10/13/14

Teaching French When Your Student Is More Motivated Than You


The Geek Bug, back in 2012 at age 8 years old,
with Terry Snow with YWAM Haiti

Some years ago our family attended an international night to support missionaries.  I expected an evening that would allow my children to learn, to explore, to find a great cause to support.  Please note the word, support ... Not dive in, head first.

I did not expect that it would create a lifetime vision for one of my children. That meeting one particular missionary, from one particular place would change all the plans she had for her life.  

The Geek Bug was then only 7 years old, and already possessed a ardent want to support missions and humanitarian aid to Haiti.  She had already organized a little penny drive & "adopted" a little doll that she said was a Haitian orphan. She named him David. 

But, that night after meeting the YWAM Haiti director, her fervor for the people of Haiti was ignited all the more.


We challenged the Geek Bug to utilize her new found passion into motivation.
We helped her to plan ways to support her vision. Like the photo below, where she made yarn dolls to support her missionary. 

Missions Project Thumbnail

We encouraged her to learn French, instead of Creole, as she would easily be able to adjust when she was older.  I began gathering resources and taught French to her, megerly, but consistently.  In two short years, she has surpassed her instructor & longs for more.

The importance of learning French has not been a fly-by-night fancy for the Geek Bug.  It is as important to her now as it was after that night exploring Haiti missions.

Mommy's enthusiasm, however; is wavering. 

She was thrilled to begin utilizing this online class to help extend herself beyond her instructor's current state of understanding & lack of enthusiasm. (I am hanging my head, with a little shame) 

We have been enjoying Middlebury Interactive Languages: French, level 6.  Obviously, we needed a French course that was well-suited to our family's learning needs, and Middlebury has met them all.  

• Versatile 
• User Friendly
• Conversational Instruction
• Enjoyable 



In addition to her formal courses, the Geek Bug has enjoyed utilizing the Middlebury app.  The app provides her with a variety of enrichment activities that she enjoys using in between her lessons online.



• The Middlebury app includes an interactive French dictionary that includes audio pronunciation.



• Discover famous landmarks of France with some lovely photography.

• The app also has a lovely video on French Castles.



Now is an excellent time to be thinking about teaching foreign language and choosing something that suits your students needs.  Middlebury is affordable and has an offer for home educators with a 10% discount, use code: HomeschoolFirst10.

Middlebury is also hosting a giveaway for homeschoolers right now!  Enter to win an online course for learning a foreign language from Middlebury.  You will have an opportunity to select the langauge and level of your choosing, a value of $119. 

Enter here ---> Using this Entry-Form



• Come and join the iHomeschool Bloggers as Middlebury is featured in a Twitter party on Oct. 9, 2014 
• Middlebury Interactive Languages will also be featured at the iHomeschool Hangout on October 16th, with panelists discussing teaching foreign language in home education.
Be sure to follow along with Middlebury Interactive Languages. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

** This post may contain affiliate links.  I received a complimentary course for the purpose of reviewing this service.  I have received compensation for my time, however; all opinions are mine.   Thank you for your support. You can read my full disclosure policy here.**

10/4/14

Geography Rocks: Multi-Levels In One Book

Geography does not top the list of great importance for most people.  It is altogether one of the most neglected subjects in education at large.  Frankly, that thought would  usually not bother people on a day-to-day basis.

Oh, how wrong people can be.  



Recently my horizons have been broadened and my eyes have been opened to the far reaching, and ever-changing subject of geography.  A subject that I have paid some attention to, as a historian geography generally gets a nod from me, but most likely not enough time has been spent on this subject in our home.  Now, I am beginning to think this subject deserves far more than a nod.


North Star Geography is a new curriculum from Bright Ideas Press, and more specifically written by Tyler Hogan, a homeschool graduate, father and inspired geographer.

Now wait a few seconds before you start on the, "Hey, I thought you were a Charlotte Mason 'I-spit-in-the-general-direction-of-textbooks' type educator" retort.  True, I will still take a living book written by one author passionate about their subject, over that of a dry textbook any day!  Sense we are on the subject, let me take this moment to say that Tyler Hogan gives a narrative "living book" flare to his writing in North Star Geography.  He is apparently ecstatic about sharing his knowledge of geography, and is an expert in his field. From the beginning lesson, it is made perfectly clear this author writes because he cares, and because he has passion to share!

