Free Ebook to Help Make Your Kids Confident Writers + Freebies Giveaways Link Up

Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 14

Welcome to Week 14 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far! and Thank YOU for showing up and participating in the giveaways and freebies!

This Week’s Ebook Download is sponsored by Fortuigence

(this post contains affiliate links)

Fortuigence Free Ebook Image

Do you think that teaching writing to your kids is hard?  Apparently you’re not the only one!  (I know, I do, too!)

You give them an assignment…..

“Go write a short story”, you say.

They sit there, staring at the blank piece of paper.

Just start writing, you think to yourself.  But they’re stumped.  They’re overwhelmed……

Well, Fortuigence (who  also happens to be my absolute favorite way for my older children to learn writing) has written an ebook on the subject.  It’s called:

End Blank Page Terror Forever:  24 Pre-Writing Tools and Guidebook to Organize Content, Take Notes with Ease and Make Your Kids Confident Writers!

Sounds awesome doesn’t it?



Access and download this FREE workbook that shows you how to bypass the blank page. End Blank Page Terror Forever! 24 Pre-Writing Tools and Guidebook to Organize Content, Take Notes with Ease and Make Your Kids Confident Writers does just that.

Not only does this workbook give you an assortment of 24 pre-writing activities, but there’s a guided explanation of when and how to use each and every one of them. All in all, these pre-writing activities — using teaching tools called graphic organizers — along with the guide will show you and your kids how to:

  • Break up the start of a writing project into small, easy-to-manage pieces,
  • Brainstorm ideas,
  • Organize content,
  • Take notes from a text,
  • Avoid a negative attitude toward writing, and
  • Build your kids’ confidence in their ability to write well!

Fortuigence’s goal is to help kids become better writers.

While they have a number of online courses available for middle and high school students, they want to support all parents to help their kids become confident writers. In this workbook, they share the writing tools they use with students in our their online writing courses. They especially want to support homeschooling families, because teaching every subject to kids at different grade levels is a gigantic amount of work!

Would you like to get this free e-book?  Enter your email address below:

  Be sure to check out my Review of Fortuigence and The Essay Rockstar here.  

Are You Interested in a FREEBIE, just for Parents, too?!

free writing course If you are interested in learning more about teaching writing, be sure to sign up for Fortuigence’s free course for parents called  ”Top Teach: 7 Steps to Gain the Confidence, the Know How and an Easy to Follow Framework to Ensure Your Child Learns to Write Well at Home“.  


If you’d like more information about Essay Rock Star (one of Fortuigence’s writing courses available for purchase), be sure to check out their site by clicking on the picture below.  There you will learn how the course works, screen shots of actual communication between the teacher and student, You Tube videos and more!

Essay Rockstar Image

Other Giveaways & Freebies

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

FREEbie: Easter Cross Luminary

*This post contains affiliate links.

My boys absolutely love craft time, and the holidays are always the perfect “excuse” for a new craft! With Easter right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to create a homemade Easter Cross Luminary.

*Be sure to read all the way through to download the FREEbie!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Books are an integral part of our educational journey, so anytime we embark on a holiday-themed craft, I always try to find great books to accompany the fun. Here are some of our favorite Easter books:

  • The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty – This is perhaps one of my favorite children’s books of all time. There are several versions of this story available, but I personally prefer this one by Catherine McCafferty. In this beautifully illustrated book is the story of three trees with big dreams. When the woodcutters come to chop them down, they fear their dreams won’t be realized. Instead, they learn that God’s plan is always bigger and perfect!
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Mike Berenstain – I’ve always been a fan of The Berenstain Bears, both the books and TV show. The wholesome stories share valuable life lessons that are relatable for kids. In The Berestain Bears and the Easter Story, Papa and the cubs are lured by the commercialism of Easter. But Mama is there to remind them of the true reason for the holiday and why we celebrate it.
  • The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg VandenBosch – One of our all-time favorite Christmas books is The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered she had another book for the Easter holiday, The Legend of the Easter Egg! This treasure of a book includes gorgeous illustrations and brings a new perspective on the meaning of Easter eggs as an example of the miracle of Easter.
  • Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco – We first discovered author Patricia Polacco when our K-3 Book Club read The Bee Tree together and have been a fan ever since. In this uniquely illustrated book, we learn lessons about love and kindness, along with the beautiful tradition of Ukrainian-style Easter eggs.

Easter Recommended Book List

After enjoying these fabulous Easter books, we had fun making Easter Cross Luminaries! This is a craft that is simple, inexpensive and fun for the whole family. For a supplies list, instructions, and Easter Cross templates, download our Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary FREEbie today!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Kat ReaderKat is the proud mama to 3 incredible boys. Her family began their homeschooling journey in 2006 when her oldest was in 2nd grade, and the twins were barely 6 months old. She’s passionate about researching resources and activities that allow her children to use all of their senses and learning styles, which she shares at World of Learning. In her “spare time”, she’s a Virtual Assistant, creating printables, logos, business cards and more, and providing editing services.  Connect with Kat on FacebookTwitterPinterest andGoogle +.

Tips From A (Self-Proclaimed) “Curriculum Junkie”

Tips from a Self Proclaimed Curriculum Junkie


The season for shopping for new curriculum is fast approaching. For a curriculum junkie like myself, that can be both exciting and overwhelming. I have purchased everything under the sun in hopes of finding exactly what I’m looking for. But guess what? Even I, myself have no clue what exactly that is. So, before you begin your search for a curriculum that fits your needs, I hope you’ll follow my advice.

1). Make a list of your goals for the upcoming school year. If you have an outline of what you hope to accomplish, you’ll have a better chance of narrowing down your items of choice.

2). Describe the method you’d like to use. Do you like literature based? Are you strictly workbook based? Do you like the idea of doing unit studies or notebooking? This will certainly help narrow your curriculum choices down.

3). Do you plan on purchasing a complete boxed set or does the idea of purchasing books of your choice and compiling them to create a curriculum catered to your teaching approach sound more appealing? This is where I struggle every single time. I love a “grab and go” complete boxed set. With 4 kids ages 6 and under, it is so appealing to me to just open an instructors manual and follow the directions. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase a complete set that fits my style. This has become a very expensive habit. We have so much curriculum sitting in our shelves and not being used because, well, I haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for. Whatever “that” is.

4). Another important thing to keep in mind is what learning style your homeschool child has, and remember, not every child will learn the same! What works perfect for one child may not appeal to another. So, it’s important to be open-minded.

5). What budget do you have set aside for homeschool curriculum and supplies? That will narrow your choice down greatly and remember, some of the best curriculum is free! Library visits, field trips, nature walks; these can be one of the best parts of your homeschool plan!

6). Do you like the idea of a digital program (software, iBooks, etc) or is print-based a better fit? This is another topic I struggle with. I love the idea of my kids taking books (iBook/kindle form) wherever we go and not losing a paper book in the process of getting from point A to point B. I love the idea of pages not getting ripped, book covers written on, not needing storage space for yet another item, etc. But I also love the idea of them using a paper book, feeling the pages, reading a book and not using technology for everything.

7). Used or new? Do you like to be frugal and purchase used items or even borrow them? Or do you veer more in the direction of purchasing new?

I lean towards boxed curriculum, but my husband (who is referred to as “The New Farmer” on my blog) loves to piece our curriculum together using books and supplies he feels are important to use. We grab several books in all subject areas and create curriculum that works best for our kids.

Over the next several months (especially this summer) you’ll find an abundance of wonderful blogs showing their curriculum choices for the new year. I absolutely love reading about everyone’s choices! We’ll hopefully have ours narrowed and picked soon and will certainly post about our choices on my blog!

Best wishes and blessings to you and your family as you start planning for the new year!


Tammy CarrollTammy is the owner of The New Farmer’s Wife blog.  She and her husband recently decided to give farming a try and she’s blogging all about their adventures.  Take a moment to stop on by!

Free Resources for Homeschooling High School


Free Resources for Homeschooling High School

Curriculum can be expensive, especially when you purchase a program or material that is sub par.  I love finding top-notch curriculum that helps meet our family’s homeschooling high school needs, while staying within our budget.  My son is taking Chemistry, Driver’s Education, Geometry, English Language Arts, US History, and Physical Education during the 2013-2014 10th grade school year.  Geometry, English Language Arts, and US History are all free!


For Geometry, we are currently using Khan Academy, . My son had used Khan Academy for several subjects when finishing up 9th grade.  I like that Khan Academy has a variety of interactive practice tools to aid in comprehension. If the student gets stuck, they can go through step-by-step hints to further aid in the development of skills.  Khan Academy is constantly adding more subjects and continues to enhance their site.  My son learns better with anything hands on and this is really the only area where Khan Academy, like many online based curriculums, is lacking.

