Sunday, August 24, 2008


Our family is working through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds this year during our family worship time. We have thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I've wanted a way to help my boys stay focused on what they are learning and allow them to be prepared for discussion. I decided to create weekly bookmarks for them to keep in their Bibles. Each bookmark has the weekly question and answer from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a checklist of daily Scripture readings from the book and a question to meditate on that relates to the week's theme. Hopefully these will enhance our family worship and help us retain what we are learning. If you'd like to use them in your own family, you can find them here at my Homeschool Launch page. I'll be adding more as I have time. I hope they'll be a blessing to others as we teach and train our children in the Lord.

We Made It...

through our first three weeks of school! I've got our schedule set up to do three weeks on and one week off. I'm so glad I decided to go this route. It makes it easier to stay motivated and on track because we know there's a break coming if we just persevere. Plus, the house is generally in need of a deep clean by that time and I just can't seem to get much detailing done while I'm teaching. I'm especially glad for the break this week because we all have awful colds and none of us feel like doing school. What a blessing to be able to relax a bit and let our bodies heal!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Curriculum Reviews

We have been using some new curriculum this year and I thought I would share my favorites. As you can see from the picture, we purchased the All-In-One Curriculum for Pilgrims Progress by Ken Ham. I am currently reading through it and trying to figure out how to work it into our schedule; I will work it into our schedule because it's that good. I may talk to Andrew about using it during our family worship time. It contains the complete text of Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan (broken up into manageable lessons), relevant scripture references, sidebars that help explain the allegorical elements, memory verse, vocabulary w/definitions, Truths to Ponder for younger students and Digging Deeper for older students. The book comes with a CD-ROM that contains all of the worsheets for easy printing. For those who want to expand their studies, they have included a 13-week unit study that includes history, science and language arts activities. You can also buy an audio CD of the text, if you prefer to listen to someone else read. It is also found (for free) at This book is very well done. I have thoroughly enjoyed going through it and can't wait to dig into it with the boys.

My other favorite resource this year is The Mystery of History III by Linda Lacour Hobar. It is a complete classical world history curriculum covering the Renaissance and Reformation years. It is beautiful and very well written. The Companion Guide that goes with it contains lots of hands-on activities, quizzes, reviews, map work, timeline ideas, living book suggestions, etc. I've also created some mini-books to go with our studies, so with all of that put together my boys are really enjoying and remembering what they learn!

Friday, August 8, 2008

First Week of School

I am pleased to announce that our first week of school went wonderfully! I can't say enough about how much I love my Homeschool Tracker Plus. It has helped tremendously in keeping us on track. Not only do I have our assignments all planned out and ready to go, I also have meals, chores, grocery list, etc. all planned out for the week. It has made our days run so much smoother.

We did tweak the scheduled assignments a bit. I'm realizing that History may be a little over-done. Also, we decided to hold off on starting astronomy in favor of completing a lapbook on oceans because my incredibly generous parents are taking us on a cruise in December! Plus we're going to Myrtle Beach in September so we'll have plenty of opportunities to study oceans first-hand. I love the flexibility that we have to change things up and study what is relevant to us right now!

I am also happy to report that Noah is finally making some noticeable progress in his reading ability. He has definitely grown over the summer. I am concerned about his lack of focus and short-term memory. I can't tell if it is simply immaturity or something else. I had him sit on the bouncy ball during Bible this morning to see if the kinesthetic activity would help him retain what he heard. It seemed to help a bit, but the novelty of the ball tended to be a distraction. I'm going to keep praying through this issue.

I'm noticing more spiritual growth and maturity with Alek this year. Academically, he's still a bit ahead of his peers, but his maturity in several areas is what I've noticed the most. He's becoming more patient and less prideful, more quick to repent and apologize.

I just love the start of the new school year! I'm encouraged that we have developed some better habits over the summer and I can't wait to see how much we can grow this year!