Do you ever wonder if you will survive homeschooling?

January 20, 2009

Take a look at this cute video encouraging homeschoolers everywhere to enjoy ‘surviving’ homeschooling (Thanks Nan for the link!):

(I’m pretty sure my kids and I couldn’t survive public school for 6 hours every weekday – well, maybe we could survive, but not thrive as much as we do:-)

Posted under Homeschool Life

Have you tried setting New Year’s goals with your kids?

January 2, 2009

Have you picked up an ad lately and noticed a few more sleek runners, fancy exercise equipment, and weight loss products? I know it’s what I need after the fun abandon of treats, treats, and more treats over the holidays. ūüôā

Yep, it’s the New Year – the traditional time for a few new resolutions to do better this year. Everyone likes a fresh start.

You may have thought about what you’d like to do better this new year, but have you tried setting goals with your kids?

Sometimes we plan out our homeschooling in detail and leave out one of the most important details: our kids’ input. Sure, we may adjust it along the way based on how they do. But, if we help our children make and set homeschool/life goals, they’ll gain ownership and a sense of accomplishment when they reach them.

Besides, it’s a life skill that many of us wish we had learned earlier in life, so why not teach it to our kids, even the littles. And even better (like many homeschool topics), learn it together!

Here are some good starter ideas:

1. Get a kick start yourself by reading Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which teaches you how to write a mission statement for your life, how to develop a character ethic, and many other life and leadership skills.

And have your teen join you with his/her own copy of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens:

Both books are only about $10 each and are also available at most libraries. Get a copy of each and work through them together as a ‘learning about life’ unit.

2. Have you ever asked your kids, “What do you really want in life?” This easy-to-read book, What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! A Guide for Teens, is written for teens and includes lots of worksheets to help them define their own goals. And even better, are quotes from teens about how they achieved some really interesting goals.

3. Don’t have much time? Squeeze a simple goal-setting session here and there into your schedule:

  • Have your child pick a short-term goal that can be completed in under a week along with a long-term reason. Pick one yourself, so you can do this exercise together. Example: Exercise 20 minutes every day this week in order to be more healthy and relieve stress.
  • Write down each step and post it in a place you see everyday. Example: Post on the refrigerator: “Jump rope 5 minutes, weight lift 10 minutes, stretch 5 minutes.”
  • Mark progess. Example: Use a simple weekly calendar and put a check box in each day you exercised.
  • Sit down, discuss, and evaluate how you did. Adjust and make a new goal. Example: Maybe you forgot to exercise a couple of days, and think that picking a regular time and place to exercise may make it easier to remember. Add specifics to your new goal.
  • Add more ideas and concepts as you go: life mission statements, long-term goals, planning and scheduling techniques, brainstorming, etc., etc.
  • Enjoy setting a goal with your children and growing and improving together!

4. For more ideas, see some of these websites:

Do you set goals with your children? What works best for you? What are some of the goals you’ve had success setting together?

P.S. I appreciate those who have clicked on my links to Amazon and then gone shopping. I get a small commission every time a reader goes to Amazon from my site and shops. Thanks!!

Posted under Homeschool Life

Part 3: Our Vacation is a School Trip – Gym Classes

November 21, 2008

(This is the third in a series demonstrating how easy it is to homeschool by using everyday moments like these during our recent vacation as teaching opportunities)

My husband decided early on that he’d like the kids to attend half-day kindergarten, mostly for the fun of it.¬† And what do the kids say their favorite part of kindergarten is?¬† Well, besides recess, gym class is a close second.

We love our homeschool gym classes, too.  Here are some of our gym classes on vacation:

Jumping on our cousins trampoline until the sweat pours down our faces and we look like we just had showers.  Mom loves how we sleep at night.

When’s the last time you brushed up on your lasso skills in gym class?¬† Here we are at the Fielding Garr Ranch on Antelope Island located¬†in the middle of The Great Salt Lake.¬† Gym, history, bison biology, etc., etc.¬† It’s a homeschool bonanza!

And this is sadly as close as Chris came to riding a horse, cow, or bison ūüôĀ¬† But, at least it doesn’t buck!

Skateboard skills and helmet safety class with our instructor, Tim, the daredevil 3-year-old.

Look at those happy, sweaty faces!¬† The Classic Fun Center and it’s huge selection of bounce houses, climbing structures, and a skating rink kept the kids happy and breathless for hours.

Gym is my kids’ favorite class, too!

Also in this series:

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Posted under Field Trips, Homeschool Life

Part 1: Our Vacation is a School Trip – Science Classes

November 14, 2008

I’ve been a bit absent from the blog the last couple of weeks while our whole family went on a vacation an educational school field trip.¬† People always say how hard it must be to home school.¬† I keep insisting that it really isn’t.¬† We just have to open our eyes to all the¬†educational moments around us.¬† Here’s how our vacation was actually a school trip.¬† I thought you might enjoy a sample of our studies:

The Great Salt Lake – a science smorgasbord!

Tracks in the sand РCan you guess what animals made them? Answers at the end of the post.  (The first one is much smaller than the second ones)


We learned about¬†the brine shrimp in The Great Salt Lake and¬†how the cool¬†sand is made of oolites which are¬†“particle(s) with a shell of concentric layers of calcium carbonate deposited around a central core–usually a tiny piece of brine shrimp ‚Äúpoop‚ÄĚ or a mineral fragment.”

States of Matter Рliquid turning to solid salt crystals РA splash of water from The Great Salt Lake happened to land in a perfect teardrop and dry into this cool salt crystal shape.


Biology and Animal Husbandry Class¬†–¬†We watched¬†the Great Bison (“Buffalo”) Roundup on Antelope Island where they roam¬†free the rest of the year.¬† We watched the tagging, immunizations, and pregnancy tests that are part of the yearly health maintenance routine for these amazing animals.

Cranes, Pulleys, Shapes, Patterns, Blueprints, and more at the Salt Lake Children’s Museum.

And a final lesson in nature:¬† The wondrous autumn molting cattail!¬† Moms everywhere dread them and boys love them.¬† Here are two of my boys shreading them into a huge pile of fluffy ‘cotton’ to make a bike trail booby trap.¬† They loved watching me ride right through their trap, cotton flying everywhere.¬† Just remember to get the vacuum hose out before letting any ‘cotton’ covered clothes in the house.

(Answers:¬† The first track is an everyday dog print.¬† The second are bison tracks, something you’ll have a hard time finding nowadays)

See.  Science is everywhere and a lot more fun to experience than to learn about sitting in the house reading a book.  This lighthearted series about our great vacation school trip will include followup posts of how we learn art, gym, language arts, and the infamous socialization while having a fun vacation.  Enjoy!

How do you turn your everyday life into homeschool moments?  Please share with us in the comment section.  I appreciate all your input!

Also in this series:

  • Part 2:¬† Art Classes
  • Part 3:¬† Gym Classes
  • Part 4:¬† Language Arts
  • Part 5:¬† Socialization

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Posted under Field Trips, Homeschool Life, Science Curriculum