Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tools for growing your learners ...

Whether you're considering homeschooling as an option, just beginning your homeschool journey,or many miles down the road, I hope you'll find something here that will help you. Homeschooling can sometimes be a trial, but the proper tools can be a big help in assisting you with growing students who love to learn.

Choosing to homeschool is a big decision. Here are some resources that may help as you weigh the pros and cons ... and look to the future.

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.~Anonymous


Good soil, the right fertilizer, a good supply of tools, and a basic knowledge of gardening all go into a successful garden. The same is true for homeschooling your children.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
~Mark Twain
Creating the perfect plan for your homeschool may seem like an insurmountable task, but not when you have a personal consultant. There is a vast array of homeschool resources out there at your disposal, but not every curriculum works for every family. Let's work together to find out if a Sonlight Curriculum package is the best fit for your homeschool.
  1. Check out Sonlight Curriculum packages
  2. Request a Sonlight catalog
  3. Planning! (blog post with planning grid)
  4. Contact me for a personal consultation

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles;
but to irrigate deserts.
~C.S. Lewis
I don't have any formal training as a teacher ... How can I possibly teach someone to read? ... Math was my worst subject in school, there's no way I can help my child! All very real concerns, but I have the resources to address those issues!

The only person who is educated

is the one who has learned how to learn and change.
~Carl Rogers

Homeschooling is a long-term commitment that requires consistency, creativity and plain ole' "sticktoitiveness"! We often struggle with our homeschooling because we run out of ideas or simply need to interact with others who share our passion and understand our experiences.

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
~Thomas Carruthers

The day does finally come when your students enter high school and the end is in sight. The high school years are a unique time to focus on your child's strengths and desires. Homeschooling opens doors for job shadowing, volunteering, and other opportunities that give your student an edge as he/she leaves your home. Some of the most intimidating years of homeschooling don't have to be so ...
Formal education will make you a living,
self-education will make you a fortune.
~Jim Rohn 
Homeschooling is a full-time commitment ... 24/7, 365 days a year. We tend to focus so much on the plants we're tending and nurturing, that we often forget the gardener. The energy and excitement that launched your school year may be a distant memory by the time you hit the winter months. So whether you call it a "teacher in-service" or a mental health day ... be sure to schedule some time for *you*!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Resource Series: Summer School

The school year is winding down and plans for days at the pool, vacations at the beach, and weekend camping trips are in the works.

Now is the perfect time to catch up on "mom's" school. All the time invested in planning your next school year, and beyond, can be much more efficient with just a few well chosen resources. It's also confidence building to be able to refer to your plan when the school year hits those inevitable bumps and snags.

Education Plan Grid: This simple spreadsheet allows you to plan ahead for single or multiple children using Sonlight Curriculum materials. It can also be modified for use with other curriculum programs. Though nothing is ever set in stone, it is helpful to do some long-range planning for your student's education.
Includes digital file and practical suggestions for education planning.

High School Transcripts: Homeschooling a high schooler comes with its own set of challenges, but record keeping need not be one of them. The time to begin thinking about college is when your student is in junior high school, not his/her senior year! This transcript form allows for tweaking and personalizing, and gives you an easy way to plug in your child's high school accomplishments.
Includes digital file and practical suggestions for college planning.

Sonlight's Homeschool Goals Guide: A short white paper that outlines practical ideas for setting goals for your homeschool and reaching them. If you aim at nothing, you'll probably hit it ... so be sure you are clear in the purpose and intent for your homeschool.
Includes a pdf white paper.

Please feel free to request one or more of these planning resources by sending an email to: Please use the subject line: Education Planning Resources

Keep an eye out here for more in my resources series.

Sonlight Curriculum Consultant

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So let's define testing ...

Testing seems to be a theme this week ... at least in my inbox. When should I start testing? How often should I test? Why doesn't Sonlight include testing with their history?

I remember when my kids were younger ... we had just started homeschooling and I was desperate to know how successful I was at teaching my kids. But the longer I educated my children, the more obvious it became that my desire for testing was, at least in part, selfish. *I* needed to be reassured that I was doing a good job. Don't get me wrong ... there is value in accountability. And having a fairly objective evaluation of work is not a bad thing. And bottom line ... where I live, standardized testing is required.

All that being said, each time this question arises, I think first of what I define as testing. Is it really just memorized facts/answers regurgitated on a piece of paper (i.e. multiple choice, true/false)? Don't I really test my kids each time I ask them questions about what they've read? Isn't their retention evaluated each time dad says, "so what did you learn about China today?" over the evening meal? How about when their writing assignment requires them to write a journal entry as though they were a soldier during the winter at Valley Forge? 

I truly believe that the ability to discuss and explain verbally what you've read about is a much better indication of what you've learned than if you simply retain data long enough to pass a written test. I also believe that having to evaluate what you've learned, and organize your thoughts well enough to write an assignment based on that information is the best evaluation of comprehension and retention that exists. 

Standardized testing, report cards, and written evaluations all have their place. But I have long been grateful for the freedom from the classroom paradigm that homeschooling offers. If I were a teacher in a classroom of 10, 15 or 20 students, then a regular written evaluation/test of their knowledge would be essential. There is no way I could keep up with what each student is retaining. However, I have the privilege of learning together with my students ... discussing what they are reading ... and evaluating their written work as a team. There is no need for me to place an additional burden of "testing" on my children. 

After all, testing is defined as the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined.  What better way to discern the quality or genuineness of my child's understanding than by having him converse with me about what he understands. Let me encourage you to be confident in your teaching ... so much so that you are comfortable with evaluating your child's learning by allowing him/her to teach you!     

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The way to a man's heart . . .

Hallmark makes a fortune from Valentine's Day, I'm sure. So do local and Internet florists and candy makers. But it struck me this morning that Valentine's Day may be the perfect Thanksgiving Day. As I was chatting with the Lord this morning about all that this day might hold, I spent a few moments thanking him for the man he brought into my life some 28 years ago. I rehearsed before God the commitment to family, the tenderness and caring, and the spiritual headship that he cultivated in the life partner that he gave me. Was this something that I deserved or had earned in some way? Certainly not. I have many friends (sadly) whose marriage relationships are struggling or have ended. I am no better or worse than they ... simply a recipient of God's amazing grace in this area of my life.

So today I will strive to have an attitude of gratefulness to God ... all day ... for the husband He provided. I will pray that this attitude continues throughout the year. And I will keep in mind what Hallmark doesn't realize ... the *REAL* way to a man's heart on Valentine's Day is through chocolate chip cookies.