Where Will All of This Homeschooling Lead?

As we wind up another year of homeschooling, I have been looking at our long term goals. For me, homeschooling isn't just about the reading and math skills. It isn't just about getting them into college or a career either. Those are just part of the bigger picture: independence.  It is about having them become self-respecting, self-sufficient, and hopefully happy adults.


Square Foot Gardening

This summer we are venturing into the world of square foot gardening. My friend Rowena is a certified SF gardener and I am learning so much from her. See the crazy strings? We've divided the garden by placing nails along the frame at one foot intervals and stringing a grid. Each square foot is treated as its own garden. We just finished harvesting most of the spring crops and are replanting for the summer.


Sometimes, You're the Bug.

Okay, sometimes it is inspiring to read blogs about how to do homeschooling well. Other days, I just want to feel like there are others out there struggling too.

Today is violin day. We travel quite a distance to lessons so the day is planned around the trip with lots of errands plotted out and books on CD for the car. 8:00am: the teacher calls and moves the lesson to tomorrow. Shift today's schedule for tomorrow's.

House is a mess and I am feeling the pressure to clean. The lessons need attention too because I will be out of the house tomorrow. The house is undergoing repairs and I need to paint a section before the guy can hang the gutters. I decide to check facebook.

One hour later, I fuss at myself for avoiding the work and decide to rotate the jobs. Clean. Lessons. Paint. Clean. Lessons. Paint. I make the beds and clean the kitchen. I give all three kids their All About Spelling Lesson. I look at the clock and realize I have to run to the store before lunch. Thankfully, my husband agrees to keep an eye on them while he works. I make sure they are busy and dash to the store.


It Started with a Stick...

My kids had a stick. 
They turned the stick into a sword, a staff, a magic wand. It was no longer a stick, it was a toy

They wanted to make sure this particular toy was never mistaken for a stick. They realized that the adults of the house, may not recognize this toy because it still looked so much like a stick. 
They decided to mark it. They started to write on it, but markers on rough bark was not noticeable enough. They decided to remove the bark. They soon found peeling bark off of a stick (oops, I mean toy) was fun! Now they had a smooth toy that was very different than the other sticks. 


Up for Some Competition

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is the lack of daily competition children find at school. There is no competing to be the quickest to answer, the first in line, or the one who gets to sit at the coolest seat during lunch. However, competition in general isn't something I am against. In fact, when done well, competition can motivate a child to push their boundaries to new heights.

If your child wants a challenge or would like to try for awards, here are just a few of the competitions available for kids going on right now.*


Confetti Jars

At the end of each year, I take an empty jar for each kid and a stack of construction paper. I cut small strips of paper and fold them so they don't stick together. Each subject gets a color and each remaining lesson gets a strip. Subject by subject, strip by strip, the jars begin to fill. I give the jars a good shake and set their confetti jars on the shelf. After each completed lesson, they get to remove a strip of paper and throw it away. It's sort of a variation on the paper chains we use to count down to Christmas. 

This time of year, friends are winding down at their schools and the pools are all gearing up for summer. These jars provide a little boost to help them stay focused on their goals.


A Lesson From Nature

An Osprey. Listed on the TWRA site as one of the 100 common birds of Tennessee

Yesterday, while walking with the family, I spotted a bird fishing near a dam. I didn't recognize it right away but that is not a big surprise. I can only recognize a few birds of prey from a distance. We all stopped to watch it fly along the edges of the river spotting fish, climb to a point, hover a moment with a few beats of its wings, and then dive for its prey. The river was just out of our line of sight over the bank, so we'd wait to see if it had a fish when it returned from its strike. Out of four attempts it got nothing and flew off over the dam away from us.


Tips for Occupying a Little Sibling

One thing about homeschooling in our house: 

If the YOUNGEST isn't BUSY,

Keeping the homeschooling humming is not too hard as long as I don't forget to keep the 4yo from being bored. Here are a few of my tricks: