Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers Around

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers Around

This week for homeschool month I want to share some ideas for you moms trying to juggle teaching older kids when you have babies and toddlers around.  It sure is a challenge….but you can do it!!!

Tips for homeschooling when you have babies and toddlers around!  PLUS a giveaway!

Babies: When I had a new baby (which I did for almost 2 decades!), I always kept a rocking chair in the room where we did our school.  That way I could comfortably hold baby and teach at the same time.  I also would take school into my bedroom or the nursery when necessary.  This season is really about being flexible.  Take 20 minute breaks while you nurse.  Relax and enjoy your baby.

Toddlers: Once they are big enough to move around and play a little, it’s a whole new situation.  This time takes training and work and patience.  Here are a few things I did while I was homeschooling and raising toddlers.

1. Teach them to play alone in small increments.  Depending on their age, they can play in one spot with just a few toys for 10 minutes or so.  I’d keep a special set of toys that are a favorite set aside for this time.  I’d spread a blanket or create a spot where they have to stay, give them the toys and tell them to stay there until the timer goes off.
2. Fifteen minutes of sibling time.  Yes, an older sibling can play with a toddler for 15 minutes while you work with other kids.  It should be time with a purpose that is teaching the toddler and keeping them safe.  This time is not for the older child’s enjoyment, but for them to serve. (I used a timer a lot during these years to remind myself not to expect them to be still and quiet for too long)
3. Work during nap time.  Toddlers tend to have regular nap times that you can count on, so why not use a little of that time to get some school work done?
4. Tactile activities.  Toddler respond really well to doing things with their hands.  A 9X13 pan filled with rice or a sink with water and bubbles can entertain a child for 10-15 minutes.
5. Videos.  Yep, I’m just gonna say it.  There are some days when I needed to really occupy the littles to get a big chunk of school done.  I tried not to do this more than twice a month.  So if I was going to use electronics, I just tried to be sure it was “educational.”  Here are a few fun ones:
*I Will Trust God (a sweet, simple message about trusting God)
*My First Signs (learning sign language)
*What’s in the Bible? (a really cute series)
*Creation Proclaims: Climbers & Creepers (a little older, but great lessons about creation!)

AND I am giving away a copy of “I Will Trust God” to one blessed winner!
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This post contains affiliate links.

Engaging Education

Engaging Education

I’m excited to tell you about another favorite school program we use and L-O-V-E!

This is one that I have three of my kids doing right now, Engaging Education.  I wish I could express in words how much this program has blessed us.  My two seniors are getting a fantastic course on literature and my 15 year old is falling in love with grammar.  That’s right.  Grammar. (I am not sure how it happens that a person falls in love with grammar, but I know he wasn’t loving it when I was teaching it to him!)

Engaging Education is an online site where you can take classes….not just a dry lesson but a live class with a teacher and other students all learning together (but they do limit the class size so each student gets personal attention).  They get lessons and quizzes and turn in homework.  They are there each week in front of the computer for the class then they get grades and everything.  This is a whole new concept for my homeschoolers.  And it’s been so good for them!

A great review of an online homeschool course by a mom of 9!  -- The Pennington Point

Engaging Ed also has a great blog with tips for learning….I have been getting plenty of education for myself there!

The courses they offer are: Introduction to Literature, American Literature, British Literature, Modern Western Literature (this is the class my girls are taking), Grammar, Web Development, Basic Latin and Intermediate Latin.

One thing I love is it’s not just a dry course with nothing but reading and quizzes.  They bring it to life with entertaining discussions and acting out scenes and some of the classes have a project at the end of each semester.  My two girls made this graham cracker cathedral for their project last semester after reading “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

 IMG_1593

It’s so great to have a course that stimulates my kids and I know they are being watched over and cared for.  The folks at Engaging Ed really do love the kids and that shines through in their courses.

And the great folks at Engaging Ed are giving away an Amazon gift card to help you buy your books for your course!  That’s helpful.  It’s also helpful that they have early bird pricing for a limited time, so go and register now.  So much goes into these classes and I want to testify that they are worth the cost.  You and your child will really enjoy it.

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One Year Adventure Novel Review and Special Deal

One Year Adventure Novel Review and Special Deal

This being Homeschool Month here at the Point….I will be sharing our favorite curriculum choices.  This one, One Year Adventure Novel, HAD to be my first recommendation.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  Nope.  It’s our #1.

OYAN.....a great homeschool writing curriculum!!!

We started using it 5 years ago and all of my high school kids have gone through it.  My oldest daughter was already finished with school when we got it, so she volunteered to oversee the lessons (but really she just wanted to take the class).  Since she was taking care of it for me, I thought I would use that time to work with the younger kids, but we all found ourselves watching every video lesson and practicing our own writing right alongside the “official” students in the class.

One Year Adventure Novel is a DVD-based high school fiction writing curriculum through which the kids write an entire novel by the end of the year.  How cool is that?!  It’s entertaining, stretching, educational, adventurous and exciting.  No really.  My kids love it so much that I make it the last class of the day.  It’s their reward for doing the rest of their school.

We enjoyed it so much the first year that we followed with Other Worlds (their science fiction & fantasy expansion) and now we are using Cover Story with my junior high and early high school kids (they write a magazine instead of a novel!).

I know what you’re thinking, “Lisa, you can’t do everything they do.  If One Year Adventure Novel jumped off a cliff would you do it too?”  Yep.  I probably would.

But back to the subject.  More things I love about this high school writing curriculum.

1. My kids have learned so much about creative writing.  My older kids have written novels and even though they aren’t all publishable, they have that accomplishment which built their confidence.
2. It stirs up their sense of adventure, creativity and pushes them to think outside of their box.
3. You are getting so much more than just a writing program….with your box comes a code that you can use to join the forums, a student novel writing contest and lots of extras!
4.  Friendships.  My kids have made many friends through the forums and the Summer Workshop.
5. Oh yeah!  The Summer Workshop.  This will be our third year to attend and it.is.amazing.  To prove it to you, my kids save all year to pay their own way completely.  They gain so much knowledge, fellowship and enthusiasm for writing there.  It really is worth the sacrifice.  (AND you can still get the early bird prices through the end of March!)

And the folks at OYAN are constantly working to improve and add to their products, so they have made a new and improved 2nd edition!  It has more depth covering the book, “The Prisoner of Zenda,” expanded information in the DVDs and better quality (although I have no complaints about the first one).  It will be available on April 1 for $239.

AND I am excited to share a deal with y’all!  Through the month of March (or until supplies last) you can get the 1st edition for $179 (regularly $199) PLUS free shipping PLUS a free Runt the Brave book. 

My favorite high school writing curriculum.  Don't miss the chance to get a great deal on it!

CLICK HERE to get this special deal!!

(OK I have to add, Runt the Brave is one of our family’s favorite books and I have given it away so many time here on the blog that it’s borderline obnoxious.  But I know how hard it is to find a good book for your kids, so I can’t help myself.  I promise I don’t own stock in this company.  I just love their work and the way they feed into the future of our country by loving our kids.)

This post contains affiliate links.

PaintStick Mini Contest and Giveaway!

PaintStick Mini Contest and Giveaway!

Y’all know I love me some HomeRight tools.  My Steam Machine that powered through my filthy stove top (which has stayed clean, by the way) and the car washing AutoWash Stick that I am crazy like a lunatic about (this thing cleans my car so well!) both make me happy.

Since I am a part of the HomeRight Ambassador Program, I got to try the PaintStick Mini…you know…for those smaller jobs when you don’t want to make a mess.  Well, I really never like to make a mess.  But I do like painting things.  It’s my therapy.

For this project I had 2 dressers that I bought at different flea markets, totally separate, a year apart.  But when I set them next to each other a few weeks ago to see if they would work as a console for my TV in the bedroom I was shocked to discover that they were exactly the same dresser!  It’s even more shocking that I haven’t noticed it for the past year and a half since I have owned them.

And HomeRight is having a Super fun contest that is going to be so much fun to join that you really must enter!  You can see the official rules here.

This is such a fun contest!!  Plus a giveaway....come enter....you'll love it!

This is my contest video…..I thought I’d share it here so you can see the PaintStick Mini and get inspired to make your own video!

Look what you might win….

1st Place:  iPad Air 64 G WiFi version (valued at $699)

2nd Place prize: $200 Cash

3rd Place prize: $100 Cash

Not only can you enter the video contest, but you can also enter to win a PaintStick Mini right here!  And don’t forget that you can buy them on Amazon, homedepot.com and Lowes!

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Check out some of my friends’ other posts about the PaintStick Mini! Bliss at Home, Makely School for Girls, My Repurposed Life,

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Christian Worldview Film Festival

Did you know that my older kids went through a film making phase?  My son Jacob made 2 animated movies and entered them into a Christian film festival several years ago and was a semi finalist with one of his films.  My oldest daughter also entered 2 films.  It was such a blessing to watch my kids develop skills that they both use today.  My son is still into animation and hopes to develop that into a career.

So imagine my excitement when I heard about a new festival in town!

Don't miss the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio TX!

The Christian Worldview Film Festival is coming.  Yep.  It’s right up our alley.  And if you like to see good, wholesome films made with purpose you should think about going.  If the 60 films, incredible speakers, wonderful music (our friends the 4 Proches will be playing live!) aren’t enough….then come to spend time with us!

Here’s a great list of reasons to attend this event!

The festival starts Thursday, March 13 at noon and goes through Saturday night.  There’s also a Filmmakers Guild (which we are super excited to go to!) on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can buy tickets to just the festival or the whole event.  If you have anyone in your family that is interested in making movies or being involved in the media industry you would be wise to go to the whole thing.

AND if you use the code “PENNINGTON” you will get 25% off of your ticket.  How’s that for an added blessing?

Cleaning My Stove with HomeRight Steam Machine

Cleaning My Stove with HomeRight Steam Machine

OK, I am about to show you something gross, I don’t want you to be caught unaware.  Pictures and descriptions will follow.  I can no longer hide my shame.

So brace yourself.

This is what my stovetop looks like.

stove cleaning with my HomeRight Steam Machine

Here’s the way it looks with the grates removed.

stove

In my defense, we have tried and tried to clean it.  This stuff is so baked on that it doesn’t even scratch off with a steel wool pad (which I am sorry to say I did try a few months ago and scratched the finish).

When I read my friend Lyndsay’s post about cleaning her oven glass with the HomeRight Steam MachineI wondered….would it possibly clean my awful, impossible stove?  Could my dream of having a clean stove without using harsh chemicals actually come true?

HomeRight sent me a Steam Machine, so I got everything set up.  Also known as pouring water and plugging it in.  Then I started.  I worked on the front burner and in only about 5 minutes this was the way it looked.

stovetop

All of the little scratches are from my unfortunate steel wool incident.  I was shocked to see how much came off just using the steam machine.  For the rest, I used a little plastic scraper in combination with the machine.  Steam a little, scrape a little, and so on.  After 30 minutes the front burner was clean.

stovetop

Dreams really do come true!  Seriously, I could NOT believe it.

I took a break for lunch then I worked on the back burner.  It was tougher and took about an hour.  I just kept steaming and scraping and look…..

stovetop

Here it is with both sides of the stove showing.  I plan to do the right side next weekend.

stove

Then my fantasy of having a clean stove again will be complete.  It really is a small miracle.

Win a HomeRight Steam Machine and get your stove clean too! -- The Pennington Point

And….here’s the part where you will be glad you hung all the way through this post and looked at the gross pictures….I get to give away one of these incredible machines!  It does so many things besides clean stoves.  It removes wallpaper, cleans grout (this is my next use for it), sanitizes bathrooms, and so much more!  Come on and try to win it, then your dreams can come true too!

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This post is sponsored by HomeRight. 

Great Homeschool Conventions!

Great Homeschool Conventions!

If you’re a homeschooler you know it’s not easy figuring out what curriculum to use and how to get it all done.  That’s why I love homeschool conventions so much!  They help me with all of that plus I always meet new friends and get encouraged by the fellowship of other homeschool families!

I am excited to share a new convention that is taking place in Greenville, SC, Cincinatti, OH, Ontario, CA and Ft. Worth, TX.  Great Homeschool Conventions will have speakers, workshops and exhibits….plus a Friday night comedy night.  How fun is that?!

Go check out their website AND you can enter below to win this awesome family prize package!!!

This is so great!  I can’t wait to see who wins!!!

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“Every Day a Blessing” Giveaway

“Every Day a Blessing” Giveaway

This contains affiliate links.

Last week I shared our teen devotional and today I get to tell you about the one we are using for the younger kids.  It’s called “Every Day a Blessing: A Year of God’s Love” and it’s precious.

Each day there is a Bible verse and a small story to read.  Very short and simple.  Then it ends with a prompt like, “What can you pray for today?” or “Which is your favorite ocean animal?” and leads to sweet discussions.  We have had some doozies already!

I hope you’re spending a few minutes each day reading Bible verses with your kids and discussing how they fit into our lives.  It is so, so good for your kids! (and you too!)

Go get yourself a new devotional to get you started!

And I’m giving away one of these to one of you!  Just enter below….

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2 Things You Need to wash Your Car

2 Things You Need to wash Your Car

I’m getting ready to go to the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit this weekend in Oklahoma.  I always clean my car before I travel and when I went out I was struck by the magnitude of the dirt on my van.

So I grabbed 2 things: my AutoRight Easy Wash Stick and my 14 year old son.

And I put him to work.

Now my van is shiny clean and ready to travel.  And he loved using the Easy Wash Stick !  Afterward he said to me, “That was fun Mom!  I’ll wash your van anytime.” (plus I paid him $5)

AND hooray!  The awesome folks at AutoRight are letting me give one of you an Easy-Wash Stick!  I’m sorry I can’t give you a 14 year old boy to go with it.

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This post is sponsored by HomeRight and it contains affiliate links.

4 Proches (and a giveway!)

4 Proches (and a giveway!)

I’ve got another great giveaway for you today!  This one is personal to me because it’s from a precious family that we have known for years and we love them!!!

Introducing 4 Proches!

Beautiful family band!

This is a sibling group that is so talented it kind of makes you sick, in a good way of course.  Their songs are part flashback to the old folksy songs from my childhood and part current family togetherness.  They even write some of their own songs, making it more special.

They have just released an album, “Wayfaring Stranger”.  If you like to listen to talented people and if your own kids need a little boost of inspiration AND if you are on the lookout for good, wholesome music….you want this CD!

I went to hear them play last weekend and they were wonderful!  I am giving their CD to some friends for Christmas (if you’re my friends forget you read that).  It would make a perfect gift, but you’ve got to order quick to get it in time!

I even have a discount code for you….yippee!  If you use the code ‘PENNSHIP’ you will get 15% off your order.  Not bad, huh?

And I get to give away a signed CD to two of you!  Whoop!  It’s like a party every day around here.

Sweet family band CD giveaway just in time for Christmas!

Just enter below and be sure to sign up for their newsletter, which is one of the entries.  You will be richly blessed by this family band.

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