While we have been homeschooling all summer, it is back to school for almost everyone else this month. As homeschoolers, we don’t have the resources and extra supplies provided for us. It can get very expensive to buy all the different things you might need.
After a few years, I’ve learned there are many things we do not need and a few homeschool supplies that just make homeschooling easier. Here are a few of our favorite supplies.
I’ve had a few questions and comments made in regards to my kids having time to socialize so I thought I would repost this post from May 2015. It still rings true today.
Homeschool Socialization – 5 Places We Socialize
When the concept of homeschooling first entered my mind, I must admit the thought of homeschool socialization was a concern. How would they know how to interact with others? Would they have friends? Would they end up not knowing how to act with other children?
Yes. These thoughts actually ran through my head.
Looking back now, it’s ridiculous that I even worried about socialization. But, just as it was a concern in my mind, it is one of the biggest questions I get when I tell people we homeschool. It’s almost like they think because we homeschool we have no friends.
Much to their surprise, my kids are, many times, more social than the other children. Sunshine is the first to walk up to another child she thinks might be fun to play with, and ask them their name. She’s not shy in the least. I can’t think of one park we’ve been to where she hasn’t made new friend almost immediately. Mister Man is the same way he just takes a bit longer to open up.
Because we homeschool, they are not around children all the same age, day in and day out. But that in no way means they are not socializing. Here are some of the many ways we socialize.
We keep our kids active and have been very fortunate to be put on great sport teams. Both kiddos make friends, have fun, and are interacting with peers. Team sports also teach them life skills, such as working together, taking turns, strategy, and sportsmanship.
Play dates are a big part of our life. The beauty of homeschooling is that you have more time for these fun play dates. These are great ways for them to interact with other kids their age and older/younger. Luckily we have quite a few friends (homeschool and traditional school families) in our area so play dates are a weekly part of our lives.
Just a simple trip to a park provides another great place for the kiddos to interact with a mix of ages. Both kiddos are quick to find a few kids to play with and the fun begins.
Our church has a great Children’s Liturgy of the Word, which both of our kiddos attend during mass. Between Children’s Liturgy, donuts after mass and just playing outside they’ve met quite a few new friends. The beauty of this outlet, is they are being brought up in the same Catholic faith we are raising our kids with so they have many of the same values and morals. They are also attending vacation bible school for the first time this year which should be a fun week with many new friendships kindled.
Never underestimate the power of extended family. This is the best socialization there is. Cousins many times become the best of friends. There is no other friendship more important than family in my mind.
Socialization may take a bit more effort on the parents part, but it also allows more socialization within different peer groups and ages. This allows them to grow and learn in many different environments and to create friendships through many outlets. Plus we can focus on school and socialization separately instead of having it all run together.
Now it’s your turn, how do your kids socialize while homeschooling?
Audio books and stories are a hit or miss. Many times we start an audio book only to realize the reader is not wonderful and we end up abandoning the audiobook. I’ve learned to do a bit of research before just choosing any audiobook. One company we love to listen to is Heirloom Audio Productions. We’ve listened to many of their audiobooks so the kids and I were excited to listen to their newest addition In the Reign of Terror.
About In the Reign of Terror:
In the Reign of Terror takes place during the French Revolution. The audio book follows a family during the revolution and addresses the reasons this war is not like others. From a Christian viewpoint, In the Reign of Terror, like all of Heirloom Audio Production’s audio dramas, takes the listener on a journey and helps them to see God in the midst of history. In the Reign of Terror is adapted from the book of the same name written by G.A. Hently.
How We Used It:
We listened to the audio book in the car on longer car rides. The two-and-a-half hour drama was broken into 20-30 minute chunks which is perfect for keeping their attention. After they had listened we discussed what we had heard.
This is also the time to use the study guide that accompanies the audio book. I chose to read ahead in the study guide, rather than use it directly with my kids. This allowed me to be prepared with some questions and have the extra information about the French Revolution available. Because I was prepared, it helped to make sure the kids were understanding while telling me their narrations and it led to a few extra discussions as well.
As with the many other Heirloom Audio Productions, we loved In the Reign of Terror. I felt that the kids were getting a history lesson, character lesson and more in a great audio book. They were always wishing we didn’t have to get out of the car. So I would call it a win-win situation! I am sure we will be listening to this many times.
If you are a fan of Heirloom Audio Productions as well, they just began a great new program Live the Adventure Club. This club allows you to receive their newest audio dramas before they go on sale, as well as access additional content and resources online.
If you’d like to read more about In the Reign of Terror check out the crew review here:
My kids have grown to love grammar, but it can get monotonous. As with many other subjects I am always looking for ways to mix it up. The English Grammar Teaching Method from English on a Roll has been a fun addition to our weekly routine.
About English on a Roll:
English on a Roll uses multiple senses to keep your child engaged in their learning experience. The English Grammar Teaching Method works for visual, auditory, and tactile learners in each lesson. This creates a good learning experience for all kids involved and saves you time in finding multiple curriculums to meet your childrens’ needs.
How We Used It:
We used the English on a Roll as a supplement to our normal grammar program. Grammar has always been something we do daily even though it was not a necessary part of our curriculum.
Before each day’s lesson I made copies of the worksheets (which is covered by a copyright), pulled out the necessary cubes and read through the lesson.
The cubes took a little bit of time in finding at first. Mostly because there are many different cubes within the box. Luckily they are color coordinated which saved a bit of time. After a few lessons, it was pretty easy to find the cubes I needed and this was not as much of a burden.
The lessons are geared towards classroom use, but I did not have any problem changing them up a bit to make them work for my two kiddos. Most of the lessons didn’t need much adjusting, but if you only had one child, you may need to make a few more adjustments.
We followed the manual in our format. Starting with the concepts and handouts, and the use of the auditory and visual senses. Once I felt that they had a pretty good understanding of what we discussing that day, we moved on to the games and conversations. This was the more tactile part of the lessons. Finally we moved onto the worksheet and writing portion again a bit of tactile and visual.
For most lessons we needed less than 20 minutes, which was just enough time to get the lesson taught and understood before they lost interest or began daydreaming.
I felt that English on a Roll was a fun addition to our normal grammar and I think it could be a good grammar program to teach the basics. My kids were quite a bit further along so we combined a few lessons more to just review than to re-teach the concepts.
The teaching handouts were well laid out and easy to follow. I loved that I could copy them and let the kids keep them as a reference sheet.
My kids enjoyed working with the cubes the most. They were a fun way to practice sentence structure without completely diagraming a sentence and they did a great job of keeping the kids focused on the lesson. They may not have even noticed they were learning 😉
The worksheets were easy to follow, but the graphics could have been neater. I was disappointed by the elementary line drawings of stick figures. I felt these made them a bit too childish. That being said, the worksheets themselves were a good way to round out the lessons and my kids had no problem finishing the worksheets without complaining.
If you are looking to add an interactive program to your grammar curriculum, this would be a good program to use. I do think the English on a Roll program would work well for anyone starting grammar. It is a good base for grammar but if have been doing grammar for a little while, look closely at the lesson outlines, they may be a lot of review for you as well.
Learn more aboutEnglish on a Roll with some great reviews by our review crew here:
I have a love hate relationship with craft projects. I love giving my kids the freedom to create, I hate the mess it creates. My kids however, have only a love relationship with crafts and for this reason I am always looking for new ways to expand their craftiness. Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit from ACTÍVA Products is another addition to our craft supply cabinet.