Come on in, friend! Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and let's chat! I'd love to share what God's been putting on my heart about the topics of family, femininity, and faith, and you do the same. If you want to go deeper, join my Facebook group for "This Side of Heaven", and be sure to subscribe to keep up with every new post (no spam, I promise!). I look forward to getting to know you and sharing the journey "this side of Heaven!"
We have been homeschooling for nearly six years, and all that time we have always "done school" in a real-life community or at home. This semester, for the first time, we have been able to give online learning a try - and my kids loved it! I will share more about the specific classes we used over the next few days, but I want to share here what we have discovered about online learning in general and what to keep in mind when you seek out classes for your kids!
We have been trying three classes this semester. My fifth grade daughter is taking a weekly beginning Latin class from True North Homeschool Academy, as well as participating in their every-other-week Writing Club. My first grade son took part in a four-week Geography Class from Huddleston Academy Live Academics. All three classes were live (in real time, not just a video presentation), and all used Zoom to facilitate the classes, which included anywhere from three to twelve other students.
What we experienced
I was not sure what to expect from a live e-course, as my only experience with online learning has been at the college level when you might listen to a course lecture online and submit assignments via email or a website. What my children experienced was a whole different experience. The way the Zoom platform works, students can see each other and talk with each other during the class, either via their computer microphone or by "chatting" on the keyboard. The instructor can switch between being on camera or sharing the computer screen, such as a presentation slide. The instructor also has the ability to mute students when needed and to allow them to write on the screen when they need to share an answer or participate in some other way, all of which mimics a "real life" classroom in some really neat ways.
What we liked
My children both have thoroughly enjoyed live e-courses. The part they have liked the best is the instant community. Being in a class with peers, even though they have not connected offline with them, has given their school time a different flair from just studying with Mom and each other. They have also enjoyed having academic attention from another adult. I've been delighted to see both of them strive to shine and earn praise from their online teachers, and to hear another adult comment on their strengths and weaknesses.
What we learned
Before this semester, I truly had not thought much about online learning. I taught professionally for many years before staying home with my children, and my husband teaches as well, so I assumed that we could pretty much handle homeschooling on our own. But while I still feel confident in that, I now see some key ways that a live e-course can be particularly helpful.
If the subject is new or foreign to you
I can see this being particularly helpful in foreign languages (though my husband studied Latin, it is new to me) or in subject areas that a parent feels less confident in. At the same time, the e-classes enabled me to learn alongside my child (off-camera, of course, lest she die of embarrassment!) so I could then help her complete her assignments.
If the subject calls for discussion.
It is hard to replicate classroom discussion in a homeschool environment, and there are many subjects where the discussion and wrestling with issues is just as valuable as the information received from the book or the instructor.
If your child craves community.
My kids actually get plenty of interaction - "unsocialized" they are not! At the same time, they love interacting with peers and others, and this allows them to do so in an academic setting with a moderator/teacher who keeps everything on track.
What to watch out for
E-classes did not mean that I was not needed! While my son obviously needed more of my help than my daughter, I quickly realized that checking them in online did not mean I could completely check out. Ways I have been involved with my children's e-classes have varied from being right there with my son to help him follow his teacher's instructions, to being available to my daughter when she did not understand something, to keeping in touch with a teacher about assignments, to making sure I understood enough of Latin, for example, to help my daughter with her homework. E-classes make some things more accessible, but it does not relieve me as a homeschool parent of my ultimate responsibility.
Check back in over the next few days to see how our specific classes worked and what kinds of learners and family situations they would be good for!
What comes to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? Shamrocks, right? The color green? Parades?
St. Patrick’s Day is one of those days that is known for its outward celebration, and not for its religious roots - but those roots are actually more interesting to me, and have made this “smaller” holiday one of my favorites!
Patrick wasn’t Irish.
He was actually born in what is now modern-day Scotland. So why is he associated with Ireland?
Patrick was a victim of human trafficking.
When Patrick was sixteen years old, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was held captive for six years, after which he was able to escape and return home. And that would have been the end of the story with no St. Patrick’s Day if not for the next fact.
Patrick’s faith was strengthened by his trials.
Pateick did not have a strong faith when he was captured, but that changed over the years of captivity. When he returned home, he became a priest and developed a deep concern for the land and people of his captivity.
Patrick chose to return to the land of his captivity.
His concern for those who had held him captive led Patrick to return to Ireland to share the gospel. After initial resistance, he ended up planting churches and changing the culture for the better.
Patrick died on March 17.
At least, that is the tradition, and hence the reason for our celebration on this date.
Patrick isn’t actually a “saint”.
Patrick was never officially canonized by the Catholic Church, so while his feast day is celebrated, he is not an official saint.
Honoring Patrick’s legacy
While everyone is wearing green and shamrocks, it is worth remembering that this day's namesake was a man who came to a deeper faith in Christ as a result of personal injustice and then spent the rest of his life bringing the gospel to the people who were responsible for that injustice, seeking to live out Christ every moment.
It is a wonderful day to pray for missionaries, to ponder how God can bring purpose to the worst of your circumstances, and to live Christ before everyone you meet. Perhaps these words attributed to Patrick will be your prayer as well.
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
We're in that in-between time, when Christmas is mostly over (unless like us you still have some family celebrating to do) and the new year beckons, but it's not January 1 YET, so you're not behind YET. The possibilities are still out there, and I want to share several specific opportunities for the new year - but some are for a very limited time, so don't hesitate! (These include affiliate links - a portion of the sale price comes back to me, at no additional cost to you - but I NEVER share or promote anything I don't use or believe in myself!)
Better Breakfast Bootcamp - FREE
The 5-Day Bootcamp to Better Breakfasts starts tomorrow (12/29)! This is a FREE opportunity from my friends at Ultimate Bundles. You can learn how to have healthy, convenient breakfast foods you can grab on your way out the door, easily add in veggies to your first meal of the day, and more. Sign up here.
Better hair days - SALE
Lilla Rose, makers of the amazing hair accessories that I sell, is having their after Christmas sale through 11:59 p.m. Saturday 12/29. EVERYTHING is 10% off, and many styles are 30% or even 60% off! Plus you get free shipping with a $40 order, a free mini Flexi with a $60 order, and a free poinsettia brooch with a $75 order. Shop HERE.
Online women’s conference - EARLY BIRD PRICING!
I am really excited to be participating in another online conference with Heather Bowen from the blog, Life of a Homeschool Mom. From January 4-10, 2019, she will be presenting the online conference, A New Year: Your Best Year 2019 Conference for Moms. There will be 95+ speakers and over 175 workshops in the areas of marriage, parenting, goal-setting, planning, health, faith, self-care, and more - NOT just for moms, truly!
The best part? It is 100% online, AND you get lifetime access too ALL of the sessions, so no worries about having time during that specific week. You can see the whole lineup of sessions here. In addition to lifetime access to all conference workshops, attendees will receive a digital swag bag valued at over $800, and admittance to the conference community group.
I have the privilege of presenting three sessions ("Praying with Jesus for my Children"; "Worldview: what it is and why it matters to moms"; and "Finding Your Sphere of Influence for 2019"), but I am just as excited to be attending and soaking up some good teaching myself! I would love to "see" you there! Early bird pricing of $15 is good through January 3, and regular pricing of $20 will last through January 10.
Getting back in shape - SALE and a COUPON!
I so need to get back into an exercise routine, so I am going to dust off the Homeschool Mom Fitness Program (again, not just for homeschoolers and not just for moms). This program breaks exercising into manageable pieces throughout the day - perfect for all busy women! It is on sale now for $19.97 (normally $29.97), and it includes:
A cleaner home - SALE!
I am a thinker and a writer and a teacher, but I am NOT a natural homemaker. So I'm very grateful when those who are better at that than I am put out a product that helps people like me!
One thing I am trying out this year is the Motivated Moms system - a selection of downloadable planners with daily chores written into it. The tasks included are not adjustable, but they are general enough that they will fit most household needs - AND there is an app coming that will have the ability to customize, which I am very excited about. Founding memberships have access to all the planners AND the coming app, and are available through January 7 for only $9 for the year.
Is there something you are going to try in January to kick your year off to a better start? Share it in the comments!
Welcome! My name is Kristi. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a writer, a musician... but most of all a child and worshiper of God discovering that even in life's messes, God is still good. Learn more about me and my journey here!
Subscribe to keep up with This Side of Heaven. As a special thank you for trusting me with your time online, I will send you my e-book, Dear mom of a baby in heaven, for free.
Support This Side of Heaven by shopping with these companies!
Christian Book Distributors!