Weekly Giveaway: $50 Amazon Card + Freebies Link Up

Welcome!

It’s week 28! We love bringing you these giveaways each and every week here on Homeschool Survival. If you have Freebies you’d like to share, be sure to link up and we will be Pinning and Sharing through the week. We’d like to encourage you to like us and interact with us on Facebook. Visit us there to find and share more fantastic posts. We are a community where you can ask questions, get mom to mom answers and be encouraged. In fact, if you happen to have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to leave us a comment here…and we’ll be happy to post them on the page, or even write a blog post about it. We are here to help you in your journey and can’t wait to hear more from you! Be sure to read all the way to the end, where the fabulous giveaways will be posted.

Back to School Money - $50 Amazon card

This Weeks Featured Giveaway 

Homeschool Survival 

$50 Gift Card from Amazon
You’ll be able to purchase supplies your family needs and take advantage of the wonderful “Back to School” sales going on daily!
The team here at Homeschool Survival came up with our own favorite product ideas for homeschool. These are things we use regularly and recommend to others to enhance the homeschool year!

With so many little guys in my house during the homeschooling day busy boxes are a must for me! I love how easy they are for little hands to use and the activities are endless. We use them to create pictures and other art projects. They are great for beginner writers and readers. Print off letters for them to “trace” with dots,  have them match dots to numbers, or play find the letter by printing off a sheet of mixed up letters and only dotting certain ones. ~ Emmalee Hoggatt, The Hoggatt Homeschool

 

laminator

 

I absolutely love this laminator. It’s very reasonably priced. We love to laminate play-dough mats and homemade games. Its a great access to our homeschool. ~ Jill Craft, Blessed Beyond a Doubt

My first choice of favorite homeschool product is Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock. It is really all I need for early elementary level science, and I continue to use it all the way through high school. It is a timeless nature study guide, science text, collection of unit studies, and field guide all in one. By far my best homeschooling investment.                  ~ Anne Campbell, Learning Table

I DO SO love a good globe and this one is very affordable! I’ve used everything from wall maps, to blow up globes in our family homeschool. This year we will be enjoying the real deal as we regularly study exciting people, places, and things from around the world!        ~ Kelli Becton, Adventures in Child Rearing

Educating the WholeHearted Child

Any time I need encouragement, as a homeschool mom, this is the book I pull out.  There are so many practical tips and tricks throughout the book that give me the perfect pep talk that I need.  It has everything from home organization ideas to curriculum ideas.  Really, everything a homeschooling mom would need!    — Sarah Robinson, Sidetracked Sarah & Owner of Homeschool Survival.  

Words are Categorical Series
We love learning grammar with the books in the Words Are Categorical series. These charming books teach students grades 2-4 with fun titles such as A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink (nouns) and Hairy, Scary, Ordinary (adjectives). There are also books for verbs, adverbs, pronouns, compound words, conjunctions, prepositions, synonyms, and more!              ~ Marcy Crabtree, Ben and Me
Smead Envelope with String-Tie Closure

Smead Envelope with String-Tie Closure, Side Loading, Letter Size, Green Poly, 5 per Pack (89523)

These are my favorite right now because I use them for several things in our homeschool organization. I use them to hold unit studies, all the printable packs I print out and I also use them for workboxes. I have tried multiple things as workboxes and these are my best find. They are durable and the boys can see the contents inside. They are strong enough to hold large high school size books, a folder and spiral notebook. I Velcro the workbox tags to the outside and tape their lesson to the outside. They close up tight and nothing falls out or gets lost!  Works great! ~ Janeen Herlugson, Sprouting Tadpoles

 

Giveaway – Enter with 1 link or Enter with ALL!

One family will receive a $50 Amazon card to shop for their homeschool (or other family needs) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to head over to HomeschoolSurvival.com to see what other Homeschooling Giveaways you can enter to win or Freebies you can get!  The giveaways & freebies link up is every Monday! Are you a homeschooling company who would like to sponsor the weekly Giveaways for Homeschoolers?  Email Sarah of Homeschool Survival at sidetrackedsarah (at) gmail.com    

Are you all finished with your homeschool shopping? What is on your supply list?

 

Other Giveaways & Freebies: Let’s 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!)

