Monday, August 31, 2009

Free Museum Day Sept 26th~

The Smithsonian Museum is hosting a free day visit for a member of your household and a guest for a download free pass to many museums in the nation. I've visited the wonderful Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC several times over the years and their magazine has affiliate museums that partner with them for this event~but they don't guarantee that a museum listed is participating, so go to the site, find where you want to visit and give the museum a call before you set up your visit. I thought this is worth a shot for those of us who may have a participating museum in our areas~

Thanks Freely Educate:
You can check out her website for many many FREE educational opportunities for your child(ren)!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great Reads~Unbeatable!

There's so much junk out there for kids to read, but I have found some of the best books ever for children! Last year when I was a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Crew we were given some Salem Ridge Press titles to look over with our children...I fell in love! These are reprints of some awesome children's literature that isn't pable, but well written and wonderfully imaginative historical fiction. I was really impressed and said so! Read that review here:

I got a blast in my email box as I stay up with Salem Ridge Press telling about their new offerings of the Early Church History Set and the Midieval Church Set~This is awesome as you get a break in the price in the set combo! Both are 6 books each or you can order the Church History Set of 12 books~all at a savings...AND...

ANNOUNCING Salem Ridge Press's Give-A-Way: Just click on the link and you can enter! ;-)) Through Sept 1st 12mn.

NOW through Tues, Sept 1st enter for a free set~ohh how I wish I could win!! These Emma Leslie books are awesome! Perfect for a child about nine or ten and up~Very well written!

They are also having a sale on each set 15% off either 6 book set or 25% off for all 12!
Here: for the sale.

This is a totally unsolicited shout out about the wonderful books of a great homeschooling publisher~Go sign up for the give a way and check out the sale! I just had to tell ya!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

3 Days Out...

And then we get going for our 9th year of homeschooling! Whoohoo! I am amazed and a little nervous I must admit. High school is important, but I have to remember that I've taught and taught them to teach and learn themselves for so many years that NOW is the time to let them shine~SHINE ON KIDS!! I have plans for subjects and curriculum choices that are not willynilly put together, but have been well thought out researched curriculum choices. . .even looked at some that I had to join up some "groups" to voyer enough to understand the processes...but I feel confident we are heading in a solid direction. You can read my choices here

With all said, three days out we are gearing up for a fantastic year! I am working to get our books in order, plans begun and ordered, and even do some cleaning so we can focus on the subjects better as we are introduced into the scheme of them. I am excited!

Where are you? Have you begun yet or are you like me on the path of counting down to the BIG day??

Happy Year!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

FREE Program: Homeschool Record Keeping!

I have planners and notebooks with lesson plan pages. For years I used a spread sheet approach that I printed out and recorded as I went, but now I can use a nicely laid out program called Homeschool Tracker Basic Edition. I began working with it just last night, and it's FREE~ Now there is an upgrade which I have heard is better, but I like free to get acquainted with the program. Are your lesson plans done? Working as you go or just getting started? Check this one out~It's a free down-load and has many areas to create the forms you need. I like the way it's easily formatted and to use!



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Did I Tell You?

My daughter is learning Japanese! I am so amazed. She is singing, speaking, reading and practicing writing! I am so incredibly proud~this is all due to our opportunity to review a wonderful language learning system called Tell Me More. I was given the opportunity through the Old Schoolhouse Magazine's marketing program TOS Crew to review many great homeschooling products which Tell Me More is apart of that opportunity! You can read my review here:

Girl Thing One really loves her language learning CD~and to the credit of her and the system, she has completed the first year! She's excited to have one solid year behind her~and I just had to share something that sort of fits into this whole thing Japanese~WE ACCIDENTLY grew Japanese pumpkins! They are called kabocha! The package my husband planted said acorn squash ;-)) but when we got GREEN pumpkins I told him that I'd never seen an acorn squash LOOK like that! Well, I began to research as they are prolific and have yielded us a nice harvest~so whadda I do wiff 'em?? Check out this link on kabocha~there's even a recipe...we like winter squash and fresh pumpkin...pie anyone???

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Article on Regulating Homeschooling~HA!

