Friday, August 24, 2018

Our Favorites Things for School

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Back to School Blog Hop


Where to begin! We have so many favorite things for our homeschooling journey it will be difficult to share it all.


Back to School Traditions....

In the past, one of our favorite homeschool traditions was attending Mass with our local homeschool group at the start of the year. Following Mass, we'd head to the church hall or a nearby park to share a yummy breakfast and some quality time with friends. We no longer join the group for this event, since the majority of kids my kids were friends with are no in the local schools. We miss seeing everyone, but understand that each family has to do what is best for them. Other than that, I don't have any back to school traditions. Maybe I'll try something new this year!



On to supplies.....

#1 Ticonderoga Pencils~ No other pencil will do. The erasures are great and the tips don't break off constantly. Ever year, we buy a few new packs! If you ask the kids, there is no other pencil brand.

#2 Avery Binders~ Strong and Sturdy. That last year after year. We've tried other brands only to have them break in the middle of the year. We know pay a little more, but are able to use them for a few years!

#3 Crayola Colored Pencils~ These are perfect for maps and timelines. They color evenly and work great. Again no other brand will do, unless you're creating works of art and then you need "real" colored pencils. That's a whole different list.

#4 Glue Sticks~ With unit studies and lapbooks, we have used our fair share of glue sticks. Elmer's glue sticks are our favorite.

#5 Canon Printer~ Over the years, I planned the majority of our lessons, so our printer has been our lifeline. We had other brands, but the Canon has been the most cost effective for us. Don't forget the printer paper. We buy a big box at Costco and it lasts us the entire year.


Curriculum....

Classically Catholic Memory~ A Catholic curriculum that covers Latin, geography, math, science, history, great words, and religion. It's great if you're homeschooling multiple ages.

RC History~ A classical approach curriculum that covers history, religions, and great literature.

Homeschool in the Woods~ A fantastic resource for timelines, hands-on lap books and unit studies.

Rod and Staff Math~ A classic approach to math taught how we learned math back in the day. This program has been a life saver for Therese.

Mater Amabilis~ A free Charlotte Mason Catholic curriculum for all ages! The resources are amazing.

Ambleside Online~ A free online curriculum inspired by a classical, Charlotte Mason style.

I was going to share a few our favorite books, but that would take too long. Over the years, I've shared quite a few of our favorites.  You can read about a few our favorites here.


Be sure to check out these wonderful ladies that are participating in the back to School Blog Hop!

Wendy @ Life at Rossmont Yvie @ Gypsy Road



Till Next Time,
Monique






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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why I'm Thankful to Be 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.




Well it's that time of year! The local schools kids are heading back one by one. As fewer kids are seen out and about, the questions and comments slowly pop again. You know they ones!

Are you out of school? 
Do you go to a private school? 
Why are you not in school today?
Do you plan to homeschool the entire time?

These are just a few of the questions we homeschoolers face whenever we venture out during school hours. In years past, we've been questioned almost ever time we were out. I will admit that last year there were fewer comments and so far this year we've only had one.

Instead this year, we have been met with people asking if we homeschool. It has grown considerably around our area so that may be why. The best part is when we answer yes, we have been praised for our decision. No snide remarks, no quizzing of the kids, or disgusted looks on faces. It's amazing how the times have changed in just the 10 years we've been doing this!



I have to admit that I get very uncomfortable with the praise given at times. People say they admire what we are doing, how we're doing the best thing possible for our kids, and so on. I often find myself at a loss for words. What do you say when you constantly doubt yourself? There isn't a day that goes by that I don't question one or two decisions I've made. I always have that nagging fear in the back of my mind that I am somehow screwing my kids up for life. The sad thing is I know I'm not the only homeschooling mom out there with this fear! I love my kids and want what is best for them, so why would I mess this up. I research and carefully pick everything out, but I still let that little thing called doubt creep in. It would be nice to fully trust yourself, wouldn't it?



Even with all my doubts and fears, I am thankful that I have been blessed to be able to homeschool both my kids. I have been there for all the ups and downs. I've seen the light go one when they finally figure something out, held them when they've cried out of frustration and disappointment, seen the excitement when they create something amazing, and the disappointment when something fails. I've spent everyday of their lives with them. I've been able to see them grow from curious toddlers to independent thinkers. The closeness we have could never happened if they went to school.