Growing A Homeschool Child

It’s that time of year!  Garden Season!

There are very few, if ever, any days in the garden that I’m not reminded of our Creator.

I see His beauty.

I see His grace.

Planting & Growing Your Homeschool

I see the awesomeness of Creation.  And without fail….I see how my garden is so much like our lives.  No wonder the Psalmists and Jesus Himself used nature to teach.  It’s always such a perfect picture and reminder of our own lives and journeys.  So, today, I’m offering advice on how to grow that Homeschooled Child.  Now remember, I’m no professional gardener, parent, or Homeschool Mom.  But our God….He is the perfect teacher and I think you just might find some inspiration, encouragement, and food for thought here in my Homeschool Garden instructions!  Happy Planting!

STEP 1

Prepare Your Soil.  This is SO important.  The type of soil you plant your seed in often decides much of the outcome of the plant…um, student!  A soil filled with scriptural vitamins and minerals and laced with a teachable spirit has proven to be the most workable and fertile ground!

STEP 2

Thank the Lord for the seed He’s given you to work with here, aka your student!  It’s important to take care not to damage the seed while planting.  Instead, carefully place your child in the correct depth of soil (level of learning) and cover with the right amount soil (curriculum) to allow them to sprout properly!  If and when in question, know you can always refer to the guidebook (your Bible) for proper instruction, guidelines, and help to make such decisions.

STEP 3

Once your ground (a strange mixture of their hearts along with your own) has been prepared, and your child properly planted at the right level and proper kind of curriculum for their needs, be ready to tend your garden while it prepares to grow.  This is a season of watering and waiting.  Remember to water (teach) every day, even when you don’t see results.  You must also allow adequate sunshine into this equation!  By exposing your seed to the light of God through scripture, experience, and great fellowship, you’re adding the other essential to growth!  While you continue to consistently water (teach) your child, changes are forming and growing in their hearts, minds, and souls, even when you can’t see!  Be ready for that first sprout!  It’s so encouraging and exciting to see the beginning of knowledge take root and begin to grow!  Be sure to thank God, pat yourself of the shoulder, talk to and praise that tender sprout, and then move onto step 4!

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STEP 4

Continue allowing your student the exposure to God’s light, the regular watering of your teaching, and of course regularly monitor your soil in case it becomes depleted.  If that’s the case, a good dose of fertilizer might be needed to give your student a boost.  The best fertilizers out there are study in God’s word, church events, camps and getaways, and sometimes even just an uplifting visit and outing with other homeschool families.

STEP 5

Stay on top of the weeds and grass in your garden!  The growth of these outsiders is normal and to be expected.  It’s important to watch for these distractions and negative influences on your student.  In our garden we’ve found these in the form of too much electronics, the distractions of busyness, and over commitment.  When weeds or grass first begin to sprout, pull them immediately before they become a problem!  I know that this isn’t always possible.  But don’t give up, do your best, and continue to clean out the grass and weeds from your precious garden.  When these things are around your plant, they take the needed nutrients from the soil away from your student for their own growth.  When left to grow too long, it becomes even trickier to remove them and they can even become so entangled in the roots of your own plant that their removal causes damage.  So, tend to the weeds!

Keep Those Life Weeds Awry

STEP 6

Enjoy the fruits of your garden!  This homeshool life is beautiful!  Beautiful on perfect days, on not so perfect days, and even on those days you may be tempted to run to the grocery store to meet your garden needs instead of working the hard but fruitful garden you’re growing!  Stick to it!  Enjoy the times of rest.  Be grateful for the days it rains and your garden is watered by God’s hand so you get a break.  Be proud of your fruit, that child you grow.  Be proud of the gardener, yourself.  And above all else, give thank to the Creator of them all!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool atStop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

Using Answers in Genesis, Book for Kids in our Homeschool

Every morning after breakfast, we start our Bible study. This is a fantastic way for anyone to start their day. For me, it helps me refocus and appreciate my life, even on the hard days (you know……when all 4 kids have lost it and all you can do is wonder how far away bedtime is…oh….it’s only 8 a.m…this is going to be a LONG day!).

