St. Patrick’s Day Ideas for the Whole Family

Even though I do have Irish blood, I don’t remember doing anything special for St. Patrick’s Day growing up. Well, except wearing green to school so no one would pinch me. I always felt sorry for the kids who forgot to wear green, and got pinched so much. I have never really celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with my kids, either.


Don’t pinch me, ok?

So when my kids requested to learn more about St. Patrick’s Day, I turned to the internet for more information.

 

St. Patrick's Day Ideas for the Whole Family

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Ideas for the Whole Family

 

I remember hearing that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Turns out, they weren’t real snakes. Ireland never had any snakes. The pagans used to worshiped serpent symbols. St. Patrick was a Christian missionary. The snakes being driven out of Ireland was symbolic for putting an end to the pagan practice.

 

Do you know why the clover is a symbol of St. Patrick’s day? St. Patrick used the three leaf clover to explain the Trinity. Pretty cool.

 

Here are some links to help you learn more about St. Patrick’s Day, some fun activities to do with the kids, and projects for you!

 

Watch a YouTube video about The History of St. Patrick’s Day.

Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day Online Games

St. Patrick’s Day Activities, Crafts, Recipes & more for everyone from toddlers to adults.

17 Ways to Bring St. Patrick’s Day Into Your Home

 

Corned Beef and cabbage is a traditional dish to eat on St. Patrick’s day. While we don’t usually eat corned beef, we do like cooked cabbage. I also think I am going to make Boxty for supper on St. Patrick’s Day. Pretty sure my family will love it!

 

What do you do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

 

 

What Should Your Homeschool Day Look Like

 

 

That is both a hard and easy question.

 

What should your homeschool day look like?

 

Homeschool moms & dads everywhere struggle with that question.

 

What Should Your Homeschool Day Look Like

 

It’s tough because we want to make sure we fit everything in. All the required school work, the supplemental music, art, sports, church activities, scouting, etc, and family time.

 

I think I have fried a few brain cells over the years trying to answer this question. We started homeschooling kindergarten with our oldest in 1991. We are still homeschooling our youngest. That’s a lot of years, and a lot of homeschool schedules to figure out!

 

~ To make answering this question easier, start with how you want your family’s life to look outside of school hours.

 

Does Dad or Mom have a work schedule that is different from 9-5? Adjust school hours to coincide with the work schedule. Some people do school on the weekends, so the family can have the same days off together.

 

Want to be done with school in the morning so you can have afternoons & evenings free for family time or visiting others?

 

Want mornings free for family time before Dad leaves for work in the afternoon? Start school after Dad leaves, and work into the evening if necessary.

 

~ Then  you will need to decide what activities you will do on school days.

 

Does your homeschool group have classes you attend during the day?When my two oldest were younger, we belonged to a group that had classes one day a week. Some groups meet 2 or 3 days a week.

 

What about sports? Often times, homeschool sports meet during the afternoon or early evening hours. Then games are often during the day. Two of my girls played on a homeschool volleyball team. We had to adjust their schooling schedules around volleyball practices and games for a few months.

 

~ There will also be certain seasons that you may have to curtail outside activities, and have a lighter school work load.

 

Like after a new baby is born, or when someone in the family has a scheduled surgery. Maybe you are going to be taking care of an elderly or sick parent for a time.

 

A schedule doesn’t have to be forever. It may be just for a season. Fall football, winter volleyball, spring soccer. Until Dad or mom’s work schedule changes, or until the baby sleeps through the night.

 

~ There are many activities, and daily living activities that you will need to adjust your homeschool schedule for.

 

By planning what days and times work best for your family, you can make sure everything gets done without the kids, or you, being overwhelmed.

 

Deciding on a schedule that will work for your family is a must do first step. You have to have the schedule written before you get to the fun part. Lesson planning!

 

Fun Eclipse Projects, Maps, Simulator, and Viewing Tips

 

In case, you have missed the news, there will be a total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. This will be the first total eclipse to be visible from the continental US in 40 years. The path of totality will travel across the length of the continent.

 

Fun Eclipse Projects, Maps, Simulator, and Viewing Tips

 

The next total solar eclipse visible from the states will be on April 8, 2024. You can check out this website for other future solar eclipse dates, as well as maps.

 

Use this website to check the Eclipse Time in your area.

 

Use this Eclipse eBook from Apologia to help the kids learn more.

 

Check out these eclipse viewers to make:

 
Printable Pinhole Projectors

 
Make a Box Pinhole Projector

 

Make an eclipse viewer out of a cereal box

 

 

 

Or try using your hands to view the solar eclipse.

 

 

Eclipse Mega Movie Simulator – This is so cool. Type in your city and state, and it will play a video showing what the eclipse will look like where you live.

 

Check out this video from The Weather Channel

 

 

 

Now that we covered the fun stuff, lets cover solar eclipse viewing safety.

NEVER look directly at the sun. Make sure your kids know this, too. If you are in the path of totality, you can safely remove your viewing glasses for the brief moment that the sun is in total eclipse. Then put the glasses back on to view the rest of the eclipse.

Don’t use do it yourself viewing glasses or solar filters to view the eclipse.

Don’t put on solar eclipse viewing glasses and look through binoculars.

 

There are a lot of counterfeit eclipse glasses on the market. Several brands of eclipse viewing glasses have been recalled. Please check where you purchased your glasses to make sure they haven’t been recalled.

You can find out where to purchase eclipse glasses approved by the American Astronomical Society here. NASA also has a list of eclipse viewing safety here.

 

 

 

My Top 5 Tips to Make Your Homeschool Day Easier

 

We will finish our 26th year of homeschooling this year. I started homeschooling our oldest in 1991 when he started kindergarten. I am still homeschooling our youngest that is in 10th grade. That’s a long time! Some days were great. And some days were very, very bad. I learned a few things over the years about how to make my homeschooling life easier.

 

My Top 5 Tips to Make Your Homeschool Day Easier

 

My Top 5 Tips to Make Your Homeschool Day Easier

 

Menu planning
Preparing meals is a large part of our day. planning meals ahead of time makes a huge difference in the amount of time we have to spend in the kitchen. And it saves money, too! Check out some of my dinner menus if you need ideas. When food is ready on time, and the family is fed and happy, there is so much less stress for mom.

 

-Morning routine

Mornings can be hectic! Having a morning routine will help you get a great start to your day. Figure out the top 5 or 6 things that will make the most difference in your day. My morning routine  has things like dressing to shoes (I work better in tied on shoes then in slippers), eating breakfast yourself (moms often feed the kids but don’t take the time to eat themselves) emptying the dishwasher, putting supper in the slow cooker, etc.

Don’t forget to make the kids their own morning routines. Hang their list in a prominent spot where it is easier for them to see and do. Help them to accomplish the tasks at first, like make bed, brush teeth, a household chore or two, working with them until they become self sufficient completing the list.


-Set aside an hour or two as quiet time
– little ones nap, older ones (and you!) rest quietly on their beds and read. You can either nap your self, read, or catch up on work. Quiet work so you don’t wake the kids!

 

Develop an afternoon school routine – include those things that will clean up the school area, put away school supplies, grade papers, file papers, gather all the books and supplies you will need the next day, etc. Whatever you feel needs to be done so you have a less cluttered school area, so you can get a good start the next morning

 

-Enjoy your day! Yes, being responsible for our kids education is serious business. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the journey! Laugh at your little ones attempt at jokes, laugh with your kids about something the baby or toddler just did. Laughing breaks during school are the best kind! Do something fun in the middle of the day. Take pictures of the crazy positions you find your kids in while doing their schoolwork.

 

Don’t let the challenges of homeschooling rob you of the joy of homeschooling!

 

 

5 Fun, Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids

*This post contains affiliate links

 

Valentines’s Day doesn’t have to be just about the candy for kids. Here are some fun activities to do with the kids that don’t involve eating lots of candy. They might eat some cookies that they make themselves, though!

 

5 Fun and Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids

 

5 Fun, Educational Valentine’s Day Activities for Kids

 

Conversation Heart Science Experiments – some fun experiments using those little candy hearts

 

Heart Attack – write nice comments about your kids on hearts and put them on their doors. Have the kids write comments on hearts for their siblings, too.

 

Set up a Valentine Station – put all the crafting supplies needed to make Valentine’s in one place so the kids can easily make their own. You can put everything on one desk, or put all the supplies in a bin that can be carried a table or desk when the kids want to create some fun Valentine’s Day art

 

Valentines Day math with free printable candy heart sorting chart.

 

Practice using fractions while baking cookies – Get the kids in the kitchen and make heart shaped cookies with them. Let them do as much of the measuring and mixing as they are able to. Measuring involves fractions, so it’s the perfect time to discuss them. Let the kids get creative decorating them.

Sharing the cookies they made with others is fun, too!

 

 

 

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click the link, and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

Homeschooling During a Crisis

When we have kids we think everything is going to be all sunshine, kittens, and rainbows. And most of the time it is. Then when we start homeschooling we think that the good times are going to continue. And most of the time they do.

But sometimes, things happen beyond our control. Jobs are lost, kids get diagnosed with diseases, Mom or Dad get really sick. Our worst nightmares sometimes come true.

That was the case for me, when in 2000, my then 5 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. Want to talk about having the rug ripped out from underneath you! Your worst nightmare has been brought to the light of day. And come true.

Whatever your crisis is, whether you are looking for another job, or fighting hard for your child’s health or your own, it takes everything in you to fight. But wait! You homeschool! How can you wage war in this battle and still homeschool? I know I questioned myself. A lot. “How can I keep homeschooling with “this” going on?”

homeschooling in a crisis

I’m here to say you can do. Because I did. And I’m no different from you.

Like in everything else, though, you can’t do it all. Something is going to have to give. Fancy meals will have to be traded for simple, homecooked meals, freezer meals, and sometimes take out. In depth unit studies, detailed science experiments, and lots of field trips will have to be traded for just the basics for a season. It can be done, though. Kids will be fine if they don’t do every experiment or go on every field trip possible.

You will have to set the priorities for your family. Meals, laundry, medical needs, and emotional needs of the children will likely be at the top of your list. Then you can fit in school work in between. Math will be a homeschool priority. You don’t want to get too far behind in math, as it takes too long to catch up. For elementary and middle school aged kids, every other subject can be covered by reading good books. Read aloud when you can, have whoever is watching the other kids while your at doctors appointments or in the hospital read to the kids. The kids can also read for themselves. High schoolers can take responsibility for their own schoolwork and do the majority of their work by themselves. Really. Yes, you are still involved. Picking the curriculum, helping them when they get stuck, correcting their work when needed.  But they can do most of their daily work by themselves.

If you have to take off two weeks because of a hospitalization, the kids will be ok taking an extra two weeks off. Think about it. Over the course of 12 or 13 years of school, is an extra two weeks off going to make a difference? No, it’s not. Even if you take off a week or two several times a year, your kids will still be fine. They will quickly catch up. They will have learned much from reading. Their reading speed and comprehension levels will have increased. This will benefit them in their lessons when they are returned to.

My son received chemo treatments for over three years. During that time, we didn’t do any schoolwork to speak of on clinic days or when he was hospitalized. The remaining kids at home didn’t do any schoolwork on those days either. When my son was diagnosed, our children were 14, 12, 5-the one diagnosed, 3, 2, and almost 3 months old. When he finished treatments three years and three months later, they were 17, 15, 9, 8, 5 and 3. I have been there and done that.

My advice for homeschooling in a crisis is to pray. Then pray some more. Then set your priorities. Daily living, (meals, laundry, etc.), medical needs, (or job hunt, or whatever is needed for your crisis), the emotional needs of the kids. Then school. Relax. Cut your self and your children some slack. If you can barely concentrate on anything because of the overwhelming feelings caused by a crisis, how can your kids concentrate on schoolwork? Circle the wagons. Gather together as a family. Gain strength from each other. Your family can draw closer together and learn much together in a time of crisis. These life and family lessons will be of greater benefit to your children than another science experiment, workbook page, art project, or field trip will be.

You can deal with a crisis and keep homeschooling. I’m living proof.

Our Homeschool Update – Transcripts!

 

Transcripts. Just the word is enough to send a homeschool mom running from the room. Or is that just me?!

 

Our oldest two kids never wanted to go to college. So I never made transcripts for them. The next two graduated in 2013 with neither one planning on going to college. Now, they are both talking about going. Our 5th that graduated in September of this year saying she didn’t want to go to college.

So I had to stop procrastinating, and compile some transcripts! I decided while I was doing the transcripts for the 2 now interested in going to college, I might as well do the one for the most recent graduate. You know, in case she changes her mind like they did!

 

Want to know what I discovered? Transcripts are not that scary after all!

 

I found that there are 2 basic formats for high school transcripts. Classes listed by year, 9th, 10th, etc. And classes listed by subject, Math, Science, etc, with no mention of what year they were taken. I chose to list their classes by subject. Since we school year round, and the kids have the option of doing more work to graduate early, listing classes by subject works better for us. Especially since one student may be working on 10th grade science, 11th grade english, and 9th grade math, for example, all in the same year.

 

You can find samples of both styles online. If you are a member of Home School Legal Defense Association, they have editable PDFs that you can download and use.

 

Now that I have 3 transcripts under my belt, I just need to get my last student to finish his daily work. If there were credits given out for trying the hardest to get out of school work, he would earn them all! Our oldest son  gave me a run for my money while he was in high school, but this youngest son just might be the one to finish me off!

 

Ok, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic. lol But it is wearing on me that he doesn’t care if he gets behind. While I have always let my kids work at their own pace, I don’t like for them to get behind. If he doesn’t step up his pace, he will be on the verge of getting behind in my eyes.

 

I’ve been trying to find out what motivates him to work faster. So far, I have found nothing. I don’t give up that easy, though!

 

So…… have you been working on your students high transcripts through out their high school years, or are you like me and waited until they were finished? Something I don’t recommend, by the way!

 

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