Category Archives: Homeschool Tips

GIVEAWAY!!!

Alright friends! Here is the deal.

It is time for a giveaway. I don’t do giveaways unless they are a thing that all my friends need in their lives. It’s kinda a rule I have.

I met Alicia through Amy and they are both fabulous. The kind that you hope to meet in real life someday so that you could hug their face off, ya know?

 

Alicia blogs at Investing Love. She has four adorable littles, is a homeschool mama, and beyond creative. Love, Love, Love her blog.

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Anyway, if you homeschool, then you just gotta have these in your arsenal.

Mrs Hutchinson’s Classroom Guides

No for real, you need them.

Homeschool Basics- NOT just for newbies. She included solutions for everyday problems, curriculum guide, tons of printables, and more. $7

and

Planning and Organizing- She included almost 20 pages of printables for you to use as well as tips on how to organize your schoolroom, you lesson planner, your yearly plans, and your daily schedules. This guide also covers tons of tips on getting through the nitty gritty of organizing and keeping things in order. $7

Please go get some cookies and a cup of tea and head on over to sit and read up on the details on these ebooks!

Go HERE!

 

and ya know what? She has another title coming out soon, Make Homeschooling Fun.

and ya know what else? She just released her lesson planner. For just $7. It’s modern, simple to use, cute, and practical.

 

 

Enter below to win a copy of BOTH of her ebooks!!!!  Homeschool Basics and Planning & Organizing!!!

 

Good Luck!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Back To School, Again.

Tomorrow begins our first days of school in Missouri. Well, actually today was, but it was a holiday, so we had the day off. I am the best teacher…ever.

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3rd grade.

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Anyway. Four months after school has started I took their yearly school photos. I just didn’t get to it. I always have wanted to do pics in front of busses, which makes less than zero sense since my kids are home schooled. Not too many busses around in California. However, I found some in Missouri. We took these pictures in about 60 seconds, for real, because I felt like I was doing something wrong and might go to some sort of Missouri jail. So we were fast. Baby stayed strapped in car. It was really quite impressive, actually. I think the kids might have been slightly scared because they were extra cooperative, lol.

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8th grade.

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I need a picture for their school box each year…and by school box I mean you simply must click over and see the best idea I have seen on Pinterest, ever, that I did and am totally head over heels in love with. It is for any child in school. Not just home schooler types.

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9th grade

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Anyway. I said I would never homeschool. I am. I said I could never homeschool around a dining room table. I am starting tomorrow…and while we are on the topic of stupid things I say, I also said I would never live anywhere where there are tornados.

When will I learn?

 

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The Beginning. Our Classroom 2013-2014

I was SO excited when we moved into our current home to make this huge garage a room. Music lessons, school, sleepovers, parties….I was giddy really. HUGE project and not much funds to do it. Challenge accepted.

About 60% in to completion and we are now moving to Missouri. I think somewhere inside myself I may have had a tantrum that I could never finish this room, but really what’s a girl to do? Silver lining? Every single home I have looked at in Missouri has big fat giant basements, so lets just say I am 60% ahead of the game when I get there and call it a day. I have a great start and am excited to finish it.

Proverbs 16:9.

So, should I point out what I was going to do? Hmmm, I think I shall not for the sake of potentially sounding like a whiner. It’ll be like a where’s waldo game blog post. Find the unfinished projects, the empty spots, the burned out lightbulb, the calendars dated October when it is November, etc. o.k.? o.k.? I commit to not talk about how I was going to decorate the chalkboards cutely, get fresh flowers, wait for correct lighting, vacuum, and all of the other things swirling in my head to make these pictures cute. I won’t do it. I won’t, I tell you. ;) So, enough chatting. Let us go on a photo tour…..focus on the beginnings and the fabulous deals God gave me in this project because there was alot.

I had a VERY clean and finished walls with a bay window to begin with. A huge step in the right direction at the starting line.

 

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moving day…one of the last times the big garage door would be opened.

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fabulous school room red front door? yes please.

first step, carpet! a huge change already.

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vintage theatre seating ($20), school desk($40), and zebra rugs($10) from Craig’s.

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This room is comfy cozy, I tell ya. We LOVE it! It is big enough we can all be in here during the day on not be totally on top of each other. It is my favorite space we have had so far in our homeschool days.

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I am a firm believer in class pets. If you can kinda tell there hanging in the window is a parrot. She is from Ikea. She received a coat of gold spray paint upon purchase and she is super well behaved.

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I used tissue pom pons to hide the garage door opener. Long lengths of material from a fabric outlet, trimmed out with fabulous tassels and feathers and such from Hobby Lobby.

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o.k. the story on this art box. We had a fridge that we didn’t want to part with just yet and didn’t want to look at it either, so I came up with the idea to make a box for chalk boards and magnet walls and hide the fridge inside. I asked my neighbor and look what he did? Oh yeah, did it all. So, much better than what was in my head. So fun, right? We use it all the time.

He’s a superhero type of guy.

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Big bulb Christmas lights, maps, white boards, and posters line the wood wall. The wood wall is actually covering the garage door, which is still functional but hidden because we want to pretend we are not in a garage.

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I purchase 4 4×8 panels from Lowe’s. They were already this color and were kinda a splurge, but an important one. $160 for an 8 foot tall and 16 foot wide distraction.

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Files for each student, calendars, president charts, and spelling lists…

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The shell chandelier was on clearance 80 percent off at Pier One. It plugs nicely into the ceiling where a plug was present for the garage door. I purchased a remote control for $15 at Lowes so we can turn it on and off without climbing a ladder. I should have purchased a clapper because that would have been more fun. #claponclapofftheclapper

This cutesy white shelf reminded me of one in the fabulous Ms Amy’s darling room and I picked it up off of Craigs for $50. I filled it with some fun little trinkets including that fabulous vintage camera that Cara surprised me with when I started my photography business.

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Cutest clock in the world? yup. $20 at Ikea. $10 for the sticker and $10 for the actual clock. Those evil genius’ did it again.

The chicken wire made its way back in to this room. Floor to ceiling to hold lots of art projects and important things.

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I am mildly obsessed with black and white stripes and Good Will pictures for as low as .49 cents.

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Red couch? Craigs came through again. $50. In perfect shape.

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true antique typewriters, little girl doodles, and chalkboard painted lockers for the win.

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Be Still and know that I am God.

It was the only vinyl that I could find to fit in this space. God sure knew that I would need to hear that a lot this year.

Happy Homeschooling…

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First Day of School. First Day of School.

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I can’t possibly NOT picture Nemo in my head. First day of school. First day of school. First day of anything is a big deal around these parts, but first day of school is right up there with Christmas. O.k. maybe not, but it is still a big deal. New beginnings, clean slates {quite literally}, and lots of surprises.

I also get this weird nesting thing like when you are pregnant, yet not. I feel like everything should be “done”. Clothes, haircuts, stocked refrigerator, full face of make up, and organized closets. Reality is no one had clean clothes this morning, my boys need haircuts desperately, empty fridge, woke up late, and who are you kidding?

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*We had ice cream just after breakfast! It’s a tradition

I am a little scared because I just realized this morning that I have one of each.

I have a preschool student

I have an elementary student

I have a middle school student

I have a high school student

I have a headache…

LOL!

No really, I think things sound worse on paper sometimes. Although admittedly switching from playing peek a boo to answering “what did Miley Cyrus do on TV that was so bad” is a lot for my brain. I am spread thin from teething to hormones…but I love it.

Today was a strange first day. Peaceful and without incident and I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing. It is SUCH a big deal to me in my heart, the first day of school. It seems like there should be a marching band or something, but it came and it went. Quietly. VERY QUIETLY.

We did pictures in front of the front door. #becausethatswhatyoudo

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We labeled binder dividers.

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*Greyson leads us in prayer OFTEN. It goes a little something like this. “Hand? Hand?” hold hands. “Jesus…A Men”. drop hands. repeat. #amilliontimes

We had snacks and lunch out of lunch boxes {my number one tip for homeschoolers! Seriously! MAKE THE LUNCH THE NIGHT BEFORE WHEN THE HOUSE IS QUIET!}.