We use several Bible books throughout our day, but one of my favorites is, “Answers in Genesis, Book for Kids”. Have you heard of this series? Let me tell you, it’s fantastic!
answers for kids(This post contains affiliate links)

There are 6 volumes available. The most appealing aspect of these books is that they cover questions actually asked by children. And many of the questions are ones my kids have asked me and I was a little stumped on how to answer! So I’ve been very thankful for this set when I can read the questions to the kids and give them an answer they can understand and learn from.

Here’s what the 6 books cover:

Volume 1-Creation and The Fall
Volume 2-Dinosaurs and Flood
Volume 3-God and the Bible
Volume 4-Sin, Salvation and Christian Life
Volume 5-Space and Astronomy
Volume 6-Babel and Ice Age

There’s a very good range of topics covered in these books. We cover one question a day. After I’ve read the question and answer, we discuss it a little further and the kids ask questions about what they just learned.

The questions and answers are simple, but very informative in a way that children can understand it. We love this set! This would be great for homeschooling, church classes, or even families looking for something biblical for their kids!

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!

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway + Freebies & Giveaways Link up


Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 17

Welcome to Week 17 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few months 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!

I have an important announcement!  Starting next week, we’re going to try and improve the giveaways and freebies even more!  Each week, the giveaways will be worth $50 or more!  You won’t want to miss the next few sponsors that we have lined up!

This Week’s Giveaway is sponsored by Homeschool Survival

Today, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon.com.  Why?  There are so many curriculum choices on Amazon and I have a feeling they will have one that you are going to need for next year.  Let me tell you about a few of our favorites!

Amazon Gift Card

This post contains affliliate links 

1.  Mystery of History.  We’ve done Mystery of History both in a group setting and one child at a time.  This year, my 13 year old daughter is reading it on her own for history.  We love how straight forward Mystery of History is!

2.  Explode the Code – All of my children have used Explode the Code in their Elementary years.  I feel like it gives them a good beginning grammar foundation while making mom’s teaching life a bit easier.  The workbooks are pretty self explanatory and I’ve never bought the Teacher’s books to go along with them.

3.  A Reason for Handwriting.  I like this program because it has the kids writing verses through the Bible and then drawing a picture.  It encourages them to  give it to a relative or friend or send it in the mail.

 

4.  Singapore Math – My kids always start math in Singapore Math and then we move to Teaching Textbooks when things get a litlte more complicated.  I love the way Singapore Math teaches you to think.  It’s different than my way of thinking, but it makes so much sense.  Keep in mind, Singapore Math is generally well ahead of other math programs of the same grade level.

 

5.  Christian Liberty Press – Nature Readers – I love how they tell a story about each specific animal or insect.  My children have learned so much by reading through these each year!

What about you?  What will you be buying from Amazon this year for your curriculum needs?  Don’t forget that you can sign up for a free 30 Day Trial of Amazon Prime where you can get free 2 day shipping, plus streaming movies!

 

If you’d like to enter the giveaway for the $25 in Amazon spending money, just enter into the Rafflecopter 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!)  

Protect Your Homeschool Gifts

HogHunting9

Perhaps you’re a veteran homeschool parent.  Maybe like me, you’re nearing the end of your first year.  You might even be in that familiar stage of researching your education options for your children.  I’ve been at a place where I knew I had a heart for Homeschool, but it wasn’t quite time.  Whatever stage you may find yourself, we are ALL familiar with THE question…

What will I tell the people who are against us homeschooling our children?

How will I explain that I know this is best for my children?

How do I respond to that one family member who always has something bad to say about our decision?

This same question can be packaged in many different words.  It can also be found being asked repeatedly in almost every homeschool ‘discussion forum’.  Homeschool and ‘Pre-Homeschool’ Mom’s alike have faced the opinions of others on more than one occasion.  Sometimes it may really bother us.  Other times you might not care.  I know for myself, I kind of broke from that ‘newbie’ homeschool stage into that ‘I got this and you can’t tell me otherwise’ frame of mind.

We could go on all day about the wonderful advantages of homeschooling.  We could provide site research, statistics, personal experience, and more to back up what we do.  That’s not what I’m here to share today.

I’m here to tell you something else when it comes to explaining yourself and your family’s decision to others…..

