Tag Archives: Back to Homeschool

Thankful for Homeschooling ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

Thankful Thursday

Today is one of those days, you know? The ones where it is a good thing you know your heart because the reality is a bit tough.

Today the bloggers of the Homeschool Review Crew are taking a look at the many, many reasons we are thankful to be going Back to Homeschool.

Right now, there are many pictures that show students returning to school. Parents are often jumping up and down and shouting about how glad they are to have their time back with the kids gone all day. There are plenty of articles talking about how good it is to be done with summer and not have the children “underfoot.” Not having to deal with babysitters or figuring out how to keep the children occupied. And seeing all of this, reading these things – my heart breaks and is joyful at the same time. I want to share that joy.

learning activities

Our Joy –

Joy that we have our children around us. Yes, even all day, every day. Yes, it can be hard but I am so thankful that our children are being taught good things that don’t undermine God and His word. They are being taught how to be God’s children, to think and reason and learn, how to discern, how to find strength and hope in the world.

Joy that our children are together. They enjoy each other’s company. Truly! They argue and fight, just like any sibling but when it comes down to it, they love each other deeply and support each other. Right now, school finished for the day by two of them, I hear them in the bedroom, laughing and giggling and sharing together. They will wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for each other to get their work accomplished so they can spend time together – maybe in reading or crafting or drawing or any number of things that they would not have time for were they in public school. They will pitch in and help each other, even when they don’t have to or need to, just so they can then do something together, like play a game.

Joy that we have the flexibility to tailor their learning to their interests and needs. I wrote about this a little bit with the Take a Look Tuesday post. All three of the girls have had a say in what they are learning this year; often in how the learning happens, though there is definitely some “I want to learn about this” stuff going on. We can fit in the things they are interested in and help them discover who God created them to be. Sometimes, I’m not so good at that as I struggle to make sure they are learning the things they need for life but they still get that independence for learning.

Joy that I can see their growth and celebrate their milestones. I get the joy of seeing them make their little milestones – get that cursive letter formed right or remember that Bible citation. But I also get to see their big ones – when they learn to drive (not there yet but it is on the horizon!), when they discover that thing that they get super excited about, when they realize that math isn’t such a big deal and chemistry is lots of fun. I get to encourage them along the way and see the baby steps that turn into the giant leap of understand.

Joy in seeing their social growth and responsibility grow. I get see my kids grow up. Not just the few moments in the evening after school and activities and homework. But each day – I see them chat with the older widows and widowers at church; I see them help the struggling mom at church with her baby; I see them keep the younger children safe while playing; I see them engage children both younger and older than themselves in games and conversations; I see them reach out to someone to ask a question; I see them approach the adult behind the desk at the store or the library to confidently ask for help; I see them order their meal; I see them act responsibly when they could easily pass it off on someone else; I see them save their money for something important like a gift for someone else. These are the little things that I get to see each day because they are with me when we go to the store or the library or many other places.

Joy in seeing them discover. I get to take the girls on field trips and this allows me to see them discover the world. I get to see them discover how bubbles work or how electricity flows or how to balance a bicycle on a wire high above the floor. I get to see them crawl over lava flows and study the rocks and plants. I get to see them figure out how to make lunch for everyone and see them offer to do it when they don’t have to. I get to see them hike a mountain path and explore the plants that are a bit different from where we live. I get to see them find new books and authors and ideas at the library. I get to see them discover sodas and the Titanic and sound and monuments and national parks and so much more. I also get to see them discover their own abilities – in dance, in cooking, in cleaning, in helping. This light bulb going off, these moments of discovery – they are a highlight of homeschool.

playing mancala

You know – now that I have started pointing out for you many of the good things we are thankful for in our education choice, my day is brighter. And this is another joy – getting to show the girls that a bad day or a bad moment doesn’t define you. And it doesn’t define our education. That bad moment right before I started typing this? Well, it has dissipated and we are now joyfully engaged in a game of mancala. Experiencing life and learning (lots of learning in that game) together. With JOY!

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Thankful Thursday! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Christine @ Christine Howard
Christy @ The Simple Homemaker
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Felicia @ Homeschool 4 Life
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

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How To Work It In ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

So, this post is a perfect example of today’s topic on how to work in things that are worthwhile or important. This is for you AND/OR for your students. Both are necessary.

