Homeschool Launch File Sharing



I've added a homeschooling helps link on my sidebar. This is a free file sharing network for all homeschoolers. Creative homeschooling moms have agreed to upload some of the things they've created to help the homeschooler in you. What an awesome idea. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE PRICE: FREE!!!

For example, The Voyage of the Dawn Treaders has recently been released as another movie in The Chronicles of Narnia series. You can link up to the Homeschool Launch page, and print out several free pages that will help your younger ones enjoy the book/movie also with printable coloring & manuscript pages for copying. Some families print out the pages and occupy the younger ones with these engaging sheets while they read to the olders. Truly, there's something for everyone!

When you go to the HS Launch website, you'll discover that they have hundreds of pages for your use on every subject under the homeschooling umbrella, (including organizational pages.) I hope you'll take a few minutes and browse, browse, browse. Then, save it as a favorites!

While I'm not permitted to link you directly to that particular page on Voyage of the Dawn Treaders, I can give you this link to Homeschool Launch. It's as simple as setting up a free account, and you're good to go! Hope this helps!

Subscription Special for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine



What more can I say than I believe this to be the BEST homeschooling magazine out there. In my house, it's read by both my husband and myself, cover to cover, more than once. Plus, I keep them all. To read again, of course! This would make a great gift for this time of year, or any time, but with their $7.95/year special they're running right now, I'd jump on it.

It is a Bibilically-based periodical that will keep the homeschooling fires burning, and maybe start a few new ones in your own circle of friends.

Preview the link, or go to their website to request a sample issue.


How to Make an Apple Turkey



Here is a great link for making an Apple Turkey.

I was looking for a fun activity for the children to do, and Cindy Downes of Oklahoma Homeschool and How to Homeschool Today had this posted on her Facebook Page. Not only is it fun and super cute, it is EDIBLE!

Field Lily



Head on over to A Field Lily for my recommendation of Erskine Family's Homeschool Radio Show called, "The Path of Praise," which is about the history of our celebration of Thanksgiving, served up at no charge!

Thanks for coming by, and may the Lord bless you beyond expectation this Thanksgiving.


Learning to Love Art



If I can teach art, anyone can. I am loving the beauty and methodology of Artistic Pursuits art curriculum. They have a way of making you want to atleast "try". Today: Watercolor of a photograph of your choice. My choice: a beautiful sunflower.

For Artistic Pursuits, watercolor means using a selection of watercolor crayons. First you draw your picture, color it in (don't forget to color light or dark depending on how you want your picture shaded.) Then you "paint" over your colors lightly with water from your brush. What a beautiful and relaxing way to learn and enjoy art.

The key to loving teaching art is to find a user friendly art curriculum that brings out the artist in you . Mission accomplished.

Week in Review



Accomplished the most important subject of the day first: Bible. We're currently going through a Character Study that uses the Miller Family series published by Rod and Staff, Monday's Character quality was Confident.

As we were working through the page for the day I felt the Holy Spirit tug on me again to daily have my son read through the names of the books of the Bible so that he can know what books are in the Old Testament and what books are in the New Testament. So, that's what we did. I love how the Holy Spirit is not just their teacher but mine too.

With Monday being Bethany's Literature and History Co-Op Day, her academics take priority in the morning, and then I plan to focus on my son in the early afternoon. That will work well when: I'm not fixing a meal for someone coming in the afternoon to pick it up, and when our realtor friend isn't here for two hours rather than the 30 minutes I planned for mentally. In summary, things didn't go as I thought they would. Anyone surprised?

While we did complete most of our subjects each child had one that was a bit overlooked. Overall, my goal is to get through the basics by noon. We're also attempting to begin by 8 rather than 9 or 9:30. Then in January, I'll add our World Culture Studies in. But, stay tuned: things could change!


This is our first day of beginning by 8. We officially began at 8:15, again, with Bible. Our character quality for today was "Content."

By 11 we were able to take a quick break for soccer in the back yard. It is now 1 O'clock and my daughter only has writing and spelling left, plus her remaining math work. She's pretty frustrated that her work is taking longer. Her work is more intense, and today I had to re-teach a couple of concepts in Math. Hopefully that will pass.

I am thrilled that we will be done at a decent hour. I know all days can't be free of distraction and filled with motivation like this one, but I am hoping to see this pattern mostly continue. May I as teacher do all I can to help the process. I think in the end we'll all have a greater sense of accomplishment.

Another great day in school. Soccer happened. : )

We got together with another family for Chemistry Co-Op. It was a lot of fun. Today we studied molecules, and then made our own: Big and little marshmallows & Toothpicks.

Tomorrow is Park Day and Homeschool P.E.

In Summary: Starting at 8 a.m., or as soon after, seems to be the ticket to a successful week. We were desperate for some structure after a few weeks off for our move.

Back to School Again!



School begins tomorrow. Four weeks of moving out and moving in draw to a close. I have to say I can't wait!

I was able to do a little bit of planning tonight. Since Bethany has KEYS Co-op tomorrow afternoon from 12-3, I will teach her in the morning primarily, and then Daniel and I will have lots of one-on-one tomorrow afternoon.

