It’s like fall comes and then… Boom! You’re getting ready for Christmas. Now, I’m certain that many of you homeschoolers out there already have your December homeschool-worthy Christmas plans in the works before Thanksgiving rolls around, and, well…yay for you. Me? The thought of Christmas plans doesn’t usually seriously cross my mind until the turkey Continue reading »
There’s kind of a holiday about gratitude coming up, in case you haven’t noticed. You know that time when you give thanks for all of your blessings? Well, this whole home education list falls pretty close to the top of my gratitude list. The longer I do it, the more I love it, and the more I realize its value. Let’s be honest — homeschooling is a luxury very few people in this world can afford. Whether it is an issue of needing two incomes to make ends meet, single parents being the sole breadwinners, political opposition, or something else…home education is a phenomenal blessing for which each of us who are able to participate in it should be tremendously grateful. Continue reading »
Valentine’s Day is coming up. And, guys, even if you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s highly likely that your wife has. And that she’s anticipating something from you.
Especially if she’s a homeschooling wife.
Because, let’s face it, she doesn’t get a lot of accolades for what she does from anyone else. No “celebration of the 100th time you got Johnny back on task without losing your cool” or awards for “Homeschool Mom Most Able to Overcome Learning Obstacles All On Her Own”. Not even any team excellence award. Because — oh yeah. There is no team. Plus she has to deal with the “I can’t do this” chair flops, overflowing science projects, and baby poop — often at the same time. Continue reading »
A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I’m talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »
The time just seems to pass by so quickly. And, lets face it, the year passes by quickly because each day passes by quickly. And isn’t that how it goes? Thinking about what we’ve got to do before we even do it, and then rushing to get it all done. So goes the day. So goes the month. So go the years. And when we look back, we wonder where the time went, and how we can get so much done and still wonder what, exactly, we’ve actually accomplished. This new year, I want to do it differently. I mean, just think about it. If somehow it all-of-a-sudden turned out to be our last moments in this world, and we had to reflect on what mattered to us to have accomplished in our lives, I doubt any of us would mention 90% of the things on our daily mental to-do list. Breakfast prep? Nope. Laundry starting? Nope. E-mail checking? Definite no. Of course many of those things do need to be done, so life can move forward. Yes, kids do need to eat. But what percentage of our time is spent doing the urgent rather than the important? And aren’t we homeschooling, at least on some level, in order to have more time for the important? Continue reading »
It hadn’t even turned December when we were already starting to hide the Christmas boxes from the girls. The niggling question pricks every year at the same time: What do we do about Christmas giving? As irony works, I sifted through the most recent wave of gifts arrived via mail right after coming home from set-up efforts for the weekend Christmas Fair to raise money for impoverished orphans in India. Sometimes it’s those ironies of life that wake us up and allow us to see in a new way. Continue reading »
Thanksgiving doesn’t come for me, this year, as a natural flow out of living in a season of abundance. Instead, this time, it must be squeezed, drop by drop, out of a desert of loss. But the desert makes each drop so much more precious and worthwhile. And this year, I am so much more keenly focused on the source of that gratitude — my God, the giver of all blessings — rather than on the objects of my thanks. And while I certainly do not give thanks for everything, I am learning how to give thanks in everything. Continue reading »
Spring bloomed early this year for us here in Virginia, and as soon as the air got warmer, the kids started asking, “Mom, when will Easter be here?” So begins the annual countdown until that day which, for us, celebrates the pinnacle of our faith – new life in the resurrection of Christ. And though there are plenty of faith-based activities we do to prepare for Easter, the holiday is also a lot of just plain fun for our family!
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It is the season of Lent, and for many Christians, it is a time for focusing on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, in preparation for Easter. There are many great ways to celebrate Lent as a family, including devotions and special activities. But one of the main focuses of Lent is “giving up” something – to deny oneself and make personal sacrifices as an effort toward spiritual renewal. While some people choose to give up things like sweets or television during the period of Lent, it occurs to me that this Lenten idea of “giving up” not only applies to the spiritual realm, but to the realm of homeschooling as well. Continue reading »
Valentine’s Day…the holiday of love. While many will be sending chocolates to loved ones, and telling that special someone just how important they are, I’m writing a different sort of valentine this year. And though it might not be accompanied with any candy, my valentine this February is to my love Homeschooling. Continue reading »
We homeschoolers just love to make things educational, but even die-hard academics have to take a break from time to time and just have some fun! With a day set aside specifically to show our loved ones just how much they mean to us, there’s no better time to get creative and simply enjoy our kids. Here are some fun ideas to make a homeschool Valentine’s Day special. Continue reading »
It’s just a few days before Christmas, and almost all of the gifts are purchased. The goodies have been made, the halls have been decked, and we wait in expectation for “the big day”. Yet in spite of all of the conscientious preparations, it seems that the same question arises every year: Did we do enough? Continue reading »
When you think back to Christmases as a child, most likely the things of which you have the fondest memories are those special traditions your family experienced together. Having special routines that you do year after year helps children develop an excited expectation for the holiday to come, and builds family unity and bonding. “Home for Christmas” can be a lot more than just physical location – Christmas traditions can be the glue that makes people feel like they’re home… Continue reading »
As soon as Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas excitement begins! The whole month of December is an amazing opportunity to establish family traditions – rituals that ground children in their roots and help them to create meaning and a sense of belonging. Family traditions help to mark shared experiences, encourage intimacy and connection, and help children to identify in a positive way with their families. Consider, for example, the tradition of the family meal… Continue reading »
In a homeschooler’s home is where you want to be in December! This month provides so many opportunities for creative, fun learning as families help children prepare for Christmas. But even for home educators, who generally seek to incorporate education into every aspect of life, it’s easy to let December come and go in a blur of decorations, parties, gift buying and seasonal events. Don’t let it happen to you! Continue reading »
During the month of December, there’s no better place to be than in the house of a home educator! This month provides so many opportunities for creative, fun learning as families help children prepare for Christmas. Arts and crafts, special recipes, decorating, singing… it’s worth taking a bit of a break from the academic rigor maintained through most of the year in order to enjoy some special Christmas-related activities as a family. To get the most out of the holiday, why not try a special study to prepare for Christmas? Christmas lapbooks, Advent devotionals, unit studies – the possibilities are endless! Check out some of these wonderful options for homeschooling in December… Continue reading »
I wish I could say I basked in the glow of the warmth I feel from homeschooling my children every day. I wish I could write that I woke up energized and excited each morning to nurture their minds and souls, and that I creatively and enthusiastically gave the best of myself consistently toward the creation of the persons they are to become. But that would be someone else’s post. Realistically? Life happens. And when it does, it often takes my best and transforms it into “good enough”. Along this journey it is not uncommon for me to get bogged down in the details of the daily grind, to become impatient and restless, to lose sight of all the things I love about homeschooling. Stresses of responsibility begin to weigh heavily, and before I know it I have lost track of the very reasons I do this to begin with. Continue reading »
Thanksgiving can easily become the bump in the road on the way to Christmas, but the holiday deserves special attention and effort in its own right. There are just so many great ways to enjoy this holiday! Continue reading »
One of the many joys of homeschooling is being able to prepare children for an upcoming holiday, rather than simply being swept away by it. November is the perfect time to take a break from regular studies, or add in some special activities by making Thanksgiving the central focus. With its focus on the character quality of gratitude, rich history, and wonderful family traditions, Thanksgiving lends itself perfectly to being a homeschool theme. Spend some time this month and help children fully understand the history, meaning, and traditions of this holiday, and they will gain valuable information about the beginnings of our nation as well as the importance of being thankful. Continue reading »
The day for fireworks, cookouts, and patriotism is almost here! While there is no doubt that barbecues and family get-togethers make the 4th of July exciting and memorable, Independence Day is about so much more than that. A 2001 poll by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation from 2001 found that 14% of U.S. teens believed that the 4th of July celebrates the day that America declared independence from France. Homeschoolers have a wonderful opportunity to ensure that their children understand the meaning behind the holiday that is the foundation of our nation’s existence. Continue reading »