Learning science is exciting and enjoyable when you find the right science curriculum for your family. We used Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Science for six years and are so excited to share our experience with you! Enjoy!
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.
Roadschool 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|
|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|
|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)|
|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|
|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!
We are so thrilled to give you a tour of our new home, a 2018 Highland Ridge Open Range 310BHS!! It is a four season, quad slide, quad bunkhouse that comfortably fits our family of 6 and standard poodle. We’ll also show you how we are able to utilize the space to make a comfortable and efficient home for our family. Click the link below and hop on over to see for yourself!
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!!
“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after the wind.” ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
I am the type of person that is tempted to strive for perfection. When I was a kid, my parents taught me that “anything worth doing, is worth doing well.” I remember in grade school crumpling up paper after paper because my handwriting on my assignments wasn’t good enough. I would stay up until 9 or 10pm as a 4th grader doing homework because of starting over and over again to have the perfect writing.
Clearly, I took my parent’s teaching to an unhealthy extreme.
Fortunately, my teacher had the wisdom to intervene and work with my parents to help me develop less perfectionist tendencies. (Thank you, Mrs. Waller. :0) But, I still catch myself at times- especially now that I am teaching my own kids. There is a fine line between pushing kids to do their best and pushing them to be perfectionists. I have had to clarify with my kids many times that I don’t expect their work to be perfect (whether it’s school work, completing chores, etc.), but I do expect them to give their best effort.
But what about as adults? How does the pursuit of perfection affect our marriages and parent/child relationships? What about as homeschooling parents? How does this striving for perfection affect us? Are we constantly looking for the perfect curriculum? Are we exasperating our family because they can never please us? I have to be honest here- I fall into this camp way more than I care to admit.
So much of this is a heart issue. Who am I trying to please? Is my happiness tied into having a perfectly clean house or a child with straight A’s? Have a made an idol of having a perfect marriage, the perfectly behaved child, or the perfect look? Am I trying to get people to like me by appearing a certain way? Or am I trying to earn God’s love by having it all together?
The above verses from Ecclesiastes speak of work being a joy- whether our job, our chores, our schoolwork, etc. If we are striving for perfection, it’s awful hard to have joy because that perfection is always a little (or a lot) out of reach. God is the only One who is perfect. And though He holds His children to a higher standard (“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…” ~1 Peter 1:15), He knows full well that we cannot attain perfection. If we could, we would not be in need of a Savior. But the fact that “He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)”, proves that perfection is not a possibility for our sinful natures. It is a gift from God to have joy in our work, whatever that looks like at whatever age you find yourself. Perfection is a lie. It is vanity.
Vanity= “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.” ~Google dictionary
The point? Rather than striving for perfection in our appearance, our work, our family, our home…. rather than trying to give the impression that we have it all together when we really don’t…. rather than trying to impress others and impress God with how great we are, let’s admit the truth: we desperately need Him to save us from our complete inability to get it all right and hold it all together.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Rather than striving for unatainable perfection, let’s strive to give our very best efforts as an offering of love to the Lord. God just wants our best. Not perfection. Just the best we can do. And if we’re honest, most of us don’t give God our best. We don’t do the best we can at our workplace. We don’t do the best we can in loving on our families. We don’t do the best we can in serving the Body of Christ. The majority of us just give God our leftovers. Or our Sundays. We give Him a part of us or what’s conveinent to give, but the rest of life is “ours.”
But our leftovers is NOT what God wants from us. EVERYTHING we do, everything we call work (whether a career, yard work, housekeeping, staying at home with kids, teaching our kids at home, etc.)- it is all an opportunity to offer ourselves in love to God by doing the best quality work we can do in that moment. And what that looks like is between you and the LORD, and may vary from day to day, depending on what is going on in your life during that season.
In conclusion, let us not strive for the illusion of perfection. Let us work heartily unto the Lord as an act of love to Him, and enjoy the good gift of work He has put before us. If you don’t enjoy your work, ask yourself why and ask the Lord to help you. He will. It’s in His good nature to listen to our prayers and answer our pleas for help.
