Things to Consider When Thinking About Homeschooling

Maybe you already know that you will be homeschooling your children or perhaps you are simply considering the idea.  Either way, there are a few things you should really sit down and think about before you get too far in.

 

The primary issues to think about when considering homeschooling for the first time are whether or not everyone involved is on the same page.  It is of the utmost importance that all of you have similar expectations when it comes to caring for your childrens’ education.  If one parent is not on board, then you could face multiple issues.  But if everyone involved is in agreement that homeschooling is the best option, then you’re off to a great start.

 

I also encourage you to talk to your children about whether or not they are on board with the idea of a home education.  While you, as the parent, have the ultimate say in how your children are educated your children’s voices should be heard as well.

 

You should also consider whether you have the time and patience to homeschool your children.  Homeschooling requires a lot of patience and a certain amount of time.  While you could hire someone to tutor your children or help in their studies, you should be their primary teacher.  So you should really think about whether or not you have the time and patience to properly educate them.

 

You also want to be sure that you have a good support system in place.  Your support system should include people who have experience in homeschooling, so you might want to expand it past your immediate family.  And, while we’re on this subject, you should be warned that not everyone will approve of your decision to homeschool.  In fact, many people whom you have known and loved for years will likely begin to give you advice on why you shouldn’t homeschool.  Just know that their comments are being made in ignorance.  They think they are helping.  So, just thank them for their concern and carry on.  If you do not have friends or family who are supportive of your decision to homeschool, reach out to your pastors, social media, local co-ops, the library, etc.

 

Now that everyone is on board and you have a good support system, you need to investigate your local laws and regulations regarding home education.  A great place to start is https://www.hslda.org

 

Now, you can move on to more enjoyable things like finding your teaching style and your children’s individual learning styles.  For more information, google “learning styles” or “homeschool styles”.  Until next time, may God bless!!!!

 

 

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A Look Back on Our 2018/2019 Homeschool Year

We have just finished our homeschool year for 2018/2019, and I must say that it was so much fun!  My children and I learned so much together.  I am proud of all that we accomplished and am looking forward to or next school year (which is just around the corner).

 

We have grown so much as a family and we have overcome many obstacles together this year.  I was nervous about homeschooling.  I had many fears of failure.  But thanks be to the Lord, we made it!  The kids learned so much more than I imagined and they have developed a love of learning.  And, that, my friend is priceless!

 

I let my children make a video to tell their thoughts on their first year of homeschooling and to share their summer plans.  You can watch here:

Being Healthy As a Stay at Home Mom

When most people think of stay at home moms, they usually imagine someone who is always home cooking and cleaning and changing diapers.  But, chances are that they also imagine the mom is probably not taking good care of herself because she is always taking care of her family.  Yeah, I used to be that mom.  I used to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off!  I never slowed down for a minute to think about myself.

 

I am not talking about taking care of oneself by having a spa day or manicure.  While those things aren’t necessarily bad, there are other aspects of life that should be of a higher priority.  I am talking about diet and exercise.  This seems to be a somewhat taboo subject with SAHM.  We all know that we SHOULD be eating healthy and making time for exercise.  But where does that time come from?  “I’m supposed to have the kids up by 8:00 am to eat a home-cooked breakfast, Bible time at 8:30, Math at 9:00 followed by Language Arts and music, lunch by 11:30, music at 1:00, typing class at 2:00, snacks at 3:30, house cleaned by 4:00 (hubby doesn’t like a dirty house!)…. and oh my goodness, I have to start supper!  Then it’s time for baths, story-time, and bed.”

 

Relax!  All that stress will give you high blood pressure!  The trick is to work your busy schedule AROUND being healthy.  My kids wake up anytime between 8:00 and 10:00.  We eat a simple breakfast such as scrambled eggs with fresh fruit or oatmeal with berries.  While the kids are eating breakfast, I am usually doing laundry.  Then, we head outdoors (weather permitting) and go to our local walking track about three times a week.  I walk while the kids ride their bikes.  I usually walk between 1.5 and 2 miles and the kids are always right there with me!  The other two days per week (We only INTENTIONALLY exercise 5x a week.  Everybody needs rest.) we go to our city park and enjoy sliding and swinging together.  Sometimes, on really pretty days, we pack a snack or small lunch and have a picnic while doing part of our homeschool lessons while we’re outside.  Then we take care of any business we have in town (paying utilities, buying groceries, etc) before heading home to have a light lunch like a salad or soup (if we didn’t picnic in the park) and finish our homeschool day.  Sometimes my children eat something like chicken and a tortilla with yogurt if I am having a salad.  Although my daughter does enjoy salads!  Then, I work on my house cleaning while the kids are playing together, watching tv, or napping.  After that, it’s time for supper.  A typical supper (or dinner as some of you may call it!! I’m a Mississippi girl.  Sorry, y’all.) at my house consists of veggies, protein, and either corn tortillas, wild rice, or pasta.

