Get My Domestic Church in your e-mail box.

Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Build Your Bundle Flash Sale! Homeschool Curriculum on a Budget

This summer, my daughter Rosie has been studying Shakespeare using a 10-week course I purchased in May during the Build Your Bundle Sale.  Miss C and I have been doing a little bit of homeschooling this summer, mainly literature based things and some basic alphabet and numbers using the printables I purchased at that sale.  

This content uses referral links. That means if you make a purchase or click a link, I may make a small commission - just enough to support my diet coke habit. And there is no extra charge to you. It's a win/win! Read our disclosure policy

If you missed out on the sale before you could get the curriculum you need for next year at a great price, here is your second chance.

The Build Your Bundle Folks are having a FLASH SALE starting at 12 PM EST on Monday, June 16 that runs until 3 AM EST on Thursday, July 19 for a total of 63 hours!

Did you forget what you wanted to get? No problem. The BYB Preview Day begins Saturday, July 14 at 9 AM.

Save 86% - 95% on 20 individual bundles packed full of resources for your home and school!

Don't forget - when you buy 2 individual bundles, you get the 3rd one for FREE. See site for details.
* No duplicates throughout the bundles
* Over 250 products from 128 authors
* Cathy Duffy Top Pick Publishers
Charlotte Mason Inspire Bundle
Character Building Bundle
Early Learning Bundles
Elementary Bundles
Upper Grades Bundles (Middle & High School)
Homeschool Helps Bundles
Homemaking & Parenting Bundles
Unit Studies & Thematic Units Bundles
or Build your own.

OK so what did I buy back in May?  


Next year I will also be teaching my granddaughter. S She is ready in many, many ways for school activities, but socially it might be better for her to mature a little bit before starting formal schooling.

So I was intrigued by the Early Learning Bundles.  Here are the things that I bought for next year.

Hands On Alphabet for Preschoolers 
What if in 6 months from now, your kid actually knew the alphabet and could write each letter and it only took you minutes to teach daily with zero stress, how would your life be different?
Using fun and creative methods of learning, this workbook will:
  • Teach your child to recognize both upper and lower case letters
  • Teach your child to write both upper and lower case letters
  • Expose them to beginning sounds
  • Develop fine motor skills

Confident Homeschool Preschool Bundle 

The HOMESCHOOL PRESCHOOL CHEAT SHEET is a quick read collection of all the tips and tricks I wished I knew when I started homeschooling my preschooler.
The PRESCHOOL SKILLS CHECKLIST lists all the skills that your child needs to know for kindergarten that is sorted by subjects. It also includes a one-page sheet with all the skills so you can check off the skills your child has mastered.
THE PRESCHOOL SUPPLIES CHECKLIST lists all the common items to have for your child and is sorted by subjects!

The No Prep Sight Words Pre-Primer edition includes all the words from the Pre-Primer list. The No Prep Sight Words Pre-Primer Edition is designed to be:
  • Print and go
  • Allows your kids to be independent in their activities
  • Hands-on and fun (using dice, spinners and dot markers)
Each sight word has 4 dedicated pages that include the following activities:

These 105 preschool skills worksheets are arranged into 7 themes: fruit, animals, shapes, construction, birthday party, weather, and sports. You can use just the worksheets needed to study a specific theme, or work through all the themes to cover the full range of skills included.
These worksheets explore rhyming words, number recognition, number words, shapes, seasons, color words, animal recognition, and fine motor skills.
Activities include a range of color by activities, such as color by rhyme, color by shape, color by number, color by animal, and color by number word or color word, as well as mazes, tracing, patterns, counting, matching, dauber activities, and sequencing.
I have actually printed off pages when I need to keep her occupied or when she is in the mood to "do school."  Who cares if she is in a swimming suit coloring outside! She's learning and this has been a good resource.

Rosie will be an 8th grader next year. Longtime readers can probably remember her birth documented on this very blog!  But as she gets ready for her last year of jr. high,  I am well aware that she is ready for some high school level work. Her favorites are art and history, but also English literature. 

With that in mind, these are what I see the Upper-Grade Bundles that have caught my interest!  

Remember - you have options for building your own bundle too. I like that option so well - I did it twice!  

College Prep Writing Curriculum. She may not be ready for that this year, but as her writing continues to mature I definitely think this would be helpful in the years to come.

Research indicates strong reading and writing skills are essential for college success. If you ever worry about whether your child is prepared for the rigors of college writing, look no further. Written by a college professor, homeschooling mom and international selling author, this step-by-step curriculum ensures your child is prepared for the rigors of college writing.

because Rosie will just LOVE this!

Study some of the greatest masters, the various styles and periods, such as the Early Renaissance, Renaissance, and High Renaissance, along with many of the great Protestant artists in northern Europe during the Reformation.

This one-year program focuses on both a Christian Worldview and Classical approach to Art History. Each text includes a set of full color "masterpiece cards" along with a set of "art lesson cards" (to be worked on directly with each lesson).

Paul's Journeys  - Could count this as religion, history and geography.
Here's a wonderful resource to help you teach your students about the life of Paul the Apostle. From Tarsus to Jerusalem to Ephesus to Rome, this beautifully-designed Activity Book covers the life of Paul.
This activity book includes 71 pages of fun and engaging Bible quizzes, maps, and creative writing & coloring activities. It also includes detailed scripture references for further Bible reading and an answer key for teachers.

A Wrinkle In Time Book Club - Rosie's been wanting to do a book club. Maybe this will be a good start for her. 
In the course, A Wrinkle in Time Book Club, the student will read through the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

10 Weeks of Shakespeare   This is the one I have been blogging about all summer!!!
Learn about:
  • How to pronounce Shakespeare, iambic pentameter
  • Biography of William Shakespeare
  • The Globe Theater
  • Elizabethan theater
  • Plus...memorization and performance tips
Students will also memorize speeches, read through and watch monologues, watch A Midsummer Night's Dream, and perform an act from William Shakespeare's Star Wars.

From interacting with siblings to resisting peer pressure, kids today are faced with all kinds of choices and the question seems fair. It is hard to do the right thing. As parents it's our job to equip our kids with a foundation of biblical reasons to make the right choice and the motivation to stand strong against temptation.

Pulling from 30 years of homeschool curriculum consulting and tutoring, Cathy Canen has put together a resource that will propel your child to success in high school! Vocabulary will be a breeze once they've mastered these 50 basic word roots; and with Cathy's program, they can't help but have fun as they learn them.
By using this little program of word roots your child will become an expert about the original roots of 50 words. If they can play "Go Fish" and other easy card games, then they'll be able to complete these activities with no problem.
By playing the games, your child will become very good at understanding word roots and how to use them. And of course, once they understand better how to use their words, they're ready to be a word hero in any course of study.

We are an artistic family. My husband repairs musical instruments for a living. I play the flute, craft and sew. All of my children have played the piano and/or sang in the choir, and three of them have taken a great interest in drawing and painting. I guess it's natural then for my granddaughter to have her own little art table in the corner of my dining room with Play Dough, paints, and other crafting items. 

The Fine Art Bundle of the Build Your Bundle Sale is the perfect way for me to take my kids to the next step - from the hands-on to understanding the history and the theory behind the art. I actually purchased this bundle first and here's what's inside:

1.   The Renaissance Artists

You could use this one just to print off and frame the lovely prints!!  These are truly beautiful and would bless any homeschool !

Your study of Renaissance Artists will be enhanced by this beautiful collection of 33 printable works of art.   Designed to familiarize your children to fine art easily, painlessly, and without adding to your teaching burden, there are 3 printable works per artist that is shown in the Renaissance Artists collection.
These downloadable PDF files includes suggestions for how to implement this product around your home.

If you are teaching history, you owe it to your students to at least touch on the art and music of the time. How can you know a culture without knowing about their arts?  These two resources are perfect supplements to your history program or just as a general art education program. 

