We all started from somewhere but not all of us were able to get advice – well, good advice that would actually help us in our situations. So I wanted to make sure that the new homeschool moms who were forced into it due to the coronavirus situation are at least with help. The following list is my absolute favorite tips for new homeschool families. I created this list based on my failures and breakthroughs and hope that it will be an encouragement during these harsh times.
Tips for New Homeschool Families
1. DO NOT TRY TO SCHOOL AT HOME- it will not work. Meaning, your children are made to sit for 8 hours (sit and be quiet), learn in a room with lots of other kids, staring at the clock and wall, review many subjects a day, etc. For us homeschooler families, most of the time this does not work. It only will frustrate you to pieces to try to mimic a school setting at home. Your kids know that they are home just this fact will make them “not” want to do school at home if forced to review subjects and follow a time-based schooling system.
Instead, try to give your children grace. After all, it is not their fault that this virus has closed the schools. It is also not the job of any school or teacher to teach our children to “sit and be quiet” for 8 hours a day. When children were historically schooled at home by their families (before the institution of public schools began), they were in constant hands-on mode. Meaning, that your children’s brain learns better when he or she is actively learning- not just sitting still and staring at the teacher all day. This is ESPECIALLY important for families with children on the autism spectrum or ADHD children. They already can not cope with trying to sit for so long and most of them if in a public school are on medicines to keep them sitting still.
I have no problem with disciplining our children so that they can learn to sit and be quiet when they are needed. Like at religious sittings or special occasions, etc. It is very respectful when children can be quiet in these types of environments and is part of teaching them about respect, good manners, etc. But please do not go into this thinking your child will sit at home like he or she would at school. It will not work and I learned this very quickly with my own children. Granted each child is different so take the clues of your children and give them space to adjust. Which brings me to the next tip.
2. Each child is different and learns differently. Do not treat them all to the same or expect them all to finish work at the same time or pace. Remember that they are in a way forced to turn in work and assignments on the same deadline as their classmates at school. This does not mean that they understand that work, but that they were taught to complete the tasks. Sometimes children are scared to show that they do not understand something and will just go with whatever their peers are doing for the sake of moving along. This is one problem the schools have now because they do not hold children back anymore, they will keep them with their peers, passing levels until graduation- even if some can not read or write. It is very sad in my opinion. So as a parent that is new to homeschool or forced into it during the COVID-19 scare, just remember to set the pace per child with their work. They may not finish the same, it is ok- let them complete the work the next day. You may have a child that is quick to finish work- and you may be happy, but if you ask them what did they learn, they may not be able to remember because they are completing the task given and not necessarily learning. You may also have a child finish work very fast and they love it so much that they are on task and can remember everything. You may feel amazed that it only too an hour or two for them to learn. This brings me to my next tip.
3. Do not time school at home like a normal school day. Most of us homeschooling families can actually finish everything (all subjects) in half the time it takes for a school to finish. Remember, the classes at school may have 20 or more students. You may only have 2 or 3… or a bit more, so you do not have to divide up time to make sure that all 20 kids are learning. School time is set up this way to make sure everyone can at least get proper learning because there are a lot of kids. You can finish your homeschool by lunchtime or early afternoon and let the kids play outside for the remainder of the day. A normal time frame for my house would be the little learners start at 9am and finish by 1pm – which also includes break times, lunch, etc. My older one starts at 10am and is finished by 2pm. And at times when my little one with autism has a bad day- guess what….we barely do work and I have learned that he will do better the next day. I do not worry about it or beat myself up, we just stop and give the kids grace.
Because public schools are not able to give as much grace or take care of the individual needs of the many students as you can at home- your day is shorter and now you have time to spend with your children to do fun things. Or for mom or dad to rest for a while.
4. Give many breaks and lots of time outside or doing sensory time. Kids love sensory activities, playing outside or even watching nature documentaries on Netflix or Youtube. You can be cooking or cleaning something and let them have a break or two, or watch something education. It is OK, they are fine. Take breaks for your mental health and so that they can get up and move around, which promotes better focus and learning. Bringing me to my next tip…
5. Make your environment one that the kids can learn in. They can not learn in a place that dirty or a table that no one can sit at…they can not learn with toys on the floor or things all cluttered. I know that we are in hard times but being home and practicing social distance also means that you have a bit more time to clean or declutter the home. Doing a little each day will help. If clutter makes an adult loose focus or go crazy, what do you think it does to a small child?
