Should You Take a Winter Break?

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Homeschool | 0 comments

Should You Take a Winter Break?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for many homeschoolers. The excitement of fun outside weather, Christmas crafts, Advent readings, and snuggling by the fire for the Christmas movie marathons begin to beckon us far (far) away from our homeschool books.

Should You Take a Winter Break?

Over the past nine years of homeschooling we have tried many different options. We have taken time off for Christmas, and we have fallen behind. Other years we have schooled through the winter, and we all were burned out by February. What is a homeschool mom to do?

winter break

With every post we encourage you to do what is best for your family! Ask yourself some practical questions of what a winter break could look like in your homeschool.

Is skipping 3 months of homeschool a brilliant idea if you want to finish by Spring? Probably not.

Are you ahead in some subjects and therefore you can keep a lighter “winter schedule” to enjoy a snowy break? Do it!

Is your 8th grade failing Algebra? Don’t shelf it for weeks on end.

Can you incorporate seasonal lessons into “Winter Schooling” activities? The Homeschool Scientist offers great winter lessons. We have also shared many sites that offer Free Lessons Plans

A lighter homeschool day is always better than no homeschool. Especially when you try to transition back into a full schedule after the holidays.

Traveling this holiday season? School on the road. Stop by the local historical spots or check out a museum (see if they have a reciprocal rate with your local museum). If you use computer based / online curriculum you can always pack a laptop and fire up lessons at night or even on the airplane.

If you do not feel comfortable taking a long winter’s nap and forgetting you homeschool – don’t take off! If you feel guilty not taking time off to enjoy Advent – do take off!

Always remember what is good for one homeschool family is not always good for every homeschool family. Most importantly … enjoy your family this winter season.


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End of the Year Reward

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Homeschool | 0 comments

End of the Year Reward

What a great school year! Are you ready to celebrate? Before you sleep in or turn on the long summer of television programs, plan a little End of the Year Reward!

end of the year reward
In the professional world employees usually are given raises or bonuses for hard work. They might be acknowledged with prizes or other recognition. Reward your students and reinforce the idea that their hard work means something.

End of the Year Rewards do not have to be extravagant. Plan something simple, meaningful, and show appreciation for the hard work your children have put forth.

We often cook our children’s favorite meal (tacos) and say a few things we are proud they accomplished. Give them a round of applause for learning to read, mastering multiplication, finishing that long paper, winning the science fair, or acing their SAT!

We have rewarded the “last day of school” with a new comic book or movie. What fun to wrap up the day with a movie, their own root-beer and bag of popcorn!

You might even plan an end of the year field trip. We finished one homeschool year with a trip to Legoland. It was the best day ever for my lego loving boys. Maybe get together with other homeschool friends and plan a picnic. Bring some balloons and cupcakes.

Personally, we do not pay for grades. But if that is an agreement in your home – open up the wallet and pay for those A’s.

My best advice, however you decide to enjoy the end of the year reward plan it before the last day of school!

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Don’t Miss Your Only Chance to Save On These Homeschool Bundles

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Curriculum, Homeschool, Homeschool Helps, Sale, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale Has Begun!
(This post contains affiliate links)

This is your chance to save on some really great curriculum and resources.

Here are just a few of the BYB details:

  • You have the option to choose one or all of the 15 bundles that are available.
  • You have the option to build your own bundle.
  • When you buy 2 bundles you will receive 1 for FREE!!
  • When you make a purchase you will receive a FREE Bundle of Bonus Books.
  • This sale lasts for one week only, May 16 – 23.

What do you need to do? Grab a cup of coffee, take a look at the BYB site, and start planning your savings strategies now!

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Easy Hands-On St. Patrick’s Day Activities and More!

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Holidays, Homeschool | 0 comments

Easy Hands-On St. Patrick’s Day Activities and More!

If you are Irish or not you can enjoy easy hands-on St. Patrick’s Day activities with just a few resources. Carve out a bit of time to craft some rainbows and turn these masterpieces into educational lessons!

hands-on st. patrick's day activities
1. Build a rainbow with legos. Even younger children can practice learning ROYGBIV with larger Duplo blocks. Our friend, The Homeschool Scientist, shared: The Physics of Rainbows older students will enjoy.

2. Paint a rainbow arc. Simply cut a paper plate in half and paint the colors of the rainbow. For math lovers learn and memorize Angles of a Circle. Thanks to Five J’s, print this free flashcard set!

3. Paint rocks and arrange them into a rainbow. Study geology and learn about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. We love DK Eyewitness ROCKS book.

4. Dye shaving cream the colors of the rainbow for Bath Time Fun.

5. Go on a rainbow scavenger hunt. Find something red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
You can grab my Rainbow Scavenger Hunt at CurrClick for free with this special link: Special AppleCore Discount {discount only valid March 1st – 17th through AppleCore website}.

More St. Patrick’s Day Activities!

* Build the country of Ireland with legos! Study the borders so you can build a 2D replica of the country. Be sure to include a lego flag: green, white, and orange bricks.

* Paint shamrocks. Use the end of a cotton swab to “dot” a shamrock shape. Read this great article by our friend Home With the Boys, St. Patrick’s Day and The Trinity.

* Read about Saint Patrick {wikipedia}. You can practice sharing the Good News with this great idea from Cultivated Lives, St. Patrick’s Day Good News Relay Race.

* Try a Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe, like this one from Simply Recipes.

* Play horseshoes. Horseshoes were a symbol of luck.

* Dye bath water green with a bit of food coloring.

There are plenty of great hands-on activities to try! TIP: Do not overwhelm yourself by trying to fit these activities in all on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re anything like me, you might actually forget it’s St. Patrick’s Day the morning of St. Patrick’s Day ~ and I’m Irish!! Don’t stress. I’ve learned I like to do a few activities a day or two before the actual day of the holiday.

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Bath Time Fun

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Homeschool, Homeschool Helps | 0 comments

You might think Rubber Ducky makes bath time lots of fun … this year let’s make learning Bath Time Fun.

When we first started homeschooling lessons were completed at the desk, during our “homeschool time”. Until the day my son could not subtract. He just didn’t understand “take away”.  He was becoming frustrated and self conscious. I was becoming frustrated and overwhelmed, so we called it a day … very early.

That night during bath time he played with little plastic dinosaurs. It was cute. Then he started using words from earlier in the day, “I’m going to take away you and you and you … and now I have 3 big dinosaurs, rawrrrrr”.

bath time fun

Bath Time Fun
I jumped at the opportunity to finish our subtraction lesson by playing with him beside the bath tub. We were taking away all kinds of dinosaurs and mastering subtraction elbow deep in the bubbles during bath time.  It was fun! I learned that day to use bath time for learning. Leave the books, rulers, and planners out of the bathroom and simply enjoy the relaxed learning environment.

Bath Time Fun Opportunties:
* buy foam numbers to stick to shower walls
* buy bath crayons to practice writing names, words, or play games
* include toys and work on math skills

Shaving cream is also a great addition to any bath time fun! Check out my short 2 minute video: Shaving Cream Bath Time Fun. I share how we incorporated shaving cream and paint brushes to work on delayed fine motor skills.

educational bath time fun
Bath time is not the place to introduce molecular fusion, but you might draw a map of your state. Or planets in the solar system. You might help your child to remember a phone number. Or how to spell their name. You can work on grouping toys to introduce multiplication, or just relax and play Hangman. Use bath time for their learning advantage!

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Hidden Costs of Homeschooling

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Homeschool, Homeschool Helps | 0 comments

Homeschooling is a great opportunity, but there are a few hidden costs. We might not even realize these costs are adding up, but they do … and usually quick. I have found a few common hidden costs of homeschooling and tips to saving those dollars!

hidden costs of homeschooling

#1 Hidden Cost: Printer ink.   I only have two students yet I feel like we print enough papers to wallpaper the house. Especially when we journeyed into lapbooking.

Tip to Save: Print only what you need. This is so simple, yet I was left wondering why I had printed the “about us” page of a Meerkat lapbook and everything else that could have been easily viewed on the computer. As an ebook writer myself, let me tell you: it does not hurt my feelings if you do not print every single page of my ebooks!  Another tip to saving on the printer ink – laminate. Yes a laminating machine can be a chunk up front, but I am no longer printing chore charts every single week! Look into AppleCore if you want a better record keeping system!

#2 Hidden Cost: Library Fines. I am still wondering when the local library plans on renaming a wing in our honor of our late fees. Or at least a plaque near the water fountain.

Tip to Save: Add book due dates to your iphone calendar and set a reminder the day before. I love that my boys want to read in their rooms, but I hate paying full price for books found decades later under a pile of laundry. We now keep a “book basket” in the hallway so we can easily find all the books we checked out and return them on time. I’m working on the Redbox rentals next.
#3 Hidden Cost: Fast Food. Wait, I said we homeschool right? Why aren’t we eating at home?! Wouldn’t you know all those errands we run, play dates, and field trips all happen at lunch time. Guess who doesn’t pack a snack 98% of the time?

Tip to Save: pack a snack! Half the time my boys would rather snack than eat a full lunch, so when we pack a snack and have a later lunch it really helps everyone. Want an ultimate tip for this one? Make lunch at breakfast time. I know I’ve shared that before, 5 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Easier, but really if we leave the house or not … it’s done!


Hidden Costs of Homeschooling

#4 Hidden Cost: paying full price for admissions. Field trips are a lot of fun, but can definitely hit your wallet.

Tip to Save: Plan field trips better by calling ahead and asking: do you offer a homeschool discount? Most places offer group rates, plan a bigger field trip and spend less money! If you live in a touristy town be sure to grab the “residents” discount.

#5 Hidden Cost:  art supplies. Now that you can spend the entire day crafting you should stock up on every single color of paint. Wrong!

Tip to Save: Buy less and create more. You might be surprised to know that you really only need 3 colors. Blue, Red, and Yellow. Throw in white if you really “have to” make pink. Pay attention to back-to-school sales, tax free day, and Crayola’s BOGO sale.

#6 Hidden Cost: new curriculum. This one isn’t so much “hidden” but just a fact. Curriculum costs a lot of money. I like the feel and smell of a brand new book, but brand new curriculum can get expensive year after year.

Tip to Save: Borrow! The best thing I did one year was trade off math curriculum with a friend. Since our children were staggered in grades I was able to use what she didn’t want to throw away during the years she wasn’t using it. In return I gave her access to our bookshelves. She saved a bundle not buying the entire Percy Jackson series.

#7 Hidden Cost: utilities. If you are home all day your utilities stay on and run longer.

Tip to Save: Turn it off. I try to avoid playing thermostat war and leave it on one setting all day. An extra sweater or open window can save a few dollars. It’s also amazing how every light in the house finds a way to get turned on and stay on while we work at the school table. {my dad always wondered how that happened too} Be mindful to teach your children to turn off lights when they leave rooms.

Have you found any “hidden costs of homeschooling”? We’d love to hear how you are saving those dollars.

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