Sunday, September 7, 2014

First Week of Homeschool

I cannot believe I am already moving into our second week of school! We are honestly excited to be getting back to the swing of things.

This year my main goal is to STAY organized and to fully integrate our faith in all of our homeschool. We live our faith as best as we can remembering always, that we are meant to live our lives as a reflection of Christ. We love Him and strive to this end, but in all honesty many times we fail. This year I wanted to pay special attention to the character traits that we are developing.  I feel like sometimes we lack gratefulness. So each day before we begin our day we say the Daily Offering and name several people and things we are thankful for, including our trials and suffering because they too help us grow in Christ.

This year I wanted to do something special for their first day of school and so my husband dropped me of at the Dollar Tree and for $15 I was able to make them goodie bags for their first day of school. Nothing fancy just little things they like. Bubbles, a special toy, unique for each child, and a special book likewise and many little small things like a Lego pencil sharpener, fancy colored pencils, playing cards (Bible themed, no less!) and little things to sweeten their day, we put them in little yellow bags. The look of joy they had was priceless!

 It has overall been a good first week. They were a little restless trying to get back to the swing of doing some sitting down work and not playing freely all the time, there were no squabbles, they were excited for our new curriculum and I was honestly glad to be back to homeschooling. I know by the end of the homeschool year we are all ready for a break, especially me but at the same time we look forward with excitement to what the new school year will bring.

I look forward to doing this many more years! Through the tough, rough, crazy and at the same time love filled, joy infused and  heartwarming, sanctifying days of homeschool.

How about you homeschool moms? How's the beginning of your year looking?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Organizing My Homeschool Life.

I am an organizational freak by nature, I have labels on my labels. Well ok, not quite but my normal self likes to be organized and before our recent move my house was in chaos. Hard to operate very well when surrounded by mess!

I am a big believer that everything belongs on its place, but lets be honest there are plenty of times when I derailed from this belief. One of my bigger weaknesses? Follow through. The old " I can do that tomorrow" gets me a lot more often than I care to admit :(

So this year I am TRYING to implement a little more organization. I have my planner ready to go. It serves a dual purpose: homeschool planning and regular everyday stuff. I got mine from http://www.michelequigley.com/store/ and added the homeschool planning pages. It is the small one I can carry with me everywhere I go. I am so happy with this planner.

If you need a planner you can check out the above link or get plenty of free printables here

I am also trying to assemble my homeschool room, not quite there but I'm working on it :)

I decided that instead of having every.single.book.out I would only get out the books I would need for the entire school year. The rest of the books will go into clear totes in the utility book. I am organizing bookshelves and bins by subject and labeling said bins.

I am also organizing my favorite homeschool curriculum websites and not keeping anymore than the ones I ACTUALLY USE. I have gotten my computer to run faster by deleting some bookmarks. About 343 or so, not many you know?

In case you are curious here are some of my favorite websites :

Charlotte Mason Style Curriculum

Solid Catholic Curriculum

Classical Education Emphasis


Helpful Sites for Mommy (because we cannot afford to be crazy)

My homeschool this year will keep all core subjects (religion, Math, Science, Language Arts and History) and will rotate at 9 weeks intervals between Physical Education, Music and Art.

After all is done, I am hoping to keep a system in place so that we can run smoothly. I know I want to be organized but I still want to be flexible for the occasional monkey wrench life throws our way ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Home Schooling-The What, Why, How....

So many people have questions in regards to homeschooling. There are people who have written excellent articles in this regard but for now I am answering some of the basic questions you may have about homeschooling.

WHAT is homeschooling?

Webster's dictionary describes homeschool as follows:
Verb1.home-school - educate (one's children) at home instead of sending (them) to a school; "The parents are home-schooling their daughter"

It really can be summed up in that sentence. We are simply choosing to educate our children ourselves, at home. Or outside, or in the park, well you get the gist ;)

WHY homeschool?

I think this question is usually well intentioned but the answers will vary from person to person. Some of the people ask this question because they don't understand why we would choose to educate our children at home when there are at least two schools down the road. Like I said, answers will vary. For us, and many other Christians, we felt called to educate our children. We heard that conviction loud and clear! We attended informational meetings, researched online, spoke with individuals who had done it and pray and discerned. We had to wait a few years for my husband to discern but once we did, we jumped head first lol.

 In our home we are first and foremost Christian educators, teaching our children the tenets of our Catholic faith. We believe in "instructing them in the way they should go..." Proverbs 22:6  second we believe in providing them with sound academic instruction, with emphasis in writing, reading, arithmetic, science and history as well as physical exercise, and the knowledge of the arts (music, painting, etc.). We believe in doing all things for the glory of God.

Like I said, reasons will vary greatly depending on each individual family.

HOW do you homeschool?

There are many ways to homeschool.

We are more of an Eclectic homeschooling family, not using strictly one set of curriculum and adding other resources plus field trips etc.

There are Unschoolers, Traditional homeschoolers, classical homeschoolers, Charlotte Mason style etc.

You can read more about the different types here


No matter what style you choose, where you choose to homeschool or whether you take field trips or not, I believe the most important things to do is pray, discern and KNOW YOUR WHY. When the homeschooling gets tough, trust me it will, you will need to put that why in front of you and ask God for His grace to carry on. Take heart you ARE qualified, you WILL do fine but it WILL be hard sometimes and that's ok. Just breath, put the books down if necessary and just be with your children. We all need a break sometimes :)

Have a great homeschool year!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's that time of the year again...

For many of us with children the month of August marks back to school time.

As a homeschooler, I am not different.

My books were ordered ahead of time due to a move, my homeschool area will be finished soon and I am almost 40% organized, lol I know, I know.

The thing that always gets me every. single. year. is the homeschool planner. I cant never seem to find what I am looking for. I want something to keep me organized, something to help me in homemaking, but not something huge!

This year I took a plunge and decided to make my own, very nervous about it and hoping that it will be what I need. I am sure eventually I will add/delete some but for now this will work for me.

I know many of you might be on the same boat and wanted to offer you the chance to down load this planner FREE HERE  if you would like.

Tell me what you think, what areas would you like to see in the future? Is there anything missing? Is it too much? Your input is appreciated. Happy homeschooling!

Prayer for Homeschoolers

Dear Lord, bless me in my decision to home school my children. Grant me the grace of peace and determination in this awesome endeavor. Lead me to the proper materials for the instruction each of my children, so that their individual talents and skills will be nurtured and they will grow in intelligence to the fullness of their abilities.

Give me the strength to persevere when the weight of being teacher, mother, wife, and housekeeper seems too much to bear. Help me to maintain my household and family school, knowing that there will be times when one or both may seem to suffer, but confident that you will assist me in restoring harmony to both in good time. Allow me the contentment of heart and knowledge that the proper formation of my children's minds holds importance far above many of the callings of this world. Bestow on me courage to overcome the criticisms of those who disagree with me in this effort, keeping ever mindful that the growing of my children in knowledge and grace will be for your glory, and the trials I must endure are for my personal sanctification. Amen

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wrapping up my thoughts on health.

I cleared my cabinets, my fridge and checked my "cravings". Lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks time. No exercise (that is a great thing for me lol) no supplements or anything crazy.

Then we went on vacation to Maryland (if you get a chance, visit Emmitsburg. Beautiful and tons of history!) we visited the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and after really walking all over the places we visited (that is 6 days of walking at least 2 hours each day!) and eating junk food, I didn't gain any weight back and manage to lose ONE POUND. Wohoo! It definitely was the walking lol.

I spoke carefully with my husband because in the middle of all this fun we have an upcoming move which is FAR. We laid plans out carefully and I have to be honest, as much as I want to lose weight to look better in some of my clothes, the main reasons why I want to lose weight is health and to offer it up as a small fasting and sacrifice for God.

Sounds weird huh? I just think that my health needs a major shift. I want to be taking care of my body as God commands, that includes what I eat. In this area also, praying and fasting will help me break vices and offer it up for others who might be struggling with the same.

I don't want to look like a ghostly version of myself, so my goal is a 50lbs loss over the course of one year.

I want to do it naturally, where prayer, fasting and exercising are my only "supplements". Working on portion control and providing nutritious meals-not just for my family but for me as well.

Prayers as I undertake this endeavor are appreciated, it may seem insignificant but this is my first bout with weight related struggles, and as is typical of me, I am going head first!

What do you think? Do you have any health related plans?

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Venturing into health.

Sigh, it has been a long while since I actually have taken a good look in the mirror and noticed those little "pesky" red flags of unhealthy habits creeping up on me.

The thing is, I continue to gain weight, sleep less and neglect to exercise! I decided to finally do something about it. Nothing crazy, or drastic, mind you, but SOME THING!

My second son (Big D) has a terrible time with gluten, so we are virtually (ok, MOSTLY) gluten free. Nope, no weight loss, but definitely feel better. I need to start exercising and to really take better care of my self so I can care for my family.

I am taking "bite size" steps in the right direction.

First order of business: clearing the cabinets and fridge off junk! Wish me luck, we will see how it goes! See you in 4 weeks ;)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Declutter during Lent.

Lent is a very important part of our liturgical year. During the next 40 days, starting yesterday-Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of Jesus praying for 40 days. It is a time for us to pray, fast, reflect and give up something to work towards earthly detachment and spiritual advancement. This year I have a set of items I am working on. I am fasting from FB because I am addicted to it ;) I am also picking up my spiritual reading, attending Mass as often as possible locally, and to declutter my home my family and I are working on the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/ 

Are you doing something for Lent? I would love to hear it! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Magic of Ordinary Days

For those of you not acquainted with this movie, you should watch it. It is one of my old time favorites. (For information on the movie click here)

To me, the movie reminds me of the great plans God has for us. Livy (Kerri Russell) is pregnant out of wedlock and a marriage has been arranged, she marries someone she doesn't know or love. As the story progresses you can see Ray (Skeet Ulrich) loves her and baby. I wont spoil the movie, but it is a must watch.

I see this in my life almost daily. God has plans for me, even if I don't see them, they do unfold. For that I am grateful.

Let me start with how my husband and I met. I was much younger, I had worked a long shift the night before plus overtime because a coworker decided not to show. Got off work at 6 am. At 7 am a knock on the door (more like pounding) woke me up after I had just gotten home. My friend Ashley walked in, reminding me I had promised to go to her brother's wedding with her. Argh, I asked if I could go later. Nope. So I went.

Mind you we were college roommates at one time but I had never met her family. As we were driving to the town where her brother would get married I kept thinking, "who the heck gets married so early?' I would eat this words later ;)

So I went, dropped my bag of clothes in the room she told me to. There lay a handsome man who mumbled something I didn't hear along the lines of hello, I darted out. Sure that was the groom.

Later this same man kept trying to start a conversation with me, I kept thinking "what a jerk! he is about to get married and he's flirting with me!" As the day progressed it was time for the ceremony. I saw him take his place to get married and the best man was coming, but the best man stood in front of the groom. Exasperated I prayed someone would tell him to move! He was going to ruin the wedding! Then the bride came, turns out I had it all wrong. :) So they got married and the man I thought to be the groom was in fact the best man. We married four months later. All thanks to God's plan. My plan was not to go to the wedding.

You see? Even on days like today, I planned on doing nothing but as He would have it I still had to do laundry (which I have been postponing for far too long) I got to spend time with my husband over coffee and good talk before he snuggled with our little Gloria. I had planned on taking a long shower but couldn't find the scrub I just bought, I had planned on doing nothing at all this evening but what centered around ME. God had other plans, they centered around my family. Isn't that often the case ladies?

We hear all this voices telling us we need ME time, and of course a little break is just and necessary, but sometimes we forget that the ordinary things we do everyday (feeding, cleaning, nurturing, etc) are really the real "magic" in our days. They are exhausting, draining, so many demands that can drive us crazy. More homeschooling papers to grade, more diapers to change, more mouths to feed, more clothes to wash, and the list just grows! More, more, always more!

Is it really that bad? I think not.

I think we need to be reminded of the real blessings we have amidst the plans we didn't.

I didn't plan to be a wife, I didn't plan to be a stay at home mom, I didn't plan to love life so much that I would be open to it. I didn't plan these ordinary days, I didn't plan to give so much of myself that sometimes it hurts. So much that I feel stretched so far more than I thought possible. These ordinary days have taught me more about God, love, life and the infinite blessings that abound in these days we see as ordinary. The truth is they are not. They are the glue that holds hearts together.

May you see the "Magic of Ordinary Days" too. ....And the movie of course