Pencil Weather

apples-85152_1280Ahh…autumn weather is blowing in, gusty and cool. The mountain trees are turning red, orange and gold. It’s “pencil weather”!

With a full measure of summer fun tucked away, we can fully turn to the important task of education. This morning my daughter Emily was reminiscing about her childhood of homeschooling. She spoke of mother and children gathered in the family room with cozy socks on and with our stacks of books, deep in learning something interesting while the upcoming lunch chili soup bubbled on the stove.  Pencil weather makes one yearn for that!

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Check the Calendar!

School has started in most states. Is your homeschool in session?  

There is always such a fun excitement with “firsts” but it sure doesn’t take too long to figure out what has holding power and what needs serious revision in your homeschooling plans! One of the things that seems to hold interest always is the calendar and weather chart.  Maybe the daily changing is what keeps attention…not sure…but the kids seem to love to document the passing of time and changing of the weather.

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Gearing Up for School



Looks like it’s that time again. In spite of the fact that it is the dead heat of summer, you can’t miss the school supplies sales in the stores and the shut down of the local swimming pool. I wish summer lasted a little longer!

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Fifteen Years of Research in the Homeschool “Lab”

man-216985_1280As a “research associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations”, some days my research seems more productive than others. My younger lab assistants continually challenge my theories. My able teen-age lab assistants are truly helpful and quick to point out where I can improve. Of course, research in the field (excursions to the science center, camping trips, park days, etc.) is always great fun. Preliminary “lab reports” from my 15 year experiment has given me the courage to stay in the laboratory and keep on experimenting.

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Summer Skills Maintenance

LouisasummerworkSummer time, and our kids’ brains go on vacation. At least, that is what it seems like when we start up school again in the fall!

I have always been amazed that math textbooks are written so that the time period of September through Christmas vacation is “review” to try to help the children remember all the skills they forgot over the summer! As a homeschooler, if you finish a Saxon Math book mid-year you can go immediately into the next Saxon Math book at around lesson 40 and never miss a beat because lessons 1-39 do not teach any new concepts but just review the previous math book. You can get ahead fast in math this way, if you don’t take big breaks of summer forgetfulness!

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Using Muscles for Memory


Wiggles! Kids seem to be full of them and they can make sitting still, learning, focusing, and concentrating extra hard!

If you can’t fight ’em, join ’em. Time to use those big muscles to help kids learn!

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Minimum Daily Requirement

candycane7Oh, the holidays and vacation days are so exciting to kids!

And it is nice to have a little break from teaching school ourselves, right?

But I don’t look forward to the days in January trying to re-establish habits and get control of our schooling again. So. . . rather than let completely go of the reins, how about a little “minimum daily requirement” even during vacation days? I’ve found that although there is an initial groan, the kids adjust quickly, view their reduced workload as a vacation, and eagerly get it done in the morning. Because it is such a light load, there’s still plenty of time to play. Even if we get up early and attend some activity, they can get their “minimum daily requirement” finished during quiet time in the afternoon.

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Lest We Forget


My son Ammon

No matter what our intentions are, no matter how lofty our goals, it is the disposition of all of us who live on this earth to forget. It seems it is our natural inclination. We know what we want. We are firm in our resolve. Our values are sure. Nothing can shake us from our goal. Nothing, that is, except time. As time passes, we forget. We can’t seem to recall the fervor we began with. We drift into complacency, once again!  New Year’s Resolutions seem like a joke…because by February, most of us can’t remember what we resolved to do.

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