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Back to school Supplies

So the new year is starting and this year none of my kids will be homeschooled, but will going to the school about 2 blocks down from my house. The school is really lovely and is ranked in the top 10 schools in the state of florida. They offer a lot of support and enrichment activities that my kids have been enjoying. To add to the fact they are getting rid of the common core testing and will be using the Psat/Sat “hopefully”!

I'll keep my fingers crossed ūüėČ

My oldest son will be starting 9th grade this year and will be in his first year in highschool!

I'm so scared and I think he is more scared than I am. More so because he is worried about the math they might give him, but I told him not too worry we will work on it a lot at home. One thing I did do is go to Walmart and get all our supplies this year. I usually go to target, but I wanted to see how much more I would save by going to Walmart for back to school supplies.

Along with going during the tax free week!

I saved a ton!

I ended up getting my son this locker shelf organizer and hopefully it will help him keep his locker organized, he was in private school once and his locker was all over the place. So I am hoping this locker shelf will help him stay a little more in order.

My three younger kids will be starting first, second and Fifth grade this year. My fifth grader wants to stay homeschool, but this year our home is going through a lot of changes and I need him to go to school until some things get settled.

Many school teachers ask for help with school supplies and I always like to try and get everything on the list. I don't get everything natural but who does and that can be really expensive.

Some items I got were:

 

Expo White Board Care Eraser – For the Teachers – Remember when teachers used Chalkboards and that sound -;)

Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers – Gotta keep those rooms clean

Crayola Colored Pencils

Elmer's Washable School Glue

Sharpie Yellow Highlighters

Fiskars 6 Pack of Blunt TIp Scissors

Fiskars Swing Arm Protractor

LockerMater Extra Tall Stac-A-Shelf Locker Shelf. 

 

Do you have kids?

What are some items that you have gotten in bundles or for less at other stores this year?

 

 

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I recently had the chance to come across an awesome kick-starter that is being raised to help the Sweet-blackberry organization to raise money to bring to light some truly remarkable stories about African American people. This whole concept is so cool to me, I remember being a little girl and hearing my grandmother tell me stories about how she grew up and things she learned along the way. I use to love just sitting there and having her pat my body really softly and tell me plenty of stories her history.

Story telling is one thing, I know was huge in the African american households a couple of generations back, since we did not have anyway to document our history, many African Americans would pass down their family legacy through stories, that their parents told them and so forth.

Which is why I totally support what the Sweet Blackberry organization is doing, it is bringing back to light the stories of many African Americans who went on to to do many great things and contributed to the growth of this country as a whole.

Sweet Blackberry is doing what many schools have not done and probably will never do, that is to tell us the many great stories of African American history in America. It sort of reminds me of  Life Upon These Shores by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Which are stories of  African American history in America. Which is a  Phenomenal book and I recommend you read it if you get a chance too. However sweet-blackberry breaks it down in puts it into a way that children would receive it very easily.

I'm not too sure if it will be in book format just yet but I do know right now in its beginning stages it is in DVD form.

Karyn Parsons who used to play Hillary on Fresh Prince Of Bel Air is the founder of Sweet Blackberry and I am so glad she is doing something like this. It will help parents and schools to give children a more rounded education into all cultures.

I think it is something totally worth looking into too, if your a parent, homeschooling mom and would love to teach your children about all types of history. ūüėČ

Good Stuff!! ūüėČ

To learn more you can can Visit Sweet Blackberry for more information.

 

Sweet Blackberry Intro from karyn parsons on Vimeo.
 

 

 

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mahogany homemakerTell me what does mahogany homemaker mean?

 

There are literally tons and tons of homemaking blogs, websites, and vlog channels. But I wanted to make the distinction that my homemaking perspective is rooted in my heritage as an African American. There are certain aspects to homemaking that are unique to my background of being an African- American woman raised in the Midwest with Southern roots. Mahogany is a rich brown wood. And trees have deep roots just like myself. So that is why I choose Mahogany Homemaker.

 

When did you first decide that homeschooling was right for your family?

Our homeschooling journey started 7 years ago when my oldest child was in a public school pre-k program. I was hesitant to enroll her to begin with but at the time my husband was not on board with me keeping her at home at that point.(He is now my biggest support.) So after about 3 or 4 months my bright eyed eager to learn child was beginning to loose her spark. I would ask the teacher every day how she was doing and she said she was fine and I had nothing to worry about. Well when it came for conference time she informed me that my daughter had speech delay and she wanted to recommend her for special assessment and speech therapy. I was in shock and floored. My daughter(who was 3 at the time) was a very fluent and clear communicator. She was actually an early talker. She never missed a milestone. So this was news to me.

Come to find out my daughter had been sitting in that school all those months and was not talking in class at all. It was because she had been bullied by another student and when she tried to inform the teacher nothing was done so my daughter not knowing what to do began to withdraw. This was all I needed. I didn't want her there in the first place. So I went to my husband and asked him if we could began homeschooling. After seeing the results of the local public school he was ready to agree to us getting started at home. I mean he knew for sure we could do a better job than that. It took me almost two years at home to undo what that school did in a few months. I spent a lot of time building my child's confidence when it came to her school work. She has since blossomed into a very outgoing bright young woman. So we know it was the right decision. Since we started our journey our family has expanded quite a bit. I am now the mother of 5 beautiful children. So all of our other children when came time just joined in on our homeschool journey. We are in it for the long haul. Homeschooling is now our norm.

 

As we know with homeschooling and mothering there are many ups and downs. How do balance the down times when things are not going as we'll?

No matter the circumstances you are in I believe all mothers face challenges and adversity throughout there journey. Nothing is picture perfect. The key is to learn how to be flexible. If you get knocked off your horse know how to dust yourself off and get back on and keep riding. Prayer is obviously a good place to turn as well. I mean I think continuing to build a strong relationship with the Creator is key to being able to withstand the trials that sometimes come in life. Over the years I have not overcome every obstacle with grace and ease. I have had plenty of times where I took the hard route in the situation. But looking back I can say the thing that makes moving past adversity the most difficult is not relying on my spouse and children to see me through. Moms sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and that it is our duty to fix everything. But sometimes we forget that we are in a family and that means we have a whole team willing and waiting to be called out onto the field with you.

 

Nothing is picture perfect. The key is to learn how to be flexible.

~ MahoganyHomemaker 

 

Tell me what are a couple of your favorite curriculum and books?

Even though I am a self confessed “Curriculum Junkie” I totally have been a DIY curriculum girl. I do more window shopping of name brand curriculum than I do actual purchases. I use homeschool catalogs, websites, podcast, and videos as inspiration to create my own tailor fitted curriculum for my children. It saves money doing it this way which is a factor cause we are considered a large family. And I find it easier to teach what I have put together myself. Now the DIY way is not for everyone. For one thing its is a lot more work. I mean I have spent many times burning the midnight oil. So doing things this way is not for the faint hearted. But this is the way I have done it for many years now.

 

Now there are some great resources that I think helped give me some good guidelines to start with building my own. I will try and narrow down a few but there are many. One the first big resources I came across in the beginning of our homeschool journey is “The Well Trained Mind” by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. Also “Home Learning Year by Year” by Rebecca Rupp was a goodie. One great resource to help get you started with African History is “Africa The Untold Story” by Michele Mitchell. Also Africana Studies Professor Dr. Molefi Kete Asante has two great history text out that can be used as is or tailored into maybe unit studies are “Classical Africa” and “African American History: A Journey of Liberation”. For more resources I recommend visiting my Pintrest page. I have loads of Pin Boards that are categorized very well into various homeschool topics and units.

 

mahogany daugter

 

What inspired you to start your blog?

I actually started Vlogging first. I began sharing videos on YouTube back in 2007. YouTube was still fairly new then. I was literally the 2nd mom of color to do videos on the topic of homeschooling. Since the community presence wasn't as big as it is now on YouTube I would seek out connections elsewhere. I discovered many forums and yahoo support groups for homeschooling. That was when I began to notice in peoples signature at the bottom of there post they were linking people to there blogs. I would visit these blogs and see all these wonderful inspirational pictures and post all about homeschooling, homemaking, and natural family living. But there were only a handful of brown faces. So I decided to start my first blog back then with a free blogger account.We were bend towards a Classical Education at that time.

My blog started just as a journal to chronicle our homeshool experience in classical education. I wrote about what I was teaching the children, our field trips and outings, and challenges I faced in choosing materials. So I stayed with that first blog for years. Over time my Youtube Channel began to gain much intrest. There was a surge of mommy vloggers and bloggers coming online. So I relaunched my channel this time on the platform of Homemaking from the perspective of a Stay at Home Mother of Color. I received assistance from my wonderful comrade and fellow homeschooling blogger and vlogger Demetria Zinga over at Christian Homeschool Moms.com With her motivation and expertise I was able to create an blogging space to accompany my new YouTube Channel. So that is the story of how MahoganyHomemaker.com got started.

 

How do you manage being a homeschool mom, blogger, full time stay at home mom with five kids?

Well for one I do not blog professionally. Blogging is my journal and my ministry to the homeschool community. So that takes a lot the pressure off for me to have consistent new post and materials all the time. That would just be to much stress for me at this point in my life. I have 3 children in the 5 and under group right now. As far as being a stay at home mom and homeschooling I look at my roll as not being one of someone who wears many hats but only one hat. That hat is “Mom”. I am mom rather I am homeschool, blogging, or managing the needs of the my husband and household. As long as the only the person I try to be is “Mom” then the rest just falls into place.

 

Being a African American mom that home schools and very passionate about a women returning to natural mothering. How do you deal with the challenges of outside opinions on your mothering style?

 

Although I am quite aware that the average person is affected by outsiders opinions I tend not be concerned with that. I have always stood out from the crowd throughout my life. I have always walked the road less traveled so when I decided to become a stay at home mom and then a homeschooling mom it was just a drop in the bucket for my friends and family.I was already the 1st to choose breastfeeding of bottle feeding, cloth diapering, organic foods, natural hair, etc… I did get a lot of questions and unwanted opinions but that is just it. They are other peoples opinions. When it comes to decisions about my family the only people that matter is my husband and I. No one else get a vote. You know folks growing up were always quick to say stuff like “You don't pay none of my bills!” Well I take that sentiment in this case.

I had the privileged and pleasure of being reared under my grandmother who was a phenomenal homemaker and a mother of 13. I can only hope to have an inch of what she had. Homemaking in my family left with my grandmother. After her generation in ushered a new era of the Professional Woman. It seems in my community most women choose professions outside of the home rather than inside. I much rather be a Professional Mom. The payoff is way more rewarding. At least for me.

 

What tips would you give to new moms that are considering homeschooling and want a better education for their children? Yet are a afraid to to make the leap because of the social norm.

 

I basically feel like there are many reasons to consider when choosing rather or not homeschooling is right for your family. I would not let the opinion of others be one of them. They are your children and you need to decided as a family what is right for your children. Essentially homeschooling is not just an educational option but a lifestyle choice. Go into it knowing that it will be a change for the better. Start your homeschooling journey with a clear goal as to ‘Why” you are homeschooling and “What” your end vision is for your child's education.

 

Where else can we find you online?

 

Blog: www.mahoganyhomemaker.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/themahoganyhomemaker

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/100920886629281412110/100920886629281412110/posts

Pintrest: www.pintrest.com/mhomemaker

 

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I just wanted to share how well my younger son Jordan has been doing with his violin lessons. He has been taking lessons for less than a year now and has been progressing at a rapid rate. I love the fact that he chose the violin.  The sounds of a violin has always been one of my all time favorite instruments, just the sounds of hearing a violin play always seems to entrance me or help me to fall a sleep.

Here is my little Jordan stepping up and doing his best at the Spark Recital, which is a home-school enrichment center for children to come to.

Do you any of your children play instruments? I would love to know.

 

jordan violin

jordan violin 2

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Reading over the summer

Well the summer has arrived and many parents that are homeschooling their kids are taking the summer off. I plan on doing a mixture a both. I decided that the first two weeks the kids will have off. They will also have one week each month to go to a summer camp and be around other kids and do some fun things. Which are both educational and fun!

This is my first year homeschooling, so I did not want to burn myself out, or make my kids feel like they will not have much of a summer by constantly doing school like things.

So we came to agreement, on incorporating reading, writing, math, into the weeks of summer with out it feeling monotonous or drudgery.

Like I said before, the first two weeks will be off to do whatever. Than after that we will do a little bit of math, writing and reading school related things every other day. Not a whole lot, just enough to keep them moving. Kids have to know that reading is a lifelong thing and should be embraced. They will have silent reading everyday to themselves, and of course I will still read to them everyday out of our readers that I have chosen as a group thing.

Reading as family is fun, and the kids love it. They learn all at the same time without even knowing it!

The reader that  I am reading to them right now is the Who was Albert Eienstein book. If you have not read any of these books they are so cool. This is my first one from the series in which they have a ton.  The kids are ready to dive in, they are both educational and based on real historical people through out history.

I picked up a couple at a Scholastic Book fair in my neighborhood recently, If you have not been to one you should go. You can visit their site to get the info and get a fast pass. Which allows you get a ton of books at less than wholesale value.

Such a steal!

You can visit Scholastic Here!

Anyhow, lets get back to the point. It is important to keep our children's brains active over the summer months, so they don't lose their place in academics. This is big one for me, since I have son that I brought home to home school since he was getting behind, really behind in comprehending things at the school rate of doing things.

Studies have shown that children fall three months behind in the learning progress they've made when they don't do anything in the summer to keep up. Staying academically active in the summer doesn't have to be dry and boring, though. There are many creative ways to keep the wheels in your child's brains rolling!

One thing that we have incorporated into our spiritual reading activities is to read the story first than right after once a week we dress up and act out the story like a play. The kids not only love it, it uses all multiple intelligences of learning which leaves a lasting imprint on the child's mind.

Next, take turns where the kids get practice in reading out loud to the family, this teaches them proper public speaking along with learning how to pace themselves through their reading out loud for a crowd.

Second have the children work together on writing books of their creative initiative. Use note-booking to help them with this . Note-booking is one thing that we have been using more and  more the past couple of months. They are  learning how to read, write,and create all at the same time.

Third, use computer based programs to keep the kids active with reading. My youngest two are using Reading eggs and ABC Mouse  to keep up with reading , their having  fun and learning which is the whole point. I will have a review up soon on Reading Eggs.

We Love it!

Children can get together with a small group of friends and write a storybook. They can do so in a round robin way, where each child writes some and then passes it to the next for their turn. Or they can collaborate as they go along. When they are finished writing the story, they can work on some illustrations. They might even have fun finding pictures in magazines to use for the illustrations. They can put it all together with some cardboard pieces for the book cover. They will probably need your help with that part, as it will be hard to cut. When it is all done, they can take turns keeping the book each weekend to show grandparents and whoever else they would like to show it off to.

And of course, don't forget your public library's summer reading program. It is a great initiative to keep your kids interested in books. They can choose their own books to read for the programs and that is a big deal. It is not only fun for the child, but, it really helps to keep their desire to read going strong. The child who is always told exactly what to read sees it as nothing more than a chore. The library's programs usually all have prizes for certain numbers of books read ‚Äď and then main prizes at the end of the program. And a lot of the programs have a kick-off party and a party for when it's over, too.

One program that we are getting to read is Pizza Huts Book It program.  That is going to be in the Fall though.

We don't eat a lot of bought pizza around here, only homemade but every now and than I give in to the kids and their dad's selfish cravings. Right…

So many kids fall behind, just from the gaps that happen over the accumulated summers. It can be really hard to catch up when school starts back up in the fall and by the time the child reaches middle school, they may be several grades behind in reading alone.

Which is something that I dealing with right now with my oldest son.

We don't have to make kids' summers all work and no play, but, keeping their brains in operation is imperative for them to  learn that learning is fun and life long.

 

 

By the way Reading Eggs does offer a Free Trial  which is what I used before I signed up for the year. Totally worth it! You can find the offer here Reading EGGS!

ABC Mouse also offer a  Free Trial and offer where you are able to Add up three kids for the price of one! Huge deal you can check that out here! ABC Mouse!

 

 

What sort of things are you doing to keep your kids reading over the Summer?

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