Mar 272018
 

Disclosure – I received a free copy of Mexico Coloring Book & Geography study in order to write this review. I was compensated for this post, but I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Geography Study

I consider myself to be fairly knowledgable in the subject of geography. As a family, we’re committed to Raising Map Nuts. We make up geography games and quiz each other on the what state our tortilla chip looks like. We’ve visited all 100 county seats in our home state of North Carolina, and we have a goal of visiting every state capital.

Mexico Geography StudyWhen I received the Mexico Coloring Book & Geography Study by Tap and Katie Hornor, I was a bit ashamed to discover how little I know about the country of Mexico. I know all the provinces of Canada, but I not only didn’t know the names of the Mexican states, I didn’t even know how many there are! (There are 31 plus 1 federal district, in case you’re wondering.)

About the Book

The Mexico Coloring Book & Geography Study includes a black line map of each state. The capital city is marked for the student to label as well as the major rivers. Each map page also includes a small map of Mexico with the individual state marked for reference. On the bottom of the page is a catalog of facts about the state. These facts include the state motto, shield, area, capital, and other interesting facts. Each of the state pages is included in both English and Spanish.

Also included (in both English and Spanish) are notebook pages for compiling the data on the Mexican states. There are pages for Biography, Demographics, Coat of Arms and Motto, Geography, State History, and Historical Monuments. The entire booklet is reproducible for use within your family.

Suggested Uses

This resource would be a great spine for a full study on the country of Mexico. I think it would also be a great resource for Spanish teachers as a springboard for studying Mexican geography, culture, and related topics. You can purchase the book from Paradise Praises through Amazon for $14.97.

Jan 222018
 

Virtual Homeschool FairThis is week 3 of the Virtual Homeschool Fair and the topic this week is

Homeschool Curriculum – How do we cover it all?

Which leads me to the age-old question.

How can we avoid gaps in education?

The short answer is —

You can’t.

Does that mean we don’t try to provide our students with a well-rounded education?

Of course not.

How To Avoid Gaps in Education

But here are some questions to consider.

Is there a standard amount of knowledge that someone needs to have to be considered educated?

How do you even know what a gap is?

Who are we comparing our students to?

These are all questions that have to be decided by the individual family. Some states have certain requirements for what subjects should be taught. Others, including mine, do not. Our family has chosen to try to cover all the standard courses that would found in a typical high school curriculum. We do this for 2 basic reasons.

  1. It increases the likelihood of acceptance into college
  2. The “standard” high school curriculum covers a wide variety of subjects providing an introduction to those subjects. Exposure to a lot of different subjects enables students to discover topics that they like and dislike and can help provide direction for future studies.

But does that mean there won’t be gaps?

Do students who graduate from public high school have no gaps?

No, everyone has gaps in their education! Even if there were a way to teach with no gaps, do we truly believe that any student is going to remember every fact they were taught?

Our children are not going to graduate from our homeschools as experts in math, history, science, and literature, while being superb athletes, computer geniuses, and musical prodigies. So while it’s good to give our children a taste of many different subjects and activities, we have to recognize that the more thinly we spread, the less depth there will be.

Finding Balance

How do we provide a student a well-rounded education while still allowing for depth?

What does this look like in our homeschool?

Short(ish) Lessons

While I would not consider our homeschool delight-directed, I do seek to allow time for my children to delve deeply into things that interest them. Our formal homeschool lesson time is relatively short (assuming cooperation from the student). The expected time spent on school work does increase as the children get older, but still I hope that by homeschooling, they can have free time to explore interests even in high school.

Ample Resources for Independent Study

In our home we provide opportunities for natural learning with hundreds books, science equipment, puzzles, games, maps, educational videos, etc.

Model Life-long Learning

My husband and I read for enjoyment. We spend time outside in nature with the family. Our vacations are often spent hiking, visiting museums and historical sites. We like learning new things and we have always brought the kids along with us.

