A craft stash is for

5 Oct

When you decide at noon that the girls coming to your 10-year-old’s birthday party at 4pm that day need a party favor to take home.

Then you get out the piece of blue fleece left over from making a pillow for cousin Emily last year,

the ribbon from a box of lace that a sweet granny at church gave you when she decided to reduce her stash,

the fiber fill stuffing your friend gave you when it was left over from reupholstering a chair,

googley-eyes left over from a preschool project,

And E6000 glue because glue.

Enlist the help of your minions, and less than 2 hours later, you have blue cuteness.

Just enough time to clean-up the house…or catch a nap before eight 10-year-olds descend upon you en masse.

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Home School & Toddlers: Get Help!

15 Aug

via Home School & Toddlers: Get Help!

Home Schooling and Twin Toddlers

18 Jul

Home Schooling with toddler twins is extra hard. Find out my tips!!

Small and Simple Home School

TWINS (2)If you are a home schooling mother with twins or multiple toddlers, I want to share with you the things I tried that worked for us.

But first, the background story:

I have twin boys who are almost 3.

The year that the twins were 1-year-old, was a pretty good year, school-wise.  It was our first year home schooling, so I gave myself permission to not be perfect.

The twins were happy to sit by me on the couch, drinking their milk, while we did sort of an extended morning time version of home school.  I read aloud and my students narrated.  It was a beautiful time.  By May, as the twins reached 18 months and demanded more attention, school got harder and harder.   With a sigh of relief, we took summer break, and I reassured myself that school would be easier in the fall.  After all, I…

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Is Motherhood a waste of brains?

12 May

via Is Motherhood a Waste of Brains?

I made it: HP 1205

20 Feb

In January, I took a day to sew something for myself.

HotPatterns 1205 the Genius T.

I love it.

Algebra and Life (and the secret to successful home school math)

19 Feb

Beginner Home school Math Mistakes
           I began homeschooling in August 2016 using Saxon math.  Cherry Pie in Algebra 2, Pumpkin Pie in 8/7, and Tamale Pie in 6/5, I had been given the textbooks my children needed (for free!), and I figured I should use what I had rather than spend money on dreamy manipulative heavy curriculum (MathUSee.)  The benefit to using Saxon was (aside from being able to start for free) that it is a respected curriculum.  So when friends and family members raised their eyebrows and worried that I was going to be one of those home school moms whose children just played and wasted time, I could say, “I’m using Saxon math,” and they all relaxed and got off my case.  However, I second guessed myself more than anyone realized.  I worried that I should buy a different program that might be better for my children.   I worried that the daily work was too repetitive and boring and took too much time.  I worried that Saxon was not helping my kids to see the real beauty that is in math.
            By October 2016, I could tell Cherry Pie was definitely struggling.  I thought a different program would be the solution for her.  I also realized she needed to review Algebra 1, which she had supposedly learned in 8th grade.  So I picked up a textbook called EZ Algebra at my favorite used curriculum store.  Each chapter was written in story form.  This would be fun and interesting, I hoped.  A textbook written in story form seemed to fit with what I understood “living books” were (Charlotte Mason method).  Reading how the characters solved their math problems might help her understand the “why” behind the math.  But many of the homework problems in the new book were tricky and made leaps beyond the instruction that were not intuitive for her or me.  If neither Cherry Pie nor I could figure out how to get the answer, we were sunk because the book didn’t have a solutions guide.  Also each chapter covered 4-5 concepts at once, which was too much new information all at once! I intended to work with her on every lesson, but I was new to home school and schooling 4 children in 4 different math levels plus keeping the 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 1-year-old twins happy and out of mischief was a struggle. Most days, Cherry Pie was on her own for math.
I Learn the Secret to Successful Math Learning:
         After about 6 more weeks of still seeing her struggle, I pulled out the Saxon Math book again, Algebra 1 this time.  I went through a lesson with Cherry Pie. I get so excited about math when I’m teaching the lesson! It’s fun! I realized I have to teach her every day, or math is just not going to work for her or me.  I have to teach daily for me because I don’t know what’s going with her if I’m not directly teaching, and I need the review because I haven’t done much Algebra for 20 years.  Cherry Pie needs the direct instruction every day because she got none in 7th or 8th grade in public school.  She was given an assignment on a computer and told to ask her neighbor if she didn’t understand something.  She was left to flounder on her own for far too long.  I didn’t know this until later, but now that I know, I understand why she was so lost, and why math was so painful for her.
           As I was researching home school, I heard from many moms that they use math as the subject their children are expected to work independently on.  Many of the curriculum choices advertise that students can work through their programs independently.  But now that I’ve been home schooling for almost 2 years, I can say that my children struggled progress in math on their own.  When I began, I thought my 12-year-old and 11-year-old were moving through their Saxon math books by themselves okay, but that was because the concepts were almost all review for them. They weren’t learning anything new, and at the end of each month when I would finally remember to check up on their homework, I would discover that they had completed about 4 lessons for the entire month. (They should have been completing 3-4 lessons per week!)
           When I made the decision that I would work with each child each day for math no matter what, something magic happened. No one was bored with math any more, and everyone began to finish their math assignments in a reasonable amount of time.
Here is the big secret to schooling math: More important than which curriculum you choose is YOU, the teacher, working  one-on-one with your students each day.  I would even venture to say, that the curriculum you choose does not matter at all as long as you work with your children each day.  Choose one that is fun and interesting to you, or at least find one that does some of the thinking for you, because you won’t have time to write lesson plans for every day.  But do not think that the shiny curriculum you really want, but can’t afford, is the key and pine for it.  Because it really is not the answer.  You are the answer.  Even if you have your child work through Khan Academy online (which is free except for the cost of good internet speeds), the key to your child moving at a good pace through the math program is you being their with them for 20 minutes of their math time each day.
I discover that Saxon math is pretty cool, after all.     
           I discovered that in the Saxon book, each of the homework problems has a small number beside it that tells which lesson that concept was taught in.  So if neither Cherry Pie nor I can figure it out, I know where to go to review that concept.  Not only that, I can use those numbers to notice patterns in which problems Cherry Pie misses, and we can go back and review skills that she consistently makes mistakes on.
      Best of all, there is a letter from John Saxon to the students in the beginning of the book.  He says algebra isn’t difficult, it’s just different.  We have to learn to think differently in algebra.  He talked about not being discouraged about making mistakes–that everyone makes lots of mistakes. Mistakes don’t mean that we are bad at math and should give up. We practice each day to develop strategies that will help us avoid making mistakes in the future.
           That was a concept I needed, because once I understood that we were developing strategies, my mindset changed.   As we went through the lesson together, I was specifically paying attention to how the book showed to solve the equations–looking for strategies to help Cherry Pie.  I also payed attention to how I solved the equations.  What are my strategies that I developed all those years ago that are now so instinctive I hardly notice what I am doing?  I asked Cherry Pie to pay attention to how we solved the problems so she could find her own strategies.
        I should never have doubted Saxon.  I realized that he totally gets the beauty of algebra.  He just knows that algebra takes lots of practice.
      Maybe that’s a bit of an allegory for life.  We are here on the earth, trying to learn how to think and be like our Heavenly Father.  His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  We make tons of mistakes.  However, we aren’t supposed to be discouraged by our mistakes or quit or just decide that we are no good at life.  With the help of the master teacher, we continue to practice.  We develop strategies to avoid making those mistakes again. It’s going to take a lifetime of practice, and it can indeed be beautiful.
❤️ Glowworm

