Friday, August 31, 2007

What is your blog rated?

I saw this on someone's blog and thought I would try it positive it would come up with a "G" rating. Well I was mistaken, because pain was listed 2X (my birth stories or nursing entry) and gun 1x (not sure where that was mentioned?), I got the "PG" rating.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thankful Thursday

"Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like th eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5

I am thankful that our home is full of life!
1 husband
5 children
4 cats (1 mother & 3 kittens)
1 hamster
7 chickens

Slow Cook Thursday

Slow Cooked Short Ribs

2/3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

4 lbs boneless beef short ribs

1/3 cup butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ cups beef broth

3/4 cups cider o red wine vinegar

½ cup chili sauce

1/3 cup ketchup

½ cup Worcestershire Sauce

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tsp chili power

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add ribs in batches and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, brown ribs in butter. Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker. In the same skillet combine the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil; pour over ribs (slow cooker will be full). Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until meat is tender.***I have found mine to take less time as soon as 6 hours.

Yield: 12-15 servings. Serve with rice and a salad!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Book to Movie Challenge

SMS Book Reviews is having a Book to Movie Challenge. Between September 1 and December 1 you need to read 3 books that were made into movies and then write a review. Watching the movie is optional.

Here is a list of 3 books that I have chosen:

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

**oh and dont forget to check out scrapmonkeys contest!


**note, if you love to scrapbook, be sure to check out the scrap monkey's is on my side bar.

I have been tagged by Purity Seekers.

1. What is your schools name and why?

D-------- (our last name) Family Homeschool

2. How is your weather today?
Sunny & Warm

3. What steals your joy?
The little things such as children bickering, kittens chewing on a library book, running out of Breyers mint chocolate chip ice cream and dh forgetting to pick me up some.

When we lived up in NY, I was leaving church one Sunday and the pastor said to me on the way out "Don't let Satan steal your joy". I was like, why did he say that because now I KNOW I am going to be tested that week. I kept expecting some big thing to happen that would steal my joy, but it wasn't, looking back, I saw it was the little things.....its the little foxes that spoil the vines.

4. Name 5 blessings you received this week?
1. Meals from friends
2. Smiles from my children
3. Eggs from my chickens & produce from my garden.
4. Kisses & compost bin from my husband (and ice cream only it was moose tracks )
5. This wasnt this week, but is has been in the past couple of weeks, somebody gave us a digital camera!

5. Favorite Scripture Passages?
Psalm 1
Psalm 15
Psalm 91
Isaiah 41
Micah 6:8
Philippians 4:8

6. Who in the Bible do you think you are most like?
Sometimes the sluggard. I am like Mary, I would sit and listen, and forget to help in the kitchen (not that I dont want to, I just wouldnt think of it)

7. The passage of scripture you read last?
Acts 7, the account of Stephan's testimony & stoning before the high priests

8. Have you praised God for something weird?
I am sure I have although nothing comes to mind.

9. If you were making a greeting card for God, what would you say?
"Thank you!"

10. What is the best miracle God has performed in your life, or what is you favorite answered prayer?
My husband and children are the best miracle God has performed in my life.

11. What is the most fun thing that you have done lately?
having a c-section. Just Kidding, actually swimming with my oldest dd and having my both my sisters visiting at the same time (we can get pretty silly, but it sure hurts to laugh right after you have had a c-section)

12. How did you choose your screen name?
Is screen name different than user name. My username kayinpa is pretty obvious. My name is Kay and I live in Pennsylvania. The title of my blog (maybe that is my screen name), is pretty obvious also....this is a blog about our homeschool experiences, a journey of sorts. I am thinking of changing it though.

Now...choose five people to tag.

Jenerally Speaking
Sunny Flowers

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of School

Today was our first day of school and it went pretty well. We started slow, Emily did 3 subjects (Math review, grammar and history), Abigail worked on reading (still like pulling teeth) & history and the boys worked on their letters and listened as I read history. Nathanael took a short nap while we got started, but thankfully I can nurse and teach at the same time.

