Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Decorating Our Homeschool Room for Fall

Here's some pictures of our homeschool room 
we decorated for Fall. I look forward all year to putting up our 
Mr. and Mrs. Scarecrows. 
They just leave you feeling joyous and happy.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Best-Laid Plans

All summer long, I had hoped and had planned for this new homeschool year of 2016-2017 to start off well organized and fun-filled. I even created a cute lesson plan binder filled with inspiration and ingenuity for staying on track. I wanted a disciplined schedule, where outside events and responsibilities did not encroach upon the daily tasks we needed to accomplish for our studies. I had all intentions of keeping a tightly ran ship. Then, as often it does, Life decided it had different plans, a mind all of its own.

In mid-August, my elderly father had fallen and spent a bout in the veteran's hospital. He had broken his hip and was too ill for a corrective or replacement surgery, leaving him bedridden for the remainder of his days. He was transported to a physical therapy / nursing home, soon after. Just a few weeks later, he passed away. Because he lived in another state, we took trips to be with him while he was in the hospital, and then again to attend his funeral service. My dad was a WWII veteran, and I couldn't be a prouder daughter.

Dec. 3, 1924 - Sept. 5, 2016

Mourning didn't last long around this house, not for a lack of love and adoration we hold for my father, but because we started adding adorable blessings to the family, soon after.

My daughter-in-law went into labor a month early giving birth to this adorable cutie-pie, a precious baby girl. 

Her toddler big brother is getting used to sharing the love. He's also learning how to behave around a newborn in the house. 

Not to be outdone, my oldest daughter went into labor three weeks early and just four days after the birth of her new niece. Here's her darling bundle of joy.

We went from having one grandchild to having three in the matter of a week! Visiting these precious babies, also, included extended travel. 

Even though we can make the best-laid plans, sometimes Life decides its going to throw us a curve ball, whereas we have to adjust and change course. What wondrous reasons for our family to do so. 

May God open the gates of Heaven for my father, and may God bless these two precious gifts he has added to our family...and to our schedule. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fantastic First Day Back to School!

We had an awesome FIRST DAY back to school, yesterday! Cameron started 10th grade and came home happy with his classes he signed up for, and he said all his teacher's seem to be the cool, calm types. His track coach is going to be his P.E. teacher. He has the same Spanish teacher as last year. And, this year he's trying something new...he's taking a THEATRE CLASS! Yep, my once (and still somewhat) shy Cameron is taking drama! WHAT?!  
We, also, had a wonderful first day back to our HOMESCHOOL with Danielle. While her brother had to get up at 6:30 am to go to public school, she got to sleep in...much later (and I'm not tattling on myself saying just how long I let her sleep, while I finished up my lesson plan book.) We started the day with chocolate chip waffles. A day can't go wrong when you start it like that!

I didn't dare get on the time warp machine I call Facebook, yesterday. There was just too much to do. Even though she got to sleep in late, we were able to go through all her main subjects (Language Arts, Math, History, Science) to review a few lessons we had worked on in the Spring, just to refresh our memories and give us a good launch to our new school year. We got through more than I had expected we would, which made me "Happy, Happy, Happy"!

I was able to finish and use my updated, cutesy lesson plan book I've been making and collecting goodies for over the past several days. I'm hoping to make a YouTube video featuring it, soon. I didn't have to work too much, got in a long late afternoon nap, made dinner, got dishes done before bedtime, played cards with the hubby and went to bed relaxed and thankful for such a blessed day with my loved ones.

Yesterday, life was at it should be, great!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Homeschool Planning: Advice and Planner Reviews

It's homeschool planning season once again. I've put together some of my most favorite planning resources to help you get started.

First off, it's a good idea to keep realistic expectations of how the school year is really going to go, instead of what is in your fantasies. Here's some great advice from Sarah Mackenzie on her blog post Planning is Just Guessing to give yourself grace with your scheduling and planning.

Getting started with an overview of the whole school year at a glance is helpful. Doing this allows you to see how many lessons in each subject you'll need to cover each week during the year. It, also, helps you know when your curriculum ends for the school year, which allows you to know an approximate school year end date. You'll need to know your state's laws and your locality's requirements in order to know the required subjects that need to be taught, the number of school days required for the year, the requirements for yearly testing, curriculum requirements, etc. 

In Homeschool Scheduling, Pam Barnhill shows you how to get started mapping out your beginning and ending dates by marking off your holidays and no school days, in advance.

A Renewed Life gives some great tips on things to consider when thinking about your overall school year in Homeschool Planning and Planner 2016-2017. She, also, reviews The Ultimate Homeschool Planner in this video.

My Mardel Homeschool TV has fantastic tips on how to approach your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning. She reviews A Simple Plan: Planner for the Homeschooling Family in her video Homeschool Planning Tips. 

