About Me

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Indiana, United States
Updates on our homeschooling family with ten children, a handful of chickens, a couple horses, three bunnies, and six cats. Visit our website at PeacefulHome.net


Grocery Spending

Food Only

Oct 2010 - $231.39

Nov 2010 - $998.22

Dec 2010 - $340.29

Jan 2011 - $855.15

Feb 2011 - $203.17

Mar 2011 - $916.52

Monthly Average $590.79

Weekly Average $137.85
Our family's website, PeacefulHome.net, is in the process of changing hosting companies and is currently inactive. Our plan is to move this blog over once construction is complete. Please stay tuned for updates!

Our Day

Our Schedule
At least once or twice a year, more often with a nursing babe, we tweak our Master Schedule. It is the key to keeping our days running smoothly. Or, dare I say it, a Peaceful Home! I created it using the Managers of Their Homes book.

I hear so many homeschoolers lament that they can't get their schoolwork done in a day, or the baby's schedule is wrecking havoc with the day's plans, or their housework never gets done. The solution to all these problems is a written schedule!

Not that this is the domain for homeschoolers only. Any home with children will benefit with structure and a schedule, especially during school breaks. Children love to know what "comes next," and moving from activity to activity keeps them from getting bored.

Managers of Their Homes walks you through the scheduling process in a way that is not intimidating and easy to follow.

Circle Time
Shortly after reading about "Circle Time" over at Preschoolers and Peace, we incorporated it into our school day. It is the first "school" we do after breakfast, and everyone loves coming together for some learning on the fun side. Anyone that is not napping (usually age 2 and up) participates. And I continue to be amazed at how much the young ones learn!

Currently we are learning the States and Capitals and reading the poetry assignment from Sonlight Core 2.

In the past we've used Circle Time to do our Character Study, learn praise music sign language, watch Proverbs DVD, and in the summer: School House Rock!

Crib Time
Once our children outgrow their morning naps (usually around 20-24 months), they start learning how to have Crib Time.

Every school morning for 30-45 minutes, the three youngest children have alone time in their rooms while the rest of us read history and fold laundry. The preschool girls select a special toy. I usually give Hunter a stack of board books and sometimes one of those annoying vTech toys.

We started him at about 15 minutes and quickly moved to 30. Now he'll play for up to 45 minutes without complaint.

The benefit beyond getting some uninterrupted school work done, is that I can put him in his crib at other times when I need the toddler contained (think getting ready for church, making dinner, etc.).

I don't have unscheduled Crib Time more than a couple times per week because I don't want him to realize that I'm trying to get him out of the way for a couple minutes. Plus, I don't ever want him to see his bed as a punishment. I tell him excitedly that "It's time for Crib Time!" Making sure he has plenty of safe things to look at, I can leave him for a few minutes to get some things done.

Room Time
While I'm reading History to the school-age children and the baby is down for a nap, the preschoolers select a toy to play with by themselves in a designated location for around 30 minutes. The location used to be their bedrooms, but since this year's preschoolers share a room, one girl will have have a different room assignment.
This usually takes more training to keep them in their room than I think it should. Since they are used to having their choice of siblings to play with, "alone time" sometimes takes an adjustment. The key here is to start with 5 or 10 minutes and use the kitchen timer. Let them know that they are not to come out until they hear the timer. Gradually increase their time in the room. Train them to clean up completely before they come out.
It is just as important for mom to be disciplined when room time is over. Even if they are playing nicely, when room time is over, they need to clean up and move to the next activity. In our house Table Time comes next, so they are usually anxious to clean up and get to the next fun thing.

We keep our Room Time toys up high and they are only available for Room Time to keep things fresh. Here are some of the playthings to choose from:

Buddy School Table Time
We schedule 30-45 minutes every morning for our preschoolers to work on an engaging activity at the kitchen table (although we're expanding locations this year). Since I have the luxury of older siblings, the oldest three children rotate as supervisors (they won't admit it, but they have just as much fun as the littles). This frees me up to have one-on-one school time with another child.

What if your preschooler can't sit at one activity for that long? Then it becomes a point of training. Starting with 10 minutes, set the timer and explain that they need to sit there until it beeps. Getting up from the table results in correction. Gradually increase the length of time until it meets with your goal.

This is also great practice for cleaning up when the time's up. Don't be tempted to let it go over time just because they are still enjoying the activity. They must learn to have the self-control to move on to the next part of the schedule.
Fun with Playfoam at Table Time!
Below is our list for the year. We have a set activity for each day of the month, so as we rotate through, one buddy supervisor is not always watching the same thing. These don't come out at any other time to keep the activities fresh and exciting.
  1. Bath Time - Put about 3 inches of water in the tub, dress them in swimsuits and give them kitchen play toys and measuring cups. They'll be pruney before they want to get out! (Of course, this must be CLOSELY supervised!)
  2. Bead and Baubles by Lauri - Fun for them to "sew"
  3. Play Foam - Cleaner than Play-Doh!
  4. Cornmeal Sandbox - If it's nice outside I put cornmeal in a shoebox-sized Rubbermaid with toys to scoop and pour.
  5. Chalk on Construction Paper - the alternative if it's cold or wet.
  6. Coupon Cutting - Save all those flyers that come in the mail.
  7. Duplo Legos - Since this can be noisy, they play in the guest room.
  8. Little People Day - Ditto for the guest room.
  9. Water Paint Books - I always loved these as a child!
  10. Enviro Blox (also known as Magic Nuudles) - Make sculptures with just water
  11. Play-Doh - Homemade or store-bought, always a favorite!
  12. Puzzle Cupboard - We usually keep it locked to keep down the mess, so it's a treat to get in there
  13. Water Color Painting - We buy the cheap paints ($1) from Big Lots and Wal-Mart and replace them often as they get gross
  14. Workbook Day - My children love Kumon Books for "doing school"