Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Number 1 Reason NOT to Homeschool

Dear prospective homeschooling mum,

I got the comment I knew I would this month- did you?

"Well, I guess I can understand homeschooling better now."

In the wake of tragedy, it seems suddenly a lot more sane to people who always secretly consider us- me, you- kinda crazy.

But if you are reading this, and you're wondering about homeschooling, about whether it might be right for you and your family, please, please- I beg you- bear this in mind:

God does not want you to make decisions out of fear.

Homeschooling, at it's finest, is not a fear-based choice, a knee-jerk reaction to the ugliness and danger of
the world. 

And I've seen families where it was, and it is not a good thing. 

Homeschooling ought to be a choice of freedom, love, joy, and togetherness.  That's the number "1" thing I wish I could share with every prospective homeschooler.  O sure, it's nice to avoid some of the things kids pick up on the playground.  Nice to avoid competition over tennis shoes and Trapper Keepers (or whatever it is that's all the rage these days).  But to choose homeschooling because you are afraid of the alternatives... it's a dangerous thing.

Dangerous?  Yes, dangerous. 

So think about what God wants for you, and remember that he has "thoughts of peace, and not of evil" for you and your family in 2013.

All the best,
Maureen and breadwithhoney

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."  ~Bill Vaughan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

We at Growing Your Homeschool want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!  We will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks so that we can enjoy this blessed time with our families.  Merry Christmas and we look forward to connecting with all of you in January!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Making Mid-Year Adjustments

In two weeks, we'll usher in a new year.
With bells, whistles, toasts, and well wishes another year will start.
The new year promises much to many:
a new start
a chance to do things better
a fresh year

But, it isn't really a new school year for most of us. The majority of us will be about half-way through our school year when 2013 begins. However, just because you are half way through a school year, it doesn't mean you can't make any changes or make things better. It doesn't mean you can't have a fresh start in your homeschool.

In the following two weeks, evaluate your school year.
How is it going? Be honest.

Are you and your children in a comfortable routine?
Do they still have an excitement for learning?
Are your children challenged, but progressing well?
- or -
Have the days become laborious?
Is there more stress and strain than joy?
Is your schedule cramped, allowing no time for hobbies or free time?

Aren't sure? Ask your children. They will give you valuable feed back.

Perhaps your days are a combination of good and bad.
Some variation is normal. On the other hand, if you find your school year is slowly (or quickly) crumbling into a monotony of strain with no joy, then might I suggest you make a change?

Find out what is wrong.
Do you need to change your curriculum, approach, or method?
Do you simply need to slow down and find a better rhythm for your days?
Do you just need this Christmas break to refuel and refresh yourselves?

Make a change.
Take that needed break.
Alter your schedule or lesson plans.
Chose a new curriculum, approach or method.

Whether you need to make any changes or not, a mid-year review is always beneficial. After all, how will you know if your homeschool needs adjustments or not, if you don't evaluate it from time to time? A mid-year break offers an ideal time to evaluate and make adjustments.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Writing with Your Children at Christmas

I don't know about everybody else, but I am tired.  I imagine a lot of homeschoolers are tired at this time of the year and ready for a little break.  Christmas is a wonderful time to slow down and try to make things more fun at home (if we are not already!) 

Writing with your children can be extra fun at this time of the year.  It doesn't have to be structured, or even just need a little writing prompt to start.  It is a good time to practice.

As I was preparing for writing this post, I did a little brainstorming of my own.  One thing that came to mind was that movie, A Christmas Story. In the movie, Ralphie is asked to write a "theme" about what he wants for Christmas.  This could be a starting point for your little ones too.

To practice writing this month, you and your children could brainstorm a list of ideas or "writing prompts" and write about a new one everyday.  When they are finished, put all the writing together and make a little book.  At the end of the year, you will have a writing sample, something to demonstrate progress from year to year, and maybe a little keepsake.

Ideas for writing prompts:

What I Want For Christmas

Why Christmas is Special to Me

My Favorite Christmas Movie

My Favorite Bible Verse at Christmas

What I Want to Bake with My Mom at Christmas

Before you even get started, you might create a book, so that each day's writing can just be recorded in the book.  One fun idea that comes to mind is to cut out a construction paper Christmas tree.  Cut the front and back of the book out of green construction paper and fill the pages in between with regular writing paper shaped like trees.  It is your child's project.  Let them make it their own.

If you need help with writing prompts, just google "Christmas writing prompts."  Another option for writing ideas is to read Christmas stories and have your child write a response to their favorites.  There are so many things you can do with writing at Christmas.

Many blessings to you and Merry Christmas!


"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”-Luke 1:31-33

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Looking for Guest Bloggers

Today, we would like to extend a special opportunity to our readers.  We are looking for some guest bloggers for this spring.  We welcome posts on homeschooling, parenting, and homemaking.

We ask that you follow these guidelines with your submissions:

*Articles must be original submissions and not posted anywhere else (including your own blog/website).  We would love for you to include a teaser for the post on your own blog, but the entire article may only be published on Growing Your Homeschool.*Please be sure to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
*If you submit photos with your article, they must be your own photos and you must allow us copyright permission to use them.
*Include a short bio, with a link to your own blog/website, at the end of the post.

We reserve the right to decline to publish any submission and to edit accepted submissions.

All submissions can be emailed to with Growing Your Homeschool Guest Post in the subject line.  We will respond as soon as possible.  However, since it is now the holiday season, responses may take longer than normal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cooking with Children

I love cooking with my girls and cooking for them.  Christmas is a fabulous time for special cooking activities.  Today, I would like to share a few fun Christmas cooking ideas with you.  I have provided photos of the food I have cooked and links to blog posts for other fun ideas.

Christmas Tree Cupcake Cake

Christmas Pizza

Rudolph Pancake

Peppermint Playdough

What fun things are you cooking with (or for) your children this Christmas?

Marla is a former special education teacher and current PhD student and stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two little girls (ages 2 and 4).  She blogs about homeschooling at Marla's Motherhood Musings and her family's experiences living in Zambia at Our Life in Lusaka.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homeschool Christmas Ideas & Link-Up

Christmas is quickly approaching and its time to delve into all those great ideas we have found on the internet. Whether it was through a website, blog, or Pinterest, the ideas themselves range from doable-for-any-normal-mom to must-be-super-hero-homeschooling-mom-to-pull-this-off. Personally, I try the doable ideas and simply admire the others. Today, we've pulled together some of the Homeschool Christmas ideas and put them into one post. There is space for your own great ideas, too. Please link them below.

Homeschool Lessons and Reference Materials
Christmas Across the Curriculum
The Origin of Different Symbols of Christmas
Feliz Navidad: A Mexican Christmas Unit
Christmas Unit Study Resources
Christmas Around the World Coloring Book, by Joan O'Brien
Christmas Around the World, by Mary D. Lankford

Thoughts and Resources
Meditation on Gentleness, at Christmastime
Giving Begins at Home
Preserving Memories
Homeschooling on Vacation
Gifts for Homeschooling Families

Christmas Music in Books
We Three Kings, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
The Little Drummer Boy, illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats
The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Carol, Tomie dePaola
The 12 Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song, written by Helen Haidle and illustrated by Laura Knorr
Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart, by Bobbie Wolgemuth and Joni Eareckson Tada
Silent Night: The Song and Its Story, by Margaret Hodges
Good King Wenceslas, illustrated by Christopher Manson

Christmas Past in Books
O Christmas Tree: Its History and Holiday Traditions, written by Jacqueline Farmer
Franklin and Winston: A Christmas that Changed the World, by Douglas Wood
When Washington Crossed the Delaware, by Lynne Cheney

Ideas for Advent
Jesse Tree
Truth in the Tinsel
Advent Activities File Folder
Shepherd's Pouches
Tubular Advent Wreath
Making Advent Wreaths for Kids
Traditional Advent Calendar

Craft Ideas
Simple Christmas Crafts for Preschoolers
Recycle and Repurpose Old Greeting Cards {12 ideas}
Yarn Christmas Ornaments
Christmas Banner Craft
Rubber Stamped Wrapping Paper

Heart Warming Stories to Share
Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story, by Cynthia Rylant
An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco
Christmas Tapestry, by Patricia Polacco
Just in Time For Christmas, by Louise Borden
Coal Country Christmas, written by Elizabeth Ferguson Brown

For After Your Christmas Break
Getting Back in the Swing
Beginning Again After a Holiday Break

Other Great Ideas:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Seeds of Wisdom - Homeschooling During the Christmas Season

It is no doubt, Christmas can be a very busy season. With decorating, baking, shopping, visiting, and parties, just how do you ensure you get 'everything,' including homeschooling, done?

Aurie ~ We have a light school schedule during December on purpose. We are using the Nativity Story as a basis for homeschool and building around that. We'll bake cookies as part of school, and plan field trips for light displays, angel tree gifts and Sesame Place during our regular school days. Our goal this season is to savor the moments instead of rushing from one thing to the next.

Marla ~ We do "fun school" in December and mostly do Bible lessons and art projects. I also consider helping me with Christmas shopping and making homemade gifts as "schooling" for my girls.

Beth ~ I am like the other girls, and everything we do will be related to Christmas and making the celebration one to remember. We will incorporate activities such as Christmas recipes into our homeschool. Books, movies, and music included in homeschool will be related to Christmas. The Nativity is set up for the kids to play with. Education is always taking place, even if "scheduled" learning is not.

Do you have any tips for homeschooling during the Christmas season? We'd love to hear them.


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