This has been a transitional season for our family. Having Devin graduate early and start college has been a huge adjustment for me. It is strange how the dynamics in a home change so drastically when one member is not present. Even though he still lives at home, between school, work, church, and friends, he pretty much just sleeps here anymore. I was in heaven the other night when the four of us actually sat down to eat a meal together. I went all out and cooked all day from scratch and had dessert, because it felt like a special occasion. Truth is, I miss him. I miss all the deep conversations we had as we read books together, spent time in Scripture together, and just had more time to enjoy each other’s company.
So many people warn you when you are young that life is fleeting and to cherish the moments you have. It is so true. (more…)
Some homeschooling parents fret about how to obtain a physical education credit for their kids. For us, the goal has always been to live an active lifestyle. I do not think that you have to be enrolled in a formal P.E. class to fulfill the goal of being healthy, fit, and active. We also want them to love being outdoors.
Basketball at the park with cousins!
Over the last 10 years of homeschooling, I have tried a variety of methods to keep the appropriate records. Even though Missouri does not have stringent requirements for documenting our homeschool journey, I wanted to be sure I held myself to a higher standard. And, when it came time to create my first transcript for my son, the records became very helpful and worthwhile. I am a paper and pencil type of girl. I have tried to use computer programs for record-keeping and they felt more cumbersome than necessary to me. One year I tried to use Evernote. I linked to both of the kids’ accounts, but they were not diligent enough about checking off what they had accomplished. For my own personal tastes, I decided to go back to a paper trail. Both of my kids need a clear list of what to accomplish. They enjoy checking things off and feeling a sense of accomplishment as they see the tasks dwindling for the day. They can also manage what needs to be moved over to another day when the items are left on the day’s task list. Other options have included day planners, but I found that they weren’t tailored enough to our specific studies or were just too expensive. Since we participate in a Classical Conversations program on Wednesdays, our week really starts fresh on Thursdays and ends when they go back to class the next Wednesday. So, their assignment sheets were set up that way to keep them straight on the correct days and how to divide the work. Here is a copy of the Challenge grid that we use to write weekly assignments. I can tweak it each year in Word as our subjects change. They just highlight the items as they complete them, and we hole punch them and keep them in a binder.
Attendance Sheet and Homework Grid
For attendance, I designed my own school calendar from calendarlabs.com. I customized our school name and changed some of the color coded boxes at the bottom to suit our situation. I just “x” out all of our school days. This helps me keep track of how many days we have worked or still need to complete to fulfill the 1,000 hours. (more…)
One of the very real aspects of homeschooling is freedom. But, with freedom, comes the need for self-motivation. Onlookers often ask us, “How do you stay motivated?” They question our ability to get ourselves out of bed and be productive without oversight. I have come to realize that self-governance is one of the most beautiful results of homeschooling. I believe that if you can raise children that care for the sake of caring, then you have been successful. They should not wait to engage with the world until they are forced to by an outside force. As Christians, we are called to practice Colossians 3:17 which states, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I want them to desire to grow and mature because that brings them closer to Christ and develops their minds that God gave them. He created passions within them and only He can fully transform them to be able to use it for His glory. So, how do we discipline ourselves to work without anyone lording over us? How do we create an environment that drives our kids to thrive within the walls of the home? And, realistically speaking, how do we keep the dull out of our days when the mundane wants to set in? (more…)
With a 13 and 17 year old!
We had company all weekend, so I allowed the kids to sleep in until a little after 8 a.m. this morning. I got up around 7:30, cleaned up, spent some time in prayer, and set out breakfast.
8:15-8:45 a.m. – Kids got cleaned up for the day and cleaned their rooms. This normally doesn’t take this long, but since we had company we had air mattresses to take down, sheets to strip off beds, vacuuming, and furniture to reposition.
8:45-9:00 a.m. – We had breakfast and talked about plans for the day. Normally on Mondays we do activities together (morning time) during and after breakfast, but since we are starting late and have a full day, we will resume tomorrow.
Morning Basket Ideas!
9:00-9:15 a.m. – Individual Bible Reading Time
9:15-10:15 a.m. – They look at their tasks for the day and pick which subject they would like to start with. Devin chose to work on his World History reading, and Lindsey chose to work on her ANI chart for literature. This is from The Lost Tools of Writing.
10:15-10:30 a.m. – Lindsey does a Spanish lesson on Rosetta Stone. I started some bread dough for dinner tonight.
10:30-11 a.m. – Lindsey does her piano practice while Devin finishes Theology. I answered e-mails, filled out insurance forms, and picked up around the house.
10 – 11 a.m. – Devin works on his statistics homework for class tonight at Drury University where he takes dual enrollment courses. Lindsey and I talk about her science paper, look for sources for current events and print articles, and she spends some time reading.
11-11:45 a.m. – Devin works on his theology reading assignments and takes notes.
11 – 11:45 a.m. – Most days Lindsey will do logic during this time, but she worked ahead last week so she had some free time to help me empty the dishwasher, get ready for lunch, sort laundry, and watch a short video program.
11:45 a.m. -12:30 p.m. – We ate lunch, gathered our music supplies and books, and packed some schoolwork to take with us during our wait time in the car and at lessons. The kids spent time checking their Facebook or returning text messages from friends.
12:30 p.m. – We loaded the car and headed to music lessons – about 20 minutes drive from our house.
1 p.m. – Lindsey goes in for a 30 minute piano lesson, and Devin and I sat in the car since it was a 75 degree sunny day. He started to read his theology assignments but had a question about something in the text which led to a 20 minute discussion. There will be time to finish the reading later. The time we spent talking was priceless and one of the best parts of this homeschooling lifestyle. I wish I had been comfortable enough to discuss these kinds of things with my teachers and parents.
1:30-2:30 p.m. – Devin does an hour of combined music theory, voice, and piano. I caught up on some reading of my own while waiting.
2:30-3:00 p.m. – We drive home with a brief stop for ice cream. 🙂
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. -Lindsey works on her math lesson. I have her read the lesson and then I asked her to work the practice problems on the board and explain what she read. If she understood, she moves on to do the lesson independently. If not, I sit and work with her longer. Devin has free time to play a video game, Skype a friend, practice guitar, or read since he spends three hours in class on Monday nights.
3:45 – 5 pm – I work on preparing dinner while the kids have free time or finish chores that didn’t get done.
5 – 5:30 pm – My husband takes Devin to class and then drops Lindsey off for basketball practice. I clean up the dinner mess.
6 – 7 p.m. – Lindsey’s basketball practice. Jason takes care of this most of the time, so I can have some down time to prep things for the next day, fold some laundry, or read.
8 pm – My husband goes to pick Devin up from class and stops to get him a snack. He is always starving after a three hour class! 🙂 I go to the gym and walk for about an hour.
We each then go our separate ways to work on art projects, reading, blogging, and catching up on some of our recorded t.v. shows.
Lindsey heads to bed about 9 – 9:30 pm. The rest of us turn in around 11 pm.
We don’t actually watch the time and regiment our day too rigidly. I just purposely kept track of these days for the purpose of writing the blog. So, we don’t spend exactly one hour on a subject and then move on. It is very organic.
English and Writing Resources
I was looking through The Old Schoolhouse magazine online the other day and found an article that I would like to save for future reference as my kids are working on their writing skills. The article,”7 Tips for Taking Your Research Paper from Snooze-Worthy to Spectacular”, was written by Janice Campbell.
For ideas on how to integrate creative writing into the other subjects being studied such as science, social studies, and math, the article “Makings of a Great Writer” has some excellent and fun ideas.
This article (particularly page 63) reminds me of what my end goal should be in parenting and teaching my children: to know, love, and serve God, and to be equipped to love and serve other people. When it gets tough or monotonous, refreshing my mind with this truth keeps me going!