Our June in Review {Homeschool Mother’s Journal}

I can’t believe the month of June is already over and we are already at the end of the first full week in July. Our June was busy and July is going to be just as crazy.

In my life this month…

In June we took an impromptu trip to the Big South Fork and visited the Blue Heron Mine Camp. It was tons of fun.

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We also finished prepping for my eldest daughters trip to Guatemala which is literally days away. I know it’s so close and yet I feel like there is so much to do. Then my youngest daughter will be heading to camp a week after her big sis goes out of the country and so our middle daughter will be home with us. Although I think she is looking forward to some one on one time with mom and dad.

In our homeschool this month…

I’ve been working on the school plan for the fall and the girls have to be registered with our covering by August 1st which means I have to have the basic plan and payment in by then. So I’m trying to get that finished up as well.  As you can see its super busy in my house.

We are planning on starting school August 21st.

Places we are going…

So as I mentioned above our oldest is heading to Guatemala this month, our youngest is heading to camp and we have a family vacation coming soon as well. So I am really looking forward to that. 🙂

What I’m reading…

I just wrote a post about my reading goals this year. So if you would like to see what I am currently reading check it out here.

A little musical inspiration…

In cased you missed it: on the blog…

To see other posts for the Homeschool Mother’s Journal Check it out here.

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5 Sites I Use for Homeschool Planning & Prep

I know its summer break and our public and private school counterparts are starting summer preparations. But for the homeshool mom we start planning for fall. I am in the home stretch with my oldest two daughters. They will be a senior and junior this fall. It is really crazy since I feel like I have blinked and all of a sudden the end of their homeschool career is here. It can be frightening in a way. But I will say its been a fun adventure that I am very grateful for.

Maybe you are new to the homeschool world and you don’t know where to begin? Or you have been homeschooling for a while but you like to find new ways or places to go to help with preparing your fall homeschool year.

5 Sites For Homeschool Prep

 

I’m going to share with you the 5 places I use to prep for my homeschool year.

  1. Pinterest – Yep, I go here because there are so many new and & veteran homeschool mom’s sharing links to homeschool scheduling, planners, and tips and tricks that work for them. It’s a great place to start and if you haven’t gone here yet to research homeschooling and what is out there I highly recommend that you do. You can also find free curriculum, printables and more. Why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to.
  2. Khan Academy – This is a great place to see what free courses you can outsource. For high school aged kids you can find some great extracurricular courses as well. We have used it quite a bit over the years. They offer everything from Math, Science, History courses to Economics, Test Prep, and Computing. As a parent you can set up different accounts for each student and be able to track their progress. So there are some definitel benefits to using this site.
  3. CurrClick – This is a great place to search for publishers that create homeschool curriculum and online classes. Most of the publishers on this site are other homeschool parents who understand the needs of homeschool families. You can search by grade, subject or even publisher. It is a great resource and the prices are affordable. (I am a publisher on this site myself. You can check out my products here.) They are currently having a Summer Sale through the 12th.
  4. Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op – I go here first to compare prices before I purchase anything. This site has co-op prices without having to pay to be part of a co-op. You get the benefits of getting great prices. I will say that they do not always have the same products all the time. But you can always check and see what is available. I’m all about saving money where I can. They have carried products from companies like Bright Ideas Press, Veritas, IEW and more.  Benefits of joining the the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op: Group buys with out having to pay to be part of a group, resources, free trial to Homeschool Planet, Free Homeschool ID cards, Deals of the Week, and Smart Points.
  5. Applecore – If you have never heard of Applecore you really need to check it out. Here is where I input all of my curriculum once I have finished planning as well as attendance and grades throughout the year.  My homeschool covering gives this to me as part of our plan but you can get the Applecore subscription by itself there are 3 different plan prices starting with a Free basic plan.

 

 

Do you have a go to site that you visit to help with your planning? Please share in the comments.

 

*Links posted above are not affiliate links (other than my own product link) and are here for your convenience. I am an affiliate with Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op however, the link above is not an affiliate link. 

