All posts by JoEllen Bodak

Is It Break Time Yet

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I Need A Breakcoffee-965708_960_720

As a homeschooling stay at home mom, I’ll be the first to admit it’s time for me to take a break and smell the coffee. Now we all know that we will be the last ones to take one of course – but don’t be that mom.  If you don’t take a minute, and sit back, realize that without a break you may have a burn out.  The school will be there, the laundry will be there, the dishes will be there – well you might want to take care of them.  But please be sure and take time for yourself.  It can be quite hectic especially if we have more than one child we are working with.  We are calling ourselves christian homeschool moms, so don’t forget who we can go to for guidance.

Just don’t forget one thing – you know it’s time for a break when you are having one or more of these thoughts or find yourself with one of these symptoms – you better sit yourself down and rethink the situation.

  1. You’ve forgotten your kid somewhere.
  2. When was the last time you ate out without buying kid’s meal
  3. Your Christmas lights are still up
  4. You lost your car in the parking lot – (or was that your child)
  5. You just vacuumed (well you thought you just vacuumed) what’s with all the dog hair
  6. You just finished spring cleaning (in November)

I think by now you get the idea – time to take a serious evaluation, whether you’re helping or hindering your children at this point.  Now, what should you do.  Send the kids to the park with dad, or sister or friend.  Get that cup of coffee ready, sit back with your favorite book, movie or poolside.  Whatever works for you.  But whatever you do, don’t forget the chocolate!

My Mom Never Said That

If I were honest, I don’t think I ever remember hearing my mom say I need a break.  I’m sure she did of course, and don’t get me wrong, I did see her fall apart at the seems once or twice. The general idea is, that moms get stressed out carrying the load of family, homes and if you’re homeschooler, teacher.  All this can feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders and you realize you need an escape.  You know, something less stressful than screaming, fighting, moody, destructive little people, (and a couple big ones) who may or may not be able to communicate properly.

questions-1014060_960_720

What Do I Do Now

For some of us, when nap time comes we find ourselves straight to the computer to catch up on Facebook, Twitter or maybe another Pinterest pin that you just had to see.  My alone time just became filled with clicks, tweets and likes – but I don’t feel rested.  Now I’m even more stressed because I saw two issues with my relatives that will give me something else to worry about.  My break from being a “stressed out stay at home mom” still feels stressed.  The internet can sometimes make us feel anything but rested.

For others you make like to run, go swimming, maybe even artwork.  Anything that you truly enjoy, but do something that lets you enjoy some time to yourself.  Too often as mothers, we think we aren’t accomplishing anything if we’re not working around the house or doing something for our children.  How wrong this is, if we do something to take care of ourselves, we will be better people for everyone around us.

This Should Be The Obvious To Me – But It’s Not

Whether we use string on a finger, a Post-it Note on the mirror, or reminder on our smartphones, we all usually do something to remind ourselves of a certain thing on our calendar for that week.  But did we put God on our calendar?  We may not realize it’s happening – and for sure we don’t do it on purpose, but we allow our busy lives to crowd out our devotion to God.  We enjoy so many things that He has blessed us with, our family, food and homes, but did we forget to thank the one who has given us everything.

As homeschool moms, we cannot be who we have to be without first going to the one who has allowed us to be home with our children.  In fact, I mean if you really think about it your day is going to be busy whether we get a break or not.  We have to learn to use those alone times to refresh, and not waste them.  Take time to refresh ourselves in the Word of God.  The Bible itself shows us:

Deuteronomy 4:9  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.

So I Guess The Point Is – What I Do With That Breakbible and flowers

Homeschooling is stressful enough, and can wear the best of us out.  Whatever you do, don’t let the hectic days, and the forgotten children (just kidding) steal your joy.  God has been so good to all of us, if we can just give Him those few minutes we have to refocus, have an extra large cappuccino – because that nap your kids are taking – will end.  We all try to go above and beyond for our families, God made us that way, He knows that.  Get yourself a good devotional (it doesn’t have to be a full sermon everyday) – something to lift you up!

For me personally, I am so thrilled to be able to be home with my children.  My kids are older now, and I do take that occasional nap, swim in the pool – and just kick back.   I guess I’m trying to say, just lets us enjoy what God has given us, use the break times to truly look to Him, and don’t let the craziness of the day steal our joy.  Here are a couple of devotional books I am familiar with – they both are great!

937321: My Utmost for His Highest: an updated edition in today"s language - Value Edition My Utmost for His Highest: an updated edition in today’s language – Value Edition
By Oswald Chambers, edited by James Reimann / Discovery HouseThis edition of the Christian classic by Oswald Chambers features an updated text edited by James Reimann. A Word About Oswald and Biddy Chambers by David McCasland is also included and introduces the reader to Oswald Chambers and his wife Biddy, who worked to publish his works after his death. Paperback.
566772: Morning and Evening, KJV Edition, soft leather look - Lilac Morning and Evening, KJV Edition, soft leather look – Lilac
By Hendrickson PublishersCharles Spurgeon wrote these, classic, one-page daily devotions to be read each morning and evening to encourage his fellow believers. Over one hundred years later, Spurgeon’s devotions continue to encourage Christians with the message of God’s love. Each meditation is founded on a single verse of Scripture, inspiring and exhorting readers to rely upon God’s care for people and to respond to that love with ever deeper service. This edition features Scripture taken from the KJV, an imitation leather binding, silver gilded page edges, and a satin ribbon marker.

…and what if your child really doesn’t want to take that nap?  I love me some Veggie Tales!!

555369: The Pirates Who Don"t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, Widescreen Edition on DVD The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, Widescreen Edition on DVD
By Big IdeaIn their second theatrical release, the VeggieTales gang goes on a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas! Larry the Cucumber, Mr. Lunt, and Pa Grape star as Elliot, Sedgwick, and George–the loveable Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. Working as busboys at the Pieces of Ate Dinner Theater, our three heroes dream of doing something big, like starring in the show. Their wish is granted in a very unexpected way when a mysterious orb transports them to a faraway time and place where they help a brave princess rescue her brother from pirates and become the most unlikely heroes! Includes approximately 90 minutes of bonus features.
799751: I Can Be Your Friend, VeggieTales Sing-Alongs DVD I Can Be Your Friend, VeggieTales Sing-Alongs DVD
By Big IdeaThese 10 super silly songs are sure to bring out smiles! Join Bob the Tomato, Larry the cucumber, and the rest of the VeggieTales ® crew in this collection of favorite sing-along songs that the whole family is sure to enjoy! Presented in karaoke format, you’ll find the words on the screen followed by a bouncing icon to help kids sing along.  Approximately 30 minutes.

 

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Sonlight Curriculum Review

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Sonlight Curriculum Review1st grade

Name: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
Website: https://www.sonlight.com
Price: (There are 2 Options See Below)
Owners: John and Sarita Holzmann began Sonlight Curriculum in 1990

Sonlight’s 1st Grade Product Overview (This comes in every grade and also has some electives along with some College Prep Material)

Your First Grade homeschool curriculum comes with a clear outline of world history from Creation to the fall of Rome. There are also Missionary biographies and literary characters that provide inspiration to follow God and live life according to His word. The well illustrated and age appropriate books of your first grade curriculum will have children learning in a fun manner, this makes it worth it right there.  It also includes experimental science programs along with your choice of math studies, handwriting and spelling.

The Sonlight Instructor’s Guide provides your daily, book-by-book, subject-by-subject 1st Grade schedule. This is more than a guide but also a calendar.  In each week’s organized lesson plan, you will find a good amount of notes and teaching tips to help you along through each subject.

Sonlight’s 1st Grade History, Bible, Language Arts and Reading

Each of these programs is included in your 1st Grade Full-Grade Package. You’ll have everything you need for your First Grader and have the flexibility to include other students by customizing your homeschool curriculum if this is something you will need. Spelling and Vocabulary are already built in to your lesson plans at this level. Spelling and vocabulary words are from the reading you do with your students each day, and this makes practice a natural part of your days activities.

chemical-reaction-24562__180First Grade Science

By using the Sonlight Science books you will learn about Animals, Astronomy and Physics all at grade level. This Science Curriculum is full of hands-on activities and filled with the supplies you’ll need to accomplish them.  I think this is one of the more exciting things about the Science program, children would much rather be doing something, rather than just reading about it.

First Grade Math

The Math package comes with Saxon which offers the building blocks of a mathematical foundation and helps you teach your child concepts which will be a part of the ongoing review. For instance, first-graders will skip count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s; compare and order numbers.

Sonlight also offers Sinagapore Math, and Horizon Math. This is one of the specific things parents appreciate, that they are able to choose which math program they will use for their children.

Handwriting

The daily handwriting practice is focused on verses from Scripture and students learn the traditional “ball-and-stick- style of print and a standard cursive hand. You’ll also appreciate the included full-color workbooks recommended for beginners. A Reason for Handwriting starts with lines and shapes, then moves into basic letter formation of both lower-case and upper-case alphabet. This program is built around a Creation theme and also includes an art component.  This keeps your child interested and focused – don’t want to loose them in the middle of the day.

What Are My Options?

Sonlight Has 2 Options for Building Your Curriculum

  • Option 1 – You can build your personalized program by subject, which can be used for multiple students, or
  • Option 2 – Get everything in one recommended packet

 

Sonlight 1st grade pick

                          Option 1

  • History, Bible & Literature – $489
  • Language Arts – $57
  • Science – $210
  • Math – Horizon – $198
  • Handwriting – $23

                           Option 2

Full Grade Package – $824

sonlight complete

High Quality – But Is It Right For You?

As you can see, Sonlight has a high quality Curriculum program which can be used for multiple students.  At the same time, Sonlight may not be for everyone.  For instance, if your child does not like to read alone, there may be an issue with Sonlight in the upcoming years.  Children will be doing seat work on a regular basis and will be expected to be self-motivators.  This curriculum is very involved and may not work for the first-time homeschooler.

This is a literature-based learning system that makes the subjects more interesting, not your basic workbook, take a test, and get results curriculum.  It also focuses on a liberal arts and strong sciences emphasis that will prepare child to be a leader.

Sonlight does provide personalized help with their online advisors.help button

Along with placement tests, homeschool helps and articles that will help you make your final choice.  I hope this helps you make the right decision for your family, only you know what your children are capable of.

The Sonlight Complete Curriculum is available at https://www.sonlight.com


Below are a few of Sonlight Products that can be purchased at Amazon for a much more reasonable price.  You can purchase items separately and piece together what will work for you.

Sonlight 3rSonlight Curriculum Core B Grade 3 Readers (Includes Language Arts, Schedule and Study Guide for Grade 3 readers) Paperback – 2012  Includes the following books: A Question of Yams; Clara and the Bookwagon; Brave Kids, Cora Frear; Jake Drake, Bully Buster; Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie; Prairie School; Riding the Pony Express; Secret Valley; The Chalk Box Kid; The House on Walenska Street; The Last Little Cat; The Long Way Westward; The Long Way to a New Land; The Paint Brush Kid; The Viking Adventure; Tippy Lemmey; Tornado

sonlight 2ndSonlight Curriculum Core B Grade 2 Readers (Includes Language Arts for Grade 2 Readers) Unknown Binding – 2012 – All books needed for Core B Sonlight Curriculum Grade 2 readers including the Language Arts for Readers 2. Frog and Toad are Friends;Frog and Toad Together;Owl at Home;Hill of Fire ; Pompeii: Buried Alive!;Titanic: Lost and Found;Wagon Wheels;The Big Balloon Race;Mouse Tales;The Beginner’s Bible; Daniel’s Duck;Nate the Great;The Fire Cat;Greg’s Microscope;Frog and Toad All Year;Amelia Bedelia;Surprises;The Sword in the Tree

I can read it

I Can Read It! Book 1 Paperback – Controlled-vocabulary stories, with real plot, action, and humor, engage your childs attention and interest. Reading lessons move your child through a natural progression of phonetic and spelling patterns. Easy to use. Includes I Did Read It! diplomas. Fun!

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Year Round Homeschooling

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Year Round Homeschooling

Recently I came upon an article that talked about year round homeschooling.  This actually made me laugh because it’s seems this is how our year is going.  Believe it or not, thereopen-1337743_960_720 are quite a few public schools going to the year round plan.  This would include having a 45-15 schedule, where students and teachers are in school for 45 days, followed by a 15-day vacation, and just continue this throughout the year.  The holiday weeks that are already scheduled, will stay the same.

I’m thinking that’s what a homeshooler can do already, they can be as flexible as they want (and bring their Bible to class)!!  Most people don’t realize when you give the children a little flexibility, really just take a breather, they are more likely to accomplish some of the goals you are setting for them.  Also, students may forget a lot during the summer break, so a shorter time away from learning may increase retention in your child.

Be Flexible

The key to any homeschooling lifestyle, I believe, is truly the opportunity to set your own pace.  You don’t want to have to fight so hard to “get it all done”. If the babies are hungry or the laundry is piling up, it’s okay to admit the time would be much better spent doing some housework or feeding the kids.  My kids will learn much better the next day if we all just take a breath (well mainly me) and get started back in the next day.

back-18713__180Don’t worry about the small stuff.  If we are homeschooling in the first place, we are committed to giving our children the best possible education we can.  If they can’t do Calculus in the 3rd grade – well, wait until the 4th.  My point is, we are our own best critics, and we will never be good enough in our eyes.  Our kids sense this, and will pick up on the tension we are throwing off.  So if you have to be working in the summer – so be it, it’s not going to be that way every year.

You also can say “yes” to those opportunities that may come up during the week that a family in school may not be able to do.  This is great, usually parks aren’t crowded, rides at theme parks have shorter lines – well you get the – idea.  Not to mention the off-peak prices you can take advantage of.

Summer Time Studies

It’s probably a good idea anyway to keep your kids involved in reading, math skills and writing at least through the summer. Of course this doesn’t mean they have to have a scheduled time everyday,sky-1315341_960_720 like you did during the school year. But it never hurt anyone if they had to figure out how much 15% off the already clearance marked items are.  Or for those younger kids – have them count how many strawberries you just picked.  Remember, I’ve mentioned it before, life is a learning process in general, take full advantage of everything.

Where we live, the law states we are required to have 180 days for school. You have 365 days to fit in 180 days. Are you doing the math? Did you get that you have 185 days off.  We got this. This isn’t to say that you have to stop homeschooling or stop counting your days at 180 school days. The 180 days recorded are the minimum we have to log.  This gives you the flexibility to embrace life’s moments when they happen and not worry whether you will get school done or not.

Places get too crowded to enjoy in the summer months. Not too mention the weather outside is a scorcher. Too hot to do much outside that doesn’t include water. (In my state anyway!)

Plan for the Unexpected

This basically fits in the “be flexible” category as well. If you need to suddenly stop everything at your homeschool because of unexpected “life situations” you can do that with no worries. Maybe you have that dreaded flu bug go through your house. With a flexible schedule you can simply pick up where you left off and without the stress of worrying, make up the days missed.

You may have a long lost relative that wants to come in the middle of that busy week, and you thought everything was going so smoothly. Well, don’t worry, there is always next week. Or as in my case, you had to have gallbladder surgery – well everything pretty much stopped.  My son can work on his own – but there is still that never forgiving Algebra.

…and don’t forget Music and Arttrumpet

So many homeschoolers can get caught up with whether or not your child is getting enough of Music and Art in their life.  The summer months are a perfect time for this. You can cut down on some of your more traditional homeschool activities or even all of them and study Art and Music for a few months.  Of course if you are involved in some kind of lessons, you will obviously keep up with those.  You can put in some extra practice time in the summer without your child feeling pressured with his other studies.

homeschool image

Have Another Great Homeschool Day!

 

 

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Hooked On Phonics Worked For Me!

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Hooked On Phonics Worked For MeHooked-On-Phonics-Boxes

You know you remember this commercial.  Well, when I started using Hooked on Phonics with my daughter, she was 4 years old.  Now mind you this was my first time teaching a young child to read, and I was willing to try anything.  This turned out to be the best decision I ever made.  By the time we got through Level 1, she was reading at a 1st grade level.  I was so very excited!

This was developed by leading educators based upon research on how do children learn to read, each session takes just 30 minutes or less (but of course you go at your child’s pace).  It’s easy to see how their website brags that more than 3 million children are getting better grades.  Now they have DVD’s to use, which I’m sure is a lot more exciting.  When I used this with my daughter the DVD’s weren’t available, we used cassettes.  I guess I just aged myself a little.

This Is How You Do It

  • Learn to read new words by watching the DVD’s
  • Practice the new sound combinations in the workbook
  • Put it all together with stories using words just learned

What’s In The Box

  • 8 DVDs & Workbooks, 36 Storybooks
  • 4 Sets of Flashcards, 8 sets of stickers
  • Full online access
  • Storage and Display Box

Can I Take It With Me You Ask

Why yes, yes you can.  Not only can you use it at home with the books but they have interactive videos, engaging stories and games.  The Hooked on Phonics system fully synchronizes with your computer, tablet, or phone, making it usable anywhere, on any device, with or without an internet connection.

  • The games are fully interactive
  • There are more than 70 fully illustrated stories which enable your child to practice reading
  • Experts in both education and entertainment have combined to make Hooked on Phonics a musical reading experience.

Progress Tracking

You can even track your kid’s progress all along the way and they can clearly see how far they have come on their reading journey and feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments.  The more your child does their Hooked on Phonics lessons, the more trophies and decorations your child receives in their Trophy Room. Also, the better reader your child will become.  There is also an Interactive Whiteboard which can be used to spell words and even write stories.

I hope this review was helpful to you.  I know, for my family and I, it was really an answer to many prayers.  It was easy for me to work with and my first 2 children used Hooked On Phonics and learned to read.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below, and thank you again for your time.

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A.C.E. Curriculum – Homeschool Middle School Curriculum

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A.C.E. Curriculum – For Homeschooling Different Age Groups

One of the main things I enjoyed and appreciated about the A.C.E. Curriculum, was the Biblical aspects they covered. Also, this works very well if you are homeschooling different age groups.  Each booklet includes a verse to be memorized and character traits focused at each grade level.  They reinforce the verse all through the PACE which makes learning them not so daunting. (Which was a great help to my son!)  I used this curriculum mainly for my children that were in grades 3rd through 6th.  As the kids got older they didn’t appreciate the little comics they have and thought they were getting to old for this, but they serve their purpose by incorporating learning tools in them.

pace-cartoon

As stated on the A.C.E. website, these are a few things this curriculum prides itself on:

  • Biblically Based Program Infused with Godly haracter
  • Self-Instructional Mastery-Based Curriculum
  • Multimedia and Computer Technology
  • Parental Involvement
  • Student Opportunities for Character Development and Ministry

Accelerated Christian Education® has taken the normal styled textbook and divided it into doable workbooks, called PACE’s.  Each PACE is similar to a small section of chapter in a textbook. Each level consists of 12 PACEs in each subject. The think I love about these is that each PACE integrates Godly character-building lessons into the academic content, and self-instructional activities are carefully designed to develop thinking skills and create mastery learning.

Students begin their PACE but setting their goals in each subject, and in each PACE the will learn a Bible verse and character trait. the concepts they will learn, a Bible verse.  From the beginning of each PACE, they know what isace pic 1 expected and assume the responsibility for their own learning! Each one has vibrant color with great explanations and illustrations that keeps your child interested.

Each PACE contains several Checkups, which are quizzes covering a section of the PACE. If they have not mastered a certain area, the Checkup will show that weak area. Students can then take the time necessary to review and learn those concepts before proceeding to the next.

Upon completion of the activities and Checkups, students prepare to take the Self Test. Here students evaluate themselves, and their supervisor determines whether they are ready to move on to final PACE Test. When the Self Test is successfully completed, the student turns in the PACE and takes the PACE Test the next school morning. The PACE Test objectively measures student mastery of the material.

Prices Are Comparable

I have found that the prices are very comparable to other Christian based curriculum.  I would like to add, you don’t have to purchase a complete subject, you can purchase a couple paces at a time.  For example, I would buy 5 PACES from each subject, when they were done with them, I would order some more.  It was much appreciated by “this family”, I can appreciate times are tough.

So again, if you have any questions or comments about this review, please leave a comment below.  God Bless

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LeapPad3 Kid’s Learning Tablet – A Great Idle Time Tool

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LeapPad3 Kid’s Learning Tablet – A Great Idle Time Tool

One of the more exciting tools for homeschooling toddlers is the LeapPad3 Kid’s Learning Tablet by Leapfrog.  Two of my children used this and the great thing about it of course was they thought they had their own computer.  Of leappadcourse this has been updated from the version we used years ago.  The graphics are great within this small hand held tablet, and if they drop it has a protective outer case, which is essential.

As your children grow in their independence this will allow them to be more self sufficient and will give you those few minutes of free time you need for yourself.  As you can see below here, it comes with quite a lot of memory (4gb) and I am confident this is more than you’ll ever need.  You’re also going to want to let your kids experience the different colorful apps that are already downloaded for you.  It always amazes me how quickly they catch on!!

Advantages and Specifications

An important thing to me for my children was the Wi-Fi option.  I wanted something that was child appropriate and not easily accessible for them.  In my opinion, in today’s world, the less the kids are on the internet the better (just for safety purposes).

  • LeapPad3 is the high-performance, fun-packed Wi-Fi tablet that allows kids to learn and play in a way that’s just right for them. Ages 3-9.

  • Access the most engaging learning library for kids’ tablets, with 1,000+ educator-approved games, apps, eBooks, videos and more. (Sold separately.)

  • With Wi-Fi and LeapSearch powered by Zui, children can explore kid-friendly web content that is 100% pre-screened and approved by learning experts.

  • Features a lithium ion rechargeable battery, 4GB memory, parent controls, light-touch capacitive screen, two cameras and video recorders, and more.

  • Includes 10 apps: Photo Fun Ultra, Pet Pad Party game, Pet Chat, choice of 1 app download, Utility Suite and more.

Again I want to thank you for coming to my site and I hope you enjoyed my review of the LeapPad3.   If you have any questions or comments about this review, please let me know.  I am sure with much perseverance and patience by your part, your children will thrive under your guidance.

 

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Organize Your Homeshool Room

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Organize Your Homeschool Room

Oh my goodness, how did this get so out of control.  (That was me just talking tclutter-560701__180o
myself for a minute there.)  We have all thought about this at one time or another, especially if you are homeschooling more than one child.  If you’re not prone to have a little ADD then this can be an overwhelming situation.  I tend to start the school year off just fine, then as the weeks turn into months, there it is, when are you going to organize your homeschool room? Where’s the pencils.  I’m just going to show you a few ideas that have helped me through the years.  When the kids were younger they seemed to realize that “you better not mess that up”.  As they got into there junior years, well I don’t know what happen there.

School Book Storage

cube storageI don’t purchase anything that is too expensive that’s for sure.  My son is using a four cube shelf for his books and storage.  It’s the perfect size for each child to keep their own supplies (and can’t blame anyone else if they can’t find something). I have the canvas drawers for two of them, and hanging files in the other two.  The hanging files work great for work sheets, coloring pages, and in our case, we use them for the work books.  They are really strong and durable, my 12 year old hasn’t broken it yet!  They have such a variety colors now, you will surely find one you will like.  We have it set up in his bedroom, with a small desk that fits him perfect (by the way, I found his desk on Craigslist).

There are also a variety (too many to show here) of hanginhanging basket 2g baskets that you can put up just about anywhere.  You  can put them on the back of a closet door or even line them across the wall in the bedroom.  If you have little ones, keep them low enough where they can gain some independence getting their supplies themselves.  You don’t really have to have a big huge classroom – the more room – the more you tend to spread out (at least that’s what I do).  It can get quite out of hand if you let it.  The problem being, there are so many cute things out there, you can really get carried away.   If you can keep it to a minimum, as far as your main furniture, the dollar store can fill up the rest of your area.

Here are a couple of examples of classroom setups.  As you can see, you really don’timages need a lot of room.  With a few essentials, and the cute pencils with the goldfish erasers – all will be well in your child’ s eyes.  It is important to make it special for them, they have to spend a good amount of their time in this area.  So make it fun – get some map posters, and a couple Math charts and before you know it, you have a full fledged homeschool room.  The younger kids, especially K-3rd grade, they will get such a kick out of picking out a few special things from the dollar store – but don’t forget, these items are for school.  If you are shopping during the summer, keep the suspense building until that first day begins.  Those stickers will be put to good use soon enough.

Everything In It’s Place

storage binsIf you can get them in the habit right off the bat to put things in there place.  This is where that dollar store comes in.  They have all sizes of the smaller baskets, cups & pencil holders.  They are perfect for the construction paper, crayons, glue, scissors, well you get the idea.  It’s important to have those little prizes you will need when they do a good job, or scored 100% on their worksheets.  Believe it or not, a shoe storage hanger, makes a great sticker and prize storage area!!

 

And By All Means – Make It Fun

Don’t forget some free time items – they are going to need a break in between subjects at some point.  Now in my boy’s point of view, every house should come fully equipped with a variety of Nerf products (but mom, they won’t break anything).  As for my daughter, she loved those fancy, crazy design coloring books – not just your basic Winnie the Pooh for her.  Now a days, they have those Mandala coloring pages in almost any style you would want, animals, flowers and just random shapes.  I must admit, they can be really beautiful when they are done.

owl mandala                              nerf

Take It Easy

As you have probably figured out by now, I am not one for making things real difficult.  This can be a fun time for both you and your children.  Take a day, get some supplies, go out to lunch, come home and let them get all excited about everything you bought.  Give them the opportunity to help you decorate and set up the area so they can make the space their own.

 

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Socialization For Homeschoolers

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How Do Homeschoolers Socialize?

Sound familiar?  This is usually the first thing people say when you tell them your children are homeschooled, do homeschoolers socialize?  All of a sudden they are worrying whether you child’s social skills are affected by homeschooling.  They are not the least bit impressed that your child is a year ahead a grade due to less distractions.  Well, let me continue.bigstock-group-of-kids-in-various-unifo-15882470

Homeschooled children often have more opportunities to get involved in situations and meet people throughout educational activities, in comparison to a group of 15 – 20 students confined to a room in their grade level. With ongoing interaction with adults, peers and children both younger and older, a homeschooled child will gain experiences with relationships, bonding and growing in overall respect.  One thing I have noticed on a personal note, my children have learned to interact with adults – which I believe is lost in the school setting.

Parental Involvement

Now don’t get me wrong it does take a great deal of parental involvement and motivation to keep your children’s interests at the fore front of your day.  To ensure that a homeschool child receives important socialization, parents must commit to give the child these opportunities through the activities and the curriculum offered.  If your child does not interact in any learning opportunities outside the home, or is confined to only interaction with the immediate family, then yes, they may have difficulty gaining important social skills.  The National Home Education Research Institute (yes there is actually a research institute about this) states that “effective homeschool socialization generally comes from the immediate family environment, field trips, support groups, classes, church, neighborhood, organized sports”.

Are My Peers Watching Me

Sometimes people get the idea that our children are sitting around saying woe is me I can’t go to school.  Well in fact the truth is quite the opposite.  In my personal experience, once my kids realized that they would have to get up at the crack of dawn and not get home until 3:00 or 4:00 – well, that’s a no brainer don’t you think.  All kidding aside, I have heard first hand from children I deal with at church and the ball fields, wow it must be cool to be homeschooled.   I think we need to talk to our kids about being leaders because we know most groups have their leaders and followers. Even the Bible talks about being followers – it just depends on who your following.

Proverbs 21:21, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.  The follower has his own gift just as much as the leader, and should feel honored as long as the leader is not exerting power over him. Maybe we can help our kids try to recognize how they feel when someone is putting too much pressure on them. If they recognize that uncomfortable feeling, then they can back away and be confident with the decision they made. And in turn, we can help them to recognize how they feel when they are the leader or the one with the “power”.  Also, having your children join in on extra curricular activities will automatically make them feel welcomed and part of the gang.

Group Activities For All Ages

I think the most important thing is to keep our children busy – whether it be reading, card games or playing outside.  Below I have shown just a couple of things for each age group.  The teens really enjoy paintball, you can get your homeschool group or church youth group together and make your own paint ball fields.  Get those hay bails out, and refrigerator boxes and your on your way.  Next is a bean bag game for those toddlers.  Nothing is better than a bean bag and you can’t be the quality of Melissa and Doug products.  Last but not least for those middle-schoolers – dodge balls.  Who doesn’t like throwing a ball at someone else (ok, disclaimer here, parental guidance required).

toddler toys      Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Verdie Chameleon Beanbag Toss 

paint ball     JT ER2 Pump Pistol RTS Kit

ball 2     3 – 8.5″ OFFICIAL SIZE DODGE BALLS / PLAYGROUND KICK BALLS / MULTI-COLOR

Some Ideas To Get You Out And About

  • Join the scouts or 4-H. One thing I did when my kids were younger was join a 4-H group.  Yes, we had the animals to show for it – bunnies were a favorite.  Many communities offer homeschool 4-H groups, and a few areas contain scouting groups whose members primarily homeschool. (If you join a homeschool group, it generally meets when you’re available during the day, instead of using evening or weekend hours.) Ask around.
  • Volunteer for a local nonprofit organization.  There are always very good organizations out there that need a helping hand.  The animal shelter, library and local food bank are just a few.  Teach your children to be able to give of their time and not only their money.  This can be a very important activity in the growth and maturity of your children.horseback riding
  • Play ball, swimming, or horse back riding.  Depending on what your child would enjoy, sometimes it is better to widen their horizons, give them an opportunity to try something they’ve never done before.  Your local recreation centers usually provide some kind of spring or summer classes they can join as well.  My daughter started horse back riding lessons when she was 7 years old and continued it on until her adult life.  This a great way to meet other homeschoolers, most likely you can get in these classes earlier in the day because regular students are in school.  Just some more perks.
  • Meet a playgroup at the park. The parks are a great place to get together for all ages.  We often went to the park, each family had different age groups, but this didn’t matter.  We packed a lunch and off we went.  My older kids loved to play basketball, while the younger were fine with the playground.  This can be a relaxing time for moms especially, just sit, relax and chat.  We also had an art-in-the-park day which the kids really enjoyed.
  • Play in the homeschool orchestra. Some areas even have homeschool orchestras.  I know by us they have a Christian Community Orchestra that is made up of mostly homeschoolers.  This a another great time for learning and meeting new friends with the same interests.


giraffe-152607__180Join or create a field trip group.
  Field trips are always a favorite with most kids.  You can do just about anything these days with a homeschool group.  Most places will give discounts and are very appreciative of our business.  We went to the zoo (discounted prices) and also, believe it or not, we toured our local supermarket.  At the end of the tour, they provided us with, sandwich meat, rolls, fruit platter, cheese & crackers.  This was a surprisingly fun day – much to the surprise of the skeptics in the group.  The kids got to run the register, thought they were hot stuff for a day.

If you find yourself driving from point A to point B with craziness in your car, now would be the time to pop in one of those audio books or foreign language CD’s.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  You will be surprised how much you and your children take in just listening.  We listened to the Diary of Anne Frank this way, my daughter could tell me all about it when we were done (after a week or two).

 

 

 

 

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Homeschool Christian Curriculum – My Perspective

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A Christian Homeschool Mom’s Perspective

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

As a mom starting a christian based homeschool, I knew that prayer had to be the first and foremost part of our day.  I am not always as faithful as I would like to be, but I know the only way we will have any success is for us to keep our eyes on the Lord.  Too often we think we can do anything we want on our own.  Pride can get in the middle of your homeschooling just as in any area of your life.  Among the many problems within our culture today is the downward spiral in the hearts and minds of today’s young people. What many of us may not realize is that one of the biggest down falls of society, and of our children, can be seen in our secular public schools. A ton of anti-God teachings within an unbiblical christian school setting is creating a humanistic point of view even at such a young age.  If Christian parents are truly committed to training up their children God’s way, we should not be sending our kids to public schools.

Proverbs 13:20 – He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:  but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

A child left with other kids for a minimum of five days a week, 180 days a year, will learn to accept and do whatever is necessary in order to fit in and be part of the gang (his peers). He will learn how to talk, how to dress, how to act, what music to listen to, and which TV shows and movies to watch, and he will get a steady dose of pop culture. It’s One of the first things skeptics of homeschooling say is what about the social skills of your children?  All I know is what the Bible has already warned us about.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Be not deceived:  evil communications corrupt good manners.

