Why Play Should be an Integral Part of Your Homeschool

homeschool in florida

Let Your Children Play

Lately everywhere I turn, homeschooling parents are asking the question, “is my child doing enough to get ahead?” We are forgetting that play should be an important part of your homeschool curriculum.

The pressure on young children today is incredible. Even the developers of PBS believe that the biggest obstacle American children face in terms of education is being unprepared for kindergarten. 

No wonder parents are worried! Not only are parents over-teaching, but they are also over-scheduling, I believe it’s being done out of fear, and it’s not necessary. 

Over-scheduling

Consider this schedule: phonics lessons and grammar lessons in the morning, music and Mandarin lessons in the afternoon, and in between all of that, Moms are forcing their young children to work in newly- purchased math workbooks and insisting that they complete multiplication and division problems. The words “algebra” and “geometry” are being tossed around at play dates.

These parents really think that they are doing the right thing. They’re giving their children a “leg up” right?

They are not. Here’s why.

Developmental Milestones

First, young children are not developmentally ready to pursue such academic activities. Are some seemingly “able” to do this type of academic work? Perhaps. But a completed worksheet does not equal a deep learning for a subject matter and even if you believe that your child is ready, there is evidence that doing so is more harmful than helpful.

Take a look at this article written by a mathematician </a>for reasons why worksheets should not be used with young children.

Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.

Secondly, the importance of play has been so overlooked in the last decade or two that it is shameful.  Here’s what Edward Miller and Joan Almon say in their book Crisis In The Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School.

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When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series

feeling like a homeschool failure

Feeling Like a Homeschool Failure

When you begin homeschooling, it can be a scary and daunting place to be and you wonder if you’ll feel like a homeschool failure. You see all these Pinterest-worthy, perfect homeschooling families, and you can’t even manage to pick a curriculum. You immediately go to the negative place in your mind when you think you are a homeschool failure. You begin spouting off things like: I‘m going to ruin my kids, they’ll never amount to anything, I’m so stupid for thinking I could do this, people are going to judge me. That last one is the number one reason I see people question their ability to educate their children at home.


Homeschooling is “Different”

“But it’s different” seems to be the go-to reason behind their fear. Why is being different such a bad thing? It’s better to be different. Who wants to be the same as everyone else? If you’re even thinking about homeschooling, one of those reasons is because something isn’t right with the public school system, and you feel that it would benefit your family to homeschool. You already thinking differently. If you’ve ever read my blog (The Balanced Living Mama) you know that I strongly disagree with public school, and all it stands for. I think that we homeschoolers should strive to be as different from the public schools as possible.

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How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement

how to write a homeshool mission statement

How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement

Several years ago I was talking with a mom during a portfolio evaluation appointment about her home school mission statement.  She had it type-written and clearly displayed at the front of her daughter’s portfolio. It was short, only a few sentences long.

As I read it I nodded my head. Yes, yes, yes, I need to do this. And you should, too. Why? As Dr. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families says, “Every decision we make is ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or principle, whether we know it or not.”

Yikes. I was convicted. If you are, too, here are some tips to help you write a great homeschool mission statement of your own.

Involve the Whole Family

Speaking about a family mission statement, Covey goes on to say that, “A Family Mission Statement is an effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that people are on the same page.”This  holds true for our homeschool mission statement as well  Bring everyone together and ask each family member what they believe should be included in the mission statement.

Ask Yourself Why

Ask your family members why you are homeschooling in the first place. Go back to those initial conversations with your family about homeschooling before you made the choice to do so. Remind yourselves of why you have your homeschool set up the way you do.

Examine Your Priorities and Schedule

Take a look at where you spend your time during your homeschool day. Noticing your patterns will show you your priorities. See if these line up with your overall vision for your homeschool.

 

Be Specific and Explicit

Once you have brainstormed all of the above, write a rough draft. Be as specific as you can and try to explain your why the best you can in present-tense. For example, “Our homeschool is a place where learning and life happen simultaneously. We learn all the time. We strive daily to do our best to nourish our minds, hearts and spirits.”

Final Note

As home schooling parents we can get bogged down in the daily grind of life.  Work commitments, household chores, community activities, the needs of other family members; these all take our time and attention, and we can often lose sight of not only where we’re going, but why.

A mission statement can help keep us on track and guide us when the road gets rough. Print yours and hang it where your whole family can reflect on it daily.

Share Your Homeschool Mission Statement

Do you have a homeschool mission statement? If so, please share it in the comments!

For more tips and homeschool helps, join our active email community by signing up below!

How to Earn Money While Homeschooling




earn money while homeschooling

Have you ever wanted to start a blog about your homeschool?

It’s easy and fun! And you can earn money while homeschooling while blogging about your homeschool journey. I’ve been blogging about homeschooling for over a decade, and you can do it, too.

In addition to sharing important information about how to homeschool in Florida, I also like to tell stories about the many other facets of our life as a homeschooling family in Florida, and I love to read stories of how other homeschooling families do things. I’m sure you do, too.

One of my most popular posts is about our journey toward a gluten-free lifestyle. Now’s the time for you to start sharing your own stories in order to inspire others!

How Blogging Has Changed For Us

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Why You Need New Year’s Resolutions for Your Homeschool

why you need new year's resolutions for your homeschool

Why do you need New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool? I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, several years ago I resolved not to participate in the seemingly pointless, tradition of sharing with friends all the ways I was going to make my life better in the coming year.

What a set up for failure, right?

I mean, all these ads and sales for healthy foods, supplements, weight loss products, exercise equipment is enough to prove that resolutions don’t last; otherwise all these things would be in your face all year long.

But today I’m not talking about exercise and diet resolutions; I’m talking about resolutions for your homeschool and why you need them.

Are there changes you’d like to make? Things you’d like to do differently? Do your kids have ideas about what they’d like to add to their schooling? Now is the time to regroup, recharge and resolve! Making New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool is important and here’s why: (more…)

Five Easy Ways to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Family

Homeschool in Florida Attitude of Gratitude

We’ve all heard how adopting an “attitude of gratitude” can improve your life, but how exactly do you go about doing that? Sometimes it’s easy to let life get us down and to get caught up in all the daily hustle that we forget to stop and give thanks for the little (and big) things.
Here are some simple ways that we incorporate gratitude in our homeschool.

1. Start the Day With an Offering

This can be an offertory prayer, or a simple statement of intention for the day. You can also offer a prayer for a goal that you would like to accomplish for the day. Don’t keep these to yourself; it’s easy to do as a family before you begin your homeschool day. We like to say our offertory prayer at breakfast. It really does pave the way for an awesome day.

2. When Something Goes Wrong Reframe It

I’m not saying to pretend that bad things don’t happen. They do happen and they will happen. That’s life. In my experience it’s the small things that have the biggest ability to make me forget to be grateful, not the big things in life. A forgotten appointment; a missed deadline; plans needing to be changed last-minute; a week that’s too busy; all these things throw me into a tailspin of ingratitude.

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Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Great Gifts for Homeschoolers

Looking for the perfect gift for that homeschooling family in your life? We have something for everyone here! Add them to your wish list and tell Santa and your friends and family! We homeschoolers can be a resourceful bunch, and we want something useful and practical sometimes, right?

Give a gift that keeps on giving this year! I’ve joined 11 other homeschool bloggers in bringing you all of our very best products which will be great gifts for homeschoolers! Each of these was crafted with love to bless your homeschool! All virtual products will supply a beautiful gift certificate for you to gift or stuff into a stocking. Happy Shopping!

game programming courseHave a teen who lives to play video games? Get them engaged in learning with Fundafunda Academy’s Introduction to Game Programming. This is a self-paced class for grades 5 – 12 that introduces students to game programming. They will learn about game design, how to create game graphics and some basic computer logic. They will also program an interactive greeting card.

