Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day~more than hot dogs and the FLAG...

Just WHAT are we teaching our kids about holidays is more important that the mere celebration of them, and we should be mindful to give our children sound information and wisdom concerning them.  Memorial Day is a holiday that for many of us has become a day of cook outs, family gatherings, and outdoor recreation while its original purpose was to honor fallen heroes of our nation in the cause of freedom.  With that said, does Memorial Day have to be sad or solemn, I don't think so as long as we purposefully instruct and attend to the day in a way that memorializes the price that has been paid in a way our children can comprehend.

A few years ago I took my children to a Memorial Day service hosted by the local Veterans group in our town.  It was an awesome sight as gray haired men and women in all pride and dignity led the group in respect of the fallen of our community.  Local clergy participated and prayers were said as well as pledges to our flag. This participation on our part led to many discussions concerning our nation and the price of the freedoms we enjoy today.

While we won't be going to another service this year, we will be talking about the meaning of the day and making sure that our flag is flying and our prayers are for our nation.  We are so thankful for the men and women who have fought for us in our place each and every day.

God BLESS America~Home of the Free BECAUSE of the Brave!
Check out
Lady Graceful on TRUTH.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Toolbox~Grocery Sacks...

Here's an idea for those pesky sacks that everybody gets by the truck loads~let the kids use them as paint or art covers for their clothing.  I know it sounds silly, but for littles who are prone to getting the mess of fun art work all over, cutting a hole in the bottom and slipping their head and then two holes one each side for the arms will do the trick.  You can also use them to put down to cover a table by cutting them open so the surface is larger when messy projects are in order.  THEN the great thing is throw them away! I like this the best because it saves me on clean up and cost.  Another idea is to let the kids go into the yard and do a scavenger hunt of sorts with things you put on a list to get from the great outside to put inside the sack.  Let them come and show you their finds...out of their sack...OR does your little have loads of tiny pieces of toys that end up all mixed together in a toy box or in a jumble? OK, let your child sort into these SACKS and if you can't get other containers these will work for a time...just be aware that your child needs to be old enough not to want to cover his/her head with it...

Grocery sacks have multiple uses for learning...and support to learning including lining the trash can or cleaning out a car into it.  I like to haul our swim gear/clothes too along with one for each member of the family so when we are done showering and dressing the wet stuff can be put into a bag til it hits the washer at home~ Makes it all neater!

Head over to Homeschooling Hearts and Minds for some more ideas....

Happy Toolbox Tues!

Monday, May 24, 2010

UnChurched and UnChristlike and UN...

Teenagers are given a bad rap and rightly so in loads of instances.  Kids who are not old enough to be responsible are RESPONSIBLE for all kinds of kidding! But I am soo undone and don't know how to think about a posing problem where a new teen who is worldly and unChristlike for sure is mentioned as "unchurched" in their behavior~well, yeah?? I mean, WHAT ELSE are we expecting, but I know if we don't see them accept Christ and TEACH THEM despite their ilks...these unchurched kids will never be "churched" much less become Christians.

And what is that when parents condone their teens who KNOW NOTHING are allowed to work in things like VBS and the like while well trained teens are in classes LEARNING and these teens who are allowed to be leaders don't learn but "lead"???? OH YEAH, right! Seems like these are the same kids who will be the NEXT DEACONS and SS TEACHERS because they are "churched" GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I'm incensed! This is nuts! WHERE DO KIDS GET BY without being taught who get to lead? Only in our churches. ONLY...Somebody STOP this madness, OK?
No wonder the faith isn't going forward~we've FAILED to train the next generation but let them "lead."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday Talk'n Teenagers~Ambitions

My daughter came home last week with a community flyer for the local fireman's fundraiser, a 5K and little did I know she and her brother want to run in it.  Whew! What next? I know it's a great cause, but my kids aren't runners.  I mean, they could be runners, but they don't run on a regular basis...but now they have planned their own training to do it and quick because the date is July10th!! I am so amazed at their drive and ambition.  Running over three miles much less WALKING this distance amazes me!  Sooo it's out the door each day to either walk or run~they ran over a mile the first day to come home and tell me how OUT OF SHAPE they were~OK, for this fat mama, running a mile no matter HOW out of breath is impressive!! So you go kids! Run your hearts out! And you can bet one thing, I will be there rooting at the finish line~oh yeah!!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tues Toolbox~OUTSIDE...

I know the outdoors is a simple thing we all have access to in our But just how much are we accessing it for the greatest benefit for our children?  Benefits are many to getting outside even in the winter months for our kids.  The study of nature and the elements of the weather systems are wonderful natural opportunities to increase knowledge.  We've lived in three states that each carried their own unique patterns of fauna, flora and weather so each place was a unique classroom of sorts.

Where you live can be accessed for interesting studies and fun.  Recreation, exercise and overall good health are added benefits.

Often when my kids were little, we would head to the park and allow them to burn off steam.  We found too in the hottest months that strategically planning our outside time was crucial to overall enjoyment.  Could it be if you live in the hottest of climates that schooling during such miserable days would be a better options than schooling in milder ones where it's pleasurable to get out and enjoy the season?  When we lived in southeast GA it was sooo hot during the summer! The sun would bake the ground and us along with it, so instead of trying to be out in the "heat of the day" we found ourselves schooling with other indoor activities during this time and opting for the outside stuff when it was milder with less cause for heatstroke and sunburns.  Conversely, we are now in a frigid winter climate where the temperatures are often well below zero in windchill during our dry and cold blustery winters.  Can you guess when we are schooling the hardest? But what fun it is when the temperatures return to a mild experience and we can get outside...grass growing, flowers to be planted and garden to be tended...wild life to be observed...nature, weather, seasons..exercise~my kids are planning to run a 5K in a couple of months....time to work at this, right?  Amazing what good mild weather brings so we can utilize the natural classroom!

Sooo are you or have you planted that garden? Natures lessons are free and great!

Enjoying the shade,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Teenage EXCUSES?

I am appalled at what I am calling "Teenage Excuses." We give these to our kids all the time, in fact I hear them on a frequent basis coming out of parents, grandparents, teachers, and the like regarding young people in the teen years, "ah, you know, they're teenagers!" or "kids!" or "Well, it's their being teenagers!"


Teenagers do NOT have an automatic pass-go for doing WRONG!  NO, they do not!

Why do we GIVE them one?

I know that the freedom that teenagers desire and in many instances require as they learn to make good choices for their lives can be hard for a parent.  We don't ALWAYS agree with their choices, but to EXPECT wrong and evil? Come on mothers and daddys!

If we expect a lower standard of behavior, we will certainly GET IT!

Are we asking our children to live in a correct manner with good habits, skills, practices and desires so that as they mature they are well able to live to please not just parents and society, but God?  This is crucial for our young people.  In generations past, this sub-class of society~TEENAGER-HOOD was nonexistent.  When children matured physically they were give the rights, duties and responsibilities of adulthood.  TAKE HIST
ORY as far back as you would like. It's been true all but the last 150 or so years.  So WHAT ARE WE DOING in giving our children a license to do wrong both morally, spiritually and physically? MAKES NO SENSE!

I've found myself into this trap and pattern with great kids who, yeah, are not perfect as no kids are, but who basically are good, kind, caring and RESPONSIBLE young people.  When I look at them and see their maturity and what they carry each day in responsibility and honor I am amazed.  Sooo I ask us all about our attitudes and language.  What are we doing to our teens with what we think and say?

Let's honor our teens and expect the right things and let our attitudes and WORDS speak the good values and duty that as adults they will need for LIFE!

I'm loving my teens today! Love yours too and begin with little people...because they DO grow up...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursay Talk'n About Teens~Sibling "Rivalry?"

Teens are generally noted for all kinds of bad behavior.  BAD meaning awful, disgusting, rude, unthinking and plain stupid, NOT the "BAD" many of us grew up with in the MJ song, BAD as a badge of courage and valor.  But ALL teenagers are not equal in their behaviors and ALL teens must not be excused as if the teen years are a time to EXPECT negatives from them.  I hate hearing when people say, "Oh they're teenagers!" or "It's a teen thing..." or some other excuse for the ugly and profane.  True, that the teen years are a time of learning, exploration and growth, but we can safely say that teens don't HAVE to be awful in their behaviors.
Frankly, I expect MINE to be good and wholesome.  Don't get SisterT wrong, my kids are like many in that they are not perfect mini adults with never a glitch or hitch.  But on the whole they are GREAT kids! So far, Praise God, so good!  Now a point of bragging goes with this idea of sibling rivalry.  How many teens actually GET ALONG with their sibs? I fought with mine.  Did you with yours? Fighting and disagreements is almost an expected TEENAGEHOOD norm in many many households, but let me say that in homeschooled families siblings are closer. Yeah, they are! The sibs are their first and foremost connection to the world and hold higher place to outside friends which become important, but not in an unbalanced way.  Sibs are IT for homeschooled kids in many many instances.

I had share about our daughter in AWANA pursuing the award, Meritorious which signifies the completion of 6 AWANA handbooks over around 6 years of work.  Now to explain, YESSSS she did complete this goal last night, but I want you to know that her brother who has done two books in the same time period was in full support in a very loving way.  It was crunch time for her and she needed some help with chores and other responsibilities.  GUESS WHO helped? Yep~little BRO! I am so proud of him to freely give of himself in love in the way of service to his sister.  Many times my children will help each other out when they either one will need it.  They will hang together and see to it that each has whatever the other needs or often desires.  It's really fun to see such love and care, when the reputation of many teens is just the opposite.

Sibling rivalry is really reduced as a result of home eduction.  This is just a by product of the socialization in the home where the family unit is tight and closely associated.  Head on over to Plans4You  to read some cool stuff about cool teenagers!!

Here's to teens WORKING together! Woot woot!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FREE HELP for Essay Writing...yeah!!

OK, so if you're keeping up with my writing saga where I am looking for something to help me present the essay to my children and enrich their ability to write them, then you know that I have had a rough week already in an online class that didn't work out due to technical difficulties~YIKES! Well, just in the nick of time, here is a FREEbie entry from The Homeschool Post called Lego Building Your First Essay...whoot whoot woot! I am truly excited.  God is so good, and I'll keep you posted! ;-))

Summer Travel With Children~Travel Kits eBook

Families who travel with kids have a challenge to keep everyone riding along happily down the road.  Cranky kids are no fun! Happy kids are LOADS of FUN and taking family road trips are wonderful when they ride along contented and busy doing something that entertains them.  Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others is a new eBook from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine offering loads of information on how to put together a neat and effective tool.  There are suggestions for everyone to make road trips and any kind of sitting experience FUN!  I can see this information used in other contexts other than car riding, but what about when parents have to go places where children are expected to sit quietly?  Anywhere that a child has to be still and quiet in contentment is a good application!  Check out Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others to learn more! This is a 14 chapter eBook for easy down load with so much information that will help make travel and quiet times endurable by children. Wish we could have had something like this when mine were littles.  We travel a good bit, and when they were little we often put a laundry basket full of toys between their car seats for them to enjoy while they rode.  IF I HAD KNOWN, how much more pleasurable it would've been for ALL of us!

Travel can be more fun~Check out Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others  to learn more.

Follow Up on the Writing Class ONLINE

I am really disliking online stuff about now.  Frankly the hassles associated with online purchasing, logging in and TECH stuff is prohibitive imho to a sane and well balanced schooling experience.  Who needs a class that the voice of the teacher begins echoing or double speaking INTERMITTANTLY without warning of its coming and going to try to learn and reinforce materials? NO ONE! I am no longer endorsing online classes PERIOD.  You can read about our experience HERE with HOPEFULNESS of yesterday when we attended an online writing class for the high school essay which was overall not "that" bad, but the three times that audio bounced and garbled were distractive, but to add that the teacher did not respond to an email to discuss what could possibly help this situation and then when contacting technical support and finding a continued labrinthe of solutions~it's too much! WHO needs this? NOT ME!

Please please be cautious where you spend your time and money.  Tried and true is just that...and all these folks looking to secure a piece of the financial pie without really having solid supports in place end up just robbing good people. I am getting a refund for this class, but you can bet your sweet apples and oranges that SisterT won't do this again! NOPE, not me...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday's Toolbox~Small Objects of ANY Kind and Math

I know this is going to sound silly, but it can take all the bite out of the big bad word, HOMESCHOOLING when teaching the concept of numbers and math.  Learning to count OBJECTS will teach young children that those numbers actually mean a concrete set of THINGS!! I used to have my kids count all kinds of things.  In a preschool or kindergarten classroom there all many kinds of manipulatives in bright colors, but at home we can pull out many things from our child's world to show him that things can represent a value of amounts. 

Objects to be counted can include anything small enough or BIG enough to become counted. Don't limit yourself to my list or anyone elses, but let your child and yourself find and count everything you can! It needs to be a game and made FUN!

Here's some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Count the number of windows in a room or in the whole house.
  • Count the number of chairs at the table or in a room or othter furnature objects.
  • Count the silverware and sort them by kind.  Spoons, forks and butter knives all seperated. 
  • Count the Leggos in the collection of your child.  Sort by individual color.  For a young child, teach the color, say-red, and sort all reds one day counting with him.  Do it again another day and so on.  Add additonal colors as in the Leggo box.
  • Count the eggs in the egg carton and talk about the 3 parts of the egg: shell, white and yolk.
  • Count cereal for  a snack.  Let him string it on yard and wear it for fun!
  • Count other food items such as raisens and other dried fruit.  How many sections in a fresh tangerine or orange?  Yum!
  • Count miniature marshmellow~you can string these too, but will need a needle. Monitor this activity if you use the sharpe!
  • Count trees in the backyard or front.
  • Count matchbox cars or other small toys.  Sort by color or kind-trucks and cars, vans, ect...
  • Count bread for sandwhiches.  Count a cut sandwhich by 1/4s or 1/2s~which ever way you cut it!
  • Count seeds from fruit or veggies.
  • Count a certain car color when traveling. This is a fun game.  We used to count every RED pass the time!
Count anything and everything you can count with your child. Showing him the world of numbers equals THINGS is huge in teaching early concepts of math. Once he has mastered this basic concept, you can use these SAME objects to teach addition, subtration and fractions.  This is the basis for all of math and is so easy and fun. 

Look around~today's Tuesday Toolbox is all around us with a number value when counted with our littles and is so essential for their futures! Count count count EVERYTHING that can be counted and it doesn't have to cost a fortune or any extra gathering, we already own it all and it's all around us!


Online Writing Class?

It's hard to teach this old dog a new trick but when it comes to teaching essay writing, I have been at a lost and need all the tricks I can get...

If there is a weak area in our homeschool, it would be in the area of writing.  I hate this too because I love to write, but find it hard to teach~go figure! Well, I have looked and searched even purchased several writing "solutions" over the years eventually abandoning them because of various reasons.  When I recieved an offering through Currclick for an online virtual classroom class that was really affordable, at first glance I hit the delete button.  HONESTLY I am so tired of all the marketing, so I didn't give it much of a look, but went on with my day.  My friend is an excellent writer, and she has agreed to work to help me with the kids. This is a way to cooperate with other homeschooling moms and other friends and resources to well round out our children's educations.  So with this said, my friend was aware of what I was thinking and needing for the kids.  She had also gotten the blast from Currclick and sent it on to me wondering had I seen it. Ha~I read the thing! and saw it was affordable and doable.  $12.50 for three one hour online viruatual classes over three weeks with interactive support and help sounded sooo good.  Now to be sure, I had NEVER signed up for such an adventure, but my kids are tech savy, as we've used the computer to learn before! Off I went to sign them up, and we took the class.  My laptop is the computer that we can patch into our large television screen so that we could all hear and see.  All except for some audio issues where the sound echoed at intervals and then repeated some, it was great! I am hoping that when our instructor sends the recorded sesson later tonight it will be 100% clear and when watched a built in review.  There will be some assignments and peer reviews as well! I am excited. This was on the academic ESSAY.  I have been working to teach and perfect this type of writing with my two and am so thankful for this online opportunity.

Sometimes help comes in unexpected sources~a place I had clearly not been open to partaking in.  It might be wise to look beyond the book's cover for sure!  Sometimes the Ole dog needs to look around and open the book...
Here's to a NEW method~

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Great Expectations~

Out and about today we got hungry and headed for those golden arches for something.  When we had gotten our order, we pulled around in the parking lot to eat our "snack" when on my side mirror a little brown finch landed.  He looked and looked at me; his head turned side to side.  I immediately took notice and became amused.  Everyone thought he was cute as he continued to look at us, and then as if he could see what was on my dashboard, he head turned into the direction of the discarded food items out of the food I was consuming sitting there.  Suddenly off he jumped onto my windshield washer peering more intentily at the food items.  Did he really see what I had placed there, and was "asking" me for his share?  My mother who was riding in the passenger seat eating french fries in her meal instructed me to lower her window.  As I did, she tossed him a nicely cooled but well prepared french fry.  To our delight, Mr. Bird grabbed his bounty mid air and flew away.  Someone has fed this little fellow before! I took my left-overs and put them into the parking lot beside my truck.  I was sure that when we left he would return, perhaps with friends and family.

Isn't it fun when God's creation shows a little interest in our human activities by coming to visit?  Mr. Bird seemed to know and have an expectant spirit that we'd favor him with something from our plates.  AND he was right! We did give him a share.  We too have a spirit of expectation with God like our little friend did with us.  We often ask and keep looking and asking some more to find our Heavenly Father offering us just what we want and desire.  God is soo good, and what a joy to meet one of His little creations.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Flinging Friday in the Countdown

Do you ever want to fling around and just be done with stuff? Today I am flinging around some new ideas for next year.  I am looking at all sorts of things for our high school experiences and boy there's so much out there! We don't have THAT far to go folks...the countdown in on...I have rising 9th and 10th graders~WOOT WOOT!!

What are you all thinking for next year? Got your plans all set? I am firm on a few things:

Math: Teaching Textbooks Alg I and II
Science:  Apologia General Science
History: Mystery of History II (to 1452)
Foreign Languages: Tell Me More~Spanish and Japanese
Music:  Trumpet/marching french horn; double bass/bass guitar/piano
Drama: co op group two performances this next year~Sarah Plain and Tall (Nov 2010) and Charlotte's Webb (April 2011)

OK...considering Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press for High School.  Reading reviews and will make a few calls. Anyone with experience? Give me a shout out!
Happy Plans

Thursday, May 6, 2010


You can WIN  Pamela's Prayer DVD about purity before marriage that is timely for our teens!

From  Plans4You

Click the link above with a comment or passing the word ~
Winners ANNOUNCED May 8th 11:59PM

Here's what the website says:
Pamela's Prayer~1998 by Dave Christiano Films

This motion picture portrays the unique and heartfelt story of Pamela Bucklin from her birth in 1969 to her wedding day in 1991. It also contrasts two Christian girls and their different outlook toward purity and dating. All of Pamela's friends were dating. She was not. And it seemed unfair that her father insisted on such a high standard of purity. Yes, it seemed unfair...until the day she married.

Happy Mother's Day!

The Final Lap~Thursday Talking About Teenagers!

Teenagers are amazing and confusing and frustrating and growing and well...........mine are a hoot! To read an inspring story of a young man who is overcoming adversity  Check out Plans4You!  But tonight at AWANA we are in the final lap of the year.  Just when you think teens can't or won't be interested in learning God's Word some really kick it into gear.  While our Trek group is small, if you don't know about AWANA's Trek it's the Junior High ministry as part of the overal ministry of AWANA for grades 7-9th.  If you aren't familiar with AWANA it is an international ministry for all children ages 3 through highschool.  The goal of AWANA is to "reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and to train them to serve Him."  The acronym is A~approved W~workmen A~are N~not A~ashamed speaking of the verse II Timothy 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth.  My kids have been in AWANA clubs for about seven  years.  Our daughter has completed seven books and will complete one and 1/2 this year!  In these handbooks are Scripture memory along with lessons that teach sound principles of the Word to give youth a grounded experience for life.  Our son has complete one book.  Both our children achieve at their rate and desire.  I could never tie this girl down from her vision.  She desire the highest award AWANA offers, the Citation.  She will accomplish it next year at 16 1/2  year if she does another book next year.  Not only are there handbooks to teach the Bible, but there is a game component with "friendly competition" and a Council Time comprised of teaching geared at the needs of youth.  Our group is small, but even the adults leaders are learners.  Congrats Darling Daughter and you go!  Check out AWANA!!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TUES TOOLBOX~In the Garden...

It's the time of year when spring has sprung and for many of us in the western hemisphere, anyway, are experiencing pollen and loads of green with splashes of color everywhere in gorgeous flowers.  Ever consider doing a study on the flowers in your garden or yard or neighborhood or park? Flowers can be interesting to children; my, what child doesn't LOVE to pick a boquet and present them to us whether it's the prize rose from the bed or some dandelions with their yellow splendor.  I have loved getting this little surprises from my son our the years.  Often the stems were not quite long enough, but they were still so sweet.  Recently in church, I found a pressed former floral offering my son had given that now is as delicate and sweet as the day he gave it to me.  WHAT a memory too!

Soo thinking about Tuesday Toolbox for us and what we can use to teach our children, I want to suggest just these flowers in our lives. 

A whole study can be done with flowers and loads of art applications for hands-on activities can be applied as well. 

Here are the meanings of different flowers to share~

Anemone Expectation

Apple Blossom Hope, Good Fortune

Baby's Breath Innocence

Blue Periwinkle Friendship

Blue Violet Modesty, Faithfulness

Bluebells Constancy

Buttercup Cheerfulness, Desire for riches

Camellia Loveliness, Fascination

Carnation Engagement

Chrysanthemum Wealth, Truth

Daffodil Regard

Daisy Share your feelings

Edelweiss Daring, Noble Courage

Foxglove Insincerity

Freesia Innocence

Gardenia Purity, Joy

Iris Message of Faith, Wisdom

Jasmine Wealth, Grace

Lavender Distrust

Lilac First emotions of Love

Lily Majesty, Truth, Honor

Marigold Grief

Narcissus Egotism, Formality

Orange Blossom Purity, Fertility

Orchid Love, Beauty

Peach Blossom Captive

Peony Bashfulness

Pink Rose Grace

Red Poppy Consolation

Red Rose Passion

Rose Love, Joy, Beauty

Sunflower Adoration

Sweet Pea Pleasure

Tulip Love, Passion

White Poppy Sleep

White Rose Worthiness
Make some flowers using tissue or crape paper.  Instructions here!
Color some flowers on coloring sheets easy to print!
Press flowers using wax paper, a heavy book or two~select the flower to be pressed.  Place in the was paper between two sides with waxy sides facing the flower.  Put under the heavy books for at least a week or two.
Identify flowers by name using pictures!
Enjoy Spring and all its splendor teaching littles all about flowers!

Monday, May 3, 2010

DRAMA Queen and KING?

The play was a success! Center Stage Productions has donated over $50K to the Holland Theater of Bellefountain OH for restoration of its turn of the 20th Century facility and has performed two productions for several years.  With homeschooled teenagers from across central Ohio and parents supporting under the directorships of Thelma and Paula (homeschool moms), The Phantom Tollbooth was imho, really good! Take a look at some of the set and "characters." BTW~my girl and boy were in this one too...whoohoo!

The Phantom Tollbooth~
Daughter is center stage. She is a "Word Merchant."

Costume Crew member practicing that hand sewing for The Phantom Tollbooth! whoohoo!

The set of The Phantom Tollbooth~

Building Crew working...

Cast performing...


Make Up Crew's work...

Having teenagers can bring loads of FUN~DRAMA in your life is just a small part of what you get. I like the quote I saw, "Raising teenagers is like NAILING jello to a tree!" LOVE IT!