Our Preschool, Homeschool Routine

Uriah and I are a few weeks into our formal preschool routine and we are really loving our new setup. Since I started sharing our routine I’ve gotten several questions — I love that so many in my Instagram community of friends are at the same season of motherhood too!

I thought I would share the basics of our “curriculum” and, in future post, I’ll share how I go about planning for the week.

First, I need to be authentic with you and tell you that, until recently, the idea of schooling Uriah has been a source of overwhelm and anxiety which led to my feeling depressed and guilty as I kept putting it off.

We spent a lot of time doing great things: reading, being outside, talking and singing together.

But we were missing out on purposeful, intentional learning time. Our days were (sometimes still are!) long and lagging. We needed intentional structure. A little more formal in my Charlotte Mason, wild and free approach.

I started googling preschool curriculums …

And felt burdened by the idea of paying oodles of money when we’re working hard to save for upcoming roof repair. Dalton is such a diligent provider and I did not want to take advantage. I also wanted something that did not require tons of printing.

Eventually, we’ll be at a stage where I’m more than happy to spend money on a pricey curriculum but it seemed unnecessary for a four year old.

I found the perfect solution …

… when I found Brightly Beaming Resources website and the Letter of the Week Curriculum! Katrina Lybbert created the curriculum and I was immediately in love with its simplicity. Please check her website because Katrina did an excellent job laying out different plans of her curriculum based on your childs age and readyness! It’s an older website but the ideas are excellent for someone starting out!

Here’s the plan …

The curriculum is 26 weeks long (for each letter of the English alphabet). For the first 26 weeks, I focus on the recognition of the letters. During the next 26 weeks, I’ll reintroduce the letters but focus on the phonics aspect.

Each week, I introduce our theme (Monday), the letter (Tuesday), a shape/color (Wednesday), and a number (Thursday). I use Friday-Sunday to read and play games related to our week’s lessons. I’ve taken Katrina’s amazing plan and I alter it according to what Uriah already knows, what holidays are coming up, and how the weather is.

Here’s how simple our routine is …

This week our theme is birds and this is a brief overview of our daily lessons which I usually plan to last about 30-60 minutes. (you can adjust based on your child’s readyness!)

Monday: I introduce our topic of birds! We read a book about birds and I talk about some key words that will come up through the week (nest, build, eggs), we look at pictures of birds and put them on the focus board, find birds on his AAC device, and then we made birds out of playdough and feathers.

Tuesday: We talk about the letter D this week! I will start by putting up a picture of the letter D on our focus board and looking at the magnetic D. We look at objects that I gathered from around the house which start with the letter D (dog, dish, duck, draw), and we read a book about the letter D and another about ducks. Our craft will be making a duck out of the letter D.

Wednesday: Here I introduce the oval shape. I put a picture of an oval on the focus board. We read a book about ovals. We draw ovals and play matching games with felt and flash cards I’ve prepared ahead of time. Our craft/sensory project will be playing with foam and wooden eggs (which are oval shaped) and transferring them from bowl to bowl with a pair of tongs.

Thursday: We talk about the number three! I’ve found the concept of counting tricky to talk about so we keep it simple! We look at a flashcard of three and place it on the focus board. We read a book about counting. W practice putting our fingers up and counting them. I place small objects in a jar (marbles, dice, Cadbury eggs) and Uriah pulls them out, one by one, and we count them.

Friday-Saturday: We play games and read books that are related to all the topic we covered! Some ideas I have for this week will be refilling the bird feeder, playing in a sensory bin full of bird seed with a tiny shovel and scoop, lacing a string through a birds nest picture I made, etc.

To make things easier …

I plan a week ahead and write everything down on my weekly school planner — if I’m not intentional and prepared I tend to wing-it and we both end up frustrated and not learning as much as I hoped.

And I made something for you!

This is the planner I made for our weekly school lessons. It’s simple and cute – just the way I prefer things! To download and print your own follow this link for the black and white version. Or, this link for the colorful one!

Please let me know if you use them and how well they work for you!

I hope you know I’m cheering for you!

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious about schooling your little one I wish I could give you a hug and convince you that the best way to overcome is to just get started! God made you your little one’s mama — He will equip you to do well!

Follow me on Instagram where I share weekly stories about our school prep, ideas, and real life glimpses into the process! Or, comment below and we can connect!

Love and blessings!

Frannie

What Our 2020 Looked Like

Hello, friends!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I wrote! Wow! How I wish I could pour each of us a cup of whatever you like best, sit beneath a warm window full of sunlight, and hear how you have been. Instead, we’re left with just words and I’ll do my best to paint you a picture of our world and, I hope, through leaving a comment, you’ll update me on your own life! Here’s a quick overview of our 2020 blessings!

We bought a house …

Currently, Uriah is napping and I’m snuggled up in our two-story home we bought in September of 2020! We have always been renters and we especially loved our little stone house on the edge of town. But, last Autumn we took a big step and bought our first home!

It’s a beautiful, partially refinished 1915 home that used to be used for a doctor’s office and living space. We’re tucked in the Old Muchinburg neighborhood and are just a few blocks away from downtown, icecream and coffee shops, and I can see the florist from the playroom window!

I’ll share more pictures in the future but it’s a dreamy older home with pillars in the entry way, original windows, a cast iron fireplace, a beautiful laundry room, and a semi-large yard (considering we live near downtown).

There have been lots of challenges with owning an older home especially since it needed lots of love and tending; we have roofing and landscaping planned for this summer and I’m in a very slow process of painting each room.

But the joys are still outweighing the cost of homeownership!

One of the joys is that we are now small business owners and run an Air BnB in the second floor above us! One of these days I’ll share more about our little apartment but I’ve got to say that it has been one of the most enjoyable “jobs” I’ve ever had!

We’ve stayed healthy …

One of the great blessings of 2020 is that all three of us have stayed healthy! Uriah, our now four year-old, only had two colds the entire year and we are so thankful for that gift!

When Covid season first appeared we made the difficult choice to continue our social distancing we always enter during flu season. So, we have actually been social distancing and avoiding unnecessary public appearances since November 2019!

God has been so good and we enjoyed daily walks last spring and summer and were able to keep up with Uriah’s therapy classes via Zoom!

Speaking of Uriah …

This little boy is still our biggest blessing! He brings our family an abundance of light and laughter with his funny humor, sweet personality, and hard work!

He is using a walker to walk when out and about, he scoots around the house, says “dada, mama, and done” and a myriad of other consonant and vowel sounds, uses an AAC device (emergent level) to request and discuss things, and is doing 4 days of online Zoom classes and preschool time with mama.

Some of his most exciting medical growth comes with no longer using a ventilator when sleeping and it looks like his airway may be safe and, Lord willing, he may be able to eat by mouth soon! (A scope will be happening soon to confirm this).

Overall, we had many blessings in a hard year for so many …

… and we are very humbled and grateful for this. It’s been a long year full of loneliness and isolation but we were able to keep Uriah healthy and for Dalton to continue working and we cherish those two great gifts God has given!

I would love to know how you have been doing, dear friends …

Please leave a message below or visit me on Instagram here!

I look forward to staying in touch!

Love and blessings!

Giveaway of my Current Favorites

Hello, dear friends!

This week I wrote about the joys and struggles I’ve experienced as I try to grow into being a more giving and generous mother and wife.

(You can find those posts here and here in case you missed them!)

This topic is special to me is because my life wouldn’t be as rich or full without the generous people God has placed in my life. And that includes you, dear readers!

As a special thank you I’ve assembled a little giveaway I know you’ll enjoy!

Mom Heart Moments devotional by Sally Clarkson

A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff

a set of my favorite bee’s wax candles and a $10 Starbucks gift card

I’ve included Mom Heart Moments (which I’m currently working through) because it will encourage on your journey toward being a more generous mama. Audrey and Jeremy’s book will inspire you as you love your spouse (or prepare for your future spouse) more generously. And the coffee and candles are little sprinkles of happiness because part of being generous includes being generous with ourselves!

For entries please:

Leave me a comment on this blog post telling me about one person in your life who inspired you with their generous spirit!

For extra entries:

Follow me on Instagram

Leave a comment and tag a friend on this Instagram post

Share about my giveaway on your Instagram stories. Make sure you tag me so I can see!

I’ll draw the winner next Sunday, February 9th!

Thankful for each of you!

Frannie

Having a Heavenly Marriage Starts with being a Generous Wife

Generosity is such an important ingredient for a thriving, happy union.

Dalton and I have been married for almost 6 years and they have been wonderful, dear years but along with all the joy there has been a lot of stretching.

Sweet friend, let me tell you some of the ways I have grown (and am still growing) to be a more generous wife; maybe I can help you avoid the pitfalls I floundered in!

Being a generous wife looks different for every woman and marriage but here are 4 key areas I’ve found important:

  • Be generous in arguments

Alright, let’s just dive into real life. Couples fight. We fight. You will fight.

There’s no getting around the “heated fellowship” which happens whenever two people vow to live as one. You will have different views on how to handle finances, parenting, family conflict, and how to run your home.

The success of your marriage is not measured by the absence of conflict but by how well you communicate and work through the conflict.

So, sweet one, fight well and generously. Don’t rage and don’t cold-shoulder. Do speak gently and do pick your battles. Don’t drag other people into your conflict and don’t pick at old wounds (stick to the topic at hand).

  • Be generous in bed

It’s a lie to believe that generous intimacy in the bedroom is just for wild women. It’s for you and it is so important.

Now, please know that there will be seasons in life where intimacy will look different and that’s totally okay! (Think pregnancy, bed rest, or sickness).

What do I mean by being generous in bed? It means initiating. Be generous with yourself (and not try to act like someone you’re not). Generosity in the bedroom means communicating with your hubby about what you need. And it means generously saying yes. (while generously saying no to reading fantasy books or entertaining lust for people outside marriage).

I’m super awkward when it comes to discussing the intimate parts of marriage but I firmly believe that this is an issue the Church needs to discuss more.

When we practice generosity in the bedroom, there is immense beauty and freedom. <3

  • Be generous in eye-contact and attention

I admit that I often have one million things on my mind and it’s difficult for me to stop and attend to Dalton when he’s wanting to talk. I like keeping my hands busy but I’ve found Dalton feels most heard when I stop what I’m doing and listen well.

It takes effort for us to be generous with our attention and eye-contact but it’s so very important to take the time and listen well when your spouse is connecting with you.

  • Be generous with forgiveness and good will

It’s so easy to carry a chip on our shoulders, isn’t it? To assume that every time our husband is forgetful or short with us that he was purposefully being unkind and rude?

I’ve have found a great deal of happiness in being generous with good will and in assuming the best of my hubby. After all, I am so thankful when Dalton assumes the best in me — it’s a gift to always think the best of your spouse and quickly forgive when hurts do happen.

In the end, being a generous wife will not always be easy. It’s natural for us to want to fight for our rights and be stingy with our love, attention, and energy.

But, here’s to growing and maturing. Here’s to the generosity which turns ordinary relationships into heavenly ones.

Tell me — who has been a great example of a generous mama, wife, or friend in your life? What do you find so beautiful in their personality? Leave me a comment; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Also, I’m going to be announcing a giveaway later today so please check back!

Love and blessings,

Frannie

How I Try to be a Generous Mama

Being a generous, patient, gentle mama is tough; there’s only so much of ourselves which we can spread around and it’s very easy for to be panicked and stingy with our limited resources of time, energy, and attention.

But, I want to be a generous mama — one who is quick to give of my limited resources — I want to be more generous because God is so generous to me.

And I want to encourage you too, dear friend!

Honestly, it’s easy for us to freely give of ourselves when life is going well — when we’re well-rested, there’s a surplus in the budget, and the people around us are angels. 😉

But let’s talk real life — how can we be generous, giving mamas when we’re exhausted? How do we practice generous patience when we’re running late and the gas light flickers on and our kiddos are whining in the backseat. How do we give of ourselves when we just don’t want to read that book anymore?

Mothering well is not an easy task but that is where the Holy Spirit and some practical forethought can help us overcome!

For me, preparing my heart at the beginning of the day helps tremendously. I have a cute little basket holding my Bible and current devotional; it takes a great deal of effort to crawl out of bed early but I never regret the 15-30 minutes I spend with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading.

I also plan our daily schedule out and include blocks of time specifically for snuggling, book reading, or sensory play. Of course, random kisses and play times happen but I find I’m much more intentional and generous when I plan to be.

Then, of course, there are the days when I’m running on fumes and feel like quite the grouch. On those days, it’s important to be generous with myself. That can include:

  • picking the battles I want to fight
  • folding the laundry tomorrow
  • asking my hubby or a friend for help

Of course, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and your family. But, when it comes to loving my son generously it tends to look like:

  • reading Bear Snores On with gusto a few times daily
  • helping him with therapy exercises
  • being quick, yet patient, in the habit training we’ve established
  • slowing down enough to give great eye contact, hugs, and watching his non-verbal cues and communication

The sweet thing I’ve discovered is that when I am intentional and generous with my love, attention, and patience Uriah’s development, behavior, and personality thrive — which are ample rewards for my choosing generosity over the bare minimum.

Tell me, friend, how do you practice generosity in your relationships? I would love to hear how you have been impacted by a generous person in your life!

This week, I aim to fill our days with themed crafts, songs, books, and Scriptures themed around this idea of generosity so I’ll be sharing some of that here on the blog or on my Instagram.

Plus, I’m hoping to send a little giveaway to someone in the coming weeks so be sure to come back for that!

With much love and blessings,

Frannie