Posted in Homeschool

Unexpected Fun

I was tired of seeing my boy do the same things everyday.

  • Play with toys inside.
  • Watch his Ipad

I decided to load up his motorized Jeep and a bunch of his big toy trucks and head out to the parking lot across the road from us.

We raced our trucks, and accordingly to little man, daddy always “cheated”. It was super cute to watch his eyes light up doing something new. He drove his Jeep and was telling us how he was practicing for when his cousin comes over this weekend. His cousin is 2 and little man is so excited to “teach him how to sleep all day”. I really don’t know where he gets this stuff lol!!

We spotted a cement ditch across the road and decided to head over there and see what we could find.

We rolled the trucks into the ditch and crashed them into each other; we also made them do flips and spins. We rolled them over dirt and looked at the different tire marks.

After that, we went over to the park and ran around. We spent about 2.5 hours just exploring and experimenting and just loving life before the monstrous sized mosquitos came out to ruin the party! I’m telling you, there is nothing compared to a Texas Sized Mosquito!

This post is just to show you that you can find fun in unexpected places. Kids enjoy simple, free, unexpected play. Now go! Surprise your kids with a random trip to the park or give into something that they have been asking to do for so long. Sit back and watch the pure joy unfold.

Posted in Homeschool

Homeschool during Vacation?!?

Okay, so I’m not crazy… I promise! We recently went on my little one’s first cruise and I incorporated some homeschool activities while we are on the ship.

First things first… hygiene!

This little boy will be well versed on this topic before we are done. I am a nurse, not just any nurse, a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse. Needless to say, I am very conscious of infection prevention measures. I taught him all about how sickness is spread and how it can be prevented. When you are stuck on a ship with thousands of people, it is so very important to practice impeccable hand hygiene.

Secondly… good citizenship!

We were be on a ship with thousands of people who come from all walks of life. Many different cultures and values will be represented within the staff and vacationers. I taught him all about about the different cultures and let him know that it is okay to respectfully ask questions about something that you do not understand.

Thirdly… manners!

Dinner in the dining room every night will be the setting for this topic. He has learned mainly by observation that saying please, thank you and excuse me are important and good manners. He was able to practice these skills every night on our vacation.

Learning does not have to be math, reading, science, handwriting, and spelling all the time. Life skills are just as important.

I have seen many children who have “made it through” school and cannot begin to understand how to function in “real life.” Teaching skills like how to effectively communicate your opinions, ideas, and thoughts is imperative to our children’s success in life.

Posted in Homeschool

Beauty of Homeschooling

Welp… All ready to “officially” start homeschooling my little boy and BOOM!! Sick! Well, looks like the start date is pushed back until we feel better.

Gosh, I love this part of Homeschooling… if your sick, take a day off.

At my son’s age (almost 4), School is mainly (guided) play time. Little ones are not made to sit still and write in a notebook. They learn by exploring and learning their environment.

Things we do daily that are “technically” school:

  • Cook together (measurements, life skills, and fine motor skills)

  • Play outside (counting, colors, gross motor skills)

  • Play with toys inside (you’ll be amazed when your kiddo tells you “the crane’s boom is elevated Momma” ummm… where is the world did you learn that? or use the word acceleration correctly. You will be in awe of what your child will pick up passively, just through observing you and those around him/her.

  • Read aloud (3 books per day)

  • Watch TV – I know I know… you may be thinking SCREEN TIME?!?! Are you crazy?! Let me clarify.. yes my son watches cartoons, but only after he has watched his Preschool Prep DVDs.

Homeschooling a little one is easy, just try to incorporate new words or concepts everyday. Don’t push it, just casually mention a new word or concept during regular play time. Before you know it, your kiddo knows that bat, rat, cat, and mat all rhyme!

Some choose to use an official curriculum everyday and we will use one as well, but very loosely. I want him to feel the freedom of choosing what he would like to learn more about and go from there.

We will use Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. It is an online based curriculum. Amazing support via their online Facebook groups. I have looked through the curriculum and it looks like each day we will spend about 30 minutes (average) on the curriculum. This gives us the freedom to supplement with other things like his DVDS & ABC mouse.

I am just loving the beauty of Homeschooling. I am allowed the privilege to watch my child grow and learn everyday. I cherish and treasure this gift everyday and I hope you have this opportunity as well!

