Homeschool mid-year: reflecting on what’s working

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

We just finished up school for the year. No, not the school year. We finished for the calendar year. We’re taking the whole month of December off. We did that once before and it didn’t go so well – the kids got very restless.

We’re trying it again this year, though, as part of our year ’round school schedule – six weeks on, one week off with a longer break during the summer and at Christmas. I do plan to make some changes this time, versus the last time we took a long Christmas break.

For one thing, there are several homemade Christmas projects I’d like to try this year and all of the kids are old enough to help. They may not all want to {*cough* the boy *cough*}, but I think that two of them will. I’d also like to make time for some service projects – cooking some meals for others or maybe serving at the soup kitchen.

As we plan for a more productive Christmas break, I can’t help reflecting on how the first half of the school year has gone. Honestly, it’s been one of our best years in a long time. I really think a big part of the reason is the new curriculum that we started using this time last year, but there’s more to it than that.
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Why we don’t start school at 8 am

Written by contributor Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A note from Jamie: This post originally published on November 18, 2011. Enjoy!

You know those homeschooling families that get up before the sun, do their morning chores, have a big hearty breakfast, and start school by 8:00?

Yeah, we’re not one of those.

Not that there is anything wrong with being one of those families. To be honest, I can see many benefits in being early risers and many days I wish we were. However, we just aren’t.
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6 things I love about homeschooling

This post was written by contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

A note from Jamie: Subscribe to Simple Homeschool and get my new ebook, Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom FREE! Click here for details.

Most homeschooling days are good. Some are great. And, some…well, some are just hard.

On those really hard days, it can help to remember all the things you love about homeschooling. Except, some days the things you love can be difficult to remember. A while back, Jamie wrote about the five things she loves about homeschooling.

I thought I might need a list of my own – for the hard days.

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On obesity & overcoming: A homeschooling mom’s story

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Hi, my name is Kris and I used to be obese.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how I should introduce myself. On the one hand, it’s cool seeing the look on people’s faces when they hear how much weight I’ve lost. (Just being transparent…I’ve never accomplished anything quite so impressive as losing nearly 100 pounds before.)

On the other hand, it’s also nice having people only know me as “skinny me.” (Skinny being a term I use rather loosely considering I’m still “overweight” on most charts.)

Usually, I opt to tell my story, though – not to brag, but to inspire. You see, after 16 or so years of obesity and multiple failed weight-loss attempts, I do believe that if I can lose weight, anyone can. There are no magic pills or special diets. It’s just a lot of hard work and determination. It’s completely changing your lifestyle and your eating habits. It’s not easy, but so worth it.

So how does a busy homeschool mom find time to completely change her life?
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How to organize your homeschool supplies (Back to School Week)

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A note from Jamie: Did you enter yesterday’s giveaway from Imagine Childhood? It stays open until tonight at 11:59pm EDT, so head over & leave a comment now!

You’ve purchased all your curriculum. You’ve stocked up on pencils, paper, and glue sticks. You’ve stockpiled enough manipulatives to outfit a small school. Now, what are you supposed to do with it all? Where are you going to store it so that your family can still use the dining room table for, well, dining?

After 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding places to store school stuff…and my husband has come to terms with the fact that people will know we homeschool when they sit in our dining room.

Some of my favorite simple storage solutions include:
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