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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why Homeschool Year Round? Less Stress! (5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents, Day 2)

Homeschool-Year-Round_Stress

One of the big reasons I decided to do year round homeschool is to lessen the stress of homeschooling!

Often times I hear other homeschool moms make comments like, we can’t go (to field trip, or whatever), because we are behind in our curriculum.  Other times they say they schooled all day to get caught up, or holidays or weekends, or whatever. 

One thing I have learned over the years that I have homeschooled, is it all works out, as long as you are doing something they are learning.  There is no need to let the curriculum rule your life.  With that said, when you homeschool year round, you have a lot more time to get it all in!  You don’t have to feel guilty about taking a little time, here or there.  You can take that field trip, take that break that you need, have a play date, go to the park, sign them up for a class that ‘interferes’ with ‘normal’ school time.  It’s all good! 

Now homeschooling year round doesn’t automatically relieve stress, you have to train yourself, and learn to relax a bit and learn to go with the flow a lot.  But it is definitely one less thing to worry about when you aren’t on this Sept-June time line. 

I do have a general idea of what I want to cover each year, for subjects like Science and History we cover as much as week can in a subject, but always start a new unit (topic) in September.  The other subjects, we just truck along, and as we finish one book, we start the next. 

Having a year round schedule, for me means that we can have more child-led days.  If my son wants to just listen to an audio book all day, I can let him.  If he decides he wants to build the periodic table out of index cards, I can let him.  If he wants to make a giant weaving loom and weave all day, I can let him.  If we need a break, we can go to jump time at the trampoline park.  I strive for 3 school days a week, and if we make it… I consider that successful! 

TIP:  To help relieve my stress of ‘having to get things done’ and ‘getting it all covered’, I have some computer courses that they do on a daily basis (4-5 days a week).  This helps me relax and I know things like MATH are always covered! 

I have recommended Home Schooling Year Round to several mom’s who were feeling stressed by time lines, curriculum outlines, etc…  It really is an answer to a lot of the stresses of homeschool (In my opinion).  If you feel that these things are burdening you in your homeschooling, consider trying a year round schedule! 

What are some of the causes of stress in your homeschool?  How do you think a year round schedule could help relieve some of that stress?  Consider it!

Check out some of my crew friends at their blogs!

Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Jennifer @ Faithful Homestead
Joelle @ homeschooling for His Glory
Joesette @ Learning Curve
Kari @ Random Acts of Boyhood
Katie @ Katie's Daily Life
Kemi @ Homemaking Organized
Kim @ Homestead Acres
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom

Don’t forget to stop back here tomorrow!

For a more comprehensive list that includes all participating bloggers click on the image below!

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Field Trip #195 Friday Blog Hop

Photobucket
Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE!

We took a trip to the library on Tuesday for their Egg Drop Challenge!  Was a great, FREE, science class and they had a lot of fun!

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Then on Wednesday, C had a Robotics Class for a few hours.  He love robotics and I’m glad I was able to learn of this class.  It was only $35 and is a fundraiser for the robotics team that coaches the class.  So it’s a good cause too! 

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You can find videos of both events on my Instagram!

We have another library class tomorrow for the youngest two, and hope to make the local PEEPS ART SHOW before it closes!  So stay tuned next week! 


The Schoolhouse Review Crew is having their Blog Cruise this week, I have posted a few posts this week too!  Check out what my Crew Mates are posting on the theme Tips for Homeschool Parents. 

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why Homeschool Year Round?–Flexibility (5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents, Day 2)

Homeschool Year Round

When we first started homeschooling I was not sure whether or not I wanted to do a year round schedule, or to do a typical school year schedule.  We sort of just landed in a year round schedule, and I’m loving it! 

There are many reasons that I recommend year round schedules, I will be blogging about them this week.  The first of which is Flexibility (as the image above so plainly points out!).

We can take our vacations when other people can’t!  This is one of the great things about homeschooling in general, but by using a  year round schedule, we don’t have to stress about fitting it all in  while we do so!  While other kids are spring breaking and summer breaking and Christmas breaking, these are the weeks you will find us most often at HOME! 

We like to hit up the museums, the beach, the amusement parks, etc… when the rest of the crowd is IN SCHOOL!   This also tends to award us discounts!  DOUBLE BONUS!

Also many of our family members do not live close, when we lived in Hawaii… none of our family lived close.  This allowed them to come and visit in off season (cheaper flights) and the kids were able to spend just as much time with them!  We can also travel and visit family off season as well. (Though many of the cousins are in public school, boo!).

