Quote of the Day

familyhearthandsAt the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.
Barbara Bush


Language Arts the Natural Learning Way

llatlorangebooksetLearning Language Arts through Literature is based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Ruth Beechick and her natural learning method as outlined in her books, The Three R’s, Language and Thinking for Young Children, and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully.  The curriculum is authored by the late Debbie Strayer, a homeschooling mother, teacher, author and public speaker, and Susan S. Simpson, a teacher, author and publisher.

Learning Language Arts through Literature Orange Book is a comprehensive language arts curriculum which teaches spelling, reading, grammar, composition, research and study skills, and higher order thinking skills, creative expression and penmanship. The authors have chosen real books which are the back bone for the curriculum’s book studies. Real Book selections include: The Boxcar Children, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Benjamin Franklin, and The Sign of the Beaver.  Literature passages from real books are utilized for copy work and dictation.  The Orange Book includes five units: Research, Journal Writing, Poetry, Newspaper and Book Making. Learning Language Arts through Literature incorporates creative expression activities such as illustrating poetry, recitation, writing an ad, haiku and limerick into the daily lesson plans.

The instructors guide is comprised of easy to use lesson plans spanning a period of 36 weeks.
Each lesson is made up of the following components: New Skills Taught, Materials Needed, Scripted Lesson Plan, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Answers, Examples, Diagrams and References to the student activity book. The Skills Index is an easy to use reference for the teaching parent. Assessments allow the teacher to evaluate the student’s progress.  Review activities follow the lessons to provide the student with additional skills practice. Placement tests are available online at the Common Sense Press website.

As a homeschooler, I have perused several language arts curriculums. I cannot praise this curriculum enough! Learning Language Arts through Literature receives an A+ from this homeschooling parent!

Kathy Alphs

To Home school, or Not to Home school, That is the Question.


Spring has finally sprung! The tulips and daffodils are popping up through the earth. Our cherry tree is waiting to pop its blossoms. The robin and cardinal have returned to our bird feeders. With the advent of spring, there is excitement and expectation in the air.

Spring is the season when parents begin to ponder and contemplate their child’s education. It is the season of homeschooling conventions and the publication of curriculum catalogs. If you are a parent who is considering home schooling their child, I encourage you to read the enclosed article by the late Dr. Ruth Beechick title “Is It Time to Start Your Homeschool?”


As an expectant parent, I was introduced to the writings of Dr. Beechick through our neighbor Kristine, who was a homeschooling parent. I found Dr. Beechick’s wisdom and guidance to be rooted in the word of God and good common sense. I am forever grateful to my neighbor for making the introduction.

“Homeschooling is largely heart to heart.  The methods and even the curriculum do not matter nearly as much as the relationship between child and parent.”
Dr. Ruth Beechick  “From Heart and Mind:  What the Bible Says About Learning”

Kathy Alphs

The Real Thomas Jefferson

the real thomas jeffersonRecently, our family was discussing the upcoming spring break vacation. For the past three years, our vacation has revolved around the topic of American History. A few of the historical landmarks we have visited in the past include The National Mall, The United States Capitol and Capitol Hill, Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetery, The Washington Monument, and Mount Vernon. During our discussion The White House tour, Ford’s Theater, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello were among the historical sites mentioned by family members. As the discussion continues, all of us are in agreement that Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is definitely on the list this year.

Since we will be visiting Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, I decided I wanted to read up on the gentleman who authored the Declaration of Independence, and was our nation’s third president. After posting the question on a homeschooling forum board, the administrator, Rachel, pointed me in the direction of Andrew M. Allison’s book, The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom. 

In The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom, the author, Andrew M. Allison paints a portrait of Thomas Jefferson’s life and ideas utilizing Jefferson’s own words. The first part, Thomas Jefferson: Champion of Liberty focuses on the story of Jefferson’s life and ideas. The second part of the biography focuses on An Intimate View of Jefferson by His Grandson and Timeless Treasures from Thomas Jefferson. The latter portion contains the most significant passages from Jefferson’s writings.

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom by Andrew M. Allison is part of the American Classics Series available for purchase through The National Center for Constitutional Studies.

Kathy Alphs

Beautiful Feet Ancient History: A Literature Approach


Beautiful Feet Ancient History: A Literature Approach is co-authored by homeschooling mother, Rea Berg and her daughter, homeschool graduate Rebecca Manor.

Beautiful Feet Ancient History is based on the teachings of British educator, Charlotte Mason as described in Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book “For the Children’s Sake.” This Ancient history course is written for the intermediate grades and senior high grades. The study guide is divided into two parts. The first part is for the intermediate grade level, while the second part is for the senior high grade level.

The scope of history covered is from the rise of civilization to the fall of Rome.
The course outline is a follows:
Part 1 The Rise of Civilization
Part 2 Ancient Egypt
Part 3 Ancient Greece
Part 4 Ancient Rome.

The study guide also includes the Introduction: When Should I Teach Ancient History? by Rea Berg, How This Guide Is Used: Answers to frequently asked questions, Intermediate and Senior High Teacher’s Notes, Intermediate and Senior High Lesson Plans and Intermediate and Senior High Answer Keys.

“Living books” such as “Tales of Ancient Egypt” by Roger Lancelyn Green, ” The Cat of Bubastes” by G.A. Henty, ” The Children’s Homer” by Padraic Colum, “Antony and Cleopatra” by William Shakespeare and “Augutus Caesar’s World” by Genevieve Foster are the backbone of the curriculum.

Note booking is incorporated into each lesson, so at the end of the year your student will have a record of what they have studied. Beautiful Feet Books publishes an “Ancient History TimeLine” which I would highly recommend to accompany the student’s note booking experience.

Overall our family has been very pleased with Ancient History: A Literature Approach.

Kathy Alphs