100 Reasons To Keep Homeschooling Through Difficulties

Homeschooling Through Difficulties

Finishing up my 17th year of homeschooling and I am thankful that I continued to homeschool, even through some really difficult situations. Then it took so long to write this post that now it is the season for preparing for the next year…bring on number 18!

Often those situations seem so much larger in the moment then I remember them. Yet even today I am struggling to help my sons finish their school assignments for this week.

Sometimes I write blog posts or create memes to remind myself why I keep pushing to finish this journey of homeschooling my children.

Because even in the ugly, horrible, and difficult circumstances that life sometimes drops into my life, my children have still been able to receive the education that they need.

Homeschooling Through Difficulties: Illness

  1. Read a book like Lost and Found
  2. Practice receiving help
  3. Follow these 12 Practice Tips for Homeschooling Through a Short Term Crisis 
  4. Take a moment and examine your expectations.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up if you normally serve a hot meal in the morning and breakfast has become cold cereal for 2 weeks.
  6. Sometimes the lesson for your kids is them learning how to run the house and not completing another math lesson.
  7. Buy paper products and forget about doing the dishes.
  8. Compassion, perseverance, and humility are often best learned in a practical situation.
  9. 10 Tips for Homeschooling with a Chronic Illness because sometimes the illness is chronic.
  10. Homeschooling Through a Chronic Illness states that you need to be willing to accept a new normal.

Homeschooling Through Difficulties: Grief

  1. Grief and Joy combined, it is okay to laugh and cry during the same moment.
  2. Homeschooling Through Grief, remember to take frequent breaks.
  3. How the Challenge of Love is Grief, copy down a scripture verse and tape it to the bathroom mirror.
  4. Sometimes choosing to do things in small amounts helps build momentum and even in your grief it is ok to smile, How Homeschooling Actually Saved Me From Depression.
  5. Homeschooling Through Grief can be done, don’t expect a cookie cutter appoach to work.

Homeschooling Through Difficulties: Tough Times

  1. How to Homeschool Through Tough Times, remember to be flexible.
  2. 4 Lessons I’ve learned Homeschooling Through Hard Times, kids still learn even despite the difficult moment.
  3. Listen to others who have experienced similar situations, Homeschooling Through Hard Times.
  4. Homeschooling When the Schedule is Disrupted, flexibility is a skill to practice.
  5. Homeschooling Through Trying Times, remember to be gentle with yourself.
  6. Homeschooling When Life Gets Hard, family comes first.
  7. 5 Reasons Why We Continued to Homeschool, you get to set the pace
  8. 8 Tips to Help Your Homeschool Thrive Through Hard Times, remember to relax.
  9. Does Your Homeschool Need a Grace Year? yes, always add more grace.
  10. Keep things simple when Homeschooling Through a Crisis 

Homeschooling Through Difficulties: Being Overwhelmed

  1. Embracing Overwhelm
  2. Battling the fear of failing 
  3. Take a break from the books and plan some fun.
  4. Maybe you just need to take a Homeschool Sabbatical.
  5. Don’t forget to adjust the homeschool plans to better serve your kids.
  6. Teach Science in the summer instead of squeezing it into an already busy school year.
  7. Create Margin
  8. Take a Moment to say a Homeschool Prayer
  9. Remember that God does provide and when He does, take a photo of the provision.
  10. Accepting Limits, Balancing Homeschool, and Work

Homeschooling Through Difficulties: Depression [Read more…]

The Mystery of History in a Co-op Setting

The Mystery of History in a Co-op Setting

Would you like to use The Mystery of History in a co-op setting? Since the book is intentionally adaptable to teaching multiple ages, you will find many ways to plan lessons for your co-op.

The following ideas and questions will help you think through what you want to cover in your co-op class. Once you have decided what to cover, then you can decide whether a co-op license or co-op discount will work best.

