Making the Most of a Busy Time

photo (6)I must apologize… it has been quite awhile since I’ve posted some good material! It’s been pretty crazy around here for the last couple  months. My grandfather passed away from a stroke back in March, and my grandmother has been having some issues. Grandpa was 84 and grandma is 82, and both were/are amazing people! Anyway, I’ve flown/driven back and forth from Ohio three times now in the last few months. Needless to say, we’ve been doing the best we can with homeschooling. Sometimes life is just like that. God’s grace is sufficient, even in these times.  I must say, I’m so proud of my kids. They really did much better than I thought they would on their schoolwork while I was gone.

There are still some gaps in the big picture and some things that need a bit more work in order for them to be where they need to be – but all in all – we are getting there. We will probably do a bit of summer school focusing on the subjects that they just didn’t get this year, and of course – having some summer fun with a new pool. AND… maybe a mix of the two!

When life throws curve balls… what do you do?

Proverbs 3:5-6

        Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Pinterest and the Homeschooler…

pinterest homeschooling

I think most of you know that I contribute to the Time4Learning Community Blog. This week I created a post that I think is very important to the homeschool community. A combination of two of my loves… Pinterest (ahhhhh….) and homeschooling! (Almost as good as chocolate and peanut butter… maybe) I thought that I would share the link and a repost of the article. It was so much fun to create and I felt like you all could get alot of benefit from it.

If you could take a minute and stop by the Time4Learning Community I would appreciate it, and I know that you’ll definitely come away with something useful. It’s a great place to share and become a part of a huge and varied group of homeschoolers. The parent forum is bursting with tons of information on all aspects of homeschooling, and the blog has so much… well, let’s just give you a little taste here…

Yet, in regards to the subject at hand what is your opinion? Do you think that pinterest led learning might be a viable new homeschooling method? I think it could very well be possible, IF… and this is a big IF… we could somehow keep on the task of homeschooling! Pinterest has such a wealth of information that it is often extremely difficult to NOT get distracted. So, good luck making it through my list…

 

The Top 25 Reasons Homeschoolers Should Use Pinterest

Organization Ideas

1)Get organized for Homeschooling!
2) Simplify your Homeschool Room
3)Organize your Schedule
4)Use technology to organize your Homeschool Planning
5)Make your homeschool beautiful… (my dream homeschool room)
Learning Ideas
6) Find amazing resources for nearly every subject
7) Give your kiddos a pinterest board and let them pin their favorite ideas
8) Use pinterest for science projects
9)Find great pictures to incorporate into your lessons
10) Use pinterest as a lesson in itself. Teach the kids how to create pins and boards and how useful it can be for their learning experience.
11)Find specific grade level materials.
12) Use the great book resources on pinterest to start literature units
13) Use the printable resources to enrich your lessons
14)Use various pins to create a virtual field trip for a particular study
15)Use resources to find fresh ideas for Hands-on activities
Enrichment Ideas
16) Take advantage of the plethora of craft and art ideas and have some fun
17) Encourage your kiddos to make Christmas presents for others
18) Use pinterest to post your own amazing photos of your learning
19) Have your kiddos use Pinterest as an online collection of knowledge for a research report
20) Teach photo editing skills using tools such as PicMonkey
Personal Enrichment Ideas
21) Use pinterest to connect with other homeschoolers – follow their boards
22) Find amazing new teaching/learning products
23) Keep abreast of learning trends and homeschool news
24) Find tutorials to help you teach various subjects
25) Find encouragement through educational posts and homeschool blogs

Carnival of Homeschooling – Fall is in the Air!

homeschool life

 As I’m sitting down to put together this October 15th Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling, I glance out my window and see the beginning signs of fall. The leaves on the trees around my home are turning those beautiful … Continue reading

Simple Tips for Teaching Homeschool Science

I love teaching my children science, especially when we do it right. It can be the most exciting part of  our day! You see, that’s the key – science is simply a study of life and the things around us. You can’t simply do science out of textbook and be done with it! There is just sooo much more! Here are a few tips to help you get your science study off the ground and out of the text books…

1) Use the classroom around you… life, nature, etc. It’s unbelievable what you can learn on a simple nature walk. In fact, this past week we took one and discovered a rare type of aphid called the boogie woogie aphid… turns out it lives only on beech trees and waves(dances) when it senses someone near.

2) Remember that children learn through play. It’s absolutely necessary for them to have time to explore and discover. Their play is learning and their learning should be play. Amazing how they learn when they are doing something fun and interesting!

3) The scientific method stems from questioning… so let learning stem from a child’s natural inquisitiveness. As you discover and explore the world around you let them ask questions, and even teach them how to apply the scientific method to their inquiries. Children are known for using the word “why”, and for good reason!

4) I love having guide books on hand for reference. There have been so many times when we have seen an amazing bird, or animal species that we have run home and tried to find in our guide books. If you can’t find it there… there is always google! We love some of the books like The Kingfisher I Wonder Why Encyclopedia, The Usborne Science Encyclopedia, Birds of Georgia, Trees of the U.S., and Look Inside the Human Body.

5) We use a textbook or online science curriculum simply as a jumping off point. In fact, we love the Apologia series. We will usually read our daily selection together and then go explore or test our theories about what we read. I love getting my kids outside. There is so much room for the imagination when you are out of doors!

Make sure you check out our other articles on homeschooling science – Making Homeschool Science More Fun than Play

Been Hopping? Here’s a few homeschool blog hops I’ve hopped on…

I like the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop… There are several really great posts here to check out!

Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop
We also shared on Love2Learn2Day’s blog hop Math Monday!

I also really love this one… Scripture and a Snapshot! Take a picture and then make sure you have a scripture in your blog post for that day! Love it!!

Scripture and Snapshot

Here ‘s one that is just adorable… Salt Tree… beautiful posts to check out on her most recent blog hop/linky party!!

SaltTree

Homeschooling High School

homeschool english

Yes, all of us “homeschoolers” seem to balk a little when we talk about homeschooling high school. It’s the big time – the big league – the life altering last few years of school. I think all of us are afraid that we are going to mess our kids up for life! I know that I was! well, good news… if I can do it – anyone can!  We just graduated our oldest daughter, and she is on her way to becoming a full time college student at Mercer University. It’s over, and we did it. (Though I am still shocked and suprised at times!)

We have always chosen courses that were an eclectic mix. Over the years we have found that a little of this and a little of that really fits us better than buying one complete curriculum from one publisher. In years past, some of our favorites have been Apologia, Saxon, and Institute for Excellence in Writing. We have even used several of the free online classes found at Homeschool College USA. My daughter did the Forensics course last year and loved it! This year we are giving the new Time4Learning High School a try. It is new this fall, and we have used T4L before with our other children. So, we will see if it’s a fit for us – it may work like all of the other currciculum before it… a piece here and there might be just what we needed!

Some of the best things that we have learned over the years are simple. Follow your children’s strengths… What is your highschooler good at? Then feed him/her a diet of challenging classes in that area. Make them an expert at what they enjoy…

Homeschooling high school can be a challenge, it can be frightening… but you can do it… I’m already working on #2 in 10th grade…SHEW!

Two FREE resources for Planning Your Homeschool High School

homeschool high schoolI think I’ve mentioned that my favorite time of the year is summer… maybe… at least 100 times. I love the time to rebuild myself, but I also love planning my next year’s homeschool. Ever since I can remember, I have loved playing school. As a child when other kids wanted toys, I wanted notebooks and pencils so I could go home and play school.  I must admit – teaching, organizing, and putting together a new school schedule makes me “happier than a teacher in a book store!”

So, as I’m looking through the amazing homeschool curriculum that is out there I realized that I had to share some of this with you. I love using Saxon books for the serious math and language arts that I’m doing with my elementary and middle school children. However, for my highschoolers I have discovered two awesome sites that have made all the difference in the world and I want to share them with you. The first is the site Let’s Homeschool High School and the second is Homeschool College USA. These two sites enabled me to get my first daughter graduated last year. I know without all their valuable insight that I would have been lost. They both present an amazingly vast array of FREE homeschool curriculum and online learning possibilities. The Homeschool College USA site also gives you free high school course links that all lead up to taking CLEP tests for college credit. Which in and of itself is an amazing idea. You see, your highschooler can take these courses for high school credit, but then when it’s time for the final – go take the CLEP tests and earn REAL college credit.

