Examinations for Term 1 – Done!

This year we made a switch in curriculum for Bekah. After some researching and looking at where she was academically and in her studies, I began using Ambleside Online’s Year 10 for her. This was a first of using straight Ambleside. In the past it has been more of a book list or reference for extra reading.

Bekah is an avid reader that reads at a depth I never did at fifteen. She enjoys classics such as Austen and Dickens. Books that are thought provoking are devoured. Her understanding and discernment is well developed. I was looking forward to seeing how she would handle Year 10.

Today was a big day (at least for me!). Bekah had completed the first twelve week term of Year 10 and we tackled the Examination. She had been a bit nervous about it but her feelings were quickly put at ease. It was a delightful time of chatting about all she had read and learned in the past few months.

Ambleside Online provides examinations for each term of each year. I simply pulled the examination from online, added and deleted questions based on our personal tweaks, and then found a comfy spot to discuss.

Some of the questions stumped Bekah at first but she quickly recalled the person or event and was able to share. Bible, history, geography, literature and more were covered in the examination. It was better than any fill-in-the-circle test out there. There is no right or wrong answer. As Bekah reads The Great Democracies by Churchill, what she gleans from that book will be totally different from what I may take away from it. It is interesting to see her perspective on life, God, history, and more.

I decided not to cover subjects such as math or science during this examination. We also were not diligent on art or composer study. We will tweak it a bit more heading into this next term and add some of these in. I’m glad I made the decision to omit some of these areas for the first term. Shifting the way I had the children grouped for learning was challenging for me so I didn’t want to overwhelm either of us.

Bekah is enjoying a bit of a break this week. Monday will begin Term 2 of Year 10. I am finalizing some books selections and scheduling a bit. A couple of the books may be a week or two late in being added to the line up. I think it is going to be a great term!



Planning and High School

Before we were ever expecting our first child, Eddie and I had made the decision to homeschool our children. Oh the fun I had researching curriculum and making plans!  Those days when I sat on the floor reading to Bekah and Mary with Caleb snuggled in my lap, high school seemed so far away. In my mind those years were in the distant future.

Quite honestly, I didn’t think too much about high school. Life was busy. I was savoring and enjoying my kiddos where they were and not worrying about the future. Long range planning and organization would not be high on my skills list.

Then, one day, bam! that little curly headed preschooler was in high school. Not only was Bekah in high school, but Mary was right behind her. This momma did not have a plan.

One day Mary asked me what she had to complete to graduate. Um, good question,darling. She left a note on my desk stating that she had “passed first grade so she had now graduated”. Mary would be a big goofball but it certainly has this momma buckling down on the planning.

My first step was to make sure that current studies were flowing well. I am a pencil and paper girl but am trying to embrace technology and make it work for me. I sat down with Bekah and we discussed her studies, the time she needed to accomplish her assignments, and what method works best for her learning.

We then went to her Google calendar and scheduled her studies. Working in bigger blocks is helpful because she has time to dig deep without being interrupted at a crucial point. We can both access her calendar and make adjustments as needed. Is her schedule set in stone? No. However, it has been a great tool to help her manage her time and responsibilities. We even scheduled Friday as a No Math Day and I think we both enjoy the mental break.

Since this has worked so well for Bekah, a similar system will be set up for my other children who access Google. I haven’t completed ditched the pencil and paper method. Bekah has a printed out assignment sheet and the others will as well. Slowly embracing the technology; slowly.

The next major step is to discuss Bekah’s goals for the future. Decide what our basic “requirements” are for our homeschool and then adjust for Bekah’s personal interests as well. While I hate that I had my head in the sand in regards to how soon the high school years would hit, it is nice to know that I will have it all settled before Martha reaches this point.

Do you have your own requirements for graduating or do you use your state’s guidelines? I’d love to hear about your high school planning!

Homeschooling Essentials – Day 3 – Limits

Happy Wednesday and welcome to the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop. The past couple of days I have enjoyed sharing with you about laughter and love. Today I want to talk about limits.

Limit – noun – a point beyond which it is not possible to go Taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary


As we go about teaching, guiding and nurturing we can choose to laugh over exploding pancake batter and peg dolls stuck to the wall. We can make a choice to have an attitude of love in how we exhibit patience, kindness and contentment. We also need to make sure that we recognize when our children have reached their limit. And just as importantly when we have reached ours.

Not so long ago, I was sitting at the table going over math corrections. I had one of my children beside me and we were working through problem after problem and understanding was not happening for the child. I had explained it every way I knew. As I was trying to think of another way to explain, I look up from the paper and see silent tears sliding down a cheek. In that moment, I realized that she had reached her limit. Her brain had taken all the math instruction it could handle for the day and I was basically beating a dead horse.

I had a choice. I could press onward and keep working. Or I could acknowledge that what she really  needed was to shut the book, walk away, and tackle it the next day. The math book wasn’t going anywhere. The same problem would be there tomorrow, next week, next month.

Our children may express when they have reached their limits differently. Our purpose is to learn to recognize it. All of my children express it differently. While one may silently cry another may be more vocal about it.

Setting time limits and keeping lessons short are great ways to manage this. For the child and for the mom.

Oh,yes, this mom can reach her limit, too. I am getting better at catching it before frustration takes over. Not too long ago, I was in the midst of a phonics lesson and it was not going well. My daughter just couldn’t get the sounds out correctly. I could tell that I was almost to my limit; to the point where I was going to lose patience. I simply said, “You know, this lesson is a tough one today. Why don’t we break it up into two days?” My daughter agreed it was a great idea. No one ended up frustrated or in tears. Limits. It is good to know when you are hitting yours!

I think it can sometimes be challenging to recognize our children have limits in certain areas because we feel we may be falling short in some way. That is not true. Brains are such a complex and amazing work of the Lord. Your child ( or you) may simply need a break from long division or a new way to look at phonics. It could be the brain is overwhelmed with information in that science text and needs it in smaller chunks. Maybe mom needs a family walk mid morning to refresh her mind before tackling the next task.

Pay attention to when you and your child get frustrated during the day. Make notes. Evaluate it. Has he reached his limit for the day? Or is he not trying? Do I need a resource that gives me, the mom, more help in teaching this? Find a solution.

Encourage your children to let you know when they are feeling like they are hitting a brick wall. Help them to learn how to find solutions on their own! One of my older daughters was struggling with a subject. No matter what she did, she just couldn’t make progress. It just happened that one day she realized that listening to music helped her mind to focus on the work. The difference was amazing. She was no longer frustrated and overwhelmed but making progress.

May we all laugh more, love always, and learn our limits!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Want to see more homeschooling essentials? Here are a few stops to get you started! Enjoy!

Erica @ Be the One
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessing
Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews
Michelle @ Delightful Learning
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
Melanie @ FinchNWren
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Heather @ Principled Academy