4 Tips for Parents New to Homeschooling

Starting your child in a homeschooling program can seem complicated. In the past, parents and guardians were largely on their own when it came to educating their children. This was both the greatest benefit of homeschooling and the most difficult aspect.

Nowadays, vast resources and online curriculum courses are available to parents who are interested in starting their children in an online homeschooling program. Below are four tips to keep in mind that will help you get started on the right path to finding the correct program and curriculum that meets the needs of your child.

1. Get In Touch

While some homeschooling parents prefer to stay completely independent, most first-timers homeschoolers appreciate having a network of support, whether in-person or online. If you don’t know many people already involved in homeschooling, get in contact with the Homeschool Association in your state. Furthermore, you can search on Facebook to find local, national, and global groups dedicated to helping homeschool parents.

You don’t have to be a vocal member of these communities to gain benefits. At first, it’s best to read the forums and discussion threads to learn the main topics and issues among your peers. Once you’re comfortable with the lingo, you can start asking questions and utilizing available resources, which are often free. In time, you’ll become a valued and experienced member of the community, regardless of how active you are.

2. Check Local Laws

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. It’s a trusted method of instruction in homes across the US and abroad. You have the right to educate your child in the best way you see fit.

Some states offer a great deal of freedom for homeschoolers, requiring no notification or evaluation before beginning. Others require some form of notice, while a handful require certifications and required testing.

The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a map of each state’s regulation status and explains the requirements throughout the nation. While it may be frustrating to comply with these rules, doing so will ensure your child maintains a successful educational path well into the future.

Homeschool Play

3. Learn How Your Child Learns

Everyone learns differently. You may have heard that there are 3 different types of learners: audio, visual, and kinesthetic. Some researchers say there are seven learning styles, while still others insist there are endless different types of learners!

Instead of putting your child into a simple category, spend some time discussing their preferences and evaluating how they best understand learning material. Do they prefer to read and study on their own in silence? Do they like having visual stimuli like videos and interactive media? Do they learn best completely on their own, or are they more suited to studying alongside a sibling or friend?

A child’s learning style evolves over time, and understanding their needs is an ongoing process. Part of the joy of homeschooling is watching your child grow as a student. Do your best and be open to changing your plans as you go along.

4. Start Deschooling

To deschool means, essentially, to unlearn the habits of public schooling. In traditional schools, we’re taught to raise our hands to go to the bathroom, sit quietly for hours on end, take required classes and courses we have no interest in…. It’s quite a world apart compared to homeschool!

If you went to public school as a child, these habits are probably ingrained in your memory. Deschooling is doubly important if your child has been a part of the school system recently. Make it clear to your new student that the expectations of public school don’t entirely apply in the home. You’ll set the standards and pace alongside your child.

With clear expectations, strong goals, and an open mindedness toward education, you and your child can thrive in a homeschool environment.

Tips for Homeschooling on the Road for Traveling Families

Being able to homeschool is truly a blessing because your kids can experience more of the world and learn on your terms. With that being said, there are some tips that homeschooling families should learn as a means to make homeschooling in the car a valuable experience. If you’re a traveling family or just find that you’ve been so busy that you’ll have to homeschool on the road during a family vacation, then you’ll enjoy these tips for homeschooling on the road.  This post is brought to you by WinnerFordofDover.com.

Tips for Homeschooling on the Road for Travel Families

Tips for Homeschooling on the Road for Travel Families

Get Prepared

Look over the lessons that you’ll be teaching your kids while homeschooling on the road. Make sure you opt to choose from lessons that won’t need a lot of supplies. Opting to prepare for your homeschooling on the road sessions will mean that you’ll get the supplies ready, choose lessons that make more sense for homeschooling in the car, and work to allow all kids to learn something similar at the same time.

Plan for Stops

If you’re going to be traveling in the car for long distances, make sure you plan for a stop along the route. This will allow your kids to get some reading and other lessons completed outside of the car. You may want to pick some historical landmarks to stop to work on a homeschool history lesson with your kids while homeschooling on the road.

Review Lessons

While it’s best to choose the harder lessons for at home homeschooling sessions, you may need to teach some of the harder homeschool lessons on the road. It’s best to prepare with a tri-fold poster board to help keep kids focused while trying to get some of the harder lessons done. You may also opt to find a location with no distractions to get out, stretch and learn on the road when you have a difficult lesson to teach the kids while traveling in a car.

Make a Checklist

Last, but not least, make a checklist of supplies that you’ll need to make the most of your homeschool lessons on the road. This means getting pencils sharpened, bringing a pencil sharpener, plenty of paper, journals, and books as well as any other supplies that you’ll need for each lesson in your curriculum while homeschooling on the road.

If you take the time to review what lessons you’ll be working on during your homeschooling in the car adventures, you’ll find that the kids learn better and focus easier. This is one of the benefits of being a homeschool family, you can educate your kids pretty much anywhere. There’s always a way to educate your kids in history, math, science and social studies when you’re a traveling family who’s well-prepared for homeschool lessons in the car.

Silver Glue and Gold Foil Slime

Making slime is a favorite pastime for my kids. While this type of craft can be messy at times, it’s such a fun way to experiment with new ingredients and have some fun with your kids. I recently created a silver glue and gold foil slime that looks spectacular. As a means to help inspire you to start making beautiful slime with your family, I’m sharing some information about this slime along with a recipe to help guide you forward in making your own silver glue and gold foil slime with your kids today. This post contains affiliate links.

Silver Slime

A Fun Science and Chemistry Experiment

There are so many unique ways to educate children these days and making silver glue and gold foil slime is just one of the best ways to teach some science and chemistry in a home school environment. Whether you homeschool or not, using this fun craft idea as a means to educate your kids about chemistry and science is a fun time for everyone.

You’ll be teaching a concept called cross-linking when you mix the borate ions, known as slime activators, with the silver glue. These two ingredients mixed collide into a chemical reaction that creates the stretchy slime substance that kids enjoy playing with.

Elmers Silver Glitter Slime

The silver glue is a liquid substance that is made of molecules that help keep it in a liquid state until you mix the borate ions into the silver glue. The borate has ingredients that mix with the silver glue molecules repeated until the silver glue is no longer in a liquid state, rather when the mixture turns to slime it’s called a polymer.

Bet you didn’t realize there’s so much to learn from making this simple silver glue and gold foil slime with your kids? Use this fun craft time as a means to teach your kids about how molecules work and what active ingredients in the slime activators (sodium borate, borax powder, or boric acid) do with the silver glue to transition the glue from a liquid to a polymer.

Is slime a liquid or a solid?

This is a tricky question to answer because at the end of the day this silver glue and gold foil slime is neither a liquid nor a solid. Slime is a creation that seems to be both a liquid and a solid. You can play around with the ingredients to make this silver glue and gold foil slime appear to be more of a solid than a liquid, but in all reality, this substance that’s called polymer is more of a mixture between the liquid and solid-state.

Now that you’ve read a little bit about how this silver glue and gold foil slime can be a fun science and chemistry learning experiment, it’s time to follow the instructions below to make your own batch of silver glue and gold foil slime today.

How to make silver and gold glitter slime:

Basically, start slow, mix in the starch, add a little more, mix again, and keep doing that till it’s no longer sticky.  Toward the end of mixing you may have to knead it with your hands instead of a spoon.  There we go, now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let’s begin!

This silver and gold glitter slime needs a few specific ingredients, so let’s talk about that first. 

  • – Elmer’s Classic Glitter Glue.  I bought mine from a local craft store but found the Elmer’s Silver Glitter Glue cheaper on Amazon right now.  Keep in mind Amazon prices often fluctuate but it’s at a steal of a price right now.

In fact, there’s also a bundle pack of Elmer’s Glitter Glue to save you money and allow you to make a rainbow of slime options.

I’m a liquid starch slime fan but usually more glitter will show through when you use a contact lens solution plus baking soda instead.  This is because contact lens solution is clear and liquid starch has a kind of white-ish blue tinge.  Both of these options will make a great activator.
This one is a glitter glue so be prepared for it takes way more starch than a white glue would.  We used around 3/4ths of a cup but always add 1/4 a cup at a time and mix it in well.  When you get a consistency that no longer sticks to you and feels like you want it too you’re done.  Again, it’s not an exact science.

Silver Glitter Slime

Now onto the fun pictures of playing with the gold foil sheets.  These are incredible and I want to try them in all my future slimes.  They are just so neat!  They can also be found on Amazon here – Gold Foil Sheets.  Prices often change but right now you can get 100 sheets of this for less than $6 shipped.  I still can’t believe how affordable this fun crafting material is!

Silver Gold Foil Glitter Slime

Silver Gold Leaf Slime

Silver Gold Foil Slime

 

Gold Foil Slime

Gold Foil Silver Slime

Gold Foil Stretchy Silver Slime

Stretchy Silver Slime

Super Stretchy Silver Slime

Stretchy Silver Gold Leaf Slime

Stretchy Slime

Isn’t it beautiful?  I just adore it!

Gold Rolled Slime

I hope you and your kids can give our silver and gold glitter slime a try for yourself.  It truly is the prettiest slime I’ve ever made to date.  It rivals any of the expensive store bought putties and with slime you can create it to be the exact texture you want.  I love it!

More Ideas for Homeschooling in the Car

Homeschooling in the car is my way of describing taking the free time we have in the car and sometimes using it for educational purposes.  I’m not advocating for families to bring their workbooks along with them everywhere and wear their children out on school work.  Learning should be fun and a normal part of life.

This post is brought to you by AkinsJeepRam.com.

I hope this continued list of homeschooling in the car will help you enjoy your kids and make the most of your time in the car.  See our first post on Car Homeschooling here.

  • – Complete the story

This is one of my favorite games to play but is one of the hardest for me to play when driving so I usually have to sit out but I love hearing the stories my kids create.  One person begins to tell a story about anything at all.  After a few sentences they say, “and then…” Then the next person jumps in and adds a few more sentences to the story.  “and then…”   “and then…”  You get the picture.  The story can end anytime you want or after a set number of rounds.  Ours usually ends in full on belly laughs.  I love it!  It’s silly but works their creative juices, listening skills, comprehension, and vocabulary.

  • – License plate addition

One day my husband revealed that he has always had the quirk of adding license plate numbers in his head and I thought that was a great idea!  I held onto the idea until my kids were more fluent with their math skills but this is a great one.

  • – License plate rounding

After my husband shared the above game with us I transitioned it to a game that worked better for our kids at that time.  We decided to round the license plate number to the nearest ten, or hundred, you get the idea.  This was a fun game because it required them to think quickly.  When we first started we had the kids read the number out loud so we could help them with it in case the car drove away quickly.

  • – Geography game

Everyone names a location that begins with a letter of the alphabet beginning with A and going through to Z, while repeating the ones that were listed before. Alps, Belgium, China, Denmark…

  • – Jokes and Riddles

My kids are going through a stage where jokes and riddles are the bees knees.  They love them and always have a new joke to tell anyone they meet.  One of the favorites lately is, “What did the cat get when he crossed the desert on Christmas Day?”  The answer is….”sandy claws.”  Thinking through jokes and finding the humor in twisting the English language can be a challenging and rewarding experience.  I think that the rather dull opportunity that car trips provide is a great atmosphere for telling good old fashioned jokes.

I’ll be brainstorming more ideas for homeschooling with in the car and I hope you’ll share any and all ideas you have with me in the comments below.

Homeschooling in the Car

Do you find that you spend more time than you care to admit in the car?  I can vividly remember a friend’s mom mention to us while we were in junior high (yes, not middle school, I’m getting old) that if she lost weight driving her kids around that she would be much too thin. I guess it’s a good thing that wasn’t the case but I’ve often thought about that sentiment and wished it were true for myself.  As a homeschooling mom I want to make the most of the time I spend with my kids and find ways to fit in educational moments throughout the day, even on errand days and between trips to the park, friend’s houses, co-ops, libraries, and Walmart pick up (which is such a blessing!).  We don’t do school full on all the time, but I wanted to find ways to utilize the time in the car and not spend it surfing the radio endlessly.  Here are the tips that my family make use of and I hope it helps your family enjoy spending time with their kids in the car, whether you call it “carschooling” or not.

