Friday, August 16, 2019

The Pitfalls of Year-Round Schooling


In my final installment of this Year-Round Schooling series, I'm talking about the difficult aspects of year-round schooling.  As much as we would all like to proclaim the perfection of our lifestyle choices, everything comes with baggage and difficulties.  One choice creates various issues that another choice would solve.  It simply depends on which difficulties you are comfortable with facing.  While I love the flexibility and advantages it gives our family, there are unique pitfalls that we have to watch out for.

Feeling Left Out.  It rarely seems logical  that I should feel left out since not following the crowd gives me incredible freedom in educating my children.  Yet, when everyone is posting back to school pictures or doing all the summer things, it's hard not to get caught up in it sometimes.  And it usually has nothing to do with the actual thing, but just not being a part of what's currently happening all over Facebook.

Losing Track.  If you aren't great at record-keeping or lesson planning (like me) never having a clear beginning or ending can result in not having a clue where you're at other than just knowing everyone is learning every day.  It's not the worst problem to have, but the older your students get, the more it will matter.

Out of Season Lessons.  If you ever find yourself way off the traditional 9 month school year, some curriculum and lessons won't line up as nicely as they could.  Apples and pumpkins are perfect for the fall and butterfly stages were meant for the Spring.  Unless you plan it right or switch lesson plans around, sometimes things will just be out of season.  It's certainly not the end of the world, but it's something to be aware of.

Breaks Must Be Intentional.  Sometimes life decides when and how you will take a break.  When someone gets sick or an unexpected opportunities present themselves, you just go with it.  Other times, school might feel like it goes on forever.  Homeschool parents already struggle with mental overload and not having predetermined, clearly defined breaks may feel like too much.  That's why we are strategic about our vacations throughout the year and respect mom's burnout!

Year-round schooling isn't for everyone and not even possible in some situations, but if you ever find yourself in an emergency state with your homeschooling, don't despair!  Giving yourself permission to seriously go with the flow in this season of life might be the best thing that ever happened to you!  By keeping these pitfalls in mind, you and your family can thrive despite irregular events!

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
Kristen Heider @ A Mom's Quest to Teach -Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year
Patti Pierce - Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy - My Favorite Homeschooling Things
Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane - 5 Days of Nature Study
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning - Homeschooling my final 4 
Christine @ Life's Special Necessities - Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child
Sally M - Tell the Next Generation - Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Reasons You Need Year-Round Schooling


This week I'm participating in a Not Back To School Series and talking about Year-Round Schooling. Since so many of our lifestyle choices go against the grain already, I'm sure it's not a surprise that we would go with a year-round schooling approach.  But, have you ever thought about why you might choose it?  Let me give you a few reasons you should consider it.

- Health is more important than someone else's schedule.  Especially in the elementary years, there is such a conflict between what their little body needs (more rest, lots of outdoor play, etc.)  and what is socially and schedule-wise accepted.  Year-round schooling allows for sick days and growth spurts with ease.

- Weather waits for no man.  Days great for playing outside or taking that field trip do not respect my schedule.  From frigid cold winters to blazing hot back to school days, there's plenty of days better spent indoors.  When a great weather day comes along, you don't want to be so tied to a schedule that you can't enjoy it.  Year-round schooling allows for a more enhanced nature and science education because you are allowed to do more outside!

- Your local public school teacher recommends it! What does every teacher worth their salt recommend for summer vacation? Keep up your reading.  Do 5 minute math drills every morning.  Educators know that we all do well when we continue working on our skills and maintain learning engagement.  It's a fact.that completely stopping the learning process for large gaps at a time creates a large amount of work to get caught up at the beginning of the school year.  Year-round schooling creates an ideal learning routine and enhances students' retention.

- Life rarely goes as planned.  A realistic part of efficient planning is the ability to be flexible when it doesn't go the way you intend.  There is a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure to get back on schedule when we experience curve balls in our life.  There will be extended illness, deaths, financial, marriage and housing issues.  Life is just like that.  Year-round schooling assumes there will be complications and allows ample time to maneuver around them without as much stress.


2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew - 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop 
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses - ABC of Homeschooling
Dawn @ Schoolin' Swag - Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family - Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens - Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling - Homeschooling the High School Years
Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom - Homeschooling With Autism
Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range - 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling
Abby @ Making Room 4 One More - Time Management for Homeschool Moms
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool - 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance - Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time - Homeschooling.
Betty @ Lets Get Real - Homeschooling High School
Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess - Eclectic Homeschooling Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase - Roadschooling with a Teenager
Yvonne @ The Life We Build - 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling
Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny - Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom
Karen @ Tots and Me...Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase - Roadschooling with a Teenager
Yvonne @ The Life We Build - 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling
Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny - Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom
Karen @ Tots and Me...Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool
Cassie D @ Deputie Tribe - Homeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU
Kristen Heider @ A Mom's Quest to Teach -Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year
Patti Pierce - Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy - My Favorite Homeschooling Things
Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane - 5 Days of Nature Study
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning - Homeschooling my final 4 
Christine @ Life's Special Necessities - Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child
Sally M - Tell the Next Generation - Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners 

Monday, August 12, 2019

What Is Year-Round Schooling? A Not Back To School Series



Over the years, I've witnessed year round schooling models take a lot of different shapes.  The common thread is that they do not match the typical (American) schedule of a couple plus months off in the summer, a Christmas Break and a Spring Break.  In public education, a year-round schedule is often 3 weeks on, 1 week off or 4-5 weeks on and 2 weeks off.  Homeschooling kind of turns that on its head!  

1) School never really stops. Our homeschool version of year round schooling is school that never fully stops, but stops whenever we need it to. Oklahoma is a great state to homeschool, because we are allowed to determine much for ourselves, including our schedule as long as we get in 180 hours of school.  With a year round approach, you more than satisfy that requirement.

2) Schedules Honor Student Needs.  A typical 9 month school year requires students to honor the schedule in spite of their needs.  Any educator will tell you that is one of the hardest part of their jobs.  Human beings just don't develop at the exact same rate in development and understanding and when life circumstances come into play, there can be huge gaps that are hard to fill in before the school year ends.  Year round schooling means that we take time - slow down or speed up - when we need to.  Bored with their grade level work? Let's review and move ahead to something more challenging.  Struggling with new concepts?  We'll spend as much time as we need until a student is comfortable with it.  This also goes for non-academic elements.  A major change, a death, or a great accomplishment can appropriately slow school down for mental and emotional nourishment.  What's best for the student can reign supreme when necessary.

3. Highlights a Lifestyle of Learning.  When you learn at home anyway, it's easy for learning to happen any time to begin with.  When you don't take the summer off or break at typical times, students get used to learning for learning sake rather than only at certain times of day.  As homeschooling lends itself to this anyway, year round schooling turns every single thing you do, especially as a family, into an activity of discovery and wonder which automatically includes learning.  We are cultivating a lifestyle of learning.

It might seem that year-round schooling is way too much or over-kill, but for us we end up ahead of the curve while feeling like we're relaxing our way through the year.  Of course there are seasons (like soccer or holiday/birthday) that are hectic no matter what we do, but we are able to adapt school to our needs, not the other way around.  I love that!

This post is participating in the Homeschool Review Crew's Not Back To School Blog Hop this week so be on the look out for more Year-Round Schooling posts!  If you are interested in other homeschooling topics check out the links below!

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop


CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew - 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop 
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses - ABC of Homeschooling
Dawn @ Schoolin' Swag - Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family - Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens - Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling - Homeschooling the High School Years
Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom - Homeschooling With Autism
Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range - 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling
Abby @ Making Room 4 One More - Time Management for Homeschool Moms
Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool - 5 Days of Homeschool Questions
Amy @ the WRITE Balance - Year-Round Schooling
Annette @ A Net in Time - Homeschooling.
Betty @ Lets Get Real - Homeschooling High School
Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess - Eclectic Homeschooling

Friday, August 9, 2019

StoryTime Treasures and More: A Memoria Press Review

It's nothing new around here how important reading a great book is and our latest review is a wonderful tool to utilize great books to your students' learning even more!  Since both of my big kids have taken off in the reading department, it is so easy to just give them books to read and leave it at that.  While independent reading is very important, not following up with questions or activities can cut the learning a little short.  For today's review we are looking at one of our favorite vendors again, Memoria Press!   Miss Z and I explored some great books with the help of  StoryTime Treasures Student Guide and Answer Key and More StoryTime Treasures Student Guide and Answer Key


What We Received:

We received StoryTime Treasures Student Study Guide with its Teacher Guide and More StoryTime Student Study Guide with its Teacher Guide totaling 4 books in all.  The target grade level for these books is 1st grade.

A few years ago, we reviewed part of this product with my oldest son and this time we're getting a chance to use the entire set with my daughter! Since that time they have release a 2nd edition of the set which includes a few changes to the book selections, converted to spiral-bound student books and separated the Teacher's Guides into two separate books rather than one combined.

How It Works:

Both StoryTime and More StoryTime are layed out the same way with a series of lessons that correspond with the reading selections.  The teacher and child are to read through selections together, allowing for the student to have ample time reading aloud. Each lesson highlights different types of language elements like vocabulary, capitalization, parts of speech, comprehension and includes different activities such as word scrambles, drawing/coloring, fill in the blank, and even some math equations!  Both Teacher Guides provide answers to questions and activities, but also a layout of procedures or activities that go along with that day and/or section of the book. The Teacher Guides recommend a possible 5 day schedule, but ultimately recommends the teacher/parent to use their best judgement for each circumstance.




How We Used It:

While it makes sense to work through the pieces of literature in the order they appear in the workbook, the Teacher's Guide never explicitly says that you must and little, if any, of the information taught really builds on the previous stories' activities.  Since we didn't have access to all of the books in order right away, we decided to skip around with what we had.  Miss Z is quite the reader and loves all things school so she had no problem jumping from Little Bear to Caps For Sale and then to Billy and Blaze. In all cases she had already read the book before we sat down to work through the Student Guide so our initial reading was always her secondary at least.  Caps for Sale is a book we have owned since she was a baby so in some of it she could even quote it.  Still, breaking down vocabulary words and testing for comprehension was useful and important in sharpening her skills. Not to mention it highlighted how much we need to work on her handwriting! ;)




What We Thought:

As to be expected, miss Z and I enjoyed our enhanced Story Time and it was perfectly suited for her grade level.  She didn't need a ton of help, but when she did we had really good conversations about aspects of the story or definitions of words. While a teacher could get by without the Teacher Guide because the Student Guide's directions are self-explanatory, the Teacher Guide really allows you to get the most out of the activities and maximize your student's learning. That is especially true if you are working with a struggling or new reader.  The focus on their phonics skills is extremely beneficial in the reading process.  If you have an early reader that you are wanting to begin literature activities with, I would even recommend getting this and stretching out stories and activities further to slowly but surely build momentum in the area.

Follow Memoria Press on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memoriapress/
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Memoria offers so much and the Review Crew got to review a variety of their Literature  Guides.  If you have different grade level needs, click the link below to read other product reviews from Memoria!


Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Library and Educational Services LLC Review

Today's review is of company I had never heard of, but in my opinion should be in every Christian educator's back pocket!  When you are always trying to stay within a budget and find materials that are consistent with your worldview, getting a discount on clean, educational books is a win, win for sure.  Library and Educational Services LLC is a wholesale distributor from Southwest Michigan that sells CD's, DVD's and books that align with Biblical standards and values.  The Review Crew was given a chance to try out their service and generously allowed us to order over $70 worth of materials!   We ordered Who Was Louis Braille from the Who Was...? series, The Princess and the Pigs from the Lifehouse Theater CDs series and several choices from the Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books.  It was a great mail day!

How It Works

To be able to order from Library and Educational Services, we first set up a free account.  They ask you to specify what kind of account suits you best, as shown below.  I chose Homeschool of course, but the varying options gives you an idea of how versatile and useful this company can be to many different settings.

Once the account is setup - which was very simple - then you start shopping!  The sidebar provides a lot of categories and there is a search feature at the top of every page.  Each item reveals a list price and their price with a percentage of savings underneath.  After placing our order, we received it within 3-4 business days. For a package coming from Michigan to Oklahoma, I felt that was reasonable.


What We Received
Everything we received was brand new and all books (except for Who Was..?) are good quality hard backed. Altogether, we received 16 books and one CD:
Who Was Louis Braille? by Margaret Frith
The Princess and the Pigs CD from Lifehouse Theater
All About American Symbols - Set of 4 by Alison and Stephen Eldridge:
The Liberty Bell, The Bald Eagle, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty
Values - Set of 6 -  all by Kimberley Jane Pryor:
Cooperation, Respect, Courage, Tolerance, Kindness, Honesty 
My World of Science - Set of 3 by Joanne Randolph:
Light in My World, Pulleys in My World, & Wedges in My World
Real Life Science Projects - Set of 2 by Ann Benbow and Colin Mably:
Master the Scientific Method with Fun Life Science Projects, Lively Plant Science Projects





How We Used It

With such a wide variety of materials, there was certainly something for everyone!  I think the biggest crowd pleaser was The Princess and the Pigs audio CD.  We listened to it in the car over a day of errands and all three kids (8, 6 and 2) begged to turn it back on every time we got back in the car.  The moral of the story - treating others with kindness, being thankful for what we have, etc - is exactly what squabbling siblings need from time to time.  The value books were interesting to read because they expressly defined the topic in ways I honestly hadn't thought of before.  For example, courage was defined as participating or trying something new.  Accurate, but not a way I had thought about before. Who Was Louis Braille? was more for me than anyone because I had never read about the history of Braille.  The American Symbol series came at a good time where we are just finishing up our survey of United States history. The science books are my attempt to make up for all the interest and follow through I DON'T seem to have when it comes to the mechanics of things. 





What We Thought

No complaints anywhere!  We had no trouble with any part of the process and received high quality books/CDs for a great price.  As an educator, this is a fantastic resource for books and educational materials.



Keep up with them on Social Media:



Facebook: facebook.com/libraryanded
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/libraryanded/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf-f2T2eIghJkxinFu4xVgQ
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/libraryanded/

Every Crew member was able to choose their own books so check out some of the other reviews to see the variety of materials available at Library and Educational Services LLC.
Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer Chronicles: The Joy of Mud

One of the reasons I wanted to move out closer to the country was to give my kids this.  They played and played and played some more out in the backyard under the shade of a tree.  It was glorious and life-giving.  I pray that we all find experiences that bring excitement and joy back to our bones like this little mud puddle did for my kiddos in the dead of Summer.