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Homeschooling During Medical Crisis

Homeschooling During a Medical Crisis

It was a normal Monday morning until my husband came home from work mid-morning.  He complained of stomach pains and went to rest.  We moved along with school, but I knew something wasn’t right.  He never comes home early!

By late afternoon we all knew something was indeed very wrong, and he needed to head to the emergency room.  Long story short — after about 24 hours, we found out his gallbladder had to be removed!

This adventure disrupted an entire week, but I learned some tips for homeschooling around a medical crisis.

Streamline Expectations

You are not going to be able to teach subjects from your husband’s hospital room if the kids are home with Grandmom.  For us it was easier to pare down to the bare minimum of only math and Bible.  The former they don’t love doing, but the latter they do!  It kept them moving forward, but put little pressure on Grandmom.

Create a List

My kids have a student log where we write down their courses and check off what they have to do each day.  This visual works well for my older kids to keep them on track with their work when I’m not there to supervise.

Let It Go

Tuesday was a school-free day!  With Dad in the hospital, and surgery on the horizon, it was just too much for me.  I let them enjoy that time with Grandmom.  They cooked for her and watched movies.  I like to think it was socialization and making memories!

Ease Back Into It

On Thursday and Friday, we did our pared down schedule.  Dad was home but sore.  He also had doctor appointments both days which meant running around a bit.  Everyone was tired from the events of the beginning of the week and we all needed the extra down time.  It would have been counter-productive to force them to learn when I too was brain-fuzzy from lack of sleep.  The next week we were all refreshed and ready to jump back in.

My husband is already on the mend from that crazy week and we are back to our regular routine.  We may have to add a few days of school to the end of the year, but I’m not stressing too much about that.  The important thing is we all survived the crisis and even kept homeschooling through it.

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See Bright Ideas Press at These Homeschool Conventions

We would love to meet you at our vendor booths at these 2015 conventions. Please come by to say hi, ask questions about our curriculum, or see samples of what we have to offer.

1. MASSHOPE April 24-25, 2015

Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators


2. CHAP May 8-9, 2015

Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania


3. HEAV June 11-13, 2015

Home Educators Association of Virginia


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Don’t Take the Bait: Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Don't Take the Bait: Avoiding the Comparison Trap

When I first decided to homeschool my boys, I looked  at what other people were doing. I knew of only one family in real life that was homeschooling. This family was composed of a single mom and her children. She was a full-time law student, and she seemed to make things work.  Then I watched a family on TV homeschool their children, and I thought, “I can handle that.”

And then I got started.

I was lost, confused and in way over my head

There are many things that I struggled with as a new homeschool mom, but I think the most difficult has been avoiding the comparison trap.  No matter how hard I try, I seem to fall into that pit over and over again. I see a project on Pinterest and think to myself that I’m failing because I could never pull it off.  Even when we have success in our lessons, I feel inadequate when a friend’s child seems to be doing far better than my own.

So what are we to do? How can we learn not to take the comparison bait?

Cast a Vision for Your Homeschool

Before starting your homeschool journey it’s important to have a vision. Why are you homeschooling? What are your goals for your family?  Creating a vision and long-term plan for your homeschool will help you recover when burnout sets in, when you start a new math curriculum for the seventh time, or when you start to feel inadequate.

Define What Success Looks Like

Every family is different, and every family will homeschool differently. I’m going to let you in on a secret that has really served me well over the years: You decide what success looks like for your children.

If test scores and completed textbooks are not something that you think is important, then don’t use them to measure the success of your homeschool year.

I have learned to place a higher value on progress instead of constantly measuring my children against others. As long as we are moving forward in our lessons and in learning, we are successful.

Play to Your Strengths

Here’s the thing — not everyone is going to be the mom who does all the fun hands-on activities, complicated crafts, and beautiful projects.  Maybe your strength is in planning fun field trips or finding great read alouds. Whatever it is, stick with that.  When you focus on the things that you do well (and that your children do well), you won’t have time to look at what other’s are doing.

Those are just three ways that I’ve learned to combat the need to compare myself to other families. When all else fails, you could always just avoid Pinterest and blogs for a short amount of time. You can’t compare yourself to the things you aren’t looking at right?




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New Feature in the Bright Ideas Press Store — Customer Reviews

the Bright Ideas Press store now has a customer review function

Our new store has a shiny new function that you will love! Now you can leave product reviews for your favorite Bright Ideas Press products.

On any product page, navigate to the reviews tab and you will see a place to leave your own helpful feedback about the homeschool curriculum you love. These reviews help other parents make wise choices about how to spend their curriculum dollars. Plus, we love hearing your honest feedback.

Click the links to your favorite products to leave a review right now.

Customer Product Review FAQ

Q. What if I didn’t buy the resource via the BIP store? Can I still leave a review?

A. Absolutely! If you have experience with any of our products no matter where you bought them (or borrowed them), we value your customer review on our site.

Q. I wrote a review, but I don’t see it on the review tab. What happened to it?

A. The reviews are similar to blog comments in that they have to be first approved before they appear. Give us a day or so to find your review and approve it.

Q. I like the product, but I don’t have a lot of things to say. 

A. We appreciate even the simplest of review such as, “My kids loved this book!”

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Developing Independent Learners

Developing Independent Learners

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for life”

I used to think this was the cheesiest quote I ever heard, but when I had children, it began to make sense.

I’m a very hands-on mom. My kids actually like hanging out with me and love picking my brain. They trust me and trust that I’m going to guide them in the right direction. They trust that what I tell them is truth. That’s a huge responsibility, but it’s a great privilege to have that relationship with them.

Despite our great relationship, I know I cannot and will not be their main source of information forever. They need to learn how to learn independently, and I think the younger this starts to develop, the better. Although I wouldn’t suddenly abandon my children to figure things out on their own, I have begun to weave independent learning into their daily lives.

What is Independent Learning?

Independent learning is the ability to take charge of our own learning.

It’s what we do when we’re trying to figure out how to replace the chain in the toilet tank. One moment you don’t know how to do it. Then you look at it and try to figure it out. You may go to Google and search for how to replace chain in toilet tank. You’ll read up on what you find and apply that to your situation. Researching the answer and solving the problem are parts of independent learning.

Why is Independent Learning Important?

Independent Learning brings creativity and intellectual curiosity to the surface. It stimulates the brain and encourages your kiddo to figure things out instead of waiting for the answer to be handed to them. They’ll find new ways to solve problems.  They’ll begin to feel less panicked when they don’t know and answer because they’ll have experienced that before and squashed that feeling by figuring it out. In return, they feel full and accomplished. They realize that “Hey, I can figure this out!”

An independent learner is persistent and motivated. They take initiative and tend to be (or become) strong readers and writers. If you can read, you can learn anything! If you can write, you can visually work out any intellectual equation.

Encourage Reading

Any kind of reading. Find a genre that your child loves, and stock up on those kinds of books. Begin at a young age. My three-year-old son is fascinated by the sky and the moon. I’m already getting him astronomy type books. Thankfully he always showed interest in books, but after he realized he could find his moon in them, he became even more interested in what books had to offer.

Vary Resources

My kids learn from books, videos, games, conversations, and trial and error. Vary the ways your child acquires knowledge and answers.  We enjoy textbooks a lot, but as more and more technology develops, companies are beginning to develop apps and computer programs that are truly amazing! Don’t be afraid to tap into those resources. Varying resources also begins to embed into your kiddo that they can (and should) get creative when it comes to acquiring information about any topic.

Encourage Persistence

Being persistent and encouraging your kiddo when something is hard is super important. Help them to keep pushing through until they accomplish their goal. Sometimes that means pulling them away from it for an afternoon and then coming back to it the next day. That break may be exactly what the brain needs to get the creative juices going!

As you work with your kiddo to become a more independent learner, you’ll begin to see their curiosity develop. Independent learners are very curious, persistent, self-motivating, and incredibly awesome at critical thinking.

What are some methods you’ve used to help your child become more of an independent learner? Do you think this is even a skill your child should develop?

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