Tuesday, July 24, 2012


"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"

- Winston Churchill

My kids love American history.  It makes sense.  At a very young age, Princess TD learned she shared her birthday with our country and naturally that intrigued her.  Of course, Little TD has always been intrigued by the boats and the wars.  He is a boy after all!

Our curriculum spends two full years studying American history before moving on to covering world history.  There are many reasons for that but the one that resonates the most with me is that younger children do not understand their vastness of their city, or state, or country, let alone the world.  It just makes sense to start with an overview of our country’s history and then branch out from there.  So, for the past 3 years we have been covering American history. 

There have been a couple of times that the knowledge they have has surprised me.  One night as Jay Leno was doing his Jaywalking segment, they had 5 questions about America.  I knew all of the correct answers, but I was curious how much Princess TD would know (at the time, she was the only one in “school”).  When it was over, I wrote the questions down to see what she would say.  She got all but one question right!!  In all fairness, the one she missed we hadn’t studied. Now I know this is for humor, but there are many Americans who don’t know our country’s history.  That is a shame.

Square250x250 Back in March, Kirk Cameron did a live release of his documentary Monumental.  I was unable to attend the live event because our local theaters sold out before I could get tickets.  The following week, I ordered the DVD.  It came in this week.  I watched it this weekend while Mr. TD napped since I knew he wasn’t as excited as I was to see the film.  I thoroughly enjoyed the film.  I was a bit distracted by the precious little ones playing camping on the other side of the couch, but I own the movie, I can watch it whenever I want!

Well, Little TD and Princess TD were not distracted too long.  Little TD heard Kirk mention the town of Scrooby, and he pops his head over the back of the couch and says, “Hey! I know that! That’s where the Pilgrims hid and worshipped God!”  He also knew that the Speedwell did not make the trip to the New World.  He said, “It got a hole in it",” as soon as it was mentioned in the film.  Princess TD remembered the Pilgrims getting stopped at the beach and said it happened twice, before the movie did.  She also remembered that they stayed in Amsterdam for a bit before moving on to Leiden.  Once they began investigating the monument in detail, they went back to playing camping.

This was just confirmation for me that even with all of the unintended breaks we have taken from our school, they are learning and I am not ruining them! 

If you are a history buff and want to learn more about why our country was founded, I highly recommend this film.  It is family friendly, so don’t feel like you have to see it without the kids.  In fact, show it to them.  They may learn something that they wouldn’t be taught in school.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to (Home) School

With everything that has been going on in our family life over the past two years, schooling has somewhat fallen to the back burner more often than I would truly like to admit.  But we have been plugging right along, slowly but surely.  Originally when we decided to homeschool, it was a year to year plan.  Now, not so much.  We are planning to homeschool for the long haul.  I can’t even begin to tell you how freeing that decision has made this journey. 

This has become our lifestyle.  Everything we do has some aspect of learning.  For example, tonight at the dinner table, we were talking about the sad event of three people being struck by lightening over the weekend.  We all feel bad for the people affected by the tragedy and the kids will pray for them forever.  (That is how they are. Once you make their prayer list, you never get missed and are prayed for daily, at least once.) But Mr. TD was able to turn it into a learning experience to talk about what to do (and not to do) if we are caught outside during a lightening storm.  Being the curious children Princess TD and Little TD are, they began to ask some in depth questions about electricity.  Let me just say for the record how grateful I am to have married an electrical engineer!  While, I can adequately answer their questions, I was so glad to have Mr. TD around to patiently explain the concept of electricity flow to them.  They have an understanding of those concepts that I didn’t have until college…after I met Mr. TD and he explained them to me!!  Thanks hon!

So, as so many of our homeschooling friends are gearing up for the new year and searching and researching curriculum, we are set!  Thanks to a very sweet homeschooling mom who pointed me toward Heart of Dakota when I was searching for something for Princess TD to use for Kindergarten, we are set until Carrie stops writing curriculum, which I hope is not until her children finish high school!

Two years ago, I ventured to Arlington, Texas, for the Book Fair there because that is the closest location where Carrie Austin, the author of the Heart of Dakota curriculum, comes for homeschool convention season.  I made the trek because I was concerned about Princess TD getting too far ahead too quickly.  There is a pretty big skills jump from one guide to the next and I was afraid Princess TD would not be able to keep up with what was required.  Carrie was so very helpful and suggested that I don’t have to do everything as written and do what Princess TD could handle, gradually increasing it as she could handle more.  That is exactly what I did and she did great!  Carrie also suggested taking a year and a half to complete Bigger Hearts for His Glory so she would be more ready to tackle Preparing Hearts for His Glory.  That would also move her from the younger end of the age ranges to more of the middle of the range.  That was my plan.

However, due to the circumstances of the last two years, it took us longer than what was expected to complete Bigger.  But, that puts us right where we need to be! Even with all of the missed school time, Princess TD is right where she needs to be.  Her skills are such that we can jump right into Preparing and not have to do it half time, or slow anything down.  She is ready!  Even out of all the turmoil, we are being blessed!  Praise God!!

I have tweaked the curriculum to change some things that were not working for us.  I thought I might need to change the spelling program for Princess TD, but in the last couple of weeks, her spelling has just taken off!  She seems to all of a sudden be getting it!  So, I think we’ll stick with what we are doing for now!

You may be thinking, what does all of this mean?

Well, for one, I can go to the THSC Convention & Family Conference in a couple of weeks and just enjoy myself!  I don’t have to be on a mad search for curriculum.  I don’t NEED to buy anything!  I have everything I need and I can just have fun.  Secondly, this tells me that we are on the right track, for now. 

We are blessed!!