Homeschool Your Way: Eliminate Guilt and Trust Your Instincts

Guest Post from Brenda at Schooling a Monkey

While this post is geared toward homeschooling parents, it also applies to parents of children in traditional school as well! We all make decisions about how to educate our children and may feel unsure from time to time! This post offers some helpful encouragement for parents who may be second-guessing their educational decisions.

homeschool your way

Homeschooling parents are different, in case you haven’t noticed. :-)

We are different from parents who send their children to public school, we are different from parents who send their children to private school, and we are different from each other.

There are as many different reasons for choosing to homeschool as there are homeschooling parents. Some choose to homeschool because their children have learning differences, some choose to homeschool for religious reasons, some choose to homeschool to suit their current lifestyle, some choose to homeschool to provide a specialized education, some choose to homeschool to provide extra education to children bored in traditional school- and there are thousands of other reasons.

Even though no two homeschooling parents choose to teach their children at home for the same reason- we still tend to compare our children’s schooling with others.

I found myself falling into the comparison trap a few months ago. One of my friends is using a more delight-directed schooling style for her children. We are using a more traditional textbook-based schooling style this school year.

As I listened to my friend describe their school days, I started to feel guilty about the choices that I had made.

Was I stifling my children’s creativity? Should I try to provide more hands-on activities for them? Were we doing too much school and not enough living?

But when my daughter was younger, we did follow a more delight-directed approach. And you know what? I still had questions.

Is she learning everything she needs to know? Is she on grade level? Am I holding her back by not pushing traditional schooling?

All educators, whether at home or in a traditional school setting have the same goal. To ensure each child can function as an adult by the age of 18 and receive whatever education is necessary for that child to reach their career goals. However, how each child reaches that goal differs from family to family, from child to child, and even from year to year.

This year, I am moving toward that goal by providing a structured school environment. My friend is also moving toward that goal by offering her children the chance to explore their world and find what they love to do.

This is why comparing our schooling choices to another family’s is so dangerous. You know where you want your children to go. You decided that a certain path is the best way to get there. Later, you will decide if you need to choose another path or keep moving on your existing path.

If we compare our lives with that of another homeschooling family, we not only become discontent with our own schooling style, but we also start to second-guess our qualifications to teach and make decisions about our children’s education.

You know what is important for your children to learn and the best way to teach it to them.

Your way will not look like your friends’ way, and that is a good thing! Homeschooling is designed to be highly individual to meet the needs of your children. All children are not the same, and all homeschooling will not be the same. You have the flexibility to choose a separate path and alter that path if it is no longer working.

No matter what homeschooling method you have chosen, never feel guilty that it does not match what your friends are doing. They have chosen the method that works best for their family, and you have chosen the method that works best for your family.

Have confidence in your choice!

Stacie’s note:  Be sure to check out How to Homeschool:  Six Ways to Get Started if you are interested in learning more about “types” of homeschooling!

 

avatar300 roundBio: Brenda Priddy is the creator of SchoolingaMonkey.com and mom to two girls. She is passionate about providing useful and simple resources for parents particularly in the areas of crafts, DIY projects, homeschool ideas, and healthy food.

Brenda loves finding fun ways to teach children, craft projects, books, and coffee. Her goal is to help other parents educate their children with easy, fun ideas! Follow Schooling a Monkey on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Exclusive Educents Freebie for Motherhood on a Dime Readers through October 22 ($52 Value!!)

Update: FINAL DAY for this!! I just resent a link at around 4 PM for those of you who are already email subscribers.  Please be sure to download it if you want it, because once it’s gone, it’s gone!

Motherhood on a Dime Educents Freebie

I am so excited to share this freebie with you!  I have teamed up with Educents to bring you this Educational FREEBIE Pack.  Worth over $52, my wonderful readers can get it for FREE!!  Be sure you are signed up for my email mailing list.  You can sign up here or in the post below. Once you’ve signed up, confirm your email and you’ll get an email with access to all of my freebies!

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Already an email subscriber?  Look for the link to the printable pack in your inbox at 7 PM CT tonight (October 20)!

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Encourage your little one(s) to have FUN while learning! Snag this pack (worth $52!) for tons of fantastic worksheets and hands-on activities! It includes some of our most popular products, like Frozen-themed math units, Teach Me Sight Words, Dino-ROAR math centers, and many more! Perfect for individual students OR entire classrooms! You’ll get:

God’s Little Explorers: Week 7 (I is for Insect + Moses)

 

Each Thursday, I will be reposting our lessons from last year.  If you want to follow along with us, we’d love to have you!

Considering purchasing the complete download of God’s Little Explorers?  You can find out the top 10 differences between the weekly free preschool lesson plans and the complete download here.

 

Welcome!  Here are this week’s lesson plans.  You can find the printable plans at the bottom of the post.  If you’d like to know more about God’s Little Explorers Preschool Curriculum, head over here.  Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments or send me an email!  Also, if you find any errors, please feel free to let me know.  This is a work-in-progress!!

God’s Little Explorers Week 7

  • Theme:  ”I” is for Insect
  • Bible Story:  Moses (Through the 10 Plagues)
  • Bible Verse:  “The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him ‘This is what the Lord says:  Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Exodus 8:1
  • Letter:  I
  • Number:  2

Here are a few activities we did:

One of our favorite activities was learning about the 10 plagues from the Bible in a hands-on way.  Here is what we did:

1)  Water to blood:  I put red powdered drink mix in the bottom of a dark container and had one daughter pour clean water into it.

2)  Frogs:  We just hopped around like frogs.

3)  Gnats or Lice:  The girls put various colored office dot “bites” all over them.

4)  Flies:  I sprinkled pepper on the girls hands and they “shooed” it away (it’s a stretch, but it was all I could think of)!

5)  Diseased Livestock:  We made our toy cows fall over like they were sick and/or dead.

6)  Boils:  We used bubble wrap to make “boils”.

7)  Hail:  I threw marshmallows at them!

8)  Locusts:  We made our grasshoppers jump.

9)  Darkness:  The girls covered their eyes and walked around in darkness.

10)  Death of the firstborn:  We “painted blood” (really we used tissue paper strips) around a doorway.

We practiced forming the letter i with craft sticks and office dots in the Alphabet Notebook (which is just a notebook with each letter of the alphabet written on a separate page).

We made a few “jumping” grasshoppers.

A bug jar is essential to a unit on insects!  Here is another example of an insect jar we’ve made in the past.

It was such a nice day, we went on a bug hunt.

She made play dough bricks while listening to the story of Moses and pharoah.

We did a simple review game we did to practice letters and sounds.

I wrote the number two on a sheet of construction paper.  My daughter used pieces of yarn to outline it.

We made fingerprint insects on the printable i (included in the download).  We have a few different fingerprint ideas over on this Bug Hat post.

A few other activities to try:

 Recommended Resources:

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Family Fun Night: Sleeping Beauty Cake + Sleeping Beauty DVD

This post is underwritten by #collectivebias and its’ advertisers. Please rest assured all thoughts and opinions are my own. With three girls, we are princess fans!

Family Fun Night idea - make a Sleeping Beauty Cake, watch Sleeping Beauty on DVD, and decorate a room with a princess makeover! #disneybeauties #shop

Usually about once or twice a month, we have a special “Family Fun” night.  Sometimes it’s a movie…sometimes it’s soccer or jump rope…sometimes it’s a board game.  When I realized the Sleeping Beauty DVD (Diamond Edition) was released last Tuesday and none of the girls had watched it, we decided it would be a great way to spend our Saturday evening!

Sleeping Beauty DVD #disneybeauties #shop

On Saturday morning, we headed out to get the special gift set with the Sleeping Beauty DVD available only at Walmart.  It was pretty easy to find in the electronics section since it is a new release.  I went ahead and picked up another gift set to give away to one of you, so be sure to check out the Sleeping Beauty DVD giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Princess Shopping Spree!!  #disneybeauties #shop

The girls and I had the best time shopping for great buys for our fun night!  We found some Disney Princess cups, plates, cups, and a room transformation kit.  You can see the $3 off a $10 purchase coupon that was hanging in the party supplies section.  That helped keep our #disneybeauties shopping spree costs down a little bit!

We also wound up visiting two Walmart stores, because I really wanted to make a Sleeping Beauty cake!  The first store didn’t have the doll we were looking for, but thankfully, the second one did!  I was inspired by how well our Anna and Elsa cakes turned out a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be a fun snack for our evening.

Here’s a short tutorial:

Sleeping Beauty Cake

Sleeping Beauty Cake

Supplies:

  • 2 cake mixes
  • 2 cans of frosting (I picked out the already pink with sprinkles included Funfetti frosting to make things easier)
  • Sleeping Beauty Doll
  • 8″ round cake pans
  • Pampered Chef Batter Bowl (2 Qt) or any other 2 qt style batter bowl
  • Base for the cakes

Sleeping Beauty Cake Ingredients

1)  Bake one cake mix in a Pampered Chef Batter bowl or similar dish.  You’ll need to set your oven at 325 degrees and bake it for about 60 – 65 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).  Bake the other cake mix in two 8″ round pans following the cake mix directions.  Be sure to grease and flour your bowl and pans well.  Allow the cakes to cool completely.  (I got in a hurry…and skipped this.  Not a good idea.  Crumbly cake!)

2)  Invert 8″ cakes and place one on top of the other with a thin layer of frosting in between to hold them together.  Invert the bowl cake with the dome (rounded) side up.  Place on top of 8″ cakes with a thin layer of frosting.  Use a knife to cut around and even up the edges of the cakes.

3)  Cut a 2″-3″” circle from the middle of the cake.  I just eyeballed it, but you can use a biscuit cutter if desired.  I also recommend putting your doll in to test the height of the cake.  Wrap the bottom part of the doll with plastic wrap to keep it from getting dirty.  It is much easier if you get the kind of dolls with removable skirts and a painted top!  Once you’re sure the cake is tall enough, remove the doll.

3)  Spread a layer of frosting over the cake to make a crumb coat.  Place the cake in a freezer for about an hour or overnight, if desired.

4)  Push the doll down into the center of the cake, and do a “top” coat of pink frosting for the skirt.  You may need to pull up or have someone hold the doll’s hair while you are frosting it.  To smooth the skirt a little bit, I put the whole cake (doll and all) into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes after doing the top coat.  Then, I used plastic wrap to gently smooth it.  Dust with pink sprinkles!

Easy Sleeping Beauty Cake

Princess Aurora Sleeping Beauty Cake

 You can check out my rather lame Sleeping Beauty Cake video tutorial on YouTube here!

Princess Makeover in Basement Room #disneybeauties

While our cake was in the freezer, we worked on giving our basement a princess makeover.  The Transformation Kit we found in the party supply aisle was actually pretty inexpensive, but it made a huge difference in the atmosphere of our family fun night!  The kit included several “stain glass windows” and hanging hearts. The girls are excited to leave up the decorations for a while, and then I plan to move them into the room where we store toys (we’re fortunate to have four bedrooms, so we moved two girls together and made a toy room out of the other bedroom).  The girls also pulled out their princess sleeping bags to get comfy for the movie.

family fun night

After a chili dinner and a game of Princess Go Fish, we settled in to watch the movie.  John ended up getting called out to work, but the girls and I enjoyed the show–it’s been a long time since I watched Sleeping Beauty!  Sleeping Beauty DVD

Yes, these are crazy pictures!  Lydia captured my silly side for these giveaway photos!  I bought an extra Sleeping Beauty DVD Gift Set to give away to one of you.  I hope you’ll have your own family fun night!  To enter, simply follow the directions in the Giveaway Tools form below.

What about you?  Does your family ever have fun nights?!!  What are your favorite activities and ideas?

Here is a quick picture recap of our Family Fun Day!