I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Friday, February 24, 2017

3 Simple Ways to Spelling Success: Thoughts from an All About Spelling Graduate

3 Simple Ways to Spelling Success: Thoughts from an All About Spelling Graduate

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

My daughter has reached the end of the All About Spelling journey. She's just finishing up Level 7, the final book in the Orton-Gillingham based program, and is ready to spell in the real world.

She and I started the course four years ago at a time when we were at a spelling LOW. We had been using a traditional program. You know the type...the kind that provides a lengthy list of meaningless words to memorize and a weekly test to prove mastery. And although she was an avid reader, an exceptional writer, and scored well-above average on all the other language portions of her state achievement tests, she just couldn't seem to grasp spelling. She plodded along in the "regular" spelling program for a few years until one day, she and I both became too frustrated. I pulled the plug and ordered All About Spelling.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It's Homeschool, NOT School at Home

It's homeschool, NOT school at home- one teacher turned homeschool mom unpacks the differences

Written by Jessica.

On a typical school morning in my house, in between their schoolwork, my children engage in any number of activities that don’t look much like “real” school.

Building something
Playing with favorite toys 
Doing a puzzle
Making a fort 
Petting the cat
Playing together 
Just being

Maybe your homeschool functions a lot like ours, with lots of white space built naturally into your day – but, like me, you have to keep reminding yourself that shorter school days and more free time really are okay.

Maybe you feel the burden of your own or others’ expectations, or the ghosts of your past experiences with traditional schooling.

Or maybe you feel hemmed in by your state’s requirements for paperwork, standardized state tests, or X number of school days/X numbers of hours. Or maybe you struggle with deciding how those hours and days should be filled. 

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Here's a glimpse into the traditional school classroom and some perspective on why longer lessons and longer school days are necessary there, and why it’s more than okay to do things differently at home:

Monday, February 13, 2017

When It's Clearly Not Working: Our Mid-year Curriculum Changes

When it's clearly not working, you have to change things up. Here's a look at our curriculum changes for the second half of the homeschool year.

A new school year always has to be launched with grace. I make a plan with full knowledge that it will probably have to be tweaked quite a few times within the first week or month of school because I don't always foresee all the hiccups that can and will happen when using a black-and-white plan in real life. I have to learn as I go and be willing to make a Plan B when necessary. In the past, I've usually added and subtracted several little things by late fall.

This year, however, November brought a complete curriculum shift. I could tell within the first month of school that BJU English 5 was just not going to work for my oldest son. While very bright, he suffers from a mild neurological condition that makes learning a challenge. Up until November, he was learning the new material each day and doing well with it, but could not seem to retain it for the long haul. The unit-by-unit method that BJU English is known for was a struggle for him. We were both spinning our wheels and getting no where. It was and is a wonderful program and one which worked perfectly for his older sister. But education should never be a one-size-fits-all endeavor. What I use for one I won't necessarily use for the next.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Big ol' List of Kids' Books By and About Homeschoolers

Big ol' List of Kids' Books By and About Homeschoolers with a giveaway of six entire sets of The Green Ember series by homeschool dad, S.D. Smith

Reading widens the world of a child. It enlarges his vision and gives him a glimpse into the life of people who are different from him...their culture and life circumstances. Reading gives perspective, dispels narcism, and can help a child realize that there is something bigger by allowing him to walk in another man’s shoes. Fear is removed of different because knowledge is gained.

Books allow him to travel to different places and times without leaving the couch. They can introduce him to people he will never meet but who have contributed greatly to the big conversation of humanity.

Monday, February 6, 2017

What We're Reading in February 2017

Really well-written books become friends. They slowly change me and shape me and I'm never the same after having read them. Turning the last page of each one feels like the end of a relationship. It's a sad but necessary reader-problem. However, with every ending comes a new beginning...a chance to crack open another book.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to Successfully Transition From Elementary to Middle School

Written by Pat Fenner at Pat And Candy.

Ah, those early years of homeschooling - I remember them well!

Brightly colored worksheets, hands-on learning, baking soda volcanoes, salt maps, field trips, LEGOs, read alouds, and lots and lots of drawings -- it was family learning at its finest.

But at some point there comes a time when your child does need to start becoming a bit more of an independent learner; not because you’re getting tired, even though that might well be the case. But because as they grow, it’s necessary that two things begin to happen:

They take ownership of their own learning, and
They begin to develop personal time and life management skills.

In other words, they need to learn to navigate the middle school “magic years.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

The BIG FAT List of Living Literature Curriculums

A mega list of all the major living literature homeschool curriculums with descriptions and age ranges of each.

While I love combing the library for treasures and compiling my list of books every year, I realize not everyone has the time or the desire to do so. But, learning through books doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time consuming. You don’t have to invent the wheel to still use living books. There are several great, ready-made programs designed to point you to just the right titles at just the right ages and stages of your kids. While certainly not exhaustive, here is a list of some of the top living book-based curriculums for home education. Whether you prefer a simple list of book suggestions or a more structured traditional curriculum complete with study guides and discussion questions, there’s something for everyone.

Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Ways to Get'er Done this Year

5 Ways to Get'er Done this Year

Time. T.I.M.E. Four little letters that hold our entire lives. Time is a leveler, you know. It makes us all equal. There’s no other commodity in life that doesn’t care about status or title or bank account. Time is no respecter of person. We’re all the same when time is handed out each day. The rich and the poor, the famous and the ordinary, the brilliant and the average…all have the same number of moments in a day. Barring God takes us home to eternity, we’ll all wake up tomorrow morning and be gifted the same 24 hours. How we use each moment says a lot about each of us.

I'm a high capacity person. I kind of thrive on spinning lots of plates. But busy and productive are not always synonymous. If I'm not careful, I can easily become a slave to the tyranny of the urgent, exhausting all my energy on unimportant things.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fresh Starts, Homemade Mayo, and Cashew Chicken Salad

I love January for its fresh starts.

The month is literally saturated with beautiful intentions and fervent conviction. My own home is no exception.

But come the third week of the month I find it all waning a bit. Perhaps it’s the bone-numbing cold that lingers outside, creeping indoors the moment I let the fire dwindle. Perhaps it’s the early darkness that seeps over everything around 4 in the afternoon. Perhaps it’s my children’s endless energy and ravenous appetites for cheese, peanut butter, and Oreo cookies. But whatever the cause, my own desire to make healthy choices (for both mind and body) become a bit of a struggle. The thought of a movie and popcorn sound much more enjoyable than reading, exercise, and carrot sticks once the kids are in bed. Can I get an amen?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2016

The ten best books I read in 2016- A Christian homeschool mom's perspective

I read a few best sellers this year. Many I liked. But, a few I did not. In fact, two particular books stood out to me as big fat bombs. 

I read two books this year, both lauded by the Christian literary elite as the best-of-the-best for 2016, and I did not like either one of them.

The first book was one that everyone...and I mean e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e raved about. It was (and still is) on all the lists and has won all the buzz. But, I just didn't like it. Not even a little bit. I didn't like the writing style. I didn't relate to the theme. I reeeeallly wanted to like it so that I could be one of the cool kids. But, I just couldn't deal.


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