A Day in the Life- A Homeschool Day While Mom Works

If you’re questioning how homeschool works on a day to day basis for a full-time working mother, here is a glimpse into a day in my life. I’m very fortunate that Jack’s education isn’t burdened all on me and Dad (and Nana) does some of the school work too.

Monday-

5:45 a.m. alarm goes off.

6:30 a.m.- I have finished dressing and am fixing breakfast 6:45- Our little guy is awake and wants snuggles, I read him his devotional. I love this time and am adamant that I never say no to snuggles..one day he’ll be too big for me.

7:15 a.m.-5:45 p.m. I’m at work. On my lunch break, I may look for projects for us to do on the weekend (if they’re large) or little exercises to do for Dad/Nana during the week while I work.

6:30 p.m. I’m home and get the run down on our homeschool accomplishments for the day. We’ve watched Latin, journaled, and done our own science experiment. I work on reading, math, and spelling. Because Jack works quickly we are usually done within an hour. Sometimes, it takes longer if he isn’t in a school type mood and at that time we may break and focus more the next day. I would also like to say that the bulk of his education is very child led. (Notice the science experiment, this is usually started by him and monitored by us). He also requests us to read science books to him. This all happened while I was at work but he constantly leads the way for us to teach him. We follow along with some workbooks but he blows past most pre-packaged curriculum quickly. So, I encourage the rabbit holes so he can deeply learn about things he likes.

9:00- We are watching Magic School Bus (did I mention he was very interested in Science, LOL).

10:00- We are asleep.

This is a small glimpse into a bigger picture of a foundation I lay for him day to day. I strongly encourage him to take control of his own education. We love the rabbit holes, we play games and go outside. This is the biggest part and it happens it seems when we least expect it to happen.

 

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Grandparents and Homeschool- A Special Post by Nana

My first experience with homeschooling was with my second oldest Grandson Jacob. He felt he wanted to try homeschooling in 6th grade and his parents agreed. Jacob’s first year of homeschool saw him flourish and he tested better at the end of the year than he had during his public school days.

Then my youngest decided to homeschool and she knew that I was on board. Because I can keep my grandson a day or two through the week, I have a unique opportunity to enrich his life.

Here are some ways I make our special time together count toward homeschooling while my daughter is working:

  1. We cook together and we make up our own special recipes. I sneak in his math lessons by measuring ingredients out or halving a recipe we may find online. Cooking with Grandma is a time-honored and special tradition.
  2. My grandson loves dinosaurs. We pretend we are on a dig in the backyard. We learn about bones, dirt, and rocks.
  3. We pretend we are in a castle or we design a castle or a city. We learn about what a city needs (doctor’s, banks, malls, police). We use our imaginations and learn all about the inner workings of what we build.
  4. We play 20 questions and learn about what it was like when Nana was young. We talk about decades and pretend to be real war heroes like George Washington.

Grandparents have an exceptional opportunity to bring experience to the learning experience and make special connections with their grandchildren during the day while the parents are working. I encourage other grandparents to get involved and give mom the day off (or take care of the kids while she works).

 

 

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What’s Cooking?

I love cooking as a part of homeschooling, or just life really. It’s so important that children feel like they can accomplish and do what adults can, this is how they learn. I also like that cooking goes hand in hand with math skills. Just like my previous posts states my son hates workbooks and some days it is just easier to sneak a math lesson in by cooking. I’ve learned that it’s totally okay to count it as math and move along. Pre-K and Kindergartners may not be cooking as a math lesson down at the brick and mortar school but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count in my homeschool 🙂

Another reason I like to cook with Jack is because he has had texture issues. He doesn’t like to touch certain things. He came by this honestly, his mom didn’t touch hamburger meat until she was in her late 20s, LOL. The child in the picture below hated and I mean HATED the feel of eggs and refused to crack the eggs. Fast forward to a year later and he cracks eggs all by himself. This wasn’t by magic, but by example and practice and lots of patience.

In a year we went from him refusing to crack an egg to writing our own egg recipes. He does everything but cook the egg on the stove. I’ll save this for a later age. I have listed below a few cookbooks we started with. Now we use Pinterest as well as the below books to find easy recipes that kids can follow. You can follow me on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/wildhomeschool.

