Babyproof Your Homeschool {Week 3}

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Week 3 – Schoolroom Shire

We’ve made it to Week 3 and I’m so thankful to have you on this journey. If you are a mom who has only recently stumbled upon this course, welcome! Join us by visiting our  course introduction here and previous weeks of the course here and here.

I first came across the delightful phrase “schoolroom shire” in the classic primer from the 1870’s called Grammar-land. I’ve j’adored the Tolkien-esque moniker ever since. This week we will concentrate on two parts of our homeschools: where we educate and the curriculum we use to educate.

Setting Up Our Shires For Success

Last week when we focused on the home maintenance and the superficial cleaning of our homeschool areas. This week we will dig a little deeper into arranging those spaces to be as user-friendly during the newborn days as possible. These are some steps that I’ve found helpful:

  • Organize your schoolroom shire so that materials are easily accessible and you can easily find that you need.

  • Go ahead and physically babyproof this area. For us this just means keeping safe things in baby’s reach and placing questionable items higher up.

  • Gather the daily supplies you will need for baby while doing lessons. If I get up for a diaper or wipes then my little hobbits immediately scatter in search of a snack. Try to think of everything you could possibly need. Some of the staples in my basket are feeding supplies, diapers, wipes, and extra clothes.

  • Make a spot for baby to play and have toys available. We have a quilt or bouncer and later on an exersaucer as baby grows.

Determining Your Homeschool’s Essential Functional Level

With new baby, we scale our daily school requirements back to the basics or to what I call an Essential Functional Level. In our family that includes the Morning Liturgy we do year round, Read Alouds, Math, Reading, and Penmanship. Reading aloud fills a lot of the gaps until we gradually add back in everything else. It also has given our family some of its sweetest memories with all the kids snuggled up with the new baby as they listen. When my daughter was born last year, we read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Green Ember Series. This summer we started The Little Britches Series. Other good options are The All Of A Kind Family Series, The Little House Series, and The Five Little Peppers Series. What series would you recommend for postpartum? 

To help you work out the Essential Functional Level for your homeschool I have provided 3 worksheets below. These are also useful for delegation if your husband or someone else will be providing help with teaching while you recover. Included are:

  • A Daily School Agenda Worksheet to be used for the whole family

  • A Daily School Agenda Worksheet to be used for each individual student

  • A Weekly School Agenda Worksheet to be used for each individual student

 

Have you joined our private Facebook group for this course yet? If you would like one-on-one troubleshooting help for specific questions our group is the place to be! You may join this group via the pop-up above or by emailing me through this site’s contact page. You are also invited to follow along and share your progress on Instagram using #babyproofyourhomeschool. I’m excited to get a glimpse of your journey! 

Blessings until next Wednesday,

3 Worksheets for Week 3:

(just click on the photo to download)

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Babyproof Your Homeschool {Week 2}

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Week 2 – Home

Welcome back! I’m so glad you made it here for Week 2 of our Babyproof Your Homeschool eCourse. If you are just now finding us, no worries! Jump on in! You can find out more information about this course at our Overview post and Week 1 here.

After a new baby joins our family, I’ve noticed that with the change in schedule and sleep deprivation it is quite easy for me to let the priorities in my home slip in their positions. Instead of choosing the greater good – sticking with Morning Liturgy first – I feebly grasp for some facade of visible order to make up for the surrounding uncertainty: an empty kitchen sink, a vacuumed rug, cleared counters. Once this realization hit however, resisting those distractions and maintaining focus on the truly important became much easier. Below are a few of the strategies I’ve used to prevent these pitfalls in the future.

Finding Clean Base Zero

Now as a preventative measure to safeguard the vital practices in our home during the newborn days, I do as much maintenance in our home before baby’s arrival that I can physically muster. Lists are made for each room and gradually ticked off until we run out of time and baby is here. I like to call this level where my home is at its most well maintained state Clean Base Zero. Achieving this individualized level gives me a physical buffer, as well as peace of mind, when I am recovering and my ability for house upkeep is greatly reduced.

A dear friend pays to have her home deep cleaned the month before baby’s expected birthday and swears by it. I have not been able to afford this option, but love the idea! If the funds are available, I encourage this brilliant alternative. But, for those whom hiring outside help is not feasible, these are our steps for reaching Clean Base Zero:

 

  • Start by decluttering. The fewer things you have in the house, the fewer things you have to maintain. Having less also makes the future cleaning easier as you are not moving as many things to reach the mess.

  • Go room by room and list what needs to be completed. I have provided two House Prep worksheets for this step. You can print them double sided to help keep everything together.

  • Be sure to consider the family car in your evaluation. Include installing the new baby’s carseat and any rearranging of the older children’s seats that may be required. Get them used to the new set-up before baby is born. It is so nice to bring baby home from the hospital in a clean vehicle and not have to climb over trash and junk when loading up for those early newborn pediatrician visits. If it is affordable for your family, have your car professionally detailed or just borrow a shop vacuum if available. The main objective for our family is the removal of trash and the random items from the house that magically migrate into our great, white 15 passenger van, Moby.

  • Once you have a breakdown of what needs to be done before baby’s arrival, set-up time in the upcoming days to tackle a room at a time until finished. I ordered the rooms on the worksheets in preference of our family’s priorities. Change the order to fit your family, then if you do not get to certain, less used, areas of your home you can shut the door without guilt.

  • As you are working through the various areas of you home, be thinking about what simple things would need to be done to maintain a functional space after this cleaning. I don’t mean “how can keep this space immaculate,” but “what are the minimal requirements for keeping this space livable during recovery.” Use another blank set of the same two worksheets above to list these thoughts.

  • Now that you have basic list of tasks for maintenance, divide those tasks up by one or two a day using the Weekly Housework Agenda worksheet. Use as many weeks needed until you rotated through all the tasks. Your health and proper healing is indispensable to the care of you family. Don’t over do it!!

  • Finally, transfer those same maintenance tasks to the House To-Dos worksheet and tack it to a prominent place on your refrigerator. Now, if your are blessed with help postpartum, you can easily delegate out things that need to be done with out racking your brain.

 

Don’t forget to visit the private Facebook group for the course if you would like feedback to specific troubleshooting questions. You may join this group via the pop-up above or by emailing me through this site’s contact page. Also you can follow along and share your progress on Instagram using #babyproofyourhomeschool. I’d love see your headway!

Blessings until next Wednesday,

 

4 Worksheets for Week 2:

(just click on the photos to download)

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Babyproof Your Homeschool {Week 1}

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Week 1 – Meals

This course is all about setting the foundation in your home in order for your family, and specifically your homeschool, to have a smooth transition to a new baby joining the ranks. I want to help you lay down sturdy rails for your family life to run on and that require little physical adjustment while you continue to recover. This is my goal and your feedback will aid in that endeavor! Also as an encouragement to others, if you are on Instagram I’d love to follow along with your progress in this course and cheer you on, just use #babyproofyourhomeschool. You can. learn more about this course in our overview post here.

That being said, uncertainty regarding meals has been one of the quickest ways to throw off our school days in the past. That is why this first week will focus on preparations for feeding your family and some of the methods to start in the third trimester that I’ve found to streamline this daily necessity.

Getting “Mise en Place”

In French culinary studies there is a practice called “Mise en Place”, which roughly means “everything in its place.” This practice can be applied to many parts of home life leading up to the addition of a new baby, but especially in its intended locale of the kitchen.

It is not unheard of for families to make freezer meals for the newborn days, but I’ve found that taking a few other steps first helps all the more. You can find several printable worksheets to help you walk through these suggestions below. This is my latest method:

  • Clean out the refrigerator and take inventory of your family’s usual staples. If it’s out of date or your family doesn’t eat it, go ahead and toss it. You can use the space for something useful. As my mom is fond of saying, “When in doubt, throw it out!” It is better to lose a couple dollars than have to deal with multiple ill family members.

  • Clean out the pantry and take inventory of your family’s usual staples. Same protocol as with the refrigerator.

  • Make bulk batches of shelf stable snacks like granola and trail mix.

  • Make an accessible snack foraging station. Individual bags labeled with each child’s name may be a good idea if they need guidance with rationing.

  • Brainstorm ideas for easy and make-ahead/freezer meals that your family enjoys. Include options for all meals of the day and snacks.

  • Save up a little extra grocery money a month or two before baby’s expected arrival and make a giant stock up trip to the store for all the staples and your intended meals. Don’t forget all the disposable products like paper plates, paper towels and toilet paper. 

  • Plan a day to prepare your make-ahead/freezer meals.

  • Mix up baking mixes that contain all the dry ingredients needed in zip-lock bags.  Write all the missing wet ingredients and baking instructions with sharpie on the bag. These are great if you have an available husband or outside help postpartum.

  • Compose a weekly meal plan with the frozen meals and dry staples you prepared.

Some of our go-to freezable foods:

  • Biscuits

  • Bags of fruit, yogurt, and other add-ins for smoothies

  • Pancakes – a variety of flavors

  • Muffins – a variety of flavors

  • Waffles – a variety of flavors

  • Egg Muffins – eggs, cheese, sausage, and shredded potato baked in muffin tins

  • Baked Oatmeal

  • Sandwiches by the loaf – Peanut butter and jelly, meat and cheese

  • Soups

  • Chili

  • Pasta bakes

  • Taco meat

  • Fajita meat

  • Spaghetti sauce

  • Please feel free to share your go-to freeze meals in the comments!

Some ideas for other easy meal ingredients to have at the ready:

  • Ground Beef (cooked and frozen)- in addition to pre-frozen taco meat and spaghetti sauce, basically seasoned cooked ground beef is an simple add in for recipes like crock-pot lasagna, chili, goulash, sloppy joes, etc.

  • Grilled Chicken (frozen) – grilled chicken is incredibly versatile. It can go on salads, be shredded for quesadillas or nachos, chopped for chicken salad, and a huge host of other scrumptious options we can get into more detail on in the course Facebook group (send me an email through the contact page if you would like to join us there).

  • Frozen or Canned Vegetables – This type of convenience food is great for making sure your newborn streamlined meals are still balanced. We’ve had good look with the store brand steamable bags of vegetables. They are very economical as well.

  • Tortillas – down here in the south we could eat tortillas with every meal. Besides the well known Mexican food options, you can use a tortilla and one of the egg muffins mentioned above to make a quick breakfast burrito, use them for a chicken, egg, or tuna salad wrap, ect.

Blessings until next Wednesday,

 

6 Worksheets for Week 1:

(just click on the photos to download)

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How I’m Babyproofing our Homeschool and You Can Too! 

 

It’s that time again. In about 8 weeks, Lord willing, we will be welcoming another precious baby boy into our family. Now is the time I usually start all my pre-birth preparations to ready as many things ahead of baby’s arrival as possible. I want our first months as a family to run as smoothly as possible so we can focus on what really matters – bonding with and loving on that new squishy babe.

After living it 6 times before, my aim for the postpartum period is to keep as many plates of our usual family life spinning that I can, even if it’s at a significantly slower pace. For our family that agrees with Charlotte Mason that, “education is a life,” this includes continuing our homeschooling in some semblance. On a personal note, doing so helps me to not feel overwhelmed or that things are out of control. I appreciate that extra stability when navigating the unpredictably of the newborn months. I may not know when exactly baby will arrive, or when he will want to eat or sleep, but I can rest in the familiarity of our home and school’s liturgies.

As I thought about the plans for my older children during this time, it dawned on me that other home educators may be in the same situation and that with my experience I could help! This is why I’m daring greatly and sharing this little eCourse with you.

Beginning June 26th and for the next 4 weeks I invite you to walk with me as we work through my method of preparing our homeschools for the addition of a new little soul in the house. Along the way I will share the wisdom I’ve learned, through trial and era, from each recovery, in hopes that it will ease the postpartum transition in your home. If you have already had baby recently don’t be discouraged! All the suggestions can also be successfully applied after the fact.

Every week we will also adding to a workbook of printable pages to help you work through this process for future babies. Additionally, I have set up a private Facebook group to help us trouble-shoot individual’s specific issues. This group may be accessed once you subscribe to the course via email. If you missed the pop-up box, you may use the contact page to email me as well.

If you know of a mother out there who would would be blessed by this eCourse, please share this post with her.

How do you typically prepare your homeschool for a new baby? I am always learning so please share your wisdom with me in the comments below.

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

 

Blessings,

A Pentecost Playlist 

Am I the only one that feels this Easter season has blown by? In conclusion of the Easter Festival and to celebrate the Church’s second greatest feast of the year, I have compiled a five piece Pentecost playlist for your family’s enjoyment this Whitsuntide. Three of the pieces are motets from the Renaissance while the other two are more recently composed works.

Pentecost is a big deal for my boys, most likely because of all the sweet treats and fire. With goodies like crème brûlée, s’mores, birthday cake for the Church, and candles, I can’t say that I blame them for their partiality. While all the little mouths are busy, we will be taking advantage and listening to the following pieces for tonight’s Sunday Family Concert Hour. The next few days the playlist will also be our free listening while my sons play. You can find other ideas for listening times here.

Does your family have any favorite Pentecost traditions? Please share them with me in the comments!

A Pentecost Playlist

1. Loquebantur Variis Linguis – Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis was an English composer during the 14th century. Despite being under Henry VIII, he produced works for both the Catholic and protestant churches. This motet draws its inspiration from a Pentecost Matins responsory, based on Acts 2:4. The latin text with english translation can be found here.

2. Dum Complerentur – Tomas Luis De Victoria

Victoria based this two part motet on the Pentecost reading from Acts 2:1-4 and John 20:19.  In 1609, it was published as part of the Florilegium Sacrarum Cantionum, a compilation of sacred music. Below is a translation of the latin text:

Acts 2:1-4

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

John 20:19

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you.

3. Come Holy Ghost – Orlando Gibbons

This motet from the renaissance is an english translation of the latin prayer, Veni Creator Spiritus. It was published as part of a collection of hymns and songs in 1632. A plenary indulgence is granted when this prayer is recited or sung on the Feast of Pentecost and New Year’s Day (with the usual conditions). The original text can by found here.

4. Symphony No. 8 “Symphony Of A Thousand”, Part 1- Gustav Mahler

Premiering in 1910, Mahler’s 8th Symphony takes the form of 2 parts or movements. The first part of this romantic era work is a setting of Veni Creator Spiritus while the second half uses text from Goethe’s play, Faust. True to the name, the instrumentation consists of a greatly expanded orchestra, eight vocal soloists, two four-part choirs, and a children’s choir.

5. Opus 4: Prelude, Adagio and Chorale Variations on the “Veni Creator” – Maurice Duruflé

Written in the 20th century, Duruflé’s 4th Opus is an organ work suprisingly inspired by the medieval gregorian chant for Veni Creator Spiritus. It is composed of three movements and begins with a succession of triplets all alluding to the Holy Ghost’s position as the third person of the Blessed Trinity.

Our Hymn Study for Rogationtide

 

This month the boys and I planted several fruit trees – peach and fig, so we are extremely grateful for all the rain we have received the last few days. However, the weather has pushed back our annual outdoor Rogationtide festivities. On these Grass Days we ask and thank God for the blessings of His providence and earthly creations. As part of this commemoration, our family beats the bounds as we sing a hymn and blesses our few crops for the year using the Rogation Days: Blessing of Fields and Gardens from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. (It can be found here toward the middle of the page.) After this blessing we have our traditional picnic of rammalation biscuits (cookies, muffins, or scones) and gangling beer (root beer). This year as part of our celebration, I also want to share the related Hymn Study we are using for these holy days. Please join us!

What are your family’s Rogationtide traditions? Old or new, great or small, please share them with me in comments!

 

 

 

This Year’s Rogationtide Hymn Study

This week we will be learning We Plow the Fields, and Scatter, by Matthias Claudius. As a Lutheran pastor from Holstein, Germany, Claudius wrote this hymn in 1782. The hymn’s tune is Wir Pfügen published in 1812 by Johann A. P. Schulz.

We typically begin our Hymn Study time by reviewing an older hymn we have learned, then proceed to the new hymn. Only two of my sons are of reading age, so I introduce a new hymn by having everyone repeat the lines of the first verse after me. Next I sing the first verse once and then have my boys join in the second time through with humming, a neutral syllable, or attempting the words. We sing the current verse we are learning about three times a day during our Morning Liturgy (Morning Time). They pick up a verse in about a week. After our singing we choose a few of the additional activities below to help us dig a little deeper. I have provided some printable sheets for your family’s use, should you be interested in having them participate in any of the following with us.

A few ideas to try for expanding a Hymn Study are:

  • Catechesis: discussing the theological truths painted in the text.
  • Commonplacing – Florilegium entries: choosing to copy down a line that is personally meaningful.
  • Dictation: use a selection from the hymn text (blank writing page below)
  • Ear Training: have your family practice Attentive Listening by drawing what is heard in the text or music(page below)
  • Handwriting: use a selection from the hymn text (both print and cursive pages below)
  • Memorization
  • Narration of Hymn Text: have your family speak and/or write what they remember about the hymn text in their own words (blank writing page below)
  • Singing for Beauty and Enjoyment: add hymn singing to a meal or bedtime ritual
  • Vocabulary Enrichment: discuss unfamiliar words and phrases with your family (blank writing page for new words below)

Additionally, I have shared a printable text page to add to your family hymnal. There are also recordings of the sung hymn and the organ accompaniment only for your family to use, based of your familiarity with the hymn.

 

 

Voice with Organ Accompaniment

Organ Accompaniment Only

(Just click on each picture to download)

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