family & home

57 articles in category family & home / Subscribe

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Every once in a while we make contact with small business owners, not unlike ourselves, whose products and interests closely connect with our own. When we do, we are happy to welcome them as supporters of this space and our family. We also want to share with you the cool things they are making and helping others with, usefulness being key to whether or not we a product seems worth sharing.

Today I’d like to tell you about one such product, Mama’s Notebooks.

I mentioned before that I had a planner that was working fairly well for me to keep track of home, school, and work all in one place. The truth is, a planner helps me to take everything out of my brain before it gets lost. It is much like writing for me – a means by which I organize my thoughts and make sense of my surroundings.

So when Heather, a reader here for sometime and creator of Mama’s Notebooks, asked if I was interested in trying them out I was both excited and apprehensive. I said yes with excitement because the planners looked and sounded really great and I thought they might be helpful in what is my biggest challenge in my role as mother and homemaker – organization and planning. I was apprehensive because, as previously stated, I already liked my planner and I thought it was working well for me.

I’ve been using both the Mama’s Notebook Planner and the Homeschool Weekly Planner for the past month. When I first received them I was a little shocked. The fullness of these notebooks cannot be overstated. Clearly Heather is a Mama who understands both the specifics and the breadth of this job and the need for the organizational space to get it all done.

Mama’s Notebook Weekly Planner & Organizer

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This weekly homemaking planner includes two pages – both the calendar and an open page for notes. For me, this is an excellent idea. For one, that open page allows me to brain dump lists of various types: deadlines, emails that need attention, homestead projects that need doing, ongoing grocery lists, community events, and any other projects I need to remember. From there I can transfer these organized lists into daily tasks on the calendar page.

Each day is broken into AM, PM, and Evening slots. This has been really useful for me as I block out half days for school, work, or household tasks. Then evenings are open for meals, family time, or whatever urgent homestead stuff that needs doing. Also included in this calendar is a space for meal planning. I plan meals only 2-3 days ahead of time at the most, depending on what food we have on hand, and this space allows me to jot down ideas for the coming days’ meals without feeling stuck.

The Mama’s Notebook Planner is a great fit for me in that it provides the space needed for organizing the different aspects of home life that I juggle, and frankly struggle to keep straight. The spacious pages and master lists and chore charts at the back are great for keeping it all in one place.

Homeschool Weekly Notebook

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I actually didn’t think I needed a separate planner for homeschool. We are fairly relaxed about school in that we do it year round as it fits into the rest of our life. Even so, I didn’t quite realize how unorganized my take on school was until I actually attempted to organize it.

I struggle to create organizational systems from thin air. This shows both in our home and in the way in which I educate the children. I work better with flexibility but I know not all of our family does, and certainly not all of our children. So finding a balance between flexible and strictly scheduled has helped, and that’s where this planner comes in. And it really fits our homeschooling style, the completely blank pages allowing us to skip weeks of school without wasting a page of the calendar.

The Weekly Homeschool Planner has all of the organizational systems needed built right in. A weekly two page calendar allows me to write down which lessons we need to get done while the at-a-glance monthly pages provide a place for writing out goals and needs. Our boys are just beginning to really dig into their education and the lists in the back of the notebook for chores and resources and books will be a great asset for years to come as I jot down ideas as they come up and keep track of what works with our oldest so that I might remember it for his brother and sisters.

I am grateful for people like Heather, women who pull the chaos together to create something orderly, something that works. I have these women in my life here in the community, in my extended family, and now I feel a bit like there is one with me every day, just waiting for me to jot down what needs remembering or doing.

Giveaway!

Heather has generously offered to give one of our readers a free Mama’s Notebook of their choice. Besides the aforementioned Mama’s Weekly Planner and the Weekly Homeschool Notebook, Heather has also created…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Mama’s Notebooks, for creating such a helpful addition to our home, and for being a supporter of Nourishing Days! If you or your small business are interested in becoming a supporter of Nourishing Days, feel free to contact me.

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When I look back at a lot of the decisions we’ve made since having children, many of them come back to the home. We chose to try homebirth with our first child and it completely changed the trajectory of birth for our family. We have since had all four of our children at home and I can’t overstate how amazing that experience, and the people we’ve shared it with, have been.

When we began to really dig into how we wanted to raise our children, what roles we would play in their day-to-day lives, and what type of life we wanted to carve out for our family as a whole, homesteading came up. This coincided with a conviction to head down an agrarian path for many other reasons. The goal is that this provides a work and home life that keeps our family together and allows us to give our children what they need – our time.

As our babies turned to toddlers and I began to think about their ongoing education – because we believe learning is not confined to K-12 – homeschooling seemed an obvious fruit of this home-based life we wanted to create. And so we became homeschoolers.

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Our boys are now at an age where their education requires more and more of our attention. There are many homeschooling philosophies and if you wanted to put a label on us I suppose you could call us Classical Education Charlotte Mason Unschoolers. That is to say, perhaps we don’t fit into a neatly packaged box, or if we do it is one painted with a different color. All of this flows out of our worldview, as the education of every child springs from the influences of their parents’ values, which is to say we are trying to build their education on Christ, His Word, and His Church.

In terms of specifics, honestly, my top priority is to turn them into voracious readers. So, we work on reading and math and writing and penmanship. We are covering science and social studies and history. We also want to give our children a set of agrarian skills that we are just now learning. Shoot, my eight-year-old has far more experience milking goats than I do. My six-year-old hammers with more accuracy than I’ve ever wielded. I’m guessing they’re going to be better at just about everything than I am, which, now that I think about it, might be one of the goals.

But I didn’t sit down and teach them these things. Our neighbor brought them in to help with the goats because she and they were interested. And now they’ll be equipped milkers if we get our own milking operation up and running.

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Hammers, nails, screws, tape measures, and screw drivers are all the rage right now and Abram’s garden gate (for his own garden) just makes me smile. His garden was started one day by his own determination and if I look to the right of that garden a ways I’ll see his big brother nailing together the boys’ workshop from various bits of wood from the scrap pile.

That’s the part that comes naturally, the part that is a fruit of a lifestyle where they’re involved in doing, making, growing, and working. I also think that it is a lack of other things less mindful that facilitates this type of learning and desire to help and do.

The hard part for someone like me, who creates a cloud of chaos wherever I go, is sitting down and hammering out the other aspects of their education that we deem important. So I block off a few hours, 4-5 days a week, for those things that involve sitting, reading, writing, and exploring with them. My lack of focus and organization, coupled with the girls’ energy and needs makes this interesting.

These school hours combined with the fact that the other half of the day is dedicated to freelance work and from-scratch meals for six, means there is very little homestead involvement on my part at the moment. I plant some seeds here and there, help out when busy planting/harvesting times happen, and collect eggs from time-to-time. Mostly, though, I stand back and take pictures of Stewart and the children’s homesteading ventures as time allows.

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Right now infrastructure construction is again at the forefront of our homestead projects, putting a significant halt to fall gardens and the expanding of animal operations that we’re looking forward to. But these projects are done alongside of the children, so while it’s not food production, it’s certainly part of building a homestead which means it’s also a part of their education.

That is the long answer to the email I received this morning which nudged me into writing this post I’d been meaning to for sometime. The short answer to how we homeschool while homesteading and with small children in tow is actually pretty simple: It’s absolute chaos and not something you want advice on from me because I actually don’t homeschool while homesteading. That is, if homesteading is the act of gardening or tending to animals.

But since homesteading is an education in and of itself, and since my children have facilitated some of the most important lessons I have learned, perhaps I am the one getting the education… or maybe I’m just getting schooled. Either way, that’s the view from our “classroom”.