For You –

Let’s start here because a happy Mom really reflects on a happy family. What do you do for yourself? When do you fit it in?

Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t fit in. I wish it did! I am waiting for the day I can join the community band again and play. But, it doesn’t fit our schedule at this time. However, I also enjoy writing (thus the blog!) and I enjoy finding encouragement, whether through reading or listening or talking to friends. So, how do I “work it in?”

I listen while I walk in the mornings. I have recently been listening to a parenting seminar by Steve Minor that we attended a couple of years ago. It is tremendously helpful and encouraging. (Take a listen through the church website. This particular one is the first in the series and there are a total of five lessons. The series is titled Family Matters! – 2016 Family Seminar. It is from December 2016 and the best way to get there from the main lessons page is to filter by the year 2016. It shows up on that first page after setting that filter.)

My writing generally takes place at night after the girls have gone to bed, as that is when I can write and focus and not have a million interruptions. (You know, don’t you?) So, I write and share and post. And that is good for me. And why this is a perfect example of working it in – we got home from worship services this evening, and then I had to get the girls to bed and the kitchen needed attention and the laundry and now, here I am at 10:30 PM writing the post I had hoped to get up first thing this morning. But, I worked it in. And I am hoping it is an encouragement to you.

As far as friendships go, I get a lot of joy from spending time before and after worship services chatting with others. I get a lot of my friend-time after Wednesday evening services as one friend in particular and I tend to chat for an hour or so after church. It helps that our kiddos get friend-time, too. Another time I get to work in some friendships is our monthly small group Bible study. We have several families that we are trying to get together with once a month or so to have a Bible study. And it is encouraging. Sometimes, it takes work to get it in, but we do because it is important.

For the Girls –

This is harder because it takes time and money for a lot of what they want to do. Their friendships – well, I mentioned those above but we also try to do some other things with their friends once a month or so. But their additional interests come with good friends, too. Dance and violin and library and sign language and volunteering – all these take time and money, to some extent. So, we talk about what is important, why they are interested in this particular thing, and then we decide whether to spend the time and/or money on the activity. This is the joy of home schooling, isn’t it? We do get to make these decisions and spend the time on it instead of sitting in a study hall or taking the same language class as everyone else because they only offer two at the huge local high school. So, let me encourage you to take with your students. Find their interests. And then search out ways to invest in the interest. Maybe it is just YouTube videos because that is all that can be afforded right now or you only have one car. That’s okay! (My dad taught himself wood turning through YouTube and he turns out gorgeous work! You don’t have to believe me – check out his work!)

Working it in is not the “easy way out”, though someone else may be doing the teaching. It is still a commitment. It still takes time. And, often, it takes money, even if only investing in tools or materials. It all adds up. But, look at the value! It is worth it to figure out how to work it in.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Work It In Wednesday! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Angie @ Run Ran Family Adventures & Learning
Annette @ A Net in Time
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos
Betty @ Let’s Get Real
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

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Take a Look at Curriculum ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement

Take A Look Tuesday
Curriculum is such a personal choice – not just from parent to parent but child to child. Each child may need something completely different for the exact same subject and grade level. That can be challenging. But I have found that taking a look at things others have used and reading their honest comments about it can help get me some ideas to discuss with my girls and give them options.

When it comes to curriculum, we have some non-negotiables. But there is plenty for them to have a say in and help make the decision of. So, as I go through this list, I’ll share with you the input that we had and the input the girls had. Maybe it will give you some encouragement to include your children more as they get older, giving them more say in what they are interested in.

morning time

Morning Time –
This is a non-negotiable time. We sing a hymn and work on Bible memory work. We do some folk music and poetry. And we have at least one read aloud going on. For now, that is plenty. Our hymn comes from Hymns of Faith, which is an Ideals book. We also have several hymnals that we keep in our stack for use. The Bible memory work is from the KidSing cards. They are important things from the Bible and memorizing where to find different things. For example, Acts 2 covers the birth of the church and Hebrews 11 is about faith. Acts 20:7 gives us the example of Sunday worship and preaching and I Timothy 3 discusses the qualifications of elders and deacons. We are using Diana Waring‘s history through music to do folk music for now. We are currently using the one about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s musical experiences. Our poetry work is coming from Poetry Memorization from IEW. Our current read-aloud is A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy. These are all things At Home Dad and I chose for us to do as a family.

9th Grade Curriculum 2018

9th Grade
Math – No Nonsense Algebra – algebra I program that is both book and video based. At Home Dad did the majority of the evaluation of this program but with the video aspect, Miss E was okay with it. We knew that she wanted video based learning but that wasn’t so advanced that she couldn’t understand it. So far, so good.
Science – Friendly Chemistry – She loved this program and asked if there was a follow-up to it. When I did my research, we found that we had completed about 1/3 of the actual program. So, I contacted the company to find out what we needed to continue on and it arrived yesterday. She is very pleased to tackle this course and she chose it. Obviously we had the final say but it was easy – begging to do a chemistry program? We’ll take it.
History – timeline – We decided that everyone would tackle American History this year. For Miss E, we found timeline books that give dates and events from about 1100 to the present time. She is using these to research each event and write a summary of the important information from each one. She has a notecard binder (a cute little thing!) that she is keeping her notecards in. So, this gives her both history, research, and writing experiences.
Language Arts – She is finishing the Characters In Crisis book from last year. Then she will take on Learning Language Arts Through Literature – American books (Gold Book). She attempted Grammar Planet but that kind of fell through for a number of reasons (review next week). She is also completing a daily writing assignment from the Daily Writing and This Day In History prompts on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She has loved the writing and is keeping it all in a single notebook. Again, she has to research for a lot of the history prompts so she is hitting several areas that she needs skills in. She wanted to do some daily writing this year and when we came across these prompts, she feel in love with them. Do note – we had tried these before and they were a complete fail. So this is something she grew into – don’t give up if your child doesn’t like the writing early on. Maybe it will come. She loves it so much that she writes every day, even Saturday and Sunday, most days completing more than one prompt.
American Sign Language – She adores sign class with Mrs. Pat and is looking forward to it again. She chooses sign but Mrs. Pat chooses the curriculum course.
Logic – Miss E is not terribly excited about the Logic course from Memoria Press that she is continuing but it will be beneficial to her in the long run so we are enforcing this one.
Speech – When told she needed to work on a speech class, she wasn’t excited. Until I showed her the class from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is really liking the speech class offered there and I know it will benefit her when her debate class begins meeting in the spring.
Latin – Miss E is working on PictaDicta, a website based program for learning Latin vocabulary. So far, she isn’t loving it but this is a call I made that she would do and continue. I believe she will be tackling Latin once more before too much longer through Memoria Press’ First Form Latin so we are starting back to it with this program. Review to come.
PE – Miss E is taking 5 – 6 hours of dance a week so this is a solid PE credit for her and she loves it! Ballet, tap, and jazz are what she is taking but she enjoys tap most.
Code for Teens – I thought she had a pretty full course load until she asked if she was going to get to continue this book. Well, when I said something about not scheduling it, she was very disappointed. So guess what? We changed course and added it back in.
Extras – She also wants to take voice lessons, so we are looking into that right now. We’ll see. Another option that she is really considering is volunteering at the library during her sister’s violin class.

What happens when you schedule the courses that the student is interested in? Yes you may get some pretty long looking lists but guess what? When they are interested and their input is given weight, they feel valued and things just work better. Our original list looked quite different for the first year of high school. But, by taking her input into consideration and having conversations with her about her needs and requirements, we came up with a program for her freshman year of high school that makes tons of sense and is of interest to our daughter.

Definitely, I encourage you to have conversations with your students about their course of study. Take their ideas under advisement and pay attention. They may be telling you a whole lot more about themselves than just what book looks interesting.

With this getting so long, I will share our 7th grade and 4th grade curriculum choices in another post. (Hope I don’t forget!)

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Take A Look Tuesday – from school rooms to curriculum to a bundle of ideas, go take a look! I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

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Today’s Motivation – Prayer ~ 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop

Dear Homeschool Parent

Dear Homeschooling Parent –

Look around you. Look at each of the faces you guide and teach and journey with. This is your motivation.

Lots of people ask us why we homeschool and we have plenty of answers. Are these precious faces and lives your top answer?

Today, as we begin this week of homeschool encouragement with the Homeschool Review Crew, take a moment to pray.

Pray for each of the blessed children under your care.

Pray for the guidance and wisdom to parent them with love and grace.

Pray for the inspiration to help each of them find their individual path and to walk it with courage and bravery and confidence.

Pray for each of the children – that they will grow in wisdom and knowledge and hope and love and kindness.

Pray for others who are struggling along this path, whether it be for medical reasons, lack of confidence in themselves, or a million other possibilities.

Pray for your homeschool and others you know.

God answers pray. God gives peace.

As we traveled last week, the girls put on a CD titled The Music Machine. One of the songs is about peace and one line in it has kind of stuck with me for a few days now.

Peace, peace, I think I understand.
Peace, peace, is holding Jesus’ hand.

Today, as you journey into another season of education, I am praying for you – that you may be holding Jesus’ hand and experiencing the peace that only He gives. May your homeschool be filled with peace.

Blessings,
At Home.

There are more than 40 homeschool moms writing encouragement posts today on this Motivation Monday. I encourage you to visit the anchor post for the Crew and also some of the ladies’ blogs to gather more encouragment to yourself. You can do that by the linky on the Crew blog or by visiting some of the blogs below.

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Marla @ Jump Into Genius
Meredith @ Powerline Productions: Being World Changers/Raising World Changers
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Missica @ Through The Open Window
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

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To All Who Are Reading This Post ~ Back To Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

To You letter of encouragement

To: You
From: Me

Dear You,

 

Today was a good day. Even if it was hard, it was good. Why? You ask? Because we had today. We don’t know about tomorrow.

We were blessed today. We breathed through it. We saw sunshine or rain or shadow or storm. We say hope and hurt and health and hunger. We saw joy and sorrow and help and so many other things today.

We were blessed. We got to live today. Let us revel in that. Let us rejoice that we were given today and pray that we will have tomorrow. Let us pray that tomorrow our influence with those around us will be a good, Godly one. Let us pray that we will love our family, our friends, and those we come into contact with strongly. Let us pray that the hope we have in Christ will flow out through the words and actions we take each day.

And as you close each day, may you look back on the little moments of joy and hope and gladness and find strength in each one of those for the coming day. May God bless you and strengthen you daily.

At Home.

little victory great joy

This is the final day of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017. Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to catch all of the great posts or you can start right here. The following bloggers are participating this week and have been sharing great posts. Head their way for encouragement.

Rebecca – Our Life ~ Home and School

Rebekah – There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining

Sabrina – Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Sheila – troutwife

Stephanie – Swinging On Small Hinges

Susan – My Happy Homeschool

Yvie – Gypsy Road

Outside Opportunities ~ Back To Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

Outside Opportunities

Know your limits. This is the first rule of venturing outside the home for educational opportunities. There are so many wonderful one that you can easily become overwhelmed and not get in those “basics” that you deem necessary for education. So, know you schedule, make a plan, and set a limit. With this in mind, let’s explore some options that our family uses to further education.

  • Sign Language – A wonderful lady from the church we attend offers sign language classes to homeschool students. The cost is reasonable and the teaching is outstanding! Miss E has really enjoyed the classes and will continue them this year. This takes her out of the house two days a week for an hour but since it is just up the road, I don’t have to disrupt everyone’s schoolwork to take her to class or pick her up. With the quality of training, level of the class, expected practice, interpreting opportunities, and number of hours, this will be counting towards her high school credits.
  • Dance – All three of the girls enjoy dance and want to continue with this excercise and strengthening program. We take them to a local dance studio where they have excellent instruction. We do not do anything competitive and the girls are getting a firm foundation in classical ballet, jazz, and tap. With a formal recital at the end of each school year, this is perfect for us. My only wish is that there were classes during the day time so we didn’t have to always have evening and/or night classes. This year, it will take us out of the home two afternoons per week. But, knowing that, I took it into consideration when creating expectations and scheduling.
  • Violin – While I know my music education, I do not have a good string foundation. So, we are able to take advantage of a program at Baylor that offers string instruction to 4th grade students and up. Miss L has benefitted greatly from this program and we will continue it. They offer very reasonable prices for twice a week instruction and their music education students get classroom experience in teaching. Win-win. Again, I wish there were other time options but I will gladly go for their times when it is quality instruction for a very good cost.
  • Volunteering – Miss E is old enough this year to be able to volunteer at the library and we are considering this for her. She loved helping out in the church office but the hours of the secretary just are not good for our schedule so we have been unable to continue that. She would be able to do this while we are at violin lessons so it would hit two birds with one stone. I like that idea.
  • Church based program – We have several classes that the girls will be taking part in through our church’s Lads to Leaders program. From Bible Bowl, to teacher training, to leading singing in a ladies’ setting, to reading scripture in children’s and ladies’ classes, to learning to be a woman of God, there are many programs that the girls will be able to participate in and grow from. We consider all of these programs part of their education.

These are by no means the extent of the educational opportunities outside of the house. We have scheduled a Texas history trip in a couple of months where we will visit some historic sites. There are parks and museums that we visit. We are not too far from the big, big cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin so we will probably visit them for some opportunities. Field trips of all sorts count towards learning and we try to take advantage of those as often as is reasonable. During the summer we are able to add mission trips, camps, and time spent outdoors with new adventures.

Even with all of this, there is more that we could access. And we might. But this is a lot and it fits the delight-directed learning that we strive for – while requiring certain things for the girls, we allow them to stretch themselves in ways that they find interesting.

At Home.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017From co-ops to National Parks to distance learning to dual-enrollment, visit the rest of the bloggers participating in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017 to see what they have to share about homeschooling opportunities outside the home. Here are a few to get you started:

Kym – Homeschool Coffee Break

Linda  – Apron Strings & other things

Lisa – Farm Fresh Adventures

Meghan – Quiet In The Chaos

Melanie – Tree Valley Academy 

Michele – Family Faith and Fridays

Missica – Through The Open Window

Monique – Mountain of Grace Homeschooling

Doing What is Next (planning/record keeping) ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

Doing What Is Next record keeping and planning

Today’s topic: planning. I am a minimalist planner. Part is me rebelling from when I had to write music education lesson plans on a general classroom format every week. Part of the reason is that when I plan, I overplan. Part is that we follow rabbit trails so often and so easily that I hate having to mark things out in my planner and rewrite it with what we actually did. Minimalist planning is definitely where my groove is for planning.

My favorite planner

I am a paper planner person (say that 3 times fast!). I like my printed planner so that I can jot things down and don’t have to have access to the computer to know what to do or what comes next. I create a general schedule and then we go for it. I expect us to do “the next thing” in whatever curriculum we are working on. In math – next lesson. In science – read to the next set of questions. In history – the next project. Just do what is next. For me, that means I don’t need to write out detail-by-detail what lesson comes on what day. We just do what is next.

weekly plan page

And I write it down after we do it. When the math lesson is completed, I write it down in my planner that it was done. When the story is shared, I note it. When the project is presented, I write it. Each child has a color and I write their completed assignments in their color. And red or green means it was a family activity/project. Easy-peasy.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t read ahead or look at the curriculum or decide what we student checklist with explanationare going to do. It just means I don’t schedule each lesson out. And, it means that I am placing more responsibility on the girls to know and do what they are supposed to. Each year, they are a bit more responsible for their own learning. Miss E and Miss J each want their own person checklist for their week, so we use a simple chart in a spiral for that.

I am adding a bit of a twist for myself this year, though. Miss E is in 8th grade and some of the work she is doing will count towards her high school credits – sign language 3 and Fascinating Chemistry are two courses that will be going on her high school transcript. So, I am keeping tabs a bit closer on those, noting hours/time spent and grading the work and making her take all scheduled tests.

We are in Texas, which does not require any reporting for each year, so while I do grade projects and math assignments and such, I do not keep strict grades for the girls. I keep their work from year to year and I keep my planner as documentation of what was completed. For us, this is a good balance and documentation.

At Home.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017Looking for more ideas? Visit the others participating in the Homeschool Review Crew  Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017.

Jennifer – Dear Homeschooler

Jodi – Insane in the Mombrain

Karen – Tots and Me…Growing Up Together

Kelly – God’s Writer Girl

Kellyann – Walking Home …

Kemi  – Homemaking Organized

Kirsten – Doodle Mom’s Homeschooling Life

Kristi – Classically Quirky Learning

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