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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why I Use Teaching Textbooks {and why you should too}

Why I Use Teaching Textbooks {and why you should too}

Can I tell you a secret?
Lean in really close so that I can whisper it.

I'm allergic to math. No, really. A math allergy is a THING.

It's bad enough that math gets ALL of the numbers. But then, somewhere around sixth grade it starts stealing the letters too. Bad form, Math. Stick to your side of the playground and let me stick to mine.

When faced with math, I start to sweat. And not your dainty, little perspiration kind of sweat either. No. I'm talkin' REAL sweat; the kind that stains your clothes and makes you think twice about raising your arms above your waist lest you embarrass yourself and all your loved ones.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Nitty-Gritty of a 4-Day Homeschool Week

The Nitty-Gritty of a 4-Day Homeschool Week

Written by Jessica.

In our homeschool, we do a four-day school week. We have four days of regular lessons and one lighter day. The fifth day is not a day off, but a day that is spent learning differently.

Doing a four-day school week can have many benefits. It can allow you to do valuable social activities during regular school hours such as field trips, local classes specifically for homeschoolers, or a homeschool co-op. It can provide a day at home for catching up on loose school ends, reviewing, or getting in those fun activities we all intend to do but that sometimes get squeezed out. It can also change up the week, giving everyone a needed break from the routine and creating intentional time to spend on other kinds of learning.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Body Changes, Sex Ed, and Purity: Top Resources for Christian Parents

Body changes and the-birds-and-the-bees...
Two potentially awkward speed bumps in the journey of parenting, or so I'm told. 

The Hubs and I came from two completely different backgrounds for handling the delicate topics of hormones, body changes, sexuality, and purity. So, when faced with parenting in a hyper-sexualized society, we knew we had to find some common ground and face the task together. We determined early on that we wanted to be pro-active in this area of parenting rather than reactive. We wanted to be the first ones to introduce our children to certain topics in order that our kids could learn the true worth and value of sexuality according to Scripture instead of the world's fractured view of it. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

How We Homeschool Without Grade Levels

How we homeschool without grade levels

"And what grade are you in, honey?" the little old lady asked my daughter in an impromptu conversation by the produce section. She found my then eight-year-old girl sorting through apples looking for just the right one and thought it odd that a child her age would be at the grocery store in the middle of a Thursday.

It was, I suppose.

Curiosity got the better of her and she began peppering my daughter with questions, a little confused by this homeschooling thing. She rapid-fired one question after another in game show, lightening-round fashion until she got to the one about grade levels.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pieces of the Promise: a family Easter tradition

Pieces of the Promise a family Easter tradition

I'll have to admit, it's so easy to do Christmas well. With its bright lights, holiday parties, and Advent traditions, Christmas is a month-long celebration. But the truth is, the Savior's birth is only one half of the story. Our hope would not be complete without Easter...without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I don't want to amplify one part of Redemption's story and not the other. So, for the past five-or-so years, I've been on a quest to do Easter well... to make it as tradition-filled as Christmas.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What We're Reading in March 2017

List of books one homeschool family is reading in March

Oh Saduary...I mean February...you slay me. With your biting cold, your never-ending flu bugs, and your depressing distance from Christmas and/or summer, you are the armpit of my school year. So long, you won't be missed. Consider this my obligatory farewell. I'm welcoming March with open arms. See you next year, February. Flip flops and short sleeves are on my horizon and I'm not looking back!

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.


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