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Just Being Us
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Do's & Don'ts of Homeschooling


    I have been homeschooling since 1997.  Our oldest son was just three years old when we started preschool classes with him.  We were young parents and thought the earlier we started the better.  We wanted what was best for our children and we did what we felt was going to help them. 

  After 21 years, I feel I can safely say I know some do's and don'ts of homeschooling.  We have tried and failed in many areas and I would like to share my knowledge with you. 

  I always like to begin with the positives!  Here we go.....



1.  Always begin your day with a word of prayer together.  I feel if we give our days to the Lord, things go better.  We are more at peace.

2. Plan your day.  Have an agenda to follow. We don't want to have a rigid schedule, but we do need a tentative list of things we would like to accomplish by the end of the day.

3. Try to get the more difficult courses finished earlier in the day when everyone is fresh and alert. 

4.   Be patient.  Don't push your children too hard with subjects they are having difficulties in.  Gently guide them and look for new ways to teach the areas they are struggling in.  Be sure they know that you will do anything to help them to learn and that with hard work, they can accomplish any task. 
     {I want to stop here and add if you feel your child has a 
      learning disability, please seek help for them.  Sometimes
      we do not have the knowledge to help our children if they
      are struggling in areas out of our expertise} 

5.   Have fun while learning together.  Make it an experience they will not soon forget.  There are many games and wonderful teaching techniques that make studying more enjoyable for them and you.  

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1.   Don't fill your calendars with too many activities.  We have been so busy before that we failed to get any school finished during some days.  I use to feel they children had to have their calendars full, but that only made for frustrated kiddos and one exhausted mama.  BALANCE IS THE KEY when scheduling activities, play dates, and other outside functions. 

2.   Don't worry about what other homeschooling families are doing. Your family is unique.  You know what is best for your household.

3.   Don't allow pressure from family and friends to affect you. Some people do not understand what homeschooling is about.  They may question your abilities to teach your children or say your children need more socializing, but you are in charge of your family.  God has called you to this task and He will equip you with what is needed to accomplish this goal. 


4.   Don't be upset if you do not finish all your curriculum by the end of your school year.  It's not about racing through a book to get it done, it's about learning in such a way that the knowledge is soaked up and remembered.  

5.   Don't fight the fact that all children are different. They will learn at different paces and in many different ways.  It's your job to find out what works best for your child and stick to it. 

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     I think the most important book we can study each day is the Word of God.  We should put God first in all we do and then we can finish the race that the Lord has given us to run.  We will accomplish His goals for our lives and isn't that what we want most for ourselves and our children?  When we lean on and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear.  He will direct our paths as long as we surrender our lives to him. 


  
May God bless you as you seek Him 
in all you do and say!

Trust in Him as you teach your 
children each day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Home School Navigator

     For the past 5 weeks we have been using a wonderful online Reading and Language Arts program from Home School Navigator.  We were given a year subscription to review, and are happy to share what we have done so far.     



     Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum will help you teach reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehension, and grammar to your elementary aged children.  I love that instead of using grade levels, they have a color coded system.  If you have a child who is a little behind in these subjects, this program will not make them feel as if they are not where they need to be.  Instead they will just see progress from where they start.  
     
     They have six levels to offer families.  Red and Orange are for beginners, Yellow and Green are for intermediate readers, and Blue and Indigo are for more advanced students.  My daughter is in the fifth grade and the Indigo level was perfect for her. You will be purchasing a yearly subscription that cost about $97 for each level you would like to complete. 
     The last three levels have Interactive Notebooks that go along with the program and are very unique and worth working through as you go through the lesson plans provided for you. You may even purchase these notebooks separately from the subscription.  I like that you can pick and choose what you would like to do even though the lessons plans are laid out.  I also liked the online portfolio maintenance.  What a wonderful way to help manage what you include in your yearly portfolios.  


     As I said before, my daughter is working through the Indigo Level of this program. This is the last level of the Home School Navigator curriculum.  Each level of this program includes: 
  
· A 36 Week Course
· Daily Reading, Writing, and Word Study Lesson Plan 
· 60 Instructional Videos
· Word Study Program 
· Activities That Encourage Multiple Learning Styles
· Monthly Skills Checklist
· Portfolio Maintenance
· Monthly Goal Sheet/Portfolio Check-In
· Downloadable Review Games 

    During our time working through the program, we have been using it daily for her vocabulary word studies, and her writing skills.  I feel as if her comprehension and writing has improved. She has been enjoying the videos that go with the lessons and  has been able to learn about the importance of character development in her writings. We haven't tried the downloadable review games yet, but we are thinking they may be fun. 



     We just started on the Interactive Notebook for the book Holes.  So far it has been a unique way to study the book and we are looking forward to finishing it over the next few weeks. It is designed to be a more in depth study of the book and will open up discussions of certain aspects of the story. 

     We do not do yearly portfolios as we get our children tested each year, but I am impressed with the way you can upload their assignments from this curriculum for easy access as you put together their portfolios.  That is a huge time saver for homeschooling parents.  It would be great if all online programs offered this. 

     Would you like to learn more about this online program?  Come on over to their website or their social media pages listed below: 


     We also have some more reviews for you to read over here 
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Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}
Have a blessed day!!!


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of PandaParents


     It has been a few years since we had little ones in our home, but after raising 6 kiddos, I felt like I could write an informative review of MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS from PandaParents.  I have used many different methods of teaching our children over the years, and I have to say I wish I would have had this resource for them when they were little.  For this review, we were given access to 6 months worth of digital formatted courses, and I have enjoyed looking through 3 of their items during this review period.  

     You probably saw the title MESSYLEARNING and got a little worried, but I will assure you that this has nothing to do with getting messy.  As a matter of fact, this program is far from messy.  It is a well organized learning system for Preschool and Kindergarten age children.  

     The word MESSY stands for: 

 Mixed subjects & activities for integrative learning
 Engaging activities that challenge minds
 Simple 1-2-3 steps: READ, LEARN, CREATE 
 Smart designs for creative learning
 Yeah, a new way to promote preschool STEM & early brain growth!
     Each set in the program includes a digital pdf of the book and workbook, along with an online video that reads the storybook aloud to your child. As your child completes each set they will be learning math, reading, art, critical thinking and science through this all in one program.  The sets are meant to be used 2 to 3 times a week for about 30 minutes each session.  I loved how engaging the stories are and the videos bring the stories to life right in front of your child's eyes.  The workbooks with fun activities, help your child comprehend each storybook.  
     The first book I read through was A Jolly Jingling Journey. In this book they concentrated on teaching the letter J in a fun way.  After reading the book I watched the video that even caught the interest of my 10 year old because it is so cute and lively.  The workbook helped reinforce what was taught in the story.  


     The second book called Mommy's Baby was a wonderful story about a mommy, who is having her second baby, trying to get her little one to bed. As you read this story, it teaches your child about animals, shapes, and foods. What an adorable way to teach without actually "teaching".  


     In the third book titled Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound, the letter S is being focused on. The story also helps teach about different sounds that you can hear and why these sounds shouldn't be so scary.  Once you know what they are, you can relax and know it's all okay.


     Books are such an important part of teaching our children and these books are certainly a plus. Like I said, I wish I would have had a course like this years ago.  Making these subjects fun is the key to getting our kids excited about learning!  

     I encourage you to check out their website along with their social media pages listed below:



  •  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PandaParentsABC/ 
  • Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Panda_Parents        
  • Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/pandaparents/  

  •      We also have some more reviews of these courses over here 
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    Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}
    HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!


    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    Where Did All This Laundry Come From???



         I don't know about you, but I have no idea where all our laundry comes from.  I get it all caught up only to go upstairs and find our hamper full again.  It's like someone goes around collecting clothes just so the hamper will not be lonely 😁

         Years ago I decided we had to have a routine for keeping up with laundry in our home.  Until about 3 years ago, we had 8 people living in our home and that meant about 2 to 3 loads of laundry a day.  Now we are down to 5 people and we usually have 1 to 2 loads depending on the day.  



          In our hallway, we have our laundry station. This is where we keep our hampers, extra hangers, and basket of extra socks that have managed to lose their buddies. We have three hampers.  One for lights, one for darks and one we use for towels, blankets, and rags. Our washer and dryer are in our basement.  We carry the dirty items from our upstairs hallway to the basement each day then bring them back upstairs to be folded and put away.  It is a great exercise program 😉

         During the week we wash the darks on a daily basis, and the lights once or twice. We wash towels and rags on Mondays and Thursdays, and unless there is an issue, we wash sheets and blankets on the weekends.  This routine has been a blessing and has helped this OCD mama keep her sanity.  When we use to have piles and piles of laundry to catch up on, I would feel overwhelmed and stressed out.  This system keeps the huge piles from taking over our laundry area.  

           I use to complain a lot about doing laundry and other chores until one day the Lord put things into perspective for me.  He showed me that instead of thinking of chores as a burden, I should see them as a blessing.  We should be happy we have dishes to wash because that means we have food to eat.  We should be glad to clean our home because that means we have a roof over our head keeping us safe and comfortable.  We should be thrilled to do laundry because that means we have clothes to wear.  These are all blessings that we tend do take for granted.  He also reminded me that I everything I do should be done for Him and His glory.  

    This is hanging in my bedroom to remind me to do all things for the Lord and not man!!!

         Do you have a routine for keeping up with your laundry?  I would love to hear from you!!!  

         

    Thursday, May 10, 2018

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Kayla Jarmon Books


         We love books in our home.  We typically enjoy physical books, but these e-books written by Kayla Jarmon  and illustrated by Piper Miru are great! The illustration is beautiful and each book has a special message to teach your child.  


          Kayla Jarmon, is an inspirational author who ministers through her writing. She is a lovely Christian woman who cares for people. Her books always have meaning and teach about a certain subject. You can see her love of her family and others as you read her books.  

         A Boy and His Dog is a little story about the relationship between him and his dog.  You see that their love for one another is very special. They do everything together.  As a family who loves their pets, we found this book to be very sweet.  The Lord has given us these animals to care for and we should take this job seriously.  Our pets can be such a blessing.  We need to be sure to care for them just like they care for us. 

         The next book we received was the first of Kayla Jarmon's discussion series book.  It is called Don't Forget Me.  She wrote this book when her daughter in law was pregnant.  I absolutely loved that fact.  This book is God speaking with the unborn baby as he/she grows in her mama's tummy. The little conversations are so sweet.  Just what you could imagine a baby asking God as they see changes occurring and hearing what is going on outside.  I read through it twice myself then again with my youngest daughter.  We love it! I look forward to reading it with my grandchildren one day.  


          Book 2 of the discussion series is titled Dying is Part of This World.  As I read through this book, I found myself wishing I would have had a book like this when we had to explain death to our children after their baby brother passed away.  This book would have made it a little easier to explain death.  Our children feared death for a while after this loss and it was hard to talk through this subject with them since we were hurting ourselves.  I would encourage you to get this book and read through it with your children.  It can help answer questions they may have and when they do have to go through a loss, it can help them cope. 


         Would you like to learn more about these books and their author?  Here are the links to the social media pages:


        
         Guess what?  I have some exciting news to share with you about these books and other books by Kayla Jarmon.....  Soon there will be audios available,  so keep an eye out! 

         We also have more reviews of these amazing books over here
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    Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog {Kayla Jarmon Reviews}
    HAVE A BLESSED DAY!


    Thursday, May 3, 2018

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of CodeWizardsHQ


         Last week, my son and I were able to take an online class to learn HTML skills through  CodeWizardsHQ. I know just enough to be dangerous when it comes to coding, but my son is interested in learning more about it, and was so excited that we were going to be reviewing this class. I didn't realize I would be learning right along with him. 

         They offer coding classes for kids. They have several 12 week courses that you can find on their product page, and if you are a homeschooler, you will want to check out their homeschool page as well. This program is geared towards 5th to 10th graders, but I think even adults could use it.  I love that they start with a beginners level (the class we took) that is called Wizard I and as you learn more, you can work your way through the other 3 levels.  


         Usually these type of classes are not taught with so much enthusiasm and forethought, but when we logged on, we saw right away that this class was different.  The teacher wanted each student to participate and be a part of the class.  He asked for your name, what you were interested in, what you expected to get from the class. During the class, questions were asked and you were never talked down to.  I could see Josh's face light up when he was allowed to be himself and show what he knows. He answered most of the questions that were asked and was proud that he knew the answers.  The teacher was great and gave positive reinforcement when needed and guidance when you were lacking in skills.  I was very impressed!!!  Josh was thrilled and wants to take more classes.



         The class is LIVE and took about 60 minutes to complete.  The teacher guides you step by step in learning how to use HTML.  He taught the coding language as he went through each step.  He broke it down so even a beginner like me could understand what was being said.  This teacher kept the class focused by asking a lot of questions then going over the answers one by one.  I didn't feel lost at all.  That alone is a great reason to take these classes instead of others out there.  

         By the end of the class Josh had made a comic strip using HTML coding.  He giggled as he created some funny little images to include in his comic.  Josh isn't an artist with a pencil or brush, but you put a computer in his hands and his creativity comes to life. 

     Here is what he created: 



         It was good to see Josh doing what he loves and I am proud to report he is beginning these classes soon!  He can't wait!!!! 


         The prices and enrollment information can be found on the CodeWizardsHQ website. I would encourage you to go on over and check out what they have to offer. Did I mention they have special pricing for homeschoolers? Homeschool students get  significantly lower per-student pricing based on the # of students in the class and the flexibility to pick their own class time. What an awesome deal it is! 

         For more information you can also find them on these social media pages:
         This video will help give you a good understanding of what this program is about: 
                                                                      

         We also  have more reviews for you over here 
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    Live Class Computer Programming for your Students {CodeWizardsHQ Reviews}
         Go grab a cup of coffee and a cookie or 2 and enjoy reading what these families thought of this program. 😊

         Have a blessed day!!!!


    Wednesday, May 2, 2018

    Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Weigl Publishers


         Recently we were given the opportunity to  review three of the amazing books from Weigl Publishers. We were excited to see what these special books were all about. We typically like to have books we can hold in our hands, but these books were so unique, we couldn't wait to read them. 

         These books are special because you are given a PDF of the book, but also easy directions to enter an online code on the corresponding site, that brings these books to a whole new level.  These media enhanced books bring the story to life. These books have audios, videos, weblinks, and activities for your child to interact with. These interactions will leave them wanting to read more.  

         We enjoyed reading and exploring  A Lion's World and There Once Was A Cowpoke Who Swallowed An Ant. Even though my daughter is a little old for these stories as they are intended for grades K-2, we had fun listening to them being read to us and she giggled quite a bit through some of the scenes in the There Once Was A Cowpoke Who Swallowed An Ant book.  Each book was great and would easily keep the attention of little ones who would read them. I love that your child can choose to read the book to themselves, or have the book read to them.  

         Here is a little video that lets you peek inside of one of the books we got to read. 
                                                             




         We mainly focused on Glaciers from the Earth's Water series.  These books are published under the imprint Lightbox and are intended for grades 3-6. First we read through the PDF of the book.  She liked it, but wasn't too impressed. Then, we opened the interactive version of the book and she was thrilled to see all the different ways they enhanced the book.  It wasn't long before she had finished reading through the book again and could tell me everything that was said.



          I asked her what she liked most and she said that she loved how she could click on videos and see what was being talked about. She said the videos of the glaciers were beautiful. As I watched her viewing the videos I could tell that they really left an impact on her.  

          Some other features of the interactive books are definitions of hard to understand words, little pop ups with tidbits of information not found in the PDF of the book, slideshows, and maps. These additions certainly bring a new perspective. It is a great way to get kids to read and learn more about subjects like glaciers. When you can make things like science or history fun for kids to learn, they retain more of the information.  I feel these interactive books do just that.  

         If you would like to learn more about Weigl Publishers, I would encourage you to check out their site. They have an online catalog so you can see all the books they have to offer. 

         Below is a video to explain in detail what Lightbox is and how it can be used in homes and schools.   

                                                                     

         If you would like to read what some other families thought of these resources, grab a cup of tea and head on over to read some more reviews here
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    Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}