Language Arts

With English Language Arts, I had several goals in mind:  increase vocabulary, learn to love reading, prepare for PSAT and SAT exams. I wanted to expose my son to a variety of authors and styles and I was excited when I came across curriculum for an Honors English 10th grade class in a surrounding town, which led us to the quest theme incorporating writing skills into his curriculum.  He’s read and written about Beowulf, Of Mice and Men, No Easy Day, and MacBeth so far. If we did not already have the book, I found the text online for free.  Free PSAT and SAT prep, as well as, ACT prep can be found online at .  Here you can practice, register, and plan for these tests and get lists of vocabulary words to know.

US History

For US History, we are using the AP course on Hippo Campus,  The material follows along in a chronological order and there is a portion you read, a video, and usually document images to investigate and think about or answer questions about.  I am excited that they also have a variety of other subjects available, but I have not yet had a chance to review them.

Other Subjects

With my son’s other subjects, we are using pay programs, especially where we had to purchase all the lab materials for Chemistry. I realize Physical Education normally is free, but my son has taken up swing dancing,  $10 a week, and is on a Native American folk dancing team And we have put a fair amount of money towards his regalia.


Melissa ReadMelissa is in her first year of homeschooling her teenaged son, while working part-time.  She enjoys the simple life, but her husband is a super techie.  It’s an interesting balance as Melissa strives to learn more homesteading skills, while her husband is playing the latest Xbox game.  Find Melissa’s Facebook page:  Minor in Homeschool.



Bringing History to Life

Living History Title | Homeschool Survival

They say it is important to know our history so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. While this may be true, many find studying history to be boring and irrelevant. How can we capture our children’s interest so they learn the wonderful lessons history has to offer?  How are we bringing history to life?

Problem: History = Boring, Irrelevant, Uninteresting

My own experience with history is that it was dry and unconnected. I read snippets of someone else’s interpretation of events and tried to memorize long lists of dates. My eyes would glaze over, my brain would zone out. I have a tiny recollection of studying the Ancient Greeks in my high school World Civ class, but I more clearly remember the monotone voice and polyester pantsuits my teacher wore. I can tell you exactly what the cover of my American History text looked like, even the title, but I cannot remember any information contained within that thick book.

How can we make History studies a better experience for our children? We can look for opportunities that would help make learning come alive for our children. In our homeschool, history studies include reading as many biographies and first-hand accounts of people and events as we can. Reenacting the accounts we read about, discussing the events and the differences in their lives and ours at the dinner table or around the school table help reinforce what we’ve read.

Living History 2  Apron Strings & other things

Solution: A Living History Museum

Anything we can do to help connect our children to their history will help reinforce the lessons that can be learned from history and make the future so much brighter. How about a Living History Museum? Have you ever seen the movie ‘Night at the Museum’? Where the displays come alive at night? Next month that is exactly what will be happening with our homeschool support group. We’ll be stepping back in history, meeting the famous and reliving memorable events that have influenced our lives today. This is how we accomplish it:

  1. Invite all participants to research the life of an important person in history. Learn all they can about that person, their lifestyle, family, circumstances, events in their lives.
  2. Prepare a display of some type and step into their hero’s shoes. Collect samples of tools and items that person may have used, learn a skill they might have known, find/create clothing that is typical of that time period.
  3. Learn the names and places of their family, their home, their occupation.
  4. Be ready to represent this person to those visiting our museum. Child will interract with visitors explaining how an event or invention or discovery came about, from the first person point of view.
  5. Invite your friends, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles, others interested in homeschooling or skeptical about educating children at home.
  6. Open the doors and walk back in time! Have fun! Absorb! Learn!


Laura Ingalls | Homeschool Survival

At our Living History Museum last year, we met Israelites who were at the Wall of Jericho when it fell and Queen Esther with King Xerxes. What a treat it was to meet Laura Ingalls, barefoot with her sunbonnet hanging down her back, practicing her letters on  a slate. Oh! and one of the Wright Brothers. We conversed with Betsy Ross as she worked on the first flag of our new nation, she had some interesting tales to share. Let’s not forget Sally Ride. She even had some freeze dried ice cream for us to sample, just like the astronauts ate when they were in space. Our children brought history to life for their grandparents and neighbors and learned some things along the way. What a great educational opportunity! History, Reading, Speech, Language, Writing, Art, Woodshop, HomeEc, Science, Geography – these are just some of the subjects we covered while preparing for this big assignment.

I wonder who we’ll meet at our Living History Museum this year? Who would you most like to meet?


stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.



Home Educating Family Homeschool Planner & Wall Calendar Giveaway ++ MORE!


Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 7

Welcome to Week 6 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far!

Last week’s winner of the Fortuigence Giveaway is:  Kat R.

Kat R.  Congratulations!  I will be in touch shortly.

If you’re new here:  We are hosting one giveaway each Monday that is put together especially for homeschooling families!   We’ll have pampering items, curriculum, e-books, print books and more!  After the giveaway, we’re  featuring a spot where other bloggers can share a link to their own giveaways that they’re hosting on their own blogs.  It’ll be fun!  It’s a great place to come where you can enter several giveaways for homeschoolers AND get some freebies for homeschoolers all at once.  Plus, it’s an easy way to get to know some new products and try them out for yourself.

This Week’s Giveaway is Hosted by Home Educating Family!

Enter to win this Wall Calendar and Homeschool Planner!

HEDUA is giving away a 2013-2014 Well Planned Day planner and a 2013-2014 Well Planned Day Wall calendar to one, lucky winner!

The Well Planned Day 2013-2014 Family Homeschool Planner

Homeschool Planner

  • Spiral Bound with Three Hole Drilled to Fit into Binders
  • Over 230 Full Color Pages
  • Full Year Planner: July 2013 – June 2014
  • Home Management with weekly cleaning schedule, monthly projects, greeting card registry, and monthly budgeting.
  • Holiday Organization Section: Greeting card registry, activities and event schedules, gift giving, around town shopping, and internet shopping.
  • Organize and plan for up to 4 children in one convenient book.
  • Four Student Class Plans: Schedule each student’s class assignments.
  • Four Student Time Schedules: Track each day by the hour.
  • Weekly Schedule: Organize your week with class assignments, weekly priorities, prayer requests, dinner menu, and notes.
  • Month at a Glance: Plan field trips, enrichment activities and books to read
  • Semester Attendance & Progress Reports
  • Perforated Report Cards
  • Menu Planning: Plan weekly meals and conveniently shop with perforated shopping lists.
  • Family Worship: Read through the Bible in a year.
  • Insightful homeschool articles and tips to inspire you throughout the year.
  • and much more….

– See more here

The 2013-2014 A Well Planned Day Wall Calendar

HEDUA Wall Calendar

  • Large day grids with ample writing room
  • Fits in a calendar frame or can be placed on a refrigerator or wall.
  • High quality paper for durability

– See more here.

Giveaway Time!

Would you like the chance to win a homeschool planner AND a Family Wall Calendar?  Just enter your details into the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Giveaways & Freebies:

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

Teach Kindness and Your Children Will Rise

Teach Kindness & Your Children Will Rise!

It was an ordinary Tuesday.   I had finished working at noon, and my son had begun working on his lessons.  I headed into the shower and while washing my face, I heard my dogs going nuts downstairs.  They were barking, growling, and howling.  I knew someone had to be either on the porch, or in the yard, as they don’t get that excited otherwise.  This irritated me!  Maybe because I felt vulnerable due to the timing of a visitor.   My dogs were upset and my son’s lessons were interrupted, and I got myself all worked up and annoyed.  I hollered out to my son, to see if he could see what the commotion was and a man was leaving the yard.  I knew it must be the fellow pilfering through our trash and recycling bins, but I felt invaded as he was on the property.  After all, it wasn’t trash day, and he’d have his opportunity curbside, the following day.

When I finished my shower and got dressed, I stormed into our office and announced I was going to go locate this man and give him a piece of my mind.  I was going to tell him not to come into the yard again, as it upsets the dogs.  I was also going to let him know that I don’t recycle cans and bottles, as I return them myself, and there would be no need for him to return.  My son just looked at me and then I went off downstairs.

I Was Being Schooled and He Was 100% Right

Be Kind

A few minutes later, my son came downstairs and said, “Ok mom, we can go find him if you want.”  I glanced over and looked at him questioningly and then he continued, “I think instead of giving him a piece of your mind though, you should give him a granola bar.”  Huh?  “Well mom, if he’s looking for returnables, then that means he needs money, and if he needs money, he is probably hungry, so we should give him granola bars so he isn’t hungry anymore.”  I was being schooled and he was 100% right and then some.  Love this kid!  I agreed instantly and told my son we should bring him water too, because if he’s been riding his bicycle all day looking for cans and bottles, he’s likely grown thirsty.

We loaded up a plastic bag with granola bars and waters and filled another bag with bottles and cans to return. Then, we got in the car and drove around looking for this man.  He was not too far, only the next street over.  We turned around, pulled over, and my son hopped out and handed him our offering.  This man was so grateful and I was humbled by my son’s kindness.  I really felt a fool for having gotten so upset to begin with.  I was so thankful that my son was now homeschooled to be present at that time to rise above and teach me this lesson.

Being Homeschooled Has Allowed My Son to Overcome  Adversities

I taught my son to be kind.  He had learned this and was living this, but I was not practicing kindness or thoughtfulness at the moment of the dogs freaking out that day.  My son reminded me to see the good and take a different perspective with situations.  Being homeschooled has allowed my son to overcome the adversities he experienced from public school with bullying, assaults, a friend’s suicide, saving another friend from suicide, and overall high school drama.  During the roughest of times, I feared I would lose him to his attackers, but he is still with us and better than ever!

Have your children faced struggles or taught you invaluable lessons?  How did you overcome the struggles or learn from the lessons?




FREE Multiplication Software ($21.99 Value) A+ Interactive Math Giveaway ($375 value)


Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  Are you having fun yet?  If your’e new here, here’s how it works:

We are hosting one giveaway each Monday that is put together especially for homeschooling families!   We’ll have pampering items, curriculum, e-books, print books and more!  After the giveaway, we’re  featuring a spot where other bloggers can share a link to their own giveaways that they’re hosting on their own blogs.  It’ll be fun!  It’s a great place to come where you can enter several giveaways for homeschoolers AND get some freebies for homeschoolers all at once.  Plus, it’s an easy way to get to know some new products and try them out for yourself.

A+ Interactive Math Giveaway & FREEBIES


Enter for Your Chance to Win a Family Package for up to 3 students for FREE from A+ Interactive Math – valued at over $375

What is the Family Package?

A+ Interactive Math Family Packages Giveawa

Our family packages begin with options for 2 students, and go up from there. Whether you have 2 or 12 students to teach – we have an affordable plan for you. For just pennies a day, you can give your children the comprehensive math curriculum that does the teaching for you, and uses all 3 of the main teaching models. Whether your children learn best through audio, visual, or text, their needs are met with A+.

Besides the extreme affordability of the family packages, the ability to change grade levels provides your students the flexibility they need to master content and move on at their own pace. Read about the brand new Family Packages on the blog here.

These flexible Family Packages will officially launch on February 17 – but you can enter to win one here now! You can even use it for this year or next!!!

Here’s more information about the A+ Interactive Math Program, directly from their website:

colorful graphics for A+ Interactive Math

Our Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Curriculum Software makes learning MATH fun and easy by using audio, computer animated visuals and text. It is designed to keep your child’s attention. It includes comprehensive course contents that meet and exceed state standards. It provides ample opportunity to learn using as many real-life situations as possible and practice problem solving with step-by-step solutions.

3 learning modalities

Student Features:

* Concise and to-the-point lessons with all three learning modalities (Audio, Computer Animated Visuals and Text) to increase understanding of concepts.
* Interactive Review helps identify and close learning gaps immediately as it automatically re-teaches concepts with audio, visuals and text.
* Enhances student learning by allowing them to practice problem solving with real-time feedback and step-by-step instructions.
* Automatically generated worksheets and exams that can be completed online with instant automatic grading.
* Review each question for online worksheets and exams with step-by-step solutions.
* Progress reports allow student to track their own progress.
* Printable worksheets and exams allow flexibility to practice problem solving in a more “traditional way” with pen & paper.
* Curriculum Book provides easy access to lessons in eBook format.
* Worksheets and Exams Solution Guides provide step-by-step solutions to each printable worksheet and exam.
* Reference sheets provide easy access to facts and formulas.

Parental Features:

* Recommended Lesson Plan
* Instant online grading
* Parental controls allow parents to lock solution guides
* Progress reports identify areas of strengths and weaknesses
* Ability to print worksheets/exams and enter students’ scores to track progress for all work

Subscribe to A+ Newsletter for Free Math Flashcard Printables and enjoy FREE Interactive Multiplication lesson for Elementary and Middle School Students!

Subscribe Today!  You will need to confirm your subscription by clicking a link in a followup email sent after you submitted subscription. Download your FREE Math Flashcards to be used in drills for math facts and games!

Free Multiplication Supplement Software for Subscribers of Homeschool Survival

To get your FREE Multiplication Supplement ($21.99 value ) Software from A+ Interactive Math, subscribe today!

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for your FREE Gift!

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Buy It Today!

Would you like to buy the A+ Interactive Math program?  You can get 20% off today.  Just to the A+ site  with this link and your exclusive discount will be automatically deducted upon check out.  The Online program is currently on sale from $124.99 to only $99 and your special discount will be taken from there – giving you the additional 20% off of the sale price!! 

Enter the Giveaway Below

Are you interested in getting family access to this great math program?  Just enter you entries below into the Rafflecopter widget.  (If you’re reading this in an email, you’ll need to click over to the website, in order to enter.)  Keep in mind, if you’re the winner, you can activate it as soon as it comes available (early February), or wait until the next school year! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Giveaways & Freebies:

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)

Inexplicably Confused About Homeschooling



Inexplicably confused…

I’m one who questions my choices, especially when it comes to my child. The decision to homeschool should have come more naturally and earlier on. My son was telling me what he wanted and needed and while I was hearing him loud and clear I had no experience and seriously doubted my ability. My son stopped asking for a while. Here we are several years later and I finally pulled him from public school in his final term of 9th grade. Best decision ever!  (One of the toughest, too, but so worth it)

Facing the music…

I knew my family would be shocked if not altogether horrified with the decision. My mom works for the local school department and here I am balking at the system. The audacity!  My dad’s reaction was the classic knee-jerk, “but what about his socialization?”  Seriously?  This kid can’t be contained socially; I’m an adult and haven’t mastered half my son’s social expertise. I think my husband thought I’d lost my mind. Nothing like riding the crazy train alone, except I wasn’t nuts and this was the right choice. Still is!  Everyone came around and I’m eternally grateful for my sister-in-law, Kerry, and family friend, Brenda, for being my cheerleaders and supporters from the very beginning.

Day 1…

May 10, 2013 was our “official” day one.  We just picked up where public school left off to finish out the school year. The most difficult task was figuring out how far he’d gotten in algebra. That seems to be the bane of many homeschool family’s existences, so learning I was in good company was a relief. Being able to have time to work through challenges and progress easily in subjects my son excelled at was so refreshing.  We used EdHelper, Khan Academy and eNotes initially, but also explored Charlotte Mason, Everything Homeschooling, and some other material for ideas.

Getting Organized…

Track this, spreadsheet that, yeah, yeah, yeah. I created my own word documents for creating curriculum plans and spreadsheets for tracking progress, but nothing compares to witnessing your child  truly learning something, seeing them understand, getting excited, and wanting to learn more. Although the excitement never came for my son with Algebra or the desire to learn more, (not a math geek like his mom at all), I witnessed learning and understanding and was relieved. I wasn’t ruining my precious gift, my son, after all. Phew!

I google and research a lot. I want to learn more about curriculum available, other homeschool family’s experiences, how to best guide my sometimes distracted learner, how to put together a high school transcript, what free resources are available, and on and on. Starting near the end of a school year was definitely a challenge and I was confident I would have a better plan in place when it came time to prepare for a full school year.

Grade 9 Ends…

I was relieved when the school year ended June 27. It gave me exactly 2 months to get my act together to prepare for Grade 10. I could work with my son to help build his curriculum and he could become more invested in his education. I got my letter of intent to homeschool my son into the School Department at the beginning of July. Inhale, exhale, this is our new life.

Change is good.

Tell me about your first thoughts as you began homeschooling your children?  Did you pull them out of school?  Or have you been doing it from the beginning?


Melissa ReadMelissa is in her first year of homeschooling her teenaged son, while working part-time.  She enjoys the simple life, but her husband is a super techie.  It’s an interesting balance as Melissa strives to learn more homesteading skills, while her husband is playing the latest Xbox game.  Find Melissa’s Facebook page:  Minor in Homeschool.

Guiding My Child Through High School

Guiding My Through High School  Homeschool Survival

One of the most common questions posed to me as a homeschool mom is “How am I ever going to teach High School?” In the midst of teaching little ones how to read and basic math facts we already find ourselves panicking over the unknown in years to come. Why is it we look for trouble even before there is any? My response to these frantic moms is not a list of how-to’s but, “Relax. By the time you get there, you’ll be able to deal with it.”

When our oldest children began high school studies new babies were arriving and honestly, this mom’s days were full enough without worrying and fretting over whether or not we were doing everything just right. We took each day as it came and made choices and decisions as best as we could when a need arose. What we did make a conscious effort to do was to step back and look at the big picture, making choices that would make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Here are some of what we learned through that process:

Curriculum is your tool.

You do not have to be a slave to your curriculum. Let it work for you. Adapt it to fit your needs. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resource. It is perfectly okay to take a textbook and use it as a supplement or a tool in research rather than working through in the traditional read-answer-test method. Remember, the bottom line is to help your child gain knowledge, not to fill his brain with what some publisher thinks he needs to know.

Teach your child how to find the information they need to know.

Speaking of knowledge, don’t try to stuff every. single. fact. into their brains. You cannot possibly teach them everything they need to know. Spoon-feeding them isn’t going to prepare them for the day when you are no longer there next to them. But you can help them gain the tools they’ll need to learn for a lifetime. Do they have a working knowledge of their local library? Do they know how to skim through a book in order to seek the specific information they need? Can they use resources like a dictionary, thesaurus, spreadsheets, computers? Encourage them to ask questions and seek out others who might have the answers. Under a parent’s watchful eye, they can learn how to maneuver their way around the web, discerning what is reputable and worthy information.

Give them opportunity for work.

Balance brain work (academics) with fun work (hobbies) and hard work (physical labor). This is a formula for a healthy mind and body. God created each one of us as a beautiful and complex being. Spending too much time with our nose in a book and no time getting our bodies up and moving, or all our time playing at our hobbies so that our work is not finished, or building a strong body but not feeding the soul will leave a person unhappy and unfulfilled. This applies to our young people as well as to their parents. Balance, moderation, that’s what we need. There is a time for everything – a time for work, a time for play, a time for study.

Provide opportunity for service.

Focusing on studies can lead them to a self-centered mindset, thinking of the assignment at hand and the test to come and whether the grades will be good enough. High school students often feel pressure to perform so they can gain admittance to the college of their choice, or  up their scores on those standardized tests. While these things are helpful in accomplishing goals, it can lead to a ‘me’ mentality. If they are not in the practice of doing for others – remember the Golden Rule? – they can get rusty in their serving skills. Looking for opportunity to give to those around them and helping meet the needs of others builds a positive self-image, one that holds others’ needs above their own. Being a member of a large family gives our children plenty of opportunity to be helpful and serve others, but there are local food pantries needing volunteers and service projects through their church and elderly grandparents who can be served.

Give them room to grow.

Encourage them to pursue their interests, both academically and leisurely. You never know where it might lead them or what foundation it might be building. Knowledge gained by discovery and experience is more likely to stick with them than the bits they see on the black and white page or those fill-in-the-blank worksheets. Real life experience is a marvelous teacher. Tackling a project or finding solution to a particular problem teaches critical thinking skills. When the mind, the hand and the heart are all engaged, life-long learning will take place.

Let them make mistakes.

Oh, this is a hard one. If they make mistakes it shows I’ve failed at my job, right? Wrong! It shows they don’t know it all, but who does? It shows they have room to grow, don’t we all? It shows they are human. Yep, me too! Making mistakes gives them opportunity to try, try again. We call this persistence. Making mistakes gives us all a chance to practice forgiveness, grace, understanding and keeps us from thinking too highly of ourselves. Learning this early will take your child a long way when it comes to his academic studies and higher education.

Allow them to own their own faith.

We raise them up, teaching them right from wrong, showing them Jesus, reading the Bible with them, taking them to church services and Sunday school. And then what? One day they will step out on their own and be responsible and accountable to God on their own, without us telling them what they should believe and how they should behave. Engage them early in discussion about the meaning of scripture, wrestle together over questions about faith. Pray together for God’s guidance and discernment and wisdom. You’ve heard that old adage – “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink?”   We plant the seed, we teach and train, and we must let go and let God do His Work in their hearts. HE is the one to whom they belong. They will have to choose for themselves if they want to belong to Him.

I hope you are not left disappointed that you didn’t find a checklist of do’s and don’ts or a formula for getting accepted into the best colleges. I believe that would set us up for failure. Preparing our children’s hearts and minds to love the Lord, to have discernment, a healthy curiosity and a good work ethic will prepare them for wherever their path takes them.

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Proverbs 2:1-6

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.