"If Psalm 1 is to be believed, we must not allow our children to stand, sit or walk with those who deny biblical truth and morality. Instead, we must place them in situations that will aid them in meditating on the law of the Lord 'day and night.' Surely this involves how and where they are to be educated." — Voddie T. Baucham Jr.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Laundry Time

I've discovered over the years that to make this homeschool thing work it takes more than "doing school". You really take on the responsibilities on a whole school. A public or private school teacher does not have to wake your children up, get them dressed or feed them breakfast. Neither do they have to cook and serve a nutritious lunch. Nor clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors or any other maintenance work. And they definitely don't have to make sure your children have clean clothes to wear every day. So to keep things running smoothly I implemented a laundry schedule. I've been using it for a few months now and have made a few changes along the way, but I think I've finally perfected it, (at least for now anyway, I'm sure baby #3 will require me to make some adjustments), and wanted to share what's been working for me.

First of all, this idea came form Flylady who says "A load a day keeps chaos away". I just made a plan based on this principle. It goes as follows:

(I have this typed out and posted above the washer)

*Monday~ Kids clothes  
I wash their clothes together since their clothes aren't that big and don't justify a load to themselves.

*Tuesday~ My clothes
I wash mine and my husbands clothes together since he only wears casual clothes on the weekends.

*Wednesday~ Whites, My husband's work shirts and diapers
I alternate Wednesdays with white and shirts since he has enough of both to last two weeks. Diapers I wash every week.

*Thursday~ Sheets and Towels

*Friday~ My clothes and the children's clothes.
I wash whatever we have worn during the week so that all clothes are clean going into the weekend. I wash them in separate loads to streamline folding and putting them away.

*Saturday~ Diapers and catch up
I wash another load of diapers and anything I didn't get to during the week. But if I follow my schedule I rarely do laundry on Saturday except for diapers.

Here's how I work the plan and usually only spend 10 to 15 minutes a day doing laundry. I wash the scheduled load the night before. This takes no more than five minutes. In the morning before I get the kids dressed, I switch the laundry to the dryer. If there is a second load to be washed, like on Thursday and Friday, I put it in the washer then. This takes about three minutes. After breakfast we do our Home Blessing (chores), at which time I fold and put away the laundry. This takes me 5 to 7 minutes (I've timed myself), depending on who's clothes I'm folding. I put the second load in the dryer when I take the first load out, when its done I fold and put it away, and that's it.  I'm done with my laundry most days before nine o'clock. I do get Janelle to help me in putting her laundry away, and James will carry his laundry to his room and put it on his bed.
This schedule really has been a blessing in keeping our school day from getting over run with household stuff. I still have a ways to go in other areas like meal planning and house cleaning. But I'm slowly implementing schedules for those areas as well. I don't always follow my plan and I get behind. But there is grace for me and I just jump in where I am and catch up. And I've learned that its so much easier to catch up when you have a plan in place.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Delightful Reading

Back in September I attended a Charlotte Mason seminar conducted by Sonia Schaffer, and during the seminar she introduced a reading curriculum based on Charlotte Mason's method of teaching reading. It seemed very intriguing at the time but I wasn't sure if it was something Janelle was ready for. I had tried to use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons a few years ago, but only got to lesson 21. It just wasn't something that either one of us was interested in. For me, it was too scripted. I was so distracted by what I should be saying that I wasn't focused on Janelle. I think Janelle picked up on my distraction and decided she would be distracted as well. So I put it away thinking that maybe she was too young and I'd try again later. In the meantime I've tried to invent my own reading curriculum and became frustrated as where to start, where to end and what to do in between. We've worked on reading skills at Starfall.com and Reading Bear, but I wanted something a little more structured.
Recently when I knew Janelle was ready to jump in to reading, I dreaded trying the book again thinking it wouldn't be any better this time around. So I remembered the reading curriculum presented at the seminar and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. I absolutely love it. Here are some highlights:

* It's all there. I like that I didn't have to purchase anything extra. Everything is included.

* It is partially scripted. The teacher's manuel outlines specific instructions, but leaves plenty of room to personalize the instructions to a specific child.

* It is a balanced mix of phonics and sight/whole words.

* It's not consumable. I can use it again. The "My Word Book" is the child's own journal of words that they have learned. But it can be purchased for $2.45 or you could use a blank notebook.

* It includes a writing component, so she is practicing her penmanship. Most of time she learns six or seven new words at a time. So I only ask her to choose one or two words to write in her book and to do her best. I write the other words under hers. That way she can focus on writing just one or two words "perfectly". Otherwise she would get to word four or five and it would become an unintelligible mess.

* It is based on Charlotte Mason's method of teaching reading, which is relaxed but thorough.

An emphasis is placed on short lessons, say ten or fifteen minutes. Sometimes we only get through half a lesson or even less at times. But thats ok. Charlotte says to "teach the child not the curriculum". I know Janelle and what her limits are. So I try to end the lessons right before I loose her attention. We are having a lot of fun with it and Janelle looks forward to her reading lessons every day.

Here is a video demonstration of the curriculum.
I highly recommend it for someone looking for a Charlotte Mason method for teaching reading.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Artful Parent

I've been trying to do more art with the kids latley. When Janelle was younger, and the only child, we did more in terms of painting and crafting. But since I've had James and we made a big move I just haven't gotten back into it. But we did do some painting a couple of weeks ago and kids enjoyed it so much I felt guilty for not doing this more often. A few days later we had a missionary over for dinner and he shared a website that his wife uses for art project ideas. It was called The Artful Parent and was overflowing with some simple and some not so simple art projects for kids. I'd love to put together a schedule of projects so that we are experiencing art on a regular basis. Here are some pictures of the kids painting birdhouses I got from Michael's for $1. They had a great time.