BJU Distance Learning Set-Up

We are a homeschooling family.  We are just finishing our 3rd year of homeschooling.  We are also just finishing our 1st year of distance learning with BJU and I wanted to share what worked for us and some of what I would do differently next year.   I am also a photographer so I thought I would do it through pictures. Click on any picture and a bigger version will show up so you can see more detail.

First off... here is our school room only slightly picked up (remember it is the end of the school year so things are a bit raw)




Ok so there you have it... basic set-up, but here are the details... these two bookcases are the main hub of our school day



We will start with the one on the left

From top to bottom: we have the American flag, Christian flag and a bible flag that we say pledges to each morning.  I found all of them on amazon.  The next three shelves are full of videos, books and student pages in binders.

 So I took each subject's student pages and put them in individual  binders.  The 4th grade were mostly 1/2 inch binders except reading which was a 1 inch binder.  The 7th grade were each 1 inch binders.  I labeled each of the spines with my label machine.


The bottom two shelves of both cabinets house our science supplies.  These are not included in the distance learning kit and are optional, but it is something we have chosen to invest in.  We feel that science is hands-on so while they may see the experiment on the video there are also many times we do the experiment here at home as well.  So we made an investment to purchase the BJU science kits from homesciencetools.com Most of the time these shelves are closed and locked for safety purposes.


Just in case you forgot here is the bookcase on the right

From top to bottom: All of the book links, and read-a-louds for the year go on the top.  We pull them out as we need/read them. The top shelf is full of teacher's editions for all three grades.  Now, this is an investment that I highly recommend, PRINTED TEACHER'S EDITIONS.  The printed version does not come with the distance learning packet; but the digital version are available to you in your digital BJU account and you can view/print them as part of your distance learning packet.  But, you can order the printed versions for an additional $100/grade.  I love having them and use them all the time to correct papers, pull out and occasionally teach a lesson rather than play a video, and to review what is being taught each lesson.  I find them well worth the extra $100!  The second shelf is where all my parent's pages are located in 2 inch binders.  I color-code all my children; (and interestingly it has become their favorite color.)  Blue is my 7th grader, Purple is my 4th grader, and Pink is my 2nd grader.  (you will not see pink parent pages on these shelves as I did not do DL for my 2nd grader... I taught all her subjects, next year she will do DL) Here is a close up of the parent's binder:

 I can fit about 3 subjects in the binder and I separate the subjects with a page dividers.  I need two 2-inch binders for each grade.  I also keep the test key with each subject in here.  I will explain how I use them in a bit.



Also on my second shelf nestled right between my parent binders and my loose leaf paper are three accordion files (blue, purple and pink of course) and these hold each of my kid's tests.  Here is a close up:
Now, I will be honest, I didn't like keeping the tests separate and I don't think I will do this again next year.  Too many times when we were out and about doing school my kiddos had a test and I forgot this piece.  I think I may hole punch them and put in with my parent pages binder next year.

The bottom shelf of this bookcase is all the extras we have around, math manipulatives. (We do not use BJU for math, we find that Math-U-See works better for us math challenged folk) We also have flashcards, dictionaries, and any other odd item we might use for the moment.  Again the bottom is more science tools and closed and locked most of the time.

Ok so that is how the room is set up.  Here is how my binders look.  Let's start on the student side.

Each of my kids have an agenda. (got them here on amazon) Each week I write the BJU day they need to complete in each subject that day.  As they complete it they cross it off or they highlight it. (as you can see they also like to doodle in the agenda).  As a side note... here is another good place for personalized/cute agendas for students.


 So they pick a subject and pull out that subject's binder on their shelf.  Turn to the correct day and it it will tell them the video to watch and the homework required of them for that day.  They then place their completed work in a bin for me to correct.


 Now we move to the parent's side.  This is my parent's pages binder/lesson planner.
 
here is how I use it:  I write the date that the lesson should be done. (lesson planning- I usually do a quarter at a time) I scratch out anything I don't think is necessary (this happens to be a week we will do all the work, sometimes there are a lot of scratch marks)  I highlight the parent responsibility once I have graded my kid's papers. (usually once a week) I also put a little sticky post-it on the spot I left off so that I can quickly find my place.  