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We learned. Today I taught my 8 year old about the dictionary and how to look up words. We practiced with some vocabulary words for her Charlottes web unit {love me some Wilbur} and she says, “Wow, I can see why people really like this book. It’s useful.” She keeps me laughing.

We discussed. Math U See is way better than last year’s math and we are grateful and excited for Total Language Plus. School should be about LEARNING. NOT checking off a completed worksheet and moving on. Side note: the older I am getting the more I am developing a sincere hatred for the check box. Stop checking things off. Start living. Check boxes are dangerous. #proceedwithcaution

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*MFW book basket for the win

We had fun. Making birth announcements for Wilbur and beginning our new morning celebrations and praise and oh my word, that will be my favorite part of school this year for sure. {details coming!}.

and you know what? I LOVE our new space for school. I will show you later this week!

and you know what else? I love my kids. I love our school days.

These really are the moments and I am ready to do it all over again tomorrow…and I seriously wasn’t kidding about the haircut.

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Homeschooling

Don’t you hate it when you get a great planner, fill it in, and then find one you like better? Welcome to my last two days! I resisted the urge to waste anymore time and buy another one to re-fill in. I kept the original new one. Yay me.

When filling it in, I realized it is time to think about what homeschool conference I am going to attend. I have been 2 times. I find them incredibly important. I think that one of the big threats of homeschool is aloneness. Isolation. We are on an island. Even if you choose to use that to your advantage and sleep on that hammock, call Pedro for umbrella drinks, and live in paradise, at some point the aloneness will get to you. It is too easy to start using your own self as a judge on what your kids “should know” and “shouldn’t know” and a host of other decisions. The last thing I want in the world for my children is to raise them on my island, created by me and me alone. I want them to be able to leave this island and enter the “real world” completely ready to tackle college, careers, marriage, and family.

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*first beaters. a total rite of passage.

Part of that readiness for me is staying in touch with my teacher friends and asking them to look at my curriculum. Looking at my friends kid’s homework and seeing if I am even remotely near it. Reading, researching, and learning {including going to conferences}. I find that each time I went, I saw hundreds of people who were normal, socialized, well adjusted, intelligent and polite people who love and want the best for their children. They have chosen this path of homeschooling as one of many to get there. It gives an extra layer of validity to the whole thing to me. A tangible confidence. Sometimes, in those moments, I need that constant reminder that I am not crazy.

On those times, when I wake up in the middle of winter and it is freezing cold outside and I am tired and I am in clothes for the 4th day in a row without a button or zipper in sight, I remember that I am no where near alone in this venture. I think the conventions are well worth my time and money and really? a weekend away. I’m o.k. with that part too.

Spring is not the best time of year for me. I prefer June through mid January. However, I love to plan and so the beginnings of thinking about the next year and what we will learn and sifting through the endless oceans of curriculum really help energize me during this slump time of year.

It really has been such a perfect first week back after a long holiday break, NOT because it has been perfect. Oh, if you could see my house in those moments. In fact this morning during one, I looked down to find my toddler driving, quite violently I might add, a circus train across my desk. You know the fun thing about older kids? They get things now. My oldest son locked eyes with me laughed and pressed the button for the circus music to add to the chaos. It was beautiful.

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*all aboard the crazy train, please.

Each year I learn more and more. Each year I get better at what I am doing. By the time I figure it out, no doubt I will be creating a way to fulfill my promise to my 12 year old that she will wear a cap and gown and have a ceremony somewhere. However that is in fact life, right? The journey is the most important.

Homeschool requires so much. I have a nagging fear in the back of my mind of what will happen to me when I am done with this phase. When I wake up in the morning and actually might have some free time because there are no babies living at home with me anymore. The transition seems like it will be so much more abrupt than if they were at school outside the home all these years. I recognize its fairly ridiculous to even let these thoughts of 17 years from now cross my mind. We may not even continue homeschooling all the way through. Who knows what the Lord has planned.

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*my monkey lives on…he got busted just after I snapped this.

This week we continued memorizing poetry, marrying off q and u {til death do they part}, multiplication, past participles, and the list goes on and on. Second, seventh, and eight grades are sure teaching me a lot. My daughter and I are finishing up a study on the kitchen. I can’t wait to tell you about it. It’s been super fun and was inspired by Polished Cornerstones.

