Homeschool Preschool: Getting Organized

Hey Loves!
 

I’ve gotten lots of inquiries about my homeschool adventures we are starting so I thought I would share here in several posts. Today, we are talking about getting organized.

 

A little back history on me- I used to be a preschool teacher and nanny so I’ve studied childhood development and spent lots of time around young children. When the Hubs and I decided I would stay at home with our littles, we decided against preschool. For those who send their kids-this is not an attack. I applaud you. I’m just telling you our decisions and why. (You need a disclaimer for everything these days…) I had the skills and honestly, it wasn’t in the budget. I’m not a luxury SAHM in case you missed that. So preschool at home was always “the plan” for us.

 

Now to getting organized…

 

As I stated in an earlier post, my son has a speech delay and other things we work on in occupational therapy (OT), so I wanted to get on some sort of schedule and start our goals for those things before introducing a “school” schedule. Then I realized, frankly, I’m a raising a black male in white America-a country that doesn’t value him or others like him and removes his history and his God from all curriculum. That doesn’t fly for me. Those reasons solidified that we will be educating at home for as long as we can. So, knowing me, I had to get organized and make a plan.

 

 

I started by figuring out what I want to teach/focus on: My son is almost 18 months and, again, has therapies which come with assignments for the week. So we already have a lot on our plate. I also believe that learning through play, especially at this age, is integral. There was also no need for both of us to dread this every day. So, I narrowed down what I wanted to focus on daily and what we would focus on 1-2 days a week.

 

For us, it looks like this:

 

Everyday: We will review the calendar with songs and dance, a short bible verse and a Black History Fact. Am I expecting him to know the latter? No. This is laying a foundation for him to eventually remember them and inherently know this is what we learn and its importance.

 

1-2 days a week: Subject matters of Language, Math, Science, Art and Sensory. The latter is important for us because that will tie into our OT assignments as language will tie in speech. We will also learn letters, numbers, counting, etc.

 

Then, I figured out what I want my day to look like. For this, you have to be real with yourself and your schedule. I also had to keep in mind my child’s abilities. He isn’t one to sit still for 60 seconds, let alone 3 hours. We also have a life. We do play dates and run errands. We can’t spend every day in our house. So, after compiling all of that and remembering what preschool schedules were for his age, I decided 10-15 minutes for circle time. I know that may seem long but this includes lots of transitions because my little one needs that. Standing, sitting, singing, dancing, reading, reciting…get the picture? Circle would be followed by breakfast. After breakfast, a subject area or whatever we have planned for the day. I decided, for the most part, I would let him decided how long the subject area last. I wanted to know his interest, see his brain learning and developing, not shoving activities down his throat. I will want him to try new things, but I know he isn’t going to love everything. (Wouldn’t it be nice if he did though?)

 

Ok-that’s enough for this post. I have more coming. 

I’m Not Dead

I’m not Dead 

I’m sure many of you asked this-whether you were joking or seriously concerned, rest assured, I am not. Toddler chasing is a full-time job and real life doesn’t leave any room for anything else but sleep. I try to sneak in household chores and errands when I can, but sometimes even those can’t get done. It’s my life. I’m learning to love it.

 

May I also say I honestly and truly forgot how hard pregnancy can be on a body? I’m not complaining or even whining (yet), but it takes a lot to create a human while keeping another, who doesn’t value his life at all, alive. Anywho, my hope is to get several posts out to you regularly before number two comes along and yet another inevitable break.

 

One thing is for sure-I’ve missed you. I haven’t even met most of you, but sharing my life and you taking the time to read about it means the world to me. I’m thankful you haven’t given up on me.

 

Until next time…

 

Re-Blog Kinda Day

Hey Loves!

I saw this article and had to share. It’s makes so much sense and explains a lot of my daily to-do’s and/or stressors. How Do you handle “Kin-Keeping”?

