Aug 312011

Academics are an important part of our homeschool. We have high standards and I make no apologies for that. But as we work hard, we try to remember 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

God’s glory and serving God have always been the #1 priority of our homeschool and our lives.

At least that is our highest priority on paper.

I confess that it hasn’t always been my highest priority in practice. And there is a word for saying one thing and acting in a different way. It’s called hypocrite.

It’s not hard for kids to recognize. They can see it much easier than I could see it in myself.  And it’s so very dangerous.

But I am thankful that God is so gracious and merciful to me. He nudges me gently. (And sometimes not so gently.)

There were several things that I was “required” to read in the last month that God used mightily in showing me what my true priorities are.

One of them is this little book: How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman. Rachael begins the book with her own story of how she began homeschooling, and shares very openly the mistakes she made in trying to homeschool in her own power. She then begins to share 5 simple steps that will change your thinking about how your homeschool. She uses the acronym H.E.A.R.T.

H- Have a heart for the things of God
E- Enrich your marriage
A- Accept your kids
R-Release them to God
T-Teach them the Truth

I learned so much from this book. Well, learned is maybe not the right word. I have heard much of this before. I just wasn’t doing it. I was failing at the very first priority. I have to have a heart for the things of God! No wonder my kids weren’t having a heart for the things of God. I have to be a living, breathing example to them. I have to be more transparent with them. I have to demonstrate walking with God to them in a real way. I have to be faithful to Him. If I preach that to my children and fail to do it myself, I am a hypocrite!

I do not mean I have to be perfect. I also do not need to make my kids think I’m perfect. (That would be an impossible task anyway.) But I need to let them see my heart. And my heart needs to be focused on the things of God.

I have read the whole book and the other letters are just as powerful as the H. But H really spoke to me as I read the book the first time. I will be reading this again! (And in case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it to all homeschool moms.)

You can purchase this book from Apologia for $13.00.(Rachael and her husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.) There is also a sample chapter available for free on the website.


You can read more reviews of How To Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids on the Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.






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Aug 192011

We are starting Tapestry of Grace Year 3 next week! At the end of last year I did some thinking about our accomplishments for the year and one of the things we didn’t do very well was history. (That’s really an understatement. But I did have a baby, so I’m trying to be generous.) I thought about  trying a new history curriculum, but I kept coming back to TOG. I love the way it integrates history with literature, Bible/Church History, and geography. I like the hands-on activity ideas. But I really had failed to implement it well in our home last year. (Honestly, we hadn’t done so well the year before either.)

So I made a deal with myself (and my husband). Before I went looking for a different curriculum for us, I was going to give TOG one more shot. A really good shot. I was going to plan, plan, plan this summer. I was going to get EVERYTHING figured out ahead of time. I wanted to do this because it certainly had not worked as a “pick up and go” curriculum for us.

But, summer has a way of flying by. I blinked and it was August. It was time to get serious about this planning stuff. I have been working hard this week, and I am very happy to report that I have thoroughly prepared for Unit 1. Here is what I’ve done.

(I purchased the Digital Edition (DE) for the first time this year. These steps include printing the pages I desired to have printed.)

1. Read through the Year Introduction.

2. Made a spreadsheet with all the resources used in year 3. (Downloaded from the website.)

3. Highlighted all the books on the list that I already owned.

4. Went through the list again and checked the on-line library catalog highlighting all the books from the list available from the library.

5. Printed the Teaching Objective, Weekly Overview, and Reading Assignment pages for every week of the year plan.

6. Placed all of the above in sheet protectors.

7. Read through the Weekly Overview and Reading Assignment pages with Sharpie in hand, marking the books that we had or could borrow from the library.

8. Determined which resources we should buy. Marked those on the pages.

Starting here, I’ve just done the first unit.

9. Went through each week in Unit 1 and typed the reading assignments I have selected for my dialectic students. (Yes, they could just use the notebook, but I use some alternate resources, and throw in some upper grammar assignments instead of dialectic ones so it can get confusing.)

10. Cut and pasted the assignments and relevant questions (adding space to write the answers) from the student assignment pages into the same document as the reading list. Printed out copies of the list for each student.

11. Printed page 1 of the Student Assignment pages for the first 9 weeks.

12. Printed the maps for the weeks that we are using them.

13. Printed the Lower grammar literature worksheets that we are using.


That’s where I sit. I need to decide how to store all the pre-printed papers. I don’t want to 3-hole punch the maps, so I’m not sure what I’ll end of doing with those.

That’s my Wrap-up for this week! Be sure to visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more weekly reports.


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Jul 122011

I’m a nut for freebies.

I’ve been downloading really great free homeschooling resources for years.

And forgetting to use them…

I hope I’m not the only homeschooler who has freebie amnesia.

This afternoon I went through the files on my laptop and my external hard drive and I dug up some real gems that will coordinate with our studies this year. The big reason I don’t remember to use things is that I download something thinking it will be great when we study the Civil War or astronomy or whatever and then I forget to look when we finally are studying that topic. Hopefully since I’m looking now, I’ll actually remember to use these!

Everyone (minus baby) will be studying the years 1800-1900 using Tapestry of Grace Year 3. Here’s what I found to go along with that.

(I’m linking to most of these products at CurrClick. These are affiliate links. The products are no longer free. But you can see the real value in collecting freebies!)

In the Hands of a Child – Slavery in North America

In the Hands of a Child – Christian Missionaries to Know

In the Hands of a Child – Thomas Edison

A Classical Copybook Covering Early Modern History (This looks like a revised version of what I have.)

Learn the Presidents in Order

Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself

Great Pioneer Projects You Can Build Yourself

For science for my younger children I plan on focusing on nature study. I purchased Considering God’s Creation for my oldest daughter and am planning on picking topics for my 3rd grade son and K daughter that coordinate with that.

I found some more great lapbooks on my hard drive for science.

In the Hands of a Child – Butterflies

In the Hands of a Child – Bees

For my Kindergartner, I found:

Song School Latin Coloring Pages

Simple Scissor Practice (This one’s still free!)

In the Hands of a Child – The Big Snow (This is the current freebie at In the Hands of a Child.)

In the Hands of a Child – The Girl in the Rag Coat

Enough of the stalling. It’s time to start the serious school planning! (I hope I’m not the only one who suddenly decides to tackle a big seemingly unrelated project when I should be doing something else. I always seemed to have a sudden desire to clean out my closet during finals week!)

Do you have freebie amnesia?



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Apr 072011

I’m so glad I have a few of you interested in how I’m evaluating our homeschool!

Here are the questions I’m going to give my children:

1.       What is your favorite thing about homeschooling?

2.       What is your least favorite thing about your homeschooling experience?

3.       What is your favorite subject? Why?

4.       What is your least favorite subject? Why?

5.       Do you think you learn best by:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening to someone else read
  3. Making something
  4. Watching something

6.       What would you like to learn about in science?

7.       What would you like to learn about in history?

8. What would you like to do differently next year?

9.       What things have we been doing well?

10.     List 3 things you would like to learn how to do next year.


I would like to say that I expect this survey to be filled in joyfully. I will be pleasantly surprised if that happens. More likely it will be received with groans from my son and possibly tears from my daughter who doesn’t like open-ended assignments. But I’d really like to know what they think, so I’m going to give it a shot. If you want to read the results, visit Evaluating Our Homeschool.

What do you think? Have you ever tried something like this?


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