Category Archives: unschooling

God Schooling:How God Intended Children to Learn{Review}

I am always so happy when I am blessed with something meant for the homeschooling parent, as opposed to the children to review, and God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco has been a powerful blessing indeed!

For many years now, I have leaned toward a very relaxed, almost Unschooling style of education with my children. In our case, we sort of slid accidentally into this while readying ourselves to move, in 2004, I believe. But when we set out to home school, I was afraid to even try without a boxed curriculum telling me what to do day by day! As it happened, even with a written school in a box curriculum, we stumbled. I became anxious and frustrated when the book said we were supposed to be on “Day 35”, but we were still on “Day 15,” because my first child was having serious trouble with vowel sounds. My husband wisely said “There are no ***** police, just don’t worry about what page you’re on.” {curriculum name blocked out with *****} So, we put away everything except the vowel sounds, and worked on just those for two weeks. And “The Batman” learned them, now that he wasn’t worried about how long it would take, and neither was I! ๐Ÿ™‚

I did eventually discover that something different was needed for my boys, and stumbled around until I became a lot more relaxed.

I have read other books by Unschooling authors, and when we moved to New Mexico several years ago we even joined an unschoolers park day group. We didn’t fit in. It appeared that we didn’t fit anywhere, not with the unschoolers (secular), and not with the strict, school in a box groups. We are Christians, but believe more in natural learning. Well, Julie Polanco validates everything I believe about education, all throughout her book! And, she validates it with Biblical support, too! For example:

What about reading, writing, and arithmetic? Shouldn’t they know this by now? Kids in “school” start these things at an early age.

“does a child really need to know how to read at age five?” {Pg. 16, God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn} Biblical support for not following “the traditions of man”: Colossians 2 : 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Julie Polanco rightly points out that while Paul was writing here about rules and restrictions about diet, diet, worship, etc . . . she follows up by stating that it can be applied to any unbiblical philosophy which would be dependent upon human tradition. Things which cause us to trust more in what the world says, rather than in Christ.

How did the people learn in Biblical times? they sat at Jesus’ feet. They followed Him, and learned while doing. I would say, they did not build schools with rows of desks, and a teacher up front, nor did they attempt to replicate that in the home.

After each chapter, the author has written some study questions, which I really liked.
The chapters are:

Part 1: Dispelling Myths

  • Biblical Support for Natural Learning
  • Motivation & Excellence

Part 2: Practice

  • Thoughts on Teaching Children Under Age Eight
  • Thoughts on Teaching Children Aged Eight to Twelve
  • Giving Teens the Wings to Fly
  • Spreading the Banquet
  • Getting Started
  • Some Q & A
  • Record-Keeping and Structure
  • Concluding Remarks

Author Julie Polanco is also a regular contributor for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and the Homeschooling with Heart blog. She is also the high school botany instructor for Schoolhousteachers.comย She continues to be a professional freelance writer, with her work appearing in health and wellness, food, and trade publications. She also ghostwrites books for others.

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to review this, Julie Polanco’s latest book, and blessed that she even took the time to write a note with her autograph in my copy!

To read 79 other fair and honest reviews, please click on the banner right below!God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}

Crew DisclaimerAs always, I would just love it if you would join me in all of โ€œMy Journeys Through Life.โ€ Just go to the subscription box at the top of the blog and enter your email information. After that, you will always know when there is something new happening. I hope to see you here very soon! -)


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Filed under Godschooling, Julie Polanco, Natural Learning, unschooling

Where You’ll Find Me Today . . .

I am being featured in the Crew Spotlight today, on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Website.

You’ll find me sharing about homeschooling being a lifetime commitment, as opposed to a “season in my life”, and I sure hope you’ll find it interesting and informative. ๐Ÿ™‚ To go and check out what I have to say on this topic, please click below, and while you’re there, check out the rest of the site as well!


As always, I’d love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! And if you do enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook Fan Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under Crew Spotlight Post, education, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Special Needs Children, special needs education, unschooling


I’m working on adding some structure back into our home education. Being totally unstructured has worked for a while, but not as well as we had hoped it would. It has allowed the boys to learn many things on their own, according to their interests, but they really, really like doing things like lapbooks and unit studies, so even though there are some naysayers who believe that using any curriculum or structured assignments is not “real” Unschooling, it’s what we’re going to do.

We’ve begun easing back in with some things that I will be reviewing for the schoolhouse review crew, for example, a Spanish program (which I too, am doing!), because with our move to NM, we feel Spanish is a good choice for foreign language.

I have my stepson working with a CD curriculum for math that is an upcoming review. Last year, when he was being diagnosed with several things, the psychologist did a number of educational tests as well, and although he was seen as quite high in just about everything else, he needs to get caught up in math.

My eldest, who is actually 20, is going to be working with the 3rd grade cursive Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. We had tried an earlier, printing version of it when he was very young, but he just couldn’t do it, due to his disabilities, but I think this version may be a good one for him. I’ll let you know how it went when I write the review! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am pulling out the kindergarten and then the first grade Abeka phonics and numbers books for my twins. It is an excellent foundation in phonics, but when the twins first came to us they just couldn’t handle it. Now, though, they are asking to do it.

We will also be starting to build up a supply of educational games, and using them for a regularly scheduled family game night.

I have a gazillian things saved on my computer that over the years I’ve collected free from the Internet, worksheets, unit studies, coloring pages, all things the boys are now asking to do, so I plan over the next week or so to go through and see what I have and kind of rough out a plan.

For each subject, unit study, or whatever the item is, I’m (for now) making a file folder to keep it in as they do it, so I have a running record of what they are doing.

We’re Just going to kind of ease into this for now, as we’re also dealing with a husband/father recovering from two spinal surgeries within the past six weeks, and still settling into living here, but I think this will be a good decision in the long run.

Do be watching, because over the next few months I will have several reviews here for a number of different educational products, plus I’ve just been given three single products to review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine website. I’m very excited and blessed to have this opportunity, and to be given the products at no cost to me, to use and review. It will certainly help us with homeschooling on a very tight budget! ๐Ÿ™‚


Filed under education, family, health, home education, homeschooling, Kids, unschooling

A Fresh Start in the New Year…

As we begin the new year, I want to get a fresh start to the home education in our family. Flexibility is very important to us, for a variety of reasons. We like to be able to pick up and head out to the park if it’s a nice day, so it’s nice to not feel wedded to a specific, rigid structure in our home-schooling.

We use a relaxed/Unschooling/Charlotte Mason method of home education, or what I’ve occasionally heard called the “wing-it” method. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that I’m a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, being flexible is also helpful when it comes to being able to add new things into our educational program when they become available to us. For example, we’ll soon be adding in a beginning Spanish program, which makes us very happy, because we’ve recently moved from MI to NM, and feel that learning the Spanish language would be a good thing in our new life.

As part of our fresh start, we will be getting into the History of Classical Music from Beautiful Feet Books. We bought this shortly before finding out we would be moving, so until now, had done nothing more than check to see that all the components were in the box before taping it back up for the movers. ๐Ÿ™‚ This program, along with the Early American History package that we also have from Beautiful Feet, are put together from a Christian viewpoint, which I prefer. We’ve been slowly working our way through the history package over a few years. I also have the guide for Teaching Character through Literature from Beautiful Feet, and several of the books.

We’ll be adding in a math CD program for one of my kids who is very behind in math, to see how it works for him.

My kids love, love, love doing lapbooks, and there are tons of them online, free to download and print out.

For Bible, we are going to use the guide for reading the Bible in a year that our church is giving us.

Several years ago, I received via a grant program online, a huge set of prints of American art. I intend to use them for Art Appreciation with a Charlotte Mason style slant.

other thing I’m looking forward to is getting involved with our church’s home-school group. The home school moms in our church will be having a meeting this coming Tuesday evening to brainstorm activity ideas for the rest of the school year. This is important to me because I want my kids more involved with kids from church.

I also want to look for opportunities for my kids to become involved in service to the Lord, which I think is even more important than academics. More than anything at all, I want them to love the Lord and want to serve Him in whatever way he calls them to serve, not to mention the fact that the more involved one is in service to the Lord, the less opportunities one has to fall for sinful temptations.

Now that I have my NM driver’s license, I can get a library card. Once I do that, we can take advantage of some of the free enrichment classes they offer, not to mention the fact that really, one can home-school with a Bible and a library card.

We want to add walking into our program, beginning with walking the length of our block while my husband is recovering from spinal surgery, building from that, to walking around the block, to eventually long walks throughout our neighborhood.

I will be rebuilding our supply of board games, concentrating on educational games, and instituting a family game night once a week. We have Yahtzee, which we will begin with, as it will help with math and strategy.

We’ve been here in NM for five months now, and finally feel like we’re home, and ready for this fresh start. I’m excited to see what this new year brings to us!

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Filed under adoption, Christian faith, education, exercise, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, unschooling

Stressful Park Day, With a Surprising Conclusion…

So…My children and I have attended regular park days on Mondays since a couple of weeks after moving to New Mexico, with an unschooling group. It was made very clear in the description of the group that “pushing a religious agenda” was not allowed, so we have carefully not done so, rather choosing to simply do our best to live our faith and testimony, and talk about it only if a door is opened. At the same time, I’ve tried very hard to respect different views, whether they be political or religious, by not mocking them. I believe strongly that healthy debate is a good thing, especially here in the USA, but it truly bothers me when those who are adamant about non violent behavior seem to believe there is an exemption for those who choose to be verbally violent (at least in my opinion) in the way they mock someone else’s faith. To quote, for example “I can’t believe that 82% of people in this country are so stupid as to still believe in the rapture”. I believe in it, and at that point, I chose to say so. I was also told (by someone who was being very angrily sarcastic) that it was not Christian to disagree with mandated government-funded health care. It did, in fact, get to the point where I raised my voice right back, although I did subsequently apologize for that. I do NOT believe it’s un-Christian to disagree with forced government-run health care, or even government mandating that everyone MUST purchase health insurance, or be made to pay a fine for not doing so. I think if someone can afford to buy it, but chooses not to do so, then they should not be able to ask the taxpayers to cover their costs if they need medical care. I do wish everyone had access to whatever healthcare they needed, but I believe that the government is inefficient, at best when it comes to running any sort of aid. All that said, again, I believe healthy debate is a good thing. I grew up on it. My parents encouraged it, and we had very lively discussions around the dinner table and elsewhere. I also believe, however, that when one must resort to treating someone like an idiot because of their deeply held faith, they’ve lost the argument,whether they want to accept that or not. I believe that twisting what the Bible says in order to say another person is not acting in a Christian way is not a strong argument, either. I got to the point where I basically threw up my hands and said “whatever…”, and was about to pack up my kids and leave, and probably not come back. I have NEVER done to anyone in this group what was done to me today, no matter how strongly I disagreed with them. I’ve never rolled my eyes when someone refers to the “goddess” as in “if the goddess had wanted me to do (whatever it was) she would have given me (something, I don’t recall what that was)”. I’ve debated, as kindly as I could, the issue of abortion, Obama care, etc, as calmly and carefully as I could. In return, I’ve been yelled at for asking about whether it was the law here to only use call phones hands free while driving, yelled at when I said I hadn’t gotten used to not having to save pop bottles to return for deposit (yelled at that I should be saving them for recycling), and now verbally mocked for my Christian faith, and yelled at because of my deeply held views, both faith wise and political views. This came close to being our final park day, which made me sad, because I’ve come a lot of times because my kids love going, and have friends there. It is one of the few places they have since we’ve been here where they can have an extended, weekly time of fun and play with kids who accept them in spite of all their differences (they are special needs children, with issues ranging from fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar, ODD, OCD, etc). What changed my mind, you ask? Well, after things calmed a bit and someone got the subject changed, another mom who has only been coming for a few weeks came to me and very quietly told me she agreed with me, and asked me for information about my church. The Bible says we are to be the salt and the light in the world.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on on a candlestick, and giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
And for those who wondered why, if we’re under grace New Testament) the Old testament is relevent to our lives today:

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law,, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

I believe this means we are to influence others by our testimony, and living our faith. I do try very hard to show my faith and testimony in the way I live, the way I treat others, and in the ways I react to what others do to me. As a result, unbelievers have told me that they can see my faith, they can see that I do my best to treat others with a grace that appears to be what someone claiming to be a Christian should be doing. I hope that one day, when I stand before Him, the Lord will say to me “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. And I pray that the lady who came to me today will come visit this Sunday evening for our Christmas candle light service. I invited her, after she asked me several questions about our church, and about where it is. And I came to the conclusion that her doing so, even after the derisive, mocking way I was treated for daring to disagree, means God has me there for a reason, at least for this season in my life.


Filed under Christian faith, education, family, health, home education, Kids, Politics, unschooling

Homeschool park days, in November! :-)

Yet another very cool thing about having moved from MI to NM, Here in Albuquerque, we are still doing homeschool park days, in November, in summer clothes! Today was our weekly park day with the ABQ homeschoolers group,the kids were having a great time, and so was I! I was very included in the conversations with the other moms, and so caught up in the enjoyment, it was 4:00 before I even realized it! We usually leave park days by around 3:00 – 3:30, and do at least one errand on the way home, leaving time for me to get supper going so we can eat shortly after my husband gets home. Fortunately, today I made use of my slow cooker, because even without an on the way home errand, we got home about 15 minutes before my husband did. It was a fun afternoon! Now, if I can just find the time to get to the MVD and get my driver’s license changed to a NM license, then we’ll be able to get library cards, and it will help if any of the museums have lower prices for local residents.

One cool thong we’ve done since moving here is to go to the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Tons of fun, and educational, too! There was a Nasa tent, where we watched a good demonstration of why one would have to have a space suit in space. The demonstration was done using peeps, which was kind of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a hot air balloon simulator that all four kids got to go in and “fly” the balloon, seeing on a big screen everything that was happening. We got to meet some of the balloon pilots, and watch all the balloons being inflated and set up for the balloon glow. After that, there was an awesome fireworks show, better than any we’d ever seen, anywhere. Next year, we plan to try to go to both a morning session, when they do the mass ascension of all the balloons, and an evening session, to see the glows and fireworks again. It was an awesome evening, and I highly recommend that if you ever get to Albuquerque during the fiesta, you should make it a point to go. My kids liked it so much, we purchased from two books about the first hot air balloon flight and plan to do a lapbook about it.

They’ve also asked to do a unit study about Route 66, because it runs right through our city(Albuquerque), and because the original Cars movie was based on Route 66, so now that we’re getting settled in here, I will find the unit study I had saved on the computer, and they can do it. I’m saving some of thos stuff, though, so that if I can find someone to sit with the kids next month when my husband has surgery (I will need to be at the hospital all day with him), they’ll have something to do. I don’t know any unschoolers who might be willing to keep them that day, so if I find anyone, it will likely be regular homeschoolers, who will have their own kids doing school, so mine will need something schooly to do, too, even though we generally are relaxed/homeschoolers. Lst resort will be having to bring them to the hospital for the day with me, which would NOT be my first, or the best choice.

Another educational thing they want to do is learn about New Mexico, along with each state we drove through on our way here to NM, so we’ll do that before continuing on with our study of all 50 states. My two youngest, for about the past year off and on, on their own, have been making notebooks in which they draw and color each state flag, then label it with the name of the state, the number (1st, 2nd, etc…) of state, and the year it became a state. They are enjoying that, probably because it was their own idea. My stepson has for some time been writing stories for the Fossil Fighters DS game, and drawing pictures to go with them. He’s keeping them in a notebook. Our oldest is most interested in playing baseball on DS, sorting his sports cards, and reading.

I have been considering getting the Write an Adventure Novel in a year curriculum and doing it myself! I had made a goal to learn to knit this year, but then we found out my husband was being transferred to NM, so my time became cosumed with packing and getting us moved. Now it’s November, so if I’m going to meet my goal I will need to find the DVD set I purchased from a homeschool catalog and get going on it, hadn’t I? But first, I need to complete a baby gift I’ve been working on for a new grand niece.

We have my cousin and her teo boys from Ohio coming the first part of next week for a short visit on their trip out west, so the kids and I will be getting the house in order as best as we can (we aren’t completely unpacked as yet) tomorrow and Monday, and while I run errands tomorrow, they’ll be doing their Saturday chores under their dad’s supervision. I think I will call my cousin tomorrow and ask her if she will teach me how to make omelets while she’s here. That way I can buy what I need for them on Saturday while grocery shopping.

Next on my list is getting desks for the computer room, so I can have back the tables I need for cardmaking/stamping/scrapbooking workshops. I’m a consultant for Close to My Heart and am really trying to get my business off the ground now that we are finally here. If any of my readers enjoy scrapbooking, stamping and/or card making, please consider me for your papercrafting needs, and go to my website. I have a current party going, so if you go to the site and scroll down, you’ll see a link for hurricane sandy aid gathering. Click on that to begin shopping. In November, everyone who gets the stamp of the month set can also choose another stamp set for 50% off, plus, with every stamp of the month set, Close to My Heart will donate $1.00 to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief. Get a great deal, and help others at the same time! You can also order when there is o current party, but I do try to have one up each month. If you are interested in having your own party, you can email me at and I’ll set you up with an EZ invite so that you can have your own online gathering, earning free and half price product for yourself. I will also be happy to mail you catalogs to show to your local friends, and your non-local friends can order from your personalized link on my website. Their online order will be sent directly to them, and you still get the credit! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, I think that’s all for today!


Filed under card making, Close to My Heart, education, family, Kids, scrapbooking, stamping, Travel, unschooling

Today’s happenings…

Got a load of towels done, still need to fold them, though… Kids have all finished their Bible studies for today, now the twins are going around withย their dad’sย measuring tapes, measuring everything in sight, LOL! They just a little while ago spent time reading to each other, taking turns page by page. one twin chose one of his Biscuit the dog books and The other chose a Little Bear book. My twin who didn’t want to do the work involved in learning to read is really improving in his reading now! ๐Ÿ™‚ my teens spent a little time on the wii, now A is playing baseball on his Nintendo 3DS, and I is watching Kung Foo Panda on DVD. I have spent most of the morning trying to find out how we go about transferring our guardianship of A to a judge here, because obviously, the original judge back home has no jurisdiction in NM. We’re hopeful it will be a simple matter to just transfer it. I have a pressure band on my left arm, it has been very, very painful lately to go without it. I had to take a pain pill and muscle relaxer this morning, so it’s as well that I’ve planned not to have to go anywhere today, because I’d prefer to not drive. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still have a bunch of boxes in the front room to unpack, but I need to get more big plastic bins with lids for things that get stored between uses, as I don’t want to store them in the garage in cardboard moving boxes. Most of the school stuff is still in boxes too, because we really need some more bookshelves to put them in. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And of course, still wishing for a piano, had to leave mine behind to save money on the moving truck, and I miss having lessons, and really miss my practice time! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

We very much like our new church, though it was hard leaving our church back home when we moved. But, it’s really not possible to be an active member of a church that is nearly 1700 miles from where you live! Our church here is a good fit for us, and we hope we’ll be a good fit for the church (! I’ve joined e adult choir, our older boys are in the teen choir, and the two younger are in the Sunshine Kids Choir. I also attend the weekly Ladies Bible Study group. There are other families with adoptive children, including some with special needs children adopted from foster care, like us. We really are happy at Mesa!

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Filed under adoption, education, family, Kids, unschooling

Something new!

I’m sure that at sometime in this blog I’ve talked bout the fact that we homeschool. Well, now that we’ve gotten at least partially settled here in New Mexico, the kids are asking to do some school-ish things. They really want to do a Route 66 unit study, because we drove on part of Route 66 during our trip here, and because the original Cars movie was based on it. I think we can manage to do that soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

I’m hoping to get more followers here, because I’d like to apply to be on the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for the coming year. To do that I need a bumch more followers of my blog. I will be blogging about what my kids and I are learning, along with other journeys in my life. Now that we’re here, and at least partially settled, I should have more time to write.ย 

So far since being here, we’ve been to the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, where we learned about flying hot air balloons, and also learned some interesting things in the Nasa tent about how the pressurized space suits protect astronauts. In the demonstration, they used marshmallow peeps to represent toe astronauts. We also learned that in space, the boiling point is at a much lower tempurature than it is on our stovetop!ย 

At home, we’re learning how different it is to cook here than it was in Port Huron, MI. We are nearly six thousand feet higher here, ย so cooking is different because of the altitude.ย 

The weather here is amazing! Our friends ack home are running their furnaces, wearing jackets, and ladies are pulling out their tights to wear with dresses, whereas here, we are still in summer clothes, and I’m wearing sandals. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m liking the weather so much!ย 

It’s very beautiful here, in a different way than the beauty of Michigan. I think it’s going to be a wonderful place to homeschool, there are a bunch of different museums here, which I’m told are very kid friendly, and as soon as I have time to change my driver’s license to a NM one, the kids and I can get library cards, which will also help a lot.ย 

Well, as I said, this is a new journey, homeschooling in New Mexico. We’re looking forward to it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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October 20, 2012 · 11:08 pm