Archive for April, 2011

How Do You Choose?

I received this note from someone through the blog, but the email address left with it didn’t work when I wrote back. If this is you, please try and contact me again. I would be happy to work with you.

“Please could you get in touch, would like some advice  on home education , are you very strict with your programme or do you go with the children. My daughter was in main stream school but it seems to have been failing her also there was no religious  input , the  reason we decided to home school . I am still not sure on what  programme to follow, as there seems to be so many ways of educating children, how do you know which is right for your child ?”

My answer was a bunch of questions. What age? Grade? Strengths? Weaknesses? What does she enjoy? Despise? The decision of how to teach your child is a complicated one. I made my first decisions when my oldest was an infant. I’m that type of girl. I looked through curriculum and from what I saw I knew I wanted to use real books to teach — literature based, not workbooks and textbooks. That was based on what I liked and my opinions of what I was looking at in terms of curriculum.

So then I looked at literature based curriculums. There were things I liked. Things I didn’t like. Books I wanted to use. Books I wouldn’t want to use. And the cost. We didn’t have a thousand dollars saved up for a year’s worth of curriculum. So I started planning and preparing my own homeschool materials. My daughter was still under a year old. 🙂  I made phonics games and readers. I wrote out a preschool curriculum — letter of the week type thing to start when she was two.

Problem was my daughter was quite the linguist at one. By 18 months she knew her alphabet, their sounds, her colors, shapes, etc. I hadn’t sat down and taught her any of it. She just pointed and asked and learned. My two-year-old curriculum was null and void. When she was two, she started begging me to teach her to read. Every day. Nagging. I finally started to try but she couldn’t get the phonics. I did a little research and tried sight words. She got it. We never did need those phonics games. She was reading second grade by the time she was four.

The point — choose what you are comfortable with, what you can afford, and what your child wants and needs. It all needs to go together. There’s no point to picking something rigid and sticking to it when you have the wonderful opportunity to teach directly to your child’s needs and desires.

This can be simply taking a break from the math textbook and doing a division lapbook to help her get the concept and technique. Both of the division lapbooks I made were for this same daughter. Our children excel in some areas and struggle in others. One size never fits all.

Again, if you wrote me that note, please try again to contact me, and I would be happy to work with you as you sort through the decision. And it’s not a one time final decision. You will be making the decision what and how to teach almost daily 🙂


April 25, 2011 at 6:32 am 1 comment

Free Earth Science Curriculum

Have you ever thought about trying to homeschool for “free”? I have finished writing up curriculum for earth science modeled after our family’s studies this past school year. It covers space, earth and oceans and is made for K-12 so that the whole family can study the same topics. There are info and activity ideas for each topic. Everything the curriculum uses is found free online. You can use this curriculum anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.

I have also updated the language arts curriculum and the early American history curriculum. Next I will be writing out curriculum for our social studies topic from this year, geography and cultures. I hope these help someone. Let me know if you use them.

Find all of the curriculum on my Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog.

April 18, 2011 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Have You Read It Yet?

It’s been four months since many of you downloaded my novel. Have you managed to start reading yet? I’d love to hear from you. Below are some notes I’ve received from other homeschool moms.

“I believe the Lord has used you to speak out a message of surrender and trust in a way that is tangible and sweet.  His desire for us to trust him is for us, for our benefit – as you know and have experienced – not just because he said so.  Your story portrays the sweetness of that, and the beauty of knowing, really knowing him!  I have already told people about your book, and I plan on telling many, many more.  It is not just a good story.  It is a powerful message of how peaceful and full our lives can be in the midst of ANY trial no matter how difficult or painful, and how we do not have to fear.”

– Jessi, homeschool mom

“I am finally reading your book!!!!  I LOVE it!!!! I have been so inspired to spend time with the King!! You have been anointed for such a time as this to remind the body to sit still before the throne so we responsibly pass on the King’s message to those who are yet to find Him — can’t wait for my next moment to read!! Thanks for all the effort that went into crafting such a beautiful story.”

– Donna, homeschool mom

“A highly enjoyable story that I couldn’t put down. I found myself captivated and transported. I was so absorbed in the weaving of the tale, rooting for Gabe and the other servants of the King, holding my breath, laughing, crying and always filled with wonderment to learn more about the King and how his love will always make a way for those who love Him. A wonderful read for pre-teens through adults alike.”

– Laura, homeschool mom

Thinking you might like to buy the book? Did you know you can get it with free shipping? has a program for moms only. It’s free to sign up and you get free 2-day shipping on any order!

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If you love the book too, please spread the word!

April 11, 2011 at 6:51 am Leave a comment

Field Trips and Pigeons

We live in a city and have a view of cement blocks out our window. Not very appealing. There is very little green anywhere in site, even off in the distance. We bought some plants for our balcony and they died. But we have found one way to bring nature to our home. We fed the pigeons. We threw corn out on our balcony and soon enough we had a nest and now a mama sitting on two eggs! The kids took the week off of learning about Middle Eastern countries and researched pigeons instead.

By the way, we had a mishap last week from the kids searching for info on Iraq (graphic war images), so this week I gave them this link to use for their research. It’s Ivy’s Internet Search Engine Resources. There are several search options all designed for kids.

Mama on the nest -- taken through our dirty window so as not to scare her away

We’re counting down the days until the eggs hatch. Yes, eggs. The picture was taken after the first was laid. There are two.

Living where we do has some good points too. We happen to be able to do field trips actually in the Middle East. We visited a fortress which doubles as a war museum.

Next door was a money museum. It always helps to have lots of cute kids and we were welcomed in free.

Despite what the picture looks like, the kids and myself, found this really interesting. Tons of money from around the world and from different times.

Turkmenistan, by the way, wins for the prettiest money.

There was a “Kitchen Museum” across the street, but it was too much for one morning. Another day. We did walk past this excavation site, though.

Lots more to see, hopefully before the weather gets too hot to be outside during the day. We’re already wearing some of our summer clothes and the locals have on coats. 🙂

A little Kahn Academy update: one month in and the kids still enjoy doing math. Yeah! I let them both start at basic addition. My son has already earned the “Master of Arithmetic” badge and is doing the pre-algebra math. I started doing it to. I should be a “master” in a week. You can go pretty quickly if you want to. You just need to get 10 right in a row to be proficient at something. My son did extra to earn more points and badges. Actually, he asked to do math for an hour instead of just half an hour. So far so good! (Oh, and he says there are word problems, but I haven’t seen any yet.)

April 5, 2011 at 7:35 am 4 comments

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