Endorsements

Heart and Home seminars (SWR below)

If it wasn't for Mary Tanksley, I don't think my life would be the way it is now. Seems like rather an overstatement, but it is actually true. 

When my oldest two children were 4 and 5 and I was first considering homeschooling (or rather, my husband had told me there was no option and I was trying to get over my fears), I went to Mary Tanksley's Homeschooling for the Heart and Home seminar with a group of women. I left there pumped up about homeschooling and confident that I could do it, and since she explains the whole concept of how public schools "dumb them down," I was also convinced that there was no other option for us.

She gives out a manual as part of the class with notes about everything she talks about, including curriculum choices and sample schedules. When it came time to choose curriculum for Kindergarten, I searched the web and got completely overwhelmed by the resources available, so I decided to just blindly follow what Mary said she does for Kindergarten (and she actually gives two or three choices for most subjects, so I still had some freedom of choice there). It took the stress out of my first year of homeschooling, and after that I was more confident about choosing curriculum... but even now, doing 6th grade, 5th grade and K, I still pull out that notebook and refer to it for ideas. 

She also gives ideas for how to run a homeschooling household smoothly, many of which I've implemented. It really encouraged me that if she could run a homeschooling household with eight kids, I could certainly do it with two. And then three. And then four. In fact, I wouldn't have even had number three and number four if I hadn't gone to her seminar and seen that it was possible to homeschool lots of kids without going crazy. I actually made the decision to have more while sitting in that auditorium; that's how encouraged I was that homeschooling was a do-able lifestyle. 

I also attended her Spell To Write and Read seminar, which again was wonderful. It's a difficult phonics/spelling/ reading/writing curriculum to just jump into but it's the only one that makes sense to me, so I think it's well worth the learning curve. 

So without Mary Tanksley's seminars, my life really would be different. I might not have decided to homeschool, and I might have never decided to have Erin and Ryan. Of course, everyone is different and your mileage may vary, but I wholeheartedly recommend her seminars to anyone with the slightest interest in homeschooling. 
Jan. 2006 (Unsolicited thank you- Orange County, CA)

 

Spell to Write and Read seminars:

Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 21:39:11 
Subject: Attending SWR seminar more than once 

I have attended four seminars! I intend to attend another one this September. Since there is so much information to absorb (sort of like taking a drink from a fire hose), our brains can't remember everything the first time we hear it. I found that I only really remembered what I needed to teach that year. The next time I went, I learned new things that I needed for that specific year.

My dd 12 will attend with me this year so she can start teaching her little brothers sometimes! 

So, my opinion is: Go again and again. It's fun! Where else can you meet such intelligent and loving women? 

Blessings,(From Orange County, CA) 

Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 7:21 AM 
Subject: Thank you Mary T. 
I was really blessed this weekend, as I had the pleasure of taking Mary T's seminar. She was wonderful and really gave me wonderful tools to aid in my children's reading. 

I came home confident and ready to start implementing this program . I am a very visual learner and I needed to "see" the program . The funny thing is, in the 2 days of the seminar my spelling even improved...LOL(I remember some rules). 

So today we go to Staples to get our class size white board and I can't wait to get the charts on it and really infuse this into their little minds. I was only using 1/3 of the program and, it worked but, now I can use it to its fullest ability. I can't wait to see the results. 

Thanks again for your time, and your wonderful ability to teach a class of "chatty" home schooling Moms. I pray you will have a safe trip in your travels home, come back soon. 

Blessings,(Boston, MA 2005) 

SWR seminars:

Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2005 07:27:22 -0400 
Subject: RE: Thank you Mary T. 
I must add my two cents here. I also attended this seminar. It was really great. Not only did I learn so much, I became re-energized about home schooling in general. Also, I had so much fun! Mary is just terrific. I'd love to spend a week following her around in her life and watching how she home schools. What a great education that would
be! 

I whole-heartedly recommend attending a seminar, if you can. It really makes the program come to life. 

Mary and the other interesting women who attended, thank you so much for all of the knowledge you imparted to me. 

Peace~(Boston, MA 2005) 

> I was only using 1/3 of the program and, it worked but, now I can use it to it's fullest ability. 

Can you tell us what 1/3 you were using and what changes you'll be making? I'm curious.

Hi, 
I was only using the WISE guide and I was not using SWR for the explanation of there teaching methods. We would drill the phonograms and do the prelim's and spelling-- that's it. I explained at the seminar I don't like to use TM's so I thought the SWR book was the TM. TM's are usually geared for classrooms and the activities are for more than one child, and can cost a chunk of your home school budget. 

To my surprise the SRW book is like the Text and the WISE guide like the workbook. You find out basic things like that at the seminar! 

Things I will definitely implement: Here is my TOP 10 
1. Chart work review (now that I saw the importance of it) 
2. quizzes 
3. Cursive handwriting 
4. I promise I will "stop" giving my son the key words on the back of the phonogram cards (even though it says not to, I thought it would help) 
5. The importance of "my" teachers log (and staying a few pages ahead) 
6. Infusing the grammar as it was intended and using Mary's grammar pages. ( and dropping the other grammar program) 
7. Having a white board large ( Personally I know it can be a space issue but , I have wanted one for a long time and we have room for it ..so this helped me convince my husband it was a necessity...lol) 
9. Marking up my SWR and Wise guide (this was very difficult for a "page protector queen", but I bought colorful 3M tabs, little sticker stars and colored highlighters ...so it was fun) 
10. Writing pages numbers to match the SWR and WISE guide for quick reference. 

Blessings (Boston, MA) 

Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2005 18:00:58 -0000 
Subject: Boston area seminar was wonderful! 

Hi all, 
I don't post too often but I had to let you all know of the 
wonderful weekend we had here in the Boston area learning more about SWR from Mary Tanksley. I have been using SWR since September and couldn't find a seminar in my area. So I asked about hosting a seminar and here we are a few months later and it was a wonderful experience! We had a small class so Mary was able to answer all our questions. There were a couple other experienced users so we could 
help the newbies. The beauty of the class was that even though I have been using the program for so many months, I was able to learn so much to improve my teaching. The two best things I learned: 

1) Finger spelling! Wow, what a wonderful tool to use with my very visual and physical boy! He loves it and it really helps him to "see" the word before he writes it. I just couldn't quite figure it out from the book alone, and so had never used this technique. 

2) A quote from Ramalda Spalding: "The more precisely something is taught, the more precisely it is learned." That really helped me to see where we had been slacking in our dictation and how it has yielded sloppy learning. So we started doing precise dictations this week and what a difference it has made! 

Of course, I have many more things to implement at Mary's suggestion, but these two simple things have made this program so much more effective. I am so excited to keep using SWR. On every monthly test, he has scored exactly the same, even though I have seen improvements in his spelling and reading. But I feel certain next month's test will be different. I will let you know! 

If you ever get a chance, go to a seminar, or consider hosting one! I am certainly glad I did! 

(Boston MA 2005)

 

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