It sure has been a while and A LOT has happened since the last time I posted..... 2020 happened so enough said. It sure has been a rough year for a lot of people. A lot of things happened in my life but I wont get to that right now. Maybe I will make a post showing the things I used to help me cope.
Today I wanted to make a post about homeschooling. Holden and I love homeschooling.
There are many reasons why people choose to homeschool. Just know that none of your reasons are wrong, you're doing it because you love your child and you're doing what you think is best and because you want to!
Why do we homeschool? I have many reasons, some I will share...
I worked in schools and while I saw a lot of fantastic teachers (some are life long friends now) I also saw terrible teachers and tons of wasted time. I saw first hand the most ridiculous math curriculum used (at several schools) that created so much confusion and wasted so much time. I also noticed that half way through the school year regular teaching stopped and they were taught strictly what was on the upcoming standardized tests.
Also, while working in the schools I heard several times a day "You're not here to socialize", so I am not worried about socialization. There are plenty of ways to get that outside of school.
Another one of my reasons is, I love having Holden at home. I love that he and I can spend our days together and decide what we want to learn about, You want to learn about candy this week? Sure, we learn about how candy is made, we do science experiments using candy. You want to learn about dinosaurs now? Okay our stories are about dinosaurs, we research different kinds, we learn about fossils.... we even go dig up some rocks and look for our own fossils. We do our other work too but in between "work" we have a lot of fun doing educational things that keep him interested. Every single morning he wakes up and is ready for school. Every single day.
Below I will give you some tips and I will also give you some links to items we love to use in our homeschool and some must have prepping and storage items.
1. Living and learning under the same roof can sometimes lead to chaos and confusion.
To avoid confusion and help your sanity, keep your child's materials organized and designate a space where they keep their supplies and books. We have a whole school room but you honestly don't need an entire room (our school room is also my art room). Even if your kids end up doing work at the kitchen table or on the living room floor, which we end up doing a lot, it helps to keep their things organized in one space. Once they are done with their schoolwork, have them return their materials to their designated space.
I dedicate a whole room to our homeschooling because I love to create a dramatic play space to go along with what we are learning about and what our theme is that month. I also love having themed shelving to go along with what we are learning about.
We have most of the things we are working on for the week in a cart that we can move from room to room if we need to. We have storage bins to keep things sorted. We use a cart and bins like the ones I linked below.
2. Homeschooling can be flexible and you can allow breaks whenever necessary. Some kids thrive on an overly structured schedule but some children dont. I do recommend some type of a schedule, it will take some trial and error before you figure out what is right for you and thats okay. There no right or wrong way. The key is having some set routine and structure for you and your child to follow so you can both stay on track.
We dont make an overly structured schedule, instead we do more of a block schedule and a loop schedule combined. I make a list of things I want to get done and we will work our way though. (right now, our curriculum is like this too, I have a main outline for what Holden needs to learn and we work our way through). For example, There are things I know we need to get done in the morning so in our morning block I put, calendar, weather, number line, morning work, review. We usually take a break at that point. In the next block I have things I would like to do. If we dont finish everything in this block then I move it to the next day and we work our way through like that. I can go more into depth about our schedule and curriculum in another post.
We use dry erase pockets like these to keep our schedule in so that we can hang it, see it, cross off items, and still reuse it. These are a must have homeschool item, you will use them a ton (especially if your kids are younger).
3. Map out your year. I'm not saying create a full curriculum and lesson plans for the whole year. Outline your key learning objectives (based on state or national requirements, personal preferences, as well as your child’s age and abilities). Once you have some objectives and benchmarks, sit down with your child and get their input. You can work together to set goals broken down by year and month. For example when I asked Holden what he wanted to learn about the first thing he said was "Candy!". So I set up a dramatic play candy store where we will practice using money.
What I do is I look up goals for Holden's age range and the things he needs to work on (since hes advanced for his age, I look up what he should be learning next. He is 3 but working at a kindergarten and first grade level so I have a list of things he needs to work on based on that).
Usually every couple of months I reevaluate where we are and what we need to work on. Sometimes he reaches a goal really fast so we just do reviews here and there. Other times we continue to work to reach the goal.
Below I have some of the things that help me with planning and scheduling. Let me just say these pens and markers are AMAZING. They erase (perfectly) which is fantastic for a schedule that changes from week to week and even on a daily basis.
4. One of the best parts of homeschooling (and our favorite) and one of its greatest advantages, is the flexibility to learn outside a traditional classroom setting. We always look for learning opportunities beyond the books and worksheets. We love to go on field trips ( not since Covid but someday we will do that again), we use board games (some people do gameschooling and learn almost strictly through use of games), we do crafts, nature walks, explore new activities, we cook together (have Grandma come over and teach a family recipe), visit family, play, go outside, we go to the store, sometimes we learn as a family or watch a documentary for movie night... the possibilities are endless. I even use clean up time as a way to learn. Always find opportunities to explore, discover new skills, meet new people, and play. These are all important ways we learn and grow. Incorporate those experiences into your homeschool environment for a well-rounded and fun curriculum.
5, Do not stress out. At-home education and distance learning can seem intimidating and overwhelming in the beginning but there are many resources on the internet for you to help you along. Always Remember: Homeschooling doesn’t have to mirror the structure and set up of public schools. Experiment with your learning style and schedule. Remember that you dont need to sit at a desk for eight hours. Listen to your child, allow them to give input and pay attention to what works well for them. It is okay to change things up, adapt or even change curriculum as you go along (some people purchase a full curriculum, some make their own. I do my own so if youd like info on how I do that ON A BUDGET let me know in the comments).
Last year I had the opportunity to shoot this amazing wedding. This whole time I thought I had already blogged about it but it turns out I never did. Where is my brain?! It was a very busy wedding season for me so I am guessing it just slipped my mind, who knows. I still feel like I typed up a post about this wedding.
Better late than never, right??
Here is a look at this wonderful day and beautiful wedding!
I have included some affiliate links below for all of the things you may be interested in. From getting your skin wedding ready to must have photography items!
Hello happy Campers!!
I have decided to do something a little new here!
I have decided to share all of the fun learning and educational things I do with Holden.
Everyone always talks about how advanced he is
(his Dr called him 'remarkable'). He is actually ready for Kindergarten and he is only 2!
I created the following camping themed packet (which you can download in my etsy shop) and redecorated the learning and play space into a camping theme to go along with it!
Here are some of the activities and how we use them!
The Marshmallow Alphabet
Put the marshmallows in a small cup or dish (we put them on this tray) and spread the capital letter cards out. One at a time choose a marshmallow and match to the capital letter.
We also used these to spell words and names, using capital letters where they were needed.
Write The Room
Have you ever done this activity? It is a favorite at our house.
Hang or hide the picture cards around the room. Give the tracing cards/sheet to the child and have them walk around the room finding the pictures. As they walk around the room have them trace the words they find. When they get older and can write on their own, no longer needing to trace, just give them plain lined paper and let them write the room. Eventually they can write sentences and make stories with the words.
Montessori Three Part Cards
There are many ways to use three part cards so you choose what you think your child is ready for. The first and easiest way to use these cards is as vocabulary cards. Just show your child the card and tell them the name of the picture. Another way to use 3 Part Cards is to leave one sheet uncut. Then, cut out the cards on the other sheet. Have your child match the cards to the correct place on the full sheet. Make sure to have them say the names of the pictures as they match them. You can also cut apart the two sheets making a matching/memory game.
The traditional way, and our favorite way, of using 3 Part Cards is a great learning activity. On one page, cut out the cards so that the picture and words are connected. On the other page of cards, cut out the picture and the words separately. Lay out the cards that have the words attached, have your child match the pictures to the cards and then have your child match the words. Once your child can master this and can start to identify and read the words, just work on matching the words to the pictures (without words). You can start with half of the amount of cards, depending on the age and attention span of your child.
There are many other activities (including number recognition and math) included in the packet in my etsy shop if you are interested please go check it out HERE.
Please check back for more coming soon!
Check out these links if you are looking for products like I used!
Here is a beautiful wedding I had the pleasure of being a part of in 2018.
It was a beautiful day for a wonderful couple and I was so happy to have been a part of their day.
Hello! I am Briana! I am a mom and a wife. I love teaching my son tons of things and we do home preschool every day. I make activities for him and my niece who comes to my house two times a week to learn with him. I also do photography and paint watercolors and wooden signs.