March 23, 2015

5 Reasons I Shop at Moxie Jean for Kids' Clothing

Moxie Jean offers high-quality children's clothing at affordable prices.

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored and may contain affiliate links.}

As a single mom, I'm always on the lookout for great deals when it comes to things we need. Clothing, obviously, is a need. But I hate shopping and I'm very frugal. I don't like to spend money if I don't have to. 

So how do I make sure my kids have the clothing they need without breaking the bank or entering a store? One way I've found is to shop at Moxie Jean.

3 Reasons I Shop at Moxie Jean for Kids' Clothing

If you've never heard of Moxie Jean, allow me share a little about them. 

Moxie Jean is an online resale shop, but it is more than that. It's also a community of moms helping moms. Started by two sisters, this store allows moms to resell the clothing their children have outgrown. It also allows shoppers to purchase high-quality clothing at affordable prices.

In addition, any clothing that Moxie Jean cannot resell is donated to charity rather than tossed out or sold to recyclers. 

March 21, 2015

Homeschool Mother's Journal {March 21, 2015}

Hop over to the Homeschool Mother's Journal! Link up or just read the other posts.

Welcome to a new edition of the Homeschool Mother's Journal! Whether you've come to read the posts or link your own posts, I'm so glad you're here! 

Featured Posts at the Homeschool Mother's Journal

Here are the highlights from last week's HMJ

New Homeschool Mother's Journal Linkup

I encourage you to link your posts (old or new) below.

Not a blogger? That's OK, too. Grab your beverage of choice and settle in for some great reading!

Be sure to comment on some of the posts and let them know HMJ sent you.

Never miss a post! Subscribe here.

(Disclaimer: The thoughts and beliefs shared in linked or featured posts are those of the individual bloggers and do not not necessarily reflect thoughts or beliefs of Michelle Cannon/The Heart of Michelle.)

Happy Homeschooling!

March 20, 2015

Using a U.S. Atlas to Teach Homeschool Geography

Using a U.S. atlas can be a fun, enjoyable way to teach geography in your homeschool.

{I was given a free copy of this product and compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. Full disclosure.}

I have a confession to make: I have never been the greatest when it comes to teaching geography. 

It's not that I am incapable of teaching it. I've just never put the highest priority on it. When things get challenging, as they do around here, it's one of the first things to go.

I find myself in a mindset of doing what I see as the basics - math, language arts, history, art, music and those sorts of things. When I cut back, geography gets cut. I suppose if I'd ever had a curriculum that was easy to follow, that may not have happened. Instead, I've been "winging it."

That all ends now. 

March 17, 2015

Homeschool Showcase #150: The Many Ways We Learn

Welcome to the Homeschool Showcase 

This is where we spotlight all the encouraging, inspiring and just plain fun ways that homeschooling families live and learn together.

Whether our children are learning through the computer or hands-on activities, or we parents are learning from mistakes, we all learn in different ways.

I'm back from vacation and have finally found a moment to put the showcase together. As always, you'll find a wealth of great posts.

I've decided to call this The Many Ways We Learn. In this collection of posts, you'll find some of the many creative ways people homeschool, the learning process we parents sometimes go through, and plenty of hands-on and real-life learning.

Don't have time to read it right now? That's OK! Pin it for later.

March 16, 2015

5 Ways to Encourage Reading in a Reluctant Reader

In recognition of National Reading Month, I'm sharing tips for encouraging reluctant readers.

Do you have a reluctant reader? I do. Lorelai can read, but she's not interest in reading. 

I don't have an issue with the fact that reading isn't her thing. I mean - I don't have an issue with her not collecting stamps, skateboarding, or horse-riding either. A hobby is a hobby and reading isn't hers.

However, she does need to read when it comes to homeschooling. She needs to read for the sake of gaining knowledge and improving her reading skills. But it bores her.

So how do we get a reluctant reader to read?

Changes in Our Homeschool Journey through the Years

One mom shares the many detours in her homeschool journey.

I don't know if you've ever noticed, but I always refer to our homeschool experience as a journey. That's how I picture it.

I picture it as a road, winding through beautiful, scenic landscapes. What we will see or do along the way remains to be seen.

Just like any journey, homeschooling consists of smooth riding, bumps in the road, and plenty of detours. Sometimes, we just stop to take a rest and learn from the world around us.

In my humble opinion, that's exactly as it should be. We don't want the road so smooth that we fall asleep. Neither do we want constant gravel, making us squirm in our seats after a while. Detours lead off into unexplored territories and that's always an adventure. 

I've been on this journey for over 16 years. What has our journey looked like so far? Well it hasn't always been pretty. Long before I was a homeschool consultant, I was a mom fumbling around with no clue what I was doing.

Changes in Our Homeschool Journey through the Years

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

Rocky Homeschool Beginnings

Tired of fighting a school system that refused to obey my son's 504 plan, I finally got fed up and pulled him out of school. He had been in 6th grade for two months. 

I was excited. This was going to be so much fun!

I proceeded to collect textbooks. I pictured breakfast, followed by subjects lasting 45 minutes each, with a lunch break in the middle. You know - just like school.

There I was trying to recreate the exact environment that had been failing Michael for years. We butted heads daily. It was terrible. There was no fun in this.

  • The following year, he asked to go back to school. I let him. He skipped school almost daily. 
  • The next year, I brought him back home. We still accomplished nothing. 
  • He asked to go back to school the next year. I let him and he skipped the first day.

Obviously, he felt he should be in school, but was not enjoying it enough to go there each day.

At this point, he was in 9th grade. I pulled him out of school and refused to send him back. This was also the year Lee Anne begged to come home, and Amy gave up on her public school career, too. 

Everyone was fed up with the environment within that system.

The Year We Accidentally Became Unschoolers

I was still having the daily battles with Michael. He had severe A.D.H.D. and bipolar disorder. The sleep battles, the attention problems, and my silly attempts to recreate school at home were the perfect recipe for disaster.

At this point, I had 3 kids (ages 17, 14, and 12 and 4) at home, and I was pregnant with Lorelai. Scotty and I were having serious relationship problems and had split up. I was under so much stress!

In the chaos of it all, we missed a day. Then another. And another. Before I knew it, I'd forgotten all about textbooks and schedules, breaks and early mornings.

We went with the flow of life, learning things as we learned them. We had the internet and books. We had plenty of real life. This was the first major detour on our homeschool journey.

I started a natural mothering group online, as well as a blog and some online stores. I was all about unschooling, homebirthing, and all other natural mothering things. I preached unschooling like it was the only way.

Secretly, I felt I was failing my kids.

Secretly, they felt I was failing them.
None of us would realize the others felt this way for nearly a decade.

A Detour into Relaxed Homeschooling

By the time I was homeschooling Alexis, the other kids were finished with their homeschooling educations, and I had adopted a more textbook-ish way of homeschooling that was quite different from recreating school at home.

We had textbooks, workbooks, and printables. We did do work, but I didn't spend all day doing it. I owned a green cleaning service and worked almost every day. Lessons were quite relaxed, doing them whenever there was a point in the day to do them, or when she expressed interest. 

While my teens worked with me in the cleaning business, there were always some older kids at home, too. They would help get her going on lessons when I was working. We kept a portfolio of her work and it was a comfortable way of homeschooling.

Yet, I still didn't feel I was "doing it right." Somewhere in my belief system was this indoctrinated idea of what school should be. While I fiercely defended my choices when verbally attacked or criticized, in my heart I wasn't happy about our homeschool.

And so we continued for another few years.

Discovering New Way of Homeschooling

In April 2009, I began a little blog called The Holistic Homeschooler. Maybe you've heard of it? (If you're new here, it's now called The Heart of Michelle.) 

My goal was to do what I had done with my natural mothering blog. That blog was about natural mothering, including homeschooling. This new blog would be solely about homeschooling.

My first task: I was going to research and share the various methods of homeschooling. The first method I researched was Charlotte Mason. I wrote my first post about it. And that was the end of my research. 

I had found my perfect style of homeschooling!

It incorporated nature, art, and literature. I was hooked. This method gave us structure without making us feel constricted. It gave us the freedom to continue learning from real life, while still gaining a quality academic education.

Balance. That's what I'd been needing for ten years!

Learning to Appreciate the Journey

Since then I've learned so much more about homeschooling than I had known in all those previous years. I've learned to be relaxed. I've learned there is no right or wrong way to educate our children. I've learned what works for us and what doesn't.

Most importantly, I've learned that homeschooling is a journey and, as with all journeys, we need to stop looking only at the destination. We need to enjoy the journey with all it's bumpy rides, unexpected stops, and unplanned detours.

After all, those are the things that make the ride interesting.

What's the biggest change you've experienced in your homeschool? Share in the comments.

Please hop over to iHomeschool Network where my colleagues are sharing the changes in their homeschool journeys.

Never miss a post! Subscribe here.

Happy Homeschooling!

March 14, 2015

Homeschool Mother's Journal: March 14, 2015

Hop over to the Homeschool Mother's Journal! Link up or just read the other posts. Either way, we'd love to have you.

Welcome to a new week at the Homeschool Mother's Journal! 
My first order of business, share the some highlights from last week's HMJ.

Featured Posts at the Homeschool Mother's Journal

This week we want to highlight the following posts from last week’s link-up:
kindergartenKindergarten Ready or Not? :: Two Bitty Elephants

New Homeschool Mother's Journal Linkup

I encourage you to link your posts (old or new) below. If you're just here to read, grab your coffee and get ready! We always have plenty of good reading at the Homeschool Mother's Journal! 

Be sure to comment on some of the posts and let them know HMJ sent you.

An InLinkz Link-up

Never miss a post! Subscribe here.

(Disclaimer: The thoughts and beliefs shared in linked or featured posts are those of the individual bloggers and do not not necessarily reflect thoughts or beliefs of Michelle Cannon/The Heart of Michelle.)

Happy Homeschooling!

March 9, 2015

FREE Online Math Practice for Independent Homeschoolers allows independent learners to practice math, while providing parents with progress reports.

{Disclosure: I was compensated for the time it took me to review and write about this product. All opinions are my own.}

My daughter Lorelai loves math. Loves it. Maybe you think I'm kidding. Here, let me help you understand how much she enjoys math.

  • When she was 5 years old she used to spend her evenings doing page after page in math text workbooks. Why? Because it was "fun." 
  • Rarely do I get to finish explaining a new mathematical concept. Just as I begin to explain, she glances over the material, then finishes the explanation for me. 
  • Lately, I've found she knows math concepts we have never even covered. When I ask how she knew, she explains, "I do math for fun or when I'm bored."
The kid loves math. When I was told about, I knew we had to try it out. It was math and it was free. How could I not try it?

March 1, 2015

The Week I Had No Sleep and Accomplished Nothing, but at Least I Didn't Run around Naked

I'm sleep-deprived. Please know that before you get started reading this post. I'm tired. I'm loopy. I've made up numerous on-the-spot song parodies this week, none of which will you ever hear me sing. My kids have. They're disturbed.

Ok, I'm rambling. Let's move on and learn how we came to this point.

A sleep-deprived mother plans a vacation, shops against her will, and is thankful that she did.

{This post may contain affiliate links.}

In my life this week…

I wanted to organize everything. I failed.

This was the week I was going to get everything done. I was going to organize my garage, get the last of the books on shelves, and get every hang-able picture on the wall.

Yeah. None of that happened. 

Not one goal was met this week. OK, there was one goal met. I got my new bookcase and got books put into it. That's something. But my garage still looks like my last house threw up into it. It looks that way, because that's kind of what happened when we moved and I just haven't been motivated to do anything about it.

Oh well. Such is my life. I care, but I don't care. I'm too tired.

My kid is bipolar and I'm sleep-Deprived

Which brings me to something else. My little bear has been way off-schedule. We had all her bipolar sleep habits and symptoms under control for a good while. Then I screwed up.

I let her go off to stay with her sister without planning well. It simply didn't cross my mind that if her diet changed for just a few days it would make a a difference. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. It didn't just make a difference, it undid all the efforts I've put in for all these months.

Since then, she's been either mood-swinging, or had her days and nights mixed, or both. Lesson learned: Stick to the nutritional plan. It's just not worth it.