I remember so many times staring a test in college, thinking, "I know this! Why can't I remember?"
Years later, I was homeschooling my own children and they had their own struggles with remembering information.
Whether you are a college student or teaching a preschooler, learning should be a joyful experience.
Wait! You're not experiencing joy in your learning journey? It's hard to remember things.
Or your not enjoying your homeschool adventure because it's hard to teach your children so they remember things.
This is for all of those who struggle to remember what they learn and for all the teachers who teach them.
Here are some tips to help you learn to remember. They work for all ages, even homeschool moms.
"Look to your left," the professor barked. We all look to our left. "Now look to your right!" We all looked to our right. "Half of you will fail this class."
My first day of Human Anatomy and Physiology my sophomore year of college was off to a dismal start. I was paralyzed for a month with fear of failure. If you want to remember or help your students remember, start by setting yourself or your students up for success.
Set Up for Success
Set yourself or your student up for success by expressing confidence in your ability to learn whatever is before you!
Nothing is impossible with God! We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength! Surround yourself with positive people who cheer you on and be a cheerleader to your students.
Set yourself up for success by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Good health makes learning easier.
Setting yourself up for success also involves the environment. Choose a place to study with plenty of light and fairly quiet. Make sure you find a comfortable place to read and study. I like to read while I sit on a comfy couch or recliner. If I read in bed, I fall asleep. Light energizes me so if the weather is dark and cloudy, I turn on plenty of lights. What is your optimal environment? Your students'?
When I am stressed out or frustrated, I have a hard time studying. If I'm trying to teach and feel stressed, my students are on edge, too. They cannot learn because they are too busy wondering what's wrong with me and what I am going to say. Sometimes when the children were little, I would become frustrated when they couldn't "get" something. I would have to take a break and get my joy back.
One day I was trying every way possible to teach Julianna first, second, third. I was so angry that she couldn't understand all the creative ways I was trying to show her the concept. So we took a break. I said a quick prayer and immediately got an idea. We went into her bedroom where I lined all the stuffed animals up and pointed to each of the first three in line. "First, second, third," I said. She got it! Now, I thought all my other illustrations were more creative, but that's what clicked for her!
Keep trying different methods until it clicks. When things get tense, take a break for five or ten minutes to calm down.
Understanding Helps You Remember
?fter 4 daughters, I had every book a girl could dream of. But, what about my son? I had to find books he would love.
In my quest to introduce Jimmy to great books full of adventure, along with wholesomeness and Christian inspiration, I found R.M. Ballantyne.
A Christian author on a quest to enchant and inspire children with amazing adventures, Robert Michael Ballantyne books are thrilling. My son loved them and I think yours will, too.
Robert Michael Ballantyne was born in Edinburgh into a family of famous printers and publishers. At 16, he traveled to Canada to serve for six years with the Hudson's Bay Company, returning to to Scotland in 1847. During his time in Canada, he traded with the local Native Americans for furs, which required him to travel by canoe and sleigh to the areas occupied by the modern-day provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. He published his first book in 1848, Hudson's Bay: or Life in the Wilds of North America. He wrote a series of adventure stories for children with a strong Christian message.
Homeschooling Moms, they also contain tons of history, geography, and science information.
In 1866, Robert married Jane Grant. God blessed them with 3 sons and 3 daughters. This father of six has left a legacy of adventure books for boys, though girls will enjoy them, too!
isclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links from my participation in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. . I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.
R.M. Ballantyne spins an exciting tale of shipwreck and survival in The Coral Island. They encounter cannibals and pirates. Filled with biblical truths and Christian principles, this book still has it after nearly a century and a half. You will love this adventure!
Zoos, Aquariums, Botanical Gardens, and Natural Museums allow children to see God's Creation up close, to learn more about all of His amazing creation.
Children love to see things up close, especially animals!
Our family has always enjoyed zoos and aquariums the most! There's something about see seals and monkeys play that always delights me! And I'm a grown-up!
The sad thing is that so many of those zoos, aquariums, gardens, and museums teach evolution and don't believe that God sent a worldwide flood in the time of Noah. It should not surprise us that people who don't know the Lord don't want to glorify the Creator of all things.
"Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.' 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly" (II Peter 3:2-7 ESV).
Just because the world is misguided, doesn't stop us from teaching truth to our little ones. I love to show my children the truths about our Creator in the Bible. When I see a gorgeous sunset or an adorable animal, I remind whoever is around that we serve an amazing Creator! I want my children to look around in wonder at the world and all it contains; then, pause and praise God!
So, how can we visit these fun places and teach our children the truth?
The most important thing I can do to get my school year off to a good start is to dedicate the coming school year to the Lord.
Seek His Kingdom First
Jesus promised that if I seek first His Kingdom, then everything I truly need will be added to me. No good thing will the Lord withhold from me!
We like to gather as a family and pray for the year ahead. That includes everyone. Dad, Mom, teens, and littles all pray.
This is not a Hallmark moment; it is a battle in the heavenly realms.
Philippians 4 reminds us that instead of worrying, we can present all our requests to God. He will not only answer, but guard our minds and hearts with His peace.
You see, Ephesians 6 reveals to us that prayer is a weapon of warfare for the Christian.
God answers prayer!
Dedicate the coming school year to the Lord, but don’t stop there. Include Jesus in every school day. Bring every problem to Him throughout the year, from difficulty memorizing multiplication tables to constant bickering between siblings.
Surrender to Succeed
Worldview is the set of ideas, values, and presuppositions through which you view the world.
Well, it’s like putting on a pair of sunglasses that color everything you see.
What kind of sunglasses do you wear?
Everyone in the world wears a pair of sunglasses through which they view life, people, and ideas.
Many people collect little pieces of their worldview over time through parents, school, movies, and friends.
A Christian worldview is based on the Bible. The Bible reveals God’s heart and thoughts—the way He views the world. A wise person will try to line up his worldview with what the Bible has to say.
Sometimes Christians don’t realize that their worldview is based more on secular ideas and morality instead of the Bible.
The Bible speaks to all of life. The Bible speaks to every subject.
Theology/ Who is God?
What do you believe about God?
Let me share with you what the Bible has to say.
God Is. He exists. He has always existed. God is One and exists in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God created everything that exists, seen and unseen, out of nothing. He spoke and it came to be. He is personally involved in His creation. His creation is accountable to Him. God is Holy. God is Love.
Life is more than what we can see in the natural world. There is a supernatural realm that is unseen. Angels and demons wage war in that supernatural realm. Christians are seated with Christ in this heavenly realm.
We please God with faith. We access grace through faith. Faith is a gift from God.
"Let's see subs, tunnels..." I began.
"You mean trenches," Jimmy interrupted.
"Yes, trenchs. Let's do subs and a trench sundae for lunch," I decided. That would be fun!
We were studying World War I, as part of our HIS Story of the 20th Century world history course.
I didn't think the kids would enjoying eating rations, so we decided to be symbolic.
We would eat subs because submarines, or subs, played a big part in World War I. Remember the sinking of the Lusitania?
The kids loved the subs, but the real hit was the Trench Sundae!
Would you like to make your own Trench Sundae?
Here's how we did it!
What fun to study the USA with Crafty Classroom. We were so excited to download our USA Activity Bundle Pack. The check-out and process of downloading was so easy. The USA Activity Bundle Pack includes 3 e-books: USA State by State Activity Notebook, USA State Bird Art Cards, and USA 50 State Mazes.
As soon as we downloaded our USA Activity Bundle Pack, we immediately got to work printing the first pages we wanted to use. We started with our home state and the states closest to us: Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. We downloaded their pages from the USA State by State Activity Notebook. We also printed the mazes from each of those states from USA 50 State Mazes. Finally, we printed mockingbird page from the USA State Bird Art Cards e-book.
This is how we put it all together in a geography lesson. We started with a large USA map and found all three states. We found the capitals: Tallahassee, Montgomery, and Alabama. We found rivers and lakes, cities we'd heard of and cities we hadn't. We spent a lot time exploring the large map.
Next, we read a book on Florida from the library and filled our our Florida notebook page and completed the map. We decided to make our mockingbird (Florida state bird) art card next, coloring in our bird with colored pencils. We decided to make a list of all the places we had visited in Florida and another list of all the places we wanted to visit in Florida. Then we made a citrus fruit salad with Florida grapefruit, oranges, and tangelos. We followed the same format for Georgia (peach cobbler) and Alabama (banana pudding).
"It's just because you think Robin Hood can do no wrong!"
Everyone laughed. We were teasing Victoria who was hotly defending Robin Hood's behavior in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. In answer that Robin Hood was a thief, Victoria defending him saying, "He was returned money the government stole from people to the people who were stolen from."
There was more laughter and we started discussing some of the other characters. We were enjoying our bimonthly book club, as part of our American Literature and Research class.
Our book clubs had included lots of laughter and some emotional moments where tangents took us to emotional issues of our lives or what was going on in the world around us. We compared characters to people we knew, talked about characters we loved, and how we wanted to the ending to be different.
As we talk about what we liked and didn't like, plot, tone, mood, setting, worldview, and theme, we found ourselves digging deeper into books than we ever had before. There was just something about talking together that often led to deep analysis. We always had fun together even if we didn't like the book a lot. Book clubs, after all, are friendship builders.
Best of all, book clubs actually motivated students to hurry and finish the book so we could all discuss it together. I embraced book clubs over book reports because I wanted to build an enjoyable lifetime habit in my children's lives. I wanted them to read because reading is fun, interesting, entertaining, and a privilege.
How Book Clubs Work
Here in Florida, swimming is part of life. There are lakes, pools, springs, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico to swim in.
I remember taking swimming lessons as a little girl at a neighbor's pool. I blew bubbles underwater and learned to float.
My children grew up in the water, too, but we taught them to swim ourselves, introducing them to the water while they were still in diapers.
I definitely recommend swim lessons if you can afford them. All children should be safe near water. You never know when you will have to swim to escape danger or help rescue someone.
The other day, we were swimming with my grandchildren and children in their neighborhood pool. Rusty got out of the pool, took off his floaties, and jumped back in. "He can't swim!" my son-in-law said sharply as I was watching him struggle in a state of shock. That jolted me and I scooped him up. My heart was pounding as I realized how quickly accidents happen.
It reminded me of my baby sister who did the same thing. Took off her floatie and jumped right back into our next-door neighbor's pool. My neighbor Tommy jumped in and saved her life. She had quickly sunk to the bottom of the deep end.
All children should be able if they jump or fall in a pool, lake, or other body of water to swim, escaping to safety.
If you are looking for lessons or teaching children yourself, here are some steps to take babies and toddlers on their first steps to swim proficiency.
The beach is a great place to explore. You and your children can have all kinds of learning adventures along the shore, in the tide pools, and climbing the sand dunes.
Here are some great ways to learn at the beach.
Engineer a Castle that withstands the Waves
Here’s a great STEM project. Construct a castle with a moat that will withstand the occasional wave. This might take several tries.
Mark Off the Tides
Place a sturdy stick that will withstand the waves every hour at the average place where the waves stop before rolling back. Then figure out how many feet the tide changes each hour. Estimate where it will be in 2 or 3 hours.
Explore a Tide Pool
When the tide goes out, a tide pool is often left behind. Explore the tide pool for little creatures.
Bring along a sketch pad, or easel with paper and pretend you are a world famous artist working on your next masterpiece. You can sketch the waves and the sky or zero in on a bird.
Homeschooling is an all-encompassing adventure. It takes over your whole life, especially if you choose to pursue a lifestyle of learning instead of trying to bring traditional school-style learning into the home.
We like living books, hands-on-fun, and mentoring our children in the context of close relationships.
Sometimes, Homeschool Moms can wonder what on earth they were thinking when they took the homeschool plunge.
Not because it isn't wonderful? And fun! And exciting!
But, there is that nagging fear! "Am I doing everything right? Are my children missing something they need in their education? Am I teaching effectively?"
When I start to nervous about those things, I have to stop and ask myself, "Who is driving our homeschool bus?" Is it me? Or is it the Lord?
You see, I can do an okay job educating my children, but if I want excellence in my home school, I need the Master Teacher to take charge.
He is perfect in all His ways and knows everything about everything! Best of all, He wants me to surrender to Him and allow Him to take control of my heart, life, family, home, children, and home school.
Once you surrender to Him, the pressure is off. The focus becomes honoring Jesus, praying, digging into His Word, and letting Him lead. Homeschooling becomes an adventure with Jesus!
And so today, I ask you: Who is driving your homeschool bus? If you are driving, you might want to surrender to Jesus. He is an amazing driver! Jesus promises to lead us beside still waters, to nourish our souls, to give us wisdom, to lift our burdens, to fill our heart with joy, to answer our prayers, and work in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. He will never leave us. And don't forget: Jesus said in John 15 that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Hey everyone! I have a guest blog at the zoo I call home, "Living Books and Unit Study Fun."
Check it out here.
Thank you to Felicia Johnson for the opportunity to share on her site.
You have to check out The Zoo I Call Home. You will find resources and blog posts for your home school.
I am a fan of Felica's blog where you will find almost everything you need to know about homeschooling.
Check out the my article here and check out Felicia's blog here.
Until Next Time, Happy Homeschooling!
We are up and running. It’s a brand-new year. So much to be excited about. It’s hard to believe that soon this school year will just be a memory.
My Missing Photos
I have been homeschooling since 1991 and as I look back at our photo albums—yes, I used to get photos printed and put them in albums before digital—I find one set of photos missing. The photos of my children reading, working on a math problem, reading to a sibling, or doing chores.
I have lots of photos of birthdays, holidays, field trips, and special days, but I wish I had more photos of ordinary school days.
Maybe you do take lots of photos of school and chores, posting them on Instagram for the world to see. Good for you! You will treasure those memories one day.
Storing My Photos
As you go through the school year, don’t forget to snap photos and save mementos. Maybe you don’t scrapbook or print photos and put them in leather albums, but you can label and save them in folders.
I don’t print up photos much anymore, unless I am framing them, but I do label photos with the date and list the people in the photo. Sometimes I just use initials like this: “Christmas Day 2016 JR JA Dad Jim KB Rusty.”
My photos are organized on my computer, too. There is one folder for every year: 2000, 2001, 2002, etc. Then, I also have all twelve months in separate folders: Jan 2015, Feb 2015, March 2015, etc. Inside these folders are all kinds of folders: Beach 6 6 15, Road Rally 6 17 15, Mom’s BD 6 2 15, etc. These folders are descriptive, so I can easily remember the day by looking at the title.
As Moms, we, like all Christians around the world, are called to make disciples.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28: 18-20 NASB).
Jesus didn’t tell His followers to make converts, but to make disciples that would walk with Him and walk in His ways.
We are to GO. That is active, purposeful.
We are to BAPTIZE. We lead people to Christ and facilitate a born-again experience with God.
We TEACH. We don’t teach just a few things, we teach EVERYTHING Jesus has taught us.
The most important disciples we will ever make are our children.
So how do we impact their young lives for the glory of God?
Living the Christian life boils down to loving Jesus and letting Him love and serve others through us.
This is how Jesus made disciples.
First, Jesus loved His Father and loved the people around Him.
Second, Jesus loved His Father, loved the people around Him, and His disciples were with Him.
Third, the disciples loved the Lord, loved the people around them, and Jesus was with them.
Fourth, Jesus sent the disciples on trial runs to love the Lord and love the people around them.
Love Jesus Wholeheartedly
Flashback to the early 1990s! I was a young mom, interested in homeschooling, who noticed all of these amazing well-behaved children who respect their parents. I wanted children like that!
As time went on, our family thrived with homeschooling. However, my children squabbled with one another. They were not perfect. Sigh.
Comparing Ourselves to Other Families
Over the years, I met so many moms who did so many cool things. I discovered homeschooling children who could compose symphonies, translate Dickens into Latin, and win prizes at debates. My children didn’t want to stand in front of a crowd.
My kids are amazing, smart, funny, … and flawed. Face it. We are just an ordinary family who loves Jesus. And that’s okay. We don’t have to be The Incredibles with Super Powers.
To enjoy and appreciate my children for who they are, I had to ditch comparing them with other children. You see I don’t know what goes on behind the front door of the child who can recite Bible verses in Hebrew or the six-year old who can read Jane Austen, so I will never have the full picture.
I do know this. No family is perfect. Jesus was perfect, but even His family wasn’t.
When I stopped looking at other families and started zeroing in on my own children, I could appreciate their gifts and live with their flaws.
My oldest daughter was a reader and a nurturer. I gave her plenty of books and opportunities to love on her younger siblings and other little ones in church. She quietly served in the nursery and babysat.
Julianna was a strong leader so I provided opportunities for her to manage projects like getting us out the door for a field trip when she was younger and planning the details of our vacation when she got older.
I looked for their strengths and capitalized on them.
Cultivating their strengths became a major focal point for me after I read a business article that said that successful peoples put 70% of their time cultivating their strengths, 25% learning new things, and only 5% of their time overcoming weakness. Wow! I had been really focusing on overcoming all their weaknesses so they could be like the other homeschooled kids I saw around me or maybe like that ideal kids I saw in my mind.
Now, homeschoolers put a lot more time in learning that 25% so I didn’t use this as a formula, but it certainly got me thinking about cultivating strengths which built their confidence, rather than making them feel over and over like they didn’t measure up.