stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.

Build Your Own Bundle Ebook Sale!!

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Whether you are just beginning your homeschooling journey, or helping your teens get through high school, or have children at every grade level, you are most likely on the look out for helpful resources that really make a difference in your children’s education and your family’s lives. Well, look no further! The very first Build Your Own Bundle Sale is going on NOW! And there is something for every one little ones and older guys, mom and the whole family, plus there are some terrific bonuses like freebies and coupons and discounts you’ll receive with every purchase. These materials are written by homeschooling parents like you and me, some are from well-known publishers. Why not pop on over and have a look – we have pre-packaged bundles for every age group, or pick and choose (within a category) to create your own unique bundle.

 

The first ever “Build Your Bundle” – Homeschool Edition sale is here!

For one week only (July 21-28) save up to 92% on bestselling
homeschooling products, including MANY on Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 list!

The bundles are AMAZING, including products such as Learning Language
Arts Through Literature
, A Child’s Geography, Character Concepts,
Picture Smart Bible, Math Mammoth, and more! There are SO
many incredible products to choose from, all bundled up in grades/themes
OR you can “Build Your Own!”

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Our “Build Your Own” bundles offer you the opportunity to select
a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up
to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top
100 Picks! When you purchase a combination of any 2 “Build Your Own”
bundles, you will get the 3rd one at 50% off!
Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!
Buy more & save more! Purchase 2 “build your
own” bundles and get the 3rd one 50% off! See
site for details.

You will also find the following pre-assembled bundles with saving up
to 92% off retail:
Tot/Pre-K Bundle, K-3 Bundle, 4-6 Elementary Bundle,
Middle School Bundle, High School Bundle, Charlotte Mason Bundle, & the
Homeschooling/Homemaking Mom Bundle!
Charlotte Mason Style Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $377.35 - On Sale for ONLY $49.00 - One Week Only! Elementary Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $220.35 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! Middle School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $361.77 - On Sale for ONLY $59.00 - One Week Only!
High School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $381.68 - On Sale for ONLY $69.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $187.13 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $171.37 - On Sale for ONLY $29.00 - One Week Only!
K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $118.19 - On Sale for ONLY $10.00 - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Curriculum - You Choose What to Buy - Save up to 80% - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Resources, Curriculum & More - Save up to 60% - One Week Only!

 

Don’t miss out on this terrific deal! (this offer disappears at the end of the day July 28)

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Fabulous Sale on Homeschooling Resources Coming Soon!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!
Are you scrambling to find just the right resources to round out your homeschooling curriculum? Are you still shopping for schooling activities? Take a look at the bundles we have coming up for sale next week – and enter to win $100 toward purchasing these absolutely amazing resources! (I’ll have a full list of everything you have to choose from beginning early early Monday morning!)

 

The first ever “Build Your Bundle”
Homeschool Edition
sale is almost here!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

You can enter to win $100 towards your purchase
to use when the sale goes live on 7-21-14! Enter now through 11:59PM EST
on 7-20-14. The winner will be announced the day the sale starts!

Be sure to look for the special coupon code you will get when you pin
the giveaway on Pinterest!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Enter to win $100 towards your purchase!
For one week only (July 21-28) save up to 92% on bestselling
homeschooling products, including MANY on Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 list!

Not interested in entering the giveaway, but you want to be reminded
when the sale goes live?
They will send you a reminder email! Click
here and enter your email address and click “Remind Me!”

Take a Sneek Peek at Our Bundles:

 

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Tots & Preschoolers BundleThis Bundle includes products for little ones:
  • Character Training Resources
  • Handwriting Curriculum
  • Preschool & Toddler Activities
  • Bible Curriculum
  • Full Preschool Curriculum
  • & More!

Kindergarten – 3rd Grade Bundle

The K-3 Bundle includes products in the following subjects:

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Science
  • History
  • Handwriting
  • Character Training
  • Bible Resources
  • Full Kindergarten Curriculum

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!


Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Elementary: 4th-6th Bundle

The 4th-6th Bundle includes products in the following subjects:

  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Math
  • Bible
  • Keyboarding
  • Writing Guides
  • Handwriting andCopywork Resources
  • Timeline Cards & Notebooking Pages
  • Customizable Homeschool Planner

Middle School Bundle

This bundle features a full language arts curriculum from Cathy Duffy’s
Top 100 picks
and two science curricula, one of which is also from Cathy
Duffy’s Top 100 picks
, as well as:

  • A Complete Geography and History Curriculum
  • History Timeline/Book of Centuries
  • Renaissance and Reformation Notebooking Pages
  • Classical Music Curriculum
  • Creative Writing Course
  • Math Materials
  • Keyboarding Course

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!


Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!Bundle for High Schoolers

This bundle features:

  • New Testament Bible Curriculum
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • A full year of math curriculum
  • Resources for World History and Geography
  • Philosophy
  • Home Economics
  • College Prep Tools
  • Grammar
  • Creative Writing Course
  • Anatomy Science Unit study from Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 picks,
    and more!

You will receive enough materials for a full year of
high school!


Charlotte Mason Bundle

This bundle features a complete curriculum using the Charlotte Mason
Methods for:

  • Language Arts
  • Handwriting, and Reading
  • Geography
  • Nature Study
  • Artists Study
  • Poetry
  • And a variety of “extras” just for mom!Learn all about Charlotte Mason and enjoy a special bonus (a $90
    value all by itself) of great, classic audio books!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!


Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!Bundle Just for Moms!

Save money, strengthen your marriage, and streamline your schedule using
our Mom Bundle. Find the encouragement you need and the insight to speak
to your child’s heart (even that difficult child!). Whip your home into
shape and train your children to do their chores effectively using a popular
book “chores program”.

This bundle brims with useful tools to help you bring
calm to the chaos. Get them all for just $10!


“Build Your Own” Bundles

Our “Build Your Own” bundles offer you the opportunity to select a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top 100 Picks!

When you purchase a combination of any 2 “Build Your Own” bundles, you will get the 3rd one at 50% off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Planning a Homeschool Graduation

Homeschool Graduation Ceremony  Homeschool Survival

Congratulations! You have brought your child through the ranks and he’s on the verge of graduating. Just the other day you were sitting side by side, sounding out c-a-t and counting little plastic bears together. Here she is ready to receive her high school diploma! Now what? Is a graduation ceremony required? How do I plan one? What if she doesn’t want a ceremony? Will he regret it if he doesn’t have an official photo wearing that gown and mortar board?

These are all great questions. And the wonderful thing is, just like homeschooling in general, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. You have the freedom to do what suits your family best. The homeschooling laws vary a bit from state to state but once your child has met the requirements, you, the instructor/principal/administrator of your homeschool, can decide how and when to give that diploma.

Many families have the opportunity to participate in graduation activities and ceremony with their local homeschool support group. These often include the cap and gown, presentation of diploma, display of achievements, speakers, the whole sha-bang. But what if you are not a part of a larger support group, or there are no other graduates this year? What if your child does not want to participate? What options do you have?Graduation Diploma Homeschool Survival

Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for a graduation celebration. Our family brainstormed this list when our oldest graduated. Much to Mom’s disappointment, no one else in my family is into the ‘pomp and circumstance’ and prefers things low-key and informal. My son and husband both would have been happy with a pat on the back and a “job well done!’ My request was to mark the day in a special way – I wanted a celebration of some type. These are some of the results from the list we created.

  • Backyard BBQ – invite friends and family to share graduates favorite foods, with outside activities like volleyball and baseball. Parents & graduate share a few words and present diploma. This is the option all four of our graduates have chosen so far.

Graduation Baseball  Homeschool Survival

  • Recital or demonstration showcasing graduate’s talents and/or accomplishments
  • Open Mike Roast and Toast – guests arrive for refreshments and presentation of diploma then invite guests to share stories and memories from the life of the graduate.
  • Pool Party!
  • A Family Dream Vacation – Forgo the traditional graduation party and take a trip together
  • Mark this milestone by helping graduate accomplish a lifelong goal – climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, trace his genealogy, go on an archeological dig . . .
  • Create a video interviewing your graduate asking her to share her favorite memories, highlights and struggles from her schooling years. Ask about goals and dreams and where she’d like to be in five years, ten years.

Graduation Homeschool Survival

Up to this point, none of our children have worn a cap and gown when graduating out of our homeschool. They were happy to gather the important people in their lives, choose the menu, enjoy fellowship together. To my knowledge none of them regret it and have fond memories of the way we chose to celebrate the occasion. As the Administrator, Principal and Teachers in our homeschool, my husband and I did present an official diploma (graduation supplies can be purchased at HSLDA.org) and enjoyed having friends and family witness the big event.

What a blessing it is to have the freedom to custom make our children’s education AND their graduation celebration. Let’s make it unique and memorable!

What graduation plans are you making? Will they be traditional or out-of-the-box and unique?

 

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.

Interview with a Second Generation Homeschool Mom

Do you ever wonder if you and your children will make it through all the years of schooling together? Do you have a desire to see your children become second generation homeschoolers? Could it really happen? I have exciting news for you – it is more than possible, it is happening. Some of the writers here at Homeschool Survival were homeschooled at least for part of their education and are now teaching their own children. I have personally met several moms now who were educated at home and are now choosing to school their own children.

Interview with a Second Generation

Today I’d like to introduce you to one such Mom. My friend Suzy grew up in a Christian home, and was homeschooled all the way through. She was number 4 of 8 children and has been homeschooling her own children for 13 years. She and her husband have one daughter (17) that is a freshman in college, and three sons (15, 13, and 11) that they are currently homeschooling.  Their family has used many different styles of homeschooling curriculum. Suzy loves to craft, sew, play outside with her kids, ride horses, and hunt. She graciously agreed to answer a few questions for all who would like to hear about homeschooling from the perspective of a homeschool graduate now teaching her own children, successfully! (my questions in bold, Suzy’s answers in italics)

How many years were you homeschooled?  I was homeschooled from the beginning.

How many siblings do you have? Were they all homeschooled as well? I come from a large family. Number four of eight children, with five girls and three boys. My two oldest siblings were the only ones to go to public school. When my oldest brother was in 2nd grade and my oldest sister was in Kindergarten my parents felt that God was calling them to homeschool.

What curriculum did you use in your schooling growing up? When I was being homeschooled there weren’t as many options available for homeschool curriculum. Our family mostly used curriculum through Christian Liberty Academy. It was a textbook based curriculum.

What was your favorite subject? My favorite subject was Science. I still love to read and learn about Science.

What was your least favorite subject? My least favorite subject was History. I think that was mostly due to the textbooks that we used. I love History now that I am teaching it to my own children!

Did you feel you missed out on extracurricular activities such as band, sports, clubs, etc? I might have missed out on some learning in the Music department, but having a large family was great for playing sports and other activities together all the time. My family was also very involved at church and we had a lot of friends that we saw at church, and we also got together with other families quite often. As a teen, I played on our church volleyball team and softball team. We did field trips a lot too, so I don’t feel like I missed out on much at all.

Did you go on to attend college? No, I did not go on to attend college. I married my sweetheart at the young age of 19 and we started our family right away, so I didn’t attend college. We had decided before we were even married that when we had children I would stay at home to raise them, and eventually to homeschool them.

How is your teaching style as a homeschooling mom similar to how you were homeschooled? I learned a lot about scheduling from my mom when I was being homeschooled. I remember her saying that at one point she had to schedule 60 books between all of us kids. I liked having a schedule to check off as I finished, and my children do as well.

How is it different? My teaching/homeschooling style is very different from when I was homeschooled in many areas, partially because there are many more options today that weren’t even available back then, but also because my children love the hands on style of learning. When mine were all little, we primarily did Unit Studies with a lot of crafts and hands on activities to do together. All of my children love to make and create things!

What was the best thing about being homeschooled? I would have to say that the best thing about being homeschooled is the relationships that I have with my family, then and now. Since we were together all the time we had our fair share of sibling squabbles, but we grew up being each other’s best friends. There are many different personalities in a large family, but we are very close to each other. Now that we are all married with families of our own there are about 40 of us when we all get together, and we all love it!

What was most difficult? Since we were a large family, and also had grandparents living with us when their health was failing, the most difficult thing was staying on track. We got behind several times when life was extra busy and it was hard to keep on schedule. We had to work through the summer to try and catch up.

