• Activities,  Cottage School

    English Tea With Kids

    Several years ago, I saw a friend post about how she tried to tea weekly with her three boys, and I thought the idea was a sweet and special way to slow down and spend time with her kids. About five years ago, I started intermittently doing the same thing with my three boys, and we have since added two more girls to our family who both LOVE tea parties. We had the chance to do an English tea (or what we understood to be an English tea) for one of our Cottage School lunches, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it! Here is what we did: Used a nice tablecloth…

  • Cottage School

    Cottage School “Morning Time”

    “One thing leads to another” could be aptly applied to our opening routine at cottage school weekly. When we began a couple of years ago, our opening routine was to gather the kids and say, “Time for science. Sit down!” Then we added an opening prayer and a few announcements/instructions. At the beginning of this year, we decided to be serious about opening time, so we started with quiet reading in the living room (while some moms would prepare for class) and doing presentations. Each family took a week to present on a rotating schedule. Soon after that, we added singing a hymn, which led to including a brief discussion…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  Fathers

    What Do Homeschool Dads do?

    The dads of Cottage School Life play a significant part in homeschooling. A lot of attention is put on what we–the homeschooling spouses–do, but we cannot forget the role of the spouses who spend most of their time working hard in their careers. In our four families, the dads do most of the work outside our homes. We recognize not every homeschool family looks the same (some dads do most of the homeschooling), so this post is to highlight some differences since all of the dads play roles in our homeschools in various ways. We want to share those with you:  Annie’s husband John tutors their children in Latin and…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Eight Parts of Speech

    After learning about nouns and verbs, the next part of speech you can teach is pronouns. Pronouns take the place of nouns so that we don’t sound ridiculous when we speak. If we didn’t have pronouns, we would speak in third person! (Christie thinks that Christie has to go to Target to buy what Christie wants.) Thankfully, we have pronouns so that we don’t repeat ourselves over and over again or sound insane. Even though pronouns seem to be an easy part of our language, some problems in usage still arise. It’s best to teach your children 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person (pronoun case) to the point they understand that…

  • Cottage School,  Learning Disabilities

    Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA)

    When my children first had evaluations for learning disabilities, we received services through our local school district for speech. I didn’t know, at the time, since they were kindergarten age, they qualified for an Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The ESA program allows parents to take a portion of the funds the public school normally receives for that child to use for tutors, qualified therapists, curriculum, and much more. It wasn’t until two years later, and a dyslexia diagnosis, that I began to understand we could use ESA to help with remediation therapy, which the school did not provide. This post will share more about what an ESA is…

  • Cottage School

    Cottage School Lunch Ideas

    Having lunch together when classes are finished for the day at Cottage School is one of my favorite things! The kids get to enjoy new food items and play outside together, while the moms get to relax and enjoy some lunch and conversation. When making food for a large group, keep it simple, but also consider 1-2 side options for those children who may have allergies or be picky eaters.  Early on, I (Jenny) attempted to serve lunches that had a theme. This was super fun, but I also ran out of steam after six weeks. Whatever you decide to do, I usually let the families know via text message…

  • Cottage School

    Is Cottage School Affordable?

    If you have been reading our posts about cottage school and how we decided to switch from participating in a large homeschool co-op to this smaller, home based cottage school, you might be wondering if cottage school is affordable. Our cottage school meets once a week in Jenny’s home, and all four of us moms volunteer our time. We think one of the strengths of this model is it’s affordability. At the larger co-op we all attended, we had to pay for facility costs, tuition, curriculum, and childcare for our younger children. The total cost would be into the thousands per year. While this is clearly way less than a…

  • Activities,  Cottage School

    Gardening With Children

    As Mary in “The Secret Garden” knows, there is something to having a “bit of earth” to tend to and see what you can coax to grow.   Growing up, one of the lessons I (Amelia) absorbed without even knowing was being taught was the joy that comes from gardening. My memories of visits to my grandparents house are highlighted with the activity of what was going on in the garden. One summer, the lesson was helping my Grandpa pick blackberries and learning first hand about the defense system of thorns with which the blackberry bush is equipped. Another summer was spent learning how to work hard and pick baskets and…

  • Cottage School,  English

    More on Verbs

    I (Christie) briefly mentioned action verbs in last week’s grammar post, but it’s important for your children to understand linking verbs and helping verbs as well. Verbs asserting action are identified easily, yet there are two kinds of action verbs–transitive and intransitive. Also, what makes verbs more complicated is that they don’t always show action. Linking verbs do just what they say they do–they link two words together. Auxiliary or helping verbs do just that–they help other verbs.  Here are some examples of all three types of verbs. Action: Shauna tastes the toast. In this example, the subject is doing the action of the verb. Action verbs can be transitive…

  • Cottage School,  Learning Disabilities

    More On Learning Disabilities

    This is our second post taking a look at learning disabilities–and as promised, this post will focus on what to do if your child does receive a diagnosis–and options available to you if you disagree with the evaluation and findings for your child. First, let’s start with what to do if you have a follow-up meeting with the evaluating school district, and you disagree with the results or findings of the evaluation. After your child’s evaluation is complete, the school will schedule a meeting to review the results, and whether or not the child qualifies for services. It’s important to know that while you may agree with the findings of…