Terri's Take... » summer break /blog Living a Proverbs 31 Life in a Romans 1 World... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:30:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 3 Ways to Homeschool More Effectively /blog/2014/06/3-ways-to-homeschool-more-effectively/ /blog/2014/06/3-ways-to-homeschool-more-effectively/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 03:43:19 +0000 /blog/?p=1858 Part I – A Fresh Start

Are you tired after teaching for 9 months?

Do you long for a fresh start, to make next year better than this one coming to a close?

Would you rather just put your head in the sand and not think about it until August?

I hear ya! I have felt all of those emotions and then some. Yet today, our first day of summer break, I found myself thinking about next year, strategizing on areas I can improve, considering the ways to help one child excel in a certain subject and another child in a different subject.

How about you? Have you started thinking about how you can make next year better yet? Or are you still thinking about this possibility:

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

Great idea, huh? Well, maybe not!

How can we find the joy in the midst of the battle of wills? How can we continue to create lesson plans and teach subjects day in and day out when we are getting tired? Or when we are getting bored? Or when we are plain old fed up?

Over the years, I have received many interesting comments, such as…

  • “Why are you trying to shelter your kids from the world?” Um, duh!
  • “What about you? Don’t you need some time away from your kids?” Yes, but not all day. J
  • “You must be some kind of super woman because I think that I might go loony if I had to be around my kids all day.” I understand.
  • “Parents make the worst teachers.” Really?
  • “Your kids are going to turn out to be unsocialized misfits.” I thought that geekiness was “in” these days?
  • “What if your kids can’t get in to college?” Well, that’s a reasonable, if misguided, fear.

Getting bombarded with these kinds of comments can really make you second-guess yourself, can’t it? How many of you have second-guessed your decision to homeschool at some point along your journey? I have.

But the lowest point that I have reached in my homeschooling wasn’t because of these types of comments. My moment of true doubt and fear came when I found myself alone with no one to turn to or talk to when I reached my maximum capacity.

It happened like this…

I had been teaching my kids at home for 11 years (this was about 5 years ago). My oldest child had just finished her sophomore year of high school. At that time, I also had an 8th grader, a 4th grader, a 3rd grader and a kindergartener. I also had a 3 yo.

I should have felt well established, confident and secure in my decision to continue, right? But I didn’t.

I looked around and realized that I was the only one left of my peer group still homeschooling. We had quite a crowd of friends homeschooling while the kids were younger. We swapped subjects and children with each other. We formed a co-op together. We took our kids to the same extra-curricular activities, field trips and events.

One by one, these families decided not to continue to homeschool. There were many reasons, but most of them boiled down to these two:

  1. 1. The parents didn’t feel confident to teach the higher grades.
  2. 2. The parents were tired and burnt out.

Our co-op could no longer continue because the number of homeschooling families plummeted. I found myself at a crisis point. My kids were feeling lonely and isolated. I was feeling overtaxed with 5 kids now to teach ranging from high school to kindergarten and a busy 3 year old to keep out of trouble.

We had been living this lifestyle for so long and yet I suddenly felt unable to go on.

I had reached a new decision point in my life. I could follow the crowd, or I could start fresh, stay strong and finish well. I chose the second option and I would like to share with you how I did it.

 anne-of-green-gables (1)

“Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it,” Anne Shirley of Green Gables.

Isn’t it great that we get to start fresh? We can make a brand new fresh start at the beginning of the school year. But you know, we can also start fresh each week, each day. We always have an opportunity for a fresh start.

Thank goodness, right?

Here are some ways to make a fresh start when you need one:

  1. 1. Take a break. You don’t want to reward stubborn behavior, but butting heads isn’t the solution either. Sometimes we all need a break from the daily grind. Some ways you can take a break would be:
    • field trip,
    • spring cleaning,
    • plant the garden,
    • science museum,
    • reading day,
    • serve a widow,
    • organize stuff for a garage sale,
    • go to the library, go to the park, etc.
  2. 2. Change it up! Try something new. Guess what? You are not married to your curriculum. There is really only one thing you are married to – your spouse. Try something different and see if it helps. Maybe the curriculum you are using isn’t fitting the way your child learns. Try something different. You don’t’ have to spend a lot of money on experimentation.
  3. 3. Take a vacation, especially if the weather is wonderful.
    • We do take a summer vacation because there is no place more glorious than the Pacific Northwest in summertime (well, that’s my opinion).
    • But we also take snow days for sledding and snowboarding;
    • Spring and fall days for festivals, hiking, biking and swimming.
    • We rarely take days off school on school holidays, such as Presidents Day, etc. We just keep plugging along.

Now, I probably made it sound like you should rarely have regular school days, with regular school subjects and regular school assignments. Actually, no, this couldn’t be further from the truth – you should have a schedule and a routine (it’s good for everyone) – but these ideas are for you to fall back on when you are feeling stressed and burnt out.

Because the truth is that the #1 reason that homeschooling families stop homeschooling is because the mom is fried. It’s not because of a job loss, health problems, aging parents or other external reasons. These can often be overcome by sheer determination and creativity. But the homeschool mom who is burnt out does not run the race like she wants to or the way that she set out to. These ideas that I have presented are to help you when feel a weight of stress pressing down on you or when you start to feel quick-tempered, sad, annoyed, confused.

Stay posted for tomorrow’s post on how to Stay Strong so that you are less likely to reach burn out stage to begin with! Do you need any help getting back on track? Check out Homeschooling ABCs and Upper Level Homeschool for the encouragement and equipping you need to homeschool for success.

Question: What are some ways that you start fresh when you need a “do-over”?

]]>
/blog/2014/06/3-ways-to-homeschool-more-effectively/feed/ 12
Road Trips Should Be Fun /blog/2014/05/road-trips-should-be-fun/ /blog/2014/05/road-trips-should-be-fun/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 23:16:07 +0000 /blog/?p=1842 Are you wrapping up your school year or homeschooling through the summer? Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, we take a summer break to enjoy the glorious weather. There is no place lovelier than Oregon in summer. Well, that’s what we think anyway.

As an aside, when we lived in Texas, we schooled though the summer and took longer breaks during the spring and fall when it was more fun to go outside.

Anyway, we are thinking through our summer plans and the trips that we will take. We’ve got two trips up to Washington and a trip down to California planned. Plus, we’ll go camping at least once or twice.

In any case, it looks like we’ll be spending some time in the car. We don’t mind the kids watching a movie or two, but prefer that they spend the majority of their time in the car reading good books or playing games.

How about you? Do you have any road trips planned?

You may just need some great books and activities for all that time that you will be trapped (I mean, blessed!) with your kids in the car. Even a 2-3 hour car ride can get awfully long if you do not plan some activities or bring some good books for the trip. We have hand-picked our favorite KQ resources to make the time you spend in a small, crowded space for long periods of time… well, bearable!

In fact, there are only a couple days left to get some great resources for up to 50% off. You can check it all out here:

road-trip-sale

Perhaps you are planning now for the 2014/2015 school year already? Good for you! You can never plan too early. If you are planning / hoping to include any of these resources – What Really Happened, A Child’s Geography, Presidential Scrapbook, Star-Spangled State Book and more – this is the time to stock up! Many of these titles will not be discounted below retail prices again this year. Prices discounted from 25-50% off. Enough said… the prudent shopper will know what to do.

Here is the link to the sale again:

/Road-Trip-Sale.html

Sale continues through Monday, May 19th at midnight. If you have any questions or need any assistance, write to helpdesk@kqpublishing.net.

Bon voyage and may the wind be ever at your back!

Question: What are your best tips for making family memories on a road trip?

