Sticky Fingers…Happy Faces

Back in the day when I only had 3 children, I invested in a simple preschool program that I used for Bekah and Mary. We had a lovely time sitting on the floor discussing the calendar, weather, and singing the Days of the Week song. I’m sure that Caleb soaked up tons of information as he rolled around on the floor. It was a sweet, sweet time that I will treasure.

Now over ten years later, I still have little ones but our “preschool program”  has changed a bit. I ditched the formal preschool program years ago and take a more laid back approach. They run outside, dig in the dirt, pick flowers, and explore. They are read to often. I read to them, their siblings read to them, and they even “read” to each other. They build and create with wooden blocks and Legos. It seems they always have an adventure for their peg dolls.

While there are no fancy, pre-assembled preschool kits waiting on the shelves, they do have free access to glue, scissors, markers, crayons, tape, and paper. At the table (and with a bit of supervision for the really young ones with the scissors) they are free to cut, glue, and color to their hearts content. Naturally, when the older ones are doing school is right when they want to join us at the table. The hardest part is not the mess the little ones make but trying to keep the older ones focused and on task.

A few weeks ago, the little ones were asking for “school work”. No problem. I grabbed some paper, scissors, and glue. With a moment or two of prepping (and some help from Big Sis Sarah) the little ones had sticky fingers and happy faces.

We glued small pieces of paper to make letters and shapes. If they wanted, they were welcome to free style it. I love how focused Martha is on her glue bottle. She grabbed the one glue bottle that is the hardest to squeeze glue from. She worked hard and never got frustrated. So, so precious!!

 

Have little ones that you need to keep busy during school time or dinner prep? Want to let your preschoolers have some hands on learning fun? On a tight budget and need frugal ideas for your little guys? Then grab some paper and glue and let the fun and learning begin. In a flash you will have sticky fingers and happy faces. ( You might even find that you want to play with the glue, too!)

What are your little ones learning and creating? I’d love to hear all about busy hands, little hands at your house!

Planning and High School

Before we were ever expecting our first child, Eddie and I had made the decision to homeschool our children. Oh the fun I had researching curriculum and making plans!  Those days when I sat on the floor reading to Bekah and Mary with Caleb snuggled in my lap, high school seemed so far away. In my mind those years were in the distant future.

Quite honestly, I didn’t think too much about high school. Life was busy. I was savoring and enjoying my kiddos where they were and not worrying about the future. Long range planning and organization would not be high on my skills list.

Then, one day, bam! that little curly headed preschooler was in high school. Not only was Bekah in high school, but Mary was right behind her. This momma did not have a plan.

One day Mary asked me what she had to complete to graduate. Um, good question,darling. She left a note on my desk stating that she had “passed first grade so she had now graduated”. Mary would be a big goofball but it certainly has this momma buckling down on the planning.

My first step was to make sure that current studies were flowing well. I am a pencil and paper girl but am trying to embrace technology and make it work for me. I sat down with Bekah and we discussed her studies, the time she needed to accomplish her assignments, and what method works best for her learning.

We then went to her Google calendar and scheduled her studies. Working in bigger blocks is helpful because she has time to dig deep without being interrupted at a crucial point. We can both access her calendar and make adjustments as needed. Is her schedule set in stone? No. However, it has been a great tool to help her manage her time and responsibilities. We even scheduled Friday as a No Math Day and I think we both enjoy the mental break.

Since this has worked so well for Bekah, a similar system will be set up for my other children who access Google. I haven’t completed ditched the pencil and paper method. Bekah has a printed out assignment sheet and the others will as well. Slowly embracing the technology; slowly.

The next major step is to discuss Bekah’s goals for the future. Decide what our basic “requirements” are for our homeschool and then adjust for Bekah’s personal interests as well. While I hate that I had my head in the sand in regards to how soon the high school years would hit, it is nice to know that I will have it all settled before Martha reaches this point.

Do you have your own requirements for graduating or do you use your state’s guidelines? I’d love to hear about your high school planning!

And a New Week Begins…

Some weeks are just hard. Ok, let’s be real. Some moments are hard. You know exactly what I mean, don’t you?

This past week has been hard. Challenging. Tiring.

Two of my little ones developed chicken pox. While I’m thankful that they have them while they are young, we have had some rough days. There was definitely some extra cuddling needed. Being the rocking momma that I am (and I mean that in the literal sense of rocking chair), I was happy to hold and rock as much as needed. However, extra time rocking means that plans to deep clean my bedroom took a bit longer than anticipated. Who am I kidding? The bedroom still isn’t done.

Then I began to ponder exactly where we picked up the chicken pox? Hmmm..guess what? A couple of weeks ago, I thought I had poison ivy? Shingles. Lovely. And now I am suffering from the after effects of shingles. This means that the spot on my face that I had shingles is driving me nuts with an itching/tingling feeling; especially at night. Thankfully I am not going crazy. It is a real condition that goes with shingles.

I’m tired.

This was just the beginning of the week. I don’t even have the energy to go into other things that happened this week. It can easily overwhelm and make one weary.

And this morning my soul felt weary. Worn. Weathered. Beaten. Not the best of times to have to miss worship.

Or maybe I was too buried in my woes at first. My focus was just a bit too much centered on me.

God is faithful. He knows that I am tired and weary. He knows that my little ones are cranky and irritable and need more of me.

He has given me His word. He has given me sweet friends that encourage. He has given me a husband who cherishes me. He has given me children who happily rock and read to their unhappy poxy siblings.

He has saved me. Therefore, I am refreshed and renewed as a new week begins. I am focused on His and His Word more today than yesterday.

Just a few ramblings from a happy, tired momma.