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I Don’t Enjoy Teaching Homeschool Science

I Don’t Enjoy Teaching Homeschool Science

I have a confession. I don’t enjoy teaching homeschool science. There, I said it. I didn’t like science when I was in school, and I would still just rather not. It’s not science’s fault. I find various aspects of science interesting, but it’s just not my thing.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time for this post. As always, my opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with these products and services.

The idea of loving every aspect of homeschooling is a myth. And you know what? That is okay! We are human people with likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. Homeschooling our children does not mean have to become super human. We can educate our kids, while also being our authentic selves.

Now that we have established science might not be our forté, what are we going to do about it? Great news! I have some ideas and resources for you, and I can’t wait for you to read about them below. However, I want to make one thing clear. While it is totally okay for us to have our own opinions about school subjects, it is more important that we still maintain a positive homeschool environment for our children. When my daughter wanted to enter the science fair at her co-op, I assisted her project with a smile. I loved seeing her excitement during the process, and (mom brag moment) I was thrilled to celebrate with her when she won.

Homeschool science fair winner holding up her ribbon while standing next to her project on sound waves.
Homeschool Science Fair Winner

Online Science Curriculum

One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it’s all on the parent to teach every thing. This is just not the case. There are so many options when we don’t want to or feel like we are not equipped to teach certain subjects. Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science Membership is the perfect solution for someone, like myself, who would rather not teach science. I shared Greg Landry’s science lab with you before, and he is now offering a brand new family membership!

This Christ-centered science curriculum membership provides affordable access for the whole family. A variety of science classes and labs for grades first through twelfth, as well as a host of other free resources are included. Greg is a published former college professor and homeschooling dad with over 20 years of teaching experience. With his Homeschool Science Membership, parents are able to speak to him directly when they have questions. Furthermore, families gain access to RightNow Media, which is similar to a faith-based Netflix but with added Bible studies and Christian resources. My kid LOVE the show, The Adventures of Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent.

Check out Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science today!

Community Resources

If you are not looking for an online curriculum, have no fear! There are still plenty of other options if you are not interested in teaching homeschool science. My first piece of advice would be to talk to your fellow homeschool mama friends. Maybe you have a friend who loves teaching science, but she hates teaching math (I love math, by the way). You could do a subject swap, where you meet regularly and take turns teaching. The bonus to this is consistent play dates with friends.

Secondly, look to your local library. Our local library offers a variety of homeschool classes, with one of them being STEAM based. I was surprised to learn all of the options offered by our library, and you don’t even have to have a library card to participate. So, make sure to also check the libraries in surrounding areas.

Image Credit: Tom Bruno

Lastly, joining a co-op is a wonderful option, when you don’t enjoy teaching certain subjects. My children have a co-op day once a week, where they get to participate in a variety of classes that would be hard to do at home. Local homeschooling Facebook groups are a great resource to garner information on what types of co-ops are offered in your area. Plus, you will get some frank and honest opinions from other homeschooling moms.

Your Unique Homeschool

The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that is looks different for every family. The individuality of home education is my favorite thing. You, as the parent, are best able to decide how to educate your children. And you don’t have to do it alone!

I hope you check out Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science Membership, as well as all of your local resources. In doing so, I hope you feel empowered and encouraged by the fact that you are not alone in this homeschooling journey. Tell me, is there a subject you just don’t enjoy? Let me know in the comments below. As always, follow me on social media and share this with your friends who might need a little encouragement today!

Homeschooling with Education Perfect

Homeschooling with Education Perfect

There are so many online homeschooling resources on the market. It can be SO hard to sort through all of them. Well, I am thrilled to save you some precious time and tell you all about Education Perfect. Education Perfect is a personalized online platform committed to developing independent learners through technology. With more than 40,000 lessons, experiments, and games across dozens of topics, children can easily gain access and knowledge in their area of interest.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Education Perfect logo

How Can Education Perfect Elevate My Homeschool?

Designed for ages 9-18, Education Perfect comes alongside you, regardless of your homeschool style. They assist parents in a way that works best for each individual family. While Education Perfect offers a variety of subjects, they really shine in their foreign language studies. As someone who struggled through Spanish class in high school (and college), I really appreciate self-paced language learning curriculums. The foreign language options EP offers are OUTSTANDING. They include:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese

I was so excited to see Arabic listed under the Content tab. Our neighbors immigrated from Egypt, and their primary language is Arabic. My children and I were so excited to have the opportunity to learn this beautiful language and practice it in real life. Also, I love that students have the option to switch to an immersion approach once they have progressed far enough along in their language studies. I was so easy to set up assignments for the entire week for my children from the Teachers Portal. My children were provided a link to their tasks. This meant I did not have to set up their lessons each day. They just had to point and click to get started!

A young girl is sitting at a desk completing a lesson in Arabic from Education Perfect.
My daughter learning how to introduce herself in Arabic.

In addition to online lessons, students have the opportunity to participate in monthly homeschool festivals and competitions. They earn certificates and chances to win prize money (hello!) for all their effort. I know my children will do just about anything to earn their own money. What a great concept to apply that motivation to schoolwork! I really feel Education Perfect does a magnificent job in creating a sense of community among their clientele. That is quite a unique and special quality to find in an online curriculum.

Outstanding Communication and Customer Service

Education Perfect has the MOST user friendly and easy to navigate website I have ever seen from an online homeschooling company. Seriously. Just about every page on the website has a video or tutorial to make sure you know exactly how everything works, as well as knowing every feature. It’s so nice to not have to waste time by clicking around and trying to figure every thing out on your own.

Use CODE: SAVE20 for 20% off (expires 10/31/22

In addition to all the website help, you will receive informative emails to to get you and your students started off right, as soon you register. Furthermore, every homeschooler has the option to book a platform demo lesson with an Education Perfect member to assist you through the registration process. The personal connection with EP staff doesn’t stop after you’re registered. Nope. Weekly homeschool training lessons are available for you to participate in. Have you ever heard of another company going this far above and beyond, so their clients are set up for success? I definitely have NOT.

Info graphic showing customer service support for Education Perfect.
The BEST client support!

Overall, Education Perfect is a first class option when looking to add a high quality online curriculum to your homeschool. After your FREE trial period ends, this program costs $25/month or $250/year. This includes one parent account and five student accounts. You can save 20% off your purchase by using the code: SAVE20 at checkout (expires 10/31/22). Check out Education Perfect for yourself. I would love to know what you think in the comments below. Make sure to share this post with your homeschooling friends as well!

Take Advantage of Summer Homeschool Resources

Take Advantage of Summer Homeschool Resources

I begin looking for summer homeschool resources when my kids start showing new interests. One of the best things about homeschooling is the ability to follow and encourage our children’s delight in new things, topics, and experiences. Sometimes, they have so many things they want to explore, but they don’t know what to focus on. Summertime provides an excellent opportunity to explore and engage in new topics before committing to a full study during the school year.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time for this post. As always, my opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with these products and services.

Try New Things

Not every homeschool family takes a summer vacation, yet most homeschoolers switch to a lighter and more relaxed schedule during the summer months. This is the perfect time to check in with your child and gauge their new interests. Wherever their curiosity takes them, Homeschool Buyers Club has the resources.

Homeschool Buyers Club is like Costco for homeschooling. They have curriculums and resources for any and every thing. They provide free resources, as well as discounts to things you’ve already heard of like Mathseeds, Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers, RightStart Math, and SO much more. We have really enjoyed diving into the free and discounted summer homeschool resources.

Visit New Places

When you think of summer homeschool resources, you might not think of your location. However, stop and look around! Is your preschooler showing interest in diggers (this is my child!)? Call a local construction company and ask if they will let you come to the lot to look at the machinery up close. Go on all those field trips you didn’t get around to during the school year.

Take a day trip to a new city. We live in Indianapolis, and Cincinnati is only a couple of hours away. We took a day trip to Loveland Castle and the zoo, and it was SO much fun! They have animals, like manatees and a komodo dragon, that our local zoo doesn’t have. What’s a place near you that you’ve heard of but never visited? Get together with some other homeschool moms, and I am sure you will be able to brainstorm some awesome ideas.

