Conflict Resolution Skills Chart

In our homeschool we also are tracking development of conflict resolution skills.  I have made a progress chart in MS Excel, but the formatting doesn’t come across correctly here so I will list the points we track for E – Emerging, R – Refining, M – Mastery.

Listen more, talk less.  It helps you understand the other person’s point of view.
Ask when you want something.  Making demands only makes things worse.
Focus on the problem, not the person.  It’s the only way to solve a disagreement.
Always deal with the problem at hand.  Never bring up old issues or resentments.
Take responsibility for your part in the conflict.  Your view may not be completely correct either.
Express your feelings without blaming the other person.
Always talk things out.  Never use physical force to express your anger.
Choose your words carefully.  Once a word is spoken it cannot be taken back.
Look for a solution that is agreeable to both parties.  If one person isn’t satisfied, the problem isn’t solved.
Step back and put the problem into perspective.  A problem you have today may not seem so bad tomorrow.



Sample Education Program Plan – Grade 1 (same template K-Gr6)

I’ve experimented with a few Education Program Plans over the last several years, and this is what I have come up with that we will use from K-Gr6 (Gr1 sample below).  I’m not sure how the formatting will come across but I use it in MS Word and have a new page for each subject.  Each term I discuss how the child has used the resources and what progress they have made on the goals listed, as well as add in any additional resources we ended up using.  Think of it as a living document that changes as we go along!  Mastery and a love of learning are very important to me, so we don’t rigidly stick to goals.  Sometimes we get ahead, sometimes we get behind.

For goals, I start with our provincial guidelines for each grade level from the school board.  You should be able to find generic ones by googling “learning objectives grade x”, or searching for your local or state/provincial school board of education.

I like to choose my own resources, and use materials from the library and inter-library loans, internet (YouTube, google searches, etc), books I find at the thrift store, and curriculum/books I order off amazon or (which has a ton of homeschool curriculum).

Our main focus is reading, writing, and math for age 5-9 so the rest of the subjects are very flexible in how in depth we cover things.

In education, learning objectives are brief statements that describe what students will be expected to learn by the end of school year, course, unit, lesson, project, or class period. In many cases, learning objectives are the interim academic goals that teachers establish for students who are working toward meeting more comprehensive learning standards.

While educators use learning objectives in different ways to achieve a variety of instructional goals, the concept is closely related to learning progressions, or the purposeful sequencing of academic expectations across multiple developmental stages, ages, or grade levels. Learning objectives are a way for teachers to structure, sequence, and plan out learning goals for a specific instructional period, typically for the purpose of moving students toward the achievement of larger, longer-term educational goals such as meeting course learning expectations, performing well on a standardized test, or graduating from high school prepared for college. For these reasons, learning objectives are a central strategy in proficiency-based learning, which refers to systems of instruction, assessment, grading, and academic reporting that are based on students demonstrating understanding of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn before they progress to the next lesson, get promoted to the next grade level, or receive a diploma (learning objectives that move students progressively toward the achievement of academic standards may be called performance indicators or performance benchmarks, among other terms).

Learning objectives are also a way to establish and articulate academic expectations for students so they know precisely what is expected of them. When learning objectives are clearly communicated to students, the reasoning goes, students will be more likely to achieve the presented goals. Conversely, when learning objectives are absent or unclear, students may not know what’s expected of them, which may then lead to confusion, frustration, or other factors that could impede the learning process.

The following are a few common ways that learning objectives may be framed or expressed by teachers:

  • Descriptive statements: Learning objectives may be expressed as brief statements describing what students should know or be able to do by the end of a defined instructional period. For example: Explain how the Constitution establishes the separation of powers among the three branches of the United States government—legislative, executive, and judicial—and articulate the primary powers held by each branch. State learning standards, which may comprise a variety of learning objectives, are commonly expressed as descriptive statements.
  • “I can” statements: Teachers may choose to express learning objectives as “I can” statements as a way to frame the objectives from a student standpoint. The basic idea is that “I can” statements encourage students to identify with the learning goals, visualize themselves achieving the goals, or experience a greater sense of personal accomplishment when the learning objectives are achieved. For example: I can explain how the Constitution establishes the separation of powers among the three branches of the United States government—legislative, executive, and judicial—and I can articulate the primary powers held by each branch.
  • “Students will be able to” statements: “Students will be able to” statements are another commonly used format for learning objectives, and the abbreviation SWBAT may be used in place of the full phrase. For example: SWBAT explain how the Constitution establishes the separation of powers among the three branches of the United States government—legislative, executive, and judicial—and articulate the primary powers held by each branch.

From: The Glossary of Education Reform

Education Program Plan (EPP)
July 2017 – June 2018
Student:  N Age / Grade:  6 / Gr1
Parents: Ed No. x
Family name:
VISION To develop the skill and desire for life-long learning * To develop excellence in reading, writing, and oral communication * To develop excellence in mathematics and spacial/abstract thinking * To engage critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills * To develop curiosity and imagination * To explore and understand the world using the scientific method * To build resilience and instill confidence in own abilities, strengths, and uniqueness * To critically evaluate the past and present of humanity including social issues * To understand and respect political, cultural, and religious diversity around the world * To develop introspection and reflection for self-evaluation * To build a healthy, active lifestyle * To build an appreciation for excellence in literature, art, and music * To lay a foundation of good citizenship, strong character, and healthy habits  * To prioritize relationships and empathic thinking  * To build a strong foundation of practical life skills * To develop strong character and values including: Courage, Decency and Propriety, Justice, Temperance, Transcendence, Wisdom and Knowledge * To develop a strong Biblical worldview
Method of Instruction:  Program planning will loosely follow the Provincial Education Programs of Study, covering materials in varying depths and in differing timelines.  Program planning will also include elements that align with our Vision as described above, following the Learning Outcomes for Students Receiving Home Education Programs That Do Not Follow the Provincial Programs of Study guidelines.  Instruction will mainly be parent-led, utilizing workbooks, textbooks, “living books”, audiobooks, biographies, DVDs, library reference materials, the internet, electronic applications, and various consumables.
Method of Evaluation:  Assessment will be based on parental observation, specific goal progress, assignments / workbooks associated with the resources used, and portfolio review by parents and facilitator.


Big Picture Goal:  To develop excellence in reading, writing, and oral communication; to appreciate excellence in literature; and to regularly exercise curiosity and imagination.


Goals: Progress in reading phonetic and sight words.  Understand the purpose of book covers, title pages, table of contents.  Use a variety of strategies, such as predicting what comes next, pictures, context, phonics, grammatical awareness, background, knowledge, rereading, and reading on, to decipher new words.  Identify the main idea or topic of simple texts.  Self-correct when reading does not make sense.


