Decluttering Kids’ Books with a Win Win Win

One of the places I've delaying in the Decluttering-My-Home-thing has been the kid's bookshelves.

Decluttering Kids' Books with a Win Win Win

Sadly, this isn't because I'm a book-lover. I was a little sentimental about who/where they came from but it is mainly because I'm not a reader. I didn't read a lot as a child but I want my kids' to love reading. I know you can learn anything if you're a good reader. I was scared that since I don't really like reading, I'd just chunk everything and be THAT terrible homeschool mom who had no books for her children to read. I mean really, what would people think if they came over and I had no books?! lol but really!

I finally hit it hard last night. As soon as the kids were in bed, I finished picking up and then had my hubs drag ALL their books into the living room from the play/school room where I strung them everywhere while we/he watched a TV show.

I was nervous.

I made piles. Then I reorganized the piles. Then I doubted my piles. Books from HIPPY {that must mean they're good, right?}. Books that damaged. Books I recognized from seeing in the school library as a child. Random. Donate. Trash. I'm not sure.

Ya see what I'm saying, I'm okay at organized but reluctant to declutter. Everything has a purpose, someone one would use it, I might be able to make $2 off of it. Ugg

I finally confessed my fear of getting rid of books to my hubs and then dumped my pile of random books next to him to help me make finally decisions about.

We cleared out a giant tub-full of books. Some I could have possibly sold at the Duck Duck Goose Consignment Event but I just decided that if they made it into the tub from whatever reason, I wasn't going to look at them again.  I'm not sure how shaddy this was but I just left the 'donate' and 'trash' pile all together in the tub. I ask my hubs to take the tub to the garage for now so 'the kids' would dig stuff back out of it.

Today we picked back up our attempt at weekly library trips. As I walked out I grabbed that tub. The stupid thing is clear. That's Not Helpful.

I didn't look. I just put it in the front seat and after double checking with the librarian, I brought in the tub and left it with her. Tub and All. I couldn't take the chance of watching her sort through them. Guilt. Regret. Embarrassment.

When I got home, I was hoping the kids didn't really notice me running back into the library with their books. But apparently that's hard to miss. They announced at lunch, "Daddy, we took our books to the library! Now we can rent them any time we want."

Hmm That had never occurred to me. I mean. I'm a genius. I convinced my children it was okay to declutter/get rid of books by taking them to the local library because now someone Else has to store them, we can check them out any time we want, AND other can use them as well! :D

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My Kids are Getting Dumber

I wanna quit. My kids are getting dumber.

My Kids are Getting Dumber

I've had this urge this entire school year. I keep looking for all the reasons my kids don't need me as their teacher. Missional living seems to be the one satan is using most often but God's not letting this go. "It would be so much easier to love on people if we were in public school" doesn't seem to be a good excuse for Him.

Today I banished my children to the backyard for "recess" after blowing up multiple times for Not. Following. Directions.

My insides hurt. Do  any of your insides just hurt so bad they bust out of your body in the form of tears after temper tantrums haven't done the trick? I'm using their time of banishment to try to figure out why I'm supposed to be doing this homeschool thing. They aren't learning anything. If they are, it's seemingly counterproductive. I've even pointed myself back to- my intention for homeschooling is not to make them geniuses or scholars but to more fully I can fulfill my purpose as their mother, teach them that God loves them and we should follow Him to find life. But am I? Am I really  teaching them to see God in the true light of HIS character as their awful teacher?

What letter are we learning about this week?

{blank stares}

What letter have we been talking about?

G!

No. What comes after G?

{blank stares}

A. B. C. D. E. F. G..........H!

{murmur} H

We are working on the next page in your H book. We are going to color the letter Hh, then cut it into a puzzle, then we are going to put the capital letter H puzzle together in this box and the lower case one in this box, and then glue them down.

I turn my back to help Mags start work.

Scribbled boxes everywhere, glued pieced in random places, blacked out box with no sign of the letter H behind the brown.

I tried to pull the pieces off to help her try again but there was no turning back. The same goes for the giant brown square. I give them a different sheet to work on and go to print new pages...which of course takes forever because my computer and printer hate me.

I return and decide to walk them through the page on step at a time. Color only the Hh. Trace them to show me where the Hh is. What letter? H. Where is it? Yes! You just traced it. Good. Color only inside the lines of the Hh.

Jamin is utterly confused and continues to freak out because he doesn't know where the Hh is that he is supposed to color.

I turn my back to work on the sticker chart because obviously we're going to need some reinforcement today. When I turn back around I find Izzie is cutting. Not only cutting even though she wasn't instructed to but cutting the Hh out rather than on the lines to create the puzzle pieces.

I correct Izzie and tell her she looses a sticker for not following directions.

She cries.

Jamin finishes coloring and start making fringe along the edge of the paper while I'm dealing with Izzie. Sticker lost.

I want to pop off little heads because I have taught them nothing. Nothing other than my pleasure in them is dictated by their behavior and therefor is a portraying Jesus as a behavior based god. Why am I doing this? The thing I'm trying to target, spiritual growth, biblical knowledge, correct portrait of God, I'm jacking it up.

My kids are running a tyranny in the backyard as I type. Who did they learn that from? me.

All I keep thinking is, "If they were in school, someone else would be teaching them to follow only the directions given, color instead of scribble, SIT, not talk, wait their turn to be helped with work, understand that they can't have someone's undivided attention, and to Follow Directions." Yeah, all those things public school parents think or even say aloud to be off-handed, "Yeah, if they were in school they'd get in trouble for or learn to do _____."

