Homeschool Science Kits Make Life Stupid Easy

Your homeschool life needs science kits. Forget those cutesy monthly subscription boxes-- this is the one you ought to  

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

I received this product for free and was compensated for my 100% honest review.

 

 

I've been using a bunch of different science curriculum lately, if you couldn't tell. As a person that is fascinated by science it's important to me that my kids get some quality science in them.

Plus, I'm determined to get each one of them to fall in love with science as well.

Oh, and it's one of those things that makes me super nervous that my kids will miss something and sit there in college cursing my name and all that I represent.

 

Science curriculum woes

  • Are you consistently skipping science because you sit down and realize, "oh garbage, I'm missing the one key material we need?"
  • Are you consistently skipping science because you don't have the funds to buy buy buy the beakers, the petri dishes, the solutions, the microscope, the slides, the frog to dissect?
  • Are you consistently skipping science because you've forgotten to look over the material, set it all up, and be prepared?
  • Are you consistently skipping science because... ugh?

 

I said I loved science right?

  • Well, my bank account doesn't.
  • My procrastinator self doesn't.
  • My brain fog, bad memory doesn't either.

 

Teacher's manuals, lab books, copies, random piece of string, a bottle of some weird ingredient that I only need a teaspoon of, I'll never use again, and costs $40-- all kill me.

 

I wanted to do the experiments, I wanted to show my kids how amazing science was, but I just kept hitting a wall of reality and life.

 

Then breezed into my life homeschool science kits subscriptions by Insight to Learning.

Ohmygosh, guys. THIS. This is the answer.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

I don't have to do a thing except order, open, do it, and return them when done.

 

They've literally done everything for me.

This is a procrastinator's, a forgetful flake's, and a financially strapped person's dream come true.

 

I open the big glorious box.

It is stupid simple organized.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

 

There are 5-6 lessons in each box.

Each lesson is in its own huge ziplock bag. Clearly labeled.

The Teacher's Manual is in its own bag, with copies of lab sheets (copies y'all!) in the same bag. Clearly labeled.

What do I do when it's time for science?

  1. I pull out our science kit box.
  2. Pull out the lesson for the day (1-5)
  3. Pull out the Teacher's Manual, open it to the lesson we're on, and go.
  4. Do the lesson (read a book or watch a DVD-- it's included!)
  5. Ask the questions suggested.
  6. Pull out the remaining materials from the activity bag and start the experiment.

 

The Teacher's Manual has starter questions, vocabulary, the lesson material to cover, follow up questions, and the experiment instructions.

Also included are the master sheets for the copies you'll want to make (only if you run out of the paper they included in the science kits).

 

Dream come true

I don't have to read it the night before, the week before, or ever. I read it for the first time when the kids are hearing it for the first time.

I could go as far as letting the kids do this on their own should I feel the inclination or have the need.

 

If my husband, mother-in-law, or babysitter was subbing for the day (should I randomly jet off to England one day) they could do this with complete ease and no stress/freak-out.

 

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

 

Yeah, but do the kids like the science kits?

Well... they loved it!

What's even better, when the subject of what we'd learned recently came up in a random conversation with other people they remembered it! They remembered the new vocabulary, what they meant, and how they worked.

That's the most important part, right? That they're learning and retaining what they learned.

 

We have the kit from the 2nd grade subscription (I have a 2nd, 3rd, & 5th grader) titled Earth's Place in the Universe. (*Note, this is the link to the classroom kit, so don't freak out at the big price tag).

We've learned about erosion, earthquakes, volcanoes, the layers of the earth, and caves (growing our own stalactites).

 

My kids want to do the experiments over and over again. They're sad when I tell them it's time to move on. When Dad comes home they can't wait to show him what they did and learned.

Do you struggle to stay consistent with your science curriculum? Need a no-prep plan? These science kits are exactly what you need to make science stupid easy. My kids love these kits and beg for science now! Plus, I enjoy it too. No more canceling science because we don't have something.

Hook yourself up with a science subscription

 

1. Pick the grade you want to use. I used one kit for my 3 oldest children (pay $5 for supplies for an extra child). You receive a discount if you purchase 2 separate grade level kits.

My plan is to go through one grade level and then go up a grade until we reach the end of their kit levels (5th grade).

2. Every 6-8 weeks a new box with 5-6 lessons and activities is shipped to you.

3. Go through each lesson at your own pace (we do one a week).

4. When you're done you ship all the non-consumable items back. Things like the teacher's manual, measuring spoons, DVDs, books, etc.

They include a laminated list when you first open up the package clearly listing out the items to be returned and the items you can keep.

They literally include everything (except water) that you'll need for the experiments. An empty water bottle, measuring spoons, string, plastic spoons (to stir with), a beaker, aluminum pans, clay, erasers, construction paper, cups.

 

We only have to be alive and awake and have water nearby, should we need it, to do the experiments.

 

You could open this box in an empty hotel room and do these experiments.

 

I really loved that the liquid ingredients (clearly labeled) were in a mega-tight container, and double bagged. I don't see how any container would ever leak, but just in case, there's 2 bags to contain it all.

 

The teaching materials (books and DVDs) are high quality. Real science terms, real science, and clear explanations. No fluff here.

 

What if I want to keep the kits?

If you don't want to return the items you would just buy the boxes instead of using the subscription.

This would be nice if you wanted to keep the materials to use for younger children as they get older.

 

 

Hands down this is an amazing subscription to get. Forget those other monthly subscription boxes. This science kit is beneficial to both you and your children.

 

First time subscribers get 50% of their first month's subscription (this offer never expires). Insight to Learning will mail you a check for $12.50 in your first box you receive.

 

Final verdict

This is one of my favorite investments for our homeschool this year. It's made science easy, simple, doable, effective. It gets DONE!

 

Q: What year kit do you want to start with?

An Effective & Easy Homeschool Science Curriculum You'll Love

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science. Science is one of those subjects that can scare many a homeschool mom.

 

So many moms say:

  • I can't homeschool high school because I can't do high school science.
  • I can't homeschool because I can't give my kids the full science education they need.
  • I can't do science because I hate science.
  • I stink at science.
  • I never got it.
  • My science teacher was an imbecile and I still haven't recovered.

 

Whatever the reasoning behind it is, I'm here to say, there's another way. You CAN do science, and do it well, in homeschool.

You can teach science the right way and not let's-make-a-baking-soda-volcano-and-call-it-good type science.

 

I'm a do-it-yourself type of gal. If I could make, grow, create, build everything I use, I totally would. I have a secret fantasy to live out in the middle of nowhere on a huge ranch/farm and just live off what we produce and make with our own hands.

My husband, being Mr. Indoorsy, would like to stay close to civilization.

As as DIY-er, I love to cobble together my own homeschool curriculum and I love to plan and pull together resources.

 

In my 6 years of homeschooling, I've realized that my time is better spent NOT doing that.

Not sapping my energy trying to put together the best resources I can find (and not spending tons of money) and not pouring all my limited energy into building a curriculum.

So, what curriculum would I use?

 

When I first decided to homeschool, I searched for weeks for THE BEST science curriculum for my children. I found Real Science-4-Kids and started teaching my kiddos Chemistry.

Then, the next year, I got hit by the "I need to do more more more" bug, and thought, this needs to be harder (for me) for it to be effective.

Can I get a collective eye roll?

 

Sometime last year I slapped my own face and rolled my eyes so far back I fell asleep for a week.

 

I've been on the hunt for science goodness for my kids ever since.

Something that could satisfy my desire for a real, thorough, and solid education. Something that wouldn't be one more thing to do that never got done because I was overwhelmed, and wouldn't be something that I'd never do because I'd forget to grab the stinking supplies.... again.

I happened again on Real Science-4-Kids. This time, their grade level curriculum instead of by individual subject.

I received this for free in exchange for my honest review and compensated for my time, not my opinion.Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

I have 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and PreK/K graders. My 5th grader is behind in science (remember that cobbling that lead to burnout, which led to not doing it consistently?) so I decided to go with the 3rd grade level to meet in the middle. Pull my 2nd grader up, meet my 3rd grader, and help my 5th grader to be confident while he improves.

 

I love RS4K because it gives you a taste of each science subject. Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth, and Astronomy for a total of 22 lessons.

My kids, who keep telling me they don't like science, enjoy reading the textbook, looking at the pictures, and then seeing for themselves with their own experiments.

 

That's my favorite bit.

What they read in the student textbook is then proven to them through a simple, doable, no random expensive materials required, experiments.

Little Miss (3rd grader), was all about learning why oil and water don't mix and then why when you add soap they do. In fact, I loved learning about it.

 

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

The way they show the molecules in the book made it visually easy for the kids to see the similarities, differences, and connections within the lesson. They could see why water and sugar mix and why water and oil do not just by looking at the picture.

 

Captain (the 5th grader) is not groaning when I say it's time for science. He's especially excited to do the experiments.

I call that a major win.

 

We received 3 books. Student Textbook, Teacher's Manual, and the Laboratory Notebook. Not one of these books are unnecessary. They each play an important part.

 

The Student Textbook has all the lessons, written out easily for the kids to understand, but not dumbed down.

We've read these lessons together, and I've had them read them with each other (while I'm taking care of the baby).

We've also read some of the chapters during morning time as review and extra time to sneak science into our school days.

 

Science is a subject that can scare even the toughest homeschool mom. I've found a curriculum that will teach your kids real science easily. My kids love this curriculum and they used to hate science.

 

The Laboratory Notebook has all the pre-lab questions to think about, and answer, the graphs, charts, and notes sections for the experiments, and then follow up questions after the lab is over to summarize what you've learned, compare your hypothesis with the results, and wrap it up nicely with an explanation as to what happened and why back in the Teacher's Manual.

 

The Teacher's Manual tells you what materials are needed for each lesson, how to conduct the lesson, what questions to ask, in what order, etc. You don't have to think.

If you're running behind on prep time, you know you can just open it up and go without having to teach yourself first.

 

 

The hallmarks of a good curriculum are:

•my kids understand it

•my kids want to do it

•my kids are learning and retaining at each lesson

•it's easy for me to do, even if I am sick, tired, stressed, or busy

•it's accurate

•I enjoy it

•I'm learning/re-learning

I'm sure there's some other standards, but these cover the most basic of my standards and benchmarks.

Real Science-4-Kids meets them all.

Teaching science when life is chaotic

After having had 6 babies, 3 while I homeschooling , and having HG each time, being able to give my children a quality education when I'm laid out on the couch, not having been able to keep down food or water in 24+ hours, exhausted, worn out, and stressed is vital.

I can't pile on guilt on top of all those other things!

 

I may be done with having children, but understanding days don't always work out, and the fact that life happens, no matter what you plan-- I always want to have in place something that is going to work for my family no matter the circumstance.

 

I don't mean to sound so maudlin, but having a wonderful science curriculum takes away stress and worry from my shoulders.  I can cross this worry off my list when I'm laying there at night, worrying.

Worrying I'm missing something, worrying I'm not doing enough, worrying my kids will turn into horrible people or with no prospect at happiness and success and intelligence.

Because of course, when we're worrying, we're never rational.

I can say to myself, "Rochelle, but you're doing science, they're doing it, they're getting it, they may not be science geniuses, but gosh dang it, they're smart and they're not going to start killing kittens because you homeschooled them."

 

It's real, solid, quality science

I don't want to teach my kids fluff. I want them to know what's what and really grasp and appreciate science for all that it's given our society and its possibilities.

My dream is for each of my children to fall in love with science, but since I can't control them (darn it), I'm going to settle for having a good understanding of it.

 

This is real science, not watered-down fluff. My kids are learning real science terms, real concepts, and referring to the things they're learning as though they were already scientists.

I'd encourage you to read this fantastic interview of Dr Keller (the author) and how this curriculum is different. This interview was a major reason why I fell in love with RS4K.

 

If you're looking for a science curriculum to get you headed in the right direction, to be your spine, then I highly highly recommend RS4K. Each year builds on each other, from Kindergarten all the way up to their newest release, grade 7.

 

If you're the unit study type, you can totally build off of the units within the text to suit your needs, and you know you'll have a solid foundation to turn to. If you wish, you can always use their Focus series to really explore the separate concentrations.

 

If you're the let's try lots of curricula type (raising my hand), then definitely use RS4K. I have several science curriculum for this school year. I have two that we will use as supplements, as specific units, but this one, is our main spine, our main constant.

 

When you aren't the biggest fan of science

Now, I can say this-- I love specific science concentrations. I love love biology and astronomy. I can appreciate chemistry for its coolness factor (but I sure hate those equations). I appreciate the other sciences, but I don't love to study them.

At least, I didn't.

The fact that RS4K has all the major concentrations of science is fantastic. I loathe physics and earth science is meh. Rocks? Yawn fest. I'd much rather learn about the body, elements, and the planets.

We've just started the physics section of the 3rd grade RS4K's text and I've gotta be honest, it's not bad at all! I've re-learned some things and am enjoying myself.

I love that it's set for me. I don't have to plan it, think about it, research it, none of that. I love that I can make sure my least favorite subjects are being taught well and my feelings won't effect my children.

Because really, I'm finding that physics isn't that bad. Plus, my kids are loving it.

 

Get Real Science-4-Kids for yourself

Since we're all on a tight budget, I love a good deal and sale.

Right now RS4K has a referral program going on.

You can get a $20 payback reward toward purchase for each referred friend who makes a purchase.

Plus, if your friends buy before September 30th they get 30% off.

You also can get $30 off too, if you purchase through this link.

RS4K-30percent-off

 

Winning all around!

I love this. Such a caring company looking out for the best of us homeschool families.

With each $20 you can turn around and buy next year's curriculum!

 

To sum it up

Look at what's most important to you in a homeschool curriculum. Let go of the things you think you ought to be doing and what others are. What is it that you value the most? What are your goals for your children?

Use those as a jumping point. If your goals and standards are anywhere near mine, then I suggest, friend to friend, that you look into RS4K.

Mwah

How to Use a Rigorous Curriculum (Even if Your Kids Aren't Gifted)

I received this product for free and am being compensated for the time to write the review.  This is an honest review of the product.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Use a rigorous curriculum? Just what do you mean, Rochelle?

What's a rigorous curriculum?

 

Let's define what rigorous curriculum means. It's a curriculum that's not easy, not comfortable, not your average mamby-pamby stuff.

I'm not talking impossible. I'm not talking tear-inducing rigorous.

I'm referring to the feelings YOU get when you look at the curriculum.

 

Are you nervous it might be a little too much for your children? Are you unsure if they'll get it? That you can do it?

 

You want a good balance of doable and scary. It's just like picking a book for your kid to read.

You don't want to hand your 5th grader an easy reader. Your child isn't going to stretch their reading abilities.

You don't hand him a 5" thick book on quantum physics either and expect him to understand everything.

 

You want a book that's easy enough to give confidence, yet hard enough to push their abilities and stretch their minds.

THIS is what I mean by picking a rigorous curriculum.

Is that clearer now?

 

But my children... gifted?

I would NOT consider my children gifted.

They're smart, just sometimes I wonder if they know what color the sky is.

 

I want them to be gifted, but I'll be honest, I probably am to blame for part of it. I haven't pushed them near as hard as I could.

 

I purchase rigorous curriculum, and have high expectations, but then sometimes, I just don't hold them to it.

And sometimes, yes, I even underestimate them.

 

What's a homeschool mom to do?

Stop underestimating them. Stop underestimating me!

I resolved to change, to do better, to push push push because ohmygosh, I only have 8 years left with my oldest!!!

Panic time! How in the world am I going to make sure he's ready for college and life in just 8 years.

 

Someone get the smelling salts, I'm going to pass out.

 

I sat down with myself, gave myself a good talking to, and started to think.

  • What were the areas my kids were struggling in?
  • What are they behind in
  • What could they do do better in?
  • Where do I want them to be at the end of their time homeschooling?
  • At the end of this year?

 

Then I took each piece of curriculum I had and evaluated it based on this clear criteria.

Some things were great, I just needed to enforce it better.

Some things, not so great.

 

I needed a different science curriculum. I love my Unit Studies, and I will keep doing them, I just find that it's so easy for me to drop things or not do them because I think they'll be too hard, or too time consuming, or whatever the reason.

Or I don't make it challenging enough.

Either way, it's lame.

 

An easy solution

 

Then came into my life, The College of William & Mary and their Center for Gifted Children (published by Kendall Hunt).

I saw, "for gifted children," and nearly clicked away, but then I got to thinking....

 

My daughter loves vegetables because I told her years ago she loved veggies. She proudly walks around telling everyone she loves veggies and she does! She tries every single one of them and eats broccoli.

I loathe broccoli.

The point is-- if I tell my kids they can do this science curriculum, then they may just believe me.

If I tell myself they can as well, then I'll approach it with a higher expectation and better perspective.

Sounds cooky, but guess what, it totally works.

 

Picking which unit study I'd try first was HARD. I have a 1st, 2nd, and 4th grader (the rest are preschool, toddler, and baby).

My 4th grader was the most behind, my 2nd grader is advanced, and my 1st grader is capable, but struggles with focus.

 

I picked the grades 2-4 level, What a Find! --  a unit study on archaeology. So cool.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Oh the books are beautiful. They are jam packed with goodness. Instructions, dialogue, examples, problems to solve, documents, assignments, and handouts.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Holy crow, I read the instruction manual the first time and thought, there's no stinking way my children are going to understand this. What am I going to do?

Some of it was hard for me to understand. It's for 2-4th grade! Maybe I'm not that smart after all. :-/

 

I was determined to prove myself right. My kids could do this! I just needed to give them the chance to try.

 

I read through the first lesson again and really pondered what it meant until I was comfortable with the topic: systems.

 

The next morning, I gathered the kids around the table, pulled out our white board and a marker and got started.

I love that they have us talk about a refrigerator, something each of my children are very familiar with (hello, they're sneaking food all the time).

We labeled all the part of the fridge, talked about what it does, what goes in, what comes out, what needs to happen for it to work.

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

My kids got it! They totally blew me away. Like completely and utterly. My 4 year old was even joining in on the conversation, and sometimes I'm not quite sure she knows her own name.

My 1st grader was 100% involved in the discussion, and so were my older kids.

 

We brainstormed other systems. They came up with a TON (you can see part of our list to the left of our fridge picture)!

 

When my 4-year-old named sand as a system, the other kids quickly realized that no, sand is not a system. Using the system parts they just learned, and the new vocabulary, they explained why sand was not a system.

 

They decided that sand was part of 2 other systems: the desert and ocean.

 

My Proud Mama tears were shed that day. Inside, of course.

