Dec 16, 2008

these are a few of my favorite things...

Do you have any favorite homeschool "things" to share with all?

Here are a few of mine...

1. Flashmaster...a bit pricey ($50.00), but well worth it. My girls struggled for years to learn their math facts (and I won't share all the stories involving tears!). I bought this a few years ago and it was worth every penny. I make my kids use it for 5-20 minutes every day (depending on their age).

2. Apologia's science curriculum for elem/middle school. It's not too "text-bookish", nice and cheap ($35.00), written with a strong Christian perspective and completely do-able for moms like me that end up generally pushing science stuff to the end of the list. Being honest here: My (poor) kids never do most of the experiments. And even without the experiments, it's a good science curriculum. LOVE IT!

3. Reading list...I have my kids write down every book that they read throughout the year. I make a very basic chart for them to fill out (title, author, date completed) during the year. I heard a college professor say that every homeschooled student should keep a log of all the books he/she has read since 8th grade and include it as part of his/her high school transcripts. My kids take guesses at how many books they can read during the year. They love to see their progress. And even though my kids aren't in 8th grade yet, I think it is a good thing to do.

Anything you wish you knew about earlier? Or couldn't survive without? I'd love to hear your things! julia.

Nov 18, 2008

Homeschool Laminating

There are times when you want something to last extra long.  A chart.  Flash cards.  The cover of a folder.

Yes, you can drive to the nearest copy shop and have something laminated.  But, I usually save myself the trip and do it myself with shelf paper.  I have a roll of clear adhesive shelf paper that works perfectly fine for most applications and it has lasted me a couple of years.

Sandwich any item you need laminated between two sheets of the clear sticky paper (adhesive sides *in*) and you've got a water-repellant, wipeable, sturdy bit of paper.

Nov 16, 2008

history suggestions?

My 4th and 5th grade girls are reading the 4th book of Story of the World this year. I do not want to start the 4 year cycle again, so I am looking for a new history curriculum for next year. I am wanting a history curriculum that has a strong biblical worldview (which SOTW doesn't have) and goes through history chronologically. I have been looking at Tapestry of Grace but it is freaking me out a bit. I like the simplicity of Story of the World and Tapestry of Grace seems overwhelming. I'm not sure I'd actually do any of it. And it is pretty pricey. Also, Tapestry is moving away from printing teacher texts and moving toward more computer based/CD-rom text. I like a book in front of me (and don't really want to have to print out weekly plans). Do any of you use TOG and love it? Have any of you switched from SOTW to something you love? Do any of you know of or use something that teaches chronologically and from a biblical worldview? Please send me your ideas! julia.

Nov 8, 2008

A Homeschool Family...

By Tim Hawkins
Hilarious!! I just had to share!

Nov 5, 2008

does it count? (!!)

Yesterday, I took took two of my kids (one was at grandma's) with me to vote. My five year old was disappointed that he didn't get to see John McCain or Barack Obama at our polling place. Uhmm, I had apparently neglected to explain to him that there was more than one place in the country to vote! I then proceeded to share with them what our country might look like if McCain were president and what it may look like if Obama were president. I tried to sum up all of the campaign promises and political differences between the two candidates while riding in the van and eating lunch. I'll spare you all my political/moral preaching on this subject...however, my kids couldn't escape it!! I drew a map on a scrap piece of paper and tried to explain the electoral college to them. I bought 5 bottles of laundry detergent at the grocery b/c it was 1/2 off. I was super excited about the deal and went on and on about how long the detergent would last us and how much we had saved AND how I could shuffle our weekly money so that I could go buy five more before the sale ended on Thursday. I sent them all outside for the afternoon b/c it was 75 degrees and will likely be 40 degrees this weekend. So, does it count as a school day? I'm thinking YES! I snuck in government, math, gym, a biblical worldview seminar, and a little bit of fun.

And, come on...doesn't anyone else want to share about a day at your house?! julia.

Oct 20, 2008

A Day in the Life of... Tisra

I'm about ready to make dinner, so before I forget, I figured I better post the details of today.  Today is NOT a typical homeschool day, but documenting this is certainly encouraging because it shows that you can take what you've got and USE IT!  Never wait for the "perfect day"... it will never happen.

Yesterday, two neighbors asked if I could watch their children at points in the day.  Both had pressing needs and I wanted to be there for them.  BUT, I also have a few days coming up that I allotted as non-school days when I fly for a girls weekend in NYC and Daddy is home with the kids for 4 days.  (Lest you think I say that casually... I am totally thankful and THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!!!  EEEEeeek!)  (Okay, resuming...)  Because of my upcoming absence and the fact that we were on Fall Break only a week ago, I have no room to spontaneously take a day off and watch other people's children.  As crazy as it may sound, I insisted that we proceed with school today.

My children are 8, 5, 3 (nearly four).  The first set of kids (Group A) were 5 and 3.  My plan was to bring the 5 year old into the lesson and allow the 3 year old to play with our 3 year old.  The second set of kids (Group B) needed watching after lunch and there was a possibility that Group A would be gone by then but, if not, it was my intent to let them simply play while we finished up school work or skip the last activities of the day and let everyone play... I'd decide later.  Group B consisted of two boys: nearly 8, and 13.

I woke up at 6, got coffee and sat to read my Bible in the still, dark morning.  This was the most peaceful part of my day and a total necessity.  My husband left for work at about 6:45am, and I tinkered on the computer for a bit, then helped my kids get ready for the morning.  At about 8am, the kids were all dressed and ready ("starving") for breakfast.

