• Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader
    real homeschool stories,  week in review

    Homeschool Week in Review – Volume Four

    A few words I would use to describe our homeschool this week: worn out, uninspired and boring.

    Ha! Sounds too good to pass up, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, not every week is like this one!

    Most of the reason for the feeling worn out was due to our two foster boys, I was just plain out overwhelmed this week and that feeling just flowed over into our homeschool.

    Since we are Canadian I can’t even blame our lack of academics this week on Thanksgiving like my American friends can . . . 😉

    Even though it feels like we didn’t do a whole lot this week I still like to review the week here.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    OUR HOMESCHOOL WEEK IN REVIEW

     

    For reference, here’s the low down on all the kids:

    The Daughter – she’s 9 and in grade 4
    The Son – he’s 6 and in grade 1
    The Preschooler – he’s 3
    The Toddler – he’s 1 (almost 2)

     

    Here’s a recap of our week:

     

    + On Monday my husband had his EDO so he took the six year old to a local free homeschool skating. In the past we’ve gone almost every week in the winter but now with two littles without skates we hadn’t gone at all. Hopefully the two of them can go a few times throughout the winter.

    + The preschooler seemed to really be lacking in sleep this week and he didn’t do a whole lot of work. That being said, I introduced him to the Starfall app and he spent some time going through some of the letters of the alphabet on there.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + Playdough is always a good toddler distractor when we are trying to get things done. I have a super simple gluten free recipe that I use though after it’s been in the bag for awhile it needs some more corn starch added (thus all the white powder in the photo).

    + I’ve been attending a weekly women’s Bible study that wrapped up this week. The kids like it because there are some other homeschooled kids that are there so they get to hang out together each week.

    + My son did a decent amount of reading this week. We worked a little bit out of TYCTR but mostly he read out of Little Bear.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + One of the books my daughter is currently reading (not for the first time, I have no idea how many times she’s read it) is Hugo Cabret. It is one of the few books she considers a five star book and if you’ve never seen inside of it you need to get your hands on it, it is over 500 pages long and alternates between written chapters and pages of pictures.

    + If you’re interested in what we read each week, I share a monthly reading wrap up over on my personal blog and you can also sign up for my book-ish newsletter.

    + My daughter has been writing in the journal she started a couple of weeks ago nearly every day, it’s good writing practice and it seems to be good for her mentally to get some of the thoughts out of her head (just like her mother . . .).

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    INTENTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK

    I pretty much failed at last week’s intentions, let’s hope I can do better this week. My over all goal for the month of December is pretty much to focus on Advent/Christmas.

    + I got Danger on a Silent Night at my library in the used book section and am planning on getting my daughter to read it this month (it will probably only take her a day or two).

    + We’ll be reading through one story a day from The Jesus Storybook Bible and I may get the kids to do some Bible journaling as we do so.

     

    How was your homeschool week? Do you have any good resources you think we should check out in the upcoming weeks?

  • Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader
    real homeschool stories,  week in review

    Homeschool Week in Review – Volume Three

    I think we are slowly getting into a bit of a home and homeschool routine with a preschooler and toddler in the mix!

    Thankfully we all got more sleep this week than last week so that obviously makes a big difference in our homeschool.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    OUR HOMESCHOOL WEEK IN REVIEW

     

    For reference, here’s the low down on all the kids:

    The Daughter – she’s 9 and in grade 4
    The Son – he’s 6 and in grade 1
    The Preschooler – he’s 3
    The Toddler – he’s 1 (almost 2)

     

    + My son did multiple TYCTR lessons this week and even did two in one day!

    + We got the flu shot at the beginning of the week so I tried to find some videos on YouTube about vaccinations and we watched a couple but I couldn’t find anything that was really that great.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + The preschooler learned about the letter B and did a few activities with the letter in his preschool journal including putting simple dot stickers around the letter. (Also, I love that he is obsessed with our Iron Man mask and wears it around up on his head, not over his eyes, almost all the time.) He has been really into the letter B and is pointing it out wherever he finds in. (#winning!)

    + The other highlight of the preschoolers week is still our Usborne Maze book that I got about eight years ago that they no longer sell . . .

     

    Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization

     

    + My older two each had a friend over one afternoon. Homeschooling socialization for the win!

    + I got my daughter started with a “daily” journal (just in a composition notebook). I thought this would be both good writing practice and a good way of processing the day for her. I did give her a few different general journal prompt ideas to help her out on days that she gets stuck, like:

    • what you did today (or yesterday)
    • something you are looking forward to
    • something you want to tell me
    • the best part of your day
    • the hardest part of your day
    • something you are afraid of.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + The toddler was around for most of our schooling this week, one day I taped a piece of paper to the table (so he couldn’t keep knocking it off) and gave him some stickers and a stamp and he was surprisingly entertained for quite some time! Next time I might use our big Ikea paper roll to give him an even bigger space.

