Second, Third, Hundredth thoughts….

Are you having second thoughts about homeschooling (or third, or even rethinking it for the hundredth time!)? I recently had a lesson in “how we homeschool” really sink in. It was a Karate lesson of all things. Who knew Karate could help me homeschool!

Homeschooling is a BIG decision.

I don’t have to say that twice! In fact, all the choices about your child’s education can be scary: homeschool, public school, private school, charter school… sports, music, art. 

The issue we all face is fear. Even as a classroom teacher, I did not want to fail my students. I wanted to provide them with the BEST education possible. Having second thoughts every day, week, month, or year is natural. It’s how we respond to those thoughts that matter. 

A Karate Lesson

I was recently watching an episode of Cobra Kai, it’s the modern day Karate Kid. Same actors and everything. It’s not, shall I say:  Golden Globe award winning drama, but I honestly enjoy it. I feel it has quite a few gems of wisdom if you listen. 

The latest gem of wisdom was when Daniel was mentoring his daughter. Events had led to her having quite a bit of  fear surrounding Karate. Daniel has the reputation around town of being the “Champion” for defeating Johnny back in the 1980s. His daughter, however, doesn’t know the whole truth.

 A flashback scene from the movie comes on and the viewer is shown the wise sensei  Mr. Miyagi. Daniel is on the mat, hurt and very afraid. He wants to give up. In fact he tells his sensei: “I’m afraid, I’m done”. 

Mr. Miyagi tells young Daniel in his Japanese accent and broken English: “It is ok to lose to opponent. It is not ok to lose to fear.”

This is true for us as homeschoolers….and even as classroom teachers! 

When we have doubts about the success of what we are doing for the second, third or hundredth time, we are allowing fear (ACTUALLY COMPARISON!) to let us “lose”. 

Everyone learns different

It doesn’t matter who learns to read first, or what level math the neighbor kid is in. It doesn’t matter which teacher’s students have “the test scores”. The only thing that matters are our relationships with our learners! Kids must come first. Mr. Miyagi gave Daniel permission to lose, but he absolutely did not give Daniel permission to GIVE UP!

So when you are feeling the overwhelm of being Mom AND teacher…. I give you permission to LOSE! Go ahead and throw in the towel! But ABSOLUTELY DO NOT GIVE UP!

Gems from Former Students

Facebook allows me to keep my RELATIONSHIPS alive with my former students. I watch them thrive in their chosen career paths, from Mother and Fatherhood to Military, Real Estate, hair dressers (they probably have a fancy name!) and even a few following in my footsteps have become teachers! I am proud beyond belief of each and every one of my students as if they were my children.

It pains me to see them struggling now as teachers with online learning and “connecting” with their learners – knowing if they are making a difference. Recently one of my precious students shared a story on her Facebook page about HER class. For a surprise for her birthday they ALL made signs and ALL turned on their cameras! This was NOT AN ACADEMIC SUCCES – but it was a HUMAN success, and a testament that RELATIONSHIPS, not academics matter. That beautiful teacher in our technology filled world said she learned that from me! WHAT A TREASURE! (It was the first time she had even seen some of their faces! Imagine that!)

Don’t give up! Before you know it, you will get camera’s turned on, or kids making mud pies in the back yard for free choice learning!

It’s Ok to take a break

Everything we do daily as homeschoolers is learning, I have always stood by that gem of truth. My kids are learning DIFFERENT things than their grade level schooled equivalents, but they are LEARNING. And when push comes to shove,  they may not have gotten into the top colleges (BUT HOMESCHOOLERS DO!), they are THRIVING in college (and one as a senior in high school).

When you want to lay down on that mat because your opponent (fear) has kicked and beaten you, remember Mr. Miyagi’s wise words.   “It is ok to lose to opponent. It is not ok to lose to fear.”

Take a break from the day to day anxiety causing rig-a-ma-role. Whip out some fun spirit lifting activities and experience the joy of connecting with your children. Don’t be afraid to tell your students about the REAL YOU – like your upcoming birthday!

Homeschool Holiday has activities so you can be intentional with the time you spend with the children you teach. Everything you need for FAMILY FUN is ready to go. You can select from a holiday that correlates with the day, week or month you are working in, or an anytime activity! Head over to our CALENDAR OF HOLIDAYS or your favorite TEACHER MARKETPLACE and pick something to help you celebrate the most random holiday you can find!

 In both my home and my classroom I took pride in shelving the formal curriculum and making relationships and experiences the priority. That’s how we homeschool at the Happy Hive. 

If you would like to reach out to a listening ear – feel free to email me and we will slay that dragon of fear together.

If you are not already a member of the Happy Hive Homeschooling Curriculum Club, signing up is easy, FREE, and you’ll be downloading freebies in under 5 minutes ! I just need your name and email address.

As a member of the club you will receive 1 – 2 newsletters each month with educational tips and the latest Curriculum Club Freebie. You have access to all PAST freebies from 2020 as well. Fell free to check out our NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES.

Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!

We hope you enjoy celebrating with us today and will consider subscribing to our website along the left menu so you won’t miss a post!

Happy Hive Homeschooling

Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families. . . because there is always something to celebrate!

Homeschool Holiday signature image shows an image of Mrs. Crabtree and the Text: Christy "Mrs. Crabtree" Homeschool Holiday, Because there is always something to celebrate

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform for holiday based experiences.

Image contains the Amped Up Learning Marketplace logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Amped up Learning marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Image contains the Teachers Pay Teachers logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Let’s Connect

Feel Free to Pin this Post for Later!

Helping Learners Do Hard Things

This article first appeared in the Homeschool Holiday January 2021 Newsletter. If you are not receiving the Newsletter, you are not a member of our Curriculum Club! It’s easy to sign up and it’s FREE.

You get an Exclusive Freebie each month, previews of upcoming holidays and coordinating products, coupons and MORE! Just click the image below to sign up!

Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!

As a private school classroom teacher…

As a classroom teacher I’m used to parents and students “trusting” that I am the “expert” and they should do the work outlined – somewhat because “I said so”. But more importantly because I have always put a lot of thought, effort and research into my lessons and assignments and have never been one to just give students busy work. My goals have always been to help them develop as learners, the same as I would my own children. Ultimately I hope to inspire learning among those I teach through the relationship we develop, and I recognize that everyone learns differently. This didn’t always happen because kids are kids and work didn’t always get done. 

Missing work dilemma

When work wasn’t completed in the classroom, it was added to a packet of missing work and students were kept in at recess and lunch to finish. If  the work really got backlogged it was sent home over the weekend, but it absolutely got done, because just “not doing it” wasn’t an option. Our school didn’t give zeros, instead we wanted the students to have the knowledge they needed to build a proper educational foundation, and build grade level by grade level with as few gaps as possible. I found that when work wasn’t finished in the classroom it was due to a lack of interest in a subject, or because a student struggled in that area. One on one attention, when at all possible was an AWESOME solution to this chronic problem. I spent many recesses with students and work packets! I also worked HARD to make my lessons as appealing and engaging as possible to AVOID this problem in the first place. 

The homeschooling difference

In Homeschooling there are no missing assignments, because I simply don’t move on until the assignments are complete. Homeschooling “incompletes”  still exist in theory and are for similar reasons because not every assignment is What’s the Weather?  or Mapping Major League baseball teams

Everyone DOES learn differently and that is so very important to recognize. Some learners thrive when given a challenge, and others feel overwhelmed before even trying. The thing is, even when we choose homeschooling to provide our children with an education unlike that of traditional school, that doesn’t always mean avoiding hard things. The desire to avoid work happens even in the best of homes and classrooms! 

I don’t have a magic wand (because if I did it would be doing the laundry) but I do have some suggestions. 

Outlining expectations

Clear expectations and routine are essential in any learning environment. It can be as simple as:

 From time A to Time B is learning time… you may choose from these 3 activities. 

Or it can be, Math is at 8 am, Science is at 8:30 am… Math is always done in pencil on graph paper, with one digit in a square. In Science, You are expected to read then draw a picture of what you read. Your picture must be in color.  

It is important the expectations are age / ability appropriate. Can your Kindergartener copy their own math problems? My son had vision issues that made his writing HUGE, one digit was never going in one traditional graph paper box. We made special “graph” paper for his work. 

When you are sure your routine and expectations are appropriate, keep encouraging what I call “best work”. Because everyone learns differently, best work looks very different among learners as well. Encourage communication. Why is or isn’t this particular item “best work” – does it need to be re-done? Why or why not? You can read more about
BEST WORK HERE
and Giving Grades HERE

Your learner should be helping to make the  decisions about routine and best work. This helps avoid the “teacher/ parent” being the authority as I was in the classroom. It’s even ok for your learner to NOT enjoy every assignment… unfortunately it still needs to get done. 

Why it matters

Would your boss (Or a future boss for your child)  let you off the hook if you didn’t want to do “IT” – whatever “IT” might be? Ultimately we are educating our children to enter into the world, our lessons and strategies need to match that in a loving, supportive manner. So when a not so desirable assignment comes along, rely on those routines, expectations and philosophies of “best work” giving your learner the confidence to stick with it, even when it is difficult, or something they don’t want to do! 

Because I’ll tell you what… I don’t WANT to do the laundry…but 1.) can’t afford to always buy new clothes every day and 2.) No one wants option 2 :-)! 

To help facilitate an environment in which learners don’t avoid hard things here are a few tips:

  • It’s ok to help, just make sure your child is doing MORE work than you are. Don’t let them rely on you for things you know they can do! Encourage them by saying, “I saw you  do that just last week, I’ll sit with you, but how about you give it a try first.”
  • Use language that encourages mistake making as the key to learning. Celebrate mistakes! Say things like, “I love how you created your own unique animal when  (insert mistake here). 
  • When emotions run high, take a break. There is no learning going on when anyone is upset, but go back to the task when things calm down or learners will quickly learn how to get out of the “hard, frustrating” stuff. This may be the PERFECT opportunity to whip out a random Homeschool Holiday activity. They help build relationships and provide educational value! It doesn’t HAVE to be Find a Rainbow Day to study rainbows! Just go for it! 

Educating little humans isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. Take some time to pause and celebrate! Get out in nature, read together, and ultimately pat yourself on the back you ARE doing a GREAT job!

If you enjoyed this article – feel free to check out our other great HOW WE HOMESCHOOL at the HAPPY HIVE as well as the NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES.

We hope you enjoy celebrating with us today and will consider subscribing to our website along the left menu so you won’t miss a post!

Be sure to check out the other AWESOME Holidays by using our CALENDAR OF HOLIDAYS page! There is even a downloadable calendar for you with all available Homeschool Holiday Curriculum!

Happy Hive Homeschooling

Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families. . . because there is always something to celebrate!

Homeschool Holiday signature image shows an image of Mrs. Crabtree and the Text: Christy "Mrs. Crabtree" Homeschool Holiday, Because there is always something to celebrate

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform for holiday based experiences.

Image contains the Amped Up Learning Marketplace logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Amped up Learning marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Image contains the Teachers Pay Teachers logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Let’s Connect

The Edible Christmas Tree

Well… ready or not – here it comes…. Christmas is just 2 short days away. I hope your last minute to do list is manageable, or even dare I say it:

Finished.

My favorite tradition

This time of year is rich with traditions. The things we do every year that bring us comfort and joy. From the time we put up the tree, until the time we take it down, traditions surround us.

Although it is late in the season, I want to share with you my favorite holiday tradition: The edible Christmas tree.

You can’t eat the tree itself, but rather the ornaments, or most of them. This is a tradition passed down to me from my Mother, and I to my children. (and totally NOT rushing things – I hope to my grandchildren!)

Back in the late 1960s, before I was even born my mother had a dilemma each Christmas. The glass ornaments kept getting knocked off the tree and getting broken by her young son and two rambunctious beagles. The beagles also liked to nibble on the tinsel she patiently hung carefully on the tree each year.

Her solution: The Edible Tree. Growing up, just about everything on our tree was kid and pet safe. Cookies, Candy, popcorn, etc.

My first Christmas – and the tinsel covered tree. It’s hard to discern if there are child safe treats on the tree yet.

Elements to include on an Edible Tree

Just like other households, it was our job to help decorate the Christmas tree. As it was age appropriate we strung popcorn, decorated the cookies, hung the candy canes, etc. The kids in the neighborhood LOVED to come to our house because they always got to pick a treat from our tree. We were “famous!”

This Christmas tree is completely Kid Friendly! I will be 3 years old in the “new year”. One of my favorite treats form the way back years was the “ice cream cone”. You can see if if you look closely. What I wouldn’t give for a quick call to heaven to find out how those were made!

The cookies were not just ordinary cookies, they were what are called sugar ornamental cookies. I wish I knew where my mom got the recipe originally, but whenever I pass it along, I give her all the credit. I haven’t come across *that* many people in my life, but I have never met another family (or even heard of one) who has used cookies to decorate their tree, thus having an edible tree. I’m sure they are out there. I celebrate with you!

Even in my pre – teen, teen years the tree continued. I looked forward to painting the “sugar ornamental” cookies with my mom and brothers! In this picture I can even see chocolate Santas hanging!

A little How – to for the Cookies

The cookies were made from a dough my mom made the day before and refrigerated overnight. It was then rolled and cut with the “old fashioned” cookie cutters that left a design embossed into the cookie. This helped us have an idea of what to paint. Some of the shapes, were just that – shapes in which we could be creative. Everyone knows how to paint a Christmas Tree, right?

Sample of cookie cutters we have used

Really any cookie cutters will do if this is an activity you would like to try with your kids… and HONESTLY cookie painting does not need to be limited to Christmas. It’s a great activity ANYTIME!

Our first cookie tree in the works Christmas 2005. My children are 9 months (not pictured, 2 and 3 years old. Their painting party is complete with their Aunt and cousins. My mom is mixing the “cookie paint” and giving the little artists her best advice!

Over the years it has been a comfort to honor my Mother, who lost her battle to cancer of the esophagus in 2007, by passing along the cookie recipe, and the excitement of painting and hanging cookies on our tree.

During winter break from school, friends and cousins are invited to Mrs. Crabtree’s Cookie Camp. We paint cookies, drink hot chocolate and have a good time. Each child gets to hang one of their cookies on our tree, and take the rest home to their family.

Not every year is a cookie tree. We also have the proverbial “kid – made – ornament tree” and once every blue moon Christmas I get what I call my “Martha Stewart” tree. The one that is perfectly color coordinated and the ornaments are hung * just so*. But most of the trees are cookie trees.

This year I have a 16, 18 and 19 year old… we have been “hanging out at home” due to the pandemic predicament, so it seemed fitting that this would be a Cookie Tree year! Staying connected to the traditions that bring us comfort and joy means more this year than ever before. There were no cousins or friends over, just simple, quiet painting.

Thanks for being part of the hive!

I hope regardless of the length of your to do list, you ARE taking time for the family traditions, big and small. Thank you for making Happy Hive Homeschooling and Homeschool Holiday Curriculum part of what’s important to you. We love having you here!

Download your copy of my Mom’s *Famous* Cookie recipe by clicking on the image below. It’s FREE, with no obligation!

If you would like to would like to become a member of the Happy Hive Homeschooling Curriculum Club. Signing up is easy, FREE, and you’ll be a member in under 5 minutes flat.  I just need your Name and email address. Each month you will receive 1 – 2 newsletters with educational tips and the latest Curriculum Club Freebie. You have access to all PAST freebies from 2020 as well.

Just click the image below to sign up!

Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!

We hope you enjoy celebrating with us today and will consider subscribing to our website along the left menu so you won’t miss a post!

Happy Hive Homeschooling – Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families. . . because there is always something to celebrate!

Homeschool Holiday signature image shows an image of Mrs. Crabtree and the Text: Christy "Mrs. Crabtree" Homeschool Holiday, Because there is always something to celebrate

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform for holiday based experiences.

Image contains the Amped Up Learning Marketplace logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Amped up Learning marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Image contains the Teachers Pay Teachers logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Let’s Connect

Feel Free to Pin this Post for Later!

Wa-Shokuiku -Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese!

Cooking with my kids is a favorite activity. When they were younger, it was designed to teach them life skills. Now that they are all older, it gives us the opportunity to talk about life! The kitchen truly is the heart of the home. If you have been following my blog, you know we have been fairly faithful in our Saturday night family time. It’s simple enough to bond over food and games, and once a month a movie night. 

This month we incorporated  the lessons from:  Wa-Shokuiku – Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese! This is a Japanese inspired food and overall nutrition program created by Table For Two , A non profit that promotes healthy eating and brings  awareness to  critical health issues. Wa-Shokuiku – Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese is an online course  designed for both the homeschool family and parents who want to supplement their child’s education, or provide cultural experiences. 

It is a self- paced course with 6 lessons. Each of these 6 lessons has 10 parts that focus on nutrition, Japanese manners, vocabulary, Japanese culture and customs.

There are short engaging videos as well as the opportunity for participants to interact with each other (or course instructors)  through discussion, photo uploads and short quizzes. The lessons take an average of 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the ages of your children, and if you decide to fully participate in the cooking, questions and photo uploads. 

Course creators suggest middle and high school students are ideal for the course, however, as a parent with over 15 years of homeschooling under her belt, I’m confident grades 3 and up can handle the material when it is completed as intended, as a family. This is not a sit – your –  kid –  down and let THEM do the work course – especially for the younger grades. 

Each recipe addresses food allergies, and course creators / instructors are available via email to offer suggestions and substitutions when possible. Having a child with allergies does not exclude you from this wonderful opportunity. In fact, you can pick and choose which recipes to make. Most of the ingredients are available at your local grocery store or easy to order online. 

The 6 lessons are as follows: 

Lesson 1: Rice – Onigiri (Japanese rice balls)

 Lesson 2: Food from the Sea – Salmon teriyaki / Shrimp, Avocado, Cucumber Sushi roll / Wakame (seaweed) salad

 Lesson 3: Soy – Zunda (edamame sweets), Inarizushi / Miso soup

 Lesson 4: B-kyu Gourmet Popular Japanese Food  (These are the Japanese everyday favorites – perhaps how American’s think of Pizza, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.) – Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes) / Ramen

 Lesson 5: Sweets – Dorayaki (sweet-filled pancakes) / Anmitsu (Japanese classic dessert with fresh fruit, mochi and agar agar jelly)

  Lesson 6:  Bento – Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet / Octopus Shaped hot dog (cute!), plus other delicious bento box elements

I have to say navigating the lessons was easy and fun. I completed them with my Son, who is a  High School Senior as well as my 2 college age daughters. One lesson was completed with our 6th grade neighbor so I could adequately provide a fair review – she LOVED IT and participated more fully than my children, if I’m being honest! 

We  learned that Ramen is one of the most recognizable Japanese foods. The course discusses the fact that the level of salt in ramen is not healthy, and it is important to “Keep your eyes on it” – we should always watch what we eat. Making “homemade” ramen was a hit for Family Fun night. 

The 6 Lesson online course is normally $90.00 but is currently on sale for home learning for $45.00. You must also purchase any foods you decide to cook to get the complete course experience. I highly recommend the complete experience found at:

https://www.wa-shokuiku.org/online-course

Enter the coupon code < GAMBARO > to get 50% off! 

You have a full year (12 months) to navigate all 6 lessons. This is more than adequate. Even for working / homeschooling families.