 

 

 

 

 


podcast for teens

Some teens love to talk, maybe your teen needs her own podcast! Does your homeschool teen need an elective credit on their transcript but feels uninspired by the options? Would your techie high schooler like to pursue their passions while completing coursework? Then the Podcast Launch for Teens by Abby Banks is for YOU! Save $15 with coupon code MERRY

 

 

Celebrate Christmas

Keep the Christmas spirit going with playful fun! These practical activity plans are perfect to embrace the holiday season with your kids! They’re simple enough that they fit in easily to your already hectic schedule.

There are four weeks of activities already planned out for you, so there’s no need to go looking for something to do with the kids, it’s all right there. And there’s details and photos if you need it. Make this Christmas season your child’s very best ever with Celebrate from The Activity Room!

 

 

cooking science for kidsCook up some fun with Cooking By Level by Raising Human Beans! A Level Based Cookbook, that teaches your kids how to cook simple meals! From helping out- to cooking full meals by themselves!!

Volume 1- Easy Food Volume

2- Tea Time Volume

3- Pancakes Volume

4- Christmas (coming soon!)

 

 

Art Camp

Seven lessons, six projects, tons of fun!!! This mini-course is perfect for Christmas break or weekly lessons this winter.

Unlike most art programs, Beyond the Stick Figure courses are not just a collection of projects, but a course in art techniques. These core techniques will give your child the confidence and ability to independently create masterpieces. Have an Art Camp with your family! Just click open, and go.

 

 

 

Spanish Animals

Younger kids will have fun exploring the ocean and learning Spanish as they go. The Spanish Ocean Animals Printables Workbook by Spanish4Kiddos includes four worksheets for children to practice Spanish terms of ocean life. Children practice handwriting, fine-motor skills, and reading. Common core and NGSS aligned. Grade Level: K

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Girl Fun Bundle

PERFECT FOR THE CRAFTY TEEN OR PRE-TEEN GIRL IN YOUR LIFE, AND JUST IN TIME for Christmas! Bookmarks and cards make awesome gifts for Christmas and other occasions. And since they are designed to be printed, cut out and decorated:

The Super Bundle of Bookmarks and Cute Cards would be a perfect gift for a girl in your life who loves to create do-it-yourself crafts!

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Mason Music

 

Fill your year with music! “A Year of Charlotte Mason Music Lessons” by Music in Our Homeschool is an online course that provides you with a gentle way to do music in your homeschool. Each month you’ll focus on two things: Composer Study and either a Folk Song or a Hymn. Use coupon code STOCKINGSTUFFER to get $10 off! (Coupon code expires 1/15/20.)

piano lessons at home

Your child will enjoy making his own music with Joyfulnotes Piano for Beginners. Engaging piano lessons delivered right to you for an amazingly affordable price. Now, your child can learn the joy of playing the piano anytime and anywhere. Designed for children age 5-8

Let’s Not Forget Mom

Homeschool Moms Want You to KnowGet an inside look into homeschooling with Sound Foundations Homeschool’s Homeschool Moms Want You to Know! This Amazon bestseller is written by real homeschool moms for moms just like you. See what homeschooling looks like, get the information you need, and walk away renewed with inspiration. A must-read for every prospective and new homeschool mom!

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know a homeschooling Momma who is overwhelmed by homeschooling, feeling like a failure, confused about credits, juggling multiple kids, a job, or perhaps has decision fatigue? Maybe that Momma is you?
Take the worry and stress off of her shoulders, or your own! Our Academic Advising package gives you access to an experienced Academic Adviser who will gently guide you through academic requirements, curriculum choices, help you find hidden credits, and point you in the right direction with decisions regarding college and career! Also included is 1 Performance Series test and on-going email support!

 

 

 

Take Courage

 

Take Courage, Moms!

Be encouraged and inspired by our 30-day quote journal just for you.

This 64-page journal will take your quiet prayer time to a whole new level.

Go deeper with these beautiful Christian quotes and questions to ponder, plus writing space for personal reflection in Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms by Homeschool in Florida

 

 

homeschool high school for college

 

And lastly, have you seen the NEW edition of Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, from Betsy Sproger @ BJ’s Homeschool?

Betsy has been homeschooling for over 14 years. Her daughter got into each of the colleges on her list, with scholarship offers, including a Tier One U. All of Betsy’s tried and true tips for high school and college both are gathered together in her new book!