May God bless you as you seek to do life deliberately!
p.s. for more homeschool helps and encouragement, please visit my YouTube channel, Doing Life Deliberately.
I 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,
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23
Life is short.
Recently, a beloved brother in the Lord passed away. He was in his early 40’s and had a beautiful wife and three kids. He was the type of guy who did not withhold himself from anyone. He was outgoing, generous, and incredibly deliberate when it came to sharing His faith in Jesus Christ. Whether he was well and things were going great OR he was incredibly sick and in pain, he praised the Lord for it all. He had joy when most people would throw their fists in the air and curse God. His life was too short. But he used his time incredibly well.
I want to live life on mission just like him.
Colossians 3:23 speaks of doing everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. You might have a job. But you don’t work for your boss. You were made to work for the Lord- whether you believe that to be true or not, you were made to work for Him. So whether you are a child of God, a mom, a dad, a teacher, a lawyer, a barista, a janitor, a bus driver, an NFL quarterback, a retiree, unemployed, a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, WHATEVER YOU DO- God has made you to reflect His righteousness, His goodness, His truth, His love and all of His character to those you interact with in your sphere of influence.
So how do we do it? How do we make the most of our time? Well, I would like to suggest that it can’t happen by accident. It happens when we are doing life deliberately: prayerfully, passionately, and purposefully. That means we have to think through things. We have to reflect and make some choices to change in areas where we are dissatisfied. It means praying and asking God to convict us both our areas of success and failure. It means submitting ourselves to Him in areas where we are failing. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This means that if we submit and humble ourselves to Him, He will give us the grace we need in all circumstances. But when we refuse to bow to Him and admit our need for Him, we will most certainly find ourselves at battle with Him. He is always guaranteed to win.
During our time of prayer and reflection, it may be wise to do some journaling. Write out our roles: are you a child of God?, are you married?, a parent?, an employee?, a son/daughter?, a friend?, etc. List them and write down your responsibilities in those areas. Make a goal in each area. Then, go through your list of roles and give each a number, signifying importance (#1 being the most important).
Finally, use a planner or a piece of notebook paper to create a weekly or monthly schedule and appoint time to tend to each of your roles and goals. Give first priority to your most important role, then your second, and so on…. If your “plate” is overly full, you may find that you run out of time to do everything. That’s ok! You may need to say NO to some things. And saying NO to some things means you can say YES to more important things- thereby honoring the Lord by doing what you do heartily, unto Him.
So what do you say? Are you doing everything you do heartily, as unto the Lord? Are you making the most of the very short time here on Earth? I know I could stand to re-evaluate and shore up some areas! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so PLEASE, share your comments below!!
Keep Doing Life Deliberately,
P.S. If you are a homeschool parent (or know someone who is!), watch and share my latest YouTube video on How To Prevent and Correct Homeschool Burnout. I hope you find it to be a blessing.❤️
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!
With each additional child, the time spent homeschooling every day increases exponentially for mom and/or dad. Homeschool begins with teaching kids at home, but that is not where homeschool ends. Not only do parents spend time teaching the kids, but they have to plan out their schoolwork and correct their finished schoolwork, just like a vocational teacher. If you are the minority homeschooling parent that has nothing else to do besides teach the kids (I don’t know anyone personally who is in this position), then spending the entire day planning, teaching and correcting is no problem. BUT, if you are like most people and have a house to keep, possibly a part time or full time job, and activities to run kids to, then like myself, you can probably benefit from some…
Time Saving Tips
- Choose curriculum that will do some or all of the planning for you. There are many curriculums out there to choose from. I absolutely love that My Father’s World (our curriculum of choice for the past 4 years) does some of the planning for me. The teacher’s guide breaks lesson plans up by weeks and mom and dad can easily plug in the subjects that are age/level specific, such as math, foreign language, etc.
- Study some of your subjects together. When you do unit studies, the family learns together rather than having to go from child to child to their individual, age specific curriculum. You all interact with the same material (though older students will likely have more challenging reading), so it’s easier to stay on top of checking and correcting their work.
- Use curriculums that will check the work for you! Oh man, I LOVE Teaching Textbooks for this reason. Teaching Textbooks is a computer based math curriculum that not only makes math fun for your kids and teens, but it also checks their work and keeps records of their progress!! What a blessing!! We also love Rosetta Stone (a software based language curriculum) for the same reason.
- If you find that checking and correcting your student’s work is bogging you down, see if you can’t talk your spouse into sharing the load. Divide and conquer!! Having both mom and dad involved in holding kids accountable this way provides regular opportunities for both parents to have meaningful interactions with the kids and be aware of what the kids are learning, struggling with, and excelling at.
- Share the load of tutoring difficult subjects with your kids. If you have a child who is really struggling, have the parent who is stronger in that subject tutor them. Or, if it is an area of difficulty for both mom and dad, seek out a college student to tutor privately, or find a local tutoring center to supplement what they are already doing.
- If your find yourself struggling to assemble supplies and teach multiple science labs, team up with another family or a local homeschool co-op to do science labs together. Parents can divide kids by age group and teach them at the same time OR take turns compiling materials OR divide what materials to bring. Doing labs with friends can make the whole experience more enjoyable no matter how you divide and conquer the material.
- Have siblings test and correct one another. An example of how this plays out in our home is spelling. The kids enjoy giving each other their protests and test for spelling. And with the spelling workbook in front of them, it is no problem to check if the words were spelled correctly or not. Just this little step can save mom and dad time over and over again.
There are dozens of ways to save time in homeschool. What are your best tips for saving time in homeschool?? We’d love to hear your best tips and tricks, so please, leave them in the comment section below.
Until next time, keep Doing Life Deliberately!!
*disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I will receive a small commission. This is one way you can help support our family. If you have any questions about what this means or how this works, let me know! I’d love to answer your questions. 🙂
One of the unexpected joys of homeschooling is watching our younger children learn from our older children. Sometimes, it’s on purpose. For example, I have had the older kids read to the younger kids (watch my latest YouTube video: How to Teach Kids to Read in Homeschool ). I have also had our oldest daughter teach grammar to our son. I found myself in a place where there just wasn’t enough of me to go around, so I leaned into Hannah to help teach Gideon. An added benefit was it was reviewing the basic parts of speech and diagramming sentences (she had been through the curriculum just a few years before). So while I was teaching one of her younger sisters, Hannah read the scripted grammar curriculum to her brother. Mind you, it’s not a perfect scenario. Siblings fight and so some days were a little hairy, but we got through it!
But I think what is most fun, is the many times where our two younger children have recited something that they had not been directly taught, but rather, have caught from watching and listening to their older siblings do school. Our youngest daughter is now seven years old and a third grader. Learning has come pretty easy for her because she has picked up so much from just hanging around while I taught school to the older kids: poems, grammar chants, times table songs, books of the Bible set to music, Bible memory verses, etc. Things that took the older kids weeks to learn, Izzy already knew when we came to it in the curriculum.
I see evidences learning by “catching” in my kids’ music lessons, as well. All four of our kids take piano lessons. My oldest has recently discovered that the music to the video games she loves is available in sheet music or through tutorials on YouTube. As her younger siblings have heard her practice and sing the songs, some of them have “caught” the fever, too. Finding music that they love has heightened their interest in playing the piano and tackling a level of difficulty that they would otherwise avoid. It has been really fun to watch!
One of the benefits of homeschool is not only that mom and dad get to spend more time with their children, but that siblings can interact more, as well. Homeschooling is a great way to give your kids more opportunities to positively interact with one another. Playing learning games together, teaching a younger sibling a school lesson, entertaining toddlers and babies while mom teaches… these are all ways to teach our oldest kids to consider the needs of others and act upon that in a self-sacrificial way, thereby learning and practicing kindness to those they spend the most time with.
How do you see your kids learning by “catching”? PLEASE, share in the comments below- we’d LOVE to hear from you!!
