What did you do in the summer?

TOPIC: What has been the highlight so far about your summer? What are you doing to get yourself ready for the new school year? Are you making any significant changes in how you do things? What are you most looking forward to about the new year? ANSWERS: Our highlight has been TIME with each other and just spur of the moment happenings- like fun camping in our yard, having a camp fire and tasting smores (our first time), bicycle rides in the rain, sailing our boats, VBS camps, friends over for tea or for supper and sleep-overs. We had a good holiday and enjoyed the family time together! At the moment I am tidying up our school room and putting new posters on the wall and getting our books ready for the new term. I am not making any major changes at the moment. It will just be a new year filled with excitement and learning together. I would like to do more experiments and hands-on activities with my boys. I also want to get more involved in field trips and outings. My 4 year old wants to learn to read - so that will be something to look forward to. ------- We had a great summer! We went to family camp, several VBS/daycamps, camping and enjoyed a Vancouver "staycation"! Our family is rested and ready for the fall! The year will be different for us because our second oldest is now in grade one. With two of the kids "doing school" I’m feeling some need to be a little more serious and methodical with regards to our studies....

How do I deal with kids who are bored or struggling in their work?

TOPIC: How do you deal with your children’s attitudes when they say "I don’t want to" or "I don’t feel like it" when it comes to their schoolwork? How do you deal with their attitudes when it is because they are struggling with the work? What do you do to help them when they are struggling with the work? And for those of you with perfect children who never have a bad attitude, what factory did you buy them at? ANSWERS: When my kids say that they don't want to do their work, there is always an underlying cause. Is it because they need a short break? Is the work too difficult? Is it boring or mundane? Do they need to be challenged more? How much time have they spent sitting? Do they want to go ride their bikes?.... the list goes on, but there is always a reason. Generally speaking, I know my kids quite well and can pinpoint quickly why they don't want to work. Sometimes it's a reflection of me and my lack of creativity to make a lesson more interesting. But, like us adults, sometimes it's just plain laziness, and the work has to be done somehow, so I will insist that they do it. We talk about how long it might take to complete and then break it down into chunks so that it seems more manageable in their minds. I will often give an incentive to motivate them like a walk to the park, a small treat, permission to watch a short cartoon... I find that when they know a reward is in...

How do I take care of myself as a homeschooling mom?

TOPIC: Someone was reminding me today of the importance of self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself on a daily basis (physically/ spiritually /mentally/ emotionally)? How do you refresh yourself on an ongoing basis? What do you do when you are struggling? ANSWERS: I know I don't take/make the time every day to take care of myself as I should, but generally speaking I find that if I get outside for even a short walk that I am better off on every level. Something about getting fresh air, and enjoying God's creation that lifts my spirits and clears my head. If I get the luxury of going for a walk by myself, I like to use that time to talk with God and have Him work on my heart. I also am in the process of spring cleaning, so if I can get through one small thing such as a drawer or cupboard, then I feel better; a sense of accomplishment that I am working towards a goal. On a weekly basis (generally) I need to create something. I enjoy sewing and crafting and making cards, so I take time to indulge in my art and always come away refreshed and excited to be with my family again. I don't always go out and work on my projects; usually I stay at home in my craft space (which is really an area I have carved out in my laundry room), but the very act of creating something lovely is invigorating for me. God is a creative God and I believe that He has created us, as...

How do I cope with rainy days?

TOPIC: How do you cope with rainy days? When it is too icky to go outside, or stay outside long, what do you do to get your children's energy out? How do you cope with feelings of being cooped-up inside? ANSWERS: One of my kids' favorite things to do inside was to set up the living room like a beach. We would bring out their lawn chairs, they would set up their umbrellas, lay out their beach towels, and their favorite part was placing the many seashells all over the floor. Having lunch, or snacks on their beach always brought smiles to their faces. A favorite way to burn energy: (This only works if you have a stairwell.) The kids would take all their bouncy balls and throw them down the stairs, laughing as they would hit the sides of the walls and just bounce everywhere. Then they would run down to pick them all up and do it all over again. A fun way for us all to interact: A game we still enjoy even now that the kids are older. We have everyone think up ideas, we write them on separate pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Each person would draw an idea and act it out. Whoever guesses correctly is the next up to choose a charade to act out. ------- I like to be outside -- rain or shine. There are days I dressed myself and my children in full gear: toques, rain jackets, rain pants, boots to go for long walks and/or jump puddles (black garbage bags - cut out holes...

How do I combine Physical Education and homeschooling?

TOPIC: What does PE look like in your house? Do your children do formal activities? What kind and where? What do they do for daily activity? How do you teach them basic activity skills? What are your priorities in this area? ANSWERS: In the winter months, I find this a hard area. However, once the weather gets warmer, I make sure they are sent outside everyday for adequate time. Having a big yard, we make sure there are things to do: trampoline, swings, etc. Since my girls like to be animals, LOL...I find they get a lot of activity going! We utilize indoor play places as well. I have not used other activities as much as I should ... but at the same time as long as they are out and having fun, I find that to be my priority for them. ------- Our family seems quite an energetic family and we have a large garden. My boys are always in the garden throwing a baseball to each other or we get together and play a "game". We also play soccer together and have fun practicing some skills. We all have bicycles, so we love to go for rides around the canals and dykes. We also live very close to the BMX track - so we often venture there to practice their racing. For formal activities, my younger son is involved in Gymnastics, and my older one plays soccer and baseball. We also go for walks with our dog and do a street cleanup (we pick up the garbage). We have a Jungle Gym and swing and a tree-house...

How do I integrate Christmas and homeschooling?

TOPIC: What is the best part of homeschooling in December? What is your favourite Christmas tradition?   What is your best time-saving trick for Christmas? What do you do to keep your focus Christ-centered in the midst of the busyness? ANSWERS: The best part of homeschooling in December is that you don't have to do it. 🙂 We finish the 12 weeks of our first "semester" by the first week in December and then toss the official stuff until after New Year's. We can then work hard at keeping the anticipation and focus Christ-centred. We do an inductive advent study every evening and make ornaments for our Jesse Tree. Our time-saving tips for Christmas are to start early and take it slowly. With school work out of the way, we have time to bake a little bit every day or two. We have time to make ornaments and decorations for the tree that give it a homey feel and there's always time to talk while baking and doing crafts. This also gives us time to make Christmas gifts with meaning and keeps us out of the madness of the stores. And while we  work, it's always nice to put on Christmas music (like Handel's Messiah) and call it music appreciation. 🙂 ------- This year we are trying to bring our Victorian era study into our Christmas holidays as much as possible. We are planning on building a gingerbread Victorian village, making Victorian ornaments for the tree, as well as Victorian crafts and gifts for everyone. To stay Christ centered throughout the season, we try to really remember the reason for...