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Homeschooling While Working

Have you thought about homeschooling? I have been thinking about this a great deal, especially since my son will be entering kindergarten in the fall. It is especially difficult when you have a regular daytime work schedule! However, I truly believe that no matter how busy your schedule is, there is still time to dedicate to homeschooling. Whether you have a couple of hours a day or a few days out of the week, it just takes some dedication, research, and creative thinking. Here, I will provide you with 5 steps to help you get the ball rolling!

Step 1: Focus on the skills that your child needs to master for a particular grade level. Focusing on the skills first is important because your time is limited. You want to make sure that what you are planning to teach will meet or surpass the milestones that are expected for your child’s grade level.

Step 2: Decide what subjects are important for you to teach your child. Since your time is limited, it would be best to focus on the subject areas that your want your child to learn or improve in. For example, possible subject areas would be: math, language arts (i.e., reading, writing, listening, speaking), social studies, science, art, music, religion, foreign language, computer, etc.

Step 3: Examine and list the methods you want to use to teach the subjects you have chosen. Worksheets tend to be the first things that are readily available in stores and online, however there are plenty of  hands-on methods that can be used to teach various subjects to your child. Using manipulatives, visuals, books, interactive games, flash cards, field trips, and experiments are just a few ways that can spark the interest of any child.

Step 4: Research the materials you want to use to teach your subjects. There are so many curriculum kits and guides that you can buy to teach the skills that you want to cover for each subject area, however remember the guide is just that. It is important to be flexible in what you decide to teach, the way you present it, and how much you actually cover. Also, feel comfortable in finding material that is free, which will ultimately meet the same objective.

Step 5: Create a plan. There are multiple parts to creating a plan for the time you will spend homeschooling your child:

  • Days Available
  • Hours Available
  • How much material can you realistically and enjoyably cover in the time provided without rushing?
  • When will you cover each subject that you have decided upon? How often?

Once you have figured out the answers to these questions, you can map out the skills in each subject area, along with materials, that you will teach first. Remember, there is no need to rush through the skills. The important part is mastery and that varies from child to child. While it is important to not spend too long teaching a particular skill, it is fine if there are the regular life interruptions and you need to return to a concept the next day or so.

Also, take the time to organize the space that you and your child will be using. It is so important to have materials readily available so that you are not searching for the next thing that you are going to be teaching. Decide ahead of time what space is available for homeschooling and how you will make the materials easily accessible.

With these 5 steps, you should be able to begin the rewarding process of homeschooling with a limited schedule!

Have any additional tips? Feel free to comment below.

Overcoming Despair

Have you ever had that heavy feeling on your heart…too many things going wrong at once and your were just not sure how you were going to ever see your way out of it? This feeling is called despair and it can seriously take over our way of thinking if we allow it to. The most important thing is to realize that things can turn around and they will as long as we don’t throw in the towel! Giving up is the last thing we should do, especially we have God, whose amazing power can help us refocus.

God wants to use the talents and gifts that he has given us to do great works for him, but if we decide that all hope is lost and give up, those abilities go to waste. God has placed his special treasure inside of us who are weak. Now, if you are like me, “weak” is not a word that I would use to describe myself. However, when we take to time to see that we do have inner and outer flaws (A.K.A not perfect), the word “weak” is not such a terrible description. God is able to see through our imperfections and strengthen them, so that we are able to be vessels for him.

Take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

With God’s power we are able to overcome despair!

What is even greater is that, this power can also help us to focus, not on our problems or what is not going right in life, but on the larger picture.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says,

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I know that focusing on what God has in store for the future when you can’t see it is a challenging thing to do. This can only be done with His help. Daily prayer, Bible study, time of praise and worship, and fellowship with believers can make focusing on what in unseen much easier to do.

In yesterday’s post on “What is My Purpose?”, I spoke about how our demonstration of God’s love in our lives through the way that we help others around us, is one way that God helps us to understand our purpose. When we overcome despair, we are also allowing God to make our purpose clearer because we are letting His power-filled life shine through our “cracked” vessel, so others can get to know Him.

8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:8-9

What Is My Purpose?

As I was spending this afternoon having my devotional time (the morning did not work out too well), I decided to think about what is my purpose. Recently, this has been a big topic for me because many times God has given me direction about what to do with my career, family, motherhood, and other aspects of my life. However, I have been the one who gets things confused and sees his clear guidance as a number of different options that have no direction. In times like these, good advice, time in the Word, and prayer are the main things that help me to see God’s plan.

Ultimately, our purpose is to love, serve, glorify, and bring joy to God and we can trust His plan – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11. So what ever we choose to do, we need to make sure that those ideas/decisions are in alignment with this ultimate purpose.

Questions I ended up asking myself:

1. Will my decision demonstrate that I love God?

2. Will my decision serve God and God’s people?

3. Will God be glorified by my decision?

4. Will God rejoice over my decision? Do I believe that God will say “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

At this point I know that God will help me to understand the exact next steps in His plan for my life as I continue to put him first and be motivated to act upon the doors that he opens!

What helps you to understand your purpose? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Simply Delicious Fruit Pie

Have you ever gotten a sweet tooth, but you don’t want something that is too heavy and fattening? Well, do I have a dessert for you! It is called Simply Delicious Fruit Pie inspired by Lickety-Split Meals’ “Summer Fresh Fruit Pie”. I bought this cookbook when it when it was republished in 2004. Then I lost it somehow, realized how great it really was, and ended up purchasing it again in 2009. I have been using it since. What is so great about this cookbook is that it is a phenomenal meal planning package. There are health tips, variations for vegetarians, a weekly meal planning white board, and a shopping list for all the groceries that you need to keep in your kitchen to complete your recipes.

Now, for the pie…I couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted. Of course I tweaked this recipe, as I always do, because I wanted to use ingredients that did not include preservatives or artificial ingredients. Therefore, it does take a bit longer to make, but it is well worth it! My family loves it and I would highly recommend that you give it a try!

Ingredients/Directions:

Step 1-

1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup organic strawberry puree
1/2 cup organic cane sugar

Puree your whole fresh strawberries in a blender or food process to make the puree. Pour the puree into a bowl, add the gelatin, boiling water, and sugar. Mix gently.

Step 2 –

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 whole organic large egg
2 tbsp vegetable spread (I prefer Earth Balance)
dash of salt
Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt, in a saucepan until all lumps are gone. In a second  bowl, whisk the egg and almond milk. Pour the egg mixture into the sugar mixture and heat (medium). Continue to whisk the mixture to avoid clumping. When it thickens, add the vegetable spread. Once it comes to a boil, continue whisking for 1 minute and then remove from heat.

Step 3 –

3 cups graham cracker crumbs (I prefer to crumble graham crackers from Trader Joe’s or Whole Food since there are no partially hydrogenated oils)
6 tablespoons nonfat plain greek yogurt ( I prefer Chobani)
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs, yogurt, and brown sugar in a bowl.  Spray the pan with cooking spray and press mixture firmly into two  8 or 9 inch pie pans. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

Step 4 –

1 quart fresh organic strawberries, cleaned and sliced in half
2 organic bananas, sliced
3 fresh organic peaches sliced into wedges
1/2 pint organic blueberries, washed and drained

Carefully mix the fruits in a bowl. Spread 1/2 of the fruit mixture into each of the crusts. Then pour 1/2 of the gelatin/pudding mixture into each crust (covering the fruit). Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Feel free to serve it the whipped cream! Yum!

Welcome back to week 2 of Superb Supper Sundays! Last week, I attempted to include some pictures of the meal my family ate and some commentary on how the meals turned out. As always, the homemade pizza was a success, so I will be repeating that meal with a change of toppings. This time, I am planning to add more veggies. I have also traded my Crockpot Night for Breakfast for Dinner Night because I really did not want to chop up all the ingredients this week! There have also been a few other trades for the themed nights this week. I hope you enjoy!

 

Weekly Meal Plan – 2/26 – 3/3

Sunday (Breakfast for Dinner) – Homemade Biscuits, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit Salad, Strawberry Lemonade

Monday (Tex-Mex Night) – Vegetarian Chili; Salad

Tuesday (Home Cooked Meal – HMC Night) – Roasted Rosemary Potatoes; Sauteed Kale & Swiss Chard

Wednesday (Italian Night) – Vegetable Lasagna; Steamed Broccoli

Thursday (Mexican Night) – Black Bean Quesadillas; Oven Fries

Friday (Italian Night) – Four Cheese Pizza w/Broccoli; Salad

Saturday (Asian Night) – Vegetable Stir-Fry; Jasmine Brown Rice; Vegetable Dumplings; Fortune Cookies

 

I will be updating some photos of the meals as they are completed!

Do you have any kid-friendly vegetarian dishes to share? I would love to try them out! Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

An Apology!

I first want to apologize for not posting these past few days. I have definitely been under the weather with severe heartburn (commonly experienced by women who are pregnant) and all the other issues that I have been dealing with on bedrest. Last night I posted on Facebook that I had taken some ginger tea to help alleviate the terrible chest pains/heartburn I had last night. This did not work!!! Therefore, I ended up having to call my OB, who suggested that I take some Maloxx or Mylanta. This was all after taking 8 Tums over the course of 6 hours, which did absolutely nothing! My wonderful husband went to the store for me in search of the medicine and was only able to find a generic version on Maloxx. Anyway, I took it and after about 2 hours, it worked! All the other pains are still here, but at least I can sit up straight without having to clench my chest every few minutes. I never knew that heartburn could feel so bad. Now I am completely afraid of even digesting certain foods for fear the pain will come back.

Please, if you have any suggestions on what can be taken during pregnancy for heartburn besides OTC medications, I would love to hear about it! I know it is coming back!!!!

Manicure Tools: The cuticle clippers have a cuticle pusher on the inside.

As a teacher and a mother that doesn’t get a chance to go to the nail salon too often, I find that it is important to take care of my hand and nails. Once a week I like to take some time for myself and do an at-home manicure, which takes no longer than 20-30 minutes and is quite easy to do! It is also a great way to give yourself some much needed pampering.

The Weekly At-Home Manicure:

Manicure Tools – nail polish remover, nail file, nail clipper, buffer block, orange stick (cuticle pusher), cuticle cream, exfoliating cream, hand moisturizer

1. Trim and Smooth: Remove your old nail polish (if you have it on:). Wash your hands with warm soapy water and then dry. Trim or cut your nails to the length and shape you want. Then, use  your buffing block to smooth out any rough edges.

2. Cuticle and Hand Care: Moisten your fingers with warm soapy water and them apply cuticle cream to the tops of the nails. Soak your fingers in the warm soapy water for a few more minutes and then dry. Use your orange stick to gently push the cuticles away from the nail.  Scrub your hands with exfoliating cream for about a minute, rinse, and dry. Finally, lather and massage your hand lotion into your hands.

If you are planning on adding nail color, you can do it before you apply the lotion. Just make sure you give the nail polish enough time to dry!

If you are not already doing this, why don’t you give it a try!