planning

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

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

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

Start to plan memory work

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

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

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

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

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

Gather Materials

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

Have them all in one place, separated by category.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Scheduling

Okay, here's where it might get tricky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's what I mean.

Monthly:

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

Multiple a day:

Each day work on:

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

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

One a day:

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

When & how long?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 Setting it all up

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

Index Cards

We started off with index cards.

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

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

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

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

Memory Binder

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

Print out each passage on its own piece of paper.

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

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

OR you can label them like this:

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

Learn & review

Now, for the DOING part of it all.

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

Pull out the passage.

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

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

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

Now. Add this new passage to the DAILY section.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

You could also do a varied version of this:

DAILY, EVEN/ODD, and then categories.

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

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

 

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

Pick a storage system:

A: index cards

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

 

Pick a schedule system:

A. one focus at a time

B. one category a day

C. each category a day

 

Pick a "learn & review" method

A. Daily, even/odd, weekly, monthly

B. Daily, 1 from each category (daily)

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

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

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

Other review methods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

That's it!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Parting gift

If you haven't already....

Grab the ASL Memory Work packet

[convertkit form=4901805]

and join the challenge!

50 IN 5 challenge

 

Catch up

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

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

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Your Memory Work

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

 

Your Turn

Tell me your plans for memory work!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

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

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Brilliant Memory Work Hacks to Make Morning Time Transformative

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

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

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

"Not I," said the cat.

 

Let's get to it.

 

Math memory work

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

Here are some more things to use: 

Skip counting sheets by Homeschool Creations

Coin memory poem 

Order of operations  PEMDAS image

Cooking equivalents

Metric conversions

Roman Numbers

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

Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Laws

Quadratic equation

 

Science memory work

Here's 54 science songs!

Here's more: 

Classification of living things image, explanation

Periodic Table

Newton's 3 laws

Body systems: flashcards, visuals + explanation,

 

History facts to remember

51 history and geography songs! More history to memorize: 

Declaration of Independence

Preamble

Bill of Rights

US Constitution

Gettysburg Address

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

I Have a Dream by MLK Jr.

Timelines

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

Countries of the World

Continents & Oceans

US Presidents & Vice Presidents

 

Language arts goodness

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

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

Shakespeare printables to memorize from Ken Ludwig

Lots of pronouns to memorize.

Parts of speech

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

 

General educational tidbits

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

 

Meal time etiquette, and another, and another

Set the table

We Choose Virtues songs and more.

ASL

 

Fun memory work gift

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

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

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

I've got 2 gifts for you today.

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

[convertkit form=4901805]

 

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

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

Click HERE for a bit more information & to join!

Your kids will love you

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

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

 

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

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read more 5-day series!

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

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

My feelings on poems has changed over the years.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Poems for your homeschool

 

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

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

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

 

Well, not today!

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

 

Robert Frost

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

[/wc_toggle]

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

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

 


Robert Louis Stevenson

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

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

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

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

The world is so full of a number of things,

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

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

A birdie with a yellow bill

Hopped upon my window sill,

Cocked his shining eye and said:

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

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

More Robert Louis Stevenson poems: 

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

 


Christina G. Rossetti

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

 

 


William Blake

 

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

THOU fair-haired Angel of the Evening,

Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light

Thy bright torch of love--thy radiant crown

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!

Smile on our loves; and, while thou drawest the

Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew

On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes

In timely sleep. Let thy West Wind sleep on

The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,

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

Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,

And the lion glares through the dun forest:

The fleeces of our flocks are covered with

Thy sacred dew; protect them with thine influence!

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

More William Blake poems

 


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

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

OFT I remember those I have known

In other days, to whom my heart was lead

As by a magnet, and who are not dead,

But absent, and their memories overgrown

With other thoughts and troubles of my own,

As graves with grasses are, and at their head

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

Nothing is legible but the name alone.

And is it so with them? After long years.

Do they remember me in the same way,

And is the memory pleasant as to me?

I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?

Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,

And yet the root perennial may be.

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

 

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

 

Paul Revere's Ride

[/wc_toggle]

 


Emily Dickinson

 

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

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

More Emily Dickinson poems

 


More poems to know

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

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

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

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

 

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

So rested he by the Tumtum tree

And stood awhile in thought.

 

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

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

 

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

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

He chortled in his joy.

 

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

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

Don't worry if your job is small

And your rewards are few.

Remember that the might oak

Was once a nut like you.

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

 

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

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

 

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,

That does not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:

Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As a friend remembered not.

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

Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

[/wc_toggle]

 

 

William Shakespeare Sonnets

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

Sign

[/wc_toggle]

 

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

Tell Me

[/wc_toggle]

 

More Shel Silverstein poems:

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

 

Using poetry in your homeschool

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

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

 

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

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

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

Just pick a poem and run with it.

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

 

3 extra poems for you

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

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

So. much. fun.

Download them today:

[convertkit form=4901805]

 

Feeling behind? Catch up:

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

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

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

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

 

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

75 Quotes for Memory Work

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Quotes from US Presidents

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

Quotes from Benjamin Franklin

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

13 virtues: 

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

Encouraging quotes

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

Instructional thoughts

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

 

What to do with these quotes

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

[convertkit form=4901805]

 

Did you miss Day 1?

