Chicken People Gifts

We watched a documentary called Chicken People a few years ago. The librarian said she really enjoyed it and in the end we all did. It’s all about crazy chicken people that breed and show chickens in poultry competitions. At the time we were not crazy chicken people and didn’t relate at all, but just thought it was neat to learn about. Now we recognize many of the breeds and vernacular so we watched it again and enjoyed it even more!

When it comes to chickens, my mom is a big fan. As of May of 2020, I am a sucker for pet chickens too. Even my brother and his family have chickens. We are one big happy chicken family. There is one person though that I think it’s safe to say loves chickens more than anyone else I know and that is my 10-year-old daughter, SJ.

She is obsessed.

For a child who was deaf and we feared would never speak, I am proud to say that she can talk nonstop for hours… about chickens. Seriously. Don’t get her started. She is committed to our little flock of 9 and has a bond with all of them.

I guess it should come as no surprise then that our family (particularly SJ) ended up with several chicken-related gift items over the holidays.

I got a painting by my sister-in-law’s mom.

It’s gorgeous and I will cherish it forever! Dede Collicott is an incredible painter from Atlanta and she has even been featured in many art shows. My mom and brother’s wife got paintings too. How perfect is that?

As far as SJ’s gifts, she got a Barbie with chickens!

She also got a book about how to train your chickens. She has read through it multiple times. She falls asleep reading it and even brought it on our Christmas vacation. So far she hasn’t successfully trained the chickens to do any tricks, but they do love her and mostly cooperate for her.

All of the grandkids of my mom and dad got this adorable Children’s book called Chicken talk. It’s a must-read!

 

My sister in law from Texas got us this cool puzzle.

On top of all that my mom scored this gingerbread chicken coop.

I had several people text me and tag me on this one knowing I had a chicken fanatic. Unfortunately, they were sold out everywhere (I guess crazy chicken people aren’t all that uncommon). However, my amazing mother was able to put in a raincheck at Tractor Supply and snagged one for SJ before Christmas.

Lastly, the greatest chicken gift of all is probably getting up to 6 eggs a day during these cold winter months. That’s something to cluck about!

By | January 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Year’s Goals (Yes, I still have goals)

You would think after all of my plans (and everyone else’s plans) for 2020 failed that I would be jaded and not even try in 2021. I’ll admit I am definitely trying to hold everything loosely. No one has any idea of what 2021 will bring, BUT having that realization is a leg up from where we all were in 2020.

The fact is, I LOVE new year’s goals. I have never been shy about documenting them on this blog and this year is no exception.

So here are my S.M.A.R.T goals for 2021

Cut back on phone time

Every week I get a screen time report on my phone and when I actually take time to look at it sometimes I am appalled by my habits. One day I picked up my phone 101 times! I spend HOURS on my phone every day. One record-breaking week I spent 17 hours on social media. I have a phone addiction and I am ready to make a change! My goal is to only spend 2 hours a day on screen time. Granted, I use my phone for a timer, alarm, Bible, books, camera, and *gasp* an actual phone on occasion. Those are not the things I am worried about. Mindless scrolling every spare minute is the problem. I know breaking this addiction will be hard, but thankfully one of the benefits of a smartphone is that it actually helps you by offering options like scheduled downtime and app limits. I already turned off all of my notifications! This is something that needs to happen and I am excited about it.

 

Have all children in age-appropriate grades in the fall

I know that is a weird one, but since I am homeschooling and still not even sure what we will do for the 2021/22 school year I wanted to make an education goal. Elle is starting Kindergarten this year, Ezie will be 3rd grade, SJ 5th and Z 8th. I still have 7 months to prepare them for these milestones and the bottom line is I want Busch Academy to be a top priority. There are SO many things I want to focus on and improve on in 2021 but what I really need to put the majority of my efforts into is homeschooling. That’s really what this goal is all about. We had a great start in 2020 and I want to finish the school year strong.

