Using Film Projects as Part of Homeschooling

Yes, I know this a rather random and maybe never considered subject. However, a recent article really made me sit up and take notice. Using film projects in your homeschool is a great learning tool. Video projects always captivate student’s attention… it involves their creativity and allows them to express themselves. Most student’s time during the day already contains a vast amount of electronic media… so why not harness that interest? Using film projects can also challenge  student’s in the area of language and expression… thus giving them the opportunity to realize how film can influence people. A film project isn’t limited to highschool students either – students using a third grade online curriculum could get involved as well!

Most mom teachers may be reluctant to incorporate this type of assignment into their homeschool simply because they aren’t familiar with filming. However, there are tons of great resources online that can help make this project a no brainer. However, to make the project a success the mom/teacher must create a rubric or lesson plan to give the project continuity and help the students with a goal. It’s great to give the students a standard for the quality of film and sound as well.

When introducing a film project it’s always great to start with a bit of instruction on basic filmmaking concepts. These should include the ideas of shot, take, montage, edit and export. Alfred Hitchcock once said that “the foundation of the art of making films” was the montage. Each of these means of expression gives the filmmaker the tools they need to create a successful film project.

Once you’ve taken the time to educate your students in the various aspects of film making its time to get started. Since, filming can be done on a multitude of devices there is a lot of flexibility with this project. First, request that your student use the best equipment that they have to shoot their film.

First your students should PLAN…

… then of course developing a STORY BOARD or SCRIPT is always important.

Then once your goal is formed and you know where your headed FILMING can begin…

however, your random shots even though following your story board must still be EDITED.

After editing, it’s time for the final review… and then you can submit your project. It’s always a good idea – even for homeschoolers to find a contest or some other to which you can submit your project. You can even upload to you tube and share on social media outlets! Be proud of your accomplishment and share it with the world!

5 Methods of Homeschool Scheduling

I must admit that I am one of the people who believe whole heartedly that if you can organize it – it will work better. So, of course, that ideology flows over into my homeschooling methodology. With six kids, I have been made aware that without organization our homeschooling endeavor really doesn’t work out well.  I am always on the look out for better ways to organize  our homeschool. Whether it is physical organization or the organization of how we learn – I always NEED ideas! So, while on the hunt for these ideas I came across some really great ways to organize your homeschool schedule.

First of all here are two things to remember… these two things help me keep my sanity!

1) Set your start time – I know some people are unschoolers and this just doesn’t work for that method… but for us… it does! Having a start time gives us a motivation to get going in the morning. Otherwise with this bunch we might just sleep till noon everyday and forgo schooling all together.

2)Stay flexible – I know, I know I just said set a start time and then I said – be flexible? Well, what I’m trying to say is – if you miss your start time or have many interruptions throughout the day don’t sweat it! You’re homeschooling! You can be flexible, it will work itself out.

Ok – now on to those methods of scheduling

1) Block scheduling – this method is when you divide your week into blocks of time and study one particular subject at a time. We have used this method in the past and we like it. It can be difficult when the kiddos start learning more advanced math… it seems to work better to keep that fresh on the brain daily!

2) Carousel scheduling – This is what we call a mix of all subjects every day. A little of this and a little of that scheduled throughout your homeschool day – just don’t forget to schedule some fun stuff too!

3) Daily scheduling – though similar to block scheduling this method sets aside one day for each subject.

4) Year round scheduling vs. 9 month/9 week scheduling. As a homeschooler you have the freedom and flexibility to choose how you want to homeschool. Of course, you will need to follow your state’s guidelines for how many days, etc… but you can work that into a full 12 month plan or fit it into 9 months.

5) Six weeks on one week off – this is a type of schedule made popular by the FiveJ’s and is referred to as a low stress schedule. This is the newest type of scheduling that I have found, and we just may be trying this next year!

…don’t forget to schedule some fun activities into your homeschool routines – like this make a word search resource! My kiddos love it!

Homeschool Resource List… my online favorites!

homeschool resourceHi guys… Just thought that I’d take a minute to share some of my favorite online resources. Most of these are free or fellow bloggers that share what they are doing in their homeschool. I’ve used alot of these to supplement what I do in my homeschool…

Awesome Fellow Homeschool Bloggers

In Training For Him


Dee-Lightful Moments in Life

Homeschool Curriculum

Who’s Learning? Who’s Teaching?


PreSchoolers Day by Day

Adventures of  a Homeschool Mom

Web Home School

Panda Honeybee’s Homeschooling Adventure

Homeschooling My Three Sons

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Handmade Homeschool

The Army Chap’s Wife

Layered Soul

The DaisyHead


Faith and a Full House

FREE website resources

Let’s Homeschool High School

Learning Games for Kids

Vocabulary Games

Homeschool College USA

Homeschool Legal Defense – great site for learning about state laws

Sheppard Software – great for geography learning

Spelling City

Online Courses for High Schoolers

Paid Homeschooling Websites that are great curriculum or supplements



ABEKA Academy

Home School Record Keeping… Making it work!

Some people just have that gift to organize, schedule, and record…while others were just born without that gene. If you’re a homeschooling family, whether or not you have the “gene” doesn’t matter… record keeping is a must. So, for those who just aren’t organized and who hate to keep records… there are some simple ways to keep you “official” without driving you crazy. Here are a few tips…

1) Pick a record keeping method that suits you… some like technology – others hate it – here are some ideas

  • Use a daily planner to record what you do in your homeschool that day.
  • Use a journal and just let your words freely describe what homeschool was for your family that day.
  • Use an online media such as blogging to record what you’ve done
  • Use a record keeping system such as a teacher planner/grade book
  • Use an online form or software to record grades and assignments

2) Hang on to important pieces of work that your children do.

  • Use a rubbermaid container to store things until you feel up to organizing it…
  • Use a pendeflex file folder. Has tons of pockets and is usually big enough for one child per year,
  • you can put the words in ABC order – so that you can find everything easily later.
  • Use the notebooking or portfolio method and then keep their notebooks on a bookshelf
  • Make a photo library of what your kids do… and then post it on a blog!

3) As my children get older and into high school, I have them keep a single notebook for each subject. Then we keep everything that we did for that subject in that notebook, I keep them until I know they are safely through college.

4) It is also very important to begin establishing a transcript for your older child. You can do this simply by finding a copy of one and making a Word document like it, by purchasing on online version, or using software to develop a transcript.

Internet Homeschooling

I love homeschooling, but I love homeschooling using the computer even more. The awesome amount of knowledge that is waiting at my fingertips each time that I turn on the computer really boggles my mind. In fact, this week I ran across a new term for homeschooling using google… homeschoogling… cool huh??
In each area of my child’s education, I can augment it through computer use. Whether they are advanced in a subject or need a remedial reading program… in any case I can access resources on the internet to give them the needed drill and practice. What’s even better, is that most of the time this extra help doesn’t cost me an extra penny… can’t ask for better than that!
Here are some great places to get a little extra help without spending that extra penny…
IXL is awesome for math help…

Reading Rockets helps struggling readers

Primary Games

Learning Games for Kids
Vocabulary Review

Making Great Field Trips

Great field trips can be a boon to any homeschool education. We know it is a proven fact that students retain more when they experience the understanding and can make lasting memories of the event. The facts surrounding the event are assimilated and applied in the student’s mind. In fact, you can use a field trip to help you teach almost anything from learning to read, to mathematical principles. Memorizing facts for testing just doesn’t cut it, but field tripping for learning can make an extreme difference. Here are a few tips to remember when planning an unforgetable field trip.

1) Keep your group small

2) Do pre trip activities by viewing documentaries, reading a book, having a discussion.

3) Plan to use a guide

4) Go during off season times to beat the crowds and make it more affordable

5) Choose hands on venues where students can get all of their senses involved.

Finding the Missing Links

Educating your child without missing a few spots is not an easy task. As a homeschooling mom of six, I am worried each year that I may be missing a few things. Over the years, I have instituted a way to help keep me on track. I have enrolled my children into a homeschool umbrella  program. This gives me accountability, as well as another set of eyes that can look over my child’s education and tell me if they see any gaps. Having the umbrella homeschool program is like having another set of eyes making sure my children get what they need.

There are other meaningful ways that you can garner accountability in your homeschooling endeavor. You could partner with another mother and review each other’s materials. You could enroll in a homeschool academy (though with this option you would lose some of your freedoms to educate with the materials of your own choosing). You could also see a private educational consultant.

Whatever method you choose is right for your family is going to help you maintain your child’s homeschool education, find their missing links and essentially make your homeschool even better!

Keeping your Homeschool Under Control

Being an organized person and keeping your homeschool organized are two very separate things. i am an organized person, love neatness, enjoy alphabetical order ( you know all that OCD stuff!). Yet, keeping my homeschool running as a well organized machine has always been difficult for me. In the past few years I have incorporated a few tried and true principles to help me with thiss.

 1) Don’t be afraid to rely on tools… use the internet, a PDA, a cell phone, or a “little black book” to help you make your plan and keep it. My friend and I refer to these special little books,as  our “brains.”

2)Make long range goals. Don’t be afraid to look at all your weaknesses then make a plan that addresses them as well as the other things that you should be learning. Write out your objectives in a “The learner will…” format. Go back at the end of the year and comment on each whether or not you met the goal.

3) Make daily and weekly goals. This has become a beneficial part of our daily homeschool. We have finally hit pay dirt with this one! Each of our children have their own little notebook that has their current schedule or more acurately their daily “to do” list. This helps them focus, and then if I am called away from the, they can still move on.

4) Make sure your policies and procedures are well understood and established. In other words, get the whole family on the same page. Make sure everyone knows what to do and when. Your routine will help to keep you going even when you are weary!

5) Have your supplies and workbooks readily available. If you keep your workbooks, writing worksheets, online homeschool printables, and writing utensils in easy reach and organized… your children will be without excuse for staying on task.

Making Time for Yourself

Hello homeschooling friend… how has the past few weeks of the “new” school term gone for you? I hope that all is going great, and your children are learning and achieving. You have organized your homeschool, ordered curriculum, made a schedule, and given your time to your children. All of these segmented activities can really wear you down. Yet, my real question for you is… are you making time for yourself?

I know for us the past few weeks have been crazy. Getting used to a packed homeschool day and trying to get older children acclimated to dual credit courses has been hectic. I have felt overwhelmed most of the time. I really haven’t spoken much to my husband, haven’t had time to do much else, and I am beginning to feel like I am in a fog.

When I get this way – my advice for myself (haha!) is to take some “me” time. No, I am not saying that I am going to lock my children outside for the afternoon. I mean just an hour or two of going somewhere alone or with an adult, or sitting in a bubble bath (with the door locked of course) with a good book. Just take some time to do something that you particularly enjoy.

I have found if I am careful in doing this when I begin to feel overwhelmed, I can take that “me” time, get refreshed, and then get back to what needs doing. It’s like a mini-vacation without spending any money!

Go for a Challenge

Is everything cleaned up, organized, polished, put together, purchased, and waiting? Are you ready to get back to school then? If you’re like me, there may be something in you that is feeling a little dread. Over the past few weeks, I have been taking inventory of my life, how I react, and how I function. In some things… I’m good… but there are a few areas in which I have noticed reactions that I need to change.

For instance, I typically try to avoid those behaviors or activities that are extremely challenging to me personally – or those activities that cause me anxiety or stress. Homeschooling happens to be one of those things! Yes, I love homeschooling – I truly wouldn’t use any other method of educating my children, but I seem to always want to do everything else but that. Why? Because it is dificult.

So, I am challenging myself – and all of you who struggle with this – to stand up to yourself, and face the difficulties head on. This is a worthy endeavor – you are investing in your future! You are a great mom, and you can do this! Don’t let your avoidance techniques put you off… take the challenge!