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What Raising Animals Can Teach Your Kids

Raising Animals Can Teach your KidsAll of our children have raised animals.  Because our kids don’t have to rush off to catch the bus every morning, they have had the primary responsibility for their animals.  We have had cows, sheep, and pigs, but these principles would apply to any animals your child might want to raise, large or small. 

Communication Skills

Raising livestock is not something my husband and I grew up doing, so our children have had to find mentors to learn about proper animal management.  They have developed the skills to listen, make notes, and, when they don’t understand something, ask questions.  After all, a living animal is counting on their knowledge and actions.  When one of their animals is sick, they have to be able to communicate their animal’s problem to the veterinarian. 


Being the primary caregiver for animals requires responsibility.  They have to make sure the animals have food and water every day and be ever watchful of their animal’s health.  Pens have to be cleaned regularly and supplies must be re-stocked.  When the kids were younger, we oversaw these jobs.  Now that they are older, they have accepted the responsibility with minimal adult oversight. 

Financial Skills

In order to know whether or not their animal project is financially successful, they have been required to keep accurate financial records.  They record all of their expenses by date and category as well as any income from their operation.  This has helped them as they have gotten older and been required to handle their own money.

I am sure they could have developed these skills without raising animals.  But, with animals, they didn’t even realize they were learning.  They were just having fun taking care of their “pets”.  I think having fun is the best way to learn something!  If your children are clamoring for a puppy or a gerbil, getting one could turn out to be an educational experience for them.

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The 12 Days of a Generous Homeschool Christmas

The 12 Days of a Generous Homeschool ChristmasChristmas brings out the generosity in most of us.  We want to help others that are in need, but on a limited budget, that can be difficult, but it is not impossible.  Here are twelve ways you and your family can be generous in your community without spending any extra money this holiday season.

Day 1: Do a random act of kindness for a stranger.  If you are on the lookout for opportunities, you will find them.  While you are at it, do one for a family member also! 

Day 2: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

Day 3: Scoop snow off a neighbor’s driveway without them seeing you.

Day 4: Gather some friends and go caroling at a nursing home.

Day 5: Help an elderly friend address their Christmas cards.

Day 6: Donate neglected toys to children slightly younger than yours.

Day 7: Visit an elderly couple from your church and take them artwork from your children. 

Day 8:  Volunteer to babysit for another family.

Day 9: Gather your out-grown coats, hats, and mittens and donate to a local shelter.

Day 10: Walk dogs at an animal shelter.

Day 11:  Compliment 3 store clerks and wish them a Merry Christmas!

Day 12:  Stuff envelopes for a local charity.  Many of them send out Christmas cards and need help with their mailings.

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What Classes Should My High Schooler Take?

What Classes Should My HIgh Schooler Take?

What Classes Should My High Schooler Take?

Most likely, if you are making time in your life to homeschool your children, you are doing so because you want them to have the best possible education.  But, the challenges of providing that education seem to increase dramatically as they enter into their high school years.  How can you know what classes they should take and what subjects are important; subjects that not only satisfy current interests but to also pave the way for a better future?

I don’t believe every child should go to college.  There are many career opportunities out there that don’t require a college degree.  Your child’s interests and life goals should guide that decision.  As you probably can guess, many high schoolers don’t have a firm grasp of what they want in life. Because of this uncertainty, I have tried to give my homeschooled children an education that would allow them to enter college if they choose to do so at some point in their life. But I also incorporated subject materials that would help them if they chose not to enter college.

In order to choose what classes I needed to include in the high school years, I had to do some research.  First, I researched our state’s department of education graduation requirements and made a list of what was required for high school graduation from my state.  The laws in my state don’t require homeschoolers to follow that list, but I didn’t want that to be a stumbling block for them at any point down the road; our state’s list isn’t too difficult to accomplish. This completed the minimum list of classes for the child that doesn’t think he/she wants to go to college. But additional classes may be added depending on the child’s interests. For the college-bound child, the list of basic classes may be longer.

My research for the college-bound was the admissions section of college websites.  I chose several local state colleges and a few private schools to research.  It is easy to find the admission requirements on most of their websites.  I wrote down what was required by them to be admitted and added that to the state list and had a good starting point for what classes our school would require.  I also added to this list a few classes I thought were important, such as accounting.

After that, our class choices have been interest-based.  I have one child that loves animals and biology, so a lot of her electives were science-based.  She took Marine Biology, Advanced Biology, and Genetics.  Early on in her high school years, another of mine was especially interested in the arts.  She took watercolor painting and photography before deciding her interests were also more science-based.

Homeschooling high school is a bit of a challenge, but class selection doesn’t need to be complicated.  If you follow your state’s guidelines, college admissions requirements, and your student’s interests, it can be easy to choose their classes. It is just four years. You will share in the joy of the accomplishment at graduation.

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Studying Current Events

Studying Current Events

As my kids have gotten older, we have incorporated currents events into their weekly schedules. A few times each week, they browse the news and write a short summary of an article that interests them. We have utilized a variety of news sources including children’s news sites, news magazines, and newspapers. I believe this has resulted in several benefits to them. [Read more…]

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Two Dawns in One Day?

Two Dawns

It seems like a title for a science fiction book, not a reality for us in the continental United States on August 21, 2017.  You are probably aware of the total solar eclipse that will occur across the contiguous United States in just a few days; on August 21, 2017.  My family lives in the viewing area, so if the weather cooperates, we should be able to see the eclipse.  Planning for this event has me thinking about times in the Bible where abnormal celestial events are recorded. 

In Joshua, chapter 10, Joshua prayed in the presence of Israel, asking for the sun and the moon to stand still.  And it did!  The sun stopped for a full day.  In 2 Kings, chapter 20, Isaiah prayed to the LORD, asking the sun’s shadow to go back ten steps as a sign to Hezekiah and it was done. 

The sun and the moon are mentioned many other places in the Bible.  A quick search on a topical Bible website will reveal several other mentions of the sun and moon.  (These might be good copy-work practice for the week surrounding the upcoming eclipse!) 

Perhaps the most well-known reference is during Jesus’ crucifixion.  The land was dark for three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion.  This long period of darkness, recorded by Biblical and other historians cannot be explained away as being a solar eclipse.  Because it was Passover, we know the moon was full.  We also know a solar eclipse cannot happen during a full moon.

The excitement surrounding a total solar eclipse is something your children will remember for the rest of their lives.  You can use this event as a teaching opportunity to help cement some fascinating Bible stories in their memories.

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4 Reasons to Do Fun School in the Summer

Fun School

Summer is a great time for parent educators to relax and regroup for the next school year, but should you be throwing a little bit of fun schooling into your summer mix?  Here’s four reasons you might want to do so.

  • Keep your kids in the practice of doing school:  In the fall, some kids have a difficult time getting back into the swing of doing school.  If you do some school throughout the summer, it is more likely kids will remember how to sit down and work.
  • Keep your kids out of trouble:  During the school year, your students had many activities plus their school work, which probably created a somewhat hectic schedule.  Now, during the summer, there might not be a lot of preplanned activities for them.  Yes, I believe kids should learn how to entertain themselves, but if they have to entertain themselves all day every day, you might not be too pleased with how they do so.  A little bit of fun school scattered throughout the week can help keep them occupied in a good way.
  • Help your kids remember what they learned: Three months is a long time, especially if you are trying to remember that last math concept taught in May.  Finding a fun way to review concepts throughout the summer can keep things fresh in your students’ minds so they are ready to jump back into difficult subjects in the fall.
  • Try different teaching methods:  You have, no doubt, read or heard about many different teaching methods.  Notebooking, unit studies, Charlotte Mason style, textbooks, and lapbooking are just a few.  Before you buy new curriculum for the fall, you might want to switch things up and try something new to see how you and your children like it. 

Every family is different and school in the summer might not make sense for everyone, but if your kids have trouble remembering their multiplication tables or have difficulties getting back into the swing of school in the fall, if they are bored and driving you crazy, or if you just want to try out a new teaching method, fun school in the summer might be the perfect thing for you!

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Not Now, I’m Busy

Not Now, I'm Busy

“Not now, Tommy, I’m busy.”  “I can’t play, Mommy is on the computer.”  “Go look at a book, I am on the phone.”  I can’t even begin to imagine how many times I have said something like that to my children because I thought I was too busy.  Sometimes, I really am busy doing a task that needs to be completed.  Bills must be paid, dinner must be fixed, and so on.  But probably much more frequently, what I am doing is really not that important.   Certainly not as important as responding to my child’s plea for attention.  Here are a few ways to answer that plea from your child.  [Read more…]

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Three Reasons Homeschoolers Should Do Their Best on the SAT / ACT Tests

3 Reasons for Homeschoolers to do their Best on the ACT / SAT Tests

You are probably aware that if your child wants to attend college, his or her score on the SAT or ACT tests is important.  Perhaps these scores are even more important for homeschoolers than for their traditionally schooled peers.  Here are 3 reasons why. [Read more…]

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Do You Have the Patience to Homeschool?

Do You Have the Patience to Homeschool?

Probably the most common response I hear when someone learns that I homeschool is, “Oh, I could never do that, I don’t have the patience. I am never quite sure how to respond to this because I really have very. little. patience. When things don’t start on time, I am continually looking at my watch and thinking, “come on, let’s get started…”. Waiting at the license bureau, doctor’s office, or really anywhere else really causes me to get quickly irritated, especially if someone butts the line. But, somehow I have managed to homeschool for the past 14 years. So, how do I do it? [Read more…]

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New Year’s Homeschool Resolutions

Homeschool Resolutions

The practice of setting New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians, who promised to their pagan gods to return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  Later, Christians would reflect on their previous mistakes and resolve to do better the coming year in watchnight services held on New Year’s Eve.  In the modern world, people make resolutions concerning everything from their health to finances to housework.  But what about homeschooling?  Should we make resolutions about improvements we can make in our homeschool?  I can’t say whether or not you should make any resolutions, but if I was going to make some, here’s what they might be. [Read more…]