Tag Archives: Homeschooling
Independence. It is something we all strive for.
We want to teach our children to be independent, strong, confident people. We want them to be self motivated, investors in their futures.
I have seen talks, articles, and many friends say how they don’t have time for friendship. I myself struggle with making the time for what is important.
But as I watched a talk by Maggie Doyne this morning on Love, I was reminded of some of the cliches we have been taught or teach our children.
“You can do it by yourself.”
“You don’t need me.”
“You don’t need anyone else to make you happy.”
While in a sense, they might be true, those same words rob us of community.
I know that in times past, many people were isolated for months out of the year. Some people died from the lack of companionship, support and just being alone.
I am an introvert. I thrive off of being alone. My most refreshing moments are when I spend the day not talking, just reading, writing or in disengaging activities. I feel revived and as though I can take on the world. So, you know I am not talking about running around, making sure your social calendar is booked to the max. I am talking about community.
When you have something bad that happens to you, who can you turn to?
Who have you invested in that would be there for you, if you needed it?
Who have you been there for?
I remember a time when I felt like there was no one I could call. I wanted to go to a cooking show with friends as it is more fun if you go with someone. I realized that outside my family, I had not developed friendships. It was not a priority to me. I felt I was better off on my own. It was painful to open your heart to love. I mean, you could get hurt. It was stressful for me too. I often stumble on my words, have times where I don’t know how to maintain a conversation and struggle with the basics. (I have improved, but it still happens.)
I sat there wishing I had someone to go with, and on a whim called up two people that I knew in passing and asked them to go. They are two of the most amazing people, and it was so worth it to take that risk (for me), and step out of my comfort zone to build some community.
You know, how not easy it is to build a friendship and lose it? When you love someone, it hurts when you lose them. It hurts when they have pain.
12 years ago, my husband was in a hospital four hours away. I had a new baby, and three other little active boys. My community that I had worked hard to build had mostly turned their back on me. I left a cult group that a few wanted to support me, but were prevented. One woman sacrificed a lot to come and be by my side when I gave birth. I was ashamed to tell anyone what was going on with my husband. Those I did tell, felt it was too much, too messy and were hesitant to even have me as a friend. Who wants to take on a friendship with a family where the husband has a severe mental illness and four very active boys? It was a lot of work to be my friend.
So, I remember, sitting in my home, encumbered by depression, thoughts of things I would not want to admit aloud, and decided to make a change.
I lacked community, but I was going to seek out how I could be community for others. It might be too much for them to be there for me, but I could see how I could be there for them.
MOPS was a stepping stone for me in this. I was able to reach out by cooking breakfast for other moms, helping with clean up and set up.
Last night, I met with several other moms to discuss the best ways we can support our community of homeschool moms. I sat there realizing that my journey, from someone that could barely string two-three words together in a coherent sentence, I was discussing being a speaker, setting up speakers and plans for reaching others.
I don’t want to need people. I want to be able to do this on my own.
Instead, I have been shown that we need community. We need older women to encourage us and come alongside us in the journey.
We need someone to say, “It was really hard. Here is a hug.”
My son had surgery about two weeks ago now.
Instead of feeling like I was going through it alone, I was not. I not only had family, but someone dropped off a meal for me, I had a friend come by the surgery center and drink a cup of tea with me while waiting. I was surrounded by the thoughts and prayers of many, and many that know my son.
I don’t say this because I want others to say, “Oh, that is nice for her, but I have no one. I have no family, no church, no community here. Why is she bragging on what she has?”
It is because I have been where I had no one. I had no one to turn to and nothing to live for. I felt worthless, and wondered if others would be better off without me here many times.
I made a choice to work hard to build community. It is not easy. I have not always become fast friends with everyone I come in contact with. Most friendships are still shallow or surface. Many people still do not realize what my life is like on an everyday level or some of the daily struggles that cause me to have to look for community.
Honestly, it would be easier to stay home, read my books, write, and even stay in my bed all day, most days.
I realize though that we were not created as individuals to survive without companionship, much as I wish we could. And as I said, I thrive off of being alone! But serving others and offering support to others, is a tiring, but also reviving way of living.
I watched as many families sought an isolationist lifestyle. They cut off contact in many forms. Some do this to a certain extent with “cutting out Facebook”, “reducing screen time”, “focusing on their family” and other things that sound good on the outside. Other families push themselves into so much social activities they never have the chance to actually build community when they need it. No one really knows them, but everyone knows them. Neither one is right.
If we want our children to want to stay near to us, we need to foster a sense of community that makes them believe they are loved and belong where we live. They need to know that we are there for them, the community is there, and they have friends wherever they go.
If they look back at their childhood, they should have people that meant something to them. They may not marry who they are around exactly, but most people marry someone similar to a counterpart close to them. The people you are around will define your life. If it is only the people you see in the grocery store, those are the people that will define your life.
My encouragement to you, is to take time to foster community. Take time to build friendships. Take the chance. Invite the semi strangers to the cooking shows or to have PB and J sandwiches in the park. The worst they can do is turn you down. Sometimes it still means you cannot leave your home. Sending a card, donating $5 to a cheer box for someone, or a kind FB massage or text can really make someone’s day and build community.
But, in the meanwhile, you may find community deeper than you realize. Your life can be changed when you need help and you ask for it, you might just have someone to ask.
I am a strong, independent woman. I know I can do things on my own, but I know I can do better if I work with others and let them be my community as well.
Are you tired of the same old math drills? Phonics worksheets got you down? Your students can’t figure out how to tell time because they can’t sit still long enough to do it?
Try some of these ideas to spice up the school day!
It can be a fun thing to add something to your school day with games. It doesn’t always make it easy, but it can add some diversion in a mundane school day. Another thing that it can do, is teach lessons to reluctant learners without them realizing they are actually doing school.
There are many ideas on the links as well as several of my own.
Math Fact Race
- chart paper
- markers or crayons
Before the Lesson
Create on the board or on chart paper a grid numbered across 1 to 9 and down 1 to 9. The grid’s squares should be large enough for students to write a readable number in.
Arrange the class into two or more teams and provide each team with a grid sheet. Decide whether you want students to practice addition, subtraction, or multiplication facts in this game of speed. When the chart is set, say “Go!” One person on each team races to the board and fills in any square on the math facts grid. For example, if you are reinforcing addition facts, the student writes the number 6 in the square at which the 4 column and the 2 row meet (4 + 2 = 6).
Emphasize that it is important for all members of a team to watch what their teammates write. If any student on either team sees a mistake made by a teammate during the game, he or she can use his/her turn to correct that error.
If you make this a “quiet game,” it will hold down the “ooooo’s” that are sure to signal an error, and also further emphasize the importance of team members paying close attention to one another.
The first team to fill in all the squares on their grid is the winning team if all the answers on their chart are correct.
Extend the Lesson
Use the completed charts to reinforce the concepts being taught. For example, if you use this game to reinforce multiplication facts, you might emphasize how the charts show the pattern made by the 5 tables or 7 tables.
The first team to fill in all the squares on their grid wins — if every answer on their chart is correct.
Lesson Plan Source
Adapt the BINGO game to reinforce multiplication table skills.
- play a game of BINGO that requires them to accurately compute math facts.
multiplication, multiplication tables, times tables, BINGO, game
- Multiplication BINGO card
- a set of flash cards for the times tables you will reinforce using the game
Provide each student with a Multiplication BINGO card. Provide students with the answers to the multiplication fact cards you will show them and let them arrange those numbers randomly on their BINGO cards.
Alternate Idea: Involve Some Critical Thinking
If your students have a fair grasp of the multiplication tables, tell them which times tables the game will be based on and let them write on their cards the numbers that might be called out in the game. For example, if you tell them that the Multiplication BINGO game will be based on the 4, 5, and 6 tables, then they will have to figure out which numbers they should not write on their cards — numbers such as 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17, 19 since those are not solutions to any of the math facts that comprise the 4, 5, or 6 tables.
As you can see, the game gets more interesting as students learn more math facts. Eventually, you might plan a Multiplication BINGO game in which the entire range of math fact families — from the 2 tables to the 12 tables — is included.
Prepare a set of cards containing the math facts you’ve based this game on. Write one math fact problem on each card. Shuffle the cards. Draw and read or show the cards to students, one card at a time. As you show a card, students must do the math and put an X through the number that represents the answer if it appears on their Multiplication BINGO card.
Who will be first to call out BINGO? Verify that student’s victory by checking the math facts called out against his or her card.
After a player calls out BINGO, you might keep the game going until you learn which player will be the first to fill up his or her entire Multiplication BINGO card.
File Folder Math Games for Middle School
Grab a deck of flash cards. For every answer they get right, they get to shoot a basket in the basketball hoop.
Ask questions and have the answers in chalk on the fence, have them use a water gun to shoot the answers off the fence.
Draw a big clock on the driveway, use sand tools to make hands. Count by fives by jumping from number to number. Have the children manipulate the hands and set the time for you as you read them to them.
Multiplication Hopscotch can be a fun way to practice facts when they need to move and learn. Do skip counting. 6, 12, 18, 24 etc.
Tape the skip counting numbers for multiplication on pieces of paper with a hand print on them, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and so on. Then tape them going up on stair steps so they can place their hands on them as they walk up the stairs.
You can learn on the trampoline as well. You can use it as a clock, or write on it with sidewalk chalk the letters of the alphabet. Spell words and have them jump to the correct ones that spell the word. No trampoline? You can use tape with the letters on them or pieces of paper in the living room.
You can fill plastic cups and mark it with fractions, 1/3. ¼, ½, and the like. Make enough of each to equal a whole of each fraction and have them match them up.
Lego Games for Kids
Math Game Stations
Fraction Game similar to Spoons
Equivalent Fraction board Game
Skip Count with Legos
What you need is two different color Lego’s, about 10 of each color. If you have more of one color than the other that’s fine. Take your Lego’s and place than in two piles separated by color. For our lesson, we used green and white. You can substitute for what color you want.
Take your Lego’s and stack them green/white/green/white/green/white. First count to six while pointing at your individual blocks. Then count again but only pointing to the Green utilizing the skip count method. Explain to your child the white blocks are still there but since we are counting the green, we are counting faster. We know the blocks are there but because of that we can count twice as fast!
Parts of Speech bag game. Make two paper sacks with Nouns, Verbs etc. on the outside and then write nouns and verbs on cards and sort them in the bags.
Card Game flip- Use any pack of cards and flip over two. You can add or multiply them times each other. You can have a competition over how many they can get with a timer.
I suggest to make a Math tub, Reading tub, and others for the age groups you need. I had one for preschool, K-2 and one for 2-6th grade etc. Then when you need games to add to your learning, you pull out those tubs with your supplies ready to go and it requires less brain power from you.
Decks of cards – Dollar store
Game markers can all be found at the Imagintion Station
Laminator from Amazon or Paper Chase laminates large file folders for game boards.
Laminator for $25- http://amzn.to/2czR6VM
Laminating pouches- $12.50 for 100 http://amzn.to/2c6fn4q
Games you can buy:
Great States Scramble
Sum Swamp Game- For K-1
Rory’s Story Cubes
Money Bags Game 5+
Scrabble- Ages 7 + http://amzn.to/2bWBnQL
Yahzee – 5+ http://amzn.to/2bWC78o
Busy Bag Ideas for K-2 Math and Reading
These were like the ones I had in the large box that I brought to class. Remember that the easiest way to collect a bunch of these is to do an exchange. You can use these plans to set up your own. There are hundreds of ideas for busy bags, boxes and file folder games online though.
Pinterest Board with Game ideas:
I have many other boards with lots of homeschool ideas as well to browse.
Organizing – Life as a Mom Planner
The top one for $9 is the regular organizing planner and the second one is the Homeschool add on pack.
If you would like them on Apple devices, go to the app store and look them up by name and you can find them as well. This is only the tip of the iceberg, all you have to do is put in math learning, or phonics and hundreds pop up.
Stack the States
Monopoly on Kindle
Blank foam dice
Minecraft Math Coloring book
Those are just a few of the things we discussed in our class on games for learning! I hope this inspires you to go home and make or utilize some of the games you have to teach your children.
Here is a link to some more technology based resources as well.
My posts about school sort of have gotten lost is the book review posts and basketball. Blogging about anything other than what had to be done is really not been the priority.
You know, just a few games were played here and there. It has been a blur of action between school mornings, basketball, basketball practice, our homeschool theater club starting practice, which is 7 hours weekly or more, there is not much time for anything
else. Well, other than a little baby cuddling, reading in the sunshine and the sort.
