Tag Archives: homeschool

Don’t Take It At Face Value

Standardized test May 2016

It’s standardized testing season. And I have a perfectionist child. He wants to get everything right – the first time – without exception.

He finishes his practice test and discovers after checking his work, that he got several answers wrong relating to interdependence, cooperation, and wants vs needs. Initially, he was crushed, and came to me about it. Instead of immediately agreeing with his answers being incorrect according to the answer guide, I asked him to explain the answers he selected. I was taken aback. And thrilled. He’s an outside-the-box thinker. He doesn’t just accept the answer at face value. He thinks, reasons and examines.  And I don’t want to change that about him for anything in the world.

I love my little homeschool family. I love my creative thinkers. I’m ecstatic that he understands the answer that may be desired on the test and why, but can still defend his thoughts. It’s an amazing feeling to see his young mind at work.

He doesn’t just accept an answer at face value. Indeed, I’m raising individuals. And I love it.

Can I Do It? Yes, I Can

I Can Do It February 2016
Doing things on his own. Becoming more independent. Continuing to capture my heart. These are the things I looked forward to as my little guy turned five.
Figuring out what to do for his Kindergarten/First Grade curriculums … eh, not so much.
See, when I decided to homeschool my oldest son last year, I felt like he came primed and ready to go – after two years of private school, he had an awesome foundation. So I had full confidence that I could take him further, and help him soar. But my little guy has never been to a formal school, and all his education has come from … me. I started doubting myself. Would I be enough? Would I ensure he had the strong foundation he needed? Would I leave gaps? Would I make enough of the right choices for his curriculum and learning to help him achieve. In short, could I do it?
Then, our free online curriculum said it was time to teach him to add. And he did it. Joyously. Not just that, math is now his favorite thing. He wants to add again and again and again. And he’s reading. I mean, like, real words! My eyes welled up with tears. Not just because he can do the schoolwork, not just because he’s advancing, but because I gained confidence in my ability to teach him. God has blessed me with this incredible responsibility. And with His help and His grace, I can do all things. So can I do this? Yes, I can.

Why I Homeschool . . .

Homeschooling December 2015

When I started this journey over a year ago, it was daunting, to say the least.  I really wasn’t sure I could do it.  I mean, the thought of the responsibility for all that my children would learn, being in my hands, overwhelmed me.  Good teachers, teachers who care and love and have a passion for helping children, are amazing and deserve our respect and accolades!  I hardly thought I could measure up.

Then a funny thing happened.  I realized I didn’t have to measure up.  It’s not a competition.  Instead of trying to teach in a certain way or be like that amazing teacher, I had to put my trust in God to navigate this journey.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do my research, lesson plans, preparations, field trips, grading papers, science experiments (I’m getting tired just reading that J).  Rather, it means if God has trusted me with this noble calling, then He will equip me to do it.

So in spite of myself, my limitations, my shortcomings, I homeschool.  I homeschool because I am putting more than academics into my boys.  We are studying Godly character.  We have a lot of life lessons – we study how to prioritize time, how to make decisions on what is most important and why.  When we’re all tired and no one can focus, we can take a break and go play outside, or head out the door to a field trip.  We play together, talk together, have lunch together, think together and dream together.  We study what intrigues them, and have time to research fun activities. We take vacations when the beaches are empty, and do science experiments at night. We stay at the free university called the library for hours, or make grocery shopping a time of math and critical thinking – why should we get milk instead of chips? We have afternoon cuddles and wonderful story times of reading. It is an amazing adventure.

It’s not easy.  It’s not convenient. But I love it, and I’m so thankful for homeschool.

How to Homeschool … for Cheap

 

Homeschool #2

As I prepare for another challenging and exciting homeschool year, I am seeing facebook group pages fill up with people who are unsure, tentative and a bit overwhelmed by starting homeschool.  They don’t know where to start.  Or some have done enough research to pave a small path, but the amount of curriculum possibilities, and associated dollar signs, makes their heads spin.

