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6 Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Convention

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.32.57 pmThe Ohio 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~

 

Election Resources for Children

Every first Tuesday after the first Monday in November we have the opportunity and civic duty to vote for our government officials. I am thankful that we live in a country where we have that right. As part of teaching Social Studies, you could teach about the election process and have your daughter/son learn about our government. When you go to vote, why not consider giving them a firsthand experience by going to the polling place with you.

How Voting Works is packed with a plethora of information. It even has an option to have the page read aloud and a ten question quiz at the end. There are additional resources about the government that your pupil can learn about should you wish.

Congress for Kids is a site that has everything about elections, from Election Day all the way through to Inauguration Day. There are videos and book lists (fiction and nonfiction) too for your student.

Duck for President is a fun way to learn about the election process. This website has a video of the book too.  If you are interested in doing a lesson or want more ideas for the book, Duck for President, Scholastic has some great ideas.

May the best candidates win! ~Lisa~

Overcoming Procrastination

I have a stack of tri-fold boards to grade and I am just stuck on getting them graded. It isn’t that I don’t want to do them, I am frozen in knowing that there are over 30 to grade this weekend and it is going to take hours.

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So, I just avoid the stack and think of a million more things I can do instead of grading them. Things like answering emails or writing a blog post… 🙂 Have you ever been stuck like I am right now? Here is what I am going to do to stop pushing off this task.

  1. Write down what I have to do. Grade boards, enter grades on the grade book website.
  2. Take the first step. Gather up supplies needed. (timer, grading rubrics, a pencil, a marking pen, computer)
  3. Set the timer for 60 minutes and begin grading the first board. This is the only way for me to stay focused on a task like this one that I know is going to take a long time. Other projects require different ways of tacking things. For instance, house cleaning. I clean all of the bathrooms and then I dust and vacuum, and then I sweep and wash the kitchen floor.
  4. Do the next thing. I will grade the next board and the next… Think of your task broken into smaller pieces. I am estimating that I can grade ____ number of boards in an hour. I have no idea how many that will be as some are easier to grade than others, but I do like to make sure I am aware of time so I don’t dawdle over one particular board since I have previously looked at them.

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This is my helper, Oreo, checking to see if I graded correctly.

5. After the timer goes off I will get up and move! Shake the legs, get a drink of water, put in a load of laundry, etc.

6. Get back to the task at hand! Set the timer for another hour and grade more boards. Enter the grades into the grade book. If you cannot devote hours at a time to a task, then break it into 10-15 minute segments of time. You will feel sooo much better once you have started on your task rather than avoiding it.

Things to consider:

  • Putting on some music to help you focus. ( I sometimes listen to instrumental music if a lot of brain power is not required.)
  • Rewarding yourself once the task is completed.
  • Sit back and look at what you have accomplished. If it was a monumental task, take a picture of what you did. No one needs to see the picture but yourself. 🙂 I sometimes do that as a reminder that I DID accomplish more than what I thought I could do to help me conquer the next task.

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After just an hour I only have 12 more boards to grade! Huzzah!

Guess what? I have more than 30 more boards from my other class to grade this week too! Looks like I will be applying this strategy all over again. 🙂

Have a great week of teaching! ~Lisa ~

 

5 Steps to Organizing Homeschool Paperwork

At this point of the year, you probably have completed several weeks of school and if you are not filing papers, there may be a pile of your scholar’s graded work growing taller each week in a corner of the schoolroom. Believe me, I struggle with this myself! This is currently what I have on my desk. It’s a manageable pile right now, but if I don’t clean it up you know what’s going to be happening. It’s going to look like a mountain in a short time.

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Here are the steps I am going to take so that I can organize those papers and get them off my desk (hopefully).

1. Determine a place for each paper. Use binders and triple hole punch the papers. You can add tabs if you wish that would be according to month quarter, or semester. I find it easier to organize by subject, but you can do it however you wish.

2. Determine the number of papers you are going to keep. Do you have too many papers? After you have checked your daughter’s or son’s work, decide which papers highlight the week. If you are doing a portfolio review/assessment, save the papers that show your student is: learning a concept, or is developing knowledge of the content, and/or papers that show mastery. As I stated previously, keeping the papers in one large binder or separate binders with the subjects labeled will help keep things organized. You do not need to keep every single piece of paper. Now, if your student is working in a workbook, use a bin to hold your workbooks or a shelf on which to keep them.

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As you can see from the picture, my bookshelf has some shelves that are taller than others, so I have a mixture of binders and books. The other thing that I am not showing you is that it is located in a clothes closet so that I can hide my binders. My husband and I share a small office space and he is much neater than I am. I try to keep my things from spilling into his space. 🙂

3.  File papers often. Do not wait until you have a pile that is so high that you just pick it all up and throw it in the recycling bin. Although, that is extremely tempting to do, isn’t it?

4. Make filing and organizing a part of your daily routine. If you do this every day then there won’t be a pile! If you do not have time to do it, then have your daughter or son file those papers. You can show her/ him where you would like the papers to be kept and, “Wa!La!” it is finished. Not only is there not a pile of papers, but you are teaching important household and organization tips that will serve them well for a lifetime.

5. Take pictures! If you have lots of artwork or projects, display them for a time and then let your child know that you are going to take a picture so that you always have a record of what they have done. You can create a photo collage at the end of the year that will be memorable.