]]>
/blog/2014/05/road-trips-should-be-fun/feed/ 0
Kickin’ it to the Finish Line /blog/2014/05/kickin-it-to-the-finish-line/ /blog/2014/05/kickin-it-to-the-finish-line/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 19:17:44 +0000 /blog/?p=1828 We’re nearly there! Pat yourself on the back for reaching the finish line! You are a superstar – a champ! Most homeschooling parents like to take a summer break of some length even if it does not last a full 3 months. And we’re so close, we can almost touch it. But with the sun shining brightly outside and the weather warming up, it can be difficult to stay focused and finish the school year strong.

And speaking of summer, check out our Road Trip Sale if you are planning to take one this summer!

finish-race2

Here are 3 ideas to add some “kick” as you approach the finish line:

1. Change it up! Do something new to keep interest high as you compete for your kids’ attention. We asked our friends on Facebook what they do to regain their children’s attention or to stop fighting for it. Here are their ideas:

  • Go outside and run!
  • Turn up the music and dance!
  • Read aloud a chapter from an engrossing book
  • Do a unit study (like the free New Zealand one here)
  • Take a hike in the woods and collect something
  • Do push-ups or laps
  • Go to the park
  • Go to the library
  • 10 minutes on the trampoline
  • Play a board game
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Do an art project
  • Watch educational videos
  • Play educational computer games
  • Play Globalmania

2. Look Up! If you have been homeschooling your kids since August or September, then you might have your head down with your shoulder to the wheel. Sometimes we are just putting one foot in front of the other, homeschooling by rote, just to get by. Sometimes that is all we can do. But I encourage you to take a deep breath and look up!

Look into the faces of your children and truly see them. Take a hard look at your schedule and determine if it needs tweaking for your final weeks of school to make it work better for you (it’s okay to lighten it up). Open your eyes to the opportunities around you and make the most of them. Sometimes we are in so much of a hurry or so determined to accomplish something, that we lose the joy. Don’t lose the joy!

3. Throw an End-of-the-Year Party! We like to throw historical feasts 2-3 times a year, with one to finish up the school year. We dress in costume, cook period appropriate dishes and follow the social customs of the day. On our final day of school, we will also give out evaluations for our students up through 8th grade and updated transcripts with grades for our high school students. It is a fun night of recognition and makes for very fond memories. These memories last throughout the summer so that the idea of starting back to school is pleasant and doesn’t produce groans from the kids.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

feasts_collage

Question: What are you doing to finish this year strong?

]]>
/blog/2014/05/kickin-it-to-the-finish-line/feed/ 95
Don’t EVEN say the “B” word… /blog/2013/06/dont-even-say-the-b-word/ /blog/2013/06/dont-even-say-the-b-word/#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2013 17:48:16 +0000 /blog/?p=1354 Tell me… is this something you can relate to? For 9-10 months out of each year, you schedule lessons, activities, crafts, field-trips and more for your children. Then you decide that it is time for a much-needed summer break. After about 2 days of unscheduled lazy summer days playing under a golden sun, your child waltzes up to you and says, “I’m bored” with a huge sigh of dissatisfaction.

Your first response? Well, let’s not say it and instead look to some solutions. My mom always said, “If I hear the word ‘bored’ come out of your mouth, I will find something for you to do – chores!” And strangely, my kids will often hear that coming from my mouth too. And frankly, it probably always will. But, we also have a nice stack of 3×5 activity cards that the children can consult first. And now, we have this too!

Bored

Someone posted this great idea on Facebook (which we shared on our page too – www.facebook.com/KnowledgeQuest). I think this is a great reminder for our children that there are certain things to consider before declaring boredom. What do you think?

Question: Should kids have unlimited amounts of unstructured time? How much is too much?

If you do not see a comment box below, click the title of this blog post and scroll to the bottom to enter your comments!

]]>
/blog/2013/06/dont-even-say-the-b-word/feed/ 6