Tuesday, December 16, 2014

100th Day of Homeschooling!

     Last year, with one child in public school and one child in homeschool, both kids had different things going on that the other wished they could participate in.  Things as big as field trips or as little as the 100th day of school.  With that in mind, I had planned on celebrating our halfway point (last post) and our 100th day of school, which happened to be today.  It's raining right now, and after a meeting I had this morning, we decided to kick off our celebration by ordering pizza for lunch when we got home.  My kids said it was the best pizza EVER!

     Then for dinner, since we're such carnivores, we decided to treat ourselves to Ruth's Chris Steak House.  We all wanted a good steak and this particular location had just opened up very close to us, so we went for it.  It was a nice (pricey) dinner, but the kids felt really special and frankly, I needed something special too.

     This also marks our 20th week of school.  Last week was our last meeting for Classical Conversations before the Christmas break.  Before bidding farewell to our community until after the New Year, we had a joyous time at the annual Family Christmas party.  All the kids showed off their knowledge of our history timeline and each class played a tune on their tin whistles.  My class played part of Jingle Bells.  They did a wonderful job.  All the kids did!

     That's about it for now.  Can you tell I'm ready for our break to begin?  This is our last week of homeschooling until everything, (CC plus our homeschooling schedule) begins again after the New Year.  I.  Am.  So.  Ready.
     So, have yourselves a merry little Christmas and may you ring in the New Year surrounded by love, food and merriment and may blessings be poured out upon you and yours!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Year 2, Catch Up (Weeks 12-18)

     I wrote the post below before Thanksgiving but forgot to actually post it because I was busy stuffing my face enjoying morsels of our blessed meal throughout the day.  Yesterday 12/1, marked the 90th day of school for us.  It's our halfway point.  Today, to celebrate (we didn't get to yesterday because I was tutoring) we decided to stay in our pjs---all day.  Yes, as I type this I'm sitting comfortably in my pajamas (I showered and threw on a clean set) while listening to the rain (and my kids going stir crazy from ONE day of having to stay inside.)  On with the post:     

     It's almost Thanksgiving and it's been roughly 6 weeks since I've last written.  It's just been THAT busy.  Planning a birthday party while maintaining a home, teaching, tutor planning for CC, caring for 2 kids with special but different needs (one who happened to also get an infection) and a week of me being sick along with 3 weeks of construction on our backyard to boot; well it's obvious that something had to be pushed aside and it happened to be this blog.  With every passing week I felt guilty because, after all, this is a blog I started for my kids, as a way of remembering and looking back to see how far they've come and I've left the past few weeks out. 
     However, I've let that guilt go because in the past few weeks a lot was accomplished and memories were made.  When I ask my kids to point to a state they can; my son can name all of them and their capitals as well.  We went to the Bodies Exhibition and we were able to show our daughter what a spinal cord looks like and where her surgery was done as well as showing our son a heart that had a similar condition to his.  The kids learned about slavery and one of the books we read was Henry's Freedom Box, which really made an impact on the kids because who would risk sending themselves in a box?!  We also began our tin whistle lessons as part of Classical Conversations.  As a CC tutor, my hope is to get my class to perform "Jingle Bells" at our annual Christmas party. 
     That's all I can remember right now which leads me to Thanksgiving.  I asked my kids what are 5 things they're greatful for and this is what they said: 
Little ToughieThat Jesus died on the cross
My mom and dad
For my home
That I have my own room
That I can help the homeless 
A380That we have a dog
For my little sister
For my airplane collection
For my family
That Jesus died on the cross for us
      I'm thankful for much.  Far too much for me to write down here.  We're blessed, even in times of darkness.  It doesn't always seem or feel that way, but God's purpose is beyond my understanding, beyond our understanding and my hope, my only hope lies in Him.  I'm thankful that He is my light.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Year 2, Week 11

  What a week!  We did so much, but what really stood out was our History project.  This will be a post in pictures.

     This week we read a lot about George Washington.  We had several books on hand but our favorite was George Washington's Breakfast:

     My kids liked it so much that we decided to go ahead and make George Washington's Breakfast of Hoecakes and tea:
There's cornmeal back there somewhere.  Washington grew corn
on his plantation so it was no wonder Hoecakes were a favorite.
Cracking eggs.
Adding a minuscule amount of sugar.

Mix some more!
We fried them in a cast iron pan.  The closest we could get to how
they were originally made; on a hoe!
A spot of tea.
The finished cakes.  See that one front and center?  My son
said it was shaped like Africa.  This is what happens when
you homeschool and teach Geography.
They had it with raw honey and cultured butter.
Lucky kids!
He had four of them.
She just had one.
Washing it down.
Taking a sip.

     That is how our homeschool week ended.  With some hoecakes and tea on a Saturday morning.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed them.  On our CC meeting day my son presented the book, summarizing it.  My daughter presented the hoecakes; the ingredients and how to make them.  Since the recipe made plenty we were able to bring some and pass it out to the class.  I'm trying to do one project a week, preferably one they can do with The Principal so that he knows what we've been up to and the kids can share what they've learned with him.  Plus, hands-on learning is always fun.

     That's all folks.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Year 2, Week 10

     I'm just a few days late with this post.  Progress!  We've found our rhythm since beginning Classical Conversations.  We just completed our first month of CC and week 10 of our homeschool year.  Just to refresh your memory, we officially began our homeschool year in July, studying the California Missions.  Once Classical Conversations began, our curriculum shifted to line up with what was being covered during this CC Cycle (we're in Cycle 3).  This is our second full year being part of CC.  We got to join a community in the early 2013 and have enjoyed it ever since.

     Which brings us to what we studied this week.  We focused on the Declaration of Independence.  As a special project and a break from the norm, I had the kids translate it into their own words.  Yes, it was a big task for my (technically) first grader and for my oldest, but with The Principal's help they got it done!  Here they are hard at work, writing their translation next to a break down of the Declaration:

     When they were done I typed up their words to look like an official document.  On the other side is a printed copy of the Declaration of Independence:


     We also read The Fourth of July story by Alice Dalgliesh, which got them excited for next year's Independence Day celebration.  My daughter said she plans on yelling, "Hooray for Liberty!  Hooray for Freedom!" during our neighborhood's annual Fourth of July Parade.  I'm sure she will.

     That wraps up our week as we begin another!  Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Year 2, Weeks 8 and 9

     So, I'm seeing a steadfast pattern; writing up two weeks in one post.  In my defense, I hurt my leg a couple of weeks ago and was stuck on the couch icing, compressing and elevating.  Thank God it's on the mend!

     Anyway, Week 8 brought us to the First Thanksgiving.  My kids thought it was funny that there was pumpkin present at the the First Thanksgiving, but no pumpkin pie.  Suggesting that we do the same in a couple of months for our Thanksgiving meal was not so funny to them.  I also suggested we have deer, since that was served during that First Thanksgiving as well.  That didn't sound appealing to them either.  I was just trying change things up.  Hashtag fail?  By the way, I make a fantastic Paleo pumpkin pie and my Thanksgiving shopping list is nearly perfect.  I digress (because I LOVE Thanksgiving and am drooling, just a bit).

     In Week 9 we read "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The book we happened to have also had a map showing where Revere rode that fateful night.  We also watched a couple of episodes of Liberty's Kids.  It's still on sale on Amazon, so if your kids are American History fans (or perhaps you would like to spark their interest) then purchase it now!

     This week we also read a few stories out of The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (Published by Dover.  I'm including that information in case you are interested in purchasing the book.  The Dover publication is an unabridged republished version of the what was first published in 1889.  Basically, this book goes way back.)  We read Little Red Riding Hood and both of my kids were surprised by the ending.  My daughter in particular, was taken aback but giggled at the, ahem, not so happy ending.

     We're reading The Blue Fairy Book as part of our English Lessons Through Literature, known to my kids as ELTL.  I love it.  Both of my kids love it.  The books that we get to read are fantastic and are beautifully written.  Not to mention free!

     When they aren't trying to take a peek at more stories from The Blue Fairy Book and they happen to be done with their work early (before it's time for the next subject) they either review their CC memory work or play a word game I found at Lakeshore.  This usually only happens on Fridays since I've made it so that their workload is a little bit lighter on that day.

     The Roll and Write Word Games helps both of them with spelling and building their vocabulary.  I can't tell if they prefer to do review or play the game since they enjoy both, but below is a picture of them playing the game:

     That's it for now.  Oh, wait...The Principal surprised our kids with a day off!  He actually got up, bid us all farewell and left the house.  A few minutes later he came back home and confused surprised the kids.  They were happy to have him there for their school day.  We even got to see my stepdaughter at work and the kids got to have a treat!  It was a nice change of pace for all of us.

     Now, that's it.  Have a wonderful and blessed week!

Linked up at Managing Your Blessings|The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Year 2, Weeks 6 and 7

     Can I just say...oops I did it again!  I forgot to sit down and write about our previous week so now I'm having to play catch-up AGAIN.  I hope this isn't a pattern.

     Week 6 brought us to the end of our California Missions study.  I'm making use of every inch of available wall space in our house so this is a picture of their maps hanging in our hallway:

     I think their favorite part was mapping the Missions.  We're planning a trip to visit as many of them as we can to get an up-close look.

     Week 7 also kicked off our first week of Classical Conversations, thus our History curriculum shifted to coincide with Cycle 3 of CC.  This CC year, I'm also a tutor and am enjoying getting my kids' feedback as I practice the lessons with them.  They let me know what works and what's fun.

     My favorite part of homeschooling?  My kids get to read books that I select and at their own pace.  When we go to the library the kids get to pick books they want to read while I select books that I've already chosen for our curriculum.  Every day they read at least one book of their choice and a book from our curriculum.  This week I accidentally returned a book that they had read but apparently wanted to read again and reference during their studies.  Another oops.  I won't do that again.  Below are picture of my kids reading away.

     Have you read The Core by Leigh Bortins?  If you haven't you should, even if you're not a homeschooler.  It gives great insight into the kinds of books your kids should be reading and the levels they should be reading at to increase their vocabulary and comprehension.  See that book my daughter is reading?  It's for grades 3-7.  A very wide range, but my daughter is only 6 (technically a first grader) and is able to read and understand it.  I thank God for blessing me with another voracious reader in the family!

     That's it for now.  Hopefully, I won't forget Week 8.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Year 2, Weeks 5 and 6

     We've already come to this?  I've already somehow missed a week and am having to catch up?  I don't even know if I can remember what we did two weeks ago but I'm going to try!

     Week 5 the kids memorized and recited a poem for The Principal.  They memorized "The Months" by Sara Coleridge  They were very proud of themselves (We are too!).  It's actually a lovely poem and a great way to introduce the months and seasons to your kids.

     We continued our studies of the California Missions.  My kids are trying to memorize them via a song, but we're having a hard time coming up with a tune that's can carry all 21 missions.  We're almost done, just three more to go.  Our Classical Conversations class begins in two weeks, so our studies will shift.  Cycle 3 here we come!

     I remember in my last post I mentioned Free Time and how I was going to bring up Quiet Time in this post.  Quiet Time is something I learned about during the homeschool convention.  One presenter (an experienced mom and homeschooler for 17 years) said that every day she would make her kids separate and have quiet time to themselves.  During this 20-30 minute time period they could read a book, draw, quietly play a game,  or even catch up on any school work (if they wanted to).  However, the key was that it had to be quiet and they had to be by themselves.  It gave each child the opportunity to refresh but also take a little time to be in their own space, perhaps get creative or take in what the day has presented to them thus far.

     Our Quiet Time is usually right after lunch.  After playing outside (while I work out) to build up their appetite, they march on in, wash up and help me make their lunch.  When they're done chowing down they both wash their dishes (Parents, please teach your kids how to clean, especially if you have boys!) and head off to each of their bedrooms for 30 minutes.  Every now and then I have to remind them to separate and sometimes they'll argue that they can read quietly in one or the other's room, but I want them to learn how to take some time for themselves.  Most of the time, my daughter will end up softly singing her own worship song or making a book.  My son will read his commercial airline magazines and pick up on things he didn't see previously.  During this time, I'm catching up on email and going over what was done earlier in the day and what else needs to be completed.

Quiet Time sometimes includes reading to the pup!

     It sounds a little selfish, asking them to take time for themselves, but it's quite the opposite.  I think they need to learn how to be alone so that they can help others.  I think they need to know what to do with themselves when there's no one else around.  I think they need to learn to grow in silence and solitude, perhaps hear the voice of God.  I think they need to learn how to harness their thoughts into action, to learn how to solve problems without distractions; to think of the world beyond what they see on a daily basis.  I for one do not want my kids staring at a screen, counting on someone else to entertain them, get them to think and keep them busy.  I want them to use their God-given noggin and plug into their creative outlet, not the t.v. or latest electronic gadget!

     "The monotony and solitude of a quite life stimulates the creative mind." -Albert Einstein

Linked up at Managing Your Blessings|The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Year 2, Week 4

     I don't know if it's because it's been warmer than usual lately or if it's because I've been staying up later working on tutor/homeschool stuff (or a combination of both) but this week just dragged on and on.  I found it hard to get out of bed and start the day!  I know I'll have those days every now and then.  I just thought it would be more like "then", not now.

     Despite the slow moving week, we got a lot done.  The kids loaded up our library crate with plenty of books and I recently (just last night, recent--staying up late again...) created a reading log for them.  Unfortunately, we had already returned some of the books before they were logged.  Doh!
     I had hoped to share the reading log here with you so that you could print it out and use it as well, but I couldn't get Google Drive to keep the formatting.  I got it to work!  Keep reading to get to the free printable.  Aside from the name and author of the book the one I created also keeps track of whether or not I read the book to them or if they read it to me or if they read it independently.  Take a peek:

     My favorite part of this week was listening to the kids review Classical Conversations subjects without being asked!  Every morning, if they get their chores done early enough before we start homeschooling, they get what I refer to as "Free Time".  They can do what they want (within certain parameters of course)  for whatever time is left before 9:00 a.m.  If that means they want to watch a little t.v. or play a game or even go snooze for a few minutes, it's absolutely fine with me (Don't worry, I limit their screen time to 60 minutes a day and that's on any screen, whether it's the t.v., a game device or what have you.  Sixty minutes total.)  Now, since they often forget to get their chores done early, they end up with very little to no free time at all.  However, one day this week everything was done in plenty of time and instead of turning the boob tube on they took out their Classical Conversations cards and reviewed math and the history timeline.  I was doing dishes and I could here them reciting it.  I was very pleased.  Wise choice kids.  Wise choice!

     That's about it for now.  We'll be starting a new missionary book this week.  I have 3 to pick from.  I'm not sure which one it will be.  Next week I'll write about our "Quiet Time".  It's a bit like "Free Time" but beneficial for everyone, especially me!

     Happy reading...and logging!

Get your free Reading Log here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Year 2, Week 3

     It feels good to be back!  Last week I volunteered to lead the crafts table at VBS and man, it was chaotic.  Not the projects or the kids, of course.  Just all the running around we had to do before and after the VBS day was done.  Luckily, the doggie daycare place gave me one free day so on Friday, the last day of VBS (that's Vacation Bible School in case you didn't know) the kids and I didn't have to rush around to get the pup and get some lunch.  I will say that all of us conked out after lunch, puppy included.  A lot was packed into those 6 hours we were gone.

     Anyway, week 3 went smoothly.  We continued on with our schedule and finished our reading of Sundar Singh from YWAM Publishing.  If you have never had the opportunity to read any of their books, you need to change that.  Now.  Last year, when my daughter and I read I Heard Good News Today, we were introduced to missionaries around the world.  We loved hearing the work they did and many of the stories stuck with us.  Sundar Singh, in particular, stuck with me.  While attending the Great Homeschool Convention, I purchased that biography...plus 3 more (I actually should have bought more!)  It was a great and wonderful story and I highly recommend reading some or all of their Hero Biographies, especially these days with kids looking up to the rich and famous instead of the humble and kind.

     Okay, off my soapbox.

     The newest thing we did this week was listen to an audio book.  My best friend, who isn't fond of reading aloud to her kids, uses audio books.  I've never been a fan of them and never had a use for them because I actually love to read aloud to my kids.  However, at the homeschool convention I learned that audio books might be good for the reluctant reader or kids with special needs so I thought I'd give it a try.  We listened to Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It was great!  The kids loved listening to it and thoroughly enjoyed the story (Which, by the way is just a little better than both movies, but just a bit.)  This won't happen often, as the kids are supposed to read aloud to me (or each other) and like I said, I love reading to them but I think this is a nice change of pace.

     Between homeschooling and housework, I spent a lot of time looking over and preparing for my first few weeks as a Classical Conversations Tutor.  I also prepared a few review games that I'll be using in class.  My very curious kids are wondering what I'm up to (I already had to explain one of the games) so much of my planning has to be done when they're in bed.  I'm campaigning for earlier bed times, 8:00 just isn't cutting it.  Who's with me?!

     With that, I must wrap it up.  The kids are off to bed and now I can laminate stuff!

Linked up at Managing Your Blessings|The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Monday, July 28, 2014

Year 2, Week 2-ish

     I say 2-ish because this week had a lot of reworking.  I was attending my first Classical Conversations Practicum which also included tutor training.  Monday we were able to get our work done, but my plans for the rest of the week were just all over the place.

     My daughter was at the practicum with me attending the Geo Camp while my son stayed at home with The Principal.  I left him with my son's scheduled work for the week.  Tuesday's work was completed, no problem.  Wednesday was a different story.  My husband and son were volunteering at the practicum in the morning but on their way home after lunch they were rear-ended, just a few minutes and blocks from where I was.  I thank God that my son was not sitting in his usual spot in the back...that side took the brunt of the hit and had my son been sitting there he would have incurred substantial injuries.  God had his hand on both my son and husband because I know it could have been much, much worse.  They walked away a bit achy but unharmed.  When I got to the scene my son was still shaking and visibly upset.  Needless to say, both husband and son were too shook up to even think about school work and I let them skip doing any work on Thursday.

     With that, school was back in session Friday and Saturday.  Both kids are finding their rhythm, though my son needs to learn to be more patient with himself.  He gets frustrated when he doesn't get something right the first time and I have to remind him that he's still learning.  He's stresses out about his grades (his math program grades him automatically as he answers the questions) and gets upset to the point of giving up when he gets something wrong.  I let him know that the grades are just an indicator for me that he has to review it again, not that he's failed.  I even showed him how I'm allowed to delete the grade so that he can start over again.  That seems to calm him down.

     That's our week 2-ish.  It was a jam-packed week and I'm about to start another one with Vacation Bible School.

     Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Year 2, Week 1

     That title is a work in progress.  Since I'm homeschooling both kids this year I can't call it "Kindergarten, Week what-have-you" because my kids are in different grades.  For now I'll just call it "Year 2".

     Our first week started out slowly, trying to ease our way into the schedule.  We had to adjust to the puppy as well.  Frequent puppy "potty breaks" were timed to give the kids a break from learning, without being too much of distraction.  That is also a work in progress.

     Other than that, the kids are enjoying themselves.  We're studying the California Missions this summer and mapping them as well:

     They drew out California (with the help of The Principal) and I hung their pieces on a wall.  On Friday I printed out labels for them to stick on the right place.  We're studying them in the order of their founding and the kids get to see how far each mission is away from the other.  So far, we've studied the first three missions.  I'll post pictures of their maps toward the conclusion of our studies.

     We're also reading The Wizard of Oz.  Now, I read this to the kids just a few months ago, but our Language Arts curriculum begins with this book and my kids don't mind hearing it, again.  The good news (and the reason I chose this particular curriculum) is that we get to read some great classics later on.  I can't wait!

     That about wraps it up.  Oh, wait!  I have some exciting news!  In a previous post I mentioned that I had been asked to be a Classical Conversations tutor.  I didn't say whether or not I had accepted, since I wanted to get more information and The Principal and I wanted to pray about it.  I'm happy to announce that I will be leading one of the classes for the 2014-2015 school year.  I feel honored and blessed that our Director asked me to assist is this growing homeschooling community.  Praise be to God!

2014-2015 Curriculum

 Our 2014-2015 school year began on July 14, 2014.  We are still participating in Classical Conversations, which starts in September, but I put together my own curriculum this year instead of purchasing a complete curriculum as I did with Sonlight last year. Don't get me wrong, we LOVED Sonlight, it's just that the books they have for American History (which is our focus this year) are beyond both of my kids.  Here is what we're using:

  • Bible:  Both are using Long Story Short.
  • History:  We've begun with studying the California Missions.  In September we'll be studying U.S. History for the remainder of the school year.  They will be reading a variety of books with me and independently to further their studies.  Of course, there will be plenty of copy work!
  • Language Arts:  A380 is using Teaching Cursive and Little Toughie is using Explode the Code workbooks.  Both are using English Lessons Through Literature, Level 2.  I'm still looking for a Spelling Program.   We'll be using All About Spelling.**
  • Math:  A380 is using Monarch.  Little Toughie is using Singapore.
  • Science:  We're studying Human Anatomy this year.  Life-sized outlines of both kids will live on our walls until the end of the school year.
  • Geography:  Learning the States and Capitals and how to draw a map of the U.S.
  • Spanish:  La Clase Divertida (which will start in August)**
  • Keyboarding:  Typing Pal

     This page will be updated with any changes we happen to make throughout the year.  Sometimes you find something doesn't work and you have to use something different.  If that's the case, I will explain the changes below.