If you could share one piece of advice to other homeschooling moms, what would it be?  Teach your children how to learn and to love learning! If they know how to learn, they can do anything! Sure, they have to learn things that they don’t necessarily enjoy, but that’s just part of having a good education. As they learn, they find things that they really enjoy and will learn even more than you can teach them. My children know way more than I do about all kinds of stuff because they developed a love of learning, and with homeschooling you can give them the opportunity to learn what they love!

Anything else you’d like to share with homeschooling moms and dads, as well as homeschooled kids?  It is all worth it!! We all have good days and bad days, but hang in there! It is a privilege to be able to teach my children the truth! I don’t have to worry about what my children are learning in public school that goes against what we know as truth. My oldest daughter is now in college and is doing great! I know all homeschool moms hope and pray that they not just survive, but that their children are able to do well in college and life. The Lord gives us these little treasures that we get to love, raise, and teach to the best of our ability. Sometimes we get caught up in what the world sees as important, but we need to remember what God sees as most important and teach our children to seek and follow the Truth!

When you are feeling discouraged or just plain worn out, think about my friend Suzy and her family. Her parents thought is was worth the effort even during times when home education was a rare thing and resources were minimal. Her children are thriving and succeeding because she and her husband are committed to giving their best to their children, and trusting God to guide them through the journey. And so can we!

Are you a first or second generation homeschooler? Have you graduated children from your homeschool yet? We’d love to hear about it! Do you have a goal of educating your children all the way through the high school years? We’d like to hear about your goals too!

Menu Planning Sheets & Dear Wife Prayer Cards Giveaway + Freebies + Giveaways Link Up

Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 16

Welcome to Week 16 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far! and Thank YOU for showing up and participating in the giveaways and freebies!

This Week’s Giveaway is sponsored by Becoming a Godly Wife and Beautiful Ashes

During this busy end-of-the-school-year time, homeschooling moms often find it difficult to fit in important things like meal planning and personal prayer time or time in the Word. Couldn’t we all use some helpful tools to make these things easier? Today we have just the things to help you in both these areas. Bridget from Becoming a Godly Wife has created helpful menu planning sheets so you know exactly what’s for breakfast lunch and dinner all week long! Misty from Beautiful Ashes has created beautiful prayer and verse cards that offer encouragement and strength in your Christian walk as wife and mother. These cards coordinate with her ebook Dear Wife: Letters from a Help Meet in which she encourages wives to look to God when faced with emotional struggles.

 

what's for dinner                    prayer and verse cards

 

These resources are brand new and not yet available anywhere. Will you be the first to own them? Enter to find out! One winner will be chosen to receive a copy of both What’s for Dinner and Dear Wife . . . Prayer and Verse Cards.

To enter the giveaway, you may have to click the link below…..
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Other Giveaways & Freebies:  Lets Link Up!

  It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

Bringing History to Life

Living History Title | Homeschool Survival

They say it is important to know our history so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. While this may be true, many find studying history to be boring and irrelevant. How can we capture our children’s interest so they learn the wonderful lessons history has to offer?  How are we bringing history to life?

Problem: History = Boring, Irrelevant, Uninteresting

My own experience with history is that it was dry and unconnected. I read snippets of someone else’s interpretation of events and tried to memorize long lists of dates. My eyes would glaze over, my brain would zone out. I have a tiny recollection of studying the Ancient Greeks in my high school World Civ class, but I more clearly remember the monotone voice and polyester pantsuits my teacher wore. I can tell you exactly what the cover of my American History text looked like, even the title, but I cannot remember any information contained within that thick book.

How can we make History studies a better experience for our children? We can look for opportunities that would help make learning come alive for our children. In our homeschool, history studies include reading as many biographies and first-hand accounts of people and events as we can. Reenacting the accounts we read about, discussing the events and the differences in their lives and ours at the dinner table or around the school table help reinforce what we’ve read.

