Sunday, February 22, 2009


I must admit, I had some preconceived notions about homeschooling and what it was all about. Ive had to repent for my judgmental attitude because homeschooling is not at all what I thought it was all about. I will say, homeschooling isn't for everyone-and thats okay...but right now- in this season- its for our family and continually I am bring blown away by all the possibilities.

We're continuing to advance with the girls in Math. I had no clue we could accomplish such out-of-the box math techniques. Mental calculation has been the most intriguing thing for me and the girls. Joel will be teaching Measurements soon with both girls for a few weeks- lots of fun- and I get a break!

Recently, there was a SCIENCE FAIR under the GWCHE organization. The girls worked together on a project called "All About Seeds" which was basically a recap from our last chapter in our Science book- Botany. It was so much fun to put together all the knowledge the had just acquired into a display. Science is by far one of our favorite subjects. Dr. Doug Matthews, Baylor Associate Professor of Neuroscience, and a homeschooling dad did an amazing presentation at the fair- he brought some brains for us to all explore. What was the most compelling- and why I love this homeschooling opportunity- is at the end of his presentation, he mentioned that exploring science is merely another way to explore more about our Creator. SO TRUE! I love that in science- we have been learning so much about God's design in plants- which resembles alot of the human creation.

For our reading, the girls have been reading a
Value Tale book each week. After reading, they write about the value mentioned in the book. So we have been talking alot about values and building character lately. So sweet. We've also been able to log those Value Tale reading times and got all our minutes to get a free Six Flag ticket for the summer. (Just like last summer-didnt realize we could still have this opportunity outside of public school) And actually- the teacher gets a free ticket too- YAY- Im now a teacher- and get my own free pass.

This week in art, the girls will take a 3 day seminar by Barry Stebbing of "How Great Thou Art". This man and his work is amazing. Kayla and Emily love art, so this will be so much fun. We think we may go with some of his curriculum. I really admire his philosophy on art.

How in the world do we homeschool?! (I cant even count how many times I've been asked this question.)
Its been hard, and has taken a while to figure out how to make homeschooling work. We had to get organized and come up wit
h a system that works for our family. Here are some of the things we have done to make it all happen!

This first too
l is a MUST for all homeschooling moms-- JESUS!! I cannot accomplish school without the Lord leading my day and filling me with the Fruit of the Spirit. I pray and ask for favor, grace, and direction. If I dont, someone just might get hurt.

The YUCKY jar... We have a jar we have been using for quite some time. It gets opened alot during summer and school breaks. Well now that the girls are home full time, the jar gets frequented all year long. This "Yucky" jar is filled with little pieces of paper that have "yucky" chores on them. Chores like- wipe down the fridge, clean baseboards, clean the washing machine and dryer. These type chores require a washrag and bucket of soapy water. Whenever there is a "Yucky" attitude or response, they get to pick out of the jar. Its a great non-emotional way to deal with "yucky" behaviors.

REWARDS...these girls (and everyone else on this planet) thrive off of rewards. I keep a chart thats colorful-and theme changing above their desks. Each time they complete their work cheerfully, quickly, and completely- they are awarded a tag for the chart. The tags change with the theme too. Last month it was gumballs on a gumball machine, this month its all hearts. Once they acquire a certain amount of tags on their chart- Joel will take them to the UNDERGROUND. Which is one of their favorite places to go. Its the Youth Center at our church full of pool tables, and games like Super Mario.

I had to stock up on office supplies, which was oh so much fun. We now have all these things labeled "
Strickland School". We even have multi-colored paper clips!

Entertaining the boys is vital. Every morning, before we start school, I fill the boys "love tank". Giving them lots of love, affection, and attention. Once they are filled- they tend to want to go play on their own and need less of me. I have some fun items on hand to keep these boys busy.

I have a plastic pool that I add things for the boys to play with..paper and scissors to cut and tear, hidden pennies in playdoh blocks, etc. I also have two tubs full of toys they are not allowed to play with unless its school time. This is also a huge hit.

A sweet somebody ;) brought by this stamp set as a gift when I first started school. It has been amazing. I stamp completed work, I stamp hands, and stamp their planner when a subject is completed. I frequently change out the stamp pad and the kids are always intrigued by what will be the stamp of the day- so motivational!

An EZ grader. There are somethings I like to grade. At this point, Im not really sure how much I should be taking grades, anyone know? But when I do grade- I use this handy tool. I set the tptal number of problems at the arrow, then read grade at number of problems wrong. PRETTY COOL! I feel at times that Im just "playing school"

Dry erase/ chalk board and planners. I got thisdry erase board dirt cheap because it was broken, but I love it just the way it is. Daily, I write out the work to be completed. The girls get their planner ou
t and write out their daily tasks. When each thing is accomplished, I stamp it off. I use the dry erase board for illustrations, and lessons, for writing, and practicing.

We just couldn't have school without these tools, and theres more to share, but maybe some other time!

BLESSINGS to you all out there!!


Anonymous said...

You are doing a fabulous job! Keep up the good work.
Love ya, Barb

the Jennings secede from the South said...

Oh my, you are doing such a wonderful job! I am so impressed- thank you for sharing all the practicals on how you do homeschool! I want to be in your class!!!

Jenni Carlisle said...

Oh my goodness...keep it coming! Spent most of the weekend researching H.S. stuff, so this was PERFECT! Just came across an awesome tool from the Mayborn...teachers may borrow "Discovery Boxes" that contain visuals and tools to teach on a specific subject. Haven't called to get details, but sounds exciting! Can't wait for Fall!

Christine said...

You go girl!

Tressa said...

Thanks guys. Its going well and I am encouraged!
Jenni- YES, the Mayborn boxes are amazing. I have used them for years now, and will continue to use them, I think our favorite is the Space one. These boxes are free to use as well! Let me know if you ever wanna get together and chat about HS. You definitely want to be apart of GWCHE (Greater Waco Christian Home Education)

Jon & Ashley McP said...

Can I come to your school?

mideastmom said...

We're supposed to be grading things?!?

mideastmom said...

Oh, and thanks, Jenni (whom I don't think I know; nice to meet you! :-), for the reminder about the Mayborn boxes. I used to use those when I taught public school, but I wouldn't have thought outside the box and thought to get them for homeschool. I will definitely check into that while we're in the US.

Anonymous said...

Tressa you are amazing!  Aunt Sue

bri said...

You make it sound so fun! I know there is A LOT to it but I know it will all fall into place when the time comes! I look forward to it. By the time my boy(s) are ready for it you will be well seasoned and I will hog tie you and keep you in my closet for my knowledge feeding. haha