Sunday, September 30, 2012

Home Education Journal... a great blog!

    In case you didn't read the comments to my previous post about our school plans for the year, I wanted to post this LINK to a great blog, "Home Education Journal".   Even though my children are older I was still inspired and motivated by her wonderful ideas for teaching many different subjects.   If you are looking for some fresh ideas for teaching your elementary aged children, do yourself a favor and spend some time reading through many of the posts  HERE .   She goes into interesting details of how she implements several different curriculum resources, and gives links to many online/free resources, so there is plenty of inspiration and guidance if you are looking for either.    As a veteran homeschooler, it is encouraging to me to know that there is someone like this author out there, and to see that baton passed to a new generation of homeschoolers ( by the way, the author was homeschooled herself, by one of our CHEE moms!). 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Plans for the new school year... Lord Willing, And the Creek Don't Rise!

   We have finally started back to school, after a delay due to travel to visit our elderly, sick grandma.    I have had a difficult time feeling "ready" this year and part of that is because it has taken me awhile to get my list written out and ordered.
     I thought I would share what we are "planning" on working on this year.  Again, these are my plans... who knows where the Lord will actually lead us.   As my friend and I were discussing, we make our plans, but with the stipulation, "Lord willin', and the creek don't rise!".  
     Perhaps some of you would like to comment and share what your schedule looks like this year.  I am always encouraged and inspired by seeing what others are doing.  Remember, this is no contest or comparison...just a chance to get some ideas.

  •  Math - Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 & Math 5
  •  Bible - Answers in Genesis &  Hero Tales
  •  Science - Christian Kids Explore Chemistry & Apologia General Science
  •  Language -
           ~ Abeka Grammar  ( strongly considered Rod & Staff English or Shurley English, but guess we'll revisit those options for next year?). 
           ~ Abeka Read & Think ( Reading Comprehension)
           ~ Daily Grams
           ~ Penmanship (Italic and general  copywork)
           ~ IEW Spelling
           ~ IEW Writing - Student Intensive Writing, level A.  Planning to move quickly through first several units, and then switch to IEW Narnia Study.
  • Typing ( computer program - Typing Instructor)
  • Geography - Evan-Moore Daily Geography
  • Geography - Beautiful Feet Geography Maps and Literature
  • History - Finish Literature study of 1800's - pioneers, Civil War, Alamo - by reading books on the topics and reading Little House series.  Hope to finish by Thanksgiving, and then start Ancients with Mystery of History, I think.
  • Music - Piano lessons
  • Reading & Read Alouds - working from a list of historical fiction and classics  that I compile from catalogs such as Sonlight and Veritas Press ( I often check out titles from library, or pull from my already stocked shelf), as well as a few series dds enjoy, like Sisters in Time, American Girl selections, & Trailblazer Books.  
  • PE - Homeschool Tennis lessons
    I've probably forgotten to list something important, but this is what I can think of now.   Anyone else feel like posting their list?  

    You can post as a comment.  Or, if you are receiving this by email, click on the gray words "CHEE BEE" in the left corner of your email, and it should take you directly to the blog page where you can comment.   : )

Friday, September 21, 2012

Teaching Textbooks

   I have been homeschooling for 17 years now, and I have seen and heard of a lot of higher math programs.  I've read the discussions on the different merits and approaches of various publishers, as we all search for that perfect algebra program!   Over the years, I find it interesting to hear the diverse reactions and responses to the many different programs out there.  And I've come to the conclusion that, like almost any other subject curriculum, finding a math program that suits your student, especially higher math, is a very personal opinion that is influenced mainly by the success of our students.   Another interesting observation is that if a student is going to do well in math, he/she will do well no matter which publisher you go with.  And if a student is going to struggle with math concepts, the same will be true, no matter which publisher.  While the approach, or scope and sequence, or presentation may vary, I think the end result is basically the same.

  Over the last 15+ years, I have heard moms "swear" by a certain math program, only to hear another mom completely reject that same program, faulting the curriculum for the student's struggle.  I have heard one program highly criticized by one mother, and the same program highly praised by another.  So, it seems to me that like our individual students, who all learn so differently, there are many math choices out there to choose from, and we should find one that is the best fit for our learner, knowing that some students are just not "math minded" and will struggle no matter which one we go with.

I have heard challenges regarding "college prep" quality or the accusation of being remedial attached to Teaching Textbooks.  Due to that stigma, I shied away from TT for many years, until my homeschool household became busy enough that I was looking for a mom friendly way to accomplish our math goals.   I began doing some research on math programs, and I was encouraged by what I found.  Now, let me say here that I am not pushing TT as the "best" math program.  In fact, like any of the others, some may not care for the way some math concepts are taught. That is a fair reason not to use it.  But I don't think it should be rejected because it is deemed remedial or sub-standard. 

 I know I have written about this before, but I'll recap what the authors say about the scope and sequence of the program.  Most math publishers are marketing to many different public and/or private schools.   Because each school district covers different math concepts in any given grade, the publisher includes EVERY topic in their math book, hoping to be chosen and purchased by each school district.   The school district then uses the chapters that teach their chosen topics for that school year/grade, and skips the chapters that covers topics they are not incorporating into that grade.  This explains why we remember skipping around in our books or not finishing a book when we were in school. (Even our colleges still do this.. they pick and choose topics/chapters from a textbook.)  Homeschoolers buy these same textbooks, and we work frantically, trying to finish every chapter in the book! 

 The authors of Teaching Textbooks, decided to instead spread out the scope and sequence of math topics and just cover a more reasonable amount of topics at a gentler pace, yet still covering it all over the series of grades.  This is why if you compare a certain grade of TT with another publisher, you will get the idea that they are not as thorough.  But what is missing from one grade, is being purposely postponed until another grade.  

 In my personal research, I still read mixed reviews on TT, just like any other curriculum.  But I am personally aware of several families who have students that have tested quite well on the SAT or CLEP or other college entrance exams, who worked through the TT high school math.  So, the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes.  Just like any other math curriculum, some students will perform well in college courses, and others won't.  But that probably has more to do with the student than the math curriculum used. 

 So, why consider TT?  Because it makes completing higher math easier on the PARENT.    My heart is burdened for the many homeschoolers who put their children in school, often because of science or math.  That just isn't necessary.  Teaching Textbooks makes it possible for the parent to slip in and out of the course, as needed, without having to keep up along the way, which is often just too time consuming.  This curriculum takes alot of the anxiety out of teaching math, and if a curriculum can offer that, and hence help us resist quitting, then it has much value in my opinion. 

 And if you are still concerned about the quality of the math taught, I figure that most often, we are trying to complete a graduation or college entrance requirement, and these courses adequately do that.  If our student is going on into a math major, they will be prepared enough to do so, and they will have plenty of opportunity at the college level to complete oodles of math courses.

 On a side note... the lower levels also take ALOT of the stress out of teaching math.  I hear from a lot of moms, who tell me that tears are often a part of their math time each day.  TT almost eliminates that problem, because the frustrations just don't seem to build between parent and child. 

 The one draw back to TT is the price.  However, you can look for them used, and get a good savings, and usually resell to purchase the next grade.   homeschool classifieds is a good place to buy and sell used curriculum.  Do be aware though, of the newer version 2.0 for some courses.  Reselling the older version is becoming difficult, and finding the newer version used is also difficult.  So, one must decide what is the better investment for your family and budget.   

  There are other dvd based math programs as well, such as Math Relief, which is another wonderful, traditional algebra program.    But TT is just a little more techy and has just a few more ease of use options, so that as long as it is working for my student, I will probably stick with TT... for my PARENT/TEACHER benefit, not because it is better math. 


Christian Heritage 2012 Mother-daughter Tea


Christian Heritage 2012 Mother-Daughter Tea Luncheon & Day Conference …

October 13th ~ SPOKANE AREA Tea
    Registation is $36 and the deadline is September 25, 2012

    PLEASE NOTE: No At-the-Door Registrations Can Be Accepted

    Ladies, you are invited to enjoy a Lovely Day …
    ... at the Christian Heritage Mother Daughter Teas
Need a shot in the arm? Need to re-focus? Need encouragement & fellowship? This event is just for you! Come relax, sip tea, and enjoy an entire day of refreshment with inspirational teaching, a delicious luncheon, enriching fellowship, elegant entertainment, and special music.

  • Bring a hand-made item to enter in the Homemakers’ Gallery Contest or peruse lovely displays of jewelry, soaps, books, and other gifts for purchase.
  • Designed to Delight & Enrich Every Lady ~ Small or Grown! Don’t miss sharing this special occasion with your daughters of any age.  

Click  here to see all the details and to register

Stacy McDonald is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother of ten, grandma of two, author, speaker, and blogger. She encourages women all over the globe on issues related to marriage, motherhood, homemaking, chastity, natural food & health, and Christian culture. Still in the trenches of motherhood, she offers much with her depth of wisdom and experience in an absolutely, delightfully inspiring way.


  • “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God”
  • “Christianity: The Real Women’s Liberation Movement”
  • “The Heart of Chastity”

Hobby Lobby and Freedom

Funny this should come to my attention today, because I just enjoyed my first visit to the new Hobby Lobby ( next to Michaels on Division) a few days ago. I was so impressed with the store.  I had heard it is Christian owned. But right away I noticed a sign on the window letting customers know they are closed on Sundays, so employees can worship. Wow... is that refreshing, or what?! 

Then today, I heard of a lawsuit they are involved in, trying to resist the government from forcing them to pay for abortion meds for their employees, through the new healthcare law.   Some are calling for a boycott, but I think we should do our best to support them instead.

 We were very impressed with the store... it is a combination of JoAnn's Fabrics, Michaels, and some type of home decor store ( can't think of one by name).   It's huge, and very well organized.   So, if you have any shopping needs that might be met by the description above, stop in and have a look around.   Happy Shopping!  : )

 You can read about the legal situation here .  It is a short and informative article, so read up.  : )

Thursday, September 20, 2012

CYT Play - A Christmas Carol

A Holiday Classic with a Musical Twist
For ten years Madison Square Garden hosted “A Christmas Carol the Musical“ infusing new rhythm into Charles Dickens’ timeless story. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly, cold-hearted creditor receives some unwelcome visitors on Christmas Eve. Their visits compel Ebenezer to face up to the effects of his selfishness and coldness on others as well as on himself. Generosity, joy, and family are celebrated in this engaging drama. Please join the audience as Christian Youth Theatre presents this holiday performance with not only a powerful musical score but also a powerful life-changing message!
Advanced reservations are required and area homeschoolers are invited to sign-up now through Friday, October 5 to attend with our group. Payments must be received by the deadline to secure a spot. Please send payments made payable to Shelly Potts, along with the number of adults, the number of children, and contact information to:

Shelly Potts

17912 W Charles Road
Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026
If you have any questions, call Shelly at (509) 796-2770.
What: CYT’s school day performance of “A Christmas Carol”
When: Tuesday, November 6, 201, 12:30pm
Where: The Bing Crosby Theater (901 W. Sprague)
Cost: $4.00 per person due by Friday, October 5
Please identify yourself as being with the “Spokane Home Educators” (SHE) when referring to our group