• Family Life,  General,  Homeschooling

    A letter to my younger homeschooling self.

    Dear younger, homeschooling me,

    I see you pouring over websites that even contain the word “homeschool” looking for answers. You are wondering how to teach phonics, counting, colors, and all the things. The idea of being at home all day with your rambunctious son is overwhelming and exhilarating. Long walks looking for bugs and late afternoons curled up on the couch reading classical literature fill your thoughts. Oh what a joy it will be, and then kindergarten registration comes and goes and you feel compelled to begin.

    You have selected a perfect all inclusive curriculum with manipulatives and lengthy teachers notes. The day has arrived but somehow your rambunctious son is not having it. He is uninterested in your nature journal, your carefully crafted art project, or the sounds letters make, not to mention he could care less about holding a pencil. You try to coax him and manipulate the situation with idle threats or rewards if just one thing could get done, but nothing happens.

    All your visions of walks, classical literature read in a one room school house comes crashing down. Never-mind that he is 5 and his baby sister is barely walking on her own or no one you actually know is homeschooling their kids but yes, cry anyway.

    Over the next few years you are going to cry a lot because the expectations of a rambunctious son and young daughter are not going to be met. I know you will feel like a complete failure in all the ways, and everyone you complain to will have one solution-put them in school. But because I am writing to this girl, this mom out there, I have 20/20 vision of what I want you to do differently.

    First, please let your children be children! Let them run, jump, and play for many years. I chose classical education as our choice of an education model because classical education allows children to grow up how God intended them to grow up. Yes they have to learn letter sounds, numbers, colors and more but no where in that learning does it need to be manipulated or forced. There is so much learning that happens through play and being read to that I want you to rest there. No workbook pages, no pencils, and no school rooms.

    Second, invest in movement and imagination. Buy a trampoline, and a lot of dress up clothes. Let your son be a warrior and your daughter a fashion designer for as long as possible. Create stories with them and let them express themselves through play. Jump to music, and counting for they will be learning without realizing it. Buy tin pie plates that can go outside for mud pies, and big soup pots that can hold rocks and twigs for a hearty fantasy meal. Read great books that inspire all of this.

    Third, know that the time of hard work will come. Your child will be ready for a good math curriculum and an extensive writing program when they are ready. Oh girl! The work will come! All the writing, reading, and Latin exercises will arrive with vengeance and you will miss the days when all that was necessary was taking a walk.

    Fourth, there are more good days then bad and the fruit is worth waiting for. I know the days are long because you are trying to do more then is necessary, but once you pull back and trust the classical education process you will breathe slower. There will be many great moments and days along the way. You will be there for all the firsts and celebrate the “ah ha” moments. Your child will read and write in ways that blow your mind because you invested in them.

    Lastly, you will want people around you, walking with you, on this journey. Being alone can get dark and hopeless. That is why a community is necessary to speak truth into your life, and help you sharpen the sword. Glean from them, and take what works but only what works. No one homeschool looks the same because every child is different. Please don’t compare yourself to those you are in community with, it brings nothing but heart ache and lies.

    Homeschooling your children will go by and this season will end. Therefore, save up all these things and store them in your heart because the days are long and the years are short.

    Sincerely,

    Me, 8 years in the future.

  • Favorite Things,  Homeschooling

    Homeschool Organization

    I am not trying to brag when I share with you my storage solutions for all things homeschool related, but rather I am sharing with you what works for me.

    First off you should know that we live in a small house, so getting creative with our storage is vital, and because we do not yet own our house permanent solutions are not helpful.

    In the past eight years of homeschooling I have used bins, buckets, shelves, and stacks. However the one item that has transitioned with our ever changing lives has been the old turn about caddy from Pampered Chef. I love that it can hold our pens, pencils, markers, scissors, and more all in one place. If we end up doing school on the table it sits there, if we do school on the couch it moves to the coffee table, and on beautiful days we can take it outside while we work in the sun.

    For our endless supply of books I use the stand by of a good bookcase, or perhaps more then one, but for the specific school books for each child and myself I rely on Thirty-One totes. I have so many bags and totes! Bags for library books, for tutor supplies, for bible study resources and anything I need right by me is stored in a bag or tote.

    I do hope that one day I won’t feel like I am being swallowed up by bags and totes and I’ll live in a permanent place where I can put permanent solutions in to keep all our school supplies organized but for now I am content.

  • Family Life,  Homeschooling,  Schedule

    5 Money Saving Hacks this fall.

    5 hacks to keep you fed and warm while homeschooling your kids.

    1. Keep a stocked pantry from sale items.

      • A pantry is incredibly useful during the lean times. There are so many creative ways to use rice, flour, sugar, spices, canned beans, oatmeal, stock, and more. By keeping a pantry stocked you can always feed your family without relying on expensive junk food.
    2. Remind your kids to turn off their electricity when they are not using it, and open curtains during the day for natural light.

      • I know it seems odd to think about electricity on a list like this one, however when you are home all day everyday the PG&E bill can be outrageous.
    3. Do not raise the thermostat beyond 65.

      • Again, being home all the time means the heating bill too can run out of control.
      • Buy wool socks.
      • You homeschool so layer up without the worry of looking ridiculous to anyone else.
    4. Eat real food.

      • Because you have the blessing of being home, make cooking all your meals a priority.
      • Use a subscription service like Emeals to help make shopping lists with the specific store you like to shop at. They have a meal plan called 30 minute Budget Meals that even gives a total of what it should cost you for the week.
      • Eat leftovers
      • Prepackaged or convenience food is helpful for the rare occasion, but when it becomes the norm it can be very expensive.
    5. The homeschool community is a fantastic resource for all things.

      • Used curriculum can be passed down
      • Clothes can be bought and sold
      • Services can be bartered. and so much more.

    I hope these ideas provide some new insight into saving more money this week, this month, and into the new year. I’ll post more as the holidays approach and birthdays are celebrated.

    How do you save money during this season?

  • Family Life,  General,  Health,  Homeschooling

    A Doozy of a Summers End.

    Where in the world have I been?

    Well, it has been a doozy of a summers end.

    This past August I was playing around, tennis, dancing and the like when my right knee started giving me trouble. I had, had some trouble with it in the past so I did what I always did to fix the situation. I taped my knee and continued on. Well one fine day my knee said NO in a big way and I hobbled myself to prompt care.

    Two months later, two x-rays, one MRI, and over a month of R.I.C.E therapy I am finally going to a pre op appointment tomorrow. It seems I have ripped a piece of cartilage from my knee and it’s swimming around in there causing trouble.

    I have been mostly resting and keeping my leg elevated because it’s the only place the pain lessons. My kids are getting homeschooled from the couch, which they do not seem to mind, and I have had more then enough time to stay current in the Bible Reading challenge I’ve been participating in. However I have not been blogging.

    My son is in the Challenge B program through Classical Conversations, which I Direct, and has occupied my every last moment of “free time.” My days have been spent watching hours of webinars, trainings, and reading as much as possible to feel comfortable asking the students the right questions. Never having had a classical education I feel like I spend most of my time making up for lost time.

    On one of these days past my husband decided to slide into second base while playing baseball with the high school youth group and broke his arm. I only wish I was joking! Luckily after sitting in a cast for a week his doctor took it off and gave him some home rehab to do for a month. So here we are, three legs and three arms between us, but I am so thankful he is here to help me take care of things. He truly has been so great! He has been the car pool dad for our evening activities, the grocery getter, and principle.

    I have been so blessed this month with food, care, and prayers. My family has picked up the pieces where I cannot and I can say with absolute certainty that it is “well with my soul.” I may never fully realize why the doctor visits have lasted over a month and I’ve been sitting here unable to be fully me, but I know God has filled me every morning with His Word, and I completely trust His soverignty in all my affairs. One day soon this time will be just a memory and I’ll be back to doing more.

    What I’d like to be doing more of is blogging. I want to be here more often making content for the classical home educator, for the Christian Women at home finding herself content, and sharing with you what I am learning. If you have made it here in the blog post I hope you can leave me a comment and let me know your are in fact here and maybe what you would like to read more of.

    Thank you for being here!

     

  • About,  Homeschooling,  Schedule

    Another new school year!

    It is that time of year again, school is back in session, and like many of you I have been deep in planning mode.

    But before I share all the details of our new year I want to take a minute and rejoice that we will be starting our 8th year homeschooling. I can hardly believe it!!!! Eight years ago God changed the trajectory of my life when He wanted us to homeschool our son. Never! in my wildest dreams did homeschooling fit into the picture of what I had dreamed motherhood to be. I had some weird ideas about homeschooling which most likely came from the interesting homeschoolers I had met. I didn’t have a quarrel with the school district or anyone for that matter. God just started putting this idea into our (I say our because God had to convince my husband first) heads. Little by little and year after year, with the help of Classical Conversations, we have never looked back on our decision. Homeschooling has been the greatest adventure. Our kids are thriving, I am celebrating all the firsts first hand, and I get to be a part of changing the world right here in my home.

    I homeschool for all the reasons you can imagine minus anything personally related to our local District full of amazing teachers. Yes, being able to preach the gospel at all times, in all seasons, when we wake and when we sit is my number one motivation and without the absolute conviction of my role as their primary teacher I would had given up a hundred times over. Homeschooling is a rollercoaster of emotion and some days its exhilarating and some days make you want to puke. Thanks be to God and His sufficient grace to keep me coming back for more.

    Goals

    Both of my children are currently enrolled in a Classical Conversations program. My oldest son, who is 13, is in Challenge B and my youngest daughter, 10, is in Foundations. She would be in Essentials too but we do not have that option this year on our community, so I’ll be teaching her the Essentials program at home.

    Challenge B includes

    • Henle Latin 1
    • Saxon Pre-Algerbra
    • Current Events and Mock Trial
    • Astronomy
    • Lost Tools of Writing and Short Story
    • Intermediate Logic

    Foundations + includes

    • Cycle 1 memory work
    • Saxon 5/6
    • IEW Ancient History writing program
    • Essentials of the English Language (similar to My Mother Tongue)
    • Various novels to read and discuss
    • Piano

    Did I mention I am tutoring Challenge B too? I have tutored or Directed a program for the past 7 years so its almost second nature to keep moving up. Tutoring gives me a first hand view of my sons work and because I am both tutor and teacher I feel more confident that he will succeed.

    Schedule

    With a larger work load in B I have decided that we need to start our morning earlier then normal. Instead of 9am we begin at 8am with a devotion and prayer. This is a sweet time for us and it will only work if I commit to being present during the entire school day.

    This means I will wake up earlier, spend time with the Lord, drink coffee and see how motivated I am to dance by 6am. This may be more flexible as the year progresses and each child finds a rhythm to their work. I don’t envision sitting with them at the table for all six hours by week 12 but I will have to be there in the beginning.

    • 8am Devotions
    • 8:30 Eat your frog!
    • 9:30-12:30
    • 12:30 Lunch/Play
    • 1-3pm
    • 3pm Please be done so you can play
    • 3:30-4:30pm Xbox if all their work is done
    • 4:30-9:30pm various evening activities and bed time

    My disclaimer to all of this is; Subject to attitudes, holidays, birthdays, and weather this schedule can be modified at anytime.

    Subject to attitudes, holidays, birthdays, and weather this schedule can be modified at anytime.

    I pray you all will have a blessed year with your children.

     


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