Okay am I the only one who is geeked about planning for next year? Oh my but I love everything about it! Every year is a fresh start, full of possibility. New school supplies and clothes (we get these things), fresh teacher planners and juicy new dry wipe markers are all signaling school’s about to start!
I know you may wonder why I am chatting about this now. It’s early July, you think. I have plenty of time, you think. I’ll do that later, you think. I wouldn’t if I were you…
Planning for the year is important. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” It happens every time I think I can “wing it.” I like to think I’m a free spirit but I really need more structure than I want to admit sometimes. For me, writing it all down helps keep me on track and [mostly] productive.
Here is my planner for this school year. I have linked below to all the wonderful blogs whose free printables I used in this planner. Isn’t the cover beautiful? I cobbled the contents together from several sites to fit my needs. I laminated the covers and comb bound it (I happen to have tools to do both). Super cheap and just what I needed!
Here is a tour of my planner on YouTube. To me its easier than a bunch of pictures.
Here are the links to the printables I used.
The Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) is the largest organization in BPA. Originally in California, they moved to the east coast. Visit their About Us page here. They are the publisher of the Red Books, the Noah Plan and hundreds of other materials. (They have trademarked the phrase Principle Approach.) They are an invaluable resource for Christian history and home education the BPA way.
The Commonwealth is an online community that members can use to connect with other members, to access material from FACE and to interact with FACE staff.
Please visit their site for info on everything BPA. They offer many articles and materials that will help you on your way.
In our trip through the BPA alphabet we can’t pass up the chance to highlight the Bible. It’s our most valued tool and our educational guidebook. All subjects have their foundations in the Bible and therefore this book must be honored here.
The Bible is also irreplaceable in core subjects like literature and HisStory. It is full of material to help your family master the subjects and see how they fit into Providential history.
As Christians we should look to God’s Word for help in every area of life. There is wisdom for how to gain wisdom, what true wisdom is and more. We learn how to interact with one another, what God feels is most important and how to relate to Him.
The Bible is the foundation for all subjects and as we turn to His word we are changed into His image more and more.
Being a parent of a non-homeschooled child, you are probably busy and think you don’t have time (or energy) to do more where your child’s education is concerned. But your child can benefit from some of small ways home educators (especially BPA educators) approach education. Delegating your child’s education to a school does not absolve you of your responsibility to be your child’s most important teacher. Here are a few easy ways you can take more leadership of your child’s education.
Be involved in their education. Check homework, ask questions about lectures. Offer more than the school is offering. Go beyond, even if it’s only small things like checking out an extra book from the library on the topic.
Make your whole lives about learning. No one only learns in certain locations or during certain hours. Make your home a haven of learning. Set up a science center and/or a reading corner related to what they are learning. Cooking, laundry and chores are also times to learn math, science and life skills. Thinking about these simple tasks in a new way can open up a new avenue to connect with your child educationally. Bringing Biblical principles into the subject (like science) brings life to learning that will inspire for life in a gentle way.
Read aloud–and read a lot. Mealtimes and car rides are great times to squeeze in extra literary goodness. Offer your child a reading list, especially in the summer. Add to the list your child’s teacher gives and if your child has a choice of books to read, offer a literary classic, a “living book.” (see some of my previous posts on literature.)
Learn alongside your children. Ask them questions and allow them to teach you something. Dig in and learn beyond the homework, which is probably fill in the blank or one word answers. Take a topic and together see what you can learn that s not fact-oriented.
Look for ways to incorporate their learning styles. Homework is a good time to let your child embrace their learning style. Making up songs to study for a test, walking and learning, drawing and doodling can all be done during homework time and help your child get more out of their homework.
Embrace individuality. As long as they are following the teacher’s instructions, why not let your child use colored paper, write with a colored pen, use a cool computer font or anything else that will help your child take ownership of their own learning. Help them make projects their own, not just something they were told to complete. Encourage creative expression every chance you can.
Take field trips. Weekends are for enjoying. Make them fun AND educational. Zoos, museums, aquariums, fire houses all make fun family outings that create memories and offer learning at the same time.
What suggestions do you have?
We often hear about how homeschooling is best for the student. Home education is also great for the mother-teacher as well. Here are just a few of the ways:
time with your children
In my opinion this can’t be oversold. Time with your children should be something you desire to find more of. This seems to be the reason many parents choose not to homeschool–they will have to be with their children all day. I have never understood that sentiment. If that’s the only reason you don’t try homeschooling then let me encourage you to rethink this idea.
you are always learning
Home educating parents are always in school themselves. Learning and exploring alongside your children is one of the greatest homeschool joys, I believe. You don’t have to know it all right now. Taking time to learn together is a wonderful way to bond as a family.
Meeting and praying with other parent-educators forms a strong bond. Finding like-minded parents and children is an important factor in the success of home educating families. It is really difficult to “go it alone,” and with the internet it’s now easier than ever to connect and create life-long friends.
Home educating parents are constantly setting goals (and hopefully seeing them through). Looking back over a year, or a semester, is rewarding. You can see how far the homeschool students have come and where you need to go next. Accomplishments such as teaching a child to read are methodical milestones a parent can look back on with pride. This builds confidence that bleeds over into every area of life.
ensuring your desires for your children’s education are met
There is no competing worldview or opposing force vying for your child’s heart and mind. Also you are able to focus like a laser on what you think is important for them to learn. You can also be sure you deal with challenges and giftings as needed.
If you could write this list, what would you add?
Join me and several other BPA families at 7pm CST for the Summer Splash! It kicks off our BiblePrinciples group Faceboook presence and [re]introduces our online BPA community.
We will have giveaways, door prizes and lots of great information. I’ll be there, along with Lisa of Me and My House Ministries, Renae of Life Nurturing Education and Gina of A Cherished Keeper. Mrs. Smith of Pilgrim Institute will also be on hand with information you won’t want to miss.
It only lasts an hour so don’t miss a minute of it! Be online at 7pm CST and click the picture above to join the conversation and to get in on some fantastic giveaways.
If you know a parent-teacher whom you think would like to join us, please let them know. See you there!
Ever had something so finger lickin’ good that you just had to have the recipe? So you work up the courage to ask and when you get it you realize you can’t duplicate it because there’s one ingredient you don’t have–secret sauce.
It’s a blend of spices and flavorings so potent, so tasty, so irresistible that you can’t help eating it until your tummy aches. Even then you want more. You liked it so much that just thinking about it makes your mouth water. When you get some you are already thinking about the next time you can get some. That’s some serious gastric goodness.
So have you ever met a homeschool family that left you feeling like that? They seem to really enjoy what they are doing. They are inspiring and you think they have something you want to duplicate. You leave wondering how on earth you can recreate what you are craving. Well, I’m about to give you the recipe to the secret sauce so you can create your own taste-tingling recipe at home and put your own twist on it. It’s not a mystery but it is important.
This secret sauce is the key to maintaining for the long haul, for keeping things hoppin’ and happenin’. Keep in mind this is generic secret sauce. Your own secret sauce may include devotions, prayer time or something else. That’s how you make it your own secret sauce. If you think things are stale, maybe a dash of special sauce is just what you need.
What’s in your secret sauce?
It’s the way Jesus taught.The Pharisees didn’t like his approach much. They wanted facts, rules. He got to the heart of the matter. He was able to sum up the 10 commandments in two principles. His approach frustrates the flesh but gives life to the spirit. There are more examples of His teaching methods than I can list here but I recommend the book Teaching Techniques of Jesus by Herman Horne.
You can teach multiple levels because you are teaching the seeds of the subjects , so you can easily adjust it for different ages. More seed for older children, little bites of kernels for younger ones.
There is proven success teaching from Biblical principles. America’s founding fathers were educated by principles and were able to reason from God’s word. Their excellent reasoning and ability to form our constitution were a result of their Biblical education.
The subjects are alive in His word and it makes each subject exciting and important when you see how it fits into His Story.
You learn how to learn by beginning with the foundation of a subject. The steps to discovering Biblical principles apply to any subject at any time and carry across the curriculum.
Even though I really enjoy it, sometimes I think I can get by without planning. For some moms, loose plans or [gasp!] no plans aren’t a big deal. I am not one of those moms.
Lesson plans are the way the big picture gets done. They are a map to get you to your destination. Mrs. Smith says that goals are the lighthouse and lesson plans are the lantern. I love that! They are what enables you to move along the path without getting distracted and without losing sight of the big picture. They keep you moving along toward your destination.
This summer I am trying to be more diligent about evaluating (more details to come) and planning for the year. I sleep better at night knowing not just where we are headed, but how we are going to get there.
I look to my lighthouse and get my bearings. Then I take my children by the hand. The lantern helps us avoid the rocks and other obstacles on our particular home educating path. I can’t see very far ahead but I don’t need to. I trust the Keeper of the Lighthouse has it all under control.
…if only I may finish my course with joy…
Acts 20:24 AMP (emphasis mine)
This is part of my life scripture. It is one that is dear to me and only recently I have seen it anew. There are three things in this lovely passage that I want to emphasize.
I am to finish, whatever that means for me. For some home educators it’s graduation. For others it’s somewhere along the way. No one can tell you where that is but God. You just want to make sure you are on His schedule, His timing. God’s into completing things. He’s not one to leave unfinished projects and neither should we, especially in the home education realm.
I have a specific path. Part of it is a mother, part a wife, part a sister, a daughter, a friend. My course happens to include home education. It’s in my DNA. He hard wired me for this and equipped me for it. He knew my faults and trusted I could do this anyway. With His guidance and tender mercies I can, but not in my own strength.
And I have to stick to my course, not another’s. It’s so easy to compare, to feel inadequate and to judge. We must take care to keep to the path God has planned for us. Our goal is not to finish someone else’s course, but our own.
This is the hard part (at least for me). We may not finish our course at all, but if we do, it’s too often through gritted teeth with a bad attitude. His yoke is easy; His burden is light. It’s not enough to just get through it. Lots of people can do that. It’s the fruit of joy that sets us apart, making our lives tantalizing to those around us. Even in the rough spots on our course we have fixed our eyes on the prize. No, not graduation or smart children or even strong Christians. Our prize is that heavenly reward, that “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” It’s the fellowship with Him as we move from day to day that renews us and brings us the joy we need to keep going.
There truly can be joy in the journey. We can be content in the now and see God working all through our busy days. We can finish our course with joy, which is all I aim to do.
What is your life scripture?