I hope you will visit https://www.wa-shokuiku.org/online-course and register your family for this wonderful opportunity today. 

*Disclosure regarding the “EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT REVIEW” series: Homeschool Holiday/ Happy Hive Homeschooling does not accept any payment for reviewing products/online courses from other Teacher Authors or programs. I do receive the product being reviewed or the course at no charge, or at a discounted price, and provide my HONEST, educated opinion about how the product or course can be used with my target audience: Educators in all their forms: Parents, Homeschoolers and Teachers. 

Happy Hive Homeschooling – Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families because there is always something to celebrate!

Homeschool Holiday signature image shows an image of Mrs. Crabtree and the Text: Christy "Mrs. Crabtree" Homeschool Holiday, Because there is always something to celebrate

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform for holiday based experiences.

Image contains the Amped Up Learning Marketplace logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Amped up Learning marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Image contains the Teachers Pay Teachers logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Curriculum Club Member Newsletter

Sign up to receive our Tips and Tricks Newsletter with the link to an Exclusive Freebie each month, previews of upcoming holidays and coordinating products, coupons and MORE! Just click the image below to sign up!

Image Link to sign up for the Happy Hive Curriculum Club
Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!

Let’s Connect

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Facebook-2-1024x1024.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Pinterest-1-1024x1024.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Instagram-2-1024x1024.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is You-Tube-1024x1024.jpg

Feel Free to Pin this Post for Later!

Homeschooling through the Holidays

If my  estimation is correct right about now you are sitting in one of 2 positions: Something isn’t working and you need to make a change OR things are going splendidly and you are ready to “add something new” into the mix. 


A word of caution I give to all my homeschool clients as well as to the teachers I have mentored over the years – DON’T make any changes after Halloween  until you get to January… just let the “holiday season” ebb and flow with what you are already doing. 

If something is failing miserably and you and one of your children’s relationships are suffering, by all means, stop the activity – but do not feel obligated to replace it with something else. Let the holidays do that naturally. You are going to get busy with shopping (even if it is online), meal prep, housekeeping and decorating. These activities should fill in your gaps naturally and bring you peace and joy. Go ahead and let the holidays “BE” school – Plan a fun holiday themed activity for each day like a holiday advent calendar.


(This easy advent /countdown calendar is available in my ETSY SHOP)


One of our favorite traditions is to listen to the old radio show called : The Cinnamon Bear. There are 26 episodes  one each day from Thanksgiving until Christmas – each episode is roughly 15  minutes and perfect for the beginning, middle or end of your day. I even used it in my classroom and “doubled up” as needed to make up for weekends and when we were on break. Classrooms don’t have all 26 days consecutively, so I have also included a master link so you can simply do your own calculations for how many to use each day to get you to your winter break.
 

Just listening is plenty activity enough, but as this month’s Curriculum Club Freebie I have A calendar of episodes and 5 Free coloring pages for you to coordinate with the Cinnamon Bear Radio Program.

Your learners can listen and color at the same time. It is also very easy to discuss character traits, kindness and make predictions after each episode if you are in need of more “academic” connections for a classroom setting. Use the backside of the coloring sheets for such writing activities.  

You can also simply make pies and measure ingredients, write a letter to Santa, or family members… paper garlands, cookies, and studying reindeer (caribou) are all great supplements to this busy time. When January arrives… batten down the hatches again, and go ahead and make those changes, add that new art lesson, or math drill to the mix…but in the meantime, cuddle up on the couch and drink some hot cocoa and see if the Cinnamon Bear is able to help Jimmy and Judy find their silver star! 

If you would like to purchase the full set of 40 Coloring pages, they are available for only $2.00 in both My Amped Up Learning and Teachers Pay Teachers Stores!

Happy Hive Homeschooling – Providing experiences for homeschoolers, classroom teachers and families because there is always something to celebrate!

Homeschool Holiday signature image shows an image of Mrs. Crabtree and the Text: Christy "Mrs. Crabtree" Homeschool Holiday, Because there is always something to celebrate

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform for holiday based experiences.

Image contains the Amped Up Learning Marketplace logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Amped up Learning marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Image contains the Teachers Pay Teachers logo. Click the image to visit the Homeschool Holiday store within the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Curriculum Club Member Newsletter

Sign up to receive our Tips and Tricks Newsletter with the link to an Exclusive Freebie each month, previews of upcoming holidays and coordinating products, coupons and MORE! Just click the image below to sign up!

Image Link to sign up for the Happy Hive Curriculum Club
Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!

Let’s Connect

Feel Free to Pin this Post for Later!

Getting it All Done

This article first appeared in the Homeschool Holiday October Newsletter. If you are not receiving the Newsletter, you are not a member of our Curriculum Club! It’s easy to sign up and it’s FREE.

You get an Exclusive Freebie each month, previews of upcoming holidays and coordinating products, coupons and MORE! Just click the image below to sign up!

Click Image to Sign up for the Curriculum Club – FREE!


