Tag Archives: Homeschool

I Was Homeschooled, and I wasn’t Normal…

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Since openly discussing our decision to homeschool our children, I have come to realize that people may not always be accepting of our choice. I have also discovered that I have a smidge of insecurity to what people’s reactions are going to be when we tell them. Sometimes we get a look of judgement or concern, and people have even said things like, “Don’t you want them to be NORMAL kids?” Or “The homeschooling families I’ve meant are just WEIRD….”

What many people do not know, is that I was homeschooled for eight years a child, and while sometimes it hurts when people make negative comments about the way I was raised, and now about the decision we have made for our children, I just have to remind myself that they may not understand, but that’s okay. I have to remind myself that I wasn’t “normal,” but it wasn’t a bad thing…

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That’s right, I wasn’t a normal kid.

I didn’t spend five days a week at a desk with other kids around me. I didn’t go to recess every day, or spend an extra hour or two riding the bus, and I definitely didn’t have to worry about test scores. Basically, I didn’t have what in my opinion was equivalent to a full time job at the age of six. To some, I may have “missed out.”

Today, as a College-educated adult with children of my own, in my opinion, I was given the chance to learn at my own pace. I was taught to love learning. I was given the freedom to explore my interests as far as I could ever imagine. I was given the chance to form my own opinions about life, among other things, without the influence of my peers and others on my thoughts and decisions. In regards to the quality of my education, or whether I was “equal” to my peers, I would definitely say that I was. In subjects that I really enjoyed, I was grade levels ahead. I was given plenty of one-on-one attention, curriculum that catered to my specific styles of learning, and I also learned to love self-guided learning. If I had a question, I would find the answer. I was taught that learning is a continuing part of every day life, and something to be enjoyed.


I remember getting a microscope for Christmas as a child, and thinking that it was the most wonderful thing I could have ever asked for (My son uses that same microscope today to explore his most current interest, nature). Of course, some may think that’s a little unusual. So yeah, I’m not “normal,” and maybe I was a little “weird,” but that’s because as a child I didn’t care if my jeans were in style, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between The BackStreet Boys and NSYNC (clearly I was born in the 90’s). Those things weren’t important to me.

All I had to worry about was being a child, and that’s all a child should have to do.

So please, don’t judge a homeschooling family because their lifestyle is different from your own. I am not saying there is anything wrong with public education, or private school at all. What is good for one family may not be good for another. Homeschooling can be hard sometimes, and after making the decision to homeschool our son for his first year of kindergarten, I have seen quite a lot of judgement and concerned expressions aimed in the direction of our family. So yes, our children may end up a little “weird,” but that’s because they are being raised differently than what a typical child would be. That does not mean that it is a bad thing, and it certainly does not mean our children are missing out.

Ways To Reuse Your Melissa And Doug Trays

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Our kids got a lot of Melissa and Doug gifts this year for Christmas. I have always loved the company, and I also really like the way they package their products. Many of the smaller toys (magnets, play food, etc.) come in these cute little shallow wooden boxes or trays.

I have always kept them, thinking I could find uses for them in some way or another. Well, yesterday I was cleaning the sea of toys we call the playroom, and realized I have a ton of those little boxes and we’re doing nothing with them. So, instead of tossing them in the trash, I brainstormed and compiled a short list of ideas!

To be honest, I feel silly because the list of things I can make the trays into are things I have wanted to do with my kids for a while! Yay!

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 1. “Tinker Trays”– You can set up all sorts of small pieces and items that kids can work with. They love sorting, organizing, and even creating patterns and art work. Meri Cherry has a lovely post about her “Tinker Trays” if you are interested in exploring this idea.

My oldest also loves to sort and collect pieces of “nature,” as he calls them. He collects lots of stones, acorns, leaves, etc. This is a great way to help them explore nature and understand what parts of nature are alike and different. You can encourage children to separate things by color, texture, shape, or just stand back and watch their little minds work.

This type of tray really gives the children to be creative and do what they want with it. It is definitely my favorite way to use old Melissa and Doug trays!

2. Sand Tray– This is something that works really well when teaching younger children to recognize and write the alphabet or sight words. You don’t have to use sand though, sugar or salt work just as well! I usually stick with salt, because I’m pretty sure my kids would figure out it was sugar and they would be licking it off the table in no time 😉

3. Drawer Organizer– Give one of the trays a little makeover and stick it in your junk drawer! You could also add some soft decorative fabric to create a nice spot to keep your jewelry.

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Simple Playdough Recipes

Since I am a mom of 2 littles, playdough is a pretty common thing in our home. I used to buy the expensive “Play-Doh,” until my mom gave me a couple of great simple playdough recipes. After making the first batch, I realized it was ridiculous I had spent so much money on the premade stuff. What is that stuff made of anyway?! It doesn’t even smell safe.

Now I make a healthier, safer alternative to store-bought Play-Doh that is safe for little ones.

Simple Play Dough Recipe

Homemade Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes.

Cook Time: 5 minutes.

Supplies

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 Cup of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring/ Natural Coloring
  • Knead in Essential Oil for smell if preferred, after it is cooked (I love adding peppermint and lavender!)

Mix everything together in a sauce pan. If you are going to add food coloring, add it in as well. Cook over low-medium heat while stirring. After several minutes of stirring, the playdough will suddenly thicken. Keep stirring until no liquid is left. Take the pan off of the stove and let cool for a few minutes. All you have to do after that is knead it so it becomes a smooth dough. Then it is ready for smooshing and mashing, and all of that fun stuff! When the kiddos are done playing, I always store it in a baggie in the refrigerator so it lasts longer.

My mom also had a Peanut Butter Playdough recipe in the back of her old recipe book. She used to make this stuff when I was very little. It’s pretty great because you don’t actually have to cook anything and it only takes a couple of ingredients.

Peanut Butter Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes.

Cook Time: 0 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Dry Milk Powder

Add all three ingredients together, and mix well until the playdough becomes the proper consistency. Store in a baggie in the refrigerator for future use. Easy peasy 🙂

Always remember that you have little helpers that will learn just as much from measuring and cooking their playdough with you, as they will playing with it once it’s finished!

I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to Playdough Fun! All of the pins contain free printables  for playdough mats. Click here to check them out: Free Playdough Mat Printables. I haven’t invested in a laminator yet, so I just use cheap plastic page protectors, and they work to protect the paper perfectly.


Witty Hoots Frugal Family Linky

Liebster Award

I was kindly nominated for my first blogging award! I am so excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award, and can only thank the sweet Mariet from Practicing Normal. She is an awesome mom of 5, who writes beautifully all about her life and children. Make sure to check out her blog, you’ll love it! I had never heard of the Leibster Award until I was nominated, so I did a little research. “Liebster” is actually a German term, and has several meanings, including “sweetest,” “dearest,” and “lovely.” I am in love with this award, because it gives your readers a chance to learn a little about you, and you get to spread the word about other great new blogs!

So, here are the rules:

1. Acknowledge and thank the blog who nominated you.

2. Look for an award image that you like, and post it on your blog.

3.  Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/blog who nominated you.

4. List 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 11 blogs with under 200 followers to receive the award.

6. Let the bloggers know that you nominated them.

7. Give them 11 questions to answer.

So here goes….

1.  If you were writing a book about your life, where would you begin the story?

I would probably begin with the early part of my childhood. We moved to Florida from Indiana when I was three years old, and I have some of the best memories growing up by the beach.

2.  What made you decide to start a blog?

I have always enjoyed writing and photography. I recently became a stay-at-home mom, so I am excited to document our adventures!

3.  Coffee or tea and why?

I like coffee in the mornings, and green tea in the afternoon. I have developed a bad habit of NEEDING coffee when I first wake up in the mornings. Coffee + Honey + Milk = Happy Mama.

4.  How has technology changed your world?

Technology has changed my world immensely. Technology was not as prominent in my life when I was a child, and I feel like I have been dumbed down a bit as technology advances. It’s horrible, but I forget things and always have to Google them! Maybe it’s mommy brain, but I feel like I have become more reliant on technology over the years.

5.  What is the strangest present you have ever received?

I had to think about this one for a minute, but without doubt it was owl pellets. Yes, owl vomit! As children I always got the weirdest gifts for Birthdays and Christmas from our parents. I was homeschooled and our parents used every opportunity they could to teach us something new. So we got to dissect owl pellets. It actually turned out to be really educational and interesting seeing what kinds of animals the owls had eaten.

6.  Share your favourite quote.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi

7.  Do your family and friends follow your blog?

My blog is still very new, so I have not given anyone the URL to follow. I am still learning and tweaking things, but once I am comfortable I would love to share it with close family and friends. 8.  What goal do you have for your blog for 2015? I have several goals: Post at least once a week, change to a custom domain, and get at least 500 followers by the end of 2015.

9.   What is your special talent?

Hmm…. One thing I have always loved is painting. I can’t say I’m great at it, but it’s something I have always enjoyed doing.

10.  Do you have siblings and how many?

I have a younger sister. We are complete opposites in every way possible, but I don’t know what I would ever do without her.

11.   What would be the first thing you would definitely put on your bucket list?

Raise my children to be caring, intelligent, and successful adults.

11 Random Facts About Myself:

1. I married my high school sweetheart.

2. I love gardening, but cannot stand the taste of raw tomatoes.

3. I was a vegetarian for 8 years. I had terrible cravings for steak and canned tuna during my first pregnancy. That was where the eight years ended.

4. I was homeschooled for grades 1-8.

5. I have never been to another Country, but I would absolutely love to visit New Zealand some day.

6. I have horrible anxiety about spending money. I am not fun to go shopping with, because I will usually walk out of the store with nothing.

7. I recently took up running. I plan to run a 5K this spring. Hubby says he is going to do the 5K with me, without preparing/training at all. I’m going to leave his butt in the dust, he just doesn’t know it yet 😉

8. If I ever had a random $3000 sitting around to spend on myself, I would attend Teacher Training at Pranayoga Institute of Yoga and Holistic Health.

9. My first car was a 1989 BMW 325i convertible. The roof leaked horribly, so when it rained I had to wear a hood over my head while driving!

10. I had many unusual pets as a child, including a Hercules beetle.

11. One of my favorite things to do with my family is take long bike rides in the summer.

I  chose to nominate these lovely bloggers:

Thee Mommy Diaries

The Early Mom

Yogaberry

Homeschoolapalooza

A Splendid Messy Life

Melanie Meditates Nessa’s World

The Lolo Chronicles

Caffeinated Chaos

Making A Life

There Is A Season

Here are 11 questions for my nominees:

1. How long have you been blogging?

2. What is your favorite hobby (aside from blogging)?

3. What is your favorite kind of flower and why?

4. Can you roller skate?

5. What is your favorite Holiday?

6. What are your personal goals for 2015?

7. Your house is on fire, and you can grab 2 things (not counting pets or family members), what would you grab?

8. Tell me about your favorite vacation?

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?

10. What is your favorite TV show?

11. What do you think is the best blog post you have written? Link please!

I can’t wait to have some fun with all of you and read your posts!

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Teaching Your Toddler How To Spell Their Name

I have always enjoyed seeing my little boy’s eyes light up when he realizes he has learned something new. When he learned to spell his name he was just so excited, and I could see an immediate boost in confidence. I have mentioned in previous posts that he is a typical little boy- he bores very easily and it is sometimes difficult for him to sit still. This can be a problem in a typical classroom setting, but since we are learning at home for now, I’ve come up with some fun ways for him to learn how to spell his name:

DIY name puzzles banner

Grab those annoying, (and sometimes painful when in the bottom of your foot) blocks off of the living room floor, and stick a letter of your child’s name on each one. Viola, you have an awesome puzzle that your child can either line up or stack!

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Sing a Name Song Banner

We had so much fun with this one! We worked together to come up with a song that spelled out his name, and we sing it all of the time.

“C-A-M-E-R-O-N he’s Cam-er-on and he’s my best friend!”

or

“C-A-M-E-R-O-N, that’s the way you spell Cameron!”

I would love to hear from all of you about other ways you have taught your children how to spell their names!