• Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Making Sense of IEW: Student Resources

    In order to teach composition in cottage school, I wanted to choose a curriculum proven tried and true. Annie and I had a year’s experience of using the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s curriculum with our oldest girls, and we already could see some of the benefits of this method. The problem with any writing curriculum is that it’s not easy to teach kids how to write. It takes time, patience, and consistency. It requires a parent willing to do the hard work to understand the material well before teaching it. The great news about IEW is that you don’t have to have an English degree, like me, to teach…

  • Curriculum,  Learning Disabilities,  Technology

    Integrating Technology into Homeschooling

    The question of whether to incorporate technology into homeschool is one I have thought long and hard about over the years. While our family has always tried to have a healthy balance concerning technology, I noticed it creeping into our lives in more ways than I would have liked. Now that we know two of our children have specific learning disabilities (dyslexia and dysgraphia), I have learned to cautiously welcome educational technology or programs that allow my children to access the material they need for learning.  Here are some thoughts to consider on utilizing technology in your home learning environment: Do you have the proper internet safety measures in place…

  • Activities,  History,  Summer

    Visiting our National Parks with Kids

    When I was growing up, my parents stopped to read every roadside historical marker and every trailside sign out loud to us. We explored state parks and historic sites all over the Southeast. In my teen years, I did my fair share of eye-rolling as we stopped at yet another sign. And as we became adults, it became a running joke to continue the tradition. Looking back, I can see how my parents were demonstrating a lifelong love of learning as they paused at each and every trail sign or historic site. Now in my own way, I’ve picked up the cause and given it my own flavor with national…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Subject-Verb Agreement

    For the third part of the Major Grammar Errors series, let’s focus on Subject-Verb Agreement. It’s so important to understand in each sentence, a subject must agree with its verb. Agreement must be in number. In other words, subject nouns that are singular take a singular verb, and subject nouns that are plural take a plural verb.  Let’s back up a minute to review making nouns and verbs plural. You are probably familiar with making nouns plural already. Most nouns add and -s or -es to become plural, like “cat” becomes “cats,” or if the singular noun ends in ‑s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z, add ‑es to the…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Run-ons

    Last week, we focused on the major grammar error of fragments. Another major grammar error that’s important to correct in your own writing and to teach your children to correct in their own writing is a run-on sentence. What is a run-on? It occurs when two complete sentences are joined incorrectly. Here are some examples: Regular Run-ons – I like to call this example a “regular” run-on because it’s the most common I see in my students’ essays. This occurs when you use a coordinating conjunction to join two complete sentences without using a comma before the coordinating conjunction. Example of error: I went to the store and I bought…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Sentence Fragments

    When teaching composition or helping your children with writing, it’s best to know how to correct the major grammar errors in it. On Fridays for the rest of July, I will cover four major grammar errors everyone should learn to avoid. The first one is sentence fragments. Fragments are just that–a fragment of a sentence. When a writer uses a capital letter and end punctuation on something that’s missing a subject, verb, both a subject or a verb, or simply is not a complete thought, it’s a fragment. Here are some examples of fragments: 1. Couldn’t go because I said no. This is incorrect because it is missing a subject. …