Here is our first day of school picture!

Monday Meanderings

MON - Acts 7
TUE - Acts 8
WED - Acts 9
THU - Acts 10
FRI - Acts 11
SAT - Acts 12

Start working out again
Start school
Return DVDs to the library, pick up other items on hold

House Blessing

Continue to work on first time obedience
Work on character training


When I plan my menu's I usually just plan 7 meals for the week because I have found when I assign them days, it usually doesnt work with having meal plans for the week at least I have an idea whats for dinner and can play it by ear what is going to work for that day.....So here are my 7 meals. The ladies at church, my homeschool group and a couple of friends have, thankfully,been so kind in bringing meals after the baby was born, that has now stopped, so I am on my own for meals, hence the simplicity of my menu.

Sliced Ham, Pineapples, Rice, Cucumbers
Hamburgers, Corn on the Cob
Spaghetti, Salad & Garlic Bread
Chicken Fajitas
Pancakes, Eggs & Bacon
Chicken, Broccoli & Rice
Tomato Basil Squares (I didnt make this last week)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Psalm & Praise

There are a couple of songs that have been going through my mind this week. Do you know how frustrating it is to try having a pity party and this song starts going through your head? LOL!

How Great is Our God
by Chris Tomlin

The splendor of a King,
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
All the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at his voice,
And trembles at his voice

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Age to age he stands
And time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, Three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb,
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Name above all names
You are Worthy of all praise
and My heart will sing how great
Is our God

The Other Song is:

O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
by S. Trevor Francis, Music by Thomas J. Williams

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Five Basic Rules

My children were complaining the other day about there being so many rules to remember. I said "Yes, it may seem like a lot of rules, but they really fall under five basic rules.....if you can remember these rules and ask if what you are about to do fits under these rules, then life will be that much easier on you."

Here are our five basic rules:

1. Show Respect.....respect others, their property, yourself & your property
2. Obey the first time and as soon as you are told!
3. Clean up after yourself.
4. No loud or repetitive noises in the house.
5. Think before you what you are about to do end up being harmful to yourself or somone else or does it follow the above rules?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Latest Picture of Baby!

Book List for my 5ish Children

Jacque over at Seeking Rest for Ancient Paths posted about books that are favorites for their children who are 5ish. I have 3 that I consider to be in that age group and having just finished our library Summer reading program have added several new authors and books to our favorites list. Here are some of our new favorites:

Lynnly Dodd books:
Slinky Malinky
Slinky Malinky Opens the Door
Schnitzel Von Krumms Basketwork
Hairy Maclairy Sit
Hairy Maclairy's Bone
Hairy Maclairy's Scattercat
Sniff Snuff Snap

Scarfact Claw

Obadiah the Bold by Brinton Turkle and other Obadiah books.

One of my recent discoveries are children's books that were written back in the late 30's and 40's by Marguerite de Angeli (She won the Newberry Award for The Door in the Wall). The most of the books take place in Southeastern, PA so I am familiar with the territory of which she writes. While I havent read all of the books we have to my children, we have read Yonie Wondernose which my children loved. I have also enjoyed reading to myself Skippback School, Henner's Lydia, Thee, Hannah and Elin's Amerika.

There are of course some which are classics such as: Curious George books by H. A. Rey, Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant.....we also enjoyed "When I was Young in the Mountains" by the same author. Ask Mr. Bear, The Story of Ping and Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack. Fox on the Job, Fox in love, Fox on Wheels and other Fox books and the George & Martha books by James Marshall, The House on East 88th Street and other Lyle, Lyle Crocodile books by Bernard Waber, Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell, Beatrix Potter books, Frog & Toad and other Arnold Lobel Books, just to name a few.

My boys loved books about Johnny Appleseed, one by Steve Kellogg being a favorite.

Virginia Lee Burton is another favorite author of Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Katy & the Big Snow, The Little House, Mabel the Cabel Car, and Choo Choo"

And what is a walk in the woods on a snowy night without Owl Moon by Jane Yolen . She also has some cute dinosaur books out such as How do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room which my dinosaur loving boys love.

Patricia Polacco's books can be thought provoking and education. Some of our favorite's are: The Butterfly (a great way of introducing your child to WWII) Just Plain Fancy (what happens when a peacock egg lands in an Amish barnyard) The Keeping Quilt (shows changes in tradition as a quilt is passed from one generation to the next) Rechenka's Eggs (the beauty of Egg decorating) The Bee Tree

f you want to add a little art appreciation into your read aloud time, check out the Katie books by James Mayhew....we have enjoyed Katie and the Mona Lisa and Katie and the Impressionists there are several more in this series. Even my boys enjoyed sitting for these books.

For those who enjoy slaying the dragon from the safety of their home or perhaps making him into a pet check out:

St. George & the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Knight Who Took All Day by James Mayhew
The Reluctant Dragon by Robert Lawton
Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash and other Custard books.

For my horse lover, the discovery of C. W. Anderson's Billy & Blaze books was a treasure find. So was The Mare on the Hill by Thomas Locker. His books have beautiful pictures, each picture is beautiful enough to frame and hang on the wall.

Oh and can I forget Tikki Tikki Tembo or The Five Chinese Brothers?

If you post about your favorite 5ish books add your name and the link to your post on Mr. Linky. This will add your name to both mine and Jacque's website as well as other who have copied this particular linky to their blog......for more information check out on Jacque's blog

Layer of Me

The Layers of Me

– Name: Kay

– Birth date: September 4

– Birthplace: New York

– Current Location: Pennysylvania

– Eye Color: Hazel (they usually look green, but sometimes grey or blue)

– Hair Color: Brown

Height: 5′ 10"

– Righty or Lefty: Righty

– Zodiac Sign: Does it matter?

– Your heritage: Heinz 57

– The shoes you wore today: Lands End Sandals (look like Berkenstock)

– Your weakness: the computer, pizza, brownies & Breyer's Ice cream

– Your fears:

– Your perfect pizza: neopolitan from New York

– Goal you’d like to achieve: be 170lbs.

-Your most overused phrase on AIM: Not Sure.
– Your first waking thoughts: What time is it?
-Your most missed memory:
– Your best physical feature: My eyes or smile

– Pepsi or Coke: neither, I dont drink soda anymore if I did it would root beer and doctor pepper

– McDonald’s or Burger King: Burger King

– Adidas or Nike: generic store brand

– Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Neither, Snapple Peach

-Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate

-Cappuccino or coffee: Cappuccino

– Smoke: No
– Cuss: I use Euphamisms .....darn, shoot etc.

– Sing: Sometimes

– Take a shower everyday: Ah, no.

-Do you think you’ve been in love: I know I have
– Want to go to college: I went to a business school

– Liked high school: not really

Want to get married: I already am!

– Believe in yourself: Nope, I believe in God!

– Get motion sickness: Sometimes.

– Think you’re attractive: Occasionally

– Think you’re a health freak: I have my spurts

– Get along with your parent(s): With my father yes, when he was a live....with my mom as long as we are not under the same roof for more than 3 days.

– Like thunderstorms: I love them, especially at night!

– Play an instrument: Piano

LAYER SIX: In the past month…
– Drank alcohol: No

– Smoked: No
– Done a drug: No
– Made Out: MYOB.....I am married!
– Gone on a date: Ummm, cant remember
– Gone to the mall?: No

– Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: No.
– Eaten sushi: No
– Been on stage: No
– Been dumped: No
– Gone skating: No
– Made homemade cookies: No
– Gone skinny dipping: No
– Dyed your hair: No
– Stolen Anything: No

– Played a game that required removal of clothing: No
– Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: No
– Been caught “doing something”: No
– Been called a tease: Yes

– Gotten beaten up: No

– Shoplifted: No

– Changed who you were to fit in: Not really.

