Monthly Archives: September 2013

Toddler Activities with Colors

My two year old son and I have been doing a concentrated study on colors over the last few weeks. Like most kids, he knew basic colors, but would sometimes get them confused. Before we moved on to numbers and letters I wanted to be sure he truly had his colors down. After weeks of working through a Sesame Street color “textbook,” I decided it was time to get a little more hands on. Below, I will share with you what we did to review colors. I took a basic concept I found multiple places on Pinterest and elaborated it to fit our situation.

First, I cleared the dining room furniture off to the side to make space. Then, I used masking tape to attach 8 colors of construction paper to the floor. I highly recommend masking for any project that requires taping in the house. It sticks well, is easy to peel up, and never leaves residue. I could have used more paper colors than I did, but that was what was in the package. J I learned right away, that it IS important to tape all 4 sides of each sheet. You’ll notice a big taped rip in the blue sheet in future pictures. :-)

Activity #1

As a warm up, I had the kids line up in the living room and race to each color as I called it out and said “Go!” This was a great overview for the older kids and gave the little ones a fighting chance to learn the colors.


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Activity #2

Once I felt confident that everyone had a good concept of the colors, I did something a little more practical. When I would call out a color and say, “Go!” they had to find as many toys throughout the living room in that color, take them over, and put them on the corresponding paper. This was probably everyone’s favorite and even the 18 month old excelled at this activity.

Activity #3

Next we went back to independent review. I had them all line up in the living room facing me. I handed the first child a Pom Pom and told them the color, they would then run over, put the Pom Pom on its corresponding paper and run back to the end of the line. We did this about 8 times or so.


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Activity #4

We repeated the first activity. This was great! The kids were so excited and much more confident this time around.

Activity #5

At this point, I started to lose the two youngest kiddos, which is to be expected.  I used the opportunity to take the game into a deeper, more spiritual focus. The two oldest and I went over to the colors and sang the song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and when we got to each child we stood on their color. We inserted the color brown, so the song went, “red and yellow, brown, black and white.” We talked about what those children actually looked like, why there were different colored people and so on.

Activity #6

I still had the oldest two kids’ enraptured attention, so I went to each color and had them tell me things God had created that were that color. We talked about what a great God we have that He would make all of those wonderful things, but that we were His most special creation and how much He loves us.

In the end, this proved to be a great color review for toddlers and preschoolers. I’m sure there’s much more you could do with the colored paper, and I hope to do this again!

-Lydia

Linen 4

Organizing: Linen Closet Before and After

When life is getting more stressful for ‘no reason.’ I can often link it back to an area of disorganization that I’ve let slip.

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  • If the kids toys are suddenly spread all over the house, it’s usually time for a toy purge or re-organization.
  • If our clothes seem to be taking over, it probably means I’ve left out some of last seasons’ clothes making our closets too small to hold everything.
  • If the kitchen seems to never stay clean, it’s time to evaluate what is in the kitchen cupboards that I’m not using yet is taking up all the space of everything I am using – and then leaving on the counters because there is nowhere else to put it!

Similarly, it was time to deal with the linen closet.

As usual, I had to implemented SUD 

  1. Space: As you can see our space was limited. I had to think carefully about what was most important and pitch the rest.
  2. Usefulness: I also realized that clearing out some beauty products were emotional. I had to admit, that I didn’t have time to look as beautiful and put together as I used to, but clearing out the french manicure set would clear up room to find things that would help me stay as polished as possible – like mascara.
  3. Daily Decision Making Minimizing: Although jewelry is an area many minimalists go all-out on, I chose to keep only sentimental pieces and match-everything pieces.

In the end, all make-up went into the bathroom instead of the linen closet. (Except for ONE whole make-up set [mascara, foundation, eye shadow] that stays in the car at all times because I seem to do my make-up there a lot. It’s the only place I have 5 minutes with all 3 kids strapped down and quiet!)
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The kids ‘helped’ me by (ie: Pulled out streams of dental floss, broke jewelry and spilled supplies – giving me more to toss). This reminding me how stressful it is to have more stuff for them to get into…

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Almost Finished!! Cute Labels using free templates on avery.com and my ONE trusted book of $10 scrapbook paper have been BIG in making my organizing projects turn out cute!

