Monday, June 18, 2012

Changing Minds About Cloth Diapers

This article was published in The Times Money Saver put out by the Shreveport Times newspaper.  This little paper comes in the mail each week along with the sales papers for our local grocery stores.  This article was on the front page a week or so ago and I wanted to share it.  We used cloth diapers with our boys for several different reasons and though it did take a little work, it wasn't hard to do, even with a busy schedule.  I am typing the article and have no idea if the article is published anywhere online to actually link to it.  Hope I have sited it correctly!  A link to the website of the author referred to in the article is listed at the bottom of this post.  Read on for the article!!!!

"Cloth diapers are hard to use."  "Cloth diapers are inconvenient."  "Cloth diapers don't fit my busy lifestyle."  These are some of the many reasons expressed by families about why they don't or won't cloth diaper, according to author and cloth diaper advocate, Kelly Wels.
   Wels is a determined mom of three who will stop at nothing to get moms to open their minds about cloth diapering and stop the excuses.  "I find that many moms are unsure about cloth diapering their babies, but if they knew how easy it was and how much money they would save, I think they would give it a go," says Wels.
   In her mission to change minds, Wels wrote a book, "Changing Diapers.  The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering," where she lists five reasons why a parent might choose to cloth diaper:
          1.  Cloth diapers are best for baby.
          2.  Cloth diapers can save a family a lot of money.
          3.  Cloth diapering is eco-friendly.
          4.  Cloth diapers are convenient to use.
          5.  Cloth diapering is fun.
  After years of selling cloth diapers direct to consumer through a dotcom, Wels hung up her hat so she could spend more time with her family.  She sold her multimillion dollar cloth diaper retail business and took a much needed break.  That's when she began focusing on writing and publishing a book about modern cloth diapering.  Wels says the word "modern" is key to the book's title.
   "Modern cloth diapering requires fewer resources than cloth diapering of the past.  Modern cloth diapers like bumGenius and Rumparooz fit just like disposable diapers except instead of a tape closure, modern cloth diapers use durable snaps or Velcro-like closures to secure on the baby.  This means less time securing pins and plastic pants like moms did decades ago," says Wels.  "Modern cloth diapers also are easily cleaned at home in a washing machine and require no soaking, swirling or any of that icky stuff of yesteryear.
  Wels says she couldn't wait to share her love of modern cloth diapers with others around the world and help them save money in these trying economic times.  "Disposable diapers can drain a family's wallet, forcing them to spend $25 or more each week on diapers.  With cloth diapers, a family only spends a few hundred dollars upfront and is set for their baby's entire diapering years," she says.  "The savings really adds up when you factor in the costs of a second or third baby using the same cloth diaper stash as baby No. 1."
   Wels adds that families should be aware of other "costs" too.  "Our natural resources are so few and so precious.  Disposable diapers, no matter how you slice it, require natural resources to make, package, ship and haul away to the trash dump every week."  With cloth diapers, she adds, "You buy your diapers once and you never have to worry about buying again.  Many busy moms use disposables strictly out of convenience, buy I'm here to tell them that having everything you need to cloth diaper your baby in your home offers all the convenience needed."  She adds, "If I can get just one more mom to become more open-minded about cloth diapering and maybe even encourage her to give it a try, I would consider my mission a success."

For more on Kelly Wels and cloth diapering, visit her website 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Left/Right Action Rhymes

I went seaching for left/right action rhymes online today and came across a page with lots of action rhymes all mixed together.  I read each one and copy/pasted the left/right ones into a word document so that I would have them together for easier use during our circle times next week.  As I saved the file, I thought that many of you might like to have these all in one place as well.  Don't worry, I listed the source as was listed on the site.  Just click the link below to access the document that I have uploaded to

Friday, June 1, 2012

Family Page for Yearbook

This is what school looks like at the McCormick house. My friend Mindy made this page for our co-op yearbook. I had soooo many great pictures that I wanted to use but these were some of my favorites. We had an amazing first year homeschooling. I am so glad that I decided to follow God and homeschool when my heart was still at MSS. The boys learned so much this year but I learned much more. My heart was changed and my eyes were opened too. Thank you to all that have supported and encouraged me this year. We couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Lost Treasure

   I have been cleaning out and arranging what will eventually be our family "Study" this week.  My husband's assistant works from our home and had a corner set up for her but the rest of the room was a total wreck.  This room started out last January as my scrapbook room and office, over the summer it transformed into the homeschool room and office and then in December, it officially became the office.  Well, it was a mess and while Gabe has been gone, we've been busy working.  On Tuesday I put together the desk that we had ordered months ago for Ms. Karen and I've been busy cleaning up and out ever since.  Well, today I cleaned out a box and found some really neat summer ideas for preschool/kindergarten aged children.  I have no idea where this came from or even who wrote it so I apologize in advance for not issuing credit where credit is due.  There may even be several pages missing.

                                                 Pre-K/Kindergarten Summer Activities

Midline Activities
1.  Practice tying shoes.
2.  Crossing arms above the head and below the waist.
3.  Zipping and buttoning.
4.  Building with blocks and balancing with 2 hands. 
5.  Crawling.
6.  Tearing/cutting paper.
7.  Holding a bowl with one hand and stirring with the other hand.

Oral Motor Activities
1.  Blowing bubbles/pinwheels/harmonicas/kazoos.
2.  Using a straw to drink with or blow things.
3.  Peanut butter on lips and use tongue lick it off.

Listening Games
1.  Simon Says.
2.  Freeze game- play music, turn it off, freeze in spot and repeat.
3.  Listening outside- sitting outside and naming all the different things you hear.

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness Activities
1.  Rhyming games with their name or making up words that rhyme.
2.  Nursery rhymes and books with rhyming text.
3.  Silly Mistakes- Examples: "Jack and Jill went up the pickle", "The first little pig built a straw of house."
4.  Letter hunt- find letters everywhere.
5.  Alphabet hopscotch- naming letters as they jump on them.
6.  I Spy: Letters, numbers, colors, patterns or even sounds.
7.  Tongue Twisters: Examples below or create your own.
      *Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
      *My mommy makes marvelous, munchy meatballs.
      *She sells seashells down by the seashore.
      *Justin's jeep just jumped, joggled and jiggled
8.  Beginning and ending sound games- I am thinking of a word that begins with "b" sound or ends with a certain sound.  (Be careful not to put the "u" sound after the letter sounds.)
9.  Clapping/tapping syllables in words.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's our Summer Break!!!!

Yep, that's right.  We were too stressed out and since we were finished with Kindergarten work, we've called it a year.  Last week was very laid back and this week is our first official week off.  We began painting the classroom on Friday night and hopefully tonight Gabe will get the trim painted so that I can begin putting it back together tomorrow.  I read some great reviews on Homeschool Tracker last week and decided to try it out.  I bought a 30 day trial and have put most of our lessons in for June and some for July even.  It schedules them and allows you to bump them forward when life happens.  I am loving it so far. 

We plan to start back to school in June but have a trip planned for one week.  We are going to go with Dad to a Pastor's Conference type thing in California.  While out there, we hope to visit the Monterrey Bay Aquarium and King's Canyon National Park.  These are a few of the places Gabe and I visited when we were there in 2001 and I know the boys will love them.  I'm counting these as field trips and will be including those days in our attendance.  That's the great thing about homeschool, family vacations count as attendance in school! 

Last week the boys decided that since they don't get report cards to get money for good grades, they need a prize for finishing the school year.  They don't choose a little prize either.  They are both on us for a NOOK!  They tried to sell us on the idea by telling us about the school work that they can do on it (educational aps) and the great books that they can read while traveling this summer.  A few days later, Levi decides to finally tell us that he just wants it so that he can watch Netflix movies and play Angry Birds.  Anyways, I have no idea if they are going to get their wish or not but I know that I've been wanting a NOOK for about 2 years now so maybe for Mother's Day I will finally get one.  I've been saving up B&N gift cards to buy one and almost have enough, but if I got one as a gift, I'd have lots to spend on books.  I'm such a dork!  The reality of it is that none of us are very likely to get our own NOOK but we may get a family one for us to share.  I can see where this would be a great asset to our school. 

One last thing that I am looking forward to this month is the Scholastic Book Fair.  I got the flyer yesterday along with a few coupons too.  I am a total Scholastic junky and at the book fair, all of the books are supposed to be half off.  We are far from deprived in our personal library but we always need new books.  We are really into non-fiction type books right now and I love that I can add the paper back books to our work boxes so easily. 

Once I get our classroom back together, I plan to post pictures of our shelves and classroom.  We've stepped away from Montessori but there are still many hands-on lessons on our shelves.  We've moved to a few textbooks but we use the workboxes, puzzles and manipulatives as suppliments to the text.  I believe that this makes the material more interesting and personal for the child.  So far, it is working well with my boys.  They both love learning and get excited about so much.  I am excited about our break and getting back into the classroom in June.  Year 1 was wonderful but I know that Year 2 is going to be even better!!!!!!!! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

What a year......

   I started this year out with lots of really good intentions.  I was going to be the best homeschool mom ever.  We were going to stick to Montessori 100%.  I had a schedule, the boys had workplans and we had a classroom set up.  And then we started DAY 2!
   To really tell this story, I need to back up a little though.  January 2011 we bought our home (built in 1910) and moved in the last weekend of January.  The house is 5400 sq ft but the upstairs was attic space that had never been finished out.  Downstairs we had 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, large hall, kitchen, dining and study.  The study housed my scrapbook stuff, my husband's office and our classroom.  It worked for a while but we were cramped and usually ended up working in the dining room.  Needless to say, this created a big mess.  I was working hard to keep up with Montessori lessons but I was so stressed out and we were still missing our friends at the Montessori school.  Homeschool was going good but it was a struggle.  December came and my husband hired an accountant for his business, which took a load of stress off of me but created another problem.  We now have another person in the office with us.  We were all in each other's way!
   Me and the boys moved into the dining room for a week or so but we were so frustrated.  Gabe began working upstairs so now we had a mess to clean each morning (he'd work late at night).  By Christmas I had had enough.  I couldn't do it.  Montessori is wonderful but with all of the chaos in our home, it wasn't working.  The boys love it and do well with it but I couldn't keep up, we had no space for our materials and I didn't feel like the Super Mom I wanted to be.  The week after Christmas I broke down and bought a WORKBOOK for Elijah's math.  I hated the idea of using a workbook but it is something that he can work on each day without me having to tell him which lesson to do and show him how to do the lesson.  I decided that I would let Levi work on what ever he wanted, which most days was markers and a coloring book.  The workbook turned out to be a good thing for us.  I found myself looking ahead about 5-6 lessons and making hands-on "lessons" to go with each lesson in the book.  Our math shelf started growing.  Elijah stopped complaining that he missed his old school.  He started working in the workbook in the evenings and on the weekends too.  He liked it!
   We also started Explode the Code Book 1 at the same time.  I got this mainly because I couldn't work with him daily on his pink language materials and he really needed daily work.  He would use this workbook each day, doing 1-2 pages and pretty quickly he finished it.  When he started the book, he knew his basic phonic sounds but was still struggling to put the sounds together and read.  This of course made me feel really bad.  This workbook helped him jump over that hurdle and have the confidence to actually attempt to read the first Bob book.  Wow!  I was so against workbooks and I found that they add to what I wanted for the boys education.  After all, I love Montessori BECAUSE it is hands-on, not because they have tons of wonderful materials.  He finished the ETC book and now he's working on finishing the pink language series.  In Montessori he would be much farther in reading but for public school he is right on track.  It's not what I had hoped to accomplish but I am happy with it.
   Gabe finally finished upstairs enough that we could move our bedrooms up.  This left the boys room downstairs for a guest room and scrapbook room, our old bedroom became our classroom and now Gabe's accountant has the office to herself during the day.  We can all breath!  It has taken me quite a while to get the classroom set up the way that I want it and I still have a ways to go but we are comfortable in there.  Elijah is getting ready to start 2nd grade math (Saxon) in a few weeks, we've started a 1st grade social studies book (BJU) and a 1st grade science book (BJU).  For each unit in the books, there are hands-on lessons on our shelves and books in the book basket.  We have science workboxes with puzzles, books and 3-part cards.  I've adapted some of the Montessori bead materials to work with our math.  I like the way our school is going now.  It isn't Montessori, it's not all Bob Jones and it is far from Unschooling.  We're happy!  We're comfortable!  WE'RE ALL LEARNING! 
   I am still struggling with frustrations and anxiety but I'm working on it a little at a time.  I want to be Super Mom.  I want to do it all.  I want my house to stay clean, my boys to have the perfect education and my family to eat a home cooked meal every night.  In reality, my house is lived in, my boys do school work sporadically and we eat out at least 3 times a week.  I'm not Super Mom but not a day goes by that my boys don't tell me how much they love me and that I am the best mom ever.  I can live with that!  We've got a lot of work left to do on our house, I've got a lot of lessons that I still want to make and/or buy for the boys but now that we've found our groove, I'm okay with not having it all together.  We will continue working through the summer, mainly because the boys enjoy it, but we are going to stay flexible, much as we are now.  We will have our fun and we'll continue learning too.  HOMESCHOOL HAS BECOME A PART OF US!