The Simple Homeschool Planner

I’ve added a brand new product to my Priceless Knowlege Printables CurrClick store. You should totally head over and check it out.

simple homeschool planner screenshot

If you are looking for a Simple Homeschool Planner without all the extra stuff then this is a great planner for you. It’s 149 pages of weekly planning pages for up to 4 students per two page spread. It has plenty of room for writing in the daily assignments. It also includes calendar pages, goal lists, attendance sheets and report card pages for you to utilize. Included it has blank note pages and all in a really pretty design. It’s set up where you can print the whole thing to go into a binder or have bound however you choose. Or you can always just print the pages you need.

The attendance page is set up where you just check off each day as it comes. The calendar pages are blank so you can print it off year after year. Buy it once and have it to reuse for as long as you need it.

Here is a little sneak peek of the layout:

Weekly section:

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Quarterly section:

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It also includes report cards, blank calendars and note pages:

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Since it is a brand new product & it’s a great time to start planning for the fall it’s on sale for $5.99 through the end of August. Then the price goes up to $9.99.

So take advantage of this deal while you can.

2016/2017 Homeschool Picks

It’s that time of year again. Time where we gather all of our school supplies, books and manuals and plan out and begin another school year.

This year I have 3 absolutely beautiful students. 2016%2F2017

Sierra is beginning her Junior year of Highschool (11th Grade). Oh my where has the time gone? Princess is beginning her Sophmore year (10th Grade) and then we have my baby girl Boo who is starting 6th grade. Time has flown by and I will introduce my students more next week.

I though this week I would share our curriculum choices for this year. So let’s get started.

Sierra:

 

Princess:

Boo:

Well there it is our choices for the year. What are you using this year?

*Links above, except for the PKP links, are not affiliate links. I am the owner of PKP products. Those are the only products that I will make money off of. The rest are there for you to research and/or find out more information about. 

PKP will be a part of the back to school sale on CurrClick starting August 15th. So check out the sale starting then and see how much you can save on my printable products.

 

 

Our Curriculum Choices for 2014/2015

This year has been a hard year for me to plan. Especially since Geek Girl is a freshman in high school. So we had to figure out all her credits and other things that we needed to get in for the year. If we can stick to the plan this year (thank God there is room for adjustment if need be) we will finish by May 29th. Our starting day is August 18th. Geek Girl is actually getting excited about her education this year. I’m so glad since the other two don’t want to start back yet.

Anyway here is our list of curriculum choices for this year.Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Boo (4th grade)

  • History and Language Arts: Mystery of History Volume 1 (as a unit study)
  • Science: Multiple Lapbooks from Hands of a Child; A Journey Through Learning and Homeschool Share
  • Math: Printable Worksheets from various online resources.
  • Bible: Memory verse copy work

 

Princess (8th Grade)

  • History and Language Arts: Mystery of History Volume 1 (as a unit study w/various printable and online resources for supplement)
  • Science: Supercharged Science
  • Math: Saxon Algebra 1/2
  • Bible: Memory Verse copy work

 

GeekGirl (9th Grade)

  • History & Language Arts: Mystery of History Volume 1 (as a unit study)
  • Science: Supercharged Science along with some supplemental Notebook studies on Biology
  • Math: Saxon Math Algebra 1
  • Extracurricular: Art History unit studies and Physical Ed (various online plans and daily exercise plans will incorporate the Wii Fit into this)
  • Work Experience: Nursery work at the church as well as other volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

 

That is what I have planned at the moment and I am still working on all the minor details and planning but that is my overall plan and goal for what we will be using this year in our homeschool.

 

What are your plans?  Leave me a comment below and let me know how your planning is coming along and/or when you will be starting back to school.

*This post does contain affiliate links and if you purchase items through the Supercharged Science and A Journey Through Learning links I will be compensated.

Prayer in Your Homeschool

Prayer in our homeschool? How does that work with our school? I’m sure when you first looked at the title of this post you were thinking these or other questions. You may or may not be thinking “why is prayer in our homeschool important? It doesn’t have anything to do with education.” . Well that is where you are completely wrong.

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As home educators we have taken it upon ourselves, for one reason or another, (i.e. faith, lack of good public schools, etc) to educate our children at home so that we can teach them not only how to read and write, but also about our traditions and our beliefs. What we don’t realize is that by including prayer in our schooling we are passing down to our children the importance of prayer in our everyday lives and that God is to be a part of every area of our lives.

