Thursday, January 28, 2021

How to Plan a Homeschool Day

How to Plan a Homeschool day; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; school clipart background

Have you decided to homeschool? There are so many wonderful options for homeschooling, from online curriculum for specific subjects like CTCMath to print materials you can order to teach history. If you are looking for curriculum-in-a-box, perhaps you want to check out Timberdoodle (we have reviewed many of their products including Zig Zag Puzzler, which is part of their 2020 9th grade Curriculum Kit, and Gobblet Gobblers, which is part of their 2020 Kindergarten Curriculum Kit) or SchoolhouseTeachers.com. In order to plan out your days, there are some important questions to ask to help you get started. 

Top Five Questions to Ask When Planning 

Your Homeschool Day 


What time of day would you like to start homeschooling? 

When is your family the busiest already? Do you go to work or work from home? Do your children participate in outside activities? You can easily divide up your day into different sections such as 

  • Early Morning 
  • Mid-Morning 
  • Lunchtime 
  • Afternoon 
  • Evening 
All are equally good times to start your homeschool day based upon what is best for your homeschooling family. There are times we start early in our day, and then some days we start homeschooling in the late afternoon and evening because of other obligations. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can plan our day for our family. And so can you! 

How many subjects would you like to cover each day? 

Will you study each subject - Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, etc. - each day with your homeschooling children? Will you pick one or two to be completed each day while you rotate through the other subjects every other day or weekly? All this might depend upon the age of your children and what they are studying at the time. 

For our teen, we allow him to decide what subjects he will complete on which day. I prepare a weekly plan of lessons he needs to complete, starting on Monday of the week, and then I allow him to arrange his daily lessons. There are times when we need to review his tasks, and we assist him with his time management. 

My Father's World kindergarten curriculum forms the core for our daughter. Each day she completes some math and language arts activities based upon the lesson plans in the Teacher's Guide. I will then supplement with materials from My Teaching Library, SchoolhouseTeachers.com, and Focus on Fives curriculum. 

Will you study any subjects together as a family? 

Many homeschooling families enjoy learning multiple subjects together as a family. While mom or dad reads from a work of fiction or non-fiction, younger children may color while older children take notes or complete activities. Many subjects are easy to combine, depending upon the age of your children. Science experiments can be conducted together, and you can watch history documentaries and movies together and then discuss what you have learned.

How to Plan a Homeschool Day; A Mom's Quest to Teach; logo clock clipart; cover of Focus on Fives; cover of Dare to Compare


How will you fit in field trips, documentaries, co-op opportunities, outside classes? 

You don't have to teach it all! There are so many wonderful opportunities to allow your children to learn from others. Many zoos, museums, and historic sites not only offer tours but often host workshops or homeschool specific classes or days. If you don't feel like an expert on a topic, you can easily look online to find out who is an expert and view interviews or documentaries or share books and articles with your children.

What learning style or homeschool methods do you want to use? 

There are a variety of popular homeschooling methods or approaches that you can research and apply. Many individuals often end up taking an eclectic approach because they borrow from multiple methods tailored to fit their own children's needs, learning styles, and interests.

The names of some of the methods are (the links below will share some information on these methods): 

A fellow homeschooling blogger at Homeschool on the Range shared a video that discusses many of the homeschool styles: Exploring Homeschool Styles.

Which method or style do you think you would like to use in your homeschool? Personally, our family takes a Classical approach in some ways, enjoys using unit studies, and combines curriculum and materials that help our children learn based upon their individual learning styles.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wordless Wednesday: Monticello of the Past

Wordless Wednesday: Monticello of the Past; logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach

Sharing photographs this week from a trip to Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. These photographs were taken in the mid- to late-1990s. 

Monticello

Monticello garden

Monticello Kitchen

Wordless Wednesday; Monticello; Monticello Ticket

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Brief Journey through the Quotes of Shakespeare's Macbeth

A Brief Journey through the Quotes of Shakespeare's Macbeth; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; background clipart of witches cauldron and potions

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

During our oldest son's sophomore year of homeschooled high school, he read William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. We had the chance to review Shakespeare's Tragedies from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. This resource examines four tragedies of Shakespeare and several sonnets: 

We read Julius Caesar using this paperback book as our resource for questions and lessons. Originally, I had planned on asking our son to read Hamlet during his junior year, but we spent the year reading works by Tolkien using a wonderful course at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I do hope to read Hamlet with him this year, but he has already read Macbeth as part of his British Literature course. 

A good place to start prior to reading Shakespeare is with the famous quotes from the plays and references in other works of entertainment. From the witches trying to bring about confusion to order finally being restored at the end of the play when English customs are introduced with the crowning of Malcolm, there are many famous quotes and memorable lines from Shakespeare's Macbeth.   

