The Vintage Pearl
May 6, 2015 Edition 
"H" in Homeschooling is for Humor
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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,

Depending on the day, there are a lot of things the "H" in homeschooling could stand for: havoc, home, haven, hurricane ...  humor, though, and lots of hugs are some things that can keep you going when your home doesn't seem like a haven, but rather a hurricane.

If today is one of those chaos-filled, challenging days and the kids seem to be wreaking havoc every time you turn around, take a little inventory to see how you're doing.

Let's see ...

  1. Your kids are loud. They're loud because they are happy, confident, and feel quite comfortable in their surroundings--with you.
  2. Your house is a hurricane. It's a hurricane because someone is always involved in a project. Kids are constantly learning. Family members feel comfortable in the home you have made for them and boy can they make a mess!
  3. You all are having dinner tonight. God has provided, yet again, and it should come as no surprise because guess what? He always provides! No one at your house has ever gone hungry. In fact, He seems to go far and beyond the basic needs of life, doesn't He? Think of all the BLESSINGS!
  4. Your calendar is too full. It's insane and needs a trim perhaps, but the fact remains that it's like that because you are always looking for opportunities for your children. The more you can give them, the more enriched their lives, and that is of utmost importance to you.

Your priorities are right, Mama. Carry on. Your "inventory check" overflows with blessing, and it's all good. And that is because GOD is good.


P.S. Our new Spring issue is live! You'll want to read it from cover to cover online at or on your mobile devices with the free apps at



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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,

Today's topic is one of my favorites--if there is one thing we need as homeschoolers, it is humor!  It soothes the heart, fires up the brain, and, like Mary Poppins' spoonful of sugar, helps the learning go down ... right into the long-term memory!


According to recent studies on the brain, here are just a few benefits of laughter (an outcome of humor):            

  • lower physical and mental stress
  • increased memory
  • increased attention levels
  • increased optimism
  • greater creativity

Wow! Isn't that amazing?


So, with all these benefits of laughter in mind, how do we develop our family's funny bone? I'm glad you asked. You see, this is a subject I've studied for about thirty years, ever since my little boy needed my help in telling a joke.


Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Make it a habit to read funny books out loud. Whether you read stories like Hank the Cowdog or joke books like The Best of the Good Clean Jokes, your kids will hear great examples of humor--and you all will get the opportunity to laugh until your sides hurt.
  2. Teach your children about punsPuns are the basis of many great jokes, but little children often don't understand how this works. So, take this Knock Knock joke and explain it.

    "Knock, knock."

    "Who's there?"


    "Banana who?"

    "Knock, knock."

    "Who's there?"


    "Banana who?"

    "Knock, knock."

    "Who's there?"


    "Orange who?"

    "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

    Everyone laughs. Except little Susie. So, you explain to her that the word "orange" sounds a bit like "aren't you" when you say it quickly. Keep working with her until she makes the connection and starts to laugh!  Then explain to her that substituting "orange" for "aren't you" is what we call a PUN.  
    From this starting point, encourage your kids to start making their own puns. The humor in your home will bring a huge increase of daily laughter, and your children's ability to find humor in words will grow exponentially.
  3. Help your kids memorize a few favorite jokes. There is something empowering about having some never-fail jokes stored in your brain, whether you are a child or an adult. Here's one of our family's favorites:

    "Do you know what the Spanish fireman named his two sons?""No.""José and Hose B."  (Sounds like "Hose A and Hose B.")

Finally, I would like to point out that healthy humor in the family has these characteristics:

  • It does not demean or disrespect others.
  • It invites everyone into the joke.
  • Everyone needs to feel safe--no making fun of the one who didn't get the joke.
  • It's okay to try to make a joke and have it not succeed. Practice makes funny!

Remember, stay relational!



P.S. If you need help in increasing the humor in your homeschool, check out my Hilarious Homeschool Workshop on CD. It includes the victory of humor, how to tell a joke, how to make a safe environment, ideas for locating side-splitting situations, and more anecdotes and giggles than you can shake a snake at. (That's a joke--if you didn't get it, then you need this recording.)


Hey Mama! Devotional 
Are you weary or looking for encouragement? This 31-day devotional will help you to stop and gain a little perspective as you hang out with Gena Suarez, publisher of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (TOS). 
Compiled from Gena's popular Hey Mama! posts, you can enjoy this eBook free as a Mother's Day gift from TOS.
Click here to get your copy! 

The Familyman 

Here's a simple truth to brighten your school day: the year is almost OVER!!!!!

Be Real,


P.S. - Here's a link to my Homeschool Cartoon series.


P.P.S. I'll be at the CHAP homeschool convention in Harrisburg, PA this weekend. First person to come to my booth and tell me a corny joke gets one volume (of their choice) of
The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons...for FREE!


A division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine  
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits

One subject many don't find humorous is grammar. While we may not be able to make grammar laugh-out-loud funny, we do have tools to make it a bit less painful. Check out our Daily Grammar 3rd-4th grade course. You'll find 187 daily printable lessons in a simple-to-download format. Come check out Daily Grammar today!


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Schoolhouse Expo

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM CST


The Reading Clinic will feature the following speakers and topics:

Reading and Writing the Natural Way - Dr. Mary Hood
What to Do When Mothering is a Mess - Christine Field

Understanding Your Boy's Learning Style - Hal and Melanie Young
Overcoming Obstacles - Deborah Wuehler
Why the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading Is So Powerful - Marie Rippel

Plus giveaways and a chance to win a Kindle fire!

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Contest Corner 
For the month of May 2015


 Jim Hodges Productions Audio CD, In Freedom's Cause

In Freedom's Cause

Many homeschool families have enjoyed the G. A. Henty educational classics. Jim Hodges Productions provides unabridged recordings as audio books for our generation.


Recently members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were privileged to receive MP3 CDs of some of these G. A. Henty classics. Most also included an accompanying study guide in PDF format. If you are not familiar with this author, you may be interested in Jim Hodge's free audio recording:  How Henty Helps with History, Geography, Language, and Character.


Because these recordings follow the unabridged versions of the books, children can follow along with the books while listening to the audio version. Jim Hodges shared that one of the reasons he chose to record Henty's stories was because they portrayed such accurate history. They are filled with action, adventure, and excellent role models.


"His use of the English language is quite advanced and his vocabulary is vast. So much so that some paragraphs I've read turned out to be one sentence, and it seems every page has at least 5 to 10 upper level vocabulary words. I am pretty well read, and have encountered words used by Henty that I've never heard before and had to look up myself."


Stories range from elementary through high school (and beyond.) You can reference the scope and sequence shared on their website for specific levels recommended for each story. Most are not recommended for children under eight years old.


"My sincerest prayer is that all young men who read or listen to Henty historical novels will desire to become Mighty Men of Valor." ~ Jim Hodges


(Click here to read more to read the reviews of the Crew families for the many titles available!)


YOU can WIN In Freedom's Cause MP3 Audio CD!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "In Freedom's Cause" for a chance to win* it for your family!

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   Avoiding the "Schools Almost Out!" Panic
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