Praying with our children creates a bond with them as well. Do you remember back a few years ago when you would see billboards all over the country that said “A family that prays together, stays together.” ? Well its true. Our children learn things by watching us. If we are not praying with or even in front of our children how do we expect them to learn to do it themselves?

Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

We know we are supposed to train our kids to read their Bible and go to church. We want to make sure they have a relationship with our creator. Prayer is a huge step in that relationship building process. So they must be trained to pray.

How to incorporate prayer into your school routine.

  • Make it a priority.  – Start off your morning with it. Praying together and asking each child to take turns praying. Ask your kids who or what they would like prayer for and then everyone pray together over those issues.
  • Stop and pray when you/your child gets frustrated. – You may have a child that struggles with certain subjects and it just makes you both frustrated. Then would be a good time to stop, take a deep breath and pray together. After you’ve prayed you might just be able to start back and move on or maybe you will need to walk away for a little while. Regardless before you start back to work take a minute just to pray over yourself and your child to help you with this subject.
  • Whenever someone asks for prayer have everyone pray with you. – Always include your kids in issues where people ask you to pray for them (unless its an issue that your kids should not know about).  By including your children you are instilling the importance of standing in the gap for one another.

I can not stress how important prayer is in the body of Christ and how important it is to teach your children to pray when they are young. The younger they are the easier it is to form this habit into their lives. As they get older creating habits become more difficult not only for them but for you as well. It can still be done. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time. It could just be a couple minutes but even that couple minutes will go a long way in helping your kids to learn to put prayer time as a priority in their lives.

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Ways to Include the Holidays in Your Homeschool

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Can you believe its that time of year again? Here we are, at the beginning of the holiday season.  If you’re like me this is a very frazzled time of year for you. I know many who ask the question “how do you homeschool during the holidays?” . There are many different answers to this question. Some years for me are worse than others. It’s a wondering I haven’t gone bald. lol

I know some people who homeschool through the summer so they can take November and December as their vacation time because they are very busy.  However, the majority of homeschool families still school during the holidays because it works better for their schedules.
Here are few ideas of what you can do during the holidays to help you keep your schooling on track and yet not overwhelm yourself (like I have a tendency to do) with the added activities that pop up.

  1. Incorporate your holiday traditions into your school routine. If you do a lot of baking have the kids help. Measuring and doubling recipes teaches kids basic math skills. For older kids it can be a part of their Home Ec program (planning, following directions and being creative). Have the kids make Thanksgiving and Christmas cards as part of art class. Do a family heritage study by teaching your kids about where and how your family traditions began.
  2. Add in some holiday themed worksheets and/or unit studies. You can find a ton of free worksheets and unit studies online at TLS Books and HomeschoolShare.com .
  3. Lighten the load. Who says you have to do a full work load during your busy season? No one. One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we can customize our schedules and work loads based on what is going on in our lives and our scheduling needs. So instead of doing a full load, do the subjects that you feel are most important. Or work on just the ones that your kids need the extra help in and add back in the other subjects after you get back to the “normal” school year routine.

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What that looks like for us:
For us, we tend to do a lot of holiday themed stuff for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We usually set aside our normal science and history lessons until January and focus on math, language arts, and reading (writing and spelling are usually incorporated as part of our language arts). We fill our days with “seasonal activities” that can only be done during this time of the year and creativity with art. Each year looks different though. As the kids grow we may change up the types of activities we do such as allowing the kids to bake by themselves without my help. And allowing them to help pick out the things they are interested in and want to study.

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This time of the year should be a time of joy and fun. It should be a time spent with family. Finding ways to incorporate this season into our school should not cause us to stress. We should be free to enjoy this season with our kids and families and not be worried about falling behind. Think about the things you do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and any other holiday you celebrate and get your kids involved. That is part of what a homeschool education should look like.

I implore you to go out and have a fun holiday season. Work and learn with your kids. Make all kinds of fun memories. Don’t let the holiday season get you frazzled.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FREE Printable Homeschool Planner

I love when you can find something useful for free. There are all kinds of homeschool planners out there but this one is a bit different.

For one thing it was created especially by me. I have taken what I like about other planners and cut out what I didn’t like about them to make a planner that fit what I was looking for. I am not all about the fluff. I wanted something simple and easy to use. So I developed this planner. Since I have 3 kids its designed for 3 but if you have more than 3 you can just print more pages.  I have two versions one with a blank monthly calendar and one with a dated monthly calendar from Aug 2012-Dec 2013.

This is the Week of (two page) spread. On the two page spread I have created space to write in your plans for each day along with notes, grades, field trips and attendance for that week. I needed something that had everything in one spot so I wasn’t flipping between different pages to write it all in. Even though some planners came close nothing fit exactly what I was looking for.

week of spread

Right now I am giving away this planner for FREE for my subscribers. All you have to do is sign up to get my updates via email and you will be able to download either version of my printable planner for FREE.

It costs you nothing to subscribe. The planner also includes a monthly calendar page(s) with monthly goals/notes, monthly evaluation page,  library book list, curriculum list, and a report card.

 

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*you can click on the image above to see a larger version.

Back to Homeschool?

As today begins the first of August I find that many are getting ready to return back to school and homeschool. Since my family is still in transition I have actually planned for us not to start back until ID-10041776September. Hoping that we will have found a place to live by the end of this month and our house will close this month. As we are still awaiting a closing date, I must admit that I am not sure when this will happen.

As you all are getting back into your “school” routines, are you excited? Do you have a lot of hope for this school year? For me I do have a lot of hope and I am anxious to get back into the swing of things but things are so up in the air right now. Part of curriculum is sitting in a storage facility in another state and part of it is here packed in boxes. I am excited to hopefully soon get to unpack it to get the girls started very soon.

Since January, I have been so excited about introducing the whole unit study approach to the girls.

Here are a few questions that I often wonder about other homeschoolers in the blogosphere:

What method(s) do you use in your homeschool? How do you plan your year? What curriculum do you use? How did you decide what works best for you?

 

I hope you have a great and blessed year this “school” year.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Allowing God to Lead in our Homeschool

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have been homeschooling for 7 years now. And this year we have come to a place that we were just not enjoying it anymore. I was filling out my schedules and so focused on the books that I forgot to seek the Lord and ask Him how to school our kids this year. I do that with every other area so why not do it in regards to our schooling.

So recently I took a step back and prayed and just really asked the Lord to guide me in how to educate our children. One of the themes that he kept putting in my heart is “simplicity”. Keep things simple. Don’t try to over do it. Don’t over think it and enjoy it.  So I stepped away from my schedule and took a day off and allowed the kids to play while I allowed that concept to grow in my heart and mind. I then asked myself a few questions:

  • What do I think is the most important thing my children should learn? – For me it’s English (Grammar) and Math. A friend once told me “if they can read they can learn anything”.  So by focusing on English and Math as the priority subjects I can guarantee that my child can read and do math well. If she can read well then she can learn history and science. If she does math well that will also be incorporated in science further down the road.  So my main focus will be helping them to excel in English and Math which will help them excel in the other subjects.
  • How important is testing to me?  – Right now its not very important. In a few years when my oldest hits the highschool age, then yes, testing will be more important so I am going to back off of testing.
  • How do I incorporate History and Science? – This year we are reading more books rather than just texts and the text books are being treated more as readers than information that has to be remembered. We are enjoying video’s, library books and online resources to make this area more fun. Planning field trips and projects that the kids really enjoy doing. They tend to remember information more when they are enjoying learning about it and alot of times doing these fun activities make them want to learn more about the subject.
  • How do I let go and not worry? – It’s not as easy as you might think, because like all homeschool mother’s I also wonder if I am teaching them enough. But then I have days where they will remind me about something we learned and then I know that I am doing alright. It’s still hard to let go of my own way of doing things but when I let go and follow the directions that the Lord leads me in our school day runs so much smoother. Not that we don’t have some rough patches but we aren’t as frustrated at each other and we can get over the hard stuff easier.
So I have come to the conclusion that if we aren’t lead by God in our homeschool then frustration and unhappiness follows. Allowing God to lead in EVERY area of life is not always easy, especially for us humans who think we have to control everything.  But when we do let go and let God, we tend to learn so much more (especially mom).
So to sum it all up, when home educating remember to seek the Lord and His will for your homeschool. Just like everything else in life, when you seek Him in your schooling you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
How do you allow God to direct your homeschool?