Jan 062013
 

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.

Nov 302012
 


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.

Nov 202012
 

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.

Oct 172012
 

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 Why don’t more parents homeschool? posted at Why Homeschool.

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 Why Homeschool for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Oct 112012
 

As For My House has the honor of hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling again next week.


Carnival of Homeschooling

If you blog, please join us by submitting a post:

  • Doesn’t have to be a new post – anything on your blog is fair game!
  • You don’t have to have a “blog about homeschooling” – only a post that’s “on topic.”

In the past, the Carnival has used the Blog Carnival form, but that has not been working properly, so they are requesting that all submissions be sent to a G-Mail email address, which is forwarded to each week’s host in turn.

Submissions are due to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com by 6:00 PM (PST) by Sunday evening. Please send the following information:

“Carnival submission” in the subject field
Title of Post
URL of Post
Name of Blog
URL of Blog
Brief summary of the post

More details about the carnival, and submissions, are always available from the good folks who run the carnival, “Why Homeschool“.

If you know anyone else who blogs homeschool, please spread the word!!

To help spread the word about the carnival, and get more readers for all of our terrific contributors, you are encouraged to include one of the following icons/links in your submitted post:

Small:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Medium:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Large:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thanks for joining the fun!

Aug 222012
 

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for use at home, after-school, on weekends and during the summer, and can also be used in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

In comparison to other educational websites, K5 has the following attributes:
- clear emphasis on curricula based education, not games / entertainment
- online assessment for placement of kids at appropriate skill levels
- ability for kids to work independently and proceed through lessons at their own pace while minimizing time requirements for parents (simple interfaces, automatic lesson selection, tracking, reporting)

I’ve been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. Stay tuned for all my thoughts after we’ve had a chance to use it.

If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

May 122012
 

Welcome to our classroom…

The other day the weather was lovely. Nobody was ill. We had no outside commitments.

I gathered up all the readers for the day, and some comfy padding, and we went outside to to the tree-house. (Made just for my Littles,it’s only about four feet off the ground)

We sat together and read the stories aloud, with the occasional pause to watch a bird, discuss an airplane, or flick away an ant…

After a while, we brought out snacks and our water bottles and had a picnic snack time there, as well.

Ah, this is the [homeschooling] life!

Mar 162012
 

The first quarter of 2012 is almost over.

And we’re just now getting to the point where we feel like human beings around here, after prolonged and repeated bouts of illness. So far, 2012 has been pretty much a washout.

Today the Littles and I tried to ease back into schooling. We’re wrapping up the end of a week we started months ago, interrupted by the beginning of “the plague.”

This is Week 17 of our curriculum. If we manage to complete Week 18 next week, we will reach The Halfway Point.

If the first half of the school year took us seven months, that doesn’t bode well for our end date.

Of course, the freedom to take the time off is one of the important benefits of homeschooling. As is the freedom to take as long as we’d like to finish this “year” of curriculum, thank you very much.

But, for me, I would like to finish this year at some reasonable time, enjoy swim lessons and summer fun, and be able to start fresh on a new school year after Labor Day.

Which brings us to the realm of choices. The kind that, while appearing simple, require some real thought about philosophies and priorities.

Say my goal is to get through 1.5 weeks of the scheduled schooling each week.

(A) Do I just do a little more school every day?

(B) Or do I leave some things out (more than what I might normally skip), so that we can get through more in the same amount of time?

Or is that a silly goal to begin with, and do I need to re-think my plan for starting next year in September?

It probably makes a difference to understand that my daughter is in 1st grade. We’re not really learning things daily in the “schooling” part of our day that are of drastic lasting import, nor anything that can’t easily be caught up when we see the topic again down the road.

Working my way up to that statement seems to have pretty well clarified how I actually feel about it, doesn’t it?

I guess CHOICE B (above) is probably the right choice for us.

This time.


Carnival of Homeschooling

“Worry” image from the Health Freedom Alliance, a website about which I know nothing further.

Feb 142012
 

Love isn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling. We’re not talking about teenage infatuation, or overactive hormones, here.

Love is a verb. Love is the commitment you make, and the action you take. Love is much more than whether you “feel like it” or not on any given day.

People homeschool for different reasons, but it seems to universally boil to down to the fact the we love our children (and in many cases, including ours, we love our Lord).

Your child has special needs that won’t be addressed in a traditional school setting? Your child is working ahead of or behind the “grade level” the schools would box them into? School teach values with which you disagree?

Of course… But you wouldn’t care if you didn’t love your child, and in some cases the Lord.

So we do “love” (the emotion) our children, of course.

How do we “love” (the committed action) them, as homeschoolers? Let me count the ways…

We Love them enough to continue homeschooling in spite of whatever hurdles life throws at us.

A Pilgrim’s Heart shares the solutions she’s found during a year of travel and travail, in Pulling An Education Together on the Road.

The Why Homeschool blog is right on my wavelength today, exploring the question of Can only the privileged few homeschool?

Sometimes the “hurdle” is nasty winter weather. Sage Parnassus offers a wonderful perspective in Fertile Observations and Family Diaries.

We Love them enough to do what is best for them, even when it doesn’t feel like the best for us.

Everyday Snapshots shares a treat: Beat the Yellow Bus Blues: Combat Homeschooling Burnout

Okay, I only have one Carnival submission that fits this heading, but it’s such an important one for me right now. When they are ill, they would be home from school anyway… But when I am ill, it is easy to feel the longing for an easier path!

We Love them enough to give them the true education we feel they need, as well as providing for the world’s requirements to ease their future.

7 Sisters Innovative Homeschool Helps discusses how to “package” your fine arts learning into a format that will be recognized by colleges and other interested parties, in Fine Arts on the Homeschool Transcript.

Team Gray! ponders on What Is Education?

The Itchy Homeschooler is reciting Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice.

Practical Pages has some advice for our growing children venturing out into the world, in 10 Tips for 1st-Time Employees.

We love them enough to push and challenge them. To push and challenge authority, when necessary. To push and challenge ourselves.

Golden Grasses shares her musings on life and learning in Length and Width.

MomSCHOOL discusses the challenge in Homeschool Scheduling – Routine or Rut?

My Domestic Church offers hope with A surprising success with my right brained reader!

We love them enough to explore new territory, expand our horizons, and keep trying to find the best resources for each situation.

Tea Time with Annie Kate describes learning through The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Home School VS Public School discusses ways to look at life, via Why Should Home School Students Take Pictures.

The About.com Homeschooling Blog shares a co-operative idea in Meals and Moms: Meal Exchange Homeschool Group.

MomFITNESS shares some ideas for teaching Lessons on Health and Nutrition.

Dimes2Vines reviews some helpful resources in Home Education – Reading and Spelling.

We love them enough to…

Share a laugh with Our Curious Home, who shares Stream of Consciousness Homeschooling.

Lifelong Learning is very much on the same page as I am today, and shares a wonderful reminder about the role of LOVE in Homeschooling, with If I Knew Then, What I Know Now.

Thank you for reading… Naturally, please let me know if you find any errors or broken links.

I want to thank each of the bloggers who shared with us today. 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!).

Please take a moment to post a link to the carnival on your blog, your Facebook page, your Twitter feed… 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 Why Homeschool for all the details, and email the info anytime before next Monday.

Image credits: Heart pencil from the Thinking Kids blog, which I discovered for that purpose, but actually looks pretty cool. LOVE from contributor LifeLong Learning. Heart Hands from Lifetips by Coach Cat, a website about which I know nothing further.

Until next time… Happy Homeschooling!

Feb 072012
 

As For My House will be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling again next week.


Carnival of Homeschooling

If you blog, I hope you will join is by submitting a post:

  • Something old, something new… I do have to draw the line at “something borrowed” though!
  • It doesn’t require a “blog about homeschooling” – only a post that’s “on topic.”

In the past, the COH has used the Blog Carnival submission form, but that has not been working properly for the last few months. As a result, they are requesting that all submissions be sent to the carnival’s GMail email address, which is forwarded to each week’s host in turn.

Submissions are due to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com by 6:00 PM (PST) by Sunday evening. It will be greatly appreciated if the submissions come in earlier. Please send the following information:

Title of Post
URL of Post
Name of Blog
URL of Blog
Brief summary of the post
(With “carnival” or “submission” in the subject field of the email.)

More details about the carnival, and submissions, are always available from the good folks who run the carnival, “Why Homeschool“.

If you know anyone else who blogs homeschool, please spread the word!!

To help spread the word about the carnival, and get more readers for all of our terrific contributors, you are encouraged to include one of the following icons/links in your submitted post:

Small:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Medium:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Large:

Carnival of Homeschooling

Thanks for joining the fun!