Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts


How My Children Disappoint Me

Have you ever had that moment where you're just so utterly and profoundly disappointed in your children?  For some, it's when they hear their child is drinking, doing drugs, or having sex. 

If only. 

The other day, my teen says to me, "So, Mom, I was talking to my friends the other day..."


How many times am I going to have to tell this child?  We're HOMESCHOOLERS!  She's not supposed to have friends!

*Off to try and unsocialize my child some more.*  ('Cause based on the number of friends my children have, I'm clearly a complete and total failure as a homeschooling parent.)


Dangerous Pizza (i.e.-Where Has Common Sense Gone?)

Want to know one HUGE reason I have chosen to homeschool?  Common Sense.  Or the SERIOUS lack thereof.

The point at which you are suspending a child for bringing a Lego gun to school is the point at which you should stop and re-evaluate what you are doing.

But no.  That's not enough. 

Neither was suspending a child for having bloodshot eyes from crying because his father had been murdered over the weekend.  (Which they knew...because the child's mother had called them that morning to inform them of the situation.)

Perhaps they'll re-evaluate their policies when they suspend a child for touching a pill after someone else placed it in her hand.  (Especially when they suspended her despite the fact that she immediately gave the pill BACK to the ACTUAL drug dealer...a fact which the school doesn't deny.)

Nope.  They're not done yet.  They'll keep going and give a child detention for having a piece of candy.  No.  Really.  A young girl was given detention for having a Jolly Rancher.  Unfortunately, you read that right.

Should I keep going because the stories just keep rolling in.  There are too many to count or possibly list here.  Children suspended for doing drugs because they took 2 Advil for cramps or a Tylenol for a headache.  Kids kicked out of school because they took Sudafed for a cold or Benadryl to help with allergies.  Heaven forbid a child get caught with a Claritin!  These kids should be ashamed of themselves!

But least THOSE kids aren't farting on a bus.  Or in a classroom.  That one got a kid arrested.  No.  Really.  I can't make this stuff up.  Wouldn't think to.  Because it's so far-fetched it would never have occurred to me in my wildest dreams that things like this would happen.  For the record, I believe every guy in my senior class and at least 1/2 the girls belong in jail for this same offense.  Add burping & good-heavens...I think we'd ALL have been in lock up!

One thing we should really all remember, though, is that religion doesn't belong in the schools.  An 8yr old boy learned that the hard way.  He was sent home from school and forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of a stick-figure Jesus on the cross.  Based on what this boy had to go through, I can only imagine their punishment for Mel Gibson for The Passion.  They'd have probably hung him on a cross.  Wait.

But let's not forget what really started this all.  Guns.  They're all so dangerous that no one should ever own a gun.  Guns are bad.  Guns kill people.  If no one ever owned guns, there would never be any violence because no other weapon is ever used for violence. 

I'll give you a minute to stop laughing.

You might think that as long as children didn't bring the actual weapons themselves to school then they'd be okay.  I mean, the kids who got in trouble DID have actual guns even if they were tiny guns attached to plastic green army men or a Lego gun.  If a kid were to use the imagination God gave them and pretend and make a gun with their finger, that wouldn't be bad.  You know, like when playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians?   I mean, it's JUST a finger, right? 

Ha. Ha. Ha.  That would imply sense that is not quite so common any more. A host of 6 and 7 yr old kindergarten and first grade students have gotten suspended or kicked out of school for making a weapon with their fingers.  There was the kid in Michigan, the one in Texas, and the one in Oklahoma.  I can only imagine being one of these parents and being told that my child was being suspended for this "offense".  I would probably laugh at the administrators right then and there, sure that they were joking.

Never would I imagine, though, that a slice of pizza would get a kid suspended.  That'll show HIM for getting the pepperoni!  I sincerely hope he learns his lesson as he sits there in silence learning how to socialize with other children.


I feel certain after reading this that my children wouldn't survive even one day in public school. 

My son would make a finger gun while farting and eating a jolly rancher.  And drinking a cup of coffee.  Which alone would probably get him life in prison at 9.  Based on what I find regularly when doing laundry, he'd end up at school with rocks, Legos, dog food, and a fork in his pocket.  And possibly a half-eaten pb&j that may or may not be in the shape of a gun.  During math, he'd draw a picture of monsters, dragons, or aliens (or some combination of the 3) battling.  With guns.

And that's just my son.

Which is why we homeschool.


On The Importance of a Comma

I read an enlightening article last night on Yahoo News.  It appears as if our president is a cross-dresser.  Specifically, he likes dresses from Gap.

You can see the entire article on Yahoo Shine.  Let me quote a specific section for you:
"On Friday, Obama left for Camp David with the president wearing a blue-patterned dress from the Gap."
This sentence proclaims, quite boldly I might add, that the president left for Camp David on Friday while wearing a blue-patterned dress from the Gap. 

The sentence would have been entirely different had they simply put a comma after the word "president".  Doing so would have then indicated that another Obama (Michelle would be assumed in this case) went to Camp David with the president...and that the OTHER person (as opposed to the president) was wearing the aforementioned blue-patterned dress from the Gap.

Who knows?  Maybe the absence of a comma was intentional because the author knows something that we don't.  Perhaps President Obama is attempting to reach out to cross-dressers in his own personal way.

Or perhaps they just forgot a comma.

SOS Mom Saver: Make Full Use of Your Library

People don't realize all of the resources that are available at the library.  The library is no longer just a place to go and do research papers.  You can get so much more.  Here's what's available at my local library: 
  • Books 
    • (of COURSE)...but I couldn't leave it out! 
  • E-books 
    • You know...the kind you'd have to pay for on your Kindle?  Get them from the library instead!
  • Movies 
    • Yeah...They've got every Veggie Tale video ever made.  Did you know, however, that you can get new releases there?  They have to wait the "typical" 28 days before they can get new releases (the same time-period that must be observed by Redbox and the like).  After that, though, they'll have the new releases.  Forget $1 for a day.  You'll get 3-7 days for free!
  • CD's 
    • Here again, they'll have every Veggie Tale CD ever created.  But did you know that they'll ALSO have your current pretty much any format.
  • Magazines 
    • They'll usually have the current issues for reference only.  However, once the new issue comes out, you can check out the old issues just like a regular book.
  • Software 
    • From language programs to typing software, you'll be surprised at what your library has to offer!  These are FANTASTIC finds for homeschoolers on a budget!
What happens if they don't have a book, CD, magazine, or movie that you want to see?  You ask them for it.  Many times, all it takes is ONE request for them to order that particular item.  Bottom line?  It never hurts to ask.  The worst they can say is no, but you might be the request that gets that item ordered!

SOS Mom Saver: Rescue Old Crayons!

Raise your hand if you have bits of broken crayon sitting in a box or baggie somewhere.  That's what I thought.  I did too until I learned how to repurpose them and turn them back into useful crayons.

It's SO incredibly simple to do!

You just need some muffin pans or another type of silicone or metal pan (I have several that I've gotten at thrift stores for $.25-$1 each).

And of course...the broken crayons!

You put the broken crayons in the pan (whichever one you chose).  Be creative!  You can either mix colors or put all of the same color or variations of the same color into one section.

If you live in Vegas or another REALLY, REALLY hot area, you just put the pans out in the sun or on the dash or hood of a car.  If not, you can put them in an oven on 250.  (Some people will put the oven as high as 350.  We don't only because the silicon we use is not mean for high heat.)

They're starting to melt!

You can stir them every 10-15 minutes until they're completely liquid or you can just let them sit until they're liquid.  You can see the one at the top left corner that has been stirred (by my 8yr old it's not the neatest stir).

Once they're done, bring them in and let them cool.  If you live in a warmer area or just want them to cool more quickly, you can put them into the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.  This may cause some cracking, though, if you don't let it sit on the counter and at least come to room temp first.  When you're done, you have a new, fun crayon shape!

They're done!  As you can see, we lost a snowflake.  We'll still use the bigger chunk, though, and put the smaller pieces into a baggie to use next time around.  These are the same molds we use when we make soap...aren't they pretty?  And so festive!

Look at the detail on that snowflake!  We make these to put on top of gifts at Christmas time or for birthdays instead of a bow.  It's much more useful than a bow!

Here you can see the front (pretty) side of the star as well as the back (not-so-pretty) side of the star.  You could use a knife to make the back side look prettier, but it would still look fine if you didn't.

When the crayons you made break down again, down, repeat!  The great thing about silicone is that you can usually just pop them out without hurting the shape.  I do pop them out slowly, though, especially with more brittle shapes (like the snowflake that we lost this time around).

This is a fantastic way to do a fun craft with the kids while being frugal and using up all of what you've got!

Disclosure:  Some perfectly good, non-broken crayons were harmed in the making of this post.  However it was a sacrifice they were happy to make on your behalf.


Mom Tells School Not to Feed Her Child

If you're like me, you're first thought is, "WHAT?!? What's wrong with this mom?"

Then, I read the story. Ah. Not quite so bad as I first thought.

In fact, I'd have done the same thing with my child. If I tell you to do something and you don't obey...then you will face the consequences of your disobedience. As most parents know, the best consequences, the ones that stick the most...are those born of a natural consequence.

Johnny leaves a nearly full jug of milk out on the counter? Johnny will be paying you $2.50 to replace that milk. Johnny's also not likely to do that again...because he felt the hurt of that $2.50...that he WAS saving to buy a new video game.

The difference between my situation and this mom's situation is that I homeschool. If I tell my child to get their lunch together for the park picnic we're having today & they do something else instead; then they won't eat until we get home. I have the ability to enforce my consequence because I'm with my child.

I'm not a bit surprised that the school chose not to honor the mom's request. I am beyond angry that they made the decision to tell the child that what his mom did was illegal. It was not anything close to illegal and for that I think the school SHOULD apologize! I think they should go TO THE SON & tell him that mom wasn't doing anything illegal. They were wrong. He should listen to mom.

How hard would that be?

I don't think that I would have actually expected the school to honor such a request, though. I would have told Johnny that he had to pay for his lunch since he didn't get his lunch together. If he had the cash, it would come out of that. If not, I'd loan him the money and he'd pay me back...with interest. THEN it would be JOHNNY'S choice to feel the hurt of spending his own money on his lunch or to feel the hurt of not eating lunch. There would be nothing for mom to ask the school to do. If the school told Johnny that he MUST eat, then he would be required to purchase the lunch with his own money.

If you choose to have your child educated by someone else, whether that be a private or a public school, then you have to accept that you have given up your right to parent your child during a part of the day. As such, you'll have to alter the consequences accordingly should your child disobey. You might have to get more creative with your discipline, but you can still find a way to have Johnny feel the consequences of his actions...while not expecting the school to play an active part in his discipline.


It's So Good to Be Settled

There are no words to describe how wonderful it is to finally be settled into our new home. The boxes aren't all unpacked yet, but we are home. It's so wonderful to be home even if we are still surrounded by mounds of boxes.

We started back to full-time schooling this week, and are LOVING our new school room! This is the first time we've ever had a dedicated school room. It's incredibly nice not having a bookshelf in every. single. room. We actually have room to move around!

I appreciate your patience as we've made this move. While I love blogging, my priorities get all thrown around when we move; especially when we're living in a hotel, looking for a house, and looking for new car all at the same time!

I was hoping to get pics of our house up today, but it's raining. Instead, we're going to go car shopping in the rain. Because THAT sounds like LOADS of fun!


Contracts: Avoiding Fights in the Family

We've all heard the “He said/She said” arguments from our kids. Someone said they would do something and then later backed out on the deal denying that they ever made the deal in the first place. Who do you believe? How do you settle an argument when both parties are saying something different.

Either way, someone will be mad at you, and you may be siding with wrong person.

How do you solve this problem? How are problems like this solved in the real world? A court room. I don't want my kids having to go to the judge every time they have a dispute. That's neither healthy nor financially prudent.

My job as a parent is to prepare my kids for real life. How, in “real” life are conflicts like this avoided? Contracts. If you put it in writing, then no one can dispute who said what. Everything that was agreed upon is in writing. You can't deny what you put in writing.

How ridiculous is it to ask my kids to write a contract? I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Too many times, I think we don't ask our kids to do grown-up things when we should. We're afraid they can't handle it, that they're too young, or that it will make them grow up too fast. On the contrary, I think we will help them grow into responsible adults if we teach them what's right while they're young.

Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train your children up in the way they should go so that when they're old they won't depart from it.” Many believe this only applies to training them in Biblical knowledge. I think God's words go much deeper than that, however. I am a firm believer that one should read the ENTIRE passage and not just one scripture in order to know God's meaning behind that scripture. I believe God intends us to not only train our children in Biblical knowledge, but also in the knowledge and practice of what it means to live a life of integrity. The rest of the passage talks about honoring your word, and behaving in a Godly manner. God's wants us to train our children to have good character in EVERY area of their lives.

I believe one way we can do that is by expecting our children to behave responsibly and to honor their word from the time they are little. As soon as they are old enough, you can teach them how to make sure everyone's word is honored by putting their promises in writing.

Kid's ContractWe started doing this about 6 months ago. I'd heard one too many he said/she said arguments and knew there had to be a better way. From those fights was born the family contract. If you switch toys with a friend or family member, if you give them a toy, or if you sell them a toy, you put it in writing. That way all parties know exactly what is expected of them, and there is a written record of the deal for the judge's (Mommy's) sake. Furthurmore, the contract must be notarized by an official (Mommy or Daddy). No contract is official until the notary has read the contract and made sure all sides are in agreement.

Contract Notarized by MommyThe amount of arguing saved by these contracts has been INVALUABLE! To boot, my children are learning how to write a legal contract that fully protects both parties yet is legible to the “common” man (or child).


Checking In

You thought I was kidding when I said I'd only be here sparingly in the next month or two back in August, didn't you?

I can assure you I wasn't. August & September are the busiest months of the year for me. We do school through the summer, but I schedule for the year, assess what we have, and set out to obtain what we don't during these 2 months.

Things will be back to normal (no matter how crazy that is) by the 1st of October. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

I also appreciate the kind words from those worried about me in the past week. I haven't gone anywhere, I've just been too busy the past 1 1/2 weeks to even update much on Twitter or Facebook.

The girls just started sewing class, we've gone to a full-day school schedule now, and we're still adjusting all of that to hubby's new work schedule.

Plus, I've been trying to weed through our books to make room for the new books we've acquired this summer & will be acquiring at the last book sale for the season coming up in a couple of weeks. To date, we've taken 6 bags of books & toys to the local thrift store. It feels FANTASTIC to clean out!

And, of course, I've been celebrating National Couponing Month by doing lots of deal shopping! (Did you expect anything less?)

If you don't hear from me before then, I'll check back again in a week.


Article Boasts SERIOUS Misconceptions About Homeschooling!

Ms. Peggy Boyce did it for you! I'm back to blogging! You can thank her, but only if you also help set her straight with the TRUTH about homeschooling and its regulations throughout the nation.

There are so many misconceptions, misunderstandings, and flat out lies about homeschooling and its regulations in this article posted today in the Holland Sentinel.

She also proposes regulations be put into place in Michigan including required home visits, standardized curriculum, and required conferences between the child and a teacher or social worker WITHOUT the parent present.

I figured I'd bring it to your attention in case you'd like to help set the record straight. I'm personally sending a letter to Ms. Boyce to (kindly) let her know about the benefits of homeschooling including the fact that homeschoolers are SOUGHT OUT by Ivy League colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT; all of which have specific sections within their admissions departments for the express purpose of recruiting homeschoolers. And in case you're not familiar with those colleges, they don't typically accept "ignorant" people; no matter how blissful that may be.

And may I ask, Ms. Boyce who it is that ensures that public and private school students are getting the education THEY have a right to? Who's there to ensure THEY are not neglected when there are 45 students in a class who share 20 books and have only 1 teacher? Who's going to make sure that the student who doesn't get a concept the first time isn't left behind because everyone else is ready to move on? Or that the student who got the concept long ago isn't held back simply because everyone else isn't ready to move on yet? Yet BOTH of these scenarios are VERY common in both public and private schools. Because they have to be. They must be in order for everything to be "covered" for the greatest majority of the children.

Ms. Boyce, in the event that my child is the one who needs more time or is ready to move on more quickly I want to ensure that they get that. And I can. Because I homeschool them. If a particular math program isn't working for them or their learning style, I want the freedom to try something different so that they actually "get" the material; instead of just "covering" it. And I can. Because I homeschool them.

You see, Ms. Boyce, in homeschooling there are no failing grades. We don't move on until our child has learned the concept we are trying to teach them. They aren't just having a bunch of facts thrown at them, they're learning. They're also learning HOW to learn, how to be independent thinkers, and how to find the answer if it isn't right in front of them. They're learning to LOVE learning. And they do.

I can't imagine that being the case if my 10yr old who devours science had to keep going in a book that she had long ago finished. I can't imagine that being the case if she wasn't allowed to move forward because she was ready, because she loves science, and because she has a such a thirst for knowledge that she can't get enough. (She's read my college-level nursing textbooks, by the way. She started reading them at 8. Hope that's not too detrimental to her long-term success at college.)

I can't imagine that being the case if my child who struggled with division and learning math in one textbook was forced to stay in that same textbook even though she'd probably NEVER "get it" by trying to learn it that way. She'd be frustrated, and would learn to hate math. Instead, we found what works. She loves math. She's learning again. She's "getting it".

These are the joys of homeschooling, Ms. Boyce. Learning is life for us. We'll do school on Saturday or Sunday just because we want to, or we happen upon an educational experience. We school through the summer. Why stop, when you can school on the beach and swim when you're done?

What a better way to learn than to have a hand in choosing your curriculum?

You say homeschoolers have "no formal teaching at all"? Have you ever MET a homeschooler? Even the unschoolers I know have untold educational opportunities for their children. The thing with homeschoolers is that learning is not a chore for them. It's something they've always done. It's fun. It's something they thrive on. I know that's hard to understand unless you've seen it. I'd invite you into my home to see my children schooling, but I'm afraid there'd be a problem when I turned away the social workers and police you'd inevitibly bring with you.

