Give Yourself a Break!

Homeschool moms tend to be prone to depression and is it any wonder? We are with our children 24/7. Some days it’s amazing that our our husband’s don’t come home to find us sitting in a fetal position in the corner rocking back and forth while mumbling to ourselves.

Because of this, it’s my humble opinion that every homeschooling mom should have some sort of hobby or outlet. Mine is crochet, but there are tons to choose from.

It also helps to have a chance to get out with NO kids once in a while. If you can manage to have a regular date night with your hubby, that would be ideal. Sometimes we can forget that we were a woman and wife before we ever became a mom.

Sometimes a bit of girl time is what is called for. If you husband is willing and able to watch the kids, plan a night or day out with the girls. This can be as elaborate as a day at the spa or as simple as a trip to the local ice cream parlor.

The point is, give yourself a break on a regular basis. You will come back refreshed and be a much better mom and teacher as a result.

Homeschool Support Groups

If you homeschool and don’t already belong to a local support group, I urge you to join one. You will be encouraged in more ways than you can count.

You’ll find the determination to continue on the days when you’re ready to go searching for a big yellow bus to put your kids on. They will also be able to help you understand the homeschool laws for your state. It’s really important to know what these are! You want to be prepared should some over zealous neighbor erroneously decide that what you are doing is illegal.

You’ll also find other moms who will be ready and eager to discuss their homeschool curriculum with you. Some support groups even have annual book sales where mom’s are able to sell their used curriculum so they can purchase new for the next year.

Support groups also can provide extra chances for your children to get that all important socialization which the rest of the world seems to be so concerned about. There are groups that sponsor field trips, park days, and even proms! Some groups reward your child, at the end of their homeschooling journey, with a graduation and diploma. So Google homeschool support groups and find one in your area!

Keepers at Home

Fashionista with her potteryMy 5th grader, Fashionista is part of a group called “Keepers At Home”. They are similar to Girl Scouts in that they get to earn badges but they are Biblically based. They work with girls from ages 4 years old up to age 18. There is also a group called “Contenders for the Faith” for boys. We’ve been unable to find a group locally for our boys to join though.

The kids learn lessons in character building and also learn skills that will help them in the real world. They get to spend time with friends and also develop their relationship with their mom or dad. Our Keepers group strongly encourages moms to take part.

Some of the things we’ve done together are, growing a container garden and then making a scrapbook with the pictures taken of it’s progress, learning poetry writing, and working with clay. Our current project is doll making. Fashionista really looks forward to these meetings each week!

Keeper girls paiting their pottery

Fashionista’s Science Experiment

Fashionista recording her observations

Fashionista is my 5th grader. In Science she has been learning about how science experiments are set up and done. So she decided to try one that was suggested in her homeschool curriculum. Very cool!

She got 3 cups and put vinegar in one, salt water in another and water in the last. She made sure that she labeled which cup was which. Then she put a penny and a dime into each cup while keeping a set for her control.

She waited a week and then checked her results. She was careful to write down her observations.

Fashionista's Science Experiment Journal

Oh, I just realized that I should have her also record her conclusion and what her purpose was. I need to ask her if she did all the steps included in: P. H. M. P. O. C. (Please Help Me Prove Our Concepts). She should also be able to tell me what this stands for. Purpose, Hypotheses, Materials, Procedure, Observations, and Conclusion.

Recording her observations

Homeschool PE

So what DO homeschoolers do for Physical Education?? I can say that we have tried plenty different things with not a lot of success. I’ve tried special videos which I’ve purchased for this purpose. I’ve tried Wii workouts.

I’ve even had the privilege of a friend, who happens to be a licensed personal trainer, give my children special training. She showed them how to do different sets and reps of exercises. My oldest in particular, takes great issue with having to do pushups, jumping jacks, and crunches.

Truthfully, I’m still trying to find what works best for us. What will get my kids motivated to WANT to do PE every day? I mean we are talking about kids who would rather play a video game than play outside! In fact, they feel like they are being punished when I make them go outside to play.

We might try Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix as our next workout tool. Seriously, it’s almost as hard to get these children motivated to exercise as it is to get myself to!

Menu Planning

Life gets crazy when you have children at your house 24/7. As a homeschooling mom, as with any other mom, time is a precious commodity. So how do I find time to create healthy menus and grocery lists for my family? I DON’T. Instead I turn to, www.e-mealz.com. They do all the work for me!

Each week I get to choose from last week’s menu or this week’s menu. Included with each menu is a grocery list tailored to the store you choose when you set up your profile. There are even different diet plans to choose from.

All this for a very reasonable price. This saves us money too because without it we go to the store every other day and end up purchasing things that we wouldn’t otherwise.

So when Friday rolls around and I see “make grocery list” on my list of chores, all I have to do is, print it out, go through and cross off the items I already have in my pantry and I’m good to go!

Chores

My children are each expected to do a set of chores each day in addition to doing their homeschool curriculum. To be honest, most of the time it would be much quicker and easier for me to just do these things myself. As parents, MyHero and I feel that giving our children chores helps them to develop a sense of responsibility as well as a good work ethic. It also makes them feel that they are a necessary part of our family as we all have to do our part to keep things running smoothly.

Setting this up has been a process of trial and error for me to find a system that works in our family. What works for me may not work for you. For instance, it took me a while to realize that I have a very difficult time following a set schedule. I work much better within a routine or even better, a simple list of tasks that can be checked off as they are done.

That is what I finally set up for each of my children and myself. Each of us has our own “Chore List”. I then laminated each of these and hung them on our bedroom doors.

Our Chore Charts

What School Looks Like in Our House

So I’ve written about my Master Lesson Plan Book and how I assign my kids their school work. But I haven’t written about the nuts and bolts of how we do school in our house.

As I’ve said before, we use an online homeschool curriculum. Therefore, most of the work my kids do, is at the computer. There are three computers in our house, but my kids only use one for their homeschooling.

In the past, I’ve let the two older ones work through their assignments on their own. However, kids being kids, (Please tell me that your kids are like this too!), they will skim through the lessons without reading and skip quizzes. Because of this, MyHero has requested that I sit with them when they are doing school.

They are required to score 70% or better on any quiz and test or they have to redo it. If they have to redo the quiz or test more than 3 times, they have to redo the entire lesson.

I assign 4 days of school in their assignment books, leaving Friday free to do “make-up” work. If they have no “make-up” work to do then they get to have the day off from school.

Assignment Books part 2

I’m working to get my children to memorize the skip counting facts. That way if they can’t remember for instance 3×6, they can simply think, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and then know the answer is 18. In order to make this easier on both my children and myself, we are learning a couple more facts each day. This was suggested by a friend and seems to be working marvelously.

Page 2 Lesson Plan Book

For spelling, we use an online spelling curriculum. I have spelling lists that I have set up based on the level of each child. I assign specific activities for each of them each day. These stay the same each week so that we develop a routine. My goal is that they will each get practice with the spelling words through the week so they are ready to take and pass the test at the end of the week. You’ll see that there are also assignments for vocabulary work and practicing cursive for my children as well.

Once I have each of the assignments written in the assignment book, my last step is to print out any worksheets that are needed for the week. That completes my chore of lesson planning, but my children still have their chores and exercise to do before they are free to do their own thing.

Assignment Books

In my last post I talked about how I set up and use my “Master Lesson Plan Book”. In this post I want to share how I use that to give each of my children their homeschooling assignments each week. This is a chore that I try to do each Friday after school has been done. I use a separate teacher planner for each of my kids. This becomes their personal assignment book.

I got these from Office Depot on their annual Teacher Appreciation Day. If you want to have one for each of your children, you can ask a manager. I was told that I could come back the next day and they would give me any extra lesson planners they had left over.

Example of our Assignment Book

First I go through and mark off in my Master Lesson Plan Book, the activities that were done the past week. Then I start at the first not highlighted activity and that gets written in the assignment book.

The numbers you see are activity assignments. It’s much easier for me to write the number than the name of each activity. It also helps me when I go to record what has been done. I will explain in my next blog about how I assign their other subjects, such as Math and Spelling.