How to Homeschool Multiple Children

The question of how to homeschool multiple children is one of the top questions I get when I work with homeschooling families. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why homeschooling moms book consulting appointments with me.

When I was an educator working in the elementary brick and mortar classrooms, I taught in what we called then multi-age classrooms. I had kindergarten, first and second graders together for several years and then third, fourth and fifth graders after that. As a passionate educator who had a wonderful and diverse education in the art and science of educating, teaching in multi-age classrooms was a dream.

When I decided to homeschool my own children, I followed what I knew worked in my classrooms, and I even ran a small cottage school out of my home for a while consisting of students of multiple ages. These days were some of my girls’ fondest homeschool memories.

Here are some things that I learned along the way that can help you homeschool multiple children in your own homeschool. We’ll start with the very important and less “academic” things. (more…)

Atlas of Ocean Adventures

Atlas of Ocean ADventures
Who doesn’t love ocean adventures during the summer?

Maybe you school through the summer and need some tips for tacking those tricky home ed days. If you can get away, a beach trip can be refreshing to your soul and can rejuvenate your homeschool like nothing else!

Before you hit the road, be sure to look at the atlas and decide what types of sea creatures you want to find when you get there! Also, be sure to check out these10 hacks for family fun at the beach..

With all of the restrictions this year, maybe you won’t be getting to the beach this year. No worries!  Your kids can still meet some of nature’s most fantastic ocean creatures in this beautifully illustrated exploration of the sea! This book is appropriate for all age levels.

There are over 30 scenes to explore and your kids will enjoy learning about the sea creatures through detailed illustrations in this beautiful Atlas. Maybe you can incorporate this into your Ocean Life unit study?

Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are some FREE ocean-themed printables to go along with your unit study!

Sharks Notebooking Pages

Ocean Zones Worksheets

Ocean Animals Mini Puzzle Unit 

All About Oceans Unit Study

Book Review and Craft: Little Narwhal’s Day

Ocean Fill-In Puzzle

 

Benefits of Florida Online Homeschool Evaluations

The Benefits of Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations – at a Distance!

Just this week I had several homeschooling moms ask me why I no longer portfolio evaluations in person.  I did write about this on the old blog, and I think it deserves a place here in our new(er) space as well.  Before I answer though, let me just say that I really would love to meet you, but I’d rather talk to you via Zoom or phone. 🙂 Let me explain why. 

Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert? 

There has been a lot of talk on social media about personality types: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts too. I have spent some time pondering this myself and I do find personality/learning style quizzes fun and interesting. I am most definitely an introvert. When I have too many places to have to be, too many people to talk to, and too many outside-the-home commitments, it can take me days to recover my energy. This is how introverts are: they recharge by being alone and quiet. 

Because I am a homeschooling mom, I don’t get much alone time, but I can go outside and work in my garden, or go hang out in the barn with my horses for a bit.  I need this. Fortunately, my family understands and lucky for me, my girls are also introverts so we “get” each other. Yet, despite not necessarily getting “energized” by our social activities, we trudge on and go to classes, meet with friends and live a joyful, full life.  I couldn’t imagine living in a household full of extroverts! 

I work from home as well, both as a homeschool consultant and evaluator, curriculum creator, and as a part-time teacher.  Both of these provide me with joy and satisfaction, but I can get drained of energy. Can you relate?

The Need for Change

I began doing homeschool evaluations and consulting in 2007.  My clients and I would meet in local coffee shops.  Since the bulk of my evaluation requests come in during the late spring and summer months, I found myself spending all of my Saturdays and three to four nights a week away from my family. They started to feel the effects of my absence.  My girls were littler then and I missed them!  That was when I decided to change the way I did things.  

Most of my consulting work was done long-distance anyway, and I had many clients from other parts of Florida and other states already doing distance-evaluations by emailing or snail-mailing me work samples, so I decided to ask my local clients to do their evaluations online too.  I knew that this would make it easier for me, but I never expected that most of my clients actually preferred doing their evaluations this way as well.  Maybe they are all fellow introverts! 😉 Seriously, though; the process is just so much more convenient and thorough for everyone involved. 

Do Your Homeschool Portfolio Evaluation From Anywhere!