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

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

Come back tomorrow for Day 3!

Mwah

 

 

 

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

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Improve Your Child's Relationship to God with Memory Work

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

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

 

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

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

 

Scripture memory work

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Testament

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

New Testament

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

 

Hymns & worship songs for memory work

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

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

 

Lutheran 

Catholic

Methodist

Seventh Day Adventist

Baptist

LDS and LDS Kids

Presbyterian

Jewish

Ambleside Online's resources

 

Doctrines

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

How to do it

Step 1

Write down the doctrines of your faith.

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

 

Here are some starter questions to get you thinking: 

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

 

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

Step 2

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

 

Step 3

Now for the application part. 

1. Pick the doctrine you want to cover first.

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

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

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

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

 

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

5. Keep a journal. Write how they connect down

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

 

Put it all together

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

 

Gift for you

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

Why memorize in ASL? 

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

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

 

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

What a great teaching moment.

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

 

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

 

[convertkit form=4901805]

 

Check out Day 3

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

The Best Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Work

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

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

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

Is memory work worth all the fuss and hype?

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

Get the brain moving

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

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

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

Improve memory

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Real connections to materials learning

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

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

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

They even quoted it while they were swinging.

Again, you can't be passive when memorizing.

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

 

You can do hard things

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

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

You didn't take the easy road.

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

 

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

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

 

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

That's an incredible gift to give our children.

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

 

Foster unity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here it is *standing on my soapbox*: 

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

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

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

 

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

*stepping down*

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

Show off to naysayers

Nah, I'm just joking.

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

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

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

 


5 days of goodness

 

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

 

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

[wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa] BOOKMARK THIS POST [wc_fa icon="heart" margin_left="" margin_right=""][/wc_fa]

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

Day 2: 75 Quotes for Memory Work

Day 3: Phenomenal Poems to Rock Memory Work

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

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

 

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

 

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Click the picture to read more amazing 5-day series

5 Day Hopscotch iHN 2016

Essential Back-to-School Shopping List for Homeschool Families

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

Can I get an amen?

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

Ha!

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Absolute most essential homeschool supplies

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

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

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

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

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

Printer

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.55.19 PM

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

This is my favorite favorite supply.

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

 

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

 

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

Paper & pencils

 

Composition notebooks

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

 

Composition notebooks are used as

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

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

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

They even tore up their sketchbooks!

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

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

Pages that I had drawn on.

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

flme

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

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

Crate

I organize each kids' completed work into the crate.

 

I have hanging folders for each kid and term.

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

 

Next essentials for your homeschool shopping list

 

Dictionary and thesaurus

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

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

 

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

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

 

Reference books

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

Bookshelves

We have 4 bookshelves in our schoolroom.

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

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

Not essential homeschool supplies, but it sure feels like it

Laminator

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

 

 

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

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

Binders

Each kid has their own binder and cute dividers.

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

Index card box & cards

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

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

Pencil sharpener

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

We use this one:

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

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

We used the duct tape and kept the kids.

White board

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

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

 

Desk Carousel

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

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

Kindle Reader

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

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

 

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

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

Baskets and Bins

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

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

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

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

 

Maps

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

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

 

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

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

Rolls of paper

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

Your homeschool wish list

 

Supplies that didn't work for us

That cart everyone uses.

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

Pocket charts.

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

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

 

Back to school clothes

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

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

Each child had:

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

It was awesome. They were adorable.

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

 

Pros: 

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

Cons: 

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

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

Here's what I got:

 

Homeschool shopping wrap up

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

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

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

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

#4 Evaluate quarterly.

 

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

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

 

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

Your turn

What is your absolute favorite homeschool supply?

Mwah

 

 

 

 

Looking for more help with homeschool planning?

Homeschool: How to Get Started

Homeschool: How do I Plan?

120 Ideas for Back to Homeschool

Easy Plan for Your Not Back to School Party!

10 Signs You Need Homeschool Organization Help immediately

 

More school supply help?

Life-Changing-Supplies-700x700-94403

 

The Dirty Truth of The Time Required to Homeschool

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not effect pricing for you. At all. 

 

How much time is actually required to homeschool?

Nearly every time I mention I homeschool someone asks me a variation of this question.

When friends come to work with me to figure out how to get started homeschooling, this is one of their biggest concerns and questions.

 

The underlying fear:

Is this going to eat up my entire day?? Will this mean I can't do anything for myself? What if I don't have my day last long enough and ruin my children's lives? What if it's too long and I not only ruin their lives, but mine, and we'll hate homeschooling?

 

Dude. These are all valid fears and concerns.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

When I think of homeschooling, I probably think of it in a different way than would-be homeschoolers, new homeschoolers, and those that don't think about homeschooling other than to think of "those homeschoolers."

 

Homeschooling = life. Life-schooling.

 

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

Sometimes, it's hard to separate homeschooling from life. You can have blocks of schooling, you can have bursts of schooling, but you know how life works.

 

Got a doctor or dentist appointment? Well, you go to that, and sometimes have to rearrange your routine or schedule to get it done.

 

Garbage! You don't have any food in the house except that expired can of tuna and some stale crackers. Well, you'd better hit the store before you all perish or get botulism.

 

Kids acting up? Someone wrote all over the walls, one kid dumped laundry detergent all over the floor... again. Another kid is in tears over times tables, and another is clamoring for some help with reading.

 

It happens, to everyone.

 

Do you see why I say it's nearly impossible to separate homeschool from life?

 

When you ask, how long does it really take, my answer will typically by, "oh, not long."  That's really just for those that aren't asking for application purposes.

 

Well, I may woo you into loving homeschool by telling you that it won't take long, or that it'll take as long as you'd like it to. Both aren't lies. They just don't involve the typical day-to-day road bumps.

WAIT!

Before you click out of here in a huff of disgust and disappointment, let me break down for you dirty truth of our homeschool day/life and let you see just how much time homeschooling takes for the Barlow family.

 

time to homeschool tweet 1

The BIG Breakdown of Time:

First, you need to know what curriculum we use, as it is a MAJOR factor in our day-to-day operations. My day will look completely different than someone else's day that doesn't use our curriculum.

We use Robinson Curriculum. It's pretty different than a lot of the stuff you'll see out there.

It's self-taught, simple, rigorous, and effective, with a very set schedule.

 

Time Doing Actual Homeschooling

 

Our day looks like this (in an ideal world):

7:00--  Wake up (breakfast, morning routine, quick clean up)

7:30 - 12:30-- School block (1 hour of writing, 2 hours math, 2 hours reading, 30 minutes of play/exercise)

12:30-- Lunch (eat, clean up, and a tiny bit of free time. Put down Teddy Bear for a nap)

1:30--  1 - 2 extra school items (Science, Tea Time, Geography/History, ASL, or Spanish). Done with Mama.

2:30-- The kids are encouraged to learn, explore, and do things on their own. There are no electronics (unless needed for their learning) allowed at this time.

There's also no cap or requirement to the time spent on this. I encourage them to do something. I may give them some free time first and then move back to this time allotment. However, that's dangerous because I may not always get them back on task.

 

For instance:

The Captain has a geography workbook and encyclopedia that he loves. He is obsessed with maps, and so he uses this to work on his map skills and learn all he can about them and reads his encyclopedia over and over again.

 

With RC they encourage you to do school on Saturday as well. At the very least, 2 hours of math. We haven't done this consistently, even less so since I've been so exhausted from pregnancy. We'll be picking this back up soon.

 

We have homeschool co-op once a week, that goes from 9:30 - 2:10, so that does take a whole day away from RC, so I think that I really need to do school on Saturday to make up for that entire day.  I do try to have them do an hour of math and an hour of reading after co-op, but sometimes, I just let them run around with scissors and matches instead.

 

time to homeschool tweet 2

 

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Time Spent Parenting

Isn't this really an all-day thing for every parent? Parenting is never done, unless we're all asleep and dreaming peacefully. Then, perhaps, we're taking a parenting break. Until someone decides to throw up all over their bed...

We dedicate 4 times a day to chores. Whoa Nelly! Four times!?!

Let me explain.

We have 15 minutes of chores after breakfast and lunch. Before dinner (really, before Mr. Barlow gets home) we do family chores. After dinner, we do the last bit of chores for the day.

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

This way, there's not a ton of work to be done all at once and I'm not throwing death threats around just to get someone (Sweet Cheeks) to actually pick up that stinking toy after asking 8 times. Hypothetically.

Saturday is "Saturday Cleaning Day." Not my favorite. We'll wake up in the morning, and get to deep cleaning. If all goes well, we'll have it finished in 2 hours.

At least we are listening to music while we're at it!

 

Each Monday we have Family Home Evening. This is where we have a gospel lesson and activity and treat.

Each Sunday we try to have Family Council. This addresses any scheduling, any conflicts that have come up, and any behavioral work we'd like to focus on for that week.

Throughout the week we aim to spend one-on-one time with at least two kids.

Sundays we also make cookies or treats together. Sometimes we eat them and sometimes we share them with others.

Once a month we have a family activity we have picked to do. We'll either do this on a weekend or Monday night.

Discipline issues: I have been using the Love and Logic methodology for years and have loved it. I'm not always consistent, but when I am, life is sweet.

I've recently been introduced to The Absolute Quickest Way to Help Your Child Change, which is written by the man who wrote our writing curriculum, and also uses RC. I love this man and his wife. They're real, kind, loving, intelligent parents and educators. I'm in the middle of reading Fred's book and am really liking it. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

For discipline, my husband and I are take-no-nonsense kind of parents. We have high expectations for our children and believe they can live up to them. We teach them to be responsible, kind, respectful, conscientious, polite, reverent, and to work hard.

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How much time planning takes

The beauty of RC is that I don't have to plan. Practically at all. We have the books printed out (or as ebooks), the math curriculum ready to go, and lots of paper and pencils.

 

Each day they grab their math books (we use Math-U-See for now) or their flashcards and they get to work. They teach themselves and they correct their own work. Anything they miss they correct.

They can write based on the curriculum we use, The Writing Course, or they do copywork (youngers), or write whatever they feel like. They hand it to me and I make some edits on the papers. I hand it back to them and they fix them.

Reading is two-fold. They work on their vocabulary/spelling from their readings and they also read. There's a huge list of books they are to read. They're printed out and I have them on our readers and tablets. They read them. We talk about them at dinner. If there's a test that goes along with the book, they take that test.

 

Anything else we do, the extra stuff is the part that takes planning.

We are using Apologia Science: Flying Creatures this year, along with the Notebook and the Junior Notebook.

We also are using their Around the World in 180 Days and workbook. This means, I need to make sure we have the supplies for the experiments and the books and resources from the library.

For art, I just need to make sure we have supplies and ideas. I'll pop over to my Pinterest art board, grab a book from the library or bookstore, or use our drawing book.

Tea Time happens once a week. I just grab a family read aloud, a poetry book, and a picture of a piece of art. It doesn't really matter which ones, I just grab it and go.

ASL, since I teach this already, I go ahead and teach it. I sometimes use my own videos, or I just sit them down and work on it.

Spanish, we are trying out a new curriculum this year, since my kids begged me to learn Spanish as well. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'll tell you all about how it's going for us really really soon! (Look forward to that post!)

Seriously, it couldn't be easier and more stress-free. It probably takes me around 20 minutes total to go through each subject for the week and write down what we need.

I try not to plan much in terms of what we'll be doing, I just focus on moving to the next part so I don't get caught up in planning since planning makes me feel like I'm choking on a hippo.

 

That's a real thing.

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Time in Outside Activities

The Captain and Little Miss are in a Homeschool Co-op. They meet once a week, it does take up a whole day (9 - 2), but it's been great for them to make friends.

Little Miss is in dance, that's once a week, for an hour.

The Captain is in basketball and that's twice a week, with a game once a week. The great thing is, Mr Barlow is his coach!

The Animal will be starting soccer next month and that's once a week practice with a game once a week as well.

The Captain wanted to be in gymnastics again this year, but I don't know why we never enrolled him. I'm not sure what to do now. If we enroll him once basketball is over (this month), will it be worth it if we can't keep it up over the summer? Summertime is usually our tight-budget time since my transcription work is only during the school year.

We don't have any other outside activities beyond that. I'll be teaching them piano (just need to paint and bring it out of the garage), and I would like to have them learn a string instrument (I know piano is a string), but goodness, the money!

My goal: each kid in a sport and musical instrument. With 6 kids, I'm going to need to start doing something illegal to make that happen!

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The BIG Summary (but not really big, big):

You can see that our time spent homeschooling technically takes up 6 hours of our day. However, add in all the other goodness, and it's your whole day.

I do have a part-time job (early in the mornings, 5 - 9 am), I blog, and I run an ASL course. I am also a volunteer at my church, working with adult women. I am always doing something with or for them each week and hold a monthly activity as well.

I have a loving husband that I try to spend as much time with as possible. I am also pregnant with #6, and that zaps my energy, along with the hashimotos and adrenal fatigue I deal with.

It's possible to homeschool AND...

  • Be YOU and pursue your goals and dreams
  • Take naps
  • For your days to be shorter than mine
  • Work
  • Cope with various health issues
  • Have a crazy life
  • Have a new baby
  • Be pregnant and throwing up constantly
  • Enjoy life

 

The dirty truth:

How much time does homeschool really need to take? How much time do you spend worrying that you're not doing enough or you're doing too much? Let's get down to the real truth so you can get some peace. Pin this to help others in your same boat.

 

How long does homeschooling take your family? What is your ideal day?

 

time to homeschool tweet 3

 

HomeschoolingTimeTakes

Click the picture to check out some more posts on this important topic!

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

Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

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

 

I'm all about keeping homeschool simple.

Well, I should say, I am NOW all about keeping homeschool simple.

When I first started many moons ago, I pretty much made it as complicated as can be. Unfortunately, that seems to be my natural inclination.

I plan, plan, plan some more, and then over-plan on top of that. I dream big, plan big, and then fail big.

I'll get exhausted from planning, preparing, buying the materials, prepping and organizing them that when it comes to Get-It-Done-Day I'm tapped out and taking a nap. For a month.

 

Then I feel like a failure and the cycle begins again.

No bueno. No bueno at all.

 

Now, I keep it simple and my life has never been easier and happier. In fact, sometimes it feels too easy and I get that panic feeling deep inside until I remind myself that no... this is right. Let go of that need to try and be all and do all and plan all.

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

The 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool

I want the same thing for you. Let me share with you 12 simple tips to keep it simple and let go of the homeschool day bloat and planning overwhelm.

1-- Get Real

Don't lie to yourself. Don't self-sabatoge, don't set such ridiculous expectations on yourself that you can't possibly succeed. That's not fair.

Get real. What can you do today? What isn't going to happen? Tackle today and then move on to the next tomorrow.

If you find yourself regularly having to ditch some things it's time to re-evaluate.

  • Is there a way to make things easier? Brainstorm some solutions and implement one at a time.
  • Is there something that needs to be dropped? Drop it and don't look back.
  • Is there something that you need to make sure happens that's not? Look at what's keeping you from accomplishing that item. Try a new approach.
  • Is it that you need to prep ahead of time?
  • Do you not have money in the budget or time to buy all those little supplies you need (this was me with Unit Studies... good grief, that was a lot of little stuff, feathers, walnut shells, sand shakers??)?
  • Do you lack motivation?
  • Are you trying to cram too much in one day?
  • Are you trying to do it at a time where you're worn out, burnt out, hungry, or tired? Pick a different time to do it at.
  • Do you just hate that subject?
  • Is there someone else that can help you tackle it?

Take an honest look at your days, evaluate and get real.

 

Drop the idea that you're going to be Wonder Woman + Mrs Beaver + Mrs Brady + Batman + Albert Einstein + Emily Dickinson + Vermeer + Bach + Inspector Gadget all rolled into one.

I've already filled that position: it's not up for grabs.

I kid, I kid. I know, it wasn't funny. It was a lame joke, but hey, that's what happens when your only audience is a bunch of children who think everything is funny. Your comedy routine suffers.

But at least they think I'm funny. My mom gave up on me years ago.

2-- Focus Up

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

Sure, you may have found amazing things to do with your kids. Those crafts, those experiments, those projects, those printables, those games, those those those those those... brain explosions.

xspld

 

What is it you want for your child? For yourself? For your home? Really think about it. Drill down to the most important things (use a paper and pen) and cross off those things that would sure be nice, but aren't really fitting in to the main idea.

Whenever you are making a decision about your schedule, curricula, plans, and extras pull out that list. Does it fit the big picture? If so, do it, or plan a time to do it at another date. If not, drop it and don't look back.

DON'T look back.

3-- Stop Looking

We Homeschool Mamas have a major weakness: looking for new things to use to teach our children.

We look at what Suzie, Joanna, Amy, and Trina are doing and what their kids are accomplishing and think... "maybe my kids would do XYZ if they had LMNOP too."

We think to ourselves, "sheesh, they're really struggling with math, what other resources are out there to help me help them?"

This quickly snowballs and all of a sudden we've got a new set of books, several sets of manipulatives, more extras, and a membership to a practice site.

 

Stick with what you've got. Give it a good solid go for a good length of time. If something is not working, first, look to see how you can use what you have, either in the actual curriculum or with the materials you have laying around your house.

After a good college try (more than a week) with that goodness, if you don't have success, then start to look at other resources.

Just set a limit before you begin to research.

 

Find a different approach to the problem and use what you have at hand. Don't let curriculum hunting be your hobby.

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

4-- Keep looking*

Okay, I just said *don't* look for a new curriculum. I may or may not have lied to you.

Well, I didn't really. You do need to stop shopping (I see you clicking around over there).

However, our homeschool life changed when we found a ultra-simple yet ultra-effective curriculum. It fit our lifestyle, it fit my homeschool priorities, it was quality, it was self-teaching, and it was super duper simple.

Like, I can wake up and not have to think about what we're going to do every day. It's just there, ready to go, always.

*If you can find a similar solution for yourself, do it. Otherwise, put the internet away and get back to homeschooling.

5-- Cull Your Schedule

Take an honest look at your schedule. Make it work around your family's natural rhythms and not someone else's.

 

I love Confessions of a Homeschooler, but I really really can't do their schedule no matter how hard I tried at first. Not that Erica advocates for us to use her schedule. I just really wanted to be her. Or at least have her homeschool.

Set a designated time for your school. How long do you want your day to last?

We use Robinson Curriculum, so we have a very set schedule that really really works for us: 2 hours of math, 1 hour of writing, 2 hours of reading. Then they have the rest of the day for chores, play, and extra learning they're interested in.

This way of doing school has really been freeing for me and the kids. We get our boundaries and our flexibility. We have a routine and schedule without feeling like we're set in cement and dying.

 

Oh... wait, that's just me.

frg

 

Find what works for you, then for your kids. Then cull the rest. Keep your schedule simple. Don't over schedule yourself; don't micromanage yourself.

You don't need to assign every minute a task. Especially if you're a person like me that loves the idea of a schedule but dies inside the minute she has to live it. Then you rebel and the guilt/shame cycle renews. But hey, you're free now.

Here's a way to schedule if you need some ideas on where to start. 

6-- Drop the Excess Planning

You're a planning maniac that has literally turned into a literal maniac. Why are you creating extra work for yourself when all you really need to do is just not... do that?

ngry

Can we just take a second to point out how freaky her eyes are? Yikes! Make it stop.

 

Is what you're using currently helping you or is it causing more stress/anxiety/work? If so, let's find a new method.

Look at #8 and use the same thing for yourself. Find a planner that speaks to you. I've used the Weekly Homeschool Planner with great success.

I love that it is blank, customizable, and there's no distracting colors. I love cute things, but gosh, they clutter my brain fast.

I can change that planner to be anything I want it to be and only print out what I need.

I also write in pencil and use post-its on it so I can move things around without stressing myself out.

Now that I use RC I don't really need this whole planner anymore. I just do our 5 hours, add in a few extras here and there and call it good. It's beautiful and thorough.

7-- Clean it Up

Make your chore time simple. Here's a chart I recently made that we're trying out:

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

(TC 9yo, LM 8yo, TA 6yo, SC 4yo)

It seems complicated, but it's really not. I've broken up the chores into different times of the day to spread out the workload and have chore time faster. What used to be overwhelming to the kids at the end of the day is now manageable and a lot less painful. It makes for a simpler day because of its ease, speed, and a lot less tantrums (myself included, of course).

