How To Teach Your Child to Read

"Reading is simple." - Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Trained Mind 

To a new home school mom, teaching reading sometimes seems like an enormous, foreboding task.  

It doesn't have to be.  Reading can be simple.    

Lesson Plan Ladies offer Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans which are written based on the fabulous phonics program, Spell to Write and Read (SWR) by Wanda Sanseri.  SWR is a multi-sensory program that allows children to write, speak, and spell their way into reading.   

Do we follow the program exactly as written?  Pretty closely, but not completely.  

Here are SOME of LPL's phonics and spelling goals for each grade level available (Look forward to the upcoming 3rd and 4th grade plans!):  

  •  Pre-k Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans (recommended for ages 4-6)
    • teach kids to recognize, read, and write 31 of the 70 phonograms - all single letter and some multi-letter phonograms (from SWR)
    • teach children to say eight spelling rules (from SWR)
    • teach students to correctly write D'Nealian-style phonograms, starting with lower case and adding capitals as needed
    • children play games to increase phonemic awareness (from Phonemic Awareness Activities)
    • teach kids to spell and analyze 25 beginning words (LPL wrote short vowel word lists, with simple words, such as "ran" and "pig", for young children.)
  • Kindergarten Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans (recommended for ages 5-7)
    • teach kids to recognize, read, and write 56 of the 70 phonograms (from SWR)
    • teach children to say 19 spelling rules (from SWR)
    • teach students to correctly write D'Nealian-style phonograms, starting with lower case and adding capitals as needed
    • children play games to increase phonemic awareness (from Phonemic Awareness Activities)
    • teach kids to spell and analyze 100 words - to about a second grade level (from The Wise Guide for Spelling) 
  • 1st Grade Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans (recommended for ages 6-8)
    • teach kids to recognize, read, and write all of the 70 phonograms (from SWR)
    • teach children to say 24 of the 29 spelling rules (from SWR)
    • students practice correctly writing D'Nealian-style phonograms, including capitals
    • teach kids to spell and analyze 450 words - to about a third grade level (from The Wise Guide for Spelling) 
  • 2nd Grade Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans (recommended for ages 7-9)
    • teach kids to recognize, read, and write all of the 70 phonograms (from SWR)
    • teach children to say 27 of the 29 spelling rules (from SWR)
    • students practice correctly writing D'Nealian-style phonograms, including capitals, print, and cursive
    • teach kids to spell and analyze 650 words - to almost a fourth grade level (from The Wise Guide for Spelling)

LPL's phonics and spelling plans are a COMPLETE, not supplemental, rock-solid foundation for beginning readers/writers. Our pace is a bit less strenuous than SWR recommends.  However, our plans follow SWR's intended scope and sequence, and your children will most likely read/spell well above grade level by the end of each year.

To make teaching reading, writing, and spelling even easier, LPL created tailor-made penmanship books to accompany each grade level's phonics and spelling lesson plans.  Click here to see this time-saving resource!  Also ideal and available are LPL's reading lesson plans, which use literature to encourage children to read fluently and comprehend words in context.  Click here to view these helpful plans. 

With LPL's plans to assist you, teaching reading IS simple.  Happy home schooling!  

(Edited on 6/27/16)

 

Homemade Bird Feeder

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Birds are incredibly entertaining! Ever since my children made this cute, simple, and hardy bird feeder, they have been glued to the window enthusiastically observing their new backyard visitors.

The instructions for this bird feeder can be found here. We used Elmer's wood glue instead of glue sticks. I find they are much sturdier with the wood glue.

My children have been amazed at the variety of birds that visit on a daily basis, many of which they have never seen before. All About Birds has been a helpful resource for bird identification. Two free and wonderful bird coloring books can be found here and here.  Happy bird watching!

The Lesson Plan Ladies

 

Irregular Plurals Card Game

We learn via Spell to Write and Read: "To make a word plural just add an 's', unless the word hisses, changes, or stops with an 'o', then add 'es'."  While that is an excellent rule for MOST of the plural words in the English language, Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has created a FREE card game to download and play as you teach all those irregular plurals in the English language!  Enjoy!

thanks, Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational!

thanks, Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational!

