How to Eliminate Behavior Issues

Are you trying to eliminate behavior issues in your child's homeschool? If so, I have some ideas that will help you be able to do that without the constant struggle.

Taking the time to decide if your child's reactions to learning is due to learning gaps or behavior issues is worth the time. If you have expect it to be learning gaps, you can help eliminate them with the tips that I shared in the last post.

Eliminate Behavior Issues in your child’s education

How to Eliminate Behavior Issues in Your Child's Education

You have determined that the issues that your child is exhibiting during lessons are actually just due to behavior outbreaks, but you aren't sure how to eliminate them. Each family has their own way of dealing with behavior issues, however I would like to offer you some suggestions that have helped me in homeschooling our children when behavior issues come up. I do believe that this steps have resulted in little behavior issues in our homeschooling journey.

  • Be a United Front as a Couple – There is nothing better in working on a child's behavior issues than starting the battle with a united front as a couple.  As the main homeschooling teacher, I'm also the main enforcer to correction, which can be very tiring and stressful depending on the kinds of behavior issues that are arising. If I have the same issue arise with the same child, I get my husband involved in the discussion with the child. Often times, I just tell my husband the situation and remove myself, allowing him to support me in the correcting of the behavior on his own. When the child sees that both parents are involved in ensuring that homeschooling time is met with the right attitude, the chances of these arising are diminished.
  • Create a Consequence Chart – If you are really struggling with behavior issues, I would highly recommend sitting down as a couple and going over the details of the kinds of behavior issues and in what subject they are arising. Once you understand where they are arising, you can decide on an appropriate consequence chart based on your own family's believe for correcting a child. This will add to the awareness that the parents are a united front and this will quickly help to solve the behavior issues quickly. In addition to that, you spouse may have some insights on solutions that could be eliminating the issues as well. This happened with one of my children and my husband's insights were spot on.
  • Take Away Privileges – If the consequence chart that you put into place isn't seeming to give enough weight to the situation of behavior issues happening, I would suggest taking away privileges for a determined length of time. If you aren't willing to be consistent in enforcing this aspect, don't make the mistake in mentioning it because a child that already demonstrates behavior issues will only use this to their advantage and show that they can manipulate the situation. Electronics, television, friends and outings are great things to consider if the consequence chart needs some backing up in more difficult cases.
  • Add More Assignments or Chores – There is nothing as powerful as adding additional assignments and chores to a child that demonstrates behavior issues over the lessons that are already given. I have been known to have a child do extra assignments until my husband came home. I have also been known to assign my own chores to a child that doesn't respect the assignments that were given and were having attitudes with me, taking more of my limited time for things around the house.

Having a plan to eliminate the behavior issues in your child's education is the first step toward correcting what is wrong. As the parents, you need to have resolve to be consistent and diligent to the manipulation your child is demonstrating in their behavior.  You can do this and you will be so glad you did!

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

When our son was struggling to learn to read, I needed to be purposeful in getting him over his hurtle. I have six things that I did to eliminate learning gaps for our son. I worked on these six things for a full homeschool year. They worked beautifully!

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

Before you start working on this list, you will want to be sure if you are dealing with learning gaps or behavior issues. Once you have been able to identify if your child is experiencing learning gaps or behavior issues in their studies, it is important to make a plan for how to eliminate them. If the issues are due to learning gaps, these tips will help you eliminate them.

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

You now believe that your child has learning gaps, but you aren't sure how to actually eliminate them, without putting pressure on the child.  Here are ways that I have used that work and give good results quickly.

  • Focused Attention to the Gap – If you identified a gap in learning, the best way to overcome it is to give full attention to helping your child over the humps in front of them. Many choose to use tutoring to get them through the gaps, but all tutoring really is, is someone that gives full attention to where a student is struggling.  As a homeschooler, you can do this yourself, however a parent of a child who goes to school can also do this in the evening.
  • Implement Additional Time in Your Schedule for this Gap – If your child is struggling in reading, spelling or math, add another session or two into the day that will allow for more practice in this gap. You can even add games, as long as there are results in short periods of a few weeks.
  • Focus on Speed Verses Quality – Often times, gaps can really ruin a child's self-confidence. Focusing on building the speed of reading, spelling or math before adding higher level work could really be a great activity to eliminating the hardest obstaclse to gaps. Rushing the basics of the foundations of learning can result in a wider gap with a lot of busy and frustrating work.
  • Evaluate Often – If a child is focusing on better reading, time a child with a selection of reading and then retime them a few weeks later with the same selection.  If your child struggles with spelling, do an evaluation of how many correct words can be spelled from a list, and in the amount of time it takes. Do this same test a few weeks later, focusing on correct spelling and speed to see if there is marked improvement. Practice math facts with time drills to know how their timing improves over a few weeks. Even the smallest of improvements will build a child's self-confidence and give them more excitement for lessons ahead.
  • Eliminate Extra Curricular Activity – Gaps in a child's education is very serious when it involves the basics of learning: reading, writing and math.  It would be very difficult to fill these gaps without pressure and stress to a child, which can result in more issues than you can imagine, if you don't remove the extras from their schedule. Giving one full year to fill the gaps without extra things to fill your schedule will prove to be one of the best decisions you can make to help your struggling child gain confidence, skills and learning.
  • Start NOW – The longer you wait to help fill the gaps the more bad habits are being formed and will be harder to overcome. You need to give full attention to the areas that your child is struggling in to get the best results, but waiting for a better season in your life is not fair to the child or to your own stress level.

