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Showing posts from February, 2013

What to Do When Errands Prevent You From Homeschooling

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Sometimes I really worry that scheduling our appointments in the morning lets my boys off the hook for learning that day.

Since we began homeschooling I tend to make sure that we run all of our errands in the morning and make all of our dentist and doctor appointments in the morning to avoid the crowds.  This works out well since we can get our errands done quickly but I often worry that the time away from home isn't as productive as it should be.




Here are a few things we do when our mornings get too busy for me to teach:

1.  Rely on Unschooling/life learning.   Just because I am not teaching doesn't mean they are not learning.  My boys got themselves ready early because they knew we were leaving the house early (time management lesson!).  They asked the dentist lots of questions and got their teeth cleaned.

2.  Encourage them to bring reading and learning materials with them.  Alec and Evan brought Pokemon books with them and they all read books in the car while we headed ou…

"Quizzes" and such

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I was asked last week by another homeschooling mom if my kids got "quizzed" by family members.  She was upset that her family doesn't support homeschooling and so therefor quizzes all of her kids when they get together to see what her children do and don't know.

I could honestly answer this has never happened to us.... until last night!


We've been really lucky in that everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) has been very supportive of our choice to homeschool.  I'm sure some think it strange, but aside from what I've come to view as the "typical questions" (you can click through for our 10 FAQ about homeschooling) we haven't had anyone say anything negative to us.

So, I did have to watch last night, with amusement,  as my husband's aunt quizzed my middle son when she came to visit.  I remembered this mom asking her question last week and being baffled as to why family would act like that and I STILL am! 

Our aunt was asking out of fun; it was

Teaching Life Skills Like Painting

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The boys helped me pick out some paint so we could re-paint our kitchen.



We're fortunate enough to have a large kitchen with large windows so we went with a dark navy color for the walls.

This morning the boys were up bright and early, eager to help me paint.  I used painter's tape to tape off all the trim, outlets, switches, etc and then the boys watched me brush around the outer perimeter of the room before they each took a turn with the roller.  They had so much fun and did a really great job!




They soon lost interest and asked to watch The Science of Disney's Imagineering; Newton's 3 Laws of Motion.  They just LOVED it!


The movie is only 30 minutes and, while it was a bit advanced, they really enjoyed watching it.  It didn't hurt that many familiar Disney rides and attractions are featured in the movie.

After the movie was over I heard Alec saying they were trying to use the motion of Evan's body to get Alec's body to move just like the movie was talkin…

A Day in the Life of an Unschooling Family

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A day in the Life of an Almost Unschooling Family:


Cooking, Reading, Math, Science:

Ian decided to try making waffles this morning; it was a great math and kitchen -science lesson.

We double the batter recipes every time we make waffles and pancakes so we have extra for the freezer and this time I had Ian read the recipe and tell me how much he needed of each ingredient when doubling it.

He got out the recipe book, found the page for making waffles (using the index without my mentioning it!), got out all the ingredients and measuring cups and spoons by himself.  He read through the list and double checked with me that he was using the right measuring tool and the right amount.


I was so proud of him.

He needed some help cooking them since he's a bit afraid of getting burned on the waffle maker but he tried!  He measured out the amount of batter needed and poured it into the waffle maker, he just didn't like the steam that came out when we had to open the waffle maker so he aske…

Craft Room Organization: Brads, buttons and bows

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OK so day #3 found me organizing my bin of brads, buttons and assorted embellishments.

I may have bitten off more than I can chew as I only managed to organize my brads today.  I had no idea I had so many!  I should have realized it since it is my favorite embellishment to use.



 I have brads in Disney shapes, cooking and kitchen utensils, trucks and tractors, stars, and every color of the rainbow.  I have had this magnetic organizer for well over a year.  I kept waiting for my husband to hang it (and for me to decide WHERE I wanted it) but today I decided enough was enough and I filled it up.

I had bought some extra canisters and honestly, I need  more.  But I love how it looks with all the colors sorted.  And I love the idea that I can see them all.  I often forget to use embellishments or re-order ones I already have forgetting that I bought them.



I am mounting  his over my bins of paper so it will be at eye level and easily accessible.  One small corner at a time this room is ge…

Scraps, scraps, scraps-- Organizing Paper Scraps

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I had a bit of time this morning and decided that rather than do the dishes I'd prefer to work in my craft room.  I had 4 drawers that were filled with scraps of all shapes, sizes and colors and
I often pull all 4 of them out when looking for a specific piece or color of paper.

 It seems like I've gotten to the point where I don't want to throw any scraps away. 

But I'm starting to feel like scraps are taking over my room and most of my time too. 

I finally decided to organize my scraps by color too so I dumped all the drawers out and started sorting.  I used my hanging file cart to store all the paper scraps once they were sorted.


 My room is now a much bigger mess than I started with as I promised myself I'd focus on one small area of the room each day and organize just that one small area.  It will take time (and money) but I think it's high time I dedicated myself to making the room all I want it to be. 

I love the idea of sorting everything by color bec…

Why Do We Have Trophies for kids.

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I really had such high hopes that Ian's team would win their last game today.  I know playing sports isn't all about winning but just once I'd love to see the look of sheer joy on his face when his team won.  Instead he had a smile on his face as he received his participation award.



His basketball team did not win one game all season long (sad to say they often weren't even close to winning).

Ian has played quite a few team sports and every team, every sport, every time they've lost. 

 I know this builds character.

I know this redoubles his efforts to win, but still it would be so nice to be able to celebrate a victory with him once in a while instead of always trying to cheer him up.  I have to say he takes it really well though and the losses have in no way dampened his love of the game and for that I am grateful!


Now, the participation trophies, however, I could do without.  

I'm sorry, I know many people would argue that it's cute and I couldn't argue…

A Listing of Video and Computer Games for Learning

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Anyone who follows my blog know I have such a hard time allowing, regulating, and enjoying video games with my children.


I used to enjoy them and play games with them.  I was pretty good at Super Mario Bros.  I really enjoyed such Wii games as Wii fit, Wii resort sports, etc.

But when the boys were in school most of the day, and we had homework, after school activities, and busy weekends we did have all that much time to play.

I think video games are great fun but they do need to be limited.  Now that we homeschool we're home a lot more and have much more free time on our hands.  My boys thought they could play video games whenever they wanted for however long they wanted.

They soon realized that was not the case. 

I do have to admit that I've really started to watch very closely to see if they're learning anything from any of the games they play.  I will not argue that ALL video games are educational and while I still don't condone all out access to them I do have t…

Teaching Good Sportsmanship

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My older two boys love Monopoly and keep begging me to play with them.

We've had a game going for quite some time now that we have kept set up at our dining table.

While I hate playing Monopoly I know it offers great opportunities for lessons in math, reading, and good sportsmanship.



Because I am the first to admit that my boys do not play with good sportsmanship.
Ian and Alec both cheer when someone lands on their property.  They grin with glee when someone doesn't have enough money pay.  They pout and sulk when someone goes by their property and they cry when they run out of money.  
It's tough but we're trying to teach them it's a game.

They have both played on sports teams and showed great sportsmanship when they participated; always smiling and encouraging their teammates, always congratulating the other team on a good game or a good play, focusing on trying to better their own skills and making friends.

But somehow when my two older boys start playing board ga…

Organization is the key- How I Organize My Craft Room

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Looking to "neaten" up my craft room I've been searching Pinterest for ideas and inspiration for creating my perfect space.



Sometimes I spend what feels like hours searching for the right color or pattern on a paper to go with the photos for a scrapbook page, or I'll end up ordering a tool, stamp set, or embellishment & end up realizing I already own it!

I thought my craft room was pretty well organized but it has never been "perfect."  In the beginning I was just to happy to have one I didn't mind that I didn't have much money left to spend on organizing it and I made do with bins and containers I found around the house.

Here we are several years later and I don't think I've purchased anything to help organize it yet.  I have, however, purchased a lot more "stuff" and now the room is looking very unorganized.  While I am usually pretty messy while I'm crafting and often thrive in the chaos it's starting to get to me.

Planning a Sledding Day with Your Homeschool Group

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Alec decided he really needed to wash his clothes since he ran out of socks and asked me to help show him how the washer and dryer work.  We had a quick lesson and he was off!  He ended up doing two loads of laundry for himself.  It's not folded yet, but it's all in a basket in his room.  I can't nag him too much since he did wash and dry it himself and that is a huge step! 

We were heading out to meet up with our homeschool group today and go sledding together.


We enjoy meeting up with our homeschool group a few times a month and we're always trying to plan new and fun things to do together.
A sledding day was a fun and easy idea!
We could have met at a local park but one homeschool mom offered to host at her house.We all came prepared in winter gear and brought sleds.We picked a sunny day (in winter, when we actually had snow on the ground)We chose a time that would work for most everyone but would still allow the most heat from the sun; in our case we're meetin…