Homeschool Info and More

On this page you will find information on homeschooling and information on various curriculums available. One in particular will be Bright Minds - Critical Thinking Co ~ at home. You can also visit my website at the following addy: http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Managing your time

I think that if you homeschool and homeschool many like I do, time management is very, very important. In the beginning, long, long ago, when I first starting homeschooling I thought that I didn't need to schedule classes, chores, activities or anything else for that matter. I thought that I could just go day by day and see what the day brought. Well, that may work for some, but it didn't work in our household. When I first began I only had 2 children that I schooled and an infant. Well, now I have 5 children homeschooling with the youngest being only 3!!:) Times have definitely changed.

I couldn't do it in the beginning and I definitely would not be able to do it today if I didn't manage my time appropriately. I have found that if I schedule classes at a certain time that my children seem to get more done and are quite happy with their accomplishments. Of course, our schedule is not written in stone, but it helps to have something to follow on a daily basis. I also found that if I do not allow any television time during school hours, that they definitely appreciate it more, when they are able to watch it. I tape alot of educational shows for my youngest and that seems to keep him entertained if I have to let him watch while I teach the older ones. But for the most part, he enjoys his puzzles, coloring and play dough just as much.

I have mentored many through their adventures with homeschooling and the number one thing that I stress is time management and scheduling. This not only makes it easier for you as the teacher and them as the student but it is a valuable lesson for the latter years of schooling. My oldest who is a sophmore in high school, follows her schedule religiously. She knows what she is responsible for and is able to manage her time appropriately. It is very important when the children are involved in extra curricular activities as mine are or if they have part-time jobs like my oldest.

Now, don't get me wrong!! We can diverge from our schedules on given days to include field trips, but this is only done if they have kept up with their schooling and the trips coincide with what they are learning at the time. My kids love going to the library, even though we have enough books to open one in our home:) They love going to the zoo, the beach and the Museum of Science and Industry. I take advantage of their interests and make each trip an educational adventure. It has taken much time to develop our homeschool environment and it is ever changing, but with time management anything is possible:)

Many Blessings,
Daisy

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Home schooling Many Children at One Time

Some may think that home schooling more than one child is difficult, but all you need is some creativity and organizational skills. I have been schooling my children for many years and I have a child in just about every grade level. I have one who is in 10th grade, one in 8th/9th grade, one in 5th grade, another in 2nd grade and one in the Pre-school level. So, as you can tell, organization in our household is extremely important. I have found that if I schedule their courses in 1 to 1 ½ hour increments I am able to work with the younger ones and still be available for the older ones as well.

A typical day in our household starts with a 7:30 am wake up call. This allows my children to wake up, eat breakfast and complete their daily chores, before beginning their schoolwork at promptly 9:00am. They have 15-minute breaks between courses and we stop at noon for lunch and daily devotions. We start back up at 1pm and finish up for the day at 2pm. My older children may continue working if they have extra work to do, but they don’t seem to complain. This schedule is working wonderfully for us, but that doesn’t mean that it will work in your household. You must find what works better for you and your children. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t deviate it from it from time to time. For the most part we stick to our schedule unless we have a field trip or a day off.

We have tried many different schooling forms, such as relaxed home schooling, unit studies and strict seatwork schooling, but those have not worked well for our family. We have found that we have an ‘eclectic style’ of schooling and that seems to work for us. By eclectic, I mean, we use various sources for our schooling and don’t rely on one curriculum or unit study. For instance, my daughter loves to read Little House on the Praire books, so I incorporated those books into our schooling. We will be using The Praire Primer as a resource and learn not only reading, but science, history and cooking as well.

You may wonder how I keep my young ones entertained while teaching the older ones. Well, I have found that if I keep a box of ‘school toys’ that can only be used during schooling hours, that it keeps them entertained. That along with books, crayons, paints, and playdoh seems to help keep them occupied as well as learning at their pace. My little one loves ‘doing’ school because he has his own drawer with books, and school supplies. He is learning at a young age, to keep himself entertained and has also learned patience.

I am an example that it can be done. With a little patience and organization you too can home school more than one child and still keep your sanity.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What has happened to respect?

What has happened to respect? You know that little word that a song was made about, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me? I wonder what has happened to it? Doesn't anyone learn it anymore??

I remember while growing up in a strict Spanish household, how respect was taught and demanded of us. I recall my father telling me 'Look at me when I talk to you' and when I did, then he would say 'Don't you look at me like that'. Boy, was I confused!! But, I was taught that children must, must respect their elders. We were never to question or talk back in any form to our elders, even if we knew deep down inside that they were wrong.

I still to this day say, 'Yes and No Maam and Sir'. I don't have to ever be reminded to say it. I instinctly say it. That is what I am teaching my children. Since the time they were able to speak, they have been taught manners. But, most importantly they have been taught to respect. They are always reminded to say, Maam and Sir as well as please and thank you.

People look at me strangly when I correct my children and expect them to repeat Sir and Maam. But, it is so important to teach them while they are young. Why aren't more parents instilling these values?? I cringe when I hear a child demand something instead of asking politely. It drives me crazy when a child doesn't say 'please' or 'thank you'. Doesn't anyone else see it?? Sometimes I wonder if I am living in archaic times, when I am demanding the respect that we deserve. My parents demanded it, expected it and received it. Why is it so different today??

I refuse to stop teaching my children how to behave in public. I refuse to stop teaching them manners and most importantly RESPECT. Imagine how different our lives would be if this was instilled in all our children. For starters, we wouldn't have the problems that our teachers face today. By that I mean, when I child is rude and disrespectful and they are not able to do anything about it. Sad, isn't it!!

All I ask is where is the respect?? I can rest assured that my children have learned the meaning and are following our teachings and can only hope and pray that they do the same when they have children of their own.

Until next time....

Blessings,
Daisy

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Been Away

Sorry I haven't written in some time. It is just a little crazy here with my kiddos and their activities. This is the last few days of summer vacation before we buckle down to doing 'school'. It won't be easy getting the kids up early to start working on their assignments. Although we have a schedule written out, it is not written in stone. All the intentions are there, but if we should get involved in an exciting activity that will take precedent over all the other subjects.

We have what one would call and 'eclectic' style of homeschooling. As much as my husband would want them to sit at their desks and do schoolwork for 8 hours a day; that is just not how it works:) That's why I homeschool and not him:) I do have the subjects written on a daily basis and times with them, but that is more of a guide and not an actual schedule.

My kids are always learning even when we go to the grocery store. So, as long as I keep them learning and wondering about new and exciting things, I feel I am doing my job. That's why my kids are sooo excited to begin next week.

One book I highly recommend to every homeschooler or even those who have thought about homeschooling is 'The Joyful Homeschooler' by Mary Hood. She is an awesome person and author. I had the pleasure of meeting her and working with a few years ago and it was an amazing experience.

Another thing I would recommend for new homeschoolers and veteran homeschoolers is to get involved in other homeschool groups; either online or in your community. It feels good to be able to share experiences with other moms and the children all have something in common:)

This is all for now, I will be back soon:)

Many Blessings,
Daisy

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Just a little hope

Hello Again,

I hope you are enjoying my posts as much as I enjoy writing them. This time I wanted to give out a little hope for those who are feeling overwhelmed.

I have been homeschooling for 8 years and will be starting my 9th year this fall. I have 5 children and also help my husband out in the mornings in his office. At first I was feeling very overwhelmed. I was so used to being home with my children and schooling them while doing my household chores. I thought to myself, "How will I ever be competent in all of these tasks?" I was worried that I would not be able to teach my kids what they needed to learn as well as keeping my house spotless and still be able to help my husband in the office.

Well, I am living proof that it is possible to do all and still be somewhat sane:) We are very lucky because our office is attached to our home, so I am able to help out in the office and still be close to my children. The most important thing is to be organized. I know what you're thinking, ORGANIZED, What's that??? Well, it's not as hard as it seems. I have learned to prioritze and to delegate. Yes, delegate!!

My children have all been assigned daily chores that must be done, before starting their school assignments and still keep up with those chores throughout the day. For example, my oldest daughter sweeps/mops the floors and empties out the trash. And that's alot of trash for a family of 7:) My son, cleans the bathroom, my other daughter washes the dishes and empties out the dishwasher. My youngest daughter helps keep the classroom tidy and helps sort the laundry and my youngest son, helps pick up toys and other items left around the house. These chores are rotated monthly and all of them help me cook dinner. It has not been easy implementing these tasks, but we are finally on a system that works:) With the children helping out, it has made it possible for me to concentrate on their school assignments, work in the office, keep my house clean and still have quality time to spend with my family.

At first, I thought it would be impossible!! And I even contemplated putting them in school, but with my husbands help in scheduling and delegating chores to the children, it has worked wonderfully. Now, I'm not saying it is all lovely and peachy, but it is no longer crazy either:)

Sooooo, in conclusion, prioritizing and delegating will make your life easier. I am no longer the drill sargeant and my family is very happy:)

Hope this helps:) Until next time....

Blessings,
Daisy

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Scheduling classes for kids:)

Wow, I can't believe school will be starting soon!! In our home we will begin on August 14th, or at least that is the target date. Just this morning I began to write down all the subjects we will be covering.

I have 2 children taking high school courses and 2 taking elementary courses and one in pre-school. Sooo, as you can imagine, I need to schedule them in a very creative way. I must take into consideration that when the younger ones need me, the older ones will be able to work independently. With this in mind, I was able to devise a schedule. We will see how this works the first week and of course make changes when needed:)

My older two will have my undivided attention for the subjects like Communications, Spanish and Biology. They will be able to work on their own for Reading and Writing and work with their online teachers for their other courses, like Geometry, Algebra, US History and World History.

I will mainly work with the younger ones. They will work together but of course in subjects designed for their age and grade level. My younger ones will be conquering Math, Science, Communications, Logic, Writing and Reading. We will be working with Praire Primer for History and Home Economics and of course more Reading:) My girls love Little House on the Praire and this curriculum compliments it nicely:)

Soooo, as you can tell, I will have my hands full this year:) The greatest part is that they can't wait to start. They love getting new books and new school supplies. The newness never seems to wear out, because we have found books that they enjoy.

This year, I have incorporated books that they enjoy and will also be learning from. For example, my kids love Bright Minds - Mind Benders. These books are awesome!! They look like puzzles, which in a sense they are. But, they must use critical thinking and logic in order to solve these puzzles. Our whole family gets involved in these and it is great FUN!!!

If you have never heard of Mind Benders, take a peek at my site at http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS and try a sample page. You will see how much fun and challenging they are.

By the way, scheduling was not easy, but with The Homeschool Tracker, I was able to input all their courses and devise a schedule for each child. This was definitely easier than writing out a schedule for each child, considering I have 5!!:)

Well, until next time:)

Blessings,
Daisy