Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holly Jolly Christmas ~ 20 Questions

This is a little fun "video tag" that has been hopping around YouTube lately. I thought it would make a great blog post, so I stole the idea. 

I put a few of the youtube videos below where I first saw the video tags if you're interested. 

Ok, here are the questions.....

1. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's just not Christmas without It's a Wonderful Life, The Bishop's Wife and Miracle on 34th Street - all of those being the old black and white versions.

2. Are you on the Naughty list or Nice list?
Uh, please define "naughty" and "nice".  🤔  Ha Ha

3. Show us an embarrassing Christmas card photo!
I don't have time to go digging around looking for one. I'm not sure I have one. 

4. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes, when I was a kid. The older I got, the fewer they became, especially now that we live in the south. 

5. Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Since we moved down here, we usually go to my in-law's house. 

6. Play or Sing your favorite Christmas song!
This is a blog, so you're not going to hear me sing. However, Mary Did You Know is my favorite Christmas song. O Holy Night is a very very close 2nd.

You can see this post where I shared my favorite version of Mary Did You Know. Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics, Buddy Green set it to music.

7. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
We don't exchange gifts at Christmas anymore (we do that at Thanksgiving now), but when we did, we didn't open any until Christmas morning. 

8. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? 
I usually have to sing the beginning of the Rudolf song to remember them..... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Then Rudolf, of course!

9. What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?
We look forward to ringing the Salvation Army bell each year since we started volunteering a few years ago. It's so much fun to belt out Christmas carols, smile big, and spreading Christmas cheer to all the people walking by. One time, I think it was last year, I even brought out my saxophone and played carols to a karaoke CD. That was so much fun!

10. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
We don't put up a tree anymore either, but when we did, it was fake most years. I can count on one hand the number of times we went to Christmas Tree Lane back home to chop (or saw) down our own tree.

11. Hands down, what's your all-time favorite holiday food and sweet treat?
Who can decide that? It's all so good! Having these foods and treats only once a year makes them all so special. 

12. Be Honest: Do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
A few years back, I would've said receiving gifts, but I have learned to be joyful in giving. I truly enjoy giving gifts and cards.

13. Show us your tackiest Christmas attire (ex: Ugly Sweater)
I don't have one. I never have and don't plan to get one. Sorry!

14. What would your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I can't say I've ever thought about that before. My first response would be Hawaii, but now that I am thinking about it, I would have to say that I think that going to Israel during the Christmas season would be fabulous! 

I have been to Israel before and seeing all the places the Bible mentions has brought Bible reading to a whole new level. To visit all those places in Israel during the time we celebrate our Savior's birth would just be even more special!

15. Does your family have a special holiday recipe you like to help make?
No, not a specific recipe. However, we get pumpkins during the fall, usually in October, and we make our own pumpkin puree'. I look forward to making pumpkin recipes from real pumpkin during the holiday season.

16. Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?
I'm not a pro at all, but I do ok as long as the gift is a perfect box shape. I cannot do odd-shaped gifts and we won't even begin to talk about bow-making. LOL

17. Mose memorable Holiday moment?
The first year Paul and I shared Christmas together as a couple (before we were married) when I had to have help using a crow bar to get my gift from him out of a wooden crate that he made! 

18. What made you realize the truth about Santa?
I don't really remember believing in Santa. My parents never made a big deal about it. Our kids know the truth about Santa too. They don't quite know what to say when adults ask them if they're ready for Santa. I think we need to work on that.

19. Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you stick to them?
I used to make resolutions, but not anymore. I never kept them, so I stopped making them.

20. What makes the holidays special for you?
Just spending time with family and friends whom I love. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

5 Random Things ~ Christmas Edition

1. Sibling LOVE

This was part of the photo session we did for our Christmas card photo this year. With all their fussing, bickering and carrying on with each other, I am glad they really do love one another. And these pictures are the proof if they want to deny it! LOL

2. Snowman Tree
I was in my Dr.'s office recently and they had this tree on display in the waiting room. It was so stinkin' cute! 

If you don't know, I LLUUUUVV snowmen. I'm going to have to hit the store after Christmas and get one of these little table top trees (for half price!) and make a display in my house for the winter months. 

3. Ugly Sweaters
Now you can wear your ugly Christmas sweaters and eat them too!

I laughed when I saw this in the store a couple of weeks ago. I almost want to get one of these cookie kits. Let's start a new Christmas tradition! :-D

4. Upside Down Tree
My sister-in-law's fiance' put their tree upside down, attaching it to the ceiling. I'm not sure why he did that, but I think it's cool. I'm all about different.

5. What?

Can you read the words on that little manger scene? It says "Jesus is the Season... We are the reason."

I'm not sure about this one. I mean, it sounds good and all. Jesus did come to earth to die for our sins, but to say that we are the reason? Something about that just doesn't ring well with my spirit. 

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What is Copywork? How do I use it? and an Example

What is copywork and when should I implement it?

In a Charlotte Mason approach to language arts, there are 4 levels. 

First, you simply read to and expose your child to a variety of excellent literature. 

Second, you ask the child to narrate, or tell back, that which was read to him. Much more realistic than a forced list of comprehension questions, this forces the child to process his thoughts. 

The 3rd level is copywork, which is simply copying over that which is front of you. While this sounds simple, the student must pay attention to even minor details, such as punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage, mechanics, etc. This is why it is so important to choose excellent and varied material for copywork.

Dictation, the 4th level, which is implemented once a child finds copywork not much of a challenge, usually in the high school years, uses the same material, but instead of copying it over, the lesson is read aloud to the child, who must write it down directly from his processed thoughts. 

How to obtain the maximum benefit of doing copywork:
  1. Review the selection to be copied orally with your child, pausing at commas, more so at semicolons, and more finally at periods, etc.
  2. Tell the child that they may look at the selection to be copied over as many times as they wish, and make as many attempts at perfection as they need, but by the time they bring it to you to look at, all the punctuation, capitalization, etc. must be perfect, or they will have to erase the entire lesson and copy it over again the same day. 
  3. Follow through! Step #2 will take some determination with which to follow through, but it is the key to making copywork effective. Once your child has to go through this process once or twice, it is very unlikely that they will slack on this again, as they know the consequences they must face. This forces them to truly pay attention to every little detail in the material being copied. 

Adelle just finished copying a poem by Isaac Watts that was in her Copywork for Little Girls book.  She completed copying this poem in about 8 days and we then discussed what this poem meant and what Mr. Watts was saying.

                                    Against Pride in Clothes
                                    by Isaac Watts

                                    Why should our garments made to hide
                                    Our parents' shame, provoke our pride?
                                    The art of dress did ne'er begin
                                    'Til Eve, our mother, learned to sin.

                                    When first she put the covering on,
                                    Her robe of innocence was gone;
                                    And yet her children vainly boast
                                    In the sad marks of glory lost. 

                                    How proud we are, how fond to show
                                    Our clothes, and call them rich and new;
                                    When the poor sheep and silkworm wore
                                    That very clothing long before!

                                    The tulip and the butterfly
                                    Appear in gayer coats than I;
                                    Let me be dressed fine as I will,
                                    Flies, worms, and flow'rs exceed me still.

                                    Then I will set my heart to find
                                    Inward adornings of the mind;
                                    Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace,
                                    These are the robes of richest dress. 

                                    No more shall worms with me compare,
                                    This is the raiment angels wear;
                                    The Son of God, when here below,
                                    Put on this blessed apparel too.

                                    It never fades, it ne'er grows old,
                                    Nor fears the rain, nor moth, nor mold;
                                    It takes no spot, but still refines;
                                    The more 'tis worn, the more it shines. 

                                    In this on earth would I appear,
                                    Then go to heav'n and wear it there;
                                    God will approve it in His sight,
                                    'Tis His own work and His delight. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Song

By Mark Lowry

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again;
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb!

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Avoiding Homeschool Burn Out

This isn't a "how-to" post. This is an account of how I have avoided burn out this year.

So we are in our 14th week of the school year and while we haven't exactly found our "groove" yet, I have certainly figured out what is not working in our curriculum.

You can see by my extensive curriculum list that I was a little planning happy for this school year. I gave all of us an excessive amount of work. I certainly had HIGH expectations and not being realistic at all. We weren't more than 2 months in when I started to feel the affects of too much work and slowly started adjusting the load.

I started combining subjects. For example, I started counting copywork and handwriting as 2 in 1 instead of doing the two separately.

I noticed that our Bible curriculum is taking only about 3 out of 5 days to complete. Our history is completely Bible-based, so I combine Bible and History together... sort of. We complete the Bible curiculum in 3 days. On the other 2 days, we review the catechism drill, Bible memory and Hymn study right before we begin the history lessons. There is also some geography in the history textbook, so we're going to cut out geography from Easy Peasy for now. Did all of that just make sense?

We have completed only 2 lessons of our science curriculum and realized it's a LOT of handwriting, so we're going to go through a more simple science book that we just have in our home library in which Jonathan has taken a keen interest and save the Reason for Science for maybe next year when both children are ready to write that much.

I also purchased workbooks that cover language arts and math that are a year or two behind their grade levels, but the information is presented in a different way, so the kids' minds are still being worked as they review the info they already know. I use these books on days where I'm not able to teach the children their formal lessons, or if we are traveling for field trips. I am still counting these as school days.

Recently I have purchased the Life of Fred elementary set to supplement math and there are days where I count that as reading as well as math.

All of this may sound a little complicated and topsy turvy, but it has made our school days so much less stressful.

It wasn't until I was watched Just Sew Trish's avoiding homeschool burnout video when I realized that avoiding burn out is exactly what I have done. I can now stop condemning myself for not using all the curriculum I bought for this year and stop thinking that I am short-changing my children and even being lazy.

BTW, I think taking so much time off in November, which we have done, has helped to avoid burn out!

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we can completely customize our days, our schedule and our curriculum to fit our needs. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ Dec. 1, 2016

In My Life
In the past 6 months or so, I have been learning that God's grace is sufficient indeed and to trust in Him more. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus! It's true. 

In Our Homeschool
Our school work has been minimal in November since we give gifts for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. We took some time off and focused on getting those gifts prepared as we would normally do for Christmas, so there's not a whole lot to report in our homeschool except that we're back to our normal schedule and moving forward! Today is our 66th day of school. 

What's Working/Not Working
Working - I talked about implementing a new routine/schedule to help us get our work done last month.  Our new schedule/routine plan is working. I got out our "Class Schedule" poster and wrote out a daily agenda. We are getting up a little bit earlier and following the list of school work, even if we're off on the time a bit. Now I just need to get a cleaning schedule going. 

Not Working - I already know that I cannot put a new blog post out every single day, so I don't know what I was thinking when I I tried to post what we were thankful for every day last month. I have a hard enough time keeping up with this blog once a week, let alone once a day!  😂

I also have more ideas to blog about than time to actually write about, so I think I'll stop saying that I'm going to blog about this or that so as not to get hopes up just to be let down when I can't deliver. I'm sure there's a lesson in being trustworthy and promise keeping in that somewhere. What can I say? I'm sorry.

Some Changes
Menu - I'm going to have to redo my menu plans once again. I shared my Fall menu several posts back. It looked a little empty and I needed to rework it. I don't know what the problem is, but the recipes I have listed on there just aren't working for me. I haven't gone by that menu in weeks! I watched a video by Andrea Mills on Youtube where she talks about how she organizes her meal plan. She calls it The Self-Planning Menu or The Menu That Plans Itself. I love her idea and I really think it can work for me. I have everything necessary to start working on it, but it will take a little time. You're going to have to watch her video for the explanation. 

Curriculum -  The kids are in need of some help in math. We were supplementing with Easy Peasy online, but these children are getting a little too "addicted" to playing on the computer. I think EP is a great curriculum, but I'd really like to keep them off the screens as long as I possibly can. I looked at Life of Fred books again. These guys like to read (score!) and so I thought Life of Fred math books would be good for them. So, we are still using Math-U-See and now supplementing with Life of Fred instead of Easy Peasy. To top it off, I got a fabulous deal purchasing the entire elementary set from another homeschool mom. Can't beat that! 

We're Purging... Again
I am tired of junk cluttering up our home, especially if it's stuff we aren't using. Once again, we began the purging process last weekend. We started in the big storage space we rent. We made 3 piles: Keep, Donate & Garage Sale. We have so much more room in that storage when we were done... and it only took 4 hours! Maybe we can go down a size and save a little bit of money after I have a garage sale in the spring.
My hunny brought home a few more boxes from work so I can toss more stuff. Now as I clean the house daily, I can easily get rid of items that we don't need or aren't using. Again, I'll have a donate box and a garage sale box. I get the kids involved too. I have them go through their closet and take out clothes and toys they don't use and can't wear any more. 

This is quite a process, but it's so relieving when it's all done! Then we'll probably have to do it again next year.  LOL

A Restoration Project
I have several pieces of cast iron cookware that I've had for about 15 years or so. I've used them and tried to maintain them, but I've done something wrong and now they're just sitting in the cabinet and have for the last 3+ years b/c I didn't know what to do with them. Some pieces are a little rusty, some are gunky and some just make the food cooked in them taste absolutely terrible. I know that I have some very reliable and quality pots and pans here, (besides the fact that they were all gifts from my hubby) so the thought of throwing them out is not something I am willing to do. So I am beginning to try to restore them. I have spent about a week looking at youtube videos and instructional blogs to learn what to do. It's a little tricky because everyone has a different opinion about how to restore, re-season and maintain them. So, here goes the biggest experiment for me ever! I will try not to get discouraged along the way because getting that non-stick finish on cast iron takes time. I don't need new cookware, I just need to restore what I have and learn to maintain them.  

A Video/Photo/Quote to Share
"The real Gospel is not that if we follow God, we will get the desires of our heart. The real Gospel is that following Christ is about changing the desires of your heart to desire Him above all else." ~From the video below, only 10 minutes long. It's worth checking out.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ Nov. 9, 10, & 11

I am thankful for my mom and dad because....

Sugar Bear - "I am thankful for my mom and dad because they are sweet."

Little Man - "I am thankful for my mom and dad because they're the best."

Mama - "I am thankful for my parents because they taught me the value of working hard to provide for their family."

Hear my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. ~Proverbs 1:8-9

Something funny I am thankful for is....

Sugar Bear - "I'm thankful for jokes."

Little Man - "I'm thankful for my funny laugh!"

Mama - I am thankful for Paul's witty humor. He can make me laugh even when I'm sad or upset."

And whatever you do, in word of deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. ~Colossians 3:17

Plan a day to make the food you are most thankful for....

Sugar Bear - "I'm thankful for oranges."

Little Man - "I am thankful for sweet potatoes because they are sweet."

Mama - "I'm thankful for Ramen Noodles, dry beans and rice because they provide meals when our budget is extra tight." does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word 
that comes from the mouth of the Lord. ~Deuteronomy 8:3

Source: Proverbial Homemaker

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ November 7 & 8

Take a picture of something you are thankful for....

Sugar Bear - 
My toys

Little Man - 
That I am able to draw

Mama -
Our home

Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. 
~ Henry Ward Beecher

I am thankful for this fun day I remember...

Sugar Bear - "I am thankful for driving with Papa at the mall."

Little Man - "I am thankful for going to the park with Mrs. Shyna."

Mama - "The 1985 themed birthday party at Jeb and Sabrina's place several years ago. I am thankful for memories with friends."

That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, 
I will give thanks to You forever! ~Psalm 30:12

Grace Gems: My Politics!

Today's Grace Gem is perfect for this presidential election day. . . . .

My politics!
(Letters of John Newton)

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse, "The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!" Psalm 99:1

The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker--the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase. If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions. But He loves His children; some are sighing and mourning before Him, and I am sure He hears their sighs, and sees their tears. I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom; but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel--before we are humbled, and are taught to give Him the glory.

The state of the nation and the state of the churches--both are deplorable! Those who should be praying--are disputing and fighting among themselves! Alas! how many professors are more concerned for the mistakes of government--than for their own sins!

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

Monday, November 7, 2016

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ November 4, 5 & 6

I am thankful when I see...

Sugar Bear - "I am thankful when I see grass and trees."

Little Man - "I am thankful when I see Christmas trees and candy canes!"

Mama - "I am thankful when I see rainbows because they remind me of God's promises."

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ~James 1:17

Something really tiny I'm thankful for is...

Sugar Bear - "I'm thankful for tiny lizards that come into my back yard."

Little Man - "I'm thankful for Chihuahuas."

Mama - "I'm thankful for the little ants that help the flowers to bloom."

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ... ~Ephesians 5:20

Make a card to tell someone you are thankful for them...

Sugar Bear - She made a card for Papa.

Little Man - He made a card for me!

Mama - I made a card for Paul.

...I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you... ~Romans 1:8

Source: Proverbial Homemaker

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ November 3

An extended family member I am thankful for is....

Sugar Bear - "I am thankful for Grandpa Don and Grandma Ann."

Jonathan - "I am thankful for Grandpa Dwain and Grandma Georgia."

Mama - "I am thankful for my Grandma Ruth, who read the Bible to me and prayed with me every time I visited her as a child."

"A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian... 
and most of all, his family ought to know."  ~D.L. Moody

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ November 2

I went back to yesterday's post and added my response to the thankful prompt there.

Clarification: The idea of making a thankful chain is not my own. I am borrowing the concept from my friend, Heidi, who did this with her children when they were still young and living at home.  (I hope you don't mind, my friend who I miss so much!)

On to today's thankful prompt....

I am thankful for my friend, ________, because....

Sugar Bear - "I am thankful for my friends, Elijah and Luke, because they are good friends. "

Little Man - "I am thankful for my friend, Elijah, because he is a good friend."

Mama - "I am thankful for my friend, Lumba, because she is a godly woman who always speaks the truth of God's Word to me, even if it might hurt my feelings for a little bit. I am also thankful for my friend, Heather, who has a big heart and is always ready to lend me a shoulder to cry on."

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ~Romans 12:10

Source: Proverbial Homemaker

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ November 1, 2016

  • In my life... I've been seeing more of my need for the Savior these past couple of months than I have ever seen before. 
  • In our homeschool... We've been having a problem with the children playing around rather than getting any work done and everything has just been piling up. We had a talk about this and have determined together that we need an earlier bed time, an earlier rise time and a schedule to follow. We implemented the new routine last week. We're doing our best to keep up with it. I think I'm the one with the problem.  :-/
  • What's working for us... TIMERS! Timers are my friend! I have quite a few of them that I picked up from Dollar Tree. We have come to rely on them to get work done. 
  • I'm reading... My friend has so graciously loaned her book to me called Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. It's an autobiography of Mrs. Darlene's time spent as a missionary, held prisoner in a WWII Japanese camp. I'm only in 6th chapter and cannot put it down! I have become very intrigued with missionaries and their work. Sometimes I envy the faith they have to do what God has called them and their cost to follow the Lord. I even grieve because of my own lack of faith and belief. 
  • I'm thankful for... I am grateful for my husband, who is a hard worker and strives to follow the Lord. He is respectful, dependable and trustworthy. We got married very young and have gone through our share of difficulties. I can testify to the fact that hardships and struggles make you stronger and closer if you endure. 
  • A quote to share... "When...I didn't understand God's dealing with me, I prayed, 'Be patient, Father. Forgive my tears and whimperings. Just let me feel Your arms of love about me, then my heart shall understand. I shall stop my questioning and know that You mean it unto good.'" ~Darlene Deibler Rose

Give Thanks to the Lord ~ November 1

In honor of Thanksgiving, we are going to be intentionally thankful this month. We have a calendar of thankful prompts from Proverbial Homemaker to help get us started for each day of November. We'll write those on strips of construction paper to make a thankful chain. Each time we come to the table for a meal, we'll take another strip of paper and write down what we are thankful for. We'll add these strips to the chain every day.

Let the gratitude begin!

Today, I can show I am thankful by....

Sugar Bear - ..."obeying Mama."

Little Man - ..."taking care of my toys."

Mama - "being a good steward of my time by not wasting time being idle."

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 105:1

Source: Thanksgiving Gratitude Calendar

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Three Brothers

Can't, Won't, and Try
~Author Unknown 

There was once a poor man who had three boys, named Can't, Won't, and Try. They were very different from one another, and you would not have thought that they were brothers. 

Can't was a very lazy boy, and a great coward. He was afraid to jump across a ditch, for fear he should tumble in. He was afraid to climb a tree, for fear he should fall down. 

When asked to do anything, Can't was sure to say he could not do it, although perhaps he had never tried. It was just the same at school or in the playground. If he was asked a question, he would say, "I don't know." If he had to learn a lesson, he would say, "I can't do it."

Won't was not lazy, and he was not stupid; but he had a bad temper, and was very stubborn. If he had made up his mind not to do a thing, nothing could make him do it.  

If Won't was cross, his school-mates could not get him to play, no matter how much they begged him.  If he wanted to play, he would not learn his lessons, even though he was sure to be punished for not knowing them.   

He was not good at a game, because he wanted to have his own way in everything; and he did not succeed in his studies, because he would not do what he was told. In fact, nobody liked him, on account of his bad temper and his stubborn ways.

Try was a very little fellow and the youngest of all the three. But he had a brave heart, even if he was little; and he was always ready to do what his parents and teachers told him. 

If Try was asked whether he could do any very hard thing, he would say, "I don't know whether I can do it, but I will try." Sometimes he would fail, but almost always he was able to do what he tried to do.

Once he tried to jump across a brook, but it was so wide that little Try fell into the water. Still, he did not cry. He made up his mind that, when he was a little older, he would try again; and before long he could jump over the brook in its widest place. 

When Try first went to school, hi teacher said, "Can you read." "No, sir," said he, "but I will try to learn." "That is all I ask," said the teacher: "I want boys in my school who will try to learn."

In a few months Try was at the head of his class, Can't was still at the foot of his, and Won't had gone down tot he foot of his.

Which do you think was the happiest of the three?

All three are grown men now. Can't is servant to a master named Must; Won't is a soldier under Captain Shall; and Try is a partner in the great firm of Success & Co.

Taken from Path's to Adventure, A Beka Book's 3rd grade reading program.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #4: Homeschool Emergency Plan

VHC Assignment #4: What is your homeschool disaster plan?

This will be pretty short because I have not thought of having an emergency plan in place as far as homeschool is concerned. 

1. Do you have a 72-hour kit that is your go to homeschool supplies?
I don't exactly have a kit prepared, but our school/office supplies are organized in plastic drawers and baskets, so if I had to grab and go I could easily grab them and those are the supplies I'd want to save. They contain pencils, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors and dry erase markers, pens, highlighters, paper clips, stapler and staples. I'd also grab the Math-U-See blocks that sit on top of one of the sets of plastic drawers.

2. What are the natural disasters that you prepare for?
The only disaster I've ever thought to plan for is tornado. The kids know to grab their pillows and hit the hallway closet should we ever need to take cover. I've not thought of any other disasters to prepare for. 

3. Do you have a kit that lets them work to keep the feeling normal?
I do not, but this is something to think about for future reference.  :-)

4. What are your most loved and faithful books that are your treasures that you feel you cannot loose?
I would hate to lose any of our books, the book-lover that I am! However, there are a few that I would need to save. I would hate to lose the few Christian Heroes: Then and Now books that I have collected. I would not like to lose our Millers Series books nor the dictionaries and encyclopedia sets we have. Above all those, the books I'd save first are the old hymnals we have and my study Bible. 

Thank you VHC for these questions b/c this is now on my mind to think about and put an emergency plan in place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #3: Our Reading List

VHC's 3rd assignment is about our homeschool reading list. 

  • How and where do you get your list? 
  • How big is your list? 
  • How do you assign reading? 
  • Do you give rewards or incentives for reading?
  • Do you quiz for comprehension?
  • What is your intent or goal that you use your reading list to accomplish?

So, before I saw this question on VHC, I can't say that I actually intentionally thought of the phrase "book list". However, I guess we do use one of those. 

In the past, I have used "boxed curriculum", so I just used whatever books they suggested or the books that came with the set. Then I just used the books however the curriculum told me to. 

Yeah, I'm that homeschool mom. I don't always know how to think outside the box. :-P

Anyway. Here is what our reading has looked like in the past:

Our K5 curriculum came with little readers that were meant to aid in the process of learning to read.

In 1st grade, we changed our boxed curriculum and my children read stories from a Bible Reader, which was on the 1st grade level and served the purpose of not only aiding in learning to read, but also for my children to begin to know what the Bible says. There was a certain story assigned to read about 2-3 days per week. 

Our 2nd grade kit came with a set of readers. We're still learning to read in 2nd grade, so the readers were for that purpose, but these stories began to instill character concepts, which I like. There were a certain number of pages to be read twice a day.
Last year, we used a "Book Basket" where we filled a basket, or crate, with books of the topic we were studying. Those books came from the library and/or books we already had and they changed every 1-2 weeks. We set aside a predetermined amount of time during the day for reading with no particular number of pages to read. I also had the kids pick a book to read aloud to me every couple of days and I asked them questions to check for comprehension.

We also began to use read alouds last year. This was a set that came with our curriculum and the books coordinated either with the era of history we were studying or with the Bible theme. We generally read 1 chapter per day, but if the chapter was a bit longer, we'd take 2 days to cover a chapter. The kids really have enjoyed using read alouds. 

Now to this school year:

I have some curriculum readers that I had previously purchased from other homeschool moms that we hadn't used yet. So, I decided to use them for our reading list this year. 

For Adelle, we have begun this school year with a set of  A Beka Book readers from their 3rd grade level. She can read these pretty well, but it hasn't hurt at all for her to read on a level that is a little bit below her ability. It's actually encouraging for her. Then she'll move on to the 4th grade readers. There are questions at the end of each story to check for comprehension and for thinking skills to be built. Building character has become a big deal for me and these readers cover various quality character concepts so I am happy about that. 

Jonathan is using Horizons 2nd grade reader set that consists of 2 books. In the 1st reader, he is reading through Robinson Crusoe that has been rewritten for a 2nd grade level. There aren't any given comprehension questions, so I'll occasionally ask a few questions here and there. He'll move on to the 2nd reader and then I don't know from there. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I also plan to begin assigning book reports about halfway through this school year. I haven't decided how to do that yet, but I realized that it would be good practice for them to relay back what they have read in that type of format, just for the purpose of critical thinking. Jonathan's will probably be done orally as he is having a difficult time with his handwriting this year. And I must mention that I found these simple formats - for free! - that will be a great beginning for us from Beth Gorden over at 123 Homeschool 4 Me. 

For our read alouds this year, we are reading through the Millers series books, which are for the purpose of character building.

I have also just discovered Lamplighter books and I would love to begin building up a library of those. They are most excellent! 

I must say that I am so blessed that my children love diving into books. I usually find them reading when the house has become too quiet and I go investigate. I'll also find them hiding with a book when they're supposed to be doing some chores. Can I really complain about that? 

Paul and I like books ourselves so the kids come by it naturally. We have books all over the house. You'll find books on our school shelf, in crates in our make-shift shelving in the dining/school room, on shelves in Adelle's room, on a shelf and in boxes in mine and Paul's bedroom and soon-to-be in Jonathan's room when we get a shelf in there.

I haven't had to use any incentives or rewards to get my kids to read. We are book-loving people. What can I say?

Friday, October 14, 2016

The State Fair

We look forward to the state fair every year in October.

There are lots of carnival rides and games to enjoy. There are numerous concession stands to choose from, including several restaurants (mostly the big chain restaurants), not to mention all the deep fried food you can imagine: green beans, mac-n-cheese, Oreo cookies, Twinkies, cheesecakes, etc....

Fried Oreo cookies

For fun, the kids enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides, pig races and one or two carnival rides (we don't do too many of those). 

Our view from the ferris wheel
Pig Race

But the fair is not only about food and fun. There a lots of learning opportunities also. 

We thoroughly enjoy walking through the barns to watch the cattle judging shows and all the other animal judging. We get to view all the different types of chickens, hens and roosters there actually are. Same goes for pigs, sheep and goats. Last year, we walked through the hens and roosters just as the judge was looking at each bird. I didn't get any pics from that experience, but it was very interesting to watch him handle each hen. One of them clucked loudly as the judge picked her up. She seemed to be saying, "OW! OW!" It was funny.

Poultry Judging

In the past, we have also enjoyed watching horse & mule pulls as well as the tractor pulls. We were sad to learn that neither one of those competitions were going to be at this year's fair.  :-(

Horse pulls

Last year, I discovered the stock dog trials. I don't know if they had been there before, but we wanted to check them out. Have you ever seen the movie Babe? That's what stock dog trials are, except, I don't think anyone has a sheep pig to talk to the sheep thus convincing them to move through each gate and then to the pin. Anyway, I took the kids during the free parking and admission time to watch them.  Very interesting.

Stock Dog Trials

You know the kids can watch only so much of those trials before they become restless. So we headed out to walk through the children's barns to take a look at the other animals and judgings. Um... we didn't find any! 

WHAT?!?  Wrong day?

BUT we did find some activities in one of the children's barnyard. There was a little set up called FARMtastic. There were several little learning stations: a worm dig, an apple-picking tree, a soy bean dig, a bin of plants, and a few others. There was a tub full of free things to take home: pumpkin seeds, color-changing water bottle, and a draw-string bag.


There were also a few animals, but I didn't get pics of those this time. However, we did learn a bit about how the chicks grow inside the egg. 

This is such the nutshell version of the excitement, wonder and fun we have at the state fair. I'm afraid if I tried to share every detail, you'd be reading this post until next Friday! LOL

Spending time at the fair is exhausting, but fun and educational. Sometimes we leave the fairgrounds completely out of our minds! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Random Things ~ Traveling, Menu, Library, a Door Hanger and Homeschooling Anywhere

1. World Travel
Trying to use chopsticks
One of the subgroups in our large homeschool group that covers our entire metro area has organized a co-op this semester. They offered a pretty wide range of classes and we were to pick 2; I chose World Travel for one of our classes. 

So far, we've been to Egypt, France and Japan. The kids are really enjoying this class and the volunteers who have made presentations about these countries have done a super job.

2. Fall Menu
This is my fall menu. It looks pretty poor, eh? I need to revamp it a bit, adding more selections. I certainly need to get more crock pot recipes as our schedule is pretty busy this year, especially Mondays - Wednesdays.  Oh, I also have at least one dinner plan on there twice! LOL

3. Library
The stories for this day were about
autumn and leaves. 
We still go to the library for story time about every other week and there's usually a simple art project to go with the stories that were read that day. These guys still enjoy participating, so I guess we'll continue to attend as long as our schedule allows.

4. Pumpkin Door Hanger
Piano teacher's pumpkin
My pumpkin
I was inspired by the burlap pumpkin hanging on our piano teacher's front door. So I made my own pumpkin door hanger. I had just enough burlap left in my stash to make the one for our kitchen door that opens into the garage (which serves as our main entrance). I think I need to add some leaves.

The kids wanted to make pumpkins too, so I let them make hangers for their bedroom doors out of brown packing paper. I plan to post a tutorial of how they made them soon.  :-)

5. Homeschool Anywhere
I am glad we can take homeschool with us anywhere. Here, Little Man is hanging out on the piano teacher's front porch finishing up school work for the day. There's nothing better than being able to complete school work outdoors.

This school year has been pretty interesting so far.