When I had two kiddos, I was able to sit down more often and crank out great blog posts about what we'd been up in our homeschool - things we were learning, activities I had planned, crafts we'd made...you get the idea. Now with five (one of them currently a newborn) I find that I am fortunate to get to blog a couple times a month...and occasionally it's about homeschooling! :) I'm also finding that Instagram is much more easy for me at this stage in life - I can snap a picture, share a couple thoughts on it, and BAM - I'm done. (If you're on there, feel free to send me a follow request
!) However, I had a few moments today and thought I'd share how our homeschooling has been going.
We started our school year back in August. We've switched up some of our curriculum
. I added in a few workbooks I picked up here & there. We are LOVING Story of the World. It's a really great History curriculum and I love the variety of activities it has. The kids finished up Book-It and Zeke has really impressed me with the amount of books he read each month. (Isn't it so funny that I used to worry about him not being able to read...and now I have to tell him to STOP reading sometimes???) Zeke didn't care for the Math program I had picked - it just wasn't a good fit for him - but he's now using and loving Khan Academy. I like that it updates me on his progress & that he's becoming more independent. Ellie is also doing some independent computer work - she's been using Starfall and Reading Eggs to practice her reading and phonics.
And speaking of independence, I've been trying to work with both the older kids on being more self-sufficient at their schoolwork and doing some things around the house - helping with meals, independent chores, etc. Not that I don't want to teach them or expect them to do everything around the house, I just want them to be able to work on some things independently - especially since we're at a point in time where my hands are very full, very frequently. I'm finding this difficult to be honest with you but I know it's a work in progress.
We participated in a small co-op group made up of a few local families and have done a book club, art class, LEGO Club, and a few other activities. We also joined a larger co-op group in a neighboring town and have really enjoyed it. We've just been referring to it as "school" because it reminds me a bit of a "mini-school." The kids arrive at 8:30 and assemble in a large room, listen to announcements, and then say the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and Bible. Someone prays and then the kids head off to three hours of classes, which they LOVED. Zeke took a class on Presidents and another on Building With Legos, and then he had a free hour (the other classes were full) which he spent either doing one-on-one work with me or visiting with friends. Ellie took Sea Animals, World Cultures, and another class on Animals. (Which is great because one of Ellie's current obsessions is animals!) They've both learnt SO much - presidents are one of Zeke's favorite topics still and Ellie always came home telling me about the different countries around the world and their customs. I helped in the nursery room and was a fill-in for other helpers as needed. Today was our last day of the semester and the kids are already looking forward to the fall!
I'm pretty happy with how our homeschool year has gone. We've gotten "behind" here recently but I feel that's understandable, given the new baby. Husband and I are preparing to go the IAHE (Indiana Association of Home Educators) homeschool convention this weekend and I'm really looking forward to hearing the different speakers and seeing all the different vendors.
The 2016 IAHE Convention is coming up VERY soon - April 29 and 30 - and I wanted to share my thoughts on prepping for the convention! Here are some common questions:To Bring the Kids Or Not?
This is largely a personal decision that depends on the individual person and their family. In the past, we have chosen to only bring our littlest baby at the time. This works for us. However, I know others that bring their whole family - kids, grandparents, everybody gets to come! The IAHE has a great teen program (I know the people IRL that are running it!) and they also offer kid-friendly activities that will be going on throughout the day. I say, whatever works for you and yours. If you're wanting to have some alone time or some one-on-one time with your spouse, go for it! If you want to make it a family thing, do it!
What Do I Need To Bring?
This also might vary from person to person but here's what I find to be essential:
- Comfortable Clothes and Shoes - The exhibit hall is big so there's quite a bit of walking! And you'll want to be comfortable during the different speaker sessions.
- Pen and paper - I always like to take notes during the speaker workshops. And of course, you can also use it to jot down curriculum ideas/choices.
- A list of your kiddos and their subjects/grades - When you're shopping, you don't want to have to try and recall what books you may or may not have...go ahead and write it down ahead of time, and make sure to note anything you want to check out at the convention in person.
- Snacks and a water bottle - I have friends that also bring their lunch and store it in the car until they're ready to eat. (There are food options in the exhibit hall as well but everyone is different.)
- A baby carrier and/or stroller for your baby - This obviously only applies if you're bringing kiddos but I personally bring both - a stroller and a carrier - because then I have different options. And because of the next essential....
- An extra bag/wheeled carrier/rolling cart/tote bag - You need something to carry your purchases in! The convention hall is FULL of great vendors, many of whom are supporting the IAHE and who may offer certain deals just for the convention! I have lots of friends who bring a rolling cart which they leave in their vehicle until lunch time and then go get when they're ready to shop. My stroller comes in handy for this - I can put my purchases in the bottom of it where the storage compartment is.
- Cash - For purchases and parking. Most vendors will accept credit or debit cards but having cash on hand is a good idea for those that don't or for something unexpected.
Why Should I Go To The Convention? There are many reasons! Not only is the exhibit hall shopping a great opportunity to see curriculum and teaching tools in person and get great deals, but it's also a great time to see other homeschooling families and possibly make friends or talk homeschooling with others who are "in the trenches." Not only that, but the speaker lineup is simply fantastic - Hal & Melanie Young, Kendra & Andy Fletcher, Andrew Pudewa, T.C. Stallings, Linda Hobar, and soooo many more! They'll be speaking on a TON of different subjects and there's something for everyone: single parents, brand new homeschooling parents, parents of preschoolers, parents of high schoolers, dads, history buffs, parents of struggling learners, work at home parents, parents of special needs kids...the list goes on! ALSO: "The IAHE Convention is the ONLY convention that dedicates its proceeds to the benefit of Indiana home educators." So by going to and supporting the convention (buying things there, participating in the different events, etc.) you are directly helping home education in Indiana! And as someone else reminded me this year - all your purchases from the exhibit hall help to ensure that those exhibitors come back to next year's convention!
So if you haven't already, go purchase your convention pass NOW! Online registration is only open until this Sunday April 17th! In addition to the great speakers and exhibit hall shopping, this year there are also several pre-convention events going on that you might want to take note of!
On Thursday April 28th, the following events will be taking place:
- A Cookies and Canvas
class will be offered from 10 AM - noon for adults and kids 8 and over. Local homeschooler and artist Cindy Miller will be guiding class participants step-by-step on how to recreate a painting. (I've seen her art - it's AMAZING!) And seriously...only $20 for supplies, professional instruction, snacks, and you don't have to clean up or provide anything, other than yourself? That rocks.
- A Bible Journaling & Scripture Art
class will be offered from 1 - 3 PM for adults and kids ages 12 and older. Come learn more about this amazing way to study your Bible or illustrate your faith through art. Bring a Bible, something to take notes on, and a pen. The cost is $20 with all other needed materials supplied.
- A special dessert reception entitled Marriage Matters
will be held from 6:30 - 9 PM. It costs $25 per couple and will feature convention speakers Hal & Melanie Young
and Andy & Kendra Fletcher
- IEW’s High School Essay Intensive with Andrew Pudewa
is a one-day seminar for high school students and teachers. It will be held from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. It provides tips and experience on high school essay writing, text analysis, and college application essays. The cost is $50 per student, $25 for an accompanying adult.
- At 7 PM, a FREE How to Homeschool
workshop will be offered. Veteran homeschool parents will be sharing an overview of home education in Indiana and then providing time for a Q&A session. Yes! You Can Homeschool!
is a great place to start if you're considering homeschooling.
These events do require pre-registration which you can do HERE
. All these events will be held in the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana Fairgrounds and there is free parking!