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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BumGenius Cloth Diapers - 4.0 One-Size

I'm trying something new with this baby - cloth diapering.  I actually started researching about it before I even got pregnant, but even more so since becoming pregnant.  I knew what I wanted - something simple, fast, top quality, long-lasting and easy to care for.  After learning about all the different types of cloth diapers, I settled on the one-size style, then I chose the brand; BumGenius.  To me, I think it is the top brand of all the cloth diapers, it is the one that has the least leaks, quality material that holds up over the years, and is very simple.  The new diaper they offer is the 4.0 and that is the one we purchased.  These last the entire years of diapering, which is generally 3 or less and they are reviewed to last through several children.  You simply snap at the level of growth for the baby and adjust the waist with snaps as they grow there as well, fitting 8-35 pounds.  Here is a diagram from BumGenius's website:

They offer 2 styles - velcro and snaps; we chose the snaps because of several reviewers stating the cons of the velcro: snagging and wearing out.  Each diaper comes with 2 liners or inserts - a newborn and a regular, you can double these for night wearing.  The shell, or outer cover, is waterproof with pvc and the inside of the cover is suede cloth that keeps the baby's bottom dry by whisking away the wetness.  The liners are microfiber and from what I've read, they hold, even for heavy wetters and don't leak.

There were a lot of colors to choose from but some of the ones I wanted were sold-out, so I had to choose from the few left that looked ok for a boy.  I chose the colors: butternut, grasshopper, ribbit, clementine, sassy and mirror.  The mirror, which is turquoise, is my favorite!  We got 4 of each, so a total of 24 which allows us to wash every 2-3 days, however I plan on washing every 2 days.

Before use, they recommend you wash the diapers and inserts, so I removed all of the liners and unsnapped the diapers, my daughter actually did most of this because she said it was fun.

That is when I noticed that 12 of the diapers had inserts made in China and the other 12 had inserts made in Egypt.  The Egyptian cotton was far more superior to the Chinese ones - it was thicker, more sturdy feeling and just looked better made. I will see how they hold up and if there is any difference once Zach uses them.

I also had to learn a lot about how to take care of the diapers, especially washing.  A lot of the reviewers that had problems with these or other brands, realized they used the wrong detergent or additives that, over time, ruined their diapers.  With BumGenius diapers you can not use any detergent with additives - no perfumes/oils/scents, dyes, whiteners, brighteners, softeners, enzymes or other fabric enhancers.  You should also never use any other additives in the wash, such as vinegar, baking soda or fabric softeners.  Not only that, but you can't use diaper creams or other oils on your baby's bottom that will touch the diaper.  All of these can harm your diapers.  I chose to use BumGenius brand detergent, which is almost the exact same as Country Save, except BumGenius detergent does not contain borax, which can break down elastic over time.

The way to wash these diapers is this:  wash in cold with no detergent, then wash on hot with detergent and a double rinse.  Hang the outer shells to dry and dry the inserts in the dryer on medium.  Once dry, you 'stuff' the diapers, which is simply putting the insert in the diaper, ready for use.  They also recommend using 1/4c of bleach once a month in a wash and "stripping" the diapers when needed (every 2 or 3 months) to get out any buildup of detergent or bodily fluids that could hinder absorption, cause to stink and stain.

*Note - we don't plan on using these until Zach is about 10 days old, until the meconium bowel movements are done.  We also plan on using disposables when out and about.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Daily Schedule - Free Printable

I was creating daily schedules for each day of the week and went ahead and made a blank one for anyone that might put this to use, especially in your home management notebook.  It is more geared to night owls, so if you wake before 7am, I suggest you get some more beauty sleep.  Enjoy!

Daily Schedule Blank

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Understanding Washington Homeschooling Law

I've had a lot of questions about laws concerning homeschooling in Washington state and now feel qualified to answer them as I took a certifying course covering the law.  The course was offered from a local university and created by a woman who was actually there and part of the law when it was first created.  As a law-abiding citizen, we should follow these laws and especially since we don't have to "prove" we did, we should for own conscience's sake and for the protection of our homeschooling freedoms.


Reporting Age = Washington law states that the compulsory attendance age for children is 8-18 years of age.  This simply means that children aren't required to attend school until they are 8 years old, or in this case, start homeschooling.  Attempts to change this age to 6 have been made but so far the law hasn't been changed.

Days of Instruction = Under the home school statute (which means you are entirely on your own and not under a private school or public school), you are required to school for 180 days every year OR meet an annual average of 1,000 hours.

Required Subjects = You are required to teach 11 subjects every year in Washington state and they are: occupational education, science, math, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling and art/music.  These are not optional, you have to include each one every year starting at age 8.

Requirements of the Parent Teacher = To teach your child(ren) under the home school statute, you must meet ONE of the following, if both parents are teaching, they must both meet one of the following:

  1. Supervised by a certificated person, which has contact with the child one hour per week and evaluates the child.  This "certificated" person must be a current, licensed WA state teacher.
  2. Have 45 college credits or the equivalent in semester credits
  3. Certified under a home-based education course from a college
  4. Deemed sufficiently qualified by the superintendent
*I meet the third one as I've completed and been certified by a college course on home-based education.

Reporting = You must file a Declaration of Intent (DOI) every year to your local school district by Sept. 15th or within 2 weeks of the start of the public school quarter, trimester or semester.  You can mail these in.  You only need to start filing these when the child turns 8 and from then on every year.  By law, you only have to give them your child's(ren's) name and age - nothing else besides your signature and address.

Testing = You must do one of the following every year after the child turns 8 and KEEP the results in the child's permanent records.
  1. Standardized test administered by testing official - you can not administer these yourself, the child either goes to the local school district to take the test during the annual testing time or you can pay a local test administrator who is qualified to give the test.  The scores you keep to yourself, you don't have to turn them in to anyone!
  2. Have a current, certified WA state teacher evaluate your child.
*I do the second one from a local teacher and then retain the records as proof we completed one of the two testing options.


In a nutshell what I had to do to homeschool on my 'own' is this: complete a certifying course before my daughter was 8 and file a DOI on her birthday and every Sept. thereafter.  Teach the 11 subjects every year for 180 days or 1,000 hours and have her evaluated at the end of every school year by a certified WA state teacher and retain the records of all this.

Here is an example of what can meet the 11 required subjects:

  1. Occupational education - "marketable" skills such as domestic/homekeeping, car/bike maintenance, cooking, keyboarding, employment, volunteer work, etc.
  2. Science - life science, earth science, physics, biology, nature study, etc.
  3. Math - mathematical concepts and procedures
  4. Language - proper speech/grammar, vocabulary, etc.
  5. Social studies - geography, religion, government, map skills, etc.
  6. History - US history, world and religious history
  7. Health - nutrition, physical education, safety, etc.
  8. Reading - phonics, comprehension, etc.
  9. Writing - copywork, dictation, essays, reports, etc.
  10. Spelling - learning to spell words
  11. Art & Music - appreciation/exposure to art and music

I also recommend joining the Home School Legal Defense Association yearly for legal protection in the case of the truancy officer showing up at your door or CPS.  If they do happen to show up at your door, you simply ask them to hold on, grab the phone, call your lawyers at HSLDA and they will walk you through the process and/or talk to the officer or social worker.  Know your rights and know the law or you could find yourself in trouble!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baby Room Decor

I had picked out a decor I liked that was monkeys and other animals in cars, but last night while on vacation, we found a nursery set for just $35!!  It was the last one and it comes with more pieces (10) than the other I had wanted.  I found that it sells at Toys 'r' us for $120 right now, so we got it $85 cheaper, woohoo! :-)

It came with the crib bumper, crib sheet, quilt, bed skirt, diaper stacker, blanket, 3 wall hangings and a door sign.  So my main colors for the nursery are brown, lime green and baby blue and monkeys, elephants and giraffes - I love it!

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Email Subscribers

I don't know why, periodically, Google feed-burner will send old posts through as an email update.  I don't have any control over this, it seems to be a glitch of some sort that they haven't resolved yet.  So if you were wondering why you got an email update of 2 old posts today, that is why.  Normally, it only sends out new posts but seems like when I don't blog for a few days or week, it will send old ones - Google has no answer yet as others have also had the same issue.  Just FYI.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Home Management Notebook Free Printables

My Home Management Free Printables:


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Homeschool Planner Free Printable Pages & Video

I did a short video today of what my homeschool planner is looking like so far.  I showed a lot of free printables and listed where to get them below, plus some more that I haven't used yet.  The main one was free at one time, or at least I got it free somehow (maybe a giveaway or something?), but now she charges $20 for the planner.  I LOVE it because it was almost like the ones I was using that I made myself, but it allows you to prefill and save on the computer and then print.

Free monthly menu planner

Free Yearly School Calendar (one you can highlight/label)

Free Homeschool Planner Printables

Other Free Homeschool Planner Printables I haven't used

Online Free Homeschool Planners

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Homeschool - 3rd Grade Curriculum Index of Posts

I did several posts of the subjects we will be doing with pictures of our curriculum and kits, etc., this is the index of the posts.  Simply click on the link for each subject to see that post:

Grammar, Writing, Spelling, Latin and Math
Science - Chemistry
Art, Home Economics and Music

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homeschool - 3rd Grade Art, Home Economics and Music

For art, we do lots of crafts, lapbooking and various kits but we also want to go back and finish the first book of "Artistic Pursuits" that teaches art history, concepts and various projects:

For home economics, other than teaching Katie as I clean and cook, we plan on going back to level one of "Pearables Home Economics" and also hoping to start and possibly finish level two:

Lastly, for music, I plan on utilizing "Beethoven Who?" music teaching guide, "Stories of the Great Composers" book 1 with the audio cd, and Katie has been doing piano and violin lessons for over a year now and will continue with both.  I also have various printables, such as instrument flash cards that I will be using and an assortment of online games to do with the orchestra and instruments.

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Homeschool - 3rd Grade History

We are continuing on with "The Story of the World Volume 3: Early Modern Times."  We got the book along with the activity guide that comes with the questions, sample narrations, maps, book lists and various activities to go along with each chapter.  I also got the audio cd as my daughter loves to listen to it and we, as a family, listen to them on long drives or vacations.  Then, I also got the tests, which we do orally most of the time, though this year I might let Katie fill them out.

Volume 3 covers the years 1600-1850 which is a lot of early American history and I got a few books and paper dolls to go along with this time period:

I also got a few model kits that go along with this time period:

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Homeschool - 3rd Grade Science - Chemistry

We will be spending the entire 3rd grade year on Chemistry!  We are both excited because who doesn't love to mix things and see what happens?  Each week we will be doing 2 experiments, looking up definitions and studying the science encyclopedia.  I also bought some extra things to play around with and may even get more kits halfway through the year if Katie really enjoys chemistry.  We also got a few games, an audio album with songs about chemistry and some posters/charts for the homeschool room.

For our science encyclopedias, we will be using Usborne's Internet-Linked First Encyclopedia of Science and Usborne's Science Encyclopedia with Internet Links:

For the experiments and definitions, we will be using Book 1 & 2 of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules:

For some extra fun, I got a few kits

We got a chemistry board game and a game using flashcards for the periodic table:

Since Katie is mostly a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner, we also got a molecule set for her to play around with.  It really helps create a visual and understanding in chemistry:

Katie loves catchy songs that help her learn and I found an awesome audio album for kids about chemistry!  I've listened to some of the beginnings of the songs and they are all good, they cover hypothesis, atoms/molecules, compounds, being a chemist, solids/liquids/gases and on and on.  It is from Twin Sisters and contains 12 songs:

Lastly, here are the posters or charts we will be hanging in the homeschool room this year to go along with chemistry:

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homeschool - 3rd Grade Grammar, Writing, Spelling, Latin and Math

We will using First Language Lessons Level 3 for grammar:

 Writing With Ease Level 3 for writing:

For cursive, we are continuing on with Memoria Press' New American Cursive book 2, she will also be doing cursive in Latin, which I will post with the Latin curriculum below:

For spelling we are using 2 different curriculums: Spelling Workout C & D and All About Spelling Levels 3, 4 & 5:

Katie begins Latin this year with Memoria Press' Prima Latina.  We are also using the DVD teacher to free me up some time.  I got the New American Cursive book that goes along with the Prima Latina lessons to give Katie extra practice in writing cursive and Latin.  Other than the teacher and student book, we also have a lesson cd and flashcards for drills.

We love Saxon math and will be using Saxon math 3:

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Homeschool - 3rd Grade Bible Curriculum

We are still going through Memoria Press' Christian Studies 1 again, we had gone through it in K but decided to put it away until Katie was older and could do the questions, studies and tests.  We started it a few months ago and take about a week per lesson because we read the KJV Bible instead of the children's bible for the lesson. 

We plan on putting together a model of the tabernacle to learn about how God had them set it up and what it was for.  We plan on using this kit along with a workbook on the tabernacle.

After we finish up Christian Studies 1, we plan on going right into Christian Studies 2:

The model I chose to go with this book is Solomon's Temple here.

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Homeschool - 3rd Grade Daily Subject Schedule & School Times

I wanted to show you all how I plan what we do each day, how many days we do each subject and the estimated times for the school day.  You can view our yearly schedule and how I laid out the 36 weeks and time off here:

First, I plan how many days of what subject we need to do each week.  This is all according to how many lessons were in each book and then doing the math to figure out what we needed to do to finish within 36 weeks.

Days per Week per Subject
Bible - daily
Reading - daily
Spelling - 4 days
Grammar - 3 days
Writing - 4 days
Cursive - 3 days
Latin - 3 days
Math - 4 days
History - 2 days
Science - 2 days
Art - 1 day
Music - daily practice; 1 day of composer/orchestra/instrument study
Home Economics - 1 day

Then, I sort them into a daily plan:

Daily Subject Plan
Monday - Bible, Reading, Grammar, Writing, Cursive, Spelling (both), Latin, Math, History and Music practice

Tuesday - Bible, Reading, Grammar, Writing, Cursive, Spelling (both), Latin, Math, Science and Music practice

Wednesday - Bible, Reading, Grammar, Writing, Cursive, Spelling (both), Latin, Math, History and Music practice

Thursday - Bible, Reading, Writing, Spelling (AAS only), Math, Science and Music practice

Friday - Bible, Reading, Art, Home Economics, Music, Projects and Music Practice

Katie's heavy days will be Mon.-Wed.  Thursday is lighter but she has music lessons that day, so really it is full as well.  Friday is more of a fun day with art, crafts, home economics and history projects.  However, every weekday she will be doing bible, reading and music practice.  The weekends are free days or occasionally we will use Saturday to make up for a day we may have took off during the week due to appointments, sickness, etc.

As you can see, we only need to do grammar, Latin, spelling (Spelling Workout), and cursive 3 days a week.  We do writing and math 4 times per week and then history and science twice per week, alternating days.  You may notice that some days say we do both spellings, this is because we do 2 spelling programs: Spelling Workout and All About Spelling.  We can't seem to let go of either, so we just work them in.  We plan on finishing all the levels of All About Spelling by the end of 4th grade, and then we will continue on only with Spelling Workout from then on out.

Next, I plan in time per subject needed.  These are estimates as I don't know yet how fast or slow Katie will work in these new curriculums.

Estimated Times per Subject per day
Bible - 15m
Music Practice - 25m

Reading - 30m morning/60m evening = 90m
Spelling - 30m; 20m on AAS only day
Grammar - 20m
Writing - 15m
Cursive - 10m
Latin - 30m

Math - 30m

History - 90m
Science - 90m

Art - 60m
Music study - 20m
Home Economics - 30m

Finally, to get a daily time estimate, I plug in these estimated times per subject above into each day to estimate those days school time:

Daily School Time Estimates
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - 5hr 45m
Thursday - 4hr 45m
Friday - 4hr 20m + any project times

We will be pretty much aligned with the estimated times in "The Well Trained Mind" for 3rd grade, which is 4hr 52m per day.  Those times DO include reading, an hour of which is done in the evening after dinner.  

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Homeschool - 3rd Grade Yearly Schedule

This is just an idea of what I'm aiming for this year, but I doubt we will stick to this entirely as I have a baby coming by the end of November.  Having a newborn with an almost 9-yr old homeschooling will be a whole new world to me, so I'm giving myself a few months after the baby comes to adjust before we resume homeschooling.

My plan is to school in 12-week blocks with a break between.  We also are only doing 4 days a week of the basics and using Friday for art, crafts and history projects and/or field trips.

36 weeks of schooling - 4 days a week = 144 days +36 Fridays of art/projects = 180 school days

Aug. 20 - Nov. 9 = 1st Trimester 12-week block
3-Month break for new baby
Feb. 4 - April 26 = 2nd Trimester 12-week block
1-week Spring Break
May 6 - July 26 = 3rd Trimester 12-week block
Summer Break

I like to school in 12-week blocks, just makes it easier for me to plan.  The average homeschooler schools 36 weeks per year, which divided by 12, gives us 3, 12-week periods.  Once you have settled on how many weeks you want to school, you can then go through your curriculum and take how many lessons there are and do the math, to figure out what you need to do per week and day to finish in time.  I've included our daily subject schedules and school times in another post:

Even though we are taking roughly 3 months off for the baby, my daughter will still be doing bible, reading, music practice and math fact cards a few times a week to keep them fresh.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Upcoming Plans

I'm almost through freezer cooking, I had a few interruptions that deterred my plans to cook some days but it seems like I will get everything done by this weekend as scheduled.  After that, I will FINALLY, hopefully, have some time to do some of the things I have planned:

  • Make a homeschool planner - I've been wanting to do this for a few years now, other than having my planning pages, I have things scattered in different locations but I want to bring it all together into one binder for a "homeschool planner."  I also want to create the pages myself and offer them to you all for free as well.  My software is very old and outdated, but I think I can make something cool, it will just take time but it is fun!
  • Finalize & post our 3rd Grade plans - curriculum choices, schedules, etc.
  • Clear out clutter & Organize - We need to get rid of a lot of stuff in preparation for the baby coming and having his own room eventually.  I also want to better organize the whole house, I mean where everything has a place, because when the baby comes - I do not want any more chaos than I will already have.

I will add more as I can think of them - I find myself forgetting so easily in this pregnancy lol!

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