Up to 50% off Homeschool Sale!

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One of my favorite Homeschooling DVD’s is 40% off, plus lots of other curriculum is on sale!

Compass Classroom provides some high quality curriculum for junior high and high school. We plan on using quite a few of these programs, possibly starting this coming school year!

Homeschool Made Simple is my favorite DVD if you are needing some encouragement, or a fresh approach to homeschooling!

Carole Joy Seid has almost 30 years experience teaching thousands of moms and dads a literature-based approach to homeschooling. There are a lot of things she teaches in this series that I have embraced and used in our school days.

Here are the different topics:

  1. Children & Reading
  2. Choosing Books
  3. Building Character in Children
  4. Math, Writing, Science, Art & Music
  5. Bible & A Typical Day
  6. Children & Media
  7. Teaching History Using Literature

I had a chance to look at the Grammar of Poetry at the Teach Them Diligently convention, and we will definitely be using this curriculum! Designed for a semester at the 6-9th grade level, The Grammar of Poetry is perfectly appropriate for anyone with basic writing skills and the desire to learn poetry.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Visual Latin! As soon as we hit high school, I plan on using this for a foreign language credit!

The American History program is 40% off.

Let me know if you have used any of these programs. I’d love to hear what you think!!

 

 

 

Our Experience At The Teach Them Diligently Convention

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We had the opportunity to spend this past weekend at the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville Tennessee. If you have never been at one of the Teach Them Diligently Conventions, you are missing out on a big dose of encouragement!

Unlike some other homeschool conventions that seem to be focused on the vendors, Teach Them Diligently offers some amazing speakers, and have a heart to really encourage the homeschooling family. This convention is put on by a homeschooling family and I’m always so blessed by the gracious and loving spirit of Leslie, the wife and mother. There are some women I meet that I instantly know are good role models, and Leslie is one of those to me, even though I haven’t spent much time around her. She encourages me, just by the brief conversations we have had!

We attended Teach Them Diligently as vendors with Character Badges. It was our first time to be at a convention with that business, and we were not sure what to expect. The response was amazing!

Teach Them Diligently Convention at the Opryland Hotel

The convention was held at the famous Opryland Hotel, and it was enormous! This picture isn’t even all of the hotel and conference area!

Registration Desk at Teach Them Diligently

Even the staircases and the registration area was beautiful! It was such a large building that you couldn’t take good pictures of everything.

Kirk Cameron spoke at Teach Them Diligently. It was really neat to hear him!

The keynote speaker was Kirk Cameron! It was pretty amazing to hear him speak. I didn’t realize he had six children, and he has been a homeschooling dad for six years now! There was 4,000 people there present to hear him, and we were in the very back row. So he was kind of like a blur up on stage to me!

The Character Badges Booth at the Teach Them Diligently booth in Nashville!

Here is the Character Badges booth! We had just a few days to prepare for this booth, and we were a little nervous with how it would set up. We learned some lessons on how to improve for the next time, but overall were pleased with how it turned out. The response was really positive though, and we met so many nice families.

Little Character Badges at the Teach Them Diligently Convention

We had the Little Character Badges there as a pre-order, and came home to find all the stickers and charts available to start shipping out! We sold quite a few sets of these, as a lot of families with little children wanted to try something new.

Character Badges on Display at the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville.

The main set was out on display, and by the time convention was over I had the 2 minute explanation of what Character Badges is totally memorized. :)

Vendor Hall at Teach Them Diligently

Here is just a small part of the vendor hall. The whole room was huge!

Using You Pins at the Teach Them Diligently Convention

There was a Lilla Rose Booth at the convention, and I finally was able to meet the top salesperson in Lilla Rose for the past 3 years! She fixed my hair using U-Pins, and it was nice to get a new idea of how to use them.

Sean and I at the Teach Them Diligently Convetion

The lighting isn’t the greatest in this picture, but it’s the only one I have of Sean and I together at the convention. When you work with your spouse 24/7 you have times of stretching in your marriage. This wasn’t terribly stretching for us, we enjoyed visiting with the families we met, it was just exhausting by the end! Sean woke up on Sunday and could barely talk for awhile, his voice was so hoarse!

A total random side note, the shirt I’m wearing is from my latest Stitch Fix box. I received it while I was sick, so I couldn’t take any good pictures to share. I ended up just keeping the shirt, but it’s really soft and comfortable. I know I’ll wear it a lot this summer!

I had the chance to meet some blog readers, which was super fun! We also made some great business connections there. Overall, it was  fantastic experience, and we are glad we went! Now we are just trying to quickly decide if we will attend the other two conventions that are in Alanta, Georgia, and Sandusky, Ohio. Let me know if you are planning on being at one of those! There is still time to register to attend!

 

Our Homeschool Morning Time Routine

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Our homeschool morning time is a crucial part of our homeschool day. Some people call it morning basket time, morning meeting, or circle time, but we just call it morning time at our house.

Morning time is not a new creation. It’s been around for years, and homeschoolers with a Charlotte Mason or classical approach to homeschooling have used it. We did a version of morning time when I was being homeschooled, but we never gave it a name!

Our homeschool morning time is a crucial part of our homeschool day. It seems to be a popular discussion right now online. Some people call it morning basket time, morning meeting, or circle time, but we just call it morning time at our house.

It seems to be a hot topic since a popular homeschooling book called Teaching From Rest was written recently. In that book, Sarah Mackenzie talks about morning time and how that has helped her to have a peaceful time in her day.

Morning time is that precious time in the day where you fill your children up with those educational truths that will shape and mold them into the adults they will become. The lives of your children can be heavily influenced when you spend this time with them, and it’s my favorite part of our day!

When I look back on my own homeschool experience, the memories of the textbooks I did are not present, but all the times I spent in discussion and reading with my mom are still strong in my mind. Morning time has the ability to do this; to create those lasting memories that will never leave your child!

There are four main parts of morning time in our home. Before our actual morning time begins, we have started having a family meeting each morning, strictly at 9:00. School begins right after that talk. Since Sean works from home, he heads up that family meeting. It’s a 10-20 minute talk with the children about how they are doing, character issues we need to work on, looking at the Character Badges charts that are on the wall, and making sure they know what consequences they might need to do after school that day.

Character Badges - A Fun and flexible child training system for ages 3-12!

Then he goes back downstairs to work and I take over with the official morning time as our school day starts!

Here is what it looks like. 

Our homeschool morning time is a crucial part of our homeschool day. It seems to be a popular discussion right now online. Some people call it morning basket time, morning meeting, or circle time, but we just call it morning time at our house.

Devotions 

This is time spent learning about God and his word. We either read straight from the scriptures or use a storybook. Right now we are using Catherine’s Voss storybook, and it’s excellent. My children absolutely love how the stories are presented. At first glance the book doesn’t look like anything special, but we have really enjoyed this book more than others.

Sometimes we read a Proverbs for the day, or we might pick a book and read straight through it. Right now we are just using the storybook.

Before devotions begin, a child will say a prayer for the devotion time and just recently the older ones will pick a scripture and read it to everyone. I’ve shared before that we have set days where one child will pray for all the meal and devotions times. It has really helped reduce the bickering that comes when I ask who wants to pray. :) The child who is praying for the day will be the one to pick out a scripture verse and also read it.

Memorization 

This is the time where we memorize scripture verses together, a poem, or a new hymn. Right now we are getting ready to sing special music at our church, so we are working on memorizing a hymn the children will sing.

Reading

We love our reading time! I’ve been so thankful for Tapestry of Grace which has forced me to make sure that our morning time gets done everyday!

This is when I read the history we do together, and I also read a quality literature book that all the children will enjoy.

For history we are reading through the ‘Famous Men of Middle Ages’. I was afraid that my children might think it a bit dry, but they absolutely love it, and I’ve been thrilled with the conversations we have had. Lots of discussions have taken place on how these different men lived their lives. They cheer when a chapter tells about a man that is following the Lord and who tries to convert his kingdom to the Lord! Even our 6 year old listens as I read from this book. We also read parts of the ‘Story Of The World’ book.

The literature book is one that I want us to experience together as a family. I made the children wait to read the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series on their own until I had read them out loud first. We just finished ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’, which was a fun, quick read that all the children enjoyed. The reading level was below our 6th and 4th grader, but the story was funny and they laughed right along with the girls.

Right now we are reading ‘Adam of the Road’, which goes along nicely with the Middle Age time period that we are studying.

During the history and literature time I will ask the children questions. Through this they learn narration skills and we look up words that we don’t know and discuss them together.

Morning Homeschool Time!

I store the Morning Time books in these fabric cubes that I found for a great price online at Joss and Main. Our other schoolbooks are stored above, a new system I’m trying to help reduce the lost books excuse. 😉 

Art/music appreciation 

We have (slowly) been working our way through the Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Portfolio Packets. The children enjoy the story that is included in each packet about the artist’s life. As we read, a child holds up one of the pictures included in the packet for everyone to look at.

Other times we go through classical music appreciation course from Zeezok. We really like these stories on the classical composers.

Our homeschool morning time is a crucial part of our homeschool day. It seems to be a popular discussion right now online. Some people call it morning basket time, morning meeting, or circle time, but we just call it morning time at our house.

Where to do morning time?

If you have a dedicated schoolroom, it would make sense to do morning time in that room. However we have a small house, and our schoolroom is our dining room and living room. We always gather in the living room for morning time, and then just move to the table when we do actual book work.

How long does it take?

I try to keep morning time to 1.5 hours at the most. Sometimes we spend an hour. It just depends on how much time I want to devote to it that day. I have a hard time stopping some days as we all enjoy it so much! Other days it’s been chaotic (because morning time is not always perfect!) and so we move on rather quickly.

Morning time with multiple ages, including babies and toddlers. 

Morning time can be challenging when you have a wide age range, but totally doable! Here is how we do it but you may need to tweak things to make it work for your children.

During the devotion part of our morning time our children are required to sit still and listen. It’s the more serious part of our morning as we learn about the awesome God that created us, and who we serve.

As we move into the history section, I still require the three oldest children to be still and listen (ages 12, 10, and 7). By that time our 4 and 6 year old are quietly moving around, playing with a toy they have picked out.

When we move into the literature part, I allow all the children to draw, build with a few blocks, or the girls play quietly behind my recliner with their doll kitchen (a side note, they received this kitchen from Target at Christmas and it’s been a HUGE hit with the girls!). Sometimes they even fold laundry!

Our girls quietly play during our homeschool morning time.

I do have to tell our 4 year old to be quiet, but she is doing a pretty good job.

As for the baby, everyday is a new day with her. I try and always have her take a nap while we do morning time, and that normally works. The other day she was awake eating an apple, and stayed quiet for an amazingly long time!

What to do with a baby during homeschool morning morning time? Eating an apple sometimes work!

When it all falls apart 

No morning time is perfect. There are days when the children are full of giggles, or they are not getting along. There are times when I’m so tired I can barely stay awake while I’m trying to read.

Don’t give up when morning time goes awry. At times I just leave the room for a few minutes to have a few minutes alone and refocus. There is always the next day to try again!

If you have never tried morning time, or just need new ideas, here are some excellent resources. 

Morning Time Resources 

Your Morning Basket

Your Morning Basket is a great ebook with lots of extras added to it! Learn from a mom who has done Morning Time for years with her own children.

Your Morning Basket Podcast – This podcast features some amazing homeschooling people!

Your Morning Basket Podcast

What’s In Your Morning Basket?  – Some different ideas on how to do a Morning Basket.

Homeschool Circle Time – A look on how to do morning time with little ones.

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Tapestry of Grace is a literature, classical curriculum that works with all grades! Perfect for a small or large family, it's quickly become my new favorite curriculum!

Updated School Year Curriculum! 

A middle of the homeschool semester update!

 

 

 

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Tapestry of Grace Review – My New Favorite Curriculum!

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It was with a little trepidation that I contacted Tapestry of Grace and told them that I would love to try out one of their yearly lesson plans. I was hesitant to try yet another program, but this looked so much like how I was homeschooled (minus all the work that my mom did to create the lesson plans herself) that I just had to try it.

Tapestry of Grace is a literature, classical curriculum that works with all grades! Perfect for a small or large family, it's quickly become my new favorite curriculum!

When I first received Tapestry of Grace and looked at it, I was a little overwhelmed. There is just so much text everywhere! This one program covers 1-12th grade, but obviously there are different assignments, so there is a lot of material offered. I’m getting ahead of myself though…

What is Tapestry of Grace?

In my own words, it’s a unit study type program with a classical emphasis. On the website they say it is a classical curriculum, but I have easily tweaked it to not be the traditional classical curriculum that you might think of.

What type of Family Is Tapestry of Grace best for?

If you love textbooks and want to simply sit down at the table and check off your work each day, this isn’t for you. However, if you’re a family that loves to read and learn together, this is an amazing curriculum.

What ages can use Tapestry of Grace?

The nice thing is that all ages can use it! Yes, the whole family studies the same topic, but it’s broken up into 4 different levels – Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialect, and Rhetoric. This covers 1st through 12th grade. They even have a Primer curriculum for K-1st grade for children that are the oldest in the family.

So, why did I want to try Tapestry of Grace? 

I love reading to my children. When the days are crazy busy and I might have a mommy meltdown, reading together draws us back together and helps us to focus. I’ve tried to go without reading aloud to them each day, but we all miss it and I’ve recognized how important it is. I’ve looked and looked for a curriculum that would include all my children learning together, but I never found one that suited our family.

