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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Learning Cursive with The Hobbit, Cursive workbook


We had such great response from our Narnia Cursive Book, including many requests to make it into a series! Our second workbook, in what we hope to be a series of cursive workbooks, is based on the J.R. Tolkien classic, The Hobbit.

We had several requests for a "Lord of the Rings" theme, so we began with "The Hobbit" because it was more age appropriate for Elementary students learning cursive for the first time, or middle school age student reviewing their penmanship.


This Cursive workbook features over 90 pages of Hobbit related cursive learning and practice using D’nealian Cursive.

It was another family project, with my kids helping find words and my detail-oriented husband once again did all my editing.  We deeply appreciate every purchase, as you help me keep this website open, helping homeschool families from all over the country.


Age Recommendations:
  • For 2nd to 5th grade learning cursive
  • For 6th to 8th reviewing penmanship
Contents:
  • Suggested Use and Schedule
  • Part one: Letter Practice
  • Part two: Word Practice
  • Part three: Quote Copywork
Part One: Letter Practice
Each page gives instructions first with guided arrow letter, then plenty of tracing and copying practice.
 

Part Two: Word Practice
 A collection of words from "The Hobbit" gives practice for capital and lower case letters, and how to link letters.

Part Three: Quote Copywork
A Collection of over 40 Hobbit quotes will give your child the opportunity to practice penmanship, letter linking, and proper word spacing. 


Our plans for the next book with most likely be Scripture based, so please check back! 
Also follow me on Facebook for updates
TO THE ROCK HOMESCHOOL on Facebook


Don't forget to travel to Narnia after you leave Middle-Earth with "Learning Cursive in Narnia"



Friday, June 14, 2019

Learning Cursive in Narnia


One of my boys struggles with his handwriting.  I looked all over for a cursive book that would peek his interest. I know that the best learning happens when connected to something meaningful, instead of just rote memorization.

We ordered a book themed workbook, based on another children's book series, but when I received it, I could tell it was not written by a teacher.  It was fun for practice, but not really for learning the formation of each letter and joining letters. As a homeschooling mother with a degree in Early Childhood Education, I wondered if I could do better.

The workbook we created has large illustrations with arrows on how to create each letter. Each page combines repetition of tracing and copying with the meaningful words and phrases from our family's favorite subject, the world of Narnia.


The words chosen for tracing and copying are found all throughout C.S. Lewis' beloved books, including all the letters of the alphabet.  My boys helped me find many of the words, including "voyage" when I stumped for a v-word. The quotes for copywork are some of the most beloved in the novels, with many of our personal family favorites.

PART ONE letter practice.

PART TWO Word practice

PART THREE Quote Copywork 

My amazing detail oriented husband did all my editing, especially the hours of formatting lines and quotes.

Once we completed, I wanted to share the book with more families. My workbook is now for sale on Amazon.  It is Cursive workbook features over 70 pages of Narnia related cursive learning and practice using D’nealian Cursive.



For 2nd to 5th grade, depending on if you want to teach cursive or just a fun review book. I am actually using it for my 6th grader , almost 7th grader, who forgot all the cursive he learned in 3rd grade.

Contents:
  • Suggested Use and Schedule
  • Part one: Letter Practice
  • Part two: Word Practice
  • Part three: Quote Copywork

BACK COVER
Book includes cursive practice of letters, words, and quotes.


The book is over 70 pages, including Cursive Alphabet Reference Chart, upper and lower case practice, Narnia related word practice, and Narnia quotes for copywork. This book is perfect for use in homeschool, classroom, during summer, or anytime your child needs handwriting practice.

 Skills learned:
  • letter formation
  • letter placement
  • linking letters
  • word spacing
Don't forget to travel to Middle-Earth after you leave Narnia with Learning Cursive with The Hobbit

Monday, June 10, 2019

Draw and Write Through History, 1850s to Modern Times


We are again using Draw and Write through History alongside My Father's World for Homeschool Art! I am amazed at how much my children have grown in their drawing skills using these books for the past four years!

The books are still used in conjunction with our workbox system, which creates more independence in the school day. These books are NOT consumables, so you can buy one for your family, then an inexpensive sketch pad for each child.


BOOKS NEEDED







SCHEDULE
Napoleon to Lady Liberty
Week 1 The Statue of Liberty page 58 

Week 2 Log Cabin page 54 

Week 3 Queen Victoria page 55

Week 7 Drummer Boy page 46

 Week 10 Steam Engine Train page 50

The 20th Century
Week 18 Titanic page 8

Week 19 World War 1 Soldier page AND 21 German U-Boat page 24

Week 20 the Red Baron page 26

Week 23 Amelia Earhart page 31 page 24 AND Sherman tank page 39

Week 25 Winston Churchill page 42

Week 26 Jaguar page 49 AND scarlet macaw page 51

Week 29 Apollo 11 page 58

Week 30 Martin Luther King Jr page 55





Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Talk Up Your Husband


Talk up your husband. Your words reflect your heart, but your words can also change your heart. In regards to spouses, negative words about your husband are going to give you more negative feelings about him.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for processing out your problems, but I have found from personal experience that when I rehearse my frustrations about my husband over and over again, I can't heal from them and let them go. 

The opposite has also proved true, when I rehearse my husband's positive qualities, those are the ones that stick into my mind and heart. Positive words lead to positive feelings. When I tell others how amazing my husband is, my feelings follow. 

Talking up your husband not only improves him in your eyes, but makes you more of a joy to be around. To be frank, it is unpleasant to spend time with women who are constantly bashing their husbands. Talk up your husbands, for both your good. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sharing Song of Solomon with your kids


This morning one of my boys put his stinky feet in my face while we were lying on the couch. I told him how much I love even his feet, because that's what Mom do.

I then told him that even the Bible says that feet can be beautiful: "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things." Romans 10:15

My 11 year son laughed, then said that he thought that I was going to quote from Song of Solomon "because that book is all about", he said with a pause, "body compliments".

 I responded to my son, "Yep that book is how daddy feels about me and that's how I feel about him. One day when you get married you will feel that way about someone. It's the best feeling ever."

"Oh, that's cool," my almost 12 year old responded as he went back to reading next to me on the couch.

And that was it. No "Yuck mom, stop!" Just a short moment of sharing how ALL OF GOD'S WORD is true and useful in life. All of Scripture is God-breathed and we can not shy away from Song of Solomon.


I was inspired by Josh McDowell, who was on Focus on the Family discussing how to talk to your kids about sex. He stressed to share with your kids how sex with your spouse, this big thing they are waiting for, is awesome! His adult kids shared with him they waited to have sex until marriage because they wanted what their dad had with their mother. His kids only knew what he had because he shared all the time about how much he enjoyed all aspects of his marital relationship.


Of course you're not sharing specifics about your sex life with your kids; the conversation I just had was only a few minutes with no specifics, but I repeat with words those feelings to them whenever the spirit leads me. Many parents think hugging and kissing sometimes in front of your kids sends the entire message.  Physical affection is ESSENTIAL, but you must share with words the rest of the story.

My son is 11 years old now, 12 in a month, and I know it is right for him to start really hearing these things, because soon he will hit puberty and his world will be driven by God-given sexual hormones.

When you have the "sex-talk", are you inadvertently teaching your kids that sex is only for procreation in your marriage? When they hit puberty they're going to realize that's not true, and some will feel ashamed for all of the new and confusing feelings they are experiencing.

When the time comes, my husband will be honest with our sons on how difficult it was for us to wait before marriage, how the hormones and love can drive you insane.  We will share this because we don't want our kids to feel like the temptations they are feeling are 1.) new to them 2.) shameful.

I want my kids to know how amazing it is that my husband and I still love each other the way Song of Solomon describes, even after 17 years together. I want them to know that because we didn't "test sex out" on a whole bunch of people before hand we were able to save all those feelings for each other. I need them to know that we feel SAFE sharing our bodies  because I have an unbreakable COVENANT with my husband.

Christians are remiss as parents, who are training up our children to be husbands and wives, to pretend like marriages can be healthy without a Song of Solomon love.

I want my kids to know that God loves sex. Yep, He created it. Sex is beautiful and the best way to maintain a healthy marriage. Without sex, marriage doesn't work. Period. I am sorry if that offends you, but I have a lot or scripture to back me up.

If you are in a marriage right now that is hurting in this area, I beg you to start praying Song of Solomon over your relationship. I know that as a woman those feelings don't always come naturally. I have many time in my life prayed that God would give me the feelings for my husband as a 35 year old that I had as a 18 year old.

I can't teach my kids about a healthy marriage unless I am practicing it, and I can't have a healthy marriage without prayer. With prayer, God enables a healthy sex life. You need the Holy Spirit to overcome insecurities, past baggage, and present miscommunication and issues.

Women, pray specifically that God would give you a Song or Solomon love for your husband. If there are extenuating circumstances, there is ZERO SHAME in bringing a counselor into the mix to help you again build a healthy sex life.

Then pray about the short appropriate ways to talk about the beauty of sex with your kids.  I also highly recommend Josh McDowell's book on Straight Talk with your Kids about Sex.

Good Luck Moms and Dads!  I am praying for you right now.


Monday, May 27, 2019

Introverts/Extroverts need social skills


It's important that people stop getting social skills mixed up with introvert/extrovert. There's a lot of extroverts who have awful people skills, and just because they like being around people doesn't fix that.

Being an introvert doesn't make you a hermit.

Being an extrovert doesn't make you the life of the party.

I'm married to an introvert who has wonderful people skills, but after a long day with people he really really needs alone time.

 Just so we're clear, being an introvert means that you get energy from being alone and being an extrovert means you get energy from being with people, AND THAT IS IT.

Being an introvert does not mean that you don't like people, it just means that you need to take a rest afterwards. Comparing being an introvert to not liking people is the same as saying you don't like hiking because it makes you tired. If you don't like hiking you don't like hiking. I like hiking, but I still need to take a rest afterwards.

 Stop blaming not liking people on being an introvert and just own the fact that you don't like people. And that's okay, you can own that fact. I don't like dogs. It took me many conversations with dog people thinking that I had no soul, but I I have finally owned that fact that I am not a dog person.

 Being an extrovert does not mean that you have magical social skills. Just because I like being around people doesn't mean that I am totally good at it (seriously, just ask my friends). Stop using introversion as an excuse for having bad social skills.

 All people have to work on their social skills!!!

I am married to a hardcore introvert who has worked for many years on his social skills and how to relate to people. He likes being around people, but he definitely needs much more of a break from people than I ever do as an extrovert.

 So to wrap this up, let's review.

#1 Being an extrovert does not mean that you're super great at talking to people all the time and that you have great people skills. Being an extrovert does not make you shallow or  unable to talk about deep subjects. It doesn't even make you outgoing or comfortable around all people, it just means that you get energy from being with people.

#2 Being an introvert is not an excuse for being rude or not working on your social skills. Being an introvert doesn't make you shy, or deeper than other people. There are some introverts who process out loud. I'm married to an outgoing charismatic introvert. Being an introvert just means that you need to rest after spending time 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Writing Prompts for Kids


We use writing prompts in our workboxes and during our summer routine. Our summer routine is 10 to 15 minutes of structured educational activity a day. Keeping this simple low pressure routine last summer reduced the amount of back-to-school whining when fall came around. It also helped reduce a lot of Summer slide.  Once a week we have "Writing Wednesday" where my children pick a writing prompt from a jar and write a half page.

 

WRITING PROMPTS

 Write about the day in the life of an inanimate object in your house. Must be written from the point of view of the object.


 If I live to be a hundred years old...


Last week I found a secret passage in my closet...


When I open my own restaurant...


Yesterday I was magically transported into my favorite TV show......


 My time machine is ready...


Hello, my name is the Sun.... (write from the point of view of the Sun)


Hello, my name is the Moon... (write from the point of view of the Moon)


It was a dark and stormy night...


 In my secret lair.....


If I had $1,000 I would buy.....


I found a genie lamp and my first wish is.....


The monkeys escaped their cage at the zoo....


You will never believe what I found in the swimming pool.


If I had a superpower it would be...


This morning I woke up with a mermaid tail...

 

 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Indiana County Map & Scavenger Hunt



We are finishing our My Father's World Exploration to 1850s with a state report. We chose our home state of Indiana.  I wanted to add more real-life state geography to help better orient my kids when we travel to see family. Children are inherently egocentric and they learn best when something relates to their own life, so we chose to map counties where people we know live.



I printed a free Indiana County map online, then made a list of counties where our family and friends live, or where my husband and I grew up. Have your children make a KEY on the side of their map, then find the counties!


The family and friends model was effective because it is meaningful to my kids, but if you don't have family or friends who live around the state, find your own county, then look up counties for sites and attractions:
  • Places you have visited with your kids
  • Indiana Dunes
  • Battle of Tippecanoe
  • Battle of Corydon (Civil War battle)
  • State Parks or parks you have visited
  • Famous Colleges (Notre Dame, Indiana University, Purdue, etc)

HOW TO HOMESCHOOL IN INDIANA




Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How to Homeschool When You Can't Afford It


I can't afford to homeschool. We are a one (lower) income household. On paper, I should be working, but with sacrifices and living a frugal lifestyle, I get to homeschool both my children.

If you have felt the tug in your heart to homeschool, then money is not an obstacle. Homeschooling is as expensive as you make it. I compared what I pay for curriculum for BOTH of my kids with a public school friend, and I pay LESS than what she pays in public school book rental for ONE child.

We have now been homeschooling for seven years, and we have learned many tricks to providing my kids with a well rounded education while keeping the costs low. Just like any budget savers,it does take a little extra work, but it is worth it!



1. Library, Library, Library! 
Take advantage of local library!!!!   I am on a first name basis with most of our local library staff because I pretty much visit every week.

  Libraries today are not just for BOOKS! We are lucky enough to have cards to two different library systems (our town's and the county's library).  We have access to free Local Museum passes, free tutors, educational classes, a 3-D laser printer and software lab, and rent-able Rosetta Stone curriculum.  YOU HAVE TO ASK!  Many libraries have a plethora of resources, you just have to ask someone how to access them.

Classes
My kids take a Minecraft Mania class every semester where they are able to play other kids on a CLOSED network for Internet safety.  Maybe have your high schooler enroll in a a free adult education class on how to use EXCEL, Microsoft Publisher, or even how to prepare their taxes.   If your library doesn't have a class you'd like, ask for it!  Librarians want people to come to their classes, so if you show there is interest, they may offer it.

Books
We check out 30 books every two weeks to go along with our My Father's World Curriculum, along with great workbooks for online coding.  If you use free Charlotte Mason Ambleside, you could get all your school books from the library!  Your tax dollars fund the library, and since we are not taking advantage of the local schools system, which your tax dollars also pay for, USE THAT LIBRARY!!! See this post on how to manage the many many books you get without paying fines.

How to Manage Library Books in Your Homeschool


2. Free Online Resources
 My kids take free piano, typing, and coding lessons online.  I don't personally like my kids being on computer for ALL their subjects because it limits parent/child influence, but the resources are there to help learn any subject you need.  Check out this post of all the Free Online Resources, for every subject you could imagine

WARNING Using ANY online resources requires adult vigilance about safety, but with a few safety precautions, it is worth it. No one is above temptation (even our 'good' kids) so please keep safety barriers in for your children when using online resources.

Free Homeschool Curriculum 


3. Don't Curriculum Hop 
Unused Curriculum is the biggest Budget Buster for a homeschool mom. A friend who uses my same curriculum told me she doesn't even look at other curriculum because there is just too much out there.  I have found that if a curriculum works well (or even just OK), then there is no point in searching for that elusive "perfect curriculum", because it doesn't exist. This little tip has saved me potentially hundreds of dollars over the years.

 The joke in the homeschool community is that all homeschooling moms have a shelf of unused curriculum somewhere, but we don't. I can't afford to buy curriculum we won't use. If we do end up buying a curriculum that doesn't work that great, we almost always finish it before buying a new one. My philosophy is unless it's making my children doubt their ability in themselves, it is good for them to learn that not everything in life is perfectly tailored to them, and to adapt accordingly.

I recommend new homeschool moms buy a boxed curriculum because it gives confidence and you don't spend money (and take years off your life) looking for the "perfect curriculum.  Do we love EVERYTHING about our My Father's World boxed curriculum.... no?!  It isn't perfect, but no curriculum ever will be. But it is a great base, and as I grew more confident and know my kids  better, I have branched out and bought other supplements that don't go unused.

Why I Chose My Father's World Homeschool Curriculum 

4. Try to touch before buying 
Be brave and ask other moms if you can look through their manuals and curriculum before buying.  Some people go to conventions for this purpose, but I don't have the money or patience to go to a convention. I prefer going through a friend's curriculum because I get a real review from someone I know and trust. Use Facebook groups to connect to other homeschool moms who use curriculum you are interested in, and you get to make a friend in the process!




5. Never Pay Full Price
I buy all my curriculum either USED or discounted from websites like Christian Book Homeschool Resources Other Great Places to Buy curriculum used or discounted:
.

  Christian Book Homeschool Resources  has deeply discounted prices
 and regular sales on every subject and most homeschool publishers 


6. Borrow/Swap/Trade 
Homeschool is a giant community of moms who care about each other, many who are willing to share their curriculum and resources. We piece together our curriculum each year through borrowing, swapping, and trading, and then buying whatever is left.

We borrow our teacher's manual and  Math U See  DVD from two different friends, then I buy the consumable workbooks from Christian Book. My boys' grade is in between another friends' children (she has one older and one younger), so one year we swapped Languages Arts curriculum for the grades we needed, then swapped back at the end of the year (then I sold that book).

 Our co-op also has a "free table" that has blessed us deeply. Women bring in their old curriculum and school resources to put it on the table, and you can take whatever you'd like!  It has been a God-Send to our family! I never sell any curriculum I was given for free, and always pay it forward by bringing back to the Free Table when I am done. 
Math U See


7. Homeschool Cooperatives
Join or start an inexpensive co-op. Homeschool Cooperatives pool their resources to teach a group of students, according to the gifting of the parent.

 Our co-op is only $35 a semester, and my kids get to take four classes; including classes like chess, gym, world geography, and show choir. I contribute by teaching the preschool-aged children all morning while other moms who are gifted in other ways teach the older kids!

If you don't have a co-op near you, invite 1 to 2 other families to join you in learning art, drama, or P.E., splitting the cost of supplies. I once started an art co-op with one other family.  We met once a month to do  art projects, like paper mache and pastels.  Splitting the cost of supplies was very cost effective.

What is a Homeschool Co-Op?


8. Combine any subjects you can across grades 
A One Room Classroom approach has proven successful for generations.  Combining the core subjects saves money while also allowing each child to learn at their own level. For example, you can have your 1st and 3rd grader do the same History, Science, Art, and Music. 

To illustrate, while learning about Ecosystems, your 1st grader may retain that polar bears are white and live in cold weather, while your 3rd grader will also retain the vocabulary word of tundra and your 5th grader can define ecosystem.

 In the individual subjects like Math and Language Arts, you buy each child their own curriculum so they can progress at their own rate. We love My Father's World because it is already designed for this approach.

9. Parks and Recreation Department
Follow your local Parks and Rec Department online, and check out their calendars!  You'd be amazed at all the wonderful educational opportunities that your tax dollars pay for! Visit free nature centers and attend free classes and events all put on by your local parks and recreation department.

Our community has a large enough homeschool community that we have even requested some homeschool classes and field trips at a local park during school hours, and they happily obliged.

 A few years ago, while visiting my Dad in Arizona I found a regional park that hosted monthly homeschool program. We went on a free mile long homeschool hike guided by a park ranger! My dad was amazed that we were joined by 12 other families from all over the state and country.

10. Call area businesses for Homeschool Discounts
Many kid-centered businesses will give a discount for homeschool kids because they can come during non peak hours.

Our local trampoline park has a homeschool hop every month from 2 to 3pm, with discounted rates. The local gymnastics center has an open gym from 1 to 2 every other Friday for only $5, a fraction of what they charge for after school classes.

11. Keep books to pass down or sell
Like I said before, I do not sell books we have been given, but I do sell any books WE BOUGHT!  I have twins in the same grade, so I can't pass them down, but if you are a multi-age family (like most are), save those books for your younger children, then sell when everyone is done.

To resell ALL our books, we try to use notebooks when using "consumable" workbooks.  You can buy cheap blank lined notebooks at Back to School Sale for ten cents a piece. Have the child answer their questions on the blank notebook to preserve the consumable for sale.  At the end of the year you can then sell the consumable workbook to pay for itself!
Back to School as a Homeschooler

12. Buy Partnering Memberships
Any educational membership you buy should pay for itself with partnerships to other museums. We bought a membership to an ASTC Science Museum. The membership was only $80 to our closest ASTC museum, and it also got us into 3 different science museums in Chicago for free! We used it last month when visiting a friend in central Illinois, and will use it again when we visit Alabama later this month. Most local zoos have a partnering membership with other zoos.

13. Free Bible Classes
Our main Bible curriculum is Awana and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  AWANA is a great kid's club where your child memorizes Scripture, plays with friends, and plays games. We pay weekly dues of 50 cents, which is very doable. My children and I also attend a local  BSF that has School Ages Bible Curriculum for older children. You can find a BSF Class or AWANA Club near you.

14. Dollar Tree 
Shop the Education section at your local Dollar Tree!  We have gotten math flash cards, white boards, easels to hold their books while drawing, and educational posters.  Many of these items are 10 to 20 times less than if you bought them in a teacher store.



15. Meal Planning
I know this doesn't seem homeschool related, but you can not afford to homeschool if you can't keep your grocery and restaurant budget under control!!!! Make a meal plan and KEEP IT SIMPLE. I see most moms fail at meal planning because they weirdly convince themselves meal planning will give them the time to make fancy meals!  The point of meal planning is not to try out new recipes, but to make sure you buy the groceries for the meals you plan to eat.  Our meal plan last week included Simple Spaghetti and Chicken Quesadillas.

  A lot of my meal planning happens through Freezer Cooking.

GOOD LUCK! I hope these tips help someone who is hesitating to homeschool because of money know that is possible! If you have any other tips to share on how to save money while homeschooling, please comment below.



Cursive Practice