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!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

I Simply Can’t Stick to One Subject

I Simply Can’t Stick to One Subject

Well friends, I have officially reached code red status of exhaustion.  As much as I love to travel, it wears me out and takes me a week to recover from.  Add that to the time change recovery period and we’re talkin’ deep sleep deprivement that only a cruise or quiet beach house would cure.

I thought about trying to take a three day nap, but my life of homeschooling and OCD house cleaning doesn’t lend itself to being asleep for days at a time.  I wonder what would happen if I just closed my door and fell asleep at odd hours.  Would my children survive?  If they did, would I survive the state of the house afterward?  Would I have to notify everyone or could I just disappear?  These are the questions I ask myself in my sleepy stupor.

Last Wednesday I was just home from a quick trip to California and spent the day catching up with the kids.  I went though their school work and played games with them and generally laid on the couch while they told me stuff that was in their head.  I learned that Elijah has decided not to become a grocery store manager and now he is planning to become a hurricane chaser.  Boy, you leave for three days and all kinds of changes happen!

On Thursday I went to the city with my 2 best friends for a fabulous evening of eating on the Riverwalk and seeing “Wicked.”  No kidding…this play was so amazing I just sat there glued to every word.  I used to wish for a trip to Hawaii but I am now dreaming of a trip to New York so I can go see more of these incredible works of art and talent.  My dreams change frequently.  Wait.  I am starting to understand Elijah a little better.

Then as if all of that wasn’t enough, I went on Friday to see the new Muppet movie, which I have been waiting for since forever!  Even though I was worn out, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a true Muppet fanatic if I didn’t see their new movie on opening day.  It was so cute….I loved it.  But I’m not objective since I have a huge crush on Kermit.  He’s my kinda frog.

I took my daughter, Hope, with me to see the movie and we talked and talked and had such a good time with just the 2 of us.  I want to bottle her up and keep her in the closet ‘cuz she’s so sweet.  More impossible dreams.

We spent the weekend filling Shop24 orders and trying to stay healthy since several of the kids were getting a cold.  I kept putting essential oils all over everyone and they’re feeling better this morning.  What would I do without my Thieves?!  And lemon…oh and peppermint….I could go on and on….

This week I am getting ready to do a 5K on Sunday.  I wish I could say that I did an intense Couch to 5K training, but I really haven’t prepared.  I am doing it with my sister, so I have warned her that I will be slow and she is welcome to run ahead of me.  I doubt that 5 days of preparation will really help much.

I’m off to try my idea of disappearing and randomly falling asleep.  I’m hoping to get down to a code orange by tomorrow.

Have a great week!

Essential Oils for Homeschooling

Essential Oils for Homeschooling

I’m combining passions today.   Homeschooling and essential oils.   Like chocolate and peanut butter….so, so good together.

What oils are great for helping with focus and concentration in your school!  -- The Pennington Point

I don’t know if any of you have this issue in your homeschool….but sometimes my kids can have trouble concentrating.  They stare out the window and start playing with their pencil and when I ask if they are finished with their work they look surprised, as if they didn’t have any idea that half an hour had passed.  Then they may start to cry for no reason or maybe I start to cry….good times.

My essential oils have helped me so much with my moods and mental clarity that I knew they would help for school time too.  So I started to experiment with them.  I got some that are specifically blended for helping focus and concentration.  I put some on the kids directly and some in the diffuser.  It has made a HUGE difference.

Literally….night and day.  I mean, I haven’t cried over school for at least 6 weeks.

(Of course….these will work for any school or learning.  It’s not exclusive to homeschoolers!  I even used these same oils for my husband while he was studying for the Bar Exam last month.)

These are the oils I use the most: Brain Power, Clarity and Common Sense

oils-for-homeschool01

I have noticed that my boys focus much better when I am diffusing Clarity and I like to also add rosemary if they are really struggling. Rosemary is said to restore mental alertness.  Yes, please.

Another oil that I have heard is great for helping kids’ calm down and focus is called Vetiver.  I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard so many great things about it that I’m adding it to my next order.  I’ve read that it has really helped kids with ADD/ADHD.

So here’s exactly what I do….

1. I start the diffuser a few minutes before getting school going.
2. I add Clarity and sometimes rosemary.
3. I will often add something else like Purification (if we’ve been closed up a lot and need “fresh” air), peppermint (if we need a perk-me-up) or basil (to wake us up).  It just depends on what seems right.  You can’t really mess up, that’s what is so great about using the oils.
4. Then I apply diluted Brain Power and Common Sense to the backs of their necks and across their foreheads.  They all really like it when I apply the oils because I give them a quick massage to go with it.

Then we’re ready to start school.  We take a long, deep breath and dig into the day’s subjects.  Less stress, more focus.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

If you have been thinking about getting started using essential oils CLICK HERE to sign up and also see links to my other posts about these amazing oils.  And feel free to ask me questions….I love sharing more about what has our family so much!

If you like learning about oils, follow me on Instagram where I share what I use throughout the day!

By the way, I am not a doctor.  These are just my experiences and not intended for diagnosis or treatment.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

March is Homeschool Month!

March is Homeschool Month!

I’ll be pausing the sibling series for March and instead I will be talking about homeschooling.  It’s that time of year when we are figuring out what to do for next year PLUS it really is great for siblings to spend school time together.  So it fits.  Kinda.

A month of homeschooling ideas from a mom of 9

I get a ton of questions, literally a ton, I’ve measured, about what curriculum we use. In case you don’t know, we have homeschooled all of our kids forever, they’ve never gone to school.  Three of the kids have graduated and two will be graduating this year.  I had 7 in school for a while there, which was not easy.  But it is possible and I am still alive to tell you about it.  This year I have 6 in school, but after this it’s all downhill.  Only 13 more years to go….whoop!

As for curriculum, I’m not a one size fits all kind of girl.  Some kids respond to a curriculum then the next kid doesn’t do well with it.  So I have used a LOT of different ones over the past 20 years and through March I am going to share some of my favorites.

In keeping with the sibling series, I love to do unit studies!  We can all study the same thing together.  We sit together, have a discussion about the topic and then I give out assignments based on each child’s ability.  It’s such fun to be learning as a family!

I will be sharing some of our favorites, but you can also just search online for free unit studies.  We’ve done plenty of free ones including spiders, Texas, hymns and clouds.  Just Google it….there’s a lot out there.

I can’t wait!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for extra homeschool support!

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?

Kind-of-Cleaning

Kind-of-Cleaning

Time sure is flying past….February 10….really?!

You’d think I could wrap my mind around the weekend being over since I stayed home the almost whole time and did pretty much nothing.  But no, I am still shocked that it’s Monday, February 10, 2014.  Truth be told, I am still stuck somewhere in 2003.

All day Friday and Saturday we kind of cleaned the house and filled Shop24 orders.  When I say “kind of clean” that’s what I call surface-not-really-clean-but it-will-fool-anyone-who-stops-by kind of cleaning.

At some point on Saturday I decided enough was enough with my bedroom/dumping ground so I planted myself in there and started going through everything that was sitting out.  You see, my TV died a while ago so I bought a new one last week and that turned into a major undertaking.  It was a different size than the old one, so furniture had to be moved and drawers had to be emptied and basically my bedroom looked like a nuclear explosion.

I could no longer handle the mess.  It was stuff from drawers that I hadn’t even looked at for years, but for some reason felt the need to pick through it all.  Papers and extinct cords and old notes from friends.  After a 3 hour junk drawer intervention with myself I had whittled it down to a fraction of what I started with.  Three points for me!

I predict my bedroom will stay clean for one and a half days.

This morning I am heading to a local MOPS group to talk with them about natural health and essential oils.  And of course, my beloved Lift Caps which makes me so happy I can’t tell you.  I love telling other moms about the Lift Caps since they have helped me so much in my health/weight loss journey.

The rest of this week is full.  One of the kids has a birthday, I’m getting my hair colored, grocery shopping, orthodontist, visits with friends and a funeral.  I hope to get some homeschooling done in between appointments.

I am aware that Valentine’s Day is in there too, but I’m ignoring it because my husband is taking the Bar Exam in 2 weeks and I think he forgot that he is married.  I have decided to give him some slack on this since I am afraid that if I mention it his brain might explode.

I’m just that kind of wife.  OK, actually I am not.  I am usually more high maintenance than that, but I can be a big girl just this once.

But just once.  Have a great week.

Beautiful Summit Memories

Beautiful Summit Memories

I wish I could pour the blessing of this past weekend into each of you.  Just pour it straight over your head so you could feel the love of God for you!!!

But we’ll have to settle for blog posts and Facebook conversations.  I’ll try to get the message across, but it sure is hard to really express how amazing the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is without being able to hug you while I’m talking.

The weekend was filled with laughter, tears, prayer and food for the soul!!!  Oh, and real food too!  The prizes, the skits, the worship, the speakers….oh. my. goodness.

Y’all know I go to a lot of conferences and I really do enjoy them all.  But this was different.  These are my peeps.  My Homies.  My tribe.

It was love, love and more love from the minute you walked into the event.

I got to visit and pray with many of the women there.  What a privilege!  I even snuck in a few minutes to ask for some wisdom from one of the speakers….she blessed my socks off!

I am renewed in my strength to homeschool, raise my children with truth, build my marriage and feed my spirit.

Next year’s Summit will be in Texas on January 16-17 and Oklahoma January 23-24.  Put it on your calendar friends….you do NOT want to miss this beautiful, God filled weekend.

Come read what my friends Connie and Smockity FrocksCandace at Sacred Mommyhood had to say about her weekend at the Summit!s

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!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway