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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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It’s that time of year….curriculum has arrived, supplies have been purchased, and the school start date has been set. As exciting as that all is, we can also find stress during this time too. Whether it is a reluctant learner, new curriculum and the learning curve that goes with it, or trying to shift from a summer schedule to a school schedule, it can no doubt create extra stress.
 
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Writing is more than just an activity that is reserved for Language Arts instruction. In fact, writing, like reading, when taught in isolation from content is less likely to be learned successfully. Writing spans curriculum, age, and subject area. So as you are teaching and developing those writing skills, consider the fact that if a child can express what he is learning in his writing instruction to other subject areas, his learning becomes more concrete and meaningful in those other subject areas. Here are some suggestions for writing across the curriculum.
 
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Besides placing your order with your HomeWorks Consultant, you also need to bring order to your home in the midst of homeschooling. Here are a few tips to get you started!

Food – Your kids are going to need to eat and heading for the fast food joint in the middle of your school day is not your best option.

For breakfast, set up a weekly menu and put in on the refrigerator. We like to make ahead some breakfast breads and freeze them. Oatmeal is quick. Eggs are definitely our staple food.

Bacon or sausage cooked in the oven requires much less tending. Greek yogurt is a treat and is super easy.

For lunch, I purchase disposable plates for the first couple weeks of school. We might eat breakfast in shifts, but we try to eat lunch together. I like to truly relax WITH the kids during the lunch break and strike up some interesting conversations. (I have to remind myself of this before I spend my lunchbreak on social media.) Lunches are my weak spot for using convenience foods, but we don’t do that every day.
 
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I love the sign for JOY in American Sign Language. You make the sign for the letter “j” with each hand and move them in front of you to show joy just bubbling up inside of you.

Are you excited and joyful about homeschooling?

For some homeschool parents, this joy and excitement just comes naturally. For others, they need some baking soda to go with that vinegar to get things bubbling. (I think this analogy will make sense to you. You’ve likely made a baking soda and vinegar volcano or two. If not, add it to your list of science experiments this year.)
 
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My husband and I are very different in terms of directions and driving. He drives by north, south, etc. while I drive by left, right and landmarks. He can look at a road map one time and know where he is going. I value the GPS on my phone to validate I’m going the right way throughout a trip. Either way, we accomplish the goal and end up at the same destination.
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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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