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Using Pinterest for homeschool inspiration

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

A note from Jamie: This post originally published on August 8, 2011. Pinterest has grown substantially since then, and has become a popular spot for keeping track of homeschool inspiration! You can find Lora Lynn’s boards here and follow mine here if you’re so inclined. Enjoy!

Pinterest is the latest darling of social websites. It allows you to “pin” or bookmark pictures and posts that inspire you. You can then organize them into categories, creating your own lovely online bulletin board.

For homeschool moms that crawl the internet looking for craft ideas or inspiration, it’s the perfect way to keep up with each new page without creating a million bookmarks in an already crowded folder.

You can create a board for art ideas, one for curriculum favorites, and another for schoolroom inspiration.

Pinterest boards

Once you’ve pinned an item, just click on it again to be taken to the website where it originated. (Important note: if you pin items from a website or blog, make sure you are pinning from the specific post and note the entire site. Otherwise, you may not be able to find the information you wanted to save.)

Pinterest is also searchable, which means if you are on the hunt for a specific thing, like valentine crafts, you can easily find a myriad of ideas to spark your own creativity.

With the new school year ahead, here are a few ideas gleaned from Pinterest that might help you decorate your school room:
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The challenges of being a work-at-home mom

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

My in-laws are the best. Last week, they took my three young girls and left me with a baby and three school-age boys. Easy, peasey, lemon-squeezey. I made a lengthy list of all the things I was certain to accomplish after school without younguns underfoot. I assumed that with no little people, we’d fly through school in no time.

I was wrong.

I didn’t add anything to our schedule for the week and yet I would look up and the clock would say noon before I’d ticked anything off my “to-do” list. Toddlers didn’t appear to make any difference.

This revelation didn’t lead me to want to change our schooling. What we’re doing is working well and is just the right amount for my kids. And I don’t think my prep time is extraordinary. But what it did lead me to change was the way I viewed myself and our lifestyle.

Homeschooling is a full-time job.

As homeschool parents, we do the planning, we chauffeur the kids to co-op and outside lessons, we do the teaching, we do the record-keeping, grading, curriculum-buying, tutoring, testing, and, and, and… That’s a full-time job.
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What I learned from summer camp

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Our family has been in survival mode for a year. We managed to continue with schooling, but we didn’t get out much.

When we finally came up for air, my husband and I wanted to give our kids some bonus fun, a chance to get out of the house and be around other kids.

Fortunately, summer was on the horizon and there was a plethora of summer camp options to choose from.

Learning AND socialization? SIGN. US. UP. [Read more…]

Building global awareness in stay-at-home kids

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of VitaFamiliae

In a time where the world seems to be shrinking smaller, it’s important that we encourage global awareness and compassion in our children.

Kids need to be familiar not just with their own backyard, but the people and the cultures that exist all over the globe.

So how do we do this when, most days, we may not exit the front door?
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Buffet-Style Homeschooling (2012 Curriculum Fair)

One of the most common complaints I hear from new-to-homeschooling moms is, “There are so many choices! I just need somebody to tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

Well, I’ve got news for you, Mamas. Choosing a curriculum is just the beginning.

Several curricula actually offer choices within their content. They provide a myriad of activities, books, and assignments on a topic and allow you, the teacher, to choose what works best for your kids.

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of learning! With these “buffet-style” curricula homeschooling is like a “choose your own adventure” novel in living color!

In preparation for using a buffet-style curriculum when my children got older, I used Before Five In A Row for preschool. Each week we read one book and then had several different activities to choose from that related to that book.  This gave me a chance to practice picking and choosing before I felt all the stress of “What if I pick wrong and they never learn the date of the Battle of Hastings and I ruin them forever????”

I loved the flexibility this type of curriculum offered. I’d read all of the options and decide what we were in the mood for that week. If I thought I could handle a craft without my head or the glitter exploding, we’d do that. If the science option looked more fun, we’d choose that. Anything I chose centered around our book of the week so it all tied together for my kids. I couldn’t make a WRONG choice.
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