Natural Insect Repellent

Summer's nearly here, and everywhere I turn, someone is celebrating. Celebrating the end of the school year, more family togetherness, and outdoor adventure time.

We already have plenty of outdoor adventures and family time, but for us, summer means a huge increase in water activities and.....mosquitos.  The time for dousing ourselves in sun screen and bug spray is in full swing, so when I heard about Buglet Bracelets, I knew we definitely needed to try them.

Buglet sent us 2 bracelets and a bottle of their Bug Repellent Essential Oil Blend to try out for free, and they are so awesome!  

Buglets are basically slap bracelets (Yes! Like when we were kids), with a diffuser pad that slips on, making it look sort of like a watch, where you apply a few drops of the oil.  They sell diffuser pads in different colors, and even animal shapes, that are interchangeable, making them fun for littles, or "cool" for older kids.   

I love that the ingredients are just natural essential oils like Citronella, Lemongrass, etc., instead of harsh chemicals like other bug repellents.

Here in Florida, I think we might benefit from wearing one on our ankle in addition to the bracelet on our wrist, because the mosquitos are so prevalent here, but they do make a difference.  Normally, I'm the first one to want to leave when it's super buggy out, but when Cole took his Buglet off, I wore it for a while, and I was barely bothered!

Check out Buglet's Facebook page to see more of the bracelets in action!  

Have you tried Buglets?  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear how they worked for you!  


Our Homeschool Daily Rhythm

We've been homeschooling off and on since preschool, re-enrolling in public school a couple of times, but the end of January marked exactly 1 whole year of schooling at home.  It has been so incredibly wonderful.
I won't lie, there were quite a few times in the beginning when I questioned whether we were doing the right thing; when my boy seemed so lonely, desperate for companions his own age, but every time I'd bring it up, Jon would just remind me of all the awesome things about homeschooling (no car rider line, no one bringing weapons to school, not having to study useless information, and learning at our own pace to name a few), and I'd settle back into feeling (mostly) like we were doing the right thing.
Not long had passed into our most recent homeschooling journey when one day, the neighborhood kids decided to come out and play, and Bent finally got the nerve to introduce himself.  They been great friends every since, so my motherly worries have vanished.

We follow more of a rhythm than a schedule, so there are no "set times' when we do any particular activity.  A rhythm is more of "first we do this, then we do this, and after that we do this.  We usually never do this before we do that" - type of thing.

Here's a peek into our day:

Wake up.
Breakfast and chill.  I don't believe in making your children start on work while they eat a meal. Meals are for eating and enjoying, not absentmindedly shoveling food into your mouth while your mother sings/reads/hands you work to be done.  The boys eat their breakfast in peace.

After breakfast, they may watch a little television or play together while I shower and get ready for the day.  It usually amounts to 10 minutes of television watching and the rest creative play.

They then get dressed, brush teeth, tidy their rooms, and Bent gets his Morning Work basket.  He has until lunchtime to complete his basket, so if he is struck by a creative thought, or the need to run outside and get some energy out, that's perfectly fine.  This helps him to learn time management, since he is the one in control of his work schedule.  He has a deadline to meet, and consequences if it's not met (no electronics for the remainder of the day if his work isn't completed by lunch time - electronics are the bees knees right now, so if his work is complete, he earns the privilege of electronic time after school).

Lunch.  Again, no school work during meals.  We just enjoy our meal together.

Quiet time.  Unfortunately, my 3 year old has decided he no longer needs to nap, which was when we used to do our main lessons.  Quiet time now consists of my 3 year old quietly laying down and resting while he watches a movie, usually ending with him playing blocks/legos/puzzles independently in his room.  This is when Bent and I work on the parts of his daily schooling that require my guidance - Math and Literature daily, alternating Science and History every other day.

Once our school work is complete, the boys have free time to play for the remainder of the afternoon.

That's our homeschool rhythm.  I'd love it if you tell me about your day in the comments or link to your post for me to read.  It's so interesting and helpful to read about how other homeschool families spend their day.

Strawberry Fields

We spent last Monday visiting a nearby berry patch where we picked our hearts out.  If you've never gone berry picking before, go now.  It's so much fun.  Plus, there's just something about picking it yourself that helps you really appreciate your food.
This transfers to children as well.
Trust me.
We couldn't keep the boys out of the basket on the way home, so a full pound of strawberries never even made it to the sink for rinsing.  
It's been nearly a week and our berry basket is beginning to look scant.  The boys are already asking when we'll be going back to pick some more.  

Homeschool Independent Work

We've recently started incorporating a new method into our daily 4th grade homeschool routine, and it's been a total hit!

We call it our Morning Work Basket.

Using our basket has freed up so much time in our daily routine, and makes homeschooling feel so much easier because it allows for some of our daily work to be done independently, and at times that are convenient, rather than trying to cram all of our school work into our allotted "alone time" when my toddler is napping.

The night before (or early in the morning If I've slacked), I put everything that Bent should be able to do independently into a basket.

Here's a look at what currently goes into the basket:

His reading for narration
Handwriting practice
Math work
Silent reading

Right now, we're using Aesop's fables for narration and copywork.  He reads the fable, and then uses the moral of the story for the copywork.  For now, I write out the moral on a piece of handwriting paper, and he copies the words right below.  In a couple of weeks, he will just start copying the moral straight from the book.  Once we finish Aesop's fables, we'll move on to The World's Best Fairy Tales, which has stories that are a bit longer, but still not too overwhelming.

We are working on learning to write in cursive at the moment, so I place a sticky note on the page to be done for the day.
We do silent reading for 20 minutes everyday, so there's a sticky note on the front of whatever book Bent is reading at the time telling him to let me know when he wants to start the timer.
We're also just getting our feet wet with Spanish, so he watches 15-20 minutes of this Spanish dvd a few times a week.

As for Math, we've just started into a new Math book, and it's mostly review for the first part section of lessons, so he's been working independently in Math.  I can't say enough great things about Saxon Math 3, and so far, Saxon Math 5/4 has been great.
Incorporating the Morning Work Basket into our daily routine has changed our homeschool day so much!  We have so much more time to devote to other subjects during school now, and sometimes we just take advantage of not having nearly the workload during our "school hours" and just enjoy our free time!  I only wish I would have thought of it sooner!


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