It’s Up To You To Keep God in the Public School

God is omnipresent!

Psalm 139:7-12 says:

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (NIV) 

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As much as God is in the trees and the rivers and the deserts, He is also in our hearts. It is this simple fact which enables us to teach God’s Word while utilizing a secular curriculum.

As with any public school curriculum, there will be parts of it that, as Christians, we may not agree with. The beauty of having our children use this curriculum at home is that if questions arise we are there to explain the differences between the Christian and secular worldviews. I think it is important, as parents, that we educate our children as to what other people in the world believe. I also believe that any curriculum can inspire, guide, teach, lift, and encourage when taught from a biblical perspective.

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There are many ways to integrate our faith into the curriculum of a virtual charter school.

Language Arts:

  • Utilize scripture for copywork and handwriting practice.
  • Utilize Christian writing prompts.
  • Retell Bible stories to check for comprehension skills

Math:

  • Use the Bible to skip-count (Noah’s Ark)
  • What was the area of the ark?
  • This page offers some more great ideas for using the Bible to teach math.

Math from a Biblical Perspective

Social Studies:

  • Use a map to figure out where the ancient countries were in the modern world.
  • Research the customs of biblical figures to understand the Bible better
  • How are we the same or different than figures from the Bible.

Science:

  • Take a nature walk and discuss how God is in all things.
  • Try a science experiment based on scripture. For some great ideas go to childrensministry.com

One of my favorite bible verses is Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)

These words cut to the very core of what we, as Christian parents, are commanded to do. No matter how we educate our children there is one constant—God is God and we are responsible to teach our children the truth.

God Bless 🙂

Christy

All pictures courtesy of http://pixabay.com/

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Posted in Inspiration

Read For the Record

I’m with Otis! Join the Otis Book Parade for Read for the Record on We Give Books

Take part in Read for the Record on We Give Books! We Give Books readers from across the country and around the world are coming together to show their support for early childhood literacy. Join me and Otis, the star of this year’s Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, to set new reading records and stand up for children everywhere.

Presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, Jumpstart’s Read for the Record highlights the need for high quality early education in America by mobilizing children and adults to set a record for the largest shared reading event to support Jumpstart’s mission to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. When you Read for the Record on We Give Books, either online or on the We Give Books app, you will also help set a new digital reading record.

We Give Books also has fun Otis activities and ways for you to share your reading celebrations. Join the Parade at wegivebooks.org/readfortherecord, and tell everyone, “I’m with Otis!”

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Posted in Brilliant Books, Language Arts

The Excitement of Learning Through Life

God bestowed a marvelous gift on His children — an innate curiosity of the world He created.  As you consider the questions that young children pose this fact becomes blindingly clear.

                                Mommy, why is the sky blue?        blue sky

 

                             birdDaddy, how do birds fly? 

Do you find yourself spending countless hours scouring the internet in search of ways to pique your child’s interest in his/her lessons?

In a virtual homeschooling world, the public school curriculum doesn’t always hold the attention of a young mind.   Children learn more and are better able to retain information if they can relate to the subject at hand.

Just as a teacher must be creative in the classroom, so must the learning coach be creative in the home.

Listed below are a few ways to spice up your child’s lessons.

MATH:

Grocery shopping is a fun way to teach children that math is a real-world skill.  Have your elementary student weigh apples or estimate cost based on price per pound.  Your older child would greatly benefit from being able to figure price per ounce and percent-off deals. Even the youngest child can practice counting, shapes, and colors.

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Cooking is another fantastic way to engage your child in math.  There are occasions to discuss ratios and proportions.  Converting between metric and standard measurements may be required.  You might even take the opportunity to sneak in a little pre-algebra.  For example, you know that you need 3 eggs to make 2 dozen cookies, but you want to make 4 dozen cookies.  You could set the problem up as a ratio first.

3 eggs   = 2 dozen

X eggs      4 dozen

Cross multiply to create a simple algebraic equation:  2X = 12.  Voila!

SCIENCE:

Science is all around us!  To build a love of science, try some of the following ideas.

  • Search YouTube for some fun and easy science experiments such as a rainbow density column, invisible ink, or a baking soda/vinegar volcano.
  • Explore the wonders of nature by taking a hike or planting a garden.

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  • Lie on a blanket and look at the stars.  It is better than any trip to the planetarium!

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  • Cook together and discuss such wonderings as how sugar becomes candy or where ice goes when it gets hot.

ice

SOCIAL STUDIES:

Historical fiction books can really help children relate to the past.  One of the best series I have found is called Dear America.  These books are written as diaries and are told from the perspective of young women living throughout different time periods.  With 43 books covering many important events in American history, you are sure to find one that fits your needs.  Amazon.com has an incredible list of all the books in the series along with reviews so that you are able to pick and choose what you are most interested in.  Schoolhouse Rock videos are another favorite in our house.  You just can’t beat “I’m Just a Bill” or “The Preamble” to learn about the American government.

LANGUAGE ARTS:

Our love for Schoolhouse Rock overflows into language arts.  Music and silly characters make it much easier to remember dry subjects, such as grammar.  To see what I mean check out “Conjunction Junction”, “A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing”, or “Unpack Your Adjectives”.

Journal writing is a fabulous way to get the creative juices flowing.  Even the youngest child will benefit from writing practice.  If you need ideas for a topic, here are two great pages I use:

http://voices.yahoo.com/six-christian-themed-writing-projects-kids-16085.html?cat=25

http://kimkouski.com/Christian-Writing-Prompts

Creativity is the key to being an effective learning coach, so get creative today!  Show your children that math, science, social studies, and language arts are fun!  You will be amazed by the love of learning it instills in your child.

God Bless 🙂

Christy

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Posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized

Managing Multiple Students

As we bring our third week of school to a close, the routine is finally starting to fall into place.  Even after three years, and with all the planning that takes place, the first few weeks are usually chaos!

This year, I have a 2nd grader, 6th grader, and 11th grader.  Yes — elementary, middle, and high school!  One frequent question I hear is “How do you manage multiple students?”.

We have a rather unorthodox schedule, but that is part of the beauty of our virtual homeschooling world!

My 17 year old gets up at 6am and starts school by 7am.  This way he can get his hours in before he leaves for work in the afternoons.  He will use the school computer most of the morning.  High school has A LOT more computer required activities than the lower grades.

My 6 year old is generally an early riser, so he gets started on the laptop when he gets up in the mornings and my 11 year old is a night owl.  I will usually wake her up at about 9am.  The younger children take turns using the laptop until their brother leaves for work.

In the lower grades, there is actually not an abundance of time needed on the computer.  The school provides textbooks in the elementary grades so the kids can do their “computer stuff” and finish up with textbooks, workbooks, hands-on activities, etc.  The school also provides course guides for the parents in the elementary grades.  These guides list every part of the lesson for easy referral.  What this means is that if you have one child on the computer, you can look in the course guide for another child and see exactly what their lesson is.

One thing I have noticed is that the curriculum for each grade (K-5) coincides with each other.  For example, if your 3rd grader is learning about plants in science, so is your 5th grader 🙂 The 5th graders lessons will just be a little more in depth.  This simple fact makes it easy to work with more than one child at a time.  The younger child can be introduced to more advanced topics and the older child can review more basic concepts.  Many times, in our home, it is like an old-fashioned, one-room schoolhouse with the older students tutoring the younger ones.

This style of learning has brought our family so much closer and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

God Bless 🙂

Christy

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Posted in Back-to-School, FAQ about Virtual School, Uncategorized

Un-Scheduled Field Trip

science_astronomy_universeVirtual homeschooling is a beautiful mix of traditional homeschooling and traditional public schooling.  On Monday, my daughter and I had the opportunity to take advantage of one of the homeschool perks of our virtual world.

This coming Thursday, August 29th, R will be celebrating 11 years in this world.  Her favorite topic of study right now is astronomy and she has been wanting to go to the planetarium for as long as I can remember.  Unfortunately, the planetarium is rather expensive so I haven’t been able to take her 😦

In What I Did on my Summer Vacation — Part 2, I explained that The Arizona Science Center is a fantastic, hands-on museum in downtown Phoenix.  I was lucky enough to purchase a phenomenal summer deal for free general admission for 4 people all summer long.  Sadly, this deal expires on September 2nd.

What I failed to mention was that inside the science center is a Planetarium.  Of course, they charge a separate admission fee for the planetarium.  I decided to use my awesome summer deal to cover the science center general admission and only pay for the planetarium.  We had a wonderful time!

R waiting for the show to begin!

R waiting for the show to begin!

R decided that she wanted to see “Extreme Planets”.  They took us on an hour long trip through many different solar systems to planets that would have been science fiction not so long ago.  Our favorite was a planet where there are volcanoes that spew diamonds!

As we sat in the darkened theater on a Monday afternoon with the planets and stars spinning around us, I thanked God yet again for the amazing opportunity Connections Academy has afforded us.  If my kiddos were attending a traditional school, I wouldn’t have been able to take this un-scheduled field trip.  There are still lessons to complete and topics to discuss, but I was able to enjoy my daughter on a Monday afternoon.

God bless 🙂

Christy

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Posted in Inspiration, Science, Uncategorized, Why Choose a Virtual School

What I Did on My Summer Vacation — Part 2

In my last post, What I Did on My Summer Vacation — Part 1, I shared some of the places we visited this summer.  We had so many fun adventures, that I decided to write two posts about our summer vacation.

Arizona Science Center:

The Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix is an amazing, hands-on, kid-friendly place to spend a hot summer day.  There are 4 floors of interactive activities.  It can be a little pricey, so when we go we spend the entire day 🙂  Luckily, I bought a LivingSocial deal for an AWESOME summer package.  We have been able to visit numerous times this year 🙂

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What did you do on your summer vacation?

God Bless 🙂
Christy

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Back-to-School: Virtual Style

Have you started the new school year yet?  Whether you home-school, use a virtual charter school, or your kids attend a brick & mortar school, there are certain traditions that we all follow.

Going “Back-to-School” in a virtual world is a mixture of home-school and brick-&-mortar traditions.

On the home-school side, you need to plan your learning space and schedule your days. On the brick-&-mortar side, you receive your curriculum and meet your teachers.  You also need to make sure you have all the supplies necessary for a successful year.

LEARNING SPACE:

No matter how your children go to school, you need to have an organized learning space for them.  In our virtual homeschooling world, most of our day is spent at our dining room table.  We like working together and it makes it easier on mom.  I don’t need to run from place to place all over the house to give assistance.  🙂

That said, I do have individual learning spaces set up for each child.  This is a space for them to go to work on assigned tasks quietly by themselves with no distractions.

SCHEDULE:

I have three students using Connections Academy, so it gets a little crazy around here some days, but it is a good kind of crazy 🙂

We have the computer that the school provides and I have my personal laptop.  We have a pretty unorthodox schedule, but that is one of the great aspects of a virtual charter school.  Here is what a typical day will look  like in our home:

My 17 year old gets up at 6am and starts school by 7am.  This way he can get his hours in before he leaves for work in the afternoons.  He will use the school computer most of the morning.  High school has A LOT more computer required activities than the lower grades.

My 6 year old is generally an early riser, so he gets started on the laptop when he gets up in the mornings and my 10 year old is a night owl.  I will usually wake her up at about 9am.  The younger children take turns using the laptop until their brother leaves for work.

In the lower grades, there is actually not an abundance of time needed on the computer.  The school provides textbooks in the elementary grades so the kids can do their “computer stuff” and finish up with textbooks, workbooks, hands-on activities, etc.  The school also provides course guides for the parents.  These guides list every part of the lesson for easy referral.  What this means is that if you have one child on the computer, you can look in the course guide for another child and see exactly what their lesson is.

RECEIVING CURRICULUM:

One of the best parts of Back-to-School: Virtual Style is receiving our curriculum each year.  Our school will send the curriculum and supplies through UPS.  We get an email and a tracking number when it is shipped.  The day it is scheduled to arrive is like Christmas.  As soon as we get the boxes, the kids start digging in—getting excited for the upcoming year.  In our house, we usually get everything out and organized the day it arrives.

MEET THE TEACHER:

Another exciting part of of our world is “meeting” our new teachers.  Of course, we don’t meet them in the traditional sense.  About a week before the first day of school, each of the kids will be assigned a homeroom teacher.  Through the school website, we came locate the teacher and find out more about him or her.  Then, during the first week of school, the teacher will make a welcome phone call.  This is something kids wait for from the day they learn their teachers name.  Finally, during the second week of school, they will attend their first “LiveLesson”.  This will the first of many live computer sessions with their teacher and classmates.

BUYING SUPPLIES:

When purchasing supplies for our virtual world, I need to think more like a home-school parent than a charter school parent.  We pick up the usual pencils, paper, and erasers, but we also look for supplemental workbooks, posters, and arts/crafts products.   I have a designated area set up and organized with all of our school supplies. There is a shelf for notebook paper (primary, wide ruled, college ruled, & graph).  There is a shelf for art paper (construction, manila, sketch, & tracing).  There is an art cabinet with everything from paint & brushes to glitter & glue.  About once a week I go to the Dollar Tree for some great deals on everything I need for our virtual home-school world.

Although we may have different ways of educating our children, there is always one constant — love!

God Bless 🙂

Christy

(All photos courtesy of Pixabay.com )

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Posted in Why Choose a Virtual School

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