Continue our health journey

J had already decided in January 2020 that he was tired of feeling overweight and exhausted all the time. Then the pandemic hit it was that much more of a wake up call for wanting to be on the offense with our immune systems. I realize that “get healthy” is not a SMART goal. So to put it in measurable terms here are three mini health goals-

  1. Eat meat, fruit, and veggies throughout the day with one or two treats. This is mostly for Elle who really loves junk food and wants a treat after every meal, or for “being good”, or for doing chores, or eating something healthy etc.
  2. Exercise 20 minutes 4 times a week. That’s still below the recommended amount, but baby steps here.
  3. Have annual health exams. I already have mine scheduled for this year. J and I almost never go to the doctor. Now that we are approaching middle age and one of us already is in our forties *cough cough* this needs to change.

Read 21 Books

I love to read or listen to audiobooks. For a long time reading was a new year’s resolution, but it’s one of the goals that I actually accomplished and became a long-term habit! I would say I normally hammer out about 10 books a year? I don’t know. I don’t keep track, but I thought this would be a fun goal for 2021. If you have any recommendations, do share!

 

That’s all of my goals for 2021. At least that’s all that I am going to write down. The way my brain works I could list out a hundred and they would cover all areas of life’s dreams and ambitions. I have to force myself to keep it realistic. I already mentioned that my one word for this year is “HOPE” and I must say, I am feeling very hopeful about these goals!

By | January 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tips for Helping Your Child to Read

As a mom, one of the hardest things to face is the fact that your child may not be progressing as quickly as they should. If your child is not reading at the correct grade level and you are a bit worried you don’t have to panic.

You can teach your child to read and do it successfully. However, you must be prepared to learn as much as you can about the reading process.

There are varying opinions about what works and what doesn’t. There are also opinions about what age children should be able to read.

 If all this difference in opinion has you wondering, “When do kids learn how to read?” find out the answer to this question and discover some of the best reading strategies that you can use to help your child.

Use Nursery Rhymes

A nursery rhyme will capture your child’s attention. Children will hear rhymes and syllables in the words they are reading. This will help to build their phonemic awareness skills.

Phonemic awareness is the skill that allows your child to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that are found in the spoken word. You and your child should clap to the rhythm of the rhymes together.

While your child is having fun they will be setting the stage for developing solid reading skills in the future. Nursery rhymes are a great way for children with speech problems to learn how to pronounce words.

Make Word Cards

You can buy word cards but it is so much fun to make them. Begin with three-letter words and ask your child to choose cards and then call the word. Ask your child to identify each of the sounds they hear in the three-letter words.

Examples of good words to use are cat, cup, and pig. Try to choose three-letter words that lend themselves well to pictures since this will make it easy for your child to remember the word.

Creating cards takes very little time and they are a great way to build your child’s decoding skills. If your child is starting to learn the alphabet then this is a great activity to use to introduce them to the sounds each letter makes.

Make Your Home Print Rich

You should make it a practice to label everything in your home. In this way, your child will learn that everything has a name. This helps your child to connect words to concrete things and this makes it easier for them to learn.

When you are out with your child, make a conscious effort to point out printed words in the environment. A good place to start is by drawing their attention to signs that you see.

You can sound out the letters for them that make these words. You can begin by focusing on the sound of the first letter in the words you see. Ask your child to tell you the sound of the first letter and what word rhymes with the word you pointed out on the sign.

You can also begin using the word in a sentence right away and let your child repeat these sentences. This is the best way to subtly help your child understand the meaning of a word.

Children Love Games

Children like to play and word games are the perfect way to capture their attention and keep it. These games should help your child to identify and manipulate all the sounds they hear in a word.

Another great way to get your child interested in learning new words is to write and use sand or wool to outline them. Let your child close their eyes and use their sense of touch to guess the word they are feeling.

Let them tell you the sound of each letter they have identified in the word. 

Know the 5 Skills 

For your child to read and comprehend what they have read, there are five skills they need to develop. Once you know what they are then you should do all you can to research them and find learning materials that will help to develop each skill.

The skills that your child must master are the following:

 

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Fluency

 

The first hurdle you need to cross is phonemic awareness. Next, you need to develop your child’s skills in phonics. When your child begins to understand the connection between letters and the sounds they make then they are well on their way to developing their vocabulary.

 

Comprehension is probably the hardest skill for many children to develop. This is why as soon as you can you should have your child use the words they have learned in sentences this will ensure that they have a solid idea of the words they are reading.

 

Fluency will develop when all the other skills are developed. Fluency happens when your child is confident in identifying words. This brings speed and accuracy.

