All I Want for Christmas is a Friend

My teenaged son has taken up songwriting this year. I shared a few lines in the Special Needs Homeschooling Facebook group, since I knew they would understand. The struggle of any mom wanting their kids to have friends is very real. You are not alone moms in wanting this for your kids.

Sharing in the group provided an eye opening chance for my son to realize that there are many other kids out there struggling to find a friend. This is an expression of that desire to have a friend, my son hates math but it worked for the song. He is currently putting music to these lyrics.

All I Want For Christmas is a Friend

Dear Santa this year I want something different, not a Mac I already have two of them. No, this year I want something different.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend, Oh Santa can’t you help me find a friend.

Verse 1

I wish I had a friend instead everybody calls me weird and I feel like I have disappeared.
My Mom is my only follower and I have 0 likes with many dislikes.
Nobody ever texts me and asks me to hang out.
Instead I’m always left-out.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend oh Santa please help me find a friend.

Verse 2

I don’t understand why no one likes me, I talk about popular things like Advanced Quantum Mechanics and Linear Algebra.
I always sit by myself at the lunch table reading my English books, While everyone gives me weird looks.
Don’t you see Santa why I need a friend? So I made a list of what I want in one: 1. you must like math. 2 Gotta like video games. 3 um that’s it I guess.

Chorus

All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend,
All I want for Christmas is a friend, Oh Santa can’t you help me find a friend.

Verse 3

Once I asked a girl to be my friend she not even if it’s the bitter end.
My teachers hate me too because I answer every question and correct them a lot.
They look at me like I’m pond scum and say be quiet please.
Oh Santa please please help me I’m dying of loneliness. Oh I need a friend.

Written by A. Lane, age 16

Field Trip Ideas for The Mystery of History Volume I

Field Trip Ideas for

The Mystery of History Volume I

The lovely ladies in The Mystery of History Volume I Facebook Group started a field trip ideas thread.

I thought it was a great idea to find easy inspiration for planning field trips. I have categorized by state. I have researched more places to visit. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

These include a wide variety of ages and topics. The topics might help you with keywords to do your own research on your surrounding area.

If you have a great field trip comment or send me a link!

Field Trip Ideas:

Alabama:

Alaska:

Arizona:

Arkansas:

California:

Colorado:

Connecticut:

Delaware:

Florida:

Georgia:

Hawaii:

Idaho:

Illinois: 

Indiana:

Iowa:

Kansas:

Kentucky:

Louisiana:

Maine:

Maryland:

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

Minnesota:

Mississippi:

Missouri:

Montana:

Nebraska:

Nevada:

New Hampshire:

New Jersey:

New Mexico:

New York:

North Carolina:

North Dakota:

Ohio:

Oklahoma:

Oregon:

Pennsylvania:

Rhode Island:

South Carolina:

South Dakota:

Tennessee:

Texas:

Utah:

Vermont:

Virginia:

Washington:

West Virginia:

Wisconsin

Wyoming:

Washington D.C.: 

The Mystery of History Notebook Pages would also provide a great chance to document your field trips!

If you have a great field trip comment or send me a link!

 

Give-Away #1 for December

Give-Away #1!

There is joy in giving! I am blessed this year to be able to give back which after the past few years of needing help; really warms my heart.

Did you catch my last post on Beginning the Homeschooling Journey?

I am giving away 2 copies of How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus. 

For U.S residents only! Sorry I can not afford international shipping.

Here are some of my popular posts for new homeschoolers:

Blessings of Including a New Homeschool Family

When the Homeschool Curriculum Does Not Work for Mom

Hours Spent on Homeschooling 

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions leave them in the comments or send me an email.

Would love to offer some ideas from my perspective of homeschooling.

Beginning the Homeschool Journey

Beginning the Homeschool Journey

I was talking with some veteran homeschool moms about the early days of our homeschooling journey. Since we began the homeschool journey before the internet and Pinterest my biggest struggle was how to actually homeschool.

