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One of the benefits and the blessings of having a homeschooling lifestyle is that day-to -day activities and extracurricular events, vacations, and holidays all work into your lesson plans! So, how do you plan for holidays? Do you take time off completely to enjoy family or travel, or do you incorporate baking, shopping, craft making, and special lessons into your lesson plans? There is no right or wrong way to handle the holidays as far as taking time off or incorporating them into your lessons, so enjoy whatever your family decides is best for you this holiday season.
 
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What kind of cook are you? Are you a person that follows the recipe exactly? Do you level off your dry ingredients in the measuring cup to make sure everything is accurate and shop exactly to match the recipes?
 
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It’s that time of year. Fall is settling in and the public schools are breaking for parent/teacher conferences. In our house, we incorporated a conference day. What? How is that possible? Why is that necessary? Well, if you ask my witty 16 year old son, he’ll sing you Tim Hawkins’ Homeschool Blues song. His favorite part… “when my momma’s talking to herself, it makes perfect sense. I say she’s only in a parent teacher conference.” He’d also tell you I have a lot of these conferences.
 
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As a child I always remember making the drive from Nebraska to Minnesota to see my dad’s family each summer. There was always summer roadwork as evidenced by the bright orange signs that read “Under Construction.” It slowed us down, was bumpy, and made us take detours at times. It’s fall right now so why am I thinking about summer construction?
 
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Fall is finally in the air, and with it comes distinct tastes, sounds, and fragrances! It’s time to put away the summer clothes and bring out the sweaters and warmer clothes. Apple cider and fall fruits and vegetables have replaced watermelon and lemonade in our fridges. We start to feel more family-oriented and cozy this time of year. Time to take a break from all the summer activities and focus on other things.
 
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Our God is a God of order. Look at creation, the church, and the family and you see it. The Lord created me to be a very organized person. I believe that everything has a place and everything in its place. Chaos does not thrill my heart and I cannot function with a mess. My husband’s desk drives me nuts. While I can’t find a thing on it, he knows exactly where a particular item is located. When my house is messy I can’t function well until it is tidy. I even use lists to organize myself for my day, trips, projects, etc. This being said, I do not do well with a daily schedule. I have tried. I even tried using a “how to manage your day program” that just didn’t work for me. I found other useful organization tips, but that daily schedule was just beyond me.
 
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Homeschooling often requires a lot of patience, especially when you are in the early years, and still have children who are too young to do any form of schooling. I know this because I am currently homeschooling a 2nd grader and a kindergartner, while also being “Mommy” to our 2 year old son and 4 month old daughter. When I only had two, and only one of them was old enough for school, the younger one would happily sit and do “schoolwork” with her big sister. Not so with our son. If I were to give him a crayon and paper, and leave him for even a second, I would have to spend a good portion of time scrubbing crayon off of our walls. The question has become “How much can the girls do WITHOUT me?” This year we started BJU Press Distance Learning Online, and it allows both of my little scholars to work well independently. Before the school day begins in earnest, I have already opened each book to the correct page, printed out any supplemental pages suggested for (and attached to) that lesson and placed them with the correct books, and logged each student into their personal profile, so they are ready to go when the school day officially starts!
 
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Last fall, my daughter and I were doing a science experiment together using a balance scale, weights, and various household items for measurement. My daughter was determined that the items would be balanced perfectly. She learned that just a little extra weight, no matter how tiny, can tip the balance. This image has stuck with me when I think about how our family balances its homeschooling and extracurricular activities.
 
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Children are unique and specially created by God. They love to run, play, and investigate. Most children enjoy learning one subject or another, but not all children learn the same way. Each child has a preference for learning. Some like to do more hands-on activities, while others are much more visually oriented, and still others prefer to learn by listening. For the most part, all children can learn in any or all of these methods. Children with learning challenges definitely have preferences for how they learn, so it is important early on to expose children to a variety of learning styles.
 
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In my house, there are 3 school-aged children (11th, 7th and 4th) all doing Distance Learning with BJU Press. That means I have 21 cases of DVDS to manage. I have a system that works for my family with managing the individual DVDS. I also have figured out, 3 years in, how to manage the Video Lesson Guide (VLG) that comes with each subject. It’s actually the first thing I look for in my parent and/or student packets.
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Our consultant helped me see how we can homeschool through High School! She provided us with information on a variety of curriculum to help us make the best decisions for our family. // Karen T - Ewa Beach, Hawaii
 

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