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!
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. 😀
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…
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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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!
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 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.
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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Worried about your qualifications as a homeschool, or future homeschool, parent? Join me as I discuss the characteristics of great homeschool parents!
Two years ago when my daughter was seeking a scholarship for a local art school, I had a somewhat uncomfortable conversation. In the midst of the interview, the subject of homeschooling came up. The registrar looked at me quizzingly and asked, “Do you have an education degree?” I replied that I did not; they aren’t necessary for homeschooling in PA. She grew completely perplexed and replied, “But how do you teach things you don’t know?”
This question caught me rather off-guard for two reasons:
I had honestly never even thought about it, and
Does having a degree automatically mean you know how to do everything?
The registrar is not alone in asking this question. In fact, the idea of a parent not being qualified to teach his or her children has crossed the minds of many would-be homeschoolers and scared them away from ever going through with their dreams of homeschooling.
Realistically, however, most homeschool routines don’t even remotely resemble a typical school day, so the qualifications needed in a traditional classroom are somewhat different than those necessary in an at-home setting.
My hope here is to encourage those of you who are doubting your ability to homeschool by listing the characteristics of a successful homeschool parent because, as you will see, they are probably nothing at all like the typical idea of what an average teacher looks like.
1.Receive questions with open arms. Unlike traditional school teachers who must often stick to a script, homeschoolers have the freedom of drifting away from a discussion or lesson if more intriguing ponderings arise. Just today I was reading Madelinewith my younger children. A book that would normally take five minutes turned into a twenty minute discussion about Paris, old telephones, appendixes, scars, nuns, steamboats, and- my children’s favorite- retellings of their own experiences with hospital visits. A discussion like this would most likely not have happened within a school setting because of, among other things, time constraints, but at home we have the freedom to explore ideas with our kids as they arise. Questions are a blessing. Delight in inquisitiveness!
2.Encourage their children to learn how to discover answers for themselves. While it is, of course, necessary to help your children when the need arises, it is also so important to help children learn where and how to find resources for themselves. Although my children and I visit the library regularly, the other week I took them there for the main purpose of explaining the Dewey Decimal System to them and taking them on a tour of where to find specific types of books. Giving them opportunities to research online is also something that is necessary in this day and age. I know that many parents have mixed feelings about Google, but I consider it to be hugely beneficial to our learning endeavors.
3.Give their children plenty of time for exploring interests. Some of the most crucial and most important learning does not come from books, but from life. Learn to see the world through your children’s eyes, instead of through the schoolish lenses most of us possess, and you will find value in just about everything your children do. Keep in mind that the hobbies of your children now may well be training for their future. Kids who like to play school may become teachers, and those who insist on taking everything apart to see how it works are likely to be budding engineers. If your children are actively exploring life, there is no such thing as wasted time.
4.Have a plan for those occasions when they don’t know how to help with a certain subject. As the saying goes, the world is our oyster when it comes to information and resources in this day and age. The most common piece of advice for situations like this is to hire a tutor, but many one-income (and some two-income families!) simply cannot afford it. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options for getting help with those difficult areas. A short sampling would be:
The options are really endless. Just keep an open mind about how learning happens, and you’d be amazed where the help can come from!
5.Let their children have a say in what they’re learning about. Think about it. Can you concentrate on something you have no interest in and no need for? Me neither. My older children all give input on what their learning plan will consist of. My oldest daughter loves psychology and will be taking it for a third time next year (her senior year). This could never have happened at our public high school, as they only offer one half-year course on it. Why force her to take a Social Studies credit that she’s never going to need in real life? It just doesn’t make sense. I guarantee your kids will put more effort into work they consider to be useful and interesting.
6.Know when something isn’t working and be willing to change it. Sometimes a particular curriculum may look phenomenal to us parents, but when our children set out to doing it, they don’t feel the same way. If your child is struggling to the point of tears or complete apathy, it’s time to ditch the book and move on. This is one of those other areas that homeschoolers have the advantage. Since public schools have limited budgets and slews of students to purchase textbooks for, they don’t have the option of doing this. While I certainly do remember trudging through those dry textbooks in high school, I don’t remember one important thing out of any of them. I know sometimes it may seem like a waste to discontinue something you paid for, but it is so much more important that your children can learn well. Unused curriculum can easily be saved for younger siblings (maybe they’ll like it!), sold to other homeschoolers, or even given away for free to a family with a limited income.
7.Drop everything they know about “school” and design a plan that works for their family.I want you to close your eyes and remember what your school days were like. Crowded hallways. Cramped desks. Bathroom passes. Ringing bells. Do you have a clear picture? Now, push that picture out of your head because homeschooling does not have to be like that. Observe your children. Take notice to how they do things and what they spend the most time on. Only you can decide what is right for your family. And I’m here to tell you that you may not get it right the first time. Or the second. Or the third. 🙂 All kidding aside, you will figure it out, and your children will thank you for it.
I was going to title this post “What Makes a Great Homeschool Teacher” but decided against it because, to many of us, homeschooling doesn’t feel like teaching. It feels like life. It feels like family. It feels like love. That is what it takes to make a great homeschool parent. Are you qualified?
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