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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Competition – Healthy or Harmful?

runMost of us are probably wondering the same thing… where does the idea of competition come from? and is it healthy for our children?

Competition is definitely not a contemporary idea. In fact, the downplay of competition in schools across America is rising. Many educators believe that competition is harmful and damaging to the young psyche. Let’s take a look at history…

As long as can be remembered competition has been a part of our society and our world. True competition in the historical sense is partnering with our competitors and pursuing excellence all while realizing that the experience gained in the pursuit is worth more than the outcome. This is where things get derailed. The importance of the “pursuit of excellence” is the key to competition. Not the base desire to just win. Take for example the Olympic Creed, “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

Taking it back even further into history, the Word of God instructs us to “run the race”, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” II Tim. 4:7, and Heb. 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” The idea here is not to win, but to run with patience… to acquire the lessons and experience and goals that the race brings with it.

Even the Latin roots of the word competition show us this – petere means to strive and the prefix com  means with. Thus denoting the idea that competition is to strive along side WITH not against! This is the pure form of competition, and thus one that is healthy and contributes to growth in our children. However, after the fall of man sin corrupted everything and thus competition became corrupted and degraded to the singular goal of winning joined by arrogance and disrespect.

The corrupted version of competition is the reason why so many people have shied away from incorporating competition at all. However, the pure form of striving together with someone toward a goal – all while pursuing excellence is meaningful and definitely motivating. Remove competition completely and students stagnate… everyone wins a blue ribbon for art – why try harder? Everyone gets a reward for the foot race – why give my best?

Keeping competition pure – is key to using it as a healthy motivator. Philippians 1:27, “that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  This verse in Philippians is talking about staying true to the Lord, however the idea of striving together for a common goal is fundamental. Notice that the verse talks of one spirit and one mind – again this idea of healthy competition doesn’t accept degrading one another – nor being lifted up in pride but having the same mindset – and the same GOAL. True competition will enable us grow and learn from the journey!

I Cor. 14:12 “seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church”

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…

Great List of Amazing Homeschool Organization Resources

plannerYes, one of my big hangups is definitely organization. I LOVE.LOVE to be organized and to have a clean house. Do I always get what I love? No. Way.

With six kiddos I’m happy if I get clean and organized on occasion – or at least one or the other… some is better than nothing!

So, with our large homeschooling load I love looking for online freebies that can help me get myself and my students organized. It’s even a better if the organizational tool is amazingly cute!! So, below you will find my list of some of my all time favorites that have been a huge help to my homeschool organization.

1) Planners are amazing – I know everyone is always talking about planners. I’ve even recently seen an online site charging $15 just for a personalized binder. Wow! I like to use the app “Stencil” to create some pretty amazing personalized graphics. I can send these to my computer and then enlarge and print – binder size. AND the cute factor is through the roof.  A graphic design program like “Canva” would also work well for that.

For those of you who work daily with your computer – you need to check out the online DAYVIEWER at

For those of you that prefer the written word – here are several really CUTE printable planners for you.

Printable Planner from Peaceful Mom

A Homeschool Organizational Link Up Party – woohoo!

One of my favorite – Tina’s 7 step Planner  CUTE!!

2) General homeschool planning

Great ideas and printables to organize your homeschool Using Evernote

Organizing the Unorganized Learner

Homeschool Scheduling can help organize your homeschool and give you sanity!

High School Transcript template

Other downloadable templates to help you ROLL!

desk3) Homeschool Room Organization

Using the drawer system changed our day! – I have a craft drawer caddy for each child and each of their course along with requirements are in each drawer. They simply move through the drawers in the course of the day. No more asking mom – “What’s next?”

My post on the “homeschool makeover”

Using Pinterest to Homeschool

Houzz homeschool rooms – have you ever visited there? Oh. my. word. Some of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever seen…

This list is by far not exhaustive, but it’s some of my go to resources to get my homeschool in shape.