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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Finding the 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?


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