What's the big deal about Young Living

Developing Your Child’s Natural Gifts

developing child's natural talents

This is a pencil drawing my 19yo daughter did of her sister, my 4yo, Peyton.

A pencil drawing.

Honestly, I’m in awe of the gift she possesses! It isn’t something she inherited from me. It isn’t something I taught her. It isn’t something she learned from a curriculum.

It is something that was allowed to develop through hours and hours of practice and the freedom to do that whenever the inspiration struck. Whether that was 9:30 in the morning or 2:30 in the afternoon didn’t matter. Since we homeschool, studies could be postponed or rescheduled in order to focus on developing her natural gifts.

Whether your child is creative, artistic, inventive, gifted at writing, mechanically inclined, or otherwise talented, be sure to give them plenty of unstructured time and the materials they need to experiment with and develop that natural gift God has given them.

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Take Turns Reading Aloud With “Popcorn”

Have you ever watched a pot of popcorn being heated? You cannot predict which kernel will pop next, or when. This read aloud game uses that same principle.

Take turns reading aloud with popcorn

When I taught elementary grade levels in public school for 8 years, the students often took turns reading aloud. This let them practice their reading skills, and one way I encouraged the students to pay attention and keep up with where we were was to play “popcorn.”

Now that I’m a homeschool mom of 8, I use the same approach to let my own children practice those same skills. Even though I am homeschooling grades from preschool through 12th grade, we all read the Bible together every morning, and everyone, from 1st grade up, gets a turn at reading aloud with “popcorn.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Everyone looks at the passage being read, and knows where we are beginning.
  • Mom starts reading, and at a random point, stops and says “popcorn,” and calls a random name.
  • The person whose name was called must begin reading at precisely the point the former reader stopped.
  • After reading for a while, this reader stops at a random point and calls, “popcorn” to choose another reader.
  • (Optional) Stickers can be awarded for children who never lose their place.

Here’s an example of our varied ages playing “popcorn.” Each child must keep up with what is being read in case his or her name is called next.

This read aloud game has many benefits.

  • No one knows who will be called next, so each child must pay attention
  • Each child gets a chance to practice reading aloud, but can choose how long to read. This alleviates embarrassment for the slower readers.
  • There is no daydreaming during reading since everyone is on high alert in case they are called next.
  • The material read aloud is remembered since everyone is paying attention.

We take turns reading aloud with popcorn every day. My kids of all ages love it!

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Helpful Links – Homeschooling and Parenting

I frequently get emails or private messages on Facebook asking my advice on different topics I have already written on, like homeschooling and parenting.

Since I don’t have time to answer each inquiry individually, I though I would give you all a roundup of helpful links with my post popular posts on those topics.



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This One’s For Cheryl

Once a couple of years ago, I got into a semi-heated discussion on Facebook with a friend of a friend.

Cheryl, a college professor, was bemoaning the fact that homeschooled kids are just not properly educated and prepared for college.

I didn’t know Cheryl personally, but since she was stating this opinion on my friend’s page, I was able to join in on the discussion. I pointed out to Cheryl that not all homeschoolers are alike, and just like a random sampling of any group of people would be varied, there would be some studious, some serious, some awkward, some dullards, some intelligent, and so on.

Cheryl disagreed. She maintained that every homeschooled kid she had ever come across in her college classroom was ill-prepared and socially inept. (She never said whether that was one or one hundred.) She insisted this experience must represent the entire population of homeschoolers.

She claimed that homeschoolers who somehow manage to bumble through high school and actually make it to college do not know how to understand assignments, don’t have the time management skills to complete assignments or turn them in on time, and don’t have the competency to get them done in a manner worthy to be graded.

She said that homeschoolers simply could not cope with the demands of life away from their previous sheltered existence, and she predicted that homeschoolers could not do well in the “real world.”

This one’s for you, Cheryl.

Meet Madison

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What About Homeschooling Preschoolers?

What About Homeschooling Preschoolers

I have been formally homeschooling my 8 children for 13+ years, so I’ve seen my share of homeschool curriculum designed for preschoolers.

I frequently see curriculum for sale with sensory bins and water play and balancing activities, worksheets for cutting practice with special safety scissors, special manipulatives for fine motor skills and gross motor skills. The list goes on.

I get emails and messages asking for my recommendations for curriculum for preschoolers, so I am going to address that today.

I don’t use any preschool curriculum. 

Or checklists for that matter.

Homeschooling Preschoolers

I let my preschoolers play.

Homeschooling Preschoolers

And climb. And dig.

Homeschooling Preschoolers

I read books to them. We have conversations.

Homeschooling Preschoolers

They help in the kitchen.

Homeschooling Preschoolers

We have tea parties.

That’s it.

I don’t buy any curriculum at all. I don’t buy little colorful plastic teddy bears for counting. We count the apples in the fruit basket or coins in my purse.

I don’t have worksheets for cutting practice. I leave scissors around and let them cut things.

Preschool cutting practice

Just today my 3 year old asked me if she could cut up an empty egg carton. “Sure,” I said. “Go for it.”

It wasn’t on the schedule. It wasn’t part of a curriculum or checklist. I didn’t have a lesson with her. She initiated the activity herself, gathered the materials she needed, and got busy.

Yes, the scissors were sharp. Yes, she made a mess. But she learned.

  • She learned that she is imaginative enough to create “baby doll tea cups” from an egg carton.
  • She learned that she can come up with a good idea and present it to an adult in a way that is persuasive.
  • She learned about manipulating scissors.

All without a lesson plan or curriculum.

Now, if you have the money and the inclination to spend hundreds of dollars on a preschool curriculum, I would say “more power to you” and “whatever floats your boat.”

But if you don’t have the money or the inclination to buy a preschool curriculum, I would say it isn’t necessary. Optional, yes. Necessary, no.

It might give you peace to know that someone has come up with ideas to keep your preschooler busy, but here’s a little secret. (Looks around and lowers voice to a whisper) Your preschooler will come up with those ideas herself if you let her. 

If you enjoy using a curriculum, fine. If you feel burdened by it, set yourself free, Mama.

Preschoolers don’t need homeschooling.

They just need home.

*Note: Each of my children is creative, imaginative, witty, and on or above grade level having used this “no preschool curriculum” approach.

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The Texas Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit

Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit

I’m back from a PHENOMENAL weekend of encouragement, laughter, and praise.

I joined in with over 120 other homeschool moms who were thirsting to know that God is guiding our steps, even when it feels like we are messing this whole thing up.

Texas Summit Prayer Room sign

We laughed and cried and laughed until we cried and prayed and sang songs of praise to God. We found new friends and hugged old friends.

Texas Summit Pajama Party

We even got a li’l crazy and danced late into the night at a pajama party! Homeschool mamas know how to par-TAY!

Texas Summit door prizes

The door prizes were off da HOOK. In fact, it just so happens that we had enough door prizes this year to allow every single attendee to choose one! How about that for pampering homeschool moms?!

Staples laptop case

Staples even donated this laptop case

Staples door prize

with this brand new Chromebook inside as a grand prize to bless one happy mom! Staples loves homeschool moms, and all I had to do was mention our event and they jumped at the chance to knock our socks off with this door prize!

I’m telling you, if you are a homeschool mom and are thirsting for encouragement to finish well the race that God has set before you, you need to find a way to get yourself to The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit! There are 2 locations, so be sure to check it out, and register!

Then grab your girlfriends and get ready for the most refreshing weekend of the year!

See more recaps of the weekend here:

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