I am annoyed! As the happy go lucky soul that I usually am, I am feeling the pinch of someone who is giving out information about a subject, that while I am NOT expert, I have participated in now into my ninth year, WHO does not participate or know a "darned thing!" There is a new book out there looking at homeschooling by someone who neither has experience in homeschooling or what I term as an adequate understanding of the process to make any kind of recommendation aside from his public school experiences and professorship. Yeah, he's done some research on a 'sampling' but what does THIS really show? He knows how to evaluate a few??? I'd be MORE interested and find MORE credibility in the reports of THOSE who are in the trenches doing home education~oh...I forgot...we don't know what we are doing! We aren't degree carrying certified by the state (state of what~poor performance and insanity??) to undertake such studies and synthesize the information. POPPYCOCK! I am NO expert, but I have known literally hundreds of families. I am in a community~active and participating on many levels who knows homeschooling~and it's very diverse. Diverse meaning it's not just the "Christians" who are homeschooling either~but let me say that I fall under this category too! I am a believer and want my children to have a distinctly, notice I said THAT word, distinctly Christian education! I don't buy into all the junk out there~there's loads of it in homeschooling too, btw, but junk that won't adequately and in many cases above the standards EDUCATE my children! Oh yeah, I've got weaknesses in my teaching and personal learning styles. . . without doubt~but introduce ONE public school "pro" who is 100% on their game everyday and without those intrinsic weaknesses that all humans have~I will show you GOD! No one, whatever the level or skill or knowledge performs at 100% ALL the time, nor can we or should we. Instead of trying to justify homeschooling as IF it needs to be justified, I'd rather ask a few questions that I think will tell the story:

1. LOOK at our prision system~HOW many homeschoolers are in there?

2. What rate of teen issues are with homeschooled teens? ANYBODY know?

3. How many homeschool "shootings" have there been?

4. Is there a "lock down policy" or a NEED for one in homeschools? What about teaching the children to respond to the SWAT team when the lone gunman enters? Anybody teaching THIS to homeschoolers? Perhaps THIS is where we are falling SHORT!!

5. WHAT extra burden on society is homeschooling causing? Drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancies, juvenille deliquency, gang violence, violence PERIOD, murder, death, suicide or WHAT?

6. What is the average percentage of differences between homeschoolers and their non-homeschooled peers? IS there any difference???? YOU tell me!

7. HOW many "socially illedept/challenged" homeschooled kids are a burden on society because they were home educated?

8. Who can think outside the box~the jargon of the main stream to perform and make differences in this world?

9. WHY is it anybody's business IF a child is BETTER educated, costing the government less money, and providing society better citizens?

10. AND for my last question, WHEN will folks who are neither vested or experienced get out of homeschooler's business and let us EDUCATE and train as the professionals with all their resources CAN'T?

Like I said, I am ticked! Folks without an interest who are not in the trenches homeschooling just need to keep their opinions to themselves unless THEY want to have the rights and responsibilities to REAR ALL the children themselves as THEY see fit~yeah,,,this is just where I think they are heading, but they want to tell ME how to do it THEIR WAY when what they are doing hasn't and ISN'T working for themselves~HA HA! Go figure! Talk about nerve!

AND testing??? Ha~I'd put almost any homeschooler up to almost ANY public schooled kid in a one to one match up for scores~BECAUSE I KNOW THIS~homeschoolers, while not given all the "same information" meaning I don't use the same sorry sap sucking materials that many public schools use, I use BETTER! AND it also means my kids can think and reason! Match that up if they will! THINKING and REASONING out performs any robot who can spit out information with which its been PROGRAMMED! Issues like classroom control over behavior problems along with all the other garbage keeps learning~oh wait...those children learn~BUT WHAT do they learn? Oh it's a whole 'nuther' subject, I'm afraid...

Here's the article that has me fuming: for you to read for yourself.

Thanks Home Education Magazine for bringing this to light!

