How Homeschooling can be Incorporated Into Any Vacation, Part 5

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

Part 5 of this post can be found here.

Here are some of the educational aspects we incorporated into our trip to the Dominican Republic.

After Your Trip:

1. Laundry – I’ve never returned from a trip without a mountain of laundry to do. Might as well use the opportunity to learn a life skill, right?

2. Sleep – Reentry is never easy on anyone. Getting back on a regular sleep schedule right away is the only thing I’ve known to help. Use this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about the importance of sleep, but also giving each other grace as you all get through this time.

3. Technical skills – If your kids are old enough, this might be a great time to show them how to upload and edit pictures from your trip. Won’t it be great when they can do this for you in the future?

4. Journaling – Let the kids decorate cute journals or scrapbooks and then make sure they write their memories down!

5. Follow up on any new interests you discovered on your trip!

 

What other suggestions would you share?

Other posts in this series are able to be found here.

Advertisements

How Homeschooling can be Incorporated Into Any Vacation, Part 4

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

Part 3 of this post can be found here.

Here are some of the educational aspects we incorporated into our trip to the Dominican Republic.

During Your Trip:

 

7. Are you visiting family, or staying in an area of importance to your family? Ask for suggestions and see things off the beaten path. Where did your grandparents grew up and so on. This can give your kids a personal connection to your trip. Inviting family along can provide you unique touch guides and instant kid entertainment. (Have you ever noticed how kids listen so much better to someone else besides mom? Use it to your advantage!!)

20171005_111523

22310681_10212524228154561_3628254794986907419_n

8. Focus on cultural and artistic sightseeing! Let’s face it, most places you go are going to look the same. Pretty much every city is going to have the same chain restaurants wherever you go, and so on. Focus on the activities and sights you CAN’T do anywhere else. Biggest ball of yarn nearby? Go for it. Another McDonalds? Not so much. Teach your children to look for adventures everywhere.

IMG_1037

9. Let your kids follow their own interests. Keep an eye out for new interests to form and let those opportunities take flight. Collect the shells. Answer the 50,000 questions. (Google is your friend!) Teach your kids to talk to the tour guides to ask those questions from the experts.

 

22196168_10156449969257366_8127818705426885987_n

Who knew this kid is a natural on a horse??

 

22154561_10212487924807000_5452748323949021812_n

10. Throw the list away! Sometimes it’s better to just throw out all the to-do lists and just live in the moment. Isn’t that what a vacation is really all about?

 

20171003_142609.jpg

Yes, we found a playground. Every single trip – our family tradition!

 

When we lived overseas, our “local” friends would tell us they could always tell who the Americans were – they were the tourists who were more concerned with checking off a long list with an “I was here” selfie in as short amount of time as possible; instead of truly experiencing the place.

So, consider slowing down. Experiencing real life wherever you go. Watch a sunset. Feed the birds. Carry on a conversation with a local, and learn about their life.

 

Be sure to check out the Part 5 in this series here! What other suggestions would you share for during your trip?

Other posts in this series be able to be found here.

How Homeschooling can be Incorporated Into Any Vacation, Part 3

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

Part 2 of this post can be found here.

Here are some of the educational aspects we incorporated into our trip to the Dominican Republic.

During Your Trip:

1. How to haggle decent deals on souvenirs with the locals. I don’t like buying much clutter, but we did need new beach hats for the sun! First, teach your kids to purchase souvenirs off of the main tourist area to get better deals. For those hats, I haggled us down to a decent rate but realized I probably should have done even more when I later mentally converted the money to US dollars. Or, I also recommend having a hubby that is a native speaker of the language, because after that I had him do all the haggling and he was able to get much better deals!

21273331_10212448782188459_2491244702526023928_o

Trust me, prices are always ramped up for tourists, but if they see you as a local, they will give you a better rate – though my husband disagrees with this. He believes that they worked him harder than they would have me (if I spoke better Spanish and could haggle more) because they saw him as a “returning successful son”  and expected him to share the wealth, in a sense. Luckily, he caught on to that fairly quickly.

2. Teach your kids the money conversion! It’s not just basic shopping and money lessons, but the addition of converting local currency prices to another in your head! That’s like Super Math, folks!

3. The proper way to bodysurf and jump a wave. I mean, that’s an important life skill! Along with sand castle making.

20170927_141429

SONY DSC

4. Did your kids earn spending money for the trip? Help them practice budgeting it throughout the trip.

5. Reading menu and ordering food. Also, perhaps add in a discussion about well-meal when they decide to order pasta and french fries in the same meal.

labandera-290x280

Traditional Dish – La Bandera (rice, beans, and meat) – like the Dominican Flag

6. Try the local cuisine! Our favorite way to learn about a culture is through its food!

DSC04369.JPG

Our family favorite is tostones – fried plantains!

Be sure to check out the Part 4 in this series here! What other suggestions would you share for during your trip?

Other posts in this series are able to be found here.

How Homeschooling can be Incorporated Into Any Vacation, Part 2

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

Part 1 of this post can be found here.

Before Your Trip:

4. Discuss the trip with your kids. Open up the map and point out where you are going, routes you are planning to take, deals you’ve found and how you found them. Ge them involved in all of this research.

Teach them how to pack. How to make the to-do list of what to pack, what needs to be done before you go, and so on.

5. Check out books from the library! Look for local authors, books that take place where you are going, authors/books that your destination is known for, biographies of famous people from that area, or local history. Knowing some of this in advance will make going on tours/museums much more exciting and relevant to kids. Don’t forget to explore art/science topics related to the area as well!

6. When you are thinking of packing stuff to entertain the kids on the trip, look at #5 above and bring those books with you! Now, I’m not a fan of taking library books on a vacation where they could be lost or damaged, so what I do instead is search for deals on them.

This most recent trip I used PaperbackSwap.com with a lot of success. I was able to “trade” for several books I specifically wanted for this trip. Some for the kids, and some for me! We’re a big fan of beach reading!

22096246_10212434553032739_5427656464864279031_o

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Be sure to check out the Part 3 in this series here! What other suggestions do you have to prep before a trip?

Other posts in this series be able to be found here.

How Homeschooling can be Incorporated Into Any Vacation, Part 1

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

Previous posts can be found here.

Before Your Trip:

1) Langauge? – If your trip involves going to where a different language is spoken, then consider checking phrase books out of the library. Also, see if the library might have videos, books, music, that can be used in advance. Make sure your children know at least a few phrases in the local language. “Please,” “Thank You,” “Hello,” “Goodbye,” and “Where is the Bathroom?” are very good places to start.

20170930_162045

2. Check out tourist videos to watch, read through tourist websites together, and check out tourist guides from the library. Be sure to look on YouTube as well – I found some great videos on local history, etc.

20171002_105659

Knowing what is available in the area can help you decide what you want to do in advance, and also help you to investigate good deals and rates. For us, it also helped us determine where we wanted to stay – we chose areas that would be convenient to all the things we wanted to do.

20171002_105809

Tip: Check out AirBnB, Groupon, and similar sites! These have always served us very well in our travels!

3. I have found Facebook to be a fabulous font of information. I follow local tourism pages. I also follow pages of any sightseeing location we are interested in. And check out the local Facebook groups to an area. These have been my best resources to amazing opportunities that only locals seem to know.

20171002_105824

Stay tuned for more in the Part 2 of this article! What other tips would you share?

Other posts in this series are able to be found here.

Homeschooling While on Vacation!

Tags

, , , ,

I know “Vacation Season” is coming up, though many of us homeschoolers tend to vacation Off-Season! We did this last fall, with a trip to the Dominican Republic (where my husband’s family is from)! While there, I brainstormed this series, though I’m just now getting around to sharing it with you!

If you are in a state where you must count homeschooling days, or if you subscribe to more of a “Life is School” philosophy, or if you’ve drunk the homeschool Kool-Aid so that everything turns into a homeschool experience — I’m sure you are just like us- looking at even vacations with the thought of “How can I turn our vacation into homeschool?”

20171002_105659

Now, first off, let’s put a dose of reality in here. Not every single moment of every single day needs to be about homeschool. Sometimes you just need to live your life, and sometimes you just need to enjoy your vacation! Relax for once, HomeSchool Mama!

20170927_113004

See? I follow my own advice!

This particular trip of ours came to us unexpectedly. My hubby’s grandmother started to do poorly, and we could no longer put off the trip to visit her. Getting us all down to the Dominican Republic was no small feat, but after a month of scrambling, we finally made it.

20170928_104704

So, for this series, I thought I’d share some easy ideas on how to incorporate learning and educational experiences into any trip, and in the future, I hope to talk about our Dominican Republic educational experience in particular.

What tips would you share?

Other posts in this series be able to be found here.

“I’ve Decided to Homeschool and I’m Freaking Out! Help!”

Tags

Ha! Just because I’ve been homeschooling a while now, people think I know what I’m doing and starting to come to me for advice. Which cracks me up because I am the first one to tell you I have no idea what I’m doing!

I think the first piece of advice I’d give to any new homeschool mom would be to get used to the “winging it” and the “flying by the seat of your pants” feeling. Just as you get used to one age level, the darn kid will grow up a little. Each age has its own challenges and needs.

Also, if any “expert giving you advice tells you “this is the right way to homeschool” (as if there is only one way), WALK AWAY. You don’t need that kind of annoyance in your life! Honestly, there are as many ways to homeschool as there are children on earth. The real beauty of homeschooling is the ability to tailor each educational experience toward each child and family.

With that in mind, here are my tips to begin:

1. First, examine your child’s learning style. How do they learn the best?

What is Your Learning Style?
The Learning Style Quiz
Know Your Kids: Identify Their Personal Learning Styles

2. Learning should be fun. Whatever you do, it should instill a lifelong love of learning, so that it becomes a way of life. Self-motivated, curious minds will make your job so much easier!

This means homeschool might look very different than your public school experience and that’s okay!

3. Examine your own teaching style and personal time constraints. When we first began, my was very flexible, however, now that I’m working my schedule is extremely structured. And now that my girls are a bit older and can read well, we have focused on making them more self-sufficient so they can do most of their work on their own, while I’m working myself.

Homeschooling can and will adapt around your life situation, but you do need to keep this in mind when making decisions on specifics.

4. Check out HSLDA.org and your local state organizations such as HEAV here in Virginia to cover all of the legal mumbo-jumbo for your state.

5. Then, check out curriculum that fits all of the above. Some programs are too-teacher intensive for my style and taste. There is some curriculum that is too much “my way is the only right way” for me. There are some I don’t consider “nutrient-rich” enough for my kids, and there are some programs my kids think are boring and too much busy work.

6. Get involved/participate in your local homeschool community. Perhaps that will be a Co-Op. Perhaps that’s Park Play Days, or ad-hoc, individual classes or activities. Build your own local support network and community. It’s vital for long-term homeschool success and satisfaction.

What else would you suggest to someone starting their homeschooling journey?

Our Updated Homeschool Mission Statement

Tags

, , , , , ,

Since I discussed Creating a Homeschool Mission Statement during my Preparing for Convention series, I thought I’d actually share with you what Hubby and I have decided on. This has been reviewed and updated for this year. (And is based on “Defining Your Homeschool Mission: It’s More Than Your Why“) It still serves us pretty well, but we refined it a bit. This has been slightly revised since an older post.

Our Homeschool Mission Statement

Our Goal

That our children become well-rounded, well-educated, interested individuals – who have the ability to investigate their own interests and be productive, independent, discerning, successful adults (however success is defined by them). We want our children to have strong Christian hearts and spiritual knowledge, as well emotionally and spiritually healthy.

“Our mission isn’t simply to pursue knowledge, but to pursue God’s wisdom and prepare our children to become God’s effective servants. We want our daughters to grow confident in Christ and the unique role that God created them to fulfill for His greater glory.” (quote that I loved enough to steal to use for ourselves.)

Verses That We Base Our Homeschool Plans On

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6

 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? — Mark 8:36

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. — Deuteronomy 6:4-9

What Are Our Non-Negotiables?

  • They must be challenged and be on a “college-ready” path, whether they go or not.
  • College itself is flexible, advanced training or education of some sort is not.

How Do We Evaluate Our Efforts and Results?

  • Their joy in learning. Learning can and should be fun, and more is retained when they enjoy what they are doing.
  • Their curiosity and desire. Education should serve as a vehicle to whet their appetite for more knowledge, and give them the vehicle to further that knowledge.
  • Successfully learning, retaining lessons. Not regurgitating information but truly understanding it.
  • Personal relationship with and love for Christ. Deepening knowledge and understanding of the Bible, exploration of applying that understanding to their own lives, and sharing that love with others.

What We Look For in Curriculum

  • Christian-based education.
  • Family-based curriculum and learning together as much as possible.
  • Encouraging independence in learning as they mature, though learning together when possible.
  • Should encourage the love and joy of learning, delight-directed learning whenever possible. Not on “teaching to the test,” or Common Core Standards.
  • Flexibility of time and curriculum and interests.
  • Ease of program on teacher. Minimal preparation needed. No personal need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Spending time with girls and as a family.

Have you created a Family Mission Statement, or  a Homeschool Mission Statement/Plan? I’d love for you to share it with us if you have!

Congrats to my HEAV Giveaway Winner!

Tags

, , ,

8-5x3front-660x283

Congrats to the winner of my HEAV Family Convention Pass Giveaway! Congrats to Deanne L. – check your email for more information!

