how-to

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

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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

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

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.

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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.

 

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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

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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]

 

The Easiest Way To Date Your Husband When Life Happens

This post may contain affiliate links. This doesn't change the price for you at all. 

 

It's important to date your husband.

Most people know that, right? You probably even rolled your eyes at me.

And yet... it's just so dang easy for it to slip away in priorities. You're running around, you're exhausted, you're burnt out, you just need a nap (a 5 hour nap), you're busy, you're in the middle of something... you name it, it's a valid excuse.

I have found a solution to this very dilemma that plagued me at every attempt I made.

Hands down, this is the best and easiest idea ever.

 

The Easiest Way To Date Your Husband When Life Happens. You know you should date your husband, but gosh, life gets in the way so easily. I've found the easiest solution that will work with you and not against Click through... to find the best idea and get your FREE workbook!

Oh, this would be great to pin!

 

This year we were on a tight budget for Christmas. Mr Barlow and I decided we'd only spend $30 on each other, including the stocking. I asked for art supplies, Mr Barlow asked for dates and a coupon book.

Well... I've made some of those before for Christmas and my over-acheiving self made lots of plans, wrote the dates out and then when date night came up I was overwhelmed, un-prepared, and... use one of the above excuses.

Since this was his ONLY Christmas present this was getting bumped up to I-can't-let-his-Christmas-be-ultra-lame effort.

I also know myself.

The Easiest Way To Date Your Husband When Life Happens. You know you should date your husband, but gosh, life gets in the way so easily. I've found the easiest solution that will work with you and not against Click through... to find the best idea and get your FREE workbook!

I made it easy on myself and did all (90%) of the prep work ahead of time.

I scoured my favorite dating site (Dating Divas) and used my $30 to print off a bunch of date prep and gather supplies.

Here's a breakdown of what I did:

Date Night in a Box.

Genius genius genius.

I made four boxes.

  1. A Romantic Date Night in a Box
  2. A Fun Date Night in a Box
  3. 12 Months of Dates Box
  4. Games and Misc. Dates Box

What's in the (first) Romantic Date Night in a Box?

  • Champagne flutes (Dollar Store, baby!)
  • Sparkling cider
  • Fabric rose petals
  • Massage oil
  • Tea lights
  • Sexy dice (sorry Mama, close your eyes)
  • Chocoaltes

What's in the (first) Fun Date Night in a Box?

  • Box of popcorn
  • Boxed candy, you know, the fun kind perfect for movies
  • Space Jam movie (he's been wanting this movie for forever)
  • Deck of cards (fun games and can be used for romantic games)
  • Pack of dice
  • Soda for each of us

What's in the Extras and Misc. Dates Box?

  • Several other Date Night in a Box ideas under each category (fun and romantic)
  • One coupon book (the other went in his stocking) [links to both]
  • Fun games... of the bedroom variety. (Dating Divas has some fun, tasteful games that you can tailor to  match your comfort level, varying from "Mellow Mandy" to "Spicy Sandy" -- I totally made those names up). They're all cut out and ready to go.
  • Spoil Your Spouse date idea
  • Group date idea and printables
  • Chocolate body paint (ingredients in a jar ready to go)

In his box he was presented with a list of the titles of these Date Nights. I have my own separate page that lists the date ideas and all the supplies I need for those dates.

I made sure to make notes indicating whether I had them, where they were, and what I needed to borrow or buy. This helps me fill the box back up right away and never be caught without a date ready.

What's in the 12 Months of Dates Box?

  • 12 envelopes with the month written on the outside and a card on the inside with two planned dates

Each month there is a Date In and a Date Out.

We have 5 (going on 6) kiddos and babysitters aren't cheap, nor are they easy to find once they find out how many you have. :/ For the sake of our budgeting goals we've got one date out of the house a month.

Dates In are for when the kids are in bed. These don't all include bedroom type things.

We don't want date night to be alllll about marital relations do we? If that happens at the end, then yay for us. If it doesn't happen at the end, then how nice to not have that pressure at the beginning of the night and now no guilt is attached.

 

The Easiest Way To Date Your Husband When Life Happens. You know you should date your husband, but gosh, life gets in the way so easily. I've found the easiest solution that will work with you and not against Click through... to find the best idea and get your FREE workbook!

 

I'm due to deliver early April so I knew any dates would be low key with minimal planning.

I know the months where our budget is tighter than usual and made sure our dates were cheap or free.

 

How he uses his dating goodies

  • For the 12 months of dates: we sit down and quickly pick the dates for our dates. (takes 2 minutes) That way I can do any prep necessary ahead of time. Or at least prepare myself mentally. I don't do spontaneous. It stresses me out.
  • He can cash in his coupons at ANY time.... except if I'm sleeping, in the hospital, sick, etc. Mr. Barlow is not unreasonable, but I just want to clarify for others to be realistic.
  • The Date Nights in a Box we can pick any other day to use. Once that idea has been used, we fill the box up with the next idea and it's all ready for the next time we use it.
  • The Extras & Misc Box we can add items to any other date we have planned, use it spontaneously for a date night, or just a night of intimacy. *immature wink wink*

 

It sounds confusing, but it's not. Honest.

 

How to date your husband even when life happens.

Here's my report so far:

He's cashed in a few coupons and I gave myself a pep talk when I was putting this together that even if I was busy, tired, or "not in the mood" that I'd go for it. So far, so good! We've had fun and have definitely felt closer emotionally with just this one gift.

 

We've used a Date Night in a Box -- fun night -- and it was a simple, fun evening together.

Hubs and I are very independent and have our own things that we love to do and it's so easy for us to get wrapped up in our own things that we don't have time to just be together. This was a fun way to make that happen.

 

We've had our first Date In and it was a blast! It was a simple date to get us started off with. We had a movie and fondue. Now, you may think, wow, yawn, but it was great!

We've never had fondue and Mr Barlow was thinking it was going to be gross. He's not a sweets guy and apparently doesn't really like cheese that much. Weirdo.

Instead of watching a movie we finished a show we both like -- Battle Creek. I'm still ticked that it was cancelled. Ugh. Jerks, all of 'em. 

We prepped all the fondue dippers and I made the chocolate sauce and the cheese sauce. We decided to go for both in half batches to see which we liked the best.

We set up the coffee table with our goodies, turned the lights off, put on the show and dug in. It was so yummy. So so yummy. I want more cheese sauce. NOW!

He loved it, which made me all the more happy! I was so worried that our first date would be a total bust.

It was such a good, fun night working together, eating together, talking about the show and our favorite scenes, characters, and episodes. Success!

Was it worth the few days of prep work?

In this seemingly unexciting gift has been a fantastic chance for us to make dating one another not only a priority, but easy enough for us to do when life gets in the way, exhaustion sets in, and we're so busy doing everything that we do.

That easy excuse of not knowing what to do, not having the funds to do things, and not having everything ready to go is now gone. We just grab a box and go for it!

I feel closer to Mr. Barlow and am more aware of our relationship, our time together, and my desire to treat him like the king he is, has grown.

Our whole family is happier, our evenings together, even when we're not on a date, are happier and more open and relaxed. We can easily share the stresses of life because we feel that we're a true team.

 

Grab a free workbook to make dating your husband easier!

Your challenge!

Pick a box idea and get going! A little bit of work on the front-end will save you tons in the end. Pretty promise.

I've made a few worksheets for you to help you get on your way as painlessly as possible!

The Easiest Way To Date Your Husband When Life Happens. You know you should date your husband, but gosh, life gets in the way so easily. I've found the easiest solution that will work with you and not against Click through... to find the best idea and get your FREE workbook!

 

Marriage

Click the picture to find some other fantastic ideas and tips from some wonderful women!

 

Exhausted from homeschooling? Here's how to date your hubby without the work.

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

How to Teach Your Child Reverence - The Best Method

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence. Reverence... doesn't have to be hard to teach.

You ask yourself, "why am I even bothering to go to church?"

What's the point when you miss most everything and you're wrestling a stinker child the entire time? Let me be the first to remind you that despite your struggles it really is worth it. That's all well and good, but we don't want to have church time equate a battle of the wills.

I have many people that ask me how I get my kids to be so reverent in church.

 

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not bragging. Nor am I saying my kids are heavenly angels 100% or even 90% of the time. They're regular children, just like everyone else's. Meaning, they get into trouble every day.

I am also not saying I am the master of parenting. Ha!

I AM saying it's possible to teach your children reverence (or quiet, to start with) without bribing, rewards, or death threats.

 

Here are the reverence rules:

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence.

  1. No toys
  2. No paper and coloring things*
  3. No food*
  4. No more than one warning
  5. Don't reward bad choices

Okay, here's how it goes down.

Don't bring toys to church. NONE.

That is all. Do not bring toys. They do not need them. Honest.

How will they learn to listen to the service (or their teachers) if they are always playing with toys? I do NOT want to get into a debate about ADD/ADHD and all that goodness. Both my brothers and myself have these and trust me when I say, we went without toys and we were still happy and able to listen.

Same for coloring supplies

Ditch the coloring goodies. Leave them at home.

*There is a point you can re-introduce these. We'll talk about those in a minute.

Food is unnecessary!

Don't have your bag filled with fruit snacks, crackers, cheese, bananas, etc, etc.

If your child is over the age of 3 they don't need snacks at church. So don't bring any. The only exception to this is if your child has a real medical reason to have food accessible. A real one.

*If they're under the age of 3, bring only the minimal amount and not a bajillion choices. One or two things max, and a drink.

For instance, Teddy Bear is 19 months old now. We bring a sippy cup and a small snack bag of cereal or goldfish. ONE snack bag. It's not even all the way full. I only bring it out when it's necessary.

Seating Arrangements

They can sit in your lap or sit next to you. Those are the ONLY two options!

If they've over a certain age/size, then sitting in your lap would not be a good idea. My 6, 8, or 9 year old in my lap? I don't think so.

  • You don't let them get down to walk around by your feet.
  • You don't let them sit down on the floor.
  • You don't let them walk around the aisles or crawl around the aisles.

I do allow my children to stand on the benches until they reach an age/height that makes that inappropriate. Usually around 2.

One warning ONLY!

This shouldn't be a wrestling match. If they are misbehaving in ANY way (crying, whining, talking loudly, wrestling trying to get down, etc) you give them stern, but quiet direction. No threats, no warnings, no counting, no chances.

Here are some examples of things to say/do:

  • Tap them on the shoulder.
  • Tap them on the shoulder + "the look"
  • Tap them on the shoulder + a silent Shhhhh
  • "No more crying."
  • "Stop whining"
  • "You can sit next to me or sit in my lap. Those are your choices. You have 10 seconds to pick or I'll pick for you."  **Count the 10 seconds in your head only.** 
  • "It's time to be quiet"
  • "Stop. Now."

Etc.

You only say it once!!

One time. Uno. Not two, not three, not one and a half. ONE. TIME.

Well, what happens when they do it again?

Pick them up as gently as the situation allows, and without fuss you remove them from the chapel. If they are too big to be carried, you hold their hand and lead them out. If they're too old for that, walk them out in any way you see appropriate but the least disruptive to those around you.

Even if you warned them 5 minutes ago, you remove them now. If it was significantly longer than 5 minutes, I'll leave it up to your discretion, just keep an eye on it. Don't let it become a pattern or habit. If it happens at regular intervals, drop the hammer after the first reminder no matter the time between the first offense and the second.

My recommendation: until their good behavior has been consistent I would remove them even if they didn't misbehave for 30 minutes. Then, when they have been consistent, I'd become more relaxed.

NOW... this is the important bit.

You've just removed your child from the chapel because of poor choices.

Do NOT set them down to walk/crawl around!

Do NOT talk with others in the hallway!

 

  1. Find a quiet corner or empty classroom. Preferably with a chair or table. Don't leave the church. Stay inside.
  2. Set them down on the chair (a table will do in a pinch).
  3. Say, "we will go back in when you are ready to stop ____."
  4. Do not say more.

Do not make eye contact. Do not engage with them at all. At all. If they get down, pick them up and set them back down. Do not say a word no matter how many times they get off the chair or how upsetting it can be.

Do not show them any type of emotion in your face, eyes, body, or voice. Just be calm and neutral. Take deep breaths and maybe find your own nearby spot to be quiet in.

Why are we doing this?

The reward for their good behavior is to go back into the chapel and sit down with their family.

If you let them run around or are talking to other people the reward for their behavior is to get out of the chapel and have fun. Not the message you want to send.

When they've stopped crying or whining for a sufficient amount of time then come back in. Look happy and calm. Sit back down and enjoy your church service.

My general rule of thumb: 1 minute per year they are old -- I'll do longer if I feel they're not quite done. It does need to be that whole amount of time.

For instance, Sweet Cheeks is 4. If she were to be set on the chair, I'd have her be quiet for at least 4 minutes. If she gets down at 3.5 minutes, or starts crying again at 3.5 minutes (or any other time), her time starts over when she stops crying or sits back down. No exceptions. It must be 4 minutes straight.

Repeat as many times as is necessary.

Here are some more things you may find helpful.

  • Sit up towards the front.
  • Don't sit next to their friends.
  • Don't sit next or near (in front of or behind) families with children that are rowdy and disruptive.

When my eldest was 4 we once made the mistake of sitting near a family with a boy his age. His parents literally had a backpack FULL of toys and a backpack FULL of food. No joke. TWO BACKPACKS full of stuff for their one child. My son saw that and went berserk. Of course he wanted those toys and food! I did too, and I'm an adult!

You can sit near other rowdy kids or friends when your kids have been able to sit through the whole service for a few months without having to be removed.

Now, this isn't because we're better than those children or parents. We're not. This is for your children to be able to develop their own discipline without having to work even harder than usual for it. Sitting still and quiet can be a real challenge for some. Let's make it as easy as possible on them.

  • When your kids are older and have been reverent for some time (more than a few months), then you may bring a FEW sheets of paper and a small set of writing utensils. One pencil, one pen, or a FEW crayons/colored pencils (not the whole box).

My children receive these items after the sacrament portion of the service is over. This could be your communion, or other really important part of the service. Or about 1/3 through.

I don't even allow these items to be used every Sunday.

If they slip into bad habits they are removed.

  • When the older children need a drink of water or to go to the bathroom they are to leave quietly go about their business and return promptly. If it's been some time I either send an older child, or my husband or I go to check on them. If they're caught playing, talking, or dawdling, they will now have to be taken to the bathroom/water fountain for the next month.

[Tweet "Teaching children to be reverent is easier than I thought!"]

That's it!!

I realize that some of you may find this approach strict and even mean. You're allowed to believe what you believe. I, however, disagree with your disagreement. ;)

I have used this approach with each of my children with great success and without a ton of work. My rowdiest child was calm after two Sundays of "work."  I haven't had to take him out ever again.

I also see the fruits of my labor in other areas. When we go to a doctor or dentist appointment, if we have any meeting where they are required to sit still and be quiet, they can do it and it's not a power struggle. When they're at their sports practice, dance class, they are usually the only kid paying attention to their coach or teacher. They pay attention in their homeschool co-op and aren't chattering away with their friends when they should be working or listening.

Most important to me, my children listen to the church service, they listen in their Sunday School classes and actively participate. That is how children go from learning to sit still and be quiet, to learning to show true reverence.

This is how they are given the opportunity to learn the gospel, grow closer to their Father in Heaven and the Savior. To learn truths that will bless their lives forever. That is the biggest win of all.

This is perfect for pinning!!

Sometimes you wonder why you even bother going to church...all you're doing is wrestling your child trying to get them to shush for 1 minute bursts. You can teach your child to be reverent without bribes, rewards, or death threats! CLICK to read more on the best method (and the easiest) to teach your child reverence.

Let me know how it goes!

Have any questions? Success stories? Please share them below!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

The Homeschool Omnibus is here! Grab the 90 Creative Resources to Refresh Your Homeschool

Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 4 & 3

You're so close to figuring out homeschooling and your swarm of children. par

Or....maybe not. ;)

You're still just not seeing the WHOLE picture or how it all goes together.

These two tips will help fit some of the final pieces together in your mind. That picture will begin to form more wholly and beautifully!

tips for homeschool large family 4

#4

You're searching everywhere, reading everything, trying to figure out how to keep homeschooling your children. There's so many systems, and methods, and suggestions your brain is cramping.

Design your own game plan that combines methods into what works for YOU.

Go to your favorite resources and people to find the plans and suggestions that most appeal to you.

NOT what you think you should be doing. What you think would work FOR your family. Pick what will fit and throw the rest out.

Some resources I've used

Blueprint Homeschooling  -- Some serious goodness here!

Plan to Be Flexible -- Love!

Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day -- So encouraging!

[Tweet "Your #homeschool plan should be designed for your family, not someone else's. "]

Write/draw it all out so you can see it.

Here's how I've done that.

I will say that I don't have pictures for you and I know how much those help. The huge poster I had filled out got smashed in our move. I just keep forgetting to grab a new poster every time I go to the store. Which I did tonight, I eyed the posters and thought, I think I need one of those... and kept on wheeling through.

But, I DID get to see Captain Hook (minus the hook).

Take out a piece of paper for each kid, even the baby.

  1. Write their name at the top
  2. List out every subject they do
  3. Underneath each subject list each piece of curriculum or resource you use (within reason)
  4. Grab some highlighters (or something similar)
  5. Highlight every piece of curriculum that requires Mom to be with them when they use it. Use the same color for this across all the papers.
  6. Highlight every piece of curriculum that needs some, but not full, one-on-one time. Medium help from mom (give instructions, help set it up, etc.); use the same color.
  7. Highlight every piece of curriculum that they can do on their own 100%. Again, use the same color. It may be helpful to indicate how long this task generally takes.

Now is the mind cramp time. Don't despair. I got through this with some major undiagnosed brain fog and pregnancy brain.  Meaning, even if you're at 5% of your game, you've got this. You just may stare at the paper a little longer. ;)

This is where I grabbed lots of scratch paper. Set out your plan (that you set up) and schedule. You can do this with routines rather than schedules.

 

Look at all your kids, how many things can each do alone, with you, and with some help? The younger ones will need more of you, obviously. Pick a child and a subject. Just do the first on the list. 

Now, when that child is doing this curriculum what could your other children be doing?

If Captain is doing his math (he does alone, unless he is struggling), I can have Little Miss working on her spelling and vocabulary words nearby. I sit with The Animal and do his reading lesson.  

I keep going through each child and putting them in work slots.

We usually do school in chunks of time. I break down our subjects to be efficient and and put about 3-4 work slots in one chunk of time.

[wc_row][wc_column size="one-fourth" position="first"]

The Captain - 4th

  1. Reading
  2. Handwriting
  3. Spelling
  4. Scriptures

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth"]

Little Miss - 2nd

  1. Math
  2. Handwriting
  3. Spelling
  4. Scriptures

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth"]

The Animal - 1st

  1. Handwriting
  2. Reading
  3. Math
  4. Play with Sweet Cheeks

[/wc_column][wc_column size="one-fourth" position="last"]

Sweet Cheeks - PreK-ish & The Baby (1)

  1. Color (Baby sits with me)
  2. Reading (Baby plays or has a snack)
  3. Plays (both)
  4. Plays with The Animal (Mom plays with Baby)

[/wc_column][/wc_row]

Then, I go through the next chunk of time and repeat.

I put each block of time on a post-it. This way, if something comes up, I can shift the block of time around and know that when I'm helping The Animal with math, the older two should be working on their spelling. It takes out the day-to-day thinking for me. I just look and it tells me what would be best for the other children to do if I'm helping another on a certain subject.

 

Test and tweak as necessary. Always be realistic with yourself.

 

 

ten tips large family 4 pin

#3

Large families have been blessed with many children just eager to love and be loved. There always seems like at least one child slips through the cracks no matter how hard you try.

Each week, set an appointment with each child to meet with them.

You'll check in with them, chat, and ask questions.

  • How are they doing this week?
  • What's been hard for them?
  • What's been enjoyable?
  • What have they learned?
  • What do they need help with?
  • What would they like to tell you about?

This is a perfect opportunity to go over any missed answers on work that's been turned in, anything they're struggling with, and to review any particular material you want to go over.

You can take this time to teach them something that's just for them. You can work on a special project together. My eldest son and I work on some of his Cub Scout stuff to pass off. With The Animal, we do some fun math games. Little Miss loves working on art projects together.

 

You can make this appointment as short or as long as you'd like. You don't have to do everything I've listed. Just set an appointment, put it in your calendar, and sit down and spend time with them.

 

This brought me a lot of peace when I started it. I have time to really connect and talk to each child, to spend it in a meaningful way, that I hope will foster and grow our relationship as parent and child that will bless us for years to come.

In Plan to Be Flexible, Alicia even talks about setting up a yearly date, or appointment, with each child to evaluate your Homeschooling. She's got tons of great questions and worksheets for this invaluable date.

[Tweet "Crave consistent one-on-one time with your children? Check out this easy #tip"]

In summary

Tip #4: Design your own plan + write it out

Tip #3: Set an appointment with each child

You are nearly there! Your homeschooling is going to take off and be just what you need it to be for your family and yourself. You'll find yourself giggling with relief.

chuffed

 

Get the last two tips tomorrow!! Wahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 6 & 5

You thought Homeschooling was for your family, but gosh, this wrangling and teaching and cuddling and cooking and cleaning of all these kids at the same time is terrifying.

What in the heck are you to do? Give up? Throw in the towel? Never! ...but, wow.

tips for homeschool large family 3

 

It's okay. I get it. You're right, you don't have to give up. That voice that tells you there's gotta be a way, after all you see tons of Homeschooling families pulling it off and they look sane, happy, and they're all educated. They can't all be superhuman!

 

They're not. They're just the same as you, and as me.

Check out my next two tips to get you on your way to be just as joyful, calm, sane, and intelligent.

(Did you miss the first four tips? Get tips 10 & 9. Get tips 8 & 7).

 

#6

So many large Homeschooling families have little ones running around. Those precious little ones can (and will) derail your daily homeschool schedule and plans in an instant.

Implementing plans and backup plans will ensure all of your children continue to learn even on the worst days.

 

Schedule the bulk of your activities when your youngsters are at their happiest and most agreeable times. As well as during their nap times.

You can't rely on nap times all the time.

Many kids start to outgrow nap times before you're ready, or they won't go to sleep at the time you have planned, or at all.

For instance, my youngest little guy (1 years old) seems to be happiest early in the morning and then right after dinner. Between those times it's always a guess. Sometimes he's cranky (3 teeth are breaking through right now) and sometimes he's giggly. Sometimes he wants his nap at his regular time and sometimes he decides he needs his nap an hour ahead of his usual time.

[Tweet "Plan your #homeschool times around your baby's happiest times of the day"]

I plan our mom-is-needed school time around those happy times when he's happiest playing by himself with some toys, pulling out all the wipes, or exploring the kitchen drawers.

When he needs me to pay attention to him I have the kids doing the bulk of their independent work, or other items on their daily checklists. He gets lots of mommy playtime, cuddling, and food.

Use your checklists to have older kids rotate school time and sibling time. There are times when I need to help The Animal on his reading and he needs quiet. We go downstairs to the couch and the older kids are working. One is reading to Sweet Cheeks or coloring with her. The other older kid is playing with The Baby.

 

superhuman

 

As I mentioned yesterday, each child has on their daily checklist to spend time with the younger two. It is a tremendous help to me.

Have activities, easy ones, ready for the youngsters. Set guidelines for the older little ones. My Sweet Cheeks is 3.5 and she can handle guidelines where my 1 year old will just drool on my face.

Make the activities simple, easy to put together, and in a location that is easy to access. I would suggest setting rules that these are for school time only in order to keep them from growing uninterested in that set as quick.

Fun activities for babies to preschoolers

 

Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool + PreK on Pinterest.

#5

Homeschooling families can get overrun with their long lists of things to coordinate.

They don't implement them because they're too overwhelmed to think about it or where to start. Putting systems in place is a profitable strategy because it saves time, energy, and brain cells.

We can't start losing more than we already have! ;)

easy-peasy

Set up a system for your chores. Have chore rotations, each child in charge of a chore appropriate for their age. They can do more than you realize.

Here are the chores we have our kids do:

  • Dishes: hand washing, dishwasher, putting away (started at about age 6/7)
  • Laundry: sorting, wash, dry, fold, and put away (starting at age 3)
  • Trash: collecting, taking out, picking up trash in the house (age 3+)
  • Sweep and mop (age 5+)
  • Vacuum (age 5/6+)
  • Counters, table (4+)
  • Bathrooms (7+)
  • Make beds (2+)
  • Toys, books, clutter, rooms (2+)

Set up buckets or baskets for each chore containing the supplies they need for each chore (if anything is required) and put a checklist in each chore bucket. If the chore doesn't require a bucket, have a place for checklist for that chore.

This is what you'll use to say these things need to be done correctly for this chore to be checked off. You can inspect with that checklist in hand, or have them inspect themselves.

If you want chores done a specific time each day, set up a schedule. You can set up a time of day you'd like it done in (AM, after lunch, PM) otherwise just say it needs to be done today.

ten tips large family 3 pin

Set up systems for meals.

Use a meal planner system, make lunches ahead of time, make an assembly line, make dinners ahead of time, and have your older children involved in cooking.

Organize your school area to provide a place for everything and systems for your school days. Prepare every needful thing. Set aside a weekend to do major prep work, a time slot for each week, and a few minutes each day to prep for the next day.

Have shelfs, baskets, areas, pouches, folders, and bulletin boards and more dedicated to specific school work, tools, resources, and activities. Set up areas for the kids to have access their work and supplies and any other learning activity you'd like them to do independently.

This doesn't mean spend your lifetime doing this or a lifetime worth of money to do it. Do what you can with what you have and do it in the time you have.

The more you can do ahead of time setting up the systems that work for your family the better prepared you'll be when life hits you or you're all just having one of those days.

This MP3 is great at helping you organize your home for some peace!

In summary

#6 Have definite plans and back up plans for your littles.

#5 Get organized with systems and prepare as much as you can.

Today's tips require a bit more work than the previous four. You didn't think you'd get out of working did you? Nah, I knew you were realistic.

Working today will save you tomorrow. So long as you don't overdo it and try to do it all in one day. Make sure you get help from your family.

Tomorrow's Homeschooling tips are some of my favorite! See you then.

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 8 & 7

As a parent of a large homeschooling family you wonder if it's doable. 

There's so much to consider, to worry about. It's overwhelming.

tips for homeschool large family 2

Here are two more tips -- tested and proven -- that will aide you in your noble quest for sanity, fun, and a fabulous education for your amazing family.

#8

You've got so many things you're think about in a constant, steady stream. You've delegated jobs and responsibilities, but are concerned that after half a day it will all fizzle out to nothing more than a puddle of good intentions.

Take your list of delegated responsibilities (tip #9) and make them trackable for each person.

Make a checklist of daily tasks for each child, with a special place to keep it and a pen, marker, highlighter, sticker, or pencil set aside solely for this purpose. This is all the motivation my kids needed.

They are in charge of doing the task and marking it done.

[Tweet "Put your kids in charge of their daily tasks and they will take more ownership #homeschool #tip"]

Include tasks such as:

  • Play with the baby
  • Read to the toddler
  • Go over skip counting with Jr.

Make their daily tasks required (schoolwork, chores, and misc) to be done before anything else. Rotate their responsibilities and switch it up.

Don't confine the children to a time, unless you really need it to be done at a specific time. If you allow them greater freedom by picking the order and the time they do things in, they will cooperate more and take better ownership of their checklists.

Perhaps if they do not do things correctly, or at all, or in a timely manner you could set a schedule for that list until they prove themselves otherwise. That's up to you.

Here are two resources for checklists and daily task sheets that I have used.

Free Accountability Printable -- Heather, over at OnlyPassionateCuriosity.com has so many wonderful printables. some free, some paid, but gosh, they are cheap and worth it! We used this checklist since I found it back in November 2014. Love it!

Betsy at Notebooking Nook has a bajillion amazing and awesome goodies. Check out this great student planner pack and assignment cards. We're going to give these a whirl this year!

ten tips large family 2 pin

#7

You are homeschooling a lot of kids...at the same time. The kids all want your undivided attention...all at the same time. Foster independence in each child and have them rely on themselves more and more to learn.

This may hurt and you may want to punch me: let go of curriculum that is teacher-driven, teacher-led, teacher-powered, teacher teacher teacher. Aahhhhh!

Or come up with a great way to use it, but take out the heavy burden of doing it all always.

Your children may resist. In fact, they will.

I want my teacher back! I want you to give me the information! I don't want to do this by myself... I can't do this by myself.... MooooOOoommmmmm......!

 

Do not fall for it. Your children are brilliant. Even if they don't test high on the IQ, and in fact, you truly worry that they're really not that smart, they are. They are smart enough to do this. This is when it takes faith and trust from you to allow them this opportunity.

You're still there, you're still their teacher (or facilitator), you're just letting them take more control over their own education. This is a great way to teach choice and accountability, a great characteristic for us all.

[Tweet "Your kids may protest when you have them do more #homeschool work on their own. Don't fall for it."]

What do you do instead?

Switch to a child-led curriculum (Robinson Curriculum). Have them read more living, whole, rich books as their way of learning. Charlotte Mason method takes advantage of many living books. As do many Homeschooling methods.

Get your kids writing more. Write more papers, more poems, more journal entries. Have them start notebooking.

Give them individual work that can be done without mom hovering. I'm not saying give them busy work. I do not believe in busy work. In fact, that's one of the reasons I do not send my children to public school. 

Here are some great resources for individual work for all ages:

See? There is TONS of goodness out there. You will need to do some prep work to get this all settled and ready to go. Take a bit of time one weekend, have someone help watch the kids, or have your husband take the kids out to the park while you stay home and just focus in on getting your stuff ready to go at a moment's notice.

If you don't get it all ready you'll never use it, or you'll get so stressed in the moment that you'll curse my name and wish you'd never read this stupid blog post.

iHomeschool Network's 4th annual Omnibus sale • the original homeschool bundle

In summary

#8 = checklists + daily tasks

#7 = independence + independent work (not busy work)

[Tweet "10 tips for #homeschooling large families. Can you guess what tips 8 and 7 are? "]

Up next

Tomorrow you'll get tips 6 & 5. I'll give you a hint: little.

Hey, if you have some great ideas to help with checklists and fostering independence, please tell me. I'm always on the hunt to add to my rotation. 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips For Homeschooling A Large Family: Tips 10 & 9

Is homeschooling a large family really even possible?

Without losing your mind? Without becoming "that homeschool mom" that people bolt at the first sight of?

Yeah, it is.

 

tips for homeschool large family

 

I have many friends that homeschool their first two kids, love it, or get overwhelmed, and then when the third one is old enough for school they bail come August.

That's sad. Not only is it sad, but it's unnecessary.

[Tweet "#Homeschooling a large family is doable, no straightjacket required."]

If you are thinking about not homeschooling anymore because of the size of your family, just give me 5 days to show you another option.

5 Days. For 5 Days you'll get a countdown of my top tips, and things that I have used and am using for my own family. In case you are wondering, I have 5 children. I know some things.

I'm working my way from great to awesome. I'm saving my top tips for last. You've got to build up to the goodness. That doesn't mean you skip 10 - 6 because they're no good. False. They are good. It was really hard to put them in order of impact/importance; there are quite a few that I think are equal.

It's the final countdown!!!!

#10

Many large Homeschooling families feel alone, overwhelmed, and stressed. They don't know how to banish these damaging and discouraging feelings and often turn to the wrong sources. Use the free tools that are right next to you, but you may not see them as a tool and thus, dismiss them.

Learn to laugh at yourself and use humor to diffuse any negative feelings in your home and in your heart.

Using humor robs these negative feelings of their power over you.

 

When the kids' science experiment goes all sorts of wrong find something that you can laugh about; find something that you learned through this colossal gaffe and make it part of the learning process with your children. Breathe.

"Blue skies in, gray skies out." -McKenna (American Girl movie)

 

Start and end your day with sincere, earnest, and specific prayers for you, your spouse, your children, and your homeschool.

