Pre-Calculus the Teaching Textbooks Way

As most of you know we are a homeschooling family. My youngest attended K for most of the school year at a small private school that we were ultimately disappointed in. My oldest has attended both public and the same private school and has homeschooled in the past. It’s not that we were unsure of what we are doing, but that at that time those were the best choices for our family and our children.

Anyway, I tell you that to tell you this. My oldest is studying Pre-Calculus this year. I knew that this was something that I really didn’t want a direct hand in daily so we searched for a learner-driven program. We tried a different program, but my daughter really struggled with the explanations and so we researched some more and decided on Teaching Textbooks.

With Teaching Textbooks the lessons are presented on CDs and in the text. The student listens to the lectures and follows along. There are problems to work out for comprehension at the end of each lesson.

My daughter likes this program. Yes, the lecturer does repeat a lot of the information, but she understands what is being done and rarely do I have to step in and walk her through problems. She sometimes thinks that the lectures seem to go on forever, but insists on listening to the entire program. It is just something about her personality that she insists on not missing a single word of the lecture, I on the other hand would be fast-forwarding past the things I already understood. She just wants to make sure that she doesn’t miss a single thing.

This program is designed to prepare her for college level calculus next year. In my opinion, not that it matters for much, it is equal to the AP Calculus class that our exchange student took at the local public school last year, maybe better because she has a teacher who truly understands how to teach, which was something our exchange student lacked. She and another exchange student were 2 of only 3 students who passed the class. The teacher usually just wrote assignments on the board on Monday and gave the test on Friday.


August 31, 2010. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

Homeschoolers in Sweden need your help

If you are a homeschooler here in the US you may take for granted that it is legal. Most of here don’t even give a second thought to this privilege. We choose what is best for us and our children without a thought that someone may show up at our door one day and arrest us for this choice.

Right now about 3% of US school-aged children are homeschooled. Each of these families took the time to research what was best for their children and none of them had to think about the legality of their choice. It is estimated that 1.5 million children in the US are homeschooled today.

Some of you may remember the days, not too long ago, when homeschooling was seen as a weirdo thing that no one really understood. Now it is seen as an option right along with public or private schooling. Just a few years ago when people found out we homeschooled I would get strange looks and lots of comments or questions about why we would want to do that when we could just put our kids on the bus in the morning and send them to school like everyone else. Now when people hear we homeschool they just accept it and move on.

Right now in Sweden about 200 families have made the choice to homeschool their children. They do this for the same reasons that many of us do. They made their choice based on what is best for their children and their families. But this choice may soon be taken away from them. For no other reason than the government really doesn’t understand homeschooling or why someone would choose this method of educating their children instead of sending them to traditional government-run schools.

As a homeschooler I am asking for your help. There is a letter to the Swedish government that was written by the editor of one of my favorite homeschooling magazines. I am asking for you to “sign” this letter as a way of educating the Swedish government to the reasons why we homeschool.

Let’s support our Swedish friends and hopefully make a difference.

To read more and sign the letter just follow this link:

Thank you in advance for your help.


May 18, 2010. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

Ferdinand The Bull At ASF

Today we joined our homeschool friends and attended a matinee performance of “Ferdinand the Bull” at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

It was an intimate performance where we literally sat on the stage as the stage was floor level. The actors were fantastic and took the time to draw the kids in and include them.

This particular play was designed for the younger crowd, but there was enough glamour in the scenery and costumes to dazzle the adults. My 6 year old sat through the almost 1 hour performance and the question-and-answer sessions with two of the actors afterward.

The play itself was based loosely on the book by Munro Leaf. It picks up the “why did the men come to look for a bull in the first place?” aspect of the story.  The play begins with the son of a local duke telling his father that he would like to pursue a career in dancing. The father expresses his disappoinment and encourages his son to pursue bull fighting to avenge his own ill-gotten didain of bulls.

Ferdinand is the only character that is taken directly from the book. The “men from Madrid” are loosely interpreted as the duke, his son, and his servant. There is one character that is only found in this play, Conchina, the pig who is Ferdinand’s best friend and conspires with the duke to lead Ferdinand to Madrid and the bullfight.

My children and I enjoyed it and the class of high school age students who joined us for this performance also remained engrossed in the play.

It is a joy to have this resource to rely upon to help teach my children on our homeschooling adventure.

“Ferdinand the Bull” is playing now in the Octagon Theatre at ASF throught December 19th. I would definitely reccomend this play to those of you who have younger children and would like to introduce them to live performance theatre.

Y’all Come Back Now.

November 23, 2009. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

Warm Fuzzies

This is what I love about homeschoooing.

Today is rainy, cold, and just generally dreary. The kind of day that just makes you want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over your head and sleep. The sound of the rain outside could lull you right back to dreamland if you let it.

That is sooo not what we did today though.

No, we got up and one of us (me) actually changed out of our pajamas and got started on school.  Actually the youngest is still running around in a t-shirt and underpants as I right this. She is actually informing me that she would rather just be naked, “because I like it that way” than to put on some shorts or pants.

Anyway, we are sitting at the kitchen table working on math when I look over and see our Fatty Cat sleeping on the blanket that said youngest had set up last night to have a “picnic” with her stuffed animals.

He looks sooo comfortable all curled up just sleeping.

None of us had to face the weather, put on rain coats or rain boots, or even step outside to learn something.  And we did all of our work in 3 hours. Including a break for a snack in there.

I love homeschooling. It just gives me the warm fuzzies.

How about you? What do you love?

Y’all Leave a Comment and let me know.

October 27, 2009. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

My Homeschool Building Blocks

This week is the beginning of the public school year in our area. So I decided that this week would also be the beginning of our school year at home

well trained mind

This is the backbone of what we do. I love Susan Wise  Bauer and Jessie Wise. They are a mother and daughter team who speak from experience. Jessie taught her children at home after being told “how dare you teach your children to read before they come to school”. I mean, can you believe the nerve of a parent actually teaching her child to read because she was ready to read before school?!

Susan and Jessie describe a classical education solely at home or supplementing what the child is learning at school. It is the way I wish I had been taught.

Which brings me to my next reccomendation:

well educated mind

This is also written by Susan Wise Bauer. It is a guide to giving yourself the classical education that you wish you had received in school.  In leads you gently through history, the ultimate story, by guiding you through the evolution of the written word that forever shapes the world we live in.

It also instructs on how to critically examine what you have read and how to express your thoughts and ideas into the written word.

Speaking of learning to write and homeschooling, this is another resource that we have been using this year:

complete writerfirst language lessons

“Writing with Ease” is written by Jessie Wise. It is written for parent of the beginning elementary student and guides you through teaching your student to learn the foundations needed for good scholarly writing needed for high school and college.

“First Language Lessons” is written by her daughter Susan Wise Bauer and is exactly what the name implies. It guides the parent of the first and second grade student through scripted grammar and narration exercises designed to gradually strengthen the students mental language abilities and introduce basic grammar.

Along with these wonderful resources we are also using:

story of the world Ancient times

“Story of the World:Ancient Times” is the first in a series of four books designed to introduce the early learner to the great story of History. It is also written by Susan Wise Bauer. There is a workbook that we use that has activites designed to reinforce the story in book. There are coloring pages, activity ideas, map pages,and more for each chapter in the accompanying text.

You can probably tell already just how much I like these two women! I do use other books and sources to teach, but I find myself referring to these books over and over. I just haven’t found any that are better or easier to use.

This is just a little taste of where we are starting this year. My high schooler is studying Chemistry, Trigenometry, Constitutional Law, United States History, Classic Literature, Driver’s Ed (OMG!! ), and a Home Economics Course. We will meet at our Co-op for the lab portion of some of these courses with the bulk of the learning taking place at home. She does have texts to follow, but we also use our library and the internet to supplement and expand upon what we are learning. 

And I do mean we. One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is learning new things alongside my children. Even though I am a well-educated college graduate, I learn something new everyday. I would hate to imagine a world where there was nothing left to learn. How boring would that be?!!

So go, read a good book already. Don’t forget to let me know what it is.

Y’all Come Back Now.

August 11, 2009. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

What I just finished reading-Beloved by Toni Morrison


I just finished this book. It is one that I have been meaning to read for some time now.

This novel won the Pulitzer prize and I can see why. I read the book in just under 3 days. I had a hard time putting it down in the evenings (which is usually when I have the time to read for pleasure). The last night I stayed up until almost 1 am to finish.

Beloved is the story of Sethe, an escaped slave, and her daughters. It takes place sometime after the Civil War. We learn about Sethe’s history through her memories and the memories of Paul D, a man from her past that shows up on her doorstep years later.  The story drew me in and held on from beginning to end. The characters became flesh and bone people to me. I was crying along with Sethe and nervous along with Beloved.

Once I was finished reading Beloved I handed it immediately to my 16 year old daughter as one of her first reading assignments for the year. I feel that this book will give any daughter an insight into how a mother feels about her children and what lenghts we will go to for thier protection.

I am glad that I finally picked it up.

Go get you a copy already.

Y’all Come Back Now.

July 30, 2009. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.