Fight like a girl

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013!

Hope everyone has a healthy, happy and safe New Year!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

God called me to homeschool, but the court was going to tell me NO !!!

I wanted to tell my story of how God not only called me to homeschool, but how he changed the heart of a man who was dragging me through the mud!

Here is my homeschooling story:

When God called me to homeschool I was excited, but so terrified!

My youngest was only a few months old, my middle son was 5 (still in Pre-K) and my oldest was just starting 3'rd grade in a Christian private school located in our church.   I felt that God told me to start homeschooling.  I started by going to a local homeschool meeting and I was hooked!  This was going to be awesome, but so terrifying at the same time.

I first talked this over with my husband and at that time we needed to decide if I was going to go back to work or just going to stay home.  Like I mentioned, my youngest son was only a few months old and I had been on bedrest since the 24'th week of my pregnancy, so my maternity leave was over with before our son was even born and we were already surviving on one income.  So we weighed out the costs of a babysitter, gas to work and back, the stress of working and having three young boys to raise and of course our private Christian school the two older boys were attending was NOT cheap so it was a no brainer.  So my journey began.

The principle at our Christian school, who was also our pastor's wife, was not amused at the notice of our homeschooling.  My friends and some relatives thought we were out of our minds.  The most famous line was getting thrown at me from several angles, "What about their socialization?".  That gets really old.  But guess what?  I didn't have all the answers and that was terrifying!  But I knew that the Lord told me to homeschool my children so I didn't have to have all the answers.

Then we had a court issue with our homeschooling with my ex-husband.  When I first discussed the homeschooling with my ex husband, he forbid me to homeschool our son.....even if our son wasn't the legal school age yet!  Remember, he was only 5 and the Compulsory Attendance Ages in Florida were 6 - 16 at that time.  So my ex husband took me before the judge.  Well, the judge was clearly not educated on the homeschooling issue and definitely NOT homeschool friendly and he was on the verge of forcing my son back to the private school or the local public school.  I was so frustrated.

But then one Sunday, I went to the altar in our church (during service).  I gave it all to the Lord.  I remember praying, "God, you told me to do this.  I obeyed.  But I cannot fight in court anymore, and I cannot convince this judge or my ex husband to let me homeschool so if you want me to do this, you must work it out.  I am giving it to you."  This was so hard.  Hard to give it all to Jesus and tell him that I was defeated and I couldn't fight anymore.  The Lord reminded me that I didn't have to fight.  If HE wanted me to homeschool, he'll make it happen.

Well, two days later, the phone rang.   My ex husband had changed his mind.  He was dropping all the court proceedings and was giving me permission to homeschool!  This was a man who drug me through court hearing after court hearing and even threatened to file for custody!  Over the previous few months, I had to provide the court and my ex husband ALL of my sons work that he had done at home, while homeschooling two boys and taking care of a newborn.  It was exhausting!  My ex husband did not give me a reason for changing his mind and I never asked; I knew that the Lord changed his heart and mind!  So when that phone call came, that my friend, was the LORD!

So you see, if the Lord calls you to do something and it seems too much or impossible, think again.  If he calls you to something, he has already worked it out.  Nothing is too great or too small for God.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, 
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Homeschooling life is much better now.  My boys are now 9, 14 and 16 yrs. old.  I will never doubt the plan that the Lord has for us.  I will also never regret our long struggling journey with our homeschooling adventure.  

Oh, and just last month my ex husband told me that I was doing a great job homeschooling our son!  God is good.....yes, all the time.

So be encouraged!  
God has a plan for you and it's better than you can ever imagine!

Monday, December 24, 2012

I'm so tired! Cookies, malls, card games....oh my!

First, I have to mention that this blog is a bit weak tonight.  I am sooo tired! ;)

Well, it's Christmas Eve and what a great Christmas we had.  Yes, had.  I have to explain....... my parents just left today to head back home to Michigan.  They came on Friday and stayed the weekend so we had our Christmas on Saturday. 

The first thing I think about when I think of Christmas is FAMILY.  We may not be able to all get together some holidays and Christmas is one of those we don't get to see our extended family most of the time being that we (my family) is out of state.  So this year, when my parents came to our home in West Virginia, it was all about family!  Yes, our Lord Jesus is a huge part of our family.  He is the reason for this wonderful holiday season.  We thank him for our family, friends, food, gifts, warm home, and love.

My mom and I both got our ears pierced as our Christmas to each other.  She got her second holes done and I got second and third holes done.  It was fun watching each other react to the piercing, lol.  Then we went to the Mall, just the two of us.  We just window shopped, (because we already had our Christmas) but we had a great time! 

COOKIES, COOKIES, COOKIES!  We ate so many homemade Christmas cookies, pies, brownies, food!  I definitely must cut back after this holiday season!  I will have to work extra hard to lose the few pounds (that feel like 10!) that I put on, lol. 

My family (parents & siblings) are HUGE card players!  We played hours of 'Hand & Foot' (card game) over the weekend.  It's a great time to chat, laugh and just plain be together!

So, being Christmas Eve and our Christmas is done, it feels a bit weird.  But, maybe we'll catch a movie tomorrow?  Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homeschool through Christmas......FUN style!

Homeschooling over Christmas break can be stressful.  But not if you put your books away!  ;)  Make homeschooling FUN over Christmas break.

Our homeschooling schedule over Christmas break is as follows:
This week we are taking off Friday because our local church is doing something with the youth.  Next week we are taking off all week.  The following week I plan to take off Monday & Tuesday (Dec. 31'st & Jan. 1'st).  This doesn't mean that we will not be doing any schooling though.  The kids will be baking with me, hanging Christmas cards that we get in the mail, decorating, wrapping presents, checking in on elderly neighbors, etc. 

Also, my 14 yr. old loves to read.  So I plan to document what he reads over Christmas break!  Also any Christmas books that younger children can read would be great!

Are your children going to be watching any Christmas movies?  If they are educational, document them!  I would say, just about every Christmas (Christ based) movie would be educational.  If you have a Hallmark movie playing with a family theme, document it.  After the movie, just ask your children a few simple questions to make sure they learned something. :)

Kids learn things everyday whether it be in the traditional schooling style or not.  So take this opportunity to study your children to see what they enjoy and how they learn.  You may already know what type of learning style your children have (are), but maybe they need a break from the books this winter to enjoy a week long 'movie marathon'!  You could buy or rent the whole Little House on the Prairie series and learn about the mid to late 1800's and early 1900's.  And of course make some good old fashioned food to eat during the movie!

Make education fun!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Prayer for the families of Newtown, Conn

What a terrible time for these families and people of Newtown.  My heart goes out to them.

I usually do not blog about politics, and things going on in the news.  I hardly watch the news anymore due to all the violence and hate. 

People continue to ask why something like this happens.  I will tell you why.  But first, the reason behind the violence will NOT bring loved ones back.  It will not take the nightmares that these children surely are enduring away.  It will not replace that sad Friday.  But it could change our future!

Before I get into the 'why', lets take a minute to find peace knowing that these little ones hurt no more, will never be scared ever, ever again, and know that they are with our Lord Jesus Christ.

 In Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

The WHY -

Because we have taken God out of everything.....even some of our churches!  

When I was a little girl, I could pray in the lunchroom before eating and never think twice about it.  Did I offend anyone?  Nope.  

We, as a nation, have removed our Lord God from our government buildings, our schools, our department stores, our personal business and lives and even took him out of the holiday created for his birth!  Easter isn't even about his resurrection anymore; it's about the Easter bunny!  And then we get to our churches.  Yes, our churches.  There is a church in PA that a missionary our church knows who visited this past year.  When he entered they told him that he shouldn't bring his Bible into the church because they didn't want to offend others!  Yes, this is no lie!  Seriously people?

As a Christian I am fed up!  I have had all I am going to take!  This nation needs God!  Guns do NOT kill people, Drugs don't even kill people, evil is the killer.  Without God that evil will continue to exist.  

What can we do? -

We as a nation we cannot change people's hearts or remove the evil....only God can.  But as a nation we can start by allowing him back into the places that the violence is occurring most, which is our schools.  

I pray protection over my niece, nephew and my oldest son who is in the public school system.  Yes, I homeschool my other two boys, but my oldest (for personal reasons) attend public school.  He is a Junior this year.  Last night before I feel asleep I was terrified to send him to school today!  I thought about pulling him out and homeschooling him again as well.  (It's a bit more complicated than that though.  My oldest goes to a trade school 1/2 the day through the school system so it's a bit harder to just pull him out.  He really enjoys the trade school.)  But the Bible says that we need to pray over our children.  The Lord confirmed in me last night that he will protect him.  I plead the blood of Jesus over my son, niece and nephew for a long time.  I cannot be with them every minute....but Jesus can and will.  

So pray protection over your family, friends, neighbors, etc.  If we stand together and bring Jesus back into our states and communities, things WILL get better.

Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

The Armor of God 

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Great time of year to teach fractions!

This time of year is excellent for teaching fractions!  This is the time of year we all bake Christmas cookies and other desserts.

Here are a few tips:

Make sure the child is measuring with the same measuring cups or utensils every time until he/she learns his/her measurements. 
Also, make sure they are well marked.

