It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Well, it all depends on how you look at it. It is stressful, but there is something about all new books, a fresh clean slate, the smell of pencils (okay, so we really use mechanical), and the return of routine. I love a good routine. (When we can get in the groove of one.)
So what does homeschooling look like for us? We love to get asked this question!! It has been different down through the years, but the one thing that remains constant is our commitment to make it work! I am 100% sold on homeschooling for our family for lots of reasons, but you won’t hear me bash people that don’t as it is simply not feasible to think that every family should or is able to homeschool. In fact, back years ago when I was ill, the kids went into public school for the better part of the school year. (Guess what, they did wonderfully and we LOVED their teachers!!) It was an excellent litmus test for us and it helped me stop being so snobby about homeschooling. Thank the Lord for that!!! So, friends reading this who do not homeschool, have no fear…super homeschooling mama is NOT here!! We are simply walking out the calling that I know God has placed on our family, for future purposes, for the unforseeable future.
We have been walking this path for eight years now! Hard to believe. Yes, I have wanted to put my head through a wall a number of times, but I have been blessed and tested and more challenged through this thing we call home school. I die daily. God just chose to use homeschool as one of the avenues to refine Verick and I. I imagine that when we are gray and Lord willing graduate our final child, we will then be able to share with you new ways we are getting our teeth kicked in. hahaha Makes you want to stop what you are doing and homeschool? No?
In all seriousness, I really do LOVE homeschooling. Just like I LOVE being a wife and I LOVE being a Mom and I LOVE sharing about a healthy lifestyle and Young Living essential oils. Are there moments as a wife, mom, distributor that I do not like? Are there moments when my flesh rears its ugly head and wants to slam the door on people I love? YES. In these moments I push through until I collapse in a heap on my bed and beg forgiveness from my Savior and cry hot, salty tears as I try to explain to my husband my feelings. AS IF the poor man has not heard the same diatribe for the past fifteen years. He is a SAINT. A saint, I tell you!! (I love you honey!!)
Back to homeschooling, so as I was saying, it is a labor of LOVE. I learn something new every day. I love seeing my kids faces light up when they learn something new (hopefully every day), and I wouldn’t trade having them with me for anything…warts and all.
Our “Official” First Year
Our 8th Year 2013
We have been learning how to keep our things organized down through the years. I attempt to keep it that way all the whole year long. Currently, things are looking so nice and new. We all know that doesn’t last. I do love me some workboxes though!! I tell as many homeschool Mamas as I can about workboxes. I stumbled upon them years ago and it was like I struck gold. I only wish I had known about them from the very beginning. They are the creme de la creme to my otherwise boring homeschool organization.
These are for younger kids. That way all the puzzles and larger activities have a place. You can change these out for the week ahead each week if you want to give variety. You could have a closet that houses the other boxes, if you had space. Or you could simply grab the supplies/activities needed and swap them out. Here is an example of things I have in them for a toddler:
I made up these bags with different fun objects to help with colors. Lots of sorting and color fun to be had out of this workbox.
Another one of our workboxes is homemade playdough with a twist!! This dough has aromatherapy benefits from safe, therapeutic grade essential oils. We used natural food coloring from whole foods, but you can use what you have on hand. Just think of the amazing benefits they would get if you put some Young Living lavender or peace and calming essential oil in their playdough right before nap (sneaky Mom.) Or maybe help by giving them playdough with orange oil or peppermint oil after waking? It smells divine too!! I promise you they will enjoy it every bit as much as you!
Other ideas for toddler and pre-K workboxes: puzzles, a numbers box, colors box, fridge letters box, a cd rom or educational dvd in a box, a small dry erase board and dry erase crayons or markers, art case with washable watercolors and paper, favorite books, favorite toy, printable pages or workbook type pages in a box to work on things like coloring, scissor skills, glueing. One of the reasons I like these so much is that they get so excited to be “big” with their own workboxes for school. They stay tidy. They learn to pick up after themselves and even at some point to go from one box to the next with little assistance!! Ahhhhhhhh……….of course, keep an eye on the art box!
Next step up is getting a hanging file box. We use Target’s “Show offs” box. You can get color coded hanging file folders and even color code each subject with your notebooks and texts that match. Um, yes. I am weird like that. This year I didn’t do this. But it is something I may very well do again. It just makes sense to my brain.
This is our almost 9 year olds box from last year. He, like his mom, is very visual and likes to see the subjects he has finished as they go up on the box. There is a top with a handle on these to make them easily portable. You may have to store teacher’s manuals at your desk and just the student worksheets or workbooks in their box. You can even make sure they have the tools needed by placing pencils, an eraser, a ruler, etc in the box. So much time can be wasted just trying to find the right tools. So, I try to keep a stock of our supplies and keep the kids on task by planning ahead when I can. (Notice I said “when I can.” HUGE disclaimer here…we have days where it seems we can’t find what we need. Those are usually Mondays. As a general rule Mondays by about November are hard ’round here.
I found these cards years ago online and printed them out and painstakingly cut them, laminated them, and cut them again. (Find them and other ideas on workboxes here.) Thankfully we have used them several years so all that lost time was worth it! I store them in the blue holder to the left. The schedule cards I made and laminated with hard cardstock. There is one for each day of the week and you can change the order up based on your needs for each day of the week over the weekend. They will follow the schedule card in order left to right and when they have completed the activity or subject, place it on their box. This gives them a lot of gratification and helps them see where they are in finishing their work. It works like magic.
Hope you all have a wonderful start to the school year! Subscribe now, if you haven’t already, to get our latest posts as they come out. Follow this link to check us out on facebook as well!! Click like and help us grow by liking and commenting on our posts there when you have time, and sharing them with your fb friends. Click here to follow us on pinterest Homestead On The Hill and twitter @homesteadonhill. I hope to learn how to utilize those better soon so it would be a lot of fun to have you join us on that journey!