Inspiring for Mothers

I read this this morning with my family and it just inspired me so much. It is about Hannah the mother of Samuel, one of the greatest patriarchs of ancient times.

Mother Holding Baby
What a reward was Hannah’s! and what an encouragement to faithfulness is her example! There are opportunities of inestimable worth, interests infinitely precious, committed to every mother. The humble round of duties which women have come to regard as a wearisome task should be looked upon as a grand and noble work. It is the mother’s privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children, through sunshine and shadow, to the glorious heights above. But it is only when she seeks, in her own life, to follow the teachings of Christ that the mother can hope to form the character of her children after the divine pattern. The world teems with corrupting influences. Fashion and custom exert a strong power over the young. If the mother fails in her duty to instruct, guide, and restrain, her children will naturally accept the evil, and turn from the good. Let every mother go often to her Saviour with the prayer, “Teach us, how shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him?” Let her heed the instruction which God has given in His word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need. ~ Patriarchs and Prophets, 572

Book Review—Mindset by Carol Dweck

I recently listened to an audiobook that was recommended by a friend, so I decided to give the book a review on my blog as it did somewhat apply to homeschooling.

The book title was Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The author was Carol Dweck.

This book is based on years of research by the author on the power of the mind over our lives and what causes different mindsets. She proposes that there are two mindsets, what she calls the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset, according to her, is very bad, and the growth mindset is very good. She spends the first chapter developing why she believes this and then she spends the remainder of the book giving examples of people that she thought had the fixed mindset and the ones she thought had a growth mindset. She has a chapter on sports, a chapter on education, a chapter on business, a chapter on family and more. I found her theory to be very interesting and I really enjoyed the first chapter. However, I got really weary of all of the examples. I just wish she would have spent more time talking about how to change from the fixed mindset to the growth mindset and a lot less time on stories.

I did take a few pointers from the book though that I have been trying to apply in my home. I would like to help my children develop growth mindsets about everything and not be stuck in a fixed mindset about anything. And when I’ve been facing challenging situations, I’ve been trying to evaluate if I approach things with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I think, unfortunately, that I have a bit of each, but I’m going to set out to change that.

So I guess, I’d give the book three stars out of five. If I had only read (I mean, listened to) the first chapter, I think I would have given it five, as I enjoyed the first chapter so much more than the rest of the book.

Phonics Programs—The Reading Lesson

I’m working on phonics with my third child. I know that doesn’t make me a pro, by any means, but I do feel like I’ve been around this bush before. I have purchased so many phonics programs, that it’s ridiculous. Let’s see, right off, I can think of: Writing Road to Reading, The Reading Lesson, Phonics Pathways, Explode the Code, First Language Lessons for a Well-Trained Mind, and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and that doesn’t count a couple of game based programs that I have.

If you are aghast that I purchased so many programs, don’t worry, I am too. (And my husband is going to learn from my blog post how many I’ve purchased, so I’ll have a little explaining to do.) The only thing I can say to defend myself is that I actually did try every single one. If you’re wondering how in the world I managed to try that many programs on so few children, I don’t know. One of my children was slow about learning to read, so I had the chance to try out a bunch of stuff on that one, I guess.

Phonics Programs

So are you curious which program I chose to use this round? I chose The Reading Lesson, which, believe it or not, is the very first program that I purchased. Sigh. I waisted a bunch of money.

Here is my short list of reasons why I returned to The Reading Lesson.

  1. It’s simple.

    It doesn’t incorporate classical education or writing or even spelling. It’s just phonics. But neither does it have pages and pages of instructions for the teacher. It’s just simple and self-explanatory.

  2. It has simple illustrations.

    I found that some of the others that I tried had no illustrations (Writing Road to Reading and First Language Lessons) and that my kids actually are more engaged with simple illustrations. I also found that the illustrations in Explode the Code were distracting for my kids. It seems that The Reading Lesson has found a nice balance between no illustrations and wild and crazy illustrations.

  3. It has simple stories starting in the second lesson.

    This has turned out to be the biggest factor in my choosing this program. I’m fine with the stories and my kids are happy with the stories. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons had too goofy of stories for me. Writing Road to Reading had no stories. First Language Lessons had stories that bored my kids. They always complained about the stories. Phonics Pathways had too few stories. They were always complaining that they wanted to read something real, not just a bunch of words. I realize I can use readers for stories, and we do use readers. We have Dick and Jane stories and we have easy Bible story readers and more. But having a simple story in the phonics program helps my kids want to not just use readers, but use the phonics program too. If it works and my kids are happy at the same time, then I’m happy too!

I have learned a little bit from teaching reading to my older two. One is that all the programs are almost alike. There are slight variations which the authors tout as making theirs far superior to the others, but they are basically alike. For a child who is ready to learn to read, any program will work. The ones written by people with their Ph.D. and the ones written by homeschool moms who have had three dozen children will all work, if your child is ready. Nonetheless, I think I’ve found my favorite, and beings that I have one to teach reading to now and a preschooler that will need to learn reading in a few years, I’m happy to have one program and stay with it and not try out anymore.

Seattle Aquarium

It was a beautiful day in Seattle. There is nothing like a beautiful day in Seattle. And they are oh, so precious.


This was the same day that we visited Pike Place Market. When we were finished at the market, we made our way down to the Seattle Aquarium. This is the view from the pier outside the aquarium.

Seattle Ferris Wheel

One of our favorite things about the aquarium is the touching pools.

Baby Touching Sea Anemone

The Seattle Aquarium is a really great attraction for the Puget Sound area, because it’s mostly indoors. So all during the rainy season, or whatever you call it around here, you can visit and stay dry. Just so you know what an important issue it is, the Woodland Park Zoo offers free parking October through March and charges for parking the rest of the year. I usually go when I have to pay for parking, and can’t find parking either. But the aquarium is a great place to get a membership, because it’s fun to go there no matter what the weather is like.

Cousins at the Aquarium

Pike Place Market

Okay, I have a reputation of posting things that happened a long time ago, because I’m just now getting around to posting them on my blog. I have a few of those, from the summer (and older), but I just have to post a few of the photos to my blog, because I love them. So here it goes.

Awhile back, (I’m not telling how long ago, that would be embarrassing) we visited the Pike Place Market for the first time. Well, honestly, I’m vegetarian and I can’t stand the smell of fish. (Sorry, if that’s your favorite food.) So while, I’ve gone close to Pike Place before, I’ve always steered clear. But we had family visiting, so we decided that it would be good to take them to Seattle to see the landmarks of Seattle. Pike Place was the place of choice. You know what? I had a blast, and I didn’t even smell the fish all the time. (I did some of the time, and I just buried my face in my collar.)

The first couple of pictures will probably give away when we were there. There were the most beautiful bunches of tulips. It was amazing.

Pike Place Tulips

Pike Place Tulips (2)

And check out the produce. Wouldn’t you love to have that around the corner from your house, so you could run pick up some of that produce whenever you felt the need. I would. My mouth watered at the sight of that. Well, it would have if I hadn’t been able to smell the fish right then.

Pike Place Produce

Pike Place Produce (2)

And yes, there was fish. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of the famous fish throwing, but that was partly because I kept my distance from that part of the market.

Pike Place Fish

Fish and all, I really enjoyed it Pike Place Market. I want to go back. (I will wear a turtleneck even if it’s summer so that I can bury my nose.) It is just a really neat experience. I saw all kinds of local made crafts, photography, soaps, candles, canned foods, you name it. It was a fun place to visit.

Redwood National Park

Another Junior Ranger Badge for the kids’ collections.

We made a flying trip to Redwoods National and State Park with the cousins to see another national park and earn another junior ranger badge. We got a bunch of pictures so rather than write a bunch, I’ll let you wait for these pictures to all get loaded into your browser. Sorry (only kind of) that there’s so many. Hope you enjoy them at least half as much as I do.

A walk at through the Redwoods

JD Boy at Redwoods National Park

Strong Young Man

It's a long ways down there

G'tums Posing in a tree



Nana & Baby Taken a Walk Caption: Nana & Baby taking a stroll

Baby in a Tree

Lush Forest Caption: Some lush forest

JD Boy at Redwoods National Park

Don't Take My Picture

Cousins in a tree


Cousins and BFF's

Root Ball--RedwoodsCaption: One big rootball

Cousins Around a Tree

Tall Trees--Redwoods

And I would remiss to not show a picture of them getting their Junior Ranger Badge.

Junior Rangers at Redwood National Park

And a picture in front of the park sign.

Cousins in front of Redwood National Park Sign

Back to School—2013

School began in earnest for us last Monday, as we took a deep breath and cracked open new books and started away.

This time of the school year is always so fun and new. We all wonder how it will go this year; if the new science curriculum will be as fun as the pictures look; if math will be as easy as the first lesson; what we will learn; who we will learn about; and what memories we will make this year.

Here is a rundown of what we are doing this year. I’m listing the things that we are all doing together first.

Bible: Finishing Patriarchs and Prophets and starting Prophets and Kings. We will also be working on Bible memorization. We now have a Bible memory club at our church, so we are also participating in that. Currently we are all memorizing Isaiah 51.

History: History of Science by Beautiful Feet for first semester, Ancient Greece by Truth Quest History and Famous Greeks by Great Courses for second semester (We decided to take a brief interlude from a our chronological study of history and do the History of Science, just for fun.) We continue to work on our Record of Time timelines.

Science: The (New) Way Things Work

Art: See the Light video course

Now to where the subjects diverge.

Zippy (grade 8)
Math: Pre-algebra by Teaching Textbooks
Writing: Student Writing Intensive Level B by Institute for Excellence in Writing
Spelling: Spelling Power

JD Boy (grade 5)
Math: Math 7 by Teaching Textbooks
Writing:  Student Writing Intensive Level A by Institute for Excellence in Writing
Spelling: Spelling Power
Penmanship: Italic Handwriting, Book E, by Getty & Dubay

Math: Math-It and Math-on-the-Level
Phonics: The Reading Lesson & various readers
Penmanship: Italic Handwriting, Book B, by Getty & Dubay

Other things we plan to work on this year is copy work from random age-appropriate sources, poetry memorization, artist studies, composer studies, hymn memorization, nature study, home-ec, and instrument lessons.

There is more, I’m sure, that I’m forgetting. I’m a homeschool mom after all, and everything is school, right?