Hey guys! Ok, so officially we haven’t even been homeschooling an entire year yet, but it didn’t take too long to realize what we couldn’t live without!
Let me just start by saying, where we live, homeschooling seems to not be talked about much at all. So around here, when you make the transition from public school to homeschooling, and have no background or history with homeschooling yourself…let me tell ya, you are in it alone. We live in a rural area 30 mins from the nearby town. I searched and searched and read SO MUCH info, just looking for some sort of direction……
So listed below, in no particular order, are 7 things we have found, so far, that we absolutely need in our lives.
1. OUR LOCAL LIBRARY
Until we were able to ease our way into some local homeschool groups, we started off with being regulars at our local library. Every visit we arrived in the middle of the school day, with fingers crossed, hoping we would meet another local homeschool family. no.such.luck. Regardless, we kept going for our own benefit, new resources, and just plain ole’ we-need-to-get-out-of-this-house!
We may not live in a big city, but are SUPER lucky to be able to have a choice of 3 local libraries to choose from! Can we say #bookworms ?? We visited all of them before quickly realizing which is our favorite! The library we settled on being regulars at, has SO MANY activities available both during the day and in the evening….and get this ——> ALL FREE!! Definitely a major bonus in my book!!
After not needing to work so many crazy hours every day, my coffee habit seemed to diminish for the most part and had gotton replaced with calming hot teas (which, by the way, I still consume regularly before bedtime). After almost a solid year of homeschooling, it seems that coffee has crept its way back into my life. What had begun with one cup of coffee has quickly turned into at least a half of a pot! Each delicious mug of hot creamy smooth goodness, brings me closer to a focused mind for the day!! After beginning my THM (Trim Healthy Mama) journey, I realized that I needed to adjust my sugar intake through my morning Joe’s. Finally, I have adjusted my taste buds and am able to enjoy my ‘go juice’ sugar free. YAY!!
3. TIME FOR ME (NOT EASILY OBTAINED)
Finding time for myself is EXTREMELY rare, yet VERY important. I definitely have always been someone who needs to recharge their battery with a little down time. Now that I am a homeschooling mama of 3, I am finding that having this special down time for myself has never been as important as it is now, yet at the same time, its harder than ever to fit into my schedule. Even if only for 30 mins, a few times a week, this is definitely a necessity.
My older 2 girlies are blessed with wonderful grandparents who take them for overnight visits at least once per month. When this happens, I definitely take advantage of the smallest girlie’s nap time 🙂
No matter how bad of a night I have had battling insomnia, I have found my day starts off so much better when my alarm is set promptly at 5:30 a.m. (I often sleep through my alarm a few times a week haha). This gives me plenty of time to spend the first 15 minutes of rolling out of bed and stumbling out to the coffee maker (yes 15 entire minutes, cut me some slack– our cosleeping toddler often keeps me locked in awkward positions most of the night….). So before our earliest riser sneaks out of her room in the morning, I have most likely had time to fully wake up, and a little time relaxing with 1 solid cup of coffee. My tone for the day is set 🙂 That spells success in my book!
4. SOME FORM OF PLANNER
I am a planoholic. Period. Our schedule is constantly changing from week to week, it is difficult to keep up with mentally. So on that note, I must have a planner…..or should I say multiple planners. As of now, I have not been able to find an all-in-one planner that fits my specific needs. So I have settled with one planner for homeschooling, one planner for bills/events/work/etc., and multiple pads of paper for my miscellaneous lists throughout each week. My goal is to obtain that one perfect dream planner, or create my own. I’ll keep ya posted!
5. HANDS ON ACTIVITIES
Who doesn’t learn better with hands on activities?? Honestly, I consider myself a pretty creative individual. However, there are those certain topics or just moments I need some inspiration. This is where Pinterest comes into play! I can’t even tell you how many pins I have pinned or boards I have created…..If you know nothing about Pinterest, I urge you to head over and check out the variety of ideas available. You will be hooked in no time! Feel free to follow me on there as well! ://www.pinterest.com/OurLilMtnTribe
Having hands on activities throughout the week really helps prevent what I call “burn-out”. The girls always appreciate any creative activity, and of course it also helps retain new information easily. #momwin
6. DAYS OFF
Speaking of “burn-out”…..Days off is a definite requirement in our homeschool, especially during the winter months. For the most part we have school year round. We have fallen into a plan of an average of ‘4-6 weeks on/1 week off’ schedule, with taking a month and a half off during the crazy holiday months and about a month off during summer time. This allows us to meet our requirement of 180 day school year. I absolutely love this schedule!! It allows us for so much flexibility and works well with our unit study curriculum 🙂 Of course, there are plenty of extra days worked in for flexibility when it comes to sick days, birthdays, and plain ole bad days.
7. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Ahhh…..the mental break from such focused minds…..It’s a nice release! And let me tell ya, pre-teen girls need to have that escape. This keeps us all from going crazy, and being so irritable with each other. Of course “P.E” comes in so many forms, so the choices are endless, keeping everyone on their toes with excitement.
Well there it is. There are definitely more things we really enjoy having as a part of our homeschool, but to us, these are our top picks! So whether your a veteran at this homeschooling thing or a fresh newbie, I would love to hear what you consider to be on your list of top picks for your homeschool.