I really would like to homeschool.

I’m still on the fence about this. I remember when I had my first child I always told myself I’d homeschool her and that was back in 2006. Of course when she did finally become school aged it was 2011 and I then had 3 children. I was in no way ready to homeschool.

It’s 2016 and she is finishing up 4th grade in public school, she is an honor roll student with perfect attendance, same as last year, but she really isn’t enjoying school and at the beginning of the year we had some issues with her focus and other students in her class.

Kindergarten to 2nd grade we had her in a private school. She didn’t go to public school until the 3rd grade and though we thought it was an easy transition, the entire setting is different than what she was used to.

We have 3 children in school this year. 4th grade, 1st grade and Preschool. This August our next child will be in Preschool and the rest will all move up a grade, then next year our youngest will be in Preschool and the others will move up a grade again. With her being our oldest here we were trying to decide whether or not homeschooling would be beneficial for her emotionally and educationally.

My main reason for wanting this is to create a better learning environment for her and to teach her in a way that allows her to be at her own pace. Some things she’ll be able to go through quicker and other things that she needs more time on, she’ll have that option.

Another reason for wanting this is because of the repetition in the classroom, other students in her class are learning more slowly than her and where she excels, they lack. This has caused her to “dumb” herself down so that she wouldn’t appear to be “too smart” because she had been made fun of for her intelligence by other students.

We’ve had several conferences, we’ve talked to the school board and we cannot get her into an advanced class because they don’t offer any. Basically she is getting bored in the classroom and is not staying focused. She gets her work done faster than others and understands things more quickly and while everyone else is having to go over and over it again.

Another issue we’ve had was helping her with math homework “our way” and it not being how it’s taught in the classroom, which confuses her and makes things more complicated. She is learning things in a way that is suppose to be easier for the other students, her learning it our way (old fashioned way) is easy for her, but it makes her classwork and everything harder to complete the way the teacher wants it to be done. If that makes sense.

They all get out of school May 20th and go back in August this year. My husband wants her to do 5th grade at home, but I’m a little bit hesitant because I don’t want to do anything drastic.

I was homeschooled in 2nd grade, 6th grade, the end of 9th grade and part of 10th grade. I’m not sure exactly why my parents pulled me and my siblings in and out of school but it caused brief issues when being reintroduced back into school.

If I homeschool her, I want to make sure I’m providing all she needs and at her pace plus giving her the social skills and knowledge to go back to school if she chooses to. Not to mention I have five children, I don’t see why I’d send all of them to school and only leave her home. Would I end up wanting to homeschool them all? I’m not sure. I can’t even imagine right now.

Any homeschooling parents have any advice or tips on homeschooling multiple children?

I really would like to homeschool.

Snowmageddon

 

I just wanted to share a little bit from our snow experience this weekend.

It’s been a crazy snow storm here in Southern Virginia. I’m from upstate New York and I know this less than a foot of snow down here isn’t really anything compared to the several feet of snow they get up there. Though you’d think the world was ending down here! Thursday night there was NO bread left in 3 stores so I came home and made my own homemade bread. (Kids actually like it better than store bought, but I need an electric mixer to make it easier)

Hubby had a tire blow out in the beginning of the snow storm on Friday on his way to work at 5:45am. (drive time is regularly 24 minutes, once he finally got the donut on, the weather was so bad it took him an hour to drive home) He came home because he knew he couldn’t risk driving home at 4:30pm on a donut in the snow that was still yet to come. I don’t blame him one bit. Had me a little on edge all morning until he was home safe.

The kids and Charlie (our furbaby) had a blast playing in the snow yesterday and today.

I will admit the snow is pretty and it was a nice change. But it’s also very dangerous and I’m not a fan of snow. This weekend has made me miss living at the beach in Florida!  (which I wouldn’t mind right about now)

I am sharing some aerial shots from our city’s “snowmageddon” that River City TV got. Hopefully this nasty wintry weather will be the last of it and we can hurry up and get into Spring! I’m ready, aren’t you?

