Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hearts for Home Blog Hop #89

Welcome to the Hearts for Home Blog Hop!

Every Thursday over 20 bloggers host the Hearts for Home Blog Hop
The blog hop runs from Thursday through Wednesday, so please be sure to stop back by and share your family friendly posts throughout the week! As wives and moms, our hearts are focused on our homes, and we all can use inspiration and encouragement from time to time! 
So please share your posts on topics such as: faith, homemaking, marriage, homeschooling, crafts, DIY projects, recipes, parenting, and anything else that can be an encouragement to someone!  

The most popular post from last week's hop was:

Looking for some great read aloud ideas for your 4 and 5 year old little ones? Here's a great list of picture books, short stories, and poetry - perfect for little ones!
Favorite Kindergarten Read Alouds
from The Sunny Patch

I hope you'll play along and share your posts this week, and maybe you'll discover some new ideas from all the fabulous links! Use the form below to enter your links. Please just kindly link back to this blog or display our Hearts for Home button in your post or on your sidebar.

Hearts for Home Blog Hop
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If you were featured this week, help yourself to one of our “I was featured” buttons to display on your blog!

Hearts for Home Blog Hop
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Happy Hopping!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Falling for Fall

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Fall temperatures aren't in the air yet where we live, but we are finally seeing some changing leaves on the trees. Looking forward to cooler weather to go along with the beautiful leaves, we are knee deep in fall fun!

Need some inspiration to get into the fall spirit?
  1. Discover fall leaves with a leaf discovery day.
  2. Make a fall nature journal for leaf rubbings and recording outdoor finds.
  3. Make a bird feeder from a small pumpkin.
  4. Paint some rainbow leaves!
  5. Learn about different varieties of trees as you Count Down to Fall in this fun Arbordale book by Fran Hawk and Sherry Neidigh. Not only are there learning activities included in the book, but the Arbordale website has a free printable teacher's guide packed with geography, language arts, science, and math resources. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Homeschool Balancing Act

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Homeschooling and Getting it All Done

We moms know that life in general can be a balancing act, but when you throw homeschooling in with all the other stuff you have to get done, it can seem like an overwhelming task. On top of that, you might be teaching multiple grades, tackling high school subjects, or dealing with a curious toddler. Field trips, errands, sports activities, and trips to the vet keep you on the road A LOT. Some days, it seems like it’s time to get supper started before you’ve even pulled that first load of laundry out of the washer.

So, how do you manage the homeschool balancing act?

Well, I don’t really have all the answers, but after eleven years of homeschooling, there are a few things I’ve learned that I can share with you. First and foremost, accept that right now -- this moment -- this is life. Life isn’t a “someday when I catch up” moment. When you are in the thick of it with dirty dishes, piles of laundry, science projects on the kitchen counter, and fussing kids, embrace it, enjoy it, and make the best of it. You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating, your kids are only young once. Don’t save your best for “one day.” Live it now: enjoy this time with your children.

This realization brings me peace, which helps me maintain focus. And that leads to number two.
You will never catch up. Accept it. There will always be more meals to plan, more dirty towels to wash, and more math problems to figure out. So instead of wasting your time playing catch up, chart a course for what you want to accomplish each day, and let the rest go. It will be there tomorrow. My household list includes getting the dishes out of the sink and starting a load of clothes before bedtime. (I can, however rest easy even if there’s a pile of unfolded laundry hidden away in my closet and a full dishwasher waiting to be unloaded.)

For school, instead of looking at a daily schedule, I focus on where I want us to be by the end of each week. Which leads to my third tip: plan ahead, but be willing to go with the flow. Having a written plan for schoolwork helps keep us moving forward, but I also embrace those “light bulb” moments when they arise. Sometimes, spontaneity brings about the most memorable learning experiences.

If you’re in the midst of planning for the new school year, and the task seems daunting, relax a little, celebrate this season of life, and give yourself some grace.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Ultimate List of Free or Low-Cost Field Trips

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The Importance of Field Trips for Learning

Field trips are an important aspect of education as kids get to see, hear, and do as you explore your community. Oral histories and hands-on experiences lead to discovery learning, and this kind of learning really sticks. My kids recall things they’ve heard from the people who experienced them much more than from simply reading about them.

From perspectives of World War II as a young Jewish girl or as a young American soldier, to walking around in Shoeless Joe Jackson’s house, these real experiences leave a lasting impression on kids.

When I taught in a public school classroom and ventured out to a museum with my classes to see a Holocaust exhibit, not only was it the first time most of them had even been in a museum, but the artifacts and displays immersed them in the history we had been reading about. They got to see first-hand that history is real. Those kids will never forget that.

I’ve learned that all you have to do is ask, and people are more than willing to provide a field trip for you. (Don’t forget to send them a thank you note!)

The Ultimate Homeschool List of Free or Low-Cost Field Trips:
  • Art museum
  • American Legion museum
  • History museum
  • Baseball museum
  • Professional sports team training camp
  • U-pick farm
  • Organic farm
  • Alpaca farm
  • Goat farm
  • Dairy
  • Plant nursery
  • Grain mill
  • State parks
  • Fish hatchery
  • Horse stables
  • Zoo (membership saves money if you go often or have a large family, and is often reciprocal)
  • Veterinary clinic
  • Dental clinic
  • Nursing home
  • Restaurants (cost of food only, usually w/ a group discount and educational talk/tour included)
  • Grocery Store (Behind-the-scenes tours)
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Library tours/talks/classes
  • Post office
  • Fire station
  • Police station
  • City Hall (meet the mayor)
  • Airport
  • Television station
  • Radio station
  • Newspaper office
  • Book printer
  • Civic center
  • Free children's concerts given by the local symphony
  • Children's theater performances
  • Historical homes
  • Historical monuments
  • Manufacturing plant
  • Recycling center
  • Waste-water treatment facility
Click here to take a look at how I keep records of our field trips for school credit and print my field trip form.

Have any ideas to add to the list? Add them in the comments and I'll put them on the list!