Traditions Within Your Homeschool

Traditions Within Your Homeschool

Traditions within your homeschool are a wonderful part of homeschooling.  They’re something unique to you and your children that set you and your homeschool apart from all the others.  You may have traditions without even realizing it.

 

Traditions Within Your Homeschool

 

When I started thinking about traditions within our homeschool, I wasn’t sure we had any.  So I started thinking harder.  And then I asked my kids what they thought our traditions are.  Find some fun traditions we have and we’d love to hear about some traditions within your homeschool!

A fun tradition that I’ve done with my children is studying holidays and their history.  We love learning about why we celebrate certain holidays and why they are important.  It’s not only a fun tradition but also a great history lesson.  History is our favorite subject!

Something I never thought of as a tradition was my love for read alouds.  We have several different read alouds at different times in the day.  Normally we have four different read alouds going on at a time.  One at breakfast, one at lunch, one at supper, and one at bedtime.  I’ll add to this and the why of it in a separate post. 

Other traditions include doing a lot of subjects revolving around farm life.  This includes gardening and having a specific vegetable that they cultivate.  Or chores.  Farm chores are a part of our homeschool and they reach each level of chores by being responsible and keeping up with their school work.

A fun tradition we’re starting is doing a hymn study first thing in the morning.  I’m tone deaf and had always found this to be intimidating, but with technology(and me learning how to use it) I’ve finally found a way to incorporate this.  Along with the hymn study is Bible verse memorization.

Play might not make it as a tradition in your homeschool, but for us it really is.  For children play is such a part of life that it needs to be incorporated into school and into learning.  I’ve found that we learn so much more when we learn it through play and fun.  It also tends to stick in minds longer this way.

In the last year I’ve also started diffusing essential oils during our school day.  This helps with focus and attention during school.  I’ll be sharing more about this in a separate post as well.

Need some encouragement?  Check out this post too!

What about you?  Do you have any fun traditions in your homeschool?  Any traditions you want to start?

 

Homeschool Encouragement

Homeschool Encouragement

Homeschool encouragement is something every homeschool mom needs.  Face it, the days are long.  Somedays you don’t know that you’re doing the right thing or if your children are learning at all.  Other days you’re ready to throw in the towel and maybe even didn’t do school.  And yet, there are those days where everything clicks and falls into place where you know this is what you’re called to do.

 

Homeschool Encouragement

 

So how do you get the homeschool encouragement you need?  There are several ways but it all depends on your needs.  For me, a major factor is having other mom friends who homeschool.  We encourage each other.  It’s important to have homeschool mom friends who have homeschooled longer than you as well as ones new to homeschooling.

The variety in your homeschool mom friends is needed so that while you are being encouraged, you are also encouraging.  Doesn’t make sense?  Think about it.  You are encouraging the new homeschool mom because you’ve stuck with it and are at a place in their future.  Likewise the mom who has homeschooled longer than you is now encouraging you.

Homeschool encouragement can also come from reading blogs like mine and all the other TOS crew members.  We share some of the nitty gritty of our days so you know you’re not the only one struggling.

I have to say my greatest homeschool encouragement doesn’t come from a fellow homeschool mom.  It doesn’t come from my family.  In fact, it doesn’t come from a mom at all.  My greatest homeschool encouragement comes from a good friend.  She’s single, she has no kids, but she knows me and she knows the challenges I face.  She lifts me up and encourages me while also making me laugh and view myself as a person separate from just a mom or just a teacher or just a homeschool mom.  I have an identity all my own and she makes me remember that.

I do also talk to homeschool moms.  Also, I love going to a local homeschool conference every year.  This year I’m going by myself sort of.  My youngest will only be ten months old so he’s still a nursling and will be attending with me.  It’s such a wonderful encouragement to go and hear other homeschool moms talk about their journey and answer questions that I might have.

Each of us will need a different level of encouragement.  We may need several homeschool mom friends.  Maybe we need to read several blogs or homeschool help books.  Your greatest encouragement might be seeing the love of learning ignite in your child’s eyes.  I have to say that is definitely a wonderful thing.

Home Management while Homeschooling

Home Management

5 Days of Homeschool 101 -Day 3

5 Days of Homeschool 101- Home Management
Managing my home is difficult.  It really is.  Home management can be tricky.  I’m a busy mama of 10 kids ages eleven down to ten weeks.  Life is crazy.  I sometimes feel like I never get anything done because it gets undone before I’m on the next task.

I love my family though.  And I love having a clean clutter free house.  But I’ve learned I can’t have a happy family and a spotless house.  Things just don’t work that way when you have a small house and lots of people, plus two dogs and three cats.  We’re animal lovers here.  Add in living on a farm and all that brings with it and you’ve got a recipe for a dirty house.

So, how do you manage the home and the homeschool?  In our house it’s by making the two one.  All the kids have chores and one of the first things we do every morning is clean the house.  This might just be making beds and sweeping floors or it might be more indepth and mopping and deep cleaning.  Either way, the house gets clean before breakfast.  It’s a way I’ve managed to contain the mess and make myself motivated to get our school day started.

