Homeschooling Tips

Tips and advice to make homeschooling easier.

Homeschool Tips to Keep Your Child Focused

Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips

The morning has been going great. You’re right on schedule. The kids are all quiet, seated nicely, doing their schoolwork…..except for that One. 

What are you going to do with him? 

He’s just not able to keep his mind on his work. If only he’d quit looking around , he’d be able to get something done.

Does this sound familiar? It does to me. I’ve had to deal with these types of problems with all of my kids, and here are some tips to help your child concentrate and stay focused to the task at hand. 

If you’d like to have a printable sheet with these tips already typed up, just click here for your free printable

 

  1. If your child tends to procrastinate on project and paper due dates, try setting a kitchen or cell phone timer. In this way, your child will know that as soon as the timer goes off, he/she can move on to something else.
  1. If your children are easily distracted by noise and people, try having them use earplugs when they do their work. Also, remove or turn off the tv, radio, computer, notifications, phone, etc. Avoid windows and people if they must see what others are doing.
  1. If your children can’t concentrate because it’s just too quiet, then try some background white noise, turn on a fan, have instrumental music playing softly in the background. Also, there are plenty of YouTube videos that have hours of library noises, coffee shop noises, etc., that help with having mundane sounds in the background
Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips

4. If your child is tired of sitting in one spot to study in, try moving to a different location in the house, or go to a public place altogether, like the library. Sometimes just being out of the house can give renewed energy and focus to the task at hand. It could be something as easy as just going out to sit in the car to do your work.

Help your child stay focused with these homeschooling tips
  1. If your child can’t complete tasks, try a check off list. Sometimes, just the satisfaction of getting to check something off a list is enough incentive for a child to get something done. Also, a school schedule of what subjects to be working on at what time, can help to focus a child so there are not any extra decisions to be made that will slow him/her up.
  1. If your child gets bored with the same old thing all the time, try using different colors of paper, pens, and highlighters to keep focused and add interest. Who doesn’t love a colorful organized paper to look at? Also, train your child that he/she will do better if they break up a big task into smaller chunks and let them take a five-minute break to get up and stretch.

Longer assignments can be broken up into different times of the day. For instance, do all the odd problems in the morning, and the even ones after lunch. Or, divide it by the front and back of a worksheet.

When trying to focus and learn textbook information, do a little reading, then summarize out loud. Have your child write out their own quiz questions on index cards, for added interest. To make a game of it, challenge your child to see how many questions and index cards he can come up with. 

If you would like these tips already typed up for you, just click here for your free printable

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How to Create a Mission-Minded Homeschool

make your homeschool mission-minded

STORY:  My husband, daughters, and I stood at the airport and watched my son get in line to board his plane to Ecuador for his medical missions trip.

He was excited to be going with the team, and he was anxious to be helping any way that he could so that the patients there could hear the Gospel message.

Not every child will have such an opportunity to go on a missions trip, but can we as parents help our kids be mindful of lost souls, and be aware of the men and women around them that are witnessing to folks locally and around the world?
I believe we can.

How Can We Keep Our Minds on Missions in our Homeschool?

Buy Christian Curriculum That Emphasizes Missions

My Father’s World, a Protestant based curriculum, does this very well.

When my kids and I did their geography for a year, I was blown away by the wonderful books that brought to life children in different lands, and missionary stories that were both happy and sad.

We really enjoyed that year of social studies and it was a real eye opener for all of us.

Read Books About Missionaries

Family story-time is a good time to share a missionary story.

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has excellent missionary stories that my kids have enjoyed over and over.

YWAM has missionary stories for two age groups. The ones for the elementary years are written in rhyming poetry, and have good pictures.

The set for middle school age to adult is in novel form. YWAM fills all of my personal criteria for a living book.

Do you know how to use living books in your homeschool? If not, here’s where there is help for you.

Make your homeschool mission-minded

Watch Videos About Missionaries

The Torchlighters DVD series are animated stories highlighting missionary lives.

They are done in a cartoon form, perfect for little people to get used to hearing missionary names like Corrie Ten Boom, Adoniram Judson, and George Mueller.

Christian Book Distributors has the Torchlighter videos, plus movies aimed for the older child and adults, such as C.T. Studd, and Steve Saint.

“You have one business on earth – to save souls.” – John Wesley

Get to Know A Current Missionary

This has been the BEST way to keep missions on our minds. Getting to know a missionary that is currently on furlough or on the field opens up a whole host of opportunities and ideas.

When your church has their missionary conference or a missionary visiting for a Sunday or service, be sure to attend. In this way, you can:

make your homeschool mission-minded

*Watch/listen to their report
*Get introduced to the part of the world that they are called to
*Introduce yourself to the missionary
*Sign up for their prayer letter
*Take their current prayer letter home with you
*Take their prayer card home with you
*Ask them to sign your Bible with their favorite verse
*Get to know their children, especially if they are your own kids’ ages
*Ask them if they would like to connect with you on social media
*Asking questions is a great way to break the ice and be memorable in the missionary’s mind
*Offer to take the missionary out for a meal, or have them to your home
*Provide lodging while the missionary is in town

Provide Support and Encouragement to Your Missionary

There are multiple ways to support a missionary:

A. Write their prayer requests in your prayer journal and pray for them daily.

B. Raise/collect money to support a project/need that the missionary has.

(You will need to obtain the missionary’s Mission Board address off of their prayer card or website to send the money to.
You should write on the check the project or the need so the mission board knows how and where to send your money.)

STORY: One missionary our church supported, had a need for a van to transport his family and community children to special church events and church services.
Thankfully, God provided the funds for our church to buy a van for them. My husband and I volunteered to drive the van to them, a few states away. We had a wonderful time delivering the van and staying two days.
Our kids became friends with their kids, and had a good time together.
This missionary was part of an aviation ministry. He offered us a plane ride, but unfortunately, because of time, we couldn’t take him up on the offer.
(I’ve never been on a plane before, so it worked out! (RELIEF!)
No, I’m sure the kids would have really enjoyed it, if we would have had time.

C. Acknowledge their birthday and anniversary

D. Send holiday cards or letters

E. Respond to their prayer letter and ask for updates on previous requests

F. Send a “praying for you” e-mail occasionally

G. Make a visit to their home, if possible

STORY: We had the privilege to visit a missionary family that was serving on an Indian reservation in the Dakotas. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and left on Monday morning. We had a great time with this family. The Saturday we were there, we were blessed to be able to pick potatoes, help with wood cutting, and can green beans. On Sunday, we attended their church. I was given the opportunity to teach the children’s class, and it was wonderful to meet the Indian children and their parents.
We were able to get so many pictures, and we have so many happy memories. It was really a great time.

H. Attend a special event or service that they host

STORY: My family also had the privilege to visit a drug rehabilitation facility that was located on a farm on the East coast. This special service was for the participants who had graduated from the rehab program. We were able to tour their facility, encourage them with our presence, and meet some of the guests that had completed the program. The missionary had a free meal for everyone, a time of testimonies, an award ceremony, and then all of the children in attendance got to have pony rides. Once again, we were able to get so many great pictures, and we have a lot of good memories of that visit.

I. Send their child a Christmas gift box (Beware if you send a box overseas. Make sure that the fee and time that the missionary has to pay to get the box is worth it, if the box gets delivered right to their door, then perfect!)

STORY: For a few years, our church was able to send a Christmas box to one of our missionaries in Liberia. This missionary lived in such a remote area that he had no address to send the box to! We were able to send it to the closest ship docking area, but the missionary had to travel there to receive the box. He couldn’t get the box though, unless he payed the fees to receive it. We took the chance that our box might be stolen or broken into, but it never was. Unfortunately, we had to stop sending the gifts because it was just too hard for the missionary to obtain.

STORY: Another missionary in Cameroon also received our gift boxes for a few years. The missionary wife had a great idea. She would only let her kids open one gift per day. (Every item was wrapped individually) In this way, Christmas lasted a while! They were so happy to receive even the simplest gift. Who would have thought that Jello would be a delicacy for them?

Sometimes, a mission board will be having a freight container being sent to the missionary. If you ask the mission board, sometimes your item can get on the container too! 

STORY: Our church was blessed to be able to send linens and toiletry items to a deaf school in the Philippines. It was really awesome to track the container, which was on a boat, across the globe. Unfortunately, it took months to get there, but it finally made it!

