The Secret To Improved Retention May Be At Their Fingertips

Before we started using living books and narration, I was entirely opposed to letting our kids pursue their personal interests while I was trying to teach. I thought that whatever was in their hands would surely distract them from the lesson. Narration gave me the opportunity to test my hypothesis about multitasking during school, and for most of our kids, it turned out to be incorrect. Four of our kids assimilate more when they do

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The First And Last Prayers Of Continental Congress

The kids are I are reading Profiles of Valor: Character Studies from the War of Independence by Marilyn Boyer and Grace Tumas as part of our Morning Basket Time. (I’m planning to write a full review of this book when we are finished, but suffice it to say, this gem is quickly becoming one of our favorite living history books of all time.)  A few weeks ago, we finished Chapter 5, which told the story

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How Do We Teach Our Children What Truth Is?

In a world where you can find data to support any narrative, where one ideology is perpetuated by mainstream media and the other is censored, where committees have been appointed to rewrite history, and where very few take the time to give both sides of a story fair consideration, how do we teach our children what truth is?   One religion states there is no absolute truth, and determines what is right or wrong by

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A Better Rhythm: Changing Routines For a Smoother Day

I am not a morning person, but one of our children most definitely is. (I used to be a morning person, but I suspect 7 pregnancies in 9 years may have had something to do with that change.) Regrettably, I’ve wasted much time lamenting lack of sleep. I had convinced myself I needed a tight 8 hours to get through the day, and often rolled out of bed grumpy when I didn’t get it. Truth

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The Art of Paper Quilling | Handicraft Spotlight

The art of paper quilling  was introduced to me when I was about 10 years old. My Mom had received a little thank you card from someone with a single quilled flower on the front. We had never seen anything like it before, and she kept the card tucked into the frame of her bedroom mirror above her dresser.  I remember looking at it every day and wishing I knew how to make something just

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Living Book List

At long last, I’ve compiled a Living Book List that reflects our family’s personal favorite stories! This list contains nearly 250 titles on a wide range of interests, and it will continue to grow as we discover more great literary works and add them to our personal library.   (I am always open to recommendations!) This Living Book List has been the most requested post by readers, and while it’s not complete (no living book list

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Is Your Phone Spying On You?

Is your phone spying on you?   I really didn’t want the answer to this question to be in the affirmative, because if it was, I would have to make a painful decision.   Like all unpleasant things in life, refusal to acknowledge reality doesn’t make things any less true; it merely prolongs the uncomfortable task of shutting it out. Delaying a decision is a decision.    I learned last week that Instagram, WhatsApp, and all

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Homeschooling As An Extension Of Parenting

This was not how the last day of school before Christmas break was supposed to go.  It wasn’t that the work itself was particularly challenging (except for when one child forgot how to borrow while subtracting). It wasn’t that we spent 15 minutes looking for a book that got lost yesterday (which we still have not found).   Perhaps the anticipated lockdown of our city this afternoon, coupled with impending dental appointments, and unchecked hormones factored

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An Object Lesson On Socialism For Kids

My husband gave us an object lesson on socialism, human nature, and property ownership at breakfast the other day that seemed to have a great impact on the kids, so I thought I’d share it here. What you will need To do this with your own children, you may wish to use: a bag of real or faux coins, marshmallows will work well as currency for kids young enough to place more value on sugar

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Homeschooling: An Education For Imperfect Parents

Sometimes, I hesitate to write about Charlotte Mason and how her philosophy of education has changed the way we homeschool because, as much as I love learning from her, I am only confident of this: that I execute her ideas ever so imperfectly. When friends ask me about CM, I usually direct them to women, books, or websites which are much better versed in it and have years of experience to back up their counsel.

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Morning Basket: Teaching Multiples Ages At Once

This is our first year implementing the Morning Basket in our homeschool, after being introduced to the concept by a dear friend, and it has been such a delightful, useful tool in teaching multiple ages at once! Morning Basket has taken so much stress out of juggling multiple grades, saved an immense amount of time, and has helped our whole family become engaged with the same ideas and stories, resulting in more meaningful conversations to

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11 Easy Christmas Crafts For Under $5

One of my favorite things to do with the kids is learning how to use what we have to make beautiful things! Limiting how much we spend on decor and craft supplies teaches us how to be creative and resourceful, and the results are doubly satisfying!  Here are 11 Christmas crafts for under $5 that we enjoyed making this year!  1. Stocking Ladder My husband made this for me by gluing and brad nailing two

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6 Ways To Help Children Find Delight In The Outdoors

The other day, another Mom asked if there were any specific ways, books, or other resources available to encourage outdoor exploration. In other words, how do you help your children find delight in the outdoors? Truth be told, I cannot remember a time in my life where I didn’t love being outside (except when it’s twenty-five degrees below zero!), but not everyone is wired the same way, and I’ve also spent time struggling to encourage

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A Place For Textbooks In Charlotte Mason Education

I loved the idea of using living books to teach our children about the world, but I could not comprehend a complete education without the use of textbooks at all! This was another misconception I had about Charlotte Mason education – that children weren’t supposed to use any sort of textbook whatsoever – and it seemed to my uninformed mind, that subjects like Math and Spelling would be left with gaping holes, should textbooks be

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4 Suggestions For Weaning Children Off Literary Junk Food

As I began to see the value in using whole, or living books to teach our children about the world, I became concerned with how to go about changing their literary diet without turning them off of this new, healthier feast altogether. Was it cruel to just get rid of all the “fluff” I had allowed to accumulate in the house? The idea that they would voluntarily pick up a book like Caddie Woodlawn over

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What Is A Living Book? 6 Characteristics Of Great Literature

What Is A Living Book? Defining a living book is not as simple as it may seem. Although most living books share the same characteristics, what may turn out to be a living book for one child, may not be so for another. Charlotte emphasized that the book must be enjoyed to be effective. 1. Living Books Must Be Enjoyed “So much for the right books; the right use of them is another matter. The children

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Living Education Book Selections For Year 6

It’s been a few years since I’ve shared our curriculum choices; partly because of my own insecurities (anyone else get plagued with self-doubt, unsure if you’re “covering all the bases,” doing too much, or too little?), partly because the comparison trap is real, and I don’t want to be responsible for laying one that someone else falls into, and partly because the beauty of homeschooling is that it’s so individualized! What works for one child may

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Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

One of my best memories as a child was celebrating a birthday with an outdoor scavenger hunt! I remember pairing off friends into two teams, scavenging all around 88 acres with a bag in hand, in search of all the things on the list! My grandparents’ property had a creek, valley, field, and forest, so the array of material we could collect was vast! Whether a person won or not made no difference in how

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What Is Homesteading?

“What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Homesteading’?” What is Homesteading?! That’s the question I asked on our Facebook page the other day. The answers ranged from: “Little House on the Prairie,”  to “Self sustainable. Living off the land. Growing and raising and processing your own foods. Little to no waste. Teaching and raising children in it as well. A family ordeal.”  What Is Homesteading? Homesteading will mean different things to different people. 

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5 Things Second Generation Homeschoolers Need From The First

Second generation homeschoolers have the tremendous privilege of following in the footsteps of those who paved the road before us. We have easy access to a storehouse of wisdom and experience because, as most new home educating parents will testify, the homeschooling pioneers of our day are among the most kind, warm, loving, passionate teachers in the world, and their desire to leave a multi-generational legacy of Christian families who desire to live according to

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101 Productive Things To Do At Home With Your Kids

Looking for some fun, screen-free, productive things to do at home with your kids? We had a blast coming up with 101 different ideas! Whether you’re forced to stay inside, or you just don’t feel like going anywhere, there’s no reason to be bored! Here are 101 productive things to do at home with your kids! 101 Productive Things To Do At Home  Write a letter to a Senior friend in cursive and mail it.

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Help! I Want To Do Trim Healthy Mama, But I’m Overwhelmed!

Lately, I’ve been receiving some exciting emails and messages. They all sound similar to this: Help! I want to do Trim Healthy Mama, but I’m overwhelmed! Can you help me understand it? How is this exciting? It tells me that people are taking their health seriously! It’s a wonderful thing when people begin to treat their bodies as the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells! From eternity, the Lord has all of our days

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Free Farmhouse Table Plan

We outgrew our little golden oak table when Baby #4 arrived. I dreamed of having a long farmhouse table that could seat a large family and still have ample room to accommodate guests, but buying one new was so expensive! We didn’t need chairs (ours were still in good condition), just a table and a bench. Walking through the lumber department in Home Depot one day (my idea of fun!), I noticed that the 4×4″

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How To Incorporate Bulbs Into Your Landscape

I don’t think there is a more perfect way to usher in Spring than through the brightly colored petals and beautiful fragrance of bulbous flowers. Crocuses, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are a wonderful addition to any garden.  They make gorgeous bouquets to enjoy inside and brighten up a yard when most other plants are still awakening. Going for early Spring walks in our subdivision has inspired me to duplicate some of the creative bulb plantings I’ve

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How To Make Beeswax Candles

I love burning a candle when Brad and I are working in together in the living room after the kids have gone to bed! It’s amazing to me how a small, flickering flame can create such a gezellig atmosphere. (‘Gezellig’ – pronounced -heh-SELL-ick’ – is an all-encompassing Dutch word for pleasant, comfortable, cozy, relaxing, sociable, etc. There really is no literal translation for it!) The kids love the cozy factor a flickering flame creates on a cold

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Minimalist Wardrobe For A Large Family

Managing clothing in a large family is one of the most challenging aspects to Large Family Minimalism, especially if you have young children that haven’t finished growing yet! My attempt to create a minimalist wardrobe for our family of 8 started 3 years ago. Surrounded by four loads of laundry that needed to be folded one day, I thought to myself, “There is no way a family of eight needs this many clothes!“ There were

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