Boyd Family Homeschool

Homeschooling many children on different levels can be a challenge. I have heard more than once, "how do you do it all?" It's called Multilevel teaching! I hope to inspire "Moms of Many" with my thoughts, ideas, trials and errors, plus discuss books, and curriculum that work for homeschooling larger families.

Name:
Location: Alabama, United States

I am the wife of a wonderful man, and a stay-at-home homeschooling Mom to 6 bright children so far. We have an awesome time with our homeschooling, and I hope I am leading my children into a love of and lifetime of learning through good books. I am also the Editor/Publisher of a Homeschool Support Group Newsletter, and a Homeschool Co-op Teacher. I teach both preschoolers, and journalism students. My journalism students put out a monthly newspaper called The Crusader.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas

Ok, on another subject, I found some really cute things for Christmas gifts...that aren't expensive. Maybe someone has a child, or a niece or nephew they want to buy for.
Pop Art Painted Rings Kit $5 Ages: Girls, 8 and up www.thebeadshoponline.com
Spark Racers $5 Ages: Boys, 3 to 8www.littletykes.com
Judy Moody's Double-Rare Way-Not Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do $6 Ages: 6 to 10www.candlewick.com
Still looking for the perfect gifts!

~Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hot Cocoa Recipes for Large Families

Here are a couple of Hot Cocoa Mixes I have collected over the years.

Hot Cocoa Mix
16 quart powdered milk2 lb. can of Nestle Quik
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup powdered cream
Stir all together in a tupperware (large) container for storing.When you are ready to use it, put 1/4 cup dry mix in a mug and add boiling water to it. Adjust dry amount for your own personal taste.

Hot Cocoa Recipe
Chocolate pudding makes the hot cocoa creamier. Put the mix in decorative jars as Christmas gifts.
Hot Chocolate Mix
1(5 to 6 qt.) box powered milk
1 cup powdered sugar (or more)
1 cup Nestle's Quik
1/2 cup powdered coffee creamer
1 box instant chocolate pudding
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa
Combine ingredients. Use 1/3-cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

Snowman's Soup
1 Hershey kiss in the bottom of a mug
6 oz of hot water or milk
1 package of Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa
handfull of mini marshmallows
1 candy cane to stir
This is a Boyd Family Favorite! Just mix it up and stir with candy cane! My children LOVE it!

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers

Here is an article I wrote to help new homeschooling mothers with little ones. I hope you enjoy!

OK, I am no expert, but I am the mother of 6, so I figure I know something about toddlers and infants. Homeschooling with little people and noise can be a challenge, but you can survive it! Here are some tips, some mine, some I have acquired from other mothers.

Discipline. I am not necessarily speaking of punishment, but of consistently training by habit and example. Sometimes punishment may be involved, as toddlers can push the limits, but good training and habits ensure less punishment! The Bible speaks volumes on how parents should train their children, and parents setting a good example, is a great start! “Quiet” should be the first school subject learned.

Entertain. This is playing school. Giving the child “school work” and their own set of notebooks, crayons, child-friendly scissors, etc. will help keep them busy at the table while you are doing “seatwork.” We also use felt boards, puzzles, crayons, blocks, homemade playdough (less crumbly than store bought), and math manipulatives with the little ones. We have in the past made up Ziploc bags with activities that are self-directed for our toddlers. They love them! We also have a few educational, yet fun videos we allow our little ones to watch. We only allow 30 minutes a day for this. My oldest 3 children each take a 20 minute segment each day so I can work more intensely with another child. The older children entertain the toddler(s) in the next room, within eyesight and earshot. The little ones enjoy the attention from their older siblings.

Seclude. Sometimes they just need their own place and space. We have a highchair, a bouncy seat, and a playpen that we set up in the kitchen when we are doing table work. We have special school time toys that we only get out during school hours. I sit at the end of the table in my rocker (I drag it in the kitchen when I have a nursing baby), both baby and toddler(s) are close to me. There is one open seat next to me for the school-aged child I am working with at the time. When a playpen is just not an option, a blanket is. We have blanket trained our little ones, and we can carry a blanket anywhere and have a safe place for a little one to play. Exersaucers are a great stationary play center too!

Include. Toddlers are great at mimicking and enjoy many of the same activities as older children. You can include your little ones in Bible memorization, singing, PE, reading, phonics, housework, etc. My 3 year old can: fold towels, take out garbage, say his ABC’s and 123’s, and much more! He enjoys helping!

Relish. Let sleeping babies lie, leave well enough along, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If your child has found something safe to entertain himself with, for goodness sake, leave him be. If he fell asleep in the middle of a room scattered with toys, leave him alone, and don’t clean up the room! He is OK, and you can get a few more challenging things done without all the distraction a toddler can provide.

Endure. Yes, this is the grin-and-bear it part. This is your little darling, and he will not be tiny forever. This is just a season of your life, and it will not last forever! If you can find a place for him on your lap, helping sweep, carrying books to the bookshelf, etc, then he will feel important and you will be training him too!

God bless and happy homeschooling!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Grading

I also want to address grading and keeping up with files. I grade as we go. When the children are done with their work, they hand it in and I grade them. If any problems are missed or they have the wrong answer, I hand it back and they correct the error. 90% isn’t mastery. I want my children to master what they learn. So we grade everything as we go, and I mark their grades on a grade sheet. After they have corrected their errors, their loose papers go into a large manila envelope. Each child has an envelope with the students name, grade, and school year on it. I have tried many different methods to keep up with things, but this manila envelope and grading as we go has worked for us. I can then put our lesson planner, and any notebooks in a box with the envelopes, and tuck it in the attic, in the event we ever need it. This really has simplified my life!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

12:00pm - 2:30pm Afterschool Hours

12:00pm-Lunch time! Come and get it! We bless the food, pray for those who need prayers, and then we all eat together and discuss what we will be doing tomorrow in our schoolwork. After lunch, we clean the kitchen up and quickly do a few chores.

12:30pm-Oh no, our day doesn’t end there! Hunter sits down in the kitchen to work on his Cub Scout Projects. Today he is carving a bar of soap into a turtle for his Artist Pin. Payton Nicole goes to her room to play a Game Boy game. I load an educational game in the computer for Courtney. Then I go lay down with Logan, Noah, and Emma, and we all take a two-hour nap. Yes ladies, you heard it right! I take a nap! I feel better, I am not exhausted when my husband arrives home from work, and I am more patient with the children. As I get older, and the more children we have, I find the nap refreshes me! The older children know that if Mom has to get up to deal with a problem, then they are all going to bed. That has stopped any problems during Quiet Time altogether.

1:00pm-The timer goes off, and the girls switch activities. Payton Nicole is now on the computer, while Courtney has the Game Boy in the bedroom. Hunter has reset the timer for 30 minutes, and he is still working on Cub Scout projects.

1:30pm-The timer goes off again, and Hunter resets it. Hunter sits down with the Game Boy for 30 minutes, while Payton Nicole goes to read The Boxcar Children in her room, and Courtney has a project at the kitchen table to do. Courtney is coloring and cutting out paper-dolls today.

2:00pm-The timer goes off for the last time. Hunter moves to the computer for an educational game, but before his time is up he puts in a baseball game. Payton Nicole is now at the kitchen table with the paper-dolls, and Courtney has gone to the bedroom to read Heidi, but at some point she falls asleep on the bed. At 2:30 we will eat a snack and do some chores, then the children will all go outside to play.

Happy Homeschooling!

11:30 am Art or PE

11:30am-It is time to do PE or Art.

Our PE time could be climbing the rope swing and touching the tree limb, jumping on the trampoline, an exercise video, or using the treadmill. We prefer the fresh air of the weather permits! Sometimes we go to the park to play or ride around the walking trail on our bikes.

Art is self directed…anything their little hearts desire to make! My children love to do crafts. As it is getting close to the holidays, we will likely make some new ornaments to add to our collection. The children also love to paint, and today they want to do self portraits.

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

10:30 am Language Arts

10:30am-We move on to Language Arts, and all that entails.

Hunter, Payton Nicole, and Courtney sit down to do their Learning Language Arts Through Literature. I use the older versions of LLATL, which you can find on Ebay and it won’t cost you a fortune. As the older children are working on their lessons, I sit down with Logan and work on his phonics. We use Phonics Pathways, and we love it! Then Logan works on his handwriting. We don’t use anything special for handwriting around here. Handwriting comes in the form of copywork, dictation,letter writing, and journals.

Emma is playing with her Dolly in the playpen again, and Noah is playing with our felt boards sets. When Noah is no longer interested in the felt boards, he moves on to Legos…his favorite toy! Logan takes over the felt boards when he is done with his work.

Payton Nicole is done with her LLATL, so then she reads to me from a Pathway Reader, then she takes a break. Hunter is the next done and he reads to me and takes a break. Courtney finishes up, and reads to me and takes a short break. Everyone takes a break, and gets a light snack.

Hunter, Payton Nicole, and Courtney then move on to spelling. We use Spelling Power. Each of the children are at a different ability level, but I test them all at the same time. I call out their name and then give them a spelling word, then move on to the next child. After we are all done with spelling, they do a Daily Gram worksheet and work in their journals. We have a cookie jar that is full of journal idea starters, and they take turns picking a topic.

Happy Homeschooling!

10:00 am History

10:00am-History is next. With somewhat of a classical and Charlotte Mason flair!

We are using Story of the World Volume 1 and 2 this year. I bought the CD’s for the children to listen to, and then they move on to their activities. Hunter and Logan work together on their map work and coloring sheet, and then move on to a project. The girls do the same. One week we had an archaelogy dig that I set up in the backyard. Another week we mummified a chicken! We also read from the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, and various other books that pertain to what we are studying.

Noah is painting or playing with playdough, while Emma is sitting on the blanket with the toys. This is the time when I get to sit down and play with my two little one!

Next year for history we will be using the Beautiful Feet set for American History. I am really looking forward to that!

Happy Homeschooling!

9:30am Science

9:30am-It is science time!

Emma is in the highchair playing with some toys, while Noah is sitting on a blanket playing with some toys. Everyone is learning from the same book for science. Mom reads the lesson from God’s Design for Life-The Animal Kingdom. Then the children work together on the activities. We are building an animal kingdom notebook, and adding information on a new animal each week. This week, we learned about a bird's digestive system, and then we dissected owl pellets...fun!!!

This science series lends itself well to multilevel teaching, and hits upon many different learning styles. Next year Hunter will be using Apologia Science, and will only need me if a problem arises or he needs help.

Happy Homeschooling!

8:30 am Saxon Math

8:30 am-Our next class is Math.

The children learn math on their own ability level. We do learn some things together. We all discuss time, calendars, and counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, well you get the picture! We use Saxon Math, along with the Dive CD's. I start Hunter (5th Grade) off at the computer working on his lesson with the Math 65 Dive CD. Payton Nicole (4th Grade) and Courtney (3rd grade) sit down at the kitchen table and start on their timed math worksheets. I put Emma in the playpen with her Dolly, and Noah at the kitchen table with some math manipulatives, and then I sit down with Logan and teach him from Saxon Math K. Hunter moves on to his Math 65 bookwork and his timed worksheet, while Payton Nicole moves on to the computer to learn her lesson with the Saxon 54 Dive CD. Courtney is working on her Saxon Math 3 worksheet. When Payton Nicole finishes, she will move on to her bookwork. After Logan is done with his Math, he plays with the math manipulatives, and Noah has moved on to an educational computer game. I round the table to the point to being dizzy! We have completed 4 levels of math in about one hour, and everyone is doing excellent in math!

