Code Combat

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-9-39-36-pmIf you follow educational trends at all, you will learn about the need to teach coding and computer science to our students.  The UK actually includes coding as part of their nationwide curriculum, and more countries are following (or leading) suit.  If you google phrases like “teaching code in America,” the top hits are all articles talking about how America is failing students for not teaching coding.  As a mom, I don’t want my kids falling behind students in other countries because they aren’t getting the education they need today to be ready for the global job market. Continue reading

History Odyssey Level 2

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-8-32-10-pmThis school year is my first with a Logic stage student in the classical trivium.  It has been an exciting transition that we are refining as we roll along.  History Odyssey Level 2 Ancients has been a great way to kick off the higher level learning for DD1.  She has had to do a lot more writing and analyzing than in previous years, and I have enjoyed watching her learn how to organize her work in her binder through the lesson instructions. Continue reading

Writing and Rhetoric

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-8-24-39-pm Writing and Rhetoric is by far the best progymnasmata-based writing program I have used.

Wait!  I can already hear the question flying through the air, “What is the progymnasmata?”

Okay, so let me back up a bit.  When I started looking for a writing curriculum, the first question I had was, “How did they use to teach people to write?”  It seems painfully obvious that something drastic happened in the last few hundred years when you read “classical literature” coming forward through time. Continue reading

Ivy Kids to My Rescue

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Nov 2016–My first kit.

Before I was a mom with five kids, I was a mom with less kids, and once upon a time, not so very long ago, I was a mom who had two little kids.  I started my homeschooling journey and I was able to do so much with my little crew of two.  We finger-painted, read stories, did music time, did nature walks, and all of those other wonderful mommy-child moments that  we all seem to feel make up an idyllic early childhood. Continue reading

How I Use Singapore Math

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-18-58-pmI have a love/hate relationship history with Singapore Math.  It has really been awesome for my kids (and for me) to learn math the Singapore way.  I was always really good at math, but it has been shocking to see my mental math improvements over the last few years as I have taught my kids through this math program.  But it isn’t as easy to use as some other programs would have been, and there have been quite a few crisis moments when I thought I would throw the books out the window and grab something easier to use.   Continue reading

Vacation–to school or not to school

img_5468Whenever we go on vacation it is hard to know how much school to bring.  Should we bring any at all?  In my experience, it is a lot harder to get back into the groove of schooling after a vacation if we didn’t do anything while we were gone.  It usually takes the first week back to get into the routine of chores, instruments, and then school work again.  We get a little better each day, but a vacation of two weeks can turn into a three week loss if I don’t put in a little effort while we are gone. Continue reading

Home Painting Lessons

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This is Anna’s Aurora Borealis painting that she did last week by following an art tutorial from the youtube channel called, “The Art Sherpa.”

We live in a great time to homeschool or “afterschool.”  There are tons of resources that are available so that you really can give a first-class education at home (even if your own was less than superb).  I had worried about teaching art at home since I stopped taking art classes fairly early in my own education because of my interest in music.  (Isn’t it sad that schools funnel you into one art form or another?  I love that my kids don’t have to make the choice between 1st period orchestra class or 1st period pottery like I did.) Continue reading

Nature Journaling

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A page from The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling showcasing materials.

I have heard about Nature Journaling from my homeschool mom friends for the last 5 years.  Most of the avid Journalers are Charlotte Mason devotees, but getting out into nature and studying and observing seem to be something that homeschoolers from several different style backgrounds seem to agree on.  We have the opportunity to meet up with other homeschool students each month at a local wetland reserve, and I decided that we would get more into the nature journaling scene.

The first question to answer for me was, “How do you Nature Journal?”   Continue reading

We Choose Virtues

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When you homeschool, or really when you try to teach anything at home, you are limited by your own virtue level.  How consistent are you?  Do you get up every day and teach your children to [insert important life skill here]?  Do you model diligence as you tackle mundane tasks like doing the dishes?  Do you get up and do your math every day?

There is no teacher to make you do your homework.  There is no one to report to.  It is easy to let things slide and say that you will get to that subject tomorrow.  And suddenly too many tomorrows have come and gone.  This happened this last year in Latin for my oldest and cello for my next oldest.  I was feeling that frustrated feeling that comes when you feel ineffective.

My kids were probably 50%-ers in their least favorite subjects.  I sat and thought about how to address this and realized that I am a 50%-er too.  I was motivating for 2-4 days running and then I needed a break.  I started looking for something that would help me have more diligence and patience, and I stumbled across this gem of a program on my Facebook feed.

We Choose Virtues is exactly what I needed to fill the gap.   Continue reading