Use Technology

One of the easiest ways to grab a child’s attention is to use videos. With so many videos available on the internet that teach phonics and developing reading skills, it is up to you to choose the one that is right for your child.

 

Pay attention to your child’s expressions as they learn from the videos. Ask them questions afterward to see what they have grasped.

 

Once you find a style of video that works then you can use it often to make your child develop reading skills.

 

There are also software, apps, and learning academies online that will help you to teach your child. The wonderful thing about the internet is the amount of information it provides. You don’t have to go it alone.

Model Good Reading Habits

 

If you are that parent who doesn’t like to read then it is time to change all of that. It’s good for your child to see you reading since this will help them to develop their interest in reading. Aside from this perhaps the best reading strategy you can use is to read to your child daily.

Read a variety of books to your child. This approach will help you to introduce a lot of different stories. Make sure you read books about things your child is interested in since this will make it easier for your child to relate to what is being read.

The next thing you should do is buy read along books. Those that have picture clues are the best ones and make it less likely that your child will fail at recognizing a word. This will help them to develop confidence.

Help your child to select books that they are likely to succeed with. The five-finger test is an excellent way to know if a book is too hard for a child. To do this test open the book to the middle.

Ask your child to begin reading the page. Every time they see a word they don’t recognize they should raise a finger. If by the end of the page five fingers are up then the book is too hard for them.

Time to Read

Now that you know some of the main things you should be focusing on it will be a lot easier for you to get your child to read. 

Once you notice your child’s strengths work to develop them even more. The same is true for any weaknesses that you notice. Be consistent and patient because every child develops reading skills at a different pace.

 

By | January 4th, 2021|education, Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Schooling, Special Needs|0 Comments

2020 Year In Review

Obviously 2020 was a difficult year for everybody. It was, and still is, quite terrifying. When the shutdown happened I was absolutely miserable! March-June was a very low and dark time for me.

In February I began doing all of the online communication for the church when the church abruptly became exclusively online! That was stressful. Add to that the kids school also switching to online. It was all too much.

However, once school ended and the church reopened I would say that was a turning point. That relieved a lot of pressure for me. Soon after that we brought a new pastor on at our church. That has been a major highlight of this year! We love our pastor and his family. The whole story of how they ended up in our city is one miracle after another.

Then I started homeschooling, which wasn’t something I ever dreamed of doing and it is hard, but it such a blessing. This time with the kids has been a gift.

Another win for 2020 is some of the home upgrades we made. The girls got their bedroom makeover thanks to the Messy Mom blog and Limitless Walls!

We also planted a garden and new trees, built a treehouse, and raised chickens from one day old to most of them being at full maturity and laying eggs now!

We worked together, learned a TON, and really bonded while having fun along the way.

Lastly, I don’t want to embarrass J, but he lost 30 pounds and more importantly started feeling better all the way around this year. He began a low carb lifestyle in January and stuck with it all year long (other than reasonable breaks here and there).  In spring I told him he was going to be one of the only people that came out of the shutdown weighing less! His lean toward whole foods this year has had a ripple effect on the family.

Thanks to his determination and dedication my meal prep and menu strategies are better than ever. Between that, the garden, and the fresh eggs I feel like we are going the right direction as a family when it comes to taking ownership of our health. My goal would be to exercise and be a little more consistent with the kids sugar intake but that’s a new year’s goal and this post isn’t about resolutions. This blog post is about reflection.

As I reflect on 2020 I see so much tragedy and I would never downplay the loss that so many have experienced this year. My word for 2020 was HOME. When the “Stay at Home Order” was mandated that word proved to be more prophetic than I ever imagined. Homeschooling confirmed it even more. This next year’s word for me is HOPE.

We have to hold onto hope. It’s only by the grace of God that I was able to overcome a lot of depression and anxiety in 2020 and end the year feeling stronger and braver than I did when 2020 began. I feel like 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 applies here.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

What a year this has been. As with so many others on the planet right now I am eager for this next chapter. Welcome 2021

By | January 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Very 2020 Christmas

I’m not going to pretend like 2020 was the best Christmas ever. There were some special times though.

After Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree.

and soon after that we helped decorate the church.

We had a beautiful celebration with my side of the extended family.

Then we came to Texas to celebrate with J’s side of the family.

