Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lessons: Just Enjoy the Music: His Eye Is On the Sparrow

For a while here … I’ve been mulling music … and songs from my childhood.  Much loved songs.  Some songs I remember with one voice, and others I remember from several records, church choirs and many more.  But I thought, it would be fun to feature some of those songs … into a song study for homeschools.

You can consider this a Free Curriculum if you like - or just something fun.

Compare and contrast the different groups singing the song.

Is the music all the same or did they change it?

Do you like the changes?

Did they change the speed of the song?

Did changing the speed change your emotional response to the song?  Do you feel sadder?  Happier?  Want to dance?  Go to sleep?

Are the voices high or low?  Do you like the song better sung at a higher pitch or a lower pitch?

Which version did you like the best?

Learn this song as sung by your favorite group.  Try to imitate their pitch and tone.

Do the singers move around?   Did that add to your enjoyment or the emotional feel of the song.

Write out the words to the song.  What do they mean to you?

What is the history of the song?  Who wrote it?  Why?

What other things can you learn from these songs?

If the song is Christian… Is the Song based on Scripture?   Can you find Scripture to back up the message in the song?


Civilla D. Martin

  In the comments - which were your favorites?  Do you have another favorite not listed?

Lauryn Hill & Tanya Blount

Whitney Houston

Her Heart Sings

George Beverly Shea

Stevie Wonder

Deniece Williams

Mahalia Jackson

Jennifer Holliday

A Cappella - Chris Rupp

Larnelle Harris

KeKe Wyatt

Sandi Patty

Wintley Phipps


Jill Mason and Heartland Bluegrass Band

Marshall Hall

Ethel Waters

Gladys Knight

Marvin Gaye

Mississippi Children's Choir

Eclipse 6



Kathleen Battle

David Phelps




Gregory Porter

Patti LaBelle

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Web Finds : September 15, 2017


 What homeschoolers miss out on when they don't do the Public School normal?

Genesis Movie!

Most people don't know that I'm dyslexic.  I can read very well you see.   But I can't spell, and sometimes my words come out wackbords or just plain wrong.   It's such a family joke that my darling Story put me into her first book ... Dorana ... that's me, well, an extreme case of me, pretty good at math but difficulty remembering words.    This is a website trying help you normals "get" a glimpse of what we go through ... I don't have this much trouble - but if you slow it WAY down, and add flips of bd and pq as well as randomly throwing in a letter now and then or the wrong number of repeating lettters ... that is my world, and it's why I can't spell, and sometimes don't recognize my own name or why I can't figure out your name or others names.  Thank goodness for Spell Check.

Henry Wasworth Longfellow

Helping the child that needs help is not cheeting for the child... is it?

Understanding Trigonometry 

Genetic Entropy ... a problem for Evolution

Make your own planner

A look at Hurricanes


 It doesn't just happen ... two deaf boys get help way out in a remote area - AWESOME story!

A few years ago, I promoted a missionary family who had just had quintuplets and the kids had predictabley, many health concerns .... well, look at them now!


There honestly ARE those out there who believe that all children belong to the state, 

Why do we expect so much of children - and excuse adults for worse behaviour?   

It seems Biology does matter - there appears to be something within the child or many children that seeks out that connection with others who share DNA.



 Brain Balance in infants

Who Knew that these are more harmful than beneficial?   I happened to be very good at statistics in college.  So I finally gathered up enough courage to ask for the package insert for the product ... and I kept that card that back then, every parent had to sign before getting them done.... and while comparing two sets of statistics, I suddenly realized that they CHANGED THE BASE!   I'm supposed to do a direct comparison and not notice the change ... so I pulled out paper and pencil and manually moved it to match.   And my blood froze.  I wasn't looking at a .01 risk that was indicated, but a full 1% risk ... of death or serious complications.  That started my search in earnest.

Junk Food while pregnant?

Essential Oils and Healthy Brains



 I have several beloved Downs Syndrom children in my life.  But there are those who would deny these children the right to be born and live.    So it is a refreshing delight to see a young adult stand up for herself, and challenge those who would have wished her dead - she didn't sway their opinions, but she did make them squirm and showed herself to be confident and capable.   

I remember when plastic was going to save the world from the tree killers ... I do.  In the late 70's the cry of "Chose Plastic because you love the planet" became the new mantra of environmentalists.  As it has turned out, it's destroying the environment, the ocean, our health, and more.   Plus, without the forest management of the past, we are now seeing forest fires the like of which we cannot even begin to control!   And I'm pretty sure in 10 - 20 years, our children will be suffering yet another consequence of man trying to outsmart God's plans.  What cracks me up?  Is that if you follow the product from seed to usage, the growing part and conversion parts use MORE natural resources than the old way.   

New TSA patdown procedures

Places that are "unpopular" from the leftists


Don't be the Victim



 We can now save a baby from a mere 22 weeks gestation ... or kill one legally.   What is really the difference between being inside or outside of the womb anymore - shouldn't all babies deserve a fighting chance?
And how can you see a premi survive and still believe it is ok to abort a child?

Ancient Freezers and Ice Makers?

Dangerous Apps for Kids

The future for blindness?


 Roman soldier artifacts

 Rent compared across America

I've meant to go so many times ... and now it's closed.   The latest word is that they had a coolant leak, and they will remain closed until they have overhauled all of the safety procdures.

Jigsaw Puzzles

If you like getting free Kindle Books of all types (mostly clean and kids) and learning about bargains… you might want to join my twitter feed.   
Momma Eagle

Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly Web Finds : September 8, 2017 Featuring Mini-Office Lapbooks


We have been making Mini- Offices this week ... which is basically a Lapbook Reference Booklet.  It will be an ongoing project.   We have made these before, but theirs are getting on the dog-ear side, and some of the material is no longer relevant ... so, we're hunting down new material to use!

Latitude and Longitude

Cheat Sheets

History - How to get dressed in the 1800's - no wonder rich women hardly ever moved! Auto Play Video

The struggle is real ... dysgraphia ... if you have a reluctant writer or one constantly writing letters incorrectly, read this.

Ultimate Road Trip

State Birds


Planning for a Disaster when you Home School

History Curriculum




Mega Maps

More Maps

Nasa Space Place

More things for printing


 Awana Apologetics

Reasonable Theology

Loving Donations in a Crisis are Well Thought Out Donations



 Free Parenting Guide

Early Bedtime Best for MOM

Keeping Track of your Autistic Child

Doing it on your own


Kitchen Cheet Sheet

Chocolate Bomb

Chapstick Uses

Car Hacks Video


 Ringing in Ears can Keep you Awake ... honestly, I can't remember ever NOT having ringing in my ears.   This idea is amazing!

Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
I've got to do more research on this

 Loosing Weight



NEW LAWS in our neck of the woods

Fires, Earthquakes, Floods and More - I'm going to list them all in one batch

I don't agree with the  *Manmade*  Climate Change people ...  Climate Change has always existed!   It use to be standard to teach all about it in school.  ....     ... but the rest of the article is  good.

Politics today is just getting TOO Weird

Two Headed Snake

They can't be Fathers...


 Joys of Teaching Kindergarten in Today's World - Funny Video


 How far a Dollar Goes...

Mother in Law Cottage for $20K


 Managing Bookmarks


 King Arthur's Sword Found?

 Strange Town Names

 Rare Coloring Book Found

If you like finding free and bargain Kindle Books of all types (mostly clean and kids) and learning about bargains products… you might like my twitter feed.   
Momma Eagle

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Teaching Outside of the Box

There are a lot of articles about "learning outside of the box", but I've seen very few about "teaching outside of the box".  Yes, there is a difference.   In one instance, you are focused on how the child is learning and finding creative ways for the child to learn.   But in the other, it's learning as a teacher, to let go of the preconceived ideas of what it means to teach and to be a successful teacher, and figuring out how to teach in a way that you feel best suits you as a teacher.

You know the drill, get the kids up and dressed and fed, and sit them all down at their desks.  They have a schedule and a routine and everything is tested and recorded and all those details that everyone says has to be part of school.

Now, if your state requires a lot of paperwork, then you have to do it.  If the state requires testing, then you will need to do the testing.

But after that ... just how much does your homeschool have to look just like a "real school".   In my opinion, it's your school.   Teach in a way that is comfortable for you!   And in a way that is comfortable to your children learning!

Now, for me, I'm an INTJ personality.  I thrive on structure and routines, I make lists and plans and get very frustrated if everyone isn't on board with my plan.   Story is an ENFP, and they thrive on living in the moment.   She hated my lists and plans.  She had SO MUCH ENERGY!!!!    Song is an INFJ, she would get frustrated when she fell behind.    Scholar is an ENFJ, he's fine with the lists and thrives on the routines ... when he remembers them.   Sunshine is another INTJ.   Squirrel is an ISTJ, and he also thrives on schedules and routines.   Star is another INFJ, and only this year has she begun to understand the power and freedom of her lists.  

And that is a LOT of people to keep happy!

When I started homeschooling, I ran it just a tad off of how a traditional school operated.   We worked at the kitchen table, we had set times, we worked first thing in the morning until 3 or so in the afternoon.  I used Alpha Omega Lifepacs back then.   Awesome program really, until we couldn't afford it anymore.   We also tried the computer curriculum.  Story did well, Song did not.  And then there was the problem of not enough room for 4 computers in the house!

Over the years, I've developed a whole new style of teaching.    One day, after many dismal failures and frustrations, I sat down and the thought (maybe it was God) came across ... What is your purpose?    ....    A purpose for what?     .....   The purpose for school.

What was my purpose?   What were my goals?   Why was I putting myself and my girls through this in the first place?

So I sat down and prayed and thought about it.    If you can include your husband, by all means, do so.   But I do understand that not all husbands feel led to participate in the education decisions.

Eventually, I came up with the following...

1.  I wanted my kids to have a strong understanding of the Bible, how it fits in today's world, a Biblical World view, able to discern false doctrine by studying scripture.  I wanted them to be aware of various resources and how to use them.   I wanted them to know how Scripture worked from beginning to end and how it fit into World and American History.

2.  I wanted my kids to know how to communicate well.    This included writing and speaking and listening skills.   This meant that I wanted a really good English program.  This was also my weakest area.  So I needed to find back up help.

3.  I wanted my kids to know how to use and understand resources.   I wanted them to be able to read and use what they read.    And I didn't just want them to know how to use a dictionary and an encyclopedia, but I could see that the internet was shaping up into a potentially useful item.   I wanted them to be able to use any resource available to them.

4.  I wanted them to be able to write well.   Both typing and by hand.

5.  I wanted them to have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses and how to use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.

6.  I wanted them to have a good understanding of how mathematics worked - not just memorize the answers.  Just because our family is flooded with mathematicians, didn't mean that they would naturally be good at it.

7.  I wanted them to get enough exercise and sunshine.

8.  I wanted them to be able to function as knowledgable adults by the time they were in their teens, in case they needed to be able to help hold the household together.

9.  I wanted them to be able to explore their gifts and personalities.

But the traditional hard nosed approach was not going to work.   There were too many days where we were not getting the work finished, and all of us were very stressed.  I have vision issues, so I didn't drive.   Trying to adjust the way I taught was not going to be easy.   And once we left Colorado Springs, field trips became nearly impossible.

I did not succeed at this overnight.   In fact, I still struggle.   Something in my programming says that it has to be a certain way, that if I do it a different way, then they might miss something.

The first big change that I made was in History.   I just threw out most of the curriculum!  I purchased a book called, "All Through the Ages."   And we started back at Creation and started working our way forward.    We started with Creation, using any resource we could find, and at the time, there wasn't much readily available.   An amazing thing happened though.  Story didn' t like the formal learning and testing, and balked at every method I used to teach her, but she could not get enough of this new style of learning.  There were no tests, she didn't have to memorize anything.  But we poured over maps, listened to videos, read books, and even did some crafts.   We talked about what they were learning.   And she absorbed it all.   I planned a month learning about Egypt, and when Song and her best friend moved on to the OT history and Babylon, she refused to budge!   It would be 3 full months later when she was "ready to move on".   She loved learning History this way and she flourished.   The downside to her moving so slowly is that she's not learned much history after WW1, the best part though, she knows how to learn anything she needs to know, and she has a huge world picture in her head to make that knowledge work together.

The next area we relaxed in was Math.   We switched over to ALEKS, which was really awesome, but expensive for us.   Now they all use Kahn's.   When we started using it, it was the only free Math program available.

Eventually, English and Spelling were the only two subjects that I kept as completely formal.   English is my weakest subject, so I was more worried about missing something there.    We chose Rod and Staff for our curriculum, and I flex it as we need to, mostly we adjust by reviewing, going faster or slower, and not worrying about the grades as much as making sure they have a good grasp of each concept before we move on to the next one.

Some things we have incorporated into our curriculum

Books - we choose topics every 2 - 3 weeks and pull a dozen or so books from our public library on those subjects.   We look for books that are picture heavy rather than detail-heavy, though it is common for them to ask for thicker books or go online to learn more.   This includes Books on Tape.

Videos - At first we used videos we could get from the public library, but the internet has so much available.   You can pretty much find any topic in a video on YouTube.

Crafts - This is one of the weaker areas, but if they want to do anything experimental or crafty, we try to give it a go.  ..... We still have a skeleton in the closet to put together someday.

Mini-Breaks - If they get wiggly and giggly, I send them outside for a run.  On rainy days, they go outside every time the rain slows down.  (At least, that is the goal, there are days the "school routine" takes over.)

Coloring Books - My kids don't care for as much coloring, but our friends love it.

Open discussions - We don't fight the bunny trails, but attempt to use them to answer questions and teach Biblical values.

Outside experts - usually, this means a long video.   But the kids are encouraged to ask people we know for answers.   There is a physics professor at our church that Scholar has pounced on a few times with questions that made my head spin.  Some of their math questions go to Grandpa, even though I can answer them.   The older girls frequently join chats to investigate what they want to learn, or even join classes online.

Flexible days - as they get older, it has been more common for them to work in the evenings.   I don't know if any of them know how to "cram" subjects together and "just get it done".

Volunteer Work - so far, only Song has kept at it, but it's HORSES!    And Story bailed out after only a few weeks because it was HORSES.    They also help out at church, and with cousins.

Some elements we kept

The Schedule and Chore Routines  -  It turned out that I could not teach without a schedule.   Open ended teaching just was not my style, so I did not function well as a parent or a teacher.

Working in time frames - Left to themselves, they would do 1 or 2 subjects and ignore everything outside of that box.  So they have a schedule and a set amount of time to get the items completed.   If they finish early, they can go outside and play, but we are not spending every day on just Science and Penmanship.

Workbooks - I like the concrete feel of the workbooks.   Sometimes we print worksheets.   This is especially true from K - 4th grades.

Lesson Plans - We have a plan and we make every attempt to stick to it.

An Assigned Seat - they might not stay in that seat all day, in fact, there is a lot of moving in and out of the computer stations, and sometimes they go up stairs to their aunt's house or next door to our house to use kitchen tables.   But they have their assigned areas for their books, pens and pencils, etc.

Elements my sister's use 



Park Days

Field Trips

Farm Work

Music Classes




Garage Sales

Honestly, anything you do can be turned into a learning experience.   And  any curriculum can be "tweeked" to make it much more learning friendly.

What ideas can you come up with to "Teach Outside of the Box"?

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