We are so excited about next week’s Back 2 Homeschool virtual conference! There are so many great sessions coming straight to your home, so you can enjoy them the day they are initially released or any day after that since you’ll have lifetime access to all the recordings and resources. See what you can expect to receive each day next week if you have registered for the Back2Homeschool conference. Haven’t done that yet?? What are you waiting for? The price for a ticket is $19 this weekend only– after that, it goes up to $25! Click here to register today!We’ll start sending out the SWAG bag of goodies and the link to the virtual exhibit hall on Sunday night, and the first sessions will be released on Monday morning. It’s almost time for us to have our Back2Homeschool homeschool mom (and dad!) fun!!
Ready or not, the time for starting up the regular routine of homeschool is almost upon us (unless you are one of the many who homeschool year round, so you’re well into your routine already!) :) For the rest of us, back to homeschool time is one of the more exciting few weeks of the year. The prep work is fun; our kiddos are as excited as we are to start the new year; and the whole new homeschool year lies ahead of us full of incredible opportunities with no mistakes in it yet. What an amazing time!!
As part of our celebration of back to homeschool this year, I want to make sure you have plenty of resources to encourage your heart and inspire you as you kick off this brand new adventure. For those of us who have followed God’s call to home education, the opportunities that lie ahead of us are immense– and wonderful. Just think of the discussions that await us… the discipleship opportunities that will happen every day… the incredible blessing of watching those we love most gain new knowledge and understanding of the world around us … and so much more. We are truly most blessed!
Sometimes, though, heading back to homeschool comes with a bit of trepidation and fear. Satan likes to remind us of failures of days gone by. He tries to make us believe we are ill-equipped, ill-educated, ill-prepared for the task at hand. Yet, we can rest assured that God will never call us to do anything that He will not also equip us to do– and to walk with us through it.
“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Phillipians 4:6-7
So, for this back to homeschool, go into it with lots of encouragement and inspiration for your heart as the leader of your tribe. Then, go forth, laser-focused on the mission at hand and with expectation of the many ways God will grow both you and your children in the days ahead. I hope I get to hear all about your adventures in the days ahead. Make sure you connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and other social media platforms, so we can all encourage one another day in and day out.
Quick Start Guide For A Great Back To Homeschool.This video, featured on Teach Them Diligently 365, gives you some solid instruction and tips whether you are just starting to homeschool this year, or you have been homeschooling for many years. There are 3 things in my quick start guide that I think will be incredibly helpful for you– check it out to see if you agree with me! (While you’re there, you should check out all the TTD365 has to offer! It would be a great addition to your homeschool year, featuring access to more than a thousand audio recordings and over a hundred video mini-workshops, there is more than enough to get you encouraged and focused on your mission all year long!)
This year, we are so excited to be presenting the Back2Homeschool virtual conference to help us all be more ready than ever to get back in the swing of things and ready for the new homeschool year at hand. That conference features more than 50 amazing speakers, and more than 65 helpful workshops– all that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home ANYTIME you need a little encouragement and help! This week (July 15-21,) you can get your ticket for that conference for only $19!! After that, the cost is only $25– still an incredible deal. BUT, act soon, because once the conference ends on July 26th, you won’t be able to get a ticket anymore. Click here to learn more and get your EARLY BIRD ticket for only $19 now!
Summer is a great time to hang out outside with your friends and family. But on those days where you are stuck inside, summer boredom can sometimes set in. Here is a list of a few boredom busters for you and your children.
Have your kiddies head outdoors and find as many smooth rocks as they can. Have them color the rocks all over with as many creative designs as they can think of. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven (while kids are coloring) to 225 degrees and place rocks all over a baking sheet for about 3 minutes. The results are really neat and worth trying. The wax melts but doesn’t come off if you let them cool completely. I found this fun boredom buster over at The Country Cottage Chic.
Make Homemade Gak
This boredom buster is great for those gloomy rainy days or those days when the heat of the day is just too much for you to want to be outside in it.
Have you ever made Gak? It’s a ton of fun and kids will get a kick out of it. You can even make a variety of colors for a more stimulating experience. Ingredients are easy to come by. We found a great recipe on Lil Luna All you need is:
*large mixing bowl *Two bottles of Elmer’s Glue *1 Tsp. of Borax *Water *Plastic Cup *Food Coloring
If you and your family are on a strict budget but want to find fun and free activities to do with your family, have you ever tried geocaching? This one I have never done but would love to give a try. My brother in law and his family do it often. It sounds pretty intriguing. What exactly is geocaching? It’s basically like a treasure hunt and a popular outdoor recreational activity. Here is an accurate description as by Wikipedia:
“A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.” ~Wikipedia
This looks like a boredom buster blast! Basically, all you will need for this fun activity are cake pop container, balloons, mini marshmallows, and scissors. Now, what do you do? Cut the bottom part of your plastic cup, tie a knot at the end of a balloon….want more details? Visit Coffee Cups and Crayons for more details.
