Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Toilets and Towels

How about that attention-grabbing title?  And what does it have to do with homeschooling?  Well, I'll tell ya.  Since I'm now home full-time I am trying to get my act together and get into a regular cleaning routine.  When I was working full-time I had to just try to fit cleaning in whenever I had a chance.  I've seen on some of the blogs I read how some people assign a cleaning task to a day of the week.  It reminds me of some cute little embroidered dish towels my mom used to use to dry dishes.  Each towel had a little sunbonnet girl doing a various task such as washing, dusting, ironing, etc.  (Sidenote:  Ironing is never on my to-do list.  I'm just sayin'....)  Anyway, I've come up with a pretty simple routine that I think I can stick with.  It definitely doesn't encompass all the little daily cleaning tasks I do anyway, but it does emphasize a particular area each day of the week.   I can't remember which blog I adapted this from, but here it is.  I liked this particular sequence of tasks in particular because they are alliterative and thus easy for me to remember.

Monday:  Menu planning & Market day  (My husband usually does our grocery shopping once each week on his way home from work.  I realize how awesome that is.  So......I'll probably do menu-planning over the weekend and use any extra time on Mondays doing prep-ahead tasks for the meals we'll eat each week.)

Tuesday:  Toilets and Towels  (With two little boys I have to give daily attention to toilets, but this will remind me to focus a bit extra on the bathrooms on Tuesdays.  I'll also remember to launder and put out fresh towels each Tuesday.)

Wednesday:  Wash  (I do at least a load of laundry every day of the week it seems.  However, I have not been on a regular schedule of changing out and washing our sheets on the beds.  So, I'm going to remember to strip the beds and put fresh sheets on every Wednesday.

Thursday:  Dust (This one doesn't start with "TH", so if I forget to dust on Thursdays that's my excuse.  haha!)

Friday:  Floors  (I have to vacuum and sweep several times each week due to two boys, one dog and three cats in our home.  However, on Fridays I'm going to put in a little extra effort and steam vac a room (as needed) or steam mop the floors.

Hopefully by sticking with this routine, I'll break up the cleaning and be able to have less cleaning to do on the weekends.  When I worked full-time, I usually ended up doing most of  my cleaning after church on Sunday.  (I know, I know...........it's supposed to be a day of rest.)

What's your cleaning routine?  Post it in the comments section.  I'd love to hear some new ideas.

Oh........one more thing.  Two of my absolute favorite cleaners right now are:

I love great-smelling cleaners that have a clean, fresh scent.  I absolutely despise using any cleaners with a chemical smell.  I use both of these cleaners almost everywhere, on counters, floors, and pretty much any other surface.  Nothing compares to a clean, fresh-smelling house!!
Gotta go scrub some toilets...........it's Tuesday, after all........

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pinterest Love!!

I'm sure many of you have already jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, but if you haven't, you MUST check it out!!  If you don't know what I'm talking about, Pinterest is a (free!) online organizational tool which allows you to virtually "pin" ideas that you find online onto virtual "pinboards" that you create.  I have been an avid blog reader and follower for several years.  I prefer to read my blogs in Google Reader.  I like having one place to go to check out who's posted something new.  However, I have been less than happy with the limitations of GR for keeping track of posts I want to refer back to.  GR allows you to "star" items you like, but then you just get a super-long list of starred items arranged chronologically and it is somewhat difficult to go back and find what you're looking for when you have to search through a really long text-based list of starred items.  With Pinterest, you can quickly and easily pin a visual image and Pinterest saves the link, so all you have to do when you want to refer to the idea is click on the image you "pinned" and it takes you directly to the link.  The possibilities are endless for how you can arrange and organize your pins.  If you  are interested in checking out my pinboards, CLICK HERE.  It is so fun!!  You do need an invitation to get started, so if you need me to invite you, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you an invitation.  I hope you love it as much as I do!! 

Oh........one more thing...........some of you may be interested to know that I have resisted getting on Facebook for many years now.  Let it be a testimony to how much I wanted to be on Pinterest that I FINALLY opened a Facebook account.  Apparently you can't get on Pinterest without a Facebook or Twitter account.  I even emailed Pinterest to ask how to access it without FB and they didn't even reply!  I still love them though!  I feel kinda sorry for all the people who know me in real life and have friended me on FB because I really just joined for Pinterest and I'm not planning to put any information on my profile other than my name.  I know, pretty boring!  Truthfully, I prefer blogging to FB now that I can honestly compare the two.  You can write so much more on a blog!  I guess I'm just a wordy kind of girl.  :-)  Plus I don't think anyone wants to read about me doing laundry or wiping dried poop off a chicken's bottom (which I really had to do tonight).  See.........no one wants to know that.   That's why I would be really bad at posting on FB.  OK.........wordy girl signing off now.........G'night!