3 children pictured in front of Loveland Castle, outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Outside of Loveland Castle
3 children at the gardens of Loveland Castle in Cincinnati, Ohio
Gardens at Loveland Castle
3 children outside of the zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cincinnati Zoo

Stay Home

If traveling is not an option this summer, have no fear! You can explore new interests and summer homeschool resources right from your living room. Whether it’s watching a documentary on Netflix or taking a tour through a museum on the other side of the world through YouTube, there are endless ways to tap into new things without leaving your home.

I really like to try out subscription based curriculums in the summer. Most have a free trial period, and it gives us a chance to see if the subscription will fit well into our homeschool rhythm. Homeschool Buyers Club has the best price on so many subscription based curriculums. One we chose to stick with is Mathseeds and Reading Eggs, which my preschooler absolutely loves.

Mathseeds displayed on a laptop.
My preschooler LOVE Mathseeds!

Don’t Let Summer Pass You By

Whether you travel the world or keep it close to home, let’s make a commitment to spend our time intentionally this summer. Let’s allow our children to stretch, grow, and try new things while we take a break from rigorous academics. Whatever you choose to do, Homeschool Buyer’s Club is definitely here to help you on your exploration journey. Check them out today!

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Homeschool Preschool Essentials

Homeschool Preschool Essentials

I am here to share with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. The pressure to buy all the things is strong when your kids are young, and they are just beginning their homeschool journey. I am a former preschool teacher, and I also operate within a real life budget.

My youngest child was in a Mother’s Day out preschool when we decided to start homeschooling. We decided to keep him enrolled, even though I would be teaching my older children at home. However, this year he will be home full time with us. I am so excited! He will be in pre-k, which is the last year of preschool. Because he is my last child, I do not want to spend a lot of money on things we will only use for a short time. So, I am sharing with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials.

Essentials You’ll Use for Years

Table top easels are great because they take up less space and can easily be stored. I love easel work because it hits so many learning points for preschoolers. For example, did you know that easel work teaches pre-writing skills by encouraging top/down hand motions?

This marble run kit is a favorite for all three of my kids! However, I plan to utilize it most for our preschool. So much STEAM activity is involved in planning and building these structures. And preschoolers LOVE it when they finally get to release the marbles down their creations. 

This set of gears provides another opportunity for planning and creating with a big reward of action at the end. We work on building gears on the flat surface first, then we start working on vertical structures. 

I love this dinosaur balancing game. This kit works on proprioception skills as well as fine motor movements. Start with the animals on a flat surface, then work up to using the included curved base. My preschooler also really enjoys doing pretend play with this toy.

I love these blocks so much. I had them in my classroom when I taught preschool. Every piece is the exact same size and weight. That might sound boring, but it actually fuels creativity. Because all the blocks are equal, it makes it easy to build amazing structures that are stable and don’t fall over easily. 

Essentials for Arts and Crafts

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I am not a crafty mom. When I taught preschool, my co-teacher did all the arts and crafts, because I just didn’t enjoy it. However, they are SO important for preschoolers. Crafts provide opportunities for so much exploration and learning, so of course I will be doing all the crafting with my preschooler this year. Below are a few things I consider to be important to always have on hand, but might not be obvious. Additionally, most of these products can be used in other subjects as well, such as math and science.

These Dot Markers were a last minute addition to my homeschool preschool essentials, but I am so glad I bought them. They are easy to hold for kids who might not have a great pincer grip yet, and they practice the handwriting skill of using appropriate pressure. Use these to create artwork, or you can use them to learn all about patterns in math.

Everyone knows about construction paper, but using cardstock paper is really great for preschoolers. Cardstock is, of course, thicker than construction paper. This means when your child uses 10x the amount of glue necessary, the paper won’t tear as easily. The same is also true when your little one colors with markers in the same spot a little too much. Cardstock is also great to build on established hand strengthening skills like folding, tearing, and cutting.

