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At the Cross – a Final Word Pattern Sort

At the Cross - a FREE Final Word Pattern Sort | Teach Them Diligently

With Easter’s arrival, I thought it would be appropriate to share a final word pattern sort based on the cross. (Click HERE to download.) The Lord kept bring the word cross to my mind as I prayed about what to share with you. This word sort is developmentally appropriate for a child who already knows how to spelling short vowel patterns as well as blends (such as cl and st) and digraphs (such as sh and ch), which typically happen around the first grade. This sort would also be appropriate for older children who are in this developmental stage of spelling.

Final Word Pattern Sort Directions:

  • Print the word sort (pg. 2 of download).
  • Ask your child to cut apart the words.
  • Take out the -ss, -ff, and -ll cards.
  • Shuffle the words.
  • Read all the words together, making sure your child knows how to decode each word as well as the meaning of each word.
  • Lay out the -ss, -ff, and -ll cards at the top of your work space.
  • Ask your child to read each word, then sort them by their final spelling pattern.
  • Use page 3 to have your child write the words by their spelling pattern.

Teaching Kids to Spell: A Developmental Approach to Spelling by Becky Spence

For more ideas on using word sorts to teach spelling, you can visit my 10 day series on word study. And for even more ideas on making spelling hands-on and developmentally appropriate, you will want to purchase my newest ebook: Teaching Kids to Spell.

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Looking Forward to Washington, D.C.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 9.18.13 AMThis year my family is planning to attend the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Washington D.C., taking place May 15-17. Last year, my homeschooling sister-in-law Rosanna and I attended our first Teach Them Diligently in Omaha — and we haven’t been the same homeschoolers since! We couldn’t wait to return this year with our entire families. When we learned that TTD would be in Washington, D.C., we began working on plans to bring our families together and tour all the important sites at the same time.

What was it about Teach Them Diligently that influenced us so deeply? We had both attended regional homeschooling conferences in the past, so we thought we knew what to expect upon arrival. However, what we quickly discovered is that Teach Them Diligently isn’t just about homeschooling: It’s about the heart of our family centered on God’s Word and the calling to disciple our children. We both came home with a renewed sense of purpose and mission for our families, as well as focus for our homeschooling efforts. (See my wrap-up post from last year and my sister-in-law’s take-away for more.)

TTDRachaelCarmanYou will definitely receive practical advice and homeschooling encouragement as well. Some of my favorite sessions and speakers had me on the edge of my seat, taking notes on my iPad, to learn more about topics such as daily time management, notebooking/lapbooking, and how to encourage independent learning. As I look forward to Teach Them Diligently D.C., I’m excited to hear from speakers such as Debra Bell, Jeannie Fulbright and Sonya Shafer about practical homeschooling topics, as well as encouragement for the journey from speakers such as Rachael Carman, Zan Tyler and Carol Barnier, just to name a few.

I’m also looking forward to sharing this experience with my husband, especially when it comes to hearing from speakers such as Ken Ham, Voddie Baucham and Michael Farris on big-picture topics such as Biblical foundations, worldview, cultural apologetics, and the legal landscape of homeschooling. The family discipleship focus of Teach Them Diligently really made a difference for me this past year, and I’m excited that we’ll be encouraged in this area as a couple this time. Plus, my husband will be able to receive inspiration especially for fathers at the Men’s Breakfast and through speakers such as Voddie Baucham, Scott Brown and Todd Friel.

Our three daughters are excited about attending as well — especially since we are planning to see as many historical and cultural sites as possible before and after the convention. Our eldest will be participating in the “Four-12″ Teen Program, and our 6- and 11-year-olds will be in the “Mission Incredible” Children’s Program. I’ve heard great things about both children’s tracks, and I’m looking forward to the fact that they will have their own unique learning experience at the convention, rather than just tagging along with Mom and Dad. I’m also expecting them to LOVE spending time in the vendor hall: We’ll have to set a budget beforehand for sure!

We love to homeschool on the road, so the fact that Teach Them Diligently is taking place in our nation’s capitol this year is a real treat! Both my sister-in-law and I had high hopes for spending lots of time traveling around with our families since our children have never been to the East Coast, but we both find ourselves limited to one week to do what we can. I just learned that Christian Tours of America is offering a special tour package just for conference attendees, so I’m definitely planning to check that out and see if it’s an option.

If you haven’t already decided to attend Teach Them Diligently in Washington, D.C., this year, think about the homeschooling possibilities for your family that you can plan around this conference — especially if you live more than a day’s drive away. We live in Colorado and my sister-in-law lives in Oklahoma, but the road trip itself will be part of the educational experience. It’s an ideal opportunity to enjoy the convention, the city’s rich history, and a little family vacation at the same time!

About Renée Gotcher

Renée Gotcher is a wife, writer, entrepreneur & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. A former journalist, Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. She is editor of NextGen Homeschool and blogs on personal topics at A New Chapter. Her family lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.

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Then Came The Morning

Then Came The Morning
Then came the Morning…

How dark the “night” must have been. Not only had they lost a son, a teacher and a dear friend, they had lost hope. They had to have wondered why they left everything to follow a man they were so confident was the Messiah. They had to have questioned why after He showed power over demons, illness, and even death, He went so quietly to His own. How could this have happened?

It’s very easy for us, from our vantage point, to skip over the bleak darkness of Friday, isn’t it? We know Sunday’s coming! We know the end of the story, for God in His great mercy towards us has given us His Word. Most of us have celebrated Easter our entire lives. But it was very different that first dark Friday.

That crucifixion Friday, there was grief. That day, there were questions—deep, probing questions about everything they had heard, seen and had been building their lives on for the last 3 ½ years. How could He be gone? The grief they must have felt, the fear and insecurity, the absolute uncertainty about their own futures takes my breath away..for they didn’t know yet that the morning would dawn so brightly!

Have you ever found yourself on a “Friday”? Has the day gotten so dark that you cannot even imagine seeing the light? Have you felt forgotten? Neglected? Tricked? Used? Have you been walking a path that you believed wholeheartedly God had laid out for you, only to have it end up looking very differently than you would have ever imagined?

Oh, those dark Fridays!

Just as the disciples couldn’t see through that dark weekend, our vision is very limited, too. But, dear friends, Fridays don’t last forever! God is busy on those dark Fridays working in ways that we could never guess! When the morning dawns, just as it did that Easter Sunday morning, we will be able to stand in awe of how God led us and sustained us all the way.

Fridays are difficult. No one would choose to walk through them, but there are some beautiful “Sunday mornings” that you can only get to by walking through the dark valleys on Friday. So, when we find ourselves there, be mindful of Who God is and what we know about Him.

—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them
who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

–“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will
perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

“For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrew 13:5b) Even on a

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John

Much Love in Christ

Leslie Nunnery

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Take Your Kids to Work Day Bingo

The month of April gets kind of a bad rap for the most memorable holidays.

The first day of it is called April Fool’s Day.  The 15th is the United States Tax Day.  It is true, Easter and Holy Week do fall in this month but not every year.

Take your kids to work Bingo

But I have to say, one of my most favorite unknown days of this month is:

Take your daughters and sons to WORK day.”

When I was growing up, my parents took me to their job regularly.  It helped that my Dad owned his own business and my Mom was the manager over her office.

My husband’s job allows our kids also to see him in action once in a while – he also frequently works from home.  When I was on bed rest with my 5th child and in the hospital for 6 weeks, my husband had no choice but to take our boys with him.  The three of them had the best time and made lifetime memories.

There were many free lessons that your kids can learn by watching you work:

  • They can see that you in another light other than being a parent.
    Your kids might not realize that you have authority somewhere other than home or being under someone else’s authority.
  • They will appreciate you more.
    Kids will see you have more on your plate than just helping them.  In my case, I desired to help my parents more when I realized how much they were doing elsewhere.
  • They might get a vision of what they want to do in the future.
    Personally, I did not want to follow in my parents’ business ventures but I did learn business ethics, from learning to answer the phone correctly to dealing with people who were having bad days.
  • They will see how business works.
    Kids see a little peek into economics up close.
  • They will develop a bond.
    Letting kids see something that is important to you can open conversations over dinner that they can understand.  How was the day at the office will actually mean something to them too.

Bosses might not smile at the idea of taking your child to work with you. Being creative is the key.  Maybe it will just be a tour of your workplace or just a ride to see where you work if you are not allowed to take your child on the premises.

Whatever you choose, it could be a lifetime memory etched in your child.

Some days when I went to my parents’ job, I would have enjoyed a game.
So I created a Take Your Child to Work with you Bingo Game.

The directions are simple:

1.  Print off the game.

2.  Check of the box once your child sees it.

Winners of the game might could get ice cream or a candy bar at the end of the day to conclude a great work day.

Blessings to you!  You are loved!

Lana at iLoveMy5Kids  My name is LANA (like banana).
Our blog is about loving Jesus, loving kids, loving others, loving food, loving DIY projects, loving travel and just loving life! Find me over at iLoveMy5Kids.com.

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Finding Joy in the Journey when the Finish Line is Near

Joy in the Journey pin

Do you ever find yourself trudging along this time of the year, feeling like you are just accomplishing school? There is no joy, no passion, no real inspiration, just a drive to the finish line? Whether your finish line is the end of May or twenty years from now, I hope to give you three tips to increase your joy in the journey.Today I want share with you my journey the last couple of weeks and the things the Lord is teaching me about joy. We find ourselves in this same position nearly every spring….

What Spring Looks Like in My House

joy in journey/ piles

My boys play sports in the spring and the practices and games are in full gear. We have five family birthdays to celebrate in March. I begin to scour the internet researching and planning for our upcoming school year. This helps me take advantage of conference specials when we attend a Teach Them Diligently Conference and lets me put my hands on any curriculum I am up in the air about. I love having most of my planning done before we break for the summer. This lets me have a mental break for a couple of months and have more time to enjoy summer activities with my kids. This year, I added car shopping to the list. Our van has served us well the last nine years, but has to be put to rest. We set aside time to clean closets and purge bookshelves to sell and donate our excess. All of these things are necessary and important to me, but it makes me mentally drained and physically tired after several weeks of this schedule. I get behind on housekeeping and meal planning. I feel behind on everything…….

muddy shoes, dirty floor

Joy – Emotion or an Attitude

Mud tracked on the carpet, doggy pawprints on the door. Kids running in and out of the house enjoying the warmer weather. These are the things of special memories, but my drive to the finish can leave me forgetting to savor the moments, put the housework and projects aside and focus on the people in my life. As I began to ponder this recently, the Lord began to speak to me about joy. Joy is not specifically an emotion. Happiness is the way we feel, but joy is a heart attitude. It transforms my life. When I am dealing with stress, I am learning that I don’t have to feel happy about it, but I can chose to have a joyful attitude in the midst of my trials. When the kids have spring fever and want to be outside, when I would rather be finished with school, I can look to my heavenly Father and realize that these temporary trials can develop perseverance in me and teach me so many lessons about life. I can learn to stop and live in the moment. Stop and sit with my toddler and read a book. Don’t be so concerned about finishing an assignment, but learn from the process. When we are tired and weary, we have so many opportunities learn to choose joy. Here are my three tips:

1.  Make a Choice

Choosing joy is more about having a prayerful attitude of gratitude and peace in the midst of stress, frustration and sticky situations than about big smiles and a happy feeling. We can ask for joy in the midst of our trials and our Father loves to shower this fruit of the Spirit on us.

2.  Remember That Our Homeschooling Journey Won’t Last Forever

One day, our journey in homeschooling will be over and we will be entering a new phase of life. Some days it seems interminable, but really this is a fleeting phase in the grand scheme of our life. Savor the moments and don’t always be looking to tomorrow. Enjoy the blessings of today.

3.  Put on a Garment of Praise

I remember a song my father taught me as a girl. He used to get out his guitar and sing it to me. The lyrics were taken from Scripture and went like this -

Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

Lift up your heart to God.

Pray with the spirit and the understanding.

Oh magnify the Lord.

I have found that when I am feeling stress, pushing others beyond their limits or just ready for a mental break, it is hard to stay in that mindset when I begin praising the Lord and meditating on my blessings. Gratitude and praise lift the heaviness of my heart and put my focus on things above. I am then able to see clearly the path to the finish line, but I am also able to notice the beauty on the path around me. My focus is not so narrow but I am able to take the time to see God in the circumstances and people around me.

I hope that as you prepare to wind down or switch gears in the coming days, you will remember to chose joy and enjoy the journey ahead of you!


Joy - James 1:2-3

Click the graphic below to register now for the convention nearest you. I hope to see you in

Washington, D.C.

Bio photo JSA

Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue.  “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family,homeschooling, saving money, etc.  Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories and curriculum reviews and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!

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