Almost Unschooling Grama Weekly Round-up | Homeschool Idea Central

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Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are awesome, aren’t they! Back when I started homeschooling in 1986 there were 2 or 3 companies that catered to homeschoolers and they were expensive! Today, there’s so much out there it can be overwhelming! Your time is valuable. I post enough educational ideas each week that if you were to follow even part of them, you really wouldn’t need any other curriculum, but accessing all of them would take hours of scrolling each week. So, I am going to attempt to do a summary of all the ideas and links I have posted each week, all neatly organized according to subject category and age level. Please, be patient with me! I’m unschooling myself on how to do this! I’ll get better at this as I go along! Subscribe on the right to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!



  • It’s fall! Lots of pumpkin farms have corn mazes and other family oriented activities this time of year! They make awesome field trips!



  • Have your kids write down three questions they have in a journal each day, leaving a little space where they can write the answers that they found.


  • Put on a fashion show! You can do this with today’s fashions or do a historical or occupational show. Have your kids write the descriptions and pick out music. Talk about proper posture and how to walk. Fun activity that includes a variety of subjects! Language Arts, Music, Art, Social Studies, Biology …



  • Sukkot started on Monday and goes through this weekend. You still have some time to build yourself a tabernacle and celebrate! Counts for History too!



  • Play Stomp and Pop! Put the words for your memory verse on slips of paper, insert into balloons and blow up. Let your kids stomp on them to pop them to find the words. Then put the words in order!





  • Start an email round-robin story with your family and friends. Create a list of people to send a group email to. Start the story and then ask your family and friends to add to the story with another sentence, paragraph or illustration, then forward on to the rest of the group. This can be really fun to see what threads develop! Counts as Language Arts or Computer Lit!


  • Curl up on the couch and do some interactive reading. Before you start, decide on how to divvy up the reading. Perhaps the youngest will read a word and your 8-year-old will read the rest of the sentence and you will read the rest of the paragraph. Or maybe you will read the narration, but your kids will take turns reading the dialog. Your kids will probably come up with all kinds of combinations. Have fun with it!



  • For free alphabet train matching game click here!




  • The first alphabets (although not considered to be true alphabets) had no vowels. Write a sentence without vowels and see if someone else can figure out what you said. Counts for History too!


  • Cut a comic strip out of a newspaper. Then cut off the last panel. Let your kids draw what they think will happen in the last panel, then compare the actual last panel with theirs!


  • Ancient texts lack punctuation marks and there is no spacing between the words. Write a story without spaces and punctuation marks. Then get other people to try to read it. Counts for History too!


  • Let your kids make supper tomorrow night with a scavenger hunt. Leave clues as to what ingredients and equipment will be needed around your kitchen. The last clue should lead to a recipe or two that is hidden. Counts as Language Arts and Home Ec!


Middle School – High School



  • Love hands on activities? Try this one!

Simple Machines Science Lesson: Lift Water with An Archimedes’ Screw



  • Here’s a link for all kinds of fun educational pumpkin activities!

Pumpkin School




  • Give your child several Legos that are the same size. Then tell them to find out how many Legos long their shoe, a stuffed toy, their favorite toy vehicle, etc. is.

Elementary and Up

Composing Music with Math Activity for Kids




  • For some really great tips for teaching your kids internet safety in an online world! Click here!




  • For some insight on things you can do to help your baby’s brain grow click here!



I had never heard about this aspect of choosing a college before, have you?



  • On labels:

The 2 Reasons Homeschool Labels Don’t Matter


Wow! I learned so much doing this post! Hope it blessed you!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue



Fort Larned, Kansas | A Go-There Field Trip!

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Over the weekend, Grampa Tom had some time off so we took off for Dodge, Kansas to go to a farm show. It was interesting, saw some equipment we hadn’t seen before and even picked up a nifty cloud chart so I can unschool myself about one of my favorite activities, cloud watching. But, this post isn’t about that, I just wanted to be able to tell you all that we decided to “get out of Dodge”! 😉

We headed for Larned (where we had spied an old fort on our way down) so Grampa Tom could unschool himself about one of his favorite subjects, military life! Just because our kids are all grown doesn’t mean we’ve stopped homeschooling!


Fort Larned was established in 1859 as one of several military posts set up to protect the Santa Fe Trail. We’ve been to several old forts but this was the first one that didn’t have a huge wall and moat around it. Most of the buildings faced inward, but there was no outer wall. Surprise attacks were probably pretty uncommon in this part of Kansas where you can see for miles!


