Homeschooling Tips To Keep You Sane

 

This is my second year homeschooling. Last year I was homeschooling my 13 year old and 6 year old daughters. I also had a 2 year old boy who turned 3. I didn’t do that much schooling with him but I had to keep him busy. Well this year I am homeschooling a 14, 6, 4, and 3 year old. I had to figure out how to be organized and fast. Now I use to be a public school teacher but homeschooling is so different. So I began reorganizing myself and my brain around how to homeschool 4 kids.

 

Here are some tips that have helped our first week to go by so smoothly:


1. Schedule – we do so much better when everyone has a schedule that they have to follow. On this blog is show you how I run each day with a schedule. http://www.homeschoolingwomenofgod.com/homeschool/resources/

2. Lesson Plans – writing out my lesson plans helps. I have noticed that some of the kids work through certain areas of school faster than others. Having two weeks of school planned out at a time, has helped me to figure out what to do next, if my kids finish something early.  http://www.homeschoolingwomenofgod.com/homeschool/resources/

3. I have play boxes that they can get out. There is everything from puzzles, to alphabet stamps, stickers, crafts,coloring books, playdough, etc. Put things in boxes that work for you and your kids. I know some parents playdough would be too messy during school time. Maybe you have older kids. You could have flash cards, games, fun puzzle books, etc. This helps to keep play time or any down time a little more constructive. It also helps keep them focused on school.

4. When it starts to get crazy, put on some music. I notice that when I have soothing music on, my kids all seem to relax. You could even spray a little lavender in the room to calm everyone down.

5. If one of your kids is really struggling in a certain subject area, I let them try something else for awhile, then come back to the subject that they had a hard time with. I did this with my 14 year old today. She just couldn’t understand her math lesson. So we did science instead. Then went back to math. She was able to calm down and figure out what she was doing wrong.

6.  When all else falls, just call it a day. It is ok if you stop homeschooling on a day that everyone is fighting, grumpy, or when you are ready to pull your hair out. Now you shouldn’t do this all the time. Then the kids will be grumpy just to get out of school. You know your kids and yourself. Do not push yourself so hard that you blow. It’s not worth it. A well rounded child comes from patience, peace and stability.

 

Remember your kids are only young once. We all have bad days, but lets make sure that there are a lot more good days than bad days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, You Need an Attitude Adjustment!!

 

I don’t know about you, but there are days that being a stay-at-home mom is not so appealing. I want to throw in the towel, go lay on the beach by myself somewhere, with no husband and no kids, and just be all alone. Soaking up the peace and quiet. Enjoying the sunshine without kids screaming and my husband tugging on me because he is horny again. And sometimes it seems like those days creep in more than other times. So the other day I asked myself, why is it that there are times when I want to give up being a stay-at-home mom? God answered with, you need an attitude adjustment.

 

Seeing it Through God’s Eyes


So many days I wake up with a check list in my head. I need to get this done and this done and this done and before the day even begins, and then, I am stressed out. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in. Then my kids wake up and they’ll ask me questions or want things and I will get grumpy because I feet like there is already too much on my plate. AWWWW!! (more…)

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Releasing the Mundane Homeschool Routine

release mundane homeschool routine

I do not know about your kids, but mine seem to be wound up everyday for the last few weeks. I have tried doing our subjects in a different order. I have tried playing more games and moving more as we learn school. I have even tried to cut down a little bit on how much school that we cover each day, allowing the kids to have more time to play outside. Nothing has seemed to work, until yesterday.

A New Adventure

Yesterday morning I woke up and felt like things needed to change, when it came to doing school work. The kids had really short attention spans lately. They seemed to get easily frustrated and would have a melt down more than usually. I also felt worn out and frustrated. I wanted them to get done with school faster. I wanted them to just do what I said, so that we could get school done. All around, we were a pretty angry bunch to be around. This is not how I wanted homeschooling to be. So, it was time for a new adventure.

We woke up and ate our breakfast like normal. Then we proceeded to start our Bible time and read aloud time as normal. When we were finished with our read aloud story, I announced that we were going to finish doing our school work at the library. They were so excited. Everyone helped to get all of the school supplies around, get their own lunch packed up and get themselves ready to go. We were out of the house within 15 min.

Off to the library we went. For the first 15 minutes I just let them walk around the library, choosing books and movies that they wanted to take home. We then went to story time and enjoyed wonderful stories and songs together. I let my older child sit in the back and read some of the books that she had found in the library to herself. She says that she is too old for story time. While, my youngest sat still for about 20 minutes, completely engaged with the story teller.

After story time, we went back into the library and did math, reading, writing and grammar for the day. When we were finished they walked around the library again. We decided that we wanted to start raising chickens. So we looked up the names for some chicken books that might explain what we needed to do, to get ready to raise chickens. They were so excited. Then we sat down and ate lunch together.

When lunch was over we checked all of our books and movies out. The bag felt like it weighed a 100 pounds. Then we headed out to our car. I still had one more surprise for them. I drove to Dunkin Donuts. We went inside. They each got a donut, while I got a smooth, hot decaf macchiato with caramel. It was heaven in a cup. I pulled out a card game, that we had never played before, and showed them how to play.

We sat in Dunkin Donuts for over an hour, playing our card game, enjoying our snacks and me drinking my amazing cup of coffee. It was so much fun and the kids were still learning, because the card game that we were playing made them pay attention to different numbers that matched, putting numbers in order and thinking about what to do next.

Learning New Ways

I have been so focused on keeping a schedule and making plans. Making sure that we stay on task and not allowing my kids to grow from the world around them. As I continue to grow as a homeschooling mom, I am learning more of who my kids are and how they learn best. After being a public school teacher for so long, I have only ever known one way to teach kids. But, now as I read more homeschooling blogs and look into different types of learning styles, I realize that the problem in our homeschool life lies within myself. Within my ideals of what is right and wrong. About what this world really means.

Cutest Part

The biggest realization that I have found out from homeschooling is that being book smart isn’t even half of what makes a person, a productive member of society. All those qualities of someone who is responsible, respectful, hard working, and honest are grown within the times that we learn from playing and just living life.

The most substantial improvement is that true wisdom comes from learning God’s Word. Taking the time to not only read His Word, but applying to everyday life. Making changes within myself has allowed my children to change at the same time.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal

of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what

is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

In all that we do, to raise kids that follow God with their whole heart, is all that there is. Nothing else matters. Have you ever watched a child that truly has a heart for God? It is the utmost amazing thing to watch. The love that they show in their eyes. Their true JOY in everything. Their gentleness. It is like seeing Jesus on earth. And if only that small child can grow into a teenager that defends their faith and eventually an adult who never waivers from their faith. Because, within a heart that has been wholly given to God, is a person who loves, finds peace and happiness in everything, in only a way that God could produce.

So moms as you go about your homeschooling week, remember what is important. Find new ways to have fun in homeschool. And know that you are your child’s best teacher.

May God Bless you in everything that you do,

Homeschooling Women of God

Miranda Templar

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When House Work Drives You Crazy

The Need To Keep My House Clean at All Costs

housework

 

Have you ever come home from work, taken a look around your house and just wanted to scream? Are you the stay at home mom, who feels like you clean one room and start on another area in the house, and by the time you come back to the first room, it is already a mess? How are you suppose to keep your house clean? What kind of mom or wife are you if you have a dirty house? I think that we have all felt this way at one time in our life, some more than others. Here is how I learned to deal with house work.

Personal Story

I have struggled for so long, with the obsessive need I have to keep my house clean. I wasn’t a mom that had to have everything just perfect, but I wanted my house to look organized, clean and like someone who had it all together. I think the idea of a clean house, lets other people know that I am a good mom and wife. It made me feel like someone who other people wanted to be around. I would get so frustrated at the mess that the kids would make with their toys in the living room. The dirty clothes they left on the floor. Their dishes that they didn’t put away. The dirty towels left on the bathroom floor. I just couldn’t understand how the people that I lived with weren’t bothered about the mess in the house, like I was.

There are times that I have blown a gasket about needing help around the house. I swear the end of the world was coming, because my dishes were not done, there was laundry to be washed, dinner to be made and there wasn’t enough time to do it all. I wanted it done my way and I wanted it done now. I remember times where I would scream and cry like a two year old. I wanted it done my way and I wanted it done now. My biggest mistake was thinking that everyone else should automatically be able to read my thoughts. They should get up like little robots (or big ones), and start cleaning, without me having to ask. It sure would make life easier. Boy was I ever wrong. I caused so much stress in my house. My teenager commented on how “crazy” I used to be about the house being clean. She told me how much she disliked that part of me. My marriage suffered even more. When I would lose control, I would blame my husband. It was easier to blame him, then to accept that my house was dirty. We would be mad at each other for a few days. The time that I missed, enjoying everyone’s company because of my need to clean.

It wasn’t as bad when I was working, because there was no one around to mess it up during the day. Now that I am home all day, homeschooling three kids, the house gets quite a bit dirtier than it did before. We do school from 8-3 everyday, except for the days that we have our homeschool co-op. I have one in kindergarten, one in second grade and a ninth grader. So when it is homeschooling time, I do not get a chance to do much of the housework. I might throw a load of laundry in or pick up a few toys but that is it. So I had to figure out a way to organize our family more, so that chores could get done. I also had to let my high standards of a clean house go.

Let It Go

The first thing that I had to do to keep my sanity, was back off. I was the biggest problem when it came to cleaning the house. It didn’t bother anyone else, (even my husband), if the dishes weren’t done, or laundry was piled high in the living room waiting to be folded and put away. I had to take a deep breath and say “What chores am I ok with if they are not done everyday?” I realized that I didn’t care if the toys were not picked up, if their rooms (including mine) were a little messy, or even if the dishes didn’t get done. The chores that had to be done were, the floors had to be clean, counters and tables clean and sanitized and any food made for a meal had to be put away. Besides that, I realized that all the rest of the chores that didn’t get done, were not hurting anyone. No one became sick because I left the laundry for another day. No one else threw a fit because I forgot to clean all of the dishes.

The next thing that I had to do was to make a chore chart.  So I got out a piece of poster board and made a chore chart. It had all three kids down the left hand side and the days of the week along the top. I then, continued to fill in each day with chores that I wanted for the kids to do. My oldest child is in charge of keeping the floors swept and mopped, taking care of the dog and cat, cleaning the bathroom, scooping  dog poop, washing and folding her own clothes, and keeping her room clean. My seven year old has to keep the living room clean and dusted, fold her own clothes, vacuum and keep her room clean. My four year old has to, help me empty the dish washer, pick up his toys and keep his room clean. If you need help coming up with chores for your kids, try this site: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-challenges/motivating-kids-to-clean-up/age-appropriate-chores.

This is how I make the chore chart work. For each day that the kids do their chores without being asked, they receive one dollar. Right now I give them $5 at the end of the week. I am going to change to this system this week, I would like to give them a fake dollar that they could put into a sandwich baggie that I will keep up high, except for my oldest child. I will make them put half of their money into their savings and some of their money will go to charity. To help me make sure that I remember to make them save, every Saturday they will take down their baggie, we will put half of it into an envelope to keep for when we go to the bank. It then goes into their savings account. Then they will put some aside to give to a charity. Sometimes we will give it to a family in need, a church or to a cause that they want to support. Then the rest will go into their piggie bank. Once they have enough saved for what they want to buy, then we can go shopping. They especially like going to Dunkin Donuts, or now that it is almost summer, a trip to the ice cream store is one of their favorites.

God did not create us, to become angered at the house chores. Actually, just the opposite. I know this sounds funny, but we are to find joy in everything that we do. “Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. This is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This verse seemed ridiculous when it came to cleaning my home. Find joy in doing the dishes, folding laundry or mopping my floors, yeah right! I wanted to laugh, but someone did that in the Bible (Sarah) and she was scolded for doing so. So, I figured I would listen to God and follow his words of wisdom. Now while I am washing the dishes, I turn up the radio and dance and sing. If I can’t turn on the music, I will pray and talk with God. I sometimes put on a podcast from Sound cloud on my phone. Either way I am enjoying doing the dishes. There are still days that doing housework joyfully is a stretch, but I try. “Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy.” (Phillipians 4:4). I am still working on this verse, but, in God I can do anything.

Dear Lord, help us to find joy in all that we do. We want to be joyful, gentle mothers and wives, but we can not do this without you. Help us to relax and have patience when it comes to doing the housework. Allow us the grace we need to falter, pick ourselves back up and try again. In you we can do anything. In you we will find our joy. In you, the house work will seem like nothing. Thank you Lord for all you do. Amen.

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Homeschooling Year Round

Should You Homeschool Year Round?

year round school

     This is a personal question that everyone asks themselves each year? Should I continue to homeschool my children through the summer months? I think that this is a question that should be thought over with great care. If we allow our children’s brain to rest for a couple of months, by the time that they come back to school in the fall, they will have lost the last two months of school that you completed. So if they are starting third grade, then they would start two months behind. They would really be at a second grade level, two months short of being where a third grade student should be academically. Keeping your child’s brain from too much rest is a must to continue good education.

Public School Mom

     Now what I said in the paragraph above may seem a little bit harsh, but I know from experience. Being a public school teacher had a lot of demands. One of them being the amount of material that we had to get through each year. If I had a student that didn’t even read in the summer, then they had a really hard time turning their brain back on when school started. There would also be a gap, for where they should be academically, coming into a new grade level. There were some years that I had to do a month worth of review, just to get the majority of my students caught up to where they should be. This took a lot of time and effort from the teachers, and then set everyone behind for the current year’s curriculum. Some years I would be so stressed out, because the material that we were suppose to cover for that year, was not being covered in a timely manner. We would be way behind the curriculum schedule. There was no way that I was going to get through all of the content that I was suppose to teach them. I felt horrible. I felt like I wasn’t preparing them enough for the next grade level. This could have all been avoided, had each student done some school work over the summer.

Homeschooling Mom  

      As a homeschooling mom, I have so much more control over this issue. I can finish up some of the curriculum in the summer, if need be. We usually get through all of our curriculum that we need to cover each year, but, if we are behind in a subject, it is nice to know that we can finish in the summer. The pressure to push my kids to work faster, harder, better, is no longer there. The stress that comes on myself and my kids because we are behind, can vanish. I know that we can play catch up in the summer.

     In the summer, we tend to take more breaks. We take three weeks off in June. This allows me and the kids to relax and let our minds wind down. We do a lot during the school year, and by June everyone is ready for a break. Then when we begin our summer school regiment, it is a lot more relaxed. We only do school Monday-Thursday for about 1-2 hours a day. With my older child, who is 14 and going into 10th grade, I let her pick the one, or two, subjects that she feels like she needs more practice on, or even subjects that she wants to get ahead on. She usually picks math to get ahead on, because she likes math. Then we pick a subject together that we think she needs more work on. This year, it will probably be a mixture of Social Studies and Science. This way she will not forget all of the information that she learned.  For my younger two kids, I have each of them choose a topic each month, that they would like to learn about. Last year, it was rocks. So I create a bucket that had books, puzzles, activities, hands-on projects and more for that subject. Most of the stuff in their bucket came from the local library or the dollar store. The other topic that they chose last year was birds. I also created a bucket with all sorts of materials on that subject. Each day they chose a bucket and played with the things that were inside of it. I usually sat with them. I would ask them questions, help them with a project, do a puzzle with them, or read a book to them. We had 2 buckets, each with a different topic, ready at all times. When they started to get bored with a certain bucket, we would choose a new topic to learn about, and I would set out to the find things needed, to put into that bucket about that topic. My younger two kids also had to do math everyday and read. For math it depended on what each child needed to work on. My seven year old worked on addition and subtraction facts a lot. My youngest worked on recognizing and writing numbers, sorting, patterning and graphing. They also had to read each day. We usually would go outside and lay on a blanket with a basket of books and read. Sometimes I would read to them, sometimes they would read to me.

Life Learners

One of my greatest joys in life is to always be learning. I love to learn about anything. I started blogging about a year ago and have loved it. I not only have learned how to blog and what to put into my blogs to make them better, but, just about what people need. I have such a passion to help others and to do this, I need to learn what they need help in. I want my own kids to take this same approach to life. I want them to constantly be learning. I find that we can not wait for our next break, when we are homeschooling. It is like we are counting down the days. What I am forgetting is that school can revolve around our life. Not the other way around. I am finding that everyday life is learning too. I can take a walk with my kids and bring along the nature book and we take time to learn about the different plants, or bugs around us. We learn while we are cooking each day. We have tried to cook food from different parts of the world. In doing this, my kids have learned what types of food they like and what they do not like. We have made bird houses and other projects. Planting flowers outside can turn into a math lesson. Going to the grocery store had lots of learning. I can write a grocery list where my youngest can help me categorize each food on the list, so that it is easier to go shopping. The list just goes on and on.

Learning to let them have time to explore their curiosities, more has helped. As we get older, we want to learn more about areas that we are interested in. I do not take the time to learn more about car parts, because that is not an interest to me. Same thing for our children. Give them the opportunity to learn about what interests them and watch them grow. My 4 year old wanted to learn how to build a robot. We went to the library. I made him talk to the librarian and she showed him some books in the adult section. I was a little hesitant at first, but the books turned out to be very useful. One book was about how to make simple robots, from stuff you have lying around your house. My husband even bought him a robot arm that they assembled together. Watching my husband and my son put together this elaborate robot arm was really cool. Now, my 4 year old son, can not wait to make more robots. My 7 year old loves to cook. We have checked out a few books from the library about cooking from different regions in the world. She has learned how to use a real knife, how to shred different food items, how to boil, saute, fry and do just about everything in the kitchen. She is a wonderful cook at 7 years old. My oldest daughter loves math. She is a year ahead because of her wanting, to keep going in her math studies. If we just took the time to listen to our children, then maybe schooling would be more enjoyable. Homeschooling year round, gives you the flexibility to have more choices, to meet each child’s individual need.

Stress-Less

One of the biggest reasons why I homeschool year round, is to relieve some of the stress from feeling like I have to stay on a schedule. If I had to complete all of our homeschooling curriculum regiments by June, I would feel a lot of pressure to make sure that we were doing school everyday, so that we finished our curriculum on time. Allowing us extra time in the summer, helps me to relax throughout the year. I know that if we miss a day of school because of sickness, emergencies or because we need a day off, that it is not a big deal. We can make it up in the summer.

Flexibility

We are planning on going to a 4 day school week, next year. We will have a homeschool co-op on Mondays. We are doing a Classical Conversation co-op group this coming year. I decided to choose this group, because instead of wasting a day academically, the trainers at our co-op group will be teaching them what they need to know, for the next week. Then it is my job to teach them the rest of the information at home. So Tuesdays-Thursdays we will be doing school as normal. Then on Fridays, we want to make it our community service day. I feel that it is very important for our kids to learn to think of others and to help others. So doing school year round, will help us to accomplish our school goals for the year.

Daily Schedule

Monday-Thursday: 1:00-3:00 (afternoons work better for us, because everyone is usually hot and tired by then) 14 Year old – Math (45 min.), other subject (30 min.), reading (45 min.) 7 year old – Math (30 min.), buckets (30-45 min.), reading (20-30 min.) 4 year old – Math (15 min.), buckets (30 min.), reading (20 min.)

Yearly Schedule

I like to find a lesson plan book that has a yearly calendar in it. I write down when we will be taking breaks from school. We usually take time for Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Memorial Day. We also do not do any school when someone in our immediate family has a birthday. If we know when we are going to take a vacation, then I write that down too. I try to leave our year, pretty flexible. You never know when someone will be sick, you need a day off, emergencies pop up, and so many other matters in life that are more important than school.

Free Printable Yearly Calendars

If you are not sure about homeschooling year round, plan a school year that is only 32 weeks. Then plan out a school year that is 52 weeks. See which plan looks better to you and fits your family needs better. Here are a few websites where you can print out a free yearly calendar to help you with your planning:

1. http://www.printfree.com/Calendar_files/Yearly/EduLarge/2015thru2016Large.htm

2. file:///C:/Users/jtemplar/Downloads/calendar.pdf

3. file:///C:/Users/jtemplar/Downloads/2015-2016_Academic_Calendar.pdf

4. http://www.printable2015calendars.com/preview/2015-2016_Academic_Calendar

 

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