Sunday, August 20, 2017

Living Like a Saint~ Saint Claire of Assisi

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Till Next Time,
Monique

Friday, August 18, 2017

Dear Homeschool Mom......

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Dear Homeschool Mom.....

Welcome to the world of homeschooling! It can be exciting, thrilling, lonely, and frightening. Each day will bring a new adventure. It's not as easy or as hard as people make it out to be. Some days will go smoothly, while others days will feel like the train has derailed off the track. But that's O.K., everything will work out.

I'm going to let you in on a few secrets that we have in this little world of homeschooling.
We are not perfect. We make mistakes. If we want to look for someone that is perfect than we better head to church and gaze upon Jesus on the Cross.

We don't have all the answers. We are extremely grateful for Google and the library.

We don't have an unending supply of patience. All you have to do is ask my kids and they will quickly tell you that I can turn into the wicked witch of the west on our bad days. Some days it's just best to stop and do something educational but fun!

We worry about everything...are the kids learning, are we using the right curriculum, are they keeping up with their peers, do they have friends, are they getting enough socialization, are we harming them by keeping them home, will they succeed in college, will they succeed in life, will they grow up and be faithful adults, will they be able to function in the "real" world...the list goes on and on. We all have fears. Even moms who send their kids to school have fears. We just need to let go of fear and trust God.

"Pray, hope, and don't worry."
      ~Saint Padre Pio


We buy curriculum and then change our minds. Many of us have piles of books that we've been barely used. The great thing is that there is always someone looking for curriculum and the chances are pretty high that you'll be able to pass it onto someone else.

Everyone of us has certain fears and concerns. It's only naturally.
Didn't we feel the same way when we brought them home?

We still have one thing in common...We love our kids and want what is best for them. If we don't lose sight of that we will do fine. Will me make mistakes? You bet we will, but those mistakes will be made out of love. Love makes everything better.



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Till Next Time,
Monique

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Homeschooling Outside the Home

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Whenever you meet someone new and they find out you homeschool, they always ask about socialization. It's kind of funny, because we have never found that too be a problem. In fact,we have found homeschooling to be even more social then school. In years past, we have been part of co-ops, support groups, sports, scouts, etc. There were years we were so busy that schooling actually was rather difficult. As the years have progressed, we've gotten a little wiser. We now limit some of outside commitments in order to get all our school work done. But don't worry, the kids still get out and socialize with people.


This year the kids are participating in our Catholic homeschool support group. This group will provide the kids with field trips, social events, parties for feast days, and options to attend Mass. Both kids are in our churches religious education classes and youth group. The are taking a Founding Fathers class about our government with a mom from our church. Therese will participate in her St. Zita's home ec. club again this year. I'm co-leading the club again this year. A new group for us this year is 4H. We have a homeschool 4H groups that was just started in our area, so we joined. We'll see how it goes. This past summer Therese volunteered at our local library and has decided to continue this year. Michael has decided to offer his service too. On top of all that, we'll still get together with friends when we can.


It looks like a busy year already. I love when the kids are involved in the outside world. It teaches them how to interact with people of all ages. They learn valuable life skills and will learn from the other adults they come in contact with.




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Till Next Time,
Monique

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Keeping Everything On Track While Homeschooling

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


Are you a planner? Or do you just go with the swing of things? I will admit I'm a planner. I love to have everything planned out when it comes to or homeschooling lessons. Each year, around March, I start planning for the next year. I spend the next few months planning the courses, books, and projects the kids will use and work on.

For me planning is fun. We don't use an all-in-one boxed curriculum. Years ago, when we started homeschooling, I never found a set curriculum that worked for us. Since nothing seemed to work for I use, I set out and created our own. I've been doing for so long now that it just second nature to me. I love the freedom it gives me and the kids.

So where do I begin? 

First, I start with the basics. Math, English, and Religion. These three are a must and we don't change too often in our course with these subjects. I consider them the easy subjects to plan. History and science are next. This is were I'm always looking for ideas. Science I'm always looking for a curriculum that the kids will enjoy and in an area of science they want to learn about. I have two science loving kids, so this subject is a big deal for us. For history, we use a classical approach. History takes a lot of planning! Books, projects, movies, reports, etc. all need to be planned out. This takes the longest to plan and I tend to over plan...I'd recommend not doing that. It can be rather stressful if you plan too much.  After planning the core subjects, I start on the electives. Here is were the kids have some say in what they want to study. I always try to include a few classes they want to learn and are of interest to them. Once everything is decided then I move on to planning the lessons and getting everything organized.

