Homeschooling Archives

Preparing for My Daughter’s Homeschool Graduation

The day that we had been working so hard to prepare our back yard for arrived and most everything that was to be accomplished was completed. What a nice feeling to know that after hours upon hours of work, you are finished (almost). There’s still the kitchen area to be built and some landscaping projects to finish but the bulk of it has been completed! Of course, there was much preparation with over 200 guests coming. So many willing hands were there to assist. Vases had to be filled with water Flowers picked up (Thanks, dad!) and arranged. And that waterfall! More flowers had to be planted. The framework for the big screen had to be made and the screen, which measures 10×12, had to…

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Finishing A Chapter and Starting a New One

Justus’s 8th grade graduation night couldn’t have been more special. Along with 50 other students, he received a certificate of completion for his junior high studies when he participated in our state’s homeschool graduation ceremony which is sponsored by Arizona Families for Home Education. There was some amazing musical talent that night on the piano as well as vocalists. Hal & Melanie Young gave the commencement address and talked to the graduates about “Stepping Up to the Plate” and how they are moving out of childhood and becoming young men and women and what this should look like.   Justus receiving his certificate of completion.   We all stood and gave him quite a cheer when his name was announced! The loudest one in the…

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I’m a big fan of home businesses and I really like it when young people try their hand at being an entrepreneur. Our homeschool convention here in Arizona started something a few years ago that I think is fantastic. They have one section of the curriculum hall devoted to young people who have a product that they make and want to sell. I love walking through there and seeing the variety of things these kids have and if I could, I would buy from all of them. But I try to support at least some of them. Today I want to tell you about two girls that have started their own Etsy shops and who do high quality work. First is my daughter, Serenity! She…

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The Castle Keeper Girls Host A Holiday Party

The Castle Keeper girls wanted to have a Holiday Party and I said, “Sure… but you girls have to do all the planning. I’ll find the place to have it and you all do the rest.” I really loved the camaraderie the girls showed by each one taking on an aspect of the party and planning it. They worked really well as a team. Rebekah made the invitations and kept on top of all the RSVP’s. Trisha set the atmosphere with beautiful Christmas music she curated. She also organized and made a great many of the desserts. Serenity (on the right) planned the menu and made some of the food including her delicious artisan bread. Mmmm, simply delicious. Natalie was in charge of decorations and…

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Investments in Our Children

Sometimes we forget just how important and valuable our role as a mother is. We get caught up in the dailiness of things and lose sight of how we are impacting lives, shaping character and helping our children grow into young men and women of fine character. Planting good seed that will some day reap an abundant harvest.   At the recent homeschool conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason, shared how we can give our kids 5 gifts. She used the acronym TEACH to make her point. Here is some of what she shared. And for free, just for you, I added some of my own thoughts. 🙂 T – Teach them the Bible – Teach them the mighty things God…

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Why you take them to a homeschool conference, of course! Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise, beautiful hotels but I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in one so nice as the Opryland Hotel. It was absolutely amazing. The setting was fun, beautiful, unique and romantic… but be forewarned, it is very expensive. We stayed two nights at the Opryland Inn which is located across the street from the hotel but for one night we got to stay at the hotel. We did spend 3 of our days at the hotel because the homeschool conference was located there.   Every time we would leave the conference to go for lunch, we could count on getting lost. We saw plenty of others that were lost, too. There…

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At the Opryland Hotel

Here in Tennessee at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool conference. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. My husband in the atrium eating supper. It’s so beautiful here!  

When Armistice Day Became Veteran’s Day

November 11, 1918 the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles in France ending World War I. The war ended on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour (11 a.m.). In honor of the agreement signed, Armistice Day was established and celebrated each year. Woodrow Wilson, the president during World War I, said this when establishing Armistice Day. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils…

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Sharing the Wonder with Our Children

His eyes alight with the experience he had just had, my son had to share it with me as well. It was simple. Nothing we adults would think was too amazing nor have thought twice about but for this 11 year old boy it was a moment to remark on and to be delighted about. How often do we quell the first time discoveries our children have, brush it off as something that’s not really interesting enough or worthy enough of our attention? I have been guilty too many times These curious and wondering children. When did we lose our innocent delight in the simple things? Do we live lives that are too rushed? Too busy that we are unable to enter into their joys…

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Feeling Discouraged in Your Homeschool Endeavors?

Sometimes we may get discouraged because we feel we’re dropping the ball in our children’s education. We read the writings of Charlotte Mason or another modern day guru on education and feel the wash of failure sweep over us.   We wonder, we wish and we think desperately what we might be doing wrong because our homeschool doesn’t look like what others describe.   But I want to challenge us today to consider what it would be if we didn’t have an ideal to strive for.   Lofty thoughts, ideals and a vision of something bigger than ourselves are what gives us inspiration to keep trying. It’s what  makes us give a little more effort,   Where there is no vision, the people perish… Proverbs…

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Keeping the Tradition and Celebrating Their Success

Thanks everyone for the well wishes for Justus after his calf riding incident. Justus is getting around but gingerly. He definitely favors his leg and it’s still very tender for him. On Monday we headed up to Lake Powell as a treat for Audrey (age 8) since she finished her phonics program. Celebrating my children’s successes is very important to me. Why not celebrate and make the most of our moments with the kids? We were only a year late in going. 🙂 We weren’t able to go last year and promised we would do it this year but we were almost too late since the weather is starting to cool down.  Our phonics graduate, Audrey. This was Serenity’s trip when she was 8 and…

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Seeing the Fruits of Our Labors

Isn’t it rewarding when you see your children taking on something that you have tried to make a part of their education but maybe never felt you did quite right? I had one of those rewarding moments a few weeks ago when we were in route to our camp site at Knoll Lake.  We had stopped along the Mogollon Rim to enjoy the beautiful and sweeping views. Zoe, my niece, Serenity and Audrey started collecting little bouquets of wild flowers. And then it happened. A great moment for me as a teacher. 🙂 My girl said, “The variety of flowers is so amazing,” and in her voice were the sounds of awe and amazement. What? Even though I have been unfaithful so many times to…

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For many a new school year is here. Wee ones will be toddling off to their classrooms at the public school or the homeschooling mom will be getting her classroom in order in anticipation of a great year with her bright and curious students. But wait. Should your little one really be starting school? Yes and no. What is school anyways? From Dictionary.com  an institution where instruction is given, Children have a natural curiosity from almost the time they are born. They love to explore, examine, feel, taste, touch almost everything they come in contact with. And the curiosity continues as they get older. What 5-year-old child do you know that is ever bored? It just doesn’t happen unless parents have raised them on videos…

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Limitations in Our Homeschool Day

Only so many years to have our children home Only so many days Only so many hours   Sometimes we put too many things on the schedule and then struggle to keep to it. We cannot possibly do it all but we valiantly struggle on determined to succeed or burn out trying. 🙂 But we have limitations. Just like the poet who writes a haiku.   I have been reading the book The Power of Less by Leo Babuata and in it he writes about the haiku form of poetry. The poet must write his poem in 17 syllables which he can quickly write so he can be finished or he can carefully choose the most powerful words that will convey his thoughts. The moments…

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Bubbles & Bows

The Castle Keepers and Defenders met yesterday for their final meeting for the 2013/2014 year. The girls made hair bow holders (painting picture frames)and hair bows. There were some very beautiful ones! Here’s one of them up close. The girls wearing our club colors and t-shirts we designed.   While the girls were busy making hair bows, the Castle Defenders and I were outside doing a few things ourselves. First on the agenda was to make sun tea. Then we blew some bubbles. 🙂 …and then we did a few experiments from http://www.hometrainingtools.com/a/super-soap-bubble-solution/.  After blowing a bubble on the lid, the kids would insert different objects into the bubble like this plant… …and these scissors. It was pretty interesting. Then we attempted to make giant…

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Make Your Own Personalized Journal Covers

Today I have a tutorial for you narrated by my daughter Serenity. At our last Castle Keepers meeting, we made personalized journal covers. Since we have a few long distance members that are a part of Castle Keepers we thought we would make this video for them, plus it’s a great way for us to not forget what we learned! If you should decide to make one, you will need the following supplies. Journal (hard cover preferable) Gesso Primer Spray Adhesive Polycrylic Spray Foam Chisel Brush Small Paint Brush Hair Dryer 3 Complementary Colors of Acrylic Paint Here are two journals Serenity has completed so far. Have you ever made a personalized journal before?

To Arms! To Arms! Defend the Castle!

For this months Castle Defenders, I asked what is a knight without a sword.  So while our Castle Keeper girls were learning how to make journal covers, our boys were learning sword making skills. My husband taught the class and started off telling them a few stories. and then it was time to make their swords! This link has a good tutorial – How to Make a Boffer (Foam Sword). Then the rest of the day they fought and fought and in between chased chickens. 🙂 My older boys even got in on the action and took on all of them. And they all went home tired but happy “Castle Defenders.” I have a couple of boards on Pinterest where I pin Handicrafts & Skills…

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My Homeschool Reference Go-To Books

I’m cleaning bookshelves today (purging books I don’t use) and saw my well-loved and much referred to Charlotte Mason books. All those papers sticking out… well, each one represents a bookmark.  I tend to just grab whatever is around. Not very tidy but when you have your fingers on about 5 different pages, you get a little desperate. 🙂

Did you think there were only a few ways to enjoy popcorn? Cheese? Caramel? Plain?   We found out in December with the challenge issued to our Castle Keeper girls, the variety of ways you can season and flavor popcorn. Serenity made a delicious Pumpkin Pie Spice Caramel Popcorn with White Chocolate. and Audrey made Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn. There were a great variety made and all the girls brought a sample to the next meeting for everyone to try. 14 different kinds. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the meeting because of a cough. A kind of cough I have never had before.  But I’m sure you don’t care to hear about THE COUGH. So on with what the girls did at their class. They…

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When You Feel Like Putting Your Kids in Public School

It wasn’t that long ago that people would say, “Homeschooling?  What is that?” Homeschooling was not talked about much until the 80’s, although there were already articles and books being written on the problems of traditional education in the 60’s and 70’s from a few notables such as John Holt and Dr. Raymond Moore.  Dr. Dobson even had a program with Dr. Moore back in 1979 but it wasn’t until the 80’s that homeschooling really started to become a movement. So homeschooling in the way that we know it today really hasn’t been around a very long time.  Many battles have been fought to give us this right to teach our children the way we feel best and using the materials that best suit our…

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