Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review ~ Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet

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I recently had the opportunity to review the e-book Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet by Kendra Fletcher creator of Preschoolers and Peace.

 

Who Is Kendra Fletcher?

Kendra Fletcher is a Christian homeschooling mother of 8 children ranging in age from 21 down to age 6 years old.  Kendra has been homeschooling her children since her oldest was school age and often had little ones in the mix.  Kendra is the author of one of my long time favourite blogs Preschoolers and Peace and the book Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Day that I reviewed last year.

Preschoolers and Peace Cover

What is Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet?  & What Did I Think

Preschoolers and Peace is a 47 page e-book for the homeschooling mother with little ones at home.  It costs $2.99 at the time of this post.

Chapters in Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet:

  • What a Homeschooling Mom Needs
  • Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot
  • Planning Around Preschoolers
  • How Do I Keep Them Busy?
  • What Does a 2-Year-Old’s Day Look Like?
  • How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?
  • How Not to Just Kill Time
  • Circle Time: Or How We Pull the Little Ones In
  • Preschool Boys
  • When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers
  • Preschool Chores
  • Planning for Preschool
  • When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)
  • Meal Planning 101

Early last year I really thought that my days of having babies or young children in the house were over.  Little did I know that the Lord would bless us with a 6th child!  So Kendra's book Preschoolers and Peace comes at a great time.  It wont be long really before our wee babe will be running around getting into everything!  Since it's been a few years since I've had a preschooler in the house I thought I could use a refresher. 

I love that Preschoolers and Peace starts out with the homeschooling MOTHER in mind.  The first chapter What a Homeschooling Mom Needs, talks about how we can fall into thinking of ourselves as just homeschooling mother.  We can become so wrapped up with thinking about all the things we DO instead putting Christ at the center.
The second chapter Preparing Yourself to Homeschool older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot, focuses on prayer.  Two ideas I loved from this chapter is creating prayer binders and prayer boxes.  For the prayer binders Kendra shared a super sweet idea of tracing your children’s hand shapes onto a piece of paper, then writing inside the hand shapes things you want to pray for each child.  I think that would be such a sweet idea, and if you did this each year a nice thing to look back on over time.
I just loved this quote from chapter 2.

How could my busy, crazy homeschooling moments be different if I’m
looking at life from a perspective that says, I am already accepted and loved
and valuable simply because of what Christ did for me and not because I
chose the right curriculum or am the perfect parent?

Preschoolers and Peace is filled with ideas for scheduling and I love that it is more routine based then at 9:00 do this and at 9:30 do this.  I found out long ago that that strict style just does not work for my family.  But a routine, yes that helps sooo much!  Kendra shares sample routines that have worked for her family during different stages.  There are also many ideas for keeping little ones busy.  I love the lists of ideas, many are things you are likely to already have in your home or can find inexpensively.  One idea is about keeping bigger toys stored away and only bring certain ones out once a week.  I used to do this when our oldest children were little.  I found that it was like having "new" toys each week.  The little ones were more happy to play with them for a longer time period, because it was "special".   I think I originally found this idea on Kendra’s Preschoolers and Peace blog!

Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet is an easy read.  I read the whole book while I was nursing our little one.  Of course it helps that I was interested in the topic, but Kendra's writing style is very easy to read and relate to.  I guess that's why I've been such a huge fan of her blog for so long!  I would recommend this e-book to any mom of little ones or anyone who often cares for young children.

Connect with Preschoolers and Peace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PreschoolersandPeace
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KendraEFletcher
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kenj/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KendraFletcher/posts
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/preschoolersandpeace

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Raising Our Monarch Butterfly

A few weeks ago our oldest daughter was so excited that she had found a Monarch caterpillar in the milkweed.  We always have some milkweed growing in the flower garden to attacked the Monarch butterflies, and every year we have searched for their caterpillars with out luck.  But this year dd12 found one!  She added it to her bug jar and picked milkweed leaves every day for it.  It was already a large caterpillar when she found it so with in a week it started to form a chrysalis.  Then the wait was on!

It took a few weeks but one day we were out and came home to find the butterfly had come out of it’s chrysalis!  It was already getting dark, so we kept it over night.  The next morning before breakfast we took the Monarch outside to let it go.  It was a beautiful site to see it fly off!

Monarch Butterfly Monarch Butterfly Monarch Butterfly Monarch Butterfly Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly chrysalis

I thought the empty chrysalis was so pretty!  You can see the impressions of the wings so easily.  When it first was made it was a dark green.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Around The Homestead ~ Harvesting Potatoes & Garden Clean Up

I’m sitting here relaxing as the thunder growls in the distance and the rain pours down.  I love the sound of rain, always have.  I don’t know why I do.  Perhaps it goes back to being a child.  I loved rainy days because it gave me a good excuse to curl up with a cup of tea and a book or two.  It’s been a long time since I could sit down and read a book from start to finish in a day.  Children's books don’t count! LOL

This week we have been busy in the gardens.  We have finished harvesting the potatoes now.  The first few rows of the garden yielded well, but the second half was very low.  I think it is because that side of the garden is much wetter  then the first half.  I found a lot of rotting potatoes.  Hubby figured we have enough to get by to January or so.  Thankfully another homesteading friend had a bumper crop and offered us potatoes.  Thank you!