A Small reunion of former 4th Grade students.

These wonderful well adapted adults survived my early un credentialed years  filled with nick names and “no talking” days! 

I tell everyone who will listen what an awesome teacher I am. Seriously – I am over the top proud to mold little minds. I deeply believe I am following God’s Will in my life and I’m letting my light shine. I will homeschool anyone’s child -and have over the years. I solicit for little humans to come to my house so I can be their teacher in my awesome way. I’m not going to lie…it’s borderline boastful…. But in the same breath I will also admit my faults. (Those don’t take long ha ha!)

  Here I am with not one, but two 4th grade students that won the school spelling bee – I was the proudest teacher on campus, but freely admitted that I had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with their success! All I did was show up to the spelling bee.  

When I was deep in the throws of homeschooling we followed a bit of a routine. I thrive on structure and believe kids do too. It wasn’t strict, like math at exactly 8 am every day and I didn’t have a bell system ringing in my house, but we did have an order and routine. I still didn’t have enough time to get everything done. Social media was just in it’s beginning years and I resisted comparing myself to others, my kids WERE learning…but still I wondered if it would be enough. So I would try again tomorrow to get everything done…. 

It’s summer – but here I have crammed as many kids into my living room as possible. We are having a week long camp: “Camp Crabtree” so I can  *homeschool* my nieces, nephews  and friends’ kids.

In my classroom, I was required to follow the bell system and have a much more structured approach. For sure I would get it all done – right? (Can you hear the laughter?) 

When I needed more time for an epic science project – I scheduled it in. I honestly can’t tell you how many times one of the “special” teachers had to call my classroom because I was in the middle of teaching and forgot to send my  fourth graders to their class. I’d be embarrassed if that sort of thing embarrassed me.  I was BLESSED to have specialists to teach such classes as Art, Music, PE and computers to name a few – but I was always deep into whatever we were doing and lost track of time. 

After 15 years of classroom teaching and  handwritten as well as fancy online lesson planning – I never, even once got it all done. That’s right folks – Mrs. Awesome teacher never got it all done. Perhaps you know a secret I don’t or I’m not as Awesome as I think I am. 

Wonder Teacher – Aka Mrs. Awesome herself!

You can judge me or perhaps it makes YOU feel better about what’s going on in your home or classroom. Never finished the Math or Social Studies textbook. Never covered every 4th grade standard (or whatever grade I was teaching). I bet there was a day here and there that I accomplished the *day* as it was laid out – but I’m not sure I can prove that! I often wondered if it was even possible in 180 days to cover it “ALL”.  Every year I tried – believe me it was always going to be “this year”…but again, and again it never happened. 

Despite this fact, I still feel that I am indeed an AWESOME teacher and an even better Homeschool Mom and mentor. 

Twin Day with a former student. She was no longer in my class, but wanted to be MY twin. How cool is that!

Why? Maybe because we didn’t get it all done, but I did give my learners my LOVE, my TIME and my PASSION for the topics we were learning. 

My children (The Bugs) are in college and a High School Senior. I have students that I helped homeschool in similar situations, finishing their schooling, graduated – all right where they should be – regardless of what we “finished” in a day, week, or year.

 
Teacher of the Bride!  

Through social media I am in contact with many students that were educated in my classroom in one way or another.. Those that came early in my career when things were unpolished and very much by instinct and those that came a little later (through their parents) that had the pleasure of a teacher with more experience and were “homeschooled” in a classroom.  They all survived not finishing.

They share memories of EXPERIENCES, both when I was unpolished and when I was “experienced” and my LOVE, TIME and PASSION was enough for all of them! 

Each day as you begin, whether it’s in your home as a homeschool mom or in a classroom teacher, rather than focus on what you “need to get done” I encourage you to instead focus on sharing your LOVE, TIME and PASSION for learning and let the rest fall into place. 

Nothing needs to GET DONE ! 

May your educational Journey Be Blessed!

Mrs. Crabtree

Shaping little humans is tough business!

The job of teacher and Mom are some of the hardest on the planet. Some days I long for a job at a coffee shop where I just follow a recipe and “do my job”.

Teaching and homeschooling are not quite like that. Every child, and I mean EVERY CHILD is different. Even with over 20 years of experience, I still get thrown some pretty tough curve balls. Those balls dance, and sing before they cross home plate, and some days, I don’t think I have a chance of fielding them.

Hello – copywork. Copywork offers something for even my most diverse of learning styles. Copywork is: spelling, handwriting, grammar, reading and character education wrapped into one!

The character education part of copywork is my favorite, because I can find a meaningful quote for EACH CHILD (or student in my class) based on behaviors they are presenting.

Once my copywork routine is established, they don’t even realize I have “targeted” them in any way.

There is no wrong way to use copywork, this is simply how I used it in my home (and classroom). Feel free to adapt to your needs!

Learner reads the quote or passage aloud or the passage is read to them.

Learner traces over the passage. I imagine they are saying the words as they write them :-), I mean that’s what I do!

Learner copies the passage onto their own paper, working as neatly as they are able. For the youngest of learners tracing may be enough. This can be done daily, with the same quote, and the quote can be recited from memory at the end of the week, or it can simply be copied once.

The teacher should be mindful of age, ability and any learning challenges such as pencil grip, dysgraphia, or other possible processing differences.

Discuss the quote, what it means, who said it and how it applies to their life. – This is truly where the magic happens.

Have a child who is burning through money? “A penny saved, is a penny earned. ” Benjamin Franklin

Do you have a child who continually doesn’t reach their goals? “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

Struggling with a friend? “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” St. Thomas Aquinas

You can use ANYTHING for copywork. Even a favorite work of literature.

Because learners must take their time and COPY neatly, or be asked to re-do the work, the opportunity to praise is built in! Well selected copywork provides opportunity for discussion on CHARACTER and behaviors that make for good students as well as good humans!

If they don’t see the connection between the quotes and their life, keep trying. The connection will happen. “I’m sorry you don’t have money for a new Lego set. Remember when we did that copywork about a penny saved and earned? How do you think that might help? ”

September 28/29th (depending on the website referenced) is Confucius day. Confucius is the UTIMATE of all teachers. He represents exactly what it means to educate without discrimination. Confucius never refused a student because of his social standing. His only requirement was that his students possess a desire to learn.

Not to compare myself to someone so great, but this too is all I want in a student, that they possess a desire to learn. I hope if they have somehow lost their way I can inspire them with a little old-fashioned copywork.

In honor of his teachings, I put together this Copywork Pack of 7 different Confucius Quotes you can use in your home or classroom. There are also links / QR codes to short, informational videos about Confucius so your learners can get a sense of who he was as a person, and why the things he sad so long ago matter.

We have several different copywork items available on your preferred shopping platform. Including a set of FREE copywork for Juneteenth.

If you would like access to more FREEBIES, consider joining our CURRICULUM CLUB. You can sign  up fast and Free by clicking HERE – You will get access to our Member’s only area and our Happy Hive Newsletter once a Month!

We hope you’ll subscribe to Homeschool Holiday Blog posts so you never miss a Fun Holiday! Simply sign up along the left to receive a notification every time we post something new! – Because with Homeschool Holiday there’s always something to Celebrate!

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform to purchase more great curriculum:

Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store
Click on image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

With Love,

“Mrs. Crabtree”

Never Forget

19 years…. I was born in New Jersey. Moved to California when I was six. But if I click my heels three times and say: “There’s no place like home” I will end up in my Aunt’s kitchen in New Jersey… my summer home all my growing years.

We went to “The City” often. There is only one “City” and it is THE city. Not to mention when the plan lands in Newark the famous skyline was always my first welcome home. My last visit was 21 years ago for my honeymoon. In some ways I want to remember THAT – perhaps I will visit THE CITY again.

Until I do, the television in my mind replays the events of 19 years ago. The odd reason I turned on the television at 6 am in the first place. My inability to understand that was a commercial airliner and not something like a Cessna or a bigger version, but NOT a commercial airliner. I can remember riding to work and hearing the first tower fell. I couldn’t comprehend what that meant either. I felt 10 years old. I can’t imagine the reality of the city. I still can’t imagine their reality.

September 11, 2001 I was the worst teacher I have ever, ever been in my entire LIFE. I didn’t say ANYTHING to my students. Not a word. I waited for recess to call my Aunt to make sure all my cousins were ok. They were, – just “stranded” trying to get out of THE city.

There were people far more critically impacted that day but I was paralyzed. I taught like a robot. Went home and watched over and over still not understanding.

As I continued to work with children, I always gave them an assignment to interview an adult, to have the adult recall their memory of when they heard. The kids don’t understand, that assignment was, and always will be for the adults.

Those that lost their lives that day are just as valuable to our country as those of the Revolutionary war, Civil war, Vietnam, and every battle, war, conflict and military operation so that America remains a Free county. I have, and always will honor our Firefighter, Police and Military personnel who dedicate their lives to make our lives better, safer and free.

There are many activities out there to remember the events of September 11th. The simplest is to talk about it. Have your child call a relative and just ask them what they remember about this day 19 years ago. Call 2 or 3 and compare stories. Tell them YOUR STORY. Read books. Write letters to local police, fire and military – THANK THEM for their service.

I have no curriculum to sell you today. Just memories to share.

I hope your journey is blessed!

Mrs. Crabtree

Well Deserved Day of Rest and Relaxation

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, most Americans worked 12 hour days and seven day weeks, just to get by. Even children as young as Kindergarten age were allowed to work in unthinkable conditions in many states. They were paid a fraction of their adult counterparts. People of all ages worked under less than ideal conditions often without breaks of any kind. 

Labor Unions began to appear and eventually after strikes, rallies, protests and even riots work conditions began to change. 

