Sunday, March 27, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal Week One

The Homeschool Chick  

In My Life This Week:  This week we put the finishing touches on our chicken tractor. This is a design found by my husband that allows us to move our chickens around the yard as needed to eat bugs and things. It is a chicken house on wheels so to speak.The best part is that they only poop where you want them to poop and they still eat the bugs in your yard. We have never had chickens before and so this will be a new endeavor in the being more self sufficient catagory. These are our eggs laying chickens, although right now they really are just chicks.

In Our Homeschool This Week: Right now everything really is still new, even though the year will be over soon. It feels like every week I am searching and googling to get tips on how other people do things. Every week I am hoping to make things more organized. We added the chart system to our program. I found the free printables and ideas for it on It allows you to use charts with pictures(my kids are young, 5, 2 1/2, and 3 months) to let the kids see what they are doing for the day. There is also a chore system set up the same way. We used it this week for both chorse and school and I found it really helped. Even my 2 1/2 year old daughter likes to look at her chart to see what comes next. It even helps me because I am one of those people that have a million things going on in my head and life. I found that it helps me preplan, which keeps me organized and it helps me stay on task which in turn keeps the day flowing smoother.

Places We Are Going and People We See: This was actually last Friday, but we went to the Cameron Zoo. I and two friends of mine took our kids to the zoo for the day. Despite the fact that we had nine kids between us, three seven year olds, three five year olds, two two year olds, and one three month old baby, we made it through without losing anyone and no real mishaps.( though I admit breast feeding and diaper changing at that zoo were rather interesting not to mention ones that are just potty training) I thought this zoo was pretty kid friendly and there is plenty to see for kids this age.

What's Working, What's Not Working: Somehow I have forgotten that one of the reasons that we decided to homeschool was the freedom we would have in that. I went with a set curriculum because I did not feel I was talented enough to fly by the seat of my pants just yet.......if ever. While I do like the math we chose, it is a bit repetitive and I found myself batttling with my son. I finally realized I do not have to do worksheets every day. There are lots of ways to incorporate what they are wanting him to learn. He knows the work, but was getting bored because of having to do the same stuff every day. I have started looking through his work for the week mixing things up a bit. Somedays we write on his math sheets, sometimes we do it verbally, sometimes I will pick a game that teaches the concept they are trying to get across. I also do a lot of googling to get fresh ideas because I am not all that creative. This has made our battles almost completely stop. Amazing how I got myself into a box when I did not like that way of teaching in other schools.

Homeschool Questions: I am teaching my son while keeping a two and a half year old and three month old happy. Any advice or tips anyone has would be awesome. I did find a site
that gave some good ideas but any more would always be welcome.

                                                            Our Chicken Tractor

mommys struggles and snuggles: A Chicken Tractor

mommys struggles and snuggles: A Chicken Tractor: "Our remaining five chicks have some how survived up to date. They not only have survived, but have started growing rapidly. Thus, the need f..."

A Chicken Tractor

Our remaining five chicks have some how survived up to date. They not only have survived, but have started growing rapidly. Thus, the need for some kind of chicken house. Glenn has been doing his research, reading books and googling chicken houses. In one of the books he looked at they had designed a chicken tractor. What is a chicken tractor you may ask? Well, it is basically a chicken house on wheels......a mobile home for chickens. One end is covered with a roof to keep the rain out and one end is open but covered with chicken wire. At the back there are two wheels so that you can move the chicken house around. The point of this is that you can have the benefit of chickens eating bugs in your yard without having chicken poop on your porch. I, for one, love this idea. There is nothing pretty about chicken poop on your porch, in your shoes, or on your shoes. I want the kids to be able to walk around barefoot and not worry about landmines. Ok we'll we still have landmines, but they are dog landmines. Dog poop is at least a little easier to detect and avoid.

After a lot of looking at the various chicken tractors, Glenn built us one.

After working so hard there is nothing else better than a good thumb and a soft pillow.

The finished product.........The Chicken Casa

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

mommys struggles and snuggles: Chicks, Chicks, Chicks

mommys struggles and snuggles: Chicks, Chicks, Chicks: "Glenn and I had been talking about getting some chicks both for laying hens and meat chickens, but had not actually talked about when we wer..."

Chicks, Chicks, Chicks

Glenn and I had been talking about getting some chicks both for laying hens and meat chickens, but had not actually talked about when we were going to do it. So, when he came home the other day looking for Brylee with a pleased look on his face I knew something was up. Sure enough in a small box there were six fluffy yellow chicks for her to "hod"

For Bodie it is hotwheels that make his day, for Brylee it is any animal.

Well, it is a scary place to be living here.....survival of the fittest I mean. Yesterday Glenn decides he is going to put the chicks in our giant dog crate so they can enjoy some sunshine without getting eaten by dogs or cats.

Did I mention that I warned him the openings on the crate were big enough that the chicks, if they were smart enough, might be able to squeeze out?

His response? They're chicks. I guess meaning they aren't too smart don't worry. Now mind you he puts them on the porch and then needs to run to town to do some stuff. Can you watch them? he asks. Why, yes, honey I will do that along with my three kids, laundry, and the meal I am trying to get ready for supper. You can bet the chicks were high on my list. But, I did try to peek out at them now and again.

Apparently we had one little chick that was smarter than the average chick. That will not do around here. You lay your eggs and jump in the frying pan  or you end up a barn cat. Eaten by human or barn cat? Why wait around for the inevitable. 

Well so.......six little chicks cute and alive, along comes barn cat... now there are five! 

mommys struggles and snuggles: Chore and School Charts

mommys struggles and snuggles: Chore and School Charts: "Anyone who has read many of my blogs knows I am not a normally organized person. When we decided to homeschool I knew I was going to have to..."

Chore and School Charts

Anyone who has read many of my blogs knows I am not a normally organized person. When we decided to homeschool I knew I was going to have to step it up a notch and to be honest was not really sure how this would work.

When ordering Bodie's curriculum I ordered the teacher's guides specifically because they break everything down for you. This way I could look at every day and know exactly what we were doing for the day and week.

This accomplished one aspect of being organized so I could not figure out why we were still struggling. Why, for instance, am I having so much trouble getting household things accomplished. I mean aside from the fact that I have a two month old baby, a two and a half year old, and a school age child.

I knew that the homeschooling thing would take some tweaking, and yet it is so hard for me sometimes to think outside the box.

I am always googling, trying to find ideas to incorporate. The other day I found a website that I really like called This is not a website just for homeschoolers. These ideas are helpful for those of us with toddlers or preschoolers or even during the summer when you need some things to keep the kids busy.

I found that the ideas I was trying to incorporate, like chores, for example were simplified here by a chart system.

First of all, there is a chore chart. These are printables you can get right off the website. The chore chart has a section for morning, afternoon, and to earn chores. For the charts she uses pictures so that her kids who are too young to read are able to look at the pictures and easily tell their chores for the day. She has a whole bunch of printable pictures for chores. I pick out the three I want them to do each day morning and afternoon. For the jobs they get paid for they are allowed to pick the ones they want. So they have three chores to do in the morning, three to do in the afternoon, and three to pick out if they want to earn money. They cannot do the earning jobs until they have finished required chores. Then they have the option of choosing to earn money. If the day goes by and they never do their earning jobs, they lose the chance to make money for that day. This is great for teaching them responsibility and for mom not having to harp on them. As they do their chores I mark off the ones they do and payday is once a week.

I have had them doing chores, but because it was not scheduled, sometimes we forgot and there were not as many getting completed. This way saves me some work and rushing even though for Brylee to complete hers I have to be quite involved.

Ok on to the school chart. Again she has the pictures you can print off and also calenders for every day of the week with spaces for you to put the pictures so they can see what they are doing every day.