That is until Tapestry of Grace. My friend Amy has written several times about it, and I finally decided to click through to the website and watch the video explaining what Tapestry of Grace really is. After exploring it online I decided to try yet another curriculum (yes, I love curriculum).

I’m totally in love. Completely. And the best part?

My children adore it as well. 

Tapestry of Grace covers grades 1st-12th, and is fantastic for large family homeschooling!

How does Tapestry of Grace Work?

There are 4 years that cover history in chronological order. It starts in the Ancient World and goes through the Present Time. Each year is meant to be covered in 1 year, but I can already tell we might take 1 ½ years to go through it. A child can go through each year 3 different times through their school life, each time covering more and more as they advance in grade levels.

When the curriculum arrives it is broken up into 4 separate packages. There are 4 binders worth of material total (the binders are not included), and I’m so grateful they didn’t try to put it all into one! Because this curriculum covers 1st-12th grade, at first glance it can look totally overwhelming. That is, until you learn the system and how it works.

This is the weekly layout for Tapestry of Grace. It covers 1st through 12th grade, and gives you so many options, and you pick!

I’m using Lower Grammar and Upper Grammar for the ages of children we have. Lower Grammar covers 1st-3rd grade, and Upper Grammar covers      4th-6th. There are 4 different colors that show what level your child needs to be in, and you simply look at the bottom of the page to see the color you need for the level your child is in. Once you get to know the layout it get’s to be much easier.

There is a lot of paper each week. I kept turning the pages, wondering how in the world I was going to cover all of this, until I discovered that most of the paper is for the Dialectic and Rhetoric levels where you have a lot of discussions with your student. The picture below shows what one week looks like!

This is for one week of Tapestry of Grace! Don't let it overwhelm you though, this covers 1st through 12th grade, and you pick and choose what you would like to do!

You can do as little or as much as you want. You need to feel confident going into this curriculum that you truly are the teacher and you own the curriculum, it does not own you. Right now with a baby under 1 who is still a high needs baby, we are not doing everything. I consider what we are doing the basics, but I’m not stressing about it because I know we will come back around and cover this time period again!

What subjects does Tapestry of Grace cover? 

The subjects offered are literature, history, arts/actives, worldview, vocabulary, geography, and writing. You have to add math, science, grammar, phonics, and foreign language.

There is a big emphasis on literature books (“living books” as Charlotte Mason calls them!), and you can purchase them through Bookshelf Central, but I use my local library as much as I can. If I know we are going to be in a book for a month or more and the library does not have it, I’ll go ahead and purchase it.

Besides the main curriculum they offer some other helpful items, some of which we are using. Here are a few items.

Map Aids – I recently went ahead and purchased these and it’s a huge help! You can just print off the weekly map that you need and it includes a basic black and white map for your children to draw on, plus the finished map in color. You can see the pictures in this post of my children working on it.

Writing Aids – This is a helpful instructional book for all levels to help teach writing. It does not include grammar. I have this book, but so far we just haven’t dove into it yet. I’m hoping to read through it this summer and implement it when we start back up again this fall.

Lap books – If you are a hands on type family, this is a great option for you! These are geared towards the Grammar age children (1st-6th).

Pop Quiz – I think this is an incredibly wonderful idea! If the dad would like to be involved in what the children are learning, he can put this CD in and listen to it on the way home from work and have questions to ask them at the dinner table and interact with them! I’ve also heard some mom’s prefer using this to learn what is coming in the next chapter.

Planning Aids – I’m so excited about this! While I haven’t had trouble scheduling out the week, life is busy and this planning aid offers weekly lessons already made for the grammar levels!

I love knowing that we can all learn together, yet be on different grade levels. This week we did map work and my 6th grader really enjoyed getting to color in his map after learning about Charlemagne.

Map work with Tapestry of Grace.

While I know our Kindergarten age child did not comprehend nearly as much about Charlemagne as the 6th grader, she also sat in on the history read aloud time and wanted to be included in the map work as well. I was thrilled with how long she sat and worked on her own map!

Map work with Tapestry of Grace with a Kindergarten age child! The beauty of homeschooling a large family is you can do subjects together!

If you would like to learn more about Tapestry of Grace, they are throwing a Facebook party for my readers! They will be offering some prizes, and helping explain more about Tapestry of Grace. Just click here to RSVP.

You can also download some free samples of the curriculum, and look at the scope and sequence of each year (just click on each year and scroll down to see it).

Expect to see more on the blog about Tapestry of Grace. I’m hoping to use this for a very long time!

*I received Year 2 for free to review, but I was not paid for this review. All thoughts are my own!