Showing posts from 2018

Why Music Lessons?

Whether it’s knowing how to answer your children when they ask, “Why do I have to take music lessons?” or answering family members who ask, “Why are you wasting money on piano lessons?”, we hope the following list of reasons may give you some ammunition against music-lesson-skeptics: Music lessons really do build character and instill diligence and a strong work ethic in the participant.Music lessons give a child an appreciation for music that merely listening to it will not afford.Music lessons have been determined to reduce anxiety, depression, and attention problems in children because they change the cortical thickness in the brain.Increased cortical thickness in the brain also allows a student to improve memory skills, organizational skills, and attention.Music lessons improve a child’s ability to solve complex math problems, comprehend reading passages, and use his verbal skills more effectively.A child who takes musical lessons tends to maintain a higher GPA and to be…

History—Doing Life Together

Our six children are spread out over a sixteen year span, so we have rarely had two students in the same or nearly the same grade level. I guess our first two would be our closest, graduating only one year apart. Therefore, we usually have students in several different grades at the same time. I think the maximum number of different grades with which I was working at once was four, plus a pre-schooler and an infant. Still, four different sets of lesson plans in multiple subjects is a lot.of.prep.time! So, one of the ways we tried to simplify lessons a little bit was to have history together. We would chose a curriculum that could: Be implemented with a variety of agesHad multiple supplemental reading recommendations that could be used with the various grade levelsAllowed for “together time” activities (i.e., recipes, projects, read-alouds, etc.)We try to accomplish our individual subjects that are grade-specific early in the morning, and then by 11:00 A.M. we are ready to gather togeth…

Fidget Spanners

“Fidget Spanners” are the tools or methods you use to maintain your children’s attention spans for slightly longer periods during portions of the day or subject matter in which you notice them getting rather... fidgety. You know the scenario: you have six pages of read-aloud material through which to get with all your students, but your youngest child is on the verge of a mini-meltdown because he needs to get up and release the “wiggles” in his extremities. What do you do? Well, you can plow through and keep reminding him, “Sit down, Ben. Benjamin, we’re almost done; you just need to sit still for a few more moments. Come on, Ben, have a seat. It’s just a little longer.” OR you can work with the wiggles…. 
Here are a few recommendations for dealing with fidgety kiddos: Have a timed period of pretty intense physical exercise before reading or attempting a certain subject (i.e., running up and down the stairs seven times, seeing how many jumping jacks he can do in two minutes, jogging aro…

My Best Time of Day

My husband is a night owl—accomplishing some of his best work after 10:00 P.M. I am a morning dove (yes, I know that’s spelled incorrectly; work with me for the pun’s sake), getting up around3:30 A.M. so I can have some alone time to get my best work done. Others would be like hummingbirds, who can work all day long. Okay, let’s get away from the bird similes and go to the point: use your best time of day to accomplish your most important work!Whether it’s creating lesson plans, grading, reading lesson instructions, having devotions, spending time with your spouse, working on scrapbooks, or whatever else is significant to you, use the best hour of your day to do that work. Determine what is most important to you or most necessary to you, and then accomplish that work when you are freshest and most alert. So, if it is within your power, use your best hour of the day to do your best work—in terms of productivity or in terms of quality of production. What is your best hour of…

You’re Going to Be Seeing Some Changes….

Social media is a whole newworld of marketing that Zeezok Publishing is still learning. We are so blessed that Beth Tanner has helped us navigate the deep waters of that world for the past few years. She actually has been working for Zeezok for ten years—including authoring the two Music Appreciation books we are now able to offer. We arethankful for her expertise in writing curriculum, her love for music and home education, and her even greater love for her family and her Lord. God has been leading Beth and her husband, Tim, in a missions direction—specifically working on secular campuses to start Bible studies and encourage college-aged students. So, Beth has “retired” from her marketing efforts on Zeezok’s behalf; although we are planning to keep collaborating with her on book writing, as opportunities arise! (She may not know that, but we are 😉) With Beth’s retirement comes Emmie Wilcox’s “hirement.” Emmie is actually our daughter-in-law, and she is very creative, artsy, tech-savv…


Have you ever had one of "those" moments? The moment when you realize your kids are already halfway grown up? When you realize that your son is closer to being a young man than he is to being a small boy? When it dawns on you that you better start doing all that stuff you have been wanting to do with your kids because pretty soon they won't want to do it anymore?

That happened to me this past week. There we were, just trekking along in our nice little life, and out of no where I realized that my son isn't little anymore! After this mama spent some quiet moments missing her baby, I got busy writing out a list of all the things that I "eventually" want to do with my kids. You know, the ideas you save for a rainy day or for when you have extra time. Well, I have decided that the time is NOW.

I want to spend the next several months making memories, teaching skills, exploring, laughing, learning together....

I want to be able to relax and enjoy these days with my k…

Never Stop Learning!

As we conclude our series of posts using the word HOMESCHOOL as an acronym, we come to the letter L. 
What I’ve Learned About HOMESCHOOLing:
Never Stop Learning- No Ruts Allowed! 

I just told my husband yesterday that I think I know my math facts better now than ever before. Why is that, you may ask? Because I am reviewing flashcards every day, doing facts practice pages, working through multi-step math problems… all with my children!It never ceases to amaze me how much I am learning while we homeschool. Things I never knew (or understood?) when I was in school are so interesting to me now. I love being in on this learning process with my kiddos!
Just as we are constantly learning new things in math, science, and grammar, we need to be willing to keep learning in other areas too. I tend to be a “rut” kind of person. If it works, why bother changing it? However, this isn’t always the best approach to life or schooling. Sometimes we should improve in an area, learn a new skill, or change ou…

MY Own Style of Organization Makes ME Happy

As we continue in our series of posts using the word HOMESCHOOL as an acronym, we come to the letter O. 
What I’ve Learned About HOMESCHOOLing: MY Own Style of Organization Makes ME Happy
I realize this may be a (type A, oldest child) personality thing, BUT I love an organized space. I get all giddy in Ikea. (My hubby won’t even let me near The Container Store…LOL) New bins and boxes make me sigh with contentment. 
Not only am I more at peace when my space is organized, I am also more efficient and productive.
I have been homeschooling for six years now. (How is that possible?!?) Some organizational attempts have worked and are still being used, while others have been discarded along the way.
What I have learned over the years, however, is the organization system that works for me is NOT the same system that will work for someone else. My organization style will look different, function differently and be prioritized differently than others will be.
This is where Pinterest becomes my nemes…