• 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…

  • Uncategorized

    Summer Foodie Fun with Kids!

    Since we’re in Arizona – the summers can get long – and obviously they are super HOT! Making special treats in the summer, just like baking in the winter, is one way to keep kids entertained, and fed, all summer long! Frozen Watermelon Pops – this is as basic as it sounds – but kids LOVE it. You cut watermelon into thick wedges and use a knife to slice a small opening on the back rind. Insert a popsicle stick and freeze for 2+ hours. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Bird’s nest snack – my kids love their plan, buttered pasta. I don’t mind, especially when using the oven is…

  • Summer

    Summer School

    It seems like every school year I resolve to have a “real” summer break, and every summer I find myself in summer school in some shape or form. The reasons and the form of summer lessons has varied from year to year.  First, our Southwest summers are h.o.t., so we basically hibernate. Some form of continuing education keeps us busy and gives purposes to our long days. Sometimes, we school in the summer to catch up on subjects we didn’t finish. Whether it’s a busy extracurricular schedule, church activities, or family responsibilities, it’s easy to get behind on a subject or two or several weeks of lessons by the end…

  • 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. …

  • Activities,  Cottage School

    Engaging Kids without Screens

    Keeping kids busy and off technology has been really difficult in our home with so many of our usual options closed. We can’t hop off to the museums, libraries, and splash pads that we are used to–and it’s been difficult for the entire family. Here are a few ideas and tips to help your family stay entertained and fill those long days! 1. Try “reading baskets.” This works for younger kids, but even my 10 year old enjoys this activity. We have a large stack of wide laundry baskets. The kids get a basket, lay a blanket in it, and squeeze themselves in with a few books. While the activity…