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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nature Study Links

These are my favorite Nature study places posted here for easy reference...

AmblesideOnline's Nature Study schedules and info

Fantastic site in general and home of the Outdoor Hour (helps on how to do nature study):

Awesome for nature journaling:

Coloring pages of birds and insects

E-mail support group (not currently very active)

Full text of Anna Botsford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study
same book on Google books

For my Texan friends: Outdoor Kids printable journal

If you know of other great links, please post them in the comments!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Artist Study Links

Here is where I'm storing all my links for artist study as recommended at I'll be back here to post just as soon as I find another interesting one :)

So without further ado, here's the first one!

A site where you can print off coloring pages of some of the famous artists at
Affordable Picture Study by Sheila Carroll
Links for getting images of the artists' works to print:
  • AO Prints - All the AO recommended works for the term's artist in one handy pdf file
  • AO_HEO_PictureStudy 8 1/2 x 11- ALL the AO recommended works for all the years, plus extras for the term's artist available in individual pdf files - also has images for timeline figures.
  • AO_HEO_PictureStudy 4 x 6 - Same as above, just different size.
  • AO Art Schedule page with links to the works on different sites, to download to your computer in jpg file, differing sizes.

Online (free) Books with bio information on many artists:

A Child's History of Art, V.M. Hillyer and Lives of the Italian Artists, Giorgio Vasari

Fisher Academy's Artist Study posts:
Artist Study: Caspar David Friedrich
Artist Study: Van Gogh

Monday, November 24, 2008


At 8:30pm on Saturday evening Javen and Cullen were heading to bed with both arms full of books... this was not terribly out of the ordinary, except it WAS 1/2 hour past bedtime and they looked ready to spend the night in research for a thesis...
Cullen came to me and said, "Do you know of any more books about dinosuars? Mom, I'm going to look up in EVERY book that we have about dinosaurs. Then Javen and me are going to write everything down. We're going to do all kinds of research!"

2 problems.

First, I'm regularly pretty strict about bedtime, and it was Saturday night, meaning church tomorrow. It was on the tip of my tongue to say so... but I'm SO glad I didn't! They were up for another hour or so, scouring their books. Sunday after church they came back to their studies, and today they are still working on it! Javen has written several pages of notes. Did I mention he's a 10 year old boy? Cullen is 9 and he's become an expert on the Dodo bird.

I am very impressed.

The other problem is, that we don't do unit studies. We have regular stuff to do... you know, interesting stuff. Imagine the scene: It's 10am and 10 & 9 year old boys sitting on the couch buried in books, with their notebooks out and copying down interesting dinosaur facts... We have had a late start and I call to them to get started, "Come on, boys, we've got to do school!" Hahah. Joke's on me. Javen calls back, "Hey mom! We've been doing school all morning! I have to write more about the Lochness monster. I'm going through all the books' indexes looking for the Lochness and then writing stuff down. I've done that for a whole bunch of dinosaurs!"

I was SO impressed, actually that I kind of got into it too :) Here are some links that I thought were worth a second look, so I'm posting them here:

Cool interactive site with lots of different categories of dinosaurs : Genesis Park
Online Audios by Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis
Very cool 20 min. video online about dinosaurs by
Kids 4 Truth Creation video online
Dinosaur quiz by
Article about Behemoth (long, I didn't read it all...)
Bible references to Dinosaurs by



Sunday, November 16, 2008

2 things I can't live without... (figuratively speaking) ~ a memoir
Okay, honestly and to make sure I never come across as 'holier-than-thou', I admit to you that I seriously can not handle life, let alone school, without the Lord. I'd be a basket case. While many moms can and do probably go without spending much time with Him, I'm not that good (or crazy as the case may be :) . I get impatient with my kids, I say mean things, or even get just plain angry with my kids if I'm not regularly hanging out with the Lord.

I mean, I need time with Him and in His word like crazy.

Second to time with my Lord, is time with my man. My man is so sensitive to my weakness that he takes me out on a date weekly. I need him. This is the MOST valuable way he helps with homeschooling. Without this time, emotionally I break down. I just can't handle all that life and ministry, and these crazy & yet amazing kids can throw my way.

Now, this sounds like I'm somewhat dependent, and yes, yes I am. The Lord is my strength and he's my strength through provision of a strong man who loves me too :) I am so thankful.

The verses that I repeat over and over are:

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you."

"Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

"Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God like you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him."

Boy, Scripture is so powerful, daily I read verses that are a constant help to me.
Living and active. YAY!


Free e-books from Trivium Pursuit

Special Offer from Trivium Pursuit and Christian Logic

Our readers have the opportunity to receive two free ebooks from Trivium Pursuit.

You will receive both of these ebooks when you subscribe to the Homeschooling with the Trivium newsletter.

1.The 73 page ebook of the entire text of Chapter Twelve: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Ten Through Twelve from the book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

2.The new 94 page ebook Ancient Literature: Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum - Volume Two: Alexander the Great.

This offer is only for new subscribers to Homeschooling with the Trivium and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe:

In addition, if you subscribe to Christian Logic's Fallacy Detective News you will receive two lessons from the logic textbook The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn (Lessons 12 and 13, along with exercises and answer key).

This offer is only for new subscribers to The Fallacy Detective News and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008-2009 Fall Composer Studies - Bach

Songs on playlist:
Jascha Heifetz plays Bach Chaconne (part 1)

Jascha Heifetz plays Bach Chaconne (part 2)

1. Bach: Magnificat in D major (BWV 243) / McCreesh

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750).

I. Choir: Magnificat.
II. Aria (Soprano II): Et exsultavit spiritus meus.
III. Aria (Soprano I): Quia ...

2. Bach: Magnificat in D major (BWV 243) / McCreesh

V. Aria (Bass). Quia fecit mihi magna.
VI. Duet (Alto, Tenor): Et misericordia.
VII. Choir: Fecit pote...

3. Bach: Magnificat in D major (BWV 243) / McCreesh

XII. Aria (Alto): Esurientes implevit bonis.
XIII. Duet (Soprano, Bass): Virga Jesse floruit.
XIV. Cho...

Bach - Brandenburg Concertos No.6 - i: Allegro

Bach - Brandenburg Concertos No.6 - ii: Adagio ma non tanto

Bach - Brandenburg Concertos No.6 - iii: Allegro

Nageeb Gardizi plays Bach Art of Fugue Contrapunctus 1

Nageeb Gardizi plays Bach - Art of Fugue Contrapunctus 2

J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750): Contrapunctus 3 (Fugue) BWV 1080

bach - art of fugue - contrapunctus 4 - glenn gould

The art of fugue: Contrapunctus V, VI, VII (Koopman, Mathot)
The art of fugue BWV 1080
Counter-fugues, in which a variation of the main subject is used in both regular and inverted form
Contrapunctus V
Contrapunctus VI, a 4 in S...

The art of fugue: Contrapunctus 8 (T. Koopman, T. Mathot)
The art of fugue BWV 1080
Contrapunctus VIII

Ton Koopman, Tini Mathot, harpsichord

Nageeb Gardizi plays Bach - Art of Fugue Contrapunctus 9

The art of fugue: Canon alla Duodecima, Contrapunctus 10, Canon alla Decima (Koopman-Mathot)

Koopman and Mathot play Contrapunctus 11

The art of fugue: Contrapunctus 12-13 (Koopman-Mathot)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

The art of fugue BWV 1080

Art of fugue(Contrapunctus XIV)

Canon alla Ottava, alla Decima, alla Duodecima (H. Walcha)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ritalin alternative: Nature Study

(photo taken in Cajamarca on Mother's Day, 2005)
"The researchers found that a “dose of nature” worked as well or better than a dose of medication on the child’s ability to concentrate. What’s not clear is how long the nature effect can last." Read the full NY Times article HERE.

Well, isn't this interesting? No wonder we have so many medicated kids out there. God's creation is not only enjoyable but being out there is healthy too! Too many kids live incubated lives. Go to school, go home, watch tv, go to bed... repeat the next morning.

Just another GREAT reason to enjoy homeschooling and to get out and enjoy the outdoors.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Follow the Drinking Gourd

This term's Folk Song:
Follow the Drinking Gourd

Love this guy!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Tuttle Family: A Memoir

This week we're supposed to come up with our own lyrics to the following tune, describing our own family...

Here's my rendition:
(with not a whole lot of thought given, mind you)

We live down in Peru
We'd love to chat with you,
5 kids plus parents two,
The Tuttle Family

Working for the LORD,
We daily use our Swords,
We can't ever get real bored,
The Tuttle Family.

We're always together,
can think of nothing better,
you should send a letter,
to the Tuttle family

Hope you join in!

Homeschool Memoirs!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

an update...

I am going to attempt to get caught up on the Homeschool Memoirs posts, but beyond that I do not even aspire to daily blogging for now.
Our life is just SO full. I would apologize for not having blogged for some time, but I don't want to be always apologizing, since I know that this is not the last time that some time will pass between posts. As I was telling a friend recently, my blog exists to serve me, not the reverse.

So, here I am. I have about 2,546 post ideas swirling about in my head and no time for writing them all down.

If I can get myself on a routine of sorts for awhile, it may be possible to establish regular blogging time. But as it is, I just have too much going, and there is nothing in my life right now that can give so that I might maintain a well-read blog.

After the memoirs, I think the first thing that I will attempt to write will be on nature study. We are beginning this wonderful subject again, after having taken a lengthy hiatus. We will use Outdoor Hour Challenges found here and Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. We started with the first challenge (which was sadly disappointing), which I will blog about soon.

Next, in my ample spare time, I want to write on the subject of habit forming... as I have previously mentioned. But since my abundant spare time is occupied cleaning this huge house, cooking 3 meals a day, backing up my awesome husband, teaching my wonderful children,
and doing ministry... that subject will be left to marinate until further notice :)

God is SO good.

Study spot... a memoir

(this is a catch-up post from 10/08)

Our favourite spot to study...

We are always doing different things. We are so portable, so flexible, so adaptable that we're not all that regular! We do certain subjects in the same places (sometimes), but we don't stay in the same place all day, nor do we seem to spend more time in one place than another! whoa, we're weird!

We usually do math at the table all together (but not always... heheh :).

We do read alouds wherever we feel like it: on the couch, in the car, on a bed, at the table, or near the closest outlet if the laptop needs charging :)

The boys do their copywork/math, anything that requires writing at their desks or up in the office where it's quiet. They can't seem to concentrate on these subjects if there's even the tiniest noise.

We actually have an official schoolroom, but basically it only serves the purpose of housing all of our learning materials, because not much school actually takes place in there.

So there's not a favorite study spot really... except I must add that we LOVE that we study at home or at the park or in the car or wherever it may be and that NOT at a school!


Homeschool Memoirs!

Favorite snacks? a memoir

Homeschool Memoirs!
(this is a catch up post from 10/01)

Okay, snacking is not going to be a regular subject on this blog, and that's because, I don't think it's that interesting of a subject. Besides the fact that we don't really snack around here. Oh, don't get me wrong, we love to eat, but we discourage snacking between meals. When we snack inevitably, it seems we don't eat our meals or we become picky and don't eat all of our meals... I'm sure you know what I mean. And living here in Peru there just aren't as many snack-y things available. Unless I make them from scratch... and I don't have much time for that :)

But when we snack this is what we eat:

Frozen mango
Frozen grapes
Vanilla ice cream w/ milk or Chocolate w/ peanut butter
Trail mix (sent from the States)
Graham crackers (also sent from the States)
Bran muffins
Homemade strawberry shortcakes with homemade whipped cream!!! -our favorite
Apples quartered
...all kinds of fruits available

I'm getting hungry...


We'll try to aim for our regularly well-intended "school-ish" themes soon.

Favorite sites... a memoir

Homeschool Memoirs!
(this is a catch-up post from 9/17)

This week we are invited to share a few of our favourite things - er - sites. The list of favourite things could be never-ending... Just copy this list and add your favorites underneath the appropriate category.

  • Magazines/Carnivals - In the homeschool category, I enjoy the CM blog carnival, Heart of the Matter, The Old Schoolhouse magazine. If we're talking non-homeschool, I like Better Homes and Gardens and Family Fun magazines the most!
  • Freebie sites - I LOVE, and I also frequent and when the freebie is something I think we might use. I also subscribe to weekly newsletters where they give away free digiscrap stuff.
  • Homeschool news/informative - As for news, I'm totally out of the loop. For information, I read blogs, and subscribe to yahoo groups applicable to my CM style.
  • Forums/book clubs - same as above
  • Networking, Blog “About” (sites that offer tech-support or tutorials for computer/internet) & Quick Links - no time for that these days :)
  • Mom site - a sites just for moms
  • Inspirational/encouraging/motivational - is super inspirational to me, along with my friends' blogs.
  • Youth/kid - sites geared towards youth/kids or owned by them
  • Memes - Homeschool Memoirs, Heart of the Matter, Simple Woman's Daybook, My Husband Rocks and Thursday Thirteen are some of the meme's I have participated in with varying regularity.
  • Organizing/crafts - sites that you look to for organizing tips or crafts -, - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this site!!
  • Homemaking/Homesteading - blogs, New Harvest Homestead digital magazine
  • Bible-focused - sites mainly about God’s Word -
  • Homeschool Method - sites that offer a lot of info on a certain method -,
  • Family blog - sites that give you a glimpse into another family’s life, run by a family - I sometimes go to
  • Businesses, particularly homebased - no time... :)
All this must be tempered with the realization that I really have no time to look at all this stuff regularly. If I do, I'm sacrificing time with my kids/husband or my home gets messy. I really can't afford much time online at all. So, there you have it :)


Monday, October 13, 2008

Summer in pictures... a memoir

Homeschool Memoirs!
(this is a catch-up post from 9/24)

Well, there are a number of reasons why I'm NOT going to write a post for this week's meme. One is, it's not summer here in Peru :) The other is that we school year-round so even if it were summer, we wouldn't be doing summer like most people ;)

But I am going to give you a link to my photo essay on our trip to the jungle that did happen during y'alls' North American summer. It even felt like summer there since it was SO hot.

So here you are: (go to the link below for more pictures)

1. Siah eating a itty-bitty banana for snack on the way... 20 hours driving - one way! woohoo!
2. Grill found in open market with fish (Lisa) displayed on a leaf for a plate; grilled banana slices; and I can't remember what all else... probably chicken foot shish-ka-bobs ;)
3. Cull posing in the ice cream store (where we spent a good amount of time).
4. Jungle beauty on the church's campground property.
5. Cool thatch roof. Micah wants to build a house with a roof like this someday... uh, well, okay.
6. My guys dreaming of river ministry... or swimming, or riding on motorboats... or something.
7. Amazing sunset in approaching storm clouds.
8. River Boat. Micah will spend a lot of time on a boat like this if we move to the jungle. He wants to regularly visit the really small villages along the river to encourage & teach the believers.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hymn Study for October

This is the hymn we're studying for October with Ambleside Online...
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring:

And with both verses:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Something New ~ a memoir

I used to like to add something new all the time. I think I had an aversion to doing the same thing. I liked to change houses, I enjoyed moving my furniture around, I loved traveling, and I wanted to change homeschool curriculum every year or more :)

However, my life now involves so much change and newness that I really do love having a homeschool curriculum that we have used for 3 years now. Ambleside online is so great. As a part of that there are new books every year, every term in fact we start new books. So, in that way it doesn't get old. But it has enough continuity that we can all get into a comfortable routine of how we do things.

So that said, new stuff for this year:
I am looking into possibly integrating Mystery of History in for history... we'll see. And I'm really impressed with Heart of Wisdom for Bible and adding an element of delight directed study. All will have to complement our AO schedule. So without further ado:

(new AO titles for year 4)
George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster
Poor Richard by James Daugherty
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober
The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch preface to 14
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
A Book of Golden Deeds by Charlotte Yonge
Bambi by Felix Salten
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
Little Britches series by Ralph Moody
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
Return To Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale
Calico Captive (girl interest) or The Sign of the Beaver (boy interest) by Elizabeth George Speare
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Tree of Freedom by Rebecca Caudill
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery (British view of revolution)
Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

Homeschool Routines ~ a memoir

I'm playing catch up. Because of our jungle trip, I got all off my routine! ;)

So, my routine is that I work around whatever craziness my husband sends my way... every day! :) Being in ministry he has a schedule that depends on lots of other people. People come by, they call, he has different meetings everyday and has lots of spur of the moment things too. While every day is not the same craziness, it is crazy every day so that is my routine!

However, we do have a loose routine of:
7am wake/read Bible
8am breakfast
9am start school
1pm lunch
2pm nap/quiet time
3pm read alouds
5-6pm dinner
8pm kids' bedtime

I'm always working on ways to make my day run more smoothly. We have a wonderful schedule using Managers of their Homes, but it is in re-evaluation right now, so we're between schedules.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jungle School

Here's what school looked like for us last week. We spent a total of 40+ hours in the car, 4 HOT nights in hostels and 2 1/2 days in the jungle! woohoo!

The boys had several free-reading books by Roald Dahl that they finished. We kept up on Bible reading and had several nature study opportunities. Fun.

We finished reading Squanto, by Feenie Ziner and Landing of the Pilgrims, by James Daugherty.
These two books coincide perfectly... definitely read these two together for SUPERB living books on pilgrims/mayflower/colonist history!

Jungle school is fun :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And the winner is....

Well, I just want to thank all of you for playing my game, and for visiting my blog these last weeks.

I also want to apologize because I was unable to finish the week before the drawing with a bang like I'd hoped. But I'm not sorry that we went to the jungle! We had a great time despite the 20 hour drive both ways! More about that on my other blog.

Okay, okay, I'm getting off the subject.

I'm really excited to announce that Gombojav Tribe is the winner of the subscription to the Old Schoolhouse digital magazine! If you're disappointed, blame for not picking you. :)
I wish so much that I had 15 of these to give away! Then you'd all win! But, go on over and check out her food blog... oh my. I get hungry when I go there!


I'd really like to have another contest someday. I like giving stuff away!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Contest UPDATE! ...winner TBA!!

Okay! This is really bad! I did not mean to be gone so long. And right at the end of the contest! Terrible.

My husband up and spirited us away to the jungle for a week! So, I was out of commission, completely off grid. I didn't forget about the contest though, and I said I'd select a winner today,
so 4 minutes before midnight, I'm here. :)

But the sad news is, that I'll have to pick the winner tomorrow. Because I didn't have a chance yet to count up chances for each person... and though I got back Saturday night, Sunday was insane-busy and today I've been running all day, didn't get online 'til just now. My mom and dad are coming to visit and arrive tomorrow, YAY!!

I promise things will be better soon :)

Winner will be announced early tomorrow morning... I promise!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The last CM blog carnival topic really got me thinking about forming habits lately.

Even though I didn't get to post in time for the carnival, I still plan to post a series on my thoughts about the VERY important topic of habit training. I may even have a guest write a post. cool.

So, stay tuned.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Children's books!!

Children's Books Giveaway!

Go over to my new friend sisterlisa's blog to win some extraordinarily cute books!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs ~ Agendas

This week’s theme is about sharing your 2008-09 homeschool agendas and plans. You’ve been preparing your plans for sometime and you’re ready to go. Or you’re still in the planning-stage and need some inspiration or tips on what to use. Because many use different curriculum and methods there is always something new to be gleaned from other homeschoolers. It’s always fun and interesting to see what other’s are using and the WWWWH as Robin Sampson suggests.

So this week I hope you will share what you’re doing this year for your homeschool agenda. Share the different curriculum you’re using. You can also include what age/grade you’re using it for, how long you’ve been using it, and why you like it. Please share a Bible verse that has encouraged you or inspired you during this planning-process, and how.

I just posted on this topic in a post called What to teach?! So go there real quick and then come back here. I'm going to add a little bit as I didn't really explain what I like about each curriculum.

First of all, for the past 3 years we've used the AmblesideOnline curriculum plan. We LOVE AO! I've made very few adaptations to the curriculum as suggested and been very happy with the book selections.

We are just finishing up Year 3 and will start Year 4 in October. My boys are 10.5 & 9.5 and so far it is a perfect fit as far as reading comprehension etc. I think they could have been put a year ahead of where they are, but I didn't want to run into difficulties later on. My littles just kind of listen in on the boys' readings (they play relatively quietly nearby while we read).

I love the rotation of history (although we actually may do some tweaking with this this year as we may try to add Heart of Wisdom in as well... I'm working on this merger :). The kids love the history/literature/nature study... okay they love everything about AO! Me too.

So for Language Arts, Math, Science and Geography we use the following:

Spell to Write and Read - We've been using this for the last 3 years and will always use it! A k-12 curriculum that really has all I want for language instruction! I have a post about this curriculum, CLICK HERE. I have links to several reviews, going to a seminar, and about the sweet author.

Now the thing I like about this curriculum is how it really teaches the basic building blocks of language. Starting with phonics (70 basic phonograms) and summing everything up with the 29 rules. "With these simple tools you can explain 99% of the 1000 most commonly used English words and their derivatives. Contrary to the popular belief that the English language is riddled with exceptions and rule breakers you can now have a way to explain our language to your children so that they can understand and succeed." My boys are at a 3rd grade level because our our crazy last year, but we're going to catch up. I'm just starting with my 5yog to teach her the phonograms and Cursive First for writing.

I was taught using an early version of this curriculum 20+ years ago, and I am confident of its success! My boys are not naturally strong in spelling (yet :) and so this curriculum reinforces in an area where I feel is weak for them. They are learning a LOT and are building a strong foundation for language for their whole lives.

Math u see - I LOVE the man in this DVD! Math-u-see has a video for each lesson. Each lesson has about 5-6 pages of work. We spread it over a week, or if it's something they have a handle on, we've done as many as 3 pages a day! My kids are not those kids who love to do schoolwork. They'd much rather be building with legos or playing Narnia outside with sticks as swords. They do NOT love math, but they tolerate it with Math-u-see. I love that I can put on the video and if they don't understand it they can watch the video again. After the third time, if they still don't understand, :) I work them through it using ideas from the teacher's manual. This saves us a lot of frustration on both sides. I love the way Steve Demme explains things; both my husband and I have wondered that no one ever told us about these cool tricks! ;)

My 10 & 9 year old boys are using Delta this year. My 5 year old girl is using Primer

Apologia "Exploring Creation with..." series
by Jeannie Fulbright

I really enjoy reading these with my kids. I really appreciate the perspective that it adds from a strong Creationist point of view. Jeannie is continually giving glory to God for the wonderful things he has made, and helping us to see how God takes care of us by making things the way He did. I also like the projects, notebooking and narration activities throughout. I feel like it is a great choice for CM families. I would also highly recommend if it is within your budget to buy the Creation Sensation kits to compliment each book also recommended by Jeannie in the book (basically just a kit that provides all the materials required for all the projects explained in the book, all handy there so you don't have to hunt them down).

We have scheduled one book per year. We like this rate.

A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp

Is a book absolutely beautifully written. If you have any doubt at all, go to Holy Experience and get a taste of Ann Voskamp's style of writing. I really appreciate the projects for application of what we're learning to life that she incorporates into each lesson. She also includes narration and notebooking throughout for a great CM style book! Her perspective is SO awesome, totally God-focused. I'm so glad we found this book!! We're halfway through this book and really looking forward to the Holy Land version as soon as we're finished.

Bible verses?! Wow. There are so many. Seriously. But I have this one hanging up in our schoolroom: maybe you'll notice a common theme :)
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
~ Isaiah 26:3


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
~ Matthew 11:28-30

These are particularly meaningful to me at planning time, but really all year long. I need an extra dosis of peace at the beginning when I'm particularly given to stress about how things are going to work out, getting my kids motivated (getting myself motivated for that matter), etc. Christ does not overburden us, we overburden ourselves, he provides rest. As we learn from Him, then we can teach our children.

Tips for a successful school day

After about 5 years of teaching my children, I have finally figured out ahead of time what will help me to have a good day. I've experienced huge motivation to get my act together after too many days when everything that could has gone wrong, everyone's upset and I feel that I'm failing miserably in this daunting task called homeschooling. In the last 2 years I've been somewhat consistent at implementing these changes and I can attest to their awesome improvements!

So, here are a few things that if I can manage to accomplish all these things will pretty much guarantee a successful day of learning in our house.

1. Wake up on time 
For me sadly, this is no small thing. I am the queen of sleeping in. For years I've not thought it possible for me to consistently wake up early. I do think my body needs more sleep than some to stay healthy, and for this to happen realistically, I have to get to bed at a regular hour the night before. Truthfully, this has taken a few years to realize how really important this is and how it affects my attitude and even my outlook on life.

2. Read the Word of God
Taking at least a few minutes to focus my day. Vital. I do this before I even get out of bed.

3. Turn things over to Him
I recognize that I will mess everything up if left all to myself (constant reliance on the Spirit throughout the day, I need LOTS of reminders). This is VERY important.

4. Get dressed and shod...

... and not just sweatpants and t-shirts, when I'm really dressed I feel better and if someone comes to the door, or I have to run out quick, I'm ready. In our line of work and in this country, people show up at ANY time and it used to be such a frustration for me... not anymore, I'm ready for 'em ;) Now if I only could manage to have a meal ready at all times... heheh. I've found this helps my Beloved to relate to me in a manner I really like as well. I dress everyday with him in mind.

5. Establish the kids in their own morning routine.
I'm actually in the middle of implementing this right now. My kids wake up before the crack of dawn, NO MATTER WHAT time they went to bed. They would wake up and play (boys play loud) and then play until lunch time if left to themselves. I would regularly get frustrated when I called them down to breakfast that they weren't dressed and their room was a mess. Now, I've created a checklist of things for them to do before 8am - breakfast. I now just need to get them a clock for their room to make sure it's all done on time, and without reminders!

6. Have plan in place for breakfast, the night before.

This could be as simple as just knowing what we're going to eat, or it could mean actually preparing it ahead and having the table all set.

7. Do not turn on the computer before starting school
I know myself. I have a hard time just checking mail! In my mail there are ads that I just have to read, my AmblesideOnline or Spell to Write & Read and MathUsee yahoo groups to browse, and then there are notes to respond to and links to freebies and all the rest, and before I know it, I'm late starting... again.

8. Keep the little kids nearby at all times.
This is vital to a peaceful day. If the kids are nearby, I can sense when trouble is afoot. When I get busy or distracted and they are left to themselves, I discover little messes around the house made by sneaky, hungry kiddos. Not to mention, I get frustrated at the frequent sometimes fierce combats that ensue upstairs that cause me to have to run up to play policewoman before someone is killed. If they are with me, this doesn't happen. We like being together :)

9. Having a plan 
Sounds obvious, but... Knowing what I'm supposed to be teaching and what the kids are supposed to be learning and doing each day, let alone at certain checkpoints throughout the day, is absolutely essential. I need several planning days a year (speaking of which I haven't had one for...TOO long - no wonder I'm a mess ;), in order to keep on top of all of the kiddos learning requirements. I actually benefit from having a daily schedule that keeps all of life a little more trackable.

10. Keep 'em busy!
My Beloved and I have had a tumultuous last year with moving back here to Peru, hosting various guests - some with moderate stays, and just the extreme busy-ness of ministry and cross-cultural dealings. We don't have TV, and limit movies to once a week or so. The kids don't play outside in the neighborhood because it is unsafe... all this has meant many days where school consists simply of the basics and the kids are left with lots of free time. While free time cultivates creativity perhaps, my kids creativity doesn't seem to need any cultivation, it's in full bloom! What they need more of is direction. So, making sure their assignments are clear, giving them work to do around the house, and even providing directed play or project ideas has been very helpful. This includes keeping the little ones busy while we do school with the older ones. Having toddler and preschool activities on hand at all times has helped immensely.

So there you have it :) That's what we do...

What do you do?  Please leave a comment or a link to your helpful homeschool management tips?

This is a repost from the archives at my other blog:
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