Keep Doing Life Deliberately,
Teaching spelling might be a bit challenging, because I have to adapt to my kids’ different learning styles. (Click here to watch my latest video “How to Teach Spelling in Homeschool.) But math…I am NO math genius. Though arithmetic never posed many problems for me, algebra kicked my butt on a regular basis as a teenager. I never flunked, but it certainly did not come easy to me. Looking back, I wonder if my brain was just not quite fully developed enough in that area to grasp concepts that came much easier to other kids. Who knows? Now that I have taken algebra at the highschool level, college level, and have to help my 13 year old daughter, I feel like I am FINALLY starting to “get it.” And now that I get it, she is starting to surpass what I ever learned.
Well, to all the mathematically challenged homeschool parents out there, there is good news. There has never been as many resources available to parents to teach their children as there are now. I have been so thankful to have a mom with a teaching degree to pass on tips and tricks to me, as well. And I am thankful for the many different curriculums and helps available. I’d love to share some of them with you!
- Saxon Math– the curriculum we used with all of our kids during the grade school years and beyond. Saxon is not colorful or fluffy. It’s been around a long time- I remember using it for pre-algebra in the 8th grade. But what Saxon lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in substance. It is extremely thorough- teaching kids mastery in math facts, slowly building skills as they gradually add concepts from one day to the next. Our oldest daughter used Saxon all the way through Saxon 8/7 in the 7th grade.
- Teaching Textbooks (a computer math program that instantly checks and records grades) is available for all ages. We switched to Teaching Textbooks when our oldest was an 8th grader and she tested into Algebra 1 (with a history of Saxon Math). We now have two children using Teaching Textbooks and it has been a huge blessing to our family!! Both of our girls detested math more and more as they got older and the material became more challenging. But when we made the switch to Teaching Textbooks, their attitudes improved tremendously! This curriculum is visually stimulating, has little characters that encourage your student(s) whether they answer correctly or need to try again, immediately corrects their work, and keeps a record for you. Parents can easily go into the record book to adjust grades or erase problems so students can try again. This curriculum has preserved my homeschool mom sanity just a bit longer!!
- Saxon CD ROMs– Saxon does put out teaching CD ROMS for their 4th grade and above curriculums that you can purchase in addition to textbooks. These CDs contain a lecture, practice problems, and work through each problem found in the text, if desired.
- DIVE CD ROMs– These CD ROMs also accompany the middle to upper levels of Saxon Math. They include a proposed syllabus to help you stay on track throughout the school year and finish the curriculum. The lecturer encourages students to write down problems as he explains examples and challenges students to keep a positive attitude. I really liked these CD ROMs. The examples are NOT the same ones found in the books.
- Xtra Math– this is an app that you can purchase (currently $4.99 on the IPhone) that makes practicing your math facts fun and easy. It can be used for multiple students and sends mom or dad a weekly report so they can see the progress their kids are making. It takes 5-10 minutes 5 days a week.
- Manipulatives– This is something that my mom tipped me off to very early in our homeschool experience- and I’m so glad she did. Several grade school curriculums will require that you purchase a set of manipulatives, which may or may not include a plastic clock with moving hands, plastic shapes, a balance, linking cubes, counting bears (or another animal for teaching arithmetic in a fun way), flash cards, etc. There are lots of household items you can use, though, to teach early elementary math concepts and make it fun: beans, buttons, grapes, tongue depressors, pencils, etc. These types of items help make learning fun.
- Tutoring– Sometimes math can just be daunting- especially in the highschool years. If you find yourself in that place, consider calling a local highschool or college and talking to a teacher/professor. Ask if they can recommend students that would make good tutors. You can also seek out the many afterschool tutoring centers that are now available.
- Khan Academy videos– I have never made use of this resource myself, but many people have recommended Googling these videos as another option for help with upper lever math problems.
So there you have it! Those are our best tips and tricks for surviving math. What recommendations do you have based on your family’s experience with teaching math? We’d love to hear from you! PLEASE, leave your tips below!!Sp
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