Category Archives: Homeschooling

Homeschool Basics by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Do you long to homeschool with joy, simplicity, and success? Finally, all the best tried-and-true homeschool advice you’ve been looking for in one amazing book. With more than thirty years of combined experience, homeschooling moms Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover provide thoughtful and practical advice on how to get started and stay the course in your home-school journey. But they don’t stop there. In this book, Tricia and Kristi unpack tons of great tools that will help you take unnecessary pressure off yourself so you can focus on what is truly important. (Hint: It’s not academics!) Homeschool Basics will remind you that the best type of homeschooling starts with the heart. You’ll find ideas to help you push your fears to the side and raise kids who will grow to be life-long learners and who have a positive impact on God’s kingdom. Tricia and Kristi believe that homeschooling can transform your life, your home, and your family.

My Review:

Do you ever read a book and wish that you were just having a visit over tea and cookies with another homeschool mom instead of reading this book?
This book is the answer to that. Tricia and Kristi have laid out the basics and nitty gritty of homeschooling for you. It is simple, straight forward and written in a conversational manner. It is not done in a way that you will be lost or even feel overwhelmed.

Each chapter and topic is covered throughly, by veteran moms that are doing this still and one of them has grown children that are successful in life. Are you looking for a book where you feel the woman is telling you impossible tasks to achieve and that you have ruined your child if you are not reading to them aloud at least 3 hours daily along with lessons in Greek and latin? This is not that.

This is more, a friendly chat over tea, from moms who know. Pick it up today if you want to homeschool. It will be worth it!

Homeschool Basics by Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover 

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Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Book Description

Bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Dale Partridge provides a concrete, easily executed plan for readers looking to start a business that will result in greater freedom, a stronger family, and healthier finances.

Dale Partridge, bestselling author and founder of StartupCamp.com and many other highly successful businesses, has helped thousands of people launch new startup businesses—and find unimaginable freedom in the process—through his highly acclaimed Startup Camp program. In Launch Your Dream, Partridge distills the essence of that course into a hyper-practical, 30-day journey for readers looking to follow their passions and realize their dreams. In clear, easily grasped steps, he teaches readers how to hone their ideas, build an audience, construct an online presence, launch a business, master social media, craft a beautiful brand, and create experiences that keep customers from ever considering competitors. Sharing time-saving “smartcuts” to make readers more efficient, Partridge also helps them identify and resolve business-killing blind spots.

For anyone looking simply to make money on the side or seeking to become a millionaire, for the CEO or the stay-at-home mom, for the would-be entrepreneur or the freelancer, Launch Your Dream provides the steps necessary to begin living your dream in just 30 days.

My Review:

I was encouraged as I picked up this book, at how simply it was laid out for the dreamer seeking to launch a business. As a newer business owner, I really appreciated that. I did not do all the steps as of yet, but as I read, I realized how encouraged I was to be on the right path!

Each chapter has the estimated time it would take you to read it, as well as an assignment to complete the task explained in the chapter. It is concise and would be excellent for young high school students wishing to launch their dream in an organized manner.

When I finished this book, I purchased a copy of “People over Profit”  on audio, for my son and I to listen to.

I would highly recommend this book to new business owners, those unfamiliar with social media marketing and anyone that is just starting up or needs a fresh start in their business. It has excellent tips and goals to achieve.

I obtained this book through BookLook Bloggers. The opinions contained herein are my own.

To purchase your own copy, Amazon sells it as well as other retailers. “Launch your Dream”

I felt this book did an excellent job of practical advice towards launching your dream beyond the basics. Pick on up today! This one is also available on audio!

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Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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Description

My Review: 
I love Lynn Austin’s books. This one is not a race to the story kind of novel, but a slow build up to the fever pitch that dies down and then revs up again.

The story is written in a different style than some of her books, giving it to you in pieces, leaving you wanting in some areas as you travel through the pages and travel the globe with the two sisters. It is not a romance, even though there is mention of romantic attachments in the novel, but it is more the story of discovery. It would be excellent to go along with a homeschool study of Ancient history and world history.

The book is available for preorder on Amazon!
I obtained this book through NetGalley. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Starting Your Homeschooling Journey

Starting your Homeschooling Journey

By Martha Artyomenko

Welcome to the road that is wrought with decisions and emotions! You are now your child’s teacher full time. This means, if you bring in outside teachers, you are responsible for that decision as well.  I wrote this post for our state, but much of this applies for any state.

 

Find the why for your family/child:

Why do you think you should homeschool?

Are you homeschooling because that is what best for your child or are you doing it because it is what you think you should do?

When you find the reason for you, it gives you something to come back to on the hard days. It can help you when you are evaluating and seeing if this is the place you should be for your child’s education.

Laws-

  1. File a notice of intent to homeschool. 
  2. Keep attendance and immunization records. 
  3. Provide the required hours of instruction. 
  4. Teach the required subjects. 
  5. Follow health and safety regulations. 

https://www.hslda.org/hs101/MT.aspx

 

Graduation Requirements

http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/ruleno.asp?RN=10.55.905

 

 

Curriculum:

 

Choosing curriculum is a very personal decision. Be sure to not choose it because someone else did. There is a lot out there and it can be overwhelming. One thing to do when you are first starting out, is to keep it simple.

 

Math

Language Arts (English, spelling, vocabulary, reading)

Science

History

Art

Music

Literature

P.E.

Don’t get multiple things for the same subject. Trust that one will do the job. There are some that will cover more than one as well.

Work to discover things about your children. How do they learn? What makes their brain get excited? Remember, it is only as boring as you think it is. If you are excited, they can be.

 

 

http://rainbowresource.com

 

https://www.christianbook.com

 

http://www.timberdoodle.com

 

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/

 

 

 

Organization

I love this planner as you can buy once and then print as you need. It is cheap and easy to use.

Life as a Mom Planners 

https://kristiclover.com

 

Checking out resources like Pinterest and googling your curriculum to see how others organize it.

 

Think outside the box beyond desks. Some children learn better with movement and need an exercise ball, wobble seats or even working on the floor to learn the best.

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What does a normal day look like?

Everyone’s days will look different. This blog has a lot of “Day in the Life of” posts, which are really helpful when determining what you want your school days to look like.

 

http://simplehomeschool.net

 

 

Getting involved and finding support:

 

(Local Resources)

Support groups at Cornerstone

Local Facebook and Yahoo Groups

Curriculum based FB/yahoo groups

Field trips

Sports

Monthly Activities

Co-ops

 

 

Common Mistakes

What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?

Believing that you have to use a complete boxed curriculum

 

Doing way too much

Doing too little

Comparing yourself to blog posts, FB posts, other families etc. Comparison will always bring you up short. Remember the “Grass is always greener” saying.

 

Not taking advantage of your children’s learning style and gifts

Trying to recreate school at home straight across the board. If that is how they learn, that is great. Otherwise, you can miss out on the advantages of homeschooling.

Forgetting why you are homeschooling

Isolating yourself and not reaching out for help in the community

Remind yourself that what works for you may not be what works for someone else. You need to do what is best for you and your child, not someone else.  But in that, remember the caveat that this is about educating your child. Evaluate if you are doing that well and keep yourself accountable. If you are not able to do that, it might be time to look for an alternate way of educating.

 

Hard Days

 

There will be hard days. That does not mean you are a failure. It might mean you need to make it important to come to the support meetings. Get out there and share what you are struggling with. Someone else may have something that will help you or at least commiserate with you.

 

On hard days, realize you are not alone.

 

-Park Days

-Educational movies

-Field Trips

-Library Day

-Hands on activities

-Fresh Air

 

What are some ways you continue to educate through the hard days?

Read some good books

Here are some good titles of books that have helped me throughout the years. Everyone will have different ones they enjoy.

