Friday, December 21, 2012

Hand Made Journal

All my little darlings are writers and artists, so I am making each of them a blank journal for Christmas.  The first one turned out WAY better than expected!  They are great to write in, draw in or both, and they make awesome hunting/nature journals (if I only had some camo print!).

Authentic Parenting: Join In On Our Weekly Art Journalling Group

Authentic Parenting: Join In On Our Weekly Art Journalling Group

In the spirit of journalling this week, I have signed up our little homeschool troop for the weekly art journal assignment.  Check it out!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Diary...

I had a hard time accepting the fact that I was a nerd in high school.  Okay, all the way through school.  I liked learning in general, but especially taking notes and anything to do with writing.  I was (and am) proud of my handwriting.  It's very neat, and I distinctly remember a friend of mine in 6th grade trying to figure out how I wrote so pretty.  I think the secret is that I enjoy writing, and I like the look of a page full of neatly written script (I admitted I'm a nerd, let it go.  I'm bearing my soul here!).  Now, in the digital age, handwriting is slipping away and I refuse to let go.  So I still use pen and paper and diligently write in my beautiful script daily in all my numerous journals. 

Perhaps the most important journal that I keep, and the one closest to my heart, is the one I refer to as my Teacher's Log.  I have filled several (handwritten) notebooks since we started homeschooling. It's not just a record of academics as the name suggests though.  I do record educational progress, but academics are only one branch of a child's development. 

I don't have a degree in teaching.  I have never taken a parenting class.  What I do have, is an obsession with observation and notetaking.  I watch my children. Then I record what I deem important.  I also work through issues, whether is an attitude problem or a new method of teaching math. 

My Teacher's Log is also a sanity saver.  The simple act of putting pen to paper (and keeping to my high standards of handwriting) forces me to focus.  On the days when I feel like I've accomplished nothing, I end my writing session triumphant after realizing everything we did do.  Even if we veered (way) off course. 

You may have awful handwriting, or just prefer to use an app, but journaling is an excellent way of capturing your little darlings as they learn and grow.  So, here are some tips to help you along in your journaling endeavor. 

1.  Write regularly.  Daily is best because everything is fresh in your mind, but at least shoot for once a week, even if you only jot down some bullet points. 

2.  Create a Joy List.  Designate a spot in your journal for a list of the things that bring your children joy.  As your child grows, and the list does too, you will harvest valuable information.  Look for patterns and themes that may point to your child's calling.  This will be a huge benefit when it's time for high school schedules, college options, and career choices.

3.  Have the kids keep a journal too.  Even young ones that haven't learned to write yet will be more than happy to draw their thoughts and let you translate.  You will gain valuable insight here, too.  If you can't keep up the writing paper supply, download my Primary Lined Writing and Journal Paper.

4.  Keep a Wish List.  Start a list of everything your child wants to be, have or do-even if it came from the farthest corner of their imagination!  Check out my ABC's of Me activity.

5.  Scrap it!  Are you more visual than verbal?  Use photographs, drawings, quotes, etc. and make a visual journal.

Happy Homeschooling!

Mrs. Redd

Mrs. Redd's Classroom
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy Evokes Thoughts of Homeschool

Today as parents and famillies from coast to coast are experiencing a flood of emotions related to the shooting at a Conneticut elementary school, America suddenly shrinks to the size of a computer screen or mobile phone as we all express our grief, shock, and anger.  Everyone once again has come together in the face of tragedy to stand together against evil.  Among the prayers and condolences, there are also considerations of personal choices.  Several comments have popped up about bringing home children who are currently attending public school. 

I'd like to share a quote from Thomas Paine's Common Sense: "PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom.  But the tumult soon subsides.  Time makes more converts than reason." This means that just because people have thought something to be right over the ages does not necessarily mean it is actually correct.  It's just what people think.  He goes on to speak of people's adversity to change, and how new and bold ideas are often ridiculed.  Over time, however, people realize where they went wrong and make changes. 

Paine published Common Sense in the winter preceding America's Declaration of Independence.  The words I've quoted above refer to his revolutionary (pun intended) ideas about self-government. Despite the old language format, those words are true 236 years later as I apply them to the future of America in this post.  By future, I am referring to our children.

Maybe you should consider home education.  Maybe you shouldn't.  Something is broken in our education system, regardless.  There is feedback coming from many sources about this issue and the way we have been doing things is no longer working.  Let's keep doing what works, and find alternatives for what isn't.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mrs. Redd's Classroom Blog: Shave Time Off Homework!

Mrs. Redd's Classroom Blog: Shave Time Off Homework!: Typing efficiently can cut time spent on assignments like reports and research papers in half!  A keyboarding course is usually offered in s...

Shave Time Off Homework!

Typing efficiently can cut time spent on assignments like reports and research papers in half!  A keyboarding course is usually offered in school, but what about homeschoolers, students that need extra practice, or an adult whose employment or resume could benefit from polished typing skills?  Here in Mrs. Redd's Classroom we are big fans of the FREE online software from  The kids love it!  It has cool graphics, easy to understand instructions, is set up like a game with scoring at the end of each lesson that shows how close you are to the prize.  All lessons can be repeated as necessary, and you can design your own lessons.  You can download the software or check out the online assessments and other features.  To accompany the program, I designed a Keyboarding Practice Log for each of my children to record their progress on.  I have them run through each lesson at least three times and record each score.  At the end of the three practice sessions they average up their score.  Not only are they getting keyboarding practice, but they are also beefing up their charting, data collecting and math skills!  You can download my FREE Keyboarding Practice Log form from  Just search 'Rachael Redd' under Sellers, and you will find it.  Download, Save, Print, and Reuse as necessary!  Contact me, and I will customize any printable with your child's name.  Happy Typing!

Welcome to Mrs. Redd's Classroom Blog!

Thanks for checking out my classroom blog!  I am currently preparing content in a wide variety of formats.  I want to combine traditional teaching and learning methods with unconventional and creative ideas for engaging people of all ages in educational activities.  Please feel free to suggest products you want or need for your classroom, home, or self.  I would also like to invite you to post suggestions and ideas that have worked for you. 
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