THE LIEBSTER AWARD

A week ago, Kaira and I received the honor of being nominated for the Leibster Award by Morgan Isabella Shaw of Brains and Bodies blog. Of course, we graciously accept the nomination and want to thank Morgan, profusely. Please help us thank her by checking her out at Brains and Bodies, where you will get all kinds of insights on what it is like to live and function (especially as a college student) with a disability.

Don’t worry. We didn’t know what the Leibster Award was either. So, allow us to explain… The Leibster Award is a recognition to new bloggers, who have a following of less than 200. This provides a great opportunity for new bloggers, like us, to get some awesome exposure- with an outcome (hopefully) of building your numbers. Once a blogger received a nomination, the idea is that that person will then pick 5 to 11 new bloggers to receive the Leibster- and of course everyone nominated should be following the rules, lol. 

Thanks again, Morgan!

And now ensuring we follow the rules…

      OUR FAVORITE BLOG

Without a doubt, our favorite blogger is Shelly Sangrey, author of There’s No Place Like Home. Shelly is a momma of a bunch of kids and she is definitely who or what I would consider an expert in the field of homeschooling. Also, she is a follower and believer of Christ. When it comes to homeschooling, I trust her completely. Not to mention the awesome ideas she has. If you can’t tell, I kind of admire her- and I might secretly want to be just like her whenever I grow up. I could go on and on about the fabulous that is writer and homeschooler Shelly Sangrey, but in fear of being weird, I shall move on.

      ***TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME***

* I talk to dead people. (Not the crystal ball type of talking. More like the where do you come from, type of talking… In other words, I am a family historian/ amateur genealogist.

* I seem to collect kids- so, I don’t actually know how many I have. I have birthed 3, though.

* I am the oldest of three children.

* Even though I, myself, am an adult, I don’t think of my mom as ever getting older. So I am always amazed when I realize how old she actually is.

* I have a brain injury. I don’t remember anything, so if you tell me something and I don’t write it down, it is as good as you never told me. You’ve been warned.

* I always wanted to be a dancer in Broadway or a Rockette. (Sadly, though, I am 2.5 inches to short to even be considered for the Rockettes.)

* I know every word of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and the Little Mermaid. Are you shocked and amazed, yet?

* I know every single dance routine to the Newsies. (The original, not the Broadway come back.)

* I have only bought one Lotto ticket in my life and someone had to show me how to play.

* All of my natural born children have names that begin with the letter K.

      11 Questions Morgan Asked Me

1.What hobby/skill do you want to learn?

I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. (But, I have so much going on in life right now that I would be crazy to take on another ANYTHING right now)

2. What is your biggest fear?

I try not to live my life with any type of fear, but if I had to name something that I am fearful of, it would be raising my boys in the environment that is the USofA right now and the possible negative outcomes that could be associated with those social engagements. (I hope I put that nice enough to not offend anyone and direct enough that I have conveyed my meaning clearly.)

3. What made you begin blogging?

 I started blogging (about homeschooling) because I am so in love with this journey that I wanted to share it with the world. I also try to find and use free or nearly free resources, especially due to my current life situation and I wanted an outlet to share with others how homeschooling is possible without spending tons and tons of money. What pushed me over to the blogging side of homeschool, ultimately, was the amount of inquiries I was getting in my Facebook inbox regarding how to get started or how to do it.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My mom is my biggest inspiration. She has been through so much over the last 20+ years and she has soldiered onward. She has taught me how to keep going at life, even when life throws curve balls and you don’t have any bats in hand.

5. What are your three favourite films and why?

I don’t actually have favorite films… I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, including movies. I enjoy a good movie, but I’m not sure any of them rate as a favorite. Newsies, of course is up there with movies that I would watch over and over. Come to think of it, so is The Princess Bride. I don’t know that there are any others…

6. What is your biggest achievement? 

My biggest achievement, would be the right I took on a few years ago, for the children (students) of Richmond, Virginia and their well-being within that school system. During this process, I was able to meet some great people in the advocacy field and I learned how to be a true advocate for myself and others. It was on this journey that I discovered who I am on the world of advocacy. So that’s my greatest achievement, because I feel like that experience enabled me to be in the place I am in currently in this thing called life.

7. Where is on your travel list for 2018 and why?

The beach. I don’t care if I don’t get to go to any other place, as long as I can get to the beach. It is the happiest place on Earth, in my opinion.

