Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The school room transformation

It's been a busy few weeks around the ole homestead. We got hit with another winter storm here in the Midwest. Ice, cold frigged temps, and high power bills. The animals all don't seem to mind though. The chickens are still laying, the goats are frolicking, and Ms Bacon is about ready to become an Easter ham. I am so over winter and ready to get my hands dirty planting this years garden! The seed catalogs have all arrived, order is ready, and gardens mapped and planned out for this growing season. I am still hounding the hubby for a green house. ;0)
 We're in the process of transforming Tiny Tornado's bedroom into a school room. My kitchen was becoming over run with the learning books and science tools. It's been a work in progress, but really seems to be working out great for everyone. I wanted to paint the walls and put in new flooring, but I grew impatient as my hallway and kitchen was filling up with school related items. I haven't gotten out much this winter, so I've done quit a bit of my shopping online.
They tore down and built a new library the next town over and had a book giveaway. I scored three huge boxes of history, geography, biographies, and many misc books for the boys. I had to order a few book cases and waiting their arrival. Then we should be pretty much set in our new learning space.
 I purchased this L shaped desk from a local FB sale site for $40
 I purchased the office chairs, rug, and red reading chair from Walmart Online.
 Tiny Tornado is showing his big brothers some funny videos on Youtube
Tiny T has his own little spot.

 Gabe has his own space
and Nate has his own.
In just a few short months everyone has adjusted nicely to the homeschool life.
 There is such a calm and peaceful feeling throughout the house and in our lives now.

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weekly rundown ~ Homeschooling Week 4

Saturday we celebrated a very special Princess's 1st Birthday.

Sunday of course was spent having family time, cooking, snacking, and watching the Super Bowl.

Come Monday we weren't stressing to fit everything in anymore. We've been a bit more relaxed around here this week. The kids got a lot more of play time in. I think we were trying to get too much in on a day. It was exhausting not only for myself, but I think for the kids as well. 
As I observed them this past week playing, (while learning...life its self is a huge learning experience right?) one thing really stuck out... how great they were playing together! I watched as they helped each other solve a problem one was having. I witnessed a few surprise kind moments that made my heart just melt. I witnessed a whole Lego City being erected, Minecraft wild west being built, animals being fed and good manners being used without being reminded.
There is a sense of calmness and peace in all of our lives.
Don't get me wrong, they are far from perfect and they had a few spouts, but nothing like what we had  6 months prior.
I am very proud of the boys for achieving so much in so little time and leading the direction in their education. One thing I am strict on is sticking to daily Math, Reading, and Spelling/Writing. The rest can be done weekly. I've devised a schedule for all of the extras. I try to get in Geography, History, Art, Music, and Science two days a week and we usually spend a couple of hours on each. Once the boys get interested I can keep their attention with different actives as long as it's a more hands on approach. They are enjoying making projects and reading on their own time. A lot of "creating" has been taking place on the ole homestead.

A Creeper Club?

Nate's Blue Whale Reading Project

Jaxon learned out to make videos on his tablet.

What to do with all of the junk seed catalogs! I've called them to PLEASE stop sending me seed catalogs unless they can prove that the seeds are heirloom, GMO free. Most could not give me that guarantee, so I will stick to the few I know and trust, but what to do with all of these? 
Make a garden of our dreams and then RECYCLE!
We even got creative with our spelling list.
We started using Easy Peasy Homeschool as a supplement for all of the littles and so far so good.
Xtra Math daily for Nate.
We're still adjusting and fine tuning each boy's learning style and responses to teaching styles, but over all it was a great week.

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 


Homeschooling with Minecraft

By now I'm sure you have heard about Minecraft.
Around our house it's Minecraft...Minecraft...Minecraft!
Before I ever come across any homeschooling with Minecraft, I would give the boys ideas to build things that correlated with subjects we were working on. Now there are dedicated safe servers, classes, Unit Studies, you name it, you can find it!
Dawn at Guiding Light Homeschool has a pretty great rundown and reviews for Homeschooling with Minecraft. Be sure to check it all out on her blog. MINECRAFT!!!

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"How do I get started Homeschooling?"

Several times a week I get a private message on Facebook asking the question "How do I get started Homeschooling?" I've even had a few people ask  if I could homeschool their kids too LOL
So, I thought I'd share with you some tips I've learned along the way to help you get started homeschooling. I hope you find it be informative and encourage you that you CAN do it too!

Check the homeschooling laws

It's essential you understand the homeschool laws before you get started. While some states are very relaxed in their approach toward homeschooling, others have more rigid guidelines and regulations. The strict states require regular reporting, submission of test scores, evaluations by outside professionals and sometimes home visits by state officials. Be sure to read upon the laws in your state. Also check HSLDA.org, where you can become familiar with the specific laws, filing requirements, record-keeping expectations and other regulations in your area.

