Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Six Creative Electives for Homeschoolers

We all have that moment where we look at our kids and say "ugh, really, Spanish?" I mean come on, we homeschool. We have the freedom to do anything. I was so in love when one daughter wanted to do 4-H photography and another decided to do cooking and cake decorating. Sweet! Interesting electives!

Here are some great elective ideas other than languages, pottery, and art:

Entrepreneurship - Teach your children to make their own money on their own terms! This is great for the self motivated child! BONUS: Did you know, Origami Owl has a youth program? Yeah, the Owlette Program for young girls. Uh, yeah...I think this is great!!!

Photography - This is a life skill people. You need to know how to take more than a selfie at some point. Kids love to play with expensive technology, well, this piece of equipment can get them outside!

Culinary Arts - And I do NOT mean home econ...I am talking real cooking classes. Bear wants to cook, but she can already grill a steak, make homemade mac and cheese, and bake a cheesecake. SO, what should I have done? Well, for one, we use a whole lot of Netflix. She actually gets credit for watching cooking programs! She then recreates what was made, or makes something similar. She has made perfect Eggs Benedict, Gelato, Crepes, and some very delectable cupcake combos!

Creative Writing - If you have a writer on your hands, why not give her the opportunity to use that skill? Creative writing, short stories, poetry, whatever it is...just double your English time and allow your child to explore her skill set with that time. There are a ton of curriculum choices, or just wing it!

Voting 101 - It is election year after all. This is the perfect time to teach older students the ins and outs of the voting process. We can change the course of the country by empowering our children to form educated opinions and follow the vote this year!

Archery - I don't think I need to tell you why this is the coolest elective I? I mean, sharp arrows, targets, shooting things? I dare you to find a kid that say "eew, no way!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

5 Simple Detox Solutions

Let's face it, we all need a good detox every now and then, right? I love soaking and drinking in my bath. I use essential oils and have been making my own scrubs and soaks for years now. Today, I wanted to focus a quick post on 10 ways we can detox ourselves without doing a harsh detox that will make us sick!

Common Detoxes I Use:

1. Dry brushing - I can only describe it as a way to make the circulatory system work better. Here is a great Pin on dry brushing.

2. Oil pulling - I know...this one is not for every one. I, myself, happen to love it. I use organic coconut oil. I place some in my mouth upon waking and swish it around while I check emails and whatnot. About 20 minutes later, I spit it all out and brush my teeth. It is a really simple process.

3. Salt soak - I make my soaks ahead in large quantities. A single soak is about 1 cup of Epsom Salts (most people are low on magnesium and this is a great way to get can help with sleep issues), I use 5-10 drops of Lavender in my soaks as well. I usually soak for about thirty minutes. DRINK.WATER. Seriously, a lot of water. I then pat dry and apply my lotion (I love Renew by Melaleuca with a drop of Peace oil mixed in).

Check out these great detox baths!

4. Detox tea - There are a million amazing recipes out there, but turmeric is powerful stuff, let me tell you {maybe I ought to do a whole post on it}. Well,a great detox tea will be made with turmeric, cinnamon, and lemon. Add whatever else will make you enjoy it, I have seen honey, ginger, and even black pepper. Better still? Check this pin out! Here are couple ideas to get you started.
*I promise there will be a post with recipe links next week that will include turmeric*

5. Detox waters {infused water} - The clear winner here is lemon and cucumber. Period. It is refreshing, and when used in conjunction with the rest of these, it is a great way to restore electrolytes and get that water in your system. You simply cannot detox without at least 50 ounces of water a day! And that is the bare minimum.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Language Arts CUT LIST

*This post contains affiliate if you like these, get them...they help me pay for my kids' school books, which is kind of important*

You see that look in her know the one. The look that says she isn't going to do this without a fight. I see that look daily. Bear hates Language Arts. I haven't found books she enjoys reading yet. I haven't found a grammar program that doesn't make her cry. And I most certainly haven't had an amazing year trying to get this done.

Actually...I lied...I did find one curriculum that didn't make her want to kill me. That was Wordsmith Apprentice. It was fun for her. The writing was approached in a way that made it less like work and more like a fun activity. She began with filling out a job application and moved on to reading newspaper articles. This curriculum moves the child along with writing and gaining confidence without the child noticing. By the end of the semester Bear was able to bust out a great five paragraph sentence! We also used A Beka, but I wasn't loving it, and neither was she! Every day was a new fight this year. I really should I have switched gears early on, but I had hoped she would rally.

I used Wordsmith Grades 7-9 for Boo. She loves to write, so this wasn't a concern of mine at all with her. I did it in conjunction with Saxon Grammar and Writing Grade 7  and Wordly Wise 3000 Student Book 7. Boo will be using grade 8 for both of these next year at her own request. We have found a curriculum that works really well for her and plan to stick with it! She also used a literature curriculum by BJU: Explorations of Literature. I'm lucky because she loves to read and write, so none of this is wasted on her!

What made the cut for this year:

Moving Beyond the Page L/A 11-13 - This is new to us, but looks promising. Bear hates reading, writing, and grammar, but I am hopeful. She did use a couple MBTP books this year for fun and just loved them! They take a more classical approach than I am used to, but I welcome the change.
BJU Excursions in Literature - This went so well, Boo asked for it again!
Saxon Grammar - This is year three for Boo with this and she loves it...easy to understand.
Wordly Wise 3000 6th Grade - We moved back to Wordly Wise for vocabulary with Bear.
Wordly Wise 3000 8th Grade - Third year in a row and going strong...I will do a whole review post on this later.
BJU Reading Grade 6 - BJU went so well with Boo last year, I am jumping in and seeing if it will work with Bear the same way. It is not easy, and can be a lot of work for the child, but a schedule is included for completion in either one or two semesters.
Reading Comprehension Skill Sheets 6 - These are by A Beka and they are all that made it to this year's planning! Bear did love the skills this helped her to build.
Teaching Writing Structure and Style with SWI Package (B) - I am blindly jumping into this one. I have heard rave reviews about IEW and figure it can help lay a solid foundation for the kids. Plus, it is good for years to come!

And here it is...


A Beka - I just didn't love it. It was boring and repetitive. So. Unreasonably. Repetitive. Oh, and even though I love bible readings, I don't think it builds confidence in a child to have to edit them. They are hard to read and understand as all means, let's make it harder! No. Sorry. Plus, Bear hated much.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a portion of the profits if you make a purchase using these links.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Requests of Fatima

In honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima I thought it wise to spread her will...or rather God's will. We all know the story, May 13th 1917 the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children. She had warnings and pleadings to offer us. She also make three requests. Three basic requests we cannot ignore...

Our Lady has asked the following of God's children:

1. Prayer - every time Our Lady appeared she asked that we pray daily. Not just any prayer...the Holy Rosary. Now, as a Catholic we all see them, we can pray with them, but can we really pray with them? Do we know how to focus that prayer? Feel the beads within your hands and let the rest of the world fall a way for a time?

Adapt to life:

I do prefer physical beads, but I will say that the download of Laudate has taught my own children how to maintain the prayer easily. Teach our children to pray from an early age, include them in your daily Rosary. Children mimic what they see. If they see you obeying God, they, too, will obey. If they see you praying, and see you reaping the rewards of that, they will pray too.

2. Reparations - to old school Catholics this is called Penance ( all of us, but reparation sounds way less scary). We are called to confess our sins and leave them behind for eternity. You may want to do more than just "confess" your sins. God grants us mercy without asking...perhaps we should use that and be sure we do ask. Then it will be known to Him that we want His will to be done through us. A simple Act of Contrition is not the answer here. We must be truly sorry, we must mean it when we ask forgiveness of our Lord.

Adapt to life:

Ask for forgiveness regularly. Forgive regularly. Now, forgiveness is not the same as allowing people to walk on you, but that is a whole different blog post. Let your child see you begging God to forgive your transgressions. Let them see you put those sins in the past and no longer committing them. Our children will more readily ask for forgiveness if it does not seem shameful to do so.

3. Consecration - pay attention here...this matters: Consecration makes things holy. If we consecrate our lives to the Holy Mother, then we are opening them up to Jesus. We are consecrating our lives and hearts to Christ through the Holy Mother. This is important!!! By consecrating ourselves to Mary we are making ourselves holy for God. For His glory and happiness. We are called to have a fire within our souls for Jesus and Mary.

Adapt to life:

It seems like so much to live up to...lucky for us, we only have to desire and ask. When you truly desire and ask something of God, he responds somehow.  I cannot fully tell you how to incorporate this into your life, but I can tell you a great book to assist you in doing this would be 33 Days to Morning Glory. I used it as a personal retreat and it has done wonders in my life.

Rosary - Pray this daily with an examination of conscience...then consecrate yourself to God and the Holy Mother.

Make the Sign of the Cross

Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles' Creed

On the first bead, say anOur Father

Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads

Say the Glory Be

For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading 

from Scripture) then say the Our Father

While fingering each of the ten beads of the decade, next say ten Hail Marys while 

meditating on the Mystery. Then say a Glory B(After finishing each decade, some say the 

following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: O my Jesus, forgive us 

our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have 

most need of your mercy.

After saying the five decades, say the Hail, Holy Queen

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why we switched to year round school

Regular schools have summer school, right? Well, homeschool can as well. There are those families who choose to go year-round {Boo has requested to begin doing that to afford her a day off during the week}, and those who follow the more "traditional" school calendar {which is what we have done in the past}. This year we are moving to a year-round style school...sort of. Boo may get some of her school stuff in June so she can get a head start, but Bear will likely do a summer school session and kick back into full gear around August.

Why am I doing this? Simple. Challenge.

Both girls want a decent challenge, and this year we have looked at a lot of changes...ok, not so many where Boo is concerned, but for Bear it is going to be huge. As a direct result, we have decided to focus on one thing, then adding in another, and another, and so on, and so forth. Math will continue per usual. Monday through Thursday, one hour a day with a minimum of four concepts daily...Fridays are a quick quiz with the last Friday of the month being a full test. Fast forward a few weeks {I am mandating a break of some kind for sanity reasons} and we will add in a writing course. I believe writing and Math are both key concepts to successful education and life. Both are needed, and both need to be done all year. A three month break in these is just not conducive to maintaining the information that has been taken in. Neither Boo nor Bear enjoys spending weeks recapping what was learned the year prior. By moving ahead, we are allowing them to continue to learn and grow at a healthy pace and not lose, much needed, information.

Next year's school line up is ambitious, to say the least. In the past there has been Math, Science {which is far more rigorous for both girls this year than in past years}, History, Grammar {and generally writing was a part of the grammar program}, Vocabulary, Reading/Literature, Latin, and Bible. While the general idea remains the same this year, each child is moving ahead in Math, Latin, and Science...these classes are not getting easier or less time consuming. History will be a total shift into a more classical approach, meaning there will be so. much. reading. We are taking a living history approach, at the request of Boo and Bear. The big reason for change? Writing. Both girls want a new approach to writing. Bear is flustered and annoyed, so I am changing her entire curriculum and focusing on grammar through writing. Bear has asked for a writing intensive program to hone in her skills {she's thinking she might be a writer, how exciting!}.

The new schedule is still in the works, but I am really trying to be ready to go by June; I would like to enjoy the month off and jump in come August.

What schedules do you follow, and why?