It can be done! Have confidence! It doesn't have to take all day!

Happy Homeschooling!

8:00 am Bible

8:00 am-We begin our day with the Bible.

God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I use that as a model for my day. We start our day and end our day with the Lord.

All my children are sitting around me while we say prayers for those on our prayer list, and then I read our Bible verses for the day. Everyone has the same verses and the same discussion about those verses. Logan (Kindergarten) has a coloring sheet that goes along with the verses of the day, while Noah is sitting on a blanket in the floor with a few quiet toys. Emma has just gotten up, and is sitting in my lap being very cute and snuggly. Hunter, Payton Nicole, and Courtney listen quietly, and then tell me what they think the verses mean after I am done reading. This is a very precious time!

After we are done, Noah (3 years old) watches an educational video, while Emma (15 months) is eating cheerios in her high chair. Bible doesn’t usually take us a full 30 minutes, so that extra time is used toward Math or Language Arts.

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling in the News-Wild Child

Yes, another bad homeschooling story in the news. This is sure to make people look at homeschooling as a little more than ODD! It is in the Dallas Observer. The mother calls herself a "radical unschooler", and teaches them nothing. Her son claims anything he learned he taught himself and that he had a magical childhood. BEWARE: This isn't for the faint of heart...the son as a grown-up eats out of garbage cans, and brings it home to Mom. Blech! This is after being homeless. He says he will never grow hungry again!

http://www.dallasobserver.com/Issues/2005-10-27/news/feature.html

Happy Homeschooling!

Concentration

Now you might be thinking, “How do you get the older children to concentrate with a younger child sitting at the table too?” Well, for many of our subjects, I am reading the same lesson to all the children. Then they are doing their own activities at their own level. Hunter (5th grade) may build a pyramid out of sugar cubes, while Logan (Kindergarten) is making an Egyptian bracelet out of clay. Payton Nicole (4th grade) can be working on the Saxon Math 54 Dive CD, while Courtney (3rd grade) is doing her Saxon Math 3 timed worksheet. When it comes to the subjects like Language Arts, the older children are given their work, and they work diligently at it, while Mom is doing phonics with Logan.

I am a determined person, and my children seem to be determined too. We do have a rule though: You can’t play with your friends, or go outside until your schoolwork is done. Trust me, they finish in the 4 hours! :)

By the way, during our schooltime, I still have a baby and toddler to keep busy! :::giggle::: God is so good!

Happy Homeschooling!

Using Canned Curriculum for a Large Family

I understand many of you are using ABeka or Bob Jones, and those are perfectly good curriculums...for a Christian School. While they are made available to homeschoolers, there is plenty of busy work in them and that is because they are set up for a classroom of 15-25 children.

I know a Mom of 4 who is trying to use ABeka, and another Mom of 4 who is trying to use Bob Jones. The ABeka Mom says she is tired, and the Bob Jones Mom says she and the children are stressed out. Both admit to their days being long! Why not find something that works better for your multitude?

Please don't feel that I am bashing you for using these curriculums, I just had a wealth of "Moms of Many" in my area that were extremely helpful, and I know now that they have saved me time, sanity, and money! They taught me the difference between homeschool and home school. We homeschooler with large families need to blend our classes when we can, and separate up for things like Math or spelling, where the children may be on different levels. A younger child will pick up tidbits from listening in with the older children, and then as the younger child gets older, things will begin to make more sense.

Happy Homeschooling!

Our Homeschool Schedule

I have heard that question asked more than once. So how do we get it all done? Homeschooling "Mothers of Many" have become experts at multilevel teaching and multitasking. We learn to teach many grade levels, the same subject at one time, and sometimes from the same book. Assignments are given based on the ability of the child. So lets take a look at my schedule, and I will show you a day in the life of our homeschool later.

So here is our basic school schedule:
8am-Bible
8:30-Math
9:30-Science
10am-History
10:30-Language Arts (includes phonics, spelling, handwriting, grammar, etc.)
11:30-Art or PE
12pm-Lunch
12:30 - 2:30-Nap for littles and Mom, fun projects for older children

That's it! Our school work is done before lunch, and Mom and the little ones get a nap! We work diligently until we are through, and if we get done early, wooohooooo! Happy homeschooling!

Duggar Family

I have been keeping up with postings on blogs about the Duggar Family, and I must say, "People are cruel!" You know, I would venture to say a good bit of those that are saying she shouldn't be having that many, are the same people that are pro-choice and want to keep abortions legal. You can't have your cake and eat it too! If you don't want anyone to tell you what to do, don't be telling others how to live!

I actually love to see that large family on TV!!! Ok, the clothes and hair are a bit outdated, but aside from that, they are normal...or what normal used to be. I think we have become so jaded that we look at overly made up, scantily clad teens with either their bellies or underwear showing, and think that this is normal! Blech! It is interesting to see how a family that large functions! With just our 6 children, it feels like living in a fishbowl...people are always looking. I can only imagine how they feel!

A large family isn't for everyone. It isn't easy. It can be alot of fun! Homeschooling a large family is really interesting. I try to keep everyone doing the same subject at the same time, and if possible using the same book, like for science and history. Math time is a juggling act, and by the end of that hour I am dizzy from rounding the table so much! But that is another story!

I am in awe of what the Lord is doing in the Duggars lives. The Lord has blessed you Michelle and Jim Bob! Congrats on your newest addition, Johannah Faith!

Usborne Books = Good Education?

Usborne Books, which are found in many homeschooling curriculums, are not exactly what I think of as great learning! And yet, so many homeschooling companies are making them the staple of their science or history programs. As an educational reference, they might be okay, but in my opinion they aren't laid out very well.

Mom, think outside the curriculum box! Look at good books! There are so many sites on the internet for great reading lists! Here are just a few to start you off:

www.classicalhomeschooling.org/celoop/100.html
www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/greatbks.html
www.geocities.com/Athens/Atlantis/4360
www.anova.org
www.ccel.org/index/classics.html

Provide your child a love of learning, provide a good book! Happy reading!

"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."-Yeats

Books, books, books

You are a Mom of Many my dear, and to save some time, money, and sanity, you need to combine the classes you can. We use a more literature based approach, which provides my multitude a great education! So here is what we are using. I get almost all my curriculum through Rainbow Resource: www.rainbowresource.com. We also use many great books to enrich our homeschooling experience. What we can't find at the library, we can find at Books-A-Million, or order from Amazon.

Bible:well, we use the Bible of course. Mom reads the daily verses, and then we talk about what the verses mean. The little ones do get a bedtime Bible Story!

Math: Saxon...you can check it out at www.saxonpub.com, everyone gets there own level in math, this is one of those classes you just can't combine easily! Buy it through Rainbow Resource. The Dive CD-Rom really helps, by teaching lessons on the computer...this is available for Saxon 5/4 and up.

History:We love Beautiful Feet for History...available at www.bfbooks.com, and we like Story of the World Volumes 1-4...available at Rainbow Resource. Story of the World has their reading on CD's...yeaaaaa!!! A real time saver for Mom! All our History is done together.

Science: We use God's Design for Heaven and Earth series, God's Design for Life series, and God's Design for Chemistry series. Everyone does the same science, together. For upper grades we will use Apologia Science, and this is done by the student with minimal assistance from Mom. All these science materials are available at Rainbow Resource.

Language Arts: (we do this all during the same hour, although they aren't all learning the same thing necessarily) Phonics is Phonics Pathways. Spelling is Spelling Power. Grammar is Daily Grams. Handwriting is copywork and dictation and journaling. Pathway Readers for reading. All of these are available through Rainbow Resource. We use the old version of Learning Language Arts Through Literature for our Language Arts...these can be very inexpensive, and can be found on Ebay.

Happy Homeschooling!