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

 

 

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

pexels-photo-515169.jpeg“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!

~Trisha

p.s. for more homeschool helps and encouragement, please visit my YouTube channel, 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!!

~Trisha

*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. 🙂

School is so different from when I was a kid- in large part to the boom in technology. I remember typing English lit papers on our dinosaur computer (even by standards then, it was a dinosaur) with the spindled printer paper. The computer lab at my small-town highschool was fairly new, and I didn’t have the foresight to see how important taking a computer class would be for my future. Fortunately, I was a kid and a quick learner. My college years grew my skills immensely- from using email to word processors to the internet. My young married years quickly acquainted me with social media, and now, here I am, writing a blog and posting videos to YouTube (click HERE for a tour of our homeschool room!).

Fast forward to 2018, and here I am, a parent, and my kids can work remotes, video games and Minecraft in circles around me. Trying to navigate their technology usage is not only a challenge, but a chore. And yet, in some ways it is a beautiful blessing. Here are three thoughts that I have regarding technology in the home/homeschool classroom:

Benefits

As our kids are getting older, we find ourselves teaching more difficult subjects, checking more assignments, and recording completed work. For this reason, I have come to appreciate the technological resources available to us more and more. We have taken advantage of CD-ROM teaching cd’s: a Spanish program to guide the kids through learning a foreign language, and even entire math curriculums for our oldest girls. We did this: one, because they were struggling at the upper levels with their former curriculum; two, because it was far more captivating and rewarding to use the computer program; and three, because it automatically graded their day’s work, saving mom and dad a ton of time! As a bonus, the kids look forward to using the computer interspersed between their other subjects. It’s a nice break from textbook learning.

Accountability

If our kids are going to have access to the internet, they MUST have accountability. There are tons of ways to go about this, but some of my favorites are:

  • Kindle Fire Tablets: These tablets are inexpensive and have easy-to-use parental controls. You can set a curfew for your kids and control what hours of day they have the ability to use the tablet. You can easily limit what kind of access they have to the internet, videos, apps, shopping, books, music, etc. You create a parental control password and enter it to change any of the settings at any time. While this is not a perfect system for keeping kids safe or out of trouble, it definitely goes a long way.
  • Covenant Eyes: This is a web based company that can filter all your technology, as well as send emails to accountability partners of your choice, highlighting websites of concern. This allows parents to see and visit websites their kids are visiting and discuss with them the wisdom of their choices (or lack thereof). This is great accountability for parents, too.

Boundaries

There are a lot of great reasons to limit the amount of time that kids are in front of screens: increasing physical activity, the addiction factor (the addiction factor of screen time has been compared to the addictiveness of some illegal drugs- you can Google it), the radiation concerns of people being in proximity to tablets, phones, lap tops, etc. for hours a day and the concern for a link to cancer and disease, the lack of social interaction with others sitting right next to them, and the list can go ON, and ON, and ON… Even at our kids’ annual checkup this week at the doctor, the information sheets sent home with them recommended no more than 1-2 hours a day of screen time. So, that being said, there is good reason for creating limits for the use of technology. Some ideas we have employed are:

  • We have a designated hour each day when the kids can use tablets or computers. This includes video games, email, video chat, etc. This way we can easily keep track of when they are on technology and not taking advantage of our inattentiveness.
  • Before the kids can utilize their hour for technology, they must complete all of the day’s assignments, do their daily chore, practice their piano homework, and read silently. If they fulfill their responsibilities, they get their hour or so. (They can and will take advantage of mom and dad’s failure to hold them accountable- so I have to be diligent to check over their schoolwork. This is an area we are constantly working on.)
  • Extra hard work in school will gladly be rewarded with a bit of extra time on technology. For example, our son is extremely self motivated to finish work quickly so that he can have more time on the tablet. We are happy to oblige a bit more time if he has worked hard, worked well (quality work) and with a good attitude!

So there you have it. We are learning and growing right with the kids. What benefits, boundaries and accountability tools have you used in your home with technology?PLEASE, comment below! Your thoughts and experiences are of value to us and can be a blessing to others.

Keep Doing Life Deliberately!

Trisha

Everyone has a different mental image of what homeschool is like. I’ve seen several amusing memes on Facebook and Pinterest. People who don’t homeschool often make assumptions about what it looks like- I definitely did. I was not homeschooled as a child- I attended public school for all of my education. My husband attended parochial school for all of his elementary and secondary education, so neither of us had any experience with homeschool prior to trying it ourselves. I envisioned a relaxed family reading books in their pajamas, with lots of freedom in their daily schedule to go and do as they pleased. My preconceived notions have proven both right and wrong in our own family.

If you are interested in homeschooling, but have never done it before, it can be difficult to picture what it actually looks like to homeschool.  And even if you are an experienced homeschool family, it can still be fun to see what others are doing and gather ideas. You might find yourself wishing you could be a fly on the wall in someone else’s homeschool classroom.  I sure felt that way before we got started.  So today, I am inviting you to join our family for a typical homeschool day. Not all (or even most) homeschools look like ours.  Each family’s homeschool takes on the personality of it’s teacher/principal/family: organized or spontaneous, orderly or messy, a room set aside for schooling or a kitchen table, a web-based program or a stack of library books, home-made curriculum or purchased lesson plans.  How one runs their homeschool can look a thousand different ways- none of which is right or wrong- to meet the needs of their family.  So… with that in mind, join us for a brief day in the life!

Day in the Life of our Homeschool

Post your questions and comments below- we look forward to hearing from you!

One of the things I found myself wondering early on in homeschooling, was how did other families schedule their time?  So today, I am sharing with you how we schedule our time (no need to wonder anymore)!  😉

7:30- Family Bible time

8am- PE

8:45- Xtra math (Hannah and Sarah), math assignment (Gideon and Izzy)

9am- Everyone works on math assignment

9:30- Math assignment (Hannah and Sarah), Xtra Math (Gideon and Izzy)

10am- Science (Botany- Gideon and Izzy), General Science (Sarah), Biology (Hannah)

10:30- History, vocabulary and read aloud

11:30- Writing (Gideon and Sarah), Writing and Grammar with Mom (Izzy)

12pm- Lunch

Our afternoons consist of piano practice, Spanish on the computer, quiet reading, and finishing up any remaining school work and chores.  We held pretty tightly to this schedule for the first few weeks of school.  But it didn’t take long for Gideon to figure out that if he worked ahead, he could have more free time during the day.  He is generally up around 6am and gets to work on his assignments around 6:30 or 7am most days. (What can I say? He’s an easy student!)

Our schedule always changes a bit from year to year as I evaluate what worked well the previous year, and what needs tweaking.  But this seems to work well for us now.  We start the day off by giving the first part of our day to the Lord.  It seems to work well to have PE next because we burn a little energy and then we can focus on the harder subjects of the day: math and science.  This worked a little more neatly at the beginning of the year when I held everyone to the schedule, but now it’s a lot more flex.

If you want to see what a day in the life of our homeschool looks like, view our YouTube video by clicking on this link: A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool

So how about you?  If you are currently homeschooling, how do you schedule your time?  I would love to hear what works well for you!!

Keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha