Homeschool Room Tour

Should I Have a Homeschool Room? Updated Classroom Tour

We’re fast approaching the end of the school year here in Middle Georgia. In fact, next month’s To-Do List includes a kindergarten graduation for my six-year-old and state exams for my third-grader.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe we’ve been on this homeschool journey for four years. Yet, here we are. So much has changed. We went from doing school at home to adopting an eclectic homeschool approach with whole-child education as our foundation.

With that being said, I often wonder if it’s necessary to keep the homeschool room going. I mean, I love our classroom, but I must admit—at this point in our journey—it’s just for looks.

Which leads me to this blog post. Many homeschool newbies wonder if having a homeschool room is necessary.

The quick answer is no.

There are many unconventional places we’ve enjoyed learning outside our designated homeschool room. Here are a few:

Homeschool Room Alternatives

1. The living room: The couches in the formal living room are the perfect place to get cozy with a book.

Homeschooling in the Living Room

2. The family room: Whether it’s making ourselves comfortable on the couch, rocking chair, or carpet, the family room has seen more learning than our classroom this year.

Homeschooling in the Family Room

3. The dining room table: Multi-level learning is much easier sitting around the dining room table. We can all see each other’s faces, have plenty of workspace, and I can easily work with both my boys at once.

Homeschooling at the dining room table

4. The kitchen: We’ve had many science lessons in the kitchen, from building volcanoes and robots at the breakfast table to using hands-on kitchen science to bake goodies. It’s also a great place for my boys to read-aloud to me while I prepare meals.

Homeschool Science at the kitchen table

5. The porch: Our back porch has been the perfect place for us to get messy with arts, crafts, and science experiments.

Homeschooling on the back porch

6. The world: The world is literally the best classroom! Whether we’re hanging out at the library, touring the nation’s capital, or going on a field trip, these experiences give our children the opportunity to put their learning into practice. Click here to read about our field trip adventures. Click here for ideas on providing homeschool children with social opportunities.

The World is our Classroom

So, no, we haven’t been making much use of our classroom. If you don’t have one, don’t feel like you’re missing out. Many homeschoolers I know don’t have a designated workspace either. I will say that there have been some pros and cons to having a homeschool room. Here are a few:

Pros to Having a Homeschool Room:

  • Contains Homeschool Mess: All schoolwork and homeschool supplies have a designated space that is contained and can be closed off at the end of the school day. This keeps other areas of your house from becoming a homeschool landfill.
  • Fewer Distractions: Having a homeschool room automatically sets the atmosphere for learning. Children know they’re in this room to learn and are more likely to stay focused.
  • Personalization: Decorating your homeschool room can be fun! Especially when you get the kiddos involved. You can really create a space that is unique to your family and makes your children excited to learn.
  • More Visuals: Typically, your homeschool room will include hanging charts of colors, shapes, numbers, the alphabet, nouns, verbs, maps, etc. Daily exposure to these visuals may help stimulate your child’s brain and facilitate learning—especially if your child is a visual learner.
  • Keeps Things from Getting Lost: Having a child do schoolwork wherever they please is an invitation for items to get lost. You may find yourself spending unnecessary time looking for pencils, scissors, and other school supplies. Your children may also lose their textbooks and other learning materials. Having a designated classroom ensures everything stays put in one room, cutting down on the likelihood of lost items.

Cons to Having a Homeschool Room:

  • It’s Not Ideal: Many homeschoolers discover that learning is actually best when it takes place outside the home. Field trips, library visits, nature walks, etc., are all opportunities for children to set the workbooks aside and put their education into practice.
  • It Segregates Learning: Having a designated classroom may reinforce the idea that learning and life are separate entities when the two are very much intertwined. Being able to learn anywhere may help children understand that learning is accessible anywhere and doesn’t only take place in a classroom setting.
  • It Encourages Overspending: “This will look cute in our classroom” is a phrase I used often. In actuality—even with being a homeschool minimalist—I admit to purchasing things I didn’t need just to “fill-up” our homeschool space.
  • It’s Less Organic: Cuddling up in the oversized rocking chair while I read to my boys about skyscrapers was much more authentic than having them sitting at their desks as I stood at the whiteboard lecturing. Many children I know—including my own—prefer a more organic approach to learning that allows them to better relax and learn at their own pace.
  • It Can Aggravate Cabin Fever: One thing I’ve noticed was that by winter none of us wanted to be in the classroom. Spending most of our mornings in the same confined space started to get old quickly. We wanted to be downstairs where the floorplan was open and the windows were plenty.

Can you homeschool successfully without a designated classroom? Of course you can! But if you must have a classroom and are looking for some inspiration, here is a tour of our updated homeschool space. I figured I’d go ahead and post it should we decide to change or get rid of it altogether next school year.

Homeschool Room Tour

  • Minimalism was the name of the game this year. I wanted to keep the decor simple and only house supplies we’ll actually use. The map is from Dollar Tree, the crayon decals are from Target, and the organizing carts are from Michaels. The bins on top of the carts were gifted from my mother-in-law. 

Homeschool Room Tour

  • This is how I originally had the classroom set up. We got rid of the lamp, which was from Target. I ordered the office chairs from Amazon, which are specifically designed for children. The valences are a Big Lots’ purchase. Lastly, the corner shelf was gifted by my mother-in-law. 

Homeschool Room Tour

  • This is what the space looks like with children working in it! The positive affirmations posters are from Target. The LED calendar and red caddy are also from Target. You can find pencil holders like the one in the picture at Dollar Tree and the table lamp is a Walmart purchase. 

Homeschool Room Tour

  • No homeschool room is complete without a whiteboard. This whiteboard was purchased on Amazon. On the right-hand side of the board, I have my boys’ homeschool schedule and morning checklist laminated for durability and dry-erase use. The affirmation underneath the board says “You are a creator” and I thought it was fitting to place it above the art supplies. The art supplies are sitting on a stand by Melissa and Doug. 

Homeschool Room Tour

  • My favorite space in this room is the reading corner. The letter decals,  lamp, and chair are from Target. I used the shelves on the floor-lamp to house some of our books, which are sitting in organizer bins from Dollar Tree. The pillow and crochet blanket were made by my lovely momma. Lastly, the Minecraft pickaxe and sword were purchased from a local circus, they light up at night!

Homeschool Room Tour

If you’d like to see what the classroom looked like before, click here. Not much has changed, but I love the flow and simplicity of our designated learning space this year.

In closing, if you decide not to have a homeschool room, I hope this post gave you peace of mind. If you’ve decided that a designated homeschool room would be best for your family, I hope you’ve gotten some ideas to help you get started decorating!

Do you have a homeschool room? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments! 

Until next time, friends…

Fun Educational Spring Activities

Educational Activities to Welcome the Spring

Spring is literally around the corner!

Whether you’re a homeschool family like us, or your kids are home on spring break, I bet you’re looking for ideas on how to enjoy the warmer weather we’ve all been desperately waiting for.

Or, maybe that I’ve been desperately waiting for?

I mean, if you’ve read my recent post, you’re well aware that for me, and many other homeschoolers, winter is burnout season. But we’ve powered through it and kindly welcome the chirping birds (let’s hope they don’t bully us this year and that they make their nests in a location other than our front porch), the budding flowers, the milder days, and the sound of children enjoying the great outdoors.

Enter, springtime! How, oh how, shall we celebrate?

Of course, spending more time playing outdoors, taking bike rides, and basking in the sunshine are obvious ways to welcome the spring months. I, however, wanted to recommend some of the educational activities we’ve done in the past that our boys especially enjoyed. All the activities I’m about to mention are family friendly and age-adaptable. Most importantly, they are super fun!

So, let’s get into it, shall we?


 

7 Educational Activities to Welcome the Spring



1. Learn about bees and pollination.

Bees and Pollination Spring Activities

Where did we learn about bees and pollination? During a spring field trip to our local farm. We learned how bees make honey and how humans harvest it, the differences between male and female bees, and the important role bees play in pollination. We also got to taste some local honey harvested right there on the farm!

You don’t have to venture far to learn about bees, though. There are a ton of YouTube videos and library books on the subject that can be taught right from the comfort of your back porch on a beautiful spring day. But, of course, a lesson on a beautiful farm takes things up a notch.

And while you’re at it, invest in some local honey if the spring season aggravates your child’s allergies. Local honey is a great natural way to combat allergy season. Just a spoonful will do for children over one-year-old. And as a friendly reminder; never give honey to an infant.

 

2. Plant something green.

Planting and Botany Spring Activities

After covering our lesson on plant science, which included an awesome plant-cycle activity in our interactive science notebooks, we decided to get hands on. Planting grass is such an easy, no-nonsense experiment for children because it easily grows in many different environments. My boys loved taking care of their indoor plant and watching it change over time.

We got our seeds for free at a local farm, but you can pretty much purchase these seeds at any Lowes, home depot, Walmart, and even Target. In fact, Target has some pretty cool starter grow kits for tomatoes, carrots, and other veggies if you’re feeling adventurous.

 

3. Pick some strawberries.

Strawberry Picking Spring Activities

Did you know strawberries are the first fruit to ripen each spring? That makes them the perfect fruit to welcome the spring months. So, pack up the kids, head to your local orchard, and get ready to pick some juicy strawberries!

But don’t stop there. Check if your local orchard offers guided tours, classes, or other educational opportunities to maximize your learning experience. Our local orchard taught our homeschool group a lesson on the life-cycle of strawberries and how to properly pick them before we ventured off to pick our own. We also ate some delicious homemade strawberry ice-cream, compliments of the farm.

 

4. Visit a butterfly garden.

Butterfly Garden Spring Activities

Most butterfly gardens are open to the public. Visit one and learn about the many species of butterflies and their native habitats. The butterflies in the garden are typically friendly and will interact with you and your children. My boys even fed them nectar, which was the closest they’ve ever been to the beautiful creatures they tend to chase in our backyard.

Don’t have a local butterfly garden? Invest in a butterfly kit and grow your own butterflies. You can find them just about anywhere, but Amazon is probably your best bet. The kit comes with live caterpillars that turn into adult butterflies. Be sure to set them free after you’ve finished marveling at their transformation.

 

5. Camp out while doing your lessons.

Camping and Spring Activities

Got a tent taking up space in your garage? Pitch it in your backyard and turn it into your spring classroom. Pack your laptop, sleeping bags, and yummy treats to cozy up and watch a documentary together. Or, pack some clipboards for easy writing and do your normal lessons in the fun cozy setting of your backyard tent.

You can also go on a real camping adventure. Just search for popular campsites in your area. Many parks and other recreational areas offer great camping grounds complete with beautiful scenery and the necessary facilities to make the most of your camping trip. Your kids will love solving math problems by the lake or underneath a tunnel of trees in the forest.

 

6. Do some spring-themed brainteasers.

Spring Themed Worksheets & Brain Teasers

Who can resist the plethora of cute spring-themed worksheets on the good ol’ internet? They’re especially handy “boredom-busters” for those rainy spring days when everyone is stuck at home. Education.com has got you covered! Not only does this resource offer an abundance of spring-themed worksheets, but also brain-teasers, games, and lesson plans for just about every topic I mentioned in this blog post.

Check out the brain-teaser below for a fun way to challenge your child’s cognitive thought processes, and improve their concentration, memory, and brain strength. Download it here for FREE!

Spring Maze Brain Teaser

Spring Maze
To celebrate the beginning of spring, these friendly flowers are here to help you through this maze! Be sure to check out Education.com for more learning fun.

7. Learn about local birds and make a birdhouse.

Building a Birdhouse Spring Activities

Making a birdhouse is not only fun, but is also incredibly easy to find in kit-form. We purchased our wooden birdhouse kits from Lowes and my boys had a great time building and painting them. All we needed was a kiddie hammer, some paint supplies, a back porch, and a beautiful spring day.

If you have a local nature center, it is the perfect place to learn about local birds and other wildlife. During our visit, we learned most of the wildlife at our nature center have been nursed back to health after being found injured or orphaned. Our boys got to see owls, eagles, and many other beautiful birds up close and personal. There’s something magical that happens when kids interact with animals!


 

Well, that completes my list. I hope you try out some of these activities this spring. A big thanks to Education.com for another great partnership to bring you awesome educational resources for your children and students. As you know, Education.com is one of my favorite resources so it’s always a pleasure to work with them.

Need more ideas? Click here for other spring-friendly field-trip ideas and join me on Instagram to see what activities we do this coming spring!

Be sure to let me know in the comments what your family’s favorite springtime activities are.

Until next time, friends…

Homeschool | Help Your Child Work Independently

How to Help Your Child Work Independently

You may have read my post last week where I shared what a typical homeschool day-in-the-life looks like for my preschooler. This week, I will discuss how I was able to get my second-grader to work independently to award me more time to work with my four-year-old.

I’m surrounded by homeschool moms often, and I can pretty much gather there’s a common struggle with getting a child to work independently. One mom admitted she waits until her husband comes home to lay down the law, while another mom recently discovered her “independent worker” had been skipping assignments. Still, there are many moms who don’t even know where to begin.

We all fall short somewhere, but there is hope for those of us who struggle to get our children to complete their assignments on their own. This academic year, my goal was to get my second-grader to work independently on reading, spelling, and math at the very least. I can safely say that I’ve reached my goal and it’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I want to help you remove some weight, too. So, here goes!


16 Tips That Helped My Son to Work Independently


 

1. Make Daily Reading a Habit.

If you don’t follow any other tips on this post, at least follow this one! Strong reading fluency is the foundation for working independently. Why? Because your child will need strong reading skills to read and understand lessons on their assignments. Only continued practice will develop a fluent reader, so ensure your child reads every single day. My second-grader was required to read for one hour every day last year—including summers. This year, he easily spends an hour reading on assignments alone.

How to Get Your Child to Work Independently

2. Let Your Child Practice Reading Instructions.

Instead of reading the instructions to your child all the time, let him give it a shot. Reading instructions helps your child get familiar with words they may not encounter in everyday language but are common jargon for a subject. For instance, your child may never see the words “addition,” “subtraction,” or “multiplication” in a chapter book, but will need to become familiar with these terms to work independently on their math curriculum.

3. Don’t Skip Reading Comprehension.

When my oldest son was in kindergarten, he was required to complete one reading comprehension activity every morning. Of course, this was once he became a fluent reader. Reading comprehension is not only important for ensuring a child understands what he reads, it’s important because it puts the child into the practice of questioning if he understands what he reads. Therefore, when a child reads on his own, he will naturally look for evidence that the text is understood. This is essential for working independently because some children who lack reading comprehension skills may struggle with understanding lessons that accompany assignments.

Reading Comprehension Practice

4. Baby Steps Build Confidence.

I recommend starting a child off working independently as early as preschool. You can give them simple tasks like circling all the “A’s” on a worksheet and then “slip away” while they complete the task on their own. These baby steps will help the child build the confidence that they can successfully complete tasks in your absence. This tip is new to me, so I didn’t do this early training with my oldest son but have with my youngest. However, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, I would leave the room after a lesson while he completed the seatwork on his own. This practice gave him the confidence he needed to eventually work independently.

5. Read It Thrice Before Asking for Help.

Establishing a habit of reading the directions over three times will help cut down on asking for help prematurely. I don’t know how many times my second-grader came to me in a panic, only for me to ask him to reread the directions and for him to say, “oh, I understand now.” The rule of thumb is if after the third reread you still don’t understand the directions, I’ll be glad to help.

Helping a Child Work Independently

6. Make Consequences Clear and Concise.

Being a mom is hard enough. When your child doesn’t take you seriously, it makes the job even harder. To the mom with no backbone, here’s how to get one: make clear and concise consequences for not completing assignments—and follow through! Consequences reinforce your authority and encourage your children to respect you as such. In our home, there will be no screen-time of any sort if independent assignments are not completed. No exceptions. You get to decide what rules and consequences best fit your family.

7. Develop a Simple and Effective Checklist.

Once your child is ready to work independently, make a simple checklist to help them stay on track. Although you want the checklist to be simple, add necessary details to ensure your child completes all the assignments for a subject. For instance, I must remind my son on the checklist to answer all the questions for his assigned reading. When you give a child a checklist, it eliminates the “what next?” questions. Additionally, research suggests those little checkmarks increase motivation and confidence.

Checklists for Kids

8. Have a System in Place.

Make sure that you have a designated place for all your child’s independent work that is easy to get to. In our home, we’ve adopted the workbox system using a storage cart. In previous years, we’ve used labeled binders that we stored on a tabletop shelf. What I love about our current system is that there are ten drawers, so every subject has a place and we can even store school supplies there. This simple solution eliminates all questions that start with “where is my…?” Plus, having a system encourages my son to practice the good habit of organizing.

9. Create a Conducive Environment for Independent Learning.

You don’t have to get fancy on this one. Most of my mom friends attest that the bed is their child’s favorite place to get work done. Personally, I like to let my son work quietly upstairs in the classroom while his brother and I are downstairs doing lessons.

Homeschool Learning Classroom

10. Eliminate Screen-Time.

Trust me on this, screen-time is a distraction. I’m going to sound very strict, but we do not do screen-time unless it’s the weekend or off-school day. This, of course, is with the exception of videos that accompany a lesson. How do we live? Perhaps I’ll write a future post on it. I must say that when screen-time was an option, my son would rush through his schoolwork just to be done for the day so that he could play video games. This lack of application resulted in careless errors on his assignments. It was then that I decided to limit screen-time to weekends only, and it worked!

11. Explain the Importance of Working Independently.

If your child is like mine they like to know the why behind EVERYTHING. Even if they aren’t as inquisitive, it’s still a good idea to explain the importance of working independently. This explanation may be different for each household. In our home, we explain to our boys that their independent assignments test their responsibility. When they complete their checklists without being told and put in their greatest effort they are indicating to us that they are responsible and can be trusted with more privileges. Of course, there are more benefits we could share with them, but privileges are what motivates them most them at this age.

Helping a Child Work Independently

12. Be Available.

Working independently can be stressful in the beginning. And with good reason, because as parents we are transferring some of the educational responsibility to our children. Don’t be surprised if, during the first week or two, your newly independent worker takes on the role of the “needy” student. My son tested me to the point of annoyance. But I later realized what he was looking for was reassurance that I was “there.” Once I assured him that he was not entirely on his own and that I was always willing to help him, I received fewer unnecessary interruptions.

13. Refrain from Micro-Managing.

I find that many moms, including myself, will constantly ask their independent worker if they’ve completed all their assignments. No, don’t do this. The goal is to help them become independent workers. That means they should already know what’s expected of them and execute the mission without being told. Instead, evaluate their progress at the end of the week and give fair consequences for incomplete assignments. I guarantee their checklist will be one of the first things they’ll get done in the morning after a day or two of not being able to play video games.

Help a Child Work Independently

14. Review All Assignments.

Set a day aside every week to ensure your child is on track and is mastering the material. I’ve heard from many moms who admit to not doing this, but I must say reviewing your child’s work is necessary for their academic success. For example, one week I noticed my second-grader was not “borrowing” correctly on his math assignments. I was able to nip the bad habit in the bud by sitting down and helping him to see where he went wrong. I was also able to administer extra practice on that particular topic. Even more? When a child knows you’ll be reviewing their assignments, they’ll have even more incentive to try their best.

15. Have a Reward System in Place.

It’s always a great idea to reward your child if they’ve had a successful week. I mean, who doesn’t like to be recognized for a job well done? These rewards don’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as writing a note that reads “way to go!” Of course, I must mention it’s best to refrain from overpraising as studies suggest it has the opposite effect. But a little praise here and there is a great confidence booster for independent learners. Personally, on the weeks when my son goes above and beyond, I let him have his tablet after his tests on Friday, rather than making him wait until Saturday (we only do tablet time on weekends).

Homeschool Language Arts Independent Work

16. Choose the Right Curriculum.

So, I literally thought of this tip at the very last minute and wanted to include it due to its significance. If your goal is for your child to work independently, make sure to choose a curriculum that caters to independent learning. The only reason my son doesn’t work independently on ALL of his subjects is that I didn’t make the right curriculum choices. His curricula for language arts, geography, and science all require my instruction and supplementation. While I enjoy these curricula, next year I will make choices that better fit our homeschool agenda.


That concludes my list of tips that helped me develop an independent learner. The key term here is develop, as there’s an advancement and maturity process to working independently. It takes time! Of course, I can’t end this post without saying every child is different and will work independently at different ages. If you have an independent learner, let us know your tips in the comments below!

 

Realistic Ways My Kids Stay Entertained

5 Realistic Ways My Kids Stay Entertained During Winter Break

Winter break is here and with it enters the dreadful question, “How on earth am I going to keep my children entertained?” Trust me, as a momma to two young boys, I know this dilemma all too well. But before you allow the television to takeover this winter break, I want to share some alternative ideas to help balance out the inevitable screen-time while helping to keep those little minds sharp.  These methods work so well for our household. Even better? They are realistic and require very little effort on your part. So, let’s get into it, shall we?

5 Realistic Ways My Kids Stay Entertained During Winter Break

 

  1. Read, Read, and Read Some More! For leisure, that is! We all know that reading is fundamental, but why? For starters, reading improves cognitive development in children—that is, your child’s ability to process and recall information, solve problems, and make decisions. It’s easy to see that reading is a great exercise for the brain, but did you also know reading can reduce your child’s stress levels and improve their vocabulary and concentration? More reasons to visit your local library this winter break and let ‘em loose! Books we love? Basically, anything Pete the Cat, Frog and Toad, and Mo Willems related. Don’t have readers or book lovers? Try audiobooks!

 

  1. Break Out the Paint Supplies. If you’ve never heard about the benefits of painting, allow me to inform you. Obviously, painting encompasses a multitude of creative benefits, but it can also provide therapeutic benefits for children and provide them a platform to better communicate their emotions. Even more? Painting helps children develop decision-making skills and it increases the mobility skills necessary for mental and physical development. My boys have been loving their paint therapy sessions! I can’t believe how long this activity actually keeps them quiet.

 

  1. Control Screen-Time. Let’s not act like screen-time isn’t going to happen for most of us. But you don’t have to feel entirely guilty about giving your child a tablet and sending them to their room. Instead of letting them spend hours watching YouTube videos of other kids playing with toys (Please tell me my kids aren’t the only weirdos that do this, haha), make your children a playlist of educational YouTube channels that are parent-approved. Here are some YouTube videos we love! Additionally, Schoolhouse Rock videos have become a favorite around here.

 

  1. Give Brainteasers a Try. Puzzles, mazes, and riddles are fun ways for children to challenge their cognitive thought processes. In short, these games can help reduce boredom and improve concentration, memory, and brain strength. Education.com is a great resource for all things games, mazes, and puzzles for all ages. I’ve talked about how helpful Education.com has been to our homeschool in the past (Read about it here), so it’s a pleasure to feature this resource in today’s post. Since my boys love brainteasers, we’re excited to download additional resources at Education.com to help combat winter break boredom. Check out their sample activity below and get in on the fun! Although this is a partnership, all opinions are my own. 

Education.com Maze
Splash around and help our little sea friends find their way home! Check out additional games and resources at Education.com! FREE Download! Get the answer key.

5. Learn a new skill. Whether it’s baking, origami, playing an instrument, or exploring a new sport, every child has an interest they don’t mind spending hours mastering. School breaks are the perfect time to challenge your child to learn something new. The key is to set realistic goals. A checklist of goodies to bake, perhaps, or learn how to play a song on the keyboard. My second-grader has taken it upon himself to learn about computer programing, so he checked out some books from the library and started taking virtual courses with Khan Academy to learn the basics. Whatever they choose, it should be totally up to them—and fun!


 

I hope everyone enjoys their winter break! I want to end by saying that learning should not only be fun but a way of life that inspires children beyond the classroom. At least that’s how we see it!  And now it’s your turn: What are your winter break tips? Let us know in the comments. And, P.S. it’s okay to say your winter break tip is to simply survive, haha. We get you!

Classroom Tour

Homeschool Classroom Tour

I wanted to wait until I had better images to make this post. But, alas, here we are. Sometimes you just have to use what you have.

I mentioned on my Instagram that I would be sharing my classroom with all of you and that’s what I’ll be doing today. Yes, I know, it’s not Tuesday. Consider this a bonus post!

{ Note: See Should I Have a Homeschool Room? Updated Classroom Tour to see what our classroom looks like now.}

First, many of you have come to know our previous classroom and you may be wondering why we switched rooms and redecorated. The answer to that question is the space we were using as a classroom was actually our office. It worked well for us for the first two years, but we really needed a separate space where we wouldn’t be interrupted by people coming in and out to use the copy machine, printer, and desktop. There are lots of businesses run in this house!

The solution was to turn the boys’ room into a classroom. I considered the boy’s room wasted space since they only sleep there. They usually play outside or in the family room. Aside from that, their room is super bright with tons of space. So, this past summer I redecorated their room to fit our classroom needs. The first thing I did was purchase a room divider to hide away their bunkbed and provide a private reading nook. My boys absolutely LOVE having these curtain dividers in their room. It’s like sleeping in a fort! Room dividers for spaces larger than 122 inches can be found on Amazon.

Classroom Decor
I transformed these LEGO bed sheets into divider curtains using clip rings. That’s it!
Classroom Decor
These LEGO curtain dividers close completely across our 124″ space. Separating the sleeping area from the rest of the room.

Pictured below is the view of our classroom when you first walk in. You can see the two windows that offer plenty of bright sunlight. I went for valances rather than curtains because curtains make the room seem cluttered and dark. I chose folding desks for a similar reason. Since the desks are not bulky and have an open back, they make the space appear more open. These desks also fold flat should we need to store them away for any reason. My favorite feature is that they have USB ports and AC plugins to keep laptops and tablets charged.

As far as decor, I’m no designer on HGTV. The goal was to keep the decor minimal and functional. Therefore, I only hung posters that we would actually use. Aside from the LEGO curtains, which make the room look fun and lively, I’ve also put up some geography posters that accompany our curriculum, basic math charts (which can be found for FREE at my store), and a big solar system informational poster. You can say this is our science and math corner.

Classroom Decor
Our homeschool classroom offers plenty of sunlight. Here is the view when you first walk in.
Classroom Decor
This is what our homeschool classroom looked like on the first day of school. I added some borders for an extra touch.

Let’s dive into the reading corner. There’s not much going on here. I placed a comfy brown chair in this corner, which I purchased from Target years ago. I placed the chair by the window for optimal lighting. My mother made the beautiful colorful crochet blanket hanging over the chair, which matches our classroom beautifully. Beneath the chair is a  transportation themed rug by Melissa and Doug. The boys received this rug as a Christmas gift last year from a loved one. It fits perfectly into the space.

I originally wanted a sign that says “Reading Corner,” but couldn’t find one that fit our classroom. I opted for letter decals instead. The letter decals that spell out “Read Books” are from Target and I just love the subtle pizzaz they add to this corner of the room. And speaking of books, I placed a blue book bin beside the chair and filled it with some of our favorites. Most of our books are paperback so we can stack many of them into this bin. We also have an excellent library that allows us to check out up to 50 books at a time, which is where our primary resources come from.

Classroom Decor Reading Corner
Our reading corner hosts a comfy chair by the window with a basket full of our favorite books.

Pictured below I have our work corner.  I placed a ten-drawer organizer for each child’s workload next to the window. The organizers are from Amazon. The first drawer houses our devotional materials. The second drawer houses their reading curriculum. Spelling and language arts are placed in the third and fourth drawers. The fifth drawer houses their arithmetic curriculum. The sixth and seventh drawers are reserved for science and geography. Lastly, the eighth drawer is for their handwriting curriculum. I reserved the last two drawers for school supplies.

Above the organizers are height charts for each child. We will measure their height in the Fall, Winter, and Spring to see how much they’ve grown. Next to the organizers is a ten-pocket pocket chart. This pocket chart is also from Amazon. We like to use this pocket chart to house weekly spelling and vocabulary words for my second-grader. At the very bottom of the chart is where my 4-year-old does sight word practice.

Classroom Decor
A view of our homeschool classroom from the reading corner.

Okay, let’s talk about the view of the classroom from the desks. One of the main attractions here is our dry-erase board purchased from, you’ve guessed it…Amazon! This is where I do all of my oral lessons. The board came with an eraser, marker, tray (which houses my pointer), and magnets. Above the board are letter decals from Target that spell out “Welcome.” Hanging from the board is our daily tentative homeschool schedule. Lastly, next to the board is the boys’ morning to-do list, which I placed in a black frame. I also hang a picture of the students from Kampala, Uganda who are very dear to our hearts.

As you can see, most of the decor is very low because I wanted to keep everything at eye-level for my kids. That’s why I decided not to hang my kindergartner’s morning board, which is sitting beneath the whiteboard. I made this board to include everything I’d like my four-year-old to know fluently by the end of the year, outside of reading and math of course. It has a feelings emoji chart to help him put words to different emotions he may be experiencing, and a fruit of the spirit chart. Both charts are FREE to download at my store. I’ve also included a list of the days of the week and months of the year.

Classroom Decor
This is the view of our classroom from the desks.

Finally, we are coming full circle to the classroom entry. There’s not much going on here. To the left is the entry door. To the right is the bedroom closet. I bet you were wondering where the boy’s dresser is. Well, it’s a tall five drawer dresser that fits perfectly into the closet, with room to spare for hanging and storage. And where is their bed? Just behind the LEGO curtains!

The organizer pictured below is full of my teaching supplies. I do NOT allow my boys to have access to all the extra markers, pencils, stickers, etc. So this cart comes with ME at the end of the day! Otherwise, I’d wake up to dried out markers, stickers all over the walls, and all the paper in the notebooks used up. So yea, school supplies get rationed out. Lastly, I think EVERY teacher in the U.S. has the cute calendar from Target, pictured above the drawer organizer. The apple below it is also a calendar that comes with magnets for hands-on calendar fun.

Classroom Decor
The final view of our homeschool classroom.

So guys, I finally did it. I finally got this post out. I hope you enjoyed our classroom tour. Be sure to connect with me on Instagram for video footage of how we work in our classroom.

Before I go, I’d also like to mention that our boys LOVE their room like this. I love it, too. Especially the bright, cozy feel. And, of course, we don’t spend every waking day in here. Sometimes we like to have school downstairs in the dining room or even outside on the porch.

I want to know from you. What is your favorite place to do school work? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

I’m a mother to two wonderful boys, ages four and seven. As a mom, I never stop learning. I’ve made mistakes and had some triumphs. I’ve had days that I’ve felt clueless, and days I’ve felt like a pro. I write blog posts not because I think I’m an expert, but because I enjoy sharing the journey of motherhood. A journey that’s rewarding, yet challenging. So I’m sharing this post with all of you! Twenty invaluable lessons my boys have taught me so far. Here goes! 

1.    They need their dad. The older my boys get, the more I see how much they look to their father for guidance. Whether they’re learning to properly groom themselves, or how to make a woman feel appreciated, they’re watching my husband and taking notes. When my husband brushes his hair, I notice my boys want to brush their hair the same way. When my husband thanks me for cooking dinner, my boys mimic him and also express their appreciation.  They pay me nice compliments, help carry grocery bags into the house, they do all the wonderful things their father does. They are truly blessed to have such a great example to model after. 

2.    It’s okay to have a messy house. Let’s not confuse the term mess with sanitation. Sanitation is a must! But I know I’m not the only mom who can sometimes get so busy that tidying up goes by the wayside. I love a tidy home just like the next person but, honestly, some days it’s either load the dishwasher at 1am or go to sleep. I choose sleep! Sometimes, I send my kids to bed and forget to have them put away their toys. Sometimes the laundry piles up in the washroom. These are the situations that once stressed this neat-freak out. But I’ve realized that my children still think I’m a wonderful mommy even when the dishes are piled up in the sink. 

3.    Dressing boys can be fun! There’s so much talk about how fun it is to dress little girls. And rightfully so, the girls’ department is full of cute options. But as a mom of two boys, I must say I’ve had so much fun dressing them.  No, they don’t get to wear ballet dresses and pink bows. But, once I learned where to shop, I’ve found that clothing for boys can be just as adorable. 

4.    Our family is complete. Some families don’t feel complete unless they have at least one child of each sex. For this reason, some people often ask if I’ll try for a girl. But my boys have shown me that our family is perfect the way it is. My boys bring me so much joy. They have my heart totally and completely. I’m so proud of who they are and am excited about their bright future. No, I don’t have gender disappointment. No, I don’t want any more children. I’m getting more rest and able to be more productive now that my boys are older. I won’t start over for the sake of having a girl. My husband and I are content with the healthy children God blessed us with. 

5.    I’m beautiful. My eldest son always tells me I’m beautiful, even on the days when I’ve put zero effort into my looks. This led me to eventually ask him what he thought was beautiful about me. His reply? I’m beautiful because I fix him snacks and hang out with him. My son taught me a valuable lesson that day: Beauty is love. It is often reflected in the things we do for others, not in the effort we put forth to look a certain way. To my son, I’m beautiful because I love and take care of him. And I’m constantly reminded not to let my outer appearance take precedence over the beauty within. 

6.    I’m not better than other moms. Not that I thought I ever was, per se. But sometimes there were moments when I’ve judged another mom for something her kids did, and then found myself in the very same predicament. How humbling! It took my boys a time or two to have a public tantrum before I realized, no, that other mom’s kids weren’t misbehaving because she never taught them good manners. Perhaps they were misbehaving because that’s what kids do sometimes—test their boundaries. Let’s face it, every kid has had their moment. And if your kid hasn’t, then I’m gonna need for you to write a book about how you managed to raise such perfect children so I can buy it!  

7.    My words speak volumes. When speaking to my boys, I have to be careful of what I say and how I say it. At their impressionable age, what I say has the potential to become their identity when they’re older. If I say they’re ungrateful, they’ll believe they’re ungrateful. If I say they don’t know how to follow instructions, they’ll believe that to be true. One day I asked my eldest son why he didn’t put his toys away like I’d asked. His reply was, “I guess I just don’t know how to follow instructions.” What a wakeup call! Since then, I’ve learned to refer to the child’s behavior, rather than the child’s character when correcting them. 

8.    My actions speak even greater volumes. There are times when my words hold significance, and then there are times when my actions hold greater significance. I’ve learned not to punish my child for acting just like me. If I tell one child not to yell at another, yet I myself have a yelling problem, I’m teaching my children that being hypocritical is okay. Instead, I work on myself, and let my children know that I’m working on myself. That way, they serve as my accountability and we can grow in character together.

9.    Being transparent strengthens relationships. I’m very transparent with my kids, especially with my eldest. They know about my mistakes, my shortcomings, my faith, my victories, and much more. I don’t bombard them with every detail, as some things should be shared when they’re older, but I do let my kids know that I’m not perfect and still learning. I also apologize if I’ve wronged them.  Whenever I have these kinds of talks with my 7-year-old, I find we grow closer. In turn, he feels safe to share his feelings with me. It’s my hope that I develop this kind of relationship with my youngest son as well.

10.    They’re wiser than I think. I can’t keep up with how many times my kids have surprised me with their wisdom. Sometimes, I even think my boys are wiser than me. One day, my eldest son refused to eat a snack I gave him. When I asked him why, he replied, “There’s too much sugar in this. This isn’t going to help my kidneys. I need vegetables instead.” Likewise, my youngest son constantly asks me to draw shapes I’ve never heard of. Like seriously, what’s a dodecahedron? Ask my 4-year-old, he’ll tell you. 

11.    They’re different people. Just when I thought I was an expert mom, my youngest son comes into the world and sends me desperately reaching for more parenting books. He’s not a textbook child. I love that about him. When my children were babies, my eldest son took to the cry-it-out method like a pro. But, after two failed CIO attempts, it was clear that my youngest son felt the most secure sleeping with mommy and daddy. To this day, they require different approaches when it comes to parenting. I’ve learned that one approach is never better than the other, just more effective for a different type of child, for different reasons. 

12.    I can’t control them. My kids are their own person. They are who they are and they like what they like—even if I don’t like it. Either I can try and control them by not allowing them to be themselves, or I can accept that they don’t have to be exactly like me or fit the mold of who I think they should be. They are very strong-willed individuals. I’ve decided to focus on how to help them exercise this trait in a healthy manner, rather than trying to minimize it. 

13.    All kids learn at different paces. Having more than one child, I know this to be true. My youngest son walked, talked, and potty-trained much earlier than my eldest. Likewise, my eldest son’s fine motor skills were more advanced than my preschooler’s. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to reach a milestone, they’ll eventually get there. Their achievements are not indicators of how intelligent they’ll be. When my eldest was a toddler, some were concerned about his speech delay. Now, you can’t shut the boy up! And his vocabulary is excellent. 

14.    I’ll never understand their bond. Sometimes I intervene when my boys are fighting, just to discover they’re both actually having a good time. Their arguments turn into laughter, and their laughter turns into arguments. Their hugs turn into body-slams, and their body-slams turn into hugs.  Most days, I can’t tell if they love each other or hate each other. But what I do understand is that they have a special brotherhood, and this is all a necessary part of the bonding process. 

15.    I need to take care of myself. As a mom, naturally I put my children’s needs before my own. But then I remembered what people are instructed to do in the event of lost cabin pressure on an airplane—place the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others. Of course, as a mom, this is easier said than done. But I find that when I put this philosophy into practice, I’m a better mom because of it. If I’m not eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, or releasing negative energy, I won’t be able to manage my household to the best of my ability. Instead, I’d be nutrient deficient, tired, and weighed down. A recipe for a disaster!

16.    I had a vision before I met them.  Some call it dreams, goals, aspirations. Whatever it is, I had it—before I met my kids. I’ve learned that being a mother does not mean you have to throw away your dreams. In fact, being a mother should give you the inspiration to pursue those dreams more fervently. I mean, what I do with my time now will impact their future, right? But before I packed my bags to travel the world, I had to learn my next lesson…

17.    There’s a season for everything.  Yes! Everything under the sun. As a young woman, I lived a pretty adventurous life. I spent a lot of my time on an airplane, and I got to visit many places both overseas and in-country. By the time I completed undergrad, I was tired of flying! I was ready to settle down and be a wife and mom. However, as my kids grew older and more independent, I noticed that I was still stuck in the season of being a new mom.  Now that I was getting adequate rest at night, it was time for me to enter a new season and start investing more time into my aspirations. Not all at once! Season by season. 

18.   I have a personality they should know about. You see, there are things about me that my boys should just know. My talents. Hobbies. Interests. I’ve met some people who don’t really know or understand what their parents do for a living—or even what their parents’ favorite color is. They have no idea that their mom can sing sweet tunes, or that their dad can tear up the dance floor. Sometimes, we can make our lives so separate from our children that we run the risk of them not really knowing who we truly are. So, yea, my boys are hip to many things about me. Especially the fact that I like to make a song out of EVERYTHING!

19.  They have a purpose. How great is it to know that we all have a purpose here on this earth! Before my children were born, I prayed constantly to know what wonderful things God would do through them. I understand that they are not here just to please me. Nor are they here to serve as my report card for parenting—to brag about every little thing they’ve accomplished due to my “awesomely perfect” parenting skills. While my husband and I enjoy being their parents, we understand that our boys are here for a reason and we raise them accordingly. 

20.  Live in the moment. Every night, I walk into my boy’s room and kiss them goodnight. I linger there for a few minutes and watch them sleep. I whisper a little prayer. There, in their room, I let go of all their offenses. The arguing. The yelling. The mess. The pee on the bathroom floor. The disobedience. The stubbornness. The tantrums. All of that and more. I do this because they’ve taught me how quickly time escapes us. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was doing this exact thing as each of them slept peacefully in their crib.  And, now, each night their legs seem to grow longer as they stretch across their beds. I like to remember them just like this, taking in every detail of their tiny faces every night. I know sometimes life can feel chaotic, but in these moments I remember to just live. Just breathe. Just enjoy it. Because I can’t ever get this time back. 


Now, it’s your turn! What invaluable lessons have your kids taught you? Let us know down below!

DIY Curriculum

10 Easy Steps to a DIY Curriculum

I talk to many homeschool parents, and the common concern I get is that they don’t have the money to buy a curriculum. This was me two years ago. I was in a place where I wanted to homeschool my kids, but couldn’t rub two dimes together. It was a year of serious transition for our family. In a nutshell, I had to make the decision whether I would spend our disposable income on curricula or experiences.

If you’ve ever visited my Instagram page, then you know I chose to invest in experiences. As the mother of two small boys, I wanted them to have fun learning and experiencing new things. Not having the money to fund those experiences was NOT an option, so I forwent curriculum purchases. Instead, I invested my time in developing a customized curriculum that suited their interests and learning needs.

Of course, I must mention that I studied curriculum development in my Master’s program, but that did not mean I knew what I was doing. However, my background did give me the confidence to try developing a curriculum on my own. You do not need any degrees, but I do suggest reading up on curriculum development to gain some insight—and confidence!

There are a variety of ways to create a curriculum, but I chose what I like to call the Break-Down Method. That is, taking something overwhelming and breaking it down into sizable chunks. This method made curriculum planning less intimidating. If you’re looking to create your own curriculum and don’t know where to start, perhaps this method can help you, too. Here are ten easy steps to a do-it-yourself curriculum, using the core subject, science, as an example.


10 Easy Steps to a DIY Curriculum

1. Be responsible.

Read the legal requirements for your stateEvery state has their own requirements for homeschool families. Please take the time to read these requirements to ensure you are operating within the law for your state of residence. These guidelines can also be very helpful, as they usually entail what subjects you are required to teach your children.

EXAMPLE: By law, I was required to teach my kindergartner language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science in the state of Georgia.

 

2. Borrow a skeleton.

For your curriculum, that is. During my first year of homeschool, I used the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) for my skeleton. This allowed me to kill two birds with one stone because I knew using this framework for my curriculum also meant I’d be honoring state requirements. The following year, I used books from the “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” series. I borrowed this series from the library. The series covers all elementary grade levels.

How did I use these resources, exactly? For each core subject, I wrote down everything my child should know for their grade-level, and then I found the resources to execute those goals. For example, if in kindergarten my child should learn about animals and habitats for science, I would borrow books from the library, look for free courses and activity ideas, and download free practice worksheets for those particular topics.

EXAMPLE: Take a look at the list I generated for kindergarten science topics from GSE

Earth and Space Science

  • Time Patterns (day to night and night to day) and objects (sun, moon, stars) in the day and night sky
  • Earth Materials (soil, rocks, water, and air)

Physical Science

  • Physical Attributes of Objects
  • Types of Motion

Life Science

  • Living & Nonliving Things
  • Classification of Organisms
  • Five Senses

3. Add some bones of your own.

You may have borrowed the skeleton, but it’s important to make it yours! You know how much I preach here about developing a vision and mission statement for your homeschool that outlines your educational philosophy and goals. Keep your goals in mind while adding some bones to the skeleton of your curriculum.

How can you make it yours? By knowing how your children learn best, what they enjoy learning, and a method of education that works best for your family.  If you have a techy child, try free virtual classes, educational computer games, and video lessons to fulfill your curriculum goals.

EXAMPLE: Our vision for homeschool includes making room for academic freedom by incorporating some form of self-directed learning. That means I give my boys a say in what they’d like to learn. When I developed their science curriculum, we incorporated geography into our life-science lessons. We also learned about the solar system because that was what they were into.

As a note, I only incorporated these topics into our formal lessons because my boys were too young to research them on their own. As my oldest became more fluent in reading, he could then read up on any topic of interest, which is self-directed learning in its truest form.

 

4. Finalize your topics for each subject. 

What topics will you cover for Language Arts? Math? Science? Other subjects you’ll be covering? List all your topics for each subject on a spreadsheet, table, or journal to refer to later on.

EXAMPLE: From the science list of topics I generated from GSE, I decided to teach the five senses, animal classification, parents and offspring, habitats, weather, and planets. Other topics, such as those in physical science, were taught the following year with The Magic School Bus curriculum.

 

5. Breakdown your topics by term. 

How will you breakdown your topics? By quarter? Semester? Whatever you choose, assign your topics to a given term for each subject. This makes it easier to administer evaluations, tests, and other assessments.

EXAMPLE: We assigned our topics by semester. For science, we studied the five senses and life science topics during our first semester. During the second semester, we took on weather and astronomy, as well as got more hands on with science related fieldtrips and experiments.

Science

6. Breakdown topics into months. 

Assign topics for each month in all your subjects. This should be relatively easy if you’ve already written down all the topics you’ll cover for the year. You’ll have to adjust this throughout the school year depending on how long it takes your child to master the information. No worries, do this step anyway.

EXAMPLE: During the first month of school, we studied phonics and word families for language arts, simple addition for math, the seven continents for social studies, and the five senses and physical attributes for science. Here’s an example of our science breakdown for kindergarten.

Science Curriculum

7.  Breakdown topics into weeks. 

Breaking down topics ensures you cover good ground, and makes it easier to control the pace. If I try to cram too much information in each week, and my child isn’t retaining it, slowing down throws off my entire curriculum. However, if I allow for some wiggle room by spacing out my topics, we can jump ahead if we need to. I’d rather jump ahead than have to slow down. Both are inevitable, though.

EXAMPLE: When we learned the five senses for kindergarten science, assigning one sense per week was ideal because it gave the information enough time to sink in. This wasn’t the original plan, but I later found it to be the better plan.

Kindergarten Science

8. Breakdown topics into days.

If it’s possible to break your topics down even further, do so. I found that breaking my topics down into days by charting them made me feel better prepared. This meant having an objective for that day, jotting down relevant questions to ask your student, and anything else that’ll keep you from asking ‘what next?’ during your school day.

EXAMPLE: Keeping with our science theme, this would be the following breakdown for Week One of studying the five senses, concentrating on the sense of hearing. This breakdown is based on thirty-minute lessons.

Kindergarten Science

9. Gather your resources.

Once you’ve decided on a schedule that works, now it’s time to gather your resources for the topics you’ll be teaching. I’ve got a great list of FREE homeschool resources, here! You can also visit my shop, Nike Anderson’s Classroom, for free and low-cost educational resources.

Remember to think beyond the internet. In addition to free books, your local library may offer free classes, workshops, and STEM kits that may tie into your curriculum. You can also check out your local zoo or museum. Many of these places offer classes to homeschool families. Ask them for a schedule of these classes and see if any of the topics fit in with your curriculum.

Lastly, don’t forget to snatch up any free informational brochures, pamphlets, or flyers located at your local dentist or doctor’s office, museum, zoo, library, grocery store, computer store, etc. Some of these informational texts can tie in nicely with your curriculum. For example, if you’re studying the human body, the doctor’s office is a great place to get free information. Just make sure it’s okay to take the pamphlets home.

EXAMPLE: For Week One of studying the five senses, I may need the following resources:

Science

10. Decide how you’ll test knowledge.

With any curriculum, it’s a great idea to implement some form of assessment. Assessments are a fantastic way of knowing when to move on or slow down. Decide how and when you will test your child. Will it be weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? Remember that the more frequently you assess your child, the quicker you’ll catch on to any problems they might be having.

A test doesn’t necessarily have to be taken in a quiet room with a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. You don’t even have to subject your child to a grading system. There are so many ways to find out whether your child is mastering the material being taught. We do oral quizzes all the time in our homeschool, and my boys don’t even realize they’re taking a “quiz.” You can also have them do a project, an oral presentation, or write a report on what they’ve learned. In fact, you can let them decide how they’d like to demonstrate their knowledge.

EXAMPLE: I already mentioned that we like oral quizzes, but we’ve also had our fair share of fill-in-the-blank quizzes. Another fun way we assessed mastery of the material was through making books. During our kindergarten year, my son would draw pictures in his “book” about what he learned, and then he “read” his book to me. By the end of his kindergarten year, he could start incorporating simple words in his books. I scheduled some sort of assessment every week.



Other things to consider.

  •  Plan your curriculum around events if possible. For instance, in spring our local museum hosts STEM classes. The week that these classes take place are a great time to cover stem related topics
  •  You don’t have to plan all at once. Once you have an overview for the school year, you can breakdown your topics into detail on the monthly or even weekly basis. I personally planned the details every week. But I also tried monthly planning as well. If you want to get the planning over with, plan the year out in detail before the start of the school year.
  •  Will you need help? For subjects you don’t feel well versed in, will you sign your child up for outside classes? Hire a tutor? Have a friend or relative teach the subject? Make sure you factor all this in.
  •  Will you supplement? I purchased workbooks and other materials to supplement curricula for certain subject areas. Think about what you may need to supplement your curriculum.
  •  Fieldtrips. It’s helpful to have a good idea of the fieldtrips you’d like to take during the school year. Decide the best time of year to take these fieldtrips and plan your curriculum accordingly. For instance, you probably don’t want to go to the zoo during the cold winter season, so planning life science curricula and subsequent activities during warmer months is ideal.
  •  Give yourself some wiggle room. Things are probably not going to go as planned. That’s okay. Even families using a boxed curriculum fall behind or get bumped ahead of the curriculum. Give yourself some grace.

 

Lastly, I want to mention there’s no such thing as a perfect curriculum. Every curriculum has gaps—even the most elite curriculum. Therefore, I can’t say this is an all comprehensive planning guide. I can attest, however, that this method helped me tremendously during my first homeschool year. I hope it helps you, too.

YOUR TURN! Anything you want to add? Help other parents and let them know your tips down below!