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Monday, September 28, 2020

Spiritually Fed During Coronavirus

 


The modern Christian rhythm of getting "filled" on Sunday Morning has been disrupted by this Pandemic. Our spiritual routines are changed by online sermons, watching your kids during the sermon because of no children's church, or dealing with divisiveness in your church about a piece of cotton over your face. 

What do we do when we have to learn to be in charge of our personal growth?  Coronavirus has highlighted the need for personal spiritual disciplines more than any other time in my life.

 Personally, all my usual outlets of spiritual development have either been put on hold, moved online, or changed drastically due to restrictions.   Our less than 100 people church has had to move to two services, so I see only half my church family any given Sunday. Our weekly small group can't gather to eat together safely. My homeschool co-op prayer group has been cancelled because not enough people could agree on meeting with or without a mask.  My Bible study (www.bsfinternational.org) has moved online, which still keeps me in The Word, but definitely feels a bit different. 

But maybe this interruption is one of the many things God is trying to work out for good?  We were never ever meant to be "fed" on only Sunday (and don't get me started on my biggest pet peeve of someone leaving a church because they were not "being fed"). 

Babies are fed. Adults feed themselves.

God didn't make our bodies to only eat physical food one day a week, then pray those calories last for 6 more days.  Our bodies are designed to eat everyday, and as we grow up, to enjoy the responsibility of feeding ourselves.  

Daily Bread.  Intentional relationship. Constant Prayer.

These are the rhythms God has given us to feed our souls.

How are you feeding yourself during this time of Coronavirus?

(This is NOT A POST ABOUT WHETHER COVID RESTRICTITONS SHOULD BE THERE OR NOT. I will deleted comments debating restrictions.)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Homeschool Planner: Home and Life Daily Organizer: 52 Week Undated Weekly Planner for Life and Homeschool


Homeschool Planner:
 52 Week Undated Weekly Planner for Life and Homeschool

Plan your life all in one planner! Ideal for anyone who want to keep all their to-do lists in one place!I have homeschool for 8 years, and created this planner after not finding what I needed elsewhere. I have used for 2 years and the to-do lists for my entire life are inside.

You can buy on Amazon or on LearningCursive.org



INCLUDES:
  • 52 weeks undated weekly planner with 10 subjects/to-dos
  • Weekly meal planning
  • 12 month attendance tracker
  • Password tracker
  • Curriculum order tracker
  • Areas of study tracker (up to 4 kids)
  • High school credits tracker (up to 2 high schoolers)
  • Semester Grade Trackers (for up to four kids)





Saturday, August 15, 2020

First Day of School HAMILTON Treasure Hunt

 



Start your school year with FUN!  A Treasure Hunt on the first day is a great way to get your kids excited about starting the school year! It seemed only fitting that this year's treasure hunt is themed after our new favorite Historical Musical, 
HAMILTON!

We have started our year with a Treasure Hunt for for almost six years now.  We change them up each year, but here are a few examples of Treasure Hunt Part One and Treasure Hunt Part Three.  I thought that my middle school aged children may not enjoy it as much as they did when they were in 2nd or 3rd grade, but it is still a huge hit.





TREASURE HUNT TIPS

1. Depending the age of your children, try to number the clues so they go from room to room, preventing them stumbling onto Clue #4 before Clue #2. For example, Put clues #2 and #3 in the first room of your house, Clues #3 and #4 in the second room, etc. 

2. For younger children, have the clues on the outside of objects so they can be found easily.  For older children, you can tuck them inside things, but be there to provide guidance (see tip #4).

3. If possible, hide the treasure in a different level, so that they don’t come upon it while searching for clues. For example, our boys’ treasure basket will be on their bed, and I don’t have any clues in their room, so they won’t happen on them.  You could end in your basement or outside in the garden to prevent them from finding the treasure too soon. 

4. Keep is short and fun.  The point of this is not to solve a super hard riddle, but to start the school year with some fun and a prize.


TREASURE HUNT CLUES


Clue #1- Hand it to them

Ooh, if the shoe fits, wear it
If New York’s in debt—
Why should Virginia bear it?


Clue #2 In the Shoe Bin

The President is going to bring the nation to the brink
Of meddling in the middle of a military mess,
A game of chess,
Where France is Queen and King-less.



Clue #3 on our chess board in game closet

Why do you write like you’re
running out of time?
Write day and night like you’re
running out of time?
Ev’ry day you fight, like running out of time
running out of time



Clue #4 Behind the clock

Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot!


Clue #5 In or On the Fridge

Then a hurricane came and devastation rained
our man saw his future drip-dripping down the drain
put a pencil to his temple connected it to his brain
and he wrote his first refrain a testament to his pain



Clue #6 On the Pencil Holder

Look around look around the revolutions
happening in New York!
look around look around at
how lucky we are to be alive right now!



Clue #7  On New York on our Globe

Come back to bed, that would be enough

Put Treasure on their pillows
Keep the prizes inexpensive. This year I bought them:
  • Hamilton Soundtrack- Clean (yes, my kids do still sometimes listen to CDs, I also got it in MP3 format)
  • Replacement whoopie cushion from Dollar Tree 
  • Silly putty from Dollar Tree (they love to love with it while doing school)
  • Fakes Mustaches from Dollar Tree (they are making a movie and they need costumes)


FREE PDF DOWNLOAD

I have created a free PDF download with 14 different Hamilton Clues so you can personalize it to fit your own home! 

Click for Free Printable




Wednesday, August 12, 2020

When Should I Start My Homeschool Year?

 


Homeschool is about freedom, freedom to chose when YOU start. Don't chose for others, and don't let others chose for you.

There is no time that you "should" start, except for the time that works for your family, and it is ok if that takes a little bit to figure out what works best for you.

In years past we have have tried on several different start dates; after Labor Day, at the beginning of August, same time as our local public schools, and one year we tried year round.

After eight years of homeschooling, we have figured out that starting mid August works for us, for now.

A few reasons starting mid August works for my family during this season:

  1.  My husband works in the schools and I like to be on his schedule.
  2. We take a lot of November & December days off to work on my in-laws Christmas Tree Farm.
  3. We attend a weekly co-op and Bible Study that begin in September (when it isn't a pandemic) so I like to get into our routine for a few weeks before our schedule gets interrupted.
  4. Because of those weekly outside activities, we usually do a 3 day week, and I need the extra time given by starting early to get through our year long curriculum if I want all of June and and July off (which is what we like because of family birthdays).
  5. I NEED two months off by May, but we all start aching for routine again by August.

But those are OUR reasons, and you don't live my life. You don't have my kids or my schedule.

Did you just have a baby and need to take an extra month off, do it!

Did you set up your classroom and your kids are excited to begin, go for it!

Do you have a pool membership through September and can't bare to end summer just yet? That is great!

Did you plan to start last week, but had a super stressful weekend, so you postponed a week? Yep, that's me! 🙋🏼‍♀️

YOUR life is what determines your homeschool start date?

Whatever you do, don't judge or compare yourself with anyone else because of their schedule.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Finding the PERFECT Homeschool Curriculum



I repeat, there is no PERFECT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM!

The best advice I ever received as new homeschool moms was to find a curriculum that is OK, and then STOP LOOKING. Homeschool parents take years off their life searching for the elusive "perfect" curriculum".

Don’t look for curriculum, look for a homeschool style, then find something that fits that style. There are styles that work better for your child, styles that DON’T WORK for your child, but there will never be a PERFECT FIT.

I personally love our curriculum, My Father's World, because it combines a few different learning styles that fit our family.  That said, we ignore one third of what is in the manual because it just doesn't "fit" where we are, or that academic need is met elsewhere. We skip their Bible many times because we do to a Bible Study that has its own homework for my kids, and we skip their art because we take art classes outside the home.

Your teacher’s Manual is not god, and NO teacher’s manual is perfect. Just because your teacher's manual says they should be able to write that sentence that week doesn't mean your child is ready to write that sentence. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new teacher’s manual, it just means you get to make it work for YOUR family.

It is OK to stay on a Math concept for two weeks, even though your manual says they should learn it in two days. When you get "stuck" try to count it as a blessing because if your child was not one-on-one with you are home, they would not be "stuck", they would be "left behind".

Making it work is not something you know right away, and that is OK.  You will learn slowly how to make sometime work for your family, what parts to throw out and what to keep, just like you did in those early years of parenting.  You learned what stuffed animals comforted  your child enough to fall asleep, or how to make green beans more appetizing.

If you are looking for curriculum, and up to your eyeballs in stress, take a breath. It will be OK! We have ALL been there. You will find something that works, and you can make work for your family.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How Long is Your Homeschool Day?


HOW LONG IS YOUR HOMESCHOOL DAY?

Remember that public school class schedules require a lot of crowd control time, and you don't have that crowd.

The rule of thumb is to add about 20 minutes for each grade, but every KID is different and every DAY is different. Some days we get through our whole day in an hour and half, some days it feels like we trudge through at snail's pace.

How Long is Your Homeschool Day?
  • Preschool- 15 to 30 min
  • Kindergarten- 30 min to 1 hour
  • 1st to 2nd Grade- 45 min to 1.5 hours
  • 3rd to 4th Grade- 1.5 to 3 hours
  • 5th to 6th Grade- 2.5 to 3.5 hours
  • 7th to 8th grade- 3 to 4.5 hours
  • High School- 3.5 to 6 hours

This schedule applies to STRUCTURED learning, a.k.a as direct teaching and/or "seat-work".

Direct teaching is when you are teaching them directly, like reading their history book together or doing a science experiment. Seat-work is anything that requires your child to be seated (or laying on the floor in our house) and do independent or small group work, like Math and Writing.  For instance, you may spend 30 to 45 minutes reading History, teaching Math, doing a science experiment with a 4th grader, and then they spend the next 1 to 2 hours finishing assigned independent work, with you are there to ask any questions. The combination of that time is your structured learning time for the day.

Your day may go over this time with extra-curricular and educational activities that don't fall into "structured" learning. Guided free-play (like play-dough and dress up), gym class, audio-books, separate art class, and field trips are different, and will last longer because it requires a different type of engagement.

I taught preschool and kindergarten, and I can attest that the times above are the longest any structured time will be effective in those younger ages. Yes, you can get a compliant child to sit and listen or do worksheet for longer, but in my experience retention falls drastically after these age-appropriate windows of direct teaching.

You also have to find out what works for you. What works for your student, may slow down another.
This year we found the day goes faster when we do Math first (because my sons says then his brain isn't already tired when he gets to it), but that approach may slow down your day. Like I said, all kids are different.

Does this schedule ring true for your homeschool day?


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Drawn to God: Sermon Notes Journal

Drawn to God: Sermon Notes Journal for any age


After creating Sermon Notes for Kids and Sermon Notes for Teen, I had several requests for an adult sermon notes journal.  As I came up with a plan, I designed the journal I needed myself!

Drawn to God is a 52 Week Sermon Notebook for Doodlers and Artists, or anyone who needs space to process the sermon through writing. This journal is the perfect notebook for engaging creatively with the sermon with options to write, reflect, and draw.






Each 2 Page Layout Includes:
  • Key Sermon Points & Verse
  • Worship Lyric that spoke to me
  • How will I apply this to my life?
  • What part of the sermon am I struggling to believe or put into action?
  • Praises & prayer requests
  • Drawing section to illustrate or write more anything God has laid on your heart


More Book Details:
  • 52 weeks, 2 page layout for each week
  • 108 pages of Sermon Journal
  • 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Unisex cover and pages, can be used for men or women
  • Matte Cover & Paperback Cover