We have been enjoying China and Japan this last while. Gladys Alyward has been a huge success, and we are pushing through “I dared to call Him Father” as well.
We bought a bunch of snacks from the grocery store that were Japanese or Chinese and had fun with that. We didn’t get our Chinese feast, but that is coming!
Life has not been without stress lately. I am learning more and more about property management. My oldest son got his permit and is learning to drive. We are working to catch up on all the work he is behind on from a busy month of basketball in January. We also battled Influenza A, and thankfully my youngest son and I were protected so far despite nursing the older three that were very sick.
This week while reading about Oceans in ECC, we pulled out a book about the Titanic. We read that as a book basket book and then discussed the replica that was recently built and if anyone will want to sail on it.
It has been a week for wins in school. Life may be hard elsewhere, but we persevere. We had an opportunity to have some discussions this week on topics such as politics, domestic violence, and safety in other areas. It seems it never is boring discussion here.
I am so thankful for MFW bringing up hard topics to discuss with many view points presented.
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:4, KJV.
This verse came to mind today as when after waking up, checking emails, book sale postings, moderation duties, teaching school, feeding children, organizing paperwork for property management, reading to my children among other things, and I happened upon the umpteenth guilt laden post about mothers that spend too much time on the computer, taking pictures, or some other activity that was something we should feel guilty about.
My first reaction was anger to be honest.
I had to look deep within to see where it was coming from and realized that this was a righteous anger.
Do I think and know that there are mothers that should spend more time with their children? Yes.
Do I know which mothers need to hear that? No.
If I am spending time judging the mother in the park for checking her phone, I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have no idea if that mother brought her child to the park to play after spending all morning reading books to him and just needed to listen and answer her voice mails and text messages on her phone at that moment.
The photo went around judging the young women for taking selfies with their food. Another condemning post was passed by about people taking photos of the Pope passing by, while one woman sat with a blissful expression on her face, enjoying the moment. The comments on the post were that we need to enjoy the moment more, rather than focusing on seeing it through a camera phone. In that post, there was a blanket judgement passed that all those seeing the moment through their phone camera, were not possibly enjoying it as the other woman was.
I will ask, “Who are we to judge?” Are you passing judgement on others and binding a heavy burden on them?
I encourage you, before you post something about spending less time on the computer, enjoying the moment, spending time in “real life”, stop.
It may be a good word, but remember to hold a balance. Many of those people that you think “spend all day sitting on their computers and phones”, often have good reasons to do so. It may be their job, or it could just be an appearance.
Think before you speak, especially online. Don’t weigh down others with guilt they don’t need.
The week was off with a start and serious faces. Tuesday was the local homeschool kickoff. We hurried through our daily work to go and help out there. My class on succeeding with your children struggle, went well, I believe.
Sorting legos is always a chore, but listening to audio stories while sorting makes it better and gets school done as well. We have been listening to Swiss Family Robinson, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (for the older ones), I am going to be doing more from this book next week, but reading aloud. “Prayers that Changed History”
Here are some of our leaf collections that they found for science this week.
For our “American” dinner, we went with Venison Steaks, corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese, Iced tea and peach crisp. The one nice thing about doing ECC, is having themed weeks of meals all planned out for me. I am planning on doing some freezer meals, and looking ahead for the weeks to correspond.
We have been also encouraging working on practice SAT tests and writing classes will start up this week.
School takes many different forms.
We do a lot of bookwork. But we also realized that hard work and exercise help with school.
This includes painting the storage shed.
As well as picking plums for jam.
Balancing on the roof without spilling the paint, really takes skill. He had fun with it though! He has been working to earn money to go to Parkour classes and this fit the bill!
Our “Global Art” Hands around the world paper dolls. There were a lot of laughs while doing that one, but we got it done!
Monopoly Game with friends!
Our very sorry, around the world cake from the end of Week 2.
We find that working on the floor helps with some grounding and paying attention. It does not always work, but this time, he was working away.
Labeling all the states names
Book Basket reading time!
L. has been writing a daily newspaper for his writing assignments until Language arts co-op classes start next week. It needs some work, but is cute!
It is easy to see pictures and think that things always go smoothly. We finished our third week of school and have had days where I want to throw my hands up and wonder if they learned anything. It helps me to take pictures and see that we did actually work. On one of the days last week, we were struggling to find cohesiveness. After reading the D.L Moody story about the Great Chicago Fire in Hero Tales, we ended up watching a few videos and learned more.
We had a great talk about some of the history of Chicago.
Chicago World Expo
It is helpful to learn to investigate more into history as we are in this unit and figure out how they learn while we are reading.
On the harder days, I realize that my goals are to help them to learn. It doesn’t always mean it looks conventional. I just need to work to get that knowledge into them.
We were working on AHL- my son is reading through Job as well as all the other assignments. Our writing looks a little different, but things are going smoothly.
This is the first year they are all using Teaching Textbooks and I have to say that is my favorite part of school so far. I stay highly involved so to make it work. Many people complain about it, but most of the time, it is often because it is not used in the way it was intended with an involved teacher and math drills. At least, I hope I am right about that! They seem to be learning!
We also did a little “Beginning of school celebration” by letting the boys go to a nearby amusement park with their cousins and relatives. My oldest son went on his first college visit as well, checking out a college in Seattle.
Another lesson we learned in the last few weeks was about air quality. This was a picture of one of the smoke filled days during that time. That is not fog.
Thankfully, it finally decided to rain and drive the smoke away, keeping the fires at bay. We hope it stays that way.
It is the beginning of another school year. It looks a little different this year as this time, we have two in high school and the younger two are 5th and 7th grade.
Barring any arguments about what or how school will be done, we should conquer all and learn this year once again.
We are using My Father’s World- Exploring Cultures and Countries, Ancient History and Literature as well as US history. This will be our 6th year using My Father’s World.
I am working hard to keep things very simple and focusing on learning, but yet, not stress about it to an extreme.
It seems there has to be a good balance between overloading students and lacking discipline.
We have finished Week 1 and are onto Week 2…
Grade 9 Book Basket – Ben Hur is one of the extra reads we are going to try for as well. I also bought an Usborne Encyclopedia as I am going to work on some the ECC geography with my 9th grader as well.
I feel very unprepared this year, but am going slowly, but surely forward!
When you are a homeschooler, you end up realizing pretty quickly that school ends up being a way of life.
One thing that I found was that you can find some great resources to help you teach practical skills, while getting your errands done with a little planning.
Grocery Cart Math is a great resource that can be good for 3rd-6th graders to not only keep the kids busy in the grocery store, but also fulfill an extra math assignment. You can write in the book, but also, I believe this one is reproducible in your own family. Make sure to check the copyrights in the front though.
This fun activity can be done at home. You can carry it as far as you want into the grocery store, or just work on it at home for awhile. It takes a little creativity and grocery store ads… It is cheap, and you will have more savvy shoppers in the future after this. Grocery Store Ads
There are many other links to ideas to help incorporate real life skills into our children. Math often sometimes seems hard to use for children in the classroom or at the kitchen table. For boys, especially, that love to eat, making it a practical application can really help excite them. They can see the reality of how it is useful!
Check out a few of these other links for ideas you can use. Some of them were made for classrooms, so change and make them work for you.
All in all, keep it simple. If you don’t have time before the grocery store run, do something simple. Hand your child a calculator. Everything you put in the cart, have them keep track of it. As you shop, ask for the running total. If you have coupons, let them keep track of them and show them how to figure if it is really saving you money.
As they get older, involve them in meal planning, shopping, cooking and figuring out how to stick to a budget. Often we teach our high schoolers Algebra, Geometry, Biology, and Chemistry and they leave home and go into debt over groceries. Those subjects are important, but start with the small stuff when they are young too.
We finished our books except for the core subjects in the beginning of April. This meant we switched from so much book work to more hands on learning. We have been soaking up sunshine, nature hikes and park days. The exercise is great!
High School Banquet Pictures
Park Day with Friends
Trip to Grandma’s
Happiness is a crowded kitchen
And lovely friends
Bike ride and library trip.. We stopped for locally made ice cream.
Track and field Day!!
H. on his first 5k with friends
Hiking with friends on many occasions
My sister graduated from college (Yes, I realize my eyes are closed)
Tough Montana Boys- This was in April
Summer school is always a lot of fun!