The Homeschool Minute ~ Starting Your New Year Off

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Starting Your New Year Off
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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,

Another year. Gone. It was hectic, and it went fast. But the truth of it is, it’s gone forever–can’t get it back, can’t do it over. And while you MUST not use any part of it to beat yourself up for things left undone or fall into wishful regrets, it’s a good reminder that every year has special components like one-on-one conversations, hugs and kisses, discipleship, new learning opportunities, and a million other pieces of your “bringing-up-children” season of life. They are tiny threads in the beautiful tapestry being woven all around you.

This Mama and Kiddo season, which lasts a couple of decades, will go lightning fast. In fact, when you look back on it, you’ll wonder how on earth it could have passed by so quickly. You will long to pull that chubby, talkative three-year-old onto your lap just one more time, or to have a heart talk with your 14-year-old–when you still have that window. It just goes so fast, Mama.

So look at what you accomplished over the past twelve months, and know that there were lots of seeds planted, lots of new growth, lots of mistakes, but lots of grace, too. You’re a family. And you’re teaching these kids how to create their own little families someday, just by being you. Just by being them. Just by living and loving together.

So smile knowingly at what was 2015. Even the mistakes had purpose. Enjoy your brand new year because yet another new one will be here again in the blink of an eye, and you’ll start it all over once again. Mercies are new every morning … new every year, every day, every minute, too. And because we serve a kind, wise, compassionate, mercy-filled and gracious God, His hand is on your head tonight. So just smile at that too, because it’s true.

~ gena
P.S. The 2016 big print magazine of The Old Schoolhouse® is done printing and being readied NOW for mailing. If you act today, you can still get in on the mailing list – as of tomorrow, it’s closed.
Only $12 – includes shipping costs.


Trehan_s TreasuresTrehan’s Treasures offers Art Workshops, Live & Online Homeschool Classes in early American history, Original Art, Illustration and Stationery Products. Plus we are home to LibertyBox© – A subscription service for kids featuring monthly projects in studying early American history!
Dr. James Dobson    

Dr. James Dobson

As homeschooling parents, you take care of lesson plans, field trips, teaching and testing, not to mention the house and home. But who is taking care of your marriage? Please consider this timely advice from Dr. Dobson …
Take Time Out for Your Marriage  
By Dr. James C. Dobson
To keep a marriage vibrant and healthy, you have to give it some attention.
Do you recall those days when you just couldn’t wait to see each other, and how each minute away seemed like an eternity? Recalling those moments together is one way to regenerate what you felt before.
Even better than talking about them is re-experiencing them. My wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary by exploring what we called our “old haunts.” We went to the Pasadena Playhouse, where we had our second date; we ate at the same restaurant for dinner; and we visited the Farmer’s Market where we used to stroll on lazy summer evenings. We talked about warm memories and relived the excitement of those days. It was a wonderful reprise.
Another suggestion is to return regularly to the kinds of romantic activities that drew you together in the first place. You need to put some fun and laughter into your lives, which otherwise can get dreary and oppressive.
Years ago, Shirley and I found ourselves in that kind of situation where we had almost forgotten how to play. We finally got fed up and decided to do something about it. We loaded the car and headed for a winter wonderland in Mammoth, California. There we spent the weekend skiing and eating and laughing together. One night we built a fire in the fireplace and talked for hours while our favorite music played on the stereo. We felt like kids again.
The next time you feel that you’re losing that closeness you once shared, try talking about your memories of earlier days and revisit the old haunts, sing the old songs, tell the old stories. It’s the best bet to rekindle the sparks of romance that first drew you together. Water the plant, place it in the sunlight, and it will grow. If you put it in a cold dark corner, however, it is likely to die.
For over 30 years, Dr. James Dobson has been America’s trusted source for psychologically sound, biblically based advice to help strengthen marriages, parents and families. For more practical help and encouragement, go to:


Math Relief
With thorough explanations, examples, worksheets and complete
 solution keys, students are usually at the top of their math classes
when they get to college.
Relational Homeschooling

Diana Waring

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year!
Okay. Let’s do this. Let’s make a few New Year’s resolutions together.
In 2016,
  • let’s laugh more every day;
  • let’s schedule in free time every week;
  • let’s stretch ourselves by trying something new every month;
  • let’s plan to visit someplace new at least once this year.
That was easy, wasn’t it? But how do we actually DO it???
Laugh more every day.
Laughing every day will make your homeschool healthier than any other single thing you can do! For this to work, though, you have to have a plan. Laughter can generate spontaneously, but when you’re in the throes of tension about subtraction or chores or reading assignments, laughter becomes as rare as hen’s teeth.  That’s why you need a plan.
Every family’s funny bone is different, but from experience, I know that having a funny book to read out loud is a sure-fire way to tickle your kids. The Hank the Cowdog series is a great place to start. Also, look online for church bulletin bloopers to find some really funny puns. Or plan a game time with something that makes you laugh, like Twister. Anything that causes hilarity for your family is fair game. Or get a kitten or puppy. They are guaranteed to make you laugh more. If you need more help, more suggestions, check out my Hilarious Homeschool workshop on CD. And, then, write your laughter-making-choice in your planner.
Free time every week.
This is the hard one, isn’t it? You don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done, and now I’m suggesting you add in something else! But, here’s the deal: you are not a robot and neither are your kids. We need space in our lives to be creative, do a fun thing, take a nap … whatever it is that free time means to you. (BTW, free time does NOT mean cleaning the toilet!)
Just stop for a moment and imagine: what would you do if you had a free afternoon every week? What would your kids do? Less work is actually far more productive–and more fun! So, figure out when this will work and put it in your planner.
Try something new every month.
It may be a new recipe, a new vegetable or fruit, a new activity (like watercolor)–whatever is new for you. There is something powerful about breaking out of the same old/same old and doing something you’ve never done before, particularly if it is something you’ve secretly wanted (but never had the courage) to do before!
It can be small, it can be big, but it needs to be something new EVERY MONTH. So, choose something and put it in your planner.
Visit someplace new this year.
Whether it’s across town, across the country, or across the globe, there are new places to explore with your kids! It might be a living history museum, a beach, an art gallery, a waterfall, an architectural wonder, a forest, a battlefield, a mountain … It may take a little planning or a lot of planning. It may be for vacation or for a field trip. But getting out and seeing something new is what keeps us alive to the wonder of learning! So, put it in your planner for this year.
Such fun awaits as we make room for these things in our lives!
Remember, stay relational.

P.S. Be sure to check out my latest video blog–Brain Breaks! It will help you keep your kids engaged and excited about learning!


Winter Wonderland Sale


Free eBook!
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7 Things You Should Know When Choosing Homeschool
from Excellent Quests.

Last week I was out of the loop so I wasn’t able to wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful time with your family. Now that the pressure of Christmas is over maybe you can enjoy things a little more.
My advice for starting your new year is: don’t be in a hurry to get started. Spend the next few days in your PJs. Don’t worry about your list. Focus on the people in your house. Play a new game you received. Don’t worry about sticking to your diet. And whatever you do, DON’T THINK ABOUT STARTING SCHOOL.
Diana is right when she says, “Stay relational.” It’s not just a nice way to end her articles … it’s the truth!
Be real and don’t think about school,


Building Brilliant Lives
Goodbye 2015 – Hello 2016!
Are you ready for this? It is “Resolution Time”!   
As Christ’s children, we are called to tend to our souls, minds, bodies, and homes.
Like many fabulous homeschooling moms who tend to care for everyone’s needs but their own, early this year, I finally reached the threshold. Something had to be done. Exhausted, wobbling in a whirling world of “When is it time for me?” and, to my shock, morbidly obese, with utter desperation, I dove into “my time” in March 2015. “My time” very quickly became “our time.” With the guidance of my health coach, as a family, we learned to incorporate healthy habits into our days. We lost over 150 pounds in ten months (100 were mine) and acquired more energy this year than we’ve had in many previous years combined!!! Everyone’s health, attitudes, aptitudes, and behaviors improved dramatically as we chose to attend to the temples that HE gave us.
What are the habits that helped?
  1. Eating small protein and low carb based meals every 2-3 hours. (Just enough energy until your next “meal”!)  This stops the sugar spikes and decreases internal inflammation.
  2. Drinking 80-100 ounces a day!
  3. Sleeping7-8 hours a night!  “Healing” happens as we sleep.
  4. Finding 15 quiet minutes a day!
  5. Moving muscles daily.
  6. Finding support. Hang out with friends who help you feel fabulous!
  7. Setting precise goals while paying attention to the decisions that you make. 
Have you considered “resolving” to improve your family’s
 health related habits in 2016?
“We don’t have to do it alone!”
Together and with our families we can continue to Build the 
Body of Christ for His glory.
Blessings and Smiles, Mrs. G.
COPE Certified Health Coach
Are you fed up with being tired all the time? 
Tired of being out of breath while doing simple activities?
Do you want to feel and look better?
Join me in a health and weight loss challenge in January!
Your goal? To lose 6% or maintain between 1-5.99% of your weight while learning healthy habits! With positive support from a health oriented community, the health games are a priceless and fun resource for the entire family!
For more information contact your FREE COPE Certified Health Coach:


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Happy New Year

We can hardly wait to show you everything we’ve been working on at to get your new year off to a great start! We have more than a dozen new courses debuting throughout the month of January. Are you ready for a sneak peek? Here’s a partial list of what we have in store for you:
  • Elementary math workshops about place value, decimals, and whole numbers
  • Introduction to Graphic Design (Middle School-High School)
  • American History (Middle School)
  • Modern American History (Elementary)
  • Growing Readers (Elementary)
  • Image Editing (Middle School-High School)
  • Physical Science (Middle School)
  • Social Studies (Middle School-High School)
  • Bible Adventures in new languages
  • A new creative writing class
  • Unit studies on our national parks
PLUS we have simplified navigation even further so you can get to your lessons with 40% fewer clicks from our totally
updated Quick Links page.
Try for thirty days for only $1. Keep it and pay just $7.77/month and lock in that rate for as long as you keep your membership, no matter how many new classes and features we add.
One membership to serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or their ages. There are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks, and courses are not live, so you can start them at any time. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching a class on our site, please contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at


The Dad-Plan
Leading the Charge in the New School Year
The Dad-Plan
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.


Click here to get access to FREE back issues of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner 
For the month of December 2015
Reviewers on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to choose from several curriculum pieces that Brookdale House offers. Each reviewer received one. Drawing Around the World (USA or Europe), from The Geography Drawing Series, were top choices!
This curriculum instructs students in geography by teaching the big picture of where the countries of Europe or states in the United States are located in relation to each other. Children have the opportunity to draw the states or countries, fill in fact sheets, and learn about the different populations, climates, cultures, etc., of the countries or states they are learning about.
Brookdale House also produces a wide variety of other products like: The Fun Spanish, Writing Through History (Charlotte Mason narration, copywork, and dictation), as well as grammar instruction and much more. The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed many different selections. Here’s your chance to discover how they were used in real homeschools! Click to read the reviews!
YOU can WIN this resource for your homeschool!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, “Drawing: Europe” for a chance to win* it for your family!
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What I appreciate most about Todd’s column is that he never assumes he knows what is best for me… but he KNOWS that God knows & encourages me to find that & follow that. Thanks for all the encouragement over the years!”    

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Everett, WA

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