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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Guest Post Coming Soon

I have some exciting news! I will have a guest blog post from a former Homeschooler who credits home education with motivating her to travel around the world.

Emily’s blog can be found here at The Planking Traveler.

Check back next week!

 

Indoor Camping

The kids and I planned an Autumn Fun List back in October. One of the ideas we decided to include was indoor camping. Indoor camping became a tradition of ours about three years ago. It included setting up a tent, making S’mores and binge-watching movies into the wee hours of the morning.

This year we decided to let out friends and family in on our tradition and it was so much fun.

 

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We normally set up the tent for the kids’ to sleep in on the night of the party. Since we had a lot of people over we needed the space so we just used it as a prop.

 

 

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I designed and printed out these arrows on cardstock and taped them to a broomstick because I didn’t have a pole. The broom brush was behind the tent. No one knew hahaha!

 

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Inside of the campfire, there were flameless candles flickering. You can’t see them from the photo but I promise they looked so cool with the light off. 

 

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This little sign was a hit. It definitely made everyone chuckle. The kids chose their favorite bear friends to play the part. 

 

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We used sterno cans to make the S’mores. Be sure to use Ethanol Gel cans because it is food safe. 

 

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The kiddos all enjoying their snack creations!

 

 

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Campfire cookies

 

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The twigs more cool to look at than to eat. None of the kids wanted pretzels and I couldn’t eat them all by myself lol

 

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Needless to say, the Cheeto Puffs were devoured. 

 

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My nephew, who is three, did not want to touch these. He really thought they were bear poop and stayed far away!

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it! A successful Indoor Camping Party!

 

 

 

 

 

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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Eclipse 2017

The kids and I have been eagerly awaiting the eclipse that was to happen here in North America. Today was the day and we were not prepared!

(The featured photo is from NASA. The link is below)

Since we live in Texas, visibility was only at sixty percent so we knew it would not be a huge difference. We did however, notice the sky had changed and it looked a bit like early evening.

Unfortunately, we did not have viewing glasses and I never got around to making the eclipse viewer with the kids. ( Yeah I know :/)

We did go outside and try to look up at the sun but like I said without the glasses to cancel out the surrounding light it was disappointing. It was still nice to go out and experience the light change in the middle of the day. Another thing I noticed it was also not as blazing hot outside for the middle of the day.

Here are our pictures:

 

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This photo was taken at 1:16 p.m. The sun was still pretty bright. 

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A view without a filter. The lighting outside was a bit darker as you can probably tell from the color of the tree.  This photo was taken at 1:25 p.m.

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A friend of mine was able to capture this photo from Houston.  Photo Credit: Olya Valyan

Here is the link to the site for NASA. You can see more photos of the eclipse and get more information.

The next eclipse will be in April 8, 2024 and here in Texas we will have greater visibility.

Were you able to see the eclipse? Share your experience below.

School’s Out For Summer But Not Foreva

School

That’s right! School is out! We get to be lazy and lounge around the house. Who doesn’t like that?!

When we started the school year, as a family we agreed that our homeschool structure would be year round. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In May of this year when we were gearing up for the next round the kids told me they wanted to have the summer off.

We sat down and discussed why they felt having the summer off would be a good idea. I was hesitant to accept this route but decided to listen to their thoughts.

All three kids said they worked so hard during the year they wanted time off to spend with their cousins and friends. They just wanted to relax and celebrate their hard work and the end of our first year of homeschool. It was that simple!

How could I say no to that? The kids expressed their opinion and wanted to modify our previous plan. After all, isn’t this what homeschool is about? Having the freedom to change your schedule and meet your child’s needs? Why are we doing this if we aren’t listening to each other?

So, I expressed my concern to the kids about them possibly being bored and they brought up the point that when they were in public school they had the summer off and things were just fine.

Point taken so we changed to a “traditional” school year and the kids are really happy. We have more freedom to play around or be lazy. Having the summer off will also help with not feeling burned out.

That doesn’t mean the kids don’t have any work to do. They still need to read 15 mins a day and do XtraMath two times a week to keep their skills sharp.

We are a little over half a month into our vacation from school. Not having a scheuled day was really killing me and I decided to do something about it.

Each morning during the school year I write our schedule on the dry erase board. It isn’t rigid but mainly a guideline to make sure our work gets done. This guideline has a two-fold purpose. One is to help the kids to be independent in reading the schedule and get the task down without me asking.The second reason is so the day makes “sense” in my head.

The first couple of weeks we didn’t have this schedule was driving me crazy. This week I made a loose schedule and it has worked so well!

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The “Did you know” fact is changed out twice a week.  This is an example of our summer day.  It changes from day-to-day depending on what activities we have planned.

Initially, I thought having the summer off would be a bad idea but as it turns out I love it and so do the kids.

If you homeschool or send your kids to public school what activities do you have for them to keep busy? Share in the comments!

A Little Motivation Goes A Long Way

We all need a bit of motivation or incentive when it comes to boring or mundane tasks. Let’s face it, no one and I mean no one likes to do chores. As parents we often have to be creative when it comes to getting our kids to do certain tasks they that they do not want to do.

As a homeschooling family, chores an essential part of the day. When the kids were in public school the house was a mess because we never had time to do any cleaning. Coming home was more of a pit stop, with shoes and backpacks tossed everywhere. We all reasoned that since we were so tired we would wait until the weekend to clean up. But when the weekend came we wanted to use our off time for fun not staying home to clean up!

It was difficult to get the kids to see the importance of making sure our home was neat and organized. I mean, we were not living in filth, we were just messy and nothing had a place. I tried everything I could think of to get the kids to complete their tasks with pride and satisfaction but chore time was always met with whining and grumpy faces.

Most people might reason that since the kids live in the house they should just clean it and that’s that! To a degree that is reasonable. But back to the title of this blog, a little motivation and incentive goes a long way.

For the past month the kids and I have developed a little test program. Every day they have a chore chart with chores that I assign to them. At the beginning of the week I fill out a “check” with their name on it. Instead of printing new “checks” each week I reissue the same one to save on paper and ink. They are responsible for keeping up with that check and handing it to me every Friday for successfully completeing their chores. It’s a way to get them to do the chores and allow them to earn money instead of being handed an allowance.  I have two ten-year olds and a twelve-year-old so the idea of a check with their name on it is pretty exciting.

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Check template can be found here. I edited the Bank Name, School Name and Address.

The way the chore chart works is when the chore is complete they mark the time, using an analog clock. I also work with them on the chores to make sure they clean effectively and not just according to what they think is clean. That doesn’t mean I hover over them and pick out everything they missed. Instead I want to show them the proper way and also that I am working alongside with each one of them and not sitting on the couch eating bon bons. But they do the heavy lifting with the chores they are assigned.

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Chore Chart – Magnets can be found at my Etsy Shop (Shameless plug 😉 )

The kid have been super motivated and enjoy their work knowing they get paid at the end of the week for a job well done. I have seen a great improvement in their attitude and thoroughness of completing their job.

 

What have you done to help motivate your kids to do their chores? Share in the comments!