Sunday, October 31, 2010

FREEbie: 50 page November Coloring Book (voting, veterans and thankgiving events)

Thanks Homeschool Treasure Trove!

Blog Cruise: SisterT's Talking About Being a Volunteer!

Volunteerism is a way of life for us, I think. I don't believe we give it much thought, but we just get all drawn into stuff that we care about so we find ourselves all the stuff we do at our church: teaching, choir, youth/children's ministry stuff, and my son played the trumpet in this morning's worship service...he's in the sound room...We take on jobs or duties for groups we're a part of ~ our daughter is a crew leader this year for their drama group. This carries more responsibilities than just member...I've gone and been the "adult" person available when another crew met and worked.  We have foster parented, worked as an executive member of an adoptive and foster parent's association board of directors, helped to spear head and lead a local adoptive and foster group becoming the first president...we've worked as helpers on other children and husband worked at a missions resort area outreach this summer. My kids passed tracks out at the Trick or Treat deal in our community~we gave tracks from our home.  I dunno...this is an area I don't generally talk about much b/c it's just our lives...who we are...and we don't really advertise it much...

So with this said,,,I'm gonna jump off here and send you on to ck out the Crew on their volunteerism         !

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Say WHAT, YUCK? Gross Em' OUT or Play...Fun! Fun! Fun!

Yuck! Sticky, Saucy, Chunky and Snowy
Buckets O Fun
Ages:  K-adult

Price: $16.00 per LB (bulk prices lower)
Get It HERE!
I say: LOADS of Fun potential in YUCK!

I received a sample of all the YUCK with the Science Experiment brochure w/instruction guide in exchange for my honest review without monetary compensation.
YUCK!  The word kinda says it all~I mean, WHAT in the world is it and WHY am I talking about something so gross sounding?  Yuck is a fun product that mimmics stuff NONE of us wants to talk about and yet find irresistible when it comes to fun and games!  It's a crystal grainy powder that when added to water will make up some unique substances that are either slimy, sticky or chunky. The textures are soo cool!Imagine grossing out teenagers in a youth group with YUCK  or pulling it out on a cold and rainy day to try some of the experiments offered?  I hauled YUCK into our youth group and  watched the big kids have a ball!  They loved it! It was so nasty looking and yet felt so cool that they loved it~we mixed up the YUCK and let them "play!" LOL...Well, you can imagine, right?  Six teenagers ~two semi adults(me and the other leader ha! ha!) uh...dare we admit??

Yuck was pretty easy to clean up too.  While water really won't clean it up because it causes more expansion, we used alcohol and dry paper towels which worked pretty good...we didn't EAT any either...LOL...Okay, we aren't supposed to have done that!! LOL

If you are involved with FUN activities with kids in anyway, go check out Buckets O Fun to see all the cool stuff they a Mom of teens and a youth leader in our church, I just love the game ideas for all the resources they offer.  Any child that's old enough NOT to try to eat YUCK is old enough to enjoy YUCK!  There's a safety sheet pdf included on the website as well as clean up instructions FYI.  It's really fun!

These products appeal to all ages from 5 to 95. Functions in schools, clubs, church groups, organizations, parties of all types including businesses will be more successful with BOF. Can you imagine the great memories that will be created playing Skeet Chicken with a Rubber Chicken or sliding down a Slip-n-Slide covered in Saucy Yuck? Our highest quality products along with a variety of creative ideas for their use will please you for many events now and in the future. As the market expands BOF will be in the forefront. Other products may come and go but BOF will expand utilizing the basics as a foundation.

If you want to try YUCK yourself,  Buckets O Fun offers a FREE sample of each YUCK!

Check out YUCK here to see a Yuck demonstration.

Go slime somebody~or better yet...get "revenge" (just kidding...LOL) ON the kiddos~What a perfect party or fun day activity...and homeschooling is soo much more than books and worksheets.  Laughing and playing are huge in building the bridges of love to seal the bonds of family!

Go YUCK 'em~they will love it! 
and while you're at it, check out what the CREW says             !

Fit Mommy Friday~SisterT's Week 1

First let me say, I don't feel so good with the bad cold I contracted this week, but I've stayed on track.  All week long I have eaten the way I am supposed to eat, drank my water and exercised as best I can (given my health.)

I am so excited to see these changes in my life~and to see what others are doing too!

My Goals for the 10 Weeks:

1. 6-8 oz glasses of good pure water each day~drunk at intervals throughout.
2. NO SUGAR whatsoever.  I am watching the carb/glycemic index of all foods, but no white sugary foods AT ALL.
3.  I will work my plan of eating as prescribed and do as my medical folks/oa folks encourage.
4.  With God's help, I will also continue to weigh and measure my food each day.
5.  I will work to remain completely HONEST in all my dealings with food.
6.  I will consciously get up and MOVE doing some sort of physical activity each day whether it's stair climbing (I have four staircases in our home, walking our dog to the corner and back, swimming at the indoor pool at the YMCA or otherwise hitting some other movement in my life.)
7.  Each day, I will pray to God to give me His acceptance for circumstances beyond my control, courage for circumstances that need change that I can do something with, and wisdom to KNOW what I need to leave alone and or fix...asking Him for a serene mind, heart, soul and spirit so that my body, mind and spirit will be healed.

I have a verse for us:

Psalm 94: 4,5

 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
      He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
      no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  NLT

Since I have seven goals I will discuss each in detail of what I'm currently doing so you can know how this is working.
Drinking water is a thing I don't really love, but is necessary for health. I drink primarily distilled water from our Waterwise distiller that produces a gallon of absolutely GREAT pure tasting water for four hours of operation.  It's a slow process one drip at a time, but I am guessing a faster system would be more spency... We spent way more on bottled water and it wasn't nearly as clean tasting.  The plastic bottles can't be good for us either, so while I've not sworn off bottled water, I have better with this distiller.  Soo we live with the long processing time and are thankful for it!  I try to drink this water throughout the day and especially when hunger gets a hold of me.  I keep a mental check list in my head so I can keep up with it. 

My body does seem to work better when I am well hydrated.  Hydration helps everything from our organs to our looks!  I can't imagine WHY I don't really enjoy it, as a matter of fact I dislike drinking! I prefer the water to most everything, and generally ONLY drink water in a day...but my habit is NOT to drink enough. GOAL 1 addresses this habit..COMPLETED :-))

(You won't hear of me weighing each week either. I generally only weigh on doctor's appointments which are anywhere from 45-90 days. ( I have some health issues that require these visits.)  I am not a slave to the scale or obsessive about it.  I know that a daily weight  can be discouraging because our bodies fluctuate.  If my clothes are loosening and I am eating as planned, I will see results of wt loss.  In this challenge, will there be a "biggest looser?"  LOL...WE SHALL SEE.... Just remember it's OneDayAtaTime for me and all of us!
See you next week!!

(POST post: ha!! I see NOW I am supposed to do a daily entry~okay...will do it next time ;-)) BUT I was on the plan! Whooot!) Thanks gals ;-))

Thursday, October 28, 2010


When I was a little girl I always dreamed of becoming a mommy.  Little did I know that I would find myself unable to conceive a child after five years of marriage and in my early thirties.  God blessed us with adoption of precious children, but as an adoptive mother who is a Christian first and foremost, abortion for me has always been wrong.  You see, years ago before God provided our children, I looked into adoption.  Did you know that there are few unwanted babies, but that most children in need of adoptive homes here in the US are older children most often with either physical, mental-emotional problems OR waiting for homes with their siblings for families to love and care for them?  Oh believe me, my dream in the beginning was to hold my own little life~OUR baby, the one conceived of ourselves, but as time progressed my vision changed to include children who were older and well...(the rest is history...) But as we investigated adoption and found for us the costs so high for private domestic adoptions and the wait incredibly long~upwards of $25K and 3-5 years, we looked internationally.  International adoption was also an expensive endeavor with a long wait as well.  We never pursued either.  Instead we become foster parents.

Fostering was a joy in my life that was born out of pain and sorrow.  To foster, somebody's child was taken. To foster, a little person lost his or her mommy. To foster, there was pain in the giving back...but all the while we saw children who learned to love, who learned how to live and love and WE LEARNED so much...the greatest gift was our own two precious children.  I don't think I've ever shared these details about our family, but in seeing a film I want to share with you, it reminds me of HOW absolutely important children are to our lives! The abortion industry has robbed families like ourselves of parenting newborns as the demand is high and the provision is low.  Cost is driven upwards and families wait while babies are disposed of...I had heard that Norma McCorvey (ROE) had become a Christian and works tirelessly to end abortion in our nation.  While I am not sorry for adopting older children, I know that there are millions of babies killed that mothers LIKE ME would gladly accept with open arms...abortion has to end...and while children need MOMS and DADS~adoption is the answer. We must work not only to end the slaughter, but also to make ADOPTION acceptable in our society.  Birth Moms need to feel like they have given their babies a great gift~life...

Watch~you will be amazed.  WARNING: intense for young children!
Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Please consider the children~pray for them!
Thank you!

WINNER ~Winner of the Old El Paso (My BlogSpark) Gift Pack!!

Lisa who likes Taco Soup was randomly chosen! Thanks everyone for entering! Keep watching MORE giveAways coming soon!! whoohoo!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FREE: American History (1780 to 1959) Animated Atlas

You will not believe how cool this is~It is audio narrated with interactive moving/clickable parts for a wonderful experience in connecting the events of the United States of America! 
Animated Atlas

FREE: Site With English LIterature: Medieval, Reniassance and 17th Century and Resoration

This is a well done site with beautiful historic art.  You will find it categorized by genre or time period. Excellent source for high school and college: Luninarium

Sign up for Clickschooling daily emails from Dianne Flynn who sends out a daily email featuring a different subject FREEbie each day @Clickschooling.

Review: PG Key~Internet Watch Guard For PCs

PG Key
Ages: ALL
Cost: $99.99
Get ItHERE! or see below.
I say: Everyone NEEDS this tool!

Having teenagers can make a mama cringe when I think of all the dangers of the internet.  Seeming innocent trips into cyberspace can be so dangerous~not just for kids and teens either.  The other day, I was checking my own spam box of my email~ewww...nasty stuff!  But HOW did that junk get there? And what will protect my kids from innocently or not so innocently, but more curiously tripping into that kind of stuff?

Oh boy! I just hate to think of the dangers, but if you are like me with kids then you know that with all the potential dangers, SOMETHING IS NEEDED to protect and shield them when my eyes can't and don't see~
Enter PG Key! This is a little device that plugs into the port of the computer and does all kinds of things to assure safety for the user.

Features include:
Monitoring of the sites visited by the user.
Blocking of specific sites by the password holder.
Recording of everywhere the machine has been.
An automatic lock out of places you don't want your child to go.
AND so much more~

We think this will enable internet security to be so much stronger for every household.

From the website:

This is a wonderful plug in product for keeping children safe online.  You can purchase them in a variety of local places:  Office Max, Freys Electronics, or MicroCenter.

You can even get a FREE TRIAL of PG Key: HERE!

I received PG Key in exchange for my honest review without monetary compensation as part of the TOS Crew.
Head on over to try it out~

Read what the Crew says HERE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: The Old Schoolhouse High School Planner

The 2010-11  High School  Old Schoolhouse Planner ~Making a Plan For School and Home
Ages: Grades 9-12 (possibly incl 8th gr)
Format:  Immediate Download pdf format 
Planner: 293 pages. Parent Pack includes 14 pages.
Get It HERE!       
Cost: $29.00
I say: I LOVE IT!

It's hot off the presses and just what every highschooler needs! I have two teens, and before we were blessed to review the planner, we needed a little something to bind our days into our goals and other pieces of the puzzle we call life: home and school.  The High School Planner is geared to provide the tools for a teen to become highly focused and organized in all they set out to do.  There are so many ways to apply the planner with a variety of formats offered.  There's a way to help your teen become ready for college life.  As a mom, I have worked so hard at building independence in my kids so when it does come time for them to fly the my nest, they will soar~this planner is exactly what we needed.

Printing out just what we could use and reading the parent's section gave me some needed insights~don't we ALL worry that we're doing the very best for our kids? I mean, isn't there a little voice that creeps in sometimes? I have it, and have come to realize that guilt and worry accompany motherhood~

Please, if you need a planner to help your teen get ready for college life and work more independently by learning goal setting, time management and pace setting~head on over HERE to pick up your very own copy! Right now there is a bonus unit study offer for a  JUST for getting your planner!Purchase the planner and you get The Curiosity Files™-MRSA-Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze—Expert in Outlandish Oddities-A FUN unit study~a $9.95 value~FREE!

Don't wait~head over to get your high school planner~we LOVE it!

I received a copy of The 2010-11 High School Old Schoolhouse Planner~Making a Plan For School and Home from The Old Schoolhouse Store in exchange for my honest review without monetary compensation.

Purchase a TOS Planner and Enter a Gift Card Contest~whoot!

It's time to figure out HOW school can be organized and put together well~
Head over HERE to sign up for the contest to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card when you purchase the planner: the TOS Planner has it all!
Get your 2010 Planner HERE!!

Fit Mommy Day 1 Water-Water-Ruuuuuun!

3:53PM Ha! Today is the FIRST day of the rest of my life, right? LOL...And yesterday I made some goals~water/working this body and prayer along with a healthful plan of eating.  I have STUCK like glue to my plan...

Will do a wrap up in a while...I have loads of weight to lose...actually have a few hundred pounds to leave the dust...and I am working it...praying about it....going for it! With God at the helm.  I am honest, open and willing to do what it takes...God is willing and so am I~one day at a time!

My tools are and the 10 day Fit Mommy check list...oh yeah!! and the oa tools.  Be back~

Okay~goals completed.  Water: ck  Exercise: plan: ck...prayer: ck
Today is ONE MO Day... I'm taking it a minute to equal an hr and a day at a time~oh yeah!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday~SisterT's Joining UP..and going down...down...down...

I've seen many of my bloggy friends joining Fit Mommy Fri over at Got Chai?  for some time now, and I'm just a skeptical soul~what can I say? But recently like April and continuing to today, I've joinedOA and begun a journey that is such a blessing in my life.  God has incredibly blessed me with this program, and today I am taking another point of encouragement and accountability in joining up with these buds for Fit Mommy Friday.

I HAVE SOOO FAR TO GO...however, my goals are progress, not perfection.

I have downloaded theFit Mommy 10 Week Program file and will begin with the rest of everyone tomorrow in answering HONESTLY question each day~RIGHT HERE~While my food plan has been on target (mostly) since April, I have needed an exercise leg to my program.  Well, thanks, God! Because You have provided~AGAIN in my life!!

My Goals for the 10 Weeks:

1. 6-8 oz glasses of good pure water each day~drunk at intervals throughout.
2. NO SUGAR whatsoever.  I am watching the carb/glycemic index of all foods, but no white sugary foods AT ALL.
3.  I will work my plan of eating as prescribed and do as my medical folks/oa folks encourage.
4.  With God's help, I will also continue to weigh and measure my food each day.
5.  I will work to remain completely HONEST in all my dealings with food.
6.  I will consciously get up and MOVE doing some sort of physical activity each day whether it's stair climbing (I have four staircases in our home, walking our dog to the corner and back, swimming at the indoor pool at the YMCA or otherwise hitting some other movement in my life.)
7.  Each day, I will pray to God to give me His acceptance for circumstances beyond my control, courage for circumstances that need change that I can do something with, and wisdom to KNOW what I need to leave alone and or fix...asking Him for a serene mind, heart, soul and spirit so that my body, mind and spirit will be healed.

Okay, Fit Mommy friends~I'm IN!
See you tommorrow~

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blog Cruise: SisterT's Talking About THEIR HS Style!

We ALL have style~and I'm not talking about the runway, but maybe running away...LOL..No! seriously, we all have a WAY that we homeschool...and this week for TOS Blog Cruise, I'm asked about our homeschool style around here.  Our style has emerged over time and what we started out with has changed.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle for our family so when we discuss our styles, we are truly talking about how we live and learn!

In the beginning, our homeschoool was a mama and two little kids: one in kindergarten and the other in first grade sitting either on mama's lap as she reclined in her big ole LazyBoy recliner or with each little child using little kid chairs at the end of the piano bench with mama in the middle.  These positions worked really well as I had prepared their "lessons" in book bags for each of them, and I would work between them going from one to the other.  As one child worked, the other was taught~of course this didn't work for everything.  We did a lot of hands on stuff that included measuring tools of all kinds for liquid and linear measurements~small critters that ... well, I ain't (sorry LOL) telln! LOL...and all kinds of art works from painting to clay pottery to weaving/gluing and more!  We did all kinds of stuff~puzzles. Leggos, cars, dolls, bikes, paper crafts~paper chains, ALL kinds of stuff. These various things took us wherever we needed to be to do homeschooling well...our core was Abeka Book which in a couple of years we moved we were pretty box curriculum-ish at first.  For a good few years...when we did ventured out of the "box" literally~it was in the areas of reading and language arts because we kept Abeka math the longest...I used Lincoln Logs to build with my kids a replica of Jamestown...the plastic cowboy and indians you can imagine in that early colony...We used modeling clay to make cuneform with a sharp stick as a stylus when we studied Egypt and Babylon. 

At the time we ventured from the workbook/text kinds of learning, we went into a learning co-op which gave us a good bit of instruction and was about third grade for my daughter and second for my son that we incorporated living books.  We even tried Switched on Schoolhouse that year as well, which for a child who knew how to use the computer but was frustrated with the isolation of computerized lessons~it was a disaster!! I sold the program a few years later having NEVER attempted it with my son~some things work..and well...  But we learned that this style of learning was NOT going to be effective at such young ages for them.  We continued the individual attention of me teaching them the same subjects for science, history, health, art, while individual in reading/phonics/writing... and while my daughter was reading a loud and developing an intense love of books, my son was struggling with the written word~terribly.  I began looking and looking and looking for what would work with him~I tried the Abeka system...I used I found Sing Spell Read and Write by Sue Dickson.  Mrs. Dickson has a mulitimodality program of oral, eye and hand...there were songs and games..and it was BOY-geared...a race car moved around a track for 36 (weeks) LESSONS to the FINISH LINE~oh how fun it was,  and ...most of all, IT WORKED! But let me tell you...I didn't know how well until I caught that boy..yeah, MY son...memorizing AWANA verses and looking them up in his Bible..he was pranking me that he couldn't read~because it WAS HARD for him...okay, sooo this mama kept going..and going...and going...pic that Energizer Bunny...and this was me~I continue to push, even today..."SON, YOU are going to be educated!" IS my mantra~and it's amazing how well he continues to do!  Those early struggles led us to seek help in a developmental pediatric practice and center where all the disciplines were evaluated.  I was given the go for continued homeschooling while "special ed" in the public school was a viable option and one they suggested I consider...we did try a year~with wildly good success for him, we made a major cross states move and brought him home for continued homeschooling...He continues to do well here at home...he's developing each year and increasing his skills...and we're STILL out of the box..and a little more into the computer~but really more into the books...we read a great deal...

I realize I  was probably a bit off topic..but it reminds me of this ~that our style is ELASTIC homeschoolers~we change and adapt as we need to~I'm not fixed and firm into anything~oh, there are things I Mystery of History and Bible based history..studying it chronologically...Apologia ANYTHING...and Teaching Textbooks Math..any of 'em...Love Math Tudor DVDs (kids just finished a series of preAlg and Alg...Oh how much help this was!!), LOVE all the wonderful classical and good literature we get to read...but MOST of all, I love that my kids are home with me.  I love being flexible so that they can participate in activities they enjoy like a drama group...and church activities...and well...their own interests too...

I know ELASTIC Homeschoolers isn't really a category..we're eclectic these days...Leaning classically with a little Charlotte Mason...and some lapbooking (yeah, my teenagers LOVE to do the Apologia lapbooks by Cyndi McKinney!~not kiddified!!)...

Check out the CREW           to see everybody's style...!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FREE: World History Timeline from Homeschool Launch

550BC to 1000AD~Wonderful!!

1040AD to 2030~Beautifully done!

FREEBIE: Genesis, Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick LAP BOOK

Thank you, Homeschool Launch!

GiveAway &Review: Old El Paso Taco Seasoning & El Tacodor Family Dinner FUN Night!

Now that school is in full swing, WHY NOT have a fun treat and establish Family Dinner Taco FUN Night? Getting together and enjoying each other around the dinner table is soo fun and a way to built wonderful family bonds, and Old El Paso has just the thing to make it memorable~El Tacodor Family Taco Dinner FUN Night!  Imagine gathering the kiddos with wonderful Old El Paso dishes like tacos,  or enchiladas or even some Spanish rice thrown in for dinner and giggling your way through as the games are played from the El Tacodor activities...soo what night will it be? Set it up for once a month! Your kids will have a blast.  Consider all the good nutrition Old El Paso offers in its products.  Yum and Fun~on Family Dinner Taco FUN Night!

Fixing some good eats will begin with Old El Paso good eats! I love this kind of food~oh yeah! AND it's soo fun to get together and have some games and laughter~
I received:
Cactus serving chip plate w/sauce holder
3-Red chili pepper plates or serving pieces
 Old El Paso Taco Seasoning (Regular)
$10 Card to purchase other supplies for El Taco Family Taco Dinner FUN Night
Downloads to fun and games for the event.HERE!

This was so much fun! I love nothing better to eat than Old El Paso tacos and other wonderful foods such as salsa and chips.  Last night was our El Tacodor Family Dinner Taco FUN Night which we held beginning with the youth group at our church.  I had invited the teens to participate with us in having some snacks and wonderful treats!  They enjoyed using the serving pieces which made it more festive.  It was great. 

The games were fun~ El Tacodor games, fun, certificate and more!

My teens were goofy by putting a tortilla chip in their teeth and dipping (FROM THEIR OWN PLATES) to eat~ohhh how funny!! Everyone was cracking up! (You can even upload YOUR family pics and silliness to the site to share in the fiesta!)  Go HERE!

When the kids and I got home, we had taco salads using the Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, and all the fixings:
lettuce (shredded iceberg)
tomatoes (vine ripened fresh from our garden chunked)
onions (white onion chopped fine)
black olives (sliced black olives)
pinto beans (drained)
refried beans (Old EL Paso Fat Free beans)
mozzerella cheese (shredded)
sour cream (fat free/lower calorie)
taco meat (ground turkey/Old El Paso Taco Seasoning)
Salsa (homemade from our garden tomatoes and peppers)
tortilla chips (restaurant style corn chips)

WoooLA LA~this was soo good! And such a treat! Everyone loves this cuisine on taco night!

GOOD NEWS~here's a coupon for all of us for 60 cents off two Old El Paso products ;-)) gets better....
CLICK HERE for a 60 CENTS off coupon!
I have an identical gift pack for one of my readers~sooo let's have a contest, ok??
Here's the rules:

First Mandatory Entry: Leave me a comment telling me about HOW you are going to make your El Tacodor Family Night special with your family!  (Mandatory first entry) Worth one entry.

Second Entry:  Worth FIVE entries. Be sure and number each one! Post my giveAway on your blog and leave me the link!! 

Third Entry:  Follow me on Google Friend Connect~Worth 1 entry

Fourth Entry:  Follow me on Networked Blogs~Worth 1 entry

Fifth Entry:  Tweet this giveAway~Worth 1 entry

Sixth Entry:  Facebook share this giveAway~Worth 1 entry

Seventh Entry:  Worth 5 BIG entries~GRAB my button for your blog and leave me the link. Be sure to number those entries.

Eighth EntryTell me your fave food...;-))  Worth 1 entry.

Drawing will be Wednesday, October 27th 11:59PM EST.
PLEASE, leave me a way to find you~HOPE you win!!

Thanks so much for coming by!
Old El Paso provided me with the products, information, and giveaway through MyBlogSpark in exchange for my honest review with no monetary compensation.

Wordless Wednesday: VBS Fanatics

VBS fanatics~This was soo much fun!!
Enter my GiveAway!

More Wordless Wednesday  HERE!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog Cruise: SisterT's Talking About Schooling on BAD Days!

I think,,,
we've all been there!
Every single homeschooling family has had times of illness, stress and just plain troubles come along the way.  Some have had more than their share of this kind of experience, but for every family a BAD day happens every once in a while.

For our family,  it really has been hectic these past few years.  It was our second year of homeschooling when my husband took the first of two ministries that took our family across state lines to move...add into the mix that I began having health issues as well as the special needs that we navigate...did I mention home renovations (X#3), a house fire, and a F5 tornado?  I think these definitely count as stress or crisis.  We've undergone job downsizing, changes and all sorts of stuff...and we are in year for the past 9 years we've really HAD IT with all the mayhem!  I'm ready to relax and take life calmer and gentler~no more house remodeling..but wait! We have to finish WHAT we're doing here to this delapidated foreclosed property we have been rehab-ing! LOL 

Over ten years ago, my hub and I made a commitment to homeschool our precious two with the belief that God had given us our children, and it was/is His will for us to educate them. We believe(d) that their educations were not only our responsibility, but important enough for us to make them atop  priority in our own lives and that giving them a quality education with Christian values was essential to that calling from God.  At the time we decided to homeschool we had lived in our home we had bought eight years previously and hub's job job/ministry was in my hometown.  Little did we know that BIG changes were on their way...and HOW they might effect our lives...

You see, a cross country move that took us three states away was really the beginning of the challenges that we would face as homeschoolers.  Challenges included great big things, like the moves, the F5 tornado, the housefire and health...but surrounding these were days and weeks and months of other challenges that made up the good and bad days along the way that brought us right  back to the commitment of our decision.  I don't think there's been a year in all of these eight that I've not wondered IF we were STILL moving in the right path!  It has been my practice to pray and hear anew the voice of God and His will...keep on keeping on each and every time I needed reassurance!  How wonderful it's been to have this reassurance too when often I think how much "easier" it might be to get kids up for the traditional public schooling...ahhh...give me a break~but from what? I am pleased to report that thus far, I've gained full permission to keep up our home education path, this helps seal our continual commitment each time.

While commitment is HUGE, being somewhat flexible is key.  Imagine changing total environments.  We've been members of four homeschooling groups, lived in five homes AND even had a time when we didn't co-op with other families at all...but through it all, we have tightened our bonds of love and trust for each other...we have learned that divided we fall and TOGETHER WE STAND against most anything...some of those homeschool groups were clickish and others have been quite loving overall...but in all but one, friendships have been formed that have lasted...and for that ONE~ya gotta LOVE that God allows such adventures no matter how painful, because it's ultimately HIS plan and purpose that matters!  This attitude of flexibility has abounded when we hauled books and worksheets to doctor offices, other appointments and more!  But as much as commitment and flexibility have been important for us, love has really been our guide...

Love has been shown in our homeschool by kids who worked when they'd rather have done other things and continued to submit themselves to their parents.  Love was also shown by parents to our children when we continued beyond our own frustrations and problems to give to them all we had to give~often buying needed items verses other items for our lives...Love in our home has made our homeschool a priority.  Our homeschool has come first so many times..."Are they done with school?" hub will ask when he needs help in the remodel OR "what is the schedule this week?" I ask regarding homeschooling commitments like our drama co-op meetings/rehersals.  We DRIVE almost an hour for this group~the gas alone and time...but for MORE than one reason it's worth it to us.  Our children are gaining so much valuable experience both academically and in life's skills...Love has guided us to sit in parking lots waiting...Love has urged me to FIND new ways of presenting find NEW continue with 'old tried and true' look into my kid's eyes to SEE the young adults they are becoming and KNOW them~their heart and their desires..for their's so much more than a mushy feeling, and in homeschooling it tempers so much and creates the cadence where commitment and flexibility would be cold without it.

Since we believe that learning occurs while more than just when cracking a book, this commitment, flexibility and love are essential to the everyday learning that we could NEVER replicate if our children were away in public school for those seven hours a day.  Our children KNOW us as we KNOW them, and this knowledge while humbling is a closeness that is unparalleled.  The intimacy when we are together so much~in these challenging times and joyous times~all the good and all the bad~together, forever...and one for all and all for one!  A comfort level exists where there is trust and confidence in each other.  I believe in my children...I pray that they believe in me.  Togetherness is the vehicle for the love that rides on the commitment and flexibility.

What does all this look like?  We have a starting time each day, and we doggedly move through our prescribed material each day...until we are done.  We plan and prod.  We execute and evaluate.  We move onward and upward.  But it's ultimately that we KEEP going..not quitting and in the end...IN the end of our homeschooling career, the role of Mama and Daddy will have changed as well as the roles of Son and Daughter to those of continued family bonds but no longer with educational pursuits at the forefront, but rather those of co-equals, of friends~parents and children in a loving and committed relationship to bring on the future of our family.

We school as much or as little as it takes to accomplish the legal requirements and our goals...and so far it's almost everyday. . .part of being flexible is saying that no day is particularly sacred from the toil of school.  We will even school on Sunday to keep our studies where they need to be.  Our our breaks are generally NEVER when the public school takes them...we live our own routines guided by our own needs as a family.  For example, drama group is a hour away and takes one meeting min a week and ends up by the last two weeks we allow for this all along by schooling all the holidays and then additional days on the weekends taking those two weeks as our holidays.  When they were not in high school, this might not have been as important as we had less rigorous studies, but since we are working for hs credits and SAT preparation, it's essential.  We work hard~HARD...but again the love, intimacy, commitment and determination is what holds us together so we keep on schedule and follow our routine~even when we are ill or have other circumstances befall us...

In the end, I think we just made the commitment and then DO will never be perfect, and the kiddos seeing us navigate stuff only teaches them that they can do it and it must be done.  One of the greatest ways of teaching resourcefulness is actually modeling resourcefulness!  We know this in other areas, that teaching by example is a strong compelling way, but do we know how important it is that we SHOW them this life skill?   Where else will they learn it if not in us, by us and through us?  And what a wonderful benefit of teach resourcefulness as a result of love, intimacy, commitment, and determination no matter the day~good or bad...but all the time!.

Go ck out what the rest of the Crew is saying HERE!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: The Treasure of God's Word~Celebrating 400 Yrs of the King James Bible

The Treasure of God's Word~Celebrating 400 Yrs of the King James Bible
Jack Countryman
Thomas Nelson Publisher
Hardback/leatherette cover-gold edges/title
Cost:  $16.99
Get it: HERE!
I say: Gorgeous book and I love it!

This collection of Scripture is not your everyday Bible promise book, while it is that, it also has a written history of the English translation, the King James Version Bible.  I love good Bible promise books that give my weary heart a glimpse into God's goodness for His people, and since Treasury of God's Word is such a beautiful book with its leatherette cover in a rich ruddy chocolate brown, gold title and gold page edges the exterior beauty alone doesn't compare to the wonderful message inside.  The old adage to never judge a book by its cover is lost here because you can judge this beautiful book by its lovely cover!

Inside you will find detailed Scripture promises for everyday life organized by topics.  They include God's nature in which Scriptures concerning His love, grace, mercy, Spirit, compassion, faithfulness, kindness, patience, forgiveness, righteousness comfort, power, strength, presence (45 total)....all explored with nothing but the beautiful words of life~the Bible..and the King James Version at that!

The history of the KJV is fully explored from the beginning prior to 1611 when the first King James Version was published to the current revision the New King James Version in 1982.

I absolutely LOVE this book and have already found several uses for it in my Christian walk.

I intend to use it as inspiration on troubling days to offer a quick reference to the nature and promises of God to relieve my spirit and soul offering me growth and hope.

I intend to use the KJV history to teach our children the exciting progress of how the English speaking world gained its most treasured Book~the KJV Bible!

I will also use it to provide Bible study resources in theme for the youth group I teach each week.

I could also make this book a lovely gift for family or friends, even using it to give as a gift at church for Mother's or Father's Day to the one who has the most family present as is the tradition in our church. (I'm keeping this one! LOL)

You will love The Treasure of God's Word~Celebrating 400 Yrs of the King James Bible!

I received The Treasury of God's Word~Celebrating 400 Yrs of the King James Bible from Book Sneeze for an honest review with no monetary compensation.
I review for BookSneeze

FREE: New Zealand Study (Knowledge Quest) Georgraphy & More!

This is a part of Terri Johnson's Around the Word eBook once a week geography study covering places around the globe...Around the World~New Zealand  This is geared for homeschoolers~what a joy to see it done this way! whoohoo!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Cruise: SisterT's Talking About THEIR Fun Field Trips!

So much of what we do keeps us in our respective spots working away all throughout the school year, but we do on occasion like to get out and about to experience something cool related to our studies.  We're never really had expensive field trips, but most of our outings are right in our own back yard.  Since we've moved around a good bit and travel to visit family some, often these are our field trips.  I'd like to share some of what we've done throughout the years.

When they were littles and we traveled, we usually would be going cross country through several states so we'd stop at the welcome centers (OK, don't laugh!) and we'd pick up a state map of the area we'd be passing through.  Of course this would provide a much needed break for us all, but the cool thing was that it gave my kids the ability to follow a map of the interstate and see just where we were going and also as we went, where we had been.  This was just fun, and my son even began collecting these maps because it intrigued him so much. Today I have quite a few stuffed into the side pocket door of our family vehicle for those jaunts we might take as well as local maps for the occasional, "where are we?" kind of situations.

A few years ago we did some cool stuff with another homeschool family. We went camping for a week in a local state park.  We visited and took advantage of the park's attractions but also schooled those days as well which gave us a fun way to see and do while continuing our book work.

We have visited other state parks which we didn't camp but went for a day trip or outing.  This always gives us a sneak peak into the topography of the area and some beautiful scenery to enjoy. We have one we want to explore we just found, hoping to get there before autumn is over.  It's a wildlife preserve with a nature trail...tucked deep into a longggg drive way off of a country road.  Looks cool! Also we hope to go see some medieval castles that are in our area...some caverns...we did go to the world's largest cave, Mammoth Cave in Central KY. That was fun as well as visiting the Corvette Museum which created some interest in my car loving men in our family...

We like to visit local museums too.  We've visited them all over.  One fun place was the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN...this was cool...

We do have a field trip we are hoping to take that will be quite an adventure~we hope to take our camper and travel to the Grand Canyons in the late spring camping at the state parks along the way and visiting local life as we go...Plans are being made now for such an adventure!

Check out the Crew's adventures                        !

Friday, October 8, 2010

GiveAway: Virginia Soaps and Scents Skin Care products

Homeschooling Hearts and Minds is hosting (ENDS 10/15)

Review: Digital Frog~The Digital Field Trip Series (Wetlands/Rainforest/Desert)

The Digital Field Trip Series
Digital Frog
AGES:  11and up

Cost: $125 HERE! (individual Home license is $60)
My take: I like it!

I received The Digital Field Trip Series from Digital Frog as part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew for review purposes for my honest review of this product with no monetary compensation.
Do you wanna hop around the world in an afternoon to visit some eco systems that without your own jet would be totally impossible?  With the click of a button your child can visit a wetland, a rain forest, and a desert habitats and learn all sorts of things about them interactively. You can also download pdf worksheets~soo cool!

This is a one DVD compilation of some interesting facts and interactive activities to learn about these places in our world.  You can join the Frogger Club and get demos on all three field trips to ck them out further HERE!  Each study can be purchased separately on in the set. 

System Requirements:
The DVD can be used on PC or Mac systems.
Minimum System Requirements
Macintosh—G3 300 , MAC OSX 10.3.9 or later, 30 MB MB of available RAM.
PC—Pentium II with Windows 2000, XP or Vista, 32 MB RAM (64 recommended).
You will need QuickTime on your computer and will be prompted to download it if you don't already have it.
Printer/Paper (for the worksheet extensions.) 

The Wetlands~Check out Cloud Lake's wetlands in  Algonquin Park, Canada!   In GA we have wetlands that are federally protected and you can't built or disturb them. It's been interesting learning about them via this DVD field trip.

You can explore and learn about bogs, their mechanism and how they are endangered.  There are several kinds which you learn about as well!  All the words are defined in this system and if you want to know their pronunciation you can click on the Say It Button on the definition box and it will do that~older struggling readers will like this because it will help them navigate the written information. A younger child will definitely need to be helped with the reading as there are some pretty big words and concepts.  You can help your younger child accomplish this~and for older kids(Jr/Sr high) it's a great study!

Virtually at a click you visit the bogs and wetlands~it's fun! It's a total of 80 screens that tell how wetlands work and what plants and animals live there, how they interact with each other through videos, exercises and hyperlinks along with text throughout the program that gives the information.  Also there is a Quick Tour feature to show you how to navigate it all!  A cool feature is Fast Finder and if you want to search for a specific thing, then type F and the navigation box will come up~easy!

The Rainforest is also included on this 3 program DVD set.  You can navigate to the Field Trip or explore the rainforest via the Study the Rainforest where you can see Animal Characteristics, Plant Characteristics or Dependency Web.  This is so fun!  Also you can get into the endangered Rainforests as well as the Mechanisms of the Rainforest.  Mechanism subtopics include: Rainforest Strata, Tree Fall Gaps, Succession and Seasonality and more...there's loads to see and do on this study. 

The Desert is the last of the series and is so sounds on this one~guess the desert is a quiet place! But in all the format is the same and there is so much to see and do! 

Digital Frog offers several DVD interactive lesson programs such as The Digital Frog 2.5 which is a interactive VIRTUAL dissection program to learn these components as one might in a biology class.  Click HERE to learn more about it!  I honestly hope to get this for high school biology next year! It looks great!

ScienceMatrix: Cell Structure and Function is offered as another interactive learning too that looks very cool.  You can get  this demo  HERE too! I wish I had had this when I took A&P in college a couple of yrs ago! Wow!

I Say:  Overall Digital Frog's The Digital Field Trip Series is a great deal for those wishing to study these habitats without the travel expense and details.  I can see it used in many ways to enhance studies or as a stand alone for a more tactile learner who loves the computer~Reading is definitely a needed skills so it's  a win for the older kids~the attention to detail and scientific info is not little kid looking~OLDERS will love it!
Check out what the Crew says HERE!

FREE: Flash Card Program

My daughter uses this to study her vocabulary words in both her English and foreign language studies.  Here's what she told me,

Here's the link to the program, Anki, which I used for flashcards. It has full customization ability, with different settings for time intervals. You can customize the appearance of your flashcards, with fonts, colors, etc. You can download uploaded sets of flashcards to use, such as French, Japanese, Spanish, and other language cards. You can set how many new flashcards you see each day, what to do with flashcards that you fail on, how often you see them, the maximum or minimum amount of time you can spend on each flashcard, the over-all amount of time allowed to spend on the flashcards, and various other useful things, like creating and saving your own flashcards to your computer, uploading them so other people can use them, or viewing your flashcard statistics on a chart, which gives you full detailed information on your progress and other tad bits of info. I know a web-flashcard program, which is just as useful as Anki. I prefer Anki, however, because you can download it, and use it even when you're without the internet. This program takes very little space to store on your computer. It's virtually nothing to store.
I am hoping you can use it too! The applications are endless~how about those multiplication tables??
SisterT :-))

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FREE: No Fear Shakespear (Spark Notes)

NO Fear Shakespear

If you think Shakespeasr's language a little tough, here a side by side rendition!

Wordless Wednesday...Good Friends~From Wayy Back

Me and Sue 8-2010

More Wordless Wed!

FREE: SC Johnson FREE~Touch Up & Go Gift Pack

Hurry~first 10K will receive one~
canister of Scrubbing Bubbles® Antibacterial Bathroom Wipes, a pouch of Pledge® Lemon Clean Wipes, a pouch of Pledge® Multi Surface Wipes and a canister of Windex® Original Glass Wipes.

Sign Up HERE!

Review: LanSchool Home 7.4~Keepn' Up With the Kiddos

LanSchool Home 7.4
Classroom Management Software
Ages: Adult (Parent/Teacher)
Cost: $99 (home license)
My Take: I like it!

I always FEEL GREAT when I check up on my kids and find them doing the right things.  We parents WANT to know that they are doing the things that are good and wholesome and since the web has so many distractions and wayward things, it's great when tonight and in previous times I found them doing just that~the right thing! Tonight my daughter was streaming the Bible on her laptop to listen to as she is sleeping. I am so thankful to have this opportunity to KNOW that she's doing what is soo good.

LanSchool is educational teacher/student software with features such as chat/messaging, blocking, monitoring, showing students your screen and more~  For homeschoolers, I think that it is useful in many applications and well worth utilizing.  

I used this software to teach and to show them my computer, as well as to check up on them when they were doing independent study or just online.  There's a feeling of security knowing you can SEE what they're doing at any given moment, not that I don't trust, LanSchool provides the proof that I definitely can trust my students!

My review version, 7.4 version does have a limitation that annoyed me.  I wanted to stream an educational film and while my computer has sound, my kid's laptops did not.  My laptop audio is not loud enough without using additional speakers for them to hear.  I would LOVE to see this feature enabled in LanSchool especially for home use.  We use a good many films and interactive media and the ability to do this together with sound would be great!  I was so sure that 7.4 audio would work, and it was my problem I couldn't get it to that I called tech support. When I learned it's not a feature of this version, I was able to request the audio feature for the developers and tech support graciously said he'd pass on the information...Check out the NEW features of 7.5 ~ See that second one?? whhooooooohoo! I am excited~oh yeah...See what you can get?
  • Mac Feature Parity with Windows
  • Audio Chat, Listen and Broadcast
  • Multicast Video Distribution and Playback
  • Keystroke Alerting on Banned Words
  • New Wireless Protocol
  • Browser Independent Web Limiting and History
  • Remote Login
  • Clear Desktop Button
  • Limit CD/DVD Drives
  • Testing Enhancements
  • Dual Monitor Support
  • 20 Additional Customer and UI enhancements
 One of the greatest assets to LanSchool is their tech support.  I had problems from the get-go with how my new lap top was configured and then figuring out HOW to get it all to work~the support was timely, friendly and very helpful.  Without it, I'd have been LOST, and I'd say that the perk of three years of tech support with each home license is a huge benefit! Huge!

We liked using this software in our schooling and those who use their computers a lot, especially with older kids where you don't want them to KNOW you are checking up on them this will be so much help.  There are no arguments over my knowledge of what they do.  I just 'know.' And they know anytime Mom is able to pop in~and I have! It's been fun (well, for me, I'm sure...they don't seem to have minded either!)

Head on over to see what the Crew is saying about this cool program              !~WOW~what is not to LOVE!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chicken Soup Advice...ON Homeschooling

My friend, Donna has a friend who is new to homeschooling and getting a little nervous with some first year angst.  This is what she wrote for her~I LOVE it, and wanna share it with you~enjoy!

And GO make some chicken soup!

Yep.  The doubts come and usually about the same time of the year - right around weeks six to eight.  Happens again right before Christmas, early spring and then right before the end of the year too. 
However, the first thing to do is take a deep breath - maybe even a couple of breaths.
Now, bear with me a second.  I like word pictures and I think this one explains it best.  When I get a bit down about my choice of homeschooling my daughters, I pull a chicken out of the freezer and make soup.
And this is why...  Right after we started school a couple of years ago, I decided to save some money and really try to make all our meals at home.  This particular week I had planned on soup and decided to pull out one of my favorite cookbooks and make some stock.  One of our meals was going to be old fashioned vegetable soup in homemade chicken stock and I had planned on having the soup on a Tuesday but needed to start the stock the day before.
We started with just water in a big pot.  Added the chicken, some basic uncut vegetables, and seasonings then set the pot to simmer for a while on the stove.  After a long while, the house started smelling wonderfully but what was in the pot didn't look so good.  The chicken was coming off the bones, the vegetables were getting all soft and limp and there was a greasy skim on the top of the water from the fat in the chicken.
We turned the pot off, drained out the spent vegetables, separated the chicken from the bones and tossed the bones.  Then the stock had to cool for a while because we weren't going to make soup until the next day so we set it in the refrigerator. 
The next day, when we opened the container all this creamy white fat was floating on the top.  We took a big flat spoon and skimmed the top of the stock clean. 
Now the stock was ready to use but didn't look too fancy.  It had a decent flavor but wasn't anything particularly special. 
We set the pot back on the stove, added fresh vegetables all cut into proper sizes, tossed some of the chicken meat back in and simmered that pot for a couple of hours, stirring every now and again.  When we sat down that night to have dinner, I admit that was some of the best chicken soup we had ever had.  The next day was even better as we added some homemade pasta to the pot and a bit more stock. 
What do soup and homeschool have in common you might ask? 
You put in all these really wonderful ingredients into the pot and put the pot on to simmer on the stove but after a bit, when the ingredients have given up all they can give you are left with this wonderful broth and the stuff at the bottom of the pot to discard.  Then after the stock cools there is a bit of fat that drifts to the top and you have to skim it off.  You are now left with a delightful stock that can be turned into just about anything in the world - it adds flavor to some ingredients and becomes a melting pot of goulash for other ingredients.  
But, because the process is such a long one, every now and again you have to stop and remember where you were, where you are and where you are going, especially when the doubts drift to the top.
Then you skim the doubt off the top, bag it up and toss it out with the trash.
Is there an assessment I do to make sure we are on target? Not really a test per se but rather I stop and look at what we have accomplished.  Are we moving forward?  Are my daughters learning what we had planned for them up to this point (whatever that is at that particular time)? Have we met all our goals?  Is there something that we aren't doing at this point and is the reason we aren't accomplishing as much as I thought we were going to accomplish because I set the goal too high or because I need to adjust my teaching so they can learn?
Now, tale another breath and slowly let it out then look at what you posted...
You said that you and your daughter have met every goal you have set. 
Read that again - You met them. You didn't fall short.  You aren't behind.  I'm betting that you not only met them but went a bit past some of them too and kept right on pressing forward.  I assume you have goals that you expect to get to throughout the year and you will meet them too.
Is she learning?  If she has met the goals you set, then she is.
Are you both happy with this experience?  Is there something you can do to tweak this way of teaching/learning?  If you are happy and she is learning then take another deep breath, shove that doubt into a little bag and toss it out with the trash.
Good soup takes time.  So does homeschooling.  The stock is made from the love you have for your daughter (water) plus the ingredients you add (the curriculum) and all the seasonings you add (field trips, co-op classes, all the extras you do throughout the year) and at the end of the year, you have this phenomenal, one of a kind education that your daughter will be able to eat for many years to come.  The spent stuff at the bottom of the original stock, before it is cooled and cleaned is the curriculum that you find doesn't work or worked well enough but now it is time to move on to the next step in the process.  The fat is the doubt that will come but after a cooling off period - sometimes just an hour of assessment - congeals and drifts to the top so that it can be spooned off and tossed out. 
The doubt will come.  It is inevitable.  Best thing to do is to take an hour, look through what you have done, see that you are continuing to grow and dismiss the doubt as quickly as you would the fat in the top of the stock.
Keep going.  I'm sure you are doing very well and your daughter is doing fine too.
And maybe go get a chicken and make some soup.  Bet you'd both enjoy a good home-ec lesson too... :)
Just keep cooking!

Thanks, Donna for giving me permission to share this with my readers. Hugs!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday Farmgirls at Heart~Junktiques and More!


Stuff is driving me fact, I am trying to pair down some because it has taken me over since our move into our current home.  Downsizing is all good~but how in the world did I miss going through and weeding out before we left the other house? It happened; it really did! AND today I am in a pickle trying to decide over a few things...

I love OLD STUFF~I am not all that thrilled with reproductions, but adore the real stuff, even with its imperfections.  I like the patina of old and used..there's a story to tell~a well worn idea or even that went along with the people of the past...
This love of the old warms my farmgirl heart as many of these items would have been used and were used in the homes of my grandparents on my father's side.  I don't have many things that were theirs, but the ones I have I love!The old jugs was my grandmothers.  I also have her treadle sewing cabinet.  My father has the old sewing machine~and it still works!  

The old cabinet is a 1920s buffet that was "rescued"  from the trash of our neighbor in KY...shhhh...LOL!  Well you see, they were remodeling the old two story house and were hauling out all kinds of stuff~and this little baby was in pieces lying on the ground...I also got some lovely chandelier pieces of antique lighting~oh yeah~ which I have used in our previous historic home and this old house...but about the buffet~hub rebuilt it and for a few years it sat in the entry way in our 1880 home in KY near the back door TO HOLD SHOES lol!! Today, it houses kitchen items! I purchased some wire shelving for the drawer areas, and the bottom drawer holds kitchen linnens!

The settee is a find! I had some young teenage married folk next door to me in the first home I ever owned which was in 1984 who were moving! They HATED the piece and sold it to me...for a little itty bitty song~now truth be told, I didn't know anything about it either...and the upholstery was awful...but for years it sat unused and covered in my bedroom and then in my daughter's bedroom until I had it recovered seven years ago~I STILL love it!  It's my favorite piece!

I left this picture as is so you can see some other things that while in flux of our move, they are quite old and a fave of mine.  The pedestal on the settee was also my grandmother's, and I've had that in my life since I was a small child.  It's a plant stand!  When I was a little girl, I used to take my foot when I would lie in my doll crib~oh yeah,,,I was that little once..and twirrl it...until I flipped it and broke out the window~I DON'T do that anymore~lol!! But today it graces that same window you see with a silk (right now) flower, soon to be potted plant (brought in from the cold that's coming...).  I have repainted it~it's always been black.

You can also see the piano stool...we own the piano too, that belonged to hub's grandmother.  It's more valuable than the piano, so I'm told, but I like the claw/ball feet on it.  Now this stool is quite heavy and my daughter when she was about four was sitting on it spinning.  I told her to stop...and she flipped it (SOUND familiar??) and busted her great toe~oh this was REALLY bad...LIKE her mama, she's learned NOT to spin... 

I want to tell you about these pendant lights my hub made for over our kitchen sink.  The globes are antiques from our home in KY...they  were on the lights in the upstairs that were solid copper. I didn't take the copper part as I believed the house should be as original as possible, but as a memento of the home we loved, hub recreated these for me...A wonderful friend did the rooster in my colors~I love it!

This isn't a brag session, but more of an exercise for me to focus on the good things in our home...we are still remodeling and since there is a fruit basket turnover of rooms these next few weeks, things are looking pretty rough... NO pics, pleeeze! LOL!! I promise once things ever get settled down around here (soon, I hope) to take pics and show ya our progress! DEFINITELY before Christmas!! ;-)) (AND I'm weeding out too~oh yeah!)

It's my farmgirl heart to enjoy old and sometimes FOUND stuff~repurposed and sometimes left as is or redone...
Head on over to  HERE to ck out the other farmgirls...

Blog Cruise: SisterT's Talking About Puttn' It ALL Together!

O r g a n i z a t i o n.

It can be a frustrating and overwhelming situation.  It definitely takes some form of organization to homeschool, and I find it such a challenge!

When I think about organization, I get a little knot in my gut~just little one~because we are in humongous flux right now...and have been the last couple of years...

We've made a cross-states move in addition to a cross-city move within the last two years and continue to remodel our home...Did I say we are remodeling?? LOL!  Add this to the mayhem of teenagers, schedules, jobs, health appointments, grandma moved in and ... ... well,  

HOW DO I pull it off?

Sometimes it's a PUSH, PULL, TUG or TOW situation~we are shoving ourselves and everyone forward...dust and junk flying as we go...

It has taken some time to figure it all out~because just when I have it ordered~AND I TRY to be ordered,,,all my factors change!! But an orderly pursuit is what I strive for with our home...

I make a schedule.  OK, it's not really THAT, but more of a list of what needs doing and when...maybe it's more like goal setting...I do that too...The end results of an activity or series of lessons or adventures...

I prioritize.  Mostly it's by due dates...and even predetermined schedules such as the curriculum schedules for testing.  By subject I figure out which days we are going to do WHAT...and then I list them down...

It loosely looks like this:

My son schools with subjects that he is personally working with me on...
They include: reading, vocabulary, writing, and any note taking I will need to give him.
My daughter is off on Sunday unless she decides that she is going to let some of the Saturday work spill over to Sunday in order to accomplish other things...Like this weekend her new bedroom is finished enough for her to occupy it so she spent a great deal of time moving into her new room today...

Daughter goes to Drama Club as a Crew (Hair Styles) Leader  (I'm the driver~sooo I'm out of pocket too!)
Son:  He does the subjects he does independently:
Science~Study Questions (for the test on Fri)

I will school all the children together and work with them independently as the other works on their own...
This is about five hours in duration.  We hit it hard on these days so when the Drama Club schedule takes up into an everyday routine, we will be ready and a little a head of schedule.  This will happen the end of the month through mid-November when the play, Sarah, Plain and Tall is performed. 

School 10:00AM-12:00PM
School 12:30-5:00PM
Youth Group/Church 6:30PM

Same except for no youth group...
I do have a meeting 7-8PM each week on this night.

Same schedule~
Vocab and Sci are Friday testing days.  The other subjects vary...
Sci is every other week.

My son goes to Drama Club and my daughter does the schooling she would miss on Monday and either completes it or finishes on Sunday.

I don't keep a  particular order of daily subjects.  I do them as it seems best in that particular day.  If one of the kids is having a bad time with something or is in need of a break, we either switch gears or take a small break.  I'm also prone to chunking school (very very rarely) in favor of appointments or other pressing needs.  We don't follow the public school schedule either, so we are likely to be working away while others are on holiday, but also to be traveling or out for a break while they are in.  Flexibility is a great advantage to hsing, I think.

I have the TOS Planner that I use to help me with lists...I make a running grocery and household list of things I need to pick up. I do this with most supplies, clothing, groceries, medications, pet items, garden things, ect...whatever needs to come from a store, I will list the store where I intend or LIKE to purchase it and put it down...I keep a huge binder with all my papers such as homeschool intent, letter of excuse for public school mandatory attendance as well as other supplies and plans in this has tabs and page protectors...

My books are categorized on a deep bookcase which I have shared about HERE that is double bookcase thickness. They are there in a certain order and cataloged in Excel but this will change as I am going to utilize the Collectorz system and let you all know what I think. Since my books are already cataloged for the most part I am going to give it a hard look to see if it can improve my life a make me more readily organized in this area with an easier search and "rescue" of my books.  Unfortunately I do have some books that need putting into Excel, so I will just put them into the new system!

A note about organization has to include that while we have been remodeling, the goal has been to increase our living effecincey due to the original condition of our repo home when we bought it (totally torn up!).  It's also an older home, 1919, and we had little storage in it...There's been loads of building going on around here~whew!to create the much needed storage. 

I pull it together by committing my time and energy to focusing on what needs to be done and using a list and calendar to keep up with it.  I have a running list of coming reviews by date on the sidebar to keep up with reviews, and a list of subjects for each day.

My kids are individually organized into notebooks.  They have notebooks for science, geography, history, and writing that are three ring binders. Spiral notebooks are used for vocabulary and math.  They have pockets in a large binder for the other subjects' papers/handouts/lessons.  I have an old silverware box with a handle that I keep pens, pencils, stapler, glue sticks. scissors, color pencils, highlighters, etc.. in. These are kept on a shelf or two on the bookcase.  I keep the pencil box (what I call that caddy) NEAR BY me so I can grab what might be needed.  Our laptops are near us, and we don't have desks preferring to school on the couch or in a recliner.  But if the need arises to use a table, the kitchen table is handy.  We also have small portable end-tables that we've been known to move around to where we might need them.  Generally kids are snuggling up with their cat (one per kiddo) on a couch or chair.  In order to help my son, to SEE just what he is doing, I will bring him close to me so I can eye his work as he's going. It's disaster for him to get too far and need redirection. Seeing a problem early on avoids unneeded frustration for him if I can stop him before he gets too wigged out...we have come soooo far! I am proud of his tenacity! So basically my ORGANIZATION is accomplished with very little tools.  IF I have to juggle a lot of stuff, it becomes too much for me~the calendar and list work best~

I am sooo interested in learning about what the rest of the crew is doing to stay afloat! LOL!! These gals/guys (Don't wanna forget our brothers!) are AWESOME! Head HERE to read up on 'em!