School Has Begun!

The official start of school was yesterday, and it is going great guns!!!  There was blood, sweat, and tears!  OK….maybe not blood, but definitely sweat and tears.

We began with a unit study on Self Control.  We have a Self Control Goal (complete with posterboard) for the next 6 weeks.  We have to get 110 stars AS A FAMILY  for going above and beyond when it comes to Self Control.  This includes Controlling our Eating, our Anger, our Thoughts, etc.  It’s close to the end of Day 2, and we have 3 stars.  Almost all of them for Spending More Time on Spiritual Pursuits.

We have a First Week of School Project.  Every day we will be doing something different to celebrate the First Week of School.

Monday – we took the First Day of School Pictures that every homeschooler takes, with the kids holding up signs saying what grade they are in.

Tuesday – today I wrote up the following questions and they had to answer them.

1.  What can YOU do to have a great year this year?  The best answer: Barbie. “I vow to concentrate and reach for good grades.”

2.  What can I do to help you succeed this year?  The best answer: BAM!. “If you see me start to give up help me.” (They all had answers similar to that, so I need to do more encouraging.)

3. What do YOU hope to learn this year? The best answer: Eyes. “I hope to lean about God.” (misspelling is his)

4. Our family should be ____________________ every day! The best answer: Kissy. “I think our family should be respectful all the time to one anothe everday.” (misspelling is hers)

5. School is important because __________________. The best answer: Barbie. “School is important because it teaches you how to survive the business world.”

Wednesday – we will be creating our own “Twitter” accounts (fake)

Thursday – each child will be summing up his slogan for the day of his twitter account….in other words, creating a “tweet”.

We started our Language Arts books, and Barbie started her English III books.  It’s going to be an adjustment, but I can’t say enough about how much I like the IBLP Language Arts books.  It already has my 2nd and 3rd grader beginning basic outlines.  What a great skill to learn!!!!!!

All 3 girls are loving their individual science classes.  And I’m caught up on grading!  (Minor miracle, I won’t be for long!)

Fellow homeschoolers:  How is YOUR first week going????

 

My Self Control

I really really really can’t wait for school to start…even though i have so much to do.  I find it ironic that our next main topic of study is Self Control.  Why?  Because I am so far behind in everything that I need to get done!  Between cheer and football season, the crochet projects I’ve promised to people, the sewing projects I’ve promised to people, getting ready for the Back to School Back Pack Bash at my church, catching up on my grading, and then the regular Mommy chores…I am overwhelmed and out of discipline.

Do you ever get that way?  I am over-committed, on a regular basis.  And I need to get back in control because Children in Action is starting in September and I’m not ready for that either!!!!!

So how am I going to emphasize self control when I don’t have it????  First things first…I need to get back into a school routine.  And I have the bones of that done….I just need to really emphasize being disciplined.  I kept a fairly tight schedule yesterday and Barbie noticed.  But I got more done yesterday then I did last week!  I’m working on waking up early as well.  So we will be running a tight ship during cheer and football season so that I can get everything done.

Here is my schedule for school…Kind of;)

I’ll be waking up at 5:30 am: praying, stumbling to the laundry room to start the first load of laundry, grabbing a cup of coffee (or green tea) and then going to do my morning devotion.  Once finished, I’ll start my second load of laundry for the day, go wake up the kids, and then work out. (Yes, I’m trying it again!  I’ve stuck with it for 3 weeks this time!!!)

Once the girls are up and going, I leave them in charge for the half hour it takes me to shower.  They will make sure the boys are ready for the day and they are ready for the day.

Then I’ll cook breakfast.  We’ll have breakfast while I’m reading a book to them.  Our first biography this year will be about Adoniram Judson (he was a missionary in Burma).

We’ll finish eating and doing our kitchen chores then head to the living room for our Family Wisdom Search.  Quick note on our Kitchen chores.  Every one has their own chores and I set the timer for 15 minutes.  While they are picking up the kitchen, I’m folding and then starting a new load of laundry.  They all come and get their pile of clothes when I call them. Our Wisdom Search we only do for about 15 minutes as well.

Then on to our Wisdom Booklet, Music, and their Project Work.  While they are working their projects, I’ll be cooking our main meal of the day.  We all eat together, do Kitchen chores, and then I’ll have about 15 minutes on the computer to check facebook while they are being silly and goofing. 😉  Or arguing with each other, depending on the day. 😉

Next is English.  Barbie is completely independent in this except for grading.  BAM! and Kissy are on the same level, and the boys are all on the same level.  So I will take turns teaching while the groups are doing independent work.  Because of me teaching – this will be 1/2 hour.  This will also give them time to study for spelling, vocabulary, and dictation quizzes.  How they do on their quizzes will determine if they move up a minor level or not. 😉

And then Math for the kids – this is pretty much independent and gives me time to grade the work they have done so far…logging it for the children that have report cards. (If we study math that week as a school, the kids will have a break during this time)

After Math, the boys have a break.  They can choose to work on what they haven’t finished school wise or their chores.  But let’s be honest…they’ll play!!!!  The girls will be taking turns doing typing lessons.  On days they don’t have typing, they have the same choices as the boys (except for Barbie…she has SAT prep class).  What will I be doing?  Working on my “to do” list of the day.

Now it’s Super Clean Time.  We all work together cleaning one room of the house.  We get as much done as we can in 1/2 hour.  The kids hate this time…but they like it better than doing it individually.  We power through!!!!!

Then the girls will do their Independent Science while the boys take turns playing on the computer.  (If we have science as a school that week, the girls will not have science).  I will be working more on my “to do” list!  After about 1/2 hour everyone has free time!  Me too!!!!  This is when I get to crochet, sew, or read!    Then I’ll get our snack ready, and pre prepare anything we need for dinner.  We’ll have a snack…clean up real quick, and get ready for football!

When we all get home, we take turns showering, and eating.  We are doing a family wisdom search at that time as well!  I will tuck all the kids in…and then read myself to sleep!

After looking at all of that, do you see why I need self control??????

If I don’t, I will easily throw everything that needs to be done and play on facebook or computer games all day.  It’s way too easy to do!!!!!

Reading all of that made me tired!!!!  And it’s time for me to start cooking!  Gotta get on the schedule!  Have a blessed day all!!!!

 

Homeschool 101: Planning

Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty as they say.  It’s time to really talk about how to schedule.  *****WARNING:  FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL HOMESCHOOLS!******

In fact, you may read this and think, “In a Pig’s Eye!”.  Or you may read this and think, I’ll take this idea or this idea and use it, but the rest of it, no way!

The simple fact is, no two homeschools look-alike.  No two homes look-alike.  I have a friend, she came over for dinner the other night in fact.  She has 6 children, just like I do.  But she is not real big on schedules.  She knows what she would like to get accomplished, but for the most part, she follows her children in what they want to learn…and the entire family just digs in and has at it!  And it works for her….wonderfully!!!!!  Her children are happy, they have a love for learning, and they ARE learning!  Tremendously!

My family can not do this (and my friend and I actually had a conversation about this).  I’ve tried the no scheduling thing….I clean and the kids play legos!  That doesn’t work for me.  So I schedule.  I OVERschedule.  I’m trying to do better on this, by the way.  Leaving more room for relaxation and play.  In fact, this year I bought several games for school – just don’t tell the kids they are learning games, OK?????

You have several options for scheduling (which I believe I’ve mentioned).  You can school year round.  You can school only when the public schools are in session.  You can do a Sabbath schedule.  I even ran across someone who does a monthly schedule (they school for four weeks and break for one)!

Papi and I have come to the conclusion that we prefer the Sabbath Schedule.  We school for 6 weeks, then take a week off.  We do that six times, with several weeks off during Christmas (this year we are actually taking off the entire month of December). This actually gives us a 7 week Summer Jubilee!!!!