At other times of the year, there’s a lot going on here, but the day we went, there were only two park rangers and us so, we got to take a leisurely tour! The first buildings we toured were the officers quarters. If an officer had a family, they were given two rooms, one for sleeping and one for a living area. My pictures aren’t the best because of the lighting, but you can see how plain the quarters were.



The netting around this bed was a big luxury! But still, I’m not sure I would have survived on these sleeping on these stringed beds!


For these people, though, I’m sure they were amazing, especially when you compare them to the barracks bedding!


These guys slept two to a bunk. One guy slept with his head one way and the other slept with his head at the other’s feet. Can you imagine? The picture really doesn’t show it, but these bunks are really short, more like a youth bed of today. Grampa Tom kept marveling at how short they were, but I’m thinking that having your bunk mate’s feet hanging over might be a good thing!


After we went through the officer’s quarters and the barracks, we toured the hospital. The beds there were huge, but I suppose they probably had more than one occupant at times.


Gurneys and operating tables were much narrower.


There was this 4 hole privy attached to the hospital room. I’m sure it was necessary for guys that couldn’t get around well, but ewwww! Going to these places always makes me so glad that I live in the United States in the 21st century!


They did know a little about sanitation, though, as evidenced by this sign stressing cleanliness in one of the kitchens.


I loved this big old brick oven! Can you imagine making this much bread every day?

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Fort Larned was an infantry fort so there weren’t extensive barns or corrals, but they did have a blacksmith shop and the ability to work on and repair wagons, cannons, and other horse-drawn vehicles.


This room served as the base schoolhouse/library/ church.

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The block house contained gun powder, an underground passageway, and a well.

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There was also a huge storehouse that contained all the stuff a soldier might need, including caskets. :'(


We didn’t ride the stagecoach across the wooden bridge out of there, but we had fun imagining what it would have been like here in the late 1800’s in Kansas.

What historic tours have you taken lately?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Structured Unschooling | Can it happen?

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They really make me jealous! You know, those awesome radical unschooling types that never make a plan. They just wake up in the morning and follow any little (or big) rabbit trail that perks their or their children’s interests! I personally know a couple of ladies like this in real life. They pursue life one day at a time, their houses always look nice and their attitude is “If God wants us there, He’ll lead us to it.” One of them loves to take college courses. She doesn’t really care if the college courses lead to employment, she just loves to learn … and her kids … they are always following such marvelous pursuits … just for the love of learning! The other is older and her kids have left home, but she still has that same attitude. UGH!

You know what happens to me if I don’t have some structure? I wind up with 17 different projects demanding to be done right now, you can’t walk through my house and I’m stressed to the max from my lack of direction! Can you relate? Then keep reading. I love the concept of unschooling. As I understand it, the basic principle of “unschooling” is to guide your children based on what God has designed them to do. I love this idea, but, I have to have structure. And all the kids I have ever taught seem to need that too.

More than anything, this is why I call myself an “almost unschooler”.  In some circles, that makes me a failure. I shouldn’t even touch the term “unschooler”. It’s the old, “If you aren’t just like me, something must be terribly wrong with you.” box that all of us who are homeschooling profess to have left the traditional school system over. Really? Everyone and every family is different. We each must figure out for ourselves how God has designed us and live our lives in the way that works for us. If classical homeschooling is where your heart is at, go for it! School in a box? Go for it! Even public school. Right now, mostly because of their mothers’ health issues, almost all of my grandkids are in public school. If I could, I’d enroll all of them in Isaac Hills Home Learning Center, but distance prevents that and I agree with my kids that public school is the best choice for their families right now. But I digress …

So, how can you keep with the basic principle of unschooling and yet have structure?

  1. Study your kids.

What are their learning styles? What are they most interested in? Find ways to structure their learning experiences based on who they are. For instance, my daughter loved workbooks and fashion. She was my guinea pig, and I didn’t do the best job at it, but I let her do as many workbooks as I could afford, I centered math around how many beads it would take to make a bracelet type word problems and her grandmother taught her to sew. My youngest loved farming. We read from farm magazines and he and his dad figured out how much seed, chemicals and fertilizer he would need to plant the to-scale farm in his room for math.

  1. Teach your kids to make goals.

Start by asking them what they want to know. Have them write down 3 things they want to know more about or do. Help them break that down into doable bites – what can they do daily, weekly and monthly to get to those goals.

  1. Teach them to make lists and charts.

Create lists and charts for yourself to keep track of all that you have to do and use them! I used what I called a “daily assignment sheet” with my kids. True unschoolers would never separate life into subjects, but for me, if I ever needed to communicate what my kids were doing to the world (or the parents of the other kids I taught), I needed to break down what we were doing into the standard “subjects”. So, I had the categories of Bible, Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Music, Life Skills, Computer Skills and PE listed on our daily assignment sheet. Underneath each, we listed activities that we planned to do for each.

Under Language Arts we might have:

  • One paragraph journal
  • Learn two new vocabulary words
  • Read one chapter in ____________
  • Complete one online lesson on “_____ (grammar site)”
  • Etc.

And then in Math we might have:

  • Learn to count by 4s
  • Try to beat timed worksheet score
  • Play (math game)
  • Etc.

We would either check off or write in the time we spent doing each activity. And we left spaces for spontaneous activities should we want to go down a rabbit trail. Using this strategy, I was able to keep myself and my kids on-course and at the end of the day, week, month,  quarter or  year we had a way to look back and see just how much we had accomplished.

When your kids are just learning to read and write, you will have to do most of this yourself, but as they get older, your kids can do increasing amounts of this themselves. Eventually, they will be creating their own curriculum with very little oversight from you. In the process, they will learn time management, record keeping, and organizational skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

It takes some self-discipline to successfully homeschool. Most folks I know start out with school-in-a-box and then when they find they can handle that, they loosen up and wind up in a more relaxed to unschooling type of homeschool structure. That’s alright if it is what works for you and you can afford it, but if you want to skip all that, but still have structure, these are the 3 basic steps you need to take.


God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Integrated Living | Connected Families

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Many people want to own a second home where they can get away from it all. Me? I just want to live in one house. I want to sleep in my house, cook in my house, eat in my house and work in my house (or in the land surrounding it). I want my husband working there too and my kids living close enough that my grandkids can come see Grama Sue anytime they want. That’s my dream. We were very close to living this dream at one time. It was challenging in every way, but if I could go back to it, I would in a heartbeat.

Many years ago, when I first started teaching kids other than my own, my husband thought I needed to build a little building to house my “school” so I could “go to work”. I steadfastly resisted. I liked being able to help a child with their math,  put in a load of laundry, read a book aloud and then work on lunch while the kids helped each other with their spelling drills. I love having an integrated life. Years later, when we decided it was time for Grampa Tom to come home and build an egg and veggie farm, he finally got it. Working where you live creates a sense of wholeness that we as a society have lost. Our society promotes fractured and compartmentalized lifestyles. We go to work, leave our kids at daycare or in schools where they are separated from their siblings and then try to create a sense of family in the little time left over. It’s no wonder we have so many fractured families.

One-hundred and fifty years ago in America, most people lived where they worked and worked where they lived. America was an agricultural/entrepreneurial society with strong families. Most lived and worked on farms, but those who didn’t generally had their living quarters behind or above the family business. Then came the industrial revolution. Successful self-employment takes a lot of managerial skill and is subject to income fluctuation. Factory work promised a steady income without the responsibility of management. The lure of a stable income without the risks inherent in self-employment seemed a no-brainer for most men, so off to the factory they went. But at what cost?

Working with other people creates relationships in a way that nothing else does. In order to work with other people, you have to communicate, you have to get to know them. When you work with someone else, you learn how they think. You learn about their strengths and their weaknesses. You learn to cooperate and to compensate. And you have to forgive! You just can’t develop this type of relationship over a family dinner and 2 hours of TV every night.

Before I started homeschooling, I was pretty sure that if I had to stay home with my kids all day long for too many more years, I would probably kill them. But intentionally working with my kids by teaching them every day opened up a depth of relationship that I never dreamed possible. It didn’t occur to me that the same thing could happen in our marriage. Grampa Tom and I figured that if we ever had to work together all day long 365 days a year, we’d probably end up divorced, but those few short years that we were able to, brought us closer than we ever thought possible. We honestly wish we had made the decision to go into business for ourselves when we were young. If we had, his relationships with our kids would probably be stronger and we would have been established enough that we could have weathered the storm that his triple-by-pass put us through a couple of years ago instead of being forced back into the workforce. The jobs we have now still give us a lot of time to be together, but it’s not the same.

