Living the Extremes, Finding the Balance

My homeschool journey has been just that, a journey.  It will take some time to tell the story of our journey thus far, but we’ll take it much like we take our homeschooling – a day at a time.

I have found that in our family, homeschooling morphs and changes as we seek out what works best for each child, each season of life, each home we live in, the mental state of the teacher (me!) and many other factors. As an overall theme though, our approach has seemed to swing from one extreme to the other. With my first 2 children, I sat them down and we learned. If they were ready to learn, if they were not ready to learn, WE LEARNED!

With my next two, I took a much more relaxed approach. So relaxed an approach that it caused panic among the relatives and friends: “He doesn’t know how to read yet?!” In time, he learned and with joy and happiness, in stark contrast to the tears and frustration experienced by his older brother. He learned quickly too, catching up to the same level as his tortured alumni with speed.

This year seems to be the leveling out and balancing of both extremes. The younger kids are being challenged and taught, but not pushed. The older kids are being pushed and challenged a bit more, but not enough to send them over the edge. I think if I had to label all of our methods I would label them thus: Textbook, Charlotte Mason, Well Trained Mind.

It feels a bit odd to be at this stage of my homeschooling and feel again like I am just starting out, just learning how to homeschool, just discovering my philosophy of education. It’s early in the year and I wonder where we will fall once the year ends, but for now I feel balanced and happy. The kids are learning, we’re doing fun things like launching hydro rockets and making rifle cartridges out of toilet paper rolls and flour. Our notebooks are not perfect, our science hypothesis sometimes read like this: “I think it will work.” There is room for improvement, but we just keep walking down this road trying to do our best.

Excited to share the journey with you.

~ Julee Huy

Back to Homeschool Wordsearches

Many homeschool families have already began their school year and many will be starting in the next few weeks. Here are a couple Back to Homeschool Wordsearches for you. I think the parents will enjoy the Homeschooling Wordsearch. I’ll add more printables to these when I return from vacation in a week.

Back to Homeschool Wordsearch

Homeschooling Wordsearch

Carnival of Homeschooling: Let’s Play School Edition

When I was a little girl, I loved playing school. It was my favorite thing to do. Surely I drove my sister crazy and when she didn’t want to play, I would play what I called “alone school.” I had imaginary students that I would make worksheets for, I had good students and bad students. I would play for hours. My neighbor had a shoebox filled with a toy school set that I absolutely adored. It had desks and little rag dolls and a chalkboard and a teacher. I loved when she brought that coveted shoebox outside and let me play. I think my obsession with playing school is why homeschooling felt so natural to me. My imaginary students came to life. Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that homeschooling is playing school, but I look back on both with fond memories. And now that my kids are grown up and graduated, I continue to “play” by making worksheets for my grandkids and your kids. 🙂

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Homeschooling Carnival and welcome to my new home at If this if your first visit, take your shoes off and stay awhile.

Let’s start with some general homeschool issues and chatter.

In Homeschool Idea: Daddy Challenge Chair the Faughn Family of Four shares what they did to help keep daddy “in the loop” of what the kids are learning each day at school. I think this is a brilliant idea.

Lisa Nehring presents Homeschool Myth Busters over at Golden Grasses. She gives her perspective of five homeschooling myths.

In A Word to My Fellow People Pleasers… Jan Burt encourages homeschoolers to be true to their Lord and trust in Him alone as they walk the road of homeschooling. She says people pleasing is a common issue for those of us who homeschool.

As Rachel Noggle of Musings of a Reluctant Homeschool Mom sits on The cusp of school, she muses over the early start of local schools and is thankful to be able to start school according to her own schedule.

In Are You Ready for a New Puppy? Phyllis Sather shares the story of the loss of their dog a year ago and the purchase of their new puppy a year later.

Lorilynn Jones of 3 Partners in Shopping; Nana, Mommy, &; Sissy too! shares a couple of reasons why she believes that standardized testing is very wrong, a total waste of time and money in Another Great Reason to Homeschool Our Children.

Nebby presents The Goal of Education posted at Letters from Nebby where she discusses the different approaches to home education.

Curriculum and Resources

Christa Fairbrother of Mother of Discussionlinks to sources of Free Media for Homeschoolers such as audio books and sound recordings. Check out her Modern Pentathlon post – such fun!

In Back to School Plans, Part One: Changes to Dollygirl’s Grade Six Science, Mama Squirrel of Dewey’s Treehouse shares a review of The Great Motion Mission: A Surprising Story of Physics in Everyday Life.

For my post this week, I have a couple sets of Math Vocabulary Worksheets for you. The first set is basic arithmetic terms, the second is more advanced.

As a newcomer to homeschooling, Vincent Cate shares Computer as the Teacher at Why Homeschool. He is looking at having computers do most of the teaching for his two boys and possibly a small school.

Tea Time with Annie Kate reviews 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curricululm by Cathy Duffy. She says like its predecessor 100 Top Picks, it’s the best book for beginning homeschoolers and for any homeschooler who is facing changes in family or homeschool.  She’s read it half a dozen times, at least.

Projects and Teaching Ideas


Try this fun outdoor activity – Celebrating Lewis and Clark with To-Scale Mapping presented by Our Journey Westward. Even though it was meant for the older students, the younger student joined in.

Language Arts:

In Why Keep Reading Aloud – 5th grade, Monique of Living Life and Learning discusses the value of continuing to read aloud to your child even though they could read it themselves.

A Game for Making Your Own Oz Story includes instructions and cards created for a homemade board game made by Christy at Just Another Step to Take. They played it with another homeschooling family  as part of a unit exploring the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Nadene of Practical Pages shares some of the ways different types of puppets can be used to tell narrations in Narrations 103 Puppets.


Lindafay discusses nature journaling in Nature Journaling -Stage One continued posted at Higher Up and Further In. Do you have a child who just doesn’t seem to enjoy drawing in his nature journal? Does he draw his specimen in a few minutes and then is ready to go on to something else because this activity bores him? This is a normal behavior for children in the first stage of nature journaling. We must help them get past this initial phase or they may never learn to enjoy nature.

Nirvana Homeschooling shares Exploring Music and Science with a Wind Organ made from recycled plastic bottles. She says a wind organ will make music when the wind blows. Our wind organ did not make a loud sound, but you could hear it if you were standing about 1-2 feet away from the organ which was a nice treat when we were working in the garden. I had never heard of a wind organ before. Check it out.

In Chemistry Lab Camp Day 8 and 9, Janine Cate of Why Homeschool wraps of their Do It Yourself Chemistry Lab Camp. They look like a great group of kids and I love the funny face picture.

Out and About

In Important Fire Safety Tips – from the Professionals, Mindy Hoffmann of DenSchool shares about a trip to the fire station with some life saving tips to teach children about fire safety.

Ages and Stages

Jamie Gaddy of MomSCHOOL says homeschooling many children isn’t easy, and having little ones can be a challenge. In Keeping Your Little Ones Engaged, she shares a few tips to keeping them engaged.

Eclectic Momma shares some ideas on how they are doing Preschool this year. It looks like they’re having a lot of fun together.

Dee Trope discusses thoughts on when a child is old enough to be left Home Alone and safety measures for when you do.

In Homeschooling and Concurrent Enrollment in College posted at Harmony Art Mom, Barb discusses their experience with concurrent enrollment during high school and making sure to fit the action to the needs of the child.

In Conclusion…

With the 2012 Olympics on in the background and a 4.4 earthquake centered a couple miles from my home, I was able to stay focused and finish up the Carnival. I hope you enjoy the posts and try some of the ideas in your own homeschooling. The next carnival will be hosted at Under the Golden Apple Tree.

~ Beverly Hernandez

Chalkboard images by Scrappin Doodles.

Carnival of Homeschooling: Home Education Edition

I’ll be hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling here at for the first time next week. I’ve hosted many times from, but I’m looking forward to hosting here at my new home. Please send your submissions by Monday at 6 p.m.

Now, on to this weeks carnival… The Common Room talks about the longevity of the Carnival of Homeschooling in this week’s edition of the carnival: Home Education Edition. She says most people have moved from this old-school style carnival to linkies.

Again, the next carnival will be hosted here at Send in your submissions by Monday at 6 p.m. I look forward to reading your submissions.

Choosing a Phonics Curriculum

Reading Eggs vs. All About Reading

In trying to decide on a phonics curriculum for my children, I’ve looked at many phonics programs and narrowed it down to two: Reading Eggs and All About Reading. To make my final decision, I’m looking at the pros and cons of each program. So, let’s have a look…

Reading Eggs

Teach Your Child to Read OnlineWe’ve used Reading Eggs for a year, although not consistently. It is a very fun program. Children are introduced to one letter and sound each lesson. They are also introduced to some sight words, such as I, at, am, etc. At the end of ten lessons, there is a quiz to see how they’re progressing. There is also a world where the children can play. There is no outside interaction in the world, which is a plus for me. Children can buy clothes for an egg creature that they design. They are also able to buy games to play. They earn money by playing lessons and are encouraged to repeat lessons. The money is easily earned, so the children are encouraged to earn things. If they find something they want, it’s fairly easy to earn the money for it. They even have lessons for older children that already know how to read.

In addition to the online program, Reading Eggs also gives the option of buying flash cards, activity books and beginning readers that match the readers in the program so your child can have the book in their hand.


  • If the program gets too challenging, I can help her through it, but it won’t be me fighting her, it’ll be the program.
  • If I purchase a subscription for my 3 year old, he can also play it and begin to learn a few letters.
  • This is something we could continue to use for many more years.
  • My children love playing on the computer, so it might as well be educational.
  • She will want to work on this even when we are not doing school.
  • There’s no prep work, you just sit at the computer and get to it.


  • She’s able to complete lessons without fully learning the letters. There is not a ton of repetition, if you just go lesson by lesson. This can be fixed by me sitting down with her during lessons and by using the flash cards more often
  • Most of the early readers are not books they can read, but more like Alphabet books: A book – apple, alligator, etc
  • It is subscription based, so you’ll have to pay monthly or yearly for subscription

All About Reading

Unfortunately, we haven’t used All About Reading yet, so I can only tell you what I’ve found out through their website and samples. This program consists of a teachers manual, student activity book, 3 readers, letter flash cards, word flash cards, and letter tiles. It is a hands-on curriculum.

Each lesson consists of 5 parts:

  1. Before you begin – This takes a few minutes and it includes learning the letter sounds, getting everything out, etc
  2. Review – You review with flash cards, the letters that the child hasn’t mastered yet
  3. New Teaching – the child will learn new letters using flash cards, use the tiles to read words and make new words, do activity sheets which sometimes include cutting & gluing, read fluency sheets or read from their readers
  4. Read aloud time – You are asked to read aloud to your child for 20 minutes everyday
  5. Track your progress on your chart


  • Lessons are hands-on, which is good for the hands-on learners
  • Lessons start with review, there’s lots of repetition
  • We can use this program with each of my children, with no yearly subscription fee
  • The readers look like they’ll be interesting and hold the interest of the child
  • Setup is fairly quick and lessons are straight forward
  • There’s a lot of flexibility with the letter tiles, you can make and read any words you want


  • I’m the one teaching the lessons, so if she struggles, I’ll be the one fighting her.
  • A little prep work is required.
  • Lessons will take a little longer than Reading Eggs lessons.

My Conclusion

I’m going to go with All About Reading Level 1, although it was very close. I’m pretty sure either curriculum would teach my daughter to read. The reason I’m going with All About Reading is because Alissa needs the repetition. I also think the hands-on learning will be helpful for her.

