Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I would like to invite you to check out the lower right sidebar for FREEBIE web sources for homeschooling.  I get so excited when I see something useful, like today I found and posted an interactive map that shows the founding of Rome to its fall through geography. Go check it out!

That Somebody in Our Life~

No, I'm not talking about our spouces, but this person could be our spouse.  I'm not talking about our mothers either, but again she OR our fathers could be this person to us...

It's the person in our life who THINKS WE CAN and therefore WE THINK WE CAN~\
it's the power of empowerment and encouragement from another!!  Do you have someone who is on your side, constantly affirming your presence unconditionally in this world? This could be a spouse or parent, a best friend or co-worker, a friend or pastor of the church or someone who knows us warts and all with LOVE and acceptance who continuously uplifts and encourages us to BE THE BEST us! 

This is one tall order, I know.  In fact, in my life I have had two of these who have lifted me~actually I can think of three who showed me love and if two were living would continually be a source of encouragment.  For it was Mary, an elderly friend who years ago told me I am resourceful~WHAT? ME??? It was she who said I was " the hostess with the mostess" meaning that she thought I could make anyone feel at home.  It was Mary who loved me and accepted me, encouraging me to the best I could ever become~her memory is soo special to me!  I had a school teacher who thought I was "special" too.  One who encouraged me to walk with God and do His will. I see her occasionally in life and she's such an encouragement even now...then there was the little lady in my church, Mrs. Jackson who with wavering gait and speech always had a word of encouragement for me! Did she know that it would mean so much? I don't want to gush about these people and what they did, because it feels funny to just tell it, but this kind of relationship is soo uplifting and it's really a call to do this for others.  I think this might be why I had these people in my life~to teach me this kind of love! WOW~do you have an encourager in your life? Are you one?  I have some wonderful girls who are the bestest friends a gal could EVER have! I wouldn't trade a one~YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! ;-)) But I am telling you, everyone needs somebody in our lives to love us and cast that vision of how good we can be on days we might not know or have forgotten it ourselves! AND for those of us with a tank full of love or wavering on empty, it's good to realize the best way to FILLUP is to give it away~become the encourager for others around us~what about our spouse and children? Do they know our love and support? AND the girls, do they know you think they "rock?"  Somebody in our life can encourage us to become somebody in the lives of others~

I am blessed! Somebody cared. I care!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Learning the Life

Reaching, stretching, retracting, withdrawing all fall in this ebb of life and homeschooling isn't anything but an educational pursuit OF LIFE! IMHO, if this is soooo, then WHY do we find ourselves making it more OR less than we should?  When we artificially manufacture the learning environment, do we do our children a service?  By making our homeschools strict, regimented and totally structured are we ultimately doing what is best for our children? Conversely when we are too lax ~ is this a correct description? I am thinking not challenging, not "something" our kids will need to have in their arsenal as adults ENOUGH! 

I completely "get" that many of us (I did) start out trying to recreate the environment of the school systems we may be acquainted and comfortable with, but IF learning is ALL the time and in each and every situation, does it need to be modeled after something that isn't even working that well in the general for the specifics of our children in our homes?  My daughter is being taught sewing, and she said to me, "Why don't you just pick out a pattern or two and give me those choices," instead of the trip we were making for her to pick out several patterns of her choosing out of the ENTIRE pattern book!  Oh my!! Here I had given her the unending possibilities to pursue the art of sewing, and she wanted what she perceived as something better~LESS! Happily, I can report that after I explained that she could chose and that a class of 30 kids might not be able to, despite their desire~it really took getting her in front of the choices~~~oh how much fun she had, and she came home with SEVEN PATTERNS!! and an excitement to sew! Wonder what it might have been if I had just chosen a couple with my "adult-ole lady-Mama TASTE"!??  LOL! 

Do we do this very kind of thing within our homes with all or some of our academics?  When I began homeschooling nine years ago, I purchased a "box curriculum" and salivated for a "classroom" eventually getting one and realizing that it was just a room that would require more cleaning and attention on my part!!  Yes, it had a table and bulletin board, white board, two desks AND a huge bookcase~ooooh I decorated to teach as well,~~but as we got older, we moved away from this to a HUGE bookcase system and our kitchen table and two desktop computer work stations right in our living room WHERE LIFE occurs! I am not saying that homeschooling in a special room is wrong, but I am saying that life and all of learning is better gained in the natural home environment.  It's not only cost effective, but also is a better focus.  Another example of this mindset is that there was a contest for a best homeschool makeover last year which amazed me.  Moms over the country organized and SPENT to doll up their educational space~I have been there, but knowing what I know~my vote went to a Mom who showed her living room coffee table and a few baskets of books stored underneath.  I know (only because I learned before with first hand personal experience) that it isn't necessary to have all that EXTRA stuff~but apparently I am not popular in this thinking because the winner got tons of votes with her all schoolhouse looking space! OK~not to bash, but think about learning for LIFE~does it have to be a segmented area of our homes~a segmented area of our lives?  I am not an "unschooler" in viewpoint or practice either, but unschoolers who allow natural learning within the home without forced or guided learning do have a point, albeit not as strong as the "desire driven community where a child has interests coupled with the classical learning of well thought out structured materials (this would be our aim in our home education!)! With this said, I do believe in curriculum, and in days gone by have over-schooled my children~totally run them ragged with education~BOOK LEARNING and it's not any fun when it's like this! Do we know how much is learned as we LIVE together?

The ultimate question is not what curriculum or space is used to educate but what are the long term goals of being educated.  If education is LIFE PREP 101 then we must give our children a life that is with faith and family values with the ability to learn and grow~does it take loads of money to accomplish this in boxed materials and a separate room fixed up like the one room schoolhouse? I don't think so, but rather we can learn and grow~become educated in our everyday pursuits as we LIVE together!

Just so you know, I do have a room dedicated to learning in our home~a library! But we don't school in there nor will we ever! We school right at our kitchen table or in our living room~cats in our laps and wrapped all snug in our blankies on cold winter days! THINK about this in the long term.  Focus on the goals of the long term~and yeah, it's wonderful IF it's your thing, but if it's not~don't stress! LIFE IS EDUCATION and along with some good GOOD books and math skills to a higher plane, our kids will make it! I love history and find GREAT  value in it~so we have focused on learning world history for years~it's a key to our present and future!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Did We Forget?

It's easy to overlook and forget things that aren't pleasant.  I think it's called "avoidance" by the psycho-guru world??  Well, after seeing a documentary film about the September 11, 2001 World Trade Towers ATTACK, I am convinced as a society~we are in an avoidance mode OR have just plain forgotten! I want to urge everyone to take a minute and check out some footage, some "old" articles or whatever you can find including some library books on this subject to REMEMBER the worst peace time attack on OUR NATION in recent history.  I had the privilage to see a documentary film on Netflix last night regarding the unconquerable spirit of America in the face of such terror~yes, terror.  This particular film is unique because it is made by several (about 30) independent filmmakers who are on the scene and contribute their footage and voice to such as was those days when America experienced the UNTHINKABLE. I never want to be a "dooms day prophet" EVER, but seeing and realizing that we are still a very vulnerable nation is quite unsettling~and we go about our lives, with a lase-fare attitude because somehow, it wasn't my child, parent or co-worker or friend who was taken, stolen from the world on that day.  We've allowed our hearts to forget and avoid this pain so that we go on as we must each day, but the negative is that if we do forget, is it possible we are even more vulnerable to something in the future as bad or even worse?  I know that any manner of remorse and grief does not alter the past, but I also know that pain can create change.  We THINK we've chosen change when we remain not only as vulnerable as ever, but in many ways have become more so by harboring the attitudes that will allow a villian to come to us again~and in front of our eyes, our faces!!

Dear Gentle Readers, PLEASE educate yourself on the events surrounding this event in our nation's history~and when you do, educate your children to love and honor our nation and our people~yes, it's ours; we are ours!  There's a war going on that we must battle to overcome oppression in the world to keep our national interests secure.  It begins in our hearts and minds.  Let's take another look-see and REMEMBER 911 well before this upcoming 9th anniversary.  It's horrible and not fun, I know.  I love to laugh and be happy, but the inheriant happiness I enjoy is lost IF my nation falls to terror.  I must REMEMBER and act.

My actions include self education, prayer and then educating my children to stand for freedom and national pride.  We are keepers of the spirit of America in our homes, and we can influence our families to love God keep His commandments AND honor our One Nation Under God~INDIVISIBLE with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL, all within our borders.

God bless America! Home of the free BECAUSE of the BRAVE~this is us as well as our military! We must be brave enough to face down the painful memories and seek God and a higher cause to love our nation.

If you would like to watch a very good film (over an hour on 9/11, please go to the
9-11 The Falling Man
Like Pearl Habor we must NEVER forget!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


WHAT IS UP with the Mamas who act like their homeschools and kids are just perfect? Anyone out there struggling like I have over the years? Anybody LIKE ME?   It's the most irking thing to read where a Mom is braggin and post'n about her wonderful family and all giddy-happy~~and some of us are in the trenches SURVIVING and pressing onward in a job that is tough, lonely and unique.  There are soo many of us swimming up stream in a RIVER where we are the only ones! I know! I have YET to be in a church family where I had other homeschoolers to fellowship with! It's been 9 years!!! Oh yeah, we've been in co-ops.  Some were the best experiences, and others WE WERE FURTHER ISOLATED and sometimes mistreated! Yeah, I'm TELL'N It! I am soo sick to death of the pride and arrogance of some! We all~yes, ALL of us are in the same little boat, paddling up that current AGAINST the GRAIN to homeschool~but why do some feel self righteous and smug? Is it pride? OR DO I misunderstand.  Are they just masking a greater feeling that appears soo different?

"Why can't we be friends?" is a line from a 1970's funk song discussing differences~WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! even in our homeschools! No two family is going to be the same for sure! I believe we should encourage each other in love and support~what does this look like? I've seen some pretty awesome homeschooled kids reach out to new comers or those very shy to encourage them~AND I HAVE SEEN SOME awful homeschooled kids ignore and marginalize kids too! WHY won't we all reach beyond our percieved barriers and encourage each other in love and support to the greater good?

I WANT TO SAY that we should put away~disolve our haughty ways and reach out to one who needs us~ AND we won't know who this is...it could be a mom who looks like she's all together AND the one who is obviously falling apart.  We Christians are KNOWN (if you didn't know it-I am TELL'N It!) for killing off our wounded and not binding up the wounds of brokeness so often! WE CAN LOVE EACH OTHER~even the unlovely~not just the unChristian, but the

There is HOPE for everyone in the Family of God and just because someone "doesn't fit with me" or "doesn't meet my needs" or some other such that we should cast them off~Oh IF our Lord did that to us!

Lets bust out this pride and arrogance and see all around us as an opportunity for fellowship and care.  It's not about me, but WE!
God bless HOMESCHOOLING and all the homeschoolers!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

History~Medieval World Susan Wise Bauer

You KNOW I LOVE history! In our homeschool, it has taken a preeminent place in the education of our children.  Much of their education has centered around it~other subjects woven into support its study and pursuit.  Susan Wise Bauer's The History of the Midieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade is NEWLY released (Feb. 22nd), and I have had the opportunity to read it for review!  If you are familiar with Mrs. Bauer's work, The Well Trained Mind with her mother, Jessie Wise then you know what an important new book this is to education.  This is the second of her adult level (although I believe a well read high schooler will benefit) history series; the first, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome.    My children and I have read the children's series: The Story of the World: History For the Classical Child (volumes1-4) in our history studies and really enjoyed them! This is the upper level series with much much more detail and imagery! With over 700 pages this is a thorough account of how Christianity became the major player in the western world when prior to Constantine it was not mainstream or even well tolerated.

I find this book exciting and think every high schooler and adult should read it too!

Please know that you can get this at The Well Trained Mind (Peace Hill Press)and you can get a signed copy too! Whoohoo! Check this out! IF you are just getting started with young children,  I recommend the children's series. 
The History of the Medieval World will be released February 22~

The History of the World~GOTTA KNOW IT! This is essential info for life!