Homeschooling in Florida

My journey


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Dear busy mom….. Is your life too busy? Time to slow down and let God take control

I recently heard a home school mom say she will never say busy again. She went on to say that being too busy means ‘burdened under satan’s yoke”.

That make me stop and think, being busy is something that has consumed my life. It wasn’t until my recent brain injury, that I realized just how busy I was. My days and hours were literally non stop.As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had 3 concussion the first week of school which put life on hold and kept me at home every single day unless I had to see the doctor.Before this happened, I had every day planned.

Bofore my school year even started, I had signed up for Awana, Spanish classes, co-ops, dance, 5 month practice schedule for the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant, soccer, spelling bees, science contests, cheer leading, youth groups, volunteering, leading bible studies , leading college prep courses, signed up for weekly workout classes with a friend not to mention meet up dates, field trips, doctor appointments ,going to the gym, keeping up with my bible blog and so much more. My calendar, like other years, was packed daily.

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When I was forced to sit home for these last 5 months, I found great value in quietness and being with my children one on one- just sitting around in our house. What was I running myself ragged ? I know there are times to step up, I know we want our children to experience everything but perhaps sometimes we should all take a time out. I kept telling myself that I needed it, but I couldn’t see a break anywhere.

It felt so freeing to say no. But wait, I don’t have a problem saying no, it was the necessary things I had problem saying no to – friend and family parties, vacations, classes, meetups, volunteer sign ups, driving places… – everything was put at a stop! a standstill. If you find yourself saying “I’m too busy” way to often, consider giving you and your family a well needed time out. Ask God for help, because if you are like me – I couldn’t imagine giving up anything.

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Although I had many painful and terrifying days while I was healing, I had more time with the Lord and more time with my family. I had to let a lot of things go, I had to trust God in all things. I was no longer in control, God was. This was especially trying with one child new to driving, she suddenly had to do all the driving on her own. I had to trust God.

A year ago, I said I can’t wait for January, I’ll be able to slow down. It didn’t happen. Then I said, I can’t wait until summer, I just want to sit on the beach and stare at the waves. It never happened. I was too busy  to meet with friends, enjoy time with the Lord and my children. What was going on?

I’ve enjoyed my time off , and occasionally when I have a good. day Ill run an errand here and there and do way too much. When I do this, I’m in bed for 2 days recovering. Maybe God is trying to slow me down. Enjoy each moment and each day, learning how to not be busy – yes, it’s something I must learn and reset my brain to do – to not be so busy.

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Dear Lord,

   Keep life from keeping me too busy to hear your leading. I don’t want to live an overburdened life, forgive me for not spending time with you when I know you were reaching out to me. Forgive me for not putting you first place with my chidren. Help me organize and balance the life you’ve given me in a way that truly honors you. I want to lead a life that you will delight in. Show me how to train my children, open my eyes to help me understand Your paths and Your leading. If there is anything in my life that is keeping me from my best, help me to break away and do what is right. Remind me to keep my thoughts on you, for give me for worrying and allowing stress to at times overwhelm me. I am reminded of your love for me, that you are always beside me. I am silenced at the magnitude of this. You, our great and Mighty God, would consider me and my family.
Keep us from being sidetracked and pulled in by  the pressures of this world. Keep our feet on the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Help me watch my words and learn to speak blessings over my children and family. Rescue us and show us the way. Thank you for your love, your kindness and the wisdom you give me. Thank you for  your Son, Jesus,

Today I am silenced and in Awe of your greatness,
In Jesus name,
Amen

 

 

 


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5th grade homeschool curriculum

I wanted to share the curriculum that worked for us this year. After many recommendation and many trials, this worked well for us this year:

  1. Math -Teaching textbooks and occasional worksheets
  2. History – Story of the World with workbook and misc. videos from library and online as well as occasional research and learning we did as we followed along with classical conversations.
  3. Bible– We went between bsf, my own home made studies and now we are doing Kay Arthur’s Lord, teach me to pray for kids
  4. Reading Comprehension – Spectrum Reading grade 5 plus miscellaneous books we enjoy reading
  5. Vocabulary -Worldly Wise book 6, you can use 5 for 5th grade, up to you. we don’t do every single activity in workbook. As long as she understands the word, I’m okay.
  6. Spelling Spectrum grade 5 – great spelling resource. I don’t stress if there are missed words, I just keep adding them in per week until she masters it.
  7. Cursive – Prescripts Cursive Medieval to Modern World – or if you are in a Classical Conversations group, use the workbook used that year
  8. Science – Library dvd, Evan Moor Daily Science grade 5, my daughter loves pinterest and we are almost daily doing new experiments. Yesterday we made homemade doggie treats and organic toothpaste for dogs.
  9. Geography – I really like the weekly geography with Classical so we try to do that often. I have a workbook “The complete book of Maps and Geography” grades 3-6. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I wonder if I’m wasting my time. Dvds from library work well too
  10. ELA – English Language Arts – Evan Moore Grammar and Punctuation grade 5, Paragraph editing by interactive learning – this is just a quick assignment daily,  Fictional Writing  by Teacher Created Recourses grades 5-8. I purchased all of these at Ace Teacher supply Store.

We also do Awana, dance, soccer and go on many field trips.

We are part a homeschool group called Classical Conversations. I like the different learning facts that we learn each week. It makes it interesting . We do a weekly science experiment, learn about famous artists and musicians as well. At home we spend extra time on one or two things that we learned in classical. This week we are focusing on World War 2 and last week we spent a lot of time on Morse Code and some of the first industrial machines. It just adds a nice touch to the the learning and I feel like we’ve covered a lot when we add in Classical conversations. I don’t worry too much about the memorizing, that’s just not our style.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Homeschool Organization

Here are some things I have that helped me stay organized

Unit shelves (I think this is best used horizontally)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80275887/

KALLAX Shelf unit IKEA Choose whether you want to place it vertically or horizontally to use it as a shelf or sideboard.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00275848/

My bookshelf was purchased at homegoods, I can’t find it online but if you search for rolling pantry 5-7 shelves, you’ll find similar items.


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Organize Homeschool lessons / Preparing Lessons

I recently suffered a concussion, 3 to be exact, on September 2, 2016. Today, 5 months later, I am still not able to do everything I could. Some days I can’t move or think and other days I am able to get out and do a few errands – Praise God!.  ( So if my sentences at time are off or a mispelling – I’m not 100% yet- but on my way)

If I hadn’t pre-planned during my summer months, nothing would have been done. I hope you will consider always preplanning your year, at least up to 6 months. You never know what circumstances might come your way. Along with preplanning, it is also important to begin teaching your children to do things independently . I know most moms might poopoo this, but my 10 year old can do her own laundry, clean her own room, knows her daily chores and can cook her own meals. When I was in bed unable to move for months, she was independent enough to make breakfast for the family, take care of her clothes, take care of the dog and her schoolwork. Of course, some things were on hold – things that required mommy like new words and other things, but being prepared and having taught independence to my 3 children helped me when life took a sudden turn.

We use a lot of workbooks, books, teaching textbooks and classical conversations. I say we use classical conversations lightly because we don’t get into the extreme memory of facts. I like to use it as a weekly nudge of new things. For instance, today I printed up pictures and maps about WW2, pics of atomic bombs and discussed the years and showed my daughter maps of Hiroshima, Midway, Germany and Poland, but no stress if it isn’t memorized.

 My yearly planning method:  

I noticed that if I planned  per day – it totally stressed me out. Sick days, Visitors and other interruptions messed up my schedule.  I tried an online schedule planner and it worked great for a while but going back and making changes because of interruptions became confusing.

This is what I did this year and it worked out great for me.

I purchased a teacher lesson planner

lessonplannerbook.jpg  I bought this because I like the layout of each week . Here’s link : Teaching is my Superpower lesson planner

I took each book or workbook by subject and divided it up by 32-37 weeks for school year. I decided how much needed to be done each week to finish by June 1- or mid May.

I split it in half and wrote per week what needed to be done between Sept 1- Dec 15

Click here for my weekly list, insert your own subjects :  dailyplanner   print out 6 copies, cut and glue one at start of each week. Go subject by subject planning through year – do not plan daily until you get to that week. (I didn’t do every single subject every day, I know my subject list is long – I did a little here and there to complete year, anything with cc was classical conversations, if you’re curious, FWriting is Fictional writng – a great workbook I purchased at ACE teacher store, and PEditing is a workbook on paragraph editing)

-Even when I was sick, my daughter could see the pages in subjects that needed to be done by Friday, so is we had an off day, no worries, she knew what had to be done in week.

Cut above link in 6 strips and glue into lesson planner, write what needs to be done weekly – not daily.

Here’s an example of one of my weeks. (Okay, I haven’t been the neatest this year…. I got a little fancy and made a border from American girl doll paper I had handy.)
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To preplan the months, I only wrote what needed to be one per week. As the weeks came around I would fill in the days (when I was feeling okay). It made life so much easier. I didn’t do it on the above pics, but as time went on, I would highlight the most important subjects blue and all things classical yellow. To makes sure the most important things each week were completed.

Here’s an online planner Ive used in the past if you prefer to be more orderly :  Home School Manager online planner   , I met them at the FPEA conference all with many others. This was the only online lesson planner that seemed best and easiest to understand. It isn’t working for me, but it did in the past. My daughter especially liked it because she didn’t need to bother with my handwriting – which needs work. Here’s a sample of one of our printed weeks: lessonplanneronline.jpg FYI :There was a second page attached that isn’t shown

 

Anyways, just wanted to give you a nudge to preplan your year and your future. Even if life goes smoothly, preplanning will help you a lot.

Don’t forget to include 3-6 weeks during the year for holidays, vacations, sick days and catching up. Some weeks, it would put review and catch up for all subjects. If you don’t need that week, then save that time for when you need it. Mine always seemed to work out at the right times.

Don’t get frustrated, don’t get stressed. Ask God for help and He will always be with you.

I have more tips on how I organized my stuff and how I keep classical organized. I’ll try to post that soon.

God bless

 

 

 

 


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Homeschool STEM Science Technology Engineering and Math – Stemsims and Pitsco

I went to the FPEA homeschool convention last week and found two booths with the STEM projects/curriculum.

STEMSIMS

The first was Stemsims.com it is an interactive website with simulations. I thought it was really great, so did my husband and kids.  It’s is for grades 4-12, but probably best for middle school. My 3rd grader enjoyed working with it with an adult and my 12th grader absolutely loves it. Check it out, I’ve never seen anything like it before and they have a 7 day free trial. The yearly charge is only $69, which is a great price.

From their website:

    • Over 100 interactive simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design projects that draw grade 4-12 students into virtual worlds that promote inquiry.
    • STEM Sims place students in scenario-based, contextual learning environments where they use virtual tools to deeply explore STEM topics that matter.
    • It’s not just the simulations. You get lessons, methods, video walkthroughs and more. All designed to support a robust, minds-on STEM curriculum.
    • Research-based and classroom-tested, STEM Sims enable students and teachers to experience leading-edge, next-generation STEM topics in the context of real-world applications.
    • STEM Sims are available on a subscription basis for students at school and at home. Nothing to download or maintain.
    • STEM Sims are aligned with national (NGSS) and state (e.g., Florida) standards. For further information on specific state standards, contact STEMsims@STEMsims.com.

PITSCO

The other booth that I thought was interesting, but didn’t get a lot of time to look was PITSCO.
  This is more of a hands on STEM and Robotics program, rather than an online interactive. When I walked by the booth they handed out sample bags for the kids to create different things with the contents, my elementary daughter really loved it. You should check out the site, there is a lot to see and look at. Products are groups by grade, K-12. They have curriculum and activities for all ages.Check out this site for : Middle school engineering activites
  The web has many more sites for homeschoolers interested in Stem, also check your local library. I know our Nova Library in Davie, Florida has afterschool Stem activities as well.