When they are ready (to read) you will know.

As an eager homeschool mom with two children, age 3 and 1, I bought “Hooked on Phonics” thinking it would be ideal to teach my preschooler to read as soon as possible.

My thought process went like this. The sooner she reads the quicker she can become independent in her schooling, the less work for me.

Sounds logical right?

Wrong.

So very wrong.

She was just not ready to read. She knew all her consonant and vowel sounds. She knew how to sound out a word, but could figure out how to do it on her own and became very frustrated each time I tried to teach her. In fact she wasn’t ready until a full two years later.

By then we were a family of six. My daughter was five, the other children were 3, 1 and 1 ( yes, twins).

By then I did not have time to use Hooked on Phonics. Our family was so busy just surviving, getting through the day, making sure everyone was diapered and fed, clean and happy. I did not have time for daily lesson on reading.

What we DID have time for was reading with the kids, to the kids and for the kids, ALL the kids. We checked out library books and read aloud. We were gifted books and read them over and over at bed time. We found books at thrift stores and read them till the covers fell off.

We. Read. With. Our. Kids. Every.Darn.Day.

And then like magic at age 5 something happened, she was suddenly reading.

Not sounding out words, or stumbling or reading in fits and starts.
She was actually reading, and doing it WELL!

She was fluent and seemed to easily learn new words. She is reading with ease and with emotion. It is a thing of beauty.

Now she is six, and as I reflect back, she knew all along what I did not. When she was ready she would read. Her time table was not my own, and that was frustrating for me.

Ultimately, she let me know when she was ready to read not by a date in a calender saying she was a certain age but by her actions.

She showed me she was ready to read by reading independently on her own timing.

Trust in the process. Trust that your child will let you know when they are ready. Because, they will. And it will be magical when it happens.

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Childhood

Childhood is

Riding bikes too fast downhill.
Painting on your skin.
Getting dirty.

Childhood is not

Pristine clothes and scuff-free shoes
Precise or predictable.
Being perfect all the time.

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Instant best friend.

There are times that being a twin is fantastic. An instant best friend all day everyday.

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5 Free Simple Inside Activities to do with Kids

We all want our kids to be happy, but it is often hard to keep them busy inside during inclement weather.
When it rains for days and days, playing outside is just not an option. Here are five free and simple activities to try next time your family is stuck inside.

1. Cook or bake something together.
Choose something the kids like to eat. Some popular choices are French fries,cookies or brownies.

2. Spend some time doing a quiet activity at the table.
Color a picture. Paint a sunset. Playdoh is a favorite at our house.

3. Do kitchen work that takes time and has a great pay off.
Make orange juice from scratch. Make homemade bread. Let the kids “rinse” the dishes while playing in bubbly sink water.

4. Read a book.
Read in bed, sprawled out on the floor or in a comfy chair. Pick books that have vivid pictures. Read-alouds are a great choice too.

5. Be silly together.
Make funny faces in the mirror. Take hundreds of selfies with the kids. Have a Dance party in the living room to your kids favorite music. Bust a move, and don’t be afraid to make a fool of your self. The sillier the better.

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Twenty little fingers.

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Needs vs Wants

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What I want to do vs what I need to do. Can you guess which is which? Ha!

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Embracing the Now

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The kids are now 5 years 5 months, 3 years 3 months, and 15 month old twins.

It is still overwhelming much of the time. The kids outnumber the adults two to one.

However, it can be helpful to try to do as many everyday tasks as possible with the children .

Taking the all to grocery store is a hassle and time consuming, but that is how they learn about food, money, impulse control and in a round about way it teaches me to be more grateful. Instead of feeling. Like I am entitled to grocery shop by myself in peace, I can feel grateful for the rare times I can take a quick trip to the store by my self.

Might it take all afternoon to wash, dry, fold and put away one load of laundry with help from the kids? Yep. Could it be done faster and more efficiently if I did it by myself? Yep. What is the goal? Is the goal fast and efficient or is the goal teaching the children life skills so that they too can run a household one day?

I can live in constant irritation of all the frustrations that having young children brings or I can live contentedly knowing that my kids are learning skills the will use for the rest Of their lives.

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Posted in "Works for Us" Wednesday, Life with Twins, Raising Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Road Ahead

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When I ponder the road ahead, I get weak in the knees.
I feel I am not worthy.
I don’t have enough patience.
I don’t have enough gumption.
My follow-through skills are subpar.
I give in too much sometimes and other times am too demanding.
How can I raise four kids to be productive, happy, loving faithful adults?

The truth is I can’t.

I need a support system. My spouse. My parents. My siblings. My network of friends. My god.

I need help.

I need encouragement.

If I look at the road ahead it seems an impossible task.

Seeing how far I have come helps give me a better perspective.

Looking behind at the happiness and the love Reminds me that if the road behind is any indication of the road ahead…. Then everything is going to be just fine.

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Friends

You may ask “How does your home-schooled child make friends?”
To that I say, “How does anyone make friends?”
james hugFriends are the relationship that results from spending time with people with whom you can be yourself. You can talk in a relaxed comfortable way with out censorship or judgement. A friend is someone who makes work seem like play, some one who will listen, someone to laugh with, cry with and learn with. Someone who has shared similar experiences and who you may share many things in common. Some one who cares about you, and you about them.

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Children make friends in a similar way to adults.

Some children form friendships with other kids at school. The girl sitting in the desk in front of you. The boy who travels the monkey bars the fastest. The kid who loves to play basketball at recess as much as you do.

Since my kids don’t attend traditional school, they don’t have that school setting to give them instant friends. This is where we as parents have a pivotal role. Since our kids are still quite young, (5 years, 3 years and 1 year old twins) we choose other families who share our parenting philosophy, or educational philosophy or our religious beliefs and we spend time with them. When whole families merge it becomes easy to spot which kids gravitate to each other.
Which kids’ personalities mesh well with each other and which kids clash.

I feel it is important to give your kid adequate time to just PLAY with friends. Not everything had to be scripted and have an educational goal.


Play.

Imaginative Play.  Creative Play. Amazing Play.

Play in each other’s homes. Play at the park. Play everywhere.


You may be surprised at the conversations that happen during play. Kids share information. Complain to each other. Tell each other “secrets” and share experiences that are important and vital to relationship forming. Kids navigate the world of relationships with their friends first.

Some of my daughter’s friends I have known since they were babies. Some of my son’s friends have known him since before he was born. As the years go on, the friendships grow and morph and change.
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What was babies laying side by side, becomes toddlers fighting over toys, preschoolers playing chase, and elementary aged children doing each other’s hair and gossiping about how “annoying” younger siblings can be.
100_1290And then…well….let’s not forget that siblings can be friends too.
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Sometimes the best of friends. Sometimes the worst of friends.
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But always friends.
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Grocery Budget: July Week 2

The goal is to spend less than 100$ per week at the grocery store. That number includes food as well as cleaning supplies, health and beauty items, and household goods. The goal is to spend less than 5,200 dollars a year for our family of six, while still eating a variety of healthy foods. Can it be done? Yes! It can! Here are the numbers so far….

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Our son. October 2011.

Many months have gone by since my last post. That is mostly due to life getting very busy and the two babies taking up most of our time.

I could not find receipts from the first week this month, so I will start with this week.

July: Week 2 Total $123.33

Wal-Mart 41.60

Costco 46.11

Publix 35.62

I know what put us over the $100 goal, bed pillows, watermelon and shower curtain liners. There was a particularly good back-to-college sale on bed pillows at Wal-Mart this week so we snagged two. It was just time for shower curtain liners, hence that purchase. And the watermelon is in season now. Five dollars a piece for a huge ripe one seemed reasonable. We were over by $23.33 cents. Not the end of the world. Just have to do better next week.

 

 

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