If your preschooler is still struggling with their pincer grip, triangle crayons are awesome. They encourage proper grip, which means you’re having to correct your child less. Added bonus is these crayons won’t roll off the table. 

Essentials for Sensory Play

Finally, we need to talk about the importance of sensory play. My preschooler has ADHD, and he needs sensory input throughout the day. Even if your child is not neurodivergent, sensory play is essential for early learning. It fuels learning and curiosity for preschoolers (and all children, honestly). Below are things that I have on hand for sensory play at all times.

Last year I added a fidget station to our homeschool, and it was such a huge hit. Every child has their own preferences with fidgets, so this kit provides a little bit of everything.

Any time I am talking about sensory needs and children, I share this vibrating cushion. It is probably what gets the most use, in our home, out of all our sensory tools. A child can sit on it, and it will automatically start vibrating. This provides LOADS of proprioception input. My preschooler likes to use this cushion during meal times, as well as when he is upset and needs help calming down. 

This Ikea Trofast storage bin is what I am using for a sensory box. It is big enough to provide enough room to play, but small enough to be practical. I also like how it can be used for water play. I switch up what is in here every week for my preschooler. For our first week of school, I put soapy water in it along with his little construction builder trucks. His activity was to wash and dry them. He loved it!

And there you have it! I wanted to keep this list sparse, containing only what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. You can always add more once you begin schooling and notice gaps. But this list will get you a great start to your homeschool journey! I would love to know what you think is a must have for homeschooling preschoolers. Also, make sure to share this post with your friends!

Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

Yes, I was diagnosed withe ADHD at age 36. If you are in the neurodivergent world, you may have noticed that there are MANY adults being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) right now. Why is this? I think it comes from a few factors.

First, definitions, detections, and diagnostic criteria have expanded SO much since we were in school in the ’80s and ’90s. Much more is known about ADHD, which leads to easier diagnoses. Secondly, many of us have children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Being the mama bears we are, we have entrenched ourselves in learning every thing we can about how our child’s brain operates. We are their advocate, protector, and cheerleader. While parenting in the neurodivergent sphere, some of us began to see characteristics of ourselves. What we thought was typical, might not have been as normal as we thought.

My ADHD Symptoms

I am here to share my own personal experience. Keep that in mind. No two people have the same story. But here are some things I learned are actually characteristics of ADHD, and that I saw in myself:

  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. This is an overwhelming emotional sensation that someone experiences due to actual or even perceived rejection or criticism. I have a really difficult time when I think someone might not like me, misunderstands something I’ve said, or critiques my work. I have to pep talk my way out of these intense feelings.
  • Difficulty with Task Initiation. It can be INCREDIBLY difficult for me to start something. It’s an odd feeling. I know in my head that xyz task is important, not hard, won’t take a lot of time, and/or really important. But if I don’t want to do the task, then my brain cannot make my body do the task. I know it sounds insane, but this can be a real struggle in daily life.
  • Task Switching. This looks like multitasking, but task switching is moving rapidly from one task to another. I do this often, especially in things that my brain considers “work”. This can occur on a bigger scale, where it is obvious because a person has multiple projects going on at one time. Or it can happen on a smaller scale, which is how task switching manifests for me.
  • Hyperfocus. This is a more common characteristic of ADHD. If there is something I want to learn or a task I am excited about, then I can spend HOURS on it. Easily.
Accurate image of me trying to make sense of my brain. Image Credit: Womanlog

Seeking a Diagnosis

One important thing I want to point out is many of the things I listed above are not “official” ADHD symptoms. They aren’t listed in the DSM-5. However, they are all characteristics many people with ADHD have in common, and many practitioners agree these are unique to ADHD and other neurodivergent diagnoses. Additionally, these characteristics are easily masked, and they can be easily overlooked if someone is functioning well in their day to day life.