 

I love to cook, but I usually keep the meals very simple most days of the week so I’m not spending too much time cooking.  I still try to plan ahead a little (seriously ladies, it takes 5 minutes to jot down a healthy meal plan for the week and then make a grocery list) so that I make sure my meals are nutritious and delicious.  About once or twice a week, I will cook a more complex dish that requires more attention.

 

So, that is how I try to keep my family healthy.  I believe it is every parent’s job to teach their children, while they are still young, the importance of being and staying healthy.  It just takes a few minutes each day, and doing so will leave a lasting impression on your children’s lives.

 

P.S.  I will post some meal plans along with shopping lists and recipes in the near future to help you get started 🙂

How Long Should I Spend Homeschooling Each Day?

A question I am often asked is how long I spend homeschooling my children each day.  For background purposes, my children are ages three and five.  Homeschooling (as I have probably stated in other blog posts) is simply home education.  And, as long as my children are awake, then they are learning! Life is an ever-changing process, and all humans must continue to learn every moment how to function in this process we call life.  So, in essence, my children homeschool all day and most of the night. Even while they are sleeping, they are often thinking (dreaming!) of new ideas and new experiences that we often discuss in the mornings over breakfast.

“But, really,” you might say, “how long do you actually sit down and teach?”  Well, here’s the deal.  We are creatures of habit.  And, because of that, most people learn best by seeing and reacting as well as putting ideas into practical use.  I mean, seriously, what do you do when you want to learn something new?  Perhaps you want to know about the culture in Spain.  How would you go about doing that?  Would you break out a textbook and have someone lecture you on the culture of Spain?  Would you then take a test on that lecture to prove to the speaker that you were listening?  Probably not.  Unless you have the time and money to visit Spain and experience the culture firsthand (that would actually be the best way to learn, and I guarantee you would never forget what you learned), then you would either contact someone who you know has been to Spain and simply ask them about their experience or you would research online or maybe even check out a library book or video all about Spain.

So since I believe that the best way to learn – really learn – is to experience something or research on your own, I am not a big fan of sitting and talking for hours on end about one subject and then filling out papers to “prove” that the information sticks.  What usually happens when we attempt to learn in such a way is that the information stays with us just long enough to pass the test. Then we forget at least half of what we “learned”.

My children are still so small that playing is a huge part of their learning experience.  So, we probably spend an hour or two each day sitting down and talking about “school” subjects and we do worksheets a couple times a week.  Why do I have them doing worksheets if I don’t believe it is the best way to reinforce information?  Obviously, they need to learn to read and write properly in order to function well in this world.  They also need the opportunity to discover any interest they may have in literary arts, coloring, painting, etc.

To recap, I try my best to make sure my children learn in a way that suits each of their diverse personalities; and, learning does not always involve long lectures and paperwork.  We are a moderately relaxed homeschool family who values education according to God’s intention for mankind.

Homeschool Burnout

Burnout happens when you become tired and/or frustrated with doing the same thing over and over again.  Can it be prevented?  Yes and no.  There are things you can do to lessen your chances of experiencing burnout.

Humans are creatures of habit.  We often do the same things over and over because we have gotten ourselves in a routine.  Routines aren’t necessarily bad, but they can lead to boredom and then complete burnout.

 

Ditching routines can help lessen the chances of homeschool burnout.  Let every day be unique.

Use textbooks sparingly and do hands-on activities such as science experiments, puzzles, and board games instead.  If you or your children don’t do well with hands-on activities, plan a movie day.  Just make sure that the film is educational.  By the way, educational doesn’t have to mean dead and boring.  There are lots of fun videos especially for small children.  Check out PBS or Discovery Kids.  YouTube is also an excellent source.  Tired of movies and games?  Take a walk.  Seriously.  Get outside, and take the kids with you.  Look at the world around you, and talk about God’s beautiful creation with your children.  Explore nature and all its splendor.  If you don’t normally include read-aloud books in your homeschool, it’s not too late to start.  Even older kids will enjoy quality time with mom and/or dad while reading one or two chapters a day and discussing what the book is all about.  Children can journal as you read new books or paint a favorite scene from the book.

Children and adults alike get tired of the same old, same old; but when learning is a new adventure every day, homeschooling transforms from a dreaded necessity to an amazing adventure.

 

FAQ – My Homeschool Experience

I am often asked questions about my experience thus far in Homeschooling.   I am by no means an expert.  Still, I will share the Q & A.

1.  Are you not worried your kids will be introverts and unsociable?

No. I am not in the least worried that my children will turn out as introverts or be unsociable.  Sit down and talk to my kids. You will see they are neither introverted nor unsociable.  They love talking to people.  They are polite, respectful children who engage well with others.

 

2.  How often do you homeschool and for how long?

Home education is different than public education.  Students are always with their teacher.  In public school, there is a 7-8 hour window in which children are with their teacher.

 

3.  Are you a licensed or certified to teach?

The Lord God Almighty licensed me as my children’s mother and certified me to teach them when he commanded me by way of the Scripture to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭KJV‬‬. So, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, I have the knowledge I need to impart to my children.

 

4.  Do you ever get tired of staying home all the time?

I don’t stay home all the time.  In fact, I am only home all day about once a week.  And even then, we aren’t stuck inside all day.  We are usually shopping for books, playing at the park, discovering God’s green earth, at a library, visiting family, etc.

 

5.  Is it hard to teach your own children?

No.  It is actually a natural process that requires little skill but lots of love and patience.

 

6.  Are you worried your children will be behind?

My children are three and five.  My five year old has been reading for almost six months.  He works math problems on a first grade level, and he is very creative. He loves to put puzzles together.  Not the 5-piece baby puzzles.  The 48-100 piece puzzles.  48 piece puzzles usually take 15-20 minutes to assemble solo (I don’t help at all!) the first go-round.  After that, he can usually piece them together in less than 8 minutes.  I struggle with 24 piece puzzles, by the way!  My three year old daughter knows how to write her name and all the alphabet in upper case and lower case.  She recognizes numbers 0-18 and can write 0-9.  She has an interest in reading and is currently working on single consonant sounds.  She can also solve simple addition problems such as 3 + 2 = 5.  She participates in our Science and Social Studies lessons, both of which are taken from first grade textbooks.  Both my children have spoken in complete sentences by the time they were 18-21 months old.  They don’t seem behind to me at all.

 

7.  Which method of homeschooling do you prefer?

I prefer the method that best suits the child.  Children are individual and should be treated as such.  I currently use a relaxed method that includes many of the Charlotte Mason aspects.

 

8.  Will your children ever attend public school?

I cannot determine the future.  But I do know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now.

Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling and Homeschool Families

Today, I am sharing a list of common misconceptions about homeschoolers, homeschooling, and homeschool families in general.

 

  • All homeschool families are religious
  • Homeschooling is expensive
  • Homeschooled kids are unsociable and have no friends
  • Homeschooled children must be bored since they are always home
  • Homeschooling is hard since there are so many regulations and the parents must be highly educated.
  • Homeschoolers sleep late and do school in their pajamas; maybe they do nothing at all and call it “homeschooling.”

If you want to see me set the record straight, watch my YouTube video on this topic here:

 

Here’s the link to my channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrS8XHBD8qQOc-fHNfy-ZQ

Head on over and subscribe.  We will be doing a giveaway soon.  You do not want to miss it!!!!

 

Until next time, God bless!

How to Live Frugally and Live Well

Today, I want to share my frugal household hacks with you.  I try to keep everything as cheap as possible in my home.  So, that means budgeting and being on the lookout for great deals.  Now I will tell you how I do it.

 

First of all, I split up my household needs.  Rather than buying the entire month’s groceries, paper products, cleaning products, clothing, etc all at once, I buy certain groups each week.  For example, one week I buy cleaning products along with the staple groceries such as milk, eggs, and a few fresh produce.  The next week I may purchase meat and kitchen products such as wax paper, zipper bags, and foil.

 

I meal plan as much as possible, but I always leave room for change based on sales I find on groceries.  Another tip is to freeze fruits and veggies when you find them on sale.  Most are good for at least a month in the freezer, and many are fine up to six months.

 

Always check at bent can stores for canned goods.  Just be sure to check expiration dates.  Another great place to buy household items such as toothpaste and shampoo is Dollar Tree.

 

Another tip is to buy gallon cleaner rather than spray bottles.  You get so much more for your money.  If you prefer spray bottles (I do too!) then buy them once and refill with the same type of cleaner or just buy empty spray bottles and fill with the cleaner of your choice.

 

Always buy home decor from yard sales, thrift stores, or Dollar Tree!  You don’t have to pay a high price to live in style.

 

Always be on the lookout for clothes and shoes at yard sales and thrift stores.  You can always find great bargains there (sometimes they even still have price tags).  Then you can host your own yard sale when you have finished wearing them (as long as they are still in good shape).  Live minimally.  Check your closets, and toss (or sell!) anything that hasn’t been used in six months.

 

I hope you have found these tips useful!!

 

Here’s one of my thrift hauls for your enjoyment:

And, here’s my grocery haul for you as well:

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Pre-K Curriculum 2019/2020

I recently my homeschool curriculum choices for my first grade son, and today I am sharing with you the curriculum I have chosen for my pre-k daughter.

 

  • Math:  Abeka K5 Math
  • Language Arts:  Dulce is interested in learning to read, so I will continue to work with her on letter sounds by using flash cards and read-alouds.
  • Science:  Dulce will join Joel for ACSI Purposeful Design Science Grade 1 as well as reading Usborne books and Eye Wonder books (see my post on First Grade Curriculum 2019/2020)
  • History:  Dulce will join Joel for History, and read along in the Usborne Traveler, Usborne Book of World History, and our read alouds- Charlotte’s Web and Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Follow us for an email each time I post, and remember to check us out on YouTube for more homeschooling help.  God bless you!

 

First Grade Curriculum 2019/2020

Today, I am sharing my first grade curriculum choices for 2019/2020.  With one year of homeschooling under my belt, I have learned more about Joel and how he learns best.  So, I have carefully chosen the following curriculum to suit his needs, his learning level, and his learning style.

 

  • Language Arts:  Harcourt Language Grade 1
  • Spelling:  list derived from various sight words on education.com
  • Math:  Horizons Math 1 Book 1-2 (he started book 1 halfway into kindergarten and he only lacks about four weeks of material before moving into book 2.  When he finishes book 2, we will most likely move on to Horizons Math 2 Book 1)
  • Science:  ACSI Purposeful Design Grade 1 (We will use a few supplemental books as well.  We plan to read Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World, Usborne First Encyclopedia of Animals – we started this book in Kindergarten and are loving it –  Eye Wonder Weather, Eye Wonder Ocean, Eye Wonder Whales and Dolphins, and Eye Wonder Mammals)
  • History:  Usborne Time Traveler and Usborne Book of World History

Read alouds are a very important part of our homeschool as well.  There are two books that we are certain we will read together this year- Charlotte’s Web and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  Of course, we will read many others as well.

 

I will be posting my choices for pre-k very soon!  Follow me for an email each time I post! God bless you, and take care!

My Homeschool Supplies List

We’re finishing up our first year of homeschool.  But soon we will be welcoming a brand new school year.  So, today I will be sharing with you my homeschool supplies list for my elementary age students.  Each family is different, so you may have a completely different list.  And, that is ok.  Flexibility is one of the most beautiful aspects of homeschooling.  So, share your lists in the comments if you’d like.

 

  • Clear tape
  • Construction paper
  • Crayola crayons
  • Washable markers
  • Colored pencils
  • #2 pencils
  • Chalk or dry erase markers
  • Pens
  • Coloring books
  • Word searches
  • 2” binder
  • Big pink erasers
  • Clear protective sheets
  • Toothpicks (to use as math manipulative)
  • Index cards
  • Paint and brushes
  • Play-dough and shapes
  • glue sticks (roll-on)
  • Bottle of Elmer’s glue
  • Wide ruled composition notebook or primary writing tablet, depending on the child

 

Again, the above list is what I am currently using in our homeschool.  The suggested ages for this list are pre-kindergarten through third grade since older children will have different needs.

 

When you are new to homeschool, things can very quickly become overwhelming.  So, my list is intended to help mothers who just aren’t sure where to begin.