 

Make sure you realize I said we're TRYING it out. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work and we move on. I expended 20 minutes of time making that schedule and hanging it up on the fridge. I didn't even use colored ink.

8-- Spirals

Ditch the cute checklists, the over-thought, over-complicated ways of giving assignments. Pull out a spiral notebook for each child, write their assignments in it the night before and they check it off as they complete each assignment. They can also retrieve their own materials.

Here's some great information on how to pull this off

 9-- Ditch It

I tried workboxes. I hated them. I felt like it was a ton more work for myself, plus, half of my stuff wouldn't fit in the daggum things. Annoying much?!

If I forgot to fill them, it just ruined my day or delayed my day, which could very well ruin our homeschool day if I let it. Some days, I did let it.

 

I tried different systems and I found one that semi-worked for us.

I wound up, in the end, just having a magazine holder for each kid and putting their stuff in it. They also had a locker basket with some of their supplies in it. Each was color coordinated to match a child. They grabbed their stuff needed and did what matched their spiral notebook assignments, materials at the ready.

 

So basically, not workboxes.

 

If you find that workboxes don't work for you, don't despair. Here's an interesting solution that actually combines the spiral notebooks with the workboxes. I thought you might like it.

 

When we find ourselves worn out, exhausted, and tapped out when it comes to homeschool, something has to change. Here's 12 ways to simplify so you can breathe and enjoy homeschooling once again. Click through to find easy actionable steps for you to take

 

Otherwise, find or make up your own solution, or ditch it all together. Some people find workboxes simplify their day, and some don't. No biggie.

10-- Pre-Make

You've heard of breakfast stations right? Or making ahead your lunches so they're ready to go? Now, this takes some pre-planning and prep work, but in the thick of the day, it can save your bacon (I totally said that cliche on purpose).

If your baby is extra fussy and needs some lovin', your kids can head to the kitchen and grab their own breakfasts. Then they can get going with their day without waiting for mom to feed them before they starve to death... meanwhile, said baby is breaking the sound barrier with her cries of agony from an unknown origin.

Lunch time rolls around and you're caught up helping a kid with his reading and you don't want to stop the momentum you have to feed the rest of the kids.

Does that sound really mean? Whoops.

They can head to the kitchen, grab the pre-made lunch and wham-o, problem solved. Kids are fed and CPS isn't banging on your door for not feeding your kids lunch at the right time. Not that they do that... but still... you never know nowadays.

Here are some resources you may find helpful:

10 Make Ahead Lunches Done the Lazy Way

Make Ahead Cold Lunches (A Week's Worth in a Day)

Make Ahead Lunches

Self-Serve Healthy Snacks for Kids

DIY Breakfast Station

       Follow Rochelle Barlow's board School Lunches and Snacks on Pinterest.

 

11-- Create Procedures

Dude, Pam is a genius. She came up with a procedure list idea to plan how to use her various curricula. She takes the resource, lists out the steps to use it and in the order of operation. Now, each time she pulls out that resource she knows exactly what to do without having to re-think the process out each time. What a great use of brain power and time. I'm all about efficiency.

Pam breaks it down even more for you, if you're interested, along with a great example.

12 -- Just the Essentials, Ma'am

Did I say this one already? Whoops. But not really.

What is it you want your children to learn? List them in order of priority. Do the essentials, cut the rest. Or at the very least, keep the non-essentials at a manageable, simplified version.

Related: 11 Tips For a Peaceful First Homeschool Year

Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Can't keep up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Can't Keep Up? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Day

Your challenge:

That's a wrap for our 12 ways to simplify your homeschool day! I would really love two things.

1) For you to pick one of these and use it in your homeschool. Don't let it stress or freak you out, just give it a whirl.

2) I'd absolutely love to hear your ideas on how to simplify your homeschool day. I may be all those amazing people rolled into one (har har), but I still don't know everything. Where I have found to simplify my day, that's great, but there are other areas that probably could use simplifying that I hadn't thought of yet.

Share and share away!!

Mwah

 

 

 

 

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.

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The Captain - 4th

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

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Easy Plan For Your Not Back To School Party!

Let's celebrate! It's time for NOT back to school.

As homeschoolers we have the greatest freedom and flexibility in our days. We've got to take advantage of this great gift and use it for a day of fun!

 

That means, a (Home) school party!

not back to school party

Let's throw a Not Back to School Party!

I've posted some questions for you to consider as you plan your party. It can really be anything that fits you.

 

What do you want from your celebration?

  • Pump your children (and yourself) up for the coming school year
  • Have a day of fun
  • Celebrate your reasons for homeschooling
  • Set the stage for your school year
  • Etc.

When will you hold your party?

  • The week (or more) before
  • The day before
  • The night before
  • The day of
  • The night of your first day

Who is coming to the party?

  • Just your family
  • Your other Homeschool friends
  • Your family
  • Your Homeschool club or co-op

What age of people is this party for?

  • All ages
  • Littles
  • Middles
  • Olders
  • Parents

What's your budget?

