Posted in Homeschool Information

Do You Need a Schoolroom to Homeschool?

We do not have a separate school area in our home.  On any given day in our home, you will find my children reading or doing their work in the window seats, on the floor, the couch, the counter of the breakfast nook, on their bed, and sometimes even at a table.  We have also been known to work on homeschooling outside, in the park, in the car, at the Tim Horton’s, the dance studio, or even the Wentworth Perk cafe 🙂  I like the freedom of homeschooling wherever, whenever.  Many homeschoolers just starting out think you *have* to have a separate school room.  They spend a lot of money on desks with chairs attached and on items to cover the walls.  This works for some homeschoolers, but a lot of them end up getting rid of the school room desks and even the school room in favour of the couch or the dining room table.  Many of us don’t have an “extra” room that we can make into a schoolroom, and that works just fine.

If I was to say that I had a way to keep the schoolwork from spreading all over the house, that would be a fib 🙂  Most of our books are on our multiple bookshelves.  I keep my homeschool magazines in magazine holders that we make out of cut-out cereal boxes.  Some of it does get contained quite nicely in binders (by subject).  We have baskets for our library books and books we’re currently reading.  Our workbox system helps a little bit with keeping things organized as well.  We still end up with it spread all over the house, but we have a “lived-in” home and I’m comfortable with that 🙂

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

Posted in Homeschool Information, Parenting

Is Homeschooling Your Dream Job?

For my entire childhood, except for a very brief time when I was 5 and wanted to be a nurse, I always wanted to be a teacher.  In fact, I was regularly told I should be a teacher, especially by my classmates whom I was always helping with their work.  Well here I am, a teacher.  Not only do I teach by homeschooling my own children, but I also teach private music lessons.  I LOVE both of these jobs (not to mention also being an Usborne Books Educational Specialist and my writing etc).  I feel very blessed, even though money is tight.  I live in the most beautiful place in the world (in my opinion), and live on a farm in the country, which is also something I always dreamed of.  For my farm dream to be complete, all I need now is some horses – so far we just have chickens 🙂

I believe that all homeschool mothers – all mothers for that matter – should have and pursue interests, and I have a lot of them.  I am very active in local theatre.  I hand-spin, weave, and knit – I belong to a spinning guild and we get together regularly to spin and socialize.  I love playing all manner of games and I get together weekly with friends to play – now that my son is older I drag him along too.  Not surprisingly, I love to sing, and so I serve at our church on the Worship team.

If I were to daydream a little more, I suppose I might dream of being an actress.  It would be pretty amazing to be on the stage, which I already love, and get paid to be there to boot 🙂  And something else that has always interested me is archaeology.  I may actually be able to join an archaeological dig at the Fortress this year – it’s sort of like a summer camp for adults, LOL.

So how about you?  Is homeschooling your dream job?  Can you imagine doing anything else?  Is there something you always dreamed about, or want to get around to once your children have all graduated?

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

Yet Another Homeschool Advantage

I have shared about homeschooling advantages and benefits in other Blog Cruise Posts, such as The Key to Avoiding Homeschool Burnout, Time For Extracurricular Activities! and We Love Field Trips!.

Another Homeschool advantage is children being able to learn life skills they will need as adults.  Since homeschooling children are at home with their parents, they get to see and engage in all the regular household routines.  Cooking, cleaning, and household maintenance are all things they can easily learn at a young age.  Because my son was helping me with breakfast every morning, by the time he was 6 years old he would make pancakes from scratch and bacon all by himself.  In our household, we have morning, afternoon, and evening routines (a la Flylady).  My children, aged 7 and 12, both know how to:

  • cook and bake from scratch (my 7 year old with a little help from me since she is a beginner reader at the moment)
  • sew buttons, mend
  • do their own laundry
  • wash dishes and/or empty and load the dishwasher
  • clean the house – they each have daily responsibilities, and weekly we set the timer and pull task papers from a jar
  • make cleaning supplies from scratch
  • go shopping, i.e. for groceries
  • use a bank and a bank machine

In addition, my son knows how to do basic carpentry and has built us a coat tree.  He also knows how to chop wood, build a fire, and bleed the furnace.  My husband has taught him some automobile maintenance basics.

In future, we will teach them how to make a budget and keep track of their income and purchases.  My son will start learning that as he launches his own home business shortly.

I love how they learn a lot of this just by being here as I’m going about the daily routine.  It’s amazing how much children are capable of if you let them try.  This will prepare them so well for leaving the nest someday.  They will be able to grow into capable, independent young adults, knowing how to take care of themselves 🙂

 

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

 

Posted in Homeschool Information

Homeschooling With a New Baby?!

Yes, you can Homeschool with a new baby in tow! Some things that can help…

  • Wearing your baby. When my children were babies, I got so much done while wearing them in baby slings. I had both hands free so I could get chores done, read a story to a sibling, or breastfeed on the go!
  • Taking advantage of nap time. When it’s nap time for baby, you can get one-on-one homeschooling time with your other children. And don’t forget that new mothers often need some nap time themselves – everyone curled up on the bed for some quiet time and a story can help you get that rest you need.
  • Taking this season in stride. There are seasons in our homeschooling years when not quite as much homeschooling gets done. Life with a new baby is one of those seasons. This is a great time to spend a lot of hours curled up on the couch together reading all sorts of fantastic educational books. You can all take turns reading, or you can listen to some audio books.
  • Home Economics! If your older children don’t already help around the house, now is a great time to learn. Children as young as 3 can help with all sorts of things, including picking up their own toys to put in bins where they belong or helping fold laundry. Children as young as 6 can do their own laundry! Although 6 year olds may need help reaching into the washer if you don’t have a front-loader. (Trigger Memory Systems has fantastic flip charts to help your children clean their rooms, the house, or do the laundry step-by-step).
  • Mother’s Helpers. Sometimes a local teenager can be a huge help. Getting someone to come into the house and help out for an hour or two, even once a week, to watch the baby while you get some homeschool work done or just work done can be a big relief.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Uncategorized

On Homeschooling and Being a WAHM

In addition to caring for my children, ferrying them around to various activities, household chores, homeschooling, reviewing for the TOS Crew and volunteering, I am also a Work-at-home Mom.� Many potential homeschoolers wonder if homeschooling is compatible with working – whether inside or outside the home – and I am here to tell you that many of us do both.� It’s not always easy juggling everything, but it is possible 🙂

I have been a WAHM since my children were born, often juggling more than one at-home job.� I� have been teaching music lessons in my home since the beginning, and at one point was a Tupperware consultant as well.� At present, I teach music in my home studio (the Music For Young Children program and private lessons), am an Educational Specialist for Usborne Books, and sell my own handspun yarn as well.� So for me, being a WAHM and homeschooling was a gradual process.

Yes, sometimes the housework does suffer, LOL, and I’m constantly battling clutter!� But in general, how do I get it all done?� With the help of my family.� My children have daily chores.� They also help me weekly with our FlyLady Home Blessing – we put all the things to be done on papers and pull them out of a jar, then go our separate ways and complete the job with the timer going for 10 minutes.� My 7 year old actually gets excited on Friday mornings when it’s time to do our weekly Home Blessing :)� My hubby also pitches in whenever he can and I really appreciate that.� He is also very supportive of me and my business pursuits, which is vitally important!

Something else that helps immensely is Sue Patrick’s Workbox System.� We have been using the Workbox System for about two years now.� It helps organize our homeschool work, encourages the children to do a lot independently and together (leaving more time for Mom to do work of any kind), and they get more done in less time.

One last tool that I find handy is my iPod Touch.� It’s not only a great tool for teaching, both music and homeschool, but it helps me organize almost everything.� I have an app for business contacts (ISAcontact), a grocery shopping app (ShopListFree), a gift list app (GiftBox), an app for my FlyLady and to-do lists (Tasks), among others.� I also like using the Calendar, which I can set to give me an alarm before an appointment or deadline.� Lastly, I like that wherever I go, I have the “Notes” which I can type notes on instead of writing on many little pieces of paper or post-it-notes!

I enjoy all my work.� I am so blessed that my family is such a big help.� My children enjoy giving suggestions for my music lessons, since they are also my students, and they love helping me with my small businesses, which in turn teaches them about running a business.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information, Reviews

Workboxes – A fabulous organizational tool!

I have been meaning to create a post about Workboxes since we began using the system almost 2 years ago.  Now that we have been asked “How do you organize your homeschool?” for this week’s TOS Blog Cruise, I’m finally getting around to it!