Living History 2  Apron Strings & other things

Solution: A Living History Museum

Anything we can do to help connect our children to their history will help reinforce the lessons that can be learned from history and make the future so much brighter. How about a Living History Museum? Have you ever seen the movie ‘Night at the Museum’? Where the displays come alive at night? Next month that is exactly what will be happening with our homeschool support group. We’ll be stepping back in history, meeting the famous and reliving memorable events that have influenced our lives today. This is how we accomplish it:

  1. Invite all participants to research the life of an important person in history. Learn all they can about that person, their lifestyle, family, circumstances, events in their lives.
  2. Prepare a display of some type and step into their hero’s shoes. Collect samples of tools and items that person may have used, learn a skill they might have known, find/create clothing that is typical of that time period.
  3. Learn the names and places of their family, their home, their occupation.
  4. Be ready to represent this person to those visiting our museum. Child will interract with visitors explaining how an event or invention or discovery came about, from the first person point of view.
  5. Invite your friends, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles, others interested in homeschooling or skeptical about educating children at home.
  6. Open the doors and walk back in time! Have fun! Absorb! Learn!

 

Laura Ingalls | Homeschool Survival

At our Living History Museum last year, we met Israelites who were at the Wall of Jericho when it fell and Queen Esther with King Xerxes. What a treat it was to meet Laura Ingalls, barefoot with her sunbonnet hanging down her back, practicing her letters on  a slate. Oh! and one of the Wright Brothers. We conversed with Betsy Ross as she worked on the first flag of our new nation, she had some interesting tales to share. Let’s not forget Sally Ride. She even had some freeze dried ice cream for us to sample, just like the astronauts ate when they were in space. Our children brought history to life for their grandparents and neighbors and learned some things along the way. What a great educational opportunity! History, Reading, Speech, Language, Writing, Art, Woodshop, HomeEc, Science, Geography – these are just some of the subjects we covered while preparing for this big assignment.

I wonder who we’ll meet at our Living History Museum this year? Who would you most like to meet?

 

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.

 

 

Guiding My Child Through High School

Guiding My Through High School  Homeschool Survival

One of the most common questions posed to me as a homeschool mom is “How am I ever going to teach High School?” In the midst of teaching little ones how to read and basic math facts we already find ourselves panicking over the unknown in years to come. Why is it we look for trouble even before there is any? My response to these frantic moms is not a list of how-to’s but, “Relax. By the time you get there, you’ll be able to deal with it.”

When our oldest children began high school studies new babies were arriving and honestly, this mom’s days were full enough without worrying and fretting over whether or not we were doing everything just right. We took each day as it came and made choices and decisions as best as we could when a need arose. What we did make a conscious effort to do was to step back and look at the big picture, making choices that would make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Here are some of what we learned through that process:

Curriculum is your tool.

You do not have to be a slave to your curriculum. Let it work for you. Adapt it to fit your needs. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resource. It is perfectly okay to take a textbook and use it as a supplement or a tool in research rather than working through in the traditional read-answer-test method. Remember, the bottom line is to help your child gain knowledge, not to fill his brain with what some publisher thinks he needs to know.

Teach your child how to find the information they need to know.

Speaking of knowledge, don’t try to stuff every. single. fact. into their brains. You cannot possibly teach them everything they need to know. Spoon-feeding them isn’t going to prepare them for the day when you are no longer there next to them. But you can help them gain the tools they’ll need to learn for a lifetime. Do they have a working knowledge of their local library? Do they know how to skim through a book in order to seek the specific information they need? Can they use resources like a dictionary, thesaurus, spreadsheets, computers? Encourage them to ask questions and seek out others who might have the answers. Under a parent’s watchful eye, they can learn how to maneuver their way around the web, discerning what is reputable and worthy information.

Give them opportunity for work.

Balance brain work (academics) with fun work (hobbies) and hard work (physical labor). This is a formula for a healthy mind and body. God created each one of us as a beautiful and complex being. Spending too much time with our nose in a book and no time getting our bodies up and moving, or all our time playing at our hobbies so that our work is not finished, or building a strong body but not feeding the soul will leave a person unhappy and unfulfilled. This applies to our young people as well as to their parents. Balance, moderation, that’s what we need. There is a time for everything – a time for work, a time for play, a time for study.

Provide opportunity for service.