J.  If your missionary is part of an organization, organize a work-day.

STORY: One missionary we supported was a director of a homeless rescue mission in the city. We were blessed to be part of our church’s work group to spend a Saturday working at the mission. The men did construction and other type work, while us ladies worked at filling bags with gifts that would be given to the homeless on Christmas day. We all got a lot done that day, and we were a big help to the missionary.

Take Advantage of Your Missionary's Geography

Use the missionary’s geography as a starting point for more study.
You could find out:
1. The country name
2. The country’s flag
3. The population
4. The types of food the people eat
5. The climate
6. The type of housing
7. The main religion
8. The language

Take Advantage of Writing Opportunites

Here are a few ideas:
1. Become a pen pal with the missionary’s child
2. Ask the missionary if your child can be a pen pal with another child their age in the country where the missionary lives. That would be awesome for that child far away.
3. Conduct an interview and write a report on the missionary.

have a mission-minded homeschool

Art Assignment

Do you have any empty wall space? You can have your child make a mission wall and post a map, the missionary’s prayer card, and latest letters.

Bible Assignments

“If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers.” – Nina Gunter

Studying missionaries in the Bible is a great way to see how they spread the gospel.
People like Jonah, Paul, and Peter would be an excellent place to start!

Being mission-minded is a lot of fun, and it is incredibly awarding as you get to know your missionary.  

The more you correspond, talk about, help, and encourage your missionary, the more it will keep the missionary on your children’s minds, and in that way, your homeschool will be very mission-minded. Yeah!!!

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Homeschool Curriculum: Choose with Confidence

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

Choosing your homeschooling curriculum is no easy task. 

It’s hard comparing curriculum and trying to decide which one will be the best for you and your child. 

But it doesn’t have to be too difficult if you can figure out the basics first.

I’m going to let you in on my first steps so that you can look at the broad picture, and then narrow down your focus so that you can choose your next homeschool curriculum with confidence.

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

I should say, before we get too far, that I use an eclectic method to homeschooling. 

Being eclectic means that I pull curriculum, ideas, videos, and techniques from everywhere.

While this may sound like the perfect choice for some, beware, you have just opened up the whole entire world of curriculum publishers to peruse, analyze, and choose from. 

But don’t let that deter you, because once you find a curriculum publisher or series that fits you and your child, you will absolutely fall in love with it, and you will come back to it year after year.

So let’s get on with it.

Step One: Identify the Legal Requirements

Each state has its own requirements for what your child should be studying for each grade.

Now granted, it most likely is a generic subject that they will tell you, but you should still know if you need to find a tenth grade science class for Junior or if you’re going to need a fifth grade health class for Suzie.

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a page where you can choose your state and they will lead you to the information where you can find exactly what is required of you, according to your specific state laws. It’s very nice of them.

If you’re required to be under an oversight group’s supervision, then they also will most likely have some guidelines that you should follow to be compliant with the state laws. You’ll have to talk with your oversight administrator and make sure you have the exact details of what is required of your child for the coming year.

Most likely, for Kindergarten to fifth grade, you will need all the basic subjects: math, social studies/history, science, language arts (reading/phonics, writing, spelling, grammar), health, art and physical education.

For sixth through eighth grade, you will probably need all of the basic subjects, but you should also look into the fact that the subjects are getting harder. 

choose the best homeschool curriculum with confidence

More states now are requiring pre-algebra and introduction into geometry during the middle school years. Also, high school credits are now being opened up to middle schoolers, either required credits or voluntary credits. So it’s wise to know this stuff ahead of time, for your state.

High School is where the real fun begins as the basic subjects are now extremely focused into specific areas of study. 

Each state and oversight group rules will be able to tell you how many credits are required for each basic subject. 

For example, they’ll say you need three credits of science. So that could be biology, animal science, and veterinary science. 

You as the parent, will have to keep that in mind as you order curriculum. You certainly don’t want to order something that is not an interest or isn’t even a credit/class that is needed to graduate.

Step Two: Identify Your Personal Requirements

We as parents know there are items that we think our children should learn that is not taught in a textbook or curriculum. You may want to think of these things so that you can add them in. It’s nice to plan ahead.

For instance, I think computers are going to be around for a while. Don’t you? 

You may want to plan on a typing curriculum in the elementary years. 

 As your child grows, their computer skills should also increase.
It’s helpful to answer this question each year.
What do I think is important for my child to know about
computers right now?

Here is a list of possible ideas:
1. Computer basics
2. Computer and internet safety
3. Working with email
4. Using social media
5. Using word processing software
6. Web design
7. Blogging and Vlogging

How about Home Economics? I had this class when I was in middle school. It covered everything from cooking, cleaning, to personal hygiene. 

I remember that shop class was also a requirement. Now you may not have access to drill presses and big power tools, but being able to handle a hammer, nail, and a saw, could come in useful one day.

As your son gets older, you may want to consider a home improvement class that covers basic electricity, plumbing, heating & air conditioning, and landscaping.

Automotive fundamentals is not a bad class either. 

These types of classes may not be “required” but sometimes this basic stuff can get overlooked, and we are trying to raise our kids to be independent adults, right?

Step Three: Identify the Type of Teaching Assistance You will Need for Each Subject

Based on your own personality, interests, and talents, you will be able to figure out how much assistance you will need from a curriculum’s teacher’s book or publisher.

As you read through the descriptions below, think about each subject or topic that you decided on from above, and make a note on what you will be looking for in each teacher’s book, for each of those subjects.

#1: I am a confident teacher about this subject.

The teacher for this subject is o.k. with having a teacher’s book, but does not feel bound by it. 

The teacher’s own knowledge for this subject is high, so she does not need to be told in the manual what to say or ask, and what the student’s response should be.
This teacher is confident enough, where a general outline of topics may be all that is necessary to have.

This teacher enjoys teaching this subject so much that she is able to come up with her own creative ideas and supplemental materials to enhance her children’s learning. She does not feel that seeking out her own supplies is a burden for the ideas that she is able to come up with on her own.

#2: I am somewhat comfortable with this subject, but not one hundred percent sure.

The teacher for this subject would definitely prefer a teacher’s book that has the answers and examples on how to do problems. 

She likes to see the pages that are assigned for the day, but does not feel compelled to follow it strictly, because of her own interest in the subject. 

She would be happy with the option to use a “teacher asks/student says” format in the teacher’s manual for each lesson. 

She would like supplemental and creative ideas for experiments or crafts, along with the list of supplies that will be needed. She would like the option of being able to order these supplies to come ready-to-use, if time becomes a factor.

#3: I am not comfortable at all with this subject

This teacher honestly admits that she will need a high level of help with this subject.
She will not be able to deviate from a lesson plan because she will be learning along with her child. 

This teacher would be o.k. with another teacher teaching, but would still definitely need the answer key, with each answer explained and shown, how to do.

Any supplemental materials or creative options should be explained in detail, along with good pictures on how to do crafts or experiments. This teacher would really like to have that availability to have all supplemental books, videos, craft supplies, and/or experiment supplies come packaged, organized and ready-to-go, as all of her energy will be focused on getting through the subject.

“Dear Homeschool Mom, You’ve got this! God called you to it, and He will see you through it. Inhale Grace. Exhale Doubt.” 
― Tamara L. Chilver

Step Four: Identify Your Child's Learning Style According to Their Senses

Each person learns things differently, and it changes with time and maturity. There are three ways that our senses help us to learn.
Analyzing your child, to see which way of learning is the most prominent, will help you know what to look for when choosing your curriculum. 

* Visual Learner: 

a child that is a visual learner, seems to remember what they see and can recall information just from visually picturing it again, in their mind. 

Some may say this child has a photographic memory. This child enjoys plenty of colorful pictures, diagrams, maps, videos, and labels. 

Memorizing spelling words comes easy.

* Auditory Learner: 

This child remembers what she hears. 

She may not need to be looking at the video to remember and retain what was said. You would probably never say that what you say to this child goes in one ear and out the other. 

This child enjoys and can remember songs, jingles, commercials, and facts that are put to music. 

This child also has the ability to do more than one thing at a time. He/she can be doing something with his/her hands, but also be listening and memorizing what is being said.

 

* Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner: 

This child learns best with hands-on learning and moving around physically.

 If you can make a concept more concrete instead of abstract, this child will understand it better and faster. Building a history lesson with play-do or blocks will keep this child more engaged and interested and then he/she will remember the lesson more. 

This type of learner, requires more work for the teacher to come up with creative ideas to make the abstract principle more concrete.

Step Five: Putting it all Together

Now, all you have to do is evaluate your
curriculum choices based on
the options that you chose above. It’s like a puzzle.

Make sure you know:

  •  What subject/topic that you need
  •  What kind of support that you will
    be looking for from the publisher or
    in the teacher’s manual for that
    subject.
  •  What kind of learning style(s) does
    the curriculum cater to. 

When you find what looks great and all
the pieces of the puzzle fit well, it’s a
good chance this curriculum will
work for you.

Choose your homeschool curriculum with confidence

Step Six: Get Connected

Homeschooling tips, free resources, curriculum reviews, and courses will be coming your way. In order for you not to miss any of the good stuff, just fill out the form below. 

I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

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How to Homeschool Effectively with Living Books

Finding curriculum for your homeschooled child can sometimes be an overwhelming task. There are a lot of different choices and styles out there, and today, I want to help you investigate using living books for your kids and help you see that they are an excellent option to teach with.

What is a living book?

Good question to start off with! A living book can be fiction, non-fiction, or even a biography.
The book brings the subject and people to life. Hence the word “living”. Living books are so much more than this though.


They are memorable, they capture our interests, they hook us in and stimulate our feelings. They make us think, but are also very enjoyable.


For me personally, a great living book will also have a lot of conversation between the characters, and the characters will also portray good morals and values that would set excellent examples for my children.


Let me give you two choices and see if you can guess which one would qualify as a portion in a living book.

Meriwether Lewis sat quietly on the ground, his back against the rough bark of a large tree. Nearby, the Missouri River gently rippled, as it flowed away from him.
He glanced at the towering mountains that loomed ahead of him on his journey.
“How are we going to do it?”, thought Lewis. “How are we supposed to get over those mountains?”
Lewis’ brow furrowed as he contemplated the next movements for his team, the Corps of Discovery.
They needed to get over those mountains as fast as they could, before winter set in. Hopefully the Pacific Ocean was just on the other side of them.

Now compare that to this:
The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. It began near St. Louis, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery was a selected group of US Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark. (Wikipedia)

Could you tell which section would possibly be found in a living book? I hope so! It was the first section. There was emotion, a conflict, some conversation/thoughts, and details of the scenery. Could you picture the scene in your mind? 

What did you picture when you read the section from wikipedia?

THE ADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING WITH
LIVING BOOKS

1. Your child can and will learn with living books.
Let me ask you a question. Do you have an easier time remembering a story that was told to you, or a list of facts? For me and my children, it’s the story.


When a book becomes so interesting that the child just doesn’t want to stop reading it, learning will occur. Their brain is taking in all of the words, details, and mental imagery, and the topic, subject, or person is literally coming to life in their mind. They will remember it.

 
When you read the story out loud to them, they will actively listen and remember it as their mind pictures the story happening, and the conflict resolving. They won’t be bored with a living book, and their mind won’t wander like it will with boring facts.

2. Their interest in a book will drive them to want to learn more about that topic or person.
For instance, as I was growing up, I was very interested in the medical field. I began reading stories about people that had overcome great physical or mental obstacles in their life, and these people went on to make their life wonderful!


It wasn’t just the triumph over tragedy saga that caught my attention, it was the physical therapy that they had to go through, the surgeries, the hospital settings, the psychiatrists, the wounds and treatments, etc. 


Just by reading about people having to get those kinds of things done, I was learning about different diseases, diagnoses, and medical terminology. 


These stories just kept fueling my desire to learn more and more and more! And by the way, I was blessed to be able to graduate from nursing school, and I enjoy using my nursing skills to help others.

THE DISADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING WITH
LIVING BOOKS

Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages of using just living books.
1. The biggest one for me was the fear that I was not covering all of the topics that a secular or even a private school social studies textbook was.


I learned quickly though, that even if I didn’t cover a large time period or a large topic list, that my kids were remembering more of just these topics than what a public school kid was by reading through a textbook quickly.


I grew up in a public school, and I can tell you the truth. I have learned so much more with these living books than I ever did in my school classrooms.

2. Good books are hard to get rid of! This means that you’ll have to find room to store them. I know that I have a ton of stories that I want to save for my grandchildren one day. I want them to have the same happiness reading them as I have had.

3. Lesson planning with living books takes work. You have to plan ahead your activities, book sections to read, videos to watch, etc. But… it’s worth it, if you have the time to plan it out yourself.

HOW DO YOU HOMESCHOOL
WITH LIVING BOOKS?

First choose a topic or person. Suppose you already have an interest in Clara Barton. (Gotta keep with the medical stuff, ya know?) So, start at the library and get a few books on her.
When you flip through the book, I always look to see if there is conversation. I don’t like to see: she did this, and then she did that, etc. That gets boring.

You want signs of life in the book. As you peruse the pages, look at their language. I always do a quick skim and look for curse words. I put those books back.
If the book has pictures in it, that is perfectly fine. 

I love books that have maps or diagrams in the front, and also historical notes in the back. Sometimes there will be real-life pictures in those historical notes.
These kinds of books are usually keepers. 

When you get home, if the book you’re interested in is short enough, go ahead and read it.  Keep a pen and paper handy to write down some further study notes and any ideas you may come up with.

For example, every story has a setting.  Since you’re reading about a topic or person, you’ll want your child to learn where that place is on the map.  So that is number one.

Next, what is the date of the event or person’s life span? When you figure that out, you can start a timeline of the event/person’s life, or see what else was happening in the world around this time as well.

Third, as you read make a list of topics or ideas that come to mind that you could use for creative ideas.


For example, with Meriwether Lewis he kept a journal of the animals and plants that he saw. So, while your learning about Lewis, have your child keep a nature journal. Learn to draw trees, plants, and animals. 

You can even use different kinds of mediums to do your art with. Such as markers, watercolor paints, pencil, and colored pencil. If drawing isn’t your style, use modeling clay and sculpt some birds or squirrels!

Clara Barton ideas are fun for me. Have your child bandage you up. They could practice wrapping up your forehead, or putting your arm in a sling. Don’t forget to let your child take a picture!

After your story is over and if the topic was interesting, you’ll want to gather some supplemental items. If you want to read another book on that person, go ahead. Check out YouTube, the History channel, Nova, and Discovery. The library also has videos and if your library has online videos, these are nice to use as well. 

You can gather craft books or search online for different crafts for that era, or even look for recipes to try for different types of food.

Lapbooking is good to do if your child likes to cut and paste. These types of folders are wonderful to look at in years to come.

 I always enjoyed notebooking. Keeping your maps, written work, and timelines organized in one place. This is a great keepsake as well.
Whatever you do, don’t make this mistake that I did!

HOW TO TEST KNOWLEDGE
WITH LIVING BOOKS

Testing isn’t always essay questions or multiple choice. You can find out if your child is remembering details just by talking with him/her. 

The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling stresses the importance of narration. Narration is the skill of summarizing and then verbalizing what you have heard and learned. 

I did this a little bit with my kids, but basically I just asked them what they remembered from our reading yesterday. Any other type of open-ended questions also works well.

When you do the lapbooking or notebooking this is also a good way to evaluate your child. It’s not a test but just the action of your child writing down what they remember is good for them.

WHERE CAN I GET LIVING BOOKS?

The library is a great place to start. Keep your ears open for books sales coming up in your area, and attend those. You can also find some good bargains at yard sales. Look for covers that pertain to either a real life person, or a historical event. 

Living book lists can be found online and are also a great place to start if you want to buy online or from amazon. 

When you get a book title you may be interested in, see if there is a book review written on that book online.

 I have a book review and free workbook and answer key written for Abraham Lincoln Gets His Chance. This book is available free with Amazon’s kindle edition.  

 

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR
LIVING BOOK LIBRARY

Over the years I’ve collected more books and more books and more books. I have learned to keep my books organized. Nothing is worse than having to hunt through your home for one little paper backed book that you know you have “somewhere”. 

My system starts with all of the biographies. I have them arranged alphabetically by last name. 

Next I have my books arranged by event. The events are in chronological order. So all of the World War I books are in front of World War II, etc. 

It gets tricky with people like Abraham Lincoln. Do you put him in the biography section or with the Civil War?

