Your Boys Do What?

Hobbies for My Boys:
  • Archery
  • Target Shooting
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Tomahawk Throwing
  • Knitting
Wait. What?
Boys Don't knit!

I bet when you think of knitting you think of a little old granny in her rocking chair. But do you know who dominate the history of the art of knitting?
Men. Macho men in fact. 

One story tells of some Arabian fishermen who were trying to catch fish, but had no way to catch more than one fish at once. That is not a fun way to feed a family when there are no grocery stores!

One day, a fisherman was messing around with some yarn. He made a few loops and viola! The fishing net was born. The men tried the net in the water and caught a bunch of fish.
That's right. Manly fishermen made a net out of yarn.

Soon, they tested other uses for the yarn and created something like a sweater. When these men traded with neighboring lands these sweaters were highly prized. They asked to be taught the craft of knitting.

During the Middle Ages knitting became even more popular and knitting guilds were formed. There was incredible job security in the knitting field. Teenage boys wanted to become apprentices and learn the trade. They would leave their homes to live with master knitters. After many years, the boy would have to knit something incredibly complicated in order to “pass his test”.

During World War I and II boys in school began knitting again. The U.S. And British governments asked everyone to knit socks, bandages, helmet liners and mittens for their troops. Schools even held contests to inspire the young knitters. A favorite contest for boys was, “Who can make the most noise with their knitting needles?”

In this day of advanced technology, a skill like knitting has become lost in all the noise. If boys have free time they are more likely to be found playing a video game rather than knitting and purling.
Maybe it is time for a change? Knitting can be a very rewarding hobby for boys, especially those Kinestetic learners!

Here is our kinestetic son teaching you how to cast on and knit!

Casting on
Knit Stitch (He is so cute when he tells you WHY he knits!

Can Your Boys Knit?

Need a craft for Mother's Day?
Mother's Day Flower Pot: "All for Mom" Book and Craft

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific -

Happy Mother's Day Gift Idea

Mother's Day Flower Pot Booklet & Keepsake

Mother's Day is right around the corner. 
I absolutely LOVE flowers for Mother's Day, don't you?

Inspired by our new home's garden, I had to create a fun, easy, and sweet Mother's Day Booklet and Keepsake for your kiddos.

This kit has everything you and your kids need to create this really cute booklet to bless mom.
Yeah, it is a bit self serving, I know. But I love it anyway.

I love Mother's Day gifts like these because they capture the essence of my kids at the time they were created. Kind of like a time capsule, only better.

Hop on over and grab your Flower Pot Booklet Pack today!

By the way, this one is easily adaptable for kids of all ages! Yeah!!

I Know My Phone Number!

I Know My Phone Number!!

But do my kids?

We have been struggling to memorize our new phone numbers together. It is amazing how confusing it can become when you begin to throw out the old numbers and learn the new ones.

Our family has four phone numbers that need to be memorized. Phew! That is a lot!

I created this fun little foldable to help out our youngest.

In the event of an emergency, can you kids simply pick up a phone and call you or your emergency contact? If not, I would recommend that you begin memorizing phone numbers together.

(I confess, I JUST memorized my oldest son's cell number. Since I simply dial by contact on my smart phone I never committed his number to memory. Bad mom.)

How do you teach your children important phone numbers?

***Just a final nudge***
My home phone does not work during a power outage. Does yours?
We have a back-up phone. you know, one of those plug into the wall types. I would recommend you not only have a back up, but teach your kids how to use it!

Do You Have a Minute? You might enjoy:
My Son Almost Died Today

My Son Almost Died Today

My son almost died today.
That's right, I almost killed him.

If you just sucked in all your breath thinking, "How can she say that?" then I can tell you either have never had a 12 year old son, or your sweet little boys are under the age of ten.

Now, of course I would never harm my children. I adore them and see them as precious gifts from the Lord on High. This, however, does not get them to stop testing my limits of self control daily.

As a mom of five sons I would testify in a court of law that nothing tests a mom more than a 12 year old son. Nothing. I mean NOTHING.

Do you have a hormonal 12 year old boy (maybe 11-13)?

My advice:
Watch Captain America together. 
Pop popcorn even.

Specifically watch the scene where the wimpy Captain Rogers willingly is strapped into the apparatus that will allow the injections required to transform him into Captain America.

Explain to your son, "this is EXACTLY what you are going through right now. You are the pre-captain, being pumped full of hormones that will transform you into being the man you are destined to be."   

It will hurt. It will cause pain, not just for you but for those of us watching. But you will come through the other side.

My job is to help you through this "gauntlet of change". Your job is to realize that while it is hard, there are some definite boundaries...

This clip is so great.
Not only does the captain transform, but he never gives up.
...even when he is closed in and no one can see what he going through.
The woman in the scene (like a mom) just want the pain to stop. As moms we cry, "STOP!"
Things explode.
Things break.

In the end, it is all worth it. He comes out the other side a man.

Yes. Watch this with your boys. Talk about it often!

Mama, don't despair about your hormonal son. He can make it through his transformation alive.
It may not be fun for either of you though. 

  • Pray often
  • Pray hard
  • Trust the Lord.
  • If you are married, trust your husband's instincts in regards to your son. This is not the time to coddle him. love him, yes. Coddle? no.
  • Work that boy! Make sure he sweats daily! Forget what society says and hand that son a shovel. If you do not have a yard big enough to keep him busy, lend him to the neighbors. (Obviously use discretion, but someone always needs help in their yard. who knows, maybe he'll earn a few dollars as well)
  • Give him purpose: He needs jobs to run and lead. Boys need to know they make a difference.
Hang in there!

Be sure to visit my store:

Don't Panic if Your Kids Can't Read Yet

Don't Panic if Your Kids Cannot Read Yet!

Just keep reading to them.

  • Grab an exciting book and suddenly have to "Stop Reading" at an extremely exciting part.
  • Leave them hanging in stories.
  • Talk to them about the books you are reading.
  • Give them access to books, lots and lots of book.
  • Gather books that are below their reading level and have them "hanging around".
  • You, mom, pick up children's literature and read silently to yourself. Let your kids see that there are no age appropriate kid's books. Help them see that a good book is simply that, a good book.
I have had 5 reluctant readers myself. I chose not to panic about it, but to follow my own advice. Our youngest was the most reluctant yet. He is almost ten and had never really picked up a book on his own... until recently.
Last week I couldn't find him. I was walking all over our new home looking for him.
I was shocked to stumble over him reading quietly in a corner while snuggling with the dog.
I was shocked.
I knew it would eventually happen, but I was still shocked when it did.
He fell in love with the Magic Tree House Series. As a matter of fact he has read a whole book every day since the day I took this picture. Amazing!

Magic Tree House Book 1 Activities
Do you have a reluctant reader?
Keep reading to them.
Supply them with lots of books.
Visit the library. Often.
Leave 'em hanging in a story.
Just never give up. They will read.
Never make it a negative, reading is fun.

The only thing that matters is THAT they learn to read. 

Don't Rescue Your Kids

Don't Rescue Your Kids from Boredom, Second Place,  
or Hard Work!

We recently moved to a beautiful new rental nestled on 4 acres in Washington.
The place is stunning, the yard a haven.

The boys have an absolute ball playing in the wonderland, but don't necessarily enjoy the yardwork needed to keep it looking wonderful.

Today, our 11 year old was cutting his section of the grass. Since we are in fact in Washington, I was trying to make sure the main yard got cut before this afternoon's rain. I did not succeed.

With 40 x 6 feet left to mow, the skies opened up and it began to pour. I mean pour!

I shouted to my son to stop mowing so he could get out of the rain.  
         He didn't hear me.
                   I stood there under the over hang of the roof watching him mow.

He was smiling. Smiling in the pouring rain.

Why was my instinct to "save" him from the downpour? It must be a mom thing.

Not only did he finish cutting the grass with a huge grin, he also stumbled upon a beautiful little frog that he caught and relocated to our pond. The boy was in heaven.

Some of the best experiences in life are on the other side of trials, downpours and boredom.

We need to let our kids push through.
I'm talking to myself right now as I reflect on this, but I know I am not alone.

Kids today don't have the same gumption as kids of the past. They need to work harder and be less entertained and coddled... Don't you think? Maybe it's because We have 5 boys and are very aware of our responsibility to raise future men that I feel this way.

  • Yes, it's ok to make your kids do chores. It's even ok to make them redo them if they did a lousy job for their age, or if they have a lousy attitude. Make them go get the trash bag out of the can and place it back in the kitchen and take it out again. 5, 10, 100 times if necessary.
  • Yes, it's ok to let them cut the grass in the rain, or the sun, or under a rainbow. Supervised of course. (FYI- I almost always work right alongside the kids. If they are mowing, I'm weeding...)
  • Yes, it's ok to have them vacuum, wash dishes, or fold laundry. Trust me, it will not kill them.
  • Yes, it's ok for them not to win a game or trophy. If they did not win, then they lost. Teach them to win with humility and lose with grace.

Don't Rescue Your Kids from Boredom, Second Place,  
or Hard Work! We all need them to grow up to be creative, humble, hardworking, gracious adults who are not afraid to work hard until the job is done right! Amen?

Who knows? Maybe they will smile in the rain and relocate a few frogs along the way...