I don't know why, but this is something Bodie likes. He likes being able to see what comes next. Also, seeing it on a chart is different than having mom say it. If it is on the chart it is gospel. Oh I can't wait till we have the day where we do not stick with the chart as written.

What I like about the chart is that the night before I can sit down and put his schedule for the next day up. I realized in doing this how rigid I have been in sticking to the basics of our curriculum. One of the main reasons we homeschooled is so we have the flexibility to do things differently than the school setting. Here I am, Miss no imagination, making it what I did not want it to be. Not every subject has to be covered every day. There is room for flexibility. For instance, math is something I really want him doing every day, but that does not mean it has to be the little math sheet. There are a million ways to incorporate math. Cooking is math because he learns measurements, card games are math ( he is awesome at war), estimating is math, patterns are math, and and even some types of building is math.
We have struggled at times with him taking too long to complete a task and I find myself constantly harping on him. Now the ball is in his own court. I can give him thirty minutes to complete a task, such as a math sheet. If it is review and I know he knows it, then that is plenty of time for him to get it done. Instead of constantly telling him he is almost out of time, I simply remind him that if his work is not complete in the time frame expected then he will be using his free time doing math.

For more detailed information check out the link above. Basically I printed out the chart cards and days of the week and used my laminator to make them last longer. Both Brylee and Bodie have chore and daily charts and they get excited to see what is on there every day. This system has really helped me as well, though, because I feel more prepared and it varies things up for me too. It helped remind me again to think outside the box. I have already thought up some chart categories that I want to add. Also, I find just like the kids I operate better and get more accomplished if I can see what is supposed to be next......kind of keeps me on task. Anyway, I just like it and thought I'd share for anyone at home wanting to be more organized with their kids, but not really sure how to go about it. Here is one more way I have found that helps me get closer to that goal.

Friday, March 4, 2011

mommys struggles and snuggles: Mishaps on The Farm

mommys struggles and snuggles: Mishaps on The Farm: "My life has always been a series of mishaps, some days worse than others. Honestly I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. So I figured ..."

Mishaps on The Farm

My life has always been a series of mishaps, some days worse than others. Honestly I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. So I figured I should share with the world and give everyone else a good laugh too.

Today I am just going to write about life on the farm......our everyday life.

First of all my children play in a poop pile......almost daily. When I say a poop pile, I mean a poop hill, where we dump all the droppings and shavings from our daily stall cleanings. Is it no wonder that my kids have the immune systems of a horse? (well except here lately) For some reason they think this hill is the best place to drive their vehicles, and you know......I let um. I often wonder what my neighbors think. First of all my nearest neighbors are super nice, but they have perfect least that is how they seem. When all four of them come over with their mom, they stand with their hands behind their backs totally quiet as their mom talks to me. Meanwhile, mine are running around like  banshees with little clouds of dried poop flying off their clothes as they run circles around us shrieking at the top of their lungs. Meanwhile it is almost daily that they are seen in our pasture with feathers sticking out of various places, arrows made out of sticks, and sometimes only a loin cloth or two. They have also been known to use the oil that daddy left lying around as war paint.

I swear I watch my kids, even if it sounds like I don't. They are just so stinking fast.

Oh life around here is never dull, although I admit I don't find a lot of humor in it at the time it is happening. Looking back, though, I'm sure I would miss all the excitement.

Oh yea and did I mention that we are eating Brylee's pig? He made some pretty good pork chops, although I am quite certain she has no idea she is eating her beloved pet. She told me the other day she wanted to "hod him." Oh you are, sweetie, just not in the way you imagine. Reminds me of the time when I was younger when we had a calf named Tidbit. We had him butchered when he started jumping fences. My mom was pretty sad about it because she had bottle fed him. At the dinner table that night as we were getting ready to have some nice steaks, my dad said now your mom is pretty upset so I don't want to hear anyone say we are having a tidbit of this or a tidbit of that. Ha what a sick twist! Guess that might have passed along down the line a bit.

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