Hubby tore out our old raised beds near the greenhouse.  I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since we built them, it seems like just yesterday!  Then tilled up that area, they’ll need to be tilled again because it’s pretty rough there.  We want to cover it with cardboard and woodchips hopefully this fall.  We did keep a small area of the raised beds under the trellis.  I’m planning to transplant my climbing rose to that in the spring.  In place of the raised beds we are putting in a number of trellises.  This project wont get done until the spring, but I’m looking forward to it!  We are also doubling the size of our green house.  We were given some more sliding glass doors and they are perfect for the roof.  We are just waiting for the tomatoes in the green house to finish before ripping that wall out to extend it.

Our tomatoes didn’t produce anything this year, they were started to late considering the cold year then were hit by blight as soon as they did start to produce.  We have pulled the cages out and need to finish the clean up in that garden.

We also had our first frost this past Thursday.   We covered up the zucchini as the plants were still doing well.  The frost hit the gourd plants and cucumbers that were   just about done anyway.  Surprisingly it looked like the pole beans missed the worst of it.  So if the weather stays nice for a bit longer we should get some more beans.  They are covered in tiny beans!  We also picked up some garlic from a farm stand and hope to get that planted soon.

How’s your garden doing?  Is it all put to bed or are you still harvesting?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Student Logbook ~ Review

One thing that many homeschooling mothers struggle with is record keeping.   I know I do sometimes!  While we are relaxed homeschoolers I do like to keep track of what we are working on.  Our oldest daughter will be starting high school in just 2 more years and I want to get into a good habit of recording everything she works on and keep track of the hours spent.  So I was really excited to have the chance to review My Student Logbook a easy to use planner created by a company of the same name My Student Logbook.

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What Is My Student Logbook?

My Student Logbook was started by Corina Abbott a homeschooling mom, when she was expecting their seventh child.  Corina was inspired by another mother who created a record keeping notebook by drawing columns to record their children's work in.  The problem was Corina just couldn't get the layout hand drawn the way she liked.  So with the help of her husband Jim she learned how to make them on the computer.

What Corina ended up creating is a very simple, easy to use student planner and log book.

My Student Logbook is available in 3 printed formats, dated school year, dated chronological (Jan. to Dec.), or undated.  It is also available in PDF format both school year and chronological year.
I received the PDF version of My Student Logbook in the school year format.

What's In My Student Logbook?

  • A dated page for each week of the school year or calendar year depending on the version you pick.
  • An All About Me Page to record your child's favourite things that year.
  • A Book's Read Log
  • Pages to record Prayers and Goals
  • Pages to record Bible Verses Memorized
  • Pages to record Events, Projects, Field Trips, Presentations, Activities.
  • Pages to record Test Scores
  • A Year Highlights page to record their favourite memories of the school year.

My Student Logbook was very easy to set up.  I received my book as 2 PDF files.  One contained the notes section and weekly calendar.  The other file contained the work lists sheets and extra the extra forms I mentioned above.  There are also directions for setting up My Student Logbook.

I first printed out all the calendar pages, then the work lists and forms in the other PDF.  One thing to mention is because of the way you set up these pages you whole punch the main calendar pages on the RIGHT hand side of the page not the left as you normally would.

After getting all my calendar pages whole punched and into a binder, I placed the other pages (About Me etc.) at the back of the binder and divided the sections with tabs. 
Then I took one of the work list pages and cut the edge off as instructed, folded it over so it would overlap the calendar page.  Your next suppose to tape it to the back of the calendar page, but my little ones had used up all my tape!  This is one thing I just can't seem to keep enough in the house. lol  So I just stapled the page to the top and bottom of the calendar page.  This seems to work just fine.

IMG_3569Then I simply wrote out a list of the work I wanted dd12 to do that week.  For some things I listed specific websites that I wanted her to use.  For some other things I just listed a topic such as Canadian History.  Some of our subjects we do together as a family so I have my own lists of what we do. I didn't feel the need right now to duplicate every detail on both my records and her personal student log.

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If you flip the work list open there is a place underneath to record notes. This is great if you want to list simple instructions or pages for them.  On the work list there is a small box on the right side to record the time spent.

This student logbook is so simple for children to use.  As they complete each item on the list they simply place a check mark in the box for that day.  You could also have them record chapter or page numbers in the box. 

