Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Back to Homeschool Tips

Saturday, August 21st, 2021

back-to-homeschool-tips

My aim today is to get you revved up about starting a new homeschool year, so I will be sharing with you some back to homeschool tips.

One of my top tips to get kids excited about the upcoming homeschool year is to spread out all the hands-on, fun activities you will be doing over the school year on a table or on the floor. Whenever I did this, which was every year near the end of the summer in anticipation for the new school year, my kids would get so excited about what we were about to study. For example, I would collect all kinds of things pertaining to a specific period in history. If it was medieval times, I would have lots of medieval stuff.

In literature, we might be studying Around the World in 80 Days, so I would have some items from different countries from around the world that we would be studying. This way my kids would be excited about world travel, and they couldn’t wait to start the school year.

The same was true for the science concepts we would be studying. One year we studied botany, and we had so many plant-related items! We even got some carnivorous Venus flytraps and other cool plants in a new terrarium, just to spark interest in plants.

Here is a super short video, explaining my favorite back to homeschool tip:

If you want examples of this, watch me spread out lots of hands-on goodies for different time periods:

Another idea for back to school is to make a fun pencil cake:

Make sure you have all your essential homeschool items. Here is a list of all the items that I love to have on hand for homeschooling:

And if you are stressed out about homeschooling, take a look at some ways you can de-compress while having a successful homeschool year:

Have a great new homeschool year!

Homemaking for Teens

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

homemaking-for-teens

Are you looking to teach your homeschooled kids how to run a home? Today I’m going to show you some of the homemaking materials that we used in our homeschool.

My daughter has been learning more advanced homemaking skills for the past year, as she is more involved in the management of the home. One of the electives for high school is home economics, which includes cooking, baking, sewing, cleaning, and taking care of children. When I was gone for several weeks last month, my daughter managed the home perfectly, cooking meals from scratch, keeping up with the laundry, and tidying up the house. I was impressed.

My three sons also learned the basic skills of cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry before going to college, so that they would not squander their money by eating out every meal. They learned a lot of these skills through Cub Scouts when they were younger, including basic sewing skills. So home economics is good for anyone to learn.

We also did Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition for Homeschool. This personal finance course is a one semester high school course that has DVD’s and a workbook, where you learn all the basic financial skills to manage money well, including staying out of debt and budgeting. It goes really well with a homemaking course, since it includes skills needed to run a home.

stuffed-bell-peppers

One of the homemaking materials we loved was The Homemaker’s Journal: Practical Instruction for the Keeper at Home. It’s an online PDF, which we printed and had spiral bound. It’s a simple e-book that has information on how to maintain a home. It’s not curriculum, though. But if it was the only book you had, along with teaching the practical skills beside you, that would be enough for a home economics course. Not everything has to have written tests. PE doesn’t, for example. Most practical skills are learned best through hands-on learning.

However, there is something charming about a proper curriculum for home economics that has vocabulary, instruction, and quizzes and tests on the information. I found that in the Home Economics high school elective from Christian Light Education. There are 10 workbooks that teach all the skills for maintaining a home. We did not do all the workbooks, but instead, we did whatever we wanted. We spent 2-3 hours a day on homemaking this year, and we used a lot of materials, not just this set. So we flipped through the workbooks and did whichever ones we needed. For example, we did not do the health workbook because I had already done a full year of high school health from Apologia several years ago.

We loved the Introduction to the Kitchen workbook from this set. I flip through some of the pages in this video, so that you can see why we liked it:

There are many black and white sketches and illustrations to show hazards in the kitchen, for example. When my daughter tried to pick out the hazards, we were both laughing hysterically because some of the things, she would never have done instinctively, but other things, she was learning for the first time. We had many conversations we would not have had if we had never gone through these homemaking materials.

We also used another e-book called The Kitchen Primer: A First Textbook on Cooking & Keeping a Proper Kitchen by Martha Greene. We liked it a lot, but it is much more expensive than The Homemaker’s Journal, and most of it is recipes. So in the video, I show this, and I explain how you can use a basic Betty Crocker Cookbook as a textbook for cooking and baking.

We also went through a mother-daughter devotional called Beyond Beautiful Girlhood Plus Companion Guide, where we answered the questions aloud instead of writing it down. It took us a full year to get through the book, even though it only has 7 chapters. We did a little bit most mornings before doing anything else. I loved how the questions were often a springboard for deep conversations with my daughter that deepened our mother-daughter bond. And it had to do with homemaking.

I don’t know if I mentioned the fact that we didn’t write in any of the books or workbooks, but that we went through them together. I love the fact that my daughter now knows how to run a home way more effectively than I ever did at her age! My husband snapped a picture of my daughter’s stuffed bell peppers she made from scratch while I was gone on a two-week road trip. I was delighted to come home to a clean house with laundry all caught up and put away. Home economics is definitely worth teaching your teens!

5 Ways to Homeschool Without Stress

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

homeschool-without-stress

What are some ways to homeschool without stress, or to at least reduce the amount of stress we experience as homeschool moms? Today we are going to cover 5 simple things you can do to make your homeschooling a lot more pleasant and a lot less stressful.

5 Ways to Homeschool Without Stress

This is a collaboration with other homeschool moms who can be found in the playlist under this YouTube video:

Here are the top 5 ways to homeschool without stress:

1. Pray about what you are supposed to be doing, and drop anything you’re not supposed to be doing. The best time to do this is in the summer before the new school year. Make sure you also focus on character qualities that will make your homeschooling easier, and ask God how to grow in those areas. Ask Him what you should be teaching your kids, or if you need to switch programs with a specific kid who is struggling.

2. Prioritize what has to be done, so that you are doing those first each day, so that everything after that point is gravy. That might mean doing at least a math lesson before being done for the day on hard days. Other important things might include listening to Scripture on audio while eating breakfast, so that you at least accomplished something during the day. This gives a sense of satisfaction that you are not a failure, but that you’ve cut back just for the day, so that you can rest and be refreshed to do better the next day.

3. Have a time during the day that is quiet. If you have babies and toddlers, you can put them down for a nap. If not, have silent reading time or a quiet activity for the kids to do on their beds. All kids can learn to be quiet for an hour or an hour and a half. Noise pollution drains everyone, especially parents, and we re-charge with silence.

4. Simplify other areas of your life, like meal planning. Make simple meals. Make two meals at one time and then freeze one of them, or swap a meal with another family to not have to cook the next night. Simplify other chores like doing a load of laundry each day at a certain time, or clean bathrooms on Fridays so you don’t have to wonder how long it’s been since you’ve cleaned the bathroom.

5. Do more homeschooling outdoors to de-stress. There is something relaxing about the outdoors.

Hopefully by applying these tips, you will reduce the amount of stress in your homeschool.

The End Game: Long-Term Goals for Children

Monday, January 11th, 2021

long-term-goals-for-kids

Years ago, back when my kids were tiny, I saw an article in a homeschool magazine that stressed the importance of setting long-term goals for our children if we wanted to see them accomplish everything we consider important. The magazine article broke the long-term goals into different subject headings, so I tweaked and brainstormed what kinds of skills and knowledge I wanted my kids to have acquired before leaving home as adults. Because I knew what my end game was, I knew that I needed to break those goals down into incremental steps over the years, to achieve those goals with my kids.

I brainstormed not only skills and knowledge in different subject areas that I wanted my kids to know, but also areas of character. As a result of those goals, I knew where I was headed, and I focused on the things that mattered rather than on frivolous things. Over the years my kids were able to advance in so many ways, far beyond where I was at their ages, even in their character.

Here is a workshop I delivered recently about goal-setting, where I go into more detail in each subject area, and why we stressed some areas more than others:

If you want to see the full list of goals I wrote so many years ago, here they are:

The skill areas encompass reading, writing, and math, as well as other practical skills such as swimming, cooking, sewing, hand-eye coordination through basic sports skills, driving, etc. For example, I wanted my kids to be able to swim, at least to tread water and get back to shore if a boat was capsized. This skill was important for my kids to have before they left home.

Knowledge areas include science, history, geography, literature, etc. For example, my children learned how to identify over 50 plants and trees based on leaves and other features of the plants. We also read a lot of classical literature, which helped my kids expand their vocabulary so that they could read on a higher lever.

long-range-goals-for-children

Experiences also affect learning. When you experience something, you are more likely to master it or retain the information. This is why I have valued hands-on learning all the way through my children’s upbringing. We experienced a different culture by traveling to Guatemala to see my childhood stomping grounds. We experienced a medieval feast and a Renaissance fair to get into those historical time periods. We went on numerous field trips to see and experience the most out of life that our tight budgets would allow.

The character of my children was the most important area that I stressed, and I’m glad I did. Not only are my kids honest and kind, but they are eager to help other people, they are funny, and they are deep thinkers. I love who they are turning out to be. And we have had so many experiences as a family that have bonded us together in unity, to give my children a sense of identity. They know who they are.

This is why I highly recommend setting some long-range goals for your kids. When we plan long-term goals for our children, we are more likely to achieve those goals, and we can have great experiences along the way.