Why I Chose Weaver

For 12 years people have been asking why I chose Weaver. I am by no means an expert at homeschooling, but I feel I have found a curriculum that will work for anyone who chooses to put God at the core of their studies. I know I’m not alone in my feelings as there are hundreds of women around the world who visit the Unofficial Weaver Pages and participate in the Facebook group and on the Email List.

Why I Chose Weaver

When I first thought about homeschooling, I did a ton of research. I didn’t have an Internet connection back then, so I used my phone and a book I had bought that listed publishers of homeschooling materials. I had two young boys and was pregnant with my third child. My background was in Child Day Care, so the idea of unit studies really appealed to me. I found two options: a curriculum that focused on character traits, or a book that would teach me to write my own unit studies. I wasI chose Weaver all set to go with the former option when my cousin mentioned Weaver.

After calling the company and getting a sample, I was hooked! Here was a curriculum that started with God’s Word. Here was a curriculum that I could use with all my children. Here was a curriculum that offered flexibility and scheduling, all at the same time.

As a new Christian, I desperately wanted to put God first in my life. I felt Weaver would help me teach my children how important that is, and I was right. What about you? What has brought you to this Unofficial Weaver Blog? What types of things are you interested in learning about Weaver? Let me know and I’ll answer your questions, or leave a comment and share how you came to use Weaver!

School Prep

It’s barely the end of July and already I’m getting things ready for the upcoming school year. Normally I would wait another couple weeks before doing my last-minute prep, but school is right around the corner… literally! The public schools in my community are resuming on August 9th! That’s just 3 weeks away… since my oldest attends the local tech school for programming classes, we usually follow the public school schedule.

I spent time back in May planning for this coming year, and today was the semi-annual teacher’s sale at Mardel’s. I purchased two Milliken books: The Middle Ages
and The Renaissance, both from the History of Civilization series.

Now I need to clean off my desk and get last year’s papers filed away so I can start fresh. And I ONLY have 3 weeks!! Where did the summer go?!

Writing Through Time

I have discovered a wonderful tool for getting my children to write: an old typewriter! Listening to the clackety-clack of the keys takes me back — it’s like writing through time!

My grandfather liked to write, and so did his older sister. I’m not sure how the story goes, whether he bought the typewriter for himself and eventually gave it to her, or if he bought it for her, but one year he gave her a red Underwood Golden Touch typewriter. (I would guess this machine is from the late 50’s or early 60’s. An eBay search shows a red one in a 1958 magazine ad.) About 10 yrs ago it was given back to my grandfather, and a few years ago it was given to me.

This past week I’ve let my kids do some typing — it’s always special when they type because I don’t let them “play” with the typewriter often. Today I sat down and showed them what all the different levers and buttons do, and explained the changes that have come over the years to keyboards (computer vs typewriter). I used to have some White-out tabs, but can’t find them right now, so I’ve had to explain (without showing) how to ‘fix’ mistakes.

They’re having a blast, writing stories about themselves! And I’m enjoying the clackety-clack of the keys and the smell of the ink ribbon. I’ve even taken time to do some manual typing myself. I’ve forgotten how hard it is to just type and not worry about mistakes. To make a perfect paper, I must be conscious of every letter I push, otherwise I will have to core correct my mistakes somehow.

Now I’m anxious to visit some antique stores again… I want to look at the old typewriters! How about you? Do you have any family heirlooms to teach your children about your family history?

Creative Writing

In an effort to teach my younger students that it is possible for them to write more than just a few sentences, I like to stretch-out the creative writing assignments. This past week was a perfect example. On Monday, I gave them a sentence starter: “The river flows…” My third grade daughter wrote three sentences altogether. My first grade son completed the sentence and wrote one of his own to go with it. The next day I told them to continue that thought, but include the word “mountain” in one of their sentences. The following day they had to include the word “map” into a sentence.

Sometimes they write goofy things and sometimes they surprise me with their insight. Either way, I’m happy to see them writing!

If you don’t care for the creative writing prompts within the Day by Day, feel free to create your own! It’s not as hard as you think. 😉

Sure-fire Way to Combat Frustration

We’ve gotten behind in our work… off-track… behind schedule… whatever you wish to call it. So, today we’re playing “catch-up” and it isn’t going well. I’m fighting frustration, wanting the children to hurry up and get done. They’re fidgetty because it’s Monday and they’re not quite into the swing of school (that comes tomorrow). My anger is building and I know that’s not right.

I need to sit down and do the one thing I haven’t done today. Whenever I miss this activity, the whole day gets off-kilter. You guessed it: I missed my quiet time with God!

It’s so simple, yet so very important. Time with my Lord and Savior quiets my spirit, and allows Him to work through me, to accomplish His goals. I know better… I’m always encouraging other moms–even challenging them–to make this a priority in their lives. I’m going to go do this right now, before anymore of the day slips by!

Have you had your time with God today? It doesn’t take a huge commitment. Just read a few passages and discuss them with God. Not sure what to read? What passages are you teaching during your Bible studies with Weaver? Keep Him involved in your day, and He’ll keep your day orderly. Never fails!