Ideas for Teaching The Mystery of History in a Co-op Setting:

  • What is the goal for the co-op class?
  • Will it just be simply delivering the lesson content or will you keep grades?
  • Will it be project based, group activities, or individual activities?
  • Will you present all the information or require students to come to class having read the lesson?
  • Do you want to include supplements like coloring pages or notebook pages?
  • Are you going to include extra resources?
  • Include extra literature assignments?
  • How much time do you have to teach?
  • What ages are you teaching?

For example, if you have 1 hour to teach 1st to 4th grade students and your goal is to supplement lessons taught at home, your schedule could include:

  • Go over the highlights of the lessons by doing a group review
  • Select one or two activities from the week to complete
  • Bring in an extra resource like a YouTube video or book
  • Wrap up class by doing map work or a timeline.

Another example, if you have 2 hours to teach 5th to 8th grade and you are not requiring students to do any work outside of class, your schedule could include:

  • Go over the pretest orally, then present the lesson information while students take notes on the notebooking pages
  • Ask follow-up questions or allow kids to offer narration of the material
  • Complete a few activities from the book, and if questions are research based assign them the week before so students can share their thoughts.
  • End class with the wrap activity or quiz

Co-op License or Co-op Discount:

Do you need a co-op license or a co-op discount? The size of your co-op and what you want to teach in co-op will determine which works best.

If you want every student to have their own copy of the book or material, a co-op discount would work best. The co-op discount gives you 30% off an order of 6 or more copies. The teacher can make copies without a license since each family has the material already.

If you are not requiring students to own the material, a co-op license gives the teacher privileges to copy material for students. Each co-op license is for 25 students and includes one copy of the material. If the material is a download, the co-op license is for the teacher only. The download should not be shared with the families.

 

Number crunching scenarios with co-op license and co-op discount.

Keep in mind that you can buy a co-op license just for the Companion Guide. If you present the material from the lessons and just want to copy pre-test, quizzes, and map work then a co-op license for the Companion Guide would be the best price.

A co-op license on The Mystery of History Volume 1 book would cost: $124.87. Keep in mind you will have to make copies of the book.

A co-op license on The Mystery of History Volume 1 Companion Guide would cost: $62.38. This product contains everything but the lessons.

The website will automatically apply the co-op discount when you select a quantity of six or more. Then you can look at shipping costs. While the website will allow for Media Mail know that large boxes move slower in shipping and have a higher chance of damage.

Tracking Forms for The Mystery of History in a Co-op Setting:

To help make that job easier I created a form, Co-op Tracking Expenses * to help you keep track of who has paid. Could be used for supplies for the class, splitting up the cost of the license, or paying for the group book order. 

* indicates required 

 

After you have decided what you are teaching, then you just need to gather money from parents to cover the costs of materials.

[Read more…]

Lesson Plan For Homeschool Mom Sick Day

Homeschool Mom Sick Day

Even if you are a veteran homeschooler or a newbie, having a plan for those days when you are too ill to accomplish the lesson plans will serve you well in those hours of needing rest.

First start a Pinterest board of ideas, or a note in Evernote, or a word doc on ideas and links. This way you can make decisions now while your head is not exhausted from being sick.

The Goal is Have a Plan for Homeschool Mom Sick Day!

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Online Ideas

  • iHN has a monthly thread of Famous Birthday Lessons and Unit Studies. Print out a few copies of this notebook page, Famous Birthday PDF, and have your students select a famous person to learn more about.
  • Maybe just giving them time on their iPad on PBS to play games will be all it takes for some time for a nap.
  • Khan Academy is a favorite at my house for learning how to do things. Let your kids have fun with Hour of Code.

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Project Ideas

  • Have your kids follow directions to Build Your Own Board Game. My kids really enjoy making board games. They still talk about the Health Matters DIY Science Board Game they created. (PS order supplies early if you want to provide some extra direction.)
  • If you get really desperate for an activity and have a bar of ivory soap give your kids the link to this post on Ivory Soap Experiment.
  • Have them Design Their Own Colony. They might enjoy establishing their own rules.
  • Even giving your kids all the sheets and blankets in the house to build forts should buy you a few moments of rest. My boys enjoyed building a Hooverville Fort in their bedroom one afternoon. The idea came from The Great Depression Hands-on Activities.
  • Sometimes just having a box of tape, paper, string, and random supplies can allow kids an opportunity to create a new invention. Maybe even challenge them to build something that will keep an egg from breaking when dropped from different heights.

