Archives for August 2011

First Day of School

Written by contributer Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

By now, a lot of you have probably started school again. If you took the summer easy like we did, you might have found it a little difficult to jump start the ol’ school bus. Sure, we knew the day was approaching but even so, it caught us off guard and totally unprepared.

I wasn’t the only one. One friend decided to postpone the first day all together, starting next week instead, and the others downright ignored it. Between bites of my sourdough toast and sips of coffee, I decided to jump right in.

While the kids finished up breakfast, I announced our plan for the day and did a quick mental list of what I wanted them to tackle this morning.

Our day went something like this:
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Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the Heart of the Matter virtual homeschooling conference. My topic? Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom.

The talk went well, and afterward I had the idea to turn it into a series for you here. So over the next few Mondays, I’ll share tips that set a homeschooling mama (or papa!) up for success in the homeschooling lifestyle.

When I use the word “secrets,” I don’t mean they are necessarily earth-shattering ideas or principles you’ve never heard of before. In many areas of life, often the most profound truths are also the most simple.

I’ve called them secrets because they encompass ideas I wish I would have known at the beginning of my homeschooling journey–ideas I’ve had to figure out and stumble across along the way. If I would have known these from the beginning, I think it would have helped me approach homeschooling in a more relaxed, pressure-free way.

And with the way we often feel about the responsibility of homeschooling, I’ll sign up for a little less pressure any chance I can get right?

Which brings me to the first truth a successful homeschooling mom understands:
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Planning for Back to School Success

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I‘ve been “going back to school” for almost 35 years now. That’s crazy! And while I’m no longer a registered student anywhere, I continue to learn. Thank the Lord. As a mom teaching her kids at home, one of the most important skills I’m learning is that of “planning.”

My own mother can attest to the fact that I’ve always been “a planner.” At a very young age, I would create lists of things to do or plan my birthday parties months in advance. While I’ve learned that not all my plans go the way I want them to, that doesn’t stop me from thinking through the coming weeks and months and developing strategies to help our family.

Together with my husband, I’ve realized that we need plans in place to help us enjoy our life together as a family, embrace the blessings God has given us, and learn as much as we can about the world around us.

Good intentions need feet if they’re ever going to go anyplace.

Here are some of the things I’m doing to plan for success in our school year:
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Frugal Back to School Traditions

Written by contributor Toni Anderson of The Happy Housewife

When they grow up children might not remember their science curriculum or how many spelling words they spelled correctly. Traditions however, when carried on throughout the years, give children wonderful memories and strengthen family relationships.

Traditions don’t have to be expensive, there are numerous ways to celebrate the beginning of another school year without dipping into the college fund.

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The 6 Month Inventory

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Back to school time is here for many of us. This time of year always lends itself well to goal-setting and thinking about what we want the next nine months to look like, and what outcomes we’d like to see at the end of them.

I like to use a quick, effective tool to help me plan ahead–the six month inventory.

I first heard of the six month inventory in the book Leadership Education, one of my earliest homeschooling reads (and one that I can’t recommend highly enough). I completed my first inventory this past spring when I attended my annual homeschooling conference.

To create one, I took a small sheet of paper and wrote one of my children’s names at the top. I stopped for a few minutes to consider that child and what he or she most needs from me to learn, love, and grow over the next six months. In brainstorming mode, without overanalyzing, I wrote down all the thoughts and ideas that came to mind. Then I began a new list for the next child until Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah each had their own.

Here are some of the bulletpoints that made it on the inventory for my kids:
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