If you haven’t already heard the buzz about Workboxes, it’s a system created by homeschooling mother Sue Patrick.  Initially, she used it with her autistic son, but she quickly found that it worked well for any child 18 months and up.  I use the Workbox System with my two children, currently aged 6 and 11.  I chart out their weekly work, and fill up their boxes daily.   We use the system as outlined by Sue in her book.  The only exception being that while I use boxes for my daughter, for my son (the eldest) I use 12 manila envelopes together in a big box – if the curriculum doesn’t all fit in the designated numbered envelope, I place it behind.  Every morning after their daily chores, my children “clock in” to homeschooling and start working through their boxes.

Some boxes are labelled with cards as work-with-mom boxes, and some are work-with-your-sibling boxes, and some are for working through independently.  What do I put in the boxes you may ask?  Beyond the usual curricula i.e. Teaching Textbooks, Latina Christiana, Tapestry of Grace assignments and various books and read-alouds, we also have Mad-Libs, the Rummy Roots card game, Pattern blocks, multiplication blocks, crafts, and more 🙂  There is always something in the boxes for the children to look forward to!  We also do the daily running that Sue suggests, although sometimes we substitute it for dance (especially on rainy days) as each of my children love to practice after their dance lessons.

I can’t recommend Sue Patrick’s Workbox System highly enough to organize your homeschool day.  We went from two children whining, complaining, and dragging out our day to getting MORE done in LESS time!  My children enjoy their workboxes and complaining is kept to a minimum 🙂

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Homeschool Information

Time to Yourself for a Homeschooling Mom?


I think “free time” or time to yourself is a little over-rated 🙂  I LOVE spending time with my family.  That’s one of the reasons I love homeschooling so much.  Perhaps I’m unusual, but if I was given the choice, for instance, to spend time alone or with my husband, I would choose my husband every time.  I would probably also choose my children over time alone 9 times out of 10.  They’re only children for a short time and I cherish every moment (okay, except when they have a temper tantrum!)

One of the ways that I have time to myself while I am spending time with my family is by sharing my passions.  I have taught both my children to knit and spin and do other hand-crafts and we often will sit together and do so. For read-aloud time, we often take turns reading to each other.  While one reads to us, the rest of us are generally knitting or doing something else with our hands.  I meet the ladies in my spinning group to knit (what we have spun) every Monday after dropping one child off at an activity, and my other child in tow.  Sometimes said child will sit and knit or read a book, or join in on the conversation while we’re at the cafe knitting.  I also go to the weekly Friday afternoon Fibre-arts drop-in at the library with both children.  They will either join in with some fibre arts, wrap up some independent homeschool work, or read quietly.  Many of the ladies at the library rarely get the chance to be around children and it is a delight for them to have time with mine 🙂

I also love to read.  While my children are doing the independent work in their workboxes, I am often able to curl up with a good book, or the Bible, or a book on my iPod.  I will admit that sometimes housework suffers while I read, but I’m generally willing to live in a “lived-in” house 🙂  As my children get older, books we’re reading in our homeschool are some of my favourites, and it gives me great pleasure to read them aloud with my children.

Play-dates are another terrific invention.  My children and I can all go out and enjoy another family’s company together, or enjoy another family’s company here.  We love to have parties as well.  Bi-yearly we hold a Family Boardgame Day and invite all our friends and our children’s friends for the whole day.  We have a terrific time.  In the summer we have pool parties fairly often.

I think sometimes when we seek time alone our children can miss out on some terrific opportunities.  For instance, my spinning guild, The Unspun Heroes, recently hand-spun and hand-wove a milling blanket for the local Gaelic Society.  We presented it at a Milling Frolic and I brought my children along.  They had an absolute blast singing and helping mill the blanket, as well as taking part in some spinning and weaving that was happening.  There was one other child there, who just happened to be homeschooled as well, but the homeschoolers were the only children present.  I think it’s sad that there weren’t more children there having fun, especially since Gaelic is almost an extinct language and having more children there, surrounded by it, would certainly help ensure its future.

My children also help me in my businesses.  Over the summer I had a table at the local Farmer’s Market.  My children were terrific ambassadors – they wore t-shirts with my business logo and handed out stickers to children passing by.  They learned some great lessons in running a business by watching how I interacted with potential customers, and I enjoyed chatting with other adults while still spending time with my children.

For me, it’s all about perspective.  If we keep in perspective how short a time we have to spend with our children when they’re young – and even how short life can be – we won’t crave all this time to ourselves, or think we’re missing out on something.  My 37-year-old cousin died suddenly this year.  He left behind two young children and a wife.  Nobody has mentioned how much great time to himself he took in life, but they have mentioned all the cherished time he spent with friends and family.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,