Middle School

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." 

 

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.

Teach Positive Social Skills This Spring

Little ones recite their ABC's, elementary-aged children review the state's capitals, teenagers recall the best moments of the week...

I believe that one of the greatest places to teach our children is at the family table.  Positive interaction, conversation, the exchange of ideas -- it all happens here!

The Pronunciation Project

"Say again, please,"  I bemoaned. "Either you're mumbling, or I have a major hearing problem!" 

    After much debate, we surmised that it could be a little of both. Nonetheless, all through our homeschooling years, I reminded the boys that it was crucial to pronounce words clearly and to articulate the consonants whether speaking or reading aloud. 

The Discovery Drawer

What do you do with the kid's tiny (but important, to them anyway) little things that they collect? I would love to hear your ideas! 

    All kinds of trinkets -- from little magnets to golf tees to "special' rocks -- what's a mother to do? Yo-yos, harmonicas, feathers...   

     Maybe it's just me, but I really struggled with this. How to stay organized and streamlined?  Hmm... 

Conversational Competence

Conversation is just like a tennis game, except that no one is trying to win. The point is that it takes two people to keep the ball in motion. You hit; I hit. I serve; you receive. The whole idea is to keep that ball moving. Different shots, styles and angles.

Here are six simple things to teach our kids about face to face conversation. Plus, they're good reminders for us!

Another Good Idea For Valentine's Day

Here's another idea for Valentine's Day: A special breakfast for your husband....

What could be sweeter than having a wonderful, warm breakfast to start a winter day, especially Valentine's Day? Whether it's French toast with maple syrup, bacon and eggs, or a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal, your husband will be sure to appreciate this sweet idea...

Cookies & Milk

 

   White baking flour covered the kitchen floor, the countertop, my jeans, and the twins' noses.  Measuring cups were strewn about, mixing bowls sat side by side as the twins balanced themselves on chairs pulled up to the little island in the center of the kitchen.  It was their first time making cookies, and I stood there wondering why in the world I had decided to double the recipe!

Autumn Arrives: A Wonderful Time For Field Trips

Welcome, autumn! This is definitely my favorite time of year! With its graceful falling leaves, brilliant hues of orange, and cool nights --- Autumn makes a bold arrival! Time for apples, song birds, cinnamon, sweaters and new colors. Time for all five senses to be awakened.

I know what you're thinking. It's also time to cover some major ground in school. True. I'm with you on that -- but as you think about teaching strategies for October, how about taking time for a few interesting field trips? Field trips can be a wonderful way to enhance book learning. And the best part is that we don't have to spend a lot of money.

Homeschooling On The Difficult Days

Homeschooling would be easy if...

If I didn't have all this laundry to do, if I didn't have to prepare dinner, if I didn't have to juggle the family calendar, if my kids were older, if we didn't have these pesky appointments, and so on!  

Just when we get on a schedule and things start to run somewhat smoothly -- one (or several) of the children need to go to the doctor...

Reading Aloud

   I'll never forget being in Mrs. Clark's third grade class. I was in one of the lowest reading groups ---the Sparrows. Who were they trying to kid? All the students knew that the best readers were the Blue Jays and Cardinals! It was embarrassing seeing the other kids try to keep from giggling as I mispronounced words and got tongue- tied.  I needed patience, time and encouragement -- something Mrs. Clark didn't provide -- but something we can give to our kids as homeschooling moms!

Have Fun Homeschooling - 3 Tips For A Wonderful Year

Right now I'm sitting at my desk in the room upstairs that used to be our "homeschool room" --- a small guest room that we converted into a cozy school room. I remember during our early days of home teaching when the morning sun would pour in the windows, warming the carpet, making it comfortable to prop a few fluffy pillows on the floor for reading. I would read aloud; then I'd have Austin and Justin take turns reading aloud too. 

Looking Forward To A Great Homeschooling Year

Are you making preparations for the upcoming school year? Finding books, gathering supplies and getting organized can be exciting! I also realize that it can be rather daunting at the same time!

     My encouragement to you today is to adopt the same approach to teaching academics as to teaching your kids anything else. For instance, let's look at bike riding. When you teach your children to ride a bike, you allow for individual differences in each child. Same goes with homeschooling.

The One Who Learns The Most Might Be You

When we first started homeschooling, one of the exciting aspects for me was anticipating all the wonderful things that the twins would learn. I thought about teaching them to read confidently, spell correctly and speak clearly. I imagined them being able to do lengthy math calculations in their heads without reaching for a single piece of paper, something I hoped to eventually do as well. 

How wrong I was -- not about the twins learning to read, write and calculate, but about who would learn the most. I was the one who would learn the most in that God was teaching me and growing me in different ways that I hadn't imagined.   

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