Family Fun Weekend Activities That Don’t Cost You a Cent


When the time for weekend family activities rolls around, there’s absolutely no reason to spend money just to have fun. There are scads of things you can do that don’t cost you a cent. These are just a few of them.

Volunteer

If you’ve never considered volunteering as a family, there’s no better time to do so. With a little research, chances are you’ll come up with a long list of organizations that need volunteers. Soup kitchens and animal shelters are two very popular options. You may be surprised at what a fun family activity this can be!

Movie Marathon

With all of the streaming services currently available, it’s never been easier to have a free movie marathon complete with buttery popcorn, large cups of soda and Raisinets. It’s actually possible to watch several seasons of the same series in one weekend. Binge-watching at its very best!

Backyard Camping

One fun family activity is backyard camping. It doesn’t cost a cent and can be as luxurious or rustic as you want it to be. Add a sense of realism to the adventure, by declaring your house to be “off-limits” for the entire time. Consider turning off the Wi-Fi as well. This is a great opportunity to play board games that are gathering dust in the closet and to catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Off-Grid Weekend

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Five Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Homeschooling High School

When you are homeschooling high school, one of your major goals may be to have your kids get accepted into the college of their choice. If this is your goal, and the goal of your student, you will want to avoid these 5 biggest mistakes when homeschooling high school. 

Not Checking Your State’s Requirements

You will need to check out the homeschool requirements in your state during the middle school years. Many of you who know me, know that I am a big proponent of skipping middle school. (Blog post on that to come.) Checking your state requirements is very important, and you will find that requirements vary widely from state to state and they might change every year. A simple online search will provide the information you need and keep you updated. After you understand what the requirements are, develop a plan, with the input of your student. Make sure that you have covered the legal requirements and the course requirements of that state as you homeschool.

Not Meeting College Admission Requirements

Every college will have a different set of requirements for admission. You need to know what the exact requirements are of each college you seek so that you can prepare adequately for the same. There are specific and blanket requirements for almost all colleges that you should know about. These include 4 years of English and Math, 3 to 4 years of social studies and sciences, 2 years of PE, and foreign languages, etc. Electives requirements will differ from college to college. When you know this, you will homeschool your child in such a manner that will enable them to get into the best colleges out there.

Not Beefing up the Transcript

One of the benefits of homeschooling high school is that your students have the opportunity to explore a vast range of subjects and activities. Discover your child’s interests and talents and provide opportunities for them to practice these talents and explore these options. Add these to the homeschool transcript and showcase their strengths.

Not Covering the Basics Well

Basics cover writing, reading and mathematics. It is important to ensure that your child has a very good basic foundation. When they have a good foundation, they will be able to use these skills to and apply them to whatever subjects they decide to study in college. Many incoming college freshman require remedial classes, because they did not fully learn the basics well. See our online video courses at Our Happy Medium Academy for effective courses on the basics that your student can complete at his/her own pace. 

Not Reviewing Your Plan

Making a plan is a great first step! You should review your plan every 6 months to a year to be able to keep focused on the bigger picture. This will allow you time to make changes in academics or extra-curricular as needed. 

If you take care of these mistakes, you will find it easy to focus on homeschooling your children and prepare them for a good college in future if that is indeed their goal.

Essentials of Child-Led Learning in Your Homeschool

Please welcome guest blogger, Amanda Stockdale. I think we must have been separated at birth, because this post makes my heart sing, and makes me want to stand up and shout, YES! A thousand times, YES

My long-time readers know that I am ALL about child-led learning. I have written about, and spoken at homeschool conferences on the importance of child-led learning, and I love Amanda’s post because there is so much beauty and truth here.

child led learningI use to be a 4th grade teacher.

It was my dream job.

I loved everything about being in a classroom.

Then my third year of public school teaching hit.

This was a bit different.

I was a new mommy.

I wasn’t entering that year as a new teacher any more. I didn’t have those innocent teacher eyes.

I had mommy eyes.

As each day passed, it got harder and harder to stand in front of my classroom with mommy eyes.

You see this class was different than any other class I’ve had before.

I taught preschool for 9 years before becoming a public school teacher. I had seen it all…

…and conquered it all with success.

But this year, I had a 4th grade boy who was the most precious, hard working student I had ever taught.

The problem?

He was on a first grade reading level. (more…)

Tips for Healthy Meal Planning Around Your Busy Homeschool Life

Being in the kitchen isn’t one of my favorite things, unless I’m preserving the bounty of my garden, or making a new batch of sauerkraut. It’s just not my thing. It’s not my “blue flame” as Jennifer Fulweiler might put it. I get that people enjoy cooking and that it’s a creative outlet for them. I get that people enjoy showcasing this skill for their friends and family. I even have friends who do this and who say, Cooking for my family is how I show my love for them. I don’t get that. If that applied to our home, my meals would say, Dear family, eh, you’re okay, and here are some chicken nuggets to prove my lukewarm feelings for you. Luckily, I stumbled upon some pretty good tips for healthy meal planning around our busy life, and they will help you, too.

Good Planning = Extra Time

Seriously, though. I don’t want my family eating junk, and I don’t serve it to them. The crappiest food we eat around here are chicken nuggets and tater tots, although we do sometimes order Jersey Mikes on gluten-free subs. We eat gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, and a lot of other-things-free, too. We are  mindful of eating healthy foods, but the hard part is that it’s just so time consuming making sure that we have these healthy meals and snacks ready for when we need them. And it makes me want to cry if we don’t.

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Homeschool Curriculum Giveaway

homeschool giveaway christianbook.comA self-admitted curriculum junkie. I covet homeschool curriculum of all types, sizes and shapes. I love homeschool curriculum giveaways for this very reason.  Digital curriculum, hard-cover books, manipulatives, workbooks, you name it: it’s on my wish list.  I think one thing I love so much about being a homeschool evaluator, and consultant is that I have the opportunity to see and review (and talk about) curriculum every day!

I also know that I am not the only one who loves getting the mail and seeing the Christianbook.com sale flyers just sitting there waiting to be dog-eared and marked up. I have so many things on my wish list from those sale catalogs!

Final August Homeschool Giveaway

The giveaways here at Our Happy Medium for the month of August have blessed so many of you, and I want to keep that going! This time, for our final giveaway this month, I decided to partner with some homeschool blogger friends to bring you a Christianbook.com gift card worth $100!

Purchasing Homeschool Curriculum Online

I have ordered almost all of our homeschool curriculum from Christianbook.com this year, and just yesterday called their customer service to ask a few questions about something new we’re trying. (Blog post on that to come.) As always, their customer service rep was super-fast to answer, really knowledgeable and helpful, and really nice! If you haven’t ordered from this company before, I highly recommend them. They have coupons for free shipping very often and frequently run great sales in addition to their already lower prices. Will you be the winner this time? Please note that by entering this giveaway you are agreeing to be added to our email lists.

Meet Your Giveaway Sponsors & Enter to Win

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Science Fiction for Middle Grade STEM Lovers

STEM for girls, STEM for middle school, science fiction for middle school, STEM for high school

 

Opportunities for middle-grade girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have been few and far between. Fortunately, more and more women are coming up with ideas for girls to become involved in these areas. Writer and educator Robin Stevens Paynes is one such woman. With her new science fiction series, Edge of Yesterday, Paynes inspires girls to live their dreams.

Girls Are Interested in STEM

According to a study by the Girl Scouts,  74 percent of girls report an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The problem starts when they decide to pursue a career—only 13 percent express an interest in STEM as their top career choice. The result is some 200,000 STEM jobs going unfilled annually in the United States despite the fact that women in STEM fields earn 35 percent more than their peers.

Payes says:

“This is why so many organizations have launched STEM initiatives for girls, including the Girl Scouts, NASA and the New York Academy of Sciences. While encouraging interest in STEM is important, what they are missing is the need to teach a growth mindset that will enable lifelong learning, instill purpose and teach the kind of grit that powers through life’s setbacks.”

Opportunities for Girls to Get involved in STEM Activities

Paynes has launched her media company Edge of Yesterday which includes this book series, a teaching curriculum and interactive website gamification modules, all designed to teach girls how to succeed in STEM and in life. (more…)

Giveaway: Online Writing Course for Homeschoolers

online writing course for middle and high school homeschool

Online Writing Courses for Middle and High School

Does your middle school or high school student love writing? Does your student hate writing? Does your student struggle with how to write the perfect 5-paragraph essay? No matter how your student feels about writing, our online writing courses for your homeschool will help your student become an excellent writer in a few short lessons.

Why Your Student Needs to Master the 5-Paragraph Essay

Writing a great 5-paragraph essay is a skill that your student must master for many reasons. Your student will need to demonstrate this skill in future course work in middle school, high school and college. This is a skill that your student will need to demonstrate on college applications, standardized tests, volunteer and/or job applications, and more. Here’s how our How to Write the Perfect 5-Paragraph Essay” course will help you and your student. (more…)

No More Fad Diets: It is Time for a Healthy Lifestyle

healthy lifestyleLet’s be serious for a moment. Just about every woman is or has been unhappy with their body at one point in their life, or unhappy with their energy levels, including me. So, what do we do? We immediately start looking for a diet and ways to change this. I have spent hours scouring the internet, rummaging through books at the library, and researching the best way to feed my body for optimal health. Through all of this though, I have learned one thing. What is that? Well, it has less to do with participating in an actual diet, and more on learning how to live a healthy lifestyle.

What a Healthy Lifestyle means to Me

To me, a healthy lifestyle means not filling my body with the garbage of processed foods. Our family practices a clean eating style. Along with this, we also are living a gluten-free lifestyle, have eaten Paleo-style for years, but now we are leaning more toward a plant-based diet. Now, this may sound like a lot, but in reality, making small changes over time will soon become second nature. None of these changes have happened overnight. It has taken planning and careful consideration, to determine if these changes were the best for my entire family or not.

Why Fad Diets Do Not Work

New fad diets seem to be popping up almost daily. I find this scary. These fad diets promise that you are going to lose a ton of weight in a short amount of time, have more energy and a higher quality of life in the long term. Well, research has proven that slow and steady weight loss, is more likely to stay off long term. (more…)

Giveaway: REAL LIFE DINNERS by Rachel Hollis

Real Life Dinners

How I Discovered Rachel Hollis

I am a new-ish fan girl of the funny, inspiring and endearing Rachel Hollis. I came across her book Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be while browsing books on Audible. The title immediately caught my attention and the cover photo of Rachel and her family made me smile. Sometimes I just have a feeling about a book that turns out to be accurate, and this time I was right: it was a book I’d like. But here’s the thing: I don’t like, I love it. And I’m now a total Rachel Hollis fan, and I love her new book, Real Life Dinners: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of the Chic Site, too.

Before listening to her first book, I didn’t know that Rachel had a popular blog and a gigantic following of dedicated women from all walks of life who are striving to be not only become the best versions of themselves (as Matthew Kelly would say), and are who are also soaking up Rachel’s no-nonsense advice about how to be the women God created them to be.

Striving to Be Better

I have had many periods in my life when I have organized my pantry, made grocery lists that perfectly coordinated with the meal plan I had for the week, actually stuck to the plan, and felt awesome about my capabilities as a wife and a mother. But, these strategies never lasted. Meal planning was always difficult for me until I discovered some simple tips for healthy meal planning. I mean, who wants to sit inside on the suggested Sunday afternoon and think about what to cook every singe day of the week ahead when they’d rather be outdoors doing anything else today? And for us homeschoolers, we not only have to cook a week’s worth of dinners, but also, breakfasts and lunches, too. Sigh. What’s a culinary-challenged girl to do?

Real Life Dinners

When the publisher of Rachel’s newest book, REAL LIFE DINNERS: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of The Chic Site, asked if I’d like to review this book, I couldn’t reply to the email fast enough. It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook, and I especially don’t love to cook under the pressure of the question that rears its ugly head every afternoon at about 4 pm: what am I going to feed my family for dinner?

Yes, I needed some “real life” dinners.

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Teaching Textbooks Giveaway

Teaching Textbooks giveaway

Homeschool Math with Teaching Textbooks

We have used a lot of different curriculum for math over the years, and Teaching Textbooks is by far, our youngest daughter’s favorite. You can read about the top five reasons why we love Teaching Textbooks here. 

As a homeschool evaluator, consultant and coach, I have seen a lot of different choices of math curriculum over the years, and have tried out many of them. Sometimes I even tried to get my girls to love a certain curriculum, even though it clearly wasn’t a good fit. Since I do subscribe to a natural learning style, I allowed my daughter to choose her own. She chose Teaching Textbooks, and it works for her.

Stick to One Curriculum

It is a good idea not to switch up your math curriculum after the middle school years because you want to stick to one way of teaching. If your child is used to a spiral approach, a linear approach to math may not work. Teaching Textbooks has a spiral approach, which works for my youngest.

Giveaway

If you have always wanted to try Teaching Texbooks in your homeschool, enter to win the level of your choice below. If you’ve found a math curriculum that your kids love, please let us know in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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