Examine your child's learning style

Consider your child's personality, strengths and weaknesses, as well as their dominant learning style. Some children are visual processors, learning best by seeing, while others are auditory processors and learn by listening. Other children do best by doing.  Think about what has worked best for your child at home and school, when it comes to learning and play. Each of my boys have different learning styles. Keeps things interesting.
A variety of other homeschooling methods are Traditional method, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic, Classical education, Montessori, Unschooling, Unit Studies, Notebooking, Waldorf, Hackschooling, and the Principle Approach and so many other ways to learn and teach. Just do some research and find the right homeschooling method for your family. I find that I incorporate a little of each learning style and my teaching method. What works one day might not work the next.

Choose a homeschooling curriculum
When it comes to curriculum, you can purchase a complete homeschool curriculum, buy text books and work book separatly, create hands on activities and projects, make lapbooks, use online classes, computer programs, and so much more. The amount of homeschooling curriculum can be overwhelming. Some curriculum can be Bible based. Common Core, which we try to avoid at all cost. We are building our own curriculum. 

Find Support

It takes a village -- even when you are homeschooling. You can find a number of homeschool support and networking resources both online and in your community. You can join a local homeschool co-op, support groups of like-minded homeschooling moms in your city, online homeschooling groups through Facebook and other websites. No two homeschooling experiences are exactly alike, you can learn a lot from homeschooling parents who have been there and done that. Be sure to network, ask questions, join support groups. Not everyday is going to run smooth and perfect. Don't over do it. The whole reasoning behind homeschooling is to do it your way. What works for one family, might not work for another. Be flexible.

Here are a few of the freebie resources and sites we are currently using or checking out:

We are trying out Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschoo right now and both my 6 and 8 year old really seem to like it.

There are many Math sites and games to keep the kiddos busy and challenged. http://xtramath.org/

Lots of cool spelling and phonic sites are out there. Spellingcity.com

Youtube videos on subjects and interest, there are videos for EVERYTHING!

Google! Google is a homeschoolers best friend. You can find tons of resources via the internet.

Utilize your local public library. Get a card and visit often.

A good  printer is a MUST! And LOTS of ink!

Enchanted Learning: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html

For reading and Phonices: Starfall.com

Pinterst! There are so many great homeschool boards you could spends months on there.

Join Facebook groups for local co ops, support groups, and curriculum. There is a Facebook group for just about everything these days.

Here is a list free resources to sift through I have post d on the blog: http://freerangeschoolin.blogspot.com/2013/11/homeschooling-for-free.html

I post alot of freebie links to my blogs FB page : https://www.facebook.com/LivingaFreeRangeLife

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homeschool: Week Three

It's been a great week. Everyone's stress levels are way down! Taking the leap to homeschool again was the best decision we could of made as a family.. We are learning a lot about our children that we were missing out on. Their learning styles and interest vary drastically. We are learning a whole new routine which is working out pretty good so far. Getting the Tiny Tornado to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time has posed a challenge, but I'm working on new strategies to keep his attention focused. I  found some really wonderful FREE websites via Blogs, Google, and Pinterest we have been testing out with the boys. We are making up our own curriculum, Hackschooling I believe is the new term. We are checking out a great local co op and hope to begin the next class session. We've got some field trips planned out. Projects to build. Science Projects. Plants to grow. Things to discover. Books to read. Piano Lessons and Art.
I love it that they are so eager to learn.
It's a much more relaxed atmosphere now. The hostility is gone.
Chores and even most of my housework is getting completed. That was a huge concern taking on schooling the boys full time. I actually find the kids helping more. Seems they are finally taking a little responsibility and understand that it takes everyone pitching in to get the job done.
I'm not as stressed. There's not as much yelling and fighting between the boys. I find them sitting quiet together in one anothers room playing and working together.  

I have to say these last few weeks have really been great!  
These years are flying by...savor every minute.

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Secret of a Good Day

The Secret of a Good Day

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years...
Is that the secret of a good day is … me.

I try to keep in mind this quote by German writer Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.
If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ Wendy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back to "School"

We decided after Christmas break from school that we would go back to homeschooling the boys. It was the very best decision our family could of made. I'll spare ya all of the gory details, but at some point I thought things were going to get ugly. I was NOT sending them back to public school and that's all there was to it!
We actually started "school" last week, but yesterday was the first day back at PS. So we really hit the books hard yesterday and tried to cover our "core" subjects. They greatest feeling yesterday was NOT having to wake 3 grumpy boys up at 6 am and deal with the screaming and fighting for an hour and a half...waddling through the muddy drive to get to the bus only to be bullied, kicked, hit, and spit on. Then the massive after school meltdowns and fighting. I do believe they were acting out what was being done to them.
The kids all behaved themselves. We got EVERY subject done with down time. I even got 2 visitors yesterday!
We figured out one needs harder Math and one needs harder reading. That is GREAT!!! 