I operated well in my daily life. I used planners and organizers to keep things moving efficiently day to day. Furthermore, I accomplished my daily tasks well enough. Yes, some days/seasons were hard. But that’s life, right? That’s adulting. Then the pandemic happened. I suffered from long haul covid, and it changed me. I experienced neurological symptoms like brain fog, insomnia, depression, and memory loss. Covid changed my brain. It is almost like covid tipped the scale for me. Systems in my life that worked well before no longer worked. All of the symptoms listed above became more pronounced and problematic in my daily life. I couldn’t plan or organize my brain out of them. My days became harder and harder. It felt like I was moving through mud. Finally, I decided to talk to my doctor, and he diagnosed me right then and there.

Treating My ADHD

I decided I wanted to try medication. After a discussion with my doctor, we decided on the non-stimulant Wellbutrin. Now, I know many people have strong opinions on Wellbutrin. I know some have experienced horrible side effects. Yet, for me, it has been WONDERFUL. It is hard to describe, but my days are just easier. I am back to cooking dinner for my family most nights because I am not as tired at the end of the day. I can maintain my home in a way that I prefer. Most importantly, I don’t feel like I am moving through mud.

There have been two occasions where I have unintentionally missed a day of medication. Both times, I didn’t realize it until the end of the day, but it was definitely a hard day. The first time was a day that I had a long to do list. I started multiple tasks all at the same time, and I kept bouncing from one thing to another. I felt extremely frazzled, but I couldn’t slow my pace down to concentrate on one thing at a time. The second time I missed a medication dose was a normal day filled with normal responsibilities. Yet I was EXHAUSTED. I could barely speak at the end of the day because I was so tired. I realized how much harder my brain had to work.

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Final Thoughts on Being Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

My overarching thought on my ADHD journey is I am so glad I sought help. I have what would be considered as mild ADHD, yet my medication has been extremely beneficial. Even though most would look at me and think I was functioning in life just fine, things were harder for me than that of a neurotypical person. My brain had to do more than others to maintain the same baseline, if that makes sense.

I hope you found my journey helpful and enlightening. Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult? I’d love to hear about it! Make sure to share this post with your friends if you found it helpful.

Open and Go Language Arts with Common Sense Press

Open and Go Language Arts with Common Sense Press

If you are looking for an open and go language arts curriculum, you HAVE to check out Common Sense Press. Common Sense Press is a Christian based curriculum that’s been providing homeschool materials since 1989. It all started with their Learning Language Arts Through Literature book, and I am SO happy to be able to share the LLATL Yellow Book with you today. The Yellow Book is designed for third grade.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Why Common Sense Press?

First, let me tell you more about Common Sense Press. There are so many open and go language arts curriculums on the market. It can be completely overwhelming trying to decide which one to use. What makes Common Sense Press special is its focus on classic literature. The Yellow Book is full of rich stories including Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, and more! There is such value in learning these stories that have been around for generations.

Additionally, Common Sense Press materials are:

  • Complete and require minimal planning on your part
  • Designed for students to work independently
  • Intentional and not reliant on busy work
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use, even for a first time homeschooler
  • Helpful and responsive customer service

 

The Yellow Book

Learning Literature Through Language Arts with Common Sense Press is an open and go curriculum designed for first grade through high school. Each grade is differentiated by color. The Yellow Book is meant for third grade. However, we all know sometimes a homeschool student’s age based grade and academic grade can be different. I really like how Common Sense Press uses the color method, because it takes away the pressure of “being on grade level”.

The Yellow Book includes 36 lessons divided into five days, to cover a full school year. You will cover literature, grammar, spelling, reading, critical thinking, cursive writing, and creative writing in this open and go language arts curriculum. Day one of each week introduces a literature passage, which will be the central theme. Furthermore, each week ends with a review activity. I really appreciate this, because it enables us parents to track how well our child is retaining the material. Assessments are also interwoven throughout the year. I know I always like to see the inside of curriculum books, so I’ve included pictures of a typical week below. Check out Lesson 20 from the Teacher Book!

Next, let’s look at the corresponding lesson in the Student Activity Book. Everything your student will work on for the week is in this workbook. Three cheers for less materials to keep track of!

Lesson 20

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed exploring Common Sense Press and The Yellow Book. It is a great fit for third grade because it involves enough work to be challenging without becoming overwhelming. I love the focus on classic literature throughout the year. There is something so special about uniting generations old and new with stories. Common Sense Press provided an excellent and thorough education. Check out this open and go language arts curriculum today! Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY in this post! And enjoy 15% off with code SUMMER2022, valid until 8/31/22.

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

There are so many ways to teach pre-k at home. The preschool years are when we, as homeschool parents, are (typically) not bound by any sort of state requirements, testing, or attendance. We have complete freedom in how we approach the preschool years.

One thing we all want is to instill a love of books and a desire to learn in our preschoolers. This is when we are laying the foundation for their long term education. Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World knocks it out of the park in creating a curriculum that is rich, thorough, fun, and engaging. I am so excited to tell you all about it! Also, you have a chance to win the ENTIRE Pre-K curriculum. Enter now!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

What’s Included in the Pre-K Curriculum Package?

Sonlight is a literature based curriculum that spans preschool through 12th grade while covering all required subjects. It has been equipping Christian homeschooling families for more than 30 years! They have updated their pre-k at home resources just in time for the 2022-23 school year.

With the Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World, you get the entire curriculum plus the Instructor’s Guide. That’s nearly 30 literature books and readers, as well as a Sonlight tote bag, tactile letter cards, counting beads, and MORE. These rich stories will immerse your child in history, nature, and Biblical stories, while teaching critical thinking skills and reading readiness.

As a homeschool mom who has had a few reluctant readers, there is SUCH value in exposing your child early and often to rich literature. Furthermore, don’t be overwhelmed by having so many books to get through in this package. This curriculum is supposed to take an entire school year. The daily break down, which you can see below, is very doable for a pre-kindergarten student.

Open and Go Pre-K at Home

If you are looking for a pre-k at home curriculum that is completely open and go, this is the right choice for you. Everything you need for the entire year is included. The Instructor’s Guide includes ideas for enrichments, such as field trips, and extensions, but they are not required. Additionally, very little advanced planning is needed for this curriculum. Sonlight really makes it easy to begin formal school with your pre-kindergarten child.

Let’s talk more about this Instructor’s Guide. I have seen several open and go curriculums, and this guide is the best I have seen. Seriously. Each week, you get an extensive overview of every thing you will be doing. Then, each day is broken down in a way that feels concise and doable. Furthermore, I REALLY like how each day is counted to to keep track of how many school days have been completed for the year. I mean, how much time is wasted counting and recounting days on a calendar to make sure we hit our requirement?!

My Overall Thoughts

Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World is a well thought out and thorough curriculum. It is a great fit for a Christian family who is ready to start formal school at ages four and five. Not everyone is ready to do that, though. And that is ok! Sometimes kids need more years of just play, and other times they are ready to dive in to schooling. There are SO many ways to do pre-k at home and this is a great option. Check out Sonlight today, and don’t forget to enter the amazing giveaway!

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TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners by Dennis Dinoia

TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners by Dennis Dinoia

I am so excited to share with you Dennis Dinoia’s new book, Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners. This book is THE great new resource for all homeschooling parents! We live in a world where any and all information is literally at our fingertips. It can be difficult to steer our children towards valuable information and teach them critical thinking skills. The topics and strategies discussed in this new book take on these challenges in a new and refreshing way.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners is available NOW!

The Inspiration for Teach

Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners begins with the author, Dennis Dinoia, sharing his background as a classroom educator. He shares the struggle he experienced getting his students to fully engage and care about their education. He often felt the information he taught went in one ear and out the other. We can definitely relate to this feeling as homeschooling parents! I know I can!!

Frustrated by this challenge, Dennis sought a solution. He realized if he had his students correct their own assignments, their grades actually improved. They retained information more effectively if they had more ownership of their work. Students also became more excited about learning. Of course, this is a goal for all parents and teachers.

When Dennis made the transition to the homeschool sector, he was able to apply the same techniques. He inspired parents to create learning environments where the child has a sense of ownership over their education. He terms this the independently responsible learner.

Practical Tips to Encourage Learning

Throughout the book, Dennis shares techniques and strategies you can apply to your homeschool to encourage independently responsible learning. One technique I really liked (and will be implementing) was in regard to vocabulary. The parent gives a list of words and has the student to discover the meanings for themselves. Then the student comes back and explains each word to the parent, essentially teaching the parent the vocabulary. What a great way to encourage independence and creativity!

Engaging and insightful, Teach is the a must read this summer!

Furthermore, Dennis provides so many real life examples and strategies. These are geared not only to the homeschooling parent but also the student. For example the chapters include:

  • Present yourself
  • Learning how to think
  • Do what you love to do
  • The parent is the coach
  • Goal setting (you know I love goal setting, mama)
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My Thoughts on Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners

I have to be honest. I do not read a lot of advice giving nonfiction books. To me, they are often preachy or set too high a standard. I prefer to garner advice from others who have been there and done that to whatever I am seeking to learn about. But the beauty of this book is Dennis has BTDT! He is entrenched in the homeschooling community and passionate about supporting parents. Additionally, he has over 30 years of educational experience!

I knew I would love this book because I am such a fan of Dennis’s. Those of us familiar with his online homeschool classes and podcast affectionately call him Mr. D. And I was NOT disappointed. The practical and actionable tips in this book are sure to add value to your homeschool as you encourage independent learning. Get your Kindle copy of Teach for only $0.99!

Online Homeschool Classes with Allschool

Online Homeschool Classes with Allschool

Do you use online homeschool classes? This is new territory for us, but let me tell you, I am loving it! For a long time, I thought I would only use hard copy materials in our homeschool. That was ridiculous of me! I limited my resources so much with that line of thinking. I also limited fun and engaging avenues for my children to learn. Now that I’ve seen the light, I am so excited to share Allschool with you!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

What is Allschool?

What exactly is Allschool, you ask? Allschool is a platform jammed packed with a variety of online homeschool classes for students ages 3-18. They encourage students to pursue their interests through interactive classes, teacher feedback, and parent resources. You can search for classes by age, subject matter, time of day, and even language. I signed my four year old up for a class about the great white shark. The process was so simple and easy. Additionally, I really appreciated the questionnaire you fill out when you fill out your learner’s profile. This helps Allschool to have a rough idea of where your child is academically.

Allschool interactive online homeschool class logo.
Allschool is a great way to include interactive learning into your homeschool.

The Awesome Features of Allschool

Allschool has so many wonderful features that make it a clear choice when looking for interactive online homeschool classes such as:

  • Small class sizes
  • Variety of topics taught, including special interests and core subjects
  • Interactive and immersive classroom experience
  • Option of one-on-one classes for individualized learning
  • Responsive and helpful online customer service
  • Free worksheets to further learning
  • Personal feedback from teachers
  • Safety protocols to keep a positive and peaceful learning environment
  • Experienced and professional teachers

All of these features enable homeschooling parents to rest assured in their choice of Allschool. However, I have to say that my favorite aspect is the number and variety of classes. There are literally hundreds to choose from. This means that wherever your child is in their academic journey, there will be a fun and engaging class that’s right for them.

Allschool free online small classes for your child
Sign Up for Allschool Today!

How do the Classes Work?

Searching for the right class is very easy. You are able to filter the search engine. Because I wanted my four year old to enroll in a class, I searched by age. Out of all the choices, he chose a class about great white sharks. After completing the check out process, I was able to set my son’s profile up. Allschool classes are done over Zoom. You can find your Zoom link in your child’s profile, which houses your class schedules.

Preschool boy watching an online homeschool class about sharks.
I set my son up at my desk with his lunch and my laptop.

I was so impressed with Teacher Amber and this class! The maximum number of students in the class is set by each teacher, and our teacher had a max of 8 students. But there was just my son and one other child in the class. Teacher Amber was so engaging. She called each student by name, which really helps to keep their attention. Also, she didn’t mind at all that my son was wiggly and playing in my desk chair. The class lasted 30 minutes, and my ADHD preschooler was engaged the whole time. That is a BIG deal!

Preschool boy watching an online homeschool class on a laptop.
Teacher Amber was so much fun!

Overall, I was highly impressed with Allschool. I definitely plan on using this awesome resource for our homeschool in the future, especially for my preschooler. Make sure you check out Allschool and snag their offer of one free class. Have you ever tried online homeschool classes? What did you think? I would love to know in the comments below! Also, make sure to share this post with your friends.

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How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

Woohoo! Summer break is almost here, and it is time for a busy but beautiful season of vacations, pool parties, and lemonade stands. But before you can dive in and enjoy the fun that summer vacation brings for you and your kiddos, you must partake in the end-of-school-year Olympics and figure out how to survive year-end stress.

Yes, I am talking about the weeks after spring break and before summer vacation, when school tests the fortitude and dedication of every elementary school parent and beyond. You will be stretched to the limit some days, but the end result is worth it: watching your child’s face the day they walk out of school for the last time before summer break. What an exciting, squealing, ice cream-faced reward!

Manage Year-End Field Trip Stress

Children looking at a train car on a field trip to the train station.
Field trip to the train station was so much fun!

Is it just me, or do schools cram as many field trips as they can into the last 3 weeks of school? Aquarium, pizza arcade, Zoo, nature walk, CRAM IT IN! Oh and do not forget the permission slip. Or close-toed shoes. And the money for snacks on site. Or the sunscreen! While it may seem like a ton of extra stuff to cram into your pint-size child’s backpack, it’s all worth it to see their ruddy cheeks at the end of the day. Filled with stories and excitement from the trip. Remember your why!

Do Not Stress Report Cards & Grades

While the report cards and quarterly grades may not seem like a big part of how to survive year-end stress, they certainly are for your children – elementary school and beyond. When my daughter began 3rd grade, the report cards got a bit more serious. And so did she.

Reward all grades, as long as you know your child has done their best

Remind your kiddo that there are no bad grades as long as they have done their best work. Grades do not make a kind or empathetic spirit. Kick the stress and discipline when a disappointing report card rolls in. Celebrate the small victories!

Year-End Teacher Gifts – What To Give?

I am positive your kid’s teacher has some different ideas about how to survive year-end stress, which is why I always love to gift them something special at the end of the school year. 

Here are some “how to survive year-end stress” gift ideas for teachers:

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How To Survive Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher conferences can be intimidating and leave everyone feeling defeated if handled improperly. My daughter’s elementary school requires at least 2 conferences a year. But you can have a great conference with your child’s teacher!

Focus on the positive.

Do not hone in on your child’s worst but choose to focus on their best.

Ask questions.

Do not begin the conference without a list of questions to ask your child’s teacher.

Request positive feedback to give your child.

Your child’s teacher wants them to succeed. They watch them learn and grow every day, so grab some of those compliments to share with your child.

Make Year-End Class Parties Fun

You might not be an over-achiever. You know what I’m talking about – a Pinterest-Perfect mom. One of those moms who set the table for every holiday and take the Christmas tree down by New Year’s. If you are, elementary class parties might not be your forte. That is okay momma! Take a chill pill and bring in the store-bough cupcakes. You do not have to cut the carrots into star shapes. 

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More than perfection, your child will remember your presence.

This is a hugely important part of how to survive year-end stress and school madness. Your child will not likely remember your perfectly styled hair or the cupcakes you stayed up until 2am baking. No, they will remember your smile as you laughed on the bus headed to the Zoo. They will remember your compassion when they got a 75% on their math test.

Choose to focus on the reason why you are running around like a chicken on mountain dew. Your children and the memories you are making amidst the madness. Do you have any tips for surviving the year-end stress of elementary school? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Howdy, Miranda here from planitmiranda.com 

I am a full-time working mom and small business owner. I work for a local law firm while trying my best to juggle mom-sponsibilities, 40 hours of work for “the man”, and entrepreneurship. My days are spent meticulously planning what is to come so nothing falls through the cracks. My daughter Dorothy is 9 years old and my joy.  We make a great planning team.