Why We DON’T Take A Year-By-Year Approach to Homeschooling

Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.

“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” —2 Kings 14-19


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Why Homeschool? To Be The One to Introduce the Ugly Parts of History

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We’re in the midst of the American Civil War, the littles and I. It’s a nasty, ugly milestone in history that feels even more poignant in this particular space in time, not to mention place. The last time I tackled the subject in our little homeschool, we lived in far-removed Washington, and my children had never heard friends, in passing, refer to The War of Northern Aggression,  or The War for Southern Independence. It was the Civil War, or maybe The War Between the States. There were no Confederate battle flags flying on the route to the grocery store, no markers by the sides of the road memorializing the garrisoning of troops. The whole thing felt less personal, though no less tragic.

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That’s Phineas

It’s only Wednesday, but already it’s been a tough week for Phineas. Come to think of it, last week wasn’t so great either.

It feels like everywhere he turns lately, he’s pushing the limits, and not necessarily in a Chuck Yeager “I’m gonna break the sound barrier” kind of way. He’s been obstinate, disobedient, just down right naughty. Continue reading

3 Painless Ways to Get Your Teen Son to Love Poetry

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I have sons. My sons love poetry.

While I recognized that this was an anomaly among public schoolers, I had no idea it was unusual even amongst our homeschooling brethren. Poetry, it seems, isn’t considered relevant in these days of textese and emojis; it defies the practicality test, too. Why spend time rolling a string of pretty words in your mouth when everyone else is racing to get as few characters as possible onto a screen? Why engage a page of text that doesn’t get right to the point when there are eight billion other academic subjects vying for your attention? Why force your teenage son to read poetry when frankly, he hates it?

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To whom are you accountable?

Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the  requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.

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How to feed the hero-hungry soul of a child (with books/history/biographies)

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Every once in a while, someone says something so profound within earshot that your soul can’t help but nod in agreement, highlighting the words, drawing your attention to the truth with an intellectual vigor akin to being grabbed by the cheeks, forced to gaze into serious eyes and demanding, “Are you listening?” I had this experience recently at the Charlotte Mason Institute East National Conference, where Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship spoke on the importance of giving our children a deep well of hero culture from which to drink.

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