    + My daughter also finished her Vienna report from last week, she made it on Canva and had a cover page and a few different facts. It was something out of the norm from what we’ve done in the past and I think it was a nice change.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + My daughter did division for most of the week in math but there was one day where our math got pushed into the evening and she just wasn’t in the mood for something “hard” so I pulled out this Usborne wipe clean multiplication book I have.

    + Speaking of math, my son really struggled with math this week. Honestly, I think it was more of a mental struggle, I know that he knows the stuff he was working on but he was convinced he didn’t know it. So we left that behind and worked on some measurement instead and it seemed to help his mindset.

     

    INTENTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK

    + Get back into our Bible journaling, it’s been awhile . . .

    + Do some drawing, it’s something we haven’t done for the last week or two.

    + Learn about the letter C with the preschooler.

    + Play some games! This was a goal for this last week and I forgot about it so we didn’t play any. (These are some of our favorites if you need some ideas.)

     

    And that’s another wrap up! Things have definitely been harder with a toddler and preschooler and so I’ve slowly been trying to add a subject back in each week and we’re getting closer to where I want to be. I’m looking forward to next week!

  • Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization
    homeschool myths,  real homeschool stories

    Homeschooled Kids Are Socially Awkward – Homeschool Myth #2

    Last week I shared the first homeschool myth and while that is the one people (non-homeschoolers) mention to me the most, this one is probably the hottest topic in regards to homeschool myths.

    Today’s myth is on the topic of socialization.

     

    Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization

     

    Generally when I’ve had people ask me about this they usually say something to the effect of:

     

    “But aren’t you worried about socialization?”

     

    My regret is that I have not asked these people to clarify what they mean by socialization.

    Though I think they are getting at the fact that they think that homeschool kids won’t be able to function in social settings, especially ones where they are with a group of kids their same age.

     

    The best homeschool memes - funny, serious and sarcastic homeschool memes

     

    It was about two years into our homeschool journey before I first had this question asked of me and I almost had to laugh out loud. It was asked at a birthday party and my kids were off playing with the birthday child and the questioner’s child was clutching to her and refusing to play. Um, whose kids are you worried about being socially awkward?

    The truth is that I have a child who is on the shy side and takes a little while to warm up (but once she is, good luck trying to stop her!). And then I have another child who has never met a stranger in his life.

    Funnily my shy-ish child went to preschool and kindergarten and my other one has only ever been homeschooled.

    I don’t think homeschooling is a good indicator of a child’s future social skills.

    Yes, some homeschool parents shelter their kids and never teach them to interact with the public, but that is a very small portion of homeschoolers.

    Also, the most socially awkward family I’ve ever known went to public school.

    School isn’t the best indicator of social adeptness.

    I usually find that kids turn out as socially awkward (or not) as their parents, no matter what their school background has been.

     

    Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization

     

    The general idea in the world is that school is the only place children can learn socialization skills but have you ever been in a school classroom yourself? Have you ever heard a teacher tell the students they aren’t there to socialize?

    My kindergarten report card actually said “Chantel talks too much.”

    Hmm, I guess I didn’t get the memo.

    Also, if there is an environment I want my kids to learn socializing skills in it’s not one where they are surrounded by 20 children the same age as them. No matter how well socialized those children are they are still children, not the best example for the skills I want my children to learn.

     

     

    I love that as homeschoolers when we get together with another homeschooling family or group the kids aren’t worried about what grade the kids are all in and only willing to play with those in the same grade as them.

    I love that my six year old son’s best friends are eight and almost ten and they don’t look down on him because he is only in grade one.

    As I am typing this my oldest two both have friends over and they are all playing together and they are including the (almost) two year old in their play.

     

    Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization

     

    We do not homeschool because we want to shelter our children but I do like the fact that I can have a say on which friends my kids spend time with. We’ve hung around some poor influences before (homeschooled and not) but because we do need to make more of an effort to have play dates than those who just go to school and play with the kids around them, I can limit the time they spend with kids that are a negative influence and increase the time they spend with those who are a positive influence.

    Really, it’s the same thing I do with my own life.

     

    Homeschool Myth: Homeschoolers are Socially Awkward - tackling the issue of homeschooling and socialization

     

    When some people talk about socialization I think they assume homeschoolers just stay locked inside their houses all day and never venture out. While some homeschoolers may do this we often have the opposite problem.

    There are so many different play date, field trip, learning opportunities, etc out there some weeks we hardly have enough time at home to do any sit down school work!

    The best homeschool memes - funny, serious and sarcastic homeschool memes

     

    What are your thoughts on homeschooling and socialization?
    Any homeschool myths you want me to address in the future?

  • Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader
    real homeschool stories

    Homeschool Resources from the Dollar Store

    I’m a really big fan of all the various dollar stores.

    I mean, you do have to watch your prices because some things are more expensive there but I love finding things that I know would be way more expensive in a different store but I found for a good price at a dollar store.

    I just bought some great things this past weekend and wanted to show a little dollar store homeschool resource haul and also share some of our most used dollar store items in our homeschool.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    Our Favorite Homeschool Resources from the Dollar Store

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    This book series looked too awesome to leave behind.

    I think the jokes, facts and histories would be good for car rides, waiting rooms, etc. The science experiment book is pretty cool and I hope to start doing some of the experiments in there right away.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    I also just bought these daily desk calendars. January can be tough here because it is so cold so I am looking for all the time fillers I can find and I thought both of these would be fun to check out each day. Sometimes the little things can make a big difference.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    I got this really awesome wooden “puzzle” from the dollar store a few weeks ago, it’s great for toddlers and the animals can be played with on their own as well. It’s one of those few dollar store toys that doesn’t feel incredible cheap and like it will break in three seconds.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    I think almost all the puzzles in our house come from the dollar store. Why someone would spend a lot of money on a puzzle is beyond me. We get most of ours from the Dollar Tree and I’ve always been impressed with the quality.

    The Norman Rockwell puzzles I picked up at the beginning of the school year knowing that we were doing some artist studies and thinking him and his work would be great to study.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    Lots of our coloring books, sticker books, activity books and paint with water come from dollar stores as well. Speaking of stickers, it’s also a great place for those. I bought my son a pack of 5,000 stickers for about $2 a couple of years ago and I’m pretty sure he still has well over 4,000 left . . .

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    Wipe clean books are some of my favorites, especially for the preschool age. We have quite a few of the Usborne wipe clean books but dollar stores usually have a pretty good selection too, these are just a few I just picked up and we have a number of others from over the years. (They are also really great to take along to church . . .)

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    I got my son this book at the beginning of this school year. We aren’t doing every page but there are almost 500 pages in the workbook and we’ve been doing quite a few pages, there’s no way I could print pages out for as cheap as grabbing a workbook like this.

     

    Dollar Store Homeschool Resources Haul

     

    We also buy all our composition notebooks from dollar stores. They are my personal favorite notebooks and we may own quite a few . . . These two in particular are for the kids’ Bible journaling.

     

    Free Owl Unit Study Resources

     

    I got this little letter board from the dollar store back in the spring or summer and have been using it a lot! I have a bigger one (not from a dollar store) that works great for longer things (like Bible verses) but I like to change this little one up more, it works great for our mini units.

     

    We also get a decent amount of craft supplies from dollar stores like paint, beads, canvases, cross stitch kits etc.

    And pretty much all of our toddler and preschooler educational entertainment bin includes dollar store items.

     

    I appreciate dollar stores because it means I can get some supplies for our homeschool for cheaper but sometimes I may get a little carried away and try to buy all.the.things.

    What are some of your favorite homeschool resources you buy at a dollar store?

  • Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader
    homeschooling as a lifestyle,  real homeschool stories,  week in review

    Homeschool Week in Review – Volume Two

    I’m back for another review of our homeschool week! I had a lot of fun sharing the first one last week, it was a good process for me now and I think it will be really nice to look back on at the end of the school year.

    Out of all the homeschool methods out there we really are in our own category. There are parts where I feel like we are unschoolers but we do try to do some intentional stuff a few days a week that would help us fall into a different category. How I described it awhile ago was Homeschooling as a Lifestyle and I think that description is still the best for us.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    OUR HOMESCHOOL WEEK IN REVIEW

     

    For reference, here’s the low down on all the kids:

    The Daughter – she’s 9 and in grade 4
    The Son – he’s 6 and in grade 1
    The Preschooler – he’s 3
    The Toddler – he’s 1 (almost 2) – though this week we usually did our school work while he was napping

     

    + This week Monday was Remembrance Day so we didn’t do any school that day. To be honest, we didn’t even talk about Remembrance Day at all this year, I usually at least read the John McCrae poem In Flanders Fields but I didn’t even do that this year. The beginning of the week was very sleep deprived thanks to our littlest foster boy and we were in straight survival mode, hence why not much got done.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + We had a few nicer-than-average (almost above freezing) days so we took advantage of the weather and went to the playground a few times!

    + We started our letter of the week with the preschooler. Starting things off with A. We used this free printable I found. We made it our own though because apparently his scissor skills are non-existent so instead of cutting out the teeth provided he just cut little strips out of green construction paper.

    + I’ve started a three-year-old journal with the preschooler, similar to the one I did with my son three years ago, we’re putting some of our letter of the week in there and then we’re adding some other stuff as well.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + One of my goals for this week was to try Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my son again. We stopped at lesson 64 months ago (maybe a year ago?) because he just wasn’t progressing. The first day we picked it back up at the story for lesson 64 and he read through it with help on just a few words! That was big! The only downside is that we only picked up the book one day this week.

    + When we were driving one day my six year old asked me if I knew what doctors did when they put tubes in kids’ ears. I had no idea so we ended up looking to our friend YouTube for some answers and came across this very informative video:

     

     

    + The tubes in ears video snowballed into watching a few videos from the Operation Ouch channel, it is totally up the alley of both my nine and six year old. This video about teeth was a favorite:

     

     
    + Last week I decided that I wanted my daughter to work on a larger project. I wanted to let her decide what topic to study and she chose to research Vienna. Normally we would get a ton of books on the topic but life hasn’t been allowing for very long library visits lately so I decided to find a few informational videos for her to watch on the topic. She has been working on creating a poster about Vienna in Canva, I think she should be able to finish it next week.

    + On the days that we did our sit down school work this week the kids did a little bit of math. My first grader is working on addition and subtraction and my fourth grader just started division.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + The preschooler has been loving all our Usborne wipe clean books, the Mazes and Dinosaur activity books have been his favorites.

    + Friday we ended up having a number of different errands to do and didn’t do any school, so this week we only did three days of sit down work.

     

    Our Homeschool Week in Review - what we did and resources we used with a toddler, preschooler, first grader and fourth grader

     

    + I ended up buying a few more educational board books for the preschooler this week and we’ve been re-reading a few of them. Some of his current favorites are:

     

    INTENTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK

    Here are some goals/intentions for next week:

    + Learn about the letter B with the preschooler.

    + Do at least three TYCTR lessons with the first grader.

    + Have the fourth grader finish her Vienna project.

    + Play more (or some) games, it’s been awhile since we played any!

     

    And that’s another homeschool week in the books! I am excited for next week and the goals I have for us.

  • Free Owl Unit Study Resources
    homeschool myths,  real homeschool stories

    You Need to Have Extra Patience to Homeschool – Homeschool Myth #1

    Having my kids out and about during the school day often brings out a lot of questions. When people find out that we homeschool about 75% of them say something to the effect that they would never have enough patience to homeschool.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment over the last number of years and thought it would make the first homeschool myth I want to bust.

     

    Homeschool Myth: You need extra patience to homeschool

     

    You Need to Have Extra Patience to Homeschool – Homeschool Myth #1

     

    Can I just start things out by saying that I have no more patience than the average parent (I honestly probably have less patience than the average parent).

     

    “I would never have enough patience to homeschool.”

     

    When I hear that comment it always makes me feel like they think homeschoolers begin homeschooling because they have an abundance of natural patience.

    When people make that comment I wonder what they are imaging homeschool looks like?

    Are they picturing a classroom setting where there are 20-ish children?
    Most families don’t have quite that many children so that isn’t an accurate representation.

    Are they imagining that “school” needs to take place during normal school hours and sitting in a desk?
    While it can, we, and most homeschoolers, definitely don’t operate that way.

    Are they thinking about how little patience they normally have with their kids?
    I think this is usually what they are thinking and I always want to tell them my little secret: I felt like I needed less patience with my kids and liked them better when we started homeschooling. I think there were two main reasons for this:

    First, my daughter used to come home from school completely exhausted but now I could hang out with her when she was in her prime of the day.

    Second, my kids know that I am the teacher, there is none of this “Well, Mrs. So-and-So tell us to do things this way.”

    Oh, and bonus: when we started homeschooling my kids really became each other’s best friends. And even though they are pretty much complete opposites in every.single.way. they get along better when they spend more time together.

    And truthfully, maybe I don’t need less patience but I’ve just had extra time to practice my patience.

     

    Homeschool Fact: Homeschooling takes no more patience than parenting

     

    Yes, homeschooling does take patience, but if you are homeschooling in the way that is best for your family, it really doesn’t take any more patience than parenting in general, and I may even argue some days it takes less patience!

     

    Do you think homeschooling takes more patience than regular homeschooling? Any myths you think I should cover in the future?