This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment …

{this moment}

“A Friday (or Monday) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.”

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Letter of the Week – Letter M

Every Thursday, I share a little bit about our homeschool life. Interested in why we are homeschooling? Click here. Want to know about our home preschool curriculum? Click here. Any other questions? Ask away. I would love to hear from you :)

LetterM

Happy Thursday people!! I haven’t posted a letter of the week post in awhile so this work is actually from a few months ago. Ssssht! Don’t tell anyone. Letter M is the highlight today. I had so many options of what to do but marshmallows and moose were the name of the game!

These were some of my favorite pictures from the week :) Nothing fancy. Just my sweet little girls hard at work.

Moose Antlers

My kids love the book “If you give a moose a muffin,” so I knew they would love making some moose antlers. I found the template here and printed it off.

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The girls simply painted them brown, and I did the rest by cutting them out and stapling them to brown cardstock. They turned out pretty cute!

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Marshmallow Rainbow

While searching for M activities, I found this marshmallow activity on the No Time for Flash Cards blog. It couldn’t be simpler. I roughly drew a rainbow and marked the respective colors for each kind of marshmallow: pink, orange, yellow, and green.

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Armed with a bowlful of multi-colored marshmallows, the girls glued the matching marshmallows onto the rainbow. Not without a few thousand “I wish I could each these marshmallows.” Sigh.

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Marshmallow Sensory Play

This fun activity came from the blog Fantastic Fun and Learning. I set the girls up with one bin of marshmallows, one bin of cold water, and one bin of hot water.

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The girls dove right in. Moving the marshmallows back and forth, squeezing the water out of the them, and eventually adding other toys to the party.

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That wraps up some of work for the letter M. For more letter of the week work, click here! What are some of your favorite activities for the letter M? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by!

What Makes Me Smile

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The life I share on the blog will probably seem angelic and blissful but I am actually a pretty negative person in real life. I choose to showcase the positive aspects of my life, because I come across as pretty brash when I am negative. Picture more profanities and A LOT OF SHOUTING!! I do most of my venting to my husband and keep my blog clear of the negative energy. Not that there is anything wrong with venting posts or blogs about the crappy side of parenthood. I just can’t write that way.

Where I was going with this is, since I tend to be a Negative Nelly at times, I was thrilled to come across another blogger, Alison from Under the Big Oak Tree, who started a series called “What Makes Me Smile.” She “journals some things that make me smile each week. Hoping that when I look back, I’ll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.” I adore this idea. So I have decided to share 5 things that make me smile. Enjoy!

1. Ewan McGregor singing. Like every other parent in American, my kids are obsessed with the movie “Frozen” as well as the soundtrack. Naturally we have a “Let it Go” station on Pandora. Sigh. It gets old. But I always perk up when a Moulin Rouge song comes on. It’s a wonderful change of pace, and Ewan’s voice is so dreamy :)

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2. Comedians in the bathroom taking selfies I love laughter. I love comedians. I love the camaraderie comedians have. So it only makes sense I would love a picture of some of my favorite funny guys taking a picture in the can. For those who want to know, the comics on the photo, starting with the fat bald moron (that’s a total complement. Imagine if I was being mean) Bob Kelly, Opie Hughes, Ricky Gervais, Jim Norton, and Rich Vos.

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3. Daryl Dixon This may be a bit personal but there are few things in life that I want more than a tied up Daryl Dixon. Ahem. Sorry for the overshare.

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4. Bagels I have been baking our bread for a while now to cut back on expenses, so we have cut out buying bagels. My husband surprised me by bringing some home!

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5. My husband Awake or asleep, this man always makes me smile. Especially on those days I need it the most.

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How about you? What makes you smile?

Thanks for reading!!

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment …

{this moment}

“A Friday (or Monday) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.”

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Every Thursday, I share a little bit about our homeschool life. Interested in why we are homeschooling? Click here. Want to know about our home preschool curriculum? Click here. Any other questions? Ask away. I would love to hear from you :)

confucius

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up Maryann?

Fo: A cooker. (A chef)

Jason: That’s an awesome thing to be! To be a chef you have to learn about all different kinds of food. What kind of food do you want to learn how to cook?

Fo: I wanna learn all of mama and papa’s recipes.

Me: That’s so sweet. Thank you, but we don’t know how to cook a lot of different cuisines. What else would you like to learn to cook?

Fo: Chinese food. And Margie’s recipes!

Me: That’s awesome! I bet Margie would love to teach you some of her Mexican recipes.

Jason: If you are going to work in a restaurant, you have to work really hard. You start out washing dishes and work your way up. Where would you like to work?

Fo: Frostie Freeze.

Me: That’s an awesome place to start learning about restaurants.

Fo: I’m gonna have my own restaurant and I’m gonna call it Frostie Breeeeze.

Jason: What are you gonna make?

Fo: Ice cream of course.

Me: Are you gonna have seats inside or outside?

Fo: Only outside. With 100′s of picnic tables!!

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up Lilly?

Bear: A baby nurse.