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Snowmageddon

Understanding Income & Budgeting

“Man I would love to be able have money saved away, but we just can’t seem to do it.”
Surprisingly I hear that a lot and what people don’t want to hear in response is, “You should manage your money better.” Even though they think they already do, then there should be no reason not to have a savings, right?

Saving money takes dedication and discipline. From October 2013- April 2014 my husband and my 5 kids used to go out to eat frequently, sometimes spending up to $200 a week just in food. Do you realize that’s $800 a month??!! We stopped that once we looked back on all of our receipts. I couldn’t believe how much money we were wasting! Our living arrangement at the time allowed us to have less overhead, but at the same time we were trying to save for our future, so we had to put our foot down and hard. We started planning for our 1-year goal of saving for a down payment on a house. Finally with our savings, an insurance claim and the rest from our tax return we reached our goal to have savings by March 2015.

So my husband and I put that savings towards the down payment on a $69,000 home last year (April 2015) with a 12 year mortgage. While our income was at $1,400 a month. However, because of my money management skills, we’ll have it paid off in 5 more years (June 2021). Our income has doubled that since then, which allows us the ability to save even more towards our financial goals.

A lot of people are smokers or have other habits. That will also be a decision you have to make if you’re really looking to save. October 2015 we decided to quit cold turkey from smoking cigarettes. That’s saved us an additional $108 a month.

Since purchasing our home, his employment upgrade, our budgeting skills and our lifestyle we’ve been able to accumulate a savings that cushions us in such a way that we are not struggling and going “paycheck to paycheck” as most put it. I would love to be able to help others reach some sort of financial freedom as well but my advice is only going to go so far if you aren’t motivated.

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Firstly, you have to come to the realization that there is NO such thing as “extra money”.
A lot of problems I see is this:

Jill’s monthly income is $860.00 and her expenses are $684.00 which leaves her $176.00 after paying bills.

Jill decides she’s going to go get lunch then to a nail appointment, she spends $35.00. She runs to a few stores and sees a nice pair of shoes and a shirt, she spends $50.00. Then she takes her boyfriend to dinner and spends $45.00. That leaves her $46.00.

You can see now that Jill could have made better financial choices. Yes, her bills were all paid. But now she has $46.00 cash to last her until she gets paid again, when she could have have saved a larger portion of it.

Here’s an example of why a savings plan is a good idea:

Jill puts $125.00 in a savings account and has $51.00 cash to spend as she wants. She will be more frugal with the $51 than she was with the $176.

Jill could continue to save this way for a year. Making her savings account $1,500.00 before any interest. Considering the lifestyle Jill was living before she started saving. She would continue to be living paycheck to paycheck and blowing away all the “extra”.

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I’m not here to tell you all how to spend your money, I’m here to help you understand how to manage it better in your best interest. I know it took my husband some getting used to the idea that money he’s “worked long and hard for” can’t be spent on things he wanted. When he finally realized, he has everything he needs and he wants stability more than he wants material items. Boy, was a happy to hear him finally come to terms with saving and not spending. (I didn’t blame him though, he was accustomed to a job with $6,400+ monthly income before we even met but with nothing to show for it) He’s always joking telling me he wished he had known me back when he was at that job because we’d have things to show for it. I agree sometimes, it would have been nice, but I appreciate the struggle we had starting out and the memories we’ve created since because starting from the ground has allowed us to grow as a couple and to build towards our future.

But… enough about us. Let’s get you started on figuring out what exactly your budgeting looks like. Bare necessities. Get ready to do some math. Get a pen and paper. Write these columns.