Now here is my grading/attendance/reports binder which I think I will do very differently next year.  But let's look anyway

Here is a look inside, but the disclaimer is: I am in upstate NY and NY requires ALOT of record keeping and reports.  So you may not need all this, but unfortunately I do.  

So to start with I keep an attendance record.  I have to prove I schooled 180 days. The "H" stands for a holiday and cannot be counted in my total school days.  The "A" is for absence and can be counted in my total school days as long as at least one child is doing school.  The checks are for the days they attended a school day.  I total the month in the first column and the second is the YTD total.  The black number on the side is the YTD total school days offered.  Again I color-coded each child.  So for example by the end of the month my 7th grader will have had 3 absences out of 176 days of school.  (Each of my kids missed various school days due to a nasty virus that went through our house in March... but I digress). In our state each kid can miss up to 1/3 of a total school year without remediation.   I got this attendance record at Donna Young.

Next is my school calendar.  Red x's are days we will not do school, green squares are known days that we will do school away from home, black circles are days reports are due to the school district, and blue circles are testing days. I also numbered the weeks and totaled the days. (told you I was obsessed with color coding)

Next in my book are the grades, all DL subjects come with these printed grade sheets:  
 As you can see as the year went on I marked them up pretty good and drew lots of stuff on them.  The red lines across the page are quarter markers btw.
 I used sticky tabs to mark each subject.  And a different color for each kid.  I moved them to the place I left off for each subject.  These tabs don't match my exact color coding formula... but they don't make sticky tabs in the right colors so I must be flexible.  :)
Now why I will change this binder next year... about half way through the year I realized that BJU provides an excel spreadsheet for each DL subject that I can download from my BJU digital account.  I will probably keep the grades on these spread sheets verse writing and figuring grades by hand next year.  So all that is left in the notebook is a single sheet attendance sheet and a single sheet calendar.  I think will move those the parent page's binder next year and hopefully eliminate a binder.  

Well that is about it, but before you go... my hubby said I should show you this...
my science chemical storage

When we purchased the science kits there were a few chemicals we purchased and I didn't just want to throw them on the shelf.  So I went to Walmart and purchased these small locking rubbermaid storage.  I have three in my science cabinet.  White for corrosive substances.  Red for flammable substances.  And blue for general storage.  Which is commonly used in science circles. 


I used colored electrical tape to label each rubber maid container with what substances where in the container. 

I then cut cardboard to fit inside the rubbermaid and circles to fit each substance so they would not tip over and spill.  If I could; I labeled the top of the bottles too.  


Finally I printed the MSDS on each substance from the web and stored them with the chemicals.


So there you have it.  I little peek into my school room and how I organize my BJU DL materials. 

If you have any questions or want more specific pictures... you can email me at kjsladies@gmail.com

Faith, Hope and Love

So this is a topic that I have been chewing on for a while and I gotta admit not necessarily with the best of attitudes either.  You see these past 18 months have not been the easiest for me.  Nothing major life changing, just small little changes that seemed to eat away at my foundations.

Little small battles that look a little bit of my joy each time.  Ya know what I mean?

Like when you stand on the shore and a  huge wave comes bounding in and you brace yourself... you may be still be standing when the wave goes out but down at your feet a little bit of the sand has been pulled away.  And there you stand... bracing yourself each time as you feel more and more sand being pulled away.  

So here I sit a sad, cynical, bitter person that I don't want to be...

I don't want to be sad, I can see the good in each and every situation... really I can... it still hurts.

I don't want to be a cynical person, I want to be the positive and joyful person... it still hurts.

I don't want to be bitter, I want to hope, I want to have faith, I want to love... it still hurts.

Here is why it hurts. The older I get the more life I see and the more I honestly realize that life is ugly.

People hurt you, people are mean, people leave you, people cheat, people lie, people gossip, people are bitter,  people are greedy, and people are well.... people!

I keep thinking it has to be better than this!

Recently though I have been digging into God's Word and here are some thoughts I have put together...

I am right!

This place is all that I described... ugly, mean and full of people that do ugly, mean things.  Jesus told us that truth in John 16:33 when he said

"...in this world you will have trouble..."

Now I purposely took this part right out of the middle of the verse, because do you see those three little dots before and after?  Those are the parts I have been missing.  Wanna know what it is?  Good cause I gonna tell you.

"I have told you these things [speaking of his coming death], so that in me you may peace..."

In the prior verses and beginning of this verse Jesus is talking to his disciples about the upcoming troubles he will have, (even Jesus had to deal with mean and ugly people) and then he reminds us too...

"...in this world you will have trouble..."

BUT, then there is this part, the part that I forget about, because I get lost in the trouble and the sorrow.

"But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

I think I have looked at this all wrong... Jesus never claimed to take away the trouble, what He claims is to be only One who has something better on the other side of trouble.

What does that look like in my everyday life?  Here is what I think...

People are still people...
People will be mean and hurt me, BUT I know the One who can heal me.
People will be lie and blame me, BUT I know the One who will comfort me.
People will leave and I will be lonely, BUT I know the One who will stay with me.
People will cheat and I will be embarrassed, BUT I know the One who love me unconditionally.

Sometimes, I will still get hurt, blamed, lonely, and embarrassed... those are the "troubles"! I can't shield myself from them, I can't hide from them, and I certainly can't run from them.

Instead I should run to the One who can heal me from the troubles.

See the difference?

I got stuck in putting my faith, my hope, and my love into PEOPLE and they have sorely let me down.

I have retreated into the comfort of my own security instead of running toward the ONE who heals.

My faith, my hope and my love belongs in Jesus the only ONE who has overcome those mean, ugly people and then guess what?  I learn to love those mean and ugly people.  CRAZY! I know!

Fighting March Madness Day #31


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #31 why winter isn't so bad.

March is over

I know, I know... I did this so that I could make it through March with gladness .. and I did!  I made it but I am glad it is over.  April is tomorrow and the opening scene of the month is the most glorious... Easter.  For me this year it is even more meaningful as it is the end of a long season of darkness.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Things are growing again and snow is melting.  The blustery winds of change are blowing in... I can feel it in my soul.  So yes I am glad the month is over!  Just as the disciples were glad the long night of Good Friday broke into the glorious dawn of Easter.  So as this series comes to a close, while this started out as therapy for me I also hope in some small way it pointed you to the real purpose in all things.... in remembrance of Him

Today and forever I am thankful for the glorious dawn of Easter

Fighting March Madness Day #30


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #30 why winter isn't so bad..


This lady here... 

We have been friends for a long time... going on 10 years!  She has helped me a lot this winter.  She checks in on me making sure things are good.  Lets me text during the day to just say "pray for me".  She asks me to get out now and then.  Basically just keeps up with me so that I don't drift of into the oblivion of darkness.  She has been a Godsend... probably more that she will ever know. Her daughter has even taken my sweet princesses in under her wing.  (ok enough gushing)

Today I am thankful for good friends both young and old

Fighting March Madness Day #29


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #29 why winter isn't so bad.


Even though this happens every Sunday I purposely waiting until the last Sunday of the month to say this....

Worshipping with this family

I look forward to coming here each week.  I look forward to the people I will see.  I look forward to the message I will hear.  I look forward to the ministries I participate in.  I look forward... my faith constantly causes me to look forward.  It is the core of who I am and why I am.

So today I am thankful for the hope of what is yet to come and a family of believers who join together to celebrate that hope together.

Fighting March Madness Day #28


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #28 why winter isn't so bad.

Swim Lessons

Yes, you read that write... swim lessons.  I found swim lessons in the winter!  YAY! It is really fun to be able to go to our "sorta" local community center and take swim lesson while there is still about 6-8 inches of snow outside.  (melting fast into mud)  Even still the girls are enjoying being able to swim each week.  I have also found a new craft... embroidery... be on the look out for Easter gifts!

Today I am thankful for what would be a summer thing in the middle of winter.

Fighting March Madness Day #27


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #27 why winter isn't so bad.


Warm snuggles in my bed

Prince Charming was off to work and these three bed bugs came in to take over... ahem... snuggle up with me! We of course had to put on a girlie movie... Princess Diaries.  They enjoyed the time to just being girlie with mommy.  

Today I am thankful for lazy mornings with girlie movies and extra large bed bugs!

Fighting March Madness Day #26


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #26 why winter isn't so bad.

Free Ballet Lessons

Now true this isn't my ballet dancer... but still... I found free ballet lessons for 2 of the 3 princesses and they love it.  What I a blessing to be able to get out and do something fun during mud season.  Not only that but their really good friends are part of the class.  It is a beautiful thing.

Today I am thankful for people who give of their time so that we can have beautiful things.

Fighting March Madness Day #25


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #25 why winter isn't so bad.

Homemade Pizza, all the family in the house at the same time, and Avengers...

Family movie nights!  Beautiful! I love them and what they mean.  They are never the same night and they are never the same from week to week.  But I cherish them still the same.  They are my favorite in the photo album of memories stored in recesses of my brain. 

Tonight I am thankful for good movies, good food and good people to share it with!

Fighting March Madness Day #24

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #24 why winter isn't so bad.


My newest bible study and Starbucks gift cards

I got to start a new study this week and it has started off just were I needed it.  A dear friend got me a new journal for Christmas and I am finally getting around to using it and for Christmas I got TONS of Starbucks gift cards that are still going strong... so on this cold and blustery day I a get a triple thankfulness

Studying God's word with Beth, a new journal and Starbucks!

Fighting March Madness Day #23

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #22 why winter isn't so bad..

I am thankful today for dinner with the WHOLE family tonight for the first time in more than a week

Prince Charming has been working a whole bunch and hasn't been home for dinner most nights... tonight was different and boy did it feel good.  It is not just that I have stuff for him to do or things to talk about (not that I don't) it is all about him just being here.  I love it and our family is complete

Today I am thankful to have a normal day with my loved ones.

Fighting March Madness Day #22

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #22 why winter isn't so bad...


Today is easy...thankful for this gentleman who chose my sister for his lady.

He was the first to join our family in marriage.  I was only 11-12 when he joined our family so he has been there as long as I can remember.  He paved the way for all the other in-laws who followed.  He is gentle, patient, and loving husband who has been a good example to all who follow.  

Today I am thankful for in-laws who joined our family and extended it into an even bigger loving unit.

Fighting March Madness Day #21

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #21 why winter isn't so bad...



Good friends and birthday parties

One of the things that gets me through these long grey cold days of winter is fun with good friends.  Look at this gang... ain't they cute?  We are very thankful for the fun and company they provide us.  Oh and belated happy birthday to the boyos. 

Today I am thankful for good friend both young and old.

Fighting March Madness Day #20

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #20 why winter isn't so bad...



Wood Fires

I love the smell of wood burning.  I love the heat of the fire and the sound of the crackling wood.  Today is the first day of spring... technically... there is no spring around here other than buckets on the trees collecting the sap that say the ground is unfreezing way down deep... but I don't see it.  As a matter of fact we are gonna get snow today... YAY!    NOT!  Anywho this is supposed to be finding joy... so the joy is there will be another fire in the fireplace (not really our's is not working but a woman can dream right?)

So today I am thankful for the thoughts of smelling the wood burning in a fireplace on a cold afternoon.

Fighting March Madness Day #19

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #19 why winter isn't so bad...


Tea... Lots of hot tea!

In winter it is cold (I get it, no kidding Captain Obvious) but it also means I drink lots of hot drinks to keep warm.  I like tea a lot.  And the little things keep me happy this season like finding my favorite, hard to find tea in the grocery store on sale.

Today I am happy for a hot cup of tea.

Fighting March Madness Day #18

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #18 why winter isn't so bad...


Dunkin Doughnuts just opened up this month right near me.  

This is a big deal way out here in the middle of no where.  Other than your local gas station.... this is the only coffee shop now within 20 miles.  So ya, it's a big deal!  You can actually say to someone "ya wanna grab a coffee?" and not mean you have to make it yourself or drive an hour to do it.  Which reminds me of this Jeff Foxworthy little spot... and yes I have actually had most of these things happen to me...

Today I am thankful for a little spot to "grab a cup of coffee!"


Fighting March Madness Day #17

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #17 why winter isn't so bad...



March is maple syrup season.  YUMMY!

I didn't realize until recently that maple syrup is not readily available to everyone outside the northern states.  I just assumed it was one of those things that everyone did.  Now I am not talking about Aunt Jemima maple flavored syrup,  I am talking "real from the tree" syrup.  I have always had the "real stuff" because it has always been available to me.  As a kid I had a distant Uncle that owned a maple syrup farm and now-a-days Prince Charming works with a guy who has a maple syrup business on the side.  So whenever I need it... I just get it... right from the farm.  

So today I am thankful for the thaw, which of course causes the "juices" of trees to begin to flow, which means yummy-in-my-tummy maple syrup.

Fighting March Madness Day #16

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #16 why winter isn't so bad...


Well truth be told this isn't a reason why winter isn't so bad... but more reflective...

I am having a hard time to find something specifically about winter to be thankful for today.  It is just one of those days... it's a monday, I haven't left the house, Prince Charming is working a ton, I am tired.... yada yada yada...

BUT I am today I am thankful... not truly thankful for winter today but I am thankful for a godly heritage.  I am thankful for my grandparents who have gone on before me. I miss being able to call and say "can you pray for me today?" here on earth but I think they know in heaven and are praying for me even still.  

So today... while not the best of days.... I am still thankful for a godly family tree!

Fighting March Madness Day #15

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #15 why winter isn't so bad...


No lawns to mow!!

I was thinking about this as the wind blew today and temps were not so high.  But at least we don't have to mow the lawn and allergies are not in full swing and gardens do not need to be tended.  Yes, Yes I know we have to deal with snow removal... but I choose not to think about that today... Today we do not have to mow the lawn.

Today I am thankful that there is a break from the lawn mower (and thankfully the snowblower today)

Fighting March Madness Day #14


Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #14 why winter isn't so bad...


National Pie Day!!

More importantly though was the people we got to share it with tonight.  We enjoyed a nice dinner with Prince Charming's parents and got to catch up on the West Coast News since they have just returned from a 6-week stay.   The big news is that we are going to be an Aunt and Uncle again!  Woohoo! 

Today and I am thankful sharing good news with family both near and far.

Fighting March Madness Day #13

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #13 why winter isn't so bad...


These finally made it to shelves.  

Truth be told they are not my favorite but it brought joy to my heart to bring them home to my sweet friend who loves them! And since we are on the honesty train I really brought two bags home but Prince Charming has claimed one for his own.  So unintentionally I was able to bring joy to not only a sweet friend but the hard-working man who is starting another 60 hour week...

So today I am thankful for the little joy I get to bring to people.

Fighting March Madness Day #12

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #12 why winter isn't so bad...


Grass!  You can actually see some

This past week in our area has seen temps of 40-50 degrees and a lot of our snow has melted.  So we are seeing the ground (brown as it) for the first time in months.  It means hope!  It means crocuses soon, it means maple syrup season soon and it means buds on the trees soon.  Now to remain patient  until that really happens 'cause it could be awhile yet.  But there is hope!

So today I am thankful for the promise of things to come!

Fighting March Madness Day #11

Welcome to my new series... Fighting March Madness... similar to the Days of Thankfulness in November this me finding the joy amid the madness.  If you want to know more click here

So here it is... Reason #11 why winter isn't so bad...


BUGS!...There AREN'T any!!!

These are the months I get a break from tick checks, mice in the traps, mosquitos eating me alive, flies in the house, ants on the counters, beetles in my garden, and stink bugs in the windows.

In God's great wisdom He knew the earth needed a break during winter months and all these things go into hibernation or die off.  We also get a little bit of a break from having to keep these creatures out of our home.  That's kinda nice.

So today I am thankful that I get a break from creatures that I am not horribly fond of.