Things I Learned at CHEA

I attended the CHEA Convention this past weekend in Pasadena, California. Here are a few things I learned:

  1. CHEA stands for Christian Home Educators Association.
  2. Conventions are helpful, even if they seem silly. 🙂
  3. Some workshops are life-changing and some are life-wasting, choose wisely.
  4. The Exhibit Hall is my favorite part of the convention.
  5. Heidi St. John is really cool. 🙂 She is down to earth and practical. If you have a chance to hear her speak, take advantage of it.
  6. The best nugget I found in the exhibit hall was a Spanish Curriculum that has a program geared towards preschoolers. We’ll be using it this year for my 3 year old and 5 year old.
  7. Last but not least!! When attending a homeschool convention, if you can turn it into a girls day, do it!! You won’t regret it 🙂

Attending the CHEA Convention has kick-started my school planning. Next I will be showing you the two reading programs I’m trying to choose between. I’m also trying to decide between using workboxes or just a schedule. I’m looking into The Well-Planned Day to schedule our lessons, but I’m trying to decide between the print copy and the software. Lots and lots of decisions in the month of July!! I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

Did you attend CHEA or another homeschool convention? What is something you learned?

Homeschool Support Group Lists

Homeschool support groups exist to provide encouragement and support for homeschool parents as well as provide activities and field trips for the children.  The Homeschool Support Group Lists are ready to be populated with your support groups. You can submit the information on the Homeschool Support Group Form and I’ll take care of the rest. There are two groups in the database you can take a look at, one in Florida and one in North Carolina. I will be making lists for other countries in the future.

Homeschooling Kindergarten

I’ve been thinking a lot about the curriculum that I will be using this year and spending lots of time researching different books and programs. I’ve decided not to go with a prepackaged Kindergarten program, because I don’t want to feel the pressure of doing and completing everything in a set program. If I were to pick a prepackaged Kindergarten program, I would probably pick My Father’s World because it is reasonably priced, Biblically based, and has simple, straightforward instructions.

These are the books that I’ve decided on:

Math – Math K5 Student Worktext 3rd edition

The reason I chose this book, is because it’s colorful and goes at a great pace. It introduces children to shapes, same & different, numbers, counting, addition, time, calendars, money, measurements and more. Each lesson is one page, front and back.



Reading – Reading Eggs and Bob Books

I’ll be using for our reading. This is a great computer program that teaches all the basics of reading. My daughter loves it!! (I’ll talk more about that in my next post.) I’ll also be using the Bob Books. These books are not the most interesting or colorful books, but they’ve given my daughter quick success. I’ve had trouble finding any other books that are able to get her reading so quickly and easily. Within 3 days, she’s been able to read the first book with minimal help.


Handwriting – Zaner-Bloser Handwriting K

I chose this book, because it has clear instructions on how to write letters properly. I know how to write, but when I’m teaching I want to be sure to teach proper techniques. This book seems to make those techniques clear. It is also a very colorful, fun looking book.



Literature/Art – What Your Preschooler Needs to Know

This book is one of my favorite books. It has poems, stories, songs, art, history, and science. It contains a lot of classical stories that every child should know, like The Little Red Hen or The Gingerbread Man. We started this book last year and it quickly became a favorite in our household. Everyone gets excited to read these stories. It also has pictures to go with all the stories. When we finish this book, we’ll probably go on to the kindergarten book.


Vocabulary – Wordly Wise 3000, Book K

I’m really interested in this program. It seems like a great way to expand little children’s vocabulary. You read stories aloud and teach them words like muddy, soil, dew, stare, fluffy, etc. This is something I can use for both my preschooler and my kindergartner.



Phonics – Spectrum Early Years Series

My children love workbooks. They love to write and circle things. So I like to include a few books from the Spectrum Early Years series. I really like these books because the are cheap and they cover many subjects. I’m going to choose Phonics Readiness for my 5 year old. And Basic Concepts for my 3 year old. The phonics book covers letter sounds and recognition. The Basic Concepts book covers beginning writing, shapes, colors, and other early learning concepts.

Homeschool Convention

Those are my choices for next year, so far. I plan on going to the homeschool convention in July, so some of these choices might change. This will be my first convention and I’ll probably be totally overwhelmed, but it will be a good overwhelmed.

~ Jessica Jacobs

NOTE from Beverly: The above links go to if the books are available there or directly to the publisher if they’re not. The following books are also available at

Welcome to my Homeschool Journey

Welcome to my new blog on! I’m super excited to start writing about our journey through homeschooling.

I’ll begin with our journey to our new house in Arcadia. We moved in 6 weeks ago and are just about settled in. We went from a two bedroom upstairs condo, to a 3 bedroom house with a yard. With this new beginning, I’ve decided to give myself a fresh start in all areas, especially in how I take care of household responsibilities. I’m hoping to have everything running smoothly by the time the school year starts. I want to be able to start off my first year of homeschooling with a calm, peacefully run home. Of course, it can only be so calm with 3 children, age five and under.

An introduction: Meet my three children

Alissa – Age 5

Alissa lives up to the oldest child name. She is in charge and proud of it. She’s a mini mom to her siblings, she takes good care of them and is always willing to lend me a hand in my many endeavors. But she also has many of her own ideas and is often thinking of things to create, parties to throw or places to go.

Anthony – Age 3

Anthony was born on April Fool’s Day, and he lives up to that name. He’s the funny guy, always trying to make everyone laugh. He loves to run, play, & climb. But, he can also be found coloring, painting, or doing puzzles. He can stay focused on things for a long time, even longer than his older sister.

Rebecca Joy – Age 1

Rebecca is my delicate girl. She was the smallest as a baby, because she came a little early. From the moment I held her I’ve felt as though I needed to protect her and cherish her as long as I have her. She’s always been more quiet, but able to stare down anyone she doesn’t like. She’s become more vocal now and with that, more stubborn. She will not back down. She sees no reason to say please, if she’s already gotten her point across. She’s a delight to the whole family.

A Fresh Start: Settling in and making changes

I’ve also been taking the time to settle in. I’ve made it a point to decorate, spend time outside with the kids and also do some gardening. I want to take full advantage of all the time that I have in this house. We don’t know how long we’ll be in this house, but I’d like to enjoy all the moments I can. I want it to feel like home for my little ones.

One of the ways that I’m improving my care of the household is by reading and applying the Large Family Logistics Book. This book has been a lifesaver. The first half of the book talks about the attitudes and character needed to run a household. The second half of the book gives very practical advice on how to manage a household. It’s been teaching me many things about how to run a household smoothly by creating routines, systems, and dividing up tasks by days.

I’ve found after reading this book that my heart is more focused on my family and in finding joy in my responsibilities, instead of dragging my feet and trying to fight them. My children are enjoying all the changes too, they are becoming more helpful and more content. I would recommend Large Family Logistics to anyone that needs help learning how to run a household, even to those that don’t have a large family.

The Kids in the Swimming Pool

The Garden







Our Family Room Pictures

The Girl’s Room

Share about your homeschool classroom

This is our homeschool classroom. We have one long desk where both children sit to work. We have tried a couple of different classroom set-ups and this seems to work the best. It’s not a huge room, but we have everything we need: workspace, storage, and seating for both children and myself.” ~ Maria of Our Home’s Cool

Check out the process of redecorating a homeschool classroom to get ideas for your own homeschool classroom or workspace. Maria did a great job converting her small area into a homeschool classroom, then redecorating it after evaluating the changes that needed to be made.

Show off your Homeschool Classroom or Space

Send me pictures of your classroom or homeschool space and any storage tips and pictures. I’ll feature your classroom too and add it to the gallery to help inspire others.