F is for…FACE

The Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) is the largest organization in BPA. Originally in California, they moved to the east coast. Visit their About Us page here. They are the publisher of the Red Books, the Noah Plan and hundreds of other materials. (They have trademarked the phrase Principle Approach.) They are an invaluable resource for Christian history and home education the BPA way.

The Commonwealth is an online community that members can use to connect with other members, to access material from FACE and  to interact with FACE staff.

Please visit their site for info on everything BPA. They offer many articles and materials that will help you on your way.

E is for…excellence

I have covered this topic in the past but it is so good we can bring it up again. BPA brings out the excellence in your children, yourself and your family. The notebook and map standards, research projects and 4Ring are but some of the tools to promote excellence in your home education (and your every day life).

The Bible emphasizes the importance of excellence and when you base your subjects on God’s word you will discover many scriptures, stories and individuals that bring this into focus.

How do you think excellence has become a part of your home education and your life with the use of BPA?

D is for…Dang

Katherine Dang is one of my favorite BPA teachers. She is so knowledgeable and gentle and kind and, well, wonderful. Her organization is Philomath Foundation and she is available for consultations, conferences and the like. Ms. Dang has been in BPA education for over 30 years. Her wisdom is inspiring and her materials are top-notch. I hope you’ll take time to listen some of her conference audio (her Series on the Introduction to American Christian Education is wonderful. I’ve probably listened to each session a dozen times!) Material from the Wednesday Night Salons she holds in California is also great for sparking discussions in your own small group setting.

Her materials are available here. Dang’s Universal History volumes are excellent texts for high school and beyond. She also offers others materials such as a science project guide and several literature guides on this page.

C is for…curriculum guides

The Noah Plan Curriculum Guides (CG) from FACE are wonderful tools for almost every subject. They are chock full of info on lesson planning, teacher notebooks, foundations of the subject, timelines and more. There are projects and checklists and sample student work. They are a terrific resource for newbies and experienced BPA’ers alike. I talked more about them in this post.

There are CG’s for history/geography, literature, mathematics, art, English, and reading. They are useful for K-12 and are useful for planning lessons because they have quarterly lesson outlines for K-12 in the front of each guide (except art). Science is not available but I hope it they write one. For some BPA help with planning science lessons and laying a science foundation from PMom click here.

They are also excellent resources if you don’t use the Noah Plan and even if you don’t homeschool. They offer each subject’s Christian history, resource lists and more.

B is for…Bible

In our trip through the BPA alphabet we can’t pass up the chance to highlight the Bible. It’s our most valued tool and our educational guidebook. All subjects have their foundations in the Bible and therefore this book must be honored here.

The Bible is also irreplaceable in core subjects like literature and HisStory. It is full of material to help your family master the subjects and see how they fit into Providential history.

As Christians we should look to God’s Word for help in every area of life. There is wisdom for how to gain wisdom, what true wisdom is and more. We learn how to interact with one another, what God feels is most important and how to relate to Him.

The Bible is the foundation for all subjects and as we turn to His word we are changed into His image more and more.

A is for…acronyms

This is the start of a new week and a new series. In case you can’t tell, this is a series going through the alphabet the BPA way!

For those new to BPA I decided to make A for Acronyms. Here’s a list of basic terms

  • BPA : Biblical Principle Approach
  • C&P: Christian History of the American Revolution–Consider and Ponder (book)
  • FACE: Foundation for American Christian Education (organization)
  • GACE: Guide to American Christian Education (book)
  • PI: Pilgrim Institute (organization)
  • T&L: Teaching & Learning America’s Christian History (book)
  • CHOC I: Christian History of the Constitution I (book)
  • CHOC II: Christian History of the Constitution II–Christian Self-Government with Union (book)
  • MWOG: Mighty Works of God (HisStory curriculum)
  • Rudiments: (training and education)
  • SDS: Self-Directed Study (training)
  • Webster’s 1828: American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828

Am I missing anything? Leave a comment below and I’ll add it!

5 ways to a better homeschool year

The school year is fast approaching (if it isn’t already upon you). While you are excited about the fresh year and new possibilities, some of those old fears and frustrations from last school year can creep up on you before you know it. Here are but a few simple ways that you can make this a better year.

Pray. This is the most important key. Fresh vision and a renewed outlook are critical to change what you want to change and make this a better year.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24 NKJV

Schedule. After you have prayed you can move to scheduling. Make a plan to avoid disaster and to plan for fun and spontaneity. It’s not easy but you’ll be glad you did.A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Prov. 3:5,6 NKJV

Connect. Find a kindred soul to walk through your year with. If you don’t already have one, seek out a friend to pray with and to share the good, the bad and the ugly with.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

1 Thes. 5:14 NKJV

Let go. Release unrealistic expectations. Release your death grip on life. Release those fears and frustrations from last year and wipe the slate clean. Release things into God’s hands and marvel at how He beautifully orchestrates your family’s lives.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.

Jer. 17:7 NKJV

Encourage. Encourage yourself in the Lord. And find another mom to encourage. Make it a long term project to bless another mom you know. It’s hard to obsess about your own problems when you are meeting someone else’s needs.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Col. 3:16 NKJV

Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 3

This post has some of my space saving ideas and such. If you are anything like me you like to peek into other peoples’ homeschool spaces.

This is my china hutch. I got it for a steal at the Salvation Army. It had some lovely china in it but I need the space for homeschool supplies. So I put the china away and lined the inside of the glass doors with some lovely gift wrap from Wal-Mart and voila, a great space for goodies.

You can see I keep a lot in here: my portable teacher’s desk, paper of all kinds, tempera paint and art supplies, page protectors and more. It’s not a big cabinet but it holds a lot out of sight.

This wall is our chalkboard wall. The whole wall was painted with homemade chalkboard paint that matches the decor.  I put our timeline along the top under the border and now we have a huge space for doing anything we need a chalkboard for. And when we need a map I just tape it up here. (We also make the wall magnetic wit paint but it’s not very strong and doesn’t usually hold up something that heavy.)

This cute little bird holds our chalk in a low spot so even my 4yo can reach it. (Both came from Target. Under $5 for both.)

These bookcases are in the living room. I want to paint them white but I am recovering from surgery so that project will have to wait. I organize books but subject: science, reference, etc and then history and literature I put in chronological order. I love this method because you can see the progression of both and it’s easy to find any book you need.

This little shoe shelf (closet organizer) from KMart is right by the front door. It holds all of our library books. I used to have a basket for this but the basket got torn up. This is working mush better for us and they are always right there when we need to take them back.

This butcher block on wheels (from Wal-Mart) is also in my dining area. It holds food in the baskets underneath but the top is an extra surface for projects. Both sides fold up to make a large surface for crafts, science experiments and more.

All of these things I had on hand. I am simply re-purposing what I already have to accommodate a homeschool space in our 1200 sq. ft. home filled with 6 people and lots of other stuff. I hope you are inspired to see how you can be a good steward of your finances and find a way to make do with what you have. Do you have a post on organizing homeschool? Leave a link in the comments!

Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 2

Okay here’s where I get a little more detailed on my BPA way of things. It’ll work for other approaches too but this is my take, at least for this year. 🙂 This post addresses filing and BPA stuff in general. You can see how this system folds all of life in together.

weekly folders.Okay this is the front of the weekly folder. It has the family weekly planner stapled to the front. This has my menu plan, activities and to do list. So handy!

inside file folder. Inside the folder you can see how it holds all our life: brochures, postcard reminders, recipes to try, school handouts, it’s all in this little folder. You can see life in context each week. This is more visual for me even than a planner list. I can see what all is going on this week and only this week–each little weekly capsule. Then of course all these activities go onto my monthly planner calendar I carry with me so I can see a month at a time.

In my files I keep a folder for Masters. When I have to make a copy from the NP lessons for a graphic organizer or some such thing I will probably use again I make a few extra copies and keep them here. Then I have extras for when I forget or when I might be low on printer ink. 🙂

Up front in the top drawer of my filing cabinet (I have four glorious drawers!) I have 7 folders, one for each principle. Into these I put clippings, printouts and more that help me illustrate these principles in every day life (especially to my middle and high schooler). it helps spark conversations and  bring these principles into the everyday. This is one of my favorite things!

Now that school is starting I have taken my homekeeping notebook out of my tote. It now holds a season of folders, my Noah Plan lessons for third grade (the spiral) and my school planner (the black binder). I use these beautiful planners from Home Educating Family Association and I have removed the spiral and put the pages in the notebook so I can add things as I need to in some file pockets and such.

I hope this is helpful to you! In the next installment I’ll show you my organizational tips. I love in a small home but we don’t do without in our homeschool just because we are short on space.

Getting homeschool organized for 2012-2013 part 1

Staying organized as a home educator isn’t easy. There are papers, plans and projects all over the house, and unlike a traditional classroom we can’t shut the door and go home. Options are everywhere online these days. A simple Google search can yield more ideas than you can shake an organizer at. This is my current system and I thought I ‘d share it in case it should fit your family in some way. Thanks to Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight for all her posts on her File Crate System. I’ve tweaked it a bit for my needs but here goes.

Here is a peek inside my filing cabinet, which is in my dining area.

Each week has its own file folder.. The folders are grouped according to season as Dawn suggested.

You can see the circled numbers on the tabs. Those are the weeks for school. Each week is labeled according to what week of the school year it is. Inside each folder are the things I need for that week: printables, brochures, maps, etc all fit right into the folder. Because I use a curriculum this year that is all laid out for me I could make a list of all the materials I needed for each week and get organized before the start of the year. This makes things so much easier for me!

As the year goes on and I come across things for different topics I can just slip them into the file folders. The little sticky note is to list things that don’t fit: materials needed, web sites, etc. This folder also holds things I need/use everyday. [More on these details in the next post.]

I then have a portable file crate that I got at Target. This holds stuff I need at my fingertips.

In here I have a season of school file folders, my homekeeping notebook and my school planner. I also have a file for things that don’t fit anything in particular.

There are things like crafts and recipes to try, web site addresses and things we would like to get around to one day. This gets too full and I have to toss things sometimes and file other things.

As you will see in part 2, this helps organize my whole life and it shows how homeschool is integrated into all of living. In part 3 I’ll post some of my tips and tricks for getting organized. How do you organize your homeschool materials?