This is a new one that is excellent.

“Homeschool Basics” By Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover 

“Easy Homeschooling Techniques” By Lorraine Curry (I did not like everything in this book, but some parts of it were very helpful).

 

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Homeschooling. Getting started?

I was chatting with a friend today about getting started with homeschooling.

I was thinking of all the things that we tell people that want to start with homeschooling. You know, you start with the basics. The laws. The requirements. The curriculum.

What you don’t tell them is that often when you are 14 years into the journey or so, you sometimes feel like you are still just learning how to begin.

I haven’t been homeschooling that long compared to some moms that I know. But, since I am what is called a “Second Generation Homeschooler”, it feels a lot longer. Not only was I homeschooled, but I was an active participant in helping or teaching my siblings as well.

I think one of the best things I can say, is “You will mess up. You will spend all that money on a set of curriculum and sometimes it just does not fit with the way your child learns. Most days will not go as you plan. But the key here is that often you are homeschooling because it was what your child needed. If you are teaching him and educating, (I don’t mean the parents that claim to homeschool and really do nothing), you are doing what they need. It might not look like the pretty picture in your head, as your son is hanging upside down reciting his times tables. But keep it up.”

What is your mantra that you would tell someone that is beginning homeschooling?

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Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what–but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life.

My Review:

I was not sure how well I would enjoy this book as this time period has not always been my favorite. However, Angela Hunt did not fail me. She takes a time period that is often forgotten and brings it alive in a way that you want to read more about it. This book is not a “HEA” tale, but one of suffering, pain and turmoil, woven with the beauty of words.

I loved the midwifery angle that was put in the book as well, and struggled with the constant devotion to a friend that was not really a friend. In my own life, I have struggled with that, asking myself why I might stay loyal to a friend that has not returned the favor.

In this story of Cleopatra, it would be excellent for a student in high school to read. There is little to no romance in this book, but it does contain some harsher realities of the time period, but not in graphic detail.

This book was given to me for review by Bethany House. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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A Week away…

It is always fun to get away from home at times. I live a high stress life, which is not always enjoyable for me. But it is not really something that is going to change very soon, so I seek out ways to help me to cope in the middle of it.

Every summer, for the last four years, we volunteer at a beautiful camp in the middle of the mountains just outside East Glacier in Montana. It is rustic, by many people’s standards, but for me, it feels a little like going home.  It has the conveniences that I wish I had when we lived without electricity. The generator is set up to the run the camp when needed, but is only on for brief moments and about an hour in the evening.

I love technology, but I also hate it at the same time. My job and how I make money is linked to it, so I cannot live without it, but I love being away from it all.

When I do not have to work and have the stress of daily life pounding on me, I get a lot of reading done!

The view from the cabin. We were up near the tree line, so most of the mountains were below us as well.

20155979_10210246747664929_5164266823872110304_n.jpg20229112_10210246747224918_4438296154974285741_n.jpgMy little bedroom set up and ready for reading and napping.

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One of the daily skits! 20228257_10210246746704905_2272606574586338845_n.jpgEach cabin put on a skit as well..

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Singing time is always exuberant! 20246468_10210246742184792_3497062737534175458_n.jpg

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One of the many meals we prepared! 20229288_10210246740904760_2541237538891886057_n.jpg

 

20245756_10210246741064764_599955545030869020_n.jpgSaying goodbye to the last camper before we headed out of camp!

If you ever want a great camp experience or volunteer experience, this is a good one!

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Finally Focused by James Greenblatt M.D.

 

 

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

 

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About the book:

Dr. James Greenblatt has seen thousands of children and adults struggling with the symptoms of ADHD – hyperactivity, inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and often irritability and combativeness. Rather than simply prescribing medication for their ADHD symptoms, he tailors remedies to his patients’ individual needs, detecting and treating the underlying causes of the disorder.

Finally Focused provides proven natural and medical methods to easily treat problems such as nutritional deficiencies or excesses, dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance inside the body), sleeping difficulties, and food allergies, all of which surprisingly can cause or worsen the symptoms of ADHD. Using Dr. Greenblatt’s effective Plus-Minus Healing Plan, parents will first understand the reasons behind their child’s symptoms, and then be able to eliminate them by addressing the child’s unique pattern of biological weakness. Adults with ADHD can do the same for themselves. And if conventional medication is still necessary, this integrative approach will minimize or even eliminate troublesome side effects. Using Dr. Greenblatt’s expert advice, millions of children and adults with ADHD finally will get the help they need to achieve true wellness.

My Review:

I was very skeptical to read this book as I have read many, “Cure ADHD” books. This one was different. In each chapter it laid out specific and scientific reasons why certain vitamins, diets and medication help ADD and ADHD. I found a couple of things in opposition to advice given in other chapters, like the one chapter on going gluten free and then the other chapter focusing on making sure they had enough carbs and grains. The gluten free chapter seemed more faddish than science, but since it was just one chapter, I could overlook it.
I did order a box load of vitamins and have not been able to tell if it is helping or not, but I liked how he gave instructions for a time table, even when talking about cutting out foods, that if it has not changed at this point, it is not that causing the issue.

I would recommend this book to any parent with a child or an adult with ADD/ADHD.

This book is available for purchase wherever books are sold and Amazon. “Finally Focused” It also comes on audio.

I received this book for review from Blogging for Books. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Spring Fling Learning

Spring Fling Learning
By Martha Artyomenko
Spring brings its own challenges to learning, but learning to roll with it and take advantage can help keep the learning happening when everyone wants to be outside.
-Garden planning: Pull out those seed catalogs, botany books and science books and work on planning even a container garden if you live in town. Start plants in the windowsill, visit a nursery, and investigate what is starting to blossom outdoors.
-Go for a hike. Hiking can invigorate the mind, and you can find local herbs, plants, and even bones to identify.
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-Do math, reading, writing outside on the picnic table. Have snacks in the sunshine on a warmer day. Sometimes I would even take reading books to the park and we would read on the bench and then play for a bit.  Speak as to why fresh air invigorates the mind as you play outdoors. If when you get home, see if you can find a book that speaks to the benefits and writing a paragraph or journaling in a nature journal about their experience.
-Take a walk to the library. If you don’t live close enough, park a bit away and walk. Go and explore the educational set ups they have and learn what they offer. Get some new books on topics of spring, art or other interests. It can freshen up your learning.  Often libraries will offer classes on topics that can relate to your way of living as well.
-Go feed the ducks at the park. First research the diet that a duck or geese should eat and bring food accordingly. Talk about fungi and algae while observing (from a distance) the pond, and germs around there. It is a good place to see it in action.  Refer to nature or science books that you have read to get the full impact of merging science with reality.
-Tea party on the porch or in a sunny window while you read aloud. They can drink tea or even color while listening. Other times, we would build legos or work on handwriting.
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-Try some new ideas that are fresh for learning.  It might mean putting the books aside for a day and saying, “Let’s bake today. If we triple this recipe of Banana bread, how many loaves will we have?  How much butter will we need? Can we bake it all at once?”
Banana Bread (made with coconut sugar)
Yield: 2 loaves
3 c. flour (Whole wheat or white)
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
2 eggs
2 c. mashed ripe bananas
3/4 c. coconut sugar (or you can use regular white sugar)
1/2 c. cooking oil (I could have added more banana or applesauce for this, but I did not this time, if you wish to cut back and use fruit from your own garden, applesauce works well)
1 t. vanilla
Mash bananas well. Add dry ingredients and then rest of wet ingredients. Mix well. Divide between two baking loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes apx. at 350 degrees. Let cool before slicing. It was plenty sweet, and I would probably cut the coconut sugar back more if you do not mind it not as sweet.
Homemade Ice Cream can be another fun science in action treat to try. If you have an electric churn is is very simple, but a hand churned ice cream maker is even better. 
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-Audio history, science and fiction novels in the car. It keeps their brain churning even when not doing school.   
Here are a few of our favorites:
The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett (I especially liked this one when we were studying gardening as it brought the love for the earth, growing things and being outdoors to life).
These are just a few ideas for spring or summer learning for those that homeschool. It can add a fresh start to your homeschool day.

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The Power of Story

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What makes a story come alive? Is it the author? The genre? If the facts are true or false?

What is the power of story?

For me, the power of story is whether or not you can place yourself inside that story and live it. It doesn’t matter it is fiction or non-fiction, but the power of the author to draw you in and make you live it.

Were you there?

 

History is full of people’s stories. It is the story of the human race. We have long relegated it to textbooks, that detail the facts in a matter of fact way. But take those same facts, give the people a name, create a picture of the place they lived and we live it.

One of the most powerful tools in our possession is well-written, accurate historical fiction. Non-fiction is essential as well, but fiction has the power of story. It gives us the ability to place ourselves in the place of the main character and we live it with them. Instead of being told what someone else experienced, we live it.

We call this “Living History Books”. It is one of the most incredible tools at our disposal as homeschool parents and teachers. Schoolteachers have been using this for years, but over time, it took a lot of time and effort. When time is a commodity this often falls to the wayside. Historical fiction is used, but the textbooks replace it for the majority of the teaching.

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Hands-on learning is wonderful, but it takes times as well. For mothers that even are homeschooling, they find that they just don’t have the time to create that. Teachers in classrooms can do it somewhat, but then also, they run out of time to do it all the time.

The key here is they do not have to. They can give the students the tools to experience it themselves. If you give a child a stack of living books, historical fiction that makes the eras come alive to them, along with the history books, the biographies, and documentaries each one will be like they are living it themselves.

They will see themselves traveling the Oregon Trail with the Donner Party, because they have lived it with the Whitman’s, The Sager’s, and the Singing Boones. They know that some of them are fictional characters, but they also know who were the real ones. They feel like they walked through the desert, lacking water, their eyelids swelling, and feeling the taste of sand on their skin.

Their bodies know the pain that they suffered because they connected with a character, whom they lived and walked the trail with.

When the power of story is used in a positive way, it can give our children the heart to learn the stories of the past. When we teach our children the stories of the past, they will learn from it and want to prevent the suffering of the future.

So many times I have seen people, with good intentions scoff at the reading of historical fiction. They insist that too much of it will confuse the facts.

I have never found that while reading a fiction story, that I am confused about the facts. Instead, when I finish, I love reading the authors notes about what was real, where she researched, how he found this story, and what documents they went to while writing.

I end up finding myself researching the history, and looking for the tidbits on the trail of knowledge.

I remember after reading a book by Elizabeth Camden, Against the Tide, coming across an ad for syrup that was mentioned in the book. I ended up researching the facts told in the story. It was based on the facts of how orphans, in order to keep them docile, were given a cough and headache medicine commonly available at that time. What was not widely known was that it contained opium. It kept the orphans weak and docile, but also made them drug addicts. The story is well written and you see the other side of drug addiction, from an orphan, as she is grown.

Historical fiction, which is well written, teaches history in a way that no textbook alone can ever do.

Here are a couple of ways you can get the most out of your reading time for learning and loving history:

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  • Always check your facts.
  • Read several stories and opinions on the time period
  • Don’t isolate yourself to one author, explore several.
  • Certainly do not restrict yourself to encyclopedias and biographies. While a great way to learn, you need to live the story.
  • Find out the characters in the book were based on real people. Learn more about those people and how well the author did telling their story.
  • Talk to others about the story, the time period and explore if you can get them excited about it as well. If you can live the story and retell it to someone else, the book has done its job.

 
If you would like lists of books that are great historical fiction without worrying about content, check out my book list option links. I will send you lists of books that will meet your needs and help your students get excited about history.

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