Blog

What's Your School Year's Resolution?

Do you have a School Year's Resolution? 

You know - just like one of those fancy New Year's Resolutions, but this one applies to your homeschool - the ONE THING you want to accomplish this year with your children?

I think we all might do better if we focused on JUST ONE THING this school year.

At the back to school time of year especially, there are a million ideas, curricula, and methods floating around the homeschool world. If we don't Stay in Our Own Lanes it can be frustrating and make us feel "less than" at the drop of a hat, know what I mean? 

We can be confused with all of the choices and "supposed to" learn subjects out there. 

Let me give you some advice I once heard -- STOP. BREATHE.

PRAY.

Focus on ONE THING this year.

What's Your School Year's Resolution: How One Small Goal Can Change your Homeschool

That's right. One thing.

Let me give you an example.

 

Morning Time

Many years ago I felt that I wasn't connecting with my children intentionally each day. I felt like we were simply checking off boxes, completing assignments, and going through the motions. I didn't feel the sense of connection I had once felt with them through homeschooling - and I knew they didn't feel it with me (or each other), either.

That year I resolved we would focus on just ONE THING. That one thing would always get done first and get done well. I would always plan for it and we would never "skip it". 

That one thing was Morning Time. 

For one year we focused on having beautiful Morning Times together - devotions, art appreciation, music appreciation, read alouds, memory work, and current events took up the first hour of our day. 

It was a CONSTANT. 

At the end of that year we had truly accomplished something. We were connecting with each other and we had incorporated so much truth, beauty and goodness into our homeschool days. 

Sure, we focused on other things that year, but Morning Time was our ONE THING.

Fast forward to the next year. 

 

Math

I decided our one thing would be MATH. 

That year (after our Morning Time, which we could not abandon since everyone loved it the year before), math was a priority.  We played math games, challenged each other with math problems, and made completing a full Saxon lesson each day a priorit.

By the end of that year, I noticed that we all enjoyed math more and those pesky math facts came more automatically (especially to a 7th grader I had at the time that really needed work on them.)

 

Just Choose That ONE Thing.

May I encourage you this year to make a School Year's Resolution?

Choose just one thing for your focus. 

That doesn't mean you push other things to the side, it just means you will master ONE THING this year. (Next year you can master something different.)

After several years just think of all of the "one things" you will have accomplished.

Now that we're in our senior year with our oldest (sniff!), those one things sure do add up!

 

What is your "School Year's Resolution"? Let me know in the comments below.

 


Simple Summer Homeschool (For Big Kids)

Wouldn't it be glorious if we could just embrace summer to its fullest?  

I used to think taking a complete break from "school" was best. The kids (and mom) needed time to decompress, relax, sleep in, and do all of the wonderful things summer has to offer.

Then reality set in.

After about a week of "embracing" summer, I started observing grumbling, boredom, and a spirit of discontent (and this was just from mom!). The kids were at loose ends and not so happy about summertime anymore.

Routine is a GOOD thing.  

When my kids were younger we always embraced a gentle way to school throughout the summer. Now that they are older we need more formalized routines to maintain good moods and fosters peaceful relationships (can you relate?)

A routine also keeps academic skills sharp and inquisitive minds churning. It eliminates the need for questions and keeps kids off of devices.

 

Simple Summer Homeschool For Big Kids - A Routine to Keep them Engaged and Learning

It's all about SIMPLE in our homeschool.

Both my husband and I work from home. I need to be sure there is time for me to WORK in the mornings, so having this simple routine in place greatly helps our home run smoothly. We are both structured people and tend to become unhappy without routine.

It's just natural  our children will need routine then, too.

This is nothing fancy, and it might look different in your homeschool, but here is our routine. Resources we are using will be listed at the end. 

Simple Summer Homeschool Routine for Big Kids

 

Morning Time

We keep Morning Time going throughout the summer. 

  • Devotions
  • Read-Aloud (I spend A LOT of time reading aloud - we're enjoying this part of our summer. We take turns reading aloud and using this fun color by number... makes read-aloud time fun.)
  • SQUILT  (my son helps me preview SQUILT LIVE! lessons - I always try them out on him first)

 

Summer Read Alouds in a Simple Homeschool Summer Schedule for Big Kids

 

Chores

Take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher, make sure your room is picked up and bed made, etc...

 

Math

Math is too important a skill to let slide. My son completes a full math lesson each day (yes, I am a mean mom). 

We are also peppering in some ACT practice problems this summer as well. I'm finding it's never too early to start this.

 

Vocabulary

My son enjoys words (I think a lot of this comes from learning Latin), so I ordered a set of ACT flashcards

He enters them into Quizlet each day. I've challenged him to learn all 500 words by the end of the summer. If he can learn them I have promised him a trip to our local LEGO store. 

Yes, I know - bribery. 

Don't judge.

 

Piano Practice

Piano is another skill that needs constant attention. 20-30 minutes practice is required each day. I'm quite thankful my kids enjoy playing. 

(If you don't have a musician, you might choose another skill your child enjoys to work on this summer - maybe it is art or some other creative outlet)

 

Read Alone

Once the other activities are finished, it's reading time. You can see some of the books my son has been interested in below. 

Normally, the morning time, math, vocabulary, and piano take approximately 3 hours - then reading seems to occur for 30 minutes, or however long a book will captivate my son. 


This routine seems to take us right to lunch time. 

(I don't make the kids get up at any certain time in the summer, but they've seemed to figure out that if they sleep in too late they will be doing their required work longer, and that's no fun.)

After lunch there is usually time spent with a friend, errands to run, going to the YMCA, or something else to keep the day interesting. 

Of course, we have a couple of vacations planned, the kids have a mission trip, and Grant is going to camp. This routine is in place for those weeks when we are home and need to be occupied.

 

That's it. I told you it was simple.


Resources for  Summer Homeschool


3-Minute Devotions for Guys: 180 Encouraging Readings for Teens3-Minute Devotions for Teen Girls: 180 Encouraging Readings3-Minute Devotions for FamiliesPeter Nimble and His Fantastic EyesWords in the DustThe Rise and Fall of Mount MajesticHomeless BirdThe True Confessions of Charlotte DoyleThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelJefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret ChildrenA Land of Permanent GoodbyesBarron's SAT Vocabulary Flash Cards, 2nd Edition: 500 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreThe Maze Runner Series Complete Collection Boxed SetTheodore Boone Box Set (Kid Lawyer / The Abduction / The Accused / The Activist)HatchetThe River (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Winter (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Return (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Hunt (A Hatchet Adventure)Hatchet 4 book set, Hathet, Brian's Winter, Brian's Return, & The River

 

Do you have a summer routine with your big kids?  Tell me about it.