Saturday, February 27, 2010

a few more answers...

Today, the baby shower was moved to the church due to rain.
This is a shot of the 3-5 yr old children's church room
being used for the baby shower.


okay, I'd like to pick your homeschooling brain...we're starting our oldest in kinder in august and i need some help! do you go thru a school (christian or charter?) what curriculums do you use? how do you teach older ones with little ones afoot, what things do you wish you knew when you first started?

This should really be a whole weeks' worth of posting. I have learned so much since the first day when I opened up our home schooling books. To answer a few questions quickly-- I use Abeka Books and really enjoy their already made lesson plans, but they are somewhat demanding. They require you to have unbroken and concentrated blocks of time which can be very difficult to find when little children are part of your household. I also wish it were a bit more relaxed, but then again, I guess the curriculum wouldn't be as rigorous and then I'd probably be wondering why it was so easy. Sometimes I would like to be a little more spontaneous in my daily teachings, but I am thankful for the guidance and structure it provides. We registered with the school district as a private school and so we do not have to be part of any affiliation.

In regards to coordinating activities for the little ones while teaching...I am still learning. At one time, I tried to do school only when the little guys were napping, then I tried to have all of them play first in the morning to get all the jitterbugs out and teach them in the afternoon when my husband came home. On some days, these strategies worked; on others, it was chaos. I think that when the weather is nice, it helps me to let the little ones play in the yard {I can see my children easily from the table}, while I school the others.

Here's a few things that I would have liked to have known before getting started: 1. No matter what I feel like-- I'll never be the perfect teacher, but I am constantly getting a little bit better. 2. Organization-- shelves, drawers, folders, calendars, schedules, bookcases-- is critical to survival and efficiency. 3. At first, I'd take a day off, just because the weather was nice and my husband used to get irked with me and tell me to 'save' up for when I really needed it. It turns out there was some (a lot) of wisdom in his advice and now my goal is to get through the year quickly and be done by mid-May. Maybe this won't work for you, but it gets me excited to work just thinking about it and the kids as well. 4. No matter what your kids do or do not learn, they are getting nearly one on one tutoring everyday from the best possible teacher they could ever have. Just the simple quantity of time that you spend with them daily has an intangible value that you cannot calculate and it does (believe or not) translate into greater academic achievement.

Like I said-- I should do a week of posts on the things I've learned in my two years of home schooling.

When the kids get sick, do they all get sick? Do you always have to be the one to stay home with them since your husband is a pastor? How big is your church? Do you have a lot of responsibilities as a pastor's wife? Does anyone one babysit all your kids for you and if so how often?

Most of the time, if someone in our house gets sick, then there will probably be a few others that catch it too. Sometimes we try to quarantine/isolate the person, but that's nearly impossible with all physical interaction that takes place between our children and because of the small size of our house-- we just don't have that much room. Besides eating right, cold medicine, chewable vitamin C, and lots of prayer-- there's not much else we have had to do. To say that God has blessed us with great health would be an understatement.

And when I am sick, the truth is: I still have to take care of everyone else. My husband does help as much as he can and has even taken days off in extreme instances, like when I could barely move out of bed, but that's only happened once or twice.

We are a pioneer work {about 40+ and growing} and with that my husband still has a day job until he can be on full time salary at the church. He's a full-time teacher at a local high school.
Fortunately, he just doesn't get sick and if he does he wouldn't say it anyway, but he goes to work which means I've got to make it happen until he gets home. This is part of the beauty of your kids growing up-- they can get you stuff and keep the house from burning down if you're too sick to get out of bed.

If a cupcake is sick, then mommy is the one who misses church. Last year, during the fall/winter, I felt like I was never in church. It seemed like someone was always sick. We could not beat the bug-- it was just getting passed from one kid to another. One night, I even had my 9 year old call me on my husband's cell phone at church and put it on speaker so I could be home with the sickies and still listen to the sermon. To answer the other questions-- I do have a lot of church responsibilities and most of them are not things people in the church see. I am in the children's church every Sunday-- however it was worse when we first began pioneering. We have Sunday am & pm and Wednesday night services and the person in the back was me, me and me. Since we've grown and other people have risen to the responsibility, I am very thankful for a church with individuals who want to help in that area.

Babysitters: We do have a few and yes, we do leave all the kids with them. These are people who we've known for years and have been around our kids through the church and they know what we expect from them and how to deal with them.
We really don't use them that often, since we do almost everything as a family altogether... except those occasional date nights.

I didn't get a chance to ask on the other post and maybe it has already been asked but would you share what your monthly grocery budget is with your size of family and then how much normal items like milk and eggs run in your area as a reference to how they are different than mine. Thanks!

