Tag Archives: Lima Bean

A Lie and the Truth–A Bridge Unit


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



Filed under Examples and Stories

Music Fun and Games

It’s time to drill . . . and no, we are not going to the dentist.

Lima Bean (9) is getting more and more proficient at the piano, but his teacher requested we spend some extra time doing note recognition with flash cards. The ones I found several years ago online are small and only have one staff. I knew it was time to look for something new.

Ah . . . the joys of Google. Five minutes later, I stumbled upon an AMAZING music-teaching resource site. Not only does she offer great flash cards, but also all sorts of games and ideas for teaching music theory, along with a series of technique books.

And IT’S ALL FREE! Continue reading

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Filed under Resources and Reviews

Garbage Monster

What do you get when you combine overflowing garbages, a large empty white garbage sack, a black sharpie, and two boys who aren’t thrilled about working with the family in the morning?

Garbage Monster! Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories, Games

How NOT to Inspire Learning

It was one of those days.

I got up a little late and didn’t feel like exercising. The kids rolled out of bed a little out of sorts. Breakfast was blah.

I got distracted by the computer when we should have been cleaning the kitchen, and They Might Be Giant science videos on youtube kept us all entertained for half an hour.

Looking at the clock, I realized that my plans for the day were already rearranging themselves. I tossed family housework time, and we headed straight for morning devotional and reading. PeaPod (7) complained about her seat on the couch. Bok Choy (5) complained about the book we’re reading (Secret Garden).

I soldiered on. After reading time, I asked Lima Bean (9) to clean out his overflowing inbox–a plastic bin where he keeps all of his finished drawings, stories, and projects. Forty-five minutes later, he had papers and toys in piles all over. The living room was a mess, and he was overwhelmed! I could see where we were headed . . . I offered to break down the job into smaller steps . . . it didn’t matter. (Remember how Lima Bean obsessively worries about everything?!?)

That’s when the crying and moaning and whining started. Continue reading

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Filed under Examples and Stories

“Bee” a Speller

Lima Bean (9) decided he wanted to be in the spelling bee this year. He has always loved letters and words, and he has always been a phenomenal speller without any formal training. One of his favorite movies is “Akeelah and the Bee.” (I LOVE this movie and can’t recommend it highly enough!)

I figured a spelling bee would be a great way to inspire him to learn some new vocabulary and stretch his spelling skills. Sounded like a win/win to me!

For several months we worked on the third and fourth grade lists until he had those 150 words down pat. But when it was time to move on to the fifth and sixth grade words (just in case!), he really got stuck. He couldn’t spell ANY of them. I couldn’t figure out why he was having so much more trouble.

Then it dawned on me. These words were advanced enough that they didn’t show up in the books he currently reads. He had never seen them. He had no experience with them. (Heck, some of the words, like “realty” and “fanzine,” weren’t even part of my experience!)

So I decided to give him some context. Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories, Purpose, Stories

The Worry Box

I share the following story to show how messy, involved, exhausting–and ultimately joyful–inspiring a child can actually be sometimes.

Summer’s here. Kids are out of school. Everyone’s rearranging their schedules to match their new-found summer freedom.

For us, that means Cub Scouts moved from 3:30 in the afternoon to 11:00 in the morning.

No big deal, right? Not for Lima Bean!

His eight-year-old mind likes things structured, orderly, predictable. He likes to know what the entire day will look like when he wakes up in the morning–and he thrives on a routine that stays pretty consistent from day to day and week to week.

So I knew this change was going to be a challenge. I tried to prepare him. When the first 11:00 a.m. scout day arrived, I told him first thing in the morning. I explained that it meant he would not have as much learning time in the morning as he usually enjoys. He seemed to be okay.

But when the timer went off reminding me to tell him to put on his scout uniform, he lost it. Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories