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Love Wins

Somebody asked me over the weekend why I always sign my blog posts “Love wins.”  I thought it was pretty self-explanatory, but I guess it maybe isn’t.  It was not enough to explain to my friend that I wanted to end things, always, on a positive note.

“But what does it Mean?”

It means lots of things, and all of them are important.  Mostly, it is quite likely my biggest belief in life, quite possibly learned from my mother’s example of “Be sure your children know you love them and everything else will work out.”  Possibly it stems from my love of the common fairy tale, in which, every time, love wins.  Perhaps it is derived from my own life story, in which finding Martin and having a family with him has shown me the true power of love.

But what does that mean to me, love wins?  Some people believe good always wins.  Some people believe evil always wins.  Some people think there might be some kind of give and take, sometimes good triumphs and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s the other way around.  Some people believe it is light, or dark, or kindness, or cruelty that tends to win.  Even within different religions, these beliefs are held forth.  In my experience of watching the world–the universe–and how it works, I’ve come to a conclusion that I fully believe.  Love wins.  Every time.  Maybe not in the ways we hope it will, but it always wins.  It lifts us up, it makes us strive to be better, it softens blows, it carries us.  It generates kindness, compassion, empathy, understanding.  It is truly the most powerful force we have at our disposal.  There’s a reason the Bible tells us to love our neighbor and Confucius tells us, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”  When we love each other, we give everything we have to treating each other right.  We make sacrifices to see each other smile, however fleetingly.  What, I ask you, is more powerful than a smile?

High Quality Love Blank Meme Template

Well, love is. haha

“But what,” my friend asked, “does that have to do with homeschool?!”

Everything.

See, as I said in Friday’s post, none of the moms or dads I know who homeschool come at it from anywhere but a place of love.  I homeschool because my job on this planet–since I chose to have children–is to love them fiercely, raise them up to be productive, gentle, loving men, and make sure that while they are under my charge they are shown a world blown wide open with possibilities.  I don’t want them placed in a box where they have to live up to expectations or a reputation which might stymie their dreams and abilities.  When Martin and I decided to homeschool, we did so with all the love we carry in our souls.

When you, dear reader, decided to homeschool, you did so with all the love you carry in your soul.  So love won.  Again.  Always.  When I spend hours trying to winnow the complex history of China into a doable lesson that touches all the relevant points, I am loving my children so hard they ought to pass out from it. (haha)  When I, who am not a math genius, come up with games to help Littlest get his multiplication memorized in a way that is fun, love is Winning in this house.  When you are trying to decide which curriculum to use, how to afford a field trip that will cement a lesson, whether to join a co-op, you are showing your children that love wins for them because they are the most important thing in your world.

In so many ways, we homeschool parents ensure that love wins on a daily basis.  That is not to say that other parents don’t, because I know some awesome parents whose children attend public or private schools, but this post is about homeschooling.  We don’t get paid for this job.  We rarely even get Praised for this job.  We slog along, letting love lead us, Because We Love.  We are paying so far forward by doing this thing that our great-grandchildrens’ acquaintances might feel the ripples.  We are casting such love into the universe that it is expanding, in part, because of us.  Our children are expanding.  Because. Of. Us.

So again, what does “love wins” have to do with homeschool?

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Everything.

Love wins,

KT

Top Ten Favorite Homeschool Blogs

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As promised, today I’m going to tell you about my top 10 favorite homeschool blogs.  Once more, these aren’t the only blogs I follow and they are in no particular order.  This is just a list of the ones I use most frequently.

1. A Homeschool Mom Cristina’s blog is full of encouragement and ideas for homeschooling mamas.  It is well-written and -organized.  There is a great series on the blog called ‘Homeschooling 101’ that offers great advice to new homeschool parents.

2. Stories of Our Boys April’s blog is amusing and upbeat, even when she is writing about issues that aren’t so happy.  She offers info on homeschooling, childhood epilepsy, photography, recipes…. Just check it out; you’ll love her sunshine-y approach to life.

confession3. Confessions of a Homeschooler Erica is the author of a book called Homeschooling 101.  She does us other mamas the favor of blogging about her curricula every year along with her schedule so we can get ideas from this homeschooling genius. Other points of interest include crafts and free printables.  Eric also has a store from which she sells science, geography, literature and other unit studies.

4. Bloke School  I just found this one recently, and I’m already hooked.  David gives us mamas a fresh look at homeschooling–from Dad’s point of view.  He’s based in Australia, so some of the laws and financial stuff doesn’t apply here in America, but the site is super well-written and full of posts that really make me think, as a teacher, about how I can make the lessons deeper for my Littles.  And since I only have boys, advice from a man is invaluable.

Penelope Trunk5. Penelope Trunk Penelope’s blog about homeschooling always makes me think.  She posts about things like how to make sure your unschooled child is really learning, how video games can be beneficial, continuing to homeschool if you go back to work… Lots of encouragement and sound advice.  My favorite quote: “I homeschool because it seemed to me that it was like breastfeeding: Of course it’s the best thing to do for the kids, it’s just difficult.”   She also offers curriculum advice.

YRHHeader6. Year Round Homeschooling  This is a place where many homeschool moms blog about a variety of homeschool subjects.  I spend a lot of time on this blog, because I can anything from encouragement to unit studies to freebies and there is such a variety of authors that I never get bored.  They also provide a daily list of free ebooks.

Top 10 Favorite Educational Sites

Big Bird And Snuffy Meme | TOP TEN EDUCATIONAL SITES | image tagged in memes,big bird and snuffy | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Because I’m in the planning stages of a whole new homeschool year and since I promised to bring you along with me, I thought it would be helpful to share my favorite places to go when I need a little help getting our curriculum together.  These are in no particular order, and nothing is on the list that I don’t use with frequency.

CurrClick.com - Curriculum in a click! Homeschooling resources, lapbooks, and afffordable curriculum

1. Currclick Currclick is an amazing site where many different curriculum publishers sell their worksheets, ebooks, unit studies, and the like.  Each publisher offers freebies and most of the products are well-priced.  They also offer live classes in almost every subject, especially handy if you want your homeschoolers to learn something you’re not comfortable teaching, like a foreign language. Another interesting offer from Currclick is the free clubs, including Lego Club, American Girl Club and Magic Treehouse Club.  Once you sign up, you get a library where all your downloads are kept indefinitely with no limit to how many times you can download a product once you’ve purchased it.

Scholastic Teachers Express Store2. Scholastic Teacher Express Scholastic isn’t just for public school teachers.  I can’t tell you how much it helped when we were doing American history last year.  This site also offers ebooks and worksheets for sale.  Several times a year they have a $1 sale on tons of their products. Even though their regular prices are doable, I stock up during those sales.  The only drawback is that you have only three opportunities to download a product once you’ve purchased it.  I usually save them to a flash drive at purchase so I don’t have to worry about it.

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3. School Express offers over 17,000 free worksheets.  If you’re looking for a worksheet to supplement your schooling, this is a good place to go.  My favorite thing about this site, hands down, is the free create-your-own-worksheet option.  There are several different types of worksheets you can create including spelling lists, word puzzles, word searches, and quizzes.  They are awesome to use for spelling practice.

TeachersPayTeachers

4. TeachersPayTeachers Here’s a site where teacher-generated worksheets and ebooks are for sale.  Because they are created by teachers, you can be pretty sure they’ve been tested on students already and found to be successful.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you receive links to 10 free downloads a week.  Often I find just what I’m looking for among those freebies.  The prices range from free to over $10, and every subject is covered.

The Old Schoolhouse Family

5. The Old Schoolhouse  This site is aimed specifically toward homeschoolers.  It is a font of knowledge, advice, and encouragement.  I eagerly look forward to the quarterly magazine.  I have mentioned them before because it was here I found a great source for Middle about becoming a video game designer.  Their store offers a variety of products on every subject imaginable.

logo6. EarthSky Although this site doesn’t offer ebooks or worksheets, it is so full of information about Earth and space, I would be lost without it.  It has some of the most beautiful photos and interesting articles I’ve ever seen.  When we studied astronomy I used it daily.  Two years later, we still read the newsletter every day to keep up with what’s going on both in our world and out in space.  The store does offer some cool stuff, like planispheres (tools for locating constellations), an astronomy kit, and an atlas of the sky.

Writing with Sharon Watson-Easy-to-use Homeschool Writing Curriculum

7. Writing with Sharon Watson Sharon offers writing courses that can be a big help if you’re struggling with how to teach your child how to be a good writer, but perhaps even more helpful, she offers free middle- and high school-level prompts that are Amazing.  If you really want your child to dig a little deeper when practicing his writing, utilize this site.  Sharon also blogs about homeschooling and writing, so make sure to check out her great advice!

8. Enrichment Studies This site offers composer studies, artist studies, art appreciation, and biographies.  In short, it is a deep humanities well from which all children should drink.  The products are well-written and -researched, and there is no expiration on downloads once you’ve made a purchase.  They often offer freebies and discounts.  In fact, through June 6, they are offering a free Women Artists of the Renaissance to new newsletter subscribers.  It’s a beautiful collection, so be sure to sign up!  Erica also blogs about fine art, so check that out, too.

The Art Curator for Kids

9. The Art Curator for Kids I adore this site, I’m not going to lie.  Cindy is an online art teacher, and her site is filled with brilliant information about art and how to appreciate and accomplish it.  It is an invaluable resource, and Cindy’s passion for it makes it even more interesting.  She offers free worksheets, printables, and powerpoints to help you guide your children through the world of visual arts.  If you’re teaching art at any level, you have to check out this site!

10. Barefoot Ragamuffin/Barefoor Meandering This site offers homeschool curricula based on the classical approach and the Charlotte Mason approach.  My favorite (of course) is English Lessons through Literature. I’ve often mentioned how expanding your child’s reading will expand vocabulary and grammatical usage, and this product offers a way for you to guide your child through those lessons.  But check out Kathy’s site yourself, she offers some of the most beautiful freebies in her newsletter.  Be sure to sign up; my article on adding literature to your nature study will appear in the June 2 edition.

Whew.  Those are not nearly all the sites I use in planning.  Check back tomorrow to read about my Top 10 Favorite Homeschool Blogs.

Do you have any favorite educational sites?  If so, please share them in the comments. Not only will it help your fellow readers, you might know one I’ve never heard of.  And you know I could Always use a little help!

Love wins,

KT

Making Math Fun!

Use homemade games to teach your littles multiplication and division

Because I struggled with math when I was younger, I have learned that some people just learn it differently.  I am not so good (at least I wasn’t then) at reading directions in a book and then applying them to solving problems.  I have to have an experience to which to apply the math.  Once I have that, I am a calculating fool.  So when I noticed Littlest still having problems doing basic multiplication and division within more complex problems, I fretted and brooded about why he couldn’t get the basic memorization.  I made up worksheets that showed how each times table is basically counting by the number given.  3, 6, 9, 12, etc.  I printed off copious worksheets from other sources for practice.

Still… he wasn’t getting it.  So I brooded some more.  I watched how he behaved while learning other subjects.  And, as always happens when we homeschooling mamas put our minds to a problem, an epiphany occurred.  Littlest learns best with hands-on tools.  Games are his favorite things in the world.  Board games, dice games, card games, video games.  He never has a problem doing math when faced with a game.

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