Dec 172017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

You have fewer than 10 days till Christmas – are you still looking for a gift to get a kid on your list who seems to have everything? Or maybe they live further away and gifts would have to be mailed. These are hard positions to be in.

Have you thought of gifting an experience rather than a thing?

Kids Cook Real Food makes an awesome Christmas gift, and many grandmas are doing it already!! (They have printable gift certificates for them btw.)

Sunday, December 17 through Tuesday, December 19, Kids Cook Real Food is having a flash sale.  To make it even better – new members get a free $20 value set of extra videos!

Problem solved! Now, go. Finish up that list and enjoy some yummy holiday cookies.

Dec 042017
 

This post contains affiliate links. If you sign up through one of the links below, I will receive a portion of your points earned, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping support this blog.

It is getting to be crunch time – the winter gift giving season is upon us. Hopefully your plans have all materialized and you are sitting with your feet up, admiring your beautifully wrapped packages.

If that isn’t the case, you (I) still have time.

My husband and kids are going to take time around the new year to visit his family out of state. At first I thought this would work well, I would send their gifts with him. Quickly I rethought that plan as they will be flying instead of driving.  No use giving him more things to keep track of while traveling.

I might include smaller gifts from my kids to those there, but only if they will fit in the kids’ suitcases. The rest of the somewhat-yet-to-be-determined items will be sent via Santa’s big brown sleigh. While this limits the purchasing options somewhat, it does mean I can shop through Swagbucks’ website and earn points, called SB, back on my purchases.

I am going to put this next statement in bold, because I fo believe it is that important – If you have to put purchases in a card which will take you weeks or months to pay off, DON’T. Smiles and “joy” for one day is not worth 6 months of payments plus interest! Spend time together cooking, camping, watching the stars. Go to a new library and read together or play with the toys. Visit a museum on a ‘Free Admission’ day, then have a treat of not typical items you got for free or almost free after discount/coupon. Memories will last longer than any toy, clothing items, music CD.

Online shopping is not the main way I earn SB to use towards redeeming for gifts cards and PayPal, but it is one available way.  Others I know, who shop online more than I, find this a great way to get back a little of what they would be spending anyway. For them, it is their biggest method of earning SB. This flexibility in ways to earn is one of the reasons I like Swagbucks – you can adjust your earning methods according to what life is like at that moment.

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during their December “Swago” promotion starting Monday, December 4th at 9am PT and running until Monday, December 11th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online.

While some squares may require s purchase for you to “cover” that square, not all do.  Most months I am able to achieve a pattern, to qualify for bonus SB, without purchasing anything at all.

Tip: do not forget to submit your board before the promotion ends. I may or may not have done that a time or two. You can not submit it once the promotion is over!

If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster.

Here are a few tips:
  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, December 11th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!
  • The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, December 11th to use all your spins.
  • Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.

Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of January, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

Nov 292017
 

Here is a flashback from our home in Small Town.  One of the things I realized after we moved was all the free time I had.  I had not realized the amount of time working on the house, thinking about working on the house, contemplating working on the house, and shopping for items so I could work on the house had been taking up over the weeks and months.  I was sooooo happy when this project was completed…then we moved.  🙂 Hey, at least I got to enjoy it for a few months.

I am finally on to my last big project area – the garage.  This is something I have been working on bit by bit over the past few months.  First I painted all the walls in the fall, before the cold weather set in for winter.  Then the area became a storage/project area.

Finally, a month or two ago, I was set about connecting the second garage door opener.  A few weeks back we had gravel installed in order to allow me to enter the garage without driving through mud.  It was a great feeling.

This past weekend, I wanted to start actually tackling setting up all the pieces to make it look like more of an organized area and less like a pile of half-finished projects.

Step 1: Move things away from the back wall and sweep the floor.  I chose to start with the largest visual area for several reasons – it would give me a flat surface to work on, it would give me storage areas for the smaller items, it would free up floor space, and it would be a great motivator for later on when I start getting frustrated and depressed about how long this job is taking.

Step 2: Begin a list of all the things I need from the hardware store. It did not take long for me to realize I needed some items to finish up various parts of this organization project.  For starters, one of my cabinets needs a new shelf inside before I can attach the counter top.  A drawer needs a new bottom.  I am looking to add a shelf between my two lower cabinets. The list kept getting longer, so I grabbed a pencil and paper and put it all down.  Hopefully this will help reduce the number of trips to the store, as well as allow me to keep my eyes open for these items elsewhere (a.k.a. find them used or free).

Step 3: Set things up where they will be going. After moving things away from the back wall, which is where I am going to start, and cleaning up, I began to put things back into place where I will be wanting them to go.  My mind’s eye had pretty much figured out what it wanted, but actually putting them there showed me a few problems.

For starters, there is an electrical conduit close to the floor. When this conduit reaches the corner, it makes a rounded turn.  This prevents me from putting a cabinet all the way in the corner.  I decided to leave about 6 inches between the cabinet and the wall, allowing me space to store my saw-horses.  A problem just became a solution for another problem I was having – where to store larger items. Sometimes you need to step back and view things from a different angle.

Step 4: Place other items near where you think you want them. Not all of our old kitchen cabinets will be placed by the work bench.  There are two smaller cabinets that I am going to use near the walk-out door.  These will be great to keep things like deicer, ice scrapers, sunscreen, bug spray, and other season items we might need to grab quickly.

There are also several wire baskets I plan to use to help organize toys, as well as shelf supports I want to use in the laundry area.  These are placed near those locations to help those steps go quicker.  This also helps get things out of the way for the particular area I am working in at this time.

Step 5: Stop for lunch. This is often something I forget to do when working on a larger project.  It is much easier for me to keep going.  However, after a while I start to slow down, problems begin cropping up at each turn, and my kids get really whiny.

This time, before all the above happened, I called it time for lunch and put down all I was working on at the moment.  Things were going well. Ending, and beginning, on a good note always helps.

Nov 232017
 

This post contains affiliate links.
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Plan to Eat’s 2017 Black Friday Weekend sale will start on November 24th and run through November 27th.

To help make this offer available to everyone, Plan To Eat has extended all trials and yearly subscriptions that were scheduled to expire after the 15th of November so that you can take advantage of this sale without interruption to your account.

 

This also makes a great gift.  If you are looking for a clutter free gift, a gift for someone who lives in a different location than you, or for someone who seems to have everything, this is perfect.  You can also purchase a subscription now and give it to them later.

After years of meal planning 3 meals a day 7 days a week on my own, taking hours each month to put together meal plans and searching for recipes, I took the plunge and tried a free trial.  The ease of putting menus together, adjusting the meal plan as life happened, and the convenience of being able to adjust meals with a click quickly made me a convert.  Plan To Eat was everything I had been trying to do on my own, but always falling short of accomplishing.

Get 50% OFF your yearly subscription to Plan to Eat during this annual sale — even if you already have a subscription! That’s only $19.50 (or $1.60 a month) for a full year of organization, peace of mind, and healthy eating.

 

 

To learn more about this great offer click here.

Nov 202017
 

This is another post which was written, but never shared.  It was waiting for the time I could share before and after pictures.  HOWEVER, there never were any after pictures as it never got painted.  This particular item is still with us, in its original state of being stained.  Currently it sits next to the fireplace, holding various library books.  It is still an easy DIY project, if you are looking for something similar.  

Garbage day is not only for getting rid of trash in your house, but can also be a source for ‘new’ items.  Because we live in Small Town and it is, well, small, I do not go driving around town looking for items placed out by trash cans.  However, sometimes I spot something and stop to take a look.  There is also a sort of unspoken rule that if you do not want something you sit it out by the trash cans, or along the street in front of your house, at any point during the week and others will probably take it.

This is how I ended up with an old magazine rack.  While we do not have magazines around here, we do have a lot of newspapers.  Specifically, my husband’s newspapers. I get so tired of stacks here and there, never knowing which have been read and which have not.  Knowing that he loves reading them, though, I try not to get rid of something without asking him.

Initially when I saw this, I thought that perhaps I could clean it up and find a new home for it.  Then I thought of the newspapers and knew what its new purpose would be – a newspaper rack.  Then it sat on my washer for several months.  Even find that happening at your house?

Every time I went to do a load of laundry I contemplated what to do with the ‘new’ find – I did not want to leave it the wood color it was, as we already have a lot of wood in the house.  Black would show every little bit of dirt and dust, of which we have a lot here in this part of the country.  White would get dingy from fingerprints.  Finally, out of indecisivness I told my husband my plans and asked his opinion.