First Corinthians 15:33a warns us to not be deceived, telling us that bad company corrupts good morals. Yet parents continue to think that putting 25–30 children in a classroom for the majority of the day, for more than 12 years of their lives and expect their children to come apart from among them. Go figure – what do we think we are trying to accomplish by doing this.  Never mind having a child confined to a desk for hours, and in the teen years the hormones raging.  We are setting them up to fail!  It’s no wonder that schools today are filled with poor attitudes.  The problems low self-esteem, hostility toward teachers, vandalism, bullying, drug use, gun threats, is a recipe for chaos.  While it would be nice to think that the “good kids” are being the light in these classroom, which I am sure in some cases they are, but at such a young age the challenges can be too great at times.

Proverbs 29:3 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:  but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

The public schools of today have succeeded in removing not only the kjv bible picTen Commandments, but the Bible as well.  You see articles all the time in the news regarding another school house or court house that nixed the Ten Commandments.  Why do they see this as a good thing, when all it is really doing is adding to the corruption and the bad morals altogether.  They have no problem being politically correct when little Johnny wants to bring in information regarding cults and world view information – but have Cindy bring her Bible in, well they just won’t have it.  The small amount of children who are trying to make a difference and live for the Lord are made fun of and ridiculed everyday.  They are supposed to be happy with holding hands around a flag pole and saying a prayer once in awhile.  The whole system has lost site of what our fore fathers fought so hard for, protecting the rights and freedoms of not only our children, but us as a whole.

Romans 5:8 – But God commendenth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We know that over three thirds of America’s children go to public schools – maybe even more.  As parents we need to turn our hearts toward the Word of God when making all decisions, not only for schooling, but in our everyday practices as well.  We should learn from generations of old that the key to everything they did centered around the Bible.  God labored for us, went to the cross and died for us – let’s not make this is vain, but get back to the morals our country was founded on.

As you can see, I am very passionate about this subject and realize that I have much to learn.  I have confidence that if I keep focused on what God’s plan is for me, and especially not trying to do it by myself, I will reap the rewards HE has promised.

All the scripture verses were from the King James Bible.  Thanks again, and don’t forget, let the Lord make your decisions.  Any thoughts on this blog, please leave a comment below.

Bibles

 

 

 

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Is Online Homeschooling Right For Me?

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Is Homeschooling Online For Me

Today I wanted to mention online homeschooling because it was the choice wevideo button used for our 7th grader this year. I wanted to pick one of the online Christian homeschooling programs.  We have been using ABEKA Videao streaming which is very popular right now.  I think this gives parents the the confidence that their children are receiving a quality education.  Also, one of the advantages of ABEKA  is the variety other Christian homeschool resources.  It works for us (for now anyway).

While I’ve mentioned this before, every child’s needs will be different.  One may be fluent in Math, the other Science and so on.  One of your children may be better at seat work and a more hands on approach.  In this case the video program would not be best.  I would say this is more for the independent learner, the one you can leave alone and know they’ll actually do it.  You do have a parent account with ABEKA, so you will be following along, and the teachers do their best to engage your child in the lesson as well.

The Digital World

The age we are living in seems to be everything internet – I’m not too thrilled (you can ask my kids).  We keep their internet activity limited for sure.  This curriculum does have a wide range of digital materials for instance:

  • Digital Assessments
  • Digital Textbooks
  • Digital Teaching Aids
  • Digital Art

So you can see their is a wide variety of helpful tools that you can use.

Some times your children feel like they are too grown up to be doing those little “kiddie” books with all the pictures (so my son says).  The online homeschooler will most likely be a note taker, independent thinker, well organized and knows how to use their time wisely.

Many children are wanting to come home anyway just to homeschool in the first place.  They feel picked on, low self esteem, overall unhappy in a school setting.  This may be a way to build their confidence back up and build some social skill along the way. Once they start building and keeping their grades up, they will have a new attitude.  You may not be able to start online with a full curriculum at this stage in their lives, but there are also many single subject ideas out their as well.  The key is to get your child into some sort of extra curricular activity such as basketball and baseball (my boys choices).  You wouldn’t believe how much they have grown being in this kind of environment.

This keeps them away from the hum-drum school day, the bullies, trouble makers and anything else they are having trouble with.

Fight For Your Child

frients pic 2I realize in this day and age even the school setting can be a scary place.  You have to be your child ‘s advocate, pay attention to how he/she is acting and what they are talking about.  See what they are doing, who they are involved with (their so called friends).  Be as tough as you have to be to find the best thing for your children.  It may be online, it may be seat work, it may be just sitting and coloring for awhile.

Just be there for your kids – they will thrive knowing you are going to always fight to do what is best for them.

Leave me your thoughts and comments.  Again, God Bless, and thanks for the visit.

 

 

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