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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How Long is Your Homeschool Day?


Remember that public school class schedules require a lot of crowd control time, and you don't have that crowd.

The rule of thumb is to add about 20 minutes for each grade, but every KID is different and every DAY is different. Some days we get through our whole day in an hour and half, some days it feels like we trudge through at snail's pace.

How Long is Your Homeschool Day?

  • Preschool- 15 to 30 min
  • Kindergarten- 30 min to 1 hour
  • 1st to 2nd Grade- 45 min to 1.5 hours
  • 3rd to 4th Grade- 1.5 to 3 hours
  • 5th to 6th Grade- 2.5 to 3.5 hours
  • 7th to 8th grade- 3 to 4.5 hours
  • High School- 3.5 to 6 hours
This schedule applies to STRUCTURED learning, a.k.a as direct teaching and "seat-work". Seat-work is anything that requires your child to be seated (or laying on the floor in our house) and do independent or small group work, like Math and Writing. Direct teaching is when you are reading to them and teaching them directly, like reading their history book together or doing a science experiment.

Your day may go over this time with extra-curricular and educational activities that don't fall into "structured" learning. Guided free-play (like play-dough and dress up), gym class, audio-books, separate art class, and field trips are different, and will last longer because it requires a different type of engagement.

I taught preschool and then kindergarten, and I can attest that the times above are the longest any structured time will be effective in those ages. Yes, you can get them to sit and listen, or do worksheets, for longer, but in my experience retention falls drastically after age-appropriate windows.

You also have to find out what works for you. What works for your student, may slow down another.

This year we found the day goes faster when we do Math first (because my sons says then his brain isn't already tired when he gets to it), but that approach may slow down your day. Like I said, all kids are different.

Does this schedule ring true for your homeschool day?

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Drawn to God: Sermon Notes Journal

Drawn to God: Sermon Notes Journal for any age

After creating Sermon Notes for Kids and Sermon Notes for Teen, I had several requests for an adult sermon notes journal.  As I came up with a plan, I designed the journal I needed myself!

Drawn to God is a 52 Week Sermon Notebook for Doodlers and Artists, or anyone who needs space to process the sermon through writing. This journal is the perfect notebook for engaging creatively with the sermon with options to write, reflect, and draw.

Each 2 Page Layout Includes:
  • Key Sermon Points & Verse
  • Worship Lyric that spoke to me
  • How will I apply this to my life?
  • What part of the sermon am I struggling to believe or put into action?
  • Praises & prayer requests
  • Drawing section to illustrate or write more anything God has laid on your heart

More Book Details:
  • 52 weeks, 2 page layout for each week
  • 108 pages of Sermon Journal
  • 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Unisex cover and pages, can be used for men or women
  • Matte Cover & Paperback Cover

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

I didn't know

I didn't know what I didn't know.

Yesterday as I drove, I cried with lament for our country, but also tears of gratitude for finally being awake. This white girl who knew she  didn't want to be a racist her whole life, from the first time I heard my mother use the N word, but I didn't  know what I didn't know.

I thanked God for waking me up to what lamenting and listening means.  I repented for the wake of slavery that I didn't cause, but do benefit from. I then asked for God to show me more of my unconscious biases. Repeat.

 I am a white girl who grew up in a white town, a small town in  central Indiana. The county I lived in is literally named White County, and more than once I heard adult and teens around me say, "White County needs to stay white."

The only POC I knew were Mexican and Latin  americans immigrants and their children, and the 2 half-black adopted kids in our school corporatation.

My best friend was a 2nd generation Latina, who was born in Indiana, with parents from El Salvador. She was sometimes bullied by the Mexican kids for hanging out with white kids. I loved her, but I see now never understood her experiences as a person of color, because she was accepted by me and our friends, so I didn't get how others wouldn't accept her.  To be honest, I never asked. 

I saw how racist my classmates and adults surrounding me saw the Mexican kids, ones who spoke Spanish and wore dark lipstick, they were differen, they were other. I will admit, I did too. I didn't think of myself as racist by any means, but they were different to me, and that made me uncomfortable.  

 I saw my best friend as different from the Mexican immigrants, and I didn't equate her experience with theirs. I loved being part of her culture when we were at her house, and listening to her parents speak Spanish, but she was like me.  I never asked about what it felt like to be a latina in a white world. We were from the same town, wore the same clothes, liked the same music. When others saw her inny company, and with all our white friends, they acted differently to her than the Mexican kids in our town. If anyone gave her any crap, I saw it as isolated racists from a small town. I didn't realize until VERY recently that my white privilege protected her when she was with me. 

 As a teen, I heard on the news about profiling, and I remember not knowing why it was wrong. 

Why wouldn't you pull over someone that fits the description of the suspect? 

Why would you be scared of the police if you did nothing wrong?

 I didn't know how times the only "description" they fit was "black". 

 I didn't know how times there is no suspect at all, just suspicion because of the color their skin.

 I didn't know how many times just the color of dark skin meant quicker escalation, due to fear on booths sides, that turned to violence.

 I didn't know how many times that "suspicious feeling" that led to white people calling the cops many times just meant "they are black in a white area".

 I didn't know.

I am grateful that when I married young I moved away from that tiny town.

 It took way too long for me to fully wake up, but I was trying. I knew I didn't want to be racist. I wanted to be awake to injustice, but I felt like in a dream where I was trying to wake up, but my you can't can't open your eyes. I started to meet POC, and I saw their anger, but still I just didn't get it.

 My husband and I starting working with Young Life in South Bend. I got to serve with amazing African American teens and adult leaders. I must admit it was really really uncomfortable at first. 
Remember, white girl from a white town in White County? I was so nervous any time I was around a black person, not due to fears but the unknown. I was always hyper aware when I was with a black teen versus a white teen. It was new, and it was hard.  I  needed to live in the discomfort of being in someone's space, in their culture, and OUT of my own. It was so good for me because it started to wake me up. 

To me, being awake means you can't sleep though it just because it doesn't effect you.  You can sleep through a train when it is 10 miles away, but you can't when it's in your living room, or in your neighbor's yard.  As a white girl, I can easily live as if the train of racism is 10 to 20 miles away.  I could stay in my bubble and know that my sons or husband don't have to live the consequences.   That is wrong, as a human and a Christian.  The train of racism is crashing through the bedrooms of human beings, of image-bearers of God. Who am I to go to sleep again, just because it doesn't touch my life personally?

One of best thing that ever happened to me as a naive little white girl was going to Windy Gap Summer Camp as a Young Life leader, I was 21 years old. My husband and I were two of only a dozen white people, at a camp of 500 Black and Hispanic leaders and students. I experienced for the first time even a tiny fraction of what it felt like to be a minority. 

 Guys it was one of the most uncomfortable weeks in my entire life. I didn't understand the music references, hair culture, the movies, even just words used made me feel like I was always just out of the loop. I literally stuck out in every single group, and saw all eyes look at me every time I entered a room.

Guys, it was also one the best weeks in my entire life. It was scary, but oh how wonderful it was for me to walk even a step in the shoes of a minority. I was brave enough to ask my girls about why they wore a scarf at night, and the girls got to ask a while person ask why they watched their hair so much. I saw teen girls fight over stupid and serious stuff, just like every other teen girl in the world.

I learned about the importance of respect in the girls' lives, and how little they got in the world, which led to them fighting so hard for it, even in sometimes what I viewed as trivial little things, like someone stealing their Pepsi. 

God allowed me to witness teen boys of color conquer literal mountains, with their storng Male leader of color right next to them. 

God wanted me to be surrounded by my brothers and sisters of color in a way that there was no way I could ever be the same as I was before. I was surrounded by amazing human beings, with color and culture that shook my heart with its strength. 

I could never not know again what it feel like, even a tiny tiny sliver of a percentage, of what it felt like to be a minority. I hadn't woken up fully, but it had begun. 

Over the next 16 years I would be able to befriend more people of color (honestly  enough and I will admit my circle of friend is still predominantly white, which I don't want to always be that way). 

 I would see men and women of color in local church and government leadership. I began to learn the truth behind profiling, and brothers and sisters colors told their experiences of being pulled over and questioned. 

 I would serve on a jury where an older black man was chased in a car by 3 rich white college students in the middle of the night, yet HE was charged with a charged crime of brandishing a ln unloaded weapon out his car window when they refused to stop tailgating ans following hok for a half hour in the dead of night. It took me and one other man on the jury to advocate for this man to not he found guilty on all charges, and even then he had to be found guilty on brandishing a weapon, because he did. I still remember how angry I felt at the injustice of these white affluent boys testifying as victims in court, with no explanation of their harassment other than they followed him becasue he "looked suspicious". I regret deeply I didn't fight harder to get all charges dropped.

I have been trying to read books that not only centered on civil rights, but intentionally seek out books and movies that have black actors as the leads, not just opposite a white person, and don't just feature people of color as being "sassy" or the sidekick. I sometimes felt odd as a white girl watching Janet Jackson in "Poetic Justice", or singing "Freedom is coming tomorrow" from Sarafina, or the loving the amazing Whitney in "Waiting to Exhale", but I wanted to see more. I did not want to be color blind, because  the color I was beginning to see was beautiful.

I was pretty close to being awake , but Ahmaud, Breonna, and George have fully woken me up. It took too long,  for which I am repentant, but I am awake.

 I am the mother to two almost 13 year old white boys. My sons will never have to be scared to be pulled over by police. They will never have to worry about wearing a hoodie on a walk in their grandparent's neighborhood.  

No, black lives do not matter MORE, they matter TOO. The point of #blacklivesmatter is because unconscious and conscious bias are real. I know they are real, because  I lived with them, in my family and in my own mind. 

I know racist is a scary word that congers up KKK and Nazis,  but the concept that I have learned is there isn't a dichotomy of racists and not racist. We ALL fall on a spectrum of bias, and and we ALL have blind spots of bias (a.k.a unconscious bias).

White Guilt is not what I am advocating. It isn't my FAULT I was born a white girl in an all community, but it is my RESPPNSIBLITY to educate myself about the experiences of others.  

What is your unconscious bias? What are your blind spots? I wasn't "racist" like a KKK member, but I was way too biased for way too long, even though I didn't want to be. I know I still have unconscious biases, but I want to do better.

We may never agree exactly how to fix the problem of racism in America, but I definitely know we can't fix a problem we don't believe is there.

Lord, don't ever let me fall asleep to the pains and wounds of an entire community. 

I want to do better.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Naan Bread- Egg, Dairy, & Yeast Free

I LOVE Naan Bread, but with my allergies I have not been able to have it for the past three years.  I finally have a great recipe! I combined several recipes and this one has turned out the best, with the chewy taste of yeasted bread!

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional) 
Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 15 oz unsweetened Greek style almond milk yogurt (I used Kite Hill)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  1. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well
  2. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add oil, milk, and yogurt. Mix together until it forms a ball, add flour as needed if too sticky.  Knead until very smooth and elastic- at least 5 minutes- adding more flour as necessary. 
  3. Cover dough in a bowl with a towel, and let dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Roll one piece of dough until very thin (less than 1/8 inch). 
  6. Melt tablespoon margarine, or your favorite dairy free butter, before you cook each piece.  One at a time, cook the Naan until parts are blacking on each side (about 1.5 to 2 min).  
  7. Optional- brush with butter and add seasoning (cilantro, garlic, etc). 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

To Homeschool Moms during the "new reality" of Coronavirus

Speaking specifically to my fellow homeschool moms:

The new Coronavirus CDC guidelines for schools reopening in the fall came out this week. NO ONE knows what this will look like in implementation. Every school will look different in how they want, and can, follow these guidelines. No matter what your local school does, we all know life is going to be different, and probably harder, for your public school friends, and their kids next year, not to mention the amazing humans we call teachers.

While some of my friends are choosing to homeschool after quarantine, please please please remember homeschooling is not an option for many families, and furthermore it isn't even the best choice for many kids.

It is going to be very tempting as we see many parents frustrated with the realities to say, "That is why WE homeschool." This is not helpful.

The response,"That is why we homeschool" is NOT an appropriate or helpful response when a friend (who has a different schooling choice that you) is sharing a struggle with their child. Seriously, stop this.

I have been on the receiving end of "That is why we send our kids to school" more times that I can count; it is hurtful and judgmental. When a friend confides a parenting struggle we can listen to validate, prayerfully answer with scripture and encouragement, or just keep your mouth shut.

Not every mom should homeschool, and not every kid should be homeschooled. I know, gasp! Yes, this is a homeschool page. Yes, I LOVE homeschooling with my entire being, but I also firmly believe this lifestyle is not for every kid or family. My page is here to support those who feel the call, and believe it is best for their family.

I am not saying we should not be open to our friends about about homeschool. We MUST be there during this time to answer questions for anyone who is considering homeschool. I am very open about my choice to homeschool so that moms who are on the fence feel comfortable talking to me. But being open to helping is not the same as giving unsolicited advice to a public school mom whose struggling with their new reality.

Please pray and support your friend's choice to continue public school in the same way you want them to support your choice to homeschool.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Learning Cursive with Literature


All my workbooks can now be found easily in one place at !

Meaning Matters

​A student, child or adult, learns best when the content is connected to something meaningful in their own lives.  Learning with Literature Workbooks take the whining out of handwriting practice with meaningful words and quotes from beloved children's literature.  Perfect for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers.

Designed for elementary students just learning cursive, middle schoolers who need practice, or anyone who wants to improve their handwriting

Print workbooks also available for younger students!

I DEEPLY appreciate every book sold, and every link shared! THANK YOU!




Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Resistance is Part of Learning

Today is struggle.

 My 7th grader is struggling with the fact that he can't have two introduction paragraphs. He wants his hook to be a separate paragraph from his thesis statement. He keeps saying, "It just doesn't look right!"

I'm struggling not to lose it because that he won't just trust me, or the experts that wrote our writing curriculum. 

My son is honestly a great writer, other than formatting. His history summaries are detailed, insightful, and witty, but he hates being told how to format his writing. I know when he is angry because gets really quiet and quickly tries to wipe away his wet eyes (I cry when I'm angry too and it is the worst).

I share this because I want to let you know teaching is hard, but so is learning something new! Resistance doesn't necessarily mean they aren't learning, it is part of the process. As adults we all resist when told we are wrong, so why wouldn't a child do the same? Even if we are told in the kindest, most effective teaching method, it is still hard to hear you are wrong.

Does understanding the student's resistance mean we tolerate a melt down? Definitely not.

Understanding leads to compassion that enables more patience during the ten extra minutes of explaining why his introduction can't be two different paragraphs.

Understanding his resistance also keeps me from escalating as he escalates. As he gets defensive, I don't become offensive. I had to catch myself from saying "Just do it my way because I am the teacher!"

Some kids are going to be more defensive to being wrong than others. My oldest has ALWAYS been my "resistant to change/perfectionist" kid, but we have grown so much since those Kindergarten days when getting a wrong answer ended in tears for both of us.

I am so proud of his progress as a student and my progress as his teacher. I am also deeply thankful everyday we get to affirm that making mistakes means we are learning.