Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Music and Shakespeare

Last year, yes a whole year ago, my youngest son was a senior in high school.  He had a really wonderful opportunity to spread his wings and compose his own music for a local homeschool theatre group's Shakespeare performance.  He did an incredible job.  I was so proud of him for taking this on.  He has really always enjoyed composing his own piano pieces and his piano teacher encouraged this passion that he had even in his early years of playing piano.  Although he hadn't been taking lessons for a year or so, he continued to practice and compose several hours each day.

Much Ado About Nothing, was a two hour play with integrated music, singing and dancing.  All of which needed a composer and musician.  My son Matthew was asked by the show's director if he would be willing to compose his own music for their show.  He wasn't sure about it since he had never done anything like that before.   So he took it on, and it was a wonderful success.  He received many compliments about his music.

Setting aside the time to be involved in the production was a little tricky.  At first it was only once a week for a few months.  But as the performance days drew near the rehearsals were nearly every day for several hours a day.  Thankfully there were not many conflicts in his schedule and he was able to set the time aside.  Being flexible is key, if you are going to take on big commitments like theatre.  We knew this from our own experience of running a student theatre for four years.

It was a great way to end his homeschooling years.  I was thrilled that after five years of piano lessons and devotion to practice, that he could use his talents in this capacity.  It was the icing on the cake of our homeschooling.  I wasn't sure how we would complete our homeschool years.  But the Lord knew!  I had prayed our homeschooling years would end on a good note.  And they literally did!  The Lord has blessed our 17 years of homeschooling greatly.

Happy Homeschooling

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Homeschool Hacks

I will soon be retiring from homeschooling.  My 17 year old, youngest child, is graduating this spring.  I was recently thinking about our years of homeschooling and how fast they have gone by.  After this year we will have completed 16 years.  We began homeschooling in 1999.  I have a few ideas, hacks, as they call them, on some of the tricks of the trade that made homeschooling much easier.  This is not an exhaustive list, but a few things that stand out in my mind of what might be helpful to new or even experienced homeschooling families.  Today I will list a few of my top hacks.

1.  Stay home as much as you can during schooling hours.  Especially if you are a new homeschooling family.  It is easy to get off task and being out running errands, visiting friends or finding things to easily distract you away from home, steals from your schooling hours and causes frustration to all.

2.  Pick one day of the week to be your errand running day.  This should include grocery shopping, library visits, doctor, dentist, orthodontist and other prescheduled appointments, if possible.

3.  Make playdates or field trip dates in advance.  This makes them more enjoyable and they are planned into your schedule.

4.  Try to plan your outings so that you can run several errands in that day.

5.  Keep a journal.  This is an area I really regret not being better about.  I compiled schoolwork notebooks to keep track of schedules, but I rarely journaled our homeschooling adventure.  The few journals I kept are dear treasures to me.  Include special memories and accomplishments of your children and funny sayings little ones say.  There will be many.

6.  Have your children keep journals.  If you can compile these journals for years you will have wonderful memories to share with your grown children some day.

7.  Laugh and have fun together.  These are the best memories I have with my children of our homeschooling days.  Many days were stressful, but if there was something funny that happened during the day it was all worth while.

8.  Travel together as much as possible.  Big trips or small trips, it doesn't matter.  You can find a historical marker in every town.  If there is something special about your town research it with your children and visit locations or people who can enrich your town's value into your child's life.  History comes alive when you go to visit battlefields or famous locations around the country.

9.  Play music together.  Even if you can't sing or play an instrument, find a way to enjoy music together.  We studied music history, learned to play instruments, joined our church's praise team and played music at nursing homes together.  It's a great bonding experience.

10.  Exercise together.  Take time to enjoy a beautiful sunny day with your children out of doors.  My children loved playing Four Square, riding bikes, hiking, swimming, skiing, walking, flying kites, canoeing, chasing farm animals, playing ball and frisbee and much, much more.  Get outside and find a great way to enjoy the beautiful world that the Lord has given us as much as you can.

I will share more homeschool hacks in my next post.

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Time Reading, A Guest Post

If you happen to be looking for some encouragement about summertime reading for yourself or one of your students, have I got a post for you.  My guest post writer is my daughter, a 2010 homeschool graduate, and an avid reader.  She recently completed her BA in history in 18 months with no debt.  She used College Plus!  If you are looking for a wonderful fast and easy way to have your high schooler get a great education you'll have to check into the College Plus! program.  I highly recommend it.  So without further adieu, here is my daughter's post from her blog;  This Unconventional Life.  I hope you enjoy.
Happy homeschooling

Friday, April 11, 2014

Teen Pact 2014

Wow!  All I can say is Wow!  Because my son just finished his week at our state's Capitol with Teen Pact.  I can't say enough wonderful things about Teen Pact.  The staffers are a group of young people and their adult leaders, who are just incredible role models.  They not only carry themselves with an outward love for Christ but their love for Christ overflows into their teaching younger people about honoring him in all they do.  And encouraging them to live it out by being good stewards of their citizenship.

My only disappointment for the week was that the turn out was very low.  It's a shame that more homeschoolers around my state aren't taking advantage of this great opportunity.  The class stresses  looking and behaving in a Christ honoring way, praying for leaders by having a prayer walk around the Statehouse, electing a governor, senators, and committee chairs.  Writing bills, voting on bills and learning about the whole process of how the legislature works.  They met senators and representatives and got to share their bill ideas with them.  They gave and heard speeches, sat in on a legislative session and got to form great friendships.  Each day was a full day.  At the end of the day they got to enjoy each other's company with food and games.

The most exciting part that I got to see was my son winning the Governor's race.  This required him to give a speech at the graduation ceremony.  I have to say it felt pretty neat to be the mom of the Governor of NH 2014 Teen Pact.  I'm very proud of all the hard work he put into it.  Also a very rewarding thing that I'd like to share was that I got to hear a security guard tell a visitor to the Legislative Office Building, that "Those kids not only look really nice, but they are also very polite."  Pretty nice testimony from an onlooker.
The governor outside the LOB

The beautiful NH Statehouse

I hope you will check out Teen Pact in your state.  It is well worth the small cost for a great week of learning and classes that they provide.

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Time to Plan and Refresh

I came across this helpful sale on the Beautiful Feet blog this morning and I wanted to share it.  I have used several of their unit studies and I and my children, have really enjoyed it.  Any little bit of savings is very helpful.  They are offering free shipping on their curriculum packages and you might be interested in checking out what they have to offer.  I hope this is helpful.  Check out the website

As the school year winds down it's time to start preparing for next year.  That is always an exciting time in a homeschooling mother's life.  If you get a chance to visit a homeschool convention I highly recommend it.  It can be overwhelming to look at all the vender tables, but it is a lot of fun to see what is out there to use.  Most of all it's great to be refreshed by the wonderful speakers.  Just sit and enjoy all the apples of gold that they have to share.  This month we'll be attending a conference and Voddie Baucham is the keynote speaker.  I am just thrilled and can't wait to hear him.  I hope you also get to attend an encouraging event this spring.  Whether it be a homeschool convention, couple's or mother's  retreat, please take time to recharge your batteries.  It makes all the difference in the world and gives you that boost that you need to take into the next school year.  If at all possible, leave the children with a trusted care giver,  *grandparents are the best, if possible*, and head out with your husband.  You'll never regret that time you took together to recharge and set goals.  Spending time together in prayer and God's Word will bless you and your family.

Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life, and that's School!

     We are embarking on a new adventure in our family; raising honey bees.  We are really "newbees" in this area, but we've been studying about how to raise bees for several months.  My husband and I have almost completed our bee schooling and in about a month the package of bees will arrive.

     Teaching what I have learned in class to my children, will be a great reinforcement of what I have learned as well.  I found several teaching tools online which include pictures, worksheets, word finds, coloring sheets and much more for students of all ages.  The National Honey Board has a booklet, designed for children, but can be implemented into a unit study for students of all ages.  I plan to use this to help educated my family in bee keeping.  It will be a fun family activity and will be a life skill that is school as well.  I'm sure I could use a dry text book to teach the biology of bees, but this will be a wonderful, hands on way of teaching from a real life situation.  Because life is the best education after all.  I'm looking forward to sharing our progress.

Happy homeschooling!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Looking for Opportunities for High School Students

Has your schooling year been passing quickly?  I know that ours sure has.  The Lord has given us many opportunities this year and we've had a free enough schedule to take some of them up.  One of the wonderful opportunities Matthew has enjoyed in his tenth grade year, has been interning for a local Christian radio station.  We have been listening to this station  for about thirteen years.  The couple who manage this station are a former homeschooling family.  After my son contacted them, they graciously agreed to teach the radio merit badge for BSA to my husband's, and son's troop.  For many weeks the boys visited the radio operating headquarters.  They learned the ins and outs of running a radio station and how to record programs and commercials. They also learned all the technical stuff behind radio transmission, which was all over my head! After the completion of the merit badge Matthew was invited to help them out during the school year if he had time.  He sure made time, because radio broadcasting is one of his dreams.  He has had a great time, right here at home from the comfort of our own PC, making ads for the radio station, that includes the writing and recording of them.  We have now heard his voice in the ads several times on the radio, and this has been so exciting.

Matt learns how to record his voice for a radio advertisement.
I have shared in the past that we have been greatly blessed by the Lord for all of the experiences that we've been able to enjoy during our homeschooling years.  If you are having a difficult time finding ways to be involved in activities with your high school-er  just look around you and see who is out there to give you a hand.  Maybe your child loves books and would love to volunteer at your local library.  Or has a love of animals and you know a veterinarian who would give your teen some time in his or her practice.  In our town  police officers  welcome teens to ride along with them.  If you seek out the opportunities they are there.  My advice is don't be shy, people love to share their experiences and expertise with students, especially if that student is aspiring to become whatever that person specializes in.

Happy Homeschooling