She not only helps you homeschool your teen but also makes the process of getting into college easy to understand. Her book includes 12 high school planning printables, to make your record-keeping easy.

Keep your nurturing homeschool style and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges!

 

How to Simplify Your Thanksgiving Holiday

how to simplify your Thanksgiving holiday

Don’t Stress Over Thanksgiving Planning

Okay, be honest. Who’s stressed out already? All the planning, preparation, coordinating can get overwhelming even when we love to do it! I’ve polled my friends and social media followers and asked what they were most stressed out about when it comes to planning for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve read these and complied them into a few practical tips to simplify your Thanksgiving holiday.

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Why It’s a Great Time to Start a Blog

start a money making blog

 

Have you ever had dreams of working from home? Today, we’ll show you why it’s a great time to start a money making blog and realize your dreams of working from your kitchen table in your pajamas! Here are a few things you need to know before you get started.

 

You Can Make Money Blogging

 

The blogging industry is growing, and has been over the last decade. I began blogging “for real” in 2009. By “for real” I mean, I started a blog with WordPress, hosted it with a super hosting company, and set it up to build my homeschooling consulting and evaluation business. As the years went by, my readership grew and the opportunities for affiliations with companies became more abundant. Today, the opportunities are bigger than ever before, and blogging has become a career and a great way to support yourself and your family.

 

Find a Niche

 

What will your blog for 2018 be about? Ask yourself these questions: What are you interested in? What are your strengths? Have you had any amazing and cool experiences that you want to share with others?

 

I have many interests and a few things that I am great at, and have lots of experience doing. My blog capitalizes on these things. You won’t find me doing makeup tutorials here, or discussing current style: these just aren’t my strengths, although you can sometimes find me binge-watching my favorite beauty bloggers on youtube. Find your strengths and interests and turn them into a business!

 

Use The Right Tools

 

This is very important and something I learned by experience. I began my blog by using WordPress, by hosting it with a terrific company, and by investing time and dedication to building it myself. As the years went by, and as my girls started to grow up and demand more of my time, I didn’t really keep up with WordPress. It is really like learning a new language, or at least it was for me. Don’t be intimidated though, because once you get the hang of it, it’s easy; but, like any language, if you don’t continue to use it you lose it.

 

Write Good, Quality Content

 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but to keep your visitors coming back to your brand new blog, you want to offer them something that is useful and relevant to their lives. Post often, and be sincere. I love reading and listening to personal stories. I think most people do. If you are relatable, and give your readers quality stuff, you will already be set up to grow and expand.

 

When I started my blog in 2009, I wrote good, quality content. As life’s demands and other priorities took over, I stopped doing this. Yes, I still shared good information, however, it was not my own information; mostly, I’d just link to something else. Which was still good for my readers, but not really giving them anything personal.

 

Keep Your Blog Updated

 

After a few years I realized that my blog was looking a bit outdated. The header was old, the theme wasn’t that exciting anymore and I wanted to refresh it. Knowing that I once was able to use Word Press to create a great-looking blog, I dusted off my password to the cpanel and decided to start updating. What I thought was going to be a relatively quick and easy thing to do, was more difficult than I thought. I needed a refresher. Many refreshers. And now, I was teaching online (full-time at this point), and continuing to homeschool my girls.

 

Hindsight has taught me that once you begin a blog with WordPress.com you should never, ever, move your blog to a different platform. Never! I was pressed for time, and wanted what I thought would be the “easy way out” so I moved my blog with all of its great content over to Weebly. Weebly has a drag and drop feature and the themes were easy to use and super modern-looking. Their customer service is fantastic, and I thought I had done the right thing.

 

Monetize Your Blog

 

You must monetize your blog, if you want to make money, and the best way to do that is to begin with WordPress. Using WordPress has many other perks, such as giving you great analytics and other things that I may write about in a future blog post but for now, just know that there are multiple ways to do this and I am still learning about all of them. The possibilities are incredible!

If you want to learn the details of how to monetize your blog, I encourage you to take the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course with blogging experts, Heather and Pete Reese. They even post their monthly income on their website so that you can see that it is not only possible, but very probable for you (and me!) to make that kind of income, too.

If you are not ready to sign up for the 30-day course, Pete and Heather also offer a totally free 5-Day Crash Course. I actually took this one first and was hooked, which prompted me to sign up for the 30-Day Fast Track Course. And did I mention it is totally FREE? Not only is it free, but it is jam-packed with amazing information. You won’t believe what Heather and Pete offer for zero cost. I promise you, it is just a snipped of the information contained in the 30-day course. And the best part is, after you sign up, you have access to everything for two years so you don’t have to worry about digesting it all at once (or taking notes!)

 

My Blog Evolved and Yours Will Too

 

After prettying up my blog with Weebly, I realized that I wanted to get back to regular posting, more writing and sharing of tutorials and things that I have experience with, so that I can help and reach more homeschoolers. Ultimately though, I found myself wanting to turn this business blog into a hybrid of sorts, and share some more personal things about our homeschooling lifestyle in Florida. This is why almost ten years later, I’ve revamped and updated the blog!

 

This time, I hired a web developer to help me get set up with WordPress again. If I had done that the first time, I would never have moved my site to Weebly, and things would have been a whole lot smoother for me. If you would like the contact information for Micah, the super-awesome, ultra-patient web developer who not only helped me, but actually taught me how to get going with WordPress again with a brand-new beautiful, and easy-to-use theme, I am happy to share his information. Just email me at Terri@homeschoolinflorida.com.

Create Your Own Product

You will notice that successful bloggers offer a product or a service. I have always offered my homeschool consulting and evaluation services on my blog, but once I got serious about blogging, I began to offer homeschool courses through Our Happy Medium Academy, and now have my new e-book, Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms up on the blog, too. What are you great at? What can you offer to others? Can you create a course, sell crafts, write a book? Again, the possibilities are endless.

Work With Sponsors

In their blogging course, Heather and Pete will show you how to find opportunities for sponsored work. My first paid sponsored post came when a company reached out to me. You can read this post here. I had fun writing it because it was for a company that I already knew and loved. Are there any specific products that you use and love? If so, reach out to their marketing people and pitch a blog post!

Main Things I Learned by Taking the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course

 

  • Blogging is a HUGE business right now
  • The sky is the limit in terms of how much money you can make
  • Travel Blogging is even bigger
  • There are multiple ways to monetize your blog, all you have to do is choose the right ones that fit you and your blog style
  • Blogging helps you meet, and build relationships with, people from all over the world
  • There is no time like RIGHT NOW to begin
  • There are hundreds of support groups for bloggers, including several devoted solely to Word Press help
  • A large percentage of advertising budgets for major companies goes to bloggers like us! They know the power of social media.

 

Homeschooling in All 50 States

homeschooling in all 50 states

Homeschooling in All 50 States

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to homeschool in another state? Maybe you’ve moved from one state to another and have had to figure out the differences. If so, we’d love to hear from you! My friend Laurie from livingtheunexpectedlife.com has a wonderful resource which covers (almost) every state in the US. If you see an opening, and have knowledge about homeschooling in that particular state, let her know!

Homeschooling in the Sunshine State

Of course, I covered our Sunshine State. If you’re just learning how to homeschool in Florida, you’ll want to start here and then check out my post is here. I have many friends all over the country, and the differences in homeschooling laws is incredible! Would you rather live in a state that literally requires nothing, or a state that holds you accountable to the point of reviewing lesson plans?

What About Travel?

When I ran my umbrella school, I had a few families that traveled internationally. They made their home-base here in Florida, and continued to teach their kids abroad. I know a few families who travel within the US, some of them learning as the RV across the country. My friend Lisa is gearing up to do just that! You can follow her family here. 

Freedom

One thing is true: we are very fortunate to have options available to us as homeschoolers. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Let us know your experience in the comments! Would you like to school in an RV? Have you moved from one US state to another? Where would you love to homeschool if you could?

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