Author Archives: yannimama

10 Skills to Teach before High School



We have made it through the first year of high school! Here is a post I wrote for HEDUA about what we did to prepare our daughter for high school during her middle school years. I am happy to say that this preparation paid off. High school took more effort and work than middle school, but she was prepared for the challenge.

It’s hard for me to believe it, but in just over a month I will officially have a high school student!

I miss my little pig-tailed tooth-loser, but I have to admit that I am enjoying the young lady she is quickly becoming. I have been telling her that high school will be different.

Before we started school last year I thought through some ways to make it easier for her to transition into high school course work. Here are some of the things we did:

1. Time management. We regularly met to discuss questions and make sure she was on track, but I also gave her a list of assignments with due dates that were days to weeks out. I taught her how to divide assignments and projects into smaller sections, and to make sure she was done on time.

Check out the rest of this post at

Using Electives as Your Children Grow



Right now I am in the thick of planning our next year of homeschooling, and I am finding myself dealing with so many changes! Next year I will go from teaching an elementary student and a middle school student, to one in middle school and one in high school.

While we have always used electives in our homeschooling, how we use them-and choose them-is evolving.

According to our state, our homeschool core classes need to include language, math, social studies, science, and health. As a Christian homeschool, I consider Bible to be “core” as well. Any classes outside of those I consider “electives.”  When our children were small, I used electives for exposure. While I did take into account their interests and abilities, I wanted my kids exposed to lots of different possibilities. Though I didn’t see that we had a Rembrandt or Mozart on our hands, small children don’t necessarily demonstrate the abilities they may grow into later on. So, we had art, music, cooking, various sports, crafts, poetry, creative writing, keyboarding, and more.


Math Is NOT a Four-Letter Word!



Reducing Algebra Stress

I know a word that can make even a group of seasoned homeschoolers groan. Can you guess what it is?Algebra! But it doesn’t have to be that way. While I don’t have a secret weapon that will make math your child’s favorite subject, I can offer some suggestions to reduce the algebra stress and make it easier for both of you.

Wait until your child is ready. This is probably the most important advice I have for reducing algebra stress. From the time our children are tiny, we parents are prone to playing the comparison game. Did Jimmy walk at nine months while the Evans’ child was nearly a year-and-a-half? Did the Ortega’s daughter potty train at two years old while Ella is still in pull-ups at three? We take pride in our early learners and agonize over the later ones. This attitude is unfortunately carried into high school as well, where many homeschoolers rush their children into advanced subjects such as higher-level math.


9 Ideas for Involving Dad in Homeschooling



How do you involve Dad in homeschooling?

While homeschooling certainly isn’t a gender-specific occupation, in many of the families that we know, the mom has the lion’s share of the responsibility for homeschooling. My husband’s occupation makes this necessary in our home, but it also has the unintended consequence of his being left out of a good amount of our day. Early on in our homeschooling, we began making a conscious effort to include him as much as possible.

Here are some strategies for involving Dad in homeschooling that we have used over the years:

Show and Tell. After my husband has had some time to change his clothes and move out of “work mode,” I encourage my children to show off some of their work from the day, especially if we have done a special activity. Art projects, science experiments, handwriting pages, and new reading material are all fun to show dad.


Twenty Years Ago


Twenty years ago today, I was headed down the aisle to marry this man:

CHA Academy 20 Years

It some ways it seems crazy that twenty years have gone by. Wasn’t this just yesterday?

CHA Academy 20 Years

Then again, it also seems like a lifetime ago.

CHA Academy 20 Years

CHA Academy 20 Years

This is how we will be spending our 20th Wedding Anniversary:

CHA Academy 20 Years

And I can’t imagine anything better!

I love you, honey! Here’s to another great twenty years!

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CHA Academy 20 YearsCHA Academy 20 Years

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the 1800’s. Her education methods went out of style in the modern school movement, but have been revived in recent years and have become popular in the homeschool world.


These are some of the important parts of the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy:

  1. Children are born persons; they are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and for evil.
  2. Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. Teachers use the child’s natural environment, disciplining of habits, and the presentation of living ideas in order to teach.
  3. Children learn to write by doing copywork, listening to good literature, giving oral narrations, and eventually writing written narrations and compositions. Students also write from dictation, read by the parent from quality literature.
  4. Lessons are short and pleasant, especially for young students.
  5. Students read “living books,” not “twaddle.” A living book is one that is written by someone who has a passion for the subject and is not condensed or altered. Twaddle would include most contemporary fiction series that talk down and undervalue the intelligence of the child.
  6. Art and music study are important parts of a Charlotte Mason education. Students are taught to enjoy classical music and famous artists in a gentle, natural manner.
  7. Student spend a great deal of time outdoors. Nature study is an important part of the school day.
  8. Handicrafts are taught in a Charlotte Mason school. This can be any number of activities, such as sewing, woodworking, gardening, and drawing.

Here are some examples of curricula and resources that follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education:

History Museum Field Trip


We love field trips! The other day our co-op went to a history museum about two hours away. We had a blast! The history museum puts on classes for schools, but they had never worked with homeschoolers before. It made for a learning experience for all, I think. Rather than a group of same-age kids, they were creating classes that would work for a multi-aged group with lots of parents, many of whom had toddlers and babies along. The museum did a fabulous job, and we had a great time.

We divided into two groups, one for little that couldn’t walk as far and another for about eight and up. We had a short class discussing the Oregon trail and then went out to experience some of what it would be like.

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Learning about the trail.


Pumping water and loading the wagons.


Stopping at an out-post store.



Pulling the carts.


Cooking over a campfire.


Tug o’ War on the prairie.


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Visiting Railroad Town.


Newspaper office and old-fashioned baseball at the general store.

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Schoolhouse and a sad boy in a pioneer jailhouse.