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!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

8 Ways to a More Organized Homeschool Carnival

Heart of the Matter is hosting 8 Ways to a More Organized Homeschool Carnival. Every Wednesday for 8 weeks they will publish a collaborative article brimming with tips and advice to help you organize all aspects of your homeschool life. Anyone can submit! Sift through your archives for posts that you would like to share, old or new.

Everyone who submits a post will be entered for a chance to win an amazing prize package, currently valued at $100!

Check it out!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The 5-minute homeschool

by MandyMom

Homeschooling littles can be difficult. You may be new to the game, and you aren't sure what you should do. Should you buy curriculum? Should you set up a schedule? Even homeschooling parents who have been at it for years may find they need to change their tactics down the line. Different children require different approaches.

I see so many parents set out to make their children geniuses. They pile on the work, schedule in hours of education, and have high expectations. Sure, many of these children may do well. They may be able to read third grade level books at age five, but are they enjoying education? Are they allowed free time to play? Is the family so busy doing "school work" that they've failed to do "life work"?

As Christians, I don't believe it is possible for us to separate education from religion and still manage to give our children the proper biblical worldview. In our home, our goal is to raise children who love and serve God, and who, above all else, seek heavenly wisdom. Therefore, as we teach our children "every day education", the main focus must be biblical wisdom and glorifying the Lord.

If we are cramming them with knowledge so they will be the smartest child on the block and "make us proud" then our priorities are not right, and we have lost sight of the goal.

On the other hand, there are those parents who leave their children to themselves to learn. While I may agree with some of the unschooling aspects, there is one point that I whole-heartedly cannot support.

Children left to themselves will learn, but will they learn what is pure and right? While I believe it is good for children to have time to explore, think, and learn on their own at times, I believe this must be done under the watchful eye of the parent, and I do believe it is important that we do schedule in some things.

For parents like myself who don't like to plan every second of the day and who have young children that are not ready for too structured of an education, there is the five-minute approach.

The five-minute method helps put things in perspective. If you take everything five minutes at a time, you don't have to worry about stopping in the middle to make lunch, or putting everything on pause to nurse the baby or run an errand. Little ones will be able to pay attention for five minutes at a time without getting too distracted and wiggly.

Most of all, five minutes is plenty of time to teach younger children what they need to learn without overwhelming them. Sometimes we may spend too much time focusing on a particular subject or task because we feel our child is not understanding. She may not be, but if we teach it in spurts and don't overwhelm her (or make her feel like she is dumb for not catching on), she'll pick it up in no time.

Those with larger families will find this method helps them to give each child one-on-one attention without feeling spread to thin. Your curriculum, should you use something specific, can be adapted to fit.

So, you're probably wondering what the five-minute approach is. The best way to explain this is to tell you how we do it in our own home.

It helps to have a timer, or at least a clock nearby that you can keep on eye on. Here's a day in the life of our homeschool.

After we have pretty much prepared for the day the homeschooling begins. We spend five minutes reading a bible story from a children's book. We talk about it for a bit, go over the key points, and then close in prayer. Now, this usually takes ten minutes. We shouldn't be so focused on the clock that cut things short.

Breakfast usually follows this devotional time. In my household, we usually don't sit down for breakfast together except on weekends. While the children eat, I tidy up a few things, tend to the baby, or complete a few tasks after I've grabbed a banana or handful of granola.

I keep an ear out for the children because they always have interesting conversations going on during this time! If I pay attention here and there to what they are saying, I can use that "information" later in a biblical lesson or during art time (depending on what it is they are talking about, of course).

Once breakfast winds down we take five minutes to take care of our rooms. This means making the bed, putting away toys, and bringing dirty clothes down so I can start a load of laundry. Either we can set the timer and focus on our own areas for five minutes, or we can all work together in one room for five minutes at a time (five minutes in one bedroom, five minutes in another bedroom, five minutes in the livingroom, etc). Sometimes it is fun to make it into a game of "beat the clock" or pretending that we must keep moving moving moving so the "lazy monster" doesn't get us.

I am trying to teach our five-year-old how to play the piano, but it is slow going. Instead of stressing her out by trying to beat these lessons into her head until she gets it (and thereby stressing myself out as well), we just take five minutes a day (sometimes every other day) to poke around on the piano some. Every piano lesson we focus on the proper way to hold her hands and on pressing one key at a time. Piano time use to be very frustrating for both of us until I realized that this was something I couldn't push on her. She enjoys plinking the keys, and I don't want her to hate the piano because I've pressured her to learn something she's not ready for. The five minute method allows me to see where she is and make note of whether she's ready to begin a more formal piano lesson.

Whenever you feel like you aren't getting a particular lesson through (whether in math, reading, or piano), step back and just focus on the basics. I would rather teach the same little bit every day and encourage her rather than move ahead when she isn't ready.

We also read for five-minutes at a time, sometimes longer if the children beg me to continue. One thing that I have found very helpful in getting children to "soak in" what they are reading is to have them draw a picture of what we read once we've finished the excerpt or chapter of that day. Sometimes I read a couple paragraphs and then go over what we just read (rewording it or defining some of the words we read). This helps keep my children focused on the book. Drawing out the scenes puts their creativity to work and helps them imagine what they are reading.

Sonlight has a Mathtacular DVD which my children love. It fits perfectly into our five-minute method because it is divided up into short little sections. We take five minutes to learn new letters and sounds, five minutes to read rhymes and children's books, and five minutes to talk about community, maps, and history!

