• Read Aloud Challenge

    We decided that we would take part in the 100 book read aloud challenge. I haven’t been very consistent in doing read aloud but I wanted to change that this upcoming school year. I found this adorable journal on Amazon to help us keep a record of the books we read. The kids are excited to start using it.

    Why we decided to do this challenge.

    I need something to help me stay on track and having this journal set up as a type of challenge does the trick for me. I really want to read more often to my kids. We love that after each book we can write down our thoughts on it. Certinaly this journal will be a great memory to look back on when the kids are older.

    Benefits of reading aloud.

    Some read aloud benefits are,

    1. Learn about different cultures and times.
    2. Build vocabulary.
    3. Start conversations about hard topics. (death, war, racism)
    4. Builds empathy.
    5. Starts a love for reading.

    Our plan.

    We’ll be starting our read aloud challenge at the beginning of August. I’d like to stick with chapter books but I am not opposed to reading picture books. Along with the books I will be adding in fun crafts, treats, and lessons. After each book, I will have each child tell me what they liked most about the book. We will write it down on a dry erase board first and then come up with a way to write down the information in the journal. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to practice their writing skills. After we’ve written in the journal they can take turns drawing pictures or adding some kind of art on the pages.

    I think this is going to be a big hit in our homeschool. You can find the journal here on Amazon.

  • The Good and The Beautiful Controversy | My Personal Thoughts

    If you are using The Good and The Beautiful homeschool curriculum or have been thinking about it then I’m sure you know somewhat about what is going on. If not, here is a basic rundown.
    The Good and The Beautiful is a non-denominational curriculum produced by Jenny Phillips. Jenny is part of the Latter Day Saints church. For that reason other homeschoolers are either reluctant to try the curriculum or have spoke out against it.

    My family and I personally use the curriculum, and we love it. I have yet to come across anything about the LDS religion. TGTB does a wonderful job keeping the curriculum non-denominational. I know of many other homeschoolers who love this curriculum as well and have not found anything LDS related.

    My opinion

    So, here are my thoughts on all of this. I think it is great to read reviews and hear the thoughts of others when it comes to a curriculum, but they are all just opinions. We should take opinions with a grain of salt and form our own decisions. Believe me, I am guilty of following along with what someone else is doing, and it always ends up not working out for me. You should do what works best for your children. If you are using this curriculum and enjoy it, then you should continue using it. If you are looking for reviews, look at all ends of the spectrum.

    As far as the religious beliefs of Jenny herself, it doesn’t bother me. I am careful about all curriculum, books, and tv shows that I allow my Children to view/use. As parents, we should all be careful about what we use and not be blind even if the creator of the material has the same convictions that we have. Curriculums are simply a tool we use in our homeschool and it should never rule our lives. The reviews and opinions of others should only help guide us, not make a decision for us. (that includes my opinions)

    Those are my thoughts on this topic. We do plan to use TGTB in the school year to come. I also plan to have a more detailed review of TGTB on my blog in the very near future. Make sure you subscribe to my blog and follow me on my social media accounts so you don’t miss anything!

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  • 5 Tips to Start Your Homeschool

    Here are my 5 tips to start your homeschool. These tips will help you get started on the right track and also give you a great starting point.

    1. Research your State laws.
    You need to know what your state requires of homeschool families. States are all different and have different laws. Some require testing, keeping track of hours, or schooling for 180 days. It’s important to know what your State will need from you. HSLDA is a wonderful place to find all that information.

    2. Get connected.
    Finding homeschool groups on Facebook is a great way to meet other people and ask questions. I searched for groups in my local area and ended up making some great friends.

    3. Educational approach.
    There are so many different types of homeschool methods. I recommend trying to figure out how you want to homeschool so you can easily narrow down your search for curriculum. Here are some methods to help get you started.
    Unschooling
    Eclectic
    Charlotte Mason
    Classical
    Waldorf
    Montessori
    Online Schooling

    (It’s okay if you identify with more than one of these approaches)

    4. Curriculum
    This is where homeschooling can get overwhelming. There are tons of curriculum choices out there and they all range in different prices. Don’t let this part stress you out. Before I bought any curriculum I watched YouTube videos and read online reviews. I checked out prices and made a list of all the things I would need. It helps to know how your child learns best so you can tailor their curriculum to best fit their needs. I will leave some links below of places you can find curriculum at.
    Timberdoodle
    Rainbow Resources
    Christain Book

    There are many other sites you can use, including Amazon. The three I shared are the ones that I personally use the most.

    5. Relax
    Homeschooling can be whatever you want it to be for your family. If you are pulling your kids from public school, take some time to unwind from it. Your homeschool does not need to be like public school or someone else’s homeschool. Do what works for you and your children. Chances are you will change up your schedule and even curriculum choices throughout the years of homeschooling. It’s all okay! It helps to have some good homeschool mom friends to help encourage you through these times.

    I hope you found this helpful. If you did, go ahead and give it a share! Thanks for reading.

     

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  • 5 Reasons Why We Homeschool Year Around

    I homeschool my children year round. Our schedule and the type of things we do during the summer is different than what we do during the traditional school year. In the summer we do more nature studies, poetry, art, and whatever else might interest my kids at the time.

    Here are my 5 reasons why I homeschool all year!

    1
    I don’t want my kids to forget all the things they learned at the end of the school year when we get back into school after summer. I like to make sure they stick to their math lessons and reading. This is especially important to me for my younger ones who are just learning to read.

    2
    We get to do a lot of outside learning. We live in Michigan where winter can be long. (It’s April 13th and we have snow storms coming)
    Summer allows us to get outside and explore science through nature. We do a lot of our nature studies in the summer. I even have some fun poetry teatimes planned for this summer!

    3
    We are always ahead.
    Because we school through the summer, we can take longer breaks during the traditional school year. For Christmas break, we can take 3 weeks off. If the weather is nice in the fall we can take a “sun day” and enjoy the weather before it gets cold.

    4
    During the traditional school year, I can slow down lessons that the kids who might need a bit more time understanding it. I don’t feel rushed or a time pressure to get things completed. The kids don’t feel that either so it helps them perform better.

    5
    Because of all these reasons we can gently homeschool year long. We have no need to “hit things hard” or rush to finish anything. All of this makes homeschooling more enjoyable for the kids and less stressful for me.

  • Homeschool Q&A

    I asked my facebook friends to share some questions they had about homeschooling. Here are some of those questions.

    What is the process to start homeschooling your children 
    This depends on the state you live in. If you are interested in homeschooling your child you should look up your state laws. HSLDA is a great resource for state laws about homeschooling.

    Do you ever fear they will have social anxiety from homeschooling and not being in a school environment?
    I personally do not worry that my kids will have social anxiety because we homeschool. In fact, our kids are more socially engaged in healthy environments and with people of all ages. My 13yr old can talk to a 30yr old just as confidently as she can talk with someone her own age.
    My kids are involved in activities with kids of their own ages like church clubs, co-op classes, sports, and library functions.


    How long per day do you have to spend on each lesson and are they homeschooled approximately the same hours that they would be in school?

    Some states require that you count hours of school instead of days. We are in a state that counts the days.
    The second part of this question will be different depending on the family. For our family, no, my kids are not schooled the same hours as they would be in public school.
    There are many different reasons for this. In a school setting, you usually have one teacher in a class teaching 25 or more students. I am able to give my children one on one attention during a lesson and this makes it go by faster. Once they understand a concept, we move on to the next lesson.
    We start school at 9am. My 2nd grader and preschooler are done with school by 12. My 6th and 8th grader is done around 1 or 2. (This includes breaks)


    How do you keep the kids socialized and are there still after school type of activities they can do? Band? Dances?
    I keep my kids socialized just like any other kid. They go to birthday parties, have friends over or go to a friend’s home, and make new friends at a number of different outings. My kids go to church kid group and Sunday school, dance classes, library activities, or other homeschool related outings with other families. There are so many ways to socialize a child without having them go to public school.

    In my state homeschool kids can still participate in activities at their local public school. They can join sports teams, take classes, and even do band or choir. I’m not sure if this is an opportunity in all states so you will have to look up that information for your state.


    How do you teach all of them at once if they’re in different grades?
    I spend most of my time teaching my 2nd grader and preschooler. My 8th and 6th grader are excellent readers and can do 90% of their work without me. I am available to answer questions or help them but I want them to be independent learners because I believe this will help them in the future.
    I can also group them all together on different subjects. We all do Bible work together, poetry, nature study, and are currently learning about all of the US Presidents.
    It’s all about balance and time management. It took me some time to learn how to do this, but we made it work.

    How do you go about starting homeschool? Where do you get the curriculum?
    To start homeschooling you should first look into your state laws. I would also find some local homeschool moms that you can talk with. You can learn a lot from other homeschool families. I will expand more on this question in another blog.
    You can get curriculum anywhere. There are many different companies to purchase from and you can also buy materials from Amazon. It all depends on what kind of curriculum you are looking for. I like to purchase from Amazon, Timberdoodle, Rainbow Resources and Christian Books websites. You can also find things on Pinterest and your local library.


    What do you do when you reach a subject that you yourself are not very good at?

    Thankfully there are a number of wonderful curriculum that will do all the teaching for you.
    I am not the best at math so my kids use Teaching Textbooks. It’s a computer-based program that teaches my kid’s math and keeps track of their progress and scores. You can find similar curriculum for just about any subject.

    How do you know if your child is where they should be?
    Some states will require that homeschool children take tests. We are in a state that does not require this of us, but we can still have them tested. Testing can be done online or through a local school, or other private testing agencies.
    Some curriculum will compare their levels to public school grade levels. I find that most homeschool materials are ahead of public school standards with their grade levels.
     
    What does a normal day consist of?

    This is a great question and I will have to write a separate blog on it, otherwise, this blog post will be too long.

    Do you follow a schedule?
    I like to start our homeschool days at 9. We have a little routine we follow to help us keep on track. I like to keep it simple here.

    What kind of outside of home activities do you do?
    Church, dance, drawing class, piano, library events, and community functions. I do my best to not over schedule our family so we can focus on our work at home during the traditional school months.

    I hope you found this helpful and if you have any more questions, feel free to let me know!

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