November 6th was an important day in our household as well as in many households across the nation as we marched to the polls to have our voices heard. I truly love election day and I take my responsibility as a voter very seriously. It is important to not only participate in elections but also to be as informed as you can regarding candidates, their stance on issues and the various proposals on the ballot.
As a homeschooler, I used the days up to the election to drive home the importance of voting in this country. We discussed the history of voting, how the election process works and how to become an informed voter. On election day my kids were able to come to the polls and witness their mom cast her vote. That night we turned on the news and watched as the votes rolled in to see the outcome. I tried to make the event as exciting as possible because I want them to be passionate about politics.
During our election night celebration, my daughter asked me whether she should be a Republican or a Democrat when she became an adult. I love that she asked this question because it gave me a chance to talk to them about what my expectations were for them once they reached the age to vote. My husband and I are both pretty conservative Republicans and many people might think that because we homeschool we are going to force our children into being Republicans. This is not true instead of raising our kids to affiliate themselves with a specific party we have chosen to raise our kids to simply be political. I want them to be passionate and active voters who take the time and care to understand the issues. I don’t care what their political affiliations end up being I only care that they treat the voting process with respect and recognize the honor it is to be able to vote in the first place. I want them to stand up for what they believe while interacting positively with those who have different points of view.
Whether you homeschool or not I think it is important to allow children to identify their own political path. It doesn’t matter which party they end up affiliating with; what matters is that they are passionate about this country and the direction it is heading. Don’t label your children instead allow them to find their own individual niche in life. I truly believe that this is the best way to raise children into happy, healthy and productive adults.
This month we have really delved into the Halloween spirit and we have been learning about all things spooky and mysterious. Today we spent some time in 1692 Salem Massachusetts visiting one of the most infamous times in American History; the Salem Witch Trials. While this is a fascinating story shrouded in mystery, perfect for our Halloween theme, there is an important lesson to be learned.
This morning we decided to drive up to Michigan to visit my mom. It’s a long drive but my car allows me to connect my cell phone through the speakers via Bluetooth and this has been a great way to homeschool on the run. I found a History Channel documentary on the Salem Witch Trials and we spent our road trip listening and discussing what we had learned. I love weaving documentaries into our studies because they provide so much information and they do so in a way that is entertaining. The discussion that followed was amazing and it gave us an opportunity to discuss the importance of Due Process.
The documentary did a great job of explaining how the Puritan’s way of governing was very different from the government that our founding fathers would later layout for our country. Without due process, innocent individuals were sentenced to death simply because they were accused of wrongdoing. No evidence was necessary to determine one’s innocence which made it possible for things to get so out of hand 326 years ago. We need to remember that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent.
My kids learned an important lesson today one that I hope will stick with them for a lifetime. It is important for us to maintain a legal system that is fair and equal to all American citizens.
History Channel Documentary: The Salem Witch Trials
Life in the United States has become fraught with political, racial and sexual tension. You can’t turn on the television or open a paper without being inundated with all of the anger and animosity being played out all across the country. It’s scary for me as an adult to witness all this turmoil and its even scarier for my kids. My husband and I have chosen to not shelter our children from the chaos of the world instead we have used current events to inspire discussion. Through discussion, we have been able to answer a lot of their questions and we have helped them feel safe in this scary world. I believe that change starts small and that by raising my children to be intelligent, honest, and compassionate people they will become productive adults who can impact the world positively.
Knowing that I am raising good people does my heart good and fills me with hope for the future but still, I am exhausted by all of the anger. What happened to civility? Why can’t people share different opinions with each other and engage in civil discussion? We should celebrate our differences in opinion and work to find common ground. Instead, people are happy to tear one another apart, disown family members, shame one another and verbally and physically assault others. History has shown us so many times in the past the consequence of not finding common ground. It was a 156 years ago when political, racial and sexual tensions ripped this nation apart and started the Civil War. I wish people would stop and think about their actions and reevaluate what is important.
This is the advice that I have given to my children: Treat others with respect and use your voice to calmly express your opinions because nobody understands someone who is yelling. Always try to view the situation from someone else’s perspective and do not let pride, anger or passion prevent you from seeing the truth. If you are passionate about something make sure you have researched your opinion so you can engage in intelligent debate. Most importantly never forget the value of honesty and integrity.
It’s not our differences that separate us in this world it is our actions.
A simple fact in life is good parents homeschool their children. Those who do not engage in homeschooling are neglecting their children’s education. Some of you who are reading this are already getting upset but before you start throwing things at me let me explain.
I am a full-time homeschooler this means that my kids receive all of their education from me and the materials that I provide for them. When you hear the term homeschooling it often means someone who is engaged in full-time homeschooling. Not all homeschoolers are full time, in fact, some parents provide the majority of their children’s education but supplement with classes in a traditional institution or through a co-op. There is another type of homeschooling that is often overlooked and that is the homeschooling parent who sends their children to a traditional brick and mortar institution but actively participates in their child’s education. Yes, that is right you can be a homeschooling parent even if your kids attend public school.