You simply DONT HAVE TO!!!!!!

In all reality, I feel there are certain people who deserve explanations.  That list of people is personal for each of us.  I can also tell you that the list of ‘critics’ is probably just as personal.  For us, criticism didn’t come from those close to us, but to those who actually had no right or place within our family to voice their opinions.  I shared our journey in the beginning not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  It’s exciting, fun, and I enjoy the input of others….until it became negative.  Kids are very smart, they pick up on the comments of disapproval, and it was actually entertaining to hear their opinions of these moments.

At the end of the day, the Lord showed me that I simply didn’t have to share our journey, this gift, with any and every one.  It IS a gift to me, and I have learned to protect it.  Thankfully, we’ve been very blessed.  Even the few family members who are not on board with our decision, have decided to support us whole heartedly.  That too has been a gift.  As for the ‘other’ opinions I mentioned above…I’ve learned that if I don’t put the information out there-it leaves less opportunity for criticism.  As for the now rare occasions that the negativity of another filters to my children, I simply use it as a great moment to teach my kids how NOT to act when they grow up!

And for the record….most everyone I know has something great to say about what we’re doing.  If not, then it’s usually just a reason why THEY can’t homeschool.  But like any good thing…there will always be a critic.  Just remember, you don’t have to explain why you do what you do.  Just like the public school parent doesn’t have to explain why they’ve made the choice to send their child to school.

Keep doing what you’re doing.  Treasure this gift.  Enjoy the journey.  And don’t EVER be afraid to protect and cherish what God has given you!

HogHunting10

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool at Stop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

 

Homeschool Convention Survival Tips

Hitting the Road: #Homeschool Convention Time via homeschoolsurvival.com

Whether you’re a newbie homeschool or a seasoned veteran, homeschool conventions provide a valuable source of encouragement, information, and fellowship.

Hitting the Road: Homeschool Convention Time!

The first time I walked into a convention center for a homeschool conference, I had already been homeschooling for nine years, but I was immediately OVERWHELMED!

After attending several conferences over the past few years, I’ve learned a thing or two, which make the experience less-stressful and more valuable.

So, if you’re headed to a convention this spring, here are some survival tips for you:

  • Look at the list of vendors and speakers for the convention you are attending on the conference website, and note which ones you want to be sure to visit.
  • Make a list of any specific products you want to check out. Go to sessions sponsored by those vendors to learn more about them.
  • Keep a running list of items you might want to purchase after seeing them. I didn’t purchase anything on our first walk-through. I used that first time to “window shop,” and then went back to buy things later. This prevents extra trips to the car or having to haul around a bunch of stuff, and it also gave me pause to think before making an impulse buy.
  • Speaking of those trips to the car — pack snacks and drinks, and take breaks! Food can be pricey at convention centers, and many will not let you bring anything in, so use your car as home-base. Especially if your kids attend with you!
  • Schedule time for an initial walk-through, and plan to go back at least once more to be sure you cover it all. Planning to go back helped me prevent impulse purchases because I knew I would have time to go stop back by the booths.
  • Many vendors offer coupons or codes to use later, so you don’t have to feel pressure to buy at the convention.
  • Be flexible and willing to change your product list. I was surprised to find that some products were not what I thought they would be and to discover new products I never would have considered before seeing them and hearing the speakers.
  • Use DISCERNMENT! Realize that a convention is a money-maker for the host, and some (many) of the vendors might not necessarily have the same worldview, parenting philosophy, etc. that you do. Do your research! Be aware that vendors and speakers are presenting their best face at the conference.
  • Enjoy yourself and have fun! My goal is not to “shop” as much as it is to “see.” Bringing home a few new things is just a bonus.

 

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne on Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

PreSchool…ING vs. PreSchool

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MOM’S DISCLAIMER:  Let me first say that this here little guy in the ‘ing’ photo….that’s the baby of my babies.  The littlest of my people.  The forever youngest of my brood.  So, I’ve been there, done that in more ways than one with my other kids.  I’ve seen the ‘classroom environment help a child thrive.  I’ve seen it completely drop the bomb.  While I’m no expert, I’m no newbie either.  The following is the observation and opinions of a Mama’s heart.

