Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 7: Using the Library to Homeschool Your Children

While I have never been able to homeschool my children for free solely by using books from the library, it sure has come in handy when I couldn’t afford to purchase new materials and I couldn’t find them used.

For instance, I am currently helping my sister homeschool my nephew. He is studying The Wild West/Pioneer Days. One of the books we are using came from me, the other my sister purchased. We have already finished that one, and am near about done with the other.

Unfortunately, we are not able to afford any other books. We are both single mothers on tight budgets, so we are using the library. Every other week my nephew and I walk to the library where we look through and check out books on the subject. We check out everything for that time period: Research and other fact books, story books, cooking books, crafts books and anything else that we can find.

We enjoy looking through all of the books while we are there, and choosing what to bring home.

If you are reading this article from a library, then you are already aware that your children can use the computers there for free. While I have a computer at home where I can supervise the children’s online educational experiences, I am greatful to know that, if the need be, we can go to the library. Actually, Zowie is 16, and takes two courses and participates in Key Club at a high school a few towns over. She has free access to a computer there, as well as at the University during the summer where she goes for Upward Bound.

You will also want to wander over to the movie section of your local library, where you may find movies or documentaries dealing with whatever subject you are learning about.

In all honesty, you can likely find books at your library for learning just about any subject. If they don’t have a book that you are looking for, you may be able to do an inter-library loan, which is also a free service.

Shannon

P.S. If you have any questions or tips, please fell free to post them in the comments below.


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 6: Time Management

Again, I will begin by saying that I am not the most organized person. However, I do like to have at least a little organization throughout our homeschool days. My schedule changes several times throughout the year, but I will share with you one schedule that we have used. (Be aware that I provide childcare in my home, so my schedule also devotes space to this activity – yours will be different.) This was a schedule three years ago, Zowie is now 16, and Skye is 19.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

8:00 – 9:00 AM:

Get up, get dressed, and make bed. Wake up girls and begin making breakfast, while they get dressed and do morning chores. Finish getting ready for my day, wipe down bathroom and sweep floor, start laundry and load dishwasher.

(The girls morning chores: Make bed, pick up room, sweep porch, feed cats, scoop litter boxes, put away clean dishes.)

9:00 – 10:00 AM:

Go over schoolwork that the girls are doing today with them. Have them do school work that they need me for.

10:00 – 11:30 AM:

Give children quick snack when they get here. Girls do independent studies during this time. They come to me to discuss each subject briefly as they finish each.

(10:15: I read aloud to the daycare children, then they have free play while I start lunch for everyone.)

11:30-12:00:

Daycare children clean up for lunch, everyone eats lunch and talks.

12:00 – 2:00 PM:

I load the dishwasher and do any dishes by hand that need to be done.

Girls first do afternoon chores then they do independent studies if they are not finished, again discussing each subject with me as they finish.

(Afternoon chores are: Run the dishwasher, scoop litter boxes, feed cats and bring me dirty laundry from rooms.)

Daycare children either play outside or do a craft or cooking project with me inside. Then they have free play: Lego’s, coloring, or whatever they like. At this time, I may do a couple of chores where I can see them, check email quickly, check in on the girls, etc. Then I may read to the children again, if there is time, or we may play outside again.

I prepare for snack.

2:00 – 2:15:

Snack and talking time.

I pick up from snack, loading dishwasher again.

2:15 – 4:30:

The girls are usually done with school by now, and are likely done with school a while before 2:00 even rolls around. However, if they have research to do online then they will do this, supervised, now. When done, they are free to have supervised time online, or to go hang out with friends. (They usually do the latter.)

Daycare children and I will likely go to the playground, coming home before their parents get back, or meeting their parents at the playground.

The children are too old for me to play with really, so I sit at a picnic table near the play area where I can keep a good eye and ear on them. I can read the mail, correct the girls schoolwork, make lesson plans, create schedules for the daycare children, work on menus, read, write or any number of other activities, while watching over the children.

The playground has a play area, ans well as a water play area right near the picnic tables, so they can play and socialize, and I can get things done while watching them.

4:30 – 5:00:

Daycare children are picked up. I have downtime.

5:00 – 6:00:

I may take a walk, then shower. I turn on the computer and work while making dinner.

6:00 – 6:30:

Girls arrive home, sometimes with friends. We eat dinner.

6:30:

Evening chore time. We all take part: Rooms are cleaned, dirty clothes are put on the washer for morning, dishwasher is run and dry dishes are put away, floors swept, rugs vacuumed, bathroom cleaned (heavy duty cleaning takes place on Saturday or Sunday.)

As soon as the girls are done cleaning, they are free to hang out with friends again. Skye’s curfew at 16 was 9:30, Zowie’s was at 8:30, unless we agreed that I would pick them up at their friends.

I worked online until finished. Walked to get the girls if need be.

Wednesday Nights:

Family night. No company. No phone calls. We played games, then watched a movie or something. Talked about our lives.

Tuesday and Thursday:

7:30 -9:00 AM:

Get up and get ready for my day as I do M W F, and get the girls going as well. The only difference being that we eat 30 minutes earlier, and I pack picnic snacks and lunches for us and whichever daycare children will be arriving for the day. Everyone loads on the sunblock.

9:00 AM until arriving back home:

We all walk, helping each other to carry the picnic packs and carrying our own totes/bags of school and other books, towels, changes of clothes, etc.

We walk to the playground in the next town. It has play equipment, a gazeebo, a water play area, a field for playing tag or whatever, and places to sit near the river.

The children walk around the park area with me a few times before we begin our day.

The daycare children love these days. They get to have a snack, then play with area children until lunch time while I teach Skye and Zowie. We do our together work until lunch.

12:00 – 12:30 PM:

Skye and Zowie help me to prepare for lunch, then we all eat. The children are all very excited, discussing what they have done so far.

Sunblock is reapplied and everyone uses the bathroom.

12:30 until parents come to the playground to pick up children:

Skye and Zowie do their independent work, then play with the daycare children for a bit before going to hang out with friends until around 4:00.

The daycare children, still playing and having fun, usually meet at least one new person while we are at the playground. This person is usually introduced to me during a snack period at around 2:00 (usually the girls will be finished with their school work by now.)

I am parked at a convenient picnic table so that I can monitor the girls and the day care children. The girls go over lessons with me as they finish them. I work on whatever I can do at the picnic table while watching the children.

4:00-4:30 PM:

Children are usually being picked up, and are very excited to tell their parents about their days. I talk with each parent for a few minutes.

The girls meet me back at the playground and help me to carry the much lightened lunch packs and such back home.

4:30 on:

Pretty much the same as Monday and Tuesday, except I have already walked about 5 1/2 miles today, at least, so I jump in the shower instead of exercise. I then begin work while the girls hang out with friends.

Saturday and Sunday:

There is no school work otherwise Saturday is either a day to relax at my house, even for the daycare children. Or sometimes we will have another long playground day.

Skye and Zowie will either have spent the night at friends, or their friends will have spent the night here. So we would either be bringing along their friends or the girls won’t be with us.

Of course, I will let the girls sleep and we won’t leave until just before lunch.

If the girls are coming home from friends, they will meet me at the playground.

Sunday is a free day.

However, we do the deeper cleaning projects on the weekends: Tub, washing floors, changing bedding, etc.

***

During the summer, I also make time every day to work in the vegetable garden. Usually while the daycare children are playing in the yard, or before they get to my house in the morning. Also for at least 20 minutes each evening.

***

As you can see, things are usually pretty busy here. The daycare children and I do many different things while at my house: Gardening, composting, building raised beds, painting, crafting, coloring, playing with Lego’s and such. We also cook together and make gifts together. We are never bored.

***

The trick, I have found, is in how you organize your time. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you:

  • When your children are young, and your daycare children are young, you can combine learning. Reading aloud to them all from age appropriate books, for instance. When my daughters were doing grades 2 and 4 work, I was babysitting two of my nieces (ages 1 1/2 and 5) and two of my nephews (ages 2 and 5). I would read aloud from children’s books for my daughters that the younger children also enjoyed, Like Little House in the Big Woods, Thanksgiving books, etc. We all discussed what we were reading, made easier by the fact that I had educational magazines dealing with the same subjects for the younger children. Also, all of the children helped me with cooking lessons from the books/magazines, as well as the crafts. Skye and Zowie could work on independent studies while the daycare children were napping.
  • We would all do physical activities together as well: Walking, going to the playground, snowball fight, Frisbee, baseball, etc.
  • Skye and Zowie were also famous for putting on shows, which the daycare children also participated in.
  • My daughter are only 2 1/2 years apart in age, so many of their subjects they learned together from the same books. Only math and language arts, as well as each child’s chosen independent study, were taught separately. This saved us a huge amount of time.
  • I was able to clean the kitchen when they were younger while teaching the, This also saved a huge amount of time.
  • And If I had Skye read aloud to her sister for history, I was also able to clean the living room.

One thing that I would like to note is that I have never had a schedule that was set in stone. Things came up. I had to work later than expected, errands had to be run, daycare children may have to be here unexpectedly, the girls were asked to join in on activities. We would often have to catch up on things in the evenings or on weekends, in order to be able to accomplish things, go to appointments, and do exciting things. This was perfectly okay.

Shannon

P.S. If you have any questions, or any time-saving tips, please feel free to post them in the comments below.


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 5: Saving Money on Materials and Supplies

As a single mother, you may be wondering whether or not you can afford to homeschool. This is a very important consideration. All I can say is that, as a very-very low-income family, I have homeschooled both of my daughters for almost 10 years. It can be done affordably.

Here are my best tips for saving money on supplies:

  • Projection is key for me here. I do not necessarily only buy for the current year. I will buy for future years.
  • By doing this, I can get some very good deals. For instance, one year I purchased 10 (12-packs) of pencils for .10 each. $1.00 for 120 pencils is a really great price.
  • The above deal was at Rite Aid a few years ago, during a clearance sale not long after school began. I bought them out.
  • Consider keeping a list of the number of each supply that you may need each year that you homeschool. In doing this and purchasing when you have the extra cash during clearance and at back-to-school sales, then you may find that you do not have to purchase much in later years. (For example, I have an over abundance of binders and index dividers, and haven’t had to purchase any for the last couple of years.) You may want to record what you believe that you will need in a small notebook, crossing them off as you finish purchasing enough of each item.
  • Take what you can get for free. (Another example, a friend once brought me a whole box of binders. His boss was cleaning/reorganizing the office and no longer wanted them. He asked my friend if he knew anyone who could use them, and my friend told him that I could use them because I homeschool.)
  • Check out thrift shops, and yard and garage sales, for supplies. A bunch of crayons, markers, pens or notebooks will come in handy. And don’t forget about tacks, rubber bands, coloring books, craft supplies, etc.
  • You can only really stock up if you have the room. I have a small plastic drawer unit that sits on my stand. It has three drawer: One for pencils, one for markers and one for crayons. The drawers can be taken out when children are coloring.

Here are my best tips for saving money on materials:

  • Again, purchase at clearance prices whenever possible.
  • My website, The Homeschool Mom of 2, has a page for saving money on materials by purchasing used, as well as helpful links. The same site also has a page of resources for single mothers who homeschool or wish to.
  • Borders is a great store. The one that I visit in Bangor, Maine, has many clearance priced books outside and in the door area. I have purchased $20.00 – $30.00 books for as little as $2.99.
  • Used book stores are wonderful for getting cheap books, as are thrift shops.
  • Library sales are also great.
  • As are garage/yard-sales and flea markets.
  • You can find a lot of stuff online, for free.
  • Amazon.com and half.com. Ebay.com.
  • You will find many opportunities within your community to save money on materials.

Now I will provide you with four lists of things that I find essential to my homeschool environment. There are many other things that we use, but these are the most important of the four categories. Your lists will likely be different than mine, so these are meant to be guides only.

Essential Toys, etc. (When appropriate):

  • Lego’s.
  • Puzzles.
  • Coloring books.
  • Memory game.
  • Other games, including Life, Monopoly, a deck of cards, Uno, Skipbo, The Ungame, Brain Quest, Yahtzee and dice.
  • A V-Tech or other worthy “laptop” for young children – with an emphasis on educational games only. Or CD-Roms with educational games for your computer.
  • A typewriter.

“Teacher” Supplies (Many of which your children will also be using.):

  • Rubber bands.
  • Tacks.
  • Bulletin board.
  • Chalk board/dry erase board.
  • Chalk or dry erase markers, and an eraser.
  • Paper clips.
  • Stapler and staples.
  • Tape and dispenser.
  • A good pencil sharpener.
  • Three-hole punch. One-hole punch.
  • Highlighters.
  • Pens.
  • Copy paper, or printer paper – whichever is cheaper.
  • Ink cartridges.
  • Binders: 1 large one for each child.
  • Index dividers, some with pockets.
  • An EZ Grader.
  • File folders.
  • Glue sticks and glue.
  • A good calculator.
  • A desk and file cabinet.
  • A place for books.
  • Labels and reinforcements.

School Supplies:

  • Glue and glue sticks.
  • Crayons, markers and colored pencils.
  • Pencils.
  • 2 pocket portfolios with fasteners.
  • Notebooks and loose-leaf paper.
  • Binders and folders.
  • A calculator for each child.
  • Poster board.
  • Construction paper.
  • Drawing paper.

Materials:

  • A set of encyclopedias, or Encarta (CD-Rom).
  • An atlas.
  • A thesaurus.
  • A good dictionary.
  • A globe.
  • Maps: US, World and your state map.
  • Books for each class.
  • Books at and just above each child’s reading level.
  • Specific books: The Little House on the Prairie series, Little Women, Little Men, a book of poetry and other appropriate classics.

There you have it. Think about what is important to your family. What do you want your children to learn?

Shannon

P.S. Feel free to post any questions that you may have in the comments section below. Any other advice is also welcome.


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 4: The Socialization Issue

As if single mother’s don’t have enough to worry about while raising their children, well-wishers want to give their opinions about your decision to homeschool. Sometimes, not so nicely. Do they really think that we do not take all of their questions into consideration before we begin to homeschool? Hmmm…

The question that I hear the most is not about academics, but rather socialization. People honestly believe that, if a child is not ‘in school’ they are not ‘socializing’. I promise, your child will have plenty of opportunity for socialization.

In all honesty, I would rather my child be socialized outside of a public or private school setting than inside.

First, your child is socialized at home. They learn to interact with their immediate family first, then their extended families and their familie’s closest friends.

When they are a little older, they learn to interact with their close neighbors, cashiers, the postman, the librarian, waiters, repairmen and many other people. As a matter-of-fact, children have more opportunities to socialize with adults when they are not sitting in a classroom all day. Not just with teachers, but with people of all walks of life. As they grow older, they will be more comfortable and respectful of the adults around them. In other words, they are learning to behave the way that we want them to behave as adults. A very desirable goal for many parents.

Now, this does not mean that your child will not get to hang out with other children. On the contrary, they will have ample time to play with people their own ages, if they choose.

Children first learn to interact with their siblings, if they have them. They then move on to learning to interact with cousins and the children of close family friends. Supervising this interaction, and teaching children what we expect of them behaviour wise, is a very important step to the socialization goal. Rather than sending the children upstairs to play, you can provide them with appropriate activities where the adults will be present. They will learn respect for their elders, respect for themselves, and respect for each other. They will learn not to be too loud.

Children will then move on to playing with the neighborhood children. Again, supervised until they know what behaviours we expect from them. They will play with children at the playground and in other places. They will hang out as teenagers. They will not be deprived of socialization, I promise.

Homeschooled children have a lot of opportunities to join in on activities with other children. Check with the local elementary, middle and high schools, depending on the age of your child. There may be summer recreational programs or camps in your area. The YMCA is a great place, and has low-income rates. The library may hold opportunities for your child to socialize, as may the recreational department in your area.

Your child will have friends.

Your child will be well socialized.

Shannon

P.S. Please post any questions that you have on socialization in the comments below. I will do my best to answer them and, if I can’t, maybe someone else can. You can also feel free to post anecdotes or your experiences in dealing with people on this issue, for others to learn by.


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 3: Setting up a Portfolio

I am not a very well organized person by nature, so I end up putting together our portfolios at the end of the year. I do, however, take the time to set up an assignment book and fill it in for the year before school starts. This makes my life a lot easier.

For my high school age daughter, I use The Homeschooler’s High School Journal. They have assignment/record keeping books for lower grades as well and, in fact, there are other systems out there as well. You can type homeschool record keeping into your search engine and choose what you believe will work best for your family.

The Homeschooler’s High School Journalis very helpful, and I do include it as part of our portfolio. It includes pages for materials, reading lists, a calendar, an attendance record, a schedule of homeschooling events, a yearly requirements worksheet, a lending and borrowing resource list, objectives and resources pages, grading sheets, a field trip log, etc. It is quite thorough.

Now our portfolio is not really a portfolio. It is the assignment book as well as workbooks and projects and reports. But, when my daughters were young, we had a huge binder for each of them. I made my own work complete sheets, attendance logs, field trip logs, etc., on the computer and printed them up. I also used index dividers to separate out each subject, and I put all of their work into the corresponding section from the first day of school to the last.

In Maine, the portfolio reviewer (a certified teacher, practicing or not) does not have to see all of a students work, but keeping everything together helps me to keep track of everything.

We are supposed to keep all of their school records, from what I understand, for life, but I intend to send theirs with them when they move into their permanent adult homes.

Here are some ideas for what to add to your portfolio:

  • Attendance record.
  • Assignments/work complete for each day/week.
  • Samples of work for each class.
  • Photographs of projects.
  • Reading list.
  • Materials list.
  • You will come up with more things to add.

When Zowie has her portfolio review, it is very simple and does not take much time. Cheryl, our reviewer, sits with us and looks at her attendence record, flips through Zowie’s assignment book, and looks at a few samples of her work in each subject area. She may also ask her a few easy questions, but it is not like a test. She is very nice, and has been doing our reviews for a few years now.

Portfolio reviews will cost money. I have paid anywhere from $5.00 to $60.00 per child. But the service is well worth it for the advice that comes with it. My reviewer is very helpful and, if I have questions that she does not know the answer to, she will find the answers for me.

Here are some tips:

  • Use reinforcements (little stickers) when putting pages into a binder. This ensures that pages won’t be tearing out all of the time.
  • Reuse the binder and index dividers year after year, purchasing large mailing envelopes to put each years work in after your review. This will help to keep things organized, save you money, and save storage space.
  • Use reinforced index dividers.
  • Index dividers with pockets help to store brochures and small projects.
  • Get binders that have clear covers so that your children can decorate the covers each year.
  • When creating your own work complete sheets, use both sides of the paper, one for each day, for example. These binders can get very heavy by the end of the year, and work complete sheets take up a lot of space in the binders.
  • Purchase the thickest binders that you can at either sale prices during back to school sales, or at clearance sales after school starts. By paper, reinforcements, a three-hole paper punch, and index dividers at this time as well.

Shannon

P.S. If you have any questions about portfolios, or advice on the subject, please post them in the comments section below.


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 2: Homeschooling and the Law

Being single mothers, we don’t get to have our husbands help us with homeschooling every step of the way. There is a lot of research to be done that, unless our children’s fathers are right on board with us and willing to help, we have to do on our own.

Our first step is to find out what the homeschool laws are in our won states. Each state has their own laws regarding homeschooling, and it is our responsibility to find out what those laws are.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and even in (at least some) areas outside of the United States.

I cannot tell you 100% for sure how to go about this in your own states, but I can tell you what to do here in Maine. Go to Maine.gov and scroll down a bit. The link for home education will bring you to information about how to get started legally.

I am going to take a guess and say that, no matter what state you live in, if you go to your states Department of Education, they will be able to help you.

Another thing that I suggest is to find at least one homeschool support group and visit with them at least twice, even if you decide not to keep going, or they are too far away.

These groups can provide you with valuable information about homeschooling in your state. Bring a list of all of the questions that you have, and make sure that they are either answered, or you find out where to get the information on your own.

Be sure to find out what types of assessments are available for you where you live. In Maine, there is testing and portfolio reviews. There may be other assessments, but I don’t know about them. I prefer portfolio reviews once a year.

Shannon

P.S. If you have any question about the laws for homeschooling, or even advice for homeschooling legally in your state, please post them to the comments section below.


Family Gift Making for the Holidays

Most of last week was spent planning the craft projects that we would do in order to have gifts for everyone that we love and hold dear. This planning was done by myself, my daughter (16), and my nephew (11).

We had done some pre-planning as well, collecting candle and holder cast-offs, as well as flowers to dry and pinecones and acorns. We dried the flowers, dug candle ends from holders, washed the candle holders, bought wicks and saved used soup cans which we also washed out and removed the lids to. My sister and I had also purchased cheap craft kits at A.C. Moore for my nephew, and he is making gifts for people from those.

What were the reasons for such madness?

Lack of funds for purchasing gifts. We are planning to make and bake all of the gifts that we will be giving to people. We have cut down to getting family gifts only, except for the one celebration that has very small children in attendance. Their gifts will also be homemade.

In all honesty, I cannot even afford to purchase gifts for my own daughters, except two gifts costing a total of under $20.00 for Zowie (16). I also acquired a gift that she will really appreciate through Freecycle. The gifts for Skye (19) I worked for by helping a neighbor with numerous tasks. I took these very nice items in trade, and my daughter will love them.

Here I offer up some ideas for your gift-making adventures:

  • Recover old pillows/pillow forms with tied fleece.
  • Make homemade ornaments from pinecones.
  • Make homemade tied fleece blankets for little ones, from old fleece blankets.
  • Make homemade sticker albums.
  • Bake homemade breads, brownies, cakes and cookies.
  • Make homemade scrapbooks. Make homemade jewelry.

Making homemade gifts teaches children and teenagers many things, including frugality and economics when you are discussing why you are making things instead of purchasing them. It also teaches the important values of reduce, reuse and recycle when you create new things from old materials. Children will have a sense of pride that comes from accomplishing something good, and they will learn valuable life skills. For math, you can have them figure out what purchasing gifts for everyone would have cost them, as well as tax, and then by seeing how much they saved by making things. As for environmentalism? Take them to the store so that they can see how much packaging is involved when purchasing new items, explain how much packaging is involved in shipping, and discuss with them how much petroleum is used to ship the products from place to place.

There is a lot that can be learned from making our own gifts, but I am partial to the time spent with the children while we are making the items. Last Sunday, we all spent time making candles together. My nephew also spent most of last week making his own gifts for people. Time spent with children doing these things is a precious resource in-and-of itself.

Spending time creating things together is also a great way to teach children appreciation and caring ways, which are important traits in anyone.

Shannon

P.S. Do you have any ideas for making holiday gifts? Please share them with us in the comments section. Thank you.

Other Articles of interest:

Children and Boredom

Family Bowling


A Single Mother Takes the Morning Off

I found myself, unexpectedly, with and extra long weekend off this week. It began on Wednesday and will last throughout Sunday. I do not usually get this much time off from babysitting.

So, what did this single mother do on her first day off? Well, let’s see…

  • I slept until I woke up. I rarely get to do this. Usually I wake up to the alarm, early in the morning. I really dislike alarm clocks. I truly do.
  • I watched Love’s Long Journey. This is an excellent series of movies, and this one episode arrived in my mail box on Tuesday morning. I am blessed.
  • I gave myself a manicure and a pedicure while watching my movie.
  • I also put lotion on my hands, elbows, arm, feet, knees and legs.
  • I sipped a hot cup of tea while watching the remainder of the movie.

It was nice to sit for an hour-and-a-half and relax. I hope to be able to do this type of thing a little more often.

The rest of the morning found me online, catching up on some important MySpace stuff. MySpace is where most of my family and friends keep in touch.

Have a restful moment today.

Shannon


A Single Mothers Thanksgiving Celebration

On Wednesday, I made two cheesecakes and three loaves of bread: Cinnamon streusel, apple and lemon poppy-seed. My daughter baked two pies from scratch: Apple and pumpkin. We already had a good start on our Thanksgiving meal by this point.

Wednesday evening we cleaned up the living-room and kitchen, and Zowie took out the trash and vacuumed the hall. The counter was cleared so that I could set food on it the next day, and then I watched television for a while, catching Barbara Walter’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama.

I prepared the turkey, put it into the refrigerator, and set my alarm for 5:00 A.M. I also set most of the ingredients for the foods that I would be making the next day.

I popped the turkey into the oven at 5:00 A.M. and went back to bed for a little while. When I got up, I did some more picking up and started the mulled cider.

My nephew, Isaiah, had been making ornaments all week to give as gifts at the holidays. When my sister, also a single mother, arrived with her two sons (Zachary and Isaiah), she brought with her some stuffed celery that she had made, stuffing and the chocolate cream pie that Zachary had made.

We had a nice visit, and everyone had contributed something to the meal, except for Isaiah who had been busily making ornaments all week. It was great. The cats and kittens here got their turkey as well, and I sent some leftovers home with Sheila, so for their dogs, and some for themselves. There was even a game of BrainQuest played.

Our menu looked like this:

  • turkey
  • stuffing
  • pies: chocolate cream, apple, pumpkin
  • cheesecake
  • breads: cinnamon streusel, apple, lemon poppy-seed and brown ‘n serve rolls – white and wheat.
  • corn
  • peas
  • gravy
  • stuffed celery
  • eggnog – regular and cinnamon
  • mulled cider

The leftover turkey was split up, some went into the refrigerator, some into the freezer for later use. The rest of the leftovers went into the refrigerator and will be eaten today and tomorrow. The meal was excellent, and we enjoyed the time spent with my sister and nephews.

Zowie and I went for a walk after all was cleaned and put away, and after our family had left. We simply went to the store for a fountain drink, and talked along the way.

We watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who when we came back home. And, while she checked email and her MySpace account, I watched Little Women.  We listened to Christmas music while I decorated the tree.

It was a good day, and I was able to have some time to read from John Adams before going to sleep.

This weekend, I will be rearranging the living-room, giving it a good cleaning, and doing the rest of the decorating.

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebrations, and I would love to hear from you about them if you want to post your experiences here.

Shannon


Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 1: Before You Begin

We are in our tenth year of homeschooling. Being a single mother and trying to homeschool does have its challenges, but not so many that it can’t be done.

First, let me dispel with some myths:

Yes, a single mother can homeschool.

Yes, a single mother on a  limited income can homeschool.

Yes, a single mother working part or full time, inside or outside of the home, can homeschool.

Yes, a single mother working full or part time and going to school part or full time can homeschool.

Yes, a single mother who is disabled, or who has children who are, can homeschool.

No, you do not need any teaching experience, or a teaching degree to homeschool.

Now, there are some things that you will have to know and/or do before you begin your homeschooling adventure. These are the topics that will be covered in this series of posts:

  • Homeschooling and the Law.
  • Setting Up a Portfolio.
  • The Socialization Question.
  • Buying Materials as Affordably as Possible.
  • Time Management.
  • Using the Library to Help Homeschool Your Children.
  • Homeschooling in the Community.
  • Great Family Times in the Homeschooling Household.

Shannon

P.S. Feel free to post any questions that you may have about homeschooling as a single mother, or about homeschooling in general, in the comments section below.