Showing posts from September, 2015

45 Things to do This Fall

Each season I try to brainstorm some ideas of how we can make the most of that season.  Our list typically includes some family favorites but I always try to incorporate new things too.  Thinking of things to do this fall I thought I'd start making a list and see how many we can accomplish before the crisp fall air gives way to blustery snowstorms.

Here are some fun family ideas for celebrating fall:

Pick ApplesGo on a Hay RideFind our way through a corn maze Rake leaves and jump in the pilesGo hikingRoast Pumpkin SeedsPress leavesBob for applesMake leaf rubbingsDrink hot cocoa while watching the sunrise or sunsetGo on a drive to see the leaves the changing colorsEnjoy a fire outside Make candy applesMake cider donutsCheck out a fall festivalPlay football or field hockey as a familyMake apple pies, crisp or cider Tell ghost storiesCarve pumpkins Go to Salem, Massachusetts and check out some of the witch trial museumsGo to Plymouth PlantationMake a blanket fort and read fun seasona…

Why I Don't Grade Our Homeschooling Work

There is much debate and talk about grading schoolwork in the homeschooling community.

I know moms who refuse to give grades, other moms who grade every paper.  Some moms only grade tests and others wont start giving grades until middle school.

I don't test or grade my kids at all.  Usually not even when they ask! 

Much like everything else in homeschooling, there is no one right way or wrong way to do it.

I think many homeschooling families grade because they're used to it having grown up in public or private schools themselves.  Other families have to find a way to satisfy state guidelines.  Yet, others do it because their kids ask for them.

I'm grateful we don't need to keep grades or much in the way of the records because I truly don't believe grading kids is beneficial or helpful.  My oldest son had so much anxiety over grades and testing by the time we pulled him out of school to start homeschooling that I purposely refused to grade anything-- EVER!

I know that …

Homeschooling When the Kids are Sick

While my kids are much healthier now that they're older and not in public school anymore we've been running a pretty ragged schedule around here lately and I think that has led, in part, to us all feeling a bit run down and miserable.

My younger two boys are stuffed up, coughing, and even running low grade temps off and on.

That's a sure sign that we need to spend a day or two at home resting and recouping.  But, unlike most public school kids, my kids don't often get sick days.

We may take a break from traditional work but there's still plenty of fun ways we can rest and learn.

Here are some surefire ways to keep the kids occupied, learning, and happy even when they're feeling a little under the weather:

Movies!  We love watching movies when we're under the weather and there are so many that are educational as well.  Today, Ian watched Unbreakable; the true story of a US Olympian & World War II prisoner of War captive. TV!  There are so many wonderful TV…

Dragon Party

We've watched the How To Train Your Dragon movies, listened to most of the books, and picked out a Toothless Dragon Halloween costume for this October, so I wasn't surprised when I found myself planning a Dragon party.  
The movies are not as popular as they once were and this made it a bit difficult to find all the party supplies but with a bit of luck and determination we pulled off a great party!

     Games/ Activities:
Each child picked/ made up a viking name for themselves; we had a few destroyers and crushers running around.They each got to decorate their own shield.  I found black foam core at the $1 store and we just them into circles.  I then used duct tape to make the handles on the back.  We used stickers, metallic markers, crayons and colored pencils to decorate them. 
We used watercolor crayons to paint the kids faces for battle.  Most of them chose to draw lines or weapons on their foreheads.  I put sidewalk chalk out in the driveway for anyone to draw a picture of …

Week in Review-- Week #5 Year 4

I couldn't believe how busy we were this week!  I was even more amazed to realize our calendar looks pretty full for another couple of weeks too.  Had this happened a few years ago I probably would have been stressing over all the schoolwork we were missing but lately I'm just grateful for all the opportunities we're being given to learn outside the classroom.

Socialization- While at Great Wolf Lodge Alec met and made friends with another homeschooling family; turns out they don't live all that far from us!  He also helped another family with their Magiquest and had a wonderful time.  All the boys were friendly and happy and we were complimented more than once on their manners.  We had a party this week and visited with lots of family members.  We also had some friends over to play and went on two separate field trips; meeting tons of new homeschooling families!

Physical Education-- We all completed an aerial obstacle course at Great Wolf Lodge and again during our fi…

Another Field Trip to the Apple Orchard?

We had a fun field trip to the apple orchard today.  Another homeschooling mom planned this outing and had such an amazing response that she actually ended up with a wait list of families!

We were looking forward to it but yet I couldn't help but wonder what they'd really learn while on a trip to the orchard.

We've been on many field trips to the apple orchard over the years and we've been to pick apples many times each year.  I figured they kind of knew everything that they were going to be taught today and wondered if I was kidding myself thinking that his was going to be an educational field trip.

I was even more nervous as we arrived and started through the trip; the man who talked to us about the orchard gave a pretty quick rundown on the place and then left us to pick apples.  I think he spoke for 10 minutes and I was feeling disappointed that this wasn't such an educational day.

So Imagine my surprise when 4 hours later on our way home for the day (after hik…

Unusual Homeschool Holidays

One really unintended perk of homeschooling is the ability to turn anything into a celebration or holiday.

Sure we celebrate the usual holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we get to really play up the other mini holidays like Valentine's day and St. Patrick's Day but I'm talking about making up our own holiday or celebrating holidays no one has ever heard of!

We celebrate our Homeschool Anniversary each year (the day we started homeschooling; with a look back at my blog, and re-creating a fun art or science project).

One year Evan declared that it was his stuffed animal's birthday and we planned a whole party for him on the spur of the moment (you can read about Otter's birthday here).  But our favorite things to do is turn all of our birthdays into holidays.

The kids enjoy having a day off from school and the birthday boy is put in charge for the day.  It's fun to be able to stop and really celebrate each child and make them feel extra special an…

Great Wolf Lodge Review

We had the opportunity to spend two days at Great Wolf Lodge New England last week and we had a great time.  Never having been to any Great Wolf Lodge before, I wasn't sure what to expect.

I had read a few blogs about other families' experiences and we spent a day or two pouring over the website but I still felt like we walked in with little to no idea of what we'd find.

I knew it would be expensive but we had gift certificates and since it was the only family vacation we were going to be taking this year we decided to just enjoy it.  And we did!

While check- in is not until 4 you can arrive as early as 1 p.m. on the day of check- in and enjoy the water park.  Being there in the middle of September we had no problem checking in as soon as we arrived.  There were only about a dozen cars in the entire driveway and it was nice to be able to go right up to our room, drop everything off and change.

We walked around a little bit but headed to the water park pretty quickly. At Gre…

When You Should Not Homeschool

I was reading a post over the weekend about reasons NOT to homeschool.

I wasn't sure I was going to agree with the author or not since I am a huge homeschooling advocate and I wasn't sure where we she was headed with her argument.

However, I do agree that homeschooling is not for everyone and while I always say that I do feel like I'm often arguing why homeschooling is for everyone.  It's not and I don't mean to; mostly I'm trying to support those people just starting out in homeschooling or those people on the fence about homeschooling who don't think they can handle it.

But it is true that homeschooling is not for everyone.

I have tons of friends who have their kids in public and private schools alike and they often joke with me that I'm nuts to have taken this on.  I can't say they're always wrong.  Parenting is tough and adding homeschooling to my list of duties does make it seem tougher at times.

I don't look down on them for their choic…

Weekly Review-- Mini Vacation Week

We hit the books pretty hard on Monday knowing it might be the only day we'd have time for actual schoolwork-- so school might have lasted two hours that day.  We had another busy week where the calendar looked pretty full before it even began.  Yet my boys surprised me and managed to get just a bit of work done most of the days this week even if it was just a math worksheet or a quick reading of a book here and there.  Mostly we focused on making fun families memories this week and we succeeded in a big way!

History-- We read Patrol; An American Soldier in Vietnam, The Wall, Vietnam ABC's, and Two Lands, One Heart to further our study of Vietnam and the Vietnam War.  By far our favorite was Always With You; the true story of a young Vietnamese girl that survived the bombing of her town and ended up partially blind and in an orphanage.  It was both poignant and gut wrenching to read about her struggles.  We read a few more chapters in High Time for Heroes and learned some mor…