Monday, July 26, 2010

I made a few changes to the school room.

I was inspired by looking at blogs of Waldorf homeschooling Moms. I really loved the natural feel to many of their school rooms and wanted to incorporate a few changes to our school room as well.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Weight Loss

I had been doing the No S diet for quite a few months. Not really a diet just an eating plan. While I was not gaining weight I was not losing either so I began to look for something else.

I've been reading a book by Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D called Outsmarting the Female Fat cell. What a fantastic book! Not a diet book but a really great walk through of why we ladies tend to hold on to weight gain and guidance on helping to turn off our fat cell as she calls it. I began on 7/15 opting to add in her smaller meals to the first two weeks. I have already noticed a difference in how I feel overall.

Key points:
-Do not diet. Every time a woman diets she gains more weight.
-Eat only when hungry. Do not eat beyond the feeling of being comfortable. Overeating goes right to our fat cells.
-Eat smaller meals spaced out through out the day verses 3 large meals. She says to "eat like a child" they burn energy, get hungry and snack.
-Eat during the first 12 hours of your day. At night we need less calories, this is specifically geared at any of those of us who sofa snack at night watching TV. So anything we eat at night when not truly hungry, feeds our lovely fat cells : (.
-She eases you into changes in week stages. Such as eating, for those who have been dieting, she says eat in weeks 1 and 2. And in the first two weeks she asks that you add in about 10 - 15 minutes of aerobic exercise.
-Weeks 3 - 4 you'll increase your exercise time to 20 minutes each session.
-Weeks 5 - 6 begin eating smaller meals, what was once 3 meals now becomes 5.
-She has more weeks broken down, at some point (I think it's toward the end of the book) she talks about trying to foods lower in fat for some of your meals but you can eat that cookie or cheesecake for dessert. And she just gives a general guideline to watch for not a strict you must not eat such and such. We don't use Margarine here due to the GMO's in them and prefer butter. I can still eat butter as long as I'm not loading it on. She does not tell you any foods are off limits.

I'm keeping a food diary in a spiral bound notebook (I picked up a bunch at the Walmart back to school sale for 10 cents each).
I was especially impressed with her detailed information of how we women tend to gain fat and how we are made up that way hormonally verses how men are made up. She has a great chapter on this that I think any women would read and say "wow" that makes so much sense. She has a nice whit to her and keeps the book enjoyable, makes it feel like an old friend with a nice sense of humor is talking to you from her own experiences.

If anyone picks up this book I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment or drop me an email.

Happy Eating!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I added a bit of Waldorf spin to our school room this weekend

I have always had a love for Waldorf inspired toys but have not really extended that much into the school room. I was reading some homeschool blogs by some Waldorf Moms and really loved the nature tables they had set up. I opted to add a little spin to the nature table to suit our needs and adapt to what types of things are available in our area. I set up a summer themed spot of books for my older two girls (didn't snap a photo of that). But it contains books relating to beach, magazines relating to pretty birds we see here in the summer, etc.
And this is what I set up for my son:

This one was more for him to have some hands on. I was not sure on this one so changed it a bit to the second picture.
But looking at the two I think I like the first picture better and will add some of that stuff back on.
The tulip flower is a puzzle I made him out of craft sticks. I made him one with a sun on it also and wrote the word "sun" in the middle of the sun for him to make the connection between word and object. The set of puzzles is in the small flower pot on the left side. I put sea glass, shells and some wood animal figures we have. The Rainbow stacker is my younger daughter's but they like to play it together. And the African Violets, one of my favorite plants (they act as a nice filter and take junk out of the air. No, I'm not crazy, we have plenty of plants in our home which we picked up just for their filtering purposes LOL.)
I'm glad I have the picture with the lovely flower on it, as our cat decided to rip it off.

Here are some little guys we have been watching as part of nature study, family science (for those who like educationese)  and well just pure fun to be totally honest.
These two guys had a battle royal over food we had left out for them. The little one kept going back for more and more food and the bigger one would just knock him out of the way and take it. My kids were cheering for the little guy. It was a lesson in survival of the fittest and what happens out in nature. No one was hurt and they each got to eat so it ended happily.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eating Green

I find produce to be one of the hardest things to get organic in my area. With a family my size, cost is a factor, though I do my best. I did find this neat guide today which tells what non organic foods are not toxic to your health. I thought it might be helpful to others: at this site you can also see the worst foods as well. But here is a little handy shoppers take along:
Also please check the safe foods list as there are some who made that list that are not on the EWG safe shopping side. And the Daily green gives how to's on picking, which I found helpful.
Hope this is of help to others!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I came across this list today from BJU Press

It's a list of readers for younger children. I found this to be especially nice for those of us using Robinson Curriculum who wonder "what do I use with my child who is not ready for the RC list?"