Monthly: somewhere between $725 to $800 per month. And that includes diapers and wipes! Right now we've got 3 in diapers-- ouch! Pretty soon only 2, so that'll help. At other times when certain cupcakes were gassy, we ended up spending about $40-$50 per month on formula (Costco has the best deal on their Kirkland brand-- 2 big cans for under $20). At Costco, at the beginning of the month, we spend about $200 - $300, and stock up on a bunch of stuff. Five dozen extra large eggs for @$6.50 - $7.00; Two gallons whole milk goes for @ $5; One gallon fresh OJ $2.99. My husband will shop at any number of markets that are on his way home from work which might include the Albertsons, Smart&Final, Food 4 Less, Ralphs, or the local Mexican markets which always have THE BEST prices on produce. So these prices are from where we find the best deals. My husband always buys bread from the discount rack and scores tons of great things-- including bagels, hamburger buns, etc. He's also very patient and will wait for things to get marked down, then buy as much as he can. Obviously, he's learned this over the years and through the necessity of making every penny count. There really is no other way for us. We have to get the most for our money since we do go through about a gallon of milk a day and about a gallon of OJ every other day. Oh-- we eat about 5-8lbs of bananas (2lbs. for $1) a week as well and we eat cheese like there's no end in sight. Is that enough for ya?

If you're wondering whether or not this is correct that my husband does the food shopping, then the answer is yes. Many times, he goes when all are asleep-- either early in the morning or late at night. This is what works out well for us and it takes a lot of stress out of my life as far as worrying about whether we're gonna make it to the end of the month or not. This way, if we go over budget, my husband knows how much, why and what he has to do to come up with the extra cash and that doesn't bother him. No, he's not some kind of control freak monitoring every penny; He's just willing to do whatever's necessary to make our home run smoothly. He does do most of the cooking for dinners & on weekends, but I think he'd tell you that he's getting the easy end of the deal since I'm the one taking care of the kids all day and homeschooling them.

How much money to you spend on decorating your home?

On a regular basis? Not very much. However, when we first got our house, we did lay out some money on a couch, loveseat and recliner (@$1800), but that's after years of second hand and thrift store couches which we then passed on to someone else. I will buy knick-knacks from thrift stores, Marshalls or Ross, online catalogs or wherever I see a good deal. We got our kitchen table from an unfinished furniture store for $50 (down from$450) because it had a couple minor problems which my husband fixed. We got a $300 mirror from Costco for $89 because the frame had some marks on it. My husband made two sets of toddler bunkbeds for under $50 each and they actually look pretty nice (the second set a lot better than the first), but we did buy full size bunkbeds from K-Mart for $200 because we thought they were a good deal. We had second and third hand washers and dryers until very recently. My only advice is to really know what you like (style and colors), know what you need (practicality), know your budget, and as much as you may not want to-- ask your husband what he thinks because his annoying comments or questions will actually help you to determine if what you're thinking about getting is really necessary, reasonable, and complimentary to what you already have.

Do you make money off your blog?

Nope. Even with the adsense on my blog, I have never seen one penny from my blog.

I think that is good for now.
Until next Saturday.......

If you have anymore questions to add, please leave them in this post's comment section.


Mrs.Rabe said...

You are doing a great job on the answers!

You guys are doing a great job with your family and finances etc...It is fun to read these posts!

Amanda said...

You are remarkable!! Love getting to know you better.


Kelly said...

Thank you so much for sharing! It's so fun to hear about how you guys make a big family work.

Suzanne said...

Okay, coming back to read more - definitely!! Thanks for such sweet words on my blog. You really encouraged me. By the way, I've started a Mom to Many page just so I have all my new friends in one place. And you're all linked up!! Hope your day is marvelous!

Marilyn said...

Hi Ya'...Just reading this, especially the food expence I will say this...You are a shopping genius!! I probably spend almost that much with just the 3 of us & 3felines.
I find these answers very interesting without being too nosy!!

thechattymommy said...

Your post was so good for my heart. Thank you for sharing about the kids being sick and feeling like you never went to church. I am so there right now- home again today because the little guy's stomach is still not well.
My kids use Abeka at the private school they go to. I like it, but if my husband allows me to homeschool, I was unsure what curriculum to use, especially since my son seems just as smart as his sisters, but needs a different approach to learning. It is good to know you have so many boys and still use Abeka- I might just stick with it- If my husband lets me - pray he does- please. Do you buy complete curriculums from abeka or pick and choose- I know they can be pricey?
Again- thanks so much for sharing.

Malissa said...

Thanks so much for sharing with us! I haven't been following your blog too long so you may have answered this in a previous post, but where, oh where, does Ruby get her bright red hair from? It's quite adorable :)

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing your life with us! I so appreciated all the homeschool tips :) One more there any sling/wrap (if you used them) you loved/hated?? I have big (ish) babies and would really like to wear #3 more than the first two but could never find a sling that didn't hurt my back or a wrap that would hold the baby tight enough! Thank you!!

Katrina said...

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Katy and Ross said...

Thank you for sharing!

I keep our church nursery twice a week and I agree about the older kids. Sometimes I feel guilty after I work all day Wednesday and then go to keep the nursery and I'm exhausted and can't do as much. Somehow the older kids always pitch in and help me out :)