Momma’s in college and the kids are homeschooled…

We are still homeschooling, it’s been four years since we made the plunge and we still feel like it’s the best thing that we’ve done for our children.  I’ve spent hours coming up with “perfect” lesson plans, finding resources, organizing the school year, etc.  The thing is, I’ve been called to change.  Although at times it was frustrating and overwhelming, a part of me has loved every minute of it all.  Now God has called me to do other things with my time as well and something had to give.  I started college in January.  Thankfully my degree is 100% online and on my schedule.  I am told at the beginning of the week what I need to get done, and I turn it in by the end of the week.  Without this kind of flexibility I don’t think I could do this, God is so good to have set this up for me like that!  I realized early on that I couldn’t go to college and homeschool the kids the same way that I have been doing it.

Enter online schooling!  My oldest is using the curriculum at All In One Homeschool and I have to say that I love it!  It is so thorough, teaches everything exactly how I would teach it, and teaches my daughter to take personal responsibility for her work.  We do not use the math or science on there though.  We use Saxon Math, not the crazy expensive homeschool version, just a used public school textbook and I don’t think she could get a better math foundation from any other curriculum.  She really wanted something special for science we tried a few things and decided on Uzzingo and she seems to really enjoy it.  I think this fall though we might switch out to Apologia science but I haven’t decided 100% on that yet.  My second child is using Time 4 Learning.  It’s not my favorite program ever, but it will work just fine for now until he is old enough to use All In One Homeschool independently.  My youngest two are using ABC Mouse to learn all of their basics.

This new way of homeschooling is so wonderful for us right now.  It allows us all to get done what we need to get done for the day without everyone waiting on Mommy to sit down and teach them.  Of course I still go over things with them and check their grades to see if there is anything they need special help on, but it saves me so much time and allows me the time and energy that I need to focus on my goals as well.

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Math bean bags!

I had some fun last night making some numbered bean bags for my little ones.

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They were super easy to make, I just cut some 5″x10″ strips of fabric, and then cut some numbers from an old worn out t-shirt. After trying it out I think a non stretchy fabric would have worked better, but live and learn! I took the fabric numbers and machine appliquéd them onto the strips, and then folded the strips right sides together and sewed the three open edges together, leaving a gap to turn the bags with. Then I turned the bags, filled with a bit of rice, and sewed the gaps closed. Easy peasy!

Back to school!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer vacation! Even as homeschoolers we still needed a break around here, so we packed up and have enjoyed some wonderful time with family and friends. It is all too easy to get caught up in the idea of “year round” homeschooling that we forget that our kids, and even ourselves sometimes need a break so that we can freshen up and be ready to start back again and hit the ground running. Remember how the Bible talks about taking a Sabbath day? That is important as not just a part of our weekly routine but as a part of our year round homeschooling routine as well!

We have taken two trips to North Carolina, and one trip to Indiana. Each of those trips has involved lots of time with our extended family and close friends. We are fortunate enough to have members of both my husbands family and my own family living within one hour of each other in North Carolina. Unfortunately every trip we take tends to lean heavily on one side of the family or the other, so we made two trips this year, one for each side of the family:). Despite our break from homeschooling our kids learned so much in those two trips, about fish, ocean currents, how sand is made, and why their our seashells on the seashore. Other things were learned as well, but those are a few that come to mind. With the right mindset the world is our classroom and even during a “break” a lot of learning can happen!

Our trip to Indiana may not have been nearly as “educational”, but there were valuable life lessons learned, the kind that can’t be taught from a textbook. The importance of family, friends, and helping others are all essential ideals in the making of a well rounded child, and every one of those was impressed upon my children during our trip. My boys especially have a very strong bond with their grandfather. I can’t tell you the joy it brought my heart to watch the help my Dad cook us all dinner over an open fire. My husband is a manly man, the kind of guy who likes to fix cars, work on the yard, and play war time video games. My Dad is also a manly man, the kind who likes to fish, hunt, camp, and cook outdoors. Both men lend invaluable knowledge to my boys and are amazing role models for my boys to emulate.

My oldest daughter especially got to learn the importance of true friendship, the kind of friendship that develops after two decades of pouring your heart out to someone, and having them pour their heart out to you. The kind of friendship that allows you to sit silently in a room with someone for hours and feel like you’ve had the most wonderful visit ever. Not that there was much of that going around, it’s been over a year since my best friend and I have gotten together so there was a lot of catching up to do. Just being able to observe the carefree conversation, the ease of laughter, and the unselfish want for the others well being that my friend and I share made a huge impact on my daughter. It’s not the kind of friendship that is easily obtained, quickly found, or carelessly fostered, but it’s the kind of friendship that sis worth more than gold and can stand the test of time. She realized during those long hours at my friends house what true friendship really is. She understands now why it is so much more important to have one good friend than one hundred superficial ones. I just hope and pray that she can find and foster a friendship that will stand the test of time the way that my friend and I have.

That’s a quick rundown of our summer vacation. If you haven’t yet be sure to take a break and rejuvenate before starting back to school again. Some of the best life lessons are learned outside of a classroom, even if that classroom is in our own homes. Be sure to give your kids a chance to visit family, overhear conversations between close friends, and witness the glory of God in the nature that surrounds them before you pack them back up into the house for book studies. For now, just enjoy your summer!