Homeschooling – When The Teacher Is Sick

Posted 10-14-2013 at 12:41 PM by whitneywalters

We have been home schooling since my oldest ( who is seven ) was in preschool. While we have had a few sick days, nothing prepared me for what is would be like battling Pneumonia while pregnant and still trying to still be a teacher to my kids.

At first I tried to keep up the full schedule and it was just not possible. I was exhausting me, I was not giving the kids the attention they needed and we were all suffering for it. The thought went through my mind of just taking the time off but since we have a vacation time coming up already, I did not want to throw off the whole school schedule. I knew it was time to get creative and figure something out.

Below is a list of what I did while teacher was sick:

1. Call for help.
- It was not like I could call in sick and get a substitute teacher but I could call my mom and have her help me. We spent time at my mom’s house, I rested and she did school with the kids. My husband had been working over time and trying to keep up with what I could not do around the house but he still made time to help with school as well.

2. Make use of the computer and television set.
- There are a ton of educational shows on television. We have netflix and it is full of cartoons and documentaries the kids watched for part of their classes. I also have a membership to starfall.com and use several free educational game sites. I had them do math and reading games instead of working in their books. They were having fun, practicing skills, learning new things and I was still able to get the rest I needed.

Diaper Swapers

Get Outside!

Posted 08-9-2013 at 12:45 PM by whitneywalters

I am a very outdoorsy type person. I enjoy hiking, walking, camping, fishing and many other outdoor activities. My husband and I both agree that it is important for kids to stay active and we want them to spend a lot of time outside. As long as the weather is nice, we spend several hours every day outside.

We have a large yard and have put together a nice little play area for the kids. We built a  large sandbox,  have a swing set , a climbing toy, bikes, scooters, a sand and water table, a kiddie pool and other things out there for them to play with. We live in a very quiet part of town and the kids are able to ride their bikes on the side walk as much as they want.

Several times a week, I take the kids to a local park. My kids adore going to the smaller park that is in our town. It is the right size for all of them, well taken care of and quiet. Amelia is able to use almost all the equipment there without help, Kairi is able to use everything now and the oldest two are still plenty entertained by the equipment that is there.

Once and awhile we will take the kids out walking by the lake, they like to hike the woods that my parents own and they enjoy fishing. I am really glad to see them enjoying the outdoors as much as I do.

Here are just some of the reasons that I find outside time so important:

Hands on Mom

Posted 07-18-2013 at 11:25 AM by whitneywalters

I am a very hands on type of mom. If my kids need help learning something at a park, I am right there to help them learn. I get involved in  their art projects, play games and do a lot of other things to spend quality time with my kids. I am sure that some people would call me a helicopter mom but I am perfectly okay with that. I like being involved with the kids activities when we are out. We play tag together, swing with them and play with them. If they want to try something new but do not have the confidence to do it alone, I help them. I know a lot of people are hands off and want their kids to figure things out on their own when it comes to the park. This is just not how I parent.

When Alex wanted to go down the fire mans pole but was afraid, I helped him. At first he wanted my hands on him, not long after that he just wanted me to stand there in case he needed me and now he is going down it with ease. Having Mom close by gave him the confidence he needed to be able to go down on his own. He loves doing it now and does it several times while we are at the park. He always has a huge smile on his face and wants me to watch him.

Destiny has been wanting to learn the monkey bars. She is just a little bit to short to reach the bars on her own so I help her across. I hold her up and she pulls herself across. I am thinking once she grows the couple inches and is able to reach the bars, she will be swinging across them all on her own. She also had a fear of climbing high on the jungle gym. She wouldn’t even make it half way before she would get scared and want help. It took some coaching and having me right there with a hand on her before she made it over the top and down the other side.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Posted 07-15-2013 at 10:15 AM by whitneywalters

We have been getting a lot of rain lately and the forecast says we have a lot more rain coming. I was starting to run out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. We went outside whenever we had the chance but it has been raining so much that the ground is a mess, the sand box is a mess and they do want to do out in all the yuck. On the rare occasions that we have had a sunny day and things dry out enough to play, we spend most of the day outside. We are an outdoor loving family so being trapped indoors so much lately has been hard on us all.

My kids got board of the same board games very quickly, I will only let them watch so many cartoons, they only want to color for so long and they get tired of playing in their rooms all the time. We had to do something different.

Here is a small list of some of the things we have been doing to keep the rainy day blues away.

1. Get messy
- Break out the paints and let them go wild. My kids love finger painting and water color painting. I just make sure to cover the kitchen area with newspaper for easy clean out.
- Play with playdough, moon sand and other things of that sort. I cringe when I think of the clean but the kids love it and as long as I can keep it in the kitchen, it does not seem so bad.
- Do a messy or very hands on science experiment.

2. Swim indoors
- If you have the space ( and the towels ) bring your kiddy pool inside. Other wise fill the tub up and let them keep their suits on. My kids love “swimming” in the bath. They think it is the best thing ever when I let them swim in a bath that is brimming with bubbles.

Our Summer Bucket List

Posted 07-3-2013 at 02:36 PM by whitneywalters

Summer is my favorite season. I really enjoy the warm weather and everything that comes a long with summer. I made a list of things that I wanted my family to do this summer. Some of them we have already completed but we still have several left to go. We have had a blast with the things we have done so far and I know everything else is going to be a bit hit with my family.

1. Plant a garden
- This is part of my kid’s summer school project. They have been helping with the garden from the start. They have helped plant, weed and water. When the time comes to harvest, they will be helping and they are looking forward to eating the produce as well.

2. Plant flowers
- I am a garden lover. I have several areas in the yard with flowers planted. Most of what I have planted are perennials but I do have two pots that are filled with annuals. I do that because the kids have always like planting flowers with me. This year we planted petunias.

Little Artists

Posted 07-2-2013 at 12:15 PM by whitneywalters

I started doing art related things with my kids from a very young age. I introduced them to coloring as soon as they would stop trying to eat the crayons, side walk chalk as they could hold it and draw, finger painting before age two and a lot of other things. I have always loved art and I know that kids usually love art. This was something I could share with them and I knew we would have a lot of fun doing it.

I still have a lot of the first art that Alex made when he was little. I will always hold onto their first finger paintings and other special drawing they have done for me. When Alex was two ( almost three ) and Destiny was almost eighteen months we made Valentine’s cards for their Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and I had them make one for Chris and I to keep. They colored on them with markers, decorated with stickers and then I wrote on them. I will always treasure that little card.

After I had gall bladder sugery my oldest two made me cards ( with the help of my mom ). It was the sweetest thing. They are still hanging on my fridge months later and I will be holding onto those forever.

The Car Ride – Traveling with Kids

Posted 06-17-2013 at 01:02 PM by whitneywalters

We are planning a family trip in July. We will be going to visit my extended family that lives in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is about a five to six hour drive from where we live in Iowa. We are planning on spending four days there and have a lot of things planned. It is going to be a fun trip. I am just not looking forward to the drive itself.

We have only been there to visit once since Amelia was born. I would love to visit more but planning trips like that is not an easy task. I do not like traveling with kids and dislike it even more when the kids are babies. A five hour trip with a newborn is not a fun task at all.

Last time we went Amelia was three months old. She did better then I thought she would because we made several stops along the way. She slept most of the time we were actually driving. The extra stops allowed the kids to get out and run around for a few minutes and that helped their restlessness as well.

We do not plan on stopping like that this time. We are leaving later in the day and do not want to get there extremely late. Alex and Destiny are

Birthday Parties

Posted 06-17-2013 at 10:52 AM by whitneywalters

I like throwing big birthday parties for my children. I put a lot of time into planning the kid’s parties every year. I usually start planning months in advance, that way I give myself enough time to buy stuff, make decorations and have everything planned the way I want.

