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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: You are Never Too Young to Help!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Meet Michele from Family, Faith, and Fridays.  She is a military wife and homeschooling mom to four, ages 6, 11, 15 and 19.  She blogs about schooling, family, adoption, modesty, cooking, savings and everything in between.  You can read more about her and her family at http://www.familyfaithandfridays.blogspot.com/.

Being a helper is not necessarily a natural born talent.  In our family, we believe that it takes time and training to encourage children to be helpers.  They all want to please, they just don't all want to help.

The answer for us- chores, starting at a pretty young age.  Not to get money.  Not to be a punishment.

But simply because you are a part of the team and you are expected to learn to help others.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

Chores and how we tackle them change often around here, usually in tandem with our moves.  It always seems about that time some children have aged up and out of certain things and need to be taught others.  Sometimes changes just need to be made to keep things fresh.  This move has been no exception.  It was time for the newly turned 6 year old to go from just his personal chores to ones that benefited the whole family.

Because chores have never been negotiable here adding and switching around does not rock our kiddos worlds.  We treat it as a right of passage..."look what you are big enough to do now" and they usually embrace the challenge.

The hardest part usually comes on our side- the training.  You cannot just give a child a job and expect that they will know how to do it.  Just like anything you want done well, you must teach them how to do it and then allow them to practice.  And sometimes practice some more.  Make it fun though and you will be surprised at how well this goes.  The first few times may take more parental involvement, but in the end, the results are worth it.

So for your six year old...

Helping to empty the dishwasher.  I would like to say this is not daily, but with a family our size, it often is.  He does the silverware as well as small fruit size bowls that we use for snacks and fruit.  I made sure that the bowls were in a bottom drawer that was easy for him to pull out and place them in. Minimal worry of breakage!

Cleaning off the front and back doors weekly.  Why?  One, because he is the one that  puts most of the fingerprints on both.  (despite asking him to keep his fingers off the glass.)  Plus, because we use normally use homemade cleaning products there is no risk in him poisoning himself.  As for the Windex bottle this time, well, you can always tell when my Mom has been visiting.  And hey, if she wants to help clean she can use whatever she wants!

Vacuuming the kitchen floor.  This he does twice a week.  Again, most of the crumbs come from him. Go figure! ;)  We have a small lightweight vacuum that he loves using, so this is not a biggie. The kid likes to vacuum.  Is it always perfect?  No way.  But it gets done, he gets thanked, and it blesses our family.

Bring your clothes up from the laundry room once a week and put them away.  It did take a few times to get this to not be a throw-them-all-in-the-first-drawer-you-find thing, but I think we have it now!

Daily morning chores.  These are the same every morning.  Make your bed, get dressed, brush your teeth.  Easy.  When he was younger I laid out an outfit for him at night so he would know what to put on.  Now that he is six, he chooses from his drawer.  His outfits are in a few stacks and the only rule is you have to choose one from the top.  No digging in to find one you like best.  Keeps the mess to a minimum AND keeps us from seeing the same 7 outfits over and over again!

Nightly chores.  These are the same every night.  10 minute tidy your bedroom.  Brush teeth and take vitamins.  Easy.

And how do we remember it all?  And not seem like a nagging mom?

A chart of course!  (you knew that was coming, right friends?)

This chart hangs in our kitchen where everyone can see it.  Each morning the kids check the chart to see what they need to that day and then plan accordingly.  No need to remind them. No need to nag, no need to have to remember it all myself.  Easy!

I will say that when we first start teaching chores at a young age we used a system by the Maxwell Family at Titus 2 called Chore Packs.  We printed out the chores on cards, put them into a name badge and then the child could wear that badge.  When they finished the chore on the card it went to the back of the pile and they did the next one.  At young ages you just use a picture of that chore and no reading is necessary.  It was great and allowed them to feel big and responsible.  The girls still have fond memories of those chore pacts.  Now that the kids are all older, the chart works as well.  Another resource I highly recommend is one I reviewed this past year called The Everyday Family Chore System .  It has some great ideas you can implement as well as lists of age appropriate chores.

