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Art has always been special to me. I remember sitting at my mother’s knee as a child coloring in my sketchpad while she sketched a landscape. I don’t know what I was coloring or how it looked, but I remember what I was feeling.
With the sunlight streaming through the window and my mom humming lightly, I felt happy; I felt a connection to my mom that was rare. This early memory is unique from a childhood that did not contain much happiness, and I’ve always held it close to my heart.
As a teenager dealing with loneliness and bullying, I sketched animals, flowers, and doodles into my notebooks. Art was an escape, but I didn’t take an actual art class until I was a senior in high school. That’s when I was introduced to the full power of art and the master artists.
Perhaps that is why I want to share my love of art with my children. It’s a way to bring us together to enjoy our interests and express ourselves in a shared moment.
Art for the Homeschool Mom
Sometimes the children and I lay outside in the grass, staring up at the clouds looking for animals and shapes in the vastness of the sky. It’s a lovely break to take during our homeschool day, especially when it is a beautiful sunny day or in the cool of the evening.
But often, I’ll look up and marvel at that perfect shade of blue or that exquisite rainbow of sunset colors that crescendo into a brilliant orange. I’ll draw the children’s attention to those masterstrokes of magnificence. Then I wonder if I could recreate that perfection with my art supplies.
I’m not a professional artist, but I love color. Sometimes I feel drawn to lines and forms while using a rainbow of colors. It’s therapeutic for me. I can feel my heart sing as the reds, blues, yellows, and greens begin to take on a life of their own. They begin to blend, mix, and swirl to create varying shades of new colors, and the joy I feel cannot be understated.
It is good for my soul and my kiddos to see my happiness in those moments.
How to Add More Art to Your Day
Are you wanting to add more art to your day? Here are a few tips for working in art for the homeschool mom – and they apply to any other passion/interest you might have as well!
Keep it short. I try to carve out 10 minutes of art for myself while the children are doing their quiet reading in the afternoon. I may go longer if my husband is home and can look after things for me while I get this much-needed self-care. If you have smaller children or babies that nap, then nap time can be a great time to sneak in a bit of art.
That means setup and clean-up need to be short too. As much as I love to paint with acrylics, it’s much harder to accomplish in the short time frame I’ve scheduled unless the kids are doing it with me. I’ve found chalk pastels, colored pencils, and watercolors take much less time than other forms of art.
It’s OK to incorporate the kids! If you can’t carve out time for yourself, then it’s okay to let the kids be a part of your art if they want.
Have Fun! Remember to keep this moment special. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Maybe have a favorite snack. Make it an art teatime! Enjoy yourself!
Homeschool Art Lessons
Art has evolved in our home over the years. Instead of being an occasional addition to our homeschool, it has become a weekly joyful teatime event based on current interests!
With my children’s vast array of interests, from history to animals to mythical creatures, literary favorites, the master artists, and everything in between, we need resources that provide loads of interests. The You ARE An Artist Clubhouse does just that and gives us 700+ online chalk pastel art lessons!
Plus, the lessons are short. Usually 10-15 minutes in length. Perfect for a busy homeschool mom! Setup and clean-up are super easy too – Just keep some damp paper towels on hand.
My children and I can choose to follow the lessons exactly, or we may choose to do our own thing, which happens more often than not with my daughter. She’s my artistic maverick, and I love that about her!
I want her to express herself and her feelings, even if that means her version of art is entirely different. After all, she IS the artist.
It’s okay if you aren’t interested in making art a part of your homeschool mom’s self-care, you can still make art an easy part of your homeschool. Set the table with your children’s favorite beverage and snacks and keep the mood light and fun.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Art isn’t about the end product so much as it’s about being expressive and imaginative and the creative process it takes to get there.
I’m thrilled to say that art has grown in our home from a simple appreciation into a way to follow our interests delightfully.
For me, it is a form of self-care as well as another way to build connections and memories with my children. Hopefully, my kiddos will look back on their homeschool art education with happy memories of color, fun, warmth, and love.
How have you managed to fit in time for art or another passion into your homeschool? What are some of your favorite resources for homeschooling art?
There is no simple, one-size-fits-all homeschool solution, but Sonlight Curriculum can help! Their well-planned program makes it easy; you can trust that you are giving your kids all they need to thrive in their education.
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Even though this year’s conference season has ended, it’s never too early to put Great Homeschool Conventions’ 2022 dates on your calendar! There’s fresh new info and material every year, allowing you to come away more equipped, encouraged and energized — both as a parent and as a Homeschooler.
My first born began High School this morning. No new clothes or haircuts or lockers or even leaving the house, but this mama’s heart still bursted with pride at watching my man-child stride into this new season: that of Scholar.
Though seasons blend and life doesn’t fit into well-defined categories, I can look back and see the developmental phases: That Core phase from about 0-8 where we learned to read, share toys, and do chores. That Love of Learning phase from about 8-12 where we threw ourselves into every interest, piled up books on various topics, and intentionally ignored most things measured — report cards, test scores, etc.
There’s some transition, of course, but now we are smack dab in Scholar phase and as he began his high school career this morning I read aloud to him A Liturgy for Students & Scholars (p. 38-40 in Every Moment Holy – afflink) and realized all of us could benefit from its beautiful Scholar blessing, regardless of whether we consider ourselves religious or not.
Indeed, tucked within this Scholar blessing, this prayer, are 8 worthy aims for every one of us:
May I learn to love learning, O Lord, for the world is yours, and all things in it speak — each in their way — of you: of your mind, your designs, your artistry, your power, your unfolding purpose. All knowledge is your knowledge. All wisdom your wisdom.
1. Let’s raise young men and women wholove learning. Let’s never lose sight of this top priority.
Therefore, as I apply myself to learning, may I be mindful that all created things are your creative expression, that all stories are held within your greater story, and that all disciplines of order and design are a chasing after your thoughts — so that greater mastery of these subjects will yield ever greater knowledge of the symmetry and wonder of your ways.
2. Let’s help our students connect their studies to the grand scheme, seeing each subject as an integral part of a beautiful, complex world.
Along this journey, O Great Architect of Life and Beauty, bless me with teachers who are passionate about the subjects that they teach, and with mentors who will take joy in awakening in me a fierce love for those parts of your creation and your story that they have already learned to love well.
3. Let’s cultivate in ourselves a love and passion for what we teach. Let’s work hard to connect our students with other teachers and mentors will also teach with passion and infect our students with this love.
As I apply myself even to those subjects that I might at first find tedious, reward my efforts with new insights, fresh inspiration, small epiphanies, and with the firm conviction that you are at work in my heart in all circumstances, not only broadening my knowledge, but also shaping my heart by patience, endurance, and discipline that I might mature to more fitly and humbly serve the purposes of your great kingdom.
4. Let’s encourage our students in the subjects they despise, convincing them of the benefits of learning to do their best despite a lack of natural inclination toward their subject.
Give me a deepening knowledge of truth and a finer discernment of the ideas I encounter in my studies. Guard my mind always against error, and guard also my heart against the temptation to compare my own performance to the work of my peers, and so to fall into either of the twin traps of shame or pride.
5. Let’s celebrate knowledge and excellence and wisdom and skill mastery for their own sake, not with regard to out-performing peers.
Grant instead that I might happily steward what scholarship gifts you have apportioned me, and that I might do so as a means of preparing myself for service to you and to others, my identity drawn from your love and forgiveness, and not from my grades or accolades here.
6. Let’s continually bring to our students’ minds the ways we are to use our skills and knowledge to serve our world.
Open, O Lord, as you will, the paths of my life in the days yet to come. Use my studies to further shape my vision of what my place and call in this world might be. Begin to show me where my own deep gladness and the world’s deep need might meet. And in that light, let me be mindful not only of my studies, but also mindful of the needs of my peers and even of my teachers. Let me respond with mercy to the failings of others.
7. Let’s model for our students what kindness and mercy look like as we face the inevitable challenges of educational interactions. Let’s make these attitudes of the heart every bit as important as academic excellence.
Let me be in this school, even in small ways, a bearer of love and light and reconciliation; which is to say, let me in humility be your child.
8. Let’s do everything within our power to raise students who will be instruments of love and reconciliation in a world so desperately in need of exactly this.
Regardless of our educational philosophy or the different techniques or teaching styles we employ, let us be all about these eight things as we raise young men and women to make a difference in our world.
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All of their offerings are video-based, self-paced, and family-friendly, meaning your teen can start anytime and can fit it into their schedule. My daughter took one of their courses and it was so good for developing her creative skills!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
My Personal Experience Using All About Spelling with an Older Child ~ Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool and Introverted Moms
* My community, Introverted Moms, is open to new members through tomorrow (Wed)! If your heart is weary and could use a healing journey this fall, I would love to have you join us for more calm, less guilt, and quiet joy. Details here!
“Mommy, I think it’s time to start getting more serious about my spelling.”
My son uttered those words years ago on the way to look at Christmas lights, and they were music to my homeschool mom’s heart.
If you’ve been reading Simple Homeschool for any length of time, you know that our family has always marched to the beat of a different drum.
We’ve never followed any Scope and Sequence for long, but have always used healthy relationships as our measuring tool, our compass letting us know we’re heading in the right direction.
That became our priority because two of our three children joined our family via international adoption, but it’s interesting to look back and see how our biological son, Jonathan (starting his senior year), has also reaped the benefits of this interest-led, relationships-first model.
Note: Remember that there are a million ways to design a successful homeschool, and zero ways to design a perfect one! Though I’d encourage you to make healthy relationships one of your top priorities, it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) look exactly like ours.
Our Experience with Spelling
Here’s how our approach unfolded when it came to this subject:
2. Some children are natural spellers, who begin to “pick up” the spelling of words from activities like the ones above. You can usually tell by age 10-12 if your child is one of these.
3. If they are, they may not need formal lessons. This was the case with my daughter, who did so much creative writing on her own that her spelling slowly improved.
As the years passed with Jonathan, however, I could tell he would need more instruction. But I sensed the timing wasn’t right. I’ve noticed that allowing my young kids to focus mainly on strengths helped them develop a solid self-concept BEFORE we began to remediate weaknesses.
He was in his early teens, with a lot more self-confidence, when he said the words at the top of this post. I knew the right time had finally come. I let him know that I would look into some options, that we could choose one together.
I showed Jonathan a sample – this is key in my opinion when starting a new program with a tween or teen. You need buy-in if there’s any chance of it being a successful learning experience!
Once he gave a thumbs up, we got to work. Here are some of the features I’ve appreciated:
I love that it tells me what to say and when! I don’t have to worry about forgetting an important phonogram or spelling rule.
Even though my son was a teen when we began and had a foundational spelling knowledge, we still started with Level One, to make sure he not only knew the “what” but the “why.” We discarded or skipped any bits that felt too child-like or unnecessary for him.
It moves on to teaching using a magnetic white board, has students practice with the new concept, then proceeds to dictated sentences that incorporate the new material with what’s already been learned.
I’ve also appreciated the Memory Sheets, where students read words aloud to secure the spelling in their visual memory bank.
How We Do Lessons and How Long They Take
We usually do spelling around twice a week, making it through two “steps” (AKA lessons). We will do a 20-30 minute session together, take a break, then come back later in the day to do another 10 minutes of writing sentences.
Keeping to that schedule, we JUST finished the final level yesterday – woot!
That means it’s taken us just two and a half years to complete all seven levels – that’s what can happen when you’re working with an older, motivated student!
If You Begin with a Younger Child
I’m not at all saying that it’s wrong to teach spelling to a younger child. This approach is what our family needed, but there are many reasons why someone might begin earlier.
If you are planning to teach a younger child, I recommend waiting until after they are making solid progress on their reading journey (no earlier than age seven or eight for spelling). Even then, I would do short lessons (5-10 minutes!) with tons of encouragement – and bribery if needed. 😉
As you proceed, though, if you begin to sense that it’s putting a strain on your relationship, please know there are other ways to move forward.
A Different Way to Think of Spelling
Spelling is important, of course, but never more important than the overall health and well-being of your child!
Even with all the hard work we’ve put in, Jonathan is never going to call spelling his favorite subject, nor will it be his strongest one. The way I see it, that’s what spellcheck and dictation are for. 😉
I’ve asked him if, looking back, he wishes that I had pushed him to start earlier. He said, “Sometimes I do, but I think even though it might have made my spelling stronger, it would have made my love of learning weaker. And I don’t think I would be as interested in writing as I am now.”
My biggest advice, no matter what subject you’re covering with your child, is to remember to laugh! Because Jonathan chose to get serious about spelling, he was (almost) always a willing participant, which means we have had some of our best times and biggest laughs during our lessons.
When relationships are solid, you can journey through tough things together.
I hope this article has helped you decide whether AAS might be a good fit for your homeschool!
If you do decide to give it a try, keep in mind their incredible year-long guarantee:
Check out all of the step-by-step lesson plans and reading and spelling tips for ONE FULL YEAR. Treat the program like your own, and learn everything the program has to offer. If you bought it from us and decide it’s not for you, simply send the package back (in any condition), and we’ll refund your purchase price. No questions asked.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for All About Learning, which means I receive a commission on any purchases through these links. Please know I only ever share with you programs that have made a real difference in our homeschool! I received this curricula at no charge, but all opinions are my own.
Any specific questions about using All About Spelling with an older child (or any child)? I’d be happy to answer them!
Education giant Pearson will pay a $1 million fine to settle charges that it misled investors about a 2018 data breach during which millions of student records were stolen.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced earlier this month that the London-based, multinational educational publishing and software provider “made misleading statements and omissions” to downplay the Chinese hack, which affected 13,000 school, district, and university customers.
Pearson misrepresented the incident, which had already happened, as a hypothetical risk in its July 2019 semi-annual report, the SEC found. Around the same time, the company also said in a media statement that the intrusion may have included dates of birth and email addresses, despite already knowing they were stolen.
The media statement left out millions of rows of student data, usernames, and passwords that were stolen. And Pearson claimed to have “strict protections” in place when in reality it failed to patch the vulnerability for six months, according to the SEC.
“Pearson opted not to disclose this breach to investors until it was contacted by the media, and even then Pearson understated the nature and scope of the incident, and overstated the company’s data protections,” said Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, in a press release.
“As public companies face the growing threat of cyber intrusions, they must provide accurate information to investors about material cyber incidents.”
Pearson agreed to pay the civil penalty “without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.”
In an emailed statement, the company said told EdWeek Market Brief it is “pleased to resolve this matter with the SEC.”
The only Pearson product targeted by the Chinese hackers starting in November 2018 — the AIMSweb 1.0 software platform — was retired in July 2019 as part of a previously scheduled plan, according to the company. The web-based software was a tool for entering and tracking students’ academic performance.
“Protecting our customers’ information is of critical importance to us,” said Laura Howe, senior vice president of global communications for Pearson, in an email statement. “Pearson continues to enhance its cyber security efforts to minimize the risk of cyberattacks in an ever-changing threat landscape.”
The federal government indicted two suspects last year, former engineering students in China who allegedly stole hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets, intellectual property, and other valuable information, sometimes on behalf of the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security.
Jamie is the author of four books, including Give Your Child the World (reached #9 on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers list), and her latest release, Introverted Mom (an ECPA bestseller). Her work has been featured by LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow, the Washington Post, Parents, Today Parenting, and Psychology Today.
After their ed-tech usage soared during the first year of the pandemic, some districts are now looking to “constructively reduce” the number of tools and platforms in play. That has implications for companies.