Saturday, December 20, 2008

Life is Like Hot Chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How to bring Advent into your home school.

Happy Advent. I realize not all families are Christian and not all families celebrate Advent. However, for my family we do celebrate Advent and I thought I would take some time to tell you about what we do and why. Who knows maybe you will find something new or something you would like to add to your home school.

For us we have an Advent wreath. I LOVE our advent wreath. I believe I bought it from current, I know I bought it the first year my husband and I were married because I had to have one. Advent was not something my husband really celebrated so this was new to him, and like the good hubby he is, he particpated. Advent has now become just as imporant to him as it is to me.

For our family every night we join around the table and light our Advent wreath and sing the song "Light the Advent Candle" and we read from our devotion. Now for us each year our devotion changes, based on what I find I like that year.

This year I did find a very cool source: if you click on the weeks you can get a complete weekly packet for kids dealing with advent and the bible.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

Well today is Columbus Day in the United States. Today is the day we honor Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America. Although my oldest daughter will remind you that others found this area before Mr. Columbus, thank you history for that lesson!

So what did you do in your home school for Columbus Day?

Today for us we read some books about Columbus and his travels. We set up a ship and went on our own discovery of America in the living room. We made paper boats as well as Columbus hats.

I believe all holiday's should be studied and incorporated into our home school, this is just one way to help make history relevant to today's world.

So in honor of today......HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!

Oh and for any readers from Canada....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Joys of Cutting

Have you ever noticed how much kids love to cut with scissors! Oh my gosh I have really noticed this recently. My, now 3 year old, loves to sit and cut for hours if I would let him.

So I was thinking how can we make cutting into fun and learning.

I found a book called Preschool Skills this book is great way to work on cutting. There are several pages on cutting. For instance the most recent page we completed at co-op was of a car. The car is at the top of the page and we have the road going back and forth on the page. The idea is to cut on the road. Thus you are working on cutting in straight lines and going up and down, back and forth.

How easy it is to make up pages very similar to this one. Just take a sheet of paper and draw a few lines on it in various ways. Have your child cut the lines you have created.

Cutting it is a good thing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I remember learning History/Social Studies in school. I remember learning maps of the world and about different parts of the world. I remember reading text books about government and laws. With this memory also come a dislike for the way it was taught to me. History in school for me was boring. It was one of those "I have to do this" type classes.

Thank gosh for home schooling and freedom we have. Here at the Pierce Family School we use the series "Story of the World"

As their web site reads:
The Story of the World is an award-winning resource for families looking for a history curriculum they can fall in love with. Told in the straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer's trademark, this four-volume set covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas — find out what happened all around the world in long-ago times. This read-aloud series is designed for parents and teachers to share with elementary school children. Enjoy it together and introduce your child to the marvelous story of the the world's civilizations.

This is our second year of using this series and each time we do our history lesson I always have the same comment "If history was taught to me in the way it is to my children I would have loved it."

The chapters go in chronological order of events. Each chapter is told in a way that you can feel like you are really living in the time period. With each chapter there is a map activity to help with map skills as well as understand the world during the time period. Each lesson included craft activities as well as other projects and reading to enhance the learning.

Take a new look at history and you may soon discover that "This isn't the same old History."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time for a rebirth

Ok it is time to wake up the world to home schooling....time to get mothers and fathers to take charge of their children's education. Stop complaining about the flaws of the public school and take back the classroom.

Tonight I am starting on a new campaign. Not only to continue this blog but to improve upon it. Tonight I will being the production of several YouTube videos to explain why you, yes YOU, should home school!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The first week down!

Well this house has survived the first week school in our house. We have been able to keep up with everything!! Which I am surprised as I figured it would take us a while to get back into the swing of things. I think part of the benefit has been my limited ability do walk right now, the joys of knee surgery.

We have managed to start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. The kids have taken turns holding our flag for the class. It is funny because we are learning how to hold the American Flag correctly, right hand above left. They have also learned how to stand reverently in front of the flag with their right hand over their hearts. Anna has the Pledge down now, however Christopher is still a work in progress, but then again he is only 2.

Anna has started her Kindergarten work and is loving it so far. She gets upset each day when we put her books away as she would love to work in her books nonstop. I hope this love of learning continues. I will admit I have been spoiled by Catherine as she loves to learn and learns very easy, I am not sure how I will handle it if one of my kids hates learning or struggles a great deal.

Catherine has begun her studies this year. She actually started History this summer as we like the idea of doing one chapter a week and thus we started in July so we can have our breaks when we want. Now that we are in full blown school her work load has increased. She is enjoying her study of Oceanography, this year we will be building a diorama of the Ocean and adding to it each chapter with new creatures we have studied. We have begun her new reading curriculum "Drawn Into The Heart of Reading" This study has begun with the reading of a Biography, which we are reading Walt Disney: Young Movie Maker by Marie Hammontree. We are thinking about take a road trip to Marceline, Missouri after our study is over as that is the childhood home of Walt Disney and only 2 hours away. All other subjects are similar to last year and they are great as usual.

Co-op started this week. Needless to say it was a stressful first day. This semester I am teaching a beading class, called Building Bling, and working 3 and 4 year olds in Pre-grammar. Catherine is taking Building Bling, Recorder, Baton, and Etiquette. She seems to really enjoy her classes. Christopher and Anna are both in their age group of pre-grammar.

So one week down in the 2008-2009 school year. We pray that your school year is going well and with little stress and frustration as possible.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Well in our house, summer is officially coming to a close. Today is Labor Day, which for most people is just a day off work and day to cook out. I have to say for our house it is a lot the same. Although because of medical issues (Knee surgery) today's labor day is not as exciting as in the past. Today we use the pool (an out door inflatable pool) for the last time, although as of this blog it has not gotten warm enough for the pool. Today we will cook hamburgers and corn and other yummies.

Today is very special for us when it come to education. Today we finish setting up our fall classroom. We organize our cart so it is ready for the kick off of school tomorrow. Our children are excited about starting school for real. Although through the summer we do like mini school, tomorrow starts the real thing.

So as schools around the world have either started or are starting we wish everyone a great fall full of great educational experiences.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

There is no real “Summer Break” in home schooling

Well Summer is upon us, at least here in KC it feels that way. Even though it is still officially spring it sure feels like Summer. The pool is set up in the back yard and already has many hours of use this week alone.

Most kids look forward to summer as a kind of R&R from school. I know our neighbor has been counting down the days till she could “Sleep in”, something she is looking forward to experiencing. Keep in mind, in the life of a 9 year old (her age) sleeping to 8:30 am is sleeping in.

Now Catherine asked me the other day, “Mom do I get a summer vacation from school.” The way our Home School works is this:
Labor Day through Memorial Day - Full School
Memorial Day through Labor Day - Light School

So we are officially in “Light School”. What does light school mean? Well for us it means we do a math time test and read some every day. We also find learning experiences as our days go. Such as this week we used a level and worked on finding the most level place in our back yard to set up the inflatable pool. We then talked about how to make the ground more level. We used a level ruler with a bubble in side and learned how to read it correctly.

As with past summers we will be participating in our local libraries summer reading program. For every 20 books the kids read they get a free book to add to our home library. After 100 books they get a gift, either a library tote bag, a butterfly beanie baby, or a book light. This is a great program and the best part is the cost----FREE!

This summer we are going to be starting our history in July. The reason for starting early is because we like to do one chapter a week in history. In order to do that and be done by Memorial Day we have to start on July 1st. Really it is no big deal, we enjoy the history we do and it is more fun then work.

So yes for us Pierce Family School does not stop in the summer but we lighten up.
So what does you family school do?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Family is the Key

Home schooling is more the books, reading, and writing. Home schooling is a way of life. It is the only life where you can spend hour together and never get sick of each other. It is the only life in which kids and adults can learn and grow together. It is the only life that can cause you to really see the value in people of all ages. Most of all home school is about FAMILY. Family is number one and the only thing you think about. I find that by home schooling you really get past the "me me me" way of thinking. You thoughts are about your family and what you can do to help them learn and grow in life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Joys of Co-Op's

This spring my family joined a Home Schooling Co-op. I have to say I feel this has been a great changes for both my children and myself. There are 90+ families in this co-op. One family had 12 children and is expecting #13. So total there are over 200 kids.

Each child has his or her own classes they can pick, 4 classes. Catherine is taking Ballroom Dancing, Art, Music, and Games. Anna is in a 3 year old class. Christopher is in a 2 year old class.

I think this is also very beneficial for myself as well. I have met many wonderful ladies (mostly moms come although you do see some dads). We have talked about everything from schooling to fun.

If you ever have a chance to find a co-op check it out, it might be a perfect fit for your family.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year!

Well it is now 2008. Although most home schools continue where they are, some choose to begin all new.

In our home we run an "old fashion" school calendar. We officially work the day after Labor Day till the day before Memorial Day. So for us we are in the middle of the year.

Praying that your home school is blessed this year!