Thursday, March 31, 2011

Positively Giddy

Can we just skip the rest of this homeschool year and jump into next year already?!  I have some awesome new ideas that I think will breathe new life into our daily school lives and I can't wait to try them.

First idea was inspired by the workbox system.  If you aren't familiar, it is a system developed for autistic/ADD kids to help keep them organized and fascilitate independent learning.  You have a number of bins (I have seen anywhere from 6 to 12) per child.  In each bin you place one lesson or one activity.  They have to complete bin #1 before moving to bin #2.  In each bin is also everything needed for that activity...pencils, rulers, markers, stickers, etc.  You can also add cards that read "Go jump on trampoline for 15 minutes" or "Have a snack!"  just to break up the monotony.

I have two kids and no room for 24 plastic bins...but I DO have a two-drawer filing cabinet with hanging file folders.  Each child will get a drawer.  When each activity in each folder has been completed, they will place them in a 'completed' folder.  Then at the end of the school day I will have all of their completed work in one place to grade.  If a book or activity is too large to fit in the folder I can easily slip in a card directing them to that book/activity. 

Another minor issue we have is what to do with the kid that has finished an assignment and I am busy helping the other kid.  For this we have <drum roll> centers. (Squee!)

I will have about 5 large-ish plastic bins, and in each bin will be activities to keep them busy (and learning) while I am occupied or as a workbox treat.  One bin will be arts and crafts- paints, papers, pompoms, googly eyes, glue, glitter, how-to-draw books, etc.  My daughter will LOVE this.  There will be a geography center- maps and books on foreign places and cultures.  Folders with geography 'scavenger hunts'.  A science center- magnets, magnifying glass, prisms, books on experiments, rocks, other small science kits that we have accumulated.  Even a language arts center-Boggle, Bananagrams, a book report folder with fancy scrapbooking paper, stickers, etc to make decorative book reports, poetry books, crossword puzzle and logic puzzle books.

These two changes will really help with organization with me as well.  It will be nice to have all subject related things contained together.  It will most definately help my kiddos get more organized and independent.  And it gives me one more reason to scour yard sales and thrift stores for items to go into the centers!  :)

Do any of you have any suggestions for either workboxes or centers? If you do, I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Love Me Some Goodwill

I love me some Goodwill.  Well-I love any bargain but today it is about the Goodwill.

Thrift stores are my Mecca.  I love to wander around and 'dig for treasures'.  I hadn't been to a Goodwill in forever until a friend invited me to go with her a few weeks ago.  (Thanks Jen!) I was re-hooked.

 Last week I made a trip to the Goodwill in my area.  I got 4 skirts (one of which was an Eddie Bauer), a Liz Claiborne summer sweater, 4 blouses, a Gap button down shirt for my son and a cute sundress for my daughter for 40 dollars.

I wore the Liz Claiborne and one of the skirts to church on Sunday.  Within 15 minutes I had two very sincere complements on my cute outfit! I was tickled, to say the least.

The quality speaks for itself-if it has survived a stint with another person with no tears, holes, ripped seams, etc., then it must be of good quality.

I can't wait to see what I find next week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Responsibility Part 2

I had a discussion recently with a fellow homeschool mom who was frustrated with the homeschooling students in the co-op she participates in.  Her frustration was stemming from the fact that, as homeschoolers, the kids were not committed to deadlines, or just not committed at all.  At least, she claimed, public school children are held accountable and are responsible for their work.

I then had another friend who stated that there was no way band, sports teams, etc would ever hold up in the homeschooling community because the parents blow stuff off too easily and the kids would never show up.

How sad. 

As homeschoolers, do we let our children 'slide' on accountability?  Aren't we homeschooling to better prepare them for the real world?

I myself do not see this as a homeschooling issue, however, I DO see it as a parenting issue. I have seen my share of lazy, irresponsible parents, who both send their kids to public school and homeschool.  I  have seen parents sign their kids up for a sports team only to miss 90 percent of the practices and several games and still want their kid to get a trophy. 

Another reason I don't see school as a factor is the fact that the majority of children in this country are public schooled....look at the results.  Wouldn't you agree that the youth of today are far less responsible than in years past?  If public school were the answer, society would show a different result.