The little jar is for guests with travel items they may have forgotten. It’s easy to keep stocked because I see it every time I open the door, and it’s small enough to set on a side table in whatever room I have set up for guests at the time.

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The bottom shelf now holds cleaning supplies for the living room and the kids’ bath toys. (My husband was thrilled that
wouldn’t be by the toilet anymore! I’d told him a year ago I simply had nowhere else to put them, but lo and behold, I just had to let go of all the make-up, bodywashes and shampoos I wasn’t using, and there it was.)

PictureThinking outside the Box: Clearing the space allowed me a place to put my husband’s carving tools in the closet. He’ll often hand carve when we watch a movie in the living room together which is right off the hallway with the linen closet. It also created a great spot to put my son’s confiscated toys when he is irresponsible with them.

Besides this, in accordance with my ‘prime real-estate’ organizing system, I have one tote in the basement with rarely used items like the stuff I need after a birth for tearing etc. 

- Verity

Minimalist Toddler Girl Wardrobe

In desperation, I paired down everyone’s wardrobes to almost minimalistic quantities.

Seemed insane, but now that it’s working so well, I think it was genius. :-)

Here is roughly what the two year old girl’s wardrobe is right now.

Minimalist Toddler Girl Wardrobe:

Make the clothes mix and match. Then you don’t have  6 play outfits. You have 36. :-)

6 Play Shirts

4 or 5 Play Pants

1 or 2 Play Skirts

3 Sweaters or Sweatshirts (Our house is cold)

1 or 2 Vests (I like vests for my toddler girls because they hold the shirt down and there is less baby tummy showing)

(Not Pictured)

4 Sunday Dresses

Tights

Underwear

10 Pair Socks

3 pair pajamas

1 Coat, pair of mittens, hat, and scarf

1 Play Pair of Shoes

1 Dress Pair of Shoes (Ok. I love toddler shoes…we might completely go outside the line of this one…)

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I don’t know what it will be like in your area. I can usually find great name brand toddler jeans, skirts, and dresses at Goodwill, but the shirts and tights I buy at Walmart or Target. My two year old is hard enough on her shirts that high quality shirts do not matter. Stains show up on Walmart brand as well as name brand. :-)

Pros of a Minimalist Toddler Wardrobe

  • Impossible to get far behind on laundry. 
  • Less Mess when the clothes get pulled out of the drawers. (And they will…trust me)

Cons of a Minimalist Toddler Wardrobe:

  • I actually haven’t thought of any. <:-) 
  • I do wash the kid’s clothes about every third day, but I have my own washer. If you have to take your clothes to a laundromat, that would be an issue.
  • Flu has hit us twice since I slimmed down on clothes, and it was not a problem. The first thing you do when your kid throws up is strip the child and hurl the foul clothes in the washing machine anyway!

So there it is! Be sure to check out the other lists in my Minimalistic Wardrobe Series.

- Verity


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My Cleaning System: Part 3

Our house is about 1200 square feet. 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, 2 hallways, foyer area, and 1 ½ bathrooms.

My System:

I the morning, I try to pick up any clutter upstairs. Beds are made, toys are put away, anything laying around is taken care of. After lunch, but before the kids go down for naps I clean up as much clutter as I can. I do the dishes; have the kids help me put all the toys away, pick up anything that could hinder my cleaning endeavors—shoes, large toys, dirty clothes etc.  I put the kids down for a nap with a clean slate ready to go. This way I’m tempted to putts.  

First, I clean the downstairs bathroom because I can do it quietly while the kids are falling asleep. It takes about 7 minutes.

