Day One, Two, and Three of Home-school Pre-school

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I’m so sorry for the lack of active pictures. It’s really hard to do school and get pictures without someone to work the camera. I’m also really sorry I didn’t post day one or two. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about this anyhow!

Monday was really simple, but a total blast. We started by introducing the learning board, and more specifically introducing the theme of the week. This week we are focusing on cows, the word calf, the color green, shape square, letter A, number 1, and nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle.”

I woke him up with this poem:

Little Calf by Katrina Lybbert

“Good morning, little calf,” gentle mother cow said.

“It’s time to get up from your sweet hay filled bed.”

Little calf jumped, stamped his feet, swished his tail,

And followed mama past a shiny milk pail.

Out into the barnyard, holding his head high,

Little calf look up to the blue, blue sky,

Birds flying past chirped a joyful song,

Little calf smiled, and felt happy all day long.

Then we watched a few YouTube videos about cows, and then we started talking about calves. We’re still breastfeeding occasionally, so I explained to Caleb that calves drink their mom’s milk the same way he drinks mine. As the day went on we sang “Old McDonald” over and over, but just talked about him having a cow. I had him get on all fours with me, and we moo’ed like a cow. It was a lot of singing and moving for the first day.

Tuesday was a little harder for us. Caleb wasn’t a huge fan of sitting. That’s okay with me though. The focus of the day was on green and squares. Because Caleb didn’t want to sit still, we decided to just walk around the house pointing out all the square and green things we could find. I figured we could just do the other activities on Wednesday…

Wednesday, today, was wonderful. We woke up with the Old McDonald song, and an awesome green outfit which to my surprise he could identify. After we got out of school we went to the library. I found a ton of great books today. The best was, “The Great Big Green” by Peggy Clifford. Everything is green until the end, and it ends up being the Earth. We also went through books about farms (to talk about cows), a letter book which we focuses on the A with, and a number book where we counted up to three, because Caleb can count to three and wouldn’t stop at one. When we got home I sat him down with a few worksheets I printed off. One had a tree dropping leaves with dotted lines showing the fall pattern. I showed him how to draw lines based on the dotted lines. He said, no. Instead he drew lines from the bottom of the paper to the top. Totally acceptable to me. A line is a line. Then we colored a square green. It’s part of a set of shape cards we’ll be working on through the weeks. He helped me glue the name (square) to the back of the card, and we moved on. I cut out the template for a cow cube, and he glued… some of the spots that we were instructed to. It came out really cute though. We talked about how there was only ONE cow cube, how a cube is made of squares, and that it was, obviously, a cow. Totally the perfect project for this week!

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How to Not Raise a Princess (or in my case, Prince)

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^^ My Friend’s ADORABLE 13 month Princess ^^

Children do not spoil, food does. That doesn’t mean you can’t accidentally entitle children causing them to believe the world revolves around them and that they will always get exactly what they want. Here are three easy steps to avoiding this.

1) Don’t make your child share and don’t let them expect other children to share with them. I went on a play date recently and Caleb’s friend, who is two and a half, was playing with a doll. Caleb wanted it and went to grab it from her. Her mother jumped to tell her to share and I said no. Don’t worry about it. It’s her’s. I don’t want Caleb to think that just because he wants something, he will get it. That isn’t how life works. You don’t get a car that belongs to someone else just because you want it. There were plenty of other toys so I just redirected him and he was fine. She was a happy little girl because her toy, that belongs to her, wasn’t taken away from her. She was already sharing all of her other toys and that is going above and beyond to be gracious in my mind. I wouldn’t want my one special thing taken away either.

2) Don’t be afraid to say no. I know, shocking after my introducing the idea of no post. It’s true though. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Times for that are like when you’re in a store. If your child is screaming for a cookie, and they’ve already had enough sugar, tell them no. Don’t reward screaming and disrespect. Instead, because we all know that the screaming doesn’t stop just because you say no, redirect. I talk about it again and again. Offer something healthy if you can afford it. Oh look at this super awesome apple. Honey you can pick out something yourself if you want but it can’t be a cookie and you can’t eat it right now. This way, their want is understood but you are leading to a better decision.

3) Money is not the only thing that makes a child happy and more over it shouldn’t be the main source of their happiness. Sadly, so many parents use money to stop crying and to make up for lost time. That’s the best way to make a child spoiled because they will forever need more to fill a much more important spot in their life. Kids don’t naturally want stuff. They just want you! The more QUALITY you time they have the less material items will mean. This means that even if you work, the time you have with them matters. Cuddling, talking, asking questions, can make your child feel loved and wanted and that need for things doesn’t even come up.

 Thank You for Reading and Good Luck My Lovely Readers

Music is an Amazing Tool

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A woman named Sharon Novak, who is a children’s song writer and performer, post a great article on her website that inspired me. Her article was about the value of group music classes for toddlers. I will link to her post at the end but I’m writing today because I’ve been inspired. Music has a great teaching value on Toddlers, but also has an amazing affect on milestones for babies.

The picture above is a great example of this. Corey sat on one side of the bongo, Caleb on the other, and Corey would hit his side. After watching his daddy made the sounds, Corey would copy him. He was still so little then and it helped him learn how to use his hands. It was a real cause and effect and a great bonding moment for them as well.

Even from birth music helps with the littlest, most important things. There was this amazing study done on premature babies. When given a pacifier it would activate lullabies to be played. They would calm considerably. These babies that were played the music had an even more amazing result though. They began to gain weight much quicker than their NICU counterparts.

Playing music has been shown to improve math skills. The best time to try getting a person into learning something new is when they are a baby and their interests are just now being developed. This can be as simple as a toy guitar or drum. It’s something to make them interested in learning the real thing in the future.

Another bonus is speech development. Lullabies are great because they often show simple rhyming patterns and have a lot of repetition. Like with anything, repetition is the way to learn how to speak. When a child hears the word moon over and over they start trying to say this interesting and wonderfully sung word. I personally learned how to sign through songs. I would pick a song, learn the signs to it, and later I’d remember the signs because of the song. It’s like learning a dance. It’s always easier with the music.

The real point is, bring music into your baby’s life. It can be a great way to bond and soothe your child. Caleb HATES being on changing tables. Sometimes in public we have to use them. The only way I can keep him calm is by singing Let it Go. He will smile up at me and I can get the job done.

Thank You for Reading!

http://www.musicforkidswithsharonnovak.com/news-from-sharon/the-value-of-group-classes-for-toddlers/

“When Are You Going to Give Him Real Food?” – The Question that Doesn’t Stop

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I hear it pretty much every time I nurse my LITTLE man in public. People always assume that all I do is give him the boob and in a way they are right. What they are wrong about is my almost nine month old needing to eat solids the same way we do.

Breast Milk has every single nutrient that your baby needs. This includes iron. This includes Vitamin D. Even though doctors will tell you, without testing your little bundle of joy, that they need to supplement those vitamins, they are incorrect. Breast Milk will always be the most complete source of nutrients that you can give your child. More over, the WHO recommends that you breastfeed for a minimum of two years. That means, don’t stop at one. Don’t even stop at two. Just go as long as you can. Once they start loosing teeth then you really do have to stop or the sugar in your milk will rot their teeth. Other than that though, feel free to nurse your child.

The thing is though, I didn’t want to force food on my child. On the other hand, Caleb loves food. So yes, I don’t take out a jar of baby food wherever we are to feed him. Even if I did, Caleb wouldn’t eat it. He hates Purees now. If I am eating in public then my son will eat whatever we eat. I hand him some, he does what he can with it, and we call it good. If we are eating dinner at home, he gets his own portion. He’s constantly eating. It’s our choice though to have the boob always come first. Until my son turns one, or maybe a little longer, I’ll be giving him my booby milk as his main source of food. That is my choice.

You all have a choice as well. You could feed your child every meal and use baby food and what not. That’s okay too. It’s what you and your child are comfortable with. We are comfortable with the way we do it and it’s just one more way for us both to be comfortable.

Thank You for Reading!

The Forced Stay at Home Mummy

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About two weeks ago a friend of mine (who along with her family is pictured above) posted a link on Facebook about being forced into being a stay at home mom. It really got me thinking and sympathizing. This isn’t something I have to worry about. It’s not something that affects my family but for so many people, not just moms, it really can be hard on them.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom and luckily have a man behind me that wants that as well. When people ask me why I don’t work sometimes I lie. I’ll tell them that it is more cost effective, that we can’t afford child care, that I’d only make enough to pay for day care and what’s the point of that. Even though for me it’s really just an excuse to spit out for the more judgmental people, for a lot of women it’s the truth.

On average in America day care costs around $200 a week. The average pay check for a WOMAN, yes this is specifically for a woman because we are still paid less than men, for a part time job is $225. By the time you pay for transportation to and from work and day care, extra snacks, possibly formula, and clothes that extra $25 is more than spent. In fact, you might just be in the negative. Because of this there is a shocking amount of mothers being forced to stay home.

Then someone brought up state assistance. It’s hilarious how many people insist that if you’re broke enough to not afford child care you will get assistance. The issue is that the state doesn’t just look at mom’s income. Dad could be making $450 every two week and that small amount of money would disqualify you from state assistance. So lets look at that. $750 for rent, and you’re making $900 a month. $100 for heat and electric. $50 for food, transportation, paper products… there is no extra money. So of course this leaves it up to the mother to stay home at least until the child goes to school; or never if you’re homeschooling like me.

This is the part that I really had to think about though. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a stay at home mom? Well, that was a dumb question for me to be asking. Just because this is what I love to do, even I need a break sometimes. Some days when my son goes down for a nap, if his dad is here, I’ll go for a walk. An hour is long enough for me to clear my head and feel like an adult again but some people really need more than that and they need to feel like what they are doing is more. Working a job, especially one you’ve spent so much time going to school for, is what some people are meant to do. I’d rather mothers go to work and put their children in day care so that they have the calm and patience to come home to these kids and really get the most out of them. I’ve had cousins who I really wished would go to work and let someone more qualified raise their children.

I’m not saying that all the moms who want to work are not ready for kids constantly or bad moms or anything like that. I’m just saying that sometimes when you get your choices taken away it can put a huge strain on you. When you once had all the ambition in the world to do this specific job or go to school and that choice is taken away, some resentment is going to build up one way or another. That’s an unfortunate truth of today’s economic circumstances.

Thank You as Always for Reading! Tell Me What You Think!

Nursing in Public and Online-Why Not Just Cover? Here’s Why

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Again and again I read the comment, “What’s so hard about covering?” The worst part is how many of the people are fellow nursing mothers. This statement/question comes from ignorance. It comes from people being told that breasts are sexual. It comes from formula companies pushing their “perfect” (do you feel the sarcasm) products. Here’s the reality and why I believe that people should be posting nursing pictures online and should not cover in public. **Disclaimer** I am not dissing mothers who do cover. I am proud of you for giving your child the best food you possibly can and if you have to cover to keep doing it, please do. Some kids need covers as well because they get too distracted so it really helps.

Why to Not Hide:

1) We need to normalize Breastfeeding! The sad truth is that Americans, and really just Americans, have sexualized these fatty bags on our chest. Boobs are for feeding children. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t fill with milk when we get pregnant. When we cover it makes it seem like we are embarrassed about doing this 100% natural thing. It makes it seem like there is something to hide and that it could be considered wrong. Breastfeeding is something to celebrate, it is beautiful, and frankly the big argument I see is that it’s inappropriate but what do you really see? My photo here isn’t a great example. I did that purposefully. I’m proud of nursing. Most of the time though, if I’m in public, you can’t see anything at all. My son has a big freaking head and he covers my whole breast and most of my tummy.

2) It gets hot! The hardest part for us when we first started, and still used a cover, was that it was too hot for my son. He’d be sweating and would stop eating and get fussy. Have you ever tried eating with a blanket over your head? Go ahead and try. It’s not fun.

3) Covers draw more attention. For my son at least, it was useless. He would push the dang thing off. On top of that, I’d be revealing so much more when he did cause it’s so much harder to latch that way.

4) It’s hard to bond, a huge benefit to breastfeeding, when you go to look at your baby and get met with a blanket. Eye contact between mom and baby are so important and help both stay focused and relax.

5) When it comes to online, parents are proud to feed their child from a bottle. People say to me all the time I shouldn’t post nursing pictures. Why? I’m so proud that my son is a good eater. I want to share that. Again though, it comes with normalizing something that is considered so taboo!

So my dears, if you can do it, please nurse whenever and wherever you want. Be proud. You are doing the best thing for your baby.

Thanks for reading! Feel more than free to share your nursing photos in the comments!

Three 6-10 Month Activities-Affordable, Easy, and Motor Skill Focused

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Before I go over these great activities, I want to say that the age group I am focusing on is something I debated on. These activities can be used for any age. Don’t say, oh my kid is too young or too old so these wont help. Working on motor skills always help. Some kids are ahead, some are behind, and no matter what these are easy things that can really help children learn.

With all of these activities, remember that these are supposed to be games. These are supposed to be fun. If your kiddo doesn’t respond to them, change tactics. Most importantly, reward them! No one wants to work hard and not be told they are doing good. They will react so much better if you excitedly tell them they are doing well. My son gets all giddy when he does one of these and I say, Good job baby boy! Big smiles are important as well.

Alrighty then… Onto the activities!

1) Animal Magnet Identification- When you first start this, line up all the magnets and just let your child play with them. Let them be interested before you try to force the knowledge. Once your little one has played a while take one off and show them it. Make that animal’s sound and name it. When you name things, whether it’s part of this game or in day to day life, point. It has been proven that pointing connects things for children. Do this with only one or two of the animals at a time till your child gets used to the game. Once you’ve done that, place the magnet back on the fridge and say, Alright (insert little one’s name here) where is the (insert animal’s name here). If they get the right one, tell them good job! If not, say, good try. Show them the right one and just keep working on it until they get bored or overstimulated. For older kids, you can start asking them, Which animal says (insert sound here). So far my son knows what a tiger says. It’s completely adorable seeing him roar right back at me!

2) Baby Ring Toss- This one we started working on a few nights ago and I laughed so hard. My son was being a perfectionist. If he didn’t get it quite perfect and I told him good job, he’d look at me like I was crazy till he did get it perfect. Well, we have this ring that a block will fit into perfectly. We were playing with each piece so I tried to show him he could put the block into it. I showed each piece and placed the ring on the floor, put the block in it, and went ooooo that’s so cool. Getting any item into another item takes some serious motor skills from babies. After showing him how to do it a few times, I offered the block to Caleb and pointed at the ring. Right away he tried to drop it in, got it on the hole at least, and told him good job. Like I said, he wasn’t happy with himself till he got it in perfectly but… This is an activity that you can only do a few times before baby gets bored.

3) Pass- The last one seems like something very simple, but it takes a lot for babies! Hand-Eye coordination, moving your hands just the right way, just the right push… We use balls from a ball pit because it’s a nice light ball that is easy to work with. Sit across from baby and show him to spread his legs and you do as well. Push the ball to baby. Help baby pass it back and forth. When they catch or pass the ball, say yayyyyy good job! It seems so simple but it’s a major thing for little ones to be able to do this.

So good luck you guys! I hope you and the kiddos really enjoy these as much as we do. Remember to make it fun.

Feel free to tell me how it goes for you!

Thanks for reading!

Blessings 08/10/13

1. Yard Sales +Kind Mothers. As many of my wonderful readers know, I swear by them. Today my aunt, cousin, and I were on the way to Baby’s R Us to make up my registry and we stopped at a yard sale. There was a huge amount of baby clothing and other baby items there and I started picking through. The people running it seemed to be these girls around my age and they told me that each piece was $1-2 dollars and the shoes were $5. Other items they had to ask their mother about. I picked out a couple of things when this wonderful mother lady came out and whispered, “Don’t worry about it. Fill a box with anything you need and you can have it for $5.” Today I received all the newborn clothes I’m going to need, bottle liners, hats, and birth cloths for just $5 because of this wonderful woman that I met at a yard sale.

2. Goodwill + God’s Will. Yes, I did just write a whole thing on yard sales, but this is a little different. While we were at Baby’s R Us I found a lot of nice things I would love to have but don’t expect to be getting because they are so expensive. After that we went to Goodwill and gosh God was watching out for me. I found a bottle set that was going to cost me $30 brand new and yet I found the exact one I had just scanned for $2! Then I found a beautiful baby book, baby coat hangers, and another bottle for a total of $5. These were all things I was really hoping to get and I had found them for very reasonable prices. Praise God!

3. My Little Sister Cousin Thing. This little girl drives me crazy. That’s what little sisters are for. When I got home tonight though, I was so tired. This sweet little thing came right up to me and gave me the biggest hug and said, “I love you Sissy.” I felt revived. It makes me so happy to know that she loves me despite all the times that we fight. She’s eleven years younger than me and we’re really cousins so sometimes it’s hard to feel the way we should, but tonight I know it and gosh I’m blessed for having her as a sister.

Baby Shopping When You’re Broke… is Okay!

Look at this my lovely readers, two whole posts in one day! Didn’t think I had it in me…

As I made it painfully clear in the apartment post, my love and I are quite broke right now. When you’re having a child, this can really be a problem. We’re rolling with it though and we’ve realized that having to budget can be a real blessing.

When you’re having a baby, what kind of things do you need to get? Most people I’ve asked this to give me a pretty generic and extensive list that looks something like this:

-Crib

-Twelve Thousand Onsies

-Swings for Every Room

-Pack and Play for Home and on the Go

-Bassinet

-etc…

     I think you get the point. It’s just a lot of everything that would be nice to have, but it’s not a need. When you are broke and buying for yourself or having family that’s not all the well off either buy got you, the first thing you need to accept is that you wont be getting a whole lot of brand new things. Guess what though, there is nothing wrong with that! Most things like bassinets and bounce seats only get a few months of use before the other baby out grows it and as long as it’s not just thrown into some dusty basement, the quality can be pristine and like new. Let me just mention, that is one of my favorite terms. Like new is like saying, “Oh we bought it but never used it.” Figuring the used aspect of an item often takes the value down by 50% or more, it’s the best thing you can hear. Once you accept these items will be second hand, you can see the beauty in how much more you’ll be able to afford.

     My aunt bought my cousin a pack and play/bassinet combo about for years ago and that cousin is now passing it on to me. This thing is originally $200 brand new. If I tried to go out and but something similar even that is new, I’d have spent most of the baby budget we have set aside. Thank you cousin!

     My guilty pleasure though, has been… Yard Sales! Once again, something I hate to admit, but almost every day I’ve been to one and found a real steal of a deal. A close family friend gave me a bouncy seat that has Baby Looney Tunes on it and from that moment I decided my son’s room would be themed around it. Little did I know, it’s harder to find stuff to go along with the theme than I thought. Yesterday though, rummaging through a yard sale that seemed rather unpromising, I came across a real prize. A crib set, that had Baby Looney Tunes on it! $3 for the set was a blessing right there.

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     So keep yourself open. Just because you aren’t getting something new from a store doesn’t decrease the value for you. After all, it is still new to you and it didn’t cost you nearly as much as the “newers.” I have a steady collection of baby clothes, bottles, toys, blankets, furniture, and other necessities ready for my little guy and all together I’d say I’ve had to fork out $30 maximum. Life is good, and yard sales are a blessing.