Tag Archives: routines

Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids

**This post may contain affiliate links to certain products we use in our home. 

It’s true! I’ve quit homeschooling my kids… at least temporarily. We’ve had a busy hectic schedule here and everyone is off routine which means total CHAOS here. We originally planned to start back this past Monday, and we did, but things just didn’t ‘feel’ right. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so stressed with everything going but I am just not in the right mindset at the moment.

Missing Materials

I didn’t have time to plan like I had wanted so Monday and Tuesday felt so ‘rushed’ and ‘chaotic’ that I was ready to cry several times. We had planned a ‘First Day of School’ video but that didn’t turn out well either as partway through the video I realized we were missing some important pieces to our ‘Morning Table Time’. Sigh… it wasn’t pretty as I went digging through drawers and folders to find everything and then trying to find a place to put it back up was another matter.

I do have most of the first few weeks planned out on our Homeschool Manager app but I still had a few blocks that I wanted to ‘fill in’ with some fun activities. If I couldn’t find something I wanted to use I had planned on making a couple of things. Well, with my trip to PA that hasn’t happened. I just really haven’t felt like doing much of anything since we got back and it has really shown this week. Continue reading Why I Quit Homeschooling My Kids

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Homeschooling Through The Unexpected

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve all been there… or some of us have. I was once a very efficient, organized, multitasking homeschooling Momma. I still am for the most part but I have learned that you also need a lot of flexibility and patience.

There will be times when your plans go perfectly and everything seems to be so easy. But then there will be times when your homeschool is complete CHAOS! This can happen in the blink of an eye and without warning. Continue reading Homeschooling Through The Unexpected

Homeschool Manager Giveaway

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If you read my post ‘Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.‘ then you can only guess how excited I am to be announcing this giveaway! If you haven’t read that post I encourage you to go check it out ASAP.

Click Here to Enter To Win One Year of Homeschool Manager for Free!

The only requirements are that you need to signup for Homeschool Managers Free 30 day – No Card Required – Trial  and comment below to let me know that you have done so. Also please be sure to enter your information in the Rafflecopter form in the link above or the one below!

Click Here to Enter To Win One Year of Homeschool Manager for Free!

Deadline to Enter is 8/18/18 @ 12:00am!

Good Luck!

Be sure to share this awesome giveaway with your friends and on your social media also keep an eye out for another giveaway coming soon on one of our Facebook pages.

Cozi Back To School 2018 Survey Results are in!

**This post does contain affiliate links at no charge to you which help to support my blog.

Recently my favorite online calendar service, Cozi, surveyed all the parents who use the Cozi Family Organizer, to find out what they’re doing to prepare, looking forward to most, and planning to buy this school year. Check out the infograph down below.

  • 47% of parents say getting their family back on routine is their top priority, followed by organizing all the new events and activities (38%)
  • 25% of parents buying something new for back to school this year say it will be a computer
  • The #1 thing they’ll miss is time with family, followed by the relaxed summer schedule

I know I love Cozi and it helps keep this crazy Momma on track. Try the Cozi Family Organizer today. It’s FREE! I know you’ll love it.

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Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.

This post is sponsored and includes affiliate links, yet the opinions are my true opinions, as always.  We really do love using this program in our home and I feel that you will too!

‘Scheduling and planning that’s flexible and organized.’

Has the idea of keeping track of lesson plans and schedules got you feeling overwhelmed? The thought of keeping records for report cards, transcripts, and attendance can be enough to make anyone second guess their idea to homeschool.

Just a few years ago I was overwhelmed with the task of record keeping for my large brood. I had one child who needed transcripts and several others in multiple grades with different needs. I was suffering from an informational overload trying to sort it all out and make everything work together without losing my sanity.

Then on October 8th of 2015, with the help of my friend Google, I found the perfect app for our family. It was Homeschool Manager. It sounded so easy and I decided to give it a try.

They had me at the Free 30 day – No Card Required – Trial period which was more than enough time for me to know that this was just what we needed. This one tool IMMEDIATELY brought order to the homeschool chaos we had. (Our Cozi app keeps the rest of our life running smoothly.)

Homeschool Manager completely changed my life and has allowed our homeschool to be the productive and fun learning environment I had envisioned!