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I read a new-to-me term the other day.

Preschooling.

That’s right, not just Preschool or PreK but Preschooling.

It struck me and hasn’t left the soil of my MamaTeacher brain since.

Or my heart.

Instead, it has redefined the way I see my little guy’s academic future.

It spoke of that active, hands on time spent with a child, preparing them to learn.

The nurturing of their own unique little spirit.

Not the learning itself.

DSCF0859-001We school traditional.  Set curriculum.  Set schedule.  Goals and testing.

The fun, the intrigue, the interesting, the strange, the silly, the memories….those come from, before, after, and in between our ‘traditional’ school day.  That, as we know, is the beauty of this homeschool life.

Either way, there are a few basics to look at before we go further, no matter how you homeschool in your family.

1.  Age.  Yes, this does matter.  Even if you believe in completely child-led learning, there is a time that each individual child is ready to learn and progress academically.  States differ in law as to when academics are required.  With that said, each child has a natural, God given desire to explore the world around them.  For the interest of this post, Preschooling is the year or years before we start a formal curriculum of Bible, Phonics, Math, Language Development, and Science.

2.  Goals.  Whether you are  a ‘traditional’ family like ours, an ‘unschooling’ family, or each and every family inbetween….we all have goals for our kids.  Call it what you will-you homeschool, send your kids to school, unschool, or train them for the Peace Corp with an agenda in mind.  Again for the interest of this post, we’re going to officially call our PreSchool/ing goal that of preparing our children for said formal/informal introduction to curriculum/learning.

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With #1 and #2 out of the way, let’s move on to the basics.

PreSchool…excuse me….Preschooling, to me is all about forming a foundation for their education.

Biblical.  Real life skills.  Academic.

The heart of this matter is letting them be kids.

They have the rest of their lives to grow up, meet expectations, and deal with the world around them.

So at the center of Preschooling my youngest child is nurturing his wonderful imagination.

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Letting him thrive exactly where he is, and encouraging him to be who God made him today.

There’s more than enough God-given activities and basics surrounding us to worry about purchasing the perfect games and play items.

God gave this particular little man into a family with other siblings.

That there is better fertile soil to learn than anything you can buy.

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Only child?  Oldest child?  That’s cool…rock where God has your child today.  There are opportunities that child will have today that my little guy will not.

Like the one on one with Mom.  Or the relative ease and smaller expense of more hands on ‘field trips’ and activities.

God has you, and your child, exactly where you are suppose to be.

Embrace that.  Give thanks.  And let the fun begin!

We let our little guy venture in and out of the school room as he pleases.  He enjoys learning and wants his own work to do at times.  The following are some practical suggestions for activities to fit into your PreSchooling day.

TO HELP BUILD FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • PlayDoh
  • Dull Tip scissors with old newspapers and let them go to town
  • Teach them to pinch instead of grabbing crayons/pencils with a fist

INTRODUCTION TO PHONICS AND MATH

  • Singing the alphabet together
  • Counting everyday objects as fun
  • Educational cartoons and apps
  • Letting him/her play ‘school’ with older siblings

PRE-WRITING ACTIVITIES (Tons of free printables online)

  • Tracing different lines and patterns on dry erase boards
  • Tracing then writing their name on dotted-line printouts
  • Drawing in the dirt with sticks and such

Do these things sound familiar?  That’s because most of you probably do some or all of these already with your kids for fun.  All it takes is attention and time, fun and games.  Play and lots of giggles.  Consider Preschooling before the formal curriculum begins.  We naturally fell into this approach and I see him being more and more prepared for school everyday.  So, until then….we are enjoying the ing of this age and stage!  And I so hope that you will too!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool atStop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

 

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

homeschool survival

 

It’s the middle of the school year, and your child is not thriving or growing. You think it is time to pull him out of traditional school, but you aren’t sure you can do this. You might be wondering, can I homeschool? What will my family think? What will my friends think? How do I start?

I found myself in this same quandary a few years ago when we took the plunge and started on our homeschool journey. Okay, it was eleven years ago, but time has whizzed by like a shooting star.

I felt like I was literally stuck “between a rock and a hard place” when my oldest son was in kindergarten. It just wasn’t working out—he was unhappy, and I was unhappy. It was really due to a combination of things, but I could see the difference in his attitude and in his enthusiasm for learning. School was a requirement, not a joy. It was a place where he was under the care and influence of others all day without me. I would ask him how his day went and what he learned and did each day, but all I usually got in response was, “okay” or “I don’t know.”

After meetings with the teacher and the director of the program, and talks with other students’ moms, I began to discover what some of the problems were. Basically, however, he was not thriving in the classroom setting, and it was doing damage to him.

So, here I was, seven months pregnant and with a toddler in the house, bringing my six-year-old home to school. What was I going to do with a newborn and a toddler while I learned how to “do school” with my son? How were we going to break the news to the grandparents?

Well, you know what? We did fine. After a month or so of decompressing from the school routines, we began to find a rhythm in our days. We started off slow, with a simple curriculum to guide us, and my son eventually found his joy in learning again. My only regret is that we didn’t start homeschooling sooner.

So, if you find yourself stuck in that hard place, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do this. And, there are a bunch of us who have been at it awhile who would love to share our successes and failures with you.

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne onBloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

 

Inexplicably Confused About Homeschooling

 

confusion

Inexplicably confused…

I’m one who questions my choices, especially when it comes to my child. The decision to homeschool should have come more naturally and earlier on. My son was telling me what he wanted and needed and while I was hearing him loud and clear I had no experience and seriously doubted my ability. My son stopped asking for a while. Here we are several years later and I finally pulled him from public school in his final term of 9th grade. Best decision ever!  (One of the toughest, too, but so worth it)

Facing the music…

I knew my family would be shocked if not altogether horrified with the decision. My mom works for the local school department and here I am balking at the system. The audacity!  My dad’s reaction was the classic knee-jerk, “but what about his socialization?”  Seriously?  This kid can’t be contained socially; I’m an adult and haven’t mastered half my son’s social expertise. I think my husband thought I’d lost my mind. Nothing like riding the crazy train alone, except I wasn’t nuts and this was the right choice. Still is!  Everyone came around and I’m eternally grateful for my sister-in-law, Kerry, and family friend, Brenda, for being my cheerleaders and supporters from the very beginning.

Day 1…

May 10, 2013 was our “official” day one.  We just picked up where public school left off to finish out the school year. The most difficult task was figuring out how far he’d gotten in algebra. That seems to be the bane of many homeschool family’s existences, so learning I was in good company was a relief. Being able to have time to work through challenges and progress easily in subjects my son excelled at was so refreshing.  We used EdHelper, Khan Academy and eNotes initially, but also explored Charlotte Mason, Everything Homeschooling, and some other material for ideas.

Getting Organized…

Track this, spreadsheet that, yeah, yeah, yeah. I created my own word documents for creating curriculum plans and spreadsheets for tracking progress, but nothing compares to witnessing your child  truly learning something, seeing them understand, getting excited, and wanting to learn more. Although the excitement never came for my son with Algebra or the desire to learn more, (not a math geek like his mom at all), I witnessed learning and understanding and was relieved. I wasn’t ruining my precious gift, my son, after all. Phew!

I google and research a lot. I want to learn more about curriculum available, other homeschool family’s experiences, how to best guide my sometimes distracted learner, how to put together a high school transcript, what free resources are available, and on and on. Starting near the end of a school year was definitely a challenge and I was confident I would have a better plan in place when it came time to prepare for a full school year.

Grade 9 Ends…

I was relieved when the school year ended June 27. It gave me exactly 2 months to get my act together to prepare for Grade 10. I could work with my son to help build his curriculum and he could become more invested in his education. I got my letter of intent to homeschool my son into the School Department at the beginning of July. Inhale, exhale, this is our new life.

Change is good.

Tell me about your first thoughts as you began homeschooling your children?  Did you pull them out of school?  Or have you been doing it from the beginning?

 

Melissa ReadMelissa is in her first year of homeschooling her teenaged son, while working part-time.  She enjoys the simple life, but her husband is a super techie.  It’s an interesting balance as Melissa strives to learn more homesteading skills, while her husband is playing the latest Xbox game.  Find Melissa’s Facebook page:  Minor in Homeschool.