Focusing on studies can lead them to a self-centered mindset, thinking of the assignment at hand and the test to come and whether the grades will be good enough. High school students often feel pressure to perform so they can gain admittance to the college of their choice, or  up their scores on those standardized tests. While these things are helpful in accomplishing goals, it can lead to a ‘me’ mentality. If they are not in the practice of doing for others – remember the Golden Rule? – they can get rusty in their serving skills. Looking for opportunity to give to those around them and helping meet the needs of others builds a positive self-image, one that holds others’ needs above their own. Being a member of a large family gives our children plenty of opportunity to be helpful and serve others, but there are local food pantries needing volunteers and service projects through their church and elderly grandparents who can be served.

Give them room to grow.

Encourage them to pursue their interests, both academically and leisurely. You never know where it might lead them or what foundation it might be building. Knowledge gained by discovery and experience is more likely to stick with them than the bits they see on the black and white page or those fill-in-the-blank worksheets. Real life experience is a marvelous teacher. Tackling a project or finding solution to a particular problem teaches critical thinking skills. When the mind, the hand and the heart are all engaged, life-long learning will take place.

Let them make mistakes.

Oh, this is a hard one. If they make mistakes it shows I’ve failed at my job, right? Wrong! It shows they don’t know it all, but who does? It shows they have room to grow, don’t we all? It shows they are human. Yep, me too! Making mistakes gives them opportunity to try, try again. We call this persistence. Making mistakes gives us all a chance to practice forgiveness, grace, understanding and keeps us from thinking too highly of ourselves. Learning this early will take your child a long way when it comes to his academic studies and higher education.

Allow them to own their own faith.

We raise them up, teaching them right from wrong, showing them Jesus, reading the Bible with them, taking them to church services and Sunday school. And then what? One day they will step out on their own and be responsible and accountable to God on their own, without us telling them what they should believe and how they should behave. Engage them early in discussion about the meaning of scripture, wrestle together over questions about faith. Pray together for God’s guidance and discernment and wisdom. You’ve heard that old adage – “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink?”   We plant the seed, we teach and train, and we must let go and let God do His Work in their hearts. HE is the one to whom they belong. They will have to choose for themselves if they want to belong to Him.

I hope you are not left disappointed that you didn’t find a checklist of do’s and don’ts or a formula for getting accepted into the best colleges. I believe that would set us up for failure. Preparing our children’s hearts and minds to love the Lord, to have discernment, a healthy curiosity and a good work ethic will prepare them for wherever their path takes them.

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Proverbs 2:1-6

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.

5 Reasons to Use Unit Studies

Unit Studies | Homeschool Survival

One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling our children is the ability to tailor our curriculum to meet the needs and lifestyles of our individual families. When we made the decision to educate our children at home, we looked to see what options were available to us. As we started looking for resources and curriculum to help us to teach and train our oldest, my husband said to me, “We are not choosing to send our child to traditional school, so I don’t think we should school him in a traditional manner, either.”

That was a lightbulb moment for me. We could actually choose HOW we want to school our children and choose WHAT materials we wanted to use based on WHY we were homeschooling in the first place. It was obvious to us that our active and inquisitive 5 year old son’s excitement for learning might be squelched if forced into a tightly scheduled and structured school setting, so we looked for alternatives to traditional textbooks.

Our choice was a Unit Study type of curriculum. That was 23 years ago and our family has been using KONOS Character curriculum through grade 8 ever since. There are other published and pre-packaged Unit Study programs available, like those offered by Amanda Bennett as well as ‘how to create your own unit study’ guides like the one Valerie Bendt. All of them offer great help and resources and are worth looking into.

Learning with unit studies has not only became the manner in which we educated our children, it became our lifestyle. Here are 5 reasons our family has chosen to educate our children The Unit Study Way:

1. Teach Multi-ages and Multi-subjects

When we began our homeschooling adventure, our oldest was 5 years old and we had a preschooler and infant as well. Knowing we would have at least 3 in our homeschool it made sense to use a style and curriculum that would incorporate different ages, in order to help streamline things for Mom. It was easy to include Little Sister into the activities Big Brother was doing, and she absorbed many things like letter recognition and math facts just by being included in what I was doing with her older brother.

I loved choosing a topic and building our lessons around a central theme. Subject areas such as science, history, art, reading, p.e. would all have the same basic theme underlying. Each child can learn at their own level, taking away what they are able. Older children can research further in depth and be given more challenging assignments. Right now we have 12, 11, 9, and 7 year olds in our homeschool. Our 7 year old does not have the same required reading each week as our 12 year old, but all four children listen to the same book I read aloud at lunchtime each day. All four participate in the same art lessons and outdoor p.e. activities, but the oldest 2 are required to do more writing and research assignments than the younger two.

Rather than having to schedule four different lessons plans using different texts for each of my  students, I make one main set of lesson plans with notes for each student, and add in the necessary plans for individual math and language.

2. A More Complete Picture

When we study a particular person or event in history, rather than reading a snippet in a text book, we are able to dig in and get more details by reading multiple accounts or re-enacting an event or re-producing items that might have been used. Rather than accept what one publisher wants you to know, we get the opportunity to form our own opinions based on our own research. With access to local libraries and mail-order catalogs and the internet, it’s never been easier to find more than enough materials to help us.

3. Economical

For the most part, unit studies are non-consumable. We do stock up on basic school supplies like paper and pencils and folders and spiral notebooks, but once we bought our core curriculum, we did not have to continue purchasing curriculum year after year. We re-use the ideas within the book and use items available around the house for our activities. There are no workbooks to fill in and throw away and re-purchase for the next child.

We are now using the same volume for our 8th child that we purchased for our 1st child. The most costly times for us were the years our oldest moved into high school, when we did need materials of a different sort in order to help prepare him for the future, in his case, college. When we averaged out our expenses for all 13 years of his education in our home, it came out to $250 per year. For the seven children that came along behind him, it was a fraction of that, because we already had the resources on hand! Compare that to the more than $10,000 per child per year the average government school spends per child.

4. Flexibility

Homeschooling our children gives us the freedom to choose how we will educate our children and the Unit Study method gives us the freedom to choose what we will learn each year. Preparing for a new school year, my husband and I will take a look at our family and our children and the big picture, asking questions like: “What do we want them to be learning right now?” “What special interests does each child have these days?” “Are there any gaps we need to fill?” With Unit Studies, we are not slaves to a pre-published curriculum, but can flesh out what we study based on our own needs and interests.

We then choose what topics, events in history, subjects we want to focus on in our school in the upcoming year. This year we are studying U.S. Geography and The Human Body and Simple Machines. Some because it will be interesting, some because it will be fun, and some because we felt it was needed. We spread them out and try to alternate a unit heavy in history with a unit heavy in science so we don’t get bored with any one thing. One unit will be easier for a particular child, but the next unit will be more to a different child’s liking.

5. Family Togetherness

One main reason we began schooling our children at home was to keep the family together. My husband traveled a lot with his job and he wanted his family with him as much as possible. It made sense for us to homeschool, because we could always take our schooling with us.

What we soon learned was that our Unit Study approach built family unity. Because we were all working together and studying the same people and topics, our dinner conversation often centered around what we had learned together. Our older children naturally learned to help the younger ones with their lessons, because they were all studying the same things. Our field trips were often centered on our main topic of study, we all enjoyed the outings – together. It’s a lifestyle, it’s who we are, it’s how we learn.

In summary, our curriculum of choice seemed to naturally fit with our family motto and scripture we chose to use as the basis for our homeschool:

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9]

 

Homeschooling Laws in the U.S.

Homeschooling Laws in USA  Homeschool Survival

We enjoy many freedoms in our country. The ability to educate our children at home is one of those freedoms. One of the most common questions posed to homeschooling parents is,  “Is it legal?”  The answer is “Yes!” Though the requirements and regulations vary from state to state, it is legal to homeschool our children in each of the 50 states.

Do you know the homeschooling laws in your home state? Are you considering homeschooling as an educational option for your family? Or maybe you are currently homeschooling and will be relocating to a new state. In all of these situations it would be wise to know the law. Should anyone challenge your rights to homeschool, knowing what the law says about it will help you make your position clear. There are many who do not know the laws and as a homeschooling parent you can share with others that not only is it legal, but what the law specifically states.

Below you will find a helpful list of links to aid you in researching the homeschooling laws around the country. This is not an exhaustive list, but a place to begin. There are many resources available and with a quick search online, you’ll find even more information for the states in which you are particularly interested. The links provided are for your own personal information and not intended as legal counsel.

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.