Again, our reason for chores is not to be lazy parents whose kids do all the work.  It is to raise responsible children who know how to help, WANT to help and know what responsibility and teamwork are all about.  Isn't that the kind of child YOU want to raise?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Staying Chill in Hawaii

So it’s warm here year round…but, summers are somehow hotter!  Most homes do not have A/C (including our own) so those summer days can be killer!  (especially on me, who is now 7mos pregnant!)

Besides hitting the beach or pool – My kids like to keep cool in a variety of ways.  Some of their favorites are playing water weanie, water balloons, turning our raft into a pool or washing the van!


water weanie 031

I also favor my Crockpot and Microwave this time of year!  The stove can really heat up the house! 

Microwave White Enchilada Bake

Mango Chicken Curry

Spicy Chicken with Dates and Butternut Squash

Cool Treats are always nice as well!

Fruit Popsicles and Ice Cream

Coffee Can Ice Cream

Check out my Pinterest board – Keeping Cool for lots of other great ideas to cool it down this summer (or throughout the year if your like us!).  Another great board to tone it down this summer is my Crock Pot board! 

Blog Cruise goes live on 7/30 at 9am EST

Monday, July 29, 2013

Daily To Do List (Printable)

My oldest has the hardest time remembering to brush his teeth in the morning, and I have the hardest time remembering to have him do his computer programs in the afternoons (we are not a big media family). 

And I had a chore chart that was VERY underutilized….So,

I decided to combine those things and make a “TO DO TODAY” chart, and task cards to go on it. 

(FRONT)  I will set this up the night before (when I do the workboxes) and he will turn them sideways when he completes the tasks)

(BACK) to store the cards that are not in use for that day

I have it hanging by the workboxes, you can see here the completed tasks turned sideways.

To make, I just printed the TO DO LIST on colored paper, and the TASK CARDS on white paper.  I laminated them both and added velcro.  Super easy! 

Poppins Book Nook–Beaches/Oceans


Picture of On the BeachPicture of 1,2,3…By the SeaPicture of Hush Little Beachcomber
(Click on the pictures for more info, the last two books are available as ebooks for a low cost on the FREE storytime app for iOS).

Fun Science Book for Beach Trips! 

Great Beach Themed Game for ages 2-6yo (or older)

Sea Star and Sea Urchin Activities

Crabs, Hermit Crabs and Seashells

Our hermit crab sensory bin, it's blue rice and a variety of shells and pebbles. We got the shell cards from HERE I found the little orange hermit crab on clearance at Walmart, he rolls around on the floor, the kids LOVED him!

Pinterest Beach Page – Lots of great Beach Ideas!

Lighthouses unit  (2 pages, scroll through, 4 weeks of activities with printables)

Other activities:

Practice letter writing in a tray of sand or salt

Make shell imprints in playdough, for more fun and texture make Beach Playdough or use Moon Sand

Make salty or sandy paintings….paint with glue (white or colored) and then shake sand or salt onto the picture.

Observe shells with magnifying glasses (you can also take a look at sand and/or salt)

Shell Picture Frames

Make a matching game with different grades of sand paper

Spend the day at the beach (if you can) or make a beach day at home

Make a wave machine with Oil and Blue water in a bottle – add sand and small shells too if you have them!

Listen to ocean sounds  - These ones are FREE on Amazon The Best Healing Music for Relaxation, Meditation & Sleep with Nature Sounds (Ocean Waves Album Series Sampler), and Sea Waves, Vol. 2 (Sandy Beach 30 Minutes)

Beach Themed Sensory Bin – sand, water, shells, ocean animals

Take it a step further:

Picture of On a Pirate Ship

Our pirate workboxes and activities

Pirate activities Pinterest

More extension activities and books:

Picture of Under the Sea (Picture Book)Picture of How Deep is the Sea?

