Public School “Specials” for Homeschoolers

Today I was THAT mom. Nearly in tears meeting school teachers, learning procedure, and praying my baby made sweet friends as I closed the door on the public school art classroom.

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Did you know that public schools have many resources to offer homeschool families?! Our community calls the resources we are utilizing this year "specials". "Specials" here are art, music, library, P.E., enrichment, and computer. For now, Maggie will only be going twice a week for art and music. She's beyond pumped. They also offer a variety of therapies if your child needs them.

When I called them last Friday I was pleasantly surprised they spoke to me as if they were expecting me and had a plan in order. This is their first time with this particular process which is kind of a relief since it's ours too. The principal placed Maggie with a 2nd grade class so she will stay with the same kids each day she attends. There was also much though put into which class. Since they offer 6 "specials" and there are only 5 days in a school week, the principal made sure Mags was with a class that had 2 of the "specials" one after the other on Friday so I could just drop her for a full 80 minutes instead of coming twice in one day for 2 separate 40 minute classes.

She was also understanding when I ask if we could just come for 2 of the "specials" rather than every day. This is kind of a trial period for us to see how well it works with our schooling schedule and if it would be possible for my other children to attend "specials" in the future.

We walked into the school office today to finally meet the staff I'd spoken with over the phone. They were welcoming and all smiles for my little nervous 7-year-old and a visitor's tag for me. The principal walked out of her office, introduced herself and the assistant principal, and then walked us to art class to meet the teacher.

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Along the way my girl would graze my hand making sure I was still beside her. We met the music teacher she would have tomorrow, and despite being called "Maggie, the homeschool child" most greeted us with welcoming looks {unlike the first set of phone calls I had before school started}.

I was nervous about starting a week after all the other students but everyone, teachers and students, seemed to still getting the hang of things and in the early stages of getting to know one another. They ask that I call them at the end of the first week when everything calmed down for them. I was a little discouraged thinking they were trying to brush me off and sad because we didn't get to participate in open house, meet the teacher, and the first week of school where basic rules and standards are explained.

Points for knowing your neighbor and having a God big enough to put them in the same class as your little! As the students entered the room, one by one they all stared at us. Sparking my nerves, a little girl asked slightly snarky, "Is that a new student?!" A sweet child who attends the valley with us occasionally walked in and stared at us confused. Then, as we were waving at him, our neighbor-friend walked in stunned as he looked at Mags. I could have kissed that small child on the mouth. God is in the details!

The kids gathered on the carpet, ready to learn about "The Dot". Another child, I took it upon myself to immediately deemed Maggie's Best Friend Forever, was humble little girl who scotched over next to Mags on the back of the rug and just sat next to her. A sweet little comfort dawned in a braid. Swoon.

I'm sure I'll have more to share on this as the year goes on and other's have questions about how it works. For now, I'm just gonna snuggle my over-excited child who RAN down the sidewalk to me for pickup and wasn't the least bit embarrassed to jump into my arms in front of her new class of friends yelling about how much fun she had and be thankful I get to have her the other 90% of the day!

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Want-To, the Key to Learning

This makes me so happy!!! I will spell things all day long for this child.

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She is a strong willed learner, meaning she only learns if and when she wants to or sees a need. This entire school year she has fought me about learning letters. She would either pretend not to know certain ones or refuse to memorize them. I have been so nervous that she would struggle through school, especially since this was still her attitude finishing preschool/first semester of kindergarten.
Since being "out of school for summer" she has been begging me to spell all kinds of things with a little help from the alphabet reference on their preschool table. She pauses a little with a couple letters still but figures them out on her own. She makes menus for plea parties, birthday cards, and lots of random signs right now.
On the way home from camp the other day, Mags ask to finish the last two pages of her chapter before napping. When she had finished u looked back to see Izzie had snagged one of her two books and was flipping page to page. I ask her to put it down and nap to which she responded, "I'm almost finished with this chapter." I LOVE that she is finally developing a love for books and reading!

I am constantly nervous that I'm gonna screw up this educating-my-children thing and then God goes and shows me that He is bigger. I know that statistics, methods, standards, values, quality, quantity, and so on seem to be fluid or set in stone depending on who you ask so being a "homeschool mom" can be stressful. God continues to show me I'm doing exactly what He wants in this season and my children are fearfully and wonderfully made; each in their unique way, specifically designed to show yet another marvolous aspect of Himself.

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#mommied Monday: Pulling Weeds

In honor of Mother's Day coming up, I'm going to be sharing stories {possibly weekly} that makes ya wanna say, "BOOM! You just got Mommied!" because it is a super power ;) Often we feel like we just got owned by our children in the small battles so we need some encouragement when we don't lose!

#mommied Monday Pulling Weeds

We have these awesome flowerbeds all around our house! The women who lived her for the 5 years before us was the sweetest, retired, green-thumb with an eye for the adorable. One of the biggest attractions was the curb appeal. I quickly apologized to all the neighbors we met and confessed that the gorgeous front lawn would quickly fade because "I had a lot of humans in our house to feed, water, and keep alive" so the plants wouldn't be a priority, sadly.