Learn about the style and purpose of ancient Egyptian art along with the classical art of ancient Greece and Rome. Easy to follow, daily lessons with art lessons relevant to artists or periods being discussed (ages 7 thru adult).
This is a one year program focusing on both a Christian worldview and classical approach to art history. Each text includes a set of full color "masterpiece cards" along with a set of "art lesson cards" (to be worked on directly with each lesson.)

Art lessons teach the basic fundamentals of drawing and the academics of color theory.

3.  Learning to Read and Understand Music!   

If you've ever struggled in piano lessons or with trying to learn a little music theory, these could be for you! Rosie's been taking piano lessons now for six years and still stumbles with her musical terms - so I'm hoping the flash cards will benefit her.  I am secretly hoping to learn the bass clef, which I am seriously deficient in since I only play the flute and never had piano lessons!

4.   Families Learn Together- American History Art Appreciation

I wish I had had this a few years ago when I was teaching American History to Izzy and Noah. I think it's so important to learn the art and music when you are studying a time period. This book makes it easy to at least learn about American Art and would be a great history supplement. 

Art is an exciting way to study American History together as a family! Art allows us to travel back in time to see American history through the artists' eyes. What fun to study paintings to learn more about our nation's heritage!
Each lesson gives a brief history of the artist and his style before we examine several of his paintings. Use our questions as a springboard to family discussions. The first lesson explains how to appreciate art, including exploring elements of art and principles of design.
Artists Studied:

  • Anthony Van Dyck
  • Gilbert Stuart
  • John James Audubon
  • Thomas Cole
  • Thompkins Harrison Matteson
  • Frederic Edwin Church
  • Winslow Homer
  • Norman Rockwell

5.  Great American Poets 1 and 2.

If you want your child to pass the CLEP exam in Analyzing Literature, they will need to have a basic understanding of poetry! My one kid who attempted that test failed miserably because he didn't like poetry and he never read it.  This online class will be a big help for the reluctant poetry reader - and might even convert him or her (or even mom!) into an enthusiastic poetry aficionado! 

Great American Poets 1 introduces you to the poet and makes it easy for you to experience their poetry with no prep time needed. Heavy on videos, these collections will allow you and your children to let the language of poetry get into your hearts and minds effortlessly. The emphasis in these collections is on getting to enjoy and appreciate poetry for the beautiful art form that it is, rather than a focus on structure, analysis, or methods.
Get to know the New England poets that loved nature, family, and life!
You will learn about the following poets:
  • William Cullen Bryant
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Walt Whitman
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Carl Sandburg
  • E.E. Cummings
  • Robert Frost
  • Langston Hughes

6. Fine Art Pages - Renaissance artists. 

Enrichment Studies' artist study resources make it easy for you to introduce your children to the masters of fine art easily, inexpensively, and without spending a ton of time compiling all of the information yourself!
Your family will love these videos, fun printables, biographies, and more. The videos, in particular, are so helpful for pre-readers, dyslexic kids, and others that struggle with reading or shouldn’t read on a screen. The videos also free up mom for other things while the kids are happily learning!
13 beautiful resources full of information about Renaissance artists. Includes:
  • Bellini
  • Bosch
  • Botticelli
  • da Vinci
  • Donatello
  • Durer
  • Masaccio
  • Mantegna
  • Michelangelo
  • Raphael
  • Tintoretto
  • Titian
  • van Eyck

 7.  Peter and the Wolf  and Lapbook

I am super excited about this one. I loved Peter and the Wolf when I was a little girl and the music is still among my favorites.  What a wonderful way to learn about storytelling through music! And I think it's going to be wonderful to learn about this story with my granddaughter (and truth be told, with Rosie too because in looking through the lapbook, there is a lot of good information for her to learn as well!) Besides the lapbook, you get some wonderful MP3s to play with your child.  You learn about the different instruments in the orchestra, about Russia, and animals. I can't wait to dig into this!