19 Random Facts about Me

28 Oct

1. Do you make your bed everyday?

Yes, (well no, because my husband usually makes it in the morning. But if he doesn’t, then I make it–right before I climb into it at night.)
2. Favorite number?

27 Except for that number, I prefer even numbers. Odd numbers make me feel unsettled.
3. Dream job?

Teaching and writing

4. If you could, would you parallel park?

I avoid this whenever possible. However, if I drove a compact car, I’m sure I could do it.

6. Name a job you had which people would be shocked you had:

I had my securities license and sold insurance and mutual funds.

7. Do you think aliens are real?

Yes, but I think they look like us.

8. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes

9. Guilty pleasure? Project Runway and Regency Romance Novels

10. Tattoo? No. I found out they hurt when you get one.

11. Favorite color? Emerald Green (so jealous of people with May birthdays)

12. Things people do that drive you insane?

When they say they “thought really hard before coming to this decision” almost every time someone says that, it is in defense of a pretty dumb/mean choice or action. Sorry friends, “thinking really hard” about something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

13. Fear? Lake dwelling brain-eating amoebas

14. Favorite childhood game? Rook and Masterpiece

15. Do you talk to yourself?

Pretty much all the time. Sometimes I narrate my life in 3rd person to myself as it happens. When I ask myself questions and answer sarcastically, I start to get worried that I’m losing it–usually I decide I just need more sleep.

16. Do you like doing puzzles? Yes. Especially with others.

17. Favorite music?

For what? music has reasons.

Sewing & Happy Days: Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Sigur Ross, Showtunes

Fixing bad days: Hymns, Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Road Trips: Beatles, Neil Diamond, show tunes, Group Love, Peter Paul & Mary, John Denver

Angry Days: Melissa Etheridge, Pink, Madonna

Cleaning the house: The Proclaimers, Billy Joel, Elton John, Barry Mannilow

Make myself do something I don’t want to: Rocky Soundtrack
18. Tea or Coffee? Herbal tea if I’m sick or have insomnia

19. First thing you remember you wanted to be when you were growing up?

A teacher