Strengthening Homeschool Families

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Top 4 Pintrest Pics of the Week

In the spirit of Halloween. I loved these cute simple craft ideas. My kids will even be able to do some of them by themselves. :)

Love to Homeschool Podcast: Unity in Marrriage with Catherine Reed (Ep: 004)

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Today on The Love to Homeschool Podcast I interviewed Marriage and Parenting expert and my favorite red head, Catherine Reed.

I wanted to do this episode focusing on marriage because I know that being a homeschooling family can sometimes interfere with the time you have to nurture your relationship with your spouse.

Catherine and I discuss communication tools to stay connected and how to light up your marriage so that it can be better than you ever dreamed!

Catherine has offered our listeners a FREE webinar!

CLICK HERE to register  for NEXT Wednesday, October 9 at 9pm MST.

I promise it’ll be well worth your time! They also have an option to get the recording sent to you if you can’t make it live.

You can learn more about Catherine and her mission at www.onejoyfulfamily.com

Traveling With the ASTC Pass

One of my absolute favorite things about homeschooling is that we are free to travel when we want. This often means that when school is out and everything is crowded we stay home and when all of the museums, amusement parks and beaches are empty you’ll find us out playing.

We had a really fun, educational 3 week vacation last January that will last a lifetime. One of my favorite things about the vacation was that no matter where we went we could find somewhere to use our ASTC pass to get into museums for my favorite price! FREE!

What is the ASTC?
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is a nonprofit organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among increasingly diverse audiences. You can find out more about them HERE

What is the ASTC pass?

Basically when you buy a season pass to a museum that is a member of the ASTC you have just purchased a pass to get into almost any children’s museum or science center that is 90+ miles away from the place you bought the pass for FREE or at a very low price.

Who is a member of the ASTC?

Here is a current (as of September 2013) list of all museums and science centers that are members of the ASTC.

ASTC MEMBERS

Now that you understand a little more I’ll tell you how we used that pass and why I think it’s so amazing.

We live in Utah so I purchased an annual membership for each of my family members and I (6) on a KSL deal (kindof like groupon) for a total of $70 which was a great deal.

We started our trip with one might in Reno on the way to San Francisco.

In Reno we stopped at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum while we waited for my husband to have some business cards printed. They allowed 4 of our family in for free so we paid for 2. That’s a $32 discount. Pretty good for an afternoon of fun. :)

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Next we stopped at the Jelly Belly Factory (not on the pass) definitely worth the trip and not too far out of the way. I just had to throw this in for those of you planning a vacation like this.

 

Our Next stop was San Francisco where saw every tourist attraction possible but on the pass we went to:

The Children’s Creativity Museum 

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Dylan making a character for a claymation video

A week later we traveled down to Southern California where we visited The Children’s Museum at La Habra, The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center,  The San Diego Natural History Museum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana twice!

 

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The most amazing thing is that no 2 museums is alike and my kids (ages 5-12) never got bored or tired of visiting these museums! It was education and super fun!

ReCap:

Platarium pass: $70

Regular Cost of entrance to all of the museums we visited (X6): $483.55

My cost @ museums including parking fees: $56

My total savings – $357.55 WOW!!

We never would have visited all of these places without the pass. This added so much depth to our learning and helped my kids experience science and discover the world in a new way.

Thanks ASTC!

 

 

Wind Tunnel at The Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana

Barnes and Noble

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Did you know?

Barnes and Noble offers homeschoolers 20% off every purchase if you are using it for your homeschool? That’s super sweet! I just ordered all of our Knights of Freedom books this year using it and it was simple. They also have educator appreciation days where they offer 25%.

You just have to go into a Barnes and Noble near you, fill out and Educators discount application and you’re all set. Don’t forget your proof of homeschooling. They will ask for it.

Happy Reading!

Jenny

Love to Homeschool Podcast Episode 003: Confidence & Encouragement

Love to Homeschool Podcast Episode 003: Confidence & Encouragement
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This week in I received an email from a first year homeschooler who is struggling and even considering quitting homeschooling. In my first year of homeschooling I had many days of struggle and I’ll be honest, some days I wanted to give up, but I also had many amazing, miracle filled, fun days with my kids.

In today’s podcast I talked about ways to help yourself through the difficult times and how to gain the confidence and encouragement that we all need. We have taken on a very important and rewarding task but it’s so important that we have support and encouragement along the way. Listen today for steps to a more fulfilling homeschool.

5 keys to a Successful Homeschool

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One of the hardest things for me when I started researching homeschooling was that everyone seemed to have a different way of doing it. I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do at what hour and exactly how my kids would react and what they would say. Haha! I know this sound ridiculous to some of you (it does a little to me now too after more experience). So, even though everyone’s experiences are different and everyone’s family’s work in different ways. There are a few foundational pieces to homeschooling that I’ve found to be vital and can help set up any homeschool.

1. Have a wake-up/ get ready for the day time. This can be whenever you want it to be. My family gets up at 7, eats in jammies, reads and writes in jammies and then it’s get ready time. This is so critical. We spent a lot of time learning this one because for awhile it was just so nice not to have to get ready. Getting dressed and ready for the day creates a sense that you can go anywhere and do anything at a moments notice. On days I’m not ready for the day I seen to avoid important things as they come up such as, the grocery store or a walk with the kids.

2. Interviews – On the first day of our school year I interview each of my children. The first year I didn’t do this because I thought that it was taking away precious learning time. I realized later that this is a critical foundation. During this interview you can ask them what they are interested in learning this year and what is most important to them. I often set their schedule during this time. I want them to get through their curriculum but I really don’t care what time they get it done. We do have certain scheduled events that we work around and take into concideration. I’ve found that this puts their education in their hands and makes them feel in control and more excited about learning.

3. Provide a quite place for them to read or learn challenging topics – Kids vary dramatically in learning style but one thing they have in common is that they need a quiet place they feel free to go to. For my oldest kids, they often head to their rooms. My eight-year-old’s favorite place to read is on my bed with my door shut.

4. Provide a non-judgmental learning atmosphere – It’s so important for kids to have positive reinforcement. A seasoned homeschooler gave me some great advice when I was starting to homeschool. She said, “If your child has a hard time taking criticism at first just wait a few months to make hard corrections. Let them be creative and compliment them. They will learn to respect you as a teacher and then you can give more correction.” This is absolutely true. If you’re like me and pulled you kids out of a public school they need a ton of positive reinforcement and love of who they are. Chances are they are regaining and relearning some of their talents. You can totally encourage this with your smile and positive comments. I know this isn’t easy. There were plenty of days in my first year that I threatened to send them back to school but you can do it! You are the best teacher for them!

5. Spend time with them as a group and individually – Gathering the family for some time in the morning unites you in purpose. When we have time together in the morning it increases the friendships between my kids and between me and them. Spending one on one time with them listening to them and helping them through tough problems is also critical. This one on one time is also a great time to discover what they’re interested in and encourage them to further their education on the subject.

I am so grateful to all of the homeschooling moms that have come before me for teaching me these 5 principles. I hope they can help you in your homeschooling this year.

I love your comments so please let me know what you’re doing and what works for you.

Jenny

Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style

One of the things that I really wanted when I started homeschooling was to be able to accommodate each of my children’s needs in a specialized way according to how they learn most effectively. When I pulled my kids from the public school I didn’t know each of their learning styles and I really thought that it was so complicated that I never would. It’s taken time and effort but now I am able to customize our homeschool for each of my children’s different needs. It’s much more fun and effective this way. I also spend time trying to strengthen areas that may not be their primary learning style. Here are 4 books and resources that I’ve found helpful in determining their learning styles so that I can move forward, feeling assured that what I’m teaching sticks.

1. Watchers, Talkers and Doers: Unlocking Your Child’s Unique Learning Style by Cheri Fuller

homeschool book learning styles

This book will help you understand different learning styles, discover your and your child’s learning styles as well as see why certain kids do certain things and more.

2. Kolbe IF™ for Kids Index -

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David Kolbe has developed this amazing test to help parents understand their child’s strengths. When we first took it it was for our oldest, Jordan. He was too young to take it for himself so we took it for him. After we were done it described the things he did perfectly. It helped us understand why he was so specific in the things he wanted to do and why he had a certain way of doing everything and a little inflexible. The information didn’t stop there! It went on to give us tips to help use his strengths to improve his every day life and ours. The good news for you is that this test is now only $10! I think we paid  $35 when we did it for our kids. I took the following from their website:

  • Discover striving instincts (conative strengths)
  • Better results at school, home and life
  • Grow by improving communication and leadership skills
  • Easy to complete with instant online results
  • 24-question, strength-based online assessment, including an interpretation and tips for success
  • Backed by over 35 years of research and practical applications
  • Customized interpretation in online and print versions

I recommend that you try it for one of you kids. Maybe the hardest to understand. When do more if you like what you get. :)

You can check out their site HERE

3. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath -

strengths finder

You’ve probably heard about this one. Tom Rath has written several books on leadership and self improvement. In his books he’s talking to you, the parent, but I’ve found that the same principles apply to my kids.

When checking into your child’s strengths and learning styles remember that each child will usually have one that is a lead strength. This doesn’t mean that this is their only strength. All of the learning styles exist in each of us. We don’t want to put our kids in a box and define when they are young who they will be forever. however; it is so helpful for me to know that everything John loves to do is hands on and that my Ashley is visual. It makes learning more individualized and interesting for them.

 

Summer Reading Programs

book green

Summer reading programs have been a great way to keep my kids excited and motivated to read all summer long!

Tip: The more you sign up for and stick to the longer the kids’ll be excited about it

Here are some of my favorites:

Local County Library: Read and get FREE prizes during the summer!

-Sign up at your local library.

Barnes & Noble: Read 8 books to get a book FREE

- Click HERE to sign up

Sylvan – “Book Adventure”: Read and get a FREE prize that you can choose during the summer

- Details HERE

Scholastic Summer Reading challenge: Read to get FREE virtual prizes During the summer.

- Details HERE

*Utah State Fair: Read 10 books to get FREE admission to the Utah State Fair, a bookmark, free medium soft drink, and one FREE ride at the Fair

- Details HERE

*Governor & First Lady: When your family reads 20 hours you get FREE prizes

- Check out the Details HERE

* Some of these are Utah only, but just Google “summer reading” in your state to find programs near you. :)

 

Under-Cover School

Under-Cover School

Here are 4 fun summer learning activities we and some of you are doing this year. I call it “Under-Cover School”

1. Gardening: You knew I was going to say that huh? Here are the facts: we don’t have a farm, our garden is super tiny but we’re learning together what it takes to grow our tiny garden. Growing a garden teaches cooperation, diligence, determination, patience and hard work. It also has a great natural reward.

Here’s a great video I found on “How to Grow a grass Head” Super cute and a fun way to get the kids excited about growing something.

2. Site-Seeing in our own city: We travel a lot but we never really take the time to explore right here, around home. Sometimes I forget that there may be something exciting right around the corner. Some of the places we will visit (for you Utah mama’s) are:

If you have any suggestions for your city please leave a comment. :)

3. Outdoor Sports: We live in Utah and I’m totally a snow wimp but when it comes to summer sports we love them. We love to rock climb with our kids, hike, play in rivers and streams and bike.

There are so many things to do outside. If you’re kids are getting bored already. Try some of the things we did as kids like: swimming, running through the sprinklers, flying a kite, blowing bubbles, Slip ‘n Slide (just remember to move it when you’re done. We just burned the lawn. Oops!), jumping on the trampoline, night games, tag and hide and seek just to name a few.

4. Good, old-fashioned, free play:

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” ~ Kay Redfield Jamison an American professor of psychiatry

I couldn’t agree more. Playtime is when kids practice all that we’ve taught them and when they gain an increased sense of independence and self.

I feel like as mom’s we’re really hard on ourselves. We need to give ourselves credit for the things our kids learn in the summer that aren’t available during the colder months; including free play. As a Homeschool mom I feel like this is my season to catch up on my yard and house and get ready for next year while my kids play.

We’d love to hear from you! If you want to share something fun you’re doing with your family this summer just leave a comment below.

 

Living An Extraordinary Life!

So the other day I just got fed up of living what I felt like was an ordinary life. I looked at some of the things I do and thought, “That’s just not right, I’m so boring!” I’ll just give you an example and you let me know if any of this rings true for you.

I hate being cold. I hate it when the weather changes. I always want it sunny and warm. So what I do when it gets cold? You’re all possibly going to think this is lame but I try not to go anywhere and when I do have to go somewhere I wear a ton of clothes and hate every minute of my nose freezing off. As I’m writing this I’m remembering that same freezing nose as a kid meaning that I’m having fun outside and it doesn’t matter how cold I am I’m having fun sledding or building a snowman. I’d like to get back to that.

Then the excuses crop up. I’m too old now, I’m not in shape like I used to be, my kids get cold then I need to be inside with hot chocolate and hugs. Yes, that last part may be true but I can enjoy the experience with them then make the hot chocolate. They would absolutely prefer that!

Maybe for you it’s not the cold, but schedules or keeping the house clean. Those are just a few examples. I could give you 100 more but I’m ready to focus on the good, focus on the positive.

I’ve decided to start living extraordinary TODAY! This means I do something extraordinary every day and share it with you! I would love for you to join me, Quinn and thousands of other moms and dad’s in living extraordinary every day!

I don’t know about you but I’ve met so many moms who feel like their lives are so boring and ordinary but I know life can feel extraordinary so let’s start today.

For me that might mean taking my kids to the park or going for an extra long run. I have a friend who takes her kids to the park every day so that’s not extraordinary for her but for her she said it would be working out every day. Maybe for you it’s taking a shower first thing in the morning or running a marathon. Anything that you feel is extraordinary counts! Pick one thing to do for a month or pick something different every day like I am. Maybe it’s that you just start giving yourself credit for the extraordinary life you already live. Extraordinary is different for everyone. I will be sharing with you what I do extraordinary for the day and would love it if you would join me.

Now is the time ditch the ordinary and start living the Extraordinary Life!

I will be sharing my extraordinary life with you at facebbook.com/homeschoolchic please join me there to start living the extraordinary life!

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