Lessons Learned over My First Year of Homeschooling: Daily Routine & Schedules

Part 1 in a Homeschool Lessons Learned Series : Daily Routines and Scheduling

“You homeschool? Ok, but um….what exactly do you DO all day?”

We LEARN!  I know my Lil’ Lizard is the student, but I think it was Mama who learned the most last year.  So far I only have a year and a half under my belt, but I thought sharing last year’s struggles and solutions could be of use to someone, if only for future reference for myself ;). Part of the steep learning curve to homeschooling, was finding a school calendar, daily/weekly schedules and general routines that worked for us.

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We Survived our First Year of Homeschooling!! Intro to a Lessons Learned Series

Woo Hoo! WE SURVIVED OUR FIRST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOLING!!! Wow, talk about a steep learning curve. Perhaps my first year homeschooling felt tougher than it had to be because I was also juggling a newborn, but looking back it was all absolutely worth it. 🙂  I’ve shared with you some things I wish I had prepared BEFORE my first year, but now I’d like to take a look at some of the specifics that seemed to work for us, and those we’ll be ditching as we begin again in the fall.

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Seeds Family Worship Review

Seeds Family Worship Review @ www.gracewithintherace.com

Are you looking for a fun way to help your children memorize scripture? Perhaps change of pace in your music selection? Or maybe like me, you ran across Seeds Family Worship on You Tube and want to know if it’s worth purchasing.  Today I’ll share with you how we discovered Seeds, why we love their products and how we use them. Plus I’ll direct you to where you can find them yourself (including our first giveaway!).  Continue reading to see how Seeds Family Worship can add to your family’s fun memories this summer.

Note: Although Seeds Family Worship has graciously offered to donate their Seeds of Courage DVD (usually about $20 bucks) for my first giveaway, my thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. I did not receive any compensation or otherwise profit from this review, I simply bought a cool product and wanted to share my thoughts.

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Thankful for Kind Supporters of Homeschool

When I revealed our family’s decision to homeschool Lil’ Lizard rather than return to public school for 1st grade, we encountered so many reactions varying from absolute disgust to offers to help coordinate field trips.  Unfortunately, we ran into more of the former than the latter and at times it was very discouraging. That’s why this week as I link up with Marsha for Thankful Thursdays, I want to give a shout out those who have helped us along the way.

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Seeds of Courage DVD Giveaway!

Seeds of Courage Giveaway @ www.gracewithintherace.com

Woo Hoo! This is our first give away here at Grace Within the Race and I am pleased to officially announce that we are OPEN FOR ENTRIES!!!

UPDATE: We have a WINNER!!! If the randomly selected winner fails to respond within a few days, I will notify the chosen runner up! 🙂 Thank you all so much for participating and making my first review a success! I hope you give Seeds Family Worship a try and check out their online store. What a blessing it’s been to see so many of y’all interested in God’s Word. Hallelujah!!

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7 Things to Prepare BEFORE your First Year of Homeschooling

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As our first year of homeschooling comes to a close, I look back at our year and can’t help but praise God for bringing us through it.  I love how close our family has grown together and cherish so many wonderful moments we’ve shared.  That said, I also recognize that perhaps I could have avoided some (key word some) of the stress packed moments with more preparation.  If you are considering home education or in the midst of it and feeling overwhelmed, this one is for you.  I’ll explain how I stumbled into homeschooling, the steps I wish I took in advance, and share links to the resources that helped me through.  As a newbie I haven’t many pearls of wisdom to offer, but hopefully you won’t have to learn these 7 lessons the hard way as I did.

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Spring Cleaning with S.O.A.P. : A Study Method for Bible Journaling

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Spring is in the air and while many are taking the change of seasons as an opportunity to spruce things up, I’m writing to share my favorite tip for some major deep cleaning.  No, I’m not talking about some secret vinegar recipe, I’m talking about the renewing of your mind with the S.O.A.P. Bible Study method.  You may have heard of this before, it’s a great structure for bible journaling that has been around for a while and gaining in popularity.  There is even a soap study website where you can log-in and record your entries.  Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, it was new to me too.  Now that I’m in the loop, I hereby extend an invitation to learn about some bible study awesomeness. 🙂

I first ran across this method during my crazy homeschool information hunt last fall, but was so busy with my newborn, homeschool and the holidays to give it much thought.  As I was praying about whether or not to continue with this blog, the verse in © www.gracewithintherace.comMatthew 6:33 kept coming to mind:But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  That’s when I realized that listening to my local Christian Music Station and working on a few memory verses with my Lil’ Lizard each day was not cutting it.  In the book of Peter it talks about craving the word of God like a new-born hungers for milk.  This scripture strikes such a chord with me as a nursing mom, I could write an entire post on it.  My babies not only depend on milk for nourishment to sustain life, they find comfort and delight in it.  Maybe we should take a hint from the little ones and learn to seek God’s word and rest in Him, trusting in our Father to cover all our needs.

Ok ok, so you’re geared up to study His word, but what does S.O.A.P. stand for and how does it work?

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Triple Triumph vs Multiple Mediocracy

As a relatively new parent and wife (incredibly newer homeschool teacher and blogger), I am soaking up as many tips and tricks as possible.  One of my new favorite resources for wisdom and encouragement are the posts found at http://www.theunlikelyhomeschool.com.  I recently read her post for new homeschool moms and one her ideas really spoke to me: “By prioritizing your time and energy on just THREE goals in your first year, you are allowing yourself to be the homeschool mom that YOU are suppose to be.”

Wow, that reminder is exactly what I needed.  Starting up this blog I was researching like crazy what I was supposed to be doing…in all areas, as a mom, wife, teacher, christian, and blogger. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Honestly, I think I did fall….last night I just bought http://www.gracewithintherace.com through Blue Host to self host with Word Press software installed thinking it would be the same wordpress.com but with more freedom.  I pulled an all nighter! Sure I was up mostly due to a teething baby anyways, but where was my heart and focus? I spent extra money, researched tutorials, worked on tweaks, wrestled frustrations and for what? It’s not even launched. Where did all this self imposed pressure come from? Am I really called to do this blog?  Or could it be I looking for a personal triumph when I feel mediocre everywhere else in my life?

I hope this mini moment will bless and encourage you as much as it has me.  When we quit comparing ourselves we recognize the freedom to follow the beat of a different drum, as we should! If we focus on doing a few things well, I think we’ll find the sense of satisfaction and motivation to press on despite the surrounding seemingly failures. So as I take some time to really digest this concept and seek God’s truth for the answer to my priority question, I challenge you to do the same. If you could only do 3 things amazingly well, what would they be? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Mini Moments

Mini Moments   After finding my Lil’ Lizard in a tree reading this afternoon I thought it would be fun to start a new category of “mini moment” posts.  So here he is reading, Classic Starts: The Secret Garden and enjoying some sunshine after a week of rainy afternoons.  What a beautiful moment to see that my son has really embraced reading and the outdoors this year.

   Discovering him there was so humbling as I was filled with gratitude and peace.  Every mom second guesses herself, so this was a wonderful confirmation that choosing to educate at home was not only the right choice, but that we are doing it well thanks to God’s mercy and grace.

   What are some moments that have offered you peace of mind or confirmation recently? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!