Using and Creating Your Homeschool Space {modify & adjust}

Originally written in November of 2018, I came across this post and felt it was a good word of advice to myself, these days, so maybe another homeschool mama could benefit from it as well. It is easy to forget the simplicity of leading by example, using what works, and keeping it as basic as low key for your family.

im so glad I came across this reminder in this season

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Modify & Adjust

Our dining area probably looks like a mini classroom to some.

I often read advice from one homeschooler to another, “you don’t have to do school at home,” and they’re right, NO, you don’t.  (actually, I am certain I’ve written that before..)

We certainly don’t- our homeschool looks much different than a typical classroom.

But I am not going to deprive our learning environment of helpful tools for the sake of not creating a “classroom at home.”

Someone asked in a homeschool group recently if everyone hangs school posters, ABCs, etc on their walls.

Of course some did, many did not, and some of us trained teachers spoke up with what we know to be true:

If it isn’t at eye level, and isn’t used/referred to almost daily, it probably won’t be used.

My A-ha! Moment

After Christmas I took down our school calendar.

And today I am putting it back up.

I took it down, partly, because it was ONE more thing in the house, and I am tired of things and stuff … but also because it looked like school.

But you know what?!

WE USED THE CALENDAR!  Like, every dang day.

We looove moving the days of the week, the kids enjoy pointing to the dates.  They do well keeping up with the days, and reading a calendar. And frankly, I use it when I need to glance at the month when I am thinking about our activities, travel and such.

Clearly, my “ugh, this room looks like a classroom and there is stuff everywhere, MUST. DE. CLUTTER,” arrow was misguided.  There are probably many other things I could have removed, that would make it feel less cluttered in our home … But our big, ugly, blue school calendar that screams “preschoolers live here,” wasn’t one of them.

We use and enjoy that big ugly school calendar.

It is not like me to question what I know to be true.
And I know what works for us.
I recently wrote a post about changing how you do things because other people’s voices get in your head… y’all I never thought a post like that would resonate with me.  Not because I am immune to self doubt, but because if there is one thing I do not doubt, it is my ability to homeschool my children.

Be Confident in Your Decisions

When we feel doubtful about the process, methods, or our atmosphere in general, we should take it to the Lord.

I know I often find myself frustrated or questioning things, and going forth in prayer is always the most helpful (although in true human fashion I try to figure it out on my own with little in the way of results).

If you want to have a room especially for homeschooling, that has posters, maps, colorful designs, and handwriting charts around the room, DO IT!  Just because you dress up your area with useful tools doesn’t mean you stand at a chalkboard and teach like a public school classroom, (or maybe you do? and that’s fine too).

I recently purchased a waaaay to big for our area larger whiteboard for our homeschool, because I couldn’t fit much on the little art one we had.  I do not stand and teach from it (my husband made an awesome ledge for it to sit upon), but we have it so that we can fit our ideas, brainstorm for topics together, keep different topics of review posted, etc on the board.

(It also helps me with review throughout the week- if I can see what we are studying or what they are interested in, then it is in my brain.  For me, out of sight out of mind is SO true, and I will completely forget what we are wanting to do, enjoying, etc.

In our home, it is about making literacy part of the environment (another post coming on that soon).

I know the benefits and results of modeling for students- modeling writing, making charts for organizing thoughts, brainstorming ideas, writing the date, using information on the board or from a book.  Just like we model how to read by tracking words on the page with our fingers and blending sounds slowly with our mouths, or how to behave in public, use manners, etc., we can model learning in our homeschool.  That is how I use our white board, but it works for us in this season. 

When it isn’t Working

Modify and adjust.

One of the key terms (how often do I write that ….?) in my teacher’s program was modify and adjust.  Don’t be a slave to ANYTHING in your homeschool- not the curriculum, or the term “unschool”; not the planner, not the table, not the 4 walls of your house, not other people’s expectations, not the lack of curriculum, NOTHING.