We can take field trips on a weekly basis!  We can take time off for illness, new babies (though we won’t be doing that again… at least no new babies are in the future plans).  Hubby has time off, we take time off too! 

We only have to school a few days a week!  This leaves more time for flexibility in the curriculum.  (I’ll talk a bit more on that later).  It greatly lessens stress (more on that later too). 

Lucky for us, we don’t have to count days or hours for our reporting, but when I have (just to see) we always get in way more days the public school system (because I count field trips as school days, I mean public schools do!), and even if I didn’t there are still plenty of at home learning days!

If you feel like you can’t fit it all in, and there are not enough days to enjoy life and get homeschooling done… consider a year round schedule! 

There are a lot of ways to incorporate it.  Some people do 3 weeks on,  1 week off.  Some do 3 days a week, and a field trip day (so technically 4 days a week).  (That’s us!).  Some take  a month off every so many months. I mean there really is no rule how to do it.  If you are required a certain number of days (on average it seems most public schools go about 180 days a year). 

Do you homeschool year round?  Why or why not? 

Check out some of my crew friends at their blogs!

Dawn @ Double O Farms
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Debbie @ Debbie's Homeschool Corner
Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook
Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days
Diana @ Homeschool Review
Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Erin @ For Him and My Family

Don’t forget to stop back here tomorrow!

For a more comprehensive list that includes all participating bloggers click on the image below!

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Monday, March 28, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents–Day 1

The Schoolhouse Review Crew is having a Blog Cruise this week!  I will only be posting 3 out of the 5 days (I just could not get 5 posts in after hurting my finger last week). 
BUT, while you are waiting for my first post to go LIVE tomorrow…  go check out some of my crew friends at their blogs!

Annette @ A Net In Time
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy

Don’t forget to stop back here tomorrow! 

For a more comprehensive list that includes all participating bloggers click on the image below!

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Expressions of Love–March Marriage Challenge

Expressions of love

As I was contemplating what to write about for this series, I stumbled upon this video (which I’ll share at the end) about Expressions of Love, and I knew it’s what I needed to expound on!
It was a great reminder to me, and I’m sure we all can use some reminding now and then.
There is a wide variety of ways to express our love to our spouse.  There is no right or wrong way to do so.
 
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I highly recommend the book The Five Love Languages to figure out the ways that will best express love to your spouse.  You can take this online quiz to figure out your love language, do it with your spouse! 

A few things I have found to work for us, spending time together!  Sometimes that time is hard to fine, but we try to squeeze it in, by going to bed at the same time, taking a shower together (My dad swore that this is the secret to a long lasting marriage, my parents are going on 39 years).  Now, I’m not talking sex, here…(though that helps too!), I mean just spending time together.  With little kids you have to take the time when you can get it. 

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My husband kisses me goodbye every morning before he leaves for work, this, to me, is an expression of love.  Pats on the butt when we walk by each other.  stealing a kiss when we can.  Date nights when they come about.  Helping with household chores.  These are all expressions of love. I cook dinner every night for my husband, I strive to go to bed the same time as him each night (as opposed to staying up late, blogging, reading or otherwise), we try to get regular date nights (but, those are hard to come by). 

When considering this topic, the thought occurred to me of the old common phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.  My husband and I have spent a lot of time apart in our years, many of which were in the first years of our marriage.  We probably more actively sought out ways to show Expressions of Love during these absences.  More letters were written, more phone calls were made, more gifts were bought/sent. 

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How different would relationships be, if we focused on these expressions of love, not just when we are apart, but also in our everyday normal lives?!

At the same time, I’d like to mention how vital it is also to focus on the good of our spouse and not to talk badly of him/her to others.  If we focus on the negative (and none of us are perfect, we can always find something negative), it’s harder to find the good qualities and to give those expressions of love our relationship needs to thrive!

I just loved this video and the much needed reminder of how important it is to give expressions of love in marriage!



Just like plants need sun and water to thrive and grow, Expressions of Love are how we can nurture our marriage!

How do you give your Expressions of Love?

See other Marriage Posts by clicking below
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Weeks in Review 3/14 & 3/21

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Week of 3/14

Monday - The week started out with PI Day!!  We celebrated by reading Sir Cumfrence and the Dragon of PI and serving Quiche and Chocolate PI for dinner!

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We also made a trip to the feed store for some new baby chicks.  We picked out 5 (1 of each breed) and as we were leaving, my oldest found one with a bad leg in the bins.  The other chicks were picking on it, so he wanted to trade it for the healthy one we bought to take the poor little guy home with us.  The feed store gave it to us for free.  So we ended up with 6 chicks.  Love my soft hearted little man. 

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The day finished out with MMA and 4H

Tuesday – We had Battle of the Books and the kids started Track.  They had to bug out early because C had cub scouts.  It was family night and they had a carnival.  The kids designed the games.  It was super fun! 

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Wednesday – a normal day with MMA. 

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Thursday – We headed to the Trampoline place.  I felt like we needed some down time.  Glad we did it!  It was also St. Patrick's Day.  We celebrated with a rainbow salad and reading Magic Tree House Leprechaun in Late Winter

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Friday – Piano lessons and our last day of swimming! 

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The kids also each received their subscription boxes.  They Love them!  Little Passports for the middle two, Koala Crate for the youngest and Tinker Crate for the oldest! 

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The weekend – I attended a new catalog reveal for Close To My heart on Saturday and Sunday we visited our old ward for a missionary homecoming!

Week of 3/21

Monday – A pretty typical day with MMA

Tuesday – We headed to the Zoo, then battle of the books, then the kids had track!  See field trip Friday!!

Wednesday – We started the morning by heading back to the feed store, but this time we got some ducklings!  MMA as well! 

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Thursday – Co-op!!  In my 1st grade class we visited Australia, we tried Vegemite and Pavlova.  In my PreK/K class we did a unit on birds and had these cute bird nests for snack!

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Friday – Piano!  We had a park platydate set up with some PS friends, but it rained and was cancelled BOO!  So we headed back home.  C spent most of the day weaving and finishing an audio book for Battle of the Books.   I hurt my finger Thursday night and by Friday evening it was hurting so bad I had to tape it up!  So typing this post has been quite difficult, and I have a whole lot more typing I need to do this weekend.

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Its going to be a great Easter weekend, with my parents coming to visit, Easter egg hunts and other fun stuff!  It’s also hubby’s birthday!

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We have a lot of great stuff planned next week too! 

Linking up at:

My Week in Review at Our 4 Kiddos, and Weekly Wrap up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Field Trip #194 Friday Blog Hop

Photobucket
Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE!

We had a homeschool day at the Baltimore Maryland Zoo this week! 

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We are planning on doing their homeschool classes next school year, since we will be studying life science!  My going to be Kindergartener LOVES animals and is SO EXCITED about the opportunity!




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#Paleo Tapioca Pudding in the Instant Pot (Dairy, Gluten and Refined Sugar FREE)

Paleo Tapioca Pudding

Ingredients: 

1 c tapioca pearls (not instant)

3 c water

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 c raw honey (or more if you prefer sweeter)

1  can coconut milk

2 egg yolks

1 T vanilla

Serves 8-12

Directions:

1.  Put tapioca pearls and water into the Instant Pot.  Set on Manual for 6 mins.  Turn off and let sit at natural pressure release for 10mins, release any remaining pressure and remove lid.

2.  Add salt and honey, whisk together.

3.  In a separate small bowl, mix coconut milk and egg yolks.

4.  Whisk into the Instant Pot, set on sauté and whisk continually until boiling. 

5.  Turn off heat and stir in the vanilla

Serve with diced fruit, if desired.

Enjoy warm or cooled!

Note on the sweetness - My husband thought it wasn’t sweet enough, my kids agreed, and also didn’t like the texture (first time having tapioca, I remember I didn’t like it as a kid either, same reason).  I thought it was perfect, and ate most of it myself!  Oops!  Since I do not eat a lot of *sweet* anymore, it was plenty sweet for me.  My family on the other hand are more adapted to sweet things.  So you may want more honey, just taste to see.  My family eats mostly Paleo (since I cook), but they also eat non-Paleo a lot more often than I do.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Choosing Your Curriculum

Choosing Your Curriculum

After making the choice to homeschool, the next biggest decision you will make is what curriculum to use. There are many types of curriculum available, and the large number of possibilities can be very overwhelming. First and foremost, you should answer the following question – “Why am I homeschooling?”. Your ‘why’ will greatly help in choosing your curriculum.

Why’s can vary from homeschooler to homeschooler, but why you homeschool makes a huge difference in what type of curriculum will work for you. Whether you are homeschooling because you want to just have your child home safe from bullies or other threats or you want to have to be able to best meet your child’s learning needs and style…or bits of reasons across the spectrum.

Once you have a list of why (and these can easily change or be added too over time), the next is to consider your child’s needs. What is your child’s learning style? Despite your reasons for homeschooling, the formula for the best success is to also consider your child’s learning needs (even if this is not the primary reason you choose to homeschool).

I recommend the book by Cathy Duffy, titled The Top 102 Homeschool Curriculums. It has a test at the beginning of the book to figure out your educational philosophies and your child’s learning style. It then gives suggestions based on those findings of various curriculum rated in the top 101. This is a great place to start!

Many homeschoolers choose a boxed style curriculum, by boxed style, I mean a curriculum company that sends you everything, Reading, Language Arts, History, Science…you make one order to one company and you get everything. It is fine to use a boxed curriculum, and it is also quite convenient, in that all the plans are done for you. You just open it up and go! However, if flexibility and adaptability is what you are aiming for, a boxed curriculum may not be the best fit.

Several companies put out curriculums, many only a subject or two. It isn’t too difficult to piece together a curriculum from multiple sources. Planning may be a bit more involved, but the lesson plan for that subject is still usually laid out for you. You only need to mesh the multiple lesson plan outlines together to make one plan. This is mainly what we do for curriculum. I get science from one company, history from another, math from another, etc…

Then there is the completely piecing it together on your own method. This method does require more planning, but is the most flexible of all choices. Homeschooling in the face of technology is amazing! There are so many resources available online for multiple areas of interest and topics. All you need to do is search for ideas! Pinterest is quite handy for weeding through and organizing the wide array of ideas on the web. There are also many books that can serve as topic guidelines for you, The Well Trained Mind is a favorite of mine.

Just remember that there really is no right or wrong way to homeschool. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another (even within your own family!). My best advice for choosing curriculum is to

1. Be Flexible

2. Don’t be afraid to change it up if it’s not working and

3. Remember WHY you are homeschooling!

See what curriculums we use and have used HERE, scroll through the posts, as here are more than one.

You can also see the many REVIEWS we have done of a wide variety of curriculums.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

French Toast Easter Bake with Free Printables #Hallelujah (created by My Computer is my Canvas)

This week I have a great Easter Breakfast recipe to share with you, courtesy of My Computer is my Canvas!   This looks super YUMMY and I can’t wait to make it with my kiddos next Sunday!

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In an effort to use a basket full of fresh backyard eggs, Colette from My Computer is My Canvas started experimenting with a French Toast Bake Recipe that has quickly become a family favorite. Plus, with Easter just around the corner and the #HALLELUJAH Initiative gaining steam, she recently related each of the ingredients to the Savior; making this recipe not only a great Easter-Eve Lesson, but also a delicious Easter Morning Breakfast Tradition!

Scripture Scavenger Hunt - Kids

To get started, print off the Scripture Scavenger Hunt PDF and let your kids dive into the New Testament to learn more about the Savior as they fill in the blanks to complete the recipe! A couple of the scripture clues are a tiny bit tricky, so be sure to use Page 2 to find extra clues.

Ingredients

Next, it’s time to get baking!! After many attempts with this recipe (and fails) – Colette finally identified the perfect bread for her French Toast Bake... bagels! They are soft AND dense which allows them to effectively soak up the egg mixture and maintain their shape for soggy-free baking. A fun twist to this might be Cinnamon

Recipe Image 1

Swirl bagels or even gluten-free ones for those intolerant.

From there... just follow the recipe! Cut bagels into 1⁄2” cubes, make and beat the egg mixture, then pour over the bread.

Recipe Image 2

Be sure to recruit your kids to help you, they’ll have fun making the recipe with the clues they found! Colette likes to mix the cubes and egg mixture in separate bowl to make sure the bread gets well coated – in fact, for that step, she relates how the tempest was raging and the Savior calmed the storm... so get those cubes tossing and turning like a ship at sea! As noted in the image above, this is a “make ahead” recipe and it should be refrigerated overnight. This allows extra time for the bread to adequately soak up the egg mixture. Then, before baking, prepare a brown sugar crumble and “spread” it across the top, just like the Palm Branches were spread for the Savior as he entered Jerusalem! (Crumble recipe included on the cards.)

Printables SnapShot

Colette has included lots of printables for us... recipe cards in 3 sizes + an easy to print PDF to do the Scripture Scavenger Hunt with our families!

The final step? Take a picture of your family making it, baking it or eating it and share it on Social Media with the #HALLELUJAH! If your on Instagram tag @colette_mycanvas and @Cgroveacademy so we can see you having fun!

Visit Colette at My Computer is My Canvas, she has lots more great printables!

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