 

Previous posts about HEAV Conventions that you might enjoy:
HEAV’s Used Curriculum Sale
Getting Dad Involved in Your Homeschool
Other Ways Homeschool Dads Can Be Involved
HEAV Convention Wish List Tip!
HEAV From the Dad Perspective
Lessons Learned from Past Conventions
My Biggest about the HEAV Convention!
Getting Ready for HEAV???
Last Minute HEAV Convention Survival Tips

8-5x3back-660x283

HEAV- Home Educators Association of Virginia – website
“I am excited to be a blogger for HEAV this year. In exchange for sharing my honest opinion about this convention, I was provided with a family registration at no charge.”

REVIEW: Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology (and HEAV Giveaway!)

Tags

, , , , , ,

8-5x3front-660x283

Since I do not have high-school age students yet, this post is a guest post from a local friend, Ronda Everson. Thanks Ronda! PS. Apologia will be at HEAV this year!! Check out their sessions and speakers, and their booth in the Exhibit Hall!!

Based on a thorough review of the Apologia Anatomy and Physiology curriculum, I plan to use them next year with my 10th grader.  (These products were a gift free of charge, in exchange for an honest, personal review.)

The materials that are available for this curriculum are a textbook, student notebook which includes the labs, an anatomy coloring book (I did not have access to this for review), tests and solutions, a textbook on mp3 audio disc and DVD instructional guides.  The DVDs can be used on both PC and Mac computers.  Instructions for using the DVDs on both systems are provided.

The textbook is hefty at 576 pages and is divided into 16 modules with a lab assigned for each module.  A materials list/module are provided in the back, which is wonderful for planning purposes.

Overall, I liked the way the text is written and is definitely written at a higher level.  A student would need to have taken strong introductory biology and chemistry courses before delving into this curriculum.

There is a short review of most of the key concepts before the book moves to a deeper level.  However, the review is short, because the authors assume that the student has encountered and understood the review material previously.

The material covered is thorough but written in an easy to understand style.  There are adequate pictures and diagrams supplementing the text.

I love the way the student workbook is laid out.  There is a yearly schedule provided which includes lesson readings, study days, tests, and labs.  The schedule is based upon a five-day/week, 32-week school year, but could easily be adapted as needed.

The student notebook also has pages provided for note taking and even has a section on how to take notes which is a skill that all students need to develop.  In the back of the notebook are the lab experiment instructions and an area for recording their results.  However, they recommend that a student keep a separate lab notebook in the correct form and I would tend to agree with that recommendation.

There are additional sections of the student workbook that are awesome.  The appendix of Latin and Greek word parts are invaluable when learning all the vocabulary that is part of any science discipline.  Case studies are a fun exercise using the information that the student has learned, applying it as a ‘medical detective’ like a real physician.  Suggested solutions to these case studies are also provided.

The lab experiments/activities will require a microscope and some prepared slides.  The final project is a fetal pig dissection.  For those that are not willing to do ‘real’ dissections, as we are, there are life-like models and virtual options, which are just as acceptable.

Overall, I was very pleased with the materials and think that my student will respond well to them.  He is not especially drawn to the biological sciences, but I believe it is a valuable course to take.  It is well written and thorough.

I can see this curriculum being especially valuable for those students who plan on pursuing further education in a medical related field, but it is also excellent for all students who are ready for an upper-level science.  We all should have a thorough understanding of our own bodies to make wise choices in taking care of ourselves.

Young Explorers Voted #1

Sign up for my HEAV Convention Pass Giveaway!!

Yes, you can win a pass so you can attend HEAV’s convention for free! (Leaving more money to spend on stuff! WAHOO!) Optional Programs are not included. This giveaway ends May 10th at midnight, so sign up now!

Click on this Rafflecopter Giveaway Link to Sign Up Now!

Previous posts about HEAV Conventions that you might enjoy:
HEAV’s Used Curriculum Sale
Getting Dad Involved in Your Homeschool
Other Ways Homeschool Dads Can Be Involved
HEAV Convention Wish List Tip!
HEAV From the Dad Perspective
Lessons Learned from Past Conventions
My Biggest about the HEAV Convention!
Getting Ready for HEAV???
Last Minute HEAV Convention Survival Tips

8-5x3back-660x283

HEAV- Home Educators Association of Virginia – website
“I am excited to be a blogger for HEAV this year. In exchange for sharing my honest opinion about this convention, I was provided with a family registration at no charge.”
“The Apologia links above are affiliate links and I appreciate your support of my site! Please review my affiliate and review policy here.”