Find ways to combine “school” with students’ interests

When David was in middle school, he really wasn’t interested in history. I struggled to force him to read and have discussions about the reading. His primary interest was making videos. So I started assigning him video projects for his history.

 

Our Curriculum Choices

Disclosure: Some of the following product links are affiliate links.

1st Grade

My first grade son Andrew is using the following curriculum. It leaves plenty of time in his day for playing, drawing, building, or playing games.

6th grade

We have a classical leaning in our homeschool, so I try to include a rigorous study of Latin. Lizzie, in sixth grade, especially loves reading so I’ve been using the Memoria Press Literature Guides with her. She has a gift for music, so she spends a lot of time practicing both violin and piano.

9th grade

With William, our ninth grader, I’ve had to do everything differently. He struggled to learn to read and still has poor reading comprehension skills. It has been hard to find a way to teach content subjects with him now that he’s in high school. (For the most part we skipped them before high school just focusing on the 3R’s.) This year one of my biggest goals is helping him improve his computer skills. Here’s the current plan with him.

  • Word Up – Greek and Latin roots program from Compass Classroom. He watches the videos and then works on Quizlet sets for mastery
  • No Nonsense Algebra – This course has video instruction for every section that is included with the book!
  • Balance Math – A great supplement from The Critical Thinking Company
  • Earth Science from SchoolhouseTeachers.com – Video instruction with accompanying worksheets and tests
  • Drive Through Ancient History from SchoolhouseTeachers.com – Video instruction with worksheets
  • Typing.com – Free typing lessons.

My senior, though technically homeschooled, is taking 2 classes at a homeschool co-op and the rest of her courses at the local community college as a dual-enrolled student so I haven’t included her curriculum here.

 

Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.

Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources – An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace

Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World

Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Choices, choices – how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

Our Curriculum Needs – grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time

The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Curriculum We Have Loved Using – Virtual Homeschool Fair -Week 3 by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset

Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses

Jan 152018
 

Virtual Homeschool FairWelcome to Week 2 of the Virtual Homeschool Fair. This week’s topic is Our Method of Homeschooling.

When I consider the many years of homeschooling we have already done, and the many years we still have to go, I like to relate our adventure to a really long road trip. Just like a road trip, you have to start somewhere or you will never get anywhere. In addition, just like a road trip much of the fun happens along the way, so don’t make your homeschooling adventure just about the destination. So as I look in the rearview mirror of what has been our homeschooling road trip thus far, here is what I see.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the link, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

1. Choose a Direction

I count 2003 as the official start of our homeschool, the year that my oldest son started kindergarten. But I had been researching and studying homeschool methods and curriculum for quite a while before jumping in. I was always a good student and for the most part, I liked school. However, I was never interested in a “school at home” approach to schooling. I didn’t want “boring” textbooks. I was initially drawn to the idea of a literature-based approach (i.e. Sonlight). I pored through the Sonlight catalog and could hardly wait to start reading all those great books so we purchased most of the preschool collection. At that time, there wasn’t a schedule (Or if there was I didn’t buy it.) so it was just a collection of really nice books to read.

2. Keep looking at the Map (Never Stop Researching)

After deciding on Sonlight, I joined several Sonlight Yahoo groups. (Boy, I’m really dating myself!) I’m fairly certain that it was on those groups that I begin seeing people referring to combining Sonlight with the Well-Trained Mind. Here was something else to look into! I bought The Well-Trained Mind and read it cover to cover. Classical Education became our new plan.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Detour

In those early years, we used many Well-Trained Mind recommended resources like Story of the World and First Language Lessons. (I’m actually using these two resources again with my youngest.) We started Latin. I thoroughly read The Well-Trained Mind forums daily. My two older children were progressing through the curriculum fairly well.

4. Join AAA (Find Support)

Then I heard about Tapestry of Grace (probably in all my reading on the WTM forum). After one pass through the 4-history cycle using Story of the World, it was time to start over. The recommendations in the Well Trained Mind for the dialectic stage in history were not appealing to me, and I loved the concept of multi-level teaching in Tapestry of Grace. In addition, there was a small group of families wanting to start a Tapestry of Grace Year 1 co-op. Sign us up!

5. Take a side trip if it looks promising (Keep an Open Mind)

Right around that same time, I found another way to feed my curriculum addiction. I become a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. As a member of the Crew for several years, I received many products to review that I never would have considered trying. Three of those that are now on my short list of all-time favorite curricula are All About Spelling, Memoria Press Latin, and Institute for Excellence in Writing.

6. Take a U- Turn when it’s necessary (It’s OK to Admit Defeat)

Our co-op only lasted one year, and I wasn’t able to maintain my dedication to Tapestry of Grace without the accountability of a group to stay on schedule and to keep us doing activities. Another problem we had with Tapestry of Grace was the discussions. Discussions are an integral part of the program for older students and my oldest was really not interested in having them. Forcing discussions like that just doesn’t work. So while I loved the idea of Tapestry of Grace, it was not a good fit for our family at that time with my very techie, analytical son.

7. Allow your family to engage in different activities while on the road

As we moved into high school, I shifted to the very thing I wanted to avoid at the beginning. Textbooks. I found that with college on the horizon, there were some subjects that just needed to get done. Ideally, we would have enjoyed time learning together as a whole family. But realistically I had to admit it wasn’t going to happen. We didn’t have the personalities suited to that, and I didn’t have the time to make it work. We began to seek more and more outside classes for our teens. My daughter who is graduating this spring has taken all of her classes during her junior and senior years either with other homeschoolers or at community college. So during high school, I have become the overseer of my teens’ education, but not actually their teacher.

8. Keep the Road Trip Going (Revisit favorite places with younger children)

This year, I’m graduating my second student. But I still have one student just starting high school, one student starting middle school, and one in the first grade. I am going to be repeating this process more than once. This year, our two youngest joined a classical co-op. I have loved the having the accountability to stick to the schedule for both myself and my daughter.  If I had to pick one constant thing about our homeschool method, it would be change.

 

What do my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about their Homeschool Method? Go visit them to find out!

 

How Our Academic Co-op Completes Our Eclectic Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

A Method to Our Madness by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Finding Our Homeschool Method by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

How We Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Give Us…. by Annette @ A Net in Time

A day in our Home by Sarah@DeliveringGrace

Lit-Based Education: How We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Overhauling Our Homeschool – Adjusting our “How” to fit our “Why” by Sabrina Scheerer @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler: Expectation Vs. Reality by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

How Charlotte Mason Transformed Our Homeschool by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Captain’s Log, Supplemental – Our Homeschool Days by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

How we get it done. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

How to Organize Daily Curriculum with the School Cart by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Learning For LIfe by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Eclectic Homeschooling: When It All Comes Together by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

A Typical Day? by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

This is the Way We Do Our School, So Early in the Morning by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Little of This and a Little of That: Eclectic Homeschooling by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World

Still Classically Educating After All These Years by True North Homeschool Academy

So what exactly is Life Led Homeschooling? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

The way we learn ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

Our Homeschool Routine by Joelle @Homeschooling For His Glory

 

Jan 082018
 

 

Virtual Homeschool FairWelcome to Week 1 of the Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This week’s topic is Why We Homeschool.

As I began to think about this topic, I remembered that I have written about this before. You can read the reasons that my husband and I chose to homeschool. We came up with this list of 12 reasons at the beginning of our homeschool journey. I shared the list almost 8-1/2 years ago at the beginning of our seventh year of homeschooling. That means that we are now in the middle of our 15th year of homeschooling!

Our reasons are still valid, and I think that all the outcomes that we hoped to achieve by homeschooling have been realized, at least to some degree. We have

  • Taught from a Christian worldview.
  • Been able to customize the education of each child.
  • Spent more time with our children, and they have spent more time with each other. Our two older children have developed very sweet and special relationships with our two youngest.
  • Successfully graduated one student and will graduate our second student in May.