Any parent who takes the time to invest in their child’s education or personal interest is actively participating in homeschooling. If you read with your kids, help them find answers to questions they ask or inspire them to be creative or to follow an interest than you are actively homeschooling. Education should occur in the home it doesn’t necessarily have to be full time because full-time homeschooling doesn’t work for every family but it still needs to happen. Many parents homeschool without even realizing it and they are making a positive impact on their kids. Unfortunately, there are a number of parents who believe that education should only be administered by a certified teacher and they do not engage in any form of homeschooling and these kids suffer academically and socially.
It is so important for parents to take an active role in their children’s lives. Get to know your kids and help them discover their interest and passions in life. Make reading as a family a priority even when you have children who are independent readers. Put the electronics up for a little bit each day and engage in face to face discussions so that you can teach your kids how to have conversations. Homeschooling isn’t about academics alone in fact when you homeschool you are teaching your children how to be productive citizens and how to be good parents in the future. Teach your children to build a nurturing home full of love and a passion for learning.
I often encounter those who are skeptical that homeschooling is a legitimate form of education. One of the concerns that are often brought up is that my kids won’t have a well-rounded education in science because we do not have access to a science lab for experiments. This is really funny to me because when you think back to your school days how many of us were actually exposed to a state of the art science lab. Typically, science teachers had to make do with their desks or a small table within the classroom to showcase an experiment. I didn’t step foot into a science lab until high school when I took Chemistry and we only used the lab so that we could have access to the bunsen burners.
While I would love a home science lab; I like many teachers across the world utilize the space I have and it has worked out pretty good. In fact, my kids have participated in hundreds of science experiments and activities right at our kitchen table. My homeschooled children have had more opportunities to participate in science experiments than their friends and cousins who attend traditional brick and mortar schools. In fact, my oldest niece who is in high school has never been able to participate in a science experiment. She has had the opportunity to observe but due to budget and time constraints at her school, she has not been able to actively participate. Now I will admit it is fun to watch science experiments but the learning that occurs when you actually get to fully participate is priceless.
Today we piled around our kitchen table to explore “Why Leaves Change Colors”. I found this fun science lab on education.com called Leaf Chromatography. Basically, we have separated the different pigments from leaves to see what colors are present. We then read through a few handouts I found online that explains why each of those pigments is present. To help us fully understand why leaves change color we also sat down and read a great book written by Betsy Maestro titled Why Do Leaves Change Color?. Whenever I do any type of Science experiment or activity I try to follow up with additional materials to reinforce the concepts we learned. You don’t need a lot of money, a fancy science lab or a masters degree in science to provide your children with a quality science education. I will link the resources we used today below in case you want to give this lab a try with your kids.
I can’t believe that its already the middle of October! Halloween is only 21 days away and we are working hard to fit in a ton of fun and spooktacular activities. This morning we ventured to Blue Creek Metropark in Northwest Ohio for a nature scavenger hunt where we also hunted for leaves. We really had a blast and I love getting outdoors with my little ones and making memories with them. Not only did we have fun but we learned how to identify the leaves we found on the ground and we discussed how and why the leaves change colors. We collected a number of leaves for a science experiment that I have planned for later in the week where we will use Chromatography to separate the different pigmentations in the leaves. I will share more information about this experiment later this week in case you want to try this with your little ones.
Today though I do have something fun to share with you and your family and its a great worksheet from Education.com. I absolutely love this website and we print worksheets and lessons from them all the time. A few months ago I was allowed to share a fun math worksheet and was beyond thrilled when they asked if my readers might be interested in Halloween themed worksheet. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Education.com I strongly urge you to click the link below to see all that they have to offer. Whether you are a full-time homeschooler or perhaps looking for supplementary worksheets you will be amazed by the variety and quality of the content on their website. In the meantime enjoy this fun, free and spooktacular treat from Education.com.
Find the spooky words in this Halloween word search from Education.com! Find more fun language arts games here.
Fall is fully underway here in Northwest Ohio. The colors are beginning to change and while our days are still warm the temps are falling at night allowing for restful sleep. Fall is really my favorite time of year and we are only 30 days away to one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. We love Halloween and we celebrate all fall with fun Halloween activities, crafts, and decorations. Today we spent our morning decorating our front porch with a creepy scene and later this afternoon we will begin to decorate our classroom a.k.a dining room. While we enjoy the creep factor on the outside of our house inside we like to keep our Halloween decorations cute and festive.
I love Halloween themed worksheets, activities, and events to help keep our homeschooling fun. Madlibs are great to include in your language arts lessons and we like to do them as a group so everyone can get involved in the fun. I will include a link to a fun Madlib offered by education.com titled Zombie Story at the end of this post. I am working on putting together a resource list with additional Halloween activities and crafts for you and your family to enjoy. I am hoping to have that posted in the next couple of days. I will also post some pictures of our decorations so you can see how crazy we are about Halloween and fall:).
