3 Tips to Tame the Homeschool Clutter

 

As I looked around my homeschool space I saw books, pencils, crayons, projects that we were working on and of course my children ;) I also saw garbage, empty glue sticks, craft supplies, and clutter strewn throughout the room.

It was a tad bit overwhelming!

If I had to guess, your homeschool space is similar. Homeschooling requires material. It requires space. It requires items that will ultimately lead to clutter……

So, how do you tame it? How do you keep it from taking over your space? You must get organized!

 

Read the rest of the post at the Southeast Homeschool Expo. 

Pick Me Ups for Hard Homeschool Days

Have you ever had a day where you were really tempted to throw the kids on the big yellow school bus? A day where nothing seemed to go right? The kids don’t want to “do” school, they keep bickering, and you just want a break? If this has ever happened to you, let me encourage you by saying welcome to the club! We have all been there! I may have been there more than once….this week.

Read more on the Southeast Homeschool Expo. 

 

Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

Next to actually making the decision to homeschool, choosing a curriculum is one of the hardest decisions you will make. The worst part about it is that you will not just make this decision once, but every. single. year. after you begin homeschooling.

The first thing I recommend when it comes to choosing a curriculum is to go through Cathy Duffy’s book, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. This book breaks down learning styles for you and your child. Then, offers you some examples of curriculum that may work for your family.

The next thing I recommend is to find a way to actually “look” at the curriculum you are interested in. Find someone who uses the same curriculum or go to a curriculum fair or homeschool convention. If none of these options work then order just the teachers guide from the curriculum you are considering. This gives you the opportunity to look at it, and decide if it is right for you. If you don’t like it, you can send it back (most of the time).

It is important to remember one thing when you are choosing a curriculum. No curriculum is perfect. Not the one I use, the one you use, or the one your homeschool friend uses. Also, what works for one family, may not work for yours. What works for one of your children, may not work for the next child. If the curriculum you decide on doesn’t work, ditch it! Don’t torture yourself, or your child with something that doesn’t fit your family’s needs or learning styles.

Curriculum shopping will be one of the most difficult things you do as a homeschool mom. Just remember to relax, find out your child’s learning style, look at curriculum in person, and remind yourself there is NO perfect curriculum!

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Just Breathe

Guest Blogger: Meagan, Homeschool Mom

There was a social media meme making its way around the internet a few months back where a homeschooling mom was complaining to her friend about her day.

“There was yelling and screaming. The kids were crying, I was crying…” said the mother.

“Maybe you could start your day with Bible time?” suggested her friend, to which the mom replied, “That was Bible time!”

I remember laughing and shaking my head while reading this, because in more ways than one I connect with that crying, screaming, yelling mama and her kids. More often than not our day starts out with good intentions but then I get caught scrubbing the breakfast dishes or my daughter drags her feet while tidying her room. Before we know it the baby is up from his nap and we are still only three problems into our math work. At six years old my daughter still needs me to sit next to her for most of her work, but with her little brother trying to grab her paper, screeching because mama had the nerve to set him down to help Sissy with a problem, or crying because he’s hungry and mama just isn’t feeding him fast enough. Well, it’s hard to concentrate under those conditions.

Before you know it that 6 year old can’t hold her emotions in any longer. Suddenly, 2+3=____ is too hard for her little mind to grasp when ten minutes prior we were subtracting 7 from 20 without a problem. She cries and pouts, doesn’t want to write, doesn’t want to sit in the chair, or even in the room. It isn’t long and this mama is ready to cry and pout too!

I have found that this situation is not a unique one, in fact every homeschool mom I have talked to has been in one exactly like it or very similar. But what’s next? What do you do when you want to throw in the towel and tell the little guy to pack it up, they are going to ‘real’ school tomorrow? Do you yell and scream, and stomp your foot? Do you slam the workbook shut, grab Sissy by the collar, and stick her in the corner until she is ready to do her work without complaint?

Ephesians 6:4 tells us ‘provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ So no, you don’t let your anger swell up and crash around you. But what do you do instead? You take a break. You separate yourself from the situation and have your own little timeout. In my house that means putting the baby in his crib with a distracting toy and sending my daughter to her room to read; then mama grabs a cup of coffee and just breathes.

Sometimes I open my Bible and read a passage, sometimes I pray, sometimes I even cry and wonder if I am really cut out for this homeschooling thing. But more often than not I just sit with my coffee in my hands and breathe. After a few minutes my thoughts start to become clearer and I can look at the situation for what it really was. I can think about what I can do to make this situation easier, and I go from there. I call my daughter back into the room and we talk about what we both did wrong. That’s right, I admit my mistakes! I feel it’s important for kids to know that parents are not perfect; it makes them feel less pressure to be perfect themselves.   Then we talk about how we can fix it the situation.   Sometimes she will ask me to write down some of the answers for her, she knows the answer but she hates to write and her hand gets tired. I will ask her to vocalize with me when her hand gets tired or she is feeling frustrated, because it’s easier to solve a problem when we are both calm and collected. This goes back and forth until we both feel that we have said our peace; then we always end our talks with a hug and a prayer.