Yearly Schedules

I’m curious to know how many Weaving families use a more non-traditional schedule for their school year. I know many families follow the September-to-May/June schedule, like the public schools, but how many go year-round? How do you set-up your time? Do you have a “3-week-on, 1-week-off” schedule? I think that would work well with Weaver, as many of the units are more than 10-days. (Hmmm… I’ll have to check my volumes to see what the average length is.)

As you share your time-schedule, let us know what your state requirements are, too (does your state require a certain number of days, or hours?). I’m sure we’ll be switching to all-year schooling, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly how we’ll do it!

Struggling with a Bible Lesson

In chapter 8 of Volume 5, we’re studying the concepts of stewardship. I’m having a hard time giving practical applications/examples for each of the concepts. I’m also struggling with defining some of them, as they seem to be the same concept. Take #3 and #12 for example.

#3) Knowledge of the Investment

#12) Knowledge of the Rules

I’m not sure I understand the “rules” to begin with, but it seems both of these come down to knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into when you become a steward.

And what about #5 (Willing to Take a Calculated Risk) and #13 (Preparation for the Unexpected). When we calculate our risks, we are preparing for the unexpected… at least, I am!

And #14 (Faithfulness in Continuance over Time) and #15 (Faithfulness to the Goal Given) seem pretty close as well.

It seems to me that this whole lesson could have been tightened-up a bit. I would have never thought to use some of those Bible verses as examples for stewardship myself. But, then again, I’m not quite as knowledgeable of the Bible as the author of Weaver.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this chapter. How did you handle it? What teaching tips can you give me? Leave a comment and let us know!

Fabric Maps

When my children were small, I tried to adapt their learning materials to their capabilities. One way I did this was by purchasing fabric maps to teach geography.

While at the store one day, I saw fabric that had a map of the USA printed on it. Each state lists the capital and has a picture of the state bird and state flower. There was a key/list off to the side of the map, listing the names of the birds and flowers.

I wasted no time in buying this map panel! I also bought some solid red fabric to back it, and created a small “quilt” simply by adding some batting between the fabrics and machine-sewing straight lines, horizontally and vertically, about an inch apart, with “invisible” thread. (I used red thread in the bobbin, though.)

About a year later, a panel with the map of the world came out, so I bought that, too, along with blue material for the backing. Of the two fabric maps, this one was trickier to machine-quilt as the latitude and longitude lines were already printed on the map and they are not straight, which threw me off at times.

Both fabric maps are cherished by my two youngest children. They’re going to come in handy in a few weeks when we cover map skills once again. I also have a Magnetic State to State Game that I’ll bring out to help my third-grader memorize where the states are, and what their names are. There’s a good chance my first-grader will whiz through this and learn it right along with his sister!

One resource that I’ve had for a few years but haven’t used yet is the book States & Capitals Workbook, by Twin Sisters Productions. I’ll have to pull some of the games and activities out of that book. I’ll also need to see if I can find the music for Turkey in the Straw–that’s the tune they use for “singing” the states in Volume 5, chapter 9.

We’ve got two weeks left of our current chapter, but I’m already starting to plan for the next one–a 30-day chapter! Those long chapters seem to need the extra planning.

A New Perspective

We’re working our way through Chapter 8 of Volume 5. We’ve finished the main parables of Jesus and now we’re working on the stewardship section. There are 23 concepts about stewardship that are being taught over a 15-day period. Today we studied the third concept, Knowledge of the Investment, and I gained a new perspective on well-known parables. The Bible examples used by the author were the parables of the new patch on an old garment and new wine in old wine skins.

To be honest, I’ve never thought of those parables as teaching about stewardship. To me they are teaching that we need to put away our old, earthly thoughts and focus on Christ now that we’re believers. I thought they were teaching us that we shouldn’t try to mix Christianity with Pagan rituals.

In trying to teach the lesson, I had to look at these parables with a fresh eye. I have not changed my mind about the point Jesus was trying to make, but I’ve gained a new appreciation for His choice of words. He chose activities that His audience could relate to–do I do that when trying to get my point across?

Because I’m teaching a wide range of ages (6-16) I often wonder if I’m losing the interest of some of my children while I try to explain something to others. It’s challenging, but I know I need to reach each of them where they’re at, and then challenge them in their thinking so they will grow to the next level of understanding.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of this unit works out, not only for my children, but for my own Bible understanding as well.

Peculiar Putty

One year, when my children were small, we made Peculiar Putty. As I recall, it was similar to Silly Putty, but more fluid. It has been well over 10 years since I’ve made this, so don’t quote me on that! I’m no longer certain where the recipe came from, either.

Peculiar Putty

  • 1 cup white school glue
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp Borax
  • 1/2 cup water

You will need two bowls.

  1. In one of the bowls, stir together the white glue and about 3/4 cup of water.
  2. In the second bowl, stir 1/2 cup water and Borax together.
  3. Stir the Borax mixture into the glue mixture. Continue to stir until all the glue mixture is absorbed. This will take several minutes.
  4. Allow the mixture to stand for an hour or so and it’s ready to play with. Pull on it, flatten it, roll it into a ball and bounce it!