Our Family Home Life does a good job showing you how she uses her Teacher's Lesson Planner by Blue Sky in *Homeschool Planning* How We Do It-Back to School.

Megan Phillips walks you through how she plans out all her subjects for a basic yearly overview by using Excel in How To Plan Your Homeschool Year. 

Lauren Hill gives scheduling and planning advice in her video How I Plan Our Homeschool Week.

Raising Clovers has wonderful organizational systems she shares in How to Organize Your Homeschool Curriculum: 5 Simple Systems. These systems are worth considering during your beginning of the year planning session. However, it's never too late to implement a system you feel will improve your own homeschooling experience.

Personally, I've adapted my own lesson plan binder using the Post-It Note method. By using Post-It Notes, I'm able to re-adjust my schedule according to what we may or may not accomplish during a day or week. If we do not accomplish a particular assignment on the planned day, then all I have to do is lift it off the page and place it onto the next day and I can do this multiple times, if needed. This way I alleviate all the writing, erasing, and rewriting involved than if I had written words directly onto my planner page. Tami Morrison demonstrates how she uses her computer to print directly onto Post-It Notes in Erin Condren Teacher Planner-Lesson Planning with Post Its. This way, she's able to use all sorts of fun fonts, font sizes, and clip art to make her planner look super cute.

You can make your planning and your lesson plan book as simple or as elaborate as you want. Whatever helps you maintain some organization throughout your homeschooling day is what matters. Homeschooling families have various needs, different number of students, different students' ages and developmental levels, etc. Planning and scheduling is all about taking into account all of your family's unique needs and your own personal style of organization.

Here's a few more videos you may find helpful:

Homeschool Lesson Planning by Full Time Wife Life

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Homeschool Organization Depends Upon Where You Homeschool

Homeschool organization depends upon where you are doing your homeschooling.

Today on Pinterest, I came across a blog entitled The Truth About Homeschool Organization written by Crystal at Tidbits of Experience. It's an encouraging read. Truth be told, about a third of my research on the homeschooling topic is organization. I love organizational videos for the rest of my household, as well. Crystal suggests you give yourself permission NOT to have a picture perfect expectation of your homeschooling space, and I agree. She walks you through her transformations over her years of homeschooling and shares with you what has been working and how things have changed. 

Pretty much, her outlook and experience mimics my own. In our own homeschool, we have a dedicated space in my daughter's room for teaching and learning: math, spelling, handwriting, phonics, vocabulary, reading, grammar, and writing. These topics need the utmost attention and focus when the lesson is being taught and practiced. My daughter has A.D.H.D, so by removing her from the busiest parts of the house and placing her in a quiet and less trafficked area, she is able to keep her attention on the lesson at hand. This is also where we store the bulk of her current curriculum. We do store extra school supplies and previous years' curriculum in a cabinet in the hallway and in boxes on the top shelf of her clothes closet.

To mix things up a bit, we mostly read our history and science textbook lessons in the living room, then pull up a YouTube video (or many) on whatever topic we are studying. This is also where we have great discussions and life lessons on the current topic. Science experiments and art are done at the kitchen table to contain the mess. Less messy art projects my daughter likes to work on at her bedroom desk where it is more quiet and she can let her artistic juices flow.

Music is listened to and practiced all over the house. My son and daughter each have a guitar in their bedrooms, which they practice and play often. We utilize the free Hoffman Academy piano lessons by watching them on our Roku in the living room and while sitting at the piano. This makes the lessons most convenient. We use the YouTube channel on Roku to watch many a lesson in all subjects. All subjects are studied on the computer in the living room, as well.

Even though the bulk of our homeschooling space is tucked away in my daughter's bedroom, we actually move throughout the house every day. This keeps things more interesting and helps keep the "Homeschool Burnout" at bay. Plus, we get to intertwine household chores during breaks or during independent work. Of course, the sidewalk outside makes for a great chalk board. 

I figure I'll always love organizational videos, tips and tricks. But, like Crystal suggests the goal of homeschooling is to educate your child, while still practicing being a mother in a home where your family actually lives.

On that note, I invite you to check out our own homeschooling space. Enjoy the tour! 

And of course, I couldn't leave you without at least one organizational tip. 

If that's not enough for you, be sure to visit our Pinterest boards. I'm sure you'll get loads of organizational ideas for your homeschool. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Thirteen English Colonies of North America

The Thirteen English Colonies of North America Teaching Resources

Poster by Trend Enterprises 13 Colonies Learning Chart (T-38330)

Websites & Blogs

The Mariners Museum (for the Age of Exploration)

Annenberg Learner (a teacher resource site) / Interactives:

Book Units Teacher (home page) / Colonial America

Mr. Zoller's blog  (teacher blog- James Zoller teaches seventh grade social studies in Ohio.)

Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center (also a Field Trip resource)

Plimoth Plantation (Yes, it's spelled like that.) (also a Field Trip resource):
Social Studies for Kids / The Thirteen American Colonies / 13 Colonies

Drive Thru History (streaming videos & free via iTBN) / The Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock Settlement (streaming video & lesson)

Something to Offer / ABCs of American History: A is for American Colonies

Carson Dellosa Mark Twain Life in the Colonies Chart (414023)

Lesson Plans

Book Units Teacher (home page) / Colonial America

Kid's Activities / Colonial Theme for Kids and Colonial Theme: page 2

Mr. Donn's Site for Kids and Teachers / 13 Colonies for Kids

Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center / Colonial Life Lesson Plan (Virginia)
     -includes printouts for what colonial life was like for men, women, children, and slaves.
     -includes Colonial Life Background Essay pdf for teachers / The Mayflower and the Plymouth Rock Settlement (streaming video & lesson)

BrainPop Educators

Core Knowledge / Thirteen Colonies search results

Book Study Guide - The Hatmaker's Sign

How to Memorize the 13 Colonies in Order (cute and free ebook by Donnalyn Yates)

Colonial America Graphic Organizers by Book Units Teacher, Gay Miller

Our Journey Westward (homeschool blog) / 13 Colonies Travel Brochure project

Our Journey Westward (homeschool blog) / Settling the New World and Colonial Life Unit

His Mercy is New (homeschool blog) / What will you take on the Mayflower? (letter & activity)

Teaching in Room 6 (teacher blog) / Thinking Mapping the Colonies Solutions / What work did colonists do? (cartoon)

Welcome to Room 211 (teacher blog) / Pics of Student's 13 Colonies Tri-fold boards 

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston / Educational Publications / History of Colonial Money

Teachers Pay Teachers

The Journey of the Mayflower (free printable worksheet made by Educating Everyone 4 Life)

13 Colonies Map Worksheet (made by Jenn Hester)

Thirteen Colonies Fluency Passages (by Bow Tie Guy and Wife)

Activity Books

Hands-On History: Colonial America: Fantastic Easy-to-Make Projects That Help Kids Learn and Love History!, 

Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World (Hands-On History)


YouTube Videos:

Schoolhouse Rock - No More Kings

5th grade Colonial Dance (uploaded by Barbara Jensen)

Mr. Ruperts 13 Colonies (by Will Rupert)

Making the 13 Colonies (uploaded by DerowBradleyUS)

Mercantilism by Global History and Geography 9

Thirteen Colonies Podcasts by James Zoller:

The Thirteen Colonies (Colonial America-US History EOC Review) by Tom Richey
The Thirteen Colonies (EOC Review) by Tom Richey (SC)

English and Dutch Colonies uploaded by Beau


Liberty Kids: The Complete Series, Barnes and Noble,


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Education Place/ The 13 British Colonies pdf (unlabeled)
Tim's Printables / Free Printable Map of 13 Colonies pdf (labeled)
Student Handouts / Thirteen Original Colonies

US History with Mrs. Bauer:




Interactive Online

13 Colonies Map by

Mission US 

Sons of Liberty infographic

History Globe (by Bob Dunn) / The Jamestown Online Adventure

Quia / Colonial Challenge (online quiz)

Virtual Field Trips:

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center

Historic Virginia: The Virtual Field Trip

Lancaster, PA and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country

National Colonial Farm in Accokeek, Maryland

Plimoth Plantation

National Park Service / Boston

Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, VA

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens

Carson Dellosa Mark Twain The American Revolution Time Line Bulletin Board Set (410051)

Timeline: Carson Dellosa Mark Twain The American Revolution Time Line Bulletin Board Set (410051)

Our Pinterest Board 

1600s: Colonization of North America

Colonial Teacher

Free ClipArt

Mr. Donn's Site for Kids and Teachers (ClipArt by Phillip Martin) / 13 Colonies

13 Colonies
(Affiliate Disclaimer: As of the date of this posting, I have not and do not expect any monetary, nor otherwise any other financial gain from the listing of the resources shared in this blog post. These are simply resources I have personally used or have on my wishlist to purchase. Some items listed here are offered as free products to the general public and not for the purpose of an intentional mentioning in this blog post. Thank You.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What's in my St. Patrick's Day binder?

Incorporating fun activities into your homeschool plans is very important for keeping the boredom "Ho-hums" away. Here's just a quick flip through the goodies I've been collecting for St. Patrick's Day. I hope you see something you'd like to add to your own lesson plans.

Happy Homeschooling!

(Be sure to check out the description box for links to some of the resources.)