It’s ok to keep it simple

I receive and find so many different unit study’s, crafts, lesson ideas and so many other homeschool “to do’s” and most of them are really neat! I find myself getting caught up in them and feeling like what I’ve got planned is inadequate. Truth is each individual homeschool family has different needs, levels and styles of learning. I have to remember that I know my kids and I can look at these hundreds of cool ideas and confidently pick a few out without stressing about what my kids are missing from all the other ideas I’m not going to do. I know this… but forget it sometimes!

Today we are doing our math lesson then we are reading the rest of the day. We went to the library and my kids between them picked 20 books plus it’s cold and rainy!

We’ve been doing Story of the World for history, which they love but as they are pretty young it’s not something I set in stone that we have to do. We maybe do a chapter a week occasionally skipping a week.

We do a lot of History based on current holiday or events. We found a really neat Thanksgiving interactive site here. It was mentioned in this post which had a lot of good Thanksgiving ideas and resources. My 7 year old loved having control of the computer and she was mesmerized for an hour. I liked that it paralleled the two perspectives of the Wampanoag people and the English colonists.

My friend recently told me they watched Pocahontas 2 in relation to their studies and I was so excited as I loved the first one and didn’t know there was a 2nd! I see a movie day in our near future!

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Eclipse Adventure 2017

We made it to SC and back! 5 hours in the car both ways and I didn’t bring their iPads. I also forgot to grab new DVD’s to have in the car so we watched the same 2 short dvd’s over and over and over. And my husband who spent so much time preparing himself for photographing the eclipse and cut up his glasses and fit them in his camera lens forgot his tripod….. But there was a power line where we stopped that he leaned against!

But the trip was great. They enjoyed their Eclipse activity sheets that we will finish up today.

It was definitely an adventure. It felt like we were chasing a space ship or something. The eclipse had already started before we got the the dead center of totality so I was looking through the sunroof at it (with my glasses!) while tracking our coordinates so we knew when the optimum time to stop would be.

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Solar Eclipse Prep 2017!

Sooooo we are loading up in the morning and headed for SC! My husband is a photographer and he is more excited bout this than anything I’ve seen him be excited about in a while. 

I’ve read information stating it’s fine for kids and adults to view the eclipse with the approved glasses to people and optometrists saying its just not worth the risk and to watch it on TV only.

My husband says it’s fine “the sun is out every day”. I did purchase the correct glasses a few weeks ago (I’m shocked at my lack of procrastination here) and tonight I spruced up the kids a little so I could feel more at ease about this whole deal!

Here’s what we did:

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Our school plan this year!

So last year (my first year homeschooling) the first semester I had my oldest who was in 9th grade home with me along with my youngest (one was 1st grade the other was preschool age). It was all I could do to plan his work and familiarize myself with it so I could actually grade and be of help to him with it. I didn’t really do a lot of anything for my 1st grader. We just did videos and activities and worksheets when we could. I knew the basic concepts she needed to know and I made sure to include time working with her on those but we had no official curriculum or plan. Which Is fine!

The next semester I sent my oldest back to public school which was better for all involved and found that I had a lot of extra time. So I planned out each day by subject and wrote down what I wanted to cover for that day and subject. It looked like this:

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Getting my mind right

So I’ve recently read some blog posts by some lovely bloggers I follow and I was inspired.

I have to be careful not to feel inspired too frequently though. Last year homeschooling I found myself at times floundering as even the concept of homeschooling was still so new to me. I would read a blog and suddenly need to change my was of teaching, structuring my day or even thoughts depending on the topic.

This year while I’m still new to homeschooling (Although I really think homeschooling is such a diverse thing that is so ever-changing it’s like a life form in and of itself and therefore everyone is always new to it!) I feel I have a better idea of what I want from it for my kids.

So when I read all these numerous blog posts they don’t each become a pivotal game changer point for me, instead my brain can more often than not filter through what I believe will fit or work for us.

First this video I listened to yesterday talked about honoring your homeschool day. And this really struck home with me. We try to incorporate games and activities into each day especially if it’s a day when we are home all day with no co-ops, field trips or play dates. That was each day has a little adventure to it.

Last year I was very very structured in our homeschool schedule. And I learned that while I’m the parent and am in charge I can’t turn her little attention span and brain on whenever I feel like it.

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Why blog?

I have loved writing and journaling since I knew how to write. I in fact still have most of the journals I’ve written in since about age 9. And I have a box of old birthday cards. I mean why give a card? They cost a pretty penny and for what- to read and enjoy for a few seconds then trash? This frustrated me so I kept them and now have a large box of them in my closet which is equally frustrating.

So blogging in this digital world just makes sense for a person like me. Except it doesn’t. Blogging to me seemed to be done in order for others to see and share. But I journal as an outlet for myself at the time and as reflection later. To me I have nothing much in the way of knowledge or advise to offer to people so I spent years saying I wouldn’t blog.

This is me most days. Glasses and pony tail!

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Pet Store Field Trip

A few months ago we went to the pet store for a field trip. I try to have several easy field trips up my sleeve for a day when we are just needing to get out. I found this free printable packet here and we grabbed our clipboards (love clipboards!) and took off!

They searched the store thoroughly which allowed us to talk about all the different animal’s and their habitats, food and needed care.

Lyra chose a type of parrot that actually was there being ‘babysat’ for it’s owners. It’s called an Eclectus parrot. This guy is a male, the female are usually bright red.

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The family that does together……

Being with my kids 24/7 has really taught me a lot. Our first semester was so crazy for me that I hardly remember it. I was homeschooling a high schooler and was new to homeschooling in general so it was just busy and hard. But then the second semester my oldest (Donte) went to public high school and I just had Lyra (6- 1st grade) and Caelum(4). I was suddenly not busy. I mean they were pretty constant and draining and I’m probably still considered busy to a lot of people but to me I had so much more time!

Getting out side always helps. Meeting with friends, going to the park, the library, local events and volunteering are all great ideas. But you can’t be gone all the time. And being home for extended periods of time consistently with little ones can be trying.

I don’t try to entertain them constantly because I want them to be bored so they can explore their creativity and learn independence… etc…

But I’ve recently made a point to involve them in all of the household chores. Continue reading

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Stopping the addiction before it starts

When summer happens things change- even for homeschoolers. Friends are out and about all day, school work is little to none, vacations happen and for us strep throat also happened. It went from one kid to another then to me. So for 2-3 weeks the household had a sick inhabitant.

All of these factors led to lots of screen time. Before I knew it they were a wreck without their TV or iPad’s (one old iPad and another kids amazon tablet which we love!).

I tried limiting it and making a little poster of what has to be done every day before they could use them. I gave a nice little speech and the poster is really bright…. but it was still a daily frustration. Although the poster helps because I can use direct them to it when they are repeatedly asking me for screen time. I also have a morning routine up to give them some reminders about the morning’s and what needs to be done each morning. This again saves me from a lot of verbal repetition.

I must say that I am all about electronic. There are moments when the TV or their iPads SAVE MY LIFE! And if used right there are so many resources to be found online. It’s also great family time to watch a movie or TV together. But I didn’t like that every day they kept asking “when can we use our iPads or watch TV?” over and over again.

I decided that it being a daily thing was the problem. I’m sure in my common sense section of my brain I already knew this but like I said we had slipped into a free for all schedule as of late.  Continue reading

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Well that didn’t go as planned

Here it is towards the end of my first year homeschooling and I wrote 2 of my planned to be weekly posts!
Much has been learned to say the least. I can say that I feel like I have an idea of what I’m doing!  Continue reading

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