God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco is a great resource for those interested in learning what Christian Unschooling is all about.
Julie's love for the Lord and her children shines through, which made me enjoy reading her book.
I love exploring all kinds of homeschooling methods like classical, unit studies, Charlotte Mason/living books, notebooking, and delight-directed studies. Until now, all that I have read about Unschooling has been secular materials by John Holt and others.
Julie talks about the Lord and His place in their homeschool. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew Julie and her family. What a likeable bunch!
Though I am not an unschooler, I saw one thing throughout the book that won my heart: Julie lives life WITH her kids. She doesn't send them off to do workbooks, but rather she is actively involved in her children's life and education. Honestly, that is something all parents could enjoy more of in today's busy world.
In God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn, Julie stresses the need to get rid of distractions that keep us from learning. More good advice for homeschoolers of every stripe.
Jenny Rose stopped strumming his guitar and stepped forward to the microphone where she read a Scripture passage and gave a short word of encouragement.
"Some of us have had a rough week, we have been battered by the enemy, tossed around by his lies..." She ended by sharing her own personal experience of how Jesus had encouraged her. She started a worship song and everyone sang along.
I felt tears fill my eyes. My dream as I rocked and nursed my five babies was that they would each grow up to love Jesus and serve Him with a glad heart. Here was my Rosie, loving Jesus.
It is God's grace and mercy alone that all five of my adult children love Jesus. I'm so grateful, especially because I am a flawed Mommy. I wish I was perfect, but alas, no. I do love the Lord and have a living faith inside my heart that has grown stronger and stronger over the years.
It is not an example of perfection I have imparted to my children, it is a living faith in a jar of clay.
Can you relate? Do you love Jesus, but feel that you are so far from being a perfect example of what a "good" Christian should look like?
Do you like cozy mysteries?
Do you have a kindle?
Murder in the Mountains is FREE for your Kindle from Monday September 10, 2018 until Friday, September 14, 2018.
Homeschool mom Maggie King is speaking at a homeschool conference and enjoying a family vacation in the Georgia mountains when she comes across a murder. Her investigations lead her to one adventure after another.Join Maggie and her friends and family as they unravel the mystery. Can you figure out who the murderer is before they do?
You can download your FREE copy of Murder in the Mountains. Murder in the Mountains is #6 in the Maggie King Mystery series.
Do you like cozy mysteries?
Do you have a kindle?
War of the Roses Mystery is FREE for your Kindle from Monday, August 13, 2018 until Friday, August 17, 2018.
Homeschool mom Maggie King is studying the War of the Roses with her children and homeschool co-op--what a confusing time in history! When Maggie discovers a dead body, she becomes involved with another war of the roses that is just as confusing. Join Maggie and her friends and family as they unravel a confusing mystery. Can they bring a killer to justice?
You can download your FREE copy of War of the Roses Mystery here. War of the Roses Mystery is #5 in the Maggie King Mystery series.
"Cancel the lunches? No way!" My son was indignant. "That's the best part of history co-op!"
"We won't cancel. It's just that some of the Moms are complaining," I replied.
The next morning at 20th Century History Co-op, I asked the children and teens if they enjoyed the lunches. They raved and raved about them, proving to be as emotionally enthusiastic about them as my son.
You see we were studying world history of the 20th century with HIS Story of the 20th Century and we were making food each week that corresponded to that place and time period. We were gathering recipes and trying out new dishes.
It all started when my friend Laura and I were studying geography and wanted to get the dads more interested in what the kids were learning.
"They love food," we decided and started making meals from other countries as we studied those countries. The dads loved it!
The next year was American History and the kids still wanted to cook and eat recipes. Now, we would have to gather up American History recipes. So we did.
And we ate!
Of course, we had to find the recipes and in the research we were learning, but don't tell anyone that. We loved cooking and baking up recipes, often modernizing them to use blenders, mixers, and already-butchered meat.
Why Food Makes History Fun!
"What do you cover in English during high school?" I am often asked by homeschool moms.
"What curriculum did you use for English?" is another question that I hear often.
I wrote my own curriculum for the high school years based on lists of books I wanted my children to read and writing projects I wanted them to enjoy.
Yes, I did say 'enjoy'. I wanted my teens to read classic literature that was fun to read and has stood the test of time. I wanted my young adults to learn certain writing skills like using original sources, writing a research paper, creating an excellent essay, dabbling a bit in poetry, and writing a novel. I also wanted them to give speeches. Wow! That's a lot of stuff!
You can put together your own high school English courses, too. More on that in another blog. But for right now, I'll just tell you what I taught in each English course.
First of all, I should add that I gave my children five years of high school English, starting in eighth grade. These courses were all self-contained and didn't have to go in a specific order. That way, siblings could take courses together.
Are you ready? Here's what I taught in each English course. Keep in mind that all of these course have been taught in a homeschool co-op and individually at home.
Essays & Speeches & Literature
The purpose my Communications 101 course is to read classic essays and write excellent essays, as well as listen to excellent speeches and give speeches in a positive environment.
Each month we read a classic essay, look up vocabulary words from that essay, and discuss it together. We also read one book a month.
The classic essays we read were written by C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, Charles Lamb, Sir Frances Bacon, Cal Thomas, and William F. Buckley.
We read God in the Dock, Ivanhoe, The Screwtape Letters, The Prince and the Pauper, Around the World in 80 Days, The Mysterious Island, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and Time Machine.
Note: We need an audience for speeches when we do this course individually so we invite another family over. Between the two families, there is a decent-sized audience.
We work on thesis statements and learn to use the thesis statement to guide an essay. Then we write the following essays: Descriptive, Narrative, Article, Letter to the Editor, Persuasive, Comparative, and Book Review.
We listen to excellent speeches by Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, and speeches from movies on YouTube. This is great for noticing what good speakers do. We discuss what we watch.
My teens give the following speeches: Reading Aloud, Introduction of Self, Demonstration, Personal Testimony, Persuasive, Commercial, Interview, and Extemporaneous. We also do two weeks of debate to just get a taste of it. We create a safe and positive environment for giving speeches to build confidence in speaking in front of a group.
Eagerly, I opened all of the pdfs from the Learning about Science Collection, Level I, an elementary science curriculum from WriteBonnieRose to figure out which one my grandson and I would start with. I couldn't decide. Everything looked so fun with adorable illustrations and loads of easy-to-understand information.
A little advanced for my young grandson because Learning About Science Collection, Level I is for first to third graders, we plunged ahead anyway. At first glance through everything, my favorite things was the enchanting illustrations.
"Okay, stop thinking about how cute everything is and decide what you should study with the kids," I thought. Each of the seven books are complete in themselves, totaling 172 pages. I looked again at the titles: Familiar Plants and How They Grow, Fruits and Vegetables Around the World, Animal Habitats of the World, Our Senses and Systems and How They Work, Learning about Life Cycles, Earth: Layers, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes, and Exploring States of Matter.
I wanted to do them all, but I finally decided to start with Fruits and Vegetables Around the World. We had so much fun learning about different fruits and vegetables, coloring the pictures, and tracing the words to practice handwriting! I learned new things about them fruit and vegetables like that China grows lots of pears which come in a variety of colors. There was a lot of information packaged in easy-to-understand writing that was impressive. This curriculum is perfect for little lambs to learn science.
Hands-on History Fun is what Home School in the Woods delivers with Project Passport Renaissance & Reformation. We had a blast together traveling back in time to a era filled with beautiful art, interesting philosophies, breathtaking architecture, and a rediscovery of the truth of the Gospel in Scripture.
I was completely amazed by the depth, creativity, and hands-on fun this project contained. It was a blast!
Now, let me take you through our experience with Project Passport Renaissance & Reformation.
When I first downloaded Project Passport Renaissance & Reformation, I felt a little overwhelmed. There were so many files!
Stop #1 took us the longest time. We made our scrapbook, started the luggage folder, and put our Scrapbook of sights together to fill later. Once we finished those things, we felt like we were in the groove of things. We decided to start the newspaper project later.
I printed a bunch of pdfs and we started coloring.
At this point the group working on our Passport Project expanded to include older members of the family who thought everything was so exciting.
"Why didn't we do this when I was in school?" someone asked. I was thrilled! It's never too late to learn more about the Renaissance and Reformation.
As a pastor's wife, I look forward to hearing about and reading books on biblical sexuality because the world is promoting everything contrary to biblical love inside marriage. When Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality arrived in the mail from Great Waters Press, I couldn't wait to read it.
I am so excited to recommend this book to young men, older men, parents, pastors, and counselors. A wonderful book! Insightful, easy-to-read, and straight to the point. In fact, I was excited to see how honest and open they were about the struggles young men, and older men, face in combating temptations they face each and every day.
Hal and Melanie have wisdom that works because it's straight from the Word of God. He created the young men that are in a constant battle to remain pure for the glory of God. He knows how to overcome the evil one.
Topics addressed in the eight chapters include:
Each topic is covering with honesty and a clear biblical perspective.
Code for Teens sent me Code for Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming Volume I.
"Oh, dear!" I thought as I opened the package. My heart started pounding. My mouth went dry. "Computers, programming, technology. It all sounds so scary."
Lucky for me my teens are not afraid of computer programming. In fact, they think it's pretty cool!
Since my fearless teens weren't home, I flipped open the book. To my surprise, I was delighted. It was bright and cheery! I love bright colors. Best of all, the writer made me chuckle. He made me relax. By the time I had finished the introduction, I thought that I could do anything with a computer. He gave me hope!
I loved that the book instilled confidence in the reader with the tone and easy-to-read explanations and directions.
Here are some things I really liked:
It started with the basics and built slowly on them, step by step.
It summarized key concepts at the end of each chapter.
There will drills to cement learning.
The review included everything that had learned so far. I appreciate that because sometimes when I'm learning the current topic, I forget the previous one.
I recommend letting students learn at their own pace. Some will move quickly and others more slowly.
What is great way to eat popcorn, curl up with a pillow, and do school at the same time?
Watch a movie. Movies can enrich our homeschooling experience! Movies are fun!
Our first experience with using movies for school was Gidget Goes Hawaiian when we did a unit study on Hawaii. Since then, we have expanded to including monthly movies for history and geography.
Different scenes come to my mind from movies I've seen over the years. My idea of the Sahara desert comes from watching movies where the hero is trekking across the Sahara. The image I have of a Middle Eastern Bazaar comes from watching Indiana Jones. So many movies I've seen are set in New York City that I feel like I know that city though I've only been there three times in my life. Likewise, the Anne movies make me feel that Prince Edward Island is my second home. Movies draw you in and if they do a good job of making ancient, or more modern times, come alive, they will benefit your children.
In our house, we often start our study of a time period by working on a timeline while we watch a movie. When we studied the 20th Century decade by decade, we would work on a timeline and watch a movie.
As we pasted photos of President Wilson, Russia's Stalin, and Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm, we watched the exciting story of Sergeant York, a godly hero of World War I. Our next step was to learn about the Balkans, the step-by-step unfolding of World War I, the War to End All Wars, heroes like Nurse Cavell, and dog fighting. For us, it's been a fun way to introduce a new season of study.
Other times, we have used movies as a treat when we finish a unit study.
Whether we watch movies in the beginning, middle, or end of a history study, movies are a hit in our house!
Here are some of our favorites.
I was excited to read the delightful book Josefina's Story Quilt and to go through Josefina's Story Quilt e-Guide from Progeny Press. What fun!
The story is easy to read so little ones can read it aloud to Mom. At a chapter a day, that's six days. During that time, we made bread, looked up photographs online of the California Trail, and found some old quilts at a nearby museum.
We just did the questions/workbook pages as we read the book. They were easy to answer and enjoyable, too.
I was surprised at the amount of grammar covered in this little guides. Things like "Metaphor" were explained in easy-to-understand language. We found the metaphor easily, though I would have completely missed it if not for the study guide drawing attention to it.
We adapted the quilt project in the study guide. We stared by choosing our photos with clip art and made a template with the photos, putting them in squares to make a plan for the quilt. Next, we are going to get fabric paint and white muslin so we can draw the photos. Finally, we will stitch together the muslin squares to make our own story book quilt. We will probably make more squares.
The best part of the study guides is the Scripture that is tied in to the story. Looking up verses, children apply biblical principles to the novel they are studying. In The Josefina Quilt Story, the little girl prays in the story so there is Scripture about prayer and questions related to pray in the story and prayer in our own lives. I love it!
I have been thinking about getting my master's degree, but what holds me back is taking the GRE because of that pesky math. Math Essentials had the answer for me when they asked me to review Math Refresher for Adults, a workbook for adults who want to remember all that math of long ago. I love it!
Don't get me wrong, I loved math, but over the years, the memories of equations and methods are murky.
I was so excited to get my hands on Math Refresher for Adults because I also lead a homeschool co-op and this was thrilling to me. Why? Well, my homeschool co-op is filled with Moms who are TERRIFIED of math. It's not just that they don't remember it--they hate it! I can only imagine that their experience with math has been negative. Unfortunately, they have passed this on to their children who avoid doing their math like the plague.
Was this a piece of the puzzle for moms in this situation? I was eager to find out.
I decided to use Bible Study Guide for All Ages Beginner 3-K as a Bible Study Curriculum for our Sunday School class of mixed ages (4-8). Yes, that is a broad age range, but Bible Study Guide for All Ages had the perfect curriculum for our small church.
Our little Sunday school class includes readers and non-readers, so we used the younger version so that the youngest ones could keep up.
We have four different sets of teachers that teach once a month, so our Bible curriculum has to be easy to use and simple to jump right into. This was a perfect fit!
Each child got their own study guide with a complete lesson on the front and back of one page. We have used it for six weeks with great success. Each of the teachers are enjoying it because the lessons are so clear and easy-to-understand.
I love take-offs. The excitement of acceleration and lifting above the clouds.
Whether it's a trip to Texas, Philadelphia, California, or Minnesota, every vacation is an exciting adventure. Each place has its own history. And, of course, delicious food.
It is so exciting to visit other countries, hear other languages, explore other cultures. What fun to get out the passport and see the nations!
God has opened the door for me to visit Europe three times. I took my older three daughters to London in 2011, the whole family visited the Netherlands in 2012, and we traveled to Italy this year.
In London, we stayed in a hostel, planned our own itinerary, and went everywhere on the Tube (London's subway). In the Netherlands we rented an apartment in Den Hague (cheaper than Amsterdam), bought a train pass, and made day trips to castles, Harlem (to see Corrie ten Boom's museum), Amsterdam, and Belgium. Everything was close and we had a blast. Our last trip was to Italy and we tried something new: a guided tour. We flew into Venice and traveled throughout Italy on a tour bus, flying home from Rome. The tour was a wonderful way to see everything we could possibly imagine in Italy.