Texas Homeschooling 101

So, you are interested in homeschooling your child(ren)? You are probably thinking… Where do I start?!

Review the requirements of homeschooling in Texas.

We are lucky, because Texas is one of the most easy going states when it comes to Homeschooling.

NO REPORTING. NO RECORDS. Except a High School Diploma/Transcript for college acceptance. 

Honestly this always makes me nervous, as laws and rules can change in an instant. I would recommend keeping some sort of planner or journal and just jot done what is done each day for Homeschool. Not necessarily grades, just a basic list of what was done.

Example:

8/12/17
Watched ABC video
Sight Words
Alligator scissor practice activity

8/13/17
ABC mouse
Practice handwriting Letter A
Math – Made muffins with mom (counting and measuring)

8/14/17
Field trip to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (learned about animals)

Super basic and kind of cute to look back on later in the year to see how far your little one has come.

Basically in Texas:
This is straight from Texas Homeschool Coalition.

Texas State Law Requirements Regarding Home Schooling

To home school legally in Texas, you must follow three state law requirements:

• The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).

• The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).

• The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

That is it folks! Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Go to: TSHC.ORG and read through The 7 Easy Steps to Begin

Most curriculums today touch on each of these topics. If you feel like you want to supplement with activities you've found in Pinterest or the web, feel free!! That is the beauty of Texas Homeschooling!

Withdrawing your child from Public School

This straight from the HSLDA website.

If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.

If you are looking to withdraw your child(ren) from public school, there is a letter that is recommended by the Texas Home School Coalition.

WITHDRAWAL LETTER

They also recommend printing the Commissioner's Letter as well and include it with your withdrawal letter.

COMMISSIONER'S LETTER

Mail a signed copy of the letter via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested in order to receive and retain proof of delivery.

Mail another copy of the letter to THSC at:
THSC, P.O. Box 6747, Lubbock, TX 79493

and if you are already in touch with a local homeschool support group, Mail the leader a copy as well.

THSC states:

If the school subsequently contacts you and says you must do more (e.g., come to the school office, fill out a form, etc.), do not go to the school. Instead, respond by email or mail with a letter of assurance. The Texas Education Agency has told school districts that such letters meet the guidelines of cooperation in compliance with compulsory attendance laws.

LETTER OF ASSURANCE

Another thing you can do to get some more information about Texas Homeschooling is to watch the orientation videos from the THSC.

TEXAS HOMESCHOOL COALITION ORIENTATION VIDEOS

These videos are a bit dry, but have tons of useful information.

I am hopeful that this has answered some if not all of your questions about Texas Homeschooling. If you have any questions please feel free to comment and I would love to do some research for you.

Happy Homeschooling!!

Learning to Read – Preschool

Teaching a child to read is at the foundation of learning. Once a child can read, they can do anything! Whether you start with phonics or sight words; the end result will be amazing!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

You will be amazed and in awe of your child as they progress. 

The past few weeks I have slowly started to introduce the Preschool Prep Collection to my boy and he has really taken to the Phonics DVD. I can randomly ask him throughout the day, "what sound does D make?" To my surprise, he knows! I'm loving watching him progress and flourish. 

Take a look at this collection here: 

Preschool Prep Collection 10 DVD set 

You start even before your child can distinguish shapes and colors. They have a DVD for that.

The DVD gets gradually more advanced as you go. There are cute graphics and animations and your child learns through repetition. While it may sound "annoying" to you… it is intriguing to a child. I also play the DVDs in the background during playtime and my son seems to always pick up something new. LOVE IT!

As a new homeschool mom, I was petrified that I would not be able to teach my son to read. After some thought… I have realized that, I am not the one "teaching" he is LEARNING just by being exposed to it. So, if you are on the fence on whether or not you can "teach" your child… Know that you absolutely CAN! 

Kids learn so rapidly at this age, just from their surroundings and environment. I have to keep reminding myself that the way that I react to things that happen is the way he will react. If I yell and scream and get frustrated at something that is difficult… he will too.

The best part about homeschooling this age group?? The freedom to take a break if needed.

If your child is getting frustrated at letter sounds/phonics… Take a break and review something that you know that they know… like colors, shapes etc. Building up their confidence by showing them that they do know things is very important. Sometimes my little one will tell me the wrong answer on purpose, that is when I know it's time to back off some. 

Homeschooling is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Being able to see the world through my son's eyes is such a blessing! You will love it too!

I hope that this helps motivate you to make the leap to homeschool your child(ren) if that is your desire!

Below are pictures of each DVD in the Preschool Prep Collection.

My next post will be Texas Homeschooling 101: Everything that you need to know to Homeschool in Texas. See you then!!

My Top 5 Homeschool Resources

Top 5 Home School Resources for Beginners-

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

Before doing days and days worth of research, I was LOST…really really LOST! I have friends that Homeschool, but anything that we talked about just went right over my head. 

Living in Texas makes things a bit easier, because we don’t have to report anything to the State or keep records. I know, I know.. the perfectionist in me is like “WHAT?!? No records!! You are crazy!!” Even though it is not a requirement, I will still keep some sort of records for myself. 

Zoo Day at the Carousel
The first thing I started doing when it started to become evident that my son was ready for homeschooling was, research. 

My Top 5 Home School Reaources are:

HSLDA – Home School Legal Defense Association

  • They provide legal assistance and advice to Homeschooling families. They will correspond with government officials on your behalf, who are not familiar with your right to Homeschool or are outright challenging your right to Homeschool. 
  • The website has your state requirements for Homeschooling.

THSC – Texas Home School Coalition

  • They also have the Texas state requirements for Homeschooling. 
  • There are sections within the website to search for events. 
  • Bring homeschoolers together. 
  • Their mission is to serve and inform the home school community and promote home education in Texas. 

HOMEEDSA.COM – specific to San Antonio

  • It has a comprehensive listing of homeschooling resources in the San Antonio area including home school events, support groups, curriculum and co-ops.

SAN ANTONIO HOMESCHOOLERS Facebook Page – specific to San Antonio

  • I have followed this Facebook group for a long time and it never disappoints. If I ever have a question about anything at all I post it there and get tons of feedback and support. 

Easy Peasy All in One Home School – Free Online Curriculum

  • After months and months of researching and researching… I decided to use Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. 
  • The main reason I chose this curriculum is the support that I’ve seen provided to other homeschoolers via their Facebook support groups. Holly Dunn – one of the administrators, answers questions with lightning speed and fixes glitches or provides work arounds — same day!! You can’t ask for better support. 
  • Plus… my son adores this. I trialed it for about 1 week and he kept asking me when we were going to “do school” again. He wasn’t quite ready at 3 years to do some of the work, so I just used some LeapFrog Books and “did school”. Here a a few of my favs… 

Such a Beautiful Sight!!
Alphabet Adventures and Shapes and Colors

Read and Write / Pre-K STEM

If you are bundle kind of person, like me… they have:

LeapFrog Learning System Bundle – includes 

-The Learning System, Shapes and Colors, Alphabet Adventures, Daily Routines, and Scout and Friends Math. 

Some more of our collection! Can you tell that we love LeapFrog?!
  • We will start with the Easy Peasy curriculum after we get back from our family vacation in September! A’s first cruise! But until then LeapFrog it is!!

Extra Resource:

Schertz Library/San Antonio Library

  • I’m on the northeast side of town, so Schertz Library is just down the street. I have heard amazing things about the San Antonio Public Library and am making a trip there this weekend to see what it has to offer. 

I hope that this will make your decision and journey to Home School a bit easier. These resources are what made me realize it was possible for me to work full time and Homeschool!!

What?! You don’t play in a sand box at 11pm? Haha!
Posted in Uncategorized

Just the beginning…

To start, when I was younger I always wanted to homeschool my future children. Well, fast forward many years and I have a 3.5 year old boy ready and waiting to be homeschooled.

I have to say that the thought of being solely responsible for another person’s knowledge is intimidating. Sure, I’ve kept him alive for the past 3.5 years, but ensuring that he knows everything that he should is just more than my brain could handle.

I bought book after book and read article after article and finally I am “ready” to start this journey!

Not sure if he knows what he’s in for! haha!

The many questions from family and friends are sometimes too much to take, but I feel that homeschooling will benefit my child more than any public school can.

but but but… aren’t you afraid he won’t be able to socialize?!

Through this process, I will share what works for us and what failed miserably. I would love to have a group of blogger friends who will collaborate with me. People with common interests where we share ideas, tips, success stories and lessons for improvement.
I cannot wait to start this journey and share what I learn with you all!

Homeschool is LIFE