Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out With the OLD and IN With the New!

It's the time of year for a check up from the neck up~to evaluate our homeschools; note that HOME is the first work of this compound word that drives ME CRAZY because my spell checker always notes it as misspelled! WELL...ha! But let me say that HOME is where all schooling is most important.  Home is the seat of where all learning takes place.  Just focusing on the 3-R's won't do the job, but looking well to the ways of our households with patience, love, joy, peace, long suffering, goodness, meekness, faith...Check out Ephesians 5 for the list of the FRUIT of the SPIRIT~God's Holy Spirit that is active in the life of the believer in Christ! Manifesting these in our home, our place of abode is the challenge each and every day!

I have teenagers.  No secret.  But I tell you, as proud as I am, there are just days . . . and the challenges and hurdles get high sometimes.  I remember having littles too.  Oh, now this is another set of unique challenges as well, but NONE OF THIS is impossible...ooookay, maybe it IS impossible without God.  But we must focus our eyes on the eternal not the present in our face stuff that keeps on happening everyday.

I want peace~I need to  be quiet.
I want joy~I need to laugh more.
I want faith~I need to trust and wait.
I want love~I need to give and receive.

There's a WHOLE BUNCH of JUNK I wanna throw out in 2010 that will take the whole year for irradiate from my life.  If I want the things or quality I believe is God designed, then I must fully find ways to place my whole being into the will of God whether I can see, touch, feel, or experience the thought of it at the time.  This is NOT going to be easy, but HIS GRACE is SUFFICIENT.  What a message and peace this is in every area of our lives. 

SO out with the JUNK~the old and IN with the NEW~God's will for my life, my family and ultimately our homeschool. 

Do you need to think about this like I have? What priorities need to be strengthened in 2010 to enrich your home and homeschool? 

I am wishing you all the most wonderful, fantabulous, grandious, gracefilled, fundawonderful NEW YEAR loving your family and hitting the books again very soon~education is the HOME and school is everywhere!

SisterTipster <3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Download N Go Biography Amelia Earhart~Lapbooking!

Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine are partnering for a series of lapbook unit studies called Download N Go (Remember the Autumn Download N Go FREEbie?? (left sidebar!).)  Together this team will bring different themes~I am on the DNG Review Panel having received Amelia Earhart with no monetary compensation for my opinions.  I am a The Old Schoolhouse affiliate@  I will be reviewing one Download N Go unit study each month so we can all become acquainted with these new studies.  Download N Go will answer questions for young children ages K-middle elementary school in a hands on fun way!  Ameilia Earhart is the first of the biographical unit lapbooking studies with more promised!

All about DownLoadNGo~check it out!

Just the name Amelia Earhart evokes a kind of mystery for me.  This once lady flyer lived in an era when it was quite daring for a woman to be so bold.  She led quite an interesting life with such a mysterious end that even today questions are unanswered.

But each day question are posted to your child so that learning will take place.  Questions about her life, about flight, her character and more!  The answers are available as your child navigates the information and creates the lapbook as a keepsake of the fun activities.

If you've never lapbooked then you may be wondering just how this method of learning works and what to do.  For parents there is a tutorial on how to do lapbooking with links to video instructions as well as a narrative by Stephanie Ruby.  I have to say that bit's a neat learning tool for young children.  I used this method with my church children to teach portions of the New Testament, and they loved it!  Be sure and allow your child to do all their own cutting and with your guidance putting the lapbook together.  (Remember your child's work is their own and you will be able to see their progress as they LEARN!  They are soooooooo proud work! Please allow your child this freedom to learn~it's so important to praise every step with gentle instruction!)  Stephanie has some good suggestions for making everything work beautifully! The tutorial videos are adorable~I loved watching the children in the video show just how lapbooking is done, and you might want to let your child see it too!  By using scissors and writing as well as gluing, your child will be building fine motor skills as well as educational knowledge about Ameila Earhart.  Lapbooking is GREAT for children!

Included are all the lapbooking components needed to complete the ONE WEEK~FIVE DAY STUDY that incorporates subjects:  historical biography, science, character and geography.  Activities: vocabulary words, research, question and answer, drawing and more~These are simple enough for the young child, but challenging enough for the experienced one as well!

Everything is here for a week of quality education and what's more, you will be able to spark a curiosity for flight and planes in your child!
I will suggest that extensions can be made for a field trip to the airport to see modern planes take off and land! If arranges you could get a tour of the plane and airport.

Each day there is a book list with SUGGESTED books that can be checked out from the public library.  Mrs. Bennettt is sure to let us know that these titles are just suggestions, but she does have links for you to purchase any of them.  Included are video online links to incorporate visual learning~have your speakers on so that all the sights and sounds can be enjoyed!  I was fascinated to watch these "peeks" into the past in the form of short 4-9 minute film that introduced me to the world of early flight: Amelia's world.  I can envision using this study to enhance a study of the early 20th century or a deeper science unit on flight, atmosphere or weather!

Much of the information is found on websites that is written for children, but some for older readers as well.  You will need to read to a young child and navigate the internet usage so that safety is assured.  The lapbook pages are beautiful and full color.  If you want black and white you could print in grayscale to preserve ink, but they are full color and nice!  This is not a coloring project or a book to read from but real lessons built into lapbooking studies for your child.

You will find what you need in this unit study to download it right away and teach without prep or worry!

The only thing you will need to have on hand are simple lapbooking supplies:
file folder
safety scissors
brass brads
glue stick

I find Download N Go to be complete and interesting!

Amelia Earhart, the first Biography themed Dwonload N Go study by Amanda Bennettt and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine will be  useful in teaching young children to around fourth or fifth grades about an amazing lady with tenacity and knowledge on the early days of flight.  These are affordable at $7.95 each; you can't go wrong.  There is a chart of projected studies planned for the next several months 


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

FREEbie Fun for KIDS . . . Big and Littles!

Here are some links for printables~luv this!
Merry Christmas!

FREEbie printable Nativity

Snowflake lover? TAKE this site on to enjoy~

Snowflakes~patterns and MORE!

Christmas links:

Christmas on the web: A thorough and deep trove of resources.

Christmas Information, Facts, Legends & Customs articles

Q&A on the real meaning of Christmas from

Holiday selections from Dr. Ralph Wilson's Christian Articles Archive.

Christmas resources

History of gingerbread

Christmas recipes vegetarian cookies all sorts

Thanks Laura of HSTreasure Trove and Kathy of Homeschool Buzz ;-))

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is candy canes.  Dare I call it a tradition? But I love to have them on my Christmas tree~yes, I have one of these as well! But the candy cane is not only a yummy delight, but reminds me of the shepherds who the angels told of the birth of the Savior.

The History of the Candy Cane

Traced back to Germany in 1670, legend tells that a choir master of the cathedral gave sugar sticks bent into the shape of a shepherd's staff~crooked to keep his young children who were singers quiet during the long performances in church.  By the 1800's August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio was making candy canes for Christmas tree decorations.  By the turn of the 20th century, candy canes had taken on their familiar shape and continue today as both decor and a sweet delight! Millions are enjoyed around the world~

"As shepherds tended their flocks by night, behold an angel of the Lord who glory shone bright around him said, "Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, peace goodwill toward men."

It's my prayer that you will enjoy the REAL Christmas this year~the Love of God in Jesus Christ~His birth that began His ministry and led to His crucifixion upon the cross for the sins of humanity.  God sent His only Son so that whosoever believes will not perish, but have life everlasting~the GREATEST gift was LOVE~Jesus!

Coloring pages: 
Candy Cane
Christian Christmas (nativity, angels, and more!) 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Some things just can't be replaced.  Treasures of all kinds from Grandmother's fine linnens she did beautiful handiwork on, to antiques and other collectables.  Things that are tangible are somewhat in some ways replacable, but in school for our children the care of a good teacher is IRREPLACEABLE!

The public school system has professional teachers with degrees and certifications.  Career and life's calling are at the core of many in the field, and you might find some who are in it for other reasons as well, but in homeschooling, the teacher may not carry credentials.  This teacher may not have a degree from a college or university.  But one thing this teacher has is the BEST interest of the student~totally!  Not to dis the other teachers out there! I have had public and private school teachers impact my own life, and I am friends with some too! I just think that a little motto that I first heard when my children were in public school, "parents are the first and best teachers!" Oh soo true! AND we are totally irreplaceable.

As teachers and parents, our children learn from babyhood throughout their lives! We are with our children to guide, love, train and protect LIKE nobody else! No one has the best interest of our child like we do! NO ONE! I know that there are well meaning and good people who care, but at the end of the day, WHO is going to stand by a young man or lady as she navigates life, but Mother and Daddy!

Relishing today that I am IRREPLACABLE in the lives of my children, and while the Lord will one day take me home on His appointed day, I still will have been and will forever be IRREPLACEABLE!
Think about this! What an opportunity for impact we have on the lives of the NEXT generation in this world~for good or evil...

I often have said and think that in the end, I will not be remembered by how well I dressed, how much my bank account held, or how gorgeously kept my home is, but by the love and care~MY CHILDREN FEEL!

Consider that you too are irreplaceable in the lives of your littles, and make Christmas Merry!

It's the only ONE you've got this year~make the most! (Put your pic where mine is...)

Monday, December 7, 2009

ONLINE Learning~MY Experiences AND Take on It!

A FaceBook buddy is asking about online gaming which leads me to think about our experiences in online learning systems! I have to confess that I have been tempted and succumbed on more than one occasion to purchase online computer based curricula.  AM I HAPPY about this? At this point I have found the ones I've tried to be BUST!

All things considered, I need to explain. 

The first thing we tried was Switched On Schoolhouse by the makers of Alpha and Omega.  It's an online complete curricula for whole grades, and we tried the 3rd grade with our daughter.  It was too isolating for a child that age; meaning that a child does not need to sit computer screen or TV screened for that matter ALL day long~and she was away from my guidance, love and support in learning! I do not recommend this for complete curricula for a young child and read on....

Then I did use Teaching Textbooks Math 7, and PreAlgebra with her as well as her brother.  Different kids, right? ABSOLUTELY! He has thrived on this system.  She disliked TT because she said it was too in depth, hence we tried ALEKS math online.  OK..need to explain what these two are and how they are different.  Teaching Textbooks has a work book and if Math 7 is web based and will self grade.  PreAlgebra is not web based, but has CDs and I graded.  THIS WAS GOOD because I was much more hands on, verses the temptation to let it all get away from me and find I have done with ALEKS that there were learning issues. . .ALEKS is completely web based~no text.  We tried to mitigate this with having our daughter write the problems in a notebook which just slowed her down.  But trying to come up with away to use more than just the key board, mouse and computer screen was challenging! THEN the PIE~which is the only evaluation record that correlates the Items Mastered list and Items (my child) is ready to learn list.  Ha! After 9 mos of working and over 100 plus hours of working~she only mastered around 59% of the program. HOW this occurred was that there are evaluations that are periodically given by the system and you can gain or decrease in your learning she failed.  Ha!

The real sap sucker on this is that we then went BACK to TEACHING TEXTBOOKS and pretested to see if you was ready for Alg I~NOT! So after 1/2 a year in PreAlg  and 9 mos (yes, she worked this summer) in ALEKS , AND she is not ready for her high school math~NOW we are heading back into TT to see what we can do...

BUT it's not just math I tried computerized learning~

I went with Advantage Learning's Writing program which is web based.  The program does not except for an evaluation actually teach the way to write.  FRUSTRATING and a B U S T!

THEN~there is foreign language...take TELL ME MORE which has been the BEST thing in our computerized learning arsenal.  Both children find these to be user friendly AND they are learning the material! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Daughter is learning Japanese and son is learning Spanish!

Overall, I not going to encourage a child to do more than one course or some supplaments on the computer for school.  OUR CHILDREN NEED US~not a computer!!  There's some guilt here on my part, but now I know~and I should have~that nothing replaces a good teacher! NOTHING! Using small doses is not bad, just be AWARE that learning is actually taking place...

ON another bright note, we do use online books like the public domain ones, and when they were younger, the phonics gamed,  I would never suggest this phonics program to stand independent of your care in schooling your young child, but if they like "games" these are FREE and worthy of the educational benefits it they offer!

Blessings, and NOW YA KNOW~from me, anyway...what's your experience?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Online Christmas Party ~BuCKeYe Garland and Candy!

Visit the OnlineChristmas Party!I like a good party and this is going to be GREAT! You can "mingle" around and meet everyone here! There are different rooms to visit, so make yourself at home and enjoy! We are wishing you and yours a VERY MERRY Christmas! along with a prosperous New Year!

I do think I am weird though...OK, you THAT KNOW Me...BUT seriously, I like a simple Christmas tree.  Much of what I like in decorations is crafty.  I like a paper chain on my tree; I've strug popcorn in past years~but never cranberries as WE EAT THOSE! But this post isn't about that stuff, it's about WHAT I have done this year! Our family are Buckeye Transplants meaning we are new to Ohio~the Buckeye State!  Recently a friend of mine gave me a bag of beautiful buckeye nuts.  Now they are not to be eaten, but the are quite pretty I think.

So with my buckeyes displayed this fall in my basket, I began thinking about what I want to do with them.  Along with the buckeye nuts, she gave me a handmade buckeye ornament and necklace made out of the nuts which are adorable! But I wanted to do something different! So I decided to decorate with them by drilling them and stringing them with fishing line.  This evening my children and I worked to drill and string the nuts so they could decorate the chandelier in our kitchen.  Daughter had already hung candy canes, and buckeye nuts would enhance the look...Here's the process...and read on for what we will do tomorrow and see the pic to finish up the project!

It started with drilling these nuts! Now they are hard and slick on the shell~not so easy for a boy learning to use a drill~CAN we call this shop??

The drill slipped on this one~holding them with channel lock pliers helps!

                                                                                                                           With some practice he did a great job in drilling! We used a 2x4 scrap to protect the table.  We were also wary of the drill slipping and catching hands or body~ouch! THIS DID NOT happen, but is possible~BEWARE of drill use dangers!

My son drilled, but so did my daughter~GIRLS COUNT TOO right? Equal opportunity homeschooling!! AND HEY, I got in on it too! Never hurts to know how to use power tools!

                                                                                                                         Here's daughter holding the channel lock pliers with the buckeye nut.  This team work is inspiring in our children.  I love to challenge them with projects they have to help each other with~it teaches so much about working with others and people skills~and at this age: TEENAGERS~YIKES! Seriously, they are a blessing!
You would never want to string these nuts on anything less strong that fishing line.  While not really heavy, a large amount will create some weight when hanging! WHO WANTS a broken garland?

You can see the large bore sewing needle I used here as well.  I did not double strand the fishing line, but if I were making a garland for our Christmas tree, I may well have because of the increased wt.  You can see a bead in this picture. I experimented with beads, but decided that I liked the all natural look of the nuts alone.  They are a nice chocolate brown color so I wanted to preserve this natural look without any other distractions in the colors of  any beads.  You might like beads with yours! I also varied the sizes of the nuts as I strung them.  God doesn't do anything the same way twice, and so I varied the sizes! Who can argue with God's designs?

All strung up! I know these are not good pictures, and I apologize for this, but my camera is unavailable.  Cell phones don't always do it, do they? To discuss stringing a bit further, please BEFORE you do more than the first one, tie it off by holding the two strands of fish line together and put the nut into a knot so that it will stay put as you string the rest of your beads.  If you don't tie it somehow, your buckeyes will fall off the fish line as you string it.
It's difficult to see, but daughter is draping the garland on the chandelier.

                                   Still hard to see but it's all draped now! Looks pretty good!

     This is our Christmas tree 2009.  My daughter said she really likes ALL the stuff on our tree.  I thought it was because it is all of the handmade stuff, and in a sense she agreed, but added, "it's our stuff~stuff from all our Christmas' A REAL trip down memory lane and our lives!"  Wow~ I like having their first little ornaments they made on it each year, but I never knew she valued it too.
Thank you God for this warm moment between us~Christmas is about so much and we thank you for all Your blessings. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know if you have buckeyes where you are, but you could use nuts of any type to string if you wanted to that are "worthless." I think acorns are pretty too and pine cones! Walnuts would work!   I am going out in the morning to pick some evergreen branches and put them in the chandelier as well.  I may even ties some bows...hmmm...WHAT COLOR? Red, a plaid or gingham? I have some yarn~

Thanks for coming by and I hope that our simple idea is one that will inspire you to look to God's world for some decorating ideas. It's pretty much FREE and using His designs!
Have you ever eaten Buckeyes Candy?? YUM!
Here's the recipe!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 4, 2009

C is For Christmas and Cookies! FUNtastic Folders 2 UNIT Study: In the Kitchen and the Nativity

I have been given the opportunity to review C is for Christmas and Cookies 2 Unit Studies: In the Kitchen and the Nativity by Sharon Crooks and Pamela Fenske which is a PDF download consumable offered by   At this time, I am not an affiliate of Currclick and will receive no monetary compensation for this review other than that I received the product (FTC required statement).  I want to review this product for you who have young children who will benefit from such a study.

This lapbook/eStudy is a brightly colorful 67 page down load in PDF format.  There are actually two studies as the title suggests, one on cooking in the kitchen and the other on the Nativity~both themed around Christmas.  The age group targeted by this study is K-2nd grades.  I think that this is about right, and I like how the text is written to your child to engage him in the process of the learning.  Of course you will want to help your child in each phase of this study as in the kitchen there is learning about some of the tools of baking as well as hygiene such as handwashing which is so important.  I really like how handwashing is reinforced for the child in pictures as well as in activity.

BUILD MEMORIES with your child this Christmas Season with Christmas LEARNING!

Nothing is more fun than cooking together and working on projects to learn together!  Inside C is for Christmas and Cookies you will find fun activities like baking yummy cookies and building on skills so useful in the kitchen as well as Biblical learning about the birth of our Savior! Schooling around the season with a definite REASON is presented here~you will be able to share Christ and His birth as well as the fun aspects of baking cookies.  No Santa in this study, it's all about Him!

Right in the beginning there is a supplies list so you won't be in the dark over what you will need. I do think this is very important as I hate to be mid-project and have to stop to run and get something~this is a magic buster with kids, or it has been with mine! They want me ready to go~supplies in hand, even when they were younger!   This list in in the beginning of the study. There are no unusual supplies needed, but common things, but you may have to go and get some brass paper brads.  If you are like me, you will have most other supplies, but just make sure you look the list over well~none are extravagant.

Colorful pictures illustrate how to put the Funtastic Folder together.  There are many hands on projects as well as reinforcement activities to teach so many things!

I have been asked if lapbooks could or are used as complete curriculum for young children.  There is so much here that it could certainly be used if not as entire curricula, but as a launch for sure! Each child is different and each situation, but here's what you will find:

1. Science.  There is a discussion on germs and what they do.
2. Health.    Good handwashing and illness prevention is discussed as well as kitchen etiquette.
3. Homemaking.  Baking cookies fits this bill~yum! And these are kid friendly recipes that are tasty!
4. Math.  Measurements are taught in the cooking with practical hands on as well as an activity!
5. Handwriting. There is copywork for your child with appropriate 3 lined paper.
6.  Fine motor skill development. Loads of cute, large cut outs for your child's folder!
7.  Safety skills.  There are special instructions for kitchen safety.
9.  Listening/Reading skills. The Christmas story is presented.
10. Critical thinking.  Puzzles and more! Loads of activities for each section!

C is for Christmas and Cookies  is a wonderful age appropriate offering that children K-2nd grade will love! 

Thanks Shari Crooks for this opportunity to review C is for Christmas and Cookies  for my readers!

Merry Christmas and go check out C is for Christmas and Cookies! 
Regularly priced $21.99 on sale: $18.99!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Movie That REACHES into the Heart and Squeezes...

In fact, it's not even an adult friendly subject either~vicious murder never is friendly to humankind at any age!

I enjoy documentaries, and tonight I went surfing on Netflix to find one that would bring some information into my life, but little did I know all this particular film would bring.  You see, I like historical documentary and sometimes stories of the lives of people as this is really what history is all about~people and the events surrounding them. So with a touch of bordom and my handy-dandy laptop with my recliner, I began to look and found, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father ALERT: There is foul language and pictures of violence (stills) in this film.  I want to say that despite this alert, the film shows a heart wrenching story of the murder of a medical resident whose crime was never punished, and who left loving parents and an unborn child. This child was Zachary, and his mother was accused of his father's murder, but while never being brought to justice was left to raise her son eventually taking not only her life, but the 13 month old child's life as well.  The benefits of such a film far outweigh any angst over the issues I have mentioned in that IMHO the story is told with much dignity and valor by his best friend from childhood that the display of such was in the emotional breaking of the horrific situation.

My heart absolutely bleeds for the parents and grandparents of the victims.  This film is an outcry for justice in our courts where violent crime is concerned and for children who may be victimized~  innocent children who have done nothing except exist, and courts and professionals who do little to help them.

It will be my prayer that you will consider watching this film to become educated with this situation and others like it so that we might all be aware that not only do such horrific events occur, but that WE as citizens should speak out to see such not occur in our society.

Grandparent rights, issues regarding child safety and the rights of victims both dead and alive must be addressed.  I can't say that this is an entertaining film, but one that will reach inside your heart like it has done mine and made me cry and also ask myself: WHAT can I do? If nothing else, I can tell you...and you can tell someone else...we can bring Andrew and Zachary's ends to a place of meaning~not the senselessness that resides without action. Please read on to the film maker, Kurt's email to me in response to mine below~WE CAN DO SOMETHING!

God bless you as you consider watching this film...just remember that you will want to preview it before you allow your children to watch~not appropriate for young children AT ALL IMHO, but one that older near adult children potentially should see for its merits.

I know it's unusual for me to suggest a film of this type, but I feel strongly that unless we look and peer deeply into the uglyness of crime that seeks to destroy, we too might become its next prey.

Kurt to me:
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 2:14 AM, wrote:
Thank you so much for writing, and yes, this is an automatic response, but it was written personally by me, and is only automated because I have been receiving SO many kind emails from wonderful folks like yourself that I want to be sure that you at least get this response if I don't get a chance to respond personally, which I will try to do.  I will be reading your email personally (even if it takes a month :), and will be passing it along to Kate & David Bagby.  Every single letter is precious to us, and if you don't hear back, it's just a matter of exhaustion and overwhelm, it's not that we didn't love and cherish what you wrote.
Many of you have been asking what you can do to help.  The best thing you can do is write to the government of Canada in support of a law denying bail to people accused of murder while awaiting trial.  Inspired by the film, MP Scott Andrews of Newfoundland introduced a bill in the House of Commons on October 22, 2009 (bill C-464) that would justify detention in custody of a suspect charged with a serious crime who is a danger to their own minor children -- a wonderful start.  We urge you to write the government of Canada in support of MP Andrews' bill, and of taking things a step further, to pass a measure denying bail to people accused of murder while awaiting trial.

Whether you're a Canadian citizen or not, please write.  If such a law had existed in 2003, Zachary would be alive today, a fact backed up by the Newfoundland Child & Youth Advocate's Review & Investigation, which can be read in its entirety in pdf form on the website (, click on "Investigation").  He would be 7 years old and in second grade right now.  Things will only change if enough individuals scream for change together.  Information on who and where to write can be found on this film's website, at
.  If you are a Canadian citizen, the page helps you find your Member of Parliament with your postal code.  If you are not, the address & email of the Attorney General of Canada is there for your use.  The next best thing you can do to help is to tell everyone you know about this film, encourage them to watch and write the government of Canada.  The DVD has now been released in the U.S. and Canada, and is available widely.

A lot of you have asked where you can find David's book about this travesty of justice, "Dance with the Devil: A Memoir of Murder and Loss" by David Bagby.  A new printing is now available on and;  you can also find it on line at Borders books (, at the Canadian bookstore Chapters ( and other venues.

Thank you again so much for writing, and for your support of our efforts to prevent this horrible nightmare from happening again to anyone else.

All the best,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tie the Knot~HANG ON TIGHT

If you have had a day like I have, then you will appreciate what the title of this post says.  Sometimes we just have to hang on when the end of our rope seems near! I have appreciated those cliff hanging movies when the hero is hanging by a thread to use his wits to get to safety and eventually win the day! IF THIS IS YOU, like it has been ME today, let's tie a knot in that rope~hang on tight and stratagize to victory!

Sometimes you gotta let go too.  I hope if you are in this boat and are THERE/HERE then your landing is cushy soft.  Just remember that EVERYTHING has consequences, both good and bad.  I have to remind myself of this fact of laws frequently. It will moderate my actions on many an occasion.  Sometimes the thought will take me in a totally new direction, but often just reminding myself: SELF~do you really WANT____________ to occur or end up or become or ______??? Just taking the time to THINK for a moment is really crucial~even in the heat of the fray. 

OK, friends, TIE the knot and hang gives us much needed seconds, minutes, and possibly hours or days to figure OUT what to/where to go next!

Merry Christmas! AND I'm hanging my nails like the cat~but hanging...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let's TALK Sciene

Science is one of those subjects that you either love or hate. It falls in there as the polar opposite of history I think in that you either are wild about it or you are like my son who says that history is "about dead people" without cracking as much as a twinkle! SOMEHOW I get the impression, history isn't his bag!

Science doesn't have to be all that hard in the elementary grades. I don't think it has to be all that complicated in high school either. But some feel that this subject is not their "gift." OK..I'm no science geek, but I do recognize some UNDENIABLE facts regarding the subject:

Science Happens!

Oh yeah, just look around. Scientific processes and forms are all over the place. Think about star gazing, cloud watching, animal tracking and watching, seasons changing observations, digging in the dirt, turning over an old log, climbing in rocks and hills~looking for the elements and life such as insects and animals. Science is just out the window or door of our homes which will envelope us in all it's glory!

Not only is Science Everywhere, it also happens all around us. Did you see the leaves change color this fall? Science asks how this happened and goes on to have the answer! Cloud formations bring the imagination to ask questions about what they do. Plants and animals offer a natural fascination for the observer as well! HOW is the question of every thing of this nautural world, seen and UNSEEN!

When we are teaching our young children, it's enough to nurture their natural curiosity for ths world around us all with discussions, observations and seeking out further knowledge. Give your child a "science journal" in the form of writing paper/coloring paper and allow him to go out and SEE (observe) his world~to draw it, color it, to document what he sees in the ways that he has seen it. A five year old's bird drawing will vastly be different than a 10 year old drawing. The questions will be different too as well as the answers! AND the answers will be gained differently too.

As homeschooling parents, we can nurture the natural curiosity further by having good reference materials that give the answers to various questions. Some of these inclue animal guides and nature guides for wildlife and all kinds of plants and's endless~There are all kinds from the ones that are particularly about a certain region to all over the country and world.  We have Smithsonian Institution's Animal.  We really like this because it gives a national picture of what location certain species of animals reside; their habitat and description~gorgeous pictures.  You can read another post I wrote where my daughter used this book~The Gator in KY and thepicture of the girls doing the research in Animal.  Nurturing natural curiosity for this world is huge in learning science!

We also used Jeanne Fulbright's Science books: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day, Flying Creatures of the 5th Day, Botany, Astronomy and more! We really enjoyed these, but I'd suggest them for the 3rd grades and up to middle school. There's some serious science in them! Also we used Considering God's Creation which is a Biblically based science overview of all the parts of our world that God created.  It's wonderful as well! Both of these vastly different Science curricula can be adapted to both younger and older children, but if using for youngers, I would not require the memorization or testing that older children need.  Yes, I do believe in testing for assurance of knowledge, but it need not be formal. Asking questions and discussion are wonderful tools!

The spider picture depicts an event in our life when my children found a wonderful spider and we watched him in a "bug box" for quite a few weeks. He built a web that was unique and we watched him~it was amazing to see! We researched his kind, and sorry I don't remember, but I did reassure that he was harmless, but of course I probably would have harmed myself RUNNING from him in our garden had I found him!!

Two tools for Science for every home:
Plastic bug box or aquarium with a lid with air vents~a jar with air vents will do too so observation can occur~
A magnifying glass! This is invaluable in really SEEING the things we WANT TO SEE! It's a precursor the the microscope for a child's curiosity! I hope I have you thinking about our world in a way that will lend to natural curiosity and the desire to KNOW MORE in your child!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

FREE LAPBOOK~Night In the Museum

Movies today ARE NOT all created equal, but this Ben Stiller is a steller for the whole family imho. It's loaded with HISTORY~ We LOVE it and even have seen the second installment~I think the neatest part was the "aged security guards." Whoohoo~

Night In the Museum Lapbook~FREE
This is usually a $12.95 lapbook, so get it now~Currclick is an awesome company~cruise around and check out what they are offering! 
Merry Christmas!

Christmas Carols Are Absent...

from many children's Christmas experiences.  Just talk to many kids. They know Santa and Rudolph, but do they know the traditional sacred carols giving glory to God? I have found the neatest website Christmas Songbook that when you click on the song it will play in an organ or other beautiful arrangement for you to hear AND the music and words are present as well! What a resource to learn carols this holiday season and teach wonderful traditions.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Daughter

Girl Thing One has a birthday tomorrow~she's quite the lady now, but I remember when she shook her sassy curls at me and clinched her little fist in determination~I remember her sparkling eyes, yet they do still sparkle, in delight of all things lovely! I remember her zeal for learning, her love of her Daddy and her brother, her kindness and fun! She was and IS a pure delight! Honey, this Mama couldn't be MORE PROUD of YOU~but I am a wee bit sad, if I allow myself to think too long, so forgive me, dear.  I will say that seeing you grow up is my greatest joy~my GREATEST aim!
Love you sooo much and I am intensely PROUD OF YOU!
Happy Birthday Honey!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to Do Lap Booking

SisterChickSteph's kids did a TOS video on YouTube on how to lapbook. Down on the righthand side is a button to link you to all The Old Schoolhouse Store lapbook resources. Check out this cute video:

There are many lapbooks out there for all sorts of subjects. It does seem to be the newest homeschool craze! I used notebooking and copywork when my kids were younger! Lapbooks will bring a few more skills though, like the fine motor with the scissors that the other two options won't give.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Throwing Myself a Party!

I have just a few more years homeschooling my two. With high school students, it won't be long, and while in some ways this makes me sad~I think I'm going to throw MYSELF a big party~BECAUSE I will have graduated! Oh I know, it's the kids who will literally graduate, but the whole thought of the years of work and prayer that will have gone into these two, maybe it's your 3, 4, 5.... at your house, it will definitely be a time for this MOM TO CELEBRATE!

AND I am going to party!

Today it looks like a long way off~I am casting my eye toward the horizon and plotting our course. COURSES to be exact! In fact, I plan much of what we study, and I also record what we study...but did you catch the "WE" in that? I think I have learned a ton too~Do I need a diploma as well?? Actually I am kidding about giving myself a diploma, but the idea of celebration is really appealing.

My party~

FOOD:  I will have a wonderful menu of all the great things I like to eat...I love ice cream~yup! That's what I'm going to have!

FUN:  Fun will mean doing something I want to do without asking, "guys, do you want to...?"

Fellowship is going to mean my hubby and I are going to get to talk without anybody else in the room or in the house or maybe even on the property~at least until I pack my bag to go visit the kids~which might be in an hour so so LOL! It will feel pretty strange I think, but my party is going to divert my attention from any ill feelings I might have over this whole business~Maybe I will take a cruise with all the money I won't be spending on educational supplies or maybe I'll go back to university myself~Ya think the kids will let me ride with them???

I am looking forward~straight into *my* party when this whole homeschool 'gig' is over! AND it's looking gooooooood! Yeah...Party Down! How many years did I say this will be?? Oh wait...a tear,'s coming~and I am planning...

You want to come to *my* party?
See you there!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Hop Theme: Favorite Book

Hello Everybody!

Fantasy fiction just isn't my bag, but I have found that my favorite books of all time are historical fiction.  As a teenager I read the St. Simon's Trilogy by Eugenia Price based on the real inhabitants of the area as researched by the author.  The three novels so intrigued me that in early adulthood I visited the historic church, Christ Church which today still has the original Tiffany stained glass and was the parish of the renouned minister and hymnist, Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley.  John Wesley was rector of Christ Church in Savannah, Georgia for a short time while it was still Anglican who later became the father of the Methodist Church.

History has ALWAYS grabbed me...I am a native Savannian.  I am well aquainted with these areas Price writes about, and her story telling abilities make the characters come alive! 

Another notable thing about Ms Price in that she also wrote for a Christian radio theater program that is still on air, Unshackled of the Chicago Pacific Garden Mission.  Hubby and I visited this mission in 1990 when we were engaged~I have listened to this program for years without realizing that my favorite author had written for it! (You can still listen too as these are the stories of how Christ freed the teller from their sins to follow Christ in their life. It's carried by Moody Christian Radio on many local Christian stations.)

There are four books weave the history of the 13th colony and its founding city, Savannah. They will weave for you the tales of the past with the grandeur of the present in a facinating way.  Titles are:


To See Your Face Again
Before the Darkness Falls
Stranger in Savannah

These are wonderful and only preceed my love for the first Price books I have read:
The Beloved Invader
New Moon Rising
(St. Simon's Trilogy)
If you get the chance to either visit Savannah or tule on to St. Simon's Island, look up these wonderful historic novels for their wonderful captivating style and insight! Or if you are in Chicago, go to the Pacific Garden Mission and see the wonderful work they do in sharing Christ!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will find pleasure in meeting Eugenia Price
Wikipedia or GA Encyclopedia.

You are invited to subscribe to my RSS to read all sorts of info on homeschooling and inspriation!

Happy Blog Hop,

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, November 13, 2009

HSE Digital FREE Magazine

Check out Homeschool Enrichment Magazine's FREE digital edition magazine! Oh yeah!
You have to sign up or login if you are a print subscription subscriber.

This is the ministry of the Lewis Family from TN:

Inside you will find:
  • Is There Not A Cause?
  • Remembering the Cost of Not Homeschooling
  • Family Matters: Seven Keys to Communication
  • Raising a Creative Child: Part 2: How You Can Understand Your Creative Child
  • 29 Wonderful Books to Enjoy With Your Family This Holiday Season
    • PLUS: A Christmas Bible Study Activity
  • Adventures in History: Good Duke Wenceslas
  • Inventions that Changed the World: The Wheel and Axle
  • Unit Study: Is There a Letter for Me?
  • Give it a Try: Fun Holiday Gifts the Scientific Way!
  • Who's His Hero?
  • From Creation to Bethlehem
  • Thankful for Homeschooling
    • PLUS: Grandma's Time
    • PLUS: Reasons We Can Be Thankful
    • PLUS: The Makings of a Homeschooler
  • How to Help Your Children Master Writing
  • Celebrating Christmas: How to Have a Christmas That Lasts the Whole Year
  • Once Upon a Homeschool: Another Tale of a Famous Home Scholar From the Past
  • Beginning Homeschooling: Evaluating the Options
  • Early Learning: Fresh Ideas to Help You Teach
  • High School: Staying the Course - Appreciating the Time, Maintaining the Vision
  • Bible Thinking vs. Greek Thinking
  • Homeschool Legal Minute: Basics for Record Keeping
  • The Underwhelmed Homeschooler: Choosing the Better Part
  • Management for Life: No Regrets, No Debts Holiday Celebrations
  • Mom Time with Kari: The Lesson of the Ivory Brooch
  • A Closer Look: Eight reviews of great homeschool resources!
  • Homeschool Chuckles: Are You a Homeschool Vet Yet?
If you haven't subscribed, this is a wonderful magazine in print that offers a FREE membership to Homeschool Legal Advantage which is the Christian Legal Defense Law Firm's arm for homeschooling families! Oh yeah, another wonderful advantage! AND YOU GET BOTH with a one year subscription which is an awesome deal!


HOW Did We Get Here and NOW WHAT?

Homeschooling is one of the journeys a family undertakes in life that has many dips and bends in the road.  I KNOW this.  I know it in my head and heart, but sometimes it's good to take a good hard look and make some evaluations about where we are, where we've been and most importantly WHERE we are going. 

I have had three conversations, yeah, I do get to talk to adults ;-)) this week where the discussion has been homeschooling our kids and our paths we are on.  I have some wonderful friends who like me have felt the call from God to train their own children in the Lord and home educate.  Could it be this time of year that has us ALL looking at what's working and what isn't in our lives? Is there something about November that causes self introspection and examination of a sorts to bring homeschooling moms into a thinking process about directions?  I suppose that Thanksgiving and the season of looking at our blessings could have an impact, but more importantly it could be that we all have our finger on the heartbeat of our homes and our children...

I discussed one of our kids with hubby today.  The child who I struggle most to educate.  The summation of the discussion is this: HE WILL MAKE IT! This is such a relief to me...oh what a burden I bare when thinking of his future and the path of educating him~the trials and victories we have shared-both child and I.  Along with this same vein came the discussion with my friend who is struggling with her much younger son in areas we have and continue to struggle.  NOT that I am happy she is struggling, but in the sharing, I can see that our problems are not all that unique. WE ARE NOT ALONE in them either. . .someone else is in this trench! I praise God for knowing of His presence and that I have a friend who understands too~even if it's both of us struggling~we can encourage each other! She said, "God knew we could handle it!" Love you, sister in the Lord for such ample encouragment.  I will engrave this on my heart for the moment of despair when the war is raging!

Then the phone rang with the call from a mother whose child is yet so young whose heart is called to train in the ways of the Lord.  Oh what a joy to find a "like-minded" soul who is praying and preparing now for her later homeschool journey. 

My girlfriend who I've known forever is also in a place of self acessment.  She is looking at what is working and what isn't in her homeschooling and life right now too! Plans are being made and formulated for changes.  You know, homeschooling is a fluid thing, right? We can make adjustments as needed. We should make adjustments as needed! WE MUST make adjustments as needed! 

When looking at my own home and family, hubby and I had some disussion.  It's important to know how we got where we are first.  Sometimes it's hard figuring this out.  Asking ourselves some questions can help though.  We are looking deep into our minds, hearts and circumstances to acess our path in our journey with God and homeschooling.  Hmmm....

AND in this process of looking at the HOW~we are looking for the WHAT NEXT? Where and WHAT does God want from us as a couple and family. 

Thanksgiving is a time of assessment with each of us with our finger on the heartbeat of our family's hearts.  Being thankful makes what we have enough! This is the quote off my girlfriend's email signature, AND it's oh soo true! Thankful first in the journey as we move onward and upward...

So I ask you, how did you get here, and where are you headed? NOW WHAT?
In Thanksgiving,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FREE Lap Book Resource

Head over to
CurrClick for a Thanksgiving holiday resource AND MORE!
They have so much to offer! You won't be disappointed! The Thanksgiving Holiday Helper is FREE this week only!

Twas the Month Before Christmas~Teaching the Children

The holidays have rolled around every year we've homeschooled, and sometimes I've not always been as "ready" as I would like to have been . . . Ready meaning that I had prepared my family for the celebration of the birth of the Savior and a time to draw closer and enjoy each other more!

The hustle and bustle can really get a family down~but I say, "stop the madness!" and decide NOW just what you are and are not going to do this holiday season.  Do you find yourself involved in activities you wish you'd rather not? Do you find gift giving somewhat obligatory? OK . . . I am hitting it hard, but let's be real! THERE are things we just don't want to do that drag our energy down and out of our spririts when it comes to the season.  While the holidays "should" be the most joyous, often for people they are the most stressful and even fraught with sadness.  There are many causes for these, but just because silver bells are ringing and sleigh bells are jingling does not mean that in each heart is merry with "ho ho ho" or have peace on earth! We must recognize that there are stresses that come with this season and prepare now to focus intently on the meaning of the Christmas season rather than the hustle and bustle . . .

Focus on the Savior can mean many things to many people.  For some it's a Christmas Eve church service by candlelight.  Others it means serving in a homeless shelter soup kitchen or visiting in the nursing home on Christmas day.  For some it will mean reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 with gathered friends and family, while others will participate in various church activities from a live nativity, cantata, or the performance of Handel's Messiah. 

These are all wonderful expressions, but I am talking about something more.  It's now Nov. 10th and there are approx six weeks until the day of Christmas.  What will our children learn about our beliefs and values during this time?  Are we intentionally teaching the Christmas historical account now so that our littles are well prepared to know truth when the see so much secualar "fun" /error around them? Oh don't get me wrong . . . Santa need not be harmful, while some would disagree with me! I just believe in focusing on the truth more! ALL children love to enjoy Christmas, but as they mature the truth of the REASON for the season must be our focus! 

There are many activities you can do to teach the Christ's birth to children.

1. Tell the account as fact.  Focus on its historical nature.  Teach a reverence for the Bible as truth.

2. Do hands on activities to reinforce the story.  I like the NewTestament lapbook from Homeschool in the Woods by Amy Pak.  This is excellent and you can focus just on the Christmas story or in fact, teach the whole New Testament in lapbook form.  There is an emphasis on the prophecies of Christ's birth as well as the fulfillment of those prophecies.  It's excellent.
    You could do coloring sheets and crafts. 
3. Reinact the account of Jesus' birth with your children.  Get out the towels, bathrobes and sandals.  Use sticks, rope and sheets~anything to drape and make Biblical clothing that looks period for your child.  Discuss each part~the stable, the manger, the animals.  Use a baby doll and wrap in swaddling clothes! This is will meaningful for your children as they discover the story and learn of its truth.

4. Read a Christmas book: I highly recomment One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Grahm.  This is an awesome story that weaves in God's plan of salvation from Creation to the Cross.  This particular book is a worthwhile investment for every home of young children.  Read it every year! It's beautifully illustrated, and they will love it! It's a favorite of mine!

5. Do your children know the traditional Christmas hymns? Now is the time to dust off your singing voice and teach those songs of yeaster year. Away in a Manger, The First Noel, Silent Night, Carol Sing, Joy to the World!, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and more! These songs are not played nor taught to children anymore, but Rudolf and Frosty sure are! Teach them the hymns of the faith surrounding Christmas now so when they are in church, they can sing too!  Do your young children know how to read a hymnal? It takes practice and if you teach them now with sheet music or borrow your church's hymnal (with permission of course) to teach how to read the stanzas and words.  It will make the church services more meaningful for your child.

6.  What about the Lord's Supper?  Is this observed in your church? What practices are there concerning your children?  Teach about these now.  Prepare your child to understand each elements' significance.  Allow your child more than an observational knowledge by your teaching prior to the experieince whether your child participates or not.  You child is watching~teach so he will understand what he sees!

There are many things to teach and prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Savior.  Don't get caught up in the trivial. . . of course I am going to discuss all aspects, but the most important is forcusing on the reason for the season, Jesus the Lord.

blessings this Christmas!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Twas the Month Before Christmas~Decorating!

Ever notice that the stores are already stocked and chocked full of Christmas already? I've written about getting ready with gift giving~man o man, this is something we really need to do all year long~but that's a whole nuther post lol!

Decor is huge for this season for many people! What do you like to see at Christmas that without, it would not be Christmas? Is it the tree all decked out? The stockings hung? The mistletoe? What about the manger? Is this symbolic for you and your family? I've docorated big and small homes.  As a pastor family we have moved a few times and the style and size of our homes have varied.  Of course I have a certain "flavor" to my docorating.  It's pretty ecclectic.  I like lots of different stuff.  STUFF might be the operative here! But I want to suggest something I am going to do this year, just like I did last...less is more!

So I like to put out nativity scenes.  I have a confession: My house right now isn't really set up for a spare spot for one~not a surface clean enough without stacks of stuff or books...but I am working on it...and GUESS WHAT? I have my favorite nativity this year for our home.  It's one my mother hand painted in china paints in the 1970's that has been around most of my's gorgeous. The camels have jewels, there is a stable and star...she did such a nice job...I will have to take a pic for you to see~I like to decorate with fresh fruit and evergreens too...something about that smell...


Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments
NOW here's my addition to what they've said:
I use puff paints to decorate them...use a straw to put a hole in the top for a hanger too before it dries...these will last and smell good for several seasons!  Any of the recipes there will work..I use the applesauce and just cinnamon one...but you pick...I like the heavy smell of cinnamon...I've hung these on the tree and in windows so the sun will heat them to make them smell divine!

Also another homemade neat ornament I love:

Orange and Clove Pomander
  • Take an orange
  • fork
  • whole cloves
Punch holes in an orderly manner to cover the entire orange with the fork.
Stick in the clove end all over the orange.
Tie with a ribbon or enclose in tulle with ribbons to hang, or you can just set in a pretty dish on a table or counter top~oh the wonderful aroma!

I also like pine cones for decorating:
I like to put them in baskets and set them around~beside the hearth or on a table.
I have soaked them in oil essence for aroma plus the pine smell...I have tipped them with glitter and hung them too...

 Evergreens and Fresh Fruit
When I had fireplace mantles, I would use evergreens (O the wonderful smell) and then I used fresh grapefruit, oranges and apples to set with white taper candles in holders throughout.  This was very Williamsburgish and smelled sooo good!

This year, I already have my basket of Buckeye nuts setting pine cones are can use magnolia cones too...

So how are you decorating for the season? NOW is the time...Christmas will be upon us and if we do this now, we can be free to enjoy our families and friends!
God bless,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excellent Literature for Children~QUALITY!

There's a HUGE SALE going on HERE!

You won't go wrong introducing your children to literature, well written books from the late 19th and early 20th centuries! There are several great collections: The Emma Leslie Early Church History sets along with others~these books are awesome! We read Glaucia the Greek last year and loved it as part of our history studies.  You can read my review HERE!

There are great discounts AND FREE shipping in November!
Also for the NEXT 4 DAYS~buy 3 get one FREE! 

You can't beat this in wonderful children's literature!