Graph that Pattern

Hi ya'll!

I finally settled our new home enough to find time to create another learning packet! If anyone ever tells you moving is not a big job, they are lying!

This product is perfect for your 3rd-5th graders and could easily be modified for use with your younger kids as well!

Graph That Pattern!

In this activity your kids will:
            • Explore geometric shapes
            • Create patterns
            • Cover larger shapes using smaller pieces
            • Make predictions
            • Graph their findings

I would recommend that you take two days to complete this pack, or use it for rainy day fun. Click here to see preview. 

What are you working on with your kids?

Math Steps and Military Troop Safety: What they have in Common

Should I make my boys show all their work in math?
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If you have 11-14 year old boys, you know why I am asking. 
They see no point in doing something, unless that something has a point...

      ...let me tell you a little story...

I once had a brilliant student in my 5th grade class. (Back in the days I taught 5th and 6th grade)
I mean crazy brilliant.
We all knew he would grow up to create Iron Man for real or blow up the moon.

This student refused, I mean refused, to write down the steps in math. But we stayed on him. We kept making him and he kept refusing. We were determined to help him learn the discipline of showing his work.

That was about 10 years ago. This morning I woke up curious, so I decided to ask him.
Here is the core of my message:

Hi there!

I wanted to ask you a homeschooling question, that truthfully, you are the most qualified to answer from personal experience...

letter_wide-114373157624ef432f57452b56c2eb19289fd314-s6-c30.jpg (948×532)When you were in 5th/6th grade we used to "make you" write out all the steps in math. We argued that as you got into higher and higher math (and problem solving in general) that this would be necessary.

...I'm curious from your perspective as a now extremely successful adult... Were we right?
Do you now see the value of writing out the steps logically?

Why the heck am I asking you? I am now teaching my own younger boys (4, 6, and 7th grade) and every time I am "making them" write out the steps I think of you and wonder.
                                                      ~Mrs. Sayler

His response made my day...

"Well, to be fair I am one of the few people in the world that benefited from it.

I went all the way through calculus 3 and ended up becoming a non communication signal intelligence analyst in the Air Force. I use high level electro - magnetic theory on a daily 

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You can let your boys know if they want to break apart the signal of a missile guidance or reverse engineer the jammer blocking out all the GPS systems of our troops on the ground, you are gunna have to show your work because it only gets harder the cooler the stuff is."


There you have it. 
Make 'em show their work, otherwise they will be reverse engineering important things in their heads!!!

I Should Have Quit

Today is definitely one of those days.
I should have quit when:

  • The ceiling started dripping.
  • I realized the water was coming from the upstairs bathroom.
  • When I called the landlord to tell her that the upstairs bathroom was leaking into the downstairs bathroom.
  • When my 7th grader decided I was "wasting his time by trying to get him to write down a few math steps".
  • My 7th grader was shaking in frustration, confusion, and rebellion.
  • The plumber came and asked me where the main water turn off was for our new home.
  • My 6the grader decided that 2 hours was an appropriate time limit for a lesson that was begun with the words, "honey, I am letting you do this easy math lesson today so you can practice three things: neatness, discipline, and timing..."
  • I looked at my 6th grader's paper only to discover he had only neatly written the lesson number after 30 minutes.
  • My 4th grader disappeared from the school area... AGAIN.
  • My 7th grader announces to me, in front of the plumber, "mom, ______ just bit ______" (no names to protect the guilty)
Ok, I really should have quit when:
  • I realized that one of my kids bit another of my kids. (Really? I have No I kids under the age of 9!!!)
  • The guilty child was just "play biting in order to get his toy back..." (I repeat. My kids are older than 9).
  • The plumber asks, "So... You homeschool?"
  • I reply, "Yes sir. Only today is one of those days that I question homeschooling!"
I really, really, really should have quit when:
  • The boys almost hung the dog. Accidentally of course.
So, I quit. Just now.
I sent the boys to bed until tomorrow. (Or until I cool down, which ever comes first)

Do you ever keep going on a day that clearly communicates, "STOP!"
Tell me, I'm not the only one!!

Moving and Homeschooling

In case you have been wondering where I have been...

Our family is relocating to Washington State. My home is in complete chaos. School has been virtually non-existent. It has been crazy!

I have not had time to even think about blogging lately, not to mention the fact that this is happening so quickly that it is a shock to all who know us. Out of love and respect for our family and friends, I wanted to make sure they heard about the move from us first, before reading about it here.

This is the actual week of our move, so I expect to be continuing with my internet silence for another few weeks, or until I can find my materials again.

For now, I am thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling! The boys have been champions at packing and disassembling. They are super excited for their adventure. Washington, Here we come!