Homeschool Manager also gives us the flexibility to adapt and reorder our school year as needed when life throws us an unexpected curve ball or two. We can also easily rearrange our schedule to fit in time for new learning experiences that pop up. We have been able to be more spontaneous and have had the ability to incorporate so many more spur of the moment activities into our homeschool which has allowed our children to have a much more fulfilling and enriching learning experience.

Portfolios are so EASY with Homeschool Manager!

Continue reading Homeschool Organization. Simple. Flexible.

Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018

It’s almost time for many of us to get those kids ready to head back to school. Well, my kids have never left…lol. That’s a plus to homeschooling but sometimes it can be a downside too because this Momma just needs a BREAK every now and then. If my kids can see me then I am ‘on call’. In this tiny house that is pretty much 24/7.

We are gearing up to get ready to start a fresh homeschool year which will be our 5th year! Wow! Where has time gone? Anyway I am so excited to be using the PRAIRIE PRIMER this year. We have enjoyed reading the biography which I had hoped to have finished by now but we aren’t quite there yet. I have pretty much gotten our first four weeks planned out. I still need to look through a few activities and plug them into a few gaps.

1. Learning Disabilities

I am also going to look through some of the new items that we purchased for William. His learning disabilities mean that we do have to practice some things more than others and I really try to keep things interesting. I know I get tired of doing the same thing again and again. When William gets tired of repeating something that usually ends up in disaster. And I realize I am off topic… Oops, sorry guys! Continue reading Top 5 Back To School Worries For 2018

Simplify Your Life: Step 6 Set Up Routines

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

6. Set Up Routines

This goes without saying for us here and maybe I should have included it in Step 5 but I  felt it deserved its own post. Simple routines for morning, afternoon, and evenings have been the key to making life so much easier and simpler for us. Everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them and when.

We also have a routine for bill paying, laundry, and our homeschool. The important to remember is that you probably don’t need all of these. Focus on what you need to accomplish and set up a routine. Work on that one routine to simplify it and make it as efficient as possible. This make take a little time but it is so worth it.

Having a hard time getting everyone out the door in the morning? Maybe you should make a routine for the night before. It could include everyone placing their bookbags, briefcases, bags, and things they need at the door or other designated location. Many times our lives are stressful and chaotic because we don’t put a lot of thought into our plans but routines can change that.

Check out Make Over Your Mornings LIVE for some great ideas!

You can read more about all of our routines here. Remember that you need to base your routines around your life and not based on other’s. Routines have been proven to help make people more successful! Check out these books here and here for more ideas!

You can also check out Make Over Your Evenings for more tips on evening routines.

Meal Planning

Part of your routines can include Meal Planning.

This is an absolute necessity in our house. Meal planning is really not as difficult as it may seem and it can be done in so many different ways. There are several posts and article written about meal planning that you can find by searching with Google. There are services and courses you can sign up for too.

You can also check for books on the topic at your local library. A couple of my favorite books are ‘Complete 30 days meal plan: Meal planning ideas including weight loss resources and weight loss recipes‘ and ‘Meal Planning on a Budget: Save Money on Groceries, Master Meal Prep, & Reduce Food Waste to Reach Financial Freedom’I also like this little meal planning pad I found on Amazon, it looks so simple!

Are you tired of spending too much on groceries? Check out Grocery University to learn everything you need to know about making the best of your grocery budget.

Not only can meal planning make your life simpler it can also save you money! You can read more about how we meal plan here and check out some of our previous meal plans here.

Click here to continue to Step 7.

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Simplify Your Life: Step 5 Get Organized

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

Step 5 Get Organized

Whoa! I know this one may be not be easy for some but you can do it! I know you can. Did you that the average person spends about 12 days every year looking for things? I think a Momma spends twice that amount. That’s at least 30-45 minutes a day wasted because you aren’t organized!

Imagine how much money you could save if you had a system for organizing your bills and getting them paid on time! This tip goes along with Step #6 and should come after you have completed Step #4.

Please don’t try to organize until you’ve declutter because it may get too overwhelming. I recently decluttered and organized our whole house and let me tell you that it has made a HUGE difference in our lives! Everyone can find anything at any time and everything has a place.

Getting organized can include things like setting reminders for birthdays, appointments, paying bills, or important events. We have reminders set for just about everything else like library due dates, semi annual bills, some chores, etc. I even have reminders for the due dates for our club’s newsletters and updates.

The easiest tool I have found to keep me organized is my Cozi calendar. I have it on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. I have also installed it on Mr. Awesome’s phone and my ex husband has access to our calendar as well. That way everyone knows when we have upcoming appointments and events. Cozi even sends out email reminders!

This makes my life so much simpler as I don’t have to worry about forgetting important things, as long as I have remembered to enter them into the calendar. I also use Cozi for my meal planning so I if I forget my grocery list, or if I forget to make one, I can quickly check my phone for what I need to get. Cozi also has so many other great (FREE) resources to help you organize and simplify your life.

If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to install another app you can still use most phones to set reminders. You can also use paper and pencil, post its, or find a nice planner to help you organized. I used to carry a small one around in my purse but now I just use my phone which can be aggravating if the service isn’t great.

For keeping our homeschool schedules straight I like to use Homeschool Manager which I believe is coming out with a mobile app. This has helped so much with keeping track of what needs to be done and what has been done. Not too mention the fact that we can instantly print our attendance reports and report cards which is great. So simple and easy!

These ideas may seem like I am contradicting Step #2 but I think that technology is a great thing if used correctly.

In addition to these ideas you may want to work on setting up systems/routines for handling the following:

  • mail/paperwork
  • housework
  • filing
  • bill paying

Keep your systems simple and work on them to make them easy and efficient. Being organized can keep you from forgetting things and save you so much time and money! This can help to reduce your stress and simplify your life. The next step will have more about routines. 

Need ideas to get started? Check out these books here and here. You can also get my FREE printable bill organization spreadsheet by clicking on the link provided.

You can also check out Make Over Your Year for more ideas.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click for Step 6.

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Is Your HomeSchool Area ‘School Ready’?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

If this is your first year homeschooling this is an important step to making sure you get your year off on a good start.

You don’t need a huge Pinterest perfect school area as I’ve talked about in this post but you do need it to be organized if you want to be successful. Having stuff here and there is a surefire way to get overwhelmed in a hurry. Trust me, I know this from experience.

Our main area is our dining table. We have some bookshelves which hold the majority of our books plus I have another shelf with the books I am using that are specific to our curriculum for this year. Continue reading Is Your HomeSchool Area ‘School Ready’?

Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve bought the majority of our school supplies for the upcoming year. I know from experience that this is something best done sooner rather than waiting to the last minute.

Not sure what to buy? Check out my post here with our Free Printable Back to school list. I’ll try to start planning for our next year’s school choices about midyear. This gives me plenty of time to research and make lists for supplies that we’ll need.

Not homeschooling? Check with your child’s school and/or teacher for supply list. Many times the local Walmart will have a handy checklist available when you walk in. Continue reading Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

Daily Activities (Planned vs. Reality): October 23,2017 part 2

How has your day been? Ours has been CRAZYYYY! Lol… almost nothing went as planned and the day has been riddled with cranky kids, printer jams on top of printer jams, and kinked hoses… but we made it and I’m so ready for bed.

First things first though, if you read Daily Activities (Planned vs. Reality): October 23,2017 part 1 this morning then you know that we had a lot of things on the list to check off today. The morning started off well enough and I am so thankful that I did have that little bit of quiet time early this morning so I could start the day with a calm spirit.

Everything went pretty well until somewhere around Morning Board/Circle Time and everyone had a good time with Shakespeare and were really interested in the passage we are memorizing right now. We spent a lot more time talking about it than we normally do.

We did eventually get to our Bible Lesson ( Our Daily Bread for Kids) and some other activities.

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We also started working from the Little Lads & Ladies of Virtue Book. The girls did some copywork to go along with our lesson on Attentiveness. DS5 still has a bit of a cold so he was kind of drifting here and there during Circle Time and DS4 decided he had a ‘sympathy cold’ so he just followed his brother around.

I had placed a couple of other books in the Morning Basket over the weekend. Books that I had found while looking for other stuff… still haven’t found what I was looking for though. One of them was this Pumpkin Patch activity book. I don’t remember where I found it but it looks like it was maybe Teachers Pay Teachers. Anyways there was a counting activity that involved cutting and gluing so out came the scissor/glue basket and that was the beginning of complete craziness!

They had a blast working on this project. DS14 didn’t get the whole concept of actually matching the number to the number of dots on the pumpkin and we had to work on that quite a while but DS4 got it in record time and finished before everyone else. He really loves cutting and gluing.

However sight words were a completely different story. DS5 & DS14 were really hit and miss with today’s lesson, and DS4 wanted to join in which was a bit of a surprise, but they did enjoy doing a color sorting activity afterwards. We will try these same sight words again tomorrow and see what happens. That’s one of the great things about homeschooling is that we can keep going over a lesson as long as we need to.

While they worked on this DD8 & DD10 worked on their studies. They did a variety of assignments for reading, spelling, vocabulary, and math.

Their least favorite was the list poetry activity. I found this example on Pinterest after they were confused about the first example they had.

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In between working with the kids I was running back and forth to the wash shed, carrying out the trash (which is off and around the corner where I can’t watch the kids so I do it), and attempting to print out a few more fall/pumpkin themed activities.

My color printer was acting up badly. First, I replaced the color ink and then I had paper jam after paper jam. After several attempts to print one complete packet the black ink needed replaced. Then we had paper jams again and everytime there was a paper jam it would freeze up my computer…. Grrr! (Now that I think about it this printer had started acting up towards the end of our last school year when we had some projects that involved printing on cardstock. I am so thankful I haven’t placed a new order for ink yet.) I added ‘New Printer’ to my TO-DO list along with ‘Copy paper’.

So amidst all of this fun I forgot to make snack which meant that a couple of the kids were getting really grumpy around 11:30ish. I didn’t get to make the lunchboxes earlier because of Shakespeare so I had to stop messing with the printer to fix lunch which did come together rather quickly. I fed the starving children and then we did a quick pick up and off to their rooms they went.

Unfortunately I still had laundry to finish folding and putting away instead of being able to work on that ever growing TO-DO list. (The washer had been filling up very slowly which I found was due to a kinked hose. I fixed the problem and was eventually able to finish washing clothes.)

Then when  I went to gather supplies for dinner,Crunchy Chicken, and remembered that I hadn’t found the French’s Onions at the grocery store so I swapped out another meal, Chicken Pillows, as I already had the ingredients for it.

The only Hot Spot that really got any attention was the table which we cleared of everything that didn’t absolutely need to be on it. I didn’t even get around to washing the breakfast dishes until after 2:00! Which DD18 stepped in and washed them up while I folded up my laundry. And the tea steeped long enough that it may actually be able to walk…lol.

After my clothes were folded and put away it started pouring down rain. This made me ever so thankful that I had finished the laundry and didn’t have to walk back and forth in the rain. However this .also meant that the kids wouldn’t be able to play outside either. They were content to watch a Signing Times DVD, today they watched the Playtime Signs DVD, and play quietly while DS5 camped out on my bed.

I also decided to bake a batch of cookies ‘Just Because’… I promise I’ll start some posts on this phrase soon.

When I finally sat down to do a little work on my computer time really got away from me. I checked some emails and saw that I really needed to work on my Amazon affiliate stuff or they would be cancelling my membership. (I’ve earned a whopping $0.27 since I started so it wouldn’t be a big deal if they cancelled it.) Then I decided to research a couple of printers. Before I knew it the clock said 5:01! Oh my! It was time to put everything else on hold and start dinner which ended up being a bit later than usual.

So now I am eating dinner, which is very good, and typing the post. The kids are in the process of taking showers and getting PJs on. After the do a quick pick up then they will have a couple of cookies before bed. Then I will take my shower and finish up a few things around here.

Today wasn’t a total loss and the house wasn’t a total disaster either. There was no Daily Mission, Weekly Tasks, or any other Missions/Tasks finished today either but I did remember to drink my water and eat a half of a tuna sandwich! We also got everyone’s teeth brushed after breakfast and the bathroom got cleaned before the trash was carried off. (I found that DS14 had filled the bottle of hand sanitizer with water as I was cleaning.) I even managed to remember to empty the bathroom trash and carry it out too.. Bonus Points! We pretty much rocked our homeschool day, without any meltdowns, which is always a great feeling!

All in all it was a good great day just like every day is here! While things didn’t go according to plan and everything didn’t get crossed off it was OK. We managed to get the important things finished and the kids had a wonderful day. Yes, there were some stressful moments but that is to be expected.

I was able to work one on one with kids and when you see something click and the expression on a child’s face when they actually ‘get it’ that is priceless! Seeing the joy in a child’s face when they accomplish a task and the smile they give you when they bring their project for your inspection… Priceless! So many once in a lifetime moments that wouldn’t have happened if we were too stressed or worried about routines, or if we didn’t have our routines in place to make sure the necessary things were in place for these moments to happen.

Some days go better than others but we can always find something good in the days that feel like failures… Remember that tomorrow is another day for a fresh start. We will try our best to accomplish as much as we can but if we don’t get it all finished it will be OK too. I am excited to see what wonderful experiences we will have tomorrow.

I hope you all have a restful evening and a blessed week!

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Getting Back to Routines

I think it was last Tuesday when I wrote my last blog post, Getting Back to My Morning Routine, where did time go? It seems the older I get the faster it slips away.

Anyway we are still working on getting back to routines here. I do believe the laundry has been caught up, for now that is. Routines are coming more natural now as we continue to settle in. I am gradually adding a few more things to our routine schedule and trying not to get too overwhelmed. If it isn’t working then we make changes.

For instance last week the porch was really bothering me …. it still does for that matter. I had added it to my ‘Hot Spot’ list along with the table, the command center, and a few other areas that seem to be clutter collectors. The hardest part of living in a small home for me has to be the speed at which clutter overtakes things. This means I probably need to get rid of more stuff and teach everyone to put away the stuff when they finish using it.

Getting back to the porch, one area of the porch was sectioned off and tarped to use as a makeshift storage area for things that just wouldn’t fit in the house. Well, the intentions were to to close in the porch and turn it into a utility/storage room. Hurricane Irma hit before we could really get any progress made on that and caused us to delay those plans. Unfortunately, some of the stuff got wet and therefore needs to be gotten rid of. I have realized that some of the other stuff is really just stuff and not that important to me and I am trying to get rid of it.

Sighhh…. if only I had one day to dedicate to it I could probably do away with most of it and find homes for the rest of it. Then there would be space to actually make it an utility room or do something else there. For now I am going to keep my goal of 10 items/day and do what I can because every little bit is progress towards my goal.

That was a rather ambitious goal and I think I have managed to put three boxes of stuff in my truck to take to Goodwill. I also found some of my exercise equipment and made a temporary home inside for it… haven’t actually used it but I’m working on getting that back in my routine.

Another area on that Hot Spot list are the bookshelves. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many books, unless you live in a tiny space that just can’t handle it. Books are really hard for me to get rid of and I really am trying. My goal for these areas are one shelf a day. I also realized that some of the kiddie books are on a shelf that is not easily accessible to them and some of my more important books are a little too easily accessible for them… lol. I will be swapping some of that stuff around as well.

As far as our normal routines we are doing pretty well.

Today I caught up on my ‘weekly routines‘ (they may have changed a bit since that post) like scrubbing my kitchen sink (watch for that post coming soon) and cleaning out the fridge (post coming) and microwave. The FLyLady zone this week is in the bathroom so I have been doing a little extra work there and will probably put out some posts soon.

We’ve also worked on our ‘daily routines’ like laundry and such. I have chicken in the crockpot for Crockpot Italian Chicken and the kids are down for ‘quiet time’. I figured out how to upload pics from iphone to my laptop and now I am working on getting caught up on a couple of blog posts.

I must say I am proud of the kids and myself for being able to stay on routine as well as we did and for adjusting as well as they have. We have had our days, like yesterday, when I wonder if this move was really for the best. The kids were super cranky with a cold and I cried for awhile as I had to throw away some food because a freezer had gotten unplugged.

In my heart I know this was a good decision and that life will get easier as we go. It is so easy to doubt ourselves and lose faith when things get rough. I have to remember that God has a plan and that sometimes His plan includes runny noses, grouchy kids, and spoiled food.

Our little house may be old and dusty. There are cobwebs in the corners and plenty of things that need done. Our house is full of love though and we are working one day at a time to make it our home. I am hoping that by sharing our progress it will help to motivate others who may not be happy with where they are and help them to find contentment wherever they are.

We don’t need a new house or shiny new appliances. We may want them but that is something totally different than needing them. I am thankful for what the Lord has blessed us with and hope to help others feel that way too.

Note: If you read last week’s post you will see that I chose to wear purple last week as you can see in the picture… lol… today the kids think I should wear pink.