Starting school (with activities for your younger kids)

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

This year I’ll be teaching six kids.

Let’s pause and let that sink in a bit.

This year I’ll be teaching six kids!

Don’t get me wrong. I love having a big family. I love cooking big meals. And I love getting to the bottom of that monstrous pile of laundry each week. (Yes, it does happen every once in a while.)

But, I’ll confess that teaching six kids has me shaking in my boots a bit. This year we’ve got 10th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, and pre-K grades going. So, you can just smell the crazy brewing in my head. [Read more…]

Planning a European vacation

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

I spent my twenty-first and twenty-second birthdays in France. I lived a year in Bordeaux, studying and perfecting my French skills. My husband and I honeymooned there. At 22 years of age, I considered myself a world traveler. And I fully intended to spend every birthday in Europe.

But, as we know… life is subject to change.

In those last eighteen years since my feet set ground in la belle France, our family has welcomed six babies, moved cross-country and back again, and fought our way out of consumer debt. It’s not like we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs when we could have been globe trotting.

However, earlier this year, after watching a series of France-based films, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Why not?”

  • Why not take the kids to France? 
  • Why not make the investment of time and money to travel to Europe with SIX kids?
  • Why not expose them to a culture that was once near and dear to my heart and a huge part of my everyday?

So, we’re committed. At least publicly.
[Read more…]

What if you make a mistake?

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

It’s a weighty responsibility that we undertake, teaching our children at home. We put ourselves in the midst of a great experiment. We are like scientists with a hypothesis to prove, hoping that our laboratory efforts will go the way we expect.

As I watch my oldest son advance into higher levels of schooling and observe his attention to his studies and his care and kindness toward others, I sigh squeal with excitement, “The experiment is working!”

I may joke that my 14-year-old is my “guinea pig,” but that’s really the case with all children in all families, regardless of school style. We just don’t know how personalities and circumstances will blend, nor can we completely predict the outcome.

And so it is with homeschooling as it is in parenting in general: Life is subject to change — and to error.
[Read more…]

Reading, writing, & ‘rithmetic for 6 kids (2012 curriculum fair)

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

Ages of my children: 14, 11, 9, 7, 5, and 3
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: ClassicalCharlotte MasonLiterature-Based

Back in January, I realized that we were in the doldrums as far as school was concerned. I really wanted to put some wind back in our sails, so I spent some extended time researching different options and analyzing how our days were spent. I rediscovered a love for how we used to do things “back in the good old days.”

That is to say, I ditched what wasn’t working and started a reread of The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This was the foundational book for me over a dozen years ago when my firstborn was just a toddler. I read it from cover to cover several times, and my original edition is literally falling apart at the seams. Since then it’s been revised a few times, so I picked up a new copy and allowed it to realign my vision for our school.

Since I have SIX kids, it’s a lot of curriculum to plan for. Rather than tell you about every single resource we’re using, here’s a peek at our reading, writing and arithmetic:
[Read more…]

4 Ways to Simplify (Home) School Meals

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

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been reevaluating our homeschool. At the turn of the year, I found myself more than ready for a do over. So, I set my sights on an extreme homeschool makeover.

We’ve made some great progress. It took a little while to iron out the wrinkles and get my bearings. I purchased some new curriculum, spent every waking moment for a month reading about homeschooling, and generally put family stuff as top priority. You should have seen my inbox! I ignored everything until I knew we were on a better track.

(And it felt really good to make sure that my day job got the best of me.)

One of the best things I’ve figured out was that I’m not very good at multi-tasking during the school day. If I try to do anything else, I’m liable to get distracted (at best) or completely derailed (at worst). So I developed a time budget for our school days that is really helping me feel a little more on top of my game.

A little.

I’ve got a set block of time in each day devoted to each child. It’s a wonderful time for me to reconnect with each of these sweet people without distractions. And the days are flowing so much more smoothly! Everyone is productive and feeling good about their accomplishments.

One of the things that seems to come up every single day, however, the one thing that has the potential to derail our days is, well, that thing about eating. Ya just gotta eat, dontcha?
[Read more…]

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