New Beginnings for Homeschool and Life

Whether it's a new school year or other areas of life, when new things come our way, we aren't discarding anything except what needs to be gone. Found at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

A friend of mine recently talked to me about how there are two times of year that we really focus on fresh starts or new beginnings. One of them is the beginning of the calendar year when many people make New Year’s resolutions or reevaluate how they are doing on long-term goals.

The other is the beginning of a new school year, traditionally in the fall. Kids are starting in new classrooms with new clothes, books, teachers, backpacks, and other things. Colleges start and freshmen are experiencing dorm life as well as college classrooms for the first time.

Whether it's a new school year or other areas of life, when new things come our way, we aren't discarding anything except what needs to be gone. Found at The Happy Housewife

First day of homeschool 2015, plus photobombing graduate

Bring something new into homeschooling

Many homeschoolers, too, are having a new season. We are starting afresh if we follow a traditional school year. For some, it’s a new grade level. For others, it’s a new study goal or subject. We all want something new.

This year there was some new curriculum for the 5, 7, and 8-year-olds in my home. So far, we love it. Sure, we need to tweak it a bit some days, but the newness is still there, and it’s such a change from our usual that even on the days they aren’t motivated, they still want to dig in.

We like finding new traditions to mark the start of the year as well as adding to old ones. We get some new school supplies. We go somewhere fun. We take a picture. This year we’re trying to do more away-from-home learning, aka field trips. With the kids getting older, this is getting easier on me.

Whether it's a new school year or other areas of life, when new things come our way, we aren't discarding anything except what needs to be gone. Found at The Happy Housewife

Our 1 year old drawing in the closet

Our youngest is a year and a half old and getting into everything. While this is most definitely NOT new, finding her drawing in the closet with her siblings’ homeschooling supplies is a new thing. Each child is definitely a new experience in parenting, teaching, and learning. Add to that, laughing!

We have a homeschool graduate. This is new for us. Watching him plan the next few years of his life is amazing.

Experience something new in your life

Purely by accident, my children brought me a completely new experience. A few weeks before we started up schooling again, my youngest son found a monarch caterpillar. We fed it and kept it and watched it. We worried about it. Then the little guy made his chrysalis. Wouldn’t you know it, just about when I thought we’d lost it, the butterfly emerged. Even better, it was on the day we started up our homeschool again.

Whether it's a new school year or other areas of life, when new things come our way, we aren't discarding anything except what needs to be gone. Found at The Happy Housewife

Our youngest son letting go

My oldest is learning guitar. He completely did it on his own. He bought a guitar. He found some beginner information. He took advantage of some learning opportunities, and when that is complete he will see where to go from there.

My second son decided one day that he wanted to learn the ukulele. He bought it and learned to play it in less than a week.

Whether it's a new school year or other areas of life, when new things come our way, we aren't discarding anything except what needs to be gone. Found at The Happy Housewife

My oldest two sons learning new instruments

My third son decided he wanted to learn the bagpipes. We told him good luck with that and to wait until he left home.

All kidding aside, my children are examples to me in that they find the motivation within themselves and then go for it. We support them and help them when possible, but it’s all from them. Now I need to get started on some of my goals.

Let the new into your life

Unlike most other school years, I am not pregnant nor do I have a newborn. This is new, and it could very well be the start of a new season of life for me. If that is the case, I need to let it be a new time for myself and my family and not be focused on what is ending.

Every day is a new day. It’s odd having a child be past the schooling that we’re offering here at our home. We embrace that and support him in his future endeavors.

This summer we had a son gone for 10 weeks. This was very new. He thrived.

We have three children with driver’s permits, and one very soon will be ready to get his license. We step into this with fear and trepidation, but it is good to move forward.

Every day we have changes and decisions to make. New jobs, new books, new ideas, new friends, new focus, new goals. We aren’t discarding anything except what needs to be gone. We’re just moving forward and growing into what we’re meant to become. Whether it is the new school year or just “no time like the present,” I know we can do this together.

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Avoiding Burnout with Younger Children

It's easy to get burnt out with multiple children. Doing something once doesn't mean you shouldn't try to have similar experiences with your younger children.  Found at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

Toddlers learn by doing their favorite things again…and again…and again. So when you have more than one child, you have likely done the same things with each toddler repeatedly and your level of repetition is exponential! Depending on how many children you have, it may seem like it has been happening forever.

It is easy to get burnt out and not do some of the wonderful things you did with your older children again with your precious younger children. Been there, done that. I have ten children, from ages 18 years to 18 months. This is something I know well.

It's easy to get burnt out with multiple children. Doing something once doesn't mean you shouldn't try to have similar experiences with your younger children.  Found at The Happy Housewife

Ten children, all very different!

I have found evidence of my burnout everywhere.

We played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit as a family.  The younger children were just not getting anything. I realized that the younger children in my household haven’t seen the Star Wars movies – any of them – and my husband was shocked! We decided then and there to watch the movies again as a family.

When reading my older kids’ favorite books to my younger kids, I can find myself reciting from memory. Sometimes I even find myself tuning out at the funny parts. Solution? I could find new favorites.

I’ll decline opportunities to play a game with my younger kids and instead let my older kids fill in for me. What I should also do is have my older kids fill in for the chore I’m doing (like washing the dishes) while I play Candy Land (or something else) again!

I’ve said no to going to the park even though we haven’t gone in a while because I still remember going sooo many times. What we do instead is go to the zoo, which we weren’t able to do as often when my oldest kids were small.

Sometimes my husband will say no to something the little ones are asking to do, and I remind him (and myself) that we haven’t done it with them yet, just with the older kids. And depending on the activity, that could be more or less than half the kids in our family. We’re still learning!

It's easy to get burnt out with multiple children. Doing something once doesn't mean you shouldn't try to have similar experiences with your younger children.  Found at The Happy Housewife

Mom, please play with me?

So, here’s a reminder to all those households with multiple children. Doing something once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to have similar experiences with your other children!

1. Each child needs your time and attention. It may not be the same experience as before. You can’t repeat it exactly, but your whole family can contribute. Each child needs the same level of love and care from you.

2. Each child needs to learn that you care. There are popular books about how each person has a different way of feeling loved or needed. That’s true for our children, too. So by doing these things with your younger children, you are also getting to know them.

3. Each child needs to feel they are a part of the family. As a family grows (in age or in size) demands on time become greater and demands on the family stretch our creativity and budget. Involve everyone as much as possible in events for any child. Support activities, sports, performances, etc.

4. Each child needs learning opportunities. It seems that each of my children needs less and less help from me learning to get dressed, brush teeth, tie shoes, ride a bike, sled, and even read because more and more older siblings are helping and teaching alongside me. However, I still make sure I’m there to help each of my children.

5. Each child needs to work alongside you. I remember doing chores with my oldest helping me often. It takes more effort to involve my younger kids as they have more people to distract them, and I have more help around the house in the first place. However, they need to learn to work just as much as my older children did, so I try to give them responsibilities that are age appropriate as well as something they can do with me.

My younger children won’t have the same memories as their older siblings. They will, however, still be building memories with their family that are filled with love and warmth.

I need to remember that just because I worked hard at being a parent with my oldest kids doesn’t mean I can rest on the past with my younger kids. They need me, too, and I can’t short them because I’m older and tired. What they get is all the things I’ve learned from having older children and all the patience I’ve gained from experience, and I hope it balances out!

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Teaching Kids About Water Conservation

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

I grew up in Southern California, which originally was a desert. I spent a lot of my youth in Utah and Nevada, also deserts.

So, I grew up knowing that water is precious. I was also taught not to waste anything. Therefore, my kids learn water conservation with a vengeance.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Rain when it was needed most

Before we moved to Missouri, where no one has sprinklers because water tends to fall from the sky pretty regularly, we lived in Amarillo, Texas, also a desert. The older kids remember having to water the grass and garden. When it did rain, it flooded. It flooded this summer with unseasonable rain.

Fast forward to living in the green Midwest, at least when it’s not a drought year. We’ve had so much rain the last 48 hours we can’t even walk anywhere without getting muddy. If the kids hear something that sounds like rain, they assume it is rain, even if it is sunny outside…and they could be right.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Water falling from the sky

It’s hard to explain to the kids that clean water is a limited resource and that we need to use it wisely, but there are many ways to teach this.