My Student Logbook Pages

 

What Do We Think Of My Student Logbook?

This is our 8th year of homeschooling and I was looking for a simple but effective way for our 12 year old daughter in grade 7 to record her work.  My Student Logbook has been PERFECT for this!  Dd12 loves having her own book.  Unlike some other planners she has tried this one isn't overwhelming to her with a huge amount of choices or having to flip between pages often.

My Student Logbook Page

I love that it is so simple to just write out a list of subjects or book titles for her.  It takes me just minutes to update the list when needed.  I also ask dd to write down on the work list if she watches any extra documentaries or does another activity that we would include in a subject.  So many things our children will do independently during the day outside lesson times, that I can miss out on recording it all.  This easily solved that problem.  When a list needs to be changed and there isn’t room on the current work list, you just simply cut out a new one and attach it to the next weeks calendar pages.  The previous weeks colander pages stay tucked inside the work list, so you can easily see what was done when.

Some of our subjects we use just one website or book and it's a "do the next thing" plan.  For these I only listed the name.  With some of our subjects I have mixed resources so I simply listed a subject name.  Our daughter has a list on the computer that links to reading chapters, audio files, videos and work pages.  So for these subjects she knows just to go to that list and do the next item, then mark it as done in her logbook for that day.

I've been very impressed with My Student Logbook so far and my daughter has already asked to use it again next year! I find this is very flexible to use with any of our programs so far.  Right now this fits our daughters needs perfectly.

My Student Logbook cost $15.00 or the PDF version is available for $10.00 for the single use license and $20.00 for the family license.   It’s suggested for use with with students in grade 2 and higher.  Although I think it would make a good “Mom’s Planner” if you were using it for younger children.

Connect with My Student Logbook:

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Around The Homestead ~ Canning and Cold Weather

It’s been a busy week here.  Early in the week our weather was beautiful and hot.  Hubby was hoping we would get another round of summer like weather.  Last Saturday we harvested a large bucket of cucumbers and lots of zucchini.  It was a bit later then normal for our season, but since we had to replant them and it was such a cool summer I was thrilled to get some!  So Sunday and Monday we were busy canning.  On Sunday we taught the kids how to make my bread and butter pickles.  Then on Monday we canned a double batch of zucchini relish.  Even ds5 was in on the fun helping to dice up the zucchini slices with a plastic knife.   Now they are trying to be good and wait until they are ready to eat!

We mowed down the potato plants and started to dig them up.  So far each row is averaging 75 pounds.  The yield isn’t to bad and it looks like we should have enough to get through to early spring at least and still have seed left over.

Our weather has since turned MUCH colder!  Yesterday and today we had to have the woodstove burning.  Yesterday it didn’t get above 13 C and was very windy.  We had planned to harvest more potatoes today but the heavy rains over night and today made the garden just to wet.  I hope that tomorrow or Monday the ground will have dried enough to get a few more rows done.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up Sept. 13th

Goodness the past 2 weeks have been a challenge.  August 23th we went to visit some dear friends and take a trailer load of wood chips for their garden.  We brought back some more raspberry plants to!  After a nice visit there we popped over to see my Aunt and Uncle who we hadn’t seen in a while.  We had a great time but it was late in the day when we arrived back home.  The next day we all started feeling a little off. For a few days we had bad tummy pain, then it seemed to clear up for a few days.  Just when I thought it had passed we all started coming down with terrible headaches and congestion. We were knocked out for 2 weeks!  It made for a lot of late nights up with little ones.  But thank the Lord baby girl didn’t get sick!  By yesterday the kids were all over it and I still have a bit of a cough but it’s getting better. 

I don’t think this weather has been helping at all!  Thursday and Friday we had blistering hot weather then the storms on Fri. dropped the temps down from feeling like 40’s C to the teens!  This is the crazy pattern we’ve had all summer.  It sure made for some wild storms in the area.  We had a lot of low hanging cloud and rotation but thankfully it wasn’t to bad here.

We school year round, but I had planned to start our new year on Tuesday after labour day.  There was no way that was going to happen when we were all so sick.  Fevers, headaches and congestion there was no way anyone could concentrate on lessons.  I also sounded like a frog, so I couldn’t talk much. lol  We spent the week curled up watching a lot of shows on the history channel and some movie favourites of the kids.  I rented a new one we hadn’t seen yet.  Whisper An Elephants Tale, goodness that was a cute movie!  It brought up a good discussion on what poaching is to.

Now that we are all feeling better, I’m looking forward to getting back on track this week.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sick

I may be MIA for a little while.  This week all the kids and I have come down with some nasty bug.  So we are all feeling pretty miserable right now. :(  Just gota love the crazy weather that I isn't helping.  Everyone keeps getting sick when one day is in the 40's and the next the low 20's.  ARG!

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