In addition to decluttering and cleaning, you can practice aromatherapy and find out what scents help us focus. You can also light scented candles or have relaxing music on in the background. My kids love to listen to classical music when learning or lo-fi beats in the background. Having a clean, relaxed place to learn will help everyone remain calm. Once you are stressed or they are, learning will no longer be fun.
6. If you are spiritual. Practice this in the morning before learning time. Better yet, before you begin- maybe during breakfast, have a devotion or affirmation time with your children. The best thing to do every day is to start the day off with your creator and teach your children the sacred art of gratitude. Read to them while they are eating, engage them into what you are saying. Ask them how do they feel. Get them involved and I guarantee your day will be off to a better start.
7. Plan ahead and wake up before your kids. If you can plan a day or two in advance for your kids’ learning and your tasks at home and work (if you are now working from home as well), you will give yourself an advantage over your day. If you do not have a planner, you can grab a notebook and plan.
8. Use what you have at home. The best way to teach is to use your resources up. There is no need to go buy lots of stuff. If you have a computer or laptop, use that. Paper and pen, colors and markers, fine. Whatever books you have at the moment, let them read. Try not to be so formal until you have a plan to be. Amazon is also a great resource during this time for workbooks in different grade levels. I also use a site called TeachersPayTeachers.com where you can go to support teachers who build their own worksheets and pdf files. Just pay for a digital download if you don’t have a workbook, print it and that is it. Be resourceful, if cooking- bring the kids in. If cleaning, bring the kids in. If playing outside, let them play. Teach them living subjects- nature, math through cooking, space through exploring, etc.
9. Use online sites such as ABCMouse or Khan Academy, Readingeggs, Homer, Teachyourmonstertoread, etc. There is nothing wrong with online learning. Let them do it. I also have used a great site called Outschool.com, where you pay for Zoom classes for your kids. You can pick any subject and most teachers will have different times or days to pick from. These classes are great because they encourage social interaction, even though it is online.
10. Establish good routines and habits while at home. I believe that it is better to use a routine than a time schedule. If you have a routine, your kids know what to expect. They know what they should be doing and by doing so teaches them good habits. They should not be running around the house during a time frame you have for school. If video games is at 3pm, then they know school is before games. I let my kids wear pjs to homeschool unless we go out. However, since we are all on social distance right now…pjs every day is the new motto lol.
In addition to establishing a good routine, I suggest beginning homeschool a bit later than what they know from school. I do not get my kids up at 7am, I wait until 8am and then I let them have free time until I am finished cooking breakfast. Breakfast in my house is a time indicator that we need to be ready for school after. This way, my kids do not fight with me to begin, they know that our routine is to eat breakfast first. Even if we start later due to oversleeping in, if they don’t see breakfast, they know they are still on morning free time.
Also guess what, sometimes I don’t feel like teaching!!! Just like teachers who grab the movie tv or projector for class at school and give the kids a movie day- you can do this too. You are sick? Guess what, free day. The kids are sick- free day. It’s ok. Grace is given. Trust me, if you use these tips and learn to be a bit more relaxed in your homeschool journey, your children will show you just how much they can learn and RETAIN better than when we force s harsh schedule on them. This is one of the reasons why homeschool kids often out-perform children of the same age in certain tasks, even test-taking. They are able to do so because they were in a loving environment that was one on one and they were encouraged to grow on their own time. When children encourage this, they are able to boost their own self-esteem and confidence. This is what I have seen in my kids and in other friend’s children who were homeschooled.
I encourage you all today to try my tips and share them. If you find yourself struggling with this new situation of having your children at home and teaching them- you are not alone. It took me a year and a half to get it and it was hard at first because one of my kiddos is on the autism spectrum. Go to Youtube and type new to homeschool and listen to all of the other moms there giving you this same advice. It works and I believe it will work for you. Be blessed. -Keturah
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Time Management Tips for Moms
Need A Few Extra Hours? Try These Time Management Tips!
By Elizabeth Scott, M.S.
Time management is a big concern for mothers these days. Between kids’ activities, household responsibilities and, for many, the demands of a stressful workplace, many mothers have given up on the fight to find time for themselves and are just trying to get everything done. The following time management tips can be used by busy moms everywhere to take some of the stress out of life, and create more time for fun times with children, quality time with their partner, or even that coveted and nearly forgotten alone time.
It’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is this adage more applicable than when discussing time management tips for moms. Simply being organized can eliminate stress from forgotten appointments, double-booking, lost homework, and many other stress traps that busy moms face. What does it mean for a mom to ‘be organized,’ and to what extent is this even possible? If you focus on a few key areas of organization, a little work can go a long way. In a nutshell, being organized with your schedule, with your house and with your discipline strategy is one of the best time management tips I can give you. See this article for more on getting organized.
Yes, when they come to us, they are so sweet and helpless, we end up doing everything for them, and these habits are difficult to break. But then we have their children, and realize that it’s impossible for one person to do it all.
While it’s tempting to cover all household responsibilities yourself (to ensure that everything is done quickly and correctly), putting some effort into getting men and children to pitch in can really pay off in the long run. The trick is to break chores into simple tasks and reward people for doing them. See this article on learning how to delegate tasks for more.
Multitask, But Only When Appropriate
Multitasking was once praised as the time management tip to top all time management tips. (Imagine: Getting twice as much done in a day.) Then people started seeing that multitasked projects weren’t completed as accurately, and suddenly ‘staying focused on one thing’ became the new time management fad. I suggest a compromise: Pair mindless tasks with focus-dependent ones when it’s appropriate. For example, you can make business calls while taking your daily walk (don’t forget exercise as an important stress reliever), or quiz your kids on test questions while you clean the kitchen. But if you feel more harried than helped, it’s time to shelve the multitasking for a bit.
Learn When To Say No
Learning to say ‘no’ to people’s requests may be an obvious time management tip for moms, but that doesn’t make it an easy one. Mothers encounter many different worthy requests for their time and attention, that saying no will often disappoint someone. However, what we don’t always realize is that when we say ‘yes’ too much, people also get disappointed because we can’t do our best when we’re spread too thin. That’s why it’s important to look at your priorities and learn to say no to time demands that aren’t absolutely necessary.
As a recovering perfectionist, I’m a big advocate of doing a good-enough job, especially if you’re a busy mom. If you can get pre-cut vegetables or canned sauce for dinner, do it. If you can afford one of those dishwashers that can handle un-rinsed dishes, even better. The time management tip to remember here is to find the shortest route to where you need to be (getting to the office, getting homework done, getting the house clean), and take it. (Here are some more ideas for household shortcuts).
Have a Routine
Routine are a time management tip that can save you mental energy and stress. I’m not talking about merely getting up and going to sleep at the same time, but even having things like the dinner menu, chore rotation and even sex with your partner on a rotation (you have your needs, too.) This may sound a little ‘too automated,’ but hear me out. When you don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel each week (“What haven’t we eaten in a while?” “When was this floor last mopped?” “When is the last time we…?”), your mind is free to focus on the rest of your day, and the time it takes to plan these things each week is freed as well.
While it’s important to have an idea of how you’d like your schedule to look, it’s important to keep things flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected things that moms encounter — sick kids, spilled milk and the occasional meltdown. Having a rhythm for your day but a time cushion and some backup plans can take the stress out of the unexpected, and keep one schedule hiccup from throwing off your whole day (or week).
Take Care of Yourself, Too!
While taking care of parental, relationship, household and workplace responsibilities, it’s easy for mothers put taking care of themselves last on the list. However, not only is self-care a good idea of physical and emotional health, it’s a good time management tip for moms as well. When we’re tired or haven’t had enough healthy food to function at our best, we’re often less productive and organized, and this lack of clarity can translate into more time wasted throughout the day and less time available to get everything done that needs doing. So get quality sleep, eat a healthy diet, and follow other self care strategies for mothers, and you’ll be operating at your best -— and less stressed.
Original article By Elizabeth Scott, M.S., About.com
This is my personal blog space to talk about life as a mom of 4 kids (ages 12- and below), with one of them being on the autism spectrum. We are relaxed homeschoolers (near the unschooling “sort” of homeschoolers type) and we “year-round” homeschool. This means that we do not typically start and finish at the same time as public schools and that we take our breaks as needed and whenever our religious Holy Days come around.
We live a more traditional and culturally Jewish lifestyle, although we are so hippie that this can also range a bit in all of our spiritual natures. We travel a lot….a lot and are used to doing our own thing. So welcome to our world.
I bought the Canon Pro 100 for wide format printing for my photography business and to also print my 12×12 scrapbook pages. I was a little disappointed when I learned that you can not print borderless on a 12×12 because it is considered a “custom size” and not standard. So I was searching the internet for tutorials on loopholes to this and sadly I found none for a Mac. All were Windows, and you know- the settings are just not the same. So I took the time out to test a few prints on both 12×12 paper and the standard 13×19 to see how easy or difficult it was. I learned that it is very easy to do on a 13×19 but you need to adjust a few marginally settings. Then you print and crop down to a 12×12 size.
But to be able to print straight to a 12×12 page, initially it took me a few hours to finally get the settings straight.
So before we begin, you will need a few things:
1. I did find out from scrapbook and printer forums that you have to Install the Canon Studio Pro plugin for Lightroom in order to trick/loop-hole print boarderless on your 12×12 paper.
2. You will need Lightroom. Although some people can print from the plugin in Photoshop they say, I was not able to find out how. Maybe I will try in the future because Photoshop would be my prefered way to go. I honestly open Lightroom for photo editing.
3. 12×12 paper and if you have 13×19 paper to test both sizes.
4. A little bit of patience and time to do this.
Open your Settings on your Mac by clicking on the “Apple” menu icon at the top of your screen. You will then see the “System Preferences”. Click on that. Now find the “Printer Settings”. Once inside, click the “Canon Pro 100” and hit “Settings” or if you keep your printer on your toolbar, double click it and it opens right away. Once you are inside of the printer’s “Settings”, open the “Utility” tab. Next, from the drop down window, click “Custom Settings. Make sure that the “Check paper size A3…” is unchecked. Save and exit settings.
What this does is tricks the printer into thinking that the A3(13×19) size paper is in and will now allow any size paper to be loaded instead as long as you check A3 (13×19)- which the proper size for this in the Canon Pro 100 line up of papers is A3+ so make sure that you always check to make sure this is the size paper you have in the print options once you are inside of the Canon Studio Pro plugin as seen below.
Canon Studio Pro & Lightroom
If you haven’t already, install the Canon Studio Pro plugin. I was just able to unzip the file and it automatically did its thing. Once I opened Lightroom it was there in the menu.
Open Lightroom and import your scrapbook pages, project pages, etc that are 12×12 size. When you have the image that you want to print, make sure you have it clicked and open in the Develop tab.
Next, go to the File menu tab and scroll down to “Plug in extras”. There you will see the Canon Studio Pro plugin listed. Click on it to open. Once open, the image that you had will also appear there as well.
Make sure that your image is exactly 12x12in (304.8×304.8mm) for this to work.
Settings for Print in Studio Pro
Now that you have the Canon plug in open, you will make sure that the following dimensions are entered when you are printing directly on a 12×12 paper:
Print Settings must be set to A3+13’x19’ 33x48cm
Layout: click “Bordered” tab then open/expand the layout settings little arrow to set margins and image size.
Image Size=12x12in (304.80×304.80mm) Set slider to number or double click the number and manually type it in.
Position (MOST IMPORTANT FOR IT TO WORK)
I had to keep trying different numbers to work and eventually it worked on a true borderless at 12.80, although 13.00 also worked for my projectlife app print outs that did not need to be cut out. So just try a range and test to work.
Landscape Paper Orientation
Make sure you have your print quality settings, etc. ok and hit print button. On the Mac a default print window comes up and it gives you instructions on what to hit on the next print dialogue. Do what it says and print.
You should have a perfectly centered, neat and borderless image on your 12×12. If you see that you have a slight white border on anything, to adjust this is to slide the “Position” very lightly to the left (decreasing under 13.00). I started with the position at 0.00 and then made my way to 14 and I had about 1/2in. white border. So at 13.00 it was perfect with no border at all. So this is where the patience comes in to adjust the “Position” sliders if you are printing and you still see white border anywhere.
To Print a Borderless 12×12 image on 13×19 manually:
Open image the same way through Lightroom and Canon plug in. Set paper to A3+ option same way as before. Next only set the Image Size to 304.8×304.8mm and position the image to the top or bottom of the paper and flushed left or right so that when you print it is printed all on one end of the paper and the rest can be cropped off and cut manually.
Now some people may think it is a waste of paper to manually crop it, but this is really the only “guaranteed and proper way to fit the entire image borderless. That is by printing the entire image on a larger paper and then cutting down to size. Now if you prefer this way, it is a bit easier. So what I did was print some basic background papers for my scrapbook on the larger paper and then cut it down to size and it was perfect.
The first time, the image printed in the middle of the paper and I had to cut all four sides to 12×12. Then I decided to just move it to on end and flush it and it knocked down my cuts in half perfectly.
Hope that helps. If you have other ways to do this, let me know in the comments and if this was helpful, which I hope it is because I literally searched for a week for help myself before experimenting today. If it wasn’t helpful lol, let me know too in a nice way haha. You know how the internet trolls can be for no reason at all. lol.
I hope that this tutorial was of value to another scrapbooker who wanted to print their own pages but was stuck on how to do it borderlessly with the Canon Pro 100 printer. For the traditional 12×12 scrapbook papers, a border doesn’t matter as much but if you are printing your digital Project Life cards or printing from the Project Life app or any other pocket page cards, it is very important to print borderless to retain the correct 4×6 and 3×4 sizes. When I printed with a border the first time, it reduced the cards by almost 1/2 inch which is too small for the pocket inserts.
Enjoy and Have a great week.
I absolutely LOVE this planner! I was trying to see if this size would be too big, but it is perfect. Even good enough for my bag- which is always tote size.
Traveling with the A5
I know that the majority of people in the planner community feel that this is not travel friendly. I suppose that depends on how you travel, the way you pack your planner and what else is in your bag. For me, I work from home and for my husband- which is the building next door to our house. So traveling with it in my bag is not so much a problem.
The other thing- my bag is huge. I carry a Gucci diaper bag most of the time and the smallest handbag of mine is still a great size – Michael Kors Grayson- which is about the same size as a Louis Vuitton Speedy 30. Those bags have depth. I have placed diaper bag essentials inside as well as this A5 planner and it all fit well with room for more stuff.
Now- does it make my bag heavy? Somewhat. But I am sort of used to it from always carrying a Macbook Pro all of the time. If you know that you only carry a small amount of stuff in your bag, then get this planner in the personal size. If you need the A5 size for home or work and its too big for your bag- keep it on your desk. For me, I travel with it everywhere I go because I am pretty much working everywhere I go.
On to the Design
I was going against the color I got because it seems so much NEON hot pink in most of the videos I have seen on Youtube. However, I had recently purchased a Kikki K personal size planner in mint and I didn’t want the same color in the Filofax Domino – so I went with the hot pink. When I got it in the mail, I was thinking OMG this is so fabulous. I am a pink girl…most of the time. It is so pretty and shiny. Did I say it was fabulous?
It fits a ton of things in there. I use it for work. However, I am also able to fit my blogging inserts, my home and to-do list inserts as well as different weekly, daily, monthly and yearly inserts. I like the band closure instead of a snap. It is also very friendly to my ton of paperclips everywhere. Lastly, it lays flat and is easy to write in.
Only a few but I want to mention them in case anyone else had the same things happen as I did or feel the same as I do.
1. I hate the pen insert. You can NOT get any type of pen in there unless it is super skinny and has no rubber. Most of my pens are huge and have rubber. The stretchy fabric of the pen holder makes it almost impossible to insert a pen with one hand. I have to use one hand to insert the pen- granted it has no rubber grib on that pen and then use the other hand to keep the pen insert open. That is super annoying.
On my Kikki K planner, you can glide almost any pen in there with one hand. The pen insert is sturdier, although the Filofax insert is bigger. But, what’s the purpose of a bigger pen insert if you can’t fit those super huge rubber grip fantastic pens in there buddy. So for me, that was a downer.
2. I am sort of down about the actual rings. One the first time opening the rings, two of them seem to not want to lock all of the way closed again. I find that every once in a while I have to force them to clamp. This especially happens whenever I place my laminate inserts in. So for whatever reason, my rings seem a little default”y”…if that is even a word… But nevertheless, I have not had any paper slide out so it’s not a huge problem- and I don’t overstuff the A5 anyway. I do wish the rings where a bit more proper.
3. I knew this going in- so this is not really a negative but a suggestion. I wish the Domino style planner did have the extra pockets or at least a zipper on it. For work planning, I would love to have a zipper or upward pocket so that my things do not go sliding out. I do however love the back of the planner. You can put a pad in the top or what I do is place my weekly spiral planner in the backside pocket. Now you have lots of extra room for anything you want.
Do I recommend this planner?
Yes, I do. It is a great beginner planner for anyone thinking about organizing. It is a great college planner due to its style and color appeal. It is still a great work planner- depending on where you work. I work for myself and my hubby so I can have whatever color I want. Would I bring this into the doctor’s office or a law firm meeting with a potential client…probably not. IT can be heavy if you plan on traveling or carrying in your handbag- so people recommend it for a desk planner. I however, love to travel with it and actually have been using it more than my Kikki K personal size. I do think that I use it more because you can fit more into it than you can with a traditional snap closure and so this is probably why I am using it more than my Kikki K. Actually, that and the fact that you can write bigger in an A5 size both are reasons why I really prefer the Domino right now.
I love my Kikki K for other reasons and still use it but the Domino in the A5 is a great planner and size for people needing more space on a budget in fun colors. The Domino is also available is less crazy colors without the Patent fabric, but those colors didn’t peak my interest.
Scale of 1-10, I give the Filofax A5 Domino planner a 8.5. Fix the rings, change the direction of the pocket in the front flap and give me a better pen holder- you can get a 10+. 🙂