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!!

 

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

 homeschoolingAs 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 well-known shades of red,orange, purple, and even yellow. Though Spring is my very favorite time of year, fall is equally amazing. The beautiful colors, scents of baked goodies, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and the oh-so-fun hayrides. Each is guilty of making incredible memories that last for a life time. So, as this beautiful season commences, I’d love to encourage each of you to be grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to experience the richness of another fall, and the blessings of freedom to homeschool. So, without further ado… let’s get to the goodies…

Homeschooling this Fall…

Talking about freedoms…  Homeschool vs. Public School reviews our Constitutionally given rights in his posts The Bill of Rights Part 1 and The Bill of Rights Part 2.

ChristineMM over at the Thinking Mother talks about how she’s doing with homeschooling her eighth grade son this Fall in her post Grade 8 Curriculum Part 1.

This post by Zesty Mom talks about the benefit of self imposed challenges versus the challenges that life throws at us in her post On Choosing Challenges.

Just not sure if you can homeschool high school? Yes, You Can! It really is a lot easier than you think. This article entitled Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling High School was very encouraging to me!

homeschool graduate

Speaking of being grateful, I am so grateful for the richness that others bring to my life. There are so many things that we can do to be a positive influence in other peoples’ lives.

This post by Laura Grace Weldon encourages us to do just that!  International Hosting:How Strangers Become Friends is a post about a family that made a difference in a child’s life, and how you can get involved too.

Every Bed of Roses discusses the Dad’s place in our homeschool in her post Dad’s Helping Hand in our Homeschool. Dad’s don’t always homeschool, but they play a very important part!

Are you Burned Out and Fed Up? Barbara Frank Online gives encouragement for those of us who are there… and even those of us who aren’t!

Need some homeschool inspiration?… how about poetry? Reading-Writing-Learning shares an original poem called Teach Me to Fly. This is destined to become a favorite poem!

Need a few tips to help your homeschool run a bit smoother?  Here are 5 Tips for Homeschooling a Large Family from the Time4Learning Community Blog.

Ahhh… the fundamentals. As I’m enjoying the fall scene before me, it’s the fundamentals that make it beautiful. The simplicity of the leaves. The beauty of the sky, and even the crispness of the air. It’s the fundamentals of homeschooling that give it such beauty as well. Here’s a bit of fundamental inspiration for your homeschool…

homeschool life

Find out what Fill Your Bookshelf is up to with history in her post Egyptian History Unit Study. This post has alot of great links and information to help you get started on your own history unit.

Florida Homeschooling gives us great advice in her post Homeschool for Free! Lots of great pointers get you saving money in a few simple steps.

Need some fresh ideas about math? Introducing the World shares how her math didn’t work out too well at the beginning of the year and how she adjusted to make things better… true homeschool style! Her article Math Remix tells about her success!

Discover more about nature and how to make a great interest led unit study with Down a Rabbit Trail and her post The Reality of How We Do Nature Study.

Joyous Lessons makes The Case for a Non-fiction Home Library in her post. She gives a perfect example of how non-fiction can enrich your homeschool studies.

If you are looking for a way to enrich your highschool homeschool Dual Enrollment and Homeschool: What to Expect can help you find the way. Dual Enrollment during high school can save alot of time and money in the long run!

Learn about a new book called Talking Math with Your Kids. This book review by Let’s Play Math! will get you wanting to read it and get mathematical with your children!

That pretty much wraps up our Carnival of Homeschooling for this week. I hope you enjoyed the posts, I know I sure did! If you are enjoying the fall like I am, add a picture of your landscape when you make your comment!


> Carnival of Homeschooling

Don’t forget to join the Carnival of Homeschooling next week!

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!