For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Journeys into Classical Homeschooling - A Visit with Lisa

Our third installment of the Journeys into Classical Homeschooling series features Lisa from Golden Grasses.

I have been aware of classical education for decades and always equated it with great books. Our homeschool has always been literature and history rich but my understanding of classical as a pedagogy was really expanded and broadened by reading The Well Trained Mind 15 years ago and by meeting and hearing Leigh Bortiens speak, about 9 years ago. I went home from that meeting, read The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers, along with everything else I could get my hands on about classical education, and we haven’t looked back since.
We are currently in a Classical Conversations Community and will have our youngest two kids in Challenge this year; A and 1. In the past we have relied heavily on Memoria Press, Peace Hill Press, IEW, The Lost Tools of Writing, and lately Roman Roads Media, which has recently produced Old Western Culture, re-released The Grammar of Poetry and Intro and Intermediate Logic by Jim Nance. We also test products and write reviews and because of this are exposed to some great curriculum that we wouldn’t otherwise know about- this is how we found Spelling You See and Roman Roads Media- both of which have given us amazing tools to study and learn with!
The greatest challenges of Classical Education in our own homeschool has been trying to teach subject areas that I don’t have good or adequate training in. For instance, Latin and Logic, the hard sciences such as Physics and Chemistry, Algebra II and beyond. Now, with the rise of on-line classes and quality DVD materials, life has gotten much easier because we have Master teachers available to us regardless of where we live! That being said, you often get what you pay for and most on-line classes and DVD programs are not inexpensive. I have taught, tutored, traded, bartered and promoted products and classes, along with worked from home so that our homeschooling and family life can be as rich as possible. Working and homeschooling is a whole discussion in and of itself, but for this season in our lives (no small children at home, my kids know how to study and are motivated to be homeschooled, etc) it is working for our family.
What does classical look like in our day to day lives? My husband often leaves a bit later in the morning, so he regularly has the kids look at NASA web-sites Astronomy picture of the Day and other NASA happenings and discusses them in detail, along with politics, and other news that he comes across in Biblical Archeology Review, Jerusalem and Christian Post, NPR, etc. NOAA (National Weather News) is also checked and discussed regularly and in great detail in our home.
We focus on skills in the morning and content in the afternoon. That means math, science, memory work, grammar happen in the morning. Afternoons included Bible, literature, history, writing, etc. This coming year will be a quite different schedule wise as we’ll have weekly assignments due with CC Challenge. We have been in co-ops and class-days in the past with homework due, so this won’t be a huge change, but the volume of work due will be different.
We follow a fairly standard course of study in some regards; Math, Science, English, History, Language, etc. As classical educators what we study is probably different in that we often do more than one history or science program in a year and tend to do a broader range of history and literature studies. For instance, last year we finished reading Notgrass’ American History 2 volume set, ds read The History of the Ancient World for fun and we listened to The Greeks/ Old Western Culture by Roman Roads Media, in addition to memorizing a Timeline and history sentences with Classical Conversations.
We layered English as well, memorizing charts and definitions, studying grammar and diagramming, writing 20 papers, including a research paper and a 5 minute presentation with Essentials, studied Latin rules and memorized vocabulary, declensions and conjugations, read numerous books on our own and out-loud, participated in a week long Shakespeare Camp, where the kids memorized and performed a full length Shakespeare play, as well as participated in Drama Camp and Festival of One Act plays along with the 1- day speech camp through TeenPact.
While it might seem like we are beating our kids to death with curriculum, this is hardly the case. In some ways, living in the country makes our lives easier in that when we are home, we have few distractions and have the time to get a lot of things done.
Additionally, the kids spend a fair amount of time drawing, watching DVD’s, listening and reading great books (which includes everything from Homer to Calvin and Hobbes), creating and building, cooking and cleaning, taking walks, working out,  going to church and park days with friends.
Classical Education has been a great resource and blessing in our lives as it has simplified our curriculum choices and as a result, our expenditures. It has given us a practical paradigm for academically accomplishing First Things First, providing the time, inclination and freedom to enjoy both the challenging and the care-free.

Lisa Nehring classically educates her youngest two children on the Great Plains, having homeschooled for 24 years and graduating her three oldest. She and her husband frequently speak to groups about education, parenting and marriage and Lisa blogs about education, homeschooling, curriculum reviews and faith at her blog: Golden Grasses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Journeys into Classical Homeschooling - A Visit with Beth

Next up in my  series on Journeys into Homeschooling, we have Beth from As He Leads Is Joy  talking to us about Classical Homeschooling at her house.

This fall I will begin my 7th year homeschooling. I have two children. My son who was adopted from Eastern Europe when he was 7. He is now 14 and beginning high school work. My daughter just turned 11 and has Down Syndrome. My daughter was born in Asia. My husband and I are both from America but met in Asia. We lived in Asia for a number of years and now we are living in England. We are missionaries working with Chinese students in England. 

I was impressed and intrigued when I listened to the things that my friend's son who was just a few years older than my son had learned in Classical Conversations (CC). I thought that would be a great foundation for my own son. My husband has said that he wished he had a classical education. I attended a CC meeting and the big question in my mind was what to do with my daughter. She has Down Syndrome and was 7 years old at that time. Oh, mom of little faith in what her daughter could do. We decided to sign up. My son was with a group of boys and my daughter a group of 6-7 year old girls who included her. Both children learned so much that year. That changed my thinking and methods.

I began to read and research the classical method and so much of that made matched with the goals of our children. Some of the aspects of classical education that are values in our education are a chronological approach to history, an emphasis on grammar and Latin, and in some ways the simple joy of learning.
We have been enjoying Mystery of History. I am thrilled that Volume 4 was completed in time for us just to continue right along using that for history. We also review our timeline cards from our CC days. When we did CC Miss K loved the timeline, she would get up in front and knew the motions. Our campus gave her a special award, Timeline Master. 
My son has began First Form Latin last year. I just made the realization that I need to be a bit more involved in his learning and we are pausing and reviewing and drilling a bit more. My goal for him is that he will finish First Form and Second Form. I love just about anything from Memoria Press.

My son discovered that he enjoyed diagramming sentences. That is a skill to retain and develop. We have been using Analytical Grammar. Teaching writing has been a challenge for me. He did a year of IEW when we were in CC and in a classroom that was great. We tried it just the two of us and it was difficult. I discovered Memoria Press has a writing program and so three years ago we began with Classical Composition Fable Stage. That has been a great program for us. This year we will be using Classical Composition III: Chreia/Maxim. I just saw that they have DVD's for this and I might order those just for some help. We also do some study of Latin and Greek roots. 

As we begin high school level math and science, we will use DIVE CD's for those. That is new for us. 
Because of my daughter's special needs we adapt things for her. She follows along in history. I give her a mix of classical learning though it might not look like it all the time. We just continue with her learning where she is at.

The challenges that we face in our Classical education are not necessarily based on the classical aspect. We are following the American program as far as high school graduation. We have met other home education families here but they are following the British system so we are limited in the classes that we can do together. It really was helpful when we were in a group. 

I am enjoying our short summer break. I love planning all the new ways that we will do things for the autumn. I enjoy pulling books out and writing plans. One of the challenges is doing what we planned. I know that as I cleaned up the learning area and discovered last year's goals and realised that we didn't read as many read aloud as I wanted or go on as many outings. I guess the challenge is doing all the things I want to do and plan to do. There are so many things I would like to do but the reality is it is not all going to get down but I want to give my children a thirst for learning.
We usually begin our day with our together time. I have been assigning an art project or drawing at the beginning and that way the children have something to do while I read Bible and history. That has worked great and I want to continue that though we will be doing that based on art history. I might just plan an outing to the cave drawings that are two hours south of here. We will do some Latin and Greek roots then do individual things. My son and I spend some time doing Latin. I then spend time with my daughter who needs individual attention and my son works on his things independently.
This is a classical approach that works for our family. 

