Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Getting Started

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Homeschooling comes with some challenges in the first few years. Reading is a major stressor and then you realize you have to teach spelling as well. I have a huge hint that will help your child learn to spell better, read better, and their test scores throughout their entire education career will rise. All this with one simple thing your child and you will love.

Read to them!

The more you read to them the better their language arts skills become. They hear proper grammar and begin speaking up to that level. They can sit in your lap and see spelling and sentence structure. Best of all kids love the time you are pouring into them.

Read, Read, Read, and Read some more!

Now that you have the foundation stone for great language arts lets add some support structure for spelling. Having a curriculum to guide you in spelling during the elementary years can be extraordinarily helpful. The great curricula in our Top 10 list have gathered together word families, spelling rules, irregular words all the bits and pieces so you don’t have to. The resulting curricula have made our list because other TTD families have used and love them.

We asked our fellow homeschooling Teach Them Diligently families what do you recommend as an Elementary Spelling & Vocabulary curriculum choice? We compiled their choices about this and 39 other levels and subjects of curriculum in our FREE Homeschool Family Favorite Guide .

TOP 10 choices for Homeschool Elementary Spelling & Vocabulary Curriculum

  1. All About Spelling  All About Spelling homeschool spelling curriculum will provide complete and comprehensive spelling instruction using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Mastery-based, All About Spelling teaches encoding skills, reliable spelling rules, and multisensory strategies to help your homeschooled student become a proficient speller for life. Find the books here
  2. Wordly Wise  Wordly Wise provides engaging, contextual vocabulary instruction. A fantastic homeschool vocabulary curriculum from Educators Publishing Service, this bestseller is a top vocabulary pick! Find the books here
  3. Spelling Power  From the website: “Spelling Power has everything you need to teach spelling words and skills to your entire family to the college level. With Spelling Power, your children will master the 5,000 most frequently used words and key spelling principles at their own pace – in just 15 minutes a day—using research- proven strategies.”

Spelling Helps in Many Subjects and Skills

Spelling is a subject that spans several others. It helps several language arts areas. The obvious is reading the more words your child gets in their vocabulary the easier and faster their reading will become. Writing much like reading will become easier with memorized words at the ready. Other subjects like history or science that rely on writing out what you have learned will also increase in ability as spelling gets better.

Then there are the non-subject specific skills that increase with spelling. Memory, like a muscle the more you work memorization the better it becomes for most. Confidence in self, when you know what you are reading or feel comfortable that you can read what comes up speaking in places like Sunday School or American Heritage Girls becomes easier. Spelling is a skill that will broaden your child’s learning horizon.

  1. Abeka
  2. Rod and Staff
  3. Bob Jones University Press Spelling
  4. Sequential Spelling

Spelling using Kinetic Learning Modality

Spelling in the early years doesn’t have to be all about paper and pencils. Get out a cookie sheet and put something simple like rice in it until there is a thin layer on the bottom of the cookie sheet. Then write on a stickie/paper in big clear letters the word you want your child to work with. Have them trace that word out in the rice. The kinetic nature of using your whole arm will help memory. The feeling of rice on their finger will trigger other modes of learning and make memory easier.

Other things you could use: shaving cream, sand, kinetic sand, and beans

  1. A Reason for Spelling 
  2. Spelling U See
  3. Spelling Workout

The early years of learning to read and write are filled with books, reading, and learning to spell. Often your child is a sponge just waiting to be guided in the proper direction to learn more…more.. more! It’s an exciting stage of life and homeschooling. Use these wonderful resources to help you teach your child elementary child spelling.

Homeschool Family Favorite Guide Free downloadable

This is just the beginning of many home education curriculum recommendations. Here is our FREE downloadable Homeschool Family Favorite Guide with many other top 10 recommendation by fellow homeschooling families.

If you would like to read more about learning to read Click below:

Spelling Words with Bible Character Names {FREE Printable Pack}

Teach Reading with Word Sort to Young Children (Free Long Vowel Word Sort)

Benefits of Reading Aloud

Strategies for Reading Aloud to Your Children

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abeka homeschool

Do your children ever get bored during their homeschool day? Do you feel like you need to liven up their school days with activities that keep their attention?

Here are 20 ideas from our education advisors to bring more fun into your homeschool classroom.

Preschool and Kindergarten

Edible Counting: Use cereal, raisins, or chocolate chips to teach your child how to count. Have him count aloud each time he takes a bite. Continue to add more treats as he learns to count higher. Counting will be fun—and yummy—as he eats his way through the numbers.

Walk the Line: Take a roll of paper towels and spread it on the floor, leaving the paper towels all connected. Then write alphabet letters or numbers in order on each square. Let your child walk on the line to learn the order, then split the paper towels up and let her put them in order.

Play with Magnets: Ask your child to place specific magnetic alphabet letters or numbers on the refrigerator to aid recognition.

Connect-the-dots: Use dot-to-dot pictures to help children count as they connect the dots.

Tell Me a Story: Have your child tell you a story that you can write down. Then ask him to draw pictures to illustrate the story.

Grades 1–3

Hands-on Math Skills: Let children practice addition and subtraction skills while playing. They can count Legos as they build or subtract candy from a bowl during snack time. Their limitless imaginations can provide hours of addition and subtraction fun.

Tower of Words: Use magnetic words or word cards to create fun poetry and silly sentences that help increase your child’s ability to construct sentences on her own.

Creating Classmates: Let your child bring a doll or two to reading class. Then ask her to read to this new “classmate.” Visualize It: As you read a story aloud, have your child draw a picture of what is happening in the story.

Finding the Order: Ask your children to do a simple task, such as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with step-by-step directions. Then take pictures of them doing each step and print the pictures. Ask your children to paste the photos in order and write directions that go with each step. This shows your child how a process is needed to accomplish a task.

Grade 4–6

Coupon Counting: Let your children clip a coupon and figure out how much money they would save if the coupon were used. Couponing teaches math skills and how to budget money at the same time. You can even let them use a coupon at the grocery store to buy a snack or special treat.

Storyboard Fun: Ask your child to choose a favorite topic that he enjoys. Then give him a stack of 3×5″ cards to use for creating storyboards or word clusters. In no time, he will learn to brainstorm and organize thoughts for his writing.

Be a Reporter: Let your child create her own newspaper. She can interview family members or friends for stories. After writing the stories, she can glue pictures next to each article.

Nature Scrapbook: Help your child scrapbook the natural habitat in your area. Include leaves, twigs, flowers, nuts, seeds, and bird feathers found on nature walks. After pasting each piece on a page of a notebook, let your child research and write about what he finds.

Dress Up Fun: Pick a day of the week and have children dress up like a person from history. That day’s lesson can be focused on a specific time period and how people lived during that era.

Grades 7–9

Time for the News: Record your children pretending to be anchors for the evening news. They can find stories their history or science books for the newscast. Make it even more fun by showing the newscast to the entire family!

Baking with Math: Let your children choose a recipe from a cookbook. Then tell them to double or half the recipe. They have to figure out how to adjust the recipe to the correct measurements. You can also give them 1 or 2 measuring cups (½ and ¼ work well) and tell them to measure everything with those cups to improve their understanding of fractions.

Taste of Culture: Choose a foreign country to study and let students make a dish from that country. As they share the dish with the family, they can share facts about the country. This helps them learn the culture of the country through the food.

Build a Diorama: As part of a book report assignment, ask your student to create a diorama of his favorite scene in the book. Use shoeboxes, cereal boxes, play dough, and other small pieces to create the scene.

The Play’s the Thing: Help children stage a play, based on a book they’ve read, for family members and friends.



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preschool girl reading to stuffed animals

Do you have a preschooler this fall and need a curriculum? Many homeschooling parents get concerned that they will not be able to homeschool their preschooler from home. Are there free curriculums that are designed specifically for them and cater to their developmental needs? Yes!

Prior to homeschooling my girls, I taught preschool and PreK.  I have researched high and low supplemental programs through the years and have found many to be pretty successful and yes, free. There are even new ideas out there as well.

Here is a list of some free curriculums out there designed specifically for the preschool child:

Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool
PBS Kids
Letter of the Week by Confessions of a Homeschooler
Cornerstone Confessions
Kids Learning Station

If you do a broad search online for free preschool printables, there are a variety of resources available.
Some may not offer all out curriculums but maybe free printables, etc. My favorite program for
preschool reading, etc., is Starfall. Two out of three of my homeschool students used this and they are
advanced readers to this day. It’s fantastic!

I like that some of the curriculum programs offer a nice balanced option of online learning (to keep kids up to date with advancing technology), and printables. Children as young as the preschool years are learning a bit more than they used to. These curriculums keep some of the traditional learning styles for dedicated homeschooling parents.
If you know of any other free preschool curriculum out there not listed here, feel free to share them with us.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“A Hands On Approach To Educating Your Preschoolers”

During this video session we will define the components of a quality preschool education, identify some of the important skills preschoolers need to learn, and learn how to create lessons and activities using a thematic hands on approach and look at lesson examples.

Become a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for access to more!

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Finding Homeschool Support

Finding Homeschool Support

Finding the right homeschool support is almost as important as knowing why you’re homeschooling in the first place. And, sometimes, even knowing where to look for that support proves to be a challenge.  If you are just starting on your homeschool journey, I hope you’ll find some good ideas for where to look for the support you need. If you are a veteran home educator, I hope you’ll purpose in your heart to look around and see the many ways you could bless those around you by using what God has put in your hands and offering that needed support to those who are starting after you.

Look to Those Who’ve Done It

When I was first considering homeschool as a young mom, I called a veteran home educator in our church to ask her what homeschooling was really like. This woman’s children were many years older than my own, and they were very accomplished in the way they handled themselves and interacted with both children and adults. This gave me confidence that home education could actually work as I was seeing it in action right in front of me.

One afternoon, this mom graciously spent more than an hour on the phone with me, answering my questions openly and honestly and painting a clear picture of what homeschooling looked like for her family. I was particularly intrigued that their schedule allowed them to take more than a month off from school at Christmas time each year so that their teens could work in the family business making fresh wreaths for the holidays. This idea of building flexibility into a school schedule was totally new to me. And, because she knew my children from church, my friend was also able to weigh in on learning styles and to give me some ideas to help my kids with the transition to learning at home. Of all the homeschool books I’ve read and the numerous speakers I’ve heard talk about home education, that single conversation with a friend and veteran homeschooler remains the most powerful and informative I have had.

Other Great Places To Get Support Along the Way

Outside of the special friend who can serve as a mentor and sounding board to you (and I pray that God sends you one of those, and then that you BECOME one of those,) there are a number of great places to find homeschool support along the way. God created us to live in fellowship with one another, so local groups, co-ops and associations are fantastic places to get connected and find support for your journey. Joining with local and even online groups can build lasting friendships and be a source of valuable help and encouragement along the way.

Local Homeschool Support Groups

Homeschool groups, like everything else in home education, are as varied as the people involved. Our family belongs to an academic co-op that has well over 500 students enrolled, but that same co-op started with just a few families meeting together at a home to do some classes and activities together. Field trip groups, enrichment groups, athletic groups, and others are available in many areas around the country. We have certainly been blessed by taking an active part in homeschool groups through the years, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to find one near you to get involved.

Online groups can also serve as a great place to ask your questions and share ideas. We would love to have you join us in our Facebook Community and in one or more of our special Facebook groups. (All are remarkably drama free!) :)

Homeschool Support Events

Finally, taking time for personal education and enrichment is also an important way to get support along the way. I tell my children all the time that “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and that certainly becomes evident when you find yourself in a situation where there are a lot of resources and continuing education offered. Special events and conferences like the ones Teach Them Diligently produces offer an intensive dose of encouragement and equipping, often in a weekend. You will be amazed to find yourself among so many like-minded  families, and you will always leave energized, much more knowledgeable, and ready to jump right back into your homeschool journey.  Time and again we see that families who live in fellowship with others and attend homeschool events are much more likely to stay the course and continue on the path God has called them to.

The New Teach Them Diligently Blog Is A GREAT Resource To Help You On You Way!

Support. Strength. Encouragement. Resources. These are just a few of the words that sum up what our vision is for the new Teach Them Diligently blog. Our prayer is that this will become a go-to place for you to get great information about parenting, discipleship, marriage, homeschooling, and more and the support you need just when you need it. And, we’re assembling a great host of amazing writers to share their heart with you right here.

Check back regularly to hear from speakers, authors, homeschool veterans, bloggers, and more as well as regular content from Teach Them Diligently staff. You can be confident that the information published here will be gospel-centered and Biblically sound. We simply cannot wait to see how God will use this platform in the days ahead.

There are many other great homeschool blogs and resources as well. In fact, we just ran an article earlier this year that listed about 15 of the top homeschool blogs as voted by Teach Them Diligently families. You should definitely check them out as well! Click here to visit that post.

Want to learn a little more about the different elements of the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Support offerings? Click on the links below

Is there a specific topic you would like to see us address in the days ahead on the Teach Them Diligently blog? How about a specific writer or speaker you would like to hear from? Leave us some feedback in the comments below. We want this platform to be built to serve you the best way we can.

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool

In this post, I’d like to give a quick overview of the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. This is simply an overview of what she believed and how you can use it in your homeschool, not an in-depth discussion on Charlotte Mason. If you find this helpful, there are some resources at the end for further study of Charlotte Mason.


Real Life Education

Our homeschools should relate to real life as often as possible. Mason says schools should not be like a factory, with artificial rewards when you meet goals. Allow your children to enjoy everyday, real-life experiences.

Take them on nature walks, let them observe and collect wildlife.
Take them to museums, art museums.
Take them to some operas. In our town, all the 4th graders get invited to a free symphony.

A few ways you might include real life learning situations in homeschool:

  • Discovering God’s creation through nature walks (science, research)
  • Running a family business (math, money, writing, art, language arts)
  • Cooking (math, science, reading)
  • Gardening (science, math, biology)
  • Discovering God’s creativity, goodness & beauty in museums (art, music, language, reading)

Take advantage of these opportunities and expose your kids to good music, to good art, to what is beautiful. Classical and Charlotte Mason dovetail so nicely because Mason encourages educators to expose students to truth, goodness, and beauty. When you use excellent resources, you see beautiful art & beautiful music, as well as what is best on nature walks and museum visits.

Read Living Books

Charlotte Mason believes children should read great books, not distilled information found in textbooks. Textbooks strip away the meat of living books, leaving dust-dry bones of facts.

Who wants to read that? I certainly don’t.

Our family chose books with living ideas to read aloud as a family. Books like Johnny Tremain, Swiss Family RobinsonandThe Hobbit. I tried to vary the types of literature we read because we have a variety of interests in our family.

When children are young, have them narrate the story back to you. As they get older, they can write down their narration. When my kids were teens, we kept a journal about the books we were reading.

Respect Children as Persons

Our kids are made in the image of God. They have worth as a child of God. We should treat them with respect. Parent’s authority does not give them license to abuse children or play on their emotions. Neither should parents limit their child’s education or use fear to make a child learn.

In your homeschool, I encourage you to create good habits & routines in your kids. Those habits lay the foundation of learning in the future. Routines often show respect for your kids. Everyone knows what to expect when there is a routine in your family.

In summary, Charlotte Mason encourages parents to respect their children as they educate them. Treat them as people who are worthy of true education. As you plan that education, use real life experiences & real books that provide living ideas to discuss. More on that next time.

My favorite overview of Charlotte Mason’s approach to education is For the Children’s Sake, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. Macaulay includes a Christian perspective of using Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy.

kerry beck - Kerry Beck homeschooled all three of her children for 10 years. She is now an empty-nester that encourages homeschool moms online and at live workshops. She wants to give you a free ebook: Everything You Wanted to Know About Homeschooling that you can grab by clicking here.




You can find out more about getting started homeschooling here.

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on

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