We’ve mentioned before how much we love cottage industry. I love supporting people who I can really connect with and who are supporting their families by creating hand made goods that go from their home to mine. The online community of folks who do this is increasingly easier to find, and my husband teases me about how much time I spend on Etsy looking at all the beautiful things folks make. This was how I found MonsterBug Blankets.
Jennifer, mother of “Bug” and “Monster” makes beautiful blankets, shirts and even crayons from her home. I am in love with little appliqué shirts for shower gifts these days for both boys and girls (and I am going to a lot of them this spring!) She was kind enough to send one of her shirts for each of the boys. Lucien has a little white onesie with an appliqué truck on the front. Dolly received one for Calvin that is a long sleeved green shirt with the same truck pattern.
I also noticed that in addition to being a wife, mother, and business owner – we have even more in common – Jennifer also home schools! My husband and I were both homeschooled and we plan to do the same for Lucien when he is school age. What an encouragement to see find a mom who is able to use her talents to help her family in so many arenas. She’s a true Proverbs 31 woman! I was so intrigued and encouraged by finding Jennifer that I asked her to share a little bit about her reason to choose homeschooling and about her family as well, which you can read below …
Dolly’s Take: I love that this adorable appliqued shirt is made by a mom in the USA (no sweatshops and factories, all handmade with love). The t-shirt is 100% cotton, but more than that, it’s high quality, super soft and extra thick compared to most box-store t-shirts. This shirt will last through the very most wear and tear that my energetic two year-old can throw at it. I’m super confident this is one of the few t-shirts that will last as a well-loved hand-me-down to another child. After a full day of play and meals, this shirt survives the washing machine looking as brand new as the day we first unwrapped it. Fantastic! My son is totally into cars and trucks. So, he loves the color fabric shapes that create the cute truck design. It’s a great way to work on shapes, colors, and even counting. I would love to see some fun dinosaur shapes (and other fun critters) on other t-shirt designs!
When I was a newlywed (13 yrs ago), I was a mother’s helper for a mom who was sick. Her family was our first experience with home schooling. I believed all the typical thoughts about home schooling – poor socializing, cult-like families, etc. But meeting their family, and the home schooling families they associated with, I saw NONE of the issues I’d associated with home schooling. The children and their parents were very close. The children chatted my (and anyone’s) ears off. I found well adjusted, intelligent, fun children. To say the least, my husband and I were very impressed.
Adding to this wonderment was the fact that all these families, like our own, were military families – which meant every time a move happened to a new state/district/country – the children’s schooling had continuity. Our military friends who did not home school had many issues with each move. Each state has its own standards. The curriculums were different every new school they attended. Several children were behind in areas, due to a move in the middle of the school year and/or because of a whole different philosophy/style of learning once they settled. For that reason, we were sold on the idea of home schooling our future children.
As we moved around, and were stationed with different home schooling families, we listened to and learned from the ways they home schooled. Each family was different – some used certain curriculums, some made up their own. Some taught using unit studies, some CD’s, some followed un-schooling. It was interesting to me to see the differences, and to take note of what worked and what didn’t in each family. By the time we started our own family, my husband and I had acquired so much information about home schooling.
How do we home school? Bug is 5, Monster is 3 – so our days are pretty relaxed right now. My philosophy is that children need to be children as long as possible. They need fresh air, lots of play, some responsibility, lots of reading, and some schooling. I love the German school’s philosophy that children do not start formal school at a certain age – but rather when they are developmentally ready. And I truly believe that not all children are ready for school at 5, 6, or even 7 years of age. But when their development has reached the right stage – they will easily learn how to read, write, and work math.
So, our days are simple. The kids play as much as possible! They run and ride bikes; they pretend crazy things (right now Bug is all about putting in her “scary teeth” and that is ALL she wants to talk about!). Indoors, they play play-doh, they cut and cut and cut – then use up all my glue. They color and draw and try to write letters. When we “do school” – the three of us pack onto the couch, snuggle in tight, and spend about 30-45 minutes together. We read the Bible first and pray. Then we do any number of things – I like to read the High Five magazines, we like following mazes and finding silly pictures. We read poems, books, and sing songs. We sometimes do math and phonics work in workbooks. I work on letters and sounds with Bug – right now we are learning about blending two sounds together. We read about history, science, current events, etc. I started buying books at local library sales and at rescue missions when Bug was a baby, and we’ve amassed hundreds of books. So when the kids have a question about where their food goes when they eat, or find a bug outside and have 4 million questions, or they feel their hearts beating we can usually find a book in our collection to learn from!
What’s fun about home schooling – it happens all day long. Bug finds letters in signs as we drive places, Monster asks questions about things right before bed, and when we encounter someone different from us – we talk about how everyone is made different, yet we are all similar. The learning never ends.
Balancing my time between my husband, children, our home, and MonsterBug Blankets is tough! I’ll think I am doing well in one area–and then realize I am neglecting another area. Sometimes, I realize that life is getting crazy, and the balance is WAY OFF. And during these times, I have shut down my online stores, and taken a break. I am praying for balance! And always wisdom!
I usually wake up around 5-5:30am. I get some coffee, pray and read, and then I work online before the kids come down for breakfast. I sit with the kids during breakfast – we chatter and they are super-silly. I get to hear ALL about their dreams the night before. After breakfast, they get dressed, and play together for about an hour while I sew or prep my orders. Around 9:15 they eat snack. We do school after snack, and then play outside – often until lunchtime. During lunch, I work online some more. Then naps for all of us! My husband is home when I wake from my nap, and we spend a little time together before the kiddos come down from their naps. Soon it is time to prepare dinner, eat together, play some more, and bedtime…. This is a “normal” day, though it can change at the drop of a hat!
Crafting blog: www.monsterbugblankets.blogspot.com
Reader Exclusive: Jennifer is offering a discount of 10% off purchases from MonsterBug Blankets for two weeks starting today. Enter MBB10twb in the notes to seller at checkout, and she will refund 10% of the order (not including shipping).Pass it on: