Saturday, July 29, 2017

Contest: Amazon Card For the Solar Eclipse

Contest at the end of the post. Scroll to the end.  You so not need to live in Ohio or homeschool to enter to win.

I remember back in 1979 viewing the solar eclipse from my elementary playground in Kansas City. We made the pinhole cards and all stood outside with a warning that WHATEVER YOU DO, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN(!), etc., etc. I remember the sky turning a strange color and I remember our teacher being so excited she was practically bobbing up and down. It was an amazing experience, and I loved being outside for such a long period of time during the school day.

Coming up on August 21, 2017 from 2 to 3 in the afternoon, most of the US will see a full to partial solar eclipse. We will not have a full eclipse in Ohio, but it should still be pretty amazing, with the shadow of the moon crossing the nation from coast to coast. This kind of eclipse does not happen very often (last one: June 18, 1918) and is worth enjoying with our students.

Which leads me to the Ohio Homeschool Assessment summer contest. No, really! Since it has been about 40 years since I viewed my last eclipse I think we need to run a contest for a $40 Amazon card. Maybe you can use it to finish up school shopping, buy some coffee to make it through your morning, grab some books or music, or start your Christmas shopping. Any of those would be awesome!

So embrace the eclipse of 2017!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have problems please email me.

Helpful Links and items:

NASA Total Eclipse Site eclipse information

Fox News Story

Make sure they are Prime so they ship in time.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Narrative Assessments for Ohio Homeschoolers

For the 2016-2017 School year  I will gladly accept your portfolio and send you the form you need for your district.  Please know I accept portfolios year round and am happy to accept your portfolio at any time!  At this moment I am running about 2-5 days to get your paperwork back in the mail to you.  

I complete narrative assessments for Ohio homeschoolers.  The Assessments are portfolio reviews by myself, a certified teacher, that fulfill the Ohio Home Education requirement for 3301-34-04 Academic Assessment Report Option #2.  
If you would like to begin the process start by downloading the forms for the Freestyle Assessment for unschoolers, the Self Reflection Assessment for K-8th grade, OR the Self Reflection Assessment for High School for those who follow a subject curriculum. You fill out the forms, prepare the documentation, and sign them. Please email me for an instruction sheet that tells you where to mail them or how to send them to me electronically.  The instruction sheet also answers other questions. If you have trouble with the downloads, please email me.   Below are links  in Google Documents.   I am happy to help you so please contact me with any questions.

Becky Boerner

Freestyle Assessment in Google Documents
Self Reflection for K-8 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for High School in Google Documents.

Once you get there you need to do the following. 
If you click on the arrow button on the left hand side of the page you can download the file.
If you click on the print button you can print it out.

PS: If you can not access these files, try the links above in the document.  If you still can not access the documents, please email me and I will send you the files.  I am happy to do that!  

My portfolio pricing for 2017  is (1 portfolio) $35; (2 portfolios) $65; (3 portfolios) $95;  (4 portfolios ) $120; (5 or more portfolios) $150

I also accept PayPal, Check, or Money Orders (Contact me for more information.  Many families send me checks or money orders through the mail. )

Click on the arrow for pricing for 2 or more reviews.


Friday, July 07, 2017

The Berenstain Baers Bless our Gramps & Gran by Mike Berenstain

In The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran, the newest title in The Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, Mama, Papa, and the cubs decide it’s high time they honor Grizzly Gramps and Gran.

It’s almost Grandparents Day and the Bear family has never celebrated this special day before. So working as a team, the cubs, with a little help from Mama and Papa, come up with a fun and creative way to show Gramps and Gran just how much they are loved and appreciated.

Mike Berenstain has written and illustrated The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps & Gran for children 4-7 years old. The book tells the story of how the bear cubs plan to celebrate Grandparents day in Bear Country. Together the cubs brainstorm with their parents all the special things their grandparents do for them, and then come up with a plan to celebrate. The book ends with a page of suggestions for readers of how they can celebrate Grandparents Day with their grandparents.

This was a sweet story. The illustrations are in the tradition of Mike Berenstain's parents Stan and Jan Berenstain, and are colorful and engaging for young readers. The story has a nice tie-in with the biblical Noah, his wife and their many grandchildren. I loved seeing a family tree of Noah’s family.
I have never celebrated Grandparents day in the past. After reading this delightful story I decided that observing Grandparents Day with my kids is something that I would like to do. I am looking forward to helping my children celebrate their grandparents this year. I am also going to read the story to my preschool class at co-op and then have them make cards for their Grandparents. I highly recommend this book.

Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
  --Proverbs 17:6

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This post has affiliate links. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quick Start Homeschooling Guide.

Some people start planning to home educate their children from birth.  They attend curriculum fairs and conventions way in advance when their children are little. They have files with curriculum catalogs alphabetized and bookshelves set aside and marked.   If this is you then this post may not be very helpful for you. 

I have many families who write me and need to start home educating fast.   Usually their circumstances have not led to them having time to plan way in advance.   This is the Becky Boerner Quick Start Guide to home education.  It is a way to start home educating within a few days of deciding to home educate and/or something to do while you search for the perfect curriculum.  It is a bare bones approach that will see you through for a season, or longer if you continue to add to it.   

I am going to divide this Quick Start Up  by subject and age.  Please feel free to post comments or ask questions.  I will update this post throughout the year and it will be a living document.


You have two kinds of K-8 readers.  Those who are learning to read, and those who are reading to learn.  

K and up Learning to Read. 

With students who are learning to read I suggest 10-15 minutes of phonics reading instruction per day.  You are better off to do 10 minutes everyday than 30 one day, and then skip 5 days and then do more.  Small amounts of time done consistently will win the race.

I like Alpha Phonics.  It is easy to follow and I have had good success with it. You can use BOB books as beginning readers for your student. In this post I discuss more phonics options. 

K and up.  You need a library card.  Ask your librarian if you can  acquire a teacher card.  A teacher card usually allows you to check out a great deal more books, and sometimes there are no fines.  If you are looking for good books to read out-loud or have your child read Sarah Clarkson has a book called The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition She lists books and gives summaries so you are able to choose what you would like to read. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition by Jim Trelease is another book that lists books to read. 


K-6  You need to teach basic math. Addition, Subtraction,Multiplication, Division, Shapes, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry.    A quick and easy program is MCP Mathematics.  Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, and Sixth Grade.  They are basic books that will get you started.

7-12- Mastering Essentials in Math .  This is a good basic book to catch you up on math.

Another place to go for math help is Kahn Academy .  They have a wonderful feature which includes a summary page you can print to keep track of what your child accomplishes each year.

Writing/Language Arts

The most important thing you can do to improve your students writing  is to have your student  journal every day.  In their journal they can write about what they did today, what they learned, their favorite . . . , their future plans, pets, friends, etc.  Any grade can do this.  Get a simple notebook like this.

  If you have little kids than  get one like

 They can draw pictures and write on the same page.

If you want to do a spelling/vocabulary program, Modern Curriculum Press or MCP is  reasonably priced one.   Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6,

Social Studies 

World History K-8

Studying History is a serious business in the home education community.  People have many opinions on what should be included, what time line to use, and which viewpoint to consider.    I have my own personal beliefs, but I am respectful of all opinions and beliefs.  So please decide for yourself  what is best for your family.   Please remember this is the "I need a curriculum fast guide."  If you need to think and study about this before making a choice please do.  But, if you need a basic history text fast read on.  

The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is a series for younger children.  It is student  friendly and also has worksheet and activities available.  It is dividend up chronologically into four books that are each designed to last for one year.  You read them aloud or your child can read them. Each book is usually under $15.

Also you can go to your library and check out many many great books on history, geography, cooking around the world, and government.  Take field trips around your city and the state.  Watch PBS documentaries, and other historical shows.  So many ways to study social studies.    

For High School Susan Wise Bauer has also written books for adults.  My dad really enjoyed reading her history books. There are three books divided up chronologically.  


There are many fabulous books on science.  You can check them out from your library.  If you want to do experiments the book, The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You!  is a great place to start. 

You can also watch documentaries, PBS, and I love the site Hooked on Science and write about it here.  You can garden, raise animals, go to the zoo, museum and take nature walks.

Many love to do nature journaling.  I bought my daughter the book Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You.   She has enjoyed the book and recommends it.  

I wrote a post on Conceptual Academy which has courses for high schoolers on Physical Science.
Some general helpful resources:

Reviews and discussed curriculum choices.  Everyone should own this book.

This is your basic how to give your child a classical education. 

  This books tells you what an experienced home educator wished she had done, or was glad she had done.

This post contains affiliate links.