When I have a child that exhibits gaps in their learning, these are the steps that I take to help them in their education. I know that these will be just what you need to help your own child.

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Homeschool tantrums are something that many experience, often times daily.  These episodes can last for minutes or even hours. It is so important for homeschooling parents to work together to find out if the homeschool tantrums are from learning gaps or behavior issues.  These devastating events can be avoided with the proper attention and action, once you understand what is causing them.

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Often times, learning gaps can also cause behavior issues. When walking through these steps be sure to see how your child reacts to the learning gap steps. If they grow upset through them, work on the behavior issues steps.

I'm going to share with you a few steps that you can use to learn how to identify if the issues you are experiencing with your child are gaps or behavior related.

Identifying Gaps

The key to identifying gaps is to eliminate the stress your child may be feeling if they do not know something that is expected of them or already covered that they didn't retain.  This process is best done if the child is unaware that you are trying to find the cause of their tantrums or your concern that they are missing something in their education.

  • Evaluate Your Child – In a relaxed environment, evaluate your child's skill level in the subjects where they have tantrums. Drill math facts, have them do some copywork, writing or reading, or whatever it is that seems to be when the child starts demonstrating their tantrum.
  • Pop Quizzes in Disguise – Begin using driving time, standing in lines or waiting for appointments as ways to do oral math or ask questions that will help you distinguish the comprehension of subjects you are questioning if there are gaps.
  • Play Games that Uses the Skills in Question – Staying a little below the level you expect your child to be at, begin to play games on the Kindle Fire, computer, board games or other options to see how quickly they can do the skills in questioned.
  • Implement a Teacher Day – Switch places with your child once a week and allow them the opportunity to be the teachers. If they are able to ‘teach' you a past lesson without difficulty, they have learned the necessary things. However, if they are not able to cover the basic information necessary to play teacher in the subject you can easily identify the gaps.

Behavior Issues

The key to identifying behavior issues is to take a step back and become very observant of your child's behavior at different times and in different situations.  Often times, with children who are having homeschool tantrums, they have already learned that they can manipulate the situations that they don't prefer and control the outcome by their behavior.

To identify behavior issues, you are really going to need to be objective and honest with yourself. If you identify some issues that are arising outside of lessons but are similar to the actions during the homeschool tantrums, it is best to work on the issues in other places before addressing them in the schooling.

  • Evaluate Your Child's Obedience – How quickly or willing is your child when asked to do something around the house that he or she doesn't prefer?  What actions do they exhibit if they are trying to get out of the chore being asked of them?  How similar are these actions when they have a tantrum during their homeschool?
  • Evaluate Your Child's Ability to Work Through a Challenge – How does your child react when they have challenges to work through when learning a new skill or interest? Are they easily upset when they don't get it the first time or are they happy to keep trying to learn?
  • Evaluate Your Child's Ability with Someone Else Teaching – This is difficult for a homeschooling mom, but necessary if you expect behavior issues as the reason behind the homeschool tantrums.  These types of behavior issues are a way of manipulating the situation and to really determine it, you should consider having someone else teach the lessons that are seeing the tantrums the most.  In just one or two lessons, you should be able to clearly know if it is a learning gap or a behavior issue.


50 Alphabet Activities

Do you like hands-on activities? These 50 alphabet activities that you can do with your preschooler or kindergarten age children will be a great way to learn through play.

50 Alphabet Activities for your preschool and kindergarten hands-on activities. |

50 Alphabet Activities for Hands-on Learning

My son absolutely loves hands-on learning. We started many of these ideas when he was just two years old. He was learning the letters so quickly because he was engaged through play. That is what I love best about our learning boxes, and the hands-on activities around the web. Children are literally learning through play!

I want to share some of our favorite alphabet activities, and some great book ideas with you.

Alphabet Title Learning Box by Joy in the Home
DIY Touch and Feel Alphabet by Montessori En Casa
Garden ABC Hunt by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Letter of the Week Crafts by Crystal & Co.
ABC Bingo by My Joy-filled Life

How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos |

How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos by Joy in the Home
Hungry Bear ABC Game by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Sandpaper-Like Letters DIY by Frog in a Pocket
DIY Light Table Alphabet by Winegums & Watermelons
ABC Scavenger Hunt at the Park by Craftulate


DIY Alphabet Pocket Chart by Lalymom
Geoboard Light Table Play Letter Shapes by Where Imagination Grows
Outdoor Alphabet Tracing by Artsy Momma
Alphabet Board by My Life of Travels and Adventures
Alphabet Order Game by Learn with Play at Home

Alphabet Beads Learning Box - with a free printable. Hands-on learning of the alphabet that kids really like. |
Alphabet Beads Learning Box by Joy in the Home
Access Letters and Sounds with Puzzles by This Reading Mama
Alphabet Box by Living Montessori Now
Letter Sound Matching Game by Teaching Mama
Printable Letter Outlines by For This Season


Driveway ABC Game by Creative Family Fun
Alphabet Train by Craftulate
Water Bead Letter Recognition by Where Imagination Grows
Alphabet Party by Learn with Play at Home
Simple Alphabet Play Dough Tray by Little Bins for Little Hands

Alphabet Clothes Pin Learning Box - Hands-on learning of letter recognition. |

Alphabet Clothes Pins Learning Box by Joy in the Home
Seek and Shoot ABC Basketball
by My Joy-filled Life
Alphabet Hop Game by Teacher Mama
Alphabet Rainbow Hunt by Adventures of Adam
Alphabet Lapbook with Game by The Mommy Talks


Race Car Alphabet Practice by Teach Beside Me
26 Ways to Learn the ABCs by This Reading Mama
Around the Table ABCs by Teacher Mama
DIY Alphablock Dominos by Adventures of Adam
Magnetic Letter Alphabet Soup by Pre-K Pages

Play-Doh Alphabet: A Pre-Writing Activity
Play-Doh Alphabet: A Pre-writing Activity by Joy in the Home
Alphabet Mat by Teach Beside Me
Homemade Tactile Letter Cards by Teaching Mama
Active Alphabet Activities by Toddler Approved
ABC Alphabet Clothes Pin Activity by The Chick n' Coop

Alphabet Stamping: A Pre-writing Activity

Alphabet Stamping: A Pre-writing Activity by Joy in the Home
Alphabet Train Matching Activity for Kids by Toddler Approved
Letter Delivery by Growing Book by Book
Alphabet Garden by No Time for Flash Cards
Treasure Hunt Alphabet Activity by B-inspired Mama

7 Preschool Activities to Teach the Alphabet - Hands-on learning to teach the alphabet. |

7 Preschool Activities to Teach the Alphabet by Joy in the Home
31 Days of ABCs by All Done Monkey
ABCs of Movement Flashcards for Kids by Golden Reflection Blog
Learning Letters with Pipe Cleaners by Make and Takes
Alphabet for Starters by No Time for Flashcards

50 Number and Counting Activities with a Book List

Hands-on learning is a perfect way to use these number and counting activities. Your preschooler or kindergarten children will love these activities, and book suggestions.

50 Number & Counting Activities with Book List |

50 Number and Counting Activities

My son has loved learning his alphabets through hands-on activities, and learning his numbers has been no different. Here is a collection of some of our favorite number activities on the web.

Numbers Activities

How to Teach Numbers with Legos

How to Teach Numbers with Legos by Joy in the Home
Magnetic Rocket Puzzle by Fantastic Fun and Learning
DIY Numtum Fun by Adventures of Adam
Train Track Number Hunt by Craftulate
Learning Numbers with Balloons by Teaching Mama

DIY Number Line by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Transportation Connect the Dots with Numbers by Craftulate
Race Car Math: Number Recognition by Frugal Fun with Boys
Homemade Numbered Popsicle Sticks Puzzle by Artsymomma
Active Number Game by Pieces by Polly


Exploring Loose Parts for Math by One Perfect Day
Learning Numbers by Activity Mom
Numeral Card Games by Kids Activity Blog
Playful Numeracy Math by Racheous
Number Recognition & Ordering with Paper Tubes by Learning with Play at Home

How to Teach Number Recognition with Sequence

How to Teach Number Recognition with Sequence by Joy in the Home
Number Recognition with Marbles by Parenting Fun
Chalk Number Recognition with The Mother Huddle
Sort the Mail Play & Number Recognition Game by No Time for Flashcards
Number Sort by Learning 4 Kids


Star Number Cards by Teaching Mama
Working with Numbers by Kids Activity Blog
Simple Games for Number Recognition by Reading Confetti
Number Recognition Activity by The Princess and the Tot
Number Recognition Bean Bag Toss by The Sun Scholars


There is a different between number activities and counting activities. Children can learn how to identify numbers but then they must learn how to count in order to move forward with learning.


