch.  I need Him!  He gives me the energy and stamina I need to make it through whatever may come my way.  For years I tried to homeschool without Him and without friends, and let me tell you, it was a bust!  I was frustrated. My children were discontented.  It was a huge mess. It wasn't until I put my pride aside and learned to rely on Christ and those dear ones He brought into my life,  that our homeschool began to thrive. 

    Being a mom is hard.  Being a homeschooling mom is even harder.  We get criticized and sometimes ostracized because of our choice to teach our children at home. That is why it is so important to have close friends or family that offer support. For me, I have two very best friends who come along side of me and give me encouragement when I am feeling down, and a kick in the pants when I want to give up.  We all need that.  Don't fool yourself into thinking you can do it all by yourself.   

       I will be the first to admit that I am still learning as our family continues on this adventure together, but now God has me helping others in their journey as well.  I love to encourage moms. That is why I have a blog.  I want to share my mistakes and successes.  I would like for others to learn from my blunders so they may not have to make the same ones.  It is hard to open up and be honest about my faults, but if it will help just one mama to feel better than it is worth it. 

     I pray that my ramblings are a blessing to you. I pray each day for those coming to read my posts. I ask the Lord to speak through me. He is our ROCK and will provide what we need to be the best homeschooling mamas we can be.  Allow Him to work in you and through you and I promise everything else will fall into place.  


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Homeschooling Outside the Home



     Who said all homeschooling has to be done at home? Welcome to day 4 of the Annual Back to Homeschool BLOG HOP!!! Today we will be talking about ways to teach outside of the home.

       There are so many ways for us to teach our children outside the walls of our homes. From trips to the grocery stores to joining homeschooling co-ops, we can learn anywhere! 

     Over the past 20 years, we have had many different locations where we have taught our children. We have learned through serving our community, helping our fellow man, and by exploring our world.  

      So far four of our children have served as Firefighter Cadets.  After months of rigorous training they would help our local firefighters on real calls like fires and car accidents.  Not one minute were they in harms way, but they were a great help to our firefighters. 


    After we lost our son Caleb in 2006, we wanted to reach out to our community and help other hurting families.  We did this by hosting a yearly Babyloss and Healing Memory Walk.  Each one of our children contributed something to the walk. Our oldest daughter even wrote a special song for the families.  This was a learning experience that I wish we hadn't endured, but God taught us a lot through it all. 


     
     We have learned so much by just getting out and exploring God's creation through fishing, boating, and hiking. 



     
     My husband has taught my children about mechanics by letting them work beside him. He was always careful to make sure their safety was first and foremost, but they learned best by getting their hands dirty and doing some of the work themselves. 


     My favorite way to teach outside of our house is by taking fun but educational field trips.  We may go to our local library or take a road trip to another state. We love visiting museums and science centers. 


      We live in a little city so we love finding places that expose our children to different things like farm animals. You will find many of these exhibits at local fairs in the summer.





     I feel it can be good for our kids to take lessons outside of the home. You can choose swimming, gymnastics, or an instrument they are interested in learning to play. 




     Sometimes you don't need to go any farther than your backyard to have an outdoor adventure :)  


     We feel learning can take place almost anywhere.  If you take time to look at your surroundings, you can find teachable moments all throughout your day.  I love being able to homeschool our kids.  It is a blessing from God!

     Do you have fun ways that you teach outside of your home?  I would love to hear about it!


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What's On Your Agenda?


     If you have read my blog before, you know how much I enjoy planning. I was excited to see this topic for day three of the Annual Back to Homeschool BLOG HOP

     I love planning our days. I think we need to have an agenda to follow so we don't waste our time. I use to plan each minute of our day, but I found that to be a burden on my family. It was also a hindrance when God would lead us to do other things than what was on my "to-do" list.  I was convicted of being too rigid and God has changed my heart. 

      Instead of having a schedule to follow that has strict time limits, we follow a loose agenda where we have certain things we need to get done by the end of the day.  We do try to get our school agenda finished before dinner time so we can have our evenings free. 


      For our actual school work, I have a planner where I write down the assignments of my youngest two children. I fill this out every Monday morning. Our daughter's work is written in purple and our son's assignments are written in green. If we have missed any assignments from the past week, due to illness or other issues, I can add them to the new week. 

     In addition to keeping a record of assignments, I also keep track of their grades and attendance. Since we do the 6 weeks on, 1 week off method of scheduling our school days, it's best for this busy mama to monitor our days. At the end of our 6 weeks, I hand out report cards. They love sharing how they are progressing with their siblings and daddy.  

  

     My Senior in high school is responsible for writing down his assignments for each day so we have records of what he is working on and what has been completed.  I check his assignments once a week unless he is having issues with a subject. I feel at this age, he is more than capable of working independently and keeping a schedule of his own. He does a good job. He knows we trust him and he does not want to break that trust. He knows he will be held accountable for the choices he makes. Teaching him this concept will help him later when he gets a job and is trusted to do a task without being watched. 

     I have been told that I am old school when it comes to keeping records and planning. I have tried digital planners in the past and it was not my cup of tea. I love having a physical planner that I can write in and make my own. I feel our planner is easy for the children to read and understand. Maybe one day I will change my mind, but for now, this system works for us.

     With all the choices out there, I would love to know how you keep records and plan your school days?  I enjoy hearing how other families plan their days. 




     

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

School Supplies We Can't Live Without


     Welcome to day two of the Annual Back to Homeschool BLOG HOP! Today we are talking about the school supplies we just can't live withoutπŸ˜‰          

     I love going back to "school" shopping.  Getting new pencils, notebooks, and folders put a smile on my face.  Maybe it's because this use to be one of my favorite back to school activities as a child. My kids like it too. They love looking through all the new stuff available. I enjoy seeing them pick out their own special items that will help them to succeed in school. 

    One thing I always do each year is wait for those back to school sales that the stores have. You can get all your supplies for a better price if you wait. I also try to stock up on enough to last the entire year. We have plenty of storage area so we are able to do this. I remember a time when we didn't have the room to stock pile school supplies and buying them mid-year was so expensive.

     On top of the necessary things like pencils, paper, pens, and paints, we have school supplies that we use year to year that we can't live without.  Here they are: 

  Our Bibles!



Our 6 Bookcases


Our Diffusers and Essential Oils


Our Legos & other building toys


Our Dual Desks and Desktop Computers


Our Dining Room Table


Our Learning Games


Our "Thinking" Chair
We love reading here too!



     The final items on our list are craft supplies, Kindles, and library cards. We can't imagine our homeschool without all these wonderful resources. They help us in our endeavor to learn. These tools make learning more enjoyable and help our days go more smoothly. 

     As we continue to homeschool, I am sure we will have new favorites from year to year. As our family grows and learns together we will have different needs that will bring about unique changes in our home. I have already watched so many transitions occur and I look forward to seeing what God has for us in the future. 



     What are your favorite school supplies? Are there some that you can't live without? 😊





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