  • Free
  • Mostly free
  • Small budget
  • Medium
  • Extravaganza-type

How complicated?

Your budget may impact your complication. Though, it is possible to have a very involved party without spending lots of money.

  • You want a simple party
  • Somewhat involved party
  • Very involved party

Location

  • Home
  • Park
  • Community Center
  • Outdoor location
  • Museum
  • Etc

Here's an invitation for you to use

blank invite

 

Click on the picture and it'll open in a new tab. Right-click and click Save As. Next, upload it to PicMonkey to edit it and add text of your choosing. Print or email to your friends and family to invite them to your Not Back To School Party!

Activities

Large Groups

  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Water Kickball
  • Hike
  • Swim party
  • Flour tag
  • Party Games
  • Picnic

Smaller Groups

  • Party Games
  • Time capsule
  • Decorate your own journal/notebook
  • Wrap a pen/pencil
  • School photos
  • Treasure hunt
  • Hike
  • Picnic
  • Swim in the river/lake/pool
  • Painting
  • Water games

Yummy stuff to eat

  • Cookies and milk
  • Apple buffet
  • Ice cream sundae bar
  • Burgers and hotdogs
  • Chili cheese fries
  • Pizza
  • Family's favorite meal
  • Breakfast
  • Apple Pie Cupcakes
  • Confidence Cookies
  • Rice Krispie apples
  • Chocolate Kiss Pencils

Goodies

A treat to give away is always fun

  • A visit from the Homeschool Fairy (fresh fun school supplies)
  • Edible Glue
  • Lucky Charms goodie Bag
  • Gumball Ruler
  • Pencil cases
  • Snazzy notebooks
  • Membership to a museum or zoo
  • A new book (or a set of books)
  • A fun printable full of encouragement, framed

not back to school pin

Let's put it all together into two options

Party option #1

Who: Family Party

Where: Backyard

When: Afternoon/Evening of the first day

Have a few simple decorations

Red, yellow, and blue streamers, a couple grouping of balloons, and 3 mason jars filled with fresh new pencils, crayons, and colored pencils for a centerpiece.

Food

Have an apple buffet:

Apples with caramel sauce in a bowl (melt caramels with some milk/cream). Have bowls of toppings to sprinkle on your caramel apples. Can slice the apples up to make it easier to eat.

Have apple rice krispie treats, apple cupcakes, and apple juice. Lay out some savory treats as well to counter balance all the sweets: fresh veggies, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, a favorite dip, etc.

Activities

Have a treasure hunt, draw a vague map. Have them stop at several locations within the house and backyard. Have a clue at each stop. Have a prize at the end -- a box of fun art supplies or science experiment.

Decorate your own composition notebook with glue, paints, paper, and anything else you love and can find.

OR decorate your own library bag with fabric markers and paint. What Homeschooler doesn't love the library?

Each person (even the parents) fill out a survey for the year.

Make a sign displaying their grade (if you use grade levels) and take a picture and have mom take a picture holding each sign for the children's grade levels. Make sure and take a family photo as well.

Play relay races.

Make a picnic dinner together, pack it up, go to a park, on a hike, or to the backyard and eat out under the sky.

Tell each kid what you love about them, what you think their strengths are, and your hopes for them this year. Ask them what their hopes are for this school year are.

Be sure to record them either at the picnic or when you get home.

Goodies

These are the treasure they find, the things they decorate, and the centerpieces for them to keep.

[Tweet "Plan your #notbacktoschool party here! "]
Party option #2

Who: Homeschol Group

Where: Lake

When: Weekend before school starts

Food

Everybody brings their own picnic lunch

Have fun treats: pencil cupcakes, chips and dip, cut up watermelon, Rice Krispie treat apples.

Activities

Ultimate Frisbee

Water Games

  • Mattress surfing: blow up a queen-sized mattress, push it out into the water. Everyone takes turns seeing how long they can stand up in the middle of it. Longest time wins!
  • Mattress wrestling: get on that same queen-sized mattress and have two people kneel on the mattress, facing each other. Place your hands on the other person's shoulders and try to push the other one off without getting knocked off.

Make sure those that are weaker swimmers have life jackets on. If in a pool, may need help to keep the mattress away from the sides.

Swimming

Easy party games for the younger kiddos.

Goodies

A small treat bag with a few fun art supplies: tube of paint, paint brush, pencil, and mini canvas or a list of art prompts.

Confidence cookies

Thought

Optional: Have an opening or closing "speech" to welcome everyone and to give some words of encouragement for the new school year. The confidence cookies thought is a great thing to share.

 

Looking for more resources and ideas for your Not Back to School traditions and celebrations? You're in the right place!

 

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120 ideas

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Here is a post I curated for you, my lovely friend. There's a ton of not back to school party ideas, treats, gifts, and photo ideas in this post. In fact, there's 120 different ideas. Get excited.

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Keep an eye out for more ideas headed your way! And to see what we do for our own NOT Back to School Party.

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

Our Switch To The Charlotte Mason Method

It's hard to admit it, but I have a bit of a problem. I love ALL the homeschool methods. I can't pick just one I love.

I have that Shiny Curriculum/Method syndrome. I want to try it all. Now.

Can you relate? Or am I alone...? *sniff sniff*

switch to cm

Last December I decided Charlotte Mason was our official, and final way to go.

 

I had seen Charlotte Mason in my early research of Homeschool methods and thought, "oh, that’s nice...," but I was determined to do Classical and ignored everything else.

Then classical didn’t work out for us.

That's a long, boring story. I still love the Classical Method though.

Then we switched to Unit studies, using Konos.

I really did enjoy using Konos. There were great things about it and things I didn’t like about it. Mostly, it came down to three deal breakers:

  1. Too much work upfront for me.
  2. Too much money for gathering up supplies.
  3. Too easy to fall behind.

Also, the kids were using me as a crutch.

Back to the research arena. Truth be told, I love and live to research.

I don’t even remember what brought me to Charlotte Mason, probably a fleeting thought, a touch of inspiration.

I loved learning about Charlotte Mason. Mr. Barlow says I only switched to it because Charlotte was British. If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with England.

Not so, but it was a faint check in the pros column.

What was it that I loved about Charlotte Mason?

  • Short lessons
  • Narration
  • Classic, living books (Previously I would snort at that term. Living books? Get real.)
  • Nature studies.
  • Music
  • Art
  • Handiwork
  • Time set aside each day for their own projects and self-led learning.

It was a rich lifestyle that my family dearly needed.

Fast forward a few months and I started to really focus on getting my health under control. I had no idea what it was, something with my thyroid, at least. It could’ve been cancer (there was a nodule), it could’ve been hypothyroidism, or hashimotos, or worse. Well, cancer is pretty bad, obviously,

I wanted to keep homeschooling, but my energy and motivation levels were dropping rapidly. I was wiped out and worried. That’s not a fun place to be in. We were entertaining the thought of public school.

Which made me sick sick sick to think about.

our switch to cm method

To sum it all up… we are still homeschooling, but with some big changes.

We’re still going to do as much Charlotte Mason as my health and our lifestyle allows, but we’re going to be doing a lot more independent, self-taught learning.

I’m a big believer in self-teaching and independence.

I re-found Robinson Curriculum. I remember seeing it years back and thinking these people had lost their minds. Oh, what a silly girl I was… am.

Robinson Curriculum is where you focus on the 3 R’s - Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

You are given a HUGE ginormous reading list for all 12 grades. They start at the beginning and get to reading. You dedicate 2 hours every day to reading, 2 hours to math, and 1 hour to writing. After that, you can add in whatever you want, within reason. He doesn’t encourage a lot of extra stuff.

You work up to that time, and younger kids don’t get that large amount of time to work.

Now, Charlotte Mason believes in short time chunks and build up to larger time chunks. This is going to have to be let go of.

What I’m NOT going to drop:

  • Nature Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • Self-Led Learning Time (including handiwork)
  • Narration

What Our Day Will Look Like

7:00  Wake and Breakfast

7:30 Writing

8:00 Math

9:00 Read

10:00 PE + Snack

10:30 Math

11:30 Read

12:30 Lunch

1:30 - 3:30 Extras/Self-Led Learning

We’ll meet up each day for Circle Time.

Circle Time:

  • Calendar
  • Pledge
  • Prayer
  • Memory Work (scripture, poem, and song)
  • ASL (practice/review outside of lessons)

Once (or twice) a week we’ll have Tea Time

Tea Time:

  • Poetry
  • Classical Music
  • Artist Study

Here's more on Tea Time

Once a week we’ll have Nature Study.

Nature Study:

Walk or hike somewhere and examine nature and draw a picture in our nature journals.

 

After that, they’ll work on piano and anything else they’d like to work on.

Electronics are limited to 1 hour a day.

We’ll be doing 1 hour of math and 1 hour of reading on Saturdays.

Robinson Curriculum says to do a full day of school on Saturdays, but I am not sure if we will do this.

We do have co-op for the older two on Mondays that lasts all day, so they won’t be able to do their extra stuff those days.

 

We’ll be tweaking the schedule a bit as we start it up, so look for that post later. But, since we’ll be short on time for Mondays we’ll definitely do some work on Saturdays.

 

I love Charlotte Mason. With five young kids it’s hard to do since so much of it has to be read aloud. It was becoming overwhelming and my throat hurt by the end of the day.

 

The thing I love about Robinson Curriculum is that you sit with your children as they learn. I don’t go off doing my chores while they’re working. I sit there and model proper behavior and work. This works perfectly for my blog and business as well. I can blog, create ASL materials, and transcribe while my kids are hard at work.

Plus, it allows for me some freedom to work quietly with Sweet Cheeks and play time with The Baby. Which is always awesome.

My kids are early risers so they’ll be done by lunch. After lunch they can do their own thing, plus any extras we have. It’ll leave us time for chores, cooking, exploration, and fun.

I’m excited to be able to marry the two needs we have: a quality education with greater independence and responsibility from the kiddos.

Win-win.

Now I've got some major planning and scheduling and prep work to do before we start up school again! Yikes! I feel so behind, even though, it really is only July.

Plus, we're starting Year Round this year so I need to figure out the final schedule for our terms and weeks off.

What method do you use? Do you use any bits of Charlotte Mason? How do you help your kids be independent learners?

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!"]

 

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

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

 

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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.