Today is a New Day

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

I love the line in Chicken Little when he pulls himself up by the proverbial bootstraps and sets out to be a changed man, er, chicken. He’s had setbacks. He’s faced disappointments. He’s been fearful.

Yet, he declares with confidence, “Today is a new day.”

And that is how we homeschool parents should approach the start of 2012. Whether you school year-round or are just getting back in the saddle after a holiday break, the start of the new year offers us fresh perspective, and in a sense, a clean slate.

Sure, many of us started school in August, but we get a second “back-to-school” after the holiday recess. At least that’s how I like to look at. Because, so far this school year, I’ve not been on my game.

We started off with a bang and then we interrupted homeschool with vacation/travel school in October and then in November and December our family got dragged down by illness. The last three months seem like a blur. And I don’t feel like I’ve been the best teacher I could be.

Earlier this week Toni shared some great points about how to evaluate progress at this halfway point. She posed the following questions:

  • Are we having fun?
  • Are we making progress?
  • Is the curriculum working?

These are excellent questions for you and your students to answer in assessing how school is working for everyone. As we look forward into the latter half of the year, I’ve got a few more questions to think about:
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3 Things to Do When Plans Don’t Follow the Plan

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

I‘m a fairly academically-minded homeschooler. It could be the former public school teacher in me. It could be my big head. But I like to know that my kids are making progress through their curriculum. I like to know that they score at or above grade level on standardized tests. I like to know that “the experiement is working” — at least from an academic perspective.

But I’m also learning to be a realist: things don’t always go according to plan.

  • Kids get sick.
  • It takes me a week to prepare for a week’s vacation and another week to recover.
  • The library doesn’t always deliver on time the book I reserved three weeks ago.
  • On occasion, a child will be sporting two left shoes.

Life is subject to change.

Any variety of moods, household projects, or illness can get in the way of my best-laid plans. Consequently, I have to adjust — and so does my homeschool.

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Jessica’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake

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

I have a big head. Seriously.

I have a bigger hat size than my husband. We call it “the Getskow head” after my maiden name. Some of my kids have the Getskow head. Others don’t. We laugh good-naturedly when the seven year old wears a larger bike helmet than his big brothers. He has a Getskow head.

I also have the corresponding confidence problem.

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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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Following Your Child’s Lead: Learning About Edible Wild Foliage

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

It all started with a little red berry. A little red berry and a toddler. I had taken my children to the park to play. My daughter, a toddler at the time, was roaming about the playground, just a few feet away, and then disappeared from my view around a corner.

I was after her immediately, only to find her in a clump of red berry bushes, saying “Eat. Eat.” Not knowing what they were or if she had managed to eat one or not, we grabbed a few twigs off the bush and loaded up in the car.

We stopped at my husband’s work, a mere 1/2 mile away where he went to the landscaping department with a twig to identify. I headed to the nearby City Hall and Library.
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