– Age you hope to be married: I was married at 23, I didnt think I would get married until at least my 30's if ever.

– Numbers and Names of Children: Emily 9, Abigail 7, Zachary 5, Benjamin 4, Nathanael 4 weeks.

– Describe your Dream Wedding:If I had to do it over again, I would get married like Shoshanna Pearl Easling!

– How do you want to die: Quickly & Painlessly

– Where you want to go to college: Dont want to go.

– What do you want to be when you grow up: A nutritionist

– What country would you most like to visit: Scotland, Israel, England

– Number of drugs taken illegally: None.

– Number of people I could trust with my life: I can trust Jesus, I dont need anyone else....but if I had to count at least 10

– Number of CDs that I own: I have really pared down on my Cd's, but at least 30

– Number of piercings: One in each ear, but they have closed up

– Number of tattoos: none
– Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: at least 2X
– Number of scars on my body: havent counted

– Number of things in my past that I regret: not sure, but they are just stupid regrets

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Exhausted Update

I just want to thank all who have been praying. I can definitely feel the difference....there is very little pain nursing, I wouldnt even call it pain, just tenderness. I still use the guard, and will until it is completely gone. Baby has slept well the past two nights, just waking to be fed and then going back to sleep, he only woke up once last night and nursed a good 40 minutes on one side...first time to do that in "one" sitting because of my soreness problems. He and I also napped well yesterday. Thanks again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Go Figure

Go Figure @ Multi-Tasking Moms

Multi-Tasking Moms are having a contest. The Winner receives the new Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim System from Leslie Sansone.

I am finding this contest timely because now that I am almost 4 weeks postpartum, I am really wanting to get back into my excercise program. One of my favorite workout DVD's that I use is Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds Express 1 mile & 2 mile" This has been a great DVD because with now 5 children, getting out for a good workout walk isn't usually possible. I can do this in all kinds of weather, right in my own home and my children love to do the workout with me.

One things I have found helpful in losing weight, besides replacing my beverages with water and herbal teas is cutting back on my carbs, and eating only healthy carbs when I do have them. My midwife had me do this while I was pregnant (I could only have 80g carbs a day and 80g of protein) and I actually lost a total of 12 pounds during the pregnancy bringing me 25 pounds lighter than I was when I started. I still have a ways to go because of the weight gain from my previous pregnancies (I was 80 pounds over weight), but I feel as though I have a head start and I know where my problem is....white sugar and white flour and to much of it!

Monday, August 20, 2007


I guess I have been spoiled.....either that or my memory is just bad. I dont remember the adjustment period of having a new baby being so difficult. It's supposed to get easier.....the soreness breastfeeding, sleeping a little longer during the night and taking over my household tasks...I must be getting old. I am still sore nursing, even broke down and supplemented with formula for a couple of days, until my husband got be a nipple shield...which has helped so that I am nursing full time again, but I am still sore, I know in the past it always cleared up within 1-2 weeks, but its almost been a month now. He is supposed to be easing into his sleeping and napping schedule, but for the past four days he has having a wakeful period during the night that nursing and going back to sleep isnt working and during nap time, even after keeping him up for a couple of hours he wont go to sleep. I can handle a lot of things, been not when I am tired. I know that this too shall pass (hopefully sooner than later) , but in the meantime, I am exhausted.

Monday Meanderings


MON - Acts 3
TUE - Acts 4
WED - Acts 5
THU - Acts 6
FRI - Acts 7
SAT - Acts 8
SUN - Acts 9


Start preparing for the beginning of the school year by working on routines.
Call the school district to arrange to pick up my daughter's portfolio
Pick up books/videos on hold from the library


okay, I fell off the flylady bandwagon a long time ago, after having a new baby, I definitely need to get back on. Instead of working in one zone for the week, I am going to try and jumpstart by working in one zone each day.....15 minutes should do the trick. ;)

MON: Kitchen......reorganize pantry,
TUES: Help boy clean their room
WEDS: School room (my dining room) organize school cabinet, clean floor
THURS: Living Room: Dust & Wash windows
FRI: Master Bedroom .....tidy, get cobwebs, clean Master Bath
SAT: Home Blessing


Work with Ben on first time obedience.
Work with the girls on doing a thorough job with their kitchen chores.
Work with Zach on putting he shoes away when he takes them off.


When I plan my menu's I usually just plan 7 meals for the week because I have found when I assign them days, it usually doesnt work with having meal plans at least I have an idea whats for dinner and can play it by ear what is going to work for that day.....So here are my 7 meals....but they may not be served on the day listed

MON - Friend Bringing supper ,
TUE - Pancakes & Bacon
WED - Pizza
THU - Sausage and Potatoes
FRI - Friend Bringing supper
SAT - Tomato Basil Squares
SUN - Danny's Dinner

Saturday, August 18, 2007

God's Will Has No Why

This week I read "The Sound of Music: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp. This is the book that inspired the movie/musical. The book is quite different than the movie. While it does start off in a convent in a Austria, it does go on to tell you what happens when they leave Austria and arrive in America. The thing that struck me the most was Maria's faith in God, how she seeks His will for her life and once she receives here answer, does not question it....but believe's the saying "God's will has no why!" When things are low and finances are almost non existent she shares how God has continually provided for them. She also has a great sense of humor and shares many funny stories that has happened to them along the way. I found the book to be very enjoyable and inspiring!

Saturday Psalm & Praise

Wonderful, Merciful Saviour
(Dawn Rodgers, Eric Wyse)

Wonderful, merciful Saviour
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would've thought that a Lamb could
Rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost our way
Oh, we've hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we're falling before Your throne

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Garden

Here are some long awaited pictures of my wild overgrown (but weeded) garden (and one of my chicken coop). I have more tomatoes on the other side of the coop, but you dont want to see pictures of those until I water them...which I am waiting to see if the rain will do it for is overcast here.

My Basil

My Dill

My Hen House & part of the chicken coop! If it was clean, I would have done a picture of the whole thing.

My Backyard (well part of it anyway)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Three Little Kittens

Three little kittens had lost their mittens and they began to cry......oh, well only two of our kittens have mittens. Here are some pictures (of the kittens, I dont know if you will be able to see their mittens.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Digital Camera

I have a digital camera. I am so excited. A friend of mine saw that I mentioned not having one and she had an extra one that she sent me. So I can now take pictures and post them online within minutes. Yippeee.....can you tell that I am excited.

Here is a new picture of the baby! Guess I need to work on my focusing. LOL!

Our School Room

Since I have alread blogged about some of the Homeschool Open House topics during "Back to school week" and since I now have a digital camera, I can post pictures. Something I have been wanting to do for a while is show pictures of our school room. Not because it is a great schoolroom (though it works for us), but I know how much I enjoy looking at other's school rooms and getting ideas for organizing.

These are our main school bookshelves, they are set up in a general Dewey Decimal way, with some exceptions (such as my Landmark book collection).
These books are mostly non-fiction/reference books. (oh and my photo albums are on top). We have another bookshelf upstairs in the hall with fiction/picture books on it.

Here is my oldest dd, modeling her desk for you! It sits right behind my desk, facing the other wall.

This is our printer/copier and where my younger children color or work on their lessons

This is my desk...where all those messy paperwork is, is where I usually have my teacher's manuals for the year....we obviously haven't started is to the left of the desk above

Our school cabinet where we have our tape-CD player, crafts, puzzles, school supplies etc. The doors do close and hide the mess....this is to the right of the of my desk and the printer desk

on the opposite wall is my husbands desk, since it is for his job, I didnt take a picture of it.

I have find having a school room setting handy, because everything is in reach and in one central location and yet everyone has their space also. We do reserve our kitchen table for any messy schoolwork we might be doing such as arts and crafts and coloring and of course the sofa for a good family read aloud or watching educational DVD's.

I did have the traditional maps on the walls, but as we needed the wall space for other things (such as hubby's space), they came down and are now kept rolled up and we pull them out as needed, they are actually more interactive this way as we can do boat races across the ocean.

Friday, August 10, 2007


What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Curriculum. I love to research and buy curriculum....if I could afford it, I would probably be a curriculum junkie....but thankfully I cant. One of the biggest things that has helped me in my curriculum decisions was a book (I checked it out of the library, but it is now on my wishlist) is "Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Curriculum Picks". It not only discusses her favorite curriculum, but learning styles and teaching styles and what curriculum best fits those styles.

I am electic in my approach, which means, I dont buy packaged curriculum, but get a little from here and a little from there. I like Susan Wise Bauer's approach to history, learning in chronological order and doing four year rotations, so the child has it 3 times in their 12 years. I also like the idea of teaching our children one of the classical languages. We have chosen Latin, because not only does it help with half the English vocabulary words (most of the other words in English are from the Greek), but also makes learning the other Romance languages easier. This year I am trying to fit music and art to fit the time period which we are studying. I think if I had to pick a packaged curriculum to use, it would be "My Father's World".

For science I was also trying to follow SWB's four year rotation of Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics....but this year we are taking a break and using Beautiful Feet's History of Science, using a combination of whole books with experiments.

We use Math U See for our math program because I like Mr. Demme's approach to math and it covers all the learning styles for math. Grammar I am still trying to find the right fit! This year we will be trying Abeka, because that is what God has provided for us to use. I do like Abeka's Health & Safety curriculum, at least the 3rd grade program which we used last year. I found it to be very thorough and after the first couple of lessons, my daughter really started enjoying it.

I purchase most of my curriculum online through ebay, other auction boards or sale boards. There are some things I get at a curriculum fair or used books sales (my sister has a list wish ofa mine and picks some things up for me as well). I very rarely buy anything new or for full price. I usually try to find it for no more than half price and that would include shipping.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

if i had only known...

What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

Some things I have learned along the way:

1) Pray, pray, pray. Pray for wisdom, pray for flexibility, pray for creativity...and whatever else you can think of.

2) Do not expect perfection .... they are fallen beings just like their least mine are!

3) Discover each child's learning style (and your teaching style)...and if you are like me and have more than one child, try to find a curriculum that covers a multiple of learning styles. Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Homeschool Curriculum picks was very helpful to me in this area.

4) Sometimes if curriculum doesnt seem to be working the way you want, try a different approach or to adapt it so it does work....knowing your child's learning style can help with this.

5) Be flexible!

6) Scheduling: I dont schedule every subject for every day. I break it up: History is M, W & F....Science is Tuesdays & Thursdays. Math & Grammar is M-Thurs, Art & Music is on Fridays. I try to make Fridays fun days, so History it will be a special project etc. This is what works for us, try to find what works for you.

7) Dont give up!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Getting out there...

Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

I must admit that while most parents have the problem of trying not to do much, we have the opposite I doing enough. Despite the fact that my children are not involved in a lot of things, they seem to be socially well rounded. We did do our share of church nights and dance classes and homeschool coops in years past, but now due to finances and mobility our activities are now pretty simple. We are enjoying it.

We have church on Sunday mornings (and VBS this week). We visit our elderly and not so elderly neighbors, participate in our libraries reading program (as well as other trips to the library throughout the year), they bike and play with the other children in the neighborhood. We live in a mixed neighborhood, so they definitely get their share of diversity. We also get together with other homeschoolers at least once a month for a game day, play dates and also for field trips. They are not shy, but due to training are cautious of strangers. Its amazing how much we are able to teach our children of the real world, just from living in it and yet keep them innocent and sheltered at the same time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How do you homeschool?

Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

I try to homeschool as simply as possible. Since my oldest is only going into 4th grade, we only spend a 2-3 hours a day on academics. I am eclectic in my approach, but loosely follow a classical, Charlotte Mason approach. I will discuss more about our curriculum on Friday.

Managers of Their Homes by Terri Maxwell has been a big help in scheduling our day. While we are not on a strict schedule, it works like a compass to help keep us on track throughout our day.

My children each have their own chores (except the baby). They are responsible for keeping their room tidy, the kitchen clean, emptying the trash on Sundays & Wednesdays and the bathroom on Saturdays, as well as keeping the school room and living rooms picked up. My daughters are also learning to make some simple meals and do their own laundry.

Last year, my boys (then 3 & 4) would play in their room with their toys, or if I really needed to, I would pull out the blocks or Legos for them to play with for a change of pace in the living room while the girls and I worked on their school work. I also had some crayons, coloring books and a couple of simple workbooks for the boys to work on when they insisted on doing school. It actually worked out very nicely and we had few "bumps" with this system.

I usually get my homeschool budget from our tax refund and any books that I am able to sell. It is not very high, but I love the challenge of trying to find the books that I need for as cheaply as possible. My sister in KY has been a big help this year, as she scours used books stores, sales etc and has picked up a lot of books for me from .10 - $2, this has helped me supplement and fill out our curriculum.

One thing that I have learned, is that I am "Mom" first and then teacher. If I am unable to train my children in the basics of life, then being their teacher will be a lot more difficult.

In a Pickle

We have been reaping many pickle/cucumbers the past month, but with having a baby (and needing a couple of ingredients), I havent had time to do anything with them. Finally I decided not to really can them, but just experiment a little bit with putting them up cold. So I picked some fresh dill from my garden, cut up the cucumbers into quarters, sliced some garlic and put it all in a pint size jar. I filled the jar half way up with white vinegar (I couldn't find my Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar) and the rest with water. I added a spoonful of salt and put the jar in the refrigerator yesterday morning. Last night I decided to see how they were coming along. They were so good that I and some of my children at the whole jar full. So I cut more up, stuck them in the jar with the leftover "juice" and refrigerated them overnight. We ate that jar this morning and I made some more for tonight. YUM!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why We Chose to Homeschool

Ever since I was a teenager, I knew I would homeschool my children (if I ever go married LOL). I was raised in a conservative Christian family. When I finished 5th grade at the public school my parents placed my sister and I in a Christian school. When she was a junior in high school, homeschooling had become legal in New York state, so my parents homeschooled her through junior and senior high and I continued to attend the Christian school. When she graduated and wanted to attend Christ for the Nations in Dallas, they kept me at home for 11th & 12th and sent her to Bible school. I really disliked being homeschooled, but knew it was the right thing for that time. A lot of my older siblings who were married and had children of their own also homeschooled, so I was not at all a stranger to the idea.

When I met my husband he was in agreement with homeschooling so we knew that when we had children, this is what we would do. Except for that first day of first grade, I have never questioned this being the right thing to do and God has continued to confirm through scripture, the moral decline of the public school and through others that this was the right decision for our family.

So WHY do I homeschool:

1. I believe that we are instructed by scriptures that parents are to instruct their children. Deuteronomy 6 is the most commonly quoted scripture of this.

2. I believe that Public Schools are not a safe place for my children: physically, mentally and spiritually.

3. I know my children better than anybody else (except for God) and can guide their education that best suits them.

4. I can control who my children are being influenced by.

There are many other reasons why we homeschool. These are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Hairy MaClary & Slinki Malinki

One thing I like about the Summer Reading Program at the library is that we are more likely to try new and different books than we normally would during the school year. This year we came across a series that evidently is known and enjoyed by others. These are the "Hairy MaClary" and "Slinky Malinki" series by Lynley Dodd (and her other books that we have read are also cute). While not an in depth, kind of book, these are cute, written in rhyme, stories of a dog named Hairy he performs at a dog show, how is scatters the neighborhood cats etc... and a cat named Slinky Malinki....oh and what happens when Slinky Malinki opens that last door? My children enjoyed reading and rereading these books. There are some good new vocabulary words to be learned that you dont often find in children's book. I would definitely recommend and according to Amazon, I am not alone!