We also take five minutes here and there throughout the day to "train" and disciple the children. During these sessions they learn various things, like practical household chores (how to fold clothes, how to vacuum, how to set the table) or biblical principles and facts (they are currently learning the books of the Law in the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). They get time with Mom (and Dad when he's home), working beside me and learning as we go. Often, I am learning at the same time! I never memorized verses (although I knew some of my favorites) or the books of the bible growing up, but it is something I have set out to do alongside my children.

The children have plenty of time to play inbetween little sessions. We take time for crafts and games as well. Now and then they get to watch a special movie or a documentary on history, animals, or "how things work", which of course take much longer than five or ten minutes!

There is no limit to the things you can teach in five minutes, and you could also change this ten or fifteen minutes. The point is not to live by the clock or the timer, but to allow you to focus on the things you need to accomplish without overwhelming yourself or your children.

As homeschooling mothers, we not only have to teach our children, but we also have to care for the home, cleaning, preparing meals, running errands, and helping others in our community. Doing lessons and sessions in spurts helps us accomplish those things without stressing out.

We can be more productive with our time, instead of wasting it. We can glorify God five minutes at a time as we teach our children, care for our homes, and nourish ourselves with His Word.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Charlotte Mason, Horton Hears a Who Unit Study, and Christian Homeschooling links

It's been a while since I've posted, so I figured it was about time that I do a little work for my blog, instead of leaving it up to my wonderful assistants! (Even though they do a great job of providing information, links, and encouragement!)

Every now and then I like to surf the web for great links. While some of these don't suit our methods, they may be a help to you, so I'm passing them along.

Curriculum can be expensive, but has provided a free curriculum reading plan based on some of the aspects of the Charlotte Mason style (for grades 0-12!). They also provide a page of resources, including vintage CM "programmes" and exams. offers a free e-book called Education Is. The site also details the Scripture Memory System, which you can make yourself. But wait! That's not all! Sonya has generously provided another free e-book a SCM called Masterly Inactivity. The whole site is full of useful information, so give it a look!

Did your children recently watch Horton Hears a Who? Is it one of their favorite bedtime books? Well you'll probably enjoy this unit study put together by Homegrown Hearts

Looking for encouragement? has articles that will inform and inspire!

Btw, do you have a blog? We'd appreciate if you'd lend your support by posting our link (and graphic, if you'd like) to our blog!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


by Mommy N

I know.... it's sounds like an odd subject for a homeschool blog, but there is so much more to recycling than just taking your used cardboard boxes and aluminum cans to the local recycling center.

Recycling has become a new game to me. Although we do take our cardboard boxes and our aluminum cans to the local center (about 20 minutes away), I like to do so much more with everyday items so I don't have to throw things away. I haven't become a trash junkie, keeping everything, but I keep things I know I will and can reuse.

Here are a few items I have been able to reuse and what I'm doing with them now:

* baby wipe container - pencil, bead, candle, or button holder, etc.

* Enfamil containers - can be used for drums for the baby - just add beans or noodles and glue the lid on

* map container - rain stick

* baby food jar - store tree seeds in when learning about trees; homemade baby food; rubberband, small staples, and/or trashbag/bread tie containers

* Clorox wipe container - pencil/marker holder

* Diaper box - old clothes or paint clothes

*Peanut butter jar - hide-n-seek jar

(add rice and few small items - have kids find items by rolling the jar around to uncover what's hidden in the rice - K really liked this one!)

Those are just a few of the hundreds of everyday items that be "recycled" into another everyday use so they don't have to be thrown away. What other items do you "recycle" and how do you use them?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Local Homeschool Groups

by Mommy N
My husband and I attended a homeschool leadership meeting, Saturday, Jan.31. It was very informative and worth the time. I know this seems kind of lengthy, but our right to homeschool is under attack and a lot of homeschoolers don't even know it.

Like some of you I was preparing myself for homeschooling my young children, 3 years and 10 months, for when the time was right. I knew I didn't need to register them with the state until they turned 7. I still had a few years, but I think learning from others experience is vital to having less stress, so I joined a local support group. What I didn't know was that God was using what I thought was preparation for my own children's education to actually be preparation to teach junior high and high school levels with very little notice (two weeks). In December, my husband and I got custody over two of my teenage nieces, 15 and 12. I went from reading young children's books, doing crafts, playing blocks, and racing cars to teaching an actual Bible study and relearning and teaching Algebra, Biology, Literature, World History, World Geography, Spanish, English, Home Ec., and Physical Science. It's been a very fun and interesting month.

Had I not joined our local group last year, I would not have had any idea what curriculum I was going to use, because I wouldn't have had the advice or knowledge from experienced homeschoolers. I would not have had any clue where to start, much less how to start.

The support you have as an individual homeschool mom is important. Please make sure it's support and advice from those that have experience, not just from those that are in the same place as you.

Our local support group has a variety of people that are different in appearance, but like-minded in their purpose to teach their children about Christ. If you haven't joined a local support group because your children don't have to be registered with the state yet, or because you have enough socialization, I would recommend, join anyway. The support and ideas you can and will get (if you want them) or give will be well worth it to you or to someone else. Although joining a local support group is not vital to homeschool success, it can be very helpful in times you never would have imagined, and informative in things you never would have thought.

Also,If you are not a member of or haven't signed their petition, I would suggest looking into it. The last thing we need as a parent, whether we homeschool or not, is for our children to be able to make adult decisions for themselves because the government says they have the right to and that the parent doesn't have that right over their child. If you really want to get involved go to for more information about how you can be proactive in amending the U.S. Constitution.

God entrusted each one of us with the children He created through us, not through the government.