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One of the most challenging parts of homeschooling is staying encouraged and filled with enthusiasm for our kids and family.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of staring at lesson plans, learning benchmarks and curriculum and forget to focus on the things that really matter: heart, attitude, and character.

Homeschooling is wonderful.

After 20+ Years of teaching our five sons, I can tell you it is one of the best adventures I have been on in my life. But I can also tell you it’s harder on your own.

The BEST news?

You don’t have to do it alone!

My friend, Ana has developed a place for homeschool moms to be refreshed and renewed while simultaneously being equipped for teaching their kids.

This membership is for moms who want to ditch busy, find clarity, and homeschool with confidence, peace, and joy

My friend, Ana with They Call Me Blessed has put together an amazing place of refuge, encouragement and teaching for homeschool moms like you and me.

“This membership is for moms who want to ditch busy, find clarity, and homeschool with confidence, peace, and joy

Every month we will focus on a specific topic and you will have access to:

  • Masterclasses
  • Homeschool experts interviews
  • Book clubs for kids and for moms
  • Curricula & book author’s Q&As
  • Family workshops in a variety of subjects from writing, to arts, cooking, foreign languages, etc.

All strategically scheduled to help you follow a homeschool success path.

You will also have access to special discounts for all future resources and events..

The Homeschool Sisterhood will give you the content, the community, and the accountability you need to homeschool successfully from a place of rest and confidence.

All outside social media, so you can redeem your precious time and invest in the most important people in your life – your family.”

Add me to the Waitlist! This membership will only be open twice a year, so make sure to drop your name on the wait list today. Learn more here.

The post Join the Homeschool Sisterhood appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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I’m sitting here listening to one of my sons finger pick his guitar. It’s better than having the radio playing any day of the week.

I still remember the day he asked me if he could look up a tutorial on YouTube. Fast forward to today… YouTube is where that child learned to play.

Do you have kids who want to to learn to play instruments? Maybe you want to find easy ways to integrate music into your homeschooling.

Yes, Youtube is an option. It worked wonders for our son, but he is extremely determined by nature and is self-disciplined enough to practice every single day.

I think a better description is obsessed. He practices every day, and in the summer he will put HOURS on his guitar.

If you’re looking to introduce your kids to music, or give them access to lessons, bookmark this page so you can find it later.

Keyboard, Piano, and Organ

Online lessons are right for you if you would like to learn to play a keyboard instrument, or improve the skills you already have, but:

  • can’t find a good local teacher
  • are unable or don’t want to travel for your lessons
  • want to take lessons on your instrument, not your teacher’s
  • want to take lessons from me. (Hey, it happens.   I met a lot of people during those years as a writer/arranger for Sheet Music Magazine.)

With a computer, webcam, and Skype or Messenger, you can take lessons from the comfort of your home.  Each lesson is 30 or 45 minutes long, and be scheduled weekly, monthly, or “as needed”.

My friend Gail has over 25 years experience teaching keys online. (learn more)

Guitar

If your kid loves music and you wish you could be part of it with them, I’ve designed this program specifically to teach YOU the basics and then teach YOU how to teach them.

You’ll get to experience the growth of learning a brand new art with your child and be involved in every step of their passion.

Teach Your Kid Guitar is an 8 Phase beginning guitar co-learning course, teaching you the basics of guitar so you can become the music teacher
for your child and enjoy something they love together.

My friend Bri is actually one of my son’s former classmates and is truly “sunshine in human form”. Her online Guitar Lessons are fantastic! (learn more)

15 Minute Music Lessons for Elementary Students

You will find fifteen 15-Minute Music Lessons especially suited for elementary-aged students. Everything you need is included right in the course:

  • Lessons to read
  • Videos to watch
  • Printables
  • Online quizzes
  • Sometimes links to other sites to enrich your learning on the subject.

You can complete each lesson in 15 minutes, but more material is included if you’d like to expand the time or the days on a particular lesson. (Details)

My friend Gena has all sorts of Music Lessons for our kids! (Learn more)

6 Benefits of Music
  • Music helps develop language, literacy and communications skills.
  • Music enhances physical development.
  • Music helps develop cognitive skills.
  • Music enhances individual development.
  • Music’s form and structure can bring order and security.
  • Music encourages early brain development.

Related: 6 Benefits of Music by The Asian Parent

Whether they play an instrument or simply listen to music for their own enjoyment, it can have a profound impact on your child’s life. While your child will benefit from it in many different ways, the sheer happiness they might get from it is reason enough to introduce it to them at a young age.

Becky, Kid World Citizen

The post Music Lessons for Children appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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Anyone else looking for car ride games for your kids to play?

I always hated going on long car rides. Maybe it’s because I never went far with my family growing up, maybe because I have always preferred being at home. It’s doesn’t matter anymore.

I married a man born to be on the road.

If the weekend doesn’t include an adventure of some kind, it’s not a successful weekend anymore. He grew up in a convertible going on 8 hour drives just to visit grandma. His dad would buy him a root beer float, blast the heat, tuck him in blankets and drive with the top down all the way from Chicago to Iowa.

I am freezing just thinking about it.

For some, going on a long car ride awakens feelings of nostalgia and joy. For others, panic and anxiety rise to the top. If you have a car full of kids, you might be googling “how to install a sound proof limo style window” in preparation for your next big trip.

Don’t worry. There are ways to help you and your kids enjoy the same car ride at the same time!

BINGO!

You just can’t beat

If you have younger kids and want to set your road trip up for success, I highly recommend you plan ahead and make a few BINGO games!

Different ways to play Bingo on a road trip:
  1. Find one BONGO on your card (across, up and down, or diagonal).
  2. Find X number of Bingos on your card (find 2 Bingos, or 3…).
  3. Find all objects on the Bingo card, to get a blackout.
  4. Set a time limit and see who gets the most in that time. The time could be your destination or shorter spurts to hold their attention.
  5. Play with multiple cards at the same time, in any of the ways above.
  6. For younger kids, cut just one strip of the Bingo card to find (this makes it easier to focus on just a few objects instead of an entire board).
  7. For adults, find exactly what’s on the photo of the Bingo card (e.g., if it’s a van, find the correct colored van. If it’s glasses, find the glasses on a woman. Be very particular). One time, we had to find a lime green Ferrari on a trip. Of course, we didn’t see one… But MONTHS later when we did, the kids shouted “LIME GREEN! LIME GREEN!!”
Busy Bags!

A busy bag to me is something that can be contained and stored away but brought out to play with and put back (reusable). It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “bag.”

Secondly, what makes these best for road trips?

These busy bag ideas are great for road trips because they don’t have a million little pieces that the kids are going to constantly be dropping and not being able to continue on with their play until you have a chance to find the lost piece.

Challenges!

Sing! Who knows the most words to a song?

Name that tune! Begin humming a song and see how far you can get before other riders can name that tune!

Two truths and a lie. Each person shares three statements, two of which are true and one of which is false. Everyone else has to guess which is the lie.

Build a story. Each person contributes one sentence at a time to a story.

Virtual cooking – who can think up the most delicious sounding recipe / meal? Warning: Do not play on an empty stomach.

Pictionary. Use a dry erase marker on the window! Obviously the driver is out:).

Podcasts!

Brains On!

Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world. Their mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity, and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone. Listen Here

Story Pirates

Story Pirates is a group of world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians who adapt stories written by kids into sketch comedy and musical theater. Visit www.storypirates.com for more! Listen Here

Story Time

Do your children like listening to a story? Story Time has lots of great stories for everyone. Each story is usually less than 20 minutes long, hopefully just long enough to keep your toddler, preschoolers, and little ones engaged. Story Time is a free fortnightly audiobook podcast for children ages 2-13, perfect to turn at bedtime or during a ride in the car. Listen Here

With a little premeditative planning, you can create fun and memories for you and your kids during those long rides. Just sprinkle the trip with activities, conversations, and creative snacks. Oh, and maybe a rootbeer float.

Surprises!

Having a few surprises available is worth more than you can imagine on a long car ride. 

You can easily make some tags that say “Do not open until we reach _______”.  

A fun idea is setting a timer for when everyone gets a surprise… and you can add time to the timer for whining or misbehavior!  Heck, with a phone, you can set three different alarms.  And the surprises can be just itty-bitties, like a favorite treat, a dollar-store prize, a coloring book (or print a few pages!), activity pages, music, or maybe even a favorite toy from home.

Think ahead and stash little things away all year round (deals!) that would be good for a trip.

Food Shopping Challenge

To give the kids a chance to use the bathroom and restock your snacks and coolers, stop at a grocery store. Assign a “budget” for that stop and see what kind of creative picnic baskets the kids can assemble!

Picture Perfect!

Take pictures. Lots of pictures. And after the trip, assemble a keepsake book of your adventure. You can also have special pages for the ugliest picture, weirdest “accidental” picture, most awe-inspiring, etc.

Highlights from A Better Way to Homeschool

Amazing Handwriting Worksheets! Copywork that makes a difference!

Charlotte Mason Party! And all the homeschool moms shout, “YAY!!”

High School Electives for Homeschoolers

The post Road Trip: Car Ride Games and Activities for Kids appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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I walked into the bathroom and saw the empty toilet paper roll.

The kitchen’s trash can is overflowing and there’s an empty milk jug in the refrigerator next to an unsealed bag of cheese that now is as hard as a rock.

You would think we don’t teach basic chores and life skills in our homes, but I know you battle against these same issues in your home too. Kids need a lot of practice to allow common sense and practical skills to become second nature.

As a homeschool mom, you may find that finding time to teach these life skills gets squeezed out by academic pressures, like learning to write beautifully.

Boy, do I have good news for you!

Amazing Handwriting Worksheets to the Rescue

Combining important life skills with menial tasks, like penmanship practice is perfection!

These Amazing Handwriting Worksheets do just that for you and your kids.

Each category is filled with quotes, instructions, or quick tips to help build your child’s life skills a little at a time. Use the pages for handwriting practice, writing prompts, or simply conversation starters.

Finally!
Handwriting worksheets that combine common sense and penmanship!

“When I reach the end of the roll of toilet paper, I hereby swear to replace the roll with a NEW roll of toilet paper. I also promise to throw the empty cardboard tube into the trash can.”

Yes, our kids need to have legible handwriting. Beautiful penmanship is almost a lost art form these days. There’s even a joke going around saying if we simply switch to cursive and cut off wifi we could cripple a whole generation. LOL.

But we want our kid to do more than write beautifully. Why not use handwriting practice as a springboard into teaching life skills about cleaning, car care, first aid and more.

Handwriting prompts can also be used as simple conversation starters. Did you know that “when a girl asks if you’re tired, it’s usually because she wants to talk?”

Handwriting practice can also be an excellent way to introduce or reenforce common sense activities such as replacing the toilet paper roll, throwing away the empty milk jug, or feeding the dog.

Let’s use this simple academic skill to reinforce excellent behavior and habits. You can download your copy here.

The post Amazing Handwriting Worksheets Teach Life Skills appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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I looked at my 20 year old and asked, “Hey! Can you braid my hair really fast?”

The color drained out of his face and he fumbled like someone who is fumbling. (creative, huh?)

We were getting ready to go on a hike and I decided to throw him off balance a bit and asked him to braid my waist length hair.

oh, he tried. He had no idea how to part the hair, how hard to tug, or what to do.

I thought it was funny. But then it hit me.

I haven’t fully prepared him to be a great hands-on dad someday… I better get busy.

I announced to the boys, “This summer I will begin preparing you for daughters, granddaughters and nieces. You will learn to…”

  • Shampoo & condition hair (properly rinse)
  • Use detangler (for knotted hair or in between)
  • What kind of comb to use
  • Comb out wet hair
  • Create a straight part
  • Brush hair without tears
  • Single ponytail- centered in back of head; not too tight, but tight enough to stay
  • Double ponytails; even
  • Simple bun
  • Single braid

    They panicked a bit. –> Listen in to my plan here.

    Related: Check list of skills future dads will be blessed to have in their back pocket

    Today, I kicked off their training by having them play “rock, paper, scissors”. My youngest son “WON” the ability to comb out my soaking wet hair. He was such a good sport.

    We talked about combing from the bottom of the hair, wide toothed combs, conditioner, and detangler. Then I taught him how to part hair and tuck it behind ears for air drying.
Walking them down the aisle, means something different for boys

Color drained from my teenaged son’s face as I stopped in front of the feminine products, “This will be NOT BE THE ONLY the time we stop to talk about these products in the store…”

I’ve never seen kids move so fast out of an aisle at the grocery store.

Mom, preparing boys to be future husbands includes teaching them how to walk confidently down “that aisle”.

It wasn’t until my youngest son hit 13 that I realized I had neglected talking about girls hygiene, haircare, and feminine products. I quickly apologized and am dedicating the summer to get the four boys in the house “up to speed”, because it’s my job to help them understand these things.

They’re not all clueless.