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Moms Drained

“You put her in the wrong outfit,” I said matter-of-factly as my husband came down the stairs holding our baby girl.
He stared at me with a look of confusion and bewilderment, as if to say, But I didn’t know there was a right one.
 “Your mom’s coming over today, remember?” I explain. “So I thought it’d be nice to have her wear something your mom bought her.” 
“And my mom didn’t buy her this outfit?” 
“Nope. My mom bought her that one.” 
“Ok, well I have no idea who bought her which clothes. How do you even remember that sort of thing?” 
The short answer? Because I’m a mom.
Today many families that include a mom and a dad are challenging the traditional gendered division of labor—mine included. My household couldn’t function if my husband didn’t handle the dishes and I didn’t keep tabs on the checking account. We’re in this together. 
Even so, I—along with most moms everywhere—am still almost entirely responsible for the following tasks:
Remembering family birthdays and sending birthday cards.

Planning and organizing family celebrations.

Sending holiday cards.

Selecting holiday presents. 

Sending thank you cards.

Planning family vacations.

Keeping in touch with out-of-town relatives.

Remembering to dress the baby in the “right” outfit when her grandma visits.

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Mom Drained
In the field of women’s studies, these tasks are called “kin keeping,” and they are serious business.

Why? Because even though these obligations seem relatively small and insignificant, they actually play a very important role in keeping families connected and emotionally supported. 
Just think about how different your own childhood would have looked without birthday cakes and family beach trips and homemade gifts for Grandma, and you’ll see how valuable these kinds of tasks really are. 
Here’s the problem, though: These incredibly important kin-keeping responsibilities are leaving moms emotionally exhausted.

Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, they almost always fall completely onto the mom’s shoulders. Even in households where there’s a fairly even division of labor, these tasks are overwhelmingly handled by women.
What’s more, kin-keeping responsibilities are mostly invisible. They’ve become such an expected part of family life that they almost always go unnoticed and unacknowledged. (Unless, of course, you don’t do them, in which case you’re likely to draw some negative attention and head shaking.)
Indeed, moms themselves often don’t realize how much time and effort they put into kin keeping. As feminist scholars Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee (2015) explain, “These tasks are time consuming and involve emotional work that is not easily quantified.” 
Translation: It’s not easy to measure exactly how much time and effort you’re putting into remembering Aunt Cathy’s birthday or calling your husband’s grandma to thank her for the baby gift or making a last minute trip to buy more paper plates for the family BBQ.
But these invisible tasks are sucking the life out of us.

They’re (one of) the reasons our to-do lists never end, why we can’t turn our brains off at night, why it feels like we’re always forgetting something. These obligations seem to take root in the back of our minds and just sit there, forever, invading our ability to truly relax or take a breath. 
Did I remember to buy cousin Emily a wedding present? Who’s bringing the hot dogs for our camping trip? Shoot, it’s been way too long since we called your Aunt Susie!
Geez, I’m feeling exhausted just writing about this stuff!
So what do we do? How do we reclaim our time and our energy in the face of these seemingly endless kin-keeping tasks? 

The first step is simple awareness. Start paying attention to how much kin-keeping work you do. I bet you’ll be surprised!
Then go ahead and ask for help completing these tasks—from your partner and from your kids, depending on their ages. 
If you get any pushback, remind everyone that while these little things sometimes seem silly and not worth the effort, they’re actually really important to maintaining family solidarity and continuity—and that having them fall entirely to one person is just too draining. 
In the end, a more equitable division of labor—kin keeping included—is better for everyone. And the best news? You might finally be able to turn your brain off at night. 

Valentine’s Day Attire

Hey Loves!

