A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Back to “School”!

We’ve reached the end of our first week of our new homeschool year, and we have had so much fun! The kids and I were all so excited to begin, and that has lasted throughout the entire week, so things are looking great so far!

Unfortunately, we almost got off to a rocky start because I got a phone call early Monday morning from a family member asking me to drive them somewhere (they live 1/2 hr. away). After I explained that it was our first day of homeschool, they were very understanding. Unfortunately, though, when I mentioned it to another family member I was lectured about sometimes “having to make sacrifices.” I got more than a little angry at that, because I have sacrificed many a homeschool day to help people out. The problem is that once I started doing that, people have constantly been expecting me to do it over and over again.  Continue reading “A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Back to “School”!”

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10 Ways We Homeschool 10 Kids for Under $1000/Yr.

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The high costs associated with homeschooling are often one of the reasons people choose not to do it. We can’t afford it. We only have one income. We have too many children. 

It’s true that there are a good many homeschool curriculums out there which are high quality, with the high price tag to prove it, but today I’m going to let you in on how we homeschool 10 kids for under $1000/yr.

Since we are a one income family of twelve, it is absolutely necessary that I am resourceful enough in acquiring materials so that homeschooling will not be a financial strain. At this point in time, we plan on homeschooling all of our children through high school, so it is crucial that I find something affordable that works for our family.

Believe it or not, this is easier than you think. In fact, $1000 is actually a high number. I believe that this year we were able to keep our costs to below $500 for curriculum for all 10 children, but I’ll say $1000 just to be conservative!

In no particular order, here are the 10 biggest tips to homeschooling effectively, but frugally. Continue reading “10 Ways We Homeschool 10 Kids for Under $1000/Yr.”

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- We Start Monday!

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Well, this will be my last post when everyone is still on summer break. Yay! School starts Monday for all my non-teens, and we couldn’t be more excited. In fact, when the copy paper and ink arrived in the mail a few days ago, the kids asked if we could start right away. 🙂 I love it. Unfortunately we couldn’t, though, because we’ve had a fairly busy week.

On Sunday we invited my mother and our oldest son over for a 4th of July cookout. Yes, I realize that was the 3rd, but I wanted to have it on a day when my husband wouldn’t have to wake up early for work the next day, so Sunday it was!

We didn’t do much on the real 4th of July. The kids and I did try to watch the fireworks from our front porch…but when my 5 year old went into the house to use the bathroom, the front door got stuck, and she had to wake my hubby up to get the door open because we were all locked outside. (Apparently, the heat had made our door expand. Interesting.) We ended up missing the vast majority of the fireworks then because we had to go inside so my husband could go to bed in case the door got stuck again. Bummer. Continue reading “A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- We Start Monday!”

Lazy Day Links- 7/1/16

lazy day links
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I can’t believe it’s July 4th weekend already. It seems like only yesterday I was thanking my lucky stars that winter was over!

I’m so excited right now because I just came back from shopping for our school supplies. 🙂 The only thing we need are the copy paper and ink we ordered off of eBay. Once those come in, we’re ready to go!

On with the links… Continue reading “Lazy Day Links- 7/1/16”

3 Easy Steps to Homeschooling Multiple Ages

easy steps to homeschooling multiple children
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Does the prospect of homeschooling several children have you feeling a little nervous for the coming year? After seven years of homeschooling my extra-large family, I’ve finally found a plan that works for our family that keeps the kids happy and learning, and Mom calm and confident.

Today I’ll be over at my friend Jen’s blog, Practical by Default, where I’ll be discussing the 3 most important ways we’ve kept sanity in our homeschool. Additionally, I’ve given examples of what our daily homeschool routine actually looks like.

If you’re looking for advice on homeschooling your growing family, this is where to find it.

Hope to see you there!

Lazy Day Links- 6/24/16

lazy day links
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My kids spent the week at VBS, and I feel like I was the one running around all week. We just returned from the closing picnic, where I spent over 2 hours trying to keep track of 7 kids, and I am exhausted.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with this week’s links!