Today is Thursday, which is my Friday. I am ready for the weekend! This teacher gig is exhaustingly fabulous.

I had a moment of sheer serenity earlier in the week. Classical music playing {which is standard around here}, new leopard slippers, pumpkin spice candle, teenage son going about his chores while teaching toddler how to do them too, both daughters engrossed in independent assignments, and my husband  doing the dishes. Moments like these are the icing on the cake of life.

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When you move to a new city, it can be so lonely. One of the first people I met 7.5 years ago when I moved to Elk Grove, was this crazy mama. We were on a field trip for our boys as they were in the same class. We chatted at a park and haven’t stopped since. We look alike and our hearts are a lot alike. People think we are sisters. We kinda are, just, not by blood.

Her baby girl has some pretty significant health issues. They went through some scary months waiting on a diagnosis. In fact, she was the one who found the disease online that her daughter was ultimately diagnosed with and brought the information to her doctors.

She has about a gajillion things on her plate and when she felt the Lord calling her to put a 5k run on to raise awareness and funding for Mitochondrial disease, she said yes. It’s going to be no small event. She doesn’t do small. Please take a moment to read about this event and Mitochondrial disease. The information could be so important to you or someone you know. I had never even heard of the word before.

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Happy Thursday!

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Stuff That Moves Me

The last month or so I have been feeling a bit like a dirt bag teacher. Stuff was all getting done, but I have been riddled with the guilt of not doing “enough” and not being prepared “enough” and well yeah. It happens when I start to let school slip down the rungs of the ladder of importance in my life. Then I feel guilty because I’m all ” REALLY, this is your kid’s education and this can NOT slip.” BUT THEN, I’m all, “REALLY, does another completed craft off of Pinterest define successful education?” I think not. So, you can see the argument that wages in my head, complete with the vocabulary of a 16 year old.

The bottom line is homeschooling is HARD. It’s hard because of the weight of responsibility. It’s hard because of the amount of time it takes. It’s just hard for a lot of reasons. The hardest thing I have ever done. It’s also what my husband and I believe that God wants for our family. So, when the going gets tough for me, it does not mean that it is time to quit, but time to honestly look and re prioritize. There very may well come a day that my children go back to school outside of the home. If and when that day comes, I am confident that the Lord will make it clear to both my husband and I. It’s not now.

A life of substance requires sacrifice, dependence on God, denying ourselves, and constant asking for His will and mine to line up. So many times my flesh sneaks up and says things like, “Hey, you deserve to get 8 hours a day to yourself while your kids are away at school” I start to fantasize about what I could accomplish during those hours… I can hardly imagine what that would be like. Whatever God calls each of us to, for our own lives, is undoubtedly going to be a challenge at some point. That doesn’t mean that you need to change it. It probably means you need to change you. It usually means that for me, anyway.

I had a really good week back at school last week. I kicked school back up two notches to its rightful place and prayed for enthusiasm, energy, patience, and passion. All of the things that I want for a teacher of my children to have. One night, while I was looking around on some blogs for some fun ideas for this next month of school, I ran across this post {Why I (Almost) Gave Up Homeschooling} by Eddie @ Life In Grace. She was one of the first blogs I ever found. The post stopped me right in my tracks.

“I wandered off the path because the path was difficult.”

“I was busy and distracted.”

“We want the beauty without the struggle.”

My heart’s whisperings articulated perfectly on paper. So nice to know I am not alone. If you homeschool, or ever feel like you want to give up on something, please read this. It is bookmarked on my computer, for safe keeping.

When I am in the right place, I get up and act out the vocabulary words, complete with dance and song, if need be, for my 8 year old. I watch her eyes twinkle because she thinks I am so funny and I know I am doing it right. When I am in the right place, I answer that question for the 14,567th time without rolling my eyes. When I am in the right place, I can change poopy diapers and teach Algebra in one single bound. When I am in the right place, the dry erase markers that produce our grammar lessons match Christmas. When I am in the right place, my day has enough time because God makes all things perfect, including 24 hours in a day.