Then, I write those words I realize, someone else would be teaching them those things. And the thing about that sentence that's worse than the someone else is the those things. I often forget that my actions teach them what to expect from others but more importantly teach them how to life.

I don't want my kids to only follow the directions given. I want them to learn initiative, anticipate what's next, see what needs to be done and try it even if that means you might fail.

I don't want my kids to color instead of scribble. I want them to always think outside the box because my God is bigger than any form we could ever imagine.

I don't want my kids to sit ad not talk. I want them to burst with energy and talk through things.

I don't want my kids to wait on help. I want them to beg for help unhindered; with no fear that God will shoot them down the moment they need help.

I don't want my kids to believe they can't have undivided attention. I want them to know God has the ability to give them His undivided attention and is always waiting for them to come to him.

I DO want them to follow directions. God will always be at work in their lives. Sometimes it will be easy 1. 2. 3. steps that make us feel accomplished and smart. Other times the directions will be hurry up and wait. Complete 1. and anticipate 2. Listening clearly and following directions first time is a vital part of spiritual growth. It involves patient listening and immediate action.

I guess letter Hh week stands for humility. Now that I've stopped blubbering and God's redirected me, I guess I'm going to listen to His gentle directions and act with humbleness as I go apologize to my kids, do a fun Hh craft, and start lunch.

My kids don't need me as their teacher. They will become dumber. They will follow the ways of the world...if I'm not life-long-learning from my teacher and teaching them to look to Him rather than me for their learning as well.

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Organizing You Home for Homeschooling with Lots of Littles

Having a set routine and knowing what do expect can help you feel at ease when the time comes to organize things like curriculum, supplies, and other clutter like toys.

Organizing You HOME for SCHOOL with Lots of Littles

I am so new at this homeschooling thing that I'm pretty sure I've come up with a new system every year. I'm sharing this years plan for organizing curriculum, supplies, and toys over at the Homemaker's Challenge. Head on over and see if I've lost my mind and will be changing to a new system yet again next year or if it's an okay idea that might help you get started. :D

Soon, I'll be talking about organizing our lives for homeschooling.

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K5 Learning {Review}

We just finished our trial period using K5 learning. Both my girls (5 & 4-years-old) tried this out and loved it!

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for home use and can be used for after- school, weekend and summertime supplemental study or in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

We started by complete and online assessment with 8 key reading and math skills. From there, the girl work independently at their own pace. They offer over 3,000 online lessons and activities. The lessons have cute animation and are simple enough for my four-year-old to interact with them by herself {after showing her how the first round}. K5 learning automatically chose lessons for the girls (based on their assessment and past lessons), track their progress and provide reports for me about their progress.

In the short time we tested out this program, I did see my girls begin to learn essential reading and math skills, develop good study habits, and reach their academic potential. This supplemented what we were already doing in 'school' and gave my girls one more tool to practice these skills with the added benefit of learning basic computer skills.

It did require me to walk them through some of the basics of the program but after that they could navigate most of it by themselves. With my girls being 4 and 5, I'm not quite ready for them to have this much independence. Eventually, that will be a great benefit of the program but I noticed they were slightly irresponsibly independent, getting off track, being lazy going through the lessons, and guessing just because they wanted to click around like it was a game rather than actually listening, learning, and answering as if it was a lesson.

In general, we enjoyed the program. It did seem a bit like handing my kids a smart phone to play "educational games" but I feel like this was much better at teaching my children actual lessons in a way that I wasn't able to. I liked that it wasn't costing me tons in printer ink to create workbooks.

The girls loved being able to "play on" my computer but I was uncomfortable with that. For this program to be used to its fullest potential, they should be doing the lessons on a regular basis. Since we only have my laptop, if they are using it for K5, I can't work at the same time and it made me nervous the machine would get torn up some how rendering me unable to work. If we had a some sort of tablet or simple computer for them to use for school, I would be much more likely to allow them to use the program more often.

At this time, we won't be purchasing the program at its monthly rate although it would be a comparably inexpensive price for the reading and math curriculum.

The K5 program includes:
  • an initial online assessment of each child’s math and reading skills,
  • award-winning, curricula based reading and math content,
  • over 3,000 online multimedia activities, personalized for each child based on his or her assessment,
  • a highly structured environment which allows the student to proceed through the lessons in a logical fashion at his own pace,
  • ease of use which allows even 4 or 5 year olds to work independently,
  • attention to child safety with no external links, advertisements, chat or similar,
  • comprehensive reporting to parents,
  • 24/7 availability and no downloads
Program Costs

K5 Learning is available on a subscription basis for $25/month or $199/year with substantial discounts for siblings. Each subscription includes a free math and reading assessment and unlimited use of each of K5’s four programs, K5 Reading , K5 Math, K5 Spelling and K5 Math Facts. A 14 day free trial is available.

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Up-Cycled Wipe Containers {Thoughtful Thursday}

Drier Sheets Case

keep your drier sheets fresher in an up-cycled wipe box AND its cutera large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones

A large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones.

Keep Drier Sheets Fresher in an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

Travel Tissue Box

Travel Case of Kleenex made from an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

A small wipe case is the perfect size for a travel case of tissue and keeps it dry and clean.

Holds "Missing Pieces" for Board Games

Store Random Game Pieces in an Up-Cycled Wipe CaseStore random missing game pieces in an up-cycled wipe box

Its is nearly inevitable that kids will misplace a piece {or 8 aHem} to some board game. Rather than have them grouch and tear apart the game storage trying to return that piece when its finally found. This random game piece container allows them to store the piece by stuffing it in through the top or easy-open lid so the pieces are found quickly when playing a game with that missing piece.

Travel Crayon Case

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

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