8. Are you more of a peoples or animals person?

It depends on what day you ask me. Most of the time, I am hands down a people person. I love talking to people and finding out what makes them tick. I also love pushing and motivating people to their next level in life. Generally speaking, I LOVE PEOPLE. Except when I don’t. (Don’t act like you have never been completely peopled out.) When I have had enough of the people for a bit, I seek out my cat, TigerLilly or our horse, Buttons. They both just intuitively know how to soothe and calm my soul.

9. What do you hope to achieve from your blog? 

World Domination. 

Seriously, I wrote for the joy of writing and hopefully to encourage Kaira to write with a better grasp of the English language and how to utilize it with all of its neat little grammar rules and regulations. I would also love to have a solid group of people who read my blog and are able to take something away from our homeschool journey or add to it in some form or fashion. That would be awesome. In some recessed portion of my brain, I also think it would be spectacular if I gained this awesome following and was able to turn my blog into my income. 

10. What is your hidden talent?

I’m a mom, isn’t that talent enough? Seriously, though, I love to sing and at times am able to carry a melodic tune. *Insert sarcastic curtsy here*

11. What advice would you give to someone considering starting a blog?

DO IT. Don’t stop to overthink it or worry about the gazillion what ifs that could happen. Just jump in and START.

And now, 11 Questions for my nominees… 

1. If you could introduce your child or children to any ONE person (past or present) to learn ONE lesson, who would that person be and what would the lesson be?

2. What does your dream home look like and where is it?

3. Outside of family and your job or extra curricular activities, how do you define yourself?

4. If people only read one of your posts, what post should they read and why?

5. What is the greatest lesson you have ever learned?

6. Who is your super hero and why?

7.  Burgers or Salads?

8. Around the world in 80 days, where are your must stop destinations?

9. Why do you blog?

10. What is your passion?

11. What’s the best book you ever read and why?

NOW, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, HERE ARE THE NOMINEES! (drum roll, please ūü•Ā)

Gemma Hartnick Tilley of Chief Squirrel 

Sarah of  Holistic Homeschooler

(Kaira’s Nomination) My Mom! Divine Ms Kim’s Time Travel

Nadine Best at Making Her Mama

Jenny, creator of Faith and Good Works

Joanna Myers and  Just the Mini Mom

KP Hari with Keralot Inspiresd

Carley, A.K.A Mrs. Pigeon’s Coop

Samantha Hughes of The Mouse Ear Life

Chelle Ramsey of Chelle Ramsey

Jennifer from Adventures in Mommy Life

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The Classroom

A few weeks before we were due to start our official homeschool journey, I committed a gregarious error. That is, I made a huge mistake. I went on the internet and looked to see what other homeschools looked like- because I wanted to make sure I was ‘doing it right’. My first mistake was thinking there was a ‘right’ way to homeschool, but I didn’t comprehend or realize this right away. I became obsessed with all of the beautiful pictures of other’s homeschool classrooms. You can see some of those classroom pictures,¬†here. There is no denying, they are beautiful- if that is your thing.

For awhile, I was pretty bummed. We live in an apartment and we don’t have the room to have a dedicated school classroom and call it selfish or whatever, but I was also not willing to restructure either the dining room or the living room into a school room. I’ve done that before, when I did in-home pre-school… I dedicated what should have been the master bedroom to our pre-school room and it was fabulous and great. Truthfully, if I had the room now, I am not sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing- especially for the boys. What can I say? The Early Childhood Educator in me loves a well set up and functioning classroom.

But we’re talking about our homeschool classroom, aren’t we? Thankfully, God placed someone in my path to get me off of that rack fairly quickly. She reminded me through a facebook post to not get envious of what other people are doing. Duh. One of the many reasons we are homeschooling is to get away from the one size fits all type of education public school was giving Kaira. So, why was I so concerned about what other people were doing? Also, from the beginning I have been pretty adamant about staying away from anything that screamed school. So, why was I obsessed with how a classroom should look?

We do not have a classroom. You may recall me sharing a few pictures of how we homeschool in¬†The First Week of School. Here are a few more to show how we keep track of things…

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As you can see, I back tracked slightly on the turning the dining room into a classroom. It has always acted as central office- with the printer homed there, but now, it also includes the school/art supplies, too. On the secretary desk, we have all of the pencils/pens/crayons, notebooks and small art/craft supplies. The globe is also there (because it won’t stay hung in the air, as we would prefer it to do.) Also sitting on the desk are rulers, hole punch (3 punch and single punch). In the pink basket is the boy’s ‘work’ for the week and coordinating lapbook. (Currently, there is only one lapbook, bear with us, we are just starting out- it should eventually be filled with pre preschool lapbooks.) Hidden in the drawers of the desk are things like stamps, thumb tacks, staples, dry erase markers, paper clips/clamps and labels. Underneath of the desk, is a 3 drawer plastic container, which houses tissue paper/paper bags/ plastic cups and other decorative art supplies in the first drawer; glue ( we have tons of glue, from glue sticks to rubber glue to spray on glue, we’ve got it all) in the second drawer and paint in the bottom drawer. The printer station, is now home to all of the paper- construction, foam, print, sparkle, card stock, laminating, graphing, etc. ( I am amazed at how much paper we have and yet I can ALWAYS use more… for something…) The cabinet under the printer is designated for our important files as well as extra folders and binders we have collected over the years. Beside the printer, you will find our laminator and wood writing tools. Next to the printer cabinet (also under the desk), is the sensory bucket- it is currently empty, but has already housed water for water play and will house rice and other materials in the coming months. Finally, there is a box in front of the white plastic drawers that is where we place all of those newspapers and advertisements that come to us in the mail ( we’ve got to keep my table looking pretty, somehow!)¬†The wall (only one) has also become a part of our homeschool. BUT, it isn’t a takeover. We find it to be a happy medium. Hopefully, as we progress into the year, it will remain as such. Especially since I can tend to be a hoarder when it comes to school work or art displays… The living room definitely doubles as a playroom, lol! (I have always been particular about the toys in my home, so everything presents an opportunity for learning, in some way or another. There are things for gross motor skills and cognitive awareness and so forth… Hidden by the lamp is our sidewalk chalk and on the white bookshelf are our games- and the overflow of books from the hallway. The bookshelf in the hallway houses books and pictures (of course) AND it is home to all of the school things we have collected over the years (when Kaira, Kayla and Kyle were in public school and people would give the/me things to help them over the summer, or what have you). We use those things from time to time, but not as frequently as those things on or near the desk… Finally, there is the kitchen…. Surprised to find that I included a picture of my kitchen in pictures about my homeschool set up? You shouldn’t be. Lots of learning takes place there! Whether it is water play, a cooking activity or simply doing the dishes- someone is learning in there!

But don’t get caught up in what our homeschool looks like!¬†One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can tailor it to the specific needs of your child or children. There isn’t a this is how it should be done rule/handbook.

Here are a few things that I think are handy to remember when homeschooling, but these are for practicality reasons and NOT because you have to do them. (In fact, I am sure others would take from or add to this list!)

  • Know where your school things are (this cuts down on the stress associated with not being able to find something)
  • Have a plan ( it doesn’t have to be written out in a beautiful planner or in a notebook and it can be as simple as knowing what you want to teach or have your kids learn over a given period of time- day/week/month/year; at the bare minimum, I would suggest a check list)
  • Be flexible. (Nothing ever goes according to plan. Being fluid and going with the flow cuts down on stress for both you and your child/children and actually helps lessons to be learned more quickly than if the signs of stress or feelings of being rushed were present)
  • Enjoy every moment of it. (This is a great time between you and your little people, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. And why would you do anything, if you didn’t enjoy what you are doing?)
  • Messes are okay. (This is something you should get used to- especially if you have a tiny apartment and creative brain like me. I have learned to live with the mess during the day, because I know lots of learning is happening and then clean things up at night to start all over again in the morning…)

So, that’s it. I hope these homeschool tips will help you on your own homeschool journey- whether you have been on it for a while or are just starting out! Let us know if you have any this works best tips or this failed miserably for us stories in the comments! We can’t wait to hear them! We would also love to see pictures of your homeschool set up! Why does it work for you? Has it always been this way or do you change it up from time to time?

I recently joined a fabulous group of women, who are sharing some wonderful advice on homeschool organization. I would love for you to join me in checking each of them out!

blog party

It’s not to late for you to¬†join the party!

Check out these great blog stories on homeschool organization!

They Call Me Blessed 

The Musings of Mum

Lit Mama Homeschool

Thrive Homeschooling

Deliberate Homeschooling

Ranching with Kids

Making her Mama

Plum Cheeky Solutions

Unhurried Home

Ana Willis

Bethany Ishee

Kingdom First Homeschool