Advice for Moms with New Babies, to Help them Sleep 

Do you have a new baby and trouble sleeping with the new erratic schedule? I am so sorry! Hang in there!

     I have had that problem many times, but being a mother to new babies many times has taught me a lot. I discovered over time: Calcium/Magnesium supplements, Serenity and Calms Forte will help me sleep. Lack of exercise and the effects of salt and chocolate on my system keep me from sleeping.

     Chocolate, sugar and salt will not help you sleep at night. If you have been eating salty things too much, cut down! If you eat chocolate during the day to keep you awake, or if you take in things which have the same effect (caffiene), cut down on it. Sugar during the day will keep you wired at night.

     Magnesium supplements do wonders, DoTerra essential oil Serenity is awesome. Calms forte is a milk-based homeopathic tiny pill that is all natural and helps you sleep. I love it. 

     Exercise during the day helps you sleep at night. Getting enough to eat in the day helps you sleep at night. Not having a crazy long do list helps you sleep. Not worrying helps you sleep. If you worry a lot or have a long to-do list, write a new do list that is similar to this one:

Mom’s Do-List With a New Baby

1- Get up when you have to and sleep whenever you get a chance.

2- Keep the baby (and other kids, if any) and yourself alive.

3- Shower and get dressed. Showering every day is a luxury when you have a newbie. At least get it in every other day!

4- Eat 3 healthy, balanced meals a day and feed the kids when they need it.

5- Dress and change kids when needed.

6- Pray and read scriptures.

     I do not even have a newbie anymore. I still use this list. My youngest is older. However, I still stick to this list. It keeps me sane. Having a newbie makes it extra necessary to have a do list like this one. When you have a newbie which makes it so you never get a normal 8 hour night of sleep, you just have to forget housework. Buy disposable dinnerware and buy easy to make meal items (from a can or microwave dinner or easy fresh foods) for a while. Arrange around your husband’s or a hired helper’s schedule, for regular, scheduled naptimes. If they are at the same times daily, your body will accustom itself to them.

     I also made a 24 hour clock chart every week, and wrote when the baby is awake and asleep, with the goals of:

1- knowing when I would get to go to sleep so my brain could plan on it (not just at night but in the day)

2- being able to gradually manipulate awake times so as to have sleep times for the baby, at closer to normal times

This group is to support moms who have pre-partum and post-partum depression or the baby blues.

Raising Future Mothers and Fathers In My Homeschool

One thing people who do not homeschool or did not homeschool their kids often notice when they see my kids, is how good they are at childcare, or at caring for littler kids and babies. Sadly, most often, it is seen in a NEGATIVE LIGHT. Sadly, it puts too many under the impression that I am an awful mother. Here are some things people have said to me:

— “At least you actually teach your kids. Some people who homeschool just turn their kids into childcare slaves.”

(This was meant as a compliment, but the fact that this person thinks other homeschool moms do that is just mean and sad. I wonder why this person thinks homeschool moms do that.)

— “She is good with the kids, but that is what she does, right? She keeps care of the kids always. Do you babysit for her sometimes and let her have a break?”

OUCH OUCH

— “She practically raises him, doesn’t she?”

(referring to my young daughter and my preschooler)

OUCH again!

     Some people need a point of reference because there are parents who take advantage of kids. Here are the facts. My daughter is a teen and babysits once a week. We pay her $1 per child per hour in Utah. On top of that, when I need to take a shower, go to the bathroom for 5-15 minutes, make dinner for 15 to 30 minutes, or plant the garden with her dad’s help for a few minutes to a couple hours, we ask her to wath the baby inside where he will not run into the road. Sometimes, I ask one of the other kids. It is not always her.

     This is just a guess, but I think that many people think youth should not be good with kids and that if youth are good with kids, it must be because all they do is childcare, all day long every day. I also think that, sadly, many people just enjoy judging the homeschool mom and think it brings them to a higher plane of existence when they knock her down. It could possibly be because they see something good in her children and the way she is raising them and they are upset that most moms do not get that result in youth. They feel that they need to defend themselves not by playing defense, but by attacking (playing offense). I think they think that attacking her in this way will make them better than the homeschool mom. After all, turning kids into childcare slaves so that the mom can sit and eat bon bons all day and watch soap operas is wrong! Since her kids are good with kids, it must be this way. What else could explain why they are so good with kids?