Let me set the record straight here and now, North Star Geography is the exception to the rule, much as its predecessor, Mystery of History.

North Star Geography is written for High School students and can be adapted to suit the needs of Middle School students. I have just those type of students on-hand in my home, so we were good to go.


We have been utilizing North Star Geography in our studies for about 2 months.  The book includes a wonderful CD-ROM with printable resources including: Mapwork, Quizzes, Note-Taking, Activities, Maps, and suggested Schedules. I opted for the 2 year schedule, that will allow us ample time to cover the material.  This is the best for us considering geography is a broad subject, and I want to take our time digging deeper.

Aside from watching the kids begin to understand and enjoy a typically elusive subject, there are a few points about this book I am particularly enjoying:

• Motivated storytelling by a passionate author makes for a great read aloud.

• Variety of options for hands-on learning, and project-based learning.  Having these options are important to my kinesthetic learner. We will also spotlight a few of these projects during October, so you can see North Star Geography in action.

• Easy to adapt "Note-Taking" activities that I can turn into an excellent opportunity for self-lead Notebooking time for my students.  I will be discussing this more in-depth next week.

• Quizzes that are provided are helpful in creating "CM-styled" exams for exam week.

• Ease in adapting activities and assignments to cater to both my High School learners and my Middle School students.

• A name that I trust for biblical worldview curriculum, and a company that shares my family's values, in Bright Ideas Press, and the Hogan family.

North Star Geography homeschool curriculum

Geography needs more than just a nod in any home education journey.  Our increasingly expanding global society grows daily leaving us reeling to make sense of our place in the world. You can be assured North Star Geography will deliver geography centered in God's purpose, and on a biblical worldview.

Geography does, in fact, rock!  How do I know?  Check out the top photo in this post.  This is what I found on our spelling board after just a lesson, left anonymously by one of my kids.  Take it from the kid's unprompted response, they enjoy learning geography, North Star Geography way!

Stay tuned each Saturday this month for more GEOGRAPHY ROCKS.  We will be looking at North Star Geography, up close, and discuss notebooking, examinations and more.

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

** This post may contain affiliate links.  Thank you for your support. You can read my full disclosure policy here.**

Be on the look out for our journey as we complete a new resource from Bright Ideas Press, North Star Geography.

North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo

9/8/14

No Boring Book of Centuries Allowed {Notebooking Construction}

The Book of Centuries has been a longtime resource for many home educators.  It is just not a new idea.  Classical and Charlotte Mason educators over the years have utilized this notebooking method to reap untold reward of learning and knowledge.  Okay, well, I don't have hard evidence or statistics to back that last statement up, but it is probably true. ;)

There are many resources across the internet to help you put together a Book of Centuries.  As a Charlotte Mason educator, this is a weekly work item for my children, and I have also incorporated it in my history classes at homeschool cooperative, as well.  The basic concept of a Book of Centuries is to learn, determine and record the important events of history, in chronological format.

The idea of a Book of Centuries page is to reflect, on one page, a set time period.  A good page entry should depict events sequentially, adding facts and pictures to make a beautiful snapshot of history on the page.  This enriching activity helps students to grasp the chronology of the time period in history they are studying.

Here are a few basic examples from our Book of Centuries:

We utilized Notebooking Pages' Book of Centuries pack for many of our entries.  It is  convenient and easy to print out the pages that my students need, and it gives a consistent uniform look to our Book of Centuries.  

Of course, we are homeschoolers, so we don't want EVERYTHING uniform.  Last year, we started adding some other creative and personal touches to our Book of Centuries that have made it an even more bright, vibrant and living collection of chronological history.  Here are some creative pages to add to your Book of Centuries:

  • Wanted Posters: The above photo are the Founding Father's Wanted Posters from our 1st Semester History Projects at co-op.
  • Biography Pages: Learning about the life of a man or woman that lived during the time period you are studying, is a profound and important tool in history.  When children connect with an individual, either by admiration or loathing, the door swings wide for true learning and loving that historical moment in time.



  • Political Cartoons: Studying political cartoons and devising your own humor of historical events or persons adds fun to any Book of Centuries.
  • Cover Page Contest:  We actually had a competition to see who could create the best Cover Page at homeschool cooperative and the teachers voted.  The picture above was our 2014 winner . . . never mind the winner just happened to be one of my kids. 
Here is a list of resources for building a Book of Centuries:

Have you tried using a Book of Centuries in your homeschool yet?

Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook

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