Then we blinked and suddenly Christmas was done.

J and I are scratching our heads trying to figure out how it all flew by so quickly and what we could have done to savor the Holidays more. I can’t blame all of our problems on the Coronavirus but it certainly reared it’s ugly head this December. We had several close friends affected by the virus (thankfully none were serious), then worst of all J’s parents tested positive.

Although none of us wanted this for them and it certainly put a damper on our Holiday cheer, there is so much to be thankful for. First of all J and I have the luxury of getting Coronavirus and moving on with our lives. We knew no one in our household was high risk. So while we didn’t enjoy the flu like symptoms we have felt like a million bucks ever since. We are especially grateful that we could come to Texas and care for J’s parents since we were already exposed and have the antibodies.

The downside is that we have had to do all of our traditional Christmas festivities separately from J’s siblings. It’s a bummer, but any disappointment that we have is overshadowed by the fact that J’s father who is VERY high risk (to the point that his doctor flat out told them that if he got Covid it would kill him) is doing great. Both of my in laws are in their golden years, but they are kicking The Ronas tail! As soon as we arrived in Texas and saw and heard their symptoms for ourselves we emphatically explained how it was exactly what we had with the coronavirus and they needed to get treatment and testing ASAP. J brought them to the Doctor the very next day and the positive test results came back on Christmas morning. How much more 2020 can it get right?

They got medicine along with plenty of rest and praise the Lord they have been improving every day. It was scary, but we are rejoicing for the covering over both of them, especially my father in law. I realize that is not how it goes for everyone and it’s something that we don’t take for granted. They could still use prayer as they finish out the final stages of this nasty virus.

Although Christmas 2020 didn’t get the title of best Christmas ever I think I would categorize it under most unforgettable.

By | December 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Word Puzzles Apps To Challenge Your Brain

Christmas is over and winter is in full swing. To be honest, this season can feel glum and sometimes you wonder if you brain is turning into mush!

Word puzzle apps can be a great way of challenging your brain and keeping you more alert! On top of helping you to expand your vocabulary, these word puzzles can test your mathematical and logical skills. They’re great for keeping your mind sharp as you get older and can equally be great for helping kids to develop their vocabulary and logical skills. There are hundreds of these word apps available to download from Android and Apple app stores. Below are just a few of the most popular word game apps to try.

Scrabble

Based off of the popular board game, the Scrabble app allows you to compete against other players online by building words and collecting points. On top of trying to reach the highest score in each game, you can compete with other players to build the best overall score. There’s also an option to play against a computer if you don’t want to play against real players (or simply want some practice). There’s also an in-built dictionary feature that allows you to search up words beforehand to check that they’re real words.

Wordscapes

Wordscapes is a popular app that challenges you to build words out of a selection of letters. As the rounds get higher, the selections of letters get harder. It’s a fairly simple and intuitive game that anyone can play and takes you across lots of relaxing landscapes in the process. The game gets quite hard as it progresses but if you get stuck on a level, you can find Wordscapes cheat codes online. There are also many guides and tips online to understand the points system. 

Alphabear

Alphabear challenges you to select letters on a puzzle grid to create words and collect bears. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear. It’s a unique word game with a fun bear theme to it (there are animated cartoons that play.throughout the game). A sequel to the game was released in 2018 that features even more bears to collect. Kids will love this game (as will adults!).

Typeshift

Typeshift is an anagram puzzle game that challenges you to create words stacked together. This makes it very unique to other word games. You’re given a new puzzle every day – the puzzles get harder throughout the week. For those looking for a game that’s slightly more challenging, this is the app for you. Like other games listed here, it’s completely free to download. You can find tips for playing Typeshift here. 

Word Search Pro

Love word searches? This app challenges you to solve a range of word searches in order to find the hidden words. You simply swipe up, down, left, right or diagonally to mark the word. The game allows you to select your difficulty and can be surprisingly challenging. This is a great game for honing your vocabulary and is a game that all the family can play!

When I am needing a moment to myself these word game apps are a great way to decompress for minute. Not a bad idea for the kiddos that have extra time to kill on dreary winter day. Do you enjoy word puzzles? What apps are your favorites?