Phonics – BOB books

Hooked on Phonics

Scholastic Phonics Books

Dick & Jane Reader Collection

Term 1 Progress:

Term 2 Progress:


Goals: Progress in writing upper and lower case alphabet using correct pencil grip; Print letters legibly, from left to right, with appropriate spacing; Practice writing simple phonetic and sight words; Practice writing sentences via copywork; Creative storytelling / writing will be encouraged (oral).

Resources:  Handwriting Without Tears K & Gr1 Workbooks

 Term 1 Progress:

Term 2 Progress:


Goals: Learn basic sentence structure (capitalization, punctuation); Correct common grammatical errors in speech.  Complete ReadingEggs Gr1 Program (levels 60-121).


 Term 1 Progress:

Term 2 Progress:


Goals: Interact with quality children’s literature – asking questions and giving his thoughts on stories we read.  Critical analysis will be encouraged and comprehension will be assessed.  N will explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences and share about things that are important to him.  We will encourage him to tell his own stories and engage in imaginative play.


The Complete Brambly Hedge – Jill Barklem

The Railway Children – Edith Nesbit (complete & unabridged)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  (complete & unabridged)

Term 1 Progress:

Term 2 Progress:


Big Picture Goal:  To develop excellence in spacial/abstract thinking, problem solving, and critical thinking as we approach the study of numbers and their application in our lives.

Goals (Gr2 – K&Gr1 covered last year):

Numeracy basics including place value, single and multiple digit addition and subtraction (up to 100)

Conservation of number

Solving for unknown

Basic word problems

Counting to 100 in different ways

Skip counting by 2& 5& 10 to 100

Even/odd numbers

Fractions – Halves and fourths

Comparing numbers and lengths

Expressing differences between numbers as inequalities

Representing and interpreting data in plots and graphs

N will learn how to tell time in hours and minutes (analog)

He will also practice identifying Canadian currency and making purchases and giving correct change

N will practice measurements and estimations using metric, imperial, and nonstandard tools (cm, inches, meters, feet)

N will continue to develop his spacial perception with 2D and 3D objects.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving:

  • Practice word problems and story problems involving numbers
  • Practice discrimination skills including patterns


Math-U-See Primer & Alpha DVD, Teacher Text & Student Workbooks along with accompanying manipulatives

Life of Fred Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Ice Cream, Goldfish, Honey, Jelly Beans, Farming

Mind Benders Warm-Up; Beginning Book 1 & 2

Think A Minutes, Level A Book 1

Visual Perceptual Skill Building Book 1

TimeLife I Love Math Series

Puzzle World

Agent Arthur’s Puzzle Adventures

Puzzle Journeys

MathStart books – Game Time!, Lemonade for Sale, Divide and Ride, The Best Vacation Ever, Super Sand Castle Saturday, Get Up and Go!

The Millionaire Kids Club: Putting the Do in Donate

The Millionaire Kids Club: Home Sweet Home

The Millionaire Kids Club: Garage Sale Riches

The Millionaire Kids Club: Penny Power

Board Games: Zooloretto, Chicken Cha Cha Cha, Junk Art

Workbooks: Dot-to-Dot, Mazes, Beginner Sudoku

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:



Big Picture Goal:  To explore and understand the world using the scientific method; to understand and apply Environmental Responsibility.

 Goals (Gr3 Core):

Explore how sound is produced by vibrations

Learn about animal life cycles – frog, butterfly, chicken, rabbit

Learn how animals adapt to their environments

Build structures using various materials, and test for strength and stability

Use simple tests and tools to describe and classify rocks and minerals based on characteristics like color and hardness.

Examine our role in protecting the Environment (environmental consciousness).

Explore other topics of interest.

Participate in care of Gerbils.




DK First Animal Encyclopedia

Basher Science – Rocks and Minerals

Busy Little Gardener – Helen Barden

At Home With Science – Bump! Thump! How Do We Jump? – Janice Lobb

My Big Science Book – Simon Mugford

50 Science Things to Make and Do – Usborne Activities

Science Crafts for Kids – 50 Fantastic Things to Invent & Create – Gwen Diehn & Terry Krautwurst

Brains-On Radio Broadcast


Dr Binocs series on Peekaboo Kidz:

Solar System ,  Formation of the Solar System, Light,  Energy, Black Hole,                              Stars,  Meteors,  Comets,  Lunar Eclipse,  Solar Eclipse, Kepler 452B, Structure of the Earth,  Layers of Atmosphere,  Types of Rocks                                     Magnetism

Hurricane                                             What is an Earthquake?

Tsunami                                                Volcano

Shadow                                               Gravity

How is a Rainbow Formed                  The Water Cycle

The Water Bodies                                 Parts of a Plant

Photosynthesis                                     Carnivorous Plants

Excretion in Plants                                Types of Asexual Reproduction

Parts of a Flower and Pollination


Invertebrates                                        Vertebrates

What is a Food Chain?                        Life of a Butterfly

Hibernation                                          Dinosaurs

Bats                                                      Migratory Birds

Why Does a Chameleon Change Colors?

Sharks                                                  Microorganisms

Zika Virus?


Parts of the Body                                 Circulatory System

Respiratory System                               Digestive System

Bones                                                   The Five Senses

How Many Senses Do We Have?        What is Sound?

Inventions that Changed the World


Netflix – Magic School Bus Episodes:

Gets Lost in Space (Solar System)                                For Lunch (Digestion)

Inside Ralphie (Germs)                                     Gets Eaten (Food Chain)

Hops Home (Animal Habitats)                                     Meets the Rot Squad (Decomposition)                                   All Dried Up (Desert Adaptation)                                 In the Haunted House (Sound)

Gets Ready, Set, Dough (Kitchen Chemistry)              Plays Ball (Forces)

Goes to Seed (Seeds)                                                  Gets Ants in its Pants (Ants)

Kicks Up a Storm (Weather)                                         Blows Its Top (Volcanoes)

Flexes Its Muscles (Body Mechanics)                            The Busasaurus (Dinosaurs)

Going Batty (Bats)                                                       Butterfly and the Bog Beast (Butterflies)

Wet All Over (Water)                                                    In a Pickle (Microbes)

Revving Up (Engines)                                                  Taking Flight (Flight)

Getting Energized (Energy)                                          Out of This World (Space Rocks)

Cold Feet (Warm/Cold-Blooded)                                Ups and Downs (Floating and Sinking)

In a Beehive (Honeybees)                                           In the Arctic (Heat)

Spins a Web (Spiders)                                                  Under Construction (Structures)

Gets a Bright Idea (Light)                                             Shows and Tells (Archaeology)

Makes a Rainbow (Color)                                           Goes Upstream (Salmon Migration)

Works Out (Circulation)                                               Gets Planted (Photosynthesis)

In the Rain Forest (Rainforest Ecology)                        Rocks and Rolls (Water Erosion)

Family Holiday Special (Recycling)                             Meets Molly Cule (Molecules)

Cracks a Yolk (Eggs)                                                   Goes to Mussel Beach (Tidal Zones)

Goes on Air (Air Pressure)                                            Gets Swamped (Wetlands)

Goes Cellular (Cells)                                                    Sees Stars (Stars)

Gains Weight (Gravity)                                                Makes a Stink (Smell)

Gets Charged (Electricity)                                           Gets Programmed (Computers)

In the City (Urban Wildlife)                                           Takes a Dive (Symbiosis)


Experimentation materials

Internet Searches

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:



Big Picture Goal:  To understand the unfolding story of humanity; To critically evaluate the past and present of humanity including social issues; To understand and respect political, cultural, and religious diversity around the world; To develop a foundation of good citizenship – rights and responsibilities, service to others.

Goals (Gr2/Gr3 Core):

  • Recognize own strengths and challenges
  • Learn basic mapping skills
  • Introduction to basic geography
  • Progress in cooperation, conflict resolution and consensus building
  • Participate in work around the home
  • Overview of Canadian communities (Inuit, Acadian, prairie)
  • Continue an overview of countries around the world (what life is like, similarities and differences)


World Map, Map of Canada

Community Events


Internet Searches


The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Women in the Material World

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Children’s First Book of People and Places (Neil Morris)

First Atlas – Color Library Books

All About People – Lesley Newson

A First Atlas – Sue Hook, Angela Royston

Mapping Penny’s World – Loreen Leedy

Follow That Map!  A First Book of Mapping Skills – Scot Ritchie

World Book’s Celebrations and Rituals Around the World:

New Year’s Celebrations

Spring Celebrations

Harvest Celebrations

Winter Celebrations

National Celebrations

Everyday Celebrations and Rituals

Religious Celebrations

Birth & Growing Up Celebrations

Marriage Celebrations

End-of-Life Rituals

ValueTales by Spencer/Ann Donegan Johnson

The Value of Fantasy – Hans Christian Andersen

The Value of Caring – Eleanor Roosevelt

The Value of Curiosity – Christopher Columbus

The Value of Truth and Trust – Cochise

The Value of Imagination – Charles Dickens

The Value of Courage – Jackie Robinson

The Value of Giving – Ludwig Beethoven

The Value of Friendship – Jane Addams

The Value of Learning – Marie Curie

The Value of Responsibility – Ralph Bunche

The Value of Dedication – Albert Schweitzer

The Value of Love – Johnny Appleseed

The Value of Sharing – May o Brothers

The Value of Fairness – Nellie Bly

The Value of Kindness – Elizabeth Fry

The Value of Saving – Benjamin Franklin

The Value of Charity – Paul-Emile Leger

The Value of Respect – Abraham Lincoln

The Value of Patience – the Wright Brothers

The Value of Understanding – Margaret Mead

The Value of Honesty – Confucius

The Value of Believing in Yourself – Louis Pasteur

The Value of Adventure – Sacagawea

The Value of Discipline – Alexander Graham Bell

The Value of Boldness – Captain Cook

The Value of Facing a Challenge – Terry Fox

The Value of Foresight – Thomas Jefferson

The Value of Compassion – Florence Nightengale

The Value of Leadership – Winston Churchill

The Value of Helping – Harriet Tubman

The Value of Honesty – Confucius

The Value of Determination – Helen Keller

The Value of Humor – Will Rogers

The Power of Integrity – JC Penney

The Power of Overcoming – Helen Keller

The Power of Attitude – George Washington

The Power of Enthusiasm – Teddy Roosevelt

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals: To build a healthy, active lifestyle through well-informed choices and behaviors

Goals (Gr2/3 core):

Work on establishing positive self-care habits including physical activity and healthy eating

Understand food classification via the Canada Food Guide

Discuss safety in a variety of environments including personal protective equipment

Learn how to set goals and work towards them

Learn who to trust in the neighborhood (Police, Block Parents, Mothers with Children)

Become confident to stand up to others and make safe choices in a variety of situations

Discuss emergency procedures (First Aid, Fire, Water Safety, Assault)




What Does it Mean to be Safe? (Rana DiOrio)

You Can Say No (Betty Boegehold)

Trust Your Feelings (C.A.R.E. Productions)

Your Body Belongs to You (Cornelia Spelman)

I Said No! (Zack and Kimberly King)

Safety Around Strangers (Lucia Raatma)

My Mom Says: A Safety Book for Kids (Debbie Middleton-Hope)

My Friend the Dentist

A Visit to the Dentist

Mind Your Manners, Ben Bunny (Mavis Smith)

Hello Gnu, How Do You Do? (Barbara Shook Hazen)

Don’t Slurp Your Soup! (Lynne Gibbs)

The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality

The Story of Me

Before I was Born

Sticky Situations 2

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


 Big Picture Goal:  To build an appreciation for excellence in literature, art, and music

Creative Art


Increased fine motor control is an important goal this year for Nathan.   He will interact with a variety of materials and explore painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, fabric arts, photography, and computer graphics.  Nathan will learn how we interpret and communicate with visual symbols, appreciate the cultural aspects of art, and relate art to life.  Through reflection, depiction, composition and expression, he will notice that objects have form and function and he will develop unique decorative styles for his creations.


A wide variety of artistic media (fingerpaints, watercolor paints, acrylic paints, oil paints, pastels, crayons, pencil crayons, marker) and craft materials (fabric, papers, cards, construction paper, scissors, punches, glues, glitter, beads, recycled materials, etc), personal camera.  A variety of digital and print resources from many different sources.  OSMO – Masterpiece unit (iPad).

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:



Appreciation of different music styles.  Describe sounds around him and explore beats and rhythms.  Practice simple action songs and singing games, follow stories told by music, and understand how music can express feelings. Introduction to rhythm, tempo, and exploration of musical instruments.


A variety of musical instruments skin drum, keyboard, maracas, recorder, harmonica, mini guitars, xylophone, bells, castanets, cymbals, tambourine, triangle, clapsticks, wood block, kazoo, accordion.

Musical CDs – Classical, Opera, Orchestral, Putumayo Kids collection (Italian Playground, French Dreamland, French Playground, Asian Playground, Animal Playground, Australian Playground, Reggae Playground, American Playground, Latin Dreamland, Caribbean Playground, Hawaiian Playground, World Sing-Along, Cowboy Playground, Kids World Party, African Dreamland, Celtic Dreamland, Asian Dreamland, New Orleans Playground, African Playground, Latin Playground, World Playground)

Private Lessons – N will explore concepts of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and expression with private keyboard/music lessons.

