Search the Site
Proverbs 31 Woman
Gratefully Accepted
We are NOT an IRS registered Charitable organization, but we would certainly appreciate any help you might feel led to give. All donations will be used to help support this website, and its associated ministries.

Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

Carnival of Homeschooling Chaos

Welcome to the 400th Carnival of Homeschooling!
The Carnival of Chaos Edition

How do you homeschool though one child’s illness or injury? How do you homeschool through moving? Through your own chronic illness? Through grief or other turmoil?

Some days, all we can get done is what we can get done. That’s more some times than others, and not always in the “planned” or “expected” fashion. Sometimes other family members can step in and lend a hand. Sometimes there are curriculum alternatives that can help in a given situation.

It’s the beauty of homeschooling. It can be with us wherever we are. It can succeed in chaos.

So, without further ado, I bring you, chaotically, the submissions for this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling!

Rebecca embraces chaos! In Give a Label a Hug over at Down a Rabbit Trail: Interest-Led Learning with a Charlotte Mason Flair she explains, “Even though I’m a second generation unschooler, I’ve not always been 100% comfortable with the label “unschooling”. Unschooling…yes. All in! The label…not so much. I didn’t realize till lately how much that hesitancy closed us off from finding more like minded people. :)

How about the chaos of moving across state lines, and dealing with a new set of homeschooling laws? Jennifer discusses What Are The Best and Worst States For Homeschooling Regulations? at Time4Learning Community Blog

Also at Time4Learning, Jamie help tame and label that chaos with her Guide to Homeschool Grading.

Horrifying chaos is possible. A.Hermitt offers Thoughts on another school shooting at Notes from a homeschooled mom.

Mindy presents some chaotic and entertaining craft ideas in First Day of Fall ~ Sept 22nd posted at Den School: Homeschooling Articles, Freebies, Reviews and Giveaways, as well as Do Homeschooled Kids Actually Like to Be Homeschooled?.

Kristen takes an an international view. “We are studying the world, one continent a year, for our homeschool social studies. I have written plans using library books and the internet, and I thought I would share the fruits of my labor with my little homies. Check out the first installment: LATIN AMERICA.” Visit A Little Homie: Homeschool Blog to check out her Free Latin America Homeschool Lesson Unit.

To have chaos or not have chaos? Julie Bogart discusses the pros and cons of lesson planning in To Lesson Plan or Not to Lesson Plan at A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief.

And Annie Kate shares her chaos-reducing pointers in Oops! Minimizing Planning Blind Spots at Tea Time With Annie Kate.

ebele (who has a lovely accent – you must go watch her video!) shares inspiration in My story: How I started college at 14 and finished at 18 + YOU are a gift posted at Street-side convos.

Rachael discusses the chaos of getting ready each year in Heading Back to School! Top Ten Ways to Prepare for the Fall ‘Mayhem’ over at DiAmOnDs In ThE rOuGh.

Melissa’s chaos involves using nutrition and homeschooling to mitigate our son’s ADHD without medication in Finding What Works for My Son: An Ongoing Journey at The Cork Board.

Transitioning to college is definitely chaos. Carter White presents 21 Blogs with Info You Need to Know Before Sending Your Kids Off to College posted at Babysitting.

Dave shares about learning to value the moment in the chaos in Stop The Clock at Home School Dad.

Is there a Snowden in my office? Did he know what my theme was going to be? Henry, of Why Homeschool (creator of the Carnival) shares how his life has gotten a bit more crazy, again, in .

The first image above is from Scientific American, and the second is from Funderstanding, sites about which I know nothing else.

* * * * * *

A huge THANK YOU to all of the bloggers who shared with us. As always, it has been a joy to read through them all while putting this together (I confess I don’t typically get to read through an entire carnival on other weeks!).

Please take a moment to post a link to the carnival on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter… help spread the word about homeschooling, and the carnival, and send some traffic to all these terrific folks!

And of course, good Carnival manners includes the hope that everyone will link their submitted post to this Carnival post, as well as possibly including one of the adorable COH Graphics. Thank you!

Don’t forget to send in your post for next week’s carnival! Just visit for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Share

Seeing the Right and Wrong in Used Curriculum

DISCLAIMER: You may not agree with me. Surprise, surprise. I have no problem with that, and I hope you can simply accept it, as well. If that is the case, please know that this post is not about you, so there is no cause to feel alarmed, insulted, “judged,” or any other negative reaction – unless such should be spontaneously generated by the action of the Holy Spirit in your heart. My purpose here is simply to explore a choice that we made, and share my thoughts for the consideration of others.

Several years ago, I purchased two “complete” years of Sonlight curriculum second-hand. For those not familiar with Sonlight, this means I received two big boxes full of not only the lesson plans and guides, but many, many reading books. (The photo is from the Sonlight website; one Core + Readers set).

Those levels weren’t what we needed at that moment (I just couldn’t pass up the deal!), so I crated them up, labeled them, and tucked them away in the storage room.

I was delighted when I realized that the Core I wanted to purchase for our 2013/2014 school year was the first of these years that I had stored away!

The Science books lined up with the Science we are just finishing up from this year (wish I’d known THAT earlier!), so I went ahead and re-sold them.

Sorting through the Read-Alouds for the Core, and the Readers for Miss J’s Language Arts, we found that we had most of them, so I only had to purchase the missing pieces.

I (read “we”) decided, however, to purchase the Core Instructor’s Guide new from Sonlight. (There is a re-purchase discount if you have previously purchased a Core, but that applies only to the original purchaser).

Why do that instead of using the perfectly functional one that I have in the box?

Here’s the reasons that immediately occur to me, roughly in order from least to most important (not ignoring the overall factor of prayer and debate):

  • The Core guide that I have is put together for the 4-day rather than 5-day schedule, so would require some re-working. It also has writing in it, lessons checked off by the previous user, etc. Certainly, it would be nicer to have my own fresh copy.
  • Purchasing the Core entitles me to access the online forums, registers me with them for Customer Support, etc., etc.
  • “Core 1″ is actually a number of years old, and predates a pretty significant revamp they did a couple of years ago. The currently-named “Core B” has a lot of improvements.

But the far-and-away main reason?

  • Because it’s the right thing to do. Because I adore Sonlight, and they deserve compensation for their product – this is how they support their family, remember!

Now, do I wish this hadn’t happen right now, when were’re suffering under a 20% pay cut thanks to Congress’ bright idea that furloughs were better than doing their job with the budget? For sure!

But right is right.

**

This is not in any way a “sponsored post”, but we sure do adore Sonlight (I can’t decide whether I’m more impressed with the incredible products, or their top-notch customer service and guarantees…). If you’d like to give them a try, you can get $5 off your first order by clicking through my affiliate link: sonlight.com/rewards/TH20214672.

Share

Visit the Carnival

Don’t miss this week’s edition of the Carnival, hosted over at Home Spun Juggling:

Carnival of Homeschooling: Amazing Superpowers edition!

Okay, yes, it features one of my posts, too… But the super hero theme is adorable!

Share

No Child Left Behind

No, this has NOTHING to do with the failed governmental meaning of that phrase. In fact, my point is that in real life it works out to be something quite the opposite.

So, these are my kids:

Princess J is 8 (in the pink ball), and R.T. is 5 (in the blue ball).

When someone asks what grade they’re in, we all routinely give them the simple answer based on their age. She’ll be going into 3rd grade in the Fall, and he into Kindergarten.

But reality looks quite a bit more complicated in our house.

Begin with the understanding that, while we do a more “school” than “unschool” approach, we are firmly in the camp of Better Late than Early. If you don’t know what I mean by that, check out this video. It’s 25 minutes long, and has a bit of intro that is rather dry (but full of great information). The meat of it, though, is a great interview between Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Raymond Moore (from years ago).

As parents we stressed about it at first. We wanted to keep the curriculum flowing from grade to grade as the calendar years went by. But – as in the video – at the root of our schooling philosophy we believe that kids will get where they need to be by the time they really need to be there.

My husband always tells the kids one of our main family philosophies is, “get it done, no matter what.” In our schooling that translates to “take the time that’s needed to truly master the material” (NOT “comply with someone else’s arbitrary timetable”).

So, when the Fall came when she “should start Kindergarten,” and J was clearly not ready to begin tackling reading… We simply didn’t.

The following Fall we began anew. She was “in 1st Grade”, but she was doing Kindergarten curricula for Language Arts and Math.

History, Geography, Bible and the rest we’re handling differently. We’ve chosen a Sonlight “Core” that is suitable for both their age levels, and both kids are being taught the same material. Expectations, of course, vary.

At this point in time, we’re doing Science this way as well. That may need to change down the road. We’re flexible.

So then there’s the little guy. He sits in on the read-alouds for the Core subjects, but is welcome to color or build with Legos during that time. Science is play time for everyone, and I simply handle any writing that’s required (for both of them, still, at this point).

The plan for next year, then was “The Core,” with 2nd Grade Language and Math for Miss J, and Kindergarten Language and Math for R.T.

Miss J is still plodding through the reading, and between that and a lot of health issues (hers and mine), last year went very, very badly. We didn’t finish until November, then took December off and started this year in January. I figured if we could stay on track, even if we didn’t push, we could finish earlier than last year, and gradually work around to being back on a more “normal” school year schedule (with our built-in flexibility).

But R.T. is anxious! He wants to “do school” and have his own work.

A compromise was devised wherein we’d do a bit more of the common subjects, and finish up by August to take 2 weeks off and start the new school year on time (in my book) right after Labor Day. J would keep moving at her own pace on her other subjects.

He was pretty quick to realize that the worksheets I was printing out for him, and even the alphabet flashcards, weren’t “real school”. Smart kids can be a challenge, I tell you. So I pulled out the tiny beginning phonics readers from J’s Kindergarten program, and off we went. He sounds things. He blends things. And he begged for the “Explode the Code” workbooks that were part of his upcoming school year (he remembered them because J did them, and is still doing the sequels).

What’s a mama to do?

Obviously, I went to the Sonlight website and ordered his Explode the Code books, as well as the first workbook of his Math.

So, at this moment, we are here:

  • Miss J will be starting “3rd Grade.” She is still working through a 1st Grade curriculum in Language Arts, and in Math. If we stay on target, she will finish those in November and pick up the 2nd Grade versions after New Years’.
  • R.T. will be starting Kindergarten. He is already racing into a Kindergarten curriculum of Math and Language Arts, and may well be a fluent reader before his sister. If he slows down his pace, though, that’s okay, too.

She’s very bright. Even with language, if you stay verbal she can make rhymes and puns and language jokes right along with the rest of us. She doesn’t need “special ed” or a label (although I have wondered if some testing might enable me to find ways to help her better) – she just needs time to work through it at her own pace.

So I homeschool. Reason number 437, probably.

To strangers who ask, she’s simply “going into 3rd grade.” And when they compliment me about how polite and helpful she is, and about how smart and articulate she is, I just smile.

**

This is not in any way a “sponsored post”, but we sure do adore Sonlight (I can’t decide whether I’m more impressed with the incredible products, or their top-notch customer service and guarantees…). If you’d like to give them a try, you can get $5 off your first order by clicking through my affiliate link: sonlight.com/rewards/TH20214672.

Share

Moment of Insight

I’ve been very ill a lot over the past year, and from time to time the suggestion always pops up that I should put my kids in school – with the implication that somehow that would make my life better, or easier.

This morning I had a lovely moment of clarity.

Wolf left for work just before 6:30, as he usually does. I had propped myself up in bed, and after a while my attention was caught by children’s voices outside.

I looked out my second-story window, and watched as an intermittent parade of kids went walking down the street, gigantic backpacks on their back. Some of them I knew as my kids’ friends from the park.

A few minutes later, the big yellow bus came down the road to collect them.

About that time it started to rain.

Listening to the drumming of the rain against the window, I spared a moment of worry for the kids I had just seen, who were not dressed for rain.

Then I gathered my kids into the bed with me, and I read their science book to them. They brought up their lap desks, and J worked on her written work while R.T. colored.

Homeschooling is still best.

In spite of – or perhaps even because of – my challenges.

Share

Batman is a Homeschooler

What in the world am I talking about?

Well, this:

Sounds pretty much like a normal homeschooling day to me.

We run around in our Super Hero capes having a great time, and make sure to take advantage of teachable moments whenever they occur.

Share

A New School Year

I know that most of you probably read the title, then checked the date to see if somehow a post from August or September had been somehow bumped to the top of the blog. Or perhaps it’s a typo in a post that is simply about “The New Year”.

Nope, it’s true.

January marks the beginning of this school year for us. The one that should have started last September.

We began Jewel’s First Grade year on schedule in September 2011… and things skidded rapidly off-course. That Fall I had bronchitis. In the Winter, both Littles, Nick, and I all struggled with antibiotic-resistant strep, and were too ill to do much schooling for weeks and weeks and weeks. We fought against our toxic house the whole year, and moved on short notice in July.

But above and beyond all that, what held us up most was the Jewel simply wasn’t “getting” reading. We considered her in First Grade, but her Language Arts / Reading program was Kindergarten level. And it was a seemingly impossible struggle for a full year. (At no point did we feel that the curriculum was a bad fit – still adore our Sonlight!)

Philosophically, we firmly believe that a child will read when he or she is ready, and that’s okay. Not reading at age six and seven is still within the realm of “normal.” I confess that I did begin to wonder if there was something more I could do to help her, beginning around the time we should have been starting Second Grade, and even started down the path of having her tested. Nick had learned to read entirely without my assistance, and before he entered Kindergarten – I was just somewhat at a loss with this radically different experience, and I was afraid I was missing something.

I didn’t push it very hard, though, and of course by going through the public schools I had inadvertently assured that things would not move quickly.

Before we got as far as any meaningful testing, Jewel suddenly began to have flashes of insight. Some things finally just “clicked,” and we finally polished off the school year in December. (Full disclosure: We had done everything but one read-aloud and a few activities before our Disney and Christmas break, and checked off those last couple of items this first week of January).

Does she read, really? No. Not in any meaningful way… Yet! But things are moving forward now, and I can confidently say “yet” and believe that the fulfillment is coming.

Once more, I learn to slow down and trust.

Trust in God’s plan.
Trust in Mama’s intuition.
Trust in my children.

Share

Advent Books via Truth in the Tinsel


Advent begins on Sunday (December 2nd)!

As I’ve posted previously, last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

It’s set up to be a Christmas ornament each day, but we decided to modify things a little and make each project into one page of an Advent Book. I’ve had several people ask me about it, so I wanted to do this follow-up post and show you what I mean.

Shown are Day #2 – Kingdom (by Jewel), and Day #3 – Zacharias (by R.T., with writing by Mama).

I had some heavier-weight paper/cardstock that we had purchased to print greeting cards. It came in four colors, and the kids decided to do multi-colored books. I think having the heavier weight (rather than just paper) is a good call, since some of the projects do have a bit of mass to them. Color is entirely a matter of preference, of course.

A gracious friend gave us some “pocket” 3-ring binders, so that they could do a piece of artwork on plain paper and just slip it in. Obviously, the options for decorating your covers are endless.

We didn’t get all the way through with our Advent projects, and (as you can see) the covers need to be done as well. This year December will be VERY full, so I think finishing up the boos we started last year is a realistic plan.

This year, in addition to the eBook itself, you can purchase a set of printable ornaments from Truth in the Tinsel.

This would speed up the process, be more portable (to work on while travelling, etc.), and also help with the “flattening” if you want to do a book like we did.

However you choose to celebrate the season, I pray that you will remember to keep your focus on “the Reason for the season.”

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Share

Advent for Kids (and a Freebie!)

We are so excited to be doing an Advent devotional again this year!

Last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

The book has an easily broken-down shopping list of supplies – most of which are things you’re likely to have around the house anyway (or you can easily substitute for such things).

Each day has a Scripture reading, tagged to a “clue” that the kids find in their Advent Calendar (several options for how to do that).

Then there’s a fun craft project for the kids to do, along with some other discussion ideas for you to use (or not, or as you see fit).

The projects are set up to be done as a series of Christmas Tree ornaments, but for a variety of reasons, we decided not to go that route.

I basically “flattened” everything, and mounted each artwork on a sheet of paper. Then each of the kids is assembled their projects into an Advent Book (in a 3-ring binder, to give it some protection), with the idea that it can be stored away in their memory box, or enjoyed again next year, or whatever other use we can think up!

The photo is the Littles at work on Day 1 – a candle, for Jesus, the Light of the World.

We got behind and didn’t finish our books last year, so we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off.

If you’d like a copy, the book is only $7.99. And this year she’s also created a set of printable ornaments, available for $3.99.

Use these on days you’re too busy to do a big craft, for toddlers, while you’re at Grandma’s or if you just want to save a little money on supplies!

And there’s even a Black Friday Sale!

Purchase the book ( CLICK HERE ) on Friday, November 23rd, and you will receive the ornaments as a FREE BONUS!

If you take advantage of that, note the following guidelines:
1. You not have to add the ornaments to your shopping cart. If they do, you will pay for them, and there will be no refunds.
2. Within the initial “thank you” email you will receive a link to the free printable ornaments.
3. Coupon codes will be disabled on this day only. They will be reinstated bright and early Friday morn’. {eastern time}
4. Detailed instructions can be found on the book sales page ( HERE ).

The book and ornaments are, of course, available all the time, but the special sale is one day only.

I’d like to think we’ll finish this up this year… But with a trip to Disney, and our out-of-state family coming to visit, it may keep dragging on until 2013!

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Share

Carnival of Homeschooling – Reflections from the End of the Road

The 355th Carnival of Homeschooling:
Reflections from the End of the Road


The biggest “news” in our homeschooling life is that one chapter of it has closed. My eldest, Nick, graduated in May, and is in the process of moving out as I put this post together.

There are plenty of issues surrounding that in all areas of our life, but for the Carnival, naturally, I’m going to focus on those related to homeschooling.

But “the end of the road” is really a dramatic exaggeration, because my homeschooling days are far from over! I have a 2nd grader and a four year-old still “enrolled”.

Having one coming out the far end does make for a natural point of reflection – a “post-mortem,” you might say. But you don’t have to wait until then to pause and take stock.

This is something that I think we all naturally do on a small scale as we work through our homeschooling days. It’s different, though, to sit down and mindfully reflect.

Here’s a few points that I’ve chosen to thoughtfully consider:

Is homeschooling the right choice for our family, right now? And its close cousin: Why do we homeschool?

Anisha offers a framework for this very question in Questions for Parents: Is Homeschooling Right for Me? posted at NerdWallet | Education.

Those questions naturally include “Can we afford it?” Mama Squirrel helps answer that with The why and how of frugal homeschooling, Part One posted at Dewey’s Treehouse.

Henry offers a bit of insight with the reverse question, in posted at .

How can I keep myself engaged in the process, and avoid burnout?

Elena addresses the issue of combating burnout in When Long-time Homeschooling Moms Burn Out at My Domestic Church.

Phyllis offers some thoughts on Luke 17 in Healing Comes with Obedience, at Proclaiming God’s Faithfulness.

Mindy offers her thoughts for when Mommy Needs a Moment at DenSchool.

Andrea offers the relief of 5 Homeschooling Battles I Stopped Fighting at Notes from a homeschooled mom.

[Depending on the age/stage of your children and your homeschool journey] At what age do I begin “schooling” my little one? What “grade level” does my child belong in?

Laura shares her concerns that direct instruction, from parents or teachers, is shown to limit a child’s creativity, problem solving, and openness to learning, in Educating Too Early at her blog, Laura Grace Weldon.

How can I keep the material fresh for all of us? And: How can I reach a child with a different learning style?

Denise offers strategies for teaching elementary mathematics in PUFM 1.5 Multiplication, Part 2, posted at Let’s Play Math!

Denise also shares Blogging 101: Introduction for student writers, at Blogging 2 Learn.

Barbara discusses a great resource idea in A Homeschool Mom’s Paradise posted at Barbara Frank Online.

Angela wonders, What About Gym Class? at Team Grey!

Ann enjoys her nature studies, with Goldfinches – One of the Yellow Birds – Outdoor Nature Hour Challenge posted at Harvest Moon by Hand.

Natalie reviews Rip the Page! and discusses how she’s using it for creative writing for multiple ages, with Rip the Page! by Karen Benke, at Fill Your Bookshelf.

* * * * * *

A huge THANK YOU to all of the bloggers who shared with us. As always, it has been a joy to read through them all while putting this together (I confess I don’t typically get to read through an entire carnival on other weeks!).

Please take a moment to post a link to the carnival on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter… help spread the word about homeschooling, and the carnival, and send some traffic to all these terrific folks!

And of course, good Carnival manners includes the hope that everyone will link their submitted post to this Carnival post, as well as possibly including one of the adorable COH Graphics. Thank you!

Don’t forget to send in your post for next week’s carnival! Just visit for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Share
Don’t Miss a Moment!

Subscribe to As For My House by Email

 Subscribe in a reader

Add to Technorati Favorites

Follow on Facebook's Networked Blogs


Resources

Recipe File, Menu Planner, Shopping List Generator - 30-Day Free Trial:

A wonderful craft-along advent to do with your kids!
Truth in the Tinsel

Modest clothing for women, maternity, and girls

Our adored curriculum:

Sonlight: The Best Overall Homeschool Company

Prints and custom photo cards, gifts, etc.
20FREESHIP for 20% off AND FREE SHIPPING. Add Magic to your holiday with personalized ornaments

Great deals, daily:


Blogroll
  • Biblical Womanhood
  • Connected 2 Christ
  • Life on the Road
  • Modesty: The Forgotten Virtue
  • Right From Captain Ras
Christianity
  • No Greater Joy
  • StudyLight
Cloth Diapers
  • Green Mountain Diapers
  • Mother-Ease
Health & Wellness
Homeschooling
  • Homeschool Classifieds
  • Sonlight Educational Materials
Shop Online
  • Arts Cow
  • As For My House Amazon Store
  • Children's Book of the Month Club
  • Ebates
  • Patriot Depot
  • Shabby Apple
  • Shop At Home Shop At Home
  • ShopRunner
  • Tropical Traditions
  • VistaPrint
  • VitaCost.com
  • What's Cooking
  • Zwaggle
Tech
  • 1 & 1 Hosting
  • Kall8
  • Mozy Online Backup