Tag Archives: curriculum

Five Reasons Why Character Ink Writing Books* Work!

5 Reasons Why Character Ink Writing Books Work!

1. They use my Directed Writing Approach!

In my Directed Writing Approach, every detail of every project is laid out for your student. None of my writing projects are “writing ideas” or “writing prompts.” Every writing assignment contains step-by-step instructions with much hand-holding along the way. The student is “directed” in how to write and what to write at all times—from brainstorming to research to outlining to rough draft and finally to revising.

Continue reading

Twice Told Tales: Story Writing Curriculum

My Meaningful Composition co-author (my oldest child Joshua) and I have been writing a novel for, um, four years now. Well, truth be told, he has been writing it for nearly twenty years as he started outlining it when he was eighteen years old. It is finished actually, but Joshua is a perfectionist (at teaching, instructional writing, lesson plan preparation, and novel writing), so it isn’t finished in his eyes. We recently got it back out, dusted it off, and dug in to find his perfect spot again (and add in more technology…do you know how much things change in our world in four years?).


Twice Told Tales: Story Writing Curriculum

I have written seventy-five books in the past fifteen years—averaging 800 pages a book. The first forty were completely new books, and the next thirty-five have been re-writes and new books taken out of the original forty (i.e. half of the MC lessons came out of Character Quality Language Arts, for instance). But it has been a long journey nonetheless.

Continue reading

This Reading Mama Phonics Program & More

Eliah ReadingClick to watch!

I have loved teaching reading again! And I have loved creating products to use for letter recognition and sounds/letter recognition. It is so fun to work with younger children again…and makes me anxious to teach my grandkids to read (or help teach them!).

Continue reading

Product Highlight: Letters and Sounds ABC Cards

Letters and Sounds ABC Cards

School is in session everywhere now, which means young learners are learning their ABC’s and 1-2-3’s! I love back to school! I especially loved it when I taught my own kids at home! Nowadays, I am enjoying teaching (along with my oldest son Joshua, age thirty-two, history major with emphases in too many subjects to list!) one hundred students writing and language arts in cottage classes at three locations in and around Fort Wayne, Indiana. I call it my “testing program” to test my new books before we publish them, but really, they are just excuses to do what I love most—teach!


Continue reading

August Meaningful Composition Sale!


August Meaningful Composition SALE


If you have been considering using our new Meaningful Composition books, you are in luck! Since we will have so many new titles—and most of the old ones are revised—we have decided to offer a MC sale for back-to-school this year! Three years of re-writing, writing new, developing new techniques, and testing books with a hundred students each week—and now we are ready!

Continue reading

Podcast Handout for: What Should I Do With a Kindergartener?

What Should I Do With A Kindergartener?


Consider Behavior First

  1. Readiness to learn formally is more than just “academic readiness”
  1. Behavior problems of the preschool days will get carried into school work

(Having a school schedule does help behaviors some, but will not solve them entirely.)

  1. The trouble you might be having getting teeth brushed or coming to breakfast, etc., will

only be exacerbated by adding “come to school table” or “do seatwork” or “listen.”

Continue reading

Podcast: What Should I Do With a Kindergartener?

What Should I Do With a Kindergartener?

Donna Reish, author of character quality language arts and meaningful composition, answers a couple of readers questions about kindergarten. In this podcast episode, she specifically talks about what types of behaviors parents should expect from a four to six year-old child before starting formal academics and the six most important things to focus on first, including obedience, morning routines, chore times, and informal learning. She describes the optimum learning environment and gives insight as to what to look for in readiness to learn to read. Join Donna as she describes some of the best years of parenting.


Continue reading

Expectations For a Five Year Old

Expectations For a  Five Year Old


I was recently asked what my “educational expectations” would be with a five year old. Now, this fall marks our thirtieth year of homeschooling. Through the years, we have ebbed and flowed with the trends of homeschooling just like all other long-term homeschoolers. However, there are some things that have always stayed the same for us:

Continue reading

Getting Ready for School 2015: Choose Curriculum With a Wide Variety of Teacher Input Levels


Getting Ready for School 2015 - Choose Curriculum With a Wide Variety of Teacher Input


When I first began home schooling thirty years ago, I had just graduated with an elementary education degree. I had a one-year-old son, and we began home schooling my younger sister. Of course, coming right out of teacher’s college, I began doing things just like I would have done in my classroom. I soon discovered that all of the classroom things were not necessary – that those things were needed for mass education but not necessarily for one-on-one tutoring (or even small group instruction).


Continue reading

Think Fast Grammar Quiz Answer Key

image from wordmr.

If you have a newer edition of CQLA, you likely have weekly quizzes called “Think Fast Grammar Quiz.” When we created these, we originally thought that parents would use the Grammar Cards (available in Level B and C books and in the Teacher’s Guide) to grade their students’ quizzes.

Then we began teaching/testing the editions that contain these quizzes and discovered that it wasn’t as easy as we had previously thought to just use the Grammar Cards to check the quizzes–and to help your student categorize and study the grammar words.

So we created the document below to be used both as an Answer Key as well as a study guide for the Think Fast Grammar Quiz. It will be in a future edition of the Teacher’s Guide, and when our new website is done this fall, it will be available there as well. In the meantime, we are emailing the document to anyone who calls or emails us asking for it–and we are putting it here at the blog in the hopes that word will get out and parents will find it.

We use it to grade our testing students’ quizzes, but we also use it in the following way:

1. We have the student fill in as much of each part of the quiz as he or she can—then highlight the line in which he left off on his own. Then we have him look in the AK to find more and finish filling in the lines with the ones from the AK. This shows us what he already knows and what he had to look up, but it also helps him to learn more of them by writing them out as he looks them up in the AK.

2. We also assign portions of the AK for homework. For example, we will have all students study the section in the AK that has opposite prepositions or prepositions that begin with B, etc. This makes the AK into a sort of Study Guide for the student and has really helped them learn the words in categories as opposed to long lists of them.

Please share this post with fellow CQLA users so that we can get the word out that there is a lengthy, detailed, helpful Answer Key for the Think Fast Grammar Quiz! 😉