 

I absolutely adore the problem-based study. It presents a problem to my kids. Since What a Find! is about archaeology, the problems are what an archaeologist would face every day.

 

Maybe you don't think your kids are gifted. That's okay, you can STILL use a rigorous curriculum designed for gifted students to stretch their abilities.

 

Then we brainstorm what we need to know to solve the problems, the materials needed, the information needed, and any other important tidbit.

After that, we go about finding that information, come back, present it, and move forward with the next bit of problem until we are at the final dig where we put it all together.

 

It's really got my kids thinking, processing, and solving problems. They're getting it and doing fantastically.

I'm feeling more and more confident with their abilities as we go through each lesson. THEY are feeling more confident.

 

I'm realizing, they can do this. We can do this. I'm profoundly excited and relieved to know that my kids are capable of this high caliber curriculum.

I realized I wasn't pushing them to their full potential. I was staying safe.

 

Adding in more rigorous curriculum

Once we're done with this unit, we're adding in history and another science unit.

 

With the remainder of our curriculum and plans for the year I've decided each one will be given the full push. If it's not stretching my kids it's getting the heave-ho.

I only have so much time with each of my babies.

I only have so much time to teach the what they need to be able to do, understand, and know before they're moving out.

 

I know it sounds dramatic, and maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but we mothers know it's true. We don't have a lot of time even to teach them basic character habits, and as homeschool moms we have an even bigger job in front of us.

 

Your Turn

Give your curriculum a good thorough going over. What could be improved upon? Where are they struggling? What's not challenging enough?

William & Mary has science, social studies, and language arts curriculum to challenge your kids at just the right level.

 

Be sure to follow William & Mary so you can connect with them and find out more about all they have to offer. Facebook & Twitter.

Mwah

 

How to Plan a Year of Memory Work Your Kids Will Love

You found lots of resources, now it's time to plan memory work, and not just learn about it. You've got to do what's best for your family. Let's work on that together.

Take all the materials from the past 4 days and put them together to plan memory work that will be effective and your kids will love and look forward to doing! Easy plan, step by step, walks you through to customize for your homeschool.

Start to plan memory work

There are some things you going to need to know before you get started.

What you're going to do. When and how you'll do it. Plus, you'll also want to know what you're going to work on at any one time.

Will you do one category for a month straight, a semester? Will you work on a different type of item each day? Will you work on 4 different items for one week straight?

Where will you store your memory work materials? How will you use them?

Since we've got lots of questions to answer, let's get started right now!

Gather Materials

I've given you 4 days of materials to use quickly and easily. All you need to do is copy each item and paste it into a word document for quick access.

Have them all in one place, separated by category.

If you're using videos for some of your memory work, be sure to write the title and url on the document for quick reference.

This may take you some time up front, but you'll be glad you did it when it comes time to use it.

 

You can do a whole year's worth all at once, or just do terms, semesters, or months at a time. Do what is going to work best for you.

Do you like to be flexible? Then do a month or two at a time.

Do you like a plan, but not too rigid? Then do it by term or semester.

Do you want to do it once and not have to think about it again? Plan the entire year in one go.

Scheduling

Okay, here's where it might get tricky.

Do you have all your materials together? Are they broken up into categories? Good.

Look through them. How often do you want to cover each category?

Here's the categories from the 4 posts in this series: Scripture, hymns, doctrines, poems, quotes, history, science, math, language arts, and extra materials.

Now, let's decide how you'll go through each category.

Wait, did you pick the categories you want to do? I'm doing all of them, personally.

Do you want to work on one category for a specific amount of time? Work on a few each day? Work on one each day, but of varied categories?

Here's what I mean.

Monthly:

  • Sept - Poems
  • Oct - Quotes
  • Nov - Scriptures
  • Dec - History
  • Jan - Language Arts
  • Feb - Poems
  • March - Quotes
  • April - Hymns
  • May - Math
  • June - Science
  • July - Doctrine
  • Aug - Extra

Multiple a day:

Each day work on:

  • Religious (either scripture, hymn, or doctrine)
  • a poem
  • a quote
  • one educational (LA, math, science, history, etc) item

Go through each until they're memorized before adding a new item from each category.

One a day:

  • Mon - religious
  • Tues - poem
  • Wed - quote
  • Thurs - educational
  • Fri - religious
  • continue the pattern

When & how long?

For my family, the ideal time to do memory work is during our Morning Time. We do a lot of our group work together in the morning to set the tone for our day, including memorization.

You can do this during a group work block, during lunch, after lunch, after dinner, or at the end of your school day.

If your schedule is hodge-podged throughout the day, then pick the time that will work WITH your schedule and not when you think you should be doing memory work.

The length of time devoted to memory work is up to you and your schedule. We do at least 5 minutes, or if we're doing multiple items, we devote 5 minutes to each category and then stop when the timer goes off.

We're switching to 5 minutes with new material and 5 minutes of reviewing older material.

 

If you want longer, do longer. You can start out doing the time you want. Give it a week for everyone to get used to it and then adjust where you see the need. Longer? Shorter?

You'd be surprised. My children love memory work and beg to work on it for longer periods of time, especially songs. I was shocked outside my mind when we started it.

 Setting it all up

There's a few different ways you can do this. We'll explore your two options (and you may come up with a different one altogether) before you get started organizing it all.

Index Cards

We started off with index cards.

You get an index card box, dividers, and index cards. We used different colors for different categories.

You can put your items on your index cards like so:

  • Hand write each passage to be memorized
  • Type it out and print it onto the index cards (can be tricky)
  • Type it out, print it on paper, cut and glue onto index cards

You'll label the dividers as DAILY, SUN-SAT (or MON-FRI), EVEN & ODD, 1-31.

Memory Binder

You can also skip the index cards and use a memory work binder.

Print out each passage on its own piece of paper.

You'll need a binder, dividers, page protectors (optional), and paper with each printed passage.

Label the dividers: DAILY, MON-FRI (or SUN-SAT), EVEN & ODD, 1-31

OR you can label them like this:

DAILY, POEMS, QUOTES, SCRIPTURES, DOCTRINE, etc of the categories you'll use. You can put the EXTRA as one category, or break it down into math, science, history, etc.

Learn & review

Now, for the DOING part of it all.

If you use the index cards or the binder here is how you learn and review.

Pull out the passage.

Read it aloud, or have a child read it aloud.

Break it up into sections and start with the first. Add the next section. Go until you think that's enough for the day or your time runs out.

We generally set aside 5 minutes to learn a new passage and then 5 minutes to review the old passages.

Now. Add this new passage to the DAILY section.

Pull out the other passages under the DAILY section. Review them for 7 days, or until they're memorized fully (even if it takes longer or shorter).

Once you've reviewed it for 7 days move it to the EVEN or ODD tab (depending on what day it is). If it's January 15th, put it under ODD. If it's the 16th, move it behind EVEN.

Now, on even days, be sure to review those behind the DAILY and EVEN tab and visa versa for odd days.

Once you're done with that for another 7 days of review (7 times with even or 7 days with odd) move it to the day of the week that it is.

Now, you'll review: DAILY, EVEN/ODD, and whatever day of the week it is. You do this for a month.

Then you move the passage behind the number day it is. If it's February 23, put it behind 23. If it's the 2nd, move it behind the 2.

Now you'll review: DAILY, EVEN/ODD, day of the week, and Day #.

You leave the passage behind the number for 12 months (you'll review it 12 times). Then move it out into another box for all the passages you've finished. You can leave them there forever, or review them as you wish to.

 

If you put it in the binder or index cards with the label DAILY and then categories here's how you do it:

Review under DAILY tab for 7 days (or until it's completely memorized). Then move it behind the category it belongs to.

Each day review one passage from each category. Mark with a bookmark, post it note, or some other method where you left off.

 

You could also do a varied version of this:

DAILY, EVEN/ODD, and then categories.

This way you'd get a bit more review with each passage before moving it to the category section.

Okay, this is all sounding super complicated, and I apologize. If you're ready to shake me until I take it all back, I don't blame you.

 

Here's a quick synopsis to hopefully explain it much better and more simply.

Pick a storage system:

A: index cards

B: memory binder (we're switching to the binder)

 

Pick a schedule system:

A. one focus at a time

B. one category a day

C. each category a day

 

Pick a "learn & review" method

A. Daily, even/odd, weekly, monthly

B. Daily, 1 from each category (daily)

C. Daily, even/odd, 1 from each category (daily)

Add it all up and you've got your final plan.

Take all the materials from the past 4 days and put them together to plan memory work that will be effective and your kids will love and look forward to doing! Easy plan, step by step, walks you through to customize for your homeschool.

Other review methods

We're pretty simple and boring and just do verbal recitation and singing. Nothing fancy. Because of this I'm going to look to some other creative geniuses and send you to them to get even better ideas.

I am planning on adding the popsicle stick review method for sure.

  1. You write actions and funny voices on each popsicle stick.
  2. A kid draws a popsicle stick before each passage to be recited.
  3. You will all do the voice or action on the stick.

So fun! Volcano voice, mouse voice, march in place, etc. I love it. It would be super fun to come up with new ideas every once in a while to add to the collection.

Solagratiamom has a great list of ideas that she's used.

I think my favorite is #12- Emotional Wreck. You have them recite their memory work while they act out an emotion. For instance, sobbing, laughing, surprised, scared, worried, etc.

Another is they get to catch a super squishy toy and squeeze and pull on it while they recite. Great for those that love to be doing things with their hands while they work.

 

Half a Hundred Acre Wood has a ton of practice ideas.

Including, write it on the dry erase board and erase a word at a time, hand motions, hide and seek and more. She has ideas broken up by category-- even better!

Brandy has even more review games for teams, co-ops, or larger families. They look like so much fun !

 

That's it!

Okay, we've been through a lot together these past 5 days. I just want to end with one last thought.

Plan Memory Work time with things that will be of great value and use to your children. Don't memorize things just for the sake of memorization.

Memorize that which teaches, inspires, uplifts, encourages, and is beautiful. Really sit and think about what you want your children to gain and know and work backwards from there.

If there's something they're struggling with start there first.

Always always always make it work FOR you. Do what you need done in your home and not what someone else (including me) tells you to do.

 

I certainly enjoyed these past 5 days and know our own memory time has vastly improved because of it. I hope it blesses you similarly.

 

Parting gift

If you haven't already....

Grab the ASL Memory Work packet

[convertkit form=4901805]

and join the challenge!

50 IN 5 challenge

 

Catch up

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Your Memory Work

Day 4: Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Your Morning Time Transformative

 

Your Turn

Tell me your plans for memory work!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

Click the picture to access the other 5-day posts!

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Morning Time Transformative

We've covered the traditional things to memorize, now let's talk about some unique things to add to your memory work. Be sure to include memory work done in a non-traditional way to spice up your morning time and really take full advantage of memory work. There's some fantastic resources here all in one place instead of hunting all over! Save this pin!!!

We want a full and robust morning time and really take full advantage of memory work. I know I've talked about wanting to make sure our kids knew those random tidbits of information that are important.

They may just be important for those quiz shows and games, but gosh dangit, we don't want to leave anything out. But who wants to dedicate an entire lesson, semester, or unit to random facts?

"Not I," said the cat.

 

Let's get to it.

 

Math memory work

I've created a playlist on YouTube full of 34 math videos (and more added all the time).

Here are some more things to use: 

Skip counting sheets by Homeschool Creations

Coin memory poem 

Order of operations  PEMDAS image

Cooking equivalents

Metric conversions

Roman Numbers

Pi -- this shows 1 million digits.... obviously don't memorize that much. Maybe first 30, 50, 100 digits?

Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Laws

Quadratic equation

 

Science memory work

Here's 54 science songs!

Here's more: 

Classification of living things image, explanation

Periodic Table

Newton's 3 laws

Body systems: flashcards, visuals + explanation,

 

History facts to remember

51 history and geography songs! More history to memorize: 

Declaration of Independence

Preamble

Bill of Rights

US Constitution

Gettysburg Address

Give me liberty or give me death! by Sir Patrick Henry -- one of my absolute favorite speeches.

I Have a Dream by MLK Jr.

Timelines

US states -- Join me in the 5-day challenge!

Countries of the World

Continents & Oceans

US Presidents & Vice Presidents

 

Language arts goodness

You guessed it, another playlist of videos. I add to it all the time, so be sure to save it.

Jolanthe made this fantastic set of poems from the First Language Lessons books. These books also have fantastic list of things to memorize.

Shakespeare printables to memorize from Ken Ludwig

Lots of pronouns to memorize.

Parts of speech

Multiple word lists -- this site is awesome. Even teaches you how to diagram sentences (which I love to do).

 

General educational tidbits

25 videos for you. Included are etiquette, character, calendar, ASL, and more:

 

Meal time etiquette, and another, and another

Set the table

We Choose Virtues songs and more.

ASL

 

Fun memory work gift

ASL is hands down the most fun thing to do ever.

Your kids are going to love learning ASL-- even if you don't do it as your foreign language, you can still include it in your memory work.

Adding in physical actions to things you're memorizing is the BEST to make what you're learning STICK.

I've got 2 gifts for you today.

1. Grab the packet and videos of 4 scriptures, 3 poems, 3 quotes, and 2 educational items to memorize for free here:

[convertkit form=4901805]

 

Learn all 50 states, their signs, and their locations in a LIVE 5 day challenge!

2. Join me in a challenge to learn all 50 states names, signs, AND locations in just 5 days!

Click HERE for a bit more information & to join!

Your kids will love you

Including these fun and unique resources will #1 make memory time fun, but also #2 your kids will love it!

Some of the items are harder to do-- be sure to search for songs, visuals, and materials to make it easier. Just don't overcomplicate it.

 

Come back tomorrow to see how we put all of this together and how you can make this work for your own family without overwhelming you into paralysis.

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read more 5-day series!

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

Poems truly enrich and nourish your homeschool experience. Add in engaging, fun, moving, and delightful poems into your memory work. My kids really enjoyed these poems and keep asking for more!  

My feelings on poems has changed over the years.

When I was a kid I thought poems were dumb. Then I memorized Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken in 5th grade and it really struck me and has stuck with me all these years later.

I'm also still mad at my teacher for saying I didn't say the second "I" when I did! Ugh.

 

Then later on, I thought poetry was for old folks.

I was in college, and really trying to explore new interests. One day, at the library, I picked up a book on writing your own poetry. I soon became obsessed with writing poetry.

I eventually moved on, but I still remember the poems I wrote and the impact they had on me.

 

It wasn't until I found the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling did I ever think of using poetry in our homeschool.

We began incorporating Tea Time into our week and my kids, my BOYS, love it. They love and connect to the rhythm and flow and emotion of the poems they read.

There's just something that really speaks to your soul when you read a well-written poem.

 

Poems for your homeschool

 

I'm going to share some of my favorite poems for you to use in your homeschool.

I did my best to provide the text for you without violating copyright laws. I hate having to hunt down resources and having a bajillion extra steps for something I'm trying to do. I don't have the time nor patience for it.

Plus, I'm lazy enough that it wouldn't happen. I'd just file it away in the "oh this would be nice to do one day" folder and forget about it.

 

Well, not today!

I'm going to put the poems in accordion tabs so you don't have to scroll through a beast of a post. And sometimes I'll provide just links. It really just depends on how long this post becomes.

 

Robert Frost

[wc_toggle title="The Road Not Taken" layout="box"]
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

[/wc_toggle]

[wc_toggle title="Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening" layout="box"]
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

[/wc_toggle]

 

More Robert Frost poems -- they also are in audio format here to read and listen to.

 


Robert Louis Stevenson

[wc_toggle title="My Shadow" layout="box"]

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

 

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,

And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

 

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.

He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;

I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

 

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Happy Thought" layout="box"]

The world is so full of a number of things,

I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="Time to Rise" layout="box"]

A birdie with a yellow bill

Hopped upon my window sill,

Cocked his shining eye and said:

"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

More Robert Louis Stevenson poems: 

A Child's Garden of Verses and at Poet's Corner and Poet's Corner

 


Christina G. Rossetti

[wc_toggle title="Mix a Pancake" layout="box"]
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake—
Catch it if you can.
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Color" layout="box"]
What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!
[/wc_toggle]

 

 


William Blake

 

[wc_toggle title="To The Evening Star" layout="box"]

THOU fair-haired Angel of the Evening,

Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light

Thy bright torch of love--thy radiant crown

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!

Smile on our loves; and, while thou drawest the

Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew

On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes

In timely sleep. Let thy West Wind sleep on

The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,

And wash the dusk with silver.--Soon, full soon,

Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,

And the lion glares through the dun forest:

The fleeces of our flocks are covered with

Thy sacred dew; protect them with thine influence!

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

More William Blake poems

 


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

[wc_toggle title="Memories" layout="box"]

OFT I remember those I have known

In other days, to whom my heart was lead

As by a magnet, and who are not dead,

But absent, and their memories overgrown

With other thoughts and troubles of my own,

As graves with grasses are, and at their head

The stone with moss and lichens so o'er spread,

Nothing is legible but the name alone.

And is it so with them? After long years.

Do they remember me in the same way,

And is the memory pleasant as to me?

I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?

Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,

And yet the root perennial may be.

[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="There was a little girl" layout="box"]
There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="Paul Revere's Ride" layout="box"]

 

Paul Revere's Ride

[/wc_toggle]

 


Emily Dickinson

 

[wc_toggle title="Hope is the thing with feathers" layout="box"]
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="There is no Frigate like a book" layout="box"]
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –
[/wc_toggle]

More Emily Dickinson poems

 


More poems to know

[wc_toggle title="Dentist and the Crocodile by Roald Dahl" layout="box"]
The crocodile, with cunning smile, sat in the dentist’s chair.
He said, “Right here and everywhere my teeth require repair.”
The dentist’s face was turning white. He quivered, quaked and shook.
He muttered, “I suppose I’m going to have to take a look.”
“I want you”, Crocodile declared, “to do the back ones first.
The molars at the very back are easily the worst.”
He opened wide his massive jaws. It was a fearsome sight—
At least three hundred pointed teeth, all sharp and shining white.
The dentist kept himself well clear. He stood two yards away.
He chose the longest probe he had to search out the decay.
“I said to do the back ones first!” the Crocodile called out.
“You’re much too far away, dear sir, to see what you’re about.
To do the back ones properly you’ve got to put your head
Deep down inside my great big mouth,” the grinning Crocky said.
The poor old dentist wrung his hands and, weeping in despair,
He cried, “No no! I see them all extremely well from here!”
Just then, in burst a lady, in her hands a golden chain.
She cried, “Oh Croc, you naughty boy, you’re playing tricks again!”
“Watch out!” the dentist shrieked and started climbing up the wall.
“He’s after me! He’s after you! He’s going to eat us all!”
“Don’t be a twit,” the lady said, and flashed a gorgeous smile.
“He’s harmless. He’s my little pet, my lovely crocodile.”
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Porcupines by Marilyn Singer" layout="box"]
Hugging you takes some practice.
So I'll start out with a cactus.
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Help Wanted by Timothy Tocher" layout="box"]
Santa needs new reindeer.
The first bunch has grown old.
Dasher has arthritis;
Comet hates the cold.
Prancer's sick of staring
at Dancer's big behind.
Cupid married Blitzen
and Donder lost his mind.
Dancer's mad at Vixen
for stepping on his toes.
Vixen's being thrown out—
she laughed at Rudolph's nose.
If you are a reindeer
we hope you will apply.
There is just one tricky part:
You must know how to fly.
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="April Fool by Myra Cohn Livingston" layout="box"]
The maple syrup's full of ants.
                                    A mouse is creeping on the shelf.
                                   Is that a spider on your back?
             I ate a whole pie by myself.
The kitchen sink just overflowed.
                                   A flash flood washed away the school.
             I threw your blanket in the trash.
                                   I never lie————I————
                                                                                APRIL FOOL!
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll" layout="box"]

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

 

He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

And stood awhile in thought.

 

And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

 

One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

He chortled in his joy.

 

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Don't worry if your job is small by Anonymous *" layout="box"]

Don't worry if your job is small

And your rewards are few.

Remember that the might oak

Was once a nut like you.

[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="Blow blow thou winter wind by William Shakespeare" layout="box"]

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

 

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

 

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,

That does not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As a friend remembered not.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

William Shakespeare Sonnets

[wc_toggle title="O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman" layout="box"]
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="There was an Old Man with a beard by Edward Lear" layout="box"]
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="If by Rudyard Kipling" layout="box"]
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
[/wc_toggle]
[wc_toggle title="Sign by Shel Silverstein*" layout="box"]

Sign

[/wc_toggle]

 

[wc_toggle title="Tell Me by Shel Silverstein*" layout="box"]

Tell Me

[/wc_toggle]

 

More Shel Silverstein poems:

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, Falling Up, Everything On It, A Giraffe and a Half, Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook

 

Using poetry in your homeschool

It's pretty simple to use poetry in your homeschool.

  • Read it during Tea Time.
  • Memorize it during Morning Time.
  • Write your own.
  • Study poets.
  • Read a book of poems aloud as a family.

 

Make it as simple or as grand as you like. Even if you think your kids won't enjoy it, or heck, if you think you'd rather walk on shards of glass and clean up a skunk attack, find a way to read poetry.

You'll be surprised at the enrichment and mind nourishment you receive.

Just copy and paste the poems I've included here, put them in a document, hit print and put it in your binder and you're good to go.

Just pick a poem and run with it.

On Day 5 I'll share with you how to put it all together easily and without lots of searching, and thinking.

 

3 extra poems for you

If you haven't downloaded the FREE ASL memory work packet, there's 3 more reasons for you to do so today!

I've included 3 fantastic poems in the packet for you to learn to sign.

So. much. fun.

Download them today:

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Feeling behind? Catch up:

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Come back tomorrow for Day 4.  Day 4 is here!

 

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Click the picture to read more 5-day series posts. 

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

75 Quotes for Memory Work

Quotes are an effective teaching tool and should be utilized in your memory work. Want to know why?

There's so much to know you worry you'll miss something that you want your kids to know. Who can recall all the life lesson you want them to learn on top of all the academic work as well?

There are so many influential quotes and thoughts to help us navigate life's storms. There are many places and people to pull quotes from. You want to cherish these golden nuggets and sprinkle them in your days.

Include quotes, thoughts, and nuggets of wisdom in your memory work to really add an extra layer of learning without tons of effort.

 

Quotes are an effective teaching tool that ought to be utilized in your homeschool. Take the time to memorize thoughts, & encouragement that inspires.

 

I have written out a bunch of quotes for you. You can just copy and paste them into a word document and print them out on index cards or pages to put into your memory work binder.

The * indicates that it is included in the ASL Memory Work free download so you can memorize it in both English and ASL.

 

Quotes from US Presidents

  1. It is impossible to rightly govern a nation with God and the Bible. - George Washington
  2. How soon we forget history... Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
  3. A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them. Which would include their own government. - George Washington
  4. If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. - George Washington
  5. The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. So let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson
  6. America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. - Ronald Reagan
  7. A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have. - Thomas Jefferson
  8. Sir, my concern is not whether God is on my side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right. - Abraham Lincoln
  9. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln
  10. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams
  11. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. - John F. Kennedy
  12. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage. - Teddy Roosevelt

Quotes from Benjamin Franklin

  1. Well done is better than well said. - Benjamin Franklin
  2. Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin
  3. Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. - Benjamin Franklin
  4. Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still; to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. - Benjamin Franklin
  5. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin
  6. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. - Benjamin Franklin
  7. The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. - Benjamin Franklin

13 virtues: 

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others and yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Encouraging quotes

  1. Everything is hard until it's easy. Everything is easy once you know how.
  2. If you will, you can. - LaVal Call
  3. I am a child of God. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. I ought to do my duty to God and others. I will choose the right. - Charlotte Mason
  4. To the world you may be one person; but to one person you are the world. - Dr. Seuss
  5. Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. - Maya Angelou
  6. The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. - Anne Frank
  7. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. - Mother Teresa
  8. Stand up straight and realize who you are. That you tower over your circumstances; you are a child of God. Stand up straight. - Maya Angelou
  9. I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. - Louisa May Alcott
  10. Be a pineapple: stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.*
  11. Do the common things in life in an uncommon way. - George Washington Carver
  12. If you can't fly then fun. If you can't run then walk. If you can't walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. - Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
  14. If you let people's perception of you dictate your behavior, you will never grow as a person. - George Feeny
  15. There is always hope, my friend, though it often comes in forms not looked for. The key is knowing how to see it and seizing that opportunity. - Qui-Gon Jinn
  16. May we ever choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong. - Thomas S. Monson
  17. He is not waiting to love you until after you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  18. Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody. - Kid President
  19. When it rains look for rainbows, when it's dark look for stars.*
  20. Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. - C.S. Lewis
  21. God cares a lot more about who we are, and who we are becoming, than about who we once were. - Dale G. Renlund
  22. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort you and lead you with love through whatever storm you face. Thomas S. Monson
  23. Heaven is filled with those have been forgiven and those who forgive. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  24. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I'll try again tomorrow.
  25. It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.
  26. The earth has music for those who listen. - William Shakespeare
  27. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein

Instructional thoughts

  1. True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. - C.S. Lewis*
  2. Don't promise when you're happy. Don't reply when you're angry. And don't decide when you're sad.
  3. A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.
  4. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. - Mark Twain
  5. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.
  6. If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not people or objects. - Albert Einstein.
  7. Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein
  8. Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater. - George Washington Carver
  9. Be less curious about people and more about ideas. - Marie Curie
  10. Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison
  11. Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. - C.S. Lewis
  12. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
  13. It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. - Jane Austen
  14. The 5 finger prayer: Thumb- those closest to you. Pointer- those that point you in the right direction. Middle- those that lead us. Ring- those that are weak, in trouble, or in pain. Pinkie- our prayers for ourselves & our own needs (smallest).
  15. What you allow is what will continue.
  16. We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together. - Lucy M. Smith

 

What to do with these quotes

Be sure to print the ones out that really strike you and will teach your children just what you want them to know.

Shoot, go ahead and print them all out, these will last you for a good year or two, depending on how you use them.

 

I have included 3 of these quotes in the ASL Memory Work pack. If you want to know which ones they are, they are marked with an *.

It was hard to pick which ones to share with y'all, but I think they each have such a good message for your children to learn.

For one of the quotes you'll be discussing possibilities of what it can mean for them and how they can sign it.

There is such power in discussing a meaning of a quote and how it is useful for them. Take advantage of this discussion and milk it.

 

If there is a quote that your children connect with, I'd encourage you to print it out and put it somewhere on the walls of your home to remind them of it.

You don't need to make it fancy or pretty. Just put the words up. You could even put it in a frame and then rotate them out as you find new ones. That way it doesn't become stagnant and stale.

 

Grab the ASL Memory Work pack here (it's free, my loves):

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Did you miss Day 1?

Main: The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

Come back tomorrow for Day 3!

Mwah

 

 

 

Click the picture to read more 5-day series posts. 

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

You want your child to know and love God, to cherish the gospel in their hearts, and live its standards. Scripture memory work is the first easy step to establishing a relationship. But it's not the only step you can take with Memory Work.  

Scripture memory work, along with memorizing hymns, songs, and doctrine are the best ways to establish, nurture, and grow your child's relationship to God. This has a list of scriptures, hymns, and how to incorporate doctrine -- along with ASL memory work printables

 

Having many opportunities and lots of time to dedicate to teaching your child the gospel is one of the big reasons you decided to Homeschool. Sometimes though, you don't do as much as you'd like. Putting key concepts into your memory work will ensure it's covered and remembered.

Especially when you're not there to help your child.

 

Scripture memory work

Of course, you already know memorizing scriptures is an excellent idea.

You can start in chronological order, as these are listed below, or you can pick and choose based on what you're learning as a family.

In our home we do all of either the Old Testament or the New Testament during one school year. We make sure we are also studying from that book during the school year as well to know the stories and get the real good nuggets of information and dive deeper.

The kids are so excited when we read a verse we have memorized. You guessed it, they all want to stop and recite it together.

This has really helped them to internalize the verses they memorize because they not only memorize it, but they then connect it to the stories and prophets of old.

 

I've listed out some really good doctrinally based verses for y'all. Of course, it's really hard to choose, there are just so many amazing ones.

If I could I'd memorize chapter 11 in Hebrews.

The * indicates that this verse is included in the ASL Memory Pack y'all can download for free at the bottom of this post.

Your kids can memorize those verses in both English and American Sign Language. It's really fun, and very effective in memorizing and understanding the verses layers of meaning.

If your religion does not use these books of scripture, please substitute with the verses that are teaching a principle and lesson you want your children to know.

Of course, if you are not religious, then just skip over these verses, or go ahead and memorize those that are in keeping with your family's values and standards.

Old Testament

  1. Genesis 1:26-27
  2. Genesis 2:24
  3. Genesis 39:3
  4. Exodus 19:5-6
  5. Exodus 20:3-17
  6. Joshua 24:15
  7. 1 Samuel 16:7
  8. Psalm 24:3-4
  9. Psalm 119:105
  10. Psalm 127:3
  11. Proverbs 3:5-6*
  12. Isaiah 1:18
  13. Isaiah 5:20
  14. Isaiah 53:3-5
  15. Isaiah 58:6-7
  16. Isaiah 58:13-14
  17. Jeremiah 1:4-5
  18. Ezekiel 37:15-17
  19. Amos 3:7
  20. Malachi 3:8-10
  21. Malachi 4:5-6

New Testament

  1. Matthew 5:14-16
  2. Matthew 11:28-30
  3. Matthew 16:15-19
  4. Matthew 22:36-39
  5. Matthew 28:19-20
  6. Luke 24:36-39
  7. John 3:5
  8. John 14:6
  9. John 14:15*
  10. John 17:3
  11. Acts 2:36-38
  12. Acts 3:19-21
  13. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  14. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
  15. 1 Corinthians 15:40-42
  16. Galatians 5:22-23
  17. Ephesians 4:11-14
  18. Philippians 4:13*
  19. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
  20. 2 Timothy 3:15-17
  21. Hebrews 12:9
  22. James 1:5-6*
  23. James 2:17-18
  24. 1 Peter 4;6
  25. Revelations 20:12

 

Hymns & worship songs for memory work

This was a little bit trickier since so many of us are of different faiths. Jewish, Methodist, Catholic, LDS, Presbyterian, Muslim, Baptist, and on and on and on.

I've scoured the internet for places to get free copies of the lyrics to hymns of various faiths. If you don't see your faith here, I truly apologize.

 

Lutheran 

Catholic

Methodist

Seventh Day Adventist

Baptist

LDS and LDS Kids

Presbyterian

Jewish

Ambleside Online's resources

 

Doctrines

In this world of increasing opposition to morals, values, standards, and religion it's important that we arm our children with all the knowledge, faith, and strength we can. It's good for our children to know the scriptures that we hold dear to our hearts.

It's just as important that they understand where we stand on the doctrines of our religion.

We cannot be there for our children at every step they take, temptation they face, opposition they face, or doubt they may have. We cannot decide for them, we cannot give them our testimony and faith. They have to find those for themselves.

Understanding the doctrine of their religion will give them a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding. These can lead to desire to know, which will work in their hearts to develop into hope and faith. And actions soon follow.

We'll be giving our children the tools to choose right and good and to discern wrong from right. Dark from light.

 

Scripture memory work, along with memorizing hymns, songs, and doctrine are the best ways to establish, nurture, and grow your child's relationship to God. This has a list of scriptures, hymns, and how to incorporate doctrine -- along with ASL memory work printables

How to do it

Step 1

Write down the doctrines of your faith.

Flesh out, or seek materials from your religion to aide you in this pursuit.

 

Here are some starter questions to get you thinking: 

  • Where did we come from?
  • Why are we here?
  • What happens after we die?
  • What is our belief in God? Jesus Christ? The Holy Ghost?
  • What does faith mean?
  • How do we repent?
  • How are we saved?
  • What are the commandments?
  • Who do we follow as our leader-- is it a prophet, apostle, pope, etc? Where does their authority come from?
  • What is the purpose of prayer?
  • What is the correct way to pray?

 

You could go on for hours. It may take you some time, but I guarantee, the time you put into this will not be wasted.

Step 2

Once you write down your doctrines (or find them written for you) be sure to find scriptures that support the doctrines you believe.

 

Step 3

Now for the application part. 

1. Pick the doctrine you want to cover first.

2. Read it together, read the scripture references. Discuss, ask questions, pray, and dive as deep as you want. This can take as long or as short as you want. It can span a day, a few days, or even a few weeks.

3. Now, if the things you've written down are pretty lengthy, you can take it a paragraph at a time and memorize it.  Or memorize the golden nuggets first, and then come back through again at a later date and memorize more.

Be sure to memorize the scripture references along with the doctrines you memorize.

This will be so helpful and effective for your children. Should they ever need help understanding a principle they can recall what they've memorized, but then they know the scriptures that support this and will have even more evidence at their hands to guide them.

 

4. As the years go on, be sure to add more scripture references to be memorized. The scriptures are jam-packed with goodness and teaching nuggets that all connect to one another.

5. Keep a journal. Write how they connect down

This journal will be invaluable to each child as they grow and, as we often do, forget the lessons we've learned.

 

Put it all together

Putting extra effort into really making your relationship with God a top priority in your homeschool will bless your life and your children's lives in ways you cannot imagine. Things may still be hard, but you will find strength you didn't have with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by your side.

 

Gift for you

I have translated 4 scripture verses into ASL for your kids (and you) to memorize.

Why memorize in ASL? 

Well, there's something powerful about moving your body when you memorize. You memorize it faster, your recall is easier, and it's ingrained in you at a deeper level.

Learning a scripture verse in another language really encourages your children to ponder the meaning of the verse.

 

In a few of the verses I give a few options on how to sign and interpret the verse. I leave these options up to you and your children to discuss and decide upon together.

What a great teaching moment.

Having decided together you will learn together and you can bet they won't forget it.

 

You can grab them for free, along with poems, quotes, and educational bits to memorize in this box right here. You'll get access to the videos, as well as review pages to put into your memory work binder for quick access.

 

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Check out Day 3

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Click the picture to read more amazing 5-day series.

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.  

You want to include memory work but aren't sure where to even start.

There's so many possibilities to do it can be overwhelming. I've got a step-by-step guide to lead the way and eliminate the overwhelm.

Is memory work worth all the fuss and hype?

It's so easy to jump on board to the next revolutionary education idea. Let's discuss the benefits of memory work so you can decide if this is worth while for your family.

Get the brain moving

Your brain is working hard to retain and recall the information you're giving it. It's not zoned out, it's not in la-la land, it's not doing menial work.

This is the real deal of brain exercise. You can't be passive when trying to memorize something.

To gain a real, useful education you cannot be passive.

Improve memory

Your memory for everything, not just what you're memorizing improves tremendously. Your ability to retain and recall most information grows by great bounds.

If you memorize something every day for 2 years, it doesn't have to be big, but memorize it and review it regularly for 2 years you will have a photographic memory.

If I had a photographic memory I could tell you where I saw this research. But, since I haven't memorized something for 2 years straight, I can't help you there.

But! When I was in my early 20's I memorized a whole slew of scriptures, about 95 total in a year. At first, it was super hard and I just couldn't get some of those longer verses to stick.

Then, all of a sudden, I hit the point where I could memorize a verse after reading through it 4 or 5 times. It was EASY! I flew through my verses and remembered them for a long long time.

 

I'm in my early 30's now and while I didn't consistently review those passages and babies, time, and an autoimmune disease has eaten away at my memory, I do recall many of them even now.

I have recently (as in 2 weeks ago) made a goal to memorize a new verse every day for 2 years. My brain needs the workout, it needs the stimulation, and I need to gain my memory back and, honestly, I'd like to prevent further deterioration (especially with my AI disease).

Is it just me that's terrified of Alzheimer's and dementia?

 

It's been fun so far, I've done pretty good and it's been an added blessing in my life to stop and take some time for me-- and not in just a let's read a book or take a nap, but to better myself in a unique-ish way.

Real connections to materials learning

When I memorize something it really helps me to retain it when I understand it. As I memorize passages my brain is making connections to the words, to the subject matter in various ways.

It's connecting to things I already know about this topic. It's connecting to memories or experiences I've already had.

When my children memorized The Swing, by Robert Louis Stevenson, they really made a greater connection to that poem when they next went on a swing. They understood what he was saying and meaning. They felt it.

They even quoted it while they were swinging.

Again, you can't be passive when memorizing.

I'm sure you could try, but then, you aren't going to keep it in there for very long. Maybe long enough to pass the test, but not long enough for anything else.

 

You can do hard things

It shows yourself and your kids that they can do hard things.

These days people don't like to work. They don't like to work hard for things. That's not the case for you.

You didn't take the easy road.

You kept your kids home to teach them yourself. That's hard work. And it's the best hard work you've probably ever done. Well, when I say that I AM including being a mother to those children. Because really, you can't separate homeschooling and mothering/fathering from each other.

 

When our kids memorize various passages, they have tangible proof that they CAN indeed do hard things. They are smart, they are capable. They can do hard things.

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.

 

The more hard things we can do, the easier the trying becomes. The safer tripping up and messing up becomes because we know we can do it, eventually, if we just keep plugging away.

That's an incredible gift to give our children.

This is a gift that will serve them far better than learning who Aristotle is or knowing the names of all the planets.

 

Foster unity

You know how children can be. There's fighting, there's the, "she's not sharing with me," or "she's looking at me,' or "he won't give me back my ball," or "he's better than me and I'm not good at that."

We want our children to love each other. We want them to be friends. We want them to learn how to work together, even if it's just for a little while.

When you memorize a passage together, you're doing it with one another. You're all starting out on the same level.

Now, some may get it faster than others, some may not.

If this is a problem, I'd do a few things.

Address the core issue. I have had this conversation with my children multiple times and I know I'll have it with them for the rest of their days.

Heck, I just learned this finally a couple years back and I'm 33.

 

Here it is *standing on my soapbox*: 

Just because someone is good at something doesn't mean you can't be either.

Just because Johnny is good at math, doesn't mean you're not good at math. Just because Jenny is good at the splits doesn't mean you can't be good at the splits.

You want to include memory work in your homeschool morning time, but are overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start. Check out this step-by-step guide.

 

Someone being good at something doesn't make us less. Someone else being talented doesn't make us less talented. Someone being an amazing writer when we're trying to be an amazing writer, doesn't mean we can't be an amazing writer also.

*stepping down*

 

 

Make it a family effort. Make it fun to cheer each other on and be supportive. Make that your family mission during memory work, to help each other.

 

You could also adjust a bit if it's really hard on someone.

I'd think of different ways to do memory work. Perhaps say we're only going to memorize this part today and work on it bit by bit so that everyone stays at the same level. I wouldn't do this forever, but maybe for a little while until they're all used to the process and it starts getting easier for the ones that struggled before.

But honestly, you don't have to adjust. Just keep at it.

Show off to naysayers

Nah, I'm just joking.

But still... there's a part of me that wishes some naysayer would try to tell me homeschooling is super lame and then BAM! my 4-year-old busts out the entire constitution or the Gettysburg address, or an entire 5-page sonnet or something ultra impressive and then they fall into a puddle of shame-goo, apologize, and whip out a checkbook to send my kids to an Ivy League school as penance.

I'll be satisfied with the shame-goo puddle, or the apology and acknowledgement of them being wrong. I don't need the Ivy League school.

Heck, our kids could get scholarships there anyway! Those schools [wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]LURV[wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] homeschool kids. Why? They know how to work, do hard things, use their brains, self-starters, and know how to learn.

 


5 days of goodness

 

The next 5 days will give you tons of resources for memory work, printables, and help you to plan your year out.

 

Bookmark this page so you can come back each day and not miss anything, and you can come back if you forget anything, or when you plan next year's memory work as well.

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Day 1: Improve Your Child's Relationship to God With Memory Work

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

Day 4: Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Morning Time Transformative

Day 5: How to Plan a Year of Memory Work Your Kids Will Love

 

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Day 1 is already up, be sure to start there. If you have any questions, please, ask in the comments and I'd be more than happy to help.

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Click the picture to read more amazing 5-day series

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Essential Back-to-School Shopping List for Homeschool Families

It's that time again, back to homeschool shopping. To be honest, when these days roll back around I think, this is why I'm homeschooling. School supplies!!

Can I get an amen?

When I was still in school, each year, I got so excited for the new school year. I would get new supplies, new clothes, and a new start. This was the year I'd stay organized, on top of my school work, and be student of the year.

Ha!

I still feel this way, but at least I now have the skills to make most of my organizing efforts stick. Small victories matter.

 

Back-to-homeschool shopping, planning, preparing, and scheduling is the real New Year.

 

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

There are affiliate links in this post, they help run this blog and do not change the price for you.

 

Today, I'm going to share with you the 3 different levels of essential school supplies each homeschool family needs.

We'll start with the absolute most essential, then add to that the next level of essential.

Then we'll add on some great things you'll want. Then, our final level will be great things to have, but totally not necessary, but can seem essential.

Does that last one make sense? It didn't for me either, and yet, at the same time, it does.

Last, I'll talk about what didn't work for us and back to homeschool shopping for clothes.

 

 

Absolute most essential homeschool supplies

You probably have some of these on your list already, but just in case, you don't, add them in.

Take advantage of the sales as much as you can. It'll be cheaper in the long run, unless you're like our family and our budget is always the tightest right when school starts.

This is usually why we don't buy any new curriculum until October or so. I try as much as possible to take advantage of sales, but if it's not going to work for your family, it's just not. Don't stress it, don't push it, just move on.

Whew, now that that's out of the way, let's get back to business.

  1. Printer
  2. Paper and/or composition notebooks
  3. Pencils
  4. Folders
  5. Library card
  6. Books
  7. Crate (or place to store children's work)

Printer

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.55.19 PM

I have the HP LaserJet Pro 200 M251nw (here's the updated version of the same laser printer).

This is my favorite favorite supply.

The day could go to heck, things can go wrong, but I've got my trusty printer to get me through. Melodramatic, yes, but that's how I roll.

 

Since I'm super duper cheap I buy super duper cheap ink refills and they are wonderful! They last forever and the ink is the same quality as the HP brand's.

 

When this printer dies I will replace it with a laser printer with a copier. I don't know why I didn't think I'd need the copier function. Doh!

Paper & pencils

 

Composition notebooks

You can't not have them, unless you hate convenience and life.

 

Composition notebooks are used as

  • yearly journals
  • scripture study journals
  • spelling words
  • math notes
  • history
  • science
  • just for fun

In my home I have to guard the paper with a pit bull.

Since we don't have a pit bull, they are always stealing paper out of the printer, out of the supply cabinet, out of their binders, and out of my notebooks!

They even tore up their sketchbooks!

Yes, I almost fainted when I saw what they'd done.

Worse, they tore pages out of MY sketchbook. MINE!

Pages that I had drawn on.

I won't say there wasn't gnashing of teeth going on when I found my drawings covered with basketball team names, a green stick person, and cut into game pieces.

flme

Having an abundance of composition notebooks and blank paper for them to use for fun is vital for their safety my sanity. It also helps to cut the paper clutter down.

I do recycle their notebooks (after tearing out select pages for keeping) to cut down on tree deaths.

Crate

I organize each kids' completed work into the crate.

 

I have hanging folders for each kid and term.

Inside each kid's term are the subjects broken down into color-coded file folders. I check a paper and then walk over to the crate, drop it in and done. It's off my desk, and out of my life.

 

Next essentials for your homeschool shopping list

 

Dictionary and thesaurus

In Robinson Curriculum, vocabulary is huge. Using the most accurate dictionary and thesaurus is also huge.

I found some great dictionaries in a few antique stores. My next task is to find an old thesaurus instead of using the online one.

 

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

Regardless of your curriculum choice, pick up an older copy of the dictionary.

 

Reference books

We are on our way to collecting some fantastic reference books.

Bookshelves

We have 4 bookshelves in our schoolroom.

  1. Filled with fabric buckets full of books grouped by theme and age.
  2. Our preschool-toddler area.
  3. Houses our printer, morning basket, and daily work bins.
  4. Holds our curricula, reference books, strictly educational books (that I don't want little hands on), and extra supplies.

Oh! I have a storage cabinet that I store our crate in, and it will house our desk carousel.

Not essential homeschool supplies, but it sure feels like it

Laminator

Oh this is a beauty. I use this for my preschool and kindergarten items, but not as much for my older kids' stuff. A laminator is vital for younger kids.

 

 

I use these super cheap laminating sheets. They are thin, but they get the job done. If I want to make sure a certain page is sturdy I print it on card stock paper and it's perfect.

** Skip the laminator if you don't homeschool youngsters. Just find a friend with one or go to a copy shop and have them do it.

Binders

Each kid has their own binder and cute dividers.

We are going to be notebooking more this year, and use the binders for this rather than the crate. I'll find a way to bind them at the end of the year and store them in the crate, or keep them on our shelves for reference.

Index card box & cards

We use the card box, dividers, and cards for our memory work during Morning Time.

We have poems, folk songs, hymns, and scripture verses written on color-coded cards and organized into our memorization system.

Pencil sharpener

This is a definite must (contradicting myself, aren't I?)

We use this one:

I like it a lot, except that when it falls on the ground the trap door pops off and shavings get everywhere. Staining my carpet gray. No bueno.

The solution would be to duct tape the trap door closed, or get a new one, or new kids that stop dropping the dang sharpener.

We used the duct tape and kept the kids.

White board

We love our white board. We have ours mounted on the wall with velcro strips, that make it easy to take down and use in a different part of the house and then hang back up when we're done.

I keep hoping that I'll run into an awesomely gigantic one someday.

 

Desk Carousel

I ordered this beauty a few days ago. I can't wait for it to get here! I'll update this post after we use it with a picture of it in action and my thoughts.

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

Kindle Reader

We own 2 kindle readers. They're held in these great padded cases.

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

 

I was really hesitant to get a kindle, I know I prefer actual books, and they're better, but honestly, I didn't have the room to print all the books (Robinson Curriculum) and I had too many mess ups when I was printing them (user error) that I was going through paper and ink too fast. Which was costing lots of money.

In the end, the sweet deal of a price I got on them won me over in combination of the cost and time needed for printing.

Pros:

  • The kids like the novelty of their kindles.
  • They enjoy reading on them.
  • Saves time
  • Saves money
  • Tons of parental controls that locks out access to the internet.

Cons:

  • It's easy for them to say they're done reading without being able to verify. I have to rely on their book tests and integrity a bit more than I feel comfortable.
  • Upfront cost.

*** I really wanted to add this to the 2nd essential list, because it feels so vital to our school, and yet, if you have access to the most essential items, you don't need them.

Baskets and Bins

We use a collection of baskets and bins from the dollar spot in Target, the Dollar Tree, Walmart, and any random thing that showed up in our house one day.

I'm always changing what they're used for, and sometimes they turn into more work than they're worth.

For the most part, they are very efficient and helpful. I don't like stuff scattered about and get overwhelmed easily if it's all up in my grill.

I get bins and baskets that aren't see-through to help cut the visual clutter and store them behind doors or in bookshelves to provide containment.

 

Maps

I have two big maps, a US and a world map. They are HUGE. Much bigger than I realized when I ordered them, though if I had paid attention I would order them again. They are pretty heavy and have gotten torn on the corners from coming off the wall.

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

 

I'm going to try using this mavalus tape to see if it holds up better.

I moved them to the hallway to the school room for easier access to them and to keep the school room walls free for other goodies I want to put up. Plus, there's not much room on the walls with all the lovely windows in there

Rolls of paper

These rolls are perfect for history, science, art, and really anything you can dream of. I'm dreaming of a beautiful mural for this year. It's totally happening.

Your homeschool wish list

 

Supplies that didn't work for us

That cart everyone uses.

We had 2. I tried it 2 stinking times and they both were rickety and heaven forbid you put anything heavy in them (workbook) and the tray slipped. They eventually broke and I say good riddance.

Pocket charts.

I liked the pocket chart for our tiny space that we used to live in. I had a tiny under the stairs closet to fit everything in. It was hard.

I used the wall with pocket charts. It worked and it didn't. The pockets sagged, things got lost in there, or were just too heavy for the pocket. The kids had problems putting things back away inside them.

 

Back to school clothes

These really aren't necessary for us homeschoolers and I love that. I don't have to drop a billion dollars on "cool" clothes.

2 years ago, I did buy uniforms for the kids. These were their homeschool clothes.

Each child had:

  • A church outfit
  • Pajamas
  • 2-3 play outfits
  • 4-5 school uniforms

It was awesome. They were adorable.

It's time for back to homeschool shopping! Here's a list of the essential school supplies you need in levels of most important to that'd-be-nice-to-have. Super helpful and great resource-- totally check it out!

 

Pros: 

  • Laundry was a breeze
  • No trying to match clothes
  • Put them in the school mindset
  • Affordable

Cons: 

  • White shirts got stained easily (I have the black thumb of laundry)
  • Took time to hunt down the best deals
  • Making sure they changed outfits before playing

If I do it again, I'll have navy tops and khaki bottoms to help with stains.

Here's what I got:

 

Homeschool shopping wrap up

#1 Don't get things that work for my homeschool. Get things that work for YOU, your children, and your method.

#2 Get the most important things first, and save up for the rest. Don't compare, don't stress.

#3 Don't buy everything all at once; you want to make sure they work for you.

You can buy a dollar store version and test out bins for a certain area. If it works, eventually buy a sturdier version. If it doesn't, you're not out $50 and stuck using it out of guilt.

#4 Evaluate quarterly.

 

#5 Be sure to buy something super fun as well! Maybe some stickers, cute erasers, a new poster, or binder.

Have the Homeschool Fairy deliver it the night before school starts for an extra flair of back to school fun.

 

I wish you the best of luck and hope that this resource helps make your homeschool shopping adventure totally doable.

Your turn

What is your absolute favorite homeschool supply?

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Looking for more help with homeschool planning?

Homeschool: How to Get Started

Homeschool: How do I Plan?

120 Ideas for Back to Homeschool

Easy Plan for Your Not Back to School Party!

10 Signs You Need Homeschool Organization Help immediately

 

More school supply help?

Life-Changing-Supplies-700x700-94403

 

The Math Solution For Every Child

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your child, or all of your children? Have you looked everywhere and just about thrown in the towel thinking, "it's because you're a bad homeschool mom, or your children just don't thrive in homeschooling after all?"

That is a miserable miserable miserable feeling. Don't dwell on them; they're no good. I'll show you our solution.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer their own math struggles. No more tears, no more power struggles, just enjoyment and true learning. Bonus: it's super affordable. Check it out to see if it'll bless your family.

I received this product for free, was compensated for my time, but was not required to give a positive review. I only recommend products that I truly love.

 

When I was a kid I loved loved math. And then, I didn't.

I hated it and couldn't figure it out. I sat in class panicking. How did all the other students know the answer when I didn't even remember learning the concepts they were discussing??

That's not a happy feeling.

 

My own math struggle

I remember exactly when that shift began.

We moved from North Carolina back to Texas during 4th grade. In NC we were just starting fractions and percents; in Texas, they'd finished them months ago.

I never learned them formally.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

 

Then, 7th grade. Miss Emille.

It was 7th period; Miss Emille would turn on the overhead projector and show us the filled out transparency. She said, "this is what you do, then this. Here's your class assignment, here's your homework."

Bam. Done.

The transparency was illegible: the nub of the green marker must've been pulverized because the marks were so fat you couldn't tell if it was a percent sign, an 8, or a monkey.

This transparency was "teaching" us how to do the problems.

Then, she'd go over to her desk, pull out her box of twinkles and eat them.

She'd ignore us. We couldn't get any help from her.

I'm not even exaggerating.

A BOX of Twinkies! She'd eat the entire box and read her magazines. Maybe go visit another teacher.

At that time, I was still good at math and enjoyed it. Kids crowded around my desk asking for help. Yeah, asking another student to teach them math when a teacher sat just feet from them.

That was the last year I was ever good at math.

When I was in college, a great professor helped me remember that I truly did love math and could be good at it.

Searching for a perfect math solution

You can see why gaps in my children's math education, or using sub-par curriculum is something I'm avidly against.

I scoured the inter webs since the moment we decided to homeschool for the best math curriculum ever.

Admitedly, I jumped around.

We used Singapore, then Saxon, then settled on Math U See, and started to dabble with Life of Fred.

 

My children's math struggles

Let me explain the weird math world that's in our home. Maybe it's not so weird, feel free to reassure me if it's not.

Please.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

The Captain

Stats:

  • Oldest child
  • Boy
  • 10
  • Entering 5th grade.

Before the summer of 3rd grade we were using Saxon. He couldn't add and they were starting division. We switched to MUS (the Alpha level) and he took off. By the middle of 4th grade he was in pre-algebra. Wow! The kid loves math and does really well with it.

He doesn't want to stop doing his 2 hours of math.

Also, he's in such a hurry to get to the next level that he skips practice sheets, tries to skip the tests, and then gets mad when he doesn't understand the next 5 lessons.  Then I get upset and make him start all over from the beginning.

He's had to start over twice and I'm thinking he may have to for Pre-Algebra as well.

Little Miss

Stats: 

  • Second child
  • Girl
  • 8
  • Entering 3rd grade

We started her with Saxon and then switched over to Math U See that same summer and she did fantastic. Then, all of a sudden, last year she decided she wasn't good at math. She started crying and there were lots of power struggles.

Little Miss is smart and capable and it just drives me up a wall that all of a sudden she doesn't think girls are good at math and that's it.

I want to throat punch the fool that put that notion into her head.

She whines and prolongs the whole process for 2 hours.

Meaning, at the end of the day, she has to go back to the table and finish her lesson. She's my most stubborn and strong-willed child, and also the smartest (don't tell my other kids).

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

The Animal

Stats: 

  • Middle child
  • Boy
  • 7
  • Entering 2nd grade

He's a smart dude. He just does everything in his power to NOT do anything school related. I'd have to sit on his head to keep him on task. Sometimes, I'm tempted to.

The Animal lays on the floor, makes a fort with the table, makes his flashcards into motorcycles, or visits the bathroom for the 10th time.

He takes 2 hours to do half a page of math that I KNOW he could do in 5 minutes if he'd just do it.

 

Sweet Cheeks

Stats:

  • 4th child
  • Girl
  • 4.5
  • Technically preschool, but not really

She's desparate to do school like her siblings, but Mama is exhausted (hashimotos, adrenal fatigue, candida overgrowth, a 4 month old baby, and a 2-year-old) and doesn't have the mental energy all the time to "do school" with her.

Sweet Cheeks stands by my side begging for more worksheets more worksheets more worksheets!!! Never mind that she totally trashed the last 8 I gave her.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Teddy Bear and Baby

Teddy Bear is in the kitchen, throwing away measuring spoons and cups again. The Baby is spitting up all over me. Again.

 

I love homeschooling and my sweet crazy children, but good grief, I want to see some progress!

 

Our math solution

Here's the solution we've found, quite by providence.

CTC Math Membership

 

Dude. This has a solution for ALL of my children. ALL of them.

They have such varying needs and it covers all of them.

The perfect math solution for my math nut, my math-resistant child, my unfocused child, and my eager-to-learn child. I know it'll have solutions for my 2 littles when they get older as well. No doubt.

 

How CTC Math helps our homeschool

 

Captain

  • He goes through the lessons, and it tracks his progress.
  • I assign him tasks that he has to complete first.
  • He can't sneak-skip assignments. The way the questions are laid out, he really can't skip a question.
  • Multiple attempts are allowed: he can try again and again, without having to re-write the questions or erase the page (and rip it).
  • I can go back and evaluate what he's done so I can see where he needs more help and assign around that.
  • Their passing score is set to 90% and can be adjusted to your standards.
  • I can see how many times he took to achieve the score he received.

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Little Miss

  • This girl cheers when it's time for math. "I love CTC math!" is a frequent phrase from her lips. CHEERS!!? Did you hear me? Cheers. *sniff sniff*
  • Started on the 2nd grade level and is whizzing through. I knew she could do it, and now she's realizing she can too. To me, that's the biggest win.
  • Scores and award medals are just the motivation she needs.
  • Takes a diagnostic test and can skip the lessons if she passes (90%) and gets even more excited.
  • Ablity to jump around to suit her interests that day and take a break from something that may be giving her trouble.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Animal

  • Stays engaged the entire time and doesn't wander around making motorcycle sounds.
  • Loves the math fact speed test (pictured above). You can hear him cheering and shouting to with joy as he gets more and more right each time he does it.
  • Motivated to work on his multiplication so he can play the drill game (shooting cute spaceships and aliens-- nothing violent).
  • Minimal help is needed, he works 85% independently.
  • When help with understanding a question, he works with his older siblings. It creates a great bond and unity. They love to help him.
  • He's made so much progress with his math in the past several months than he did with our previous math curriculum because the videos and questions are engaging enough that he will sit and listen.
  • Wearing Dad's headphones and sitting at his computer make him feel special.
  • He's motivated by the scores.

 

Are you in desperate need of a math solution for your children? I found a program that helped each child, with very different needs, conquer math struggles.

Sweet Cheeks

  • Started the kindergarten work and loves it. The problem I have now is that she's constantly begging to do CTC Math. It's a good problem to have. Some days.
  • Can work with just a touch of guidance and monitoring.
  •  Animal does his best to help her and the older two as well. It has helped with Animal's motivation to read because if he can read well he can be his sister's "teacher."

 

I cannot believe how much one program has helped my children.

 

They have: consistency, no gaps, and quality.

 

I'll have to cover is the American measurement system. I actually love that it goes over the metric system so well. One day I'll hop on and do a refresher.

 

I am no longer worried about my children missing something important that I didn't even think of, or realize that their curriculum was missing.

That's the biggest fear of us homeschool parents, amiright?

Well... besides, "I'm messing up their lives forever!"

I'm no longer fighting math time.

How we use CTC Math curriculum

If you're not familiar with our family, we use the Robinson Curriculum. It's a pretty simple layout and it's all about children working independently. Which I'm a huge believer of.

In a nutshell everyday we do: 

  • 2 hours of math
  • 2 hours of reading
  • 1 hour of writing

We do other things along with that, but those are the bones of our school days.

For our 2 hours of math we do:

  • 1 hour with MUS or Life of Fred
  • 1 hour of CTC Math.

We'll stick to this method for the next quarter and then re-evaluate to decide if CTC Math is going to be our main math curriculum or a supplement. No matter what, it's staying.

I like having multiple ways of looking at one type of problem. My friend, Karen, from Living Unabridged said something so similar, it's like we're the same person.

 

It's so important to make sure that your kids can not only understand the concept, but to answer the same questions when presented in a different manner.

 

Just like those dreaded word problems. Sure you can do it when it's presented to you in an equation, but can you do it when it's presented as a real-life situation?

Using 2 curriculums is fantastic to determine your child's understanding of math concepts.

 

Oh! One more thing.

Each of my children have their own separate accounts, usernames, and passwords. They love love having their own username and password that I matched to things they love to do.

My kids felt so special when I told them their usernames and passwords. It was adorable.

Their background color can be changed to match their favorite color. Little Miss discovered this one day and promptly turned hers pink.

My recommendation + where to buy CTC Math

I urge you: give CTC Math a whirl.

They've got a trial membership. Hallelujah for trials!

There is a sweet deal for homeschool families.

Seriously sweet: $118 for your entire family!?

 

I can spend that much on just ONE set of math books for ONE child. Never mind the other 3 (soon 5). In addition, I can't pass it on, unless I have the kids copy the problems onto a separate page.

Each child has their own account and can work on Kindergarten math all the way to Calculus. No copying, cutting, page protecting, or erasing required. The need to penny pinch is gone.

 

Even better than $118 is FREE.

Win a free CTC Math Membership

 

CTC Math is giving away memberships to FIVE homeschool families.

Fo' free (that's cool kid talk for wow, that's really free).

 

 

Be sure to enter-- you have a high chance of winning!

And after you win, I know you'll come back and love me so much you'll send me a plate of cookies (just make sure they're grain free, sugar free, and dairy free).

I want some cookies. So really, I'm being selfish.

 

Already have a math curriculum you love and adore and just pull it out to stare at its loveliness? Yes, even you should sign up for a free trial and see if it's something that will bless your family.

Oh, and I don't get any money or anything like that if you do. Just in case you're wondering.

 

To sum it all up... get it?

CTC Math really blessed my family and has become our serious math solution to our serious math problem.

It covers the needs of each of my children, who are so different from one another, AND it covers MY needs as a mother and a homeschool teacher.

I do frequently say that you need a curriculum and plan that works with YOU more than your children, but this is a sum up, not a novel, so I'll save that lecture for another day. 

Give the free trial a whirl and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway.

Find CTC Math on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Pinterest for more ideas, helps, and to connect with this great company.

Your Turn

Do you use CTC Math? Tell me all about it.

Be sure to come back and tell me how the trial went!

Mwah

3 Creative & Engaging Ocean Math Activities

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Nothing, I tell ya, nothing! I have one kid that lives and breathes math. Seriously, it's what he does for fun. I have another kid that thinks math is a form of punishment (we're working on changing that belief), and another who'd just rather play all day than do anything school related.

All 3 of these ocean math activities worked out well for each of them and were enjoyed. I say that's a win!

Want another win?

I created some super fun ocean math worksheets for you to use. Well, maybe they're not SUPER fun, but they are useful and FREE.

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

Let's get to it!

Sea life measure and compare

This activity was a hit! In fact, I think I loved it more than the kids did.

The object of this activity:

  • Really understand how big these animals truly are
  • Practice measuring
  • Do some simple comparing

We first did some quick research to find out how big each animal becomes.

Blue whale, baby Blue whale, Great White shark, Bottlenose dolphin, and Killer whale (Orca).

We drove to our church's parking lot, grabbed some sidewalk chalk, our measuring tape, and got to work.

We first measured the blue whale. The kids were amazed that it was really 100 ft and that 100 ft was so huge!

We drew a line from tip to tip. That was not as easy as you'd think.

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

I didn't know if we had enough sidewalk chalk to draw the whale, we were working with chalk nibs, that we just measured out the other animals right next to the blue whale line.

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

After drawing out the lines, I realized we did have enough chalk, and had the kids draw out the whale. It was an interesting adventure. That poor whale was crooked and non-whale in appearance, but they did their best and my controlling nature was held in check as I let the lines stay crooked and didn't change any of their efforts.

I deserve an award.

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

Since the lines of the other animals were inside of the whale's head, we didn't draw them. I had intended to.

[wc_box color="inverse" text_align="left"]

Tip: Draw the biggest animal first, then measure out and draw the remaining animals one at a time to make sure you have enough room.

[/wc_box]

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

After this I had the kids lie down (or is it lay down?) next to the whale and measured each. It was crazy to see how tiny they were! I made the Captain do it twice because I thought for sure he was taller than the two little lines on the ground showed.

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

We answered the questions I had written out ahead of time. After a while... it got a little sweaty and the Wee Babe and Teddy Bear were more than done and we headed home to the comfort of a/c and ice water to finish up.

I've included a log sheet for your measurements AND questions for you in the FREE worksheets I whipped up for you. Mwah!

Aquarium math activity

I handed each kid a chart of items and prices to fill their aquarium.

Then I handed them several word problems that required this chart to answer questions.

Chart:

  • Gravel: $0.08 per pound
  • Plants: $0.12 per bag
  • Angelfish: $0.11 each
  • Neons: $0.09 each
  • Gouramis

small: $0.07 each

large: $0.12 each

  • Snails: $0.04 each
  • Turtles: $0.24 each

Questions:

  1. Kevin's favorite fish are angelfish. He has $0.75 to spend. How many can he buy? How much will he have left?
  2. Samantha wants to buy 5 neons for her aquarium. How much will they cost?
  3. Max likes gouramis. With his $1.00, how many large gouramis can he buy? How much money will be left? What if he buys small gouramis instead?
  4. Melanie has $0.32 and needs new plants for her aquarium. She plans to buy 3 bags. Does she have enough? How much can she buy?
  5. If Sydney buys 12 snails, how much will it cost?
  6. Daniel just bought 3 pounds of gravel and has $0.04 left over. How much did he have to start with?
  7. How much would it cost if you bought: 4 pounds of gravel, 3 plants, 1 angelfish, and 5 turtles?
  8. You have $3.00, fill the aquarium with anything you like (using the chart). What did you get? How much do you have left?

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

I'm lazy efficient and just wrote it on a nearby index card instead of hunting for paper, or printing it out. Instead, I'll let you have the chance to do a quick print out if you'd like, instead of writing it out.

 

Ocean pie chart

The earth is 1/3 land and 2/3 ocean. Get creative to illustrate just how much that means in real life.

Use food, materials around you, paper and paint, markers, etc. Make a regular ole chart. Use counting bears, or chips.

I've put some fun ideas in the free worksheet bundle I made for ya. Pick one, pick two, or pick them all. Check it out!

 

What's an ocean unit study without some great ocean math activities to go with it? Here's 3 creative math activities that appeal to everyone. Click to grab the free worksheets to make it even easier!

 

Want more ocean math activities?

Here are some other cute ocean math activities I found when I needed something easier for my 1st grader as well as my 4-year-old when she begged me for some school work of her very own.

Fish bubble counting mats (good for youngers learning to count)

Swimming school bar graph (good for Kindergarteners)

Fish pattern mats (we used the two fish and penguin pattern mats)

Subtract the fish (we used this activity, but there are a few more cute ones as well)

Ocean count and clip cards (good for youngsters)

Walk the plank: skip counting (super cute!)

 

I hope you find an activity your children will enjoy. If you don't do anything else, be sure to at least head out and measure how big a blue whale is! It's incredible, even to me, to see just how big it really is. It's so easy to read a number and go, wow, that's big, and another to see it.

It's such an incredible world we live in with so many amazing animals and creatures around us. It's a treat to be able to appreciate their size, their lives, and the awesome balance that goes on in the ocean and here, on land. If we can appreciate any part of this AND learn a bit of math skills along the way, we're much better for it.

Have fun!

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

P.S. Don't forget to download the worksheets! They're free.

 

More ocean unit study goodness

Ocean unit study

Ocean signs (with free worksheets)

Ocean geography, vocab, and writing

Ocean science experiments

10 Insanely Easy Ocean Science Experiments

  Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials and spend tons of money and time gathering supplies for each experiment!  Get excited, because we could be besties.

 

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

Here are the 10 ocean science experiments we did, for reals with our unit study.

Honesty time-- I lurv science and I lurv science experiments. I don't love getting them all together and buying the most random materials that I will NEVER use again, or have to specialty order and shipping costs more than the freaking product. And I'll NEVER use it again!! And we're eating beans for a month because we've blown our school budget.

So I love simple, easy, cheap experiments that teach the concept, let the kids learn and explore and get excited about the topic.

 

You'll see all the experiments we did, along with instructions, explanations, and pictures (when I remembered to take a few shots).

Like seriously, I forgot to take pictures of the density experiment, so I will re-do it just for you when the kids are sleeping. The sacrifices I make for those I love (that's you, in case you were wondering).

Salt Water Density

The beginning of the unit study we started learning about and discussing the actual ocean.  How big it is, what it's made up of, and more. Salt water and its density seemed like a natural place to start.

Materials Needed

  • Egg
  • Two clear jars/vases/bowls
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Small toys
  • Whisk

1. Fill one jar with plain water.

2. Fill another with water and then add salt. We put in about 1/3c at first. I really wanted this to work, so I put in probably closer to 1/2c. I hate when science experiments don't go as promised. :-/  Stir like crazy.

Our water was lukewarm and Little Miss (8 y.o.) suggested we use hot water to help it mix better.

3. We had a selection of toys, little sea creatures, a medium sized rubber shark, a mega block, and a knight. We started with the knight. I asked them what they thought would happen when I put the knight in the plain water. Then I dropped him in. He sunk. The mega block floated. Then the remaining items all sunk.

Then we added the egg. It also sank.

4. Then I started with the egg in the salt water. They were so excited to see it floating! We added the remaining ingredients and they all sunk. Wah-wah-wah.

The kids suggested adding more salt, and that still didn't help.

This was when I attempted to discuss density. Things with higher density sink and things with lower density float. The salt makes the water more dense making it so that more items are less dense than the salt water, meaning more things can now float.

Why is this important? The kids thought it would help the fish swim and float better. Sweet Cheeks (4 y.o.) thought it would make it so they can float while they sleep. Cute!

Then we discussed why we thought the egg floated when the other objects didn't. The kids and I talked about perhaps it was because there was "liquidy stuff" inside the egg and there's liquidy stuff inside fish too and maybe that's why. Especially since the toys don't have food and blood inside them.

 

We veered off course a bit and I showed them how taking the Mega Block and a crumpled piece of paper I could put the block into the water and the paper would stay dry. They each had a turn trying it themselves.

We talked about how if you tilted it the water would go inside and the paper would get wet. When they pushed the block into the water I had them go slowly so they could feel the air pressure pushing against their hand.

In the video, Ocean, it briefly mentioned the old methods of exploring the ocean. At one point, explorers would be lowered down in a wooden box that had no bottom to it. This was how they were able to stay down there for a short time without the entire box being enclosed.

 

Captain (9 y.o.) pointed out water displacement and brainstormed why he thought this was happening.

 

I loved that despite the lackluster results of this experiment (only the egg floated when I wanted more to float), so I guess it wasn't a flop, really, we were able to get our brains working and thinking about all sorts of things related to what we were doing. To me, this is the essence of science. Curiosity, thinking, and exploring.

Layers of the Ocean

Materials

  • Mason jar
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish soap (blue)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring (black, blue, green, purple)
  • Funnel
  • Spoon
  • 5 Small bowls
  • Measuring cup
  • Baster

1. Measure out 3/4c of each liquid. Pour into individual small bowls.

2. Add food coloring to each bowl and mix:

  • Black food coloring to the corn syrup.
  • Blue to the dish soap.
  • Blue & green to the water (keep it lighter than the dish soap).
  • Blue to the oil.
  • Light light blue to the rubbing alcohol.

 

3. Add the ingredients slowly and carefully in the following order:

Corn syrup [wc_fa icon="arrow-circle-o-right" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] dish soap [wc_fa icon="arrow-circle-o-right" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] water [wc_fa icon="arrow-circle-o-right" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]  oil [wc_fa icon="arrow-circle-o-right" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]  rubbing alcohol

4. Add labels to each layer. Done!

Sunlight Zone - rubbing alcohol

Twilight Zone - oil

Midnight Zone - water

Abyss Zone - soap

Trench Zone - corn syrup

Discuss the density of each liquid (relate it back to salt water density experiment). Ask: would salt water be on the same level in this jar as plain water?

 

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

 

I'm not going to lie, I got pretty ticked at this experiment. The dish soap got too dark. Grr. We put 2 drops of red! 2 drops! We were trying to make it purple. Instead, it turned red on top and black everywhere else. Tip: if you have blue dish soap, DON'T dye it at all.

Then the water. Oh the water. It just blended in with the soap. The vegetable oil was separated nicely, though it did bubble up. Then the rubbing alcohol kinda blended in, but made swirls as well.

I let it settle and am hoping to see some separation in the morning. But really, I'm just ticked I wasted 3/4c of dish soap.

Well, the kids did enjoy it, though admittedly, they were sad that it didn't look all awesome and separate. I followed the instructions from Steve Spangler science on how to do the liquid density experiment, but apparently I don't have the correct skill set.

 

I may do this paper and water jar version instead. Depends on our time and energy level.

 

We then read the book Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. It shows which marine animals live in which ocean zone with beautiful illustrations.

We used our plastic sea animals along with the book to determine which zone they are in and made a chart to match.

 

Shark Buoyancy

Materials

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Marker
  • 3 pennies
  • Balloon
  • Vegetable oil
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Tape
  1. Draw a shark on the toilet paper roll (or cut out a shark on paper and tape it on).
  2. Tape 3 pennies, equally spaced, on the bottom of the toilet paper roll.
  3. Fill the bowl with water.
  4. Ask: what's going to happen to the shark? Drop the shark in the water and watch him sink. Discuss.
  5. Fill a balloon with vegetable oil, tie closed.
  6. Place the balloon inside the toilet paper roll, evenly.
  7. Observe: it's much heavier now! Ask: what's going to happen to the shark? Place the shark in the bowl of water and watch him float. Discuss!

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

 

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

 

The oil in the shark makes him buoyant.

Application and explanation:

ASK: What is holding us to the earth? (gravity). What is gravity?

There is gravity on land AND in the ocean. All the animals in the ocean are being pulled down, just like you are. Gravity holds us to the floor, and all our houses, cars, and toys, too. It also holds the ocean and the animals in the ocean down. But they aren't on the bottom of the ocean floor like you're standing on the floor!

What are they doing? They're floating.

How is this possible? Buoyancy!

ASK: What in the world is buoyancy?

Gravity pulls us down and buoyancy pushes us up! So the fish have made it so they can balance, or float. Many of them have a bladder, kind of like a ball, inside their bodies that is filled with gas. Think of a balloon when it's filled with air. The balloon is that bladder and the air in the balloon is the gas inside it.

Sharks don't have a bladder filled with gas. So what is helping them float? Their bodies do not have ANY bones, instead, they have cartilage. This cartilage is less dense. Remember, when we saw how less dense items floated easier in the water? Your ears and tip of your nose is made out of cartilage, too! Sharks also have a very large liver, and fins that help them steer and stay afloat.

Their bodies are still pretty heavy, of course, heavier and more dense than water. Their fins help them to move forward all the time. They never stop moving!

Their liver is much larger than ours. It's filled with oil, like what we just used in our experiment. It is similar to the bladder in the fish we just talked about. It gives the sharks neutral buoyancy. That means that it's not getting pushed up and it's not sinking down, but staying at the same level.

