Archives For Learning at Home

For the past 5 years now, I have recorded a day in my life on a January day and shared about our everyday life. This year, I recorded our day in January once again but am just now sitting down to post about it over 2 months later!

Here’s a glimpse into my life as a stay at home, homeschooling mama of 3 (and one on the way!) on Wednesday, January 25, 2017:

8:30 – I’m awake and moving slow. At 23 weeks pregnant, I still need lots and lots of sleep!! I get out of bed, start a load of laundry and begin making breakfast.

9:30 – We’re all eating breakfast. Then we tidy up the table and begin our school work for the day.

10:30 – We’re in the midst of our school day. Paxton is working on his math worksheet while I read to him. While he is working, I take a quick break to move laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and begin another load.

11:30 – We’re reading Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride (a lesser known young female figure from the American Revolution). We spent the beginning of this semester reading anything we could get our hands on about the Revolutionary War period! This hour continues with more school work and of course breaking up the occasional fight between the younger two who don’t have any structured school work.

12:30 – Lunch time. Everybody is happily eating lunch. We have a little bit more school work to finish up, I check Paxton’s math and start tidying the kitchen.

1:30 – It’s story time! Oh, how I love reading to my little ones. We read a lot of books as part of our school work but there’s nothing quite like cozying up on the couch with story books that the kiddos pick out for me to read and snuggling – especially on a winter day!

2:30 – The boys are in their room resting (which means playing quietly with their toys or looking at books) while Cecilia and I are in bed. For several weeks, thanks to pregnancy tiredness, I’ve been taking an afternoon nap and she usually joins me. I’ll read a chapter or two in my books and then we snuggle up and nap.

3:30 – I’m awake from my afternoon nap and feeling rested to face the afternoon and evening while Cecilia is still snoozing.

4:30 – Starting dinner prep. Wednesdays are Awana night which means I have to have dinner ready earlier than our normal dinner time in order for the kiddos to have time to eat without being rushed before we leave around 6:10.

5:30 – Finishing up folding a load of laundry (I’m always doing laundry it seems) and getting ready to serve dinner to my crew.

And, from dinner time, the day got crazy and I stopped taking pictures! The kids have AWANA at 6:30 at a church in our community. It’s just 5 minutes from our home which is nice. Once I/we drop them off, we typically come home, clean up our dinner mess and relax for a little bit without kids. If John David is working late for whatever reason, I’ll just sit and read a book in silence!

I leave to pick them up around 7:45 and we’re all home by 8:15. The kiddos typically eat a snack after Awana and then we start our nighttime routine – get pajamas on, brush teeth, pick out books, cuddle up on the couch and read and then head to bed.

My days are not very exciting but how I love being able to stay home with my children, educate them at home and live such a wonderful life!

A Day in My Life from previous years:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

Hello, dear blog friends. It’s been a while since I last wrote. Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on in the past few months:

We started our second year of homeschooling back in August with Paxton in 1st Grade, Weston in Pre-K and Cecilia as a tag along! This second year of homeschooling has gone so much better than our first. I’ve learned so much about my little student and have learned a lot about myself. Our first half of first grade has been great and I’m really enjoying teaching and learning alongside my children.

Paxton played tackle football this fall which kept us busy for 2 months. He had practice 2-3 times a week with games on Saturdays and a few games on weeknights. It was a lot of going but Paxton had a blast and Weston and Cecilia loved playing with Paxton’s teammates siblings during practices and games. (I may be an introvert and need to be home a lot but my children are quite outgoing and enjoy going places.)

Then the holiday season arrived. We traveled to visit my family for Thanksgiving and we also visited John David’s family in mid-December. We enjoyed the month of December and all the festivities. Our Weston turned 5 on the 22nd, we had a lovely Christmas as a family and John David took the last two weeks of the year off which was wonderful.

During his time off, he started tackling our kitchen renovation more and we’re finally getting close to being finished! And, I am so excited and looking forward to sharing when it’s finished!

He went back to work yesterday and we’re settling back into our school routine.

Of course, the beginning of a new year is a time for thinking about goals and living intentionally and I’ve set a few goals/objectives for 2017.

  • One of those goals is to write here more regularly. I really enjoy blogging/writing but I do not do a great job of making time to blog.
  • Limiting my time on social media is also a goal for this year. I find myself mindlessly browsing Facebook or Instagram when I could be reading, writing, cooking, cleaning or so many other things. I no longer have my phone plugged up beside my bed so it’s not touched first thing in the morning or right before I go to bed. This is really helping!
  • A short term goal we’re working on is a pantry challenge. Our pantry, kitchen freezer and extra freezer were packed full so for the first two weeks of January we’re eating from the pantry/freezer.  The ‘rule’ is that we can buy eggs, milk and produce. All we’ve spent so far this month is $12.09 at Aldi for eggs, 6 avocados (can’t beat $.49 for an avocado!!) and a pineapple for the kids (we have a lot of oranges/apples still) so this will give them a yummy treat! I easily made out a 2 week meal plan and the goal is to make it these 2 weeks but I’m really hoping we can make it all month.
  • We’re also focused on our mortgage payoff goal. The goal is to pay it off by May 2020 and we’re currently a little bit ahead. We’ve been talking about ways to reach this goal faster and are working on implementing some of them. It’s fun having financial goals to work towards!

I’ve got a small list of blog post ideas for the coming weeks so you should be hearing from me more often in 2017!

PeapodMats Review

All of our children have potty trained right around the age of 2. It’s wonderful having them out of diapers, especially since we cloth diaper and wash diapers every other day. However, we’re still dealing with night time wetting with all three kids (currently ages 6, 4 and 2).

We used cloth diapers at night for awhile with our oldest child but soon they started irritating his bottom. We tried night time potty training for awhile, creating a chart to reward dry nights, hoping it would work. It didn’t, his little body just wasn’t ready and we didn’t push the issue.

So, we switched to disposable diapers at night. And, I hated it. I didn’t like spending money on the diapers, couldn’t stand that they sometimes leaked (then I still had to wash all of the bedding) and hated that the diapers were going to the landfill.

Occasionally, I’d try putting both boys back in cloth diapers at night in hopes they would work. Unfortunately, they continued to irritate their bottoms and sore bottoms just isn’t worth it even though the cloth diapers were more environmentally friendly. (Thankfully, our 2 year old daughter is still able to wear her cloth diapers at night without any irritation!)

Finally, after nearly 4 years of purchasing night time disposable diapers, I was absolutely sick of all the waste we were generating. Two kids just wearing 1 diaper a night adds up to a lot of waste each week.

I started researching for a night time solution. I knew cloth diapers were out of the question. I didn’t just want to let them sleep without anything and wet the bed each night because washing all of the bedding and a mattress protector times two is a lot of hassle, especially since they’re in bunkbeds.

PeapodMat

In my search, I came across PeapodMats and was immediately intrigued by their product. It seemed like it was the exact product we needed. If it worked like they claimed it did, it would be the answer to our night time wetting dilemma.

After reading a few reviews, watching a video demonstration of the product and talking it over with my husband, I purchased one of the 3×3 PeapodMats for $39.99 from Amazon to try out.

Yes, $39.99 is a lot to spend on a simple mat but I was spending around $40 for 6 weeks worth of diapers for my boys. If this one time purchase of the mat really worked, I would not only be saving about $40 every 6 weeks but we’d also stop creating diaper waste.

The boys and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Peapod. The day it arrived, we were excited to get it washed and get it on the bed. Since both boys wanted to try it out, they slept together in Paxton’s bunk.

It worked well, they both wet that night and the Peapod absorbed all of the liquid and didn’t leak through to the sheets. The next night, one was dry and the other boy was wet and it worked again!

And, our great surprise was that our 6-year-old started waking up dry some mornings. He’s now dry about 50% of the time. Before we purchased the Peapod, he was wet every single night. He has told us that he sometimes would pee in his nighttime diaper before he fell asleep because he didn’t want to get out of bed. Now that he’s not wearing a diaper, he is more careful to pee right before bed, get up to go if he has the urge before he falls asleep and he’ll get up earlier in the morning to pee. I’m convinced that using the PeapodMat  is going to result in him being fully night trained before nighttime diapers would. (He’s actually been dry 7 days in a row now…I’m hoping this continues!!)

5x5 PeapodMat

Since things were going so well with the Peapod mat we ordered, we had the opportunity to work with PeapodMats and review another mat. We ordered a 3×5 mat to try out this time. The 3×5 mat fully covers the entire width of a twin size bed so the extra width provides more protection which is nice if your kiddos move around a lot!

We found that the 3×3 works best with both boys sleeping together since they can’t move that much. When Weston is sleeping on his 3×3 mat alone, he tends to move off of it some nights. We’ve had a few leaks from him rolling off of the mat and onto the bed. If I had to do it over again, I’d spend the extra money and purchase the 3×5 mat for the extra width making it less likely for the child to roll off the mat.

PeapodMat on Bed

We’ve been using our mats for 7 weeks now, I haven’t had to purchase a single diaper so we’ve already saved $40 and will be saving money well into the future because these mats will last for a long time.

We’ll probably be purchasing another mat in the near future to begin using with our daughter (unless Paxton continues to stay dry at night and then we’ll give Weston the 3×5 and Cecilia will get the 3×3 mat!) She’s currently wearing cloth diapers at night but wakes up dry nearly 50% of the time too. We think if she’s not sleeping in a diaper, something may click and she may begin waking up dry even more.

And, the use of these mats is not limited just to night time wetting, I could see them being useful with infants (spit up, blow outs, cosleeping), they make great nap mats and I think they would be quite handy when a stomach virus is making its way through the family.

If you’re tired of the expense and waste of night time diapers with your kids, I highly recommend purchasing a PeapodMat. After the one time expense of the mat, you’ll start saving money by not having to purchase diapers that you just throw away. And, maybe the mat will help your kiddos have some dry mornings too!

PeapodMats is a a small, mom owned business. I love that purchasing these mats supports small business owners and not a large corporation.

You can purchase PeapodMats directly from their website (they are a Canadian company so shipping to the US is a little pricey), from their retailers or via Amazon.

Disclosure – I purchased my first PeapodMat at full price and received the second for the cost of shipping. I was not provided any other compensation for this review, I just want to share a fabulous product with my readers. This post does contain Amazon affiliate links.

Homeschool Space Tour

A few weeks ago, I shared about homeschooling in a small space. We don’t have a dedicated school room but we’re making the most of the space we do have.

Our dining area doubles as our learning space which mean this area of our home works all day long. Once breakfast is over we clear the dishes and wipe the table down so we can begin school. Once we’re finished with school for the morning, it’s lunch time and we once again gather around and eat. Many afternoons are spent around the table doing art projects, writing or playing with Legos. And, of course we use our table for dinner each evening.

Homeschool Space

This is the view from kitchen into the dining area. Our table and our school cabinet are the main components of our school room. The black wall you can partially see to the left is our chalkboard wall which is a fun learning space element.

Homeschool Cabinet

Our learning cabinet holds all of our school books and supplies as well as some games and learning toys for our toddler. This cabinet is actually a former TV cabinet that my mother-in-law gave us. A few coats of white paint gave it new life and it’s a great piece to hold all of our materials.

School Books

This top shelf holds our smaller Sonlight books and school supplies (pencil sharpener, scissors, glue, hole punch, stapler, etc.) are contained in the white basket.

The bottom shelf holds our Sonlight books as well as some workbooks we’re working through. The green bin holds the school work for the next day. Each day when we finish our lessons for the day, I spend a few minutes gathering all of the books that we’ll need for lessons the next day and put everything together in the green bin. When I’m preparing to do school in the mornings, I grab all of our materials out of this bin and we’re ready to start learning for the day.

Homeschool Shelf

The shelves to the right contain the kids art and coloring books and hold their crayons, color pencils and markers. The middle shelf is our library shelf. I have found that having a place for library books makes keeping up with them much easier and also makes them not seem like clutter while they’re here (a place for everything and everything in it’s place!) The bottom shelf holds things for Cecilia to play with while we do school. I try to keep these items rotated. And, truth be told, she’d much rather be sitting at the table, trying to get in on the action and attempting to write on things than play with her toys!

My StudentAnd, here’s my student. I’ve been planning on homeschooling him since before he was born and it’s hard to believe that Kindergarten has finally arrived and we’re actually doing it. I was so nervous about finding a good rhythm before we started but so far it has been a really enjoyable experience for all. We’ve had a few moments, but overall I’m thankful for the opportunity to educate him at home.