Pray for the clarity, energy, and focus you need. Pray for the support you need from your spouse, pray for each thing each of your children need. If they are struggling with writing a paper, pray for help to guide them, to encourage them, and for that child to understand, to persist, and to whatever else they need.

 

Do not isolate yourself or become a martyr. Reach out to your spouse, or anyone else to create a support system that fits you.

This is a hard one for me. I'm a mega introvert and love being alone. It's hard for me to ask for help, but I'm learning that things go so much better when I reach out for help and I make connections with other Homeschooling Mamas doing the same thing I am.

ten tips large family pin

#9

As a Homeschooling mom of a large family it often feels like we're herding cats. Stray, wild, feral cats.

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blackcat

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ninja_cat

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cinl

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Getting everything and everyone to operate without any major kinks is necessary to avoid burn-out and stress overload. Work together and share the responsibilities to lighten your load.

Sit down and work out what needs to be done in your home, your family, and your school each day, each week, and each month. Gather the family together to discuss these items and then delegate these duties to every person in the family (except the newborn, of course).

You are a family, which means you are a team. The job of keeping the family going is everyone's.

 

Now what?

I don't like to just have ambiguous ideas thrown at me. I like directions, I like steps, I love examples.

There are a few resources I want to point out to you that you can use to help you accomplish tips #10 and #9.

hope-0

Hope For The Heart of The Homeschool Mom by Jamerrill Stewart

It has the most beautiful cover, don't you think? There are more than just pretty words in here, but actionable, helpful ideas, guidance, and encouragement specifically for those days when you question your sanity and know those angel children of yours are morphing into wild cats.

Mindset For Moms by Jamie Martin

I've followed Jamie since the beginning of time (when I started Homeschooling). This is a wonderful book that lays out a new way of thinking, acting, being for 30 days.

There are 3 MP3 that you will enjoy listening to. The titles alone grabbed me, never mind that they're excellent.

anger-0

Letting Go of Mommy Anger -- I know, right!

Discover the Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool -- perfect to go along with your daily prayers.

You Are Not Alone: Collaborate Homeschool -- now you can figure out exactly how to create that support system you need.

You can purchase each of these separately and you will be on your way to mastering the skills, the stress, the overwhelm and doubt that you have. Don't mistake, there's no shame in feeling any of these. The important part is you don't let them beat you; you don't let them win.

Come back tomorrow for tips #8 and #7: they're gonna be awesome!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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Homeschool Wars: Year Round vs. Traditional Schedule

  In the first edition of HOMESCHOOL WARS we have an epic battle.

hs war year round vs trad

 

Epic may be a little strong, but it's a battle, nonetheless.

Which is better? Which is right for you? Let's see the two fight to the death and see which one survives. Mwahahahahaha

 

That is so therapeutic.

Here are the Homeschool War Guidelines:

  1. They'll each have three rounds to prove themselves. That's it. If they're knocked out early, they're knocked out early and they dead. Dead dead dead.
  2. I'll leave the declaration of the winner up to you! You each get a chance to vote for the winner at the bottom of the post. The winner will be announced at a later date (TBD).

Let's not sit around anymore, let's do some stretches, wipe the sweat from our brow, guzzle some water, and get the bandaids ready.

Homeschool Wars: Year Round vs. Traditional

Round One: Benefits

Year Round Homeschooling:

  • Avoid forgetting school material over the summer
  • Move ahead faster
  • More practice for struggling learners
  • More breaks (flexibility) for life
  • Avoid burn out by having longer set breaks throughout the year + more prep time
  • Not worrying about falling behind or catching up

Traditional Schedule Homeschooling

  • Coincide with public school siblings and friends
  • Easy to schedule
  • Long summer break
  • Long time in the summer to prepare for the coming school year
  • Distinct grade/level changes

 

Whew... things are getting serious 'round here. Are you getting scared? Pumped? Who are you rooting for?

Now now... you've got to be unbiased!

 

[Tweet "Watch this epic #homeschoolwars battle unfold! Year Round v Traditional Scheduling. Who will win? "]

 

Round Two: Drawbacks

Year Round Homeschooling:

  • Tricky to schedule
  • Doesn't go along with public school friends and family
  • Smaller summer break
  • Harder to figure out grade/level changes

Traditional Schedule Homeschooling:

  • Less flexibility
  • Easy to fall behind, harder to catch up
  • Summer Slump = forgetting over the summer = more review time
  • Can get burnt out easily

Homeschool Wars: Year Round vs Traditional

 

This is it... don't get scared now.  - Kevin M.

Round Three: Final Argument

Year Round Homeschooling:

I give you FLEXIBILITY!!!!

Traditional Schedule Homeschooling:

I give you EASE!!!!

Bonus Round: How To

Homeschool Wars: Year Round vs. Traditional

Year Round Homeschooling:

Let's set up the schedule. You've got a multitude of options.

On = Doing school

Off = Break

Option #1:

Have 6 terms with each term consisting of 6 weeks on /1 week off (aka Sabbath Schooling, that's what the cool kids call it). You have a remainder of 10 weeks left to take breaks, no more than 2 - 3 week at a time.

Option #2

12 Terms with 3 weeks on/1 week off with 5 extra weeks to scatter around the year.

Options #3 - #5

  • Do 45 days on/15 days off
  • 45 days on/10 days off (more available for summer)
  • 60 days on/20 days off

I could go on and on and on... but then you'd want to do battle with ME. I don't like getting punched.

This is the tricky part: you have to pick which schedule will work with you and your family.

Now what?

#1  [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Bust out your good ole friend, the calendar.[/wc_highlight] Grab some highlighters, a pencil with a good eraser on it, and some blank paper.

I like to have a blank calendar in front of me with the whole year in mini version with just the numbers, no boxes. I need as little clutter as possible to be able to think it through.

#2  [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Grab your[/wc_highlight] family, work, and any other  [wc_highlight color="yellow"]calendars[/wc_highlight] you need and use.

#3 On that mini calendar [wc_highlight color="yellow"]mark with highlighter the dates[/wc_highlight] that are already designated holidays and vacations that you will take off from school.

#4 [wc_highlight color="yellow"]I mark the time period[/wc_highlight] that I usually get [wc_highlight color="yellow"]burnt out[/wc_highlight] from homeschooling. I just put a little dot in pencil by those dates.

No, you can't mark the whole thing with a burnout dot.

#5  [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Pick your routine.[/wc_highlight] 6 weeks on 1 week off? 3 or 4 weeks on 1 week off?

You’ll be able to place those extra weeks in as you go, but first, let’s get a loose skeleton going.

#6 Then I kind of  [wc_highlight color="yellow"]pick a start date[/wc_highlight] that I might like and work towards the first holiday.

Are you starting now? Next week? Mid-August, first week in September? First of January? It doesn’t matter when you start, just so long as you start and that works for you.

If you started out your year with the traditional school year calendar it doesn’t mean that you can’t switch to year-round homeschooling until the next school year. You can start right away.

I want two weeks off for Christmas, so I try to make my schedule meet up so I can have that break then. It may help to work backwards.

Use pencil!!

#7 Play around with the dates. [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Sprinkle in your break weeks[/wc_highlight]  here and there.

Make sure to schedule your vacation weeks. For instance, a week off for Thanksgiving, or two for Christmas. A vacation planned for the summer, or the holidays, sports camps, or summer camps.Plan around these times.

You may want to save up some of your extra weeks for the summer and have a month off if you need to.

You’ll have 10 extra weeks to work with (if you did 6w/1w). I recommend that you don’t schedule all of those 10 weeks right away. Maybe leave yourself an extra week or two to plug in here and there where you need them.

You can move things around. What if your whole family gets wiped out with the flu in the middle of your 6 weeks? Well, no worries, that was your week off and now you can pick up where you left off and use that sick week as your off week.

Admittedly, that’s not really a fun way to spend your break. That’s why I suggested to leave an extra week or two for those what-ifs.

You may get sick for a few days. You may need an extra break. You may have a vacation or work trip come up unexpectedly. You may want to join the circus. It’s really just whatever you want to do with it. But you’ve always got that cushion.

If you don’t use it during the school year, you’ve got a few extra weeks of vacation before you start up again. Or heck, just roll right through them and save them up for next year. It’s like rollover minutes before those became obsolete.

Finished!

Homeschool Wars: Year Round vs Traditional

Traditional Schedule Homeschooling:

It's time to figure out your schedule.

#1 [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Go to your local school district's website.[/wc_highlight] Go clickety-click on their calendar for the upcoming school year. Print it out if you can, or make notes on the important dates.

What are the important dates?

First day of school, last day of school, holidays and breaks, teacher work days, etc.

#2 [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Grab that mini calendar[/wc_highlight] I was telling you about, your highlighters, your pencil and eraser. Maybe some scratch paper.

#3 [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Mark the dates[/wc_highlight] the school year begins and ends. Mark the holidays and vacations you will be taking off.

#4 [wc_highlight color="yellow"]Decide[/wc_highlight] now if you'll take the [wc_highlight color="yellow"]school vacations[/wc_highlight] with them: teacher inservice days, random holidays, or half days.

In Oregon they are super weird and every Wednesday is a half day. And every other Monday is off. I think it was due to budget cuts and the still fudging the required number of days. That's another post for another time.

Mark the dates you'll be taking off with them. Leave the ones you will keep schooling unmarked.

#5 Next, you need to [wc_highlight color="yellow"]fill in any dates[/wc_highlight] you know ahead of time that [wc_highlight color="yellow"]you will be not doing school work[/wc_highlight]. Pre-planned vacations, conferences, work commitments, etc.

#6 Figure out [wc_highlight color="yellow"]how you will make up for them.[/wc_highlight] Are you going to add an extra day for each missed? Will you double up on school work on the days before and/or after the missed days? Will you skip some planned breaks, add on extra time at the end of the school year, or will you just ignore those missed days and forge ahead?

Don't forget to decide what you'll do for your sick days as well.

#7 Get it all [wc_highlight color="yellow"]in your calendar[/wc_highlight], pencil it in, just in case, and that's it.

You're all set and ready to go into your next phase of planning: adding in curriculum plans.

To sum it all up

No matter which one you choose, the most important thing to remember is that the schedule should work FOR you. YOU are not working for the schedule.

If you want to try Year Round Homeschooling but find that it's just lame-sauce, then scrap it and switch back to Traditional Scheduling. If you try Traditional Scheduling, but want to give Year Round Homeschooling a whirl, then start. You can make that switch at any time.

I do not recommend switching methods every other week, or month. Sorry, Charlie. I'll give you a pass for two times a school year.

What screws us up the most in homeschool

Two last things

#1 Are there any benefits or drawbacks that I missed? Share them in the comments!

#2 Vote. It takes two seconds to pick the winner. After a certain period of time... I don't have all the answers, people, I will announce the winner! So you've got to vote.

Don't worry, no one is going to hold you to your answer. You can change your mind later.

P.S. What do you want to see battle it out in the next HOMESCHOOL WARS??

