As my children grow in attention span and interest I am finding myself continually refining and adjusting our homeschool day. The latest shift is one worth sharing, I think. I have enlisted the help of the great minds of a given subject to teach my children. We use their writings, which I still read to them aloud as it helps build their vocabulary and drives their imaginations. We use their diagrams and pictures and methods. And we use audio tapes and video of these great thinkers. I have found that nearly every great thinker who has lived since the invention of motion pictures can beRead More →

As I began preparing for the next school year, I realized that sharing the forms and reminder (helper) pages that I made for my kids binders might save another mother, like you, the hours of writing and creating and thinking I just spent. The material is for children learning using a classical method of education, specifically using Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise’s Well-Trained Mind book as a guide. Overview of the Download: Forms: These are forms to use in the binder described in “The Well-Trained Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessica Wise for children in the logic stage of learning (5th through 8thRead More →

Wow. I finally figured out why our homeschool days are unpredictable. Some days are about as enjoyable for me as cleaning out the sewer line (something the Hub and I recently tackled) and other days homeschooling my twins are the sweetest hours I spend. Luckily most of our days are closest to the latter, but it is a source of continual consternation to me why each day is so unpredictable. The biologist in me recognizes that people are so completely complex that there certainly must be no way of controlling the outcome of our little homeschool day. But the physicist in me is convinced thatRead More →

This morning my daughter and I were listening to a recording of Mary Everest Boole’s “The Philosophy and Fun of Algebra”, a wonderful book that explains the history and origins of the various types of Algebra in a manner meant for the child of the early 1900’s. Mary described the ancient barbarian classrooms as a place where any child who held a different opinion or used a different method to work out a math problem would be told, “Hold your tongue or get out of my classroom.” The similarity between those ancient times, Mary was referring to truly ancient days before the birth of Christ,Read More →

“Don’t talk,” I told myself, as I sat opposite my little boy in his bedroom two nights ago. “Don’t spoil the magic of his moment. Don’t disturb him.” There he sat. Wet tousled hair, fresh from the shower. His eyes closed in concentration. Grasping for the phrases to complete a design known only to him. He was composing a poem. Not just any poem. A poem eulogizing his recently passed Grandpa. Grandpa, for my son, was a man who had been ill and failing for all my son’s life. And yet for the last few years, at the conclusion of every Sunday dinner we sharedRead More →

While discussing ancient history and modern civics with my children a few weeks ago, I tried to explain to them why some people do such evil with seemingly no guilt on their part. Why do they have no moral compass? It came to me: without faith, there can be no evil. And it is really evil that offers the alternative of good. Lately I have recognized that true evil is done by those who do not have faith. The act of faith is a recognition that man is not the framer of good and bad; there is something bigger than man. You can never knowRead More →

Why do good parents spend so much effort teaching their children manners? Manners are what gets you through stressful situations successfully. Manners kick in when you are at your limit, or beyond, and are ready to lose control. In emotional family situations, which I think can be the most stressful of all, those who have either never learned or have forgotten their manners can destroy relationships in a flailing whirlwind of self-centered activity. Manners in spite of stress is what makes you an adult. It is what allows people to live and work and exist together even when they don’t agree. From manners flows toleranceRead More →

Last night I sat around the dinner table with my family, reestablishing conversation and relationships while a missing man hovered in everyone’s thoughts. My youngsters had managed well throughout the day, but were now giddy with the stress of a new life without their Grandpa and all the change that that entails. The others, in-laws and my husband, carried on jovial conversation which wound itself around the dinner table and wrapped everyone, youngsters included, in a warm, comforting reassurance that family brings. Grace. The youngsters learned from those of us not so young, but most especially from their Grandma, that life and family and faithRead More →

I have been reading John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of American Education” in an effort to further understand the direction our society appears to be headed.The book is available on the internet, free, on his web site. This book is so gripping, and so few parents I know have even heard of John, that I decided to summarize, and add my thoughts as well, as I plow through the massive undertaking that is his book. My take on Chapter One: The Way It Used To Be: America was built from the bottom up by men who were peasants and did not fit in fromRead More →

My daughter has struggled with spelling all her life. Before we left the cesspit that was our local public school, she had been convinced that she could not ever learn to spell. I have tried more spelling curricula than I care to count in an effort to find one which would reach her. Finally we settled on Noah Webster’s The American Spelling Book (yes, that Webster – the one who wrote the American dictionary) circa 1836. I reasoned that literacy rates were respectably high in those days so they must have been doing something right with their lesson books. After working patiently at it withRead More →