Here are a few cookbooks we use in our homeschool:

Pretend Soup- I love that it has a section for parents and a section for kids. It’s a true collaboration style recipe book.

https://www.amazon.com/Pretend-Soup-Other-Real-Recipes/dp/1883672066/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485717595&sr=8-1&keywords=pretend+soup

 

This is the first cookbook we bought Jack was this Super Hero cookbook. If you have a superhero lover I highly recommend this book. The drink recipes are a great way to start little ones started

https://www.amazon.com/Official-DC-Super-Hero-Cookbook/dp/1935703919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485717983&sr=8-1&keywords=super+hero+cookbook

 

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Yes, he is on the floor stirring. No, I wasn’t concerned a floor germ would bounce off the floor and attack our pancakes 🙂

Let us know your favorite recipes to cook with your kids! Below I have our easy pizza night recipe

This feeds exactly 1 dad, 1 mom, and 1 6-year-old.

Ingredients:

1 package crescent rolls

1 package mixed cheese

1 package pepperoni

Directions: a flat cookie sheet at least 9×11

Spray or grease a flat cookie sheet at least 9×11. You and your kiddo rollout and press down flat the crescent roll to make a pizza crust. After this is finished let them spread the cheese on the rolled out dough. Add pepperoni’s as wanted. Bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted. You can add or change toppings as wanted. Enjoy!

The Ever Changing Curriculum Path

Hang around a few homeschoolers long enough and you’ll find they all use different curriculum and different ways to teach their children. I think it is because “Education is custom work.” John Taylor Gatto. I also think it’s because we are all wired differently. I also decided to write a post that I wish I had read when I started homeschooling. It’s okay to throw your curriculum away!

I work full time and I had a ton of bricks (self-imposed) on my shoulders to makes sure Jack had the world’s best education. As a result, I put a lot of emphasis on pre-packaged curriculum and workbooks. I think I was stuck pretty hard in the “public school is homeschool” mentality. It didn’t take Jack long to let me know that this isn’t how it’s going to work. Now, I agree with him. Workbooks aren’t that fun and quite frankly you can homeschool without them. So, we threw several to the side and we wing it with library books and research. I do keep the workbooks mostly for guidelines on where he should be grade wise. But, quite frankly he is way ahead in most subjects.

This catharsis of throwing away what a standard requirement is of my child has recently led me to realize that I have become an anti-helicopter homeschool mom. Don’t get me wrong I still use pre-packaged curriculum but now I use it sparingly. It’s nothing for us to go a whole morning or day only discussing Dinosaurs or Argentina and not really crack a book. I try and just incorporate what he is interested in with what he needs to do, like writing. If he was suffering or behind in reading, writing, or math skills maybe I would feel differently. But once I really gave up trying to control our homeschool day and forcing him to do the pre-packaged curriculum it really has become much easier. Is it going to be the end of the world that in 1st grade at the local public school they are learning about flowers while he is at home learning about the digestive system because he’s all of sudden obsessed with it… I doubt it. But this is our life, it’s mostly child-led learning and I’m very grateful we follow it.

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“We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions — if they have any — and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.” ― John Holt

 

 

Our Path to Reading Success

 

A major concern for all parents is for their children to learn to read. While I was pregnant with Jack it was definitely high on my list of priorities. I google searched for the perfect books to add to your kid’s library for literary success. I bought Dr.Seuss and read all sorts of books to our boy with great hopes he would love to read. Maybe it was the concern and priority that turned out a great reader or maybe it was just the perfect storm of reading to him all the time. Either way, here’s my very simple list of suggestions to raise a reader.

  1. Read to them from infancy. I read to Jack from the time we brought him home. It was a priority and he was a captive audience. LOL. Those babies aren’t running from you, they love to hear your voice so go ahead and read to them. Also, use your finger to show them each word as you read it, babies and toddlers pick up on this and start putting together what you’re doing. It makes reading less of a mystery for them.
  2. I was a big investor in Dr. Seuss. Love him or hate him, his books make perfect rhyming sense to young children. They are fun, they are colorful, and they teach rhyming and word families.
  3. Make a priority to take them to the library. Once a month or once a week as long as you take them and let them pick the books that they are interested then this tradition will be a recipe for success (and also for homeschooling). I started this when Jack was about 2. At first, I had this method; I led him to the fiction, science, history, geography sections and would encourage him to pick a book he was interested in from each. Today he stays far away from fiction and I don’t pressure him, at six he can read all the science and history books he wants 🙂
  4. Ask forward-thinking questions while reading.  For example, “Jack, what do you think Cheetahs eat?” right before we read the page that answers the question. It gets them thinking ahead and wanting to read for the answer. You can do the same for fiction books as well, “Do you think Dorothy will ever get back to Kansas?”
  5. Sign up for free book programs, if available. We signed up for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and I highly recommend it! https://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/register_my_child.php?gclid=CKSV1IaG1NECFdC4wAodBmICnQ#.WIPAj1MrLIU
  6. When it came time for him to learn to read on his own, we invested in the book, “How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” https://www.amazon.com/Teach-Your-Child-Read-Lessons/dp/0671631985/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485029793&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+teach+your+child+to+read+in+100+easy+lessons

Let me know what your path to reading was and how you were successful, I would love to hear it! If you have any questions on our path, comment below.

 

Into The Woods

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Last year we began 2016 by moving to a house that’s on 12 acres. We did so mostly because we wanted our boy to grow with freedom to roam and learn outside. Even, if we didn’t have all this land we would still be outside players because we love fresh air so much! Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for some fun outside play.

Digging for bones. Paleontology has been the preferred learning topic over here for about a month. To play grab a shovel or a spoon and be armed with a little info about dinosaurs and you’re good to go! 

Expedition. We’ve been to Antarctica, South America, China all from our yard. Just be armed with a few facts like native animals. (Tip, this game pairs very well with Little Passport’s)

History Explorer. Go back into ancient times with a walk around your yard. Look, you can see the pyramid from here!

What lives here? Look for bird’s nest or an animal habitat and ask, “What lives here?”

All of this is free and easy. Trust me that your  child won’t forget these lessons. We make sure it’s child led too. I don’t control were we go on Expedition, I just suggest the game. He usually likes Antarctica.

Comment with your favorite outside games! I would love to hear feedback.

An Easy Peasy Art Program

wwh1When I started homeschooling, I never actually had an art curriculum or program. I just stumbled upon something that works by creating art myself. Here are some easy things to do to fill your homeschool with art, even if you aren’t an artist.

Buy (or check out at your local library) How to draw books. We love these and simply follow the directions together. It helps learn the mechanics of drawing for your little one. Plus there are so many out there you are sure to find one that will keep your child’s interest.

Drawing everywhere! I make pencils and paper easily accessible everywhere. He draws what he wants and I always compliment his efforts. Be sure to keep criticism in check for little ones, we want to encourage and not discourage.

Be hands off. It sounds a little crazy but don’t hover when they are drawing. It doesn’t have to be for a set time, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be.

And last, draw with them, even if you think you stink! But, don’t be critical of yourself either. They’ll want to know why and apply that to their drawing. Just use the moment for fun and let go. The more fun you have, the better everyone will become because you’ll want to practice more and who doesn’t want to have fun.

Share your kid’s latest drawing below. I would love to see it!

 

 

Library Days

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Today, we went to one of our most favorite places. The library! It’s our homeschool friend. We are actually on our Christmas break now, but reading is something we do all the time. If you follow Sunblast Corner, we just published his post with what he loves to read about now. If you can’t tell, he loves underwater sea creatures.

We just registered for our library cards here and so we were limited to 2 books piece. Bummer! We’ll get more next time. Until then I guess we’ll be reading about sharks and pirates. Feel free to comment on what you are reading or your favorite books, we love to compare and share stories.

So you decided to Homeschooled, now what?

Once you decide to homeschool then you have to decide what curriculum to use. The options seem endless.

now-what-blog-post At first we bought a full packaged curriculum. While there were some great things about it and we still use parts of it.. We have progressed over the last two years to mixing up our educational resources and curriculum. We now use games, the library, and car rides to teach on the spot. Our old curriculum was entirely worksheet based. Our little guy began to hate that! So we started to focus on what he loves most. Hands on learning. For as much as we can. And, we began to mix up our curriculum with science kits, library books, documentaries, etc.

Just remember that like in all things in life; the key for success is flexibility. When a curriculum stops working you can always change. Just stay flexible and look for teachable moments everywhere.