I would encourage you, before you write your next article, to confirm your facts first. The homeschooling regulations in every state in the nation are very easy to find. There are only 6 states with what is called "high regulation". There are 23 states with "moderate regulation" meaning parents must send intent-to-homeschool notices, submit test scores, &/or have a teacher evalution at the end of the year. There are 15 states with "low regulation" which means parents must send notification of intent-to-homeschool only. There are 12 states with no regulation which means they are not required to notify anyone of their intent to homeschool unless they are pulling children out of public school or private school to homeschool them.

That means there are 27 states (or over 1/2 of them) that require either no notice at all, or only notice of intent-to-homeschool with no furthur regulation. You are insinuating that "most states" are like the 6 that have high regulation when, in fact, "most states" have little to no regulation.

You'll also notice that NO state requires illegal, unconstitutional home visits simply because one has chosen to homeschool. NO state requires an illegal, unconstitutional consult WITHOUT THE PARENT PRESENT with a SOCIAL WORKER or teacher!!!!

I have lived in one of the 23 states with "moderate regulation". I sent in my notification to homeschool, and had my child tested at year's end. We were unable to find a 2nd grade competency test. Instead, she took one for 3rd MARCH of her SECOND (2nd) grade year. She scored an 83% on the language portion, and 64% on the math a 2ND grader taking a standardized test for 3rd MARCH of her 2nd grade year...

What was considered passing for the 3rd graders who took this test in public or private schools? 33%!!!! That's right!!! Public and private school students in APRIL or MAY of their THIRD grade year only had to score 33% or higher in order to have PASSED this test!!! My SECOND grade homeschooler did FAR BETTER than THIRD graders are EXPECTED to do in public and private schools.

Really, after that, I don't think there's much else I can say. Other than I'm glad I homeschool my children as I EXPECT excellence...and my children happily deliver!

Why I'm Not Blogging

I'm just checking in. I hope you all understand my need for a sabbatical of sorts. I appreciate the kind words and e-mails I've received from many of you. Nothing is wrong, I'm just in what is typically my busiest time of the year.

I'm sure the perfect blogger would have already pre-written 30 posts to get through the month or would have guest bloggers every day. But as we all know, I am most definitely NOT much of anything (despite my desperate attempts to become so). If, however, someone would like to guest blog, I'd be open to that. Shoot me an e-mail at with your ideas if you're interested. I have like, 3 readers...on a good day...unless you don't count my husband, my MIL, & my I can give you incredible exposure!

Those of you who don't homeschool know how busy back-to-school time can be for you. Now, imagine that you're not only sending your kids BACK to school, but YOU are the school! For the first time ever this year, we took an extended break in the summer. As a result, I have really been scrambling to get everyone back on track while getting us organized for the upcoming year which promises to be a busy one with a couple of trips to Tulsa & one or two to Chicago to visit family.

I have been working on finishing my line-by-line on the health care legislation (HR 3200). Due to my busy month, it has taken a LOT longer than it usually does for me to do something like this...not to mention the fact that it's over a thousand pages long! I've been writing about it & splitting it into several different posts. I had the first one ready to post a couple days ago when Blogger pooped out on me & lost all of my changes. I was tired so I just gave up & went to bed.

Note to Blogger: I love that you are free, but Wordpress is also free...and they allow me to upload a word file to my blog & be good to go. If you don't change this & quick, then you're going to lose me. I can also utilize the Wordpress platform & all of their many add-ons on my own server. Seriously, you need to update quick! 'Cause a lot of us are leaving you behind and not looking back. Yeah. I said us...I'm about to join the ranks! 'Cause I just don't have time for messing with your issues any more!

Anyway...back to the point of my blog. I will be getting at least the first one posted in the next couple of days. (Likely Sunday after we get back from camping this weekend.)

To help me focus more specifically on what people want answered, feel free to e-mail me at or comment here about what you want to know regarding the health care legislation. Is there a specific rumor you want debunked or proven? A specific section you'd like someone to analyze for you? If I can't find the answer, I'll use the powers at my fingertips (i.e.-Twitter & Facebook) to attempt to find the answer.


Back to Homeschool!

This has been a crazy busy week for us! We started schooling again on Tuesday of this last week. Hubby's work also had a really big festival in a town 45 minutes away which took part of our week as well.

It always feels like it takes me a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things; and we were only off for a month!

We're still doing the park program daily so we're only doing "half" school right now. We really like the park program as it gives us free lunch, and lets the kids get a couple hours of play time in daily with their friends who go to "regular" school. They've only got 2 more weeks of the park program left. After that, we'll be on a full school schedule again. (Although we'll probably take a couple of weeks to work up to that full schedule once the park program is over.)

How do you arrange your school schedule? Do you school during the summer at all? Whether you school through summer or not, when do you start your "official" new year? (For us, we just progress to the next level when they're done with their current level; regardless of where we are in our year.)

What does your day typically look like? We had our "typical" day scheduled, but now that hubby's home until noon, ours is needing to be re-arranged. We've been working on figuring that out in the past couple of weeks.

I also had some ask what we decided with regards to foreign language. We've decided for now on Prima Latina for Latin only because we already had the program. However, I'm still looking at Latin Road for the future. We're also going to be getting Rosetta Stone Spanish which we plan on doing together as a family. We're looking at starting that in January. We feel like those two will give our children enough of a base that they can easily build from there should they desire to learn other languages later on.

You'll probably see me posting sparsely for the next month or so as we're working back into our schedule. Even though we do school through the summer, August is when I plan the bulk of our year through the next July. As a result, it's usually a crazy-busy month filled with purging the old, organizing the new (or to be used this year), and scheduling so that everything is pretty much set for my year at once.

I'm sure you all understand that family gets to come before my blog. Even though I cherish my readers, I wouldn't want it any other way...I don't think you guys would either!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me or visit me on my Twitter or Facebook pages. I'll try to keep up with those on an every-other day basis or so for the next month.



Homeschooling Convention

I'm so excited! We're finishing our packing right now! We leave tomorrow morning at 10am to head to the INCH homeschooling convention in Lansing, MI. We're going to cap our trip on Sunday with a trip to the Michigan Historical Museum.

The kids are excited to get to be involved this year as well. There's a "kid's convention" that the kids get to take part in while mommy & daddy are in THEIR convention.



Still No Computer

I am officially having withdrawals now. We need to get one of our computers back up...and QUICK! We're going to Lansing this coming weekend for a homeschooling conference and can't even finish last-minute planning because I have no computer access!

I will finish, it will just be really inconvenient. I'll have to spend yet MORE time up here at my husband's work after-hours. Unfortunately, by the time you get to 6pm, the kids aren't really up for doing Spelling Time, Dance Mat Typing, or anything else they do online. They don't do their online stuff every day so it's not huge...yet. It will build up, though, if we don't get back online quick!

Thanks for your continued patience and prayers. Also, I'll likely be gone completely this weekend since we will be out of town from Friday morning till Sunday evening. If our current computer situation holds, that means we'll have no computer access again until late Sunday evening...IF we stop by my husband's work.

Don't feel sorry for us, though. We'll be having a blast at the Michigan state homeschool convention sponsored by INCH. For the first time ever, we're taking the kids and letting them do the "kids convention". They're really excited. Although we're not sure if their excitement is from being in the "kids convention" or getting to swim in the indoor pool. You be the judge.



Solar a Grasshopper?

This month we’re studying electricity and energy conservation. That study has led us to taking one day a week for the month of April and declaring it an off-grid day. In other words, we have utilize almost no electricity on those days.

In doing some searching for info on solar power, I came across this blog where they talk about this nifty gadget; a solar-powered grasshopper. What a FANTASTIC way to teach kids first-hand about solar power.

I mean we could go completely off-grid utilizing a grid-tied solar system NOW and use THAT to teach them about solar power. We could also get this gadget which is probably WAY more educational and all that jazz.

Really, though, where would the fun be in that?

I mean…come ON! NOTHING says fun like a grasshopper powered by the sun!

I will be purchasing this little creature tomorrow.

Honestly, I’m most interested in seeing how my cat reacts to it. Because you KNOW my children will put it RIGHT in front of her to see what she’ll do with it.



We're Off Grid Today!

As I mentioned earlier this week, we are going off grid one day a week for the month of April. That day is today!

I wrote this lovely form blog so you wouldn’t think I had forgotten about you. I’m not really here, though. My computer is turned off today. In fact, we’re not using any electricity at all today.

I know from last week, that we use way too much anyway. There are so many things we can do to cut down without taking the extreme steps we’re taking. Get up when the sun comes up. Go to bed when the sun goes down. Turn lights off when you leave a room. Open a window and let the outside air be your air conditioner. (Those of you in Oklahoma can feel free to ignore this advice. I know it doesn’t work well there. It works wonderfully up here in Michigan, though. And I don’t miss those $300 summer electric bills one bit!) Turn the TV off when you leave the room. Unplug the microwave, VCR, etc. when you're not using them. They're power-grubbers even when you're not using them. (If they glow at night, they're costing you money!)

Have a fun non-electric night where you eat dinner & play games by candle light. The kids will think it’s fun and you’ll save money to boot! It’s a win-win!

I’ve heard, though, that if you use fluorescent bulbs, you negate any savings if you turn the light off less than 15 minutes after you’ve turned it on because of the power it takes to light the bulb. I don’t have research on this. I heard someone tell me it once. And I believed it. I probably saw it on TV. If it’s on TV, then it must be true. Just keep it in mind and if you don’t believe me, then feel free to do your own research. Please, let me know if I’m wrong. That way I can quit walking into dark rooms during the day to get stuff.

Enjoy your Thursday! May you use a little less electricity today than you normally consume…just for fun!



Thank you!

I would like to thank everyone who gave me their thoughts and advice regarding our foreign language delima.

I am compiling all of the suggestions I received via facebook, twitter, this blog, and e-mail. We'll decide from there what to do.

We do know that we will also be teaching Latin this coming fall. We were planning using Prima Latina, but have heard great things from several people regarding the Latin Road to Grammar. We are now looking into that as well.

We don't plan on doing anything heavily language-wise right now, but my two girls are requesting furthur instruction in a language besides Latin. I've never been one to tell my children they can't learn something if they have the desire. So regardless of what we choose, we WILL choose something by this fall.

Thanks again! Your help was much needed and is much appreciated!



Off the Grid Living

This month, we are learning about electricity in school. Like most kids, ours think a light was meant to be turned on in the morning and not turned off again until bedtime…if then. In an effort to break this habit and at the same time teach them to value electricity, we are going off-grid…at least for a time.
Every Thursday or Friday during the month of April, we will be off-the-grid. What does that mean? It means that we will not consume electricity at all on that day. No TV even for school movies. No computer…even for school. No lights. No automatically-flushing toilets. Forget saving shower water to flush the toilet as a way to save money; it will be a necessity! No heat or air. We purposely waited until spring to start this so that shouldn’t be a problem. We don’t typically use the air conditioner in the summer here anyway, but we do use fans at night. We’re hoping it’s warm enough to not need heat, and cold enough to not need the fans at night! (So mama can get some sleep.)
For the sake of convenience, cleanliness, and my sanity, we will have some exceptions. We will still be able to use the bathroom sink to wash our hands. We will also still be able to use the kitchen sink to wash our hands and dishes.
We actually started this last week and used the oven to cook lunch and cooked dinner on the grill. This week, we’re going to be a little more extreme and will only eat foods which do not need to be cooked. Next week, we hope to teach the kids the basics of cooking on the grill. (It’s our version of the wood stove.) We just don’t have a couple thousand to drop on a month-long lesson. However, it’s as realistic as we can possibly make it.
We already had several candles, and are teaching the children about candle-fire safety. We also have a couple of oil lamps and are teaching them how to safely use those. (Although we do all of the lighting.) We also are getting a kit from Lehman’s to make your own oil lamp. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, and various other kinds of vegetable oil to fuel these lamps.
The kids are pretty excited to see what kinds of alternative energy are out there. They want us to install solar power! Yeah. We’ll do that when we have a spare several thousand…plus!
Have you ever gone off grid? Thought about it? We’d love to eventually be able to go off-grid completely through the use of a grid-tied solar system where the power company pays YOU for any extra energy you produce but don’t consume. And there I go dreaming again…


I Need Advice on Curriculum

What was that I said about changing curriculum? We’re not actually changing our curriculum, I’ve just had a wrench thrown into my plans.

In the past, you could check Rosetta Stone language programs out from the local library. About two years ago, Rosetta Stone began requesting that all libraries remove their programs from their circulation departments. Rosetta Stone also doesn’t allow their products to be resold which means you cannot find them used on Ebay (or any other auction site for that matter). And we’re just not willing to fork over $200 for one year (or $550 for 3 years) without knowing that it truly is the best.

So is it? No. Seriously. Is Rosetta Stone worth the money? Is there something else out there that is just as good or better but cheaper?

What do you use? Why do you like it? What do you not like about it? Do you have Rosetta Stone? What do you like or not like about it?

My kids are K/1st, 2nd, & 4th this year. Thus far, we have just used Usborne and various other language books for Spanish, French, Russian, and German mainly. A couple of their books touch on MANY different languages, but the above 3 have been their focus. They also have Berlitz Books with tapes for Spanish and French and a “Speak French in a Week” series. (Love Bargain Books…paid $5 for that!) We have also used the DVD/TV series “Signing Time” as well as some books & co-op instruction for sign-language.

What we have is no longer enough, however, as my oldest really wants to learn French. (She couldn’t choose Spanish or Russian; the languages I know!) Our 2nd grader is wanting to expound on Spanish and also start learning French. My son just wants to watch Signing Time and pretend he can speak every language.

What would you recommend? Where would you go from here?

Feel free to post your comments here or e-mail me directly.

I appreciate the help!




You thought about homeschooling, and now you’ve officially made a decision to homeschool.

Where do you go from here? You need a curriculum. But HOW on earth do you find one?

Where do you start? It’s all a bit overwhelming. I’d like to offer you some help here. I’m not perfect. I’m not even sure my way is the best way, but it’s what I’ve got.

I’ve helped several people in their search for curriculum as they started their homeschooling journey. I think my bias is evident in the fact that almost all of them have chosen Sonlight. I say that only to warn you that I am biased.

Before I write about how to set out to find the “perfect” curriculum, though, I’d like to take up a blog telling you why there is no “perfect” curriculum. Even our main curriculum, Sonlight, has an article online and in their catalog telling you the “25 reasons Sonlight is not for you”. They recognize that not everyone will want to use their curriculum. That goes for every provider out there. The ONLY one “curriculum” that I think belongs in EVERY homeschool is the Bible.

Again, I’m biased. What can I say?

Despite my love of Sonlight, even I have looked at other types of curriculum. My most recent search began when my oldest developed a disdain for division. I’m pretty sure she thinks it’s from the devil. She gets her thoughts on that from her dad. Still, she needed to learn it & Horizons just wasn’t cutting it. Enter Math-U-See, and we have a child beginning to grasp the concept of division.

And you must know this!

Don’t let anyone fool you! You will probably use more than one type of curriculum for your children throughout your homeschooling years. AND THAT’S OKAY!!!! We were very blessed in that we found in Sonlight something that has thus far worked very well for us and I foresee working throughout our homeschooling years. However, we have added to Sonlight as it suits our needs.

We changed from Saxon (the then recommended math program) to Horizons because we were all going to die of boredom from Saxon. Shortly thereafter, Horizons became the main math program for Sonlight. We recently added in Math-U-See for my oldest. However, we’re still doing Horizons with her and our other 2 children. My oldest is a science sponge and can’t get enough of it. We went through Sonlight science levels K-4 with her before we’d finished Core K. (I’m doing the Sonlight 1 science with my other 2 children right now.) My oldest daughter then started doing Abeka science and health through 6th grade, went on to part of the Christian Kids Explore series and is now doing Apologia’s elementary science program and is reading the Cartoon Guide to Chemistry for fun. We also just started a unit study (our first) on the Human Body which we’re doing lapbooking for (again…a first). We also just started a study on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which we plan to continue on as a full government/extended American history study. We’re doing this on Saturdays with daddy. We're also utilizing our extensive collection of books for both studies. And yes. We STILL use Sonlight.

My point? You have to be open to the idea of change. You have to be willing to adapt. (I’d say it several more and different ways, but I think you get the point.) After all, isn’t part of the reason we homeschool so we can teach our children where they are? They may be right in line with their counterparts in “regular” school, slower than them, or faster than them.

That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling.

If my daughter needs to take longer in division, she can. She can spend a year on it if she needs to. At the same time she’s spending a year on division, she can go through several years worth of science. She can be the messiest writer there is, but be able to fully read and comprehend my college nursing textbooks at 8. She can be the messiest writer there is (did I mention her writing is messy?), but be in the process of writing a book that she intends to have published.
Even within your family, all of your children aren’t likely to learn in exactly the same manner or at exactly the same time. You can have one child that reads at 4 and another who doesn’t read until she’s almost 7 (but now reads on a level almost equal to her sister…with a little help on my nursing books).

Before you even start looking for curriculum, remember that what you choose today doesn’t have to be what you will use tomorrow. You know what I mean.

It’s okay to change!

It’s also okay to expand your schooling using free resources that are on the web. I’d have been totally lost on lapbooking and unit studies had it not been for friends that sent me to the web. I’ve found nearly all I need for both of our unit studies for free online. (We do also have TONS…and I’m not exaggerating…of books at home on nearly every subject.) My latest count on Library Thing is almost 1100…and I’m not even a quarter (if that) of the way done. We have a LOT of books! They are the lifeblood of my children’s education. They love reading! That’s why we love Sonlight!

I promise this is NOT a paid infomercial for Sonlight. I’m not getting free books…or even free chocolate for saying this. I’m really that biased. (But it would be okay if someone from Sonlight wanted to send me chocolate…I mean books…no…I want the chocolate.) I’ll have to send them this blog post and see if I can’t score some chocolate.

I’ll close now and we’ll talk about how to find the “perfect” curriculum…for YOUR family…in my next homeschooling blog.

Just remember: you don’t have to keep, or even like, what you start out using.