There are days I want to quit

This past weekend Joe took the oldest boys (Jude and Noah) camping with their Cub Scout Pack. I had 3 days with just 2 littles and I’m not going to lie, it was kind of awesome. The house was quiet and I was able to accomplish so many things during nap time/quiet time. I did miss my big boys but I also enjoyed the relaxed environment.

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 1.21.56 PM

As I was making myself lunch during quiet time I had a realization that this is what my life might look like if I sent the 2 older boys to school instead of homeschooling. It was pretty nice to think of all the things fun things I could do with the little boys and all the stuff I could accomplish on a personal level. The idea of public school didn’t seem so bad.

In all honesty, I never even considered homeschooling my children. We sort of just fell into it out of a place of despair. And I’ve always told Joe that we will just take it one year and one child at a time. I don’t see public school as a bad place and I would be fine sending the boys to public school. But at this point I still feel like homeschool is the best choice for our family. There are definitely days where I want to quit, it’s hard work. But I also really love the benefits of leading my boys each day through their learning and life. We have so many unique opportunities afforded to us because of our flexible schedule.

I like that with homeschool we can explore and study topics that are of interest to each child along with our base curriculum. We can adjust the intensity of our workload each day and can push the reset button on the day if needed. There are days when Abel is ripping all the books of the shelves while I help Jude with his math or Noah refuses to do his reading lesson or Simon gets frustrated that he can do all the stuff the big boys do yet. These hard days when I’d love to quit I have to remember, I want to teach my boys about perseverance and hard work and they learn through my example. My boys are thriving and most days our homeschool journey is wonderful. So on the tough days, the days I want to quit, I look back through my Instagram pictures, Facebook posts and blog posts and realize how blessed I am to have the opportunity to spend all day with my kid. It’s totally worth it and I actually kind of love it.

KidloLand App Review

Simon has recently been playing a new app geared toward preschool children and he loves it. Educational songs and interactive games is one of his favorite things to watch when he gets iPad time. We downloaded the KidloLand app for free and then got a year subscription for complete access to all of their amazing kid safe content.

KidloLand offers over 95 favorite rhymes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary had a little Lamb, Old MacDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus and more.

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 8.02.27 PM

Here are a few of the great features KidloLand offers:

  • With over 200+ fun & original children songs to teach ABCs, Phonics, Numbers, and more.
  • 20 Bedtime Stories, Fables and Animal Stories for kids.
    THOUSANDS of interactive surprises with funny animations and sounds. A delight for little kids.
  • 200+ fun educational activities and 7 toddler and baby games.
  • Unlike videos and shows which one can only watch, in this app your kid can interact with the characters and things on screen.
  • Download songs and use the app offline in road trips, flights, doctor waiting rooms or to keep your kids engaged at home.
  • Playlist feature to play any 25 songs one after another uninterrupted.
  • Certified safe for kids by the KidSAFE program.
  • Always AD FREE.
  • New content is available for download every month so that you never run out of new options to treat your babies with.

Simon particularly loves the Christmas music. He could listen to Christmas music all year long and he pretty much does. But he also enjoys all of the different content that is organized into categories like Phonics, Stories, Nursery Rhymes, etc. The app is extremely easy to navigate and my 3 year old had no problem finding the content he wants to play.

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 7.48.44 PM

In order to access each video/game you do have to independently download each file which can be a little time consuming if the child is waiting but I just downloaded most content before he played on the iPad. All of the download were pretty quick too.

SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to KidloLand to get access to full content including future updates.
– Three options: $4.99/ month, $24.99/ 6 months or the best value: $39.99/ year.

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 7.48.53 PM The featured app has been provided to me by KidloLand.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Our Homeschool Nature Journal

About once a week we will be doing drawings/paintings for our nature journals. I’m really excited about our new nature journals as it’s a great way for the kids to take the lead on what they are learning. Over the summer the boys and I have practiced painting with watercolors and copying illustrations from books or drawing bits of nature we found while outside. So I thought nature journals were a natural transition for us.