A Brief Journey through the Quotes of Shakespeare's Macbeth; A Mom's Quest to Teach; clipart of deer



"Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Hover through the fog and filthy air." 
All the witches from Act I Scene I 

"This supernatural soliciting, 
Cannot be ill, cannot be good" 
Macbeth from Act I Scene III

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly." 
Macbeth from Act I Scene VII

"False face must hide what the false heart doth know."  Macbeth from Act I Scene VII; A Mom's Quest to Teach; background clipart deer


"What's done is done." 
Lady Macbeth from Act III Scene II 

"Double, double, toil and trouble;  Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."  Witches from Act IV Scene I ; A Mom's Quest to Teach; background clip art of witches cauldron


"Out, damned spot! Out, I say!" 
Lady Macbeth from Act V Scene I 

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing." 
Macbeth from Act V Scene V 

Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wordless Wednesday: Civil War Sites

Wordless Wednesday: Civil War Sites; A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; photograph of lane at Antietam

This week I would like to share photographs from visits to the Antietam and Manassas Civil War National Military Parks. These visits would have taken place in the early to late 1990s. I am hopeful I will get to visit these sites again to see how they have changed. 

cemetery at Antietam

Lane at Antietam

The Bloody Cornfield at Antietam

Stonewall Jackson statue at Manassas

Wordless Wednesday: A Mom's Quest to Teach; Stonewall Jackson statue at Manassas


Friday, January 15, 2021

Book Club: Book Review of A Cowboy for Keeps

Book Club: Book Review of A Cowboy for Keeps; background clip art of trees and mushrooms, logo of A Mom's Quest to Teach

I received a FREE copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

The ability to read and review A Cowboy for Keeps came at the perfect time for me. Jody Hedlund's newest book arrived just after Christmas, and I couldn't wait to get started. It is a work of historical fiction set in Colorado and opens with bandits holding up a stagecoach. The action continues as we meet the rest of the cast of characters and learn more about how they all relate to each other.

A Cowboy for Keeps, book one in the Colorado Cowboys series by Jody Hedlund, features Greta Nilsson, her sister Astrid, Wyatt McQuaid, Judd, Landry Steele, and others. In the opening chapters, we see a stagecoach robbery and learn that Greta is a mail-order bride whose fiancé has died before her arrival. The mayor of the town, Steele, proposes a marriage between Greta and Wyatt to protect Greta, grow the town, and help provide an investment for Wyatt. Like in many books, parts of this arrangement between Wyatt and Steele are kept secret, which will cause problems later on for the main characters.

The story begins in August 1862 and continues through the summer and fall. We see the changing of the seasons, the preparation of the land and animals for the upcoming winter, and how the characters grow to like, trust, and rely upon each other. The cabin, which was perfect for just Wyatt and Judd, has improvement needs so that it can more adequately support Greta and Wyatt as a married couple, Astrid, and potentially Wyatt's family. Readers can track great changes in physical ways, as well as in the relationships between the characters and with God, too.

Book Club: Book Review of A Cowboy for Keeps; A Mom's Quest to Teach; book cover of A Cowboy for Keeps


What Do I Think? 

I found A Cowboy for Keeps to be a very easy and enjoyable book. It was the perfect book to read while sitting in waiting rooms because I could read a couple of chapters and set it back in my bag till I got home. So while some chapters did end with cliffhangers, I found it easy to stop for a period and then return to reading A Cowboy for Keeps when I had free time.

While there were some parts of the story that I thought might be unnecessary (I understand conflict is necessary, at times, to move a story forward, but after a while, I wish for books with less conflict), I found the story to be very uplifting. Greta is doing whatever is in her power to try to bring Astrid, her younger sister, back to good health. This included her accepting a marriage proposal from not one, but two strangers. I love her strength even though I don't agree with all of her choices and decisions during the story.

Two parts in particular really spoke to me while reading Hedlund's book. I was waiting for one of my mom's medical appointments to be over when I was reading Judd and Wyatt's conversation about trials and problems and then Judd's conversation with Greta. Judd repeated a lesson from his mother and the Good Book: "She always said, we ain't supposed to be surprised when we come against fiery trials. If the Lord suffered, then we gotta expect the suffering too" (229). Wyatt related this to a memory of the Reverend preaching about the three men who had been thrown in the fiery furnace. "The onlookers had seen not three men in the fire, but four. God hadn't taken them out of the fiery trial. He'd walked with them through it" (229).  While Judd was speaking with Greta, he reminded her that God wants her to cast her burdens and problems upon Him. God was not disturbed or bothered when Greta prayed. He was waiting for her.

These two instances in A Cowboy for Keeps gave me just what I needed to comfort and encourage my mom after she returned from her medial appointment to the waiting room. I am very familiar with the Scriptures that the characters referenced, it was so helpful to see it presented in this way by Hedlund at that very moment.