All of these things combine to help sharks stay afloat and not sink to the bottom of the ocean floor! Pretty cool, huh!?

The kids really loved this one. Their favorite part? Wiggling their ears with wonder as they realized that sharks were made of the cartilage.

How Whales Stay Warm

Materials

  • Crisco
  • 2 Ziplock baggies (sandwich or quart size)
  • Rubber band (big enough to fit around hand)
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Ice
  1. Fill bowl with water and add lots of ice. You want it cold!
  2. Scoop a bunch of crisco into the first ziplock bag.
  3. Place the 2nd bag inside the first.
  4. Place your hand inside and secure both bags onto your hand with a rubber band.
  5. Squish the crisco around your fingers and hand. Use your free hand to do help. Don't worry, your hand will stay grease free!
  6. Place your free hand into the ice water. Yikes!
  7. Now, place your crisco hand into the water. It's not freezing!

The fat keeps the whales warm!

Are you looking for some easy ocean science experiments? Don't want a ton of materials, money, and time gathering supplies for each experiment? Done and done.

 

When I worked at a wilderness therapy program, we lived and hiked in snowy mountains. We'd hike and sleep in near-blizzards. We only had a tarp, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag to keep us warm (besides our clothes). No tents! We ate bacon at every meal. We added butter to our hot chocolate and anything we were making. We ate as much fat as we could every day to help keep us warm.

I still was freezing cold, so I'm not sure how much it helped, but I'm alive so it must have helped some!

They loved this experiment! They were shocked that their hand didn't get cold at all! It was a pretty cool feeling.

 

Maybe I'll slather myself in crisco when I head to the cold pools this summer? Get a wicked sunburn at the same time. Win-win, right?

You know I'm kidding, right?

Tide Pool

Materials

  • Roasting pan
  • Rocks
  • Sand (optional)
  • Plastic sea animals
  • Water (of course)
  • Clay/Play doh (optional)

Create a tide pool with your rocks. Look at pictures of real tide pools to see what they look like. Layer and build your rocks. Add sand, if you have it and want to.

You can also use play doh or clay to build up your tide pool.

Add in plastic animals in various locations of your tide pool. Try to add those that would actually be in your tide pool and leave out those that aren't.

Fill with water as the high tide comes in... and then empty as the low tide goes out. Then fill again and play!!

We watched a few videos on tide pools. [insert links]

 

Water/Shoreline Erosion

Materials

  • 9x13
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Water bottle
  1. Place sand on one side of the pan. Make it a steep slope
  2. Pour water into the other side, until it's halfway up your sand slope.
  3. Place your water bottle on the end with the water. Push the bottle down to create small waves. Do this, consistently and evenly for 1 whole minute. Write down what you observe.
  4. Push again with your water bottle for another minute. You may make your waves bigger, or keep them the same size. Make observations.

 

Ocean Bottle

Materials

  • Empty ketchup bottle (or other narrow-necked bottle with lid)
  • Corn syrup
  • Blue food coloring
  • Vegetable oil
  • Long spoon

Fill the bottle 1/4 of the way with corn syrup.

Add a few drops of blue food coloring and mix with spoon handle.

Slowly pour in vegetable oil until the bottle is halfway full.

Put cap on. Make sure it's real tight.

Turn the bottle on its side, tilt it slowly so the capped end is down at a slight angle. The corn syrup will crest in the bottle's neck.

Cornmeal Currents

Materials

  • Mixing bowl
  • Water
  • Cornmeal (a pinch)

Fill the mixing bowl with water, almost to the top.

Sprinkle the cornmeal into the bowl.

Blow steadily across the water surface (not into the bowl). Make sure it's not too gentle or too forceful (you can experiment with wind intensity later).

The cornmeal will be swirled around by the currents just as in the ocean. The northern hemisphere is clockwise and the souther, counter clockwise.

Deep-Water Currents

Materials

  • 9x13 pan
  • Water
  • Ice pack (or baggie of ice)
  • Food Coloring
  1. Fill the 9x13 with an inch of water. Make sure the water is room-temperature (or slightly warmer).
  2. Set the ice pack (or baggie) against the edge of one side of the pan (inside the water).
  3. Place 1 drop of food coloring right in front of the ice pack and 1 drop on the opposite side of the pan.
  4. Observe and discuss.

The drop near the ice pack will move forward  because the cold water is pushing the warm water away. The drop on the other side stays there because the cold water keeps it from moving.

 

Penguin Camo

Materials

  • Mason jar
  • Water
  • Craft foam, black & white
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Black paper
  1. Cut a 2" square out of the black and white craft foam.
  2. Glue them together and cut out a penguin shape.
  3. Fill the mason jar halfway with water and place the penguin, black side down on top of the water. Hold the jar under a light source (lamp, lightbulb, flashlight) and look at the penguin from the bottom of the jar. It should be easy to see.
  4. Now, turn the penguin over, white side down. Now look through the bottom of the jar again. This is the way penguins swim! It's much harder to see now because the light and the white blend together, making it harder for predators to see from underneath.
  5. This time, place the jar on top of the black paper. The black paper represents the darkness of the ocean. Take a look from above the jar to see how the black side of the penguin helps blend into the water from this angle!

 

That wraps up all our ocean science experiments! We had so many great conversations with each experiment and it's always a treasure to hear them talk about and relate other things to the new things they've learned.

As we've studied the ocean these have really added a great depth to their understanding and grasping of each concept. I highly recommend doing as many of these as you can.

If you're on the hunt for even more experiments (simple ones) with accompanying explanations I highly highly recommend the book Awesome Ocean Science! There are many experiments and activities for many aspects of the ocean. It covers all the topics, not just the water portion. I learned quite a bit just thumbing through the book! Seriously, go check it out. You'll thank me later. ;-)

 

Let me know which one your kiddos loved the most! Do you have any other fun ocean experiments for us to try?

Mwah

Ocean Unit Study Vocabulary, Writing, & Geography

  You're all set for the ocean unit study, but need to know the nitty gritty details. Here are the vocabulary, writing, and geography portions of this unit study. Learn an easy and fun way to do map work and vocabulary. Plus, writing prompts!

Here are the vocabulary, writing, and geography portions of the ocean unit study. Learn an easy and fun way to do map work and vocabulary. Plus, writing prompts!

Let's jump right to it.

Ocean Vocabulary

  • abyssal plain
  • algae
  • anemone
  • barnacle
  • basalt
  • buoyant
  • continental shelf
  • colony
  • continental crust
  • continental drift
  • continental slope
  • coral
  • coral reef
  • deep sea trench
  • dorsal fin
  • echolocation
  • estuary
  • faults
  • glacier
  • invertebrate
  • jelly fish
  • lagoon
  • mantle
  • mid-ocean ridge
  • migrate
  • ocean
  • oceanic crust
  • oceanography
  • octopus
  • pectoral fins
  • plankton
  • rift
  • school
  • sea
  • sea mountains (seamounts)
  • sea star
  • sediment
  • shark
  • shore
  • tide pool
  • waves
  • whale

Add words as you come upon them and you'd like to add them to your list. Also, remove words that you don't need or want to cover.

How to learn vocabulary

Our kids fill this Vocabulary Word Map  for each word. You can create a word search puzzle as well for a fun review and recognizing the new words. A fun addition to this puzzle would be to make the word clues the definitions of each vocabulary word.

For the ocean vocabulary, we didn't do the antonyms and synonyms in the word maps.

We're just covering a few terms a day, and some days more than others.

 

Writing assignments

Here's some prompts to get the brain juices flowing (gross).

  • Write a story about your new pet (you can see this in the Ocean Unit Study main post)
  • Write a letter to an organization that works with the ocean or sea life
  • Write a magazine article about an important issue with the ocean/sea life
  • Write a magazine article about your favorite marine animal
  • Write a research paper
  • Write a poem about the ocean
  • Write a story for a young sibling/child
  • Write an email to your grandparents about all you've learned
  • Write a newsletter to your family about all the things you've done and learned

Just so you know, we will NOT be doing all of these writing assignments. For now, we're doing the pet story, and the research paper. After that, I will let each child pick one more writing assignment. But really, that's only if we haven't petered out and decided we were done with the unit study.

Pick and choose, but make sure you do at least one writing assignment. Writing is such an important skill to learn and it's not too early to start.

If you think of a different writing assignment, go for it! These are just to get your brain thinking. I'm sure you can come up with even better ones. Please share them in the comments! For reals.

 

Geography/map work

Here are the oceans, seas, and major rivers we're learning

  • Atlantic
  • Pacific
  • Arctic
  • Indian
  • Southern
  • Caspian
  • Black
  • Red
  • Mediterranean
  • Arabian
  • Amazon
  • Nile
  • Congo
  • Yangtze
  • Hwang ho
  • Tigris
  • Euphrates
  • Indus
  • Volga
  • Danube
  • Rhine
  • Mississippi

How we study geography

Head over to our world map and identify the oceans. Then the seas. Then the rivers-- this is easier with a world atlas (which we are in great need of-- here we come Amazon).

We also look at these with our globe...  Or would have, if Teddy Bear (almost 2) hadn't decided to throw it down the stairs because he thought it was a ball. Now it's dead. But we do have an inflatable globe that works in a pinch.

Just keeping it real.

 

After that we use this technique that I learned from Jessica Hulcy a few years back.

Index card map work

1. Grab an index card for each continent and ocean.

2. Have the kids draw an outline of the continent on an index card. Then, write the name in the middle. Do this for all 7.

Here are the vocabulary, writing, and geography portions of the ocean unit study. Learn an easy and fun way to do map work and vocabulary. Plus, writing prompts!

3. Write the name of each ocean on an index card. You may need two for a few of the oceans (i.e. the Pacific).

4. Place the index cards on a table, or floor. Arrange them to show where they are in relation to one another.

 

Here are the vocabulary, writing, and geography portions of the ocean unit study. Learn an easy and fun way to do map work and vocabulary. Plus, writing prompts!

 

5. Pick them up and place them down again, talking through it. Scramble them up, do it a few more times.

6. Have your children take turns doing it on their own, prompting ONLY when they get stuck. Encourage them to place them as best they can before asking for help.

When they get it wrong I pull the index cards that are placed incorrectly and have them work through it. If a ton are wrong, I'll scramble them all up and go through it again with them.

7. Do this until you feel they've got a handle on it.

 

You will also do the same thing for the various seas. Add the seas in AFTER they have the oceans and continents mastered. You may want to cut each index card in half to show the size.

Here are the vocabulary, writing, and geography portions of the ocean unit study. Learn an easy and fun way to do map work and vocabulary. Plus, writing prompts!

 

Now, pick up all the index cards, arrange the continents, the oceans, and then the seas.

Follow the same procedure done for the oceans.

 

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqNXLnIVYBk[/embedyt]

[wc_box color="secondary" text_align="left"]

Here's Animal, 6 (on the left), Little Miss, 8 (middle), and Captain, 9 (on the right). As you can see Animal is super excited, Little Miss has watched her fair share of YouTube tutorial videos. I could barely keep the laughter in, so please forgive any shaking of the camera. :)

[/wc_box]

 

For the rivers you can draw them on the index cards where they are on each continent.

OR

Draw the river on blue construction paper, label it, and then place them on the continent index card. This way, you can also remember the shape and location. If you draw them on, it may not be remembered as well.

 

This is seriously the best way to remember the locations and relationships between locations.

We did this when we learned the 13 colonies and when we studied explorers. My kids learned it so fast. On top of that, I learned them and where they all are in relation to each other. I think that's my favorite part-- not just knowing what the state or country looks like, but where it is in relation to other locations.

Updates

We're going to re-do our index card mapping later this week, or next. We're going to put our continents on a bigger piece of paper and trace the continent from a printed map.

Why not just print them out? Well, it helps the kids learn the shape of the continent better and understand where things are in relation to each bump and point on the outline.

Then we'll cut out the seas into smaller pieces so they're easier to fit in where they belong. We haven't done the rivers yet, but now they'll fit even better on our bigger continent pieces.

When we get the new set done, I'll update this post.


More ocean unit study goodness to come

Now you're ready to go with your vocabulary, geography, and writing portions of the ocean unit study. Stay tuned for the next sections!

We've got ASL, art, science, math, and a final project still to go.

Mwah

 

 

 

Fun & Free Ocean Unit Study Using Fish Toys

I have received Lil Fishys for free and am compensated for my time only. All opinions are honest and were not required to be positive. There are affiliate links in this post.  

The kids and I are starting our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study and want to invite you to join us on our adventure. Especially since we're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great.

 

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included!

 

This summer my mission is to show my kids just how awesome science is. Right now, they think it's lame-sauce. It seriously kills me. I lurv science. We're going to have a ((((SUMMER OF SCIENCE))))  Read that in an echo-y announcer voice. 

I decided to start us on oceans because we were super lucky to get our hands on these awesome fish toys. Inspiration! I'll take it. They're Lil Fishys and are so super fun!! We pulled out the baby pool, filled it with water, and got to playing.

 

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included   Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included   Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

How I Introduced our unit study with summer toys

 

While they were playing, we named our new pets (the best kind of pet-- battery operated), and I had each kid pick their favorite one.

 

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

 

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

(Little Miss has even made beds for the fish to sleep in)

After play time, I printed off the coloring page that matched their favorite pet.    

 

Their assignment: color the page, write the pet's name, and then write a story about their pet.

 

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

 

If you want to have your own introductory project, grab your own Lilfishys, print off the coloring page, grab some writing paper, coloring pencils (or crayons), and pencils.

 

Here are some writing prompts to get you going:

  • Tell me a story about ______ (name)____.
  • What is ______'s favorite thing to do?
  • What does ______ do all day?
  • Where does ______ like to go?
  • What is _____'s favorite book/movie/etc?
  • One day _________ got stuck on a sunken ship....
  • Oh no! ______'s in danger...
  • Last week ____ met a new friend named _____...

 

This was a super fun way to set the stage for our upcoming Ocean unit study. Throughout the next few weeks we'll be finding fun ways to use our new pets to learn with, as well as play with.

The kids can't wait until the weather warms up, and they can take their fish to the pool. They are great swimming toys. The nice thing is they have plenty of space to play with them in the baby pool even when we can't make it to Grandma's pool.

We'll be using some other fish toys and goodies in our upcoming projects and experiments, so keep reading!

Ocean study resources

Here are all the resources I've cobbled together from our home library, our public library, and lovely lovely Amazon.

[wc_box color="secondary" text_align="left"] Tip: Check your shelves and your library before you go buying stuff! Buy only books that you love and will use more than a few times. [/wc_box]

Books

Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia (Main book/spine)

Awesome Ocean Science (lots of fun experiments)

Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide (huge book with beautiful pictures and tons of information)

Eyewitness Books: Fish 

Eyewitness Books: Whale

The Pout-Pout Fish (fiction and adorable)

Here Come the Humpbacks!

A Symphony of Whales

The Magic School Bus: The Ocean Floor

City Fish, Country Fish

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea (beautiful illustrations)

Water Sings Blue (poetry for Tea Time)

The Best Book of Sharks

Sharks (Easy Reader)

Deep Trouble (Goosebumps book)

Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9)

Dolphins and Sharks (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker)

Whale of a Tale! All About Porpoises, Dolphins, and Whales

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (we're listening to an audio version)

Movies

The Living Sea (also on Amazon Prime)

Eyewitness DVD Ocean

National Geographic Really Wild Animals: Deep Sea Dive

The Ultimate Guide: Dolphins

The Blue Planet (also found on Netflix)

The Magic School Bus: Takes a Dive (also found on Netflix)

Monterey Bay Aquarium live feed

Tide Pool video

Three Ocean Zones

Exploring the Coral Reef

131 Seconds That Will Change The Way You See The Ocean

How Deep is the Ocean?

Bill Nye: Food Web & Ocean Life (found on Netflix)

10 Facts About Great White Sharks

World's Largest Blue Whale

Kingdom of the Blue Whale

Humpback Whale Shows Amazing Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets (I got weepy,! Fantastic video)

Biggest Whales of the Planet

Dolphins: Even Smarter Than You Thought

Misc (including fish toys)

Eyelike Stickers: Ocean

Under the Sea Plastic Sea Life Creatures

Lil Fishy Dipper, Chomps, Lucky, Jawbones, Fishbowl, Jelly Fish

Melissa & Doug Ocean floor puzzle

*** Lil Fishy has a giveaway going on -- be sure to scroll to the bottom so you can enter for a chance to win!***

Unit study subjects covered

 

This week and next I'll be showing you exactly how we do everything so you too can do it. Each post will be a breakdown of the subject. I'll add the links to this post so you only have to remember one post to refer to.

I'm a visual person, I like to see how things actually go down. That's been the most helpful to me as I've been homeschooling and I'm betting that it'll be helpful to you. Here, you'll find the general timeline and plans we've followed.

Join us in our much-anticipated Ocean Unit Study adventure. We're using some sweet fish toys to make our studies especially great! Plans & schedule included

The Plans

I'm leaving it in weekly format for flexibility. Meaning, spread it out over the week, or chunk it in 2 or 3 days. Whatever works for your schedule and life!

Week 1

 

Week 2

 

Week 3

  • Watch Blue Planet (remaining episodes), Monterey Bay Aquarium live feed
  • Read Ocean (remaining sections), and other books
  • Write research article
  • Create animal poster
  • Create ocean diorama (group project)
  • Review map work, vocabulary, and ASL signs
  • Water/shoreline erosion experiment (if time), any other experiment

If you want to keep going, keep going! Add more goodness or take more time with each plan. If we add more to our study I'll add it to the post as well.

[wc_fa icon="angle-double-right" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] As we go through the unit I'll update this post with links to how you too can learn and do all this goodness (i.e. vocabulary words, ASL video, experiment instructions, etc)! :-) [wc_fa icon="angle-double-left" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]

 


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (but first you gotta enter)

Now, remember I said you'd get a chance to win some Lil Fishy toys of your own? Well, here's your chance. They are so generous to gift 3 winners with a Lil Fishy Aquarium AND a grab bag of Lil Fishy toys.

When they say grab bag, they mean, lots of toys to grab.

Enter here:

ETA: Sorry folks, the giveaway has ended.

 

Join us for the fun instagram challenge! It'll be a fun way to meet other homeschool families and see what fun things they're up to.

Oh, and did I mention 5 MORE chances to win some sweet goodness? Oh yeah. I told you Lil Fishy was generous.

 

Lil Fishys Instagram challenge!!

 

We're also having a Twitter party! Sa-weet! The few twitter parties I've joined in have been massively fun and a great way to connect with new friends and get great ideas and support. Yeah, you guessed it-- PRIZES!

 

Lil Fishys Twitter Party!

 

I hope your family enjoys this ocean unit study as much as we are! Stay tuned for the Head over and watch the Learn ASL ocean signs, as well as all the other activities and projects we're up to.

Oh, and, come back and join us for more ((((SUMMER of SCIENCE))))

Mwah

10 Signs You Need Homeschool Organization Help Immediately

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not change the price for you. :-) Whew. When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? I've got 10 clear signs to share with you that will leave you with little doubt.

If you stick with me through all 10 signs, I've got an easy solution for you. Because, what would be the point of showing you all 10 signs and not giving you a way out of this mess?! There wouldn't be any.

 

It'd just make you sink into a pit of despair to wallow in for months and months only to come out smelling of old rotting soccer socks and a few more un-plucked whiskers on your chin.

Ew.

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

 

10. You're using books as your homeschool furniture

If you're using stacks of books in place of chairs, boxes of books for your desks, then it's safe to say you have a problem.

It may be time to re-think the storage of your books, or even *shudder* get rid of some.

9. You can't find the dustpan under all those cereal crumbs

If chore time is haphazard, frantic, ineffective, and the last thing you and your kids are able to get done. It just seems easier some days to shove the paper confetti your 3-year-old made out of her craft under the couch than it is to vacuum it up.

It may be time to re-do your chore systems and how you handle your day to day upkeep.

8. Your library fines are larger than your student loans

If you just found a library book that you checked out 4 months ago and are saving up each month to pay off your current library fine. If you spend all day at the library because you can't check any books out due to your overdue fine, you're going to want to establish something, anything, to save your wallet.

Homeschool Organization Sign No. 8

7. You had craft paper in your dinner last night

If there's a landfill's worth of paper on your kitchen table and no place to set your plate during dinner, then it's about time you sent half your paperwork to the burn pile, and organize the rest.

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

6. You accidentally threw away your child's work for this year's homeschool portfolio

If you did this... then holy crow, I'll cry with you. If your state requires a portfolio to be turned in and evaluated each year and you threw it all away by accident...

It's time to move! ;-)

5. You are considering animal sacrifice to meet this year's homeschooling goals

If your goals for each child just seem like distant dreams, if it looks like you'll never get your child to read, subtract, write his name legibly, or even flush the toilet, we're in the same boat.

You may need to re-evaluate your homeschool goals and the way you approach completing them. Or... maybe you need to set them in the first place. Whoops.

4. Your walk across the schoolroom floor always leaves a counting bear embedded in your foot

If you loathe counting bears, all types of manipulatives, and especially Lego because of all the foot injuries you've encountered over the last year, it may be time to throw them all away.

I kid.

It is time to sort them, store them, and regulate their usage in an easier manner.

3. You do school outside, not because you want to, but because there's no place to sit

If you've got a giant salt dough map on the table, a dioramas sitting on the chairs, laundry and library books on the couch, last week's projects and papers on the floor, and you're currently sprawled out on a picnic blanket on the muddy ground in your backyard... you know it's time.

Time to shove all that stuff under a match.

xspld

2. You bought the same homeschool curriculum 3 times

If you just unearthed the science curriculum that seems really familiar and then your daughter runs up to ask you a question holding the same workbook, and then... ding dong the UPS guy shows up delivering you a box of... that same science curriculum your bank account may be hurting.

You may need to do an inventory of what you have and what you need. And then... get some help on your memory loss problems.

Homeschool Organization Sign No. 2

1. You are stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, lost, burnt out, and your husband (and you) are fed up

If you're just. done. with the stress and overwhelm, but aren't sure what's wrong or what to do, and you want to give up, but you really don't want to give up, it's time for you to get some help, guidance, and support.

Homeschool Organization signs


It's way past time for you to get your homeschool organization under control

Now, I don't want you to feel bad.

I am not telling you all this as an anal-retentive organized cyborg. I am telling you this as a fellow disorganized person.

Hence the need to poke fun at myself (and you) with the exaggerated list. Well, the library fine one is pretty accurate.

 

If you're anything like me you want change, results, and you want it to be easy and as painless as possible.

The Solution

 

When do you know it's time to up your homeschool organization game? Here's 10 clear signs that will leave you with little doubt + an easy solution.

 

The Organized Homeschool Life

Let me tell you WHY it's the solution I need and then let you decide.

  1. I love Melanie Wilson. She's like totes amaze, or whatever the cool kids are saying these days. For real though, she's the real deal, genuine, and has been there (she wasn't born an organized robot, she worked at it -- minus the robot bit).
  2. It's broken up into months, then weeks, and then tasks to spread out each week.
  3. Each task is manageable, straightforward, and relevant.
  4. Each week has a theme, or area to concentrate on.
  5. Melanie encourages you to start where you need to and want to and to never feel a slave to the book. You'll never be behind.
  6. There's an awesome calendar, a month-at-a-glance printable, for you to keep close by so you never forget what's next.
  7. It's not just your actual homeschool room that's covered, but your entire homeschool life, which is really life. Your chores, schedule, marriage, goals, computer, curriculum, and more.
  8. The ideas, tips, and tricks in the book are fantastic! They are the best organization ideas in one book, with easy and simple directions to get you through each task. I think I said that already.
  9. Melanie has created extra freebies to help you even more than what's included in the book.
  10. It is working for me!

I just did a major overhaul of our homeschool room. We literally weren't even using it. We were downstairs, on the couch, floor, and kitchen table.

There's nothing wrong with that, it's just things were getting lost, crumpled, and our focus wasn't the best. Especially MY focus.

Now the room has turned into sweet sweet heavenly bliss. At least, for me. The kids are super excited to start using it this way, and I have dreams of peaceful homeschool days ahead. Well, organized homeschool days ahead. I gotta be realistic.

I would definitely encourage you to buy this book and see how it helps you get your homeschool organization under control and your life as well.

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

gif via reactiongifs.com

90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

Can you believe this homeschool year is almost over? This is about that time when so many of us are in desperate need of a homeschool refresh.  

We're tired, sluggish, stuck in a rut, and just looking for that great day when someone says it's finally okay to have BBQs and play in the pool all week long.

Until then... we've got to keep at it, amIright?

(Especially for us poor few that homeschool year round!)

 

We need a reset! A warm, fresh breeze to drift push through the stagnant air of our homeschool rooms. We need a new perspective to refresh our days, our curriculum, our approaches.

Is your homeschool stuck in a rut? Do you need help homeschooling high school? Here are 90 creative homeschool resources to give you a much needed refresh.

 

The beauty of this day we live in are the incredible amounts of homeschool resources, connections, ideas, and people we can access literally within seconds.

The downside is there's just. so. much. it can make you crazy.

The iHomeschool Network has taken out the hard work of culling through the thicket of information to present us a package of resources we can trust and depend on.

Welcome The Homeschool Omnibus

This year there are 90 resources to inspire you, to refresh your homeschool, to shake it up and do something different, something creative!

  • 90 resources! 
  • Total value: $420
  • Cost is $25 (6% of the actual value)

Holy smoking cow. That's awesome stuff.

These are 90 resources I wouldn't have thought of on my own (well, except one, because that is one I made) and wouldn't have had time to go searching for.

 

[wc_button type="primary" url="http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=185_10_1_45" title="Grab it today" target="self" position="float"]Take me to the Omnibus![/wc_button]

I'm loving these homeschool resources

 

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The Organized Homeschool Life

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Homeschooling with ADHD

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Blueprints For Homeschool Science

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Science and Math: End the Struggle

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Books of History Fine Arts Pages

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Poem Collection 1

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Engineering Unit Study

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You Are Not Alone Collaborative Homeschooling

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Come back over the next 10 days to see exactly how these have refreshed our homeschool life. 

 

If you are a Charlotte Mason-er I'd check these resources out

 

Is your homeschool stuck in a rut? Do you need help homeschooling high school? Here are 90 creative homeschool resources to give you a much needed refresh.

If you are homeschooling high school these are some fantastic finds

 

So often many of the homeschool resources out there are for younger students and our awesome high schoolers are neglected! Well, no more!

 

Is your homeschool stuck in a rut? Do you need help homeschooling high school? Here are 90 creative homeschool resources to give you a much needed refresh.

Struggling homeschoolers and New homeschoolers you're not neglected

 

Well, I did neglect you in that I didn't make a pretty picture to show you all the cool goodies there are for you. Sorry, I'm lame.

However, there are many items just for you to ease you into the homeschooling world if you're a newbie.

At your wit's end? Just don't know how to overcome this giant hurdle sitting in your schoolroom? Scared to contemplate what your next move could be? People telling you to just throw in the towel and ship them to the nearest school?

 

Don't despair! Please. First, take a deep breath and know that I feel for you. It's tough and stressful and can be overwhelming when you try to tackle all the issues you may be facing at once. There are some amazing homeschool moms that have been where you are, and many are still overcoming their own hurdles (aren't we all, really) that have offered up some help for you.

 

One of my favorites is Homeschooling with ADHD. This is something that we definitely need in our home. I have it, and I'm pretty sure a few of my kids do as well.

[wc_button type="primary" url="http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=185_10_1_45" title="Grab it today" target="self" position="float"]I want it![/wc_button]

Want to know more?

Here's an awesome catalog for you to check out each title for yourself. There's a nifty flip book for you to peruse, or just download the catalog if that is easier for you.

Is your homeschool stuck in a rut? Do you need help homeschooling high school? Here are 90 creative homeschool resources to give you a much needed refresh.

Check out the catalog. You can also click the picture to head to the catalog.

 

Over the next few days I'll be highlighting some of my absolute favorite resources and how I'm using them. Make sure to check back to see just what I have planned, and maybe you'll be just as inspired and excited as I am.

 

Full disclosure

I have a book in the Omnibus sale! I know, right!? I'm kind of amazing. ;-)

What is it, you ask? I know you're dying to know!

Master the ASL alphabet Workbook & Videos

Master the ASL Alphabet workbook and videos

Since I have a book in the sale, I get a small commission when you purchase through my link. What does this mean for you? Nothing, except for you're the sweetest, most kindest, lovingest person in the world. What does it mean for me? I get a little bit of money to keep paying for this blog. Spoiler: blogs are expensive to run.

 

[wc_box color="primary" text_align="left"]

Wait! As my thanks for your kind and loving support I'll be sending you Master the ASL Numbers Workbook for FREE once it is released (end of May 2016)!

AND! I'll send you my ebook: Celebrate Your Homeschool fo' FREE

[/wc_box]

How do you get this sweet bonus?

Purchase by clicking THIS link (or any of the pink buttons in this post) and then email me your Omnibus receipt to asldoneright @ gmail . com

 

Things to remember

This sale lasts for 10 days ONLY. There are absolutely no extensions or exceptions. At all. The Omnibus sale lasts from today, April 29th until May 8th (Sunday) at 11;59 PM Pacific time.

Cost is only $25

  • Add a DVD copy of the 90 resources for an additional $9
  • Or add a thumb drive copy (good for computers without a DVD drive) for an additional $11

The DVD and the thumb drive are mailed out May 31st.

The good thing about these two options are to keep your hard drive clear of tons of downloads. You can also set aside those resources you may not need right now (save those high school resources if your kiddos aren't yet there), and can ensure that you have a backup copy should anything happen to your beloved computer (knock on wood)!

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I love iHomeschool Network and the wonderful homeschooling mamas that are a part of it. They know their stuff and are so eager to serve and help any and all homeschool families just like them.

 

This sale is only once a year, and only 10 days. I'd hate for you to miss it!

[wc_button type="primary" url="http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=185_10_1_45" title="Grab it today" target="self" position="float"]Buy the Omnibus[/wc_button]

 

I Am THAT Mom Who Doesn't Tuck Her Kids In

I don't tuck my kids in? Uh, no, no I don't.

 

This is when most people walk away from me shaking their heads.

 

I didn't say I don't LOVE my children. I only said I don't tuck them in. On top of that, I think it's a good thing.

 

I don't tuck my kids in?! It's true. It was one of the best things we did for our bedtime. It may be just what you need for you and your kids. Come and decide for yourself.

 

Let me explain a bit better so you can rest easy knowing that my children aren't neglected and unloved.

 

Setting the Scene

 

It's night. We've had dinner, cleaned up, played, talked, or gone to whatever sport, class, or meeting we have for that night.

It's nearly bedtime. The kids are done. I'm done. Mr. Barlow is done.

What's a parent to do? Send the kids to bed.

Wait... that's IT?

 

Our bedtime routine

  1. Put your clothes away (laundry or hang up)
  2. Put your jammies on
  3. Brush your teeth
  4. Wash your face
  5. Family Scriptures (read 1/2 - 1 chapter together)
  6. Family Prayer
  7. Family Hug, followed by individual hugs and kisses for all
  8. Send them off to bed

 

That's it.

Sometimes, *gasp* we just have family prayer and hug and night night. Especially if it's been one of those days.

I won't lie, we've had days where it's just a hug and a send-off.

We don't...

  • We don't have read aloud time.
  • We don't talk to each child for 30 minutes.
  • We don't grab a pile of books, snuggle under the covers and read to each child until they drift off to sleep.
  • We don't make up stories or share stories by their beds.
  • We don't lay next to them until they fall asleep.
  • We don't rub their backs, put oils on them, rub lotion on them, or sing sweet lullabys to them.
  • We don't tuck them in.*

*If one of the kids asks me to tuck them in, I'll happily go up and tuck them in, accompanied with my favorite tucking of the blankets under their little selves while saying, "snug as a bug in a rug." Kiss their sweet faces, turn the lights off, blow them a kiss and say, "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."

 

Fun fact: this phrase stresses my kids out. BED BUGS!?!?!?!  AHHHHHHhhhhhh!!!!!

I had a 5 minute conversation calming my kids down after saying that once. Never mind that I'd said it to them multiple times. Perhaps they just never listened.  I digress.

 

What the heck is wrong with me and where is my supermom card so you can take it away??

 

Listen. I love my children. I love to spend time with them. In fact, I spend ALL day with them.

  • We read books together
  • We make up stories together
  • I share stories from when I was a kid
  • We talk in funny voices
  • Sing made up songs
  • Throw dance parties
  • Put on shows
  • Color
  • Go on walks
  • and much more

Heck, we homeschool; that should count for something!

The only thing different is it's during the DAY, not at night.

I don't tuck my kids in?! It's true. It was one of the best things we did for our bedtime. It may be just what you need for you and your kids. Come and decide for yourself.

Why it's a good thing

 

When they were smaller I would sing a special song, talk to them, smooth their foreheads, read books and the whole bedtime showtime that so many parents put on nightly. Guess what?

They didn't go to sleep. They stayed up for hours talking, playing, doing whatever it was that children do when they'd rather do anything except sleep.

When we eliminated all that stuff they went to bed. They went to sleep right when we closed the door.

Not instantaneously, of course. Within minutes though.

They ALL shared a room, too.

 

Now, we have both girls in one room and the three boys in another. The boys are 9, 6, and 1.5. They all go to bed at the same time and they all go right to sleep.

 

I Am THAT Mom Who Doesn't Tuck Her Kids In

 

 

I have friends that go through a circus performance nightly, are wiped out, and still wind up having their kids climb in bed with them just a few hours later because they can't get to sleep.

To them, I'd love to say, cut out the stuff and just send them to bed. When it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep.

 

Keep in mind

We do have a no-nonsense approach to parenting though. We use the same principles to have our children sit still and be quiet.

My 20-month-old, son just Friday, sat next to me for 2 hours while his siblings swam in an indoor pool. He didn't whine, didn't cry, didn't make a fuss to get down.

He was content with his drink, one bag of fruit snacks, and his cow.

Oi, this isn't about sitting still.

 

My point is your kids CAN do it.

My kids aren't super special children. Well, they *are,* but they're not unique in the sense of being able to go to sleep or sit still for a few hours.

Your kids don't need the 2-hour long bedtime routine.

You shouldn't have to say, well, I want my kids in bed by 8, so I'd better start now at 6:30, which means we can't go out and do such and such, and on and on and on with more cutting everything out of your lives.

We put our kids to bed at 8:30. They start getting ready for bed around 8:15.

They do all the stuff they need to do (by themselves), come down, we read scriptures, say prayer, hug and kiss and then they're off to slumber.

What's the point of all this mumbo jumbo?

It's not to say I'm a better parent than you. That's NOT the case.

It's not to say you're doing it all wrong. I may have implied that at one point, actually... but that's no what I was trying to say.

 

The Real Point

  • You don't have to do a big production just because you think that's what makes a good mom or dad.
  • You don't have to feel guilty if you skip it or don't want to do it.
  • You don't have to feel guilty if you don't do it, or even if you do.
  • Simplifying may be what you and your children need.

If bedtime is too long, or too draining, or is a constant battle -- then I'd urge you to simplify and cut back, cut back, cut back.

We don't tuck our kids in and they still know how much we love and cherish them. They go to sleep without any fuss and battle. I then have the chance to end my day with some downtime: I can work, I can be with Mr. Barlow, I can draw and paint. I may even read a book. I can go to sleep early.

For us, it was the best choice.

I Am THAT Mom who doesn't tuck her kids in

 

What do YOU think? Do you do anything that some people would consider shady parenting?

ThatMom

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

The Dirty Truth of The Time Required to Homeschool

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not effect pricing for you. At all. 

 

How much time is actually required to homeschool?

Nearly every time I mention I homeschool someone asks me a variation of this question.

When friends come to work with me to figure out how to get started homeschooling, this is one of their biggest concerns and questions.

 

The underlying fear:

Is this going to eat up my entire day?? Will this mean I can't do anything for myself? What if I don't have my day last long enough and ruin my children's lives? What if it's too long and I not only ruin their lives, but mine, and we'll hate homeschooling?

 

Dude. These are all valid fears and concerns.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

When I think of homeschooling, I probably think of it in a different way than would-be homeschoolers, new homeschoolers, and those that don't think about homeschooling other than to think of "those homeschoolers."

 

Homeschooling = life. Life-schooling.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

Sometimes, it's hard to separate homeschooling from life. You can have blocks of schooling, you can have bursts of schooling, but you know how life works.

 

Got a doctor or dentist appointment? Well, you go to that, and sometimes have to rearrange your routine or schedule to get it done.

 

Garbage! You don't have any food in the house except that expired can of tuna and some stale crackers. Well, you'd better hit the store before you all perish or get botulism.

 

Kids acting up? Someone wrote all over the walls, one kid dumped laundry detergent all over the floor... again. Another kid is in tears over times tables, and another is clamoring for some help with reading.

 

It happens, to everyone.

 

Do you see why I say it's nearly impossible to separate homeschool from life?

 

When you ask, how long does it really take, my answer will typically by, "oh, not long."  That's really just for those that aren't asking for application purposes.

 

Well, I may woo you into loving homeschool by telling you that it won't take long, or that it'll take as long as you'd like it to. Both aren't lies. They just don't involve the typical day-to-day road bumps.

WAIT!

Before you click out of here in a huff of disgust and disappointment, let me break down for you dirty truth of our homeschool day/life and let you see just how much time homeschooling takes for the Barlow family.

 

time to homeschool tweet 1

The BIG Breakdown of Time:

First, you need to know what curriculum we use, as it is a MAJOR factor in our day-to-day operations. My day will look completely different than someone else's day that doesn't use our curriculum.

We use Robinson Curriculum. It's pretty different than a lot of the stuff you'll see out there.

It's self-taught, simple, rigorous, and effective, with a very set schedule.

 

Time Doing Actual Homeschooling

 

Our day looks like this (in an ideal world):

7:00--  Wake up (breakfast, morning routine, quick clean up)

7:30 - 12:30-- School block (1 hour of writing, 2 hours math, 2 hours reading, 30 minutes of play/exercise)

12:30-- Lunch (eat, clean up, and a tiny bit of free time. Put down Teddy Bear for a nap)

1:30--  1 - 2 extra school items (Science, Tea Time, Geography/History, ASL, or Spanish). Done with Mama.

2:30-- The kids are encouraged to learn, explore, and do things on their own. There are no electronics (unless needed for their learning) allowed at this time.

There's also no cap or requirement to the time spent on this. I encourage them to do something. I may give them some free time first and then move back to this time allotment. However, that's dangerous because I may not always get them back on task.

 

For instance:

The Captain has a geography workbook and encyclopedia that he loves. He is obsessed with maps, and so he uses this to work on his map skills and learn all he can about them and reads his encyclopedia over and over again.

 

With RC they encourage you to do school on Saturday as well. At the very least, 2 hours of math. We haven't done this consistently, even less so since I've been so exhausted from pregnancy. We'll be picking this back up soon.

 

We have homeschool co-op once a week, that goes from 9:30 - 2:10, so that does take a whole day away from RC, so I think that I really need to do school on Saturday to make up for that entire day.  I do try to have them do an hour of math and an hour of reading after co-op, but sometimes, I just let them run around with scissors and matches instead.

 

time to homeschool tweet 2

 

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Time Spent Parenting

Isn't this really an all-day thing for every parent? Parenting is never done, unless we're all asleep and dreaming peacefully. Then, perhaps, we're taking a parenting break. Until someone decides to throw up all over their bed...

We dedicate 4 times a day to chores. Whoa Nelly! Four times!?!

Let me explain.

We have 15 minutes of chores after breakfast and lunch. Before dinner (really, before Mr. Barlow gets home) we do family chores. After dinner, we do the last bit of chores for the day.

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

This way, there's not a ton of work to be done all at once and I'm not throwing death threats around just to get someone (Sweet Cheeks) to actually pick up that stinking toy after asking 8 times. Hypothetically.

Saturday is "Saturday Cleaning Day." Not my favorite. We'll wake up in the morning, and get to deep cleaning. If all goes well, we'll have it finished in 2 hours.

At least we are listening to music while we're at it!

 

Each Monday we have Family Home Evening. This is where we have a gospel lesson and activity and treat.

Each Sunday we try to have Family Council. This addresses any scheduling, any conflicts that have come up, and any behavioral work we'd like to focus on for that week.

Throughout the week we aim to spend one-on-one time with at least two kids.

Sundays we also make cookies or treats together. Sometimes we eat them and sometimes we share them with others.

Once a month we have a family activity we have picked to do. We'll either do this on a weekend or Monday night.

Discipline issues: I have been using the Love and Logic methodology for years and have loved it. I'm not always consistent, but when I am, life is sweet.

I've recently been introduced to The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child Change, which is written by the man who wrote our writing curriculum, and also uses RC. I love this man and his wife. They're real, kind, loving, intelligent parents and educators. I'm in the middle of reading Fred's book and am really liking it. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

For discipline, my husband and I are take-no-nonsense kind of parents. We have high expectations for our children and believe they can live up to them. We teach them to be responsible, kind, respectful, conscientious, polite, reverent, and to work hard.

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How much time planning takes

The beauty of RC is that I don't have to plan. Practically at all. We have the books printed out (or as ebooks), the math curriculum ready to go, and lots of paper and pencils.

 

Each day they grab their math books (we use Math-U-See for now) or their flashcards and they get to work. They teach themselves and they correct their own work. Anything they miss they correct.

They can write based on the curriculum we use, The Writing Course, or they do copywork (youngers), or write whatever they feel like. They hand it to me and I make some edits on the papers. I hand it back to them and they fix them.

Reading is two-fold. They work on their vocabulary/spelling from their readings and they also read. There's a huge list of books they are to read. They're printed out and I have them on our readers and tablets. They read them. We talk about them at dinner. If there's a test that goes along with the book, they take that test.

 

Anything else we do, the extra stuff is the part that takes planning.

We are using Apologia Science: Flying Creatures this year, along with the Notebook and the Junior Notebook.

We also are using their Around the World in 180 Days and workbook. This means, I need to make sure we have the supplies for the experiments and the books and resources from the library.

For art, I just need to make sure we have supplies and ideas. I'll pop over to my Pinterest art board, grab a book from the library or bookstore, or use our drawing book.

Tea Time happens once a week. I just grab a family read aloud, a poetry book, and a picture of a piece of art. It doesn't really matter which ones, I just grab it and go.

ASL, since I teach this already, I go ahead and teach it. I sometimes use my own videos, or I just sit them down and work on it.

Spanish, we are trying out a new curriculum this year, since my kids begged me to learn Spanish as well. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'll tell you all about how it's going for us really really soon! (Look forward to that post!)

Seriously, it couldn't be easier and more stress-free. It probably takes me around 20 minutes total to go through each subject for the week and write down what we need.

I try not to plan much in terms of what we'll be doing, I just focus on moving to the next part so I don't get caught up in planning since planning makes me feel like I'm choking on a hippo.

 

That's a real thing.

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Time in Outside Activities

The Captain and Little Miss are in a Homeschool Co-op. They meet once a week, it does take up a whole day (9 - 2), but it's been great for them to make friends.

Little Miss is in dance, that's once a week, for an hour.

The Captain is in basketball and that's twice a week, with a game once a week. The great thing is, Mr Barlow is his coach!

The Animal will be starting soccer next month and that's once a week practice with a game once a week as well.

The Captain wanted to be in gymnastics again this year, but I don't know why we never enrolled him. I'm not sure what to do now. If we enroll him once basketball is over (this month), will it be worth it if we can't keep it up over the summer? Summertime is usually our tight-budget time since my transcription work is only during the school year.

We don't have any other outside activities beyond that. I'll be teaching them piano (just need to paint and bring it out of the garage), and I would like to have them learn a string instrument (I know piano is a string), but goodness, the money!

My goal: each kid in a sport and musical instrument. With 6 kids, I'm going to need to start doing something illegal to make that happen!

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The BIG Summary (but not really big, big):

You can see that our time spent homeschooling technically takes up 6 hours of our day. However, add in all the other goodness, and it's your whole day.

I do have a part-time job (early in the mornings, 5 - 9 am), I blog, and I run an ASL course. I am also a volunteer at my church, working with adult women. I am always doing something with or for them each week and hold a monthly activity as well.

I have a loving husband that I try to spend as much time with as possible. I am also pregnant with #6, and that zaps my energy, along with the hashimotos and adrenal fatigue I deal with.

It's possible to homeschool AND...

  • Be YOU and pursue your goals and dreams
  • Take naps
  • For your days to be shorter than mine
  • Work
  • Cope with various health issues
  • Have a crazy life
  • Have a new baby
  • Be pregnant and throwing up constantly
  • Enjoy life

 

The dirty truth:

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

How long does homeschooling take your family? What is your ideal day?

 

time to homeschool tweet 3

 

HomeschoolingTimeTakes

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Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

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I'm all about keeping homeschool simple.

Well, I should say, I am NOW all about keeping homeschool simple.

When I first started many moons ago, I pretty much made it as complicated as can be. Unfortunately, that seems to be my natural inclination.

I plan, plan, plan some more, and then over-plan on top of that. I dream big, plan big, and then fail big.

I'll get exhausted from planning, preparing, buying the materials, prepping and organizing them that when it comes to Get-It-Done-Day I'm tapped out and taking a nap. For a month.

 

Then I feel like a failure and the cycle begins again.

No bueno. No bueno at all.

 

Now, I keep it simple and my life has never been easier and happier. In fact, sometimes it feels too easy and I get that panic feeling deep inside until I remind myself that no... this is right. Let go of that need to try and be all and do all and plan all.

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

The 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool

I want the same thing for you. Let me share with you 12 simple tips to keep it simple and let go of the homeschool day bloat and planning overwhelm.

1-- Get Real

Don't lie to yourself. Don't self-sabatoge, don't set such ridiculous expectations on yourself that you can't possibly succeed. That's not fair.

Get real. What can you do today? What isn't going to happen? Tackle today and then move on to the next tomorrow.

If you find yourself regularly having to ditch some things it's time to re-evaluate.

  • Is there a way to make things easier? Brainstorm some solutions and implement one at a time.
  • Is there something that needs to be dropped? Drop it and don't look back.
  • Is there something that you need to make sure happens that's not? Look at what's keeping you from accomplishing that item. Try a new approach.
  • Is it that you need to prep ahead of time?
  • Do you not have money in the budget or time to buy all those little supplies you need (this was me with Unit Studies... good grief, that was a lot of little stuff, feathers, walnut shells, sand shakers??)?
  • Do you lack motivation?
  • Are you trying to cram too much in one day?
  • Are you trying to do it at a time where you're worn out, burnt out, hungry, or tired? Pick a different time to do it at.
  • Do you just hate that subject?
  • Is there someone else that can help you tackle it?

Take an honest look at your days, evaluate and get real.

 

Drop the idea that you're going to be Wonder Woman + Mrs Beaver + Mrs Brady + Batman + Albert Einstein + Emily Dickinson + Vermeer + Bach + Inspector Gadget all rolled into one.

I've already filled that position: it's not up for grabs.

I kid, I kid. I know, it wasn't funny. It was a lame joke, but hey, that's what happens when your only audience is a bunch of children who think everything is funny. Your comedy routine suffers.

But at least they think I'm funny. My mom gave up on me years ago.

2-- Focus Up

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

Sure, you may have found amazing things to do with your kids. Those crafts, those experiments, those projects, those printables, those games, those those those those those... brain explosions.

xspld

 

What is it you want for your child? For yourself? For your home? Really think about it. Drill down to the most important things (use a paper and pen) and cross off those things that would sure be nice, but aren't really fitting in to the main idea.

Whenever you are making a decision about your schedule, curricula, plans, and extras pull out that list. Does it fit the big picture? If so, do it, or plan a time to do it at another date. If not, drop it and don't look back.

DON'T look back.

3-- Stop Looking

We Homeschool Mamas have a major weakness: looking for new things to use to teach our children.

We look at what Suzie, Joanna, Amy, and Trina are doing and what their kids are accomplishing and think... "maybe my kids would do XYZ if they had LMNOP too."

We think to ourselves, "sheesh, they're really struggling with math, what other resources are out there to help me help them?"

This quickly snowballs and all of a sudden we've got a new set of books, several sets of manipulatives, more extras, and a membership to a practice site.

 

Stick with what you've got. Give it a good solid go for a good length of time. If something is not working, first, look to see how you can use what you have, either in the actual curriculum or with the materials you have laying around your house.

After a good college try (more than a week) with that goodness, if you don't have success, then start to look at other resources.

Just set a limit before you begin to research.

 

Find a different approach to the problem and use what you have at hand. Don't let curriculum hunting be your hobby.

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

4-- Keep looking*

Okay, I just said *don't* look for a new curriculum. I may or may not have lied to you.

Well, I didn't really. You do need to stop shopping (I see you clicking around over there).

However, our homeschool life changed when we found a ultra-simple yet ultra-effective curriculum. It fit our lifestyle, it fit my homeschool priorities, it was quality, it was self-teaching, and it was super duper simple.

Like, I can wake up and not have to think about what we're going to do every day. It's just there, ready to go, always.

*If you can find a similar solution for yourself, do it. Otherwise, put the internet away and get back to homeschooling.

5-- Cull Your Schedule

Take an honest look at your schedule. Make it work around your family's natural rhythms and not someone else's.

 

I love Confessions of a Homeschooler, but I really really can't do their schedule no matter how hard I tried at first. Not that Erica advocates for us to use her schedule. I just really wanted to be her. Or at least have her homeschool.

Set a designated time for your school. How long do you want your day to last?

We use Robinson Curriculum, so we have a very set schedule that really really works for us: 2 hours of math, 1 hour of writing, 2 hours of reading. Then they have the rest of the day for chores, play, and extra learning they're interested in.

This way of doing school has really been freeing for me and the kids. We get our boundaries and our flexibility. We have a routine and schedule without feeling like we're set in cement and dying.

 

Oh... wait, that's just me.

frg

 

Find what works for you, then for your kids. Then cull the rest. Keep your schedule simple. Don't over schedule yourself; don't micromanage yourself.

You don't need to assign every minute a task. Especially if you're a person like me that loves the idea of a schedule but dies inside the minute she has to live it. Then you rebel and the guilt/shame cycle renews. But hey, you're free now.

Here's a way to schedule if you need some ideas on where to start. 

6-- Drop the Excess Planning

You're a planning maniac that has literally turned into a literal maniac. Why are you creating extra work for yourself when all you really need to do is just not... do that?

ngry

Can we just take a second to point out how freaky her eyes are? Yikes! Make it stop.

 

Is what you're using currently helping you or is it causing more stress/anxiety/work? If so, let's find a new method.

Look at #8 and use the same thing for yourself. Find a planner that speaks to you. I've used the Weekly Homeschool Planner with great success.

I love that it is blank, customizable, and there's no distracting colors. I love cute things, but gosh, they clutter my brain fast.

I can change that planner to be anything I want it to be and only print out what I need.

I also write in pencil and use post-its on it so I can move things around without stressing myself out.

Now that I use RC I don't really need this whole planner anymore. I just do our 5 hours, add in a few extras here and there and call it good. It's beautiful and thorough.

7-- Clean it Up

Make your chore time simple. Here's a chart I recently made that we're trying out:

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

(TC 9yo, LM 8yo, TA 6yo, SC 4yo)

It seems complicated, but it's really not. I've broken up the chores into different times of the day to spread out the workload and have chore time faster. What used to be overwhelming to the kids at the end of the day is now manageable and a lot less painful. It makes for a simpler day because of its ease, speed, and a lot less tantrums (myself included, of course).

 

Make sure you realize I said we're TRYING it out. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work and we move on. I expended 20 minutes of time making that schedule and hanging it up on the fridge. I didn't even use colored ink.

8-- Spirals

Ditch the cute checklists, the over-thought, over-complicated ways of giving assignments. Pull out a spiral notebook for each child, write their assignments in it the night before and they check it off as they complete each assignment. They can also retrieve their own materials.

Here's some great information on how to pull this off

 9-- Ditch It

I tried workboxes. I hated them. I felt like it was a ton more work for myself, plus, half of my stuff wouldn't fit in the daggum things. Annoying much?!

If I forgot to fill them, it just ruined my day or delayed my day, which could very well ruin our homeschool day if I let it. Some days, I did let it.

 

I tried different systems and I found one that semi-worked for us.

I wound up, in the end, just having a magazine holder for each kid and putting their stuff in it. They also had a locker basket with some of their supplies in it. Each was color coordinated to match a child. They grabbed their stuff needed and did what matched their spiral notebook assignments, materials at the ready.

 

So basically, not workboxes.

 

If you find that workboxes don't work for you, don't despair. Here's an interesting solution that actually combines the spiral notebooks with the workboxes. I thought you might like it.

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

Otherwise, find or make up your own solution, or ditch it all together. Some people find workboxes simplify their day, and some don't. No biggie.

10-- Pre-Make

You've heard of breakfast stations right? Or making ahead your lunches so they're ready to go? Now, this takes some pre-planning and prep work, but in the thick of the day, it can save your bacon (I totally said that cliche on purpose).

If your baby is extra fussy and needs some lovin', your kids can head to the kitchen and grab their own breakfasts. Then they can get going with their day without waiting for mom to feed them before they starve to death... meanwhile, said baby is breaking the sound barrier with her cries of agony from an unknown origin.

Lunch time rolls around and you're caught up helping a kid with his reading and you don't want to stop the momentum you have to feed the rest of the kids.

Does that sound really mean? Whoops.

They can head to the kitchen, grab the pre-made lunch and wham-o, problem solved. Kids are fed and CPS isn't banging on your door for not feeding your kids lunch at the right time. Not that they do that... but still... you never know nowadays.

Here are some resources you may find helpful:

10 Make Ahead Lunches Done the Lazy Way

Make Ahead Cold Lunches (A Week's Worth in a Day)

Make Ahead Lunches

Self-Serve Healthy Snacks for Kids

DIY Breakfast Station

       Follow Rochelle Barlow's board School Lunches and Snacks on Pinterest.

 

11-- Create Procedures

Dude, Pam is a genius. She came up with a procedure list idea to plan how to use her various curricula. She takes the resource, lists out the steps to use it and in the order of operation. Now, each time she pulls out that resource she knows exactly what to do without having to re-think the process out each time. What a great use of brain power and time. I'm all about efficiency.

Pam breaks it down even more for you, if you're interested, along with a great example.

12 -- Just the Essentials, Ma'am

Did I say this one already? Whoops. But not really.

What is it you want your children to learn? List them in order of priority. Do the essentials, cut the rest. Or at the very least, keep the non-essentials at a manageable, simplified version.

Related: 11 Tips For a Peaceful First Homeschool Year

Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Can't keep up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Your challenge:

That's a wrap for our 12 ways to simplify your homeschool day! I would really love two things.

1) For you to pick one of these and use it in your homeschool. Don't let it stress or freak you out, just give it a whirl.

2) I'd absolutely love to hear your ideas on how to simplify your homeschool day. I may be all those amazing people rolled into one (har har), but I still don't know everything. Where I have found to simplify my day, that's great, but there are other areas that probably could use simplifying that I hadn't thought of yet.

Share and share away!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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