Math Games with Dominoes and Cards by Kids Activity Blog
Let's Go on a Counting Walk
by Creative Family Fun
Play Dough Numbers by Here Comes the Girls Blog
Counting Practice for Toddlers with Pom Poms & Tubes by Where Imaginations Grows
Homemade Number Boards – Learning to Count by Artsymomma

Dump Truck Counting Math by The Measure Mom
DIY Counting Math Games by Where Imagination Grows
Counting with Play Dough Flowers by Here Comes the Girls Blog
Race to Fill the Cup – Counting Game by Frugal Fun with Boys
How Many by 1+1+1=1


Magnetic Pom Pom Counting by Teaching Mama
Race to Loose a Tooth by Toddler Approved
Counting Blocks, Building Towers by Hands on: As We Grow
Hot Chocolate Math by The Measured Mom
Paint Chip Number Punch by Reading Confetti


Kids Number Game by Kids Activity Blog
Counting Game: Run and Count by The Pleasantest Thing
Preschool Math with Lego Duplos by Frugal Fun for Boys
Numbers and Counting Egg Carton by Pocketful of Poises Blog
Ladybug Number Match and Counting Activity by Coffee Cups and Crayons


The Way We Count by For This Season
Number Line Run by Coffee Cups and Crayons
Number Rocks Math by B-Inspired Mama
Count and Sort Mailing Box Math Game by The Imagination Tree
Counting with Dice and Blocks by Hands on: As We Grow


Journaling Through the Alphabet

Journaling through the alphabet contains 26 journaling ideas for all ages on most subjects. This is a great way to get your family working together on the same topics and learning together through journaling. We have used Binder Books to do some of the ideas listed in this round up of ideas.

Journaling Through the Alphabet provides 26 journaling ideas over all subjects for all ages. |

Journaling Through the Alphabet

If you love the idea of journaling or want to get away from using so many textbooks then these ideas are a great way to include more living books and journaling into your homeschool day. If you aren't sure how to journal, take a look at my Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling to get inspired.

Anatomy Journaling |

A is for Anatomy – Anatomy is the study of the body. There is so much to learn about the body and this study will only make your child (and you) to grow more in awe of the Creator.

B is for Biography – Biographies are huge in our homeschooling method. So you can imagine the amount of biographies we read. Our favorite biographies that we have ever read are from YWAM Publishing.

C is for Composers – A perfect way to add a Charlotte Mason method into your homeschool

Get tips on how to implement these three letters.

Founding Father Journaling |

D is for Dinosaurs – All of my boys have loved dinosaurs and being such creationist, we make the study of dinosaurs part of our homeschooling journey. One of my favorite journaling ideas for boys is to have them journal dinosaurs.

E is for Explorers – One of my favorite ways to study the explorers is in a unit study format. I share some great lesson plans on my Charlotte Mason Way blog.

F is for Founding Fathers – We are a very patriotic family and studying the founding of our country is something we start at a very young age. One of our necessary things to study is the Declaration of Independence.

See ideas to add these three letters to your family's learning.

History Journaling |

G is for Geography – I love that geography can be taught by itself or within any study of a person's life. My son loved when we really took a full year to journal and learn about some great places across the globe.

H is for History – I love using journaling in history! In our high school American History, our children have journaled historical eras in Binder Book form and each of them learned different aspects because it was interest-lead with a few guidelines of what was necessary to include.

I is for Israelites – To study the Israelites, it is fun to do a family tree, study the locations that they settled and a little history for each of the tribes.

These three letters have some wonderful tips here.

King Journaling |

J is for Jesus – Studying the life of Jesus is one of the best ways to share your Christian beliefs with your children.

K is for King – Kings are a great way to study a country, empire or nation. Using a good timeline from Bible times to current times is a good way to study the line of Kings for different countries, their titles and what they are best known for, including the battles or wars that happened during their reign.

Be sure to check out the ideas for these two letters.

Lewis & Clark Journaling |

L is for Lewis & Clark – In 1803, Lewis and Clark led the expedition into the Louisianna Territory known as the Corp of Discovery.

M is for Monuments – The United States if full of great historical monuments that every child should be able to identify at a glance.

Be sure to check out the ideas for these two letters.

Ocean Journaling |

N is for New World – We have read a lot of different books about the New World, the 13 colonies and the beginning of our nation. There are so many journaling ideas that you can do for these studies, but allowing a personal interest to lead what is journaled during these studies will really be exciting for the children.

O is for Oceans – What child wouldn't love to have a study on the ocean and all that is within it.

P is for Plants – The study of plants can be such a fun way to add hands-on learning through journaling.

More ideas for these letters are a click away.

Science Journaling |

Q is for Queen – Just with studying Kings, Queens can prove to be a great way to introduce history of other countries and times.

R is for Recipes – Calling all cooks into the kitchen to journal a recipe is so much fun!

S is for Science – Our family loves science and we utilize journaling so much within this subject, even into high school!

More ideas for these letters are a click away.

United States |

T is for Trees – I love using nature as a journaling opportunity. Studying trees is a great way to introduce journaling into your homeschooling.

U is for the United States – Being citizens of the United States is a blessing and one that I want my children to appreciate.

V is for Vivaldi – Vivaldi is a composer of the famous Vivaldi's Four Seasons classical music series.

Get inspiration for these three letters.

Extra Activities Journaling |

W is for Writing – Within our Charlotte Mason journey, writing narration has become a given part of our assignments and it is an easy thing to add to journaling.

X is for eXtra Activities – I love having my children journal about what they learned on our field trips and bring their own perspective into their learning.

See ideas to add to your homeschooling with these two letters.

Zoology Journaling |

Y is for Yearly Evaluation – One thing I love about the Charlotte Mason method is how she taught to do evaluations. Her evaluations were not things that the children filled in the blanks or pick an answer from multiple choices, but rather were the concepts of the child from their memory of what they remembered from something they studies.

Z is for Zoology – There is nothing so exciting to a younger child than learning about animals and the study of zoology is a wonderful journaling idea.

Gain inspiration with one click for these two letters.

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day

It is often asked of me, “How do you schedule your homeschool day?”  So if you have asked me this question or are curious about the answer, this post is just for you!

A word of caution, before I go into the details…

Our home is not your home.  What works for us, may not work for you. Prayer and discussion with my husband have helped me find the priorities and keep them.  If you don't like something we do, ignore it.  If you love something we do, feel free to give it a try!

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day - With nearly 20 years of homeschooling, I share how our schedule works perfectly to get it all done. |

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day

My days can start early, but I prefer not to start it with an alarm. I seem to have my mom in me these days, but that hasn't always been the case. I have experience with waking early with an alarm and allowing my inner alarm (what my mom calls the thing that wakes her up around 4:30 AM or so) to tell me that it is time to get up.

With that said, I have my days when early rising is just not what my body needs. I'm so thankful for homeschooling to allow me to go with my body's needs and take the day as it comes.  Please don't read that to mean that I don't have a schedule because if you spent one week with me, you would quickly see that we may not start the day at the same time, but our days flow the same regardless of the clock.

This is the best tip I can give anyone who desires to find a rhythm for their homeschool day… create a natural flow for your own home!

I cherish my morning hours for some quiet time and getting some blogging work accomplished, but often times I have it interrupted with early risers.  When this happens, I have my little guy curl up with me for ‘morning love‘ but when he has had enough, I keep him close to me in a quiet way but turning on one of his learning shows.  This time is always precious, as he loves to narrate to me what he already knows when he is watching a show he has already viewed a few times.

Now that my little guy knows his numbers, his digital clock next to his bed is helping him to learn to stay in bed until it says 8:00 AM. He isn't faithful in my request for this, but in time that will all change.

Time to Rise and Shine is at 8:30 AM in Our Home

This has exceptions, like if we are dealing with sickness or have been out of the house really late the night before.  I'm a strong believer in the body needing a lot of rest at a young age and I always desire my younger children to get 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour of time. This is so important during growing spurts!

My husband works from home a lot, so I have the joy of being flexible often when it comes to making a wholesome breakfast.  On days that he leaves the home earlier than the children get up, I will reach for the cereal boxes and make it an easier morning for me, unless there are leftover waffles.

If I'm still working on breakfast and my children are awake, they start on their household chores.

Independent Work Comes Right After Breakfast

I have raised my children in independent work and in the early stages of this training, I would require them to be at the kitchen table, so I can make the most of my morning energy and my crockpot or rice cooker with what is on the menu for dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.

When my children became more independent in their homeschooling, I would do more of my own responsibilities during this time or work with the younger children who need more dependent help at this time. Depending on their age, this could be 5 minutes or up to 2 hours for high school.

Dependent Work Together

After independent work is finished and evaluated, I then work with my children. We always do read aloud together, nature and history regardless of their age.  The younger ones will get what they get and you will repeat it when they are older, most likely.

Lunch Time

By this time, we are usually arriving at lunch time.  For my children in elementary and middle school, this concludes their homeschool lessons unless they had a difficult day and need additional work because of attitudes. (This is our detention version)

For our high school children, they would take a break for about 30-45 minutes and then head back to the lessons until their daily work is finished. This is mostly done by 2 PM.

Responsibility Time

Our family has always put responsibilities above free time.  If their chores were not finished in the morning, this is their time to complete them.  My children have about 30 minutes a day of responsibilities and more when they are older.  We always desire to have a clean house and be able to be hospitable at a moments notice, so this is something we all share in our home.

Free Time

Following the teaching of Charlotte Mason, I have always held free time in the afternoon as important as I hold rest for my children.  It is during these hours that two-thirds of their curriculum are covered: something to love and something to do.  Sibling relationships are key in our home and we have always put these before outside relationships, even though this too is important.

Another big focus during this time was their focus on hobbies, not lead by me, but themselves.  Of course, some hobbies needed my help to first learn but the joy my children had during these hours were priceless. Nothing helped formed them as much as these hours, with the exception of the Bible.

Dinner Time

My husband has always appreciated that I have been faithful to have dinner time around the same hours of the day, with very few exceptions. It has been easy when I used independent learning time to start dinner and let my kitchen tools do my work for me.

My husband used the 30 minutes after dinner to relax and turn off work and get ready for the family.  This worked perfectly because it was during this time that the children and I would clean the kitchen.  As they got older and could do this by themselves, I was able to have those 30 minutes with my hubby, talking about our day. This is such a good thing!

Family Time

This time was always different in the seasons, but my husband tries to spend doing something with the children outside, or taking nature walks with the family, watching something we all enjoyed together or just talking together.

Bed Time

This hasn't changed in all of our parenting years that I can remember.  My husband will help get the children ready for bed, mostly because I have a hard time seeing them get all crazy right before bed, so I'm happier to remove myself and let them make memories. Once all the routines are done, I join my husband and children in one bedroom and we pray together as a family, usually lead by my husband and our youngest child who loves to pray. Sometimes, my husband isn't home and then the next son in line will lead us in prayer.

During school time, bedtime is at 8 PM (remember, I aim for 12 hours of sleep for my children) and 9-10 PM for my high schoolers.  I can't quite explain how my second high school made it to 11 PM in his junior year, but it happened and by the time I realized it, it was too late.

I miss the times my husband and I had hours at night to ourselves but I'm often reminded that one day we will have all the time in the day to spend together and I will miss my blessings around the house.

I hope it helps seeing how it works in our homeschooling day.


To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

At one time, I had organized a local homeschool support group, and attended a different one as well. It was during this time that I realized that in many cases, starting to homeschool created issues within marriages and families. It surprised me because it was so different for our family. With as many years that I have been homeschooling, I have heard so many different stories about conflicts to homeschool between a husband and wife, and even extended family.

With so many years of homeschooling under my belt, and the different examples of the dynamics of families, I decided to share key things that are important for couples to talk about when trying to decide if homeschool or not to homeschool is right for their family.

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool: 5 Thinks Couples Should Talk About |

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool: 5 Things Couples Should Talk About

Regardless of the current thoughts of homeschooling from either spouse, I highly recommend making time to talk about the following 5 things that will help your decision to homeschool or not to homeschool so much easier.

Why would you want to homeschool?

If you are contemplating homeschooling, you may not understand a lot about it but you are drawn to it for a reason, and this reason is pivotal to your decision for your family.

In my own experience, identifying why I want to do something helps me understand my passion and be able to articulate it to others.

I would highly recommend creating a list of pros that homeschooling would provide, and discussing this list with each other, to be sure you both agree that each thing is a pro for your family.

What are your concerns about homeschooling?

With everything in life, I would consider writing down the things that concern you, and label them as cons.

Things like, one income for your family, having to solely responsible for the education of your children, and so on.

The same thing applies for cons. Identify what cons there are to homeschooling, and write a list that contains them all. I would caution you to not consider that the longest list wins, without discussing the next step first.

What obstacles would you need to overcome?

Often times, I look at cons as obstacles that need to be considered and then a plan of overcoming these obstacles need to be put into place.

For instance, if a one income situation is a concern for you, perhaps working on a budget together or identifying ways to cut your spending dramatically to make it work.

Perhaps it is a work schedule for your family. Many families still make this work for them, by homeschooling in the evening and on weekends.

What is important to realize is ‘Where there is a will, there is a way!”

Where are you qualified to teach?

Depending on your state’s requirements, this may not even be an issue to what a parent is qualified to teach. Starting there would be my recommendation.

To learn what your state’s homeschool guidelines are search your state’s name with homeschool laws and you should find a great resource to help you. Often times that comes through a state’s homeschool organization or even HSLDA website.

Some families divide the work load to allow the parent with the most strengths in a subject to teach those, and the other subjects are taught by the other parent.

What I love most about homeschooling is that there are so many curriculum choices that often times the teacher’s manual is enough to qualify a parent to effectively teach their children, and fill in any gaps they may have themselves along the way.

Where do you feel inadequate to teach?

Let’s face it, every person starting something new feels inadequate at first. Yes, even teachers of a brick and mortar school.

Feeling inadequate can be a plus, at least in my perspective. What I have found to be true is that when a personal feels inadequate, they seek options that will help solidify their ability.

This is a perfect place for a homeschooling family to be, because they look for creditable sources for their curriculum, which could include a tried and true method that feels natural and easy to implement, a full curriculum in a box, online courses, co-op settings, or personal tudors.

Those that seek solutions to their feels help their children far more than just putting in a class room that has only one or two options.

I hope that helps you decide if homeschooling is the right fit for your family, or not.


3 Things a Homeschool Mom Needs

Summer is starting to wind down…and for most of us, that means homeschooling is starting to pick back up!

You might be trying to figure out curriculum for this year, making lists and schedules, and trying to figure out how to fit all the activities into your day.

You might even be feeling a little overwhelmed that the school year is about to begin again already!

Well I've got some exciting news for you today. I want to introduce you to the 2016 Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom Online conference!

Three Things a Homeschool Mom Needs |

3 Things a Homeschool Mom Needs

Over the 17 years of homeschooling, I have learned a few things about my own needs. I would have loved it if a more experienced homeschool mom would have shared these things with me, but atlas, I figured it out and have been faithful to ensure that I get them.


We go through so many changes as a family, especially one who are together every day of the week for all waking hours of the day.

It is sometimes hard to really understand that there are other families going through what we are experiencing and maybe have solutions to our daily problems.

Support is so important to keeping joy in a homeschool mom! Facebook is full of great support groups, and if you homeschool the Charlotte Mason way, I would LOVE to invite you to my group for support with this method of education.


We, homeschool moms, get in the trenches everyday, often times ignoring the heart issues we have ourselves or maybe not even knowing how to help ourselves out of them.

This is where encouragement is so important for us, homeschooling moms.

We need to heart the lessons that others before us have learned and listen to their hearts for our own benefits! This is why I’m so excited to be part of the 2016 Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom Online conference!


Homeschool moms have a hard time escaping the noisy. This is why it is so important to create routines that allow for the mom to have quiet times when they need them the most.

Training our children to develop habits for their own quiet times, can be powerful for a mom. I love having my quiet time in the morning, when everyone is still in bed and nature is the only sound I hear. It energizes me for the day ahead!

How to Study Geography

I have never really cared about geography growing up, but when I became a Charlotte Mason educator that all changed.  I fell in LOVE with maps and geography.  If a book had a map in the pages, I was drawn to it. When I was reading and a location was mentioned, I instantly attempted to locate it in my mind. When meeting people with accents, I would ask where they were from and see if I could use my mind's map to pin point where they lived.

Yes, I guess you can say that I enjoy geography!

How to Study Geography - Make learning geography exciting and fun with these tips. |



How to Study Geography

  1. Talk about Directions Often – From the time my younger children were two or three, I started reciting the first four lines of the poem by William Blake called Night.  In the poem it says ‘the sun descending in the west', as we sit and watch the sun set together.  In the mornings, I point and say that the sun is rising in the east.  It is just part of my talking with them. Around four and five, I start introducing the north and south and see if they can recall the west and east on their own. They usually do!
  2. Teach Right and Left Early – My children have learned the right and left early on and I would always tell them which direction to go while walking on our nature walks, in the grocery store or while driving. I love when I quiz them for our directions from their memory and they tell me which direction to turn.  Often times, I allow them to navigate with maps from parks or places that give you maps to find where you are going. Early map reading is really important for learning geography!
  3. PuzzlesGeography puzzles are a fun and easy way for your children to learn parts of geography, without a map.  We have had so much fun seeing who can put a puzzle together fastest or even blind folded.
  4. Map Quizzes – During a few years of our homeschooling, I had place a large world map on the table and put a clear plastic over it.  During our meal times, we would take turn calling out a location on the map and the rest of the family raced to see who could find it first.  The person who found it was the next one to call out the location.
  5. Map Drawing – My children have always done map drawing and map work in their homeschooling. What treasures they have made, even in high school, when studying a location, a continent or even a person's geography.
  6. As it is Mentioned – We use living books in almost all of our lessons.  When we read of a location in a reading, we will be sure to find it on a map, so we know what part of the world the story is taking place. Some of our favorite books based on geography is the missionary series from YWAM.



5 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Promotion to the Next Grade

Several years ago, it became apparent to me that children need to feel a sense of accomplishment, just like adults do. They need to know that there is a purpose to what they are doing and that when one thing is accomplished, they have achieved something worth celebrating.

5 Ways To Celebrate Your Child's Promotion - Each grade promotion for a child should be celebrated with recognition for a job well done. These ideas will make it fun! |

As a Charlotte Mason educator, I started out homeschooling without grades and even homeschooling year round.  Please understand that I'm not saying that these things are wrong, because that is not what I'm saying, but rather have a starting and ending time for each grade, or year of study, so you can celebrate your child's promotion to the next grade.

Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate Your Child's Promotion to the Next Grade:

  1. Certificate – Create a certificate that your child can proudly display on the refrigerator, hang up in his room or put in her scrapbook.  You can just make it simple and say ‘your child's name' has successfully finish ____________ and has promoted to the ‘next grade'.
  2. Ceremony – If you wanted to make it more special for your child, consider having some family members over to do more of a ceremony, with a cake to follow.  Giving them a certificate in this setting can really be special for them.
    How to Turn Homeschool Field Trips into Keep Sakes
  3. Yearbook – I created a special photo book for my son and he loved it! I added all the field trips that he had been on, but it would be wonderful to include some of his best work from the year, like: narration, copywork, art work, map work and more.
  4. Show and Tell – This is one thing that I started a few years back and has been a great thing for my children.  A few other homeschooling friends and our family get together for a ‘Show and Tell' at the end of the year. This allows the children to show and tell what they have done for the year and get the ‘well done' comments that are important to them and has proven to give them the desire to do their best, knowing they will be showing it at the end of the year.
  5. Family Vacation or Outing – Since most families have more than one child, consider doing something to celebrate their promotion to the next grade that focuses on the family unit with a family vacation or outing that you normally won't be able to do.  This would be a great motivation for your children to work diligently through the year to ensure they had the ability to celebrate together in a way that special to their promotion.

Shutterfly Photo Books



Photography Props for Budding Photographers

Photography props are so important for any budding photographer. Over the years of my own love of photography, I quickly learned that the surrounding of a photo is what is really important to making it look just right. Learning photography doesn't have to cost a lot of money, as long as you know what you are looking for and where to get it for the best price.

Photography Props For Budding Photographers - A few key things for a budding photographer to get inspiration to be creative is all they need. |

Photography Props for Budding Photographers

When a budding photographer first gets their camera, they are taking photos of everything. (need helping finding the right camera, you should check these suggestions for all budgets) From people, things, landscapes, nature and anything that comes into their lens.

As a photographer skill improves, and they want to start taking photos for others, props become something that is important to them. Photography props can really make a photo, or even ruin a photo.

We are always taught to come close to your subject. Then come closer. It is so true, so having the right props to create the feel of a photograph is really important.

There are some types of photos that do not need any extra props, like landscape photos or sometimes even portraits of people, if you shoot outside, around a beautiful landscape.

Nature is another type of photo that doesn't require props, but a great lens is really important to get the right shot. One of my favorite lens for nature shots is my Macro lens, because of the quality it provides to close up photos.

If you are really into taking nature shots, you will want to get a 55-200mm lens. If you are going on a safari or what to learn how to shoot photos like National Geographic, you will something more in the range of a 200-500mm or higher.

Now with all of that said, if you want to just add some props to make your pictures just look amazing, I would highly recommend several things for buying them: yard sales, Dollar Store, Goodwill, antique stores and any attic or garage that you can get access to.

Here are the things that I collect for props that any budding photographer would want to add to their own collection:

  • Old, distressed looking chairs for outside portraits
  • Old, distressed looking frames for popular portraits
  • Antique looking quilts
  • Colorful plates, cups and dishes – smaller sizes are always the best
  • Antique looking suitcases, or books
  • Wood designed paper (Hobby Lobby is a great resource for this!)
  • Unique looking pens, pencils or even quills
  • Fun fabric or paper for close up of smaller items
  • Different shapes of things that can fill the photo – circles, squares, rectangles
  • Fuzzy and ruffled things for baby photos
  • Old looking toys, or tools

You can also use props around your area, like these ideas:

  • Stone walls
  • Brick walls
  • Steps
  • Playground, swings
  • Wooded area
  • Bridges
  • Rock structures
  • Historical buildings – especially beaten wood structures
  • Open pastures
  • Wild flowers in a field
  • Unique landmarks for your area