karonadrummond

Because We Love Children

Ordinary Blessings

Have you ever had days, weeks, maybe even months, when it seemed like everything was a blur? Maybe it was a good time. Maybe not so much.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, let’s take some time in the midst of all the fun, preparations, and busyness
of the season to reflect on our everyday blessings. I enjoy this special time of year. But even more, I appreciate the “little”
blessings that I am granted on ordinary days.

Here is a poem I wrote to reflect those feelings. Enjoy!

Ordinary Blessings

Ordinary beauty
Of an ordinary day
Bubbles up inside me
In an effervescent way.

Ordinary sky
Ordinary sun
Ordinary oatmeal
Eaten on the run.

Ordinary conversation
Ordinary plans
Ordinary work
Done by ordinary hands.

Ordinary lunchtime
Eating bread and meat
Walking in the park
With ordinary feet.

Ordinary sunset
Seen from an ordinary car
Back to an ordinary house
With an ordinary yard.

Ordinary family
With smiles and hugs galore
Ordinary evening
Doing ordinary chores.

Thank you, Dear Lord
For this ordinary day
Filled with ordinary blessings
You so freely sent my way.

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What Sibling Rivalry?

“I’ll get it.”

“No, you answered the phone last time. It’s my turn!”

“The dog needs to go out.”

“I’m busy. You let her out.”

“No, you!”

(together) “MOM…..!!”

Sound familiar? It was an every day situation at our house. It was about to drive me crazy!

Then a very nice lady at church, named Janice, gave me a parenting tool that changed my life. She told me that I could share it with you.It’s called “My Day/Your Day”. Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you have 2 kids. Kid 1 gets the odd numbered days of the month. Kid 2 gets the even numbered days. If you have more than 2 kids, divide up the month as evenly as possible so that everyone knows whose day it is. Mark it on the calendar if that helps.

The benefits to each child when it is his’her day: Kid of the Day gets to answer the door, answer the phone, first choice of which part of the bathroom to clean, gets to pick the bedtime story, etc. Make it fit your life.

The responsibilities of Kid of the Day: Let the dog out, take out the trash and recycling, relay the phone messages or write them down, etc. Again, adjust it to your household.

This has freed up quite a bit of brain space for me. I hope it does for you as well.

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Wholesome Mashed Potatoes

It’s been a packed week here. How about you? But we did make time for some comfort food. Mashed potatoes!

Here’s an easy way to make mashed potatoes better for you:

Cut and boil 5 lbs. potatoes. Call the kids. With them helping: Add a healthy buttery spread . Use Morton Lite Salt with 50% less sodium. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Get out your blender.Put one 16 oz. container of fat free cottage cheese in the blender. Blend it on high until creamy. Stir all the creamed cottage cheese into the mashed potatoes. Get out your mixer. Let your kids take turns whipping those taters into a blissful fluff.

Enjoy! And don’t feel guilty. You have reduced the usual fat and sodium content of regular mashed potatoes. You have made them creamy without the cream Instead of fat, the cottage cheese added protein.

Blended cottage cheese also works great in dips for chips and veggies. Have fun experimenting!

This

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To Be…”Um” Free

Okay, we um all have words we like fall back on when we, uh, talk or read. For us, it is the pesky little “um”.

I’m not sure when “um” became a member of our household. But lately, it seems, that annoying  little “um” has become ubiquitous.
(I’ve always wanted to use the word ubiquitous. Maybe we’ll make it our homeschool word of the day. 🙂 )

I knew “um” was wearing out his welcome when he began to creep into my child’s reading. “Um” was in every other sentence.
And my child didn’t even know “he” was there.

What’s a mom to do? We’re pulling out the “um” buster duster!

When that unwanted “um” creeps into my dear child’s reading, we will gently dust it and send it on it’s way.

Soon, we will have “um-free” reading! 🙂 We need to celebrate. Out comes our laughter button: (These are available from Hallmark.)

When my dear child reads a paragraph and keeps that rascally “um” out, we celebrate with a push of the laughter button.
if we make it through the whole passage “um”-free, we can do the happy dance and maybe even go drum out a happy beat.

Are there unwanted “ums” (or other bad habits) in you child’s reading? I hope this  post might be a spring-board for you to show those
“ums” the door with a smile on your face. Maybe instead of a feather duster, you use the soft end of a funny pencil. Maybe instead of a laughter button, you use Staple’s “Easy” button. Or a bell, or harmonica… The idea is to have fun with it and get those unwanted words out of your child’s reading.

