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The truth about Learning Bundles

In this blog we will go over what are they, when and how to use them; and why are so many parents presently using them.

Stay tuned and read on because there is a lot of helpful information inside this post!

Perhaps you have heard about them, or have seen them around Instagram or Facebook. You wonder what they are since all of a sudden you see many of your favorite homeschooling accounts promoting them and then all of a sudden, they disappear.

What are Learning Bundles or Mega Bundles?

In short, a mega bundle is a compilation of digital resources made available to families for a limited time at an exceptional price.

To further explain, these bundles are planned throughout the year by homeschooling creatives, small shop owners, and artists that work designing quality educational material for homeschooling families or families who want to explore fun, specific topics with their children at home. They usually have a particular theme, but they are very diverse and unique since there are so many people involved in creating the material. For example, today, I am sharing the the newest mega bundle available: THE WORLD AROUND ME MEGA BUNDLE. This bundle focuses on connecting children and their families with the world around them through geography units, nature studies, and social studies. 

Features of a Mega Bundle:

  • A bundle usually ranges from 30 to 50 contributors.
  • Each contributor usually provides 1 to 5 digital files with flashcards, posters, unit studies, full-year guides, and memberships.
  • You receive about 2000+ pages of the best quality resources available to print at home.
  • All files are organized and sent to you through an email with a Google Drive link.
  • Once you receive your files, you get to keep them for life.
  • The resources included in a bundle are usually geared towards families that learn together, meaning you will receive material that can be used with your children- no matter what age they are!
  • All material usually has a net worth of $1500 BUT for the duration of the bundle, it is offered at an incredible discounted price. For example, the current bundle is priced at only $25 dollars.

Too good to be true, right? Well, it is!! the only catch is that bundles only last about a week. After that, you won’t find them anywhere. They are gone for good.

Downloading and organizing bundles:

Okay, so by now you must be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the numbers I just gave you. Yes, they are FANTASTIC, but you must be thinking how do you keep up with all of that material and how do you use it?…Bear with me, I will guide you through the whole process and will give you some tips so you can keep everything well organized.

Once you receive an email with the link to Google Drive, you have two choices: download and save everything on your own Google Drive folder or leave it where it is. Some bundles are kept there forever so you would be all set, but some get deleted after a limited time, so I suggest you save them to your own drive just to not have headaches later on. If you don’t already own a Google Drive account, I encourage you to create one. It is free and amazing! you can keep everything organized and “on the cloud” which will give you access to all your files wherever you find a computer or directly from your phone if you have the app (free as well).

Once all that precious material is saved, I go back and create folders within your designated folder in Google Drive where you saved all files. Spend some time checking out the material. Seriously, I once purchased a bundle and didn’t take this step and missed out on a lot of information that I could have used during that school year-ouch!. Once you know exactly what’s included, then everything can be organized by main subjects like Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Geography, Art, etc. Inside each of those categories, I sometimes go all out and organize the resources by age group: Preschool and Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle school.

Taking the time to do this upfront will ensure you will get the most out of your bundle. And since you organized all of it, you will sort of making a mental note about what’s included. But it will also be organized so you can easily go back to it and find what you need.

If you have in mind some material that you would like to use already then you can proceed to print, cut, laminate, and get everything ready to use with your kids. In this case, a three-ring binder with separators and a clear box to organize your flashcards will come in handy.

Recap:

  1. Find email with Google Drive link
  2. Create folder on your Google Drive
  3. Organize by subject
  4. Organize by age
  5. Print, cut, laminate and file into folders to get them ready to use with your kids.
  6. Remember to write down what resources you would like to from the bundle when you are lesson planning.

Resources included in a learning Bundle:

Unit studies: A unit study is a collection of learning activities with a specific theme that incorporate multiple subjects into the study plan and are very popular with homeschooling families because they usually include material for kids in different age groups, making it a fun way to explore a topic as a family. They can consist of hands-on activities as well as some paperwork ones. You will find Poetry, Math, Language Arts, and more. All centered on one topic helping the child understand the subject as a whole and not in small pieces. 

Educational flashcards: Learning bundles are unique places to get quality flashcards to use with your kids! You usually find a couple of these included, and they are great for Gameschooling, reviewing concepts, learning vocabulary in a different language, and more.

Pictured here is our New Release explicitly made for THE WORLD AROUND ME MEGA BUNDLE. Our World-Bilingual cards were inspired on Earth’s Day, but we want to promote using them all year long. Each alphabet card includes a word related to planet earth, a definition, and a fun task or activity suggestion for families to have fun caring for our planet!

Classroom educational decor: Bundles are also wonderful places to find excellent, and colorful decor to display in your learning spaces. Take for instance these beautiful posters made by @mydarlinchickadees

Memberships: If you are fortunate enough, you will even land full access to memberships or clubs included with the bundle. For example this time around our favorite online watercolor school Lily & Thistle. Hanna will be offering a full free month of watercolor Nature’s Art Club. These resources alone are fantastic!

Some links are affiliate links and I might receive a small commission. If you want to read my full affiliate relationship disclosure click here. Thank you in advance!