I love seeing the way they've grown together. Partners in crime, best friends, and opponents in the ring. No it's not always days filled with roses. We have sunny days and days that feel like we are living in a hurricane, but it is all worth it. I would never trade the joys we have experienced.

So as we get ready to start HIGH SCHOOL, I am both fearfully and amazed. I'm nervous at this knew conjunction in our lives, but excited to see where the next few years take us. My babies are slowly becoming adults....even if I'm not ready for it just yet!


How are you feeling about this upcoming year?


Dot' forget to stop and visit the ladies participating in the 5 Days of Back to School!



Marla @ Jump Into Genius 
Christine @ Christine Howard



Till Next Time,
Monique




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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Choosing an Elective for High School

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.




Now that we are heading into high school, electives are on our radar. Of course, I had a few questions so I headed online and searched a few websites to find the information I needed. Surprising it really isn't that difficult to come up with electives. Here is what we have discovered!


1. Ask your teen what they want to learn about

Does your teen want to learn more about a different culture, a different country, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, Guns, the Wonders of the World, etc? This list is essentially limitless. Almost any subject they want to dig deeper in can be a course.

2. Focus on courses they want to major in when they head off to college

Has your teen decided on a field they want to study in college? Michael right now plans on studying Biology in college, so we have planned on him taking more science based electives. Ornithology, Marine biology, wildlife management, etc. We may even look into classes at the local community college during his junior year of high school.

3. Don't forget Physical Education

Tennis anyone? Don't forget to count the sports your kids play. Therese is currently a member of a local swim team. She practices 4 days a week and competes on Saturday. Michael competes on a competitive shooting team. Travel soccer and baseball teams can be joined. Our local parks and rec offers a homeschool P.E. class for kids offering them an opportunity to play team games...dodge ball, soccer, flag football.


3. Use outside sources when they are available

Besides sports, there a ton of outside opportunities for teens. Theater, dance, art classes, pottery class, and computer classes are just a few that come to mind. Don't forget to utilize local co-ops. Some of our co-ops teach art, foreign languages, photography, Latin, geography courses, and so on. Really any class that you are not covering at home can become an elective. One our co-ops actually puts out a yearbook for the group. Students work on everything to make it come together!

4. Plan your own course

O.K. this might not be easy, but your teen will appreciate it. Michael wanted to learn more about guns since he's part of a shooting team. His interest in guns grew, so he asked to study the history of firearms for an elective this year. I went online searching for something but found nothing. What was going to do? I used my skills from when the kids were little and I created a course just for him. I found a few books to use online, ordered them, read them, and wrote up a course outline. He's thrilled!

5. Don't forget jobs and internships

Our local vet has already mentioned to the kids that they are welcome to come work there and intern. They can see what a vet does during their day and learn more about the animals that come in. Michael would love to work at the wildlife rescue center near us. He'd love to learn about animal rehabilitation. Babysitting could easily be turned into a child development course. The possibilities are endless!



Thanks for joining during the Back to School Blog Hop! Don't forget to stop by and read what the other ladies had to share.


Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler 
Kellyann @ Walking Home ... 
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase 





Till Next Time,
Monique










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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Homeschooling High School~ Our 9th Grade Curriculum

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.





I swear it seems like yesterday that I was teaching Michael his ABC's and 123's. I'm not sure where the time has gone, but here we are heading into high school (officially). Ninth grade here we come ready or not!

So after much deliberation, here is what I have decided to for his first year of high school....


Religion~
Catholic Morality by Fr. John Laux
Chief Truths of the Faith by Fr. John Laux
Witness to the Faith~ Seton Press
YOUCAT

English Grammar and Composition~
Warriner's English Grammar and Composition 3rd Edition
*Classical Composition Fable from Memoria Press
*Classical Composition Narrative from Memoria Press

* Started this last year for a review and will finish the books up this year after a short summer break

Spelling~
Warriner's English Grammar and Composition


English Literature~
*Adventures in Reading
The Harp and the Laurel Wreath
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A Christmas Carol
Shane
The Cay
The Old Man and the Sea
The Merchant of Venice
Plus 3 more books of his choosing

*This was my high school literature book for 9th grade. I still had it so I figured why not.


Math~
Math U See Algebra 1


History~
RC History Connecting with History Volume 1
The Old World and America
Bible History by Fr. George Johnson
Map Trek

*Additional Resources
Huge selection of books
Home School in the Woods Passport to Egypt
Home School in the Woods Passport to Greece

Science~
Exploring Creation with Physical Science from Apologia

Foreign Language~
Spanish 1 from Bob Jones

Electives~
Career Exploration from SchoolouseTeachers.com



History of Firearms
~The Complete Encyclopedia of the World's Firearms
~Firearms An Illustrated History

Physical Education~
Weighlifting
Pistol Shooting Team

Art & Art History~
Still in the works

A fun-filled busy year is coming his way!



Join in on the fun!

See what the these fantastic ladies are planning for this year....

Christine @ Christine Howard 
Dawn @ Schoolin' Swag 
Felicia @ Homeschool 4 Life 
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning 
Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine 




Till Next Time,
Monique















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Monday, August 20, 2018

Blog Hop~ Dear Mom Starting HIgh School

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.






Do you have a child starting high school this year? I do. 
Ae you a tiny bit scared? Nervous? I am.
It's funny how high school seemed so far off when you were just starting this journey. Remember days of learning letters and numbers? Remember the struggle with learning to read? I do and I'll admit I miss those days. Gone are the days of crafts, puzzles, adventure hikes through the jungle, and story time with cuddles. Even though I miss all those things,I am excited to be starting this new journey. Are you?

I'll admit I'm a little scared. I hope I'm not the only one. It seems so official this year. High school is so crucial now a days and there seems to be so much pressure to get it done right. If you screw this up, you'll mess up your kids for life! I've actually read this and heard this from people. Crazy huh?

But what is the right way? I'll be honest...I HAVE NO CLUE! I feel lost, anxious, and slightly confused by it all. For awhile, I panicked. Just recently. I accepted that I don't have to know it all. I don't have to have all the answers. No one does. Teachers in schools don't have all the answers either. Kids that go to "real" school still struggle, fail, excel, and flourish. There really is no difference. What I do know is no one else knows my child like I do. No one else cares about my child like me. 

So after my short panic attack, O.K. not so short, I realized I just need to do what I've been doing along. 

Focusing on what is best for my kids!
 Helping them learn to be the best they can be!
 Helping them focus on their studies while giving them more responsibility for their work!
Helping them learn how to work more independently!
Encouraging their love of learning!

If I continue to do all those things, I know my kids will discover what they love and go after it. After all, we are helping them spread their wings.





Join in on the fun!
Read some of the other posts from these amazing women.


Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool 
Annette @ A Net in Time 
Ashley @ Gift of Chaos Betty @ Let’s Get Real 
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones 
Carol @ Home Sweet Life 
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses


                                                                                                    



Till Next Time,
Monique








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Friday, August 17, 2018

Review~ God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco



Have you ever doubted your homeschooling technique? Or wondered if you are doing what is best for children? If you're like me, I'm sure you have. Recently, I was given the chance to review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn from Julie Polanco.


For this review, I received a physical copy of the book God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn. Throughout the book, Julie Polanco shares a wealth of information she learned from her fifteen years of experience from homeschooling her own four children. She adds biblical verses, quotes from more than 20 experts, and of course entertaining tales from her own experience.



In her book, she helps parents navigate the winding road of homeschooling. She offers advice and encouragement. Her goal is to help parents find the confidence to achieve the goals they set out for their children, especially the God-given goals we pray for our children to discover and reach.




God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn is a quick read with a lot of information for parents. It is a little over 150 pages long. It sells for $16.99. The eBook can be purchased for $9.99.

The book is broken up into two parts with nine chapters. After each chapter, the author provides questions to think about. The questions are great just for you to ponder or maybe a homeschooling mom's group to ponder together.

Part 1: Dispelling Myths
Chapter 1~ Biblical Support for Natural Learners
Chapter 2~ Motivation & Excellence

Part 2: Practice
Chapter 3~ Thoughts on Teaching Children Under Age AEight
Chapter 4~ Thoughts on Teaching Children Aged Eight to Twelve
Chapter 5~ Giving Teens the Wings to Fly
Chapter 6~ Spreading the Bauquet
Chapter 7~ Getting Started
Chapter 8~ Some Q & A
Chapter 9~ Record Keeping & Structure
Concluding Remarks

The book offers advice for parents with children of all ages. Each chapter gently reminds us to keep in mind what God wants for our children. Faith is also a big part of our schooling. God and our faith is just not regulated to Sunday Mass. We live our faith daily by praying and spending time with God. As a mom, my ultimate goal is to get my children to Heaven. 