I would recommend A Cowboy for Keeps to those who enjoy historical fiction, Christian fiction and romance, stories set in the west or gold mining towns, and those looking for encouragement and inspiration. Jody Hedlund brought characters to life who I would love to learn more about in future books.

If you are looking for more books to read, here are a few reviews of books I have enjoyed: 

Book Club: Book Review of The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

Book Club: Book Review of At Love's Command

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wordless Wednesday: Washington D.C. in the Past

Wordless Wednesday: Washington D.C. in the Past; photograph of Lincoln Memorial; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo

Sharing a few photographs from trips to Washington D.C. in the late 1990s. In a previous Wordless Wednesday, I shared photographs featuring Lincoln in D.C. 

Washington Memorial in Washington D.C.

Challenger Memorial in Arlington Cemetery


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

Wordless Wednesday; photograph of Washington Memorial


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Book Club: Winter's Coming

Book Club: Winter's Coming; snow covered evergreen clipart

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

As the seasons change, reading children's books is a wonderful way to introduce new ideas or reinforce previous learning with your children. While painting pictures inspired by Winter's Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change, we read the book written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. This is a wonderful book full of unique illustrations that tells the story of a young snowshoe hare worrying about Winter. 

One of my favorite things about Winter's Coming is the fact that throughout the book you see the snowshoe hare, Lily, changing as winter approaches. Her fur is slowly turning from brown – which helped her hide in the first six months of her life – to white which will help her hide in coming winter. 

Lily - the snowshoe hare - talking to the bear in Winter's Coming children's book


Animals to Learn More About 

The book introduces many animals into the story which can you read more about, either in the back of Winter's Coming or below. As Lily, the snowshoe hare, speaks with the different animals, she learns a bit about each animal and how they are preparing for the arrival of winter – but Lily has no idea what Winter actually is. It is not until Lily speaks with the Black Bear that she learns Winter is a season like Summer. Winter won't fly like the birds or have sticky toe pads like the tree frog – it is a season! 

Here are a few of the animals you can study about with your children: 

  • Snowshoe Hare 
    • Weighs about two to four pounds 
    • During the winter, their fur turns white, which helps them camouflage with the snow 
    • During the spring and summer seasons, their fur is a brown color, which helps them camouflage with the forest floor 
    • The tips of their ears are black all year round 
  • Grackle and Red-Winged Blackbird 
    • Large black birds with long tails and long legs 
    • Males and females look very similar but males have an iridescent hue to their body and head 
  • Red Squirrel
    • They can be found throughout the United States and prefer living in coniferous forests  
  • Black Capped Chickadee
    • Non-migratory birds and are found year round from New England to the West Coast of the United States 
  • Mosquito 
    • In warm and tropical areas, they are active year-round
    • In cold and temperate areas, they may hibernate 
  • Gray Tree Frog 
    • They are 1.25 to 2.25 inches long (depending on if they are male or female)
    • They live in much of the Eastern United States 
  • Woolly Bear Caterpillar 
    • They have brownish hair in the middle, while black on the front and end segments 
  • Snapping Turtle (Alligator Snapping Turtle)
    • The largest of freshwater turtles 
    • They are almost exclusively aquatic and can stay under water for as long as 50 minutes without needing air  
  • Black Bear
    • The fur of black bears can range from pure white to brown to very black 
    • Adult males are larger (weighing as much as 600 pounds) than females (who average around 200 pounds)
Book Club: Winter's Coming trimmed with green; background clipart of fox, deer, bear and other forest animals; children's painting of a squirrel


How Animals Prepare for Winter's Coming 

The book also introduces the many ways in which animals prepare for the coming the new season – winter. Again, there is a handy short guide in the back of the book which discusses migration, hibernation, and other ideas. Winter's Coming's main character finds herself struggling to understand why the animals are doing different things. Through trial and error, Lily learns that she can prepare for winter like the other animals. She can bury herself under leaves like the Woolly Bear Caterpillar or hide in the mud like the snapping turtle. She has her own way of preparing for the winter. 

Lily does not need to hibernate in the same way that the Black Bear in the story will during the Winter. So, while the Black Bear will spend time in dens hidden in caves, underground burrows, or other locations where they can be protected from the elements, Lily can be active above ground as her fur changes color. 

Create a Winter-Themed Painting 

Materials 

Steps 


1. Gather all your materials. 

paint, paintbrushes, paper


2. Draw your picture. I sketched several pictures based upon the story for our children. 

half-painting picture of a squirrel


3. Paint the picture. 

half-finished painting of a tree during the winter with snow
A tree trunk in the winter


4. When the initial paint is mostly dry, add the snow falling to the picture. 

painting of a brown snowshoe hare