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My Promise to ME…

self care, homeschool mom, happiness

A very wise friend once told me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first”.  I realize now, that she wasn’t just speaking in general terms…she was speaking directly to ME! She knew me well enough to know that I needed this reminder. She could see that as a homeschooling Mama of 3, I was SO focused on taking care of them, that I was neglecting myself.

Now, being who I am, I of course DID NOT take her advice. I listened. I listened and I didn’t forget her words…but I didn’t take her advice. It wasn’t until many months later that I realized that I needed to take this advice…not only for myself…but for my entire family. My focus had been so fixed on being a mom and a teacher that I had forgotten to do things to make myself happy! I was getting burned out. SO, I made a promise to ME, that I would start doing something for myself every.single.day. It didn’t have to be huge, but it would be something! And do you know what? It has made a world of difference!

So, what is it that makes me happy? Well, I am glad you asked! 🙂 I am such a visual person, that I decided I needed to create a visual list of things that bring me joy. You can create a journal page, a digital list, a vision board…anything that helps you keep tabs on your happiness!! I started out with a page in my journal…but my handwriting is terrible…so I converted it over to a pretty little image in Canva…anyone else obsessed with Canva???? So…here is my little list…it’s not huge…but it makes me feel GOOD! (ps…the act of making this list…SOO much happiness…I love being creative!)

Happy mom, self care, list

You will notice that some of these things aren’t huge, monumental, life changing tasks…but…they make ME SMILE! The simple act of drinking my coffee in the quiet without interruptions is HUGE! If I can start my day this way I am almost guaranteed to begin the day with a clear head. Those 10 minutes to wake up and get my brain centered and ready for the day can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

You will also see that there are some Usborne related items on this list. Books bring me JOY! Being in a position to help other moms earn free books for their kiddos gives me more joy than I can even tell you. After we started homeschooling I let my book business take a back seat…and I missed it! I missed hosting Facebook parties. I missed introducing people to these amazing books and seeing their reactions when they got their hands on our books for the first time.

The act of writing this post and creating this blog has brought me so much happiness. I love to write…I always have. I can count on one hand the amount of times that I allowed myself the time to write since having my first child. I am SO excited to have created this time for ME. I am excited to see where it takes me.

So I have a challenge for YOU!!! I challenge you to create your own list! What makes YOU happy?? Once you have your list, I want you to put it somewhere that you will see it EVERY DAY! I want you to pick something…one thing…to do every day that is just for you. Something that will put a smile on your face and make you feel good! Please come back and share your list! I would LOVE to see it!!

Home & Family

Summer Bucket List!

summer, bucket list, homeschool life

Summer has arrived!! Well, it has been here for quite some time in the Sunshine State, but today is officially the first day of summer! There is just something about summer…lazy mornings, trips to the beach, barbecues, ice cream cones…ahhh I just love it!

But boy does summer FLY BY! Every year we have so many wonderful plans, but September rolls around and we just stare at each other wondering what happened! This year? This year, we are taking a different approach! We decided to put things in writing!! For me, putting things in writing seriously ups my accountability!! Not to mention, broadcasting it across social media…we wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone, right? SO, this year we sat down as a family and created our very own…

SUMMER BUCKET LIST

Can I just tell you how totally excited I am about this?? Kid on Christmas morning excited…brand new book excited…paid for a Grande but got a Venti excited…ya know? Why am I so excited? Well, first of all…its such a pretty list! I used fabulous colors…and I doodled…I.LOVE.DOODLES! Second, look at all of those fun-tastic possibilites. There is a lot of fun packed into one piece of paper! Lastly, I get to do these things with my 4 favorite people in the world! These will be new adventures for us! We have only lived in Florida for 5 months, so pretty much everything we do is a new and exciting experience!