If you homeschool, you already have a leg up over most families in our era, but if you or your spouse are still out there in the workforce, you aren’t experiencing all that God intended for families to experience. Start looking for ways to make income at home or at least ways to make income as a family.  If you can, downsize your home and your stuff so you don’t need as much to live on. Find ways to cut expenses such as cooking from scratch and gardening. Make it a goal for both you, your spouse and your children to work  together. Strive for an integrated life!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Homeschooling PE | 101 Ways to Get Your Kids Moving

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It was pretty easy to homeschool in Illinois even way back in the age of the dinosaurs when I began homeschooling. The law just required me to teach several basic subjects and that the students should receive an education in these subjects at least equivalent to public schooling. I wasn’t too nervous about teaching the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but PE? That kinda freaked me out.

How was I supposed to teach my kids about square dancing and dodge ball when there were only two of them and a baby? The YMCA was out of our one car family’s ability and the local school district wasn’t very homeschool friendly. I did manage to hook up with a homeschool group that occasionally offered group PE classes, but for the most part, there wasn’t a whole lot available.

Then it occurred to me that the whole reason for PE in schools was because educators recognized that the structure of sitting still all day was actually harmful to the student’s health. The purpose for PE was to get kids moving and it actually doesn’t do a very good job of it. Most of what I remember of PE was standing on the sidelines waiting for my turn to play! Physical Education is very important, but like most things homeschool, there is a better way! You’ve just got to think outside the box.

I started watching what my kids were doing. Instead of being tied to a desk all day, they were outside, riding bikes, climbing trees, playing tag and trying to turn the swing set over! And then there were animal chores which required lifting heavy buckets, shoveling snow, cutting and stacking wood for our wood furnace, etc. The amount of movement they were getting in was so much more than their traditionally schooled friends. I really didn’t need to worry. We did get them into Little League so they would have some experience in organized sports, but other than that, we pretty much let them do their thing and wrote it down.

However! This was all before the internet and 24/7 kid’s programming. Don’t get me wrong! I love all the choices available today for quality kid screen time, but it has its dangers!  My geeky grandson had to have his computer banned for a while because he started getting really pudgy at the ripe old age of 7! Unless you don’t do screens (and I know you do or you wouldn’t be reading this), you probably need to be on guard. You and I  both know how easy it is to get pulled into that dreaded computer time warp! To get your crew up and moving, take a break from screen time every half-hour. Set a timer if you have to and require that everyone get up and do something physical for at least 10 minutes and make one of your phys ed breaks 30 minutes to an hour each day. Here are some ideas to get you and your kids moving!

  1. Jump rope! You can get in some extra memorization practice by having your kids jump to the syllables in the days of the week, recite math facts or jump to each letter of their spelling words.
  2. Create cheers to memorize things like math formulas or Bible verses.
  3. Look up outdoor games played by children in the past and play them.
  4. Show your kids different dance styles and try to learn the steps. Exploring dance from different eras and cultures counts for history too!
  5. Take a nature walk – combines PE with science!
  6. Clapping and marching to a beat are good exercise and count as music education too.
  7. Have a jump day! Encourage everyone to jump instead of walking.
  8. Play tag.
  9. Garden! Digging, weeding, and harvesting food all involve lots of physical activity.
  10. Do the YMCA with your kids!
  11. Put signs with the names of different types of music around the room such as Jazz, Rap, Classical, Rock, etc. Throughout the day, put on a song from one of the categories. Have everyone dance to it and then run and touch the sign that has the type of music on it.
  12. Put cushions on the floor. Have your kids pretend to swim in the ocean as you play some music or some “wave sounds”. Then turn it off and tell them a big storm is coming and they need to get to an island (the cushions)
  13. Go swimming.
  14. Make snowmen or snow angels.
  15. Learn to juggle.
  16. Play Twister.
  17. Crumple up a piece of paper and blow it around on a table with a straw. If it goes off the table on your side, the other guy (or team) gets a point! Builds hand-eye coordination and gives the lungs a workout!
  18. Climb a tree.
  19. or  a rope.
  20. or a rock wall.
  21. For an easy tambourine, decorate a heavy paper plate. Then punch holes around the edges and tie jingle bells to them with yarn. You can even make a big hand hole if you want. Wrap the handle with yarn or ribbon. To turn it into a timbrel, Stream some ribbons through the holes you tied the bells too. Then dance! Music, art, and PE all together!
  22.  Let your kids twinkle! Have them do “star jumps” by jumping up and extending their arms and legs out as far as they can when they come down. Then jump up again and come down with their arms and legs pulled in. Set a timer for 15 seconds. Ask them to see how many times they can “twinkle” before the timer goes off.
  23. Run in place.
  24. See how many jumping jacks you can do in 60 seconds.
  25. or some crunches.
  26. or some pushups.
  27. Have a tip-toe day.
  28. Everyone go outside and pretend you are airplanes. How fast can you go?
  29. See how far you can jump.
  30. Summersault across the room.
  31. Learn to do cartwheels.
  32. Walk on your hands.
  33. Blow up a balloon and keep it off the floor for as long as possible.
  34. Throw a ball into a box. Have different distances away for each child based on their ability.
  35. Hop like a bunny.
  36. Slither like a snake.
  37. Walk like an elephant.
  38. Shuttle run. Put 4 objects on the opposite side of the room. Run over to them, pick one up and run back to the other side of the room. Put it down and then run for the next. Keep track of the time it takes to get all 4 objects and try to beat it the next time.
  39. Make a balance beam from a 4×4 and walk on it.
  40. Walk with a bean bag or a book on your head.
  41. Play Freeze Dance. Put on some music and everyone dance. When it stops, everyone has to freeze in whatever position they are in until the music starts again.
  42. Do a workout video.
  43. Play a physical Wii game.
  44. Take classes in dance, karate or gymnastics.
  45. Go to a gym and work out.
  46. Participate in community sports at the Y or at your local school district (if they allow it).
  47.  Play tennis.
  48. or ping pong.
  49. Go hiking.
  50. Do a squat build: start with whatever amount of squats you are comfortable with and add one, or five or ten a day for one month.
  51. Lift weights.
  52. Do the limbo!
  53. or the twist!
  54. or the funky chicken!
  55. Work on the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge.
  56. Shoot some hoops.
  57. Play catch.
  58. Do some back bends.
  59. When reading aloud, instruct your kids to jump as high as they can when they hear a certain word.
  60. Go bowling.
  61. Sprint between telephone poles, driveways or the end of the block.
  62. Jump on a mini-tramp.
  63. Do pull-ups.
  64. Find a treadmill at a local garage sale and actually use it for exercise!
  65. Ride a bike.
  66. Go skateboarding.
  67. Ride a pogo stick.
  68. Makes some stilts with large cans and stilt walk.
  69. Do some archery target practice with homemade bows and arrows.
  70. Participate in charity walks and runs.
  71. Hula hoop!
  72. Go roller skating.
  73. or ice skating!
  74. Have a sack race.
  75. or a three-legged race!
  76. Climb on a jungle gym.
  77. Build a fort outdoors.
  78. Do some yoga.
  79. Crab walk!
  80. Pretend you are a seed and then grow, grow, grow!
  81. Play Follow the Leader.
  82. Go outside. Blow up balloons and tie them to  three-foot strings. Then tie the strings above your knees. Have everyone try to break each other’s balloons. Last one with an intact balloon is the winner!
  83. Build an obstacle course and run it!
  84. Play hopscotch. Mix it with math by jumping out the answer to a number sentence.
  85. Do a fitness treasure hunt. Leave a direction such as “do 10 jumping jacks” along with directions to the next fitness treasure station. Have several stations like “stand on your tiptoes to the count of 30”, “do a cartwheel” and “run in place for one minute”.
  86. Have a wheelbarrow race.
  87. Put some painters tape on the floor and walk on it. Use straight lines, circles and zig-zags.
  88. Workout with resistance bands.
  89. Make a painter’s tape maze and have your kids try to navigate a ball with their feet all the way through it.
  90. Shoot some hoops.
  91. See how many times you can dribble a ball.
  92. Set a timer and wiggle while you giggle!
  93. Bounce on an exercise ball while in front of the computer.
  94. Run up and down the stairs. Be safe! Use the handrail!
  95. Play hacky sack.
  96. Tetherball!
  97. Play keep away. Set a timer for those who aren’t as skilled so they have a chance to be out of the middle.
  98. Lay on your back and keep a ball in the air with your feet.
  99. Make a physical activity cube by taping 6 pieces of cardstock together. Write activities on each side and toss. Detailed instructions here.
  100. Sledding!
  101. Play leap frog.

Got any other ideas? Let me know!

God Bless You All! 

~ Grama Sue

21 Ways to Mix Language Arts and History

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Do you homeschool? If so you have the perfect opportunity to mix up those boring categories that traditional schools use to compartmentalize learning. Here are just a few ways to get some hands-on learning that mixes up the subjects. Feel free to count the time spent doing these activities as History, Language Arts or both!


  1. Stage a debate between George Washington and King George! (Or any two opposing historical figures.)
  2. Choose a historical event. Pretend you are a director who is casting the actors for a movie about it. Then choose people to play the characters. These can be anyone! – Friends, historical figures, actual actors, even fictional! Explain who you would choose and why.
  3. Make a comic book depicting an event you are studying.
  4. When studying historical conflicts such as the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement, have your kids write letters to the editor written from the perspective of someone on each side.
  5. Create a classified ad to promote a historical event. Figure out how much it would cost to run that ad in today’s paper for a little math twist!
  6. Pick out a historical character. Have your kids pretend they are that person and write a blog from their viewpoint!
  7. Look up newspaper articles from the time period you are studying. Read them aloud. Notice differences in spelling, organization, etc. from articles written today. Cut an article apart and see if you can put it back together correctly.
  8. Copy one of those newspaper articles for handwriting practice.
  9. Write a short story about a child in another time period. (Watch a historical show about a child such as Ann Frank, The Young Indiana Jones or Heidi for inspiration.)
  10. Create a board game based on a timeline. Put in a few “worm holes” where the player has to draw a card from a pile describing an event on the timeline and jump to that event.
  11. Create a crossword puzzle with names of people and places associated with the event or time period you are studying.
  12. Pick up some letter stamps and challenge your kids to print a headline or maybe even a whole story with them. Talk about the invention of the printing press and how it changed the world.
  13. Print famous portraits on stock paper. Cut out, put on craft sticks and create a puppet skit! Try to find out a little bit about the paintings and incorporate that into your skit. This one counts for art too!
  14. Find poems from the time period you are studying and make up actions to do while reciting them.
  15. When reading or watching historical fiction, look up the places and people mentioned.
  16. Have a spelling bee with words from the time period or event you are studying.
  17. Create a travel brochure about a historical place.
  18. Have your kids pretend to be historical figures who write postcards to each other. Throw a litte art in there too by having them design pictures for the postcards as well as doing the writing.
  19. Pretend your family is a news team from a different time such as Ancient Rome. What kinds of stories would you report on? Give each person a category such as human interest, crime investigation, politics, sports, weather and so on. When everyone has their stories together, put together a newscast and video it.
  20. Watch a historical movie and then have your kids write reviews and post them to FB.
  21. Have your kids make a family history book by decorating a 3 ring binder. Then after visiting older relatives, have them write the stories they heard down and add them to the book.

Do you have more ideas? I’d love to hear them!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Can Failing Families Homeschool? | Homeschool Qualifications

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When I started homeschooling, everyone thought I would fail, including me. It was rare to be able to walk thru my house. It was such a mess! And my kids tended to look like this little girl most of the time. I couldn’t discipline myself, much less my children.

5 years into this adventure, we had some teachers come and paint our windows. I was working nights at the time and the kids were pretty much on their own. These teachers were absolutely amazed at how well behaved my kids were while I slept. They would work on their assignments and chores and play quietly as I slept.

Turned out that homeschooling (with a hefty dose of prayer) taught me about self-discipline and delegation. It didn’t happen right away, but it was key to lifting me and my kids out of the mess I was in.

In the beginning, I couldn’t add 2 + 2 without a calculator. By taking on the responsibility of homeschooling, I grew and learned right along with my children. My older 2 children went to the local high school and the math teacher was so impressed with their math skills that he tells people I must have been a math major in college. There were others at the school that said my children were the most responsible and well-socialized children in the entire school district.

For 9 years out of the first 11, I worked 50 to 60 hours at jobs outside my home. My kids still did fine.
Today, all 3 of my children are successful young adults in their chosen career fields. I even wound up teaching several other people’s children because mine did so well.

One thing to consider is society’s definition of successful. My youngest son loved farming. We knew this as soon as he could get his hands on a toy tractor. Thru his early school years, everyone was telling me I needed to put him in school because he wasn’t learning to read. I refused because I knew school would crush his spirit just like it did his dad’s. When he got to be around 12, he started taking an interest in academic subjects, because he saw that he would need them to farm successfully. He has moved from farming into trucking now, but the skills he learned farming serve him well! While he will probably never read for fun or take an interest in trigonometry, he is proficient enough in the 3 R’s to do his job well.

