So begins the strategic planning of how much stuff can I stuff into my kids travel bags ( hoping there is enough room to shove my overflow). The night before is always a little bit of ” oh yeah, I might need that” and then no matter how much you put together you always forget something. Well we are finally going on a family vacation. We took some time off but we are back to our lots of travel and crazy fun family time. I homeschool my kids so I get lets of time with them , but there is something to be said about maintaining the status quote and then quality time. Quality time of enjoying the small moments and actually being in the moment. So after two weeks of planning everything we will be taking. I am now sitting on my bedroom floor to take a mental moment and type this up ( oh I am also playing technical support to my son’s Kindle). Yes we allow screen time especially when travel days are long. This trip was planned exactly 11 months ago. It is a nail biting experience of waiting on an online queue for the dates you want to be released. So here I am packing all the things that had forgotten about the last two weeks.
The joys of traveling with kids. I love being able to allow time out of our schedule and to budget so that these moments can happen. It can be very stressful preparing for the big day but it is 100% worth it because I have so many great memories of traveling the world with my family as a child. I am happy that our kids can experience the same. My husband and I are a frugal budgeting family. We save every spare penny to go into our travel funds. Instead of getting big toys we spend them on experiences.
My tips for traveling with kids even though I am no expert is to be as calm as possible. Get that extra coffee and enjoy. I always try to make a list of things that must go with my kids. Enough outfits, toiletry items and those extra socks . Then I see the bag situation and revamp my plan. Ok what else can I fit in that 5X7 pocket. I am notorious for taking my kids luggage real estate. Each one of my kids will have a random mommy item in them (if there is extra space). Give yourself lots of patience you can plan all you want but the day is going to go how it is going to go. Make sure you have everything confirmed, reservations, plane tickets, car rentals etc. If something is going to be wrong I rather it be wrong from the comfort of my home before heading out. Always make sure you have that comfort item you toddler loves. His old teddy bear etc. kids need that when they are in an unfamiliar environment. Always pack a spare outfit in your carryon incase your luggage decides to take a different vacation. My last piece of advice is have fun. The best memories are the ones not planned, yeah the airport lost your luggage ( that is always why you pack a spare in your carry on), your child had a complete end of the world meltdown in the lobby or you loose your passport. Guess what, a year or so after you are going to look back and most likely laugh at that instead of having a mommy time out to cry.
Another weekend and another hiking trip. Did I mention we go for nature walks and hikes often. Something about getting back to our roots is a comfort. The primal instinct to go walking around in nature and to be apart of it. Lets think at one time human kind didn’t know that there was a possibility of living inside the way we do today. To never leave ones home or just sit outside to get some fresh air. Our life is not designed to always live a life of recycled air from a building ( I love AC when it is super hot outside). We are meant to be apart of the Earth’s pulse. That is why when no matter what is going on in our family life. When we step out onto that trail it gives you a sense of clarity. My mom always use to say to me ” go out and get some of that vitamin D.”
Our trip was a beautiful sunny day. It has been very cold and wet lately so it was great to finally see the sun. Though is was sunny the wind still had a bite to it. My family and I bundled up and hit the trail. It was so peaceful. We only came across one other family when walking. You can imagine how quiet the woods was. My kids explored some of the tree bases looking in their nooks and crannies. My daughter has this amazing wild imagination ( I hope she always has it). She was imaging that those were little fairy homes. When she got home that night she of course had to draw some of the tress with fairies coming out of them. The woods even though it was sunny they still have that deep shadowing. It has that effect of pulling a blanket close to your face to bring you comfort at night. Where we hiked the whole forest is all pine trees, so there were millions of pine needles lining our path. Oh and the aroma of those pine needles every step released the smell on the ground. It was a moment of clarity that my family needed. To just step out into the world and explore the big and little things it has to offer. I was able to do a lot of photography ( I will share that throughout this month on my Instagram) which is one of my many outlets in life. I love being able to capture that moment in time and to look back at it years from now and appreciate it even more. I have always loved photography. It wasn’t until I was in collage and majored in art was I able to get better at getting that great shot.
My blog is not right now specifically homeschool content but it is something I want to do occasionally for now. So homeschooling….. how do you even start etc. Every state and country is different I am not going to go into detail about that here. I recommend googling your local area for help with that topic. I am here though to give you my experience on homeschooling my three kiddos. Maybe somethings will be helpful maybe not but here I go.
I have kiddos between the age range of 4-7. My three kids have been homeschooling for 3+ years which isn’t a lot but my kids know no different. When we first started doing homeschool my youngest was about 1 1/2 years old. As you can guess as he was slowly becoming a toddler sitting still and being quiet was not an option. Luckily with homeschool you have the flexibility to make your day work around your life. We always start our day with a group reading. We pick a book to read aloud which my youngest loved. He could be read to for hours and be happy. Our favorite book to read was/is Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. Then we start our Language arts which we try to do in a group. This usually includes a book to go with the curriculum, handwriting practice and phonics. My son sometimes sit with us and tries to either write / doodle but he loves listening to the books that we are reading at that time. Our day continues on with Math, Art and Science. If he wants to participate in a science experiment etc he is more than welcome to. Now that he is older and we are slowly working on preschool with him he has his own little curriculum that I work on with him. The awesome thing about the way we do homeschool is his little brain was always picking up the things we were learning. I remember when he was 2 he would be sitting there counting to 20 or interrupt my daughters Kindergarten math to answer the question for her, which always gave me a good laugh. That is the beauty of children their little brains are sponges. They never stop learning just like adults. Even when you stress about the silly things like my child isn’t reading well etc you have to remember you can’t compare children to one another. They each are unique and learn in their own way. I always make sure to have things on hand to keep him busy when he was younger. Home made playdough was my savor. He also loved having his doodle pads so he could scribble and draw what he wanted. He took this time too to sneak in extra mom snuggles since there was no competition for my lap. I imagine if he was an infant during our early homeschool years naps would be my best friend to get school done. My son stopped napping at a year old so I couldn’t use those, but if you have a toddler that naps use that time wisely. If there is something that requires your full attention with no interruption I would take advantage of that time to get that task done. Some days depending on weather we do take our homeschool outside. We will go to a local park get out some energy with either hiking or playing. Then we would pack a picnic lunch and work on our school at a picnic table. I have always been school doesn’t have to have four walls. Now that my son is 4 we have moved onto more preschool style activities to keep him busy. He loves the activity mats that you can play cars and trucks on. We also have preschool games for him such as matching games. Playing is a way of learning so the beauty of it is they are always learning no matter what they may be doing. Oh did I forget to mention playdough….
Today rings in the new year. We are enjoying a nice break in between the Holiday and New Year. Taking a break from homeschool is always a treat for both me and my kids. We always like just relaxing and slowing down from the everyday life. What new things are you looking forward to this year? We are hoping to be traveling more, since we had to take a break last year. I am also looking forward to our walk in the woods tomorrow. We always take our kids on a new year hike around the start of the year weather permitting. Tomorrow we will take a book to read out loud and take a hike. I am hoping to get some inspiration for another painting coming up. I am also hoping to help get the last push to finish the children’s book that I am writing on Amazon Kindle. I will post the link to the book to my website once it is done and complete. It is a cute book written for little ones 1st grade and under. Some of the art I show here is going to be in the book also. I mainly paint with oil and acrylic but have lately really been drawn to water color. I love the simple look that it gives the art I create. It reminds me of a beautiful old fashion seaside painting that my mother had when I was growing up. The painting was from a local artist but it was just simple and sweet. I hope everyone has a happy healthy new year.