Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Free Christmas Unit Study

Here's a free online Christmas Unit Study that will keep your homeschoolers busy all month long.

Monday, July 28, 2008

China and the Olympics

I just discovered that the CBC TV station website has some neat things for learning about the Olympics and China.

I'm hoping that once the Olympics start that we will be able to watch Olympic sporting events through video on demand on the site, too.

Just 10 days to go - until the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What I Have Learned From My Children

Heart of the Matter Meme

Being a homeschooling Mom has been a big learning experience for me. I've learned that:

  • Children are just like adults. If the book is boring, they don't want to continue reading it or learning from it.
  • Children have their own individual interests and those may differ from what I would want their interests to be.
  • Children have different ways of learning. One child may like to learn with hands-on projects, while another likes reading from a book, another prefers workbooks, and another could watch 4 straight hours of the History channel.
  • Children learn more from my example than what I say.
  • Children want their mom to be patient and loving during homeschooling.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Language Arts Best Sellers

Can you teach your children to read in just 10 minutes a day? Yes, with this acclaimed phonics program! Progressive lessons present each letter of the alphabet by its sound and then blend letter sounds to form basic words. More advanced exercises introduce whole sentences. Includes teacher's manual and lesson plans. Nonconsumable. Grades K to 4. 168 pages. Spiral bound $20.95

Early readers hold an educational advantage---and the respected DISTAR reading program gives your children that head start. By investing 20 minutes a day, you'll have your preschoolers and non-reading elementary school children reading at a second grade level in 100 days. Covers sound identification, decoding of words and sentences, irregulars, and more. Clear instructions included. 395 pages $14.96

Some old-fashioned teaching models are timeless. In this revised and expanded edition of First Grammar Lessons by Charlotte Mason, you'll discover one of them---the simple method of narration that focuses on conversation as a natural means of teaching grammar to your fourth to eighth graders. 178 pages $16.47

Wholesome literature is important for building good character---and this newly updated guide will help you choose the best of the classics for preschoolers through teens. Drawing from a range of genres, including fantasy, biography, and poetry, Hunt offers a select list of books that will start your youngsters on the road to a lifetime of reading pleasure. 240 pages. Annotated list of books for ages 0-14. $10.39

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Christian Site for Kids

Today for Show and Tell, I'm going to tell you about my

Christian Site for Kids.

Most of you seem to have kids and so you may find this beneficial.

My site is called Kids Love Jesus

Monday is - Monday's Ministry (outreach and ministry ideas that are appropriate for kids to do)

Tuesday is - Tuesday's Hero (posts about famous Christian heroes like Mary Slessor, Martin Luther, and Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday is - Wednesday Worship (kids worship videos)

Thursday is - Thursday's Prayer Time (links to free online prayer magazines for kids)

Friday is - Friday Fun (posts about Christian websites for Kids, online comics, fun activities, and family night ideas)

I have a half year's worth of posts. When the 26 weeks is over, then I will start repeating the posts again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Easy Meal Planning

The question for Heart of the Matter is - How Do You Meal Plan?

The way that I cook is so easy. I definitely won't be impressing anybody in the culinary world. My motto is that it needs to be quick and easy, or I won't make it.

I've tried enough recipes over the last 18 years, that I pretty much know what my family will and won't eat. I don't force them to eat things that they don't like, because I won't eat things that I don't like. The kids aren't really picky though. They just have preferences. But I have figured out how to make meals that all 7 of us like.

Here are some things I do to keep it simple:

I like to buy big packages of hamburger and chicken. I cook all the meat and then divide it into small bags and freeze them until I need one for a recipe.

Sometimes I'll cook 2 of one thing (like a casserole) and refrigerate it to have a few days later.

My kids make their own breakfast and lunch. For lunch - they get to choose from foods like burritos, sandwiches, Top Ramen, leftovers, nachos, green salads, fruits and veggie sticks.

I'm teaching the older kids how to cook certain recipes. For example: my son does Tater Tot Casserole and one of my daughters does Chili Enchiladas. The more recipes that I teach them, the more often I won't have to cook. Plus it's educational for them. So, that is the next step in my plan - to teach each of the kids to become masters at making a few meals each.

Here are our favorite recipes for dinner:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Frugal Tip for Reading Curriculum

Some people spend up to $150 a year just on Reading Curriculum and I’m not sure why. I never used a "real" Reading program beyond Phonics. Instead, we read library books.

Here are some Library Reading Lists that I like to use:

You can also look at the table of contents in reading textbooks to see what stories the text contains. Then, borrow the entire book from the library.

What We're Doing This Year:
Instead of buying an official Literature curriculum for my 10th grade son, I checked out some of the 10th grade Literature texts. I made a list of the books that were highlighted in the texts. Now, I'm going to have my son read about a chapter of each one and choose some of them to read in their entirety. He will be able to find the books at the library and online (if they are old enough). Also, I'm going to have him do some online research about the authors and find online study guide information about the books.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My High Schooler's Curriculum

Most of the learning materials that we use are eclectic. I've never stuck with just one curriculum program - until high school hit. My oldest child is in 10th grade and so I have him doing something different than the 4 younger kids. He is doing a full curriculum from Alpha Omega. I want him well prepared for college and I wanted a program that would do just that.

Alpha Omega is a complete, traditional homeschooling program in workbook form or on computer software.

Alpha Omega Curriculum:
  • has easy-to-follow instructions
  • has no lesson preparation
  • is self- paced
  • kids can work independently
  • is a complete curriculum with answer keys and electives
  • combines reading, exercises, projects, review, and tests
  • has colored work texts
  • is a Christian curriculum
You can see examples and chapter titles of the Alpha Omega lifepacs at

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Field Trip to Pennsylvania

Our family went to Pennsylvania to pick up our new Maremma sheep dogs. We also visited some educational sites along the way. This is what we learned on our trip:

  • Toured the Hershey Factory in Hershey, PA
  • Learned the history of Mr. And Mrs. Hershey's businesses
  • Drove through the Amish farm countryside
  • Saw buggies pulled by horses.
  • Ate Pennsylvania Dutch food, including Shoo-Fly PIe
  • At Home: Viewed Amish quilts online
  • At Home: Read questions and answers about the Amish people
  • Toured a Civil War museum in Gettysburg
  • Walked around a Gettysburg battlefield, memorial and cemetery
  • Met and talked with an artist drawing scenes of the Civil War
  • Stood where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address and read it aloud
  • We were taught how to care for and train Maremma sheep dogs.
  • The kids played with baby goats.
  • Map skills
  • Socialization with many adults we met along the way.
  • Swimming in the hotel's pool, PE
  • Walked on paths at a farm and around the battlefield, PE

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Benefits of Volunteering

Being a volunteer can help you explore a career field of interest. Volunteering helps other people and organizations. It is also very beneficial to you:
  • You will become comfortable in serving others.
  • Develop and use your talents and skills to benefit other people.
  • Make a real, positive difference in the world.
  • Make new friends.
  • Expose yourself to a variety of people.
  • Gain confidence in yourself.
  • Earn a letter of recommendation for college or a job.
  • Connect with professionals in the workplace.
  • Find out if you want to pursue a particular career or field of interest.
  • Learn job skills like: responsibility, time management, work ethics, accountability, and working with others.
Here are some volunteer ideas to get you started:

Hospital, nursing home, pregnancy care center, nursing homes, serving widows and the elderly, state park, nature center, hiking trails, animal shelter, pet hospital, animal foster care, horse care and stable worker, wildlife preserve, food or clothing drives, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, tutoring, ESL programs, library, prison ministry, orphanage, festivals, fairs, parades, hospice companion, Red Cross, language translator, waiting room reader, speaker to kids, deliver meals, disaster relief, kids recreation center, host a foreign student, teen hotline, bell ringer, after-school mentor, thrift store worker, immigrant and refugee ministry, housekeeping for elderly, concession stand worker, working farm for disabled people, maintenance and preservation projects, science museum, living history museum, computer tutor or consultant, evangelistic organizations, prison ministry, trash clean-up, construction and remodeling, political campaign volunteers, voter registration drives, help at the polls, administrative and clerical assistance at church, technical assistance at church, music ministry at church, nursery and children’s ministry worker, wedding coordinator, church photography, summer camp counselor, VBS, event planner or worker, short-term mission trip, Jr. High Youth group helper, or go to any business or organization that you are interested in and ask if you can volunteer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Curriculum Money Traps

Many homeschooling parents overspend, buying curriculum for the wrong reasons.

Here are some of the Money Traps concerning homeschool curriculum.

  • Buying teacher guides for the younger grades
  • Buying all of the “required” quizzes, tests, and activity pages.
  • Buying from the company that claims they give the best education.
  • Buying "impressive" curriculum even though you know that it won’t compliment your child’s learning style
  • Buying what your homeschool friends think is the best curriculum
  • Buying all your curriculum from one company, even though you would rather have Math or Science from another company
  • Duplicating what the public school is doing so that you feel like you are homeschooling correctly
  • Sticking with the same boring curriculum, even though you want to dump it and switch to another company or way of homeschooling
  • Buying without really thinking about it, because it’s September and you’re panicked that you don’t have the kids school curriculum yet.

636950: Spectrum Math, 2007 Edition, Grade 5Spectrum Math
This is my favorite low-cost math curriculum. It contains approximately 165 math worksheets. It includes: instructions for each math fundamental, pre-tests, post-tests, an answer key. We do 1 page a day and if we need more practice then we do online math games or exercises. $8.49 each.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Getting Started

When I started homeschooling over 10 years ago, there just wasn't much information available to me. I had to learn about homeschooling mostly through trial and error. There is so much variety available in curriculum and help now. It makes it much easier for the family to get started in homeschooling.

The first year of homeschooling is daunting for everyone; the unfamiliar jargon, the too-many-to-count curriculum choices, the methods that everyone swears's almost enough to make you give up before you've started! Let The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child take off some of the pressure by answering your most urgent questions, and giving you some encouragement and hard-learned advice along the way. This guide will help you to determine your first steps, build your own educational philosophy and discover the best ways to cater to your child's learning philosophy. 348 pages. $11.53

It's a homeschool convention in a book! For novice and veteran teachers, this extensive guide offers details about today's most viable education models and helps you choose methodologies. Over 20 contributors---including Christine Field, Diana Waring, and Dr. Ruth Beechick---provide seasoned advice on classical, Charlotte Mason, unit study, and other methods; special needs; carschooling; whole heart learning; and more. 280 pages. $11.69

Christine and Mark Field cast a grand vision for the education of homeschooled children across the world; written in a pleasant conversational tone, they passionately establish their perspectives on a biblical-minded approach to education. Through subject-by-subject chapters you'll be exposed to broad yet detailed chapters on language arts, math, history, life skills and more; infuse your "head skills" with more than a little passion for God with the advice in Homeschooling 101. 304 pages. $11.24