Then, I pick up anything extra off the living room floor and vacuum it quickly. 5 minutes

I pick up the mats by the front door and vacuum my way around the downstairs. When I get to the dining room I haul all of the chairs into the living room as well as other big things like the high chair, jumparoo, play house and so on. I do this with the vacuum cleaner running the whole time. It motivates me to hurry and lessens the chance of the kids getting up. Then I vacuum the dining room. The downstairs is vacuumed! That step takes about 10 minutes.

I go prep the mop and soapy water. Then I mop the downstairs. 10 more minutes

Downstairs total: About 30 minutes

I sneak upstairs and fully clean the upstairs bathroom. Switch towels, mirror, sink, tub/shower, toilet. 20 minutes max.

At this point, my daughter gets up! She and I traipse downstairs and I give her a snack to eat while I reassemble the downstairs.

My kids are both terrified of the vacuum cleaner. Why? I have no idea! So, they eat supper while I vacuum through the upstairs. Less than 10 minutes.

(You may have noticed I don’t dust weekly. The kids and I do it randomly about every 2 weeks. It takes us less than 10 minutes and it’s something we really enjoy doing together. I don’t include it in my weekly cleaning, though you certainly could. We also enjoy changing bedding together so I don’t include that either.  If I included those things to me weekly cleaning sprint it would only add about 15 minutes.)

There you have it: 1 hour to a completely clean house

- Lydia

Mom’s Musings: Ministry When You Have Littles

Far and away the hardest part of being a mom with small children has been the lack of ministry opportunities. It seems to be a perpetual struggle as I watch others enjoy the gift of ministering in the church while I tend to my little brood and struggle to keep everyone’s diaper clean for the duration of Sunday morning.

Before marriage and children, I loved being a part of any ministry available. Children’s ministries, teen ministries, fellowships, hospitality, piano, singing, leading, teaching, counseling, puppets, decorating. You name it. I wanted to be involved and playing a key role. I told myself that it was because I wanted to be a servant, but honestly, I really liked being a leader. I loved being the one on the front lines – teaching, planning, and delegating. I felt like I would make the most difference for eternity if I was ministering in key positions in the church.

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For the last few years, the doors seemed perpetually closed. Either because I knew I couldn’t keep up with my wife and mother responsibilities and have to say ‘no’ to the very few ministries I could do or because we started attending a church that simply doesn’t have many teaching roles for women.

After much struggle, deep discouragement, and dark days, I finally came to some conclusions.

  • I realized that it is normal for a wife and mother to have to attend to her house first. (1 Corinthians 7) The decision to marry and have children simply makes you have to focus on the things of the world more – simply to survive. Unless you really are ordained by God to be celibate, it is part of His plan for you to have a family and children and while you can still minister, they are YOUR FIRST CALLING. How many pastor’s children walk away from God? Our children cannot be sacrificed on any altar – not even the altar of ministry!
  • I realized that God does not NEED anyone in ministry. It doesn’t matter that I had a lot of experience or education geared to help me be an ‘asset’ in ministry. God needs NOONE. He ALLOWS us to minister because He is kind to us and ALLOWS us to be a part of His work. Years of pride and feeling ‘needed’ fell by the wayside as I saw other less-capable, less educated people be used by God as I sat on the benches.
  • I realized that motherhood IS a ministry and a high calling. I used to feel sorry for people who were not going into full time Christian service. When my husband needed to stop seminary because we could no longer continue and support our growing family, I struggled more then he did. Was my life going to be wasted now!?? I struggled with depression for months. I was missing the ministry in front of my eyes. My little souls watching my every move.
  • I realized that ministry comes in many forms. Ministry is not always in the spotlight or leading up an organized program. I had to look around. God had to convict me about my selfishness. Slowly, I began to see forms of ministry that I had been too proud to acknowledge before. A kind note, a frozen dinner, an empathetic question to a hurting church member, being willing to JOYFULLY (that’s the hard part) keep the kids busy for an hour (or two or three) after church so my husband could help a church family or be there for a weary friend.

