Dear Ms. B. Begins


I have homeschooled my kids since birth. When I became pregnant with my first child in 1992, I was teaching at an inner city middle school in San Diego. My husband and I were part of a small Vineyard church at the time, and three of the families homeschooled. We were so impressed with their family lifestyles and the behavior of their kids that we both agreed we wanted to homeschool our own children.

Even through a horrible divorce eight years later, the Lord granted my heart’s desire and made it possible for me to continue homeschooling by developing the Writing Foundations program. I have been able to schedule Writing Foundations classes in a way that gave me time to work one-on-one with my own kids. While I taught other kids to write, my kids enjoyed dates with friends at the elementary level and took co-op classes at the high school level. Now, I have only one tenth grader who is still homeschooling. My oldest is a senior at a local music college finishing his degree in Production and Engineering. My middle child has graduated from high school and has come to work with me full time at Writing Foundations.

The years have passed so quickly! It astounds me to look back and think, “WOW! I did it! We’re making it!” The journey has been difficult at times and wonderful overall, and I could not have done it without the Lord every step of the way. Like every homeschooling veteran, and like some dedicated, life-long teachers out there, I have learned more than I ever imagined in twenty-four years.

Within the last few months it seems, I’ve been receiving email inquiries from parents with questions about how to help their students through different writing challenges. While I certainly don’t know it all, I have gained a bit of wisdom and knowledge about how children learn and think, especially when it comes to writing. It dawned on me the other day that these responses would make great blog posts.

Therefore, let this be an introduction to what lies ahead. Gradually, I will be posting my responses to questions that parents have sent me about how to best help their child with writing. I hope any readers out there will find them helpful.

Thought for the Day

If you have a child who is PASSIONATE about an activity or skill that would fall nicely under an academic heading such as foreign language or science, etc…


DO NOT EVER TELL him that it is part of his school work!

Keep clandestine records of her activity if you must, but NEVER let her know you are counting it as “school”. The minute you do, the revelation will act like a nasty, sharp, pointy pin of drudgery that will perniciously pop your student’s bubble of desire.

Resist the urge to take the reigns in the name of “homeschooling”. Rather, sit back and savor the ride as true growth and education blossom before your eyes.

Crossbow Reading Rulers Review

When it comes to textbooks, keeping your place while reading and staying focused and alert can be a challenge for students of all ages. Whether a student struggles with significant visual or reading issues or not, eye strain when consuming information in any subject is a common problem.

Crossbow Education specializes in tools that address reading issues for anyone, and especially for those who struggle with dyslexia or other special needs. As part of the Old SchoolHouse Review Crew, I received a set of 10 colored Eye Level Reading Rulers that NerdGirl and I took for a month-long test drive.

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Box of I.D.E.As. Review

Did you know that the Great Wall of China was paid for by salt?

Neither did we until we had the opportunity to explore the Box of I.D.E.As. unit on salt. The Great Wall of China module and the Salt March module were just two of the fascinating activities that we enjoyed as we worked our way through this treasure chest of ideas.

A physical box product from Box of I.D.E.As. is a unit study-like package that contains 10 or more zip-locked bags (modules) that focus on one unique, particular topic such as Salt, The Number 11, WWII, Quilting, or Laundry, and there are many more to come!

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A Cry From Egypt Review

“Up until 3-ish reading A Cry in Egypt! Do not wake UP!” That pretty much says it all for this review. You can read the rest if you like, or you could save time and go buy the book right now.

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America in the 1880s Review

American history is full of fascinating events ranging from the pilgrims’ arrival to the Declaration of Independence, from the Civil War to the first moon landing and beyond. Taking time to pause and study a certain time period or event in depth can be a rewarding endeavor. Marshall Publishing offers a selection of videos that are great resource for such studies.

Unbeknownst to most people, the 1880s was a decade filled with intriguing people and exponential growth and progress. I learned this when, as a member of the SchoolHouse Review Crew, I received a copy of The History of America in the 1880s to watch with my family. The 60 minute DVD is divided into 2 parts – a 30 minute overview of the decade’s highlights and a 30 minute dramatic reproduction of Alexander Graham Bell’s work.

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940 Saturdays

I was reading over at Jennifer’s blog, and she said something that deeply moved me today:

Recently I read that we have 940 Saturdays with our children from birth until their 18th birthday. For my girls those are more than halfway gone. I hope we have many more as fun filled as this one.

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I think I know what a humble little stone in a sling shot might feel just before being released into the wild blue yonder. I can feel the tension… pulling, pulling, pulling… back, back, back… and suddenly Tuesday morning I will be launched into the new school year!

I will have 17 classes this year, and most of them are filled to overflowing! It was a surprising turnout, considering the economy and all. I’m ready though. NerdGirl and I made over 70 handouts which multiplied to somewhere around 30,000 copies for 250 students.

I am down to just two of my own kids now that the oldest has packed up and moved on to college *sniff!!* Thankfully, I have had NerdGirl and Fashionista up and running on their own homeschool work for a couple weeks now. They also have their co-op texts, notebooks, and packpacks all ready to go.

So I was sitting here on this Labor Day Weekend (Ha! What an ironic holiday name when you are a teacher, right? ;-) ), and I got to thinking, I better make a schedule for next week so I know when to get up in the morning and where to be when… Good thought, huh?

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Notable Novelists Review

As a writing teacher as well as a homeschooling mother, I have a passion for unique and entertaining products that celebrate literature. I happen to be blessed with a sixteen year old NerdGirl who is a chip off the old block. We were tickled pink when the SchoolHouse Review Crew received the opportunity to review the Notable Novelists card game.

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Ten Girls from History Review

The SchoolHouse Review Crew has had some great opportunities to review books of living history this summer. Ten Girls from History by Kate Dickinson Sweetser is the latest. Sweetser lived around the turn of the 2oth century, and she wrote a number of books to inspire children with stories of heroes and heroines from the past. Her books live on thanks to history-loving, homeschool graduate and publishing entrepreneur, Amy Puetz. Amy is the owner of Golden Prairie Press, a superb resource for living history collections, curriculum, and devotional materials.

Ten Girls from History has ten substantial chapters – one for each of the following remarkable women:

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