Learning can happen anywhere, not just while sitting at a table working through a book. On this point, I agree with the author. I love providing my children opportunities to learn while exploring the world around them. I know my children learned more about the country they live in when we traveled cross country to Yellowstone National Park. They would never have had the experiences they did by just reading the book.

Since my kids are heading into high school, I really focused on the chapter Giving Teens the Wings to Fly. I have a 13 and almost 15 year old, so this is right where we are at. 
I still can't believe we are already here! 
I wholeheartedly agree with allowing your teen to have some say in what they are learning. After the basics, I allow my children to pick a few books they want to read and a few electives they want to study. 
I have to admit, I'm not on board with the whole unschooling thing though. I truly believe that children do need to learn how to work through things they may not like or want to study. With every job they will have in life, they will come across aspects they don't care for but they will need to be responsible and follow the lead of their bosses. For me unschooling, just doesn't quite prepare students for the real world. Sadly, the families I know that have focused solely on faith and the unschooling technique have not prepared their children well for the real world. The children lack ambition and drive. 
The author does address topics like this in her book. She offers advice about how to help your child excel in life, discover the goals God has planned for them. I would definitely suggest reading his book earlier than later. If you're on the fence with your learning style, this book can help you find what you may or may not like about the various homeschooling styles. This book does lean more to the God Schooling style.

One area, in this chapter, I didn't agree with is allowing your teen to make decision about their own personal style. Yes, teens do need to have more say in some areas of their life. However, my teen daughter and son will not get multiple piercings, wear booty shorts (just because she wants to), dye their hair purple or bright orange, get a tattoo, etc. In today's world, our teens are bombarded with way too many things at an earlier age. I don't feel they have the maturity to make certain decisions just yet. They need guidance on how to make the best decisions for their lives.  As long as they live under our roof, they will abide by our rules and guidelines. As I tell my daughter dying her hair purple and wearing inappropriate clothing doesn't make her special or stand out. It makes her look like every other teen following the crowd. Be who you are, be who God wants you to be, not what other people say you should be. 

I'm sure the author was not suggesting teens have the ability to do whatever they want whenever they want, but it did come across a little like that. With proper guidance and instructions, our teens will hopefully make the right choices. With our help, they can discover their own identities.

I loved how she focused on getting the teens to take responsibility for their work. Whether it's just their school lessons, chores around the house, or a job outside the home. Ultimately, our goal as parents is for them to one day leave the nest....spread their wings and fly!

So What Did I Think of the Book?

For the most part, I liked the book. I'll admit I skipped the two chapters about homeschooling children 12 and under. Been there and done that! I would suggest the book to families just starting out on their homeschooling journey. As a mom, who is heading into the final years, I feel like I've already explored ever aspect of the homeschooling world and figured out what works best for my children. I'm always leary of a book that suggests this is the way to do it. I appreciate the author's point of view about natural learning, but over the years I have learned that what works for one child doesn't necessarily work for another. They are all different gifts from God. If we become to focused on one style of learning, we may become distracted and enslaved to that decision and in the end not making the best choices for our children.

As I tell any new homeschooling mom, research all the different homeschooling styles...boxed curriculum, unit studies, child-led, Classical, Montessori, Christian, Unschooling, God Schooling, etc. Read all the books you can and find what works best for your child. Use one style completely or adjust different styles to fit your needs. Too often, we get hung up with what everyone else is doing. We compare, we start to panic, and fear takes over. What we should do is pray, hope, and don't worry. Ask God to lead us (just like the author suggests) and we'll do what is right for our children.



Discover more through Social Media....


Read what the other crew members had to say about this inspiring book!
Just click the link below.


Till Next Time,
Monique







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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wordless Wednesday~ Summer Flowers









With all the rain we've had this summer, my flowers look pitiful. I thought I'd share some pictures of flowers from previous summers. I miss seeing all the colorful blooms this year.


Till Next Time,
Monique





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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wordless Wednesday~ Hello August

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.





With the end of July, Swim team has come to an end. 
Now for rest and relaxation in August!


Till Next Time,
Monique






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