Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Craft Day!

Wondering what to do this summer?  Have a craft day.  

When my girls were little (and even now) we had craft boxes.  Cheap Rubbermaid-style boxes we got from Wal-Mart.  We filled one with all our painting supplies, one with Play Dough & clay, another with beads and elastic, one with papers and scissors, etc.  They grew and changed as the girls' interests changed.  It was easy to pull out a box and they even learned to clean up after themselves.  (Sometimes after a little reminding.)

If you're running short on ideas, go visit The Crafty Crow.  This blog is full of GREAT ideas.  Many are easy and use things you probably already have around the  house.

Here's your homework for today:  Pull out all your art & craft supplies to see what you already have.  Organize them into small plastic bins.  Show your kids where they are and teach them to pull them out (after asking you, of course) and put them up by themselves.  There'll be a lot of BTS sales the next few weeks so keep an eye out for markers, paints, pens, & pencils that you can add to your art boxes.  Have fun... get messy!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

We love libraries

We have gone to a local library almost every week since before my kids could even read!  Summers are great times to get acquainted with your library.  Most have a summer reading program with GREAT prizes.  Jordann isn't too old yet and she has already finished the requirements for our library's program.  She won a paperback book, pass to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, a free pizza, stickers, and a temporary tattoo.  

Your homework:  Take your kids to the library on a really hot day.  Get a big stack of books and camp out on the floor for a while enjoying the cool air and reading to each other.  Let them pick a few books to take home

Saturday, July 5, 2008

First Step: Are YOU Ready?

This should be something you should think about even before becoming a parent, but especially before you start homeschooling. This step isn’t “Do you have your curriculum?” or “Do you have a lesson plan?”, but “Are YOU spiritually ready to homeschool your children?”

As someone who has been through it I’m going to be honest with you. Homeschooling is NOT the easy way out. It will be hard. There will be days that you want to give up. There will be times you’ll get angry with your kids.

If you’re thinking about homeschooling, stop planning and start with prayer. Here are some other things to think about:

Can you put what YOU want aside for 12+ years and focus on what is best for your family?
Your home won’t look like the magazines. Can you deal with science experiments in the kitchen, art projects on the dining table, charts on the wall, etc?

This verse is one I turned to again and again during our homeschool years... and STILL do today! Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

More questions:
Are you and your husband on the same page?
Does he support homeschooling COMPLETELY?
Have you talked together about how this will affect you financially? (Does he agree that you won’t work or maybe just work part-time? Have you included homeschool in your budget?)

Here’s your homework: Pray. Pray with your husband. If your children are old enough pray with them about the decision, too. Ask God especially for wisdom, patience, and humility. Be prepared for Him to provide opportunities for you to practice your patience and humility!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First Entry in My New Blog

I've been thinking about this for a while. Starting a new blog. Just what I need to fill in all my free time, right? But I've realized lately that I have a lot of information that would be really useful to moms just starting out on their homeschooling adventures. Ours is over now... although you really never stop learning at home!

For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you about our homeschooling adventure.

We have 2 girls and my dh has been a pastor or church staff member for most of his adult life. We're both in our early 40s (no exact ages... lol). When my oldest was a baby I started reading The Beginner's Bible to her every night. When she was about 2 1/2 years old she suddenly started recognizing words in the book and reading along with me. I was amazed. I didn't know that was possible! When she was around 3 I had a couple of friends that homeschooled and I thought that would be a great thing for our dd.

DH didn't think so. Not until he met a family in one of our churches while we lived in Illinois. They were the most respectful children we had ever met. They greeted us at the door when we came to their home, helped their parents serve us, were excited to share their latest piece of art or book they'd been reading, and wanted us to sing along to the Veggie Tales with them. They were so fun and so smart. He (dh) started to think that maybe we should try it too.

So I started the research. LOTS of research. If you're currently thinking about homeschooling, you know what I mean. There's sooooooo much out there! There wasn't quite as much 15 years ago but it still kept me busy for several months. (And I still have notebooks full of notes that I took and will be sharing those on this blog as I come across them.)

We began the adventure with The Weaver Curriculum in Kindergarten. We moved on to the Sonlight Curricululm after that. I can't tell you how much fun we had those first few years. Or how much they both learned -- even though the younger dd wasn't officially 'schooling.'

We continued a rather eclectic homeschool method through elementary -- no textbooks, lots of real LIVING books (I'll explain that later, too.), hands on activities, experiments, field trips, gardening, housework, travel, etc. Math was the only subject we had a textbook for.

We started adding more textbooks in 5th grade -- Abeka, Bob Jones, Saxon, etc. (We really like Bob Jones!) And we joined a couple of co-ops during those years.

High school brought about some BIG changes. A move to California, where laws were different so we joined an umbrella school where all the students were homeschooled. Took some classes taught by other moms in the group -- incredible. Worked on the yearbook, talent nights, band at a local private school who allowed homeschool kids, and classes at the local community college.

Last year was our first ever to NOT have anyone at home for school during the day. It was very different. I have to say *easier* for mom! lol... But I wouldn't trade those homeschool years for anything!

I assumed that chapter of my life was over. But I still have people asking me about homeschooling. And now my younger sister is just starting out with her two little ones. It feels like that was soooo long ago for me. But since I've been through it and have the notes to prove it I thought I should have a place to share them. I do have a website for some of the curriculum that I wrote and sell, but blogging is so much easier than keeping up with the website! I may just give up the website and blog everyday for the rest of my life.. lol!

So, if you're reading this please let me know. And feel free to ask me questions. I'll answer if I can or point you to someone who can. Hopefully not every post will be this long. And I want to share photos, too, so you'll have something interesting to look at. The blog looks pretty boring right now, huh?