Category Archives: Homeschooling Life

Benefits of a Homeschool Library

Homeschool Books on Shelves in the Homeschool LibraryIn our community, we have a homeschool library. It has shelves of math curriculum at every grade level and almost every science curriculum. There are shelves of science equipment and even a sewing machine. You can find educational videos and SAT study guides. There are reading books and history guide books. Yes, there are even pencils and paper available. When you are homeschooling one child, you will buy curriculum one time for each grade. While this is great to have new books every year, it is also very expensive. Some years we do not have the luxury to buy new books. That is where our homeschool library has been a saving grace.

Recently, I was lamenting about buying my daughters curriculum. It was going to be more expensive than I liked. I had the budget, but we also needed a low cost computer for our homeschool, however the money would have to go to the curriculum first. I walked into the homeschool library after a used book sale at a local homeschooling conference. There sitting on a shelf were the brand new student books for history, science, and algebra 1 for next year. I was able to check out the books from the library, praising God for the blessing! The homeschool library is a huge blessing, but I like to use it for a couple reasons.

  1. Finding curriculum for the next year or even for the current year.
  2. Comparing various curriculum for purchase.
  3. Glancing at curriculum that I didn’t even know existed
  4. Finding older curriculum or reading books
  5. Borrowing science equipment for that one time experiment

You may be thinking, this is great, but you don’t have a homeschool library! Start One! Here are a few key ideas that I have noticed about ours.

  1. They have a good location, that is accessible to homeschoolers. Ours is in the church where our homeschool group has a co-op. Therefore, there is easy access to most of the homeschoolers in our community.
  2. Our community has a homeschool conference with a used book sale. After the used book sale, many people will donate the materials that do not sell. Plus, people donate curriculum.
  3. They have lots of shelves. Our library is pretty full, so have a lot more shelves than you think you need.
  4. They sort the books by the type of curriculum such as; math, science, language, etc. Then, sort the books according to type. For example: Language arts maybe broken down into; spelling, vocabulary, grammar, literature, etc. Finally, sort books by grade starting with youngest to oldest.
  5. Our homeschool library, has a honor system. We write down on a piece of paper attached to a clip board what we are checking out. When we return it, we cross it out. This is pretty low tech, but it works.
  6. Volunteers maintain our library. This is a great service project for a teens!
  7. Homeschoolers give back to the library. Donate your curriculum in good condition.

I have to admit. I am very thankful for our homeschool library, for the wonderful and generous donations, and for the giving hands that take care of the library. The homeschool library is one of the great ideas that has blessed many families in our community. Visit your local homeschool library!

Bugs Everywhere

jan16homeschooling1My daughter has started a live insect collection!  For Christmas, she received a deluxe butterfly pavilion, a fun ladybug dome, and a color changing ant gel farm.  She is beyond excited.  Her tiny butterfly and ladybug larvae came a couple days ago and she has been fascinated with them ever since.  All the larvae have creative names and most are still with us.  However, I must say that William the Third seems to be asleep for a very long time.

What is so amazing to me is that the larvae are growing rapidly. God is truly amazing.

We thought that we would share pictures of the larvae and life cycle of the butterflies and ladybugs.  We have not received the ants yet.  When we do, we will share those too!  This is a great homeschooling science project!

Follow our science experiments including the insects on LearningScienceandTechnology.net

Have a wonderful day!

Laura

The Amazing Homeschooling Parent

Have you ever sat down and really talked to a homeschooling parent?  Over the past few years, I have noticed that homeschooling moms and dads are very smart, driven, creative, and talented parents.  If you want to know the latest on how to learn mathematics or the best reading program, ask a homeschooling parent.  They spend countless hours scouring for the best, latest, and greatest information and materials.  These homeschooling parents purchase, evaluate, and instruct using these education materials and programs. They know what works for different types of students and what does not work.  These dedicated moms and dads are focused, driven, and interesting!

