Monday, January 5, 2009


It is with a slightly heavy heart that I write this post. This blog has not been up very long, but unfortunately, I must take it down. We have had some family transitions - nothing bad - but with these new additions to our lives I won't be able to maintain both blogs. I will keep my original blog at Cherry Soup. I hope you will continue to visit me there!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For all the Moms out there...

Since Wednesdays are "general articles" day, I thought I would extent my post from Cherry Soup over to here. I'm trying to recruit as many moms as possible who want to make the commitment to get on track with a healthier lifestyle for 2009. This doesn't mean just losing weight. It means a total lifestyle makeover, just for you.

Head over to Cherry Soup and join in with me. You could be the first to sign up!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day In The Life....

Say hello to the Harris Family!

What state do you live in?
We live in Alberta, Canada.

How long have you homeschooled?
We have been officially homeschooling for two years now, but because we believe that the children are learning simply by living life, we have been educating our children since the oldest was born in 2001.

How many children do have?
What are their ages? We have 5 children at this time (hoping for more). They are 7, 6, 3.5, 2 in January and a newborn.

Do you have special needs children?
At this time we do not know of any special needs.

What is a typical schedule for you?
Right now our schedule/routine is very relaxed mostly because of Christmas, our new baby and the fact that we do live life as our education. We get up and eat breakfast between 8 and 9 AM. We do daily chores – getting dressed and cleaning up breakfast. Then I allow a little television through out the day. They are encouraged to play – blocks, Lego, dolls, coloring, drawing, organizing, sorting, math workbook or sheets, puzzles, mazes. We have rest time or nap time around 1:30 or 2, where each child is on his or her own spot. They are encouraged to read, play with little toys or sleep. Around 4 PM, we do a pretty intense cleanup and a few more chores and we start supper. After supper is baths, stories and bed.

How do you handle teaching older kids with toddlers underfoot?
I try to set up teaching times when the baby is sleeping and the toddler is engaged in play.

Do you plan to homeschool through high school? Why or why not?
We do plan to homeschool through high school. We believe that is a very important time in a growing child’s life and that they still need the close parental guidance we provide now. There are so many lies taught into today’s schools and the social interaction is not a positive influence.

What curriculum do you use and why?
For the most part we do not have a curriculum. We do use ACSI Math, but in a very relaxed manner at this time. I provide lots of books, Discovery Kids TV, interaction with all ages of people, board games and life experiences. For example, my daughter, age 7, buys our eggs. I give her the money and some ideas of what to say to the “egg lady” and she gets them and brings them home. She is responsible to make sure they arrive unbroken and are put in the fridge. I believe that learning how to act and react in real life is more important than just learning facts from a book or practicing math’s rules in a workbook.

Are you involved with a homeschool group? Why or why not?
We are not actively involved with a homeschool group. We would like to be but the nearest one is 25 minutes driving time away and with 5 children the logistics of getting there are too involved at this time. We go out to community events and children’s programs here in our little town and meet with homeschoolers in our home as often as possible. Oh, and being that my DH is involved in the fire department we get included in tours of the hall and trucks too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fun Friday!

Hey, have you seen these cute craft boxes at Michael's? If you're looking for a quick and easy craft to do with the kids, this is it! There are several to choose from and the foam pieces are easy to work with. If you're like me, you don't have a lot of time to spend on anything, but you want to do the fun stuff, too. Try one of these!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Legislation Thursday

Army National Guard Opens Doors to Homeschoolers

In March of 2008, Senior Counsel Chris Klicka of the Home School Legal Defense Association, along with Will Estrada and Jeremiah Lorrig of HSLDA’s Federal Relations Department, met with Col. Mike Jones, head of all recruitment for the Army National Guard across the country. Col. Jones and his assistant, Cpt. Paul Douglas, are homeschoolers and wanted to help homeschool graduates get into the Army National Guard.

The National Guard’s “Path to Honor” to enable homeschoolers to enlist states this on their webpage:

The National Guard will not treat you differently because of your homeschool education. The National Guard recognizes and values the unique skills, abilities, and character that homeschoolers can bring to our organization. Homeschoolers are known for their high levels of cooperation, assertiveness, and self control. The values young men and women hold will naturally mesh with the Army values. There are definite educational and personal benefits for homeschoolers who pursue a career in the National Guard.

For more information on this article, go here.

For questions on other branches of the military, go here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homeschool Sports

Please welcome Mary Nunaley! She will bring her knowledge of sports and homeschooling to Homeschool 101. I'm excited to have her on board! Mary would like us to know a little about herself and her family in this first post.

I'm excited to be writing a monthly blog post for Homeschooling 101. I thought I'd start today off with a little bit about myself and my family and then over the coming months, I'll be focusing on homeschooling a high school age student who also is interested in playing college sports. Of course, I'll also be weaving in tidbits from our homeschooling day since the two go hand in hand.

I'm Mary Nunaley and I've been homeschooling for 14 years. Our homeschooling adventure began when my now 22 year old daughter came home from drama camp and made the announcement that she wanted to homeschool. I was pretty surprised and we agreed to do a trial run over the summer to see if we could actually survive each other. It worked and she graduated as a homeschooled high schooler 4 years ago. She's currently in cosmetology school and following her passion. After homeschooling her, the idea of "regular" school never even crossed my mind for my son, Amadeus.

Homeschooling the kids has always been a bit of a juggling act as I'm also a single parent and have been since my son was tiny. Luckily, in the early years I had the help of a supportive dad and sister and a wonderful loving babysitter who treated my kids as her own. As they grew older, I changed jobs from working in the Hotel Business to teaching at a community college so I would have more time and flexibility to be with them. It all has worked out well.

Our homeschooling style has always been pretty eclectic, at least until high school age - then it's gotten a little more serious as I've had to look at academic requirements, especially for my son who wants to play college tennis. My first piece of advise for anyone who has a homeschooled student considering playing college sports is to check the NCAA website for the academic course requirements. You don't want to miss anything.

A typical day in the life at our house has Amadeus working on his coursework when he wakes up around 10 a.m.- this year he's working on AP World History, World Literature, Biology, Geometry (plus finishing up some algebra). He practices tennis during the fall/winter 2-3 hours a day- when I get home from work and we make the nearly 90 minute drive to where he trains. Weekends are typically spent listening to podcasts or audio books as we travel around the south to a variety of tournaments. My daughter pitches in quite a bit when she's not a work or school and our 5 cats have a way of keeping us on our toes!

I'll be posting more next month about traveling with a junior athelete and how we incorporate educational sidetrips into tennis weekends and I'll also start looking at some of the requirements for playing college sports. If you're interested in following our tennis adventures, feel free to check out our blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Day In The Life of the Collins Family!

Say hello to the Collins Family:

What state do you live in?
We live in beautiful East Tennessee. We live in a wonderful area with lakes and parks and even a fort! We're also within driving distance of two great Aquariums, a zoo, and, best of all, the Great Smoky Mountains. All of this nature gives us ample opportunity to explore the out of doors which is something we love to do.

How long have you homeschooled?
We are now in our 7th year of homeschooling and I have to say, time really does go by quickly!

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
We are blessed to have 3 wonderful children. Miranda is 11 and in 6th grade; Levi will be 9 on the 21st of this month and is in 3rd grade and Maya just turned 7 and is a 1st grader.

Do you have any special needs children?
Not really as most would classify a special needs child, but, Levi does have a form of childhood epilepsy. His E.E.G.'s have shown that he has almost constant seizure activity on his brain but his medication does control the actual seizures quite well. Because of this, Levi has problems sometimes with short term memory. I have personalized his curriculum and the method I use to school him and he is truly thriving! I have seen so much progress, especially in this school year.

What is a typical schedule for you?
First, I always get up before the children. I can't say enough about how much that helps me to function in the mornings! I try to be up between 7-7:30. During this time I:
1. Get dressed.
2. Have breakfast.
3. Read my Bible and work on my Sunday School lesson.
4. Check e-mail and work on my blog if I have a post to put up.
The children begin getting up around 8:30 and I prepare a quick breakfast for them then we get chores done before school begins at 9:30. We school from 9:30-2:00 then the children have free time for handicrafts, music, extra arts and crafts projects, puzzles, legos, etc. They stay pretty busy.
We eat dinner early, around 4:00-4:30 because we often have things scheduled in the evening. Our children are active and athletic, so they often have practices or games in the evenings. Also, we have church services on Wednesday night, including our Master Clubs program.

How do you handle teaching older kids with toddlers underfoot?

Well, I no longer have toddlers but when I did, I would try to have activities for them to do that would hold their attention for at least a few minutes at a time. I bought boxes with lids and stored different things in there for them to play with during school time. We made math "counters" out of washed milk lids that we would stick stickers onto; I would add in colored craft sticks, wooden blocks, craft foam, and when they were old enough, safety scissors. By changing out the supplies in the box every other day or so, it kept them entertained for a while.

Do you plan to homeschool through high school? Why or why not?
Absolutely! As long as God blesses us to do it, I can not imagine investing all of this time and energy in the early and middle school years then sending them off to high school somewhere. I truly believe that I will be able to give them an excellent education throughout their school years and I admire those who have already had that honor.

What curriculum do you use and why?
I always put together my own curriculum plan because I want to give each one of my children a specialized and unique education. My three children have different learning modalities and styles and what works for one child does not necessarily work for the other two. This does not always make things simple for me but I want to feel like I am giving each of them a uniquely suited education for their needs.

One of my all time favorite curriculums is Mystery of History. Miranda and I began volume 1 when she started fourth grade and it took us a year and a half to complete it. We did a lot of the activities and dug pretty deeply in the suggested readings. We're now making pretty quick progress through Volume 2 and I am going to begin Volume 1 with my other two children in January. So, I will be in two different history cycles at one time but that does not bother me.
We are also beginning a chemistry unit in January and I will be using God's Design for Chemistry as my spine. I have read that book cover to cover and it is excellent!! It is very important to me that my history and science "spines" be God honoring and I am very happy with these choices.

Other curriculum that we use include: A Beka Math 6, 3, and 2; Prima Latina and Latina Christiana 1; Galloping the Globe; Learning Language Arts through Literature-we're currently using the Tan and the Red; we've also used the Orange and the Purple. I've used Beautiful Feet Early American History with all of my children and highly recommend that curriculum. I am going to begin Primary Language Lessons with Levi in January.

Are you involved with a homeschool group? Why or why not?
Yes. I am a member of Roane County Home Education Association (RCHEA). Homeschooling is thriving in our county and I am very glad to be a part of it.

Tell us about your typical day.
We begin our school day at 9:30. This is considered late by some standards but I like to get things tidied up in the house so I can be more relaxed when I'm teaching.
Levi will sometimes begin at 9:00 which is great because he needs more one on one time than the girls.

We all congregate in the schoolroom and work on Bible, copywork, language arts, and math before lunch. After lunch we tackle history, geography,Latin, science, music, and art. We cover a lot of subjects but for my children this really keeps the day fresh. We keep the lessons fairly short, Charlotte Mason style, and are typically finished by 2:00. My children love to have hands-on-learning and will often continue something they have started earlier in the day. I will then have a cup of tea or coffee and do dinner prep. I use my crock-pot often and I can't begin to stress how much that helps me get dinner on the table in a timely manner! After any activities for the evening, we have baths and Bible time as a family. Currently we're using Keys for Kids. In the past we've used Character Building for Families (we went through that book twice) and it was great.
Collins Family Blog: Living Water Christian Academy

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