Beth currently lives in England after having lived in Asia. They are missionaries reaching Chinese students and scholars. She keeps busy homeschooling her two children, cooking meals, and other things around the house. She dreams of having time to read and quilt or just peace and quiet. You can read about all her adventures at As He Leads Is Joy.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Back to School Blog Hop - Planing your Daily Routine

I am back on day five of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today I will take a look at planning your daily routine.

So once you have a general idea of what your year will look like (in broad strokes) from our post on Wednesday about Planning Your Homeschool Year, you can then turn to planning a daily routine to get through your weekly workload.

First step is to figure out how many times a week you will do every subjects you have planned. For example this what our week looks like when it comes to the distribution of subjects throughout the week:

One we get that figured out, we distribute the work load for each subject throughout the week. Using a form like this one comes in very handy for that work.

Next, we come to our daily routine.

I am not a early riser, so school does not start early here. The earliest would be 10:00am. My kids are quite independent now though, and often start their easy subjects without me.

For my oldest (11 1/2) that would be one or more of those:
Duolingo (online)
Unlock Math (online)
Grammar town practice sentences
For my youngest (9 1/2), it would be one of those:
Latin (Latin for Children A)
Logic (printed from SuperTeachers Worksheet - up coming review)

I do not therefore have a time based daily schedule. We tried and it does not work for us. Instead what I do is mark on a piece of paper what needs to be done that day and they simply check it off. This has been what works for us. The form that this takes has varied over the years but this system is the best one for us.

Last year we successfully used a student logbook system we got to review, and before that, used a self-made check box system.

 This year I decided to go simple and use a notebook system wherein I just write all that needs to be done that day.

The way it works is that they just do their subjects in the order they want, calling me when they need me. With that system, they are done when everything is ticked off, or I decide for some reason, that a certain subject originally planned for the day is not going to be done that day.

With this system I am a cheerleader, spurring them on to keep working. My youngest is very motivated, so he always finishes in a good reasonable amount of time. My oldest, on the other hand, tends to get distracted a lot by his own interests, and needs more of my supervision. That said, he has shown great progress in the last year, so I just keep challenging him and put the responsibility on him to complete his work, whatever time it is.

And this is how we manage our school day. Some days everything gets done, and some days are crazy. This is the homeschool life!

Day 1: Setting Goals for Your Homeschool
Day 2: First Day Traditions
Day 3: Planning the Homeschool Year

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop - Planning the School Year

Welcome to day three of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today we are looking at planning the school year.

If you have followed my blog for any period of time, you would have known that I am not a big planner. But over the years, I have grown to love planning and see the benefits of it.

So how do I go about it?

I gather my planning sheets.

I am a planner hoarder. You should see my homeschool file on my computer, I have dozens of printable planners. The funny thing is that I always end up making up my own.

I prefer planners that allow me to plan all my subjects weekly. This year I created one that I really like. All of the other ones I like usually did not allow for me to see all of the subjects at once.

With this form I have all my subjects all at once for any given weeks. Unfortunately I had to use two sheets. I would prefer to have them one next to each other but decided to work with it and put them one under each other.

Under each week I mark the week number and the date, for example Week 1 / Aug 3-7 etc...

I also prepare a weekly planning sheet which I use for some curriculum and a weekly planning sheet in which I write what subjects are done when. (The one on the right is from Little Learning Lovies and the one on the left I can't remember).

Gather your curriculum

It is usually a good idea to have all your curriculum together before starting planning, but I know it does not always happen. If not, try to have as many as you can. I have one curriculum that I am still waiting on, but I have used them before so I am very familiar with it and know how many lessons there are.

Print a at a glance year calendar. 

I love the one from Sarah from My Joy Filled Life (scroll to the bottom of page for the free printable). With this calendar I decide when to start school and mark off the holidays such as Christmas, Easter, our vacation, which is usually sometimes in the fall, and any co-op days.

Once this is all set I start my planning. We school four days a week so that we have the day off when dad is off, which is Thursday. We school Monday-Wednesday and Friday. Also, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are disrupted days because  both my sons have music lessons on each of these days respectively.

So, with that in mind, I plan my curriculum. I take each of my curriculum, one at the time and check the table of content, and the length of the lessons, to figure out how long it will take us to get through it. This is a rough estimate. Then I plug it in my year at a glance planning sheet (mentioned above). I end up with something like this:

This becomes my spine planner for all other planning. Some curriculum I write pages, some others I just write the chapters or lesson numbers, sometimes all of the above. As the weeks progress I adjust where and when need be.

The reason why I want to have it all done and at a glance is that I can better appreciate the amount of work for each week. This is especially important as I tend to overload the kids. With this method I can see if I am planning too much for them to do for any given week, and try to spread it out better over the year, or do better combinations of subjects. Basically I can better see how to balance all of the work I am planning to have the work get through.

And this is, in a nutshell, how I plan our year.

Don't forget to stop by the crew page to check out the giveaway, as well as read from the other bloggers participating in this year's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!

In case you missed my first 2 days:

Day 1: Setting Goals for Your Homeschool
Day 2: First Day Traditions
Day 5: Planning Your Daily Routine

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop - First Day Traditions

Welcome back to day two of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today we will look at First Day Traditions.

I am not one who loves traditions so much, so our back to school first day is usually uneventful and just like a regular school day.

However, that said, I know that many homeschoolers love to make the first day of school special, and I have to admit it is kind of cool if you get to do it. We did do something special a couple of our homeschooling years. So, today I would like to share with you a few ideas to make that first day of back to homeschool memorable and exciting.

Here are 5 to get your juices flowing:

1. Plan a field trip on that day. Many homeschoolers take that first day as a day to get out and enjoy the outdoor, or go on a field trip. What a way to get the school year on a right foot! A fun day of learning! A lot of my friends always go to Marineland the week of back to school here in Canada

2. Plan a special meal, either for breakfast or lunch. Ideas can be pancakes, cinnamon rolls, crepes, or something that your children particularly like. For us it would have to be crepes with fruits and whipped cream. Try this Apple Pie Pancake, it is delish! Just tried it this morning and it as a hit.

3. Have the kids decorate their notebooks or prepare some sort of "I am in ... grade" sign. This is the one I have done a few years back when they were entering younger grades. I would give them a piece of paper for them to right their name and grade on, and they would decorate it. Another add-on to this could be an "About me questionnaire", such as favorite color, food, book, height and things like this.

4. Take a school picture. You could also take a special picture of them on that day. I personally like the outdoor pictures! You could also take a picture of them holding their project from suggestion #3.

5. Give a special gift on that day! Most popular and inexpensive would be a special notebook, pen, pencil, or sharpener, or even a binder or pencil case. You could wrap it, or hide it and make a game out of it. You could also make it a piece of clothing if you wish.

Now, your turn to share some back to school traditions!

Don't forget to check the Back To Homeschool page on the TOS crew site. Happy hopping!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop - Setting Goals for the School Year

It is Back to homeschool time in a lot of homeschooling families' home, and ours is no different. So, I am joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew and the Homeschool Blogging Connection in a week long blog hop on the topic of back to homeschool.

Today I would like to talk about setting goals for the school year.

Why setting up goals? They help you keep on track, and they help you measure your progress as the year advances.

We are entering our 9th year of homeschooling and I can tell you it does not get easier. With each year comes its own challenges. That is why having clear goals become more and more important. In the younger years, you know you have many years ahead of you to get to where you wish to get. As the years move on that window shrinks, and focus becomes of major importance.

My boys are entering 5th and 7th grade respectively, and I am starting to narrow down their strengths and weaknesses, and their academic future paths. Whereas in the younger years, the focus was on teaching the basics and on the foundations of a rounded education, as you get higher in the grades the focus narrows to the building up of their strength and abilities for future careers. As you learn along with your child where their strengths and weaknesses lie, you can better tailor their education to supplying these weaknesses and strengthening their strengths.

In practical terms, what does that look like for my boys?

For my oldest (age 11, soon to be 12) - aspiring script writer - because he has shown a love and ability for Language Arts and History and a not so much Mathematical bent, it means that this school year will focus on:
  • Strengthening and enlarging his language arts skills, which means focus on poetry, literature, grammar and writing. Because of that his curriculum selection is pretty heavy on Language Arts.
  • Reviewing and cementing his Math skills, while pushing him further. Our Curriculum of choice is a pre-algebra program that starts with reviewing the basics concepts of arithmetic.
On top of these goals, as puberty arises as well as being in the middle of his Middle School years, we will focus on a few other topics which include:
  • Theology and worldview
  • Critical thinking and logic
For my youngest (age 9 soon to be 10), who is more of a Math guy and not so interested in anything else, we will focus on:
  • Moving forward in his Math skills, attempting pre-algebra/algebra.
  • Consolidating his Language Arts skills, that is Grammar and writing.
  • Challenge him in his Social Studies by pushing him in Middle School level of work load.
He will also participate in our study of theology and worldview.

These are in broad strokes what the overall goals and focus of this school year will be for our homeschool, all the while continuing to seek to build a gospel-centered atmosphere and God-glorifying character.

If you want a pick at our curriculum choices for 2015/2016, check my Curriculum Choices post.

A few tips on how to get started in setting your goals:

Have a clear general idea of what you want your children to know at the end of this homeschooling journey. Every year assess where you are and adjust if necessary.

Each year delineate what you want to see improved in your children at the end of the school, based on your overall homeschooling journey goals and where they are at.

Observe your children as they learn and grow in order to identify their talents, bents, strengths, and weaknesses. As you assess and set your goals every year, take your observations into consideration.

A couple of books I would recommend on the topic would be that have been very beneficial to me are:

Love the Journey by Marcia Sommerville
Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

Don't forget to check the other bloggers' topics during this blog hop! And the giveaway!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
Past Back to Homeschool Blog Hop posts here on Homeschooling for His Glory.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Used Curriculum Sale

I am joining with Family Faith and Fridays to bring you a used curriculum sale round up, as I clean up the shelves to make room for more books and curriculum.

If you are interested, send me an e-mail (found in the margin on the right of this blog). All prices are without shipping, so I will have to calculate that once I have your postal code.

All items are in good to fair condition and come from a smoke-free home.

All payments will be through paypal.

What's the Big Deal? - $6

The Action Bible Handbook - $8

The Usborne Illustrated World History: The Greeks - $6

Roots of English (Memoria Press) - $10

Various French Books -  $3 each

Captivated DVD - $10

Who Lives in The Sea - Dive into Your Imagination - $10

Mind Benders DVD (grades 2-6) - $6

Mastering Essential Math Skills DVD - $5

Daily Word Problems Math Grade 5 - $8

DK EyeWonder: Earth - $2

Oxford: The Legionary - $2

Focus On: Science - $2

Guarding the Treasure - $4

Ten Boys Who Made a Difference - $3

Helping Parents Practice - $8

This post is also linked up at

Friday, August 7, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop - It's Coming!

With the Back to School season upon us, it is time to give thought  and share what our school year will look like and/or how we prepare for a new school year.

Mark your calendars - August 10 to 14  - it's time for this year's Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. The Schoolhouse Review Crew will be joining forces with Homeschool Connections to bring you a week full of back to school encouragement.

Here at Homeschooling for His Glory, I will be sharing about:

Setting Goals for the Homeschool Year
Beginning of School Year Traditions
Planning your School Year
Planning Your Daily Routine

So come back on Monday and do not miss a post!   

We will have 56 homeschool Moms sharing their combined wisdom and insights covering everything Homeschool related. That's 280 posts of encouragement and information just for you!

Meet Your Back to Homeschool Blog Hop Hosts

Marcy @ Ben and Me

Rebecca @ Raventhreads
Annette @ In All You Do

Aurie @ Our Good Life
Jennifer @ A Peace of Mind
Katie @ DailyLife
Melissa @ Mom's Plans
Annette @ A Net In Time

Crystal @ Crystal Starr
Shawna @ Tenacity Divine
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning 
Leah Courtney @ As We Walk Along the Road

Write Through the Bible Junior
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