Encouragement for homeschooling moms and dads

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Virus–Sick computer

I have been silent all week because my computer has been sick.  It is still not back to normal.  Evidently last Sunday while I was merrily sewing away my computer was contracting a virus.  It has crippled everything.  Thankfully my husband has taught me to back up everything on our Seagate 1.5TB External drive.  I have not lost anything!  What I have lost is time so I will be posting several things in order to catch up a little but I will try and consolidate as much and possible so as not to overwhelm anyone.

First of all I must encourage all of you, if you do not have an external drive to back your documents on to, please, PLEASE invest in one.  You will not be sorry.  Just recently Tobin was telling me of reading about putting the external drive in your fireproof safe at night or (and especially) when we are way.  Since Tobin is in his 3rd year of a doctoral program, all his documents are very precious and represent hours of sweat, blood and tears (okay the tears are from me;).


I have just finished printing out the 4th quarter  planners for the older boys and me.  I have made a few changes to the older boys planner.  Last quarter they were these very large documents of over 100 pages.  Now they are only 36 pages that I have double sided.   The front and back are printed on cardstock for durability and after the boys have finished personalizing their planners I laminate the front page.  Click here to see the K-3 planner and here for the 4th-6th grade planner for yourself.  It is a word document so you can customize it any way you want.  The most major change that I have made since the original planners is that I have eliminated the journaling pages.  We will continue doing daily journaling but in a separate book.

Note:  We educated our children year-round and we begin our new school year with the calendar year.  So we are currently finishing 4th grade for Samuel and 2nd grade for Isaac.  In January both boys will move to the next grade level.  Of course as many of you know, home educated children have the freedom to progress at their own pace.  The grade levels are just so they can explain themselves when asked.  That is usually the first question children are asked, “What grade are you in?”

I have also updated my planner.  In this last quarter I have made several changes and am challenging myself in a few areas.  I am calling it my 90 Day Challenge.

I have set for myself several Goals:

1. Read entire Bible in 90 days

2. Walk 7 days a week

3. Complete ChaLean Extreme

4. Pay off van

5. Organized life–lose weight, disciplined about getting up, going to bed and making sure I am doing the things that are most important to me.

6. Organized home–with 8 people in a small home we all must learn to be more careful with where things go and make sure they get there.  With that said, there are several areas that need to be decluttered and better systems created to contain our stuff.

7. Structure & routine–as a pastor’s family our lives can be unpredicable.  One phone call can change my whole day.  However, since our children’s education and the sanity of the momma are also important certain areas can not be left undone.  So in the next 90 days these systems, structures and routines will be established in order to be free to go where Jesus leads.

So here is the planner I have created for myself.  I am only doing one week at a time.  In the past I have printed out an entire quarter, even an entire year.  What a waste.  Somewhere along the way, I would change my mind, think of something new to add or want to update the planner.  So I have a section for monthly calendars (these are a year at a time), then weekly planners, which I print only a week at a time, menus,which I do a month at a time, etc.  My three favorite planners that have beautiful pages and I use some from each are:  Notebooking pagesMotivated Moms and The Intentional planner.  All are very affordable, user friendly and I highly recommend them all.

None of the planners are put together so I will post pictures later of the finished products.

I am now off to do a library purge.  Although I have equivalent to 12 floor to ceiling bookcases of shelving, I don’t ever seem to have enough.  So I am going through the books.  In the process I am organizing (many books get lost when they are put back on the shelves so I will get them back to their home), labeling all the books and entering them into library thing.  I will post pictures of my progress.  I keep reminding myself that this project will be a work in progress.

Day 2 Back to School

Today was our second day back to school, in our first school room and our new schedule.  See Sunday’s post, Our Curriculum,  for pictures of our school room and basic schedule.  Tuesday is our coop/extracurricular activity day.  This year we are doing horses.  So after a morning of Character Sketches, Bible, Scripture memory and Math we were off to see the horses.  Although all the children have been exposed to the horses and are comfortable around them, today was our first official riding lesson.  They learned basic grooming, saddling the horse, proper mounting and dismounting, basic riding (all done at a walk) and leading the horse back to the barn, unsaddling and proper care for the tack.  They did a great job and are so excited to do this on a regular basis.

Before I began this post I finished updated our school record keeping.  This is another area I have changed or updated this year.  I am using an amazing online software Homeschool Skedtrack .  I am so impressed with this program.  They have very easy to follow video tutorials that explain every step of the setup and daily operation process.  The best part is that the software is FREE.  After many dollars and countless planners, systems and software, I believe I have finally found one that works for us.  Check it out for yourself, Homeschool Skedtrack.