I live in a state which requires a listing of all educational resources for the superintendent and an intent form with a "certified" teacher's signature showing adequate progress. I play by the rules~always have. . .and if someone like the parent in the article listing a dog as a student is pushing the limits, it makes ME and every other homeschool family LOOK BAD~so if this is YOU, please stop it!! Remember that for many reasons, integrity is important and doing false things will not be beneficial to the homeschooling efforts on a global or on your own personal scale because YOUR OWN children see, hear and know!

Catch the review of the professor's book: which is a very good insightful read!

Just had to get this off my mind and heart!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Story of Frugal/Thrifty Living. . .

The perception of wealth is not as valuable to me as economic viability where debt and frugality play crucial roles. What good is a false perception of wealth that is supported by increasing credit card indebtedness and a hunger for the things of this world? A thrifty lifestyle can bring a "taming of the self" towards the much greater end of looking to God for everything. This mindset and pattern of living can prevent losses when job changes and economic down turns are a constant possibility for all of us bringing contentment and security in our Lord by pleasing Him.

Our economy is not improving as we all know, and I have found that sometimes it's best to keep my Lincoln$ in my pocket even where "cost savings" are concerned. BEWARE of those offering thrift for a price!!! As part of our family's testimony of God's goodness in our lives, He has sustained us through an economic downturn that occurred well before the rest of the nation's situation became apparent. God convicted my husband and I of mounting credit card debt and spending habits that were literally sending us to the poor house. It wasn't elaborate spending either by many standards, but it was a constant spending on "sale items" and other manner of letting my money out of my pockets that was the problem. I mean, WHAT'S WRONG with this picture: "Hey honey, I saved $50~today. . ." but I actually spent forty on items that I could have lived without or were stock-pile-rs? Think about this for a moment. We are so bombarded by television and other media such as print and NOW INTERNET marketing to remove our money from us~do I dare say that even homeschooling can suck us dry if we are not careful~that we become discontented and hungry, purely upset over what we DO NOT HAVE?~This is the sin of covetousness. SIN...the sin of lusting after something, and I'm not talking about sex, but about the problem of a desire for things. I was one of the biggest yard-sale-rs out there. I have filled our home with so much stuff that I could decorate for any season at least twice or more. Yeah, I didn't spend "much" on any one thing, but the addiction for the HUNT to buy was within me.

So how did I solve this issue? WHAT did I do? I had to replace my activities with other activities so that I didn't feel a loss for the former things, and I have had to HONESTLY give my desires over to God. If you have read much about me, you know I have a Victorian home for sale HERE
that was not my god, but when we were relocated to serve in ministry, our new home pales in comparison. WHAT was more important? Serving the Lord in a new ministry in a home that frankly is so much less while walking in faith and His light or living in the home of 'my dreams?' God impressed upon me much earlier than even the call to another area that I needed to put THINGS into perspective. God first~His will~and that LESS is MORE! As part of the preparation for the move, God showed me that I would need less and want less than ever before. Now this sounds silly I can well imagine, because this is not what we hear in our have it all society. Oh I used to watch the home shop TV and drool. . .pick up that phone. . .drop $100 at wally world for new dish towels and the like because mine were a little. . . or this high end ___ or that name brand that~OH YEAH, this was me too in a smaller sense, because the "sale ads" convinced me I was saving. . .saving WHAT? The only real benefit I can see I gained was some notion that these items were "quality" when others were perceived less or not as good. Well, I confess: Cheep as it may sound, and you may not be where I've been or where I am or hopefully you aren't headed this way either, but I really enjoy finding what we need for less money. There is GREATER satisfaction in purchasing products that will work just as well, just as long, just as...YOU NAME it~compared to all the high end stuff out there that WANTS MY MONEY for perception's sake!

Am I building up riches so I can haul them with me in that van behind my hearse? No way, but rather I am more able to spend on items of importance such as giving and sharing, things of the ministry, opportunities that are from Him.

You will find me sharing as many inexpensive and good things as I can find here on my blog to help us all out in such a time as we are living. And like I have said, if this isn't your need, then please think that it could be your situation and begin looking toward your future with some saving and thrifty living so that if you need to economize in such a drastic way, you won't suffer such a hardship as those who deeply grieve over the losses they sustain. I can't help but think of two instances of people hopeless over their economic futures that propelled them into despair so deep that in the stock market crash (1929) they jumped out of tall buildings to their deaths, and just a few years ago, where we used to live there was a couple who had both lost their jobs and together committed suicide. While these are extreme examples, depression and despair are realities when money is tight and stress abounds.

HOPELESSNESS~Oh, we are not a people without hope, because our hope is in God. But we have become slack, lazy and greedy as a nation. I do believe that as homeschoolers we are seeking higher ground with our Lord, but we still must look to Him and be accountable for our financial moves.

I hope that you understand that it's my desire to share each and every good thing I can find on my blog to make homeschooling and life the kind that will be pleasing to God and helpful to us as parents. Thrift/frugal living is a subject I am acquainted with, and while my methods of thrift are extreme for some, just remember that we are laying up our treasures in Heaven, and what's important is eternity.

We must pass on this lifestyle to our children so that they will also know how to live without should they need to do so.

Frugality is a choice to live within our means without the perception of wealth underpinned by debt to remove arrogance, greed and self from my life. If we are consumed by anything other than our Lord and His will, it is sin anyway, and we need to confess it and learn to do better. True wealth occurs on the inside and within His will!

Wishing you the blessings of learning thriftiness and grace along side me. I have so much to learn~If you have a suggestion for me, leave a comment.

I am blogging @ Thriving With No Green$

Creative Writing~Freebie Novel Writing PDF Download

I am ALWAYS looking for ideas on how to teach mine how to write. It's just one of those skills that's essential for life much less any college work they may want to undertake. This is an area that freaks me too~so much so I have researched and read as much as I can about the subject so that I can teach them well. Living on a budget has meant that I can't necessarily afford what I might purchase had I more funds, so I keep on looking, researching and learning myself. Today, Homeschool Freebie of the Day offered a PDF download for a 25 page guide to teach children, I am guessing around 3 or 4th grades up to write a novel from the Little Blue School who had a writing club for her children and friends. AWESOME! Now you can along with me join in the fun! I love to write; I was in the sixth grade when I wrote a "book!" I wish I still had it, but through the years it has disappeared. These are treasures for our children and their childhood memories.

blessings on your writing pursuits and go get that download !

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I really don't like to clean. I'd like to think I am clean and neat, but I am not "into" cleaning, but I do it as a necessity to stay healthy and orderly. Nothing WRONG with this, unless it comes either with pride or low self esteem. Clean or unclean~outwardly so~God is unconcerned! He's interested in our hearts; THE Heart~the seat of our being, not the pump! And Godliness means holiness...not being god...or rather a god, because no one can be GOD! I hope you will head over and read more over at Got Questions where some good Christian folks are addressing all sorts of things!

I have blogged about all sorts of thrifty cleaning, and do I love cleaning?? NO! But again, it's all done with the ULTIMATE in mind~being holy before the God of this universe!

Somehow my dirt doesn't seem quite so important in light of eternity! Well, like I said, let's keep the health dept at "bay" but not go overboard~God's pleasure is the goal!


American Patriots Bible Give~A~Way!

Head on over to The Homeschool Post to sign up for the American Patiot's Bible Give~A~Way! Every American needs to KNOW the origins of our freedoms~GOD! Here's the link for more info on this wonderful resource:

(I hope I win ;-)) But you go enter so you have a chance too!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where Are You?

Dumb question huh?

You are right there at your computer reading my bloggie, right?

But I'm talking about on the journey of home educating your child. Is this your first, third, like me~ninth year or more? Where is your child educationally? What are the skills and strengths and then gaps and weaknesses? Just exactly where are you in acesssing where they are? I think this is probably the most crucial question a parent must ask as we get settled into whichever year be it first or last year of homeschooling. A wise friend years ago when I followed a boxed format, which isn't all bad either, told me, "you have to progress as they do, not as the material does." I have taken this advice right deep in my heart and really truly hung on tight as some skills have been harder and others easier for my children. One child gets math and science easier while writing and reading have been harder. It's exactly the opposite with the other child. Ha~I am doomed to be "balanced" in my methods and approaches, right? I have to teach to both's needs! AND we don't just keep going...if some element isn't "gotten" we hang onto it while we inch forward and they learn. I particularly remember this with long division. REMEMBER how hard this was? OR were you one of those who got it easy? See, I confess that I have struggled when it came to these skills, I found at the time our curriculum DID NOT provide enough practice. Now I have heard mom-teachers say that they have had too much practice for their child in the curriculum~this was not the case for us when my child struggled. WE NEEDED MORE~so I found more until we GOT IT! So knowing the strengths and weaknesses really is important in planning our year~and we progress from a starting point. Just because I put it in the plan will not mean that my children will ZOOM through, but rather thoroughly accomplish the work. I except them to know the material, not just DO the material. So as we are all getting going, gearing up and shifting into overdrive~do we KNOW where were are? Let's find out and plod our well trodden paths into more knowledge and insight as we go along!

Ways to figure out WHERE:

1. Ask some questions of yourself. How did the work progress? Is there a "battle?" Sometimes a battle in our children is an indication they are resistant which can mean it is hard for them and they need HELP. Reflect and observe~think on it...listen to your child.

2. Look at the work. A Pre-test is very helpful. What does my child KNOW before I begin teaching. Sometimes we are boring them to death with information they already know! AND then again, we are boring them with processes that are not in their learning styles. I know that learning styles are important, but one word of caution from me: Don't just focus on the strong ones for your teaching methods~stretch your child to USE all modalities so he can function in the real world of learning. My daughter said, "I need to see it; I am not auditory." OK, daughter! But ARE YOU GOING to challenge your university professor who lectures in that monotone because it's "not your style?" Yeah, right as he looks over your head and marks that big ole learning styles can be things like "disabilities" too, so I'm not minimizing these either, but work to train the kiddos to be as strong and DEVELOP coping mechanisms for their weaknesses/differences instead of EXPECTING accomadations. They are necessary for some, but often we can learn our way around things! Look at some folks without parts of their senses how they manage and even thrive~a wonderful piano tuner is blind that I know; I've seen Joni Erikson-Tada paint with her teeth~absolutely gorgeous works! So why can't we work out kid's weakened areas to strengthen then like any trainer would to strengthen the body's muscles?

3. Gain cooperation~can you convince your child to work with you to move forward? If you are new~I have read MORE out here on little itty-bitty people being homeschooled from toddlerhood than I have the child who has been in school who either WANTS more education or who for some reason has struggled and is pulled out. If you are the parent who got mad at the school and pulled your child out thinking homeschooling is better, congratulations! You are correct, but it's not easier! Promise!! But it's do-able for the parent who will look and evaluate and get cooperation to move forward. Once your child is willing to "try" to work or wants to learn, or WILL learn, then move forward.

4. Listening, ask your child questions. I wanted to know, since we are ready to study foreign language for high school credit (we've done it all along already!) WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT to study? What is their interests? Desires, goals, dreams? Offer and expose loads of possibilities, but also LISTEN...then plan.

5. AND then plan. Plan by creating goals and steps to accomplish these goals. If your child is old enough, enlist them in this plan. Teach planning and scheduling along the way~but plan. In our state, we have to submit to the BOA (board of education) a list of intended educational resources for the year to obtain a truancy excuse. Finding WHAT to teach in terms of subject matter is really simple if you wish to follow what subjects in order of learning them that are state requirements. I looked over our state requirements for a high school diploma (hours and subjects) and since our forms that we are required to submit spell out subject matter, it was easier than in the last two states I lived in...but I knew then in elementary school that at first, early on I had to teach reading and writing skills, along with other stuff. . .I followed in many ways what the Christian schools would teach, but put it in a format for homeschooling. I have had a schoolroom. I have used the kitchen table. I have held them in my arms and read when they were young and worked at a small short table too in the livingroom~actually it was our piano bench and they had little children's chairs that sat on each end with me in the middle. Today, they both have computer work stations with internet, and we are all wirelessly connected. Some of their work is done there, some on the couch, other on the kitchen table and even some of it outside and in their rooms. I have a library of resources, but no formal schoolroom. I don't knock it, but it's not necessary as children LEARN all over the house, so don't sweat it if you don't have it...a good book case and work surface will do ya! Oh, I forgot to say we've also had individual desks just LIKE public or private school too! They learned different things from each environment, but while environent may seem utterly important, the most important is the content.

6. Content: God first, Family, church and world. We attempt a Biblical worldview. NOT easy, but all our subjects are viewed through the lense of God's Word, His character and love.

I think I will follow up with more on the idea of content. Just HOW did I find it. . .and then HOW did I do it? Remember that knowing WHERE you are in your homeschooling journey is the first step to each year~no matter which one!

NOW, where is
Oh yeah, I've got it right here!
See you again, and blessings as you consider WHERE!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New to Homeschooling?

A few years ago I thought long and hard that those who were just thinking about homeschooling might be overwhelmed with all the products, curriculum and just plain requirements some put on the idea, much less just doing the job of home education for their children. I know for several years and even as recently as this week I have been nervous and concerned that somehow I am not meeting the needs of my children in all the ways children need. I am like most moms and wants what is really best. It's hard with so much coming at a person to know and do all that needs to be done. I want to suggest some things to do first.

Please pray about the kind of education you want to see your children have in their lives.

Is it going to be college tract? Are you concerned about their future with employment or family life?

I believe in educating my children to THEIR potential~hopefully it is college track~it's our goal (both theirs and MINE, I can't do it alone!) but am I working the plan? Are they?

What skills am I teaching in the home? Can they live life as young adults and "know what to do?"

Personal and interpersonal relationships are important here too~FAMILY, FAITH and foundations~these are the keys I think.

Yeah, I want to educate them, AND I am working to do just this, but if you are new, like I once was a few moons ago, please consider these FIRST~and then look at curriculum and products~your child's heart is more important than all the book knowledge you can give them!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Just Elementary, My Dear...

Back to School is kicking in high gear for many of us~we're gonna begin on the first, but if you are one who is thinking all the process through yet, just remember that it really is just elementary in homeschooling!

The basics, such as the ability to think, reason and contemplate life's issues, problems, joys and circumstances~to know and love family, God and His plan in our lives~and then to be able to do, perform or act upon what is known, understood and believed are WHAT are important to our focus. LIFE is SCHOOL~and it doesn't happen in a manufactured environment whether it's at a public, private place or even at our kitchen tables. The essential elementary things are just that~and can't come contrived out of a workbook or a program or in a dvd, muti-sensory experiences, or even at the hands of the most gifted teacher~much of this elementary part of education comes from the person's (the child's, but aren't we all still learning?) living life with many good sources and resources given to him so these things are fostered. Whatever your method, and whenever you are getting going, just remember that the most important educational goals are elementary. . .

Wishing you all a wonderful 2009-2010 School Year!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Free Kid's Craft at Michaels

Freebie pencil box decorating at your local Michael's store. You can ck on coupons too online~but this is a kid~friendly FREE event

Head on over this Saturday for the kids and let them have some fun~and if you're on a budget read my Thriving With No Green$ on HOW to save money and not be tempted to "spend" but why it's OK to shop...

Have fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

HSLDA Report Card on Homeschooling vs...

If you have folks in your life worried about your children who are homeschooled, you need to send them straight over to this TELLING HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Assoc) who is reporting a study done on homeschoolers. . .NAW~we've got little to worry us as long as WE ARE educating our children to their academic best! READ it !! I can say that for YEARS I have worried and still do to some degree~the proof will be in the pudd'n as they say! But I want my children educated and prepared. What a total shame if someone calls homeschooling by its name and does not teach or prepare the child! I can say in over eight years, this being our nineth, I HAVE NEVER MET A FAMILY WHO WAS NOT SCHOOLING!!!!!!and I have lived in three states and been in three homeschooler groups. NOT ONE family! ONE!

This is encouraging! KEEP up the GREAT WORK parents! GOD IS GOOD!

Making a Change!

Since beginning my blog adventure a year ago, I have grown to really love it! In order to reach further and do some more things, I am leaving my former home and making this my new place to share. We will be "under construction" for a bit, but as I get going, it's my prayer that you find just the info or inspiration you need!