Middle School

Phonics Again

When I first thought about teaching my oldest child to read, I was filled with much excitement and, I will admit, a little nervousness.

After all, reading is so important to future learning, not to mention lifelong enrichment. I wondered if everything would go well.

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.

Tending a Budding Reader

I’m a book person. I love to read lots of different kinds of books for my own pleasure and learning and I also love to read children’s literature out loud to the kids.

It always thrills my heart when I see my older two kids pick up books and read of their own volition.

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.

The Study Sheet of Doom

The intrepid adventurers scurried through dank corridors, snatching up artifacts and pocketing treasure. They stumbled into a pit, navigated a runaway mine cart, and swung over stagnant water on decaying ropes. At long last, they possessed not only the Diamond of Ancients, but both of them scored 91% on their three-page history test...

Slowing Down for the Important Things

What’s more important: checking off “get BSF homework done” or having a meaningful conversation with my daughter about Christ being her personal savior and providing atonement for her sins?

Relationships are more important than tasks. My daughter’s relationship with God is most important of all. All the details, and the daily busyness, can keep us from the big picture, and the most important things, sometimes.

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.  

Poetry Contest? You Can! You Can!

Earlier this year, I shared a few stories about homeschooling students with special needs who have done quite well in past HSLDA Contests.

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Beth Lossing. Beth is mom to Sophie, Mia and Jonathan. As you will discover, all three of these precious children have special needs. She has written about how they approached participating in the HSLDA poetry contest.

Daring, Shaming and Math

Sometimes I’m bowled over by an unexpected insight in a book, and that’s exactly what happened to me when I read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.

Then it hit me. I realized that there have been a few recent occasions where I have unwittingly resorted to shaming a certain daughter of mine. Thinking about it makes me feel like there’s a hatchet in my heart, because I definitely don’t ever want to do that.

The Problem is I Need Three of Me

My parents, heaven bless them, recently left sunny coastal California and came to the icy tundra that is Indianapolis in winter. They came to watch our four kids for a few days so my husband and I could get away for a very timely respite.

Last fall my mom texted me to ask what we wanted for our winter birthdays and Christmas. After giving it some thought, I replied emphatically, "We don't want stuff! We want a break!! Please come!"

Playing to Our Strengths

While it’s true that a certain amount of parenting involves just staying the course and dutifully slogging through the inevitable rough patches (who really enjoys staying up nights with a sick child or wiping endless runny noses?—yet it needs to be done), I think we can often fall into the assumption that some things just have to be done because That’s the Way Things Are. We hold certain parenting truths to be self-evident because they seem to work so well, but what works for others may not always be best for us.

Of Bugs and Missing Tupperware

I’m not sure about that poet who decided it’s only boys who are made of snakes, and snails, and puppy dog tails. I am pretty sure that is what my girls are made of too. They sure do love creepy crawlies of all kinds. There is no fear or revulsion. Only curiosity and delight. They love bugs and reptiles!

In the past they have been happy to collect frogs and insects, with either their bare hands or their bug vacuum...

The Ever-Elusive Perfect Learning Environment

In my most glowing pink, rose-colored dreams about home education, my children are perfectly groomed, sitting attentively around the table, smiling or perhaps looking intrigued, as I speak articulately and passionately about faith, academics, or some other important subject matter. Every word out of my mouth is being absorbed into their spongy brains, for permanent retention and life application. The room is quiet as I speak, or perhaps there is soft classical music providing some white noise in the background.

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