Why We Homeschool

However, the reason that we homeschool now is because we’re homeschoolers – it’s what we do.

When we embarked on our homeschooling journey, we were convinced it was what we were called to do. It was never an experiment or something we were going to try. We were committed to giving it our full effort. As a result, we’ve persevered.

Has every day been easy? (Has ANY day been easy?) Absolutely not!

Have I wanted to quit? Yes, I have called my husband in tears asking to send one particular child to school. More than once.

But here’s the thing. Homeschooling is not just a big part of our lives – it affects every part of our lives. It has become part of our identity. We look at everything as a possible educational opportunity. I am always thinking about different ways to teach things, how better to schedule our days, and the best ways to organize our increasingly enormous stash of books.

Are there valid reasons for some people to quit homeschooling? Absolutely!

Should all Christians homeschool? I cannot be presumptuous and be the voice of God in this area. I do think that all  Christians should seek God’s guidance in schooling decisions.

Are we going to homeschool all of our children all the way until graduation? I don’t know the future, but I will assume that is what we’re going to do until there is a compelling reason to change the plan. Eventually we will be done homeschooling though, and I am sure it will be a huge adjustment for me.

As I look back at the last 15 years there have been a lot of changes in our home. We’ve added 2 children to our family. We’ve moved. My husband has switched jobs – twice. We’ve changed churches and participated in a wide variety of activities. But one thing hasn’t changed.

We homeschool.

 

Now, let’s see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST.

5 Reasons to Homeschool High School by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Weird Homeschoolers by Kim R. @ Good Sweet Love

How We Make Homeschooling a Lifestyle by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Our Ever Evolving Homeschool Story by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

5 Reasons You Will Want to Homeschool by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

How Our Homeschool Came To Be (and why we continue) by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Home Education – 10 Reasons we keep going…even when it’s hard by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

So… Tell Me Again Why You Homeschool? by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Virtual Homeschool Fair 2018 – Week 1 – Why do I Homeschool  by Joelle@Homeschooling For His Glory

Homeschool Reasons: Bullies, Faith and More by Annette @ A Net In Time

In Pursuit of Purpose by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Long Time Ago . . . Why We Decided To Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Why Behind Hopkins Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

5 Reasons We Love Homeschooling by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Why We Homeschool – It’s What We Do by Kristen H @ Sunrise to Sunset

Why we Home Educate and Extra Benefits by Sarah@Delivering Grace

Homeschooling: The Big WHY? by Lisa @ True North Homeschool Academy at Golden Grasses

Regaining Your Homeschool Focus by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

Why do we homeschool? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our ìHomeschoolî Why by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

It’s Worth it! Why We Homeschool, Even After All These Years by Hillary @ Walking Fruitfully

Because Life is Precious by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Jan 042018
 

Winter Blahs?

Are you looking for something new in your homeschool?

Are you dreading starting back to school after a long Christmas break? (We’re attempting it today. Not going so well…)

Winter Blahs

How about trying something different while you get back in the swing of things?

The Presidents of the United States Video Based Unit Study from Paradise Praises might be just what you’re looking for.

Disclosure – I received compensation and a free copy of this study to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. Post contains affiliate links.

Presidents of the United States Video Based Unit Study

This digital unit study, available as a downloadable pdf, consists of a one page chart for each president and an appendix. Each chart contains key facts like the years the president held office and who was the vice president. There are also video links and book suggestions for each president as well as geography tie-ins, field trip ideas, art and other suggested activities for many. The appendix contains suggestions for additional resources, a blank US Map, blank notebooking template pages, and vocabulary lists.

The schedule suggests studying 1 president per day. That provides 9 weeks of study including a final day for studying the first ladies. If you started next week, you’d be over halfway finished by President’s Day!

My Thoughts

This a simple unit study. There are not a lot of extras built in though there are plenty of ideas in the resource section. It’s essentially a plan of videos to watch, books to read, and appropriate activities.