This week the subject of ministry has resurfaced because two families need help with moves, and I can’t help in the way I’d like. (Third term pregnancy makes me a useless box lifter and lack of baby-sitters means I wouldn’t help much at the moves but rather chase my kids around.) This time, rather then plummet into discouragement, I’ve been able to acknowledge my limitations and consider what I can do – freezer meals and a joyful attitude and encouraging attitude toward my husband (who is a GREAT packer after being a missionary kid and a GREAT box mover after 5 years of working for FedEx.)

So in the coming weeks, I probably won’t be able to help these two families move in the normal way. I can’t lift things; I can’t come pack things up. However, I can recognize that the ministries I do have are still a blessing and a high calling, and I can seek God’s grace to do them in a way that glorifies Him. 

In some ways it can take even more grace and dependence to wash the church dishes in a joyful and God-focused way then it can to teach a church Sunday School. I’m learning to show my children what real ministry is.

- Verity

Minimalism & Etiquette

A few weeks ago, my children had their first tea party. They’d gotten a cute little book about bunnies going to tea and were enamored.

We had a lovely time! Zucchini brownies (that actually did taste good), tea with lots of sugar and cream (they are 2 and 4 after all) and a great disposable table cloth I found in the basement that looked great, was doused in chocolate zucchini splotches (compliments of the 2 year old) and was happily thrown away afterwards.

Here is a picture of the kids at the tea party. My daughter had a bug bite on her eye lid which is why she looks a little funny. Notice the toy duck came to tea too.

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Only one problem – I don’t own a tea pot. I officially own a beautiful oneida coffee pot.

Were the toddlers and I using ‘proper’ etiquette?

Not completely.

Am I planning a teapot purchase in the future? 

Nope.

One of the hardest struggles I’ve had with minimalism is deciding what to do with etiquette rules.

In proper etiquette, you don’t wear white shoes after labor day, you use the proper kitchen pieces for the proper uses. (ie: only salad forks with salad, soup spoons with soup, desert plates for desert…), the correct kind of stationary for the correct notes.

However, I’ve had to admit that some ‘proper’ things are not for me at this time. I have other priorities.

Areas that work for me right now though are not proper:

Tableclothes and Proper Linens: When people come over, a table cloth that needs to ironed beforehand, then afterwards treated, soaked, and handwashed is not going to work very well. (More likely, somewhere in the middle of that process, I’ll forget about it and find it moldy in the basement sink next season…). At this time, I’m having to admit my own priorities and use disposable table clothes or decorate the table in a different way.

Thank you notes: (This is my biggest confession in the article!) 

Right now thank you notes I write are via email, text, and Facebook messaging. It’s the only way I seem to get them written and handed off. I am especially embarrassed to admit this, but I finally had to admit that shooting a kind, well-thought email the night after a gift or visit was tons better then writing a note, carrying it in my purse for weeks, and then throwing it away unsent because I am too embarrassed at how bent up and creased it had gotten on its pre-sending adventure.

Correct glassware:

Target sells all the glassware for a great price, we’ve only bought their standard, martini, and champaign glasses though. (Standard because I dream of being a minimalist who is enamored with a “Do-it-All” glass, and martini because my husband dreams of being a great drink maker who is enamored with the drinks looking cool and dipping the rims in salt and all that.) (Champaign because just a couple times a year – on an anniversary or holiday, we’ll have a 9:00 PM living room date after the kids go to bed with cheese, crackers, and champaign and that just is more special with the real champaign glasses!)

I found this GREAT chart off of winefolly.com. Yup. Definitely not going to be getting most of these glasses!

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Conclusion: I am not discarding etiquette. I think it plays an important role. My kids will grow up knowing it. However, purchasing, storing, and caring for rarely used items for the sake of ‘proper,’ or being slave to rules that cause more stress then help is foolish.

If I had the time and strength, I’d still do everything ‘properly,’ and I expect someday I will have a teapot and send ‘real’ thank you notes.

In the mean time, my priorities and limitations make a more minimalist approach to etiquette a relief!

What are some ‘improper’ ways you’ve found to live life more freely?

- Verity

Organizing: The Master List

I once asked an organized friend her secret of getting rid of stuff and staying organized.

She laughed. “Move every 2 years! We’ve done that. It works great!”

At the moment, we are considering a move. It may not even happen, but just the prospect has admittedly helped me view my stuff and house projects more clearly.

I went through each room, and wrote a comprehensive list of all the projects that need to be done. (All the of them – including the small, 5 minute ones and the larger 10 hour ones).

This mind clearing experience has made me wish I’d written this a long time ago! How many times have I felt overwhelmed about where to even start? How many 1 or 2 hour segments have opened up, and I squandered it because my mind blanked so I just jumped on Facebook instead?

Next house, I’m making this list in the first month. – Maybe before we even move in!

Here’s how to make the list:

1. Walk through each room and made a list of all the projects that need to be done.

2. Estimate and write the amount of time next to each one. (This way, if your kids are napping or your husband offers to take them fishing, you can check your list to see which project can fill that slot of time)

3. Write a shopping list on a separate sheet of paper so you can pick up any supplies that you need on hand for when the time to deal with it comes up. (Within reason)

4. Optional Idea: I also put used a code system to help me know at a glance what items needed to be done with or without kids. “A” notes that the project needs to be done by me Alone without the kids. “K” is for things that can be done with the Kids, and I put a “J” next to the projects that I need my husband to help me with. :-)

5. Optional Idea: Many organizing experts suggest organizing or renovating one area at a time so that you can see your progress. For this reason, organizing the projects by room may be useful.

Here’s a sample of my list from the kids’ room:

Kid Room

  1. Paint Touch-up                                                20m                   A
  2. Put up 2nd curtain                                           10m                   K
  3. Declutter closet                                                30m                   K
  4. Scrub woodwork                                              30m                   K
  5. Replace Wall Vent                                           15m                   K

(To Buy: Vent)

Using the List to make your life more efficient:

With exception of the paint touch-ups, these projects are actually all ones I can do with the kids. So I could easily schedule one morning to do these.

The paint touch-ups will need to be done without the kids. That will be a little more of a challenge. Summer is almost here, and my husband will often take the toddlers fishing with him to give me a 2 hour breather. If I paint as soon as they leave, the touch-ups should hopefully be fairly dry by the time they get back. Having my master list helps me to utilize his gift to me by using it more efficient.

- Verity

Mom’s Musings: I’m Not an Expert

Once upon a time I was an ‘expert’ on children. I had the degree, the children’s job, and a huge boatload of opinions.

Then – after a decade – I ran into the first child who floored me. He made no sense. He was more stubborn, more intense, and more extreme then me. He was incredible. And wow, was he FRUSTRATING! Yes…he was mine.

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I no longer judge other parents.Kids are hard.They are the closest thing to your heart but the most constant, demanding and tiring thing you can imagine. You need to rouse in the middle of the night for them yet keep a kind spirit toward them when at breakfast they complain that THEY are tired.

You need to keep focused on what’s important – their growth and development – when they embarrass you with a tantrum in the middle of the store. (Yeah. We’ve had our share.)

You have to come to terms with your own sin problems as you hear your three year old repeat in anger to the year year old word for word the wrong thing you said to him the week before.

It’s so easy to second guess yourself on everything. Suddenly food, vaccines, sunlight, movies take on a completely different meaning.

Yes. Once, long ago, I was an expert on children. Now that I’ve actually spent 24 hours a day with them -

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almost non-stop for 3 1/2 years, I’ve realized just one thing. I don’t know much!! I need a tremendous amount of grace and wisdom from God to be a good parent.It’s hard…But it’s worth it!

Tonight I had a couple minutes and rocked our 8 month old to sleep. Today she said “Papa” for the first time. She’d been trying for awhile.

The three year old sounded out the word “Bed” today. It was the first time he read a word using phonics. I saw the concept finally click in his eyes, and he shouted the word out and ran to show my husband.