Seven Myths of Classical Education

"Today, our churches do a good job of teaching students to love God with their hearts and souls, but a classical, Christian education will also teach them to love God with their minds," says Jennifer Courtney in an article found in The Classical Homeschooler.  Be sure to read this brilliant piece, "Seven Myths of Classical Education."  She addresses seven misconceptions of classical, Christian education and responds with a short answer to each one!  ~Meg

"And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." -Matthew 22:37

Building the Machine - The Common Core Documentary

"Building the Machine introduces the public to the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on our children’s education. The documentary compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Parents, officials, and the American public should be involved in this national decision regardless of their political persuasion," says HSLDA. Watch the video to learn more about Common Core.  We'd love to hear your thoughts and begin a dialogue about this topic, so leave us a comment below!

Which Unbelievably Awesome Cave, Canyon, or Coast Would You Choose to Visit?

Traveling is an enjoyable and personal way to experience geography!  Check out these breath-taking photographs as you plan your next classroom {or actual} geographical adventure!  

Also, consider LPL Kindergarten Geography Lesson Plans for a complete school year filled with amusing and valuable activities. 

For enjoyable geography games and activities for your student, browse our Resources page.

The Importance of the Arts in Classical Education

Previously, a few of our veteran mothers from our "Q&A With Veteran Homeschool Mothers" blog series, shared their views on teaching the "extra subjects" in elementary school...subjects classically termed the "Arts" or "enrichment" courses such as art, photography, music, drama, and more. While all these women agreed on the importance of the Arts, we want to revive this topic of discussion and view it from a slightly different angle.  Trinitas Christian School posted a must read article titled, "The Place of the Arts in Classical Education,” by Gregory Wilbur.  Wilber presents an intriguing argument as to why teaching the arts goes beyond merely cultivating “well rounded students.”

You can also see what LauraSally, and Kelly (our veteran homeschooling moms!) had to say about studying enrichment courses if you missed their posts!

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 12

With all the benefits these "extra" subjects provide, we need to make sure there is a balance! Kelly's wise words serve as a warning to those of us who have a tendency to "major on the minors."  Keeping things in the right perspective and in the correct order will keep you from burning out down the road.

In addition to math and language arts, is it a good use of time to include regular studies on science, history, art, music, and/or foreign  language for my elementary aged children?  Why or Why not?

"Isn’t it all good?  If it works for the family and most importantly for the mom to get all the subjects in on a weekly basis then, of course, it’s good.  The education of the children is important and that is a main reason to home educate, but the health and strength of the mom is of utmost importance.  This is a marathon, not a sprint. There is quite a bit of responsibility placed on the mom in home educating.  She is a teacher, a cook, a servant, a wife, a friend, a lover, a nurse, a daughter,  a driver, the schedule keeper, the menu planner, the house keeper, the life coach and many times the chaplain. If the mom can get it all in and maintain her joy, peace, health and marriage that is amazing.  Looking back, I’ve seen many families that started out strong and the mom crashed years down the road.  I’ve seen a few other families that it looks like they did get it all in and all seems well.  Our family never got it all in.  Never.  While I wish, of course, we had done “more,”  I would never sacrifice our time spent in our devotionals or the free time exploring, playing music and being together as a family."

Thank you for following along with us in the blog series!  In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 7

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 8

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 9

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 10

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 11

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 11

As discussed in the previous post, we hear once again about the benefits of including "extras" in schooling.  Laura gives us a peek into what her family included in their home school. Tailor your child's learning to his gifts, and follow the Lord's leading for your family.

In addition to math and language arts, is it a good use of time to include regular studies on science, history, art, music, and/or foreign  language for my elementary aged children?  Why or Why not?

"Adding science, history, art, music, and/or foreign language for the elementary years depends upon what you and your husband decide is valuable, what your family interests are, and where you see God gifting your children.  For our family, that was history and music.  We loved studying history together and reading all the wonderful children's historical fiction and biographies!  We were blessed to be able to travel quite a bit, so we greatly enjoyed seeing the historical sights and seeing in person the places that we had studied.  Music was important to me and we saw music as our daughter's gifting, so we included music.  Some of that included lessons, but also listening to various genres of music and singing to start our day.  We did not do a true science curriculum in the elementary years, more nature study and fun experiments.  They didn't love science until they reached high school and were exposed to more of an apologetics bent to science.  But some families love science and spend lots of time in it as we did in other areas.  I taught some art early on, as in drawing.  My husband was not concerned that I teach art appreciation or go any further with art training.  We did not see a need to include foreign language, but if we saw that our family, for example, would be taking mission trips to Mexico, we would have included learning Spanish.  A few years after graduation, my daughter did go through the whole Rosetta Stone curriculum to learn German on her own, as we took a trip to Germany and Austria.  So I would suggest discussing with your husband and together deciding what is best for your family in these areas based on interests and how you see God gifting your children.  Giving them the tools and desire to be life-long learners is more important than trying to squeeze in everything you or others may think essential."

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 7

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 8

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 9

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 10

Laura has homeschooled for 15 years and completed her homeschool journey in 2010.  She has 2 children; Emily was homeschooled 1st - 12th grade. Daniel was homeschooled Pre-K - 12th grade.  Laura has homeschooled in both Texas and Kansas. 

Laura has homeschooled for 15 years and completed her homeschool journey in 2010.  She has 2 children; Emily was homeschooled 1st - 12th grade. Daniel was homeschooled Pre-K - 12th grade.  Laura has homeschooled in both Texas and Kansas. 


Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 10

We LPL ladies LOVE science, history, art, music, and foreign language, but many families stick to the basics of learning reading, writing, and arithmetic.  We polled several more experienced home educators and asked them what they thought.  Sally's resounding "YES!" to including "extras" in regular studies helps explain the impact these subjects had on her children.

In addition to math and language arts, is it a good use of time to include regular studies on science, history, art, music, and/or foreign language for my elementary aged children?  Why or why not?

"My answer is whole-heartedly, yes!  It increases their desire to learn...but in that I am not saying with early-elementary ages you need to buy curriculum for every one of these subjects.  Because we did not begin our home school until our daughters were ages 10, 7, {and newborn who was always in on everything from her get-go}…we had experienced a public “languages” school beginning in kindergarten.  I gleaned from that experience what I liked.  I actually loved the arts!  If we had not moved to Denver from Cincinnati, our daughters may have remained forever in the bilingual school.  I mean we had given up a sub-zero winter night and day to wait in line for their enrollment.  Had we not moved to Denver I do not know if I would have learned about home schooling via a long route of frustration to re-find the good we had in that bilingual school.  Mastery of a second language was always a goal and we tried several curriculums finally landing with Rosetta Stone.  It is expensive, but most valued to me, and the one purchase will last through all of your children.  This goal did open interesting doors for our daughters.

Getting back to the youngness of your school here…this might interest you and resolve an overwhelmed feeling of ‘how can I get this all in?’ - Our Monday mornings were motivated by a virtual tour through a museum.  We traveled the world that way.  Science experiments were always a midweek highlight.  Fridays seemed made for recovery of the house, field trips or the ‘art’ project for the week...  History was done with simple study projects and reading mostly that I did aloud, and we did stay in time-line order beginning with Bible history.  All of our daughters seemed to gain a real love for learning history current and past.  This is just the place that you will need to create to the personalities of your children and how the Lord leads you and your husband.  Again I would emphasize that you do not need to buy expensive curriculum, but it would not hurt to go to a home school conference and peruse through what is out there and the resource you have here with the LPL website is most helpful.  Sometimes it takes seeing something to trigger your creative juices!!

Consider what your strengths are…do you have a love for certain art forms?  Do you have friends that have, say, a love for science that you could swap your ideas for art such as weaving or print making?  You really can create your own way through these areas of learning especially while your children are young, but this is the ideal place in study to join with a few other families in forming a small co-op group.  Until 5th grade, I did not give grades for any of the extras, but would quarterly write a summary of what had been done…my girls were satisfied with big smiley faces and stickers!  We photographed every project, experiment, field trip and collected those all along with the summary and kept them together in a book/folder of our year.

I hope this has answered your question of why.  I do not have an answer for why not because we did them all.  Enjoy this young time you have to teach your sons and daughters."

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 7

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 8

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 9

Sally has homeschooled for 17 years during which her three daughters also attended bilingual, public, and private schools.  Her middle child attended public high school, while the eldest and youngest graduated from homeschool.  Sally homeschooled in Colorado and Texas, along with teaching in her local co-op.  