My right place isn’t me being perfect, but it’s knowing that God has fully and fabulously equipped me in every single way that I need to live out what He has asked of me. I have all of the resources and skills available to me that I need. Not necessarily the ones that I want all of the time, but definitely the ones that I need.

Being in the center of God’s will in the little day to day moments is inspiring. It’s when stuff just “feels” right and that is the sprinkles on top, for sure. A deep peace is prevalent in the midst of chaos. It’s beautiful. I like it here.

 

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One Sixth Done

We just completed week six of school. I am planning my date to plan quarter 2. I’m planning a date to plan. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

We started reading chapter books this year with Emma. I wanted a fun way to incorporate it into our school day and I stumbled upon this book at Rainbow Resource. It is pretty much the cutest thing in all the land. It has already been a big hit with Emma. It is a keepsake book to record 15 books that she has read. It even has bookplates for the books. Oh and…$7.95. SCORE!

I honestly am so thankful for Pinterest. Come follow me there. If you homeschool, I am telling you it is a lifesaver! I found this fun craft. We are focusing on geography this year and this was just a great review of what’s what.

We are learning all the states this year. This week we had Emma’s first state test. She nailed it. I add a couple of states each week. We have map posters to review them daily and then I give her different worksheets and things to practice. You can grab a blank map outline here.  I also purchased this magnetic map. It’s been great as well AND it’s from Hobby Lobby, so I just gave you ANOTHER reason to go and drool your way around the store. We nailed it to the wall and then I just give her the states as we learn them.

…another Pinterest find. Domino Math. They currently have dominos in the $1 section at Target and you can grab the recording sheet here.

Last year I created a file system for all of my “extra” resources. Thin worksheet style books and printouts from the computer live in here. This way when I am sweetly minding my own business online and some magical worksheet jumps out at me, I can print it, file it, and actually find it again so that I can use it.

We are back in the swing of things with one of our favorite curriculums, which is one of our electives, Expedition Earth. We have visited Germany and the Netherlands this year, so far. We have made lots of crafts, studied music and art, famous landmarks, and on and on. This week we finished up our stay in the Netherlands by eating one of their treats (chocolate bread) and playing a game of pumpkin bowling (thanks Pinterest). Bowling originated in the Netherlands way back when, so we gave ‘em props with a little fall version of our own. Taylor won. Go Tay.

 Our littlest student has really fallen in line with the routine. Week one and two had me questioning my sanity a bit, but as I told the kids, he will get it-and he has. We have that super hexagon gate for play time (with extensions=lifesaver), movie time, outside time (the older two kids take just 15 minutes each of watching him each day), snacks, high chair play, and whatever else I can think of.

He has finally decided that talking is a good idea. SOOOOOO lessons around here are frequently interrupted with sweet toddler speak of beep beep, monkey, fish, stuck, plane, Elmo, and mmmmuah (as he kisses his sock monkey). There is enormous cheers and high fives goin’ on each time he speaks. I am not the only one around here completely head over heels in love with this little dude.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, my friends!

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Walking

It’s one of our places. We walk here. We have been walking here for almost seven years.

Every.

So.

Often.

When we first moved to our current city about seven years ago, I used to come here and be annoyed. I missed my concrete buildings and my one million neighbors. I like the big big city. The bigger the better and the more to do, see, and experience. I would grudgingly join this family outing because I love my man and he loves him some stuff like this.

I realized when we were walking this past weekend. I now find this pretty. I am not totally sure when I converted, but I have.

I am sure it was sometime around the moment when I really began to stop focusing on what I wanted for my life and began to do What I can, With What I have, With Where I am at. It’s interesting how God works in our hearts when we let Him. Surrender. That darn S word again. It keeps reappearing.

This trail is connected to the most gorgeous of neighborhoods. My doll house came to life and moved in here. I often wonder who lives in this adorableness. I have never seen anyone come and go, but if I did I think I would confess that there has never been a single drive by -by a certain woman in her minivan- that has not ignited a flurry of thoughts of what it would be like to wake up and look out those windows.

 This neighborhood reminds me of where I grew up. There are trees here. The rest of our city has very few. In fact, one morning shortly after I moved here and had dropped the older two kids off at school, I drove around looking for cool places in our new city. I found this neighborhood and I literally had to pull over and cry. I was so homesick. Those trees have magical powers. They made me tear.

In the middle of all the fabulousness is a charming neighborhood park. I came here the first week of the first year of homeschool. Again distraught. I may call this the crying neighborhood, now that I think of it.

It makes me all deep in thought, this place.

My thoughts turn towards the fact that this is a Friday. My children are not in school. Where that thought used to make me feel like an escape from Alcatraz artist all of the time, now I hardly think about it. However, I did today. While my kids are roaming through fields in a state of complete freedom, ninety percent of other kids their age are walking the hall of our local schools. These lifestyles really are worlds apart. My kids are so very much oblivious to the way their lives are being shaped by the education choices that we have made for them. Despite the challenges, of which there are many, I am grateful and confident in our decisions.

I had a moment of doubt this past week when I read about Kelle Hampton’s first day of Kindergarten. Despite the fact that I logically know that because I find this woman to be such a brilliant photographer and writer that I am pretty sure that she could get me to buy into just about anything, I did question. Long enough to bring it up to my husband. I told him I would have to figure out what it is that is magical about homeschooling for us. I know that this is what God has for us, but what is the flare and the aha moments that down deep fill our souls. We need to be aware of those.

It didn’t take long. The magic is found in the very fact that God created each person differently and each family differently. Every story has its own beginning, middle, and end. Not a one single one look alike. That is beautiful and this is the beauty for us. Our story. It’s together on a Friday morning, walking a dog. Realizing what once was despised is now beautiful and doing it together. Doing life together. Mistakes, successes, learning, and growing. All of it.

 It’s easy to compare and lose sight of the fantasticness within your grasp. And for us?

When it comes right down to it, it’s pretty fantastic.

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AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH

Precisely the response that I get when my seven year old sees an entire page of math problems. She knows them, but she gets tripped up when there are too many on one page. It is definitely not her favorite thing.

Today we experienced the new font size and quantity of 2nd grade math worksheets. I knew I was in for a parenting moment. Before the full scale meltdown occurred, I said, “O.k. we are doing the first thee rows orally”. Off I went asking for answers that I know she knows the answer to. She stepped up her game and got through it o.k.

With the superpower given to all women as they become mother’s for the first time, I multitasked my way through the first three lines of math facts while plotting a way to make this a bit more fun today.

Last problem, line three, an idea arrived. It was just in the nick of time, as they often are.

“O.K. now get ready Emma because we are doing the rest as a race. Each row will be done in a new location in the house. We are racing the clock so you gotta be quick. We gotta go to the place that I yell out, do a row, and move on. Got it?”

Eyes beaming she jumped to the start line.

Ready.

Go.

We visited my closet, my bed, Greyson’s room, her bed, my husband’s office, our learning closet, and finished in record time. Being that this was the first time we had done this, it was in fact the record.

All smiles.

No tears.

Math done.

I started thinking about this. I often find that homeschooling is an intricate dance between presenting material in a way that is engaging for my children, but also not wanting them to become accustomed to everything being explained to them and presented to them on a big fat silver platter. The platter that is called in your exact learning style, on your terms.

This is one of the biggest advantages and potential detriments that homeschool offers, in my opinion. If my children are never gently nudged, (or some days shoved off a small cliff), then how will they be equipped to handle real life after school, or say a job? What happens the first time their boss asks them to do something they don’t like or don’t understand? Are they going to look him and the eye, ” I am sorry you didn’t teach me that in my preferred learning style?”

I dance this dance daily. Minute by minute, in fact. It is the same dance of a parent in general that is specifically heightened in the life of a homeschooling family.

But today.

Today my girl needed someone to show her life could be fun. Hard things can be accomplished in record time with a new perspective and a new tactic. Impossible things become opportunities every single day and the opportunities are the lessons that are waiting to be learned.

I know we will reference this morning the next time math brings us so many addition problems crammed onto one page that my seven year old feels like she wants to pull her own hair out strand by strand. I will remind her as many times as it takes that it is mostly all about perspective. I will remind her that she holds the record in the first ever math facts around the house race. Anything is possible.

She rocked it.

and

I needed to be reminded myself of those lessons today. All of them. Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand, run, and laugh with us. Sometimes that is all it takes. Who can I be that for today?

I can hardly believe we are already wrapping up week two of school. We have been to the library to secure books for our first book reports. My girl was over the moon to get a book list and some guidelines and have to find a book that fit those requirements. I love her.

I discovered my baby says QUACK about as cute as can be.

Practicing spelling words is more fun when stamped.

The night night game is fun even in libraries.

Our history curriculum is awesome. Have you ever wondered how Bible history intersects with actual history and why we keep them separate? I had not. This year I started a four year long series titled Mystery of History. It teaches Bible and history together. For example, did you know that Jonah was swallowed by the whale at approximately the same time that the first Olympic games took place in Greece? Yeah, me neither. Am I a total nerd that I find that fascinating? I read it in the introduction of our curriculum and I have to admit I am pretty excited about learning this along with my kids.

Today we are studying the Ice Age. There are suggested activities to enhance the lesson. I chose the one where I have the kids place an ice cube on their bare stomach and see who could leave it there the longest. It sounded fun. It was. Red tummies later they both survived and tied. Neither gave up.

Tomorrow I will be back to show you my shiny new business logo. I Love it.

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

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Where Our Stuff Is

If you noticed in our school room there is no “stuff” out. No centers, no fish tanks, no nature shelves, no books, no stuff. We do have it all, but I just moved it out this year. It seems natural to surround ourselves with all of these things in plain sight. However, while we are blessed to have space in our home dedicated just to our school days, it isn’t super big and I needed to tone down the overstimulation that I had going on in there. Over the last three years, there has been a mass exodus of extra things moving out of the classroom and this year, it is official, anything potentially cluttery has moved to other places. I have tried to have everything in one room and it just doesn’t work.

Now we just go get what we need to bring in the classroom. OR go in the closet to review the seven continents. It works.

Just around the corner from our school room, we have a pretty good size under the stairs closet. It became mini romper room. It’s fantastic. I frequently take my 2nd grader in there for hands on things and a little quiet learning time with just here and I. It’s just fun. Who doesn’t like a fort? At 4 or 40, it still rocks to be in a fort and it is also very difficult to get decent pictures in tight spaces, just so you know.

We have learning posters, magnet boards, magnet maps of the US, and more detailed map posters as we are focusing on states and geography this year.

We also have sciencey boards and the continuation of our animal study with our Expedition Earth curriculum as shown in these pathetically horrible pictures.

The closet makes a turn and in the very back and we have our Hoo Are You Board? The title is courtesy of my 7th grader. So cute. This year as part of our 2nd grade Bible curriculum, we are focusing on a different character trait every week. Each week we will put our character trait on an owl and add it to the board. We kinda heart owls around here.

My daughter loves it.

Changes of pace, getting moving, big bright colors, big visuals, and secret spaces. They help bring learning to life for my girl.

 

Right on top of the closet, just half way up the stairs on our landing, I put a bookshelf. All of our kids books in the house are on this shelf, all in one place. The kids just run up there to grab their books and my toddler hangs out on the step to read.

Back downstairs and next to my romper room cave, there are some built in cupboards right outside of the bathroom. They really were kind of  useless to me and being in a rental, I can’t rip them out. However, last year homeschool teaching helps and art supplies took up residence here.

It’s all in one place now and I can just hang out to find what I need, but I don’t have to look at it all the live long day. Perfect! On the shelf lives our tadpole, or whatever other creature we are observing, resourcey type books, and pencils. I also found a way to sneak a bit more chicken wire back onto a wall. I’m obsessed.

I absolutely love the way things are laid out this year. It’s more spacious for everybody. It is definitely worth the effort it took. The kids actually have commented on liking it as well.

Win-Win!

I bought and planted some flowers in the boxes right outside our school room windows. They are too pretty and probably will die by the week’s end as my thumbs are any shade but green. However, for the week, I will enjoy.

Gearing up for the second week of school. The weekend came and went all too quickly as usual!

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