After I have talked with my daughter and developed our game plan we go get her brother out of his crib. We’ll spend a few minutes playing as a family and get back to work. We start over and forget that the prior meltdown even happened. We move on, we don’t dwell on the negative, because if we don’t allow ourselves to move forward we will always be stuck.

Homeschooling is hard. As parents we are taking on the job of not only the parent, but also the teacher, mentor, counselor, lunch lady, janitor, principal…the list goes on! I wonder if I am messing up my children and their futures at least 50 times a day, and if we go two days in a week without having to take one of our little breaks I feel like we have accomplished something great! Yes, what we are doing is hard, but it is vital not to forget that it is also important. We are taking on all these roles because we love our children, and we want to give them the best we possibly can. We want to and we are. So next time you feel like the stress is getting too great, simply step back and take a break. Just breathe. Remember, even public school teachers get lunch and conference breaks throughout the day; and sometimes the best way to nurture our children is to nurture ourselves.

-Meagan

Why Attend a Homeschool Convention?

Why Attend a Homeschool Convention?

As you know, the Alabama Homeschool Expo is coming up soon! You may ask yourself, “Why should I attend a Homeschool Convention”. That is a great question! Homeschool conventions are perfect for new and seasoned homeschoolers. I am going to share just a few reasons you should make time to attend a homeschool convention this year.

Encouragement

Homeschooling is hard. Going to a convention will put you with like-minded individuals who “get” what you are going through. They offer great and encouraging speakers, and workshops that will encourage you to continue on your homeschool journey.

Conferences can also help validate your decision to homeschool. If you have had a bad year, or are second-guessing your decision, you can gain encouragement from talking to moms who have been there, and have stayed on course. Also, if you have little support from friends and family, seeing and talking so many other homeschoolers who have chosen the same path can be a huge blessing!

Education

Professional teachers have some sort of continuing education requirement right? You are a professional too! A homeschool convention is a great way to continue your education. Not sure what to teach, or why? Not sure what your child’s learning style is? Not sure what Homeschool method to use? Have a child with special needs, and need some help? Most conventions will offer workshops on all of these areas and speaking topics can range from getting started, to graduating your homeschooler, and everything in between. Conventions are a great place for moms to be educated!

Friendship

Local homeschool conventions are a great opportunity to fellowship with friends, old and new! Many times, we moms get to busy to visit during the school year. A homeschool convention is a great excuse to make time for friendship. Invite a friend or two, and spend the day catching up and learning from the speakers, and gleaning encouragement.

Curriculum

One of the biggest reasons to attend a homeschool convention is the vendor hall. This is where numerous vendors will be set up with their curriculum, all ready for you to look at, feel, and of course-buy! Conventions will have a variety of homeschool curriculum spanning all styles, methods, and subjects. You can take your time, browse, and chat with others who have used the curriculum, and in some cases, even the people who have written it!

For these reasons and many more, make sure you make the time to attend a homeschool convention this year. Whether you choose to attend the Alabama Homeschool Expo, or another convention near you, attending one will be an experience you will not likely forget!

Kids Zone Program

     Optional KidsZone Program: Choose one, two or three days, April 7-9. Your children ages 4-12 can attend their own child sized homeschool conference while you attend Expo events. Alternatively, children are always welcome with their parents anywhere at the Expo.

Attend the Alabama Homeschool Expo where learning is always the main priority.

Alabama Homeschool Expo   http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/

Kids zone    http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/kidszone/

Are You Training Your Child To Complain?

Do you find yourself second guessing the amount of work you assigned your child based on their moaning and groaning? You know your child’s capabilities and have given out the assignments. As time passes your student is taking a long time and starts appeals of, “It’s too much writing and my hand hurts! All my assignments are long today, can you shorten some? I’ll never get this done in time.”

There are times to reevaluate, but do not let your child regularly manipulate you into changing your mind about the day’s lesson plan. If it works once, they’ll try again and a bad habit of complaining has started.

Be encouraged, if this has already started as a pattern in your homeschool you have the power to turn it around. Stand firm for a few days and your children will come to know that you have a NO WHINING HOMESCHOOL ZONE!

Homeschooling 101

Alabama Homeschool Expo,http://alabamahomeschoolexpo.com/