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. 🙂

2010-2011 School year….

13 05 2010

Yes, it is already that time of year 🙂  The time when I get to figure out what our next year of school will look like.  My goal is to have it all figured out before the end of the school year so that it isn’t hanging over my head during the summer.

So, we think we have it done.  It isn’t in stone, but it is pretty close 🙂

For Grace and Isaac we will be going with Sonlight Core 1 for their History, Geography, Reading and Bible.  This was a hard choice for us.  We prayed over it, talked about it and finally decided this is the best fit for our family.  Now Grace will be 5 and Isaac 6 at the start of the school year, so this is pretty advanced for her. So we will take 2 years on this core….so that when we do Core 2 she will be 7 and Isaac 8.  We think this is the best plan for our little ones.  Grace will be doing the Readers Level 1 and Isaac will be doing the Readers Level 2.

For math we are sticking with Math U See.  We really love the way it is taught!  We are going to be on Alpha. 🙂

For Science we are starting Answers in Genesis.  We are very excited about this choice.  We love how it is set up!  We go through the 4 different science books twice between 1st and 8th grade. You have all the worksheets on CD so you just print what you need for each child.  That is a huge help with this growing family. 🙂  We will be studying Plants, Animals and the Human Body this year.

For language arts we are going with First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind.  This is an easy book that comes with a CD to help your little ones learn the different parts of language.  We also love that this one book covers two years worth of school… very cost-effective!

Some extra things we will continue to do are…

1. Explode the Code.  I LOVE these books, it is amazing how well they teach concepts in reading and spelling.  Isaac will be doing books 4, 5 and 6 next year.  Grace will be starting books 1, 2 and 3.  Hint: if you want these books try getting the at Rainbow Resources, so much cheaper.

2. Hooked on Spanish.  So far we are very happy with the approach to teaching Spanish in this easy to follow format.  They children do it all on the computer and it tracks their progress for me.  We are very happy with this and will continue it for next year. 🙂 Hint: We bought ours at Borders on the “bargain book” shelf for ten dollars.  Check there before buying online.

For Owen (age 3) we will be doing Five in a Row volume 1.  The current plan is to do this for 2 years in row.  This way Ethan can do it with him when he is 2 and Owen is 4.  Then we will get them schooling together 🙂  We will add in fun preschool stuff for Owen.  Isaac and Grace did this when they were 2 and 3 and it was great.  It gave them some organized reading and play time with mommy.  It isn’t like “school time” more like some one on one “mommy time”.  That is how we school until they are 5 years old, we try to make it fun and organized.  (More for me than for them, it makes sure I am giving each of them some love and attention).

So far that is our choices for next year.  We are still unsure about spelling (for Isaac) and how we should teach that.  So if you have some ideas please post them for me!  Thank you so much.

Worth your time reading.

5 05 2010

My friend Kacie wrote a great post on Socialization.  Check it out here.


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.

RSV, Homeschooling and Crazy stuff……

2 03 2010

Well, well, well…..the Ferraro bunch has been busy these past few weeks!

First, our baby got sick for the first time!  We were very sad when we found out he had RSV, he was on breathing treatments every 4 hours for a few days.  Plus he got a double ear infections…..he was a VERY sick little boy for a few days.  We praise God he is healthy now and God kept His hand on him the whole time!  What a great God we serve!!!!! 

Ethan is now 6 months old… can this be?  He is one of the most loving and quiet babies I have ever met!  People tell me all the time how much they love him and how wonderful he is. Something that always makes a mamas heart melt 🙂  After having such a tough start….he has become such an easy baby.  He is sleeping much better……goes to bed about 7:30 pm…eats at 11 pm then sleeps until about 8:00 am.  Then he takes 2 naps a day totaling about 4 hours.  He is on baby food for breakfast and dinner and nurses the other feedings.

Isaac and Grace are doing so great with homeschooling!  These kids eat it up and learn so FAST!  Dave and I have made the decision to continue next year as well. 🙂  This was a big step for us!  We have signed up for the Mid West homeschooling convention in April.  We are excited to learn so much and finish picking out our curriculum for next year as well! 🙂  Baby Ethan is going with us (because of nursing) and the others will be staying with my parents for the weekend!

Owen is doing really well with his speech.  After having two evaluations done they have decided not to do therapy at this time.  Both evaluations have found him to be well above his age in intelligence.  They stopped testing once they got to the age of 4.5 years (he is just 2.5 years).  His speech is not clear, but it might be because his brain is thinking faster than his mouth can keep up. 🙂  He is a ball of energy!!!!  He is such a fun-loving kid, we just love him to pieces.  Oh, and his new favorite thing is snowmobiling!!!!!  The kid is hooked on speed.  I will hopefully get some pics up here soon. 🙂

Well, the bunch is busy.  Dave is doing great at the church God has put us at.  God is truly teaching him so much here.  We are so blessed.  He preached the other night and I think it was his best sermon yet…..don’t tell him I am telling you this….he would be so embarrassed. 🙂  Pray for us over the next year.  Many decisions will have to be made and we want to be in God’s plan! 

I am doing so much better!  This past year has been harder on me than any other year.  After the birth of Ethan I went through a time of depression.  Something I have never experienced before.  Many wonderful friends would drop me a phone call or an email during that time….it helped to get me from day-to-day.  But after a lot of prayer God took it all away!  We praise God for that.  At one point Dave and I were getting ready to see a doctor about it….and then it was just gone!  Just like that God said yes to my prayer.  Things are getting so much easier with 4 little ones!  It is amazing how it has become normal to have all four in tote with me and I am not overwhelmed etc.  God is so good all the time!!!