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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

2 Player Strategy Games for Teens & Tweens


We are a board game family!  Our closet is full of 3 to 5 player board games that are perfect for family game night, but our teenage children now want some challenging 2 player games they can play against each other outside of family game night, or when they have a friend over. 

Sometimes siblings are busy and your can't get enough people to play the game, 2 player games are the perfect solution!  We have twin teenagers, so 2 player board games are perfect for us!

My teens are growing our of toys and their tastes for electronics is usually out of my price range.  Last year I bought them several 2 person board games for Christmas and for their birthday, all received with much success!  

These are also great solutions for adults without children who want strategy based 2 player games!

7 Wonders Duel Board Game

This is my teen son's new favorite game, 7 Wonders Duel!  It is the two player version of our family favorite, 7 Wonders. Experience an intense two-player struggle for supremacy in the ancient world! Challenge your opponent and bring your civilization to victory with Prestigious Buildings, Military Supremacy or Scientific Supremacy.

 Decide to invest in science, military or prestige. If you fail to build defenses, your capital city may be destroyed, but ignore technology and your people may be left in the dark ages. Will your city achieve greatness, or will your opponent prevent you from completing all your Wonders?

One game of 7 Wonders Duel plays over the course of three rounds, called Ages, during which you will choose cards with increasingly powerful effects. Each card you choose will influence your general strategy.

7 Wonders Duel
Ages 10 and Up
Average Play Time: 30 minutes

Codenames: Duet - 

The Two Player Word Deduction Game

Another 2 player version of a family game night favorite! Codenames Duet game is perfect gift for a teen who wants some quick fun rounds with their friends.  My boys will play 4 to 6 rounds of this in a row! Based-on the original party game hit, Codenames, Codenames Duet is a standalone co-op clue giving adventure that sends you and your partner on a top secret mission to a crowded city. Your objective? Contact 15 agents while avoiding a band of enemy assassins.  

You know the agents that your partner can contact safely; they know the agents you can contact safely. By giving each other one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board, you must try to find all the agents before your turns run out.

400 all new words compatible with original Codenames
New cooperative gameplay
Campaign mode to record your progress
Variable difficulty to challenge even the greatest spies

Imhotep The Duel is the 2-Player Version of  Imhotep, Builder of Egypt Board Game.  

In this two-player version of the award-winning Imhotep board game, players take on the roles of Nefertiti and Akhenaten, one of ancient Egypt's most famous royal couples. Game pieces must be cleverly placed so that players can unload the most valuable tiles from the six boats. While this is happening, each player builds their own four monuments in order to gain as many points as possible.

his tiny worker placement game is HUGE on strategy. It is not merely a rehash of the original. Rather, the creator was able to take a few key elements and develop a brand new game.

Imhotep: The Duel
Ages 10 and up
Average Playing Time: 30 Minutes

Kahuna Board Game: 2 Player Kosmos Game Area Control Strategy 

Kahuna is another great 2 player game by one of our favorite game makers, Kosmos. Who will rule the South Seas? Two Kahuna — ancient sorcerers of the Pacific — compete for dominance on an archipelago consisting of twelve small islands. Using their magic and wisdom, they struggle for control of the islands. They anxiously await the cards handed to them by fate. But when the time is right, they move to capture one, two, or even more islands, trying to gain the upper hand. At the mercy of the magical powers of the South Seas, they quickly realize that even the best magic is no good without strategy.

Ages 10 and up
Average Playing Time: 30 Minutes

The Fox in The Forest Duet is a cooperative 2 player only version of the classic The Fox in the Forest.
It's a trick taking game with a tiny bit of a board game element. Duet is cooperative whereas the original Fox in the Forest is competitive. In Duet you are working together to strategically control who wins the trick in order to move the "Fox" towards whoever won the trick. You're trying to clear all the gem tokens within 3 rounds to win.

Work together to play tricks and move through the forest. Use the special abilities of the characters to exchange cards with each other, then let your teammate follow with any card, and more. Win as a team by collecting all the gems, but be careful to stay on the path and not get lost. Most points at the end wins.

The Fox in the Forest: Duet
Ages 10 and Up.
Average Playing Time: 30 Minutes

Jaipur Board Game (New Edition) 

Strategy Game for Adults and Kids

Two Player Trading Game

In Jaipur, players take on the roles of two of the city’s most powerful traders seeking to become the Maharaja’s personal trader by amassing more riches than their opponent. This new edition features an exclusive metallic collectible coin.

Collect and exchange goods at the market then sell them for rupees. Arrange a larger sale to receive a reward. The camels have no sale value but are very useful for trading, especially when you want a lot of goods from the market. Out-trade your opponent to obtain the Maharajah's favor. At the end of each round, the richest trader receives a Seal of Excellence. The first player to collect 2 Seals of Excellence wins the game.