 
Online or distance-evaluations are super easy. You can upload work samples whenever you want to, and email them to me ahead of time.  Of course, this is not the only way to show me the work that your students have done.  Over the years I have had families share their work in these ways:

* Create a blog (I love these and many of my unschooling families do this.)
* Create a private Facebook page (Love this too!)
* Create a Youtube channel (some of my families who do this are amazing and I love to see and hear the students I am evaluating)
* Scan and email samples of work
* Snail-mail work samples to me

Florida asks evaluators to have a conversation with the student as well, and the way we fulfill this requirement is via a short phone chat, or Skype session. After that, the time is YOURS for whatever you’d like to discuss. Read more about how I conduct evaluations here.

Evaluation and Consultation In One

A big perk of scheduling a portfolio evaluation with me is that you are able to ask me any questions you want to during our phone session.  Yes, the phone session is for the student; however, that time is for you as well.  One of the benefits of doing a distance-evaluation with me is that you can decide what you’d like to discuss with me before-hand and give me a heads up about it so that I can research and ponder before hand.  This is the best way to use our time together, and is the way that I have been doing consulting sessions since the beginning. Another benefit to you if you choose me as your evaluator, is that I will answer any questions you have via email all year long.  If you have more in-depth questions about a particular topic such as curriculum choices, learning styles, etc. then we can schedule a consult; however, many questions can be answered via email. 

Book Your Appointment!

Are you ready to book your appointment!  Just click here for my appointment scheduler, and choose the time that works best for you and your family.  I look forward to talking with you! Read my testimonials page to see a sampling of what some of my other families have said about working with me! 

 

Homeschooling Away from Family: Preschool Addition

homeschooling away from family: preschool editionWelcome Guest Blogger Alyssa Leanne Riggan from teachingwithfaith.com!

I am new to homeschooling (compared to others) and have been homeschooling a preschooler for the last two years. I started homeschooling my daughter when she was almost 2 years old and have enjoyed every minute of it!

To better understand how we homeschool away from family, I first need to provide some background of our family as well as why we homeschool.

When You’re Far From Family Support

When I was in high school, I wanted to go to school away from my home state of Texas because well I kinda wanted an adventure and it was hot in Texas! So I moved to North Caroline for college. This is where I met my husband. My husband and I met back in college, but did not start dating until after college. While we were dating, he talked me into going back to school to get my Masters in Education with a focus in Early Childhood Education. He was on track to get his PhD and wanted to become a professor. This path though can be very tough so he took a Post Doc position where he could and we moved to Maryland where we had our two children. Even though we found a great community there, we moved again when my husband got a great position as a tenure track Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska. We moved to our current house when our second child was only 2 months old! I have not lived near my family for about 14 years. I have learned how to make my home wherever I ended up!

We Discovered That Homeschoolers Were “Normal” 

Now a small backstory into why we homeschool in general. Our first reason we homeschool is politics. When we lived in Maryland we were not too far from DC and I found that the school systems in the area were very political. (more…)

How to Transition from School to Home

How to transition from school to home Many more people every year are taking the plunge into the world of homeschooling. The transition from school to homeschool can sometimes be seamless, but oftentimes there can be some bumps along the way. Here are a few tips to help ease that transition.

Homeschooling is Not School at Home

Making the transition from school to homeschooling can be difficult because the idea of “school” has been so consistent for those who have had kids in traditional schooling. You may ask, How will I fill all the time we’ll have? or How will I teach x,y,z subject?  There are many ways to school at home, but in my experience as a homeschool coach for over a decade is that the least productive way, and the way to suck the joy out of learning, is to try to replicate traditional school at home.

Remembering that, here are some things you can do today:

  • Try to be relaxed about your schedule. I often recommend that my clients think of their daily routine as more of a rhythm than a schedule.
  • Know that it can take some time to find your perfect rhythm: one that works best for both you and your kids. No two homeschooling family’s day looks the same.
  • Tailor your classes and your outings to fit your child’s interests. I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. This is how you make homeschooling a joy for your whole family.

Take Some Time to Relax

Chances are, you are pulling your child out of a traditional school setting because there was some negative experience attached to traditional schooling. This is quite common among the clients that I work with. Perhaps your child has special needs that were not being met, or maybe your child was among the alarmingly growing number of kids who are bullied in school. No matter the reason, it is always good to be mindful of your child’s individual transitional needs.

Many people use the term “deschooling.” I am not a big fan of this, although I know the meaning behind it. Sometimes traditional schooling causes such a negative imprint on our children that it is hard to shake. Jumping from a poor situation right into trying to “do school” at home just won’t work. Allow yourself and your children some breathing space.

Here are some ideas for what to do while you’re allowing your child that space:

  • Read aloud to your children – it doesn’t matter what age they are!
  • Watch documentaries on your child’s favorite subject
  • Make crafts, paint, dance, make music
  • Go to the theater, symphony, museum – or take virtual tours online
  • Get outdoors!

Involve Your Children

As an educator for over two decades, I know that involving children in their own schooling helps them to take ownership, which in turn positively affects learning outcomes and children’s attitudes toward learning. Schooling should not be something that is “done” to our kids, but rather, something that our kids choose.

  • Here are some ways to involve your kids in the transition from school to homeschool:
  • Ask your children what they’d like to study – a novel idea for some kids!
  • Sit down with them and make lesson plans together. Decide on ways in which you can really dive into that interest beyond sitting at a table and looking at a book or filling out a worksheet.
  • Have your child work on a long-term project. Long-term projects are great for teaching children not only about the subject matter involved, but also are great ways to teach time management and planning. Choose one long-term project to work on that semester, half-year or year. Then let your child plan it, implement the strategy and see it to fruition.

Discover Your Homeschool Style

Research homeschool methods and discover your unique homeschool style. Research curriculum. Join homeschool groups online and in person. Ask your friends who homeschool to share with you what they do, but remember: there are many paths to a successful homeschool.

I invite you to join my Your Homeschool Coach Facebook group. I have worked with hundreds of homeschool families from around the country and have helped many successfully and peacefully transition from school to homeschooling (and vice versa.) I’d love to work with you!

I offer group coaching for your homeschool life as well as one-on-one coaching and much more. If you are in Florida, I run a private umbrella school, Life Learning Academy. I create courses for homeschooling parents and homeschooled kids here. 

No matter the reason for making the transition at this time, I’d like you to above all else, relax and enjoy this extra time with your children!

Soul Care For the Homeschool Mom

take courage soul care for the homeschool mom

Dear Homeschool Mom, You’re Worth It!

So many moms that I talk to somehow feel that if they take time for themselves, that they are cheating their children. This thinking is all wrong. There have been lots of memes in the arena about self care and what that should look like.

I disagree with many of the things that I hear and read about self-care for moms. Here’s what I do agree with: You’re worth it! I’m worth it! We’re all worth it! Give yourself the gift of soul care this year.

Reframe It

I prefer the term “soul care” to “self care.” Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe that self care is a bad thing: no! I do think that sometimes we can lump just about everything into the “self care basket” and sometimes these things really shouldn’t be there. Do you know what I mean?

Things like allowing our kids to skip too many days of math just because our “selves” can’t take it. (Ask me how I know about this one.) Or, things like spending money on things when we promised ourselves and our families that we’d really try to stick to the budget this month. I’m sure you can come up with many more examples. But what is soul care?

Soul Care Is Different

Soul care is different. Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself better. Hear that again: Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself better.

Do you see what word is missing there? I didn’t say “Soul care is taking time for yourself in order to make yourself feel better.”

There are thousands of things that we can do to help us temporarily feel better. There are fewer things that we can do that can help us be better.

Soul Care Makes Us Better

Spending time in quiet prayer and meditation is soul care. Soul care can include things that make us feel better, for sure! However, it goes deeper than that. Eating a chocolate bar makes me feel better, but does it make me a gentler, more patient mom? Not really. And if it did, I’d buy stock in that chocolate company right away. Sign me up.

Soul Care Helps Us See the Big Picture

Ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels trying to get things done, all the while knowing that you’re running out of time? There seems to be so little time for science, math, and SAT prep. Your little kids need more play time with friends and the week has gone by again. You’re on the hamster wheel wondering how you’ll ever reach the end. Taking time every day to spend in the presence of God both helps us slow down and get to where we need to be faster. It’s a dichotomy. A mystery. But it works that way. And you’re worth it!

Take Courage!

Take courage, moms! You’re worth it. Try it for a week and see how the mystery plays out in your life. Download my 30-day Affirmation Journal for Christian Moms and see how your life changes. You’ll have more peace, clarity, and patience for all the things you need to do.

And then go get that chocolate bar!

For more help with your homeschool life, check out my Homeschool Helpline group. It can be an important part of your soul care, too!

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