Homeschool Mom Sick Day Movie and Book Ideas

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What My Kids Think About Homeschooling

In keeping with the Blog Hop theme for this week I did what any homeschool mom would do; I assigned a writing assignment on homeschooling.

Here are the highlights from my youngest son:

  • I love having a flexible schedule.
  • I don’t have to worry about bullies.
  • I can listen to music while I do my work.

My second son wrote a beautiful essay on “Why I like Homeschooling.” 

Here are few excerpts:

  • One of the fun parts of being schooled at home is the chance to pick interesting classes. For example, I completed a Forensic science for my freshman year. This year I will be taking a murder mystery class for my English! There are many other options for classes that you can tailor to your career needs.
  • Most importantly I have become a much different and better person because of homeschooling; making homeschooling the right choice for me.

The most amazing thing is the joy of witnessing my kids reach educational milestones. When I assigned this assignment I expected my son to give me a sloppy run-on page of sentences. When he handed me a rough draft of 6 paragraphs in an essay format; joy filled my heart.

All the anguish of teaching writing lessons, the struggles of learning to organize thoughts and sentences, the long days of forming paragraphs just faded away in the moment. He just demonstrated mastery of a new skill!

Now to bottle up and cherish that moment because sometimes you wait a long time for the next milestone.

My graduates thoughts:

Then I sent an email early in the morning asking my college students if there was anything they wanted to say. It was more of a begging plea since they like to keep things to themselves. I am the mother of introverts.

  • My daughter loved the ability to study her passions in high school. She loved her literature classes and cooking classes. She thinks having beach days instead of snow days is the best homeschooling schedule.
  • My oldest son remembers the ability to go on a field trip somewhere exciting and not worring about the book side of school was nice. Being able to work in my own room with music and a space conducive to my studying style was very beneficial. Overall the fact that I learned science from a Christian perspective helped me the most given that I went to a secular University for Geography and Atmospheric Science.

What a great chance to get a glimpse that the hard work from the last 18 years of homeschooling was totally worth it. 

No Space for a Homeschool Room

Homeschool Room, More like Homeschool Space

I have homeschooled in the same small house for the last 18 years. We have never had a homeschool room. Sometimes Pinterest does make it hard to not covet having one. Although a few years ago I wrote about Hiding Homeschool Supplies in our small house.

Since I am not a book lover the only book cases in my house belong to my children. Yes my youngest 3 love books and have their own book cases in their bedroom and an app on their phone to keep track of what books they own.

The only thing I need is a bin to hold my teacher books and a table for grading and teaching.

Ikea solved my small space living problems. Their drop leaf table fits in the corner of my living room and allows me to have moments of my house not looking like a school room.

[Read more…]

Our Curriculum Choices for 2017-2018

Our Curriculum Choices for this school year.

Each year I stand amazed that I still agonize over selecting curriculum. But I was not blessed with children who learned the same way or could use the same curriculum over again.

The changes in my life have slowly changed my methods of homeschooling. You will notice I have outsourced and sought out help to juggle homeschooling, working full time, and managing my home. My husband’s health prevents him from helping in most areas.

11th Grade Curriculum Choices

My son is planning on trade school so we continue to strive for the best academics that fit his needs and abilities. While he may never attend college I still strive to expose him to subjects and prepare him for whatever choices he decides to make.

  • Algebra 1: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press. We have spent the first 2 years of high school solidifying his math skills. We are going to be stretching ourselves to complete this class. Next year we will switch gears and do business math and personal finance.
  • Spanish 1: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press: We have tried for 2 years to complete Spanish. My hope of having accountability with another teacher will get this subject completed.
  • All American History: The Academy at Bright Ideas Press: I had planned on teaching this class but when an opportunity to switch classes opened up I found myself putting both boys in this history class. The history teacher raps, my boys are impressed with her.
  • English: Who Dun It: My daughter has agreed to teach English to her brother this year. She has a passion for literature. Recently her college was attempting to recruit her for tutoring for English, I am very thankful she has agreed to help me. I am going to attend their monthly book club meetings and I look forward to the discussions.
  • Physical Science: Advanced Physical Science: I found this at a recent homeschool convention. The project based learning really appealed to me. I am excited to spend Friday mornings doing labs with the boys.
  • Mime: Louder Than Words: Every Wednesday afternoon my children have attended Louder Than Words. This group provides mentorship, bible study, leadership, volunteering, and performing arts.
  • Music: Guitar and Piano Lessons: He loves his weekly lessons for piano and guitar. He loves playing guitar for worship time at mime and youth group.

[Read more…]

Planning All American History for High School

Planning All American History for High School

We have reached the point in my third student’s high school career that he needs his American history credit. My first son did both volumes of All American History in one year. We called it a Survey of American History and he spent a semester on each volume. My daughter completed All American history Volume II for her credit. My plan is for my second son to follow a similar path to his sister.

Since this is my third time planning All American History I thought I would share how I am making it work. With supplies on hand it should take about an hour to get things ready for your first lesson.

Planning All American History Supplies:

  • 3-book-set of All American History which includes the Reader, Student Activity Book, and Teacher Guide.
  • 3-ring binder for the Student Activity Book pages
  • The All American History High School test packet download
  • File folder for the printed tests
  • Copy of the checklist for each unit with tests added
  • 16 copies of the Weekly Work Grade Rubric (found in this post)
  • Scissors, double-sided tape, pen/pencil
  • WonderMaps

Now let’s look at what I am doing with all of these supplies.

Obviously you need the 3 book set, I am debating about getting the Reader in an ebook form to put on my son’s computer. Since he often comes with me to the office it would be nice to have one less book to carry.

My son isn’t the greatest at keeping track of multiple items so instead of having him every week remove the pages for that week’s lesson from the Student Activity Book, I had him remove them all at one time and place in a 3-ring binder. He also removed the front cover and placed it on the cover of the binder. I used a page protector to hold the pages he will be cutting images from.

Tests for All American History were created after the publishing of the curriculum. Since I don’t have time during the school year to print I have printed out the 8 tests and placed them in a file folder to be stored with the Teacher Guide.

If I don’t have a checklist of some kind to track what he has accomplished, it leads to things being forgotten. I have made copies of each unit checklist and penciled in when each test needs to be completed. This will allow me to a quick glance visual of what lesson he is currently working on. [Read more…]

Working and Homeschooling While Staying Frugal

Working and Homeschooling While Staying Frugal

Working and Homeschooling; While Staying Frugal

After 17 years of homeschooling, the biggest change has been homeschooling while being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling while being an employed mom; all while trying to live a frugal lifestyle.

In the early years of homeschooling my 4 children; my goal was their education and finding every economical way I could save money.

  • Since that was schooling before Pinterest, I would spend time creating lesson plans from scratch.
  • I would organize co-ops to keep costs down on group activities.
  • I spent my Saturday mornings scouring yard sales for books and educational items.
  • I would barter with friends for babysitting.
  • I would coupon shop and read The Complete Tightwad Gazette into the wee hours of the night.

Over the past few years, the reality of our situation changed with the diagnosis of my husband with COPD. Keeping up with the medical bills and expenses of kids in college has proven too much for a single income.

At first I worked part-time to keep my self in the job market ready to go full-time when my husband could no longer work. But in order to keep current with the needs of the family I have increased my hours to almost full-time.

My biggest goal is to strive toward my income going toward the budget and not for convenience items because now I don’t have the time for every frugal idea. 