To plan out my lessons this year, I am using an online planner from Homeschool Planner. In the past, I used to use spreadsheets to plan everything and then I'd copy the lesson onto a paper planner. I would copy a few weeks at a time. I never wrote the lessons too far ahead or I'd end of having to erase and change the schedule when we missed a lesson or fell behind in a subject.




Now that the kids are older, I wanted a easier way to plan, a way to keep track of their grades, and a way to create a transcript for them. Homeschool Planet allows me to do that. Not only can I plan their lessons, I can add outside activities to the schedule and I get email reminders of everything planned for that day It's made life so easy! The more I use it, the more I like it.





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Till Next Time,
Monique

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Our Must Have School Supplies

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.



As we head into our 10th year homeschooling, we learned a few things along the way. Over the years, we had a few school supplies that we love and are now considered a MUST have!

1. Pencils....not just any kind of pencils. We love Ticonderoga pencils. They are truly the best pencils. They sharpen well and the points don't keep breaking when you sharpen them. The erasers are great and actually erase! Forget the cute pencils...these are a must have in our house.



2. Binders.... We use a combination of plain binders (white & colored) and fashion binders that they kids get to pick out. I always try to allow them to pick a few school supplies they will enjoy using. Since we don't really get to do the full back to school shopping, I always let the kids pick out a few supplies they would like to use.

The fashion binders are used for our more simpler subjects like religion and poetry. We use the heavier, sturdier binders for science and history. We don't want the binder to fall apart during the year. Our favorite binders for science and history are the ones from Staples. They hold up well and we've been able to reuse them for a few years now.



3. Paper.....All kinds of paper is needed! Construction paper, computer paper (white & colored), card-stock, art paper, and lined loose leaf paper fill our shelves. We do a lot of notebooking and lapbooking so we love having a variety of paper to choose from.



4. Printer....A printer is a must have for us. 




We've had our Canon printer for at least 4 or 5 years now. It has lasted a long time, works well, and the ink is reasonably priced. My only complaint now is I can't find the ink at our local Walmart anymore. Thank goodness for Amazon. I can order ink and have it delivered the next day.


5. Notebooks.....The kids have a variety of notebooks to use for their subjects. Math, English, reports (for note taking), etc. The kids get to pick out all notebooks, except the few that Grandma sends for them. She still enjoys shopping for school supplies, even though this mama has been out of school for 25 years! We have dogs, owls, animals, sports, cars, camo, etc. They get to express their interests and likes. 
For preteens and teens....




Therese has a few of these. since she is an animal lover....



Michael chose car this year....

 

6. Colored Pencils....We the kids were younger we bought Crayola colored pencils. 



We found that they worked well and colored evenly. We still use them for map work and simple projects in our school subjects. 
As the kids have gotten older, I've purchased better quality colored pencils for their art projects.  




7. Quality Art Supplies.....Now that Michael and Therese are older, we can experiment with a wider variety of media in art. I now keep quality paint (acrylic, watercolor, oil), paper (painting, charcoal, mixed media, watercolor), pastels (chalk and oil), charcoal, drawing pencils, etc. Creating master pieces is a whole lot easier when you are using good quality materials.

8. Pencil Sharpener....We have gone through quite a few electric pencil sharpeners. They last a few years (if we are lucky). Our current electric sharpener was one we found at Staples on clearance.

It's lasted for few years, so it has been a great one. We now have a back-up in our house. When my grandfather passed away, we were passed down an old fashion hand crank metal pencil sharpener. I'm not sure how old it is, but it works great! All I know is that it is heavy duty and made in the USA.




9.Good Quality Literature....I love filling our shelves with great books. I prefer the classics. We search used book stores, thrift stores, our library's used book sale, and online sites like thriftbooks.com. You can never have too many books!




10. Coffee, Coffee,Coffee..... This is a must have for this mama! My favorite is Green Mountain Breakfast blend. Do you have a favorite? I'd love to hear about it. I love trying new blends!






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Till Next Time,
Monique

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