Plodding Ahead – Half-Way Done!

January 30th, 2012 / No Comments » / by Terri

Half-way through the school year… It’s at this time of the year that we can feel like we are exhausted, running on empty, just putting one foot in front of the other because that is what we are supposed to do.

That’s okay! Just because you may not feel that spring in your step or that excitement for planning school lessons doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing one of THE most worthy pursuits you could be doing. Just because you aren’t receiving accolades from your kids, your friends or even your spouse doesn’t mean that you aren’t making a BIG difference in the lives of your kids and your family. Just because your kids may not be the smartest, the pleasantest, the most organized band of children in your neighborhood or co-op doesn’t mean that they aren’t in process, taking plodding steps just like you, to learn more, cooperate better and integrate life skills, one day at a time.

These dreary winter months are a great time to WAKE up, SHAKE up and try something NEW!

Here are 4 ways to get out of the doldrums and get excited about school once again:

1. Take a field trip! Yes, it’s cold outside and it’s easier to stay in and work on textbook assignments, but that gets tiresome after a while. Bundle up the kids and head out for the zoo or a local museum or an indoor waterpark, for goodness sake. Okay, maybe the waterpark isn’t educational, but the kids may learn a little bit about physics and acceleration on the water slides (okay, that’s a stretch). Even if they don’t, at least they’ll have fun and you have shaken up the daily routine. We are going to our local science museum on Thursday. We are excited because they have a new Body Works exhibit about the brain, which is extremely fascinating, don’t you think?

Okay, speaking of the brain (and this is WAY off topic), I loved BlimeyCow’s youtube video this week about how the smart phone is making us stupid. So, if you need a little humor today, watch below:

2. Try a new curriculum or a different approach. Do you have a child that is bogged down in math? Put the book away and try math in real life. Get out a bunch of containers and have him or her experiment and understand liquid measurements, such as how many teaspoons make a tablespoon, how many cups in a gallon, etc. Make predictions and then find out the exact answer. Or grab a ruler and a yardstick and have him measure everything in the house.  Spelling driving your child nuts? Try a different curriculum or have her just work on words that she misspells during the course of other assignments. These are not permanent changes, but ways to change-up the pace and make the day more interesting. Return to the regular curriculum after a few days or ditch it entirely for something new. Sponsor a curriculum swap with your co-op where everyone brings what they aren’t using any longer and you can swap with each other.

3. Change the location! Maybe school at home is just too comfortable and kids are bickering with each other and whining and complaining at you. Take them to the library to work on school assignments or even the coffee shop. Bet they won’t fight there!

4. Change the time! Do you always do school first thing in the morning? Just to keep your kids on their toes, perhaps you might want to switch the schedule for a day or two. Run your errands in the morning and work on school work when you get home or in the afternoon. Try doing some things on the weekend with dad, such as science experiments or written reports. Warning… a change in routine could be disastrous if you have kids that are creatures of habit and find great solace in predictable schedules, so do give your kids notice of a change coming, if that is necessary and be prepared to punt or call it a day if attitudes sour more easily later in the day. :-)

While we can become discouraged that we are only half-way through the school year, we can also be encouraged for the exact same reason. Look back to August or September and remember where you started. Think of all that you have accomplished. Remind yourself that your kids are learning and that you are instilling values and good study habits and knowledge into them.

Good job, mom! You are half-way through another year. You should be proud of yourself and your kids. Tell them how proud you are of them today and give them an extra hug and a kiss for half a school year well done!

Why We Are NOT Having a Sale

November 22nd, 2011 / 1 Comment » / by Terri

We know, you are getting bombarded with sales pitches!  Trust me, we know.  So are we.  But, we wanted you to know that we are not having a sale.  In fact, we would rather give out the gifts to you, and to the needy, with no strings attached.  That’s right, you do NOT have to buy anything to get these gifts.  They are just yours.

First, let me explain… We know that you can buy curriculum any time of year AND we know that you want to buy gifts for your family that they will be excited to unwrap on Christmas morning.  Let’s face it, a geography textbook is probably not on their wishlist!

So, we do not hold a Black Friday sale, or a Cyber Monday sale or a Christmas or Holiday sale.  We don’t want you to spend your Christmas money on curriculum – we want you to spend it on what brings delight to your family and give it away to the needy around the world.  Now THAT brings us delight.
So much so that we will be giving to Gospel for Asia on your behalf!  When we reach 24,000 subscribers to our email list – and that is less than 170 subscribers away – we will give a rickshaw to a hard-working man in India who can use it to bring in income for his family.  This is a gift that keeps on giving.  And not only will we give this gift on your behalf to a needy family in India, we will give YOU nine (9) unit studies so that you can learn more about the people and countries of our world.

Here's what a rickshaw looks like.

When we reach 25,000 subscribers, we will give a water buffalo to a needy family in Asia.  A water buffalo not only provides a sturdy and reliable work animal for farming families, but it also provides milk and can haul a cart.  And when we reach this number of subscribers, we will give YOU a set of world and continent maps that will help your children see and learn more about the people and countries of our world.

It is through learning geography that our students will develop a compassion for the people on our globe.  We intend to help you foster that

A water buffalo at work in the field

compassion by providing GIFTS to you that will help your children learn more about this beautiful earth and the people who live upon it.

So, send your friends to our homepage to sign up for our newsletter for helpful tips in teaching history and geography AND everyone will get two (2) FREE gifts when we reach our goal! Here’s the link –

May you be richly blessed this Christmas season and I look forward to sending the email with your free gifts very soon.  We’ll also provide an update on our gifts to families in Asia.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Travel the World Without Leaving Home

October 23rd, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

Sometimes we get wanderlust…

We dream of the places we’d love to go, someday.

We plan vacations for a future anniversary, when the kids have moved out, when there’s more money, when we have more time…

My challenge to you today is to live in the moment. While visiting every exotic, beautiful or mysterious place on earth may not be possible at this time or possibly ever, we can still be globe-trotters, studying and praying our way around the world – God’s glorious world.

Some of the far corners…


Hills between the fog



drakensberg landscape


The world is a fascinating place. Pray for God’s people; learn about the rich landscapes that have been painted around our world; be global-minded. Here’s one place to start.

7 Homeschool Heresies

October 10th, 2011 / 2 Comments » / by Terri

Do you remember when the “holiday season” started on or around Thanksgiving? Now I am told that it begins on the first of October. Goodness sakes! Maybe that sounds cozy and delightful to you, but truly, it is a marketing ploy designed to get consumers to buy more – from halloween costumes to fall decorations to hostess gifts to fancy sugar-laden food, etc. I’m not buying it… exactly.

But whether I agree with the commercialization of the fall and winter holidays, doesn’t change the fact that the distractions exist and I am left to figure out what to do with them.  Take halloween costumes for example… when did it become embarrassing to wear home-made costumes. Does every kid need a new costume off the rack every year? I hope not or we’d have gone broke several years ago!

Well in this vein of sarcasm, I write to you about my 7 homeschool heresies and hope that you will find some encouragement or a least a chuckle somewhere within.

blessingBut first, go check out the Big Blessing Sale only going on THIS week – October 10-14.  Get over $120 worth of resources for less than $20. It’s a fabulous sale and I own many of the products and can vouch for quality!

Terri’s 7 Homeschool Heresies:

(I call these Homeschool Heresies because sometimes when I share one of these ideas, I will receive a look of shock from the listener, as though I had just said something terrible.)

1. You can do school when YOU want to!

You do not have to start at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. If it works better for your schedule, you can do school with your children in the afternoon. I did this a couple of times when I had a baby or toddler who was taking a nap in the afternoon and it was the only time that I could concentrate whole-heartedly on the task at hand.

2. You do not have to do every subject every day, or every week, or even every year!

We do grammar 3x a week and spelling 2x a week. We do science 3x a week and history 4x a week. You might decide to do history one week and then science the next, or even a monthly rotation, even yearly. You don’t have to start grammar until 3rd grade. Keep your daily subjects reasonable – don’t do more than 4-5 a day. During the holidays, you can trim this to 3 or 4.

3. You can be finished before noon!

In fact, you should be if you have kids in grades 6 and under. Schoolwork with the little ones should take 2 hours or less. My high schoolers spend 3-5 hours a day on their school work, usually closer to 3 or 4. And they take outside classes and can still pull this off!

4. You should never reward quick work with more work!

This is the surest way to squelch efficiency in your homeschool. If a child works quickly and completes what you have asked him to do, reward that child with extra free time or a fun activity that he/she has been longing to do. If you want your kids to work slowly, then make them do extra work when they finish before the time you have allotted for that subject.

5. Don’t turn every interest that your child has into a unit study!

This is another way to squelch the love of learning, particularly the love of learning about something on your own. If every time your child shows a passion for something (say butterflies or racing cars) and you decide to assign a paper on it, they will stop sharing with you their interests. Am I against unit studies? Oh, far to the contrary! We love to do unit studies to break up the monotony of school, especially during the winter and spring months. We’ll talk more about unit studies in a few minutes.

6. School is a given!

School should be so much a part of your routine that your kids do not ask you, “Are we doing school today?” It should be on the same level as brushing teeth or getting dress. School is just what we do. Besides, routine is comforting for children. In fact, when we have something special planned and I am secretly planning to give my kids the day off school, they will often have it finished before I get up and have my first cup of coffee.

7. Take days off when you want to (or need to)!

You are the master of your schedule and you are in charge. If you want to take a day off school, then do it! The beauty of homeschooling is that we can choose our days off. We often do not take the federally recognized holidays off, such as Columbus Day or Veterans Day. We sometimes do not take 2 weeks off at Christmas, maybe only one and get back to it after Christmas, instead of waiting until after New Years. But I almost always take the entire week of Thanksgiving off because I have relatives coming into town and want to get the house clean and the food prepared in advance.  Take the days off that you will most enjoy and need the most to get other things accomplished.

Need a Memory Jog?

September 27th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

Screen shot 2011-09-13 at 7.57.53 PMHooray, our 5th app is available for download! While our first four have been geared towards furthering your child’s knowledge of history and geography, this one is for you! (Don’t worry… we are still working on our educational apps and have 3 more in the works at this time.)

Jog My Memory is an iPhone reminder app made especially for you, the mom and teacher of your family. With so many balls to juggle and so many tasks to accomplish in a given day, it is only understandable that you might forget a thing or two. Well, now you don’t have to!

Use Jog My Memory to remind yourself to take something out of the freezer for dinner, work on the timeline with your kids, make a doctor appointment or turn off the water in the garden. It’s versatile, it’s flexible, but most of all, it’s reliable. You don’t have to forget your important responsibilities any longer.

And yes, your kids can use it too. Have them set up reminders to do their chores, their laundry or practice the piano. Now they don’t have the excuse, “I forgot!” Nope, it’s not gonna work any more!

It’s just 99 cents and it’s the best buck you’ll spend all day.

Here’s the link to the App Store:

Remembering 9/11

September 9th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

10 years later and our hearts still grieve for this tragedy that ended the lives of thousands and instilled fear in the hearts of many more.  Here is an address to the nation by George Bush on the evening of September 11, 2001, set to the music “Only Time” by Enya.

Medieval Life for the iPad

September 9th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

Available at the App Store here –

Enter to win original artwork

September 4th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

William and Kate_sm

How often do you get to win an original work of art that’s been published??


Want to win an original sketch of Kate and William that’s included in our new book? Reblog this post either on your blog, Facebook or twitter, or all three, and send the link to your posts to Karla at [email protected] and you’ll be entered into a drawing. (The drawing will be done via

You are entered each time you post or reblog!

There is no limit to the number of times you enter! Reblog and post as often as you want.  You will be entered each and every time.

Contest ends September 17 at 12 AM.

Get to reblogging, and may the best blogger win!

Winners for Heart of the Matter

July 28th, 2011 / No Comments » / by Terri

Yay, we have conducted our drawing and 3 winners have been selected to receive a free ticket to the Heart of the Matter Online Conference.  Drum roll please…

The winners are:hotm

  • Christina S.
  • Jamie H.
  • Jennifer H.

You will be receiving an email notification from the ladies at Heart of the Matter very shortly.  Congratulations!

Heart of the Matter Giveaway!

July 26th, 2011 / 75 Comments » / by Terri

hotmI am excited to be speaking at the Heart of the Matter Online Conference on August 8th at 11:00am.  I feel privileged and nervous to follow on the heels of THE Dr. Jay Wile. :-) The conference runs for the full week – August 8-12 – and covers a wonderful variety of homeschooling topics that will encourage your socks off (who needs ‘em in this heat anyway!).

We are giving away 3 tickets to the conference, valued at $14.95 each.  I hope that you will all join us whether you win or not, but you might as well see if you win one, right? Drawing is happening TODAY only – Wednesday, July 27th! Don’t put it off – enter now!

To enter:

  1. 1. Click on the link below and check out the conference website
  2. 2. Come back here and post, telling us why you would like to win one of 3 tickets
  3. 3. Leave an email address so that we can contact you if you win

That’s it! Easy-peasy, and who knows, maybe you’ll be one of our winners. Drawing is happening TODAY only – Wednesday, July 27, 2011! Don’t put it off – enter now!

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