     You know, there are a lot of kids who are not homeschooled and are good with kids and babies, too. My mom used to do childcare to earn extra money. My siblings and I were often asked to babysit because of this. We were clueless and had a lot to learn, but my sister and I also love the “Babysitters Club” book series, and we loved being around kids and babies. I do not think we were awesome sitters. Even when I became a new mom, I had a lot to learn. I once changed my niece’s diaper and used Clorox wipes instead of baby wet wipes on her bum. The point I am trying to make, though, is that even though we were not homeschooled, there were other reasons we were pretty good with kids and babies. Some of these reasons were:

• because my mom did childcare for pay during our childhood

• because we read books about babysitting

• because we were hired to babysit often

• because we just adored babies and little kids

     So, if you see a homeschooled child who is good with kids, please do not assume it is because the mom is neglectful of her offspring. If you are jealous, then just give your child more opportunities ti be around little kids and babies  and teach your child these skills. Your child can learn this in the summer, after school or on weekends. If there are not little kids or babies around, find a friend or relative who has some and offer to tend them. Make sure your child is around to observe, be taught and learn.

     If you do not have jealousy, but maybe your kids are all raised and you feel you have wisdom to offer the world, so you think your job is to go around insulting the new generation of moms, please remember that we, the new generation of mothers, are now in charge, whether you like it or not. You had your turn. Your turn is over. If we ask for advice, please give it. If we do not, then please do not give it. Please do not offer your opinion freely, but only when we ask for it. 

The reasons I plead for this for all of the new generation are these:

• It is harder than you think to raise kids now. It is harder than it was in your day because there are more horrible things out there for the mama bears to fight away from our cubs. Your judging us inly lets us know to trust you less because is clues us in to how clueless and naive you are about what things are really like now.

• Finances are tighter now for one income families than they were in your day.

• Hours in our day are so extremely limited.

• We are constantly working and constantly exhausted from nonstop hard work.

• You have likely forgotten what it was like for you. Maybe you think you remember back 20, 30 or 40 years. You cannot. We know because if you could remember, you would not give your critical opinion, judge us, lecture us and so forth. If you remembered, you would just be kind, understanding, supportive and gracious. However, you hardly ever are, so we know you do not remember. Your house has been spotless for 40 years, so you are good at this now. Your house was not spotless 20, 30 or 40 years ago when you had lots of little kids all day long every day. You think it was. You know you are losing your memory, but somehow, you think that your memory of having a spotless house, perfect kids and being a perfect young mom are extremely accurate.

• Some of you were never stay-home moms. If you were never a stay-home mom, do not judge stay-home moms. ‘Nuff said on that (though you probably STILL think you know what it is like to be a stay-home mom, since you did it in the evenings and on weekends with lots more money, a bigger house, better clothing, a better car, better vacations, better toys, less mending to do, better stores you can afford to shop at, more convenience meals, more money to go out to eat, and having spoken with adults all week). 

• Jesus told you not to judge. Jesus said if there is a mote in the other person’s eye and you want to take it out for them, then first remove the beam that is in your own eye so that you can see clearly to remove the mote from the other person’s eye.

     I am sure there are others who also judge homeschool moms because their kids are good with kids. I do not know everyone who does this. If the reason you see my kids being good with kids, as negative, is because this lets you know that my kids are not learning the same way the kids do in public school and this makes you angry because of your tax dollars at work or because homeschool moms are ruining the community’s children, which children the community should decide how to raise. Here are some facts:

• These kids are mine and mine to raise. They do not belong to the community. The idea that they do comes from Karl Marx, the father of Communism. Anyone who thinks my kids should be raised in a way of which the community approves, when not abused in any way, has been influenced a lot more by communist ideas than they know. I love my kids and want the best for them. I am raising them this way because I think this is the best decision for our family.

• Tax dollars do NOT pay to educate homeschooled kids and I pay the same taxes you do (I am not exempt) for public and charter schools. We buy all of the educational materials ourselves.