Here’s to an “um”-free day with plenty of smiles! 🙂

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Drum On!

In the little farming community where I grew up, we managed to have a football team and a pep squad. But we were missing something.
A band. And DRUMS! So when I went off to college and attended college football games, I sat by the band. And the DRUMS!

I guess with a last name like Drummond, you might guess I like drums. And you would be right!

Kids and drums are a natural combination.  Give a kid a drum, some drum sticks, and see what happens. Go ahead and put some cotton in your ears first.  I won’t tell. 🙂

Seriously though, if you don’t have some drums around and you are a parent, a homeschool teacher, or even a classroom teacher, please consider letting your kids explore drums. Check garage sales, craigslist, and such. I’ve acquired  3 or 4 “real” drums that way.
In the meanwhile, oatmeal containers and coffee tubs work fine and are quieter. For drumsticks, try pencils or dowel rods.

As for drum books, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins,  is a must read. It starts with just one thumb, one monkey “drumming  on a drum”. Along the way, “Monkeys drum…and monkeys hum.” More monkey business ensues. Next, “hand in hand more monkeys come” until ” millions of fingers, millions of thumbs, millions of monkeys drumming on drums”. The monkey masses depart. The last page again shows one lone monkey, happily drumming with one thumb. The words also bring the commotion to a close, getting smaller and smaller as they thumb out one last “Dum ditty Dum ditty Dum dum”.

Al Perkins has the rhyme and rhythm thing down pat. Eric Gurney’s clearly illustrated, friendly monkeys invite you to read this story again and again.  Try adding a tune. Beat out the rhythm. Have fun!

You can revisit this book with older kids when they learn about onomatopoeia. (on-oh-mot-a-pea-uh). Say that three times fast. Tee-hee! Onomatopoeia is one of my favorite words.It refers to words that are like the sound they make. Some onomatopoeia words in Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb are: drumming, dum-ditty, hum, blow, whack, strum, and zum. And yes.  I did have to look up how to spell onomatopoeia. What a crazy, wonderful word!

One more book about drums that I highly recommend is by Graeme Base. This Australian author is multi-talented. He also illustrates his books…gorgeously. Graeme Base was on a book tour a few years back. He actually made it to my home town in Texas! We had the honor of meeting Mr. Base in person. He signed  books  for us. Wow!

In Jungle Drums, Ngiri Mdogo (means “little warthog” in Swahili) is being teased by the other warthogs because he is so small. And if that’s not bad enough, the “Other Animals” of the jungle hold a parade with prizes for the most beautiful. The warthogs don’t even waste their time entering. Life just isn’t fair!

Wise Old Warthog gives Ngiri a gift: magical bongo drums which will grant any wish. Hmmm….What do you think Ngiri wishes for? How do you think it works out? What if you could have anything you wanted, tomorrow morning, with just a beat of a drum and a wish?  Look in on the littlest warthog and see how it goes. And after you read the story, go back and search for Graeme Base’s cleverly hidden illustrations within the illustrations.

Also consider using drums in your teaching. When I homeschool, my kids and I bang out our spelling words and math facts on the drums. When we finish, we aren’t just smarter, we feel better. We have whacked away the day’s frustrations in a productive and non-violent way.

So go get a drum. And “dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum, dum,”  DRUM!!!

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Watch That Attitude!

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, artist, and politician 1749-1832

I remember first seeing this quote on a perpetual calendar for teachers that I kept in my preschool classroom. It stuck with me. How true is this quote! If you’re a parent, homeschool teacher, classroom teacher,or a person who lives and works around other people, take a moment to re-read the quote. Wow! I think I need to post this one on the fridge and look at it every day.

We all struggle with attitude from time to time. Too much to do, too little free time, etc. . But I expect the children in my classroom and my own kids at home to display a pleasant, cooperative attitude. What kind of an example am I setting?

I do fairly well displaying a good attitude in the classroom 2 days per week. But on my days at home homeschooling my own children, don’t I owe them just as pleasant a person as I present publicly? Ouch!

Here is a silly poem I came up with to help my kids and myself to banish the “ratty attitude”. It’s yours for the quoting. I hope it gives you a smile and a boost toward creating a cooperative and pleasant climate with your kids and students.

Beware the Ratty Attitude by Karona Drummond

BEWARE the ratty attitude…

It will haunt you
Day and Night!

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
If it had teeth
It would bite!

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
It is sure
To distort your face.

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
Ratty attitude
Is a disgrace.

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
If it had odor
It would STINK!!

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
A ratty mindset
Cannot think.

BEWARE the ratty attitude…
When you see it coming…
RUN!!!

Put away that ratty attitude
And your work
Will soon be
DONE!!!

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I admit it. I struggle with organization at home. This homeschool mom has created a beautiful and inviting learning area for her children. Way to go!

Mama Hear Me Roar

The phrase “our school room” is a bit of a misnomer because for Puppy, Lamb and Piglet (6yo, 4yo and 18mo) our school room is just about everywhere.

For seat work, however, we have a central work room – our dining. I debated between having a specific room dedicated to school (upstairs, to avoid our dining looking like a school room), but decided that keeping it downstairs near the kitchen would help me supervise all 3 kids better especially when I have to run to the kitchen periodically to take a pot off the stove or run outside to retrieve some laundry. Our upstairs also gets very hot and humid during the day, so being downstairs is so much more comfortable for everyone.

1. Seat work room

Our 6yo utilises the dining table to avoid the 18mo getting into her work. Next to the dining table we have these white…

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A Letter for The Teacher

As school fast approaches, parents, teachers, and kids enjoy the last long days of summer while preparing for the new school year. I will be teaching third graders 2 days per week. I decided this year to have each child fill out a letter to me in class to help me to get to know them a little better. Feel free to use this as is or tweak it to your needs.

You could use this letter form as a parent and send it with your child to school the first week. Or if you’re a teacher like me, you may want to number the blanks and have the kids give you suggestions which you can write on the board to help the children with spelling. I plan to read the letters, give the children credit for completing them, store them, and return them at the end of the year for the children to keep. Happy writing! Here’s the format:

Dear _________________________________________________(teacher’s name),

I am really _____________________________________________________(positive emotion adjective) to be in your class this school year.

I had a lot of fun this summer doing this:______________________________________.

My favorite subject at school is________________________________________________.

I also like_____________________________________________________________________.

I might need help with_________________________________________________________.

I am good at__________________________________________________________________.

I hope we learn about_________________________________________________________.

I also hope we get to__________________________________________________________.

Thank you for being my teacher. I will be respectful, work hard, learn, and be a good citizen of my class.

Sincerely,

_________________________________________________________ Date:_____________________________________________

I drew this picture for you:

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Simple Sunny Summer Science

 

 

The summer sun continues to beat down, day after day. I dwell in my cave (my home) with the front shades closed and thank God for the inspired soul who invented the air conditioner!!      The summer blaze will burn on for at least another month…or two. So why not make some use out of it? It’s time to teach our kids a little about the power of the sun.

For starters: If you have young children and a sidewalk or some concrete outside, try this: Take paintbrushes of different sizes and some containers of water outside. Then let the painting begin! Let them paint the sidewalk, the fence, the trees, the house, and themselves. Then watch as the water marks evaporate quickly. You may also try bringing out shallow container of water large enough for your kids to step into (barefoot). The kids walk across the concrete, watching the footprints they made. How many can they make with just one trip into the water container? How long does it take for the water to evaporate? Try timing the evaporation time on different surfaces and in different locations. If you’re feeling really industrious, and have children old enough to read and write, make predictions on paper. Then write down you actual results. Take photos and make a poster. It’s simple sunny summer science!

How many of you have access to a clothesline or drying rack? Have the kids help you take freshly laundered clothes, hang them up and put them outside to dry. Again, you can make predictions on how long it will take for the clothes to become completely dry. Try drying some clothes on a drying rack inside while other clothes are drying outside. What is the difference in the drying time? We dry our clothes outside on drying racks most of the time during the hot summer. We put the clothes into the dryer when they are just still a little damp and fluff them. It helps out when the summer (ouch!) electricity bill rolls in.

Finally, how about a lesson in the sun’s ability to melt…chocolate! Get a glass baking dish. Pour some healthy, crunchy unsweetened or very lightly sweetened whole grain  cereal in the dish.  Add plenty of semi-sweet chocolate chips.Cover the dish with a transparent cover such as plastic wrap. Set the dish outside in direct sunlight. In a few minutes, the chocolate chips begin to melt. How long does it take? Take the dish back inside. How long does it take for the chocolate chips to harden again? What happened to the chocolate after it solidified (good vocabulary word)? After you have experimented and documented your results, it’s time to eat your experiment… with a tall glass of ice cold milk or on top of ice cream.

Mmmmmm…Maybe that ol’ summer sun ain’t so bad after all. 🙂

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