Fish Activities (with printables)

Octopus Activities

Jellyfish Activities

Whale Activities (with printables)
valentines 010

Pinterest Oceans Board – Lots more ideas and printables

We used a lot of TOOBS for these units – Pirates, Whales and Dolphins, Coral Reef, Ocean, SeaLife, In the Water.  My kids LOVE TOOBS and they make great manipulatives!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - Royal Baloo - 3 Dinosaurs - Monsters Ed -Chestnut Grove Academy - Growing in God's Grace - Royal Little Lambs - Life with Moore Babies - Teach Beside Me - The Usual Mayhem - Mum Central - Fantastic Fun and Learning - Kathys Cluttered Mind - Play Create Explore - Toddler Approved -Growing Book by Book - Adventures in Mommydom - B-Inspired Mama- The Fairy and The Frog - Edventures with Kids - Learning & Growing the Piwi way - A Gluten Free Journey - Mom to Crazy Monkeys - No Doubt Learning -Preschool Powol Packets - To The Moon and Back - Our Craft ~N~ Things - Farm Fresh Adventures -Proverbial Homemaker

Have a Beach or Ocean Themed post?  Link it up below! 

Come back next month for Fairy Tales!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Schoolhouse Expo–Info and Giveaway

I’ve always wanted to attend a Homeschool Expo, but the date or time, or location never works out for me!  Well now that problem is SOLVED with the online Schoolhouse Expo by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!!


ONLY $24, gives you access each day to listen to sessions from 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm eastern (10:00 am until 5:00 pm Pacific)  August 19-23rd. 

Can’t attend LIVE?  No problem, your entrance fee gives you access to the recordings!

Some speakers I’m looking forward to hearing:

You can register by clicking HERE OR Try to win!  I have ONE ticket to give away!  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 26, 2013

Field Trip #93 Friday Blog Hop

Field Trip Friday!
A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)
We went to check out the 4H event!  It was a lot of fun, and now my youngest is obsessed with cows!  The Hawaii State Farm Fair is held yearly at Kualoa Ranch.



**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Review: Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of your Day! ebook (TOS Review)

    Website logo photo circletimelogo2_zps58ab71e5.jpg Circle Time Book Logo photo CircleTimeLogo_zps63dd95c9.jpg 
    I really enjoyed reading the book for this review!  Circle Time:  Plan the Best Part of your Day! from Preschoolers and Peace.  Having been a preschool teacher, circle time, is no foreign concept to me, however, this ebook shines new light on the concept!
    It is a quick and easy read filled with lots of ideas to get your gears turning, and questions and answers to help you implement circle time in your own homeschool, regardless of how young or old your children are!  It also has printables to help with planning.
    I have to be honest, since implementing circle time, our homeschool days have changed – and for the better! 
    My kids are 2.5, 4 and almost 7.  With suggestions taken from the book, I was able to implement a circle time that works for all 3 of my children (though sometimes my 2.5yo wanders off before we are through, but that’s okay). 
    We have been doing circle time at our Kitchen Table.  I set up a circle time wall, everything was stuff I already had but was under utilizing (or not utilizing at all). 
    2013-07-07 20.23.00
    Here is a picture of my kids enjoying circle time
    2013-07-08 09.21.43
    Our circle time starts at 9am and can last from 45-60min.  It consists of the following:
    1.  Spiritual Song of the Month (coincides with our Family Home Evening lesson)
    2.  Prayer
    3.  Pledge of Allegiance
    4.  Calendar (day of the week, date, weather)
    5.  Virtue
    6. Scripture of the Week (coincides with our Family Home Evening lesson)
    7.  Art Appreciation (from Fine Art Pages)
    8.  Read a story from Friend Magazine (LDS publication)
    9.  C reads a story from the Storied Scriptures, Old Testament (LDS Publication)
    10.  Chinese Song and Story
    11.  Science – Read a story to go with science theme, 2 days a week we will do an experiment or lab.  We may watch a short video that goes with the topic.
    12.  On the non-lab days, we have more time, so we will usually check out the video of the week on BrainPopJr.com or the video of the day at BrainPop.com 
    13. If they are still interested, we will go ahead and do History, listening to SOTW, while they draw or color a page to go with the topic.  Otherwise just my oldest and I do History. 
    At the start of the new school year I plan to institute calendar notebooks for each child, the youngest just doing a ABC color page. 
    The Circle Time book is only 33 pages long and cost $4.99.  It’s in PDF format and is downloadable instantly.  It really is a great read, an awesome guide to organizing your own circle time and making it work for your homeschool.  I highly recommend it!  I am not exaggerating when I say it has changed our homeschool!  Days run so much smoother when we start this way!
     photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif


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