Sally has homeschooled for 17 years during which her three daughters also attended bilingual, public, and private schools.  Her middle child attended public high school, while the eldest and youngest graduated from homeschool.  Sally homeschooled in Colorado and Texas, along with teaching in her local co-op.  

Kindergarten Lesson Plans

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The wait is over.  Our kindergarten lesson plans have arrived!!  We've added two new subjects: geography and reading.  Get ready for an adventure in geography!  Through this exciting 36-week course, your student will begin to understand where he lives, how to use a map, and where major landforms and bodies of water lie.  The 18-week LPL Kindergarten Reading Lesson Plans are an incredible resource!  Included are valuable teaching tips for teachers and important daily vocabulary.  Your child will begin the year learning to read phonograms, soon progressing to spelling words, and before you know it, he will be reading short stories!  We've also added helpful and time saving tools to the Phonics and Spelling Lesson Plans (Pre-K & Kindergarten): dictation sheets, spelling test sheets, and a set of D'Nealian alphabet wall cards. 

Now you can preview all lesson plans before you buy!  These can be found by choosing either of the "Browse By" tabs at the top of our website, then by clicking on a grade level and/or subject name. You will find the preview lesson plans underneath the square photo. Click here for an example.  We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about the lesson plans!

 

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 9

As a teacher, it can be so disheartening, even aggravating, to have a student who simply doesn't want to work.  At one time or another, we have all been there!  Anita gives us several great pointers to help us discover the root of the problem, motivate the bored student, and help change negative attitudes.

How did you handle the distracted child who has an, “I don’t want to do schoolwork” attitude?"

"It helps to understand what the child's learning style is.  Is he visual, auditory, or does he  like to work with his hands?  While we can't cater to this style in every lesson, we can look for curriculum choices that would best suit the student.  Avoid busy work, and make each lesson count.  Remember the goal is to educate the child, not to complete the curriculum.

For a disinterested student, schedule his least favorite subjects first, and let him finish with his favorite or least difficult.  This minimizes the sense of dread.  Consider giving 'recess' breaks between subjects to give the young student something to look forward to throughout the day.  It also helps to have a stopping point in the day.  If the child knows that 3:00 will bring free time,  he might be willing to work until then.  On the other hand, if he has given in to distraction and has not finished his assignments, he may need to either work past 3, or return to school work after dinner, but a stopping point gives him something to work towards.

Of course, not wanting to do school at all is an attitude issue; consider teaching him what the Word says about an obedient child who honors his parents, as well as the contrast in Proverbs between a wise and foolish son.  Sometimes these lessons are far more important than the academic lessons, so we need to be willing to sacrifice one for the other because our time is limited."

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 7

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 8

Anita is in her 21st year of home-educating in Texas!  She has schooled four children through high school graduation, and hopes to home school her 5th child five more years to complete high school as well.  Anita is excited to be a part of this blog series!

Anita is in her 21st year of home-educating in Texas!  She has schooled four children through high school graduation, and hopes to home school her 5th child five more years to complete high school as well.  Anita is excited to be a part of this blog series!

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 8

The pressure placed on young children by our educational systems to preform well on tests and meet certain educational milestones is at an all time high.  As home educators, it's tempting to compare our child's development against such standards and to other children around us.  Mixing modern educational expectations with a young child who lacks motivation can result in a stressful combination for both the homeschooling mother and her child.  Linda offers practical insight on how to deal with young children who lack focus in their home studies by touching on the developmental and behavioral aspects.  Thank you Linda for your "freeing" words of wisdom!

 How did you handle the distracted child who had an, “I don’t want to do schoolwork” attitude?"

"'Bless your heart, young mother,' as we say in the South!  All homeschooling moms have endured the struggle you describe.  How do we 'do school' without being a replica of what we are trying to avoid?  I think the first thing to remember is that when we are homeschooling, learning is taking place all day every day and we are the primary teachers.  That being said, try not to think of 'school' as just the learning that takes place from a book or a curriculum.  It doesn't have to take place at a desk, or even sitting down.  The lack of focus and attention that you describe with your 5 year old may be just a typical immaturity for his age.  It will be a process, not an event, to bring him along and some of it will resolve with time as he matures.
   My suggestion is to be purposeful each day to introduce him to different concepts and life skills that he can manage; in other words take each opportunity to instruct through the exposures throughout the day.  For example, find things to count with him to reinforce the rote memorization of number sequencing in a fun way.  Play word games, do puzzles, read, expand his vocabulary by example.  Read to him about any and everything he is interested in. At this age, do a lot of hands on creative activities.  You may already be doing that and wonder if you are doing enough curriculum 'stuff.'  At his age I was spending about an hour or two a day, broken down into shorter segments, with my girls on actual 'school' activities.  But, I spent a lot of time with them on field trips, reading, library visits, crafts, anything outside!  Note the things he is really resistant to and consider if he is just not physically able (writing, for example) or if you might need to break down some of the subjects into smaller segments.  Teach for mastery, not speed. ; )
   If he is totally disobedient or disrespectful about doing 'school' then it may involve a discipline problem that needs to be gently but firmly corrected.  If that is the case, then I suggest that you lay down a daily 'school' requirement that he can manage and reward him with praise or a special activity when he completes it.  As the focus and discipline, and hopefully interest, increase you can add more time or more curriculum to his day.  The point is, set him (and you) up to succeed and build from there.
   Try to avoid comparing your son with the 'prodigy' down the street or at church.  God has gifted him with a unique set of skills and abilities.  Your job is to help him identify what his strengths and inclinations are and maximize those.  You are uniquely qualified to do that, because you know him best.
  On a final note, don't be afraid to 'call it a day' when nothing is working out on a particular day. That is the beauty of homeschooling...we have the freedom to do something different!  Don't forget that the most important accomplishments from homeschooling come not just from the curriculum completed, but from the emotional, spiritual, and physical progressions.  Those are enduring!"

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 7

Linda holds a B.S. in education. She home educated her three daughters through high school in the state of Georgia, all of whom have gone on to college to further their education.  For the last 20 years, Linda has taught high school enrichment classes such as creative writing, literature, and SAT prep for other home school students.

Linda holds a B.S. in education. She home educated her three daughters through high school in the state of Georgia, all of whom have gone on to college to further their education.  For the last 20 years, Linda has taught high school enrichment classes such as creative writing, literature, and SAT prep for other home school students.

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 7

Because Lynette is a mother of five, we have much to gain from her wisdom on teaching multiple ages at home!  She makes excellent points concerning what education is and what it is not, and encourages us to develop our own philosophy for why we homeschool.

1.)     What did your days look like when you were trying to give instruction to the older children with the little ones constantly needing attention?   What were some favorite ways to keep younger children occupied while you taught your older children?

"I would say 'what to to with the little ones' is probably the most common difficulty homeschoolers may face.  Manageable but difficult.  We always had 'charges' where an older one was assigned to a younger child.  The older was taught designated preschool activities like stroller time, backyard time, singing time, high chair cheerios time, Scripture memorization when they could talk, play dough time (the all time best pre school activity),  interaction with educational toys, etc.  This I 'recorded' as Early Childhood Education that I put on all their high school transcripts. Take advantage of that mid-morning baby/toddler nap to get lots done.
We did not have a 'rigid sit at a desk for hours' type home schooling, so younger ones could fit in easier."

2.)     How did you handle the distracted child who had an, “I don’t want to do schoolwork” attitude?"

"If a child is complaining a lot about doing schoolwork maybe you have communicated a 'school as drudgery' attitude?  Education is lighting a fire, not filling a bucket.  We home schooled out of a Deut. 6:6,7 motivation, where it was more of a discipleship all day long vs home school for a few hours mentality.  We did limited seat work, with much hands on, going on field trips, experiencing nature, library story time, lots of service and work and chores, and tons of reading out loud.  Maybe you need to change your home school philosophy.  Make sure to spend time educating yourself (more than you educate your child) about home schooling, education, early childhood, parenting, etc...  It takes time to develop your philosophy and what the Lord is calling you to as a family.  Spend lots of time seeking God for what this looks like for you....then experience His grace!!!"

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 6

Lynette was a home school pioneer, homeschooling before it was accepted in many parts.  She home schooled for 28 years in Texas and has five successful home school graduates.

Lynette was a home school pioneer, homeschooling before it was accepted in many parts.  She home schooled for 28 years in Texas and has five successful home school graduates.

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 6

Next we hear from Sally as she reflects on her homeschool journey.  Thank you Sally, for your insightful words and wisdom!  We can't wait to check out your book recommendation, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

Looking back, what was something about your homeschool journey that you are glad you did? What would you have done differently?

"The two above questions have prompted some thoughtful searching, and of course hindsight is 20:20.  My husband and I will have different answers and I may come back to it with his.  Firmly, we are both unclouded by any dilemma encountered over our choice to home school.  My answer is simple and thus: we read aloud to our daughters everyday… even on the sick days, even on the weekends, even when my husband began working out-of-state.  I read in our days usually biographies, missionary stories, historical fictions {I found books to read aloud for every subject}; Craig read in the evenings, his choice… sometimes just a good book such as, Rifles for Watie and added all the voices… sometimes all of The Chronicles of Narnia for the umpteenth time… countless books over 17 years.  This continued by phone when he was not home.  And it continues today… if any of our now adult daughters are home {including their husbands}, they gather and listen with pleasure, and sometimes request a reread of a certain book. Emphasizing this, we read with precedence over any other subject.  This is not to say that the Word wasn’t priority or commonly our reading choice outside of devotions; it was.  But reading as we did created an understanding of the Bible as the one whole story {that it is} of Salvation.  This was core to being ‘our’ family home school.  Reading aloud creates a closeness that cannot be denied.  It creates interest in learning that prompts children to get excited for the next gathering. It helps us all develop compassion for what is happening in the world beyond ourselves, speaking from the types of books we read.  It creates an amazing ability to listen that is rare in our society.  It creates a unique ability to memorize and helps in the writing they will need to accomplish in their future college studies.  It creates a conversational ability that is grounded in truth.  And in case you would want to know my personal favorite??  It was/is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Dr. Paul Brand son of Granny Brand, missionary to India.  It is a powerful and the most compassionate work of one man to the most undesired of all, lepers. It has been read over and over.  Maybe enough said ;)

As for what would I have done differently?  Honestly, I spent too much on curriculum.  I would search harder for the way to accomplish our school for less.  I blame myself for some financial crippling in what I spent on curriculum as we were living on one income.  You will always be able to pick on yourself about something you have or haven’t done in your school.  My encouragement is to press forward and clearly know that the Lord travels this path with you.  So closely.  Find, with these things, what God is trying to teach YOU.  It is a privilege even with the choices you will make that may not have been ideal. I give you this Word:
”And how blessed all those in whom You live,
Whose lives become roads You travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
Discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
At the last turn—Zion! God in full view!”
Psalm 84:5-7 the message/Peterson"

In case you've missed past Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 5

Sally has homeschooled for 17 years during which her three daughters also attended bilingual, public, and private schools.  Her middle child attended public high school, while the eldest and youngest graduated from homeschool.  Sally homeschooled in Colorado and Texas, along with teaching in her local co-op.  

Sally has homeschooled for 17 years during which her three daughters also attended bilingual, public, and private schools.  Her middle child attended public high school, while the eldest and youngest graduated from homeschool.  Sally homeschooled in Colorado and Texas, along with teaching in her local co-op.  

Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 5

We all have things we wish we had done differently, and other things we wouldn't change, even given the opportunity!  Thank you for your example, Laura, of listening to the voice of the Lord and following hard after Him!  May we glean wisdom from all these women who have paved the way before us...following in their footsteps where the Lord leads.

Looking back, what was something about your homeschool journey that you are glad you did?  What would you have done differently?

"Looking back, there are several things I am glad we did.

1.) We followed God's leading for our family, even though it was quite different from our friends.  We homeschooled to the "beat of a different drummer" from most around us, but it was God's beat for our family, which gave great peace and contentment.  When given the choice to join in what their friends were doing school-wise, my childrens' choice was 'no'.
2.) We geared our high school years according to their interests and giftings.
3.) We inspired our children to be great readers by buying lots of "old" books (reprints from the 1800's), I spent more money on books than on curriculum.
4.) We took them to worldview seminars and biblical conferences to expose them to the great biblical thinkers of our day and expose them to Christian apologetics.  Both my children are apologists in their field of interest.
5.) My husband and I wrote out a document titled "Why We Homeschool".  It listed our reasons and Scriptures for why we were homeschooling.  Back then, I carried around a planner and it was always in my planner.  Once I migrated to a smart phone, it was always with me there.  This was so helpful and encouraging for me.  When the seasons got hard (and there will be hard seasons in your homeschool journey), I could reread this (and reread and reread) and rest in God's plan for our family.  It brought me back into focus when circumstances clouded my view.

What would I have done differently?  Not much overall.  I would have looked into using a different math curriculum when they got older, something that would have been a better fit.  I would have worked on writing skills more diligently when in high school. Both my children are writers in their own respects, in different ways, but they each needed refining in some areas."

In case you've missed the other Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 4

Laura has homeschooled for 15 years and completed her homeschool journey in 2010.  She has 2 children; Emily was homeschooled 1st - 12th grade. Daniel was homeschooled Pre-K - 12th grade.  Laura has homeschooled in both Texas and Kansas.

Laura has homeschooled for 15 years and completed her homeschool journey in 2010.  She has 2 children; Emily was homeschooled 1st - 12th grade. Daniel was homeschooled Pre-K - 12th grade.  Laura has homeschooled in both Texas and Kansas.



Q&A with Veteran Homeschooling Mothers: Part 4

Over the years, Karen has been a huge encouragement and wealth of information when it comes to homeschooling!  We are excited to have her on the blog today!

Thank you Karen for these practical words of wisdom.

1.) Looking back, what was something about your homeschool journey that you are glad you did?  What would you have done differently?

2.) What did your days look like when you were trying to give instruction to the older children with the little ones constantly needing attention?  What were some favorite ways to keep younger children occupied while you taught your older children?

"Character and obedience before academics.  These wise words were given to me by a seasoned homeschooling mom.  She said if you can teach obedience, academics will fall into place.  I found that to be true.  When my oldest children began school and I still had smaller children to keep occupied, I would use nap time, a 30 minute video, coloring, building blocks or play dough time for the younger children while teaching the core classes such as math and reading to the older ones.  When the younger children needed attention, I would assign art or handwriting to the older children.  If the younger children were not settling down, we would set up a reward system for being obedient.  Some may call it bribes, we called it incentives because then it became a game.  As they got older, I began to assign lessons to be read on their own to begin being “self-taught”.  If they had questions, I would step in and explain the lesson or if they completely missed the concept, we would back up and I would go over it with them.  This would give me more time with the younger ones to begin the basic lessons of math and reading.  We taught throughout the day and didn’t try to stay on a specific time schedule.  Flexibility worked better for us and was a lot less frustrating.  Sticking to a time schedule frustrated the kids and me and learning wasn’t fun anymore.  Finding a schedule that works for your family is critical to being successful.  It is so easy to compare to other families but your children are not like their children.  Don’t compare.  Looking back, if I had the choice to homeschool again, I would.  Considering where our country is now, the one thing that I would have done differently would be to have the kids fluent in Spanish.  It would be an asset to employment opportunities after college."

In case you've missed the other Q&A's, click below to hear from the other veteran homeschool mothers:

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 1

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 2

Q&A with Veteran Homeschool Mothers: Part 3

 

Karen and her husband decided to homeschool after her husband completed student teaching for his degree.  What he experienced in the classroom was not what they wanted for their children.  They began attending the homeschool book fair in Arlington when their oldest was 4 years old.  They told themselves they would take one year at a time, then reevaluate whether to continue home educating.  Well, 17 years later, and still in the great state of Texas, they are finishing up their last school year with their youngest child.  Karen has a daughter working on her doctorate and two children working on their undergrad degrees.  God has truly blessed their decision, and they wouldn't change it for anything.  

Karen and her husband decided to homeschool after her husband completed student teaching for his degree.  What he experienced in the classroom was not what they wanted for their children.  They began attending the homeschool book fair in Arlington when their oldest was 4 years old.  They told themselves they would take one year at a time, then reevaluate whether to continue home educating.  Well, 17 years later, and still in the great state of Texas, they are finishing up their last school year with their youngest child.  Karen has a daughter working on her doctorate and two children working on their undergrad degrees.  God has truly blessed their decision, and they wouldn't change it for anything.