Looking back, I remember talking with a friend who had been homeschooling for the past several years and begging her to just tell me what to buy to teach my kid. She was wise to not answer but did offer some vague guidance on how to make it work at my house. She knew then what I did not, that every homeschool looks different and every kid has different needs.

In my early days I was a solid oak tree. We had a schedule that we followed. Even to this day my kids stop at 3:00pm for a snack.

We had curriculum that we followed every word. It did not matter if my kids had mastered or needed more practice; we followed the pace of the curriculum because surely they knew better with how much work should be accomplished each day.

My mighty oak days did not offer much grace, my mighty oak days did not allow for flexibility. My mighty oak days fed my need to be in control of everything. My mighty oak days required much of my strength to keep things under control.

Then life brought me 4 children, 2 with health and learning issues, a sick husband, and the normal challenges of life and the time had come for me to either bend like a willow tree or break under the pressure.

Overtime I learned to bend, I let go of my expectations and I allowed grace to enter.

Beginning the homeschool journey I had no idea of how much it would change and challenge me. I thought it was all about providing my kids with an excellent education.

Friend if you are thinking about beginning the homeschool journey my best advice is to be prepared to bend and be flexible and remember you know what is best for your kids. Even right now if you have no idea how they learn after a few months you will begin a list of what does not work while looking for what does. That list has value too.

You can catch my podcast with the 7 Sisters Homeschool Podcast where we discuss juggling the many details of work and homeschool. 

For the month of December I want to enjoy the gift of giving. Which means every Wednesday I am going to be running a giveaway on my blog. First up will be two sets of How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy and Amazing Focus.

If you are signed up for my emails you will get notifications of how to enter.

Even if you are a veteran homeschooling momma this would be a great resource to share for when the newbies come asking how do you do this homeschooling thing.

 

The Why of Attending School

The Why of Attending School

Have you ever asked your kids why they are in school? My oldest two children can clearly articulate why they are attending school. They desire to learn the knowledge they need to enter into the job market to become a meteorologist and a pastry chef.

They have known since middle school what they wanted to study in high school and college. Next month my oldest graduates college with his degree in Geography with emphasis on GIS and Atmospheric Science! (Insert grad photo)

But just two months into this school year I realized my third child felt that school was an unnecessary event for his life. He did not have a why other then it was what his siblings had done.

Around the water cooler at the office we discussed the why. For some school was a place to be able to compare yourself to others and know how smart you were or weren’t. For others it was a place to just conquer test taking. Most of us enjoyed the social hangout.

I began having discussions with my son on how subjects and situations could provide opportunities to practice skills he would need in adulthood. That he had the safety net of still living at home while practicing these skills. This was his time to try new things and explore his gifts.

I assigned him the writing assignment of What is Your Why for attending School. Now this assignment came a few days after discovering he had been skipping his online classes and was ready to quit school.

Maybe discovering this why will renew in my son his comminement to finishing school. Maybe it will give him the courage to find his gifts and stop comparing himself to his older siblings.

Why my son was wrestling with his why for finishing high school my youngest found himself questioning his why for starting high school. Yes he said he goes to school because I make him.

Discussion of Why of Attending School

Tonight at the dinner table ask your kids why do they attend school. Depending on the ages of your kids you might get some really creative answers. You might also discover that it becomes an opportunity to explain the bigger picture of attending school.

Hopefully you don’t get caught in the how adults never use Algebra after high school but maybe you can talk thought that even if they hate math that does not mean everything about high school stinks.

Maybe you can open the lines of communication on what your kids find important to learn from their perspective. I know I failed a little with hearing what my son was struggling with and what he needed to succeed in high school.

Writing Assignment for Why of Attending School

Print out this notebook page and have your kids write their answers. For younger kids it might become a great keepsake for the coming years and something to read at their graduation. For older kids it can fulfill an essay requirement for their English class.

Sign up here to receive the notebook page! 

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

[Read more…]

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…]