What do I do when my kid complains?

It will happen. “I hate this book!”

 “Do we have to do Morning Time?” “There’s no point in learning algebra!” When it happens, you have not failed. Pick up your shield of imperviousness, homeschool mama; these complaints are not about you. They are not even about what you are studying. They are growing pains. Learning is growing, and when it’s happening, there are times it is uncomfortable, difficult, or tense. Of course, that doesn’t make it ok. Truth: Complaining, grumbling, … Read More

Dear Mom who wants to give her 5-year-old a classical education

Have you ever noticed? The most eager homeschooling moms are those whose oldest child is 4 or 5? I was one, myself. And when I felt the eye-roll behind the smile of older, deep-in-the-trenches moms, I bristled. “Take me seriously!” I wanted to plead. I knew they were sharing wisdom when they told me to back off and wait and just enjoy the young years. I browsed their shelves, watched a Math-U-See demonstration, picked their brains. I was in my … Read More

When your kid says, “I hate math!”

If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, you’ve probably encountered them: math fits. On good days, it looks like mad math doodles and rhyming complaints. On average days, it looks like snarky word-answers to word-problems and bitter mutterings about John or Sue finding out how much they spent for themselves instead of asking someone else to do their work for them. Sure, we have good math days, too. Sometimes we even encounter a new topic, it clicks, and we … Read More

Macbeth Lesson Plans

Yes, Macbeth is dark and gruesome and not the easiest Shakespeare story to relate to. The Scottish thane Macbeth listens to witches who clearly should not be trusted and nothing good comes of it – listening to them, in fact, poisons his mind and damns him on earth to a life without sleep and without remorse. Blood will have blood, and by the time the end of the play rolls around, everyone cheers for Macduff’s final blow that strikes the … Read More

3 Kinds of Dawdling (and what to do with the dawdlers)

Ah, dawdling, time-wasting, window-staring, day-dreaming children. Gotta love them. If we didn’t, we’d give up hope. Even though we do love them, sometimes it’s tempting to give up hope. Before we can help them, though, we have to understand them. And we do. Because we dawdle, too. Have you ever procrastinated? Oh. Drat. Yes, we have to go there. If, as homeschooling mothers, we’re going to try to overcome our children’s bad habits and tendencies, we have to start with … Read More

How Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Fit in Real Life

Have you ever walked into a conversation halfway through? Perhaps, unbeknownst to you, it was a conversation that had been going on sporadically between these friends for weeks or even months. It’s a fascinating conversation, let’s say, and one that you want to at least listen to, maybe even participate in, but you feel like an outsider because you weren’t there from the beginning and you’re trying to get up to speed – without looking like you’re as out of … Read More

Elementary Lessons Plans 2017-2018 – in Evernote

Elementary Lessons is the name of our mini co-op that I teach twice weekly at my house with 2 of my kids, 2 of my friend’s kids, and 1 child of another friend. My younger-than-elementary (now only 1 of those!) kids go down the street to my friend Kirsti’s while hers walk over to mine. It’s an ideal set-up, and not entirely unintentional or accidental. During our twice-weekly 2-hour lesson chunk, we do writing (with only the 9-11 crowd), history … Read More

Morning Time As Happy Time

What is happiness, really? That’s actually a deep philosophical question expounded upon by great minds for millennia. Too often, we think happiness is doing what we want, having no laundry to fold, or eating chocolate. And our kids think happiness is sleeping in, playing computer games, and having no chores. Guess what? We’re both wrong. If that’s your idea of happiness, make sure your goal is not to keep your kids happy. Then again, we can’t say happiness doesn’t matter. … Read More

Merchant of Venice Lesson Plans

Merchant of Venice might be a politically incorrect play, but it is too good for us to ignore. While it makes moderns uncomfortable because the Jew is made to forcibly convert in the end, it is – particularly for its time – an anti-anti-Semitic play. The plot, the speeches, and the themes all deserve attention and affection – and this simple set of homeschool lesson plans will help you build just that. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice for Kids Merchant of … Read More

Making kids care: ordo amoris in real life

The math page looms. “But I don’t want to,” the child moans. The book awaits. “But I don’t like it,” the child whines. Maybe you start off homeschooling with grand visions and high hopes. Maybe you change your approach and your style and think that will fix the bad days and the bad attitudes. It turns out that even in spite of best laid plans, principles, and practices, we’re teaching real children. They don’t always like what they should. They … Read More

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