If it doesn’t work- modify and adjust.  If the perfect, colorful, fun room you set up never gets used and you really need to turn it into a nursery for the coming baby, DO IT.

If you just can’t handle schooling the the basement (although you have room and shelves and tables), because it is so dark and dreary- MOVE TO THE MAIN FLOOR OF THE HOUSE! (<–this is us!)

If the birds chirping and the green grass outside on a warm spring morning are calling your name- move outside!

It’s ok to be excited and want the very best of everything in your home and homeschool.  But when it isn’t working or useful, when it causes stress/clutter, or isn’t getting results- Try something different.

Modify and Adjust.  =)

What is working in this season for you, that maybe you thought you would never do/use?

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Louie Giglio The Wonder of Creation

The Wonder of Creation

The author of our very favorite devotional has come out with his next book: The Wonder of Creation. This devotional is available now!

Louie Giglio is known for his powerful messages about science and the Bible, and his passion for inspiring kids to notice, enjoy, and be in awe of God’s creation.

In The Wonder of Creation, children will find new delight in God’s creativity with 100 devotions that explore:

  •  Animals–from honeyguide birds to flying snakes to white rhinos
  • Space–from black holes to volcanic moons to gamma-ray bursts
  • People–from optical illusions to brain freezes to our immune systems
  • Earth–from rainbow rivers to blue lava to flowing
    glaciers
  • And much, much more!

The illustrations are engaging, and my children loved the photography. My kiddos are 5-11 years old, and everyone likes this devotional before bedtime. We read as a family, and they soak it all up.

There are 100 devotions that feature scientific fact or an easy activity for exploring faith, a related Bible verse, and a closing prayer. The book itself is a hard cover, beautifully embossed and bright, with a ribbon bookmark. The Wonder of Creation is going to be your perfect go-to for a Christmas gift this year, too!

What I love about the devotionals is they don’t argue any of the young earth/old earth ideas. They *just give fact,* and point it to God in scripture. For every scientific fact the author gives, he always uses it to show how Great God is. And it is just beautifully done. This devotional will makes a great addition to a homeschool STEM curriculum, or like our family, a perfect addition to a bedtime reading routine.

Along with the beautiful devotional, parents can download the free Parent Discussion Guide HERE. This is a free resource that parents and can use to go along with their devotional, no matter how you decide to sue it with your kids.

Get your copy ordered today, and give it to your favorite kids, or family!

Louie Giglio: The Wonder of Creation

Disclaimer: Many thanks to HarperCollins Christian Publishing for providing this product/product information for review.  Opinions are 100% my own.  I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post. Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Reading Eggs and Math Seeds for Your Homeschool

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Reading Eggs

I need to get the garden picked, and dishes done … and help with the animal chores. But first I want to tell you how much we have enjoyed Reading Eggs! This subscription includes both Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, their math program.

We have reviewed this interactive reading program before, and my children all enjoy it. This time I used it for the younger two, and they had so much fun. The program is suitable for children 3-13! Yes, you read that correctly- up to 13.
After farm chores, or school time I would let them each take a turn working through their level in the program. They enjoyed making their own little character, and working their way through the reading map.

Reading Eggs

I love that there is the option for desktop or an app for Reading Eggs and Math Seeds.

Students can (and should) take the placement test which is simple, and takes the guess work out of trying to find the just right level; the program does it for you! The placement test was right for both of my girls, with no problems. If your student is not familiar with using an online program/app (like my 5 year old) I would say help them with making the choices/moving the pieces during the placement teat, because that can obviously impact their level. But after a little practice of using the app, it becomes pretty intuitive for them.

My girls progressed well through their levels. I love that the added reading practice is fun for them; it helps on days when I may not have time to put together something fun for their practice, or we need a change up from the typical school day. My children usually get a little screen time after cleaning day is over, so Reading Eggs is great for that, too! They like having something new to try and I like that it is educational and helping with their foundational reading.