Here's what's been happening in school since I last opened my planbook:

Reading: If they weren't playing they were reading. Good stuff: Chronicles of Narnia & beyond good stuff.

KEYS Co-Op: a Phoenix-based homeschool co-op of a multitude of families. Bethany is taking Chronicles of Narnia:Intro to Lit., and History of Arizona. Loving it. All kinds of skills are being learned!

Science Co-op: We began a Chemistry based co-op with another family.

Soccer: Soccer league began last week: the children are loving it.

Bits and pieces: Coloring, Calculadder, penmanship, spelling, cleaning, learning chore habits all over again.

School never really stops, does it.

Family Verse



Each year, I typically choose a Family Bible Verse for our homeschooling year. This year, I am considering this verse:

"Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name." Psalm 86:11 (KJV)

The value of a verse: It creates a bookshelf of sorts upon which our goals would then rest. It provides a lense through which the unpredicatable events are viewed and assimilated. A family Bible verse underscores a core value that Jesus is Lord of our Homeschooling efforts and of our Family, and that we desire His input at all turns.

Family verses are like rare books; once you acquire one, it remains on the shelf for life!

Have you ever had a Family verse?

For Your Learning Pleasure


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I can't recommend highly enough the Your Story Hour series of CDs. Two years ago, we purchased a volume of CDs on the Heritage of Our Country as a recommended resource to Beautiful Feet's Early American History curriculum. What a find these CD's have been. We have listened over and over to the fascinating details of men and women who have made their mark on American History. Each story is introduced by the voices of Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue. After the last two years we feel as though we're family; our very own Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue.

One of our favorite stories has been the story of Thomas Alva Edison. For the last twenty or so minutes I have been listening to my 10-year old daughter, Bethany, recite word for word, accent by accent, the story of Thomas Edison. What a pleasure it has been. I knew I had to share this resource with you.

After I located their website (which I have yet to fully scour!) I learned there are Activity Books to accompany each volume, with approximately four pages on each lesson. Additionally, these stories can be purchased and downloaded as an MP3 by volume or by individual story.  (Click here for a free audio podcast.) If you happen to have an Auditory learner as I have then you will want to purchase one or more of these volumes for listening and learning.  Our volume has been to California, Montana, and Georgia as we have travelled for vacations and family outings, and we each have our favorite story. While you may purchase your volumes with a particular individual in mind, you'll find it to be a gift to your entire family.

Modern Curriculum Press Mathematics Review


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Mirror, mirror on the wall. Which is the best, most effective, least difficult to teach math curriculum of all??? This could very well be the question of the decade for me, and even into the next.

It appears that each publisher has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to Math curriculum. Currently, we're using Modern Curriculum Press for 4th grade. For part of the year we've used Saxon. I love the fact that Saxon introduces Geometry early, and uses it throughout the year. The way it builds its concepts makes perfect sense. Saxon has it's strengths, but in order to get Bethany ready for next year, I felt we needed to pull in something else. Enter: Modern Curriculum Press,        Level D.

Interestingly, I bought Modern Curriclum Press at the beginning of the year, but quickly shelved it because some of its mental math was waaaay above her head. But it turns out that Bethany likes the challenge of mental math, so far be it from me to remove the opportunity to try.

Take a peek at Level D's Table of Contents:

1. Addition and Subtraction Facts
2. Numeration
3. Addition of Whole Numbers
4. Subtraction of Whole Numbers
5. Multiplication Facts
6. Multiplication of Whole Numbers
7. Dividing by a 1-digit Number
8. Measurement
9. Multiplying Whole Numbers
10. Division of Whole Numbers
11. Geometry
12. Fraction
13. Adding and Subtracting Fractions
14. Decimals
15. Graphing and Probability

It's interesting because some of this she's covered in Saxon. She's well into multiplication and division. Yet, in MCP Chapter 2 they cover numeration, which is the understanding of numbers into, in this case, hundreds of millions. That's new to Bethany, so we're covering that chapter this week.

Each lesson has a primary topic, and the picture in the student page is the jumping off point for learning about the concept. At the end of each lesson is an excursion! Wow, sounds exciting to me! Today's excursion was writing checks. You'd be surprised what a humdinger that was for Bethany. We'll be writing more "fake" checks tomorrow. Notice: fake is different from hot!

Other positives of MCP Math: 1.You can write in the workbook. 2. It has a copy and do section giving practice of copying the problems accurately, but not too many. 3.The paper has a bit of a rough texture which makes it easier to write on. Since Bethany has some "gripping" issues with her pencil, this kind of paper is a bonus. 4. The lesson basically sticks to the concept taught that day. But if an excursion is included, then it gives you a new way to venture out in what you've learned to date. 5. As you can see from the Table of Contents, each chapter has a focus, yet every lesson has variety.

The Teacher's Manual is important, but since ours is packed away, I'm continuing without it. It has a lot of great mental math to begin the lesson with. I'll be heading to the storage unit soon enough to dig that out. For now, however, I've been able to teach the concept just from the Student Worktext.

Personally, I love it. It's not everything this math-challenged Mom is looking for, but I am beginning to feel confident enough to know what to do when something is lacking. Favorite math trump card: "Danny, can you help me with this?"

Poisoning My Children's Well



The common assertion that Christians are narrow-minded, or anti-science is a logical fallacy called "Poisoning the Well". Well poisoning is a preempted ad hominem attack that attempts to pre-program, or especially in this case, to embed into society's thinking a predisposition against a particular point of view.

My first exposure to the effectiveness of this tactic-from the outside looking in-occurred during discussions in my home with Jehovah's Witnesses. It was here that I began to appreciate the persuasive power of this logical fallacy, and to develop a similar technique in teaching my own children in ways to help insulate them against this kind of mind poisoning by doing a little pre-poisoning of the well of their thinking myself. I hope to accomplish this by being the first to present the messages of our culture, except that I do so under the microscope of scripture, logic, and objective truth. In this way I am the one setting the table, so to speak, for the future discussions my children will encounter involving their worldview.

Not unlike the tactics used by the JW's and anti-Christ cultural apologist, as I teach my children I employ the key concept of "firsts." For example: when an institution or media is the first to present a cultural issue, and also the first to present my response to that issue as the closed-minded "Christian" caricatured stereotype, followed by pithy, high-browed, and cognitive dissonant response to that stereotype, then my children's Well becomes poisoned against my teaching. Everything I as parent subsequently espouse may then be seen through the lens of that stereotype. On the other hand, if I am the first to present the tenets of those opposing worldviews along with a logical and realistic explanation as to why they are flawed, then I will have been the one to achieved the objective of firsts.

Francis Schaeffer was attuned to this problem in the early sixties and had this to say in "Escape From Reason", published in 1968:

"The reason we often cannot speak to our children, let alone other people's, is because we have never taken time to understand how different their thought-forms are from ours. Through reading and education and the whole modern cultural bombardment of mass media, even today's middle-class children are becoming thoroughly twentieth-century in outlook. In crucial areas many Christian parents, ministers and teachers are as out of touch with many of the children of the church, and the majority of those outside, as though they were speaking a foreign language."
C.S. Lewis also, in "The Abolition Of Man", spoke of the school boy who had had the seed of indoctrination planted in his mind years earlier:

"It is not a theory they put into [the school boy's] mind, but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all."
Parenting as a Christian in a culture hostile to Christianity requires that one be, among other things, proactive and intentional. If the Christian parent is not the first to introduce opposing views, later, the very act of articulating those views will augment the credibility of viewpoints opposed to that parent's by fulfilling the "prophesy" of what the child was foretold those views would be.

When my children are confronted with such opposition, my hope is three-fold. First, that the issue will already have been settled in their minds. Second, that their father's credibility will be enhanced by hearing the opposing viewpoints, as opposed to weakened. And third, that they will be critical thinkers.

It is naive to think that our children's well will not be poisoned if we do not take action to prevent it. Fallacious arguments against the Christian's worldview, and what he desires to teach his children, are very much an integral part of our culture. Unless something is done to prevent it, those arguments will take hold. The parents one day will simply find that their children have rejected their worldview.

To avoid the poisoning of the hearts and minds of our children consider a few thoughts:

  1. The younger our children are, the more open they are to an adult's teaching. As C.S. Lewis alluded, we must plant the seeds in our children early and be vigilant in guarding against the birds who desire to steal those seeds.
  2. Understand the tools and methods that will be used against your teaching, poisoning the well is but one. To learn how these tools are used, we ought to engage the world; think critically about its messages; and learn to refute the arguments if they are untrue. This will require work and critical thinking on our part. As someone once said, parenting is not for cowards.
  3. There is a temptation to wait until our children are older and will be better able to understand. Wisdom is in order here but do not wait too long. Develop the means early in simplistic forms while they are still open. God did not design them to always be under our protection and roof. They become their own persons much earlier than this culture and society would have us believe. The world knows this. Think the pro-homosexual parenting propaganda book, "Heather Has Two Moms".

  4. Avoid ad hominem attacks (that is attacks on the character of the opposition as opposed to the merit of their viewpoint) against those who hold differing views. While this is effective with anti-Christian forces (those attacks will be constantly reinforced by culture and society) it is antithetical to a Biblical world view. Moreover, if you are successful in teaching your children to think critically, it will only be a matter of time before they put your teaching under that same microscope. Don't discredit your own teaching in the future minds of your children.
  5. Immunize rather than isolate. Learn to find the hidden messages in entertainment, (Plugged In is an excellent resource for this.) and then teach your children to seek and find the good and bad hidden messages in popular media themselves. Remember one mistake does not determine your child's future, nor does one success. With this in mind, Teach your children to interpret movies and to think critically about propaganda/news stories themselves and to keep their guards up, then challenge them by openly playing devil's advocate.

  6. Bring in real life events and issues as they get older. I have found You Tube invaluable for this. A point can be made and examples can be shown and re shown.
  7. Have fun. Eventually picking out fallacious arguments and assertions can be like egg hunts, and the people who are making them begin to look ever more ridiculous, as they should to a thinking, as opposed to an emotional populace.
  8. The truth never hurts the truth. Keep in mind that anti-Christian forces are not the sole proprietors of fallacious arguments. Fallacy and truth are mutually exclusive no matter who engages in them. Truth should reign supreme.
  9. Teach and live scripture. This does not mean teach and live perfection. A common well poisoning tactic is to make a strawman attack on Christians as not living what they preach. The Christian knows that this is impossible because he preaches that everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. So then, when parents fall short, we repent and apologize, including to our children, and according to how we teach. Point out that any time a standard exists, people who hold to that standard will fall short. Ask your children to consider what standard the person making an accusation may be falling short of.
  10. Above all, pray without ceasing that our Father in Heaven will guide the steps of our children into His service and into His glory. Pray that He will capture their hearts at an early age. Pray that they would always seek His face, and His will for their lives and that he would make it plain to them what that will and plan is. Pray for wisdom-as a parent-that the wiles and schemes of the Evil One would be plain. Pray for their salvation and for their eternal destiny.
It is my intention with our children to be the preemptive teacher with Jesus as our reference point. We look for teachable moments and object lessons in life, on television shows, and in books. We have discussions about evolution, objective truth, government, our purpose in life, who they are and why they are here, and many other topics in light of what the Bible teaches. It is in these discussions, and lessons, that I try to play Devil's advocate and give them the world's views and answers to these questions, and along with them, their associated problems.

More Renovations



There are more renovations to come at Field Notes. Special things like pictures have temporarily disappeared, but I'm working on it.

What do you think so far?

Organizational Ideas



I love sharing great ideas, and I think Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has a good one up her sleeve for organizing the school year using folders. If some or part of this methadology works for you, grab it and run! {smile}

I appreciate the many Teacher Moms out there, like Jolanthe, like YOU, who are willing to let us take a peek inside their lives, both in madness and methodology. The two co-exist. It's amazing and hilarious and frustrating....and worth it! Carry on!

Our Fridays



This is what we do on Friday in our classroom:

Math & Reading. That simple. Friday is our Homeschool Park Day, so we don't attempt much. However, I have found that the hours before we leave at 10 have to be filled somehow with productive activity, so I pull out some handy math worksheets, and we get after it. Plus my planning book looks better with those check marks!

On days when we've had a morning field trip, and I know I cannot expect a lot of productivity out of them, I've also done this: I will put the names of 2 core subjects and then maybe 3 supplementary activities, and a couple of fun ideas (read a book with Mom, etc.) on paper, put it in a hat, and they each have to draw 2 pieces out. If they draw their two core subjects, then guess what. We do those. If they draw 30 minutes of reading & coloring with Mom, then they get to do that. Oh, they get to have one opportunity for a re-draw.

The times we've done this, it's been neat. Because then it's their drawing & not my insistance that they do a subject. I am blessed with children who love to learn, so this is one way I lighten the load a bit.

Just another idea I'm passing along!

Quickie Math



Quickie Math is the title of a folder that I keep in my planning box. (I use my planning box to hold my worksheets for the week.) Each subject has a folder and the box is divided into two sections, one for each child.

On a day like yesterday where I wouldn't be doing any topical teaching in their core subjects, I was able to have Bethany go to the Quickie Math folder (separate from her Math folder in the same box) and pull out a worksheet to complete. These worksheets are usually lessons we may skip because the content is more reviewing previously taught concepts. But we all know review has it's place. A graded math workbook would have the same effect in that it can be pulled out and taken on the go if necessary.
In fact, I recommend some sort of reader or graded topical workbook for most subjects on those days you do need to take learning on the road.

It's My Monday



Today is Wednesday, April 14, 2010, but it's my Monday.

I have spent the last two days leading worship at a regional Pastors & Church Staff conference at a beautiful retreat center in our area. A lot of prayer and planning went into the event, and in honesty, for whatever reason, the planning part was rather excruciating for me. (I can probably chock that up to my crash course in PowerPoint.) The actual event and enjoying the hand of the Lord from session to session was more than worth it all. But in honesty, Worship Leader and Homeschooling Mother Kathy is tired and feeling a bit forlorn. (I've heard it's normal, but I don't get it. I really don't understand why I can't just do something that I love to do without these kinds of after effects.)

Getting through my Monday means this for me:

Bethany is writing Thank-You letters today. Let's hear it for Grammar & punctuation, spelling, penmanship and composition!

Bethany is correcting her letters. Let's hear it for Editing skills.

Daniel is cleaning out the recycling tub: Extra chores has a way of curbing a less than desirable attitude about our scheduled morning chores. Let's hear it for Character Training.

Daniel is writing a Thank-You letter also, but struggling with content. Remedy: Let's talk about the why's behind Thank-You letters, and how it expresses appreciation. Creative Writing Discussion: Check!

Lunch time: A surprise picnic outside in the backyard complete with silly laughter and joy.

Dessert: A mandated 30-minute quiet time!

Later: 1 math worksheet & 1 chapter in reading per child.

As for me, that's how I'm handling my Monday.

Writing a Book: What a Novel Idea!



If there's an 8th grader or above in your home just dying to write a book, then here's the opportunity and the writing curriculum to go along with it! It's called the One Year Adventure Novel.

Here is their description:

The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum
... guides students (grades 8-12) through the process of writing a structured, compelling adventure novel over the course of one school year. The program's unique approach to writing begins where many writing course don't go at all, with an exploration of Story.
Here are a few of the lesson topics:

The Heroic Quest
Point of View
Context and Synopsis
The Five Elements of Story
The Supporting Cast
The Villain
The Synopsis, part 2
Acts and Scenes
The Four Defining Chapters
The Novel Outline: Formulas,
--Plots and Subplots
How to Write a Chapter
Creating Emotion
The Illusion of Reality
Narrative Order
Character Masks
The Character Interview
Unexpected Humor
Unexpected Tragedy
Unexpected Grace
Writing the Climax
Revision and Rewriting
Formatting Your Manuscript
Sharing & Publishing

By clicking here you can obtain sample pages. The lessons are taught on DVD by writer Daniel Schwabauer. (Personally I think it's cool that a writer's last name would have the word Schwa in it!)

By clicking here you can see all you'll get when you make your purchase. A bit pricey? Well, 78 Video Lessons on 7 DVDs, Textbook, Workbook, Teacher's Guide, Prisoner of Zenda novel, & a Resource Disk. All this for $199. Personally. I think it's fine. Pricey, but fine. The teaching looks excellent, it's self guided, extra student workbooks are available, and if I were a homeschooled 8th grader or above, I'd jump on it. There's also a special pricing if you want to set it up for co-op use.

I've posted additional information from the Publishers about the One Year Novel Adventure, including webinar info. and scholarship opportunities. Please see the comment section for their remarks. Thanks.

No Pictures, but We Had a Great Time



Last night, I sponsored a Curriculum Share Night at my house for our Homeschool Group Moms. The focus for the evening: anything Language Arts. We had about a dozen Moms bring their Language Arts curriculum, both what they're presently using and even some selections they're no longer using. I think we had a little bit of everything: Shurley English, Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Winston Grammar, Bob Jones, Abeka, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, Hooked on Phonics Master Reader (for struggling readers grades 3 & up), Language Lessons for the Very Young, Queen Homeschool Handwriting, Spelling Power, Handwriting Without Tears (almost spelled "with our tears" true that is!), Writing Strands, Writing with Ease, and others that I am not naming just because I've only had one cup of coffee.

What we did was set up a few tables, and then organized the tables by the following subjects: Reading, Spelling & Handwriting, Writing, English & Phonics, and supplemental material. It was like a mini-curriculum fair-somewhat like the one we'll be having in Phoenix in late July. We all just browsed for awhile, and then the conversations picked up, and people sat together and talked about why they liked a particular curriculum to whoever might be asking them about their choice.

The bottom line is: there is so much wonderful curriculum out there for homeschooling families. The choices are good, the curriculum is solid, and best of all, it's doable. (Did I mention we had coffee & tea, and lots of goodies brought by the Moms?) I've said it before: "Don't try this alone!", and last night was proof you don't have to.

Next up: Another curriculum share on the 20th of this month: History, Science, Math, Unit Studies, Bible, & everything we forgot to bring last night including the camera!

My Favorite Mammal



"Mom, can you guess what my favorite mammal is?" "I know what my favorite mammal is," says Daniel. As I am busy perusing a website featuring a book on mammals my son has this conversation with his sister and I. It was a thinking outloud kind of a conversation. Then the announcement: "You're my favorite mammal", he says to me with his sweet and irresistable grin. Wow. My son's favorite mammal! And why not!

Once again, the beauty of homeschooling, as they say. I have just been crowned from my head down to my heart as my son's favorite mammal. I think I'll congratulate myself! So, here's to science, and to my son's understanding of the value of God-breathed human life, and not just any life, but of his favorite mammal, his mother.




Today one of our homeschooling families a.k.a. majorly special friends came over and we spent the afternoon together: children playing, fixing dinner, & planning! Planning for next year. Curriculum to choose from. Her list is much shorter than mine which is in part a tribute to her decisiveness. I need about 9 more children so I can try out all of the curriculum that interests me.

Everybody needs somebody....often, in homeschooling world. Don't do it alone. Find that support group that fits your family needs, find a buddy who loves to dig and look right along with you. Get a homeschooling magazine that you love, find some blogs worth reading, and be encouraged. Don't forget that homeschooling is the greatest privilege as a parent when it comes to your children's education, and it's to be taken seriously and joyously!

Now, for the fruit of our labors, here's MY list! (The bold print is what we're currently doing and could continue with the next level the following year-all others would be possibilities.)

Math- Horizons, Continue drills with Calculadder

L.Arts- Character Quality Language Arts, Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Rod & Staff, First Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind), Bob Jones, Writing With Ease for Writing. (We completed most of the Bob Jones LA for this year, but isn't challenging him at this point. We can continue with Explode the Code & Brainquest for supplemental to finish the year.)

Spelling-Spelling Power or a spelling workbook (Currently using Flashkids Gr 2.)

History-Beautiful Feet (Ancient History for next year), Story of the World, Mystery of History

Science-Apologia/Considering God's Creation, Real Science 4 Kids

Reading- Bob Jones

Daniel likes to stick with a particular curriculum, for example, NOT doing Horizons does not appear to be an option. Same with Bob Jones Reading-he loves it! Sounds like a plan, and makes it simple for me unless I'm the one desiring the change.


Math-Saxon, Horizons, Teaching Textbooks, Rod & Staff . Continue drills with Calculadder.

Changing back to Horizons from Saxon is an option in that I would be using a similar methadology with both students. I'll have to see what happens with Daniel in Grade 2 Horizons ...which we just began, as that was when they just popped in a topic to teach with no explanation as to the why of their method when Bethany was doing that level. It just seemed out of sequence, so we switched to Saxon for this year. Working o.k., but not the perfect one.

L.Arts- (currently in First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 4-no other levels available). CQLA, LLATL, Rod & Staff, Analytical Grammar, Bob Jones.

I could do CQLA for both children-a bonus there.

Writing-Writing With Ease, IEW or another Writing Curriculum

Spelling-Spelling Power

Penmanship-Continue with Queen Homeschool if more penmanship work is necessary

History-Same as above (for Daniel) except that I forgot one! Would love to explore Galloping the Globe. Could I do that with a history as well? Possibly so!

We do History & Science together, although each child has graded readers in both subjects to help us cover in topic what their peers are covering. We use Bob Jones & Abeka for History & Science readers.

Science-Same as above (for Daniel).

Continue with typing for Bethany and Latin for Bethany & Daniel ( Just brought that back into the mix this semester.) Planning to co-op either History or Science with another homeschooling family.

Art & Music-Art appreciation for both/Piano lessons for Bethany

Sports-Continue with Sports Kidz AZ for weekly P.E., and add a sport of their choice through a weekly league play. Sports Kidz AZ P.E. functions as the practice for whatever sport they're currently offering through league play. It cuts out the need for an extra practice each week. We love that about Sports Kidz AZ.

In summary: We have a full load but I would be happy to ease up on some of that. I am willing to cut out supplementary Language Arts stuff if I can find a good curriculum.

Today's Prayer



"Lord, help me to focus on what you've called me to do as a homeschooling mother: homeschool!"

It's been interesting for me to observe today how easily distracted I am. If I were making a trip to San Diego from Phoenix and stopped at every rest stop, ate at several restaurants, went on shopping excursions here and there, stopped and took a nap, read a book, etc., the journey would take many times longer than necessary. Simply put, if I traveled like I sometimes teach, I wouldn't see much at all. I certainly wouldn't get very far.

How many times do you stop when you could easily press on, and probably do a better job while you're at it? In homeschooling we can be our own worst enemy when we give place to the many distractions that may arise any given day: the computer for one. My disclaimer today: I am done teaching Bethany and part-way done with Daniel. He is doing his Calculadder, so I guess you could say I am taking a break. I am rewarding myself with a little bit of computer time, and honestly, I am enjoying it because I know it was earned.

The joy that comes when we're doing what we know we're supposed to be doing is so much better than taking bites of the dessert before we've even had the main course. It's not that finishing is the only thing that matters. We all know an occasional side trip can do wonders for our day, but finishing counts for a great deal. Don't let the enemy have your day. Your hours belong to the Lord, and I encourage you along with myself to give God your very best. Go for it. It's doable. There's a sense of accomplishment and Godly joy that awaits!

My Latest Find!



Check out this homeschooling toolbar gadget. It's free from The Curriculum Choice. I have it installed on our downstairs computer, and I love it. Plenty of good reading, printables, curriculum suggestions, and of course the ability to look up a word on Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary. It's very easy to install, and nothing showed up missing on my exisitng toolbar with Google. Enjoy!

What's YOUR Big Idea?



One of my functions as the Ministry Coordinator for our Homeschooling Group is to encourage homeschooling Moms in their life journey as wives, Moms & Educators. Enter: Big Idea! Now 3 years running several of us will bring a helpful idea or hint on life or homeschooling! This year we even had someone bring their spray bottle of Downey Wrinkle Release as one of their big ideas for making life easier. Well, I don't know how to attach documents or thumbnails yet, so here is our printout from today's Big Idea 2010. I hope you'll find some interesting things to check out!

J.O.Y. “BIG IDEA” DAY, February 19, 2010


Uses a silverware caddy for organizing colored pencils and markers, etc. in her schoolroom.

Favorite Colored Pencil: Crayola’s Hexagon Shaped colored pencil. Purchased at Fry’s Grocery Store Very heavy-duty, nice colors, and easy to grip.

Recipe Binder: Design your own cover & save your favorite recipes in a Binder. When I try a recipe I like I copy or print it, and put it in a page protector. These will be our favorite family recipes that I can pass on to our children.

Dover Coloring Books: An educational coloring book covering many topics such as The Story of the Wright Brothers, Lewis and Clark Expedition,. Etc. These have historical facts, latin word origins & the like to make this a fun part of learning for all ages. (See also “A Learning Experience” coloring books formatted the same way.) Very educational, and not just for preschoolers by ANY means! (A Learning Experience coloring books are found here, or go to homepage at

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine- One of many great homeschooling magazines to encourage homeschoolers. This one comes out 4X per year, and is awesome!

The Plan Book With Pizazz by I purchased this at the Teaching Store 51st Ave & Bell. Using it for 4 years running, now! : ) Currently almost half-price at

Prayer Guide on Praying for your Children each day of the week (Available on the Park Day Table.)

Helpful Forms: Learning Style Test, Student Self Assessment, Field Trip Form, Month of Meals Form (by organized, Priorities Inventory, PE Form, Literature Outline Page (to fill out during or after you’ve read a book), Will bring these to park again. Please write on back of form if you’d like a copy. (For more favorite forms see Kathy’s Favorite Homeschooling Helps Websites!)

Kathy’s Favorite Homeschooling Websites: & Cindy Downes Oklahoma Homeschooling It’s not just for Okie’s anymore! Check out also: How Do I Teach? By Cindy. This is where Cindy passes along her Big Ideas! : )


How to Pray for Your Husband: A daily prayer guide with scriptures. Available at Park Day Table.


Sue Patrick’s Workbox System. An attractive and fun way to organize your school day using boxes, labels, numbered task cards & learning centers. Here’s a link that shows how the system works:


31 Days of Prayer Note Card for praying for your child each day of the month. See Janice on ordering instructions.

Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner: Available for early/middle grades. Highschool version available also. Almost everything in your day can be organized in this planner. Per Janice, the only thing it won’t do is the actual cooking and cleaning FOR you. Aw Shucks! Follow this link for ordering: Sample pages are available. Janice LOVES this, and I like the looks of it myself!


Debra highly recommend the Planet CD Rom Freeware. Almost all of their products on a myriad of topics are totally free! This looks like a great find. Here’s the link:

Debra also has a list of favorite homeschool websites that she will be sending by email to the group. Thank you for these ideas, Debra!


Homeschooling at the Speed of Life, by Marilyn Rockett. A great book on tacking homeschooling and life in general by Marilyn. A great recommendation! Here’s the link:

Downy Wrinkle Release: A spray-on de-wrinkler for your clothes. Very handy and convenient. (Kathy Wright is waiting for the face version to come out!)

Thankful Game: Part of the Earl's bedtime routine is each child gives thanks for 3 things each night before bed. Yay for gratitude! That will go along way in our lives.

“Yes Ma’am, I’d be Happy to” Jar – a nickel awarded in the Jar for that child when their FIRST RESPONSE to a request is, “Yes Ma’am, I’d be happy to!” I liked that so much that we started it on the way HOME from park today. Bethany is happy to report 15 cents in total earnings in the last 3 hours! (Liz forgot to share this publically, but this is it as I understand it.) What a great idea, Liz!


This list-making, homeschooling Mom loves her 3-part note pad. It’s very colorful and has 3 spiral bound note pads on heavy cardstock which says, “Shop”, “Call”, “Do”. Kendra purchased this at The Container Store.

Recipe Binder: Kendra’s very organized binder keeps all of her recipes in one place. I love Kendra’s organizational ideas!

So, What's your Big Idea?

Pots and Pans Education



There are plenty of reasons to explore homeschooling websites, and I believe this is definitely one of them: FOOD!

If you're looking for a more tasteful way to enjoy learning then check out this link: Recipes for Learning at Cindy Downes's Oklahoma Homeschooling. While I don't recommend eating the paper mache globe, the edible map sounds downright tasty! She also has kitchen ideas for learning in the area of Oceans, Insects, Birds, etc. Wierd, Unsocialized Homeschoolers also has a map you can try. So, go have fun in the kitchen, and if you don't do anything else today, have fun learning!



Here's a link to one of my favorite homeschooling helps websites, It is authored and hosted by Cindy Downes, a homeschooling expert if there ever was one. I value her thoughts, wisdom, experience, and especially the myriad of forms she makes available to ANYONE who will use them. Here are some of the topics she covers: Homeschooling Through Highschool, What is Homeschooling, Curriculum recommendations, etc.
Her curriculum recommendations I found especially interesting. She categorizes each subject by grade level and makes some of her favorite Curriculum recommendations. She has forms to print out on Field Trips, free Unit Studies , etc. While it's easy to be overloaded with forms, choosing the right ones can simplify things especially once those conventions roll around each year. I am so thankful for those like Cindy who are willing to share as much knowledge as we can handle to make this journey even more pleasurable than it already is, and as successful as possible.

If you're on Facebook, you may want to find her blog "How Do I Teach" and become a fan.

The News from Upstairs!



Our schoolroom is in story 2 of our home. The news from upstairs: " Daniel, only 3 more pages, and I'm done with my calculadder!!!", she squeals. Level 3 awaits you, my little flower.

We love Calculadder for reviewing math facts on a daily basis. Click on the link to learn more about Calculadder and the other products they have. Each page is timed, but we ditch that for the most part and just focus on review. They both love it, it's extremely repetitive, and I've never let on that it's unusual that they would like it.

Miscellaneous Monday



Have you given yourself the treat of a Miscellaneous Monday? Miscellaneous Mondays are those Mondays where you take a good hard look around you, assess the situation, as we call it, and begin to tackle what's in front of you.

Over the last 3 weeks everyone in our household has had a cold. Mine, though two weeks old, is still lingering. The wonderful grace we've experienced is being able to teach through our colds. Rather than allowing circumstances to sideline us, wouldn't Jesus prefer to teach us through the circumstances of every day life? In the teaching however, other things have been put on hold. With my body still at about 75% I feel a great need to attend this house we call our home, the nest my piloting husband will be returning to this evening.

So what IS happening? The beautiful "decor of the season when we choose to focus more intentionally on our Lord's birth" will be returned to its temporary holding place: the red and green tubs. Thank you Bethany and Daniel. Today I see your great teamwork, negotiating skills, and different organizational methods. Laundry from the children's trip to the free flowing, rain-induced river behind our home is finally tossed in the washer. (Since we live in the desert, enjoying a temporary river takes priority over quite a few things!) A loft with legos everywhere is being cleaned and organized. And I'm occupied with joyful documentation of our progress.

Today, this homeschooling mother is calling on the grace of our Lord and Saviour to relinquish the schedule, pray for continued healing, and attack what He has put before us this very special day we'll call, Miscellaneous Monday.

The Missing Link



There's a sad, missing link in bloggy world today: followers photos appear to be MIA. I have checked everything, and they're simply not there. Part of the joy of blogging is seeing the faces that make this so much fun every time I pull up my blog. SO.....I'll wait, and hopefully blogger will get this figured out. I checked my sweetie's blog, and his follower photos are missing also. Anyone else out there having this same problem?

Looking Back & Planning Ahead



Today, we have continued with our study of Farmer Boy. I am amazed at Bethany's progress in the area of (don't misunderstand) just simply answering the questions. I am going to first give the credit to the Lord, and then thank Him for the writing curriculum we're using this year: Writing With Ease, published by Peace Hill Press. Writing With Ease stresses how important it is, whether verbal or written, that students answer in complete sentences. Now about the spelling: it needs work. But because of what I saw as progress in her writing, I chose to not correct the spelling at this time. I'm happy with the spelling program we're using, and I'm going to let it do it's work. I will say that if her reply included a proper noun that was not capitalized, I did bring attention to it, and asked her to correct those accordingly. {She was happy to do so.}

Did I fail to mention how Bethany is wanting to help more with cooking because that's what Alice and Eliza Jane did in Farmer Boy?

Looking ahead: I prayerfully am listing what I am a bit behind on, but want to remedy:

1. Begin their portfolio for this school year. While I do keep a notebook of their completed work, a portfolio is more of a sampling. Within the goal of a portfolio is to go back and fill out a field trip sheet and print a photo for the various field trips we have been on so far. Looking ahead, I would have them do a brief write up on the event, but in that I am playing catch-up, I would be the one to write what we did if they happen to not remember.

2. We've started to meet with another family for an Art & Music Co-Op. My dear friend has done a wonderful job on the art side, and I am (or will be, I should say) doing the music portion. I am excited to include crafts & games as a part of the music study. We'll be casually going through a book entitled, "The Story of the Orchestra." My second goal is to finish the planning, gather the materials and be ready to teach so we can get on with the joy of loving and learning about music.

3. I have never done lap-booking, but part of my music study will be to have a lap-book the children will put together during our Orchestra Study.

4. Add Picture & Artist study sheets to student portfolios. This is another uncompleted and backlogged item that will bring joy as we all look back on the wonderful projects we've been a part of this year. I just need to fill out the study sheets, print a picture of their completed art work, and file it in their portfolio.

In Summary: none of these goals are unattainable. I don't think these are just my goals. I see it as stewardship, and a record of all the Lord is giving us to learn and enjoy this year in school. My strategy: tackle one at a time. I'll keep the updates coming as I have time.

Looking Ahead



Almanzo Wilder's boyhood home

This week:
Today we are beginning our study of Farmer Boy, using a study guide by Progeny Press. Today's activities include: Map work, Art work-Cover page for our Notebook, and reading aloud the 1st four Chapters. Progeny Press recommends reading the novel in it's entirety, which Bethany has already done,then going back and re-reading, doing about 1 page per day in the Study Guide. This could take about 10 weeks if we choose to extend it that long.

Progeny Press also has some pre-reading activities that we are doing along with the book rather than prior to reading. One of the things that will be fun is to keep a running list of Almanzo's chores! I wonder how it fares against the list Bethany has? I'd say her working conditions are much more favorable.

School's Back In Session!



Beginning Monday, we'll be back in session for school. With only about 6 "official" days of curriculum study, dare I say we learned and learned and gleaned much throughout the month. Not only that, the children were cleaning maniacs for every event and gathering we've had at our house over these last weeks. We have had so much fun sharing the mutual vision for the opportunity to enjoy family and friends.

One of my greatest blessings the last week of December was having a dear homeschooling friend come over and enjoy planning together. Dare I say we preceded our planning session with pizza, salad, and fruit which we shared with our children. I appreciate Liz's devotion to homeschooling, and more than anything I appreciate our friendship.

It's time to re-focus, plan more and look forward to fulfilling the hopeful expectation of our children: School will be back in session on Monday. They're announcing to anyone who will listen, so I know it's time! (By the way, my blessing today is hearing Bethany read "Detectives in Togas" to Danny as he rests on the couch.) What an expressive reader she is. She's a blessing and a joy. Personally, I'm looking forward to Monday myself.

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