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Prepare Your Child for High School

Prepare Your Child for High School
I help prepare parents to homeschool high school all the time. I tell them to "read books, attend conferences, watch instructional videos and invest in yourself and your chosen profession." Parents also want to know the other side of the equation. How do you prepare your child for high school?

Prepare Your Child for High School

I have great news. The way you prepare your child for high school is the same way you prepare them for success in life.   Teach them to confidently read, write, and do math quickly and accurately. Do what it takes for them to develop good study habits and work ethic.

Teach them to be independent, so they can eventually self-teach. At the same time, they will need to respect your leadership so they will complete assignments you give them.   Teach them honesty, so they don't try to cheat or mislead you as they work independently. Keep their work in elementary school challenging, so they know what it is like to LEARN instead of KNOW new material. Make sure the work isn't overwhelmingly difficult, so they don't learn to hate school.  In elementary and middle school, teach your child how to pace themselves and their work, so they don't suffer from burnout. Having a schedule may help, but others achieve that goal by limiting the time allotted for each homeschool task. Have your child help around the house, and make sure they know they are family members as well as students.

Spend time in elementary and middle school working through issues that arise. Parenting doesn't get easier as children get older! Face  problems head-on, working through them as they come up, so high school will go more smoothly.

Enjoy homeschooling in elementary and middle school as your prepare your child for high school!

How are you planning to prepare your child for high school? What are you most worried about? Please share!

Please note: This post was originally published in October 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Time to Have "The Talk"

Time to Have "The Talk"
When children are young, we shield them from much of our "rated R" world.  But something happens that changes that.....  Your children grow up.  That's when we realize that we need to shelter young children, but discuss with teens.

When your children enter their teen years, it's time to begin having "the talk" about social issues, morality, and integrity.  Allow them to see more of the world, and explain to them what you see in the context of your world view.  Each family is unique and different.  Our job it to pass on our values to the next generation.  The only way that can happen is if they SEE our values.  They can't see if by reading a textbook, or seeing carefully selected movies.  Instead, they need "the talk."

Gently, and gradually, expose your children to the news and views of others.  A brief exposure to a news story, followed by discussion, can quickly explain your values and interpretation of the event.

What does that look like in the real world?  Few real homeschool moms can preview every high school level book their child reads, I'll admit.  On the other hand, it's pretty simple to watch 10 minutes of the evening news a few times each week, and discuss it as a family.  It's pretty easy to choose supplements that contain discussion prompts that will encourage you to explore the issues involved.

Don't shy away from discussion.  Talking to children about your values and beliefs will help them understand your actions, and can help them formulate their own beliefs.  They will be voting in just a few years.  Have "the talk" while they are teens, so they can vote responsibly.

Remember, shelter young children, but discuss with teens.


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Ideas for Budding Engineers

Ideas for Budding Engineers
Fun resources for kids who are interested in becoming engineers.

High School Classes at MIT

College Level Classes at MIT (My son Kevin said "I would recommend this for bright homeschoolers")

Stanford Engineering Everywhere is a resource for students, their parents, their teachers and their school counselors. This is a portal about engineering and engineering careers

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Intel has an international pre-college science competition for students in grades 9–12.

Design Squad

Although it looks a little "schoolish" for my tastes, the website say "Design Squad Educator’s Guide has everything you need to bring engineering to life for kids ages 9-12."

Lego Mindstorms Robotics

Conservative Christian Engineering Colleges

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Encouragement for Parents of Struggling Learners

Encouragement for Parents of Struggling Learners
What happens when REAL homeschoolers grow up?  You know, the kids who have to actually WORK to learn?  I'll tell you what happens - they succeed! This is a letter I recently received from a friend willing to share the ups and downs of her journey - and their ultimate success!

I just have to share what happened today. My oldest child, Rhett age 16 and in the 11th grade, won the National Guard Outstanding Achievement Award. They give our one per state and only 100 in the world. He won it for having the highest GPA in Automotive Technology.

He was also the first EVER first year student to be invited to participate in national competition and he's been asked to participate in two. He won the Star Student Award several weeks ago for having the highest GPA in the college. He's only in his first semester and he's already been approached by several technical institutes (such as WyoTech) about a full scholarship.

What makes this so amazing is that this child has ADHD and a serious reading comprehension issue for which there is no cure. This is the student that the public school told me was unable to succeed because of his reading problems. I've been ridiculed and degraded for choosing to homeschool my children and this feels like a sort of vindication to me! I'm so proud of him and of all he's accomplished. God is so good!

Just wanted to share all of this with you - many of you have kept my head above water over the years...and I wanted to share this success with each of you. Let it also be an encouragement to all of those starting out that you CAN do it!


I asked Emily to encourage other parents dealing with learning challenges. Hopefully others will be able to glean helpful tidbits for their own children.
I never did anything special curriculum wise - he is a math/science/history whiz. He can memorize anything and remembers the most inane details about things. Our only special resource was prayer, our belief in him, and his belief and determination to succeed. He never gave up or even considered for a moment that he couldn't or wouldn't succeed. The only issue he ever has had was reading - and it was a HUGE issue - but God saw fit to bless him with talents that put him head and shoulders above the rest in spite of his comprehension problems.

I will say that seeing Casting Crown in November of 2007 changed his life. The lead singer, Mark Hall, gave his testimony. He talked about his struggle with ADHD and dyslexia and how people always told him he'd never amount to anything, but God didn't believe that. We stood there in that coliseum, my husband, myself, and my son (13 at the time) with tears streaming down our faces. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God had intended us to be there. The impact that made was incredible.

We always planned college. I've never doubted his ability for one second. I doubted mine plenty of times, though! Lol. Thankfully, I have a wonderful godly man for a husband who has always believed in me and our children. I always knew that Rhett going to college would mean work for us - if he was going to succeed, we were going to have to continue to be willing to give. The amazing thing? He hasn't needed our assistance on anything since beginning classes in August! He quickly excelled about the others and is, in fact, helping the instructor by teaching many things to the other students.

Rhett decided last year that he wanted to take automotive technology at the local college this year. Neither he nor we thought that he'd make a career choice out of it (we didn't have objections, but while he's always had an incredible interest in automotives and anything technical, he viewed it more as a hobby). Within a two weeks of classes starting he was talking about it in more and more. By the mid-quarter mark he knew that this was his calling and what he wanted to pursue with his life.

His plans are to attend a technical school after high school graduation and after finishing there he wants to attend a school for diesel mechanics as well. We know that with God's help he will continue to succeed.

The thing I want to say most to parents everywhere is this: "Never, ever, ever believe what someone else tell you about your child's abilities. God gave your child to YOU. Our children will live up to our expectations so set the bar high and be there to help them reach above and beyond. Believe in your child and his dreams and do everything in your power to make sure he can achieve them."

Again, thank you so much. This journey has been long and hard and has contained MANY tears and sleepless nights. I've been ridiculed, degraded, and talked about in the most cruel ways. But in the end, I wouldn't trade one tear or sleepless night or hateful word, because it made me and Rhett who we are. Who God wants us to be. What else matters?

So grateful,

For more encouragement, please see my article "College for Struggling Learners"

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Little League Ethics

Little League Ethics
My husband found this ethical dilemma online at  and I thought it would be an excellent tool for homeschoolers (especially those with kids in little league) to engage their kids in a real life ethical discussion.  After you read the story and before you read the discussion, please add a comment with your vote and a brief explanation.  Then read the analysis and let me know if you change your mind.  This is really interesting and engaging material.

Take the Little League Baseball Ethics Challenge!

Last month's tournament leading up to the Little League World Series included one game with an unusual series of events that set the stage for a fascinating ethical debate. The Situation: On August 11 in Bristol, Conn., a Little League team from Colchester, Vt., only had to retire its Portsmouth, N.H. opposition in the top of the sixth inning (Little League games are six innings rather than nine) to win the game 9-8 and move on to the New England regional championship game.

But there was a problem. The Vermont team had made its third out in its half of the fifth inning before player Adam Bentley got to the plate. The Little League has a strict rule that requires every player to bat at least once a game, and the penalty for violating it is forfeit. Vermont's coach Denis Place realized, to his horror, that even though his team had the lead entering the last inning the only way it could avoid losing by forfeit was for Bentley to get an at bat. For that to happen, the New Hampshire team would have to tie the score or take the lead, requiring the teams to play the last half of the sixth inning.

Place held a meeting of his players at the pitcher's mound and instructed them to let New Hampshire score a run. The plan: walk the first batter, and ensure that he made it home with the assistance of wild pitches and intentional errors so the game would be deadlocked at 9-9. Then, hopefully, win the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Adam Bentley getting his mandated turn at the plate.

Not so fast. The New Hampshire team's coach, Mark McCauley figured out what was happening and ordered his players not to score. So after a walk and two wild pitches allowed a New Hampshire runner to reach third base, the  player refused to advance to the plate despite another wild pitch and a fielding error. McCauley also told his players to strike out intentionally, preserving Vermont's lead but guaranteeing a successful New Hampshire protest that, under the rules, would require that New Hampshire win by forfeit.

This obviously led to a ridiculous spectacle: one team trying to give up a run while the other team was trying to make outs and avoid scoring. The perplexed umpires understandably chose to end the debacle by ejecting  Place and his pitcher from the game. Vermont won 9-8...and then New Hampshire was awarded the victory by forfeit, because Adam Bentley never got his turn at bat. The New Hampshire team advanced to the next round.

The Question: Whose conduct was unethical?

Possible Answers:
1.      Place, the Vermont coach
2.      McCauley, the New Hampshire coach
3.      Both coaches
4.      Neither coach.

So what's your analysis?  Before you read the discussion below, enter a comment to this post.  If you change your mind after you read the discussion, please let us know.  And remember, neither coach had much time to consider their options.

A pair of sports ethicists (yes, there actually are such people) chose 3. Both coaches.  Both coaches acted unethically, said Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, at the University of Central Florida. "Anytime a coach changes how the game is played and orders his players to do something that's not a natural at-bat or pitch, it crosses that line." Daniel Doyle, executive director of the Institute for International Sport, in Kingston, R.I., agreed. "The lesson is anytime you're coaching kids, you never make a decision to use strategy to impair the integrity of the game. You follow that principle and you're going to be fine."

The Ethics Scoreboard emphatically does not agree. Denis Place not only did not behave unethically, he made the only ethical decision open to him. But his rival manager, McCauley, indeed was unethical.   Ethics Scoreboard Analysis: The dilemma arose in part because of the special objectives of Little League baseball, which are embodied by rules that occasionally work at cross purposes. Winning is important (remember that the game in question took place during an international tournament designed to determine the best team), but excellence of play is even more important, and excellence includes good sportsmanship. Co-existing with these straightforward objectives are the organizational goals of ensuring that all the young participants have a rewarding experience that includes the opportunity to play, learn and improve. Looming over all of this is the Little League Pledge, a statement that dates from the Eisenhower administration and is recited with reverence by the players before every game:

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best

The most important aspect of the Little League's values is this: the kids...their health, safety, happiness, development, socialization and growth, physical,  mental and emotional... come first. This is why the rule that caused all the trouble exists. Coaches, particularly in games like this one in which the winners are rewarded, will naturally want to put their strongest team on the field (recall Walter Matthau's moment of truth in "the Bad News Bears"). The rule ensures that even the weakest players will get a chance to play in every game, and it establishes a hierarchy of values by the proscribed penalty for violating it. The kids come first: if all of them don't play, your team loses no matter what the score. The problem with the rule, like some laws, is that the punishment is effective as a threat but unjust and excessive in execution. If a game is really forfeited, the coach isn't the only one punished; so are all the kids on the team and their families. Worst of all, perhaps, is the fate of the unlucky child whose failure to come to bat resulted, through no fault of his own, in his or her team losing a victory. The guilt and blame that will follow from the enforcement of this rule are far more damaging and long-lasting than the pain of sitting out one game.

Nobody thinks Coach Place intentionally kept Adam Bentley from batting in the fifth inning. It was simply bad luck; a hit or two by his team mates and Bentley would have come to the plate. When Place realized that his team was doomed if he didn't find a way for the game to last into the home half of the sixth, he had three options, all of them bad:

- He could explain his plight to the umpires and the other team, and ask them to waive the rule. In seeking this result, he would have been invoking a Reciprocity ethical analysis: "Wouldn't you want me to be generous and merciful to you if our positions were reversed?" This would be futile, and should be futile. Changing a rule mid-game, even by consensus, is both bad practice and a bad lesson for the players. It is inherently unfair. It is not a proper application of the Golden Rule.

- He could go ahead and let his team win in the top of the inning, have victory taken away by forfeit, and take full responsibility. This is apparently what the sports ethicists and the League felt he should do. It is essentially an Absolutist approach: a pledge is a pledge, and not even unanticipated and unique circumstances justify going around it. Teams do not, can not and must not intentionally let their opposition score. No exceptions.

- He could instruct his team to allow New Hampshire to tie the score, and hope that his team could win by scoring in the bottom of the sixth or in extra innings.

In choosing the last option, Coach Place was applying the balancing approach of Utilitarian ethical systems. Using that method of analysis, his course was  obvious. True, allowing the other team to score intentionally was superficially a violation of the League's "strive to win" ethic, but in this odd instance it was really the opposite: only by allowing a run to score could his team win. The Scoreboard would like to hear the argument that he
was telling his players not to "strive to win" when what they were doing was
essential to having any chance at victory. They were not throwing the game.
Doing nothing would be throwing the game.

On the positive side, extending the game meant that Adam Bentley would bat, an objective so important to the Little League that it had passed a rule mandating a forfeit if it wasn't met. Getting to play would be a benefit to Adam, and an even greater benefit would be that he would not feel responsible when his team missed a chance to advance in the tournament because of him. It also would give his team a chance to get credit for a victory it had earned by outplaying the other team. (It is worth pointing out that Adam's failure to bat did not give Vermont any unfair advantage or contribute to the team's lead. One therefore cannot argue that Vermont's coach's miscalculation in any way entitled New Hampshire to a victory.) It would avoid the anomaly of an inferior team advancing over a superior one, and avert a forfeit, always an unsatisfactory resolution of a game except to the beneficiaries of it, and often not even them.

Place made the right ethical choice. The arguments of the sports ethicists quoted above are oddly detached from the actual situation of the Vermont team. Lapchick: "Anytime a coach changes how the game is played and orders his players to do something that's not a natural at-bat or pitch, it crosses that line." That is an invalid lesson for both baseball and life, and faulty ethics: an unconventional response to an unusual situation is not necessarily unethical. When a baseball player laid down the first sacrifice bunt some time in the 1880s, he was intentionally making an out..."unnatural" perhaps, but a valid and intelligent tactic that is now commonplace. Before something is declared unethical, there has to be a violation of some ethical principle. What is it in this case? The rules of baseball do not prohibit intentionally allowing the other team to score. Place was not failing to "strive to win;" on the contrary, he was striving hard, if unconventionally, while also  striving to obey the Little League's participation rule.

Doyle: "The lesson is anytime you're coaching kids, you never make a decision to use strategy to impair the integrity of the game. You follow that principle and you're going to be fine." Mr. Doyle, don't you think a result where the team that scores the most runs loses by forfeit "impairs the integrity of the game"? I sure do, and I'll bet everyone in the stands that day agrees with me. The Little League rule that requires a player to bat at least once, while laudable in many ways, also impairs the integrity of the game (and it isn't "natural" either, Mr. Lapchick). Following Doyle's version of integrity in this case wouldn't make everything "fine" at all: a victory overturned after the fact, victimized kids, a traumatized player, the inferior team advancing, a rule broken. That's "fine"? Fine for whom?

Interestingly, Coach Place later said without elaborating that he could have accomplished his goal in a more subtle way, and he was correct. For  example, he could have had all his players play out of position; a non-pitcher struggling to get a ball over the plate, his slowest players in the outfield, his weakest arms at third and short. Presumably playing an inferior team wouldn't offend Lapchick's definition of "natural" or Doyle's version of  "integrity," which shows how shallow their analysis went. (Lest this sound too harsh, I should note that it is likely that neither of the ethicists were given much time to consider their opinions, and I think their AP quotes reflect that.) I regard this as a cosmetic difference only, what lawyers call "a distinction without a difference."

He also could have waited to see if such strategies became unnecessary as a result of New Hampshire scoring a run without assistance. But the only way to make certain that his team would avoid a forfeit was to be proactive. Or so it seemed at the time. He was proactive, and his team still forfeited. Still, his plan was not unethical What about the conduct of the New Hampshire coach? Easy call: unethical:

1. His actions were aimed at ensuring that the rule would be broken, not followed.
2. He was ensuring that a young player would not get the opportunity to bat, which his own League had decreed was crucial.
3. He was asking his players to lose the game, while Place was seeking only to extend the game...a critical difference.
4. By doing the above, he was attempting to advance in the tournament through forfeit rather than merit, thus exploiting a technicality in a contest that is supposed to be a measure of skill.
5. His instructions to his team constituted an effort to block a colleague's good faith attempt to avoid breaking a rule for the good of his team and the league.

McCauley could have reacted to Place's desperate strategy by having his  team play it straight, and either win the game by scoring as many runs as possible in the sixth inning or by proving its superiority by winning in extra innings. He wasn't willing to take that chance, and preferred to win by forfeit. That's bad sportsmanship. It violates the spirit of the Little League Pledge. And he was trying to lose the game.

Whose conduct was unethical?

The Scoreboard's answer is
2. McCauley, the New Hampshire coach.
Such situations are rare but have even occurred in major league games. Some managers have walked sluggers like Barry Bonds and Willy McCovey with the bases loaded, sometimes pushing across a tying or even go-ahead run, to avoid a potential grand slam. There have been games in which a home team  was trailing by many runs in the top of the fifth inning with a thunderstorm approaching, and the home team's manager realized that if the inning wasn't completed before the rains came, it wouldn't be an official game and the score wouldn't count. So he instructed his team to stall, walk opposing players and refuse to make outs until the rains came.

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Real Homeschool Mom Tells All

Real Homeschool Mom Tells All
Nancy is a real homeschool parent, and she wrote me such a compelling, heart-warming story that I just had to share!



Dear Lee,

I had not intended to homeschool high school (or homeschool at all!). I hadn't thought about high school last year (7th grade!) until my daughter was approached by a soccer coach last winter...she received a verbal offer to attend a private high school, 1 year early for 9th grade with a special math program designed for her,  a full 4-year scholarship plus a 4-year scholarship to a college of her the soccer coach/math teacher. He wanted her to play soccer. Wow! High school and college solved.

But, after thinking about it for 2 weeks, she said, "no thank you."  She didn't want the structure, didn't want to live away from home (yet) and couldn't play soccer at her level ALL YEAR LONG. LOL.

So, all of a sudden, homeschooling her throughout high school  was looming ahead for me. It is working out  so far. Another soccer coach, from another private high school, approached her 2 weeks ago. There are 3 girls on her soccer team who are homeschooled. I love it, she loves it.

I just signed her up for 2 AP tests. There is no way I could teach  her Calculus and I absolutely hate science. She has always taught herself the material. I especially love "not teaching." (Why You SHOULDN'T Teach Your Homeschoolers! )

I have tried teaching her brother when he was having trouble with math tables when we first started homeschooling in 5th grade. I couldn't take it, so to avoid the constant battles, I found him an on-line program that held him accountable and I backed it up with rewards (or not)...I later found out he is a "visual-spatial learner" and that was why he could not learn at school or from me. He is 12, just completed high school Algebra and is half way through high school geometry that he started 2 weeks ago! And, he will still tell you that he does not like math! And, I will  tell you, he is NOT motivated. But, he is thriving at home. What a difference from when he was asked not to return to Catholic school 3 years ago because he was "annoying every single day, at best." He is now excelling and learning. He loves it, I love it.

My 2 kids were adopted from Russia 7 years ago having lived in an orphanage for 3 years, they had no formal schooling and did not speak English! They were 5 and almot 7 coming here. We tried public, Catholic and private schools...none worked for  them. What joy they have brought us. And, the best is since they are now homeschooled, not only do I get to spend more time with them, but I don't get those annoying phone calls from school every week, and they get to have their family at the apex of their world rather than an institution.

I read your blog this morning about analyzing literature, or not! (Do Great Homeschools Really Need Socratic Dialog?) HaHaHa, all I remember from middle/high school are my teachers ruining every book we read by analyzing them to death. And, I was feeling badly about not having my kids analyze each book, too...I will feel badly no more. My son loves to read, and read and read! And, I will enjoy that he does. Because I am very sneaky, I have found ways to test his knowledge of the books he reads that don't interfere with his enjoyment.

You have given me the courage to homeschool high school and  know that my kids will be able to attend college and be way ahead of their peers. Keep up your good work. I am already adapting a transcript (Total Transcript Solution) for my son's Sea Cadet program that wants a report card for him. His CO is encouraging him to go to the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

~ Nancy in Connecticut

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Homeschool High School: It's Not About Teaching At All!

Homeschool High School: It's Not About Teaching At All!
As parents homeschooling high school, our goal is NOT to teach something. Our goal is for our kids to LEARN. I could have taught my kids “at grade level” and they would have not learned a thing. Instead, I gave them curriculum at their ability level, and then they had to learn something that they didn’t already know.

I have been telling people for 3 + years that I don't teach my kids, I just give them the materials they need to learn and find a method of accountability (testing!). They teach themselves. I tried to tell the schools they attended that no one was teaching anything because the kids were not learning at their level. Your article stated exactly what I had been trying to say! LOL My daughter is now 13 and taking AP tests in Physics and Calculus this spring, having been adopted from Russia 7 years ago. I haven't taught her math since she learned English. Her brother, at 12 is less motivated, but has found that he can learn math using a different program, and having just starting high school geometry 2 weeks ago is 50% done! We basically do the same in all subjects: learn the material, discuss what they feel is interesting and correct assignments and tests together. This has eliminated a lot of stress in our family.


Nancy in Connecticut

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Herding Men to Help Around the House

Herding Men to Help Around the House
It is sometimes difficult to encourage men to help with household chores.  As the only woman in my home, I knew we needed to work together.  Of course they would need cleaning skills for adulthood.  More importantly, though, they were the ones making the mess! It was simply a matter of Justice.

That's me herding my three men!

Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise by Pam Young and Peggy Jones has some great ideas.  For years, instead of nagging, I would simply hand my men their list of tasks on cards.  Finish the cards, done for the day.  Now, you have to understand that this is how my kids functioned best.  It is the same personality characteristics that made them like an assignment sheet rather than having me tell them their assignments.  They liked to see all the work up front first, so they knew the list wouldn't get longer and longer as the day went on.   Since it was a good fit for us, it was a great sanity-saver during our years of homeschooling.

I was cleaning the house the other day and something became very clear to me.  Yes, my children are no longer home to make a mess.  However, they are no longer home to help me clean, either!  It takes me FOREVER without their help!

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Pre-test in the Fall!

Pre-test in the Fall!
Children learn all the time, even when we aren't looking - and even over summer!  You might want to "pre-test" your children in some subject areas before you start school next year.  For example, Spelling Power offers a placement test for their program, and you can check their spelling level at the beginning of each year, to make sure they are learning something new.  In most math books, the first chapter or two is review.

You can see if your student really NEEDS the review.  You can give the chapter one test on the first day of school, and if your child scores well, just skip chapter one, and move on to the chapter two test.  Keep in mind that our goal isn't to "teach" something.  Our goal is that our children learn something new - something they don't already know.

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How to Read a Million Books in a Week

How to Read a Million Books in a Week
We used to go camping a lot.  Car campers, we would take every creature comfort from home, and set up our tent next to the car.  We would take day hikes each day, and cook over an open fire.  To be honest, though, most of the time we all spent reading.

When my children were younger, I would prepare unit studies for them to read.  Books on insects or trees, or stories of survival and outdoor living.  I would read ahead all their school books for the coming year.  Hey, when you're reading ahead for their 6th grade year, it's pretty easy!  I'll admit it gets MUCH more difficult when you are reading ahead for high school!

When my children were older, I would try to read ahead some of their school books that I didn't already know, or the books I was not planning to read aloud to them.  I could get some real quality "planning ahead" done that way!

When we went camping, whether my children were younger or older, we always brought with us a huge box of books to read.  I would try to sneak in some really great reading that I knew they would love – using books from "reading lists for the college bound."  Reading "Call of the Wild" or "Mark Twain" is much more fun when you're camping!

Remember to save all the book titles for your reading list.  It doesn't matter whether they read the books for school or for fun, when camping or in bed at night.  All their books can be put on the reading list.

I have been writing a LOT of articles recently.  In fact, in a day or two I will be the number one homeschooling author on  You can subscribe and get my articles by email here.  If you do subscribe, please take a moment to leave me a comment, send it to a friend or vote for it.  My articles have been viewed over 3000 times but I only have one comment!  Sniff...I guess my blog buddies spoil me!
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Never Compare, Someone Always Gets Hurt!

Never Compare, Someone Always Gets Hurt!
Never compare, someone always gets hurt.

That's our family mantra, and we use it often.

When my boys were very young (perhaps 5 and 7) we had an uncomfortable realization about comparisons.  During Christmas when they were young, I always tried to be careful about gifts.  They had to be similar size boxes, so THEY thought they were the same value, but they had to be similar prices so *I* knew they had the same value.  It was hard work and emotionally exhausting.  Then one day I heard them playing by the Christmas tree.  When I went to check on them, I had quite a surprise.  They had pulled all the wrapped gifts from the tree, and piled them into two piles.  They were carefully weighing each stack of gifts on our bathroom scale, and adding it together.  They wanted to find out who had more POUNDS of Christmas presents!

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard!  It just goes to prove that no matter HOW careful you are, it's possible for kids to measure life in a completely different way!

I have to say, parents, just do your best at Christmas.  You can't do any better than that.  If they weigh they Christmas presents - oh well!  As parents we simply can't be perfect.  Just do your best, and it will be fine.

Now... back to that Christmas shopping!

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Understanding Their Gifts

Understanding Their Gifts
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12: 6-8 NIV)

Finding your child's area of specialization is an important part of our job as homeschooling parents.  Everyone has their own unique gifts, and some are easier to spot than others.  For whatever reason, I notice that sometimes parents can see their child's faults easier than they see their strengths.  A gift is something that children will do repeatedly, over and over..... to the point of annoyance!  Check yourself, the next time you feel annoyed at your children.  As yourself, are you looking at their gifts?  Is it annoying and do they do it so much, because that is the way they are wired?  Is this what they are meant to do?

I'm not saying that all mothers will get annoyed at their children, but I sure did!  Look at the things they do that annoy you, and see if it might be because they have different gifts then you.  Then ask yourself:  how can I encourage this gift in my child?

Do this and you will be helping your child understand their gifts and calling.

I have a lot more to say about discovering your children's gifts in my 5 part mini-course, 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Homeschooling High School.“  I know it will bless your family.
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