  • I now buy curriculum that can be easily planned or online classes.
  • My kids still enjoy group activities but instead of being present I offer support to the group in other ways.
  • I spend my Saturday mornings homeschooling and my afternoons working.
  • I shop thrift stores instead of going to yard sales.
  • There is not a lot of time for bartering these days, but occasionally it works.
  • I shop at Aldis instead of coupon shopping.

While most of our expenses to homeschool have increased because of being employed, I feel I have done my best to get the most out of the situation. You just have to crunch the numbers.

For example an online class can cost $500 for year, divided by 32 weeks, you are paying $16 a week. I know each on-line class saves me 3 hours a week in planning, teaching and grading.

I know our biggest budget buster is groceries. I focus all my time on this one area. My kids help me every 6 weeks prep 30 freezer meals. We rarely eat out or buy convenience food. Thankfully my kids know the biggest challenge for me is to have dinner on the table after putting in a 12 hour day with jobs and homeschooling.

I love to hang clothes on the line but if I get behind on the laundry I will use the dryer. I try to let some of the little frugal things slide. Instead of beating myself up over using the drying I focus on the 4 loads that did make it to the clothes line.

It is a constant juggling act and evaluating of frugal choices with how much time I have in a day. 

Are you working and homeschooling? Do you have a great tip to share on getting things done?

 

Ultimate Guide for Teaching The Mystery of History Vol I

Teaching The Mystery of History Volume I

I would imagine if you are interested in reading this post you must be in planning mode for teaching The Mystery of History. Those days when you are scouring the internet looking for resources and ideas. I hope you find my post a useful timesaver.

Do to copyright you will find material from Bright Ideas Press to be lesson specific but freebies will be topic related. You can read more at the FAQ section on copyright at Bright Ideas Press.

Teaching with The Mystery of History Vol. I

First thing you need to decide are which components of The Mystery of History are you going to complete. Yes, that means you are not expected to do everything mentioned in the book. No, this is not an exhaustive list but it should keep you busy planning for awhile.

If you are brand new I suggest watching this 10 minute video on What Do I Need to Teach The Mystery of History.

Please note: the difference between the 1st and 2nd Edition includes date changes, spelling of Chinese names, updated activities and some lessons have additional information. 

You can always ask your questions live at The Mystery of History Facebook group!

Teaching with The Mystery of History: Atlases

If you are going to do the map work assigned at the end of each week a good atlas can help students complete the assignments.

Teaching with The Mystery of History: Activities

Each lesson in the book has an activity for younger, middle and older students but if you are looking for more hands-on fun…then the following list will help you plan more.

Teaching with The Mystery of History: Audio/E-book

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How to Teach Literary Genres with a Library Scavenger Hunt

First I should confess that in the hustle and bustle of getting school started I did not read all the details in the teacher book for WriteShop Junior Book E. About half-way through the year I stumbled upon a section in the teacher book that recommend teaching literary genres to your student. I realized that would be beneficial for my son.

How to Teach Literary Genres with a Library Scavenger Hunt

We had a free afternoon coming up, and I wanted to change our reviewing routine. So I created a notebooking page with the literary genres from WriteShop Junior Book E. My main goal was to expose him to different books from the literary genres from his writing lessons.

I explained how I wanted him to find a book in the library that represented the literary genres we had studied this year in WriteShop.

I gave him the notebook page Genre Scavenger Hunt and had him define the word genre. I read him the list of literature genres and asked him which one was his favorite, which one had he never heard before, and were there any he thought sounded interesting.

Since we happened to be sitting next to the poetry section in the library, my son thought that would be a great place to start finding his book selections.

Decision making has been a challenge for my son, so selecting a starting point in the library was an added bonus for this genre challenge.

He selected a volume of poetry titled Carver: A Life in Poems. The poem he selected to read happened to remind me of a song. So I took a moment to discuss genres in music, using the song Aint’ Nobody Here But Us Chickens. It provided proof to him that his mom was a tad crazy, but it was worth the giggles.

literary genre poetry

Finding books on the other genres required extra leg work, so we Googled book lists for adventure, mystery, science fiction, and humor.

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