What's the big deal about Young Living

Free Preschool Printable

I’m trying my hand at something new: Printables

Preschool printable

Here’s a super simple preschool printable I whipped up. Click the link to view and print the pdf. You can hand this to your preschooler when you have a lesson to do with big brother or sister that requires your attention. Pre-readers can follow the simple instructions on this printable to practice their preschool skills without assistance from you.

This is my very first try, but I’ll be making more of these for all ages. Be sure to sign up for my free email newsletter to get more of these free printables delivered to your inbox.

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A Homeschooled Student’s Guide to CLEP Tests

A Homeschooled Student's Guide to CLEP TestsThis is a guest post, written by Madison Hughes, homeschool graduate and college senior. This post is part 1 of a 4-part series on CLEP tests for homeschooled students. Be sure to check back for parts 2, 3, and 4.

The popularity of CLEP tests is currently on the rise, and you may have heard about them from friends or acquaintances as a way to earn college credit. Homeschoolers especially can take advantage of this easy method. This 3-part series will guide you through learning about and choosing a CLEP test, studying for and taking a CLEP test, and transferring CLEP credit to a college. In part 1, we will discuss what exactly a CLEP exam is and how to determine if it is right for you or your student.

What is a CLEP test?

A CLEP test is an exam that a student may take to obtain college credit on a certain subject. Students are generally awarded 3 hours of credit per test, although a few more advanced tests may count for more hours. The exams are given by computer at designated testing locations and are 90 minutes long. The number of questions varies per test but is usually in the range of 90-120. Each test is scored out of 80 possible points, with 50 points normally being the benchmark for awarding college credit. However, some colleges may choose to impose stricter standards on what CLEP scores they will accept.

Why should I take a CLEP test?

The 33 available CLEP tests cover a variety of different subjects. Students can easily use CLEP exams to obtain easy credit for many of their general education requirements, regardless of their chosen degree. This can help students to graduate from college on time or even early with less expense. (The Official CLEP Study Guide for each subject is usually $24.99 and the test is $80. That means you can get 3 hours of college credit for around $100.)

Deciding to take CLEP tests can help any student get a head start in college, but homeschooled high school students have a special advantage in this regard. In addition to giving college credit, a homeschool curriculum could easily be modified to use CLEP tests as dual credit. For example, a high school student who needs to study US History before graduation can fulfill this requirement by studying for and taking both US History CLEPs. In this way, the student gets college credit from studying a subject that he or she would have had to study anyway.

Who should take CLEP tests?

There is no age restriction on CLEP tests, although students under 13 must have signed consent from a parent before testing. However, the tests do cover college-level material and therefore require a certain degree of maturity from the student. I took my first CLEP test at 17, although I probably could have passed it earlier. For the average high school student, I would recommend taking CLEPs starting no earlier than their junior year. Advanced students may easily be able to pass an exam before this, however, so don’t hesitate to let your student start studying and taking practice tests at an earlier age.

Hopefully you now have a better grasp on the nature of CLEP tests. In part 2 of this series we will be discussing selecting and studying for a CLEP exam. Be sure to check back for the next installment!

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Preparing Homeschoolers for College Success: Reading Aloud

Preparing Homeschoolers for College Success

Since I am about to send off my second exclusively homeschooled child to college on an academic scholarship, I get quite a few questions about how to prepare homeschoolers for college.

There are many elements we teach our children during the years and years we are preparing them to launch out on their own. These include, but are not limited to:

  • organizational skills
  • discipline
  • determination
  • proficiency in basic subjects
  • independent study skills
  • curiosity
  • self motivation

But what I want to touch on today is the single most important thing I have done for my children to prepare them for college success.

READING ALOUD

And I don’t just mean reading “Red Fish, Blue Fish” to my preschoolers. I mean reading aloud every day to all ages who are gathered in the living room and listening attentively to true stories of real life heroes, and fairy tales, and science fiction, and historical fiction, and biographies of famous inventors, and the classics, and the popular chapter books, and silly poems, and long sombre poems, and current events. I mean reading things above their levels of understanding and then talking about the words they didn’t understand.

This daily activity is important in so many ways. 

Reading aloud trains children to sit quietly and listen.

Everyone comes to the living room at the appointed time with paper and pencils or crayons so they can doodle or draw if they choose. The little ones sometimes want to whine, but I correct their behavior and continue reading. Before long, even preschoolers can sit for half an hour listening and then summarize what was read.

Reading aloud expands their minds.

What we send into that ear becomes the foundation for the child’s ‘brain house.‘” -Jim Trelease

Reading aloud sends your children to foreign countries they may never be able to actually visit. It allows them to explore imaginary lands, real landmarks, homes of historical figures, ocean depths, and distant planets.

Reading aloud sparks curiosity.

There have been many times when one or more of my children have sneakily taken the book I’m in the middle of reading aloud and read the entire thing in one day. Then they beg me to go to the library and check out more books by the same author or on the same subject.

When I read aloud about missionaries in Africa, they want to know more about missionaries and Africa. When I read The Magician’s Nephew, they want the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia series. When I read The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, they want to see what other works Poe has written. When I read about how to incubate turtle eggs, they want to know more about turtle development. In all of the above cases, the child seeks out the new reading material on their own.

Reading aloud instills a love of reading.

See above.

Reading aloud develops vocabulary.

I try to include literature that has vocabulary slightly above the children’s level of understanding. When they hear an unfamiliar word, this does an amazing thing. It makes them wonder what the unfamiliar word means. They ask me about it. They try out the word in conversation at the dinner table. We may congratulate them on using a new word, or all laugh at their misuse of it and tell them how to correctly use it. Whatever the success or our response, a new word has worked its way into the storehouse of the child’s mind.

One example of this is when my 9 year recently old asked me, “Would it be treasonous for President Obama to work with Russia?”

Reading aloud increases success rates on standardized tests, like PSAT, SAT, and ACT.

Studies show a close correlation to students’ success in school and on standardized tests and vocabulary knowledge. My own two oldest children who have gotten academic scholarships based on the results of their SAT and ACT scores have shown this to be true in our family.

You can see why I am a firm believer in reading aloud to children of all ages. 

Do you read aloud to your children?

See some of our favorite read alouds here.

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How to Make Giant Bubbles

How to make Giant Bubbles

 

If there is ever a perfect time to learn how to make giant bubbles, spring time is it!

giant bubbles

The weather is perfect, and everyone is ready to get outdoors after months of cold rain, ice, and snow. So all the Smockities have been on a quest to find the perfect recipe and the best method to make giant bubbles.

Popping giant bubbles

Here is the recipe that we found great success with.

Giant Bubbles Recipe

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups blue Dawn dish soap

1. Mix the water and corn syrup thoroughly.

2. Add dish soap slowly, and stir, trying not to make bubbles.

giant bubbles

 

We experimented with the design of the bubble wand before we settled on our final model.

Emelyn with giant bubbles

 

Here’s how we did it.

  • 2 dowels
  • 2 pieces of string (one longer than the other)
  • washer (for weighing the lower string down)

1. Tie the ends of the short string onto the ends of the 2 dowels.

2. Thread the washer onto the long string.

3. Tie the ends of the string onto the dowel near the first string.

4. Dip string into bubble solution.

giant bubbles

In this photo, you can see the washer on the bottom string is weighing it down, so no one needs to hold it as in the above pictures.

giant bubbles

We had so much fun with these easy to make giant bubbles!

Outdoor Play Challenge

 

Give them a try and check out the rest of these great outdoor activities in the Great Outdoor Play Challenge.

 

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Go to Homeschool Retreat FOR FREE! {PLUS $50 Giveaway}

Homeschool retreat giveaway

Have you heard about the phenomenal event, The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit? If you haven’t, you are missing out on the chance to receive a boatload of encouragement, refreshment, and renewal!

Here are some recaps of past Summits from different attendees:

And here you can see for yourself what attending The Summit looks like.

And now, for the first time ever, there is a way to attend The Summit FOR FREE! Here’s how:

  • Round up 5 friends who have never been.
  • Print off 3 of these registration forms.
  • Fill in the info for yourself and your 5 friends.
  • Collect the money and write one check to cover the registration for those 5. (YOURS IS FREE!)
  • Mail to:

Winter Summit
c/o Roxanne Parks
2612 Meadow View Road
Edmond, OK 73013

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have 5 homeschooling friends, but I would love to meet some like minded ladies!” We would love to have you at The Summit, and to help you get there we are offering a $10 discount code. When you register, simply apply the code “smockity10″.

AND as a special bonus, one lucky winner will receive the cost of their registration refunded in a drawing on January 1st!

Okay, who’s ready to win a $50 Amazon gift card??? Anyone can enter and there are multiple ways, so be sure to increase your chances by visiting each blogger who will be attending The Summit!

Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. Then, hop on over to the the other participating blogs to enter there, too. You will be given one entry per blog, for a maximum of 5 entries. One winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, December 17 to receive the $50 Amazon gift card.

See you at The Summit!

2015 web button MEET ME IN TX

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Developing Your Child’s Natural Gifts

developing child's natural talents

This is a pencil drawing my 19yo daughter did of her sister, my 4yo, Peyton.

A pencil drawing.

Honestly, I’m in awe of the gift she possesses! It isn’t something she inherited from me. It isn’t something I taught her. It isn’t something she learned from a curriculum.

It is something that was allowed to develop through hours and hours of practice and the freedom to do that whenever the inspiration struck. Whether that was 9:30 in the morning or 2:30 in the afternoon didn’t matter. Since we homeschool, studies could be postponed or rescheduled in order to focus on developing her natural gifts.

Whether your child is creative, artistic, inventive, gifted at writing, mechanically inclined, or otherwise talented, be sure to give them plenty of unstructured time and the materials they need to experiment with and develop that natural gift God has given them.

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