Time to get your fall curriculum planned!

It’s June!

Are you enjoying the summer break? We are enjoying a change of schedule, if not an actual break. A lot of the regular activities we do associated with homeschooling are on hold for the summer, like choir and co-op. There are also fewer fieldtrips. We do still do school, but there seems to be so much more time to do school in without all the extracurricular activities.

I know that one of the things homeschooling parents tend to do in May and June is nail down the curriculum choices for their students to begin in August/September. Have you made your decisions for the coming school year? Are you still looking for a language arts curriculum or an elementary homeschool science curriculum?

I hope all your planning for the coming school year is right on track!

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Do you homeschool year round?

It’s May!

For some homeschoolers May is the month where they wrap things up in order to take a break over the summer. For others, like me, it is the month where we re-evaluate our progress and consider the next step. You see, we homeschool all year round.

It was an unconscious decision really. When my daughter was in traditional Kindergarten it took until the end of the school year to get her engaged. Since she was (finally!) engaged in May, I just kept having her do work through the summer.
By the time school started in August she was more than half way through 1st grade. This meant she was very bored in public school…and the problems with her compatibility with public school began to pile up.

By the time December rolled around we pulled her to homeschool. I started her in the second grade homeschool curriculum. Since then we take breaks when we need them, but we do not take more than a couple of weeks at a time off. This allows us to continue to make forward progress, without burnout, and without needless review to get back up to speed! A win-win situation!

Do you homeschool year round?

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Plant Lessons

It’s April!

We worked in the yard today. It was finally warm, and pretty dry. We certainly enjoyed the sunshine. And I found two great teachable moments for my daughter.

The first one was when we started checking the flats of soil we had put seeds in. Different seeds spout in different lengths of time and under different conditions and so we had a plant lesson. We looked at different flats and saw how some plants had already put on true leaves, while other seeds had not even sprouted. We talked about size of seed, and whether the seedling would eventually grow vegetables, flowers, or grains.

That led us into the next teachable moment where we talked a bit about nutrition. My daughter talked about what she liked to eat, didn’t like to eat, and whether those things were good for her. We also talked about the amount of time from seed to edible produce. Later, we had to run an errand, and when we passed the produce market she wondered out loud how early they had to start their seeds to already have tomatoes.

Watching my daughter learn and use the information is amazing. I hope you are having moments like this with your children.

Happy Spring!

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Tis the Season

Christmas is my favorite time of year! The songs, the decorations, the joy and happiness that are on so many little faces…it’s all wonderful to me.  When I was younger, it was my favorite time of year because of the anticipation of Santa and the gifts he would bring.  Now that I’m a parent, I find myself enjoying the giving of the gifts far more than I ever enjoyed the receiving of them.

That is a something that I didn’t really get until I was an adult. I wouldn’t say that I was unusually selfish as a child, but I definitely had more “MeMeMe!” moments than I am proud of. That lesson of “giving instead of getting” is something that I want to teach my children while they are children, rather than waiting for them to be adults to understand.

This year the boys are doing Toys for Tots again. We did it last year with a smaller amount of money, but this year they have saved and we are giving them a little extra to buy things with. They are already talking about what they are going to buy. I’m so proud of them for spending their money on, and putting so much effort into, making sure other kids have the best Christmas they can!

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Christmas Schooling!

Christmas School!

During the month of December our family likes to put away formal education and spend the holiday working towards making family memories!  What does that look like?

  • We read lots of wonderful books to celebrate our family’s faith!

  • We make homemade gifts such as ornaments, cookies and picture frames!

  • We decorate the Christmas tree!

In addition, I use the month of December to catch up on my scrapbooking.  I pour through pictures and reminisce about the whole year. Some years I even make scrapbook pages for my family.  Such a personalized gift that brings the whole family together!

Most importantly we pull in from all the outside activities and spend time together as a family.  It’s Christmas time…. Falalalala!

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Nosy Neighbors

Nosy Neighbors

After 13 years of homeschooling we had a situation occur that totally blew me away.  My two sons were playing with the little boy behind us.  We have never had any negative comments about homeschooling and so I had not trained my little ones how to respond should someone challenge their right.