• We are not ruining our kids, nor are we giving them a disadvantaged life. If you look at the statistics, homeschooled kids are still better at learning how to live in the real world, better on tests and better at colleges and Universities than public-schooled kids when you figure the averages. This does not mean all homeschooled kis are better at these than all public-schooled kids. When you take the average, you consider all of the kids in the system.

     In conclusion, I would like to say that it is not a bad thing for youth and children to be good at childcare, and that my having a goal to raise mothers and fathers is not a bad thing. You know that it is a good thing, but somehow, society is trying to propogandize you into thinking it is downright unnatural. This is a lie. The father of all lies is Satan. Satan has good reasons for convincing you to believe that my raising good mothers and fathers is a negative thing that should be scorned. One of the signs that Christ’s 2nd coming is nearer is that people will call good “evil” and evil “good” and sadly, this childcare abitily issue is one of those things. Please do not say that my kids knowing chilcare is a bad thing. It is a good thing. Mother Eve knew this and you should, too.

Springtime And Being Very Busy!

I have been so busy gardening, organizing, de-junking and cleaning the house, that I have not made a blog post in a while. This past weekend, my husband and son finished building our Shelf Reliance shelves and we loaded them up with food storage cans. I am excited about that. Lately, we have been working  lot on that. 

On Saturday, before LDS General Conference, I worked hard putting the math in its own binder. It is a red binder, so it stands out from all the white ones I have for other reasons. I went through the math checklists and evaluated, knowing full well what the kids know and don’t, where each one is in math. Then I made lesson plans. I made plans for 6 homeschool days. 

“Pirate,” by my son:

  

Right now, at 7:30 a.m., my daughter is teaching my younger boys. She uses my math checklist for the math. I love the help. One son is telling her emphatically, “I already know my numbers!” He had been stubborn, but he just now passed off an item on the math checklist without any help at all. This is big for him! I am happy. My older daughter and my older son are now enthusiastically and with dancing, teaching them. My daughter just asked me, “Mom, what does fluently mean?” We have decided the one is fluent at a certain concept. Well, it will not be long before he can do even more difficult things fluently. I am so excited.

This is something most people who homeschool understand and most who don’t, don’t: The older kids teach their siblings happily. It’s awesome! It frees me up to focus on being the leader. I am not the leader and the one who does it all. I am just the leader. I give direction and my kids help it happen. They want homeschool to work. They want mom to be happy. They enjoy teaching because it is fun. 

When it comes to teaching siblings to ride bikes, play baseball, work in the garden, cook, clean, make lunch, etcetera, they are all great! I love this about homeschooling. Sometimes, younger ones even help older ones, because maybe that is their favorite subject, or one of their favorites, so they are beyond their years in ability because they have learned so much in a certain area. For example, my son loves science. He teaches his siblings all sorts of things because he “gets it.” I am usually surprised at what he knows. It’s amazing. He has the ability to explain science concepts by jumping up and down and acting them out. It’s fun to watch him. 

My daughter is still in her pajamas but is now looking over the Montessori list of skills and asking me whether this one has learned that yet. I am so grateful for her help in keeping on top of that. I used to have to do it all myself, which after a while, meant I never got to it. It is nice to have someone who gets to it on my behalf. She will be an awesome mom someday. She will be an awesome homeschool mom someday! Whe wants to be an early childhood educator, so all of this fascinates her. It is one of the things she lives for!

My son is reading “Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. He told me that he has 2 bookmarks. He does not like going for so long with these characters before getting back to what those ones are doing. He would rather just go one chapter with these, one chapter with those, instead of 3 chapters, then 3 chapters. Fine with me! He invents stories, too, so I would not be surprised if we get an author here! He is also still in pajamas. Oh, well. I am hoping he gets dressed by 9 a.m.!

No Slave to a Style or Method

I am in Unschooling groups, eclectic groups, montessori groups, LDS homeschooling groups, TJED groups and regular homeschooling groups on facebook. We do not fit into any style. I decided a few months ago that pretending we fit into a box “we do this style,” was just fruitless. We do what works each day, what I feel like we will do that day, and on some days, what Heavenly afather directs. Ideally, every day would be “we do as Heavenly Father directs,” but in reality, I am not perfect and I just do my best every day. Some days, my best means I took a shower and the kids are alive.

I did purchase the L.I.F.E. School LDS Homeschooling Curriculum

I love it. I won’t say we do it every day, but usually whenever we do anything formal for aademics, we include it. It is what keeps me sane. I used to have to make lesson plans for all those subjects, but now I don’t have to and I know that it is included. I don’t have to worry over what to teach, as everything is right there (every subject is included except dance and math). My kids even have a lot of past workbook material to catch up on in LIFE School, so some days, when I di not have time, ability or desire to teach a formal lesson, I just say, “Do 6 pages of Life School,” and they know that means, from past lessons which I have taught, that they have yet to do work for. It takes them anywhere from one hour to never getting it done, to do that, depending on whether they try or not.

We still use Spelling Workout sometimes, too, because my kids need extra TLC in that area. We also use God’s Design For Science as it fits in with our Science in Life School, as a supplement, because it’s the most awesome Science program ever!!! It is not LDS, but Christian, and I add in LDS stuff because I am the teacher!

For more LDS and Scripture learning, we also use Discover the Old Testament, because that is where we are on the timeline of history in LIFE School, is Old Testament and Ancient Book of Mormon Times, for which we use Discover the Book of Mormon. One uses grades 1-3. The others use grades 4-7. They finished 1-3 in a different homeschool year.

Then there is the math, of course, which is also the best math ever because I am re-inventing the wheel. I have seen homeschool moms say of facebook, things similar to, “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” Well, in my case, because I do not like the wheel that is there. It is broken, so I am fixing it so that it works. The math used in public schools is the math used in homeschool, in most cases. I have heard of lots of homeschool math programs which just do not work for homeschool moms, unless they have just one, or very few, kids. I have 6, though, so it needed to be re-thought. It is a lot of work, but I do not follow a math program. Instead, I am creating a Homeschool math program which is a one room schoolhouse approach like LIFE School, which lets me teach math to all the kids together, and when it is fully ready, we will have math lessons as a family (instead of 5 separate math lessons for 5 separate kids old enough for them).

It is not fully ready yet. It is in the works. I do some of it, but mostly, I still have to teach each child a separate math lesson (which I think is so time-consuming)!

In addition to all that, we go when my husband is off work, on field trips to museums and kids learning places. I think it is easier on me not to try to do it without my husband’s help. We also are in a bunch of facebook groups and now and then, we do things with the others in the homeschool community locally. We used to do this more often, and have even tried the Co-Op thing. The Co-Op thing has not been in the mix of late, but I am trying to start my own LDS Co-Op lately, and we will see. Right now, I just plan a get-together once a month. That is all I can do now.

Here is a related post you will want to check out, too. The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

Homeschooling with Uncle Steven Lessons

I just read an article about things that will ruin your homeschooling day and year. A lot of these rules are o.k., but number 6 really bothers me. Number 6 rule says to not to allow for interruptions, such as visits from people. She said she only allows phone calls from her husband, during the homeschool day.

If I had told my Uncle Steven that we could not be disturbed during certain hours of the day, my kids would not know him. He passed away this year in the end of September.

Whenever he came, all my kids gathered around to listen to his stories. He always wondered why we were not “doing school” or outside playing. He did not know that my kids and I adored him and that they would come in from outside just to visit with him.

He did not know how much we loved him. He did not know that I felt like they could learn more about life, and more wisdom, from listening to him than from any “academic” lessons out there. He did not know how wise I thought he was, or how I wanted so badly for my kids to learn everything they could from him.

My point is, do allow for “interruptions” in your “homeschool day.” Let all of life interrupt your academic and book studies. Everyday life is far more important than formal academic studies. Perhaps you think that later, when they are 18, that is the time that they are less busy learning important academics and time for them to face “the real world.”

At age 18, kids graduate from High School and many go on to technical colleges, community colleges, Colleges, Universities, or jobs. Active young men in the LDS church will go on missions. At age 18, they will leave home or be away from home most of the time.

If things are the way they were for me, perhaps Grandma will have dimentia when they get back. That grandma time will not be over, but very changed and very hard on the heart.

If I had waited for my kids to feel the real world, and had told Steven he had to leave and come back after we were done with our homeschool day, they would not have had the chance to know him at all. Steven did not have until they are finished with High School or a mission. He passed away while most are elementary school aged and one is 12.

Most of the very most valuable and important lessons in life will go away and be gone by the time a child becomes an adult. At 18, is there more time for such important family life learning? No, there is not more time. In fact, there is less time. When in the mission field or away at school or in a full time job, an adult does not have time to sit and listen to his or her great Uncle tell stories. There is too much to be done.

When that person is steady dating, becomes enganged, gets married and has kids, there is not more time to sit and listen. In short, if I had not decided on purpose, to make listening to and visiting with Steven, a priority, even with 6 kids to take care of, homeschooling to be done and housework to be done, I would have let that time with Steven be lost. I could not have made it wait until my kids were married and gone.

I have something important to say here. Life will not wait until you are ready for it. It must be lived now. Long visits with loved ones cannot wait. They must happen now. Time given to our children, our siblings, our parents, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends and neighbors, must be given now. Time for people cannot wait until later. People are the important part of life. Academic studies are not.

This is big. This is true. This is real.

The Current Mix of Our Homeschool Day

We were asked in an Eclectic Homeschooling facebook group about our current (not year-round average, just current) mix.

I have been changing the numbers around and this is my guess, including the “homeschooling hours” Mon.-Fri. between 9 am and 4 pm only.

This is how we learn at our house, in order from the most to the least

Mom:

breastfeeding
cleaning up Vomit and getting more pedialyte
keeping kids dressed and fed
responding to kids and their needs
Teaching and correcting academic work
helping with Hope Haven Events, and preparing presentation and booth for Winter Homeschool Conference
Reading aloud to kids

Kids:

Playing with other siblings
Reading books/ magazines/ news of choice from our home library & internet
Legos and other toys
Self-Directed Learning
Fighting, discussing, negotiating and learning to get along
Playing with the Baby and teaching him to walk
Childcare
Learning about and Discussing our religion (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Learning about and Discussing Current Events and Politics
Housecleaning
Personal Grooming, Health & Nutrition
Early Childhoold Education
Life Skills
L.I.F.E. School Curriculum
math via Utah’s former core curriculum (before common core) via worksheets, iPad math and Constance Kamii math
iPad and YouTube learning by taking turns
Discover the Old Testament
God’s Design for Science
Serving each other, and others
Art and Art History (my own curriculum)

I love that homeschooling is so auto-flex. What we need more and what works best, always naturally becomes what we do more of. What we need least naturally falls off of the bottom and just becomes a memory when it no longer serves us.

New Homeschool Routine For January 2015!

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Jeff said, “They only get 10 minutes of one on one time per day?” I said, “That is not all of the one on one time they get in a day. When they need help with Life School workbook, math, or discover the scriptures, they get one on one, but that is usually 2 minutes for this one, then 2 for that one, when they say, ‘I need help’ or when I check their work.”

Lest any forget, they get a ratio of 6 kids to one teacher (mom) all day long. That’s better than 25 kids to one teacher! When they have a question, it gets answered. Everyone’s every question gets answered almost every time. When they need help with their work, they wait in line behind one or two siblings for a couple minutes per sibling, then they get their one on one attention and help.

That is not even to mention that my 2nd grader can get help from my 5th grader or from my 7th grader if I am momentarily busy. My 5th grade son can get help from his 7th grade sister. Sometimes, my 7th grader can get help from my 5th grader (especially in Science, but, sometimes, he remembers some math things better than she does, and he reminds her). My kindergarten sin can learn how to read from 3 older siblings, when they read aloud to him. My 7th grade daughter makes teaching preschool and kindergarten one of her free time hobbies, which is wonderful and very helpful! She even uses the standards I have written up and in a book for each individual child, and asks me about teaching methods. I love that she is so willing to help in that way!

In case you are wondering, Life School teaches all subjects except dance and math, I believe. DTS is Discover the Scriptures,

I am excited for this, so I hope this works!

Peace out!