Talking to Kids About Sex – Awkward Parenting Moments

I promise this isn’t going to be as awkward as it sounds. Or maybe it is, but that is kind of the point here. What am I blathering on about? Let me get straight to it.

For many parents, talking to their kids about sex is one of those uncomfortable subjects that fall into a “necessary evil” category sort of thing. For others, it is no big deal. I am somewhere in the middle of those two options. It is just not a natural conversation topic for me, but I know that I want to pass along a healthy, biblical view of sex to my kids. This mean I have to talk about it and with four kids, I guess I should get used to it sooner rather than later.

We have always been open with our children when it comes to talking about our bodies. We gave them the actual terms for their body parts, but also the general terms of private parts and bottom, and used those for the most part. They knew that those parts were private and we did have discussions about what they should do if someone tried to touch and/or talk to them about those parts.

With one exception, our youngest was given the term peepee for his penis because he is a very verbal boy and has been from a young age. This meant that his filter was utterly non-existent and he would randomly shout out words that he knew would make someone laugh because he is also a ham. With preteen kids, body parts were a sure success at this. Peepee made it a little less inappropriate (in my eyes) when this happened in public places.

And then someone gave him the right word and all bets were off. Now that novelty has worn off (thank heavens) and he only refers to it in matter-of-fact ways. Ironically, this cracks the preteens up even more. I can’t win.

Enough about us, I actually have a resource I want to talk to you about today.

Talk to Your Kids About Sex - It doesn't have to be awkward. There is a great resource available to help walk parents through a biblical way to tackle the subject with their kids.

Talking to Kids About Sex

I’ve written about, reviewed, and given away resources from Luke and Trisha Gilkerson of Intoxicated on Life here before. Heck, I even wrote for them for a while. I love their resources and blog. This series is no different. They have written quite a lot about sex education on their blog, and now they have a trilogy of books to put resources in your hands to help you navigate this anxiety-inducing topic from a biblical perspective. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief…whew.

I purchased their book called The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality earlier this year to use in our homeschool. When Trisha was looking to put together a team to launch the second book in the series called Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty, I jumped at the chance to get this one for free. 😉

The third book in the series is called Relationships: 7 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality and it will be available early 2016.

Let’s go over a bit of what is actually in these two books.

The Talk - Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality

The Talk

The seven lesson titles:

  1. God Made Them Male and Female
  2. Go Forth and Multiply
  3. Wonderfully Made
  4. The Two Shall Become One Flesh
  5. You Shall Not Commit Adultery
  6. Do Not Violate Me
  7. Bought With a Price

Each lesson gives you an opening thought, a section of scripture to read with an explanation of why it is relevant, a series of talking points to go over with your child, questions for your child, and concludes with a prayer. There are illustrations for things as well.

The ages recommended for this book are 6-10 years old. This may seem young to start this conversation, but if you take a while to look at our culture, you will see why parents need to start this conversation earlier these days. Our culture is more than willing to talk to kids about sex at any time.

Parents, if you want to be the first one to talk to your children about these topics, you need to be paying close attention and realize that this might need to happen sooner than you’d like. A bit more on my thoughts on this later.

Changes 735x1102

Changes

The second book contains these lessons:

  1. Just Like Jesus: Growing in Wisdom and Stature
  2. Puberty: Just One of Many Changes
  3. Hormones: The Catalyst of Change
  4. Girls and Boys: Changes We Can Both Expect
  5. Girl Changes: Becoming a Woman
  6. Boy Changes: Becoming a Man
  7. Changes in Desire: The Goodness of Sexual Attraction

The book follows the same format for each lesson as The Talk. The recommended ages are 8-12.

A Few Final Thoughts

These are fantastic resources for starting an ongoing conversation about sex with your kids. Each book also contains a section on what happens next. It gives you ideas for ways to continue the conversation you started.

When you get these books, pre-read them before diving in with your kids. This way you will not be caught off-guard about any of the subjects covered and it will give you a better idea of when you actually need to approach these subjects with your kids.

Luke and Trisha do a great job introducing parents to the material. A good chunk of the book covers some common questions and concerns a parent may have about starting this conversation so early with your children.

I’ll end this with a bit of advice, if you have both genders of children, you may want to consider going through these separately. Talking to preteen girls and boys at the same time may result in unnecessary awkwardness. Ask me how I know…

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Coupon Code! The Gilkerson’s have generously offered a coupon code for my lovely readers who decide to purchase these resources. You can save 10% on either Changes or the Sex Ed Series (which already gives you a $2 discount on the two books) with code – SV10. The code is only good through November 11, 2015. So hurry!

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Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School and Beyond

If it tells you anything about how much I was stressing over homeschooling beyond elementary school, I started this post in 2014. My oldest was entering 6th grade and I was kind of panicking because, well, middle school is right before high school and high school is slightly (very) intimidating to me.

At least, it was at the time. I’m not so much intimidated by it now. I’m pretty excited at the idea of walking through that with my kids. I still have time to research so I’m good. Ask me again in a year or so and let’s pray I’ll be the same…

Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School and Beyond

Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School Resources

I decided that since I found the thought of homeschooling middle school to be intimidating, others might be in the same boat. So today I am finally going to finish this post and give you a few resources that I am currently reading/using or have already read/used to help calm my fears.

1. The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell

I was given this book at a conference in early 2014, right about the time it was hitting me that I was going to have a 6th grader and that 6th grade isn’t very far from 9th grade. I’m a planner by nature, I like to plan things out so I thought I should definitely have this book.

Imagine my surprise when open it up and realize that she had written a section on homeschooling middle school and it was just perfectly what I needed to read. I personally love Deb’s writing style. It is conversational without being overly wordy. Like talking to a friend who cares enough to give you what you need to know, with just enough personal stories to make you understand that she gets where you are coming from.

I’d recommend this book to anyone thinking about homeschooling beyond elementary school. It pairs nicely with The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling.

2. Lee Binz’s The HomeScholar

This is a website specifically meant to help you homeschool high school. Her blog is a great resource for answering any questions you may have about preparing for high school. I like it because there are things that haven’t even crossed my mind that are discussed.

3. Other Bloggers

Yes, there are other bloggers out there who are walking this homeschool middle school journey with me and there are also homeschool bloggers who are finished with this part and want to help other moms navigate it confidently. I appreciate that so much.

The Sunny Patch has a list of blogs that talk about homeschooling middle school. I’d recommend checking that list out to see if one fits your needs.

One that is mentioned on her list that I am finding very helpful is Education Possible. One of the writers for that blog also happens to be one of the bloggers I met while working on The Library Adventure. Small world on the interwebs, isn’t it?

Dollie has a great article called 7 Ways to Transition Your Homeschool Into Middle School that I recommend reading.

4. Pinterest

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Pinterest is one of my favorite social media platforms. It is so much better than a bookmarks folder. But you knew that, right? (See also: Homeschooling Resources on Pinterest – Organized by Subject)

A couple resources regarding that:

That’s the list for now. I hope it helps you find some help with easing the anxiety of preparing to homeschool middle school. Now that I’m here (times two now!), it isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be quite fun!

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers| Vicki-Arnold.com

Facebook has three distinct sections that homeschoolers can use to their advantage: profiles, pages, and groups. A brief description:

  • Profiles – This is what you create when you sign up for Facebook, profiles are for people. You have to send a friend request to connect your profile with someone else’s or vice versa. You control the privacy settings that determine what others see.
  • Pages – These are public pages that are for businesses, public figures, blogs, etc. All you have to do to connect with pages is to click like. All info posted on a page is public, but it won’t all find its way into your news feed (more on that later).
  • Groups – Groups are where groups of users can gather to discuss common interests. Groups can be set up three ways. Open groups can be found in searches and anyone can see the posts. Closed group content can only be seen by members, but the group still shows up in searched and you can request to join. Secret groups are not found in searches and can not be linked to, members have to be added directly via email.

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Profiles

This one is pretty basic, you can’t really do anything on Facebook unless you have a profile. It is a great way for people to stay connected as they go about their lives. Just be sure to go through the privacy settings to know exactly what you are sharing with the world.

Use your Facebook profile to:

  • connect with family and friends, near and far
  • join groups for encouragement, resources, and information
  • like and follow pages of businesses, blogs, and ministries you like and/or support

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Pages

These can be great if you understand how they work. Just about every brand, blog, and business is on Facebook. If you have a favorite curriculum, blog, or anything else, just do a search for them.

Before you go all like happy and giddy to have all your favorites in one place, you should know how Facebook works. Only a portion of the posts that each page posts will show in your news feed. True story. Facebook uses a super secretive (and super frustrating to some, ahem, bloggers) algorithm to figure out what you want to see. The theory is that you don’t actually want to see EVERYTHING that a page posts, just the best.

In theory, this is great for you. In reality, you may miss a LOT that you actually want to see. The only way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to actually go to the page and scroll through their wall. This may be a pain, but it is truly the only way you will see it all.

The nice thing is you can actually go to your profile, scroll down, and you will find a section with all your “likes.” You can then click to see them all on one page. An easy way to find the ones you have liked so far.

Use your profile to like pages of:

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a lot of fun. You get to interact with people who share a common interest, find great resources through extra eyes on the world wide web, and be encouraged that you are not alone in your life circumstances.

You can set your settings to receive notifications whenever anyone posts in the group, when friends post in the group, or no notifications at all. Which one you choose will depend largely on the group. For example, a large, active group would overwhelm our notifications if you set it to receive them when anyone posted. However, a smaller group that is more specific in its focus may be one you want to receive them all so you do not miss anything, particularly if it is a long time between postings.

My favorite homeschool related Facebook groups:

All you have to do to find great resources on Facebook is to search them out. Ask friends for their recommendations or start with the ones listed here, and then explore. As you go, Facebook will give you recommendations based on your interests.

Just remember that Facebook is a tool for you to use, don’t let it rule and ruin your day!

Homeschool Resources on Pinterest – Organized by Subject

Homeschool Resources on Pinterest - Over 75 boards organized by subject! vicki-arnold.com

It’s no secret. I love Pinterest.

But before we get started with this post, I want to say this: if you are struggling with comparison or guilt over things you see on Pinterest or blogs, please read the post I wrote just for you. If you are wondering what Pinterest has to do with homeschooling, please read this post.

Pinterest is such a great tool.

Think of it like your bookmarks folder, but 100 times better. But I’ve already covered that so let’s get down to some great resources.

Linked below are Pinterest boards organized by subject. I hope you find just what you are looking for!

Homeschool Resources on Pinterest

Follow Vicki Arnold’s board Homeschool :: Writing on Pinterest.

 

Language Arts

General Language Arts

Phonics & Reading

Literature

Spelling & Vocabulary

Writing & Grammar

Follow Vicki Arnold’s board Homeschool :: Geography on Pinterest.

Social Studies

General Social Studies Boards

History

Geography

Government & Economics

Follow Vicki Arnold’s board Homeschool :: Science on Pinterest.

 

Science

General Science & Experiments

Physics

Earth & Space Science

Biology

Chemistry

Nature Study

Follow Vicki Arnold’s board Homeschool :: Math on Pinterest.

Math

General Math Resources

Early Math

Elementary Math

Higher Level Math

Follow Vicki Arnold’s board Homeschool :: Art on Pinterest.

Fine Arts

Art

Music

 

Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum

Where to Buy Homeschool Curriculum | Vicki-Arnold.com

One of the most frequently asked questions I get when people tell me they are considering homeschooling is “Where do you buy curriculum?” or “What curriculum do you use?” And I get it. I was rather unaware of what was available when I first started.

Thankfully the world of homeschool curriculum has improved greatly in the time since my husband was homeschooled. My mother-in-law had to get quite creative when sourcing curriculum in the 80’s. Now, there are so many choices, it can make your head spin.

One of the best things to do is to go to a homeschool convention. The curriculum/exhibition hall is a great place to explore the many options available. If you don’t want to wait until convention season or the thought of a crowd makes you anxious, fret not. There are many other places to find curriculum.

Typical Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

What I consider a typical source are direct from the publisher or places that specialized in homeschool curriculum (or have a section dedicated to the niche).

Publisher Direct Sources

These are places you would buy a single subject or maybe a couple subjects as you piece your own curriculum together. This is no where near an exhaustive list. There are so many different curriculums, it literally makes my head spin sometimes. Ok, so not literally, but you get the point.

This is just a sampling of the ones I know of and some my fellow homeschool blogging friends shared with me to help round things out.

Box Curriculum Sources

These sources sell “complete” curriculums. Some cover every single subject and some may leave off one or two for you to place your students at their own level. Typically those are meant to teach multiple grade levels for subjects like history and then leave out math so your students can work individually as needed.

Homeschool Specialty Stores

Other Sources With Homeschool Selections

Unusual Sources for Homeschool Curriculum

Not all of my homeschool curriculum comes from your typical homeschool sources. I have found curriculum at the following places, too:

  • Ollie’s – I’ve sort of fallen in love with this discount chain. We have two relatively close to us and I like to stop in when I can. I usually check out their book selection (which is huge) and then look for organic snacks. In the book section, I have found math workbooks, puzzle books, and books for literature.
  • Goodwill – I am not in these very often, but love when it happens to fall on half-price books or toys days. I have found lots of books for history, literature, and even science. My favorite find though was probably the set of games that I picked up to go with some history lessons.
  • Dollar Tree – This is a great place to find homeschool supplies and even curriculum. I have found workbooks, books, and items for sensory bins.
  • Costco – I’ve been in love with Costco for a long time. There is almost always workbooks on their book tables. I have also picked up nice maps and saw nice globes there this back-to-school season.
  • Half-Priced Books – My favorite location even has a homeschool section now (and it seems to grow each time I am in). My favorite though is the clearance section. I always start there because sometimes I will find a copy of a book that is still on the regular shelves for half off, marked down to $2 simply because it had been there too long.
  • Yard Sales – This one is kind of rare for me, but I have seen homeschool curriculum at yard sales.

Keep your eyes open and you never know where you will come across homeschool curriculum. You might just save a bunch of money, too!

The Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner

The Well Planned Day (a family homeschool planner review)

It’s no secret that I reviewed and loved another planner earlier this year. It’s also not a secret that I like planners and lists. So when I was contacted to see if I would be interested in reviewing The Well Planned Day planner, me jumping at the chance wouldn’t be an inaccurate image.

Three things before I get into the review. I was provided a free planner so I could, you know, look it over and review it. I am a registered affiliate with HEDUA. Finally, this is a review of The Well Planned Day, not a comparison to any other planner (free or paid).

About The Well Planned Day

The Well Planned Day is a family homeschool planner created by Rebecca Scarlata Keliher. This planner was created to cover everything a homeschool family needed to track and plan. It is very thorough.

Details

  • spiral bound with three-hole punch for inserting in binders
  • full color
  • includes year and month at a glance calendars
  • is dated for the school year, which runs July through June (copy I received is 2013-2014)
  • includes a short inspirational article for each month (titles in my review copy include 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling, Book Gluttony, and Let Your Kids be Kids)
  • planning/tracking pages for household management and holiday shopping included
  • track up to four students in one planner with class plans, schedules, attendance charts, progress reports, and perforated report cards
  • Bible reading plan included on the monthly calendar, scripture quotes throughout the book, and a weekly catechism focus

My Review of The Well Planned Day Planner

First, I did not take any photos of the inside pages of this planner for copyright issues, but you can see 90 pages of the planner on the preview page. And really, those are much better than any photo I could give you. Now, on with the review!

Oh, my stars. This planner is gorgeous! Each month has a subtly different color scheme that helps give a fresh look to your eyes, but keeps with the overall design of the planner. And normally, I’m not a floral type girl, but I LOVE the floral design of this planner. Also, purple is a very frequent color in this planner and you can’t go wrong with purple in my book.

The content? Seriously, I can’t believe how well this is organized. It has goals. It has menu planning. It has perforated shopping lists, six for each month! It has budgeting forms. It has a section each month for books to enjoy, field trips/enrichment activities, and monthly bills.

To be a little more helpful, I will take you through a few things.

First we have your basic information and a fun little family time capsule type page, followed by a staying in touch page where you can track monthly celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. Then we move into the household pages for things like monthly budgets, income, household duties, and emergency contacts.

Then there is something that I think is completely genius. There is a perforated page for your students’ responsibilities and educational to do’s each day. I intend to finally buy a laminator and laminate the filled out cards for a checklist for each student. After that comes your homeschool planning pages.

What I love about the homeschool planning pages is that each student is given a two page spread to include their personal information, subjects and books, expenses, and a student schedule. I find this particularly helpful since each student has their own activities to track and oftentimes, their own daily rhythm or routine. I like that I can help each student visualize how their time is or should be spent.

There are two semester goals pages (one before July and one before January). At the end of December, there is an attendance record and progress report for four students.

Each month starts with a month at a glance two page spread that includes an inspirational quote, Bible verses for reading through the Bible in a year, and a notes section. Then comes the page with the sections for books, field trips, and bills. Next are the six, double-sided, perforated shopping lists (brilliant!!) and the inspirational article.

Now, the nitty gritty pages you will be using every day. And a confession for you, I realized I LOVE the fact that this planner is dated because I don’t like the way my handwriting looks so different than the rest of the text on pages that I have to fill in the dates (or subjects). I told you, I am pretty visually picky.

Each week has a two page spread. Each day has a column that is broken down by rows for Bible, Math, History, Science, English, and two custom spots. I love that Bible is top priority in the list. On top of the page are the current and next month at a glance calendars; a Bible verse; and an inspirational quote. On the right-hand page, there are sections for weekly priorities, your weekly dinner menu, and a weekly catechism question. I also love that there is a box for both Saturday and Sunday so you can mark your weekend activities in your planner, too.

Other details: a holiday planner section comes before December (LOVE), fonts are easy to read and pretty to look at, and the planner ends with a year at a glance look at next year and a future plans page.

Overall, I didn’t think I could love a planner as much as the other one, but I actually love this one more (sorry, there is a comparison)! I love that it is a homeschool family planner, not just a homeschool planner. I love that everything I need is in this one planner. The planner costs around $26 and is worth every penny.

There are a few different options available, so check out the Well Planned Day planners and see which one you would like! Next, I want to try out their On the Go planner. 😉

How to Use Pinterest for Homeschooling

How to Use Pinterest in Your Homeschool

I have professed my love for Pinterest many times before. Today, I want to talk to you about how you can use this tool in your homeschool. This is much better than your bookmarks folder, I promise.

We are going to cover setting up your boards, wise following, how to make it easier on yourself, and I will end with a word of caution. I am not covering how to register, that is pretty straightforward. Just simply go to the Pinterest website and follow the instructions.

When you register, they will prompt you to set up some generic boards and follow people, don’t stress about this. You can always delete the boards and unfollow people after you finish registering if you change your mind.

Note: I have used an affiliate link to an ebook about sensory bins in this post.

Setting Up Your Pinterest Boards

To create a new board, you will click on the create a board button and fill in the information. As far as how to organize and name your boards, you have several options. I am listing a few suggestions here and have included links to some of my specific boards in parentheses through this post so you can see examples of how my suggestions might look.

You can:

I would recommend using a combination. Here’s why and how you could use them:

  • a board for each child will help you pin things that are of interest for that particular child, like hobbies, crafts or life skills.
  • boards for subjects will keep information organized for multiple children; these boards would contain info that is relevant to more than one student
  • boards for specific grades can help you target activities for a specific age/grade level, again information that can be used for more than one student
  • boards by activity can help you cover multiple grades and subjects with things like sensory bins, unit studies, and handicrafts

Other Pinterest Boards to Create

I also recommend creating boards for you, the homeschool mom (or dad). Ideas for this include:

You Are Who You Follow

That may be debatable, but if you want to make the most of your Pinterest time, you want to pick and choose who you follow wisely. Your feed will be filled with the pins of those you follow. If you have no interest in wedding planning, don’t waste your time wading through pins about it.

How do you do this?

  1. You are careful about what profiles you select Follow All for.
  2. You follow individual boards.

When you come across a profile on Pinterest (like mine), go through the boards and see what types of items the person is pinning. If the majority of boards interest you, select follow all and then click on the unfollow button for the boards that do not interest you. If the majority of the boards do not interest you, just click follow on the ones that do.

When you search for something on Pinterest, you can choose between pins, boards, and pinners. The board search feature is quite nice if you want to look for other pinners who have a homeschool board or any other specific interest. Following a board will put anything pinnned to that board in the future in your feed. No need to check back later for new material.

Why should you follow anyone? In short, teamwork. It is impossible to be everywhere on the internet and you shouldn’t try to do that. By following people with the same interests at you, you are sharing the legwork. They find something awesome, pin it, and it shows up in your feed for you to pin or pass. And vice versa.

Making Pinterest Easier

Pinterest is better than your browser’s bookmarks file for those who need a visual reminder of what the heck they were saving something for. To make it just as easy to pin something as it is to bookmark it, add the pin it button to your browser’s toolbar (it’s called the Pinterest Bookmarklet).

From then on, when you find something that you want to save, you just click the Pin It button and put it on the correct board. You don’t ever have to leave the page or pull up Pinterest in another tab to add the link to a board.

Have something you don’t want everyone else to see, but you want to save?

Create a secret board! You are limited to 3 of these, but it is a great place to store things like Christmas present ideas and such.

A Final Word of Caution

Pinterest is a great tool for organizing your ideas and resources visually. However, like anything else, it can become a source of contention if you let it control you instead of you controlling it. There are many, many great ideas on Pinterest, but they aren’t all for you!

I’ve spoken about this before, so instead of adding a few hundred words more to this post, I am going to point you to two other posts if you want more information.

Just beware of the big shiny squirrel that Pinterest can be and keep it all in perspective. It really is a great tool.

Mom Tested Family Approved Homeschool Blog Hop #3

Mom Tested Family Approved Homeschool blog hop #3 - Back to School

Mom Tested Homeschool Blog Hop #3

Welcome to the August edition of the Mom Tested, Family Approved Homeschool blog hop! This is hop number three and this month we are talking back to school. Bloggers, bring us your best back to homeschool posts!

Readers, enjoy the encouraging words of your fellow homeschooling mamas!

Mom Tested Homeschool Blog Hop #2 Features

Featured on Mom Tested Family Approved blog hop

Last month we had 37 posts linked up. Here are the three featured posts, chosen by the readers:

Back to (Home) School at the Vicki Arnold blog

I have talked a bit about our new homeschool year here on the blog. Here’s a good place to start:

Sometimes Change is Necessary - Come be encouraged and read why our #homeschool is changing @ www.vicki-arnold.com

You can check out my homeschool category for more homeschool posts (like the Lego Library series).

Mom Tested Homeschool Blog Hop – Back to School

Mom Tested Family Approved Homeschool Blog Hop #3 - Back to School edition

Be sure to check out what my fellow co-hosts have to say this month – Dollie @ Teachers of Good Things and Cassondra @ Beyond the Cover

Do your thing, bloggers. 😉