Teachable Moments

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...

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.

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.

The Glass Catastrophe - A Good Lesson Learned

Recently my sweet and helpful daughter offered to fetch me a drink of water. Somehow in the course of things, the glass slipped from her grasp and shattered on the kitchen floor. Fortunately, it was an otherwise low-stress moment, and I had the patience and presence of mind to assure her that it was fine. While I gave her comforting platitudes about how this wasn’t the first dish to be broken in this house by children, nor will it be the last, she brushed tears from her eyes, clearly far more upset by the incident than I was.

Hurry, Hurry

Things go wrong at the most inopportune time. Why is it that, when days are extra busy, it’s on those days that everything bad happens? Those are the days when the kids move extra slowly or they put up a fight or somebody spills a whole gallon of milk on the floor, causing it to splatter up the cupboards and appliances. (True story, unfortunately.) 

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.  

Enjoying Life Along the Way - Introducing Sara Jones to the Blog!

I began homeschooling our oldest child when she was five years old. We’d decided on our curriculum, ordered all the books, and were pretty confident about the whole deal. After all, both Darren and I had been homeschooled during high school, and he was an HSLDA attorney. Obviously we knew what we were doing—although we hadn’t, you know, actually done it before.

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.

The Resurrection and Homeschooling

As we look forward to celebrating Easter this Sunday, my thoughts have turned toward the resurrection. 

I love celebrating holidays and sometimes I can get carried away with the frills and fun. I like to plan Easter outfits, maybe even matchy-matchy ones, since my 9-year-old hasn’t yet complained about that. Although, I feel like this might be the last year she happily agrees to do matching outfits, now that she is entering that tween phase.

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.”

A Moving Personal Easter Story … and a great, family Easter resource!

Every year as Easter draws near, my husband and I would teach our children about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We would read Easter stories throughout the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday, and would spend time each morning and evening reading the biblical account, singing Easter hymns and worship songs, and praying together as a family.

We have always felt that Easter Sunday is the most significant event in the history of mankind, for it is the resurrection of Jesus that sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world.

The Pictures in our Head

The other evening I had prepared a feast for my family to celebrate our Irish heritage. It was especially challenging to navigate on a weeknight. Weekends full on both ends of the holiday, I decided to meet it head on and prepare a meal that we would share with my grandparents in the middle of the week. As I planned, visions of a large, multi-generational family gathered together asking the Lord’s blessing over a shared meal filled my head.

Digging in the Dirt – leaving room for everyday exploration in your homeschooling journey

Flashback to 1997: It’s been raining outside all morning while I’ve been doing school with my children. Now, it’s the afternoon, and I send my kids out to the vegetable garden to pick some fresh green beans. I made sure they put on their rubber boots since it is pretty muddy in the pathways, and I trust that my oldest, now 10, will be responsible and make sure everyone brings more beans back into the house than mud.

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?

Turning the Corner

Early on in my parenting journey, there was a stage at which things were just really, really hard. My sweet baby sometimes took a while to settle at night, leaving me exhausted and yet hopelessly wired at bedtime. We had diaper leakages and incessant spit-ups, leading to far more extra laundry than even I had anticipated. It was a grueling time, and it lasted forever, or so it seemed.

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