Here are a few other links from BJU that have some nice reading suggestions: 
(These seem great if you want to add on to the RC list for required reading, looking for additional pleasure books to add to your library, or are looking for a substitution for one of the RC books.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Surely this must be something common in the homeschool of others?

Our little Ember. Ah just another day in our school.
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A few pictures of our Father's day and July 4th.

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I love my Iphone

Obviously you can tell by the title this is not homeschool related..... however there are some neat Iphone apps which can be used in the homeschool, such as ABC Pocket Phonics (99 cents), Flash to Pass math flash cards (free), Kindle and Stanza (to read books on the Iphone) and a million other education related apps that you could use in your homeschool, if you can imagine it, it's there.

What makes me think on how much I love my Iphone (you might or might not be wondering, but I'll share anyway : ). We purchased the Iphone 4 for my hardworking husband for father's day. This little gem arrived yesterday. To say the new phone is awesome just does not quite cut it. And I am just a bit bummed that I am not free to upgrade without paying twice the cost of the phone until February.
So since my husband has his new toy (his other Iphone now has become a tool for the family in place of a phone). I have an Iphone already and didn't want to change to his. So now I've made his prior phone basically a mini computer for use in the school room and to help me with bills, and other household tasks (these would be things I don't want on my Iphone for day to day use).

There is Home routine which is great for anyone who is keeping house and likes a little check list.
Billminder which is a great calendar type way to keep track of bills.
Pageonce free Finance (which I love so much as I can see all my accounts in one place).
And Icheckbalance which is like a virtual checkbook with back up feature. (essentially a check register to replace your paper version).

I'm sure there are some great apps I have not seen yet, and I look forward to adding more for the kids to use as I think it's a great way to add some easy fun to the school day.

Our Typical Day

I really enjoy reading what other homeschool families do and for any others who feel the same, I thought I'd share our current typical day. Right now we have ages 8.5, 6.5, 3.5 and 14 months in play.

  • I get up about 6 or 7 A.M. I have no idea why or how since I don't usually go to sleep until after midnight.  Ember is such a night owl and gets in "I want to play" mode when the sun goes down. Kids are all asleep when I get up. I make some decaf coffee, catch up on emails and chat with some of my fellow homeschoolers online. Sometimes I exercise during this time.  My little guy is usually the first one up, maybe by 9:30 or so. We talk a bit when he gets up. I might read to him if he's interested or he goes off to play a bit in his room. If we are making a big breakfast that involves baking, he and I will do that together usually as well. 
  • About 10:30 or 11AM everyone else is up and ready to eat (except the baby). We have a nice large family breakfast (which I tend to view as much brunch due to the late hour). 
  • After the kids help clear down from breakfast I give them a choice of chores, play or starting school. I'm pretty relaxed about order of things. As long as they get done at some point I'm happy. 
  • Today they did chores first, and I fed the baby while they did so. 
  • After they all just zipped out of the room and went to play together (baby included). I'm blogging and then I'm going to check over their school work from yesterday. 
  • So after some play time I imagine we'll do school later in the afternoon or we'll have an early dinner and they'll do school after. 
  • About 4 pm we'll have an early dinner. And if school was not done earlier, they will do that. If it was then they go off and play a bit. 
  • If they are going outside to play, after 7 p.m. works best here as it's much cooler. So they'll do that, come in for baths after and then get to bed maybe by 10:30 or so. 
We tend to like this later schedule for summer months. I'm not sure if it will stick for winter, probably in winter it will be outside to play in the afternoon when the weather is warmest. 

Happy homeschooling! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Saxon math verses Math-u-see

For those using or reading about Robinson curriculum, you know that Dr. Robinson recommends Saxon math (54) once the child has mastered the math facts of all four operations up through the 12 facts.
I'm the kind of girl who does better making a judgement call of our materials when I have them in hand. So I went ahead and purchased Saxon 54 so that I could read over the lessons and get a feel for it. We have family visiting in town so I've put that on pause, but to the point I've read so far, I've just felt luke warm about Saxon. I do see the pros of using it, open and go, teaches directly to the student. But in many of the lessons I've read, I've found myself thinking, oh yes I remember that lesson in MUS, and pulling from that knowledge base verses getting the concept from the Saxon explanation. It could be the way MUS explains things in many forms that I find appealing. First you have the visual and hands on of the (blocks), the auditory (Mr. Demme teaching on the DVD) and for those who do better reading (there is the teacher's manual which does not have the answers where the lesson is being taught and explained), and the program is mastery but prior concepts are reviewed in the review sheets and extra review pages can be printed from their website.
The price is quite a difference but I'm thinking that using MUS without the kids writing in the workbooks would stretch them and make it more affordable.
The new Teacher's guides are a nice hardback version.

I'm reserving my final judgement until I need to make a choice. I'm thinking to add MUS (Alpha) back in rotation in a bit to help cement the facts the kids are learning. So I might be doing that next week or waiting until they have more facts down pat.