I chose to keep Lincoln with the Civil War, and Washington with the Revolutionary War, etc. I figured my biography section was for people that only had one or two books to their name. Lincoln and Washington have a ton, so I put them all together in one group with “their” war. 

Finally, I like to collect series. When you find a great book, it’s always nice to have book 2, 3, & 4! I keep my series together. Usually they deal with the same event, and are easy to find on the shelf. 

Sometimes the same publisher prints different people’s biographies. You may end up with ten biographies that all look similar on the spines. Since these are biographies I do separate them. 

And for the final tip about your library, I have found that when you remove a book, or let someone borrow a book, use a sticky note to write the book title, date, and person that borrowed it and place the sticky note where the book will be replaced. It works wonders to help keep your library organized!

Using living books has been a wonderful addition to my homeschool. I hope that you find as much fulfillment with them as I have. 

Due to my love for these types of stories, I will be posting living book reviews along with study guides and workbooks on this site. You don’t want to miss any of it! 

If you wish to subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when a new review and guide is being made available.

 I look forward to meeting you. Happy reading!

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How to Overcome the Worst Homeschooling Mistake in 2019

My husband and I walked into Jill’s home. We had an appointment with her and her husband to discuss homeschooling. John and I wanted to learn more, and see what the homeschooling life was really like.

Jill was the first person I ever knew that was homeschooling her kids. I met her when I was about twelve, and when I found out she taught her kids at home, I instantly fell in love with the idea, and knew, at that very moment, that I was going to homeschool my kids too.

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was that she and her children were talking to each other in French.

She told me that they were all learning French together. I thought that was really cool and neat, that the whole family would learn a new language together.

As she and her husband talked with John and I, she told us about how they all built this gigantic t-pee out in the backyard when they were studying Indians.

The projects that her family completed were very inspiring to me. I wanted to do those cool things too.

I wanted my homeschool to be fun and memorable like that too.

When I actually started homeschooling, Zachery had trouble. He had speech difficulties, and he wasn’t able to read well. Math was extremely difficult for him, even though he wanted to learn and do well for me.

During our school days, by the time we got finished our “necessary” work, we were both tired and we each wanted to go do our own things.

We never did build a t-pee in the backyard, and our family never learned French together.
Without even knowing it, I had fallen into a comparison pothole, and my pothole was a biggie.
I knew I wanted our schooling to be fun, but there was no way that I could do big projects, like Jill’s family had done.

I had to give myself permission to say that our homeschooling was just fine. If Zachery and I had to move at a slower pace, and only got done the “necessary” work, then that was ok.

Instead of relying on hands-on projects to make our schooling fun, I found that the best thing I could do for my children was to read to them.

I scoured the internet for book lists that were kid favorites. We went often to the library. I read books and stories before bedtime, and I always read in the car.

I realized that through these stories, my kids’ imaginations were making these experiences come to life. Historical events and science inventors’ lives were coming alive and my kids were learning in a fun way. It worked for us.

And now, I know that I should have never felt like a failure. I should have never felt like I wasn’t doing enough.

If I had to do it all over again, what would I do differently?

#1: Pray. God is there to help you. He has given you your child to take care of and to teach about Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He can hear you and He cares about your difficulties.

#2: Dwell on the positive. Think or write down all of the positive things you can think of about what and how your kids’ are learning?
Are your kids kind?
Have they been taught to behave in public?
Are your kids improving in the “necessary” subjects?
Are your kids obedient?
Do they think of others’ needs?
Do they love God?
There’s a lot of avenues you can go down with this, but if you are teaching them how to live,especially for God, then you are doing wonderful work.

#3: Record your kids doing some school work. Have them read a story, play an instrument, do math drills in front of a video camera. In a month’s time, have them do it again. You and your kids will see a difference. It’s a great way to monitor how much your kids are learning and how much they change!

#4: Be real with yourself on what you can accomplish. If you really have it in your heart to build that t-pee in the backyard, and you also have 12 more big ideas you want to do, think about your schedule, your strength, and your ambition. If it would be easier for your family to just build that t-pee at the end of the school year for an end-of-the-year fun finale, then just plan it then. If you can’t do a big project everyday, it’s ok. Your kids will grow up to be competent adults, I promise.

#5: Contact me. I would feel honored if you e-mailed me, and let me know how things are going for you. I read all of my e-mails and will get back to you personally.

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