Fo: Lilly, when we grow up, you can be a baby nurse. We could live next door to each other and visit everyday. And you could come to my store everyday and have ice cream. That would be SO AWESOME!!

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This story of Fofo telling me what she wanted to be when she grows up really warmed my heart. The enthusiasm and passion she showed for her dreams of opening an ice cream shop was, in Fofo’s words, SO AWESOME! Our main goal in homeschooling was to help our kids find, pursue, and cultivate their passion in life. We don’t want them to just have a job when they grow up, we want them to love what they do. Feel they have a purpose in what they do.

I was talking with a fellow homeschool mom last week about our reasons for homeschooling. She had a great take on why former teachers (or education major like myself) would lean towards homeschooling. We want to cultivate their learning and education. We want to take what we have learned and see our kids grow-up. Not put it in the hands of others. We have the tools to teach our kids. Our purpose, time, and energy is best served teaching them.

What are your reasons for homeschooling? What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

15 Sensory Activities for Rainy Days

SensoryRoundup

Summertime is a busy time as families are out enjoying all the opportunities only summer can provide. If your family is anything like mine, the kids expect something new and exciting every day. Even on rainy days. Or those days that I just want to stay home and catch up on House of Cards. Ahem. I don’t do that. Annnnyway, sensory activities are a perfect way to keep your kids occupied on those less-than-stellar weather days or those days you just need a break!

1.Sensory tubs or table My kids love to play in rice and beans. I have been planning on using noodles also, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

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2. Shaving cream Try this shaving cream cookie activity or let the kids loose in the bathtub with a little container of shaving cream.

3. Clay. Modeling clay is a great sensory/art activity for little hands.

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4. Play-Doh. Clay can be a real pain to clean up. I speak from personal experience. Play-doh works just as well!

5. Shaving Cream Fireworks. Another fun and messy activity with shaving cream.

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6. Oobleck. My kids ask to repeat this activity all the time!

7. Baking. Who is this handsome guy?!

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8. Water and ice.

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9. Snow. This is obviously a wintertime activity but this is another activity my kids wanted to do over and over and over again.

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10. Jello. This is a cool multi-sense experience. First the jello is liquid, then semi-solid, and then frozen so it’s totally solid. Super fun.

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11. Kool-Aid. Painting with Kool-aid was a fun twist on an old stand-by activity.

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12. Lavendar. We did a lavendar water sensory bin that was a big hit with the girls.

13. Marshmallows. You can get marshmallows for dirt cheap in the summer. Avoid stuffing them all into your face by setting up a sensory bin for your kids. Dry or with some water so see how the texture of the marshmallows change in the water.

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14. Jewelry. My kids a fun time making necklaces with some of the 12,000 beads we have lying around.

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15. Opposites. I haven’t had a to try this one out yet, but it is on tap for our O Letter of the week. Round-up all the opposites you can think of in your house. If your house is anything like mine, it shouldn’t take long.

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? What sensory activities does your family enjoy?

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for List-it Tuesdays

Dating Your Spouse

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Taking Care of Me means Taking Care of My Marriage. Plain and simple. My husband is my best friend, confidante, and biggest supporter. I go to him for advice, motivation, and the all important rant session. And vice versa. Our relationship is the foundation of our family and we work hard to keep the foundation strong. For our family and our sanity.

Comedian Patton Oswalt does a great bit about birthdays. His theory is you should only celebrate about 20 birthdays during the course of your lifetime. All the others “You are just wasting cake and paper!” I think this could also be applied to wedding anniversaries. I love my husband, I love being married to him, I love our life together. That’s what our marriage is. Living our day-to-day life. The “I Love Yous,” the reassurance on the tough days, holding hands in the car, nights by the campfire, and the elusive date night.

There isn’t anything wrong with celebrating anniversaries of course, we just don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just another day in our partnership. As Patton says, “I’m 12! Good for you kid. Go to school.” What defines our marriage is more than a wedding date. It’s the small moments we make all year long. We cherish these memories and love to make new ones together. Enter date night!

Busy parents are hardly able to get a night away, and we are no exception. My husband works 50-60 hours a week, and as a one income family we don’t have much extra money for going out. But we still carve out time to spend together during the week. We have date nights at home: pizza and comedy night. One night during the week we have a half-hour comedy we enjoy watching together. Louie, Drunk History, Modern Family, Inside Amy Schumer are just a few of our favorites.

After the kids are in bed and my husband is on his way home, I make pizza for our date night. Jason gets home. We have a little bit of small talk, and then settle in for a night of food and laughs, usually with a beer or cocktail in hand.

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It may be late at night, and we may be sacrificing sleep, but it is important that we spend that quality time together. Do we want to go out on actual dates? Of course, but that isn’t always possible. Is pizza and tv a particularly exciting date night? Not especially. But we have a lot of laughs and we are together.

A lot of moms ask for ideas for date night and what can they do as something special for their spouse. It’s as simple as dinner and a movie. In fact, there are a ton of small things you can do to create special moments with you and your spouse in a series I like to call “Dating your Spouse.” This idea is inspired by blogger Sandy aka “Reluctant Entertainer” and her series called “Still Dating.” As part of Taking Care of Me Monday, I will be sharing some simple, fun, and inexpensive ways you can date your spouse and continue to make meaning memories together.