So, my mom went ham and bought me a ton of vinyl for Christmas and it was a burning a proverbial hole in my proverbial pocket and I just had to make something. And then this happened… 

 
I have no idea how I got all this done but I made:

1. For James- the shirt for his basketball-themed first birthday party (Deets later because y’all know I’m already in mourning.) with a green shirt he already had (hand-me-down, maybe?) and orange vinyl. It spells out ‘One’ but the ‘O’ is a basketball. He also got a YOOO (in conjunction with, not in opposition to YOLO) shirt on a solid grey shirt from Hobby Lobby and red and black vinyl. Finally, I made him a Valentine’s Day outfit with a solid white shirt and grey pants (Old Navy, $1.87 for both after coupon) with red and black vinyl. This is the cutest Valentine’s Day outfit!
2. For me- A heart-themed shirt, red vinyl on a solid black long-sleeve shirt (less than $2 from Old Navy). This has my monogram in the heart with hearts as elbow-patches. I also made a shirt that reads “Mommin’ ain’t Easy” on a blue and white Baseball tee($7.99 from Sports Authority but free after coupon). Lastly I added monograms to my phone case and my planner. 
I’m in love. And vigilantly searching for more things to make…

DIY Days: Mom Edition

Hey Loves!
So, my son doesn’t handle drastic weather change well. And since he was born, that’s all that happens where I live except the 4 months out of the year where it is too hot to move. I digress. 
Anywho, he gets really congested and snotty and it’s hard for him to sleep and it’s kinda gross. Well, really gross. 
So, when I was pregnant I bought boogie wipes with one of the gift cards I got and was going to buy some more when I googled to see what other people did and that led me to many recipes. I chose this one. I doubled it, I can’t remember why now but unless your wiping 20 noses a day, I would say doubling it is unnecessary. 
So far, I’m really pleased. And they aren’t just for my son-we all use them. I know all the ingredients in it and I can wash the wipes and re-use them. That’s what I call #winning!

New Year, New Planner

Hey loves!

We’ve discussed how weird I am, right? Well, in case you forgot, let me give you a refresher. My favorite part of the end of one year and the beginning of another-researching and getting a new planner. Oh. Sweet. Joy!
I feel inspired and rejuvenated! For the past two years, I’ve had a Paper Plum Planner and loved it. It was great. However, it wasn’t suiting all my needs being a SAHM now. I needing something that allowed for personalized daily sections and places to make list and stay organized with my stuff, baby stuff, house stuff and what my husband has going on. So the search continued. It was pretty bleak until Google images led to the Mom On The Go Planner. My life was forever changed from that moment. 

Not only does it have everything listed above, it has holiday planning guides- SERIOUSLY!!!! No extra sheets or printables needed. It has home goals finance trackers, note pages, pocket folder, plastic pouch and the list goes on. To top it all off, it’s the cutest thing ever. I also got some sweet new pens to plan away. I’m in heaven every week.  

My 3 drawbacks-
You can’t personalize the cover. They have different options for you to choose from but it’s not your name or monogram and the options on design are limited. But, I put my silhouette to work and added a monogram. 
The sheets are thin-about as thin as Paper Plum but I would like a heavy stationary. 
It starts on Jan. 3., not Jan. 1. My OCD couldn’t handle that. 
But that’s it. Those are my only issues! 
You know you want one. 
Here’s to an organized, very happy 2016!

  

What’s in my Baby Bag

Hey Loves!

So, I’ve been called an over-packer. I’ve been called anal. I’ve never been called unprepared. So, here’s what I got in my bag.

1. Dipes and wipes- Do I need to explain this?
2 Bibs- for the geyser that is my teething kid’s mouth.
3. Socks- because I don’t like people I don’t know touching my babies feet because I believe you can get germs that way…yucky, Satan-worshipping germs that will infiltrate my baby, then my home and we will all be consumed with a disease that will surely bring us to the brink of death. (I’ve also been called a hypochondriac.)
4. Burp cloth- when the drool seeps past the bib…
5. Pacifier, back up pacifier- I think this is self explanatory
6. Toy, back-up toy- my baby likes to be entertained y’all.
7. K’Tan Carrier- you never know when you need to wear a baby, and in the event that my ergo is not available, the K’tan saves us.
8. A blanket- also known as makeshift play mat or covering for warmth
9. First aid kit-this is more for his clumsy mama😉
10. Hand sanitizer and Lysol- the GERMS MUST DIE!
11. Wet bags- one for cloth diapers and disposable plastics grocery bags for poop/pee filled clothes
12. Change of clothes-When baby decides to poop everywhere but the diaper.
13. Formula and bottle- Because if something happened to me and I couldn’t feed me baby…#hypochondriacprobs
14. Poop bags-the bags that cover up poopy diaper smells when we change on-the-go.
15. Mommy junk pouch-Necessities like lip balm, lip gloss, concealer, mascara, mints…

Again, I’m over-prepared but I’ve always got everything I need.

Cheers to You and The New Year!

Hey loves!

A new year, already? When did that happen. I wanted to share with you my last New Year Post as these things still ring very true to me, down to the resolutions. I’ve restored furniture but I’m always making stuff for my baby. Hope you enjoy and happy New Year!

Toast to YOU!

Some like to think the ‘New Year, New You’ saying is played out and a waste of time. I beg to differ.
A new year is a chance to improve you. Whether it is working on changing bad habits, improving your health or strengthening relationships, a new year is simply an opportunity to take advantage of.
Do I agree with the skeptics when they say ‘every day should be an opportunity’? Yes, I do, but sometimes we need a major kick-start. For some that kick-start is heart attack. For others, it’s a new year.
So today, and on this New Year’s Eve, raise your glasses and toast to you! Toast to what you’ve become and how you’ve grown. Celebrate the blessings bestowed upon you and your family and the faith that brought them to you.
I encourage you to make resolutions for this new year-but they should be attainable! A resolution (according to me) is nothing more than a working goal to be started and/or completed in the course of the coming year. You want to read more? Read books that interest you and will improve your life. This may not be time to pick up Chaucer. You want to exercise more? Get friends to hold you accountable and make a feasible schedule.
What are my resolutions?

1. Grow more in the word of God

2. Find more ways to improve my marriage and mothering.

3. Be a better friend

4. Run more and increase mileage

5. Continue to eat clean

6. Write more

7. Share more with you!
I’ve always considered 7 my ‘lucky’ number so it is quite fitting that I have 7 resolutions. I’m going to need help with number 7. Please, please, PLEASE tell me what you want to read more of. Marriage building, Christian living, crafting, sewing, money saving-you name it and I will share.
Thanks so much for an AWESOME 2015 and I’m excited to share all the hits and misses of 2016 with you.
What are your resolutions for this upcoming year? What do you think about mines?

Why I don’t share my kid on Social Media

Hey loves!

So, I got a text asking for a picture of my baby since “we are being Jay-Z and Beyoncé” and hiding him from the public. While I know she was just teasing and loves and respects me, I thought I should address why you won’t see our baby online.

The first reason we agreed on this was because we, as adults, made the decision to join social media platforms and choose what we share. We understand and can take whatever backlash we get. Our baby should have that same right and should be prepared for the perils that come with this decision. Not to mention, once that gate is open, there is no going back and, knowing me, I would share about 85 pictures of him a day.

The next reason solidified our choice-The crazy people in the world. Can we talk about Catfishing babies? Actually, let’s not. Just know that it happens and I didn’t want to put myself in a position to be a victim of it. I know I can’t protect my baby boy from everything and I can only prepare him so much but this …just ridiculous! So, we just thought it was best to keep him off.

Now, the third reason, some may call petty. Others, may see it as rude but most of y’all understand where we are coming from. We have so many people who love and support us right where we are; who text us regularly (because who has time to talk on the phone), send care packages, pray for us and just have our backs, ya know? Those people are invested in us and see our baby grow. Others, for whatever reason, chose to step out of our lives, not be there anymore and not do the work. Those people don’t get to have the same benefits as the people who do. It’s just that simple.

Now, I certainly don’t judge you for sharing pics of your babies and, sometimes, I look forward to them. This isn’t a lack-luster attempt to mommy-shame, I’m not about that bass. I walk in my truth and I want you to walk in yours.

Love you, mean it.