Here is what I use for printing and organizing all the resources:

  1. To print all material: The BEST printer in the world! Okay, that might not be very objective, but I do think I have found one of the best-most affordable printers out there. It does not print 100% quality because it is a toner printer, but it does the job beautifully. Actually, this is the printer I use for my shop; it is good enough to print everything and look beautiful and sharp in product photography. I have only had to replenish the ink once in about 1.5 years and I think that is an incredible deal. I’m pretty content with it.
  2. To store printables: Three-ring-binders with Dividers. Once I print everything, I organize what I will use per subject and use the dividers to create new divisions in the same binder. I have two 2″ binders, and those two have been plenty to store about four bundles worth of material. Looking inside of those bundles makes me feel like a child at Christmas time. It’s so wonderful to get access to so many unique products and have them all there available for us to use whenever we want or need to.
  3. To store flashcards: Plastic stackable boxes I use these fun boxes to keep everything that is not full size material. Think, cut-outs, learning cards, game pieces, etc.
  4. Another option for all the smaller resources is plastic clear photo album sleeves. I love those too because I can add them inside the binder. It’s nice to have everything in one place.

How and why we printable resources in our (bilingual) homeschool

In efforts to not isolate the minority language for my kids, I find myself (quite often) using any unit studies and printables in English to practice Spanish. I’m not going to lie; this requires a little bit of extra work on my end BUT let me tell you, this has been a successful practice at our house. By connecting the unit that we are studying in other subjects with our Spanish learning, the kids are constantly learning new vocabulary and remembering concepts that we know already. Like everything else in life, it will take some time before you feel comfortable with this task but eventually, you will get the hang of it, and what once looked like so much work you will get done in no time. IT is worth it, mamas!

Here is how I make the most out of a unit that is not in the target language:

  1. Create a vocabulary list and we review it (Say it, repeat it and review it daily)
  2. Locate fun concepts in the unit that I can connect with the language and write them down in my planner so I remember to cover them during our learning time with the kids.
  3. I search online (or come up with my own) activity where we can practice the language. This can be anything. It usually depends on my energy level and how much time we have that week or day, I try to make it fun for the kids and easy for me to put together. For example: A bingo game, a craft, a crossword puzzle, a memory matching game…you get the idea.
  4. If the unit includes flashcards, I always, always print, cut and laminate these and add them to our stack of flashcards. The kids LOVE flipping through those during car rides, and I don’t get mad about it.
  5. If I have enough time I order thought my local library’s website books in the target language that goes with the unit or unit we will be covering during the upcoming weeks
  6. We have fun learning together!

Last words

Well, I hope I have covered all your questions about mega bundles, but if I didn’t please let me know in the comments. Also, I would love to hear your feedback on this post. I hope I convinced you to try a Mega Bundle or more, they truly are a big blessing for the homeschooling community. With them, you are getting a ton of great quality resources at an affordable price to diversify your kids’ education AND also with your purchase you are blessing the many moms and small business owners that gather together to make these events happen. ♥

Want to try a bundle? Click on the button below:

Happy learning, families!

Dayana.

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Understanding Different Bilingual Parenting Strategies

At the end of this post you will find a Freebie that we hope helps you organize your bilingual goals!

If you are reading this blog post is probably because we have the same goal: to work towards teaching our kids a second language. In other words, to become a BILINGUAL FAMILY.

The reason behind this goal, however, is different for each of us but based on several studies realized in the United States, we have have come to the conclusion that some of the most common reasons to raise bilingual children are:

  • Better job opportunities
  • The United States is becoming increasingly multilingual at a very fast speed
  • Children can help past generations learn the language
  • Bilingual children offer different points of view than monolingual children
  • Bilingual children become more empathetic and sympathetic with others
  • To communicate well with relatives 
  • Language and culture are intertwined. To understand the community you are living in better.
  • Preservation of family’s heritage, and connect with older generations
  • To understand and become aware of cultural differences to respect them and appreciate them better.
wood people woman coffee
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Now, the way we approach our bilingual goals are unique for each family and there are several ways to teach the target language to the next generation. Let’s look at different ways how we can accomplish it.

Language Learning Strategies:

1.Minority Language at home (MLAH):

In this strategy the whole family uses the minority language in interactions with each other and the child is exposed to the majority language in the community. Keep in mind that, while this strategy is called “Minority language at home” is inferring to using the target language within family interactions and not necessarily the place where the language is used.

Both parents are usually fluent in the target language. An example of this approach is a family where both parents are from Brazil but live in the United States. They speak entirely in Portuguese at home and when they are together without other people like when they are out in nature or at a park. Parents may choose to speak the majority language in the neighborhood, at school, with friends, and in other community activities.

photo of woman holding flag
Photo by Alana Sousa on Pexels.com

Because the majority language is a dominant force in kids’ lives, parents use their native language at home daily to continue working towards their language goals. There is a significant exposure to the target language and learning might happen effortlessly. It also promotes the strengthening of everyone’s language skills.

Tip: It is important to not only focus on speaking but also taking the time to work on reading writing and comprehension. Watching movies, having dinner dates with friends that share the same language goals, library story time are some ways a family can seek out more opportunities to practice the minority language.

Educational Resources: families in this category benefit from translating any book or any material for their children into the minority language if they have a hard time finding material already in the language. They can use printables, unit studies and other material available with the benefit of knowing both languages.

2. One parent One Language (OPOL):

This strategy involves one parent speaking one language to the child and the other parent speaking a second language. This can be a successful method if each parent is a native speaker of a different language. for example, mom is a native Spanish speaker from Perú and dad is a native English speaker from England. This strategy might have one minority language and one majority language; or, two minority languages. The child knows exactly what to expect and knows which parent will speak which language.

photo of happy family
Photo by Migs Reyes on Pexels.com

Tip: You can get the most out of this strategy by using your language to communicate no matter the place, time, or activity when you are alone with the child. At the same time be sure to have an initial conversation as to which language will be used when the whole family is together so everyone knows what to expect. A workbook, textbooks and other aids can be used to improve grammar, reading and writing skills in the minority language.

Educational Resources: Families in this category benefit from having one parent translate anything into the target language to diversify the material used at home to learn if they lack material in the language. They can use printables, unit studies, and other material available with the benefit of one parent knowing both languages.

3. Time and Place:

This strategy allows families to decide when, where, and how long they use the minority language. Using the target language can either be determined by a planned schedule or a contextual opportunity. This strategy is optimal for families with one monolingual parent and one bilingual parent; it is a method where everyone comes together to plan do they want to use the language depending on their goals, and the family decides it within the boundaries of time, space, and activities. My family uses this strategy, for example. Dad only speaks English, and I am bilingual. We use Spanish mostly when he is not around to practice core language competencies. I use this time to teach the kids vocabulary and grammar; I read to them in Spanish and help them read books to me. Spanish is added to our homeschooling days and I make sure to include into our daily rhythm. During Lunchtime, we try our best to only speak in Spanish. When he is home, we practice some in a more laid-back way, making it fun and inviting for dad to learn some, encourage the kids, and for him to be part of our family’s bilingual goal. We try to make it less academic and more fun and I think bringing that into the picture adds up significant value for the kids to understand this is simply who we are and what we do. It is part of our family life.

brown wooden desk
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tip: A clear plan is essential for this strategy to work. The plan should be consistent and steady. Also, remember that for a child to learn a language they need constant interaction with the minority language. So, if it’s needed, consider using external material and resources to supplement their learning and for them to have diverse opportunities to practice. You might want to invest in an online program, a tutor or virtual classes. Books, videos, educational apps, and unit studies will be aids that you also want to have always available.

Educational Resources: Families that use this method have the same advantages when talking about resources for home as those using the OPOL strategy. They can use printables, unit studies, and other material available with the benefit of having one parent that knows both languages and can translate material for the children.

4. Outsource Family:

This method is for families who have agreed on investing their time, efforts, and money toward helping their children become bilingual. These families understand the numerous benefits of bilingualism. Once the family has agreed on a target language, they seek external help since neither speaks the target language. In this approach, families rely on outside help and material to provide that bilingual education for their children. For example, a family has their kids in a mandarin after-school class or a Spanish immersion school.

Tip: While this is more of a long-term commitment where a budget must be designated towards it, Immersion programs are the most effective type of world language program currently available in the united States. Consider also a bilingual school where the children learn normal academic subjects like math, science, and social studies in two languages.

This strategy is very successful. However, just as the ones above, the support of the parents is as important; they play an important role at home and must have an intentional approach to support their children in their bilingual journey.

Educational Resources:Families that use this strategy will have to outsource the material used at home but count on the benefit of finding a significant amount of material available for printing at affordable prices.

group of students sitting inside a classroom
Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com

So, what do you say? Which category does your family fall in?, What method do you think would work best for you?

Final thoughts to consider:

Remember, the strategy used does not matter as much as our nurturing support towards our kids’ language learning. I am including a free questionnaire in this post that will help you jot down your ideas and determine the goal for a second language for your family. Having a clear overview of what methods others use and why provides helpful insight to decide your family’s needs, what goals you have, and the best way to go about it. Keep in mind there is no one-size fits all approach and the success depends on each individual family and their unique goals and language experience. But having the need to use both languages and raising happy kids matters most!

Enjoy the journey, read to your children or find ways others can read to them in both languages, whether it be through unit studies, printable material, a video, storytime at the library or a native speaker friend, playing games, listening to music, and dancing are great ways to connect with the kids and turn language learning into a fun family affair. Seek out support for you as parents, your child, and at home. Last but not least, talk to your child about your bilingual goals, make sure they are on board and up for the challenge!

To download and print your FREE questionnaire click on the button below:

Thank you so much for reading! We hope this post helped you organize your ideas some, and most importantly, it helped you get excited about the future of your family’s language adventure!!

Be sure to let us know if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

https://www.british-study.com/en/blog/inspirational-quotes-for-language-learners
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Welcoming a bilingual lifestyle

Languages have always been my passion. I was born and raised in Colombia but came to the US in 2007 at the age of 19  with the desire to experience American culture with my own eyes. I found love and a family on the way. I now spend my days at home with my children, our animals, our garden, and our books. I have been married to my husband for almost 12 years and together, we decided home-education was the path we wanted to take for our three children.

The intent behind that decision was to create a safe space for our kids to be who they want to be, seek their passions, and preserve their childhood; but also, and of the same level of importance, was to have the time to work on their second language. We felt the desire to preserve their roots, my husband’s as well as mine. Most of my family only speak  Spanish, so it was essential for us to have our children learn the language. At the same time, raising bilingual children not only has cognitive and academic benefits, but it also supports a greater sense of openness, empathy, and appreciation for other cultures; it opens doors for our children’s futures and they acquire a broader world-view. All in all just what we want our children to grow up having. 

In addition to home education, I knew I needed some accountability. It all sounds beautiful on paper but from there to the actual execution we can find a big gap. Taking on a second language can be a beautiful thing for the family but just like any other thing it requires a level of commitment and you must put effort to be able to reach your goal.  That is when I decided to open the doors to our house to other homeschooling children to come and learn with us. Opening the doors to our house has made the learning of the language a more interactive experience for our children and those that are wanting to learn alongside us. My kids have made some good friends and have gotten real life practice in the process. Something that once sounded like an unreachable idea, is now something that we all look forward to every week at our house.

There is a quote by Gandhi that I love and think about often: “The future depends on what you do today” and today means every day. Learning a second language is something that you need to work on daily. But that is the beauty of homeschooling, you have the freedom to adjust things to make it work. And as advised by Charlotte Mason, the sooner you can start, the better -as long as our children show interest and are encouraged by what we are presenting to them.

Whether that means adding some things to your daily rhythm, creating a library for reading aloud, or practicing saying a few sentences during lunchtime in the target language. Being at home with your children will facilitate the time that you need to be successful. You can certainly form a  great language foundation in your children and even yourself.

It is important to keep it simple and find practical ways to bring your kids in contact with the language.

With this in mind, here are some of the things that we do at our home:

  • Label as many parts of the house as possible. Making an effort to repeat and ask the children what each of those words mean often. Translating our children’s chore charts or schedules and placing them in a visible place.
  • Have a hanging whiteboard in the bathroom and start writing one word per day/one sentence, etc. (This is a method called “Captive Reading” in case you want to look into it)
  • Create a list of 5 to 10 daily commands, translate them, and practice until you feel comfortable saying them to your children. Then use them every day. (Adding a second language should be a family affair and the more your children see you excited about it the more they will feel the same).
  • Read at least one book per day in the target language. 
  • Create a playlist and dance to it. Have fun with it! The more they see Spanish as a fun thing, the more they will want to practice it often.
  • If your kids have a favorite movie, let them see it often but set it up in the target language.
  • Go out to eat! Visit restaurants that speak the target language and practice ordering together.
  • Lastly, finding a community of families that share the same goals is always a great idea!

The only two things that you need to start teaching your children a second language are the desire to do it, and the discipline to keep at it. Small steady efforts each day will add up to consistent progress over the years.

Even if you don’t have previous knowledge, I assure you there is no one more equipped than you to teach your own children anything you want. And that includes a new language. On this website, you will find labels for the house, schedules, free printables, and even the daily command cards that I mentioned above, along with a video, so you can hear the pronunciation of those from a native speaker.

I hope those help you get started!

Thanks for reading, mamas.

– Dayana

Interested in my daily commands and words of affection cards? Get them here

To get my Free parts of the house labels and other fun resources, click here

Want to start adding a couple bilingual unit studies to your homeschooling days? Check our shop here

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2021-2022 Curriculum Choices!

Disclaimer: This is not your average blog post, so I apologize in advance for the length of it. I have separated it by red titles so you can get to what interests you in a timely manner. But there is a LOT of good information in here in case you can make time to read the whole thing. So grab a cup of your favorite drink and read on, mama!

crop woman with cup of coffee on table

One of my favorite things to read when I started home educating my kiddos was reading about other mama’s curriculum choices. At that point in life, I felt very much overwhelmed by the plethora of resources, books, curriculums available. All I wanted was for someone to tell me “This is what we use, and here’s why we decided to go with that”

Don’t get me wrong, it was clear from the very beginning that what worked for my neighbor, might now work for me. I knew I needed to find my family’s own material, especially because we have a bilingual homeschool, so the material needed to be customized to fulfill our family’s values and goals.

But boy was I thankful for the moms, bloggers and friends who shared with me their choices, and were kind enough to explain the why behind them.

Fast forward 4 years, and here I am, typing this blog post for all of you, new to homeschooling, mommas! With this post I hope to share in hopes we can provide some clarity in some of them, describe exactly how they work and provide some feedback so you can decide whether they will work for your family, you want to find something similar or if you want to do something completely different.

My husband and I chose the following material keeping in mind the age, grade, and skills of our two older children. Our daughter is an August birthday who will turn 11, going into 5th grade and loves languages, enjoys reading, does great at math even though she must work hard at it at times and struggles with Spelling. And for our son who is 9 years old, going into 4th grade, avid reader, does great at math but struggles with spelling.

Just to make our lives easier and for them to have a buddy tow work with, we chose one level curriculum for the two of them regardless of their age and grade difference. We slow down things a notch when needed for one or speed them for the other. It is also so fun to watch how they help each other when one is struggling with certain subject or topic.

After all, that is the beauty of homeschooling– You can adjust it and mold it to fit your exact needs.

Without further ado, here it is:

Our Curriculum Choices

(For a 9 and and 11 year old)

Language arts and History. Our efforts to raise culturally aware children with a worldview biblical perspective.

  • My Father’s World: Creation to the Greeks

We will be traveling back in time to Old Testament days to see God’s hand throughout ancient history. We will be learning how the biblical account fits in with other civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Babylon. We are going to be learning and acting out Old Testament stories making celebrations from the past come to life, we will also review science from a Christian perspective God’s design including dinosaurs and other discoveries.

To say that we are excited for this material is a total understatement! I cannot wait to introduce all these lovely topics to my children and learn alongside them as the Egyptian and Greek culture is quite new to me.

With this curriculum you will follow a four-year chronological study of history and I think is important to mention that we will pick and choose what material we are going to use and what we are just simply going to skip.

For example, we will be using a different kind of science material so we will skip that. We also use a different book for heritage studies so we will be adding that on top of this book but is certainly not necessary.

The titles pictured above: Streams of civilization; Milk and Honey: A year of Jewish Holidays; Aesop Fables and English from the Roots Up, are all books we will be reading from as part of MFW curriculum-so Exciting!!

Website: https://www.mfwbooks.com/item/95201/

  • Writing Rhetoric: Narrative II

This is the culturally rich and beautiful curriculum we use for most of our Language Arts. This fun book exposes students to new genres of story, including historical narrative and legend. It includes a variety of culturally important examples. All of the skills practiced in the previous book Narrative I are extended, and new skill sets are introduced, including identifying the difference between fact and opinion and learning to ask the five W’s of a historical narrative: who, what, when, where, why. We have loved the previous two books, one was on Fables and the last one, like I mentioned was about narrative as well.

These are wonderful books full of history, and classics. they are simply delightful books to learn with.

Website: https://classicalacademicpress.com/collections/writing-rhetoric/products/writing-rhetoric-book-3-narrative-ii-program

  • The Logic Of English: Essentials A spelling pack

This is a new one we are adding this year. You see my kids are avid readers. They comprehend quite good and write the same, but the struggle has always been spelling. We keep finding out every time they write things down, and their test scores confirm it. So after reading the wonderful book written by Denise Eide, we made up our minds that this was just what we were looking forward to help our children become better spellers.

Reading this book was like the biggest ah-ha moment in my teaching homeschool journey and being English my second language, I am grateful for it and totally looking forward to trying the system out with my kiddos. We shall see!

Website: https://essentials.logicofenglish.com/volumes

Last but not least…

  • BJU Press: Spelling 5

No long explanation here other than it is important and vital for children to have nice handwriting. As Mrs. Mason said:

“It is sometimes objected that this elaborate and beautiful handwriting will interfere with a characteristic ‘hand,’ but it seems to me that to have a beautiful, instead of a commonplace, basis for handwriting is a great gain.” (Mason, vol. 1)

I have absolutely loved to see how one or two pages a day has improved my kid’s writing tremendously. Especially for my nine-year-old boy since writing doesn’t come in him as naturally as it does for my daughter. He has a long way to go but it’s nice to see his improvements. especially since they both write in cursive or script. (Note: I do not buy a teacher’s manual for this, just the student workbook. This is something that takes them about 15 minutes a day.)

Website: https://www.bjupress.com/product/271411

Nature, Science and Math

  • BJU Press: Math 5

The beauty of any book by Bob Jones is that is Christian based. However, it does not mean this math book has any biblical content like perhaps their science book does. We simply chose this book for math because we like their lesson layouts, all the fun activities that it includes for kiddos to get a lot of practice and it’s also neatly organized and colorful which is fun for the kids. Math is (ah-hem) my least favorite) and after trying Math-u-see and other math curriculums we decided this one catered the best for our family. We did find lots of value in their teacher’s manual, so we bought it along the student workbook.

We are also not fully done with math 4 so we will finish that one and jumped into 5 as soon as we can (One of the reason why homeschooling rocks!)

Website: https://www.bjupress.com/category/grade-5-math-curriculum

***Math add-on: The Life of Fred books are just funny, and smart stories that teach math. they are designed to be used in alphabetical order in it teaches math concepts effortlessly and brings them to life!

  • BJU Press: Science 6

Science is very special to us.

Here’s why: we share teaching with another homeschooling family and dear friends of ours. We started this a year ago and cannot wait to do it all over again this year. We go to their house every couple of Thursdays a month and she graciously teaches my kiddos along with hers, science; she is a science teacher that taught in public school a while back for several years. I, in the other hand, teach their kids along with mine sewing, arts and crafts.

Again another reason why homeschooling is so beautiful. We can decide whether a grade is too young, too advanced, or just right and adjust accordingly, and we can have an awesome time learning together with friends!

We love Bob Jones Science 6 because it teaches kids about the incredible intricacies of cells and organisms, matter and energy, astronomy, heredity, the nervous system, and the immune system all with a biblical perspective. They also do easy and fun experiments which a great to do when you are in a small group or with several siblings!

Website: https://www.bjupress.com/category/grade-6-science-curriculum

  • Nature studies: Exploring Nature with Children

This is our second year using this lovely curriculum and we really enjoy it. Multiage includes art, poetry and gets your family’s sense working with every theme. The only thing that I don’t love is that it was created in the United Kingdom, so a couple of the themes do not match with our Minnesota weather or season. Other than that it is simply exceptional!

We use it as a guide as to what we should like for when we are out and about in our hiking experiences or when we go out with our Wild and Free nature group.

Website: https://raisinglittleshoots.com/buy-exploring-nature-with-children/

Faith, Ethics and Values

  • The Gospel Project: Home Edition Semester 2 

Can I just tell you how much we love this curriculum? Let me start by saying it includes a student workbook for K-2nd grade and a student workbook 3-5 grade which is perfect for my five-year-old to join in and feel part of the lesson and for the little ones to do older work more appropriate for their age. It also includes a DVD that introduces the lesson with an 8-minute video plus an application video about 5 minutes long that leaves you and your kids thinking and analyzing what was learned. It brings concept to life with down to earth applications. The illustrations and graphics throughout are exceptional too.

I did order the teacher’s manual for this, and I totally recommend doing so. In every chapter, it will show you an overview of the lesson for you to jump right in and know from the beginning what is the theme, the lesson, the Bible verse to memorize and any other simple materials you need to gather. Usually nothing more than a couple index cards a picture of the family, a roll of tape, etc. Just simple things that you probably have around the house.

Website: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1535936789?tag=onamzdayanafr-20&linkCode=ic5&ascsubtag=amzn1.infl.us.product&creativeASIN=1535936789&ref=exp_cedar_hill_kids_homeschool_dp_vv_d

  • Heritage Hymns by dear mama Amber O’neal Johnston, Heritage Mom

Hymns have always been so interesting and beautiful to me. Growing up in a different country, I didn’t know they excited until I married my husband at age 21. And I truly fell in love with them, every time we sign them at church I get teary eyed. To me they mean more than any other worship song, they feel like they provide a deeper connection with the Lord, and I am all about whatever bring my family closer to Jesus!

I met amber through Instagram, and I was simply thrilled when I found out she was releasing this wonderful guide.

This guide includes 15 hymns along with links to the sheet music, lyrics and audio or video of multiple versions of each song. We cannot wait to dig in and spend some time studying the meaningful lyrics of the hymns included. My goal is for my family to memories at least a couple of them if not more. This is again a new resource, and I am expectant to see how it goes so be sure to check back for a review!

Website: https://heritagemom.com/index.php/downloads/heritage-hymns-a-curated-collection-of-multicultural-hymnal-studies/


The rest of the titles pictured above: They are just a bundle of books that were borrowed to me by a dear mama friend that just got done going through Creation to the Greeks with her kiddos. I plan on using them as guides, and to educate myself during this year of learning. I don’t anticipate reading them entirely because…life. But they are already sounding and looking so good that I might just have to!

The David C. Cook Journey through the Bible: This book will help me better understand favorite Bible stories so I can teach their purpose better. I might even read some of the chapter’s out loud with the kids.

Celebrating Biblical Feast (in your home or church): We will be recreating several feasts during the year and this book will serve as our guide, so we do them properly.

Bruchko: This book tells the story of a nineteen-year-old that heads into a south American jungle to evangelize a murderous/savage tribe, the Motilone Indians as well as other islands in the Pacific, etc. His decision meant capture, disease, terror, loneliness, and torture but what discovered has revolutionized missions. I might start this one tonight! 🙂

The Narrow Road: This book features true stories of Brother Andrew and other believers who risked their lives smuggling Bibles into countries where Scriptures are outlawed; with an aim to raise awareness of the persecuted Church. This one looks great but it might be a little deep for the kids, so we might just skim through it and save it for when they are older. I included in here because I have heard wonderful things about it and it has been recommended by several friends. It is packed with dangerous adventures and high drama, testifying to God’s miraculous provision for those who follow where He leads.

Lastly,

The Story of the World Vol.1 DVD set: We are starting to watch these with our kids every Sunday evening to get us ready for the year ahead! This is a series of 8 hours on 7 CDs where Susan Wise Bauer brings to life the stories and records of the peoples of ancient times. Written in an engaging but straightforward manner. Sunday here we come!!

Audiovisual arts

It wouldn’t be Cedar Hill homeschool if we didn’t add music and art!

  • History of Art: This will be our third year using this lovely guide that comes with the flashcards picture above. We take it slow but every time we get a chance to do a little bit of this book we fall in love with it all over. Usually the kids would say something like: “Mom, we should really do this book more often” Totally recommend.

This book is designed to give students a concise body of information that can easily assimilate. It includes 32 art movements featured in the cards in this series, it includes fun project suggestions (out favorite part), but you certainly don’t need to do those if they seem like too much for the time you have. They do vary to appeal different ages which is perfect for the homeschool setting.

Website: https://veritaspress.com/store/history-of-art-workbook.html?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQjwub-HBhCyARIsAPctr7xkOLnl2urIsC9sS5A3e663uomKMD4PRYjWTfCqaxGGNQXYEOCEpz8aAjVfEALw_wcB

  • Classical music CD’s: This part is suggested in the My father’s World curriculum and it sounds wonderful to have the opportunity to have a rich introduction to some of the most well-known classical music artists like Handel, Vivaldi and Bach.

You can get the three music CD’s plus 3 more with the story of each of the composers here

Spanish Education

As you may know by now, I am Spanish Immersion teacher so most of the language will be designed and put together by yours truly and we will be mostly using the unit studies that I create. In addition to that, we are going to be using two books from the Latin American editorial Santillana that are fully in Spanish one will be for Language arts and one for Math that we will alternate with our English curriculum so they continue working in their Spanish acquisition. But I think this part needs a full blog post on its own. I will link the website in case you want to take a look here. Now I am going to share about my two favorite and biggest allies when teacher my kids the language:

Rosetta Stone: Friends, this is the classical program that you have heard to learn a language for a long while, and I would say they have been around this long because they simply are that good. I really believe they are excellent, so we invested in an online membership for each of my kiddos and yes, unfortunately they each require their own membership, there is no sharing allowed in this, but, totally worth it!

Website: https://www.rosettastone.com/lp/ppc/sale/?lang=esp&gclid=Cj0KCQjwub-HBhCyARIsAPctr7xuZvDxBHLjIp7sHBTQw62SzpH1Ex4TUStSaftLBXjk6HaqD0WlzbcaAqcuEALw_wcB

Rockalingua Spanish: Friends, Rockalingua is so.much.fun! This is the program I use to get worksheets, videos, and songs from. They are exceptional and even though they have use European Spanish, it still works great for my students as well as my kids. You do have to pay a membership to get access to everything and I think it is totally worth the price, but also you can find some of their videos on YouTube and they do have some free content on their webpage. But again I would totally consider investing in the membership. And one membership gets you access to everything so that is always a plus.

Website: https://rockalingua.com/

***Rockalingua has graciously offered a 20% discount code for the readers that sign up to receive my email notifications. Use the code HOLA on their website once you sign up with your email here . Just scroll all the way to the bottom.

There you have it, friend, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you but rather gave you enough information to help you decide what would work for your family. And because you made it this far, I am going to gift you a printable of a Curriculum Planning Sheet so you have a space to neatly organize your ideas in 🙂 This file is part of my Homeschool Planner pack that will be available in my shop soon. You can download the freebie here:

Thank you for reading and happy planning!

XO,

Dayana

Posted on 1 Comment

New to Homeschooling Series: Help! I’m attempting homeschooling. Where do I start?

Mama, are you hanging in there? Are you struggling with the lack of normalcy? Do you currently have your kids “training” so they can attend school in the fall with a mask on or are you considering keeping them home and attempt to home-school them? Are you as afraid as I am, for not knowing what will be the future of this country?

The year of COVID-19. What a year…

Where to start, right?

Businesses closed, social distancing, gloves, and, were masks enforced. One person per family allowed at some stores, no children allowed in others. Sickness, unemployment, schools closed, some had to start working from home…Shortage of food and even of toilet paper.

Life basically stopped.

And that is not even mentioning the protests, the riots, the division of the nation.

And it’s only July…

I urge to give your worries to God, friend. If the idea of homeschooling your children keeps roaming your mind, it might just be time for you to take the step forward and try it!

Let me give you a little bit of a backstory so you understand why I feel like I can write about this. Please know that I write this out of a humble heart. I am, by no means, an expert. I just feel a a strong desire to lift others up and remind us all to seek peace, trust in God and find courage to do the things that He has call you to do.

I am an immigrant from Colombia, I became a U.S. citizen in the year of 2013. I came to this country not knowing much English but with an immense desire to learn the culture and the language. When I first learned about home education was though my husband. His mom had done it with some of his siblings.

Some of the questions that I made back then about homeschooling and that I currently hear other moms are:

  • How does a mom teach her kids without a degree?
  • Does that mean that I can’t work anymore?
  • What happens if I have more than one kid and they are in different grades?
  • How do I clean the house and cook if I have to teach my kids?
  • What about me time? This sounds like a 24/7 gig. How do I take care of my own needs?
  • Will my kids feel lonely without their school friends?
  • Are they going to become awkward?
  • What about the academics?- What if they don’t qualify for College because of low scoring?
Front yard after lunch picnic and story time.

I think back and remember how the idea sounded like total craziness in my mind, at the same time, it started to feel more doable every time my husband and I would come across a homeschooling family and they’d start sharing about their experience. I started to wonder more and more about it but being from a different country brought even more fears to this mama’s heart. Finally, one day, we decided to try it “only for one year” we said. “The next one we will enroll our kids right away back in school”…We are on our 3rd year and going strong.

BEST.DECISION.EVER.

Friend, if this Colombian mama has been able to figure out a way to make it work for her and her family, I am sure, YOU also CAN do it.

Allow me to answer the previous questions for you:

  • You don’t need a degree to teach your kiddos. You might need refreshments of what you once learn or learn as you go (which is what I find myself doing in subjects that were taught to me differently back in my country of origin). You can get help by finding a curriculum. I followed one the first year and once I felt confident enough, I started to customize our learning in a way that would fit our family and kid’s needs the best. A curriculum is a tool and you can use it as much or as little as needed.
  • Since you wont be teaching a class of 18 students you can get done A LOT in a little time. So, you can actually work part time if you’d like. It’s just a matter of arranging a schedule that works for your family.
  • Educating multi age kids is a little bit tricky but let me tell you some good news: there are multi-age curriculum out there. Also, kids become very independent with their work and, this is great preparation for college and life in general, often overlooked in public schools!. And, after you present a lesson they can be left to do some individual learning while you work with another child. You can stretch or summarize a subject to make it work for all your students. This is my favorite thing to do! If I can teach a history where I can engage my 4, 8 and 10-year-old, then I am all about that. This won’t work for everything of course but it can help you save time whenever is possible. Lastly, you can outsource a class. By finding a COOP (see notes at the end if you need more info about coops) or a mama that knows more about that specific topic (Hello Science mama friends!!- you’re my favorite!!)
  • I like to include cleaning, cooking, repairing, gardening and wood working into our schedule. We all live in this house; we are all responsible to keep it and care for it. (These are by far some of the most important lessons children will get from being at home. At least the ones that they will use the most during adulthood). Call it Home Ec. and add it to the schedule. Make sure it happens. Done.
  • If you spend a couple weeks training your kids into being independent, if you can be organized with your time, and if you stick to the plan you make and adjust as needed until it works for everyone, you will have time to do YOU. Whether it is reading a book, tending a garden, doing your nails or doing a workout or another personal hobby; you will have the time to do it.
  • If you have more than one child, most of the time, with good instruction, they will become the best of friends. Homeschooling has the beauty of allowing your family to work on differences, nourish relationships and create deeper bonds between each other. If you have only one child, let me tell you the homeschooling community (Especially in the US) is extensive. You own your schedule; you can arrange it in a way that you and your kids get enough social interaction as possible. Let me tell you, I have never in my life been as *social* as I have been ever since I started homeschooling my kids. The flexibility that you find in homeschooling is fantastic.
  • We ALL are a bit awkward! 🙂 whether we go to school or learn at home. The intellectual, the nerd, the clown, the star, the teacher’s pet, the shy, the bully, the drama queen will be just that, wherever he/she is.
  • Actually, studies show homeschooled children enjoy a statistical advantage in many important facets of life. Studies have linked homeschooling to greater community involvement in adulthood, a higher likelihood of civic engagement, and to above-average scores on measures of psychological and emotional development. The college graduation rate for homeschooled students is 67%, nine points higher than the 58% clip for traditionally schooled teens. So, in other words, YES, they will totally be College material.

So now, you are seriously considering the option, but then you wonder. “What do I do next?… Where do I start?”.

I’ll give you 5 steps to get you started:

  1. Pray about it. Please ask God for wisdom and direction.
  2. Find yourself a homeschooling mama friend.
  3. Find a good resource where you can get some good and valuable information. [Please be aware that there is an extensive amount of resources out there and that can lead you into feeling overwhelmed (at least I did)]. Perhaps ask said homeschooling friend to give you a book recommendation or find a high rated one online. A lot of the home school experience is trial by error.  You will always be tweaking and refining your schedule and curriculum. What might work for one kid, might not work for another.  What might work one year might need to be adjusted the next.  The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adapt and change as needed.  Just remember, friend, patience, prayer and rest are most important and should always be you go to in times that you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
  4. Attend or find an online (hello again COVID-19) homeschool convention. In short, a homeschool convention is where you can find all the curriculum, all the speakers, all the material in ONE SINGLE PLACE. At the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, my husband and I attended The Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH. And it was AH-MAZING to say the least. You can see if they have one close to you or register for an online one here

Planning for the fall right now seems silly, as we are basically having to guess what we are going to do. But we all need some sort of tangible plan for the future. Especially if there are kids involved. So I really hope these posts helps you organize your ideas and think about what the next steps will be for you and your sweet family.

Let me know if this helped you and also if you have any questions or suggestions about what I should write about next, please drop a comment below.

“We ought to enter into God’s rest and then serve Him wholeheartedly- not out of anxiety, but out of love and trust.”

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

NOTES:

To read more about homeschooled children going to college read this article: https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/how-do-i-help-my-homeschool-student-get-into-college/

An excellent book to read to get you started and one that I continue to read year after year to get me ready for the new school year is this one. i will have to do a post just in this wonderful book alone because it is that amazing.

Homeschooling is a big, BIG commitment. It might not be for everyone and if you feel like you cannot take on a big challenge, this option might not be for you. Your patience will be tested, it will be hard until everyone gets the routines down, and even then, you may need to arrange and rearrange things every so often. But if you decide to do it, the reward will be immeasurable!

Thank you for reading and remember that with God all things are possible and If God brings you to it; He will bring you through it!”~ Isaiah 58:11.

My next post will be on curriculum. Be sure to sign up to receive my emails so you don’t miss it 🙂

Dayana