The parent’s screen for each child lets the parent know how that child is progressing, what they have read well, where there may be struggles for added practice purposes. There is even data for their growth in each area. This is great for anyone needing to give a district or state data, as well as just wanting to track progress for yourself.

Then there is Math Seeds! Math Seeds is an interactive math program for children ages 3-9 that helps them with problem solving and solidifying math skills. The structured lessons are fun and inviting for kids and easy for parents to set up. As you can see below, there are different areas to choose from in Math Seeds- after taking the placement test, students can begin lessons at their personalized level.

There are options for lots of fun games and skill building, test taking, spending points earned in the shop, and there is even a play room for children to explore. I remember doing some old school programs back in the 90s that had rooms like that- and I *loved* them. If your kids are anything like mine, they will love this! And you can rest knowing they are learning and spending time wisely.

Math Seeds

 

I think Reading Eggs and Math Seeds are great for foundation skills in both subjects; it is also a great supplement to your current schooling situation, whether at home or elsewhere.

Connect with Reading Eggs

Read more reviews from The Crew of Reading Eggs and Math Seeds by clicking the banner below:Learn to Read with Reading Eggs
Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool 2021/2022 School Year Choices {5th, 3rd, 1st, and K}

This homeschool year, we are starting slowly. This is the first year we have taken a full blown summer break … we have done maybe a week’s worth of school since the end of May, and filled some time with lap books and other fun schooling activities. We’ve really taken off the majority of days for pool time (because I just can’t resist!), gardening time & family trips; and we have loved every minute of it!

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2021

Our main core as a family this year will be continuing through Sonlight Core D (Bible, History, and Read Alouds), which is American history. When we finish this core, we will move on to Core E, the second half of American history.  After doing several years of wold cultures and world history, we are very much savoring American history. I’d like to focus on President’s and state capitols this year. There are so many great read aloud, and readers for US History. Just not enough hours in the day for all the books!

I am also finishing reading through the P4/5 Core with my youngest 2. They will be K and 1st this year; they are less than 2 years a part, but one is a fall baby and one is summer, so they’re close in grade levels. We made the choice a long time ago to keep our fall babies back a grade (they don’t meet most cut offs anyway, and like many states we aren’t required to school until age 7). We are very happy with that decision; but I like them being the older in their “grade” for the purpose of Co-op, sports, and church activities. I will start Core A with them at naps and bedtime once they finish P 4/5.

Math- We will be using Christian Light Education for our math, as always. My kindergartener will be using their K2 books, and I hope this bridges the gap between K math and 1st grade math for her. I will probably add in Saxon K worksheets  for her as well. I think CLE K2 combined with some math games and a little Saxon K, will be a fine math foundation.

Science- I just haven’t made up my mind here. I really love Apologia’s science programs. We would do the Anatomy and Physiology  if we go with Apologia … we really need to complete the Sonlight Science for Core D *but* every time we go to do the science, my kids already know  everything we are discussing (thanks Wild Kratts), so I just feel blah continuing with it. I know I don’t have to finish it, but I hate to leave it incomplete; also, it isn’t only animals and biology. Core D Science covers lots of other fun topics, so I should just persevere.

We will also add in No Sweat Nature Study again. We have really enjoyed these classes, and are building some great nature journals.

Language Arts- My beginning readers (K and 1st) will be using AAR plus The Good and the Beautiful. My older 2 will continue with The Good and The Beautiful, in levels 3 and 5. This includes spelling, some phonics, grammar, some writing, and geography. The 1st grader is a great reader, so lessons with her are pretty smooth. The K wants to read so badly, and was killing all the CVC words we practiced on our Florida vacation (during snuggles in the morning). So we are looking forward to her reading this year.

We add in Explode the Code, and Wordly Wise to our language arts. My children love both of these, and it does improve their skills, along with giving extra handwriting practice. I like them because of all this, plus they provide independent work for my children; so while I work with one student on language arts or math, the others have some independent work that keeps them on task.

Handwriting- We begin with Handwriting Without Tears, and after the PreK and K books, we move on to A Reason For Handwriting book K and then A. I like giving my children lots of good handwriting practice. They usually fly through both K books, but then Book A isn’t as difficult and they’re better readers by then, making the copywork easier. My 3rd grader is in their first cursive book. My 5th grader has done so many handwriting copyworb books, and she likes them so much. This year I got her the Memoria Press cursive book … I think it is a poetry copywork.

Extras- We are doing logic this year, with some workbooks I found on Rainbow Resource. They do problems logic in their math, but this is just extra practice; my husband wanted to be sure they were hitting logic, so we are going to try it this year.

My 5th grader is doing French from Memoria Press, which she is sooo excited about. I think I couldn’t given it to her for her birthday and she’s been just as excited. We are adding in some new sets of Brain Quest for fun, Fandex Presidents and States, and Kanoodle for a little brain teaser game.

We are using the Answers For Kids boxed set for our Bible discussions, along with the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes added to our morning basket time.

We are praying over our homeschool year that each step taken is led by the Lord, and that our words glorify Him. I am truly grateful for the blessing of our homeschool journey, even during the hard days (especially) or mornings when life feels heavy, I know the relationships we are building are worth it. At the end of the day, the math and reading, and science topics don’t save my children. Jesus does. And while we love learning (just one reason we homeschool), learning to love each other and serve one another on really hard days, is maybe one of the best things I can give my children. Or at least show them day in and day out.

I hope yall found this helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or why/how we do it, let me know and I can go more in depth for you!

Are yall ready for the school year? Or school week? Or school semester/term?  You’ve got this mamas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Not Back to {Home}school-first day memories

August 16 was our first day “back to homeschool”, but it looked nothing like what most people would consider a school day. The joy of homeschool?- it doesn’t have to! We spent the day finishing the de-stemming process of this year’s elderberries, and then turned them into elderberry syrup.( I can share that recipe, soon!)

I’m not a super fun crafty mama that makes all the fun things, or plans events for the first day of homeschool.

Like most things we do around here- we try to keep it simple. We have a homestead, and there is a lot to get done this time of year (which is also why I usually school year round and take a short break in August for harvesting. But this year was just a bit different).

Most years we enjoy box day a week or 2 before school begins- this is the day that we open all our homeschool orders, and peruse the books, games, and curricula we will explore together for the next year.

Homeschool Box Day 2021

Then I get everything organized and put away for our first day. This includes organizing our Sonlight core books, tearing apart workbooks to be organized by weeks, and making everyone’s laminated weekly routines so they know what to cover each day.

The first day of our routine is usually just a school day. Our box day gets my kids pretty excited for the new school year, so we don’t typically have problems starting our homeschool days. But there are always small growing pains (mostly for me) as we get the routine down, especially on years we add a new student to the mix.

We have a rhythm that works well most days:

  • 530/600 Mama has coffee and Jesus time cause this gig requires a lot of Jesus 😉
  • 700 everyone out of bed- bedroom & farm chores
  • 730 breakfast and get baby up
  • Then I walk (or workout) while the kids play first thing, or do something farm related like massage a goat’s bloated rumen until she is better, or put up tomatoes for the freezer because they’re everywhere, or chase cows down because they escaped.
  • Then we all meet back for morning basket together
  • From there we move to table work
  • after that is lunch (usually about 1130/12:00)

Morning basket can take us a while, we do a lot of reading. Like. A lot. But that’s just how we roll; we love books and our core curriculum is literature based, so it just takes a while to get through it all. My kids color while we read and they could sit for hours to listen and discuss, I think.

This year our first “homeschool routine day” was on a Tuesday, so we met daddy for Taco Tuesday after work, and took our first day of school pics with nice clothes on ? normally it would just be pajamas…

We are all excited for the school year, learning new things, and reading all the books! The Kindergartener is especially enthusiastic for the start of her first real school year.

What is your first day of homeschool tradition(s)?




 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Bible Curriculum: Positive Action Bible Curriculum

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons for homeschoool- we “year round” homeschool, but take it pretty easy for a few weeks during summer. During this time we add in new supplementary programs/ books, do more nature study, and play in the pool a lot. My oldest (almost 5th grade) has been enjoying a Bible program, 5th Grade – Possessing the Land, from Positive Action Bible Curriculum. I have to tell you, it’s probably something we will add in from now on for Bible studies at this age. It’s a great program, easy to use, and we love it!

 

Upon opening our box from Positive Action Bible Curriculum, I found the soft over student book and the teacher’s guide binder. The teacher’s guide contains the answers on exact photo copies of the student pages. The guide is easy to use, and will help you with scheduling lessons; there are 5, 4, and 3 day options. In the past we have torn out pages from our books and put them into folders by weeks; I still like to do that with a lot of our curriculum. But for some of our work, I like to just have the kids do a lesson or 2 a week, and that’s what we have done here.

The student book has very high quality binding-no sheets falling out, yay!-with thick pages that have beautiful color illustrations. The images are not distracting, but are helpful to the lessons.

Each lesson is broken into 3 parts- A, B, and C. I love that in the front of the student book, there is a timeline of the Old Testament- this is such a great visual for students and parents. Each lesson contains vocabulary, a section to work on/ in verses that support the lesson topic, and other activities to get students into the Word of God. My 10 year old really enjoyed numbering order of events, the comprehension sections, and applying critical thinking to the meaning of verses.

Possessing the Land Positive Action Bible Curriculum Elem.

Possessing the Land Positive Action Bible Curriculum Elem.

I love that she is learning a bit of basic theology regarding foundational themes in the Bible; we love having Bible time as a family, and I see her growing even more during those times. I also like that because Possessing the Land isn’t dry and drab, it encourages students’ love for learning the Bible, and getting closer to God through his Word. Each lesson shows the character of God, His faithfulness and unchanging love. You can find the scope and sequence for Possessing the Land Here.

Possessing the Land covers 35 weeks of lessons including topics such as:

  • sin and redemption
  • the mercy of Joseph
  • the law of God
  • our Holy God
  • the loyalty and reign of David
  • the suffering of Job
  • songs of Praise
  • wisdom and vanity
  • the minor prophets

The pictures are colorful, meaningful, and include maps and other visuals that help students understand the Bible in context. Some sections that require students to fill in verses give help on where to find the answers; this is so helpful for students who are just learning their Bibles, struggle with memorizing, or those who just need an extra help. I know this was encouraging for my daughter.

Possessing the Land Positive Action Bible Curriculum Elem.

The teacher’s manual is one of the easiest I’ve ever come across while homeschooling. There is no drawn out script or confusing charts to follow. Each lesson has an overview for teachers/parents, and is then divided into sections just like the student’s book-A, B, C. It gives discussion/explanation points and a Target Truth ? such as If God is with us, we don’t need to fear, and God does not forget about out His children. I love these. The teacher’s guide is really helpful and full of valuable information in a concise format. Thank you!

I don’t want to forget a little gem from the teacher’s guide, found in the back of each week- a character trait activity! Each week focuses on a character trait that can be learned from the lesson, but then also applied and discussed as a family. We are faithful when we keep our word and stay worthy of trust. God is always faithful to His children.

Man. Y’all. This really is one of my very favorite products we have used in our homeschool. It is such a  simple program to implement, but so impactful.

Possessing the Land Positive Action Bible Curriculum Elem.

Possessing the Land Positive Action Bible Curriculum Elem.

If you’re looking for a Bible curriculum to supplement your homeschool, I would definitely recommend Positive Action Bible Curriculum. I’ve tried adding in other Bible programs and they’ve always been too dry or too fluffy (ear tickling theology). The pace of lessons in Possessing the Land make it something we don’t dread doing. My 10 year old really does enjoy it, so adding it in was seamless. I love that it isn’t preaching to my kids, but instead has them involved in their Bible, studying and thinking about what they have read for understanding.

I will definitely be adding other levels from Positive Action Bible Curriculum into our homeschool. I think my soon to be 9 year old will love it, too. Check it out here: 5th Grade – Possessing the Land

Connect with Positive Action Bible Curriculum

 

Read more reviews for Positive Action Bible programs from the Crew:

Positive Action Bible Curriculum Reviews

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Emergent Reader Fun with one More Story {a review}


Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

You may have seen me posting about One More Story over on Instagram. This has been so much fun for our family. One More Story is an app (or website, we tried both ways, but settled on the iPad app), where children and families can enjoy being read precious picture books. There are currently over 87 books to choose from, on five different book cases, with more to come!

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

After logging in, there are different ways for children to use the program. First click on the book cover to hear the title and author/illustrator. Then:

  1. Select the book you want to read, then click the green button below it
  2. Click Bendy, the bookworm site host, to have the book read to you, and pages turned automatically
  3. Click the green arrow in the bottom right corner to have the book read to you with the pages turned manually. You will continue touching/clicking the green arrow in that spot to turn each page.
  4. Click on the I can Read badge on the left to read a book on your own, with the sound track turned off. Any word can be clicked to hear it read by the narrator. Click the E in the lower left of the text post to hear the entire text read. Children can “echo” back the words.

There are also vocabulary words for each book (woo hoo!- I see a whole creative unit to be made using books from One More Story).

In both automatic and manual modes, the words are highlighted as the narrator reads, which is a proven way to help emergent readers understand text on a page- this is similar to following the words with your finger while reading to children. Pointing to/highlighting the words in a book teaches early readers that words have meaning on a page, and that we read left to right on a page. These aren’t just valuable, they are necessary pre-reading skills for children. Thank you One More Story, for adding this into your program! Emergent readers are actively learning, while reading a book, which is just what we want as teachers.

When a book is read in the I Can Read mode (number 4 above), any word the child clicks to have read to them, is added to the My Word List. This gives a young reader the opportunity to identify, review and master words that cannot easily be sight read for them. When a word is mastered, it can be dragged on My Learned Words. The My Word List badge is displayed on the last page of a book so that children can review the words they have learned from that book! This is such a great motivator, and an easy way to see how far your children have come. (Below I’ve added the word said to the My Word List.)

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

I love that the books have background noises/music to go along with them. The stories really are brought to life in this way; it makes them more real, and reminds me a lot of watching Reading Rainbow (throw back!). Maybe that is because it is original music by Sesame Street vet Robby Merkin. These stories are books we have on our shelves, or would like to- and that’s how I know they’re high quality. No twaddle here! Plus the narrators are just delightful-so much expression and easy to understand/listen to voices.

We found a new favorite book, Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root. This farm family is getting ready for a trip to the beach. But on their way, first a wheel falls off, then the floor falls out, the gas tank falls off, etc. Each time there is a catastrophe, the children have a creative way of fixing the car from their packed goods. (This is the perfect chance to make a family book club/activity and enjoy some chocolate marshmallow fudge delight. Mmmm) There are so many sound words (onomatopoeia) in this book, kids are going to love it! Mine definitely did, as did I.

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

We have really enjoyed using the One More Story subscription in our home. It is going to be perfect for a cross country car ride to the beach this year with young children. We are also going to enjoy adding it in as part of our summer homeschool.

Connect with One More Story

Be sure to check out the Review Crew blog to read more reviews!One More Story Online Library Reviews

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Easy Homeschool “Beauty” Resources

Maybe you’ve heard it before, “homeschooling isn’t school at home.”

It isn’t crisis schooling, or virtual school. Homeschooling goes beyond “school time.” Homeschool is where we can explore art, history, music, handicrafts, Shakespeare, astronomy, and creation without limits. These (and other) subjects are often what we call the “beauty” subjects.