Sure enough, last summer, lots of plants were scorched and I chose to dig up 1/2 of the awesomeness to extend our front porch for more seating and hopefully lots more missional living. I hacked down trimmed things back appropriately as the kids have gotten a bit bigger but failed to purchase the vast amount of mulch we need to replenish the beds and keep more of the weeds at bay.

All that leads to the flourishing, weedy, front flower bed. Yeah, it's been oozing with grass and plants that weren't there when we moved here so I'm assuming they're not supposed to be. I announced to the kids they could go in the FRONT YARD and play one afternoon with their neighbor friends {always a win} but only after they each produced 5 bucket-fulls of weeks.

To sweeten the deal, I encouraged them to use their new gardening gloves each of them got in their unEaster Baskets along with their new buckets. THEN I added that they would be earning an entire QUARTER for their hard work {a nickle a bucket} and if they wanted to earn more nickles when they'd finished their 5-manditory ones, they could. Izzie knocked hers out and was knocking on neighbor-friends' doors in no time. Mags was a little more particular about which weeds she wanted to stuff into her bucket. And Jamin...Jamin loathes manual labor and suffered through 2 buckets until I started chopping away at things and told him he was allowed to stuff his bucket with my clippings {saving him the "pulling" part of the job}.

#boom #mommied Happy Monday All. Winning...one morning at a time.

I would LUUUUUUVE if you would share your #mommied stories with us on the as Jules is going facebook page or find me on Instagram to share awesome documentation of your #mommied moment! Don't forget to use the hashtag so we can all find it. Maybe by the time Mother's Day gets here we will all feel the true power God has given us as mommies to train up His lil blessings.

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YOU Can Help KaBoom! Vilonia

Thank you so much for loving us! I know many of you feel we've forgotten about your humble offerings to help but We Have Not! It takes time to pull a community back together after something like this or to even assess needs so  thank you to those still waiting in the wings to jump right in when called upon!

I will remember our CovenantA need has arisen and we need Your Help!

Vilonia Is Getting a PUBLIC PARK/PLAYGROUND on April 18th, 2015!
We're talking "Extreme Park Makeover Show" is going down in our town and you can be a part of it!

This is something I've been passionate about since we moved her and I'm so excited to see how God has chosen to let that happen. The local schools have awesome playgrounds that are open to the public but that's only when the schools themselves aren't using them. Totally understandable but as a homeschool mom with lots of littles, I'd love a place to get my kids out of the house for some great educational outdoor playing, meet friends for a picnic, or just get the wiggles out. And now its happening and I didn't do any footwork. hehe

A group called KaBOOM!​ will be assisting our community in building an amazing playground, funded by Kimberly-Clark, in the same space that last years tornado destroyed the former baseball fields and tiny playground equipment.

Thus far, the professionalism of this group is top notch! Maggie was selected as on of 35 out of 300+ students to be a part of the Design Day and therefore I get to be a part of the adult planning team. eeek!

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The night of the Design Day meeting, the kids sat around and dreamed up their ideas for the perfect park. They chatted with news reporters and colored inspirational drawings. Maggie, in preparation for the meeting, drew no fewer than 30 ideas in a notebook to share with the group {she didn't really know how this was going down} so she copied as many of those down onto her giant paper as she could. She ask friends prior to the day what ideas they has so she could share them as well. <3 That child!
After the kids finished up, the parents compiled their ideas, looked through the gazillion options KaBoom! had for equipment and even down to the colors tried to plan a park of our kids dreams.

Design C{just an example of the possibilities}

Right now, we are currently in the 6 weeks of planning between Design Day and BUILD DAY. There are tons of details for our town to work through and figure out. There are many things I'm attempting to help but with but the main ones I'm focusing on right now that I need YOUR help with are:

How YOU Can Help!

  1. We are collecting toilet paper cardboard rolls! You know, the inside thing you throw away or make pretend binoculars out of and then throw away. Yeah, we are collecting those for a fun project since our playground is being funded by the Kimberly-Clark's "Tube-Free" Scott toilet paper campaign. Don't toss'm. Bring them to ME 😀
  2. We need tools! THIS is the list of tools needs and if you have 1 or 5 of those items, we would LOVE to borrow them for 3 days {prep day 1 and 2, and some of them for build day} but better yet, if you have connections with a hardware store that could donate or loan a giant number of them at once, that would be Even better!
  3. We need YOU! There are so many ways we need you but we definitely need committed hands to show up on BUILD DAY, April 18th, from 8am until about 3pm right here in Vilonia {I'll get ya directions 😉 } We need help ranging from helping play with small children, moving mulch, drilling equipment together, serving food, registering the volunteers as they come in, and to I'm sure I missed something else. This would be great for a short mission trip or youth event. Signing up your Group to help would be a guaranteed fun day they'd remember forever. The Valley will use heading up a Serve Here day with our crew!
    Here is the Link to sign up online or you can print this Reigstration Form for Vilonia KaBoom! Park Build Day for large groups and then input them each. 😀

If you have any questions or have another possible way you'd like to help, hit me up! Thanks in advance!!! This is going to be so fun.

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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! 😀

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