By | December 28th, 2020|education, Family, Lifestyle, Schooling|0 Comments

Christmas Card Reveal Continued

Yesterday I did a reveal of this year’s Christmas card which is a collage of all of our cards from the past 20 years. It’s been such a neat experience putting it together and then seeing it in print. When the cards arrived J and I sat outside and reminisced about each one and agreed we needed to share some of these memories online.

I know it seems a little overkill, but I am proud of what we have come up with in 20 years. They aren’t high end or super elaborate, but doing anything consistently for 20 years is a feat in and of itself. So we are a little jazzed. If you missed the card recap from 2000-2011 you can still check those out. Here are what the next 9 years looked like for us.

 

2012

This card is not one of our favorites, but it is very significant. It was one of the craziest years of our lives. We had just gone through surgery with SJ and Ezie was a newborn. We were living with my parents and struggling to figure out the next steps. It would have been easy to say we weren’t going to do cards that year. Instead we pulled out an old laptop with “photo booth” on it. It took four pics in a row for us and we printed them out as 4×6 photos instead of ordering cards because it was so inexpensive. We sent out very few in the mail and simply shared it online. A flood of memories come back when we see this, but it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and how we chose joy and celebration even in dark times.

 

2013

2013 was our most hilarious card ever. We came up with this idea from childhood memories of changing the lyrics of Jingle Bells to “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” We have on these silly superhero costumes and baby Ezie is batman in a supposedly stinky diaper. I love the look on everyone’s faces!

 

2014

We kept it classy in 2014. I told J that we really needed an updated family portrait. Luckily have a very talented brother with a very nice camera who caught this gorgeous shot for us. We gave it the Busch spin by creating a “scrap book” style card. Each one was individually crafted with love using mismatched stickers, papers, and whatever holiday materials we could repurpose.

2015

 

This was another card that almost didn’t happen. We had a lot going on with the arrival of Elle and discovering her hearing loss diagnosis. I was really discouraged and J suggested the idea of sending a birth announcement and having it double as a Christmas card. It was perfect! They might have been sent out late, but at least it happened and we were able to include a small Christmas photo on the back too.

2016

The next year I was determined to not run behind so we had our Christmas photos taken on summer break.

I know the beach doesn’t scream Christmas but I added “Merry Christmas” to the inner tube and wishes of “warmth, joy, and cherished memories” so I thought it worked well. We go to Lake Huron nearly every year so it is very special to us.

2017

For 2017 we paid tribute to the couch photo from 2011 and did a recap of the 6 different places we had lived in the past 6 years. The couch came with us every time. Sigh. This card was truly a full-circle moment. After a LONG journey were finally homeowners again!

 

2018

We ended up going a different direction with this card than originally planned, but I absolutely could not be happier with how it turned out!

2019

In 2017 and 2018 we did a lot of camping so we thought why not show off our love for the outdoors on our Christmas Card! We hadn’t showered in days and we dressed pretty raggedy, but I love this card!

2020

That brings us to 2020. No pandemic is going to stop me from celebrating what is a very significant year for us, 20 years as a family! Yay! What God has joined together let no one separate, amen?

So that’s our look back at 20 years of Christmas cards. I know people think I am crazy but… as usual, I already have an idea in my head for next year. You’ll have to wait until 2021 to find out though! Merry Christmas everybody!

 

By | December 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Christmas Cards 2020

We don’t pack our schedule full with all sorts of Holiday traditions around here but there are several that we enjoy. One tradition that we have done since the first year of our marriage is sending a photo Christmas card. Since we were married in November the obvious first choice for us in the year 2000 was a photo from our wedding day. This was before digital photography was an obtainable thing. Most people (including me) hadn’t heard of it at that point. So our first holiday card was a purchased box of “Christmas frame cards” for you to insert your own photos printed from film. I actually LOVE that we had this part of history as our tradition, even if it does date me.

2001

The next year we printed our own on an inkjet printer and I am sad to say I have no copies of that one, but it wasn’t all that spectacular anyway.

