A blog about homeschooling, frugal living, books and life. Grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Goodbye Kitty!

You were a good turtle!

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Getting The Kids Off The Computer And Into Nature

Today the kids and I packed a lunch, some books, crayons, colored pencils, a blanket, Gingy (our dog) and Lily's turtle Kitty and headed to the park. After the kids had played awhile we read a few chapters from 'Sideways Stories From Wayside School'. This book is so incredibly funny, even Lily will sit still and listen to it. We packed a picnic and the kids ran and played, they collected all kinds of leaves, pine cones, rocks, sticks and even mushrooms. Shane wasn't happy about the mushrooms because he said they can be poisonous so he made them throw those away. I folded a few pages a typing paper and stapled them together and made some simple nature books. The kids drew and colored their treasures in their nature books. I showed them how to make leaf rubbings and they were fascinated by that. They decided to try some bark rubbings but they didn't turn out as well. They pretended to be explorers, climbing over rocks and trees.
I'm not sure what this channel thing is. After it rains water collects in it and the kids like walking in it. They can usually find tadpoles and frogs or toads. Today they found crayfish!  They hadn't ever seen those and were afraid to try to catch them with their hands. They did however find  a dead half eaten one that they scooped up with a bowl and looked at, poked and examined at length. It was really gross. Shane told them when he was a kid that he would tie  a piece of bologna to a string and catch them. So I guess next week we are going back to catch some crayfish.

I don't really know what this used to be but it looks like an old stage maybe? Anyway they climbed around on it awhile.

And while we did all this Kitty wondered off. We all kept telling Lily to leave it in the box but she left it out and it got away. She cried and cried so we all looked for it but Kitty was gone. We did bring home a baby frog though.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Benjamin Franklin's top 13 week 2

Silence- Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations

Day 1-
Memorize Ephesians 4:29
Talk to kids about their tongue. Once you say something you can't take the words back. You can say your sorry but the words are still there.
Demonstration- give kids a tube of toothpaste, icing, etc. have them squeeze out what you gave them onto a plate. Then tell them to try to put it back in the tube. Neither can you put the words back into your mouth once they are spoken.

Day 2- Memorize Ephesians 4:29
Read Luke 6: 45 Refer back to yesterday's demonstration. Discuss what is inside us is what comes out of our mouth. If good is in our hearts, evil isn't going to come from our mouths.

Day 3-
Memorize Ephesians 4:29
Talk about the power of words, to hurt, to discourage, to uplift, to benefit
List ways our words are used for wrong (lying, insults, putting people down, gossip)
List ways words are used for good (being kind, telling others about Jesus)

Day 4-
Memorize Ephesians 4:29
Think of people in the Bible who used their words for good/evil
Good- John the Baptist, Jesus, (who can they think of)
Evil- Ananias/Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11 lied) (who can they think of)

Day 5-
Memorize Ephesians 4:24
Read James 3:1-12 Discuss some of the things tongue is compared to (ship, bridle, fire)

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MineCraft and Other Cool Online Programs

Well, sadly our break is over. We didn't get around to some of the stuff I had hoped to do. But it was nice staying up late and sleeping in. I spent a lot of time reading blogs and researching schools and educational sites online. I decided to share some of the goodies I found. First I came across some really interesting blogs. I think my favorite was this one. I like the posts about video games. I don't know that I agree with them, but I know how she feels. It drives me crazy to see Kyle on the computer all the time, I try to see educational value in it. Or any value really. I comfort myself with the thought that it's a computer world we live in, it's good that he feels comfortable with computers. She has lots of really good posts, sometimes I cringe a little when I read them and sometimes I laugh but they make me think. Sometimes I think she says exactly what I think but would never have the guts to say. I read a really cool post about Minecraft. I don't have any idea what she is talking about but it sounds super cool. I showed some of it to Kyle, he seems to know what they are talking about. Now I gotta figure out what Minecraft is and how to get it for him for Christmas. I guess he watches YouTube videos about it? I have no clue. The other one that really blew me away and reminded me all over again why I homeschool was this one about public schools. Yikes! I am so thankful my kids aren't in public school. I also found some good online games. I came across iknowthat on the time4learning forums. We use T4L and so I signed up for iknowthat to see whether or not I liked it. I really do and the kids like it also, it's definitely not a complete curriculum like T4L. It is fun and really cheap. It's only like $6 a month, it can be personalized for 6 kids and it keeps records and scores. I don't think it really teaches though, it's more for practice and review. Then I came across abcmouse. It's a little more and only Lily and maybe Lacey would be able to use it. I haven't tried it out yet but I think I'm going to give it a try. They offer a free 30 day trial. It's less than $8 a month though. I would probably try to get both but Ashley and her friend Jessica decided to use their week off scheming and came up with the idea that they wanted to attend a private Christian school next year. I had suggested this like six months ago and Ashley flat out was not interested. Which was no skin off my nose I don't really want to spend the money for private school anyway.  But we have had some conversations about it because Ashley doesn't feel like she is getting what she needs if she decides to go to college. I try to understand her reasoning but I mean she has access to the Internet and the library, she can learn whatever she needs to know for college. However, I told them that I would talk to the pastor and find out some information. Both girls struggle with math so that's an issue. At first he flat out told me they don't accept kids in the 11th grade but then he realized they were homeschooled so he said that there was a good chance that they would. He said they don't usually take public school kids that late because it's such a difference in environments. They would need to try to bring their math up some and he said for us to make an appointment to talk to the principle. So I went home thinking the girls would be super excited, well they had talked to some friends that told them how the school is super strict! In fact they aren't even allowed to have boyfriends (according to their friends). So now they may not want to go. AUUUGH! So that put us back to looking for something for them to do. They want something accreditted. They don't like what they are doing now. It's stupid, it's boring, they aren't learning. So back to the computer I go for more research. And I find virtualedu, it looks promising. It's reasonable, starts out at $50 a month (of course they have higher plans available), fully accredited, NOT a government program, no contracts. It looks pretty good. So I called them and they need transcripts. GREAT. So I spent all day trying to remember everything she has done for the last 3 or 4 years to send them transcripts. And they spent all day taking math tests online. So if we end up doing this that's another $50-$80 a month out of my budget, which is why I am thinking I am not going to get both iknowthat and ABCmouse.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

If I Had My Life To Live Over by Erma Bombeck

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

© Erma Bombeck

 I came across this the other day while I was hanging out on this blog and thought it was just so beautiful and true I decided to repost it here. I've often heard people say that they wouldn't change a thing in their life if they had the chance. I would. One thing I would change is I would never, ever take for granted the people I love. I would cherish every hug and every kiss. I'm thankful for the reminder.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Typical Relaxed Home School Day