Sure, I could just talk, talk, and talk about all the reasons we need to save water. In the last 5 years, they’ve seen no real shortage of water, so I know I need to give more reasons they can relate to.

The things that always stuck in my mind as a child were songs, usually from TV shows, and so I sing them with the little kids. Trust me, the older kids pay attention even if they feel they are too old.

Resources for Teaching Kids About Water Conservation

Sesame Street

One short but sweet resource was a Sesame Street clip where the fish calls up the boy wasting water. Click here to see it.

Sesame Street has many other videos available on their website, including more about saving water in ways even the youngest can understand but with reasons the older ones can get behind.

Schoolhouse Rock

A newer one that has come to my attention recently is the newest season of Schoolhouse Rock, also known as Schoolhouse Rock Earth. There’s a whole song about not wasting water.

Water, Use It Wisely

Another fun thing (of which there are many) are websites like Water, Use it Wisely and others. There are games, printables, and reminders of how even kids can make a difference.

Charities and Organizations

Speaking of kids making a difference, sometimes my kids think that anything they do isn’t worth trying because there is so much going wrong with the world. We find stories about kids like them who have helped in some way to save water and get clean water to where it is needed. We’ve talked about stories related to different charities and kids’ organizations, such as Students for Safe Water.

Between the songs, video clips, and the learning materials and the awareness we’ve found for our family, I think we can make a difference too, even if it’s just doing little things like not wasting water in our own home for now.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Rain this year

I still have to remind my kids. They are just kids. But the reminder is good for all of us. Thinking especially of those for whom clean water is a luxury, don’t waste the water we have.

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We Love Bugs! (Things Children Learn From Us)

We Love Bugs! (Things Our Children Learn From Us) at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

All things that creep and crawl on this earth apparently are friends to my children. It’s shown in the stories my 15-year-old daughter brought home from camp this summer.

Apparently their tent was plagued with daddy long legs, which she took care of by removing them gently, and one morning a snake took up residence among their shoes. She was the one who discovered this (thankfully) and made sure this little guy was also moved to a safer location.

Just to show her intelligence, she also did NOT inform her tent-mates of this intruder until later. A lot later. She was a little frustrated with how scared they were of bugs and other “creepy” living things.

We Love Bugs! (Things Our Children Learn From Us) at The Happy Housewife

My oldest daughter with a caterpillar

I can only take partial credit in that I try to be supportive of learning about animals.  I try not to show disgust or fear unless it was warranted.  For example, no pet wasps.  Sorry, kids.  So the kids are totally afraid of wasps, but back to “safe” bugs and other things people sometimes are afraid of.

We love bugs and other creatures. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of insects, spiders, and other living things cross our paths. We have a pet snake, a bearded dragon, and fish. We’ve also had dwarf hamsters.

We Love Bugs! (Things Our Children Learn From Us) at The Happy Housewife

We love bugs!

While I knew this wasn’t normal, I didn’t realize how far from normal we were until I tried to find someone to pet-sit for a family vacation a few months ago. I was told in no uncertain terms where to go. Elsewhere, mostly.

Happily, we found a reptile-friendly family willing to check on our pets as well as feed and water them, and all was well.

This got me thinking, though, that maybe when we as adults show our fears or dislikes, our children are less willing to try something new, like pet a snake or pick up a big caterpillar.

We Love Bugs! (Things Our Children Learn From Us) at The Happy Housewife

My fourth son with our snake, at age 1

I try to never discourage learning about animals and what they are allowed to pick up, study, or touch (within safety limits).

While this is JUST FINE with some parents, (and I refuse to judge either way!) it can apply to more than just how our children view bugs.

Kids learn more from our actions than we can ever tell.

We Love Bugs! (Things Our Children Learn From Us) at The Happy Housewife

Three of my sons with a toad… getting a closer look!

 

While it doesn’t matter whether we allow snakes or bugs in our home, it does matter:

  • when they see how honest we are.
  • when they see how we treat our parents and other extended family members.
  • when they see how we treat those less fortunate.
  • when they see how we treat those we disagree with.
  • what we do at home versus how we are outside our home.

Always act in a way you would like your children to emulate, and both you and your children will benefit!

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.