The Joy of Families Learning Together

Are you new to homeschooling? Take heart. I received this wonderful note from Cindy L in Colorado. She’s like so many homeschool moms, but she also has some unique opportunities with her children. Please read on.

Hi Madon! Nice to meet you! We are new to homeschooling this year, and taking a lot of flack I might add, as the first child we pulled from public school was the one doing the best. But the poor thing was bored to tears and needed freedom, as well as to escape the influences of the vast majority of kids heading down the wrong path. I admit I am at moments both excited and terrified with the prospect of teaching all of these extraordinary children and their needs…and yet I am so grateful for each and every one of them and want the very best. With their situations, home is really the best…if I can manage to pull it together myself!

My only concern at all is that my older son, who is quite advanced but admitted he has had little true science exposure other than hit and miss in public school, might find it too low level. I hope not, and I also hope that having him learn how to teach some of the material might prove engaging as well, and be a great opportunity for him to grow too. He looked at every sample online in depth, and thinks it will still work well for him, so letting him be the guide in this we will give it a shot.

I do have one question though…where are the online materials I saw mentioned a couple of times? Is it referring to what was on the disk that is included, or other links contained somewhere else? (The materials are both on the included CD and online at http://www.nancylarsonpublishers.com/2007-2008/student/studentlinks.php for Students and http://www.nancylarsonpublishers.com/2007-2008/teacher/teacherlinks.php for Teaching Parents.)

I will definitely stay in touch, as it might be a great tool for you to know how this works for older language learners. I have quickly discovered that many international adoptive families homeschool, especially if like us they adopt older children, in order to give them the opportunity to catch up in all areas in a stress free environment. If this works as I think it might, it could be a great tool for families like ours.

I have a blog I write, which has garnered over 160,000 hits during the past 3 years, http://lajoyfamily.blogspot.com/.

Of course, our kids are really enjoying having a subject they can all do together. We started the trees unit yesterday and traipsed around our yard and decided to make rubbings of the leaves we collected, then compared them with the chart in the front of the guide, looking at the edges, etc.  They had a great time and even my extremely bright (reading at 9th grade, tests science at 7th grade) 6th grader is gaining a lot from it. I add a bit in for him with our discussions veering a bit off the script to make him think deeper. I am surprised that he can test out above grade level on state tests and yet actually tell me he has never learned any of this stuff, which to me is pretty basic (as it should be for introduction to concepts). Makes me wonder what in the world they actually cover in elementary science in public school. Not much, as he said almost none of this material for the whole year was more than touched on in his previous 5 years in public education.

Cindy’s Children with Their Human Habitat Mural

This is a joy to teach, simple, engaging, providing a great jumping off point for further discussion. Now if I could only find a fantastic history program like this, I would be set! Please tell Nancy how much we appreciate her work in creating this…we use her Saxon program as well for two kids who are doing 2nd and 3rd grade work. With our unique situation I would never have thought I’d find something we could use so easily with all the kids.—Cindy L

We’d love to share your stories. Let us know how you are using Nancy Larson® Science with your children.

Food or Fantasy—Story Starters and a New Look at Plants

I admit there are vegetables that I’ve only met at the supermarket, seeing them arranged under the misters. To see them growing this summer was quite a treat. Before they are trimmed and preened for the grocer, vegetables can look like something quite different. So if you’re looking for creative writing ideas, look no farther than your garden and yard for story starters. Just look with an open mind and an eager eye to see what wonders are there .

What kind of mystical land would include these plants?

"Feed me, Seymour!"

Little Shop of Horrors understudies to the star?

Medusa's hair?

The Original Cabbage Patch Kids
Red Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

Dancing with Trees – the tango
Is it a Pin Cushion?
Or a yucca?

Cotton Candy Tree

If cotton candy grew on trees, what kind of summer job would you have? (Forget the lemonade stand.)

Octopus Tree

Is it the guardian, the protector or the gate? Perhaps it is all three. What would it guard? Who would it protect? How would you open the gate? What would you find beyond?

Madon