How do you date your spouse? Do you have a regular date night?

Thanks for stopping by!

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment …

{this moment}

“A Friday (or Monday) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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Homeschooling in Wisconsin

Every Thursday, I share a little bit about our homeschool life. Interested in why we are homeschooling? Click here. Want to know about our home preschool curriculum? Click here. Any other questions? Ask away. I would love to hear from you :)

Today, I am linking up with Eva Varga for her “Homeschooling State-by-State” series. It’s about getting homeschool bloggers from all across the country to share their individual state’s laws and resources. This is such an awesome link-up because when you decide to homeschool, it is completely overwhelming. Today I am going to share with you what you need to do in order to legally start homeschooling in the state of Wisconsin.

First off, what does it mean to homeschool? If you are participating in a virtual charter school, YOU ARE NOT A HOMESCHOOLER! At least in the eyes of Wisconsin law. From the Department of Public Instruction’s website “Virtual charter schools are public schools. If your child is enrolled in a virtual charter school, he/she is considered to be a public school student and you should not submit form PI-1206.” More on that form in a bit.

This distinction is so important. The laws for families participating in a charter program and those who chose a home education where they buy or create their own curriculum are different. I know some homeschoolers get upset when virtual school families call themselves homeschoolers. Why? I have no clue, but in Wisconsin, if you participate in a virtual charter school, you are considered a public school student and should work with your school district. Again, from the DPI’s website “Virtual charter schools are public schools. If your child is enrolled in a virtual charter school, he/she is considered to be a public school student and you should not submit form PI-1206.” I can’t stress this enough, not to insult anyone’s intelligence but to help out those trying to navigate through all the homeschooling information out there.

Legal Requirements

You live in Wisconsin, you want to homeschool. What does the law require? Wisconsin is a low-regulation state meaning, we have a few laws in place for homeschoolers, but not many. Cliff’s notes version: children between the ages of 6-18 must complete 875 hours of instruction each academic year with an educational plan. That’s it! No testing. You can pick or build your own curriculum. Your curriculum need only be approved by YOU. And you do not need to be a certified teacher or have a certain level of education.

Ok. That was the short version. Now let’s get a little more in-depth.

Compulsory Attendance Law

In the state of Wisconsin, there is a compulsory attendance law. Which means all children ages six and eighteen must be enrolled in school: home education, public or private schools.

PI-1206 Form

To officially make the step to home education, you must fill out form PI-1206 provided by the Department of Public Instruction. This form is NOT to ask for permission to homeschool. You are NOT registering or enrolling your child in a homeschool. You are simply REPORTING that you are homeschooling. This form is how you legally homeschool because you are telling the state you are meeting the compulsory attendance law and agreeing to comply with Wisconsin’s homeschooling laws. It is illegal to homeschool without filling out this form. This form needs to be filled out on or before October 15 each year you are homeschooling your children. Click here for a sample of a completed PI-106 form.

Homeschool Requirements

Ok. The form is filled out. What exactly are you agreeing to?
Requirement number 1 is to provide 875 hours of instruction each academic year.
Requirement number 2 the program must provide a “… sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health.” WI-DPI website.

This is where it becomes a bit confusing. You are signing a legal document to provide 875 hours of instruction and an educational plan. But I thought the state didn’t have any authority over my homeschooling? Again, from the DPI’s website: “The statutes contain no express authority for any agency or school district to monitor home-based private educational programs or to verify the hours of instruction provided or the use of a sequential curriculum. However, it is recommended that homeschooling parents maintain records of the instruction provided as this information may be used by prospective employers, including the military, and any post-secondary institutions to which the student may apply in the future.” WI-DPI website. I’m not here to debate the requirements or analyze what this means, but yes you “have” to keep track of hours and educational plans that no one will see. Makes sense I know.

In short, 4 things to remember when homeschooling in Wisconsin

  1. PI-1206 Form to be filled out on or before October 15.
  2. Applies to kids ages 6-18.
  3. 875 hours of instruction each academic year.
  4. Educational plan.

Curriculum

As far as curriculum goes, in the state of Wisconsin, you can choose whatever suits your family. You can purchase a curriculum or create your own. You can participate in co-ops or do all the teaching yourself. Charlotte Mason to unschooling, nothing is off-limits is Wisconsin.

Resources
The website for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s: Home-Based Private Education Program (Homeschooling)

The website of WPA: Wisconsin Parents Assocaition. On the website you can purchase the WPA Handbook “Homeschooling in Wisconsin: At Home With Learning.” It was one of the first books I read about homeschooling, and it was a big help. It covers the topics of curriculum, legal requirements, record keeping, socialization, dealing with critics, and much more!

To find a homeschool group near you, I highly recommend Homeschool-life.com. It’s where I found the group we belong to!

Any questions? How does this differ from the homeschool laws in your state?

Thanks for stopping by!