2013 Spelling Bee

The AGAPE 2013 Spelling Bee was May 17th, and once again it was an exciting night full of fun, nerves, challenge, and reward (as well as lots of yummy things to eat!). Unless you’ve been to one of the AGAPE spelling bees, you may not be aware that these students study from a quite challenging list of words. We’re very proud of the participants for all their hard work and their courage to compete. A hardy congratulations go to our winners:
3rd/4th Grade:
1st place: Elijah Fleming
2nd place: Kellan Burgess
3rd place: Toby Rogers
5th/6th Grade:
1st place: Sophie Rector
2nd place: Jason Robinson
3rd place: Micah Lyons
7th/8th Grade:
1st place: Jake Clontz
2nd place: Rachel Cress
This year, we had an unusual amount of cancellations the week preceding the bee – so many that our oldest group only had two participants left. Because these two had worked so hard, we decided to let them “battle it out,” and boy did they ever. Only after correctly spelling a plethora of difficult words, the spelling of “fanfaronade” brought the competition to an end.
We are hopeful to offer a 2014 AGAPE Spelling Bee next year, and encourage this year’s participants as well as new ones to step out take the challenge : )
 **Written by Michelle Cress

2013 Spelling Bee

You are invited to be part of the  

      Friday, May 17, 2013, 6:00 p.m.
to be held at
          Westwood Baptist Church
         Open to area homeschooled students
                         3rd – 8th grade
         There will be 3 separate competitions:
                         3rd/4th grade
                         5th/6th grade
                        7th/8th grade
Entry fee: $5.00 per family (to be paid on night of event)
                    Agape members: free
Sign up today! The LAST DAY TO REGISTER
is Thursday, April 18. Please spread the word!
Word study lists and spelling bee rules will be emailed to
all registrants at approximately 8:00 a.m. on April 19th.
Students will have four weeks to study the words.
                  How to Register:
Email your student’s name & grade, parent’s name, and
Don’t miss out on the fun! Each participant will receive
a certificate, and winners will receive special awards.
Drinks will be provided and we are asking each family
participating to please bring either a healthy finger food
or a dessert to share.
Note: A competition category may be canceled if fewer than
           8 students register for it by April 19.

Poetry Night Information: February 2013


AGAPE sponsors an annual Poetry Night where homeschooled children of all ages have an opportunity to recite a short poem, prose selection, scripture passage, or dramatic speech.  The children in grades 4 and up are judged by a panel of qualified adults. They may however elect to be un-judged. The judged entries will compete for ribbons in each age category. Age categories will be determined after receiving all entries. Younger performers will receive a participate ribbon.


Friday, March 15, 2013 at Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church,

Asheville, North Carolina

5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

(Recitations to begin at 6:15)


Considerations as You Choose Your Selection:


  • Maximum Time limit of 5 minutes will be strictly enforced.  There is no minimum time requirement.
  • Two or more students reciting a selection together will have a time limit of 8 minutes.
  • Parents will be responsible to choose or edit selections which will be appropriate for an audience of all ages.
  • Poem topics must be in keeping with AGAPE’s purposes as a Christian homeschool group.
  • Performances will be limited to one poem per participant.
  • Duplicate entries (the same poem performed by more than one participant) will not be permitted.
  • Dramatic speeches and monologues are permitted.
  • Simple props are permitted but will not add points for judged competition.  Any set-up time for props must be minimal.


How to Enter:

Deadline for receiving entries is March 4th  2013.

Cost will be $5.00 per participant with a $15.00 cap per family, payable upon entry.  Free to current AGAPE members.


  • Confirm your selection, assuring it has not already been taken, by emailing Nancy Jones (nanmik1234@att.net) or calling 231-2261. Please do this before your child begins memorization to avoid wasted effort.
  • Fill out the form below and attach to one copy of the poem your child will perform.
  • Mail form, poem copy, and $5.00/child to:  Nancy Jones, 527 Black Oak Cove Road, Candler, NC 28715
  • Alternatively, you may e-mail a copy of your selection(s) to Nancy at nanmik1234@att.net.  If you e-mail the poems, please be sure to pay the entry fee by the deadline.

For Judging Category (Grades 4th – 12th), Please circle one category below:

  1. Humorous (intended to make the audience laugh)
  2. Serious  (presents an idea or concept of a serious nature, intended to make the audience think)
  3. Dramatic (presents a story or ballad in a dramatic way)
  4. Original Poem (written by the participant)
  5. Two or more persons reciting together
  6. Un-Judged


Refreshments/Light Supper

Coffee and Water will be provided for the evening.  Please Circle TWO that you can provide for the evening.   No dips please. All foods should be finger foods. Thank you.


1. Finger Sandwich Tray

2. Finger Vegetable Tray

3. Finger Fruit Tray

4. Cheese and Cracker Tray (or Chips)

5. Dessert Tray


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Registration Form – – – – – – – – –  – – – – – – – – –

Participant’s Name____________________________________  Homeschool Grade______


Title of Poem_____________________________ Poem’s Author_______________________


Phone number__________________   email _______________________________________



Short Cut Form Info:

Alternatively, you may use the e-mail “Short Cut” below, emailing to Nancy at nanmik1234@att.net.  (If you e-mail the poems, please be sure to pay the entry fee by the deadline, March 4th.)

1.)  Student Name
2.)  Student Grade
3.) Poem Name & Author
4.) Copy of or Link to Poem
5.) Category Choice
6.) 2 Food Tray choices
7.) Mail $5 per student if not a current Agape member.  (See address above.)






December Meeting: Christmas Dinner and Talent Show

I am SO EXCITED about the upcoming AGAPE meeting!!

(Our family looks forward to this one every year.)

December 3
Westwood Baptist Church
6:00 pm
Christmas Dinner
and Talent Show

Please bring at least 2 HEARTY dishes to share – one main-course and another that is a side, salad or dessert. 

It is also time to sign up for the Talent Show.  The whole family is welcome to participate!  Families, adults, kids may play the piano, sing, dance, do magic tricks, read, recite, tell a story, whatever.  Please send an email with names and ideas for sharing your talent to busycarrollsue@yahoo.com

Look forward to see your family on the 3rd!
~Carroll Sue

Here are some (rather blurry) pictures from the 2011 Christmas Dinner and Talent Show!

End of the Year Folders

In NC we are not required to do much in the way of record keeping, but I still enjoy doing it.  In the past I have kept a 3 prong pocket folder (for the prek-1st grade years) and a 3 ring binder for the older years full of the kiddos best work.  These are so fun to look through still!  I have also make yearbooks using picaboo or basic scrapbooking.  This year I saw a post about these cute little end of year folders, and I just had to try them for myself.  These are very bare bones as far as work samples go, so I’m sure I will still keep using the 3 ring binder method for a bigger chunk of their work.  But as a best of the best portfolio folder, these are terrific!

Here is Taylor’s cover page.

By the way, I just made this using the simple paint program on my computer.  If you want to try picmonkey.com, you can probably do it fancier.

After Taylor’s Cover Page will come a list of her accomplishments for the year.  This includes a list of curriculum completed, classes and activities done, field trips taken, real life learning that happened, and how character is improving.

Taylor’s Accomplishments

 For 2011-2012 (5th grade)


  • Completed 1st 2 chapters of BJU Math 5
  • Completed Teaching Textbooks Math 5
  • 1st 2 chapters of Zoology 1: Flying Creatures
  • Completed Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures
  • A World of Adventure Unit Study: Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
  • Completed Story of the World Volume 1:  Ancient Times
  • Improved typing speed and abilities
  • Completed 1st half of Sequential Spelling Book 2
  • Completed Level D of Spelling Power
  • Improved editing and grammar with Daily Paragraph Editing Grade 5
  • Completed a variety of writing activities in science, history, and language arts
  • Memorized Psalm 23 and Psalm 24 and Books of the Bible
  • Completed several chapters in the Bible using SOAP bible study method
  • Wisdom and the Millers


Classes and Activities:

  • Weekly play group
  • Candler Christian Homeschoolers Co-op (Zoology 2 and 50 states geography)
  • Celebration Singers Choir
  • Workshop with Jim Weiss on Storytelling
  • Hominy Valley Girl’s Softball Team
  • Pizza to Poop Class on the digestive system and healthy eating
  • AGAPE Christmas Party and Talent Show (Minute to Win It Game Show)
  • Valentine’s Party at Biltmore Lake Clubhouse
  • Co-op Christmas Party and trip to visit Day Stay Clients
  • AGAPE Spelling Bee
  • Snakes class at Mill’s River
  • Bird’s Class at Mill’s River
  • Amphibians Class at Mill’s River
  • Volunteer at Daycare


Field Trips:

  • Charlotte’s Web on stage
  • Vance Birthplace Civil War Reenactment
  • Arboretum including class on arthropods
  • Asheville Art Museum and print making
  • Ripley’s Aquarium in TN including class on fish adaptations
  • Carl Sandburg Home
  • F.B.I. hunt (fungus, bacteria, and invertebrates)
  • Flat Rock Playhouse performing Rutabaga Stories
  • Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House Competition
  • Made our own gingerbread houses
  • WNC Nature Center
  • Health Adventure
  • Knoxville Zoo
  • Vance Birthplace Men and Women’s Tools Class and a guided tour


Real Life Learning:

  • Lots about healthy eating, how the digestive system works, and weight loss due to mom’s RNY surgery
  • Various types of medication- their uses and their drawbacks
  • How to cook healthy, well balanced meals as well as plan for them by taking kitchen duties once a week
  • Organization skills in the home
  • How to use a family calendar to keep track of important events
  • How to follow a schedule
  • Beginning to learn about how to take a list of items that need to be completed and being able to complete them in a timely manner on her own
  • Keeping a house clean
  • Working cooperatively
  • Becoming a mother’s helper and learning how to care for toddler’s and preschoolers
  • Dealing appropriately with peers
  • Working through disagreements within the family and with friends
  • Responsibility for her own clothes care (washing, drying, folding, hanging)
  • Learning about pregnancy and how a baby grows and develops from a single cell
  • Planning and packing for a family vacation
  • Following rules and being under authority- even when you don’t agree
  • Beginning to learn about how home purchases work (loans, credit, real estate)
  • Servant evangelism
  • Hospitality
  • Caring for a pet


Character Improvements:

  • Becoming more honest
  • Developing patience with Isaac
  • Learning to show love with words and with actions


It’s truly amazing to me how much was accomplished this year because I felt like we weren’t doing enough…  This does not even include a list of books we read- and there was a TON.  Unfortunately, I didn’t keep up with a list of them, but I’m going to attempt to do that for this coming year.

After the Work Accomplished pages, there will be a sampling of her very best of the best work done throughout the year.  I’m going to try my very best to narrow it down to about 20-25 pages.  I will probably photocopy them and keep the originals in her 3 ring binder.  All of these pages, including the cover page will go into page protectors and then into a report cover folder.

I’m really excited about this!  I also have Isaac’s accomplishments for 1st grade listed, but I haven’t been able to find a really good photo of him for his cover page.  Guess I’ll just have to take one!

Comment and let me know how YOU like to keep records!

Learning Styles Assessment

For this month only, you can purchase a learning styles assessment through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op for a cost of $3.  That is a savings of 91%.  If you are not yet a member of the Co-op, it is free to join and offers all sorts of benefits even homeschool teacher and student ID cards useful for discounts of all sorts.  Here’s a link to information about the learning styles assessment!

Learning Styles Assessment

Planning for a New School Year Part 3: The Nitty Gritty

I am currently in the process of planning out our 2012-2013 school year, so I thought I would take you along for the ride and show you a real life example of how “I” plan a year.

I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing your own personal goals for your kids. In this post, I’m going to focus on educational goals.  I personally believe it is best to come up with these goals from your own head and prayer time, and not rely on a scope and sequence of someone else.  That way your goals actually are your goals and not someone else’s.  If you are coming up completely blank though, the book What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Scarlata can be helpful.  Or a simple scope and sequence found online is at World Book.  Before you go there though, I highly recommend you read the article Curing Scope and Sequence Syndrome.

My goals for Taylor (my 11 year old daughter going into the 6th grade):

  • Work as independently as possible (We are having our 3rd baby in the fall, so this is a necessity.)
  • Begin managing her own time and planning out how she accomplishes the week’s assigned work
  • Schoolwork accomplished in 5 hours or less a day
  • Improve paragraph writing
  • Learn to write a 5 paragraph essay
  • Improve report writing and research skills
  • Learn outlining to the 2nd level
  • Continue to improve editing skills
  • Improve spelling abilities
  • Read from a variety of genres and provide written narration
  • Increase vocabulary and learn to use word roots
  • Get a firm grasp of decimals and fractions
  • Prepare for algebraic thinking
  • Have fun learning about the Middle Ages while developing creativity with projects
  • Improve scientific thinking and improve science vocabulary

As you can clearly see, my goals for Taylor next year have a strong focus on writing skills.  It’s something that I would like to see marked improvement in and my choice of curriculum will reflect that.  I need her to work independently as much as possible, so I am looking at things that will help meet both of those goals.  We will also have a strong use of notebooking in science and history, so she will have LOTS of opportunity for writing next year. 🙂

Now on to my goals for Isaac (7 years old, going into 2nd grade)

  • Gain more independence by alternating working with mom and working alone
  • School 2-2 1/2 hours a day
  • improve neatness and speed in handwriting
  • learn to write a couple of original sentences on topic
  • improve in the mechanics of writing (punctuation, capitalization)
  • improve phonetic spelling and spelling of sight words
  • increase reading level
  • begin to read silently for enjoyment
  • continue memorizing addition facts
  • become comfortable with renaming in addition and subtraction
  • tell time easily
  • learn skip counting
  • have fun learning about the Middle Ages
  • have fun learning science and scientific thinking

After I have my goals written down, I make a Course of Study for each child.  I file this along with my goals in my teacher binder.  The teacher binder will need it’s own entire post though!  I use the Course of Study forms found here.  I also color code my kiddos for ease of finding their forms.  Taylor’s paper is yellow; Isaac’s paper is blue.  A course of study is just a list of what subjects you plan to cover in a year, and what resources you will use to cover them.

Taylor’s Course of Study

Isaac’s Course of Study

  • Bible- Finding God’s Promises, Big Truths for Little Kids, Bible, Beginner’s Bible
  • Math- BJU Math 2
  • Phonics- MCP Plaid Phonics 2nd grade, Happy Phonics
  • Reading-list of books to be determined
  • Writing- Writing with Ease finish level one, begin level 2
  • Science- Zoology 3, Junior Notebook journal, co-op
  • History- SOTW 2, Activity Book, Audio CD’s, co-op

After I have the goals, set curriculum selected, and course of study written out it’s time to plan out the calendar.  We always start back to school in July.  I’m thinking that this year I’d like to try a six weeks on and one week off schedule with very light work in December.  You, of course, can choose whatever schedule works for your family. 🙂

Once your books arrive, you can start planning your lessons!

Planning for a New School Year Step 2: It’s All about Style


September-at-Homeschool. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you think learning should happen?  What about your child; how do they learn best?  If the answers are different (and they usually are), you are one of thousands of homeschoolers who have to learn to adjust and adapt.  Congratulations!  You’re in for an adventure!

Most of us came from traditional schools where learning happens with the teacher at the front of the room and the students sitting in their desks listening.  Some kids learn very well that way, but others just. can’t. do it.  I happen to have 2 kids that just weren’t made to be sitting all day long.  Unfortunately, that was originally how I envisioned our homeschool.  I always wanted to be a teacher and this was my chance.  {{shaking head}} Poor Taylor.  She just wasn’t made to fit my mold.  It took all of about one hour to figure that out.  By the end of our first day we were both in tears.  This was Kindergarten…

There are a lot of people more knowledgable than me about figuring out learning styles and teaching styles, so I’m just going to point you in their direction.

The first recommendation is again, Cathy Duffy’s book, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool.  The beginning chapters of the book really help you get your head on straight about your philosophy of education and styles of learning.

I found this website about a month ago that will walk you through your teaching style, goals, values, and your kid’s learning styles.  I did it myself just to see what it said. :-)   It’s completely free.  At the end of the (many) questions, it offers curriculum choices that might work for your family based off of the answers you provided about yourself and your kids.  It’s based off of Cathy Duffy’s book that I have already mentioned so this might be the way to go if you can’t get your hands on the book.  Be warned- it takes a long time to work through, but it also makes you think about things and that in itself can be beneficial.  It’s called Home Ed Expert.

Here’s a video about 9 minutes long that will tell you all about it.  It may be just what you’re looking for!


If you don’t want to put the time into that, here are some simple quizes to help determine your child’s learning style, your learning style, and your teaching style.

Another good book about learning styles is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias.  It helped me a lot in understanding myself and Taylor and why we had such a hard time understanding each other.

Planning for a New School Year Part 1


The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster gives this definition for education:

“The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”

"Noah Webster," painted by Samuel Fi...

"Noah Webster," painted by Samuel Finley Breese Morse, undated, oil on canvas. 84.7 cm x 72.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compare that to the modern definition of education in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary:

1.a: the action or process of educating or of being educated; also: a stage of such a process
b: the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process <a person of little education>
2.: the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools
Pretty interesting contrast isn’t it?  The important thing here is to think about what education means to YOU.

If you are brand new to homeschooling (or you’ve been homeschooling for years and haven’t done this), you need to start with writing down why you’re homeschooling and what you would like to accomplish at the end of it all.  It’s super important to keep the end result in mind all the time.  A great book to help you work through this is Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Pick’s for Homeschool.

The importance of the big picture can’t be stressed enough.  If you can’t get Cathy Duffy’s book, or you just prefer looking online, there is an ebook called Developing A Strong Enough Why by Chris and Ellyn Davis that may be beneficial.  Part of the introduction states, “In home schooling your children, if you have a strong enough WHY, the HOWs will take care of themselves. Most problems with home schooling tend to occur because parents get hung up over the HOWs of home schooling. And the reason is, they don’t have a strong enough WHY.”  Being a person that gets hung up on the HOWS of homeschooling myself, this statement really speaks to me.  You can read the rest of this ebook for free here.

You need to ask yourself questions like, “What is most important for my kids to learn?”  This isn’t meant to be specific, grade level skills like I want my son to know noun-verb agreement rules in 3rd grade, but more end result type goals, such as, “I want my children to know how to research thoroughly any subject they need to learn about.”

A website that can help you work through writing down your homeschooling vision can be found here.

So that’s it!  Step 1- Know WHY You’re Homeschooling and write it down!