Category Archives: Curriculum

About Spelling

A couple of weeks ago, our homeschool group had a curriculum/book sale. I was amazed at the number of boxes of books each of us was willing to part with. We filled several tables in 4 rooms of a house each displaying our books. Since not many people showed up for the sale(there was a snow storm and a car pileup on I-25, people I am sure were heading to La Junta for our book sale), we basically bought each other’s books, each of us taking home at least as much as we brought, plus some.   Todd Wilson illustrates a great use for our unsold curriculum!


I started writing this article to review All About Spelling by Learning Press and explain why I recommend it. However, as I took a break from writing, and was reading my bible, my daughter, Heidi, joined me. I asked her “Why do we homeschool you?” She proceeded to give me some reasons that were not the right answers. I then asked my son, David, why we homeschool and he also gave me a different set of reasons that were not why we homeschool. I then realized I had lost my perspective. My focus had become curriculum; grades, testing and trying to be sure my children are “smart enough”. Had my worth become based on my children’s academic performance? What a rude awakening!

I realized from this conversation with my children is that spelling, writing, and math are important, but the most important thing is that we have unity in our family. When school becomes a point of frustration and bouncing from one curriculum to another in search of the “perfect for my child” curriculum we might just need to put the books on the shelf for a while and refocus on what is really important. God is not going to ask our children how to spell before they are allowed into heaven. He is not going to reprimand me for not teaching them enough geometry.

On “stressful” days or weeks of school, we will stop and get out the greatest book of all, God’s Word and read together. Refocus on what is truly important. Christ wants us to have deeper, closer, more loving united families. Not stressed out or burned out. Relaxing and enjoying our time together. Then, with a clear, peaceful head, taking down those books and starting again. It might be that our children’s lack of learning was due to a seed of laziness or something else that God’s Word can address so much better than me getting frustrated by it. God teaches us precept upon precept and that is how our children learn. Little by little our children will learn what they need to.

Our training focus needs to be on training God honoring, God glorifying character. I need to relax and let go of my fears that I will turn out a bad speller or bad….._____. A friend often reminds me that if my children know how to work, how to find answers, are honest, trustworthy, God-fearing children, then I have succeeded, even if they aren’t the best scholars. I love to read Todd Wilson’s “The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons” to help me not stress the little things. Let’s remember character is EVERYTHING! That is where our educational focus needs to be.

Now, I will briefly tell you why I like the All About Spelling program. I like it, because we get up from the table and use tactile (our hands) on a magnetic board learning syllable division, phonograms, suffix rules and spelling words. The children get to take turns spelling and dividing words and agree or disagree on the spelling before I give the correct answer. I find they get some team-work going here. After using the spelling letters, blends, phonograms, etc. we have spelled our words and learned the rules and words that are rule breakers. We have a jail card that we take turns writing down the rule-breakers. It’s fun! We laugh. Then we move to paper and I dictate words and sentences for them to write. As they write, I watch their spelling. When they spell something incorrectly, I remind them of the rule we just learned, the light bulb goes on in their head and I see them cross out the incorrect and write the correct word they just learned. When it’s time to stop, we stop for the day. The next day, we finish writing our dictated sentences. No homework, no lists to repetitively memorize. A few sentences dictated daily helps reinforce the rules they have learned and keeps spelling fresh, simple and fun.

If you want more details about why I like this program, please feel free to post a question.

Spelling Can Be Easy When It's Multisensory

Less is More–Fitness Challenge

What comes to mind when you hear the word exercise?? Do you get excited and want to jump and down…then call that your exercise? Do you feel this dread come over you? Do you get tired thinking about it? Do you reach for the chocolates at the mention of it?

The truth is the more we use our body, the more efficient our body becomes and the more energy we will have. You’ve heard “use it or lose it”, well that is true. My all time favorite is “I am running late and am counting that as my exercise today!” Sorry, but that doesn’t cut it.

Having taught and preached exercise for years, I always thought exercise is getting our heart rate up, keeping it up for at least 30 minutes, sweat like a fiend and drop over in total exhaustion. After having children, I was no longer up for that kind of a workout! After that kind of workout, just try to homeschool, cook, clean, take care of babies, ……. Exercise was not going to happen in my house! Exercise became of thing of the past.

A friend shared T-Tapp exercise with me this past summer. I watched it online and decided to give it a try. Afterall, my jeans had shrunk through the hips and waistline as did my skirts, go figure! I calculated I didn’t have anything to lose, besides not having to spend money on buying bigger clothes. I tried the exercises online for about one month before I decided I would commit to exercise 3 times per week. I also figured since I might not have to buy new clothes, I could buy the dvd. I have been exercising consistently since July. I have lost inches and over 10 pounds. This exercise is not like any I have ever done and certainly does not fit into my above description! It’s easy! It is only 15 minutes and most incredibly, it works!

The other day, the same friend that shared T-Tapp with me, shared that she did not want to exercise, but she got up and did the T-Tapp routine because she wanted her girls to see that Mommy, also has to do things that she really does not want to, but does it anyway because it is good for her health. I think that is an excellent lesson for our children who will practice what we do! Ever heard “More is caught than taught”. Here is a link to the T-Tapp website. You can “try before you buy”, which was helpful for me! The last thing I needed was another exercise DVD collecting dust and taking up room on my bookshelf.

It is true that the more we move, the more energy we will have and increased flexibility. The older we get, the less flexible our joints and ligaments become, and the more we start losing bone mass, unless we exercise. The more energy I have, the more I can keep up with my growing children.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you decide to try these exercise, please let me know. The link below will take you to the T-Tapp website.

Divide and Multiply

Math Encouragement
Multiplication and Division helps

Recently, I was faced with a child who seemed to “forget” her math facts. It was a frustrating moment for me! One day she remembered her multiplication tables and another day these facts had vanished into thin air! I had never been confronted with such a perplexing “brain cramp” as this before!! After much frustration, I went in search of how can I help this child? How can a child “get it” and then “lose it”? Well, I cannot answer that question, but I can tell you what we worked to resolve the problem.

We used Times Tales to cement the multiplication and division facts in memory. It’s a series of “tales” or short stories used to teach the “difficult” multiplication tables. They have cute cartoon characters to represent each number. An example is 8×4=32 (8 is a snowman and the number 4 is a chair). The illustrated tale goes like this… “Mrs. Snowman stood on a chair to reach her 3 buttons and 2 mittens.” Now, this tale was enough to make my eyes roll, scratch my head and say “Huh?? How confusing is that!”
With great hesitance I followed the instructions of daily reading these with my daughter. I was amazed how well this worked! I now realize her daydreaming and seeming to not pay attention was really her way of not being able to connect the dots, or make a connection that numbers such as 8×4 equals 32. From what I read, this is not uncommon for right brained thinking children. Some children think in pictures.

In the Times Tales workbook are worksheets and other activities. One activity is a cutout to make two dice you assemble to play a game. These dice mix the characters and numbers and the child rolls, reads and answers the given problem. We played to see who could answer the most facts in 30 seconds. We also played where I answered after 2 seconds, giving her the first chance to get the point. If she didn’t answer before Mom, then I got the point. Imagine laughing while learning math!

My right-brained daughter thinks in pictures! Today, we work with numbers and when there is a hesitance to answer a problem, I can simply say “Mrs. Snowman….chair” and the light bulb lights up! She now understands her multiplication AND division tables! I highly recommend this program to supplement any math curriculum where the child struggles to memorize the multiplication and division facts. You can find additional information at .

FREEsampleDownload Times Tales