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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Math Manipulation

Math is not my subject! I have had to take algebra twice and just now, in my 30s, am I learning to get a handle on variables, fractions, and the Pythagorean theory. Teaching my son math has been a challenge, one which I am thankful to have my husband help me with. In our home writing and history are my fortes while science and math is his. 

Recently, Tristan had expressed an interest in both computer programming (currently he thinks being  a video game designer would awesome) and to pursue possibilities in these career choices I explained that he will need more rigorous math practice. For my own college I have had familiarity with Aleks and since I am currently in an algebra class I figured I would let him try out my program. He is ready for algebra and found Aleks straight forward and easy to use. I personally think it is an all around program good for higher math above 5th grade and I was happy to find that they also have a homeschool subscription option. 

For all grade levels though, math can be a difficult curriculum to teach. Even homeschool parents with a college education may find that they haven't been in school in a while and are rusty in their skills. If you are not confident with your own skills, then you will find that it is exceedingly difficult to teach another. It may be helpful to find a good math program and learn the skills again with your child so while they may not have you as a teacher you can work together. 

Ultimately, what is important is finding the right math curriculum for your child and one that will enable them to learn without being so challenging that they give up. Even for unschooling families that may not do regular book work and prefer experiential training, finding an online option, games, and skill worksheets can help once their kids find an interest or need for math in their lives. I am wanting to share some of the sites that I have found helpful and will be developing a full article with more in depth resources later. 

For now, here are some tried and true sites that are great starting points for math learning of any level: 

  • Math Games    Cool Math games for the younger crowd. Has adding, division, money, multiplication, fractions and more. 
  • ALEKS Link to the homeschool page to find out more information for a subscription for your family
  • Math Resources Federal resources page. Has links for higher math educationals, workbooks, and on-line lesson plans for algebra, measurements, geometry, trigonometry, and advanced math. 
  • Khan Academy Visual online lectures of just about any subject. Get a professor in your home for free! 
  • Practical Math Mathgoodies.com offers practical applications for higher math and a bunch of other tools! 
  • Worksheets - K-5 Lower level math worksheets - adding, fractions, order of operations, counting, money and more 
  • More Worksheets - K-5 Simple and straightforward worksheets. Create your own worksheets. 
  • Math Drills Multiple drill worksheets for all math levels 
There are many, many, many more links out there and please feel free to share. These are just some of my favorite tools and ones I have used here for our lessons. If there is one that your family uses routinely or have tried and liked then let us know! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wordle for Learning

For those of you that are looking for creative ways to help your kids remember topics that they are learning, I would like to share with you one tool that I have recently added to our homeschool curriculum. I like to have options when it comes to note taking. While I encourage Cambridge note formats as I know from my own experience that they will allow you to take notes in a college setting, I also think that it is important to create creative ways to engage the brain. Wordle is one such tool that can assist your learning endeavors while keeping your kids technology savvy.

Wordle is a tool with one main purpose: To create an image based on the inputted words. You can create a wordle for just about anything. I have actually used it a number of times over the last year for work. Here is a sample of a wordle I created for my writing business, The Articulating Goddess.


By looking at the image I am sure you can get some idea of what kind of work that I do. It hit me last week that I could use this for school lessons. Why not? I actually learned about the program in one of my own college classes and I think it is a great tool to utilize to get your kids thinking about the words they are trying to learn. For example, when doing a history assignment on the Salem Witch Trials, we created this wordle together. 


To create your own wordle on any subject, there are a couple of ways to do it. 

First, you want to go to WORDLE

To create a new wordle, click on CREATE. 

You can do a couple of things next. 
  1. Insert typed notes on a topic, an essay, or a personal writing in the upper box. 
  2. Type words about your topic in the upper box.  
  3. Link to a website of your choosing and allow wordle to utilize the RSS feed in order to establish a word pattern for your image. 
Once you have inserted your words, you will click 'submit' or 'go', depending on which input format that you chose. It's interesting because the tool will take the words from your writing, notes, or website, and input them into the wordle tool and pull out the most common words. It will automatically leave out common words such as the, and, or... or... 

You can create the format, change the colors, and customize your wordle. Once you decide that you like it then you are done. It can be difficult to copy the page and in fact, the tool will not allow you to simply save the image. Personally, I always just to a print screen and then paste to paint and crop it to save it. That's the simplest way that I have found. 

The tool can be printed and added to any lapbooks, posters, or notebooks. It adds color and creativity with the words that certainly verifies merit for the tool. 

We would love to see some of your creations! Try it out and let me know if you like it or what you used it for! 

Happy Wordling!


Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7th - The day that will live in infamy...


December 7, 1941 was the day of my grandfather's birth. My grandmother, MaMaw as we called her, used to tell me that good people were born on this day to balance out the evil of D-Day. I don't think it was until Sept. 11 happened that as an American I could really understand the impact that Pearl Harbor had on America. Sure, I had heard stories. I watched the documentaries and even stomached Ben Affleck's performance in the Hollywood Tribute, "Pearl Harbor". 

It seems to me that few of my generation... and those younger than me... can truly understand this day. For that reason, I'm going to start with just a brief recap. December 7, 1941 was the day the Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. They had made a careful strike against our Navy as a way to protect themselves from what they thought was a potential threat. Whether or not they were right in their fear or there were other motives involved, many people lost their lives that day. Many more lost their lives as the US retaliated. Because the bulk of the naval fleet and submarines were not stationed at Pearl Harbor at the time of the planned attack, which is a bit of a miracle itself, American forces were able to keep their arsenal and the damage that was intended did not happen. This attack on American soil did have long standing repercussions. The US officially entered into WWII which changed the direction of history for our country and those around the world. 

Today is an important day to recall and a good topic to discuss this week as a look into history. Consider an open discussion and research about D-Day with your kids. I've included some of the links to previous lesson plans and blogs that I have used before. Please feel free to share some of your ideas for your homeschooling curriculum for this important day as well! 

Lesson Plan Ideas: 


  • Journal Entry: Imagine that you are witnessing the attack at Pearl Harbor. Research for the time that the first bombing took place and describe what you were doing and how you reacted. 
  • Watch a documentary on Pearl Harbor and WWII 
  • National Geographic - visit this site for a look and informative online presentation about this day in history
  •  Visit the WWII Museum in New Orleans page for great learning tools and information! http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/
  • For all grade levels Scholastic has a great learning program that is developed for multiple age groups



Happy Birthday with the Family

I turned 32! Huzzah!

Birthdays are an important part of our household. For the last couple of years I have shared my birthdays with the youngest. No, he was not born on my birthday. Rather, in 2010 (the same year he was born) he had open heart surgery to patch up some holes in his little heart. It was the best 30th birthday ever! Staying true to style, he had a fever this year due to an ear infection and we spent the 4th year in a row in the ER for him. Oddly, he's only 2 years old, so it may take a moment to realize that he was in the ER even when he was inutero! I think he's making it a trend!

Thankfully each year he has made it from the ER and back to home and all in all this was a good year. Tristan took a note from our month long backing sessions and made my birthday cake all on his own. White cake with lemon frosting. It was excellent!
Cutting the cake!

Tristan showing some love with his mama and his creation!



















As with everything, it comes back to learning. This year has been a LONG year of lessons and learning for our family but as we all sat down that night we ate cake and hung out as a family. Felix helped me blow out candles and my nephews ran around acting like silly teenagers. It's amazing what family time can bring and how happy it can make me. I truly love this time with my family.

Just wanted to share some family fun with you all!




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Breaking Free

Learning should be a joy and full of excitement. It is life's greatest adventure; it is an illustrated excursion into the mind of noble and learned men, not a conducted tour through a jail.
Taylor Caldwell
 
I have often thought about the loss of wonder through educational facilities. I can't help it... or at least I haven't figured out how to help it... I have a way with making my public schooling friends a bit upset... Deep down I just HATE hate HATE the whole system. I will say that I think it is good for some people, just not my family. Not only do I not agree with the system, I find it insulting to the kids that are there. When people tell me that their kids do fine there I often do not credit the school system but the incredible resilience of the human race, the younger ones in particular. 
 
Human beings are creatures that have intellect and reason and many of them can rise above trauma and plagues in their lives. This is the challenge of the school system that many kids in the homeschooled environment don't face. They are not put in with many and told to learn this and that. But that being said, I was informed recently that this is more my own view as a liberal and borderline unschooling parent. 
 
Recently I put my own son to the test, unintentionally of course. When he wanted to go to public school we let him. We found out he was on par in many areas and exceeding others. While I had fears that would be behind, he wasn't. The teachers seemed shocked by this. In fact, one teacher expressed how it was refreshing to have him in their class. 
 
I was also tested recently. My niece is married to an absolute jack... um... not a nice guy. He recently informed me that my oldest was weak because he is not a fighter and said that he was socially retarded. not my words, but his. I was upset, obviously. It made me think though. Is my son socially inept? Am I missing something as I raise him behind mommy goggles? While pondering, I decided that my niece's husband is a jerkface and his own words that were in essence, picking on my son who is 12... they are unfounded. 
 
But I also realized that perhaps my own judgment was flawed as well. I realize that some people don't have a choice. That stinks. There are those that would like to spend days with their kids. There are also those that couldn't manage their kids all day and in that case - maybe it is better for all family relations that public schools do exist. 
 
The argument over whether homeschooling was good or bad is not the issue. The question in my mind is whether or not public schools are indeed like prisons.  So, I did the same thing that I would tell my own sons to do when they wanted to find out more information. It's amazing what a school library and Google could find. Actually, I found there were concerns just like my own. There were many others out there, even those with more experience than I have, that questioned the higher incidences of severe punishment for our youth and how more stricter education systems were turning school environments into prison like institutions. 

One of the reasons that I initially took my older son out of school in 1st grade was because the local school in Las Vegas had the feel of a jail. There were high wrought-iron fences and a security guard. I didn't like the environment or the careless attitude from the women at the front desk. When I sent my son to middle school at his request, I had a similar incidence with the principal but he didn't seem to take concerns for my son seriously. On one hand it is almost as if the schools don't care but they are forced to by sensationalized stories such as Columbine. Their attitude gives me the same feeling that I had when I worked in customer service for the insurance field and we had to care or we would get sued. I guess it is partially the way of the world these days with medical practices and law firms. The problem with that mentality is that we are dealing with children. CHILDREN. One study actually found that, 

The historical reality is that America's public schools are very safe, even when located in high crime neighborhoods. Yet, school discipline is becoming increasingly punitive, moving from the schoolhouse to the courthouse. This is apparent in Texas, where a multi year study has determined that schools' discretionary decisions to suspend, expel and/or criminalize student misbehavior contribute to student push out, dropout, and what has been described by researchers as the school-to-prison pipeline. (Fowler 2011) 

I am not a parent that forgoes discipline, I simply cannot fathom how it is in the best interest of further generations to treat kids in a proactive manner based on criminal instances of other schools. The statistics do not merit this kind of reaction. My own opinion is that why do I personally need an institution to do this to my child? Children are no longer opportunities to teach but rather, they are are liabilities for the school, dollar signs for funding, and an example waiting to be made.

Over the last several months, the Committee on Education and the Workforce has been actively examining the current state of education in the nation. Everyone has listened to state and local leaders who are working to improve the quality of education the children receive. Through a series of hearings, they have heard stories of both challenges and opportunities facing schools. The opportunities are found in the determination of countless individuals who realize the current system is failing our children and are fighting to do something about it. (Committee of Education 2011)

 I am sure there are great teachers out there but it seems to me that if they realize the system is broken then is there not a better way to utilize their love of education and desire to help young minds than by joining the same broken system that they don't agree with?  How likely is it that the current system can be fixed? It all just seems ironic and silly. 

In the end, parents have the right to decide. It would be interesting to see how we would fare if there was a different choice. We do seem to be getting more of those with charter schools and online. In fact, we had a good experience with HOPE Academy in Colorado. I am sure there are some options out there emerging. Perhaps I should give kudos for those fighting the good fight. I tend to think that by withdrawing we are taking our own stand. We are showing our own kids that this is how we do things and trying to make it in society. It's easy to point fingers, which is meaningless. It's also a hard habit to break.

 Reference
 
Fowler, D. (2011). School Discipline Feeds the "Pipeline to Prison". Phi Delta Kappan, 93(2), 14-19.
         US House of Representatives. Committee on Education and the, W. (2011). Education Reforms:      Promoting Flexibility and Innovation. Hearing before the Committee on Education and the Workforce. U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session (April 7, 2011). Serial Number 112-17. US House of Representatives.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall - A good time to get moving

Tristan taking a break over the bridge
Enjoying the view
It's fall and while summer and spring get the posts about being active outside, fall is a great time to get out and spend time incorporating activity in your curriculum. Recently, we bought bikes and have been exploring the small town we live in and some of the more nature and to work up before we put on some holiday pounds.

I think it is important to keep the kids active and it doesn't hurt for me either! Recently, we came up with an idea to take the camera with us and take some photos from the road while we are biking and I wanted to share some shots from a recent ride.

Sunset pic
 It's amazing how you can incorporate learning into everyday fun activities!


I have also found that taking the camera keeps him interested in going out and being active with mom.
 We worked in our photography lesson plan about taking reflective shots here. Tristan took the first one and of course I took the second.
Spending time with the kids is important and as homeschooling parents it is our responsibility to instill a good outlook for future health. What are some things that you do with your kids for physical education?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Argument AGAINST Homeschooling

Reposted from: http://taytayhser.blogspot.com/2011/11/real-case-against-homeschooling.html

I came across this page and it is so great to read the other side of homeschooling as well. I mean, seriously... we all know that it ISN'T FOR EVERYONE and frankly, I think that it's quite alright. The whole case for homeschooling is that it is what works for our kids. My kids aren't yours though and I can't (nor can anyone else) tell you what is right. I like that the author provided real truths of why it may not be ideal and if there are going to be negtives... and there are... it's best to be truthful about them. She said them better than myself though so I figured I would just post back to her :) 

 

Don't forget to check out her blog as well. It doesn't look like it's been updated recently but there is a load of good information on it too! 

 

A Case Against Homeschooling, Really

The post that brings the most people to my blog site is called "The Case Against Homeschooling". 
Are these folks coming here looking for a case against homeschooling?
I'm happy to provide!

I'm not the slightest bit afraid to talk about those subjects that might expose the negatives of homeschooling.  Because, in spite of them, after all, it's always a choice.  Parents who send their children are choosing, alternative education options are choices, home schooling is a choice.  For goodness sake, parenting is rife with choices from morning until night!  Also, I have found, after nine years of homeschooling, that almost every single thing on the "con" list below, somehow becomes a "pro" of homeschooling!

I'm going to offer this little expose' in honor of all of those children and families who are about to begin and who want the total, unhidden, balanced truth.

This is my writing and I offer it as such, my story.
  • We live in a neighborhood with elderly neighbors, most of whom have lived in the same home since having it built forty years ago.  We have no children in our neighborhood except for the unkind kid who verbally attacks John every time they get together.  The other kid is the drinker, smoker down the street.  We care about this boy alot, but the kids don't want to hang out with him.  This means that we are ALONE.  We don't have a single neighborhood friend to play with.  While this isn't, specifically, a homeschool issue, it does effect our homeschooling experience.  Unless we leave the house and drive we don't get to hang out with kids daily.  I mention this one first because we've all been sick lately and are, quite honestly, needing to get out!
  • The kids don't see other kids every day.  We see them often, maybe 2-3 times per week, on average.  Much more some weeks, less others.  This is not "socialization", this is "socializing". 

  • Our house is a mess.  We are here far more than most families.  Messes multiply around here.  We have more books and games and stuff than we need.  Mostly books.  Activities are spread all over my house as I type.  Several people are involved in several different activities that require space and time.
  • Homeschooling takes time.  Your time.  As the mother and major homeschooling parent in the house, I spend a great deal of time on planning, researching, and more planning.  It takes organization and a great computer.  There is no way around the need for planning.   Being a homeschool parent requires constant footwork to find what’s available in the community. Knowing how to get information on your own, knowing how to access people who can answer your questions, and knowing how to communicate well are essentials skills of being a homeschooling parent. Being resourceful is essential.

  •  Can you support your child as they are?  They will be with you 24/7.  Can you honestly embrace the person that they truly are?  Homeschooling is like putting every problem into a pan and boiling it down.  Soon the problems are all that you can see...unless you find a way to commit yourself the the children that you have.  You have to accept them so that they can accept themselves and move successfully into life.
  • I don't know everything about every subject.  Again, planning, researching, planning.  Time well spent, but time, nonetheless.
  • Not everyone approves.  Can you remain dedicated to a lifestyle that often takes hits from family and friends and media?   People will disapprove without having the slightest understanding of it.  It is a lifestyle choice that people feel the need to give their two cents on.  Overall, people are very supportive and admire us.  But there are those folks who can't accept it.
  • Some learning objectives work best in group environments.  Homeschool groups and co ops are useful for many different types of these objectives, but there is still organization and planning involved.
  •  Did I mention cost?  Some homeschool families spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on materials and optional experiences.  This type of cash outlay is not necessary.  I know very frugal families who homeschool extremely successfully.  But, as we all know, some great activities cost money.
  • When the kids are unwilling to work, this shows itself in many different ways, little gets done.  Lessons require a certain amount of willingness on the part of the child.  If your child is less-than-motivated, it's not much fun.
  • Homeschooling parents have less free time or child-free time.  Privacy?  I get some, but I have to create it.  It's all about balance.  As a homeschooling parent, you will have to figure this one out.  Not just so you don't lose your mind, but so you can be a whole and healthy person!
  • Homeschooling through high school requires some more...YEP, research and organization and creativity.  People homeschool through high school every day, including my daughter!  It works.
  •  Homeschool families can be marginalized, demonized, and, generally, be treated oddly.  Living "outside of the box" is an honest expectation for families who choose this lifestyle.  Homeschooling parents learn to cheerlead whenever the need arises.  It's unfair, but there you are.
  • For some parents, the doubt comes and goes, but never really disappears.  It's the nature of the individual that matters.  I know of several parents who are constantly on edge about homeschooling while other parents I know are the freaking paragons of placidity!  Homeschooler's angst is like having the world's worst friend in your own head!
  • There are no overseeing bodies to reprimand, guide, or support you.  So, you are, truly, on your own.  This can freak some folks out.  For others, it is a comfort.  I love it, but as first I was frightened.  Having other homeschoolers to talk with made all of the difference.


  •  Accepting the fact that children learn at different levels and different speeds.  They actually do.  Even when they are in school.  But it's more obvious in homeschooling.
  •  And, it is up to YOU, to your family, what gets into their lives.  Talk about a panic sandwich with guilt on top.  Very often you are going where there are no roads.  Get ready to steam your way down a path of your own construction. homeschooling.

That's my honest list AGAINST.  Being a parent means being constantly on the look out for the best thing for your child.  I hope this list helps.  I hope you realize that this list is intended to let you know, up front, some of what you will have on your place if you homeschool.  I hope the list doesn't turn you off...just be more informed! 

What About Socialization?  
Nope, I don't think that's a problem.  
Honestly.  When we get with kids, we experience the exact same things every group of kids does.  
The kids learn sharing, what a bully looks like, conflict resolution, etc. and the kids are just...normal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hands on Learning: Plumbing

" Learning is always rebellion... Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before."  Margaret Lee Runbeck


Last week there was a sucking sound from the bathroom and the water kept flowing and flowing inside the toilet. Now, I'm not a plumber but I knew that wasn't right. Unfortunately, the husband isn't a plumber either... but I thought by some miracle he would be able to fix the thing or at least stop the water wasting until we could figure it out. That's when Tristan voiced an interest. It's always amazing to me what kids want to learn and so we figured, "Why not?"

He got on youtube and figured out what was needed, did a little research on parts, and then came to my husband with a plan.



Two days later the toilet was fixed between the both of them. Tristan learned how to fix a simple household item and that he didn't want to do it again. I told him that it was alright that he didn't like the project because it was more of an experience.

Then, I got to thinking. I mean, this education of his... it's explorative and unique. What more do we have to offer our children other than the opportunity to learn and find out more about the world that they live in. Sometimes it is about picking their own vegetables and how it's like to live on a farm. Other times it is about a hands on tour of the native American culture like visiting local dig sites or ruins. Other times it is the simple aspects of home living like helping with siblings, cooking, or (in this case) plumbing.

Remember, all of those hours add up! Learning through books can be fine and dandy but don't discount those true teachable moments... especially when the kids want to learn and jump in with both feet! 





Monday, October 29, 2012

You're Doing Great - Reminders for Happy Homeschooling

This is for the parent who is not entirely sure what they are doing here. 


By here... I mean, homeschooling, on this page, or in general. 

I wanted to share my last month experience with you. So, my 12 year old decided that he wanted to try public school (again). This was mainly because we lived in a small town. We gave it a go and it took less than two weeks before we considered that experience a flop. Now, he is back home and we are all happy again. I have thought about his brief two week stint and have come to the following conclusions... 

1) Public school is great... for other people's kids. I have taught my son what he knows in part and the rest he has decided to learn and explore on his own. Honestly... deep somewhere inside I worried that he may be behind. I mean, who wouldn't worry about this when they don't teach to the public curriculum. That being said... he wasn't. He was pretty right on... amazingly... since we don't teach to the curriculum. 

2) Kids ultimately will find a way to do what they want. The trick is allowing them the opportunity to choose wisely and the foundation to make good choices. Ask me again what I think about this when my son's puberty hormones kick in! 

3) No one is going to like what you do but it doesn't really matter. You make choice for your family and whether you run it with a tightly scheduled fist or whether you are a exploratory homeschooling experience... not everyone is going to approve. It's hard to fight back glares and questions and not worry about what you are doing and not allow the creeping darkness of worry to sink in. Almost every parent that is a home educator that I have EVER talked to has expressed this concern. I have come to realize that it is normal. 

4) You can't convince people and you shouldn't try. It is one thing to answer polite questions but it is quite another to feel like you have to put on emotional Kevlar before you head out to a family function or sporting event waiting for that one sibling, parent, "friend", or well-meaning stranger to assault you. You don't owe any explanations to them and the sooner you realize it, the better off you will be. There are always going to be socialization questions and people that think that they know better but until they take over your role as parent you are the one in control and who can set boundaries that make sense for your family. 

In the end, there is no one that can tell you what you have to do.... Well, other than the legistators of your state and perhaps your spouse.... but other than them... it's up to you and your family. You're doing great. Remember that.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Catching Up

Hellloooooooo


How does time fly! Since we have updated nearly 4 years ago, we are still homeschooling, moved to Idaho, and tried multiple styles and changed blogging sites. I have not liked the other forums and after losing information I have come back to Blogger :)

I could complain about the ways I wish I had never left and I would have extensive content... buuuuut if we focused on every set back how would we ever succeed?

That being said, it's a great segway into the topic I was wanting to post on a blog for a while...

What to do when you lose track of your homeschooling? 

It's happened to all of us at one time or another... make a schedule up and it falls to the wayside.  It's okay and there is no reason to beat yourself up or feel inadequate. We all feel that way sometimes but remember that tomorrow is a new day and has new opportunities.

Since you are here though, I would like to share a few things I have learned along the way...

  1. Always have a back-up plan: The joy of homeschooling comes with a few luxuries - the main one being that you don't have to worry about the education of 20 kids. If you find yourself off your schedule with one or a few kids though, it's not such an overwhelming event. It's good to take  the time to write down a back up list of things to do. I personally keep my back up list in my planning book on the last page. On those days when the little one is extra fussy or I hear a long sigh before I start a lesson I'll question whether it is a valid sign or simple burn out. If it is either of the two I check my back up list. On my list for this quarter (I do my planning in 3 month intervals) I write 5-10 options for rainy or blow off days. They include things like take a river walk and pick weeds and flowers for plant press, visit the nursery for some new seeds and plants, go to the aquarium... As we do these events I cross them off and so on and so on. If I don't use all of the ideas, they are there for the next quarter! 
  2. Don't plan too far in advance: I keep my planner up to date for about 3 months in advance. I have tried both a year and 6 months, but this is what works for us. You may find you can do 1 month or even weekly. It's easier to plan smaller intervals as you can change it up as need. I advise those that are just starting out to plan on a monthly or weekly basis. 
  3. Forgive yourself: I have heard of so many homeschooling moms and dads that beat themselves up over getting behind. If you are totally slacking or you find you can't keep up with the curriculum, being mean to yourself isn't going to help. You may want to think about a new style or why it is you fall behind in order to rectify the situation. Be critical of the problem not the people. 
  4. Quit playing catch-up: Once you fall behind you may feel the need to try to get caught up but this process puts stress on your kids and rarely is an effective way for them to learn. Find areas where you can combine learning or consider pushing back the school year if you take summers off. Add more days to your calendar year rather than more stress to the overall process of homeschooling. 
  5. Use co-ops: Just because you are a home educator doesn't mean that you need to do all of the work yourself! Explore homeschool groups in your area and get involved. Work with other parents - it's a healthy and happy option for you and the kids. 
So, there you have it!

I really am glad to be back!

Now, I'm off to practice my own advice!