Lately my Facebook feed has been filling up with First Day of School pictures from the States. Sweet little children in brand new clothes, all holding handmade signs showing what grade they are now entering. It’s been cute, and I stop and smile at each one, remembering how excited I used to be about the first day of school. Which, by the way, came in September when I was a child, not the first of August!
At my house we homeschool, not necessarily because we want to either, but because it is what works best for our family at this season of life. Still, we make the most of it and try our best not to go crazy. Typically, as long as my husband prepares my morning coffee before we get started for the day, I’m okay. Typically.
In just a few weeks my kiddos and I will begin our third year homeschooling together. And let me tell you, it has been a learning process for sure. When I first started I tried to be that overachieving homeschooling mama whose every lesson was Pinterest worthy, and I burned out way fast because of it. Even threw in the towel all together and sent my kids to private school for a whole year just to regain sanity. But eventually God pressed homeschooling upon my heart again and assured me that perfection was the least bit required when teaching my children.
Now days, I actually half enjoy homeschooling. Something about starting each day around the kitchen table piled high with books offers me a sense of peaceful routine, which is something I often don’t get here in Haiti.
If you are a homeschooling mom, or if you are a mom who just needs some activities for your kids to do in the afternoons that won’t turn their brains into mush, let me share a few of my favorite things.
Here is a short list of resources I have found to be extra helpful (and economical) in making homeschooling less stressful and simpler for our family. I hope they can help you too!
TIME 4 LEARNING
I spend my mornings homeschooling, but I also work full time as an administrator for a small organization in Haiti. This means my time is both precious and limited. Enter Time 4 Learning. An online program, my kids can sign on everyday and independently follow an individualized curriculum catered to their own learning style. Progress reports are sent to me via email, and best of all, it is fairly inexpensive. Although you can, we don’t use Time 4 Learning as my kid’s primary instruction time, but simply as a supplement to help reinforce what they are (supposed to be) learning with me. To check it out, go to to www.time4learning.com.
I’m all about cheap. And living on cross-cultural support, cheap is a necessity. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. I know Zulily is a favorite site for deals on name brand clothing and shoes, but towards the end of summer it is also full of school supply and curriculum sales. It’s one of those sites you have check in with often since their sales change everyday, but saving 50% on textbooks is so worth it! So head over to www.zulily.com today and start shopping!
KID’S BOOKS WITHOUT BORDERS
I saved the best one for last. Seriously, finding this program was such a gift. Whether you homeschool or not, if you are a mom raising children abroad, this site is for you. A former TCK and forever lover of books, this angel called Gail sends used books to missionary children overseas. All you have to do is email her and tell her about your ministry and children. She will send you a book list, which currently includes over 6,000 books! You pick what you want. She mails them to you. And all you have to do is cover the shipping fees. How amazingly wonderful is that? We joined this program last spring and my children love it! I haven’t quite sold them on the joy of reading for fun yet, but Kid’s Books Without Borders is sure helping. For more information on how to get books for your children head to Gail’s website: kidswithoutborders.wordpress.com.
Do you homeschool?
What are some of your best-kept secrets and resources?
Help a mama out?