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Homeschool

Secrets to Scheduling Success!

by Cindy Rushton

Ed Note:  You can grab a ticket to The Ultimate Homeschool Expo Here.


Want to know one of my biggest secrets to homeschooling the easy way? Want to know one of my biggest secrets to scheduling success? This one secret can make your daily schedule finally fit. It can end your scheduling frustrations forever.

I am not a "schedule by the minute" type of person. (GRIN)  I fail with schedules like that. They don't meet my needs. My life includes too many areas that have different needs daily. Timed schedules just do not work for me.

So, what has worked for me? Setting up a framework to my day. This is one incredibly powerful tip. It can make a HUGE difference in your day as well. It just might be the secret that has alluded you through the years.

Wondering what I mean by a "framework" for your day? By framework, I mean a general flow to each day that includes all of the areas of my life that I juggle. But, how do I do that? Here are some quick tips:

1. Decide what should be included in your daily schedule. Look at what you are all about. Look at your goals, activities, values, priorities. Look at your husband's schedule--wrap everything around him. Look at what you need to include in your day to get everything done--quiet times, lessons, homemaking, read alouds, work, etc. This is important. Otherwise, you will include things in your schedule that may not be the very best choices. And...one big risk...you may never get around to the things that matter the most. Decide what really needs to be a part of each and every day for your day to be successful.

2. Decide the best time for the tasks you need to complete each day. This will help you get a good flow to your day. For me, quiet times are just best at the beginning of the day. Chores are great right after them--I need them completed so my brain can focus on the table time.  Our business work and errands need to be done in the early afternoon. Read alouds are best before bedtime.  You get the picture. When I tried to read aloud over lunch, we had so many distractions that we could never fit it in. Trying to work the business in the morning would never work...and of course, we couldn't take care of business errands at night. See how important it is to really look at the best time to get tasks done. Look at the best time for all of the tasks that need to be done. Look at the best flow to get everything done easily each day. You may not get this right at the beginning, but you will get closer and closer each day. You will love it!

3. Balance your day. Don't let any one area of your life get out of balance. Everything that we do in our day has a tendency to grow into a big time thief--homeschooling, homemaking, home business. Those important aspects of our life can easily grow out of their boundaries. While I love each of them, they can get rather exhausting if we don't keep them in balance with the other things that we have to do. The best way for me to stay balanced is to be reasonable about what I expect for each day, keep things simplified and easy, and keep everything inside of its time of the day. I don't mind those days that we want to dig deeper in a topic that we are studying. I also don't mind those days that we tackle a messy room. I don't even mind those days that we have a special business project that needs more time. But, if those areas were demanding extra time every day, it would be easy to get burned-out, frustrated and battle with our time each day. Want to make it work? Find a balance for your day.

4. Set up routines. Talk about a HUGE help for me. Without routines, things can get so frustrating every day--there are constant decisions, there is more strife in the family, there is no consistency. Routines help us to make things go faster, without the strife and struggle of figuring things out DAILY. Routines reduce the stress of making decisions daily. Routines help our children to know what to expect so they can move through all of the things that they need to do each day. Routines are crucial. They assure a smooth ride. They keep us on track. They keep us out of the ruts. They take us in the direction that we want to go. One of the toughest things I ever did was develop routines in my home. However, one of the most rewarding things that I ever did was develop routines in my home. When I got very, very sick, everything kept going. During those times that I have been stretched, things kept on going. All because of routines. Set up routines. Then, your children will know what to expect. They will learn what is next and next and next. The decisions will be made for you. They will be able to "just do it" with or without you. Set up routines for your family. Develop one set of routines at a time--look for the time of day that things go haywire. If it is morning, for example, look at all that needs to be done. Brainstorm. Make a to-do list for that routine. Write it out. Work it as a checklist until it becomes a habit. If you see other things that need to be added into that set of routines, add them. Tweak it until it is smooth. Then, move to the next troublespot. Do this for all of the times of your day. Watch to see how much it helps!

5. Prune anything that is not necessary. Truth is, we cannot do everything. What we do in our day keeps us from doing other things. It zaps our time, energy, strength. We need to be picky about what we add to our day. Every single thing that we do costs us something. We need to constantly prune those things that are not necessary. Prune anything that hinders, distracts. Be honest. Be ruthless. Prune. Even the good things! Go for the best!

6. Take the squeeze out of your schedule. Watch out for the squeeze in your schedule. Don't fill every minute of your day with something to do. Why? Because there are always going to be crisis situations, interruptions, melt-downs, delays. If we have our schedule maxed out, we will constantly be overwhelmed, overworked, and squeezed. Find ways to take the squeeze out of your daily schedule--cut out extra running, watch out for time thieves, prioritize your daily to-do's (and eliminate any that make the day too tight), cut out extras that are unnecessary, keep the day simple and easy. Keep a relaxed atmosphere. Constantly, take the squeeze out of your daily schedule.

7. Stay flexible! Stay adaptable! Actually, one of the reasons that we really want to develop a framework to our day is so we have more flexibility, so we have more "space" in our day to be adaptable. We want to be able to seize opportunities that come our way. We want to be able to slow down and enjoy our children. We don't want to miss teachable moments. These days just go by too fast. We want to enjoy every second. We want to make sweet, sweet memories. This requires that we stay flexible and adaptable. So, take the time to develop your own framework to your day. Do the tough work. Get your plans together. Work on these suggestions. Then, stay flexible. Stay adaptable. Grasp on to all that God has in store for you!


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Urban Homemaker

Tips For the Perpetually Late, Disorganized, Stressed Out Mom!

by Cindy Rushton



Does this SPEAK to you?  Nothing is more frustrating than great intentions but failure with the time management, organization, and gentle spirit thing!  So, what can REALLY help? Need a bit of hope?  Practical ideas? Well, beloved, here are a few tips that have made a world of difference for me:


-->    Be sure to slow down and have a quiet time EACH DAY! Take time for God to fill YOUR cup each day. Let Him give you HIS peace, order, and best of all, schedule!  Take time to hear HIS plans for your day.  Throughout the day, listen to His gentle direction.  Be sure that you are willing to let go of the things that God wants to prune away. Without this, all else is only a band-aid! 


-->    Invest in a Planner! I am the world’s worst at trying to do it all while trying desperately to remember those incredible details that are doomed to slip my brain! I decided to take a long, honest look at the things that were creating chaos. Most often, the biggest culprit was overcommitment or an underestimate of time involved with commitments. Writing down ALL commitments, along with an honest look at the time commitment involved (even going and coming OR planning the details around that commitment!), has made an indescribable impact on my life! Not to mention, another breeder of chaos in my life was constantly looking for information that needed to be in a dependable place like phone numbers, ordering information, etc. Keeping ONE binder with my information included eliminates the chaos, but it does even more! It gives my brain a rest!


-->    Evaluate to find the BEST that God has designed for YOU to do!  Sure, there are many “little things” that must be done to manage our homes, but if you are really struggling with balance, discipline yourself to write down everything that you are doing for a little while.  Pray over the importance of each and every thing. Time is so very precious. God gives us everything that we need to do all that He has designed for us to do, but He will not anoint those things that will choke out His best for our lives. So, really pray through…think through…weigh out everything. Listen to God for HIS goals for you.  Prune those things that are not in line with His goals for you. Get rid of any time wasters. Prioritize every activity, every day! Combine activities that can be done together to make the most of time. Delegate those things that others can do to help you be a good steward of your time. Then, make the most of your time doing the very best things that God has designed for you to do!


-->    Write IT down! Yep! Give your brain a break!  This may seem to compound your problem, but trust me this will help more than you know! It is NOT another thing to do! Rather, once things are written down, the work is done FOR you! For example, keeping a calendar of events in your planner will help to alleviate conflicts in your schedule. Blocking off plenty of time for each entry will help you to give yourself enough margin left over for LIFE! I may live less than five miles from downtown, but if there is an appointment there, I KNOW to give myself 30 minutes to get there! Also, I cannot tell you how much my lists from years ago are beginning to really help me! I have lists for school lessons, shopping, traveling, producing the magazines, speaking, etc. I may have to add to my generic list, but I cannot tell you how many times my lists have helped me to be sure that NOTHING was left out or forgotten. Plus, now the planning process is simplified.  I just pull out my list, go over the list, add anything that is missing, and get busy! Several of my lists are typed into my computer, ready to print. Talk about EASY planning! Find ways that you can simplify what you are doing—writing it down will probably be one of your first steps too!


-->    Keep your STUFF ready to use! Whether your planner or your purse or even your Bible/journal for church, get things together and in their special spot, ready to go.  I have a tote that includes all of the things that I need for Church. I keep it together, ready to go. Our school books stay in a milk crate (one for each child), ready to use at the table or to grab for our trips with the business. Everything that we need is ready at all times. My planner stays at my chair, ready to grab to leave the house. So on. Decide on what you need for planning, church, homeschooling, or your business. Get everything together. Find its very best spot for it to be easy to use, but not in the way or forgotten.  You will be surprised at how much stress this will alleviate!


-->    Put limits on your day! For years, I battled the different aspects of my day that tend to become monsters! Funny thing, I have never seen my family life ever become one of those monsters. My sweetheart and my children are so much more patient than my nasty kitchen! Memories will always wait for schoolwork to be completed. Laughter will always let the business monster rant and rage! The best (but most difficult) lesson of my life to date was that if I wanted the legacy that God had planned for me, then I had to diligently guard the different aspects of life. I had to consciously purpose to make memories and build relationships with those I love much, much more than a clean house or thriving business or successful homeschool. A whole day can zoom by just on the internet with the business…or working through our lessons…or even re-organizing a closet. Plus, those things wear me down till I am completely zapped! Oh, and then, I am not the nicest person on earth! (ouch—confessions hurt!)  While these things are precious and wonderful in their boundaries, I have to CONSTANTLY place limits to insure that we have a balanced life that makes the most of each day AND builds a legacy.

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Urban Homemaker

50+ Ideas for Taking Care of Mom!

by Cindy Rushton

Ed Note:  You can grab a ticket to The Ultimate Homeschool Expo Here.

Tired? Weary? Need some fresh ideas for taking care of mom? Feeling that push and pull on you as you balance all of the many demands in your life? Are you great about taking care of others, yet not quite so good about taking care of YOU? Has it been a long, long time since you have done the little things to just fill your cup back up? How about a few fresh ideas for filling your cup and ministering to your heart! I promise that these will be easy for you to do! Here goes:

-->  Grab Your iPod and go for a long, long walk! I LOVE my iPod. I have it filled with great Praise and Worship music, teachings and workshops, podcasts, tutorials, etc. My iPod has become my “pocket pal” when I work on my chores, take care of business duties, or even get out for my walk. Talk about my best investment of 2006!

-->  Laugh! Just sit there right now...laugh! Start small...just a little giggle! Then...laugh about laughing! Roll on the floor laughing!  Feel better?

-->  Begin a new Bible Study.  Either find a Bible Study guide...or dig out Words to study on your own!  For Word Studies, I LOVE my Strong’s Concordance. It helps to find all of the references of a certain word of interest. I also love my Vine’s Dictionary. I use it to look up the meanings of the words AND it also has other references for uses in Scripture. Another great help for Word Studies is my good old faithful Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I LOVE it as a reference to deepen the studies. Usually it helps me to also find OTHER great studies to dig into also! Dig into the Word! It will feed your heart and soul during this tough time!

-->  Meet a friend at the park and let the kids play while you visit.

-->  Go for a drive around the city—look at the lights! Look at flowers. Look at the seasonal changes.

-->  Look at photo albums.  Remember the silly stories!

-->  Watch the sunrise! Or, not an early bird? Watch the sunset!

-->  Collect jokes and funnies! Barb Johnson...Chonda Pierce...Becky Freeman are just a few of my PERSONAL favorites! Get one of their books or videos. Then, snag some mom-time to just kick back and enjoy!

-->  Chocolate! Chocolate Candy...Chocolate Bars...Chocolate Shakes...Chocolate Latte’s...CHOCOLATE! REALLY! Chocolate helps to release endorphins in the brain—plus! It tastes great to boot! So, why not grab a bit for mom-time!

-->  Watch an old movie! Curl up under a great big quilt—even if you have to turn the air down COLD!  Don’t forget to turn down the lights and turn off the phone!

-->  Look at your old school albums!  Your HAIR! Ha! Enough said.

-->  Got a grassy hill nearby? Go to the top and just roll down it! Like a child! (Snowy? Get a sled! And SLIDE!)

-->  Take the kids to the park—just WATCH them! They are adorable!

-->  Begin a “Quote Book.”  Collect quotes that encourage you to keep on, keeping on!  Keep them in a special journal dedicated only to keeping your special quotes.

-->  Memorize your favorite Psalm. Try out Psalm 91...or Psalm 61...or Psalm 35...or Psalm 37...Oh! Enjoy!

-->  Begin a Tea Ministry.  Doing for others ALWAYS lifts even the heaviest spirit.  Get a tea basket to keep your goodies in...visit a shut-in...bless them. Then! Watch the blessing boomerang! You won’t be able to leave without a blessing.

-->  Take the kids to a candy store—sample the Jelly Bellies...or Sweet Tarts...or Sour Gummy Worms.

-->  Fly a kite!

-->  Take a ride in the country.  Turn up your praise music...roll the windows down...sing to the top of your lungs!

-->  Watch a funny video!  Elisabeth and I LOVE to watch old movies like If a Man Answers. It is one of our “chick flicks” that we always watch together. We love it! SO FUNNY! Chonda Pierce is another one of my picks. She is just totally hilarious. My children LOVE old comedy shows like I Love Lucy or The Three Stooges.  Oh, you may want to watch anything! Just find something that will make you laugh hard!

-->  Scrapbook!  Pick photos that you MUST tell the story behind! Kick up your favorite music...spread out your goodies...and Scrap till you drop!

-->  Read a biography of a GIANT in the faith!  My favorites are Corrie ten Boom...Hudson Taylor...George Mueller...Amy Carmichael...Jim and Elisabeth Elliott...etc!

-->  Get today’s newspaper and read the comics!

-->  Get a yo-yo! PLAY!

-->  Make Chocolate Chip Cookies with the kids! On a diet? Take them to someone who blesses you! Include a note of thanks and encouragement for all they do to bless you!

-->  Go out and sit on your boat—watch the stars! (Oh, watch the sunset or sunrise, if you can too!)

-->  Dig into the Bible and study what God says about trials...suffering...faith...death...depression...oppression...warfare...battle…

-->  Read a new book! Normally ready non-fiction/how-to’s? Get a fiction book for a change!  Normally read fiction? Get a humorous book! Renew your weary heart and mind!

-->  Take a break and go for a long ride on a motorcycle! Don’t forget your headset and praise music!

-->  Take a hike! Really!  Find a nice nature trail OR go for the tough stuff!!

-->  Go to the mall with your teenager!  ENJOY!

-->  Buy a Mp3 Player and some great praise music—turn it up!  I LOVE my iPod! I have my iPod loaded with all of my favorite CDs. My favorites are Michael W. Smith’s Worship CD’s AND Hillsong’s Praise and Worship!  The moment you enter into worship, you will enter into the very presence of God—so, turn it up and devour the presence of our precious Lord!

-->  Pull out that old sewing machine and make some of those goodies that you have been wanting—new purse/tote...outfit...home decorations...doll clothes...etc!

-->  Buy a “whoopee” Cushion...or “Bubba” teeth... At least your family will laugh!

-->  Write out the funny family stories! Reminisce! Enjoy!

-->  Go skating! 

-->  Try an afternoon of “Laser-Tag” with your teens! Get um!

-->  Make Homemade Bread—KNEAD yourself!

-->  Plan a regular Mommy Getaway. This is not an extra! It is essential!  I plan getaways for different purposes: to just get alone with God to hear Him, to plan, to work on my homeschool and business projects, to just fill my cup back up. Decide what will fill you up. What do you need right now? Decide what will help meet that need. Gather your goodies: Bible, journal, iPod, camera (I love taking pictures of little treasures along the way), your planner, your computer/Idea Notebook, etc. Pull aside and take that time to just get-away and fill your cup back up!

-->  Get a pet! My bird, Harley, has ministered to my heart MORE than I could remember! He is just SO funny! HE had the idea to “boogie” for Jesus! I had not danced for years! AND it is decent!  Elisabeth’s new puppy, Pooh, is a TOTAL delight!  I say all the time that she is JOY in fur! She has become my little buddy. She loves to sit with me while I work and follow me around while I am doing my chores. She keeps me in stitches. Struggling? Get a pet just for YOU...see that puppy in the window??

-->  Take the day to go for a flight!  Look at the whole world from a different perspective!

-->  Dance! Turn up your favorite music and dance! Dance your heaviness away! Dance till you laugh! Dance in worship to the Lord! Jump! Lift your hands in praise and worship!

-->  Clean out your house (only if this is NOT your struggle! Ha!). Attack those closets...cabinets...dusty bookshelves...paper piles!

-->  Go out for a cup of coffee...tea...or a good old Coca-Cola! Meet your sweetheart or a mommy pal! Or...take your Bible and make it a special time with the Lord!

-->  Find some silly-putty or slime—PLAY!

-->  Get up earlier (or take regular breaks throughout the day!) for your quiet time! You may feel SO weak that you can barely concentrate—if so, just turn on praise music and lift up your arms in praise and adoration. Watch what happens!  Make a list of your heartaches—lift them to the Father (then, hide them in your Prayer Journal—later they will be a praise record!).  Dig into the Word for comfort...perspective...and hope for tomorrow! Really tough days? Well, when the Israelites had very HOT days, they had to gather MORE manna—in the heat of your battles and toughest trials gather a surplus! It will help you survive your struggle.

-->  Make a quilt. You can EVEN cheat by making it on the sewing machine! ENJOY!

-->  Take an afternoon to go to the movies. Get a big bucket of popcorn...a super-HUGE Coke...sour Gummy Worms (unless you are due a BIG DOSE OF CHOCOLATE!). Take your sweetheart...or a friend if you want to share! Pick a movie that will make you laugh like crazy...OR CRY your eyes out! ENJOY!

-->  Ride three-wheelers! Get MUDDY!

-->  Treat yourself to a leisurely afternoon (or a bunch of afternoons!) at the pool...park...or creek.

-->  Try your hand at BOWLING. Take some friends!

-->  Take time for tea—each day.

-->  Exercise. Swim...walk...jog...hike...go skating...aerobics. Relieves stress AND boosts your health to boot.
Learn a new hobby!  What have you been putting off that you have ALWAYS wanted to know? Pottery? Quilting? Flight Training? Smocking? Scrapbooking? Jewelry Making? Sewing? Crochet? Horse-back riding?  Go for it! Now is the PERFECT time.

-->  Treat yourself to a nice looooonnnnnngggg Bubble Bath! Don’t forget to set up your favorite music to play during your Bubble Bath.  Also...be sure to fix a nice cup of tea (or a Latte!) or a nice big Coke that will last till the water gets cold! ENJOY!

-->  Go to the park and just swing—HIGH!
Go get an ice-cream cone—with a double dip!

-->  Do a “Promise” hunt in Scripture.  Keep in a “Promise Notebook” of your very own! KNOW that they are yours.

-->  Snuggle up for the afternoon to read a great book!

Got some fresh ideas? Don’t let this limit you! Let your brain GO! Find some things that will fill you back up and take care of you all along the way.

This is not an extra. This is an essential. Carve out time on your calendar today to just take care of mom!


Need MORE Help?  Click Here to Grab Your ticket Now!

Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention.

Check out all the Details Here!
Urban Homemaker

Let’s Try Notebooking…For History!

by Cindy Rushton

Ed Note:  You can grab a ticket to The Ultimate Homeschool Expo Here.


Yes! Notebooking for History Studies! Notebooking for our History Timelines!

What great literature does to feed the mind, Notebooking does to deepen the studies, teach research skills, and record the real education that your children are receiving. Old path? Yep! But not a path that has been overgrown.

Notebooking goes as far back as eternity.

In Scripture, we find that the kings were trained and prepared for leadership by copying the law and keeping it in a book (isn’t that too cute??).

Want to know something even better? We find that EVEN God has a Book of Remembrance that He is keeping until that day that we join Him in heaven for that "Heavenly read aloud time" we will enjoy some day soon. Oh. Don’t worry! We will ENJOY this time. His Book of Remembrance does not contain a list of sins and transgressions that we have committed that He wants to be sure not to forget. Instead, it is filled to overflowing with precious quotes of praises that His servants speak to one another (My PERSONAL goal is for Him to have PLENTY to quote from my life!).

Up until about a hundred years ago, Notebooking was used in the education of every child. But, something called textbooks and "progressive" education eliminated them from the education of children today. With that elimination, we find the need for more and more artificial methods of education. Well, until we find this old path.

My friend, of all the ideas I could share with you as you homeschool your children, this one is certain to change the atmosphere of your home while equipping your children to learn more deeply now AND more voraciously for the rest of their lives.

Although I cannot begin to do justice explaining Notebooking in one simple article, I have to tell you a few perks (if you want more help in this area, take a look at my book Notebooking! YES! You Can Be A Binder Queen Too!). You have to know that this is a WONDERFUL way to teach more than just the historical facts that we want for our children to learn. There are LOTS of perks!

First of all, Notebooking encourages deeper research on topics of study. As my children have found a "place" to keep their special "finds" along the way, they have had more interest in hunting for more information on every topic they run across. They may think of this as a treasure hunt, but while they are having a blast finding great ideas, facts, and heirlooms, they are learning the skills of researching that will serve them all of their life. That is not all! While our children are building notebooks on topics as they study, they are also learning how to record what they are really learning. Besides relieving mom of the pressure of keeping records of every minute of their day, this teaches them the skill of record keeping and keeps a more accurate account of what is being done each and every day. Oh, and need I mention, Notebooking also teaches our children Language Arts skills and techniques the EASY WAY!

So, how do you use this old path as you teach History the easy way?

First, find great resources that can be used for building notebooks.
 
I am constantly on the lookout for great resources with neat Copywork. My children began using Copywork when they were very little and STILL use Copywork for building their notebooks in High School. There are many, many great resources. The very first thing we used was a large print edition of the Bible. It was easier for my young readers/writers to copy from. I also look for books with poems, quotes, narratives, songs, speeches, etc. As we travel, my children also look for special mementos to add to their notebooks. Anything from art prints to recipes to maps to pictures of the people and events from History are game for their notebooks. The key is in having a "place" to keep the information that contributes to each and every study. That place is our notebooks!

Second, encourage your children to USE those notebooks every day.

It is so easy to put projects on the shelf only to collect dust. It is also easy for us to let the children do work that we pile away in a box to put away later for them. Notebooking is NOT another thing for YOU TO DO! Well, unless you are going to keep a notebook for your own studies.

My dear friend, the greatest benefits come from our children doing the work for themselves. Sure, you may have gone to every local Scrapbooking crop in your city and state. But, this is not a contest for the most creative memory book. It is a discipline that we can pass on to our children so they can learn the skills of writing, researching, recording their own education, and collecting information in a logical and understandable way. Simply find some great resources for them to copy from…buy just ONE NOTEBOOK (3-ring binder) and sheet protectors (to keep their work stored nicely in each day)…and turn them loose! The fruit you gather along this old path is simply too good to miss!

Happy Homeschooling...the easy way


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Need MORE Help?  Click Here to Grab Your ticket Now!
 
How about the ULTIMATE mom-time? Yep! Check out our Ultimate Homeschool Expo! Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (June 1-5, 2009--BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Check out all of the details here:

http://www.cindysaffiliates.com/go.php?offer=urbanhome&pid=25
Urban Homemaker

If you give a Homeschooling Mom a Cookie...

If you give a Homeschooling Mom a Cookie
by Sher Birmingham
If you give a Homeschooling Mom a cookie, she'll want the recipe.

She will plan a complete unit study on the History of Cookies.

The family will take field to a farm and see where we get eggs, milk and grain.

At home they will make butter out of milk.

The children will want to start grinding their own grain.

Mom will purchase a Bosch Universal Kitchen System.

She will remember she will need a new list of cookbooks.

So she will order An Introduction To Whole Grain Baking w/ CD, Desserts, The Cooking With Children CD, and Lunches & Snacks Cookbook by Sue Gregg, also Whole Foods for Kids to Cook.

Mom orders a 100 lb bag of wheat berries.

Now she will grind her own wheat grain into flour.

The children remember the farm field trip and knowing they can't possibly get a cow they beg for a few chickens.

So to a trip to the library to research how to build a chicken coop and to how to care for chickens.

On the way out the door Mom sees the book, Chicken Tractor, by Andy Lee & Pat Foreman.

They stop by the Feed and Seed to pick up materials and ask where to purchase the chicks.

There the clerk tells them about eggs that can be incubated.

He sells them a book on hatching eggs, eggs, and incubator.

At home Mom and the younger children set up the incubator while Dad and the older children build the chicken tractor.

Back to the library to pick up gardening books and more books on chickens.

The oldest daughter now starts a business grinding flour for the her friend's families.

While her younger sisters are selling homemade cookies to their neighbors.

The boys have started building a new chicken tractor because they want more eggs for breakfast.

That cookie that started this all the homeschooling mom's three year old ate it.

http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

Urban Homemaker

Quick Ideas for Making History Fun!

by Cindy Rushton

Ed Note:  You can grab a ticket to The Ultimate Homeschool Expo Here.

Want to make the new school year better than ever? Want studies
that are interesting for the whole family? I think I can help you!

How about some quick tips for making your history studies fun? I
think you will find these to make lessons fun and easy. Let's dig
in... 

    * Get Out to See History as Much as Possible…  Hunt up any
Living History Days scheduled in your area.  Get out to all
historical sites and museums...even hands-on children’s museums.
Don’t miss any historical reenactments and plays within driving
distance! These all give wonderful opportunities to get your
children in touch with those that love History and know it best.

    *  Begin a History Notebook… This is the cure to dull, lifeless
texts.  Let your children create their own notebooks of study!
Include anything from great quotes to poetry to pictures to
sketches to newspaper clippings to photographs to mementos from
history sites, reenactments and postcards from friends to
narrations from books read.  These personalized curricula will
bring life into all areas of study.

    * Tap Into Grandparents, Elderly, Family, and Friends… Our
family and friends have been a key source of finding out neat
stories that are not recorded in the history books. Sitting at
their feet, we have learned many details from history that would be
long lost without the gift of story telling. The key to making this
come alive is to listen and record their stories for your History
Notebooks. Keep this part of history alive for you and for
generations to come!

    * Find Treasures at Antique Stores… One of our favorite
past-times is “junking” at antique stores, junk shops and flea
markets.  Take your time to find wonderful treasures from the past,
which will breathe life into your History studies.  You can find
journals, uniforms, books, dress up clothes, and even play gadgets
to make history come alive for your little ones!

    * Let the Little Ones Make Up Their Own Costumes… I have always
enjoyed researching and creating authentic costumes from other time
periods.  I used to have more time and energy to create costumes
for every time period we studied.  Now, my children are using their
extra time and endless supply of energy to create their own
costumes.  I love to see them as they pull together little things
from around the house to create their own costumes!

    * Let Them Make Doll Clothes… This tangent began for us when my
daughter got her first American Girl doll.  We combined my love of
creating authentic doll clothes with my deep passion for making
doll clothes.  Each year for the past five years, I have spent time
each December creating matching outfits for Elisabeth and her
dolls.  This is easy to do with today’s patterns.  Just take basic
designs and create your own “historical” costumes for the dolls.
If you have a beginning seamstress interested in some quick
projects, this would be a wonderful way to learn the basics of
sewing while learning History!

    * Make a Timeline…Timelines are priceless!  We have had two
different kinds of timelines for our studies in History.  We had a
huge one that took up an entire wall in our old home. It was
fascinating to watch the little ones as they would “review” and
“test” each other on history as they went by! When we built our
home, my husband would not allow that one back on the wall, so we
made our own Book of Centuries on our computer, which includes all
of our history facts. We simply developed a notebook with the dates
marked.  We record key events, people we study and the key events
of their life, our family’s key events, illustrations which remind
the children of those historical figures and events, pictures that
the children have collected from books and trips that we have
taken, information from our Computer Encyclopedias and Internet
Sites, and even charts we have collected or made ourselves. These
are another “text” that we create about our studies. How priceless!


*******************************************

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Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention.

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Urban Homemaker

It's Spring! Time for Nature Studies!

by Cindy Rushton

Ed Note:  You can grab a ticket to The Ultimate Homeschool Expo Here.



Spring and Summer are here!
 
Anybody else having Spring Fever? Ready to get outside to soak up the beauty and fresh air for sumer? Oh! This is the perfect time to make up any excuse to get outside. But, what if we call it "school" as we enjoy this gorgeous Spring and Summer?
 
Yep! It is Spring and and time for Spring themed Nature Studies. Yep! Time for that weekly Nature Walk!  Time to pull out those Nature Notebooks and begin a fresh new study. NO pressure. Just with atmosphere of fun and delight! Want some ideas that are EASY? How about some of our favorites? Let's dig in...

Trees…
•    Hunt for new leaves (buds!). Mark the date for each tree.
•    Look for blossoms on your tree.  Describe and draw.
•    Mark the date that your tree is in full foliage.
•    Measure the height of your tree.
•    Determine the age of the tree.  Measure 5 feet from the ground around the tree trunk.  Divide this measurement by 1 inch to get the approximate age in years.
•    Collect and press leaves.  Mount some in your nature notebook.
•    Sketch your tree in watercolor or crayon for your nature notebook.
•    Hunt for spring poetry about trees!  Copy into your nature notebook.
•    Look up Scripture verses about trees.  Copy into your nature notebook.


Flowers…
•    Each week take a walk to collect new wildflowers around your neighborhood. Press into a scrapbook/nature notebook.
•    Sketch and label flower parts.
•    Hunt for poetry about the flowers that are blooming each week.
•    Find Scripture verses to copy into your nature notebook about all flowers.
•    Plant some flowers outside in your yard.


Birds…
•    Set out a bird feeder for birds around your home.  Put one right outside of a big window so the children can watch the birds up close.
•    Listen for early birds…they should be coming soon.
•    Set out nesting materials for birds common to your area.
•    Try building your own nest.
•    Learn birdcalls and songs.
•    Watch the birds as they gather materials for their nests…maybe you can see where they are building their nests and watch them as they feed their young.
•    Hunt for nature poetry about the birds native to your yard.  Copy into nature notebooks.
•    Hunt for Scripture verses about the birds native to your yard.  Copy into nature notebooks.


Insects…
•    Start an ant farm.
•    Begin your bug collection.


Animals…
•    Hunt for animal tracks.
•    Go on a night hunt for salamanders.  You may want to make a home for one as a pet.
•    Set up an aquarium for a frog home.  Go to a local pond to collect some frog eggs—watch their life cycle!  Be sure to document in your nature notebook!
•    Make a chart of animal characteristics.  Study how animals are classified.


Plants…
•    Hunt for woodland flowers.
•    Choose seeds or plants for spring planting.  Start seeds now to have an early bloom.
•    Grow plants from pits. (see Ideas Section)
•    Gather samples from the woods of plants without flowers.  (Good resource is Plants That Never Ever Bloom)
•    Go on a hike through the woods.  Look for tree seedlings.
•    Hunt for spring mushrooms.


Astronomy…
•    Keep a chart of the moon phases for a month—try March.
•    Take an evening to spend stargazing.

Weather…
•    Keep weather chart for the first two weeks of the season—begin March.
•    Find out how rain is formed.
•    Find any poems about rain for nature notebook.
•    Find out about lightning.  Add information to nature notebook.
•    Hunt for rainbows.


Collections…
•    Take a day for each of your collections to maintain. (Rocks… shells… feathers… so on.)


Seasonal Table Ideas…
•    Budding branches
•    Tulips
•    Bird’s nest
•    Fresh flowers
•    Potted Wild Violets
•    Dyed eggs
•    Tissue Paper Butterflies
•    Colors…pastels and jewel tones
 
**************************************************


Need MORE Help?  Click Here to Grab Your ticket Now!

Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention.

Check out all the Details Here!
Urban Homemaker
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