A planning list.

January 5, 2012|7:13 pm

In the interest of keeping tabs on what I am doing here is my to do list for tomorrow:

Student planning by child

KONOS planning and prep work. Re-watch week 1 videos from Homeschool Mentor.

Try and go through one dining room shelf and clean out. The bedroom shelves are done and most of the closet in our former homeschool room. This is the room we gave to Ben when he moved back in. He was really patient!

I guess I will be teaching a class for the spring session of our co-op. One of our newer members is pregnant and the class is a full one so she would rather assist than actually teach. I need to plan the 11 week session and the homework so I can have to buy lists and also supplies made by the first Monday in February. I want to give each child a synopsis of the class and expectations for various ages by week 1.

I had planned on getting much of this stuff done earlier in the week but being side lined by a nasty cold with all the aches and pains of a flu has seriously jeopardized my progress.

More plans for school

August 26, 2011|8:27 pm


A daily prayer.. bible reading..even when Pat isn’t here.. maybe when Pat isn’t here especially.

A time each day for reading.

A time each day to gaze upon and / or create something of beauty.


A nature picture per week

Take a photo that means something.


A memorized verse that goes to a memorized psalm that goes to a memorized chapter. Scripture memory at any cost.

Doing a blog cruise…

August 8, 2011|7:27 am

this morning. Hubby had to leave town for the week bright and early. So after saying good bye and getting my first cup of coffee in I had time to play online. Seems like most everyone I read has back to school on the brain. I read posts from unschoolers, unit study moms and classical schoolers. I questioned some of the ones that show a full page of curricula per student! ? ! (I am an overplanner and I don’t take a full page per student to list what they will be using this year!) I enjoy the unschoolers who manage to flow from one thing to the next with no worries about what their children will eventually have for skills. I remember the excitement of planning and having unit studies come together for all my children with fondness. Now I enjoy writing and planning units for my younger children via the co-op we are involved in. This years Rainforest class has me even a bit excited about studying the bugs in that area.. now that is an achievement of epic proportion! all in all I enjoyed my time of roaming the net this morning and managed not to do any much homeschool comparison!

I think it is time for me to do a follow up post on the goal setting and planning sessions I wrote about earlier. Alas, it will have to wait as today is Bethany’s first day at prairie Fire Theater camp. They will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Friday and Saturday.  First however, they need to have auditions on this bright and early Monday morning.

MN Homeschooling

July 22, 2011|9:58 am

just got a bit easier. Less nonsense paperwork that no one will ever read.  These are the changes as they were passed. Call and thank your government reps!


As part of the budget agreement, Governor Dayton signed into law a revised version of the 2011 Education Omnibus bill. Several of the provisions in this bill affect homeschooling in Minnesota. Changes to current law include the following:

  • Report cards are no longer required. Parents without a college degree are no longer required to submit quarterly report cards.
  • Limited yearly reporting. Homeschool families are required to submit a full compulsory attendance form one time: this will include instructional calendar, etc. After initial paperwork is filed, an annual letter indicating intent to continue homeschooling (and annual test choice) fulfills the reporting requirement. If you move or change school districts, this will require a full report.
  • Revocation of superintendent’s rights. The superintendent can no longer request a visit or to see homeschool materials/curriculum in lieu of said visit. While these materials can still be requested in criminal cases concerning child neglect, they must be made by the county attorney, not the superintendent.
  • Changes to annual testing requirement. Families must know – and indicate – which test they will be using in their annual letter. “To be determined” is no longer an acceptable response.
  • Homeschoolers seeking Driver’s Ed will no longer go through their school. Instead, the Department of Public Safety will have a form available for students to verify their homeschool status.

Still working on steps 1 and 2

July 14, 2011|9:39 pm

Praying and Prioritizing.. making plans and submitting them to the Lord. Taking ‘em back and having to do it all over again. I am making progress. I a m m a k I n g progress….. it is maybe slower than I like…. (that might be age) or it just might be meeting other people’s needs. Something I pray the Lord will let me do with a right heart and strong desire of servant-hood.  Whatever the reason, I need to to rejoice in the fact that progress has forward momentum.

One of the projects on my to do list was to create the workbooks I envisioned for my children for Tapestry of Grace. Marcia Somerville, author of TOG suggests making the books as you go and having the children put finished pages in a three ring binder and I really want to be successful with this curricula so I REALLY had planned on following her advice. Then HELLOO!!! Reality check: I lead a VERY BUSY LIFE.  I am often side tracked by family, friends, co-op, a great book.. well you get the idea. So back to the original plans:

tog notebooks 015 

First I made a book with the work pages and some of the evaluation sheets that I intend to use as research assistant sheets. I really like Year ones evaluations at the upper grammar and dialectic level for this. My children will know what information they are to be looking for as they look at the sheets. I also included the notes to students at the front of each weeks section. I put all 36 weeks in one book. While I usually like to comb bind here at home I felt that the spiral binding from Office Max with plastic covers front and back would be a good way to spend my $$.


