• Curriculum

    New to Homeschooling: How to Choose Curriculum

    Several years ago as I was thinking about homeschooling my son, I sat down with my mom and mother-in-law a few different times to pick their brains about all things homeschool.  My mom homeschooled my brother and me, and my mother-in-law homeschooled five, yes, five boys! One of my top questions–because it’s one thing to be homeschooled, it’s another story to homeschool–was “how did you decide what curriculum to use?” Their answer was somewhat disheartening to me–they both said basically there weren’t a lot of options to choose from if you were homeschooling in the 80s. In one sense, I kind of envied the simplicity of picking one curriculum from…

  • 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…

  • Art,  Books,  Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English,  Science

    Cottage School Life Fall 2020 Schedule

    One of the advantages to having a small cottage school is the ability to change and adapt our schedule each year. We began our cottage school three years ago with less children and obviously different needs since they were younger. As our group and our children have grown, the classes at cottage school have shifted. This year one of the changes for us will be adding some of the “younger” kids to our IEW class (last year just our “older” kids were in IEW). Another change we are adding is a preschool class for our little kids who haven’t previously had a formal class at cottage school. Here’s a quick…

  • 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…

  • Curriculum,  Learning Disabilities,  Technology

    Integrating Technology in Your Homeschool

    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…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Verb Tense & Form Errors

    The final portion of our major grammar errors series will focus on verb tense and form errors.  These are some of the most common errors I see in my students’ writings, but a short review of these errors and how to correct them will help you catch them in your writing as well as teach them to your children. Verb Tense: The best way to avoid verb tense errors is to remain consistent. If you’re writing in present tense, don’t switch to past tense unless it makes sense and vice versa. Incorrect: Sam washes the clothes, wrings them out, and hung them on the clothesline.  Correct: Sam washes the clothes,…

  • 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…

  • Curriculum

    Planning Your Homeschool Year

    In a moment when I probably hadn’t gotten enough sleep or hadn’t had enough coffee I decided it would be fun to figure out what a possible yearly plan for our homeschooling schedule would look like if we homeschooled all our kids, all the way through high school.  I discovered I’d be homeschooling until 2035!!  While this was an interesting exercise it’s not extremely helpful to spend too much time on the 30,000 foot view of our plans.  If we have learned anything from this year, it’s that we don’t have control over the future, and we certainly can’t imagine the details of our future! For now, we plan to…

  • 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…