Monday, March 14, 2011

Teaching Kids About Heaven

We have spent the last couple of months learning and discussing our permanent home--Heaven! As one book states, Christopher Columbus had to do everything he could to learn about the place he would be venturing to. What was the soil like? Were there people living there? If so, were they hostile? Dangerous? What kind of weapons should we bring? How can we get there? How much money will it take? How many ships? How many people?

J.C. Ryle says, "It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell for ever in that "better country, even a heavenly one," we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it."

One of the problems with not knowing about our heavenly home is the lies seen around us in the media about it. Why would someone want to go to heaven if they think it will be a boring place where we sit on clouds? Will it be this place we sit and endlessly sing repetitive songs to God that bore us? Our life reflects where we want to go and if we don't feel like heaven is a good place to go, our life will be guided by those thoughts.

Do you know how to answer your child's questions about heaven? Will there be sports there? Will we invent? Will we work all day long? Will we have bodies? Will we live in our own house or in a shared house?

To answer these questions and learn as much as we can about heaven, we looked to one of my favorite authors--Randy Alcorn. A very dear friend once bought me his 500-page book "Heaven" that answers pretty much every question you could think of about heaven using Scripture as its reference point. Of course, we can't know everything, but if the Bible says anything about it, Randy Alcorn talks about it in this book.

The children's version of this book, Heaven for Kids, was one of the books we read. However, we started with his book, "Tell Me About Heaven" as an introduction to begin our learning.

In both books, he discusses the galaxy of Andromeda. So, to finish off our study, we are learning about Andromeda. Here's a brief video that gave us some starting information:

For the rest of the information, we got books about Andromeda from the library.

So the next time someone says, "We can't begin to imagine what Heaven will be like," your children will be able to tell them, "I can!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Free Curriculum!

Hi homeschooling friends!

Once again, I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything. Lately, however, I've been on the hunt for some more curriculum. The teenager is in high school (AHHHHH!!) and I always look for free resources before I buckle down and pay for something.

I know there are a lot of families out there that get into the crime scene investigation-type shows. While we are definitely not one of them, I found a great resource for those that are. It is a complete Forensic Science curriculum. It's in-depth, complete with colorful pictures, tests, and Power Point presentations. The best part? IT'S FREE!!

So for those homeschoolers who like this kind of thing, here ya go!

(I'll also permanently post the link on the left side of this blog.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Must-Have HS'ing Resources

I know it's been forever since I've posted something on this blog, but our new school year has brought new resources that I have to share. The coolest that I just found is the free loan program from The National Gallery of Art in New York. You can request a catalog or browse their online catalog full of wonderful art resources. For Vince's 9th grade work, I was looking for free art history resources. That's how I stumbled on this valuable resource. There are too many items to list; you'll just have to check it for yourself!

On the same subject, I found Canadian professor Dr. Robert J. Belton's free online handbook: "Art History: A Preliminary Handbook." I printed off the 2nd and 3rd sections to use as an introduction for Art History before we get into the actual history, artists, periods, etc. It's at:

I will eventually post these links on the side of this blog along with the other links to free curriculum. My goal was and continues to be to bring you free curriculum to make homeschooling possible on any budget!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

JEOPARDY-Homeschool Style

The kids have really gotten into trivia games and especially enjoy watching Jeopardy. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to use it for a fun learning experience. So for the elementary-age kids (Faith & Dylan), the teenager helped me design a Jeopardy game. Every Friday, we play a new Jeopardy board with questions from categories like Bible, Science, Geography, History, Healthy, etc.

I started with a large piece of white tagboard and framed it out with cardboard to make it a little more sturdy. I then broke up the board into 30 squares the size of 3x5 index cards. In the middle of each square, I put a small magnet. Then on 30 trivia cards, I put the magnet on the inside with the question. On the back, I wrote the category name and monetary amount. There are oodles of websites with trivia questions, so it wasn't hard to find those. Another good source is the popularly-used-by-homeschoolers books, "What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know." We plan on using new questions each week for three weeks and then the fourth week, we will use a combination of the previous three week's cards for a review. It's a little bit of extra work, but the kids had a blast. Also, it's a great way to cover all those extra subjects and topics that you haven't got to yet or need a review on from the previous year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

50 Nifty United States

I love this song! I learned it in 3rd grade and it still helps me remember the states in alphabetical order, so we're going over it again with our homeschool this semester.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Study on Homeschoolers

Here are the results of a recent nationwide study of homeschoolers. Testing over 11,000 homeschool students from all 50 states, The Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics found the following:

National Average Percentile Scores
Subtest Homeschool Public School
Reading 89 50
Language 84 50
Math 84 50
Science 86 50
Social Studies 84 50

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.
Boys—87th percentile
Girls—88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.
$34,999 or less—85th percentile
$35,000–$49,999—86th percentile
$50,000–$69,999—86th percentile
$70,000 or more—89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the 83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.

Neither parent has a college degree—83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree—86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree—90th percentile

Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.
Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)—87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)—88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.
Spent $600 or more on the student—89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student—86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the results.
Low state regulation—87th percentile
Medium state regulation—88th percentile
High state regulation—87th percentile

Basically, whether homeschooling parents have a college degree, live in a low, medium, or highly-regulated state, spent little or lots of money on books, and is a certified teacher or not, homeschoolers across the board are at least 35% ahead of their public school counterparts. I'm posting this study for those of you considering homeschooling and thinking you maybe can't do it based on financial, educational, or other reasons. If it's on your heart, you'll do a great job teaching your children!

(The full article and results of the study can be found on HSLDA's website at )

Making Homemade Butter

As part of our current unit study: The Prairie Primer, we're reading the Little House in the Big Woods. Chapter 2 talks about how the Ingalls make homemade buttter, so our project today was to make it ourselves. This video is very good to watch before doing your own at home. It's so fun; smaller kids can help make (and eat) it and older kids can learn the science behind it from this video. Enjoy!