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Home Education

Top 10 Online Summer (Home)School Programs

For families with school-aged children, summer is usually the time where parents would sign their kids up for summer camps and programs. However, the events of this year have put an entirely new look on how children can continue participating in summer enrichment programs.

If your children will be missing out on their normal summer activities, below are top 10 online summer (home)school programs they can enjoy from home.

Why should I consider online summer programs?

One word – flexible. Most online programs are designed with “work-at-your-own-pace” in mind, making it compatible with even the most busiest of schedules and unique lifestyles.

Another one word reason – active. Summer programs aid in keeping children’s minds (and bodies) active, helping them easily transition into continued learning in the fall.

Online summer programs also give children the opportunity to explore new interests. If there’s something they’ve always wanted to learn, now’s the time to introduce them to it.

Lastly, online programs serve families by giving them the ability to keep children close while ensuring they are receiving fun and engaging learning experiences.

Top 10 Online Summer (Home)School Programs

Summer Camp at Home

Summer Camp at Home was created by a homeschooling mom who understands the importance of children having fun while learning.

She has created a total of 8 online camps that can be purchased individually for only $5.97 each. Or, you can get an all access pass and pay just $29.97. The camps are created to be a week long with one theme per week:

  • Space week
  • Disney week
  • Under the Sea week
  • Dinosaur week
  • Olympics week
  • Superhero week
  • Pirates week
  • Hawaiian week

Hebrew for Homeschoolers

If you’re looking to add learning a foreign language to your child’s summer schedule, this course would be the one to look into! Your entire family can learn the Hebrew language in only 10 weeks in a super fun way, all while growing deeper in your faith.

Ana, your Hebrew teacher, studied at the Hebrew University for two years and graduated from Israel College of the Bible in Jerusalem with a Bachelors of Arts in Bible and Judaic Studies.

Learn in Color

If movie watching is on your list this summer, consider adding some of Learn in Color’s movie study guides. Resource creator, Samantha, has a unique way of making movie watching both educational and fun.

She provides many movie studies for a variety of ages and grades, such as:

  • Catch Me if You Can (grades 8-10)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (grades 5-7)
  • Cinderella Man Movie (grades 7-10)
  • Finding Nemo (grades 3-7)
  • Race to Freedom: Adventures in Odyssey (grades 2-4) *FREE*
  • and more!

Paint Your Own Family Portraits

If your family is like mine, family portraits are hard to come by. If you’d like to paint delightful family portraits with you family then this summer activity is for you.

Makes a perfect project for back to school or holiday gifts! Learn step by step how to make these miniature masterpieces and then how to put them all together into an entire family. Personalize to your style and personalities. This course is designed for students age 5-95!

Fairy Tale Fun

Jen Merckling has done an incredible job of capturing the heart of fairy tales in a fun and engaging way for little learners. She offers 5 individual tales, or you can purchase them in a bundle.

Each fairy tale is packed with a read with me story, sequence activity, memory game, story narration activity, and color-by-number pages.

ASL Games That Will Make Learning More Fun

Homeschool Mastery Academy’s American Sign Language games and flashcards are designed to make learning a second language fun. In this bundle, you will receive their exclusive ASL Game Pack in addition to their themed videos. 

Use their simple instructional videos in your homeschool or classroom to learn ASL the quickest and easiest way. Most students love watching the videos on repeat until they memorize all the themed words in American Sign Language!

Science Simplified

Science can be one of those tricky subjects to teach during the school year, but super fun when presented in a way where kids don’t even realize they’re learning.

As with all Kristin Moon Science courses, students proceed at their own pace through the material.  Videos, experiments, hands-on activities, and links to additional information are included to enhance the learning experience. 

Journey Through the Continents

With physically traveling the world on somewhat of a halt right now, taking a journey through the continents (from home) is still doable with Journey Through the Continents. This 5th-9th grade curriculum comes with elementary connections so that it can be used family style. 

The first of eight units is an introduction to geographic terms and practices, including a study of GPS. They have included recommended resources for further study separated by grade level, which is a plus!

Play Moments eBook

I often get asked how to teach a toddler, and parents are always shocked about my answer – LET THEM PLAY! That’s what makes the Play Moments eBook a must-have. It’s an e-book that includes 20 activity cards to inspire fun, play-based learning with your toddler.

This e-book is packed with helpful tips and activities for ages 1-3, and each activity comes with several learning ideas so you can use them over and over again!

With the Huddlestons Self-Paced Mini Courses

Being a teacher at heart, one thing that has followed me from the classroom is creating curriculum resources. Part of the resources I’ve created over the years are self-paced mini courses that your children will enjoy.

Some of the most sought-after courses I have are:

  • First Aid Basics
  • Legos with Alex
  • Water in the World
  • Where in the World
  • Biblical Art History

Each course comes with instructional videos, educational lapbooking resources, and a certificate of completion.

Don’t Forget to Read!

Before closing out, I wanted to share a list of Summer Reading Book Clubs to take advantage of. They’re all virtual, digital, and offer some pretty cool incentives!

  

Home Education

Top 5 Types of Resources Every Homeschool Needs

If you’ve been homeschooling any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve questioned what kind of resources are best to use. Some parents choose to take the common core route, while others use a boxed curricula that have the resources and milestones already laid out.

Personally, I take the do-it-yourself route and it has proven to not only work for me, but also tons of others homeschoolers too! The method I use is one that encompasses natural learning, children-led learning, and a unique approach to education in general.

What is the DIY approach?

Before diving into the top 5 types of resources every homeschool needs, I’d like to briefly explain what I mean by the DIY approach. This is not creating your own curriculum resources, coming up with worksheets, or writing a book.

Nope.

The DIY approach is simply compiling pre-made resources to use in teaching your children whatever concepts/topics you wish. There are tons of ways to get these resources, whether you’re looking for free or cheap. I typically use Google, Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and hit up yearly sales like the annual Build Your Bundle Sale.

Being a homeschooling mama of 5 kiddos ranging from newborn to 12 years old, it’s important for me to make wise investments in resources that I can use with multiple children, use over and over, and easily tweak. This is another reason why the DIY approach works for us.

How does the DIY approach work?

The DIY approach gives you the ability to pick and choose what resources you’d like to use to help teach your children. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice having everything all laid out for you; however, if you’d like more control over what to teach your child, I highly recommend this method.

I first began by mapping out what milestones were most important to my husband and I. Skills such as learning to read, learning basic math, understanding and processing emotions – just to name a few – are what’s most important to us in the early years. With that in mind, we are able to determine what we’d like to teach them and plan accordingly.

Getting caught up in a “school system mindset” is what led me to believing my children needed to learn specific things by a certain age. Taking myself through a specific deschooling process helped me to realize that what the school system had in mind for my children is not the same as what my husband and I had in mind.

Since we’ve swapped that mindset with one that accommodates our unique family dynamic, we’ve experienced even more freedom in our homeschooling journey. We are able to confidently teach our children according to their unique rate of development instead of enforcing them according to someone else’s. The concepts taught facilitate a love for learning versus a resistance to learning. And, there are more cheers than tears.

5 Types of Resources for the DIY Approach

I’ve been a do-it-yourself kind of homeschooling mama since the beginning; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly tapped into what would work wonders for our homeschool. I have discovered 5 types of resources that typically cover all subjects, learning styles, ages and grades. (Resources in bold are part of the Build Your Bundle Sale.)

Unit Studies

Hands down, unit studies are my go-to since I am homeschooling a variety of ages. I am able to easily accommodate each child and meet them where they are developmentally. Unit studies also have a unique way of providing a well-rounded education. You can choose one topic – like landforms – and touch just about every subject.

There are a few unit study resources I highly recommend:

Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language is another important milestone to most homeschooling families, ours including. For us, our chosen second language is Hebrew. Some families I know choose other languages like Spanish or Chinese. Regardless, learning a foreign language has many amazing perks.

A few resources I recommend for foreign language are:

Health & Wellness

Health and wellness are topics that don’t get enough attention. A lot of times the concepts taught through these topics aren’t seen as homeschooling, when in fact they truly are. Think about personal hygiene, cooking healthy meals, and learning how to stay healthy through exercise and play. This is all homeschooling!

A few resources I recommend are:

  • Earthley has an incredible Spring Garden Unit Study that offers the nitty-gritty on when and how to plant common vegetables, how to fertilize, water them and more.
  • Meal Planning for Kids by Homeschooling Dietician Mom.
  • Fit2B offers a Premium Membership that gives you 200+ workouts with a focus on core building and recovery.

Electives

Electives are another aspect of education that aren’t given enough credit. All of the arts, music, physical education, and sports classes definitely count as homeschooling. Not to mention, there are a lot of developmental milestones that can be reached through these.

Some overlooked, but much needed electives I recommend are:

Homeschool Journey Help

Regardless how long you plan to homeschool, it’s always nice to have support for the journey. Often times we can feel like we’re the only experiencing particular roadblocks or setbacks, when in fact, we aren’t. I’ve learned to lean and depend on people and resources to help keep me sane (LOL!).

A few homeschool journey resources I recommend are:

Tips for Your DIY Journey

Putting together your own curriculum resources to homeschool your children can be simple, inexpensive, and rewarding. Keep the following tips in mind as you start your DIY journey:

  • Take into consideration your child’s current developmental stage.
  • Brainstorm milestones geared specifically to your child.
  • Use your child’s natural development to gather resources to accommodate the milestones you’ve created.
  • Teach with grace and ease!

There are also other resources to take into consideration:

  • Virtual learning platforms (online courses)
  • Workbooks (from places like the Dollar Tree)
  • Fiction and Non-fiction books from Usborne Books & More
  • Public libraries

If you have any questions about the DIY Curriculum Approach, comment below or shoot me an email at withthehuddlestons @ gmail . com

The Build Your Bundle Sale is a TIME SENSITIVE sale beginning May 11-18! SHOP NOW!

Homebirth & Motherhood

The Birth That Broke Me

Bryan and I started our homebirthing journey 7 years ago when we found out we were expecting our first (and only) baby girl. Ever since then, the research has been ongoing and the experiences something that we will always cherish.

This experience, like the others, is definitely one for the books.

A Quick Recap

Just as any mom will tell you, each pregnancy, labor, delivery, and even postpartum experience is different. My first pregnancy was amazing and exercised-filled (I was a gymnastics teacher at the time). The labor and delivery were traumatizing and life-threatening (to say the least) and ended in a fully sedated emergency c-section.

My second pregnancy and birth, but first homebirth was with a midwife and doula team and I had the works. The birthing pool, music, and my first experience at natural childbirth was in the works. Delivery time came and things went a tad bit sideways with me hemorrhaging and needing to transport. However, all was well with me and baby girl.

The third pregnancy and second homebirth was the start of what would be a new journey. This was another pregnancy where I was a bit more fit. Prodromal labor was something new I experienced but it led to a 30 minute birthing experience with my husband delivering our baby boy because the midwife didn’t make it in time.

Because of our previous birthing experience, I wanted to have a go at going completely unassisted for this pregnancy and delivery. Again, I did what I could to maintain a healthy status and all went well. Labor to delivery was only 4 hours long and another baby boy was born perfectly into daddy’s hands with absolutely no interventions needed.

The Fifth (and Final)

I had a different feeling about this pregnancy. I still can’t put my finger on it, but I just felt different from the beginning. A lot of transitional things seemed to happen during this pregnancy too – job changes, moving, the COVID plandemic, etc. So perhaps looking back, these could have been contributing factors??

Not totally sure, but another thing was my lack of being health-conscious. As my husband jokingly puts it, “I was more snacky and relaxed.” We laughed about putting it on a t-shirt, but looking back on it, I believe this was one of the major causes as to why the labor and delivery didn’t go quite as planned…

Labor of Love

I spent my fair share of end-of-the journey complaining about wanting to have the baby… ready to have my body back… and questioning, “How long have I been pregnant again? Oh, just 2 years (it seems)!” LOL! But the day finally came, at 40+2. My contractions were finally sticking at what I call “with the birds,” meaning real labor started somewhere between 5:30-6:00am.

By 7am-ish labor had progressed to another level that I had never experienced before. Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skim down some… I began feeling extreme rectal pressure and had to do the bare down in a super pushy way. Little did I know it would result in me beginning to poop! (Talk again embarrassing!)

This sensation never let up and seemed to get worse with every contraction. And at this point I began to lose it both psychologically and emotionally. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and why I couldn’t get a handle on what was happening.

Another contraction came while sitting on the toilet and that’s when my water broke. This is something I’ve never experienced because with previous deliveries, it wasn’t until they crowned when it broke and one was born in the sac. Anyways, I checked myself and it didn’t seemed I was “open enough” to be doing the kind of pushing my body was doing.

I also noticed (normal) blood but what also seemed like a meconium type of substance. This sent me into an even deeper concern and again, losing my resolve a bit more. I told Bryan to call the ambulance because I felt like something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t do it.

Determined to Deliver

With each contraction, I was growing more and more crazy (to say the least). I was up on my tip toes like a flat-toe ballerina, pleading to God for relief. When the paramedics arrived (about 5 minutes later), I immediately asked for something for the pain. They couldn’t give it to me, but what they did try to shove on my face was a mask.

Side note: my husband is behind me telling them “She doesn’t have to wear that!” I’m telling the lady I can’t breathe, but to be compliant I just put it up to my nose and started walking to the ambulance.

As soon as I got into the ambulance, another contraction came. I looked up, saw a bar and instantly grabbed it. I seriously wish it could’ve been recorded because I probably looked like a stripper dangling from the pole, but I didn’t care! I grabbed that pole and began to push with everything in me. Yes, still pooping all over the place… one of the paramedics lifted my skirt and said, “She’s crowning!”

Another looked and said, “The baby is coming FEET FIRST!” At this point they are trying to get me to lay down and I couldn’t. I had to push again. Again the lady said, “Ma’am you have to lay down, the baby is coming out.” At the point I did and I saw my baby’s feet, legs, and up to his waist area.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get a grip on what was actually happening and felt myself losing it again. One of the guys (there were 2 women and 2 men), grabbed my hand, did the focus two finger thing, and said, “Look at me. You can do this. You need to push.”

After about 3 more good pushes, our son was born. In front of our home. In an ambulance. He was healthy, alert, and perfect. I was still shocked, emotional, and instantly refusing every extra thing they wanted to do. I just wanted to get rolled back in my house to finish what we started (deliver the placenta, shower, and rest).

The Backstory

While everything described above was going on… there is a backstory.

There is Bryan’s point of view.

Bryan was not allowed into the ambulance with me. He was standing outside and described what sounded like banging and clanging noises. In his mind they were trying to hold me down or force me to do things I didn’t want to do.

He said he could hear a little what was going on, but couldn’t make out any words. Finally, he went to peak in the window to see, and he said he could see the baby a little bit. (I did see him peak in.) One of the paramedics opened the door and told him it was a boy, but then shut the door again.

They kept asking if I wanted to transport, but I kept saying no because I didn’t need it. Finally, after all the transport turn-downs and signing the things we needed to sign, they wheeled us into our home.

Our other children were sitting so nicely in the living room, anxiously waiting to meet their new baby brother. I have yet to get their point of view, but plan on it.

The end to the back story is this… Bryan wasn’t able to deliver our baby. He didn’t even get to see him be born. It was emotional and traumatic for him and it’s going to take some deep processing and overcoming.

The same for both of us.

Broken but Blessed

This labor and delivery was nowhere near what we had planned. I couldn’t have anticipated that it was going to go as far as it did, but I am thankful. You see, there are little things that happened that I call “God-sends”. One of them was through one of the female paramedics.

The one who actually delivered our baby was from a family of 9 in which her mom homebirthed, and she helped deliver some of her siblings! I thought how awesome is that, and no wonder she was so calm.

Another was one of the guy paramedics that helped me focus through my last few pushes. He was a dad of two and knew I needed a certain kind of help to get to the end.

Although Bryan and I have a lot to process from this experience, there is blessings behind it. For each of us individually and for us together, this experience has already grown us so much. We’ve seen the mercy hand of God in a new way and are making every effort to use it for growth.

Unchanged Views

Although this experience broke me… physically, mentally, and emotionally – I still advocate for the freedom to birth your way. I believe women are capable of having awesome, amazing, unassisted, assisted, homebirths, waterbirths, birthing center births – whatever kind of birth you want. They key is to not beat yourself up for the results.

We are good at that.

Things didn’t go as planned and I instantly started blaming myself for what I didn’t do. How I couldn’t handle it. How I lost focus. How I never really was ready. And so on.

But the truth is this…. I did do it. I had a healthy boy. I had him naturally. And we are both okay.

The Reality of Brokenness

When it comes to being broken, we have one of two choices. We can choose to let it shatter us, or we can pick up the pieces and become whole again. As I’ve mentioned before, Bryan and I have some things to process… but we choose to become whole again.

If you have experienced any kind of pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum trauma, please don’t hold it in. Talk about it. Get it out. Trust me. It is part of the healing process.

Home Education

Deciding When Homeschooling Is Right For Your Child

Although it seems that majority of the world is doing some form of homeschooling, there is coming a time when schools will reopen. Countless parents will be faced with the choice of sending their children back to school, or continuing to educate them at home.

How to Know if Homeschooling is Right For Your Child

The education that your child receives is important, and as the parents, it is up to us to make the best decisions possible here. The future for our kids may seem uncertain, but we have to do everything we can to try and steer them in a direction most beneficial to them.

In some cases, homeschooling might be the best choice, and in this post, we’re going to look at how to know if homeschooling is right for your children. Keep in mind this is not going to be the case for everyone, but keep reading if you want to find out more.

They Find Socializing Difficult

First off, if you notice that socializing is difficult for your child when they do go out or when they are in social situations, then it might be necessary to consider homeschooling. Some people say that this is a bad idea because they need to learn how to do this, and suggest that school will help.

While this could be the case for some children, if your child is uncomfortable doing this, then thrusting them to it every day could have a negative impact. Something that homeschooling offers is the ability to partake in parks or clubs where they can interact with others, but not in a forced way. 

This is going to be a good way to get the communication going, without them feeling out of their depth for hours every day.

They Aren’t Doing Well

If your child is currently “enrolled” in school and they aren’t performing well, you are probably wondering why. Potentially, it could be because their academic needs are not being met. In most cases they are likely good at other things, so it could simply be a case of them not getting the right support.

If you think that you could help them by providing the support they need in a home setting, then this is something to try. The one on one time could be invaluable, especially if it’s just a lack of support and attention academically that is holding them back.

Every child deserves the right to succeed, and some children need something different from others. Homeschooling provides parents and their children with the ability to meet specific needs, and it’s such a blessing. You can help fill in gaps by getting them everything they need from an AP physics book and printables to a whiteboard and flash cards!

They Ask For It

Finally, your child might ask to be homeschooled. If this happens, sit down and ask them why. Figure out what makes them want to be educated from home and then make the best decision for your child. It’s a big decision to make that usually comes with some major changes, especially for the previously public schooled student.

In the end, offering the educational support that your child needs should be one of the biggest deciding factors in choosing to homeschool. Of course there are many other factors, but knowing that you are giving your child every opportunity to thrive is best!

CHIME IN: Why do you homeschool, or want to? Let me know in the comments below!