*I was having a hard time finding a spelling program that used the Orton-Gillingham method and one that I liked. We decided to give this a try this year. We can always change it if we have to.

**We passed on an official spelling program this year.  My kids do so much copywork and dictation writing that I didn't feel the need to get it.  We will likely use it in the 2015-2016 school year.

***I'm up in the air about Spanish. We're covering a lot of Latin this year in Classical Conversations and I don't want to make it harder for them by throwing Spanish into the mix. I was told by a long-time homeschooler that teaching them Latin first will actually help them when I introduce Spanish. I think Spanish will have to wait.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


     I've never given my kids an allowance.  Frankly, I didn't know where to start and I felt that "paying" them to do their chores was counter intuitive to what I was taught; that you help out around the house because that's what families do and you take care of what you've been blessed with.

     I've seen firsthand what that kind of payment system does to some kids, my son included.  As a child with special needs all of his behaviorists implemented a reward system (I think it falls under ABA Therapy) and while it may work with some kids with special needs, it backfired with my son.  He started to only do things if he was going to get something.  Before he even began the task he would ask what he would get.  Other times he would straight up ask, "What do you have for me?" before even knowing that anything was going to be asked of him.  Then he started asking people for gifts.  People that he'd see weekly, like the deli guy at Whole Foods.  This was obviously not acceptable.

     Hence, I was hesitant to give them an allowance.  I mean, I never really had one.  My parents graciously gave me money when I needed it and I knew to be thankful when I received it and to not be greedy; never taking for granted the hard work they put in to make sure we had what we needed.

     I was hesitant until I saw this:

T's Chore Chart.  I've covered the names.

     This was created by my eldest step-daughter for her three kids and she kindly shared it on Facebook.  My husband showed me and I immediately liked the idea.  My kids already have a chore chart; it was the allowance part that really caught my eye.  I liked that the $5.00 was already theirs to begin with but it's the child's cooperation and work that determined how much they actually got by the end of the week.

     Now, as I don't have anymore wall space for another whiteboard, I instead took their chore chart and tweaked it a little bit.  They are laminated so that we can use dry erase markers on them.  Their charts will be hung on a kitchen cabinet so that they can easily see what needs to be done and where they are (I think I saw a magnetic strip somewhere that I can stick to the cabinet and then just place a magnet on the back of the chart.)  Below is a picture of my son's chart, partially filled out.

My son's chart.  Just so you  know my daughter is at $3.90
Tick marks are $0.25 and dots are $0.10.  There was a lot of whining
and tattling going on.

     Since chores usually get done (It's the reminding that I have to constantly do and the tattling I always hear!) I chose to deduct $0.25 from their allowance.  Reminding them or repeating myself to get them to do something cost them $0.10 every single time and of course lying cost them a $1.00.  Brilliant idea T!

     I put this together rather quickly, so I may make changes as needed (luckily I have a laminator!)  Perhaps I need to re-word some things, but for now we're using this. I don't know if you can see it but on the bottom right I also have a small image that lists the Fruits of the Spirit.  This is to serve as a reminder what they should focus on as they do their chores and interact with others.  "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." -1 Thessalonians 5:18

     I also want them to learn how to handle their money sooner than later, which is the reason I decided to give them an allowance.  Financial responsibility is rarely taught and most young adults don't have a real clue how to go about it.  Giving my kids an allowance gives them a head start.  Out of their allowance 15% will go to the church, 15% will go into savings and the rest is for them to spend.  I probably should have put that on the chart as a reminder.  Oh, well.  See, I knew I'd have to make changes!

     Regardless, thank you T for coming up with this fantastic and easy chart.  Awesome!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer is Almost Done!

Need something to do for the rest of the summer?  Are the kids a bit bored and you're out of ideas?  Well, the folks over at Educents have compiled a list of 50 (!) activities to keep the bored bugs at bay!  Head on over to their site and check it out:

Two and a Half Days, 12 Sessions, 1 Exhibit Hall (What I Learned at My First Homeschool Convention)

     I attended my first homeschool convention organized by Great Homeschool Conventions.  In the weeks after registering for the convention The Principal and I carefully looked over all the scheduled sessions and decided which ones I would be going to and which ones he would attend.

     Then we got a puppy.  Two weeks before leaving for the convention.

     We could have waited on adopting this one (and we did...barely 24 hours), but we had been sort of searching for a dog for some time now and this one spoke to me.  ME...a not-so-big-on-dogs person.  Thus, my husband and I agreed this was the dog for us and wanted to snap her up before someone else did. This changed things since we couldn't leave a newly adopted puppy with anyone during our 3-day trip, nor could we board her since she had not received all her vaccinations just yet.  We decided before we adopted the pup that The Principal would stay home with our son (still finishing his last week of school) and the puppy while Little Toughie and I made our way to the convention.  We had to narrow down our sessions even more, deciding which ones were absolute musts and which ones I could either pass on or purchase the recording.


      Homeschool Lesson #1:  Be flexible.  Things will change.  Your plans, your schedule, will certainly be thrown off; whether by puppies or kids.  Besides, one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to adjust to those changes.  View it as a nice break in the norm!

     Now, I don't drive on the freeways a lot where I live.  I've never had to and though I used to do A LOT of freeway driving in my younger days (I hear "You young whipper snappers!" in my head as I write that) I've never had to once I had my first born.  Everywhere I had to go was close to our home or could be reached via local streets.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, I had to drive on the freeway to get to the convention BY MYSELF!  (Not exactly by myself, but I don't think my daughter knows the freeways better than me.)  I was a little apprehensive, even trying to carpool with someone else, but it didn't pan out.  The morning I had to leave (still hoping that someone would call me for carpooling) I opened up my Devotional and it addressed phobias.  God at work again!  That message plus the easy route my husband provided for me got me on the road and on our way.  Easy-peasy!


     Homeschool Lesson #2:  Start your school day (and everyday) with your kids and God.  If there is a project you have to take on with the kids then dive into God's Word before beginning.  If there is a lesson you fear will not get through to them bring it to our Lord before you even start.  What I got from that devotional was that God would not allow anything to happen to me.  We got there and back, safe and sound.

     Between sessions, shuttling my daughter to and from her Children's Conference and walking the exhibit hall, everyday  was a whirlwind that ended way past my daughter's bedtime.  She enjoyed her time alone with me though and we even decided to share a piece of chocolate pie in bed as a special "business trip" treat (The Principal told her since I'm a teacher this was my business trip).


     Homeschool Lesson #3:  Make time for something fun and special at least once a month.  Make it something you wouldn't normally do.  It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary or expensive.  My daughter's favorite part of her time with me while at the hotel was the 45 minutes we played in the pool before my first session began, thus kicking off the jam-packed schedule.  That and sharing a late-night treat of chocolate cream pie with me in bed.  Do a reverse day, dinner in the morning and breakfast at night.  Work with the kids to get ideas!

     I got plenty of information from each of the sessions I attended.  I was well prepared, with my homeschool notebook in hand and Paleo snacks at the ready.  Walking to and from the convention I observed the interactions between several different parents and their children.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.  Practically every child there was well behaved and respectful.  The only whining and crying I heard were from the little wee ones, not quite ready for homeschool.  It opened my eyes to the other benefits of homeschooling.


     Homeschool Lesson #4:  The difference between being socialized and socialization.  I get people who are concerned about my kids be socialized and I have to say, considering how kids are today, so am I.  Which is why I'm homeschooling them.  There are things out there that I don't want my kids to learn, especially from their peers.  Does that mean they don't have friends?  Not at all.  My kids play with others, but they're not around them 5 days a week for hours at a time.  Homeschooling will allow me to foster the Christ-like qualities I want them to have instead of them learning inappropriate behavior from the "cool" kids.

     As I finish writing this I'm preparing our curriculum for the new school year which starts next week.  My son, A380 will be joining us this year!  I've also been asked to be a tutor for our Classical Conversations co-op and am seeking God's guidance for that.  Plenty of changes ahead.  Plenty of prayers needed.  Plenty of praying happening.  Just more for me to write about!