Growing Up

Simple PAL Learning

I am convinced some of the objections parents and teachers have with unpopular programs is one thing: TIME! The time it takes to prepare, to teach, to review – to check all the boxes, can be overwhelming. When the fact that other things have to be done in the day (like other learning, chores, eating, sleeping, etc.) is added in, the overwhelm increases. We cannot spend hours of our time (nor our children’s time) in one subject. It just doesn’t work.

In the past 4 years of homeschooling, I have come to understand some of the choices I have made for curricula are unpopular. We have chosen a math curriculum considered anathema in some homeschooling circles. No matter. We are not swayed by popular opinion. We are committed to use what works for us.

One of the programs, which is also unpopular, is Primary Arts of Language from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. We have had immense success from it with two students and I LOVE it.

Admittedly, the time involved in preparing to teach Primary Arts of Language is immense. Before they even begin to teach it, parent-teachers start to question “Is all this work worth it?” Thus, programs such as Primary Arts of Language (PAL) get the label: “too much” and are abandoned for “easier” curricula.

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Growing Up

Simple Questions from Saxon Math

As we progress through Saxon Math’s lower elementary levels, I fall more in love with the simple process for teaching math it provides. As I have written before, I need the help Saxon offers. Not just help: I need a script!

Thankfully, Saxon provides the exact words to say and the exact questions to ask at each stage of each lesson. I marvel at the simple ways it teaches concepts – like fractions and division. I definitely would have benefited from the Saxon methods of incremental development and constant review had I known about it in my elementary years. In fact, I am learning things as I teach my kids that I would love to have known!

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Nest Building

Current Reads – July 2020

Years ago – in a former child-free existence – my husband and I had a book blog. We tended it faithfully for a time and then kids happened. We continued to read but writing about our reads simply disappeared. I miss it.

In our book blog, I had a place to put my thoughts about books. I had a place to simply document the reading of words.

So, I thought I would remedy this by noting my current reads here on the blog. I assume sometimes the reviews will get long, as they did on the original book blog. But at least I will have a space to document the reading of words.

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Devotion

A Simple Word: Hard

This entry is part 24 of 24 in the series Homeschool

I was talking with some homeschool mama friends the other day about starting homeschool. This year is the year of “considering homeschool” it seems. I mentioned the difficulty with forming a homeschool routine – with finding the routine that works for us.

For us, it took TWO and a HALF years to find our “Homeschool Normal.” I always considered this was too much. I discouraged myself by thinking I must have over-complicated it. And I assuaged myself with the remembrance that we had tiny people to look after when we started…and I got pregnant in the middle of our first year.

It turns out: almost all the moms said it took them at least a couple of years to settle into their homeschools – to figure out routines and feel comfortable.

I say that to say this: if this is your first year homeschooling and you are floundering, if the dishes in the sink from three days ago are almost as stinky as your 2nd grader’s attitude, if you “forgot” to do math last month, if you looked on your favorite homeschool blog’s Instagram and discovered you aren’t measuring up, you are NOT ALONE!

We are all in some state of frustration, floundering around in the vast homeschool ocean, searching for some sort of anchor, or boat, or life raft…something!

Here’s a bit of hope for you today:

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Growing Up

Saxon Math 5/4 Prep

This entry is part 23 of 24 in the series Homeschool

This will be our fifth year of homeschooling, our fourth year of teaching Saxon Math. And, I have a little secret. Pssst….I LOVE SAXON MATH! Not a highly popular opinion to those looking for something more fun for their students. But having taught three levels of Saxon Math successfully, I marvel at the easy method of helping a student to make connections for herself. I only wish I had been taught using the Saxon method in my grade school days!

A have another little secret. Pssst….I LOVE SAXON MATH PREP! Ahem…well, once I figured out how to prep for it, then I loved it.

Having solved the prep problem for the first three years of Saxon Math, I am taking on the challenge of prep for Saxon Math 5/4. To which you may be wondering: Isn’t 5/4 supposed to be more independent? Aren’t we just supposed to tuck the textbook and the worksheets book into our elementary student’s hands and stand back, hand extended to receive the completed and perfect work of our star student?

Not a question.

Not a struggle.

Just lock and load and off you go.

I don’t know if my student is ready for that.

I don’t know if I am ready for that.

Here are the two reasons I am prepping Saxon Math 5/4 for my 4th grader:

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Growing Up

Pennies from Heaven: Homeschool Savings

This entry is part 22 of 24 in the series Homeschool

Homeschooling can get expensive fast! The options out there for curricula are endless. The temptation for purchasing all.the.things. is real! This is not a post about which curricula to choose (although I will offer some suggestions). Rather, this post is about saving money on whatever curricula you settle on.

The suggestions I offer are, as always, super simple. So you may have thought of them before. But maybe there is some small blessing in here you can pass onto another. Let’s get started.

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