  • Housing (rent/mortgage & insurance if any)
  • Utilities & Phone (this is all utilities and all phones)
  • Necessity (Groceries/Food)
  • Misc (toilet paper, soap, shamp/cond diapers, wipes, anything you purchase monthly)
  • Transportation (Car Insurance/Car Payment/ Gas)
  • Entertainment (Cable/Internet)
  • Savings

Now you might not know exactly what your extra expenses look like. Well if you handle a lot in cash and you don’t keep receipts I can see how that can run away from you. I guess a few  tips would be: KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS, USE A DEBIT CARD AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE (to be able to review transactions online) or WRITE DOWN IN A NOTEPAD EVERY TIME YOU SPEND MONEY CASH. Now if you do have an idea, take your total expense for each category and divide it by your monthly income and you come up with your percentage. If your housing is $500 and your monthly income is $1,500, then your housing percent is 33%. Then you continue. Then you add up the percent, whatever the difference is, is the amount leftover for savings. On your paper you should be able to see the exact dollar amount to what you have leftover.

If there is nothing leftover… then you may want to re-evaluate where your money is going and how you can possibly cut back on some expenses. You should not be living above your means, if you are serious about starting a savings plan, you will need to make sacrifices and in the long run it will pay off. Believe me.

I’ve provided an example of my current income budgeting chart. Once you’ve got your numbers, you can create your own over at meta-chart.com

incomebudgeting

 

I hope you found this post helpful and maybe inspiring. I wish you all the best. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Meredith.Stone724@gmail.com

Understanding Income & Budgeting

Following Our Dreams

The realization that my goals are being met after creating them is a good feeling, having a strategy on how to get to them realistically, the execution of said goals and the success I feel when they are met is great.

In January 2014 we were car shopping and I knew I wanted a Honda van and he wanted an Audi, within 2 weeks of deciding a budget, we found the Audi and bought it and the next day the van and bought it, spending exactly how much we wanted to spend.

That same year we started saving for our own place. We did some house hunting within that year but found nothing until one day in March 2015 I saw a house online and I wrote a proposal for it because I knew I wanted it and I could feel that energy bubbling over. When we pulled up to it I said to him “look at our new house”. I walked in the front door and within seconds I told him, this is it. I had my paperwork in the car and we made him an offer right on the spot. He even made the other family looking at the house leave while we talked it over. Later that evening I got the call that he accepted our offer and he even gave it to us for less than we offered and said he was impressed with my proposal and the numbers I had come up with. We put a down payment on our first home together the very next day. We knew it was the best investment for us versus renting because we were spending more up front but the monthly payment was the same and a month later we closed on it. So while he was making $8.00 an hour and I was babysitting we purchased our first home.

Another goal, divorces, we already had our wedding date planned, I was kind of worried that things would interfere, but the lawyers got that done in 4 months last year. Then we patiently awaited the date to arrive, the date I always wanted as my marriage anniversary July 24.

In our entire time together, we’ve never made a late payment on anything. I’ve always had our bills paid on time. It still amazes me how we’ve done it considering things were not always so easy for us, but we made it through. We’ve made sacrifices so that we could have everything we needed and not live beyond our means. We did what we had to do to get by and still be able to save money for the goals mentioned before.

Thinking about when we first got together, he told me together we can do anything, and now I really do believe him. We’ve had more successes in the 2 short years we’ve been together versus the 9 years combined that I was with my ex husbands. I think that finally finding that happiness and that alignment in our lives has allowed us to be more of a positive vibrational match to what we want out of our lives. Its incredible. I know we can make all of our goals a reality and I’m ready to work towards them all.

You can reach your goals too! You just have to create them, include a strategy on how to reach them, follow that plan and then reap the benefits of your success no matter what they are!

 

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Following Our Dreams

Where the wild things are, in Winter.

That’s how I feel when I look at my legs. Seriously, I feel so much contempt with shaving. To the point I only shave once a month if that, in winter anyways.

The good thing about that is, when my husband and I were “courting” I went ahead and let him know not to expect shaved legs, like ever. Yeah I went there. He had no problem with it though, but I figured I’d be forthcoming.

In my opinion, for myself, I’m not going to do something I can’t stand just to appease a man. I can hear you all now. Do you even shave your pits lady? Why yes, yes I do. (Less ground to cover haha)

I’m not ashamed of allowing my hair to get wild in the winter. I shave it when I feel like it and when I do, I dry shave. It’s quicker, less messier and less hassle. Once I’m done I coat myself in coconut oil and call it a day. In the Summer, I tend to shave A LOT more often, but I still get it done quickly.

I know a lot of women who take hours to prep themselves and who spend a lot of time pruning and shaving. “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes” and you’re waiting 1-2 hours later. (I know a few ladies like this). I’m not saying anything bad about them, but I fly at the seat of my pants and I can’t have all that maintenance hold me back from being able to walk right out the door whenever. I’m ready in 5-10 minutes tops; Showered, makeup, hair and dressed.

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Where the wild things are, in Winter.

The last one in diapers.

The day I’ve been waiting for is surely to arrive… The countdown has officially begun.

My youngest is two years old (three this coming July). We’ve been introducing him to the toilet for weeks now, but with no real success. No biggie though.

I watched my three and four year old in the past two years potty train after their 2nd & 3rd birthdays. My daughter completely potty trained within a day after using the toilet the first time. Neither of them ever wet the bed either. Went straight from diapers to underwear, easily.

He’s the last one in diapers and frankly I’m ready to ditch them all together as soon as he’s on board. We had our first breakthrough last week.

He was already telling us after the fact, but this time he came up and said “I pooped”, yeah cute huh. I sent him straight to his dad to check. He exclaimed that he didn’t even poop and he sat him on the toilet. I was finishing my cleaning when I heard;

“Babe! Come in here!” after 5 minutes on the potty and woohoo!! He pooped for the first time. I was so happy that I was jumping up and down. I felt tears welt in the corner of my eyes as I reached out to give him a high five.

Little man gave me one, but he was in tears. First time I’d seen a kid freak out from using toilet. I continued to praise him until a smile creeped his face and I gave him a gumdrop (yes, I’m a potty training briber). I told him each time he pooped and peed in potty he’d get one.

It’s a week later and after all the attempts, that time was the last so far. I’m not giving up. If he trains before his 3rd birthday he’ll be the youngest of my boys to train at his age. Fingers crossed.

At what age did your children train? Did you do anything special afterwards?

Jan 8 2016.

***UPDATE***

He pooped on potty again today! woot!

 

The last one in diapers.

Winter Break is over!

Let’s face it, you were getting excited about the kids going back to school. I know I was, being the mother of five that is. It’s bittersweet because I did enjoy the time I had with them, but I was definitely not shedding any tears about sending them back.

I know you’re probably wondering, WOW five kids? Really? How do you keep it together? I’ll be honest, sometimes I have to ask myself the same thing. It’s not always as difficult as you’d think, not always crazy, and definitely rewarding. Teamwork plays a big role in the functioning of our home.

With the older three back in school, it leaves my two year old son and my three year old daughter in better harmony, which is great. It helps get me some peaceful hours before school lets out. I babysit generally between 7am-3:30pm, which means my house is always filled with children and let me tell you, silence really is GOLDEN! That is why I purposely wake up 30 minutes to an hour early just to have it. Coffee is my best friend as I’m sure you’ll figure out.

This morning, the first day back after winter break was a bit trying and I admit my nerves got rattled, but I persevered with my holy grail (travel coffee mug, yes!) in hand. I loaded them up one by one in my frost covered van and I toted them off to school. They were anxious to get back to their friends.

So after a long day of indoor adventures with the littles and picking up kids and helping with homework, I eagerly wait for my wonderful husband to come home at 4pm (he leaves at 6am, so I can’t help but to miss him). Suddenly the ear piercing shrieks for mommy that were stuck ringing in my head all day, turn into “daddy… daddy… daddy”. Wheww. He comes in like the super husband that he is and I finally feel at ease, briefly, because now it’s time to prepare dinner together. Ahhh and tomorrow, I’ll be at it again.

Hope you all had a great Wednesday!

Jan. 6, 2016

Winter Break is over!