Unlike traditional schooling, homeschooling affords you the opportunity to jump down rabbit trails! What’s a rabbit trail? This is when your child develops a sudden interest in a topic, and you spend the whole day (or week, or month) exploring that topic in-depth, following the trail as far as it goes, or until your child moves on to another interest. Regardless of age, this is a valuable tool to add to your homeschooling toolbelt!
Developed by a 19th century educator who believed in reading ‘living books’ rather than ‘twaddle,’ this approach involves living learning. It revolves around reading aloud together as a family, and following child interests. Nature walks, art museums, and living books are all a part of this approach.
Unit Studies This approach takes all of the subjects and smashes them together in an in-depth study of a topic. For example, a unit study of Rome might include reading and writing about Rome, studying the history of Roman emperors, calculating timelines and marketplace purchases, creating artwork and projects from Ancient Roman times, and studying water (from the aqueducts built during this era). Units may be literature-based, and this is a great style for teaching multiple grades together.
Definitely for the Type B family, this is a child-centered approach to schooling. There are no formal lessons, or even formal curriculum, but the children follow their interests and learn from life experiences. Schedules are not utilized, and there is much flexibility and freedom. This does not mean that they don’t read, write, and do math, but that they follow their interests. Math might be adding up the tab at the restaurant, or figuring the tax.
Factory tours are a fun and frugal way to add unique field trips to your homeschooling year! You get an educational glimpse into the inner workings of companies and how products are made, and you never know what is going to spark an interest in your kids! Always be sure to check if there is a minimum age requirement to visit, to make reservations if required, and see if there is a nominal fee. If the tour is free, and their store sells inexpensive items, consider purchasing something as a thank you and to help support the company in their educational outreach.
We don’t JUST go to food factories…though it may seem like it. What can I say? When you’re driving all day, roadschooling, you want to stretch your legs and eat at the same time! Here are some non-food factories. Be sure to use the Field Trips Planning Pack for all your factory tours, and make those school days count!
It’s spring – time to dance with the flowers and soar with the birds! By spring, we’re starting to think about summer break, finishing out the homeschool year (unless you’re year-round),, and thinking about upcoming holidays… Here are activities, books, and resources for incorporating the holidays into your homeschool. Pick and choose what works best for your family. Bloom in springtime!
All of these resources are appropriate for middle and high school.
Are you struggling to find productivity in your day-to-day? Are you feeling like you are constantly putting out fires and not making any progress on the things that matter most to you? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with productivity because they are making some common mistakes. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 blunders that are sabotaging your personal productivity. Once you become aware of these mistakes, you can start taking steps to correct them and finally get stuff done!
Blunder #1: Not Having a Plan
One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a plan. If you don’t know what your goals are or what steps you need to take to achieve them, it’s going to be very difficult to get anything done. You will likely find yourself spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast. Take some time to sit down and figure out what you want to achieve. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into smaller steps that you can take to get there. Having a roadmap will help keep you on track and prevent wasted time.
This will get you nowhere fast on both the little things AND the big things. When looking at the major life decisions for what comes after high school, it’s easy to get stymied by all the “what ifs.” Do a little research and choose a path, you can always course correct later. Download the free Homeschooling Help book or pick up the High School to College course.
Blunder #2: Not Breaking Down Tasks Into Smaller Steps
Another common mistake people make is not breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. When you have a big project or goal that seems overwhelming, it can be tempting to just try to power through it without taking the time to break it down. However, this usually leads to frustration and a feeling of being stuck. Instead of trying to tackle the entire project at once, break it down into smaller steps that you can complete one at a time. This will help you stay focused and make progress until the task is done.
Something I’m always telling the students at Sparks Academy, particularly as they begin to tackle large assignments, is – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” A racer runs a marathon one mile at a time. And a good student tackles a large project one chunk at a time.
Blunder #3: Not Scheduling Time for Important Tasks
If you don’t schedule time for the things that are important to you, they will likely never get done. It’s easy to fill up your day with busy work and put off the things that really matter, but this will only lead to frustration. Make sure you schedule time for the tasks that are most important to you, and stick to that schedule as much as possible. This will help ensure that you are making progress on the things that truly matter.
The ability to prioritize important tasks, culling the wheat from the chaff, is a hallmark of a good leader, and leadership skills are important for all kinds of successes in life, from employment to relationships. See how to boost your leadership skills here.
Blunder #4: Not Having a Dedicated Workspace
One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a dedicated workspace. If you are constantly working in different locations, it can be difficult to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you have a designated space that is just for work. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions.
It’s possible to work from your kitchen table, but having a private workspace makes getting into the study zone much easier. Having set work hours and visual cues, such as a small sign or wearing headphones, will let well-meaning family members know you’re working.
Blunder #5: Not Taking Breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help you be more productive. If you are working non-stop, you are likely to get burnt out and make mistakes. instead of trying to power through, take a break every few hours to recharge. This will help you stay focused and avoid errors.
Your break can be a walk around the block, shooting some hoops with a sibling, or picking up a musical instrument for a bit. It could be having a snack or taking a field trip to town — after all, every field trip doesn’t have to be long and / or exotic…
Blunder #6: Not Staying Organized
Another common mistake people make is not staying organized. When you are constantly trying to find things, it can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Make sure you have a system in place for organizing your work so that you can find things quickly and easily. This will save you time in the long run and help you stay on track.
Get a hold on this with the Rise & Shine Student Planner. Each month contains an at-a-glance calendar, with space for notes and a to-do list. Weekly pages are broken down by day, and daily pages provide space for habit tracking, notes, meal planning, and an hourly planner.
Blunder #7: Trying to Do Too Much
One of the biggest productivity killers is trying to do too much at once. When you are constantly jumping from one task to another, it can be difficult to focus and get anything done. Make sure you are prioritizing your tasks so that you are only working on the most important things. This will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Having a plan will help you keep on task.
Blunder #8: Procrastinating
One of the biggest productivity killers is procrastination. When you put off tasks, they tend to pile up and become even more daunting. Make sure you are staying on top of your tasks by setting deadlines and holding yourself accountable. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you are making progress.
Are you easily distracted, noticing every sight and sound around you? When working on a task, are you often side-tracked and have a difficult time focusing? Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of distractibility. Learn how to focus more easily, which will help your studying.
Blunder #9: Not Getting Enough Sleep
One of the biggest productivity killers is not getting enough sleep. When you are tired, it can be difficult to focus and get things done. Make sure you are getting enough rest so that you can be productive during the day. This will help you avoid feeling exhausted and ensure that you are able to focus on your tasks.
Eliminate this blunder with the New Year, New Me Habit Tracker. This reusable calendar features monthly at-a-glance pages and weekly pages with space for notes and planning. Each week also has a habit tracker grid to help keep the momentum going with your new habits!
Blunder #10: Not Eating Healthy
Another common mistake people make is not eating healthy. When you are not getting the proper nutrients, it can be difficult to focus and stay on task. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet so that you can maintain your energy levels and avoid feeling sluggish. This will help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.
It may take some adjustments in your shopping and cooking habits, but eating real food (and not nuking it in the microwave) is so much healthier for you! Your body will appreciate the difference, and after a little bit your mood will improve as you begin to feel more energized. Check out the No Sweat! Cooking Bundle for quick, easy, and healthy meal ideas.
There are many common mistakes that people make that can stand in the way of their personal productivity. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you are able to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you try to implement some of these tips so that you can increase your productivity and achieve your goals.
Meal planning is essential for the busy homeschooling family. It not only helps you save time and money, but also eat a bit healthier. After all, who wants to eat frozen pizza and chicken nuggets every night? (Maybe that should say ‘what adult,’ rather than ‘who.’)
Your weekly meal plan might be broken down to the day, or you might plan for five days worth of meals, and then choose what you’re in the mood for each day. This is a personal choice, and will depend on how much structure you and your family need. When you’re meal planning, keep in mind:
Your family’s food preferences — no need to make breakfasts if no one eats that early
Your weekly schedule — have some quick and on-the-go options for busy days
Family dynamics — older kids can help with prep, cooking, and cleaning
What’s on hand — for less waste / spending, create menus that use on-hand ingredients
Online Meal Planning
Ordering groceries online isn’t an option where we live, but it is for many people in urban and suburban areas. If you want to order online, start a grocery list and keep adding to it throughout the week (similar to if you have a paper one on the refrigerator to take in-hand to the store). Some folks swear by online shopping, saying they prefer to spend the extra money for someone else to do the shopping because it saves them from impulse purchases. You know whether you tend to impulse shop or not, so again, this is a personal (and potentially geographic) preference.)
Appliances & Early Meal Prep
Kitchen appliances are a huge time saver today…something our grandmothers would have cherished! You’ll want to take some time to get to know your appliance, but utilize them for convenient, healthy meals. Incorporate appliance-specific recipes into your meal planning each week to save time.
If you have them on hand, use your crockpot, air fryer, and InstaPot. However, if you’re in the market for a time-saving kitchen appliance, you can’t go wrong with the Ninja Foodi. This is the one we have, and it is A-MAZ-ING! (It does even more than the famous InstaPot.)
This little guy is a powerhouse – and barely takes up any room on the counter! It does the job of eleven different appliances, making it not only a time-saver, but a space-saver in the kitchen. As a former roadschooling family, I highly recommend this to any travelling families…it takes up just a little extra space in the car, but is very much worth it to have healthy meals while on-the-road.
So what all does Ninja Foodi do? Pressure Cook, Air Fry/Air Crisp, Steam, Slow Cook, Yogurt, Sear/Sauté, Bake/Roast, Broil, Dehydrate, Sous Vide & Warm. At 6.5 quarts, it’s large enough to feed a family of 4-6, but probably won’t work as well for larger families. It makes up to three pounds of fries, and can hold a six-pound roast, so it will depend on ages and how much food is needed.
I love it because of its versatility and efficiency. The other night, we made arroz con pollo – from dried rice and frozen chicken – in less than 45 minutes! For this and other great recipes, we picked up a very handy book called Ninja Foodi Complete Cookbook for Beginners.
If you know you’re going to have a busy period, try freezer cooking. This is essentially cooking everything ahead of time and then pulling it out of the freezer to reheat. Not all recipes lend themselves to this method, but many recipe PARTS do. You can prep taco meat or spaghetti sauce ahead of time, making dinnertime easier. Check out the freezer cooking resources below to get you started!
A Slow-Cooked Year This book includes : the whats and whys behind crockpot cooking, how-to tips and tricks, safe crockpot guidelines, printable planning sheets, and more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!
Another Year of Freezer Cooking For anyone who wants to get a leg up on getting healthy meals on the family table, without much fuss…this book includes : the whats and whys behind freezer cooking how-to tips and tricks pantry freezing guidelines, printable planning sheets more than thirty seasonally-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes!
Snag this adorable tee to tout your homeschool status and celebrate the #HomeschoolMomLife!
Thirty days of whole foods, at-home workouts, and spiritual rest…you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain from hitting the reset button. You’ll get a month of grain-free paleo menus, plus Life Made Full’s 30-day guide will enrich your life physically, emotionally, and spiritually, setting you up for your best year yet!