Thursday

Scholé is Your Homeschool's Fairy Godmother

 

Once upon a time, there was a homeschool mom, frazzled, worn out, snappy to her children, and generally feeling defeated. Her two stepsisters, Worry and Fear, were constantly making snide comments to her about her effectiveness at educating her children.

“Aren’t you worried that they will fall behind their peers?” questioned Worry.

“Aren’t you afraid that they can’t get into college?” asked Fear.

“Aren’t you worried you are forgetting to teach them something important?” interrogated Worry.

“Aren’t you afraid they are too sheltered?” queried Fear.

The stepsisters were so awful that they even got the townspeople to harass the homeschool mom when she was out and about with her kids. At the market she’d hear, “What about socialization?” At the park someone would ask her, “Are you qualified to do this?”

Every night the homeschool mom would collapse in front of the fireplace out of exhaustion and cry herself to sleep. The next morning she’d wake up determined not to prove Fear, Worry, and the townspeople correct. She purchased curriculum for at least 12 different subjects to make sure she didn’t leave anything out. When she found out what the local schools were doing, she decided to add a couple more subjects she hadn’t thought about. She came up with beautifully regimented schedules to make sure she could cram everything into their day. When the children took too long she would shout, “Hurry up! We still have 5 subjects to complete!” When the children interrupted to relate a story or ask a question, she responded in a brisk manner, “We’ll deal with that later. Right now focus on math.” By the end of the day, the homeschool mom and the children felt stressed, uninspired, and no longer wanted to even be in the same room with each other.

After months of this routine, the homeschool mom walked out into the backyard one evening. She realized that she couldn’t do it anymore. She would have to put the kids in school. She felt she was an abysmal failure and knew she was turning into a tyrannical mother that she didn’t even recognize. As she looked up at the moon and contemplated enrolling the kids on the morrow, she heard the sound of tinkling bells behind her. Turning around, an astonishing sight greeted her!

A tall, statuesque woman dressed in Grecian robes with a laurel wreath crown stood in front of her. She smiled serenely at the homeschool mom, “I have come to assist you in your desire to educate your children. My name is Scholé and I am your homeschool’s fairy godmother.”

“My homeschool has a fairy godmother?” the homeschool mom asked incredulously.

“Absolutely. In fact my name, Scholé, is where your English word school originated. My name’s meaning has long since departed from any form of school that I’ve seen,” smirked the fairy godmother, “but I’m here to help you turn your homeschool into a place of rest and leisure which is what my name means. So tell me, homeschool mom, what would your dream homeschool day look like?”

The homeschool mom proceeded to outline days spent in deep conversation and contemplation, quiet afternoons spent curled up on the couch reading from great books, diving into learning with eagerness, and ending the days feeling pleased and confident.

When she finished her five minute speech, Scholé burst into laughter. “You know this isn’t a fairy tale right? I can’t make every day like that. You are merely human as are your children. You will still have rough days, even bad ones, but I can help you transform your homeschool into something that comes closer to that vision,” promised the fairy godmother.

“Here’s what I can give you. I can help you prioritize the things that are important in this world: truth, beauty, and goodness. I can help you determine what curriculum and books will cultivate those traits in both you and your children. I can help you focus on the end goal, which is not college or perfect scores on a test, but helping your children be the best adults they can be. I can help you silence the voices of those stepsisters of yours by giving you the confidence that even though your school might not look like anyone else’s, you are walking this path knowing that it is not a sprint, but a marathon. I can transform your homeschool days by giving you peace that you are educating your children at their pace and to their strengths despite what the grade level on the book says.”

“Yes,” cried the homeschool mom in despair, “I want that! What do I need to do?”

“You need to throw out what you believe school to be,” answered Scholé, “and learn what teaching from a place of rest is. Not rest meaning that you are doing nothing, but rest in that you are doing everything that needs to be done for the goal of nurturing souls.”

“I will, Fairy Godmother! I will!” asserted the homeschool mom. “And since you mentioned transformation earlier,” she asked sheepishly, “is there any way you could transform me to look like you?”

“Oh, honey, remember this isn’t a fairy tale!” Scholé responded saucily over her shoulder as she glided away to the next homeschool in desperate need of leisure and rest.



I hope you enjoyed my autobiographical description of how I learned about scholé. If you’d like to read some other great definitions of what this teaching from rest and leisurely homeschooling is all about check out my fellow Everyday Scholé blog buddies:

     
       
 Do your homeschool days resemble the before or after transformation above?
Let me know in the comments below.

Chelli

Homeschool Coupons for Back to School

Every year on the day our local public schools start back, we have our very own Not Back to School Party which usually involves eating out for breakfast, a trip to the big city to visit a museum or the zoo, and I try to come up with a fun way to kick off our school year. Last year I created a Homeschool Supplies Scavenger Hunt which the kids LOVED! In fact, the minute they noticed the school supplies being rolled out in the stores, they started asking if we were doing the scavenger hunt again. We had technically already started back to school for the year at that point, so new school supplies had already been purchased and were in use, but I wanted to do another scavenger hunt with them. But what would be the prize at the end?

Since Grace is participating in her first homeschool classes two days a week this year, I will be doing quite a bit of schooling at local libraries with the kids, which obviously means they need some cute backpacks. I’d never bought backpacks for them before, but that seemed like the perfect prize to be waiting at the end of our library scavenger hunt (yes, we’re doing it in the library this year so they can practice some library skills while hunting). Knowing how my kids think, though, the first thing they will do when they find the backpacks is open them expecting something to be inside. I didn’t want to spend more money, so instead I came up with Homeschool Coupons, and they are going to be perfect!


There are 19 coupons in all with two of them being “free” days where your child can choose what to do. The coupons include things like having ice cream for lunch, going bowling instead of having science class, skipping your least favorite subject for the day, etc. I know that the kids are going to have so much fun with these! However to make sure things didn’t get too out of hand, I have a disclaimer on the front of the coupon pack that says only one coupon may be turned in each week, including siblings’ coupons. So my kids are going to have to work together to decide exactly who is getting to use their coupon that week.


I’ve thought of a few ways to use these coupons. I hole-punched ours and put them on a binder ring. I gave each girl their own set of coupons while Levi is getting the four “Your Choice” coupons out of his sisters’ coupon books. You could also take the 19 coupons and divide them among your children so they all have different ones personalized for them. Another way to use these would be for good behavior/attitude rewards. Put all the coupons in a basket and allow your child to draw one out each week if they’ve had good attitude and behavior during school time.

I can’t wait for my kids to get their Homeschool Coupon books in a couple of weeks! And because I love my blog readers, you can download yours right now though; just click on the link below.


What fun things do you do to get your children excited about starting a new homeschool year?

Chelli

Friday

Living Book Chemistry Plans for Elementary

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When I asked my kids what they wanted to study for science this year, they both said that they wanted to “blow things up,” which I took to understand that they wanted to learn about chemistry. Being a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool, I knew I wanted to use living books as much as possible to study chemistry. In case you were curious, this is very difficult to do with a third grader and sixth grader, but I came up with what I feel is a great selection of books to introduce chemistry to younger learners.


We are not exploring every facet of chemistry, but instead I wanted to focus on beginning exposure since this was the first time either of my girls had ventured into the chemical realm at all. My goal is to have the girls understand the states of matter, atoms, molecules, compounds, solutions, elements, periodic table, and how chemistry influences our lives. We start our three week study on Monday, but I wanted to share my plans in advance. I’ll come back and rate how things worked later.

Read Aloud Books for Both

The How and Why Wonder Book of Chemistry : Our spine for most of the study. This book is older, but easy to understand with nice pictures and not too much text.

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter : Believe it or not, there is actually a fictional book about chemistry! I’m looking forward to reading this one to the girls as much as anything else we are studying just to see how chemistry works as a plot line.

What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases : The Let’s Read and Find Out science books are some of my favorites and this one is perfect for introducing the states of matter to elementary age kids.

A Drop Of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder : If nothing else the stunning photographs in this book make it a must have! Learning about one of the most important molecules on our planet makes it educational.

What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? : A super cute and informative picture book to help kids understand exactly how tiny atoms and their parts are. This one even helped me visualize the size of atoms.

The Story of Salt : I love this picture book because it combines chemistry (NaCl) with history to teach children in a fun way how chemistry can actually shape world history.

The Day-Glo Brothers : This fun book is about two brothers who used chemistry to invent day-glo colors that are used to day for safety vests, signs, etc. It’s best to read this book under a black light for maximum awesomness!

Independent Reads

Exploring the World of Chemistry: From Ancient Metals to High-Speed Computers : Grace will be reading one chapter every day from this book, which traces the history of chemistry from ancient times to present day.  She loves the Tiner books because of their conversational tone.

Marie Curie's Search for Radium : Sophia is reading this one to me very slowly over the course of our study. It’s slightly above her reading level which is why we are taking our time with it. Marie Curie was such an amazing woman that I can’t wait for Sophia to read this one!

Experiment Books

Fizz, Bubble & Flash!: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! : This book has experiments organized by element. We’re using it to do three experiments.

Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself : A fun way to explore chemistry and get in the kitchen. We’re using this book to do four experiments.

Documentaries



BBC Discovering the Elements: A three part series that is difficult to find but gets rave reviews!

For Fun

The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book : Perfect to help kids who love art and coloring to learn.

Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe : Gorgeous pictures and good information about how every element is used in our world today.

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! : Fun book that creates cartoon characters for each of the elements.

Quick Six Elements Game: A great way to help kids become familiar with the elements and the periodic table.

Hopefully this list will help some of you who might be struggling to add some living books into your chemistry studies! You can download my plans for how I make all of this work together over the course of three weeks here.

What subject have you found difficult to teach through living books?
Chelli