Monday, April 23, 2018

Lessons About Trusting the Experts

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Lessons About Trusting the Experts (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - part of the 2018 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ homeschoolreviewcrew.com

Welcome to the  2018 Edition of the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop! This is a favorite event for longtime Homeschool Review Crew members, and it's always exciting to have new Crew members join in the fun as well. We've all been looking forward to sharing ideas, encouragement and advice related to homeschooling, and we hope you enjoy visiting all the participating bloggers. For this round of the Blog Hop, I chose to talk about some of the many lessons that I have learned as I've played the role of homeschool teacher over the years. 

Trusting the Experts

Whenever we take on a task that is important or difficult - or both! - it's wise to get expert advice. Taking the responsibility for educating our children at home is one of the most important jobs we could possibly do; and it's a job that definitely comes with challenges, so getting some input from experts makes sense. But which experts do we turn to? It's pretty tempting to look at what the education professionals are saying about what children should learn and when, and maybe it's even tempting to try to match subjects and skills we're teaching to the corresponding grade levels of the school system. Don't get me wrong - there is a lot of value to understanding some general benchmarks of what kids are able to learn at certain ages, but we needn't be ruled by those broad guidelines. After all, each child has his or her own unique set of interests, talents, strengths, and struggles; and one of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is the ability to suit education to each child's needs.

Moms are experts when it comes to their own kids. There's no one that knows my kids better than I do, and no one that is more committed or invested in their success than I am. That means Mom knows best. Maybe not in everything, but in a lot of things. Moms tend to know their kids' strengths and weaknesses, what their kids can handle, and how they'll learn best. I learned to trust my instincts on what curriculum would be a good fit, and what would work best. Our homeschool did not need to do the same material in the same grades that the public school was doing. Our homeschool did not need to look like our friend's homeschool. We did not need to use the same curriculum that the other homeschoolers in our group used, no matter how great. When I learned to trust my own knowledge of my kids, and the decisions about teaching and parenting that I'd prayed over, I could stop second-guessing and comparing. And have peace.

Lessons About Trusting the Experts (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

God's Word gives the most reliable expert advice! I have learned that I can trust God to provide all the wisdom I need to do this homeschool thing. And the whole parenting thing, from start to finish! I've learned that's true, but I'm still learning to actual do it. To really, honestly, whole-heartedly trust God. It's easy to talk about trusting, but it isn't always easy to live it out, because I want to know and I want to help. And if I'm brutally honest, I kind of want to be in control. The lessons about trusting God that I've learned as a homeschool mom can be applied in every aspect of parenting, and in every other part of my life. 

Lessons About Trusting the Experts (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Valuable lessons indeed.

Lessons About Trusting the Experts (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew Blog to find all the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop posts.  (The Crew anchor post will be live at noon EST on Monday, April 23rd)

Lessons About Trusting the Experts (5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33

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Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Welcome to Homeschool Highlights! 
This weekly link-up is your opportunity to share some highlights of what is happening in your homeschool and in your world each week. If you write a wrap-up post at the end of each week, like I've been doing, we'd love to see what you're busy with from week to week. If you'd like to pick a favorite post from your week that spotlights a resource or activity in your homeschool that you'd like to tell others about, we're interested in those too. I'm keeping the guidelines as simple as I can, and they will appear at the bottom of each post, along with the link tool. I look forward to getting to know you, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement and good ideas for all of us.

Grab a cup of coffee and let's get started!

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Homeschool news  . . . Kennady and I are both starting to get just a bit nervous as we near the end of the school year. We are both hoping that she can get everything done - or very close to it! - so that she can take a well-deserved break over the summer. So often we wind up doing schoolwork over the summer, just to finish off the last little bit of several courses. I think it's probably wise to continue with some math over the summer, but we'd still like to be truly finished!

We have only three weeks of co-op left, and I gave the last writing assignment in the textbook yesterday. We'll use the last three weeks of class time to work on note-taking skills, do some grammar and punctuation review, and take another run at proofreading and editing.


Other news . . .  the weekend was rather busy, mostly because we had Kennady's dress rehearsal on Saturday, and the Children's Chorus concert on Sunday afternoon. 

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
rehearsal - she's the one in the Cubs shirt

Isn't she lovely and elegant? A little bit different look for her usual hoodie and leggings!

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

The concert was outstanding, as usual!

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
performing Sakura Sakura - a piece in Japanese

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
full chorus - all four age groups

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

On Tuesday evening, Landon was honored for his promotion to Captain (which actually happened several weeks ago) and received his Amelia Earhart Award from Civil Air Patrol. It was kind of a big deal, but only Kennady represented from the family. The rest of us had other commitments! On awards nights, it's suddenly NOT quite so convenient to have all of our activities on the same night, even if it does save us drive time!

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
commemorative coin

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
back of coin

The rest of the week has been pretty much the usual. The exception was our worship band practice on Wednesday night. I mention it because that was the hardest any of us have laughed for a long time, and I think it's definitely the hardest we've ever laughed during practice! We are hoping that on Sunday morning we can get through the song that prompted that hilarity without busting up!

What's Coming Up . . . the annual spring Blog Hop is next week! Join the Homeschool Review Crew bloggers every day next week during the 2018 5 Days of . . . Blog Hop. We've all chosen our own topics, so there will definitely be something for everyone.


I'll be sharing 5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms starting on Monday, April 23rd.

5 Days of Lessons for Homeschool Moms - 2018 Spring Blog Hop on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


I recommend . . . the Homeschool Review Crew blog today too! It's featuring a round-up of Crew articles on the subject of Organising Homeschool




On my blogs last week . . .

And on my book blog, Just A Second:

What I'm Reading - April 16, 2018
Recent Reads - The Weaver's Daughter
Scripture and a Snapshot - Do Not Forget


Just A Second is where I share book reviews and other book-related things, and update on what's on my bookshelf. This week I finished and reviewed The Weaver's Daughter: A Regency Romance Novel by Sarah E. Ladd, and I've been reading:

A parting shot . . . I love this view of Westminster from McDaniel College, where Kennady's chorus concerts are held.

Homeschool Highlights - Week 33 on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

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Homeschool Highlights guidelines:
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I will be linking up my own posts at the following weekly link parties that you may also be interested in: Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


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Thursday, April 19, 2018

End of Year Organizing

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End of Year Organizing on Homeschool Coffee Break @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

We're staring down the end of the school year, and our focus may be on getting the final chapters and assignments completed, but there are a few other end of year tasks that need to be checked off the list too. Most of them involve organization. Keeping records, putting together a portfolio of completed work, deciding what to do with the books we've completed, and planning ahead for what we'll need to do next year.

Homeschool Tracker Online - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review on kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Keeping records organized hasn't presented a great deal of difficulty for me most years, because I've been keeping most of my records using Homeschool Tracker Online. Well, let me walk that back a little bit . . . It's not too difficult provided I stayed on top of grading through most of the school year! That's a discipline that I've worked on and I'm much better at it, especially after learning the hard way a few times! I do my best to grade as we go, so I don't have a big backlog of test scores to plug into the Tracker at the end of the semester. So when I use the Tracker correctly, it saves me a lot of time and trouble! It can be used to produce all the year end records I might find helpful as well as to produce detailed assignment lists and lesson plans all through the year. Homeschool Tracker also keeps records of time spent, the resource lists, and all grades, so almost any record I want is right at my fingertips. (Read my full review of Homeschool Tracker Online hereHomeschool Tracker Online: A Homeschool Coffee Break Review.)

Also see my related posts:


High School Assignment Tracking on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.comBack to Homeschool Coffee Break - Planning Our Year - part of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop, here on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com and hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew @ HomeschoolReviewCrew.com


End of Year Organizing on Homeschool Coffee Break @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Many homeschoolers need to show a sample portfolio of work completed to an oversight near the end of the school year. In my group, most of the oversight reviewers visit each of families they are responsible for in their homes. That's what I do. However, I live quite a distance away from most everyone in the group and almost every year we've decided that it makes more sense for me to pack up a sample of my students' work and meet my reviewer somewhere. That means I need to find a way to pack up a cross-section of their work into a transportable package. That takes a bit of organization, as I decide whether I need to take the textbook or just the notebook full of completed assignments, for example.

End of Year Organizing on Homeschool Coffee Break @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

We've finished with our textbooks for the year, so now what should we do with them? When my oldest two finished with a non-consumable textbook, chances were very (and I do mean VERY) good that I would keep the book. In case we could use it again next year. Well, sometimes that was smart - with books like Notgrass History, which we have used over and over. But I had an unfortunate habit of keeping almost everything, even though there wasn't much realistic chance that I would use it again. And honestly, there's seldom a real reason to keep all their notebooks full of lesson answers and completed quizzes. Or even the majority of writing assignments! I finally got a bit of a reality check a few years ago and did a major purge of the useless stuff I kept, and have learned to be fairly ruthless on a year by year basis. By all means, keep the essay or collection of poetry that is really special, or the best of their artwork. But it's really not necessary to keep every spelling test or math worksheet your child ever did. Pick the very best. Limit how much you keep. Pass along reusable curriculum and resources to other homeschool families.

End of Year Organizing on Homeschool Coffee Break @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

What will we need next year? It shouldn't come as a surprise that we need to organize and evaluate when we've completed this year before I can really be sure of what we need to cover next year, and what curriculum and resources I will need to buy. This coming year, I will have to get textbooks for co-op, but I don't think we'll need anything else. We either have books already, or I'm planning to use something I can find on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. It definitely feels strange to think about going to the annual homeschool curriculum fairs without my shopping list and wish list in hand, but I know I already own what we really need.

How are you getting your homeschool organized at year end? Leave a comment and let me know!

Also see my related posts:

Naturally Organized - Not!

Naturally Organized - Not! on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com  Here are a few tips for homeschool organization, for the Not Naturally Organized moms like me . . .

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for the Organising Homeschool Round-up, and find more thoughts on this topic from Crew members. This will be live on Friday, April 20th.


Homeschool Review Crew Mainstay

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 ©2006-2018 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/ 

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Virtual Refrigerator - More Digital Art

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!
More Digital Art on the Virtual Refrigerator  - share your art posts on our Virtual Refrigerator - an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Welcome to the Virtual Refrigerator art link-up! Thank you for joining us as we share what we're creating in our homeschools. We cordially invite you to add your link sharing artwork that's on your Virtual Refrigerator and then hop over to the other blogs and admire what's on their Fridges too! The Virtual Fridge link-up is open all month, with anchor posts planned for each Wednesday.

Another digital art piece created with the app IbisPaint X on my Fridge this week! This time it's a portrait of a group of YouTubers that Kennady follows - Dem Salty Bois.

More Digital Art on the Virtual Refrigerator  - share your art posts on our Virtual Refrigerator - an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Dem Salty Bois by Kat, April 2018

This is Patrck, Gar, Wade, and JP; and from what I can tell, the likenesses are very good.

Now it's your turn! Join us by sharing your art posts here on the Virtual Fridge, and please grab our button for your post to help spread the word!

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Monday, April 16, 2018

YWAM Publishing (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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YWAM Publishing (Blogging Through the Alphabet) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

After so many years of homeschooling, I've had plenty of opportunities to try curriculum and explore all kinds of resources, so during this Blogging Through the Alphabet tour, I'm highlighting some of the many homeschooling resources that have been stand-outs. Sometimes it will be a walk down memory lane as I share something we enjoyed many years ago, and sometimes it will be something we're using currently. Sometimes I'll focus on a specific curriculum, and sometimes on a subject area. And I imagine I'll have to be a bit creative with a couple letters of the alphabet! This week I'm remembering biographies from YWAM Publishing.

YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing is the publishing arm of Youth With A Mission, with a focus on books that feature evangelism, prayer, discipleship, and ministry. Purchases from YWAM Publishing support their evangelism, training, and ministries all over the world. We've read and reviewed books from two of their series. The Christian Heroes: Then & Now series focuses on missionaries, Christian authors, and evangelists like Adoniram Judson, Brother Andrew, and Corrie ten Boom. The Heroes of History series highlights the stories of explorers, inventors, American presidents, and more (examples are Daniel Boone, John Adams, and Ronald Reagan.) A Unit Study Curriculum Guide series provides additional study materials for many of those titles. I had purchased several of the books to use in history studies many years ago (Christopher Columbus and Jim Elliott were a couple of the titles in that personal collection), and we also were able to review three titles. Most recently was the biography of Milton Hershey, and before that we reviewed books about Orville Wright and C.S. Lewis. Here are some brief summaries from those reviews!


YWAM Publishing

Since we live not too far from Hershey, Pennsylvania, we've been there and enjoyed the Hershey Chocolate World tour, and Kennady was interested to know more about the man who gave his name to not just a chocolate company, but to an entire community. So that's why she chose Milton Hershey - More Than Chocolate when this review opportunity came up. Also, we like to involve chocolate in our studies whenever possible! Kennady enjoyed reading this book about Hershey's life, learning how he persevered through many setbacks and apparent failures to reach his goals and become successful. During the time she was reading this book for the review, she updated me almost daily on what she was learning about Hershey's life and how he became interested in making chocolates and candy. We also used parts of the Unit Study Guide.
Kennady says that she's inspired by the fact that Milton Hershey never gave up. He learned from his mistakes and misfortunes and was determined to succeed and prove that he could do great things. And it wasn't just financial and personal success that he achieved, but he was committed to doing the right things and to  doing good for others as well.
Heroes of History from YWAM Publishing - Milton Hershey - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review for the Homeschool Review Crew on @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Heroes of History from YWAM Publishing - Milton Hershey - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review for the Homeschool Review Crew on @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Read our full review here: Heroes of History from YWAM Publishing - Milton Hershey

Heroes of History from YWAM Publishing - Milton Hershey - A Homeschool Coffee Break Review for the Homeschool Review Crew on @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

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Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Review}

An earlier choice for a review was Orville Wright: The FlyerAlthough the book tells the story of both Wright Brothers, it focuses on Orville. We learned about the brothers' childhood, their first business endeavors, and how they became determined to solve the problems of flight and come up with a reliable and safe Flyer. The book highlights Orville's positive character traits such as hard work, perseverance, creativity, and respect, while also telling about the setbacks the brothers faced, and about their mistakes and failings. They also demonstrated commitment to their goals, and persistence in achieving success although they had limited education and limited funds.

The study guide includes many prompts for writing assignments, some for creative writing and some ideas for essays or research. There are many ideas for hands-on projects, such as constructing a model airplane, making timelines or powerpoint presentations, designing postcards, and designing a NASA-style "mission patch" commemorating the first flight. There are a few reproducible activity sheets for map work, timelines, and a biography page. 

Orville Wright: The Flyer - Heroes of History - A Homeschool Coffee Break review of the book and unit study from YWAM Publishing @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Orville Wright: The Flyer - Heroes of History - A Homeschool Coffee Break review of the book and unit study from YWAM Publishing @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


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C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller (Christian Heroes, Then and Now from YWAM Publishing), a review on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Our first review was C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller. Kennady had long been a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia and did know something about the author, but was excited to find out more. 
She greatly enjoyed learning about his fascination with hearing and telling stories, and how he used the stories to talk about truth, faith, and life. Although we knew that Lewis had come to Christian faith as a young man, and that he was friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, we did not know that he had once professed to be an atheist, or that he and Tolkien were members of a small literary group called the 'Inklings'. Kennady and I both were very interested in how Lewis developed the ideas that became his best-known book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. (The Narnia Chronicles are beloved books and movies in our home, by the way!) The image of a faun with an umbrella had originally come to Lewis when he was a teenager; he incorporated that image into a story of a group of evacuee children, and figured out how to work a large wardrobe (one his grandfather had built and carved) and a lion he named Aslan (he'd had recurring dreams about the lion) into the story. All this and so much more is included in the biography, and Kennady found it a fascinating read. 

C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller (Christian Heroes, Then and Now from YWAM Publishing), a review on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller (Christian Heroes, Then and Now from YWAM Publishing), a review on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

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With each of the books, we also received the study guides, and we did some picking and choosing as far as the activities we used. For families who enjoy unit studies, these guides would be a great fit with all the great ideas for hands-on activities, further studies, field trips, and more. We thought that many of the activities might be better suited to a classroom or to a family study, but were easily able to adapt the ones that interested us so that just one student could enjoy and learn from them.

I don't think there's a better biography series for young readers to be inspired and encouraged than these two sets from YWAM Publishing. I love to see these great stories of heroic men and women passed on to a new generation.
By the way, you can stop by the Homeschool Review Crew blog, and see ALL of the YWAM Publishing Reviews that Crew members have done over the past few years! In fact, there's another round of reviews of the YWAM series coming up in just a couple of weeks. There are so many titles to choose from that I recommend browsing the past reviews as well as those coming soon to see which Heroes you'd like to learn about in your homeschool.

Blogging Through the Alphabet again? Yes, I took the challenge, along with several other Crew members, including our three co-hosts for this round - Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool, DaLynn at Biblical Womanhood, and Kirsten at DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life. I think I am finished though, because at this point I have nothing in mind for the letter Z. It's been another wonderful trip through the alphabet, hasn't it? Please say a heartfelt thank you to these bloggers for hosting, and stay tuned because I've heard that Blogging Through the Alphabet will return soon with new hosts!

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet for Week 25, Letter Y.



This post will also be linked at the Homeschool Linky Party on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Homeschool linky party

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