The Reading Mother

Next to teaching them about God, I feel that reading out loud to my children was the best thing I’ve ever done for them as far as their schooling goes. It is a painless way to teach vocabulary, geography, morals and a host of other important things without ever leaving your home. We also have many happy memories that are directly linked with books that we shared together. Strickland Gillian was obviously happy too that he had a mother who read to him.

The Reading Mother
Strickland Gillian

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings–
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.

The Journey Is Almost Over

A few days ago, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I visited our county library’s website. I have a friend who will be homeschooling her kindergarten age son, and I wanted to see how many books on her booklist would be available through our library system. As I began to search for different books, my mind was flooded with a sea of memories of homeschool days gone by. I read many, many books to my children when they were little(and when they were older too), and many of the titles and pictures of bookcovers that I viewed were very familiar. Sitting there remembering how I used to spend hours putting books on hold through the website, I suddenly became choked up, and a tear came to my eye. This year will be my last of homeschool.

I can honestly say that besides teaching my children about God, my favorite thing has always been reading out loud to them. Many years ago, I read a pamphlet written by a former homeschooled student entitled, “Hand That Rocks The Cradle.” This booklet contained an essay explaining the advantages and value of reading aloud to your children. It also gave an extensive list of quality classic children’s books along with book reviews on many of the books. Many of the books I selected to read to my children were based on this list. I have many fond memories of sitting in our living room and traveling through various historical eras and to different states, countries and regions via the simple vehicle called a book. Often I recall closing a book at the end of a chapter and announcing that I was done reading only to have one or both of the kids shout and plead for me to read more. I fully intended on it. I was just trying to gauge their interest level, and most times, I was just as interested, if not more than they were.

Reading outloud is a very simple way to “kill two birds with one stone” as the expression goes. Actually, you can kill more than 2 birds. Reading outloud often introduced the kids to new vocabulary words. Many of the books I read were somewhat over their heads, so we would often come across new words, providing me with a natural and almost effortless way to teach new vocabulary. As I would read outloud with expression in my voice, it provided the children with a model of how to read outloud themselves. Finally, the books that were read opened up many opportunites to teach great moral lessons as the kids would ask questions about “why so and so did what” and “how could that happen?”, etc. etc.

Every once in a while, I will give my children a little “book quiz”. I will ask them questions about identifying the person that made this quote or in what book did this event take place. They almost always will get the right answer. I was telling my daughter the other day that next to teaching the Bible, that reading aloud was my favorite part of homeschool. She was quick to say that that was her favorite part too.

So, I may be a little older now and not able to read outloud as much as I used to, but my son who is a senior is going to hear at least 2 more books before he graduates, and during the summer at a time when we’re all together, I will probably sneak in one of our family favorites. If I get to the point where I’m desperate to read, and there are no more kids around the house, well…………………I may have to rent a little one for a few hours. 🙂


Some of our favorite books

Old Yeller

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

This Present Darkness

Piercing The Darkness

Toliver’s Secret

Island Of The Blue Dolphins

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


Watch For Me, Wait For Me, Eula Bee

Call It Courage


What are some of your favorite books?

Congratulations, Jennifer!



There is a place that we can go

to gain instruction for our mind and soul,

where we strive to live by the Golden Rule;

it’s none other than our dear homeschool.

Abundant Life Academy,

we’re part of it and glad to be.

It’s the school we like, the school we love,

and it’s blessed by God above

Abundant Life Academy!

I’ve always liked the idea of a school song, so about 12 years ago when I “officially” started homeschooling(it actually began the day I first gave birth)I wrote this song.  Yesterday, our daughter Jennifer graduated from Abundant Life Academy and had a little party afterwards. My husband and I are very proud of her and are believing God for wonderful things for her future. We love you, Jen! Continue to walk with God and stay close to Him, because the greatest graduation of all will come when you are promoted from this life to Heaven, and Jesus will say “well done, thou good and faithful servant!”  🙂

Carol Connell and the terrible, horrible,no good, very bad homeschool day

Years ago as a kid, I remember reading Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. As an adult, I read this book to my kids when they were younger. Today was kind of one of those “Alexander” days for us. We had a very busy weekend, and it seemed like everyone was moving in slow motion today.  As far as getting school work done, only one word comes to my mind.  Unproductive.  Sometimes on days like this, I wonder why I am even homeschooling, but I have to remind myself that life is not always full speed ahead. Public school teachers experience bad days too. (probably more than I do)There will be times when we have little setbacks, and every day is not going to run smoothly.  Even though we didn’t accomplish all the things on our lists, we still found some humor in our day, which the Bible says makes for good medicine. (Pro. 17:22)  So, I am not stressing but just believing that tomorrow is going to be a better day.  🙂

Rocket Car Ready To Roll!

To go along with Paul’s unit study on Alan Shepard, we spent a little bit of time each day this week assembling this cool rocket car.  This was a birthday gift received from Uncle Bob last month.  We made a few mistakes puting it together and had to redo some parts, but we were able to finish it today.  We’re looking forward to loading this baby up with some baking soda and vinegar and launching it again and again next week. I like when we can do fun projects like this one.

Science Fair 2008

On Friday, April 25th, our homeschool support group held its’ 2nd annual science fair.  This year, my children participated along with about 33 other kids.  Each child had prepared a display board which told about their experiment, hypothesis, data, procedure and their conclusion.  First, second and third place awards were given for the various grade categories and each child received a special medal for their participation.  The special speaker this year was my husband whom I volunteered(okay, I asked him first if he wanted to do it before volunteering him)for the job.  In addition to being a pastor, he has his own business doing industrial hygiene consulting.  Most of what he does deals with infection control in hospitals.  He spoke for about 15 minutes on how science can be fun and shared some personal examples of how some of his work made a difference in people’s lives. (actually saving lives through some of his investigating).  It was a good time, and now that it’s all over, we’ll be working on converting our science lab back into a garage.  Here are just a few pictures from the science fair.


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Prelude To The Science Fair

This coming Friday, my kids, along with some other homeschooling families are going to be participating in a science fair. They still have a way to go on their projects, but I’m confident that they will be ready in time. I’m glad we’re all working on it together, because it’s actually kind of fun, and I am learning a few things myself in the process. As I was thinking about this upcoming event, I wrote this silly poem. After it’s all over, I’ll be more specific about their projects, and hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share too.

There’s Something Scientific Goin’ On

Oh my daughter she’s a spraying at our little pooch a bottle of perfume,
and that dog of ours is sniffing hard and rolling on the carpet in the room.
And I can’t be more specific
but there’s something scientific
Goin’ on.

My son sits at the table, to a mother’s heart this is all well and good
Quickly he’s assembling some gliders that are made with balsa wood.
And I can’t be more specific
but there’s something scientific
Goin’ on.

The metal tube that Papa built so capably, I’m sure it is the best
To ever be constructed for a child to perform the tunnel test.
And I can’t be more specific
but there’s something scientific
Goin’ on.

And Mama’s got the digital, it’s pointed at each canine volunteer
As they sniff of pheromonal scents that to their sensing sniffers linger near
And I can’t be more specific
but there’s something scientific
Goin’ on.