Monday, February 27, 2017

D is for Down Time~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


D is for Downtime.... 

Like any other family, homeschooling families need down time too. Sometimes I think we may need more since we are together ALL THE TIME!

What do you do when things are crazy, hectic, out of control, and everyone is getting on each others nerves? Lessons are not going well, kids are frustrated, or losing hope?

TAKE A BREAK!

Over the past 9 years, we have found a lot of ways to take a break and still learn as we do it.

1. Play a board game
2. Take a walk around the neighborhood
3. Head to the park
4. Watch a movie (or go to the movies)
5. Bake some yummy treats
6. Play with the dog (or any other animal)
7. Clean the house (make it fun)
8. Go swimming
9. Take a trip to the store
10, Visit the library
11. Play with Legos
12. Work on an art project
13. Go visit a creek
14. Go fishing
15. Schedule a play date with friends
16. Run around and play tag
17.Grab a book and go bird watching
18. Visit a museum
19. Plan a field trip
20. Go on a hike
21. Bring out the craft supplies and create something
22. Play with play-doh
23. Do a puzzle
24. Try a new science  experiment
25. Read a book 
26. Go bowling
27. Have fun at a children's museum
28. Go see a play
29. Put on your own play
30. Head to Mass
31. Volunteer or help someone who needs it
32. Ride a bike or scooter
33. Have a karaoke battle
34. Dance around the house
35. Plan a field day
36. Visit the local fair
37. Swing on the swings
38. Run around and pretend to be airplanes
39. Draw with sidewalk chalk
40. Blow bubbles
41. Run through the sprinkler
42. Go on a safari in your own backyard
43. Play mini-golf
44. Go on a scavenger hunt
45. Plant some flowers or veggies
46. Have a race
47. Play Wii Sports (fun on a rainy day)
48. Visit Grandma and Grandad 
49. Learn a new skill (sewing, jewelry making, wood burning, carving)
50. Use your imagination and PLAY!





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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Living Like a Saint~ Saint John Bosco





"Act today in such a way that you will not blush tomorrow."

~Saint John Bosco




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Saturday, February 25, 2017

C is for Curriculum~ Blogging Through the Alphabet



C is Curriculum!

Whether you're new to homeschooling or a veteran, choosing a homeschool curriculum can be fun, challenging, confusing, and down-right stressful. There are days you love looking at (and hoarding) curriculum, and then there are those days you just want to pull your hair out in frustration! Climbing back in bed and pulling the covers over your head sometimes feels appealing too.
There are so many choices out there to choose from. 
How does one decide?

Some families are lucky enough to find one curriculum that fits all their needs. We have friends that have used Sonlight, Seton, MODG, Kolbe Academy, Abeka, and LifePac from the beginning to the end. An all in one curriculum. It seems like it would be easier to use one curriculum for the duration of your homeschooling years. One curriculum that you know, love, and enjoy using!

We haven't been that lucky in the curriculum world of homeschooling. 
We've worked through a variety of curriculum. There are days I feel like we have tried everyone out there. I know we haven't, but it sure feels like that at times. Some curriculum choices we've loved and continued with, while and some we have not enjoyed (dare I say despised). After homeschooling 9 years, I've finally figured out that not all curriculum is equal, not all curriculum works for all students, and that it's O.K. to switch. Learning to switch and try something new was one rule that took a little time for me to get the hang of.
So repeat after me.....

It's perfectly fine to change curriculum that isn't working!

Over the years, we have loosely followed various homeschooling styles....Charlotte Mason, a Classical Approach, and even an Eclectic Approach. We've changed as the kids have grown and  their interests have changed. Changing styles has led to different curriculum. Deciding on the type of educational style you want to use will help you decide what curriculum will fit your needs.

The best advice I can give...... 

Be flexible 

Listen to the kids

Talk to other homeschool parents

and most importantly

HAVE FUN WHILE LEARNING!


Hopkins Homeschool

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Friday, February 24, 2017

F is for Faith ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet



F is Faith!

When we began our homeschooling journey, our faith was not the main reason for starting down this path. It became more important as the years went on. The more we dug into this homeschooling journey, the more we realized that our faith and religion were a huge part of our lives. We started to realize that it had become one of the main reasons why we continued on this different path.


So how do we keep our faith in our homeschooling?

We start each day with prayer. After prayer, our first subject we cover is religion. For religion, we use a wide selection of books. Our religion textbook is Faith and Life. We read from the Bible every day. The kids will learn different bible verses. When they were younger we did copywork, but now they write down a verse and work on memorizing it. 
We are currently reading two other religious books to supplement our text book.




and



Our extra reading books change yearly. 
When the kids were younger, we read a lot of great picture books. 


Each week, we spend time learning a lesson from the Baltimore Catechism. We work on answering the questions and memorizing the Catechism of the Catholic church. These re wonderful books for when the kids are preparing for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.



The kids work through their Friendly Defenders flash cards. These are fun flash cards that ask questions about the Catholic faith. On the back of the cards, the kids learn how to defend their faith, answer the questions, and what bible verses support there beliefs. I love knowing my kids will be able to defend their faith when questioned by others.






We practice Latin hymns with out Chant Cd. I love this set. It comes with 2 CD's and a book with the hymns. We can follow along and learn all the words. The  Gregorian chant is beautiful to hear.

The kids read various Saint books. I like them to read a least 4 a year. This year, I started having the kids complete a one page report on a saint every two weeks. They use information from books and websites to write them. This helps them learn more about these strong men and women in faith and it helps them with their writing skills. That's a win-win for me.
The kid's history class also have a focus on our faith. I want them to see how their Catholic faith was a part of history.

Outside of class, I like our faith to be visible and active. Faith is just not attending Mass on Sunday. It's how you live your life. Praying the rosary, the Angelus, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and other prayers help our faith stay a part of our lives. Trying to attend daily Mass and focusing on the liturgical year is very important. I love having the house reflect the liturgical year. Celebrating feast days, having creative foods, and preparing crafts all help kids learn about their faith. Ash Wednesday is coming up and I am already getting our decorations and devotionals ready.

For us, faith is not something you read about. 
You live it out in your daily life. 
You strive to be like Christ in our thoughts and actions. 
Homeschooling has helped us grow stronger in our faith. We have been able to learn more about our Catholic faith, the saints, and Jesus Christ. 




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B is for Books~ Blogging Through the Alphabet


O.K......I''ll admit it. I'm a little behind with the Blogging Through the Alphabet. This week is supposed to be letter F, but I'm just now getting to letter B and letter C. I did get letter E posted last week. That's the life of a homeschooler. Always expect the unexpected. I'll get to letter C and F later on in the week.

So for the letter B I will be talking about.....BOOKS!
You can't be a homeschooler without having a pile of books somewhere in your house. In fact, I'm sure many of us have piles throughout our houses.
We are lucky enough to have a room dedicated to our homeschooling. We call it our classroom. It's really a classroom/sewing room. I'd love to tell you that it is clean and organized all the time, but sadly I'd be lying. It usually looks like a tornado hit it.

Our room is filled with books, more books, and even more books. My dear hubby built us two beautiful bookshelves around our bay window in the schoolroom, but we still don't have enough room on the shelves. We have a few piles on the floor and a few boxes of books in the corners. We have more books stored on shelves in the basement. The kids have books on shelves in their rooms. We even have Rubbermaid tubs of books in our basement. Most of these books are books the kids have outgrown but want to keep for their kids.

Over the years, I've been asked how we have so many books. Books can be expensive, so where do we find good deals.
Here are a few of our favorite places to shop.

