Homeschool Scheduling

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-3-12-36-amIt’s already November and my intentions of keeping ahead of my lesson plans has gone by the wayside. For some reason, life just gets in the way! So, today I am going to concentrate on getting my school schedule back in order. Would you want to do this with me? Encouragement nets results, I think. ¬†It also provides an impetus for me and holds me accountable to do this since I am writing about it.ūüôā

Look at my goals. Looking at where I am currently in teaching my classes and where I need to be by winter break helps keep me on the path of forward progress. Fortunately, I am right on with two of my classes and will be back on track this week with my other class. Setting realistic goals is one of the keys to success. If I set too many then I become discouraged and feel like I am not being successful. Do you do this too? I am planning on doing two or three things on my “To Do List” today instead of five or six like I normally do. ¬†I’ll see how that goes! I can be goofy when it comes to writing a list. I put things on my list after I have done them just so I can cross them off!

How are things with your homeschool? If you are falling behind, stop and evaluate as to why this has occurred. Is it because of your schedule? Look at your school day and time you are teaching subjects. Sometimes it helps just to rearrange things. For instance, the boys and I would work on a harder subject first and mix in an easier subject afterwards. This helped to move things along instead of being bogged down, plus it gave our brains a break.

Evaluate Outside Activities.¬†¬†Right now I am evaluating ¬†changes to my schedule as I have made a commitment to do something once a week that I didn’t anticipate when I began school this year. Many a time when I was homeschooling I took on more than I should have in regards to our commitments. Are you doing a lot of running around like I was? Is school becoming a lower priority? Stop and evaluate before the new year begins. Do you have time for these other activities? Eliminate them as much as possible if you are putting them ahead of school. Of course, if you made a commitment to teach a co-op class or volunteer, finish it, but consider what you are doing¬†and what adjustments need to be made.¬†Sometimes I needed to scale back and get everything at home back in order before we could do something extra. I wasn’t always successful in doing this, thus causing undue stress, which was not a good thing!

Prepare for the School Day.¬†I get up early every day to review what topics¬†I am teaching. This means reading through lessons and preparing anything I need to teach. I also look at what else I have to do:¬†appointments, housework, grocery shopping, etc. I feel like when I have a mental picture of what I am doing for the day I am better prepared. If getting up early doesn’t work for you, looking at your school day the night before may serve you better.

Write lesson plans.¬†As long as I have all of my books and papers out I might was well dig into lessons before I put everything away. The winter break¬†will soon be here, so I am going to write my lessons to have a plan in place. I don’t like to write them out too far in advance because they may need to change. My advice is not to plan beyond two weeks because you will become frustrated and anxious if you have to change. Teaching a new concept takes time! It requires time to introduce it, time to practice what has been taught, and time to master that new idea. Oftentimes, new topics of study take more time than you originally planned for, similar to house improvement projects… ¬†lol If you plan for extra time and don’t need it, then it’s a bonus and you can teach that subject you never seem to get around to doing, such as health or art. Or, if you have everything finished, cut loose and have fun!

Speaking of lesson plans, these can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be in order to teach. I have written plans to just have the title of a book we were reading, or writing pages of the textbook the boys were studying that day. My plans have also been as elaborate as writing the steps for a science lab. Remember, they are a guide for teaching.

Don’t you love the picture at the top of the post? I would love to be there right now; I could think more clearly and evaluate my school schedule, or write my lesson plans at the end of the trail. (probably not!) Enjoy your week.

~Lisa

 

 

The Baby App

Oh joy! I am going to be a grandma!ūüôā I am beyond excited and I can see that as I look for educational ideas to share with my daughter-in-law that I will naturally post ideas for you as well.

So, the first one I am sharing is called Baby Center. Not only is this a wonderful sight for parents-to-be, but it is also terrific for anyone else who is interested in the development of a little one. This can benefit the understanding of development for siblings, grandparents, and others.

