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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten: Catholic Homeschooling on Pinterest

by Maureen Wittmann

Why Pinterest is Worth Your Time
I love Pinterest. When people describe it as nothing more than a "time sucker", I'm perplexed. Used correctly, it is a great time saver. It can be used to save recipes, home repair ideas, academic articles, Catholic apologetics information, and so much more.

For our purposes here, I'd like to share how Pinterest can save you time and improve your homeschool. I also include a Top-10 List of Catholic Homeschool Pinners at the end.

How It Works
I use Pinterest as a virtual filing cabinet. After you set up your new Pinterest account, you can set up "boards". View these as your virtual hanging folders. Label your boards as you would label file folders. For example, if you're using Pinterest to store homeschool ideas you may label your boards with names such as "Homeschool Planning Forms", "Catholic Arts and Crafts", and " Free Math Worksheets".

As you come across resources for planning, crafts, and worksheets you can "pin" (save) them to your board instead of printing them out and filing them in your desk. For example, this will be particularly helpful when a friend posts resources on Facebook that you don't need at the moment but will need in the future. Someone may share the perfect planning forms in October but you don't need them until May.

When planning time comes around, all you need to do is go your board where everything is saved in one simple place, making it easy to access on a moment's notice. Or, when you're ready to do that perfect Advent craft that you stumbled across last Lent you can find it easy schmeasy. Or when your child finishes schoolwork early and you want to keep her busy with a few math worksheets. Hop on Pinterest, pull up your Free Math Worksheets board and start printing.

Tool for Successful Pinning
To easily pin resources to your board, you'll want to download the Pinterest Browser Button. This little gadget will make it extremely easy for you to save favorite web pages. It appears next to the web address on your browser. You simply click on it, choose a board, and it's saved for future reference.

Following Pinners and Boards
Another interesting aspect of Pinterest is the ability to follow other pinners. Now, this is where Pinterest's reputation as a time sucker comes in. If you spend countless hours surfing Pinterest, checking out what everyone else is pinning, you'll soon find that it's dinner time and you haven't homeschooled yet.

What I do is limit myself to 10 minutes every morning (when I'm checking email and Facebook messages) to see what's new on Pinterest. Often I find interesting articles or great tips that are helpful to my homeschool or provide the inspiration I need. The key is to follow only pinners or specific boards that are of interest to you. Plus, you must be disciplined enough to exit out of Pinterest after just 10 or 15 minutes.

Now for that Top-10 List ...
To help keep you focused on Catholic homeschooling pinners and boards, here are my favorites. You can follow all of their boards, or you can pick and choose only the boards that pertain to you and your homeschool.

Allison Girone
You may recognize Allison's name from her blog Totus Tuus. Allison has been on Pinterest for years and has almost 10,000 followers. She has twenty-three boards dedicated solely to Catholic homechooling. She has them neatly organized by grade level and by subject.

Grace Days
Grace Days is a brand new initiative started by Michele Quigley and myself. One of the missions is to help local homeschool groups offer one-day retreats for Catholic homeschool mothers. You will not find much here on how-to-homeschool information. Instead you will find inspiration and spiritually-uplifting resources.

Sweetness and Light
This is the Pinterest account of Meredith Henning. As the author of Homeschooling High School: It's Not as Hard as You Think, Meredith offers a treasure trove of resources for the high school years in addition to many other boards for other grade levels.

Catholic Inspired
Jennifer of Catholic Inspired has 81 boards for all things Catholic, including homeschooling and the liturgical year. With more than 3,000 followers she offers families many great resources.

Catholic Icing
Lacy of Catholic Icing is the queen of crafts for littles. Her 20,000 followers can attest to that! You'll also find other homeschool helps here, especially for the elementary years.

Shower of Roses
Ideas for holy days, Little Flowers Girls Club, and more. If you like to sew and/or do crafts, the saints dolls board alone is a must to follow.

Homeschool Connections
This is HSC's business Pinterest page. We have over 50 boards dedicated to Catholic homeschooling, from preschool to high school; from classical education to unschooling; and from art to writing.

Emmanuel Books
There is something here for everyone -- whether you're looking for lapbooking ideas for your preschooler or information on college prep for your high schooler.

Behold Publications
If you have a Little Flowers Girls Club or Blue Knights Boys Club in your homeschool group, this is the place for you.

Catholic Homeschool Adventures
A little bit of everything is here. From modest clothing links to homeschool organization to teaching specific school subjects.

In Closing
This is my personal Pinterest page: Maureen Wittmann. It's where I keep my recipes and home improvement ideas filed. (My home needs a lot of improvement.) I didn't include it in the Top 10 because it's not heavy on homeschooling. I keep most of my homeschooling resources stored at Homeschool Connections. However, it will give you some ideas on how to organize a personal Pinterest account for items other than homeschooling.

If you have a favorite Catholic homeschool pinner that I've missed here, please leave a comment and share below.

I pray that if you're currently using Pinterest, or plan to give it a try, you'll find it to be a useful tool that enhances your home life.

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