2002

J had gotten me my first digital camera for my birthday. It was life changing. As I previously mentioned this was revolutionary technology and it was only THREE megapixels. We all have cameras on our phones now that are a thousand times better than this camera was, but it was a big deal at the time. We took silly photos of each other dressed in wintery/Christmasy accessories and made a very simple collage out of the photos. We titled it “The Twelve Faces of Chrismas”. I know this looks cheesy now, but this was before social media and accessible photo editing software. The idea that you could take a bunch of pictures and design your own postcard on a computer was impressive and all of our friends went bananas over this card!!!  To this day this one is one of our all time favorites because it was a turning point for both of us creatively.

2003

Because of the success of the previous year we decided to make another postcard. Again, I realize that you are hard-pressed to find any photo that doesn’t have a filter on it these days, but back then it just wasn’t a thing. So sepia or vintage effects on a modern photo were really cool and rare. On the back of the card, it looked like sheet music and we wrote our own version of  “Oh Christmas Tree”

2004

This was the year we bought our first house got new jobs and a puppy. We attempted doing a card it just didn’t happen. In twenty years that is the only one that we missed.

2005

Sadly, like 2001 this is another case of me not keeping a copy of everything. However, we did send a small booklet we printed and folded up by hand where each page had a photo and the entire thing was a poem about all that we had done in the past year and why we didn’t send out Christmas cards.

This is one of the photos that was included in that little booklet, and the good news is I have a copy of every card since then!

2006

At this point my photography business was going strong. I had even quit my waitress job to do it full time and I owned a couple of backdrops, including solid black. So J, myself, and our dog named Crew did a little winter photoshoot for this card.

2007

This one was so much fun! We visited my family in Kentucky for Christmas in 2006 and we recorded two Christmas songs, one of which was an original. We had a blast and sent the recoded songs out as a Christmas card. The CD art was pretty cool too and included baby Z who we didn’t realize would be a part of our lives when we did these songs.

2008

Okay, okay, this is ANOTHER favorite of mine. By this time I was blogging, so I can start linking to the original Christmas card reveals if you want more details. On the front was a picture of converse sneakers edited to be Christmasy. On the inside we had a picture with all of us with another one of my backdrops.

2009

This card really tells a story. I had a red ribbon tied around my pregnant belly announcing that we had “A Beautiful Gift” coming March of 2010!

2010

For this card we used the EXACT ribbon that was around my belly the year before and we created new things out of it. Z had a tie, I had a corsage flower pined to my dress, Z had a bowtie, and SJ who came on March 4th was wearing a bow!

2011

This was our last Christmas card in Texas taken right before we moved to Kentucky. I was hoping we were going to leave this ratty old couch behind. J had it since his college days and it was my idea to drag it out to a field and take a family photo in before trashing it. Ask me if we still have this couch ten years later. Yeah. Sigh. Yeah we do.

 

I’ll do a separate post with the rest of the cards but here is the grand reveal of the front of our Christmas card for 2020!

 

 

By | December 16th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Homeschooling Month 4?!?!

It’s hard to believe we are now 17 weeks in to Busch Academy! I have to say, it’s going really well! We had a great third month and are starting to find a rhythm that really works for us.

I get asked all the time if this is something I would consider continuing even after the pandemic. The first month my answer was -No Way. My main reasons were because of the office situation with my work-from-home-husband. I felt like the kids had to be too quiet and it was really difficult. Now his office is in our bedroom. I can’t say this is a great permanent solution, but for now it helps. Another reason I didn’t want to continue homeschooling was because my children (one in particular) weren’t being very cooperative. I knew they were great students in public school, but they didn’t want to listen or take instruction from me. It was like pulling teeth! Great news though, I’ve seen tremendous breakthrough in this area. We definitely have some academical hurdles we are facing, but at least we are all on the same page and giving it our best effort as a team (most of the time).

I mentioned in my last post that I love the flexibility of homeschooling. I like being able to hit up parks, museums, and fun places at off peak hours, but there is so much more that I geniunly find fulfulling. I am learning and discovering right along with my kids and it’s given me a new outlook on life.

Most weeks I have one theme planned to focus on, like when we did handwriting, or the Constitution. We have other lessons for sure, but this is our extra suplemental learning on top of the usual.

October 12th was Colombus Day/Indigineous People’s Day. All I can say is WOW, this was an amazing thing to dive into. We finished up the Secret of the Indian from the Indian in the cupboard series.

We made a talking stick.

We visited a farm that has some teepees and we used the talking stick to share what we had learned about the Christopher Colombus and also The Trail of Tears.

We went to a museum called Sunwatch farm to learn about local Native Americans from Fort Ancient.

We made teepees and did little reports about different Native American Tribes.

It was a beautiful and somber thing to learn about. We will continue to unpack this part of our nation and history, especially this week with Thanksgiving.

The next theme was all the fun fall things.

Pumpkin patches, leaf crafts, apple pie baking and caramel apple creating.

It’s cool how so many lessons can work together. The kids had to design their apples ahead of time and write out their recipes and instructions. We also circled back to Native American week when we learned that the Alaska Natives (and other tribes) take only what they use and use all of what they take. This tied in because we went apple picking for fun, but then we were also able to use all of our apples in unique and tasty ways. What was left over was thoroughly enjoyed by the chickens.

 

I’ll put this next activity in the category of P.E. and family time! We went to a trampoline park called Defy in the middle of a school day for my nephew’s birthday. Their family does homeschooling too and this place was a treat from Mémé (on the topic of learning, Mémé is french for grandma and my mother’s family are 100% french Canadian). Of course the kids had the time of their life! This place in Florence Kentucky is EPIC.

Last but definitely not least we learned about the United States Presidential election for obvious reasons. This was so cool to really dig into. Along with books and videos, we also held our own election except instead of it being for the president it was what would eat for our traditional Busch Brunch. We had a caucus and everyone had to make posters and do a speech for what they wanted to nominate.


Then on voting day we all filled out our ballots and submitted them by the deadline.

Some aspects of this got a little crazy and competitive. Family members would raise their voices and the debates were heated. Some people started to change their minds and have regrets. Needless to say it represented the actual election quite accurately. It really was a cool lesson though. The winner was Monkey Bread along with chocolate milk and bacon. The brunch was a success!

I’m sure my enthusiasm is probably clear as I geek out about all these homeschool wins. When people ask me if this is something I would consider continuing even after the pandemic I always answer with- ask me next week. Just like with public school there are highs and lows, success and struggles.

I am so grateful to the Lord for guiding me to this path for this year. It was not an easy choice, but I know without a doubt that it was the right choice for our family. So I’m not thinking too much about next year and beyond, because if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you can make plans but only God knows what the future holds.

By | November 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Homeschooling Update

Originally written October 5, 2020

I now have 10 weeks of homeschooling under my belt. Now that public schools are all back in business it feels so much more real. For example, when my kids were in public school they would get out at 3:15 and we’d often hit up the library which was right next to another elementary school that got out at 3:45. I used to make sure we hurried so that we could grab some materials and get out before the school traffic hit. So the other day I told the kids we had to watch out for that traffic. Then I realized it was 1:00 in the afternoon! Hooray for homeschool perks.

Another time was when my co-op group rented a gym during the day and let all of our kiddos run around and play dodge ball and nerf war. That was definitely a homeschool perk.

On Ezie’s birthday last week we got to visit an apple orchard and a pizza and icecream place that you would typically have to wait an hour or more to get into. We went during the day on a week day and there was NO line at all.

 

Even though I have shared about all of the plusses and fun times, I want to be honest that there is still plenty of head butting and push back when it comes to really putting in 100% and doing the hard work.

All in all I would call our first 10 weeks of homeschool a success. Here are some more highlights from the past month.

We finished reading the book “Charlie & Frog” by Karen Kane. It had a lot of sign language included in the story. Part of our family homeschool lessons is ASL, so that was really neat.

We also did video book reviews for what each of the kids read individually. I posted the videos on Instagram stories. If you have an account and would like to follow me I’m @messymom.

We learned about Patriot Day, as shown on the chalkboard. That was a tough lesson, but an important one. We also did science lessons like the power of air molecules shown through the balloon and a toy car.

One of my FAVORITE lessons was a study on the Constitution which we celebrated on September 17th (Constitution Day). We camped out on this topic for a week, reading books and watching a video about the Constitution and even making our own quill pens using our very own chicken feathers. 

One week we focused on handwriting using a curriculum borrowed from a friend in our co-op.

Going to the park in the middle of the day with your grandparents is another homeschool perk!

All that and playing outside with the chickens and lots of leaves made for a wonderful September. We are looking forward to even more fall weather and fall fun! 

By | November 23rd, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment