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3 of My Favorite Homeschool Things

I’m having so much fun reading about other homeschooling mom’s favorite things this month! I love our curricula so I feel no need to change anything (except maybe the reading – the program Lisa is using for her emerging reader looks really neat!), but it is fun to get a little virtual peek into a few homeschool classrooms.

This mom shares her favorite planner, history, and reading programs, including a completely FREE curriculum!

Here are a few of my own favorite homeschool things:

The Well-Planned Day Student Planner


The Well Planned Day Student Planner is very thorough, compact, and so easy to use. Plus it’s really pretty, which is a huge bonus for my artsy fourth grader! My daughter absolutely loves writing in this planner and she has it double as a regular calendar as well. I will occasionally write her lessons in this planner for her and I have no need for a teacher planner because this one is enough for us.

(On a side note, even though I’m not using a teacher planner this year, I do use The Well Planned Day’s new blog planner and I absolutely love it! Planners are 15% off through Sept. 30.)

The Mystery of History


I cannot recommend The Mystery of History highly enough. My kids LOVE this history program and they LOVE the audio lessons that are read by the author, Linda Hobar. This is a four-year chronological history program that starts at creation and goes to present day.

I love how Mrs. Hobar connects Biblical History with World History, especially in Volume I – (something that I didn’t even know was possible until I began homeschooling)! For example, did you know the first Olympic games happened just 16 years before Jonah was swallowed by the big fish? I learned that just from reading the table of contents from Volume I!

Depending on our schedules, some years we do several of the suggested activities and other years we just listen to the audio lessons and move on.

All in One Homeschool


The All in One website is such a blessing to my family! We don’t use it for every subject (although we could!) but I do use it with my kindergartener to help her work on her reading skills, and we’ve recently started using it for music class as well (I plan to start All in One gym soon too!).

The site doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but once we got the hang of it, we found that it’s really easy to use. It’s also very well thought-out and thorough, and the price (FREE) can’t be beat!

Well, those are three of my favorite homeschool things – what are some of your favorite homeschool things?

Davonne (9 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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Encouraging a Reluctant Reader


Guest post by Melissa, aka Domestic Imp

@hsbapost Encouraging a Reluctant Reader
I love this quote.

As the mother of a reluctant reader, it makes my heart sing.

Tazzie, my nine year old, has flat out refused to read up until this year. Said he hated it, reading was boring, he wasn’t going to do it.

Nothing made me doubt my ability to homeschool more than his refusal to read.

I heard of other children his age reading lofty literature. Shakespeare for kids. Historical living books. Heck, my teen daughter, Diva was reading complex novels at the same age, rated at a high school level. My son refused to even consider Dr. Seuss. The stories in easy readers were boring. Complicating things further, each publisher has their own rating system, and some supposedly ‘easy’ leveled books had impossible to sound out words for the emerging reader.

I couldn’t figure out, for the life of me, what I was doing wrong. He had the skills, he knew his letters, phonics, he just refused to apply them.

Then, the light went on, in his interest in reading. And what did it? Well, it wasn’t a literary novel, that’s for certain. He wanted to read a comic book. Yes, a comic book. Calvin and Hobbes, to be specific.

So, that got him started. Then, thanks to the suggestion of friends, I found some other ‘boy’ slanted books. I say ‘boy’ slanted, because, for whatever reason, most of the easy readers I could find were either gender neutral, or leaning more towards girls.

But…The Fly Guy series? About a boy and his pet (talking) fly? That appealed to him. If something has bugs, bad guys, monsters, he’s all over that like a bad rash.

Wolf reads him Captain Underpants for bedtime. Another favourite.

Personally? I loathe Captain Underpants. I don’t ‘get’ that humour. At. All. Farts, snot, wedgies…not my gig at all.

But, it IS Tazzie’s.

So, I learned to adjust. I happily conceded. I filled library request after library request for series that friends suggested would appeal to a boy like Tazzie. There was the Fly Guy series, Dr. Roach series, and then throwing myself on the mercy of the local librarian for suggestions.

Tazzie is so excited, when it comes to the Fly Guy series, he will sit and happily read them to his baby brothers. The truly wonderful thing is that the Fly Guy series has built not only his interest, but his confidence in his reading skills. His regular school work reading is going so much smoother and easier, because it’s finally, completely, ‘clicked’ for him.

Well, I shouldn’t say, ‘completely’, as his reading is still a work in progress, but it IS in progress, rather than being completely at a standstill.

My only complaint is that we’ve finished the Fly Guy series. Somebody needs to chain that author to his desk, and not let him loose until he’s written at least another dozen. Or two dozen.

Heck, make it an even fifty.

Do you have a reluctant reader?  What have you done to encourage him or her?

Melissa Domestic ImpMelissa, aka Domestic Imp, hails from the Frozen North (Canada). Homeschooling mom to Diva, Tazzie, Princess, Boo and Cubby, and The Wife to Wolf.

Most days find her bouncing from one thing to the other around the house like a demented pinball, trying to keep chaos in some sort of check, and managing one armed in a two armed world.

She can be found blogging away at Not A Stepford Life

On Pinterest:

On Facebook:

On Twitter: @domesticimp1


Melissa 'Imp' (4 Posts)

Wife to Wolf, Mom to 5 Minions at home, figuring out living, homeschooling, one handed in a 2 handed world.

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Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***3 FREE Complete Drawing Lessons from the SEE THE LIGHT 9 DVD/36 lesson ART CLASS curriculum that is used by many homeschooling families. Recommended for ages 6 + +***

Character Training and Books

Character training is something that continues all of our lives. Every situation and circumstance we encounter builds, tears down, repairs the character of our person. Children are even more susceptible to this process, I think; they are more fragile and yet more resilient. It’s important to give them worthwhile examples as best we can. There is perhaps no better substitute than having a role model in the flesh, but I think that having books with characters that exhibit good traits is wonderful as well.

I won’t even try to pretend my character is flawless. I have points I struggle with daily. However, my experiences with virtuous characters in books has helped in ways that my introverted self prevented me from learning from others in the real world. Also, with my own kids, I can see how books have helped shape what they understand about good character traits. Some they try very hard to emulate; others I wish they would.

Slimbook by lacybekah, on Pix-O-Sphere
The first book I might recommend to use in character training is the Bible. There are many curricula available for character development on the market. Some are very well done; others not so much. I’ll leave that to you to decide if they are good or not to use in your home. But I’m not going to actually suggest books for character training. This world is made up of very diverse cultures and beliefs. We cannot possibly experience them all, and especially not {all} in real life. Nor would I hope that we would!

By using books, fiction or nonfiction, we are able to present and discuss a situation before actually being in that situation. There are many situations that I’ve read about that I have never encountered myself; reading about it helps us all by giving an outside perspective. Sometimes we experience a situation in a book so well, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the character who went through it, we can take it for ourselves. Doing what is right, in any circumstance, would be a treasure we find and keep.

A worthy idea is like a room in a beautiful home. It becomes a place all our own where we can store the treasures we want to keep. Information is just stuff. Christine, Charlotte Mason Basics: Living Books

While discussing these situations and issues that we may {or may not} confront in our real lives, we can see that there really isn’t “do this/don’t do this” in the books. But isn’t that the way it is in life? There are absolutes, yes. But there also times when one “right” is the “wrong”. Reading good books helps us get a feel for what we would or wouldn’t do in that case.

good books by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

There isn’t really a substitute for a real life role model but sometimes really good ones can be found in books. Here are some ways to find books that will help instill good character traits in children:

  1. Think of books you yourself have read that were influential in your life. Did the books have role models you would like your children to emulate? Introduce these to your children.
  2. Ask individuals with admirable character qualities for book recommendations. Of course I am not suggesting taking their list and handing it over to your child. Pre-reading is always a good idea.
  3. Search out books that have situations that you know your child will encounter. Pre-read these and then, if they are suitable, read along with your child.

Of course our example will likely be more influential to our children’s character than any book could be, but sometimes a good book goes a long way in this respect.

What are some books you would recommend to help solidify a good character?

North Laurel (12 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***3 FREE Complete Drawing Lessons from the SEE THE LIGHT 9 DVD/36 lesson ART CLASS curriculum that is used by many homeschooling families. Recommended for ages 6 + +***