Then I created a geography book with all of our maps for the entire year. Yes, we may not get them all done but how much better is it to be prepared and not use them?



tog notebooks 023

Now that that project is done I am on to the next one: finish the year book for our Co-op by tomorrow nights picnic. Say a prayer I get this done! I do not want disappointed children.

Check back this weekend for a post on the picnic… I hope to do a few fun things with the children.

Step 2.. prioritize

July 7, 2011|9:07 am

pri·or·i·tize (pr-ôr-tz, –r-)

v. pri·or·i·tized, pri·or·i·tiz·ing, pri·or·i·tiz·es


To arrange or deal with in order of importance.


To put things in order of importance:

according to freedictionaryonline.com


I am already set on most of my curriculum for the year. I have bought my year plan from Tapestry of Grace and gathered my books. TOG includes history, geography and fine arts. As we are doing year one there is enough bible to award a separate high school credit for that. Because math was a huge priority for us last year that is already in place and the children have been making steady progress so no decision making there.

This year our focus is on writing. Structure, grammar, essay and creative anything under the heading of mechanics of writing. There is a fair amount of writing in TOG and we will do a bunch of that but I also want to make sure we are making progress in the basics of structure, usage and styles of writing. I have at least one child who is writing a story that could be turned into a novel and have played with the idea of getting The One Year Adventure Novel. Expensive program but with what is included looks like it could be a fair value and the reviews I have found really stress the learning that has taken place.  I also need to decide if I am also going to use a grammar program for all or any. Spelling is definitely a necessity for a couple of the children also!

I need to keep in mind what classes the children are taking at co-op this year and leave enough time for them to complete those assignments, too. Last year they fit it in willy- nilly and I would like a bit more structure to their work times. Isaac will really need it as he has at least three high school level courses that will have follow up work at home to be considered a course. The homeschool mama that runs the book club that Jeffrey and Isaac are in is offering a high school level Lit and later this year an advanced speech. Logic and an IEW based Fix-it grammar and poetry class are looking very interesting too.

So today’s assignments for myself.. continue to pray and list all curriculum available for each child for each subject I would like them to cover.


* if your curious why I am blogging about the steps of my planning. I was given a challenge to make my blog better by 1) using it to write about what is important to me each day and use it as a springboard to accomplish my to-dos. and 2) to complete a 31 posts in 31 days blog challenge. So all the little lists and thoughts that I would normally scrawl on note paper as I process things while talking with friends and family are being jotted down here. If someday they help another mama plan out the steps that is an added bonus!

Life this week..

July 4, 2011|7:31 pm

In my life this week…. a broken down car is really frustrating!.
In our homeschool this week… printing printing printing!
My favorite thing this week was…reading a book with my children.
What’s working/not working for us…having daddy home for the weekend was a real blessing.
I’m reading…the Moody Family series to the younger children and various education books for myself and a Catherine Coulter novel for fun. Note  I finished the Coulter book and we are on book 2 in the Moody series.
I’m praying for….wisdom in decision making for our co-op.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…Tapestry of Grace

School Again.. (those of you who do not home educate may want to skip reading my blog this month!)

July 2, 2011|9:35 am

Well I do have to say that making the decision to switch our homeschool to Tapestry of Grace has really changed my homeschool planning for the year. Last year I bought and used one unit and also bought some Teacher Trainings. Even though I have been doing this homeschool thing in various guises for quite some time now these videos really helped me focus on defining what each of my children needs to have customized for them.

The Tapestry of Grace website and the year specific yahoo groups have been fantastic resources. I have also spent a lot of time cruising blogs that are written by moms who use TOG and blog about it. I have such a plethora of ideas and for once they are already in my planner in some form or other. I have taken a few minutes to add the changes that the creative moms have made right into my planner so that when we get to those weeks I have a choice of how to do things. Or should I say my children have a choice? I am really trying to turn over a lot of responsibility and control to the children. They have long heard from me that it is their job to get an education.. my job is to facilitate that. I cannot force feed anyone an education.

Co-op is coming together and I hope to post more in the very near future about our local co-op. So many of the ladies have looked at TOG that we may even be able to incorporate some TOG classes by next year. In the meantime our 2011 / 2012 Christian Community Co-op is full of exciting classes and all of the moms who are teaching are working hard to plan an educational experience for the children.

Today’s plan is to make the workbooks for weekly evaluations for each of my children. As usual I looked at the way they are made and immediately saw a slightly different way to utilize them for a couple of my students with learning differences. I’ll try and post a pic and description later this weekend.