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals: To develop the skills for utilizing technology as it evolves; To critically evaluate information from various sources


Identify a problem or query

Formulate a plan for investigation

Assess and retrieve information from electronic sources for a specific inquiry (computer with mouse and keyboard, internet, YouTube, Netflix, DVDs)

Process and organize information from more than one source and share what has been discovered

Formulate new questions as research progresses

Identify techniques and tools for communicating, storing, retrieving and selecting information

Demonstrate appropriate usage and care of technology equipment, including basic computer operations, keyboard and mouse usage, and audiovisual equipment

Demonstrate proper posture when using computer

Understand safe and unsafe practices when using technology


Desktop computer, laptop computer, keyboard, mouse






Microsoft Word processing software

household appliances

OSMO software – Coding.

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:



Continue to develop foundational skills of locomotion patterns (walking, running, galloping, jumping, skipping, hopping, rolling, leaping, climbing, sliding) and static positions in a variety of physical environments.  Practice receiving, retaining, sending, kicking, hitting, obstacles, and childhood games.  A continued goal is to increase proprioception and balance.  Discuss safety in and benefits of physical activity.  Understand what an active lifestyle involves and the physical and emotional health benefits of physical activity.  Practice fair play, leadership and teamwork in group games.  Goals include participating in some form of physical activity every day (formal lessons, walks, dance, obstacle courses, games, playgrounds, etc).


Playgrounds, natural environments, home environment, pools and lakes, obstacles, scooter, bicycle with training wheels.  DVDs – pilates and kids workouts.  Group games at dayhome.

Group lessons – Taekwon-Do

Private lessons – Swimming

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals:  To develop a Biblical Worldview; To grow in discernment; To grow in personal relationship with Jesus Christ


Develop habits of attention to God and talking to God throughout the day – for help and thankfulness

Familiarization with God’s Character and Nature

Familiarization with sin and salvation

Practice discernment

Develop habits of obedience to God

Familiarization with Bible Stories and People

Familiarization with the basic Bible timeline from creation – national Israel – Jesus’ incarnation – Church Age – Jesus’ future return


Our Family’s First Bible Storybook – Ethel Barrett

The Victor Family Story Bible – V. Gilbert Beers, Ronald A. Beers

The Jesus Storybook Bible – Sally Lloyd-Jones

Hind’s Feet on High Places

The Lamb

Bible Atlas

True Account of Adam and Eve

I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God

Ronnie Wilson’s Gift

Halfway Herbert

The Ology

The Prince’s Poison Cup

The Knight’s Map

The Big Red Tractor and The Little Village

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective

God’s Apostle: The Adventures of Paul

God’s Missionary: The Faith of Thomas

God’s Outlaw: The Real Story of William Tyndale

God’s Pilgrim: The Real Story of John Bunyan

God’s Prisoner: The Story of Richard Wurmbrand

God’s Witness: The Courage of Stephen

The Story of Saint Nicholas: More Than Reindeer and a Red Suit

The Story of St. Patrick: More Than Shamrocks and Leprechauns

The Story of St. Valentine: More Than Cards and Candied Hearts


The Donut Man Complete Collection

Mr Henry’s Wild & Wacky World Collection

What’s In the Bible with Buck Denver:

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

In the Beginning – Genesis

Let My People Go – Exodus

Wanderin in the Desert – Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Battle for the Promised Land – Joshua, Judges, Ruth

Israel Gets a King – 1&2 Samuel

A Nation Divided – Kings & Chronicles

Exile and Return! – Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Words to Make Us Wise – Psalms, Proverbs, Writings

God Speaks! – Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Prophets

Jesus is the Good News! – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

Spreading the Good News! – Acts

Letters from Paul! – Romans through Philemon

God’s Kingdom Comes! – General Epistles & Revelation

Theo Series:

God’s Love

God’s Grace

God’s Heart

God’s Truth

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals: To build a strong foundation of practical life skills


Assist in dayhomes

Assist in home care and maintenance

Participate in gardening, camping, hikes

Progress in self-care, hygiene & personal habits

Progress in sleep regulation

Discuss basic first aid


Home life, dayhome

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals:  Develop the ability to negotiate a variety of social situations with grace and skill; To develop a priority for relationships and empathic thinking


Exposure to a wide range of controlled social situations with adult guidance

Adult guidance through social problem solving and challenges

Focus on taking turns and choosing kind choices


Dayhomes, group experiences and lessons, home life

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals:  Develop introspection and reflection for self-evaluation; Develop resilience and instill confidence in own abilities, strengths, and uniqueness; Develop the ability to manage the range of human emotions with dignity.


Identify and talk about feelings and behaviors – how all feelings are acceptable, but not all behaviors are

Progress in emotional regulation

Learn to control words and actions


Home life, dayhome

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:


Big Picture Goals:

To develop a strong character and values including:

Courage (Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Personal Initiative, Truthfulness, Fortitude)

Decency and Propriety (Cleanliness, Neatness, Order, Regularity, Diligence, Self-Discipline in Habits, Hard Work, Perfect Execution, Obedience, Self-Regulation, Self-Control, Even Temper)

Humanity (Love, Kindness, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Courtesy, Forgiveness, Good Manners, Generosity, Faithfulness, Usefulness, Social Intelligence, Mercy)

Justice (Active Citizenship, Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork, Fairness, Leadership)

Temperence (Humility, Modesty and Purity, Prudence, Self-Restraint in Indulgences)

Transcendence (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Joyfulness, Humor & Playfulness, Meditation, Reverence, Outdoor Appreciation, Thanksgiving, Spirituality)

Wisdom and Knowledge (Creativity, Curiosity, Open-Mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective/wisdom, Attention / Mental Effort, Imagining, Observation, Remembering / Memorization, Thinking)


  • Courage – continue in truthfulness and integrity; face family & life changes with bravery (group lessons, dayhome experiences)
  • Decency and Propriety – progress in neatness; regulate sleep & nutrition; encourage positive outlook
  • Humanity – encourage politeness and kindness, thinking of others
  • Justice – encourage fairness and teamwork in games and sports as well as life situations
  • Temperance – manage own money
  • Wisdom and Knowledge – encourage creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, attention, imagining, observing, memorizing, and thinking skills


Group experiences (dayhome, group lessons); Home life

Everyday Graces: Child’s Book of Good Manners

Term 1 Success:

Term 2 Success:

Honoring God With Our Finances

Money is neutral – there is nothing good nor bad about money or wealth itself.  Money is generally just a means to acquiring resources, and has no real value on its own.  What then does the Bible teach us about what our attitude should be towards our finances?

First, we are not to allow money to become an idol to us.  Loving money (and that which it can buy) can cost us our very lives.  God is to come first.  Our priority in life shouldn’t be focused on money, either earning it or spending it.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.  1 Timothy 6:10

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  Matthew 16:26

Second, our priority should be God’s Kingdom.  What is treasure in heaven, exactly?  Treasure in heaven is souls – anything we do to help get souls in heaven is treasure.  Our good works, our mature fruit, is treasure in heaven.  Anything we do or give to God to further His kingdom is treasure in heaven.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:20-21

Third, everything is God’s.  We are accountable to God for all that He gives us . This includes finances – how He blesses us with the capability to work, as well as what we do with the money we earn.  The reason we are accountable is that it isn’t really ours to begin with.  Did we choose who our parents were?  Did we choose our country of birth?  Or the year we were born?  God sovereignly placed us in a specific time, place, and family.  He gives us time, talents, and resources – all of us individually, according to our abilities – and expects us to use them wisely.   We put our money to work for God’s kingdom when we invest it in the eternal.  We are God’s stewards – He entrusts us with His resources and will demand an accounting of them in the future.

The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.  Psalm 24:1

“For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one—to each according to his own ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more…. “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. Look, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’  Matthew 25:14-16, 19-21

Fourth, God blesses us when we give to His kingdom.  It is a biblical principle that we reap what we sow.  God doesn’t necessarily bless us with earthly wealth, but with something much more valuable – a harvest of righteousness.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”   He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.   2 Corinthians 9:6-12

Fifth, God is more concerned about the heart behind our giving than the dollar value.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44

Finally, we are to provide for our needs, our family’s needs, and other believers’ needs.

“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.  They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.  Acts 2:44-45

 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’  “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’  Matthew 25:37-40

So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  Matthew 6:31-33

So, what can we take home?  God wants us to love Him most of all, with all our heart, soul, and strength – more than anything or anyone else in this world.  That includes trusting Him.  He knows our needs and promises to provide them if we seek His kingdom first (what does that mean?   It means focusing on eternity instead of on earth.).  That said, He expects us to work and to use our resources wisely.   We will reap what we sow.

It’s important that we concentrate on the difference between Needs and Wants.  God allows us to have some of our wants, but these can sometimes be a snare to us – dragging us towards coveting, pride, vanity and other sins.  TV, movies, sports, entertainment, eating out, getting your nails or hair done – these are all wants.  Not necessarily bad, but we should keep our eyes open for temptations to sin through them.  For example, is someone else raising our children because we have so many Wants that we “need” to have both parents work?  This is something to prayerfully consider.  God gives your children to you as one of His resources.  He expects you to raise them wisely, in the fear and knowledge of the Lord.  You will give an account to Him on how you raised His children.  This is not meant to threaten or guilt anyone – it’s solely between you and God.  We all fall short, and need to pray for God to forgive and guide us.

It’s not “bad” to be rich – God uses people in all positions of social class and standing.  However, the more we have, the more that will be expected of us.  We must always be on guard that we are trusting in God and not in our wealth.  Wealth is temporary, and can be lost in a moment.  Wealth can also lead us to lust after the things of this world.

God desires that we give to furthering His kingdom and to helping meet other believers’ needs.  This is open-ended, and should prayerfully be discussed with God.  Let Him guide your heart.  This can include giving to specific believers, charities, churches.  It can include giving of your money, but also of your time, talents, or other resources.  You are only responsible for your own resources, not your spouse’s (if you have one) – but ideally, you would discuss this together.  Each one of us will stand before God independently.

A question that frequently comes up is what about Tithing?  Is it Biblical to tithe 10% of income to the church?  Some churches really focus on this to  meet the needs of their buildings and staff.  However, the church was never meant to replace the Old Testament Temple.  WE are the temple of the living God, in our hearts.  It makes my heart ache when I think of all the money that goes into church buildings that sit idle most of the time, while so many believers in this world struggle to meet basic needs.  Paul and the other disciples worked to earn their own living while they preached the gospel.  Believers got together in homes and for meals to study the teachings and to worship God.  Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to find Acts 2-like groups of believers  in our day.  But as with the widow who gave her two pennies to a corrupt Temple system that conspired to kill their Messiah, God sees our hearts.  So allow Him to lead yours in your giving.

Tithing in the Age of Grace:

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

After the death of Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, the New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the body of Christ. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).


Homeschooling – Fantasy Versus Reality

I think many of us enter into homeschooling with this wonderful vision in mind of how it will go.  We set up our workspaces to the best of our ability, dreaming of workbooks and globes and vast libraries.c2746ec30cffe66f7bbe0ea7e2b9f098.jpg

In reality, our work area often looks more like this:


We dream of having deep and meaningful conversations with our children, who will be eager students.


In reality, our conversations are more often about Ironman and Aquapods.


I just repeating Proverbs 22:6 to myself – Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.  

We are an example to our children in the mundane, the everyday.  They are watching.  Do we turn to Jesus?  Do we talk about Him, do we talk to Him, do we read His Word?  We grow God’s kingdom not by leaps and bounds, but inch by inch…

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.   Deuteronomy 6:1-9

The Greatest Love – Laying Down Our Lives For Others

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”   John 15:12-13

It’s Mother’s Day today, and as I reflect on what motherhood means, one word that immediately comes to mind is sacrifice.  As mothers, many times we sacrifice hobbies, free time, privacy, sleep, time, money, resources, even access to our own bodies, for our children.  It’s a giving relationship, not a taking one.  We often do reap kindness, friendship, and love from our children if that is what we sow into their lives – but not necessarily.  We love our children even if they do not love us back.  I think most of us would desire that our love for our children be unconditional.  We are human and fallen and we fail our children, but I think we can get a glimpse of how God loves US as His children.  Unconditionally.  With a fierce, protective, sheltering love.

Several thoughts have been in my mind this week around this topic.  One is that I think I might understand what it means to lay down my life for someone.  Yes, there is my physical life, and I believe I would die trying to protect or save my children.   But our lives don’t JUST consist of our physical bodies.  What about our emotional life?  We lay down our emotional life for our friends (including our children), when we sacrifice what we want for what they want/need.  “As mothers, many times we sacrifice hobbies, free time, privacy, sleep, time, money, resources, even access to our own bodies, for our children.”  Isn’t this laying down our lives for our children, in a very active  way?  It’s not just a one time laying down of physical life, but a repeated and deliberate dynamic choice we make many times daily, to lay aside ME for SOMEONE ELSE.  Doesn’t that sound like the very definition of the greatest love?

Laying down our lives for others is how we obey the second commandment – to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Our spouse and child(ren) are our closest neighbors.

The next thought is about this – “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  Matthew 10:37.  We obey the first and greatest commandment by loving God EVEN MORE than our children.  Does that mean we neglect our children, or love them less?  Of course not.  But our love for God must be so all-consuming that we feel it deep in the heart of our very being.  The fierce, protective, consuming, sacrificial love you feel for your child?  Yeah, that.  THAT’S the love you should have EVEN MORE for God.  If you don’t have that love, that passion for God – He calls it “losing your first love”, or even worse, “being lukewarm”.  Pursue God relentlessly.  With all your heart.  This is what He expects – demands – from His followers.  Repent, and cry out to God for Him to give you that love for Him.  Never stop asking, never stop pursuing.  God is worth it.  Even more than your child.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39

Mothering Like Mary, Mother of Jesus

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 1:47-55
I think about Mary sometimes, and what it would have been like to be a mother to Jesus. It’s a precious thing to have a child. There is no love that compares to the unconditional and sacrificial love we feel for the bone-of-our-bones, flesh-of-our-flesh children.
I’ve never adopted, or fostered, or been a step-parent. I don’t know how the feelings in these situations compare. All I know is that I would sacrifice anything, including my own life, absolutely and unconditionally for my kids. What I feel for them is unlike the love I’ve had for anyone else.
That said, I fail them miserably. I’m impatient, unkind, and controlling. I’ve bribed them, threatened them, and hurt their feelings. I’ve had to ask their forgiveness many, many times. They bring out the best in me, yes, but they also push all my buttons and bring out the worst in me. Children reveal our true characters. I am ashamed at what darkness still lingers in my heart, despite trying to follow God as best I can.
God would never have chosen me to be His mother.
I imagine Mary was gentle, patient, and kind. I know a few mothers who exude a sweet Christ-likeness, and I imagine Mary must have been something like them. Mary wasn’t perfect, but she was a godly woman. I’m sure she lost her temper, got frustrated, and maybe even yelled on occasion. But whether you want to admit it or not, some people are nicer than others, some people are kinder than others, some people are gentler than others. To some extent, it’s the nature God gives us. I know non-Christians who are so sweet and lovely. I know Christians who can be downright nasty.
Our nature isn’t what saves us (Thank God – as the only good in me is Jesus!). However, God works on our nature to bring it into alignment with His own through the process of sanctification – making us Holy, ripening the fruit of the Spirit in us. Some of us, myself included, are much rougher gems that need a lot of knocking around and polishing before their beauty can be glimpsed.
Jesus, of course, never sinned and therefore would have been the easiest child imaginable to raise. He would have cried, of course, and been hungry and grumpy and tired. He probably smeared His poop and peed on the floor. These things are not sins. Feelings are not sins. But Jesus was so much like other children, so human, that people in His community had a difficult time believing He was anything but a regular man when He revealed His identity.
My children are my closest neighbors, and I am called to love them as I love myself. I am called to parent them as I would parent Jesus, if He were my son. How does this change my perspective? Would I let Him leave His peas, or make Him finish His meatballs before having dessert? Would I even let Him have dessert? Would I always let Him have dessert? Would I leave Him to cry at night? Would I have more mercy, more compassion?
I think these are questions we need to ask ourselves as parents. If we would do anything differently if our child were Jesus, then we should be doing that thing differently with our actual child. That is loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Breaking Through and Finding God – Steps to Freedom in Christ

Are you struggling with:
  • Anger?
  • Anxiety?
  • Addiction?
  • Bitterness?
  • Complacency?
  • Doubt?
  • Depression?
  • Sinfulness?
  • Unforgiveness?
  • Guilt?

These things can separate us from God.

I have struggled in these things.  You are not alone!  And I KNOW that you truly can find freedom in Christ.
This seems silly, but I want you to write out everything that you are struggling with. Every feeling that doesn’t align with who you know you are in Christ – doubt, complacency, anxiety, bitterness, anger.  Write everything you are struggling with – sins, addictions, ANYTHING you love more than you love God.  Anything you spend more time, money, effort, and attention on more than God.  You can write depression, hopelessness, sadness, despair, stuff like that.  Write out anything you feel guilty about, hurts you can’t let go of, fears.  Put it all down on paper.
Truly examine your heart.  Is there anything in your heart you are holding back from God? I want to follow You, BUT ???  Write down all the BUTS.
Take some time, a day, a number of hours, a week, to think about all these things and write them down privately.
Once you have it all written down – don’t leave anything out – I want you to pray over it. Tell God “This, I give You all of this. It’s just all too big for me, I give it to YOU, God.”  You can tell Him about any of these things, or all of these things, and tell Him how you want Him to take them out of your heart and fill your heart with Him instead.
Then find a large glass jar or metal tin or similar. Rip up the paper, and light it on fire until its all burned. 
Gather the ashes in a bottle or little bag or somewhere as a reminder.  Like an altar of remembrance.
Whenever these thoughts, temptations, or fears come to you, say to the feelings/thoughts/temptations – “STOP, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”  and “I give this to You, God, it’s too big for me.  Take it away.”  You may have to say it a few times to get the thought or feeling to stop.   Do this EVERY TIME the thoughts/feelings/temptations come into your head.
I am praying that the Holy Spirit will use this powerfully to change your life.  God desires to give you life, and life abundantly.  He has so many plans for you!  I praying that He fills you with His truth instead and that He will remove the lies of the enemy that would seek to destroy you. 

Charlotte Mason – Atmosphere, Discipline, Life

Part of homeschooling is developing a vision.  A vision of what you want your “school” to look like, yes, but a vision of the Big Picture.  What do you hope to accomplish?  What are your goals with schooling?  This will affect what methods you choose.

The Charlotte Mason method is quite similar to the Montessori Method, but faith-based.  Charlotte Mason believed that we must educate the whole person, and that children are “whole people”.  This seems like an obvious thing to say, but is it really ?  Are children treated like whole people?  I would ask you to consider that in your interactions with children.

A Charlotte Mason method endeavors to educate as “an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life” – each as approximately a third of the child’s education.


We create an atmosphere  in our home environment, either intentionally or unintentionally.  What are you conveying in the atmosphere of your home?  What ideas drive you?  A child learns by observing.   Your child is listening and watching.  How can we improve the atmosphere of our home?

  • Is your home a “hands-on” place where everything can be safely explored?
  • Do you allow and encourage (or require) your child to participate in all the menial tasks in your home?
  • Do you encourage questions?
  • Do you take the time to explore with your child?  For example, your child asks a question about snakes.  Do you just answer the question, or do you then go look up a youtube video on a snake with your child?  If your child shows interest in something, it is great to not just answer but to pursue it.  Some of the best educational opportunities pop up that way!
  • Is your home peaceful?  It is hard to learn and concentrate if there is chronic stress, conflict, anger in the home.
  • How do you handle conflict?  Not just with your spouse, but with your children?  What about on the phone?  Or with door to door solicitors?
  • Is your home beautiful?  Not in the sense of ornate or expensive, but is it filled with quality over quantity?  Clutter can distract our minds.  (try Flylady!)
  • What are the sights, sounds, smells, and textures in your home?  Can you make these more welcoming and comforting?

Good resources for creating a learning atmosphere are Montessori materials and ideas, and I really liked the book Families Where Grace Is In Place by Jeff VanVonderen (as well as other attachment/gentle parenting books).


Charlotte recognized that if we “sow a habit, [we] reap a character”.  We cultivate our minds by developing good habits – specifically, habits of good character.  The habits we form in childhood will carry us through our lives if we are careful to maintain them!  There’s no secret to good habits – the key is practice, practice, practice!  Repeat the desired action as often as possible.  Practice forms brain pathways much in the same way as cattle make trails, or wheelbarrows form ruts.  The more often we repeat an action, the more established that brain neuronal pathway becomes.  This is obvious in sports, but it holds true in all areas of life.

Once we practice a skill enough times, which will be different for each skill, the result is a habit – we can do it without conscious effort.  “Practice Makes Permanent”.  The longer we have established that pathway, the harder it is to “get out of the rut”.  This is a bad thing for bad habits, but a great thing for great habits!  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

One of the keys to forming good habits is that practice is intentional.  Choose one or two habits to work on at a time, and really focus hard on them for 3-6 weeks – providing lots of opportunities to practice, lots of reminders, and lots of feedback.

Another key to forming good habits is developing the desire to do so.  Searching for  inspiration  is important – particularly when you are trying to apply it to another individual (your child).  Here I don’t mean temporary external rewards (stickers or candy as bribes), but internal motivation.  Explain why good habits are important – physical health, mental health, spiritual health.  Character strengths and virtues tend to lead to increased happiness in ourselves and those around us; they also follow Biblical principles and the fruit of the Spirit.  In our home, we discuss how good habits please Jesus.

Here’s a link to our character charts – Character Charts

Suggested resources for character and habits are: Laying Down the Rails (Sonya Shafer, Laying Down the Rails for Children, Books 1&2 – need to be used with the regular LDTR book (Lanaya Gore), and A Child’s Book of Values (Lesley Wright).


Academics were a living entity to Charlotte Mason.  When we dump dry facts into children, it smothers the inherent love of learning.  Living books, on the other hand, bring ideas and thoughts to life.  Living books are written as narratives (stories), as opposed to textbook-style.  We want children to think about and digest what has been read, not just pick out facts and repeat them by rote.  Children are required to tell back, or narrate, the paragraph or chapter in their own words on a regular basis.  This anchors the story and ideas in their minds.  Handwriting, spelling, and grammar are taught by “copywork”, or taking interesting sentences from good books and having the student copy them.

Charlotte highly encouraged spending time outdoors, learning from nature.  (In this way, she was similar to Waldorf school of thought, which I would recommend for ideas).  Journaling and notebooking are great ways to apply this method, reflecting on experiences of life.  We hope to get into this more when the kids can write better (still working on that habit!).

A wide variety of subjects and learning experiences is offered to the student, like an academic smorgasbord.  The student samples and chooses how much of each to take.  Everything offered is of excellent quality, eliminating what Charlotte termed “twaddle”.  This has become an important word in our home, and everything we read or watch is evaluated as to whether it is “Good” (living/quality), “Mediocre” (has some value), or “Twaddle” (trivial/foolish).

Another great idea from this method is the Unit Study.  Instead of studying subjects separately (which is quite artificial), a unifying topic is chosen and subjects are all applied together relating to that topic.  An example would be baking muffins, which can incorporate math, reading, science, and life skills.

These are the principles from Charlotte Mason that we have found most helpful in our homeschooling journey.  More resources on Charlotte Mason can be found HERE.

Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles (Summarized)

Children are born persons – they are not blank slates or embryonic oysters who have the potential of becoming persons. They already are persons.

Although children are born with a sin nature, they are neither all bad, nor all good. Children from all walks of life and backgrounds may make choices for good or evil.

The concepts of authority and obedience are true for all people whether they accept it or not. Submission to authority is necessary for any society or group or family to run smoothly.

Authority is not a license to abuse children, or to play upon their emotions or other desires, and adults are not free to limit a child’s education or use fear, love, power of suggestion, or their own influence over a child to make a child learn.

The only means a teacher may use to educate children are the child’s natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts. This is what CM’s motto “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life” means.

“Education is an atmosphere” doesn’t mean that we should create an artificial environment for children, but that we use the opportunities in the environment he already lives in to educate him. Children learn from real things in the real world.

“Education is a discipline” means that we train a child to have good habits and self-control.

“Education is a life” means that education should apply to body, soul and spirit. The mind needs ideas of all kinds, so the child’s curriculum should be varied and generous with many subjects included.

The child’s mind is not a blank slate, or a bucket to be filled. It is a living thing and needs knowledge to grow. As the stomach was designed to digest food, the mind is designed to digest knowledge and needs no special training or exercises to make it ready to learn.

Herbart’s philosophy that the mind is like an empty stage waiting for bits of information to be inserted puts too much responsibility on the teacher to prepare detailed lessons that the children, for all the teacher’s effort, don’t learn from anyway.

Instead, we believe that childrens’ minds are capable of digesting real knowledge, so we provide a rich, generous curriculum that exposes children to many interesting, living ideas and concepts.

“Education is the science of relations” means that children have minds capable of making their own connections with knowledge and experiences, so we make sure the child learns about nature, science and art, knows how to make things, reads many living books and that they are physically fit.

In devising a curriculum, we provide a vast amount of ideas to ensure that the mind has enough brain food, knowledge about a variety of things to prevent boredom, and subjects are taught with high-quality literary language since that is what a child’s attention responds to best.

Since one doesn’t really “own” knowledge until he can express it, children are required to narrate, or tell back (or write down), what they have read or heard.

Children must narrate after one reading or hearing. Children naturally have good focus of attention, but allowing a second reading makes them lazy and weakens their ability to pay attention the first time. Teachers summarizing and asking comprehension questions are other ways of giving children a second chance and making the need to focus the first time less urgent. By getting it the first time, less time is wasted on repeated readings, and more time is available during school hours for more knowledge. A child educated this way learns more than children using other methods, and this is true for all children regardless of their IQ or background.

Children have two guides to help them in their moral and intellectual growth – “the way of the will,” and “the way of reason.”

Children must learn the difference between “I want” and “I will.” They must learn to distract their thoughts when tempted to do what they maywantbut know is not right, and think of something else, or do something else, interesting enough to occupy their mind. After a short diversion, their mind will be refreshed and able to will with renewed strength.

Children must learn not to lean too heavily on their own reasoning. Reasoning is good for logically demonstrating mathematical truth, but unreliable when judging ideas because our reasoning will justify all kinds of erroneous ideas if we really want to believe them.

Knowing that reason is not to be trusted as the final authority in forming opinions, children must learn that their greatest responsibility is choosing which ideas to accept or reject. Good habits of behavior and lots of knowledge will provide the discipline and experience to help them do this.

We teach children that all truths are God’s truths, and that secular subjects are just as divine as religious ones. Children don’t go back and forth between two worlds when they focus on God and then their school subjects; there is unity among both because both are of God and, whatever children study or do, God is always with them.

Eclectic Homeschooling – A Pinch of This, A Dash of That

I love learning.  I loved workbooks, activity books, tests, and memorization as a child.  I found out early on that these are not things our children enjoy…  In our first year of formal schooling (we worked on alphabet, calendar, weather and such for fun in “preschool”), my daughter fought and cried and hated school time.  This is one of the things we were exactly trying to avoid with homeschooling.  Shouldn’t learning be fun?

I started out with Classical Education ideals – wow, what a broad and

I have adapted my desires into looser goals that work with my children – who they are, and where they are at.  School has become much more peaceful and respectful this way.

Our Character Development Charts

Character Development is very important to me in our children’s schooling.  I have put together this chart as we track our progress towards character goals.  The formatting came across kind of crazy, but I have this as an MS Excel document and hopefully if you copy and paste it in there the program will know what to do.  (if not, I can email you a copy –

I’m aiming to give one sticker at the Emerging level (early elementary), Refining level (upper elementary/junior high), and Mastery level (high school). We try to focus on one character habit each month.

Character Development
There are 60 Character Strengths and Virtues selected here from the studies of Peterson & Seligman and extracted from Charlotte Mason’s works.  These traits are considered good by the vast majority of cultures and throughout history.  They tend to lead to increased happiness when practiced, and reflect Biblical character teachings.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Courage Accomplish Goals in the Face of Opposition
      Bravery Possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.  Having the courage to face things that are scary or difficult.
      Persistence Persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement; Persevering.
      Integrity Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
      Vitality Exuberant physical strength or mental vigor; continuation of a meaningful and purposeful existence.
      Personal Initiative Readiness and ability in initiating action.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Courage Accomplish Goals in the Face of Opposition
      Truthfulness Telling the truth habitually.
      Fortitude Mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Decency and Propriety Managing One’s Self
      Cleanliness Personally neat and tidy.
      Neatness, Order Habitually careful to keep or make clean and orderly.
      Regularity Managing one’s self with rhythmic frequency.
      Diligence Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body and mind.
      Self-Discipline Discipline and training of oneself in one’s habits, usually for improvement.
      Hard Work / Perfect Execution Making an effort to do your best at any task (quality over quantity).
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Decency and Propriety Managing One’s Self
      Obedience The act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance.
      Self-Regulation / Self-Control Control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc. in a wide variety of circumstances
      Self-Control in Emergencies Control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.  in emergency situations
      Even Temper Not easily ruffled, annoyed, or disturbed; calm
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Humanity Tending and Befriending Others
      Love A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, which shows in the way you treat someone.
      Peace A state of mutual harmony between people; freedom of the mind from annoyance, anxiety or obscession; tranquility; serenity.
      Kindness Indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; of a good or benevolent nature.
      Patience Waiting calmly for something or someone without making a fuss; the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay; quiet, steady perseverence
      Goodness Morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious; of high quality; honorable or worthy
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Humanity Tending and Befriending Others
      Gentleness Mild; moderate; easily handled or managed.
      Courtesy Excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior.
      Forgiveness Being willing to let go of the hurt and anger you feel when others wrong you; to grant pardon/remission.
      Good Manners Ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment.
      Generosity Giving to others without expecting anything in return.
      Faithfulness Being loyal and true in your words and actions toward others and toward God; reliable, trustworthy.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Humanity Tending and Befriending Others
      Usefulness Being of use or service; serving some purpose; advantageous, helpful, or of good effect.
      Social Intelligence The ability to form rewarding relationships with other people.
      Mercy Compassionate or kindly forebearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity or benevolence.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Justice Build Healthy Community
      Active Citizenship Behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen.
      Responsibility Taking charge of the things you do for yourself and others.
      Loyalty Faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
      Teamwork Cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.
      Fairness Free from bias or injustice; evenhandedness.
      Leadership To guide in direction, course, action, opinion.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Temperence Protect Against Excess
      Humility Modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance.
      Modesty and Purity Regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress; freedom from vanity, boastfulness.
      Prudence Caution with regard to practical matters; descretion.  Provident care in the management of resources; economy; frugality.
      Self-Restraint in Indulgences The act of restraining, holding back, controlling, or checking behaviors and indulgences.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Wisdom and Knowledge Acquisition and Use of Knowledge
      Creativity The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.
      Curiosity The desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.
      Open-Mindedness Having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
      Love of Learning Learning for its own sake is the best preparation for functioning competitively and creatively.  Learning for its own sake is wonderful, desirable, and enjoyable, but only after an individual has found a way to connect learning and life in a manner that influences everyday life – including earning a living.
      Perspective / Wisdom Coordination of knowledge and experience; deliberately improving wellbeing.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Wisdom and Knowledge Acquisition and Use of Knowledge
      Attention / Mental Effort A concentration of the mind on a single object or thought; a capacity to maintain selective and sustained concentration.
      Imagining Forming mental images of things not present in the senses.  To suppose, think, conjecture.
      Observation Noticing, perceiving, regarding attentively.
      Remembering / Memorization To retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of.
      Thinking Thoughtful, reflective, rational, reasoning.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Transcendence Connect to a Purpose and Provide Meaning
      Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value; recognition of outstanding quality or superior merit; clear perception or recognition, especially of aesthetic quality; critical notice; evaluation.
      Gratitude Being thankful and showing your appreciation to others when they do things for you.
      Hope To look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
      Joyfulness The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
      Humor & Playfulness An instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; fun or jest, as opposed to seriousness.
E – Emerging; R – Refining; M – Mastery
Transcendence Connect to a Purpose and Provide Meaning
      Meditation Continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.
      Reverence A feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.
      Outdoor Appreciation Placing importance on the natural world, spending time outdoors and caring for nature.
      Thanksgiving The act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God.
      Spirituality The principle of conscious life; attention to sacred things or matters.  A sense of purpose and coherence.
Resources:  Laying Down the Rails (Sonya Shafer), Laying Down the Rails for Children, Book 1&2 (Lanaya Gore), A Child’s Book of Values (Lesley Wright), Character Strengths and Virtues (Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman – 2004), character studies from selected biographies.