Homeschool is about keeping the love of learning, that fire of curiosity God gave us at birth, lit. Homeschool mamas (and dads, too) want to educate our children well, but do it in such a way that encourages our children to be life long learners.

We have an abundance of resources at our fingertips to help add a little excitement and beauty to our homeschool.

Pic Source – CC0 Licence

What’s In The Mail Today?

My children are obsessed with getting mail. One set of grandparents sends postcards from all of their travel locations, and the kids send and receive letters to all their grandparents. How exciting! If you dont live near town, there are lots of places that sell stamps besides the post office . You can set up a writing station (my kids use a giant boot show box) with envelopes, stamps, pens and paper. Let them write to their little heart’s content. We still have a lot of practice to get writing friendly letters down, but the 9 year old has it down just about perfectly.

of course it is also a perfect way to connect with those we love.

 

Listen To That Music

 We know music is excellent for brain development so adding it into our days has been important to our family.  It can also be great to create a calming environment for children (and mom) to work, so this could be something to think about.
However, if you do have instruments in the house, then you may want to include these in your plans. After all, it’s always more fun to use our bodies, rather than just work with paper.

Something like a keyboard and an app is simple and fun. Piano Maestro is one of our favorites; my kids have learned so much by using it just 1-2 times a week. We subscribe to Practice Monkeys for violin and will soon start piano.

Some of our Favorites

Resources such as Read Aloud Revival Premium Membership, You Are an Artist!, and Audible can all be great additions to homeschool.

Encouraging a love for learning can be as simple or as involved as we want. How you educate your children is up to you. And it is beautiful!

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Learning About Other Cultures in Your Homeschool

In our homeschool, we love learning about other cultures. We have done so by using Sonlight Curriculum, watching documentaries, and doing fun activities.

When our kids go to interview for a job one day, there’s a strong possibility that the person on the other side of the desk isn’t part of the same culture that they are. Learning about other cultures promotes respect for others, love, and a true Christian attitude.

One of my very favorite resources for teaching world cultures is Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.

Featuring a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe, as well as practical parenting suggestions and inspiration, Give Your Child the World helps moms and dads raise insightful, compassionate kids who fall in love with the world and are prepared to change it for good.

Learning about Other Cultures

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Experiment With Cooking 

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to explore a new culture is with cuisine. You can think about trying out some different recipes in the kitchen, and letting the kids join in on the fun. The best part is a lot of these recipes aren’t difficult to learn or master and they are healthy, too!  For instance, try a recipe for Sambar that can be prepared in minutes and is sure to be a family favorite.

Try a New Experience/Trip

After reading good books and trying new foods from another culture, you might want to go on a trip somewhere. Obviously, there are some highly popular options for kids’ vacations. But to immerse them in a new culture, you may want to think outside the box here. There’s a ban right now on a lot of European countries due to the Coronavirus. However, this will likely settle down by the summer.

During this time, you should have a wide range of options for family travel. But even looking in your own backyard at cultural grocery stores, shops, and experiences will be enough to create a family memory.

Provide Them With The Right Resources

This could be as simple as choosing a different type of film for a movie night with the family- Disney+ and Amazon Prime are full of documentaries. Instead of the classic Disney film, why not explore some of the options from other cultures on your fav streaming service? You’ll find that there are some fantastic possibilities here. 

Sometimes we have friends or family that can help us submerge our kids in a new culture- spending a day with someone cooking foods, preparing for a celebration, or just chatting is a great way to learn about areas and peoples of our world.

Our favorite way to learn is through good books. There are so many wonderful children’s books that help kids understand how other cultures live.

So often we grow up only knowing and understanding the tiny bubble around us. Learning about others creates adults who don’t see color or differences as a prejudice, but as a celebration of who we are.

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Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Horses in History with Mattie Richardson {a review}

Y’all know when there is a chance to review a book in our home, we jump on the chance. =) We have been reading the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. Formerly known as North Dakota’s Teen Author, Mattie has written a series of books your children and family will love!