When I told my 17-year old, “I’m gonna be taking you to the store to learn about what your future bride will need for her period,” he interrupted…

CHOCOLATE

Then he added, “Although I think it’s super important to know if she’s a dark-chocolate, semi-chocolate, or milk chocolate woman.”

It’s easy to get so caught up in the daily tasks of life:
  • Cleaning up your room
  • Schoolwork
  • Being kind to siblings
  • learning to drive

We should also include those subtle and delicate subjects that equip our sons for their future girls. But make it as fun as possible along the way.

PROTIP: When you take your sons to the tampon and pad aisle, talk about it before you get there and let them know each lesson will last less than 30 seconds.

Pause, point, instruct, then let them bolt. Oh, and buy them a donut. These kinds of lessons deserve a sweet reward after they endure with as much dignity as they can muster.

More about Sons

The post Training Up Sons to Be GREAT Dads and Husbands in the FUTURE appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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Inside: How to trim the excess weight from your homeschool curriculum. {Plus-Free printable cheatsheet} Exactly 16 days ago I weighed 11 pounds more than I do today.

I happened to see a picture of me and my family and I could not believe how much heavier I had become since settling in the mountains. I took immediate note and changed my ways. As I weighed in yesterday I had broken through a barrier that had been alluding me for a few years. I am well on my way to my target goal. Just 18 more pounds to go.

Weight a Second (pun intended). You thought this was a homeschooling article?
Well, it is.

When I saw that I had gained about 30 unwanted pounds, I stopped immediately and made effective changes.

  • I went back to the basics.
  • I reapplied healthy eating habits.
  • I began planning my entire “food day” before I finished my first cup of coffee; including the dessert, I knew I would not want to deny at the end of my day.
So what does any of this have to do with homeschooling?

Quite a bit.
As the years go by I tend to glean advice and curriculum from others around me. I have never believed that I know it all, in fact, I am always looking at what others are doing and picking the best practices to add into our homeschooling life. If I am not careful, the clear, simple, and effective way that I teach my children becomes burdened and blurred as I try to include whatever works well for “Susie” next door.

This is homeschool weight gain.

photo by Lisa Fotios

It can be subtle, and like those 30 pounds that snuck onto my body, I might not even realize I have put on this homeschool bulge right away.

The good news is that the homeschool weight can come off just as easily as my extra weight is coming off for me.

3 Steps for Shedding Unwanted Homeschooling Weight

1.Take an honest look at the work you are having your children complete each day and week.

  • Have you picked up a variety of curriculum choices and worksheets that have morphed into busy work?
  • Do you find yourself rushing your children through one assignment simply so you can move on to the next subject?

2. Decide to go back to the basics.

  • Focus on your Faith, Math, English, History, and Science.
  • Do more reading, discussing, and exploring than filling in the blanks on worksheets.

3.Choose an engaging project.

  • Choose an all-encompassing project that combines multiple subjects (and grades) and planning it out at a pace that allows you to move forward, but not rush.
Teach Your children purposefully.
Do not allow someone else’s agenda to sneak into your lives.
Plan each day out with the basics as you enjoy your morning coffee.
You will find you can shed those unwanted pounds if you stick to your plan!
PS- Always leave room for dessert!

Preview of the Heart of Homeschooling God’s Way Master Class.

We need to STOP measuring success by grades, achievements, awards, and worksheets.

Enroll in the sneak peek class here.


The post How to Trim the Fat out of Your Homeschool Lessons appeared first on A Better Way to Homeschool.

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Like chocolate and vanilla ice cream; teenagers and electives are meant for one another!

What better way to take the reins of their learning, than to allow our teenagers to have a little bit of creative control over their future and learning.

High School Electives for Homeschoolers - YouTube
What is an elective?

Homeschool electives are homeschool high school courses the help supplement core subjects or are geared to your child’s interest. Electives are a fantastic ways to teach your teen life skills.

Credit

When determining credit, 120 hours is the minimum necessary to earn one credit, while 60 hours would be adequate to earn ½ credit.

Can you create your own? Of course!!

You would be wise to write a course description giving details of the course’s content. The HSLDA does a great job explaining this!

Why electives are amazing

Electives are a beautiful way to allow your kids the opportunity to try on and master skills that will help them step toward their future.

Entrepreneurial Electives: Why not make a little money along the way!! Masterclasses: So many to choose from!!

    Have a recommendation for an elective? Comment below!


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