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Record Keeping for your Homeschool

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Before your children throw away all of their schoolwork for the year, stop them! It is helpful to keep a record of what your child has done not only for posterity’s sake but in the event that the superintendent’s office should question whether your child attended school. I was given the advice many moons ago to keep records for three years.

Also, it is fun to look back over the years and see what your child has learned. I actually kept a labeled binder of schoolwork for each year and just stored it in the attic. One of the hardest things to do was to throw it away after my sons had graduated. lol Silly, I know, but there was a lot of blood, sweat, prayers, laughter, and tears in those binders!

So, what kind of things would I recommend you to keep for your records?

  • Samples of your student’s best work. Pages or narratives from the beginning, middle, and end of the year would show a representation of the year.
  • Photos of activities such as experiments, sports, plays, field trips, nature studies, gardening, projects that have been completed, artwork. The sky’s the limit!
  • Programs of concerts, plays, church programs, recitals, etc.
  • List of materials used and topics studied
  • Report cards/ grades if issued
  • A copy of the portfolio review assessment or testing scores
  • A general reading list of books completed.
  • School photos
  • Achievement awards
  • High school transcript

Optional :

  • A school calendar
  • Lesson plan book
  • List of extracurricular activities

In a separate binder:

I advise you to keep your yearly notification records separate from your student’s school binder. These documents should be kept in a safe place and photographed in the unlikelihood of something happening to your official paperwork.

  • A copy of the completed Home Education Notification Form
  • A copy of your list of textbooks
  • A copy of the portfolio review assessment or testing scores
  • A copy of the topics you are studying for the year
  • The signed receipt from the school (Send your notification form by registered mail with a registered receipt)
  • Your excusal letter from compulsory education

Have a great week! If you are in need of a portfolio review please contact me. I would love to serve you and your family and help you to meet the requirement to homeschool here in Ohio.

~Lisa~

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Ideas for Severe Weather

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Spring is upon us and the chance of severe weather is a possibility. So, why not take the time to prepare your family in case the electricity goes off or you need to go to the basement. I think being prepared ahead of time will be less stressful AND you can teach safety as well.

Make an emergency kit. Gather supplies and place them in a plastic bin with a lid. If you find you need to be in the basement waiting out a storm you can pass the time knowing that you have some supplies for the family. FEMA recommends the following items:

  • Waterproof matches
  • Candles
  • Protein bars or snack crackers
  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Plasticware, paper plates
  • A change of clothing for each person
  • Personal care products (toothbrush, deodorant, etc.)
  • Plastic bags- quart and gallon size
  • Add a deck of cards or a travel game to the bin for you to play in case you need to be in the room for a long period of time.
  • Have a blanket and pillow and/or a sleeping bag so that you can be comfy.

School Ideas (safety and other subjects):

  • Create the emergency kit together. Have your child gather the clothes, food supplies, etc.
  • Discuss the importance of seeking shelter during a storm.
  • Show your son or daughter where a good place would be to go to in the event of a severe storm. Practice going there and turning off the lights to simulate failed electricity.
  • Have you or your child look at a map to locate tornado alley.
  • Identify cloud types
  • Discuss what creates a thunderstorm, a severe storm, and a tornado

Be Safe! ~Lisa~ 

 

 

Homeschooling with Real Books

Homeschooling with real books (library/trade books) is much more interesting than exclusively using a textbook. The use of literature can be used to introduce, develop, or reinforce a concept that you are teaching. You may totally agree with me and are getting excited about doing this, but then comes the next thought, “Where do I begin? What books would I use?”

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books by Kristin Draeger is just such a resource you need! Kristin shares her personal homeschool experience of how she created this 120+ page list of books, games, puzzles, videos, and music.  I appreciate that she has created such a fantastic open-and-go reference guide. She has taken the time to do this so that you can do other things! Kristin has categorized the books into the subjects of math, science, history/ geography, literature, grammar, and art history. She has also created subcategories of books for students K-3 and 4th-8th grade.

I love that Kristin has included extras for your student like this CD (or streaming option) that is about addition, skip counting, and money, but also includes some art, history, and information about space.

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Math games are a terrific way to practice what has been taught without the use of yet another worksheet. Kristin recommends this logic game and I second it as my sons had this when they were young. It is compact and comes with a travel bag so that it can be played in the car or taken to doctor’s appointments. If you’d rather not take it out, it can be used as a culminating activity after your math lessons. If you click on the picture, you not only see the game, but you can watch a short video on the webpage on how it is played.

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books is a great deal at just $10.00. This is one book that I think you would return to time and again for ideas for your library trips or stock your own library shelves with real books.

  • Note- Kristin mentions the Kratt brothers  Zoboomafoo series. You can click on the highlighted link to watch these science programs for your K-3 grader since they were not released onto DVD.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

6 Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Convention

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.32.57 pmThe Midwest Homeschool Convention is just around the corner! (April 25-27, 2019) Perhaps you are wondering why you should attend a convention. After all, it costs money and takes up time. If you are just wanting to go to look at curricula, it won’t cost you to attend on Thursday evening. This will save you money, which of course, is a great thing! But, unless you have a list of items you know you want to purchase you may want to attend the convention for the weekend. I have found the convention to meet many needs (and wants).

  • You can actually look at the curricula. There can be such a buzz about a certain curriculum, but you just don’t know if you should purchase it or if it would work for your student(s). I have been all ready to place an order and then gone to the convention only to find out that once I have seen it that it wouldn’t work with my sons. I have also found some cool books and curricula that wasn’t even on my radar!
  • You can save money. Instead of paying shipping and handling you can purchase your books and take them home with you! Some vendors have convention deals, saving you even more money. 🙂
  • You can hear great speakers. It’s nice to listen to well-recognized authors and get their perspective, thoughts, and philosophy of homeschooling. It might be the same as yours, but it also might challenge you to change your thinking.
  • You are encouraged and empowered. When you attend a convention you realize that there are many others who are homeschooling as well. You and your children are not the only ones! There are lots of workshops to attend on a wide variety of topics.
  • You can talk directly to the authors or salespeople. It’s great to be able to talk to those who are familiar with their products and can help you determine whether that particular curriculum program or extras ( for example- a science kit) will be a good fit.
  • It’s a time for y-o-u! I have attended the convention with my husband at other times have just gone with my girlfriends. Both have been a lot of fun and have given me a boost to finish the year strong and to look forward to the next year.

You can register now! Here is the link to do so-> Great Homeschool Conventions

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

 

 

Schooling During Busy Times

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 6.52.36 AMSometimes our schedules get so busy that school can feel rushed, leaving us feeling harried. So, how do we teach with joy and peace in the midst of the busyness?

Praying is what I have found to be the best way for me to get things in perspective. I can be anxious and fretting about things, but after I pray I realize that God cares about me and what I am going through. He has the answers and that quiets my mind and helps me to think more clearly.

Making a list of what needs to be done gives me a broad view of my day/ week and helps me prioritize. For instance, I may want to accomplish these activities in one day: do the laundry, teach school, go to the library, post office, and the grocery store, call my friend, tutor, make dinner, clean the kitchen, and get gas for the car.  The four things on my list that I must do and cannot put off for another day are teaching, tutoring, making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. I can call my friend after lunch or when I am prepping dinner. I can do the laundry, get gas, and run errands tomorrow. I like lists because I can see what tasks are there and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when they are completed.

Writing out a schedule helps me to see if all of the things that I want to do can actually be accomplished. Don’t you find that your list of To Do’s is nearly always longer than how many hours are in the day? I am not saying you have to keep a schedule of time down to the minute but having a general idea of things helps. In my experience, I have come to realize that it takes longer to accomplish things than what I had alotted and so I try to add a margin of time if possible. It’s a bonus if I get things done and still have some “free” time. I feel like I won some kind of prize!

Getting help when you are feeling overwhelmed is beneficial to you and your family. Homeschooling can be draining and at times overwhelming. I have been there! January and February were the hardest months in our school year. Our anniversary is in late December and I can remember one year crying in the parking lot of Outback Steakhouse (on one of our few date nights). I was asking, nearly pleading with Dale if we could consider putting our sons in school. It was that kind of year, my friends! What a way to celebrate our anniversary, huh? We talked about what was making me feel that way and I came to the conclusion that I could use some extra help. I called a friend and she offered to keep the boys for an afternoon. This was such a generous and much-needed act of kindness that really helped me when I was at a low point. I would encourage you that if you are feeling this way, reach out and ask for some help. Is there a friend that you could trade one afternoon where she keeps the kids and the next week you do that for her? You might even feel ambitious and do a mini-lesson with the kids. Certain projects are better done with a group than just with our children. There may be a high schooler who would love to sit with your beginning reader or do an art project with them. You could pay them or make them a batch of cookies. That is money well spent!

Making time for yourself helps you and ultimately, your homeschooling. When I feel pulled in so many different directions I get grumpy. A couple of weeks ago I was stretched to the limit on time and commitments and, oh, was I was frazzled! My husband and I were pulling out of the driveway on our way to church and the garage door opener refused to close. I jumped out of the car, manually entered the code for the door, trudged back to the truck and plopped angrily into the seat.  “What’s wrong?” my husband inquired. “I am tired!” I retorted. “Do you want to stay home today?” he asked. “Yes!” I responded without hesitation. So, Dale opened up the garage door, parked the car in its spot and I went and took a two-hour nap! Boy, did I need that and everyone was much happier that I took that nap. 🙂 Find something that will recharge you, whether that is taking a nap; drinking a cup of coffee; calling a friend; taking a walk, or listening to some music, do it! That activity will help you and give you the energy needed to accomplish the other things you need to do.

Have a great and relaxing week! ~Lisa~