If parents aren’t geared toward academics, their kids probably aren’t either. The only things my husband was ever interested in doing were farming and truck driving. He wasn’t too interested in academics either.  There are lots of things one can be successful at. We weren’t all made to read Shakespeare or do scientific research. Don’t worry about a family that doesn’t meet the cultural definition of success. They will probably rise to the challenge and do just fine for who they are. Be very careful about judging a family who doesn’t seem to have “what it takes” to homeschool. They just might surprise you!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Music and Unity

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My vocal cords used to get a work out at least twice a week with a praise and worship session on Sunday morning and another on Wednesday night, but between jobs and traveling the last several years, getting to church hasn’t always been possible. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been blessed to be able to attend church, but boy, o boy has my voice deteriorated! I could really feel the strain!

While I like music, I’m not terribly musically oriented and to be truthful, I find it terribly distracting. If I am talking or writing or even cleaning house and have music on, I’m likely to just stop what I am doing and start dancing! So, I tend to put a low priority on incorporating music into my everyday life. The strain on my vocal cords this last couple of weeks has me thinking I need to change this because music is important!

Several months ago, I was singing in church and I got to wondering why we sing in church. Years before that, I had a vision during praise and worship in which the music being played made up the walls of the temple and we were moving inside these walls. I know the power of music, but why exactly do we incorporate it into a worship service? Until recently, music was something you only experienced if you made it yourself or participated in a group such as church. Is the music portion of the service something left over from the long centuries of no radio or audio equipment? Do we really need it now that we have worship music available 24/7? Yeah, my worship leader friends are probably thinking I’m nuts or some kind of a traitor right now.

This intrigued me, so I started dogging God about it. Soon, I was seeing all kinds of stuff about how music affects the brain. Researchers have found that music has profound effects on the human brain. Memory, speech, creativity, motor control and math skills are enhanced in people who are exposed to music and music training on a regular basis. Unlike most brain functions, music uses multiple areas of both sides of the brain. In other words, it strengthens  the brain through an exercise of unity! That’s the key!

Unity! Not only does music unify the brain, but, in order for people to participate in a group musical experience, they must all get into unity! The musicians, the singers, the dancers, even those who are just observing have to line up their bodies, their minds and their rhythms with each other in order to make the music flow. Music creates an atmosphere of unity that helps people connect to each other and to God in a way that nothing else does. Although I haven’t seen research to prove this, I imagine music acts like a giant magnet on our minds and bodies, aligning them all in one direction. The Bible talks a lot about the power of unity. Someone who is aligned with God can do tremendous things, but when we are in one accord with others, that power is magnified! No wonder we sing in church!

So this weekend or whenever  you gather with other believers to worship, make sure you get there before the music starts. It’s not an optional part of the service. It’s essential to unity! Get there and participate!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

You Don’t Have to be Stuck in a Bad School District | African American Homeschooling

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ty learning

The other day I was listening to Iowa Public Radio and heard a horrifying account about a school called Normandy High School. Apparently, it is one of the most violent schools in the nation. Normandy High is in the bottom 10% of Missouri high schools based on how the student body performed on the state reading and math exams. The drop out rate is around 40%. The school actually lost its accreditation for a few years and wound up being shut down. Its students were transferred to other schools, but due to political maneuvering, it wound up being reopened with what sounds to me like a bogus accreditation and all those students were once again imprisoned in this failing segregated school.


Fortunately, from what I understand many African American parents are getting this message. The black homeschooling community is the fastest growing segment of the total homeschool community. For any who have not taken the leap yet, let me ease some of your fears:

But I don’t have a good enough education to teach my kids!

  • Educate yourself and teach your kids to do the same. Surely you can’t do a worse job than that hell hole you are depending on now.

But I’m single and/or have to work!

  • Team up with some girlfriends! Create your own mini homeschool co-op to provide daycare and group activities for your kids.

But I can’t afford it!

  • Lots of people homeschool their kids for free or nearly free. I have a PDF book that shows step-by-step how to create an individualized education for your kids using very little time and money. Email me at and we’ll figure out how to get it to you. I’d appreciate a contribution of $3, but if you can’t afford that, let me know. I want your kids out of there. I’ll even be happy to coach some of you by email if you want. I will do all that I can to see your kids set free.

In researching for this post I happened on some links that might be helpful. These are just a few that are aimed specifically at African Americans. I am sure there are many more. If you are Hispanic or Native American, I am sure there are sites out there for you too.

National Black Home Educators

The African American Homeschool Network

Black Homeschool Mom

Why Black Kids Should Be Homeschooled

I have lived most of my adult life out in the boonies, so I don’t really understand all the challenges of city life, but I did homeschool all three of my kids for less than $50/year while working 50-60 hours a week outside the home for many of those years. We were very financially challenged during most of my 20+ years of homeschooling, sometimes making less than $5,000/year with a mountain of debt. I may not be able to totally relate, but if you are willing, I’d love to help.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Defeating Racism | Celebrating and Embracing Differences

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There were a couple of posts I was thinking about writing for today, but over the weekend I promoted this meme featuring a couple of black kids being freed from the classroom. It went viral, which I loved, but it floored me when a couple of people’s reaction seemed to read race into it. Honestly, that was a reaction I never expected!

So today, I want to re-introduce you to my grandson whom I affectionately call, “The Brown One”. Yeah, I know, some people are going to get offended by my nickname, but hang in there and I’ll get around to explaining my motivations! For a while, I was homeschooling him. If you search the archives, you will find several posts featuring him.


First, though, I want to give you a little background about myself. Up until I was in 6th grade, I didn’t know  any people of color. It had nothing to do with segregation. It was a rural area in the Midwest where most of the people were of European descent – mostly German, French, and English. There were a few African-Americans, Mexicans, and Native Americans around, but I didn’t know any personally. Whenever we ran across someone of color, my mother took great pains to stress that these people were no different than us and to warn us against racism. She often told us the story of when she moved to Atlanta as a young child. Having lived up north where there were no people of color to speak of, she was quite confused by the “colored” water fountains. When she first saw one, she thought, “Oh how interesting! Colored water!” but was quickly disappointed when the water turned out to be just the clear variety she was accustomed to. She found the whole atmosphere of segregation and racism very upsetting. It was one value that she made sure us kids picked up!

In 6th grade, a boy moved in from Chicago. He was a real mixture of races. He told us he had African American, Native American, Asian, and Caucasian ancestors in his family tree. He was smart, good looking and a blast to be around. He ran in my circle of friends all through high school and even dated one of my best friends. Through high school, I became acquainted with a few other black people, but I can’t say any of them were really good friends. Then I got married and moved across the river where the population of people of color was less than 0.01%.

Many years later, God set me in an interracial church about 40 minutes away. There I got to know and love several African Americans and developed a desire for an interracial grandchild. Both my older children were considering adoption and my youngest (a teenager then) was attending church with me there. I thought I had a good shot at it, but then we wound up leaving that church and my older two started having babies of their own. After many years, my youngest started dating The Brown One’s mom. On their first date, Belinda tested the waters by announcing that she had a black baby. Jess was delighted. He told her about how I had wanted an interracial grandbaby and the rest is history.

The Brown One is smart, good looking, mischevious and fun to be around. Isn’t God good? He gives us the desires of our hearts!

I love this little boy with all my heart and I want him to know that it’s OK to be who he is even if he is different. As a child, I had a red tint to my hair and freckles. In my neck of the woods, everyone was either blondes or brunettes and no one had freckles. I was teased mercilessly because of it. I want my grandchildren to associate the words about them that might be used to hurt them with my love. I call my little redheaded granddaughter “The Readhead” and my nerdy grandson “The Geek”. I tell them how proud I am of them and that I love that aspect of them.

In the first century, people who followed Jesus were not known as “Christians”. They were known as “People of the Way”. Non-believers chose to try to belittle them by calling them “little christs”. Christian means “Little Christs”. The People of the Way chose to be proud of this taunt and turned it around by owning the name. Those who first coined the term “red neck” also tried to give it a shameful connotation. Instead of bowing to that shame-filled spirit, we chose to own the term. Duck Dynasty is a result.

I know that my grandson will run across prejudice and people who will try to belittle him. My purpose in giving him this nickname is to teach him to be proud of his heritage so that when he does run into ignorant people, he can hold his head up and say, “Yep! I’m brown! I’m of mixed race. I’m whatever term you might choose to call me and my grandparents are red necks! Deal with it! I’m God’s answer to my grama’s desires!

When I chose this picture for my meme, I thought the kids were cute and I also thought it might encourage the growing homeschool movement among African-Americans. Hatred was the furthest thing from my mind.

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue