Isabelle and Joseph take a few classes as part of our home education. I found a place that offered a la carte style classes, as opposed to a hybrid style homeschool or a co-op. A hybrid does offer the convenience of a complete curriculum and a weekly day (or two) of classes, but the drawback is that you lose control and creativity of your own curriculum. A co-op offers classes, but parents must participate in each class so there is no free day to do errands.
I found a place that offers classes for whichever subject you would like to outsource, and parental involvment is shared around. I only needed to be there for 3-4 classes during the Semester.
Isabelle and Joseph both took a writing class. I have seen some really great progress in just one semester. In addition to writing Isabelle takes a drama class and an art class, while Joseph takes a guitar class and a drawing class.
We are both still at it! Obviously, we are heading into the the holidays and generally that doesn't go well with weightloss. We are not trying to lose much until the new year rolls around. I hope to lose 2-3 pounds by the new year. I like to celebrate the holidays! I also decided not to start any running up until then, although the idea of walking sounds fantastic. I have been walking while the kids take tennis each Tuesday and really enjoyed it.
I made it through Thanksgiving with a steady weight over the week. No loss, but no gain! Yeah!!!
I always wanted to try cloth diapers with Isabelle and Joseph, but I didn't know anyone else that used them. I was unsure about them and so we just used disposables and that was fine. I did quickly realize diaper genies were a waste of time and money for our family. They just made huge diaper sausage links! Disgusting! Although, the time the dog found it, she thought it was great! Are you barfing yet???
Anyway, people have asked how it's going with the cloth diaper adventure, what we use and how it works. I decided to write about what I've discovered and what I'm liking right now.
A good decade has passed by since our oldest two were born and in that amount of time more people are using cloth.
It is a new and confusing world when you first start to investigate cloth. I went on the Diaper Pin forum to educate myself. There are still traditional flats and pre-folds with pull on covers. This is the least expensive and easiest in the laundry. Those still work great and the old fashioned pull ons are now colorful. I might even have to buy one! Cloth diapering is actually addicting!
I like the pre-folds snappied with a wrap cover. (I actually do have diaper pins, but snappies are what I use.) When babies get older and start eating you can just tri-fold the diaper and lay it in a wrap cover. So easy! Here is how it works. I also discovered fitteds. Here and here. The ones I like are pre-folds that are made into the shape of a disposable style diaper. Then you put a cover over them.
Then there are AIO (all in one). These are diapers with the cover sewn on them. These are the most expensive and they take more time in the laundry. They function the most like a disposable. I have never had one, but apparently they are great for out and about and also for Dad's and Grandparents. A very popular one is Bum Genius.
My personal favorite right now are fitteds with a wrap cover. Once Samuel starts to eat and doesn't have all the runny breastfed poo, then a tri-folded pre-fold under a wrap style cover will be good too!
Source unknown, but I know those are Bummis Super Brite covers
There are a few little accessories that were confusing to me at first. Doublers: Just a narrow piece of cloth diaper to lay in the diaper to add absorbency. You can also lay in a rice paper liner and flush that piece as long as you don't have a septic tank. I might try that when he's older and we are out and about. I use cotton diapers. There are also microfiber, hemp and bamboo. Some people use a fleece layer in the diaper for a stay dry feeling for the baby. I have one that I use sometimes. I might get more as he gets older. It is very inexpensive to do.
Wool covers are nice. They are also expensive. I would still like a couple of them though. Here and here.
My biggest frustration has been that Samuel has grown so fast. I went back and had a look at Joseph's growth during his first year and it is the same, so I now know what the growth pattern is likely to be and can plan for it. Samuel has just grown through the different sizes of cloth so quickly.
Thankfully, pre-folds are relatively inexpensive. I was afraid of flats and never bought them, but honestly they are not hard at all. You can easily see a you tube of how to fold them. They are very inexpensive and would grow easily with the baby.
Right now Samuel is between sizes and is using disposables while I collect some fitteds and covers. He genereally uses a disposable at night too.
I don't know about you, but I have found the daily evening meal preparation to be challenging. To be mundane. I have at times hated it. Have you gone through a funk with meal preparation? Have I ever! Sometimes lasting months. I had a bad attitude. I whined and moaned and searched the recesses of my brain for something else to do with chicken or ground beef. Maybe this sounds familiar to you too?
We have a family history of Crohns disease and Celiac disease. This has lead us to be very conscientious of how and what we eat. Especially at home since we can't always control what we eat outside the home. During the week I am the person who prepares the daily meals. Because we eat healthfully and have some food limitations, I do cook every meal and mostly from scratch.
One evening we sat down and gave thanks and a gift of grace was shown to me. Isabelle and Joseph began to talk and chat about various things to us. Everyone was happy. Joyful! The candles I had lit flickered warmly illuminating precious faces. I realized I had prepared this meal and set the stage for this family time to happen. Thank you Holy Spirit for blowing in and showing the everyday blessing! I knew that, I just needed to see it!
Today, I do still see mounds dishes to wash when I think of cooking, but now I also see a blessed time with my family. Time that is precious with precious people. Cooking that meal has become a daily discipline for me. I don't always love the actual work, but I do look forward to what it brings: My family sharing the common meal. Sublime.
A few weeks ago we lit our first fire of the season. We enjoy sitting by the fire at night and having time as a couple to catch up, and time to enjoy the whole family in conversation or reading aloud or our own books.
We use Sonlight for our reading and history spine this year. I found a previously owned curriculum on Craigslist and ordered. It actually came with the whole curriclum: All the books, plus language arts, science and religious studies in addition to the lesson plans. We use only the literature and history books because we are doing other things for those other subjects. It does have a suggested bible reading seperate from the religious studies and we follow along with that as well.
We chose Sonlight because Isabelle and Joseph really love to read and the lesson plans allowed them to begin each day without me while Samuel was in the newborn phase and I was groggy from sleep deprivation! I simply took a highlighter to the lesson plans and showed them how to follow along with each days assignments. It has worked out really great! Now that Samuel is past the newborn sleep deprived stage I am able to get us all started on our day at the same time.
We chose Core F because we thought it would be interesting to study countries/continents that don't often get much time in "western" education. This part of our curriculum was added fairly quickly to our original base of math and handwriting.
I have not been diligent about some of the research they should do online to learn about the countries. I hope to get more disciplined in that area. They really have some in depth questions about the different countries (geography, culture, population, history etc..) and it's a great way to learn some researching skills.
We are at the six week mark on the old Weight Watchers program. I need a new burst energy and enthusiasm to reinvigorate my efforts. I am still doing it, but of course it gets boring after this long and you just have to push through it. I should probably start my running up, just to focus on something else! I suppose I need to figure that out in my schedule!
I did lose 1/2 lb each of the last two weeks. Slow, but progress!
Quinoa is a nice variation to rice and it is a gluten free grain. Costco sells organic quinoa on the same aisle as the rice.
1 T of olive oil (or butter or your choice of oil)
1 C of Quinoa
1 small onion or half of regular sized
several handfuls of fresh herbs (whatever we have in the garden..lately it's basil, sage and parsley)
2C chicken stock of vegetable stock
1T of lemon or lime juice (I use lime)
In a saucepan heat the oil and toast the quinoa. About 5 min. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for about 15 min with lid on. While it is cooking, wash your herbs and then chop them up fine. Chop your onion to fine size as well. When the quinoa is finished toss the rest of the ingredients together and add salt (and pepper if you like) to taste. (note: the onion is not cooked)
Homeschool began slowly this year at the beginning of August while we were waiting on Samuel to be born. We started slowly with only two subjects math and handwriting.
Main Math Curriculum
Isabelle moved on to a new to us math curriculum this year. Her main math curriculum is Saxon 8/7.
We were so fortunate that when we asked around about Saxon one of my fantastic homechooling cousins offered us one of her copies and loaned me the teachers guide! It has been a great way to try it out, and I have to say it seems to be a great fit for Isabelle. Very straightforward and she can mostly figure it out on her own with a little guidance now and then. She seems to have inherited a little emotion when it comes to getting stuck with a math problem! I don't blame her one bit!
Joseph is sticking with our tried and true Horizons math curriculum. The only drawback with Horizons for us is that they have so many lessons and tests that it is simply impossible for us to finish in the 180 days of a typical school year, and therefor we have to do math for many more weeks.
Isabelle is finishing up her very last handwriting book. She's using A Reason for Handwriting and she loves it. She especially loves the last day of the week because of the coloring page! These are verses of Proverbs. It's laid out to be done as a 4 (maybe 5 if you stretch it) day week. Easy to do and a fun way to start your day. It's not hard and makes you feel like you accomplished something right away.
Joseph is doing his last year of Handwriting Without Tears before moving on the A Reason for Handwriting. This book is really fun. They also include some grammar incorporated with the handwriting.
We started with these two subjects and then Samuel was born on August 8th, so it was easy to continue these for a few weeks and then we slowly added a few more subjects and started taking some classes which I'll post about later and hopefully that will not be like say months from now!
We are waiting somewhat impatiently for the next season of Downton Abbey to begin!
We watched all the seasons available while we were expecting Samuel.
Such a wonderful good series!
In addition to a fantastic story, I just simply love the clothes and especially the hats.
Doc Martin is hilarious. A Doctor who is afraid of blood.
Who is struggling to maintain relations with all people.
It will draw you in and keep you coming back for more.
I love all the intertwining relationships in Lark Rise to Candleford series. We watched every season and were sad to see it end. However, it is based on a book so I may have to read it!
This is a current TV show that everyone in our family likes to watch.
A Sampling of Books in our Home
Our family reads aloud regularly and currently we are reading this superb classic. If you are to only write one book in your life try to make it as good as Harper Lee has done.
The vocabulary in this book is rich, including words no long appropriate, which sparked great family conversations.
Brendon and I started reading Diana Gabaldons' Outlander series last year. It is so much fun to read.
The only draw back is that they are LONG books. Brendon finished the series, but with Samuel being so new I just don't feel like investing in the last two books just yet.
Isabelle enjoyed reading the five book series: Abrams Daughters.
Pictured here is the first one in the series. Set in Pennsylvania Amish country and the trouble that befall one family and their ensuing years of drama. They are good books and I am finishing up reading the last two.
Joseph (and honestly Isabelle too!) Have enjoyed this little series of books
They really are too easy for them, but they are fun!