This is what our homeschool day looks like this year. I usually wake up by about 8, I got into the habit of waking up early back in Burk when I had a job and it's stuck with me. I usually lay there awhile and snuggle with whichever kids are in my bed. Usually it's Lily and Lacey but sometimes it's just one or the other. Then I read two chapters in my Bible and say my prayers before I get out of bed.  I've found that once I'm up I lose track of time and if I don't read my Bible first thing a lot of times I just never get back around to it. Sometimes the girls stay with me and I read aloud, other times they go off in the other room to feed our pets or wake the other kids up.Then I make my bed (another habit I'm trying to get into) and rotate the laundry. Once I wake the other kids up Ashley takes her dog Momo for a walk and the other kids pick their pillows and blankets up out of the living room. Both little girls and sometimes Kyle sleep in the living room. Don't ask me why, they have beds, I promise you. But they always want to sleep in the living room. All my kids wake up very easily, usually they are already wake. I've never really enforced bedtimes but I've always made it clear I will not fight to wake them up. If they don't get up when I wake them up they will definitely go to bed on time that night. I think I get that from my dad he used to say if you can't fly with the eagles don't hang with the owls. Or something like that. I interpret to mean take responsibility for your actions. Then we sit at the table and do our prayer and Bible time. We work on 1 verse a week. We just started doing the prayer and Bible verses this year. I really like it, I never did it before because well, it seemed a little dorky. But it's made such a difference in our lives and attitudes, I'm a believer! We also go over our Joshua Contract, family policies, house rules. Whatever they are, we haven't actually named them. This is something else we just started this past April. We have done The 21 Rules Of This House before, this is kinda the same. All this takes about 30 minutes. After that Kyle and Lacey get on their computers to start their lessons while I cook breakfast. I love the school the kids are doing this year! It's an online program that they seem to enjoy. Well Lacey and Lily LOVE it, Kyle likes some of it, some of it not so much. If they get done with all their lessons early sometimes they will do extra, sometimes not. Ashley only does math online. She doesn't like doing school on the computer so most of her schoolwork is bookwork. She usually starts with reading, she's reading a religious book, a literature/reading book and a Biology book. The Biology book is a Sonlight book, Introduction to Biology by John Holzmann. When she finishes this book she will start Apologia Biology. She did an Apologia Science (I forget which one, I think Physical Science) in Burk with the Homeschool Enrichment group and really liked it and wanted to use Apologia again this year. I'm not that impressed with it and my older daughter HATED doing Apologia. But she really wasn't into Science. For the other two books she chooses one from our religious shelf and one from our reading shelf. I'm trying to get her to read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn or something (I don't know) classicky? So far no luck. The last book she read was Creature by John Saul that Donna had checked out from the library. I did tell her this book had to beone from our shelf. So she is reading It's a Jungle Out There, it's also a Sonlight book. She picked it out but I'm not sure if she is enjoying it or not. The last book is How to Stay Christian in High School. I just realized all three are actually Sonlight books. That's not really that surprising I love their books and buy them quite a bit. For Language she is doing Alpha Omega Lifepacs. I'm not going to say anything about Lifepacs except that it's what she chose to do. We do History together every other day. So Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we read aloud from Eyewitness on History. Right now we are working on the Immigration book. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she does History on her own, usually it's write a letter or journal entry. We just started doing a Proverbs 31 Bible study together last week. We do it one day a week. She does her schoolwork off and on through out the day taking breaks to watch t.v, walk her dog, text her friends or boyfriend. She is really into walking and usually walks down to the cemetery a couple times a day. Sometimes she is still doing school at 10:00 at night. I pretty much leave her alone as long as she stays pretty much on track. I make her up a weekly schedule and she usually gets it done by Saturday anyway. Kyle and Lacey both do all their work on the computer. Lacey swaps out with Lily so when she wants a break Lily gets on for awhile. Lily has her own Pre-K program online and also does Starfall. The two just swap back and forth through out the day sharing the computer. When Lacey isn't on the computer she is usually either reading something, writing or drawing or playing outside.When Lily isn't on the computer she is usually playing on her Innotab, looking at books or playing outside. I have a bunch of workbooks laying around, mostly from the dollar tree, sometimes the girls will do worksheets ( Lily especially likes cutting up the old ones and gluing the pictures on construction paper). And lately Lacey has been making up math problems to solve. Me and Lacey had been doing reading lesson everyday but now she just reads to me off and on when the mood strikes. Kyle works pretty steady on his lessons and a lot of times he sets his alarm and wakes up early. He has learned the quicker he gets done the quicker he can get to his true loves, the Wii and computer. The house rule is 2 hours of screen time but it's not strictly enforced. Sometimes he is on as much as three or four hours but I do try to limit screen time and encourage him to play outside, read or play Lego's. Right now he is reading Robinson Crusoe  They all have chores, they do their chores. I usually clean house, do dishes, laundry, help out, answer questions, etc. while they do their school. They take breaks pretty much when they want, breaks are usually only 15-30 minutes. We don't have a set lunch time. We eat when they start saying they are hungry, sometimes I cook, sometimes it's sandwiches or leftovers. After school is done they play with their cousins, go swimming or do whatever they want. They start on baths about 8:00 and the girls lay down to watch a movie by about 9:30. Me and Shane usually do our devotions together around 8:30 or 9:00. Kyle reads his Bible then plays in his room until about 10:30 then he lays in his room or in the living room. Ashley's official bed time is 12:00 but I rarely enforce it because she usually goes to bed earlier so on nights she's up later I don't say anything. I know it sounds like I never enforce rules, I kinda do and I kinda don't. Most of the rules in our house are more like timeframes and goals than hard and fast rules, if that makes sense. This is pretty much how we've been doing school for the last year and it seems to be working.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Benjamin Franklin's top 13 week 1

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Last week our pastor preached on the 13 virtues that shaped Benjamin Franklin's life. Benjamin Franklin came up with these 13 virtues at  the age of 20 and practised them in one way  or another for the rest of his life. Each week he would focus on one virtue. Our pastor encouraged us to do the same. After church I came home and and did a little research on Benjamin Franklin, his life, and his 13 virtues. A couple of things I learned really impressed me. One was that he contributed much of the success and happiness he experienced in his life to these 13 virtues. Second  was that he wrote more about these 13 virtues than any other subject in his autobiography.

Each morning the kids and I start our day by going over Our Joshua 24 Contract, memorizing a Bible verse and praying. We began doing this in April, and we learned a lot of good verses. We focused on ones about, obedience, kindness, living peacefully, and honesty. Over the past couple of weeks I have been praying about a Bible study I can start with the kids. I think a Bible study on theses 13 virtues will be perfect! So this week we worked on Temperance. This is the Bible study I came up with.


Day 1-
Look the word temperance up in the dictionary and write definition. Discuss meaning of temperance (self control).
Begin memorizing Proverbs 25:28
Give up 1 thing that we like to practise self-control. Make sure the kids understand that this is completely voluntary and that if they decide to give something up and then change their minds it is OK. The idea is that we are learning self-control, not that we are always perfect at it.

Day 2-
Recite verse
Discuss ways we can be more temperate in our daily lives.
Read about Joseph and how he practiced self-control by not yielding to Potifer's wife.
Pray for God to help us have self-control

Day 3-
Recite verse.
Read about the temptation of Jesus. Discuss how he practised self-control.

Day 4-
Recite verse.
Discuss a time we were tempted to do something we knew we weren't supposed to do, how hard was it to use self-control. How did we feel if we didn't use self-control. Discuss repentance/forgiveness.

Day 5-
Recite verse.
Talk about what we fasted from. Was it easy/hard?

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Year round schooling

For our family year round school just makes sense. It is so hot in the summers where we live that parks and zoos are no fun in the summertime. Plus everything is crazy crowded once all the public school kids get out for the summer. This year we are doing a 3 week on 1 week off plan. Plus our usual month off for Christmas. It's a pretty flexible plan, we took the week a in August and we are going to take next week off for September. I'm looking forward to the week off. This is what I'd like to get done.
  1. First organize, clean and (hopefully) finish painting Ashley's room.
  2. Sort through the girls' clothes. 
  3. Spend time here putting together a geography curriculum. 
  4. Work on some writing projects with Kyle and Lacey.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Unschool Vs Tradition School

I was reading some old posts I had written and looking at the pictures, I don't know if anyone else does that or not. It's seems a little weird to admit to reading my own blog, but hey I wrote this blog mostly for myself anyway so who cares right?  While I was reading I realized how much I miss Unschooling. I don't know what it is about Unschooling that calls to me, speaks to me in such a deep way. I had to put my Unschooling books in storage because if I flip through them I forget why I went back to a more traditional school method. And Lord help me if I get to lurking on Unschooling sites. Maybe I lack the confidence to Unschool? Or the patience? I really like the curriculum we are using now and we are very relaxed about it. Or at least I'm mostly relaxed about it. I definitely think they kids are learning more "school stuff" now.  To help me work through all the Unschool/Homeschool feelings (and because I love making lists) I decided to list all the things I loved about unschool and all the things I love about a more traditional approach.

Things I love about Unschooling:

  1. I love being able to sleep as late as I want and stay up as late as I want. I really think I'm actually a nocturnal creature. Getting up early just feels wrong. 
  2. I love waking up know that there is absolutely nothing I have to do that day. It's why I love Saturdays. I actually had a conversation with my dad about this not long ago. I told him how I love the freedom and peace of unplanned days, I love waking up knowing I can do whatever I want that day. And he said that he hates waking up not knowing what he is going to do that day.  He likes to have his day all planned out.
  3.  I really enjoy being able to play with the kids all day and not worrying about their math scores.
  4.  I love the time. Time to scrapbook, time to garden and blog, to live life instead of teaching how to live it. I always feel like I'm waiting. Waiting to start school, waiting to do reading lesson, waiting to finish school, waiting for bedtime.

Things I love about traditional homeschool:

  1. I really love that the kids are learning things that I feel are important, things like math and grammar. 
  2. I love the curriculum that we are using.
  3.  I love doing group work with the kids, I love the conversations it leads to. 
  4.  I really, really like that they are learning better behavior.
  5.  I love the sense of accomplishment they get from mastering something they had struggled with.
  6.  I love the peace I feel knowing that they are learning what they need to know. 
  7. I love that my home is more peaceful.
All in all I miss the freedom of Unschooling but I don't really think it's for me. I think something in the middle works best for our family. That's where I am right now trying keep it in the middle- not too unstructured but not so rigid they lose their love of learning and hate school. I need a word for it. Halfschool? Midschool? Hmmm maybe not. Oh well, whatever it is it's working for now.

If you found this post interesting or helpful , please share it!