School 2010-2011

5 08 2010

Can it really be August already?  Wow, this summer is flying by. 🙂  Well, we have finally ordered all of our school curr. and are almost ready to start!  I am very excited, but nervous at the same time.  I have a very active 3 year old and a very mobile almost 12 month old. 🙂 

So, I have put together a new school schedule to see if it helps us out.  I have 2 schedules….a normal day one and a back up one.  Last year I realized that I had the most trouble getting everything done when something happened in the morning.  For example a sick dr.’s appt. or a quick run to the store etc.  So I have come up with an alternate schedule for those days….I hope it helps us out. 🙂

Normal day: (We school 4 days a week at home…Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  On Thursdays we all go to co-op from 9:30 til 2).

8:00 am : Breakfast and chores

9:00 am : Bible with daddy, mommy with younger 2 boys doing preschool.

9:15 am: Math with daddy, mommy with younger 2 boys doing preschool.

9:45 am: Reading with mommy, younger 2 boys have playtime together in play yard. Isaac’s reading is here. Grace’s reading is here.

10:15-10:45 am: Break and snack time

10:45: Writing, younger 2 boys have t.v. time

11:00 am: Science, younger 2 boys still have t.v. time

11:30 am: Spelling, Grace has playtime with younger 2 boys

11:45 am: Grammer

Noon-1pm: Lunch and Break

1pm: (only on Monday and Tuesday) History.  Younger 2 boys go down for a nap.

So most days we are done by 1, every other day we are done by noon. 🙂

Here is the Alternative Schedule….

8:00 am: Breakfast and chores

9:00 am: Bible with daddy

9:15 am: Math

9:45- noon : Anything that came up that has to be done….dr.’s etc.

Noon-1 pm: Lunch time and break

1:00: Spelling

1:15: Grammer

1:30: Science

2:00: Reading

2:30: Writing

2:45: History (if on a Monday or Tuesday)

So, this is so far our schedule.  We all know that with young ones you have to be flexible!  So this is an outline, one that we will try VERY hard to keep.  We will however change this up as needed.  I am hoping that having Dave home in the mornings until 1o am will help me get a good start.

Cleaning Day….

27 05 2010

I have had a lot of people ask me about my cleaning day.  For those that don’t know, I clean my entire house in one day and then just do “damage control” the rest of the week.  The reason for this is two fold….it helps sooo much with homeschooling.  I know what needs to be done and when, but it has also helped my marriage.  It ministers to my husband when he is home on the weekends…..he doens’t want me cleaning the whole weekend.  But he also likes his home to be clean and orderly.

So for those that care…here is how I do it.  You can do this lots of ways, this way just works for me.


I have a basket in the room I am cleaning with me.  I first fill it with anything that doesn’t belong in that room.  I de-clutter all counter tops and put away anything on them.

I fill both my sinks with cleaner and hot water ( I use Lysol Multi formula). I take apart my stove and put all the pieces of it in one of the sinks of cleaner and water.  I let them soak while I continue with the kitchen.  I then use a rag and the other sink of water to wash down all the cabinets in the kitchen.  (pay close attention to the door knobs and inside too).  This will usually take off any sticky fingers and drips from cooking.  I then clean all the counters with the cleaner.  I use a spray bottle mixed with vinegar and water to clean the outside of the oven, dishwasher, microwave  (also use to clean the inside too), refrigerator and stove. 

I wash and dry all the pieces to the stove and put it back together.  I then sweep the kitchen (do not wash yet).

I then move onto the bathroom.  I spray the tub with Lysol foaming cleanser and leave it to soak for a minute.  While that is soaking I use the spray bottle (mixed with vinegar and water) to spray down the toilet. Now if you have little boys (or big boys…LOL) that sometimes miss …..this will take out the pee smell!!!!!  I spray the entire area…including the wall behind the toilet. I then wipe it down with paper towel.  I clean the tub (that has been soaking in cleaner).  I then take down all towels and hand towels and remove all rugs.  These all go down to the laundry and I start them in the washer.  I then clean the mirrors and sink ( I use the spray bottle for all these).  I then sweep the floor and move onto the next room.

Next, I move onto the bedrooms.  Now, these are already straighten up (the kids have done with while I was doing the kitchen) so I just dust them ( I use the same water that I did the cabinets in the kitchen with) and swiffer the floors ( make sure you clean under each bed too)  Everything else has been done by the kids.  I also make sure I wash down the window stills etc. 

Then I move onto the school room. I don’t have to clean up much in here because the kids did it while I was cleaning the bathroom.  I do have to first straighten the 2 adult desks.  I de-clutter and put all papers away etc.  (This doesn’t take as long as it seems to do….if you do it every week the work load is light.  If you haven’t done it in a while, I would do it the night before the big clean, so you don’t get slowed down.).   I first dust the whole room…this room has sooo much dusting….it drives me crazy…LOL.  Then I sweep the floors and swiffer them.  (Do not wash the floors yet).

I then move onto the Family Room. I first dust the whole room. I clean the door wall glass (always full of little finger prints).  Don’t forget I am bringing my basket with me to every room and filling it with ANYTHING that doesn’t belong in that room.  I make sure all DVDs are put back….children’s games etc. (This also doesn’t take long because you have been cleaning up the toys at the end of every night).

Now it is time for the floors. I have already swept and swiffered each room. I now fill up my bucket and mop all the rooms.  I start in the kitchen, move to the school room and bedrooms. The bathroom is always done last in my house…I don’t like to use the water after doing the bathroom floors. I then vacuum the family room. ( Pulling out couches etc. to get under them, pulling of cushions and cleaning under them).

I now move to the basement.  The children have already cleaned up all the toys so I just do a quick dusting and vacuum.  I only clean the basement bathroom every other week.  So if that needs to be done, I do it.

I now put away all the cleaning supplies and things in my basket. 

Things to remember….if you have ciling fans, don’t forget to dust them.  If you have mirrors, make sure you clean them.  If you have rugs in other rooms, make sure you take them to the wash.

Now, put on a cup of tea and sit down and relax!!!  Enjoy your clean house for about…..15 mins. if you are lucky. 🙂

Summer Schedule……

26 05 2010

Wow!  It is almost Summer! WOOO HOOO….can I get some shout outs!!!  Come on mamas!!!! and Papas!!!!!  I LOVE summer. I love almost everything about it, there is so many things to do and see…….and the kids make it so much fun. 🙂

So, we will soon be switching from our school year schedule to our summer schedule.  This is always so hard to figure out….we want to just be out in the sun and in the water ALL day long….but I know that isn’t always best for my little ones. 🙂  So, this is very tentative!  But this is what I have so far….

8 am wake up time/ breakfast/ chores

9 am playtime

10 am Ethan morning nap/big kids do table time (summer worksheet books to keep up with school skills)/reading time

10:30 playtime/T.V time

11:30 Lunch Time

noon Ethan wakes up/ outside time for big kids

2:00 Owen rest time/ big kids play in basement or if they were swimming they can continue

3:00 snack time/ craft time or outside time ( if they have already been playing in basement at 2, then they will head outside)

5:00 Dinner (we eat early in the summer, so daddy has lots of time with us before his second job)

6:00 Family Events (bike rides, tee ball, church etc.  Depends on the night)

8:00 bathtime/storytime

9:00 bedtime

I know this schedule is VERY vague, but it is something that will give me some order in the home.  We do lots of swimming and going to the park.  So if we decide to head out for the day then we will change things around!!!

This is how I do my chores etc…..

Monday: Wash Sheets and Dave’s work clothes

Tuesday: Clean the whole house (takes about 3.5 hours) and wash all rugs and towels

Wednesday: Wash all of adult clothes

Thursday: Wash all children’s clothes (about 8-9 loads), plan out menu for next weeks meals.

Friday: clean and organize one area of the house (school room, closets etc.) Wash anything that needs to be done before the weekend. Also, I do the shopping for the next week.

*wash diapers as needed

Saturday and Sunday is family time, I try to keep cleaning to a minimum.  Just what needs to be done (kitchen, baths and toy room).  This way we get to really spend time with daddy.  I do a lot of baking on Sunday nights after church.

If I plan things out right, I can get most of my chores done before lunch (except for my big clean day, I do that from about noon to 3:30).  So we stay home that day, but the other days we can be gone by lunch if needed. 🙂


24 03 2010

Well, we have started schooling a little different this past week.  And so far so good!!  Now, I wouldn’t really call it schooling for Owen and Ethan, but they are involved as well!  And they love it too 🙂

So, this is how it works.  I set up 3-6 different things for the kids to do.  For example : painting, reading, math, wood tiles, play do, puzzles, a craft, music, felt-board, spanish, etc. 

I then set the timer for 10 mins. and the kids rotate around to different things I have set up.  Now, the older ones do a lot of school time during this time (their math is the lesson for the week, or handwriting).  For Owen it is more “activities” (paint, felt board, wood tiles, etc), for Ethan is it fun baby stuff (floor time, bouncy time, etc). 

I then rotate around and help each child during a set of time.  So I make sure Grace and Isaac aren’t both doing math or reading at the same time.  Grace will be painting while I help Isaac with math, then I help Grace with reading while Isaac is doing the felt board etc.  I then make sure Grace and Isaac are doing things they don’t need help with while I spend time with Owen and Ethan.  🙂  This has made it much easier to spend one on one with each child and get school done at the same time!  It also gets the kids doing fun things that I don’t usually get out for them to do. 🙂  This also makes me set up fun things for them and it keeps Owen and Ethan busy while I do subjects with Grace and Isaac.

A look at the first half…..

5 01 2010

Wow!  Are we really almost half way through our first full year of homeschooling or home educating our children?  Time to reflect if you ask me.

First, curriculum…..

We love our choices this year!  Sonlight level K with readers 1 for Isaac and readers K for Grace.  Handwriting without tears Level 1 for both the kids and Math U See for both as well.  Hooked on Spanish for foreign language and daddy does his own thing for Bible (which is neat if you ask me, right now we are going from the birth of Christ to the Resurrection, from Christmas to Easter).

Second, Schedule…….

OK, this one had to change and change fast!!!!  Our schedule wasn’t working for us.  So our first change was mommy to get up eariler……yes, I now set the alarm for 7:30.  Okay, don’t go crazy on me, but my kids sleep til 8 and then they get up and play until we would get up. Dave works til about 1 am or so, so we weren’t in bed til really late!  That is working much better for us 🙂

Next we felt like we weren’t getting all that we wanted in during the week.  We got the basics in but wanted to add more fun stuff like painting etc.  So we know have a monthly schedule that hangs over the school table.  Dave and I can both see what didn’t get done and do it.  We also can see where we will be at the end of the month!  We like this a lot.  It is color coded for each child.

Now we need to see if there was anything our children were missing that we wanted them to learn.  And we discovered that they didn’t know the location of most of the states.  I thought this was important so we added it to our school room.  I took a map ( I purchased it at Target in the dollar area) and placed it on the table and covered it with clear contact paper.  After we learn the states well we will switch it with  a world map and work on the different countries.

Cooking…..How do I get that done along with everything else?

4 01 2010

I have had many people ask me how we cook our meals in our home.  I have started doing a concept that has you cook once a for month or a couple times. 🙂  It has saved us sooooo much money and it has also saved me TONS of time.  Because of cooking with this style I have had more time to do other things…….like homeschool, read, clean and even workout. 🙂

Here is how we do it………

First I make my list of the different meals we are going to eat.  I find these Online or in a cookbook.  (We use Once-a-month Cooking by Wilson, The Freezer cooking Manual by Slagle and several others if needed).  I make 20 meals every 4 weeks.  We go to church and eat on Wednesday nights and we eat at my moms on Sundays.  I usually make 10 different meals ( I double each one to make 20 meals). I plan for 3 chicken type meals, 1 beef and one other (pork or vegetarian) for each week.  Every time I have done this we end up with enough meals for almost 5 weeks.  Something always comes up during the month or I find something on sale and we eat it instead of a pre made meal.

I then make my list of all the things I need to buy for these meals.  Yes the list is LONG.  I then separate the list by store (we buy all our meat at Sam’s Club) and make a list of the things I need to store the meals (for example, I buy the throw away metal containers for Lasagna etc., other than that I freeze everything in heavy duty Ziplock bags).

Now do your shopping!

NOw comes the fun part…..Cooking day!!!!!  I start with getting all my stuff laid out.

THen I start to cook the things that need to be cook.  FOr example I made Chicken and Rice and White Bean Chicken Chili.  Both call for cooked chicken so I cooked all the chicken together in the same pot to save on dishes and time.  🙂

I then start everything that needs to be in a crock pot ( I have 2 crockpots and both are always going during this day). 

THen I start things that go into the freezer uncooked (for example we do Heavenly Chicken, the meat is frozen raw until I choose to use it, I just assemble on my big cooking day).

I label all meals with the instructions!  This way Dave or I can just pull it out and we know what to do.  We don’t have to go look through a cookbook trying to figure out how to cook it etc.).  Also, he can make dinner with little to no help from me :).

Here is a pic of the labeled bags for Fruit Slush (a side dish).

I allow my meals to cool (if they need to) before putting int he freezer for a little bit.

NOw it is time to freeze your meals. YOu don’t need a lot of space for this!  I freeze all the meals laying flat in the freezer and just pull one out when we are ready to eat.  I then thaw it and pour it into the pan to cook 🙂 Very easy!!!!

Now the not so fun part!  Cleaning up.  Here are all my dishes I used ( and yes I made 20 meals so not too bad if you ask me).  Dave usually does the dishes for me 🙂

Here is a list of the meals I made for this month…..

Traditional Beef Stew ( 4 batches, we really love this in the winter with some warm bread)

Chicken in a pot (2 batches)

Sante Fe Chicken (2 batches)

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (2 batches)

Cranberry Chicken (1 batch)

Pizza Pasta Pie (1 batch)

Heavenly Chicken (2 batches, we LOVE this.  It has a lot of steps, but because I do it on my cooking day it doesn’t seem like so many because I have so many other things going on at the same time.  Had I not made it on a cooking day it would have seemed like a lot of work)

Chicken and Rice (2 batches)

Green Chili enchiladas (2 batches)

spinach Lasagna (2 batches)

and Four batches of Fruit Slush ( a side item to go with a meal once a week).

I then bought 10 bags of frozen veggies, a bag of potatoes, cornbread mix (a few of these) and 3 desserts (a pie, ice cream and cookies)  for under 100 dollars!!!!!!  Yup that is 25 dollars a week to feed my family (five eating people, our baby doesn’t count yet) for dinner.  And our dinners are yummy and filling! 

I will post some of the recipes that we use in the next post 🙂

Organization: Your family’s weekly menu

8 04 2009

Okay, I know that just the title of this has some of you wanting to run away!  The thought of meal planning can be overwhelming as well as boring!!!!  I have to admit that this is the one thing that has kept my family running smoothly.  Being able to know at 9 am what we are having for dinner and that everything is already bought, so no last minute runs to the store, is so nice.

So, if you have never tried this before I want to urge you to do so.  In my home I like to have all lunches and dinners figured out for 2 weeks at a time.  Before the week begins I do a big shopping for two weeks.  I am able to get almost everything I need for the meals for those two weeks except for milk, bread and fresh produce for the second week.  I usually make a quick stop at the store in the middle of the two week period to pick up those few things.

For starters let me tell you how this has served my family.  When I am really sick with the preg. Dave can walk in the door and know what needs to be made for dinner with little help from me.  He also knows that I have everything ready for lunches so he can make lunch for the kids before leaving the house if I am busy schooling in the morning.  After the kids have played and schooled they are VERY hungry in this house for lunch.  It may be the biggest meal in our home on some days. 

Meal planning has given my kids LOTS of variety.  It makes me get out of the lunch rut.  You know the one where they eat P.B and J. everyday with a few sides?  I am not saying P.B. and J. is bad, but everyday I think maybe too much.  So, it has given me the freedom to do stuff in the morning knowing that lunch is already planned out.

Now, mommies let me tell you one little tip…….are you ready?  Don’t let the schedule control you….you control it!   Now, you might be thinking…..”well, duh”.  But hear me out.  I have to listen to my husband and my children on this regularly.  If they really want to have Mac and Cheese on Monday and I have it scheduled for Wednesday…..I change it sometimes!  I don’t do this all the time, but as long as all the meals are eaten that week, I let it slide.  Also, I want my husband to be excited to come home for dinner at night.  I ask him at the beginning of shopping what he would like that week to eat.  He always is willing to give ideas.  This allows me to show him love and respect during dinner time.  Also, if your husband calls and says, “Hey hun, lets go out to eat tonight.  What do you say about it?”  Let him serve you in this way!  We can get so hooked on the meal schedule we forget that it is here to serve us not us it.

Here is a post I did a while ago that maybe some help on how to actually Meal Plan.  If you want more Ideas on this check out the category for Stewardship on the right hand side of the blog.