Saturday, October 3, 2015

how we get out the door OR to the van, safely.......

How we manage to get our crew out the door!

With school starting and extra curricular activities, and Co-ops, along with regular life, we need to be able to move our crew out the door and to the van, oftentimes through a parking lot. Parking lots are dangerous, let alone one where everyone's trying to leave at the same time, such as a Co-op.

This years school crew, the kids who go places with me and are involved in these activities are ages,

15, 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, 2, and new little princess in November.
or very close to that age :)
Let me also just point out that the ones 7, 5, 4, and 2 are all boys!
Yes that matters! Even though some girls can be like boys, boys are still boys!
So here's what we do, let's look at our co-op, as that's one that everyone goes to, and everyone brings supplies and bags, plus Mom brings supplies for classes too.
In our Co-op we designate an area, or corner to be our dropping place. As you enter there's a large entry hallway, that leads into a large open gymnasium. There are bleachers in the gymnasium, but other than that it's a walk way and gathering area. All the classrooms are off that area. I choose to place our families things in the gymnasium area. Why? As people are coming and going, the entryway, while large, can easily get very congested. Also there are toddlers wondering around, and in a tighter area, they tend to want to explore in others things rather than run wild along the gym floor :) Also we just find a seat in the gym area to eat our lunches. So if our spot is right there, then we can meet there for lunch distribution too.
This year, the gymnasiums floors were refinished, so we have been asked to walk barefoot or with socks only there, so all shoes are removed too. For this, I will have a tote to put our shoes in next week. That way we don't have shoes ending up everywhere! I will also bring our youngest son slippers. He has a shoe issue, he has to wear shoes everywhere, except when we get into the van- then he's happy to take them off, go figure! I am hoping that if those slippers are only wore at co-op they will feel special, and he won't bother others shoes, or be upset that he doesn't have his on!
Along with backpacks and school supplies and class supplies needed throughout the day, we have to pack a lunch. My kids enjoy being able to have their own individual lunch boxes, so I've purchased them one at a local thrift shop, the DI. That way once everyone has their food, we pray as a family, and the youngers are all sitting and eating, older children can go sit with friends if they'd like to.
So now we've been there from 9:30-2:30 and it's time to go home. It's CRAZY!! We have over 20 families in this co-op (I believe) lots of littles and lots of children who want to run and play, and mom' who want to get home, and toddlers who are cranky and want a nap! Along with remembering to get everything and help put things away and somewhat clean up, there's a ton going on. We do have a clean up family, who we pay a small fee to stay and get everything clean.
Here's our plan:
My last class I teach is nursery and the nursery and younger class, ages 4-7, are having a PE time. So I am able to let the little ones run and play, and the other mom's who help teach nursery and I take turns gathering our supplies and things and cleaning up the toys in our nursery room. I gather my things to one pile, in that room. Then I play with the little boys and girls in the class. When everyone's done we meet at our spot where we keep all our things. Everyone grabs their own backpacks and lunchboxes, all the way to the little 2 year old. The two littlest boys have tiny little backpacks I found, just so they feel special! Plus they have crafts or color pages they do in class too.
Then the oldest is the youngest child's buddy, and the second oldest takes the 2 boys- ages 7 and 5. I do that because, often I have him grab something to carry too, so he can walk behind those two boys and make sure they are safe, but can hold something else in his hands too. The 12 year old takes the 4 year old, as he needs a hand still. And the 9 year old carries more things.
Then we LINE UP! This is one thing my homeschool kids have learned is to line up! I lead, or my oldest daughter if I will be a few more minutes. Each child walks in order of age, except for my 13 year old- he takes up the rear. So for a visual
15 year old with 2 year old
12 year old with 4 year old.
9 year old- who carries extra things
7 year old- who carries if needed
5 year old- who carries if needed
13 year old- who carries extra thing, and makes sure everyone stays in line.
They walk to the van, put their backpacks and lunch boxes in the back, put all children into the van. The two girls, ages 12 and 9 start buckling up carseats, and making sure everyone's buckled up. My 15 year old and 12 year old, head back into the building for the rest of our supplies.
Nice and orderly! That's how I like it!!
Then once we are all in, all last minute conversations are done. We close the door, and do a roll call. Yes, we roll call whenever we are leaving a group setting! Even though typically someone else notices another sibling not in the van, it's just for my own peace of mind! :)
Then we are off!!! Watching out for running kids!!!! :)
This is how we go grocery shopping as a family too. I have a cart, with 1-2 small children in it. The older children hold hands with the younger (if needed, or if they aren't in the cart) and then we line up. Only difference is that the 4 year old is right behind mom and the cart, and we line up youngest to oldest. Then we have mom leading the way, and still aware of the younger children right behind her, and the older children behind to keep the line straight and moving forward.
If we don't line up, then we look like a mob coming!!! :) Trust me it can feel overwhelming!!

And that's how we get out the door, or to the van safely!!! Hopefully some of those tips will help, as you are trying to get a crew moving in the same direction!!! I've done this with just younger children too. I buddy them up, and have them line up 2 by 2!

Friday, October 2, 2015

let them SOAR......

Earlier this morning as I was having a moment, ok I was actually having a bath! Trying to soak some of the pregnancy pains out of my back and hips :) Oh if it were that easy! I had a thought strike me, an AH-HA as some might call it!

It's interesting how each child has a pure genius, yet some may not seem to be so much of a genius!!!

Ok so that's not exactly something new, but it has hit me at a time that I needed it, again.

As I was sitting there, thinking about my 13 year old, and how "far behind he is in "school"" A thought struck me, honestly it was inspiration given by my Heavenly Father- as the peace it brought afterwards can only be from him. This thought was purely simple,

YES, but look at what HE CAN DO!!!

I started letting my mind wander and thought, yes so true, it seems the children who have the book smarts, don't have the street smarts. While those who can figure things out, and are hands on- get in there and get it done- don't typically have the book smarts.

While to the world, one appears to be a "genius" while the other appears to be "hopeless". Though both are truly geniuses. We need both in the world, and we have both in the world. And some those adults, who appeared to be "hopeless" children have become world "geniuses" as adults. And WHY? Because, when they were younger they had people, usually family, but sometimes others around them who saw that "genius" and they just loved, and cared for and encouraged them. They kept their self esteem high, they fought with and for them, and then one day they watched them soar!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spreading my ideas!

I am somewhat new to all this, but I am going to start a facebook page, for my blog!  homeschooling-a-houseful is now on facebook!

I am sure I'll have a learning curve with all this! So be patient!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Independent Studies~ My LIFESAVER of Homeschool

(Post that has been long awaited by some who attended a class I recently gave! So Sorry for my delay!)

Common Question: How do you homeschool so many? And amidst babies, and toddlers? Pregnancies and moves? Chaos and yes even in the calm of the storm!?

How do you keep up?
How do you know what's going on?
How do your children know what to do? Without you constantly nagging them! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! Yep, little nagging involved (don't include the younger batch!!!)


(I personally prefer to call them accountability sheets, but somehow they always get called I.S.)
 I can not figure out how to attach a file. SO, you will need to recreate this. Trust me it's not difficult, as I am not a computer person or even very great at graphics (as you can see!) I do want to emphasize that this must be personalized to each family, and child. It must meet how you homeschool to work. So yes, you will need to customize it, and no don't print out a whole years worth right off! :) Play with it, print 1 or 2 and make notes, changes and additions. Just pencil them in, then make those changes, and print 1 or 2 off- until you are no longer adding things or explaining things to your children. Then, and only then should you print a years worth!! I put them in a 3 ring file folder, as it's small and easy to have around. I use 3 ring binders and notebooks for subjects. However this is used throughout each day, all day long!

Personal Goals




Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Personal Religious Study and Journal 7

Math Lesson # 5



Math Timed Test math lessons or
electronic choices

Math Memory Facts
(write fact)

T est
Online Geography practice (states) 5 Stack the States State Quiz US States Quiz Stack the Countries Seterra
Study Geography Map- Wipe off Map 5

Copywork 5

Spelling Practice (List) 5

pre test
Spelling Puzzle 1 per wk

Explode the Code 1 lesson per wk

Piano Practice 5

Read and report                  Classical 3

(30 Mins ) History 3

Science 3

Geography 3

Read Aloud 5

Religious Reading 5

Written Report ~ 1 per week As needed

RD Due



Now let me try to explain this a bit.

The Top, personal goals. This is where each child can write personal goals for the week or these can be extended if needed to complete. They come up with their own goals, and we discuss them and "set" them together.