Stories of the Great Composers

Here is another book I bought at the state homeschool conference called Stories of the Great Composers by June Montgomery and Maurice Hinson.  This book explores the lives of 13 important composers.  In addition to an illustration and simple biography, there is a fictional story featuring each composer which is based on facts or events in his/her life.  There's also a fun game in the back of the book that can be used for review of the information learned.  And the best part...........it includes a CD with a featured work by each composer.  I'm thinking we may alternate between a composer or artist to study each week.  This is a great introductory resource for the composers.  There are also progressively more advanced versions of this series available, so if we like it we'll probably continue using this resource in future years.  Have any of you used this book or series?  If so, did you like it?  I'd love to hear from you!!  (Bloggers love comments!  hint hint)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Resource for Art

I picked up The Usborne Art Treasury by Rosie Dickins at the state homeschool conference I attended in June.  This is a treasure of a book.  It features 22 different artists and highlights one of their works.  It gives brief biographical information about the artist as well as interesting details about the featured work of art.  My favorite aspect of this book is that there is an accompanying art project to go with each artist.  I think we could easily use this as our primary resource for art study this year.  I am thinking about making up some study cards depicting each work of art that we can use to review the artists and works we've learned.  If I do so, I'll probably put a download link on the blog so you can access the file.  Does anyone else use this book?  And if so, have you enjoyed it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hey, everybody!

I just got back from a little trip out of town with the boys.  We visited my good friend, Beth, and her family and had a super time! It's good to be home though.  I am really excited and energized to start writing and sharing a lot in this place.  However, I have a van full of vacation "stuff" to unpack, laundry to do, etc.  So, tonight I just wanted to share a blog I've been reading for a while that I just love.  It's called "Skipping School" or "Unschooled" and is written by a young woman named Kate who lives in Manhattan, is a gifted writer and blogs about being homeschooled all the way through from early childhood to high school.  I really love Kate's writing and find it fascinating to read about homeschooling from her perspective.  Please head over and check it out.  If we bombard her site with Montessori Journey traffic it would be fun to leave her a bunch of kind comments.  I know there are a lot of homeschooling mamas who read my MJ blog and who have now headed over here.  Let's all give Kate a big pat on the back for sharing her thoughts on this topic.  Now GO SEE KATE!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You guys are awesome! (and one of my favorite resources on the web)

Seriously.  I have the best readers ever!!  It's amazing to me that this new blog has gotten over 2,000 page views within the first 12 or so hours of "launching".  That is totally because of all you Montessori Journey readers heading over here to see what's up at Walnut Hill.  Thanks for visiting! 

Since I don't want to disappoint you by having nothing to say over here, I thought I'd do a quick post to share with you one of my absolute favorite resources on the web for art projects, Kathy Barbro's Art Projects for Kids.  I used her ideas quite a bit for inspiration in my Montessori classroom, and I've also used them for ideas to do with the boys here at home.  Tonight I've spent quite a while browsing her site and pinning ideas (LOVE LOVE LOVE Pinterest) to use with the boys during our upcoming school year.  I think if you click THIS LINK it will take you to my Pinterest page where you can view all my boards.  I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment to let me know if this link worked and you could view them.  I am really new to Pinterest. 
In addition, LG made a project from her site today that he is going to enter in the open class of our county fair next week.  Last year my oldest son (SC) exhibited a project he'd made using an idea from her site as well.  I'm including a photo of LG's project because I think it turned out great.  I love how innovative, yet simple Kathy's projects are.  Additionally, since I'm not a trained art teacher, I appreciate her descriptions of how to set up the projects so children can be successful.  SC, my oldest son, gets a bit frustrated when trying to draw, but I think his confidence will increase if we try some of Kathy's projects and use her suggestions.  And you know what else?  After pinning a bunch of her ideas on Pinterest, I have a strong urge to start my own art journal and try out her projects.  In fact, I think I'll do just that.  It's going to be awesome to be a homeschooler!!

OK, here's LG's Starry City Night:

I love how this turned out.  It's a bit hard to tell, but in the middle "building", he drew a balcony with a person on it.  And in front of that building he drew a motorcycle.  So even though this was kind of a "canned" art project, he put his own details into it and it is truly a unique creation.  I want to get it matted with a thick white mat and frame it with a wide black frame.  And I want it to hang on my wall forever!!  :-)

One more thing (and for some reason I can't get Blogger to format any of the text after the picture with left margin alignment.........driving me batty!)......I think that grandparents would LOVE receiving any of the projects on Kathy's site as a gift.  I already have a few in mind for my boys to make as Christmas gifts.  It's never too early to start planning for that, right?


Hello!  Welcome to my new blog!  Many of you have followed me for years over at My Montessori Journey.  If you are a MJ reader, thanks for stopping by to see what I'm up to over here.  I'm excited to document my new journey as a homeschooling mama here in this new space.  We won't officially begin our school year until mid-August, so I'm not sure how often I'll post between now and then.  However, I've put quite a bit of time into the pages of the blog, so you'll have plenty to read there.  I'd love it if you'd drop me a quick line when you visit!   It would be great to hear from you!