Taking a Break from Homeschooling

Stopping to enjoy the summer, relaxing and becoming rejuvenated will do worlds of good for you and your homeschool. I know the temptation is to dive right into looking at catalogs and begin to think about the next year. But, what about taking a mental vacation for a while?  How about doing something you enjoy or doing something that will encourage you? If you like to read, this book comes highly recommended and I just ordered it for myself!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie is a great encouragement to us. This short book has words of wisdom to help in the homeschool journey.


Do you like to cook or bake? What about trying out a new recipe or baking a batch of your favorite cookies? I got an Instant Pot and have been trying out some recipes this summer. Since I am not teaching and have a little more free time right now, I have been looking at recipes to make. I am not so harried in trying to get something on the table between school and trying to spend quality time with my hubby in the evenings. Can you relate? ūüôā

If you are not sure where to look for ideas,  All Recipes has a bazillion recipes to try. You can also do a google search if you have particular foods or diets to consider and you will find more food blogs that you can possibly go through in one day. How about treating yourself to an hour a day of reading food blogs? You are bound to find at least one or two that are just the kind of cook you are for you to follow. I like to check out Smitten Kitchen for vegetarian dishes.

Maybe you would like to concentrate on getting in shape. There are free apps to help you with that. Here are the ones I have on my phone currently:

  • My Fitness Pal- This can be used to be a daily food and water journal, record your workouts and the calories burned. It can also set up a plan to help you lose weight and measure your progress.
  • Cylemeter or Map My Ride- these measures how far you bike, the elevation, how many calories you burned (yay!), etc.
  • Daily Workout Apps- This free app has routines for abs, arms, butt, cardio, legs, and full workout.

What about your personal relationships with friends and hubby? Just getting to talk to another adult is a vacation in itself when you have been with your children every day. I know you love them beyond measure, but I always appreciate my children more when I have a break from them.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get together. Does your city have free summer concerts? What about grabbing a frozen yogurt or a cup of coffee? How about reading a book and then discussing the parts you enjoyed? You can always rent a movie and pop some popcorn. If you are looking for movie reviews for you or your family, Plugged In is produced by Focus on the Family and I appreciate their help in making informed decisions with movies and other media.

Have a great, relaxing week! ~Lisa ~

Terrific Teacher Award



Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.25.14 AMAnd the award for Teacher of the Year goes to… Y-O-U! Yes, you deserve a terrific teacher award. You may not feel like that, but I can assure you that you are a great homeschool teacher. My criteria for selecting you are as follows:

Dedication¬†You have spent countless hours perusing, pondering, and purchasing the curriculum and programs that you think are best for your child(ren). What is at the heart of each item you have chosen is the love you have for your son/daughter. “Is this a good fit? Will this best help my child learn?” are questions that are asked repeatedly as you go through this process or curricula selection. You are the champion of your daughter and her education. She could have no one better than you for her teacher.

Preparation¬†Lesson plans are made or have been purchased, studied, and executed each week. You have been the overseer of your family’s academic studies, which includes keeping track of all of the extracurricular activities (church, play dates, doctor appointments, co-ops,¬†sports, plays, performances, etc.).

Hard working You make sure the family arrives at the breakfast table, eats, takes care of hygiene needs, gets dressed, do their beds, and starts school. I could stop right there, but I know you also go grocery shopping, make meals, do the laundry, clean the house, referee disputes, negotiate peaceful solutions, are a nurse practitioner, dietician, and cheerleader. (Go Team!!)

Excellence I know you don’t settle for second best. You expect and encourage your son to do his best, facing difficulties and supporting him when things are tough. Whether that is handwriting, writing a story, tackling those tough math problems, or navigating the ups and downs of relationships, you have done it all with love and care. You have been chosen to be his mother and there is no one better suited for the job and responsibility!

I want to thank you for serving your family, for teaching subjects you love (or hate lol) and being a terrific teacher. You deserve this award! Can you hear me clapping , cheering, and shouting “Hurray!”? I am!

Love, Lisa

Teaching Multiple Children: Health, Safety

Health and Safety do not need to be taught to your individual children, rather, I believe they are best taught with a group of students if you are able to do so.  Since these subjects are key to preventing accidents and illness you can go through the topics altogether without repeating. This saves you time and frees you up to do other things.

Washing hands,¬† covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and throwing away tissues are topics that can easily be discussed concerning disease prevention. If you want to reinforce the concepts of stopping diseases from spreading, how about swabbing areas where germs grow? You and the children can make a list of best possible places to gather samples such as door handles, the toy box, toys, the kitchen table, the refrigerator handle and anywhere else you think there would be a colony of germs that your children touch. That’s really everything, isn’t it? lol¬† It is fascinating, memorable, and a bit scary to see what grows in a petri dish.¬† Amazon has bacteria science kits or you can purchase just the agar if you already have petri dishes. (Click on picture for link.)51ilbwrYKPL._AC_US400_QL65_

Magic School Bus has several episodes on the human body and one in particular called Inside Ralphie that is about what happens to your body when you become ill. Click on the picture to see the 20 minute episode. Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 6.40.21 AM.png

Get out the crayons and markers for your children to create posters on preventing the spread of disease or staying healthy to display in your classroom or house.

Safety is a topic that is something you “teach” on a regular basis. Let me give you some examples:

Kitchen safety– don’t touch a hot stove; turn in the handles of your pots and pans; use oven mitts, clean up water from the floor to avoid falling, etc.

How about Food Safety? This website has lots of activities for different ages. You can talk about food and then put it into practice by making a batch of cookies. Yum!

Bicycle and pedestrian safety– stop at stop signs; look both ways before crossing the street, bikes- go with the flow of traffic, pedestrians- against the flow, wear a helmet when riding your bike, etc. Here are some activity sheets to print out so that you can take them to your assessor for documentation.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety– lessons and activities for early elementary students.

Bicycle Safety Kit

Pinterest has a lot of worksheets from which to choose.

Internet Safety– if you have not yet purchased an internet filter and your children are using a computer, please do so. There is a LOT of trash out there and children are accidentally exposed to things just by doing searches. Disney Circle sounds like it not only has filters, but also controls for times to be able to use devices, etc. I would also think about keeping all computers in a central area of your home so that you can keep an eye on what is on the screen. I am not saying to hover over them and that your child is not trustworthy, but you want to protect those gifts as much as possible. ūüôā

Have a great day!

~ Lisa ~



Nature journals

Living here in Ohio is wonderful because we have four seasons and we can take advantage of the days by observing how plants, animals, and weather changes as the seasons pass. I think it is important for children to be outside as often as possible, for as long as possible.

One idea for your children to do something outside is to keep a nature journal. These journals are a way to not only observe, but also to write, take notes, draw, and respond to the world around them.  This can be done seasonally, weather permitting. I found some great resources to help you get started with this and explain it in more detail.

Keeping a Nature Journal, Clare Walker LeslieScreen Shot 2018-05-28 at 5.32.50 PM

Here is a blog post that describes what a nature journal is and how-to steps by Rhythms of Play

If you don’t have the time or inclination to make a journal, you can also purchase one. This is a nice journal to get you started. My Nature Journal: A Personal Nature Guide for Young People, Adrienne Olmstead

Nature journals can be for ALL ages, including you! You think you’d like to try it? Here are some ideas and tips that will come in handy! click here

One thing you will need in addition to a journal and items to sketch with and perhaps color are some pocket guides to have on hand or take along if you go somewhere. I have a variety of them ranging from wildflowers to rocks and minerals to animal tracks. In this electronic age, you can even get Ipod/smart phone apps such as bird or leaf identification. I love it! When I went out west my husband I took ibird with us and were able to identify scrub jays and ospreys. There were some small birds we were unsure of so we played the call of a warbler and you should have seen all the birds come near the feeder where we were for a closer look to see what strange bird was making that sound!

