Elementary

Joy is Like a Whale

Recently, my husband and I were able to get away for a few days to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My favorite part of our trip was watching the humpback whales. They have their babies in the waters off Cabo and then migrate back to Alaska for the summer months. We saw many whales, from the balcony of our room, and on a couple of boat trips we took. They would flip their flippers and their tails often; on more than a few occasions they would jump clear out of the water.

Planting Seeds

As I write this, the weather is finally starting to get consistently warm in our neck of the woods. So this week, it was time to get started on our little family garden.

My husband grew up in farm country. Each year, he would spend many an hour helping to tend the family's large garden. With twelve mouths to feed, this garden played an important role in providing for the family's needs. My childhood gardening experience, on the other hand, was a bit more limited...

Rain Days, Snow Days, School Days

I’m fairly confident by now that the last snow of the season is over. (I thought so once before, but then a surprise snowstorm in late March proved me wrong.) Of course, now that we’re finally free from winter’s icy grip, we’re facing the inevitable deluge of vernal showers. The stormy transition from winter to spring provides a good opportunity to reflect on yet another reason I’m glad to be homeschooling: the freedom to set our own pace.

Family Reading Time

When our family decided to pull our oldest daughter out of kindergarten and bring her home, we only knew two other homeschooling families. These two families were very different in their homeschooling styles, and yet on one thing they were in passionate agreement: a well-rounded education involves reading, reading and more reading. More importantly, it involved sharing good books as a family.

Nature Studies

Nature studies is a thing. It’s a good thing. Preschoolers do well with the “oh look” method of nature studies. You may want some structure and books, but beyond them every outing becomes an informal science lab, no beakers required. If those are cumulonimbus clouds, we’ll have to go inside.  Bicyclists are fast and have a lot more mass than you. The sun is hot and a major source of ultraviolet radiation as well as visible light, so wear your hat. You can pick all the dandelions and violets you like; these purple berries are pokeweed and will probably make you throw up, so don’t eat them.

Be Encouraged, Homeschool Teachers! | Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Week

Before I dragged myself out of bed and put on my jeans and shirt, I knew I needed to put something else on even more important. I needed to clothe myself with truth. When parenting or homeschooling are overwhelming, my biggest battle usually isn’t logistical in nature; it’s fighting the unbelief and the lies the Enemy loves to throw at me...

Keeping the Big Picture| Five ways to balance academics with God’s gifting in your children

What priorities do you have for your children? Besides academics, what do you want them to learn that will serve them their whole life long? Since God has given each of my children gifts in certain areas, I want to be sensitive to His leading us to opportunities that help them develop those gifts. I also want my children to have a vision for using those gifts for God’s kingdom.  

Six Types of Bills Homeschoolers Should Watch in 2015

Each year, HSLDA’s Federal Relations team reviews the many bills (around 7 to 11 thousand) that are introduced in the United States Congress—searching for language that might affect the freedom of homeschoolers across the U.S.

Here are six bills in the 114th Congress that we think you should know about...

Hold on to the Encouragers in Your Life

A couple of weeks ago, my family had the painful task of saying goodbye for now to my Uncle Gene. He was a father of eight and a husband of more than fifty years to his childhood sweetheart and my dad’s only sibling. He was a teacher, a preacher, a principal of a Christian school, a Sunday school teacher, head of a board of deacons and a friend to many, attested to by the line of people through the sanctuary and out the door waiting to pay their respects. More than any of that, he was a child of God. During his eulogy the pastor said repeatedly that Uncle Gene would’ve wanted less talk about him and more about Jesus.

Falling in Love with Pharaohs

If you were hanging out at our house, you’d notice that our study of ancient Egypt started with a Daddy story about the brave Thutmose the Third and his sneaky tactics that won the Battle of Megiddo. We looked at pictures on Pinterest of Thutmose’s wives’ jewelry, including a type of bezel ring that we could – and did – make with my jewelry supplies. We talked about what a cartouche was and figured out one for Meg, using a chart of real hieroglyphs. Then we drew her cartouche on the ring with a permanent marker.

Reflections On My Homeschool Experience—What Didn’t Work So Well

In my last post, I shared a few of the things I remember from my childhood that were particularly effective or enjoyable. Now it’s time to mull over the things that didn’t work out so well. While I think that value can be found in all work or study, I do think it’s helpful to identify the less successful practices so I don’t end up wasting my time or energy (or my children’s patience!) on what might turn out to be mere busywork.

Speed Drills and Perfectionism

Ah, speed drills. How we love to hate them.

When I was little, I remember enjoying speed drills. Like Tracy, I was one of those strange children who actually liked math. I was known for doing fairly long sums in my head from about the age of five (or so my grandma tells me). I loved to be tested to see if I could solve the problems that were presented to me. But speed drills were even better: they were like a personal competition, where I could race through the problems and try to beat my own “high score.”

Living with Classical Music

My daughter Meg requested “a clock with glowy numbers” (i.e. a digital clock) because her room at Nana's house has one, and because it's cool. About that time, my vintage childhood alarm clock stopped going off at the right time reliably, which is super annoying if you want go somewhere. So I bought a cute, round, bright red, working alarm clock and Meg inherited my old one. It does indeed have glowing numbers, and – get this – it has a radio. When you push buttons, music comes out! It's just like Mom's ipod!

Learning and Surviving on the Road - 5 ways to have a fun and educational road trip with your kids

I have to admit I was not looking forward to our road trip last week. Many months ago, I committed to driving from Indianapolis to both Dallas and San Antonio to visit relatives who live there. The idea greatly appealed to me until the reality sunk in, shortly before our time of departure. As I packed our bags, I was definitely looking forward to the destination, but not exactly the journey itself. (Sorry Ralph!) 

But We’ve Always Done It That Way!

Some time after we were married, my husband remarked on how much he appreciated good home cooking, thoughtfully-packed lunches, and fresh baked goods. He especially liked the chocolate chip cookies, which I made faithfully for him because I knew they were just about his favorite dessert. However, he did wonder whether I had found a new recipe for them, because he didn’t remember chocolate chip cookies tasting quite the way I made them. Was I using the classic Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe, he wondered?

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