Tiny tornado wrote his name FINALLY!!! It was such a productive and exciting day!
 I know not everyday will go this smooth, but life def isn't as stressful anymore and that makes this Momma HAPPY and in return EVERYONE will be happy ;0)
! I am in LOVE with this slower paced life we have just recreated for ourselves. The kids are getting along!!! (((KNOCK ON WOOD)))) Chores are getting done! and they are all picking things THEY want to learn more about. We are "hackschooling". They are so eager to learn! I'm doing my Happy Mommy dance!

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ Wendy

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 A Year to Remember

The start of November folks everywhere online were posting the daily "What I am Thankful for". I was trying to avoid Facebook and going out of the house. The leaves have mostly all died off and fallen, hibernation mode was kicking in.  I started to reflect on the past year. The good, bad, and the ugly. It was a major struggle at times to find peace within myself and see the light at the end of tunnel. I had to remind myself over and over that this too will soon pass. And it always did. The dark clouds didn't stay for long, but at the moment in time seemed forever.
 Looking back through my Facebook photo albums from the past year, I'd have to say with all the things that went wrong, deaths, and even a family misunderstanding with no communication for months, this year has been a  pretty good year. I'm trying to count my Blessings, even the ones in disguise. To learn, and grow from each life  experiences.
We always seem to have a great time together as a family. It's a little crazy and loud, and anything can and will happen. That is what makes our life special. The quality time spent together as a family. Family means everything to me.  Both my parents come from a large family, each being one of eight. I always knew I wanted a big family myself. The memories of the holidays, celebrations, and large family gatherings, were the best ones of my childhood. The laughter, the cheers, the closeness. I loved everything about it.
After a wonderful New Years eve with friend and family on the farm we had a relaxing casual New Year's Day. 
We started a memory jar to read on News Year's eve 2013. 

January started off cold, blustery, and busy. I took my mother to see Wicked at the beautifully historical  Fox Theater in St. Louis, Mo.

 My first grandchild was born (my son was able to be there via Skype while deployed as we were stuck waiting on our flight due to storms), we flew out for her birth (my 1st time ever flying)

We missed Monster Jam this year for the first time in a decade. We missed our flight back  to St. Louis.  Lots of wood chopping, exploring, lounging ,learning,  baking, and staying warm.

 In February GI Joe came back from a 9 month deployment from Afghanistan.

I had a very special Valentine's date with all my guys.

 March we started getting our Nursery order and organic seeds in mail.

The garden planning and planting started.

April the got the gardens tilled, planted and ready to grow. We got spring chicks to raise, even got some bad storms,  house damage, and flooding.  Easter dinner on the farm spent with family.

 We did some much needed minor home  improvements and put up fencing around the farm. We got a new goat to keep Skittles company, five pigs to raise for food. Built an outdoor range for the chickens. BUSY BUSY BUSY.

We homeschooled through the Summer learned alot about Ancient Egypt, did some awesome science experiments, and  took a few fun and exciting short trips.

Big Daddy and I even got a WHOLE day to ourselves! DATE!!! We went to the Illinois State Fair for the day did some wine tasting, shopping, sight seeing, and pigging out!  Seen John Mayer and Philip Phillips. GREAT show!

Coops and pig pens

Father's Day

Family pics

Annual Luau Party

We even managed to take a few camping/float trips through out the summer on Dad's long weekends.

4th of July we went camping

July visit with the kids

Football... Football... Football... Poor Daddy ran and ran with virtually no sleep it seemed for months.

The boys decided they wanted to go to public school...so off they went. They have since decided that after the holidays they are going back to homeschooling after some issues at school.

Nate's Pirate Party ~ This was such a fun party to plan and host

It seems the craziness really got crazier in September. Most days I felt like I was loosing my mind. I went back to work and we had two September Birthdays. I got to do a really COOL Pirate party and an Airsoft battle/camp out with an outdoor movie and bonfire.

Football and Soccer games and practice. We were passing ourselves coming and going.

Oh October baby...I thought the deaths were never going to end. One right after another, each so young. I didn't even get out of bed most days. That was a really ruff month for me personally. I had a terrible bought of depression hit and hit hard.

Pat and Gabe had their Birthdays. Gabey turned 6.He got a pot belly pig, Wilbur and we had a "Minecraft" party with a few of his friends. (I didn't get to make most things I had planned because of my work schedule.)  I lost my job.

Jaxon's Apple picking field trip

Apple picking with the Family

Jaxon's Pumpkin Farm field trip

Canning Apple sauce

 The hubby and I got a nice night out for anniversary with a great group of friend to see a Burlesque show.
Christmas was pretty good. All of the kids were home =0)

Happy new Year!

A lot took place. A lot of things changed. We grew. We learned. We laughed. We cried, but
♥ Although we may not have it all together...together we have it all. ♥

♥♪♫•.•°*°•.¸¸♥. PEACE and LOVE .•°*° ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