Keeping This Season Simple. Really.

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

For several weeks now, and even months in some cases, bloggers have been posting about preparing for a simpler holiday.

Tsh has a countdown series, Plan Your Peaceful Christmas and fellow contributor Jessica (from Life as Mom) also offers a free Simpler Season planning resource.

I haven’t done any planning whatsoever, except for pinning a few wishful thinking, “maybe I’ll find extra energy next month” crafty ideas on a Pinterest board.

November was an unreal crazy month for our family. Another move. Our second in six months. The worst cold we’ve had in years, the same time as our move. And now, in two days we celebrate our youngest daughter’s 9th birthday.

Christmas has not been on the radar. At all.

It appears that everyone around us has their holiday act together. They made a budget and saved money. Handmade gifts were started back in July. A cute family photo is back from the printer, ready to be mailed. Operation Christmas Child boxes have already been sent.

These theoretical people – I know they’re out there, I used to be one – are really on the ball.

Then there’s our family.
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Renee’s Biggest Homeschool Mistake: Giving In To Fear

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

When Jamie proposed this series to us a couple months ago I was stumped for a topic.

Not because I haven’t made mistakes. Of course I have. I just don’t look at life that way – looking back to mistakes, wishing or wondering if I should have done something different.

I happen to be married to an idea-generating, forward thinking optimist (I bring a dose of realism to the mix which makes for an excellent partnership). If I so much as utter, “oh, I wish I would have” or even worse, “that was stupid of me,” I am sure to be stopped in my tracks with a loving reproval from my husband.

I think this is a healthy perspective to have on homeschool mistakes and life in general. And when I am tempted to think “if only” I find it more helpful to face forward with proactive ideas for change instead of looking back.

Lest you think I think I’m perfect (my family will be the first to set you straight!) there have been homeschooling mistakes I’ve made along the way.

One in particular comes to mind.

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Getting Organized for the Upcoming Year

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Many of us are starting a new school year this September even though we aren’t catching the bus to do so.

Our family homeschools year round. For an excellent article on different ways to structure your school year I recommend Toni’s post Creating a Homeschool Schedule.

For record keeping purposes I start our school year the beginning of September and wrap it up at the end of the following August. So for these past couple weeks I have been putting together our family learning portfolio for the 2010-2011 year and getting ready for the 2011-2012 school year.

Today I want to share with you how I organized the planning and record keeping for this upcoming school year. Instead of trying to write it all out and take photos to illustrate I decided to do a video, my first here at Simple Homeschool.
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4 Simple Methods for Teaching Elementary Science

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

This past spring all of us here at Simple Homeschool shared our curriculum choices. In my contribution to that series I talked about the curriculum we’ve used so far for elementary reading, writing, and math.

But of course there is a lot more to our homeschool routine than just those subjects.

Today I want to share how we teach science to our elementary aged children in the context of every day life, without a set curriculum.

I have found science to be one of the easiest “subjects” to teach our children.

I know it will get trickier as they get into the higher grades and so we plan to start using curriculum sometime during the junior high years.

But so far interest-led science has worked well for us.

Here are the four methods we’ve used.

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Lessons Learned While Camping

Written by monthly contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

A note from Jamie: This post first published on June 11, 2010. With many of us gearing up to make smores and set up tents at some point over the summer, it seems like a good time to revisit these thoughts from Renee.

Summer is a great time to be outdoors. A time to get away from it all, relax and play as a family.

One way to make the most of summer and to really enjoy nature together is to go camping.

Camping is a fun, affordable and memorable vacation for many families. It also presents excellent education opportunities.

So why not get out there and take advantage of the following things you’ll learn when camping.

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