My Favorite Posts:

The Orwellian Charge of the Campus Bias Response Team– National Review

Objections to Homeschooling: “I won’t have enough time to myself.”– Intoxicated on Life

45 Ways to Define Homeschool Curriculum- Is Your Definition Holding You Back?– Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

Our First Bloom Night– Happy Hearts Homeschool

Homeschool Requires Commitment– Homegrown Learners

 

Posts You May Have Missed:

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 10- Following Your Own Schedule

How to Peacefully Transition Your Child from School to Homeschool

Homeschooling Methods: An Overview of the Relaxed Approach

Keeping It Simple: How I Homeschool 10 Children

Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart, by Becky Thompson

 

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Books Worth Reading/ Movies Worth Watching:

1984– George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451– Ray Bradbury

The Giver– Lois Lowry

The Giver (movie)

The Adventures of Ociee Nash (movie)

 

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!

Lazy Day Links- 6/10/16

lazy day links
Image courtesy of porbital at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s not even officially summer yet, and I’m already dying to start our homeschooling term back up again. I miss it so much, and I’m so excited to begin our new year! My children, however, are enjoying their time off, so I’ll have to press on until we do start up again next month. Now on to this week’s links!

Favorite Blog Posts:

Get Outside and Learn– Nourishing My Scholar

Everyday Schole: Multum Non Multa– The Sunny Patch

The Trouble with America: Republicans or Democrats?– Soul Survival

Homeschool Success– Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Are Public Schools Teaching Your Child an Alternate Religion?– Julie Roys

 

Posts You May Have Missed:

An Open Letter to the New Homeschooler I Met Today

Homeschooling Multiple Ages? Simplicity Is the Key to Success

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 6- Centrality of the Family

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 7- Focusing on True Education Instead of Mass Instruction

 

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Books Worth Reading:

With My Eyes Wide Open– Brian “Head” Welch

The Circle Series– Ted Dekker

Beloved Unbeliever: Loving Your Husband into the Faith– Jo Berry

Life Is Tough But God Is Faithful: How to See God’s Love in Difficult Times– Sheila Walsh

Are We Living in the End Times?– Tim LaHaye

 

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!

 

 

Homeschooling Multiple Ages? Simplicity Is the Key to Success

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Of all of the fears I hear from would-be homeschoolers, the issue of multi-level homeschooling is very near the top of the list. I can totally identify with that because that was one of my very own when I started homeschooling. It’s true that educating several children of differing ages can seem like a nightmare if you are looking at home education through the lens of a public school atmosphere.

When people hear that I have eleven children and homeschool nine of them, I can tell by the looks on their faces what they’re imagining my days to be like:

A classroom of school desks with my children excitedly raising their hands in order to answer a question. Me standing at the front of the room wearing an apron with a duster in one hand and a pointer in the other. Classical music playing in the background while I conjugate Latin verbs with my 5-yr-old.

or…

A classroom of school desks thrown askew as a slew of children parade around the room banging on pots and pans, protesting that day’s assignments. Me standing at the front of the room, hair falling out of a bun, dark circles under my eyes, pleading with them to please sit down and do their 3x each. The three-yr-old in the background, going through the makeup I no longer have time to apply, drawing cat whiskers on her own face with my eyeliner.

Although I have had days with features of each of these :), neither of these is an accurate depiction of what goes on in the average homeschooler’s school day. Thankfully, homeschooling does not have to fit the traditional school model, which is most fortunate for those of us who are homeschooling larger families.

Of all the homeschooling approaches I’ve tried, the one thing that has kept our days happy and manageable has been simplicity. The very first point I want to get across is that homeschooling does not have to take six hours a day. There are various reasons that a public school day takes that long, which is a post for another day, but suffice it to say that most homeschooling families do not spend nearly that much time on formal assignments.

While each family does it differently, and no one way is right or wrong, these are the routines that have helped with our family.

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(This post contains affiliate links.)

– Focus on the three R’s- reading writing, and ‘rithmetic. Although this approach is often seen as being for younger children, it can work quite well with inquisitive older kids, too. My teenage son does not use any textbooks for anything other than language arts and math. He has no need to. He loves reading about and watching movies about WW2 and is an avid outdoorsman. It seems like everyday he is bringing one critter or another home from the creek to observe. (As a matter of fact, he lost two snakes in my yard just this week! His response to my alarm? “Don’t worry, Mom. There are only three venomous snakes in the state of PA, and these weren’t any of them.” That doesn’t exactly reassure me, but it does let me know that he’s been doing his research!)

– Teach your kids together with unit studies. Right now this has been the go-to method for our family. Since I do have so many children, I’ve found that it works better for me to separate the kids into two groups with separate unit studies, which they take turns doing every other day. After I work individually with each child on language arts and math (which is not really necessary, but I do enjoy the one-on-one time with my kids) I will read aloud to them, and then they will complete some unit study assignments together. The nice thing about unit studies is that they are cross-curricular; there is no need to teach each subject individually. Each topic explored will tie in one way with the next and everything from math to science to history to art (and so on) is almost guaranteed to be covered. Some of our favorite unit study curricula have been Konos, Five in a Row, Media Angels Creation Units, and various thematic units. I’ve also written unit studies of my own on Famous Inventors/Inventions, Greek Mythology, and the Little House series- all of which can be found here on my blog. It’s so much more relaxing to know that you can adequately educate all of your children either together, or in groups, as I do.

– Keep in mind that as children get older, they also gain more independence. While I do technically homeschool nine children, it has to be said that I am really only heavily involved with the teaching of six of them, and even that is not terribly time-consuming nor stressful because of the way we approach things. My older kids will occasionally ask for help with math (why is it always math??) and are pretty competent on their own with everything else. They know I am there if they need assistance, but my actual involvement with their school work is minimal.

The prospect of homeschooling multiple ages can seem intimidating and stressful at first glance, but once you’ve found a routine that is comfortable for you and your family, it can be one of the most delightful endeavors you’ve ever accomplished. Simply remember that homeschooling is not school at home. Focus less on that and more on keeping the home in your school, and success will soon follow!

 

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Our Last Week!! (Sort of)

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Well…the time has come. Our last week of school before an 8-week summer break. (Sort of.) Technically, it’s not my last week because my teens actually have two weeks of school to go, but since I spend the most time on my younger kids’ activities, and they are finished, it seems like my last week, too.

I don’t really know how I feel about this. I know the title of this post gives the impression of excitement, but eight weeks is a loooong time. I know that many homeschooling parents are usually jumping for joy by this point, but I honestly look forward to doing school with my kids everyday. I really do.

One thing that will help with this at least a little bit is that I will still be doing about 5-10 minutes of math everyday with my non-teenagers because their new workbooks for next year are a little harder than they’re used to, so we’ve got some ground to cover. They did some complaining about it at first, but after I explained my reasoning, they were okay with it, and, honestly, how much is ten minutes out of an entire day?

Believe it or not, this week, I had one child at the dentist again- this time for a filling. Thankfully, we are now done until November, unless you count a July appointment at the orthodontist. Sigh.

This week has been a little more exciting than the last few, with various appointments and attending our very first homeschool group. 🙂 Seven years of homeschooling, and this is the first time I’ve ever gotten together with other homeschooling moms. Ever.

It was so exciting to actually talk about something I’m so passionate about with other people who feel the same way. The only time I get to “talk shop” any other time is here on this blog, so you can probably blame the abundance of posts in your emails or newsfeed on the fact that you’ve been my “online homeschool group” all this time. So thank you for reading and interacting with me. It means more than you know. 😀

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Oh, I almost forgot…one really cool thing that happened this week was that the author of a book that I just reviewed mentioned me in a tweet.

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As you can see, I took a screenshot of it…and I may have told my kids that I was famous…

I do highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a good laugh. It truly was the funniest book I’ve ever read. Enough about me. Now, on with the show!

The Littles

We spent some more time on Madeline and used the illustrations to learn about symmetry. We also used our Shopkins as stand-ins for the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” and explored all of the different groupings of twelve. Whenever I involve my kids’ Shopkins, I know they’ll be paying attention! We also discussed personal hygiene  and eating right, and how they can prevent illnesses like colds and the flu.

Other than Madeline, the biggest hit with my littles this week was a picture book called Except if…. For such a short, simple book, it had my kids cracking up almost the entire time I was reading it. Anything that can get my wiggly worms to sit still for story time is worth a mention on my blog!

 

The Big Kids

This week we finished up both Harry Potter and our research/reference unit. The kids alphabetized, typed up, and assembled their dictionaries, and we practiced using dictionary headings some more.

A friend who used to be a teacher at a Christian school and is now a homeschool evaluator stopped by at our house on Wednesday with two boxes filled with art supplies from her teaching days. My kids were absolutely thrilled and have spent the past two days crafting up all sorts of fun stuff. Now if only I knew where to put all this stuff…

The Teens

This week has been more of the same for the older kids. Dillon has still been spending a lot of time at the creek, and Arianna and Devin have still been spending the better part of their days in their room reading and watching Netflix.

Devin spent the day with Brendan, our oldest, again- this time browsing comic book stores. I love that they have so much in common and still spend so much time together.

Although my post reads “ten” homeschoolers, I do have eleven kids, but since Brendan is not homeschooling, I didn’t include him in the title. I would like to mention, though, that he had his college exams this week and scored a 96% on his sociology exam, so, yay for Brendan! 🙂

Arianna had the ‘privilege’ of attending the homeschool group with me to help watch the children who were there. I gave her the day off of school for helping. Wasn’t that nice of me?? (For those of you who are new to my blog, you can read a detailed description of our daily routine right here.)

Well, that’s about it. I’m anxious to see what next week brings without the structure of our normal school routine. We shall see…

What have you been up to this week? Is your school year almost through?

 

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A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Spiders and Squirrels and Snakes, Oh My!

The end of the school year is in sight, and the great outdoors are calling! (If the rain ever stops ;P) Join me for another week of highlights from There’s No Place Like Home!

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Well, we’ve now just completed the second last week of school for the Littles and the Big Kids. The Teens have another three weeks to go because they follow a more traditional school schedule. The end of the school year is a bit bittersweet for me because, while I love the summer, I do not enjoy the lack of structure from not doing our school routine everyday. Besides that, I really do enjoy our school routine, so I know that I’m going to be bored out of my mind without the hustle and bustle of the school day. Oh, well. Just plan on me posting lots of new unit studies because that’s what I usually spend my time doing when boredom sets in. I will admit, however that I am looking forward to the deep cleaning we always do the first few days of summer break because this house is a wreck.

This week was very similar to last week in that it’s been cold and, once again, I had to take five children to the dentist. Fun. No cavities this week, but one does need to see an orthodontist. Joy. Other than that, it’s been a pretty laid back week- as far as a household of twelve people can be laid back. 🙂 Now on to our week:

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy.)

The Littles

This week we started reading Madeline, which the kids have enjoyed so far. We found France, where the story takes place, on our world map and each child got their own map to place a story disk on. They also colored their own French flags, and we discussed so many different topics while reading, such as appendixes, hospital visits, steamboats, land line telephones (who would’ve thought they would be considered history in our lifetime!?), and the Eiffel Tower.

I’m going to confess that we spent a lot of time vegging out in front of the TV because it’s just been a cold, rainy week, and we really didn’t feel like venturing outside.

The Big Kids

The older kids are still working on their research/reference unit and will probably do so until the end of next week when they finish school. We read about Noah Webster and each child has been busy compiling a list of words they don’t know from our read-alouds and their silent reading selections (which, incidentally, are all the same as last week) to author their own dictionaries. Today they got to decorate the covers.

Caollin (11) did get to spend some time at the creek with Dillon (16), and she had a blast finding salamanders, crayfish, and a newt. Otherwise, they, too, have just been relaxing in the house, waiting for the sun to finally come out again.

The Teens

Schoolwork-wise, it’s really just been business as usual with these three.

Arianna (14) has been busy reading and helping with the younger kids during school time this week. On Sunday she went to see a local theater group’s performance of “Mary Poppins” with my mother. She really enjoyed it and hopes to see some more shows like it. (She recently saw “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” as well).

Dillon is still having the time of his life taking photographs and has even ventured out in this dreary weather to hone his photography skills. Here’s a sampling of what he did this week:

A few days ago he created a Facebook page for his photography, and he’s really been working hard at perfecting his skills.

Devin (17) has, once again, spent a lot of time with our oldest son this week. She’s looking forward to next month’s anime convention in Atlantic City and is busying herself with the details of what characters she’s going to cosplay. She also wants a job in the worst way, but I just haven’t gotten around to getting her a photo ID just yet.

Unfortunately, our school district does not issue school IDs to homeschoolers, which makes everything from getting a job to attending after-school events to taking SATs that much harder. I honestly believe they should begin issuing them to homeschoolers, since we do have to report to them yearly, so our kids are, technically, still students in the district, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, this has been our week! What’s yours looked like?

 

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