Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: homeschooling

homeschool AOP curriculum

When you homeschool in a city named for a great American patriot, it’s only natural to love teaching and learning history. That’s exactly the case for Caroline Belliveau of Revere, Massachusetts, who has homeschooled her two daughters with Alpha Omega Publications ever since her oldest daughter started kindergarten.

The oldest Belliveau girl uses Monarch online curriculum, while her youngest daughter is using LIFEPAC worktexts until she reaches 3rd grade when she can transition online to Monarch.

With six years of homeschooling experience under her belt, Caroline Belliveau took a few minutes to answer five questions about why she loves homeschooling and using Monarch curriculum.

Q: Why did you choose to homeschool instead of enrolling your children into either a public or private school?

A: We value staying home as a family and being able to work our values into the curriculum. I’m able to give my daughters one-on-one attention, and we’re able to take school at our own pace. It makes school less stressful and more enjoyable.

Q: Why did you decide to use Monarch as opposed to other curriculums available?

A: I knew I wanted to homeschool, so I Googled homeschooling and AOP was the first company to come up. I looked around a little, but I made up my mind pretty much in the beginning. AOP has a really, really good support system, and Monarch offers a large variety of subjects.

Q: What do you like best about Monarch online homeschooling curriculum?

A: The flexibility is probably my favorite part. We’re able to do a lot more. We can go to a museum on a regular weekday, then make up the school day another day. There have also been times we’ve gone on trips and they’ve been able to do that, which they wouldn’t have been able to do in a regular school.

Q: Do your girls have a favorite subject they like to learn?

A: My girls really like science and history. Those subjects are my favorite, too. They were my favorites in school.

Q: What’s the best way to learn more about Monarch?

A: One of the most exciting things about Monarch is that everyone has an opportunity to do a 30-day trial of Monarch to see if you fall in love with it as much as we did. All you have to do is visit DiscoverMonarch.com and use the promo code MON30TTD.

 

AOP Homeschooling Logo  Compiled by Carl Van Stryland

 

 

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History is a subject students either love or hate. Long lists of dates, names, and events to memorize are dry and uninspiring. If we approach history through the power of story, however, it comes alive, jumps off the page, and is about more than rote memory.

Unless we live through an event, we must to trust the words of historians who write about historical events. Most historians do the best research they can, but they were not eye witnesses to history either. Sometimes, their research is flawed or their conclusions biased.

So how do we know what is true?

Some people, like Abraham Lincoln, and events, like the Civil War, are well-documented. If we want to study Lincoln’s life and impact on the world, we can easily find primary documents to inform us.

What are primary documents?

These documents are papers, journals, letters, and photos created by an individual living in the time period about the events they experienced. One of the arguments people have against historians is a tendency toward bias or a personal agenda.

When we go to original documents, eye witness testimonies bring the details of the times and events to life. We aren’t relying on a historian’s interpretation or worrying about their bias.

There are many primary documents created during Abraham Lincoln’s life. Some allow him to speak directly to us about the situations he experienced as President of the  United States. Others give us background about the events occurring during his day.

abraham lincoln

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s early life:

Abraham’s Lincoln’s Youth (See words that Lincoln wrote in one of his school books.)
Lincoln’s Sense of Humor (See a business card designed as a joke.)
Virtual Library (Includes links to photographs and learning pages.)
Interactive Presentations (Uses newspaper clipping and photos to teach Lincoln’s days before being President.)
Video of the Kentucky Years from Lincoln’s Birthplace
Under Lincoln’s Hat (Primary Resources)

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency:

Sheet Music and Songs Written About Lincoln
Telegram (Telling Lincoln of the surrender of Fort Sumter)
Civil War Maps
Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft (Tells what Washington was like during the Civil War)
Lincoln and General Grant
The Gettysburg Address
Pictures and Lithographs
Lincoln’s Resolution on Slavery

The Emancipation Proclamation:

Drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Supporting the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Requesting Exemption from the Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination:

Lincoln’s Pockets (What were in his pocket’s when he was killed?)
Drawings of the Event and Funeral, including the Reward Poster for Lincoln’s Killer
Anonymous Letter Warning of Lincoln’s Assassination
R. A. Hunt to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, January 18, 1861 (Warning Lincoln of assassination attempt)
James S. Knox, Saturday, April 15, 1865 (Eyewitness account of Lincoln’s assassination)

Other Primary Resources for Abraham Lincoln:

Civil War Trust
Teaching Lincoln with Primary Sources
Documents from TeachingAmericanHistory
2nd and 3rd Grade Lesson Plans Using Primary Documents for Abraham Lincoln

Using primary documents can be fun and challenging. Finding out what really happened during historical events makes dates and names come to life. You may find the more documents you read, the more questions you have. Using original documents to unlock history can transform a dry process of fact memorization into a fact-finding treasure hunt.

Happy history hunting!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

For more on teaching history check out this video on Teach Them Diligently 365.

Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel

Watch “Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel”

There is great value in approaching the way we teach history by using source documents and real experiences to do so. Join Leslie and Ben Kunkel of the Ashbrook Center as they talk about teaching history to your high school students using source documents– and even throw in some great ideas for making history come alive for your younger students!

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AOP LIFEPAC curriculum

Q&A with a LIFEPAC Mom

When Jennifer Wilging’s only son Tyler was diagnosed with syringomyelia (sih-ring-go-my-E-lee-uh), a progressive spinal cord disease, she knew there were going to be many changes ahead in their lives. Although Tyler had to give up things he loved like competitive gymnastics and trampolines, Jennifer didn’t know at the time how much they would both learn to love homeschooling.

After her first full year of homeschooling , Jennifer answered five quick questions about their on-the-go lifestyle and what she loved about using Alpha Omega Publications’ LIFEPAC curriculum.

Q: Why did you choose homeschooling?

A: We had no choice but to homeschool him. We had to pull him out of public school in the middle of his 3rd grade because he has a rare spinal disease. AOP’s LIFEPAC curriculum has been a real blessing. When we finally pulled him out, the school was like, “We were wondering when you were going to do that.”

Q: Why did you decide to use Alpha Omega Publications?

A: We wanted to be able to homeschool on the road without missing school. We’re on the road a lot for doctor appointments, and the LIFEPAC worktexts are really easy to just throw in a bag and take with us.

Q: What do you love about LIFEPAC?

A: LIFEPAC is so easy, and you don’t have to worry about anything. The worktexts go in order with how they’re supposed to be taught. You don’t have to piece together a whole curriculum. The progression of learning is really easy and well thought out, especially in math. I would have been lost without it.

Q: Besides curriculum, what other methods of learning do you use?

A: Field trips. When we are out and about, we try to experience everything we can. We do field trips with just us, as well as with other homeschool groups.

Q: What are your favorite LIFEPAC subjects?

A: My son is very good at math, and I also really enjoy LIFEPAC History & Geography. I felt like they didn’t teach any of the material in public school, but LIFEPAC goes into so much detail.

 

AOP Homeschooling Logo  

Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit aop.com or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.

 

 

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Abeka tips for homeschool success

11 Tips for Homeschool Success

Homeschooling is a wonderful, worthwhile journey, but even the most experienced homeschool parents sometimes need a bit of advice or encouragement. Here are 11 tips for success.

  1. Start with prayer. Even if you don’t do Bible class first, start each day with prayer. You can lead it or take turns praying aloud.
  2. Incorporate multiple learning styles. Abeka’s curriculum and workbooks incorporate the different learning styles, but feel free to add more learning games, reading out loud, experiments, etc. Taking advantage of the different styles of learning (hearing, seeing, and doing) creates a well-rounded education and improves retention.
  3. Stay organized. The best way to stay on track is to stay organized. Keep a daily planner of goals to achieve by the end of each lesson. Jot everything down, from schoolwork to household chores. To encourage focus, try to keep your school space organized, too.
  4. Work with a mentor. Look to other homeschool parents for advice and help. As you get more experience yourself, look for someone you can mentor.
  5. Join a homeschool group. Join with other homeschoolers or co-ops in your area to provide support for each other. Along with offering teaching resources, these groups give your children a chance to socialize with others.
  6. Don’t take on too much. Saying yes to too many extracurriculars can leave you and your kids tired and overwhelmed. Participate in what really matters to your family, and evaluate your commitments throughout the year to see if something should go.
  7. Tackle the hard subjects first. If your children are struggling with certain subjects, such as math or science, teach those in the morning when everyone is more alert. Save the easier subjects for later in the day.
  8. Keep it fun. Look for creative ways to make learning fun. Younger children might enjoy having dolls or stuffed animals in the classroom. You can ask these other “students” questions and have your child answer for them in different voices. Video your older children pretending to be news anchors as they deliver “news”
    that might correspond with a history lesson or book report.
  9. Take breaks. There will be times when you and your children get frustrated. Don’t be discouraged! Take a break. Go outside for some sunshine and fresh air, get a snack, or play a game together.
  10. Realize the curriculum is there to serve you. Use it as a guide instead of a master. You’re in control of your homeschooling, not your lesson plans or suggested daily schedule.
  11. Plan ahead. Start looking ahead to college when your children are in 9th grade. Begin preparing transcripts, taking note of your children’s interests, and even making college visits.

 

 

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tea spiced


It may be the right time to change things up a bit with these ten ways to spice up your homeschool in the new year!

1. Read more of the classics aloud.

Think of Charlottes’ Web,  Little House on the Prairie, or Mr. Poppers Penguins.  Read those or similar classics you haven’t gotten around to. Then, try your hand at writing a similar fiction story together as a family. Do a literary analysis by breaking down the story into parts: protagonist, antagonist, theme, plot, setting. Replace your own ideas for each category, and the fun begins! Younger children are great spontaneous story tellers and can give terrific ideas while the older ones can be the scribes and write it down. Try adding literature activities to enhance the story. Make a recipe, craft, art project or do a research paper.

2. Try relaxed schooling to instill a love of learning and less jumping through hoops.

Kids who love to learn become lifelong learners! Give your child time where nothing is scheduled by adding free play time into the day. Kids who are free to think can invent, problem solve, learn to listen to their thoughts and listen to God. Proclaim the ending of each school day at 2pm or 3pm, then don’t look at schoolwork or answer questions until the next day-just be mom and let them just be your child

3. Cook across the globe.

Learn about another culture’s music, food, and art. Try your hand at notebooking by having each child keep a notebook of all the wonderful things learned, drawing pictures and including photos. Interview friends, church members or neighbors from different cultures.

4. Join or start a co-op!

It’s enjoyable learning together. Both kids and moms make friends and a change of environment is refreshing! Check out To Co-op or Not to Co-op in our TTD365 archives for more details. It’s easier than you think and yields great rewards.

5. Use a slow cooker to ease dinner time stress.

Let each child take turns preparing it with you in the late morning. This is great for soups, stews, enchiladas, roasts, chili and so much more! Teach an older child how to plan meals and let them produce a week’s menu plan. Incorporate nutrition education. Help them prepare each meal to give them confidence then assign them one or two meals per week to prepare.

6. Try a new winter sport together as a family – sledding, skiing, ice skating, hiking, or animal tracking.

Being outdoors in winter can be invigorating if you dress warmly. It can also help to stave off those winter blues!

7. Take a risk and reach out to another mom and swap kids for an afternoon.

Your house this week, her house the next week. Chances are pretty good that she needs a break too! Plan a fun but easy craft to keep them busy or just let them free play.

8. Listen to a sermon series as a family from one of your favorite preachers.

After all faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God! Let little ones color or keep hands busy while listening. Teach older children how to take notes.

9. Make phonics cards with preschoolers.

This is a great way to keep little hands busy! Have you kiddos cut an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock in half. Have them cut out their favorite magazine pictures. Afterwards dot the alphabet on half of the sheet so they can trace the letters, then let them paste the corresponding picture on the other half. Hide the cards around the room. Upon finding one, search the house for another object that has the same sound.

10. Take regular teacher in-service days!

I was shocked when I read the local public schools taking off again for another teacher in-service day. Teachers need regular breaks to regroup, refresh and stay up to date on educational techniques. We need to take this seriously! It is one of the most frequent words of advice I give to new homeschooling moms. Obviously, we homeschool moms have different needs. Assess you needs carefully. Remember: going to the grocery store alone my be part of your in-service day, but not all of it! Schedule a teacher day on dad’s day off, so you can take time to get away and breathe!

If you’ve found a way to shake things up a bit when life got overwhelming, let us know by sharing your ideas in our Facebook group or in the comments below!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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woman relaxing

Find the Time

I’m convinced. One of the things I would do more of if I could go back to my fifteen years of homeschooling is to do more for myself without feeling guilty. I would still give 100% but not 150%. Who has the time you say with a schedule full of field trips, co-ops, basketball practice, potty training, and laundry? You do. Sometimes we just have to say no to one more thing that our children want to do and say yes to something that would support our well-being as a person. After all stress can be accumulative like a boiling pot of water and we need to let the steam out.

A marathon runner knows they must pace themselves if they are to make it to the finish line. That’s what we must do as homeschool moms, we must pace ourselves to avoid burnout and make it across the finish line. The goal cannot be only to get to high school graduation with well trained, God loving, kids, full of Christian character. We must make it across the finish line as well, still intact.

As a pastor’s wife I encourage young homeschool moms to go out every week if possible and take time for themselves. Rejuvenate, take a walk, have coffee with a friend, ride your bike by yourself, exercise, get a pedicure, anything that supports your emotional and mental health.

Mental Health Days

Sarah, homeschool mother of eight, calls it Mental Health Wednesdays. It started out as sessions for counseling and became so healthful she continued on and found wonderful ways to refresh herself. She says, “It’s put a bounce in my step and has given me a more positive outlook on life. I feel happier.”

How can it be done at your house? Older children can watch the younger children. A Starbucks card or pet fish can be payment for watching younger siblings every couple of weeks. Anything that’s important to the older child can be used as barter. And there’s always grandma or swapping with another mom who needs time out too.

So don’t wait another day! Give yourself a New Year’s Gift: Declare a regular mom’s day out for yourself. Take a regular Mental Health Wednesday. You will be happier for it and be assured to make it across the finish line still standing and ready to go on to the next phase of your life.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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writing homeschool girl

For many homeschooling parents and students, writing is a difficult and dreaded subject. “If you and your child are reluctant writers, there are ways to foster this skill. 

Read  quality books aloud.
Reading aloud early and often is the best way I know to instill a love of words in your child. This daily habit is  the first step to inspire reluctant writers. There is just something about a great story. I still remember the day when my eldest daughter (who was then only 7) told me she loved our read aloud times. Her exact words were, “I can close my eyes and see the story in my mind.” I knew she was on her way to becoming a lover of books. I was not wrong. Think of ways to add read aloud times by using audio books while running errands or taking family trips. Weave academics into your day while doing life!

Give her books to read that are written by young authors.
Once your child is reading on her own, find quality books written by teens or tweens.  As they read their words and understand young people can do great things, you may ignite a writing spark. For younger writers, let them begin crafting their own stories with your help.  Let them dictate their ideas to you or an older sibling because they may think faster than they can write.

Provide a place to write.
Keep writing center tools readily available in your home. Be sure to create a comfortable space to sit and write. Provide access to writing prompts, photos, magazines with great images, or a view out the window to help your child’s creative juices flow. Allow your child to head outdoors to write if they want to. Collect fun writing implements such as colored pens and pencils, different kinds of paper, a notebook, and a journal. Encourage them to jot down any ideas that come to mind and keep them in a safe place to refer to later when they sit down to write. This practice will help them find writing interesting and exciting. They will have everything they need at hand when they’re ready to get started! Let them choose their own writing topics vs. feeling you have to assign every one from a curriculum guide.

Protect their writing time.
Most children have daily academic work and chores. Some are involved in extra activities, sports, or classes outside the home as well. Providing protected time for extra writing as desired encourages a love of writing. Whether 30 minutes a couple times a week or every evening after dinner, your allowing the time indicates their interests are equally important to you. You validate their interests while you provide time to hone their writing skills.

Read what your child writes with excitement.
Take the time to focus and truly pay attention to your child’s writings. Let them know with a smile and your full attention that you are excited to see what they have thought up this time. Nothing encourages a writer like hearing affirmation of their words. Don’t feel as though every effort is an ‘assignment’ waiting for edits and corrections. Just rejoice at your child’s spontaneous creativity and lavish praise for the work. Save some of those unedited efforts as a time capsule of your writer’s development.

Give constructive criticism IF they ask for it.
When your child completes their homeschool writing lesson, you will provide instruction and correction. With this extra, creative writing, refrain from corrections. If you see areas of improvement you need to address, work those issues into their assigned work. If your child asks you to critique their writing, it’s fine to offer advice without making it ‘schoolwork’. Most of the time, my child simply wants me to read his story and likes to discuss it with me. Perhaps we will delve into how he chose his topic, why he likes it, and more. If you are too quick to offer correction, you may not get to enjoy the privilege of these kinds of conversations.

Writing is very personal. When we share our efforts,  we are hoping to evoke an emotion, stir a reaction, and touch your life in some way. Ignore the glaring misspellings and dangling participles for now.  Simply enjoy what your child has to offer.

My daughter went from a struggling reader to a now self-published teen author. She has some amazing, God-given talent. I believe growing up in an environment where she has been encouraged in her writing has helped nurture that talent. What might your child accomplish with a bit of encouragement and a few writing tools?

Do you have some helpful tips to encourage your child to write? Please share them so we can all add to our writing toolbox!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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homeschool middle school independence

When my boy was little I learned he had a “quality time love language”.  Naturally homeschooling was a perfect fit to fill up his love tank since we were side-by-side all day long.  All.Day.Long.

I even discovered lap-booking was perfect for the quality time child, so we did them.  However, once we started middle school he hated them.

I was still reading lesson directions oblivious to the eye rolls. I found myself putting away books and materials frustrated he didn’t help me clean up.  I was planning out his daily schedule and he would complain he hated doing math “first”. He would ask me how to cook something, and I would just lecture rather than let him try.

Middle School encourages independence.

Independence grows best with some space.  I am a slow learner.  It took me a little while to figure this out.  Our sweet time together turned into sour moods and bickering because I was unaware of his growing independence.  Truth be told, I was inadvertently stifling it.

One day I saw a picture of him on my own Instagram account that I felt the scales fall from my eyes.  He looked so big. So grown up. He didn’t look like my baby toe-head anymore.  He looked like a young man, but I was not treating him like one.

So I started off with this new independence thing all wrong.  “Go ahead and get your work done.” I told him over breakfast. No direction. No expectation. Just a flip of the hand and smile.  I was so proud of myself for being so fun.

No surprise he doodled superheroes in his math book for an hour, failed a writing assignment because he neglected to read the directions, couldn’t find his science book, and ended the day overly frustrated. We were both mad at each other.

Middle School is not high school or even college. Just give a little space a little at a time.  No one throws the keys at a young driver without a lesson in the parking lot.

You do not have to …

hover over a middle school student ~ check in often!
plan every activity ~ offer some suggestions and allow them to pick something.
read every word ~ point out where the directions are to be found.
check everything ~ allow them the opportunity to grade/edit their own work.

Successful activities of growing independence will lead to great self confidence.  

But if we constantly do the work for them we are only hurting them in the long run.  We owe that to our children!

If you have a child who is not yet mature and needs more direction, give it to them! Do not compare to what other kids their age are doing. Everyone is different with unique gifts and talents.

Keep evaluating how they are doing and give them a bit more independence or scale back if it is too much.

It is very important to know your child (and how different they are from their siblings).  Give your middle school student some space to grow into who God made them.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


 

Make your plans to join us at Teach Them Diligently Conventions this spring to learn more about helping your homeschool student.

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Read through our essential homeschool resources for more encouragement!
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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 TeachThemDiligently365.com.

Yes, I want more from this Homeschooling Community!