Thursday, February 27, 2014

Researching Curriculums

ResearchingI piece together Mickey’s curriculum.  I feel like this meets our needs as a family and as well as her academic needs.  So around this time of year I take an assessment of what we are using and see if I think that we need to continue on with what we are using or try something else.  Then the long search for what to replace it with begins. 

Currently I am satisfied with most of our curriculum choices and think that we will be sticking with them for awhile.  The area that I am in need of help is History.  This is how I am going about my research.

  • I made a list of what was important to me in a curriculum choice.
    • It had to have hands on activities
    • I also wanted something that I could as a lapbook with it.
  • I looked around my homeschooling friends and looked at what they were doing.  I even asked a question on my homeschooling community what they would recommend and why.
  • I started looking at two websites that are known for their reviews.  Both of these websites have categories on the side that you can click on to see what items have been reviewed. 
      • Reviews are about other homeschool parents who tell their experience with the curriculums.
      • Cathy Duffy is a research specialist who researches curriculums and then tells the reader her take on the curriculum.  At the end of the review she tells you who it is a best fit for as far as Social  Sue, Wiggly Willy, Competent Carl, Perfect Paula. 
  • I narrow down what curriculums I have seen that I think that will work for our family.  Then I begin using Google to find reviews on blogs to hear more about the day to day of how it is working for them. 
  • I go to the curriculum website and begin pricing it.  I see if I have to buy the whole package or if I can make do without purchasing all the books.  I also make a list of books that I can get cheaper through another source or through the library. 
  • If I know someone who is using that curriculum that lives near me I ask them questions and ask to see their books.
  • I am now prepared to go in the vendor halls in a homeschool convention and look and touch the products.  I also don’t have to feel overwhelmed when each table is looking at selling me their great product that might or might not work with our family. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cool Videos

I followed a link to watch a video on YouTube. I am always on a lookout to learning the States and capitals.  I really liked this song and I think that it would interest my girl. 

I was interested to see what else that they had done.  I found this one about the different countries.  Loved this. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Take Time to Recharge

RECHARGE IMAGEThere are a lot of demands on us as a parent and a homeschooling teacher. We are on duty 24 hours a day.  If you take sick day, (like I had to last week) you are still a parent. There are little ones to take care of, meals to make, activities to drive to and houses to clean.  There is a lot on our plate and more so if your spouse is working a lot of hours or like mine on the road half of the month.  I know that there are some good weeks and some not so good weeks.  There are weeks that I make it to the end and wonder why can’t every week be as easy as that one? 

I am a firm believer that we must take time out of the week or even day to give us some breathing room and to recharge.  If we don’t we will not be at our best nor giving our best to our loved ones.  It is so hard to take time for ourselves and really focus on our needs.  I know that I am guilty of not taking that much needed time to breath. 

How do you recharge?  Here are some ideas to give you some ways to recharge. 

  • Take a few hours and head out of the house when your spouse is home to take care of the kids.
    • Go to the park and read a book that is not for school.
    • Wander around the mall and window shop
    • Go and get your hair cut.  (When was the last time you made that appointment? 
  • Spend time in God’s Word
    • Whether it is a few minutes throughout the day or a dedicated time at the beginning or ending of the day.  His word will refresh your soul.
  • Do something that you enjoy at night when the kids are asleep. 
    • I put my kids to bed early… because they are still young and because I need that quiet time. 
    • I read
    • I play games on my phone
    • I work on my photography
    • Watch that show that I dvr’d weeks ago.
  • Call a friend
    • Take time to talk to that friend or make lunch plans and go out and eat (with or without your kids)
    • Just taking timeout and connecting to someone often helps us to carry on.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sick Days

In my house if the kids are sick we take a sick day.  What to do when Mom is sick or just not feeling well?  It depends on how I am feeling bad and what we need to do.  Today is a day that I am feeling not so good.  I had a rough night and it is hard to focus.  But I am not feeling so bad that we can’t get a few things done.  So today we compromised. 

Today, we took school to the living room.  Mickey brought her school books.  Nate brought his toys.  Momma showed up.  We did not get a lot of stuff done today. Mickey did not do a lot of school work today but she did what she could.  I was nearby to answer questions and something was done. 

I think that we need to remember that it is okay to take things slow.  If I was feeling worse then we would not have done school and that is okay. 

There are days that we take things slow and allow our children to step up and do things that they may not normally do. My girl usually makes her own lunch.  I am so thankful that she does this as it helps me feel like I am not making a meal every time I turn around.  My son is 3 so him making his own meal is just not going to happen.  Today, my daughter helped my son make his sandwich for lunch.  She did this willingly and lovingly.  She did not have to do this but she did this because she knew her momma was having a rough day.

Some days that is what educating my children is all about.  My children are taught to love each member of the family.  That will look different depending on the day.  Today, it was about a sandwich. 

I am learning that the thing about homeschooling is that it is much bigger than the textbooks.  It is about taking care of each other and loving one another. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


One of Mickey’s favorite subjects is science.  We are studying physics right now with Real Science for Kids.  I really like and appreciate the hands on experiments that are laid out in this books series. It is easy enough where I can understand it and fun for Mickey to do.  I also like that Nate joins in the fun and it becomes family science time. 

We were learning about mass, inertia and force.  So we got out the marbles and had a blast.  Then we played a game of marbles after that. 


Monday, February 10, 2014


When I was beginning to homeschool Mickey in preschool I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. She was almost 4 by the time I actually started with her.  I did not know about how many resources there were at my fingertips on the internet. So I bought a boxed curriculum and used it and was satisfied. 

Now I am starting with Nate.  He is barely 3 1/2.  He sometimes likes to be included in school and sometimes would rather we not interrupt his play.  I view it as he is 3 and the boy needs his play and he learns through play.  So I am okay with where he is.  We will have plenty of time to “do school” in the years to come. 

Now on the days that he wants to be included I need something that will be fun and encourage learning.  He LOVES to have his “schoolwork” to show his daddy.  I found Alphabet Lap~n~Note from Homeschool Share.  There are small activities for little ones to learn the letter and glue and color pictures of items that begin with that letter.  Sometimes there is a finger play included.  Nate has loved these activities.  They are short and sweet and great for his short attention span.  He is also very proud of his work.