May 27, 2015

{Resource List} Homeschool and Parenting Podcasts

Hi, my name is Lexi and I'm addicted to podcasts.

I blame my husband entirely. When I was asking him how I could listen to something on the way to and from a homeschool convention (with a very long drive time for me), he mentioned podcasts since he enjoyed listening to them on his way home from work. I nodded sagely and then asked him how to get the podcast "things" on my phone.

Truth - I had no idea how to find and download a podcast.

When he showed me that I had an app for that it just about blew my mind. Who knew it was so easy?

I proceeded to download about 20 different podcasts. Then I grabbed my headphones and I had a mini homeschool convention in my car as I drove to another city for the actual convention. We'll just call it a teacher in-service day for me.

Since that day I have found that cleaning the house, doing the dishes, ironing, and folding the laundry, are a lot more bearable when I have a podcast to enjoy. It's a problem!

Here are a few channels that I've enjoyed lately:

Homeschooling in Real Life
Hosted by a husband and wife and full of honesty and laughter. 

God Centered Mom Podcast
These hit you where it hurts. They are convicting and encouraging.

The Homeschool Leadercast
There are many interviews with some "big name" homeschoolers.

Read Aloud Revival
This one is about books. LOVE! Now more words are needed.

CiRCE Institute
Education from a classical perspective.

The Homeschool Snapshots
Contains interviews with homeschoolers and an inside look into a homeschooling lifestyle.

Vintage Homeschool Moms
This podcast has practical advice for homeschooling as well as interviews.

The Busy Mom
These are short podcasts with encouragement and tips from a homeschool mom of 7.

Do you have any favorite education-related or parenting podcasts?

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May 25, 2015

{Book List} Summer Reading for my Rising 1st Grade Girl

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Little Miss Bee is starting to really read. And that girl wants to learn. She is always bringing readers to me so she can practice. She's read some of them so many times she now has them memorized. She is making great progress!

So, this summer I've created a reading list for her so she can have a stack of books just for more reading practice.

Penny Series by Henkes

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May 22, 2015

It's that Time of Year - End of the Homeschool Year

It is nearly the end of our regular school year. While we do homeschool year round, we only do homeschool "lite" in the summer. So, we do wrap up our main school stuff sometime around April or May - or really whenever we are done.

It's May and we are so close to the end that I can almost taste it. But can someone please explain to me why I have no more motivation to finish and why I just want to quit?

True - we are about to move in a few weeks. That's not helping my organization and motivation.

However, when we are this close to the finish line, why is it that I have to fight the urge to give up?

I've learned that I go through this same phenomenon every school year. Sometime in April I start to run out of steam and then when I hit May I'm just so. very. over. it. I can think of only one thing - the last page of every school book and how quickly we can get there. I find myself doubling up on lessons and rushing through some things just so I can hit that finish line.

I admit - it's probably not the best way to learn when the books are shoved in your face and you're told to hurry along as you complete two lessons per day.

I even scheduled my school where we sometimes finish some subjects sooner than others.
For example, we finished our grammar in March and are only doing some grammar review right now. Math is wrapping up for the year and so is science. I think history will be next and then writing. I hope we'll find the end of Bible eventually....

This is my little tactic that helps me keep going. When I know that I've already found the end of a couple of our subjects, it gives me just enough motivation to make it to the finish line with the rest of them.

Other than that, I just try to push through and finish our year. And yes, we do finish our curriculum for the school year. (Unless of course I've deemed a curriculum not to be a fit at our house. At that point, I usually abandon ship and find something else). But by this time in the year we are well on our way to finishing the curriculum that has made the cut in our homeschool.

I start off with high expectations and plenty of excitement in August and by May I am crawling toward the end of our lesson plans. 

It's the time of the year when I have only one thought on my mind - FINISH OR DIE!

We'll make it but it might not be a photo finish.

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May 20, 2015

The Broken Leg Homeschool Life

Curly had a "fun" adventure in April. She was riding her bike outside with all her siblings and she had a terrible bike crash. She fell over sideways and her bike landed on top of her. My husband brought her inside screaming and I worked to clean her up. She kept complaining of pain in her leg and I could tell something was very wrong.

A 4-hour trip to the ER later that night confirmed what I suspected - she had broken her leg. It was actually a spiral fracture. We spent the entire following morning at the office of an orthopedic surgeon who put on a long leg last on Curly's left leg. That huge cast covered her leg from her toes to the top of her thigh.

The next two days were terrible - Curly was in a lot of pain and required someone to carry her to the bathroom because she could not move with her giant cast. She spent those two days on the couch with her leg elevated and she even slept on the couch at night to be near us in case she needed help.

So, we took a good week off of our homeschool. My hubby even took a few days off work to help me with Curly because she was not able to move from the couch without help - unless one of us carried her.

And did I mention that we had just started potty training little Punkin about 3 days before the accident?

I spent an entire week taking people to the restroom and running back and forth to get pain meds, snacks, drinks, pillows, and blankets for Curly. Life finally improved when we were able to get a small wheelchair for Curly so she could move herself around the downstairs without being carried. (And why no crutches you ask? Because the cast weighed nearly as much as Curly and when she tried to stand it pulled her over sideways. A wheelchair was the only feasible option). 

How do you homeschool when you are in a short-term crisis mode? Well, first, you take some time off to recover and regroup. However, we were looking at about 8 weeks of Curly being in a cast so I knew we had to find a new "normal" in our homeschool.

Our homeschool room is upstairs so that was out of the question for Curly. I moved all of her books and supplies downstairs to the living room book shelf.

Every night I laid out some independent work at the kitchen table for Curly. When she woke in the morning she was able to get in her wheelchair and wheel herself into the kitchen to start some work until I came downstairs. 

I started waking Bee up early to do school first. After we finished, I worked with Tiger for a little while before breakfast.

After breakfast I gave Curly a few more assignments and then went back upstairs with the rest of the crew. I finished school with Tiger and then let all the littles play together while I went downstairs to spend time with Curly. I worked with her until lunch when everyone joined us downstairs.

Once lunch was finished, I took the little girls upstairs for some rest time and then I had the big kids come back downstairs to have reading time with Curly. They played with her in the living room with legos and coloring books while I read to everyone.

We had to make some major adjustments to our school day while Curly was in her cast. And I will admit that we never finished a full school day for our first few weeks of trying the new schedule.

Eventually Curly was able to have a shorter cast and learned how to use crutches with her new, smaller cast. I taught her how to get herself up and down the stairs and how to maneuver the crutches upstairs so she could get to her own room.

Ohhh, and we got Punkin potty trained too! 

Those were some very busy weeks at our house!

May 18, 2015

{Book List} Summer Reading for my Rising 2nd Grade Boy

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Tiger is still working on his reading skills. He is making slow but steady progress and he's going to get even more practice this summer.

I've made a reading list of books to help him have more practice. You might notice that some of them are the same as the books on Bee's list. That's intentional. They are practically reading at the same level. I don't mention that to Tiger though.......I just keep encouraging and listening to him practice.

My Joy-Filled Life

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