The HOME in Homeschooling

Lot’s of changes here. Being without a vehicle has made homeschooling so much easier. It used be that we were fighting with outside activities for time but now we have so much time. The house is neater and the schoolwork is all caught up.¬† More on that in a minute. So our list of what we accomplished this week is different but more fulfilling.

What we did do this week:

  • Weatherized the house: well we didn’t, but a crew was here working on that all week
  • Church
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Costco shopping with a friend and our little ones
  • Orthodontist appointment: Artist got her braces off ūüôā
  • Math drills
  • Read lots to the younger kids
  • Played around with water and our freezing temperatures outside
  • Church
  • Created a new cleaning system for ourselves

The HOME in Homeschooling

So many things pull us out of our homes. There are the lessons like music or foreign language, there are classes like a science co-op or drama group, there are sports activities like soccer or open gym, there are just so many awesome activities for us as homeschoolers, how do you choose?

Well, our choice was made for us with the demise of our latest vehicle. We were doing so many activities every week. Here is a list of things we did with the homeschool group before our vehicle bit the dust:

  • Science co-ops: ran these and participated
  • Drama club
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Singing at nursing homes
  • Ice skating
  • Homeschool meetings: set-up and lead most of them
  • Open gym
  • Yearbook: started and ran
  • and, and, and

That is just a partial list of our weekly things to do with/for our homeschool group. There are also field trips, the soccer team, talent shows, spelling bees, you name it, our group was doing it. Most of it was organized and run by us.

Now, these are all wonderful things to do. Really there are. But the HOME in homeschooling was becoming the, “get what you can get done in the time left” schooling. We were gone so much we wondered if our home was more of a motel than a house. My husband and I would laugh when saying this and then look at each other like, ” Really? Is this what we have become?”

We would spend our mornings preparing to be gone again:

  • Packing lunches
  • Collecting workbooks for down times
  • Final prep for¬†co-op lessons to teach
  • Collecting supplies for co-op classes
  • Rushing to do our animal chores
  • Eat a quick breakfast
  • And slamming that door behind us to a now empty house

That was a typical Monday. Don’t get me wrong, we would get all of our schoolwork accomplished but had barely any time to relax when we were home. When we got home we were exhausted. This was a typical week:

  • Monday: Co-op classes, Drama club, Yearbook all in the afternoon
  • Tuesday: Ice skating in the morning or Soccer in the afternoon, and Homeschool meetings in the evenings once a month
  • Wednesday: Field trips in the morning once a month¬†and Homeschool Q&A in the afternoon¬†once a month
  • Thursday: Open gym in the afternoon
  • Friday: Home

Now as you can see these are all taking up only parts of the day. Some were just mornings or just afternoons but I would have to plan out my week and figure out when we would get our actual schoolwork done. Each day we would get these activities and our schoolwork done but at what cost? There has to be a limit.

Someone once said to me, “If your not home is it really homeschooling?” Now there are many ways to homeschool, don’t get me wrong, but the way we were doing it was just was to hectic for us. We needed time to crash and not worry about the activities for the next day.

Helping to keep out homeschool group going for the last 3-4 years has been a blessing and a burden. We are a veteran homeschooling family and love to share what we have found works. This is our 22nd year homeschooling and we know a few things that could be helpful to a family starting out and love sharing that knowledge. We also know how to fit it all in since we have homeschooled for so long that it is just a way of life for us.  Homeschooling is the natural thing for us to do each day.

So what have we learned by being home more and not doing all those activities?

  • The homeschool group can survive without us
  • Our children are happier to just chill
  • We accomplish our schoolwork so much faster
  • We like to sleep in a little later
  • Our afternoons¬†are ours again to do what makes us happy
  • The house is cleaner since we are here to keep it neat (kinda weird that is was so much messier when we were here less…)
  • I am a more relaxed mama
  • I have my weekends back: not planning 3 co-op classes for Monday has totally freed up my weekends

My advice…

Pick and choose what you children will participate in. We have 6 kids still at home and could easily make a legitimate excuse for every activity we were doing but how did those choices change us as a family?

Make it a point to be home with your kids. There will always be something else to participate in but for this time just choose home.

Socializing is a hot topic… make time to spend with others but cherish this time you have with your children. Too soon they will be graduating and you will wonder where all the time went.

What do you think? Let us know ūüôā

Lastly a picture from this week… Artist got her braces off. A beautiful smile on a beautiful young lady.

no braces

Happy Homeschooling!

Advertisements

Week in Review & Our Classroom

This week wasn’t as great as I thought it would be for school. We got things done but I was hoping we would get more accomplished. There is always next week. What we did do this week:

  • Co-op classes “Nervous System”
  • End of Year Soccer Party
  • Workbook work
  • Easy Peasy Online School
  • Math drills each day
  • Homeschool Parents Meeting
  • Ice Skating
  • Chiropractic Appointments
  • State Police Field trip
  • Orthodontist appointments
  • Monthly shopping
  • Blogging
  • Wood burning
  • Worked on the mending pile
  • Boys did their brothers brakes and axle on his Subaru
  • Free gym time
  • Bible Study
  • Church

Our Classroom

This year we have an actual classroom area. Some years we have only used the dining room table or desks in their rooms. This year we are doing the Easy Peasy online school which requires computer use. It was a pain to put away and take out all the laptops each day so we changed things around a little bit.

Our living room now is also the classroom. Each child has a desk with his/her computer on it and also their respective school books.

The only child without her own computer is Princess. She uses Directors computer when it is time to do her schoolwork. I try to have her done and off that computer before Director is even reading to do school. Doesn’t always work but I try ūüôā

20141023_101104
Princess doing her Reading Eggs Online schoolwork. Director is waiting to do her schoolwork ūüôā
20141023_101113
Artist doing Easy Peasy Online Schoolwork
20141023_101224
Pilot is working on XtraMath Online Math Drills
20141023_101235
Collector doing XtraMath Online Math Drills. You can see his knitting is ready to go for when he is done ūüôā
20141023_101404
Tech starting up his really slow laptop. He is opening his Easy Peasy online schoolwork.

Do we like it this way?

I like that they have a place for all there things and the put away take out each day is gone. They like it because they can use computers each day and their schoolwork is right there for them.

We don’t like that it takes up over half of the living room. The pros out way the cons though.

 

How do you do school? Do you have a classroom set up? Leave a comment and let us know.

Happy homeschooling!

Week in Review

This was pretty good academic homeschooling week. We got all our October schooling done and filed away for the end of the year portfolios. Here is our week:

  • Church
  • Harvest Cook-Out at a friend’s house
  • Muscular¬†System Co-op
  • Apiary Field Trip
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Lots of reading
  • Wood burning projects
  • Ice Skating Started
  • 20141028_090335
  • Older kids Wrote¬†their Resumes
  • Online Computer Classes at the library
  • Muscular¬†System Review Worksheets
  • Workbooks
  • Easy Peasy Online School (my review of this curriculum here)
  • Blogging, of course

Quite a list!!

Happy Homeschooling!

Week in Review & Planning Field Trips

fire
Princess at the Fire Department Field Trip

This was an awesome homeschooling week. We got so much accomplished. Lots of academics and also some other fun stuff.
Our field trip this week got cancelled so I thought I would highlight planning field trips in this post. First, our week in review:

  • Church & Business Mtg
  • Digestive System Co-op
  • Homeschool Choir
  • Career Readiness Co-op – Writing a Resume
  • Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting
  • Online Computer Classes at the library
  • Bible Study
  • Skeletal System Review Worksheets
  • Workbooks
  • Easy Peasy Online School (my review of this curriculum here)
  • Blogging, of course
  • Director got & started¬†a bi-weekly¬†editing job with local TV station
  • Open Gymnasium time with the Homeschool Group
  • Natural Science Museum
  • Kids Carnival tomorrow

It sure seems like more when I list it like that. Ok, planning field trips next.

Planning Homeschool Field Trips

Our family plans most of the field trips for our homeschool group. Our group wasn’t¬†doing many field trips when we started attending this group years ago. I decided that if I wanted field trips to happen I was going to have to do it myself. Here is the process.

First I decide what my children would be interested in doing for a field trip. I look at what we will be studying that year. In 1st grade I usually do a “Community Workers” type of lesson so if I have a child going into 1st grade I will gear my field trips towards those occupations. I also ask my kids which ones they liked from last year and also if there are any they have thought of that they would like to do. I also ask them if there are any they would prefer to never do again ūüôā¬†I make up a list of all the prospective field trips and what specific businesses would be called if we choose to do that field trip.

Then I ask around and see who would like to go on a field trip. I¬†usually ask¬†via email or during the monthly meeting or I just ask my friends that homeschool. I have found that to have a business host a field trip they like to have a group of people to make it worth their while. There are 8 of us and I can usually find at least 2 more people to join us for any given field trip. Most places require or ask for a group of at least 10 people for them to take the time to host a field trip. We have just gone with only our family, but still 8 is a pretty good size group. I don’t usually narrow my list down by these inquires into who would like to attend. But if your family is not as large as ours¬†you may have to narrow the list down to field trips that have at least 10 people interested.

Once I know I have the 10 or so people that would commit to go I start to call and schedule the field trips with the different businesses. Usually people say they will go but you end up with about 2/3 of those people actually going, just a heads up, I usually call to schedule anyway.

The process of scheduling:

  • I have a calendar printed up in front of me with our families major commitments on it like: homeschool co-op, appointments I can’t change, church commitments, sport commitments, etc. I also list things that¬†the majority of the things that the homeschool group will be doing like: open gym time, meetings, other events, etc. I figure that trying to host a field trip during the time that kids would normally be at say a soccer game¬†might be a hard sell when asking for family participation in the field trip. Also, the families might be a little miffed that their child wanted to go do both events¬†but I scheduled it during that time.
  • In front of me I also have an open email or Word document ready for me to type in the information so I can send it to the group when I am finished my calls.
  • I have made a list of the places of business for each field trip¬†and phone numbers. When I call I write down the contact persons name, their direct line, and any specifics they give me like: no more than 25 people, no kids under 3yo, no open toed shoes, etc.
  • I almost always schedule field trips for Wednesday mornings. Why do I do this? I have no idea. Whenever I call I look down at my calendar and that is usually the only day free. It looks like it would fit nicely in the middle of the week. I really have no idea why I schedule them mainly on Wednesdays. But you should have some idea what day you would like to go on your field trips¬†because the contact person will ask you, “When would you like to come?” I usually give the a list of the next ¬†3 Wednesdays that are available. I also suggest to them¬†that we usually do field trips in the mornings. Sometimes we have done them on different days and in the afternoon but for the most part they are on Wednesdays and in the morning hours.
  • I set up with them¬†the date, time, and special requirements for that¬†field trip OR I leave a message. In the message I say, “I would like to set up a school field trip to your place of business,” and leave my contact info and sometimes possible dates for the field trip. Some people still do not know what homeschooling is but they understand if I say “school field trip” so I usually word it that way.¬†Leaving a message is kind of a pain because I was hoping to set everything up right then when I call. I am appreciative that they are willing to host the field trip but waiting for that return phone call can¬†take weeks.
  • In my email or Word document that I have¬†open¬†I list: the date and time of the field trip or¬†I if I haven’t gotten ahold of anyone I write TBD or “left message waiting to hear back” just so the other families know that¬†it is in the works.
  • In the email to the homeschoolers I also ask that whoever is interested in coming to the field trip to let me know that they are interested.
  • As emails and texts come in from the homeschoolers interested,¬†I start a list of people wanting to attend. Some field trips only allow 25 people so when I hit that number I don’t stop, I continue adding names till I get to 30 because I know some won’t show up on that day, happens every time. BUT the opposite can happen. I have had field trips where people just showed up without telling me and we were way over our number allowed. The business still let us have the field trip but had to split us into two groups and it was hard to reschedule with that bank again. So try and emphasize nicely that you need to know who will be attending.
  • When I have reached my limit for field trip participants I send out an email stating that that particular field trip is full.
  • I also set up an automatic calendar update to come through the group to remind them that the field trip is coming up.
  • The day before the field trip I call and remind the business that we will be coming.
  • The day of the field trip I try and be the first ones there.¬†This¬†is not always the case but I try. I find my contact person and let him/her know we are here.
  • I thank them at the end of the field trip for letting us come.
  • I try and remember to send a thank you note to them for allowing us to come. I am terrible at remembering this. Not sure why it is that way. I very much appreciate all they do/did but I totally forget. But you (and I)¬†should send a thank you of some kind.

Here is a list of the field trips we have taken in the past just to get your thoughts going on what you could do:

  • Library
  • Statehouse
  • Transfer Station
  • Community Television Station
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant
  • Bank
  • State Police
  • Hospital
  • Buses
  • Natural Foods Co-op
  • Fire Department
  • Recycling
  • Apiary
  • Animal Shelter
  • Food Shelf
  • Farm
  • Dairy Farm
  • Stable
  • Post Office
  • Newspaper
  • Veterinarian
  • Town Office

Here are some pictures from our Fire Department Field Trip last week.

fire
Checking out the Trucks
fire
All Suited Up
fire2
Listening to the Chief
fire3
Our Group
fire4
Explaining the Equipment
fire5
Tech, Director, Artist, and two friends checking out the Fire Truck
fire6
Listening Intently
fire7
Fun on a Fire Truck
fire8
What does a fireman wear and why.
fire
Everyone loved going in the fire trucks
fire
Collector checking out the Fire Truck
fire all
Our Group
fire truck
Our Group again

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week: Skeletal System Co-op class Monday; soccer Tuesday; Field Trip to the Apiary on Wednesday; Natural Sciences Museum Friday (a friend gave us tickets); and Free Kids Carnival Saturday. Looks like we will be doing a good chunk of sit down schoolwork this week. Still working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a shelter for them.

Thinking about

In our state we have to report our progress at the end of each school year. I never like to be searching at the last minute for what to send in. This week I am focusing on making sure I have a paper I could send into the state in each of the required subjects. That means I need a paper from Math, Language Arts, Science, Health, Art, History, and Health for each of my school age children. I believe I am all set for Septembers work. I just need to have a page for each of them from this month.

Out of doors

We will be having an outing to the Natural Science Museum on Friday which should be a treat. We have bulbs to plant and more brussel sprouts to pick. Soccer may be cold and too wet to do this week.

In the kitchen

We ended up making pumpkin pie (Tech made this) and potato and corn chowder (Mechanic made this) to bring to the Barn Dance on Saturday. Also, we were given about 25 lbs of meat in exchange for harvesting grapes so I need to figure out what is in there and organize the upright freezer again.

A photo from last week….

There were so many pictures form this week it was really hard to choose…. Here is Tech with his best friend this week when we carved pumpkins.

tomclark

Week in Review & Our Homeschool Co-op

Gamer coaching soccer
Gamer coaching soccer

This week was not as productive in the academics as I was hoping it would be. I am not concerned because we school pretty much year round and this school year started in July. According to our state I have a 2 month jump on this current years work.

This week we had our regular co-op classes on Monday. This session of classes are:

  • Human Body Systems
  • Choir
  • Career Readiness

The system of study this week was the Digestive System. Here is a picture from the class.