Vote by clicking one of these fun tweets!

[Tweet "The #homeschoolwar is over. Year Round Homeschooling is the winner, no contest! "]

[Tweet "The #homeschoolwar is over. Traditional Scheduling is the clear winner! Take that!"]

 

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11 Tips for a Peaceful First Homeschool Year

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not effect your prices at all. See full disclosure for more details. 

It's your first year of homeschooling.

It's gonna be awesome. Or is it? Are you already overwhelmed and freaking out?

 

Do you feel like you don't have everything you need or want? Nothing is set up just right. You couldn't get that one curriculum you really had your eye on. You're budget is used all up. You aren't sure how in the world you're going to teach 3 different kids' math on 3 different levels in the same hour.

I wanted to share this with y'all.

11 tips for a peaceful first homeschool year

 

I'm not gonna blow sunshine up your bum and tell you that I've got it all together.

 

I have plans, I have my expectations, and I have my list of dreams. Everything won't go perfectly every day. I have a tendency to want to do everything right now. I don't like baby steps. I want to do it all and I want to do it all now.

It's not conducive to a peaceful life.

 

You might not need it right now, but you probably will at some point this year. Unless you have it all together all the time. If so, then go ... go to wherever perfect people hang out.

 

I have this list of reminders next to my computer at my desk to help bring me back to reality and to do it calmly.

 

#1 Baby Steps

Don't try to do it all at once! Introduce one new thing a day/a week/a month/a semester/a year.  Don't add more until you are comfortable with what you've got. If you add it and it's too much, pull back again.

#2  Make a Plan

You've gotta have a plan. Plan your year, but do it in pencil. Fill out your schedule/routine, and again, do it in pencil. Don't be a slave to your schedule. Make your schedule and plan work for you and help you.

Streamline your routines. Have a routine, have multiple routines. I recently made a month of lunches, breakfasts, and snacks. They're in my freezer ready to go. Now I've eliminated a daily chore that sucks up time and energy. The kids can now pop out their meals on their own. Time saver!!

 

Tell Your Time is a wonderful wonderful tool to help you take control and ensure that you're spending your time on exactly what you want to be doing. I'm reading it right now and will do a full review for y'all soon! So far? Love it!

#3 Make do With What You Have On Hand

Don't have a curriculum you want? What can you do to the one you do have to make it more like that one? Don't buy every little thing you think you need. Search for what you have right there.

Don't have it? Get creative and make something else work. You may find you like it better.

Borrow, borrow, borrow!

 

#4 There's No Such Thing as the Perfect Curriculum

You need to say this to yourself again.

[Tweet "There's no such thing as the perfect curriculum. #homeschool"]

Honest. It may be lacking in some small way, but does that mean you ditch it? Not unless it's REALLY not working for you. Otherwise, you can supplement as needed. Pinterest, my friends!

Most of the time you won't need to do this. You just need to stop looking for "the magic beans" that'll bring your children to genius levels and make golden eggs at the same time. Be satisfied.

 

#5 Don't Try to Do it All

This is me being a hypocrite.

Not purposefully: this is something I'm working on.

You see some family doing daily nature walks with a journal. You see another doing Geo caching, another writing daily, another lap booking, another note booking, another memorizing, copy working, and on and on and on. You cannot do every method, every curriculum, every amazing idea.

 

You cannot do it all. Nor should you.

This reminds me of one day I signed up for 3 webinars. I didn't realize they were all at the same time. I tried to listen to all 3 at the same time because I couldn't pick which one I wanted to be in the most.

At the end of the hour I was exhausted and I didn't learn anything from any of them because I couldn't listen to all 3 at the same time!

Don't try to do this with your homeschool. Pick what you REALLY want to do, what appeals to your children, and what they need at that moment. Do that. Nothing more. Then NEXT semester/year/summer try something new as an extra.

 

Trust the process of homeschooling. It works!! #homeschool

 

#6 Recruit Help

I am terrible at asking for help. I have to really really really need help in order to ask.

When I had glass in my foot and couldn't walk or drive for a month I still didn't ask for help. There I was crawling around (pregnant) getting my food, doing everything for myself. We didn't go anywhere unless Mr Barlow was taking us/the kids.

 

Ask for help! Get hubs to read at night, teach a certain class. Get Grandma or Grandpa to help you out.

You know your situation better than I do. Find someone that can help you in some small way. Even if it's just to watch the kids while you do some planning or pick up supplies.

#7 Take Breaks to Avoid Burnout

You have got to take breaks every week. Even every day.

Schedule short breaks during school hours.

Schedule a nightly break for yourself. Don't do anything except something that will recharge you.

 

Take a weekly break away from the house and kids. Just get out and breathe.

I go to Target, Barnes and Noble, antique shops, or Ashland.

 

 

If there's an afternoon or day or week that you and the kids are just done take a breather. Play some games together. Take naps. Work on a fun project. Heck, watch mindless TV for a bit. Just chill. Then come back and you'll be so glad you took that break.

 

#8 Don't Expect Perfection: From Yourself or Your Kids

Be realistic. You can't be ON all the time. You're going to have tough days, so are they. See #7.

#9 Don't Compare

Someone always comes out loser and someone winner. But at what cost? Don't do it, don't do it. No one is ever happy when comparing.

#10 Remember Your Priorities and Goals

You have those handy? No? Well, get them out, put them where you can get to them easily. If an activity doesn't fall under a priority or something to further your goal ditch it. Ditch it fast without guilt.

#11 Enjoy Yourself!

Have fun! Homeschooling is hard work, but it's the best kind of hard work!! Have fun, enjoy the process, and smile. Cheesy, I know, but oh so true.

 

 

Keep these tips in mind

Keep them in mind throughout the year and you'll avoid some traps that can keep you from enjoying your homeschool year.

 

It's gonna be a fabulous year!

Let's be here for each other and have a huge overflowing amount of fun!

 

♥ Rochelle

 

You have any tips to share?

Build Your Own Home Ec

Don't you just love to see your children grow in independence? I want to foster this in them more.

 

I was inspired by a post I read over at Simple Homeschool a few years back. Since then I've been waiting for my kids to be old enough to do it with.

 

It's an Adult Skills Class

 

home ec

 

It's a  Home Ec course, but I'm including lots more topics than your typical Home Ec class.

I think... I never took it in high school.

 

Don't hassle me if I'm way off. I can only be perfect 2% of the time.

 

Create Your Materials

They will each have a 1/2" binder. In it will be their syllabus, recipes, instructions (for non-food lessons), and glossary.

 

What's in the syllabus?

Their individual schedules, expectations, guidelines, checklists, and evaluations.

Now this may sound hardcore, but it's not really.

 

Since I will have 2 children doing this with me this year they will be on a schedule (this is for my sanity). The expectations and guidelines are how the course will be run and what they are expected to do. It's 3 sentences long.

Checklists: guide them through the process of preparation, reading instructions/recipes, safety, and just making sure they don't skip a step. Nothing too fancy here.

Evaluations are merely if they've completed the task and are ready to perform it on their own.

 

Adult Skills Class printables

Materials

I've created a simple syllabus here that you may use if you wish. It includes  the sections, schedule, expectations, checklist, and cover sheet. I've included what we are planning and then some blank pages for you.

This is a Google Doc for you to edit. Just make a copy of the file and it's yours to edit and personalize. Enjoy!

 

Get the materials here!  or Get the PDF here >>> [download id="2042"]

 

Plan Your Semester

I've picked 2 days to do this class on with each kid. They will get 2 lessons a week. I will do the first two sections at the same time. or thereabout. I will cover sections 1 and 2 in 30 weeks then 3 and 4 over the summer.

I'll split it up like this:

The Captain: Baking Saturday, Cooking Sunday

Little Miss: Cooking Saturday, Baking Sunday

They will not be doing the same items that same weekend or eating life would be very dull. Hence the need for a schedule.

I would like to have been able to spread it out over the week, but these are the days that will work for us.

They will do each lesson 3 times. 1 - Mom teaches, 2 - Mom watches, 3 - By themselves.

 

If having 2 lessons a week per child becomes too overwhelming then I'll spread them out to 1 lesson a week.

4

Pick Your Topics

Now comes the fun part!

I'll break down each section and list out what I've got planned. You can pick your own! Or use what I'm doing.

1st section - Baking

  1. Chocolate Chip cookies
  2. Bread
  3. Blueberry muffins
  4. Chocolate Cake and frosting
  5. Rolls
  6. Biscuits
  7. Brownies
  8. Peach pie (or some other pie)
  9. Their choice
  10. Their choice

2nd section - Cooking

*Prior to these lessons I will do a special week of knife skills and safety class. It's too important not to!

  1. Dinner salad
  2. Tacos
  3. Spaghetti
  4. Chicken Alfredo
  5. Pot Roast
  6. Baked Potatoes/Mashed Potatoes/Roasted Potatoes
  7. Two Timin' Pasta
  8. Pizza
  9. Eggs & Sausage
  10. Pancakes

3rd section - Household skills

My kids are already doing lots of chores, but I wanted to add to their repertoire and all that.

  1. Menu plan
  2. Grocery list
  3. Make bed (with corners and pretty)
  4. Stain removal (clothes, carpet, couch)
  5. Iron
  6. Paint a wall, etc
  7. Minor repairs
  8. Budget
  9. Save money
  10. Wash the car (in and out)

4th section - Misc skills

  1. Check the oil
  2. Check the weather
  3. Build something (using hammer and/or screwdriver)
  4. Use the library to the fullest (searching, researching, reserving)
  5. Braid hair (even for my boys)
  6. Hair styles (mostly for girls, but a few different things for boys)
  7. Lead a song
  8. Google
  9. Emails
  10. Get directions and navigate to location

 

I reserve the right to alter this at any time. :)

 

As they get older

I will add more meals to learn. I will also teach them to time the meal so that all the dishes are ready at the same time. We'll add in a babysitting and sewing course as well.

 

What do you think?

I'm super excited!

 

I was going to come up with some snazzy crazy fun-filled name, but my children liked Adult Skills Class better. My oldest son is dying to be an adult (poor kid), so that was definitely a big plus for him.

 

My kiddos are always wanting to help cook and be in the kitchen with me. This is the perfect way for them to participate and for me to let go of the control issues I have in the kitchen!

I'll be honest, I'm worried about them and raw chicken and ovens. I may have to put things in the oven myself for now, just so I don't have to add another thing to stress over.

 

I do think they'll grow in many ways and I think I will, too.

 

When talking to The Captain about this new class we'd be doing he stated, "Then I can take care of you, Mom!"

That's exactly why, my boy. That's exactly why.

No Top Ramen for me, and no wrinkly grandma pants.

 

Call to action:

Leave a comment:

  • What are some skills I may have missed?
  • Do you have a favorite memory of cooking with your parents?

