Top 10 Tips To Getting a New Homeschool Year Rolling and more...



Top 10 Tips To Getting a New Homeschool Year Rolling

In sharing my top 10 tips to getting a new homeschool year rolling today, I hope that you will remember that nobody can replace you as the teacher.  And that while some of my tips apply to our kids, a lot of it is shared to encourage you to keep on plugging along because I am here to tell you that in the end it’s WORTH every bit of effort each year!

Make time for the teacher, not just mom. 

We get a lot of encouragement to make time for ourselves as mom though we don’t always follow the advice. I am guilty too, but I have always taken time each year to polish up my teacher skills. 

It is easier, we think at the time, to turn the teaching reins over to somebody else either through a co-op or on-line class.  When in fact if we do that, we may be bringing more stress to our year.  Taking time to hone your skills as the teacher will help you to choose more carefully any extra “help” you think you may need.  Look at the bottom of this post for books I read that set me on fire when I teach.

Make time to be with other homeschoolers.

No, you don’t have to get fuzzy wuzzy with other homeschoolers if you’re not the joinder type.  But your kids may need to be around more people than you may need in your inner circle. 

Too, I have learned more about myself and the fact that though, like you, I can be pretty independent, that has nothing to do with needing encouragement.   ALL of us, independent or not, eventually need to know that we are not alone and that others are in our unique circumstances. 

There is just something about being around other homeschoolers that brings my blood back to a boiling point for homeschooling.  Being around other homeschoolers is contagious and keeps you plugging along.  Even on days when you don’t feel like leaving the house, try to maintain your park dates, field trips or co-op classes that you have carefully chosen.

Dad is not just a figure head.

Unless you are a single mom (hopefully she has a support system too), you are not raising or educating your children alone.  Your husband should play a large role in your homeschooling. 

You may wonder how that is possible if you are doing a majority of the teaching.  As you know there is more than the academic growth of a child.  Your husband provides not only a safe environment in which your children can learn, but his love for your children stimulates intellectual growth. 

Too, discipline is very important in homeschooling.  And some days after teaching, I was just too pooped to think about discipline.  Discipline is more about instruction and my husband had the mental reserve when he got home to keep the instructing going when it was needed.  Don’t leave him out and let him know how you feel daily. 

In all my years of helping homeschoolers, I have never met a dad supportive of homeschooling that did not want to be plugged in to the every day goings on.  You are not doing this alone, so don’t go it alone.

Adopt a routine

A routine has been one of the mainstays or anchors of my homeschooling year after year.  Not assuming you should follow the same homeschool schedule you followed last year will help you to see clearly if you need a different routine this year. 

Check out the tips I share in A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler Part 1 Early Years , The Sticking Power of a Homeschool Schedule and How To Create a Homeschool Schedule That You Can Stick To .

Show Up Earlier & Stay Later. 

There are just some tips that work equally across the board for all teachers and showing up earlier and staying a bit later than the kids is one of them.  There are a variety of things that your kids can start working on that don’t require you (I will share some of them in an upcoming post) but taking a few minutes to look over your lesson planner for each child will help your day to go smoother. 

This is especially important if all of your children are very young.  Young children have shorter learning spurts and your being well prepared will help to engage them quicker.  Choosing to stay a bit later after the kids are playing or having computer time will also help you to think of what needs to be prepared for the next day while the children’s needs are fresh in your mind.

Top 10 Tips to Getting a New Homeschool Year Rolling Top 10 Tips To Getting a New Homeschool Year Rolling

Don’t Shove Your Toddlers & Preschoolers Aside

I know you would never do that intentionally, but when it comes to school time, include them.  It’s hard I know because they seem to be pint size destroyers of your just so schedule.  But hear my heart on this and that is if you don’t include them now and make school part of everyday, they may not want to be part of it when it is time to formally learn. 

Don’t make the mistake I have seen by veteran and new homeschoolers alike and that is to shove them aside only to want them to be ready to homeschool later. 

Taking time to set up your house and school area to suit them, whether it’s by activities you have created ahead of time or an area, then they will naturally want to be included in the formal part of your day as they are older.

Make Time For Middle School  Merriment. 

Though I hear many homeschoolers who believe that their 6 or 7 year old needs “friends” what they really want are playmates.  Unlike your middle school kids who actually need friends, it is important that your middle school kids have time to explore friendships and pursue goals. 

At a time when puberty hits, our middle school kids can go through a whole host of emotions.  From feeling useless to insecure because of possible hormones highs and lows, it is important that they not become self-absorbed. 

Healthy friendships are a way to help push our kids through difficult times and especially friends who are homeschoolers.  This will take work on your part because as I always say at this age, our middle school kids are independent dependents.  It is easy to overlook this age with all the tug and pull of the little ones.  Add in the mix a high school student who demands our time and it becomes almost impossible. 

My best tip on how I survived the middle school years was to make a date and stick with it.  Something that I could plan for each week or so was much better than spur of the moment planning when my plate was full.

Is Curriculum Worth the Cost? 

You paid for new curriculum and want it to work out for the year.  You know the one that you told the Mr. you just had to have this year. 

Knowing when a curriculum has ran its course (no pun intended) whether it’s in the middle of a year or just a few months into the year, is not an easy thing to try to figure out.  Counting the costs sometimes just does not always come at the beginning of the school year no matter how careful we are.

Our children’s needs can change just a few short months into the school year.  One year, Mr. Awesome jumped two grade levels in spelling.  No matter how hard I worked with him the previous year, he just did not make improvement.  It was a developmental thing and keeping him in a lower grade, even just the few short months into the school year, would have held him back.  I had to buy upper grade curriculum after only completing a few short lessons. 

Curriculum is a constant process to check throughout the year.

Our Home Reflects We Care

Just a few short weeks into homeschooling when I was a new homeschooler, I was embarrassed by my home.  The truth of it was I had underestimated my energy level and time. 

Instead of having my kids’ nose buried in worksheets I had assigned, I should have had them buried in folding a load or two of laundry.  I had to end up taking off a whole week to get caught up on cleaning my house.  Because the care in our home reflects the way we care for each other in our family, it is an important part of homeschooling. 

While it’s important to have a comfortable home that we can study at, it is also important that it is a place where we can find peace and rest at the end of the day.  Remember that when your children do chores at home it teaches them about responsibility, caring for others and gives them a sense of pride.

Just Push it Aside and Stop

I wished I could say that each day will be full of fun and exciting things to do, but we both know that is not true.  What is not easy to figure out is to know when to just take a break for the day and when to push school aside for a longer bit of time.

It is a lethal combination when everybody in the house is tired and overworked.  I have made the mistake of pushing through a day when we were in a slump and needed a break.  When you take a break, it actually shows a bit of homeschooling maturity because it means that you now know that homeschooling is a journey and not a one year fix.

Celebrate each year because if you are like me, you are grateful each year that you have been given precious time with your children that will pass by quickly.

What do you do to keep your new homeschool year rolling?

Hugs and love ya,

2012Tinasignature Top 10 Tips To Getting a New Homeschool Year Rolling

Homeschooling Books That Set Me on Fire!

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Trail of Tears Notebooking Pages

I can’t help it. We love geography and we love starting our unit studies off with something about geography when we can.  So in preparing the first set of the Trail of Tears Notebooking Pages, I started with a bit of easy geography. 

Even easy geography is important to understanding the trek that not only the Cherokee made, but several other tribes took because it helps to build appreciation for the harsh conditions they endured.

Too, because I like big graphics for any age, young grades or middle school, it is good sometimes to add a few notebooking pages to your study because you can use the full page for a map. 

You know I have never fallen for the popular homeschooling mentality that lapbooks are just for young learners and notebooking pages for older learners.  I always try to incorporate the two types of pages when I can.  Don’t limit homeschooling tools like lapbooks and notebooking pages to preassigned ages and you will be able to make a well rounded out unit study.

Back to what I was talking about.  I also like to build background information first about any topic.  Earlier, I had shared a minibook about the 7 Clans which is a minibook to build appreciation for the culture of the Cherokee.

Trail of Tears Notebooking Pages 1 Collage Trail of Tears Notebooking Pages

Then today, I am sharing some notebook pages will which help with understanding about the different types of tribes that lived along the southeastern part of the United States.  This will also help to build appreciation for the way they care for the land and depended on it for survival.  They were hunters, farmers and they fished.

By locating the tribes on the southeastern part of the United States in their atlas, your children can understand that they lived in log homes, and planted squash, beans and corn in the rich soil.  The land they loved and built on was wooded and had rivers.  As they worked the land, they enjoyed the bounty provided by it.

Download here Trail of Tears Trek and 5 Civilized Tribes Geography

Download here. Add brief information about each Civilized Tribe Notebooking Page

 

Hugs and love ya

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Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #26.

Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #26.

 

Happy Wednesday and Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Finishing Strong Link Up Tinas Dynamic Homeschool Plus thumb Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #26.

 

Finishing Strong Homeschooling the Middle High School Years 26 350x500 Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #26.

Today we’re highlighting the non-core subjects – electives.

Electives can be so much fun. They are not only needed for high school transcripts, but they are also a great way for older students to learn more about subjects that interest them. By going beyond math and language arts, teens can gain a lot of insight into their passions and may even get a glimpse into what they’d like their future to look like.

Do you write about homeschooling the older grades? Make sure to share your posts with us below.

Discovering Passions Through Electives

Video Making – Our Homemade Elective! by BJ’s Homeschool

7 Ways to Teach Logic on the Sly by Classically Homeschooling

Homeschool High School with Online Psychology Course: Get Inside Their Mind by Education Possible

Photography as a High School Elective by Starts at Eight

What about those Extracurricular Activities – What role do they play in your teen’s life? by Sweetness & Light

Helping Kids Explore Their Interests When You Don’t Have a Clue by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Next week we’re going to feature another one of our co-hosts – Kyle from Aspired Living.

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Easy Details to Remember & Even Easier Guidelines.

    • The link up party goes live at 5:00 a.m. CST each Wednesday and stays open until the following Tuesday at 11:55 p.m.
    • Each week we will pick our favorite links as features and share them.
    • You can link up to 3 posts. Please do not link up advertising posts, or other link ups, or parties. I will remove them. Homeschool related reviews are permitted and of course all topics related to homeschooling middle to high school students.
    • Grab a button to add to your post after you link up and if you were featured, grab an “I was featured” button.
    • By linking up with us, you agree for us to share your images and give you credit of course.
    • That’s it! Glad to have you here and let’s party!
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Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

Warning: Lots of pictures and a long post here!

You know I can’t talk to you unless I have lots of pictures.

Too, I wanted to keep the formal part of how to teaching writing all in one post so it’s easier for you to see the progression.

Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 1 Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

Today, in teaching handwriting when homeschooling the early years part 3, I am going to show you samples of our transition in handwriting from the beginning of kindergarten to second grade. But first, if you missed Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 1 , I wanted you to take away the fact that you want to create a print rich environment and trust the natural process that a child has in wanting to learn how to write.

Sometimes the process does not always require a lot of intervention on your part.  Think of yourself as a partner or coach in the writing process.

In Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 2 , it is important to allow plenty of time for your child to focus on strengthening the fine motor muscles, which happens through a lot of play and NOT asking your child to write on a line at the preschool ages.

Scooting down through the years now, we want to begin what I call the “formal” teaching writing years, which is about kindergarten to first grade.  Obviously, children will continue to work on improving the legibility of their penmanship in the later grades, but today is about focusing on the nitty-gritty of teaching handwriting.

Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 Kindergarten Sample thumb Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

The reason we want to pay attention to these grade levels or years (not necessarily ages because all children are different) is that children can undergo a significant change during this time.  They can go from writing illegibly at the beginning of kindergarten to some beautiful beginning cursive by second grade.

I say second grade because that is the end result of the formal teaching which is happening in kindergarten and first grade.  Again, remember it does not mean penmanship is completely mastered, but you will see the beautiful transition as they keep fine tuning what they have been taught.

Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 Middle of First Grade thumb Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

The metamorphosis in penmanship during this time was always amazing to me with each son.  Too,  Mr. Awesome and Tiny progressed close, but not exactly to this same timeline.  Each child is different like I mentioned but wanted to repeat that again because teaching each child has not been an exact science.

I know too that when I was new to teaching handwriting that seeing actual samples of penmanship progress and understanding the growth process would have helped me more.  Providing that here for you, I am hoping it will help to give you a gauge for when you are teaching penmanship.

In addition to working on fine motor skills in kindergarten, I worked with each son on beginning sentence writing.  I would start the sentence and write it down.  Then, they would copy it, think of the ending and write the word or words.  I know it sounds a bit crazy, but the less I knew about homeschooling the better teacher I was at the time.

After I read about so many different learning styles and about how I was suppose to teach writing, I started thinking I was a public school teacher.  I forgot the teacher mom part of me.  In other words, I didn’t even know about copy work and was already doing that when teaching kindergarten.

Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 Middle of First Grade 2 thumb Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

No, I couldn’t leave well enough alone because I was afraid Mr. Senior 2013 would be behind.  So I started off as a good teaching momma, then turned Nazi momma because I focused more on teaching him “penmanship” than just the skill.  What do I mean by this?

Well take a look at the picture below.  Instead of teaching him how to write, I had to now push him to learning how to compose sentences.  So I moved from what I knew to do naturally, which was having him to copy what I wrote, to thinking I was running a classroom.  And though composing and penmanship are linked, I couldn’t expect him to learn something that I had not modeled or introduced to him yet.  I guess I expected him to know what a title was for his beginning compositions by one of those Vulcan mind melds they do on Star Trek.

Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 Beginning of Second Grade 1 Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

I did allow him to transition between print and cursive up to this time.  All the while I was teaching cursive, he was still using his print.  Looking back now, I should have focused on one or two well written sentences using his beginning cursive instead of insisting on 5 well written sentences, which is a lot for this age.

Too, I corrected his spelling, no doubt in red (awful, awful momma) on his page.  Though you do want to correct spelling errors as they are writing, it’s better not to jump ship and teach yet another skill like spelling.  Simply showing him how to spell ski on a separate page and not on his writing like I did in the picture above, then going on would have been much better to do.  Of course, I expected him to compose, spell and learn penmanship at one swallow.  A TRUE mistake of a FIRST TIME homeschooler!

Though Mr. Senior 2013 survived my teaching him writing, I shed a few tears here and there as I think how hard I was on him.  He  excelled and wanted to learn NOT because I needed to constantly poke and prod him, but because he loved me.Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3 By the End of Second Grade 1 Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3As the teacher mom, I realized I held a lot of power over my little guy and that because of his love for me, he always showed up to try his best.  Thankfully, the other kids that come after the “first” get the full benefit of your experience.

Only another homeschool momma can know the utter feeling of sheer delight by you when you have taught a child the writing process.  Yes, I made plenty of mistakes, but learned in the long run to trust my natural instinct.  Staying balanced about what I learned about the how tos of penmanship and not always applying it to my family has been important too.  Sometimes all the tips just did not apply to my situation at the time.

I hope you do the same thing with what I have shared here with you and apply only the tips that will benefit you.   I would love to celebrate your tiny triumphs with you when you have taught a child how to write.  Have you had the honor yet?

I am not done yet with this topic. I have one more post to share about some of the activities we did and and supplies I used in teaching my crew how to write.

Hugs and love ya,

2014Tinasignature Teaching Handwriting When Homeschooling the Early Years Part 3

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The Art of Procrastination–Omnibus Ends TONIGHT (Aug 24) at 11:59 EST

Not only is tonight at 11:59 EST the last night of the Omnibus, but it is the last night for us in our house.  I can’t wait to start blogging about our homeschool adventures both here and abroad.

Before I do that though and because I care, I want to be sure and remind you one more time to grab your homeschool bundle.

You know I don’t push many homeschool products because I know that you know they are on my site if you want them.  But the Omnibus  is different.  It is the ORIGINAL homeschool bundle and that makes it the ultimate homeschool bundle.  Yes, other homeschool bundles can mock it, but none can beat it.  That means I am SO PROUD to be part of it and want you to know that.

There is literally something for everybody in this bundle.

I won’t ramble on and on about it, I just want to encourage you to take a good look at the bundle because each product is literally .25¢ and there is something for everybody in it.

Too, if you bought it last year, then it is NOT a repeat of last year’s bundle.  The homeschool authors have created 94 new titles.

Scoot by and give it a look ! You’ll be glad you did. Click on the graphic to grab your bundle!!

Omnibus Blog The Art of Procrastination–Omnibus Ends TONIGHT (Aug 24) at 11:59 EST

Look at all the titles at iHomeschool Network which is hosting the sale!!!

But read this fine print first because there are a few things I want you to know.

  • The deadline for refunds is September 5. Positively no refunds will be given if the file host shows that you have downloaded any files.
  • The ebooks will only be available until September 25, please do not delay in downloading them. See the FAQ (http://www.homeschoolomnibus.com/faq/) or contact iHomeschool Network (http://www.homeschoolomnibus.com/contact) for more information.
  • DVDs can be purchased until September 20.
  • The downloads are not on my page. The downloads are being hosted by iHomeschool Network .

If you do not understand all the techie things, be sure to look at the FAQ because it will answer a lot of your questions.

Click Here To Grab It Now.

Hugs and love ya,

2012Tinasignature The Art of Procrastination–Omnibus Ends TONIGHT (Aug 24) at 11:59 EST

          

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