For those of you here in the Midwest with us.. isn’t the break from the past few days heat wonderful? I am enjoying my morning coffee immensely!

Goals and goal setting

April 21, 2011|2:58 pm

I asked another mom recently what her goals for her homeschool looked like. What she wanted to accomplish with the curricula she was looking for, as she was ready for a change from the textbook approach she was using. She was quickly able to rattle off several things including “produce scholars” . Her goals and dreams for her children were quite articulate and included enough things that I could suggest a couple of styles of homeschooling and specific items for her to look at.

Fast forward a couple of days and glimpse into my dining room where piles of curricula are growing. I am ready to move forward with lesson plans for our new school year as we have.. for the second year in a row.. pretty much finished up what I had planned for this year. A huge goal met for me!

Yes, there were a couple of things that I modified as we went. My history co-op course was altered as many  (read: almost all) of the parents didn’t follow the curriculum. Which was fine in theory, but I found myself confusing the children as we hopped around on stories and figures from history to which they had no exposure. Plans altered and we went back and talked through more of the basics of the Revolutionary War instead of moving forward to cover the Declaration of Independence. Consequently we will stop here in history for this year. Our last co-op project will be a big one and will hopefully make connections in the children’s’  minds and pull it together for them. We are going to spend three weeks making scrapbook pages of the event the child found the most intriguing about the war. That combined with the cool History cards project from this past month will go a long way in exposing the children.. here at home and at co-op.. to the people and events of the Revolutionary war. The other thing modified in my school year was Math. We chose to spend a section of our tax return on Aleks math. Purchased through tjedonline.com it was really quite doable for my eldest 5 and has taken a huge teaching burden responsibility from my shoulders.

Anyway: back to the dining room. My breakfast nook is absolutely covered in various curricula, books and of course lesson planners. There is a box of items loosely organized on the floor next to me and there is a dining room chair across the way that holds many of the shiny new catalogs that publishers of homeschool items send at this time of year. Even the buffet holds a few stacks of papers and books! Quite the cluttered look right now. And I just realized that a bag holdiing my CM planner from Simply Charlotte Mason got left at the church after co-op on Monday. Horrors.. I will need that book. Oh I bought it as a pdf so maybe I can use the back up copy until we are back out at church. With a 20 minute drive each way I wasn’t looking forward to spending the gas to go over there.

I have several goals for this upcoming school year but haven’t taken the time to write them out. So here goes:

1. Continue to school all year so trips, events like our reenacting, visits from family and friends and harvest time do not delay our progress. Yes I do count many of those activities as real life school but I like the feeling of accomplishment of finishing as much of a curricula as needed to cover a subject!

2. Keeping in mind the depression era saying of Use it up..wear it out.. Make do, or do without, I want to pull first and foremost out of the abundant supplies I have here. For someone who started homeschooling over 15 years ago with a borrowed copy of KONOS Volume 1, I have more shelves, boxes and totes of curricula than almost anyone else I know!

3. This needs to be an academic year. While I do believe that there are times and places for unschooling style and child led learning I also think I have done some of my older children a disservice by not requiring more. I know that it flies in the face of TJed style and could be argued against by anyone half way proficient in the understanding of true unschooling homeschooling but I have several children in our homeschool who are looking at colleges that will require strong, quantifiable academic records.

4. I really want to utilize the skills my children have to bless their younger siblings. This is an area we already do well in but not all the children are responsible for someone elses learning.

5. Somehow we have dropped studying God’s Word as a family. It is a high priority to regain this in our school lives.


What do you have planned for next year?

More homeschool stuff

September 22, 2010|9:31 pm

I know that many in my extended family come here to read and catch up on family life. Lately my blog has been either super quiet or filled with the busy life of a homeschooling family. So sorry but here we go again!

Last night I attended a wonderful event here in Mankato. It is so rare to have something in this area and so to have one now and another one coming up in November is cause for rejoicing!


Diana Waring, an excellent, writer and speaker did a three hour class on learning modalities and then History via the Scenic Route. I love listening to her. Even though I have read my way many times through all three of her homeschool encouragement books! I know..that I know.. that I know I many of the points she made about teaching to our children’s strengths BUT I still walk away with new thoughts on how to do that. Last night was no different. I am excited to rethink some of my plans for the year!

Co-op went well this week and I think that God has blessed me with a new vision on organizing myself as a teacher. Today I put some of those plans into action and I also found time to get in some homeschool with my own children. Who had the bright idea that a co-op that offered things that I would never teach was a good idea? Really? A 10 year old daughter taking Shakespeare?! and a 12 year in speech And they think I can help with their assignments. HMM who is being schooled?

For more info on Diana, her curriculum and talks go to this website.

I am very grateful for the homeschool mom who took the time to organize this event and for Diana and her husband for traveling here!