Homeschool Early Preschool Day 1

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Today was day 1 of the littlest lady, Miss E’s early preschool ♡ I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, BUT, we had so much fun, and took so many pictures. I couldn’t resist. I am excited to tell you all about it! 🤗

Please note: These activities are simply suggestions for what the author believes is appropriate for this age. Please use your best judgement and consult your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns.

She doesn’t officially turn 2 until February, but I decided to start her early preschool a few months early. I figured since the big girls take an almost 2 month winter break from their “hardcore” school work, this was the perfect time to begin some structured play with the little miss. As a home school mama already, I did not want to jump into a new routine and overwhelm myself. I definitely wanted to give us all some time to get used to this new routine with early preschool getting added to our day, and find the schedule that works best. Then, when the big girls start their school days back up again, I can sprinkle their daily activities in around Miss E’s.

This week she is beginning her preschool with Learning the letter E (the first letter of her name), The color BLUE, The shape of the CIRCLE, & The number 2.

After breakfast, we jumped right in. This is the perfect time to start while her energy level was up and she is focused. She started her day with matching the colors of Fruit Loops to the colors of the CIRCLES on the paper. While doing this we counted “1, 2,” (She loves snacking on these as well of course!)

So once there was no more cereal left after chowing down on all those colors, we began her very first Do-A-Dot worksheet. Yes, I said, work sheet. It sounds like no fun for the toddler age group, but I promise you she had loads if fun making her BLUE dots with her dabber on the letter “E” alphabet sheets I downloaded from This Reading Mama. She has lots of fun ideas on how to introduce letters to your little ones in fun ways they will love ♡

She tried so hard to get those BLUE dots into the CIRCLES 😄 I think she did pretty well!

After she lost interest in this, we moved onto a seek and find box!! She loved this idea so much♡ The tub was filled with cornstarch that had the letters of the alphabet buried in it.

After a little while, she insisted on some bowls and spoons to play in the cornstarch. This was totally okay with me as it helps with her fine motor skills ♡

Soon after, her big sister decided to join in with her…..because big sisters are awesome!

I will tell you, something really cool about this little lady. She has always picked up after herself to the best of her abilities. Almost 2 hours later, (yes 2 hours!!) she decided she was finally finished. So she put the letters back in the tub, put the lid on it, and trotted on over to the closet to grabbed her toddler sized broom. Yes, believe it or not, this little lady began (attempting) to sweep up her mess. #proudmommymoment

I can’t wait to make more of these themed sensory tubs in the future!

During the 2 hours she played quietly digging around in her Alphabet sensory tub, I finished another cup of coffee (YUM), cleaned off the kitchen table (due to our small house this is our meal area, school area, and craft area). Then proceeded to get the next activity ready for her so she can play “Feed The Turkey”. I thought this is definitely appropriate given the fact that this week is Thanksgiving. I found this cute idea over at The Busy Toddler!

She enjoyed using small plastic measuring spoons to Feed The Turkey.

She began matching up the colors of the pom poms and the spoons all on her own!!

I am sure we will be enjoying this activity the rest of this week 😋

While waiting for lunch, we all did our afternoon yoga, Miss E is a HUGE copycat! She always joins in, whether the big girls are doing yoga, practicing their ballet, tap, jazz, or even playing the piano.

Big sisters are the best!

You can see the black and white blur in the backround….Molly, our dog, gets hyper anytime we are on the floor. Haha!!

After lunch, while waiting for our neighbors to come over for an afternoon visit full of fun and crafts, we pulled out the colored Velcro Sticks! These are a hit! I love these even for traveling quiet time, while we are out and about! I found this simple crafty idea over at Tot Treasures!

During the evening hours, after dinner, while we are winding down for the day….She always insists on pulling the Play-Doh out. So, I took advantage of this by pulling out the BLUE container, and the NUMBER 2 cookie cutter…..we made NUMBER 2S and CIRCLES out of the BLUE Play-Doh to go along with the weekly theme!

She also insisted on matching her colored ball pit balls with a poster board cut out I had created last week for her. My phone was on the charger, so no pictures of her playing this evening with it, but here is one I took after making it, so you have an idea of what it looks like 😊

Alright! I’d say our first day of Early Preschool was a success!!! She had loads of fun! I hope you all enjoyed your Monday as well ♡

Until next time…..Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this post, as always, I ask that you take a second to share it, tweet it, stumble it, pin it, etc….. Thanks!

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How to find that “Home school Community”

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So today let’s talk about that home school community. I don’t know about you other home school mama’s, but when we decided to home school, that community was nowhere to be found. It was unheard of. I read in so many places about the bigger cities having home school groups that are massive and it’s just “known” where to go to be a part of it all. Let me tell ya, where we live….no.such.thing.

I did so much research before we actually began our homeschooling journey, hoping to be prepared, but nothing had prepared me for the loneliness of it all.

Let me give you a little background on myself…..I grew up going to public and private schools. My mom is a school teacher, and I didn’t know anyone who had been homeschooled or who was homeschooling their own child/children, other than some distant cousins. I have no background or involvement in the home school community what.so.ever guys.

After reading some tips on multiple sites recommending library trips during the middle of the day, we decided to make it a weekly trip. I mean stepping out of my comfort zone to talk to random families in the hopes of making some connections to the home school community, is worth the risk at this point. But guess what? Not once did I run into a family with kids at the library in the middle of the day…so we tried different days…still no luck…..ugh this was getting so frustrating. Were we ever going to meet any LOCAL home school families?

Continuing my search I was finally coming to some promising answers. Who had these answers? Facebook. Yup. I had finally come across some LOCAL home school groups on Facebook. How exciting!! Unfortunately most everyone involved with these groups were strictly social media…..no meet ups with families. In the midst of all this frustration, a new group was formed IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD! woo hoo……we were so excited. Couldn’t wait. The plan was to meet once a week, and how convenient the location was literally a few roads down from our house 🙂 We went and had fun. Unfortunately it was only a few families meeting at first…and that slowly dwindled down to us and another family….BUMMER! This group still meets a couple of times a month ♡

I FINALLY found 4-h. I hadn’t even given 4-h a thought to be honest. Growing up, I personally was never involved, and thought it was only revolving around farming topics. Boy was I wrong!! There are so many niches you can be apart of!! We attended a couple of 4-h groups trying to figure out which we preferred. Come to find out, a lot of the kids involved with 4-h were actually homeschooled!

We finally found the group we preferred ♡ The girls loved it. We were becoming involved with a horse enthusiast group, believe it or not! This was awesome for the girls. They love horses, but unfortunately, most groups require you to have your own animals if you want to be involved with any animal based group. We found this one, which was run by a veteran homeschooling mama who has her own farm, and is so generous to have the meetings on her farm with her own horses and ponies ♡♡

A little time had passed, I had still been researching home school activities and meet ups. I was beginning to learn and hear through the grape-vine of so many businesses becoming more and more involved with the home school community. Before long….there was even a local home school 4-h group formed!! This actually is now one of the biggest 4-h groups in our area!

Believe it or not, the following year, the home school community in our area had quadrupled (according to our local school board). This is not only happening in my area, but all over! The bigger the demand, the more opportunities there are. Local businesses have been offering more and more opportunities 🙂

If you are worrying about finding the home school community, let me tell you, don’t. It’s out there. You just need to work hard sometimes to find a handful of families. Most businesses are willing to be involved with the home school community. All they need to get started is a small group of committed families to be involved, and a voice for the home school community. So if you have time, don’t be afraid to be that voice!

Well that’s all for today. Do you have any tips to help find that home school community??

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EASY SOLUTIONS FOR A HECTIC LIFE

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Ok so Life can be crazy right? We ALL know that! Well let me tell ya, homeschooling the girls is just one of the things that has left very little ‘extra’ time in our household. I am definitely learning more and more everyday how to make things a little less hectic around here.

Beginning homeschooling when there is a baby under 1 in the house, really was the first real struggle. Now, throw my battle with insomnia in with that, and beginning a new blog all while ALREADY running on a jam packed full schedule. Things really started to temporarily lose their structure. Over the past almost year, I have come across quite a few things that help to make our life less hectic. Here are a list of the CURRENT most helpful things in our home.

1. ONLINE SHOPPING

Ok, so I’ve always enjoyed online shopping. Who doesn’t?! But, it wasn’t until this past year that I actually began using it to help keep things less chaotic so we don’t have to run around so much.

Let me tell ya! Online shopping is so quick and easy, as long as you order the correct items to begin with, that is. The downfall is, if you do accidentally order the incorrect items, it can really be a pain in the butt to return things. Other than that, I get things done so quickly, with so much less fuss, and there is no dragging the munchkins in so many stores searching for that one particular item. Or waiting for someone to watch them for us so we can birthday shop, or Christmas shop, or just plain old enjoy shopping with out being asked to purchase everything they see. <—I can’t be the only one who experiences this.

Considering that we homeschool, there aren’t many opportunities to sneak in a quick run to the store before they get out of school. Now, I have to admit…online grocery shopping still makes me nervous and I haven’t worked my way up to trying it just yet. I’ll keep ya updated 😉

2. MEAL PLANNING

This I have attempted so many times and always would get lazy with it, or life would get in the way. Trust me, this one, it’s a big help on not only keeping the chaos level down through out the week, but it’s also definitely a big money saver !! Plan your meals guys, and write your grocery list according to those meal plans, and I promise you success 🙂

Meal planning is a big one. It makes grocery shopping with 3 kids (sometimes 4 including my stepdaughter) a lot easier!! I even bought a weekly white board for the fridge and include each day’s meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) when writing the weekly schedule on there. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how many times I get asked what our plans are, or whats gonna be for dinner. So now, my hubby, who I have been teaching some of my mad cooking skills to, is now able to start cooking dinner if the girls and I aren’t home in time 🙂 How awesome is that?

3. A GOOD PLANNER/ORGANIZER

Here is where I am lacking for SURE! Since beginning homeschooling, I have been on the hunt for the perfect planner, which I have yet to find. 🙁 I do, however, have a pretty sweet system going on between my multiple calendars, and multiple pads of paper (LOL). Yes you read that correctly multiples of each!!

The only way I am successful with all this is by spending a little extra time (which is pretty difficult to find) making sure everything flows nicely together. Taking the obligations/appts for each day and lining them up with our school day, and meal planning, being sure the type of dinner matches up with the day….obviously, on the day of dance and skating class, we are gone from 2pm and don’t get home until after 7pm, it would make sense to plan an easy simple meal right?? Yep!

On that note, I am going to tell you, I rarely have extra time. And by rarely, I seriously mean RARELY. So the way of scheduling I have right now works….but let me tell ya, once I do find that one amazing planner chocked full of awesomeness, I know it’ll make this part of my life a breeze!! Everyone’s way of planning is different. I think that is why it is so hard to find what I am looking for. Hopefully I’ll find one soon, and if not I may be creating my very own!! We shall see…..

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7 Things Our Homeschool Cant Live Without

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Hey guys! Ok, so officially we haven’t even been homeschooling an entire year yet, but it didn’t take too long to realize what we couldn’t live without!

Let me just start by saying, where we live, homeschooling seems to not be talked about much at all. So around here, when you make the transition from public school to homeschooling, and have no background or history with homeschooling yourself…let me tell ya, you are in it alone. We live in a rural area 30 mins from the nearby town. I searched and searched and read SO MUCH info, just looking for some sort of direction……

So listed below, in no particular order, are 7 things we have found, so far, that we absolutely need in our lives.

1. OUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Until we were able to ease our way into some local homeschool groups, we started off with being regulars at our local library. Every visit we arrived in the middle of the school day, with fingers crossed, hoping we would meet another local homeschool family. no.such.luck. Regardless, we kept going for our own benefit, new resources, and just plain ole’ we-need-to-get-out-of-this-house!

We may not live in a big city, but are SUPER lucky to be able to have a choice of 3 local libraries to choose from! Can we say #bookworms ?? We visited all of them before quickly realizing which is our favorite! The library we settled on being regulars at, has SO MANY activities available both during the day and in the evening….and get this ——> ALL FREE!! Definitely a major bonus in my book!!

2. COFFEE

After not needing to work so many crazy hours every day, my coffee habit seemed to diminish for the most part and had gotton replaced with calming hot teas (which, by the way, I still consume regularly before bedtime). After almost a solid year of homeschooling, it seems that coffee has crept its way back into my life. What had begun with one cup of coffee has quickly turned into at least a half of a pot! Each delicious mug of hot creamy smooth goodness, brings me closer to a focused mind for the day!! After beginning my THM (Trim Healthy Mama) journey, I realized that I needed to adjust my sugar intake through my morning Joe’s. Finally, I have adjusted my taste buds and am able to enjoy my ‘go juice’ sugar free. YAY!!

3. TIME FOR ME (NOT EASILY OBTAINED)

Finding time for myself is EXTREMELY rare, yet VERY important. I definitely have always been someone who needs to recharge their battery with a little down time. Now that I am a homeschooling mama of 3, I am finding that having this special down time for myself has never been as important as it is now, yet at the same time, its harder than ever to fit into my schedule. Even if only for 30 mins, a few times a week, this is definitely a necessity.

My older 2 girlies are blessed with wonderful grandparents who take them for overnight visits at least once per month. When this happens, I definitely take advantage of the smallest girlie’s nap time 🙂

No matter how bad of a night I have had battling insomnia, I have found my day starts off so much better when my alarm is set promptly at 5:30 a.m. (I often sleep through my alarm a few times a week haha). This gives me plenty of time to spend the first 15 minutes of rolling out of bed and stumbling out to the coffee maker (yes 15 entire minutes, cut me some slack– our cosleeping toddler often keeps me locked in awkward positions most of the night….). So before our earliest riser sneaks out of her room in the morning, I have most likely had time to fully wake up, and a little time relaxing with 1 solid cup of coffee. My tone for the day is set 🙂 That spells success in my book!

4. SOME FORM OF PLANNER

I am a planoholic. Period. Our schedule is constantly changing from week to week, it is difficult to keep up with mentally. So on that note, I must have a planner…..or should I say multiple planners. As of now, I have not been able to find an all-in-one planner that fits my specific needs. So I have settled with one planner for homeschooling, one planner for bills/events/work/etc., and multiple pads of paper for my miscellaneous lists throughout each week. My goal is to obtain that one perfect dream planner, or create my own. I’ll keep ya posted!

5. HANDS ON ACTIVITIES

Who doesn’t learn better with hands on activities?? Honestly, I consider myself a pretty creative individual. However, there are those certain topics or just moments I need some inspiration. This is where Pinterest comes into play! I can’t even tell you how many pins I have pinned or boards I have created…..If you know nothing about Pinterest, I urge you to head over and check out the variety of ideas available. You will be hooked in no time! Feel free to follow me on there as well! ://www.pinterest.com/OurLilMtnTribe

Having hands on activities throughout the week really helps prevent what I call “burn-out”. The girls always appreciate any creative activity, and of course it also helps retain new information easily. #momwin

6. DAYS OFF

Speaking of “burn-out”…..Days off is a definite requirement in our homeschool, especially during the winter months. For the most part we have school year round. We have fallen into a plan of an average of ‘4-6 weeks on/1 week off’ schedule, with taking a month and a half off during the crazy holiday months and about a month off during summer time. This allows us to meet our requirement of 180 day school year. I absolutely love this schedule!! It allows us for so much flexibility and works well with our unit study curriculum 🙂 Of course, there are plenty of extra days worked in for flexibility when it comes to sick days, birthdays, and plain ole bad days.

7. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Ahhh…..the mental break from such focused minds…..It’s a nice release! And let me tell ya, pre-teen girls need to have that escape. This keeps us all from going crazy, and being so irritable with each other. Of course “P.E” comes in so many forms, so the choices are endless, keeping everyone on their toes with excitement.

Well there it is. There are definitely more things we really enjoy having as a part of our homeschool, but to us, these are our top picks! So whether your a veteran at this homeschooling thing or a fresh newbie, I would love to hear what you consider to be on your list of top picks for your homeschool.

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And so it begins…..

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Ahoy! I have been considering starting a blog for some time now. Recently it just kind of presented itself to me…..so here we are.

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Ok, so let’s talk about the “whys”. After so many drastic changes that were made blindly despite how much research I had done……nothing is ever as it seems! Ok, so on that note, our homeschooling journey had began this past January, unexpectedly. It has been such a learning curve and huge adjustment for all of us. I live in a rural area 30 minutes from town (not a large city) so the homeschool resources are not advertised or even just spoken about at all, as it would seem, from an outsider. Finding the “homeschool community” has been a rough road! Finally, I think I’m to headed down the right path meeting all sorts of families, attending lots of local activities, and all of us making new friends. Hopefully, through this blog I can help give that new homeschool family, who feels swallowed by all the overwhelming feelings of being lost, some hope.

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Creating this blog also seemed to match up perfectly “time wise” with my new THM journey…..So not only will I hopefully keep myself accountable, but maybe link up with some fellow beginning THMers and swap some scrumptious recipes! Even if I just spark a bit of motivation for a healthier lifestyle in my readers, then I am satisfied!

I also plan on sharing all of our adventures and fun craftiness with all of you 🙂

Enjoy!!

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