A little background….Mary and I met over 15 years ago in Tempe, Arizona when our husbands were in graduate school at Arizona State. We have been great friends for such a long time. God has blessed our families with kids who are the same age and sex and obviously, the call to homeschool. We now live in different states but try to get together several times per year. The kids disappear for the weekend, the husbands work on research, and Mary and I laugh, serve meals, and talk about all kinds of great stuff!
A few years ago we decided to meet weekly via FaceTime to work on writing. We wanted our oldest daughters especially to have more time together. What we didn’t realize was how effective our weekly meetings would be.
Continue reading “How We Use FaceTime to Improve Writing and Reading” →
If you read last week’s post, Christmas Gift Ideas, I promised a list of homeschooling curriculum that could easily pass as gifts under your Christmas tree. Mary and I talked again on Friday and came up with some ideas. These are the nice-to-haves, the supplemental things, the stuff I often pass on in July when I am ordering all of the core subjects. (A few disclaimers – Most of the links go to Amazon. My advice would be to shop around for the best prices. Secondly, I only gave one example from the series in the interest of space and time. If you have a specific item you are looking for from something I mentioned, drop me a comment and I will do my best to get you a link.)
Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas Part 2” →
On Friday, Mary and I were having our weekly chat and both had the same question…What on earth are you getting your kids for Christmas that doesn’t involve LEGOs or plastic toys made in China? Now I have to preface this with neither of us have anything against LEGOs or plastic toys, but we are both inundated by them.
Admittedly the Grinch sneaks into my heart this time of year as I threaten to either throw out all the toys or tell everyone I know that there is a toy ban on our household. Truth be told some of each will end up at both of our houses this Christmas no matter how hard we try to avoid them. That being said, we are both looking for creative gift ideas. We spent an hour mulling over this topic (at least that is what we told our kids so we could have some uninterrupted mom chat time) and here is what we came up with. Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas” →
For my first several years of homeschooling I did not keep track of my kids’ grades. I corrected their work and made them fix their mistakes but did not maintain a grade book. I had a general idea of where they were at and what they needed to improve, so it seemed like more work for me.
About 5 years ago, I decided to prepare report cards for a number of reasons. My homeschool evaluator encouraged me to. I wanted to confirm my assumptions about their progress. Finally, my kids were wanting to win a prize at the dentist office based on their report cards. What I did not realize was the incredibly positive effect the report cards would have on our homeschool.
Continue reading “Report Cards” →
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an unlimited budget to spend on school books???? You know, where all of that “nice-to-to have” curriculum actually becomes yours instead of just gazing wistfully at it at a homeschooling conference. Alas, many of us are on a strict budget (and it is a good thing because it keeps me from overindulging)! I love to buy books! For me, there is nothing like getting a whole box of books in the mail. Unfortunately, I only have so much money and space to store all of my treasures.
Here are my top 5 tips for staying within a homeschool budget!
Continue reading “Homeschooling on a Budget” →
Adding to my collection of Classic Literature Guides here are: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Jo’s Boys by Louisa Mae Alcott, Outlaws of Ravenhurst by Sister Imelda Wallace, and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.
Continue reading “More Free Classic Literature Guides” →
There is no question that one of the single most important skills to teach our kids is to read. I would argue that it is not only our job to teach them HOW to read, but more importantly to LOVE to read. The amount kids read has a direct relationship to better scores on standardized tests and an easier time with grammar, spelling, and writing. As we approach the summer months, how can we motivate them to spend part of their days reading and not lose all of those skills we have worked so hard on during the school year?
Continue reading “Motivating your kids to READ!” →
When my oldest daughter, The Musician, was 4 years old, she came to me and said, “I am going to need a little violin and a little stick.” She wanted to take violin lessons so badly that it was all she talked about for weeks on end. Seeing visions of the New York Philharmonic in my mind, I dutifully signed her up for lessons. Everything went very smoothly for about 6 months. She willingly practiced every day, sometimes even twice. Getting her instrument out of its case brought joy and happiness. After her first concert, she came home beaming and even more excited.
Continue reading “Practice Makes Perfect” →
When my oldest daughter entered middle school, I wanted to discuss the books she was reading. When I was a kid, I loved to read and even more, I loved to discuss the books I was reading. It helped me to discover details that I missed and look at the story from a little different perspective. So I began a quest to find curriculum that would serve as a basis for these discussions. Kolbe Academy has an extensive literature program with reading comprehension questions as well as paper ideas. Rainbow Resource has Christian Novel Studies that include questions, vocabulary, recipes (in some cases), and background information. I own parts of each of these program, but for sheer money-saving purposes, I felt that I needed to write some of my own.
Continue reading “Free Classic Literature Guides!” →
Well, I’m back! Mary is taking off another week from blog writing (but don’t worry, she’ll be back next week with something spectacular!). She has asked me to expand on St. Nicholas and some ideas to celebrate his feast day on December 6th. What a glorious time of year to bring the Faith to life for our children!
There are many exaggerated legends associated with this great man, but we do know some indisputable facts about his life. St. Nicholas is one of the most popular saints, among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He is the patron saint of children and is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any other saint, aside from Our Lady. In order to understand where this popularity comes from, we can look at this saint’s history.
Continue reading “Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas” →