Nov 282014
Super Homeschool Mom Fallacies: Kids LOVE School. It's not all sunshine and lollipops! Some days (years) are tough! -

Back again for my attempt to debunk the super homeschool mom ideas! I know I’ve been guilty of believing some of these, so I’d love to share what I know now, after a few years of being in the depths of it all.

Super Homeschool Mom Fallacies: Kids LOVE School. It's not all sunshine and lollipops! Some days (years) are tough! -

Am I the only one that thought that my child would bound out of bed, ready and willing for her math, history, science, or whatever lessons she had for the day? I can’t be the only person who imagined their child loving school because it was at home, with me, her wonderful, beautiful, amazing mother!

Love, but not love

I do think that most kids love being homeschooled, when faced with the alternative. That doesn’t mean that they will love all their assignments, or even all of their subjects. I do enjoy the idea of unschooling, and plan to toy with it a bit more with my younger kids (we are already fully engrossed in high school, so changing gears now would be more work than it’s worth). Still, I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with saying, “If my kid doesn’t ever want to learn addition, I’m not going to make them.” That means I’m ready and willing for there to be a time when my child tells me they are not happy with learning something, and we push forward anyway.

Still, listen

This does not mean that I will not listen to their concerns, and any super homeschool mom would (though I never claim to be one, but my point stands). Maybe the day needs to be moved around a bit to get the best of their motivation at the right time of day. Maybe we need to rethink their curriculum used. Not all siblings are going to be able to use the same curriculum, as much as our budget would like to tell us otherwise. And really, maybe they’re just not ready for the subject matter they’re coming across. Especially in the case of learning to read, waiting until they are ready is normally far more productive than forcing it early.

They are kids

Just remember: you are working with kids. Sometimes we have to learn things that aren’t our favorite. As much as you may have enjoyed college (hopefully, at the price tag it comes with!), I’m sure there are classes you disliked. No problem! Learn what you need and move on.

That’s what a super homeschool mom does. Just let them dislike a couple things, as long as it’s set up in the most appealing fashion you can muster.

Did you think your child would LOVE homeschooling? How have you worked through their lack of excitement at times?

Nov 242014
The BEST books for kids at the BEST prices of the year! Buy them what they will love, and benefit from!

Enter the shopping season for everyone in the west! Whether you take part in the winter holidays or not, most people set aside some part of their budget for the massive deals you find in November and December.

Books for your kids are no different!

The BEST books for kids at the BEST prices of the year! Don't miss this Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale!



You may have gathered that I’ve become an Usborne Books and More consultant, which means I have a website that carries the best books on the planet!

You can find:

  • Picture books for all ages and stages
  • Fun and engaging encyclopedias for kids
  • Illustrated dictionaries of science, math, and a standard illustrated dictionary
  • Illustrated classics from Dicken’s, Shakespeare, and others. All stories are retold in a young reader’s format!
  • Interactive flap books to teach kids about anything from the solar system, your body, history, and more
  • Activity books to teach reading, math, and art
  • Sticker books to work on fine motor skills, keep kids occupied, and quality time together as parent and child

Nowhere else can you find such a variety, and at such awesome prices. Usborne is a staple in any homeschool library!

What you need to know about Book Friday and Cyber Monday sales:

  • Books will go on sale at midnight, ET on Friday, November 28th (morning), and another set of sale books will go on sale midnight, ET on Monday, December 1st (morning.The BEST books for kids at the BEST prices of the year! Don't miss this Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale!
  • The books on sale are only as supplies last. Order early in the day to get the best selection!
  • When you spend $40, you can pick up to THREE books on the November special at their reduced price, up to 60% off!!The BEST books for kids at the BEST prices of the year! Don't miss this Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale!
  • You can get previews of popular books on my Facebook Event. RSVP to get notified!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at (shannen at middlewaymom dot com)! I’d love to help you find books that are perfect for the kids in your life, and get them at the best deal possible. I can do home shows in the Twin Cities area, or Facebook shows for people outside of my local area (but still in the US).

Share this awesome sale with those you know so everyone can get a great deal on awesome books for their kids!

Nov 172014
Think our homeschool is perfect? Think again. Today we're getting real, and sharing our imperfect homeschool. -

Sometimes I wonder if I share too much of our failure on the blog, and if that means you might discredit my thoughts on improving. Sometimes I wonder if our imperfect homeschool is worthy enough to have a blog. But then I remember that this is real life and you likely don’t want to only read about the great times. When we make friends, we share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And today, as I share our homeschool and all its imperfections, I’m joined by other iHomeschool Network bloggers. I’m not alone, and that feels good.

I hope that feeling of not being alone feels good to you, too.

Think our homeschool is perfect? Think again. Today we're getting real, and sharing our imperfect homeschool. -

It’s no secret that high school has been a bumpy road for us. I must say, we make some really awesome plans, but then those plans meet real life, and things start to unwind, slowly but surely. Whether it’s resources we thought were great, but then didn’t work out the way we thought, or lesson plans that are forgotten about, missed, or have swiss cheese follow through. Add it all together, and you get a really tough first year.

Honestly, it felt like every time we checked in on progress, we were taking two steps forward, one step back. It was incredibly frustrating for all of us.

During middle school, I basically graded items as they were finished, just looking to see if it was sufficient or not. I didn’t keep track of grades, and so there wasn’t much of a back log of work to be graded. Oh, what a mistake that was. I’ve learned my deep, intense hate for grading work. I avoid it whenever I can, and after 30 minutes of grading papers, I have to set it aside so my complete lack of motivation doesn’t filter in to the grade I’m awarding.

What I’ve learned? Find as many self-grading resources as possible. Then at least when I force myself to sit down and grade papers, it takes less time, and don’t fall as far behind.

You may have noticed I write far less about credit by exam. Why? We’ve backed off, big time. I’ve learned that Kira needs and wants small steps in her learning. She doesn’t want to do intense study sessions to retain lots of new information, which is what credit by exam requires at her stage. To go from first addressing a subject in middle school to then passing a CLEP or DSST exam means you are skipping the high school step, and you need to actively study with notes, and practice, practice, practice. That’s not how Kira wants to use her time, even if she likes the idea of passing the exams.

Will we continue with credit by exam? Yes, but at a slower pace. When Kira shows an active interest in a subject or an exam, I’ll absolutely get the resources to make it happen. Otherwise, we’ll let her take the smaller steps that high school work allows.

So what’s the road forward?

I use more resources online to build the bridge between our motivation and our goals. What are some of our favorite resources to make this happen?

  • Homeschool Planet – to keep us on track, both with completing lesson plans and with ensuring grading is fully recorded.
  • Jumpcourse – An interactive and engaging way to study for CLEP and DSST exams. Kira loves it, it’s self grading, and they have a guarantee you’ll pass, otherwise you get to retake the course.
  • Currclick classes – Online classes covering a wide variety of subject areas. This means literally no work for me. Yay!

Our homeschool is far from perfect, but the fact is we are still meeting our goals. In sha Allah (God willing), Kira is gaining knowledge, exploring options for her future career, and building a strong personal identity in a healthy way.

Join the other iHomeschool Network bloggers and hear about their imperfect homeschools. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops, so let’s get real!

The Imperfect Homeschool

Parenting Teenagers: Rules for Teens

Parenting Teenagers: Rules for Teens

Raising teenagers has been a question for generations. How much freedom do you allow a teen? How many guidelines do you give them? Do you allow sleepovers? The answers aren’t cut and dry, but I’ll share with you the rules we have in our home, and why we have come to these as a conclusion. Sleepovers Sleepovers are a big question even from the elementary years. Do you allow them? Only for specific families? When [Read more…]

New phonics program, field trips, and no TV - Homeschool Wrap-Up Oct 2014

New phonics program, field trips, and no TV – Homeschool Wrap-Up Oct 2014

  It feels like we’ve been doing school for more than two months already, but subhanAllah, time just flies. We feel pretty settled in Kira’s routine at this point, and of course the little ones are always changing routines as sleep schedules change, and their interests change. Here’s some of the highlights of the last month! SeaLife Aquarium The most exciting thing we’ve done this month was head to the SeaLife Aquarium during their homeschool [Read more…]

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