Elementary

The Yard Sale

 It was 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Atlantic. I remember because it was the end of August, and we had just kicked off a new year --- 6th grade.  Maryland wasn't hit badly, but we listened to the news to hear which states had been hit the hardest. In the days that followed, Samaritan's Purse ministry deployed personnel and equipment to help those who were the most devastated all along the coast.

Congratulations Graduates & Homeschoolers Of All Ages!

Temperatures climbed into the 80's that bright day last year. Graduation day. I remember how my heart skipped a beat or two when each of the guys put out their hands to receive their high school diplomas.

      "I'm so proud of you!" I said afterward as we basked in the wonderful feeling of having completed our homeschool journey.

     Big smiles. Everyone squinted as we snapped pictures. I stood on my tip-toes to give each son a kiss. Thoughts of all our official last days of school flooded my memory... 

3 Helpful Tips As Your Kids Study Music

 

I kept my eyes on the highway as our old white van whizzed past small towns in Maryland's rolling suburbs.  Monday night, 5:25, three years ago.  The twins had only recently gotten their driver's permits, so I decided to drive Austin to orchestra rehearsal that night.  His straight-forward comment broke the silence.  "Mom --- I have to tell you --- I'm quitting orchestra tonight..."

Resources For Assessment

Spring is a busy time of year—from spring cleaning, planting and gardening, to yard sales and more, there is an abundance of things on our to-do lists. Spring is also typically the time of year that many homeschool parent-teachers buy curricula and materials for the coming school year. Keep in mind this can be an ideal time of year to assess your children. By taking inventory of which skills children have mastered and which skills need to be strengthened or addressed, your planning for instruction in the summer or the coming school year will become clearer and strategic.

Music, Part II

I sat outside the violin lesson that afternoon while I graded math papers and wondered, "Is this worth it?" I taxied the twins to lessons once a week, encouraged them to practice every morning, and sat through many long recitals and rehearsals ... 

   Our family found that studying music is about so much more than simply learning songs. It takes a big commitment from the parents and the students!

Teacher Mode

My oldest child is becoming very interested in learning how to spell and write words. The other day, she wanted to write her little sister’s name which begins with the letter K. Like most children her age, that letter ‘K’ was a booga bear!  I made a mental note that we’d work on forming that letter correctly the next time we practiced handwriting. When that glorious teaching moment occurred (keep reading- it didn’t start off too gloriously), I found myself moving very quickly from mommy mode to teacher mode. In reflection, I realized that there were certain things I did that helped keep us from getting derailed. I thought I’d share these ideas and tips with you today.

Music, Part I

He positioned the guitar to the left side of his body and held its long neck like a hunter with his prized goose. He looked straight ahead, his new dress shoes creaking as he ascended the three steps to the vast stage which consisted of one lone chair. The audience was oddly silent except for one lady who coughed. I sat there in the second row and wondered if my nine-year-old son had practiced enough. This was his first recital.... 

Twelve Reasons To Start Homeschooling This Fall

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach at home? Are you new to the whole idea of homeschooling? Maybe you're in the information-gathering stage, or perhaps you're already planning to begin homeschooling after summer.

Maybe you and your husband are ready to start teaching your kindergartner, or maybe you're just curious about the whole idea. Perhaps you're taking your kids out of the public school system. If so -- fantastic! You won't regret it.

Today Is the Nat'l. Day of Prayer and Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

One of the greatest privileges we have is to pray -- to bring our praises and petitions before our loving and merciful God.  And when we homeschool, we have many opportunities throughout the day to teach our children what it means to pray.

 

A Tool for Managing Challenging Behavior

During my years as a classroom teacher, I often had students who had been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.  Usually, they were very caring little boys who were easily distractED and often demonstrated behavior that was highly distractING

There was only so much that I could do as a classroom teacher to get to the root of these problems. One day, however, a co-worker shared a tool that was quite useful in helping these very loving, intelligent, but challenging children become more cognizant of their actions.  She called it the ‘Rocket Race’.

Ten Things I Discovered About Motherhood

 

Here are 10 things I discovered as I lived and learned as a teacher of little boys:

Pulled from my journal entries over the years...

The years will fly.  Enjoy your kids today. Tell them (and show them) how much you love them!

Don't Jump Ship! Don't Quit Homeschooling

"Okay, I've had better days," I thought to myself. I tried to be positive, but felt that I wanted to quit. Teaching. Mothering.  Managing a household. I wanted to jump ship... 

     I called Jay at the lab to inform him that I was resigning from my teaching position. He said, "Mare—just hang in there for the afternoon, and we'll talk all about it when I get home. We'll take a walk or something. Does that sound good? I love you." 

 

Spring

I positioned myself between and behind each swing that sunny morning almost fourteen years ago.  That way, I could alternate pushing each four-year-old.  My mind wandered as I reflected on some of the things I wanted to accomplish that day... 

   The sound of those old swings at Baker Park lulled me into a thoughtful state.  Creeeeeeek... I gave a little push with my right hand.  Creeeeeeek... my left hand offered a gentle shove to the other twin's back.  I reviewed my grocery list and today's errands. 

Real Tweets: 5 Great Reasons To Study Birds This Spring

"I'd love to see a Baltimore Oriole," I said last April.  "I mean the bird -- not the baseball players at the stadium!" 

     ...Often at lunch time, we would look out the back sliding glass window at the many birds and hope to see that notorious flash of orange and black.  All spring, we hoped to see an oriole... 

     

Teach Positive Social Skill This Spring, Part II

Yesterday we talked about the family table, and how it's a great place for kid's to learn social skills.  Where else can you find such an accepting, loving and warm place?  Also, I stated that one of the most powerful places on earth is the family table, so let's look at that...

The fact that the table is such an essential part of family life isn't  because it's the place that we highlight the day's lessons, or because our kids learn new culinary skills.  And it's not because we teach them to be good scholars or effective communicators, although those things are good.

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