I happened to be at a homeschooling meeting when a neighbor asked my children if they were homeschooled.  They responded yes and continued to play.  This neighbor went into her house and began pulling out books and making my children read a loud to her.  As they stumbled in their nervousness she then started drilling them with math facts.  In shock and disbelief they did not respond well.  She then began to tell them that they should tell their mama that they want to go to school.

My son looked completely confused as he shared this with me.  “Why would I want to go to school?  Is that what it’s like?”  We had a wonderful conversation about how to respond should anything like this ever happen again.  Lesson learned…. ALWAYS prepare your children for all situations.

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You must begin with the end in mind.  Why?  If you don’t know where you’re going you will not know how to get there.  My dad and brothers are hunters.  They are amazing with a bow and arrow.  I would watch them practice over and over again as they would aim for the target.  At first, the arrow would go off course and the more they practiced the more accurate their aim would become.

Isn’t this the same with our children?  They are our arrows and if we don’t have a target we are aiming for we can get lost in a sea of busyness with nothing to show for it.

How do I begin with the end in mind?  I set my foundational goals.  These goals are unshakeable and immoveable.  They are our families worldview, our philosophy of education, our deep moral compass.  Once I understand these things and officially put that on paper I now have a workable goal sheet.

When a new opportunity comes into our life I can hold it up to those foundational goals and see how it lines up.  Is it moving us towards our world view or perhaps the better question would be, is it moving us AWAY from our worldview?

Paint the picture of where you want to see your children in 10-20 years and then jump in with both feet and live your life!

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Halloween is one of those celebrations that’s fairly debated and controversial. Some families do not participate because of conflicting spiritual beliefs. Some families don’t participate because of health concerns (kids can trick or treat but they can’t eat the candy so what’s the point kinda thing).

We don’t celebrate Halloween, but we do participate. To me, that’s not the same thing. We don’t say it’s a “holiday” or anything. It’s dress up and get candy day. That’s it. Others may find a deep historical meaning to the day, but we don’t.

Having said all of that, I respect everyone’s right to celebrate or not celebrate how they see fit. Part of that whole independence and freedom thing we cherish as Americans. :)

What about you and your family? Do you participate in Halloween festivities?

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Math Games

Where my oldest struggles with math, my youngest enjoys it. He hates to write (but is more than willing to type, lol), is a late reader and could honestly care less about spelling. But he enjoys math. While I wish he had more enthusiasm for other subjects, I’m very grateful for that fact. Math is one of those subjects where so many people have a hard time with it, or just hate it.

Since he is only seven, there is only so much we can do to hold his attention. He does well with his homeschool curriculum, but when we need to work on something a little longer he have to change tactics. This is where playing math games comes in.

Even though is still learning, he’s playing. So he fidgets less and doesn’t get as distracted.  I’m sure there are tons of math games that aren’t on the internet/computer, but since we prefer everything on the computer, we of course play online games. It’s nice to be able to reinforce certain concepts in such a way that he doesn’t resist me at every turn!

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Trying to Teach Abbreviations

There are so many things I find hard to teach, with one of my hardest being sight words. Why do I find them so hard to teach? Because I have a second grader who has to have a reasonable, valid explanation for everything. He needs to know why “night” is spelled with a “gh.” Then he needs to know why “knight” is spelled with a “k;” after all there are other words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.

Next for most difficult is teaching word abbreviations. Yes, these fall under the same concept of sight words; meaning he is just supposed to know them when he sees them. But again with the explanations! Why does “Mrs.” have an “r” in it? Why is “Avenue” abbreviated “Ave.” when “Road,” “Drive” and “Street” are only two letter abbreviations? I have said “because that’s JUST THE WAY IT IS” more times than I should. I dislike that explanation, but end up throwing my hands up in frustration.

I am glad that he doesn’t just take everything at face value, and that he really wants to know what he is asking, but it can be hard to keep our groove going when we end up so off track sometimes, lol.

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