In this story, a young boy named Peter disobeys his grandfather and climbs over the garden wall. When he encounters a wolf, with quick thinking and the help of his friends – a bird, a duck and a cat – Peter captures the wolf and it is taken to the zoo.
"Peter and the Wolf," by Sergei Prokofiev, is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, narrated by YADU, and conducted Stephen Simon in this award-winning production from Maestro Classics.
This set contains over 1 hour of beautiful music with a 24-page activity book and extra audio tracks featuring:

  • A biography of the composer, Sergei Prokofiev
  • Music lessons with the orchestra's conductor.
  • An instrumental track of the entire Peter and the Wolf without narration.
  • A Russian trio performing on traditional folk instruments.
  • A dance-along track to the most famous Russian folk melody.

8. Famous Artists 

The cool thing about this course is that the teacher encourages the family to work on this together! I think that's pretty neat, although I can't guarantee I'll be producing a lot of art, I'm sure Rosie will. I will enjoy the reading portions though. 

Study the lives and styles of famous contemporary and modern artists with the interactive, web-based Famous Artists (Vol. 2) Online Unit Study. Apply what you learn by creating your own masterpieces and a virtual art gallery exhibit.
Online Unit Studies integrate multiple subjects for multiple ages of students. Students access websites and videos and complete digital projects. With Online Unit Studies easy-to-use E-course format, no additional books and print resources are needed. Just gather supplies for hands-on projects and register for online tools.
Artists studied include:

  • Grant Wood (American Regionalism)
  • Norman Rockwell (Illustration Art)
  • Grandma Moses (Folk Art)
  • Jackson Pollock (Abstract Art)
  • Andy Warhol (Pop Art)
  • Frank Stella (Minimalism)
  • Bridget Riley (Optical Art)
  • Fernando Botero (Postmodern Art)
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (Street Art)

9.  100 Delightful Classical Music Pieces
This is an online music course!
My mother was an avid classical music lover!  She would quiz me in the car about what was the name of a certain piece or who was the composer. 

Unfortunately, mom hadn't really taught me any of those things directly. I guess she was hoping I would pick it up by osmosis. Eventually, I did, especially as I progressed in my flute studies. But this seems like a much easier and more direct way to tackle that!

More than one hundred videos are included in this mini-course! You and your students can listen to these wonderful musical pieces and songs of Western music tradition, from the years 1450 to the present era.
A printable pack is included so students can critique and keep track of what they have listened to. Also included is a set of Composer & Musical Era Flashcards to go with each of the composers included in this course.
Musical Eras Included:
  • Baroque
  • Renaissance
  • Classical
  • Romantic
  • Modern

If you're looking for a good planner, this is the place to look!

One of the really cool things about this years Build-Your -Bundle Sale are the number of planners that are available! If you are the type of homeschooler that likes to write things out and plan your lessons and document achievement, you're going to enjoy this sale!  Here are 7 planners for you to pick and choose from - or add them to your own designed bundle!

This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

1.  The Uncomplicated Homeschool Planner found in Homeschool Helps Bundle #1
A simple, full-sized homeschool planner that is black and white, undated and reusable! This planner has been well thought out to include everything you might need and can be customized to suit your family.
It includes:

  • Homeschool quotes collection
  • Password tracker
  • Cleaning routine
  • Family chores
  • Curriculum planner
  • Unit study planner
  • Field trip ideas
  • Grade records
  • BONUS: Weekly meal planning to be photocopied

2.   Also found in Homeschool Helps Bundle #1

The Weekly Homeschool Planner. 

This weekly homeschool planner is an undated, printable PDF you can use from year-to-year to organize organize your school days and record your daily learning.
The over 150 color pages gives plenty of room for both weekly and a month-at-a-glance overview. Lined planning space feature ten subject areas as well as two layouts (Monday-Friday and one blank for your own schedule).
Additional planning pages include:
  • Homeschool vision
  • Yearly requirements
  • Curriculum planning
  • Daily schedules
  • And More!

Each planner includes a link to a bonus download page where you can find additional pages to add to your planner: curriculum wish list, field trip planning, goals for children, names/addresses, notes, unit planning, yearly attendance, and editable monthly and weekly pages.

3.  Student Pink Butterflies Planner!  In the Brother/Sister Bundle. 
Save BIG at the 2018 Build Your Bundle Sale!

·        Daily Schedule
·        Contacts form
·        Reading Log
·        Websites and Password Tracker
·        Assignments Form
·        Project Planner
·        12 monthly overview calendars
·        Note pages
·        Weekly planner pages

The Essential Year Round Homeschooling Planner contains 80+ pages and includes every planning resource that you need for successful year-round homeschooling. This is an undated planner, which means once you have a can use it year after year!

·      One time purchase
·      Print only what you need, when you need it
·      Works with any homeschooling schedule
·      Use with any homeschooling method
·      Easy to use for multiple students
·      Grading charts make reporting/tracking easy
·      Learn to shop smart and save money
·      Plan well by planning less

By the Multi Taskin Mom

As you’d expect this planner is full of planning pages.
Monthly Planning: There are 3 different options for the monthly planning pages.Weekly Planning: There are 3 options for the weekly planning. Each has an option for lined or unlined pages. Mix or match to create the perfect planning layout for your homeschooling style.
Quarterly Focus Pages: These are designed to help you keep up with goals and tasks based on the quarters of the school year.
Unity Study Pages: Plan your own unit study or track the progress of one that you have purchased with these pages. It makes it so much easier.
High School Plans: Now keeping up with the high school year has focus. There is a break down page to track the curriculum you use and the credits you gain from them. There is tracking for the entire 4 year plan, and more! Plus it is all in one place. No more piecing them together.

 This one is in the Upper Grades #1 Bundle

The Homeschool Planner
Author/Publisher: Character Badges
Simply Plan. Simply Homeschool - The Homeschool Planner was created with one goal in mind - to help you simplify, plan, and organize the many tasks that go in to homeschooling.
So many homeschool planners are chock full of doodads, huge print, or features we rarely use. The creators of the Homeschool Planner set out to design one that was different; one that places usability above space robbing eye candy.
We meticulously designed each page to provide as much room as possible for you to organize the information that's most important to you and your day. The bright, clean design is free from distracting clutter and feels like breath of fresh air. Every page is designed to get out of your way allowing you to simply schedule, plan and prioritize.
Included in your PDF download are 30 thoughtfully designed pages dedicated to assisting you with everything from weekly subject planning to creating reading lists. There are even 12 beautifully designed inspirational quote pages - one for each month of the year.
– Weekly Planner (2 page spread)
– Monthly Planner (2 page spread)
– Subject Goals
– Semester Goals
– Hourly Schedule
– Reading List
– 'To Purchase' List
– Field Trip Planner
– Memorization Planner
– Attendance Sheet
– Notes
– 12 Inspirational Quote Pages (one per month)
– Cover
– Binder Spine Panel
– Instructions (how to print and assemble your planner)

7.   Do you Love Charlotte Mason?   Here is a planner specifically for teaching the Charlotte Mason Way and appropriately found in the Charlotte Mason Bundle #1

The Charlotte Mason  Planner

·        Annual – 12 month calendar view from July 2018 – June 2019, 
    Child’s Annual Evaluation, Yearly syllabus, Planning pages for Character, Habits, Life Skills, and Handicrafts, and Report Card
·        Term – Elementary Syllabus, Middle School Syllabus, High School Syllabus, Planning pages for Reading List, Audio List, Visual List, Field Trip,
·        Monthly – Monthly calendars, Calendar of Firsts Nature Sheets, and Child’s I am, I can, I ought, I will planning sheets
·        Weekly – Weekly Outlook in 5 different colors – perfect for color coding child’s schedule, Family Routines, My Chores, Elementary Weekly Assignments, Middle School Weekly Assignments, and High School Weekly Assignments
·        Mother Culture – Monthly planning for Mother Culture items

Remember - the pre-sale starts Saturday. The Sale starts Monday but only until Thursday!!
Happy Shopping!