Finishing Strong with your Homeschool

Hang in there! You are so close to finishing the school year. This last couple of weeks can be some of the toughest as you near the end of school. The finish line is in sight, just keep going!

You may be seeing that you have more textbook to finish than school days. Don’t panic. Here is something to consider: Will some of these topics be covered again next year? They most likely are since the first couple of lessons typically review previous concepts. If not, then concentrate on teaching this. You can also start your school year with things you didn’t finish this year if they are foundational. Many times you will see that the lessons towards the end of the year are review of what has been learned.

Switch up your schedule. Routine can get b-o-r-i-n-g. What about instead of doing math first you start with a read aloud or a baking lesson? I like the baking lesson because you can be learning about measurement, some chemistry, and fixing breakfast. 🙂

Reflect with your son/daughter what they have accomplished this year. Did they learn to read? Was division hard for them and now it is easier?

Countdown! Make a tear away calendar so that you and your child can count down the number of days you have left. It’s motivating to see there are fewer days and a break is in sight.

Celebrate with your child! Once you finish have one big We Did It day. Pack a picnic lunch, go to the park, and finish it off with a favorite dessert. Or, do whatever is fun for your family.

I am celebrating with you! Congratulations as you complete this school year. While assessments have been waived this year, I am still meeting virtually with families. If you are interested you can sign up by going to www.calendly.com/schoolmarmohio

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Cicadas

Homeschooling lends great opportunities to learn about the world around us in “real time”. If you live in the midwest, chances are that you will be affected by the 17 periodical insects also known as Brood X. So, instead of being scared or annoyed by these creatures, why not learn about them? Not only will it be a science lesson, but you can also have your child write about them, draw pictures, make an origami cicada, count how many they see (if you live in SW Ohio, there will be plenty to count, especially in older neighborhoods).

Cicada Information

I found some great resources for you to learn about these buggies. The Cincinnati Enquirer had an article that I found helpful to learn about hem. CLICK HERE

I also found a cicadas worksheet packet that includes a lapbook that you can use either for copywork or if you have younger students, they can cut the information out and glue onto the information tabs. Homeschool Den

You can help map the 2021 emergence of the periodical cicada Brood X by downloading a free app called Cicada Safari. You can learn more about it by going to their website: Cicada Safari. This website also has an origami cicada that you can make.

Try it, you’ll like it! Did you know you can eat them? According to what I read, “Periodical cicadas are best eaten when they are still white, and they taste like cold canned asparagus. Like all insects, cicadas have a good balance of vitamins, are low in fat, and, especially the females, are high in protein.” (source http://www.cicadasafari.org) Uh- no thank you!

For you insect enthusiasts who do not have any cicadas in your area, look on the map and see where they will be. Plan a road trip on a hot day and you can see and hear them. Choose an older park such as Ault Park (Cincinnati) to see them.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Exoskeletal shells of cicadas after they emerge.
adult cicadas

Considering Joining a Co-op?

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

It may seem like it’s a bit early to be considering joining a co-op for the coming year, but actually, now is the time to do so. If you wait until next fall it will be too late for you to join for most of them. I have a Co-op tab on the right hand side of my blog that has a list of all of the ones that I know that are in the Greater Cincinnati area. (I do have information on one out of town co-op as well.)

You may have some questions concerning co-ops. I hope to answer most of the questions you may have.

  • How old should my children be for us to attend? Co-ops have specific ages and grade levels. You don’t have to be in a co-op. Choose what is best for your family, not because other people are in a co-op.
  • What kind of co-op should I choose? Some are faith-based, and others are not. So, if that is something you feel is important, then be sure to look into that. Some offer classes for most subjects while others are more focused on science or fine arts. Remember, if the co-op doesn’t fit your family, then find other opportunities.
  • What days and times do they meet? Most meet once a week.
  • When does the co-op begin for the year? When does it finish?
  • What is your commitment to being in the co-op? Do you have to teach a class? How much volunteering do you have to do?
  • Is there a cost? Some co-ops offer sibling discounts or give you a free class if you teach.
  • Where is it located? My sons made lifetime friends at their co-ops because they did things outside of the days we met. It wasn’t too far from the house so it was easy to have friends over after co-op or meet other days.
  • Do they have something for you? I loved that we had a place for adults to visit because that is where I felt I made connections, asked schooling questions, and received support.

I hope these questions have helped you while you consider a homeschool co-op. Have a great week. ~Lisa~

End of the School Year Considerations

The end of the traditional school year is quickly approaching and you may be wondering what to do to finish the school year. Here are some things I liked to do when there were about six weeks left.

Check to see if all areas of study have been covered. If your child is still struggling with multiplication, then review over the summer with fun ways to continue to keep those facts fresh. (Concentration, matching product to problem, playing the card game War, race mom to see who can skip count fastest)

If there are still new concepts to be covered, then be sure to teach these before the end of the year.

Although assessments have been waived again this year, perhaps doing a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test or having a teacher assessment will give you guidance for next year and help you with decision making for next year.

End your year with a celebration! Your child(ren)has worked hard and so have you! The party can be planned by your daughter/son. it can be a simple dinner of pizza and a favorite dessert followed by a family movie or an activity. You can reflect on the year with accomplishments and areas that you saw progress. Everyone wants to feel that they are successful.

Consider assigning schoolwork over the summer. My sons would have to read and do some math several days a week. They could read books that interested them, sometimes it was comic books (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts), joke books, a book about an animal, etc. I allowed them to pick out what they wanted to read and no book reports were assigned. 🙂

Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~

2020-2021 Annual Assessment Waiver

I wanted to give you an update on the annual assessment that is required for homeschool families to continue educating their children for the subsequent year. On March 21, 2021, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 67 into law. This bill is an an extension of the annual assessment waiver that was enacted as an emergency measure for the 2019-20 school year. 

HB67 requires the ODE to seek federal waivers on the assessments that are federally required for these students. To extend assessment waivers to all students, the legislators have included a section to waive the academic assessment report for home educated students this year. This means that the academic assessment report will not be required when notifying for the 2021-2022 school year. They have also included language waiving the assessment requirement for Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship students. You can read the bill for yourself. HB67

While you do not need to do an assessment, I would suggest you continue to have your child assessed (a portfolio review or testing). There are some very valid reasons to do this and instead of me parroting what I feel are good points to do so, I suggest you read the Ohio Homeschooling Parents blog page. CLICK HERE

I appreciate all of you who have scheduled your review with me at this point. I will continue to do assessments for those who would like to have me review your child’s work. If you decide to cancel, please delete your appointment. It will notify me and you won’t have to do anything further. If I do not get the opportunity to see you this year, have a great school year and I will see you next year.

~Lisa~