Friday, August 18, 2017

Dear ______ Homeschooling Momma


Yes, you read that title correctly.  You see, YOU just need to fill in the blank for yourself, because YOU know YOU best!  But I bet I can relate more than you know-

Dear NEW Homeschool momma,
Welcome aboard the Homeschool journey! You can do this!  No, really, you can.  There will be some in your life that will doubt you.  Smile nicely and keep your distance.  There will be others that will cheer you on.  Keep them close and thank them often.  And there are other mommas out there that know just how you are feeling this year.  And they survived.  So will you.

Dear LAST YEAR Homeschool Momma,
Savor the moments.  This is your last one and life will never be quite the same after this year.  Take time to sit back and watch your child work.  Remember the fun times you have had and the hard things you have overcome together.  Pray over this last child and know this is their time to fly!

Dear BROKE Homeschool momma,
Take a breath!  It is going to be ok.  We are often distracted by the bells and whistles curriculum, but I promise you your child can and will learn from the basics just as well.  Go to the library and you will find all you need.  Look online for free worksheets and you will find them.  You do not need to spend a fortune to teach your children well.  Trust me.

Dear TIRED Homeschool momma,
Take the time to rest.  Find something that makes you happy and do it, even if just a few minutes a day.  Look for pockets of time you can take a quick rest to regroup.  When you are rested you are a better teacher and a better mom.

Dear LONELY Homeschool Momma, 
You do not have to be alone.  Though they may take time to find, there are other mommas out there just like you.  Find a special friend or group of friends and enjoy some adult time.  You need it.

Dear BUSY Homeschool Momma,
S-L-O-W D-O-W-N.  Don't forget to take time to notice the little details and remember the special times.  This time is fleeting.  Sometimes staying at home is just as wonderful as going out.  Be careful not to over schedule and burn your family out- it isn't worth it in the end.

Dear DONE Homeschool Momma,
You made it!  And so did they!  Congratulations, you deserve a party!  After countless math facts, sentence diagramming, and papers, you have finished your job as a formal teacher.  Now is the time to rejoice over the success- yours AND theirs. As you begin a new adventure, and I KNOW you will, remember to everything there is a season.  May your new season be blessed!

Homeschool mommas- THANK YOU for joining us this week for our 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop.  The Homeschool Crew loves you and we are thrilled to be able to get to know you and share our reviews as well as our lives with you.

Life is always better done with friends and I count you as such!

If you missed our earlier posts you can find them here-

Day 1 Plan of Attack
Day 2 The 5 Essentials of Homeschooling
Day 3 Best Laid Plans
Day 4 Cooperation Is Key

Blessings,

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017



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!

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

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,