Group A arrived about 8:20am, and joined us for blueberry pancakes.  I usually read our devotional or Bible during breakfast and did so this morning.  We read Lesson 21 out of "Leading Little Ones to God" and had some good discussion about sin and forgiveness.  We never got around to reading directly from Scripture, but sang "Jesus loves the Little Children" quickly while clearing away plates.  While everyone washed the maple syrup off their hands and brushed their teeth, I finished cleaning up breakfast and putting away last nights clean dishes from the dishwasher.  The children played for a bit as I continued on to a few other tasks: making my bed, starting a load of laundry, and getting out of my robe and pjs into proper clothes.  I quickly dusted on some make-up and brushed my hair, too.  But I haven't showered- I didn't really trust the kids to be alone for 15 minutes; I will tackle that tonight when my husband is home.

By the time that was all taken care of, the phone rang with something semi-urgent.  Grant, my oldest, took advantage of my distracted-phone-talking-self to go ride his scooter outside and chat it up with the lawn guys who came to seed and aerate today.  Off the phone, I went outside and collected my son, telling everyone that it was time to assemble for school.

At this point, it is about 10:00am.  Group A's 5 year old, and my two school-age children sat down to do their more strenuous tasks for the day.  I always get the paper work out of the way before my children say they're "tired".  These tasks include: Handwriting, Math, language Arts written assignments, and Spelling.  While they worked on what they could independently, I cleaned the children's bathroom- it was getting to be "past due" (almost 3 months into school, and I am still battling with how to keep the house clean).  My 3rd grader usually has more to do than the Kindergartner, so I played Letter Sound Bingo with the 5 year olds while Grant did his spelling words.  Then we did some reading in our Language Arts books.  Everything took longer this morning (surprised?), so we broke for lunch around 12:40pm instead of our normal 11:30 or 12:00.  This was fine only because breakfast was served a bit later, too so they weren't "starving" again.  Oh, and I let them have dry snacks upstairs in the school room just to keep my kids focused a bit longer (this is a no-no normally to avoid mess, so they loved that).

Eating lunch is normally the perfect opportunity to read from our Literature Read Aloud (currently Mountain Born) or our history read aloud, but today everyone just ate.  I needed the brief pause, and I think that having 5 kids around the table made it too noisy to have good listeners.

So, then we went outside to play in the neighborhood.  Our house is situated on a cul-de-sac with a grassy island in the middle.  It was at this point that my kids, Group A and Group B all intersected and we had a noisy, fun, messy play session.  I love watching all of the ages figure it out together- perfect opportunity to learn the art of compromise!  The younger kids pulled each other in the wagon.  The older kids dragged out a heap of boxes and objects to make an obstacle course from.  About thirty minutes in, compromise and bliss gave way to tattling and hurt feelings- we are talking about 7 unrelated kids so I suppose it is to be expected!

It was then clean up time (about 2:30pm), and all the outside objects/ride-ons/toys were hauled into the garage while all the children except the oldest from Group B came inside to play.  I surveyed the playroom/school room and considered it "a wreck".  As I helped the  youngest children tidy up, Grant did our science reading out loud.  There was still History and Literature to be done, but this is the point at which we called it a day and went outside to play again (roughly 3:30pm).

Considering the circumstances, I think that wasn't so bad.  And THAT is one of the biggest advantages of homeschool- being able to remain flexible and speed up or slow down depending on LIFE.

Oct 14, 2008

A Day in the Life of...Julia

Ok, I thought this would be fun. Let's each take a turn and share about our day...a typical day, if there is one. I just love to hear how other people spend their homeschool days. I'll start. And I'll begin by saying that today wasn't special in any way. No fun things on the calendar today. No homeschool group today. No cute science experiments today. No exciting field trip. Just a day in the life of our homeschool family.

I rolled out of bed at 9:00 am today. Yes, it's true. I stayed up late with my husband last night having a date-night of sorts watching a few shows we DVR-ed on our tv. It's cheaper than going to the movies and way more comfortable since I can lounge on the couch with my pj's on! My oldest daughter spent the night at my parents' house last night so I had only two kids for 1/2 the day today. Ahh, do you know how much less conflict there is when you take just one kid out of the mix? A lot less in this house. Anyway, Anna and Nathan made themselves breakfast as usual (cereal), I sat with them and checked my email quickly. Then Nathan and I sat on the couch and went over several pages of his reading book (Phonics Pathways) together. Anna did what Anna always does, she read. She got up early this morning (like 7:00 or something like that). She generally gets up early and sits in her bed reading until I get up. Then she eats b/c I make her. Then she reads again. On to our day... I went upstairs to take a shower and get ready for the day. Nathan went to his room with instructions to review his Phonics Pathways words and either listen to books on CD's or music. Anna started her laundry (yes, I teach my kids early to be independent!), cleaned her room, got dressed and started on her morning work. Morning work consists of things that she can do independently while I am getting ready in the morning. Her list includes: assigned reading book, spelling, personal enjoyment reading, devotion/bible study, Flashmaster (a super-great electronic math fact machine), Mavis Beacon typing CD-rom, Chinese language Nintendo DS game (b/c we couldn't afford the $200.00 Rosetta Stone program I really wanted) and reviewing her memory verses. Then I helped Nathan finish a craft project (those beads you put on plastic shapes and iron together). He picked out some Christmas wrapping paper, wrapped it , and then found a good hiding place for it. It's his gift to Daddy for Christmas. Check. One gift done (!!). It was lunch time by then. The kids made their own lunch and I made mine. When I grocery shop on Mondays, I generally splurge (like $4-5.00...ooh, I know...such a treat!) on one special treat for myself for lunches for the week. It usually is a gallon of sweet tea from Chik-fil-A. However, this week I bought a loaf of sundried tomato bread from Panera for my sandwhiches. OH MY GOODNESS! It is so yummy! Yes, little things like that get me excited and make my day a bit more enjoyable. On to lunch...we ate together and laughed a lot. Then it was off to the basement. The serious work gets done down there. I put Nathan's math DVD in (Math U See) while Anna worked on her Latin. I graded some of Anna's work from last week. I usually do that on Monday morning but didn't get to it yesterday. My mom came home with Kara around that time. She stayed and visited with us for about an hour. The kids showed off some of their school work to her along with their "still a work in progress"-Christmas list that they are really in to right now. She left, Nathan continued on with his math, Kara got started on her work for the day, and Anna finished up her Latin. Then we took a break and went to the library to get new books. We returned home around 3:30. (See sweet picture of all three kids reading. Ahhh, if only my whole day looked like that!) I started making dinner while the kids all read their new books. And that's it. That's our day so far. I'll have them start setting the kitchen table and cleaning up the family room shortly.

So, how about you all? What's your day look like? No can't wait until a really good/unusual/totally make the rest of us feel like slacker moms kind of day. So, start sharing! Can't wait to hear your "day in the life" post!

PS: As I re-read this post, I thought I'd add one thing. I do teach my girls. It didn't sound like I did from this post! Although I do it a bit differently than most, I think. They are in 4th and 5th grade. So, they are fairly independent workers. The way I structure our week is that I give the girls their lessons for the week on Monday. I teach them, for instance, the grammar lesson and then give them 5 assignments for the week. Then they are on their own for Tues-Fri. If they work really hard, they can get all of their work done early (sometimes as early as Wed). If they don't, then they are stuck with a really awful Friday. It didn't take them long to learn a valuable lesson. Work hard, enjoy some time off. Procrastinate, pay the price on Friday. And doing it like this allows me to spend more time with my 5 year old who requires one on one teaching time. As for this week, Kara took some of her work with her to my parents' house and did it this morning while there. And of course, I am usually answering questions here and there about the work they are doing. But I'm not supermom and can't always answer questions immediately (like when I'm making dinner, in the bathroom, on the phone, etc, etc). And let's face it, questions generally come at those times! Anyway, the funny thing is that as I was grading Anna's math work today, she had this written for three of her word problem answers: "unknown- you wouldn't answer my question". Supermom I am NOT! Although I do consider it a good day if I have dinner prepared by 5:00. It is. I'm good for the day!! julia.

Oct 10, 2008

Will The Boats Float?

Tuesday it rained and rained and rained.

When it stopped - the big girls asked if they could make boats
out of pine bark ,sticks,mud,and leaves.

The wanted to see if they would float down the creek
and in the puddles

Here they are......
and yes they did!

They were so proud!

Fun Little Monkeys.

This is what happens when you won't let them turn on the T.V.

Oct 8, 2008

Lemon Squares & Life Skills

Caleb had plans( with one of the guys) to watch a movie.
I hear"Mama, can you make those lemon squares for Benjamin & me?

I said,"No..but you can get in there and make them , if you want."
C-"Mama! You know I cannot make those!"
M-"Really? Do you have a physical disability that makes it impossible?"
C- "No."
M- "Do you have a reading comprehension problem that I am not aware of?"
C- "No."

M-" Well then, you can read the back of the box and follow the directions just like I can. "
C- " What if they do not turn out right?
M-" Then we can buy some more and you can try again later."
C- "Mama! PLEEAASSEE...Why can't you just do it for me?"
M- " Because I am busy and because I am not the ones who wants to eat Lemon Squares...You are."
C- " Oh Yeah!"

So Caleb, Hannah, and Ben got busy.
The squares turned out great.
His buddy thinks Caleb can give Emeril a run for his money
(when it comes to lemon squares) and Mr. Caleb was quite proud of himself.

I was ,too.

My future daughter-in-law BETTER appreciate all I am doing for her!

Oct 7, 2008


Wow, look at all the animals on the beach! Isn't this the most amazing little drawing?
Alaina (age 5) learned how to draw these cute little pictures by studying this wonderful little art book that was a gift from Grandma. It gives step by step instructions on how to draw. Alaina has amazed us with her ability to draw these pictures.

Fun Spelling Site

Hi Ya'll!
I wish I could say I had anything to do with this but alas I did not. However I know you will have fun. My children have truly enjoyed it. It is called You can put in your own spelling list or use the ones they have. They have games for the kids to play while learning their spelling words. Check it out!

Oct 3, 2008

Starfall Website

For some reason this site just crossed my mind. A couple of years ago when my son was REALLY struggling learning how to read I found this It's a really, really, REALLY great interactive website for the kids. It was awesome for me to be able to send him to the computer and let him click away on this site. I could have a bit of a break, and he'd be learning!! So if you have little ones learning the alphabet or learning to read...check this site out!!

Oct 2, 2008


DLTK Printables in Color and Black & White.

The little ones have"crafted" all day!

Sep 30, 2008

Calling All Homeschool Mamas...

I suggest we all buy tickets for a "field trip" to San Diego. I'm just sayin'. :)

Sep 26, 2008


Good Morning Ladies!
Happy FRIDAY!!!
With the election just around the corner. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas or suggestions on what they are using to help their children learn about the government and election process. I am really trying to NOT push my views on the kids but allow them to question and make their own observations. That is really difficult! Anyway, just wanted to know if anyone else is doing anything with their school regarding the election. Thanks for any help.

Sep 25, 2008

I'm julia, so nice to meet you all!

Hi to everyone. I'm new to this blog. I discovered you all from reading Trina's family blog. I found her blog while looking through other adoption related blogs. I love homeschooling..most days! And I always like hearing and seeing how other families homeschool and live day to day.

My husband of 14 years (Andy) and I have three children: Kara, age 10/grade 5...Anna age 9/grade 4...and Nathan age 5/K. We are in the process of adopting a 3year old boy from China. He has a repaired cleft palate/lip, so is considered special needs. I tend to think all of my children have special needs of some sorts. None have physical needs, but as any mom knows, even a so-called healthy/normal child comes with all kind of special needs unique to just them. Know what I mean? In fact, when we were considering adopting a SN child, I had conflicting thoughts that ranged from thinking that a cleft palate/lip was such a minor physical problem to thinking that our own totally normal and perfectly-behaved (to neighbors and friends, anyway!) kids give us enough drama and problems as it is. Anyway, the point is that we are eagerly counting the days until we can bring our newest son into our home. We have blog documenting our journey: if you want to keep up with our process!

In my pre-mom life, I was a special education teacher. I have been homeschooling my kids since my oldest was four years old. I started teaching her kindergarten a year early b/c I had fears that I would completely mess things up with her and if, or when, I did, she wouldn't really be behind this way. Ya, that's me. Always the optimist! I didn' have my husband's full support (or excitement and calling from God that I had) and I was constantly bombarded with homeschool questions from everyone from friends and family to the grocery clerks. I was feeling outnumbered and weaker by the moment as Kara's first grade year approached. I had actually already taught her first grade the year before, but for some reason, having her miss the official start of a "real" grade level in school seemed like such a monumental time in her life that I didn't want to mess her up academically. So, a week before 1st grade started, I enrolled her in school mostly out of my insecurites. After one week of school I knew I didn't want her in school, but my husband and I decided we would stick through the whole year and give it a real try. We did and we were both ready to bring her back home after that. I've been homeschooling ever since.

Like many things in my life, I started homeschooling thinking that I had found THE best way to homeshool and I had it all figured out. Hmmmm, shouldn't I have learned that lesson long ago? The longer I homeschool, the more I discover that I don't know it all. I love to hear what others are doing. I love to share about what has and hasn't worked for us. The interesting thing is that what works wonderfully for us at some seasons in our homeschool life totally doesn't work at other times. That is one of the joys of homeschooling. It is always different and often not what I had expected. But in the end, I have spent days on end with my children influencing and discipling them in ways I could never have done had they been gone all day in a school building. That's what I try to remind myself of when I am having a hard day (and most of my days I end up feeling that way!). Influence and Discipleship. Those are two of the greates benefits of homeschooling to me and my children. And I am also following and obeying what God clearly called me to do over six years ago. I have such a freedom now that I didn't have. And I don't mean freedom of my time and scheduling. I mean freedom in knowing I am following the Lord in instructing my children. Following is a whole lot easier than leading.

I look forward to hearing from all you and learning some new things!! julia.

Sep 23, 2008

Trina's Intro

I feel so honored to join you all! I thought I would give you the detailed version of our lives. So many wonderful topics have been discussed already so I thought I would touch on many of those as I share our homeschool story.

We have been homeschooling our children for a total of 7 years. We homeschooled in the beginning and then they attended a great public school for several years. After several years in public school, we felt God calling us to homeschool again. This year, I am homeschooling the older three and our 5 year old is in Kindergarten at the same public school. Alexis is 14 (9th grade and 11th grade Algebra 2)). Zachary is 13 (9th grade and 11th grade Algebra 2). Joel B. is 10 (5th grade and 6th grade math). Alaina is 5 (Kindergarten Public school). Hudson is 2 ½ and Benjamin is 1 ½.
I’m sure you are wondering why Alaina is the only one not homeschooling. I really wanted to teach her this year but Joel, my wise husband thought it would be best that she go especially since we just arrived home with a new baby. Our other children attended the same school and Kindergarten is so fun at this school. She is having a blast with her new friends. She’s such a bright little girl that loves learning. They are using the same curriculum we used with the older ones, Sing, Spell, Read and Write. Alaina knows the songs and will be reading very soon. When she comes home, we talk about what she did that day and thankfully she gives me ALL the details. But next year, I really do want her home with us as we all miss her.

Joel and I have been married 18 years. His full time job is wonderful for our family. He sets his own hours which works nicely in a homeschool family. I could not take on such a task without his help. He is better than I am at grocery shopping. He can do laundry and he makes the best apple pie. Our older kids are of babysitting age and can stay with the little ones while we go out for a quick lunch date….sometimes.

I am a Premier Designs Jeweler of 8 years as a “hobby.” I started Premier as a way to meet friends and I loved wearing the jewelry. After just a few months of the business, we decided to adopt. Premier has been a blessing to our family as it has paid for our first two adoptions. Since our third adoption was so fast, I guess I’m still fundraising. :) Having a home business gives us the flexibility we need to set my own hours and work around the kids’ schedule. Premier also has given our children the benefit of learning how to run a business. Alexis can enter orders and helps me with organizing my jewelry. The boys and Alaina help with folders and putting labels on the back of my catalogs. It has been a great learning experience for them.

Each child has housework. As I mentioned in a previous post, I use a dry erase board and list their names and the chores they are required to do. Believe me, some days they just don’t want to help around the house but most days, almost all their chores are done. I couldn’t homeschool without their help. Zachary does the dishes. Joel B. folds the laundry. Alexis vacuums and sweeps. Alaina is supposed to pick up after herself and hang up her many clothes that she changes each day. Our house is never perfect but they are learning and that is what is important. Each of them happily helps with the little ones which is a wonderful help. We feel it’s important to teach them early on, how to keep a house running. Homeschooling is more than school books. It’s Life Skills. :)

Our evenings are totally full! The boys are on travel soccer teams. Between the two of them, Joel is at the soccer field 6 days a week with the boys. Alexis is on competition dance teams and dances 8 hours a week. Alaina has a one hour dance class and Alexis is the teacher’s assistant in the class. On Wednesdays, I lead a dance worship ministry team with the youth….and Alexis dances on the team. We travel locally sharing the gospel through dance and drama. Most days, Joel drops Alexis off at her dance school and then takes the boys to their practices so I don’t have to leave the house. It works out great. . The baby boys travel along with us and the exposure is great for them. They are happy to spend time with dad at the soccer field or with mom at the dance school.

As you can tell, our evenings are crazy! We couldn’t do all that we do if the kids were in public or private school. The beauty of homeschool is the flexibility. Many days, Joel will come home at lunch time and we have a family meal together. Homeschool has given us more time to be together and take family vacations in the middle of the year.
We have tried several different approaches and curriculum to homeschooling through the years. Finally, we feel we have found something that works for us. We use the Bob Jones Distance Learning program. They offer programs on DVD, satellite or computer soft ware. The DVDs work best for us. The program includes all the DVDs for the year, all the school books for the year, and all the lesson plans for the year. The cost for the program is between $800 to $1000 for everything for the whole year. If you click on the link above, you can see samples of the DVDs of any subject or grade.

What I love the most about this program is the Teacher Tips (for the older grades) and Mom’s Minutes (for the younger grades). At the beginning of each lesson, the Mom’s Minutes on DVDs tells me exactly what I’m supposed to do for the day. It’s also in writing so all I have do is look at the list and/or watch the Mom’s Minutes and help them get their supplies ready. I love watching the DVDs with them as they are so interesting. For example, if they are studying about Volcanoes, they might show a 5 minute “National Geographic type” movie on Volcanoes. In other words, they use different media to make it interesting. I’m nearby after they finish the DVD lesson and help them with their assignments if needed.

Every lesson includes a quick Bible lesson which I love. The program also includes Bible curriculum. Actually, I've been doing the Bible lesson with Joel B as my daily Bible Study. It's been fun looking up scripture and discovering areas on a map together.

The DVDs are designed to be a “help” to the mom and not replace her. I really enjoy using this program as it keeps me accountable to stay on task. We can finish the program or cut back wherever we want. It’s totally flexible.

Zachary skipped a grade and started doing school with Alexis a few years ago. They are now doing Algebra 2 (an 11th grade subject). They enjoy the BJU Distance Learning math especially. This has allowed them to go at their own pace. We have been doing math at our house for 3 straight years…even through the summer so this is how we managed to get to this point. Our plan is to start college math classes locally when they have completed the entire BJU math.

Homeschooling has been a blessing to our family in so many ways. We are not perfect but feel so blessed to be doing what we feel God has called us to do. We have a lot to learn and we pray often for direction in taking care of our children. I’m so excited about this group and the many ideas. Thanks, Rebecca for getting us started and I'm looking forward to learning from all of you!!

Sep 22, 2008

Today for school we...

Laughed at a beetle's weird face.

Burnt holes in leaves with a magnifying glass.

Identified a crabapple, birch, maple, oak and elm tree.

Looked for seed pods and bark.

Met a tree-hugger vine.

Had a picnic in the grass.

I love homeschooling. :) Happy first day of autumn, everyone!

Sep 19, 2008


I apologize for being MIA on this blog lately. I have had a rough week and have been in "survival mode" (ever been there? It stinks!) I am pulling it together, though. :) Tomorrow we're taking a day trip to a state park with Nanna & Papa (my parents) for some much-needed R&R. It's supposed to be beautiful weather!

Homeschooling has been going well, although it's not been without bumps in the road (resulting in a few bruises to my confidence!) I hear my daughters talking on the phone with their friends from public school and saying, "I wish I could go back to Jefferson". And then I asked them the other day how they have liked it so far, and they said they thought homeschooling was boring. What is interesting is that this came from my older 2, who have been in school before. Claire, my kindergartener, thinks homeschool is fun.

This is something parents need to realize, if they are pulling their children out of a traditional school setting and homeschooling them. It is a big adjustment not only for parents but kids too. When they have been somewhere for 7-8 hours a day with activities planned for every moment, tons of resources available, and teachers whose only job at school is to BE a teacher, they get used to this type of setting. Now, our 2 hours a day homeschooling on the couch seems a little dull. You add to that MORE CHORES around the house (yes, I am making them help me more - I CAN'T do this by myself!). It's understandable why they are feeling the way they do. But I am persevering. Why? Because it is good for them. They are learning LIFE SKILLS along with academics. They are learning that school is not the most important thing in life. It is AN important thing in life but we don't devote 7 hours a day to it. We play together, we fold laundry together, we bake cupcakes, we change diapers, we play trains with little Grant. Maybe the girls don't realize yet that "school" encompasses all these things... bookwork is just a small part of it. But someday I think they will. And I am still learning the routine of things. Once we have a good rhythm, I really believe it will be more enjoyable for them. They are used to more of a schedule, since they have been in public school, and I feel the need to establish more of a schedule here at home. It is hard to do (with the nature of my home business, and with my toddler!) but we are working on it.

I've appreciated so much the encouragement of other moms and also my wonderful CO-OP (which the girls DO love!!). I've met some great moms that I click with and the girls have made some new friends. We will keep at this thing. I pray my girls will grow to love being home... it is an adjustment right now, for them as well as for me. I've tried to be sensitive to the fact that they are adjusting, and give them lots of opportunities for socializing with their friends from Jefferson.

I guess if I can offer any encouragement to first-time homeschoolers, especially those who are pulling kids out of "regular school" - expect some tough adjustments at first, but keep at it! For me, I've decided to keep pushing forward until I feel God directing me differently. For now, I feel this is where He wants us to be. I know I will not regret having the freedom & flexibility this year to take time off and be together to bond after Owen comes home. If nothings else, that is reason enough for me to continue & persevere.

Sep 17, 2008

Found Something GOOOOOOOD!

Wal-Mart is clearing some of the school supplies to
make room for the Halloween decorations and candy.

There was a box with tons of "Mead" activities......
Construction Paper, raised line tablets, coloring pages and SNIP IT!

Your "Little Bitty" snips away at the colored papers of their choice....

they peel the marked cover from the stick' um ....

then they cover the stick' um with the snip it.
Color the picture and add your own drawings.....

Voila! A Kiddie Work of Art!

Kept them busy for a LONG LONG time.

You should have seen the smiles on the faces of my 5th grader
and my 9th grader.

They read the History assignment in peace.


Sep 15, 2008

AM I Crazy???

Okay I know I'm a little crazy and that's okay. But I feel like a crazy person. How long does your school day last? And during your school day do the children do housework? I just feel like school is their job but so many families have their children do housework as well. During the summer, when school is out, they have housework but not during the months of Sept - May. What are the benefits of having them do housework? We are just so busy I don't know where to squeeze in one more thing? Thanks for any wisdom you can offer.

Sep 13, 2008


The Sargent FamilyOkay this picture is VERY old, like 5 years ago! But I am usually the one behind the camera so it is rare that we have a family picture with me in it! YIKES - I guess I need to work on that! But here is our precious family. Sean, Conner, Sierra and Santa. Now I know you are thinking that Santa is not part of our family but on the contrary he is. I'll give you the Reader's Digest story. When I was the age of our children my grandparents took us (my brother and sister) every year to have breakfast with Santa. Well, all these years later my brother found a Santa to come to his house and start a Christmas holiday tradition for all of his children and nieces/nephews. Well low and behold this Santa is the exact same Santa we used to see at breakfast all those years ago! I know - COOL! And not only that, but we moved from AZ to CO Springs three years ago. And guess what - that Santa comes to CO Springs every year for a Christmas Expo, so last year we had him come to our house in The Springs!!! So you see, Santa is a part of our family.

Now here is a more recent picture of our children, Sierra (7) and Conner (9) Don't they look happy to start their school day!? We are using a myriad of things; Son Light for History, Bible, Reading, Spelling; Math U See - GAMMA and the kids LOVE it!! The are going pretty fast through it but that's okay I'd rather start off too easy since we are just beginning this process. But please let me know if that is a wrong idea that might bite us later! I know we are far from perfect so any advice I can get - I will surly use!!! Then we are using Exploring Creation with Jeannie Fulbright for Science; Handwriting is ABeka; and Grammar is Shurley Method. Okay I think that is it! I am so thankful for this site and I am looking forward to all of the knowledge I can glean from all you!!! Thank you so much!

Sep 11, 2008

Quiet Time

I have a friend who is the mother of 12 biological children.
No, that is not a typo-12.

She and her husband have always educated their children at home.

"How is it that you never look frazzled?" I once asked.

"Quiet Time", she answered.

Home school Moms often find themselves pressured to"perform".

Daily schedules that include house work, school work, outside obligations, and our children's activities often leave us tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally unavailable when our children and husbands need us the most.

Quiet Time is the first thing that I add when making out our schedule for the year.

The rules for Quiet Time are simple:
1. Everyone must be in his/her room with the
door closed.
2. Activities may vary. Reading, Writing, Naps,
Drawing,Paper Dolls- anything that you can
do quietly.
3. No T.V. , No Hand-Held games, No Music,
No Computers .
4. No one is to leave their room unless it is to
go to the bathroom, you are bleeding, or
you smell smoke.
5. No one disturbs Mom's Quiet Time unless
you throw up, you are bleeding, or you smell
6. Mom will let you know when Quiet Time is over
If you ask- You get 30 more minutes.
7. The Ringer is turned OFF.

Our Quiet Time lasts from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

This is the same time that Nap Time is scheduled for the babies and the toddlers.

Everyone knows what is expected of them and the house is calm and peaceful.

Little ones (who may have had a difficult morning) have a chance to rest and re-group.

Older children who did not quite finish their Literature or writing assignments have a chance to catch up.

Journals can be updated and pen-pal letters can be addressed and stamped.

Mom can throw that load of laundry into the dryer and sit down with a hot cup of tea and read her Bible, return e-mail and calls received, read a few pages from her favorite book, and catch her second wind(before the evening activities) without the fear of being interrupted.

I believe that it is important that we teach our children that it is O.K. to slow down, it is O.K. to spend time playing alone, it is O.K. to take a nap, it is O.K. to be still, and that it is O.K. for Mom to have some Quiet Time,too.

Sep 9, 2008

Our Intro

Hi! My name is Andrea.
We live in the Deep South.
Stacy & I are the parents of 5(and counting) wonderful children.
Caleb is 15 and a HS Freshman, Hannah will soon be 10 and is
in the 5th grade, Ben is 7 and is in the 1st 1/2 grade(you can do
that when you Home school), Rachel is 4 1/2 and is
a Kindergartner and Mary Elizabeth is 3 and is sitting in on
Rachel's session-doing everything but the I'm
not really sure what that makes her.
We have been educating our children for 9+ years.
All of my children learn differently ,so we do not used
a boxed curriculum.
We buy what best suits the child.
This year we are using Abeka, Alpha Omega,Apologia,
Explode the Code, Wordly Wise,Horizons Math, Teaching
Textbooks,Pathway, and Rosetta Stone.
Although it gets a little crazy...O.K. A lotta crazy...we love
having our children home with us and can not imagine
growing them any other way.
I am thrilled to be a part of this forum and look forward
to getting to know each of you.



Sep 8, 2008

Scheduling Tip

When there is a whole day of subjects to touch on, how do you combat the feeling that you are trudging slowly toward the finish line?  Parents and students, alike, have trouble staying motivated without wasting time when it seems that the tasks don't end.

Here is the tip that has helped me the most:

Establish time frames to work within, and do not go over the time limit.  If I allot 15 minutes for handwriting practice and my son finishes early, I give him the extra minutes to goof off.  Conversely, if he is still not done at the end of 15 minutes, then I consider it "home work".  Truly it's all "homework" when you homeschool, but this designation means that when we are done with everything for the day, he still has to go back and complete the unfinished assignments.  I believe it benefits my kids to know that there will be an end to the job and that there is also a reward for staying focused and finishing early.  

A timer or a clock is helpful, depending on your child's ability to tell time.  Talking about the why behind these time limits with our children helps them understand scheduling and budgeting of time ("if I stay on task now, I'll have more play time later and no homework").

Of course, if you consistently find that your child has "homework", you will want to address whether your time frame estimates are realistic, or if there are roadblocks to success in that particular subject (ie. if math takes a long time, does the child need to bone up on basic facts again?).

Sep 5, 2008

Jenn's Introduction

******UPDATED:  OOPS!  I didn't let you know what curriculum I am using!  Right now, we are using all "regular" curriculums, not a specific curriculum for children with learning disabilities. We use A Beka (History, Language, Science, Health), Saxon (Math), Worldly Wise (Vocabulary/Spelling), Sonlight (Reading/Language), and Total Language Plus (Reading) and for History we are also reading "The Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer. Wow...what a hodgepodge of stuff! And I may very well add something during the school year if something is not working.  That is what is so great about homeschooling!  If something doesn't work, there is always something else you can try!

If you are looking for resources to use for different learning disabilities, check out LinguiSystems and Super Duper .  Garrison really, REALLY struggled with learning to read and the Edmark Reading Program (computer software) was a lifesaver for us.   *******

Hello!  My name is Jenn, and we live in the great state of Texas. :o)  The picture up above is all of us together, minus our little one waiting for us in China: Me and my awesome husband Karl, Katie (21), Lexie (15), Gannon (13), Garrison (11), and Karleigh Mei (not pictured) will be 3 on November 2.  We were "matched" with her on July 10th and are waiting for approval from China to adopt her.  We are praying we can have her home in time for the holidays!  You can read more about our journey to her at Love Like Crazy.

I was so excited when I saw Rebecca's post for this site! I think it is an awesome idea for all of us to learn from each other and to get/give encouragement. I especially would like to encourage those who homeschool or are thinking of homeschooling a child with "learning differences" or a "learning disability". Homeschooling a child who learns differently (anybody have a better word for this??) can be rewarding and discouraging..all in the same 15 minutes! Ha!  I'm hoping to find others out there who share the same struggles that I we can lift each other up!  

Okay...this is my homeschooling past: My oldest is Katie (21).  She is a Sr. in college this year.  I homeschooled her for half of her 4th grade year.  Lexie (15) is in the 10th grade.  Gannon (13) is in the 7th grade.  I homeschooled Lexie during her 5th grade year and Gannon was homeschooled for his 1st and 2nd grade years. Garrison (11) is in the 5th grade. He has been homeschooled for 5 yrs....the last 3 being consecutive. Garrison is the only one I am homeschooling right now.  Gannon and Lexie are in a private school.  We have also had our children in public school before. We've done it all!  :o)

Garrison has been diagnosed with Developmental Aphasia. His main "challenge" is expressive language and memory. My first two years of homeschooling him was not at all what I had planned for it to be like!! We struggled through each and every day.  Lots of tears (mainly from ME) and lots of questioning if I had heard the Lord correctly on homeschooling. I have learned to take one year at a time and trust that the Lord will guide us correctly.  He hasn't ever failed us!

Looking forward to getting to know all of you and learning from you!

Sep 4, 2008

Our Intro


My name is Rebecca, we live in the beautiful Midwest and that is my wonderful family pictured above: my husband Andy, with our 2 year old son Grant on his back, and our 3 daughters: Loren, 10; Emily, 8; and Claire, 5. We also have a 2 year old son, 5 months older than Grant, waiting for us in China. We have named him Owen and he will hopefully be home late fall.

This is our first year homeschooling. But, let me back up... I was homeschooled myself all the way through high school. When I was growing up, it was almost unheard of to educate your children at home. In that way, I guess my parents had a bit of rebel in them (must be where I got it!!) :)

We started our school year Sept. 2. Loren is in 5th grade, Emily in 3rd and Claire in K. So far, it has been wonderful, although we are only a few days in! I love having the kids with me. I am very blessed to have wonderful children who I really enjoy being around. That is not to pat myself on the back, but to give God thanks because He really blessed us with good kids.

For curriculum... we are eclectic this year. I am using a variety and I won't bore you with listing it all out, at least not here. I borrowed all but 1 of our books from a homeschool lending library that we have here locally. We have some Alpha/Omega, some A Beka, some Saxon, some Charlotte Mason... overall I'm shooting for a classical approach but honestly I am not following any one method, book, curriculum, etc. Just trying to make sure my kids are well-rounded. Here is a post on my personal blog about our first day of school, if you want to get an idea of what we are studying.

Besides homeschooling, I juggle a home business, our adoption, and keeping up with our busy toddler... soon to be toddler(S)... and laundry, which never seems to end! Hoping to cross paths with other moms who can encourage me to keep at it!! I'm glad to have Tisra posting, as she is a constant inspiration to me and a good friend.

Contributor Profile- Tisra


I am tickled to be participating in Rebecca's newest online project.  She is great at rallying others to bond over common interest for the purpose of encouragement and community!

My name is Tisra.  The rest of my family includes my husband of ten years, Eric, and our three children: Grant (8), Dean (5), and Lael (3).  We are currently in the process of adding another child through international adoption.  Our journey to adopt from Taiwan began over two years ago, we have been waiting on the list with our agency for 16 months, and it is a surprise when our little blessing will make an appearance!  Saying "surprise" makes the wait seem like fun, don't you think?  Seriously, though, we hope for a referral by years' end and to travel sometime next year.  Depending how we are matched, our daughter could be 6 months- 2 1/2 years old by the time she comes home.  God knows, and we trust Him with it all.

This year, we are homeschooling our children.  Grant is in 3rd grade, Dean is in kindergarten, and Lael is working on gathering normal preschool knowledge through play and short activities at the school table with her brothers.  We have previously participated in a homeschool academy offered by our church (Grant's K and 1st grade years).  Then last year, Grant attended our local public school.  Mostly, we are using Sonlight curriculum (Core 1).  I am doing grade specific Language Arts (3rd and K through Sonlight), and grade specific math (Primer and Gamma Math-U-See).  We are currently on our 5th week of homeschool.

My goal in participating in this blog is to be a realistic encouragement to those walking this same path.  I'm not perfect.  My days aren't all rosy.  But, I am already seeing the fruit in my children I set out to help grow.  And I think that is the main point- each person has a "mission statement" for why they are considering homeschool or doing homeschool.  I urge you to gather tips, techniques, and encouragement for the advancement of your specific homeschool goal or mission- and leave the rest behind, resisting the temptation to compare.  One of the easiest paths to discouragement and frustration over homeschooling comes about because we convince ourselves that we aren't doing it "right" or that some other family is better at homeschooling and has it more "together".  Friends, be free from that!

I can also be found here and here.


As blogging becomes an increasingly important way to share information, network, and find support from the online community, more and more parents are turning to blogs to chronicle daily life.

This blog is designed to provide that support to homeschooling moms.

This is a place to sit down with a cup of coffee and meet other mamas who are walking the same road you are. It's a place to laugh, share ideas, vent frustrations, critique curriculum, post pictures, and brag on your kids.

If you're considering homeschooling, this is a place for you, too... to learn from moms who are doing it, and get real answers to real questions.

If you would like to post on this blog, you will need to fill out a brief form by clicking the "Request to Author" link at the top of the sidebar. After acceptance, please post an introduction, and label this first post "Introductions". We will keep a running list of everyone's introduction post in the sidebar so that newcomers can find them easily.

You may also choose to label subsequent posts with an identifying label - for instance, if you're posting about A Beka curriculum, you could label it 'A Beka'. This helps everyone find information that might be relevent to them.

If you have links to your favorite homeschooling websites, please share them with us! We will be building a nice link list. And even if you decide you don't want to be an author here, if you'd like to have your blog address included in the sidebar, just leave us a comment!

And of course, this will develop as other moms join up and share their ideas to make this blog even better.

Looking forward to meeting you all here for coffee... I take mine with cream. :)