...................... Would you believe this is my 300th post???!!!!!!! I cannot believe I have actually written that many posts! And in only a little over a year........... wow. I still LOVE to blog. :)
You'd think I'd have something awesome to share for my 300th post........ but sadly, I don't. No competitions or funny stories or poetry or anything. Only a pretty typical update on our life as it stands this week. :) But then, that's what this blog's about, right?
So, a few photos to share firstly. Ah, it's so good to finally have the computer to myself! All day it's being used by either one of the children, or sitting idly looking at me saying "blog, you must blog" while alas, I must homeschool my children or do the washing or cook a meal!!! And night-time it's usually hijacked by Stuart who admittedly is working very hard on end-of-term report cards and assessment for school at the moment. But right now it was free, and here I am. :)
I've been doing a bit more baking again lately. Since we had an island bench installed in our kitchen, and 3 perfect timber stools to sit under it, baking with the children has become a breeze! Just as I had imagined it would.
These were banana, rolled oat and date cookies from our 'Healthy Kids Cookbook'. Very yummy, they didn't last long! It's nice to make something together.
Saraya and Elijah have enjoyed building cubbies and having little picnics in their play time the past couple of weeks. This was a trampoline afternoon tea picnic. :)
Complete with sultanas, cherry tomatoes and bottles of water. Very gourmet indeed!
This boy just gets sweeter by the day. Honestly, he brings so much joy to me. I'm still trying to work out how to spend quality time with each of the children. Saraya and William seem to get it by necessity, but I feel like Elijah sometimes doesn't get enough. Typical middle child I suppose. :( I'm determined to do better though!
And, ahem........ well, this is evidence of me still very much on the journey of learning to balance homeschooling, housekeeping, general life, and of course caring for my younger boys as well:
Let's just say it was early in the morning, Saraya and I were in our school room, engrossed in mathematics and the boys were quietly having the time of their lives!!! Some of the tissues survived the "It's snowing!" game, and were stuffed back into the box. Many however were shredded and ended up in the bin. As you can see by Elijah's face, he's really a pretty happy (and somewhat mischievous) boy. :)
A few people have been asking me how I structure our days at home. If you're interested, I thought I'd share our basic schedule for our week days- though they certainly don't all run like this.
Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings we're home and this is pretty much what we do, but Tuesday mornings we go to Mainly Music at 9:30am, and Wednesday's either Playgroup or Prayer Group at 10am. Homeschooling just slots around these things on those days!
7am - ish - Up and dressed. Put Stu's lunch together, unload dishwasher, make breakfasts etc.
Help the children with their morning jobs, get a load of washing on, beds made, feed the chooks etc. All the morning stuff.
8:30am- (and we are getting more on time with this! It's so hard on really cold mornings!)- Begin homeschooling. Elijah usually starts out with us, so I tend to do things he enjoys such as Bible reading first. He then either wanders off to play or sits and works on an activity book beside us. That's always a bit tricky for me, but I'm getting there!
Saraya works on maths and literacy every morning. Usually we'll tackle a new maths concept every few days. I like to make sure she's 'got it' before moving on. I'm using a combination of her workbook from school, hands-on manipulative's and applying the ideas to real life. A lot of extra math happens naturally throughout the day too- I try to seize the opportunities!! Literacy includes handwriting, phonics work, spelling, creative writing and reading. Most of these we do daily. We also memorize a new Bible verse each week. I use these for copywork for Saraya, and she also types them out on the computer so we can stick them up on our wall. I've discovered she's a very visual learner like me, so we're sticking a lot of things to the wall!!
9:30am- Elijah gets to watch Playschool. I keep on working with Saraya, though she likes to pop out to see the story. :)
10am- Saraya has a break and joins Elijah for the ABC Educational program of the day- these can include music, animals, technology, maths and other topics. All excellent! I use this time to do other things.... phone calls, emails, housework, settling William for his nap, etc.
10:30am-ish- We eat a snack for morning tea, then resume our homeschooling. Saraya and I read a couple of chapters of our chapter book (right now it's 'These Happy Golden Years' by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and Saraya also reads me a book or two. Elijah's usually around and listening/ having a cuddle as well, and Will's usually asleep by this time. Once he's napping I find things so much easier! After reading I'll get Saraya to do whatever is left to do- sometimes computer work, sometimes spelling lists, sometimes a project of some sort. Sometimes she also has ideas about what she would like to do, and I like to give her the chance to take the initiative in her learning.
We also do a session of music and one of art each week. The children LOVE doing picture studies of famous works, and are so keen to get painting- I just need to get some decent art supplies!
11-11:30am - All homeschooling is officially over for the day, and the children usually head outside for some free play. I do other stuff- whatever needs doing. Sometimes this is sitting with a book and a cup of tea! (though to be honest that's rarely for more than 10 minutes at a time...)
12:30pm-ish- We eat lunch. Sometimes I'll choose to read to the children or discuss some new idea with them while we eat. But not always. We often eat outside in the sunshine- the day has usually warmed up by then!
Once we've eaten the children always get into a game of some sort and I take the opportunity to sort dishes, laundry, cooking, whatever needs doing. Will's also up by now, so I give him lunch too.
1:30pm-ish- Rest Time. Ahhhh. I feel relaxed just thinking about it. Sure, William is almost always awake and toddling around, but my big two disappear for about 45 minutes, and the house is quiet! And I don't have to answer any questions. :) I also give Will his bottle and like to read during this time, and spend some baby play time with him.
When my big two are done resting (which consists of reading books or quiet play in separate rooms) we sit and chat about our afternoon ahead and usually some sort of play starts up again.
3pm-ish- Afternoon tea time, then we head into our afternoon activities. Monday we're home and the kids play outside mostly. Tuesday is dance class for Saraya, and we often do something else in town while we're there, like the library or shopping. Wednesday afternoon our babysitter extraordinaire comes and plays, and I go to dance class with Stuart. I LOVE Wednesdays!! Thursday afternoon Saraya has a play date with her friend Chloe, either here or at Chloe's house. I want to start doing something special with the boys during this time.... not sure yet. And Friday afternoon is our Nature Walk- we go walking somewhere, take pictures, collect things and draw in our notebooks. The children have actually told me it's their favourite part of their week!
4:30pm-ish- Bath time, tidying up, free play while I'm doing a million things including preparing a meal. Often I have little 'helpers'. :)
5:30pm- Stuart gets home, and we eat dinner. Clean up. Brush teeth, use the toilet, collect cuddly toys from around the house, find storybooks etc. etc.
6:30pm- Bigger children into bed. Stuart then spends time reading with Saraya and Elijah. I rein in Will whilst cleaning up from dinner etc.
7pm- We child-swap, and I go pray and sing with the children. Stu spends time with Will in the lounge room- always lots of laughing and wrestling on the floor involved. :)
7:30pm- I 'potter', caring for Will, catching up with Stuart, making cups of tea, whatever- all building up to that final, sweet moment when William drinks his milk and goes to sleep for the night. This is usually by 8pm. And then? Well, I do whatever the heck I like. :)
So, that's it. Our weekdays!! Weekends? Well, Stuart takes charge on Saturday mornings and often takes the children on an outing of some sort for a couple of hours. This is primarily to give me some head space of my own. I use it to clean or read or garden or homeschool plan (I always plan out the next week during this time- it probably takes about an hour). The rest of the weekend is family based- we don't plan much these days, just use the time to reconnect and rest and play and do things at home or church or with friends.
All in all, I am loving life and feeling ever so close to my God and my family. I have so much to learn, and feel blessed beyond measure. Life is full of excitement and beauty and wonder!!
I just feel grateful for everything He offers.
Thanks for reading my friends; have a great rest of the week!