Sunday, August 30, 2009

As Fall Approaches

Hi all,
I know I have been awfully quiet on here lately. It has mostly been because we have been busy and going through the growing pains of finding out what works best of our family. Over the summer I took a break from the typical academics and took our learning outdoors and focused more on sharing what is mine. So as fall approaches, and the weather begins to cool slightly my mind naturally draws back to indoors and study which is also talked about by Dr. DeMille in his book, A Thomas Jefferson Education. And when we are just slightly beginning to be drawn in doors it is easier to sit at the computer.

I think it is so true that our natural abilities is to be outdoors in the warmer parts of spring and throughout the summer. The times we tried to do something like math, I would see my children longingly look outside and be more restless. I can't imagine what life would be like if we were in public school here. We have year round school and some of our friends were back in school in July. July.... Oooooh how much they missed. When they have six weeks off in the winter, they will still be shut up in doors. Summer seems to just pass them by. Though I suppose, like everything, the schedule has its pros and cons for them.

As for me, the last year has been a year of discovering myself. I remember that when I first started learning about TJed, the whole process of sharing with my kids was daunting to me. What is mine? How can I build and education for them around knitting, cooking, and scrapbooking. It was when I shared those things with them that I felt most successful. But as I stated, It isn't complete, which of course led me to working on my own education. Giving Heather a sense of well roundedness. I find that I am most successful when I am really excited about something. So I thought I would take it easy on myself. What is something new that really excites me and that I could also use to inspire my children? In the springtime when I asked myself this, I found that my most exciting things were revolving around my role as a Cub Scout Leader. Anything about it excited me and I spent a great deal of time studying it. More recently, I make it an objective of mine to have my Cub Scouts earn their Leave No Trace Award. I got books on the subject and started getting them outdoors more. This procession led me to several sites. (All of this is documented on my main blog, A Kindred Family- formerly know as Little House in the Suburbs, you can find it under "Our Blogs" on the side bar. In my labels section click on Nature Study.)
I began an actual nature study with my kids. We began to explore Colorado and gain exposure to nature. It wasn't as if we were completely indoors people, but I needed to get to know the plants and wildlife around so that I could mentor my Scouts in addition to my children in a comfortable and and natural way. I felt driven to seek out new locations, learn as much as I could while we were there. It was there that my kids were exposed to park rangers and staff that added that extra touch. Things others might not get to learn, cause they were too busy to take an interest in another's profession. It was amazing to say the least.

Consistency was something that I struggle with and I have been pondering for the last week. Not only do I need to find ways that inspire my children, but first I need to inspire myself in the areas that aren't as exciting for me. So while, the Nature Study will be returning in a smaller amounts throughout the year and blossom again in the spring, it will be interesting to discover what is mine this fall.
Here in beautiful Colorado, the tips of the leaves are changing and while we have had a milder and wet summer, it is cooling and the vision of our reading and study sessions aside a warm fire in our reading room approaches... it just gets me to thinking in a new direction. I totally see DeMille's points of view how colder weather is just naturally a time for study. As Fall Approaches.... what will be mine?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inspirational Assistance Needed

Ok.... my son, is having a huge difficulty with handwriting. He's a boy, I know this is a challenge for him. I feel it is important to express your thoughts and and have people be able to understand what you wrote, so legibility is something we need to work on. But inspiring this in him.... not going so well. So I am trying a new angle. But would need someones help.

I thought it might be fun for my two oldest to have pen pals. Someone to get to know and to write to. Any takers?

My oldest is 8, he loves Scouts, anything outdoors, computers, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and anything to do with Historical Figures and far away places. Italy, Japan, and Greece are big interests for him right now. He is also interested in learning cooking techniques

My only daughter, is 7 and she loves Frogs...Frogs... and more Frogs. She is a passionately pink and purple, dress me up and paint my nails while I dig in the dirt with my brothers. She loves baking, nature, and dress up. She just started Ballet and is a Brownie in Girl Scouts.

I also have a four year old and a 2 year old son, who likes to get mail too. But I am hoping for a way to inspire them to share what excites and inspires them. I hope that a pen pal might be exciting. In addition to letters, they could send what ever is in their hearts to share with a far away friend.

So comment on this if you are interested or click on me and send me a message.


An Average Day in My Life

The life of a homeschooling mom of seven who runs a home business online

By Shiloah Baker

Morning comes way too soon in my world. Every morning I awaken by the bedroom door slamming open and someone screaming, one of the following,

“Mom, so and so stole the kitty away from me and she won’t give it back!”

“Mom, so and so won’t make me breakfast!”

“Mom, can I have a snack?”

My answers aren’t as patient as they should be at this time of day, “What? No! Whose day is it for breakfast? Leave my room, all of you!” Mornings are not my favorite time of day. Nights, now that is the time of day I’m at my best! Is it night yet?

I usually am wide awake by the third interruption, but before leaving my bed I visualize my day, especially if I plan to run that morning. Saying a quick prayer I drag myself out of bed to get dressed. I sleep in without guilt or regrets. I’m up on an average day about 9:30am. The bathroom floor is slightly sticky even though it was mopped two days ago thanks to a little sneaky someone who dumped half a bottle of hand soap on the floor. I try to take a mental note to assign that out as a cleanup chore to someone.

Never do I leave my room undressed or without perfume and depending on the day, without make-up. I always brush my teeth and floss, especially now that I’m avoiding a root canal. My hair is brushed…wait! Where’s the hairbrush? “Chloris and Maia, I need you to help find the hairbrush!” It never shows up until I’m downstairs checking emails and calling the kids to remind them of it. Rule #1: always look for missing items in the unusual places first at my house: the next door neighbor’s porch, the garage, the car, the refrigerator drawer. I quit asking the question, “Why?” because I’m never satisfied with the answers.

Upon leaving my room, every morning I see four laundry baskets overflowing with dirty clothes lined up in the hall next to the laundry closet and I ask someone to start a “big” load. I hug and kiss the little people who are waist high and below as I pass them in the hall. Taking a quick peek in each bedroom, I’m never disappointed to see messes- they’re always there, they happen. I call the kids from all corners of the house and assign clean up bedroom duties and make sure they’re all dressed. Most of the time, half of them aren’t.

Checking emails to see what I missed from the night before is a must especially when I have them all cleaning. Is your thyroid making you fat? Foggy morning brain makes me think about it a minute “Oh man! Is it? No, I don’t think so.” While checking emails I remind the kids about morning devotional in five minutes, which really isn’t until ten minutes but they don’t know that. Everyone must be dressed, fed, rooms cleaned; fur brushed off the teeth, and arrive with their scriptures. “Put the cat down, she’s meowing!” Usually we have a few things to fix before we start like: the baby doesn’t have “unnies” on, Athena is poopie and is stinking up the room, Mercury is trying to get away with wearing a pajama t-shirt instead of real clothing. Inevitably someone forgot their scriptures. No problem, everyone sits and waits until we are all ready. Two more minutes remaining- hurry up, move it, move it, move it!! I’m married to a soldier; I have a military mentor here, can you tell? {smile}

Morning devotional consists of the basics: opening and closing songs and prayer with Baker Kidsscripture reading sandwiched in between. Our family’s finished reading Esther two weeks ago and we are now reading Psalms. Reading a book at this time together is completely determined by behavior, much of the time by our six year old autistic daughter. Her only focus is on when she can get back to nature by going outside. We are currently working on the book “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephan and Grace Mally. The kids love this book and we often stop and discuss each situation.

Following devotional it’s time to- READY-SET -BREAK! – and the younger ones are off and the older ones report what schooling and reading they’ve done for the day so far. All three older children get up at 6:30am so they can get their schooling done during the quiet hours. When the younger ones wake up they help tutor them. We have been very focused on memorization of all math facts right now depending on the level of the child. We have flash cards galore and notebooks for writing them as often as they feel they need to during this process.

Chore time! I would say it’s my favorite time because some days they are busy bees working hard and getting things done. I would say it’s the worse time some days because I have to stay right on them to get their chores done. While chores are being done, mommy goes to work or makes some phone calls, depending on the day. I have a lot of girlfriends who need to talk and I love to talk, complain and laugh with them! If I plan to run that day, this is the time I go running for an hour. I always come home sweaty and gross and every time I get a loving compliment from one of the middle girls, “Mom, you stink!” I always tell them “Thank you.” Manners are manners, may we always use them. Since I am reminded, this is shower time for me too if I do a morning workout.

After a little bit of website editing or other online business is done, and a fair amount of twitter-ing and facebook-ing, I sit down with the middle kids to do reading, Latin, or anything else that needs help.

Most of the meals are made by my older three children with a few that I literally kick the older girls out of the kitchen for so that I can cook too. They enjoy cooking so much that I end up being a chef for guests more than the family. Now, that, girls is a Mom Promotion! I’m still in charge of the menus, grocery shopping and am “Head Chef” who approves and inspects meals regularly.

After lunch, we’ll read a book or the younger ones sit on mommy’s lap for some little kid books to be read to them. Then it’s time to nap! YEEHAW!

We have the Charge system implemented in our home. Each of the older children is given a younger child as their charge. They are to help with the care of that child from helping them get dressed, bathed, messes cleaned up, and to help keep track of that child when we leave the house. At any given time of the day you may hear, “Athena is poopie again, where is her charge?” or “The baby changed clothes again, wait, now she’s naked. Maia, she’s your charge, get her dressed, please!”
The late afternoon is for finishing school assignments, getting my work done, crafting, playing outside or running errands. It depends on the day and what we have planned.

On an average day I have to know where seven kids are at any given moment. I supervise the schooling and the chores, kiss boo-boos, listen to a million and one tattle tales, listen to any problem or story a child needs to tell me, play “friend” with my toddler, be sure the animals are alive and fed, messes are cleaned, the errands are run, phone calls have been made, and then…give attention to the man of the house.

The man of my life…I am totally and completely in love with him even though he’ll Shi and Benfall asleep folding socks, stirring spaghetti, during scripture study and while we’re talking. Wait a second that ticks me off! Knowing that my husband works hard all day and that he gets sleepy early into the night, I make sure he is number one when he walks through that door. When I hear his footsteps on the porch and I’ve made it my goal to rush to meet him at the door and kiss him like we were just married. I once neglected to do that when I was mad at him and he was so upset by it, so I’ve tried to keep it up mad or not. Time with my husband happens when he gets home no matter if it’s 4:30pm or 8pm. No matter what I have planned or what I have going on. I love him so much and want to spend time with him when I have the chance.

After dinner, we have another “pick up the house” session, everyone gets in pajamas and we meet in the office for scriptures and prayer with daddy. “Maia, wake daddy up nicely, please!” “Quit fighting and be quiet!” “Mercury, don’t shove your sister. I don’t care that she started it first. Be a gentleman!” We are currently beginning Alma. After scriptures and family prayer it is bedtime for the kids and time alone for the adults. Sometimes we’ll let the older kids stay up and read in their rooms or watch an occasional movie.

Before I pass out asleep at night, I read. I also take notes on what I want to accomplish or write about. I always keep a notebook on the bedside table.

I’m not sure if you noticed that I watch VERY little television. That is my secret to getting things done. I will upon occasion watch movies in the evening with my family or husband, but I just find it’s something I gave up like a caffeine addict gives up coffee, so that I could reap the benefits- more time.

*All children’s names are pseudo names.

Shiloah BakerShiloah Baker is a thirty something mom of seven, married to the man she's madly in love with. Exercise is her vice. She runs a homemaking business online (The Homemaking Cottage and homeschools. In her spare time she sews, crafts, writes, blogs, and reads. See more weight loss tips at her blog Hot Mamas: Losing Weight and Feeling Great

Monday, August 10, 2009


This video gives you a very brief explanation:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Christian Family Radio and Classically Based Catalog

On the way home from the grocery store I was listening to this wonderful broadcast on the radio station. I wrote down the website on the grocery receipt so I wouldn't forget it when I got home. I'm so glad I did! I highly recommend this website it is called Family Research Council at . It is radio programs from the family Research Council keeping you abreast of news from Washington with a Christian mix.

Articles made into news broadcasts include things like this. Click the link to download and listen to this newscast:

"Science Czar or just plain bizarre? Hello, I am Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. Among President Obama's growing list of czars is the White House science czar, Dr. John Holdren. Holdren, along with the sky is falling scientist Paul Ehrlich, who wrote the now-discredited book entitled "Population Bomb" in the 1960's claiming the world was overpopulating and would be out of food by the end of the 1970's, wrote a text book together. Holdren and Ehrlich's book, which they wrote in 1977, was entitled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment. In the book Holdren advocates for radical government action to limit population growth. Among the proposals, forced abortions for women, involuntary sterilization through infertility drugs placed in food or the water supply...." For more visit

This website is very enlightening and I have been making it a habit to listen more to the talk radio shows.

The other thing I wanted to share with you was the Veritas Press catalog. A friend of mine shared this catalog with me as she knows I'm doing TJED which is Classically based.

Things I love about this catalog:
  1. It is broken into grade levels so I can, at a glance, be sure I'm not looking at something too easy for the child I'm buying for.

  2. I love the suggested books per grade level. I'm using it as a guide to gauge the kid's school this year. For instance for my eldest (Calypso), it suggested she read the Lord of the Rings series. Well, she's on book 2 already! Right on!

  3. It even includes classically based math books, which I have been on the search for. One for instance by Harold Jacobs.

Hope this post give you some ideas and a couple of new places to visit.

Making My Life Easier

Ok, I am a temp. single mom again and I have to find things that will make my life easier to homeschool, run a business online, write, read, etc. etc. So, after much thought and prayer I thought I should have the younger kids learn their math facts with DVD's and music!

Ha, what a concept?

Am I just a late bloomer on this? Anyway, I've begun the search but so far have come up with some that are really annoying. I have to listen to it too, so I want to at least find it "catchy." One rock math song I listened to was just I'm still on a quest. If you have any to share, please do! When I find some, I will blog about it. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Classic Kids Book List That EVERY Child Needs

I found my notebook with the promised book list! Tis the season for me to get back into my homeschooling life, so I will be better about posting. Promise. {smile}

Series Books:

Nurse Matilda Series (The move Nanny McPhee was based on these books)
The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West
Ramona Quimby by Beverly Clearly
The Wizard of Oz series by Baum
Dr. Dolittle Series by Hugh Lofting
Paddington by Michael Bond

Good Reading

Twig by Elizabeth Orton Jones
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
Pedro's Journal by Pam Conrad
Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Bailey
Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes

Purely Educational

American History stories You Never Read in School But Should Have
A Child's Book of Art

Recommended Authors

All books by the following children's book authors:

Edith Nesbit
Holling C. Holling

Start buying books, there is much more to come! Happy reading!

See this cute video about the book The Candy Shop War: