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Monday, July 18, 2016

5 Top Reasons Why You Couldn't Possibly Teach Your Own Children at Home

Warning:  This blog post is filled with Sarcasm!  Reading beyond this point could make you laugh, cry or get angry!  Read at your own risk!

5 top reasons why you couldn't possibly teach your own high school children at home.

#1.  You'd have to put together a plan.  An educational plan.  A plan to educate.  At home.  Your children.   Hmmmmm, I bet you organize and have a plan now right, you just don't realize it.  Your current plan includes taking them to soccer, baseball, basketball, whatever activity they are in, right?  You probably also help them with their homework or school schedules?   Let's see, you did teach them to use the bathroom right?  You did teach them to feed themselves?  How did you manage that?  All by yourself?  Wow.  Impressive.  How did you find the time?  

#2.  You have to keep them on the right track.  Forget it, too much work.  Really, you have to make sure he/she completes the work given each week.  No can do. 

#3.  You would have to teach them the basic life skills yourself.  Yikes!  That means balancing a checkbook, banking, how interest works, how to pay household bills on time, and how to be responsible!  No way.

#4.  You would have to give them a diploma!  EEEEKKKK!  You would actually have to order a nice diploma online that comes in a nice case, all printed out with YOU under the educators signature!  Holy cow.

#5.  You would have to hear all the negative homeschool comments from your friends an neighbors on how you have become one of 'those weird homeschool families'.  Talk about pressure!  

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So as you can see, you couldn't possibly do it: teach your children at home.  So forget about it.  It would be too hard.  Go ahead and send them to the government run schools so they can teach them what you don't want them to learn and expose them to things they will never find beneficial in life.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Loop Scheduling? What's that?

I've about to start my 13'th year of homeschooling and I just heard about Loop Scheduling.  What is Loop Scheduling?  Good question. But first let's have a chat.

Your weekly schedule isn't getting completed?  You ask yourself, why do I put together a schedule and then not stick to it?  Why in the world do I do this to myself?  Maybe I'm asking too much out of my children.  I work so hard to put together a weekly, monthly and / or yearly schedule and then I don't stick to it or don't get everything finished? When IS the last time we did science anyway?  

Does any of this sound familiar?  It does to me.  I try to have a weekly plan in my head, get it down on my lesson plans and then we don't accomplish it so I erase and basically write in what we did.  So instead of a 'lesson plan', I should call it a 'what we accomplished this week' log.  lol.  

Well, Loop Scheduling can help.  This is what a Loop Schedule looks like:

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(Sorry about the quality of the ink.  My printer was on the fritz when I printed this.)

So, on the top I have written down what I want my son to accomplish on a daily basis.  So Math & Unschooling Journal are the only two things that he must do daily.  Now down below, on my Loop schedule, is what I need his accomplish with no time frame.  For example, we will on Monday, start at the top of my Loop.  Map / Geography is first, so we will (after his daily work is finished), start on this subject.  He will work for 45 minutes (or whatever time frame you choose for your child).  When that time is up, he will go to the next on the list which is science.  Now, if he doesn't have time for science, he will start there on Tuesday.  So if Tuesday morning comes and we have to be away from the home and he doesn't get to science, it's ok.  He will start on it the next available day.  The goal is to make it through the entire Loop.  Once you made it through, you start from the top and repeat.  

I chose to use this because I had our weekly schedule as Monday and Wednesday science and then Tues. and Thursday for history.  Well, if our homeschool group has a co-op or event on the next 3 Tuesdays, we will be getting behind in history and not where I want to be as far as his accomplishments.  

Let's face it, life gets in the way.  Last year we went a whole entire month without doing any history.  Every day I had it scheduled, something came up and we didn't get to it.  With this Loop Schedule, you will ALWAYS get it.  You won't miss out on any subject.

I found this Loop schedule idea from a homeschool mom, Sarah Mackenzie.  She has a web site with the idea and how she uses it in her life.  She also has a Quickstart Guide to Loop Scheduling on Youtube that you can watch.  It shows you in detail on how to create your own. 

The great thing about this Loop Schedule is that you will never forget about something as long as it's on that Loop and you can add, remove or tweak it anytime.  One of the recommendations she makes is not to put too many on the Loop when you start.  You don't want 10 items on the Loop because it will overwhelm you and you will feel like you'll never get through the Loop.

As you can see, I only have 4 things on my Loop. (Note:  Our history is in our unschooling journal.)

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I laminated this so my son could make a check mark next to the finished subjects in the Loop.  He will know exactly where to start the next day.  Once he is through the Loop, he'll erase those checks and start over the next day.  I also put it on a clip board so it will be easy assess for him and won't be misplaced.

So there you have it, Loop Scheduling.  You can use this for Looping your housework as well.  You can Loop just about anything in your schedule to make sure things get done.  

Pretty cool hey?  


Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Science Handbook and Portfolio, The Thinking Tree

The Thinking Tree's Science Handbook and Portfolio can be found for purchase on Amazon.  The book is now on sale for $18.45, but hurry.  This sale will be ending tomorrow (I believe).  The regular price for this journal is $34.50 so hurry!  This book is for all ages.

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I was introducted to the The Thinking Tree books & Journals a few months ago and I was totally impressed.  I was recently given the opportunity to review the Science Handbook and Portfolio journal.  This book/journal is new from the author Sarah Janisse Brown. 

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The book/journal contains 199 pages.  

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The first page opens up the child to learn about what he or she wants to learn about science.  They write down 5 things they want to learn about.

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They go to the library (or bookstore) and bring home a stack of books on topics that they chose to learn about.  It instructs them to watch tutorials and do their own research and experiments.  I think this is great!  With the internet booming the way it is, my son loves to get on youtube and look for stuff that interests him or find videos to help solve something he's been working on.  Whether it is a video game he needs help with or how to help his poison oak, youtube is where to find it.  (Yes, he really did research the poison oak.)  So having the kids self direct is a wonderful idea!

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 There is also a place to list the books they chose, like the other journals have.  It also has a place to put science tools that they will use.

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The next section is for research & reading time.  They list the name of the book, the topic, date, chapter, page number and title.  This is great because some may only use a certain chapter of a book and not use the entire book.  There is a place to the right of this page to draw pictures and/or make notes as well.  There are several of these pages.

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The next section is for the experiments, observation and discoveries.

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They can tape or draw their experiments here.  You could even tape a picture of the experiment here if you'd like.

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This next section is pure genius in my opinion!  The biography of a scientist page is a great way to get your kids to not only learn the scientific concept and do the experiment, but it's purpose is to learn about the scientist himself (or herself)!  Maybe his/her life, history, hometown, parents, etc.  

Then there is a section called science stories.  This is a creative writing page.  They can imagine discovering or inventing something, then write and draw about it.

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Next brings us to the Who? What? When? How? pages.  The kids can decide who to study and answer these questions.  There is a page to the right of this for drawings, photos and images as well.

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 photo 20160711_133752.jpgThat brings us to the vocabulary and spelling section.  The child must look up and define 5 words, then choose 10 spelling words related to science.  This is so creative!  This makes the child think instead of just copying or writing 10 spelling words that don't pertain to anything in discussion or topic for the day.

This next one is my favorite.  It's the science films and tutorials page.  We use Netflix quite a bit in our homeschool.  My son is more attentive if he's listening or watching something rather than reading himself.  This will be great for those documentaries!

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Next section is about science projects.  There are pages where the child can list the projects they have completed and a list the materials used, results and add photos, drawings, etc.

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Records keeping, charts & graphs is in the next section of this book/journal.  Great place for young scientist to document the great experiments they are doing and/or data they are collecting!

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Here is a research, essay and creative writing section.  There are several pages of these in here with different pictures for creativity.

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Some are 1/2 page with a picture and a box below to draw in.  Some are full picture on one side and to the right is a place for writing.  There are several of them though.  There is a place to write a title and date on each.

The next section of this journal is a list of the Periodic Table of Elements.

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And how great is this?  They can make up their own Periodic Table of Elements!  There are several of these for the kids to be creative.  

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The last section of this book has a place to list/draw extra books that you are reading or using with this journal.  

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These book/journals from The Thinking Tree and pure genius. They let the child be creative and learn about what they want to. 

One of the many many reasons why we homeschool is so we can be creative and learn about the things that interest us and do so outside the box.  Let's face it, kids get bored sitting at a desk, reading a lesson and answering questions about what they have read.  This brings that explosive imagination that is inside of them to life!  

Our homeschool year doesn't start up until after Labor Day, but I just know that my 13 yr. old son will love this!  We are using other Sarah Janisse Brown funschooling journals this fall as well.  

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Here (to the right) is my collection of fun schooling journals.  I just started and I expect my small pile to grow!  The next book on my list to purchase is Picturing the Past.  It is a book full of paintings to learn about and their creators.  I can't wait!  To see a list of her funschooling books, just click on my picture.

Sarah Janisse Brown also chooses a book to go on sale for a few days.  Not just a tiny 10% off, but really on sale!  For example, this book, Science Handbook and Portfolio, is one of those on sale now for $18.45 from $34.50!!  That is some savings!  

There are over 200 funschooling books offered for ages 3 -adult. They have math, spelling, devotionals and even mom journals! 

The web site is

Click HERE to learn a little about the author, Sarah Janisse Brown, read her blog, and see some of her funschooling journals.  Her blog is filled with their homeschooling experience and life story which is amazing!

So bottom line, I give this book a 2 thumbs up, 5 stars, A+ and highly recommended for all ages!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I Failed at Growing out my Pixie

I did it.  I failed.  I got my hair cut.  I couldn't stand the humidity and curls.  I was wearing a bandanna in my hair every day!  So I decided to get it cut.  This is what I chose.

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Cute right?  Sassy, wispy, not too short, shaggy.  I showed the stylist what I wanted, discuss the 'wispiness' in the picture and well, this is what I got.

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Now, the lady did a nice job on the cut............ but it isn't the cut or style I wanted, or asked for.  Really, does it even look like the picture at all?  Where is the wispy, sassy pieces?  And where is the back? Anyway, I'm not mad, just disappointed because I didn't get what I ask for.  I wasn't expecting miracles or too resemble Sharon Stone in any way, shape or form.  But I did expect it to be similar in some way!

Sigh.  So I'm back to square one.  On the flip side, I do love a pixie cut on me.  It's easy, fun and cool for the summer.  I don't know if I really want to grow my hair out long anymore, but I still do want to aim for the Sharon Stone style above.  Shouldn't take too long to grow out.

So if you are growing out your pixie, STAY STRONG and don't let anyone give you a hair cut.  lol.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Whole New Outlook on my Homeschool

Wow.  Just wow.  I've been homeschooling for 12 years and I have a whole new outlook on how I will be homeschooling my son this year and future years.

This past month, I was introduced to Sarah Janisse Brown and her company called The Thinking Tree.  She has several books, and several of them are set up as journals.  Sarah learned that she has Dyslexia later in life although she always knew that she wasn't like other children in school.  From early on, she recognized her creative ability and talked her mother into homeschooling her.  In her book Life, Love & Dyslexia, she tells her story and explains how God had a plan for her and her family right from the beginning. 

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This 294 page paperback is filled with encouragement, God's plan for her, and how she became a writer of these amazing books!  One of my favorite parts of this book is how she (after convincing her mom to hs her) would go to her little house in the woods, that she built herself, and do her schooling.  She would spend all day out there, alone in the woods.  She claimed to be free from all the nonsense that she experienced in public schools.  She says that when she would sit inside a classroom (in public school) that all she could think about was being outside, in the sun, painting or drawing whatever she wanted.   See, we contain our children (yes, even us homeschool mothers) in a confined area and do 'school' daily.  Why not let the children do what they love everyday!  