Here are some various paperback guides that are compact and lightweight. Golden Guides are easy and will help you get started with nature journaling. I only listed a few since there are many to choose from and it will depend upon what you want to study.


Reptiles and Amphibians


And here are resources to use when you get further along on your nature observations and identifications.

Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Comstock This book has been in use for a long time and has recently been reprinted. It has fantastic descriptions of the plants as well as observations that can be modeled for younger children by reading it aloud. This can be used independently by older students. Look at the Handbook of Nature Study blog that uses this book for its newsletters and ideas.

The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors, Ernest H. Williams- actual photographs and ecosystems where you would find them

Are your children unsure about how to draw something? Here are some books that will help get you started.

I Can Draw Animals, Ray Gibson (for beginning artists)

I Can Draw Animals, Tony Tallarico (for experienced artists)

Enjoy the nice days and feel to post a journal entry of what your naturalists (and you) chose to draw and study.

Teaching Multiple Children

“Which subjects are¬†good to teach that all my children can learn at the¬†same time?¬† How do I do it?” were questions that I was recently asked.¬† Some important things to consider are first, the subjects to teach.¬† Science, Social Studies, Health, Safety, Bible, and Read Alouds are broad enough in their¬†topics that you can do this most easily. Since this will be a lengthy post and I want to be sure and include resources for you, it will be broken into several posts. This week is concerning Science and Social Studies.

Second, and the most important idea, is HOW to do this. Experiments are the easiest, and I believe, the most effective way to teach science to multiple children. Who doesn’t like to get involved in gathering supplies, taking part in an experiment, and observing what happens? Little ones can help with the¬†gathering of supplies(not the handling of harmful chemicals of course!), your middle daughter/son can read the directions.¬† You, the instructor, can introduce the experiment, consider and discuss hypotheses, while your older daughter/son, if age appropriate, conducts the experiment.¬† Lab sheets can be filled out to varying degrees by those who can write (or draw pictures) and everyone can examine what happened. You can lead the discussion and oversee the cleanup.

Janice VanCleave has written excellent experiment books for all different ages. Not only does she explain the experiment in easy to understand terms, but they actually work! If you click on the picture, it will take you to the page with several of her titles. I have used several books in the Every Kid series, all the way up through 8th grade.



In regards to social studies, reading aloud the book you are studying can involve all of your children. This can be done in several ways. you could and have everyone draw a picture of the events that are taking place. They¬†could compile these pictures throughout the year to make a timeline.¬†(Scroll down to find the timeline template you like.) Be sure the dates¬†are recorded for each picture so they are in chronological order. ūüôā If your children are not interested in drawing, what about coloring a themed picture?

Raising Our Kids American History

Thought Co. Art History 

My Homeschool Printables History Coloring Pages

Do you have older students who enjoy coloring? I located free adult coloring sheets from museums around the world. (Some are cool, others are different, so be sure and peruse these and pick out what you feel is appropriate. The collections are below the picture of the scribe.) My Modern Met

Children enjoy dressing up, so what about having each student choose a historical figure to research and give facts about him/her? Your little ones can just say who they are, when they lived, and 1 or 2 facts about them. Your older children can research more details, give additional facts, the reason they chose this person, and their contribution or detriment to society.

Incorporating¬†technology could easily be accomplished by recording the children reciting facts gathered. Family and friends could enjoy seeing the children and leave comments should you post it privately on YouTube. If you have some that are shy, then what about them being figures in a “wax museum” and writing the facts to be read by you or an older sibling?

Can’t sew, don’t have time? Here is a website with ideas for simple no-sew costumes:¬†CLICK HERE¬† If your student would like to pick a broader category, then something as easy as a cowboy costume or Rosy the Riveter can be done when talking about the Great War.


You could not only consider this for history but also fine arts (sewing, designing costumes) and mathematics (logic and reasoning,¬†constructing the costume).¬†I would love to see your children’s costumes if you decide to do the historical character idea.



Have a great day!  ~ Lisa ~