Does your Education FIT?

For most of us, there was something about typcial education that just didn’t fit. For whatever reason, we felt that we needed something different for our children’s education. Education is all about a good fit. Like a pair of shoes that may be too tight – you want to get out of those as quickly as you can. It almost seems like torture. :) In the same light, when you have a great pair of shoes that fits wonderful… you get alot done – you can move well, you feel comfortable. So it is with homeschooling, you have a method of education that should fit you perfectly… and enable you to get so much more done! Yet, the key is to fit homeschooling to YOU!

It will never fit, and you will be limping around unable to get anything accomplished if you try to homeschool like someone else or try to make your family fit into some other family’s mold. Homeschool at your house, must fit you, your children, and your lifestyle. Once it does… it’ll be so comfortable and you’ll get so much done – you won’t want to quit!

The Power of Praise

In my days as a private school administrator, I cannot guess how many times I heard parents tell me that their child was gifted and they thought… once enrolled, the child would simply need to be advanced a grade. It is funny, but most of those children were just good, healthy, “normal”, yet wonderful children. However, in the eyes of those parents they were so much more.
It is only natural for parents to feel that their precious little one is a “child progeny.” I am personally thrilled when parents think their children are special (in a healthy way, of course). There are so many children who live life with no encouragement or praise from their parents. Parents who cherish their children and give them healthy praise are rare, and definitely give their children an edge by doing so. Many research studies support the fact that children who are encouraged are more confident and determined than other children who are not encouraged or praised.
Yet, praising children is more than just a pat on the back and the obligatory “Nice job!” Many child psychologists say we need to praise our children, but if it isn’t SPECIFIC praise then it may be harmful. That’s interesting isn’t it? So, praise and encourage your children, but identify the specific behavior that they are doing so well. It is the effort that matters most – not the innate gifts that we have such as intelligence, strength, or beauty. Isn’t it true for all of us, “It isn’t what we are given that matters, but what we do with what we have been given.” Give it a try – praise your children for the effort that they put forth, a good attitude that they displayed, or even good personal discipline that they exemplified, and that will encourage them to keep at it.
But wait – can there be too much of a good thing? These same psychologists seem to think so. I guess that would compare to chocolate… I love chocolate and could (probably) eat it all day long. Yet a complete diet of chocolate is not good for me. In the same sense praising a child too much can lead to serious problems. Research has shown that children who were excessively praised were less confident and less determined to face difficult challenges.
In our personal lives we are often very busy – yet we try to be as involved in our children’s lives and education as possible. This moment by moment influence is truly one of the core reasons why we homeschool. Yet, in the midst of all of that, it is common to lose sight of the “big picture.” Whether they are doing handwiriting, spelling, or even their online schoolwork there are always opportunites to encourage them, especially in areas that they have had struggles!
This little study into praise has made me more determined  (and I encourage you also) to be a proactive parent and to foster admirable qualities in my chidren. I plan on doing this by first, praising them and encouraging them; second, being there for them; third, spending quality time with them; and finally, by letting them know just how special they are to me!

This post was reposted here from my personal family blog, faith and a full house.

Helpful Tips for Beginning to Homeschool Mid-Year

Starting to homeschool is never easy, but it isn’t any more difficult to start in January. In fact, it’s a great time to start.

Homeschooling Mid Yearsummer homeschool

I’ve noticed over the years that many people take the homeschool plunge in January. I know, some of you might think… Really? Well, it’s not so weird when you stop to think about what they might have gone through last fall. Usually, those who start in January have just endured something that causes them to not put off homeschooling another minute!

Just a few pointers…

  • Check with your state guidelines for homeschooling to see that you have complied with everything that is expected
  • Take time to find out how your children learn. Ask their previous teachers, sit down with them and do a few “worksheets” or watch an educational video. Perhaps you could even find a few online homeschool sites and try them out. Discover how they learn! (auditory, visual, kinesthetic(hands on)
  • Decide on how you want to homeschool. If you are new to this you might want to start with something that does most of the work for you like an all-in-one curriculum or perhaps an online homeschool program.
  • Research the different curriculum options that fit your child’s learning needs as well as the needs of family
  • Purchase the curriculum
  • Set learning goals for your children – what do you want to accomplish this year?
  • Set your schedule – decide on how many days that you want to homeschool and then divide up the lessons and assignments to reach your goals in the allotted amount of time.
  • Set a side a place where your kids can learn comfortably.
  • Get learning!!


New Year’s Eve Celebrations for Kids

I know celebrating the New Year isn’t always a kid friendly situation. As a parent of six, I’m always looking for kid-friendly options to ringing in the New Year. At our house we definitely feel that the holiday is best when we celebrate it together. We don’t particularly enjoy leaving the kids out of the fun – memory making!

In the days leading up to the holiday we use holiday related themes in our homeschool. I love incorporating history and background information during this time along with monthly holiday lists, it lets the kids understand more of why we celebrate various holidays and where the holiday traditions came from. We also love to use the New Year as a time to refocus on our education and to learn new things in the New Year.

My crowd loves to stay up late, so the hour has never really been an issue for us. Yet, other parents and children really can’t do the late hour… so let’s get started with #1…

1) Have a New Year’s Eve… noon party or celebrate New Year’s in another part of the world. Depending on where you live, this could get the kiddos in bed at a decent time!

2) Have pre party craft time – and make New Year’s Noise Makers. What kid or grown up for that matter doesn’t enjoy making NOISE!!??

Learning Creating Living: New Years Noise Makers  Ideas for children!  These sophisticated noise makers are fun to make, too, especially by older kids.

3) Plan for games or other activities every thirty minutes with these super fun lunch sacks filled with everything you need for that particular game. With the time attached to the front… it’s so easy. Visit the Coake family to see what else they do on NYE! Or check out the other version of the same idea and get free printables from the Idea Room.

Fun idea for a Family New Year   new-years-eve-game

4) Have a New Year’s Eve balloon drop. Then use the balloons to play another fun game! Or add a twist and fill the balloons with confetti (use a funnel)! The kids can then pop the balloons and confetti will fly! (That is if you don’t mind a good bit of clean up!)

new years I have done this with fish net from dollar tree and it works! Lots of blowing up, so use an air compressor  Confetti Filled Balloons, Black and Gold, Confetti Balloons, 1st Birthday, Photo Prop, Bridal Shower, Baby Shower, New Years Eve, Wedding on Etsy, Sold

5) What party is complete without party hats? Decorate store bought hats or make your own with these amazing free printables!

Confetti New Years Eve Party Ideasnew years eve party hat printables

6) It wouldn’t be the best party of the year without a photo booth! There are lots of great ways to put this together easily… you can order photo booth background from stores like Oriental Trading… tape metallic shapes on the wall, or use wrapping paper and photo booth props! What’s even better… these props are free printables from iheart naptime!

printable photo props   

7) Of course, there has to be games! Try this New Year’s Eve Bingo printable from Capturing Joy or this one from Crazy Little Projects.

Free Printable Christmas Bingo Cards  New Years Eve Bingo Game Printable, the perfect way to ring in the new year!

or this old faithful – with a New Year’s Twist..

have dancefloor with spots in these patterns or hanging dots and this as prop décor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

or make your own NY resolution jar. Have cards available for each guest to write on and put in the jar. Put a twist on your typical resolutions, and make it a “Charitable” resolution. Each person writes down a way that they will help out a local charity or community resource. Sometimes our resolutions are better kept when we’ve actually written them somewhere.

New Year's Eve Party Game with Printable Cards and Jar DIY from Rosy Glasses.

8) Create a New Year Time Capsule. This is a great activity – and Pretty Providence has even give us a free printable to get the kids going…

2014 Time Capsule for Kids! Such a sweet and EASY way to freeze a little memory of your littles in time each year! I love how it's small and easy to store too!

9) Have the best of food…  with Tuxedos and Pearls… and sparkling cotton candy (made with sparking selzter water and cotton candy- def. kid proof!)

50 Amazing New Years Ideas   Sparkling Cotton Candy Drink | perrier and cotton candy | magic cotton candy drink | try with champagne or sprite | New Year's Eve ideas for kids

and finger foods of all kinds!

10) Don’t forget to decorate! I love using old frames that I’ve spray painted and then adding a new “inspirational” picture every month or so… here’s a great free printable from the 36th Avenue to help you decorate for NYE!

   DIY Happy New Year Garland

Easy to Make Children’s Christmas Gifts – Part 1 Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

I love this time of year, even though it is so hectic and crazy. Why? So glad you asked… there are a few reasons.

1) I love the Holidays because for a few weeks each year millions of people are celebrating the birth of our Savior. Christian or not, saved or not… most people recognize this holiday as the birth of Jesus, and I love it for that!!

2) I love giving… I find great joy in making and giving gifts… I think I inherited that from my grandmothers. Both of which loved giving… one always made the sweetest little hand made gifts and the other would give and give – especially food!!!

I have really tried to encourage my children to make and give gifts to those people that they have on their hearts. Each one of them has learned various types of handicraft skills by doing this for Christmas each year. My son even helped me make the item that I’m sharing today. I’m sure you’ve seen these all over Pinterest the past few months. Turns out…they are pretty easy to make.

STEP 1 Gather your materials – paint, sandpaper, mason jars, mason lids, caps, plastic soap dispenser (dollar tree), clear matte spray, and rubber washers (from hardware section at Lowes).

STEP 2 Draw a circle on the back side of your jar lids, and use a nail to punch holes around the circle. Once that is done, the circle should just pop out.

STEP 3 Spray paint your lids, caps, and soap dispensers.

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STEP 4 Assemble your lids, caps, and soap pump and then push the rubber washer up the tube so that it holds the pump to the jar lid.

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STEP 5 Make sure that your jars are clean and use a craft paint or latex interior paint to cover the outside of the jar.

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STEP 6 Let the paint dry and then do a second coat if needed. After that is dry take the sandpaper and lightly scratch up the surface especially the raised designs. Then spray with the clear coat and let dry.

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STEP 7 Fill with soap or lotion and assemble your Mason jar!

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Holidays! – Learn to Crochet

Over the next few weeks MomSCHOOL will be posting about easy and fun ways to get the kids involved in holiday preparation. Aren’t food, parties, and even gifts just that much more special when everyone has taken time to make them?  Sure, so let’s explore some fun and easy ways to make that possible!

Let’s start today by saying that making hand made needle crafts is a great and inexpensive way to teach your young ones how to “give” during the holidays. Each of my girls can crochet, even the youngest has learned the chain stitch and single crochet. Here are some super awesome tutorials to get you started!

How to Hold the Yarn

How to Make the Slip Knot

How to Chain Stitch

How to Single Crochet

Once you’ve learned these few stitches you can make ALOT of things from scarves, to dish cloths, to hair bands, to hats! Have fun and GET READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!

National Young Reader’s Week

Did you know that this week is National Young Reader’s Week? It sure is- and it’s a great time to focus your homeschooling on your young readers. In honor of that – the Pizza Hut Book It program has been posting free books for your kiddos to read. Here is today’s Book IT it

Using the Video Project in Homeschooling

filmingVideo projects can be a huge way to cultivate an interest in the arts for your child. There are lots of reasons to try video projects in the homeschool.

1) This is a creative endeavor and your child will have to reach deep for ideas

2) Students spend so much time on electronic media each day – this is an opportunity for that time to be spent producing something meaningful.

3) Video projects can also teach students how to use language and film elements to influence people’s lives

I can imagine hearing most parents say, “But HOW?” It’s true most of us have no clue as to how to create a film, but with the extensive resources on the web… we can be fearless! But we need a few things…

1) Planning – as the guide for this instruction we will need to plan the project and set some goals. A three to seven minute video is probably a great start for Middle School to High School

2) Plan the content – You may want to use web sites that introduce the basics of filmmaking.

3) Determine the type of project such as a demonstration, narrative, public service announcement, or research.

4) Plan how the student will be graded on the project. Creating a rubric for this will definitely make it easier for both the teacher/parent and the student.

Once you’ve made your plans… it’s time to get started. However, that begins with you!

1) Introduce the concept to your student.

2) Teach them the basic premises of videography. Use a variety of methods, and make sure that they understand the process and the method of taking video, editing video, and exporting the video. You may have to have a video editing software.

Once you’ve passed along the information – it’s time for the students to begin!

1) Planning is always the first step in any great project! Plan the general concept and then share their idea so that parent/teacher can give guidance.

2) Scripting/Story boarding is the next crucial phase in creating a video project! The more organized and planned a project is – the better it will flow!

3) Film!!! This is the fun part… if your students have done all of their previous homework – this part should be easy. If your student is using a phone or ipad/ipod sound may be an issue – you may want to suggest a limited amount of dialogue. If this is the case the student will need to get their message across through the film alone.

4) Editing – this takes much longer than the actual filming. You may want your student to download a free video editing software. This article shares several of the best.

5) Submit!! Don’t let your students create a project that goes unnoticed. Help them find a way to publish their work. Easy places include Youtube, Schooltube, and even Godtube as well as Facebook – or even a video contest. Make the most of their accomplishment!

Homeschool Achievement Testing

For years, testing has been a great concern for many homeschoolers. In our state, Georgia, standardized testing is required every three years. If you are not part of a co-op that gives these tests, then you are faced with finding an organization or school that will let you test with them. Sometimes that is a pain!

I’ve recently discovered test point. This is an online testing service that makes it easy for homeschoolers to take their standardized tests. I would look into it if you are required to have a standardized test this year. I think that you have to register your own “home” school. However after that you can buy the number of licenses that you need and go from there.

I am not an affiliate nor am I receiving remuneration for this informational post…