How To Look Great and Stay Sane While Home Schooling

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I chose to home school my children because I wanted the absolute best for them. Educating children at home takes a huge investment of time and energy. It was really very easy for me to go overboard with the curriculum planning, the field trip planning, and just focusing totally on my children. One day I looked around and realized I had no energy.

I had been wearing pajama bottoms for three days. I realized that if I didn’t take some time for myself, I could not be there one hundred percent for my kids. I would like to share a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Homeschool Fun Zone ArticleThe first thing I did was care for my appearance. Looking great makes me feel amazing and gives me extra energy to deal with the hectic life of a home school parent. The internet provides me with a plethora of information on the best hair. I like to buy quality styling tools that will last a long time like the ones that are reviewed at www.betterhairday.com. I struggle with oily problematic hair most days. I need all the helpful hints I can find to deal with the problem. While surfing through the product reviews I stumbled across a great article for my problem. Read the full article for more great information on to keep your hair looking awesome while home schooling.
Secondly, I realized I needed some pampering. When I drop my children off for music lessons, or other educational activities I often grab a manicure while I wait. This also gives me the opportunity to socialize with other grown-ups. As a home schooling mom I worry so much about my children getting the proper socialization that it would be easy to forget about myself. It really is important to continue to form adult connections and conversations. Although, I admit often times the conversation does turn out to be about our kids.
Finally, I knew I had to find a way out of my pajamas. I know many home schooling families are on a tight budget. There are still many affordable options out there for style. In my neighborhood there are many thrift stores and resell shops. I have found great deals on stylish outfits that have been gently used. There are also many websites that sell overstocked clothing items and shoes at greatly reduced prices. Looking my best does not have to break the bank.
I learned the hard way that I had to invest in myself. I was getting burned out. I have learned that a little time and money spent on myself and quality products goes a long way into keeping my sanity. I deserve as much care as my children.

At first I had the little voice of guilt that I think many parents suffer with. I should spend that money on the kids. I don’t really need a curling iron, new outfit, shoes, or anything for myself. I finally realized that an investment in myself is still an investment in my children.

Benefits Of Home Schooling Your Children

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So you’re considering schooling your children. It will be great that you can spend more time with them, teach them practical things like money management, and they can do their chores like filling up the cat litter box with flushable cat litter. But, you’re a little concerned whether or not you can provide them with a well rounded education, social skills in line with kids who go to school, and you’re nervous about the state and national tests. Fortunately, you can rest easy because those questions are easily answered.

teaching how to use flushable cat litter at while home schooling

Courtesy of Kate Ter Haar

You Can Teach your Children Just Fine

What is the phrase that we always hear when politicians are arguing over education: overcrowded classrooms. Overcrowded classrooms is a talking point for politicians on both sides of the isle, and for good reason. The more students in a classroom, the harder it will be to give each student the attention they need. Whether it’s an advanced student, or a student who learns at a slower pace, each student needs varying amounts of attention. Fortunately for you, you won’t have to deal with that. You will be able to give your child all of the one-on-one attention he or she needs to become a successful student. Your child won’t feel embarrassed to ask a question, the answer will be explained until they understand, and chances are that your child will finish their studies much quicker than the standard public school classroom.

 

Social Skills

 

Yes, it’s true, children who go to school do develop good social skills that children who are home school may not, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of ways to get your child involved in social activities without them going to school, and you should get them involved as much as possible. Some day they won’t be under your care any more and they’ll need those social skills to function in the real world. Sports is a great way to do that. There are lots of sports clubs for kids that aren’t attached to a school district and anyone can join if they pay the fee. Also, a lot of states allow home-schooled students to participate in public school sports. Just because you home-school your children doesn’t mean you don’t pay local and state taxes, and taxes pay for those sports, so there is no reason your child could not participate. If that sounds interesting, call your local school district superintendent and ask him/her if that is the case in your state.

Standardized Tests

A recent study conducted by The Home School Legal Defense Association showed that the average home schooled child scored in the 88th percentile in core studies (reading, language, math) and they also scored an average of the 85th percentile in science and social studies. The average public school student scores in the 50th percentile.

 

If you’re thinking of  home schooling your child and you have these concerns, put them at ease. Home-schooling may be right for you.

A Lesson In Grilling

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 Whenever you break out the grill to cook lunch or dinner, it brings families together. There’s just something about the flavor the grill imparts on burgers, chicken, steaks or corn on the cob and other vegetables that brings great anticipation and makes family meals a little more special. Well, grilling can be more than just a way to cook food. It can be a great multi-topic homeschool lesson, too.