This post is brought to you by MarburgerChryslerJeepDodgeRam.com.

  • – Talk

Okay, I had to start with this one because it seems the most obvious to people and it is the thing we do most of all.  We talk about what we’re doing (as has been the practice since before my kids could talk), plans we hope to do in the near future, how we feel about things, what we’ve been reading, things we saw on Alexa (which brings up so many interesting political and earth science discussions), and the list goes on and on.  Discussing things with kids opens the lines of communication and can help develop healthy relationships…the educational aspect is just a bonus.

  • – Audio books

By clicking here you can see the list of my favorite audio books for the whole family.  Audio books are better for long trips but they can be utilized for shorter trips as well.  My kids get so into the books though that they always hate to stop a story without things being wrapped up neatly.

  • – Twenty questions

We play this game a lot in our house.  Sometimes we’ll pick a book that we have and everyone else has to ask questions to figure out which one it is.  Animals and people are also good choices.

  • – iSpy

iSpy is a game that can be played with younger and older kids a like and it’s always fun.  To make it a little more challenging you could have the kids guess that particular -ing word, or -ly adverb.

  • – Memory work

If my kids are working on memorizing verses or a particular poem I’ll make a copy and set it in the passengers car.  Every time I get in the car I’ll recite the memory work.  After a few days I’ll expect them to finish it after I start it.  Then a few days later they’ll try reciting it on their own.  I’ve been amazed at how very quickly they can recall information when repeated in this way.

  • – Observe the world around you

My kids have always spotted school buses and city buses when we’re out.  It’s always been something they point out.  Other favorites are three wheel motorcycles (I don’t know the correct name, sorry!), fire trucks, diggers, trash trucks, Ashley furniture trucks (because my name is Ashley), etc.  One family I know assigns points for each special vehicle and the family keeps score of what they’ve all seen for a month.  For example motorcycles=10 points, emergency vehicles=10 points, emergency vehicles with their lights on=15 points.  I haven’t tried this yet but I can see how it would be helpful to practice math skills.

I’m sure there are more but these are our main ways to make the best use of the time we spend together in the car.  If you have anything to add I would love to hear your ideas.

Update: I’ve added more ideas for homeschooling in the car here.

Homeschooling on Vacation

This post is sponsored by Browning Dodge and contains affiliate links.  If you’re in the market for a new reliable vehicle for travel check out BrowningDodge.com.

How to Homeschool on Vacation

While I’m just setting off on this homeschooling journey of ours I’m jumping in with both feet.  That’s nothing new though.  Since both of my kids have been born though I’ve been talking to them about everything I do, reading to them every chance I get, telling stories when we’re not around books, asking them questions, helping them explore the outdoors around them, and instilling in them the values and manners that are so important to me.  I’m intentional.  Very intentional.  So much so that it’s exhausting some days and then we loosen up and try again.  Life is a constant struggle like that, isn’t it?  Try, try, try, try too hard, don’t try, wait – okay try again, try, try, try.  Balance.  Balance is such a simple word to say and yet it’s the most difficult one to live out.

We’re officially starting school tomorrow and yes, cute stage photos will be coming along shortly.  While I have my lesson plans ready and all my hand picked curriculum laid out in a row I’m going to work at my plans diligently and try to make learning as fun as possible.  Learning should always be fun!  Then a handful of weeks later I’m going to throw it all out the window for a five day break.  Why you ask?  Because we’re going on vacation!!!  I’m very excited about the time away and am just as excited about teaching my kids, especially my daughter about the beach.  We just picked a travel date yesterday and I’ve already got our packing list made and our meal plan ready.  Now I’m starting on what I can teach my kids about the beach before we go.  Just because I like to throw my thoughts out on a page sometimes I’m writing this post.  Additionally, I’m hoping it will be helpful for others who want to combine homeschooling and vacations.  If you’re a seasoned homeschool mom I would love your opinions and ideas so feel free to comment with those below.  Now, onto my plans…

Plan the Trip – I’m hoping to show my daughter the state we’re traveling to on a map of the US.  I also want to show her a detailed maps of roads and highways and show her the different paths we could go and let her highlight the way her mom and dad have already chosen to go.  Maybe we could even put stickers on places that would be great for rest stops.  She’ll also love to watch our gps in the car as it travels along our chosen path.

Read – Because we love reading this is a natural fit for our family.  I’m excited to research fish, sea turtles, other ocean life, and books that include swimming.  For my son the book list will probably look like: Rainbow Fish bath book (bonus points because I can take it to the beach since it’s a plastic book!), Dr. Seuss’ Clam-I-Am (All About the Beach), Over the Ocean (In a Coral Reef), Seashells by the Seashore, and Curious George Goes to The Beach The beginning reading list for my daughter includes: The Berenstain Bears By The Sea, National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles (I just discovered that National Geographic has early reader books, how exciting!), The Usborne Internet-Linked First Encyclopedia of Seas & Oceans (there are several copies on Amazon now for $0.01 + shipping! I just bought one and thought I’d share.), Secrets of the Seashore Shine-a-Light book, and Seashore beginners book.  I also want to check out the state and area we’re traveling to and see if there is any history that would be appropriate and interesting for young kids.

Audio Books – Maybe we’ll listen to audio books, maybe.  Maybe we’ll just talk and have a blast singing Justin Robert’s tunes at the top of our lungs.  Yea, we’ll probably just do that for the majority of the trip but we’ll have an audio book cd or two packed just in case.  Lamplighter audio books are superb.  We love all of their material that we’ve read or heard.  Adventures in Odyssey is another great choice – check out their The Ultimate Road Trip: Family Vacation Collection.

Plan the Itinerary – I want my daughter to help plan the itinerary of our trip.  She won’t get the last say of course and itineraries are meant to be broken but it will be fun to work together on our plans while building the anticipation of the trip.  We can plan for things like a sea shell hunt, going for ice cream, ordering something we’ve never tried before at a restaurant (maybe a buffet is a good idea to try this at!), playing putt putt, and drawing a picture of the ocean from our balcony.

Busy Bags – Between now and our departure date I plan on making lots and lots of busy bags for our trip.  Some will be simple activities like a Melissa & Doug Water Wow book (no paint, just water – I love these!!), Dover Sticker Activity books (the prices vary but they’re always under $2 shipped from Amazon – these are great for little ones sitting in church too!), lacing cards, Melissa & Doug Scratch Art (I haven’t tried these before but they look fun for kids!), and The Cube (a smaller version of the Rubik’s cube. It’s 2×2 instead of 3×3.  I don’t think I would instruct them on how to use it but let them have fine motor fun with it.).  I also plan on including my own homemade busy bags that may include felt pieces of clothes for the felt doll, or clothes pins that have a number on them that need to be clipped onto the correct paper with that many items, etc.  I’m thinking of randomly rewarding my kids for good behavior on the trip by giving them a small toy.  My daughter would love a small princess doll or anything that came from the dollar store and my son would love any figurine puppy or Thomas the Train Minis (Have you seen these?  They are so tiny and adorable!).

Games – In the evenings before bed I think it would be fun to spend time relaxing together playing a board game.  My son is just now at the age where he can comprehend the basic rules of games.  I think the game Cootie would be a great game for us as a family.  We can talk about the colors, count the pieces, and of course the counting on the die.

Observation – I’m hoping to try and observe as much as possible and point out things to my kids.  Sure, sometimes I’ll just be exhausted, hot, and ready to put the kids down for a nap but most of the time I’m hoping to be a fun mom.  Observing which toy makes the biggest splash in the water is still fun.  I don’t plan on finding a butterfly and waxing on about metamorphosis.  Just taking opportunities to observe and talk about the things we see is an incredible way to bond as a family.  Learning is a bonus!