Once you’ve figured out about what your schedule is going to look like, you can actually plan it out.  I have done the planning for the entire year before….but it really doesn’t work for me.  I get very stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan….especially if someone is running behind on something.  So this year I have a NEW PLAN.  You ready?  It’s pretty revolutionary (tongue in cheek).  I’m going to only plan for each Unit.  In other words, in the week I have off….I’ll plan in general for what we will do the next 6 weeks – and do more intense planning the Friday before we actually do that week.  Did I confuse you?  Ok – let me break it down. 😉

I have a planner.  I know what I want to get accomplished for the 6 weeks.  I want to go through the entire Wisdom Booklet and the kids to get through the Language Arts that goes with the Wisdom Booklet.  AND I want them to work in Math, Keyboarding (for the girls), and Science (for the girls).  So this will be what my scheduling looks like.  During Sabbath week I will read thru the Wisdom Booklet and plan what week we are doing certain things.

So I will have a title each week for Scripture/Music, Resources (that’s what we are working on in the WB), Projects, Additional Studies (Language Arts, Math, Keyboarding, and Science) and Other (this is for Service Projects, play dates, other stuff that is going to be done that week).

I will read thru my Wisdom Booklet, making special notes of supplies I might need to purchase for each week, Picking Memory Verses we will be working on, researching books to pick up at the library and finding fun hands-on projects to drive the points home.  I will write it all down in pencil in my planning book in my “Notes” section.  I will check where everyone is in Math, Keyboarding, and Science and decide where I would like them to be by the end of the unit.  If they need something particular for a science project, then I will put that down in my “to buy” section as well.  Believe it or not, even with 6 kids…this usually only takes me a couple of hours.  I easily get this done during the first two days of our Sabbath break.  If I need something I know that I can’t get at the local market, i’ll order it (if budget allows) right away.

So within a couple of hours, I have a more specific idea of what is going to happen in the next 6 weeks.  Then each week (Friday or Saturday), Papi and I take about 1/2 hour together and really go thru what we will be doing the next week.  We scan through everything, we even plan our family devotions out for the week so that they reflect our focus for the week.  We break down what we will be doing each day, including family projects, individual projects, and final quizzes.  After that, I take about 1/2 hour to get any extra stuff set up that I need to….items for crafts, maybe a poster board with our Character Focus and goal or if we will have an extra focus.  Then I’ll go through their Math, Keyboarding, and Science, and write what I would like them to accomplish for the entire week.  And finally, I write down the plan for each day in Language Arts.  This will take me about 1 to 2 hours.  Sometimes I break it into 2 days, just for my sanity. 🙂

Now I want to warn you.  And this is something that I really need you to hear.  So If I’ve said it before, it bears repeating.  Homeschool is NOT Public School at home.  Let me say it again….Homeschool is NOT Public School at home!  Please, as you are making your day-to-day schedule, don’t make your kids work for 8+ hours.  They don’t need to do so!  Public school is 8 hours because they have 28 kids in a class. Several years ago I read several books by Charlotte Mason and I truly LOVE the way she does school.  NO CLASS should be longer than 15 minutes.  Except math, and that should only be 30 minutes.

I don’t have the minute to minute schedule made out for next school year, yet, because things have changed A LOT in the last couple of months.  But I do have an idea of what a day MIGHT look like, so I’ll give you a little glimpse in the mind of this crazy Homeschool Mama.

We will start school at 10 am.  We will work in our Wisdom Booklet (together) for about an hour.  But….WAIT….you just said no more than 15 minutes.  You are right.  I did.  We will work on music for about 10 minutes.  Then we will be taking turns reading in whatever resource.  Some weeks that will be in Greek, or really working on tearing apart our scripture.  It could be that we’ll be working in History or Geography or Anatomy.  It really depends on that Wisdom Booklet. We read together, someone reading, taking turns.  So the older kids are reading to the younger, and the younger are working on their reading skills.  I will also be asking questions.  And we will get up for a cleaning stretch midway…so we won’t be sitting for long!  At 11 am, I will assign everyone their projects for the week on Monday and they will all scatter into different rooms to work on them. They will work for about an hour, I’ll be making lunch and answering questions all the while.  They get 45 minutes for lunch, then we do a 15 minute pick up and we’re at it again.  I’m not really sure how it will go from 1 – 2 but I know that each kid will have math for 30 minutes every day.  Some days kids will be working in Keyboarding or Science for 15 minutes.  And everyone will have to work in Language Arts for at least 15 minutes per day.  I have to work out how I’m going to do it, and it really depends on how their Language Arts Levels work out.  I already know that Smarty Pants and Eyes are in the same level, I haven’t tested the other four yet…that’s on my “to do” list.

Then that’s it!  Anything they need to work on after that is their choice (teaching responsibility and diligence is really important).  I want my kids to be independent learners.  It’s important to me that they work independently successfully.  I know for sure all of the kids will want to go out and play for a little bit, until it starts to rain at least.  Then everyone will come in and continue to work on anything they need to finish….”Homework” if you will.  A lot of times the older girls will take their work into the front yard and do their workbooks or projects outside while waiting for the neighborhood kids to get home from school.  Then they put them in my trunk while they talk to their friends.  I know this because after their friends have had a snack and a drink, played some basketball or soccer, talked a little,  and gone home, the girls forget their books in the trunk and can’t find them the next day!!!!!

I always keep in mind that the goals I have for them are just that…goals.  And not every goal is reached.  That’s important.  As long as the kids are working hard and practicing diligence, I’m ok if we don’t necessarily reach our goals.

I hope this helps a little.  If you are having trouble scheduling, please contact me….I am seriously the scheduling Queen and can help you get it set up.  In fact I have ANOTHER friend (wow – 2 – it’s some kind of record!) that I am actually going to help her plan out her “minute by minute” schedule and how to implement it.  She’s been homeschooling for awhile and is sick to death of fighting with her son and math for 4 hours a day!  (No one is winning and I feel her pain). I’ll be happy to help you as well!

 

Homeschooling 101: Setting a Schedule Part 1

You have prayed with your hubby night after night.  You’ve researched the laws in your state, you’ve set your goal, and you’ve picked a curriculum.  Now comes the fun part (for someone who is OCD).  Now you set your schedule.  It’s summer – now is the perfect time!!!!  There are plenty of blog posts on how to schedule.  Some will tell you to go away for a weekend and plan with your husband.  Yeah right. I mean, that is wonderful!!!!!  But what about us people with 6 kids and no one who can watch them all weekend????

Here is the BLOG for you!!!!!!  I try to take a little bit at a time.  My first priority is to set my goals for the year.  What do I want to accomplish with the kids?  What does hubby want the kids to learn?  And something many people forget, what do the kids want to accomplish????  If you have older ones especially, this is important!!!!  It’s time for us to do this again this year, now that we are in summer.  So my first thing to do will be to think what I want to get done.

This year, my goal for all of the kids is to finish the first 5 Wisdom Booklets. We’re mostly through the first one. I also want each of the kids to finish the Music class (we may be getting singing lessons, we’re praying about it).  I want all of the kids to finish at least one math textbook in Math U See, and I’d like it if Dimples and Kissy finish 2 each (they are behind). I want the boys to each accomplish something in MineCraft home school to increase their computer skills.  I want everyone’s penmanship to improve (except Kissy’s, hers is fine) and I want Kissy, BAM!, and Barbie to complete a typewriting class.  If you read my post on Curriculum Overload , you will see that my idea of what school was going to be has drastically changed.

We will probably add in Geography, Science,  Drive Thru History, and Home Ec but they are not my goals.

My next step will be to talk to Papi.  What does he want me to accomplish?  His goals are to increase their character collectively.  He wants Kissy and Dimples to be reading better and do better in math.  His biggest mission is their character qualities.  He wants them to have better character, because anyone can be in business, but to succeed you must be someone who is trustworthy, loyal, attentive, diligent.

Talking to the kids, they have their own ideas – but unless you really sit with them, they’ll probably just “I don’t know” you.  So sometime in the next week, I will be sitting down with each one of them individually and finding out what their goals are.

Once I have all of the goals written down, I start with the ones are most important to all of us.  And I know that I have those goals for the end of the year.  I cut them in doable pieces.  For instance, I want 5 Wisdom Booklets done between now and this time next year.  Papi and I have discussed it and realized that it will take us 6 weeks to complete each Wisdom Booklet (instead of the 4 it takes everyone else).  That’s perfect, because we love a Shabbat Schedule!  So I know that we’ll be finishing this one in the next month.  We have 2 weeks where BAM! and Barbie will be on a Mission Trip, so the others and I will finish up.  Then we will take July and a good portion of August off completely (our true summer hopefully).  In August we will start our first 6 weeks with book 2.  Then take a week off.  We will start Book 3 in October and finish after 6 weeks. Then we will take our Shabbat Week during Thanksgiving.  We will spend all of December working on things we are behind in, and doing arts and crafts projects for Christmas, and entertaining – which means a LOT of Home Ec!!!!  We will start Book 4 in January and go 6 weeks, finishing in February.  Book 5 will be started at the end of February, ending in April.

