#write28days – Day 19 Extracurricular Activities

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Today is day 19 of my #write28days series of Homeschooling Helps, Hints and Resources. Today I want to talk about Extracurricular Activities.  As a homeschooling parent, I wanted our children to have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities.  Through the years, those activities have changed and evolved over time.

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For example, when we began our homeschooling journey we participated in Cub Scouts, Church, a Homeschool Group and our children even had the opportunity to participate in a homeschool gymnastics class.  We specifically tried to pick things that all or most of the children could do together.

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Later when we moved to western Pennsylvania, our children were part of the Family Readiness Group for our Army Reserve Unit, Cub and Boy Scouts, Church functions and then our oldest son, youngest son and daughter attended a Christian dance studio.  The picture above is some of the photographs taken at the dance studio.

When we moved to central Pennsylvania, our children participated in Church activities, activities at the Salvation Army Corps we attended, Young Marines, and the Family Readiness Group for our Army Reserve Unit.  Here are some photographs from events.

 

Finally, when we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, our activities changed.  We still had a church (although not as much) and finally last year we added our local Homeschool Band program and my husband, oldest son and our daughter also did the Homeschool Strings program.  This year we are still involved in the Homeschool Band and Strings program, and my oldest and youngest sons, my husband and myself have joined our local Community Band.  Oh, our youngest son also began participating in the Homeschool Tennis Class this year.

 

The one thing we have learned through the years is to be careful about how much you allow into the schedule.  At one point we were gone six nights out of the week and it was too much for us.  We have decided not to do co-ops or similar activities because we prefer controlling the materials and subjects our children learn.  While we want them to have the opportunity to be around and to interact with others, too much can be overwhelming and make it difficult to actually get homeschooling done.

So does your family participate in any Extracurricular Activities, why or why not?  I would love to hear from you.

#write28days

 

#write28days – Trisms

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This is my 18th post for my series #write28days.  Today I want to talk about another curriculum choice we discovered at a homeschool convention.  The company is called Trisms and the specific product we used was called HistoryMakers.  You can read all about the company here.

I first fell in love with History Masterminds because it did not use a traditional textbook approach.  It is an exciting overview of World History that also includes Language Arts, Geography, Literature, IEW and more.  It covered the period from 3500 BC to the present.
I had a book that included the assignments broken down by week.  Sometimes, the children had to research an invention and draw illustrations of it.  Other times, they had to read about an artist or read a book or complete a mapping assignment.  Here is a picture I took of a sample lesson plan and the explanation about what the students were doing.

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One of my favorite parts of this middle school curriculum revolved around my ability to pick and choose resources along with having the ability to include our younger children in the learning assignments.

So if you want a curriculum that looks different from your average textbook approach to teaching and learning, check out Trisms for yourself.  They offer materials for middle school through high school.

If you have seen it, used it or would like to use it, let me know.  I would love to hear from you.

#Write28Days – Day 15 Charlotte Mason Method

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Here is my post for the 15th day of my #Write28Days challenge.  Somehow, I managed to fail to schedule this post properly.  There are many different methods of homeschooling.  Charlotte Mason founded one method.  Charlotte Mason.  Charlotte Mason believed in educating children through living books, nature study and by developing positive habits in children.

As we began our homeschooling journey many years ago, I realized this method worked well for most of our children.  The idea of narration and copywork provided a gentle foundation for my youngest two as they began learning.  I loved how I was able to have both children work on the same materials but at their own learning level.

Being outside goes hand-in-hand with Charlotte Mason’s ideas for schooling.  My children also found this to be a wonderful way to learn and experience the world around them at the same time.

So if you want to utilize a method that does not use typical textbooks, check out Charlotte Mason and her methods for yourself.

#write28days – Reach for the Stars

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Today is day 13 of my series, #write28days, where I am posting homeschooling, helps, hints and resources.  Today I want to urge you to reach for the stars.  Do not let your preconceived ideas to limit what you and your children attempt in your homeschool.   Believe that the impossible can become possible.

Also, be willing to let your children explore what interests them.  Allow your own belief in your children rather than focusing on what limitations others place on any of you.

When you believe in your children and your children believe in themselves, they can achieve their heart’s desires.  Just like when we place limitations on ourselves and we ultimately miss untold results, we can set our children up for the same failures.  So be willing to permit your children and yourself to explore, dream and explore the possibilities.

Let me know what you try and succeed at!

#write28days

#write 28 days – Go Down Rabbit trails or holes

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Today is day 12 of my series #write28days.  Today I want to urge you to go down rabbit holes or trails – whichever you would prefer to call them.  When your children find something that really captures their attention and interest, do not be afraid to go down those paths.  Some of the best homeschooling times I remember with our children was when we abandoned the lesson plans and followed something that captured the interest of one or more of our children.

I know my children retain more and are willing to do more if they are interested in what the subject is.  They are willing to exert more energy, stay on task longer and retain more of what they are learning about than doing planned lessons.

My second son has a desire to find things out for himself.  If left to his own devices with a topic he is interested in, he never fails to come back and report on what he has learned.  However, the key for me to remember is to let him share in his own time and in his own way.

My third son loves music so he will spend hours studying, composing and even practicing instruments.  So I allow him to do this.  Recently, he even arranged a piece of music for our homeschool band that we may be performing at our Spring concert.

Our daughter loves art.  She will spend hours researching styles, techniques, and other information related to her artwork.  So I try to allow freedom and flexibility in our schedule for her to do this.

So do not be afraid to allow your children’s curiosity about something to take you on a journey.  You may love where the journey ends.

So do you find yourself going down rabbit holes or trails?  I would love to hear from you.

#write28days

 

#write28days – Dare to be Different

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Welcome to day 11 of my #write28days series.  Today I want to encourage you to “dare to be different”.  Our homeschooling routines and decisions do not have to mimic public school at home.  In fact, I believe, our routines should be different.  After all, we know our children best.  When we begin homeschooling, we embark on a miraculous journey that allows for creativity and more to enter our homeschools on a daily basis.

Just because students sit in rows of desks at school does not mean my children need to do that at home.  For many years, our dining room table served as the heart of our homeschool.  Also, my children frequently picked other locations within our home to work.  We need to find a rhythm and routine that works for our own family.

For some families, getting up early in the morning works best, while other families may find homeschooling later in the day works better.  Even within the same family, members might differ in their routine and homeschooling times, and that is okay.

We need to examine our own family and children to determine what works best.  So dare to be different.  Embrace the opportunities and experiences that homeschooling allows.  I would love to hear from you about how your day is going.

#write28days

 

#write28days – Remember our children are only young once

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Today is day 10 of my #write28days series of Homeschooling Helps, Hints, and Resources.  Today I want to speak on a topic that is all too obvious in our home.  The fact is our children are only young once.  We only get to have them for a certain number of years before they grow up, move out and create lives of their own.  When we first began homeschooling our oldest was ten and our youngest was not quite four yet.  Now our oldest will turn twenty-three in June and our youngest is sixteen.

I have to wonder where the time has gone and how it has flown by.  I have some regrets about how we spent our time.  But in other ways, I have no regrets.  I regret in some ways that we took the path of active duty military.  Because this means our youngest two do not have as many tangible memories of my husband’s parent, their aunts, and uncles as well as their cousins.  But in other ways, I have no regrets we took this path because some of their experiences could never have been duplicated anywhere else.  For example, I think our children truly enjoyed our many visits to Busch Gardens where we stayed in the cabins at Fort Eustis.

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There is the time we drove from Pennsylvania to their grandparents’ home in eastern North Carolina along with three of their friends from central Pennsylvania.  The three girls saw the ocean for the very first time.

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Of course, now we are in Texas and my four children are all either playing a band instrument or a string instrument along with their father and myself.

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So my point is to enjoy your children and let your children enjoy growing up.  Do not get so caught up in looking to the future that you lose sight of the present.  Be present with them as well.  Take time to do things together as a family so you have memories for the future.  Because before you know it you go from there:

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to here:

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And there is no way to go back and recapture those moments ever again.  Enjoy your children today.  Love your children today.  Most importantly, remember God only gave us those children for a season where they truly need us.

#write28days