We’d love to hear from you! What fun things is YOUR family doing this summer to do away with any summer boredom? Leave a comment below, and
Ever since I was younger, I have loved the Fourth of July. It is one of the only times in the year where fireworks are blazing and hotdogs are eaten in dozens (and I absolutely LOVE hot dogs!) I am also fascinated by fun facts, so I was particularly excited when I learned all of this about the special day that we celebrate as the birthday of America. How many of these fun facts did you already know? Perhaps your children can impress all your relatives with their new-found facts when you’re all together celebrating this July 4th!
8 Fun Fourth of July facts
The Declaration of Independence was not fully signed until August 2nd.
Massachusetts was the first state to recognize Independence Day. (Good job Massachusetts.)
Other Countries also celebrate July 4th. Including England, Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden.
We eat about 150 million hotdogs on the 4th of July.
Independence day was not recognized as a national holiday until 1870.
3 US Presidents have died on July 4th. (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe,)
Fireworks have been used to celebrate our independence basically since the beginning.
Americans spend $167.5 million on watermelon each year on July 4th.
How does your family celebrate the Independence Day? Here are 10 creative ways to make it fun– and to give you something to work on all week!
Homeschooling is a wonderful, worthwhile journey, but even the most experienced homeschool parents sometimes need a bit of advice or encouragement. Here are 11 tips for success.
Start with prayer. Even if you don’t do Bible class first, start each day with prayer. You can lead it or take turns praying aloud.
Incorporate multiple learning styles. Abeka’s curriculum and workbooks incorporate the different learning styles, but feel free to add more learning games, reading out loud, experiments, etc. Taking advantage of the different styles of learning (hearing, seeing, and doing) creates a well-rounded education and improves retention.
Stay organized. The best way to stay on track is to stay organized. Keep a daily planner of goals to achieve by the end of each lesson. Jot everything down, from schoolwork to household chores. To encourage focus, try to keep your school space organized, too.
Work with a mentor. Look to other homeschool parents for advice and help. As you get more experience yourself, look for someone you can mentor.
Join a homeschool group. Join with other homeschoolers or co-ops in your area to provide support for each other. Along with offering teaching resources, these groups give your children a chance to socialize with others.
Don’t take on too much. Saying yes to too many extracurriculars can leave you and your kids tired and overwhelmed. Participate in what really matters to your family, and evaluate your commitments throughout the year to see if something should go.
Tackle the hard subjects first. If your children are struggling with certain subjects, such as math or science, teach those in the morning when everyone is more alert. Save the easier subjects for later in the day.
Keep it fun. Look for creative ways to make learning fun. Younger children might enjoy having dolls or stuffed animals in the classroom. You can ask these other “students” questions and have your child answer for them in different voices. Video your older children pretending to be news anchors as they deliver “news” that might correspond with a history lesson or book report.
Take breaks. There will be times when you and your children get frustrated. Don’t be discouraged! Take a break. Go outside for some sunshine and fresh air, get a snack, or play a game together.
Realize the curriculum is there to serve you. Use it as a guide instead of a master. You’re in control of your homeschooling, not your lesson plans or suggested daily schedule.
Plan ahead. Start looking ahead to college when your children are in 9th grade. Begin preparing transcripts, taking note of your children’s interests, and even making college visits.
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When my boy was little I learned he had a “quality time love language”. Naturally homeschooling was a perfect fit to fill up his love tank since we were side-by-side all day long. All.Day.Long.
I even discovered lap-booking was perfect for the quality time child, so we did them. However, once we started middle school he hated them.
I was still reading lesson directions oblivious to the eye rolls. I found myself putting away books and materials frustrated he didn’t help me clean up. I was planning out his daily schedule and he would complain he hated doing math “first”. He would ask me how to cook something, and I would just lecture rather than let him try.
Middle School encourages independence.
Independence grows best with some space. I am a slow learner. It took me a little while to figure this out. Our sweet time together turned into sour moods and bickering because I was unaware of his growing independence. Truth be told, I was inadvertently stifling it.
One day I saw a picture of him on my own Instagram account that I felt the scales fall from my eyes. He looked so big. So grown up. He didn’t look like my baby toe-head anymore. He looked like a young man, but I was not treating him like one.
So I started off with this new independence thing all wrong. “Go ahead and get your work done.” I told him over breakfast. No direction. No expectation. Just a flip of the hand and smile. I was so proud of myself for being so fun.
No surprise he doodled superheroes in his math book for an hour, failed a writing assignment because he neglected to read the directions, couldn’t find his science book, and ended the day overly frustrated. We were both mad at each other.
Middle School is not high school or even college. Just give a little space a little at a time. No one throws the keys at a young driver without a lesson in the parking lot.
You do not have to …
hover over a middle school student ~ check in often! plan every activity ~ offer some suggestions and allow them to pick something. read every word ~ point out where the directions are to be found. check everything ~ allow them the opportunity to grade/edit their own work.
Successful activities of growing independence will lead to great self confidence.
But if we constantly do the work for them we are only hurting them in the long run. We owe that to our children!
If you have a child who is not yet mature and needs more direction, give it to them! Do not compare to what other kids their age are doing. Everyone is different with unique gifts and talents.
Keep evaluating how they are doing and give them a bit more independence or scale back if it is too much.
It is very important to know your child (and how different they are from their siblings). Give your middle school student some space to grow into who God made them.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
Make your plans to join us at Teach Them Diligently Conventions this spring to learn more about helping your homeschool student.
January can be one of the hardest months to get through schooling. By now the hoopla of the holidays are over and we are staring January square in the face. The Christmas tree is finally down, and it’s time to settle back into our homeschooling schedule. The grunts and groans are not only coming from the kids, we feel it too.
One of sport’s greatest strategies is to play each player to his strengths. If Harry can hit well, don’t put him as catcher. If Tom can run, put him in the outfield. Let the New Year work for you by switching things up:
Add something new to your homeschool.
Do something different.
Switch up the schedule.
Play to the strengths of being inside more.
Start (or join) a co-op or a book club.
Make tents and as a reward, let them do their school work underneath it.
Have a Hot Chocolate Dreaming Party next to the fireplace.
Plan a slumber party in the living room on a Friday night and talk about family bucket list living This term has expanded in recent years to include goals for certain time frames, such as before I grow up, etc. Kids love to feel that their contributions count and what better way to bond together as a family than to help each other fulfill dreams.
Maryalice Leister at MyKidsAdventures.com encourages families to write down their list so they will have options ready at a moment’s notice. Put their dreams in a jar, write them on a poster, or attach clothespins onto a bucket.
It’s true our kids would much rather be outside building a snowman than studying books. Why not play to its strengths? Study snow, measure snow, taste snow, make snow cones, snow forts, snowmen, chart weather patterns, study Alaska, Iceland, Sweden.
One of my favorite January boosts is to have a Snowman Party! We decorate the house by hanging homemade snowflakes and paper chains. We make fun snowflake stars and bake snowman treats. We invite friends over to share in the fun! Before you know it January will take on new meaning and everyone can settle happily into the New Year.
Jan May is author of New Millennium Girl Books: Christian mid-grade novels for girls and interactive creative writing books that hook even the reluctant writers! She is also a fifteen year homeschool veteran and creative writing teacher. Jan enjoys igniting creativity in children and believes that given the right tools and encouragement, any child can write and love it! Check out her blog.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
This winter was a little bit of a let down for most of the country for a pretty simple reason: it’s been unseasonably warm! However, just because Jack Frost forgot to visit doesn’t mean you can’t have winter fun. Here’s how Floridians enjoy winter:
Pretend it’s snowing.
Two years ago we bought several bags of crushed ice from Sonic and made snowmen. It was a great way to enjoy the (non-existent) winter weather.
Enjoy a winter edition family fun night.
Make some hot chocolate, stick a candy cane in each one and then play some of your family’s favorite games.
If you are lucky enough to live in Florida, go to the beach and build a sandman.
You can also make sand angels and do a polar plunge all at the same time.
Go on a nature hike.
Even though you may not have your “normal” winter weather, it is still cooler than it was in the summer. In Florida, that means there are no mosquitoes! Glory be! Enjoy the outdoors and observe birds migrating through your area that you don’t normally notice. You could take a field guide and identify birds, trees and plants (that makes it a homeschool science entry in your records!) or just relax.
Build a fort.
Maybe the weather won’t cooperate with a snow fort, but that doesn’t mean you have to nix the idea. Build a pillow fort using the couch and large blankets/tablecloths.
In my experience, it is hard to ice skate without ice, so here’s an alternative. Put on socks and skate around the house. If you have tile you can double this as a chance to mop and play sponge hockey in any main living space. You will be the best parent ever!
This is really easy. All you have to do is fold a piece of paper, cut the corners, make random small incisions and then unfold. Wala! Instant snowflake.
Just because winter isn’t 32 degrees and snowing doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this time of year. These simple tips and tricks will bring a lot of fun for you and your family. Take a moment out of your busy week, and spend some quality time with your little munchkins.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
We’re right in the middle of winter, and as a result, we’re indoors…a lot. Are there creative ways to make learning fun during this season and break up the mundane for ourselves? Let’s chat about that. Bring your creative juices, because this week we’ll explore fun ideas to incorporate in our learning.