Back to School Anxiety – not with homeschooling!

Image result for back to school sign

The Facebook posts are just about done. I sincerely LOVE to see everyone’s pictures, and I do post my own. Occasionally I see things that *bother* me… I’m not sure if they bother the mother as much as they bother me. Not everyone is in a position to homeschool. I understand that.

To protect the identity of the poster I won’t use names… But a student was starting Kindergarten this year. That makes the child 5 years old. The school has a rule that the parents are not allowed to accompany the child to the classroom. WHAT THE WHAT? I cried dropping off my High School Senior! I didn’t walk her to class, but I still cried!

“They didn’t allow the kinder parents to walk the kids to their classes today, so we took our pictures at home.”

This Mom was just posting…she didn’t seem upset, and for her – that’s ok… I’m FREAKING OUT. Not allow the PRIMARY EDUCATOR to walk THEIR CHILD to the classroom – what are they HIDING – the CHOKIE, like in Matilda?

In Catholic Education we view parents as the primary educators. I spent 15 years establishing PARTNERSHIPS with parents. I would never DREAM of not allowing them in my classroom. In homeschooling I’m freaking out on a whole different level. HOW DARE YOU TELL ME I CAN’T WALK MY CHILD TO THE CLASSROOM. WATCH ME. I think I would have pulled my child out of school right then if that was my first experience. Cold prickly.

I did my student teaching in Kindergarten. At the time I thought it was God’s sick joke. It was a year-round school so I had to go through the “first day” of Kindergarten with 2 sets of 5-year olds. My experience was all 9 and 10 year olds. I was WAY out of my element. I clearly recall the teacher gently prying a student out of his mother’s arms. There was all sorts of crying, but the teacher assured both the student and the parent everything would be okay. He really handled the situation with kindness. (But I think this was planting seeds I didn’t know about. I was engaged, but not yet married, no children of my own.)

We also had a student who didn’t talk. He was painfully shy. Zachery. I was in love with this boy. He would raise his hand and lose his nerve, but I never made him feel like he was wrong, or bad, or that there was anything wrong with him – because there wasn’t. The day he answered… It took all my composure not to OVERREACT and throw a FREAKING PARTY. Students like Zachary kept me teaching. The thank you bookmark he gave me was under the glass on my desk until the day I left teaching.

Another friend – an adult posted to Facebook that she wasn’t feeling well. She had no idea why until her husband reminded her the local schools started the next day. She was picking up the anxiety and feelings of the children and people everywhere starting school the next day. All that NEGATIVE ENERGY in the AIR! She herself said she HATED school and was glad to not be a kid anymore. Imagine that as an ADULT she still got Back to School Anxiety! That’s like PTSD! 

When I was the Student Support Coordinator for my school I was out on the first day to greet as may students as possible. For 4 years I was the main “Administrator” visible that first day, as the principal never arrived before 8 am (After school started at 7:50 am). I answered questions, posed for pictures, passed out candy and did whatever it took to spread kindness. Parents were welcomed inside our Kindergarten room and down to the other classrooms – sometimes it lasted a week. It is school, we had to cut it off because when you drop your children off at school, you leave your rights as a parent at the curb… I was always so torn between 2 worlds.

Homeschooling is a BLESSING. To have your children with you in an environment conducive to learning and surrounded by love and kindness where the rules make sense and fit the family. If you are homeschooling, thinking about homeschooling or mildly interested in possibly homeschooling when the moon is blue… I’d love to talk to you and help you! Contact me!

Change of Grade Day 2019

Every year since the kids about 2009 we have a tradition of starting out our first day of school with a field trip. Homeschooling provides us certain privileges. First day field trip is definitely one of them! They way we are able to make it work as a family is by using Labor Day weekend…. Sigh, it does make things crowded and sometimes a little more expensive, but it is WORTH IT to have all 5 of us together for the 1st day of school. Dads often get “left out” of the home school picture because they have the all important task of going to work! Many Dads are off weekends or have the extra day due to Labor Day Monday – ours always does.  Find what works for you and fashion your first day of school around that. 
Douglas’ first day of school will “technically” be Tuesday, September 3rd. Lauren is in College and Megan a Senior at a local high school. Both have already had their first days and no longer fall under my homeschool umbrella. Sometimes I leave them out of things, not to be mean, but they made a choice to attend public school and with that sacrifice the benefits of homeschooling. But not in these back to school traditions. 
This is the second year in a row we went to Disneyland as our “Change of Grade Day” field trip. That’s what we call it. We actually went to California Adventure last year. You can read about it HERE
It just made sense to repeat the field trip this year as we did renew the passes as our “fun money” choice and we don’t exactly have a money tree in the back yard. After our SUPER trip to Yosemite this summer the Vacation Fund is depleted. 
Another Great tradition we have is the Back to School Fairy – she doesn’t bring as much as she used to… no one needs crayons, markers, scissors and the like anymore… but she does try to bring practical items the kids can use like glue sticks and white out tape. Who doesn’t need a new spiral notebook? (Resides they were 25 cents at Walmart!) Pencils (hidden), Post it notes and a fun back pack clip from the Target Dollar spot finish up the loot for the year. Lauren and Douglas got new backpacks as well. Megan ended up with 2 last year so she was good. 

Want to see what the Back to school Fairy Brought way back in 2009? How about where we went on our First Day Field Trip? The sweet memories are available HERE

Then if you want to fast forward to 2015 – boy did the Bugs GROW. Check out that post HERE

Feel free to share your Back-to-Homeschool traditions in the comments below!

My favorite thing about homeschooling!

Please note – this post may contain affiliate links. What that means is if you click that link and shop on Amazon (even if you don’t buy the product I’m telling you about) I may earn a % of the sale. This helps me run my household, my homeschool, and my scrapbook business. You don’t pay anymore than the regular price you normally would – so shop away! THANKS! If you want to learn more about the other facets of my life – check out my other blogs!

I really don’t have just ONE favorite thing about homeschooling…but if I COULD pinpoint it – it has to be that EVERYTHING is learning. I have taught my children to see learning in everything, everywhere we go. This isn’t necessarily unique to homeschooling, I bet your family does it as well. Do you stop to inspect a spider web? Do toys get purchased because they are educational as well as entertaining. These are just a few things that have permeated our homeschool. I also told my children that we had school EVERYDAY. There was no such thing as a day off school, because whatever it was we were doing, there was learning involved. My kids have honestly never asked to “skip” school. I LOVE that! So a few nights ago we were in Hobby Lobby and the kids saw this magnetic sand timer. Good Heavens the world stopped spinning. I hadn’t seen this much excitement since Santa brought them their first Perplexus. So needless to say, the magnetic sand timer came home with us thanks to a 50% off sale. Now they are making different piles. Using magnets outside the glass to move the sand… um – HELLO LEARNING, EXPERIMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION! This is between 2 kids who “claim” they are not homeschooled any longer and 1 who is content with his homeschool status. I call this a win. And it looks really cool above the fireplace. What is YOUR favorite thing about homeschooling? Feel free to comment below.

A Graduate

I really don’t like Graduation ceremonies. But this was my own child, I couldn’t exactly miss it. 

I’ve long ago come to terms with her decision to attend a real school. I laid my foundation.
I did my best. I taught her how to make decisions and be independent. What did I expect to

And in hindsight she excelled and thrived. But I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I made
the right decision when my oldest bug said on her graduation day she was “so very happy
because she never thought she would get to graduate from a real school”.
Her face and the tone of voice were enough. I home schooled. She decided when the time
was right to take learning into her own hands. I think that is TRULY what homeschooling is all
about. It is not about controlling your child. It is not about what is best for ME, the mom. It is
about what is best for each individual child. (The girls went to school, and the boy remains
home, happy to be homeschooled.)

This weekend she will attend orientation for college. THANK GOD – and as my friend Bri says
(with no blasphemous intent) – ALL the baby Jesus’
– She is staying HOME! I can still influence her, educate her and guide her as she
grows and develops, because LEARNING NEVER ENDS
so I like to believe I’m still homeschooling my College Freshman.

Please don’t burst my bubble!

When do you know this homeschool stuff Works?

I was able to sit in on an interview my son participated in the other day. I know he is my son,
so my opinion is somewhat biased, but I was quite impressed with how he handled himself. 

