Teaching math can be complicated and frustrating.  Math isn’t everybody’s jam, but no one should have to suffer through it!  That’s why we LOVE Teaching Textbooks!!  This online curriculum makes math fun to learn and simple to teach.  And the only thing better than using a fun math curriculum is using a FREE, fun math curriculum!!

In our latest video, I give a curriculum review of Teaching Textbooks 3.0 and tell you how you can WIN a subscription to Teaching Textbooks 3.0- any level of your choice.

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Izzy on KindleJoe and I LOVE books. If there is anything I am tempted to hoard, it’s books. I love getting lost in a good story and learning new things from the experience of others. I even love the smell of books- I’m a NERD that way.   And no one can dispute the value of books from a learning standpoint.  As we have learned about our nation’s founding fathers, a common thread among their stories was how much they treasured the wealth of knowledge found in books and regularly sought out ways to borrow, purchase and acquire them.

Unfortunately, when you live in an RV, van, skoolie, or travel trailer, books are not really your friend.  A plethora of volumes will quickly weigh a rig down and make driving conditions unsafe. This is particularly a challenge for roadschoolers using book-based curriculums. Multiply that by our FOUR kids, and you can imagine what a dilemma that poses for our family.  You can imagine the inner struggle I have: I want to have books. I want my kids to LOVE books. But we really can’t afford to have the weight of books in our traveling tiny home.

So what do we do???

We have had to come up with some creative solutions to our book problem:

  • We enjoy stopping at Half Price books and other used book stores to browse books. At theses stores, we can return used books (for a teeny, tiny commission/credit) and buy new books. So far, we still have more books on hand than we should (weight-wise), but this helps keep “real” books in the hands of the kids so that they are not on screens all. the. time.
  • Libraries tend to have a “Friends of the Library” section where they fundraise by selling older books for very cheap. All of us enjoy browsing through these sections as we visit libraries to do our schoolwork.
  • A lot of campgrounds and neighborhoods have “take one, leave one” libraries. This is a great way to off-load old books that others can enjoy, while giving us an opportunity to scope out new reading possibilities.
  • Each of our kids has their own Kindle Fire on which they can read books. We like Kindles because they have great parental controls (monitoring time spent on the device and the content they can access) and a free reading app that is accessible on virtually every device.  Not only do the kids have access to great books they can read and listen to, but they can also play games and download movies to watch. If you’d like access to kid-friendly games and activities (especially great for entertainment while traveling!), you can enjoy an Amazon FreeTime Unlimited free 30 day trial by clicking the link below.  If you choose to continue once the trial period ends, it costs only $3 a month for one individual plan.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial

  • Kindle offers many free books which the kids can enjoy. There are SO MANY classics accessible to the kids to download for free!!  (Did I mention FREE?) Kindle also offers an “unlimitied” program, which allows you to read as many books as you want for one low monthly price.  You can click the link to learn more.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

  • We listen to books on Audible. Again, I have one account that is accessible to all of the kids. We enjoy listening to books together as a family when we are driving. Or if the kids like, they can attach their headphones and listen on their own device to the book of their choosing.  Audible is running a special right now that gives you an opportunity to try it out for your next roadtrip FREE!!

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • We can check out books through our public library’s ebook lending library. 3MCloud, Overdrive and Hoopla are popular apps that libraries use to disperse eBooks to their patrons. The kids have these apps downloaded onto their Kindles and can check out new books for free.  Check with your home library to see what apps they employ.

IMG_0771The good news: whether you love the idea of eBooks and audio books, or prefer the joy of holding a bound volume in your hand, there are options!  All it takes is a little creativity.

If you would like to check out Kindles for yourself, I’ve provided clickable links below to see some of the different Kindle options available.  Amazon is currently offering some great deals on Kindle packages for Valentines Day!

Fire Tablet 3-Packs: Starting at $109.97

2-Pack Kids Edition Tablets: Starting at $149.98

And if you already own a Kindle Fire, but find it is outdated and not working as well as it should, Amazon is offering a great “upgrade” deal (click the link below):

Fire Tablets: 25% off Trade-in + Amazon Gift Card

How does your family approach the conundrum of books and nomadic life? If you have other ideas/options, PLEASE, share them in the comments below!

Keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha

***This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated should you choose to make a purchase by clicking through our links.  This does not cost you, the consumer, anything extra and helps us to continue bringing you quality content.  Thank you for your support!😊

 

Approaching home education with purpose and meaning is a challenge.  There are so many choices to be made: curriculum, time management, extra curricular activities, education methods, field trips, social activities and the list goes on and on….  One of the most important decisions that parents will make in their approach to homeschool/roadschool is how to govern their time.

img_0152Roadschool comes with its own unique set of predicaments.  Chief among those difficulties: keeping school moving in a forward progression with an irregular schedule.  When your home is constantly being torn down, relocated and set up again, how does anyone conduct a “normal” schedule?

Well, we’ve only been doing this roadschool thing for about 8 months.  But, I have come to the realization that keeping a roadschool schedule is not that different than the homeschool schedule we have employed for the last few years (with a few necessary tweaks).

Before I create a schedule for our family, my first item of business is to identify our priorities.  I do this by asking questions like:

  • What activities are most important to our family life? (ex. family devotions, youth group or clubs, exercise, etc.)
  • What areas are we weak and  need to grow in? (ex. needing to eat healthier means leaving time to prepare healthy meals)
  • What areas have been neglected that we need to carve out time for? (ex. making sure the kids are bathing regularly- just keeping it real, peeps.)

Next, I consider family needs:

  • Are there regular activities that we need to carve out time for? (example: naps for babies, laundry, or piano lessons)
  • Are their shared items that require a rotating schedule for the kids? (example: do they share books, a computer or a piano for music lessons?)
  • Do mom and dad have shared resources that will require adjustments in the schedule? (example: do mom and dad share a vehicle that will require dropping one parent off at work or only allow for activities on certain days?)

Then, I make a time grid, either on notebook paper or on a computer spreadsheet and begin filling in the priorities, followed by specific needs.  Here’s how my/our schedule shaped up for this year:

Kid’s Daily Schedule
7AM wake up- get dressed, make bed, clean up bunk house
7:30AM breakfast/family devotions
8AM family work out (hike/bike/circuit train/etc.)
10AM go to school destination (library/Chick-fil-a), eat a snack
10:30AM all kids do MATH, 
11:30AM All kids work on Monarch assignments
12:30PM LUNCH
1PM Continue Monarch Assignments
3PM Mom meeting (H-Mon, S- Tues, G- Wed., I- Fri)
4PM Make corrections in Monarch & Teaching Textbooks, Complete Projects
5PM Leisure Screen Time (IF schoolwork is done & room is clean)
6PM Dinner
6:30PM Clean up/dishes
7PM  Showers (H- Mon & Fri, S- Tues & Sat., G- Mon & Fri, I- Tues & Sat)
 & pack school bags for next day
8:30PM Get dressed for bed & brush teeth
8:50PM into bed
9PM  lights out Gideon and Izzy
9:30 PM lights out Sarah
10PM lights out Hannah

You may notice that I have allowed two and a half hours each school day for a family workout.  This was my way of addressing our need to excercise AND allowing time to explore varying destinations as we travel.  Yes, we still have time on the weekend to spend a day or two exploring as a family, but this gives us daily chunks of time to take a bike ride, go for a hike, etc. (If you would like to see a glimpse of our first year of roadschooling, click here to watch our video, “Dear Kids: an Open Letter About Our First Year of Full Time RVing”)

Some people will look at this and feel it is hyperscheduling the day.  I have actually made much more detailed schedules in the past (when you are teaching 4 different kids, in 4 different grades, in multiple subjects, it can get complicated FAST)!  But my kids have responded REALLY well to having structure.  They know what is expected of them and when it is expected.  A couple of them have even thanked me for making a schedule for them (and that’s a big deal coming from kids 14 and under)!

Whenever I create a new schedule, I try to hold us to it for a 2-3 weeks before we lax and deviate.  It takes a while for everyone to adapt to a new way of doing things, so it can take some time to discern if the schedule is working for us, or if we are working for the schedule.  Sometimes, I can tell right away that we need to make adjustments.  But once in a while, it takes time to recognize a bad day versus a problem with the schedule.

Whether we choose to homeschool year round or subscribe to a traditional calendar school year (we have done both), our family typically does school 4 days a week and uses one day as a “catch up” day.  Now that we are traveling full time, we are using that “catch-up” day as our travel day.  Ideally, we only travel one day a week, since it is time consuming to tear down, travel and set up again.  The kids will have to do homework on the weekend if they are unable to complete their assignments on the regular school days or our travel day.

I hope that my method for scheduling homeschool/roadschool can be helpful to your family! If it is, please like this post by clicking the “like” button below and sharing it with your friends.  If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

Keep Doing Life Deliberately!

Trisha

 

 

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     Don’t get me wrong.  The journey along Highway 12 in Idaho is GORGEOUS!!! You can expect to see dense cedar forests, a beautiful river that hugs the highway, and a mountain ridge that hovers above.  Enormous boulders will arbitrarily appear in the middle of the small, swift river, evoking wonder as to their origin and possible casualties at their landing.  This is all part of what Lewis and Clark experienced just over 200 years ago when they traversed this area of the Louisiana Purchase.  But had it not been for the kindness of the local Nez Perce Indian tribe, the Lewis & Clark expedition would have been cut short by hypothermia and starvation.  What a thought!!  We genuinely enjoyed learning the history of this place and tribe and hope you will, too, as you watch this week’s video (click here)!!
      Do you love history?  As a kid, history was not something that was a strong part of my educational experience.  I’ve never really *loved* history.  But a few years ago, we started reading biographies in our homeschool studies.  As we studied geography, we read the biography of a missionary that worked on each of the continents that we learned about.  Their stories inspired and captivated me.  In the following years,  I intentionally looked for biographies as we learned about ancient history and American history.  In my opinion, seeing historical events through the eyes of someone who has lived through it, is so much more fascinating than reading a dry recounting of the event itself.
     But this summer’s journey…. it took our history studies up a notch (or TEN)!!   We not only read (or more accurately, listened to audio) biographies on our journey, we saw the places that these historical figures walked, struggled, fought, negotiated, and nearly died in.  We camped in the places they hiked, hunted, portaged and slept.  We breathed the forest air, awed at the wide open landscapes they witnessed, and dipped our toes in the water they canoed in.  HISTORY CAME ALIVE.  And now, we have a greater appreciation for the hardships many have endured for the United States of America to be what it is today.
     Our goal each week as we create the videos for Doing Life Deliberately is not only to share the adventure of our travels, but also to share what we are learning with you and your family.  We hope that you will enjoy sitting around the screen together, watching history come to life.  We hope we can make you laugh, challenge your thinking, and help you learn.  In short, we want to be Doing Life Deliberately WITH YOU.
     We’d love to hear from you!!  What are some events, historical figures and places that you would like to learn more about?  What do you want to know about fulltime RV living?  What questions do you have about homeschooling on the road?  We are working on plans for 2019 and would love to hear what you would like to learn about!
     We have received several email, Facebook, and website messages offering hospitality and encouragement.  Thank you so much for your kindness and love.  We appreciate you, your prayers, and support.
Keep Doing Life Deliberately!
Trisha
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One of the things that I love about teaching homeschool is that it provides ample opportunities to see God’s character through the things that we are learning as a family.

I didn’t always think this way. But a few years ago, Joe and I attended a homeschool conference and the keynote speaker, Voddie Baucham, really challenged parents: Everything that we learn in homeschool should point our kids to the greatness of the Lord. Learning is not primarily about acquiring knowledge for the sake of stuffing our heads full of facts. What we learn in homeschool should point us to worship our Creator and draw us into greater intimacy with Him.

We see God’s unlimited intelligence, creativity and splendor as we examine the physical world around us in science. We enjoy His beauty in the sounds of music and the colors and shapes of art. We see his faithfulness, purpose and plan throughout history. We see His humor, ingenuity, emotions, and compassion in the use of language. But what can we learn about God in math??

1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”

I see this exemplified in every page of math that we cover in homeschool. Have you ever noticed that if you place a decimal one column too far to the right or left that your answer is wrong? Or that when you write out a math problem and don’t get the columns perfectly lined up, then your answer comes out wrong? My point is that math is about precision and order. You don’t haphazardly get “right” answers. Everything has to be done in a certain pattern or alignment- whether the steps followed, or the way the problems are written out. And where did math originate from? GOD. So this mathematical exercise that we take our kids through in homeschool everyday has the potential to teach them that God is a God of ORDER, not confusion or chaos. He is not trying to trick us or play us for fools. But just like math, He is an orderly God, a consistent God, a peaceful God.

In the same way, I believe that math can teach us about God’s attention to detail. The examples I cited about math above illustrate the order and detail needed when performing math. The Bible gives us multiple examples of God’s attention to detail. Here are a couple:

“Why, even the hairs of your head are numbered.” ~Luke 12:7

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:29-31

Do you realize that we lose 100-125 hairs every day, on average? Yet at any given moment, God knows how many hairs are on each of the almost 7.5 billion people that live on earth!!! Not only is God an active mathematician, but His attention to detail is limitless. And God is not only aware of every little sparrow in existence, but he also knows their value (which changes from time and place)! And if He knows the value of two sparrows (because what person even cares about the value of two sparrows?!?!) AND cares to know the exact number of hairs on any one person’s head, He must really, really love His creation (US!!) to pay that much attention!!!

Other examples of God in math…

“Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” ~Psalm 32:2

You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” ~Psalm 56:8

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” ~Psalm 147:4

I am most thankful for what God does NOT count or number. When we have placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have assurance that God will NOT count our sins against us because the punishment for our sins was paid for by the perfect sacrifice: His son, Jesus’, life on the cross. Three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, He defeated sin and death, taking away their power. His sacrifice in our place made it possible for us to be set free from the debt that we owed God and enabled us to be reconciled to the Father now and forever. Yes,

“Blessed is that man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” ~Romans 4:8

Oh, the joy of learning about God- even in math!!

What can you learn about God in math? I’d love to hear how YOU are Doing Life Deliberately in your learning! Please share what God is teaching you about Himself below. We’d love to hear from you!!

~Trisha

img_3600I am SO thankful that we have the ability to choose homeschool as a way to educate our children. I am deeply grateful to have this freedom. Homeschool regulations vary from state to state- some being highly regulated, while others are not regulated at all. I live in a state with minimal regulations, and again, I am very thankful to have the freedom to educate our children how we see fit.

However, one of the downsides of being able to choose your curriculum, is that you have to pay for your curriculum.

Wah, wah, wah.

Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time shopping for homeschool curriculum knows that the bottom line can add up fast. So today I’d like to give you some ideas and resources to help you budget and save money on those books, computer programs, technology and enrichment programs.

  • Literally reserve money in your monthly budget to go toward homeschool curriculum and activities.
  • If you expect to receive a tax refund, set aside a percentage and put it towards homeschool needs.
  • Use websites such as Half.com, Amazon.com, and Bookfinder.com to search out gently used homeschool materials. This can save you a great deal of money.
  • Check out Homeschoolclassifieds.com for a huge listing of homeschool curriculum. This website also lists local homeschool groups and co-ops across the nation, as well as homeschool events.
  • Shop local homeschool used book sales!! If you are not aware of homeschool groups in your area, go to homeschoolclassifieds.com or HSLDA, and you should be able to find the homeschool groups closest to you.
  • Sell your old curriculum on the above used book sites or at a local homeschool used book sale to make money for the coming year’s curriculum and homeschool needs. And BONUS, it cuts down on the clutter in your home! Yay!
  • Join local Facebook groups and put out a request from the other parents to see if someone will loan or sell you the used books you need.
  • Collaborate with a friend who is using the same curriculum. Perhaps you can purchase alternate years of curriculum and swap the following year!
  • Use the local library to check out books or Overdrive to check out ebooks.
  • Use the Bible as your curriculum! Karen DeBeus at Simply Living for Him is an author and speaker who shares how her family did this and how it impacted them. Though I have not tried this method, I must admit it sounds intriguing and would certainly cut back curriculum expenses (however, that was NOT her primary purpose in studying exclusively out of God’s Word).
  • Shop curriculum fairs at homeschool conferences! I am always able to find great deals and discounts on homeschool materials when we attend annually.
  • Reuse materials! I do not permit my children to write in their textbooks, unless I deem it more cost effective to buy a consumable book than to make copies. My children will write out their math problems on a piece of notebook paper, write their papers on notebook paper and store it in a binder (which we also reuse, if they are in good enough shape), and so on. This way, textbooks can be passed down to siblings and reused when possible.

Well, there you have it! I hope that you find something useful in there to help you save up for curriculum or cut down the cost of curriculum. If you have other tips and tricks for saving money for homeschool curriculum and activities, PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!! We want to hear from you and learn from you, so don’t be shy!!

Until next time, keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha

Last spring, Joe and I attended a Teach Them Diligently conference where we were delighted and surprised to see an old friend from our newlywed small group days. How fun!!

Homeschooling can be tough, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Even the most passionate homeschool parent goes through seasons of discouragement. All kids struggle at times- whether with a specific subject, an area of character growth, a skill that doesn’t come easily, a feeling of being left out by their friends… or a million other challenging circumstances. And just like kids need mom and dad to cheer them on to a strong finish of the school year, mom and dad need someone to cheer them on and remind them why what they do is so important.

Joe and I have found one of the greatest encouragements to be attending an annual homeschool conference. Every year since we began homeschooling, we have made it a priority to attend a homeschool conference. The first six years of homeschool, we attended the ICHE (Illinois Christian Home Educators) conference in Naperville, IL. We have been privileged to sit under the teaching of keynote speakers such as Ken Ham and Voddie Bachum. During the two and a half day conference, we had many options of workshops that we could attend- our needs vary from year to year. I can remember one year I was really struggling with trying to teach to our kids’ different learning styles. Sure enough, I found workshops where I was able to get some great insights and tips on how to adjust my teaching style to fit our children’s individual needs. The workshops can be so incredibly helpful.

The past two years, we have attended the Teach Them Diligently conferences. The first year we went to Akron, OH where it was conducted at a Kalahari resort. We were excited to bring our kids with us- many of these conferences are very family friendly and will provide “tracks” for your students to enjoy as you attend workshops geared toward mom and dad. After the day’s workshops were completed, we picked up the kids and enjoyed the water park. It was a fun trip and family time, but we returned home exhausted. The down side of taking the kids with us was that Joe and I did not have the time to talk and debrief between sessions, as we typically enjoy doing. The downtime we were used to having was instead used to entertain the kids, rather than relax.

So this past year, we left the kids with family once again and set out on our own for another Teach Them Diligently conference in Nashville. This time was so invaluable and encouraging to us. From the hours spent talking in the car, to the workshops we attended on marriage and parenting, and specific homeschool help courses, it was a refreshing reminder of why we have chosen to homeschool: to train up our children to know and love the Lord, to teach them about Him in every subject we study, to invest in their character and our relationships with each of them. We went home fired up, filled with new ideas of how to make our homeschool experience even better, confident of our calling to home educate another year.

How about you, friends? How do you stay fired up and encouraged on this journey of homeschooling? Could you share some ideas for other homeschool parents to consider? I look forward to hearing your ideas and answering any questions you throw my way.

May God encourage you as you keep doing life deliberately!

Trisha