Blending strategy and luck, Jaipur is a fast-paced game that is simple to learn while offering plenty of depth to dedicated players.

Ages 10 and Up
Average Playing Time: 30 Minutes

Monday, October 25, 2021

"That is why we homeschool" doesn't work


"That is why we ___________ (insert homeschool or send our kids to public school)" is almost never an  appropriate or helpful  response when a friend, who has a different school choice, is sharing a struggle with their child.

 Seriously, both sides, 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. Never once did it make me think, "Oh great, now I will completely change our family's lifestyle because of your comment!"

What is your goal?

Parenting is the most personal path you may ever walk; our hearts are so raw when it comes to our children that defensiveness is usually our knee-jerk reaction.   When you tactlessly say these phrases, you call into question that person's parenting choices in a way that will provoke bitterness and resentment. 

The phrase 'That is why we ________" in response to another's pain is not received with the spirit of encouragement, but of gloating.  What they hear is the assumption they would not be in their present painful situation if they had been as wise as you in their choices. You may not think that is your motivation, you may truly want to help someone, but that is most likely not how it will be received.

How can you be a friend?

My public school friends will not have great advice for me when I am overwhelmed with high school transcript planning, but even so, some of them have proven trustworthy to be able to give a listening ear when I need it.   I know that when I share my parenting issues with certain friends, no matter their school choice, their reaction will not be "all those problems would be solved if you just put your kid in public school".   They say validating things like, "Wow, that must be hard!"   Or they ask helpful questions like, "Do you have any other homeschool moms who have done this before and could help you with the credit process?" Maybe some are thinking "That would be solved by sending your kids to public school", but they have the maturity and wisdom to not say it.  

In turn, when my public school friend is sharing how her son is struggling with reading comprehension, I don't boastfully tell her how homeschooling has helped my kids in this area.  Instead I share resources with her that have helped my sons.  I help her find age appropriate summer bridge lessons on Teacher Pay Teachers. I ask, with genuine interest, how his extra tutoring is going, and how I can pray for her son.

How Homeschooling Changes Your Friendships

When can I share about homeschooling with a public school friend? 

My go to is just to be open about my choice of homeschooling, but without any anti-public school rhetoric.  Through this method, I have had dozens of public schooling moms feel safe enough to ask me if homeschooling could be right for their family. 

My first recommendation to any believing homeschool parent is to pray for your friends, and if they want to know about homeschooling, God can put on their heart to ask. If you have a real relationship, your friend will have seen enough of your journey that they can come to you if they have questions about how to get started. This takes pride out of the equation, because God is the one who can convict their heart. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling and to public school.  Every family has to make the decisions how to rank those advantages in a way that makes sense for their  family. 

 In our family, the freedom to work at our own academic pace and choosing our own curriculum outweighs the advantages of a free public education where I don't have to buy or teach the curriculum. I also have the privilege of being able to work from home. We have the money and time to take advantage of opportunities for my children to socialize in our homeschool co-op and other many activities outside the home. 

Every family has to make the decision what works best for their child. Be on watch for appropriate times to share some of  your journey of homeschooling with a FRIEND with whom you have earned the privilege to speak.

How To Homeschool When You Can't Afford It

Friday, October 22, 2021

Pro-Homeschool, but Anti-Public School


Public school bashing is not attractive in any homeschooling family.  I miss the nuance of being able to discuss the pros of one things without dismissively, and sometimes ignorantly, bashing the other. Can we get that to that please?

This is Pro-Homeschool website, not an Anti-Public School website.   

It is possible to be fully committed to homeschooling for your family while still acknowledging the many benefits of public school for millions of children in our country. 

I can see the faults in the system, while still praising the dedicated people who choose to become public school teachers.  

It is a nuanced conversation, but it can be had. The world is not black and white.  Not all public schooling is bad, and not all homeschooling is the best option for a family. It is easy to slip into an "us vs. them" mentality in today's world, but it does no one any good.

If you have come to tthis website or some anti-public school rhetoric, I hope you have come to the wrong place.  I will of course comment on the reasons I chose to homeschool, and that may sometimes be critical of certain aspects of public school, but this is not a public school bashing site.  

Again, this is a nuanced and complex conversation.  I miss nuance.  


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Learning Cursive with Little Women


Learning Cursive with Little Women

Are you a Jo, Meg, Beth, or Amy?  

I used to think I was a Jo, but as I've aged I have accepted that I am a Meg, complete with twins and married to a man named Jon. Little Women is a timeless novel that I think every woman should read at least once in her lifetime (boys and men also benefit greatly also from this beautiful story, it is one of my sons' favorites).

Learning Cursive with Little Women is a cursive handwriting curriculum designed to give meaningful handwriting practice through copywork of words and quotes from "Little Women".  This workbook is perfect for use in homeschool, classroom, a summer bridge, or anytime your child needs handwriting practice. Use alongside a family read-aloud, supplement independent book study, or just fun copying favorite quotes from this beloved classic literature.

Learning Cursive with Little Women

Learning Cursive with Little is available now on Amazon, click here to buy

Writing Skills are scaffolded upon each other, as the the child progresses from letter practice to word and quote copywork. Includes Cursive Alphabet Reference Chart (D'nealian Script), upper and lower case practice, "Little Women" related word practice and quotes for copywork . 


Little Women Cursive Letter Practice

 Demonstrate and show your child how to write each letter, following the arrows with your finger.  First trace over every letter, then copy onto blank rows. The last copy rows focus on joining the letters without lifting your pencil. Check your child’s work after the first line for correct penmanship and to correct any bad habits or confusion. Have your child circle their best letter on the workbook page to help train their eyes as well as their hand.


Little Women Word Copywork

 Suggested schedule is for your student to copy two to three pages a week. First they will trace over every letter, using arrows and numbers as their guide, then copy words onto blank rows. Check your child’s work to correct any bad habits or confusion. Have your child circle their best word on the workbook page to help train their eyes as well as their hand.


Little Women Quote Copywork

I suggest your student copy one to three quotes a week, depending on your child's ability. 
The quotes get longer and progressively harder, so depending on your child’s pace, they may need to take a few days to finish the longer quote. Keep it fun! For an extra fun challenge, try to find the quotes in the book.

Other Workbooks in Learning with Literature Series:

Learning Cursive in Narnia

Learning Cursive with The Hobbit

Learning Cursive with Anne of Green Gables

Learning Cursive with Proverbs

Writing in the Wardrobe: Narnia Print Workbook

Writing God’s Word on Your Heart: Proverbs Print Workbook

Writing with Charlotte’s Web: Print Workbook

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Writing with Charlotte's Web: Print Handwriting Book

Writing with Charlotte's Web

Join Wilbur and Charlotte at Zuckerman's Farm! Any child who has had Charlotte's Web read to them, or read it themselves, will love copying familiar names and quotes from beloved children's literature.

Writing with Charlotte’s Web: Handwriting Workbook: Print Handwriting  is handwriting curriculum designed to give meaningful handwriting practice through copywork of words and quotes from "Charlotte's Web". For ages 1st to 6th grade, or your discretion if your child needs handwriting practice!

Can be use for homeschool curriculum alongside a read aloud or for a summer bridge curriculum to keep your child on track with their writing. 


Part One: Letter Practice

Writing Skills are scaffolded upon each other, as the the child progresses from letter practice to word and quote copywork. First trace over every letter, then copy onto blank rows. Check your child’s work after the first line for correct penmanship and to correct any bad habits or confusion. Have your child circle their best letter on the workbook page to help train their eyes as well as their hand.

Part Two: Word Copywork

Meaning Matters! Take the whining out of handwriting practice by copying the beloved words of E.B White.  Copy two to three pages a week.  First trace over every letter, then copy words onto blank rows.
Check your child’s work to correct any bad habits or confusion. Have your child circle their best word on the workbook page to help train their eyes as well as their hand.

Part Three: Quote Copywork

Copy one to three quote a week, depending on your child's ability. Depending on your child’s pace, they may need to take a few days to finish the longer quotes. Keep it fun!  The quotes get progressively longer, as your child's handwriting improves. Check your child’s work to correct any bad habits or confusion. For a fun challenge, try to the quote in your copy of Charlotte’s Web.

Part Three: Quote Copywork

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Never Too Old for Picture Books: Using Picture Books in High School


We are in our first year of My Father's World High School and have used MFW since Kindergarten. My kids have always read the book basket books. The book basket was my favorite aspect of My Father's World curriculum family cycle because my kids learned so much from the many extra books we get on each subject. Every day the told me facts we didn't read in our structured history family reading.

My biggest issue with the MFW High School curriculum so far is no book basket list! but I have always used the book basket as a jumping off point for my library search, so I would get several books that aren't on the list too, but this year all the reading about half a dozen chapter books, most of which my children had already read.

A high schooler's main reading should of course not be picture books, and I am working on my own high school level reading list to go along with this year (coming soon to share), but I believe you are never too old for a good nonfiction picture book.

Students do not suddenly stop being visual learners when they get to high school, and non-fiction picture books are great for visual learners.

Even most adults retain information longer when presented in visual form. Don't believe me?  James Holzhauer won over 2 million dollars on Jeopardy. When asked how he prepared for his appearances on the show, he said he would go to the public library everyday and read a stack of children’s picture books. Instead of being frustrated with MFW for the whole year, yesterday I picked up 20 great Egypt books from our library to supplement our Ancient Egypt study. We got several non-fiction picture books and historical fiction living books.

This morning my boys spontaneously played Senet because of this beautiful Egyptology book!
Do not be afraid to go to the kids non-fiction section in high school.! Who knows, maybe they will win millions on Jeopardy!