Saturday, March 14, 2020

Homeschooling during Coronavirus? Help for the Non-Homeschooler!

Worried about working from home or just being home for weeks on end (akin to summer break) WHILE educating them? I've been doing it for almost 19 years and, yeah, it's a lot to handle!

Thankfully, Rage Against the Minivan has help for you in the form of this awesome blog post and checklist called COVID-19 School Closure Homeschool Checklist!

When it was shared on Facebook, there were some rude comments, like "good luck with that" and "don't be disappointed when it doesn't work out," but I chose the high road of encouragement:

"I homeschool 5 kids ages 10-18 and have from the beginning. This is a great schedule! I think the 2-page paper is a lot for some kids, but the rest seems reasonable to me! You go, girl! Plus for a lot of kids who are in school 7 hours a day plus homework, this is going to be a walk in the park but they will still be learning!"

You can also check out my article titled Bust Indoor Boredom over here at Calgary's Child if you need more ideas for how to keep kids occupied while home!

And if things get too stressful during this already-crazy time, just toss it all out the window and PLAY, watch movies and documentaries, read to your kids (check out Read-Aloud Revival), bake together, snuggle up and eat popcorn. Have fun!

Or your life right now might more closely resemble this every now and then (shrug):

Thursday, November 21, 2019

#Time4Learning First Grade Demo Language Arts #Homeschooling

If you like what you see, please use my referral code to sign up and come back here to tell me how much your kids love this program! (originally posted April 24, 2016)

Update: 11/22/19 just signed up my high schoolers again because I am in love with the English program!

Free Downloadable Multiplication Table

When I was in third grade, I had no choice but to memorize the multiplication facts using flash cards. My parents would practice with me at home, we would also practice at school, then I would get tested by the teacher on how well I knew them. I had to know one set before moving to the next. I remember the 8s and 9s kicking my butt. I also remember my mom giving me a little prize, like a book, after I'd mastered the harder ones.

These days I notice that public and private school kids alike don't know their facts. I remember trying to do it with Joel and failing miserably. Kids in school have a handy dandy multiplication facts table like the one below (you can print one out bigger in PDF version here). I think the reasoning is that they will learn them this way if they have to look it up over and over.

Some kids easily memorize the facts. Michael, for instance, my 9-year-old son (this was originally posted in 2012), can pop off that kind of thing from memory.

How do you teach multiplication?

Updated 9/28/17 and my sons use this like crazy now for their Teaching Textbooks lessons. Now that they are 14 and 16, they are doing different things than and Teaching Textbooks is an investment that I can spread over five kids and then sell to someone else later. It's a great and fun program. Check it out!

Update 5/15/20: I had to find another table because the original link died :-( Hope you find it useful!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Frixion Erasable Pens and Markers

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking about those horrible Erasermate pens and how crummy they were. How they would smudge. How they erased horribly.

No, friends. This isn't your typical 1980s pen. It's 2018 and there's a new erasable pen in town that everyone loves for a reason.

These are called Frixion. My friend introduced me to them a couple of years ago and I am in love.

They use the red one for their grammar lessons, where they have to correct things. Otherwise they like the black one.

My girls like the pink one with the lid when they do their Explode the Code workbooks.

I like the blue retractable one when I'm writing out lessons for the week because I later erase them as they do them, then I write them in regular pen and highlight them. Homeschool Mom OCD: to each her own.

There are stick pen versions with lids and also a retractable one with refills you can purchase. I have only ever been able to find them on Amazon, but now it looks like WalMart, Target and Staples have clued in to the fact that these pens are HOT!

Speaking of hot, don't set a hot mug or plate on your piece of paper that you have written on using these pens or your ink will DISAPPEAR. Most of it will come back if you put it in the freezer, however. Cool science experiment for sure.

Here's how to buy the Frixion erasble pens on Amazon. I'm not recommending this particular seller or anything, and I don't get any kick-back from you buying. I'm just sending you there to see my favorite pack of retractables. But you can also buy a box of all one color, the stick pens, more colorful combinations, etc. Great Christmas gift!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

October Homeschooling Fun in Kansas City

October is one of my most favorite months!

This month Sam (my youngest, and the one who went to the NICU) turned 10. My husband and I hit 21 years of marriage and the next day he left for Kuwait for 6 weeks (airport field trip!), the same day we closed our swimming pool.

We've been to Paradise Park in Lee's Summit, MO twice (once to play mini golf with our POGO Pass), Wonderscope in Shawnee, KS (POGO Pass), Worlds of Fun in KCMO for the teen boys, a barn dance for my teen girl, three different skate parks, my dad and stepmom's for a lovely day of visiting and not cooking, as well a visit with my grandmother.

