A Glimpse of a Day using Winter Promise



Does your homeschooler enjoy Charlotte Mason type learning with interesting books and captivating hands on activities?  If so, you’ll want to check out Winter Promise!  Here’s a glimpse of our day using this curriculum.


My 10 year old is a kinestetic learner.  She retains information through active engagement (narration) and doing activities instead of just reading about them.


Winter Promise has proven to be a great fit for her!




On a given day, we grab our ‘command center’, known as the premade Winter Promise schedule, for American Crossings.  Listed are all the books and activities planned out for that  week.


Winter Promise American Crossing www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


This week is all about The First Americans.  After opening our school day with a selection on unity from Christian Character Traits, we move through the rest of the readings:  “What is an Explorer” from Time Travelers, Native Homes, Early American Picture Studies, and Kids Learn America.


Winter Promise - Day www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com.jpg


Then my daughter has some quiet time to read on her own.  This week, it’s Naya Nuki.  Afterwards she narrates what she’s read back to me.


American Crossing Winter Promise


Sprinkled throughout the week are many hands-on activites.  The parent and student are free to pick and chose which activities work best.  This week the choices are:  Spice Cookies, Knot Typing, Create a Captain’s Log, Ptolemaic Map, “5 Reasons for Exploration” and Make a Ship’s Flag.


Curiosity lead us to try knot tying.  We attempted the Sheepshank, Stopper, and Bolin.  What we discovered is that it must be much easier using rope and not yarn!  Our hats go off to mariners!


Winter Promise - Day1 www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com.jpg


My daughter decided on the French Fleur De Lis for her ship’s flag and colored it accordingly.


“5 Reasons for Exploration” is much like the usual lapbook element where information and answers to question are recorded on pre-cut and pre-folded papers.  This will be tucked away into a folder until the end of this unit when we will either assembly a lapbook or create our own Ship’s Log notebook.


Winter Promise - www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


I regret to inform my readers that the spice cookies didn’t last long enough for pictures. That’s what happens when mom leaves them to cool in the kitchen and decides to grab a quick shower!


Looking to the weeks ahead,  I know that preparation will be a breeze.  The schedule and any necessary activities pages will be printed off the computer, plus any needed items for those activities will be gathered.  Next week marks the start of our State’s Notebook and Timeline.


I invite you all to check back in a few weeks as I’ll be blogging about the remainder of Unit 1!


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DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook



All parents of small children own at least one picture book containing basic shapes, colors, ABC’s and numbers.


Instead of unidentified drawings, how about a picture book with familiar faces and places created with love for your toddler?


Tales of a Homeschool  Family DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Years ago, when my oldest was just learning how to walk, a friend showed me a very special book that she would make to give each of her children on their 2nd birthday.


I LOVED it!  And though I’m not a crafty person, I knew I could conquer this challenge!


All you need is an 8X10 album – whatever fits your budget.  You can see from my pictures that I started off with fancy Creative Memories albums and then went to a store bought and finally we were gifted with the album for child #4.  No matter though, because it’s what goes inside that really counts!


Next you need some acid free pens, papers, stickers, adhesives and of course photos.


Let you imagination run free as you pull pictures for the album.   A for aunts, P for pets, U for uncles…..


Tales of a Homeschool  Family DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


You’ll want to dedicate a page to each letter of the alphabet.  Here we have “o” – opossum, orchard, oval, orange, oven mitt, octopus, oranges and ocean.  Plus “p” – panda, parents, plane, purple, pig, pink, pool, pen, penguin, police car, planet, pencil, pine cone, Pooh, and pumpkin.  Phew!


Tales of a Homeschool  Family DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Finding memorable photos is a plus.  This is my now 10 year old’s book.  The pictures of “snow” and “snowsuit” capture the fact that she has spent a total of 15 minutes of her life playing in snow.  Though she doesn’t remember it, it’s a documented fact!


This would have been the perfect place to write “siblings” under the “swing set” picture….


Tales of a Homeschool  Family DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


You’ll also want to save some room to do a fun numbers page.  I only did 1-10, but, if you wanted to you could go all the way up to 20.


Tales of a Homeschool  Family DIY ABC & 123 Toddler Scrapbook www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Don’t forget the cover page.  This is a great place to add a professional photo and a personalized letter to your child.


One last note – kids can get a little rough with their album, even with the page protectors.  You’ll want to supervise them with this book until they get a little older.


Have you already made your child an album of his/her own?  Please leave me a link in the comments!




Love the Journey Review and Giveaway!



It’s not a sprint.  It’s not a race to the finish.  Homeschooling IS a journey!  Marcia Somerville, who authored the Tapestry of Grace curriculum and homeschooled her 5 children,  shares years of experience in the new book Love the Journey.


So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee and prepare to be ministered to!


Love the Journey Review www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


“The book is written to woman who are disciples of Jesus Christ and are new to homeschooling….What this book is, or is trying to be, is a book that helps you to find (and define in your own words) the principles behind wise homeschooling practices….I have all the time in the world to share encouragement, wisdom and exhortation.”


Though geared primarily towards new homeschool moms, all moms will be encouraged and strengthened no matter their place in this adventure.


Love the Journey is a beefy 300+ page read, broken down into 5 sections covering:


Your Homeschool is Your Homeschool!  Getting to know your homeschool self.

*Evaluate values and convictions.  Develop unique philosophy on education


Mountaintop Views.  Benefit from hindsight NOW.

*  Shaping happy, healthy, godly people (yourself included!)


When You Sit at Home.  Order in the home!

*  Keeping a “peaceful, orderly environment in both its’ spiritual and physical aspects.”


As You Walk Along the Way.  Practical tips and tricks.  Some “places” to visit and some not to see again.

*  Gender, learning modalities and curricula


When You  Lie Down and When  You Rise Up.  “God’s eye view of life.”

*  Scripture filled in areas of commitment, love and attitude


Our journey is just starting its’ 12th year.  Even so, I was able to take away some practical helps, such as how to assist my struggling speller and the importance of hands-on mapping activities for geography.  This all the while reinforcing the spiritual aspect of homeschooling.  Since I was unable to get away for our state’s homeschool convention, Marcia’s book was just the breath of fresh air to encourage and reiterate the mission for our homeschool family!!


Are you a new homeschooler?  This book is perfect for you!  Already a homeschooler?  Check it out!  Read sample chapters here.


As a special thank you to Tales of a Homeschool Family readers, I’m giving away a copy of Love the Journey!  Enter to win AND get in on a 25% off discount for a digital or hard copy until July 28, 2014.    Just use the code LTJTSHF14 at the checkout.
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12 Things I’ve Learned in 12 Years of Homeschooling


12 Things I've Learned in 12 Years of Homeschooling  www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


As we embark on our 12th year of homeschooling, allow me to take a minute to look back and share some important lessons learned on the journey.


1.  First and foremost, God’s touch is necessary on our homeschool – not only to figure out the coming year, but EVERYDAY!


2.  What works for one child, won’t always work for another, no matter the amount of tweeking and retweeking!   Most times the same workbook  that is “fun” for my straight forward book learner, is nothing but “toil and drudgery” for my kinestetic learner.


3.  Teach children to make eye contact and express themselves effectively with words both written and spoken even if they aren’t going to be writers or public speakers.  This definitely sets them apart from their schooled peers.


4.  Don’t like this season of learning?  Don’t worry, it won’t last long.  A new chapter with new challenges is right around the corner!!


5.  Just because you’re the adult doesn’t mean you’re finished learning!  My children have taught me more about life, love and the Lord in these past 12 years than in the 33 prior.


6.  It’s ok to have a child who doesn’t enjoy “doing” art.  And it’s also ok to stop signing him up for every art related thing before the 7th grade.  Children are most empowered when learning things that mirror their giftings.  Just ask my “one crayon” kid!


7.  Teach The Bible and History and LOTS of it.  It’s important for their future that they spot “cycles of trouble” far off and understand how to avoid it.


8.  There’s always one child in the bunch who breaks the mold and turns everything you THINK you know about learning upside down.  Embracing this difference and not striving to fit him/her to your mold makes the day to day a journey and not a life sentence.


9.  Prayer changes EVERYTHING!  Pray often.  Let your children HEAR you pray.  Encourage them to pray aloud for one another.


10.  Don’t tolerate sibling rivalry.  Do all you can to teach them to love one another.  Refer to #9 often.


11.  Children eat too much and grow too fast!  One minute you are kneeling to get within their line of vision and the next they are stooping over in order to make eye contact with you!


12.  Face each year with grateful expectations for not only what God will do, but how you and your children will grow in knowledge and understanding.


Now that I’ve shared my list, tell me, what have YOU learned on your journey?


The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships Review!


affiliate www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Are you homeschooling an older child and want to get the best tips and tricks for navigating high school and beyond?


Let Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, be your mentor!

www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com The HomeScholar Guide to College Admissions and Scholarships Highschool

Lee has graduated two of her own children and has encouraged and strengthened many more.


“If college is in your child’s future, prepare them to face it as a mature adult, grounded in their faith.”


In her book, The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships ,  Binz shares insights and strategies on how to go about navigating the hurdles of college admissions and scholarships from a Christian perspective.


Topics include:

*Preparation of high school curriculum

*Affording college

*Test preparation

*Specific “to-dos” for the junior and senior years

*Senior year last minute 12 step emergency no panic plan

*Writing a great application essay

*Your value as your child’s guidance counselor

*And my favorite, turning annoyances into specializations.


“The point of these stories is that your love for your child will go a long way towards ensuring their success in the college process.”


With the help and wisdom offered in this book, planning for high school and beyond won’t leave you shaking in your shoes.  Lee has encouraged our family as we continue on the course for our soon to be Junior AND soon to be Freshman homeschooled highschoolers!

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I AM Living in My Dream House!



Tales of a Homeschool Family www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com

Many years ago before I had children, I enjoyed spending time with a growing family of 6.  This family’s house was in the wrong part of town and looked run down from the outside.  The interior was a mish mosh of modern-garage sale.  It was a clean environment, but, things were not always in their place.  What was so incredibly different was the fullness of love within the house.


At the core of the home, a marriage that has been stoked over the fires of adversity and time, strengthen by a commitment to the Lord.  Next was a Mom who consistently put her children above the affairs of the world and gladly stopped whatever she was doing to savor a few minutes of playtime on the floor with her kids.  Yes, she was responsible for her household.  Yes, she took care in training them up – but, she didn’t allow the notion of a ‘clean house’ to override the needs of her children.  Her relationship with God filled her each day and allowed the overflow of her heart to minister to their needs.  She had a kingdom perspective on raising her children.  That was her goal – pure and simple.


I loved the simplicity of their home and the unity of purpose within it.


Fast forward many years.


We were living in a huge home.  You would think that all my dreams would be met in this rambling 3800 sq ft home filled with a loving husband and 3 kids, but, that wasn’t the case.  I chose to focus on what I didn’t have.  I chose to be empty.


Fast forward again.  Now I find myself in a tiny 1200 sq ft home.  It takes a few years, but, I put behind me the sense of loss and unmet expectations.  It took the shrinking of circumstance for me to discover a marriage that has been stoked over the fires of adversity and time, strengthen by a commitment to the Lord.  And see that I’ve become a mom who consistently puts her children above the affairs of the world and gladly stops whatever she’s was doing to savor a few minutes of playtime on the floor with her blessings with a kingdom perspective for raising those children.


Let the laundry pile a little higher….


Let the dishes soak a little longer…


Because TODAY, I have found my dream house and I’ve been living in it ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!


The Quest for Quiet!



The Quest for Quiet Zephaniah 3:17 www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com



:::Squeaky dryer needing oil:::

::: Water distiller running:::

:::Cats meowing:::

:::Children arguing:::


Living in the worlds’ noisiest home, there are times I C-R-A-V-E quiet!


Don’t get me wrong, I love my little noisemakers and the hum of life.  Sometimes I just need it quiet enough to hear myself think, and to hear the voice of my Savior during normal “awake” hours.


I’m the youngest of 3.  Growing up, my older siblings were just about out of the house – so I had quiet.  Plenty of quiet.  Sometimes, too much quiet!


My kids don’t have this “problem”.  For the majority of days it’s noise, movement and activity. For them, this is normal!


In this season, I need to work a little more to find a slice of quiet during the day.  Staying up late to get it isn’t healthy.  Getting up extra early generally results in “someone” or “someones” also getting up to “share” the quiet too.


What I’ve come to learn is “quiet” is not only external, but internal as well.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”


How good is the Lord who gives us inner quiet in the midst of busyness!


When we seek Him, He is faithful to meet us where we are at — even in the midst of noise!



My Student Logbook Review



Finding a student planner that accommodates my highschooler’s needs is not an easy task. Though he doesn’t need flashy artwork, he does need a planner that covers a full week (all 7 days) per page, is undated, able to accommodate more than the usual 36 weeks, contains enough space to write a large listing of books, is spiral bound, lays flat when opened AND doesn’t break the bank.

Originally designed to help track the number of hours spent homeschooling, My Student Logbook was created by a homeschool mom of many in order to fill a void and save her own sanity.


Though we do not live in a “high regulation state”, my son and I made this planner easily work for us.  At the highschool level his curriculum utilizes a large number of living books.  With your average planner it’s difficult to make them all fit.  But with this logbook, all those lines work wonders for organization!  And the unique ‘removable flap’ makes scheduling a breeze without having to write and rewrite each weeks repeated work.


My Student Logbook Review www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


My Student Logbook Review www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Easy to set up.  Easy to implement.  Easy to read and follow.  It’s a win-win all around!




In addition to 52 log pages, My Student Logbook also contains:

  • How to use My Student Logbook to Create High School Transcripts
  • An All About Me Page
  • Prayers and Goals
  • Bible Memorization Log
  • Books Read
  • Events, Projects, Field Trips and Activities
  • Test Records
  • Year Highlights

Check out this Logbook for yourself.  There are a variety of heavy duty covers to choose from plus the choice of either pre-dated or undated log pages.

I love this easy to use planner and my oldest, who’s not into flashy, does too!


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Mega Meal Monday: Chicken Kiev



Welcome to Mega Meal Monday!

There are many Chicken Kiev recipes.  Most call for flattened chicken breast. Here’s my version that is the quickest and easiest, though NOT the neatest!


Chicken Kiev 1 Mega Meals - Tales of a Homeschool Family www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com



Boneless, skinless chicken THIGHS

One pat of butter per chicken thigh

Garlic and onion powder

Green onions, diced

Bread crumbs


Except for the butter, I did not include amounts on the ingredients.  The amounts will vary with your taste and the quantity of chicken used.  I like to make extra and freeze – or – cook once and eat for two meals.  Plan on one Kiev per person.


Grab a muffin tin (or two depending on how many you plan on making.  One thigh = one muffin cup) and grease the insides of each tin with cooking spray or oil.  I use coconut oil.


Lay each thigh flat, sprinkle with garlic, and onion powder, and green onions.  Lay a pat of butter in the center and roll the thigh up.


Chicken Kiev 2 - Tales of a Homeschool Family www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Place the rolled up chicken seam side down into the muffin tin.  You will need to push and tuck it some.


Sprinkle all tops with bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until done.

(This is messy, but yummy!)


Chicken Kiev 3 - Tales of a Homeschool Family www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


To serve, scoop Kievs out from the tins using a slotted spoon.  After cooling,  they can easily be placed into a ziploc bag and frozen.


Chicken Kiev 4 - Tales of a Homeschool Family www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Excellent served with gravy.  In fact, my kids call these ‘chicken meatballs’.


Check out other Mega Meals HERE.





Holy Land Seeds Review AND Giveaway!


affiliate www.talesofahomeschoolfamily.taberstruths.com


Over the years I’ve had the privilege of reviewing a myriad of items.  Curricula, books, movies, food, businesses, toys…


While there have been a few items that have stood out in my memory, only one is an item that holds a special meaning and is one I would strongly consider giving as a gift.


Holyland Seeds


And that is a seed kit from Holy Land Seeds.

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.”
Deuteronomy 8:7-10

Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds

For our review and unique hands on experience, we chose to germinated and plant seeds from The Olive Seeds Kit

After the seedlings sprout and begin to grow, we will replant them in our yard.  It will be like having a living piece of Israel before our very eyes!

From the story of Noah’s Ark, to the modern saying “extended an olive branch” the olive branch is widely known as a symbol of peace. It is one of the main staples of Israelite and Mediterranean cuisine and industry. Just as this small tree became a significant part of the agricultural economy and diet, it too came to embody the concepts of wealth, health, fertility, sustenance – and the blessings that flowed from them. Imported from Israel, your all-inclusive seeds kit provides everything you need to create a little Holy Land garden……

…Holy Land seeds bring tradition, meaning and uniqueness together to create a gift for yourself or a loved one that will always be remembered; A little taste of culture, symbolism and history right to your own garden. Based on the historical symbolism of these seeds, adults and kids alike can enjoy growing their own Holy Land little gardens. Unique and special gift for any holiday or occasion, Holy Land Seeds’ All Inclusive Seeds Kit makes a great home-schooled or science project, family project, or a symbolic, creative gift for that special person.

Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds

Contained in this kit:  a Jiffy-Pot (made from Canadian sphagnum peat moss and wood pulp.  100% bio-degradable!) , 2 Wonder Soil Potting Wafers (mix contains a proven formula of coir and peat combined with polymers and nutrients to feed your plants), Olive seeds, a wooden seed marker and step by step directions.


My four year old was very excited to plant his own olive tree.  Due to this exuberance, we skipped an important part of the directions.  We only needed ONE soil disc.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


Wow!  Those discs really expand after adding water!   I took 1/2 of the soil out of the jiffy pot in order to start a second pot of olive seedlings.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


Then it was time to plant the seeds.  My son and daughter helped push the seeds below the soil.


Holyland Seeds - Olive Seeds


And now, we water, provide sunshine and wait!




Don’t mind the mess, memories are being made!


As a special ‘THANK YOU’ to Tales of a Homeschool Family readers, Holy Land Seeds is giving away 4 prizes to 4 blessed winners!  Each winner will receive ONE of the following:

All-inclusive Olive Seeds Kit From the Holy Land

Holy Land Seeds Review
Jute Bag of Pomegranate Seeds From the Holy Land

Holy Land Seeds Review
Holy Land Olive Seeds & Oil Lamp

Holy Land Seeds Review
Holy Land Grape Seeds & Clay Pot

Holy Land Seeds Review


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