Thursday, October 29, 2009

TOS Mag. Best Ever Subscription Price PLUS 10 FREE GIFTS

If you haven't already~NOW IS THE TIME to get your The Old Schoolhouse Magazine subscription beginning Winter 2010 for $7.95 AND............... 10 FREE Gifts! That's right, 10 FREE gifts that you pay nothing, no shipping and handling, NOTHING FOR!  YOU get to chose which gifts you want out of a gift pool of 19~THIS IS SO WAY COOL!!

Click on the Magazine and Coupon 10GIFTS will get you the price and FREEbies! Oh Yeah!

Not convinced yet?

TOS is the largest homeschooling magazine with the most resources~200 pages of homeschooling info, encouragement and support COMING RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR!

Subscribe or renew for one year (U.S., print) and pay only $7.95
PLUS, receive 10 FREE gifts.

There are 19 gifts from which to choose and you won't even have to pay shipping--that's free too.

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• How about a portrait from Sears®?
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Hurry! The 10 gifts are gone at midnight on October 30!

Inside the Winter Edition you will find some really COOL information:

take a look at what's inside the crisp, cool cover of the
Winter 2009 issue:

• Speech & Debate by Chris Jeub
• The Fast Track to Memorization by Carol Barnier
• Conflict in a Homeschool Group by Carol Topp
• World War I: The War to End All Wars, a Unit Study by Jennifer Steward
• The Spiritual Instruction of Preschoolers by Mike and Carolyn Riggs
• Leadership Education for Followers: "Freedomship Education" Defined by Andrea Newitt
• Top 10 Tips for Teaching Writing by Fran Santoro Hamilton
• Support Groups: Cultivating a Garden of Friendship by Cheryl A. Bastian
• Three Keys to Teaching Writing by Danielle Olander
• The Three Flavors of Speech Communication by JoJo Tabares
• The Princess or the Pack Mule by Denise Mira
• Preschool: Start at the Very Beginning by Kendra Fletcher
• Helping the Reluctant Writer by Lee Roddy
• Homeschooling: Growing and Thriving in the 21st Century by Amelia Harper
• Mix It Up . . . From Scratch! by Lisa Barthuly
• When "No" Is Beautiful--And When God Changes It by Melissa Culver
• Contemporary Classical Education: It Really Can Work for You!
by Andrea Newitt
• Magnetic Books by Jan Bloom
• Ten Writing Tips by Ruth Beechick
• Seven Gifts to Give Yourself by Molly Green

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NOW is the TIME!

 Click on cover 
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When you get into the TOS Store~
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5.      Complete and return this form via email.
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I am an affiliate for TOS, subscriber, former contributing writer, and fan. If you don't know TOS, now is the time! It's like being in a huge family~a family of homeschoolers from all over the world with the goal of educating our precious children!
Click on that Winter Cover NOW!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine offers a planner each year with unit study "modules" that are stand alone studies in different areas that are added each month to the planner.  Subjects have been things like math, history, geography, science, and more!

You will enjoy this module.  It has loads of FUN Math for your elementary aged child!  
Included are math jokes and riddles, lots of activity pages, coloring pages, math tricksm copy work. 

Sign up for the Schoolhouse Store Spotlight weekly eNewsletter where it's announced that beginning today there is a NEW FREEbie each week~HOW COOL IS THIS?? Very, I think!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has SIX eNewslettrs to satisfy every need:
TOS eNews Sign Ups

So head on over for the FREEbie~
Enjoy MATH with your child,

Winng the Battles and Losing the WAR

Winning in skirmishes with our children as they age may actually position us to a place of losing the war in the end of the engagement.  As a mom, I can't have a win at all costs attitude with my children who are now of the ages that they are thinking and well able to express their positions to me.  I once held this belief of their absolute obedience with the idea that obedience would be crucial in their development of character and goodness.  and while it's important, it's over rated for the child well into adolescence.  An older child needs to have a safe haven, I think to express their ills into without mom coming unglued...and let me tell you, I have wanted to become unglued! I think my children are testing my love and willingness to accept them, love them, guide them without fear of revenge or anger.  I know this may seem like an odd description when children are to be obedient and respectful, but the safety they sometimes NEED to feel when their world is upside down and they need to just be "ill" is more important than that they stuff up their feelings for the behaviors that while wonderful will create more stress and strain...Oh I'm definitely not advocating a raging child and accepting this as good in the home! Not in the least, but if a child needs to express, if I can listen even when it's NOT in a way I would desire, and somehow detatch myself from the pain and anger welling up inside myself, for "how dare he or she treat ME~wonderful mother that I am, in such a manner as. _ _ _ _" to a place of calmness and hearing my child and really KNOWING and SEEING what is going on.

One such "face off" has recently occurred.  I am not sure I passed this "test," but I held my cool and ground...stayed firm and loving and waited until a cooler head on both our parts was present in order to tackle the issues.

Maybe you aren't struggling like this at your house.  Sometimes totalitarianism just breeds more rebellion~what is it a kid "wants" anyway when they act up? Love and attention! Not punishment, guilt and shame for their feelings and actions.

I am praying that God will show me how to lovingly, but firmly "finish nesting" my two hatchlings so they can eventually fly with wings of the eagle and with the spirit represented by the dove!  By using patience, love, understanding, faith, peace, hope, joy, goodness, meakness, temperance, bond, family ties...these are working us towards this goal for my family along with a strong sense of our faith in our Heavenly Father who guides our hearts and minds.

I wanted to share just in case you too are in the trenches with your child~here's to true victory where EVERYBODY wins!
Building Confidence
10 Things Teens Want to Hear

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Math~Fun For the Littles

I found a way to make math fun for my littles.  Here's some ideas for items to teach grouping, counting, sorting, adding, subtracting, fractions, telling time, measurements:

Silverware~I dumped all mine on the kitchen table (no sharps) for my child to sort into "kinds."
Leggos~Have  your child sort into colors.
Small blocks~Sort into colors or shapes.
Cowboys and Indians~sort into people groups or even into poses.
Beans~sort out and count beans. Make piles of 10 or 5 or 2...count as you go...
Rocks~count and sort according to color or shape. SMALL rocks lol!

Paper plates: One whole place uncut~represents ONE.
                      One plate divided into two halfs.  I put the number 1/2 on each side.
                      One plate divided in four quarters. I put the number 1/4 on each part.
                      One plate divided in 3 thirds. I put the number 1/3 on each part.
I worked to each that the two 1/2's together being 1/2 plus 1/2 = 2/2 =1  I showed this! I did this will all the "fractions" (paper plates). We kept these in a zipperbag to bring out...
We made sets of larger numbers of items.  I took 10 beans.  I separated out 2 away.  This made "2 out of ten" or 2/10ths.  This is a concrete way to teach fractions on a very simple level.

Telling Time and Clock Face 

I used a paper plate again to make a clock face with 12:00 and 6:00 in correct position.  I put the 3:00 and 9:00 in place also.  I used a brad and a construction paper arrows (one short and one long for the minute hand).  I put the corresponding numbers, 1,2,4,5,7,8,10.11 where they belonged..and we counted each number by fives... We played ALOT with our clock... Make up simple word problems:
"Johnny needs to go to bed because it's 2:00.  Show 2:00 on the clock face." AND teach how to write time correctly too...

I also eventually put the minute dashes around the clock between the numbers! We got THAT specific after the "skip counting" of fives was accomplished and understanding that a WHOLE hour is 60 minutes...

Addition Fun:
Add 3 forks to five spoons.  They equal___________.  We played and played.
Subtraction fun the same way:
Four pencils take away one equals _________.

You can make up your own games and have fun "playing with Math!"

I gave my children ALL kinds of rulers, yardsticks, measuring tapes! Some were collapsable, some fabric, some wood, plastic...anykind I could find to make measuring fun! AND then we measured anything and everything we could find. I sent my kids to measure things and even gave them lists.  Whenever I needed something measured, it was a child who did it ;-)) it was fun! Today, they both know all about measurements~linear ones...but not only these!

When my son was young and also when I was teaching liquid measures...I went into the kitchen. I got out the measuring cups, spoons, canning jars~pints, quarts, 1/2, and gallon sized ones...cups, bowls... I got water and said, measure away! It was amazing how much fun it was to figure out that 2 cups =1 pint, and that 2 pints=1quart and so on...3tp=1tbs and 2 tbs-1oz...I was also able to teach metrics this way too... 1oz=30cc. 240cc-8 oz. 500cc=1pint 1,000cc=1qt or 1 liter...  2 liters =2 qts...whoohoo! SEE how easy math is one it's touchable!

I hope this is helpful...with your very young child, sorting by kinds and counting will be most helpful at first...then teaching addition first...then subtraction.  I used Abeka curriculum when they were K and first grades as well as these methods. As a matter of fact, we used Abeka in math until they were in 7th grade math.  It was awesome along with all of our games.  I also used a singing skip counting CD...that was Bible based. You can find it HERE !

Have fun with math~with your little and on up!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reading For the Beginner

How young should we teach a child to read? Admittedly I am no expert, but my experience tells me that a child will pretty much let us know when they are "ready." Signs and clues such as BEGGING to read, wanting to know information by asking questions, loving books~looking at books, carrying books around, trying to read on his own...clues for sure!  This can occur in the very young and even in a child who has shown no interest who is a bit older.  I have heard over the years to wait to teach the skill of reading until a child is old enough to desire and is ready to learn it, and to foster a love of books~all the wonders of the imagination can be lured into loving reading with well written, well read read alouds.  One thing, up until this year, we did consistently was read aloud in our schooling.  It's a wonderful family time and also a way to teach listening skills.  So I want to encourage you to READ aloud frequently throughout the day to your children. Use any excuse you can to bring the written page to life for them.  Narrative story written history, science, Bible texts, literature, and more can be read with feeling and emphasis.

Of course once the desire for reading is in our child, we will need to teach the skill.  I have a child that I used several programs to teach reading to, and he'd just wail, "I HATE to read!" and truly I didn't know he could read day I "caught him" memorizing his AWANA Bible verses! That booger! He was not reading so I'd have to keep working with him and reading to him! Now he did have an eye tracking issue that we remediated, but he could read! No kidding!

Phonic sounds are absolutely important. I've heard too that teaching the sounds are much more important than the names of the letters.  Make up some flash cards.
This website is awesome to teach many phonics skills. You can print off what you need and there is even teaching instruction given. Hey, FREE is good! I wish I had known about all the FREEbies on the web when mine were littles!

Teach those letter sounds and then decode words in readers. We used the Dick and Jane books as well as other readers.  But I have a wonderful website with online and downloadable printable books: is amazing! I did use this with my son.  Zack the Rat is a fun character where words, games and stories are built around him and other engaging characters! It's all online and interactive!!

Don't be afraid to tackle reading skills.  READ, read and read some more to foster a love of good books to your children. We loved Dr. Suess~we read Winne the Pooh, the A.A. Milne version...Little House books and more!

READ away and your child 
will soon be reading to you!

Hey, gotta go and read now. . .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What To Do With Littles~

Love 'em!
That should be our number one! After that, it will depend upon circumstances and your child.  Years ago we were foster parents and I had four children in our home to school.  Now I don't want to give you the wrong impression that we were homeschooling, officially, the oldest child was in school and the other three littles: One was in kindergarten and the other two were littles for sure! But it was after our foster son went to public school that I found out what a challenge it can be to teach with littles around~and the multi age range teaching.  Our older foster son was third grade and needed my help to learn his math facts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  My kindergartner was active and played hard having spent his day in public school as well...then there were the two preschoolers.  What I did was worked with our older boy one on one and let the littles play quietly with "quiet" toys.  Quiet toys are ones without bells/whistles/ noise boxes/lights and sounds. 

Here are some ideas:
1. Puzzles (age appropriate~I used to collect these up so I had a lot and when I got them out it kept them very busy!)
2. Coloring sheets/books
3. Leggos
4. blocks
5. Lincoln Logs
6. Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars
7. dolls
8. dress up clothes (costumes and larger "play" clothes for pretending)
9. writing paper and pencil
10. books (I would put books and say, "Let's read." and encourage looking at pictures.)
11. Audio volume controlled headphones with stories on cassette, Mp3, or dvd.  I don't suggest movies as much, but maybe on occasion.  The audio story will build listening skills.

Very young children will need loads of patience while schooling older siblings.  If you have several older children, you could have one look after the youngers while you work with an older.  Of course, do what will fit your family.  One thing for sure, if a preschooler isn't kept busy with something they will be "into" the schooling of the older child or children.  Busyness is just in their little natures and curiosity is in their hearts! Love 'em by keeping them busy with age appropriate activities while you work away with your older child.

We made it working with all the ages.  Everyone was learning, even our littles who were learning the wonderful skills of imagination, ingenuity, coordination, and more!

Don't be afraid of working away while littles are around. Love 'em and keep them learning too!


Friday, October 23, 2009

New or Seasoned Vet to Homeschooling?

There are few places you can go to find the kind of information, support, and encouragement that you’ll discover inside of TOS—approximately 200 pages worth!

Click on the Winter 2010 cover and use code: SUB 795
Your subscription starts with the fabulous Winter 2009/2010 issue which will be available January 2010! It's filled with the best inspirational stories and motivating ideas you have come to appreciate from  
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
I love TOS Mag!! 
I always look forward to my encouragement showing up~
Love it! Love it! Love it! 

Inside are topics like:
·         Classical education: teaching Latin and more.
·         An interview with Andrew Pudewa.
·         Library column filled with great book ideas.
·         World War I.
·         Preschool at home.
·         Top tips on teaching writing; 
           communication theme, 
          including speech and debate.
·         Support group how-to’s.
·         Science and homeschool.
·         And our fabulous FREEbies Directory.

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How I Got Started Homeschooling

It all began with a preacher's wife, Miss Pat.  Miss Pat is my friend who homeschools her grandchildren, and all these years ago encouraged me to do that same. "God gave you those babies, and you need to raise them," she said to me one day as we were discussing her educating her two grandchildren.  It weighed heavy upon me.  The thought of taking FULL responsibility for two humans in such an important aspect as their education was frightening! I had thoughts of inadequacy, self doubt, worries, and fear.  How would I do this? How would I afford it? Who could help me? Where would my children find a friend? Questions and more questions clouded my mind.

For our family, the decision was couched in a desire to continue to bond, be a family and raise them as good citizens giving them a distinctly Christian worldview.  I knew none of this would happen if they were public school educated, and likely not if in private or even Christian school.  I had graduated from a private Christian school, and I knew the pitfalls of it.  While Christian schooling is not bad, strong factors were that the nearest was an hour away and the costs.  It also would not strengthen family ties.  Perhaps this last reason at the time was the strongest for me.  I wanted to really know my children as they grew and developed, and their being gone six-plus hours a day was not going to accomplish this!

Miss Pat loaned me some of her Abeka curriculum that was so costly~I bought the rest I needed~the consumables.  Off I began. I think Abeka Book is a fine Christian curriculum.  In fact, I know that it's well tested throughout many years, because I was taught by it in my Christian school experience.  It really provided a solid foundation in so many areas for my children.  Math is an area that was really strong as well as reading, spelling and language arts.  We memorized poetry, Bible verses and read wonderful readers.  It was great!

Then we made a move out of state, and I continued with Abeka until I was introduced to the classical/eclectic style of homeschooling.  I am not sure that there is actually a definition that will fit what I was introduced to, but you could say that it's a mix of the classical education along with a "pick and choose" mentality.  Classical meaning attention is given to the roots of language, writing and history is emphasized along with logic and reason.  The eclectic is that while we did so much of this, we also picked our sources discriminately.  I am still burdened to this day by the task of finding good, well fitting sources to use for my children.  It really just comes down to using what is solid material that will educate them to excellence!

I still have many of the feelings of inadequacy that plagued me in the early days, but having accomplished nine years together, I can see the fruit of our labors, and this gives me much more confidence than I would otherwise have had.  I can see that we have made progress.  I can see their strengths and weaknesses, and I am able today to plan for the weaknesses to strengthen them.  Oh...but friends, I only have a few more years left with them! This is a thought that while I am excited, I also take in my heart with zeal to accomplish much!

We have a list of sources that I compiled for this year, if you want to know what we are using.
The Plan 09-10 Please remember that our in our history studies is a listing of Ancient Literature, geography and essay writing with quizzes, tests and other projects.  I have quite a few resources that "flesh out" the short narrative writings on each subject in this text, Mystery of History I.  (This is our second use of it. We used it five years ago when my children were elementary ages.  We are in a second rotation of our world history studies: creation to the present.)

One word of caution for those starting out that I wish I would have realized:
Don't over-school your child!
They learn all the time~allow him to be a child and learn in his own way!
You might like to read this entry I wrote about Natural Learning is Here!

I hope you will find encouragement in my story, and know I am walking along side you to accomplish the task of training our children, but more importantly, the Lord is guiding you in His ways.  Ask for wisdom from above and He guides and is light for our directions!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homeschool FREEbies~Check This Out!

If you are like me and love the FREE stuff, then you will understand why I have placed a FREE EDUCATIONAL LINKS area on here for everyone to enjoy! Come back often, even if you don't homeschool to see what resides in this "place of honor" since the resources are HUGE for anyone who is looking to find some good info on the web.  Of course, much is education geared, but even SisterT is constantly learning; I know you are too! Sooo Come On Back~sign on up and CHECK OUT THOSE FREEbies!

Adopt A Soldier

Our soldiers are doing a job that civilians cannot do.  It is our duty to pray and support their efforts for our country.  Our family has adopted a soldier, and if you have not done so, this is a worthy effort.  Our people overseas should feel and KNOW that we are supporting and praying for them.

Here is a link about sending foods through the USPS overseas to service personel. 

God bless America! Home of the Free 
                                    because of the Brave!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaching the Young Child to Write~Creatively!

When my children were younger, one method I used to bud the creativity in them in their writing is an idea that my friend, Julie gave me.  She had written a guide to writing with the emphasis on enlisting a love for writing within the child's heart first by journal writing each day and systematically teaching editing and the grammar rules as the child journals.  The secret "arsenal" was to have the child write in the journal each day of school, but only weekly to "conference" with the child about his writing.  This was not a critical feast of condemning the child's efforts, but one where the parent/teacher reads with interest and support, validation picking only ONE error to focus upon.  Just ONE! Now this was hard for me initially, but in seeing this method work, the child is not discouraged by hearing how so much is wrong, but that their flow of creative ideas is wonderful, GREAT, and accepted!

When our children were encouraged to write in the manner, they wrote creative stories and accounts of things that they thought without the struggles of the "mechanics" if you will allow me to call it that~the FREE-FLOW of IDEAS is what's most important in the developing thinker and writer . . .

Even the youngest child who has learned to form his letters and write simple sentences through copy work can journal each day.  If your child isn't able to write many sentences independently, then assign ONE each day . . . My son wrote, "I love a cat; I have a cat; My cat is Tiger." You can get the idea that it was a incremental process that TOOK TIME!

Just as  it takes time for a child to learn to read, it will take time for your little to write and write well!

For the very young child, you can "scribe" for him until he is able to write his sentence independently.  Use a journal.  Let your child pick out his own style and color~his preference! I love the Dollar Tree for having these so affordable and often they are so unique! My son's had a frog on it in the shape of a frog!!  Scribe and then have him copy~but don't overwhelm.

Please see the bigger picture that your child is growing and WILL get it!
Our family is proof of this! I have posted our current writing methods/processes
Strategy I

Planning Past the EvalsStrategy 3
Playing Our Way to Writing! and you can see we are well beyond my scribing and the one sentence journal method.

Play some games to encourage language development!

Games for the Young Child:

1. Sentence starters are great. Make up your own (as simple as your child needs it to be . . .)
2. Finish the story: writing game.  Have your children around the table. Start with one line, something like: "There once was . . ." OR "Once upon a time, there was . . ." OR "Hello said the little kitten to . . ." Of course change the kitten to whichever animal your child adores. Is it his dog or a bunny or turtle? ;-)) Make it fun! And then each child and yourself will take a turn adding a word! Allow yourself to write them as you go around, OR pass a sheet of paper for older children. For a fun, fast passed game, do sentences.  Pass this with the olders and they will giggle, get silly and soo creative!
3. Give your child a picture.  Have him tell you what he sees.  You can write it down on his appropriate age level lined paper every other line so now it becomes copy-work, which will reinforce not only what the thought and what was said, but also strengthen those fine motor skills in the mechanics of physcal writing as well as demonstrate just how sentence properly are put together (grammar.)

I hope you will find these methods incouraging and helpful.  Remember like reading, the ability to write is one that takes incramental practice over years to develop.

The biggest goal at a young age is to foster the thinking, creative mind! 

Writing for successful writers!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is It Easy to Homeschool?

This question, asked by the Trivium Pursuit FaceBook Fan Page FREEBIE  was answered by several homeschooling moms, but I know Julieanne who is a fellow blogger and a sweet gal I worked with on the maiden voyage of The Old Schoolhouse Crew doing product reviews.  Julieanne gave a comprehensive answer to this question I think, and I couldn't agree with her more. With her permission, I want to share her remarks with you. Oh, read on, there's some real wisdom here and honest evaluation of the task~not so much mushy gooshy stuff, but some of the real nuts and bolts of the task!

Thanks Julieanne!
Go visit her blog

Sometimes, homeschooling is very hard, even when done in the Lord's strength. I love teaching my children at home, and I haven't found it all that hard because they are bright, and they are also eager learners. But, some people would say what I do is very hard, because we are very careful with our $$ spending, our personal free time is much more ... Read sic (Way) more limited as adults, our extra room is full of books, supplies, and materials instead of a craft room or study. Things are just different! But not hard for me. It takes up most of my personal time, and since I love what I'm doing with my children, it's fine with me. But for moms who have children with learning disabilities, or they are used to having extra money to do whatever they want, or they are used to having a lot of free time to explore their hobbies and interests, or socialize with their friends all the time, then homeschooling may be very, very hard for them.

It's the best "job" (aka "ministry") that I've ever had, and I wouldn't trade it for anything! But a lot of moms I know who don't homeschool would think it would be too hard because they don't want to learn patience, they don't want to give up their finances, and their free time, and some aren't willing to work hard with children who have learning disabilities. Those moms would find homeschooling extremely hard!

I couldn't agree with her more! Homeschooling isn't easy.  It comes with the everyday struggles/sacrifices of learning to live within a family, navigating the world around us and teaching as we go our children. Do-able? Yes, for those who are God called.  I don't believe everyone should homeschool, but probably not for the reasons you might think...this will be another post I think ;-)) I also don't think public school is so great either.  You can read about my experiences HERE.

Julieanne, Thank you for allowing me to share your insights into homeschooling!

If you are thinking about homeschooling, then just know there will be tough times and sacrifices, but the rewards are out of this world!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Importance of Reading

Are you a book lover? I hate to admit this, but my book cases have overflowed, and now my hubby has built some new ones that are double deep~meaning they are five book cases two wide horizontally with three in the front that slide back and forth so that we can shelve all of our books! Recently as we were shelving and cataloging them~oh now this was a pain, I pulled out about 200 from our collection. We have found books to be very important in our lives. I remember reading information sheets encouraging reading to the children and parents to demonstrate a value for reading.  Too late!  We already loved books!

Reading is crucial for a child in ways unimaginable!

Reading builds vocabulary skills,listening skills, writing skills, speech skills, cognitive processes and more!

When our children were little, we read Dr. Suess's ABC  so much we ALL could recite it by heart! I love that book to this day, and look forward to reading it to my grandchildren!

If you have a young child, read to your little person. Talk to your little person and teach them to love books! Of course the love for reading is developed over time and with skill. Children learn  to read when they want to KNOW the story~the book's contents! Frequent library trips, read alouds, books on tape, mp3 download stories for children all develop those wonderful skills!

My friend N. told me about her family's study of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Tonight her children saw the caterpillar emerge from its cocoon. I heard the wonderment and joy of her young children who witnessed their little caterpillar changing into the beautiful moth or butterfly it was becoming.

THIS IS HOMESCHOOLING at its best!!!!!!!!

Read, Read, Read, and Read some more! 
You can't read enough to your children!

If you are like me and have older children who are independent learners, have them read to you.  I continued reading to them until last year, but on occasion I STILL read to them! I use audio books and downloads as well as dictation to hone in those listening skills for strengthening in auditory processing!

Do you need the mega book case?
Do you make trips to the library?
Do you have a co-op resource for books?

Tap it! 

The importance of reading can't be overstated! AND in a few years, you will see your own littles emerge from their cocoons and stretching their wings to flight as beautiful creatures of joy and delight!

Reading is Fantastic! Oh wait, I need my book . . .
(Don't forget that the TOS Magazine $7.95 SALE til the 18th!)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for 7.95LOWEST PRICE~ $7.95
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products~DEALS (Reviews: You will want to read to investigate a product before you buy...there's even a "Try Before You Buy" edition each year...OH Yeah!!!! Coupons, and codes...TOS has it all!)

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Each season, I look soooooo forward to receiving this "dose of encouragement" in the mail. 

Subscribe or RENEW! 

YOU won't be sorry! THIS IS A MUST HAVE!!
I ordered a renewal for me and a girlfriend for Christmas! What JOY to be able to share every quarter some love and encouragement with a fellow sister who is homeschooling her precious littles! You can do this too!

Just CLICK on the Magazine~ ;-))  
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everyone is Special!

I was offered Someplace Called Special produced by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for review.

This is a heartwarming source of encouragement for parents of children who experience challenges, often living within the label of "special needs."  This is a compilation of the stories of ten Moms who share from their perspective what it's like and how they are blessed by their child.  In eBook, easy to navigate form, you will find honesty and hope concerning children with differences, "special needs."

Included are:
Aspburger's Syndrome
Cerebral Palsy
Sensory Processing Disorder
Down's Syndrome

(Please note that there are other differences discussed as generally there are accompanying issues within these diagnosis presentations.)

Within the eBook, there are links to each diagnosis giving readers clear meanings of them along with many interventions that are discussed.  The Moms discuss opening what they have tried, what works and what has not with their children. 

Along with the stories, there is a section of 10 reasons for to homeschool a special learner with explanations! IEP (Individualized Educational Plans) are discussed as well as public schol and private interventions.  Specific insights are shared in a question and answer formate that will inform of the benefits of homeschooling special needs kids. 

I find Someplace Called Special a must read for any parent, Mom or Dad navigating the waters of differences in their special needs child.  As a Mom of special learners, I can identify with some of these Mom's experiences, struggles and perspectives.  "Been there and done that" in some of the areas discussed!  After years of educating and being in the trenches myself,

I found NEW information that I had not previously attained!  Check out this resource!

If you are not the parent of a special learner, but want to know more, you can also benefit by a greater understanding of the issues involved and what the real needs of children can be beyond a label.  As I was reading, I remembered a situation where our special learner was "friends" with a child who showed insensitivity to the special needs issue, and think that if everyone could read a book or find some way to understand, much could be gained for everyone involved!

Someplace Called Special is such a book  for understanding!  Normal is just a town in IL, not anywhere I've personally been or most anyone I know as been...We are all "different," and as has been pointed out by contributing author, Heather Allen, everyone has special needs!

Click on the sidebar to get Someplace Called Special offered by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Yours for ALL of us with differences, "special needs,"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

American Family Radio Webcast Thoughts

American Family Radio which is part of the American Family Association hosted a webcast on the program, Nothing But Truth last evening called American Education: Do You Know What You Are Paying For?  Guests included Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Ken Ham, Founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis and Creation Museum who joined both by phone show host, Crane Durham.  In studio, Geoffery Botkin, Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, William J. Federer, Author, Speaker, Commentator, Historian of AmericanMinute(dot)com, Stephen M. Crampton, General Counsel, Liberty Counsel were very informative and inspiring!  Congressman Pete Hoekstra of 2nd District of MI, and CongressmanTodd Aiken, 2nd District of MS who also joined by phone.  WOW! What a night! 

The information flew as Mr. Botkin and Mr. Federer gave a history of public education in America.  Since I love history so much, it was wonderful to hear the truth of how our nation's system of education has been put into place.  Attorney Crampton shared some of the historic court cases that have established policies that effect us today.

There was no educational choice bashing on this panel, but a discussion of what has become of public education, the intent of it, and how in some ways it has changed.

The panel discussed  where most Christians are educating their children. Dr. Ken Ham stated a Barna Group statistic (which is documented in his book, Already Gone, Ham's newest publication) that 90% of all church children are public school educated and that 2/3 will leave the church after high school.   I knew the numbers were staggering, and it grieved me to hear them again! We have so much work to do to pass our Christian heritage on to our children, which is conversely the issue that the author of the book in my earlier post has with homeschooling. . . but you can scroll on down and read all about that. . .  Educators, particularly Christian educators were encouraged to continue their efforts in their jobs of helping children in their classrooms and empathy for the battle was expressed. There are around 2 million homeschoolers in our nation we were told.

I was given the opportunity to call in and make comments concerning homeschooling into the upper grades and asked the panel to address results of homeschooling considering the concerns of some that homeschooled children are not "socialized, brought into the main stream or ARE somehow guarded into dysfunction." I asked the panel IF there are any homeschoolers in the prison system! I received a chuckle with the last part of my question, but was given a wonderful answer sending me to HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense) for statistics, that getting to know wonderful homeschooling families would alleviate fears, and that children who have been homeschooled are proving to become wonderful citizens past their homeschooling experiences.   This is awesome news for homeschoolers from such a panel of distinguished guests!

Chris Klicka, HSLDA champion was lauded for his efforts in defending homeschooling rights in the nation.  He has recently passed October 12, 2009 with condolences offered to his family.  

If you didn't get to listen or watch, then go to American Family Radio webcast.  It's a dignified discussion of the needs in education and of all the possibilities to remedy them.

Homeschooling is not for every family, but it is a viable and reasonable option for Christian families to give children a distinctly Christian education and to assure that children are educated. This is a choice our family has obviously embraced.  You may be thinking about homeschooling for your family.  Leave me a comment or question if I can help you in any way.  Remember that life is a journey; homeschooling is part of life, a natural part of life that occurs as we rise up and lay down we instruct and teach our children.  I wasn't homeschooled.  It's a decision that came as part of my journey . . .

My Education
I was public and private school educated in a time of turmoil in the 1970's when segregation ended, and in our community violence made havoc of the school system.  Parents protested the busing of children away from neighborhood schools.  Ten-foot fences with barbed wire were erected around middle and high schools to contain the violent disruptions as students battled who, for the first time, were attending school together.  I was in third grade when this began.  By the time I was in the eighth grade, I had been attacked by a group of girls in the gym locker room, and inappropriately touched by another student who was not punished because as my mother was told, "he was already on probation" and this offense would have sent him to "jail."  This was my last year in public education at which time I attended a private Christian school.  While I am very proud of my Christian school and my years there, I want to say that not all children attending are Christian or Christ-like in their behaviors.  I learned that drunken parties and other misdeeds were prevalent among my classmates as about 1/2 of our junior class was expelled for a party they attended...I don't know any more than that it tore up our class... but we had signed behavior covenants.  Rules were broken.  I was not involved.  I won't make any other commentary about this other than that I realized that just because you attended a Christian school that taught Bible everyday and had chapel each week, there was going to be those who were there for reasons other than my own which was to get a Christian education.

Did I want this for my own children?  I had lived "that" life . . . The one time dream of becoming  a "Christian school teacher" had long alluded me for nursing and now motherhood.  Two precious gifts needed educating. I will share more of our story another time, but God led us to home education!

Go check out that webcastThe Homeschooling Channel is coming on SkyAngel for those who like TV...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homeschooling ATTACKED in Book~

The book, Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling by Robert Kuzman of Indiana State University is noted to be a book that's created much looking into the world of conservative Christian homeschooling.  Mr. Kunzman  in his interview on State of Belief, the radio show of Interfaith Alliance with Welton Gaddy says that he followed six families over time from CA to TN to see what trends and differences there are in homeschooling in these families.  I have not read this book, but I would like to read all of his "insights" as I fit into or identify with the description of a "conservative Christian homeschooling family."

Please be aware that there are apparently people in our society who have concerns to the extent that they are looking into and critiquing home ed~one noted fact is that homeschooling as per the radio interview on State of Belief is that the trend to homeschooling rose by 75% while public education only rose by 12% in the last year! Wonder WHY???  In this radio interview (almost 1/3 through the radio bar, first one) you will hear what is outrageous and unbelievable in an attack on Christianity and home education.  There is a distinction made for the secularists who homeschool.  They discussed an apparent distrust of public education and that homeschooling encompasses the entire life of the family, as well as  HSLDA, Michael Farris and the Generation Joshua which is a political activist homeschooling group in negative tones.   

This is a MUST listen interview!

I hope that you are aware that there are forces at work to deny Christians the liberties of faith: distinctive faith and values.  The concerns voiced over the ability of children to interact in diversity and the position homeschooling  was discussed, it was not seen as a necessarily positive thing. 

Please, pray for our nation's leaders and those who seek to remove our parental rights to train our children.  I have often wondered as I wrote my post questioning where is the EVIDENCE that homeschooling is bad? If you will take the time, please fill out my survey on homeschooling results and send others here to do it as well.  The fight is on, and we must understand that while we are neither understood nor appreciated for our efforts to raise good citizens of our nation.

Thank you to Home Education Magazine for bringing this book and now radio interview to light.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Writing Strategy #4 Playing Our Way to Writing!

It's been a long haul over the years.  While we are in high school, I realize that some of you are in different places in the journey of homeschooling.  I hope my honest discussion of this struggle will be a comfort for you if you are struggling or insecure, and for those just starting out, I hope you find encouragement and some ideas you can use as well. 

The age of your child certainly will dictate some of what you will and won't try.  But this one idea is certain, keep trying! Another is to keep it as much fun as possible.  My boy will tell you that I am not fun! But in my humble defense, I have tried to keep it fun~but remember this is an area of weakness and none of us likes hitting on a "soft spot" of which this Mama has done for all these years I really don't expect him to think I am fun or to thank me right now~BUT I am looking days when he will...when he can function and do well at life~literate and educated! It would be sooo easy to take the tact of saying, "awww, he's not 'college material' and "well, he is so hands on~we just didn't push"...or even, "shop activities were his thing, we just let the other stuff slide..."  Please hear me on this: I am sure I will have hit a nerve in my opinion I am giving, but my reasons are thus: We MUST educate our children! The education we give has to be encompassing to a place that it brinks to the top of their abilities.  This is a tall order I know...but I encourage you to consider your child's life without the ability to effectively communicate on paper the written words he may need to convey as an adult in a writing society...Yes, history does document the excellence of writing in our society~just read our founders and those who were educated throughout the centuries! I've said it~let's educate our strugglers and all our littles to excellence! NOW on to some fun ideas:

1. Play some games~what have you got? Scrabble, Boggle, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Trivial Pursuit? We even like Monopoly and Uno for strategy as well as card games...but the word and knowledge based games are so play play!

2. For basic skills in phonics, I devised a simple game for my hands on learner...he was in kindergarten at the time and learning vowel sounds and blends...I made flash cards out of file cards and putting them in a random pattern on the floor, he hopped while making the sounds.  He liked it and it helped him learn them.

3. Writing games~story starters is a fun way...take out a sheet of notebook paper or for your young child, you be the scribe so the emphasis is on the ideas not all the skills associated with writing all at once...begin the story with a made up statement that needs an ending: "There was a kitty who..." and let your child finish...Then you can go onward to expand the story.  Once you have a short nice story, you can have your child use this story as copy work.  A method for this is to scribe your child's thoughts on his age level appropriate writing paper every other line...the second line is for his copywork right below yours.  Remember to model beautiful writing for him, printed properly in a style that fits with good sound instruction.  You must model what you desire in your learner ;-))  This is so true in all of our lives with our children!  So with this said, you can also have him illustrate the story as well.  This gives great extensions to your child's story and creative efforts!

4. Journaling is another great way to write everyday that will bring composing together with mechanics.  Funny that we began trying to journal long before he was ready...I got short snippet sentences like: "I love a cat." I have a cat." My cat is good."  But eventually through praise and then requiring a number of sentences I KNEW he could write, and numbers of words I knew he could use, I encouraged him and REQUIRED longer sentences: My instructions: Write five sentences five words each.  Each sentence is about something different.  These were after quite a while of continuing to teach sentence writing and scribing his ideas and him doing copywork.    It's a process, and I used loads of praise and reward for his hard work! In fact, today I STILL tell him ALL the wonderful things he has done in excellence FIRST before I EVER share any corrections that need to be made...I know that he has worked sooo hard...soooo diligent...and I want him to KNOW that I know and value his efforts!!! Convey this to your learner too! Don't we all go a little further when we feel loved and valued for our efforts??! 

5. Silly Songs~does your child like music? Make up silly sentence songs to tunes you know or tunes you can make up~Have fun! MAKE it fun! The hard part will come later when it's essay writing time and the steps are in place so that an essay will form.  This is where we are today...and why I have posted my incramental instructions that I am giving each day to get an essay a week...

Remember that writing is truly a process.  One thing I learned in college is that editing is what will make a writer's work excel, but the one thing I learned about writing from life is that a true writer or a natural writer will just write, because "writer's write!" I have a natural writer who writes up a storm and then I have a reluctant writer, but both are becoming capable writers~effective and's a process of becoming~even with such  as skill as writing!

Play on towards writing~teaching your child toward excellence and being educated!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Writing Strategy #3 Pushing On...

Sometimes we just have to keep going! I have tried all kinds of things with our learner.  Trial and error is expected when we know each child is different so a different method may or may not work.  Each child has a unique learning style.  You can study these styles so you know how your child does and does not learn.  My son is now able to tell me his learning preference.  I do want to say that learning preferences does not mean we give into them daughter who has trouble following audio needs more practice taking dictation and notes on lectures.  My son who has trouble with his writing needs to write more.  Just because there is an area of difficulty it does not mean we give into the weakness! We must press on~push on to victory to reach our child's potential. 

Once I have set goals for my child, I have discussed them with him.  They really are HIS goals, not mine! If he is not engaged and willing, no goals or process will make him learn. 

Here is an example of a goal I have set for my son for this year.  It has various levels, but overall this is the goal:
Boy Thing One can write a five paragraph essay with minimal help to the completion on Friday using all the steps of essay writing.  He will understand proper punctuation, grammar and spelling, along with capitalization and format. 

NOW this is a tall order!

Yeah, you're right!

It goes like this:
After I assign either a topic or a reading assignment for a topic:
Ex. John Smith

Write five facts answering each question.  Do research by looking him up online and in the encyclopedias.  You may use the library too.

Who is Johh Smith?
What did John Smith do?
Why do we need to know about John Smith?

 Organize the facts under each question in order of most important to least important.

Write an introduction paragraph. Use a topic sentence which tells what your essay is about. Give the three main points presented in the three paragraphs~who he was, what he did and why we need to know about him.  Turn the facts into sentences and write three paragraphs using them.  Keep them in the order of the sentences. Call this papaer Draft I. When you are done, go to another task.  When finished, come back and read each sentence backward starting at the bottom of the page. FIND any errors and correct them all.  Bring your preEssay to me for me to go over it with you.

Add the closing paragraph to your essay.  ReState all your main ideas about John Smith.  This becomes Draft 2. Go over your paper gain.  Find all he mistakes and corect them.  Bring the paper to me for my editing. This becomes Draft 3.

Final paper day.  After I have edited with you, go back and rewrite the entire essay!
This becomes your final draft and upon which I will grade.

I always staple in order the progression with the final paper on top.  I brag about everything good on the appearance, structure, layout, format, sentences, meanings, orgainzation, penmanship..EVERYTHING! Liberal praise, limited correction.

A child going into a crying jag or melt down is in overload.  Relieve overload by allowing your child to set in a chair or put the heads down.  Pushing on isn't productive unless he is ready!  Learning is active and engaged...
Here's just what I am doing to teach the process~What are you doing?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nathonal Ichythiosis Awareness Week

Meet Peter who has a rare skin disorder...He's adorible and a blessing! You can learn more

Children are precious gifts from God...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Writing Strategy~Planning Past the Evaluations

Once my child was evaluated for placement, it wasn't placement that concerned me, but skill sets.  What does he know and not know.  When I am aware of his weaknesses, I can work with him to improve those areas.  Planning becomes key when looking at where we want to go.  But what would planning look like for your child? Each child is going to be uniquely different, but you can decide as a homeschooler what skills you need for him to learn and when to learn them. 

When my boy was younger, about 2nd grade, I wanted him to creatively write in a journal each day.  I tried all kinds of things to get his creative juices flowing including offering a tape player for him to speak his thoughts into and letting that be his "writing." I did this so his thinking would develop independent of the motor skills of writing.

I also used copy work.  I didn't use the nice copywork sheets that are available with a saying or Scripture on the top in nice script for him to copy, but I used regular three-lined second grade paper and wrote every other line and had him copy my letters directly underneath mine.  This took up more paper and may have been more costly, but really in comparrison to purchasing copywork pages that are not lined appropriately for the young child, but more like college or wide rule notebook paper and their cost, it most likely came out the same...also there were added benefits with using this method.  It was a 'real world' practice of what I would later require of him...I didn't want to change the methods with paper type for a child already struggling! Cost wasn't as much a factor as what may help us!  Also I had him copy the Bible and other works of literature passages for practice in seeing great sentences and content.  I was making the way for a path that I hoped one day would be well trodden!

Each lesson of writing accompanied some other lesson such as history or Bible or science we were doing.  This gave great meaning for all the work, and I was very proud of his efforts and showcased them in page protectors in a three ring binder! I allowed him his place in the process of learning and to grow!

We played word games, although I don't think he ever realized this was a strategy on my part...we played Wheel of Fortune on cd game...he loved to solve the puzzle...Writing became a part of all the other things that were fun for him.  I had to find ways to keep exposing him to using his small fine muscles and to enlist that brainy memory of writing~the art of the written word. 

It could be said, I have worked him silly! In fact, if you ask him, he says that I have done just that...but we are seeing progress...and it was incramental.  It was a step at a time...

Once I figured out what he knew and didn't know, I was prepared to find unique and interesting ways (to him) to take him to a higher level...planning was key.

Write some goals.
Write steps to getting to the goals!
Write some rewards or incentives for your learner!
Evaluate what is and is not working.

Getting the evaluation can be invaluable to figuring out how to help a child who is struggling.  Accurate information such as the self test in the previous post or professional accessments can tell just what a parent is navigating through for their child.

Once this is all done and plans are made, then it's time to do them...and if you find something not working, it's time for....

We will discuss what to do when something isn't to make that...CHANGE!