In the same sense, one of the last things we do every day is clean up.  It’s the pick up time.  Pick up the toys and put them away.  Clean up the rooms so you’re not tripping on things in the dark and you wake up to a semi clean house.  Who wants to wake up to a kitchen full of dishes?  Trust me, I have, it’s not a nice site and it tends to set the wrong tone for my whole day.

 

home management

 

Talk of cleaning brings about a key point in home management when you have a large family.  Chores.  All of my kids have chores.  Whether they’re simple like making sure your dirty clothes get in the hamper, brushing your teeth, and taking care of your dirty dishes or more complex like doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom.  Everyone in my home has chores to do.

I’ve been through some dark times while learning home to manage home and homeschool and I’d love to share my solution with you.  Part of it is above with keeping the house clean.  This means everyone pitches in.  There may be grumbling, but it saves my sanity.  I just can’t wrap my head around sitting down to devote time to schooling my children with a pile of dirty dishes in my sink and dog hair all over the floor.  I’m distracted.  And if I’m distracted my kids are too.

Planning.  Planning is another huge part of keeping a happy home and homeschool.  Home management should be a priority.  You can read about my homeschool planning but I’m also talking home planning as well.  Have a plan for your days.  For me, one of the first things I do is wash laundry and my cloth diapers.  This way I’m not rushing around at the end of the day trying to get caught up on laundry.  And because I want to get the laundry out of the way, my kids get one of their chores of taking the dirty clothes to the laundry area done as well.  

Some other things to plan are any appointments or things that are going to take you out of the home.  If you have young children you want to plan those around naptime.  You also  want to make sure and schedule your homeschool day around them or them around your homeschool routine.  Choosing curriculum is a vital part of home management and homeschool planning.  

Routines are really important for some of my children.  I have to keep a structured day for them.  Which means we keep to a similar schedule every week.  Two of my children require going to therapy once a week.  We do this on the same day every week and at the same time so that everyone knows on this day we do this.  It’s part of our routine, our schedule, and because of this our homeschool.

Likewise, I set aside Monday as our busy day.  If we need to schedule a checkup or a dentist appt I’m going to be doing that on a Monday.  My monthly grocery coop is on a Monday.  Our dance is on a Monday.  That is our running around day.  If we’re going to have a playdate or go to one of our homeschool groups that meets at a park we do that on a Friday.  But because I don’t like to do a ton of running around we don’t ever do that in the same week that we are gone on the Monday.

Which brings another important note for us in our family.  We stay home for the majority of our homeschool.  When you have ten children it’s not easy to travel.  It requires planning and packing even if it’s just for grocery shopping.  And it can be stressful for me as the mom making sure I’ve got all my children especially with all the recent news of kidnappings and child trafficking.  A parent’s worst nightmare.

So the key to keeping a happy home and happy homeschool in our house is home management.  Managing our home can be tricky and sometimes we do have to break from our routine, but in the end life is so much better when we all know what our jobs are and when/how to do them.  There have been days when we didn’t get any school done due to the house being a mess.  I’m not proud of those days.  But I’m so glad that I finally figured out what works for our family and our home.

What is your day like?  How have you worked out home management and homeschooling?  Any tips and tricks to share?  Make sure to check out the other TOS Crew blogs linked below and the Main TOS Crew Blog.

 

 


Homeschool Planning

Homeschool Planning

Day 2: 5 Days of Homeschool 101

 

5 Days of Homeschool 101- Homeschool Planning
 

Homeschool planning.  It seems daunting.  At least it always has to me.  There are so many different ways to plan for your homeschool.  So many different planners available and curriculum choices.  It’s enough to make you want to run away screaming.

I’d love to share with you how I have finally found myself in homeschool planning.  I have a large family with several school aged children which makes homeschool planning even more of a challenge for me.  Add in some of the kids having special needs when it comes to learning plus life on the farm and I’m liable to go crazy!

Some people plan out their whole year, some their month, others their week, and some even do it just day by day.  My strategy incorporates a bit of all of those together.  When we get ready to start our new year of homeschooling I look at the curriculum and find the halfway mark.  I note that down in a notebook.  That’s where I want to be mid year, so by January 1st I want us to be on that lesson or that page.  Seems simple so far right?

 

Homeschool Planning

 

Next I start out by choosing day 1.  What will be the first day of our new school year?  Most years we start on the first Monday of July since we tend to school year round.  However some years, like this year we pushed our start date back.  I needed a bit more time to recover from having a baby, which also adds a new dimension to homeschool planning!

Okay.  So we’ve got our halfway mark, we’ve got our day 1.  Now it’s time to do some planning.  I plan out the first month all at once.  That way we have a solid foundation to start with.  We’re more likely to hold to our schedule and follow through if we know that we can’t get off track or we’ll be behind so soon.  As we get to the end of the first month I start doing my planning by week.  This way I allow room for our other activities and can plan around days we’re going to need to be out of the house.

One of the fun things with homeschooling is that if I know we’re going to be gone and have a lot of driving time I can plan accordingly.  So, instead of doing workbooks or notebooking while driving we can listen to some history or science.  We can take a short field trip. There are lots of ways to add in schooling hours and keep us learning without being in the books everyday.

What about homeschool planners you ask?  I have tried a lot of them.  I’ve tried online and in print.  I prefer mine to be in print so I can write in them.  I’m a pen and paper type of girl.  Plus it gives the kids access to them as well.  My current system involves using a weekly planning book for each child while also maintaining a large calendar for me which overviews what we’re doing daily.  It may seem confusing but it works very well for us at this point in time.  

I love homeschool planners, but most don’t have space for me to plan out for 7-8 children.  Eventually I’ll need one that I can plan for ten(or more).  There are printable options that I could customize to get to that point, but I don’t seem to have the time to do that either.  Life is short, life is full, and I’m looking for an easy planning method so I don’t have to spend a full day every week planning.

That brings me to how I “cheat”.  I love to find curriculum that all the kids can use together.  Example is that for history we’re using Story of the World.  All the kids can listen to me read and participate in the question and answer session.  We then each have a notebook to record what they learned that day through drawings and writings.  It’s simple for me to plan out and yet still very educational.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my short little view of my homeschool planning.  As time allows I’m going to be giving you a visual of my monthly and weekly planning and what we use for each age and grade.  I’m still bouncing around a bit with some of my children but for the most part we’ve found our groove.

In relation to our homeschool planning check out our home management as well.  They go hand in hand.

All members of the TOS Crew who wish to are participating in this blog hop.  Feel free to go to the Main Blog Post or check out some of the blogs on the linky below.



Choosing Curriculum for your Homeschool

Choosing Curriculum

5 Days of Homeschool 101 -Day 1

Choosing curriculum is a vital part of homeschooling.  It’s right up there with deciding to homeschool.  For me it’s also an ordeal.  I overthink for one.  And of course, I really want to find something that can work for more than one child or better yet for everyone in our homeschool.

5 Days of Homeschool 101
Some subjects are easier to find a solution with.  Choosing curriculum for history is far easier than math for me.  For history I want and found something that I could use with all of my school age children that we all could understand.  It’s simple.  It’s thorough.  And best of all I can use it with everyone and then make the changes to what level their at for the discussion and extras we do.  For history we use Story of the World.  

Choosing curriculum for math is a bit more difficult.  I don’t like using lots of different companies.  I’d rather have everyone in the same company so that I myself don’t have to alter or remember which version of teaching I’m using with each child.  We’ve used lots of different math curriculum.  The one that I’ve found that works for all my children is Horizons from Alpha Omega.  I have some who are gifted in math and some who struggle but they all seem to be able to use this one.

Other math we have used and do like and recommend are Math Mammoth and CTCMath.  You can check them out in my reviews when you get a chance or research them on your own.  The concept that they both use for math is more mastery versus the integration that Horizons uses.  My children who have some special needs need the integration so they don’t forget what they’ve learned while my gifted son really enjoys the mastery method more.  Of course, he also likes that the two I mentioned here are online.  He loves getting to use the computer.

 

 

Choosing Curriculum

 

Science.  Oh science.  This subject really gives me troubles.  I finally decided to follow a Charlotte Mason approach to this and use a living science curriculum that is focusing more on nature this year.  We’re doing a lot of journalling and exploring.  Because of this we can do this one on the go and call our park play-dates field trips as well as fun. Our science is in the photo above.  We’re also adding in some Apologia Astronomy to go with the astronomy part of our Living Learning Books.

We also have to think about reading and writing, phonics and spelling.  I’ve found that the best way to teach reading to my children involves using Explode the Code.  I love it.  My kids love it.  And learning to read comes along with it.  Once my children have completed the entire Explode the Code series I start them into Learning Language Arts Through Literature.

Because we follow a more Charlotte Mason approach I love using curriculum that highlights her approach.  We use copywork that is Bible verses or other things that I want my children to memorize and learn.  It works on handwriting as well as memorization.  We also tend to add in more books and reading than most of our curriculum requires.  Libraries are one of our best friends and we have cards for four different ones.

Let’s see, what’s left?  What other curriculum do we choose?  The extras we do with each year differ a bit.  We always have some kind of music though.  All of the kids take piano lessons while my husband is also teaching them guitar.  Art is the subject that I have the most trouble with as I am severely challenged in this area.  Because of this I try to let my children do a lot of art within each subject.

Some other things to think about while choosing curriculum are your home management and homeschool planning methods.  You need to make sure that you will have the time needed in your daily schedule for the curriculum you’ve chosen.  Different curriculum require different amounts of time.

Make sure to check out all the blogs linked up below and the Main TOS Crew page for what others have to say about choosing curriculum and what’s important to them.