Friday, July 14, 2017

a REALITY CHECK in planning......

Well it seems to be the time of the year when many are homeschool planning. I am seeing posts and links everywhere, with tips and advice and so many ideas! Yes, even I am in this mode here. It just must be that time of the year!

So as I'm planning, the first day is always hard.
I have dreams,
I have visions,
I have ideas
Oh so many!!!

I literally start thinking, how can I add more hours to my day?
Let's see we could start our day, at 4:00, no that doesn't mean everyone will be cranky and tired. Definitly  not, and especially not me!
Then we could school until 4:00- I mean the neighbors can't really plan until then anyways, by the time they get home, have a snack and work on school or home responsibilities, right?!?!


Then I decided, no what I need to do is edit, sort and maybe even subtract!!!

For some reason as a homeschooler, I think that our school needs to be extra special, at all times and in all ways. It needs to be super cool, amazingly awesome and at ALL times! Yet in the mist of all that, life is well life!

I mean come on how many of us think that every moment of our life is just that?


Last time I checked a mom's everyday chores and responsibilities are NOT there!
(laundry, changing diapers, doing the dishes, mopping the floors, and especially cleaning the toilets!)
Last time I checked a dad's everyday responsibilities are NOT there!
(boring meetings, paperwork, restrictions, traffic and oh taxes!)

So let's face it, homeschool needs to be extra special, super cool, amazingly awesome, but only sometimes, and sometimes it's just plain work!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Do you Summer School?

We are a Summer School Family. Here's the main reasons why I choose to year round homeschool our houseful.

First off I completely agree with public school moms, after a couple weeks of a summer break the kids are bored! They start complaining, being mischievous and/or driving me crazy!!!

We like routine, we like routine with flexibility. Hence I like to year round school, because often in the homeschool world things come up last minute, or we just need a break one day when it's been a difficult week, or maybe it's the first nice/warm day of the spring- and let's face it no one wants to be inside on a day like that! Yes in my book, all those days can be and are included in schooling my houseful, however I still like to know where we stand in our curriculum and in our goals for the year.
So if I know we have an entire year to complete something, not a school year, I feel more relaxed!

I also detest having to review everything you learned last year!!! REALLY! If you have to review it, did you really learn it!?!? Now I get reviewing things you've learned and especially facts- but feeling like the first 15-20 lessons in every math curriculum is dedicated to relarning things, not reviewing, but yes- relearning! In our household when you start a new math or grammar level, you get to start with the unit tests! If you can pass it off you move to the next unit test until you found "the good stuff!" The new material!

I also hate that feeling of just getting a child over a hump, especially learning to read or decode, figuring out their math facts or a math topic or killing a moment where someone is into a specific topic- and then having a feeling that we need to revamp the schedule or rethink somewhere else- to fit it all in, when in reality I want to fit it all in! And with a year round school year, you can chase a bunny trail, and then come back to where you are, and know there's still plenty of time!

Vacation time! We can vacation how and where and most importantly when we choose! We also like to live on "Dad's schedule" That way when dad's off we can be off! Also I believe it teaches a good work ethic, along with helping my children find joy in the simple things. If life is life you find joy in simple things- like a day off or park day.

Sick days, we obviously can't plan those! Along with sick days, I've had 11 children! Homeschooling and pregnancy is difficult, along with homeschooling with babies and toddlers. We need some flexibility during those times in our lives.

I also like to take long breaks around holidays, especially Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.

I think we also take the idea that life is school to a whole new level! I want my children to see school and learning as a part of their life. That it is what we do, it is important and learning is everything and everywhere. If we take a summer break, and it's considered a holiday, then wouldn't you dread going back to school? I want life to be both work and a holiday, and for it to happen in a more natural way.

And amazingly we still have plenty of time for play, and guess what we even enjoy and cherish that time!

I will be preparing a post on how I plan  with flexibility! So I don't feel I'm behind, or feel like I need to rethink our schedule anytime we get sick, need a break or decide to enjoy an activity I didn't plan on.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Essential Oils, in my houseful!

I have been an Oil'er for years, actually I believe it's been a good 8-10 years!
I love oils, I use them for medicinal purposes, aroma purposes, and emotional purposes.
I won't go into purposes, or things I love, necessarily because, well there's so many recipes, advice, and blends out there. I use many different oils for many different reasons, and well whenever we have an aliment, I simple search for an oil, if I don't already know one.

What I will get into is Essential Oil Companies.
I've investigated oil companies, and read may blogs about what oil companies are out there, and their business etiquette, origin of their oils, and of course cost vs quality. I won't get into all the info here, but this is a wonderful blog series about many popular companies, essential oil showdown series
While the companies I prefer, are not on her list, or even really compared on this blog series, I did take many of her questions and concerns and applied them to the companies I already used and liked.

So here's a link to the two companies our houseful uses for essential oils.

First is Plant Therapy
This link will take you to a nice post about the company, their oils and the quality. I like that they list where the oils are grown, when you click on an oil in the shop it lists the origin of the ingredients. They do research on the farms and ingredients before they begin using that resource.  Plant therapy, offers reward points on all orders you make, and those can be used towards your oil or accessory purchases.

Next is Eden's Garden
This link will take you to a nice about us page. When you click on a oil in the shop, and then the detail link it will give you all the info on the ingredients used and their origin. They do research on all farms and ingredients as well. Eden's Garden also offers reward points on all orders you make, along with a few other reward benefits. They do offer a refer a friend reward bonus, so if you decide to order from my reference here, please use the above link- and send me some rewards!! They also give extra reward bonuses, for your birthday, following them on Instagram and Facebook and setting up an account and once you order certain dollar amounts of oils.

Also if you sign up for both companies email lists, or
 follow them on Facebook and Instagram, they both send out specials and offers on a regular basis.
So from the research I've done, along with the many wonderful bloggers who have done research for me, I feel these companies offer a high quality product, for a low cost!

Here's 2 of my favorite blends from these companies. These are blends specific to these companies, ones I've not seen from other companies.

Harmony, from Eden's Garden- I LOVE this one!! I diffuse it and wear it, like most ladies wear perfume!

Calming the Child, from Plant Therapy- I love this one too!! Love it for my kiddos, and also sometimes I wear it too! I love to spray it on our bedding and diffuse it during quiet time!

Hope you enjoy, and become an oil'er for life!!!

PS- the only compensation I may receive from this post, is if you choose to use my refer a friend link above from Eden's Garden. Otherwise, this is just one friends recommendation to another friend!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Should my children learn to learn independently??

Recently there was a discussion about independent learning on a Facebook group I follow. One mom was upset and tired of feeling like her children couldn't follow through with a given assignment or directions unless she was right there, they would get distracted and/or start playing. She also spoke of her children not listening while reading aloud too, and too often she felt like she was talking, and NO ONE was listening!

One of the comments on this post, suggested that homeschool mom's shouldn't expect their children to learn independently. Public school children are not working independently, nor do children typically like to do things they don't want to. So if you are asking them to work on something they dislike, then of course they'd rather not do it.

Since Independent learning, is so important to me, and how I honestly have homeschooled my 11 children, over the past (technically) 15 years, somewhat sane. I thought maybe I should just write a blog post about it, because Facebook is not the place to write my "novel" answers! Sometimes I think I'm simply too long winded for Facebook! :)

First off, this happens! It happens to the best of the best of Moms. Honestly we are dealing with children, or teenagers- there's built up energy, not enough energy, too many emotions and or hormone changes! So even if you figure out the perfect plan, or the perfect way to make independent learning happen, there will still be those days.

So here's my first thought, yes no one likes to do things they don't want to. I surely don't want to do the laundry everyday, clean up the millionth mess my toddler made, not change the tenth dirty diaper of the day. I surely don't want to pay my mortgage or my utility bills. These things simply must be done, and are simply part of my responsibilities. There's no one there to nag us to do them, except when you realize all your clothes are dirty, or the company sends you a late bill. Sure I could just say I enjoy shopping so much more than I do washing clothes, so let's just go buy something new to wear! Wouldn't that be fun!!! Until tomorrow when you realize that now you just have one more outfit to wash, and honestly you didn't get anywhere, you just made your load larger.

Well I could just allow my children to only learn what they want to, completely. Would they learn, Yes. (though I wonder if some of them would ever learn anything past how to build with Legos!) Do I want them to learn things they love, definitely!! So how can I do this? Simple don't plan your school days so full, that there's no down time. Don't over plan what you want them to learn, to make sure they learn everything, only to overload them so they don't learn anything. Plan to have them learn their basics, their core subjects. Give them time to still explore and enjoy their interests.

One way to do this, is to give them guidelines. You need to study science for 30 minutes, 2 times a week. I only asked them to study science, the topic is their choice. The project is their choice. Everyone has to like atleast one thing in science, nature, astronomy, earth science, gardening, or maybe engineering.

Well how do they know what they want to learn about, or what might interest them? Simple I spend my family teaching time exposing them to greatness. I use our family learning time to expose them to a wide range of topics and ideas, usually we simply read and discuss. I don't do many activities during this time, unless it's art or a science experiment. Sometimes I have a notebook, but even then it's simple and not something that we won't get through in 15 to 20 minutes. It might be something we discuss and then I give directions on how to do, or allow them to study that idea or topic in greater depth.

There are core subjects that I want them to do everyday such as reading, writing and math. Those things I have curriculum for and they do a lesson a day- by themselves. Then they report their scores, or put them in a pile to be graded later, however that subject needs to be done.

My second thought, is simple... to learn to be an independent learner, the children must be "taught" how. This may seem silly, but everything we do, we had to learn. How do I do this in our homeschool? I make a very basic chart listing what I expect to be done. I make these for all my homeshooled children. Yes, even the ones that can't work independently yet. The are simply learning the way that we homeschool. They are learning how to use our chart, and mark things off, and getting use to the structure and routines around here.

That's how I do it, simply because I like organization, I like reminders, I like to have it all written down so I can look and say, yes you're done.

My third thought is I am consistent with the concept that until your schoolwork is done, you don't have independent learning, you don't move on. We accomplish our have to's first, and then our want to's. Along those same lines, we don't "play" until our learning time is done. We have a learning time, which simply means no friends, no screens until that time of the day is done. Screens are allowed, when asked permission and they need to have a specific need or idea they want to study online.  This is their time to either explore their own interests, or to gain a love for each other and family.

Some children learn this quickly, while others may not. Some figure it out, if I get up get my chores done, start my school and then get done, I have more time to do the things I enjoy. Some are feel lifes not fair when they are spending their free time/ free play time doing school still. Some need to spend a whole day sitting at the table, dawdling and doodling, day dreaming before they get the idea that if you get your have to's done first, you have more time for your want to's. Which by the way are usually the things your spending your time daydreaming about in the first place. So if you want the time to put those "dreams" into action, or answer those questions you're thinking about, then put your energy, and thought into your responsibilities first.

And lastly if your children are not sitting and listening to you while you are reading aloud to them, then it's time to teach them to respect their elders, and especially their Mother. If we are reading aloud and someone isn't listening, I simply stop and say I will not go on until I am the only one talking, or it's Mom's turn to talk right now. This is also something that we must teach our children. Children can and will learn how to sit and listen, they can and will learn how to respect those around them, not only their leaders/teachers but also those who are sitting and listening. It is an important character trait that often times is skipped. Be consistent with your consequences and you will gain a great reward, of obedient and loving children.

since August 13, 2009

since August 2009
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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6