Monday, October 6, 2014

Potty Training Boys

Oh yeah, what a great time of life!!! Time to throw out the diapers and condense the purse. You will soon be able to leave the house without getting everyone in the car and then smelling that smell, and knowing that your little one just had a blowout and you now have to change clothes and the car seat as well.

But first we must hurdle the ever daunting task of potty training.

Like everything in life hindsight is 20/20 and the thought of having to actually take the steps to potty train makes some want to rip their hair out. But when its done, there’s happy dances done by all.

So far I have potty trained 4 boys. Each boy came with his own rules on how this new adventure was to turn out, and I had to learn to just go with it.

My first was by far my hardest. There was one time that I was in the basement huddled in the corner, rocking myself, crying on the phone to the husband that this boy will never pee in the toilet. {let it be known that I was also 5 months pregnant with #3 so crazy was part of my day} Anyway, he went back in diapers for a while.
So here are some tips that might help you avoid the rocking…

*Please wait until they are ready AND you are ready. Benji was ready about 3 months before he was 3 years old BUT... we were in the middle of a move. Moving across the country while potty training would have been the death of me. So if you know your life is going to take a crazy turn just hold off.

*Explain to them what is going on with their body. Up until now they never had to think about it. Tell them what it feels like to pee. Point to their body parts {and please use the correct name for everything} and help them connect the dots to what they are doing.

*I only have them use the regular toilet, with no extra seat. My reasons for this are 2 fold. First, the thought having to clean out a little potty grosses me out. Worse than cleaning dirty underwear, and messes on the floor. And I don’t want them to think that sitting in front of the TV all day on a potty is what we do. Second…. If we are at a friends’ house and they have to go I want them to be able to go. I want them to be comfortable peeing at home at the store, at the neighbors’ house ect.  It’s a personal thing, but those are my reasons.

*If you have an independent child who doesn’t like being told what to do try changing the way you say “Go Potty”.  One of mine didn’t like being told to go to the bathroom and sit and wait if he really didn’t feel like he needed to go. So I got a timer {The PeePee Beeper} Juiced him up and set the timer. I set it for every 10 minutes and when it went off I asked him if his body was ready to pee. I wasn’t telling him to go I wasn’t running him to the bathroom and making him sit. If he said no I respected that {and then set the timer for only 5 minutes}  He felt he had more control over his body and was willing to stop and check to see if his body needed to pee.

*The reluctant potty goer might be afraid of missing things. If you promise that nothing will change keep to that. So the toy that they were playing with needs to still be there untouched until he gets back. If you were playing a game that same game needs to pick right back up where you left off. It won’t take long before they realize that when they are gone for a short time it’s ok.

*I have taught all my boys to sit first. They have to anyway when they poop. And I sit them backwards on the toilet. They are able to balance better, and if they forget to hold their penis down at least it sprays the back of the toilet and not all over the bathroom. Once they can pee that way they are usually really good about standing and not making a mess.

*Make the reward worth it. And it doesn’t always have to be a new toy. In our house you can’t use scissors or wear a tie to church until you are potty trained. Those are privileges for “big boys”. 

*For night time…. Get 3 or 4 plastic sheets then layer the bed with a plastic sheet, and then a fitted one. Keep doing that until you run out of sheets. Then when there is an accident at night you only have to strip one set and send them back to bed. No remaking a bed required.

There are all sorts of ways to potty train and each child will respond differently, but these are things that have consistently worked for us.

And once it's done I take myself out. Good Heavens it's a lot of work to potty train a child!! So once the rewards are passed out for doing the deed I treat myself with something for sticking with it.

What are some things that have worked for you?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

School at home....

This year after the move and a having a baby, and pretty much having our lives turned upside down…. I knew we had to homeschool again. But we were going through a lean time as far as money goes and we just didn’t have any money to put out for curriculum.
I found an online charter school that looked really great. The curriculum looked decent and the people that I talked to at the school seemed really nice.
We filled out the application, and did the pretests {that in itself was an ordeal} and got everything sent in.
3 weeks… a move… and in a house with no furniture we got our curriculum and started on this new way of learning.
It is so different from how we homeschooled before and a lot more time consuming. There are online classes, check points, and a lot of busy work. It’s hard to go to the library… our favorite place to be… even trying to get out of the house for park days or our own field trips is hard because we have to work around s much. Pretty much it’s school at home, and I don’t like that.
After the first week I was hating it. The boys really didn't seem to care, were really good to check the boxes but they have no interest in actually learning anything. They just want to get through the days’ work to get onto reading or playing with Legos or going to the park. And really I don’t blame them. I was looking over the stuff and it is pretty dry.
They are not excited to learn, they are just checking off the boxes.
So I took a deep breath and called the school to let them know that I would be dropping the school. I am waiting for some new curriculum, but while we wait we are trying out “unschooling” and while we are doing that the boys have found some new interests.
I think that it’s scary jumping off and trying new things.
Have you ever changed things so drastically that it scared you??

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reading with the Scriptures

I think reading is at the top of the list if every homeschooling parent. There are different views on when is best but it is definitely put as something that is important.

There are so many different programs to choose from and different ways to approach reading. So many different methods and ways to entice different learners.

For us I wait until each boys tells me that they want to learn how to read and we start there. I have one child who really took his time and was a slow reader, I have one who taught himself to read, and one that used a reading program.

But they all took off and have become really good readers once they started reading the scriptures. We have always done family scripture reading, so this wasn't a new thing but as the boys got more interested in reading we would hand them the scriptures and have them read out loud.

For hundreds of  years children have been learning to read out of the scriptures. There were no fancy programs to access a reading level, no stars to mark off, and no nonsense words to try to navigate. Now a days there is so much to choose from it can be a hard choice to know what is right.

Back Story....

When Steve was at DLI in California {Language school for the military} our Stake President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints told all the soldiers that if they read the Scriptures in their designated language that they were to learn for the military, that they would learn it faster. I watched many men go from struggling in a language to passing and even excelling by following that counsel.

Fast forward to today.... I still feel that the counsel that was give still applies... only we are not learning a foreign language in our house {yet} we are just trying to read English.

Once each of the boys had a basic grasp of reading, they would each pick up the scriptures and there reading skills would take off. I know the comprehension is not all the way there, I mean it's the word of God and not Dr. Seuss. But they are able to understand the basic stories and are learning who the prophets are. They are reading something that is worth wild and will help them grow and learn. Sometime I sit with them and have them read to me, other times it is on their own.

If you have a struggling reader it might seem like to big of a challenge to bring out the Scriptures when they are having a hard time on "easy" words but I know that they will do well with it. So many of the words in the scriptures repeat themselves that soon your child will start to recognize what it is. {think... "And it came to pass" "Savior" "Lord" "pray" ect.} And honestly... these are words that I want my children to be familiar with.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Code of Conduct

I am so blessed to be part of a great support for homeschoolers in my area. I have met some really wonderful women who will be my friends for years to come. I know that even after I move I will still have contact with many of the women that I have met through the homeschool group that I am in.

This is a big group and it has many branches for different things. If you just want to be involved with field trips you can do that and nothing more. It's the same thing if you just want to be a part of the Science Fair, or Spelling Bee. There is even a great Co-op, that you can be a part of if you want to.

My thing is the "Statement of Faith" it is not something that I agree with. I respect it and I understand why it is written the way that it is but I can't put my name to something if I don't agree with it.

The group I am with is a Christian group and they encompass most of the Christian's beliefs, everyone from Catholic, and Protestant to Baptist.

I too am Christian.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My views on certain topics are a bit different from other Christians.

With in my Co-op if you want to teach a class you have to sign the Statement of Faith... I can't do that so I can't teach. {do you see where I am going with this??}

I am a good person, and I feel like most of the women that I know would trust me with their children, many I have had over to my house.

And yet I can't teach because my signature is not on a piece of paper. I respect these women to much to force my beliefs on them and definitely not onto their children. But what does math or geography have to do with religion?

I know you are asking... "well.... why don't you just start your own group?"

Good question!! I am. But not until we move. We are not here in Florida permanently and I didn't want to start something that I couldn't see though.

And when I do start my own co-op {still thinking of a good name so any suggestions would be great!} I am going to have families sign a "Code of Conduct". Mainly for modesty and behavior.

I want people to know that they are welcome and can fully participate without regard to religion. I would hope... as most homeschoolers are... that everyone would be respectful of everyone and what they believe. But, I am not going to turn away someone who can teach a math class just because they believe something different than I do.

I may not put my 5 year old into a class that is learning about the Torah, that's not what we believe, but if that mom {or dad} knows how to make science fun and interesting for my child, I will be the first one signed up.

I think having a "Statement of Faith" that is so strict on the rules of what people have to believe to be a part of something, possibly without meaning too {I hope} ... turns away many good people who want want to be involved and have a strong support system with out having to have their belief system put into question.

{if you have any question on what I believe, and why it contradicts the "Statement of Faith" please leave a comment or you can email me at peachylg{@}yahoo{dot}com. You can also find more information here}

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


One thing that I have learned with homeschooling is the need to set boundaries. Some people who don't understand what homeschooling is about think that I'm at home all day and that it's an easy drop off for kids or that I just add them in the mix with mine.

While I love being able to be helpful to others, I have had to learn to say no on many occasions because my family comes first, and just like families who send their children to school, we are schooling here and working hard. {whether or not it looks like it}

Here are some things that I did to set better boundaries for myself and for my family.

*I will always help in an emergency. You have to take one kid to ER, bring me the others. Things happen and I am at home and will gladly take extra kids if something happens. A hair appointment, lunch date with the husband, or even a trip to the dentist that you forgot to schedule child care for is NOT an emergency {the whole "Failure to prepare on your part does not make an emergency on my part"} I am not a drop of service because you forgot to find someone to watch your children.

* I don't take phone calls from anyone except the husband. Everyone else I let go to voicemail. I'll listen to the message and then decide if I need to call them back. Even family. Most people know my schedule so I usually don't get phone calls in the morning when we school. But the time is for the kids and not for me to chit-chat with friends.

*There is a double standard.... I'm sorry but for me there is. I will more readily watch another homeschooler during the week than I will public school kids of the same age. I can ask the mom to pack some work for their kid to do and I know that it will get done. Or if we are working on a science project or listening to a book I know that they are going to jump right in with us. I have had bad experiences trying to keep other kids out of the toys while the boys are trying to finish their math. Yes we are relaxed but we have to get stuff done as well.

*My time is valuable, I am learning that I can say "if you want to drop something off you need to do it at this time." I can't be waiting around all day for you. I know that things come up, but I am not switching around our routine or the baby's nap for unnecessary reasons.

*Putting notes on the door for the neighbor kids does work. We started school a little early do to some random breaks that we are taking {moving, and the baby}. I couldn't have the neighbors coming by and breaking up our routine. A note on the door let every one know what was going on and I didn't have to answer the door 400 times a day.

There are always exceptions to the rules and sometimes I am to do things out of the what I normally would do. But these are the rules I try to follow, it makes it easier for me and for others to know where I stand.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where we school

Now that we are getting ready to move and all of my hard work is getting put away {...sigh...} I thought I would show you {or help me remember} what the area were we school looks like.

All the different places homeschools learn is as different as each family. Some have a dedicated school room, others just use the kitchen table or couch to school. Some are super organized and have everything labeled and color coded. {my dream!} and others not so much.

I'll be honest, I like snooping looking at other people's houses. I love seeing how things are set up and how they make living and schooling work. So for those that also like to snoop around, here you go.

For us, the boys' room is really large and we are able to have the 4 beds, toys and school stuff in their room. It actually all fits and when it's clean it looks really good.... only that doesn't happen as much as I would like.

So first off.... to make me feel better this is what it did look like in the not to distant past. We had a long table that the boys worked at and everything was just put together as best as we could.

Here you can see the three beds, Benji's is on the other side {oh.... those poor blinds have seen better days!}

So here is what I did..... First off... we got desks for the boys. They were poking each other. Why... well because they could I suppose. Having desks means they can be as close or as far as I need them to be. They each have their own space for their things and their project and stuff. {and I got them at the place where school things from the public schools go to die for $10 a piece!}

I turned the long table and put it up against the wall, that gave me a workable area but it's still out of the way.

The shelves stayed the same just cleaned up a bit and I labeled every thing as best as I could. It really does look so pretty. The area between the table and the book shelves has a rug on the floor, so it's a little better to sit right there are look at books.

There are two book shelves, one has all of our school books or reference or school what ever on it
the other has all the other reading books on it. It looks like such a small amount compared to other homeschoolers, but I will rotate the books so there is always a fresh batch {there is 3 boxes of books under Tim's bed} and... I have known since we got here that we would be moving so I have tried really hard to refrain from buying to many books.

Another find from the public school grave yard...This is just a place for extra stuff that I have that I don't know what to do with... I'll put it to better use once we get set up after we move.
Here is a long shot of the area. I think it turned out really great. It works perfect for us. The desks are pushed back at the end of the day so there is more room to bring out the toys and everything has a place. I would like to say that everything is always put back but... sad to say it is not.

Do you want to let me come peek at your school area now??? {Please}

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stop and Look

There is something to be said about just letting kids observe what they see. {in case you can't see it Tommy is looking at caterpillar on the table} I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I love how intense he is watching the caterpillar, and his expression says so much.