Research

The first lesson can be one in price comparison. Have your children research some of the best gas grills to find out what features are standard and what are extra, and then compare the prices. Have them explain why they chose a specific model and why they believe the grill is a good buy for the dollars spent.

  Math

As you know, cooking and following recipes involves math. Search for different grill-oriented recipes, such as spice rubs, marinades, and barbecue sauces. Then have students double the recipe, or cut it in half. In order to do this, they have to add or subtract fractions. Or instruct them to make a second version, but change the proportions of some of the ingredients, then have them taste the difference. The changes in flavor—too spicy or too bland—or texture—too oily or too dry—will demonstrate how cooking is based on formulas.

Nutrition

There is such a wide variety of foods that are grill-friendly; however, some are better nutritional choices than others. Compile a list of different grill dishes and ask students to pick the healthiest ones and explain why they made their selections. Or ask them to figure out ways to make foods healthier, such as switching to ground chicken or turkey for burgers or swapping out meat for portabella mushrooms.

 

Take the lesson a step further and have the kids plan an entire healthy meal. Give them a budget and have them write up a grocery list to meet the budget. Then let them prep the marinade or spice rub. With supervision, have them run the grill, which should include testing the meat’s doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer. This could be a chance to talk a little science about bacteria and food safety.

 Fire Safety

Gas grills ignite with a push of a button or turn of a knob, which means no need for lighter fluid or matches to get the grill going. However, gas grills still get hot and could experience flare-ups, so operating a grill is an opportunity to address fire safety with older students. Discuss how to properly handle a hot grill, and for that matter, a fire extinguisher. Teach the differences between a “regular” fire and a grease fire, and how each should be put out.

 

You could also turn a grilling experience into a first-aid lesson by identifying different degree burns and how to treat each.

 

Side Benefits

Even if you don’t turn grilling lunch or dinner into a homeschool lesson, it’s a great opportunity to get the kids involved with what you’re doing, and that comes with benefits.

  1. When children are more actively participating in planning and preparing meals, they are more likely to be interested in what they’re eating.
  2. While you wait for the grill to do its thing, take the opportunity to talk with your sons or daughters without distractions.
  3. If you have some favorite smoking or barbecue techniques, “pass them on” to the next generation.
  4. Finally, if your son or daughter really likes being in charge of the grill, then you can count on having help when grilling meals in the future.

5 Tips for Fun Homeschooling Field Trips

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Homeschooling doesn’t have to be devoid of all the aspects of a traditional school experience. While home-schooled kids might not have the same type of sugar fueled, playground madness filled school days that mainstream-schooled kids have, they have opportunities to learn in innovative ways.

Photo credit: Ricorocks
Parents who choose to keep their kids at home are coming up with new methods to keep their students engaged every day, but sometimes the old standbys are the best bet for educational success. Whether you’re working one-on-one with your child or in charge of a collective homeschooled classroom, field trips can be an exciting way to spice up the learning experience for everyone. 

 

1. The first step toward a great field trip? A car (or cars!) with enough space to get everyone to reach their destination safely. Protip: minivans, minivans, minivans.

 

2. Make sure you’re organized. Figure out who’s coming, who’s driving, and who’s riding in what vehicle. Write everything down so you won’t have any funny business at the last minute. If it’s just you and your kid/s, this step is a obviously little less important, but still, it can’t hurt!

 

3. Make sure those kids (and you) are fed and watered! Depending on the field trip, you might need to bring a cooler or picnic basket-contraption of some sort. Failure to consider this can result in some very grouchy kids and supervisors. If you’re going somewhere outside, get enough food for everyone or make sure everybody brings something to eat. While you’re at it, bring some folding chairs for sitting in! If you’ve got enough space in your vehicle (again, can’t vouch for the minivan enough), these extras can make your excursion just a little easier for all involved.

 

4. If you’re opting for an indoor field trip somewhere you’re not permitted to bring your own food (like a museum), make sure you have lunch/snack plans! Do some research. Find out if there is a food court available to you, and if so, check out the prices so you can alert other parents to the cost. Being prepared to cover that kid who forgets his or her lunch money couldn’t hurt either (there’s always one, isn’t there?).

 

5. Do more research! Learning some things about the place you’re going can make the trip there a bit more educational and entertaining. I like to give my kids a run-down on our field trip location on the way there. When I took them to the zoo, I used the lengthy car ride as a chance to tell them a little bit about what they’d be seeing and experiencing, especially about the exotic animals they’d never encountered before. When my daughter heard that she’d get to see something called a red panda, she was even more excited about the day ahead of her! The car ride can also be a great way to get your kids asking questions (like “What’s a red panda?!”) about their impending adventure, and questions are the first step toward learning!

Extracurricular Activities

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Beyond the Classroom

As with any child’s educational plan, balance is always extremely important. As much as a child needs mathematics and science, a child needs physical activity and the arts. But as I think most homeschooling parents are aware, striking this balance at home can be a challenge. Often times the first thing to fall out of the schedule is physical activity which can be detrimental to the development of a child.

Physical activity takes many shapes and forms. Going outside to do jumping jacks or run around the yard is a form of physical activity just as playing on a baseball or soccer team is. However, not all physical activity is created equal depending on the age of your child.

Typically, homeschooled children are learning as an individual or in small groups, typically with their brothers or sisters. Something those children miss out on throughout the day is the interaction with other children who are not their family members. It’s extremely important to understand that kids need to interact with people outside of their family which is why team sports can be a fantastic addition to any home school curriculum.

Teaching Teamwork

Let’s take a closer look at baseball, where most children end up playing a little bit as a youngster. The barriers to entry are low as kids can share much of the equipment and really only need their own baseball glove. What is fantastic about baseball however is the way kids need to work together to accomplish a common goal. Furthermore, the game teaches responsibility and a commitment as every kid on the field has their own job to do and failure to perform will disadvantage the entire team.

Another important skill baseball teaches children is the proper way to win and lose. Children who don’t play sports often don’t understand that it is a perfectly normal part of life to lose. And when you lose, you reflect on how you could have done things differently which might have resulted in a different outcome. And of course, learning to win ‘properly,’ is just as important as learning how to lose. Being a good sport to the opposing team, your teammates and your coaches are all important skills which will benefit a child later on in life.

All about Balance

Balance is the key and joining a recreational or competitive sports team is a perfect way to commit to balance. Once a child is registered, games and practices will be scheduled which also give the homeschool teacher a bit of a break from instruction. Plus, when a child joins a team sport, they are introduced to many other children from the local community which is a much needed for homeschooled children.
Homeschool-team-sports
Of course, if sports aren’t something a child enjoys, there are other activities parents can explore which promote these skills. One example is for a child to join a dance program. Just like baseball or soccer, dance teaches children valuable skills which are often missed inside the classroom. It’s always great to provide a child options and allow them do something they want to do. Just make sure to give options which include the above skills.

Use Nutrition to Keep Your Kids Happy and Healthy

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One of the most difficult parts about being a homeschooling parent, often times, can just be getting your kids to friggin’ sit down and stay still! And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably read tons and tons of books that talk about how to discipline your kid during school hours. And some of that stuff really does work – especially the positive reinforcement and focus techniques. However, there’s also stuff working behind the scenes a lot of the time. If your kid is super-hyper, super-tired or lacks focus, you might be able to ameliorate a lot of these symptoms just by changing the way your family eats.

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Eating well has plenty of other benefits, too. For your kids, it can improve focus, reduce acne breakouts (especially blackheads),  improve mood and give them a steady flow of energy (instead of energy in crazy spurts, which I’m sure you’ve seen). For you, eating well can help you lose weight, reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark spots, curb anxiety or depression and drastically  increase your energy levels.

The point is that eating healthy foods is a total win-win situation. It’s good for everyone involved, but most importantly, it can play a major role in helping your child succeed in school. And that’s what we’re all here for right?!

So, I’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you. I’ve done the research. And I’ve found a bunch of great nutritional tips you can incorporate into you and your family’s daily life that could increase your overall health and get your kids revved up to take on their day.

  • Good sugars. Sugar is always going to give you a nice little energy boost. However,you should be super careful. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, hormonal imbalances and energycrashes. That’s pretty much the opposite of what you want. So, you want to get your sugar fromawesome natural sources with lots of fiber, like oranges, apples and berries. These fruits will give you a

    nice energy boost, but it’ll be more of a slow burn instead of a sharp spike and then a crash.

  • Start your day with breakfast. Even better, start your day with a really greatbreakfast after a bit of exercise. Make sure your breakfast is balanced and doesn’t include too manycarbohydrates, especially breads. Processed carbohydrates have a tendency to make you lethargicinstead of focused and energetic. Also, make sure you include some protein!
  • Eat fish! Fish really is good brain food, so train your kids to like it early! Most of thereason fish is good for your brain is in the fats. Fish is chocked full of omega 3 and 6, which are two ofthe lipids your brain needs to function. Eating fish and getting these fats makes it much easier for yourbrain to do its thing. This is true for everyone, including your kids, but it’s especially true for you as you get older; fish is great to help keep you sharp as you age.

Those are just a few tips I’ve found! What have you guys found to effective? What are your favorite healthy foods?

Life as a Home School Teacher

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When you are home schooling your kids, life is much different than if you were to send them to a public or private school. You not only have to be mom, you have to take on the role of Mrs. Mom as the teacher of your children!

There are many benefits of home schooling, and if that’s what you have decided, go all in and give your kids the best education you can! Just have the right expectations. As with everything in life, it’s easy to be disappointed if you don’t know what it’s going to be like.

Not a Walk in the Park

Homeschooling is difficult, and that’s all there is to it. It’s not a walk in the park, it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows getting to have your children close by all the time.
Homeschooling
Certainly, there are rewarding aspects to it, and likely those outweigh the negative consequences (such as the difficulty of the entire operation), or else you wouldn’t be looking for tips, right? It’s good to know that despite the immense positives, there will be some difficulties and hardships throughout the way.

If you’re hoping to be able to give your kids a couple of activities to do and then you get to do nothing but browse Amazon for the best device to trim your nose hairs or some such thing, you’ll be sorely disappointed!

This won’t be some free time on the computer to do some shopping, no way. It is a serious endeavor and you’ll have to put time and energy into not only each class, but the preparation and marking, too.

Preparation / Lesson Planning

Preparing for a class is as important as giving it. Think about the last time you had to give a speech or presentation at work or in a classroom setting. Very few of us are comfortable ‘winging it‘ and speaking from memory. The same thing applies when you are teaching. You had best know not only the material inside and out, but also how you are going to present that material.

Since you will only have your own children to teach, not a class of 30 students, you will be able to tailor your teaching style to each child, giving him or her a much better overall experience – but you can only do this if you take the adequate time to prepare the upcoming lessons.

Outings

Socializing is an incredibly important part of homeschooling. Because the day to day interaction doesn’t happen with other children the same way it does in an outside the home school, you must seek out interaction opportunities or else your children will have a hard time coping with the real world where they must interact with all sorts of people.

It is your responsibility to nurture their social skills as well as their math, science, and literature skills. Do not leave this out, and plan for regular outings. This could be field trips to the zoo, the museum, the library, and it could also be meeting up with fellow homeschoolers, which might be a great way to meet friends and spend time with like-minded individuals while stilling giving your children the best chance to play and have a good time with kids their age.

Marking

Finally, don’t forget about marking assignments and tests. You need to know the material well enough to mark it fairly. You don’t want to punish your child by giving him terrible marks if he doesn’t deserve them, and you do not want to unduly reward your child because the answer was ‘close enough’ or you do not know the material well enough to differentiate between a true and false answer.

Feedback is an integral part of schooling for children and they must know how they did. It will help motivate them and each test or assignment can be used as a benchmark to see how they are improving or where they need work.

So remember, this is going to be tough! It will be worthwhile and positive, but it will not be easy. Remember, you’re not going to be buying your husband a high-tech Philips NT9130 Precision Trimmer on Amazon, nor are you going to relax by the pool with a cold drink and a good book. If you’re looking at this like it’s more free time for you to shop online or hang out in the sun, you’re sorely mistaken! Keep your expectations in check and you will be fine.

Choosing a Preschool

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Preschool, A Quick Guide To The Basic’s

Choosing a Preschool can be one of the scariest things in your life, your mind juggles a million different questions and your sanity can quickly start slip away! The best and one of the most important factors for you to start with is the location, for instance do you want your child to be close to your work or your home. You want to make sure that safety is considered no matter what school you decide on. I interviewed on homeschool based teacher and she even mentioned how they were safer than others because they had a gun safe on the premises!

 

From there you can narrow down your choices and look at each facilities hours and see what ones hours work for your schedule. Sort out the Preschools with the hours you like and then look at what they promote education wise; such as are they a Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, or Catholic school. The last basic point is to look at their costs, if they are going to cost you more than a house payment a month what would it hurt to see if you qualify for some assistance programs such as Head Start.

 

It might seem like a lot at first but going through those first few basic’s can dramatically shorten your list.