Yes, interesting!  Here is one thing that most people may not realize.  Homeschooling moms and dads are very bright and interesting!  If a homeschool student has to memorize the periodic table, guess who else is memorizing the periodic table.  If the student is learning the complexity of calculus, guess who else is reviewing those calculus problems.  Yes, homeschooling moms and dads are smart, very smart. What they do not know, they carefully research, learn, and communicate.

I am humbled by the intelligence and education level of the homeschooling moms and dads around me.  In all my years of working in Corporate America with some very clever people, I have never seen a group so intelligent, creative, and willing to learn. The wonderful thing is that homeschooling parents pass on these qualities to the next generation of students.

When I think about the educational qualities, I want my daughter to learn.  I think about having the aptitude to research ideas with the desire to learn, the ability to comprehend complex information, and the wisdom to apply the information in productive and creative methods.  These qualities will serve my daughter for the rest of her life, whether it is at work, school, family, or church.  To give our children the confidence to boldly step forward with the lifelong desire to learn, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.  To all you smart, driven and talented homeschooling parents…You are amazing!

7 Reasons We Homeschool through the Summer

Notebook with a picture of a flower.

Wow!  Why are you homeschooling through the summer?


That is what one of my friends said to me, recently.  Yes, we do homeschool year round. We have tried homeschooling using the regular school year provided by the school district, but that did not work for us.  Here are 7 reasons we homeschool through the summer:

  • Math – We have learned it is important for my daughter to study math every day.  My daughter is very good at math.  We find that constant review of mathematics helps her retain information better especially new concepts.
  • Learning – It provides a consistent approach to learning.  We do not have the ramping up adjustment period when school starts.
  • Life Lessons – We incorporate life lessons as well as school lessons such as cooking, economics, and basics throughout the year.
  • Sports – My daughter can swim year round.  By adjusting our schedule, it makes it easier for us to end the school day earlier, in order to commute the long drive to swim practice.
  • Vacations – We take mini-vacations throughout the year without any setbacks to school work. My husband works year round.  We can plan vacation breaks around his schedule.
  • Field Trips – We can take advantage of last minute field trips because we are ahead of schedule.
  • Assessment Tests – My daughter is able to finish the school year material before the assessment test.  Since ours is in March, that requires us to cover a lot of material before the March timeframe.

You may wonder how my daughter feels about homeschooling year round.  It was her idea.

In general, homeschooling year round is not for everyone.  It does work for our family.  We are able to do the activities we love with the schedule that works for our family.  That is one of the beauties of homeschooling!

Have a wonderful day!

Laura

 

Homeschooling Life: Keeping Their Interest at the End of the Year

tree outside on a beautiful day

The weather is warm.  There are 20 lessons of Math to go.  Their feet and minds want to be outside or anywhere except for sitting in a chair doing Math.  I am not sure if you go through this scenario, but it happens in my house.

 

Maybe this sounds familiar.  In the beginning there is mild grumbling, followed by logical reasoning and finally, complaining.  Not MATH again!!!

 

My daughter normally loves Math, but not at the end of the year.  She has taken her standardized test and in her mind…she is done with the school year.  Just one problem…those 20 math lessons.

 

What can a homeschooling parent do?  Listed below are 6 ideas that I have tried:

 

  1. Change Rooms. I find this can have a good adjustment on my daughter’s motivation.
  2. Get up and exercise. When I see my daughter fidgeting instead of doing a math problem, I ask her run up and down our hall 20 times.  She loves running up and down the hall.  It is not a long hall, so it takes her a couple minutes.  The physical movement helps her refocus her energy to math.  She bounds into the room with a much better frame of mind.
  3. Change other things such as paper color, color pencils instead of crayons, special stickers, or a poster board. Get creative!  Better yet, let your child get creative!
  4. Change the method of teaching the subject. Most of the time, my daughter will do her math problems by herself.  When her attention is waning, we will do “Hurry up Math”.  I will write her problems on the white board.  As soon as she completes one correct problem, I erase the problem and write down a new problem.  She has to try to solve the next problem before I finish writing the new problem on the board.  She likes this game very much.
  5. Incentives. I find incentives work well in the short term.  I have tried long-term incentives.  It does not work as well for us at this stage.  My daughter tends to forget the long-term incentive with a couple exceptions.  For instance, we did have an incentive for studying for Classical Conversations Memory Master.  It was a big enough goal that my daughter had to work on every day.  Therefore, it was easy for her to remember the incentive.
  6. Go on an educational field trip. Recently one Friday, we just decided to take off and go to Gettysburg, PA.  It was what both of us needed.  We came back refreshed with a better understanding of the Civil War.

 

Pray to Jesus! He loves my daughter more than I do.  He knows what she needs more than I do.  When I am frustrated with the 20 remaining math lessons…I need to trust in Him who loves her more!

 

Have a wonderful day!

Laura

 

 

Homeschooling Life: We are Exploring Today

President Lincoln Statue at Pennsylvania Monument in Gettysburg, PA
President Lincoln Statue at Gettysburg, PA

It is close to the end of the year for us with testing next week.  Honestly, we are tired.  My daughter has done so much over this past year.  I am so proud of her.  While swimming year round, she has participated in a local Co-op, Classical Conversations, school work at home including 2 math programs (the first one was too easy), field trips, science, reading countless books (she is a bookworm), Sunday School, covered all her subjects, and many other activities.  Finally, we are both tired.  We love homeschool but it is time to take a little break.

 

Normally, we will work on schoolwork right up to the last minute before a standardized test.  Not today! Instead, we are going on a field trip!  I have a hankering for some Civil War history, so we are off to Gettysburg, PA.

 

I will be back next week!   Until then, enjoy the springtime!  I am sorry today’s posting is short.  We are off to explore!

 

Have a wonderful day!

Laura

Homeschooling Life: Patience

CloudsI love that saying, “Patience is a virtue.”  I just wished that I had more patience.  I am very patient with creating ideas, gathering my facts, making decisions, and developing/maintaining projects.  It is once a decision is made, development is completed, or project is well maintained, that I have the challenge.  This website for instance, is a complete joy to develop, maintain, and create articles each week.  I enjoyed that process very much.  Now that it is launched, I am impatiently waiting to see if anyone will read my website. Yes, I check my website numbers almost every day.  As a website developer, I would like to see the numbers go up every day.  This causes me to display a very un-Christian characteristic of impatience.

 

I notice that I have to be gentle with my patience with my daughter in our homeschool.  My daughter and I sit right next to each other during our home school day when we are at home.  I have my desk, she has her desk, and they are located side by side.  I have noticed that I have a habit of completing my task such as writing this article.  Then, I will look over at her desk expecting that she should be complete with her assignment.  I have to admit my natural tendency is to say, “Please hurry up!” Instead, I try to keep quiet and let her work.  I find that I have to remember that we all have different speeds of doing things.  In end, both of us will have our assignments complete.  One of us is learning how to be patient and quiet.  The other person, my daughter, is simply learning.  Here are a couple ideas,  I have tried in order to be a more patient person:

 

  1. Count to 20, 30, or 40…not 10…
  2. Ask if she needs help. I need to recognize that she may be lost or confused with the assignment.
  3. Find something else to do besides watch my daughter complete her assignment. I never like when someone is watching over my shoulder.  I have found that I slow her down when I am looking over her shoulder.
  4. Try to be quiet. I have a tendency to keep going.  If one thing is not progressing, I move on to complete something else.  In doing so, I find that sometimes I make a little bit of noise.  This is not helpful to my daughter.  It does help her complete assignments.
  5. Do not get on the telephone. My daughter is always interested in who I am talking to on the phone. Therefore, she is not working on her assignment when I am on the phone.
  6. Relax. The assignments are going to be accomplished.  My daughter likes to do well and finish on time.  In my heart, I know she is trying her best.

 

My daughter wanted to add the following observations:

 

  1. It is funny to watch Mommy counting to 20, then 30, then 40.
  2. Mommy is never quiet. She just thinks she is.
  3. I love my Mommy!  I am really trying to do a good job!

 

Patience is not my natural strong point.  I am learning every day to be more patient.  I know that it is through my Savior that I am forgiven for my shortcomings! Each day, I hope to have a more patience than the day before.

 

Have a wonderful day!

Laura

Homeschooling Realities: Tired Mom, Energetic Homeschooler

Yellow Labrador Retriever
Popcorn, The Yellow Labrador Retriever

What can you do when you are tired and your homeschooler is not tired? I was tired the other day.  You know that bone tired where all you need is to rest.  As a homeschooling parent of one there are times, I wished she had siblings.  I wish she had someone to play with, or spur her on, or just sit and stare at each other.  With one child, you do not have that built in companion who lives in the same decade. My daughter is left with two parents.  Her daddy works, so that leaves me.  When you are tired, it is the worse!  Over the years, I have learned a couple ways to try to handle the situation.

 

  1. Be prepared for those days when everything seems to go wrong with instant projects.
    1. Art supplies on hand with easy to follow instructions.
    2. Books that are interesting and easier to read and possibly with pictures. Even at her age, she likes the pictures.
  2. Encourage her to play by herself by having age appropriate toys and games.  We have a cabinet with toys and games that we put away for special times. My daughter is happy when we go to the cabinet.
  3. Watch a video.  We do not watch TV or videos very often due to our schedule. When I say that she can watch an educational video, she is the happiest child in the world.  We get many of the educational videos from our local library.
  4. Play with a friend.
  5. Play with a pet. We have a very energetic Labrador Retriever.  I find the energy level of my daughter is matched with the energy level of my dog.  Playing together is good for both of them.

 

I cannot change the fact that my daughter does not have any siblings.  But, I can be better prepared for those times when life does not follow my schedule or desired energy level.  Feel free to send in your ideas!

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

Laura

Homeschooling Life: A Walk in Faith

Picture of a rosebud tree Faith is a simple word with so much meaning. The dictionary says that, faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing.

 

Every morning, I get up and start our homeschooling day.  I start thinking about where we left off the day before, what we need to do before evening, and what we will do tomorrow.  I spend a lot of energy and time on homeschooling my one child.  Whether it is planning curriculum, teaching, preparing, setting up a science experiment, or just going to the library, I spend many of my personal resources.  I am like every other homeschooling parent, who is giving up his or her personal time and many times his or her career.  As a result, I find that I need to pray about our homeschool every single day. My prayer usually involves me asking for a clear neon sign with a bright blinking arrow pointing to the right direction.

 

I have to admit, that God has not sent the neon sign.  No flashing lights with arrows pointing, no comforting booming voices saying, Laura this way.  No, it has been a faith walk.  What I get is a quiet feeling that I need to take the next step, and then the next step. I am stepping forward and walking in faith.

 

What does it mean to walk in faith?  I am sure that a theologian can answer this question much better.  However, I will give it a try.  So, here we go.  To walk in faith, means that I rest on my Lord Jesus.  I can teach my daughter with my faith in my heart and my God given gifts.  I have learned a couple things about myself over the past two years.  I am human.  Yes, it confirmed, I am human.  I have good days and I have days that are not as much fun.  I have learned that God has trained me through my education and experiences for this job.  I have learned to rest in Him when I am tired, lonely, and unsure.

 

Walking in faith is the only way that I can homeschool my one child. I cannot speak for parents of multiple children, since I only have one child.  However, I am pretty sure that homeschooling any child is a walk in faith.  I know that God loves my daughter and will provide the tools and energy for me to home school her with each step.

 

Yes, I still want the neon signs.  However, I am blessed to be able to walk in faith with my Lord Jesus.  Step by step!

 

Have a wonderful blessed day!

Laura