If you are wanting to teach human growth and development to your middle or high school student this would be an invaluable tool. The development of the baby is described every week and his/her length and weight is given to you as well. If you are expecting this would be a terrific way to show your children the development of your baby to big brother(s) and sister(s).

Here are actual pictures of the development of the baby from week to week. The baby is compared to a fruit or vegetable as well, which I appreciate. It is hard to imagine what the baby’s size is, but ¬†this website does a great job in giving you some perspective.

I hope this website will be a valuable resource to you.

~Lisa

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy-thanksgiving-images-freeDear Friends and Followers, I am thankful for you as I appreciate the kind words I have received as I have been writing weekly on this blog for several years now. I just wanted to share some things that I am indeed thankful for this year in terms of homeschooling.

My husbandР without him, I would have given up and not continued to homeschool my sons through the completion of  high school.

Children– I am blessed to have two great gifts, at which one time in my life the doctor wasn’t sure if I would have to have a hysterectomy before I had my fist child.

Educational choice– I am grateful that we live in a country where we can choose the way in which we want to educate our children. Homeschooling has always been an option since my children were school age, which I am truly thankful.

Pioneers of homeschooling– I am truly in awe of the families who made homeschooling possible and stood by their convicts and through opposition to make it legal in the United States. Without them, homeschooling would not be an option.

¬†Y-O-U!¬† ¬†Thank you for reading my blog and subscribing. I hope that I bring encouragement and resources to you on your school journey.¬†Thank you, thank you, thank you¬†to¬†you¬†who have allowed me to do portfolio reviews for your family. I never take it for granted that you have asked me to review your child’s portfolio of schoolwork.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~ Lisa

 

Quiet Time Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers — Feltro Magic Quiet Book Review

This is such a wonderful idea for preschoolers. I just had to share it. I am reblogging this from another blog post. Please go to MomtessoriLife.com if you would like to read more.ūüôā

~Lisa

MOMtessori Life

L is getting old enough that her afternoon nap time is slowly but surely dwindling in length ‚ÄĒ and when we‚Äôre in a hotel or somewhere new, she won‚Äôt nap at all. ¬†Nap time is sacred in our house, because my kids are much more agreeable when they have time to rest during the day ‚ÄĒ but also because it‚Äôs the only time of day I can get anything done! ¬†So when Feltro Magic contacted me about reviewing one of their Quiet Books, I jumped at the chance. ¬†This is an activity that I can definitely see using in place of nap time, on roadtrips, in waiting rooms, and in restaurants.

These handmade felt quiet books are completely customizable so you can choose which pages will interest your child the most.  I chose a mixture of pretend play girly dress-up scenes and pages with games for practicing fine motor skills…

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A Thanksgiving Unit

 

The First Thanksgiving, Jennie Brownscombe

I love this national holiday for several reasons. First, it’s not too commercialized! It’s a bit hard to sell thankfulness, don’t you think? If so, I would order a case or two of it.

Another reason I like Thanksgiving is the history regarding why the Pilgrims came to America; ¬†plus I love to read about the life of Squanto.¬† He chose to help the race of people who had enslaved him and were responsible (directly or indirectly) for his tribe’s demise. Squanto is one of my heroes! I have included a list of books that I have enjoyed reading to my sons about Squanto and the Pilgrims that I think you will too.

One more reason I like Thanksgiving is because this day focuses on God and the blessings He has given to us. I have included some copywork/dictation pieces for your students to practice their handwriting. Make an extra set and send them to the grandparents as I am sure they would enjoy receiving them.

Would you like to focus on Thanksgiving and do unit study? I have some lapbooks that you can download. I have included two to get you started. Just look over the activities and see which ones you would like to do with your family. I have activities for students all the way from preschool through high school.

Crafts and Art Activities: There are so many ideas that it can be overwhelming. I have only provided you with some we have done as well as a few websites.

Placemats– Make a placemat for each guest that will be attending dinner. Laminate them with contact paper so that the artwork is not destroyed with gravy. Start early on this if you have a large gathering so as not to overwhelm your artists. You can personalize the placemats or make general themes.

Click to enlarge

Thankful Wreath– Using fall colors, trace your children’s hands onto the paper and cut them out. Have each person tell you (if they are little) or write one thing they are thankful on each of the hands. Glue the fingers of one hand on to the palm of another hand. You will need to have several sets as you will want to form a wreath shape from the hands. If you have a larger number of children than you can accommodate for creating a wreath then you can make more or… you can make a wreath with construction paper¬†leaves¬†instead.

Thanksgiving coloring pages. Print off a few to take with you on the long car ride to Grandma if you are traveling.

How about a word find or crossword puzzle? There are several levels of difficulty that are given on this website.

Have you ever seen about.com? I have found them to be an excellent resource for topics we are studying. You are sure to find something on these two pages that you and your children will enjoy pertaining to puzzles and word finds.

Enchanted Learning has a variety of crafts, worksheets, and mini books to create for elementary students.

Here is a crossword puzzle for Bible: Psalms of Thanksgiving . You can use these verses for copywork as well.

History:

Research the first Thanksgiving.  Ideas about how to use this for school: Have student(s) narrate what they have read; ask comprehension questions about the passage; calculate how many years it was from the time of the first Thanksgiving until George Washington declared  a day of thanks.

Here is another site from Scholastic under the heading of Research Starters that has the history and additional websites to investigate. click here This website can be used for middle- senior high students.

Watch a video from the History Channel about Thanksgiving. (for older students) Accompanying the video are questions to answer.

There is quite a bit of information on this website about the Mayflower. You can read the original compact ¬†and also read it in Governor Bradford’s own handwriting by going here:¬†Mayflower Compact. Middle school students can narrate what they have read and answer questions such as: What was the purpose of the signing of the compact ? Why did all men sign and not women? Junior/senior high students can create their own compact. Consider why it would be important to include when beginning a new colony. ¬†Have them create a model of their colony.

Plimouth Plantation¬†(website with many things to do and see) I would recommend you to¬†go to ¬†Just for Kids, but don’t stop there because there is quite a bit to look at on this website. Older students can use this website to research topics.

Scholastic. com¬†has some fabulous resources that contain videos of the Pilgrim’s and Native American’s villages. There are also activities to accompany your unit. Click on the right hand side for activities, lessons, and worksheets.

Research how and when Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Books to Read:

Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Robert Clyde Bulla  Discuss how Squanto helped the Pilgrims. Squanto reminds me of another man who was ill-treated but turned it around for the good of a nation. His name was Joseph and you can read his story in the bible: Genesis chapters 37-50.  Older students can compare and contrast him to Squanto.

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh This is a nice read aloud for younger students.

Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey  This a great book for all ages as a read aloud for younger students and an assigned reader for older students. Older students can pick a few stories to highlight and tell to the family if everyone is not going to be reading it.

The If You series are books that my children and I found to provide details and factual information in an interesting format. Here are two that pertain to Thanksgiving:

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann DeVito

How about including a book report to accompany the reading? Here is a book report form from ABC Teach  thanksgiving book reports

Copywork/Dictation:

Students can copy these scripture passages on to a piece of notebook paper. Glue a piece of construction paper to the back to provide a frame. Hang up the masterpieces and memorize this month.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Older students: Use any of the documents listed above as a resource  for  copying such as the Mayflower Compact or the declaration of a day of thanks from George Washington.

Here’s a Thankfulness Character Study for your family. Click Here

Lapbooks:

Here is a lapbook for younger students to complete using the book Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92¬†by Karma Wilson. If you can’t find the book you can still use the psalm from your favorite translation.

Another lapbook from homeschool share based upon the book Goody O’Grumpity¬†by Carol Ryrie Brink. Even if you do not use the book that is recommended, you can still use the lapbook ideas.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!