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Great Educational Extras Online

Wow, it is really important to know yourself, hey? I am either a *do a lot* or *do nothing* blogger. I don't do a *little* well. I have been busy - like all of you, I am sure, getting back to home schooling our children this fall. Just been busy - getting everything going and done.

BUT September has been a great month already! We have gone full speed ahead with our home educating plan. I have added in some online educational links for our girls - all of which are working well. (Both of them are already blogging - a great writing extra!

One of the first things I did this fall was this great Learning Assessment for all of us.
Both of our girls like Free Rice - It is great for review. They keep track of how many grains of rice they earn a day - almost always aim for 500 to 1000 grains of rice. (You earn 10 grains of rice for every right answer and the rice you earn is donated to needy people in third world countries. Neat idea.) I encourage them to try different sections often.
One daughter LOVES Lumosity, which is like a brain gym / logic website. It isn't a free website (most of the others mentioned here are free), but it has been a wonderful extra in our home.
I also signed up for a Canadian Current Events Newsletter through our Home School Board. It is pretty affordable - $20 per student. There are 3 different age categories. We have really enjoyed the discussions and activities we have done for the first newsletter. (I know I looked at the first newsletter and was praying about how to include it in our month. There are 36 pages - on 4 different topics. I realized the easiest way for us, would be to cover one topic a week and that is working really well for us! ) The first topic was on the Tsunami in Japan, and the biggest Garbage Patch in the World - out in the Ocean. That was horrific to see and has really inspired us to cut down on our plastic purchasing.
They also are doing a Bible Study online with . It is non-denominational and looks really good. There are different levels for the different ages AND your children can do it online OR have the lessons mailed out.
I'm also thinking of Spark Teens, which covers nutrition, exercise tracking and more. It looks good, too.
They have never done this much online, but they are both older and I think all of the above websites have value. They are great extras. (Oh, and I trust our girls to do what they are supposed to be doing. ALWAYS pay attention to what your children are doing online!) Happy Home Educating!

Back to Home School Tips

Hi there - Hope you are enthused and ready to Home School your children this fall.  Thought I would share some links I have come across recently - just some fun little extras that would add to your home education plans this week!

National Read a Book Day is on Sept. 6. This blogger suggests making bookmarks to celebrate it!

Here is a great printable - Calendar Connections.  They have 12 different sets to choose from - all free, fun AND educational!

This is a blog worth reading!  Top 10 Tips for Organizing Your Home School

Here are two links for easy activities for little ones:  Number Identification and Alphabet Match

AND one more link for Home School Moms: Balancing Home Schooling and Housework{jcomments off}


Have you done some Home School planning?

I just hosted a Home School Support Group meeting this week, and one of the questions was:

What is your best Home School planning tip?

Smile - One mom shared her best tip would be to plan BEFORE the AHEA Convention in Red Deer.  She plans her next year before the April Convention and then buys what she needs there.  (She is our high energy, go getter mom, however!  The rest of us usually do our home school planning sometime in the summer, or early fall.)

Other tips were:

*Spend some time with each child, and ask them questions - such as:  What do you want to learn this year?  What did you dislike last year?  What did you love?  And so on....  Factor these answers into your Home School planning.

*Ask your husband or big kids to hold down the fort while you go somewhere quiet to do some planning.  That could be another room, another floor of the house, the family camper or RV, or even a coffeeshop table.

*Plan some time off during the year.  One mom does 3 weeks on, 1 week off every month year 'round.  Other moms do 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off, while still other families just take time off as they need AND as life happens.

A couple moms shared:  JUST DO IT.  (Smile)  Make the time and get some planning done.  Any time spent planning, saves you time, energy and headaches home schooling.

I would even recommend a major Home School Room tidy, and IF you have little ones, some time spent putting together activities they can do, while you home educate the big kids.  (I think those tips will be in the next blog!) 

Check out Donna Young's Site for Tips (She has a HUGE site full of Home School Printables)!  Many pages of helps.

And even the Weird Unsocialized Home Schooler has some planning tips....  Check them out!

Smile - This lady says that one of the most important parts of our Home School Planning is our meal plan.  I do know it helps our Home Educating run smoother, if I do have a menu plan. 

So, I hope you are excited about Home Educating your children this fall and that something shared made it easier for you!{jcomments off}



Home School Room Makeovers

Hope everyone is excited about the new Home School year ahead of us.  I know I am busy planning and thinking about what we want to achieve this coming year.  I've seen blog hops with Home School Room updates - which actually were very motivating.  I spent some time going through some of the links, and got enthused about tidying up our Home School area.  Here are some of my favorites:

WOW - this mom has part of her HS room dedicated to sensory motor play
Why not spend a little time getting your Home School Room ready to go?


The World Needs Home Educating Fathers

In a recent story in the Edmonton Journal, a scientist discussed his impending death and how he would not be continuing dialysis treatment: “What are two more weeks worth? You see? They are nothing.” Well, with all due respect to that scientist – who has since passed on – I disagree. Every minute is important.

Let me contrast the scientist’s view with the story of a successful businessman attending a conference in a large city far from home. After the close of the first day of the conference, the businessman spends some time networking with those in the same business as he. A group then heads to the subway to take a train back to the hotel where they are staying.

The businessman drops his binder of notes on the stairs leading down to the subway, and so he tells the rest of the group to go on ahead and he’ll meet them at the hotel. He picks up the scattered notes, continues down the stairs, and comes to the nearly deserted platform. Nearly deserted, except for a young man in his teens who is sitting on one of the benches smoking a cigarette.

The businessman doesn’t smoke, doesn’t like the smell of smoke, and notices that smoking is prohibited in the subway station. So he decides to go over and speak to the young man. As he approaches, he sees that the young man is shaking. When the young man looks up, his face is wet from tears.

The businessman was prepared to deliver a lecture and a rebuke. Instead, he sits down and says, “What’s the matter?” That question leads to a conversation that takes several hours. It lasts out of the subway station (because the station closes after the last train leaves), out to a nearby doughnut shop, and then into a taxi to take the young man home.

The businessman is saying goodbye, shaking the young man’s hand, when the young man tells him one last thing: “I don’t know why you came over to talk to me, but I want you to know something. That cigarette was going to be my last one. I was going to jump in front of the next train that came into the station. I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for you.”

Every minute is important.

I know home-educating fathers already know that, because one of the reasons we educate at home is to spend as many minutes as we can with our children, forming them and helping them grow into good and godly men and women. But it often seems that the rest of our world has forgotten what is truly important.

If my life is only for me, then one minute or two weeks may not be worth much. But when we become adults, and especially when we become parents, we learn that our lives are not for ourselves. As fathers, we know that our lives are not meant to be focused on self but focused on others: our focus is on our wives, our children, on God. If we try to make our lives God-centred, then we will naturally become less me-centred.

That’s not easy, of course. As I write this, the countries of Greece and France have just held national elections where the people of those countries chose political parties that would not impose cutbacks on the country. “Turning away from austerity” said the headlines. “Turning away from adulthood” is what I thought; the people want more even though governments can’t pay for more.

We all want more. Our children want more. But as they grow into adults, one of the things we need to teach them and model for them is the nature of adulthood: adults try to be selfless, adults know how to sacrifice, adults know what it means to serve.

Fathers can show children that there is another path to follow instead of the easy road of the world. Through our example and our teaching, we can show just how rewarding a God-centred life can be, how much better it is to give than to receive, how life-changing and world-changing it is to sacrifice and serve.

Home-educating dads know the value of selflessness, sacrifice, and service. We need to teach it and to model it. The world needs us.




Paul van den Bosch is a member of AHEA’s Board of Directors. He and his wife Mary have home educated their seven children for over 18 years.

This article was originally written for the Summer 2012 issue of Home Matters.  For more articles, go here.

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