Squeezing Oatmeal through the small intestines (nylons)
Squeezing Oatmeal through the small intestines (nylons)

I am going to focus this post on how our co-op works. But, I will finish my week in review first. Here is a quick list of what we accomplished:

  • Co-op classes
  • Attended a friends soccer game
  • Workbook work
  • Some Easy Peasy
  • Math drills each day
  • Reports written for the month (we try to do one a month)
  • Soccer (my son Gamer coached, photo above)
  • Playground playing
  • Dinner at a friends house (also helped her with her homeschool paperwork)
  • Dentist Appointments
  • Fire Department Field Trip
  • Pumpkin Carving for the Nursing Home
  • Loading, unloading, and stacking fire wood
  • Blogging
  • Artwork
  • Corn Maze
  • Dinner at another friends house
  • Jewelry party tomorrow
  • Barn Dance tomorrow also

coops

Our homeschool co-op is really a homeschool class because at this point I teach them all. I have tried to have others take over the work of running a class but this has not worked out. I love teaching these mainly hands-on classes, so I don’t mind at all. My daughter Director has been a great help in the Choir class.

This year I tried something different. I had families sign-up and pay a very small supply fee to take the K-6 classes. In the past it was hit or miss whether students came to the classes. This year with that small supply fee and a registration portion we have had a wonderfully full class each week. In past years it has also been very expensive for me supply all the items for classes. This year is so much better.

Another thing I tried this year was just having an 8 week session for each season. We have the Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions. Here is the breakdown of the classes per session:

FALL

  • The Human Body (K-6th)
  • Choir (all ages)
  • Career Readiness (7th-12th)

WINTER

  • Exploring Weather (K-6)
  • Drama Club (all ages)
  • Dissection 101 (4th-12th)

SPRING

  • Beginning Botany (K-6)
  • Garage Band (all ages)
  • Yearbook (7th-12th)

The classes that say K-6 are really geared to all the way up to 11th grade but not 100% of the time so I listed those grades instead.

The classes I teach are things I would be doing with my children anyway. These classes are an extension of our learning at home. The children really enjoy doing the science projects with a group. The science classes are all hands-on with a small bit of talking in between projects. There is always a snack also.

The classes run for 3 hours on Mondays at the local library. The library has a wonderful meeting room that they let us use. The room has a full kitchen, complete sound system, full video projector and computer access, and it’s own bathroom. The library also provides chairs, tables, cups, plates, and serving tray and bowls. It really is an amazing space. This meeting¬†space is also free to use.

I have a regular blog where I post what our homeschool co-op is doing each week: Crazy8 Homeschool Co-ops  On that blog I will post the rest of the pictures from this weeks classes and helpful info about running a co-op type class.

Our family is¬†in our 23rd year homeschooling and with Princess only turning 5 next month we are in this for the long haul. I think families feel comfortable with me teaching and I hope they see how much I love doing it ūüôā Families come up to me each week thanking me for teaching the classes¬†and I am glad they appreciate it.

Here is a post from my other blog that explains more about what we do: Respiratory System Co-op & how we run a class.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week:¬†Digestive System Co-op class Monday; soccer & Princess’s dentist appt.¬†Tuesday; Pumpkin Carving @ nursing home, Tech’s dentist appt,¬†& Fire Department Field Trip¬†on Wednesday;¬†dh Dr apt Friday; and Homeschoolers Barn¬†Dance Saturday.¬†Looks like we will be doing sit down schoolwork on¬†5 mornings this week including a small bit on Saturday. Working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a new shelter for them. The craft room organizing is ready for the next step.

Thinking about

My oldest daughter Gallop and her husband are expecting their first child in May. I would like to sew a layette for them. I need to look at what I have for patterns and figure out which on to do. I would like to only sew useful things for them but also a couple just cute things. They will be finding out what they are having so that will help with picking the material color out.

Out of doors

It looks like a beautiful week this week except for Monday. Hoping to focus on finishing up the bulkhead repairs before winter sets in. We have a friend who is willing to let us use a backhoe to finish the job. Maybe this is a good week for that.

In the kitchen

It will be chilly out this week so maybe a few soups will be on the menu. I know for class tomorrow I am planning on making edible intestines, sounds gross, but should be yummy. Also, on Saturday is the Homeschool Barn Dance and we need to bring soup or chili to that for the pot-luck part.

A photo from last week….

Here is a photo from out our front door. We sure do live in a beautiful part of the country.

sunrise
Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”