She has created books called Fun-Schooling Books for those who have Dyslexia to help them learn.  Did I mention that she is a homeschooling mom of ten children?  In these fun schooling books she has such creative ways  for children to learn.  The day dreamers or slackers out there are ready to get out of their shell!  We just need to give them the opportunity to do so!  Every homeschooling mom needs to read her book Life, Love & Dyslexia.  Whether your child is dyslexic or not, it will change your whole outlook on home education!

Here are a few of my favorite Fun-Schooling Journals.  I have a running list of ones to buy for our school year.

Picturing the Past

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Journal & Delight Directed Learning Handbook

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Christian Families Homeschooling Curriculum Delight Directed Learning Guide

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There are so many to chose from.  I read somewhere that she has over 200 books just like these listed above. Check them out on Amazon!

Sarah Janisse Brown also has a blog -

I thought I had my curriculum choices ready for this fall until I found these books.  I now will be using these for my homeschool!  

Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why we chose to homeschool & how you can too

I hear mom's say to me quite often how they wish they could homeschool their children.  I ask them why they don't and I get several different answers, but the two most popular answers I get are "I don't have the patience" and "I can't because I work for time".  So I will explain my opinion on each answer and then I will tell you why we chose to homeschool.

#1 -  "I don't have the patience"

Please don't think that I have patience with my children.  I pray almost daily for patience.  You teach your children everyday while you are home with them in the evening, after school.  Do you have patience with them then?  Some nights, maybe not.  But no one, including me, claimed that homeschool moms have patience with their children.  

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There have been several days where I have locked myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes crying and praying for the Lord to help me and give me patience and I will be starting my 13'th year of homeschooling this fall!  It's not easy, but I will tell you that it is worth it!  So don't let patience but an excuse.  You can do it and you will find me.

#2 - "I can't because I work for time"

There are several moms that work and homeschool.  I'm sure Youtube is loaded with videos on this.  However, being a homeschool mom isn't just teaching, it's delegating and felicitating.
If you have older children (that can stay home alone), you can have lesson plans all ready for them.  Explain how and what is expected of them; meaning they need to finish their work by a certain time.  If they do, give them rewards; if not, punishments.  As far as younger children go, you can do the same but have someone else stay with them during the day.  Grandma's are great for this!  Also, another homeschool mom may be willing to do this as well.  (It is legal to have someone else homeschool your children.  Just keep in mind that you are still responsible to follow all your state laws.)  

Another thought, if you truly, seriously want to homeschool your child, find a way.  Can you work from home?  Night shift?  You can always homeschool on your day's off.  In our state of WV (under the Notice Option), there are no set days or hours on which you need to homeschool.  You can homeschool 2 or 3 days a week all year around if you want.

Now, why we chose to homeschool.  There are several reasons. The first reason was because I believe the Lord instructed me to do so.  Other reasons include:  I want to be with them, I want to teach them in the way they learn (no every student learns the same way), I want learning to be fun, I want them to learn things from a Christian point of view, I want to teach them Creation not evolution, I want to chose what they learn, I don't want negative influences and peer pressure to be an issue, I want to be able to chose the environment they learn in and who they socialize with, etc.  As you can see there are several reasons why we chose to homeschool and many people have different reasons.   

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Choosing to control their environment, influences and social atmosphere is my job and responsibility.  Call me a controlling, over protective or a "helicopter" mom.  I don't care.  I made some bad choices in my younger years (just like everyone else) and I if I shelter my children from unGodly influences, they will be free to make better choices than I did or just better choices in general.  My job is to raise my children to be responsible, caring adults and support themselves and their families.  

Something I hear and read often is that homeschoolers won't be able to function and socialize in the real world as adults.  I find this both very amusing and utterly ridiculas.  If sitting behind a desk with other peers within your own age all day in a classroom is the real world, then I must have missed that boat because the real world I live in I socialize with people of all ages daily, and it's not in a confined environment with limitations on what I can say and do.  My children can hold entire conversations with other children, adults and groups.  They know how to behave in public.  They are respectful and kind.  I've seen them help strangers load groceries in their cars when needed, help a stranger clean up a mess in a food isle at a store, etc.  They function and socialize very well in public.  Have you ever heard the line, "It takes a village to raise a child"?  (I absolutely cannot stand that saying by the way.)  My response is, "Yes, I've seen the village and I'll raise my own child, thanks anyway".  

So for whatever reason why you are telling yourself that you can't  homeschool........ think about it.  Think about what you want for your children.  If you decide to keep them in public school, private school, virtual school, etc. that is your choice.  You are the parent.  Just please don't let an excuse hold you back from something that will change you and your child's future forever.  Homeschooling is great.  If you are willing to take charge of your children's education, it's totally worth it!

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Curriculum picks for 2016 - 2017 school year, 8'th grade

I thought I'd share my curriculum picks for this coming homeschool year.  However, I am still undecided on a few but this is what I have so far.  (Click on all the pics to take you to a website to purchase or find more info. out about them.)

Math -  

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At this time (8'th grade) my husband and I decided that we aren't going to teach Algebra.   I know, some of you are like "WHAT????".  Take a minute to think about that for a minute. When is the last time you used Algebra in your life?  Really.  If he decides to go to college, he'll learn it.  ;)   I didn't learn how to balance a check book, pay bills or learn anything about interest in the public school system.  Why is that?  I do know that they teach high school students on how to attempt to beat the interest on credit cards.  (Ya, sore subject for another day.)  Anyway, this is what we feel that B will apply in his life more than Algebra.  


A Reason For Science - Level H

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This science has colorful pages that will keep B's interest.  He isn't the type of student to read and answer questions.  Lets face it, that's boring anyway!  This is hands-on science with cool worksheet pages.  (You can also buy the experiment kit as well that contains all experiment supplies.)

History -

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Rush Revere!

B started this book right at the end of this past school year.  We will continue reading it and then through the series next school year. (Click on the book to take you to the website with the whole series and more info.)  He loves it!  It's funny, quirky,and keeps him in suspense waiting to see what happens in the next chapter!  Not your typical Pilgrim story.  ;)  I plan to add a Geography / map workbooks and read/learn about our Constitution more this year as well.

Bible / Reading / Character Development -

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The Purpose Driven Life by:  Rick Warren

This is great!  Can't wait to start this devotional book.  Has scripture and 365 devotionals.  

Language Arts -

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This one was tough.  I really like the Easy Grammar series, but this was so inexpensive, I couldn't pass it up.  Grammar at this point in our education plan is just to keep the basic grammar sharp in the mind.  ;)

Writing - 

We may continue 'Excellent in Writing' next year, however, I am thinking of going back to my old school method of free writing.  I had the older boys (when they were younger) write a story.  I begin with writing a few sentences.  Then hand the notebook to them so they can add 5-7 more sentences.  This goes on daily throughout the year, passing back and forth.  But then I found this......

Funschooling Books by The Thinking Tree!

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There are several types of these fun journal workbooks for ages 3-17! (Click on the pic above and it will take you to their website with tons of books and Dyslexia games and curriculum!)  This one above is more like a portfolio, but not your typical portfolio.  It lets the kids be creative and tell what they did throughout the school year!  This is a great alternative to those who put together a hand made portfolio every year.  They also have planners for homeschool moms.  So cool!

Spelling -

We will continue (and even through high school) with Spelling Power.

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So that is the game plan for this fall.  I may switch it up a bit.  I still have this on my mind, but it is expensive.

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One of the best things about homeschooling is that if you find something isn't working, ditch it, sell it, change it up!  I remember one year we changed my middle sons math 3 times in one year!  He went on to college and scored a 97% in Algebra his freshman year. So it pays to find what works for your child.  Most of the things I buy, can be resold on ebay or to fellow homeschoolers too. 

Our goal for our children is .........

#1  Love the Lord
#2  Be able to support yourself
#3  Be able to support your family
#4  Be happy in the career your choose for yourself 

So Happy Homeschooling & remember, BE CREATIVE AND LOOK FOR CURRICULUM OUT OF THE BOX!  Besides, homeschoolers can learn about anything they want! 

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