Homeschool Blogs

I have noticed that there are not many homeschool blogs dedicated to talking about routines and learning strategies for older kids.

Our family started homeschooling when the twins were transitioning from public school out of third grade and our oldest out of sixth. There was a ton of information for pre-schoolers and kids under the fourth-grade level. I get it, most people begin homeschooling when their children are very young and make that decision early on and have a routine established. However, there are a few of us who get into the game late.

Homeschool has always been on my radar but I also felt the kids needed to get out there in the world and learn from other people. It turns out that while public school certainly did accomplish them being exposed to learning from other people it didn’t give them the quality I was looking for.

My kids love homeschool and at times they can be lazy and I have to get after them to do their work but that’s not uncommon in any setting.

I am hoping to add more blog posts around what a homeschool day is like for older kids. It’s not all cuddling on the couch with a book as you would with a four-year-old. It’s about keeping them engaged and excited to learn. Making sure they put their full effort into learning the material and to stay motivated.

My hope is that for any parents who are making that transition from public school to homeschooling older kids is that they know that it’s not going to be easy in the beginning and there will be struggles. But with the bad comes the good. Being present with your pre-teen or teenager will help forge new bonds and as a family, you will be surprised to see how much you can really learn from them as they become more comfortable sharing their hopes and dreams with you.

As you help them define their interests, you are setting them up on a path that could lead to a career that they will love and put their heart into.

Bri has decided she wanted to share her routine for the blog coming soon. So, look for that!

 

 

 

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Year Three Begins

The Summer was full of fun and a lot of relaxation.

Recently, our daily home routine underwent a bit of change when I returned to work. It was a necessary move for the good of the family and thankfully it has been working out. My Husband has been able to be home with the kids until I get home from work before leaving for his shift.  That means he is the main one making sure they do all of their work!

All of this has created a different tone in the house and it is a process that has taken some time to get used to.  I am still the main one prepping all of the assignments and grading but my husband is ensuring the kids get the work done. A bit of teamwork going on more than before when I was solely handling the homeschooling.

A few updates as to what is going on with the kids and their progress:

Bri is now learning at a ninth-grade level and she is super excited about all of the new things she is learning. She even got her own Notebook to complete her work on. It is just a starter device to see how responsible she will be with it. I have to admit that the high school work is fun and even I have learned some new things.  We both particularity enjoy the Oceanography class. Currently I am having to refresh my brain concerning Algebra, a subject I never thought I would encounter again. Yet, here I am trying to teach it to my child so she gains a good grasp on it in a way that I never did.

Mav has really improved this year with his writing. I have struggled a lot with getting him to write in complete sentences and fully forming his thoughts on paper. This year seems to be different in that he is taking more pride in his work. Although the length of the subject I have him writing about needs some work, he is putting forth the effort and that is what makes me proud. So far he does not have a favorite subject but he seems to be enjoying to classes more this year.

Audy is taking this year more seriously than she did last. Her alarm is always set to wake up on time and she is chipper and excited to get the work done. She has greatly improved her penmanship. It used to be like pulling teeth to get her to write anything. Thankfully this struggle is over and she is also very proud of her work. She is most interested in Science is always looking for extra work to do outside of what is assigned to her.

When I began homeschooling I had this nagging doubt in my head that I was not doing a good job. This is our third year and the first year where I feel completely confident in the direction we are going.  I feel like homeschooling is one of the best choices I could have ever made. It really gives me a sense of satisfaction that I can allow my kids to explore their interests but I can make sure they get the quality education that I felt I never really had.

Cheers to the beginning of a new school year that is already off to a great start!

Staying Busy Over Summer Break

The kids have been enjoying their summer break and honestly so am I. This school year had some bumps in the road but we were able to pull through. We appreciate this break!

Since the beginning of the summer break, we pretty much let loose and did not keep a schedule or work on any busy work.

However, after a few weeks, it seemed as if we were losing our minds a bit. Aside from visiting the beach and family time, it was boring around the house.

The kids and I sat down to create a loose schedule of how each day would work. It has been a welcomed change. The schedule allows for sleeping in, tidying the house, light school work and most importantly free time!

Here is the very loose Summer schedule the kids follow:

  • 9:30 am: Morning routine begins
  • 10:00 am: Breakfast
  • 10:30 am: Reading and then writing a small summary of what was learned
  • 11:00 am: P.E. using available equipment or Youtube videos
  • 12:00 pm: Lunchtime
  • 1:00 pm: Math Worksheets or videos
  • 2:00 pm: Free time

What are some ways you keep your kids busy during summer?

 

Fall Scavenger Hunt

The kids and I finally got around to doing that scavenger hunt we planned for back in October.

 

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I can never get a serious picture with these three 🙂

 

In many places, the weather is still warm, so there is still time to go out and play this activity. You can find the scavenger list we created here at our printable shop on Etsy to download. Thank you 😉

Down here in Southeast Texas it does not get cold very often and when the temperature does drop, it only lasts for a short time. So, that leaves us with very nice “winter” weather. Any time it is not hot and muggy is a win for everyone!

Our list was simple! By keeping it easy, the kids did not get bored. While they found some things quickly, others required they look past the obvious to find. We went to a nice little park near our house so we could find a variety of things.

Here is our list:

  1. A bug
  2. Something Colorful
  3. One piece of litter
  4. A smooth rock
  5. Something Fuzzy
  6. A chewed leaf
  7. Something beautiful
  8. Two different leaves
  9. A flower
  10. Something rough
  11. A stick

 

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1. A bug – A ladybug chilling on a table. 

 

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2. Something Colorful – This confetti on the ground.

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3. One piece of litter – This looked a bit too nasty to pick up and throw away.

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4. A smooth rock – A group of smooth rocks.

 

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5. Something fuzzy – These oak galls. 

 

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6. A chewed leaf – These leaves look like they were gnawed on.

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7. Something beautiful – The kids thought the reflection of the sun on the water was beautiful.

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8. Two different leaves – We counted the blade of grass as a leaf.

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9. A flower – One the few flowers that were still thriving.

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10. Something rough – The fence was pretty rough.

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11. A stick – He found the biggest one he could.

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Bri checking out something she found the base of this tree.

It was a bit chilly outside and the kids were eager to get back into the car. Once we made it home we sipped on hot chocolate and talked about all the cool things we saw.


 

What are some fall/winter outdoor activities you like to do with your family where you live?

 

 

 

 

Pizza Muffins

What a great recipe to get the kids involved with!

In Dianes Kitchen

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These Pizza Muffins make a great grab and go snack or a meal! I made these as a meal with the Grandkids but my husband is the one that loved them the most! I made these with pizza dough, a lot of pepperoni, cheese and a little sauce. I left the rest of the sauce to dip the muffins in after they were baked. YUM!

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Ingredients – (I ended up not using the butter)

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Cut the pizza dough in half making two equal pieces.

Unroll each piece.

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Sprinkle the chopped up Pepperoni evenly on both pieces of

dough keeping it away from the edges.

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Sprinkle cheese on top of pepperoni.

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Use a spoon and put a thin line of sauce over the cheese.

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Roll up both pieces of the dough starting at the

short end and going to the other short end.

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Using your hand gently squeeze and make the

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Having It All Together

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As a new homeschool mom, I am constantly bombarded with questions about how the kids are getting a proper education. In the past, I would immediately put my guard up because it felt like an attack on my personal ability to be able to fully educate my children. Then I learned that education can mean different things to different people.

To some, it’s important for children to be in a classroom all day learning with a teacher and dealing with their peers. And I totally get why this is “normal” to them. It’s a safe way to make sure your kids are getting their education and they don’t somehow fall through the cracks of society. Afterall, most parents have demanding work schedules and who has time to even help with homework after a long day? I know that struggle we lived it for years. That’s when we finally decided enough was enough with the rat race.

In my opinion, the benefits of homeschooling are just enormous. The kids are free to pursue what their interests are and have time to develop them. Core subjects can be discussed at length and broken down to suit the needs of each child. The field trips can be designed around which subject we’re studying, which causes the subject to become real. Here is an example of our Sea Turtle field trip. This trip made a lasting impression on the kids and they became more sympathetic to not just the delicate balance of marine life but of animals all over the world.

I used to dislike homeschooling families. I thought they looked down on us parents who put our kids in public school. They seemed to have a perfect little life spending time with their kids and creating memories, while I was stuck in an office all day wishing I could be at home. But once we became a homeschooling family I learned that it’s a not a perfect life. It’s a real struggle every day to provide all three meals, keep on task with school work, making sure the kids help with housework, keep them socialized and on and on. It can be tough but the benefits outweigh the negatives by far.

We have become closer as a family. I have learned so many things about my children that I probably would not have discovered if we held to our old way of life just to have that extra income. I know Audy is really into science and engineering. Bri loves art and wants to make video games. Mavi wants to work with animals. These are things we never talked about before because we were too busy. If you’re thinking of homeschooling don’t let self-doubt creep in. Talk to your kids about it and see where they stand. It took us a full year to decide if we were ready.

There is no such thing as having it all together. We take each day one at a time. Each moment as it comes. Why not the next time you encounter a homeschooling family ask questions of course, but also give the kids some words of encouragement?

Because honestly the best thing any of us can do in our lives is just hold it together.

What about you? Have you had to defend your decision to homeschool?

Being Present Doesn’t Mean You’re There

My children have been asking me to spend more time with them more recently. I thought this was an odd request due to the fact that we are always around each other. Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Our kids will not be so little forever and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Children are only young once and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

I told my husband that the kids mentioned they wanted more time with me. He suggested that perhaps I was not as present as I thought I was. Turns out he was right.

The kids and I held a meeting the next day in order to determine what the real problem was. Their number one complaint, drum roll please, was me spending too much time on my phone. The second was not really listening when we are having a conversation.

OK, what parent is not guilty of one of these or both? Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or

Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or a type of escape from the mundane things around the house. However, I never have it out during school hours. The time we spend learning is very important and the kids and I both respect that boundary.

It is the rest of the day where we all seem to go our separate ways, right through dinner and until bedtime.  I do in fact get my “me” time by carving it out. The early morning hours is my time to focus on myself. This includes workout, meditation and Bible reading. I am by no means a morning person but I found this was the best time to focus on me.

So after our meeting, we decided to put a few things into practice:

  • Absolutely no electronics at meal times.
  • If someone is speaking, put down the phone and be engaged and give a thoughtful answer.
  • Understand that at times we may not be heard and that is OK.

Kids need to know the world does not revolve around them. So, naturally, there will be boundaries in place that are aimed to help them understand that nagging is not tolerated. If I said no once then don’t ask me another million times in an attempt to try and wear me down.

Also, they understand that not every moment of the day can and will be spent with them. They need to use their imagination to play and create moments for themselves.

I am confident that moving forward that I will be able to be more present and not just merely there.

Have you had to overcome a similar challenge? Sound off in the comments!