Do you have a special way of celebrating Halloween? What is your favorite fall activity? Do you incorporate the holidays into your homeschool curriculum?
I recently stumbled across an advertisement for a fun program that is meant to teach children their multiplication tables effortlessly. The program is called Times Tales and I will include a link below if you want to investigate this product further. Before I continue with my personal opinion of this product I will state that I am not being paid for this review and it is not being sponsored by Time Tales. I purchased the e-version directly from the Time Tales website although I did find competitive prices being offered by several different online retailers including Amazon and Educents.
On to the review, I love this product and even though we have only been using it for three days I can already see that all three of my kids are benefiting. Before purchasing, I did read a lot of reviews and saw that a lot of parents were recommending the product but from personal experience, I have learned that what looks good on paper doesn’t always work for us in the real world. The major selling point for me was that this product is supposed to assist those with dyslexia learn their multiplication tables. My oldest son has dyslexia and while he has been working on his multiplication facts for a while and knows a number of them there are still quite a few that he struggles with. I also wanted to see if this would help my seven-year-old daughter as she has just begun to work on her multiplication facts.
I purchased the Digital Download package which comes with the printable worksheets for $15.95. All of my kids including my 5 year old sat down and watched part 1 where they are memorizing the “Times Tales” that will help them memorize their multiplication facts. The first thing I noticed was that all three of my kids were enjoying the silly tales. There was a lot of laughing and smiling as they watched the video but what shocked me the most was that by the end of part one they were reciting multiplication facts. Even my five year old has been regaling me with his new found knowledge of multiplication. They are supposed to watch part one daily until they have it mastered and then they can move on to part two. There are worksheets that you can print off as well that will help reinforce what they have learned.
Even though we have only been using this product for a few days I am absolutely in love with it and plan to investigate the other math products offered by this company. If you have little ones who are struggling with multiplication or who are ready to begin learning their facts I highly recommend this product. I can’t wait to see where my kids are in a few weeks once they have completed the entire program. I will do an update once we have made it to the end but I just couldn’t wait to share this exciting program with other moms and dads.
What about physical education? This is a question that I get asked quite often by those who are curious about how we make homeschooling work for our family. Physical education is actually one of the easiest things that I have been able to incorporate into our daily routine. It’s not difficult to get kids up and moving around when you remove the electronics and steer them outside. We like to visit different parks in our area and we have found great places to hike and adventure. Not only do the kids get a ton of exercise but my husband and I also benefit from these activities.
Beautiful hiking trails
Just today we discovered beautiful trails where simple workout stations were set up at every 1/8 mile marker. The kids had a blast trying out each exercise and jogging from station to station. Within 20 mins we all had a pretty good workout and we were feeling the burn. We will definitely be visiting this park again in the near future.
I will admit that it is easier to get our physical activity in when the weather is warm but even on cold or yucky days, it is simple enough to add to our routine. Sometimes we put on the radio and dance around (cardio), we do a sit-up and push up challenge in our living room and when we get stir crazy we walk at our local Walmart making a point to walk up and down every aisle.
All three of my kiddo’s worn out from their hike 🙂
My kids get a lot of physical education and we are always discussing ways to be healthy and the importance of proper nutrition. We don’t really follow a physical education curriculum instead we have made fitness and nutrition a part of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool or not getting your kids active while teaching proper nutrition is the best way to set them up to be healthy adults.
How do you incorporate healthy living and fitness into your family’s routine?
I think it is probably safe to say that at some point in time all parents second guess or worry that choices they have made aren’t the best ones for their children. As a homeschooler doubt often crops up when our kids struggle with a topic or when we are feeling overwhelmed. While I have been homeschooling for a while now I still deal with self-doubt on occasion and I have to stop myself from having a panic attack.
Providing my children with the highest quality of education is so important to me and this can sometimes feel like a heavy load to carry. I want to make sure that I fill in as many holes as possible so that when they are ready to step out on their own they have the tools they need to be successful.
Recently, I had a very proud moment that helped me push my doubt aside and appreciate the choices we have made to homeschool our children. My oldest who is 11 years old was watching an episode of “Magic School Bus” where they were discussing the rock cycle. He was intrigued by the information presented but wanted to get more information. Without being prompted he began to look through our personal library for books on the topic and pulled up information on the internet. He spent the entire afternoon reading about the rock cycle and when he was done he excitedly educated the entire family on what he had learned.
Moments like these are so sweet and they make me so proud. Our goal all along has been to teach our kids how to learn so that they know how to find answers for themselves. Watching my son explain what he had learned was so rewarding and it was a proud moment for both my husband and I. It’s funny how these moments usually occur when grains of doubt begin to take seed but I am so thankful for them because they calm my fears and help me refocus.
We will continue to provide as many resources as possible so that our kids can continue to learn about the things that interest them. Simply teaching our kids how to safely find credible information online and within our local library has given them the tools they need to be independent learners.
What proud moment have you recently shared with one of your children?