Kayaking on our pond, homeschool coop, church, and the Kansas City Chiefs, peppered with my teen boys working hard at their jobs and everybody homeschooling like champs.

I got to see Downton Abbey finally with friends last night, and this weekend includes Kansas City Boo at the Zoo and Johnson Farms in Belton, MO.

Then we get to hang out with my mom next week and then we have HALLOWEEN (to include giving Boorito a try at Chipotle for the first time)!

What are you up to this month?

Drove to our local pumpkin patch, Johnson Farms, just to get pumpkin donuts for our reading time

I needed a coffee (surprisingly, NOT pumpkin spice), and the trees at Starbucks were gorgeous!

A fun book for our story time!

You can always count on Trader Joe's to have something related to a fun, festive fall.

Thursday, August 29, 2019 and Teaching States

I've really been enjoying! I got the annual subscription pro edition for just $47.95 (you can also do a monthly subscription). It's great for kids preschool through 5th grade. Yes, I'm close to aging out of that teaching range, but I still teach at our local homeschool co-op, and this site has such great resources that it's entirely worth it to keep it going for the wonderful and fun teaching resources!

I was super excited to receive my lemon ice cardstock today from Amazon (one-day delivery!) so I could start copying the state postcards onto it for our classes which start next week. The kids are going to love coloring their postcards and writing on the back of them! I'll figure out a way to organize them after I cut them out, probably writing somewhere on the postcard a number for each card so they can put them in order of when each became a state.

Kids can also do activities and play games on the site in addition to the zillions of great resources you can print out for teaching/helping them learn!

Here's my review of from April 15, 2013. Hard to believe I have been using this site for over 6 years!


Friday, August 23, 2019

Senior Year Homeschool Plan 2019-2020

Joel turned 18 in June and I love homeschooling so much I wanted to keep him an extra year. It's going to work out that way for my oldest three kids, but I should have my younger two on track to graduate sooner. We'll see. Maybe I will try to keep that last kid around several more years LOL

This kid can now officially be called an Eagle Scout as of August 15, 2019.
Here's Joel's senior year plan:

Finally going to kick Algebra's butt using a workbook with tons of problems because he doesn't work best with a program like Teaching Textbooks. Then we'll move on to a Geometry workbook so he has some basic knowledge of these two concepts as he heads out into the world.

Here's what I have so far on the list for all the kids, but for now I'm checking into The Outsiders, some sort of classic, something Shakespeare, some short stories, something contemporary. First up is The Great Gatsby.

I either read these books aloud to Joel and his brother (10th grade) or we listen to an audiobook. We talk about the book, sometimes write papers, discuss things like plot, structure, foreshadowing, etc. We will try to do this 3 times a week.

Taking certain things into consideration, and it's hard to choose since I only have one more year with him, (in the past we've read quite a varied list, like Okay for Now, Station Eleven, Fahrenheit 451, Wednesday Wars, etc.):

Here is what PrepScholar says are the 31 best books for boys to read in high school.

Here is how BuzzFeed weighed in with 26 Contemporary Books That Should be Taught in High School

I also have a list that I'm going through based on The Read-Aloud Family and Honey for a Child's Heart.

I also highly recommend Time4Learning for their English for high school; amazing short story and book ideas and great teaching to back them up. Please tell them Kerrie McLoughlin sent you!

Easy Grammar (4 times a week)

We work on this a couple of times a week, incorporating the literature into it. This year we'll also write a research paper.

Apologia Exploring Creation Biology, utilizing the student notebook for homework and experiments

Our Pioneers and Patriots during Morning Time (which can be any time of the day when we can all come together) just to cement some of the history concepts. He has learned about Government and all sorts of history already so this is just a refresher, not really a necessity. Plus he may end up taking a History at the community college, and one semester counts as a full year of credit for high school.

Physical Education
The kid goes to the gym 6 days a week

Dabbling in this during Morning Time with the younger kids

October through December: 8-week accelerated Psychology course online through our "local" community college (local means it's like 20 minutes away) for dual credit. Eight weeks of this count as a full one-year credit.

Criminal Justice
January through May: Tentative plan will be to take two more classes, maybe History and Law or Criminal Justice. He would like to go into law enforcement, so we are determining the best classes for him right now.

Job/Life Skills
Working for a lawn care business 20-25 hours per week

Field Trips
Art Museum
Truman Library
Still working on this list!

Please see my Ultimate Field Trip List (Kansas City) when I have that live (coming soon!)


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