Sunday, August 28, 2011

How can I keep my baby still for styling?

Sometimes you can't.

At least, that's what I've discovered with Mocha Baby. She communicates much better than her siblings did at her age. I'll credit that to the fact that she's constantly stimulated by four other siblings who find whatever she expresses to be fascinating. When it's time to do Mocha Baby's hair, she says, "No hair! All done!" Before scampering away.

I've only got so much time to chase her around and present a convincing argument that a new style is important in her busy little world. Sometimes I just give up and try again later or wait for another day. When it's not practical to wait, the following has worked for me:

1. I try to keep it simple. Diva sessions are coming soon enough but for now, Mocha Baby will be two years old in October, and her attention span is very short. I try to plan styles I know will only take me twenty minutes or less to complete. This includes detangling.

2. My goal of 20 minutes or less hair sessions sometimes means I may take out an old style and detangle in one session and wait for a later time to follow through with the new style. Washing is a completely different session. I fail every time I expect her to sit for too much at once.

3. I try not to wait until the last minute before we need to be somewhere to try to approach MB about getting her hair done. In those situations I have very little patience for any power struggle she may start. I already know grooming is not her favorite activity so I try not to set both of us up for failure. Multiple negative experiences probably make it more difficult to convince a baby that next time will be any better.

4. I use MB's desire to imitate everything her sisters do to convince her that she does want to sit still in her chair while I hurry up and throw together a style. This is a BIG one for us! I will style Mg3's hair first, while MB is in the room. When I call MB to the same seat for her turn she'll often fly to me while parroting, "My turn! My turn!"

5. If all else fails, I wait until MB is in a solid sleep pattern and lay her across my lap for styling. This option worked better for us when MB was much smaller. These days, laying her across my lap doesn't give me enough access to her head even if I'm trying to do simple parts. I hate to risk waking her up by moving her head around too much. Spritzing MB's hair with cool water has the same pitfalls. I've still found it to be better than nothing.

6. Finally, it's OK if I don't oooh and ahhh when I'm done with the style. I've had to pep talk myself through this one. I love to create a style and pat myself on the back for a good design and perfect parts. These days I'm often rushing so much nobody's parts are perfect anymore. I'm learning to find peace in imperfection. I make a mental list in my head....clean hair? Check! Shed hair out? Check! Simple neat style neither MB nor I will be crying about when it's time for take down? Check! Check! I'm good.

The above style is not my favorite.....but it works! If I really want to jazz it up, I add a cute headband OR a unique clip here and there to match MB's outfit and I keep it moving. The payoff is that her hair is flourishing. I remind myself that plenty of days are ahead when she'll be able to sit for as long as I need to get the style she will finally be vested in.

In the interim....this too will past.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How I Choose my Homeschool Curriculum

A few months back someone requested more information on how I go about choosing my curriculum for homeschool. My son is 14 years old today, and I've been reflecting on our homeschool journey. I've changed so much from how I approached things in the beginning.

We started our homeschool experience in New York State which is a highly regulated state, though not as rigid as some others. I was required to submit an IHIP at the beginning of each year which is a detailed plan of books/curriculum and my strategy for fulfilling all the requirements for each of my students for the year according to New York state regulations. Each quarter I submitted a report itemizing how each of my school age children have fulfilled what was described in the IHIP for that quarter. At the end of the year, I submitted a written assessment in narrative form detailing how we obtained our objectives and what the academic performance of each of my children were. I lived in a district where the deputy superintendent expected everything submitted on time, but I never received any feedback about what I had done. Today that same district has become very particular about dissecting the IHIP and expecting revisions.

I shared that to show why I may have been uptight in the beginning in my approach to picking out curriculum. I had read many books on homeschool philosophy which described a freedom to finally do what I wanted, but in my district I always felt like someone was watching and waiting for me to mess up. Thankfully, I rose to the occasion and worked hard. Over time I owned our homeschool and found ways to stay compliant while meeting the goals and objectives my family had.

Back then, I shopped according to grade level having very little knowledge about the scope and sequence (criteria for what each child should be taught at which academic level). These days I familiarize myself with the body of knowledge I need to cover--then shop for resources. Sometimes I find much of what I need in one place, but I usually end up putting together an eclectic group of materials. I've found the library and internet to be a huge resource. Lately I've been exploring which is a website built by homeschool moms linking curriculum and books online based on the Charlotte Mason method of education--for free! I had no idea so many complete works may be found for FREE on the internet. Homeschooling is becoming easier and easier than ever before.

I recently put up an in depth video about my process in choosing curriculum on the YouTube channel. Check it out here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Honey Shea Shampoo Bar (Bobeam Naturals) Review

Y'all know by now that I am the farthest thing from a product junkie. I'm a firm believer that if something is working for you then stick with it. Even if I wanted to spend my time trying new things for entertainment--I'm working with so many nappy heads I'd be broke before long. If I try something new and add it to our rotation of tried and true products--you can be sure that the product really made an impression on me.

You've heard me mention my Scalp Stimulator Shampoo Bar by Bobeam Naturals. I love it on my locks but it works just as well for my entire family of loose haired nappies. I contacted Laquita, owner of Bobeam Naturals, to find out if she could recommend any of her other bars for my family. She was happy to send me several bars. I haven't tried them all yet. I wanted to use each bar for at least a month on all of the girls before making a judgement. Since we've all been swimming ALOT and washing our hair multiple times a week--this was a good season to test out the bars and see what they can do. I used the Honey Shea Shampoo Bar exclusively on all the girls and have recently uploaded a YouTube video about my experience. Also check out Bobeam Naturals on Facebook and Etsy.