1. Thrift Stores
2. Used Book Stores
3. Library Book Sale
4. Ebay
5. Amazon
6. Used Books from other Homeschooling Families

The first three places are where we find the best deals. We can walk out with boxes of books while spending very little money. Unfortunately not everyone has access to good thrift stores. We're lucky enough to have some wonderful thrift stores in our area. One of our favorite stores has children's books for .50 or $1.00. If we are lucky enough to get there on a Saturday, we can get books 12 for $1.00. We have found some great books over the years. Because we go in almost every week, we get to see when new books come in. When I find way too many books I need, the nice ladies there will work with me to get an even better deal. 
Our Library Book Sale is awesome. Here we can find books about everything and anything. We even find homeschool curriculum books. The books range in price form 25. to $10. The best part all the proceeds go to the library so they can buy new books! The only draw back to shopping used books is that you don't always find what you are looking for.
For books that I need for lessons, I search eBay, Amazon, and a few used book pages on Facebook. Here I can find the titles I need at a great price. Classic books, books no longer in print, and religious books can always be found here. We rarely pay full price for a book.

If we don't need the book for a long time or don't want to own it, we head to our local library. The library is a great place to find non-fiction books about history, people, and places. We love the educational DVD's we can find there. 

In our homeschooling books are a must! 
I love when I can give my children a wide collection of books to fill their minds with a wealth of knowledge. 

"The More you Read,
the More things you will Know,
the More you Learn,
the more Places you will Go."
~Dr. Seuss



Hopkins Homeschool



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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review~ Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods



We are extremely excited to share with you another fantastic product from Home School in the Woods. Today, I get to tell you all about History Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece. This is the newest product from Homeschool in the Woods. Just a little FYI, they are working on Ancient Rome. It will be released in 2018. 


HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

Home School in the Woods is a homeschool curriculum company started by The Pak family. The journey began during their own homeschooling journey. Amy Pak, the mom, dreaded teaching history to her crew and wanted a history curriculum that would be fun to teach, fun to learn (not boring), and filled with a tons of facts and information. 
What's the point of teaching something if the kids are not going to remember it? 
The Pak family set out to fix this. They definitely have brought history to life. It's no longer boring. Its rather exciting!  Home School in the Woods offers a wide selection of products for homeschooling families to choose from.

Timeline Materials
Map Sets
Time Travelers U.S. History Studies
Project Passport World History Studies

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

Activity Paks (Bible, Music, Artist)
Lap Paks (U.S. Elections, Wonders of the World, Knights, Benjamin Franklin)

We've reviewed a few of these products before and used a few others in our own homeschooling journey. 

In fact, we just finished up Time Travelers: The Civil War. We'll be using their Time Travelers: Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression and Time Travelers: World War II later in this year.

For this review, we received the digital download version of History Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece. 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

If you'd prefer, they do offer a CD version of this product. The Cd version is $34.95, while the digital download version is $33.95. Please keep in mind that prices are subject to change. I've used both types in the past. Either version is easy to use and contains the same material.

So What is Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece?

Project Passport: Ancient Greece is a hands-on history curriculum for students in grades 3rd through 8th. It utilizes lap booking, notebooking, timelines, maps, and fun projects to help students learn all about Ancient Greece. The study guide can be used a couple times a week and covers an 8-12 week term. It could be longer if you want to move at a slower pace. 
The Download (or CD) come with a Guide Book Text to read on a specific topic, a Travel Itinerary for projects and their directions, and a Masters guide for teachers/students of all the printables that come with this study guide.
Project Passport leads you on a 25 stop tour of Ancient Greece! You'll visit beautiful places, witness exciting events from history, and learn about some amazing people. Some of the topics that students will cover are Athens and Sparta, the Greek government, everyday life of the Greek people, Greek food, education, great literature, advancements in science, myths and legends, religion, Greek wars, the arts, and of course philosophy. There is no way you can study Ancient Greece without studying the great philosophers from there.
While on their travels, students will get to work on some fun, educational activities.



Creative Writing Exercises
Recipes from Greece (this is educational , yet tasty)
Scrapbooking
Notebooking
A Greece Game to Play
Souvenir Crafts
Postcards from Famous People
History Timeline
and
Various Lap Book Activities 

Project Passport: Ancient Greece contains a wealth of information. It provides students with a wonderful understanding of Ancient Greece. They will gain a wealth of knowledge about Ancient Greece while having fun. 
We love hands-on learning in this house!

So How Did We Used Project Passport: Ancient Greece?

We added this journey to our weekly schedule. We worked on it 2-3 times a week depending on what we had going on during the week. You know how some weeks are just way more hectic than others. It was easy to follow and implement into our lessons. The lessons are clearly explained and well laid out. Prepping for the lessons is probably the hardest part.



For me, I like to print everything out. I make a binder for me with all the masters, itinerary, text sections, and the teacher keys. I love to have things all ready to go. Because I like to print all the materials out at one time, I wish there was a way to print all the pages at one time. It's a little time consuming for me to have to print out each section one by one. It usually takes me about two days to get everything printed and organized into my binder. You will need plenty of paper and make sure your ink is full before you get started. The last thing you want to do is run out of ink halfway through your printing.


After I'm ready to go, I create a binder for the kids to keep all of their papers. I divide the binder up into sections for them. The divided sections helps keep them organized and they now where to look for item when they want to go back to read.

Text
Timeline
Mapwork
Snapshot Moments Section
Newspaper~ Greek Weekly
Notes
Lapbook 
( a brown mailing envelope is great for storing the items until you are ready to complete your lapbook)



Having everything organized and easily accessible makes for a smoother lesson. 
We like to spread out each stop over a couple of days, usually 2-3 days depending on how many activities that particular stop has. We tried doing a stop in one day, but we just never were able to get it all done. We love completing the projects, but sometime they take a while to prepare and get together. 
So a typical stop would look like this for us.....

~Day 1~ 
Read Text
Snapshot Moments

~Day 2~
Timeline
Greek Weekly Newspaper
Cut out & put together lap book pieces

~Day 3~
Go over Lapbook pieces
Finish up any writing projects that still need to be worked on
Hands-on project




Project Passport: Ancient Greece offer students hands-on learning full of information. Students will learn all they need to know about Ancient Greece...... facts, people, events, map work, and of course fun projects. Students will be able to create a Greek mask, paint a fresco, decorate a piece of Greek pottery, dress up in a toga, try some Greek food, and the boys will enjoy making a shield.




Home School in the Woods is a wonderful curriculum that brings history to life for children. It's one of our favorite ways to study history. We can't recommend it enough. We promise that you'll not be bored.

Want to learn more about Home School in the Woods and all the great products they have for your homeschool lessons? Check out their social media pages.



Stop by and see the other Passport stops the crew team reviewed!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews


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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. 

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Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Living Like a Saint~ Saint Jerome




"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."

~ Saint Jerome



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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

E is for Educational Games~ Blogging through the Alphabet



We all have days when school just isn't working! The kids are complaining about doing their work, a child is sick, spring fever has hit, the winter boredom has set, or worse mama is sick.
What do you do on days like this?

You make learning fun, carefree, and easy!

When days are going south and it seems like nothing is going right, we turn to educational games to get our learning in. Here are a few of our favorite games we've discovered over the years.


Math


Bingo



Dino Tracks


Uncle Wiggly




Chutes and Ladders






Yahtzee




Spelling/Language Skills


Scrabble



Boggle




Tapple







Story Cubes






History


Catan History: Settlers of America





Made for Trade







Geography


Geography Bingo







U.S.A Bingo







Learn US History!









Trivia Games

American Trivia Family Edition



The American Girls Game




and a few more games we enjoy!

Ticket to Ride





Clue




Monopoly



Sorry



Payday





Go to the Head of the Class



So that's a just a sample of the games we enjoy. 
What educational games have you added to your school lessons?



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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. 

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Joining in Blogging through the Alphabet! 
Join in on the fun.....


Hopkins Homeschool

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