Saturday, June 9, 2018

Screen Time Alternative!

If you have a child in your home between the ages of 2 to 6 years old, I can not recommend enough, for you to have a box of Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum.  Even if they go to preschool, daycare or Kindergarten.  It's a great, and easy, alternative to screen time.
I am a Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador and I do receive this curriculum for free in exchange for writing about our use of the curriculum.  That being said, I get no commission or reward when people who read my blog buy a box of MGT.  My reason for sharing is simple, this curriculum, has had a huge positive impact on my family.  As a new Mother, I had no idea what my children were capable of, but Mother Goose Time did!  They gave us countless "Mother Goose Moments" that I am SO thankful for, even more so now that my oldest is 9, and my middle son is 7! 

I have had a box of January's Dinosaur Dig sitting on our dining room floor for months now.  This morning, Adam (age 4) and I had some one on one time as his older brothers and Dad were on an outing.  I have always wanted to make my time with the kids count, even before going back to work, but even more so now.  Our time together in the evenings and weekends is so important.  Of course, I still have all the house work and chores to do and less time to do them in, so I can't give them my full attention, all the time.  Please don't let this make you feel guilty.  My kids spend plenty of time watching cartoons, playing video games or playing on their own while I get stuff done.

But when I do have an opportunity, like this morning, I will quickly run out of ideas, especially out of ideas that don't cost money.  Because of course going out to eat or shopping is a lot of fun, but it adds up! Just when I am about to say "okay Adam, let's put some cartoons on" (because Mommy is out of ideas and wants to get chores done) I remember that box of Mother Goose Time. 

But it's not just a screen time alternative in this situation alone.  The MGT activities can easily be set out in an investigation station style and your child can discover the activity and play independently.  Often it will launch their imaginations into a new direction and keep them engaged and entertained for a nice stretch of time.

Today we lengthened our one on one time and got out day 12 to learn about Dinosaur Heads.  I set up the calendar for June and we sang the days of the week and months of the year song as he worked hard at cutting out his dinosaur teeth.
These calendar pieces work just as well for June as they do for January!  Instead of attaching the calendar pieces permanently, I use something that can stick and re-stick.
Then he glued the teeth on.  Carefully placing the tooth where he wanted and then lifting it back up, putting the glue down and sticking it on.

When the dino headband was fully constructed he put it on and turned into a dinosaur, it was SO scary!

After filming this little video I realized he had not eaten breakfast yet.  I was trying to feed him cereal but he said he couldn't eat it because he only ate meat.  Oh my!  But if you notice, with in that role playing is a lot of knowledge.  He knows that dinos with sharp teeth eat meat, that's something!

After he ate some cereal, I did finally convince him, we did some graphing!  Yep, graphing.  It was math, but he didn't know that!
He rolled the dino die, looked to see what kind of dino he rolled, then placed a penny on the chart.

As the pennies added up on the chart we talked about which one had the most rolls, which ones were the same which one had the least.  These words are all math terms.
I didn't even get pictures of the pattern he made using the dinosaur manipulatives.  But as you can see, we had a lot of fun, playing and learning and avoiding screen time! 

Please, please, trust me when I say, they grow up fast and life can change in a blink of the eye.  Don't take for granted these precious and silly toddler/preschool years.  Squeeze as many moments like these in as you can!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Soccer Man

I asked Adam what he wanted to do for his 4th birthday party and he said he wanted a "soccer and chocolate party".  He had been starting to play soccer at his daycare and I guess he really likes it.  I was able to find a Puma soccer ball and a matching shirt at Ross Dress for Less. 

I was able to take his birthday off so that I could spend the day with him.  He will only turn 4 once and soon he will be in school.  We spent some time playing soccer in the front yard.  We can't play in the backyard because our chihuahua goes  bonkers over balls, even giant ones she can't fetch.  I was enjoying every second of our day together and just had to get some pictures.

Such a cool "soccer man".

 And when he was all done with me taking his picture, this is what I got. 
When it got just a bit too cold out, we came back in and played with his new Greek ship from Playmobil. This thing is awesome.

 Our new doggie Mia kept wanting to get into the photo.  Since I don't have a good photo of her yet I changed my target. 
 She wasn't sure if she in fact wanted to be photographed. 

 The eyebrows on this dog are just spectacular. 
 We are so blessed to have her.  I mean, look at that face!
Unfortunately, in the middle of the night with 30 minutes left of Adam's birthday, my little soccer man threw up.  Not a great way to end the day.  I am home another day with him and it has allowed me to document our day.  So I will try to see it as a blessing in disguise.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Losing Homeschooling

I am not going to go into the details, but my whole life got turned upside down this fall.  I had everything I had desired.  I had my three boys, I was staying home and homeschooling.  We had the best schedule and the best set up.  Spanish class at a local co-op, support from a teacher through a local homeschool charter school and a network of homeschooling families that are just amazing.  My kids had tons of wonderful friends and a well balanced day to day life.  Best of all, I got to spend so much wonderful time with them.

And then I faced a choice, save my family or hold onto homeschooling.  Of course, my greatest desire, is for my family to stay whole.  So I had to let go of the dream and hang on to Christ.  There were too many fears and unknowns for me to try to carry.  I just couldn't do it on my own.

Step one, get my boys established at school.  If we weren't going to be homeschooling I really wanted them to go to school at our church's school.  I knew they would be surrounded by amazing people because I have gone to church with many of them for years.  I knew they would be surrounded by prayer and Christ's love through a challenging time in our lives.  So I reached out and we were beyond blessed with a wonderful scholarship.

Next we set up a time to come visit their classrooms while I talk with the principal.  I pick them up from recess a little while later and the boys were BEAMING.  "Mom, sign me up!" Lachlan exclaims.  My heart smiles, just a little.

Now here comes the big day.  One of my biggest anxieties going into this day was what to pack for their lunches!  No kidding.  Food is not my strongest asset and having them home I could just grab anything.  But cold lunches, everyday, filled with stuff they will actually eat!! What!?!?!  It literally sent me over the edge.  I got that fear figured out by picking up a cool lunch Tupperware container thing.  :)  If I filled each section everyday, they should be good.  Not only that, but I had friends stock up on boxes of grab and go items from Costco.  I have the best community of friends.  Okay, lunches packed.

Up next, the waking up early part.  Suck.  It's still dark when we have to get up.  I tried to prepare us by setting an alarm and slowly moving up the time to the actual time in which we would have to get up.  When the day came, it wasn't so bad.  But they were also super excited.

We are up, we have our lunches packed and our backpacks on.
 Lachlan, ready for his first day!

One thing that really helped with this transition is that they were already attending the morning program at our homeschool charter school two days a week.  So the classroom environment and having to get out the door in the morning wasn't too big of a shock.

And then, I drove away, from MY boys.  I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed all day.

People, I missed them.

The first day the time moved slowly.  The second day, I still cried, but the time they were away went a little faster and then a little faster.

I had many people surround me and my family and pray for us.  And that is what got us through.

I had one person tell me, this change doesn't have to last forever, maybe you will be able to homeschool again.  That helped.  The same person told me that fears and anxieties are not of the Lord.  From that day forward, every time I had those feelings creep up I prayed and I let go.  This happened every hour for a while.  Maybe more often.

I was able to experience what another friend called "stupid peace".  Peace during a time when there should have been no peace in my heart.

We have had a few hiccups.  The boys weren't where they needed to be in their writing skills specifically.  Third grade seemed like a little bit too much for my oldest so we adjusted a few weeks in and tried second grade, where he is thriving.  We've had backpacks left in the car and one day it took an hour and a half to convince my oldest son to go to school.  There were some behaviors and disobedience to work through.  But God is good, all the time, God is good.

I was able to attend the first chapel the boys attended at school and a young boy in Peter's class got up in front and said he wanted to pray for the new kids at school, that they feel comfortable and love school.  It melted. my. heart.  It also turns out that school is a better place for Lachlan right now.  He really didn't see any reason why he needed to learn the things his Mother was trying to teach him and we were frequently butting heads.  I was beginning to feel like it was holding him back.  But he is a competitive boy, and seeing what his peers are doing has really motivated him, not defeated him as I feared.

But through another rocky patch the boys had consistency, and that is what I had hoped school would bring.

I still miss them.  And I often find myself in moments of despair wondering what's the point of this life.  I mean, is this what society wants of us, to never be together as a family?  It sucks.  I get my family on evenings and weekends.  My whole life consists of "getting through the week".

I just keep praying for God to give me a new perspective.  For him to continually refresh my spirit.

If you are in a time in your life where you also may lose homeschooling or have already lost it, you are not alone.  It's HARD, really hard.  But there can be good mixed in too.   I pray that God will carry you through, as he has for me.

Next up, going back to work and finding childcare!!!  Ack.