Friday, February 22, 2019

"I'm Bored" is a bad word

It has literally been over 15 years since I remember hearing, "I'm bored!" It was in one of my oldest kids, and I had a talk with them all about how selfish and prideful it is to say that they were bored. I explained that when they say, "I'm bored," they are being prideful and complaining, and the Bible has a lot to say about both of those. There is never a reason to be bored. There is always someone to bless or serve. There is always something that you can contribute towards the family workload. There is always someone that would be blessed by an email or letter. There is always a smaller sibling that would love to have a book read to them or a game played with them. There is always a dog that would love to have a ball thrown for them to retrieve.

If your kids (or you) are in the habit of saying those "bad words," then read what the Bible has to say about work, selfishness, being a servant, or doing things without complaining:

Philippians 2:14,"Do all things without complaining,"

Prov. 19:15, "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger."

Eccles. 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might"

Col. 3:23, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,"

Prov. 13:4, "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.'

Gal. 5:13,"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

1 Corinth 10:24," Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."

I'm thankful that I don't hear this phrase. I think it was helpful to teach my older kids why we don't say that so my younger kids have not heard it or seen selfish boredom modeled. This requires training though. You need to teach your kids that they don't always have to be entertained by movies, screens or fun activities. They can think of productive things to do on their own because you have explained and taught them a lot of fun things to do in their free time. Blessing others. Crafts. Hiking and enjoying nature. Asking a parent or sibling, "How can I help you?" Writing letters. Learning a hobby. Selling on ebay. Being okay with times or prayer and quiet time just hearing from God themselves.

Even a 4 year old can see needs. In this picture my then 4 year old asked on her own to fill up our water filter. She took great pride in that job!!

But as always we need to model what it looks like to "do all things without complaining." and to show them how to joyfully do mundane chores with the right attitude.

People always say that they wish that children came with an instruction manual. They, do, my friend! Everything you need for life and godly parenting is in the Bible!!! God is awesome!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Siblings: Best Friends!!!

I'm reading 2 Timothy this week, and a verse came up that we have taught our kids: "A servant of the Lord must not argue but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient..." (V24)

I'm often asked by people, after finding out we have a small army of children, if our children get along or if they fight all the time. That is usually followed with them telling me that they hated their siblings growing up or that their own children argue all the time and don't like each other.

I thought I'd address this question. Our children for the most part are best friends. They don't fight. They occasionally disagree and work it out. They occasionally push each other's buttons (especially the younger boys), but at the end of the day, they love being together and are very thankful for each other. Society will tell you that brothers and sisters are supposed to bicker and not like each other. I just wanted to throw in the truth, cause parents have been lied to. Truth comes from God's Word and it tells Christians that we should not argue, but die to ourselves and love others more than we love ourselves. It tells us to be gentle and patient. self controlled, and loving. It tells us in the previous verse to "avoid foolish disputes."

What better training ground for life than in your own home with your own brothers and sisters learning to have a servant's heart, to love, to learn to not argue, to be gentle and patient? What better place to practice the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Self Control, Meekness, Faithfulness)?

So don't buy into the lie. Don't allow your kids to foster anger and hatred towards each other. Start young and don't let them be ugly or selfish with each other. Stop nasty tones in their voice and teach them to be sweet to each other. Remind them that they are a gift to each other and are best friends. God's ways work. You can have a home filled with peace. But 3 things are required: 1. You have to believe that God's Word is truth. 2. You have to teach the truth to your kids. 3. You have to model this yourself to your spouse and children.

If you can't live your Christianity at home, then it's not real.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

And our 16th year of Homeschool is underway! Our Curriculum for this year.....

Because many people ask me, "What curriculum do you use?"  and it's not that simple to answer when you are eclectic, I decided to type it out to save time.

My 3 year old loves to do school, so this year she will be doing:

  • Horizons Preschool Book 1
  • Find and Count Bubbles sticker book
  • My First ABC Sticker Activity book (from Sam's Club)
  • My First Sticker Art (from Sam's Club)
  • Leap Frog DVD's
  • Reading LOTS of books!!
My 1st grader's lineup includes:

  • Math Lessons for a Living Education book 2
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Language 1 Abeka
  • Explode the Code books 4-6 
  • Christian Liberty Press Phonics Readers
  • Veritas Press Self Paced Bible (Genesis-Joshua)
  • Veritas Press Self Paced History (Old Testament and Ancient Egypt)
  • Science: Inquisikids Discover and Do DVD's K, 1st and 2nd (Sonlight) doing mainly experiments all year long (the little boys favorite!!) 
My 3rd grader is plugging along at:

  • Math Lessons for a Living Education 4
  • Life of Fred Honey, Ice Cream and Jelly Beans
  • Handwriting without Tears
  • Language 3 Abeka
  • Learning Language Arts through Literature Yellow Book
  • Veritas Press Self Paced Bible (Genesis-Joshua)
  • Veritas Press Self Paced History (Old Testament and Ancient Egypt)
  • Science: Inquisikids Discover and Do DVD's K, 1st and 2nd (Sonlight) doing mainly experiments all year long
  • He will be taking an online class this fall to learn Scratch Computer Programming.  He already started learning the ropes yesterday and is really liking it!!
My 6th grader who is my bookworm:

  • Life of Fred Decimals and Zillions of Decimal Problems Math
  • Science: Answers in Genesis God's Design for Animals, Plants and Ecosystems
  • Geography: I created my own curriculum using "Eat Your Way through the World" cookbook as the spine and studying 30 countries
  • Fun-Schooling's "Seven Amazing Continents" 
  • Total Language Plus
  • Cover Story: Middle School Writing Curriculum
  • Duo-Lingo Spanish
  • An online class called Evangelism 101
  • Piano
  • Working through list of "200 more commonly misspelled words"

My 8th grader helped me choose:

  • Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
  • Answers in Genesis Science God's Design for Matter, Machines, Atoms and Heat (Physical Science)
  • Total Language Plus
  • Cover Story: Middle School Writing
  • Working through list of "200 more commonly misspelled words"
  • Online Evangelism 101 Class
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Piano
  • A Heart for You China-Year Long study of China from a missions perspective

9th grade high school:

  • Jensen's Format Writing for English
  • Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2
  • World History using "Great Courses" and lots of reading of real Historical Fiction as well as a weekly essay on the history topic of the week
  • Business 1 using books on Starting Micro Businesses and actually launching a website and business this year of his choosing
  • Filmmaking
  • Piano
  • Evangelism 101 Online class
  • Abeka World Geography
  • Duo Lingo Spanish
  • Dendrology for Science (online class studying trees) 

And finally my 12th grader.  She has essentially finished all of her high school requirements except for Economics....and has also logged 61 college credits as she will be having a very eclectic senior year:

  • Economics with Randy Alcorn's "God Money Possessions and Eternity"  and Math U See Stewardship
  • College Algebra through ALEKS
  • She is taking some college classes this fall: ENG 300 "Intro to Creative Writing" 
  • An online college class "The Old Testament as Literature" 
  • Public Speaking and Sociology through Straighterline
  • Finishing up editing her 2nd Novel and prepare it for publishing
  • Continue weekly blog writing
  • She is planning on writing a booklet on Godly Relationships later this year as well
And that completes the students who haven't graduated yet.
My 19 year old will be in his 2nd year at Campbellsville University continuing his major or Vocal Music Education.

My 21 year old is getting ready to start his LAST semester of his Master's Degree and will done in November!!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Homeschool Math Curriculum: Our choices for the 2017-2018 School Year and How we got here

I get a lot of questions about curriculum.  I have been homeschooling for 16 years, and over the course of time, I have tried MANY different curriculum....and have researched even more.   In the past, we have used:  Singapore Math, Teaching Textbooks, Life of Fred,  Abeka, Horizons, ALEKS and Critical Thinking Press.    Some of those have worked well for certain children and were disasters for others.  My firstborn LOVED Singapore for elementary, but my next two were brought to tears by it.   Those same two really liked Teaching Textbooks but my firstborn HATED how they over-explained and repeated things.  So, there likely isn't a perfect curriculum for every family (or even every child  in the SAME family for crying out loud.) (That is my disclaimer).  Some of the favorites for us, some of our friends don't like at all.  That's okay..we're all different.

Thankfully, with all this experience under my belt, I now know which curriculum is best for which type of math student...and can better choose for each of my children based on past experience with siblings who have similar personalities and math abilities.   For that reason alone, I encourage everyone to have a half dozen more kids or so cause homeschooling really does get easier then. =)  You don't want to have to quit when you have finally figured it all out.  

I'll address elementary first.   Pretty much any curriculum can work for kindergarten and 1st grade.  Even the companies that include "Drill and Kill" (a term where they kill their students by a ridiculous amount of problems on a page until they despise math)...don't typically overwhelm the 5 and 6 yr olds.
But whoa buddy....if you survive to 2nd or 3rd grade, some of those workbooks  should come with a few boxes of Kleenex.  Enter diagram A:

Can you even imagine being an 8 yr old boy who just wants to be outside and being given a page (or TWO!!!)   of this stuff?????    They either get it or they don't.  20 problems is not better than 5, seriously...maybe over the course of the week but in one sitting.   Just shoot the kid now and put him out of his misery!!!        This is what I found in curriculum like Abeka and Horizons.   For some reason, everyone just thinks Abeka is the best.   There are some books worth using in Abeka....I'm not denying that, but if that is all  you use for and the kids will soon hate homeschooling.  It's like school at home, and well, stressful!

There are other options for the little people to help them (and you) enjoy school more.   Using LEGO's,   math around the house,  online math games and if you want a curriculum, I REALLY like Life of Fred  When I use this for my 8 yr old, he is so happy!  After attempting an Abeka 3 math book last year and seeing the drill and kill, he asked me for something else.   We switched to Life of Fred and he thanked me every day for a week!    Because we were zooming through the books so quickly last year, I'm adding  a new workbook to use along with Fred to slow us to a normal speed and solidify some concepts.  I will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education book 2 for my 6 year old  and book 4 for my 8 year old.  I will also be doing a few lessons per week with them in Life of Fred because it's just so stinking fun and we all love Fred.  (Here he is now...) next student is going into 6th grade....LOVES and thrives with Fred and will be doing  Decimals and Percents this year along with Zillions of Practice Problems.   She will probably finish early and will head on into Pre Algebra 0 with Physics which is Fred's 1st of 3 Pre Algebra books.

My next daughter is going into 8th grade and does not think math is the greatest subject in the world.  (scratching my head).  She is learning Mandarin Chinese but the Fractions book was complicated.  Okay then.  So she will be stopping her Life of Fred career as it was not a good fit her for, and using Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra.    Because she has a similar math interest and ability as a few older siblings, I know this is the perfect fit for her.  She will stick with Teaching Textbooks throughout high school as well.

The next in the lineup is going into 9th grade.  He just finished Life of Fred Beginning Algebra and he liked it but it was a challenge for him. This year he will be using Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 instead as he can use a little more explaining.

My oldest still in home school is going to be a senior.  She will likely take a dual enrollment math course this year in College Algebra or College Math.   I'll let her choose cause she is working on a degree in English.....and she just wants to write ALL.DAY.LONG.    (and she has fulfilled all her math courses required for high school...but she wants to take more).

Let me give some closing thoughts on using Life of Fred in High School.  In my opinion, Life of Fred high school courses are more advanced than pretty much anything on the market.  He doesn't just teach you how to solve an equation, he wants you to know HOW and WHY you do that and THEN solve it.    Since the elementary series seems light and to some people "not very meaty" because it lacks "Drill and Kill" and it's "not the way math is done"  they also (falsely) assume that Fred must not be enough for high school.    That is just not true.   One of my students who used Fred all through high school (and only Fred)  scored a 35 on the math ACT portion (out of 36).  And was able to pass the College Algebra and College Math CLEPS....with near perfect scores.     So nobody can tell me that Fred is "not enough."    I think for some it is "too much" because non math kids sometimes struggle with the challenge of Fred.    It has more math in their books than Saxon and other heavyweights...that you can read about here.    If you have a child that wants to go into Engineering or a STEM field,  then Fred is what you want them to take!!!!  If you have a kid that just struggles with math and doesn't have the interest or desire to dig in and figure out the WHY of math, then I'd probably steer you to Teaching Textbooks.  (We have both kinds of kids in our family....they are not smarter or dumber just different and that is totally okay! Those same kids excel in other subjects that math nerds can't stand!)
So that is my (not so brief) explanation of why we do what we do when it comes to math curriculum.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum: What We're using this year for Kindergarten and 2nd grade

I get asked a lot, especially my new homeschoolers, "What curriculum should I use?"   That is one of the hardest questions that I receive because the answer depends on so many factors, and there is not a one-size-fits-all curriculum that is best for every family.     I almost always strongly discourage new homeschoolers from using an all- in-one curriculum like Abeka...because it is, frankly, overwhelming, boring, and too time-consuming.   The goal is not to re-create school at home by using dry textbooks, but to use our freedom to teach our kids using real life experiences, real books and hands-on fun!   If you or your child dreads getting out all the workbooks and textbooks, then something needs to change.  If your 6 yr old little boy, who needs to be running and playing; exploring and creating sits at a desk for 4 hours in tears...then you're doing it wrong.

I'm not saying using abeka is bad  (I use a few abeka books myself in the younger grades)...but enjoy the freedom of making school fun.  Kids learn SO MUCH MORE when they enjoy school.   That said, there will always be a need for some workbooks...and there will probably always be some subjects that your child just doesn't look forward to----and that's okay.  But if there is an option to make it fun, or shorter, or less tiresome, then make a change even if it's mid-school year.  

With that introduction....I'll share what I'm using for school this year with my two, little, energetic, "oh look a chicken"  short attention span little boys....who do not have ADD despite the fact that they and every other 5 and 7 yr old little boy could easily be labelled such if they fail to enjoy sitting at a desk all day.  =)

They started back to school this week, so we are 3 days into it.  They already had 2 months off, and it's way too hot to do much I'm starting early with these little fellas cause  1--their school doesn't take all day (we break it up)   2--it's too hot outside to do much for a good chunk of mid-day   3--we're moving in a few months and I want to get ahead so I can take a few weeks off of their school.

The most exciting new find that I've never used before and we are already loving..and they both remind me every day already to do science because they think it's Science Shepherd Introductory Science.   You buy a workbook for each child....Level A or B.  I recommend B for all kids...with help it's even good for my 5 yr old.         You also buy a 1 year access subscription to their video lessons.  (5 lessons a week for 35 weeks).  $35.   Each lesson is short  2-3 minutes.   I love that there are Bible verses each week that we will memorize.  I love that so far, they are focusing on Creationism, setting the foundation that God cannot lie...that the Bible can be trusted...that Evolution cannot be true.   We are memorizing Genesis 1:1.  They even have an activity or two each week.  Yesterday after learning how God created the world, they had to create their favorite animal out of clay and tell us why it's their favorite.    I'm excited about science this year for the little boys.
The curriculum is for 6-11 yr olds.  I think for the older range,  would add more to it like real books and maybe some documentary videos from Amazon prime or Netflix, but for my 2 little guys, this is perfect!!

For History, I'm using a combination of curriculum I'm piecing together to keep things fun.
I'll be using Abeka's 3rd Grade US history text as spine along with History for Little Pilgrims.  I will also add in some NEST videos from their history collection as well as coloring pages for each American we are studying.  (We are currently on Columbus).  We will also be reading a lot of real books outloud about each person from our library shelves....and doing some fun activities as well.  Young kids also enjoy memorizing, so we will work on the States and Presidents as well.

For Bible, we will be simply reading some of the Bible Stories from a kids' Bible we have that I've used before...along with Bible memory from our Science Curriculum.

For Math, we will be using a workbook.  Abeka math 1 and 3.  (They are both a year ahead in math).  My preference would be Life of Fred Elementary, but with all the other kids I"m also schooling and a move planned this year, I'm choosing to use a workbook to keep us on task so older kids can help them if I'm tied up.

Handwriting they will each do 3 times per week using Handwriting without Tears.
Ransom is using this one.  Gil is using this one. 

For Language Arts, it is a mix of them each reading out loud to me (well, Gilead is reading independently for the most part so he will read to himself more this year).    I like to use real books in their reading so they don't die of books like Boxcar Children are good ones to start with(once they are independent readers).  I like Bob Books for new readers.  Then ask them to tell me about it to make sure they are comprehending.

Gilead will use a combination of these books that I've been happy with and used with success with his older siblings.

Explode the Code books 6-8 this year (I've used this series since Aslan for phonics and it's great!!)
Abeka Language 2   (1 page per day--simple, and covers basics in a few minutes)
English for the Thoughtful Child book 1  (I love this Charlotte Mason approach to Language's gentle)

And for Ransom:

Explode the Code books 2-3
(along with reading out loud to me)

Ransom, being in Kindergarten this year, will spend about 2 hours a day on school....broken up into small chunks.  That includes all the history, science and Bible with Gilead, and working on his other books with me and reading out loud.   You have to trust me that a 5 yr old boy doesn't need more than that.  He's been doing school since he was 3 off and on as we had time. He is already reading short vowel readers and 1/4 of the way into 1st grade math.  

Gilead is in 2nd grade this year, and like Ransom, his school will be broken up with lots of breaks and outdoor time.  I expect all his school will take 2-3 hours a day.    He is 7 with a very short attention span.  Yet with short, fun school days, he is already reading at a 3-4th grade level and doing 3rd grade math.    

That said, all of our life is school here, so in the kitchen, at the store, outside, working with Daddy or brothers is all teaching moments.   =)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cover Release for The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser!!!

Hosanna first published this book last year. Since then, in her pursuit of becoming a better and better author, she has learned so much.    She has re-drafted and edited the book and also sought help in designing a more eye-catching cover.   So, we are happy to announce today as the official COVER RELEASE day!!!!   The book's 2nd edition  will be officially published and available for release on April 26th!!!!!!  

About the Book:

"Rosy growled, and I knew she was pacing the porch. I sensed her uneasiness. Something was wrong. Rosy never barked at cars; why would she choose this one?"

13 year-old Emily Kessler believes in God, but when she discovers someone trespassing in the middle of the night, can she learn to trust in Him completely? Will she have the courage to solve the mystery with her friends? And when everything falls apart, will Emily be able to keep those she loves safe?

Release Date:

The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser will be released on April 26, 2016

About the Author:

Hosanna Emily wrote her first novel at age fourteen. She is a homeschooled, independent author who is the oldest daughter in a family of eleven. She enjoys exploring the sparkling creek by her home in rural Kentucky, reading, drawing, learning American Sign Language, and spending time with her family and with her Creator.

To learn more, visit her blog at: