Cultivating creativity, wisdom, and virtue in an ordinary life: Education, Entrepreneurship, and Soul Care.

The Discipline of Writing & NaNoWriMo

I was sitting at a sidewalk table last week, enjoying a cup of coffee, when I overheard a group of twenty-somethings at the next table talking about the writers’ conference that was starting over the weekend. The conversation turned to...

Tips for homeschooling in challenging times.

Homeschooling in Challenging Times

Current events present homeschoolers with useful opportunities for teaching and learning throughout the year, but some seasons just seem to be overachievers! In the fall, there are elections, which can spark a unit study on American government. In some years,...

You really do need a budget, and YNAB is the tool that can make it happen.

You Need a Budget: A Review

You Need a Budget (especially if you don’t have much money) Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. Charles Dickens With all the...

How King James Can Boost Reading Skills

As your students move toward high school and college, reading skills become increasingly important. A student who grows up hearing and reading a wide variety of literature, both old and new, tends to be well prepared to be a strong...

How Many Classics Should Students Read in a Year?

I got the following question about reading classics and high school literature from a reader, and after answering it, asked her if I could share it. I think this is something that many people wonder, so this seems a good time...

A four-year plan for homeschooling through high school

High School: A Four-Year Plan for Homeschoolers

Here is an academically-oriented four-year plan for homeschooling through high school, with an emphasis on preparing for life after high school. It’s excerpted from Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Paperwork, which is, of course, my favorite resource...

English 1: Excellence in Literature is Now Available!

As most of you know, I’ve been working non-stop to get the first level of the Excellence in Literature: Reading and Writing Through the Classics series out in time for the new school year. Due to the pinched nerve in...

Persuasive Essay Writing: Teach It With Models

Benjamin Franklin learned to write better by studying, copying, and re-writing articles from The Spectator, a high-quality magazine of his day. His writing, seen in his autobiography and other work, bears witness to the skill he gained. Learning to write...

Carnival of Homeschooling: There’s More to School Than Textbooks!

Welcome to the 138th Carnival of Homeschooling! If you’re not a year-round schooler, you’re probably thinking of starting soon. Many of our bloggers are too, but a few are thinking differently. I hope you enjoy traveling through the landscape of...

Add a Microbusiness to Your Teen’s Curriculum!

Consider a micro-business for your teen Once your students hit the teen years, chances are that they are looking forward to relevant, real-world applications for what they are learning. Many of them will have a hobby that they can, with...

Test Prep Workshops and a Few Special Links

I saw the first yellow leaves falling today; the pinks, hollyhocks, and marigolds are all setting seed; and homeschool groups are scheduling SAT and Beat-the-Clock Essay Workshops– fall must be on its way! It really seems too soon. It seems...

How Many Years of Grammar Do You Need?

As I talk to homeschool parents at conventions and via e-mail, I am often asked, “How many years of grammar should I be requiring of my student?” or “Does the Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above (sadly, this excellent book...

Summer Reading Lists: What’s On Yours?

We’re back from the last convention of the season, and life is slowing down. It’s a good thing, because I came home with a pinched nerve, and am not supposed to be on the computer for more than 10 minutes...

Everyone “Knows” Shakespeare- Or Do They?

“O, like a book of sport thou’lt read me o’er; But there’s more in me than thou understand’st.” ~ William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida The balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth’s fateful meeting with the three witches on the...

A learning lifestyle is far more effective than an overstuffed schedule. Plus, it's more fun!

Overstuffed School Schedules vs. The Learning Lifestyle

There’s a new school year coming up, and as you plan it can be tempting to create a school schedule that would stagger a grad student. I know — I’ve been there. I’ve started school years with so many classes...

Summertime- Blake, Rilke, Sandburg, Shakespeare

Summer has begun– a slower, sweeter time of year for many families. I enjoy each month of the year as it arrives, but the lushness of summer greens is a special delight. Each time I pick roses, I gather a...

Should Mom and Pop Stores Be Illegal?

In its “Intelligence Report,” the weekly tabloid, Parade, posed the question, “Should homeschooling be illegal?” as its weekly poll, and the query sparked a few thoughts. Aside from wondering if the name of the report is an intentional malapropism, the...

SAT* Workshop and Teenage Proofreaders

I’ve been putting together a worktext to go with the three-hour audio workshop I recorded in April, and all the pieces are finally coming together. The thing that has taken the longest is getting the live audio mastered into the...

What Should You Buy at the Homeschool Convention?

Will you be going to a homeschool conference this summer? If you’re teaching your children at home (or even just thinking about it), I highly recommend taking the time to do this — it will be a source of education and...

Charlotte Mason and Oliver DeMille have ideas to help you reduce screen time.

How to Reduce Screen Time

Changing a bad habit isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do, but it can be done. Here’s how you can help your family withdraw from the daily media barrage.

The core curriculum teaches connections.

The Core Curriculum Teaches Connections

  Whenever the weather permits, I eat lunch outside on the patio in the edge of the woodland. At this time of year, there are spiderwebs everywhere. It doesn’t matter that I come out every day and sit in the...

Limiting negative media helps create a healthier learning atmosphere.

How to Create a More Positive Learning Atmosphere

There are many good reasons for living a quiet and peaceable life, but it’s particularly important for homeschooling families. Fear and stress short-circuit the learning process, and noise, all by itself, has been proven to increase stress and reduce the ability to think clearly. Here are some thoughts on news and noise in your home.

Going screen free for awhile every week is a way to improve your life.

Screen Free Week: Fast, Cheap, Easy Life Enhancement!

Why not live a little this week? The Center for Screen Time Awareness is once again sponsoring the ever-timely Screen Free Week. Pointing out that “television cuts into family time, harms our children’s ability to read and succeed in school,...

Celebrate April with Hopkins, Frost, Eliot, and Rossetti

I’ve been stricken with spring fever and could not resist sharing the beauty of a few of my favorite spring poems. I’ll offer them without comment, as I believe they are best savored quietly. If you wish to learn more...

Writing for a real, live audience can encourage teens to write more.

Writing Opportunities for Teens — Contests and Blogs

Whenever I speak on writing, I ask students whether they like to write. There are always a few, usually sitting on the front row taking copious notes, who respond eagerly that they LOVE to write. A few, usually sitting in...

Seven things about homeschooling

Seven Things I Wish I’d Known About Homeschooling

It’s been awhile since we started our homeschooling journey, but as I look back, there are seven things about homeschooling that I wish I’d known. The truth is, someone might have told me about one or more of these, just...

115th Carnival of Homeschooling: Oh, The Things That You’ll Do!

Welcome to the 115th Carnival of Homeschooling! The theme for this carnival is adapted from Dr. Seuss’s beloved Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Homeschoolers are a diverse bunch, and I thought it would be interesting to read about some of...

California Homeschool Ruling: Why It’s Absurd

If you’re not stranded, like Robinson Crusoe, on a desert island, you’ve probably heard about the California court ruling that essentially outlaws homeschooling in California. You can read an overview of the case as well as a complete copy of...

Happy National Grammar Day!

National Grammar Day, sponsored by The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), is celebrated annually on March 4. I’m sure that someone somewhere has scheduled an event with party hats and noisemakers. I thought perhaps we’d content ourselves...

Homeschooling High School: Is Outsourcing an Option?

When I talk about homeschooling through high school, I always mention the possibility of seeking outside help for advanced subjects. Although most people understand the reasons behind finding an experienced algebra tutor or writing coach, some parents don’t see it...

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