Our Decision to Homeschool

We decided to homeschool for several different reasons that I will elaborate on in other posts. Each has its own set of influences.  The first is the public school lack of individualized 100_1016curriculum. It doesn’t matter whether your state is under Common Core or not, any state with a standardized test is practice a cookie cutter philosophy. Each stage of development had an age range. Children gain mastery in these stages at different times, some faster, some slower than others. How or to what speed a person learns is as diverse  as their interest are. None of these were being addressed in the public school classroom.

Although I was teaching my own class of students with learning obstacles and already had to meet my students at whatever stage they were when they came to me, I was restricted by what the district said to teach because their goal was different than mine. While I wanted them to learn to read and then through reading learn whatever they wanted to learn, whatever their soul desired, the district was interested in scores.

At the same time, my daughter was GT (gifted and talented) tested in kindergarten in the 99th percentile. She was reading on a fourth grade level. Though she was labeled and had a GT, I saw teachers limit these students that were ready to move ahead. They were academically neglected and by the time she was in third grade, the gap in her reading level started closing in. She also dealt with bullying by a teacher. He was a painfully slow talker. And, even though we sometimes wait painstakingly for her to finish her thoughts, her and other quick-minded students would finish his sentences for him. Instead of teaching them manners and empathy, he targeted them. I was already a hands-on-mom and thought I knew what was going on in the class, years later I was still getting stories and tears.

When my son entered kinder, he was dealing with  the left-over of some minor autistic markers. We had already denied further immunizations and began recovery in speech, behavior, and allergies caused by the immunizations. We had overwhelming success. The behaviors he was left with where what you might see in others labeled with ADHD. He had still not made any friends his own age. He still lacked empathy and had difficulty not smiling when being corrected,  and he definitely had issues being still, but he was on the mend. I was thrilled with the progress, but knew that his teachers did not have the background to understand where we were coming from, what we left behind. I explained the situation to his teacher (also a friend) she said she understood and would do what was necessary to help him be successful. Very early on, he began missing out on class for things like pushing someone that cut in front of him in line, a very typical behavior for an egocentric age. It continued and he spent a lot of time being shuffled from classroom to classroom, instead of correcting and teaching inside the classroom. I just kept thinking to myself, “Where do I get to send him at home when he repeats the behavior. I can’t shuffle him around from house to house. Don’t give me the excuse that teaching has to continue, because at home, I still have other things to do, cleaning, parenting other children, serving my husband. At that age, a teacher is still attending to character development, so tend to it already!”

Sometimes, I found that it was because the teacher couldn’t handle him and her head-ache at the same time. I bit my tongue not telling how many times I suffered from migraines and not one of my wannabe gang bangers ever went to the office unless my hand was force. I kept my kids in my class, because I could not teach them the love of reading from any other place. I had students with problems too, but many times that is what cause the lack of attention to learning.

Meanwhile, my son struggled with the writing part of his homework (Really?). I modified it and spent most of our time reading with him. By the end of kinder he was reading on 2nd grade level. Within a couple of months of homeschool he is  reading on 3rd. My strong belief is that wherever your kids are there they are. If they advance, don’t hold them back. If they struggle, don’t push them forward. To be honest, individualized teaching is the philosophy we heard in every college class and every workshop we teachers ever attended, but we were not being asked to teach that way when we got into the classroom. I was disillusioned, but wanted to be there for my students, so I stuck it out for 15 years. I loved my students and didn’t see many others that did. My students were targeted because of their race, their culture, and their socio-economic level. Year after year, I was asked by close colleagues to stay and continue my work with them, but once I saw my own children being affected by the broken system, and my health was beginning to suffer from the stress I was taking on, I had to leave. It was bitterseet. It was the right step and now my children can be on whatever level they’re at. My son still struggles with writing, and we move gradually with it. With reading, the sky is the limit. I will guide, he will lead.

You can read more about why we homeschool on Homeschool Forgiveness.

Our Favorite 19th Century Ebooks for Sciences-More Albert Blaisdell

Here is a list of our favorite 19th century ebooks for Science.  I think it will come as no surprise the Albert Blaisdell’s books will be on this list. He is just so much fun. I will shareorange-14735_640 science books by other authors in another post.

Physiology, By Albert Blaisdell

Written For 3rd grade, Interest Level  8-10 years of age

Physiology for Little Folks A revised version of The Child’s Book of Health

The Child’s Book of Health

Written For 4th and 5th grade, Interest Level  10-12 years of age

How to Keep Well

Physiology For Boys and Girls Revised version of How to Keep Well

Written For 6th and 7th grade, Interest Level  12-15 years of age

Our Bodies and How We Live

Young Folk’s Physiology– revised version of Our Bodies and How We Live

Our Bodies or How We live: Physiology for theYoung

High School

Life and Health

A Practical Physiology

For Teachers

How to Teach Physiology-Not Found


Our Favorite 19th Century Ebooks for History

This is a  list  of our favorites 19th century ebooks for US History. I will update as we find more.book-112117_640

Albert Blaisdell is so much fun. My daughter is learning a lot, and frequently laughs and shares Blaisdell’s witty anecdote. They are written narrative style which makes the reading fun and appealing to human interests.

U.S. History-First 50 years of our nation

Written for 3rd grade, Interest Level 8-12 years of age

American History For Little Folks -Introduction to the series of companions below

Log Cabin Days: American History for Beginners -Introduction to the series of companions below

Written for 4th and 5th grades, Interest Level 10-15 years of age

American History Story Book-Companion in the series

The Child’s Book of American History-Companion in the series

Pioneers of America -Companion in the series

The Story of American History for Elementary Schools

Written for 6th and 7th grades, Interest level 12-15 years of age 

Heroic Deeds of American Sailors -Companion in the series

Hero Stories from American History for Elementary Schools

Stories of the Civil War



Homeschool Forgiveness

We decided to homeschool for various reasons, most of all, because we felt what the children learned in public school conflicted with the biblical worldview that we talked of at home. You might assume that I am talking about the secular curriculum, but it was actually what the children were learning about themselves as human beings and what they were learning about their own behaviors.

sad-219721_150Many typical childish behaviors (1 Corinthians 13:11)  were handled by shaming and unforgiveness. Labels were being placed on the children and they could not get out from under those labels. I was a teacher at the school and often ask to sit quietly by the behavior specialist while she talked with my son. I listened to her ask the same questions over and over. While he answered her questions correctly each time and had answers that were biblically sound and responsible.  Confused by the repeated questions, he would look at me questioningly  (Psalm 119:8, Colossians 3:21). I encouraged him to answer the questions again, not sure what more she was looking for. Forgiveness was superficially given (Romans 12:9) after a substantial amount of shame and confusion was place on him. I learned later that the once loving teacher that was previously my daughter’s teacher, was sending him out of the room for typical, but repeated behaviors, because she was suffering from headaches. He was out of the class more than I was aware, going from teacher to teacher, feeling abandoned and unforgiven. He was making no friends, and hated the work he saw no point to. The only thing he loved was story time, yet he continued to speak out of turn, excited about the book, annoying the teacher further. He was ready to learn, but not ready for school, not for what they were teaching him (Psalm 34:11, 2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 5:29). I do feel the need to state for the record that we do believe in active parenting. Correcting, teaching, and consequences belong in our discipline, but forgiveness is not to be withheld from our children (Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 29:17).

My oldest daughter, who was one of the top in her class, acing the standardized test, was bored to tears and spent much of her time listening to teachers nagging about her reading  or doodling when she was supposed to be listening to a  new lesson. She would often come home with marker doodles all over her body as evidence of her times of boredom. Scoldings were followed by straight A report cards with marks for  behavior. The marks were a blight in her eyes. I could see the handwriting on the wall. My children were doomed to hate learning and what fire they had developed would lose their flame if continuing on that path. They were also learning lies about themselves. They were learning that they should be perfect (Romans 3:23). That they were unforgivable (Mark 3:28). That they were different from the other seemingly obedient children and a lost cause and could be discarded easily. My heart was breaking.

love-of-books.jpgForgiveness is needed in our house. The lot of us are awful sinners  in Israelite fashion, grumpy getter-uppers, egocentric and lacking faith that our daily needs would be met. Truthfully wants and needs are sometimes really difficult to discern from another. On a daily basis we apologize to each other and dole out forgiveness left and right. It is important to me to apologize as soon as convicted. I want my children to see that I am not perfect, that everybody needs forgiveness. I want them to see they were not different but the same as those around them, flawed by original sin. I want them to be able to apologize with ease when it was there turn. I want to forgive them freely without hesitation,and have them learn the love of Christ through me so they could in turn, show the love of Christ to others (Micah 7:18-19). Forgiveness feels good (Acts 3:19) I also need to admit my own inadequacies as a parent in order to be a better one, to hold myself accountable verbally admitting my own sin to myself. In doing so, I allow God to continue to transform me through my confessions (1 John 1:9) . I have much to learn and I slide back often (Ephesians 2:10).


Finding Free Textbooks on Google Books

eye-15699_640When I first started looking through Google Books, what a chore! My search results were huge.  It took hours muddling through and discarding all that disappointed.  And I wondered, ” How do I find full texts? How do I find FREE texts.” After all, that is my goal. A friend mentioned the Advanced Search option, but it was not obviously placed.  It could have been 3:00 a.m. I could have looked right over it.

When in doubt search Google with your search terms. So, I opened Google and typed the words, “Google Books, advanced search.” Imagine my surprise when I found http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search. The other options is to go to Google books, type in the name of the book or a key word. When your results pop up, click on the link “Search tools”. A group of four additional links will display below. Click on “Any books” and a menu will reveal “Free Google ebooks”.

I was in search of some science textbooks. I wanted free. I wanted a full text, not a sample. The first search will not eliminate all samples or copies at cost, but will push most of what you desire to the front of the list.

I would first start with a topic, science. You might have a tighter topic, electricity, for example. When I’m looking for my younger children, I might add  the words “children”,  “little ones”,  “for boys and girls”, or “beginners.” These, I have chosen based on previous searches I have done for the 19th century publications. These words are not always needed. We certainly don’t use those with textbooks today, but remember today’s textbooks will not be available for free as their copyrights are still intact. Next, choose “Full View Only”. You may narrow the search further by choosing “Books” and omitting “Magazines.” The rest of the search options will further narrow your search. I hate to miss out on a hidden gem so I keep it fairly broad after choosing “Full view only.”

I like the 19th century schoolbooks for beginning readers especially. Many are written narrative style, but all are written with a wit and charm you just can’t deny. If you are looking for your middle school or high school age scientist. You’ll find that the science is practical, hands-one, and relevant. You can find the intended age group in the preface of most books.Your children will love them!

19th Century Schoolbooks

school-32981_64019th Century Schoolbooks is  fabulous for some ebook downloads. We have used A First Book in American History by Edward Eggleston. You will find it is more comprehensive than public school history text and much less agenda. It tells history like an adventure story full of wit and charm. There are some facts we quibble about at home, but so far it has served as a good beginning. We also plan on using The Young American, or, Book of Government and Law by Samuel G.Goodrich for our Civics requirement in our state. I chose this book because it really dives into the discussion of liberty and the purpose of government. It was written in a time, it seems where ideals were still close to the ideals of our founders.  

If you need to print a book for one of your children, you might go crazy when you figure out that you can only print one page at a time. This is a bummer, however there are other website to download and print these titles at. If you find a title you like and desire to print it, try searching for the title at one of the following sites: 





I find the books style and vocabulary refreshing. I prefer the content in the “readers” far more than some contemporary text. They tend to include high moral standards, problem solving, and charm. I have found that some authors write a series including different age groups for the same topic. You can simply go to the preface of a book that you like. Most tell you the age group the book is intended for and what other books are included in the series. This is a great option. I can download the 3rd grade version for my son, the 4/5th grade version for my oldest and they can discuss the topic having understood it fully from a text that was comfortable to them.

Searching the Internet Archive

detective-156961_640Archive.org is a treasure trove. I cannot tell you how awesome this database is for finding public domain resources. Just the other day, I was perusing another website for science and history books to download for my newest reader. I needed something fairly straight forward, yet something to catch interest. I happened upon some books written by Albert Blaisdell. I fell in love instantly with the voice he writes in. He relates the topic very well to prior learning. The only problem was that I could not find all of the books in the series of textbooks he wrote. Instinctively, I surfed on over to Archive.org and found every one of them. I was giddy.

Archive.com  and its users have data-based  websites, video, audio, books, and TV news broadcast. All are free for your listening, viewing, or reading pleasure. The uses are endless in homeschooling. I love to find 19th century readers for the kids. The writing seems more wholesome, inviting the read to problem solve with a higher moral code than the world today. My kids enjoy the  classics. From Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s works, we often us the books found here with the audio version to enjoy a book that might be above our most comfortable reading level.  We have found some adapted versions of the classics, as well. We enjoy the 19th century schoolbooks for many reasons. I will address that in another post.

To search Archive is simple. You can enter your key words and search all types of media or you can minimize your search to a certain form of media by using the pull down menu or  by clicking on the links at the top and choosing your media form . If you search by the first method, you will see an icon  before the title of the resources listed that indicates the type of media it is. If you have found a book on the database, simply click on the title and notice the options for viewing or download to the left of the page. You can read it straight from the website, download it from Google, to your Kindle or other device. If your find more than one of the book you are looking for, be sure to check them out. Some scans do not have the quality others do.wizard-of-oz-269148_640

My oldest is happy reading from the computer, so she downloads them to her Kindle for PC, that way she has use  of the digital bookmark. My middle child likes a paper copy. I print and bind his, according to the width. I might use a binder, a folder with brads, or simply staple a portion of a book. I save them for my youngest to use.  You can print them with an economy option if you have it. I also print them with 2 pages per sheet on landscape. You have to test print each book to see how small the font will be if you do this. Most turn our great. The printing of course is not free, but with my printer and ink combo, the cost comes to just under $3.00 for a 300 page book, using the 2 pages per sheet option. Some of the books I find are available to purchase, but I haven’t found one cheaper than printing on my own.

There are a couple of other places that I take advantage of for media in the public domain. Look for posts on them soon. You can also look forward to reading about other finds on Archive that we enjoy. That way you don’t have to do all the legwork. Just enjoy homeschooling for free!

Homeschooling For FREE