Hands on Homeschool

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
This week I was reading a post by a homeschool mom with children ages 8 and under. She felt like they were not doing enough “in your seat” school work. My experience of homeschooling these last 18 years is that young children need less “in your seat work” and more hands on educational time.
Have you done any culture studies with your kids? One of the most interesting things we have studied has been cultures around the world. We enjoy learning about the countries, their customs, and what they eat.
Sometimes we get the winter doldrums in our homeschools. What helps me is to inject a fun little unit study into our plans. That gives us all a little lift in our spirits.
If you have never done a unit study before, they can be simple and fun. They do not have to be complicated. They do not have to take a lot of time either.
Does your family have a certain type of food they like to eat? You can use that to help you decide on what country to study. One year, we used a cookbook that gave menu ideas and recipes for various countries around the world.
We used our world map to locate the country. We watched some videos about the country. We discussed their economics and exports. We learned about their government and religion. We read missionary stories from that country.
We made lists of foods that they ate, and we made menu plans. For our study of Asia, I took them to a large Asian supermarket. That was an education for us all. It was fascinating.
When we studied Mexico, we went to the Hispanic grocery store. We played music from the different countries, and we listened to their language. We attempted some simple phrases, too.
There are so many ways you can study about other countries and cultures, and if you have never done a study like this before, consider doing one soon.
Today’s Zone Mission is to check your supplies in the bathroom and laundry room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken stir fry.
Have a great day!

What do you do when you are sick?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Many of you have had illness in your families in the past few weeks. I had a question about what to do about your routines if you are the one who is sick.
My advice on your routines after an illness is to just jump back into your routines when you feel better. You do not need to try to make up any of the zone missions that you missed. You will get back around to the missions later. You just need to be consistent with your routines as much as possible.
If you are sick, your main goal is self-care. You don’t even have to get dressed down to the shoes if you are sick and need to be in bed to rest. When I had my tonsils removed a few years ago, I rested on the sofa to stay propped up. I wore my sweats and warm fuzzy socks. (Don’t you love that they have no-slip fuzzy socks?)
If your children are sick, you may still need to adjust your routines. It will be depend on the age of your children and their age. Just give yourself grace to take care of the most pressing needs of your sick ones. Do the important things for your self-care, too. You do not want to get run down and get sick, too. So rest, hydrate, and eat well.
You do not need to feel guilty about any missed routines or zone missions. It is going to be okay in the long run. Posting your daily routines will help you get back on track when you feel better. Just remember to keep things simple as you get back to your normal routines.
If you have had sickness in your home, be sure to wipe all of the commonly touched surfaces.
Please update me on your progress! I want to know how you are doing.
Your Zone Mission today is to toss items from the main bathroom and laundry room that you do not need.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is zucchini noodles and a salad.
Have a blessed day!

Are you taking care of yourself?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Do you put off taking care of yourself? In our busy lives, we take care of many things in the course of the day. One person we need to take care of daily is ourselves. We should not be an afterthought. We should not put off taking care of ourselves until we have “time.”
Not taking care of yourself can cause you to have health issues. Staying up late at night to clean the house does not allow you to get enough sleep at night. I understand that you are juggling a lot during the day, and you tell yourself you can grab some extra cleaning or decluttering time after the children are in bed. I submit to you that you can use the time after the children are in bed to finish your Before Bed Routine and have some quiet time before you go to bed.
You are trying to burn the candle at both ends by doing cleaning projects after 9:00 at night.You are stealing your sleep.
By going to bed at a decent hour after relaxing, you will get more rest, and you will have more energy during the day to work on these projects.
Some of you are arguing in your head with me right now. I have homeschooled for 18 years. I have balanced the needs of 6 children. I have learned my lessons the hard way that you can only push yourself so far before you feel the effects on your body.
If you have difficulty with your decluttering projects, you may consider getting some outside help during the day. There was a season when I had a few teen girls come to my home to play with the children in the afternoon while I did therapy with one child and did a few things around the house. It was something that helped me greatly during a very busy time in my life.
You do not have to do everything in your home that needs to be done. You can teach your children life skills, or you can hire some help. If your budget is tight, maybe you can barter services.
You need to rest daily. You need to drink your water (and watch the sugar and caffeine). You need to get in some purposeful movement. You need to eat healthy foods. You may need some extra vitamin D in the winter. You need some down time each day.
If you are feeling depressed, schedule an appointment for blood work. Have your vitamin D checked. Have other things checked if you have health concerns.
Please do not put off taking care of yourself. You need your health to take care of your family.
Your Zone Mission today is to toss out of date cosmetics.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Tuesday is a birthday dinner.
Have a great day!

Are you being consistent with your routines?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Can you believe we are already into the third week of the month? This week we are going to focus on the Main Bathroom and the Laundry Room. If you are doing your daily swish and swipe, I hope you won’t need a lot of time in the Main Bathroom. If you have been missing your daily swish and swipe, this is the week to jump back on the bandwagon!
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 3 Missions: The Main Bathroom and Laundry Room
Monday – Declutter empty bottles from the Main Bathroom and the Laundry Room. Swish and Swipe.
Tuesday – Toss old towels and linens; clean behind the washer and dryer. Swish and Swipe.
Wednesday – Toss old cosmetics. Toss single socks. Swish and Swipe.
Thursday – Check bathroom supplies. Check laundry supplies. Swish and Swipe.
Friday – Shine the tub/shower. Wipe down the washer and dryer. Swish and Swipe.
Set your timers for 15 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Weekly Menu Plan
Monday – Chicken with a salad
Tuesday – Birthday dinner for one of the boys
Wednesday – Zucchini noodles and salad
Thursday – Chicken and a salad
Friday – Take out
Enjoy your week! Keep your routines simple.
It’s January 14, and many of you started new routines on January 1. Did you try to do too much at once? If you are finding it hard to keep your new routines going, I want you to check yourself. If you try to change too much at once, it makes it harder to maintain.
Let me share a quick story. When I started running in 2013, I had to work my way up in both distance and in the number of days a week that I was able to run. If I tried to add to much time or distance, I was more prone to injury and overuse of my muscles. I had to take it slowly over time.
At that time, it was a lot for me to run 3 miles, and as the years have gone on, I have built my endurance up for longer runs. Over the weekend, I ran a half marathon, and I would not have been able to do that without persistence and tenacity in my training plan.
Your routines are like that. If you are working on your routines, start with the Habit of the Month. This month, we are shining the kitchen sink daily. Once you develop the habit this month through daily practice, you will be ready to add more to your routines.
As you develop your daily habits, you will be able to do them because you are taking it slow and not jumping straight into all of them at once. I started out the same way.
Now, I am not telling you to dump the things you are already doing successfully. If your routines are going well, I want to caution you to not keep piling on things on yourself. I hear from homeschool moms regularly who are struggling with time and routines. Most of the time, it is because there are extra things in their routines, or they are spending too much time on one thing in the routine.
Use your timer. Most of you have one on your phone, but there are many kinds of timers you can use. I have the FlyLady’s timer in my kitchen and use it regularly.
Today’s Zone Mission is quick and easy. Go to your bathroom and toss the empty bottles. Look in the shower and under the sink. Check the closet. Then go to the laundry room and do the same thing. Only spend 15 minutes or less on this mission.
Tell me what you have the most problem getting done in your day?
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to toss empty bottles from the main bathroom and laundry room.
My menu plan for Monday is chicken with a salad.
Have a blessed day!

How have you been blessed?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Have you stopped for a few minutes today to list your blessings? If you don’t have a blessing journal, I want you to start one. It will help you to see in a physical way how many blessings you have.
On the days when things are hard, you can read through your blessing list, and it will encourage you. Then you can start looking for a blessing in the trial.
Another reminder a blessing journal can be is to show you that there were blessings in the trials. We tend to focus on the trials and hard times, and blessing journal is a tangible way to remind yourself of the blessings.
Your children learn from your example. You should teach them to write their blessings down as well. It will start simple, and they may repeat things over and over. But we should be thanking God over and over. Encourage them to think of different things, but always let them list the important ones to them that they repeat.
Show gratitude to others as a part of your blessings. You can show gratitude in so many ways — a visit, a phone call, a card, a small gift, or even a quick text.
Teach your children to write Thank You notes. It is a lost art, and it is something that they will carry into adulthood.
Focus on the good things in your life. Don’t dwell on the bad things. Live in the present. Let go of regrets of the past.
You are influencing the next generation and their children. Teach them a heart of gratitude.
Today’s Zone Mission is to sweep and mop the kitchen.
Your Home Blessing for today is to take off the trash, sweep, mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Have a great day!

Make it fun, and it will get done.

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Your emails and comments have been encouraging to me this week. I am so proud of you for tackling the kitchen missions like a star! Your kitchen nourishes you and your family, and it is important that it work well for you. A big part of that is having a kitchen that is decluttered.
Today’s mission will take you into the back recesses of your fridge. Yes, that’s right! Today is the day to toss the leftovers! You might find some holiday leftovers, so get your trash can moved closer to the fridge and start tossing.
Take a look at your condiments. Do you have some that have been there for a while? Toss away!
Open the veggie drawer. What’s hanging out in there that you have forgotten about?
Check expiration dates as you go through the fridge. This mission only lasts for 15 minutes, so hop to it! You can do it!
How are your children’s routines? As you have been getting your routines back on track, encourage your children along the way, too. They should be making their beds and getting dressed first thing in the morning.
They can do a quick pick up in the house during their morning routine, too. Teach them how to sort their laundry. Then incorporate them into your laundry routine. They can help!
Take a look at your floors. Do they need a quick sweep? Divide and conquer the little things that need to be done. Write down the tasks on paper. Then draw the slips of paper from a basket. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Each person draw a slip of paper and tackle the mission.
Don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of your children helping you. Remember that it is better to do something than nothing at all. Just make it fun and get it done!
If you have not gotten around to any of your Home Blessings this week, today is the day to get at least half of them done. Then you can do the other half on Friday. Let me know how you are doing with the Home Blessings!
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter leftovers from the fridge.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.
Have a great day!

Are you ready to be brave with me?

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 

Dear Friends,
Who wants to be brave with me this year? Read on down the newsletter for my challenge to you!
Today’s zone mission is going to hit some of you where you are storing items, and others of you might not store things in your oven or on your stove top. With that said, how many of you have stored something in your oven and forgot about it? What happened the next time your pre-heated the oven?
Today’s zone mission is for those of you who have melted something, burned something, or just smelled up the kitchen by a forgotten item in the oven.
Spend a few minutes decluttering and cleaning around your stove and/or in the oven. If you are storing pans in the oven, find a better place for them. If you are storing pots on top of the stove, find a home for them. I know cabinet space is at a premium for many of you. I know you use the same pots and pans frequently.
It looks so much nicer when the top of your stove it cleared off. It’s also safer. I have walked into homes where paper items were piled on the stove
top. That is a big fire danger. Please do not do that.
It’s also anti-procrastination day! I want you to do something you have been putting off. It doesn’t matter what it is. Take the first step to doing it today. That first step is the hardest. I know. I have to do it all of the time!
This year I want you to be brave every single Wednesday. Every Wednesday of this year, I want you to do something you have been putting off. Are you ready to be brave today? I know you can do it!
Please update me on your progress! I want to know how you are doing.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter stuff from the top of your stove or from inside your oven.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is soup and sandwiches.
Have a blessed day!

Are you ready for Plan and Play Day?

Joy-Wings-Planner-Combo

Dear Friends,

Tuesday is Plan and Play day. If you have been putting off menu planning, lesson planning, budgeting, or something else that requires some pre-planning, I want you to use your timer and spend 15 minutes on it today.

Planning is not glamorous. But it really helps you have a smoother week when you know what’s for dinner and have the ingredients on hand because you had time to shop ahead of time. You will save time and money by menu planning and shopping once a week instead of when you run out of things.

On my refrigerator, I have a notepad. When we run out of something, we write it on the list. When I start my menu planning, I add to the list. Then, I work from it to make my grocery list. I organize my grocery list by the store, and then I make a plan on how to make my rounds.

In the summer, I use coolers and ice packs to keep the food cool while I shop. In the winter, I just take my insulated grocery bags. I like to use reusable shopping bags as much as possible.

How is your homeschool lesson planning? Spend some time checking your student’s progress and see if you are where you wanted to be for the year. Then you are ready for some lesson planning. Count how many weeks you have left in your school year and mark off the days you will take for breaks.

Your cabinet doors are your mission today. Use a warm, damp cloth to wipe the outside of the doors quickly. This does not have to be a big project. You can involve the children, too. Give younger children cloths to wipe the lower cabinet doors and older children to wipe the upper cabinet doors.

Don’t forget about my January Book special!

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

Your Zone Mission for today is to wipe your cabinet doors.

My menu plan for Tuesday is corn dogs and tots for the boys. Salad for me.

Have a blessed day!

Siggie - Tami Fox

Some Encouragement for You

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Are you ready to make your kitchen sparkle with me this week? The second week of the month is one of my favorite weeks. I love my kitchen, and I love to make it sparkle. The kitchen can be a busy room in your home, and sometimes it just needs a little extra love and attention.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 2 Missions: The Kitchen
Monday – Scrub and sparkle the kitchen faucet. Shine your sink while you are there.
Tuesday – Wipe the outside of your cabinet doors.
Wednesday – Declutter anything that does not belong on your stove or in your stove. Declutter around it, too.
Thursday – Declutter leftovers from your fridge.
Friday – Sweep and Mop the Kitchen
Set your timers for 15 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Weekly Menu Plan
Monday – Chicken and Rice with a Salad
Tuesday – Corn Dogs and Tater Tots (Salad for me)
Wednesday – Soup and Sandwiches
Thursday – Pork Ribs and Salad
Friday – Take out
Enjoy your week! Keep your routines simple.
Read on for some encouragement for those of you with busy children!
Twenty-four years ago, God blessed us with our second child. He filled a place in our lives that we didn’t know needed filling. He is a talented man, and we know that God has a plan for him. I remember his younger years fondly. He was always busy, but if I sat down in the floor with him and a stack of books, I would sit on my lap for hours.
From a young age, he liked to take things apart and fix them. For some of you moms, you know the mixed feelings I had when he took stuff apart and left it laying around, but he always went back and worked on it.
He taught me that people have different learning styles as we continued our homeschool journey. As a visual learner, I found that he learned best through doing things. He was also an auditory learner (remember all the books I read to him from a young age?). He couldn’t look at a letter and remember the sound it made, but if I helped him write it in sand or rice while saying the sound, he could file it away in his memory.
He could memorize statistics like no one I had ever seen. As he turned his interest to football, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the players and their stats.
He was a never-ending source of asking questions. He always wanted to know the WHY behind everything. For those of you with inquisitive children, you understand it when I say that there were times my ears were just tired of listening to the questions. *I* learned a lot from him.
As he grew, his interest in fixing things never waned. He was so interested in what made things work and the WHY behind them. We did so much science. He loved experiments! If we could blow it up or set it on fire, he was all in!
He always had a way of talking to older people. He loved learning from them. He loved hearing their stories. Some of his “best friends” when he was a child were much older people. He made friends wherever we went, and he was sensitive to the needs of those around him from a young age.
I wanted to share this for you moms who have those active little boys who wear you out with their energy, shenanigans, and constant conversation. Take time to listen to them. Enjoy them. And rest when they rest!
Nick, I am proud of you, and I love you very, very much.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to shine the kitchen faucet.
My menu plan for Monday is chicken and rice with a salad.
Have a blessed day!

Your Routines Includes Monthly Maintenance

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
 
 
Dear Friends,
Happy Friday! We are wrapping up the first week of the year and wrapping up our zone missions in Zone 1. This Zone is important because it is the first impression people get when they come to your home.
How does your front porch look? It’s been a rainy season in North Carolina, and my porch needs a good washing down when the mud dries up. Until then, we can keep the clutter from accumulating on the porch.
Did you put away your Christmas decorations that are on the porch? Do any of you still have some fall décor hanging around outside?
Spend 15 minutes on the Front Porch area and Entryway today. Do those final touches to make it look inviting. Have a place for the things your family needs to have handy when leaving the house. Then, ask them to put away any other things that they have left in the Entryway.
Do you have home maintenance that you check on the first week of the month? That is when we check our furnace filters, light bulbs, and fire detectors. Last week, my husband and the boys checked the gutters and cleaned out the leaves that had gathered in them.
If you have a filter on your refrigerator, check on it. If you haven’t fully cleaned your dryer vent, put that on your home maintenance list to do. It’s not something we can do easily with all of the rain we have had, but it is good to do it once every three months. I will put it down for us to do later in the month.
It’s Friday, and that also means it’s the day of the week to clean out your car and purse. My routine is to toss trash from my car every time I come into the house. When I get gas, I will ask the boys to check the back areas of the car for trash, and we take care of it then. I don’t drive around with a car full of trash. If we are on a road trip, we toss trash every time we stop.
My purse gets cleaned out once a week as well. I usually clean it out after I do my weekly grocery shopping. I don’t always remind you on Friday about these two routines, and I wanted to remind you of them in case you have not had a chance to clean out the car or your purse this week.
Here’s a quick review of the FlyLady’s suggestions for each day of the week:
Monday – Weekly Home Blessing Hour
Tuesday – Plan and Play Day
Wednesday – Anti-procrastination Day
Thursday – Errand Day
Friday – Clean out your car and purse
Tell me how you are doing with your Zone Missions. I want you to make an effort with today’s mission especially. You need to pamper yourself!
Today’s Zone Mission is to pamper yourself for 15 minutes.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 5 and zone 1!
Have a wonderful weekend!