It wasn’t until  June 28, 1894 that Labor Day was a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the Territories. 

Labor Day is now traditionally observed on the first Monday in September  as  tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. 

Homeschool Holiday is honored to offer Hardworking Homeschoolers, Teachers and Parents 30% off their curriculum and Family Fun needs – all with a Holiday twist! Today is the LAST DAY of Our Labor Day Sale – If you haven’t already shopped, you won’t want to miss out! Be sure to use the code TAKE5 at checkout for the extra 5% on Homeschool Holiday Curriculum!

Click the image to shop our SALE!

We hope your educational Journey is blessed!

Mrs. Crabtree

Humble Beginnings…and an EPIC giveaway!

Homeschool Holiday is built around my love of holidays, celebrating and making memories. Our “origin story” began Christmas 2009, when my homeschooled children did not want to take down the Christmas tree. This sparked the idea to design all our learning moving forward for 2010 around the holiday of the day. We decorated a mini table top Christmas tree for the big, well known holidays, but each day our learning would be different and new. I spent from January 26th until January 1st figuring out our plan for January… and launched from there! I researched books, movies, activities – whatever for each day. Our family scrapbook is filled with delightful pictures of that school year, more than any other year because of the special events and lessons we were using. My now grown children STILL talk about that special year (and our Disney Schooling year which followed in 2011) more than ANY other year (s) of homeschooling!

Parenting, Teaching, Mentoring… they are all about building relationships – forming connections. Holidays bring us closer as humans. Homeschool Holiday is designed to bring that into your home or classroom on a regular basis.

When I first began writing curriculum I was a brand new teacher. The curriculum, aka text books, I was “supposed” to use were not “quite right”. I noticed gaps, and my students were asking questions and seeking more information. I needed to research and supplement the basic textbooks. Some of it was downright boring. Very early in my teaching I had a class that seemed to come alive each time I spoke about myself and my interests – including my “crush” on a particular baseball player. (Hey – I wasn’t married yet!)

When Spring training started that year I decided to “Theme” some learning in my class surrounding Baseball. I had things I was supposed to teach, but no real “standards” forcing my hand like we do now. So I took my lessons and I made 5 different baseball themed activities. One for each day of the week. I split my class into 5 groups and we rotated through the activities, like primary classrooms did centers. The activity that stands out in my mind the most was called “Map the Majors”!

The students had a blank map of the US and a list of Major League Baseball teams. The students had to look up each team IN AN ENCYCLOPEDIA (there was no internet in schools!) and mark on the map where the team played. My students were completely engaged! I saw excitement for learning in ways I had never seen when I taught using the textbooks. Each year I began to add more and more of my own lessons and step away from the textbooks. By my last year in the classroom, the only textbook used was Math. Everything else was designed by other like minded educators or myself. I was BLESSED to work in a school that trusted my methods of connecting with students through curriculum in this way.

The “original” Map the Majors curriculum now available from Homeschool Holiday.
No Encyclopedias Needed!

I realize as I have taken Homeschool Holiday to market that I continue to write curriculum “for myself”… I write curriculum I would use in my home or classroom. The reality is… My last homeschooler is a senior in High School… he may be interested in one or 2 items, but not many. I am no longer working in a classroom, facing the day to day realities of an educator. I need to write curriculum for YOU!

The homeschool family

The classroom teacher

The parent who want’s to supplement

This Labor Day… Homeschool Holiday along with AMPED UP LEARNING is holding their BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR! From September 4th – 7th The entire Amped up Learning Marketplace is 25% off in honor of all your hard work as a homeschooler, teacher and parent…. on top of that Homeschool Holiday is adding an additional 5% with the code TAKE5 for a total of 30% off HOMESCHOOL HOLIDAY CURRICULUM.

In addition – I have partnered with Froggy About Teaching and Teacher Source for an amazing giveaway SPONSORED by Amped Up Learning. We are giving away Amazon gift cards, Amped Up Learning Gift Cards and product from each of our curriculum lines!

To enter we would love your FEEDBACK on a short survey... so as I said earlier… we can design Curriculum for YOU!

This survey is open to Teachers, Homeschoolers and Parents who provide an email address (you will also be placed on each of our newsletter lists) after completing the survey. Simply click the image below to take the survey and enter!

CLICK IMAGE TO TAKE SURVEY

Your email addresses will not be sold or shared and your feedback will be used for Froggy About Teaching, Teacher Source and Homeschool Holiday to bring you amazing K-6 resources to use in your homes and classrooms!

Thank you for your feedback and we hope your Educational Journey is Blessed!

Mrs. Crabtree

Be sure to visit your favorite shopping platform to purchase more great curriculum:

Homeschool Holiday logo : red school house with beehive and bee. There is a large tree to the right with three cartoon bugs flying in the air. One bug is red, the other is blue and the last is green. There is a happy face sun in the top right corner and green grass along the base. The image also contains the logo for the AMPED UP LEARNING marketplace.
Click on image to visit my Amped Up Learning Store