Archive for the ‘Things We Should Do’ Category


This is hard for us.

We can be organized in many areas of our life, but, for some reason, homeschooling has eluded us.

Maybe it’s a lack of resolve.  Maybe we are lazy.  Maybe . . . something else.

Be that as it may, we need to get organized.

Anybody know of some good resources in this regard?


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At the end of my Audible.com version of Predictably Irrational, there was a plug for using audiobooks for children.

As an auditory learner myself, this sounded like a capital idea to me. ;-)

I researched Audible.com’s offerings and they have lots of fables and fairy tales . . . good stuff for kids of all ages.

The production values seem to be good but all-in-all it looked a bit expensive to build a decent library of the materials.

So off I went to Librivox.org and found a cornucopia of programs to listen to.

We downloaded the fables of Hans Christian Anderson, Aesop’s Fables, and some Japanese, American Indian, and English fairy tales as well.

Those plus some Greek tales of Perseus, Theseus, et al., loaded our MP3 player with more than a hundred tales and hours upon hours of listening enjoyment.

Now, since many of these were stories with which we are unfamiliar, we listen to them with our children so that we can talk about them afterward.

For instance, after Anderson’s tale of The Real Princess (aka The Princess and the Pea), we talked about how, long ago, princesses were supposed to be delicate and unable to fend for themselves. But, offering our girls a more uplifting message, we explained that today’s princesses can be strong and smart and independent; doing things for themselves and not having to rely upon others to do everything for them.

They understood perfectly. =)

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Following on the heels of our previous post concerning subjects of learning, here is a post by Trent over at The Simple Dollar about The Power of Transferrable Skills.


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More questions from our friendly interlocutrix.


What made you decide to home school?

Our decision to homeschool came in stages.

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In addition to posting my list of “Things I want My Children to Learn” here on the blog, I also sent it to a special group of people I know.

From that mailing, I received many great suggestions, lots of encouragement, and thought-provoking answers.

One in particular is the subject of this post…..


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Good old-fashioned parenting wins again!

Although we are technically several days behind schedule in the reading lessons, I think we are doing swimmingly. Since the last post, wherein Nora was resisting her lessons, getting discouraged, and discouraging us, her lesson tonight was decidedly wonderful. For the last few days, we did just a couple of tasks a day, but tonight we did all eight tasks in the lesson!

Parenting skills involved:

  1. Do not be a pushover. We refused to stop the lessons completely. This is also known as giving up.
  2. Negotiate. This encourages the child by giving a sense of control. The deal was that we would make the lessons shorter if she would sit still for them.
  3. Re-evaluate expectations. How long do you think a 3-year-old will sit still when the lesson fails to be fun and there’s no reward? We are already pushing things with trying to teach her to read at such an early age.
  4. Follow through. The single-most important thing a parent can do. Keep your word. We really made the lessons shorter. We really didn’t let her skip.
  5. Reward. After a good lesson, however brief, she was rewarded with either praise or chocolate, and specific reasons such as, “because you kept going even when it was tough.”
  6. Emotional awareness. We sometimes let her change the timing of the lesson or give her ten minutes notice when it’s about to happen.
  7. Encouragement. Have an underlying attitude that of course she can do it, it’s ok to make mistakes, and it will take lots of practice. Iterate these often.

I’m sure this is just a partial list, but these are the things that come to mind. Again, I think the most important is #4, that you do what you say you will. I’m thinking about writing a book about it. Almost everything can be tied back to that one imperative. For one thing, it teaches your child that you are honest and you can be trusted. I’d better stop there and start a whole other post.

[J here: I think a big part of it is she can tell that I simply expect her to both do it and do it well. That’s just a basic assumption on my part and it comes across in my tone and attitude during the lesson. She understands that, no, I won’t let her skip out on the lesson and yes, I do expect her to get it right (but it’s OK if it takes a try or two to get there).

And she’s learned 6 words in Latin, too: Pater, Mater, Frater, Soror, Avus, and Avia. =) ]

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Send our Troops a Thank You Card!

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