You can find entries on a specific topic if you'd like by clicking on the subject under TOPICS in the left column. There's all sorts of stuff- Lapbooking, Lesson Plans, Recipes, Projects, and More! If you're a homeschooling blogger or have a site geared towards homeschoolers and would like to trade links, let me know!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Call to Homeschool

Hey all! It's me, Mommy N. Let me introduce myself a little so you will know a little about me before I start contributing to The Precious Mind on a regular basis.

I am blessed to have a wonderful husband. In March, we will be married for 8 years, together for 10. I am blessed by God to be a mommy of 2 wonderful kiddos, a 3yo boy and an 8 mo girl. I am patiently waiting to see if God has more kids planned for us.

I was a very career oriented woman not climbing, but running up the ladder of "success" until I became pregnant with my son. When my son was 10 months old, I picked him up from daycare for the very last time and I have NEVER looked back. I never would have thought I would be a stay-at-home mom, much less a happy stay-at-home mom that homeschools. Although our homeschool journey is just beginning, I'm blessed to have recognized and answered my call from God.

I have also been blessed to have a homeschool mentor in my life that has become a true blessing in so many ways. She introduced me to homeschooling and has taken me under her wings and is guiding me, but not pushing me. Her children range from 8 - 18 years of age. If there is anything I can suggest, it's to find someone that will be honest and open about what's ahead and never lost focus on God or family.

I look forward to sharing some of the valuable lessons I have already learned and am really excited about sharing the ones I have yet to learn.

"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds." (Psalm 73:28)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crafty Website

Hey everyone! I was going to take the time to introduce myself a little before I made my first post, but I came across this great website/blog that I wanted to share with you instead. There are a lot of great Thanksgiving ideas. Hope you enjoy! Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Mommy N

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Posts to Ponder

Here's a collection of posts from around the bloggy world I know you all will enjoy!

Public or private schools not bringing out the best in your child? Are you worried about what your child is learning beyond the basics of education? Are you fearful of the impressions being made upon little minds? Do you have a desire to homeschool but think you might not be able to afford it? Lori @ Camp Creek Blog answers the tough questions in her post "Should I homeschool?"

Sprittibee discusses the ever-changing course of their homeschool journey. She talks about hardships, frustrations, and the joy she is finding in the Charlotte Mason teaching style. It's a great post for any schooler using whatever method!

"For the past two years, the homeschool road has been getting darker. With the sun set and curves ahead, I've been praying about what is around the next bend. It isn't that I haven't enjoyed homeschooling... it is just that the children have been in the process of growing up - becoming more mature - and our needs have been changing. Eventually we were bound to come to a curve in the path. Just as a child graduates from baby food and picture books (well, maybe they can still enjoy picture books - I do) they grow out of certain curriculum and teaching methods. I have known for a long time that mine have been needing more than unit studies... less of a strict and stressful (parent-led teaching) schedule... and a lot more nature and literature. I knew that as they grew, what may have worked for them at 2 and 4 might not be the best mode of 'transportation' to continue stimulating them intellectually at 10 and 12. And with the gradual changes came a fear of the unknown for the navigator - because it meant I was going to have to steer off the beaten path."

Friday, November 21, 2008

I was blog hopping- something I do from time to time- and came across a really cool blog filled with homeschooling tips for wee ones.

She has come up with some great, inexpensive ideas, like using caps from water bottles to use in matching games. She shares printables she made (so creative).

This blog is the first to get The Precious Mind award. TPM award is given to homeschooling bloggers who creatively nurture their child in all areas of life, realizing that education is more than reading, writing and 'rithmetic.

Do you know of a blogger who should be awarded? Let us know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Intentional Teacher: babies on up

I'm often asked, "When did you officially start homeschooling?" The truth is, we've been intentionally homeschooling from the beginning. Everyone homeschools in some manner, whether they know it or not. You are always teaching your children something- why not be an intentional teacher?

How can you be an intentional teacher? I've listed six ways to start teaching your preschoolers and beginners..... without plopping them behind a desk!

1. Read to them... a lot. Read rhymes, read novels, read the bible, read stories loaded with pictures.

2. Tell them stories. Make up stories. Go through a photo album- pointing out pictures and explaining what is happening in the photos.

3. Allow them to explore. Let them bang on things, cut paper, doodle, finger paint, dig in the dirt, take things apart...... all under your supervision for safety, but with minimal direction.

4. Ask them questions. Children are great at asking questions. They want to learn about everything. Try turning the tables and asking them questions. Ask them how they feel about certain things, what they think you should do next, how they think something should be done, how they think someone else feels, etc. Their answers may not make much sense to you. They may not even be on topic, but listen and continue to ask questions.

5. Yes, listen. LISTEN to what your children are saying. Pay attention to what they are doing. You'll find out what they are interested in, and you can help them explore those things (by printing out information on the internet, going to the library, visiting a museum, etc). It helps to keep a record of what they're talking about, what they're doing, and what they're interested in.

6. Allow them to help. Sometimes our need for prim and proper perfection keeps us from allowing our children to help out with things. Yes, it might mean more mess. It might take more time, but your children will benefit (and so will you). They can help you cook, clean, pick up sticks, take out the trash, rearrange furniture, decorate the Christmas tree, feed the dog... etc. Teaching them how to help around the house is more than a course in home ec.

I know listening is one of the hardest things for me to do because my children, especially my second child, are very talkative. Nolyn talks all the time, except when he is sleeping. He never really had a babbling stage. He began talking in full sentences very early and hasn't stopped sense. I tend to tune him out much of the time because he repeats things over and over (whether he's talking to me or not, and whether I've answered him or not). That's something that I'm working on- really tuning in and not tuning out.

Remember, it's never too early to start reading. Read to your newborn. Read to your toddler. Don't expect your children to sit still and peer at every page. Just because they don't seem to be paying attention, doesn't mean they aren't.

For example, my daughter, Merikalyn, likes to sit right next to me when I'm reading. Nolyn, on the other hand, will usually play and mumble to himself several feet away, but when I ask the two of them questions about the book, he usually answers correctly. He may not look like he's listening, but he is.

I see many parents who think their children need to read and write by the age of four or five. Studies have shown that children who go through heavy early education and those who don't end up on the same level by fifth grade. We need to go at our children's pace. Let's not set them up for frustration and burn out.

It's important to look at your intentions. Are you trying to produce a child that you can brag about or is your desire to nurture that love of learning within your child, encouraging her to research, explore, and try things out. Be honest with yourself.

Mandy is a homeschooling graduate who spent the majority of her schooling years in public schools before deciding to switch to homeschool halfway through highschool. You can read more about her and her family at

Poster can be ordered from

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Parenting 101 from Comedian Steve Harvey

by Courtney

I laugh everytime I think about this Steve Harvey comedy act I saw on DVD. It was one of his first performances after being saved, and I believed it was taped at a big Christian event.. It was called "Don't trip, He aint through with me yet".. well - Steve was talking about how people have kids that they can't make behave at their OWN house... yet bring them into church and drop them off at the nursery with those poor unsuspecting ladies, when they should be bringing those children into the pew with them to correct and keep and eye on.

What does this have to do with homeschool? Well, I had an experience during the summer that reminded me of this part of Steve's act.. I was checking out books at the library and was asking the librarian for certain books.. so the conversation turned to the fact that I homeschool. I get the same usual questions - do you like it? What curriculum do you use? Etc etc etc.. then the librarian proceeds to tell me that she wished she could homeschool, but (and please read carefully so you don't miss anything) her daughter WOULD NOT LISTEN TO HER!! To which I said "Oh... ok" I mean what do you say in return that is polite and Christian-like.. Now I will tell you how the dialog in my head went - "Are you serious? Your child doesn't listen to YOU, her parent - so you drop off your child and her issues to someone else to deal with?" I'm sorry, but if that reason is true then that sounds like laziness to me. I hope not to offend anyone, and I am not suggesting that every parent that sends their child to public school is lazy, but in this context - it is.

Isn't it our jobs to discipline and raise up our children to be polite, respectful and obedient to their elders? Why should the teachers and staff have to do what you didn't do with your child? Why should they be allowed to disturb the classroom or events that are going on? While my DD was in public school they had a handful of kids that were notorious for causing trouble - and it took a good portion of the teacher's day dealing with that. I believe that it is our duty as parents (and the Bible says so too) to raise our kids in the ways of the Lord.. we can't decide it's too difficult and expect some poor teacher (that definately doesn't get paid the salary to have to deal with that) to pick up where we left off. Not to mention, it's not their job. You then have to wonder what are the morals and values that are really being taught to your child when it doesn't come directly from you.

With the way their day goes with public school - it's easy to let things slip. When my dd was in public school she left at 7am.. got off the bus at nearly 4pm.. after chores and homework it was off to bathe and eat dinner.. read the bible.. and go to bed.. She spent a majority of her day in the care of other people - so her behavior issues were mostly dealt with by the school staff. Perhaps I read to much into this, but the Bible says for us to raise our children - not the staff of an elementary school..

It's this conviction that helped lead me to homeschooling..and the help of Mandy who was my first contact with a homeschooler - and obviously a positive one because it was shortly after we met I decided to homeschool too. So to hear someone say they put their kids in public school because their children don't listen to them, is not so much an indication of the child's issues, but the parents and their lack of attention to parental duties. I guess I am hoping that wasn't REALLY her reasoning, but on the fly it sounded like a good enough thing to say...

Mandy has said it before - be honest about why you don't want to homeschool.. a lot of people have the ability to homeschool, but don't realize it or just don't want to.. and there are some that fall into that category that TRULY can't (like single parents or families that must have more than one income to survive).. if God gives you the desire to homeschool, be sure to check out all the info you can on the internet, at the library, on homeschooling message boards.. and be honest with yourself. But if your reasoning is that you child misbehaves, therefore they have to go to public school, then perhaps you should reexamine God's blueprint for us as parents.

Courtney is a "deschooling" mother to three. You can visit her blog here.

New Writer

Several things- first, there's a new craft video on how to make "popcicle kid" dolls on my website, . Check it out!

Secondly, we have a new writer!

I met Courtney through freecycle. She had a little dog she needed to find a home for, and I thought the little pooch would be a perfect fit for our family. Before long, we were reading each other's blogs. My blog let her peek into the world of homeschooling. She brought her little girl home from public schools is May 2008 and is now "deschooling".

Courtney is very creative, so she'll be a great addition to TPM. She's mom to an eight year old daughter and three year old twin boys. Stop by her blog when you get a chance!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Go vote.. (for us)

I don't want to tell you what to do.....


Buuut... it'd be really nice if you'd go vote for The Precious Mind as the "Best Craft Plans & Projects" blog over at The Homeschool Blog Awards!

You don't have to sign up to do it. It logs IP addresses, to make sure people only vote once per category (and I've linked straight to the category TPM is in).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's Play a Game!

HSBA wants to know what sort of games you use for learning in your homeschool!

We use an assortment of games, including ones we made up ourselves. Dominos is a wonderful game to teach children matching and numbers. (And it's Sonlight approved!) We also play cames like Memory to teach different things as well. We have the official Memory game, and have made a cards of our own to play Memory and teach colors, shapes, numbers, letters and more. We play alphabet Memory on a near-daily basis. The children have to match the upper case to the lower case letter. When we first begin playing, all of the cards are face up. As they get better, we turn the cards face down so they actually have to play the "Memory" part of the game.

We also love to play hopscotch. This was one of my favorite outside games as a kid, one that is easy to create with a piece of chalk.

A while back, I made up a game to help my children understand directions and placement. This is also a great game to teach prepositions. When they were younger, I went through the house and specifically named parts of the house (the nook, the entry, the guestroom, mom's side of the bed, dad's side of the bed, the hallway) so that they could easily understand directions when I asked them to get something or put something away. I found this to be most helpful. I would often become frustrated when I would ask them to do something and then had to keep giving them directions because they didn't understand where I wanted them to go!

We've gone on to expand this into a game, as I said, and I'll place things throughout the house as a treasure hunt of sorts. They must follow my directions to find each treasure. For example, I would tell them their treasure would be in the sitting room, to the side of the couch, and near the wall. Now they are learning left from right, so this is a great game to help them with that.

We also play games like tag for exercise (and I join in, because I definitely need exercise!).

As the children get older, they'll be able to play games like Monopoly (and, hey, there are new Monopoly games out that younger children can play), Scrabble (love it!), and trivia style games.

What sort of games do you like to play?