You see, my youngest has been affectionately called “the hermit”. He prefers to be at home.
He doesn’t participate in nearly as many outside activities as his sisters do. He has little
patience for the misbehavior and disrespect of his same age peers and therefore chooses
to isolate. 

Both Girls have attended school and school related activities for 3 years, not Douglas.
When Douglas was offered a seat in the private school I worked for to “test” what it was
like to go to school. He politely declined. His sisters had been attending in some way for
3 years and LOVED it. It was the “end” of their homeschool life and ultimately a good thing.
You can read more about that here. 

As a homeschool mother, this “hermit life” worries me. He is after all going to have to leave
the house to go to college, and eventually get a job. My youngest needs to learn how to
relate to others and accept all personality styles. He has one good friend that visits regularly,
and we hang out with a passel of cousins at least monthly. On top of that my “hermit” is
required to attend our Parish Confirmation classes. – He seems to be doing well here, and
this is where the interview came in. 

Lightning Bug was invited to attend the 2nd year Confirmation retreat as a “team member”
– actually he volunteered to do it because he enjoyed his experience on HIS 2nd year retreat
so much.  WHAT??? My hermit wants to leave the house? He wants to participate in
something??? After YEARS of begging him to take classes – robotics, lego, anything!!!!
Finally a spark! 
Part of the process is to participate in an interview, and parents are welcome to attend.
I didn’t intend to sit in and eavesdrop on the entire process, it just happened that way, and
now I’m glad. Lightning Bug handled each question with a maturity I didn’t know he

He was self-assured and honest with each question asked even though he just met the
gentleman conducting the interview. As a Mother of a homeschooled-hermit, I could not 
be more proud. These are the moments when you know without a doubt what you are doing
works and you are not ruining your child.

Everyone learns differently and kids KNOW what they need. My Lightning Bug is ready
to go out into the world, he has found something he WANTS to do, and he is going to do
it WELL! 

Back to school time for so many….

For some it was last week, for others it is this week, for my homeschool it won’t be until after Labor Day – but it is Back to School Season!

I came across this picture the other day while working on another project.

I have always cherished
this picture. The Bugs are “Walking” to school.

Sometimes when you homeschool you don’t want anything to do with “school” things, and then
some people do! 

Our family embraces some of the traditional, stereotypical school stuff. Backpacks for example.
You really don’t need the expense especially if you are surviving on one income. But on the other
hand, the joy of picking out a backpack is priceless indeed.

We managed in these one income years to make the backpacks last a few years. In fact I’m fairly
certain my now 16 year old bug has his Ben 10 backpack!

They experience far less wear and tear by NOT going to school every day. 

Another thing the kids wanted to do was “walk to school”. What an awesome concept!
We put on our backpacks, or sometimes took the buddies in their strollers,
and off we went around the block. We had a community mail box, so I would
get the mail from the day before and its even exercise! 

What “school” activities do you incorporate into your homeschool? Fell free to comment!

You not Them – Great Homeschool Concept

Please note – this post may contain affiliate links. What that means is if you click that link and shop on Amazon or other website (even if you don’t buy the product I’m telling you about) I may earn a % of the sale. This helps me run my household, my homeschool, and my scrapbook business. You don’t pay anymore than the regular price you normally would – so shop away! THANKS! If you want to learn more about the other facets of my life – check out my other blogs!

“You Not Them”

This is a concept of homeschooling I learned from Oliver DeMille who is the author and founder of the homeschool movement called: A THOMAS JEFFERSON EDUCATION
 A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century (The Leadership Education Library Book 1) by [DeMille, Oliver]
I’m not going to get into all of it in this post, but, had I been able to stay home full time and home school, it was my guiding philosophy. 

This concept of “You, Not Them” on a basic level said I needed to focus on my education before the kids. They need to see me learning. 

As I grow as a life long learner I am realizing more and more how true this is. My children are basically grown and responsible for their own schooling. If you are a regular reader you know my older 2 bugs chose to attend high school a year ago and my youngest bug is homeschooled, but uses an online service (time 4 learning) I have very little to do with their schooling. Not the way I wanted it, but it is what it is. 

Back to me, not them… My rotator cuff repair surgery was a chance to focus on myself. It sounds selfish, but I can’t take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself. I think God was sending me a message. 

One of the books I have been wanting to read is Pride and Prejudice. Don’t get excited. I cheated. I watched the mini series on Netflix. It was fantastic. I’m so thankful I had time to reset my life and my priorities. 

The Book Basket – How to encourage Reading in your Home

Please note – this post may contain affiliate links. What that means is if you click that link and shop on Amazon (even if you don’t buy the product I’m telling you about) I may earn a % of the sale. This helps me run my household, my homeschool, and my scrapbook business. You don’t pay anymore than the regular price you normally would – so shop away! THANKS! If you want to learn more about the other facets of my life – check out my other blogs!

I’m participating in a Summer Camp this week in which each day has a different theme. We have what I would like to call an extensive homeschool library. We collected at used book stores, garage sales, the goodwill, friends, and even Amazon quite often when I needed something specific.

Whenever we studied a particular topic, I put the books we had surrounding the topic in the “Book Basket” so they were readily available for the kids to explore. The picture shows a time we were studying scientists.

I had books in my stash for just about every day this week. It brought back so many memories of teaching the same topics to my kids.

Some favorites:

How to tell a Turtle from a Tortoise
We laughed and learned so much from this book. Even as the adults! It was a great edition to our Nature Studies.

Sound Make it Work

This one was when Lauren studied Sound for hr Science fair project. I had a very hard time finding books! I’m so glad I will get more use out of it!

Ed Emberly’s Complete Funprint Drawing Book

This book got USED! over and over. Colored stamp pads, finger paint – you name it. We did so many fun projects with fingerprint art! I highly Recommend this and the other books in the series. We have SEVERAL!

Magic School Bus Get’s Baked in a Cake

I never passed up a Magic School Bus book! They are just as funny as the show. I’m sure today’s kids would like the show “better”, however – my kids were not allowed TV, so the book basket with MSB books was always a hit!

Each evening we spend time where the only purpose was to read – everyone was doing it…Mom, Dad and kids. We picked something from the book basked and read individually. This enhanced our topics and gave us plenty to talk about!

How do you encourage reading in your home/school? Leave a comment or send me an email to share!

More Free Lapbook Templates!

Lapbooking is very popular in Homeschooling. Actually I even used it in my classroom as a way to organize information! Lapbooks give kids something to show off. It is a way to create a project that is a work of art when finished.

One thing I have discovered over the years is there really is no right or wrong way of lapbooking. Make them your own. You can find many, many resources out there to help you. I hope you enjoy the patterns I create as much as I enjoy making them for you!

This is the 5 flap shutter. It is great for organizing facts or vocabulary. You can place the word on top and the definition underneath. You can even add pictures if you like.

Grammar Land

Last night I overheard a conversation between Megan and Douglas. They were talking about past lessons. Remember when Mom had us do that weird Grammar stuff, about going to jail…

They were discussing the classic book GRAMMAR LAND (this is the Free PDF version, but it is also available in print) by M.L. Nesbitt.

Another homeschooler took the time to create worksheets to go along with the book and you can find those here: GRAMMAR LAND WORKSHEETS

Here is the summary from Amazon about the book:

Before the days of Schoolhouse Rock’s jingles like “Conjunction Junction,” and silly English class acronyms like the “Fan Boys,” there was the playful primer Grammar-Land, which has been teaching children (and adults in need of a refresher) the basic rules of English grammar since its first publication in the 1870s.

            In the allegorical world of Grammar-Land, the nine parts of speech—rich Mr. Noun, his useful friend Pronoun, little ragged Article, talkative Adjective, busy Dr. Verb and Adverb, perky Preposition, convenient Conjunction, and irksome Interjection—are brought to trial by Judge Grammar to settle disputes over the rules of language. Each part of speech is called in turn to take the stand, where they are questioned by Doctor Syntax and Sergeant Parsing. In the course of the amusing trial, the reader, perhaps without even realizing it, is exposed to the most important rules of grammar.
            This charming facsimile edition once again brings the characters of Grammar-Land to life for the entertainment and edification of a new generation of adults and children alike.
It was really neat to hear the kids reminisce about old homeschool lessons. You never know what is going to stick with them.