If everything goes well, I will attempt to start WB 6 in April, ending right before vacation in May.

So you see, I have nebulous goals for the year – but nothing is written in stone.  I know that things happen.  Kids get sick….Mommy’s get sick.  Daddy’s have other plans.  Things HAPPEN!!!  So I have a starting plan…but nothing more than that.

Next I’ll tell you how I look at things in 6 week increments! (There is a reason I use a Shabbat Schedule!!!)

 

Homeschool 101: Picking a Curriculum

We’ve learned already that we need to know what our Goal is for Homeschooling.

We’ve learned that we need to know what the Law is in our state for Homeschooling.

You’ve prayed alone.  You’ve prayed with your husband.  And you have decided to take the plunge.  But where do you go from here?  With all of the curriculum and styles out there, now what?  You’ve read all of the blogs, you’ve gotten catalogs, you’ve talked to friends and your head is spinning.  There are just way too many choices out there!

I can tell you from experience that it can be a dizzying prospect to try and figure out what curriculum to choose.  I’ve gone through several.

First things first when choosing a curriculum.  Know what your child(ren)s learning style is.  There are a couple of ways to figure that out:

You can go purchase Cathy Duffy’s  Top 100 Homeschool Pics, you can spend up to $30 on this.  She tears apart your child’s learning style and gives you her top picks for that style.

Or you can find a test online that will tell you pretty quickly what his style is, most of them are free.  This will tell you only what the style is, and then you narrow your curriculum from there.

Or you can simply observe your child.  Do they like to tear things apart and put them together? Do they like to read?  Do they prefer to watch television?  (this is all when they want to know something, not when they are watching cartoons. 😉 ) Do they learn better by singing or chanting?

There are three main learning styles, and God has blessed me with children that have all three.  Smarty Pants is a read/write learner (visual).  He learns things by reading and writing about them, or watching something on tv.  Eyes, Dimples, and Kissy are kinesthetic learners.  They learn by movement or tearing something apart and putting it back together.  Barbie and BAM! are auditory learners, the best way for them to learn is to listen to it, preferably in a song or a chant.

Once you figure out what your child’s learning style is, then you can pick your curriculum.  Here are some of the ones I’ve used, and what kind of learner they are best for (in my humble opinion)

ABeka – this is more of a traditional school setting, better suited for a read/write or auditory learner.  Lots of worksheets at their desks. Lots of out loud repetition.

Switched on Schoolhouse – this is a computer program, so definitely better for a read/write or visual learner.

Ambleside Online – this is a curriculum (kind of).  It is a private school that has put their lesson plans online, based on the Charlotte Mason style.  Lots of reading, but also lots of hands on things.  Good for a read/write or a kinesthetic with excellent reading skills.

Aleks – this is a completely online curriculum that I used for math.  Good for those who truly excel at math.

Math U See – a math curriculum that hits all three styles of learning, watch a video (visual and auditory), work the blocks (kinesthetic) and then do the worksheet (visual).

Konos and HOW – Unit study, hits all three styles with reading, songs, and crafts.

Easy Peasy – this is a lesson plan that a woman in Pennsylvania created to homeschool her children for free.  It is entirely on the internet with links.  Great for visual and auditory learners.

Khan Academy – we used this mainly for math.  Completely on the computer.  Good for visual and auditory learners.

Wisdom Booklets – unit study, lots of reading, with suggestions for assignments with all three styles represented.

Florida Virtual School – public school online, works best for independent visual learners.

As you can see, in my 11 years of homeschooling, I’ve switched curriculum a lot!  Which makes Papi crazy by the way.  But be willing to switch if something is not working.  Don’t get locked into a curriculum.  Just because you think it’s going to work, doesn’t mean it will.  As our family has changed and grown, we’ve needed to switch curriculum just so that everyone can learn.

Also, just because a curriculum works for your best friend, does not mean it will work for you.  Your family is different.  Your style is different.  Your kids are different.  Yes.  It is very nice to be able to study the same thing with your friends, but it’s not really necessary. (we will deal with socialization later)

As you look for your curriculum (and yes, it is the time of year where we are all looking for next year), try to keep these things in mind.  Be confident.  And know that you can always change plans.  Just like your child will not go to college in Pull Ups, He will not walk down the aisle not being able to read his wedding vows….I promise. 😉

 

 

When a play date turns into a Lesson Plan

Yes. Seriously.

Our co-op met today, but not for any learning, just for some casual fun. Letting all of the boys play survivor and legos, the little girls playing dolls, and the bigger girls just hanging out.

Oh – and the moms just talking about everything and nothing. (Cause we all need some mom time.)

And then one of the boys “C” walks by Barbie. She sees his shirt and it begins. Seriously something hilariously fun that had us laughing for about half an hour. He was wearing one of the many “Zombie Survival” t-shirts out there. Barbie loves campy horror books and tv shows. She was entranced by the “real” Zombie in Miami a while back. So she stops “C” and says, “I love your shirt!” Barbie talks about a picture she saw that had a house surrounded by treadmills to protect it from the zombie apocalypse.  We start laughing and joking about how funny that would be (yes, gruesome I know).  And different things we could do to protect ourselves from the zombie apocalypse.  Then Barbie mentioned about how it would be so fun if school was about zombies.

You now have the perfect storm.

The moms: LB – a science fiction afficianado, LF – an eclectic quiet mom with a hubby who is a slasher film fan, and me – an extremely eclectic mom with a dark bent.

The kids: Barbie (15), BAM! (13), Kissy (12), Dimples (9), Eyes (8), Smarty Pants (7)

The boys:  B , S , C  – they are all around our boys ages – so from 7 – 10 let’s say.

The little girls: C and B – they are toddlers and are distracting and make us laugh at the same time.

The minute Barbie said learning about zombies would be fun, the moms were on fire.  Suggesting different things we could teach while focusing on the Zombie Apocalypse.  After all, the CDC has a website about how to survive one.  There are bible stories about people risen from the dead (Bible class).  There are animals nicknamed zombie ants, and fish, and so much other things (science).  We could learn about how to fight off the zombies (think medieval weaponry – history and if you add in trajectories: physics and trigonometry!!!), how to hide from zombies (camouflage-art?), the zombie legends (literature).  We could even have a zombie obstacle course (PE) to help us train to get away from them! Then LF says that her hubby was watching something about people mixing Cocaine and Ketamine in Puerto Rico and how it makes them act like zombies.  And I start talking about the little piece of the fish used in voodoo.  Yep.  The birth of a co-op class for next year has begun.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, cause it’s fun and silly and homeschool related.  Making learning interesting is part of being a homeschool mom.  We are always on the lookout to teach our kids in new ways.  Our job is to excite them about learning!  Not to teach to the test.  I also wanted to tell you so that you will hold me accountable!!!!  I get lots of great ideas, but unless I have someone staying on me about them, they fall to the wayside.

I will be posting some things about the zombie apocalypse, but you might see it on your local shelves as a unit study! 😉

Wish us luck!  And go find something fun and silly to teach your kids.  It’s worth it.  I promise.

courtesy movtivatedphotos.com
courtesy movtivatedphotos.com

 

 

Homeschooling 101: Know Your Laws

Welcome to another Homeschool 101 post!

The second thing you really need to do is to figure out what the laws of your state are.  This is so important!    I can not believe how many people I meet in our state that have no clue what the laws are, and yet are homeschooling.

I can not suggest enough that you go to and join Home School Legal Defense Association.  They will be your advocates when you run up against school board members, Department of Children and Families, or Law Enforcement that have no clue what the law is in regards to home school.

Home School laws for independent homeschoolers in the state of Florida are as follows:

  1. ages 6 to 16 years must be schooled
  2. school is for 165 days per year (those days do not have to be consecutive, just in the year – NO amount of HOURS are specified)
  3. parent must notify school board of intent to homeschool within 30 days of establishing the homeschool (you only have to do this the first year)
  4. parent must have a portfolio of samples of work completed, along with a list of books used for 2 years.  The portfolio must be provided if requested by the Superintendent of Schools only, and you have 15 days to do so.  The school board is not allowed in your home.  DCF is not allowed to ask for your records!!!!
  5. There are several testing or evaluation options as an independent homeschooler.  You may have a Florida certified teacher evaluate your student and send in the evaluation.You may have a national achievement test proctored by a certified teacher. You may take the FCAT at the school. You may have your student be evaluated by a Florida licensed Psychologist.

 

See, Florida is a very easy state to homeschool in….but unfortunately, it seems no one knows the law!!!  Even the school board.  For instance, our county requires your notification of intent to be notarized by THEIR notary.  lol.  They aren’t really allowed to require that.  But they do.  I think it’s a way to make it just that much harder.  You actually have to go to the school board and they make you fill out a ton of paperwork.  Again, not really allowed, but they do.  We comply because we participate in sports, and want our kids to get a fair shake during try outs.  It is what it is.

Stop by soon for another in the series!!!! 🙂

 

Science: Germs

This week, we’ve been studying Germs!

We started on Monday by watching Magic School Bus Season 1, Episode 3: Inside Ralphie’s Body.  We watched it on Netflix, but you can watch it here.  If you are anti – vaccine, you may want to cut it off and not show the talk after.  It is very pro-shots!

On Tuesday, we surfed the internet (and pinterest) for things about Germs, Viruses, and Bacteria.    The first website we hit was Russell Kightly .  This site has some wonderful images of viruses.

Then we surfed on over to youtube and watched a few videos, the first one was The Cosby Show Season 1 Episode 13 “Rudy’s Germs”.  The kids LOVE the Cosby show…so this made Science totally fun.  And for the rest of the day, the would look down into their shirt and say, “No More Partying in There.” (even Barbie)  The second video we watched was by make me genius called “Germ Movie for Kids“.  The kids don’t like make me genius, but I love it.  Again, if you are anti vaccine, you may want to just skip the end where it talks about preventing the spread of germs.

On Wednesday we didn’t do science because Barbie had cheer tryouts. 😦

On Thursday God took over the lesson.  Eyes began vomiting, so school was cancelled for the day.  It provided a great opportunity for us to talk about what was going on inside his body, were the antibodies fighting?  He had no fever, so they were curious.

Friday, Eyes was still vomiting – so no school again.  But that is ok.  We learned a lot in the two days we learned about germs, and I’m sure we’ll cover it again!

 

 

Homeschooling 101: Identify your goal

I have been homeschooling a very long time. I am literally just finishing my 11th year as a homeschooling momma. And I get asked, all of the time, how to begin.  So this series of posts “Homeschooling 101” will be about common questions, where to start, how to start, and just to get you going.

And here is where I admit the horrible truth….when we first began homeschooling Barbie back in Kindergarten, we didn’t have a goal.  We just didn’t want her to go to the local public school.  The school was “A” rated, so it wasn’t the academics we were concerned about.  We lived 1/2 a block, literally, from the school.  I can not tell you how many days I had to go out after school and break up fights on my lawn.  Tiny little people regularly passed by while we were outside and were holding forth in the most vile language imaginable.  Every day we had to go out before I began cooking dinner, and pick up all of the trash from the school children left all over my yard.  And this was not just me….most of the neighbors were doing the same.  And then the straw that broke the camels back, the Kindy health book “Me and My Two Dads”.

****Before anyone has a total melt down, let me say that though I believe homosexuality is a sin, that wasn’t what was the problem here.  The problem was that NO sexuality, in my opinion, should be taught by the school system to any child…especially if they are under the age of say 13.  I believe sex, acceptance, love should be taught by parents.  Something I was and am completely prepared to do.****

After looking at our pitiful budget, we knew we couldn’t afford private school for kindergarten.  Nana had sweetly paid for 4k, but none of us could afford the rate for kindergarten.  So after praying, and me pleading with Papi, we took the plunge.

**Let me stop here by saying that Papi was totally against homeschooling at first.  He truly believed that the only kids who were homeschooled were kids who were so disabled that they couldn’t ride the “short bus”.  So, it was with a caveat that I was given the green light to homeschool.  The caveat was that I had to use kindergarten to prove that I could teach Barbie and handle toddler BAM!  If I couldn’t, if he didn’t see progress, then she would go to public school starting in First Grade.**

We didn’t have a clue where to start, but I looked at Abeka (the curriculum used in the private school) and saw that they sold to homeschoolers.  Man, that first year….I spent over $800 buying all of the kits and all of the bells and whistles suggested by Abeka.  We had a small chalkboard, we set up a school room in the Florida Room of the house, and I was going to succeed!

Fast forward 10 years.  We’re still homeschooling.  Only now it’s 6 kids, not 2.  We’ve changed curriculum several times, and that is completely ok.  We’ve been lone wolf homeschoolers and umbrella school homeschoolers.  We’ve done everything right…taken advantage of all of the socialization opportunities, educational opportunities, artistic opportunities we could.  And then I get a planner for the next year.  On one of the first pages it asks, what is the goal for this year, and what is the goal of your homeschool?

Um, WHAT?????  I was supposed to have a goal????  And so it happened.  Papi and I sat down and really talked about what our goal was for our homeschool, and for our children.  We both agree we want our children to have the best education possible.  We also both agree that it’s extremely possible that not all of our kids will go to college.  Some of them may go to tech school, some may not go to any school after high school.  And we are ok with that, kind of.  But what we really want for our kids is not an education.  Yes, of course we want them to be successful in whatever they choose to do.  Yes, of course we want them all to go to college.  But we want them to be happy.  Truly happy.  And in our eyes, that requires not a college education or a successful career, it requires them to have an active, loving relationship with our Lord and Savior.

This was a game changer.  All of my thoughts and feelings about schooling the kids did an abrupt and extreme change.  I began to evaluate what we did during the school day, and what we didn’t do.  I realized that though we always had Bible class, it was just another class….like math or science.  And I realized that though we always used “Christian Curriculum”, the focus was never God and a relationship with Him.  The focus was education, God was almost an after thought.

So I prayed, and thought, and researched, and prayed some more.  God blessed me with 6 children, and 5 different learning styles.  (next post in this series is about those) I needed a curriculum where everyone would learn, it was completely focused on God, and affordable for our family.  After a ton of praying and research I think I found one, and we’ve started it slowly already.  But that is not the point of THIS article.

The simple point of ALL of the almost 900 words above is not which curriculum to use.  It’s that the first step in your homeschool journey should be to figure out what you (and your hubby’s) goal is for your children and their schooling experience.   Your goal may not be our goal.  That’s totally ok.  It’s your family, your journey, your school.

If you have already started homeschooling and haven’t set a goal, don’t panic!  Sit down – today if possible – with Hubby and start talking and praying.  What is your primary goal for your children?  For your school?  If you have a primary goal, all the other stuff….curriculum, scheduling, activities…it all falls into place a lot easier.

 

Grab on tight, take a seat, and let’s set sail!!!!

set sail

Science: Melting Ice Experiment

I was in a random mood in the beginning of March, so thanks to pinterest, I was inspired to do a random Science Experiment.

We decided to see what household substance would melt ice the fastest.

Our first step was to fill 5 cups (left over from Barbie’s Quinceanera) a quarter of the way with water.

023 024 025Eyes decided he had to make sure they were all even. 😉

 

 

Then we put them all in the freezer and let them sit over the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

026

Our ingredients to check the rate of melting were: hot water, apple cider vinegar, salt, baking soda, and sugar.  Our Experiment was to see which ingredient when applied to the ice would melt the ice fastest.

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The most dramatic visually was the apple cider vinegar, so I decided to post those pictures.163 168This is after just a few minutes.

172The end result was that the salt actually melted the ice the fastest, faster even then the hot water.  When the experiment was done, they poured all of the ingredients out of the cups and into the pan ….just to see it foam.

It was a fun experiment – and a good way for them to practice their “Scientific Method”.  So I judge it an unqualified success. 🙂