Friday, April 29, 2011

Celebrating 10 Years of TOS Blog Hop

When I moved to Oklahoma with my family in 2007 we didn't know anyone in the state except our children, my Mom (who moved with us), and my husband's new employer. I knew homeschooling was widespread in Oklahoma, but I had no idea how to make the homeschooling connections I needed.

When I found The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine in a local Mardel I was really excited by the contents. Truthfully, the ads drew me in. I had no idea where to find or buy curriculum. I didn't know my options and seeing all of those pretty glossy pictures of countless options filled me with hope. That hope grew bigger as I began to read the contents and find quality articles from moms just like me, real moms who felt scared by this awesome responsibility but forged ahead anyway because they were determined to follow the will of God in their children's education.

Ultimately, I found a resource that I never expected would impact not only my homeschooling, but my life as a whole. It was more than a magazine. It was a community. This was a huge comfort to me being 10,000 miles from my friends and the majority of my support system.

I began visiting the Homeschool Lounge, I started a blog on HomeschoolBlogger, and my support system grew. My understanding of homeschooling blossomed and my confidence developed.

Eventually I applied and was selected to be a member on the Maiden Voyage of The Homeschool Crew. This was an opportunity to review several curricula in exchange for an honest review. It was a year of experiment and flexibility that taught my children how to learn in any circumstance and with any materials they were given. We found the best fits and we had some fits, but the experience was one I wouldn't change for anything.

Once the year on the Crew came to an end I had caught the review fever. I signed up for review programs with every Christian publisher I could find. I also tried for a slot as a TOS product reviewer. All of these opportunities allowed me to review and test over $4,000 worth of great homeschooling materials for free. The kids tried out Latin, started studying guitar, and learned a million other things I could not have offered them without this wonderful blessing.

Last September I began working as an Independent Contractor with The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. I'm constantly in awe at the hearts and minds (not to mention the talent) of my fellow co-workers. They are a beautiful, and Godly group of people who are passionate about this calling we have to homeschool our children.

TOS is like a family to me. I have been blessed so much by the TOS homeschooling community. My gratitude for this resource is immeasurable. That's why I feel enormous excitement when I see that The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is celebrating 10 years in publication. I want to be the annoying relative wailing the "Happy Birthday" song with embarrassingly loud enthusiasm.

Thank you TOS! Happy 10th Anniversary!

If you have a special TOS memory, come share it in the TOS Blog Hop.

If you haven't joined the TOS family yet, it isn't too late. Come celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Learn History Through Reading Great Books

I just downloaded a great free resource. I heard about the below freebie from The Homeschool Lounge and I thought I'd post really quick to let you, my readers, know about it.

Trisms is offering their book Reading Through the Ages as a free download for a limited time.

Reading Through the Ages is compatible with most curriculum. The books are listed chronologically, 4000 B.C. to the present. Also, each book is distinguished by reading level, type of book (historical fiction or biography) and number of pages.

Place Reading Through the Ages in your shopping cart and use promo code "freertta" at checkout.

Go Here.
I'm not sure how long this promotion lasts. Grab it free while you can.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Inspiration of Marigold Garden

Recently I found a beautifully illustrated copy of Kate Greenaway's Marigold Garden. My copy was printed by Fredrick Warne & CO LTD. which makes it even more special to me.
If you didn't know, Fredrick Warne &CO was the same publishing house who took on Beatrix Potter and gave her her first big break.

I was already familiar with Kate Greenaway's artistic style. I'd seen several of her illustrations and fallen in love with her soft muted color pallet and the gentle childhood expressions she put on the faces she painted. These expressions she created always seemed to float between innocence, peaceful resolve and slight boredom. I couldn't tell if the child was as pure as the driven snow, content beyond words or bored out of its mind. Still, these quiet images soothed me. If this artist is new to you, I know you will enjoy reading and viewing free examples of her beautiful artwork and poetry here.
I knew that I liked Kate Greenaway's style and that she was an English artist and illustrator who lived in the Victorian period, but I didn't know much more about her. You can read a brief bio here. That was all I knew about her.
I didn't know was that Kate Greenaway was a pivotal influence on needlework. I learned later that many of the red work sunbonnet sue patterns that are common on children's quilts are actually inspired by her.
Even though I don't sew, this new information sent me on a massive hunt for Kate Greenaway red work patterns. It's never to late to learn a new skill right?

I found a cross stitch pattern, iron on transfers, and a cheap copy of a hard cover book of patterns.

But I still didn't know how to sew, or stitch or embroider or . . . .

Then I found this amazing site that has a primer with pdf lessons in stitches and free samplers.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but that is when the light bulb clicked on. This would make a wonderful life skill to teach my daughter!

And . . .

I could even tie it into our current living book. In Hetty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, young Phoebe is learning to do stitch work as a hobby, she was also made to work a more challenging sampler as punishment for her misbehavior.

This new life skill would tie my daughter to the character and bond them together through personal experience. I would be giving her a richer connection to the book and pulling her into the story.


Another great embroidery site primer can be found here.

This great site is also bubbling over with information on red work.

Would you rather start small?
This site has beautiful free samplers for beginners- advanced. After reviewing the pdf primer lessons together with your child and developing confidence in your stitches, maybe consider allowing your child to choose their pattern themselves. This creative choice might inspire them.

Also, if you're really brave, you can follow in the footsteps of Victorian young ladies who made their own patterns. Here is a site that will teach their method for making perforated patterns.

As you begin learning this skill, remember to take some relaxing time snuggled up on a couch together reading Kate's poetry. As the pages turn, allow the warm images and the quiet beauty of childhood to invite you back in time.

Happy Reading!
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