We often will use the Apologia science courses, glencoe math, and abeka history as our foundation and then enrich with the free offerings from these sites. I hope that you get a chance to visit and start planning your fall homeschool with this in mind!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Let me introduce myself… and my family!

summer homeschool

Over the past two years, we’ve been sharing a wealth of information about homeschooling here at MomSCHOOL. I appreciate the comments that you have made and hope that I have

been able to answer your questions! I like to think of all of you as my online friends. So, just between friends… I’d like to introduce you to my family.

My husband of twenty years and I have six children. We started homeschooling in 2004, and just recently graduated our oldest daughter. Homeschooling is probably the most rewarding task I have taken on… but it is also the most challenging! I am a veteran school teacher of 14 years, I also have 3 college degrees… all that to say that homeschooling is still challenging even for the educated parent. Again, though challenging it is vastly rewarding! I encourage you, even if you haven’t gone to college or even finished high school you can homeschool. If you are intimidated, there are great resources out there that do all the hard work for you. Many of them are video based or online homeschool programs, but each of them make it a simple task to homeschool your child.

We have six children ages 17, 15, 12, 12, 8, and 6. Needless to say our house is always busy, always crazy, and we are always headed to the grocery store! I retired from teaching when w

e made the decision to homeschool all of our children. It was a good decision, and though I still tutor and teach college courses… we never looked back! My husband works for a local charter school and is a great supporter and encourager of our homeschool endeavors!

When we started out, we used an “out of the box” curriculum called ABEKA. We simply ordered the entire thing for the grades we needed. We did this simply because this was the curriculum I was used to as a teacher and what I had used when I was in school. This is an awesome curriculum, and one that is very challenging. However, not every child does well with this curriculum, and it isn’t the easiest to use for a large family. Those first two years were pretty insane. I was trying to homeschool at 5 different levels as well as care for a toddler. It wasn’t working to say the least! I finally stumbled across a few options that were great for large families. One of the best was Vocabulary and Spelling City. This online program allowed me to put each of my  different students in their own account with their own individual assignments that would be automatically tracked by the program. This one resource saved me hours each week!

The second homeschooling resource that I fell in love with was Apologia. I began using this curriculum (one book) for all of my elementary level students, and an individual book for my highschool student. It worked great. I could augment the curriculum with additional assignments for the older students while requiring a lap book for the younger ones. All of this with only one well written science text geared specifically for homeschoolers! It was getting better and better!

I have used a variety of curriculum over the years, some written for homeschool and some not. We typically have a blended schedule each year, finding the best curriculum to meet the varying needs of each of my children. In fact, I might use Saxon for one of my children in 5th grade and then use Singapore Math for another child when they reach 5th grade. I try to monitor their likes and dislikes, passions and interests, and then fire them up with homeschool curriculum that targets those strengths.

I have to say that with each new year, I learn more about my children and homeschooling. I hope that if you are “on the fence” about homeschooling… our blog may help you see what a great blessing it is!

Bridging the Gaps!

summer learningEveryone has struggles now and again… even the best of homeschoolers. So, don’t let it get you down if your kids have a few learning gaps.  I know when I find out my children have a few weak areas it really gets me down.  There isn’t any one else to point your finger at and say – Why? There is only yourself and your thoughts of “What could I have done different?”  I have been there many times, but I realized that it happens. The question is, now that we know there are some issues… what are we going to do about it?

Summer is the perfect time to bridge those gaps in your child’s learning. If you found that they have weak areas as a result of a standardized test, then most of your work is already done for you. You simply need to take the test and find the sub sets where your child scored low. You can focus on those particular areas during the summer to try to strengthen the areas that were troublesome.

I like to do this with my own children each summer. Yet, I personally also like to have the summer as a time for me to recoup and refresh myself. If I can’t recover and refill my mother’s heart I will be of no use. I seriously use the summer to do that. That doesn’t mean that my kids get off scott free with no schooling. Ohhh… no way! I have tried to find ways that they can still get the remedial work they need without it stressing me out or requiring much thought on my part. I love to use online summer programs that fit the areas that were troublesome especially homeschool science.  I set it up on each of their computers that the favorites bar on their browser has all the link to the summer review programs that I want them to use. This allows them to individually access these websites without asking me for help. Granted, they don’t do school everyday, but they do it whenever they are bored or it is raining! I look at it as automated summer homeschooling!

What do you do to help your kiddos bridge their gaps during the summer?