We frequently go on nature hikes and play outside where the boys are always finding fun little treasures that they want to explore. I recently purchased some research books to help us study the nature we find.

Yesterday, we discovered some cicada exoskeletons at the playground and brought them home. We looked up cicadas in our books and online to learn about their life and why they shed their exoskeletons. We examined the exoskeletons and used color pencils to draw our cicadas.

Photo Aug 25, 1 55 27 PM Photo Aug 25, 1 56 12 PM Photo Aug 25, 1 36 56 PM Photo Aug 25, 1 41 33 PM

Photo Aug 25, 1 57 31 PM

The boys really took the lead on this project once I set it up for them. We used our National Audubon Society Field Guide to look up an image and a few facts about the cicadas. We also searched YouTube for a timelapse video of a cicada emerging from it’s exoskeleton. After they complete their drawings I will 3-hole punch the card stock and place it in a 3-ring binder so we can look back at all of our nature experiences throughout the year.

What we use to create out nature journals:

Some of our research books include:

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World

National Audubon Society Field Guide

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification

 

How much does it cost to homeschool?

homeschool cost

During the back-to-school season I hear a lot of parents talking about how much money they will spend on their child’s education. From public school parents discussing supply lists, private school parents talking about tuition fees and homeschool parents talking about curriculum cost… educating children can be pricey.

We’ve done private school and homeschooling and for us homeschool is a less expensive option. Even though we are a part of a Classical Conversations group which has a tuition and we purchase all of our own curriculum it’s still less expensive than most private school tuition + supplies. I’m assuming public school expenses would be less than both private and homeschool but we have no personal experience with public school. (I’ve seen some of the public school supply lists and it can get a bit pricey.)

One of the benefits of homeschool is you can choose how much money to invest and where to invest it. We choose to spend the bulk of our education funds on Classical Conversations. We pay an annual tuition and fees to be a part of a community and we feel it’s of the greatest benefit to our kids. As for the rest of our curriculum we try to make wise financial investments. This year specifically I’ve tried to invest in reusable curriculum… fewer workbooks. With the prospect of homeschooling 4 children I’m thinking long term and trying to make investments in curriculum that we can use for multiple children. However, I don’t want to compromise on the quality of their education so a lot of research has gone into my selections. I selected books that were affordable yet comprehensive. (Check out our curriculum choices for this year.)

I also have to remind myself to keep it simple. There are so many wonderful homeschool curriculum options it’s easy to get distracted by all the shiny new things. Not only does it get expensive to buy all of the latest and greatest things I truly believe that kids don’t need much to learn. My goal in homeschooling is to teach my children how to learn and to love to learn, after that they can pretty much learn anything. Plus, the less I spend on curriculum the more money I’ll have available for field trips and fun educational activities.

For the 2016-2017 school year I’ll spend probably less than $1500 to homeschool 2 children. (That includes CC tuition, CC fees, supplies, curriculum, field trips, etc.) If we weren’t a part of a Classical Conversations group it would be less than half of that. If we just did CC at home by ourselves and didn’t spend any money on field trips I could homeschool both boys for about $200/year (including all supplies). On the flip side, I know some families that could easily spend 2-3X’s as much on homeschooling 2 children. And you know what, that’s totally fine. The beauty of homeschool is you pick what is best for your family.

Ultimately you can spend as much or as little as you prefer on homeschool it just depends on what type of schooling you want to do. Some people prefer complete curriculum sets, some prefer an eclectic style while others just use whatever they can find used or free. Do what works for your family and your budget.

Whenever I’m anxious about the amount of money I spend on homeschool supplies I remember…

An investment in a child’s education is not wasted money.

Summer Memories Spent by the Pool

image016

I’m raising my family in the same neighborhood where I grew up, in fact, the same exact house. With all the nostalgia that comes with raising your kids in the same house where you grew nothing draws out the soft summer memories like taking my kids to our community pool.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 7.42.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 7.42.19 PM

I spent many hours at our community pool hanging with friends, swimming on the swim team and serving as a lifeguard. Most of my fondest summer memories were made at that swimming pool, the same pool where my kids now hang out with their friends and swim on the same swim team.

I’ve taught my boys to swim in this pool and cheered them on during swim races. We’ve spent long summer nights eating pizza and ice cream beside the pool. Taking my boys to our community pool is like a refreshing trip back in time reminding me that the simplest times can produce meaningful lifelong impact.

Scotties Tissues wants to know what are some of your favorite past or present soft summer moments?

amazon.com

GIVEAWAY
One lucky reader will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a care pack of Scotties Tissues. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 8/18/16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on August 18, 2016. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

The information, products, gift card, and giveaway have been provided to me by Scotties Tissues.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Our Local Waldo

For the past several years Shop Local Raleigh has teamed up with local bookstore, Quail Ridge Books to coordinate a great summer activity of a local Where’s Waldo?. This past July we decided to join the Where’s Waldo fun and ventured around town searching for Waldo at local businesses.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.52.57 PM

The boys had a blast searching each designated location for Waldo’s secret hiding spot. Each boy had their own “Find Waldo Local in Raleigh!” passport and loved collecting signatures and stamps from local participating businesses. They eventually found all of the hidden Waldos and returned their completed passports to Quail Ridge Bookstore where they received small prizes and were entered into a special drawing.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.58.57 PM

Noah eating a Rise donut

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.59.04 PM

Watching chocolates being made at Videri

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.59.11 PM

A sweet ice cream Treat

This past Saturday we attended the “Where’s Waldo Party” at Quail Ridge Bookstore where all of the participants were rewarded with cake and a chance to win some big prizes. Noah won a gift certificate to one of the participating locations, Rise Biscuit and Donuts. He was super embarrassed when they called his name and didn’t really understand what a gift certificate was but he was excited nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.52.36 PM

We had such a great time running around Raleigh looking for Waldo. The boys are bummed we found them all and now we have to wait another year to Find Waldo again.

Now the boys are obsessed with Waldo and we have since bought several Where’s Waldo Books. We also discovered some great new local shops through out adventures to find Waldo.

Unplug and Get Outside with CLIF Kid


My kids are really into technology. It sucks them in and and stimulates their little brains. I love technology, it’s an important part of our culture. Kids and learn so much just with the touch of a screen. But it’s also important for kids to be active and engage in physical play. So everyday we make sure to unplug from technology and just play.

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

Photo Aug 01, 4 28 27 PM

We typically head outside, even if the weather isn’t ideal. When it’s cold outside we bundle up and play until our noses are pink. On rainy days, we don our rain gear and jump in the puddles. And on hot summer days we find respite under the shade of trees. The changing nature of the outdoors makes it an incredibly stimulating and multi-sensory place to play. Children learn so much through play and being outside in nature. But no matter the weather or our destination we always pack a snack. Kids need to fuel those little bodies while they explore the world around them and learn through creative, physical play time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 10.59.29 AM

Photo Aug 01, 4 18 04 PM

We like to pack portable yet nutritious snacks like CLIF Kid Zbar®. CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. I always grab a few CLIF Kid bars and some water bottles before we head out the door. Keeping a healthy snack on hand keeps everyone happy and usually extends our play time.

Photo Aug 01, 4 20 00 PM Photo Aug 01, 4 18 42 PM

CLIF Kid is dedicated to reclaiming play.  They encourage boys and girls everywhere to get back outside, push their boundaries and feed their adventures. Hey moms, do you remember when you were a kid and spent hours playing outside?

CLIF Kid wants to remind you of how awesome it was being a kid….

Connect with CLIF Kid on Facebook and tell them your favorite way to play outside.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.