Encouragement, Getting Started, Preschool-Grade 12

Keys to Homeschooling Success ~ Key Two

Be Prepared to Un-Learn, Reevaluate and Think Outside the Box

box

Just because you have always ‘done school’ in a particular way does not mean it should stay that way forever. Be careful of falling into a homeschooling rut simply because you refuse to un-learn old habits. Being open to change can help you to avoid burnout. Year-round homeschooling worked well for my family for several years, and then suddenly it was a struggle. Instead of fighting it, we chose to adjust our school calendar and are much happier and productive as a result. Just as a tasty new curry recipe adds fresh life to your menu rotation, a new way of doing school may add fresh life to your homeschool program.

As your family grows and changes, it is important to revisit your goals, strategies and curriculum to make sure you are meeting the needs of your children in the best way possible. Sometimes a particular curriculum works well for younger children, but loses its effectiveness with older learners. We parents may have strong opinions about the materials our children are using, but have we asked our children to share their thoughtful evaluations? If its not broken, there’s no need to fix it, but at the same time there is no harm in re-evaluating what you do to find new ways to learn. It may be helpful to include an evaluation time in your calendar at regular intervals to specifically discuss with your family how to make your homeschool the best it can be.

The best learning opportunities don’t always come in a textbook. Look for ways to learn

Keys to Success

something new away from home. Botany can be studied by joining a gardening club. Sign up for a plein-air watercolor class as a way of learning nature journaling. Why not take a chance and move outside of your comfort zone? Try something new. You might discover birdwatching or stargazing or geo-cacheing to be not only educational, but truly enjoyable. Perhaps you never thought you would do a literature-based unit study or try a computer-based curriculum. Give it a try, you might like it! Check with your family members, friends or fellow church members who might jump at the chance to teach your family something new. Don’t make changes solely to keep up with the homeschooling Joneses, but to move yourself and your children to new heights.

Did you miss the first key to homeschooling success? Check out our blog’s recent posts.

Encouragement, Getting Started, Home Life, Preschool-Grade 12

Keys To Homeschooling Success ~ Key One

Join us each Tuesday this month as we share 5 keys to having a successful homeschooling year. We pray that these posts will both encourage and inspire as you endeavor to educate your children this school year.

Keys to SuccessFind Your Fit

It is easy to look at what other families are doing and get discouraged. Does your friend create fabulous in-depth unit studies for her children that leave you feeling envious? That’s okay, she is not making the adjustment to caring for an elderly parent in your home like you are. Go ahead and purchase the unit study kit you’ve had your eye on and enjoy using it. It really is okay if you never ever write your own curriculum or make a lapbook!

I remember a mom who proudly announced that she never used workbooks – as if workbooks were the lowest form of education. I had just bought a stack of workbooks for my 4th grader and it was very hard not to take her statement personally. I had to remind myself that her conviction was for HER household. I had a newborn baby and was doing what I could handle at the time. If your child is excited at thought of a new workbook, then go ahead and give your child a reason to smile. Don’t forget some new colored pencils to go with the new workbook!

Your household structure, your child’s learning style, the support systems in your area and other factors will all combine to create a your family’s unique homeschool. Prayerfully work towards doing what is best for YOUR family. If you are a square peg, don’t try to fit in a round homeschooling hole.

Elementary(K-6), Getting Started, Planning/Scheduling

The Very Best Curriculum Ever – Part 2

Curriculum developers are excellent in marketing, and homeschool parents are a wide open market for their wares. Wanting only the best for their children, homeschool parents are willing consumers of these goods. But, remembering that less is more and to keep it simple are concepts that are worth considering. A successful homeschool curriculum does not depend upon a plethora of textbooks and copy work. Instead, a few simple tools and a daily routine can go a long way in establishing a homeschool curriculum that is custom designed for each child in your family.

When shopping for your homeschool curriculum and resources keep in mind the counsel we’ve been given.

“During the first six or seven years of a child’s life, special attention should be given to physical training, rather than intellect… Up to this period children should be left, like little lambs, to roam around the house and in the yards, in the buoyancy of their spirits, skipping and jumping, free from care and trouble.” Child Guidance, p. 300

“For the first eight or ten years of a child’s life the field or garden is the best schoolroom, the mother the best teacher, nature the best lesson book.” Education, p. 208

In light of this, buying expensive homeschooling materials for your little ones really isn’t necessary. Does that mean that you’re not to teach them anything? Not at all! Let’s look at a few ways to cover the basic subjects in a relaxed, yet effective way.

*Bible – Starting the day with family worship sets the tone for a successful day. Beginning a habit of daily devotions with your children will develop into their own devotions as they grow older. Study the Sabbath School lesson. Read through The Bible Story books. Listen to The Bible in Living Sound. Start a prayer, praise & thankfulness journal. Sing songs of praise. Read stories that will help develop good character traits in your children. Memorize Bible verses.

*Reading – Start reading aloud to your children when they are very young and never stop. Children of all ages, even teens, enjoy listening to stories read aloud. It’s a wonderful opportunity for quality family time. Read Bible stories, nature stories, history books, biographies, human interest stories, poems and anything else your children find interesting.

As children start to grow, show them sounds, words, letters, etc. as you read. Have them share/read words, then sentences and paragraphs during your reading times together. When they are mature enough, find a simple, low pressure reading program. The program doesn’t need to be complicated or costly. Just take it slow. Children will learn to read in their own time. Right now your goal is to develop a love for reading so they will want to do it on their own.

*Nature & Science – We are told nature is God’s second book. Go for nature walks, and get fresh air and exercise daily. During your walks collect and identify wild flowers, plants, insects, trees, birds, etc. Record your discoveries in a nature notebook. Invest in some field guides. Read and learn about nature during your family reading time. Draw, paint and write about what you see in nature.

*Math – Preschool and elementary math can be taught by matching socks, counting items, and sorting them into groups. Teach fractions in the kitchen by cutting apples, oranges, or pies, measuring ingredients. Learn measurement in Dad’s wood shop measuring, cutting and building. Use number lines to learn to add and subtract in a visual way. Toy cars can travel along the line for so many miles, then drive back so many more to find totals and differences. Use flash cards and addition and subtraction practice sheets to help them learn their math facts. Do short timed drills. As they mature and gain understanding add an occasional math workbook page if the children enjoy them.

Middle school and high school math will require a textbook, but don’t eliminate drill and parental time. Give opportunity for drill and review; not going at too fast a pace. Learn for mastery.

*History, Geography, Social Studies, Language Arts – These subjects can be implemented through the above activities and through the unit study method below. It’s so easy to incorporate them into unit studies and family reading time. Purchase a good English handbook to help guide you in introducing proper grammar, and correct punctuation and capitalization. Invest in a spelling program that grows with the student and will cover several grade levels. Find free spelling lists and games online.

*Unit Studies – The easiest way to learn is by combining all the subject areas while learning one topic. This is called a unit study. Always have a unit study going as a part of the school day. For example, if a child is interested in airplanes read stories about flight (the Wright brothers, mission pilots, early air mail flights, WW II pilots; etc.). Research in books and online about types of planes. Go to the airport and identify planes. Draw planes and cross-section views of their mechanical parts. Analyze differences in the time it takes to drive or fly to the same destination and chart routes. Build model airplanes. Write or dictate a story about a plane and/or pilot. Take advantage of free airplane rides offered by many private pilot clubs. Take pictures of planes and make a scrapbook or write a story. Journal about planes. Buy magazines about planes and have child read aloud to siblings. See if a private pilot needs help maintaining a plane (washing, checking tires, etc.). Go to a flight museum or an air show. Get a book about making paper airplanes and try making different kinds. Compare and contrast their flights for speed, distance, and acrobatic skills. Develop a rating chart. Go with the flow and what your child shows an interest in. Do you get the idea? Every subject that interests your family can be studied in this manner!

Don’t forget two other important aspects of your custom designed homeschool curriculum.

*Work – It’s important for children to learn that in a family we all have responsibilities that help the household run smoothly. Assign each child household chores that are appropriate for their age and ability. Teach them gently and thoroughly how to complete their tasks. Show the older children how to help the younger ones.

*Service – Your children will benefit immensely from learning to put others first through service activities. Start first by looking for service opportunities in your own home. Find ways to serve one another, grandparents, and other family members. Then branch out to serving others in your neighborhood, church, and community.

As your children grow and mature you can add an appropriate textbook here and there where necessary. A well-rounded combination of unit studies, a few carefully chosen textbooks, reading individually and aloud as a family, a computer and a good library for research, hobbies, nature study, and family worship will prove to be the very best curriculum available for your homeschooling family.

Early Learning, Getting Started, Principles of True Education

Your Child’s First Textbook

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Ps. 34:11

The very first textbook to be used for the education of our children is the Bible. Day by day, we are to use the Bible to lead our children to Christ. We are to begin with short lessons, simplified so as to be easily understood. “In these simple stories may be made plain the great principles of the law of God.” Education, 185. Our goal is to direct to our children the commandments of God as standard for living, to teach them to use the Bible as a guide for life. As we use the Bible to introduce our children to God, they will be introduced to His character and their characters will be influenced as a result.

How should we teach our children? The pen of inspiration gives us guidance in creative ways to teach Bible lessons to our children. “ The use of object lessons, blackboards, maps, and pictures, will be an aid in explaining these lessons, and fixing them in the memory. Parents and teachers should constantly seek for improved methods. The teaching of the Bible should have our freshest thought, our best methods, and our most earnest effort.” Education, 186.

Let us renew our energies to consistently present to our children the most important lessons they will ever learn.

Early Learning, Principles of True Education

First the blade, then the ear…

One of the biggest challenges facing parents desiring to follow True Education principles is the concept of delayed formal academics. In an increasingly competitive world, the pressure to have our children keep up with or surpass their peers is intense. We first fall into the habit of comparing our child with others when they are very young – how old was Jr. when he started to crawl? Said her first word? Took his first steps? As our children enter their toddler years, we hear of children learning their alphabet by two, and reading by three or four. We begin to wonder, are we hindering our child’s future progress by not getting a set of flashcards and starting to review the alphabet by the time he is 18 months?

Mark 4:28 tells us, “…first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” We know that to enjoy the optimum summer corn experience, we want fresh, plump,  sweet kernels of corn, picked when matured to perfection. Nothing less will do. To enjoy corn at it’s best, we must allow the corn to develop the way God intended. For our children, it is exactly the same. With God’s help, we can give our children an optimum education at the proper stages of maturity.

It is easy to forget that young children are constantly learning, making connections and developing new ideas as they encounter the world around them. A nature walk presents a young child with a feast for the senses – so much to see, touch and explore. As he touches the rough bark of a tree, picks up a fallen leaf, or listens to the cry of a bird circling overhead, he is gaining the scientific knowledge that serves as a basis for future learning. Time with Daddy folding laundry teaches the importance of neatness and order in the home and the world in general. Cutting fruit for a salad with Mommy reinforces not only nutrition, but also cooperation and the joy of a job well done. These priceless foundational experiences cannot be taught with worksheets, flashcards or while seated in a classroom desk.

There is no denying that a child will eventually need to take a pencil in hand and apply herself to a math problem, a spelling list, or a timeline of historical events. That time, however is not as early as society would have us to think is necessary. “The only schoolroom for children until eight or ten years of age should be in the open air, amid the opening flowers and nature’s beautiful scenery, and their most familiar textbook the treasures of nature. These lessons, imprinted upon the minds of young children amid the pleasant, attractive scenes of nature, will not be soon forgotten…. “ CT 80.

 

Originally published June 3, 2010.

Bible, Elementary(K-6), English-Language Arts, High School(9-12), Jr. High(7-8), Online Resources, Special Needs

Bible Memory Through Song

Today we are sharing resources for learning Bible verses through song.  Feel free to comment and add your suggestions below.  Many of the suggestions let you listen to a sample, so please try to do so before purchasing if you want to be sure the music is agreeable for your home.

“The songs that had cheered the wilderness wandering were sung.  God’s commandments were chanted, and, bound up with the blessed influences of nature and of kindly human association, they were forever fixed in the memory of many a child and youth.”  ~Education 42.1

“The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song.  Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation.  But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to the high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul” ~My Life Today 90.3

* denotes an SDA resource

 

*Benjamin NG Scripture songs – YouTube

Hide ‘Em in Your Heart:  Bible Memory Melodies, Volume 1 and 2 by Steve Green (older CDs, may be hard to find)

*Hide it In Your Heart – YouTube

*Musical Memory Verses – YouTube Channel, Leah is very creative with her songs.

*Neville Peters – By the Word album

Scripture Lullabies – you can purchase CD’s or stream on major streaming platforms

*Scripture Singer – website and app (apple and android), also playlists on YouTube

Scripture Songs CDs – By Patty Vailant (on YouTube, Amazing Facts bookstore, Amazon, etc.)

Sing the KJV – learn whole chapters…free sheet music, also on YouTube.

*SonLight Education Ministry – Search the Family Bible Lessons Folder, the 2-8 Grade Lessons (Desire of All Nations), and Music Song Books.

Songs for Saplings- ABC by Dana Dirksen

Songs for Saplings-123 by Dana Dirksen

*Thy Word Creations:   Songbook/Activity books with a CD

*Trilogy Scripture Resources 

Bible, Early Learning, Elementary(K-6), Family Worship, High School(9-12), Jr. High(7-8), Preschool-Grade 12, Special Needs

Bible Memory Quotes

This week we share quotes that deal with memorizing Scripture.  We pray it is a blessing and that it will guide your homes as you make these truths your own.

“The mind must be stored with pure principles.  Truth must be graven on the tablets of the soul.  The memory must be filled with the precious truths of the Word.  Then, like beautiful gems, these truths will flash out in the life.”  ~Messages to Young People 69.3

 

“The use of object lessons, blackboards, maps, and pictures, will be an aid in explaining these lessons, and fixing them in the memory.  Parents and teachers should constantly seek for improved methods.  The teaching of the Bible should have our freshest thought, our best methods, and our most earnest effort.”  ~Education 186.1

 

“But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures.  One may read the whole Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty of comprehend its deep and hidden meaning.  One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained.  Keep your Bible with you.  As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory.  Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in the mind.”  ~Steps to Christ 90.2

 

“Says the psalmist, ‘The law of the Lord is perfect.’  How wonderful in its simplicity, its comprehensiveness and perfection, is the law of Jehovah!  It is so brief that we can easily commit every precept to memory, and yet so far-reaching as to express the whole will of God, and to take cognizance not only of the outward actions, but of the thoughts and intents, the desires and emotions, of the heart.” ~Sons and Daughters of God 39.3

 

“Here are the promises, plain and definite, rich and full; but they are all upon conditions.  If you comply with the conditions, can you not trust the Lord to fulfill His word?  Let these blessed promises, set in the framework of faith, be placed in memory’s halls.  Not one of them will fail.  All that God hath spoken, He will do.  “He is faithful that promised.”  ~Testimonies to the Church, Volume 5, 630.2

This one is in reference to when Satan comes in to tempt us to give up all hope… point him to the promises we are assured of in God’s Word.  🙂

 

“Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions.  Let them keep the treasure house of mind and heart filled with, “It is written.’  Hang in memory’s hall the precious words of Christ.  They are to be valued far above gold or silver.”  ~Ministry of Healing 215.3

 

“A great lesson is learned when we understand our relation to God and His relation to us.  The words, ‘Ye are not your own,’ ‘ye are bought with a price,’ should be hung in memory’s hall, that we may ever recognize God’s right to our talents, our property, our influence, our individual selves.  We are to learn how to treat this gift of God, in mind, in soul, in body, that as Christ’s purchased possession we may do Him healthful savory service.”  ~Medical Ministry 276.1

 

“The most valuable treatise on etiquette ever penned is the precious instruction given by the Saviour, with the utterance of the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul – words that should be ineffaceably written in the memory of every human being, young or old:

‘As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  John 13:34′” ~Education 242.2

 

“Two chapters to Be Memorized. – The 12th and 13th chapters of 1st Corinthians should be committed to memory, written in the mind and heart.  Through His servan Paul, the Lord has placed before us these subjects for our consideration, and those who have the privilege of being brought together in church capacity will be united, understandingly and intelligently.  The figure of the members which compose the body represents the church of God and the relation its members should sustain to one another (MS 1898).  ~Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6, 1090-91

 

“Scholars should not try to see how many verses they can learn and repeat; for this brings too great a strain upon the ambitious child, while the rest become discouraged.” ~Counsels on Sabbath School Work 182.1

 

“The true teacher is not content with dull thoughts, an indolent mind, or a loose memory.  He constantly seeks higher attainments and better methods.  His life is one of continual growth.  In the work of such a teacher there is a freshness, a quickening power, that awakens and inspires his pupils.”  ~Education 278.5

 

It is in youth that the affections are most ardent, the memory most retentive, and the heart most susceptible to divine impressions; and it is during youth that the mental and physical powers should be set to the task in order that great improvements may be made in view of the world that now is, and that which is to come.”  ~Sons and Daughters of God 78.3