 

Don't forget to snag your free printable my friends!  Get the doc here!  or snage this version [download id="2042"]

 

♥ Rochelle

photo via Love From Ginger

How to Schedule Without Screaming

You know that dirty word? Schedule.

Don't you just want to slap someone (maybe me) when they say in a nasally condescending voice, "you need to have a schedule, Shelly."

I didn't say it.

 

How are you going to schedule your days?

It's not as tricky as you might think.

It's not wax-your-nether-regions painful either. (Yes, I did just say that Mama, sorry).

schedule without scream

 

Okay, you might be doing a bit of juggling and some hard-core thinking. We're in it together! *whistles kumbaya*

 

Are you a routine or a schedule type of person?  I'm a bit of a combination of the two. I'll show you what I mean in a minute, but first we've gotta get to the nitty gritty.

 

1. List Priorities

List out the things that are most important to you. Then put them in order of importance. Keep that handy when you're blocking out your time.

 

2. List Scheduled Activities

Co-op classes, club meetings, sports, music lessons, dance lessons, family items, etc.

 

3. List Out Curriculum Frequencies

Remember in our planning we said to figure out how often you're going to be doing your lessons. Are you doing spelling 2 or 3 times a week? Math 4 or 5 times a week? And on and on.

 

How many days of the week are you going to do school? 4 days or 5 days?

 

4. Get Your Work Schedule Out

Do you work outside the home? In your home?

What is your work schedule? Do you work certain days of the week? Certain times of the day?

 

5. List Outside Commitments

What are your outside commitments? What do you have going on each week? Each month? Do you have exercise classes? Training for a marathon? Book club? etc.

 

Get out a piece of paper and write time out in 30 minute increments. Use pencil!

sched 2

 

6. Fill in Items From Steps 1 - 5

Fill in all that stuff. Dance Tuesdays at 3:30, Cello lessons Friday at 1:00, Lego Club Friday at 2:00, Book Club 3rd Thursday at 7:00 PM. You get the idea.

For the once or twice a month items I will fill it in a spot at either the top or the bottom of the day of the week it happens on. So I'd put Book Club at the top of Thursday that said 3rd Thursday at 7 PM. Then later I can fill in my calendar as needed.

Don't forget to schedule in travel time!!

 

7. Best Times

Is your family early risers? Late risers? What time of day do y'all work best at?

Put the harder subjects, reading and math at the freshest times of the day. Whenever those times are for you and your child.

 

8. Meal Times and Cleanup

When do y'all eat? When do y'all want to get chores done?

 

9. Chunk Your Day

This is how I work in my routine. I put the 3 R's for the morning time. We do it in the order we feel like that day, but we do it in the morning when the kids are alert and fresh. When I am motivated and fresh. Then in the afternoon we do our remaining subjects, whatever those may be for that day. We have a checklist of things that need to be done after lunch. School, chores, exercise, cooking, dinner, free time, practice, family time, etc.

 

If you're not a routine type of person then you just schedule in when you want to do each subject.

 

10. Be Realistic

You've got to be real with yourself. How long does it take to do each item/subject? Schedule breaks, schedule free time. You can't be going going going all. day. long. or you'll crack. Don't stuff your day to bursting. You can't do everything in one day. Schedule in time for real life.

 

Be flexible. Don't be a slave to your schedule. If it's not working change it. Re-evaluate at regular intervals. Check back in with yourself maybe once a quarter or once a semester. Again -- be flexible!!

 

Now that you've got your schedule sketched out fill in your official schedule.

Here's a printable I found that I liked -- It's from DuoParadigms.com

 

Here's my schedule from last year:

schedule 1

 

We haven't officially signed up for sports and I am not sure on club meetings this year. When we get our official schedule lined up I'll do a post on it.  But my tentative schedule is as follows:

 

5 AM - 9 AM: Work (TW Transcribing, TW, Blog, Write)

8:30 AM: Kids up and getting ready on own.

9 AM: Breakfast and morning school work (Calendar, Spiritual stuff)

10 AM - 12 PM: School (the 3 R's)

12 PM - 1 PM: Lunch

1 PM - 4 PM: School and outside commitments

5 PM: Chores and Free time

6 PM: Dinner

7 PM: Chores and Free time

8 PM: Bed time for kids

9 PM - 10 PM: Work (TW, Blog, Write)

Sometime around 10 or 11 go to bed (ha!)

 

This is just our basic skeleton of a schedule, and not including scheduled activities and such. Plus, as the first few weeks unfold I'll probably tweak it a bit. I'll know more about how much time I need for each activity.

 

Do you have any scheduling tips?

Share away my friends, I love to learn from others!

♥ Rochelle

 

 Gif via reactiongifs
venspired via photopin cc

Homeschool: How to Get Started :: How Do I Plan?

HS get started  

Okay, you've done all the hard work.

 

You've picked your method, your curriculum, you've gotten your budget together, and set up your space. What now?

 

You've got to plan out your year.

 

You know what they say, fail to plan and you plan to fail. *forehead slap*

 

8

 

Let's hop to it!

 

Materials You Need:

  • Calendar
  • Schedule (holidays, vacations, special occasions, appointments, etc)
  • Curriculum
  • Pencil and pen
  • Highlighter
  • Paper/notebook
  • Planner
  • Something to munch on

 

How will you be schooling?

  • Year round
  • Along with the public school schedule
  • Some other variation (i.e. 6 weeks on 2 weeks off, 3 months on 1 month off)

 

Decide how much you're going to plan at once. The whole year, one semester, one month, or just one week.

 

I personally do a combination of all of these. I love to plan. That is written with all seriousness. I could just plan stuff and then never do it, but I feel fulfilled because I planned it. I'm sick in the head. I've mentioned that, right?

 

I get a general plan for the year. Then I fill it in more for the semester. After that I get very detailed for 1 - 1 1/2 months out. If I get too detailed further out I'll inevitably wind up changing it due to something that messed up my plans. Then my whole semester is erased and rewritten. I don't like to create more work for myself.

 

Step 1

Photo source: Dwayne Blee http://www.sxc.hu/profile/dwayno

 

  • Fill in your calendar with your days off of school.
  • Make sure the appointments and commitments that you know about at this time are filled in.
  • Extracurricular activities filled in.

 

Step 2

What grades are you teaching this year? What are some of the goals and objectives you have for the grade levels?

 

Step 3

What are the goals you have for each of your children? What do they need to work on? What are their weaknesses and strengths?  Their interests?

Write the goals down for each child and keep them in mind when  you're planning. As the year progresses you want to look at them and see how y'all are progressing with their goals.

 

 

Step 4

Look at your curriculum.

What is the frequency of the subjects you'll be teaching? Will you teach math everyday? Will science be everyday, or just two or three times a week? And so forth.

How many lessons are in your curriculum? Does your spelling curriculum just have 30 lessons? That may mean you do one lesson per week, spreading it out through the week or all in one shot.

Don't get locked in with the time though. Your child may whiz through it, or may need more time on each lesson. Embrace this flexibility -- this is one of the best perks of homeschooling!

 

Step 5

Lists and notes!!

You'll want a list for the books and subjects to check out at the library.

Also make a note to pay your library fine! (Anyone want to pay mine?)

Do you need to start collecting cardboard for a project? A stethoscope?

Need to call your dentist friend to see if she has some materials you can borrow or use? Maybe those red capsules that show plaque.

Call the butcher shop to set up a field trip.

Need some pastels and charcoals for your art lessons? It's better to know in advance so you can be on the look out for the best deals, or maybe you know someone that has some to give you or lend you. Facebook has some groups you can join for such things. Maybe you only need to use that stethoscope once and you could just borrow one rather than buy one. If you wait until the day of or the day before the lesson you may find yourself spending unnecessary money.

Be better than a boy scout (be prepared... a lot).

 

Step 6

Use your homeschool planner to its fullest. If your planner doesn't have what you need, do a quick Google and you'll be able to find something. There's tons of free and cheap printables. Most especially in the homeschool world. It's a beautiful and dangerous thing.

 

I use the Weekly Homeschool Planner and I couldn't be happier with it!

Weekly Homeschool Planner

 

It's an editable PDF that I can use year after year. I can fill in each page and print off as much or as little as I want. Or I can leave it on my computer and not print a thing. It's the most flexible planner I've found. It works for any type of method - unit studies, classical, etc, etc. Love love it! Click here to visit Homeschool Creations.*

 

Now, go, be wild and free! Frolic in the land of planning!

 

Oh, and use pencil.

 

Have any questions? Did I leave something out?

 

♥ Rochelle

* affiliate link -- which means if you purchase it I get a tiny bonus. Your price isn't increased at all. You will just be helping me replace all those blasted pencils the kids keep losing.

Homeschool: How To Get Started :: Where, Oh Where?

HS get started  

 

I can see you now.

 

You're psyched and stoked and tubular-to-the-maximum-ed out for homeschooling. Yes, I just said that. No, I'm not ashamed.

 

Well, okay, but wait. Where am I supposed to homeschool my children? Yeah, yeah, your home. But where exactly in your home? Let's work through it together!

 

7

 

 

We all live in a different home in different circumstances. They all can work!

 

What is your home like?

 

I know people that homeschool while driving their 18-wheeler. Some people live in an RV on the road and homeschool as well. Your space or lack-of space can and will work. You just have to be creative.

 

Your brain won't explode. Well... it might just a little, but I'll shove the bits back in and help you get your stuff worked out.

 

What's your available space?

  • Do you have a spare room?
  • A spare part of a room?
  • A closet?
  • A shelf?

Any or all of these will work.

 

 

 

 

If you're one of those jerks lucky people that have a room you can dedicate to homeschooling then I'll do what I can to not be envious and bitter. I'll get there someday. :)

 

Here are some rooms you could use:

  • dining room
  • formal living room
  • study/deny/office
  • play room/game room
  • bedroom
  • garage (that's prepped for heat and a/c)

 

 

 

If you can't dedicate the whole area to homeschool alone, you can still use these rooms. They'll just have multiple purposes.

 

For instance, you could use the dining room table for your work area and maybe you could store your materials in your buffet, a cabinet, bookshelves, or a nearby closet.

 

 

 

You have a small space you can use a closet, a cabinet, shelves (various ones throughout your home), and/or a cart. Or if you're into carschooling then in the back of your car.

 

 

Let me use myself as an example. We live in a 1200 sq ft townhouse.

 

Yes, 7 people live in 1200 sq feet. I'm sure people in major cities have it worse off than we do.

 

Our living room and dining room are one room. Oh, and it also has our computer in it, so I guess you could say it was an office as well.

 

Thankfully, we have an under-the-stairs walk-in closet (the only walk-in closet in our place) that we call our school closet. I have bookshelves filled with curriculum and materials needed. I have different organizers in there as well -- but that's for another post.

 

We do school at our dining table, on the couch, and on the floor.

 

Where you want your child to do their actual school work? Think about how your child works best.

 

  • Do they need a desk or table?
  • Do they need a comfy chair or a hard backed chair?
  • Would they do better on the couch or the floor?
  • What about lights and the cleanliness of the area?
  • How are they effected by their surroundings?

 

For some of your children you may not have to stress over these things as much. There are some children that just do not do well with distractions, noises, bad lighting, etc. You know your child best.

 

↑ That phrase always freaks me out, to be honest. All of a sudden I'm stressing because I actually don't know the answer and feel like a failure. ↑

 

So, in honor of those that may be just like me -- if you don't know, just ask them. If neither of you know, you can experiment.

6

We're all over the place

My kids prefer the couch or floor. When I'm working with them at the same time I'll have them at the table. When they really need to concentrate I'll put them at the table. I know I can't read books to my kids while they're on the couch because they'll fall asleep. I sit on the couch (because I'm the mother and that's my right) and they plop on the floor.

 

We need lots of light in our family! I think The Captain needs to get his eyes checked, so I have to make sure we have good lighting for him while he reads. I don't know what it is, but my thinking ability improves with lights.

 

I've got a Pinterest board that has different ideas of setting up your homeschool room. There are some that just make you drool and drool.

 

Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool Room + Organization on Pinterest. 

Words of advice

 Don't try to recreate the school classroom. Don't try to get your room perfect right now. Don't put off actually homeschooling until you have it all set up. Don't get overwhelmed with all of this at once. You can start with just the curriculum and some pencils and paper. You can set up your homeschooling area as you go.   I've had several different set ups in the last few years. Your set up will evolve with you.  

 

What do I actually need?

  • Surface for school work (desk, table, tray, lap, floor)
  • Place to sit
  • Area to put curriculum, notebooks, and books
  • Container(s) for materials needed
  • Some type of lighting

 

 That's it!

 

It's up to you on the types of containers and such that you use.  You can use what you have, recycle materials, or buy.  

 

I do recommend using what you have or what you can find at a cheap price at the beginning to see what works for you.

You may think having the colored pencils out in a can may work for you. Then after the 50th time of picking them up off the floor or replacing them because your children smuggle them away (I think they bury them in the backyard) you may realize that you need them in a box in the closet. Ahem. Not that I know what that's like...  

 

Be flexible and relaxed in your approach! Then build your own wishlist and Pinterest board (make sure you share it with me) When you've got it figured out set that baby up and send me pictures!!  

 

Some Pinterest boards you may find helpful and inspirational:

 

Homeschool Belle

Laura Berry

Tiffany Scott

Jen

Danika Cooley

 

Feel free to leave a link to your homeschool room board!

 

♥ Rochelle

    Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool Room + Organization on Pinterest.

7 Tips For a Successful Writing Retreat

ashland writers retreat For my birthday my husband gifted me with a writing retreat.

 

I had one for my Mother's Day gift, and it was glorious.  Having done one I was even more prepared for my second one.

 

It was a DIY writing retreat, not anything fanciful and expensive.  You don't have to blow a ton of money for the best retreat possible.

 

[Tweet "Planning a writing retreat? Here are 7 tips for you."]

 

You want to make it as successful and efficient as possible.

 

1. Reservations 

This may be obvious, but I didn't make them this last time, so I wound up in a less expensive, but also less nice hotel for my stay.  Make sure your room has Wifi, table/desk, good lighting, thick walls, comfy bed, a mini fridge, and a microwave.

 

in the hotel

 

The place I wound up had all of those except good lighting and thick walls. It was not my favorite thing overhearing my neighbors through the night, though I suppose I could use some of it in my novel.

 

2. Food

This is why it's good to have the mini fridge and microwave.  The first time I brought some yummy food from home.  This last time I bought some snacks at the store to bring. I recommend some favorites and make sure you've got both junk food and healthy snacks.

 

pull n peel face

 

You want stuff that will keep you energized, alert, and focused!

 

3. Materials

I brought my laptop, my tablet, my phone, notebooks, note cards, mini notebooks, pens, pencils, chargers for all devices, USB, and my writing books (or at least my favorite ones).

 

I made sure I had everything I could possibly need so that when I wanted to sit down to work I wouldn't have anything keeping me from getting my writing done.

 

3.  Schedule

Not a minute by minute schedule, unless that works best for you.  I had my arrival time, and I knew what I'd be doing that first afternoon and night. Then I had my schedule for the next day.

 

ashland streets collage

 

My first day I walked around the city for some decompressing from my daily life.  I got lost in my mind and in the shops and people around town.  I got some food, I took pictures.  Then I went back to the hotel and got to work.  The next morning I had a tour scheduled at the local theater and then work time.

 

4. Preparations 

The whole week before my retreat I did some prep work.  There were some structural things I needed to work on so I read two of my favorite books on structure to get my brain working in the direction.  I took copious notes for reference as well.

 

I sketched out things that I really needed and wanted to work out and write.  There were some things that demanded my attention before I could continue on with the story. At home, my life is so here and there and everywhere it has been hard for me to scratch out a huge block of time to tackle these harder items. My retreat was the perfect time!  The only distraction I would have would be my own wandering mind.

 

5.  Sleep

I don't mean sleep while you're there.  You need to make sure you're as caught up on your sleep as you can possibly be. In my world, that's getting 6 hours of sleep a night instead of 5.  It's not much better, but it's a step in the right direction. I even took a nap on Friday when the kids were napping.

 

1 am

 

Being tired was definitely something I struggled with when I was out there this time.  My first retreat I stayed up until 4 AM working and the next day I woke up at 9 AM and wrote until 9 PM.  It was glorious.  This time I went to bed at 1 AM (and felt guilty for it) and then woke up early to check out and make it to my tour. When I was writing there was a good chunk of time that I was fighting sleep. I just wanted to rest my head on my desk   *sigh*  but I pushed through and was rewarded for it.

 

6. Know your location

The first time I was on my retreat I spent an hour in my hotel room studying  some complimentary city maps. I planned my routes everywhere.  It's a smaller city, and you mostly get around by walking.  You just find some place to park and then hoof it the rest of the day.

 

ashland shop collage

 

Well, if you're in a 2 hour spot you'll have to go back and find a different one.  That first trip out I spent a lot of time walking around really getting to know the city's ins and outs.  What the locals do, the short cuts everywhere.  Everything I could.  My book is based in this city so it is partly research.

 

ashland park Collage

 

I figured out the best places to eat, the best places to write, where I could plug in, where I shouldn't go.  If I needed to bring a sweater because it was cold.  Where the best parking places were. There is a 4 hour parking lot and there are some awesome side streets to park on that some people haven't discovered yet!

 

This last trip I knew right where to go. Which streets to walk on, park on, etc.  It was very efficient and I felt like a local.

 

7.  Plan

I knew exactly what I would be working on Friday night.  I was working on all my major plot points and my world building.  Saturday I had some research done via a tour. Then I had the rest of my afternoon planned out from 12 - 9 PM when it was probably a good idea for me to walk back to my car before any crazies started popping out on the street. I spent that time planning my scenes and more world building.

 

ashland osf collage

 

I had a plan for what I'd work on and I had a back up plan.

 

I also had a plan for where I'd be working.  There is a local university that has a student center that is supposed to be open on Saturdays.  They lie. They lie like filthy animals.  I had parked on this awesome side street, walked 3/4 of a mile to the center (in the rain) and all the doors were locked.  Each door boasted that they were open Saturdays from 9 AM - 6 PM.  Filthy filthy liars.

 

Back to my car I went, praying the whole way I wouldn't wet my pants.  My bladder isn't that strong after having 4 kids and holding it halfway through the tour.  I drove to another side street and walked another 1/2 mile to the local library.  Yes, I did go to the bathroom. I also found a perfect spot.  It was a lovely desk all to myself by the window.

 

view out window

 

The window did provide a few moments of distraction for me though.  I was at the library until it closed (5 PM) and then I walked to a restaurant, ate and wrote there until I felt guilty for taking up a table. Then I headed to Starbucks and parked it at a table until dark and headed home.

 

I'm so glad I had a back up plan for that stupid student center or else I would've been in trouble.  I couldn't have written outside since it was raining off and on all day.

 

 

For my next trip

 

I wouldn't do anything different except get more sleep and save up some money to stay two nights in a row.

 

That would be harder for me to do since I would have to find someone brave enough to watch all four of my kids for one of the days while my husband was at work.

 

These short trips are perfect for once a quarter and then I could do a longer retreat one to two times a year.

 

 

[Tweet "Here are 7 tips for a successful writing retreat"]

 

Your Turn

Have you been on a writing or work retreat before?  What are some tips that you have found to be helpful?

 

 

 This Friday I'll have a fun surprise for y'all!  Get excited!!

Turn Into a Cat (With Makeup)

cat potion

Meow.

 

Sorry about that, I couldn't resist.

 

I have two looks for you today.  One is more cat-like and the other is just a super simple look.  Bonus!  You get to see my oldest daughter today.

 

I know y'all have said, that looks too complicated or it'll take too long, but truly they really don't take much time at all.  It's about the same as it takes me to put on my regular makeup. Plus 5 more minutes.

 

You can't cheat and say all I put on is moisturizer and lip gloss.  That's not fair for two reasons.  #1 - that's time cheating and #2 - I can't get away with just that; I'll look sick.

 

The first time may take a bit longer, but you really can't mess up a cat face too much.  If you don't like it add something over it.

I actually wish I had used an orange-brown, but I forgot about my other palette that has red and yellow in it.  Red + yellow = orange.  Duh.  So ridiculous.  And not in a good way.

 

[Tweet "Let's meow it up. I've got my cat face on."]

 

First up.  My cat face.

 

cat materials

Materials

Cake makeup: white

Cream makeup: light, and medium (colors of your choosing)

Brushes

Eyeliners: brown, black, liquid

Red lipstick

Mascara

 

 

cat 1

 

White out your face.  Blend blend blend!  I did this in a couple of layers to ensure it was even as possible.  If you have a translucent powder, use that over it to really smooth it out.

 

cat 2

 

 

Cat eyes.  Make sure your pencil is sharp!

  • Line your upper lashes. At the corner make it thin.
  • Line the inner eye and along the water line on the lower lashes.
  •  Smudge it just a bit down onto the lower lid.
  • Extend the corners down into thin triangles.
  •  Flare the outer corners up.  You can be more dramatic with it if you'd like.

 

cat 3

 

 

This is harder to see.  I used my tan color to add in color patches.

  • The bottom one extends in a triangle shape beginning at the bottom of the cat eye out to my cheek bones.
  • The middle starts at the outer corner of my eye.
  • The top is at my eyebrows.

No need to get all precise.  You can do whatever shapes or areas you'd like.  Today I chose this.

 

cat 4

 

 

  • Add in a dark brown stripe at the eye area.
  • Add in dark brown shading to get a bit more of the face shape of the cat.  It's not exact, just pushes the face to look more cat-like. It should actually be more of an upside-down L. Boo.

 

cat 5

 

 

  • Draw on dark brown stripes over the tan areas.   It really made the tan areas stand out more and feel more cat like.
  • Smudge some brown around my hairline to further shape the face and give it some more cat markings.

 

cat 6

 

 

  • First, I added more brown stripes at the cheeks.
  • Second, I added a line on either side of my nose and extended it above my eyebrows.
  • Last, I followed that line and curved it into my eyelid.

 

cat 7

 

 

  • Add in some tan down the nose in between the two lines, blend it and make sure it fades into the white as it gets onto the forehead.
  • Take your black eyeliner and draw the shape for your nose first. Fill it in.  Get into the nostrils to ensure that you don't have white dots. That'd be weird.
  • Draw a line down to your lips.  Not too wide and not too thin.  If your lips are no longer white, go back over it with some more.  Let it dry.
  • Now, take your black eyeliner and draw the lip in.  I started at my peak, drew down into a long extended angle. As it neared the corner of my lips it was just a thin line.
  • Do both sides.

 

cat 8

 

 

This was a fun part.

  • Take your brown eyeliner and go over the dark brown stripes.
  • Make thinner stripes over, add in more detail at the hairline, forehead, and eyes.

 

cat 9

 

 

Added in more detail.

Cheek details and my favorite, a cat beard.

Do one side at a time and then try to match it up a bit by bit. Don't stress over it!  It'll turn out!

 

cat 10

 

  • I blocked out the end of my eyebrow a bit with paint.
  •  Took my eyebrow pencil and filled in my brow and extended the line up and out at an angle.
  • I wanted that line on my eyelid to be longer, so I made it longer.

 

cat 11

 

 

Let's finish up that lip!

  • Draw the bottom lip with brown eyeliner.
  • Fill it in with red.
  • Then add a bit of white to the center and blend it.  That makes it appear more plump and gives it dimension.
  • You could make this part skinnier to imitate a tongue instead of a lip.  You'll see that with the one I did for my daughter.

 

cat 12

 

 

  • Add in whisker dots.
  • If you had fake whiskers you could glue them on.  I do not.  Therefore, I did not.

 

cat final

 

All done!  Meow!

It'd be awesome if I had a cat suit and maybe something to put on my head to make myself look more like a cat.

If I had a costume on I'd make sure to have the makeup that goes down my neck extend all the way down into the collar of my shirt.

Don't stop at the edge, you have to allow for movement. Go into the shirt collar.

 

Second cat. My daughter.

cat child final

 

Isn't she so cute!?

  1. Start with a cute face.
  2. Cover it with the tan color.  Blend blend blend!
  3. Take dark brown and add in a patch around one eye.  It's hard to see here. Sorry.
  4. Add in the nose details and whisker dots.
  5. Put in the tongue.  You can't see it as well because she's smiling, but hers is narrower on the bottom portion.  The other picture that shows it better her eyes look creepy from blinking.

 

I've done this on her so she can have fun playing pretend.  This would be fun to do if your daughter (or son) has a friend over and they can be cats.  It takes 5 minutes to do this and makes my little girl feel so special.

 

I'll be doing some more fun things and show you how to do a simple fun version for the kiddos if you don't want to spend forever doing a longer version.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't do the longer version!

 

[Tweet "Turn yourself into a cat easily with makeup."]

Mwah

How to Give Yourself a Big Scab

Scabs can be fun...  to pick.  

I know you used to pick your scabs!  You probably still do.  But don't worry, I won't tattle.

 

Making scabs is super easy and you still don't have to get hurt.  There's hardly any work.

 

[Tweet "I am about to scab myself up. Join me!"]

 

Scab Time!

scab 1

 

These are the supplies you need.

  1. Liquid Latex  It's really easy to use and has multiple uses, but it stinks like fish.  Once it dries it stops smelling.  Here is a teeny tiny bottle I have that has a brush built into the lid.  I still use the Q-tip for some of the steps.
  2. Bruise and Cut Wheel
  3. Q-Tips
  4. Coffee I got mine at a hotel I was staying at since I don't drink the stuff. You only need a little bit, depending on the size and amount of scabs you want to create.  Think skinned knee or road rash.
  5. Tea bag  I don't like it much for scabs. It was too big.  It'd be good if you want to look like you have actual gravel embedded in your wound.

 

All you'll need after that is the place for your scab.  Here's my lovely knee.  Have you ever seen something so lovely?  Don't answer that.  Just be happy I shaved (two days ago).  That doesn't happen every day.

 

scab 2

 

  1. Take the brush from the lid of the latex (or Q-Tip if you don't have a brush) and smear a medium-light coat on the area.
  2. Add in the coffee. Push it in a bit.
  3. Let it dry.  It will dry fairly quickly. You don't need it to dry all the way before the next step.
  4. Add another layer of latex. I used my Q-Tip for this so that I wouldn't get the coffee into the latex. Use a different part of the Q-tip each time you dip into the latex.

 

scab 3

 

  1. Add in more coffee.
  2. Let it dry.
  3. Brush off the excess coffee that didn't stick.
  4. Dab more latex carefully on the scab. You just want a light coat to seal the coffee in and to give you a surface for the paint.
  5. With your finger, Q-tip, or a brush put red, purple, and some brown paint over the scab and around it to simulate dried blood and some slight bruising around.

 

scab 4

scab 5

 

Tada!  Super easy, right?

 

This would be fun for Halloween, for practical jokes, a social experiment, or of course, the stage!

 

[Tweet "I can make my own scabs minus the actual blood and pain."]

 

Where would you put your scab?

Mwah

 

How to Bruise Yourself With Stage Makeup

Want to look like you got beat up? Got a killer bruise or three?  

Come on!  It's fun!  Bonus: no pain is involved!

 

Let's round up the supplies and get right to it.

 

You'll need a bruise wheel.  I have a bruise and cut wheel from Ben Nye.

You'll also want black eyeliner and white eye shadow.  Lots of brushes!

If you don't have a bruise wheel you can use eye shadows, blush, liners, and red lipstick. Just make sure they aren't shimmery.

 

 

Black Eye

Make sure your face is clean.

Depending on the look you're going for -- gritty and natural or polished, you can choose to put on foundation or skip it.

 

bruise 21

 

  • Add red to your lower lid.
  • Add some red to your waterline, with care.
  • Take the red and outline where your bruise will be.  It should not be a clean line.  Bruises are irregular.  Think about what gave you that bruise.  On me it's a punch to the eye by some big ole creep of a man.  That jerk face.

 

For some reason you can't tell in these pictures, but I am sunburned.  Some of the paint in later pictures gets stuck in that area.  I moisturized it to help prevent it, but as the time went on it just dried out more.  Oh well.

 

bruise 22

 

 

  •  Fill in the whole area with red.  Make sure it's irregular and splotchy.
  • Add in purple to the inner eye and then a small amount along the eyelid.
  • Add it a bit heavier underneath the brow bone.  You want it darker where the blood collects the most.
  • At the points of impact it will swell and will not collect as much blood, so leave those light.
  • I circled around the edge of my cheek bone and brow bone.
  • I filled in more purple.
  • I added in more red because it's a fresh bruise, and when it's fresh it's more red than purple.
  • Blend!  This one is easy.  Blend in all different directions and keep it irregular.

 

bruise 8

 

 

  • I added in a bit of yellow at the bone and then covered it with some white eye shadow.
  • Draw a line with black eyeliner at the corner of the eye, the curve against the nose, not the corner of the tear duct.
  • Smudge it into the purple.
  • As the picture states, add in small amounts of purple and more red.

 

bruise 9

 

 

When you stipple this make it appear as broken blood vessels, which are very important to an authentic bruise.

bruise 10

 

1 - You just got hit about 30 minutes ago.

2 - It's been an hour, pretty fresh and man does it hurt!

3 - It'd been about 5 hours now.  It's a deeper purple.  Because of my sunburn the bruise looks too large here at the black arrow.  The other black arrow is my cute little girl.

4 - Your bruise is a few days old.  The purple is faded and becoming more brown.  The red areas are more yellow and green.  It's more mottled and splotchy.

 

[Tweet "Wanna black eye? Me too!"]

 

Kick to the Calf Bruise

When I want to kick somebody it's usually at the leg.  What better than a fleshy calf?

 

In retrospect I would have used someone else's chubby calf and not mine.  Just be kind while you're looking at the pictures and we can still be friends.  A'ight?

 

 bruise 11

 

  • This is the outline of the toe of the shoe or some other round object.  Blend it around.

 

bruise 23

 

  • Add in the purple ring, make sure it's not a clean line and blend it out. I used a brush to put the color on.

 

  • Use your finger to blend it into the skin.  You want it to look like it's in the skin, not on top of the skin.

 

bruise 14

 

  • Add in a ring of dark green into the purple and extend below it.
  • Put splotches of yellow in the green and a bit down under the ring.
  • Add in more red into the purple and fade inwards.

 

bruise 15

 

Stipple in some red, purple and green throughout the bruise.  This is high impact so it breaks capillaries.

 

bruise 24

 

I didn't like the way it looked.  It was too wide at the top of the arc.  I took a makeup remover wipe and took some of it off.

 

I took a tiny bit of purple and red and blended the line so it wasn't so straight and neat.

 

Walking around it looks like a big time owie.

 

Paintball Bruise

So you've been out on a man hunt for your buddies in the woods.  They got you before you got them.  Sorry Charlie.  You're just not quick enough.

 

bruise 18

 

  1. Draw a double ringed circle, about the size of a paintball.  You'll want there to be coagulation at one spot in the rings.
  2. Use your black eyeliner to add in some darker spots at the big blotch.  You've almost broken the skin and so you'll want it to bruise more at the highest point of impact.
  3. Take your purple and make a circle, sort of egg-shaped, out like the rays of the sun.
  4. Blend out.

 

bruise 19

 

  1. Add another ring of purple, just inside the first ring.  I wanted it in closer, plus it added more depth of some good splotch.
  2. I started adding in blue to the outside ring and more purple in the two rings.  Blend Blend Blend!
  3. Yellow is the next layer needed.  Put it inside the purple ring.
  4.  Add red over the yellow blending in, make sure it is irregular.  Smudge the inner ring of red (the smallest circle) outwards, just a smidge.  Stipple red and purple at the same area that the highest impact would be.

 

bruise 20

 

  • I took a small paint brush and added in some yellow dashes throughout the bruise.

 

You are now officially beat up.

 

My kids officially think I've lost my mind and my neighbors might call the cops soon.  I checked the mail, forgetting I had all this stuff on me.  Let's hope they don't try to arrest my husband for battery. At least I have these pictures as proof.

 

[Tweet "I beat myself up without any pain! You can too!"]

 

If you enjoyed the post consider sharing it with your friends.

 

Which bruise was your favorite?  Would you ever paint a bruise on and walk around town or go to the movies or out to eat?

 

Mwah