Category Archives: Examples and Stories

A Lie and the Truth–A Bridge Unit

truth-and-liesHello.

It’s been awhile. But I’m still here, and I feel compelled to share a potential lie and the truth behind it. In doing so, I want to dispel the myth that all homeschooling activities go well and that all homeschooling children are happy.

Here we go . . .

This week, I decided to try something very different for our homeschool adventure–a unit study. I know, I know, you’d think at this point (9 1/2 years), I would have done this before. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But my children complained, whined, and cried. “I don’t like this.” “This isn’t fun.” “I’m bored.”

They can be hard to please. So I gave up. The years have passed–the complaining ones are older.

Since my early attempts, I’ve done considerable research about my kids’ learning styles. I’ve learned more about what makes learning easy and hard for my kids. I learned, in particular, that I have several kids who are afraid to try ANYTHING new that they don’t have direct experience with.

I decided to try again. I chose to do a unit on “bridges.” Six weeks–two days a week. Lots of hands on activities. A variety of subjects incorporated into a package. My goal was NOT to teach particular information (that will come later), my goal was to simply see IF we could do a unit study together . . . and survive.

Now for the lie– Continue reading

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Homeschool Schedule–How Do You Do It?

A while ago, Lauri, one of my readers, emailed me the following question:

I wonder if you could share some thing about scheduling. I have a 16 month old, a 6 year old, a 12 year old and 2 scholar age High School. I want to have MOM time where I share/teach/inspire and I want them to have EXPLORE time too. I also need time to clean/cook/plan/organize/play with the baby–chase the baby. He is very very active type. I want to have Mentor Meetings and Family Reading. But we have to plan so much when the baby is asleep. I need some help. Thank you

I don’t know that I feel qualified to answer this question–particularly because I don’t have kids spread between so many ages. But as I thought about it, here are some general questions that came to mind that might help. Continue reading

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Keeping It Real

You may have not even noticed that it’s been awhile since I put fingers to keyboard, but it has been awhile. The desire to share my ideas sits in the back of my brain, and sometimes I give myself a hard time that I’m not writing more.

Then I look around and I realize WHY I’m not writing more right now.

So . . . because I HATE it when people come across as perfect . . . because I absolutely want to keep your perception of my life as real as possible, here is a real-time glimpse into the Perkey house. Continue reading

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How to Teach Handwriting in 8 Easy Steps

Despite what you might think, teaching handwriting to your seven year old isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Just follow these eight easy steps . . .

Step 1: Decide that your seven year old needs to learn how to correctly form her letters, despite her hesitancy to try anything new and hard. Determine that her resistance to handwriting is actually a product of fear–and not because she is incapable or unready. Determine that this is something you feel ready to require her to do.

Step 2: Spend an afternoon looking through your boxes and shelves of curriculum for the handwriting workbooks you were given years ago. After a fruitless search, determine that you must have given away that curriculum at some point because you decided you didn’t believe in workbooks any more. Continue reading

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If at first you don’t succeed . . .

. . . your first inclination may be to throw your hands in the air and cry “uncle.”

I know that was mine.

Pea Pod (7) and I had hit a stale mate. She was absolutely not interested AT ALL in learning to read. This was quite a change from before, where we blissfully played reading games and snuggled on the couch. Simple sounds blended into short words, which became easy sentences. I THOUGHT everything was going well.

And then one day, she was done. No reading, no how. No matter what I offered. No matter how I “inspired,” she wasn’t interested. I was failing somehow. (Insert mournful background music here!)

So I backed off. But inside I was freaking out. She was seven. She was doing well. She seemed to “get” reading so much better than her older sister had. (Pepper’s reading trajectory is a whole different story!) What happened?!?

I did a lot of thinking. I did a lot of praying. And I came up with a two-part plan. Continue reading

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A Parable of Porcine Proportions

When I was a junior in high school, I read The Scarlet Letter in English class. Nathanial Hawthorne’s language was a bit daunting at first, but after awhile, I grew to love his flowery, adjective-laden prose. As one of the closing assignments, my teacher assigned her students to take a minimalist, modern short story and rewrite it using Hawthorne’s language.

I loved it. I found it exhilarating to watch the plot unfold in the same way but with completely different words. I gained a new appreciation for the power that words have.

So I was delighted when this video of the Three Little Pigs by comedian John Branyan started floating around the internet. Continue reading

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Stop, Think, Ask

When I discovered the trail of raisins coming out of the basement closet AND the fifth empty scotch-tape roll AND the completely dis-assembled electronic toy stuffed behind my laundry basket, it finally dawned on me what I was dealing with . . . impulse control! Continue reading

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