"Let's do something different tonight!" I suggested.
Every family night we played a game or watched a movie both of which everyone enjoyed, but I wanted a change.
All eyes were upon me.
"Let's create commercials!" I smiled at my brood. "It will be so much fun!"
Before anyone could complain, my husband divided the family into 2 groups.
Each group would come up with a commercial and record it. Then we would watch each other's commercials together while we ate cookies and popcorn.
With eyes on the popcorn, one group went upstairs to brainstorm and the other group stayed in the family room.
The upstairs group decided to do a hair removal commercial. Use my mascara, they created a uni-brow on Jenny Rose, then 11.They also added massive amounts of "hair" to one leg. Jenny Rose would be the victim of peer cruelty because of excessive hair growth, but NADS hair removal would come to her rescue. The dialogue was priceless.
The other group decided to do a cooking commercial in the kitchen with lots of slapstick comedy thrown in, including falling down and spilling things. The final scene would show everyone bandaged, but happily eating the delicious food cooked in the space age pots.
Needless to say, the night was a huge success. We had a blast! And over the years we have watched these videos over and over.
The Value of Family Night
My husband and I raised and homeschooled three sons and a daughter in a four-bedroom 1400 square foot old ranch style house. Every member of my family are musicians and artists. We had a drum set, piano, guitars, flutes, easels, sketch pads, paints, and many more art supplies, in addition to everything else a homeschool family needs.
Four small bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a tiny kitchen, and a great room, as well as closets were all we had to work with. There was no garage or basement for storing lawn equipment, sports gear, tools, holiday decorations, out of season clothing, or whatever else people store in these places. There was no office, playroom, or homeschool room to separate students. We needed creative solutions.
Though we were blessed with plenty of storage spaces, there were no walk-in closets. The house was built in the early sixties with tiny closets and bathrooms. We did have boxes and totes. Each closet had two selves over the clothes rack, which we filled with totes. We lined the hallways with bookshelves and installed at least one in each bedroom. Bed frames were not just to keep the box springs off the floor. They made room for more storage. These were all good things.
Put Everything Somewhere
I learned a new cooking term recently, “mise en place.”
It’s pronounced meese on plos. It’s French and it translates as everything in its place.
Apparently in the restaurant world it refers to having all your ingredients and tools prepared and at the ready when you begin a dish.
It’s imperative in a busy restaurant kitchen to do this so things keep moving and guests get their orders promptly. It’s also very helpful in a home kitchen as well. It keeps us from starting a dish and finding out halfway through that we’re missing a critical ingredient.
Or that we loaned out that special tool we love to use in this dish.
Or that it takes much longer to prep a certain ingredient than you have time in the cooking process.
Any of these can ruin your dish.
Isn’t the same true about homeschooling?
Cozy mysteries are popular with many homeschoolers and their parents. When they walk by my booth at a convention, they stop a minute when they see the cover of my Who Dun It Literature & Writing Class. After all, it's a detective detecting.
I get lots of questions about this course so I thought I would answer the most popular questions I am asked.
First of all, Who Dun It Literature & Writing Class and Economics, Finances, and Business are my best-selling books. Both are one-credit high school courses that are a little out-of-the-box.
Before I answer questions, let me tell you a little bit about how Who Dun It came to be. Before my oldest child started high school, I decided to take a year and write a novel in English class. To be honest, I just thought it would be an exciting way to learn creative writing. However, the benefits amazed me. Writing your own literature gives you such a depth of understanding literature. In addition, creative writing is a completely different kind of writing than high school students usually do. I was blown away by the creative dialogue, plot ideas, and characterization my older two children created.
Along came my third daughter and we shared a love of mysteries. Why not write a mystery and read classic mysteries that year? Great idea, we both thought and so I created Who Dun It. Again, I was amazed by the plot twists, red herrings, and surprise at the end. It required quite a bit of thinking, creativity, and logic to write a mystery. We had so much fun. I ended up teaching this course several times in a co-op setting and each time we had a blast reading one another's stories aloud as we progressed through the course. I love teaching this course!
Okay, on to the questions.
Is This a Real English Course?
Yes, this is a real high school English course with classic literature to read and writing skills to learn. An English course doesn't have to be boring to be a one-credit English course.
Do They Read Literature in Who Dun It?
Yes, of course. They read classic cozy mysteries by Edgar Alan Poe, Sir Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, Ellery Queen, E.G. Bentley, and Mary Higgins Clark. Like all classic literature, these works are well-written, timeless stories. Reading these works will increase vocabulary and strengthen grammar skills.
Isn't It Overwhelming to Write a Novel?
Do you like cozy mysteries?
Do you have a kindle?
Murder in the Mountains is FREE for your Kindle from Sunday September 15, 2019 until Thursday, September 19, 2019.
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.
Algebra II can be an overwhelming challenge for high school students. What's a homeschool mom to do?
My friend Laura, a math major in college, and I lead a co-op together. We have noticed over the years that so many moms come to us during Algebra II. Their teenager has breezed through math all his life and suddenly he hits a wall: Algebra II. He is discouraged and doesn’t want to do math anymore. Mom is throwing her hands up in despair.
What do we say?
When I speak on high school at homeschool conventions and workshops, at least one parent confides in me afterward that their “A” Math student is suddenly struggling to understand Algebra II.
Why oh why is Algebra II so hard for so many high school students?
My Experience With Algebra II
Several of my children breezed merrily through Algebra II, but then we hit a snag. My daughter completed a whole year of Algebra II and felt lost. We changed curriculum, got a tutor, and she was able to finish up high school with pre-calculus.
Why Does Algebra II Seem So Hard?
In Algebra II, teens encounter the following:
Wait! I just lost some of you! Hold on. Let me sum this up, Algebra II introduces new things that are based on knowing, understanding, and being able to work with a variety of math from the past. It’s not only learning new things, but combining old things together in ways that students may have never experienced.
Of there is something from past math courses for the struggling math student that they never quite got, especially working with decimals and fractions. In tutoring Algebra II, my friend Laura often has to go back and review mathematical concepts from 5th or 6th grade.
Why Don’t They Remember?
One of the reasons I homeschool is to teach my children from a Christian worldview.
What does it mean to homeschooling from a Christian Worldview?
It means imparting life to my children, teaching them truth, and introducing them to the life-changing person of Jesus Christ. It means fulfilling the Great Commission by raising children who love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
A Christian worldview acknowledges that there is a God who is involved in the affairs of mankind, that the Bible is true and speaks to all of life. We know that people live in a fallen state, they are not basically good, they need to be rescued from their sin. We know that the Lord intervenes in people's lives in answer to prayer or to fulfill His divine purpose for a person or a nation.
Here are the ways I educate my children from a Christian worldview. I give them a biblical foundation, inspiring them to fulfill the Creation Mandate and Great Commission, using curricula that is written from a Christian worldview, and surrendering to Jesus.
A Christian worldview is based on the Word of God as it applies to all of life, including theology, philosophy, sociology, ethics, law, government, history, pyschology, economics, politics, family, child rearing, education. careers, medicine, health care, and relationships.
We make the Bible the foundation for education in our home.
We read, study, and memorize Scripture so that the Word is living in our children’s hearts and lives. We obey the Word of God.
When it comes to conflict resolution, we follow Jesus’ plan in Matthew 18 to work in out between two and bring in a third person (parent) if it can’t be worked out.
Our children honor us as parents and respect our authority so that it will go well with them according to Ephesians 6:1-4.
The bottom line is that we use God’s Word as the measuring stick. If something doesn’t line up with Scripture, it is tossed out. The Bible is the standard of truth.
I have a confession to make.
I love file folders.
They make a perfect place for all of my piles of paper mess. Oh, I know you have these piles, too. All of us homeschool moms look around our house and they are everywhere. There are piles of papers on the dining room table, piles of papers on your desk, piles of papers on that side table. It's not your fault. It's just something that happens to us poor homeschool moms.
That's where file folders come in.
File folders are neat and tidy. Plus they come in handy-dandy colors.
You can use one color for each child and mark "To Grade" on the front. In goes writing papers, books reviews, and math problems.
You can save papers in file folders Use the same color for the child you used before. Only this time, write on the cover "Writing Papers Grade 4" or whatever grade your son or daughter is in.
I also use these folders for little games I download online. Or worksheets. I'm able to browse through my file cabinet to find "rhyming worksheets, animals-babies worksheets, telling time worksheets, and multiplication worksheets.
Other homeschooling files in my file cabinet:
But, file folders also work well for managing my household and my life.