Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Stand Your Ground!!

Mini rant alert!! Don't say you haven't been warned!

This will be a short post.

I just wanted to say a quick word on Standing Our Ground as home educators. I don't just mean in terms of defending home education to naysayers, critics or skeptics. 

No, I mean with other homeschoolers! 

The wonderful thing about homeschooling is the diversity, both in terms of those who homeschool and ways to homeschool. There are so many different approaches that there simply doesn't have to be a "box" to fit into. There is no "box".

So please tell me why some of my fellow home educators are so condescending?! Why is home education individual as long as I do it your way? 

If I choose to un-school, why do I get "Well that's ok until they have to really learn something". Yet if I'm structured or semi-structured do I hear "Never mind dear we all started that way, then I saw the light"

How patronizing!  My way doesn't have to look like yours and I would never be so arrogant as to assume that my way is better than yours. Different strokes for different folks.

So please dear homeschool mum, Stand Your Ground!! Don't allow so called "veterans" to tell you what you're doing or the way you're choosing to do it is wrong. 

Everything evolves and changes but stand firm in the decisions that you have made that fit your family. Afterall, isn't that one of the main reasons we home educate?

Goodbye and Stand Firm


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Space.... The Final Frontier!!!

So we are officially at the end of our month long Solar System project! She still has two more weeks of the same topic at her weekly Homeschool Coop but we are pretty much done.

Enough words. Here's the pictures, much better than anything I have to say.

Quality is not great but hopefully you can still get the general idea.

Alongside the wall display and model, she also completed a note-booking page for each planet and one for the Sun.

Bambina thoroughly enjoyed this topic, she is currently running around singing her "planets" song so definately a hit.

There is SO much out there to make the study of the Solar System a no-brainer for us busy and slightly harassed mums! It couldn't be simpler and imho, its a perfect topic for the beginning of a "school year".

So dust off your apce ship and Blast Off!!!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Im Still Here.....

Just a superquick note of apology. I am still here and have been meaning to blog but.......
We've been super busy getting back into the groove of homeschool and all the extra curricula activities Bambina does.

I will be back in full effect very soon I promise.

Many thanks for your patience


Friday, 7 September 2012

Our First Week Back

Thank Goodness It's Friday!!!

We made it. Our first week back after the Summer holidays is over. And we survived! Lol

Although we homeschool year round with breaks and holidays scattered throughout on a rough 6 week "on" to 1 week "off" rota, the summer holidays and the month of Ramadhan are all very quiet, relaxed times for us. So Monday 3rd September marked the beginning of our new homeschooling year. Of us getting back into "gear".

As Bambina would have been entering Year 1 (Kindergarten) if she had stayed in private school, we made a big fuss of her on Monday morning. I rustled up some pancakes with maple syrup and home made strawberry compote (Bambinas favourite breakfast). I even attempted to make a 1.

She also received a badge and certificate to "officially" enter her into Year One. As we were looking after her older cousins for the morning, she had company for her special breakfast and had a great time showing them her "learning-turning area" as she calls it. They played for a while, did a bit of face painting and then Superman took her cousins for a drive so we could settle down to some work.

Our topic this month is The Solar System. Bambina started her day watching a Magic School Bus episode on YouTube. See the link here
After that we dived right in and got on with it! We are doing our usual combination of LapBook inserts and Notebooking pages, as well as reading lots if books on the subject and using the internet for research.

On Wednesday we had our first field trip to LegoLand Windsor as a family. It was so lovely to have Superman with us this time. Normally he is much too busy saving the world! We had an amazing day and were blessed with perfect weather. This little break right in the first week was really useful as it lightened up the atmosphere and kept us in holiday mode that little bit longer. Definately a trick to remember for next year. Bambinas behaviour was just perfect all week as she was on such a high anticipating and then remembering her exciting day.

The rest of the week has sped by. Bambina attended her first session at our local Home-Education Supplementary School. She will be attending once a week to take part in themed group activities in a relaxed "school" environment with a qualified primary teacher. It so happens the teacher has decided to do Space too so Bambina is really excited and now thinks I have special powers (not going to disabuse her yet but it was pure coincidence). She had a lovely time and met up with other homeschoolers she knows.

And now it's Friday! Golly it has all gone so quickly! Reflecting on how our first week progressed I have realised a few things;

1) I was expecting too much from Bambina in terms of written work. As she explained to me tearfully one morning. So I have adjusted my expectations and we have agreed that she will do some writing and I will do the rest or we will print it off the internet (ie; planets research). This was an eye opener for me and after the initial disappointment that she had been brought to tears in the first week, Bad mother!  I realised that now is actually the best time for these problems to be ironed out. So now we are doing more discussion, art, cutting & pasting and I am writing a few bits for her as she dictates. She is actually doing more writing than she realises (I'm sneaking it in!). Lets see how long I get away with that! Smile

2) I had under-estimated how much work Bambina can get through. On Tuesday we got an unusually early start and by 10.43am I was searching for more work to give her! Whoa! When did this happen?! It seems over the holidays, she has turned into Speedy Gonzales (remember the little cartoon mouse?). Before the summer we were doing approximately 3 subjects a day between 10am-1pm with two small breaks. At first I toyed with the idea of doing Numeracy and Literacy every day instead of 3 days a week each, but I don't want to overload her and I am aware that all her extra curricula activities start next week, so for now I am just going to slightly increase the workload for the three subjects rather than introduce more.

3) Bambina is happiest when she knows exactly what is expected of her. We homeschool up to lunch time. Right from the get go she wants to know what we need to do to be "finished". Last year I was a little upset by this as I thought it meant she couldn't wait to get away from homeschool and perhaps even me! Now though I realise that its more of a combination of the normal child-like desire to get back to the real "work" of playing and it gives her a sense of security and control. She doesnt have to wonder, she knows. She is very much like me in that respect and I understand thats its OK.

So in conclusion, I feel blessed that our first week went relatively smoothly. Please God we are on the right road to have a great and productive homeschooling year.

How did your first week go? Let me know. I pray every day is better than the day before but not as good as the one to come for us all!

God Bless


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

How I Organise My.......Housework

Welcome to Week 2 of my How I Organise My...... series.

This week I will be focusing on that old bugbear, the housework.

Let me say from the outset here, I am not a woman with a natural disposition to cleaning. The picture above is definately not my idea of a great way to spend an afternoon. LOL. Another admission I need to make is... we employ a cleaner! Shock, Horror, Bad Homemaker!! I know, but its a luxury I need. I have a lovely lady come in for 3 hours twice a month.

So what do I do in between her visits? Well at first I was doing the kitchen essentials (counters and floors etc) daily, the washing weekly and everything else when it got too bad and I couldn't deal with it. Gasp! I know...

However, since we've been homeschooling and I  am in the home more, I have been working towards developing a routine based around the "Do a little every day" premise. I figured that my personality was not bent towards "blitz" cleaning and as the lovely lady does a deep clean when she comes, my job is really  "maintenance" .

So I typed up a quick list divided into days (except Sunday because...purleese!). Then I put a few chores in each day that spread what I need done across the week. My rota looks like this;

OK, its very basic I know, but really that's what I need to do for our little home and our little family. I am sure I could do more and I know I'm spoiled in having a helper, but long may it last! lol.

What I have found so great about this is that along with a little general tidying of toys, loose papers, clothes, etc daily, I am whizzing through my daily chores and the house is soooo much neater/cleaner! I do not have a house hubby (although Superman will lend a hand if asked, I generally choose to just get on with it as I'm the homemaker) and although our daughter has one main job (folding wash cloths), she is only five so I'm not keen on overloading her with chores. So it's down to me (and my lovely cleaning lady of course!! heehee). With this new rota I am finding it pretty stress free.

Perhaps a rota like this might work for you? Perhaps you have a much better, more efficient way of managing your housework? Please share either way.

I'm off to hoover upstairs now. See it works. Smile

Thanks for reading and see you next week for How I Organise My...... Homeschool "Classroom".

This has been linked to HipHomeSchoolHop over at Hip HomeSchool Moms.

Friday, 31 August 2012

The End is Nigh....of Summer Holidays

Are they leaves or lesson plans falling on my head?
I saw this cartoon and thought how apt it is for how I am feeling as we leave the last days of our Summer and move at breakneck speed towards the first day of our official first (full) academic year of official homeschooling on Monday! Phew that was a mouthful.

Much like the man in the picture, us homeschoolers can feel like we are "buried" under leaves. Only ours are leaves of paper. From notebooks, curricula, text books, downloads and so much more. It can seem a little overwhelming.

Take heart dear home-schoolling mums (and dads), you have done all the prep, you have bought the books, you have researched the styles and the methodologies. You have written and rewritten your schedule, you have typed up your lesson plans. You have done all you  can.

So as I peek out from under the pile of "leaves",  knowing that the Almighty Creator has led me to this point and will not abandon me now,  I offer you the same comfort.

You have prepared, now PRAY and then step out on FAITH!

Happy New Homeschooling Year to all my fellow home educators out there. May God be with us all


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How I Organise My..... New Series

The idea for this blog started out as a "How I Organise my Homeschool" kind of thing. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that actually I am a person who thrives on, nay requires, being organised in all aspects of my life. So this little mini-series was born.

                                     HOW I ORGANISE MY...........

Over the next few weeks I will be covering topics such as;

- Planning
- Housework (Cooking /Cleaning, etc)
- Curriculum
- Homeschool Supplies
- Bambinas School/Artwork
- "Classroom" area
- Working from home

To start off with I think a quick disclaimer is in order. I am by no means the most organised, disciplined, SuperMum out there. This series is about what I have found that helps me in my constant desire to become more organised and thus more effective.

My hope is that in sharing my successes and failures, someone out there in blogland might find something that can be of use to them. Or at the very least help them avoid pitfalls!

So, today I will be focusing on my new love (don't tell Superman), and that is...drum roll please.....

My "hats" organiser. No not one of these...
                      One of these...
OK, so not terribly exciting but thanks to bloggers such as Danielle over at Domestic Serenity , who graciously shared the way she organises, I was inspired to invest in a 5-subject notebook. My one has tabs for each section where I can change the labels (this is really useful as the organiser develops and/or needs change). Currently I have divided it into;- Home-Education                - Household
- Blog                                    - Work 
I haven't thought of the fifth one yet. I call it my "hats" organiser because as a wife, mother, homeschooler, blogger, student, business owner, etc, I have many, many hats.

There is also a nifty pocket for loose sheets of paper and a ruler at the front. All for £2 from Asda (UK equivalent of Walmart - in fact owned by them). Result!

I really wanted a month to month calendar in mine so I printed a great one from Donna Young , I printed enough to take me to August 2013, and placed these in a plastic sleeve and stapled the sleeve to the front of my organiser.I like this because at the end of each month I can just change to a fresh sheet and write in what I need to remember for the month to come.

I then went through each section and made lists/notes on important things such as;

Home-Education; Subjects, Extra-curricular activities, Budgeting, Outgoings, Expenses, Field Trip ideas
Household; Monthly Bills, Meal Planning, Cleaning, Medicines, Vitamins & Supplements
Blog: Blog post ideas, Linky Party/Hop dates, Passwords, etc

It is still a work in progress and I'm adding to it as I see the need. I refer to my organiser a lot and everyone in the house knows its a "no-go zone" unless permission has been received.

Although I have only been using this organiser for the last month, I can already see the benefits in my daily life. I know where everything is. There is no more "Where did I put that list?" Superman knows where to put something he needs typed/sent etc. It gives me a place to put all my "hats" until I need one of them. It gives me a focus I didn't feel before. I realise now that I can be semi-organised in lots of different places and still feel generally disorganised. By putting everything in one place I am giving myself a jumping off point and a place to come back to.

I seriously encourage anyone reading this to try developing an organiser that fits your individual needs. There is no format, be creative and make it work for you.

I hope this has been helpful and that you will join me as this series develops.

Happy organising.

This is being linked to The Hip Homeschool Hop over at HipHomeschoolMoms. Hop on over.