Three things I’m loving about our homeschool this year

#1 Joel of Galilee. This book. Oh my goodness. What a treasure! As the title suggests, Joel is a boy living at the time of Christ. This little gem was written in the 1800’s and has been reprinted for today. We have been reading this aloud for our elementary school history each day. It’s had me in tears recently. Poignant, beautiful, stirring, enlightening.joel1

joel2#2 Independent Reading. Upon packing up all of our things for our move, sorting through, figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of, I realized how many wonderful books we had that seemingly never got read. You probably know the kind I mean— the more educational types of books of all sorts and sizes. I grouped them all together in one big box for the move, and made a note that when we started school again, I wanted these books to have more of an ‘official’ place in our homeschool. They now occupy their own dedicated shelf, and they are getting read! Continue reading “Three things I’m loving about our homeschool this year”

I’d like to homeschool, but I have questions…

Hi Jennifer,

I just love seeing pictures and reading updates on your family. I really look up to women like you who have big families. We have four right now and that is considered big here. My oldest two, both boys, attend school in grades 4 and 2. My 3 year old son is going three days a week to a Montessori preschool and I have the baby at home. After my oldest son’s first year of school I looked into homeschooling. I knew it was something I needed to consider. He did well in school but there were just so many conflicting ideas that we didn’t necessarily agree with. We never did decide to homeschool, however, it is always on my mind and heart. I guess what I’m asking is what kind of structure do you have to your days? At this time I’m all over the place with my home keeping and I fear that would be the case if we chose to teach the children from home.

A Mom in Canada


Hi,

Thank you for your kind words. I love seeing your sweet little ones on Facebook and seeing how your family is doing, as well.

This is a great question and a big one. Here are some thoughts on keeping a balance between keeping up with the housework and teaching school. Continue reading “I’d like to homeschool, but I have questions…”

The Joshua Harris heartbreak– thoughts for parents

How my heart sank as I read about Josh Harris’ recent statements and choices.

A familiar name from about two decades ago; the famous author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” I will state up front that I haven’t read that book or any of Josh Harris’ books, but I have certainly heard of them and been aware of them since my high school days. He burst onto the homeschool scene with first a magazine and then this book, followed by others. He didn’t just reach the homeschool-convention type of market, either. Parents from all kinds of Christian circles bought this book for their young people. Young ladies and young men read it. The message was absorbed and the method was apparently adopted by thousands of families.

So, here we are, two decades later. And the heartbreak we now hear of is that Joshua Harris’ own marriage has not lasted. Not only that, by his own admission, his faith in Christ has not lasted. Continue reading “The Joshua Harris heartbreak– thoughts for parents”

The togetherness of homeschooling

Teaching long vowel sounds while mopping the kitchen floor? In at least one place in the world, those two unlikely candidates pair quite nicely: the homeschool.

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I was finishing up a few things after our morning family chore time. I was a little late getting over to the school area where the older ones were (supposed to be) already getting started. The floor had been prepped and the mop bucket sat filled and waiting, but the floor had not yet been mopped. My daughter impatiently waited in the kitchen doorway for me to get her started on her kindergarten work for the day.

I thought, “Today she is supposed to begin learning long vowel sounds.” Then, I thought, “She’s here, and I’m here, so let’s just go ahead!” So, I mopped, and we talked. We talked all about vowels and the short sounds she had been working on for the past few months, and then we began to discuss long vowel sounds and what that meant. The mop water swished as my daughter jumped for joy at the excitement of this new concept. “I LOVE long vowels!” she said.

Continue reading “The togetherness of homeschooling”

A Book List (especially suitable for young men)

Reading books of substance goes a long way toward true education. As homeschoolers we need to provide quality books and we must provide our students time to read. I am hoping to do a better job of this in the future; we always have room to improve, right?

Let’s be careful not to overestimate the value of running around to extra-curricular activities, and underestimate the value of time to read and absorb a good book.editWith that in mind, I am excited to share this amazing book list with you. This list comes to us courtesy of my brother-in-law Daniel. He kindly provided me this list in 2016, when I was searching for Christmas gift ideas for my teenage boys. Daniel is an avid reader, a history buff, and a dad of four boys. I knew, when I asked him for a book list, that he would offer valuable suggestions of exactly the types of books I would want my young men to read.  Continue reading “A Book List (especially suitable for young men)”

The Next Phase of the Journey

Get ready, get set, go! Currently, our household is in a stage that feels like “geeettt reeeeeaaaaaadyyy”, mainly because two weeks ago we tore the dilapidated ceiling out of our school room (down to the joists) and have been trying to give the entire room a facelift. This is the only room that has basically gone untouched since we bought our old farmhouse twelve years ago. This room has finally gotten a turn for some improvements, at long last. I’m loving how it has turned out. Fixing up my nest is one of my favorite activities. I should be showing some pics of the changes on my Instagram soon.

This year, our “getting ready for school” phase has also involved a new activity; that of getting our firstborn packed up and out the door for his first semester of college. Meanwhile, I’m trying not to think about how many days it will be until mid-December.

Continue reading “The Next Phase of the Journey”

The First Arrow Flies & Summer Kicks In

Not much has been happening here on the blog, except for things quite unrelated to our theme, which is supposed to be marriage, motherhood, ministry and making a home. Time to get back on topic. Thanks for bearing with me! And thanks for following along!

Life on Windy Hill has been more of a whirlwind than usual. School came to a conclusion amidst a flurry of year-end activities.

Then, this happened on June 2. PEACHGraduation2018-215On graduation morning, which was marked by nonstop torrential downpours, I told Steve, “Today the dominoes are starting to fall.” He replied, without missing a beat, “No, today the arrows are starting to fly!” [Psalm 127:4] Continue reading “The First Arrow Flies & Summer Kicks In”

January chit-chat, an essay, a product review, and snow pics!

Hope your new year is off to a great start. I love January. Cleaning up, cleaning out, a fresh start, quiet(er) days, back into the routine, and maybe even some snow.

I had wanted to say hello a little sooner than this (other than telling you about our new card game)…. but due to unforeseen computer difficulties, my communications have been limited. (Disaster struck when one of my children, who will remain unnamed, spilled a cup of hot chocolate on my laptop. I’m afraid I came close to failing that test of spirituality.) Continue reading “January chit-chat, an essay, a product review, and snow pics!”

Homeschool chit chat: readiness of the child, state laws, and the question of October birthdays

This blog post is going to be conversational in nature. That’s because it was an actual conversation that happened via texting recently, between myself, my younger sister Rachel, and my Mom. Rachel’s first child is not yet school age. My sister-in-law Esther pops in at one point as well! These ladies have kindly given me permission to publish our conversation here. 

Rachel: Mom and Jennifer, what age did you start first grade? And did you do a year of learning to read before first grade, or did they learn to read in first grade? Continue reading “Homeschool chit chat: readiness of the child, state laws, and the question of October birthdays”

Getting started, and two delightful books

And we’re off. Another school year is underway. The getting-ready phase is always a crunch and a scramble, a holding-of-breath type of phase, and then when we actually arrive at the first day it’s like a sigh of relief. It’s like we can breathe Continue reading “Getting started, and two delightful books”