I’m all about making sure my children have the best education I can give them.  But best doesn’t always have to mean most expensive.  Here are a few tips:

1) Take advantage of curriculum or curriculum aids in your public library.  That’s right, I’ve found excellent supplemental items in the library.  Granted, you can’t hang on to it for the entire school year, but depending on the item you may be able to structure your studies to get full use out of it during your time.  And you can always continue to renew!  You can also pick up books that give you great homeschool info, like 102 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum.

2) Attend used curriculum sales.  Co-ops, conferences and now many Facebook pages offer used curriculum at great discounts.  So what a few pages are marked up or have highlighting?  You can get the meat of what you need from it, and avoid new book costs and shipping fees.

3) Go on virtual field trips.  All sorts of trips are available for art, history and science.  It’s a great way to learn and can ease the cost of attending so many events.  However, you’ve got to get out of the house once in a while! :)  In which case, you want to ….

4) Research Homeschool Days.  From the aquariums to museums, ballparks to theme parks, it seems like everyone is offering days specifically geared to homeschoolers.  The rates tend to be a little lower, and you meet other like-minded people.  It can be a nice bonding experience.

5) Pool resources.  If you have more than one child who is homeschooling, consider allowing them to share a textbook.  Just buy separate workbooks.

6) Lastly, check out online curriculum.  There are tons!  And it’s not just having the child sit in front of the computer all day.  Some curriculum give you work to print, or activities to do.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.  Be open, be creative and enjoy the possibilities!

How to Start Homeschooling – Do You Really ….

Homeschool #1
Yeah for me!  I am delving into my second year as a Homeschool mom.  Year one had it all – drama, intrigue, comedy, horror …. okay, maybe not quite ALL, but it was a fun year full of adventure, growing to understand my boys, learning tons about me, and falling even more in love with them in the process.
Today, I want to just dispel a few myths about Homeschooling that made it scary for me.  See, I thought about homeschooling years before I actually tried it.  But I let other people – with no homeschool experience, may I add – persuade me, that for a variety of reasons, I couldn’t do it.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  I think anyone who truly has the desire, is willing to put in the work, and is up to exercising true patience, can do it.  Speaking from experience, it can happen.
So here’s to killing a few sacred cows.
MYTH #1:  I can’t just “teach” all day.  I mean, what do you really do all day?
You don’t just “teach” all day, if your definition of teaching is having your child sit behind a desk while you instruct, in a typical school-type fashion.  You do teach all day, however, if you make it fun – read in the living room, play a game to review geography, let your child read on the back porch.  You have to open your mind to see school as more than just sitting behind a desk.  And as for the all day part …. the number of hours you spend learning and involved in academics depends a lot on the age of your child, as well as your child’s temperament and learning style.  I happen to have a kid that would spend all day reading and doing worksheets if I let him.  But we’ll dive more into that later.
MYTH #2:  I wasn’t very good in (whatever subject).  Can I really teach in that area?
There are scores … and scores … and scores of curriculum choices available to homeschool.  Some are very regimented and will give you lesson plans, guidance and instruction every step of the way.  If you feel really lacking in a particular area, maybe you consider that type of curriculum.  Or maybe you supplement through classes with a local co-op, or look into online/virtual programs.  Do you know another mom gifted in that area?  Maybe you share teaching skills for each other’s children.  There’s no limit to the possibilities.  Science is just not my strong point.  I felt like I could have done a better job last year for my Science-enthused son.  So this year, I’m ordering a complete experiment kit, plugging into our homeschool group, and doing a second science (yes, two).  That’s his interest, he will be self-guided in a lot of ways, and I’m letting him go for it!  And praying it turns out well in the process.
MYTH #3: My kids won’t be able to socialize with other kids.  Do they really still make friends?
Now this one is touchy for a lot of established homeschoolers.  I now understand why.  There are so many ways for your child to be involved in social activities …. from co-ops, sports, church, competitions, play dates, and the list goes on.  However, i cannot invalidate this question.  Because we did have trouble with the social part last year.  You see, my son came out of a traditional school setting.  So he was accustomed to seeing, and playing with, his friends every single day.  It took adjustment for him … and for me.  However, I became a social magnet, and put a lot of work into placing him in settings where he would interact with other kids.  I saw the most amazing thing happen.  He came out of his shell, and opened up socially.  I was proud of him.  He grew a lot as a person.  So it’s right to be concerned about social, but in the sense of knowing there is work both you and your child may need to do to assure that part of their life is properly fed.
MYTH #4:  I have to work, to make a living.  Are you really able to homeschool your child and work?
I am a freelance writer, social media evaluator, and a homeschool mom.  I have to schedule interviews, attend events, and still juggle schooling.  I’m here to tell you it can be done.  Even if you work outside of the home, it can be done.  Keep in mind your homeschool might not look like everyone else’s – and that’s okay!  The key will be to structure your lives in a way that works for you.  As mom/chief teacher, you will be required to be organized in your life so you can smoothly steer the ship.  You’ll have to plan lessons in advance, gather materials, prep supplies.  You may have to take advantage of online learning options.  I know some families who’ve had Dad do some teaching during the day, and mom come in and finish at night.  You’ll have to find what works for you.  But it can be done.
I will continue to blog about How to Start Homeschooling.  But at this point, just know that if you are considering it, if maybe God has been tugging on your heart to take on this noble calling, or school circumstances for your child dictate the need for it, then you CAN do it!  Stay tuned….

I Dare You . . .

Pay-It-Forward Blog Pix

I recently made an elderly couple cry. And I’m so glad I did.

My boys and I were out to eat for lunch (perk of homeschooling) :). I’d brought along a few things, like LEGO Mini Figures (easy to carry in my purse), to keep them busy. However, we had so much fun talking, laughing and being silly, that we didn’t even need them. Now I thought they were being TOO LOUD. Playing tag, hide and seek (all within the confines of our booth, mind you), and I Spy, we were a rowdy bunch. We got more than a few looks. Finally the food came out, and calmness ensued as we ate. That’s when the elderly couple came in, and sat directly across from us. We finished eating and prepared to leave. They smiled sweetly and remarked what sweet boys I had (I was thankful they hadn’t seen us earlier). I then reached in my pocket and pulled out money for their bill. They were astonished, told me to keep the money for the boys, or for myself, or that they didn’t need it, and why was I doing it? Just because, I said. It wasn’t because they complimented us or were nice to us. It was just because I saw them, and I wanted to. So I did. And when I saw them overcome and tears forming in their eyes at such a small gesture, I felt amazing.

I Dare You . ..

To pass it on. To do something for someone who can’t do anything for you. To be a blessing to someone “just because”. To brighten someone’s day, then encourage them to do the same for another person. To show that no matter how many painful things happen, there are still people out there who are genuinely nice … loving …. caring.

Here’s an awesome example of somebody “Passing It On”
https://www.facebook.com/equippinggodlywomen/posts/791581494264666

Yes, But He’s Mine

I had a harrowing day. Dentist appointment, school, business calls in the middle of grammar assignments, grocery shopping, son that ran buck wild around the store (there truly is not another way to describe it), basketball practice, baths, prayers and bed. To say I am exhausted would be an understatement. As my mind wanders over my day, it becomes fixed on one point … one little 4-year-old point to be exact. My youngest son (the one who ran around the store and screamed, crazy and carefree). It took all of my energy – mental, physical, emotional – to maintain composure. I warned. I was firm. I threatened. I finally pleaded. Nothing worked to calm him down. He wasn’t upset mind you … just having fun. I felt the other shoppers’ eyes. Some were scathing. A few came over and told me how “cute” he was (not quite sure how they meant it). A few times I wanted to pretend I didn’t know him. But as I think back over it all, I come to one conclusion … this kid is pure energy with legs. He’s loud, wild, funny, maddening, silly, frustrating and exhausting. But he’s mine. And I love him just the way he is.

Of course I can say that now … lol. But if you see me out shopping … don’t ask.