You may want to have individual bowls for each ingredient until he/she gets the hang of it.  This will help with being wasteful and having to throw away dry or wet ingredients that may have been measured wrong and cannot be separated.

After they have mastered the measures, you can start 'splitting' the recipe or 'doubling' the recipe.  Great hands-on fraction lesson!

ALWAYS be encouraging.  No one likes to be told that they didn't do something right.  So if he/she does make a mistake, you might want to say 
"Let's double check that measurement again" 
to encourage him/her to be more careful and 
letting them find their own mistake is always a big plus.  

Make sure they get used to reading the recipe several times to make sure they are not forgetting anything.

Don't forget to let them lick the beaters!  
All kids love to lick the beaters....
ok, even moms.

Give credit where credit is due.  

Praise them for all their hard work and 
let them present their baked goods to friends, relatives, neighbors, etc. 

Remember you aren't just teaching, you are making memories!

Another free printables Math website!

I get so excited when I find free printables that I can use!

I recently found a really great website for free printable Math worksheets! 
I thought I'd share.  :)

This link above is on the fraction worksheets.  You can choose other topics as well.  They are listed on the left side of the page. 

Each worksheet contains 2 pages: one is the actual worksheet, the other is the answer page. 

This is the best time of year to be teaching fractions with all the Christmas treats we are going to be baking!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Homemade or Store bought?

Which kind of gifts do you prefer?  Of course we accept any gift with gratitude, but if you had a choice, which would you prefer?

I would say the homemade gift.  You know it took time, thought and individuality to create this personalized gift just for you.  This is something that a store bought gift just doesn't contain. 

For example, my mother in law makes me those dish towels every year that hang on your refrigerator door handle.  I love them!  Not because I need them or even use them very often, but they are a great holiday display that shows she took the time to make just for me.

I crocheted the boys a scarf one year with color of their choice.  That was many many years ago.  Do you believe that they STILL wear them when they go snow sledding?  Yep.  I've tried to make a sweater, but failed.  But I will find another item that I can create.  That is the great thing.  We all are good at something whether it is sewing, crocheting, knitting, painting, cooking, etc. 

This year is really tight for us financially.  My husband got laid off right before Thanksgiving.  We had most of the money set aside for Christmas, but just for our boys, not for the extended family.  So these next few weeks I am going to have to get my head together and concentrate on 'homemade' gifts for all.  Not an easy bunch either.  Because they are all of different ages.....teenage girl to preppy city slickers ;)  But I will find a way.

Here are a few ideas I found on the net-

First there are gift baskets.  Everyone has some kind of food that is their absolute favorite!  Just place it in a basket and decorate!  It could be cookies, brownies, candy, even a bottle of wine!  Of course that wine may not be homemade....well.... maybe ;)

How about a child's play swing?  This is so cute! 
Looks like it is an old tire.  Do you have some old chains in your garage?  You never know what you may find when you look!  Clean the items up, paint them and wala!

Here is a felt picture puzzle for a small child.  How cool!  Just need some fabric, thread and needle (unless you are blessed with a sewing machine like me).

Here are some homemade baked goods.  I would add the recipe to it on nice cardstock.  I like the bows.

Again, found all these the net.  I just googled 'homemade gifts', then clicked 'images'.

So get your imagination working and please feel free to post and share your ideas!  I'd love to see!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Homeschool for FREE!

Yes, that is correct.  Homeschool for free!  Are you on a tight budget or a $0 budget for homeschooling?  Did you know that it IS possible for you to homeschool for free?  There are several sites out there with free printables for your child.

Here are a few sites with free printables -
TLS worksheets
Free online typing lessons! - you can learn the US states
This one has some free printables and some you must be a member to print.  I am not a member.  I'm not sure if there is a fee, but it would be worth checking it out!
printable maps!
Surfing the human body; learn what's inside us!
Math worksheets (some are free w/o membership).  I have used this one recently.
This is great for spelling!  You can type in the child's spelling words and it will create a study lesson & quiz for you!

Well, as you can see there are several sites for free printables.

Your local library is also a wonderful place to start!  For an older child, they can pick a series and then you can create a study guide for them (if you know the book) or you can sometimes find a FREE study guide online!

Here is one site that I recently found and used for a study guide-
The books they offer study guides for are listed on the left.  Just click on one and there it is!

Cannot find a book?  Ask your local library.  They may be able to get it from another library (inter-library loan).  Did you know that libraries also have a budget for new books?  Ask them to order you something that you will need!  Our library has done this for us several times!

What about high school? -

Don't worry, you can homeschool through high school for free too!  Again, use your library for history and literature.  For math, check out Khan Academy!

Here is the link:

You will have to register as a teacher and place your child as your student, but it is FREE!  Your child will be able watch the lessons desired and do the work on the computer.  The student is able to work at their own pace.

Science can be done at the library as well.  Again, ask your local library for help.  And remember your friends!  Most of my friends are always willing to lend a book for a semester or a schoolyear.

Even foreign language books can be found on your library's shelf!

And keep in mind that even highschool learning doesn't always have to come from a textbook.  Home-Economics is great to learn at home.

Do you have a microscope?  If not, borrow one.  Have your child go outside and pick a few 'living' things (grass, mushrooms, feather, etc) in the yard and place them under a microscope and take notes on what he sees.

Does your child like to do a lot of reading for fun?  Calculate the hours he/she has read and give them a literature credit.  Create a course, like 'Contemporary Literature' and have him/her keep track of the books he reads.

Here is a free printable that helps keep track of your child's book reads.

This link above ( has several printable forms to place in your portfolio and/or lesson plan binder for excellent record keeping!

So have fun, explore and be frugal! 

Disclaimer:  The above content is my opinion only.  The links listed above are just some sites that I have used in the past and I found helpful.  I have in no way received anything in return for posting these links today.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

101 in Lapbooking

I have blogged before about Lapbooking, but it is so fun and there is so much to say about it!

Have you ever Lapbooked?  It is so easy, fun and child motivated!

What is a Lapbook exactly?-

A Lapbook is basically a mini-book that your child uses his/her hands to create!  Just let your child do the creating on anything he/she has learned!

Here are a list of things you'll need to Lapbook:

Manilla folders
tape or glue
colored paper
pencils, pens, markers....anything really to write with

Now that you have your supplies, you'll need a topic!  Does your child like horses, trees, money, cars, movies, books, etc. ?  Just pick something.  We chose a Lapbook on Money.  Now we used a Lapbook that was already created.  That means that all we had to do was print out our pictures and finish them, and put them into our Lapbook.  If you don't have this, you don't need it.  It just makes things a bit easier for you.  If you Google the word 'Lapbooking'  you'll get all kinds of ideas.  Below are a few great websites that are great!

This link above,, is the one that our Lapbook template came from.

Like I said, there are several ideas.  These links above are for newbies to Lapbooking as well.  Some have step by step instructions.

Another good point is that you can use Lapbooking as a core source of your homeschooling!  Go ahead and incorporate math, language, poetry, science and history into your Lapbook!  If you have a child who loves hands-on schooling, your child will LOVE to learn this way!  Get your scrapbooking stuff out too!  Go ahead and make homeshcooling FUN!  (You can put this in his/her portfolio as well.)

Here is what my son did this week.  Again, we did a Lapbook on 'Money'.

We printed the templates (pics) onto regular printer paper.  Then cut them all out.  He colored what needed to be colored, and then decided where to place each piece of information about Money (with moms help).  We used 3 manilla folders and glued the ends together, then folded them properly so they fit like a large book.  You can use one folder or's up to you on how big or small you want yours to be.

In this picture above, he placed the definitions of debt, job, earn, bank, bills, budget, currency, etc. on the left of the folder.  Then all the coins in the middle.  He filled out the information and glued a sample of his paycheck, etc. on the right.

When the page is turned, he then places a sample of a checkbook register and some checks he wrote for living expenses.

When the check register sheet is lifted, his monthly budget he created is listed.  He really had fun doing this.  This kid LOVES money!  :)

We also placed a verse about what the Bible says about money inside our Lapbook.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, 
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."

We discussed how money can turn someone away for Christ our Savior.  If you notice the verse states... "for the LOVE of money".  This is the key.  The love of money..... not money itself.  It is ok for one to be rich with currency, God wants us to be blessed.  But he also wants us to bless others.  I asked my 9 year old what this verse means to him.  He stated, "It's ok to have money.  We just need to make sure we share and help others."  Out of the mouth of Babes ;)

So go ahead and have fun making your own Lapbook!

Disclaimer: I am a homeschooling mother and all the opinions on this blog are mine.  The links shared in this blog are for homeschool help only.  I am not promoting.  I do not get anything in return for using these links.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What will people think?

I was talking to a new homeschool mom a while ago and we were talking about our extended family approving of our decision to homeschool.  Of course it is always nice to have their approval, but is it important if they don't approve?

On the defence I would say "I don't need your approval".  But on the inside it sure would be nice to have their approval because there is support that will be needed at times.  It is so much easier to get through those hard days with support from family and friends.  But you cannot force them to be supportive or force their approval. 

When I first started homeschooling (9 years ago), I got some strange looks from some family members.  I couldn't really blame them though because it isn't common.... so I thought.  I just kept my chin up when answering all the questions being thrown at me, not just by family but by friends.  I made up in my mind that I was doing this and it was the best decision for my family.  I wasn't going to beg for their approval or ask them their opinion even.  My husband and I made up our minds that we were doing this.

I tried not to act like I had all the answers, because I still (again 9 yrs. later) do not have all the answers.  But what I do know is that we WILL be ok.  My children were learning something everyday whether it be from a book, movie, audio or hands on learning..... they were learning.  If a question was asked that I didn't know, I just stated that we will cross that bridge when we come to it and it will be ok.

After a while the questioning stopped.  Then came the drilling.  People would then start asking my children "What did you do in 'school' today?".  I've always told my children to be honest.  And believe me....when asked that question, they are!  And remember, you won't please these people with any answer when their goal is to 'drill' or prove that you aren't doing your job.

Then one day, several months later, the unbelievable happened.  Some started 'inquiring' about homeschooling.  They themselves were interested in homeschooling their children!  I wanted to shout "Oh really?  All those negative YOU want to homeschool?".  But of course I didn't.  I just gave the best advice I could and was there for them.

Don't get me wrong.  I still have some friends that still wonder what is wrong with me for not wanting my children to be 'social' and all. ;)  

But again, I don't need or want their approval.  True friends will stand behind you and support you....even if they think you may doing the wrong thing..... true friends are supportive.  But I don't go rubbing it in their faces.  Although I do make sure I post all my positive homeschooling moments and reached goals on my facebook page!  :)

And remember..............

Friday, November 23, 2012

Include your children in the shopping experience!

This time of year is a great oppurtunity for you to teach your children good spending habits!

Here is how to do that -

Give them a list of a few people to buy for. 
On the list have some ideas of what that person would like for Christmas.  Make sure it is someone that they know so they can personalize with that gift.

Give them a budget to stick with for ALL the presents. 
Have them divide that amount among the people on their list.  They will know how much they are to budget for each person.  Finding a good deal is an awesome feeling!  Take your child to the store with the list and have him/her look and choose the gift.  If he/she wants to spend a bit more, explain that it is ok, but you still have to stay within the whole budget.  So if he/she spends a bit more on one person, the next one will have to be a bit more price friendly. 

Once the gifts are purchased, have the child wrap and label the gift.  Personal name tags are always fun.

Have them personalize the gift with homemade gift wrapping too.  Maybe with the recipients name on the package? 

And last, make sure you go over the list and budget to make sure your child hasn't forgotten anything and is within his/her budget.  Make sure the package is ready to ship or give in a timely manner.  If it needs to be shipped have the child do that as well.  He/she can make a shipping label and pack it in the shipping box. 

And don't forget to give your child praise for the accomplishment of responsibility!  They might even have a little more appreciation for the next gift they receive.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Homeschooling & Homesteading

The life of a homeschool mother is not so dull.  Every day we get up starting a new fun filled day of we'd all like to think :)  Some days are not so fun.  We do get burnt out.  That is when we have to 'tweek' it. 

Homeschooling isn't just about books, computers, essays, is also learning.

Living on a farm is great for learning.  We don't have a farm, just 27 chickens at the moment.  We had a few hogs, but they are now in piggy heaven and in our bellies.  Sorry for those who are squeamish.  God put some animals on this earth for us to eat.  Don't get me wrong....I LOVE animals.  I would never harm or kill something on purpose.  But if it is food for us, that is different.  I personally do not go hunting or kill anything (except spiders).  But my husband and sons do hunt.  We do have a golden rule in our house though.  That rule is, if you aren't going to eat don't kill it.  :)  That doesn't mean we eat squirrels and road kill!  We eat deer, turkey, chicken, pork and beef just like every other meat eating family. 

My husband does want to start a goat farm for meat and raw milk.  Not too fond of the idea because of raising something I know will be in the freezer in the future.  I don't have deer as pets, and I don't want our food to once be our pet.  Funny, I've named most of our chickens a while back.  When my husband butchered them though.....I felt bad.  No more getting attached to them.  Yikes!

Living off the land has been a dream of mine as well as my husbands.  When we first moved to WV we had an environment friendly composting toilet!  That lasted for about a year and I couldn't deal with it anymore.  Not my thing!  But if I had to use an outhouse or composting toilet due to a natural disaster, I could.  I'd just rather not use it by choice, lol.

We actually get our water from the rain.  We have our gutters drain into a large holding tank underground.  We found that storing it underground keeps the tank cleaner.  It protects it from the hot sun and algae growth.  We use this water for washing clothes, cleaning, etc.  Our drinking water comes from the city.  We haul it with our 220 gal. portable water tank.  But again, in a disaster, we could boil our holding tank water for drinking.  I sometimes wonder if the city water is any better really.  There are many diseases and things that get into our city's water here in America.  And don't think that the bottled water you buy is always safe either!  Some studies have shown that that is tab water in the bottles! 

We use a wood burning stove for our ONLY source of heat! 

We chop, split and stack our own firewood so our heat bill is free.  Well, labor only ;)  When the power does go out on occasion, we have a gas generator that runs the blower on the stove.  This blows the heat into our ducts throughout our home so we will still have heat with no power.  We have oil lamps and candles for light.

We also had a huge garden this year.  This is the first year we canned and boy is it a lot of work!  But it is very worth it!  In the past we just froze all our garden supplies, but we wanted to think long term so we investing in a good pressure canner.
No, we are NOT doomsday preppers!  We are good Christian people that know Jesus is coming back for us one day.  But we also believe that we should not put our trust in man.  That includes putting all our food sources in a grocery store!  Or all our warmth in our electric company!  God really gave us all the resources we need to live off the land he provided for us.  We just have to find a way to adapt to it again.  I think that being prepared for our family to live self sufficiently is a very wise move to consider this day in age.  The Amish are smart people ;)

So you see, homeschooling isn't just about books, computer, etc.  It's about hard work, being self sufficient and living off the land the best we can.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What will be on my Thanksgiving table on Thursday

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday.  I love to cook the huge meal for my family from scratch!  This is what is what will be on our table on Thursday....

Turkey stuffed with my momma's homemade stuffing
Mash pot. w/ gravy (homemade from the turkey drippings)
Green bean cassarole
Sweet corn
Cranberry sauce (jellied)
Dinner rolls

For dessert:
Fresh homemade apple pie

The night before, the boys help me set the table.  We place a nice table cloth on the table and put our nice snowmen glassware out.  We get all the place settings done with nice folded napkins, etc.  We get the turkey plate out and my hubby help me prep the turkey.

Our normal routine on Thanksgiving day is....

AM- The men (big and small) will get up and go hunting.  I will stay home and finish the meal.  The turkey was put in very early this morning so it will be done in time.  All there is too do is bake the pie, and make the sides.

PM- We eat EARLY!  We will eat between noon and 1:00pm, then veg out and watch movies ALL afternoon!  Usually we pick a Thanksgiving or Christmas movie!  Home Alone is a nice tradition ;)

Evening - We eat Thanksgiving dinner again, just warmed up!

It took many years getting used to this day being just 'us', meaning my husband and my three sons.  We just moved to West Virginia (almost) 5 years ago.  My family (parents, sister and brother with their families) lives in Michigan and we rarely spend this holiday with them.  If they were here, we would still do this tradition, but together.  The meal makes me feel like we were all topgether  though.  This is the exact Thanksgiving meal I grew up eating all those years!  I learned all these great dishes from my mother.  I hope to pass on to my daughter in laws some day.

Enjoy your THANKSGIVING dinner and traditions 
with your family this year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Top 5 Christmas songs

Christmas is coming and right after Thanksgiving the songs start!  I love it!  Here are my top 5 Christmas songs:

5.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"  by:  Brenda Lee

4.  "Carol of the Bells"  by: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

3.  "All I Want For Christmas"  by:  Mariah Carey

2.  "Breath of Heaven"  by: Amy Grant

AND MY #1 FAVORITE IS......................

1.  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings"  by:  Barenaked Ladies

Disclaimer:  This blog contains the opinions of myself and my own experiences.  I was not asked or paid by the companies mentioned above or any other person(s). 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas is coming quickly!

Christmas is right around the corner already!  I cannot believe it.  It seems like we just started this homeschool year. 

As my children are getting older, their gift requests are getting more expensive and they are getting more picky.  I do not like giving my boys gift certificates or cash but I'm not sure what else to do.  Whatever happened to the element of surprise?  When I was a kid, I used to LOVE opening the boxes and bags, guessing what was inside!  I think kids still love that, but on their selfish side, maybe they want to make sure they get what they want?

 Looking back -

I remember when the boys were little, the element of surprise was still popular!  They would get mom and dad up at 5 am wanting to open gifts.  We have eliminated this problem by opening gifts Christmas eve :)  We now, on Christmas eve, turn all the electronics off, grab a hot cup of coco and start opening gifts by turn.  Then the boys stay up late to play and have all Christmas to enjoy their gifts.  We also make a rule that we do NOT do exchanges until a week after Christmas! 

One year I eliminated the Christmas stress by making all our Christmas purchases online.  The gifts came to the door, I took them into my room to wrap and then placed under the tree.  No shopping lines, no driving from store to store searching for that perfect gift in bad weather, no having to put things in layaway to make sure it was there, no rain checks or pre-orders!  The only problem is making these purchases way ahead of time to make sure they are here by Christmas.  Most websites guarantee on-time arrive if purchased by a certain day which makes it nice.

Tips for saving money this year -

With gas prices so high, purchasing online may be the way to go.  Beware of the shipping fees though!  You don't want to put all the money you save in gas into the shipping costs!  Look for those 'free shipping' deals.  Most store have free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money.  My suggestion is to make a list of each person you are buying for.  List gift ideas and then compare those gifts to see if you can buy them at the same place. 

One great gift idea is a gift card.  Amway has their gift cards with different categories.  They offer a unique gift card system. 

For example, they have a gift cards for women, men, children, travel, etc.  The very best part of this idea is the person receiving the gift doesn't know how much you spent!  You go online, buy the card, send it to the person you want.  When they receive the card, they look on line at the choices in that gift category and choose what they would like.  It it shipped directly to them with no fee!  No shipping fee or expiration date!  They don't even have to leave their home!

By clicking the card above, you can view and purchase one of these gift cards.  These cards are an awesome way to make sure the person you are buying for gets exactly what they want!  Remember..... no shipping fee and no expiration date!

Homemade gifts -

And of course there are the homemade gift ideas.  If you are not a crafty person, that is ok.  You just need a little imagination! 

Here are some homemade ideas.

*   Take your favorite cookie recipe and place the ingredients in a jar with fabic over the lid and a ribbon.  Write the recipe directions on a fancy cardstock and attach it to the front.

*   Knit or crochet a scarf.  (very easy to learn if you don't know how)

*   Buy a cheap picture frame and spice it up!  Decorate it with glitter, fancy contact paper, etc. and place a picture with a special memory in it for the recipient.

*   Make an apron.  You can make one out of an old dress shirt.  All you need is a sewing machine!  There are a few ideas like this on Pinterest!

*   Take a picture (family or special) and email it to Walmart or another online photo place to make a large canvas!  These are a wonderful idea and no work is involved (just in case you are too busy)!  Or glue a world map onto the blank canvas; this would be a great gift for a fellow homeschool family!

There are endless possibilities with homemade gifts.  Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas!  Click the icon below to go to Pinterest.

Be safe, look for bargins, and happy shopping!

Disclaimer:  This blog contains the opinions of myself and my own experiences.  I was not asked or paid by the companies mentioned above or any other person(s). 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Curriculum I use

I post a lot about different types of curricula and that is because there isn't one that is 'the best'.  You must try different ones and see which is best for your family.  I thought I'd post what I use and if anyone would like to add your comment or opinion you are welcome. 

This is just my current curriculum.  I do change it up a bit and due to TOS reviews I add, tweek and switch quite a bit.

For my 4'th grade son -

Math -
aBeka (5'th grade), Math Games in a Bag and misc. worksheets

Language /  Grammar - 
aBeka's Lang. A and Explode The Code 5 1/2

Reading - 
Samson's Classroom (online)

History - 
Story of the World series by Peace Hill and misc. textbooks

Science - 
Apologia's Zoology series and Science Experiments in a Bag

Bible - 
Apologia's Who Is My Neighbor?

For my high school son -

Math -
Teaching Textbooks Algebra I

English -
Daily Gram's, Easy Grammar Ultimate Series and Total Language Plus, misc. reading book w/ units.

Literature  /  Free Read -
Misc. series of books, his choice

History -
beautiful feet units and books and History books WWII era.

Biology -
Apologia's Biology text

Spanish -
Mango Languages (online)

Bible -
Apologia's Who Is My Neighbor?

Throughout the year if I see that my sons are getting bored with what they are doing, I just find something else that will interest them or let them take a break from whatever is boring them.  Although, my high schooler cannot do that with some subjects like Math and/or Biology, I try to find something that will keep his attention all year.  But if we do get the 'cabin fever' with what we are using, we just take a break. 

One suggestion would be to find something he/she does like and let him do just that for a while.  For example, if your son loves science and is getting bored with another subject like history, let him spend weeks on just science!  I wouldn't go too long without math, reading or writing though.  You don't want him to get 'rusty'. 

Last, you can try and introduce 'games' to your homeschool!  Even highschoolers love games!  My son, just this week, finished his Algebra lesson early and had about 20 minutes left for his time lot, so rather than start another lesson, he asked to play Sudoku!  That is a great mind challenging game for teens or high elementary age children!  My 4'th grades wanted to play Yahtzee one we did and counted that as Math for the day!  So go ahead, it's it up!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dragons Blood 
by: Jane Yolen

Disclaimer:  This review was written by my 13 yr. old son.  It contains his opinion only and his own homeschooling experiences with this product.  We purchased this ourselves and we were not asked by the company or any other person(s) to write this review.  

