Screen Time | Our Management System

I’m going to open a can of worms in the mommy world: screen time.  As much as I have fought and fought to be a no screen-time mama, I have finally given in and realized that balance and moderation is OK. However, with Timothy being so young and too much screen time having a negative effect on the boys, I want to really limit the amount of time they sit in front of a screen.  We have come up with a ticket system.  Every Sunday, each child gets one ticket for every year they are old (Timothy is two and Samuel is five).  Each ticket can be redeemed for 10 minutes of screen time. They can be used for games on my iPhone (mostly this app) or to watch a video. They can save them up or use them right away (I limit to no more than four tickets in a day, but try to stick closer to three and under).

Currently their favorite things to watch are remote control vehicles on YouTube or Mighty Machines (you can watch on Netflix).  I really like Mighty Machines as they learn a lot about the jobs different trucks do.  It’s been fun to hear them explain how something is done.  I’ll ask them, “Where did you learn that?” “Mighty Machines” is very often the reply. 🙂

From time-to-time we will also watch other little clips or things that are specifically related to homeschool. Aside from Singing Time and Baby Signing Time, I usually watch these with Samuel when Timothy is napping.

And of course, we mustn’t forget sick days. You know, those ones where you’re lying in bed feeling miserable, and don’t really care what happens as long as everyone is alive at the end of the day? They are rare, but they do happen.  Typically I will let the boys raid the toy closet and make a huge mess, but there is still usually some time that they need to be with mama.  On those days I turn to Planet Earth or Marty Stouffer to help me out a little bit. I am usually right with them watching, especially as Samuel likes to skip over the really suspenseful parts, but all-in-all, the boys really like learning about the animals and our planet.

So, there you have it.  Our family’s screen time management.  What about you? How do you manage screen time in your home? What are some of your favorite things to watch or do with modern technology? I’d love to hear more from you guys!


Homeschool Log | Jan. 31 – Feb. 5

This week the boys wanted to start a new unit all about how things work.  We got off to a bit of a slow start due to a rib injury I sustained, but there were still many lessons to be had.

We read about simple machines and inventors from history.  We also listened to stories about Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Henry Ford and other great inventors.

We played with electricity, and gears and built a remote control lego-like truck. At the library we picked up all kinds of books about inventors, inventions, electricity, simple machines and other things that will help us learn how things work.

Samuel decided we should build a play house in our back yard.  We got the OK from the landlord and found a plan we like.  We are waiting on a cost estimate for materials and then we can make a plan and see if it’s feasible.  How much fun would it be to build a playhouse together? I hope it works out.

Even though my plan kind of went out the window, I’m calling this week an educational success.

When Life Becomes a Classroom

Today I share about trusting God to fill our insecurities and watching the joy and wonder come alive as we allow life to become our classroom in homeschooling.

When Life Becomes a Classroom

Homeschool Log | October 27-30

Timothy’s Age: 2.5
Samuel’s Age: 5

A lot has been going on in our world in the last month-and-a-half including a cross-country move. I am eager to start sharing our homeschool logs again. Despite my desire to plan and prepare, there is something said to truly following the interests of the boys.  So, without further ado, here is some of what’s been going on in our house this week.


10/27 Tuesday

We are all sick today, so structure has pretty much gone out the window. Despite our tiredness, scratchy throats and runny noses, lots of learning has been going on.  This morning, Samuel was talking about the hundreds of songs in his head and asked to listen to the “Dun dun” song by Mozart. We read a little bit about Mozart and listened to some of his works all morning long.

The boys exercised fine motor skills while tearing paper and making tiny paper balls for their recycling truck. Timothy learned about physics with our marbel works set.  He actually did a really amazing job of figuring out what pieces to put where for his marbles to do exactly what he wanted.  Both boys have also been having fun with their toolset, learning about the names of the different tools and putting on their worker hats, pretending to be construction workers.


10/28 Wednesday

We were waiting for the FedEx man to deliver several packages today, so as we waited, we practiced using our observation skills. We counted birds, talked about the things we saw, compared sizes and played logic puzzles (i.e. how do you know that tree is in their back yard?). We also read lots of books while we were waiting.

Samuel learned a bit about plumbing while helping daddy hook up the diaper sprayer; and once our packages FINALLY arrived ;), Timothy got to practice his fine motor skills with nothing else, but beloved bubble wrap. 🙂


10/29 Thursday

We have had so much fun with one of the packages that arrived – felts.  The boys have been having fun making up all sorts of stories as I finish cutting out each piece.  They have also taken a cue from all my cutting and have enjoyed coming up with their own cutting projects.

We have been continuing to enjoy learning about Idaho state history.  Our favorite part has been reading “The Boy Homesteader” by Mabel Rosamond Brose. It is beautifully written and filled with all sorts of true stories about a family homesteading in Boisie Idaho in the late 1800’s.  Not a day goes by where we don’t read at least one chapter. and we have learned about a lot of old tools and farming methods.  It’s been fun for everyone.

10/30 Friday

We did a lot of reading today.  Mostly about camping (in preparation for our weekend camping excursion), and fire safety/firefighters (in preparation for our visit to the fire station on Thursday). Needless to say, the boys are super excited about both events.  Timothy is excited about sleeping in a tent and Samuel is excited about being outside ALL DAY! 🙂  Samuel is learning how to stop – drop – and roll, and Timothy is having loads of fun pretending to be a fire engine, and then a firefighter.

Samuel is learning how to be a super duper vacuumer – going around the edges of the room and vacuuming in lines to be sure he doesn’t miss a spot.  He is doing great, and will soon be able to take over that portion of Friday chores all by himself. 🙂
Our main focus of the day, however, were social skills.  Both boys were having a hard time today, so they needed extra help learning how to share, work together and manage emotions.  I think we often forget that these skills are a VERY important part of school for littles, and on days like this I feel like I’m getting nowhere, but young children need lots of hugs, support and guidance.


This week, there has been a lot of learning going on, but I think the biggest learner has been me.  I am learning to let my kids be kids and follow their lead. They naturally WANT to learn, and I need to trust that and be there to facilitate their curiosity. What about you? What have you been doing at home? What are you learning? What about your kids?

Homeschool Log| May 17-23

My boys are two and four. They aren’t quite old enough for “school” yet, but we like to do a lot of learning around here.  Although we don’t have a required curriculum or set schedule, I do try to provide lots of rich learning opportunities.  Sometimes learning happens thorough things I set up, other times, the boys figure it out all on their own. I thought it would be fun to chronicle some of the highlights each day from the school of life.  And these are my highlights, if the boys were writing, they may pick totally different things! 😀

Usborne book shipment

5/19 Tuesday

We spent a lot of today looking at the fantastic shipment of books we got in for the year! 🙂  Samuel has been enjoying reading about Mummies and Pyramids and Emergency Services. Timothy has been having fun with his truck sticker book and reading Busy Trucks on the Go.  One of the characters looks like a friend of ours, so he has named them Silly Mark and Alex. It has been a reading kind of day – which means lots of learning!

DSC075725/20 Wednesday

DSC07574This morning for worship, we were reading about the Isrealite’s escape from Egypt.  As Samuel is interested in Africa, and we have been reading about Mummies and Pyramids in Egypt, we took a few minutes to look up Egypt in our atlas and found the Red Sea, the Nile River and even where mount Sinai was.

As we were driving to see Daddy’s new office, we saw lots of construction vehicles working on a road nearby.  Samuel quickly noticed the hydraulics system on the diggers and was talking about how they work.  He learned this when we were reading one of his new books yesterday.  It was cool to see things clicking for him. 🙂

Amma (Grandma) visited today, and Samuel found her Snap-n-Learn Number Bugs in the car and wanted to play with them. We had fun doing some basic addition by putting together different colored bodies and finding the right number for the head. It was a lot of fun. 🙂

5/21 Thursday

Samuel made a “whisper machine”.  He taped a bunch of toilet paper tubes together.  He discovered that if he held it up to someone’s ear, he only had to whisper very softly for them to hear what he was saying.  We talked about how sound travels and what makes the whisper machine work.

5/22 Friday

Anna HibiscusWe started reading Anna Hibiscus, about a little girl who lives in Africa. “Amazing Africa.” We talked about family structures and how Anna lives with so many people in her house.  We talked about all Samuel’s aunties and uncles. When we were done reading the first chapter, we tried to figure out where Anna Hibiscus might live.  Because the author is from Nigeria, we guessed there.  We looked it up on a map and saw where it was compared to Egypt.  We read a lot of things in our atlas about that area in Africa.

Samuel decided he wants to write letters to someone in Africa – preferably Anna Hibiscus, but if she can’t do it, someone else his age would work just fine. 😉 We wrote the first letter and he’s eager to get it off in the mail (I happen to know lots of missionaries that might know a family or two we can write to).  Then we looked at Australia in the atlas – he thought that was pretty cool too!

*This post contains affiliate links to I am an independent consultant for Usborne Books and More. This post contains links to my personal store.

Daria World Music for Children


20040616_daria_002 2

Instruments, music books, CDs, videos, coloring pages, crafts and more – all about world music! Wow!

I was looking for resources to compliment the Early Explorer’s world music theme from Little Passports, and I was blown over when I found  My search is over.  I have everything I need. 🙂 Daria is a children’s performer who loves to travel the world. Her website is an amazing archive of instruments from all over the world.

I really like the page of crafts and coloring pages. You can make instruments with recycled materials from around your house.  If you have a colorer, you can print out coloring pages.  She also has an instrument section where you can listen to sound clips of the instruments.

There is so much more on her site than I could possibly cover here.  If you are learning about world music or cultures with children, you have to check it out!!

Have you found other great resources for exploring music around the world? Please share in the comments below!

Homeschool Family Tree Resource

I just found a fantastic resource for our homeschool! Samuel (4yrs) and I have been learning more about our family history – what a great place to start history lessons. I am working on organizing our study a bit more.  In my quest for useful tools, I found  It’s such a wonderful starting place!

It has all sorts of resources and ideas for learning more about your family history.  It’s great for older kids to use on their own, or for younger kids (like in our case), parents can find some great ideas and pritable worksheets and activities to do with their kids.

Our plan is to print out the family tree and spend about a month (give or take) working on each branch. We plan to use some of the interview questions they provide as well as many of the other great resources.

If you are working on family history or genealogy as part of your homeschool curriculum, I highly recommend this website. 🙂