Appaloosy Books by Mattie Richardson

Each book centers around the story of a horse (or horses) from history-of course as a mom and homeschooler, this greatly appeals to me! My history buff daughter, 9, also loved the historical aspect of the books, and how the stories were told from the horse’s perspective. Mattie has written books full of love, adventure, integrity, and strength. All characteristics we want for our children. I hold my book standards pretty high; we don’t need ugly words and harsh language to get a point across, and these books definitely held up to my standards.


The first portion of each book begins with a dedication, which sometimes offers some insight to the author’s inspiration for writing the book. Dusty’s Trail, told from the view point of a horse on the Pony Express, begins with an article about the Pony Express, first published in 1860. Next, the reader will find a section of Words and Terms You Should Know. This section is in each of the books, with a small variation. In Day and Night, Mattie has made Civil War-era Words and Terms Used in this Book section. Golden Sunrise offers a Spanish Words Used in this Book section. So each book has a great intro to the topic through a helpful guide in the beginning; my daughter often referred back to this while reading, as did I. Appaloosy gives us the Nez Perce Words and Their Meanings as a helpful glossary to better understand as we read.

Appaloosy Series

The books are nicely bound, with a colorful paperback cover. Day and Night comes in at the thickest with 148 pages, Appaloosy with 125 pages,  Golden Sunrise with 98 pages, and Dusty’s Trail at 66 pages (plus a few un-numbered informational pages). Some books have a few illustrations throughout, the text is appropriate for early readers (not too small), and the pages are a smooth, high quality, crisp white.

Appaloosy is about a horse who wants nothing more than to be wild and free, until he finds the love of a girl named Faith. But when he is stolen and escapes captivity, Storm must decide if he wants his freedom or to go back to Faith on her family’s farm. My 9 year old says:

Faith gives her locket necklace to take Storm home from the man who had him. She was only the 2nd person he let ride him, of all the people that had owned or ridden him. I like his decision and the way the book ended.

Golden Sunrise tells the story of Cheyenne and Jared- “Jared is a man who wants to marry Olivia; they’ve been courting for about a year. But then he has to go off to war to fight for Texas’s freedom. He rides Cheyenne throughout the war, and they are buddies. Cheyenne becomes friends with Davy Crockett, which was really funny. I won’t tell you the end, but it is sweet.”

Golden Sunrise

Day and Night was my daughter’s favorite of all the books. “This book is about 2 horses, Shiloh and Tucker, they take turns having a chapter, so it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. Tucker is the older horse and Shiloh is the younger sibling horse. Shiloh is lighter in color and smaller; he is gentle and gets very attached to people he likes. Tucker is older and brown. Neither of them wanted to fight in the war but Shiloh was stolen by a girl in the Confederacy, and Tucker got sold to the US army. You will have to read and see what they go through and if they find each other again.”

We also enjoyed using Mattie’s Enrichment Guide for Day and Night, along with the answer key. It includes: vocabulary, history, comprehension, creating your own stories, further reading, and even more! These include activities, coloring, developing character attributes for a story, biographies, geography, and the list goes on! This is definitely worth the small purchase price, and something you can integrate into your homeschool for a large range of ages.

 

Dusty’s Trail is about a boy, Levi who runs away with his horse, Dusty, to join the Pony Express. “When someone starts stealing the horses and killing their riders, Levi and Dusty push through more runs  (I think 3?) until they find someone they can tell. Eventually Levi gets captured, Dusty gets separated from him … and you have to read the rest (haha).”

Dusty's Trail

As you can see, the books were greatly enjoyed by my oldest daughter. They will be wonderful reads for my horse loving 5 year old. These books will be best understood by those 8 and up, but I think they can be read aloud to just about any age.

Mattie Richardson is clearly a talented young lady, she has more books coming out, that I know we will be reading! We have enjoyed the Horses in History Series immensely. There are countless way to use it as part of a homeschool curriculum, and they are wholesome books.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

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