I think that’s all I have.  As I said earlier, if you have any other ideas to share please let me know.  I want to have a fun, relaxing, and educational vacation without having to go to museums all day and I think that’s possible!

5 Ways to Avoid Being Overwhelmed at Homeschool Convention + a Giveaway!

This is a partnered post with the Thrive Convention.

How to Avoid Being Overwhelmed at a HomeSchool Convention

If you are a homeschooling parent, you probably fall into one of these categories: 1.You are reluctantly attending convention, but not so sure if it’s really the right thing for you 2. You’ve never been to convention, mainly because you think it will be too overwhelming for you or 3. You’re totally going to convention, been there, done that, have a plan and can’t wait!

I am writing this as I head into one next weekend and I’m hoping these tips will help a few of you out there who are also headed that way.  It IS overwhelming, as some people warn you that it can be, but part of that problem is us. I believe that a good majority of homeschooling parents are planners. We like to be in charge and know what’s coming, what we can do to tackle it and have a good feeling that we’ve got it covered when it does happen. Or maybe that’s just me…..

For those of us who like to know the issues that “may” come up, heading into a huge event like a convention, for the first time, does not sound appealing at all, because we have only heard other people’s stories (and let’s face it, most stories people like to share are the negative, dramatic type!) and we don’t actually know firsthand what it will be like, so therefore, we don’t know firsthand what we will need to prepare for. The fear of the unknown can be huge thing that keeps many people from ever stepping out in faith and taking the first step.

Now, I do have some mom friends who are the opposite of me, and they are laid back, just seeming to go with the flow and ride the wave where it takes them. But I will say that most of them are not attending convention for other reasons than I mentioned and they just seem to handle it all as it comes and don’t get all nervous-Nellie. If that is you, and you actually are planning to attend convention, I would advise at least a little planning so you aren’t overwhelmed either, although I am just certain that your level of freaking out is not even close to what mine would be if it indeed, happened.

So how can you plan for this and come out refreshed, relaxed and totally planning to go again next year?

1.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You’ve heard this before, but it’s true. There will be things that will happen that will rattle you. It’s inevitable. Like, after being there a whole day already and walking what feels like 5 miles, you still haven’t found the one booth you had planned from the beginning that you absolutely had to get to first. Or, you had your schedule all planned out, hour by hour, so that you wouldn’t miss a lecture or lunch, for that matter, and the next thing you know, it’s 3:15 and you’ve been talking to someone at a booth who is amazingly helpful and you really couldn’t help it, but now you’ve not only still not eaten, but you missed that 3:00 lecture.  This stuff will likely happen. But, going into this knowing what you have in mind to do, but also knowing you may not get to it all and that’s totally o.k. makes a world of difference.

2.  Do some research ahead of time.
If you know already what curriculum you want to use and you basically need to just get to those booths and really get your hands on it, then that’s awesome, but if you’re like me, you know a few things you for sure are wanting, and then there’s a gray area there with a few others where you want to see what your options are. Well, you will get to see a lot of options there for sure, but you may not see every brand of writing curriculum you thought you would, and you may not even realize that until it’s all over, so spend a little time googling it before you go, so you can narrow it down some, and then make a few notes so that when you’re there, you’ll see that booth and the little light bulb will go off and ding! “I need to talk to those people!” will happen in your brain. Ask around in your Facebook community or co-op too, and see what your fellow homeschoolers use and how they feel about it. It can be very helpful.  Somehow, when you are there in person, it ALL looks good, and they have a great speech that makes it sound even better, and the thing is, they MEAN it, they believe in it, so then you believe it too….so you have to know at least somewhat if 1. Yes, that booth is for me or 2. No, I know I’m not interested in that and keep walking on.

3.  Make some lists and budget. This may not sound fun, but doing some of the work ahead of time will alleviate a lot more work while you are there.
Make a list of what curriculum you know for sure you will need before starting the next semester, and if you end up finding it while you’re there, whether you buy it, or just find “the one”, check it off the list! It feels good to do that and it justifies the WHY of the reason you’re there to begin with. Making a budget is another great thing to do. If you are bad about spending money you don’t have, then take cash in envelopes for certain subjects or for meals, or fun money. When that cash is gone, you’re done. You can still spend plenty of time doing research and checking out curriculum or supplies and write it down to purchase later. These two things alone can make the experience much better for you.

4.  Take time for yourself in the middle of the day, each day. Step Back and Enjoy!
You work hard and you deserve for this experience to be a good one. There are so many really sweet people there who enjoy doing what they do, and they are there to help you. This is a needed paycheck for them to help them make it through their year and they want to talk to you, and in return, you’re helping their families. So, try to take it slow, be a light for people that get sent in your path, and don’t feel guilty if you don’t make every lecture, or get to see each and every booth. If you need to stop mid-day and go take a nap or even a swim, by all means, do it!

5.  If you see a friend, take a break and grab a coffee with them.
Just be sure to keep in mind that everything will not go as planned and truly, this is normal and totally fine. Leave the guilt behind and go have a great time!

If you’re planning on attending the Thrive Convention in Winston-Salem, NC on June 2-4, 2016 let me know and we can try to look out for each other!

Giveaway!

I have two tickets to the Thrive Convention to giveaway!  If you want to win tickets to the convention leave a comment letting me know what grades you’ll be teaching this year (and if you have a favorite curriculum already I’d love to hear it!).

If you don’t want to wait to enter to win, you can pre-register for the convention now.  Don’t forget that May 26, 2016 is the last day to get pre-registration pricing.

NCHE Thrive Homeschool Conference

Thrive Conference

NCHE’s annual homeschool conference, Thrive, is right around the corner.  If you’re a homeschooler and anywhere near Winston-Salem, NC you’ll want to make plans to join in on June 2-4, 2016.  You can see the full schedule here.

I’m planning on attending and if you’ll be there too I hope we can meet up!

Go here to pre-register for the convention and get a discount!  Pre-registration ends on May 26, 2016.

There is a list of great speakers lined up and workshops that sound great.  If you’re looking for a little encouragement, are even thinking about homeschooling, or what to find a new curriculum, you should check out this conference!

I’ll be hosting a giveaway later on in the year with free tickets too so be on the look out for that.

If you’ve been to a homeschool conference (sometimes called convention – I don’t know the difference?), what’s your favorite tip for having a successful time?

 

UPSTART Online Preschool Program

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of UPSTART but my opinions are my own.

A lot of time, detail, and effort go into education as I’m sure all of our teacher-readers can tell you. Am I right, teach? There’s a reason they only have to “work” 10 months out of the year. You guys all know how essential education is at an early development too. Often times preschoolers don’t get the developmental attention they need because (honestly we’re too busy just trying to chase them down to clothe and feed them) not many of us have time to prep new things to do each day.

There’s a new program out called UPSTART, which is an online preschool program to use at home. And. it. is. free. (Those are my favorite words.) It’s designed for the year right before kindergarten to make sure children are ready for school.  This is very nice for me because I currently have a little one prepping for kindergarten.

Okay, I have to pause and show you a little bit of my daughter’s recent work. 🙂

Preschool DrawingShe does love to play outside!

Christmas Tree Craft

Homemade Christmas ornament!

Preschool Tanagram

Tanagrams are so much fun!

Crayola Pastels

Oil pastels are the best!

The UPSTART curriculum is impressive – It uses an award-winning software from Waterford Institute. Within the software you’ll find thousands of educational songs, books, and lessons in the fundamental subjects: reading, science, and math. Wait for it – each child is given unique, individualized lessons on their skill level and learning style. This is so great. Individualized lesson plans are few and far between. Having this at home, for free, at your fingertips is basically unheard of. And all the homeschool families rejoice.

It works too. In 2013, a study showed that kids using UPSTART have 2-3 times higher learning rates than those who didn’t use the program.  This study is done by an outside source too, not in-house.

If you’re interested you can register for the program at http://waterfordupstart.org/. I think this is definitely worth investigating on your own!

Free A to Z Animal Handwriting and Coloring Pages

A-to-Z-Animal-Handwriting-Pages

Download free A to Z animal handwriting and coloring pages.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!