The two year old made a scrambled egg with me today. She was so excited to crack the egg, and then stir it (after I’d fished out the shell pieces.) She was proud to get to cook!

It’s hard.

It’s the most sanctifying and humbling thing I’ve every experienced.

But it is completely worth it!!

I’m no longer an expert – I’m much better – I’m a Mom.

-Verity

My Cleaning System: Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you cleaning methods at which I tried and failed. Then I started to think about what I wanted my house to be rather than the process of how to get it there. I realized that in order to achieve a clean house all at once, I needed to clean my house all at once. This is the method that works for me. It may not be your best method, but I highly recommend it. Here’s what I’ve learned and how I’ve made it work through job changes, and the addition of children.

At that time, I calculated that I had approximately 4 hours a day to do things (this was when I worked full time but before I had kids), so I decided that if I left Fridays open as my cleaning day it would be attainable. I chose not to do any real cleaning until the first Friday arrived. The first Friday came and I accomplished my goal—completely clean house. Then, I had to make supper and lunches for my husband and myself. I left for work feeling close to a failure and the kitchen was a wreck. The next week, I learned to start earlier.  I also discovered that if I was going to let the house go during the week, my lack of cleaning could not include neglecting clutter. On Thursdays especially I had to be sure and de-clutter or I would spend too much time doing that project on Fridays. As the weeks went on and the Friday cleaning became a habit, my confidence in my housekeeping skills grew and I felt more prepared to have guests into my home. Since I chose Fridays as a cleaning day, weekends were a natural time for company. Almost no prep, and we were ready to whip up a meal and open our home! Then our son was born…

After an insane amount of nursing problems, I had very little time to clean or cook or anything! For months, I did just a few jobs a day, but then he started to have consistent nap times, so I had 2 hours slots. For over a year, I was able to “cram” my 4 hour cleaning session into 2 hours. I still did it on Fridays. After our daughter was born (my “efficient” sleeper) I am able to clean the entire house in exactly 1 hour. I work crazy fast and there is no time for extras, but it works. I often wonder how many hours I wasted during those years of spending 4 hours on the exact same thing! Funny how kids push us to work harder than ever before. 

At this point in our lives, I nanny from home on Wednesdays and my husband teaches piano lessons from home on Thursdays. I changed my cleaning day to fluctuate between Monday and Tuesday which allows us to relax over the weekend and make a mess without worry. This also helps me to jump start my week. We have been very happy with this method. If someone does come over on the weekend, I take about 10 minutes to vacuum the downstairs and quickly wipe down the bathroom. That’s it and we’re good to go!

You might be reading this and thinking that it seems silly to give so much thought to when and how I clean—I don’t blame you! But I think it is crucial to give careful thought to how we’re going to do things, otherwise we’ll never achieve the end result we want. Think of how you want your house to be and then make a plan of how to get it to that point. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

“Even if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you’ll land among the stars.”

Tomorrow I’ll share with you exactly what I clean and when. Also some tips to make it go faster and how to prep for cleaning without actually cleaning.

-Lydia

3 Preschool Tips

Although my degree is in Education, I taught for a summer ministry during my pre-mom years, and have taught many times for our home business, I haven’t felt like I was using my schooling or experience much as a mom.

However, now that I am starting to embark on homeschool preschool, there are just a couple things that have helped me stay unusually organized. It’s almost come naturally, and since I’m not a naturally organized, I can only attribute it to my education and experience finally helping me as a homemaker! (Yay!!)

I have homeschool preschooled my rambunctious 3 year old and his organized (but her-way-is-the-best-way-even-if-it-means-grasping-her-pencil-in-her-fist-to-write) 2 year old in a structured setting for a year and in the normal mom-way for 2 years. (This is where you read learning books, sing the alphabet a lot, and count things through the day. It’s basically just being a mom.)

I know that not all moms are going to be able to school at home, but these couple points could help with homework too!

1. Determine Your MAIN Goal:

It’s not as simple as it sounds. I had to reevaluate my main goal a few months ago, and it has been a sigh of relief since!

What is your main goal?

-That your child is ahead of the other kids in his play group or class?

-That he learn to become self-motivated with his homework?

-That he learn to love school and look forward to it?

This will determine the amount of time you spend, what subjects you focus on (subjects he loves vs subjects that will help him with other goals etc.), and sometimes even your approaches.

I used to want my son to be better then the other kids, and it frustrated me that he was not writing his name or reciting the alphabet by 2 like a couple of the little girls in his Sunday school. However, upon reevaluation of my MAIN goal, I decided my goal for him as a preschooler, is to learn to love learning. (This may likely change, but let’s avoid burn-out by K-5.) I also realized that it was my pride – not my desire for his growth – that was motivating me to want him to be faster in school then he was.

Realizing that I was using my little son to boost my own ego and determining a different goal has helped school to become a time we all look forward to and has caused me to take some different approaches to it.

Because last year my little kids could only handle an hour of formal school time and because my MAIN goal was that they learn to enjoy learning:

  1. We limited formal school to 30m – 60m each day
  2. We limited formal school to 4 subjects
  3. We used their specific learning styles and interests to make it easier for them
    1. Visual Learners will need more pictures. (Dollar Store has tons of $1 school visuals!)
    2. Audio Learners will need to hear concepts spoken or speak the concepts themselves.
    3. Kinestetic learners will need to touch or move or act out the concepts.
    4. Goal-Oriented kids will do best with a reward system.
    5. Music loving kids will learn 10 times better if you turn lessons into little rhymes and songs.
    6. Artists will enjoy subjects they get to draw in or create with.
    7. Organizers will do better when you describe everything as having a place. “This is where the ‘A’ goes – in front of the ‘B.’ That’s where it belongs!’ They do best with categories and structure.

And the list goes on.

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2. Make a Short List of Objectives at the Start of Every Semester or Season.

According to  my college professors, this is something all teachers are supposed to do in each class they teach in grade school through doctoral classes. If you do your job well (the professors in college would tell us teachers in training) you can write your final test from your objectives.

In practice, your students may not hit everything on your list of objectives, they may excel in some areas and not achieve other areas. That is normal.

The reason for list is that it gives you a quick reference as you make teaching decisions through the semester. It also helps you evaluate areas you have not thought of that need attention.

Here’s how it works: If you are going to do a family day somewhere and you remember that your child is learning about monkey breeds this semester, you are more likely to hit that at the zoo.

If you are at the dollar store and see some flashcards, you’ll know that your 2 year old is working on counting to 10 and having some flashcards in your purse for wait times would be helpful.

Here’s How to Make Your Objective List:

1. Label each subject your child will be learning.

2. Write one to 5 goals under each subject about what your child will learn at the end of the semester.

3. Keep it short. If possible, it should not be longer then a page. You want to be able to refer to it easily.
My kids are young so their lists were easy and short. They took me less then an hour to write. I then kept the lists on the frig for a few weeks until I had the hang of them and after that just kept them in their school drawer.

Here is a copy of my 3 year old’s semester goals. I did not write these because I looked up what 3 year olds are supposed to do at that age. I simply knew that these were attainable goals he could reach over the semester. We did better then I planned on some areas, and we did not attain everything in other areas.

The formatting is not perfect on this list, but this is my actual list so I’m being honest here. :-)

I wrote out the character traits because they were important to me, and I had space on my one-sheet list. Having them accessible made those an item that we did the well at in our endeavors.

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3. At the end of each day, take one minute to write down what they learned and need to work on. 

Then I put my list on my frig and through the day can say to my child, “Do you remember what sound the ‘G’ makes?”

(If I didn’t put it on the frig, I’d completely forget to review with them because I’m an out of sight and out of mine person. Not everyone will need a visual reminder.)

Even on days that I forget to review with them, I still have an easy, brainless reminder when we are starting school the next day.

Here are 3 tips that have helped us A LOT! As a new homeschooler, I would LOVE to here any tips from more experienced moms!!

-Verity

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