What are Your Homeschool Year Goals?

Goals and Purpose in Homeschooling

 

The last few years one of the most helpful things BEFORE starting our homeschool year has been to have a written plan for our year. It isn’t anything elaborate, just a few short paragraphs to serve as a visual reminder of the goals for our family during our homeschool time.

Last year I shared a post on Setting Homeschool Goals and Knowing Your Purpose that went into a lot more detail (in case you are interested in reading it – wink).

This week I’ll be praying, planning, and working on our 2014-15 goals and vision and wanted to share a few things that I’ll be considering in the process.

  • Why are we homeschooling? (Sometimes you just need to remind yourself of the core reasons you are doing this – because there are TOUGH days that you may want to give up. Ask me how I know.)
  • What do we want our children to accomplish? Think of academics, behavior, books to read, etc… Measurable goals are important here (not ones you really can’t determine easily).
  • What are my goals as a mom and teacher? Are there any areas to focus on specifically? Patience (cough.cough)?

One of my biggest struggles in general as a mom and as my children’s teacher is patience (it is so easy to get frustrated with the endless repetitive questions and what feels like constant arguing between siblings). There are days that I just want to throw in the proverbial homeschool towel and call it done. Just keeping it honest.

And in today’s age of ‘we must be connected 24/7 to some sort of technical device’, it can be very hard to disconnect and remember to CONNECT in real life. Maybe I get busy taking pictures or get distracted with a phone call. My mom seems to call every single day at the same time – and she knows we are doing school. This year, my phone is going to have a ‘quiet time’ during our school hours. Apps that can be distracting – well, they will take a hiatus from my phone as well.

Another area that I really want to continue in this year are the paperwork and tea times with the girls (hot cocoa for the boys!). Those were such GREAT connection time with the kids last year, and they also allowed us to make sure we were on the same page with assignments. Truthfully, when we were consistent with them, our relationships were so much smoother and frustration levels were way down.

What areas do you struggle? Maybe you would like to be more accountable in: starting school by _____ time or finishing by ______ time. Create a list for yourself too and have a friend or your spouse hold you accountable in those areas.

Evaluate Your Goals and Plans Regularly.

Just remember, there are going to be things that will require tweaking during the year. A good rule of thumb is to sit down every 6 to 8 weeks and review your progress for the year and evaluate how you are doing. Are your kids reaching the goals you set? Are you following along with the goals you set for yourself? .

There will be tough days during your year (ask me how I know). While it may take some time and planning on the front end, having your goals and plans written down ahead of time will only help you and strengthen your resolve on those tough days. Homeschooling is an amazing blessing and responsibility – and you CAN do it! Take some time today to remind yourself why you first started – or why you want to begin!

Homeschool Goals and Purpose Printables

Don’t forget to download a FREE copy of the Homeschool Goals and Vision printable. But before you go, I have a question for you!!

 

We all have different reasons for homeschooling our children, but what is goal that you want to set for yourself the rest of this school year? What one thing would you like to see your children accomplish? Leave a comment today and chime in {and then let’s encourage each other in those goals}!

Homeschool Basics

This post is a part of the Homeschool Basics series. Be sure to read the other posts if you are just joining in. For the record, I am not an expert. I’m a homeschool mom who is sharing what she’s learned so far along the way with her own family.

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Color Coding Dot Trick (Homeschool Sanity Saver #1,486)

Color Coding Markers Homeschool Sanity Tip



Call me crazy, but each of our kids are color coded. It’s something we started way back when the kids were younger and sippy cups were running rampant through the house. Back then it was a sanity saver for me to know which cup belonged to which kiddo. Or be able to spot which milk cup was missing from the line up before I found a sour surprise weeks later.

(Sad, but true.)

The color coding has since carried over into many areas of our lives including school supplies and there’s now a little something we’ve done every year for at least the past five years – the dot trick.

Color Coding Markers Sanity Tip-1

Each of our kids has their own set of markers, colored pencils, and crayons. Usually the crayons stay in the boxes in a small bin above their desks, but those markers tend to jump out of the bins all by themselves and mysteriously roll onto the floor. And then they don’t belong to anybody. (Does ‘Anybody’ or ‘Not Me’ live at your house too??).

Color Coding Markers Sanity Tip-4

Before the school year starts, I use a sharpie to color code the bottom of our markers, scissors, pencils (pink, purple, blue, and green are our coding colors) – basically anything that might be tempted to up and walk off. That way, when the items are left out and nobody is willing to claim them, it is SIMPLE to figure out who it belongs to – and quickly. No more searching to see what color is missing from what bin. Sorting markers is easy. All we have to do is look at the bottom of the marker and voila! Problem solved. (This has also been a great trick for labeling co-op supplies too.)

And that, dear friends, is another way my sanity stays intact. Mildly OCD’ish, yes, but sanity is important to this mom and every little bit helps!

What sanity saver do you recommend?

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2014 Homeschool Curriculum Choices for Grades 2, 4, 6, and 8

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014



This year (our tenth year homeschooling – woot!) we’re adding a few new pieces to our homeschool curriculum roundup and venturing into the world of high school credits. Gah!

It was a bit intimidating at first, but after putting together an overall plan for high school,  it was a bit easier. Several of our friends are also venturing into the homeschool high school realm, so that helps even more! We’ll be participating in a small-scale co-op this year for two of our high school credits which will make several of the subjects a LOT of fun.

New to Homeschooling?

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.


Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

Here’s a look at the overall homeschool curriculum choices for this homeschool year. This year our kids are working on 8th (Laurianna), 6th (McKenna), 4th (Zachary), and 2nd (Kaleb). Our 8th grader will be working on 5-6 high school credits.  Something may have been left off the list despite my ridiculous list making, so it’s entirely possible that this list will be edited during the year.

Bible

History

Our history text will be our core focus for the year and we will be working on Mystery of History 4 as a group (Early American History to Modern Times). As they fit in, we’ll add lessons from Story of the World 4. Depending on the levels of the kids, they will also use the following resources. The bulk of our resources are from Bright Ideas Press with a few from Amazon:

Math

Science

2014-homeschool-curriculum.png

Language Arts

We will  be tracking books using our Reading Log and writing reports using this Book Report Form.  We will also use All About Homophones with everyone during the year.

Reading

  • 8th grade: based on literature class
  • 6th grade: books to go along with history text as well as suggestions from Reading Roadmaps possibly some lapbooks to go along as well
  • 4th grade: All About Reading Level 4 (when released) and various historical period reading
  • 2nd grade: All About Reading Level 2 and misc. readers based on reading level (because my bookshelves are busting with readers that are begging to be read!

Handwriting

Art

Electives for All Grades

Our kids will be participating in co-op again this year where they will have PE in addition to other classes at their grade level (still to be determined).

 

Misc High School Credits

Laurianna  will be working on 6 high school credits this year. We are also a part of a small co-op and will be combining a literature class and science labs with them. In addition to her math, language, and science credits, she will work on the following subjects/credits:

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Electives

  • Greek Myths from Memoria Press (1/2 credit)
  • Co-op: PE, art, mini-society

Mom’s Curriculum & Additional Helps

In addition to a lovely collection of teacher’s manuals that go along with all of the kid’s books, here are a few things that I have on hand to keep me organized:

Additional Resources: Unfamiliar with some of the curriculum choices above? Follow the links below to learn more about the companies and resources:

Curriculum Choices from Years Past…

If you’d like to see what curriculum we’ve used in years past, click on one of the posts below. Grade levels taught each year are listed with the posts.

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Quick Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

There are so many times when we get ‘stuck’ in the ‘What are we going to use?’ rut for homeschool curriculum. Choices abound and can be overwhelming!

Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum



Next week I’ll be sharing what our family will be using for the 2014-2015 school year (you can see our choices from last year here), but here are five tips for helping you make homeschool curriculum choices (and they are things that I have to remember every year!).

1. Your homeschool doesn’t need to look like another family’s school.

Just because your best friend is using something and has her school time set up in a specific way doesn’t mean that yours needs to mirror everything just so. You and your family are unique! (And that is a good thing).

The opportunity to homeschool our kids is a blessing and it can be so tempting to try to be just like another family and put expectations on ourselves and our kids that really aren’t appropriate. Please remember that your family may have different priorities, you may be in a different season of life (young kids vs. older children), and you may be facing different parenting challenges.

Your quickest way to burnout and making some bad decisions is comparing yourself or your kids to others. Focus on what is important – your family and what is best for them! (Trust me on this!)

2. Consider what you as a parent need, just as much as you consider what you are getting for your children!

While it is important to consider your child’s learning style and your teaching style, sometimes you may be in a season of life where you need all the help you can get! Maybe that means looking at a curriculum that requires little planning on your part. It’s okay to consider something that will make life easier for you!! There have been times in our family life that life was crazy (lack of sleep, a move, etc…) – take it all into consideration before making your final choices!

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you buy!

Whether it be asking another homeschool mom, searching blog reviews, getting a hands-on look at what you are considering at a homeschool convention, or calling and talking to a company in person. Keep in mind that what works for one family may not work for yours, but you can do research before you make a commitment.

It’s also great to know the guarantee policy of a company as well. There are several companies (such as All About Learning Press) that offer a one year money back guarantee – that can be a great help when you are looking to buy!

4. Stick to your budget.

I know – not a fun word, but keep in mind that just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean that it’s the best (or only) thing that will work. You may be able to find the same curriculum used, borrow it from a friend or the library, or find an alternative to that piece you have your eye on.

It is SO easy to get carried away (trust me, I know). Put together a rough idea of what you need, set some $$ limits and see what you can do. If you have a limited budget, be sure to read How to Homeschool on a Limited Budget for some great tips!

5. Ask your kids what they would like. 

Maybe it’s just my kids, but they seem to have opinions on what they like and don’t like. Granted, they can’t do whatever they would like all the time, but some of our best times together have been focused on topics that were interesting to them.

With our oldest embarking on her high school journey, we sat down together and looked at programs that she would enjoy too. We talked about things that she wanted to be involved in, compared programs together, and looked at what has (and hasn’t) worked in years past. Sometimes we’ve been able to incorporate what they wanted into our plans, and other times we’ve had good discussions on how we can adapt something we’re using. Including older kids in the process is so important – especially as they become more independent in their learning.

 

Other Helps for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum


How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

How to Homeschool Children with Special Needs

When curriculum isn't working - www.homeschoolcreations.net

Looking for some additional helps in choosing homeschool curriculum? These posts may offer some additional tips for you:

What one tip would you offer other families when choosing curriculum pieces? Leave a comment below and chime in with your thoughts.

Homeschool Basics

This post is a part of the Homeschool Basics series. Be sure to read the other posts if you are just joining in. For the record, I am not an expert. I’m a homeschool mom who is sharing what she’s learned so far along the way with her own family.

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June Pocket Chart Calendar Pieces – FREE Printable

June pocket chart calendar pieces from homeschoolcreations.net



Summer may be right around the corner, but these cute calendar pieces will keep the learning going!

The June pocket chart calendar pieces have three different colored number cards and pictures. Use the different colored number cards to try different pattern sequences: an ABC pattern, ABAB pattern, AABB pattern and other patterns you can make up together. Here’s an example of different patterns using the cards from a past set to give you a few ideas.

pattern example The set includes a calendar header for the month of June as well. Time to get your pocket charts and laminators ready and start printing the June pocket chart calendar pieces. {Psst —> Here are some cheaper laminating pouches we use and LOVE!}

June header

——> Download the June Calendar Pieces HERE <——

Additional Calendar Helps

Here are a few additional printables and helps for you all, including the pocket chart that we use, laminating tips, and additional printables you may like:

Each month I’m offering a *new* set to download, but you can get the ENTIRE set of Pocket Chart Calendar Numbers here! Keep up with the newest posts and subscribe by RSS or e-mail to be the first to know of other free printables!

Coupon Codes and Companies to Thank

We really appreciate the following companies – be sure to stop by their sites and check them out.

Find out more about the 2014 Homeschool Conventions

The final 2014 Teach Them Diligently Conventions will be in Dallas. Our entire family attended in D.C. this past May, and we SO enjoyed it! The workshops, sessions, and children’s programs are fabulous! Use coupon code HSCREATIONS to save $7!!. Stay tuned for more information on the 2015 locations and speakers (at this point I’m hoping to join them again)!

Homeschool High School Science Tutorials

Red Wagon Tutorials offers upper level science help for homeschool families worldwide.  They specialize in downloadable, online live-feed, and online recorded science classes as well as digital e-Notebooks and Flash Drive presentations. Learn more about their 2014-2015 programs.
ConLitHistoryNeverKnew450x450_zps8288a06d Squilt Music Appreciation Young Living Essential Oils 2

Apologia has a brand new Constitutional Literacy DVD class for high school – and truthfully it is one that adults will benefit from as well. The class is taught by Michael Farris of HSLDA and is a full high school credit! Visit their site to find out more!

No More Lemonade – Most teachers’ view of entrepreneurship can be summed up in a few short sentences. If it’s difficult, make it impossible. If it’s complex, pretend it’s not. And if you think you understand it, you probably don’t. Learn entrepreneurship the right way – experience it.

SQUILT (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time) is a music appreciation curriculum for preschool through middle school that is easy to teach and implement for the parent with limited or NO musical knowledge. Use code HSCREATIONS at checkout to receive 25% off any volume and get your fine arts classes ready for the upcoming year!

This past year has seen a lot of changes in our home thanks to Young Living Essential Oils. We’ve changed from many of our over-the-counter medications and instead found natural remedies that have worked amazingly. Our favorite oils are peppermint, lavender, peace and calming, thieves, and lemon – all in the everyday oils collection.If you’d like to find out more, feel free to email me (I’d love to talk with you) or learn more here.

Reader’s Favorite Posts from May 2014

Curious to see what others have been reading this past month? Below is a list of the ten most visited posts for the month of May 2014:

  1. Organizing School Paperwork
  2. Alphabet Flashcards and Wall Posters
  3. Daily Calendar Notebook Printables

PDF Printing Problems

Having trouble downloading or printing this file? Be sure to check out the post on PDF Download Problems for tips and tricks on getting the files to download properly. The solution is usually something simple and quick!

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