I do have to say that is seems like big birthday parties are not the norm in my area. We go to a handful of birthday parties each year and it seems like more and more people are going to family only parties. I am not sure if it is because of tight budgets or how stressful party planning can be. Personally, I will be throwing big parties until my kids are out of the house ( well maybe not that long but as long as they want a party, they will get one ).

All my kid’s birthdays are pretty close together which is another reason I start my planning so early. Alex’s is in April, Amelia’s is in June, Kairi’s is in July and Destiny’s is in August. It can be very stressful to do that many parties in such a short time. So far this year we have done Alex’s party. He requested a star wars party. I went to work at the beginning of this year making a pinterst board full of ideas for his party. He sat with me and picked out different ideas for games, food and what kind of cake he wanted. Over the next several months we narrowed things down and started buying supplies and making things.

Each child that came received a light saber, Darth Vader mask and we had a pinata. I made lunch that was all star wars themed and then we just let the kids play. Alex had a great time, his friends had fun and the adults were able to sit down enjoy some company. When the party was over Alex was already talking about wanting to help me plan his party for next year.

I have all three of my girl’s parties planned also. Amelia is having a rainbow party, Kairi is having an ice cream party and Destiny is having a tea party.

Amelia’s party will be smaller then the other kids. She is not a fan of large groups of people and I do not want her to be overwhelmed. We will probably just do a family party and invite her God parents. I am still going all out on her cake, decorations and food.

Kairi’s party is going to be a blast. She used to be a lot like Amelia and did not like big groups of people. Her party last year and the year before were both pretty small. We did not want to upset her on her birthday. Now that she has outgrown that we want to throw her a bigger

Soccer

Posted 06-4-2013 at 04:27 PM by whitneywalters

Alex and Destiny joined soccer for the first time this year. They are on the same team which made Destiny feel a lot better. She likes having her big brother with her when she is trying something new. Alex was pleased to find out that his good friend from church is also on their team. I knew Alex would be fine, he liked trying new sports and enjoyed learning how to play them. I was worried about Destiny, she is not a rough and tumble kid at all.

The first practice went really well, the second did not. Destiny was very overwhelmed by the bigger kids on her team and scared of getting in the middle of them. Destiny is the second smallest on the team, she is very small for her age and rather timid around bigger kids About half way through practice she got hit in the face by the ball. I really thought she was going to start crying but her coach was able to get her to shake it off and get back into practice without tears. Shortly after that she ran into another player, he thought she pushed him so he turned around, shoved her and yelled at her. I could tell she was upset by this, I loudly told him not to push her and that it was an accident and the coach also warned him if he pushed again that he would be done with the practice. After practice I told the coach I was not trying to overstep, I just know that my daughter is very timid around other players and I wanted to protect her, she told me I was fine and that she would have done the same thing if it was her child.

We got into the car when practice was done and Destiny burst into tears. She really upset about being pushed, getting hit in the face and thought she was not good enough to play with the other kids. We had a long talk, I comforted her, told her she did really well and that it was okay. She felt better after our talk and was looking forward to her first game.

Always Have a Back Up Plan

Posted 06-3-2013 at 01:21 PM by whitneywalters

Chris and I had made plans to take the kids to Member’s Night at the zoo. Our zoo is opening a new exhibit with a lot of new African animals and our whole family has been looking forward to it since they announced it last year. Since we are members we can go a day before it opens to have a sneak peek. Member’s night not includes that sneak peak but a bunch of other activities for the kids.

We had the plan all set up. When Chris got home from work we would head out, grab some drive through on the way and get there right when member’s night would start. Since it is Spring and we already were having some warm days I really did not think I would have to be worrying about snow, freezing rain and it being to cold for Kairi to be out. Well, I was very wrong.

Of course, the weekend we wanted to go and do this would be the weekend that we would be getting snow. I could not believe my eyes when I checked the weather. It was 80 degrees outside and yet two days later they were calling for snow, freezing rain and overall cold weather. Iowa weather can be very unpredictable but snow in May is not something that really happens. I knew we would not be going to the zoo and I was bummed. Even worse, I knew the kids would be really disappointed.