When you step back . . . and more...



When you step back . . .

I didn’t mean to take a blogging break.  But sometimes the best things are unplanned.  Have you ever just utterly stepped back and disconnected from every techie device you have? 

Why do we think we will miss something when we get off our devices even for a short time?  I have been missing something. 

Look at what I have been savoring as I have been sittin’-on-the-dock-of-the-bay (okay, okay, BELIEVE me, you don’t want me singing to you).

Wild Sunset 1 thumb When you step back . . .

My kids always ask me how we ever did without all the “connections” we have today, but we did.  Yep, life was more simple then.  And no, you don’t have to be too old to feel like a dinosaur soon in today’s fast changing techie world.

I never have been about having to have traditional ways to start our school year and this year has been no exception.

After our big push to get out of our house, we have been vacationing recovering in a condo on the water here in Texas. Do you like my view?

Wild Sunset 2 thumb When you step back . . .

Lighthouse thumb When you step back . . .

I didn’t want us to fly out immediately to South America after we all worked so hard to move.  I knew that a mini vacation was due.

ship thumb When you step back . . .

And I always have something homeschool-ish planned to seize the huge change in our lives.  Take a look at what Tiny and I both may try out this week or while we are in Florida (our next destination).   It is Chalk Pastels Art at the Beach.

Chalk Pastels Art at the Beach 250 www.southernhodgepodge.com  When you step back . . .

And because the weather has turned a bit colder, I also have A Seasonal Start In Fall Chalk Pastels that we may try out also.

A Seasonal Start in Chalk Pastels Fall 3D When you step back . . .But too you know I told you we were headed up to North Texas to tell more of our family goodbye.  So we spent some time with my sweet mother-in-law.  While we were there,  I managed to squeeze in a field trip since we started our study of the Trail of Tears.

What is the Trail of Tears thumb When you step back . . .

I will show you those pictures soon.  This next week we head to Florida to spend a few days recuperating there too and then that’s it!! Ecuador here we come!!  Of course, you know we will find something to do while we stay in Florida.

How about you? Did you have a great start to your school year or are you delaying it like I am?

Hugs and love ya,

2012Tinasignature When you step back . . .

          

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Back Cover Curriculum Planner

Because I take my time creating my curriculum planner printables for my 7 Step Homeschool Planner, I find inspiration at anytime.  So today, for the back cover curriculum planner, I was so stoked when I was reminded of the saying that “One Mother Teaches More than a Hundred Teachers” that I created another option choice for the back cover.

Back of Planner Cover 3 Back Cover Curriculum Planner

That is such a powerful statement that I felt like it deserved it’s own page. 

Don’t underestimate the influence and power you have today over changing your children’s future.  And a gentle but power packed reminder each day, will hopefully keep us both pumped up for the days when we wonder why we are homeschooling.

I’m in a pinkish, purplish and turquoise-y (my new word) kind of elegant mood today.  Too, since I never strive to have all my pages matching because I always want you to have a unique planner and not one huge boring matching conundrum, I hope you like the color choice. 

You never know when the inspiration strikes and I will have to create more options.

Enjoy the newest back cover!

Download Back Cover Option 3 Here.

Hugs and love ya

2012Tinasignature Back Cover Curriculum Planner

Did you already grab your 2 page spread appointment keepers for the academic year or for 2015?

Rainbow, New Beginnings  and Dreaming Color Schemes shown below.

 

2 Page Month At A Glance Academic Calendars Collage Back Cover Curriculum Planner

 

2 Page Month At A Glance Academic Calendars New Beginnings Collage 1 Back Cover Curriculum Planner

Dreaming Collage Back Cover Curriculum Planner

          

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Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Finishing Strong Link Up Tinas Dynamic Homeschool Plus thumb Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Today we’re featuring another one of our co-hosts, Kyle from Aspired Living. Don’t forget to link up your own posts with us after you read all about her.

Finishing Strong Homeschooling the Middle High School Years 27 350x500 Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Howdy, I’m Kyle McVay of Aspired Living and I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve been married for nearly 18 years to the World’s Best Husband and we have 5 children and live in the great state of Texas. Our oldest child is autistic, and we have both biological and adopted children. We hope to adopt again, but we are getting old. Our 5 awesome kiddos range in age from 4 to 16 years old, which creates a really interesting school day!

Our School

For the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year, we’ll be homeschooling all 5 of our kiddos. We will be teaching our autistic 8th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader and 2 preschoolers. We are utilizing the classical model, but we are not purists. Plus, I really like Charlotte Mason’s ideas. I use the book Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns as a guide.

We emphasize independent study by the student with Mama in the role of tutor. Thus we adopted much of the methodology of the Classical Method, which allows me to insert Charlotte Mason type elements into our homeschool without usurping the role of teacher.

I like to keep our homeschool simple. By this I mean I shouldn’t overload my children, or choose curriculum that is complicated for the children to complete or for me to implement.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Classical Curriculum

This is an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of classical curriculum providers, co-ops, continuing education & bloggers. We begin by looking at the classical curriculum providers that offer curriculum choices across all subjects. For the most part I will not mention their individual curriculum except in the case of products I feel are often overlooked.

ultimate guide 300x300 Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Understanding Saxon Math

Saxon Math has been a homeschool mainstay for 20+ years. It was written by John Saxon and remained a family company until 2004 when it was sold to Harcourt Achieve. It is still however the same high quality program as when it was owned by the Saxons. This curriculum has been used by homeschoolers practicing nearly every homeschool method.

saxon Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

5 Great Mystery of History Posts

I know I always benefit from seeing how other folks are using and organizing curriculum that I use. These 5 posts have been very helpful to me in getting my MOH organized and running smoothly.

mysteryofhistory 225x300 Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Homeschool for Free

Homeschooling does not have to be expensive, in fact it can be free. This post lists a lot of places for you to find free homeschool curriculum.

homeschoolforfree 300x300 Finishing Strong – Homeschool Link Up Party {Homeschooling Middle & High School Years} #27.

Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Guidelines for the hop:

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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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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

2012Tinasignature Trail of Tears Notebooking Pages

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