As far as Flynn's crafts and schooling... First off, my older children are cyberschooled, which is different from traditional homeschooling. They are enrolled in an actual school with certified teachers. They receive and submit assignments using provided laptops. For this reason, I am essentially a facilitator for them when they need it. Also, I have been amazed at the way the three of them work together to help each other. Flynn is the only child I homeschool, and as a certified early childhood teacher, I am able to create a curriculum for her. (Although, being a certified teacher is in no way necessary to homeschool! Just knowing your child, and wanting to teach them yourself is about all you need. )
Before school began, I wrote out a few months worth of plans for Flynn, keeping in mind the actual time spent on structured activities at home is quite a bit less than if she were to attend an outside preschool. As the year progressed, I found it easy to plan one month in advance. I planned for table time activities Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, crafts on Wednesday, and religion on Friday. It works really well. Once I had that planned out, I sat down with the materials I had and penciled in lessons for each day. The crafts I do with her are ones I did years ago with my students and also ones I find on Pinterest. Sometimes, I create crafts of my own. But I must tell you, an artist I am not! Fortunately, Madison is very crafty, and Peyton always lends a hand in the implementation of my ideas. : ) I ordered all of my supplies from Amazon at one time and stocked my cabinet. I ordered construction paper, paint, brushes, white poster board, glue, glue sticks, glitter, cotton balls, tissue paper, and popsicle sticks. With those materials, Flynn is able to create any craft I plan for her. We do crafts on Wednesday, so Tuesday afternoon I prep. I double check all materials, cut or draw anything necessary, and set it all out. That way, Wednesday morning, we were set to go. : )
My planner for Flynn's first year of preschool. Love. : )
And a peek at the inside...
and the well stocked supply cupboard nearby. : )
As for the fun snacks...We all start schooling at the same time every morning. Obviously, Flynn is done well before the other three. In an effort to keep her occupied, I started very early in the year asking her help to prep a morning snack. I found it easier to finish her work, and go straight to the kitchen to prepare something healthy, and sometimes not, for the older kids. That way, they would have a set snack time and wouldn't be grazing all morning, disrupting school work. Thus began Flynn's "surprise" snacks! At least once a week we make brownies or muffins. We also do fresh fruit plates, pepperoni, crackers and cheese, graham crackers with apple slices and peanut butter, and sometimes homemade cookies. All these things I keep in the fridge and pantry and am sure to restock them as needed.
Ok...meal planning...my favorite. Really. : ) I am a meal planner. It is just how my brain works. I also believe it keeps us eating healthier by not eating out as much. Every Thursday, I sit down with my recipe binder, calendar, and Madison's work schedule. Peyton always helps me with this. : ) I make a copy of the blank menu that I keep in my monthly folder. I fill in meals for each night of the week based on activities or work schedules. For example, if Madison goes into work at around 5:00, I plan a meal I can make in the afternoon before she goes. I also plan with the weather in mind. No one wants to eat soup if it is 85 degrees! I usually use my crockpot one night a week, and also plan leftovers for school lunches. After we have the menu written out, I make the grocery list. Peyton checks the pantry for any ingredients we need for the meals and desserts and then we add the items fom our list we keep in the pantry. We grocery shop on Friday, and then have a well stocked house for the weekend with meals planned for the week. This makes it easy to see when I need thaw out meat too. I try to go to the store once a week only, except for the extra trip for milk or strawberries!
The blank menu plan for May. I found these online at a wonderful website right here.
Now...Tara asked if I am as calm as I appear to be here on the blog. In a word...yes. Have I always been? Probably not. I think age brings a sense of peace and contentment...of perspective. Things that used to make me crazy now make me shrug my shoulders. I mean, so what if my spring cleaning takes until June to complete? What if I skip it entirely this year? Will the world end?
I am as calm as I appear. I think this comes from loving what I do. I am a very simple person. I love to be home. I enjoy creating a place for my family to come home to, or relax in. I am content to be here with my family, washing clothes and baking brownies. That isn't the case for everyone, I know. Some peope prefer to be out and about, sharing time with friends. Some people take comfort in completing a task well at work. So do what makes you happy. And peace will come from that. If being home makes you crazy, go out more. If being out too much makes you frazzled, limit activities and spend more time at home. Just don't be afraid to be you. To do what you want, without worrying about pleasing others or conforming to standards you don't share.
One more thing...I would be being completely dishonest if I wrote this entire post and left you with the impression that I DO do it all. I do...but with a great deal of help. My husband and my children...we work as a team and that is the only way we operate! My husband supports everything I do here, and my children pitch in as well. We work together with one goal in mind... establishing a happy, healthy, home in which we share our lives and create wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing your lives and ideas with me here. I learn from you all everyday. : )