Spiritual- anything spiritual, religious habits
Educational- a personal educational goal or something that child wants to learn more about or a skill they'd like to develop or learn
Personal- anything personal, maybe a physical goal (exercise daily, control a temper, stop lying, keeping a room clean- remembering to brush teeth without reminders :)
They can "see" this daily and be reminded of the goals they are trying to accomplish. Then at the end of the week, I look over their accountability sheets and can discuss their goals, how they are doing and if they think they met that goal. I try to keep these very personal to each child, and rarely disagree with their outcome- I might suggest one more week, but I want them to feel accountable. I also sometimes "see a BIGGER picture" than they do, or a larger goal, then they meant.

Next the assignments sheets.
I prefer to run on a day 1, day 2, day 3 schedule, over a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule. That way if we have a non school day, or holiday or if it's a Co-op day I don't feel like we are "behind"

The first column is the assignment or subject. I think it's pretty self explanatory, except maybe the read and report sections. Basically we do a classical approach to their independent studies of History, Science, Geography, and Classical (Which is a classical reading book). It also didn't transfer well there :) So the read a report is for those subjects, and the 30 mins means 30 minutes. We discuss all books read, and all approved by mom. I want this to be very child led, so they can learn about their favorite topics in those areas, or things they've learned that interest them. I also have them keep a running booklist to keep track of those books.
Then they are to write 1 report a week. The majority of the reports are book reports but sometimes I have them do other things.

The second column states how many times a "week" or 5 day school period, each of those things need to be done. So if it says 5- it's to be done daily, if it says 3 then 3 days out of that week. 1 per week or 1 lesson per week they can choose how to "schedule" that into their week. I like to give them some due dates and give them their independence in how to schedule things. Some of my children have learned the hard way that leaving everything to day 5, isn't smart. While some have caught on quickly that if they schedule their lessons right, they can have a shorter day 5, and only do their daily assignments. :)

Columns 3-7 are the days of the week. They mark each subject as it's completed for that day. Some of the children like to "schedule their week" and circle the days they plan to do different subjects, some just go day by day. If it has writing in a column, then that must be done that day. So our spelling pretest is always done on day 3 and our spelling test is always done on day 5. The geography games I try to have the children who use them do different ones each day, and rotate them. Some are on a computer, some an ipad or a tablet, so then there's not so much congestion getting the equipment you need. Unlike the piano, they have to wait their turns, and learn to keep busy while waiting! :)

Then on the last row is what's called MOM's OKAY, this is VERY IMPORTANT!! They must show me their work, and put it in the corrections pile (which I do later in the afternoon/evening) and get an okay from me to be finished with their school work for the day. I typically look at what time it is, how much they did, how much they still need to accomplish to finish their "week" and I MIGHT make suggestions about their scheduling, and I might not. This all depends on the child, circumstances and lessons learned or needing to be learned :)

At the bottom, I have a part that says weekly assignments notes. This is a place to make any notes that the children might need to remember. This could be things I assign them from our family studies, or things from Co-ops or classes they are part of. This could even just be a simple note about don't forget to feed the cat, because someone might just have a hard time remembering that!

AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!! It's such a simple idea, yet it sure does help my homeschool run smoothly, and helps to clear my brain of all the things I need to remember! It also teaches the children to work more independent. Many times some of the kids will race through their morning chores and get started way before I'm even dressed for the day!!! Because they know once they accomplish all Mom's asks them to do, the day is theirs! They can do what they want to do!!! It allows them more independence and individualization in their education.

I make these for all my children who currently do anything structured in our homeschool. So even though my 1st grader and Kindergartener are not independent. It helps me remember where we are, and what we are doing, and what we have left to do. It also teaches them how to "use" our accountability sheets at a young age, so then when they do become more independent, they already do understand the "how" of the sheets. I also discuss things with them, throughout the day. Maybe I give them a choice, would you like to do your explode the code or math activity first? or I need to help (insert any sibling in here) right now so I need you to do one of these things that is something you can do independently. Or maybe we have 15 minutes before our lunch is ready, what do you think would be a good thing to start now?

This method has also worked for our family, while using many different approaches to homeschool. We now are very eclectic in our homeschool. However their was a time in our homeschool that we leaned towards being strictly a certain philosophy. We've been on the whole spectrum of the homeschool board!!! I began this with my oldest child, as he was trying to gain more independence, and he couldn't remember everything, I couldn't remember everything and I knew we needed some way to organize it all, and have some accountability in our school with more independence.

I hope that makes sense, and it can bless your homeschool as it has ours.

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