Helping Children Tell the Truth

Torn Truth

He who permits himself to tell a lie once,

Finds it much easier to do it a second  and third time,

until at length it becomes habitual.

He tells without attending to it,

and truths  without the world’s believing him.

~Thomas Jefferson~

Telling the truth has been a challenge since the beginning of time, starting in the Garden of Eden. It is important for our children to be taught to tell and uphold the truth. Every one of us is faced with the opportunity to lie when faced with a consequence we may not want. So, how do we help children tell the truth, especially when they know that there will be unfavorable consequences?

  1. Let him/her know the truth is always the best. I have a confession to make. When I was little, I was a liar. I remember as a first grader I had fabricated so many tales I couldn’t keep them all straight! I can remember my mom confronting me and when I confessed I felt so much better. I tried not to lie from that day forward because I never wanted to be known as a liar.
  2. Provide your child with an opportunity to tell the truth. Have you ever accused your child of not telling the truth only to discover you were wrong? I sure have! If you know (or think you know) they have lied, bring up the subject in a non-threatening way so that they have the opportunity to confess and correct what they have done.
  3. Show mercy when s/he tells the truth. Shouldn’t there be a consequence for lying? Yes, but I found that if I could extend grace to my sons, this provided an environment to admit they had lied and seek forgiveness.
  4. Make the punishment fit the crime. If your child lies about something and you know it could lead to bigger issues, punish them according to the offense to show them the consequences of lying. We had an incident in our home where a lie was told and the offender had to go to an adult they didn’t know and confess what they had done. I believe he never wanted to have to repeat that!
  5. Council and pray with your child. Get to the reason as to why they chose to lie if you are able. Pray with him/her afterwards.
  6. Let your child know you love them. That is so important because children feel bad in disappointing us. Let him/her know everyone makes mistakes, but being honest will build trust as lying erodes that trust.
  7. Give them a big hug! When a child confesses that they have lied, be quick to forgive and squeeze the stuffings out of them!

Have a great week!




Laundry Product Alternatives

Every once in a while I write about something besides topics that are not directly related to teaching.  Since homeschooling involves every aspect of our lives, I wanted to tell you about a couple of laundry products that I am trying out. I have been looking for natural alternatives to laundry detergent ingredients that I can’t even pronounce the names and chemical laden dryer sheets. I found two products that I have been very pleased with and wanted to share with you!

Soap Nuts When I first heard about these I couldn’t quite figure out what they were. I thought maybe I had to prepare a soapy concoction, then gather nuts (acorns or some such thing), and have the laundry soap adhere to them somehow. I am happy to report that this is not the case! Are you curious?🙂

Soap nuts are actually called by the Latin term sapindus. It is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the Lychee family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Old World and New World. (wikipedia) Here is a picture of the plant. (Ooo! Ahh!)


The interesting property that these nuts have is that they release a soapy substance.The nuts are dried and harvested and sold to consumers. These nuts can be used several times for your laundry loads before they have to be thrown away. You put the nuts in a muslin bag that is provided and use 5-6 of them per load. I just have to be careful to locate the bag as I am emptying the washing machine. So far,  I am averaging 4 extra large loads per 6 nuts. It is actually cheaper than the expensive name brand soaps and the natural types of liquid detergents too. soap-nuts-laundry-soap

I have been using these for a few weeks and I think they are working quite well. There is a slight vinegar smell when the soap nuts are wet, but I can’t smell anything when the clothes come out of the washing machine. I have quite a good sense of smell too! You can add a few drops of essential oils if you like to your wash water, but I haven’t done this.  If you are interested in learning more about the product I am using, here is a link. CLICK HERE 

Wool Dryer Balls are the other new product I have been using. These New Zealand wool balls actually absorb the moisture from your clothing while they are tumbling in your dryer. They lift your clothes and help reduce static that accumulates. I bought a package of 6, and while the directions say you do not need to use all of them in your loads, I have found that I need to use all of them if I am drying a large to extra large load.  If I use fewer of them, the clothes are not quite dry and there is a little bit of static.

Overall, I am pleased with the wool balls and just need to be careful taking out the clothes as they want to roll out onto the floor. I just leave them in the dryer instead of removing them every time. They are surprisingly dry and I do not think they will mildew if I do this. They are supposed to last for several years and I am sure that depends upon how many times per week you have to use them. I am figuring that if they last a couple of years I will have saved money over buying dryer sheets. Here is a link if you would like to check out a description of this type of product. CLICK HERE



By the way, I am not being paid to give a review on either of these products.🙂 I was wanting to share some ways I am trying to take care of my family without breaking the piggy bank. Have a great day!


A Minute to Win It Games

I had the family over for dinner and some games afterwards. Have you ever played A Minute to Win It? I had seen these ideas on happiness is homemade . I created a spreadsheet and whoever got the best time for each activity  won that event. Our daughter-in-law was the overall winner, but I won the Cookie Face contest.🙂 You can modify these games for your children if you would like to try them.   You can give points for completion or participation and use a smaller amount with the various games. Our special treat for the winner was a bag of Skinny Pop popcorn because everyone in my family loves popcorn!

Here is the spreadsheet I created to keep track of the games and descriptions of each of the games. If  you are interested in seeing a close-up of the document click here:  minute-to-win-it-games  I am including pictures of the fun too!





Hex Nut Stacker


Cookie face


Cookie Face- almost there!


Stack it Up!


Suck it Up!


Scoop It Up


Movin’ on Up!


Defy Gravity

As you can see, we had a lot of fun! So, if you are looking for something fun to do with your family, why not try some of these or create your own Minute to Win It games?


Filing School Papers

f84c6308b877dacf70ce1522c1dc786bSchool has begun and I am already feeling the crush of paperwork bearing down upon me! Am I the only one  feeling this way?  Ugh! Are you feeling the crush too? How can you document your school year to be able to show me (an Ohio certified assessor) how much your student accomplished without feeling horrible about the lack of organization?

Now is the time to begin so that you are not overwhelmed in the spring by all of the paperwork that has been accumulating. You can organize papers so that all you have to do is contact me to set up your portfolio review. No wading through papers and workbooks, deciding on what to take. I am giving you a list of ideas to help organize and discard papers so that your house is not overrun by math papers, science labs, maps, and workbook pages.  Pick and choose from the items listed, but do not do every one of them!🙂 Hopefully, one of these will work for you as your child finishes their school work.

Create a binder for each subject to put a sample in it. This can be done every Friday, or it can be collected once a month. If you are collecting samples monthly, just pick the same time each month; ideally, the beginning or end.

Use folders to place a work sample of each subject. Using different colors for subjects will help you to have an easy filing system. For instance, a yellow folder for language arts, a red folder for math, etc., that you can quickly drop a sample into the appropriate subject folder. At the end of the year you can grab the folders and put them in a cute school bag to take with you.

Accordion pleated file systems for each of your children keeps everything organized in one convenient location. You can label the tabs with subjects for filing. An assessor does not need to see every scrap of paper and doodle that your scholar has done. Trust yourself and choose paperwork and samples that represent the work being completed.


Hanging folders with labeled tabs of the subjects are an efficient and out-of- sight way to organize paperwork. I have a four drawer filing cabinet that I recently acquired and I wonder how I have lived without it for all of these years!

Binder Clips Gather each month’s samples of work and  clip them according to the subject. Place in a folder and label the month or the subject, whatever is best for you.

Systems that I have tried and do not work well in my opinion are:

baskets– everything falls to the bottom and nothing is organized. I just have to go through the heap at a later time!

rectangular plastic containers or filing boxes- the same as mentioned above. I just have more time to keep adding papers to the jumble that is collecting and multiplying. Now, if you actually use the file box and put folders in it, then it is a thing of beauty (sigh).

cloth bags– another collection sight that I never look at until I can’t find something. In fact, the other day I was trying to find some files that I thought were in my filing cabinet and I stumbled upon this bag that was filled to the brim with who-knows- what. I felt that I should look into it as it had been sitting near a bookshelf for several months. I was pleasantly surprised and quite relieved that is was the files for which I was looking! Needless to say, the cloth bag was a terrible filing system.

What, pray tell, do I keep when gathering samples?  I kept one page of a concept that had been introduced or mastered. If introduced, I added a paper later that showed progress (or not😦 ) and then mastery or  continued help. I did not always follow through with the concept, but I tried to as much as possible. Allow your child to select samples to showcase too. Many children are interested in what I think of their work and are excited to show me things they have done. It can also help them to put forth their best and take pride in their work.

Throughout the year if my student had a difficult time with a concept, I would pick out that paper and write on a post-it note what was the difficulty. This helped me see progress that is made throughout the year or something I needed to evaluate or ask for help to have my student understand the concept.

If your student is doing schoolwork online, then see if there is a progress report, quiz or test that can be printed off to include in your files. If not, take pictures throughout the year of screenshots of work. You do not necessarily need to print off the pictures, but put them in a file that you back up regularly.

If you are using workbooks and don’t want to tear out papers until the end of the year you can use those cool skinny post-it note flags.  You can mark the pages throughout the year that  you want to take to your portfolio review appointment. It will take just a few minutes in the spring to remove the pages.

If you are going on field trips throughout the year, take pictures! I love seeing all of the places homeschool families visit. You can send pictures to me prior to your appointment or bring your camera along. One homeschool family makes a yearbook that I enjoy reviewing.

Do you have a project that is too big or a map or timeline you have created that is on the wall? You can snap a photograph of that too or create a video! No need to bring it with you. I understand the amount of time and hard work that has gone into projects.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have questions. I will be happy to address them.

Have a great week!




Baking with Children

Baking with your child is a fun way to incorporate several subjects and also have a yummy reward for your hard work! I’d say this is a win-win situation for everyone.🙂

Reading– Children are reading labels and directions in order to prepare the baked goods.

Following directions– What a terrific way for children to practice following directions! I remember vividly the first time I made brownies without my mom’s help. I was so excited to make them because I love chocolate and we didn’t have dessert all that often. I couldn’t wait to smell them baking and was anticipating eating the warm and delicious dessert with a glass of cold milk. Well…I didn’t read the directions carefully and instead of using 1/4 cup of water, I added 1-1/4 cup! I was devastated that I had to throw the batch away, but it did teach me a valuable lesson early on to read the directions twice and carefully before beginning!

Math– part of learning fractions is being able to understand the concept of a “part” of something. This can be easily demonstrated by showing your baker the measuring spoons where you can see that 1 teaspoon is a fraction of a tablespoon. You can also teach adding fractions by doubling a recipe. It can be difficult for a child to grasp that 1/4 +1/4 equals 1/2, but when able to have a hands-on experience, can help those who struggle with this concept.

Science– Chemistry can be seen in action as children combine ingredients in order to get baked goods to rise. I have a book that I want to share with you that explains in simple terms to children what is taking place when leavening agents are added to recipes. Muffins and breads are yummy ways of seeing the results of adding baking soda and/or baking powder to create them.

I bet your mouth is watering thinking of a yummy dessert. Plan for some fun in your school day; create great memories, and yummy treats. You can always make extra and take them to a neighbor to brighten their day.

Happy baking; here is a book to help you with young bakers. Pictures are below for you to have an idea of what it looks like. Enjoy!