So, without further ado…here is our Summer 2017 Bucket List!!

summer bu

This list was a BLAST to make!!! The kids and I sat down during what should have been our poetry tea time and discussed everything that we wanted to accomplish over the summer. Even though we plan to work on school work through the summer, we still plan to have TONS of fun and see lots of new things!! Some of these things are pretty easy…things we do quite frequently, like make homemade ice cream and pizza on the grill. Other things will definitely take some time…like visiting at least 5 Florida State parks! We tried to keep things within reach this year…for example when my daughter suggested going to Disneyland, I had to reign that one back in…as I know we have zero chance to get to California this summer. She was satisfied with going to Animal Kingdom here in FL…phew! 🙂

So, do you have a summer bucket list? What sort of things will ya’ll be doing? I am starting to work on my Momma version of a summer bucket list…I have SO many books I want to read and things I want to create…I had better get it down on paper before the summer passes me by! I would LOVE to hear your ideas and see your lists!! Happy planning!!

All Things Art!, Books!

Amazing Artists – Introduction to our Unit Study!

art unit, homeschool, secular

I am so excited to share a brand-new Art unit that I have been working on!! Do you have children that love creating art? I know I do! My kids are obsessed with all things art! Whenever they have a free minute they can be found destroying my house creating masterpieces! Because of their love of art, we have a very art rich curriculum. I try to integrate art into so many of our daily subjects. I love seeing them show their grasp of a subject by creating something with their hands!

I wanted to add something more into the mix. I wanted to have a dedicated art curriculum where we would learn about art, art history, and famous artists. How fun would it be to learn about Picasso and then have a chance to create your own Picasso-style masterpiece?? Well, stick around, because we are about to find out!

Enter this amazing book…The Usborne Art Treasury. I adore this book…seriously…I hear angels singing when I open it. This was the starting point for my unit. Throughout this book, they teach us about different artists and each artist will have a hands-on project to go along with it. Exactly what I was looking for.

In addition to my beloved Art Treasury book I discovered a wonderful series of books on famous artists by author/illustrator Mike Venezia. Fan-tastic books! These are written for young minds. They are so easy to understand but full of amazing information about the artists’ life, their art style, and many photos of their artwork. Not only do I love these books, but my kids do too!

Lastly, I turned to YouTube. Now, I am what you would call “crafty” …an artist I am not! I knew that I wanted to incorporate more than one piece of artwork for each artist and for that I would need some serious help! YouTube is an amazing resource…I found a ton of wonderful instructional videos on creating art. I can’t wait to share them all with you!

So, what’s next? Well, I am glad you asked! Every 2 weeks I will be sharing a unit on a different artist. I will share the books I used, the art supplies needed, links to the YouTube Videos, and our finished projects! These are designed for you to go at your own pace. If your kids become enthralled with a particular artist and want to learn more…then go for it!

So, in addition to creating our masterpieces, we have also created an art gallery in our home. We have dedicated a wall that will serve as our gallery. It will feature the art we create based on the particular artist we are learning about. Once we move onto the next artist we will start from scratch!

In addition to the gallery wall, we have also created a timeline of great artists! We thought it would be fun to show the time the artists lived in relation to one another…and Mama loves timelines 🙂

So…without further ado…our very first artist will be Pablo Picasso! Please join us as we create some zany and brightly colored art in the style of one of the greatest artists of all time…Picasso! Stay tuned…

Books!, Homeschooling

My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 1

(The following links go to my personal Usborne Books & More website, as a consultant I do receive commission on purchases)

My obsession with Usborne books came long before our decision to homeschool! I fell in love with these amazing books. My home has always been filled with books…picture books, fiction books, poetry…but never non-fiction! I am not sure why, I was just always drawn to fiction so that is what I filled our shelves with.

When I was first introduced to Usborne Books & More I was blown away at the high quality non-fiction titles! I was also blown away by my complete lack of non-fiction at home! How could a book obsessed Mama completely gloss over and entire genre of books? So, I ordered The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia…among a ton of other titles! This book? This book is one of the reasons I became a book lady. It is fantastic. When you hear the word “encyclopedia” do your eyes gloss over? Yeah, mine used to as well! This encyclopedia…all of our encyclopedias…are fascinating, engaging, and FUN! Kids, and parents love these books! I loved this book so much….and then I discovered that it was Internet Linked…say what??? The book has safe links for your kids to go to to gain more information on a particular subject. Ah-Mazing! More on internet links another day…did I mention the ah-mazingness?

Long story short…my wishlist of books was ginormous…so I decided to become a consultant. I have never looked back. Love it! Again, story for another day!

SO! Over the course of a year I had accumulated an insane amount of books! When we began homeschooling I was SO excited to be able to put these amazing books to great use…and boy have we! I can honestly say that these are the books we use all day. I use them for lesson and unit planning, my kids use them for research, we use them for the internet links…they are a huge part of our daily life.

I want to share my favorites with you. Yes, this is much like picking a favorite child. I set out to share my top 5 homeschooling favorites with you…which of course turned into 10. This is just the tip of the iceberg…but these are the top 10 that I cannot live without! I have decided to break this down into two parts…because I am what you could call “long winded”…So…without further ado…my first 5!

1.) The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia– I adore this book. It was the first Usborne book that I have ever purchased! (I later found out that some of my favorite baby books were also from Usborne Books & More…but those were gifts!) This book is internet linked and has QR codes that allow you or your child to simply scan the barcode on each page with a smartphone or tablet and instantly be brought to a child friendly website for more information. My husband and I spent 2 hours one Friday night visiting the various sites in the book…yeah, we are very exciting people! We took a tour on the US Space Station…given by an astronaut! He showed us how astronauts sleep, make food, and even brush their teeth. So fascinating. This book takes education to the next level!

2.) The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia– You guys…this book is gorgeous. If you are a geography nut like me, YOU.NEED.THIS.BOOK.  It is full of fantastic information and has excellent photos and illustrations. This book covers all aspect of geography! A bookshelf essential! Truth be told…I bought this book long before I started homeschooling…and I bought it for myself.

3.) The Usborne Science Encyclopedia– another must have. I use this book all the time. Not only is this one internet linked…but it has QR codes. You can just scan the barcode with your tablet or smartphone and it will take you straight to the Usborne Quicklinks site. TONS of amazing information. This book is wonderful for anyone interested in science or for planning science curriculum!

4.) The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History– much like the other encyclopedias that we offer, this is a must have for your homeschool! Internet linked and full of amazing information! It is the perfect addition to any homeschool bookshelf!

5.) The Usborne Art Treasury– my new obsession. This book is fun-tastic! Throughout its pages you will learn about different artists, their styles, and it will include a project based on that particular style. This is the book that I am planning my entire art curriculum on this year. It is awesome! Check out some of my blog posts on our art lessons…it is a lot of fun!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Top 10 favorite Usborne Books to homeschool with!!

 

Homeschooling

Visiting 6 Countries in 1 Day!!

disney, epcot, homeschool

 

Have you ever wished you could visit 6 countries in 1 day? Yesterday we visited Mexico, Norway, Germany, Italy, China, and the USA…all in one day!!! Impossible you say? Not if you live in the great state of Florida…and have an Annual Pass to Walt Disney World! Yesterday we visited one of my favorite places on the planet…Epcot! Our goal was to visit all 11 of the countries featured in The World Showcase at Epcot…but it was HOT, and crowded, and HOT…so our goal fell short! BUT, we did get to visit 6 countries and it was a blast!

For those of you who have never visited Epcot, it is just the best experience. When you travel through each of the 11 countries, you truly feel like you are a part of that country. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes…amazing. It is one of the most beautifully themed places in all of Walt Disney World…and that is saying something! It is even more magical after dark…everything is so beautifully lit…I just love it.

Yesterday our goal was to finally get stamps in the Epcot Passports our kids got for Christmas! If you haven’t seen these, they are fantastic! Each country has its own page and the goal is to visit each country and earn a stamp. These feel like actual passports…my kids loved it! In addition to getting stamps at each country, the passport also comes with various stickers that the child can decorate each page with, The stickers show different parts of the country in Epcot as well as the flag of the country.  To earn your stamps all you have to do is visit the Kidcot stops located in each country. These are great places for the kids to stop and catch their breath, even if you aren’t collecting stamps for your passport. The Cast Member that works at the station will help the child put the stamp in their book and will usually add a drawing or the child’s name or a saying in the language of their country. We had so much fun! Many of the Cast Member’s will teach the kids a word or phrase from their country as well. Such an awesome learning experience! If you don’t have a passport, don’t worry!! You can either purchase one right at Epcot, OR each Kidcot stop has a paper version that you can get for FREE to put stamps in!!!

epcot, homeschool, disney

 

We can’t wait to return in a couple of weeks to collect the remaining 5 passport stamps! This is such an awesome addition to any world geography unit! Each country has an opportunity to learn about the culture, hear the music, meet the people, see art, try the food, and so much more! I may have had to taste a hibiscus margarita in Mexico…for educational purposes of course!! Two thumbs way up! I am looking forward to many more visits to Epcot in the future…especially as we begin to study all of the countries! If you have ever been to Epcot, which is your favorite country to visit?

 

epcot, homeschool, disney

Finding Florida, Homeschooling

State Park Family Pass for the Win!

florida, homeschool, annual pass, passport

My fellow Floridians…are you aware of the sheer number of State Parks in this state?? My mind is seriously blown! They  are everywhere!! Not only are they everywhere…but they are amazing! Whether you are looking for a place to go biking, birding, snorkeling, camping, shelling, hiking, tubing, or just relaxing…Florida State Parks have you covered! The amount of educational opportunities at each park is mind-blowing…Florida is so full of nature and history it is a homeschoolers wonderland!

My family moved to the Sunshine State in January. We relocated from New Hampshire…cold and snowy New Hampshire. When we arrived, it was sunny and beautiful. One of our very first stops was to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. It is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited in my entire life. If I didn’t know I was in Florida I would have thought that I was on a tropical island. White sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, and dolphins…there were actual dolphins swimming off the shore. Postcard quality gorgeousness! We decided that day that we would be needing an annual pass to the state parks…even if just to go to Honeymoon Island. While at Honeymoon Island you can also enjoy a nature center, walking trails, and an osprey trail!

honeymoon island, state park, annual pass, passport

We purchased a family pass for $120…for the whole year! The family pass allows us to enter the parks with up to 8 people, with the exception of Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs which allows 2 people.  This is an amazing value…even if we only went to Honeymoon Island 15 times the pass would pay for itself.

It wasn’t until I began exploring the State Park website that I realized just how many places there are to visit. My homeschooling mind got extremely excited. There are so many historic sites to visit, nature preserves, archaeological sites, beaches to study sea life…and so much more! SO, we set up a little challenge for ourselves. We want to visit ALL of the Florida state parks…yes, all! I love a challenge, and this is most definitely a doozy. To make things even more exciting…the Florida State parks offer a passport program where you purchase a book and travel to each of the parks collecting stamps. If you collect all of the stamps you earn a free family membership for a year in addition to a $120 Florida State Park gift card good toward camping or cabin stays! What?!?! This is music to my ears! For more info on the passport book click here.

Challenge accepted!!! Our Passport just arrived in the mail and it is FABULOUS!

I hope you will join us on our adventures and learn a little more about the Sunshine State! If you aren’t from Florida, consider checking out the State Park website for your state!! I am sure they will be full of great resources. I guarantee the parks will be full of awesome adventures and learning opportunities for you and your kiddos!

Homeschooling

My Why…

homeschool, beach, florida, secular

This picture? THIS, is my why. Those 3 little beach bums right there. Getting to watch them learn and explore has made for a pretty amazing year. Is it always easy? Heck NO! Are there days where I want to hide? You betcha! Those hard days are worth it if it means I get to have days like this.

When we first started our homeschool journey I had no idea what to expect. You will notice that I tend to refer to homeschooling as “a journey”…that is because it is always changing. One day can look entirely different from another. We are always growing and learning and changing. So to, are our reasons for homeschooling.

Our reasons for deciding to homeschool and our reasons for continuing to homeschool are different. We began this journey as a way to get away from a new administration and terrible school board that were sending our school in a direction that didn’t fit what we wanted for our kids. We loved our school, but didn’t love some of the changes that were happening. This wasn’t an easy decision and it was most definitely not a popular decision among friends and family. But ultimately it was our decision to make and I am so glad that we did. It has been a perfect fit for our family.

So, Why? Why do we homeschool?

1.) Flexibility– We are a happier family now that we are the ones in control of our schedule. Mornings used to be a nightmare. The kids would wake up and we would race around to get everyone ready and out the door. It would be a miracle morning if we didn’t have at least one kid yelling and another one in tears. Our mornings are so relaxing now. We can all take our time to get ready for the day. The kids can have time to play together before we begin school. Sure we have mornings where we have commitments and have to get out the door, but we are in charge of when those happen. We also have the flexibility to have class when we want. If we want to take a Tuesday and go to Disney, we DO! If we have family from out of town come to visit we have the flexibility to take a week off and enjoy them and know that we can make up the work at another time. This has been a huge gift to our family!

2.) Time– We have so much more time to enjoy each other as a family. Our evenings used to be hectic and crazy. We didn’t have much quality time together. We had so many tears in the evenings because the kids were SO tired from a full day at school.  Now we spend our evenings together, happily! Some days we will drive my  husband to work so that we can pack a picnic dinner and head to the beach when he is finished with work. We have time to do puzzles, play games, watch a movie. We truly enjoy spending time with our kids, and I am so glad that we can do more of it!

3.) Curriculum Choice– We are absolutely loving planning our own curriculum. I love involving the kids in what we are going to learn for the year. We have enjoyed a very creative school year. My kids are so artistic and LOVE showing their learning through art. I am not a huge fan of tests…and I love that I don’t have to use tests to gauge my kids knowledge for something. When you are at the beach and your 6 year old picks up a seashell and says, “Mama, look, its a bi-valve”, you KNOW that he is learning. He is learning, he is remembering, and he is putting that knowledge to use! It is just the best feeling. I love that I can focus time each day on each child. If I see that one is struggling with a math concept, we can take time to work on it to make sure she gets it before we move on. If we get engrossed in a topic we can take as much time as we want to study it in greater detail.

4.) Happy Kids– See those kids in the picture…they are HAPPY. They tell me all the time how much they love homeschool. They are enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle where they get lots of input in what we learn. If at any time they told me they were ready to go back to public school I would honor that decision. I don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon, thankfully 🙂

So, why do YOU homeschool? What is your WHY?

 

All Things Art!, Books!

Amazing Artists Week 2- Becoming Jackson Pollock

Art Unit, Pollock, homeschool

Much like Pablo Picasso, my kids were so intrigued by the works of Jackson Pollock! They absolutely love seeing his artwork…it is so full of splatters, splashes, and drips of paint! We couldn’t wait to jump right in and get started!! This week I was so excited to have found an amazing YouTube video! This video serves as an awesome look into the life of Pollock…complete with a tour through his NY home. My kids were so excited that we could see the floor of the barn that he once worked on…it is still covered in splashes and blobs of paint. It is like a work of art itself! So, lets begin Week 2!

Here’s what you’ll need:

The Usborne Art Treasury

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists– Jackson Pollock by Mike Venezia

-Paper, brushes of various sizes, paint (we used watercolors and tempera), yarn, marbles, and a box or tin pan to roll marbles in!

Like all of our artist units, we begin by reading the book by Mike Venezia. I just adore these books. The kids love seeing the pictures and learning about the artists in a way they can understand.

We then jumped right in to this amazing video…watch straight through the end for an amazing art project  the kids on the video complete…and also a smaller scale project you can do right at home!! This video was seriously impressive…the creator even gives a lesson on paint viscosity! We LOVED it! We had a blast playing with different thicknesses of paint!!

 

For our next project we watched another YouTube video!! We were SO excited to try this next project…because it involved paint and MARBLES! This was a blast and we absolutely LOVE how our pieces turned out! Thought Pollock didn’t work with marbles himself, we were able to create very Jackson-esque paintings this way!

Here is the marble painting YouTube video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next project was also done after watching a YouTube video, SURPRISE! 😉 We watched the following video and created our own masterpieces by using YARN dipped in  paint! Again, not a medium that Pollock used, but was such a fun way to create some interesting lines and dribbles that were very “Pollock-esque”

Our final project came directly from The Usborne Art Treasury! This was a super fun lesson on splattering…we made a MESS! I highly recommend newspapers and smocks for this part! Thank goodness for washable tempera paint! Usborne Art Treasury, Pollock, Paint

Some of our finished pieces…:)

Homeschool art, pollock, gallery

 

Stay tuned for our next amazing artist…Paul Klee! Have fun and happy painting!!!

 

 

Homeschooling

My Top 10 Homeschool Must-Haves!!

homeschool, supplies, must haves

1.) Coffee…yes, I am totally serious! My kiddos know that before we can start anything, Mama needs to have her coffee…with a side of quiet. I am not a morning person…at all. Coffee is the only thing that makes me feel like a human in the A.M.  My children take after their Dad…early birds…3 very perky early birds. Coffee is the start to our homeschool day…every day! No coffee…no teachee…

2.) Computer –  What did we do before computers? I cant even remember. I use our computer for everything! I search for lesson plans and unit plans (any Pinterest addicts out there?), I use it for getting our weekly spelling lists, I find supplemental math worksheets for my kiddos, the kids have several learning sites that they love, we use it for research, learning to type, and of course, YouTube…more on that later! With a computer and a good printer you are golden 😉 Which leads me to number 3…

3.) Printer – You guys…I LOVE my printer. LOVE! This is seriously the best printer. It prints, scans, faxes, copies…Its fab! It is just your standard all-in-one wireless printer from Brother…but I love it. The best part…I can get the ink for crazy cheap on Amazon. The ink for our last printer cost about eleventy-billion dollars…it was cheaper to buy an entirely new printer. We just bought a brand new pack of ink on Amazon…a 14 pack (5 black, 3 magenta, 3 cyan, and 3 yellow) for $13.49! Here’s what we use…it has worked amazingly so far! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LB8ZIXO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

4.) BOOKS! – For anyone who knows me, you will know that books are my favorite thing on the planet. I love everything about them. The sound they make the first time you open them, the way they feel in your hands, the smell…ahhhh! I LOVE books! We use books all day every day. I am lucky enough to be a consultant with Usborne Books & More, so over the last 2 years our home library has grown to insane proportions. We also read aloud every single day…it is one of my favorites parts of homeschooling. I also plan a great deal of our curriculum from books! I would be lost without them!

5.) Art supplies – We are art junkies. My kids are always doodling, drawing, cutting, pasting, painting…you name it, they make it. Art is integrated into nearly every subject we do. We like experimenting with new mediums, trying new brands, and finding out what works best for us. I will have a post coming up about our favorite art supplies and where we get them! Stay tuned!

6.) Laminator – Holy pickles do I love my laminator. Do you have a laminator? I love laminating anything and everything. Laminating is a great way to save things from year to year…for example, if you laminate a particular worksheet for one child, you can use it again the following year with someone else. Again, this is not a top of the line laminator. I ordered a Scotch laminator on Amazon for $20…works great! Whenever I see the laminating sheets go on sale I will be sure to order some…we wouldn’t want a lack of laminating sheet related emergency.

7.) YouTube – Now, I know I could have put YouTube in with the computer…but I feel like it deserves its own category. We LOVE YouTube! You can find a video, tutorial, lesson on just about anything…actually I am fairy certain you can find anything on there. We have watched videos on the blob fish from the midnight zone in the ocean. art lessons on how to paint like Picasso, learn how to finger knit lessons, sight word songs, geography lesson, videos on Osprey catching fish from the water…I would be lost without access to YouTube. It opens up an entire world of learning for my kids. My knowledge base only goes so far…with YouTube I am able to expand our lessons so much further! What are your favorite YouTube channels? I am always looking for new material!

8.) Whiteboard – This might sound like a basic item…but I use the whiteboard all the time! I seriously loathe chalk and chalkboards…I hate the way it feels on my hands…and the sound? Oh my gravy the sound sends a chill up my spine! Whiteboards are a thing of beauty! They are easy to write on, you can get a bazillion different marker colors, and they are easy to clean. I love having mini whiteboards for my kids too…they are perfect for working on math equations!

9.) Sticker Books – Confession? I am a briber. I bribe. My kids LOVE sticker books…especially the Sticker Dolly Dressing books from Usborne. These books keep them busy for hours…even my 6 year old. So, we devised a plan. They do their chores, they earn sticker books. Everyone wins! They will work on the while I read aloud, they will work on them in the car, they work on them at 9 pm when they are supposed to be sleeping (ahem…Max!)…they are so awesome.  Oh, and did I mention that many of them are educational? Shh…don’t tell my kids! #momwin

10.) Patience – Ah yes, patience. This is key. There are days (oh boy are there days) when patience seems to elude me. You know those days…everyone is cranky, no one wants to work, she stole my pencil, I had the rocking-chair first, but Moooooom, I don’t wanna do sight words…those days. Sometimes the only way for me to regain my patience is to call it quits on school for that day. That is one of the beauties of homeschool…if I sense that everyone has had enough, we just stop…give everyone a brain break and start again fresh the next day!

So there it is…my Top 10 Homeschool Must-Haves! What is on your list? Is there anything you just can’t homeschool without? I would love to hear your ideas!

Homeschooling

Year-round Homeschooling…say whaaat?

year round homeschool

With summer right around the corner (or perhaps already here for those of us who live on the sun…er…Florida) I have noticed a lot more discussions on whether or not to homeschool year round. Just like every other homeschool related topic, there are some very strong opinions both for and against year-round schooling. My stance on pretty much every topic will always be to do what is best for your family! Education is definitely not “one size fits all”! What works perfectly well for my family might be a terrible fit for yours! So, how do you decide what to do?

For my husband and I, this was one topic that we didn’t have to think too much about. We both agreed from the beginning that we wanted to homeschool year-round. Most of our reasoning behind this was that we wanted flexibility! We wanted to be in control of our schedule. This was part of the reason we decided to homeschool…we wanted to be in control of our life. We wanted time to do the things that interested us! Homeschooling year round is allowing us to do that! If we want to spend a beautiful day at the beach…we can do that! If we get involved in learning about a specific subject we can devote extra time to it and not worry about missing out on our math lesson for that day! If we feel the need to go to Disney on a Tuesday…we absolutely go! If we, oh I dont know, decide to pack up our entire life in NH and move to FL we can take a few weeks off of school to do so!

Another big reason for this decision was the desire to avoid the dreaded “summer slide”. I wanted to keep our learning momentum going. When we started school last September we had a lot of re-learning to do.  I am sure part of that was because it was our first year homeschooling and we had a whole different dynamic to get used to, but I also think that after 2 months of not practicing the skills they learned, they forgot a lot.

I know that a lot of people who are against year round schooling will say that the kids need a break to enjoy the summer. I absolutely agree! We will not be in school 8 hours a day 5 days a week…we don’t do that during the year! Our schedule will be very relaxed. We will have lots of beach days and pool days and pajama days! We aren’t burnt out from the year…I think that is in part due to our relaxed schedule! The kids are ready to keep going! We have loved our first year of homeschooling and are so excited to keep learning!

What are your thoughts? Do you homeschool year-round or do you take a summer break? What is your schedule like? How do your kiddos feel about school during the summer?