Could you find all this yourself? Yes.

Would you do it? Speaking from my own experience, probably not. Sure, you might start well, but to actually keep going and make it through all the presidents? I’d end up with something more pressing. I wouldn’t have time to find a video one day. We’d skip that day. That would turn into a week and eventually my great idea of studying each of the presidents would be abandoned. (I hope I’m not the only one this happens too!)

The biggest value that I see in this product is that it’s ready to go. You don’t have to search for an appropriate YouTube video. The work is already done for you. You don’t have to decide which library books to order. They’re on the chart. This product is ideal for the homeschool mom who needs something that the kids can do independently while she works with another student, cooks, cleans, takes a nap, or whatever she needs to do.

You might enjoy this product if…

  • You are looking for something straightforward and easy-to-implement.
  • You don’t have the time and/or desire to put together your own studies.
  • Your children are familiar enough with a computer to open files and click links unassisted.
  • You have a good library system to order books.

This probably isn’t for you if…

  • You frequently create and enjoy creating your own unit studies.
  • You don’t want your children to watch YouTube videos about the U.S. Presidents. (Or go to YouTube at all.)
  • You are looking for something that includes reading and comprehension questions.

How I would use this –

I think this is a great addition to any elementary American History curriculum. Instead of studying 1 president per day, I would probably study 1 president per week that roughly corresponds to the time period in history we’re studying. We’re using Story of the World Volume 3 this year and this is the perfect time to start the Presidents of the United States Unit Study since we’ve completed up to the start of the American Revolution in our history studies.

Interested?

You can view samples and purchase this product at Paradise Praises.

Have you started back to school yet? Do you start everything at once or ease into it? Do you like to change things around for the new semester?

 

Jul 082017
 

Creation versus Evolution

Evolution is taught as basic fact in schools. It is what all “scientists” believe. Only uneducated, brain-washed Christians believe that God created the universe and everything in it. Right?

It seems that there is a lot of division in the US and the world today. Creation versus evolution is just one of the issues dividing us. But is creation only for people who have “blind faith” in the Bible? Is evolution science, but creation religion?

Is Genesis History? seeks to show that a belief in creation does not require “blind faith” but is an entirely reasonable conclusion when viewing the evidence from a Biblical perspective. In the 101 minute film, Del Tackett visits 13 different PhD scholars in fields like geology, paleontology, microbiology, astronomy, archaeology, and Hebrew to discuss the Genesis account of creation and how the evidence that we find on earth is consistent with what we read in Genesis. In the discussions, they compare the ways that evolutionists and creationists look at the same data and come to different conclusions based on their starting assumptions. They also point out many of the inconsistencies in evolutionary theory.

The film is divided into the following sections with each one featuring a discussion with a different scientist.

creation versus evolution

  • Changing Our Perspective
  • What do the Rocks Tell Us?
  • A Question of Paradigms
  • What Does the Text Say?
  • How Do You Measure Time?
  • A Brief History of the World
  • The Origin of Fossils
  • When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth
  • Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones
  • The Genius of Design
  • The Potential of Created Kinds
  • The Purpose of the Stars
  • Where was Babel?
  • Genesis and Our Culture
  • A Changed Perspective

Our thoughts on Is Genesis History?

The film is well-made and interesting. It does a nice job of displaying beautiful scenery while explaining key concepts. I think the graphics are nicely done and are helpful. I like that the chapter divisions on the DVD  allow for a quick review of certain topics. The film flows well as a whole and does not seem a pasting together of individual chapters.

Our family is not new to the study of creation versus evolution. My husband and oldest son are especially educated on the topic. We have a relatively large home library of books and videos dealing with the topic of Biblical creation and evolution. So with that in mind, they had a couple of criticisms of the film.

First, neither my husband or son liked the conversational style of the video. Both of them felt it made it seem scripted, and somewhat disingenuous. I personally wasn’t particularly bothered by the conversational style, but it may grate on some. My son was particularly frustrated by the section on stars and the universe. He felt that in an attempt to keep things simple, they glossed over some very important ideas and current creationist hypotheses about how we can see starlight if the universe is only thousands of years old.

Considering that this film is intended as more of an introduction to the various topics discussed, I think that it fulfills that role nicely. It should inspire someone less familiar with creation versus evolution issues to do further research into areas that don’t seem as clear, and seek out resources that more fully address some of these difficult topics.

You can purchase a copy of the film in DVD or Blu-Ray format. A DVD/Blu-Ray combination package is also available. You can view the various options at Compass Classroom.

Are you interested in science curriculum from a Biblical creationist perspective? Try Apologia Science .

Disclosure: The links provided are affiliate links. If you purchase through the links on this post, I will receive a small commission. I received a free copy of Is Genesis History? in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Jul 062017
 

This post was written 8 years ago, but I find that it still rings true.

GASP!!!

Could there be such a thing as too much planning? Who hasn’t heard the quote –

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

I love to plan. I plan to plan. Planning is one of my favorite activities. But yesterday I started thinking about all my planning in a different light.

On Tuesday I gave my older children (11 and 9) a fun and creative history project. I assigned them to make a model of a Roman villa. I’m not talking about anything fancy. We have a great assortment of cardboard from our recent gas grill purchase, so I thought they could use that. We looked at a few drawings of a Roman villa, then I brought them downstairs and showed them the cardboard. I pointed out the piece that would make a good base, and then the assortment of boxes that could be used for different rooms in the villa.

Then I let them get to work. They started laying out boxes and thinking about their project. My daughter started thinking about how to decorate the inside of the completed villa and how to use Playmobil pieces as “accessories”. Then my son said, “I think we need to sketch a plan so we’ll know what we’re building.” (I wonder where he got that from???) So he disappeared and came back a while later with a nice sketch.

Fast forward to Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, I reminded them of the project and mentioned that I would like to see some cardboard cut and glued today. They got back to work laying out the project according to my son’s plan.  They even located the scissors, tape, and glue. Then I heard my son say, “We don’t have the right boxes to use this plan. I’d better make a new plan.”

WHAT??? Will you quit all this planning and BUILD something please?

Did I just think what I think I thought? Thankfully, I did not say my thought out loud, but I was immediately struck by my thought. How often do I spend MORE TIME PLANNING than DOING?

I’m not advocating just “flying by the seat of your pants” so to speak. After all, Jesus said in Luke 14:28

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

We are building towers in a way. We pour out much of our lives into teaching our children. We absolutely need to have both long-term and short-term plans for “building” our children. We need to make sure we have a plan for teaching our children math and reading for example. We need to make sure that we’ve got the materials on hand to do our science experiment on Friday.

But I think those of us who are “planners” need to be sure that we’re not PLANNING so much that we miss out on actually DOING things with our kids. Ask yourself some questions.

  • Are my plans so rigid that I can’t tolerate any deviations?
  • Have I spent so much time getting my plans “perfect” that I don’t want to change them?
  • Have I made so many plans that I never get around to doing them all?

Just make sure that your plans are serving a purpose and really helping you to accomplish your goals. I especially like this quote:

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”—A.A. Milne

Feb 242017
 

Roman Numeral ResourcesYou may think that Roman numerals are unimportant, but for something so “outdated” they are still used in many areas including

  • Clocks
  • Movie copyright dates
  • Superbowl numbering
  • Outlines
  • Numbering pages in prefaces of books

Roman Numeral Resources

You can teach Roman numerals alongside your history, math, or Latin program. Here are some free resources I found to help.

Dad’s Worksheets This site includes a Roman numeral chart and converter as well as multiple worksheets to practice sequencing and converting between Arabic and Roman numerals.

The Notebooking Fairy If you use notebooking in your homeschool, you need to check out The Notebooking Fairy. You’ll find free Roman Numeral notebooking pages there to use with your history, Latin, or math study.

Make Free Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are customizable. You can choose either to convert from Arabic to Roman numerals or Roman to Arabic. It also allows you to select how many problems.

Roman numeral worksheet generator Another customizable worksheet. In addition to customizing as above, you can also set the difficulty of the conversion and have addition and subtraction worksheets.

Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are not customizable, but there are cute coloring pages for younger children that show Roman numeral I, V, and X.

 

Jan 232017
 

VCF Exploring our worldThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is Exploring Our World. I’ve been looking back through old posts about some of the ways we’ve studied history and geography. One of the things that I love about the Virtual Curriculum Fair is that it encourages me to look back over old posts. There is a lot of our homeschool history on this blog. I found that my Virtual Curriculum Fair posts are some of the best.

Last year I wrote Encouraging Curiosity About the World which focused on my oldest son and our years homeschooling him. The year before I described Unschooling Science and the previous was Raising Map Nuts. I looked at these and thought, “What can I add to this?” (Don’t worry, I thought of something!)

There is one activity that has been especially helpful for learning history in our home – reading historical fiction. Both of my girls have read many historical fiction books that they have chosen themselves from the library. I’ve let them read about a variety of historical topics in no particular order. In that way, they’ve built up a basic history knowledge with essentially no effort from me. As a result, they’ve developed an interest in various historical time periods and had a desire to learn more.

Literature-Based History Curricula

While just reading historical fiction is helpful, the love of historical fiction can be built upon with literature-based history curricula. I’ve used a couple of different history curricula that utilized historical fiction and provided a more systematic and logical approach to learning history than random library checkouts. By the way, you can read how I keep track of library books, if you have trouble turning books in on time.

The first one, Truthquest, provides books arranged by topic for specific time periods. You can read my complete review of Truthquest.

The other literature-based history program that we’ve used is Tapestry of Grace. We used it for several years when my older children were younger. We’ve started back with Tapestry of Grace this school year with my 5th grader, Lizzie. Here’s my review of Tapestry of Grace. I also have all the posts on Tapestry of Grace tagged. In addition, I have compared Tapestry of Grace to two other popular literature based history curricula: Sonlight and My Father’s World.

Historical fiction is not just for the kids. I’ve found that reading historical fiction inspires me to learn and study more about particular time periods. There are a couple of  mystery series set in World War I that I have enjoyed so much that I keep looking for more books about that time period.

 

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

Jan 152017
 

Virtual Curriculum Fair teaching mathThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is math. I love math. However, my love of math doesn’t equal a love of teaching math. I have written quite a bit about math during my years participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. In fact, I’ve written so much, that I don’t have anything further to add to this topic today.

Instead I will share some of my previous thoughts.

In From Counting to Calculus I discussed much of what I’d learned about teaching math during my first 13 years of homeschooling.

I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t have the answers in The Post Where I Admit I was Wrong.

For some background on my math background, see How I Choose Math Curriculum.

Even though I didn’t have much new to add to this topic, I’m sure that the other participants can add a lot more to this topic. Be sure to check out their posts below.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Discovering Patterns: Math and the Mathematical Sciences this week:

Finding Our Math Equilibrium: Our Plan for 11th, 7th, 5th, and 2nd Grades + Free Printables! by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Math Resources and Programs for All Ages by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Math (doesn’t) Stink! by Jennifer King @A Peace of Mind

When Math is NOT Your Thing by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

Math U See and All the Supplements by Laura H @ Four Little Penguins

Discovering Patterns in Our World: STEM Studies by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Junior High Math by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Science & Math for Struggling Learners by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Maths: a subject in progress by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Taking Mathematics out of the Textbook by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acre

Maths for a Very Maths-y Boy by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Practical Math by Annette @ A Net in Time

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Math, How I Loathe Thee by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Math and Logic in Early Elementary and Preschool {virtual curriculum fair 2017} by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos

Low Stress High School Science and Math by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Are these toys or manipulatives? This is math? by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

When You Don’t Have a Math Plan by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Clear Horizons by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens