Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cooperation Is Key

Welcome to day four of the Homeschool  Review Crew's 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop!  I hope you are enjoying all of the wonderful posts.  Try as I may I am having a hard time keeping up, so I plan on snuggling on the couch this weekend to read.  There is so much to learn from fellow homeschoolers!

So todays theme is "Outside the House".  I am going to just admit right off the bat that this is the hardest day for me to write.  I am not an outside of the house kind of gal.  I am a homebody.  I like my home and am very content to be here most days.  Days that we are out and about all day make me weary and cranky.  No one likes a weary and cranky mom, so we stay home a lot.

That being said, yes, my kid do have friends and we do get out.  Occasionally.

Here are some quick thoughts for you-

Co ops- I have a love/hate relationship with them.  There are so many out there that are just time wasters as far as I am concerned.  But, there are also some good ones.  There is one here in Omaha that impresses the socks off of me and my kids have taken some great classes there.  My advice is to look for value added.  What are your kids gaining from the experience?  Is it worth the time and trouble?  Are they meeting other kids worth hanging out with?

Field trips- Another one I have a love/hate relationship with.  (I warned you I like my home!)  When my kids were little we did the typical field trips to the bank, fire station, and bakery.  Sure, the kids had fun, but as they got older it took precious time away from our lessons at home and so we faded those things out.  I know, mean mom.  If you like them, go for it.  Just don't fall into the trap that a field trip makes a kid!

Outside Classes- in addition to co ops there are lots of opportunities for your kids to learn from others.  Go for it.  If there is a mom in your area that has a skill they want to share, yay!  I love moms like that!  We recently had a mom do dissections for a group and she is forever my hero.  Some people are just better at some things than others and hey, praise the Lord for those people.  We are also firm believers in dual crediting classes through colleges.  While my kids have only done this on line, many college campuses offer this option as well.  It allowed both of my girls the opportunity to enter college with a year already under their belts. Saved us valuable time and money.

Mommy time- OK, this one is cheating a bit, I admit, but I do want to gently remind you that you need a little girlfriend time.  Notice I said need, not deserve.  I don't believe in all that "I deserve" stuff.  But I do know we NEED friends and support.  So find a mentor or just a sweet friend or group of friends to occasionally do something with.  Whether it is for a simple cup of tea, or a deep discussion, or simply just a hug, you will hopefully come away refreshed and ready to conquer another homeschooling day!

You got this mom!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Best Laid Plans

Day 3 is here of our 5 Day Back to School Blog Hop!  Yesterday we talked about supplies- why oh why do we homeschool mommas have such an obsession with pens and pencils?  Seriously, we need to form a support group, I think.

One of the things I failed to mention in yesterday's post, intentionally of course, was a planner.  I know, that calls for an additional support group!  But today since we are talking about plans and schedules I am going to mention the P word!

Planners!  There are lots to choose from and I am not here to sell you any so let me just say this.  Find what works for you and go for it.  I have had expensive, fancy planners that were fun for a while, but eventually wore me out.  The past few years I went to a simple spiral notebook for each child.  I wrote each subject down with the assignment for that day and then they checked off as they went.  On good weeks, I did one week at a time, scheduling on Sundays.  Confession- I have also been known to schedule one hour before the school day starts as well.  My only complaint was I got tired of writing the weeks and subjects over and over.  And over!  So this year I printed off a schedule from Schoolhouseteachers.com, printed 36 copies of it (times 2 boys) and bound them myself.  Now it is just one less step to have to fill in all the tid bit information, and my oldest says is easier for him to read.



The biggest things to remember are-
  • Know your state requirements (weeks, hours, courses required, etc.) and keep track.
  • As early as possible, teach your child to work independently. (you can see above Colby marks off as he goes)
  • Be flexible!  After 19 years of doing this homeschooling thing, I only schedule a week in advance. Yes, I do follow certain curriculum schedules,  BUT I only write them in my child's schedule one week at a time.  Things happen.   Life happens.  And schedules sometimes need to change.  Give yourself a break and BE FLEXIBLE!


All those things will save you a lot of trouble in the end!

On that note, the only other thing I really use for scheduling is a monthly calendar!   This hangs on our school cabinet door so I can at a glance see the week number we are on.  I circle weeks I know we will take off for holidays and can easily keep mental track of how far we are!  Like last year and the year before, we will continue our Sabbath Week Schedule of 6 weeks on, one week off.


Simple? Yes!  I have made it much more complicated in the past and I am telling you it got me no where different.  If fancy planners and fun colors and tape and such float your boat, keep sailing!  Do what makes you happy.  But if that stuff stresses you out, let it go, make it simple and relax!

As for record keeping- for younger grades, I am convinced your assignment notebook is all you need.  We do not keep "grades" at those ages, so I just need proof of what I have done.  At higher levels, we have programs online that keep track of grades that I can print at the end of each year, or I simply keep track of grades on a piece of notebook paper.  Seriously.  I have sent two girls to college.  No one has ever questioned their grades before.  If they do, I would show them my pieces of notebook paper. :)

Do what the law requires to teach your child, and enjoy your days!  After all, enjoyment is one of the great things about homeschooling!

Blessings,


Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The 5 Essentials of Homeschooling


Welcome back to day 2 of our 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop!  We had over 35 bloggers link up yesterday so I hope you have found a wealth of information to help you in choosing curriculum.  Our Plan of Attack went fairly well yesterday- you know how first days can go.  No worries, each day under your belt is a day closer to perfection.  Well, at least success! ;)

And speaking of success, today's blog hop theme is supplies.  Now that is a pretty broad subject, so to make your life, and mine, a bit easier I have decided to share with you what I consider the top 5 Essentials of Homeschooling.  While I know everyone is a bit different, these are the things I could not do without.

#1 Curriculum- Well, of course!  Unless you are an unschooler, you will need some sort of curriculum.  Whether it is an all in one publisher or you gather each subject separately, you will need to get some books or workbooks of some sort.  You can spend a lot of money on some pretty impressive stuff out there, or search the web and find may sites that are sharing free to inexpensive resources. 
 

#2 "School Supplies"- Before you think this involves grabbing a two page needs list and joining the crowds at the local store, think again.  You really can get by with a few pencils and notebooks.  Really, you can!  Depending on the age you are teaching, you may want to add in scissors, glue, markers, and a ruler but there is no need to go overboard.  Every year school supplies take over the stores and eventually our homes.  Stay strong and resist the urge to join the crazy.  Real needs and fun wants are very different.  We do not have a dedicated school room so each morning we grab this tote and take it to the table.  It does have some markers and colored pencils in it, as well as Spanish flash cards and a multiplication wrap up set.  It also holds our Bible and stickers for assignments pages.  When school is done, it gets tucked away.


#3 Copier/printer- OK, you may be able to live without this, but I could NOT!  Seriously, I use it almost every day.  We have had this one for years and it is holding up fine- worth its weight in gold, I tell 'ya!
  
#4 Computer- I know some would argue this one, but hey, it's my list so it is on there! ;)  We use our computers a lot.  Both boys take multiple classes on the computer as well as do research on them as well.  They get their share of wear and tear.  School is also easier for us on the go as we often are.  I may not be able to always pack the books, but it is easy to pop the computer in the car and go.


#5 White board- These come in all sizes, but honestly this small one is the one I like best and it is easier to keep close by.  We use it for spelling, for math practice, to explain hard concepts, and sometimes just to leave each other notes!  Inexpensive and saves paper scraps from taking over our school space, AKA- the kitchen table or coffee table.


No matter what YOU decide you need for your school year, remember that the relationship you develop with your child is the most essential thing!  Make that your focus, and the rest will all fall into place!

See what others have to say about school supplies today!  Enjoy and see 'ya back here tomorrow to talk plans!  You know how I like plans!

Blessings,
Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017


Monday, August 14, 2017

34 Weeks of Clean: Rinse and Repeat: Week 32- The Computer



Technology- ugh!  I am just going to go on and admit to you that I am not a techie queen.  Cleaning queen, maybe, but NOT a techie queen.  That is one of the reasons I still pay my 19 year old to maintain my blog.  It is a little more challenging now that she is away at college, but hey, we make it work.

And computers?  Well, they fall under the techie thing and therefore are not my friends.  In addition, with my hero husband pretty busy these days, I am at an even bigger disadvantage. I tease him that if ever something happens to him I am going to throw away all things techie, with the computers going first.  I. Am. Serious!

This week though, despite my hang ups, we are continuing with the office theme and hitting the computer, or computers in some cases!  Don't worry, this involves a lot of deleting (which I am good at) and some file rearranging, which my daughter is good at! Plus some general cleaning that I am sure we can all manage.

If this is an easy week for you, I do NOT want to know.  I prefer to think that everyone else is suffering right along side of me, thank you very much!

So here is the plan for cleaning up your computer!

  • First of all, wipe it down. This includes the screen, tower, mouse, and keyboard.  Dust settles in cracks and crevices quickly and can really mess things up.  I know some people that use the cans of pressurized air or a vacuum cleaner with brush attachments.  I also use a Norwex cloth meant for mirrors that I love!  No need for harsh chemicals.
  • Next, on to the techie stuff.  Ugh!  Your goal is to go through and cleanup or delete old, unused files, pictures, and downloads.  I was AMAZED at how much was stored on my computer that had been there for years and that we did not need.  Apparently I download a lot of files I forget about and never use.  Who knew?  And pictures- well, let's just say I am not as organized in that area as I wish I was.  Luckily my 19 year old IT girl is better at it and is on a mission to rescue me.  Remember, folders are your friends.  Even if you have a ton of them, at least if they are clearly labeled you can retrieve things you need quickly.  Follow the same rule that we talked about from last week- EVERYTHING HAS A HOME!

Simple!  OK, not really, but at least it is concentrated in one area.

And next week- well, it will be your last assignment!  I can hardly believe it.  Thank you to all who have been hanging with us- you rock.  And thanks to all who have sent me sweet notes.  I got permission from Tonya to share this one with you-


I have almost finished my first 34 weeks! I don't know that I would have actually thought I would. I am always looking for ways to make it "easier" around here. So this has been wonderful!

I love it!  So many of you have worked hard and should be so proud of yourselves!  Wish I could give each of you a hug and a high five!  You deserve it!

See 'ya next week- get to those computers and start cleaning and organizing!

Blessings,
 

Plan of Attack!

Welcome to the Homeschool Review Crew's 5 Day Back to School Blog Hop!  Wow, that is a mouth-full!  But luckily for you, it is also a week of FULL of information, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun.

We are glad you joined us.  Make sure you check back each day this week for a new subject!

Today we are talking about CURRICULUM!  Makes perfect sense that is the first subject as, let's face it, it is the heart of homeschooling.  Other than the momma, right?

So background- I have been homeschooling for over 19 years!  Our oldest daughter graduated from college a few years ago, and her sister is going to be a junior in college this year.  The two left at home are both boys and will be a 5th grader and a sophomore in high school.  So this is not my first rodeo, as they say here in the mid-west.

That being said, we prayerfully consider each school year and what is best for each child.  I still pour through curriculum catalogs and yes, I still try new things.  There are a few oldies but goodies I use with every child, but since each one has a different learning style and personality, some things are just better tailored than cookie cutter.  I would encourage you to research what is out there, ask a lot of questions, and be willing to make changes where needed.  There is never a year that we do not make some minor tweaks as we go.

So what are we using?  Glad you asked!

Let's start with the 5th grader!

Math- Teaching Textbooks Grade 5
Science- Nancy Larson Science
History- Veritas Press- Self Paced History- Fourth Year
Literature- Sonlight
Grammar- Easy Grammar
Spelling- Spelling Power
Spanish- Power Glide
Geography- Let's Go Geography
Bible- Apologia's Who is God?
Writing- Apologia's Writer's in Residence (we started this last year and will finish it up!)

And for the 10th grader-

Math- Math U See Geometry
Science- Alpha Omega's Chemistry
Literature- Sonlight
History- Sonlight 20th Century History

Spanish- Alpha Omega's Spanish 1
Geography- Maps of the World
Bible- Sonlight
Writing- IEW
Vocabulary- Wordly Wise &  Vocabulary from the Classical Roots B
Art Appreciation- Done by me
Health- (required by our state) BJU's Family Life Skills

Wow, that makes me tired!  And as you are reading this we are fully entrenched in our first day of school!  If you think of us, whisper a prayer!

Got questions?  Feel free to ask- we would love to help you with anything we can. We hope you will join us tomorrow as we talk about school supplies.  In the meantime, just click on the button below to see what some wonderful friends of mine have to say about their curriculum.

Happy Homeschooling, friends!

Blessings,


Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017