“Paint it green.”

“Okay, what kind of green?”

“You decide.  Just make it green.”

Well, that was easy.  Months of me thinking about it and it took him all of 10 seconds.  By the way, this is how our wedding colors were decided, I took him to the paint section in a store and told him to find colors he liked.  I was trying to involve him in the process, he just wanted it to be decided quickly.

I have never spray painted furniture before, though I have done so with some metal vents in our house.  I knew that with wood, especially an item that had already had a finish on it, there were more steps beyond: 1. wash, 2. Paint.  To the internet I went.  Here are some of the links I found helpful.

Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs

http://www.bluecricketdesign.net/2009/07/furniture-refinishing.html

Nov 102017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you sign up through one of these links, a small portion of your earnings will be credited back to me at no cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this website.


If you haven’t tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up during November as part of their Three for Fall promotion.

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

I use it myself, and I earned 4171 SB ($41.71) during the month of October.  My biggest earning activity was ordering replacement ink for my printer, which resulted in 700 SB being added to my total.  That was my only online purchase for the month, by the way.

The next 5 biggest earners were:

  • a group of missing credits from Discover activities
  • September’s Daily Meter bonus
  • a survey
  • a bonus for completing the above mentioned survey
  • another survey

Per category, I earned:

  • 1,168 SB from nCrave (videos, slideshows, and articles)
  • 786 SB from Discover activities
  • 700 SB from shopping online (the printer ink I previously mentioned)
  • 529 SB from Answer (surveys)
  • 452 SB from Other (this includes September’s Daily Meter Bonus, as well as SB from the Spin & Win wheel from October’s SWAGO game)
  • 127 SB from Watch (online videos)
  • 109 SB earned as bonuses
  • 106 SB from Mobile Watch
  • 79 SB from searching the internet
  • 65 SB from referrals
  • 48 SB from Swag codes
  • 2 SB from Play (online games)

I also redeemed SB for two gift cards – a $3 Amazon gift card and a $25 Amazon gift card.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $3 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 12/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you want even more bonuses, you’ll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That’s in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real.  Swagbucks has been a blessing to us over the years, something which I have gotten better at the more I do it.

Not all activities are equal in ROI (return on investment) in regards to time.  Figuring out what works for you, at this time in your life, may take a bit of trial and error.  However, it can work.  You will not earn a full-time income from this, but it can give a nice bit of extra each month.

 

Nov 062017
 

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Over the course of my time using Swagbucks I have earned a total of 105,116 SB (equivalent to $1051.16).  While this may not be a huge amount compared to what others are able to earn, it is nothing to sneeze at either.  Swagbucks will not replace a full-time job, but it can be a great help if you are looking to bring in a bit of extra money each month.

I was able to earn this amount while:

  • raising two very needy toddlers and a few teenage and preschool foster kids
  • my husband working full time and going to night classes for a few years
  • and it was only a part of other activities I was doing to earn a bit of extra spending money

The amount represents an activity I have been able to incorporate into my life, not something for which I have had to adjust my life to do.

Looking Back

As I looked back through the past 8 years, I could see when the times I had specific goals, times where I went for months not earning anything, and other times where I took the time to find new ways to earn.

Some years, and those were tough years, I earned as little as $15. Over the entire year. Did I mention that was a tough year?

Then there were years like 2016 where I earned $385. It may not be enough to buy me a car, but I did not have to leave the house, pay for gas to get somewhere, or even get the kids to brush their teeth. (Who knew a 2 minute task could cause such agony!)

Looking back over my totals, ways I have earned points, called SB, and my gift card redemption patterns, I am wondering what was going on during those times.

In 2015 I redeemed my SB for gift cards during two month out of the whole year, January and August.  I suspect the August gift cards were used for home school curriculum while the January gift cards were used to purchase gardening supplies.

Deer and Rabbit repellent purchased with Swagbucks

 

My first gift card redemption was a $5 Amazon card earned in July of 2009.

We had moved to a new town the year before and I had not found a job outside the home yet.  I was looking for a way to earn a little bit of money each month to help out.  It was not a lot, but at that time it was better than nothing and the months following I was able to earn a $5 Amazon card each month. In the 6 months I redeemed for $40 in Amazon gift cards. Not too bad for doing something no one else I knew was doing or had ever heard of.  There was a lot of trial and error, as well as slow learning, between home improvement projects and lining up contractors.

The following year my activity levels were not quite as steady.  It may have had to do with deaths in the family, becoming foster parents, or other factors.  I earned $75 that year.  Some months I was able to earn 2 – $5 gift cards (again to Amazon), though I could not seem to break the $10 mark each month.

The first few years I used the Amazon gift cards toward whatever we happened to be ordering online, focusing on Christmas gifts and grocery items.  No set monetary goals, but it was a nice surprise to “save” $5 here and there when we did order online.

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

At that time, Swagbucks was also structured differently:

  • There were no team challenges or other ways to connect with other Swaggernauts.  The way to find the best ways to earn at that time was to search for blog posts or articles.
  • SWAGO did not exist.
  • Activities were worth more in points, called SB, on average. However, there were fewer choices of ways to earn.
  • There were no ways to earn by watching videos via apps, now one of my most completed activities.  Even if there were video apps, I did not have a phone which I could use to watch them.
  • The $5 Amazon gift card was the best deal points-to-dollars wise.  There was no monthly discount on your first $25 gift card (from almost any retailer) like there is now.

cloth potty trainers swagbucks

In 2012 I set a goal of using Swagbucks to help buy cloth training pants.  It was my first time setting an actual goal.  Combining these gift cards and online deals I was able to pay for our first set.   Within a a year we saw the need for different nighttime items, again turning to Swagbucks to help cover the cost completely.

In 2014 we began homeschooling.  By the Spring of 2015 I set the goal of paying for our home school materials with SB.  Using PayPal and Amazon gift cards I was able to make a significant dent in the cost of materials.

Recently I have used gift cards to cover, fully or a portion thereof, the online purchase of:

Join Swagbucks!Today I am using my balance, which I have slowly been increasing, to purchase something to hopefully make my life a bit easier and our new home look nicer.  This is something I have been researching and waiting to purchase.  Due to the normal cost, it was not high on my list of items to get right now.  I have been saving up the SB left over from my gift card redemption each month in anticipation of purchasing this sometime in the fall.

Today I found out that this was listed as a Daily Deal on Amazon, thereby saving me 70% off and totaling just under what I have saved in SB.  While it was not one of the exact brands I had been researching, I quickly realized it met all of my requirements, needs, and the price was perfect.  This is what I mean by “combining gift cards and online deals” above.

With the remaining SB left I am going to be saving them up again to go toward the purchase of a rain barrel for the new house.  Knowing rain water is better for plants and helps lower our water bill each month, I have been wanting to invest in one for several years.  Now seems like the perfect time to do so.  Honestly, if I had not seen the Daily Deal above, I would have been purchasing a rain barrel this week.  In the long run, though, taking advantage of a reduction in price on one item will save me 100’s of dollars over the course of the next few months.  And who knows, I might find a sale on rain barrels to match the SB I have earned.

Until then, I have a goal to reach, which I have seen over and over really helps me focus on doing activities on Swagbucks which can result in more SB earned faster.

Note: this post was written in May 2017, but  was not published at that time.  When it was written, the earnings numbers were accurate, though they have increase by this point in the year.  I also had to adjust my goal of purchasing a rain barrel as life gave us some other goals which needed to be covered.

Nov 042017
 

This post contains affiliate links.

 

When George and Jack were younger, I was finding our need for more mature Bible Time materials, but nothing too adult oriented.  They still liked to hear the stories from the Bible but are needing to see that these are not just stories.  There are things in the Bible which apply to their lives and which they should emulate.

The ABC’s For Godly Boys & Girls was part of a bundles of ebooks offered a year or so prior.  I held onto it for a few months, while we finished up the other material we were using.  When I felt the time was right, I printed off what we needed, put it into a 3-ring binder (and page protectors) to help me keep things organized and in one place, then introduced it to the boys.  At the time they were 4 and 6 years old.

Some of the items were a bit above their ages and understanding, though most of it was perfect for them.  They enjoyed having a different letter each week, learning a new verse and hearing a story that applied to virtue being taught.

We are at the end of the alphabet now, with just a few letters to go.  Once we finish up, I will put the binder on the shelf to use again in a year or two.  The material included will cover several ages, enabling you to use or not use activities.  I really like the flexibility and variety, allowing me to use it again in a few years.

Oct 302017
 

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for helping support this blog.

The end of the calendar year is always a busy one – end of gardening season, school is in full swing, several major holidays, and several birthdays, all packed within a two month time frame.

Planning ahead has always been one way I try to keep things from getting too chaotic.  I would rather be able to focus on enjoying what is going on around us … or being able to spend time at home with a book and cup of warm drink of choice.

Some years I do better at planning for the year’s end, while some years find me way behind learning to let things go.

This year, I am not only planning to have gift shopping completed by the beginning of December, but I am also getting a head start on crafting with the winter season and Christmas holiday in mind.

If it were left up to George, we would live in a craft store, have unlimited funds, and have an unlimited supply of glue and glitter, with no particular instructions on how to use any of the items on hand.  The reality is, though, we live in a house, I like knowing where the craft is headed, and only have as much money as our bank account says. As we also like to be warm, dressed, and fed, that money can not solely go to crafts.  Enter – Dollar Tree.

Thanks to this store, not only are we able to let our imaginations run wild (within reason), but we can do so without breaking the bank.  Even better, we can order supplies online and have them shipped to the house!

Last week I surprised George with a bag of craft supplies from the Dollar Tree, along with a few other items we had on hand.  We took everything outside, put together a few crafts, and talked about other ideas.

There was a slight breeze, which made a few of the actions more difficult to do than I had anticipated (hint: ‘snow’ does not weigh much, even when in a bowl).  Next time I will double check the weather before doing it outside.

We ended up making two ornaments and a flower/light arrangement.  Below you can follow along as we put these together, as well as read my thoughts on future attempts at these particular crafts.

Flower Arrangement

Having family members who are allergic to candles (the soot from the flame makes their sinuses clog up) has meant a lack of candle holders in our house.  However, these batter powered flickering flame ‘candles’ are perfect.  We can add atmosphere without allergies or fire hazards.

I began this craft with George, but the wind outside was causing the glue to dry too quickly.  Later, when I finished it, he was no longer at home.  However, this would have easily been something he could have done with supervision.

Supplies for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Pull flowers off stems.  You can do this by turning them over, grasping the bottom of them, and pulling hard where they meet the stem.  *You need to keep the plastic part on bottom as part of the flowers; do not pull it off that portion or it all falls apart.
  2. Set one flower aside to glue on top. (Step #7)
  3. Pull the leaves off the stems, to use as filler around the flowers.
  4. Turn glass over. Remove sticker from bottom. Leave glass turned upside down.
  5. Working on one flower at a time, add a spot of hot glue on the bottom of the glass (now the ‘top’).  Work your way around the rim, spacing them evenly.
  6. Take half the leaves and glue them between the flowers on the top, skipping every other space.
  7. Take your reserved flower and glue it in the middle of the top.
  8. Turn glass upside down, continuing to hold it in your hand.
  9. Glue the remaining leaves to the underside alternating them to not line up with leaves on top.  If you have extra leaves, places them as desired.
  10. Cut length of ribbon.
  11. Fold length of ribbon in half width-wise.
  12. Wrap ribbon around the stem of the glass.  As my ribbon had no wire and was very flexible, I was able to wrap it a few times.
  13. Either tie the ribbon in a knot, or tuck the ends up and glue them in place.
  14. Place in desired location, with battery powered candle underneath arrangement. (see picture above.)

Notes: if a flower, leaf, etc. comes loose, add additional glue to help hold in place.  This was an easy craft to do and is something I would definitely do again.  There was one candle and extra ribbon remaining, enough to have done a second such arrangement.

Painted Ornament 

Making ornaments seemed like a great idea for a kid who loves to be creative – no two need be alike.  After seeing this craft online I thought it was the perfect thing to try.  The variety of colors, no need to be perfect or color in the lines, and the ease of doing it fit all of my requirements.  Even better, we had several various paint colors already at home.

Supplies for this craft:

  • plastic ornament
  • pouch of stickers
  • various paints
  • …and napkins for when paint invariably ends up on hands or the table.

Instructions:

  1. Take top off ornament. Set aside for use after paint is dry.
  2. Set the ornament upright, or balance it.  Add a few drops of color into the ornament.
  3. Rotate the ornament, allowing paint to spread around.
  4. Add several drops of another color.
  5. Rotate again.  It is okay if the colors begin to mix, it adds interest.
  6. When finished adding paint, apply stickers to the outside.
  7. Place upside down over plastic/paper cup till dry.  The cup will catch any paint which drips out.

Notes: This is not a craft we will do again.  Or if we do, I will try to clean out the inside with alcohol first.  Or use stickers only and completely skip the paint.

Here is why:

As the paint was drying, it kept sliding down.  I would rotate the ornament, the paint would spread. I would set it down, the paint would slide down. I would rotate … well, you get it.  In the end, most of the colors mixed into a lovely purple, yet there are streaks inside where you can see straight through.  It looks like someone used their finger to make vertical stripes.

George had fun mixing the paint.  His disappointment when it did not stay, though, was obvious.

A second ornament we did was much easier and is something I will do again.  I did not take pictures of this process, as I was trying to take a video.  However, the steps are super simple:

Supplied for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Remove top of ornament
  2. Using funnel, add about 1/4 cup of faux snow *If there is too much later, you can easily dump out what you do not need.
  3. Insert small figurine
  4. Put cap back on ornament

That is it.  This was so easy and fun, we will most likely do this again at some point.  This would be an easy ‘craft’ if you are needing to do a lot of ornaments.

Note: Mister Minifigure would not stay stilling up.  However, we had fun helping him ‘jump’ in the snow.  If you are wanting the figure to stay upright, I would try to hot glue them to the bottom first, let the glue cool, then add faux snow.

Thank you, Dollar Tree, for a fun Sunday afternoon crafting in the sunshine.

Oct 262017
 

IMG_20160224_144515343

By now, I think most of you are aware that one of our children is home schooled.  The other one technically is out-of-home schooled, a.k.a. goes to public school.  In the end this makes both of our kids ‘schooled’.  However, the schooling each receives is not the same.

The difference?  The goal of each.

This fact has become more obvious over the past year, and is something I have begun to feel guilty about.

Public schools have various goals, some official, others not.  In the end, their focus on academic measurements shows they are more worried about imparting facts and “knowledge” upon students.  Yes, they would also like them to become good people (hence anti-bullying campaigns, food drives, etc.), but the diploma at the end has everything to do with whether you could recite back what they told you.

Our home school focuses not only on the academics, but also the person.  That last part (the person) is something I would argue is even more important than the academics.

How we work on that aspect of the kids’ education takes on different looks at different times and ages.  Some of it is so subtle, even I did not pick up on it at first.

cooking hotdogs child

Moving has afforded us a welcome change, a small thing that most would have brushed off, but which I was so happy about – George rides the bus to and from school.

This means I no longer have to get George ready for school and:

  • gather up all I need to drive to school
  • warm up the car
  • wake up Jack
  • try to get  him dressed, or carried to the car half awake in pajamas, kicking the whole way while he is abruptly shocked out of Dream Land (he is one of those slow to wake sort of kids lately)
  • drive to a building with lots of kids around, reminding Jack of all he is missing
  • a quick “Goodbye” while I try to get my social, talkative ADD kid into a building on time, while sitting in my car (his theory – Time? What is time? Life is too short to be constrained by something as pointless as a clock!)
  • back to the house
  • then both Jack and I inside, where we both are so out of sorts it takes us another 30 minutes to transition back to being at the house and ready to move on with out morning.

Then we repeat it all for the afternoon.

We only lived a mile from school.  So it was not even the transportation time that was the issue; it was the disruption of routines, the emotional reminders.

We could have paid $50 a month and cost George 2 hours of his time each day to ride the bus. The mile to our house.  With a bus driver I did not impart full confidence in being able to keep the older kids from harassing the smaller ones.

It did not take much to see that the cost to George (40 hours of his time each month and potentially bullying) was greater than the discomfort to me.

Now?

  • Jack gets to sleep till he wakes up naturally – 6:30 or 8:10, it does not matter, and he can take 2 minutes or 20 to wake up
  • George rides at most 20 minutes on his bus each way
  • The bus ride is just enough to help George begin his mental transition from school to home
  • For the most part, our routines at home are not disrupted by the brief minutes needed to collect George from the bus stop
  • I am very confident in the bus driver, as all the kids are sitting two to a seat, fairly in order, and disembarking in a very regulated state every day
  • Jack no longer has be presented daily with a reminder of what he could be missing out on

There are days when we still have to pick George up or drop him off, but those days are very limited.

Then came the issue of what to do once George was at home.

to be continued…