Summer Homeschooling: 5 Ways to Not Waste Your Summer

Summer Homeschooling:

5 Ways to Not Waste Your Summer!

Water Ballon Quote

If only this was all that had to happen…

Although huge water balloon fights are an awesome and a pivotal part of any summer there other ways you can make sure that your summer is not wasted. We all know that summer’s need to be fun. Kid’s need a break and a time to just be kids without wondering if they are “supposed” to be learning or not. The warm weather also allows families to get outside, take trips, enjoy the water, have water balloon fights, enjoy slip-n-slides in the backyard and everything else that makes summer awesome. We want you to have that, but we also want your kids to keep their minds active too.

With these five ideas we hope to provide you with ways where you can balance your summer between pure family fun and opportunities to learn.

1. Summer Reading Lists or Challenges.

Summer Reading List

“A good book is an event in my life.” Stendhal

This is a long understood idea, but sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. Summer reading lists are easy for kids that love to read. Give them a list of classic books or more popular books. You can give them some voice in which books appear in the list or make the list yourself. If your child loves to read they won’t need any convincing or a reward. Summer can’t be spent entirely outside so this is a great way to keep them learning and stimulated. There are so many lists to choose from! Make sure you explore all your options for books your child should read.

If you child is not an AVID reader this may seem challenging or not worth the time. There are a lot of kids that are much more excited about climbing trees, swimming, playing sports or fishing and it can seem daunting to make your child sit down and read. In this situation we recommend that you’re not so demanding that you make their summer miserable for them! Summer is the perfect time for them to be outside. With that being said reading is still important and really valuable. We would recommend that you make the list smaller and more manageable, and then create a reward system. For however many books they read they get a certain reward: ice cream, day with mom/dad, more time in the pool or at a lake etc. Your goal is to foster a love for reading and you will not foster a love for reading by shoving it down your kid’s throats. On the other hand if you encourage them to read by rewarding it you may soon see that they will discover what a joy it is to read!

2. Family Vacations Involving History or Culture.

Summertime is always the time to travel. Families around the country are planning their long weekends, day-trips and even the epic family road trips. We do not want to tell you HOW to vacation but we would like to point out that there are ways to use vacation to stimulate your kids educationally in such a way that it doesn’t feel like school!

One of the best ways to do that is to plan to visit museums, national parks or historic sites during your vacation. Your kids will see new things and learn about history and culture while also enjoying time together as a family and making memories. Another way to approach this is to be a part of some local or even national cultural experiences. If you live near a big city these happen all the time. In larger cities there tends to be a lot of cultural diversity and because of that festivals abound celebrating different cultures.

3. Shorter Unit or Nature Studies.

Short unit studies are a great way to take a relaxed approach to doing some school work. You could spend 3 weeks doing a nature study. You could spend 4 weeks covering a very specific historical time or event. It also gives you the opportunity to experience something you wouldn’t have time for during the year. This is a no pressure (on your or your kids!) way to do some real school sprinkled into your summer.

4. Teach Practical Skills and Life Skills

father-son-shaving

Shaving is a life skill, but only for those that have hair. 

Homeschooling has a huge advantage over public schooling in that homeschool students can help their families and parents on a daily basis by being productive and learning hands-on skills that will enable them to succeed in real life and in the future. Cooking or doing laundry, changing the oil, mowing the lawn, gardening, cleaning around the house, woodwork, basic repairs and so much more! There are always more skills to learn. This opportunity expands even more in the Summer. As Mom and Dad you can focus on teaching your kids to be productive, to problem-solve, to be well-rounded people through the learning of life skills. Summer is perfect for this.

5. Make Memories! (The most important!)

The most important thing about summer is that it becomes about family and making memories. If you don’t finish your reading list (who does??) and you don’t go on that epic educational vacation but you laughed a lot, spent a lot of time together, and made a lot of memories, you have succeeded!

You can only do so much and sometimes we, and our kids, need that epic summer of absolute fun! You are in the perfect position as a parent to sense what your family needs. Come up with a game plan as a couple. Figure out what you want to do, and if you need to bail out on it halfway through your summer, do it. Have a summer full of fun and memories.

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10 Recommended Resources for Parents

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10 Recommended Resources for Parents

Parents have the best, the hardest, and the most important jobs in the entire world: raising our children. Parents need a community to come alongside of them and encourage them. This may be friends, neighbors,  church,  family, or even reading materials such as magazines, blogs or other resources. No matter where you are getting your support from we all need it. We at WinterPromise wanted to compile some resources that we think will encourage you as parents and as couples during your journey. Here are 10 resources we recommend for you to be checking into and looking for.

Online Resources

1. Hip Homeschool Mom’s – Website & Facebook Page

This is a network of Mom’s that share experiences, recipes, links, encouragement and life together as. On their Facebook page you can find a community of people ready to share with and encourage you. You will also find some great recipes and homeschool helps!

2. Fierce Marriage – Website

This website is done by a Christian couple with great advice, encouragement, and even material to challenge you to grow! They have great resources and articles that will really give you and your spouse great conversations to have together. Marriage is the foundation for a successful and thriving family (you can read more about that here!) and we want to encourage you to cultivate an amazing marriage! You can follow them on all Social Media Channels including a great Instagram!

3. The Homeschool Mom – Website

Similar to the Hip Homeschool Mom’s network, this website has TONS of recourses, reviews and much more. They are very organized and you can find a lot of great information for new Mom’s and new homeschool families.

4. Cathy Duffy’s Reviews – Website

This website by Cathy is a GREAT resource! If you want detailed and thorough reviews to help you make decisions about different curriculum options, this is the website for you!

Books, Magazines & Other More Specific Resources

6. Cathy Duffy’s “102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.”

Cathy Duffy puts out a book of her 102 top picks. This is the best of the best in Homeschool curriculum. Each pick has a great review done by Cathy! This is updated yearly. Note: We are now included by her as a Top 102 pick! 🙂

7. The Charlotte Mason Companion

This book is specifically recommended by Author & Founder of WinterPromise Kaeryn Brooks. This book gives parents a vision and specific goals for your child as you parent. This book is based on Charlotte Mason her ideals which are central to what WinterPromise does! The book focuses on character development, good habits, joy, the role of discover in learning and a variety of other topics! This is more than just homeschooling, this book gives you great life advice. A must-have for all parents!

8. Redbook Magazine

This magazine is a popular magazine. And it is not a perfect magazine. But this magazine gives great advice for real life women. There is fashion advice, but it is realistic and is fiscally responsible advice. There are great exercise and workout advice for women with a busy, real life. You will also find budgeting and financial advice and other practical advice. And the covers are usually wholesome and wouldn’t need to avoid the family living room coffee table unlike some magazines today. This is a great women’s magazine!

9. The Art of Manliness

We don’t want to forget our men. Fathers play a huge role in homeschooling and in the life and health of the family. This website gives wide ranging articles on advice for men, how to be a real man, the lost art of being a gentlemen, how to dress well, outdoorsman skills (great for Father & Son time!), workout routines, manly skills and a lot more. This website would be great for a Father to get ideas on how to communicate to his son about things men should be doing and practical skills to acquire. The Art of Manliness website is a great resource for men to enjoy while also learning and reading about projects, workouts, survival skills and more to pass onto their sons. This would be a great way to create Father & Son time! #weneedmoreofthat

10. Your Church or Close Group of Friends.

There is nothing more important than having a close group of friends that can support you, care about you, encourage you, and give you great advice. Some people find this in Church’s while others who aren’t involved in Church find it in a close group of friends. We advocate Church, but the bottom line is that we need each other. We need friends, neighbors and family to help us on our journey. Find a good group of people that challenge you, encourage you, give you a different perspective, and love you. That is so valuable! Double dates are a great way to build a friendship that would really encourage you and your spouse in your journey through life.

 

We hope this has been a help! We at WinterPromise care about our families and we want to see our families thrive and that is why we compiled this list. If you have any other resources you would like to share, go to our Facebook page and post them so that our community can be encouraged by you!

 

 

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Parent or Teacher?

Parent or Teacher?

The Roles Of a Homeschool Parent

 

The Struggle

In Homeschooling there are a myriad of benefits. These benefits range from flexible scheduling, to creating family memories, to sleeping in! But in Homeschooling, like anything else, there are struggles and sometimes even pain. The struggle that we want to address today is the struggle parents face, specifically Mom’s, in being their child’s parent while also at the same time being their teacher.

There seem to be several clear differences between being a parent and being a teacher. For example doesn’t a teacher convey knowledge about the world around them? Doesn’t a teacher express facts, and evidence for how and why the world works the way it does? A parent on the other hand disciplines and corrects behavior. The teacher tests and evaluates progress. The Parent makes lunch and manages logistics. There is a difference between a classroom and a living room. A living room is where real life is happening, a classroom is where knowledge is being taught.

A False Conflict

This conflict though is really no conflict at all. This conflict of roles does have it’s own challenges but the two things do not need to be working against each other. Your role should start with being a parent and as a parent to come alongside your children in teaching, growing, maturing, and developing them.

Why is this a false conflict?

A parent’s goals should include, but are not limited to, character development, integrity, developing good habits, passing on values and acquiring life skills for the future. These are essential to good parenting. Along with these goals, attributes and goals is the knowledge that will help them succeed. All that you are doing as the parent is passing on knowledge! The content of parenting is essentially teaching. Parents teach there children in all arena’s of life. Parents have a profound impact on the development of their children because they are passing on to their children all kinds of knowledge. In mot traditional school settings it does not include nearly as much academic learning because they are receiving that from a school largely.

Therefore adding “education” as traditionally understood fits right into the life of the family. When you tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street, you are teaching your child to be safe, wise, prudent. The same is happening when you are teaching them about science, or nature, or history. You are teaching them knowledge that will allow them to succeed in life, well maybe science doesn’t count then! 😉 (just kidding parents!)

The best parents are teachers, and the best teachers are parents.

Cultivating a Life of Learning

How do we then move forward knowing that we are the best teachers for our kids? How do we create a vision and plan for the education of our children?

This is a big question and the answer is far outside the bounds of this post, but we can give you broad directions one where to start and goals you can seek to achieve.

1) Learning isn’t a scheduled time, learning is an attitude.

Children are always learning. Children are learning when you are busy preparing a meal, or rushing out the door for work, or handling a grocery shopping trip. Children are learning through watching, listening, interacting, observing, exploring, discovering, and even getting in trouble. Learning is all the time.

Instead of living in the mindset that learning is primarily taking place during your “Homeschooling Day”, be in the mindset that life is full of opportunities to learn. So when you are having to discipline your child, they are learning. Discipline and life management are just as much teaching as going through your history lesson. If you cultivate an attitude and family culture of learning you will see that you aren’t switching roles all the time, you are staying in one role, the role as parent. The content changes and the manner in which you teach it changes but your role stays the same.

2) Parenting with an attitude of mentorship.

At the core of this conflict between being a parent or being a teachers is the question of how to handle a child that isn’t succeeding in the classroom and knowing how that effects other parts of their life. If a child is lazy in school work should this impact your handling of them with your chores? Does that seem fair?

Establishing a relationship of mentorship with  your children is vitally important to their growth and development. A relationship of mentorship provides several benefits. Your child will be given ‘space’ to grow and even fail because they know that you want them to succeed. It develops a relationship of communication between you and your child. It allows for you as the parent to explain why your child is being disciplined and that it is for their sake that you discipline them. Along with those benefits the one that is relevant to our discussion is that whatever the context, you are seeking to grow and develop their character. Every situation, task, or goal is a context for your child’s character to reveal itself and with those context their is always an opportunity to develop your child’s character.

Mentorship provides the healthy communication and goal-setting that every child needs.

Your Opportunity

As a Homeschooling family you should not see yourself as playing two roles. You are their parent and that includes the responsibilities of being their teacher. But this is not a conflict in roles. If you become a mentor to your children you will realize that every situation is an opportunity to grow and develop their character. Meaning whether they are doing their school work or playing a family game you can grow and mentor them.

As a Homeschool parent you have the unique opportunity to not only mentor them while they are doing family activities and living normal life but to mentor and grow their minds. What a joy we have as parents to come alongside our children in all areas of life.

The parent and teacher roles for you are one role and that is being their parent. Loving, growing, maturing, teaching, disciplining, mentoring your children to be people of integrity and to share your values while wrestling with life’s challenges. This is your opportunity and although it can be difficult, it is also full of joy and the rewards are worth the challenges that come your way.

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Marriage Before Mission

Marriage Before Mission

by Michael Brooks

Why Are We Talking About Marriage?

In the last WinterPromise Blogging Series we talked about the central goals of a Homeschool family. You can find that post here. In that post the goals were listed in the following categories: 1) Rich Education 2) Growth & Development in Character Traits, Habits and Skills 3) Family Experiences 4) A Joy & Love For Learning.

These are wonderful goals and they can be achieved as a homeschooling family. But Homeschooling is not something that is easy. You know that! These goals will not be accomplished without the foundation of a healthy and thriving marriage. Homeschooling begins with our marriages.

Cultivating Our Marriages 

When you proposed to your spouse you did not propose to anyone else. Not your crazy son that is now eight years old and creating chaos. Yes, we love our children more than life itself but when you committed to live life with your spouse you committed in a unique way to them and not to anyone or anything else. Creating a healthy family culture begins with cultivating and growing your marriages. We want your marriages to be ones that are full of life, vibrancy and unconditional love. This takes a lot of work! This is not easy, but nothing worth having is easy.

Marriage is full of rough spots and mistakes. You and your spouse have both made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. It is through those mistakes that you learn how to forgive, love and grow with your spouse in the most amazing ways. But how does all this impact Homeschooling?

 A healthy home is the foundation for accomplishing the goals we have laid out for you and your family. A healthy home starts with a healthy marriage. Your children will thrive most when they see their Mom and Dad in love and committed to one another. They will know what marriage and what family is intended to look like. This is the environment that all children were designed to grow up in. A healthy, loving, committed family and marriage. This is why it is so important.

3 Aspects Of a Healthy Marriage

#1 Love

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This may seem obvious. This is why you got married in the first place! You fell in love! The world is telling you that all you need to have is the “just like the movies!” love. Those feelings and experiences do happen and are wonderful but as we all know life moves forward, the new becomes normal, and the connection you have now is a deep intimate connection and not a connection of new romance. This deep connection is for the better! Romance only gets better when you are invested and deeply connected!

Your love should be romantic, but your love must also be selfless and unconditional. Why do we say this? The love you have for your spouse can not be based on how they treat you. Both you and your spouse have said things and done things that have hurt the other one. But those times of hurt don’t need to be situations where you grow apart from your spouse. If you forgive them and work through those problems your love will grow deeper. The sexy love in today’s culture is the one in the movies, but the most powerful love is the one that says “I’m not going anywhere.” When you show that “I’m not going anywhere” love toward your spouse your love and romance will become even more wonderful. This is also a great example for your children!

Love unconditionally and love selflessly. 

#2 Partner and Supporter For Life!

team

Everyone has friends that are a huge support for them. Friends can be a great asset, but friends are not your spouse. You and your spouse have decided to go through life taking on every challenge that comes your way.

Challenges take many forms. In the morning when Dad is running late for work, the kids are in chaos over breakfast, and Mom is trying to find the keys that Dad misplaced, that is a challenge. When you have to move because of work, that is a challenge you need the support of your spouse. If the car breaks down and your budget can’t afford it you need your spouse. There are many challenges that you need to overcome and the person you have decided to team up with to take them on is your spouse. You and your spouse are a team. A team that cannot be broken up. When one of you is struggling, the other can lift you up. When one needs strength, the other is there to provide it.

Your spouse is the friend and teammate you have for life.

#3 Communication

The issue of communication is central to the success of your marriage. To accomplish anything you must communicate. To work through a fight (which probably started at least partly because of bad communication) you must communicate. To face a challenge as partners in life you must communicate. To help each other become better Fathers, Husbands, Mothers and Wives you must communicate.  Communication is vital to the health of your marriage.

Communication starts with communicating in the first place. Men have the stereotype of sitting on the couch, watching TV and ignoring their wife and family. Although there are lots of men that are responsible and engaged in their families that don’t do this, the reason men tend to have this stereotype is because often men don’t value simple, reliable communication and conversation. Husbands and Wives both need to communicate.

Now that you do communicate you need to learn healthy communication. This can look different for so many couples but here are a few questions you should ask yourselves as a couple.

– Does the way I say something hurt or disconnect with my spouse?

– Are there topics that my spouse needs me to talk about that I would not normally think about?

– After a fight do you establish where you both were wrong, apologize, and then problem solve where you can better communicate in the future?

– Do you enjoy talking and laughing with your spouse? 

– Do you communicate your love and commitment in a way that encourages and connects with your spouse? 

This is not a comprehensive list. This is not a complete study on communication. There are great places to find that information: your church, another healthy couple, great books and blogs. But hopefully this list has gotten you started thinking about how you can better communicate with your spouse!

A marriage thrives on healthy, gracious, and committed communication.

Summary: Healthy Marriages Encourage Healthy Families

So why are we talking about marriage? We hope that this has made it clear how much we value marriage! A healthy marriage is the foundation needed for a successful family. Whether you Homeschool or not you need a healthy marriage to raise your kids in.

Your kids will move out and move on in their lives. You will always be their parents but those relationships will change and your responsibilities will take different shapes. At the end of the day when the kids are gone it will be you and your spouse. All this started with your marriage and when things change your marriage will still be there.

You don’t want your marriage to be built on raising your kids, you want the raising of your kids to be built on your healthy, thriving marriage. 

Helpful Resources

Here are some helpful Blogs about Marriage!

Dave Willis’ Blog – They have great lists, articles, and tips to a joyful marriage!

Fierce Marriage – You could spend a whole day reading and exploring this great website and just scratch the surface!

Michael Brooks

WinterPromise Publishing

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Mission Defined

Mission Defined

by Autumn Scott

Defining the Objectives for Homeschooling

Why do we homeschool? . . .  What do we hope to accomplish?

As families that homeschool, what we hope to accomplish isn’t always clear.  There are so many things we can do that defining what is the most important goal for our homeschooling is difficult.  You may even feel overwhelmed by it.

Here are some goals that all homeschooling families wish to accomplish:

  • Rich Education
  • Growth & Development in Character Qualities, Habits and Skills
  • Family Experiences
  • A Joy & Love for Learning

 

Let’s look at these four goals in-depth.

Rich Education

Many choose to homeschool for the wealth of opportunities of learning and freedom to move at the pace of their child.  As we all know children do not develop at the same rate.  Some kids are eager to learn at an early age and absorb everything in sight!  Other children take more time as they are more interested in being outside and being active — these are your active learners.

Active learners may surprise you and though are a little slower to begin as a younger student may end up being your most curious child later on.  These learners require more time and shouldn’t be pushed into learning if not ready — never fear they are learning a lot!  Active learners will quickly catch-up.  Giving them more freedom to learn at their pace will make them more excited to discover learning!

Now we mentioned freedom when talking about active learners, this is the best part of homeschooling!  You can often choose what to study based on the interests of your children.  A more interested student will remember more about what they learned and be excited to tell others what they’ve learned.  What a rich opportunity for your child!

You as a parent also have the ability to have your student progress faster through topics they understand.  If they are struggling with a topic then you can spend more time on it.

This flexibility makes for every moment your student is learning more rich and rewarding for them and for you!  They will remember more of what they’ve been taught and know how to use what they’ve learned practically.  It will also nurture a spirit to learn new things and grow as a person.

This makes for an easy transition to our next goal for homeschooling but before we do I want to briefly touch on the subject of the parent — you!  As the main parent for homeschooling you may feel ill-equipped to teach.  You may feel that since you don’t have a teaching degree nor have you ever taught before that you won’t be able to homeschool.  You probably know that certain subjects are not your strong-suit.

So what do you do?  You mustn’t feel that you need to know all the subjects and understand them completely to teach your children.  Part of homeschooling is discovering together!  If you kids see you learning along with them that will inspire them to learn more as well.  Beside you will have more joy in learning yourself when you’re learning and discovering just like your child.

Growth & Development in Character Qualities, Habits and Skills

 Now we’ve talked about the rich opportunity in education, but there is so much more!  As homeschooling parents we think about all the other things our child could learn.  They could learn to garden, spend the afternoon learning to cook with grandma, going hunting or fishing with dad, learn about car maintenance, or play their instrument at church or for a event.

Homeschooling also makes possible character growth.  You know your child’s weaknesses but what about the things they could grow in — like patience, leadership, sharing, and helpfulness.  Or if they struggle with lying or laziness.  These are just some of the parts of you child’s character that you can talk about and help them grow in.  You can also tailor your learning to help and challenge them to grow in these areas.

You also talk about good habits — oftentimes good habits are learned along the way as you homeschool.  Students learn disciple to get their work done and done well.  You can also help them to learn to ask questions and communicate when they’re confused or frustrated when they are not understanding a task.  Another good habit to have them learn is helping to complete chores around the home.  This is a great help to you and it will make their free-time all the more valuable to them once they’ve completed their work.

Family Experiences

More time together as a family has many benefits.  Your kids will learn more ways to get along with each other and share.  Your children will learn to help each other without being told — they’ll help on their own.  They will play together more and take their learning to their play.  They may build a western fort in the backyard after learning about the American West!

Memories

Yes they’ll create these too — and with you!  You will have experiences and moments you’ll never forget and neither will your children.  Take them on a nature walk and bring some fun snacks.  Visit the beach before the school year and get the kids excited for next year’s school with some nature observing.  These memories and fun family experiences will inspire kids to discover!

As your children get older this desire to learn will only increase and they will soon be doing it all on their own!  It is a must to encourage!

A Joy & Love for Learning

We’ve touched on a couple times how homeschooling develops a joy and love for learning.  This is essential to homeschooling.  So many kids just try to hurry through learning and hate it; there is no joy!  This is one of the saddest things to witness in a child.  There is some much to discover and explore about our world and our history.  We can learn much from our past and grow to appreciate all the Lord has created in looking at his creation.

Nothing should hinder or stop the student from developing a love for learning.  If this requires going slower or going faster or skipping something altogether(and covering later) then do it!  Your child will grow to appreciate the things they don’t like as much through their love and interest in other subjects.

Every day focus on inspiring your children to learn and discover.  Help them to learn also how to do it on their own.  This is an essential tool that they will use all the time when they are older.  When they are young participate with them in this discovery as they grow they will become more and more independent in their learning.  This is a priceless gift to the child and yourself for what is more rewarding to see than your kids’ excitement when they learn something on their own!

Our Mission Defined
Now we know what our mission is to give our children a rich education, inspire them to learn, make family memories, create educating experiences, growing and maturing in their character, working on weaknesses, and nurturing curiosity.Now go!In our following blogs we will go into detail about how to do this and how we can help!  Check us out next Friday!

Autumn Scott

WinterPromise