I purchased the ebook for my Nook Color from B&N for $6.79.
This was very easy to download and access.
The paperback is $7.99 containing 320 pages.
Recommended for ages 12-17 yrs. old.

  • ISBN-13: 9780152051266
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004

About the book- 
This book is about a 15 yr. old slave boy named Jakkin.  He lives on the planet Austar IV with his friends and the dragons. The boy and his friends are forced to feed the dragons and clean the stalls, including the “domesticated” dragons themselves.  Jakkin’s dream is to have his own dragon to fight in the famous pits of Austar IV.  When he sees his chance, he steals a hatchling dragon from the same man that owns him and from the same nursery that he is forced to work at.  He takes his dragon to an oasis that he found when he was young and names it Heart’s Blood.  He then trains this dragon to fight.  
Read the book to find out what happens! 

There are 4 books in this series -
Dragon's Blood
Heart's Blood
Sending of Dragons
Dragon's Heart   

What I thought- 
I thought that this book was great!  I found the book to be exciting and adventurous!  I have read other books on dragons such as Eragon and this is just as good.  I have read the second book in the series and I am now reading the third.  My reviews on books 2-4 will be coming soon.

Growing Up Wild TOS Review

Growing Up Wild -
A 15 episode DVD set. 
There are 5 DVD volumes.
$18.99 each / plus shipping and handling
Whole collection, all 5 volumes, for $80.99
Recommended for ages 5-12 yrs. but entertaining for all ages and adults too!

Each volume contains 2 disc:  One DVD containing 3 episodes each and a CD-Rom Activity Guide (in PDF format).

Volume 1 - "Home Sweet Hut", "Supply Trip", and "Sun & Water"

Volume 2 - "Rainy Day", "New Discoveries", and "Hiking Adventure"

Volume 3 - "The Good Earth", "Near & Far", and "Dr. In The Hut"

Volume 4 - "Amazing World Around Us", "Adventures In Culture", and "Tribal Calling"

Volume 5 - "Discovering Language", "The Feast", and "Misconceptions of Missions"

Note: Each episode is approx. 15 minutes long / Each DVD approx. 45 minutes.

I received Volumes 1 & 4 to review.

What Is It? - 
Growing Up Wild is a 15 episode DVD collection of the adventures of a missionary family living in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia.

The family consists of Mike & Libby (the parents of four boys), Morgan, Hudson, Kian and Asher Wild.  This family shares their experiences and life in the jungle through each of these DVD episodes.

After each episode, there are educational activities for your children to explore.  These videos make each child think about what it would be like to live in the jungles of Indonesia.

These DVD's are compliment with a Home school or Sunday school curricula.

Volume 1 -
 Episodes-  "Home Sweet Hut", "Supply Trip", and "Sun & Water".

In this DVD, we get to see what their home consists of, how they get their water, electricity, and supplies.  We explore how their home operates, and how the boys contribute to everyday needs in their lives.  You also get to see what kind of 'critters' they live among.

Volume 4 -
 Episodes-  "Amazing World Around Us", "Adventures In Culture", and "Tribal Calling".

In this DVD, we get to explore the tribe that the Wild family live among, what traditions they share with the family and the tribal beliefs.  The children even participate in a tribal piercing!  They also share with us the beautiful world around them in the jungle.

 Activity Guide / CD Rom -

The activity guide includes:
suggested field trips
science projects
recommended movie
Bible scriptures
activities (to put in your portfolios)

Some examples of the activities are:  Creating a home supply list, Venn Diagram,  classifying organisms, photographing organisms, looking closer at the environment and ecosystem, completing a culture worksheet, etc. These activities can easily be printed out for your use or portfolio.  Samples of this can be found on their website or clicking the picture to the right.
This product is reusable.

What I thought -

These DVD were incredible!  It really gave me and my family an inside view on what it is like to live in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia!  We found them very exciting.  The activities were really neat!  I love everything except the big 'spider' sleeping in the rafters that the kids speared.....Yikes!  Needless to say, my boys loved it!  And then of course the tribal piercing was cool!  Two of the boys actually had their septum pierced!  It was very exciting and educational!

I would recommend this DVD series to anyone who wants to see what living in the jungle is like.  It is extremely educational and exciting!  There are not many DVD's like this that lets you experience the mission lifestyle.  I give this product an A+! 

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

To see other TOS Crew member reviews on this product, click below.