I receive many questions from mothers who want to home school their children but don’t know where to start. I would recommend moms to find other mothers in their community that are homeschooling. I would consider myself to still be somewhat of a novice even though I have completed 3 years of homeschooling with my kids.
Selection I belong to a charter school. The kids receive their funds from public schooling and we have vendors that we are able to select programs, books and so forth from.
Accountability We meet with an Educational Specialist every month. This is when I turn in work samples, lesson plans, attendance and grades. I also consult with her to find more resources and options that could better suit our needs.
Testing My children are still required to complete the same testing as public school children do. In California it is STAR testing. The children meet every spring at a public location and the tests are set up the same as traditional school. In addition, my children are accessed at the beginning and end of the school year with an online test called Scantron just to see their starting point and their growth at the end of the year.
Special Services My son has always needed the assistance of speech therapy. So he is receiving that through the school as a free service. I am also enrolling in LARP (Language Arts and Reading Program) for parents to learn more effective ways of working with their children’s learning styles.
1st Year Curriculum ( 3rd and 5th grade) Our first year of homeschooling, the kids attended half day enrichment classes two days a week just for social interaction and to be a bridge between public school and home school. I had no clue how to home school so I did a box kit curriculum with Varsity books. Basically it was set up as a normal teacher teaching public school. I downloaded the class lessons and conducted class just like a normal school setting. It was quite a challenge considering I was teaching two different grades. I was separating my son and daughters curriculum and doubling up on the work load. Honestly, the first year was really tough and we struggled to maintain a system that was generic and didn’t meet our lifestyle.
2nd & 3rd year Curriculum (4th & 6th grade) I kept the language arts and math curriculum separate, but combined all the other subjects like science, history, life skills, art and PE. My children selected their own special interest. This system was much simpler and we found ourselves enjoying the learning process together whereas before we struggled to do everything “by the book”. Along the way, I found it much easier to start writing our own lesson plans based on our lifestyle. Here is what we did last year:
Language Arts READ a book that they enjoyed (I would pull books from the required reading of public schools for their grade level, but found the kids took more interest in the books they selected themselves) WRITE a page a day especially in their journals (encouraging gratitude, creating) or stories Spelling & vocabulary- Latin based- Red Hot Root Words Grammar- Daily Grams
History Story of the World series
Science Life Science (7th grade) Kits- Solar Science, Edible Landscaping, Square Foot Gardening, Human Body
Math Teaching Textbooks
Life Skills computer skills, typing (roller typing program), blogging personal & family responsibilities raw food recipes
Special Interest guitar lessons, horseback riding lessons art- painting, drawing
Now I am approaching our 4th year of home school and I feel like it is time for another change. My kids are a bit older and are expressing career directions. I observe what they do during their independent time and I am looking to nurture their interests and habits. It seems that we are less and less concerned with standardized testing and learning skills that are not applicable to them at this time. I am not too sure how this is going to be received by our wonderful ES, but I am sure she will show us how to incorporate it all into the typical subjects.
I feel as a mother it is important to honor their direction and support them. I need to remember that learning is supposed to be fun. It is pointless to waste their time if the brain is not activated. I watch to see their natural inclinations and curiosity. I do not act like I know all the answers, since I know I don’t, but rather just express a love for learning all through life.
Priorities Knowing & supporting their end result Nurture their nature & passion Have fun & keep their minds curious Prepare them to be self reliant
My kids are entering 6th and 8th grade next month. Here is what I have set up so far.
Language Arts Reading- whatever they enjoy (Alex enjoys reading the Harry Potter series, Eragon series, Twilight series) Write- in their gratitude & create journals & writing projects pertaining to other subjects Spelling/Vocab- Latin Grammar- Daily Grams book
History Story of the World However, public school focuses on US history for my kids grades. However, I much prefer a chronological global view.
Math Money generation and management Teaching Textbooks (typical class)
Science Sustainable Living: health & environment Earth Science (typical class)
Life skills computer skills, typing, blogging, social media Entrepreneurship Self Reliance
PE wrestling horse vaulting (gymnastics on a horse)
Special Interest Alex expresses a desire to excel in sports (currently in wrestling) and music(taking guitar) , computers. I would love to find a course he could take to learn about programming and just overall computer knowledge.
Mehgan expresses an artistic desire to be in the fashion world of modeling, creating her own clothing and jewelry line, singing and performing arts. She loves interacting with animals. She is working on selling her jewelry online from her blog and Etsys. I need to enroll her into a performing arts program.
Finding What Works Everyone has their own approach. I am not even sure that I am doing things right. All I know is that most of the stuff I learned in school is information that I do not apply in my life. I want to make sure that what they are learning and doing they are enjoying. I want them to retain and apply their knowledge versus memorizing and regurgitating.
I apologize in advance for this jumbled blog. It is more like notes than a smooth post. However, so much time has passed and the blog is just getting longer. So, I thought you’d understand. Next time I know better than to go so long posting a blog or video! BTW, a new video is on the way. Here is a bit of an update of what went on in January.
I have been going through my old journal entries and vision board and checking in with my life direction. I found old affirmations that worked for me in the past and I don’t know why I stopped, but when I did so did the results. So, I am back to my affirmations. I also listened to Tony Robbins CD on Relationships and the emphasis on self love. He recommends 2 minutes of self love in the mirror daily. Wow. What a great habit for me to establish.
I watched this Ann Wigmore DVD . I am working on setting this lifestyle up at my home! Everyone should consider their home as their own personal health retreat. After watching this I was so excited I made the cabbage rejuvelac. I want to set up a space for sprouting. I have had a friend who has been nudging me to do it, but since I am such a visual person it wasn’t until I saw it in action that I became excited. I also want to make the energy soup and even try it dehydrated to make rolls with. I did incorporate the composting system that was featured in the video and I hope it works out.
Made Raw Miso Soup I can’t claim dibs on this recipe it was shown to me by someone else, but I thought I’d pass it along. I love it since it is soy free (perfect for my thyroid). Here are the ingredients. These are rough estimates.
8-16 oz Hot water ,1-2 TBSP Adzuki and chickpea miso (pictured above) ,Shitake Mushrooms (dried and soaked, next time I want to find fresh mushrooms) ,Mixed sea veggies 1/2 the bag, rinsed . I am trying to get in some sea veggies or kelp in daily for my thyroid. A sliver of onion (or any allium family: green onion, chives, leeks, scallions, etc) This is like heaven for my thyroid and perfect for these cold winter months. OK, I live in So Cal and it doesn’t get that cold, but you know what I mean. 🙂
Made a raw curry salad dressing Inspired by AniPhyo’s Curry Salad Dressing . I used avocado instead of olive oil and I liked it better. ; ). I mentioned I am trying to obtain my fat from food and not from bottles.
Tried a new yoga class My favorite yoga of all time is Bryan Kest’sPower Yoga. However, I tried Anusura yoga at a local studio. I learned how to partner up and help my partner get into poses that need some assistance. I did back bends and handstands which I haven’t practiced in a long time, so it felt wonderful. Opening up my body IS opening up my mind. However, I have a pretty open mind as it is! Outside of yoga class I have been practicing yoga with a partner and I am learning how helpful it is to have someone assist me in a pose to take me to a deeper level of my practice. My shoulders and hips are so tight and I look forward to when I can have free range of motion. Here is what I can do on my own now. I want to be able to grasp my hands.
I feel that after years of tight deltoids (shoulders) that I should focus on releasing them. I know I won’t be able to go into deeper poses until I can release this restriction. Hopefully in the future I can post video and photos that are more exciting than this.
Self : I have been focusing on practicing more self love since I truly know that this is the key to great relationships. How can others enjoy me if I can’t enjoy myself? This is a huge thing for me since in the past I associated self love with being egotistical or self absorbed and selfish. I realise I need to be a little selfish in order to have anything to give anyone else.
Kids : I feel so close with my kids. I started homeschooling them 3 years ago and it has really changed my life and the way I view education. I also know my kids strengths and aim to nurture them as best I can. We have such an open line of communication and I really have learned a lot about myself as I watch them grow. Lately we have been having fun snowboarding. I also take my kids to gymnastics, speech therapy, guitar and horseback riding lessons. Wow…so time consuming, but I enjoy exposing them to all sorts of environments. The biggest part of being a mom is stepping back and letting them grow naturally. I need to remember less is more and to allow them to do for themselves what they can.
Snowboarding Here is the mountain view from my home, new snow! We saw “Phantom of the Opera”
A New Friend: I also met a new local friend who found my online videos and blogs a few months ago. Although I was unfamiliar and a bit uneasy with meeting people who know me from online it has been very fun. This allows me to connect with people who are on the same path. 🙂 I am looking forward to meeting more people with whom I can synergize with rather than draining or conflicting relationships. However, I know I can choose to see the good in anyone including my ex. I mentioned in my last blog that I had dinner with my ex and some people were interested in how that dynamic works. As long as I focus on his strengths I can enjoy him as a person. When I focus on his weaknesses or what I don’t like, I realize I become so frustrated and outright angry. That isn’t serving me or him so the less I do that and the more I appreciate his strengths we can work together to raise our kids.
Romance: I am still single as I have been for a long while. I realize that I have not made this a priority and how can I allow for a wonderful man to enter my life if I do not know exactly what it is I am wanting? As I mentioned before I have been listening to the Relationship portion of the Get the Edge series from Tony Robbins I know that in order to have a sustainable relationship our natures must be similar or complimentary. I spent lots of time clarifying my vision of an ideal partner. More to come on this topic.
Community: I am a co-organizer of an organic produce co-op. This is how I connect with the members of the community and encourage healthy living. Again, I really wish more people had this in their community. Here is a photo of Tonya (another co-organizer) and me supporting Bunny Berry and RawFu.
This is where we set up our co-op and basket of organic produce to distribute on Saturdays. Career
I have been feeling a desire for a shift for sometime. I am wanting to break free and expand into other realms of optimal living. I really feel like empowering people to live their dreams. I want to live my life to my best, share my experiences with others and inspire them to live life with passion. I am currently having my website created. The focus is on empowered living. Wow, I had no idea how much work goes into that. I have so many things that I am doing and being a mommy-preneur is just another one of them.
This is definitely a top priority for me to get into shape. However, I was able to pay off one credit card. Only one more to go. Debt is absolutely something I want to eradicate from my life. I really want to be as free financially as I possibly can. I know that sometimes I put it out of my mind, but it’s time I pull my head out of the sand and take some action to creating wealth and financial abundance. Mentors are welcome :)!
Here is the trash bins for compost and as you can see I am already overflowing.
My south facing side yard with 4 raised beds. This bed is filled with radishes and other stuff that I never harvested. I still haven’t done anything with that irrigation hose. I am still hand watering which is tough to remember with my busy schedule.
Here is my bed of beets. It is the gourmet blend I planted in fall. It is almost ready to harvest. Beet greens are fabulous for liver function, bile flow that breaks down fat. Not to mention that they are awesome for sluggish elimination.
This is my carrot bed and honestly I don’t know why they are growing so slow. I am not sure I’ll grow carrots again, but it was a learning experience.
This is just a mix of all the other seeds that I had leftover that were planted here.
I received tons of goodies for my garden like rock dust! I can’t wait to get going on my spring garden. I mentioned earlier on the Ann Wigmore video, I saw a home compost system that was set up with big trashcans that had holes drilled into it (much cheaper than a tumbler). I went for it and set that up. I received lots of seed catalogs. It seems that winter is when the catalogs are sent and people decide what they want to grow for the year. I want a nutrient dense garden! Gardening is really teaching me to be better at planning and patience. It’s not like I can pop a seed in the ground tonight and harvest the thing in the morning. It takes lots of dedication and love. Who wouldn’t benefit from those traits?
Obtained a new camera If you read my blog you know my home was broken into and my cameras were stolen. So, I now have a new camera . I am actually excited since the format is jpegavi which means I can now add to my videos using movie maker. My last one was saved mov. files and I wasn’t able to convert them appropriately. Hey, learning to edit or add special features to my video sounds fun. I gotta embrace the technology world.
New locks and an alarm system was installed. I talked with my neighbors and it seems that I haven’t been the only one who has been broken into. I have been dusting, moping, wiping down walls, windows, baseboards, and window blinds throughout my home. I am eliminating more stuff that I don’t use. Less really is more. I have also been wanting to set up my dining room as a little dance/yoga space. Here is what I am starting with.
I want to install a mirror along that back wall, a barre, a removable pole and of course lighting and surround sound.
Sightings I came across videos and blogs that were inspired by me. Woo hoo! Nothing feels better than knowing that just by being me I am actually helping others. Thank you! Check ‘em out! Nancy, Paige, and Annette . Guys, thanks so much for reading my posts and for supporting me.
I just placed an order for more seeds. Yes, in the middle of summer. Most people order before spring, but a new gardener like me hasn’t established a system yet. I am sooo excited because I bought things that I have never even seen before like a red and orange carrot, black tomaotes, cinnamon basil, I mean the list goes on. I love the fact that I will grow things that are not only organic and biodynamic, but they are rare and uncommon. Who wants to grow the same exact thing that you can pick up at the market? I find the uniques varieties far more alluring.
I have also finished building four more 4×4 raised beds. I will use them for my kids gardening experiments for school science.
My ultimate gardening goal is to have a beautiful organic edible landscape that provides food sustainability that is super nutrient dense. It just makes sense to grow food rather than work on a lawn that serves no major purpose, especially since I am in Southern California which is experiencing a water crisis. It makes no sense to see miles of lawns in a place where we are in need of water. If you are going to be watering something you might as well be growing food.
I have really been enjoying learning as much as I can about gardening this year. I have been exposed to gardening with sea agriculture, rock dust, ormus, compost tea, worms, bees, bio dynamic, bio intensive, square foot method, and so on. I can’t say that my garden is flourishing out of control like many gardeners are experiencing right now. I learned I was missing nitrogen from my soil and that stunts the growth of the plant. So, while researching online I found many sites talking about urine in their garden as a great source of nitrogen. WHAT?!?! Ok, this immediately repulsed me….NO WAY am I going to PEE in my garden. Well, then it started making a bit of sense. I mean, I would go to the garden shop and put chicken and bat poop in the garden. So that’s just as gross, right? I started thinking about my diet and the fact that I eat raw foods. I eat sprouts, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, superfoods, and so forth. All of which would go into a compost bin safely. I don’t consume any animal products. Anyhow, I started to apply it to my garden…go figure… I am seeing peppers that are finally producing rather than the flowers just falling off. My teeny tiny canteloupe has tripled in size. I know it sounds disgusting, but proof is in the ….PEE…LOL.