Once you have sorted through all of the above your questions and your “Preschool’s to See” list should feel much more manageable. You can then start the research process looking to see if what they offer is something that your little one would like such as the Waldorf schools which promote learning through imitation and imagination.

If you aren’t quit sure then call to schedule an appointment to go and visit the facility and take a look around, ask the teachers and any staff you can get your hands on questions. Ask about the food served, how they interact with the children, what are their disciplinary procedures, late arrival pick up fees (if any) and so on as this is your time to pick their brains.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to listen to your gut and don’t leave without asking ALL of your questions, after all this is where you will be leaving your child for several hours a day and you should feel 100% comfortable with who they are with.

Best Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

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Choosing your homeschool curriculum is no easy task.  That is especially true if you have not homeschooled your children before.  You may even have many basic questions about laws, regulations, testing, or attendance reports.  We are glad you decided to visit our site and we hope to help you find the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum for your child or children.

 

What is a curriculum?

A curriculum is a structured learning and education program which describes and outlines teaching, learning, and evaluation materials available for a given program of study.

 

What are the main components of a homeschool curriculum?

There is a wide range of acceptable curriculums for any subject or area or study depending on your overall view.  Even within a defined curriculum, you might find that you have some specific ideas about how to experience the content and assess the learning.  Here are the main components that all curriculum should have.

 

  • Goals and Objectives

  • Content and Materials

  • Experience and Learning

  • Assessment and Evaluation

 

How much does a curriculum program cost?

The pricing varies greatly and rest assured that you will be able to find a program that fits your budget.  In fact with a little searching and a short investment of time, you can find a free curriculum as a starting point.  You can also find some more specialized curriculum programs for several hundred dollars.  The higher the cost the more materials are provided.

Check out this great video by “MyStrangeKids” on youtube:

What is the best kindergarten homeschool curriculum?

It is impossible to select just one curriculum program that is the best.  There are many factors to consider, like how does your child learn and how do you like to teach.  Everyone knows that cost is a factor as well.  You may have some religious or secular beliefs that you would like to integrate into your curriculum.  Each family needs to review and think about what is important to their family to select the best curriculum for their kindergartener.

 

How should I select a kindergarten homeschool curriculum program?

It pays off to know what your child’s learning style is – do they prefer a very structured program or would they like to have more of an influence on what is included?   Will you be traveling during the school year – some programs offer up some very flexible programs that will not be impeded by a traveling lifestyle.

 

What about social interaction?

It’s widely documented that it is critical to provide your child with appropriate levels of social interaction with his or her peers. We recommend that your child or children participate in programs with other homeschooled children in your area.  You should be able to find an association in your community.  Team sports, music education, and Boy and Girl Scouts offer another great way to keep your children actively social.

In addition, it’s a huge benefit that your homeschooled child will most likely have more interactions with a much wider range of people – a wider range of ages, genders, demographics, and interests.

Private School Admissions

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Private School Admissions

The admission process for private schools can be quite involved and lengthy compared to public schools. Whereas every student in a district is guaranteed admission to a public school, private schools are selective and only accept students that pass their strict admissions checklist. It is a good idea to choose several schools based on the specific educational needs of your child, and then research the admissions process.

The first step in regards to admission to a private school is for parents and students to attend the school’s open house. This gives parents an opportunity to see the school in person and gather information from teachers and faculty. Once you have narrowed the list of eligible schools down, the next step is to submit an application. Some schools require written essays as a component of the application. Other schools hold interviews for prospective students. Performing arts schools typically require students to audition as a part of their admission process. All schools will require transcripts from previous schools attended by the student.

Application

Along with the application, parents will be required to submit at least one letter of recommendation. Some schools require several. Typically, letters of recommendation come from previous teachers, coaches, or a pastor at the church the child attends. Choosing people that are familiar with the child and their academic and social skills is crucial for a letter of recommendation.

Standardized Tests

Some private schools require students to pass a standardized test for admission to the school. The material covered in the test varies, but typically includes questions on several different subjects, including grammar, mathematics, and social studies. If the school does not require the students to pass a standardized test, they often have teachers perform an assessment of the child’s academic ability and social skills.

The final step in the private school admissions process is usually a face to face interview between the parents, student, and a faculty member. This is an important step for both the school and the family because it gives everyone a chance to ask important questions and to get familiar with each other.

Opportunties

Giving a child the opportunity to attend a private school puts them on the right path to a successful future. Although the admission process is lengthy, it is absolutely worth it.