Our children are being raised in a society that has lowered standards.  Integrity, responsibility, accountability, morality, work ethic...we as PARENTS are supposed to teach these things, no matter how our children are educated.

Homeschoolers, if anything, remember this-we are constantly being held under the microscope.  If we aren't performing our duties first and foremost as PARENTS, as well as educators, then we deserve any 'bad press' we get. 

The world doesn't need more geniuses.  It needs more upstanding, responsible citizens.

If They Were in Public School...

Last week I decided I didn't like the fact that after the time change my kids were still sleeping until 9:00 in the morning.  So I implemented the wake up time of 7:00.  Which really wasn't too bad...until my son had a migraine headache after the 3rd day of waking up early.  Those migraines are one of the reasons we started homeschooling because one of the triggers of his migraines is not enough sleep.  He hasn't had a migraine in months.  Until I decided they needed to get up earlier.

Because, as we ALL know-If they were in PUBLIC SCHOOL, they would have to get up at the crack of dawn.

But isn't that why I chose to homeschool? 

A great deal of us homeschooling moms have this nagging voice in the back of our minds that likes to bring up doubts, beginning with the phrase "If they were in public school..."

If they were in public school...they would be more responsible.

If they were in public school..they would be more independent.

If they were in public school...they would have more friends.

It's easy to give into the doubts.  But having had the public school experience with my children, I can counter that arguement:

When they were in public school...they were too exhausted at the end of the day to enjoy each other.  Or any of their extra-curricular activities.

When they were in public school...if they were sick, they had to miss a whole day of instruction.  And they were sick A LOT.  Now they can pick up some school work later in the day if they feel better.  But now they are rarely sick.

When they were in public school...they had lots of 'acquaintences'-but not really any friends.  At least, not any more than they have now.  For the most part they only saw those friends at school.  And they only time they had to socialize was during lunch...but they weren't allowed to talk at lunch.  And recess.  Which was only 15 minutes long.

When they were in public school...they weren't as responsible as they are now, because all of the daily housework was done by me while they were in school.  Now they see what all goes into running a household and are an active part of it.  They know how to do laundry, cook meals, etc.  They see that there is no magic fairy to make their beds or pick up their toys. 

I have had my fair share of those doubts.  But in the end I always come out in favor of our decision to homeschool.  Because I have seen both sides and frankly...I like the side we are on right now.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Summer Camps

I have been seeing posts in a few of the 'mommy blogs' that I read concerning summer camps.  All were very enthusiastic about the activities, the independence.  Some wrote about how attending camps as children literally changed their lives.  Most were moms stressing over which camp to choose and how to get them all worked into their schedule.

So I have a confession to make:  As a kid I never, not even once, attended camp.  Or vacation bible school.  Or any type of daycare run summer program.  Nor did I participate in any activities other than one Fall stint in a ballet/tap class.

And I never wanted to.

I was a painfully shy and quiet kid (shocking to those who know me now, I know.) and the thought of being away from my friends and family for a week was rather distressing.  I was not the kid to open up to strange adults or kids.  I would have curled up into a fetal position and sucked my thumb until my mom came to get me. :)  Also, not to mention there was no way my parents were willing to shell out the big $$ to send me to camp. 

But guess what?  I had fun during the summer.  I went swimming and played with my friends outside until it got dark...and after it got dark.  We went skating, played in the woods, had sleepovers.

I was socialized.  I had fun.

Guess what? I grew up into a completely NORMAL (don't laugh) adult.    Without camp.  Without running every other day to this class and that activity.  Without learning to be a 'team player'.  Without filling up every single day with someone else's structure and expectations of who I need to be.


My parenting philosophy is this...unless they ASK or show some burning desire to participate...I'm not doing it.  So far, the only desires we have right now are golf and dance.  They always ask to participate in VBS at a local church.  And after today I am sure horseback riding will be on the radar as we will observe a friends lesson.

And that is fine with me.

Friday Photo

Whew...all the neighbor's kids went home to eat supper...wait...what the heck is that in the tree?

Is it a bird? A plane? A really large pink egg?

Why, HELLLLOOOO Kitty.   How on Earth did you get all the way up there?  (If only Hello Kitty could talk....never mind.  Some things a Mom just doesn't need to know.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Botany Studies: Stems

I should have called this blog the Anal Retentive Homeschooler.  I am fully aware of my compulsion to want to so thoroughly study something-study every minute detail-so that I know everything about everything.

So here we are...we have moved on from roots to (drum roll) STEMS.

I know.  Hold on to your biscuits.  The excitement is overwhelming.

We learned that stems are like bundles of straws...

...and in side each 'straw' are cells. Some straws are 'xylem' and some are 'phoelem' we painted some pipe cleaners pink for xylem and some purple for phoelem...

 Help me Rhonda...those cute baby knuckles.  Sigh.

We learned that the xylem and phoelem are arranged in bundles, with a layer or 'cambium' separating them.  (Cambium being represented by strips of blue construction paper.)  The bundles are surrounded by cortex...aka, paper towels.
Don't let those cute baby knuckles distract you from her fine work.

So you can't tell from this picture...but you can see the pink and purple and the separation in real life.  If I had thought of this activity beforehand I would have bought some colored pipe cleaners.  We just used what we had on hand.

And the whole thing is wrapped up and covered in epidermis....aka green construction paper.

If it were up to me I would only teach science, history, art and creative writing.  And Latin. 

Next part of our anal retentive studies...LEAVES.  You won't want to miss it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We Love "Wordsmithery"

We are using Wordsmithery from Small World's blog.  We are having a wonderful time with creative writing today!  Go over and check it out!

Menu Monday

Our menus for the week look like this:

Hot dogs, baked beans, cole slaw and tater tots.  (Here in the South, we like slaw on our 'dawgs')

Spanish tortilla, salad (Spanish tortilla is not a 'wrap', but a potato and egg 'omlette' of sorts to which you can add other veggies like bell peppers, asparagus, etc.)

Chicken and bowtie pasta with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots

Baked lemon-herb chicken, roasted potatoes, peas

Chicken Parmisian with pasta and marninara sauce

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reclaiming Family Time

I enjoyed reading the following post over at Simple Homeschool about 'Reclaiming Family Time'.

and this statement:

"But you know what I want more than an activity-filled life? I want to have supper together as a family. I want to sit around the table and talk without having to rush off. It’s simple, I know, but these are the things we lose in our compulsion to do it all. There are so many good things to do, but doing them all isn’t necessarily what’s best. Your child’s future won’t likely be ruined if you opt out of karate lessons."

Boy was I convicted!  The author writes about filling up our lives with activities and how they take us away from our family time.  Even as homeschoolers we overextend ourselves for the sake of 'social opportunites'.  When the activities out weigh the time you spend together as a family (and yes-we are together all day long, but that isn't 'family time' it?) it worth it? 

I think my resolution for our next school year will be to find one activity for each kid and let them roll with it.  To relax our schedules a bit where we can breathe and relax and have more time for family time.

What I've Been Up To

Doing some of this...

So I can plant some of these...

And grow some of those....

I love love love spring and summer!  I am most definately a warm weather gal.  Being in the South we get a head start on our gardening compared to the rest of the nation. (Not rubbing it in or anything...!)

I have plans for an herb bed in front of my elevated front porch.  Cause I'm kooky like that.  I don't have 'designated' beds for things-they just sort of mingle with other plants.  So the green beans will be planted on a trellis along side my daylilies and gladiolus.  Zucchini plants are so beautiful, why not add them to a landscape?

Gardening teaches so many life lessons:

That with a little care the smallest seed can bear the sweetest fruit. 

TOO much can cripple it.  Sometimes it's best to just back off and let them find their own roots and dig them in deep.

No matter how great your defenses, there will always be a creature who can wiggle it's way in to destroy what you have nurtured. 

It's a lesson in faith and hope.  And patience.

Kind of like raising children, no?

How about you?  Are you a gardener?  What plants do you have the most success with?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck O' The Irish

We had a visit from the Leprechaun last night.  He left us a message with Scrabble letters...

                 He got into my green sticky notes and left another message on the wall...

                        We have ballet slippers in the potted plants....

                               Apparently he loves board games...

                                                                 And cereal as well.

                                 We have Barbies on the window sill....

                                   Tap shoes on the mantle....

Library books were all over the living room...or did my kids do that?

                                 Have a wonderful St. Patricks Day everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I'm Reading

Who remembers THIS book from the eigth grade reading list?

I remember reading it in the eighth grade.  It didn't impress me then.  Probably because my only concerns at that age were my Bonne Bell lipgloss, Jordache jeans and whether or not I was going to actually talk to the cute boy sitting next to me or just dream about it....

But I digress.

So, I took my kids to the library yesterday and stumbled across it again.  Tossed it onto the pile of books and came home.


Like "Animal Farm", it is positively creepy how the governement is actually turning in to this.  Control over every aspect of our lives.  Not only that, but the TECHNOLOGY...and the isolation of the human race because of technology.  The earbuds known in the story as Seashells that fill people's minds with White Noise (to the point where they no longer really communicate face-to-face) and the 'walls' in the house that are interactive and make Mildred believe they are her 'family' because they interact with her.  (Kind of like social networking sites that purport everyone is your 'Friend' just because they interact with you...and how millions of people constantly have a Bluetooth in their ear....and how the youth of today would rather text a message than speak face to face with someone.  Chilling.)

I'm only half way through, so I will wait to give my final review when I have actually read the whole book.

But for now...I'm a little disturbed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Mother's Heart

Everyone always tells you when you are expecting your first baby that 'your life will never be the same.'  And you assume that, yes, I will never get enough sleep, I will always have this wonderful little person in my life, I will have a 'family', so, no-my life will never be the same.

I think they should say instead 'your heart will never be the same.'

Motherhood opens up this raw wound in your heart that bleeds a little everytime you hear of a child suffering.  Because that could be your child.  And another mother suffering...that could be you.

No-these girls weren't mine.  I didn't even know them.   These sisters-aged 17 and 11-when I heard of their passing last week...oh my.  That wound ached. 

They could have been mine.

When I thought of the literally took my breath.

That could be me.

They are being laid to rest today. 

Their family will be in my heart and in my prayers, because that is all I know to do.

And I will hug my babies a little closer today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mr. Rogers Monday

"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
Fred Rogers

Saturday, March 12, 2011


The devastation in Japan is mind boggling.  There has been damage to a nuclear power plant and radiation has already begun to leak, and experts say some of it could reach the U.S.

I think I need to do some serious praying for them...and us.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Root of Things....

Sometimes the best science lessons are impromptu and have very little 'curriculum'.  Inspired by the seed packets in Lowe's we decided to start a Botany unit. 

This week we studied roots.

We observed carrots...  (notice the lateral roots, aka the hairy things?)

We dissected the carrots and identified the vascular tissue in the core....

We sketched what we observed....

We learned about different root systems and parts...

We dug up three types of weeds to check out what kinds of roots they had (notice the three different types?)

We also observed onion skin and thin shavings of carrots under our microscope...and we could actually see the cells!

Then we wrote a few paragraphs describing what we did.

Lots of hands on,  lots of observations....lots of fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snappy New Day

I am by nature some one who enjoys peace and quiet. I find if I am around a lot of noise or drama it stresses me out.  Even 'good stress' (from doing fun things) stresses me out! 

One reason I homeschool is to give my children that peace and solitude that allows them to be able to look deep within themselves and discover who they really are.

Yesterday I was thinking about my childhood, and one thing that just popped to the surface was watching Mr. Rogers.  I LOVED Mr. Rogers.  It was calm. Peaceful. It always had a positive message.  It made you go away from it feeling like you were doing great just for having been YOU today. 

Has anyone seen the garbage on TV today?  It's sensory overload.  It's meanness in the form of sarcasm.  (Sarcasm can be the most dangerous form of 'meanness''s so often spoken with a smile...) It's lights and noise and yelling.  It's disrespect and rudeness.  And these are the CHILDREN'S programs I am talking about. 

I miss you, Mr. Rogers.  Thank you for what you gave the children of my generation- the sense that each of us is loved and capable of loving others.

We need that today more than ever.

"You know, I was just thinking. Every person, whether little or big, is a human being. And because we are human there are many things that are alike about all of us. For instance, we all need to be loved. Everybody does. Every person that you see in this world needs to be loved. And the marvelous thing about being human is that while we're very much alike, each one of us is very different too. Isn't it great that we can care about one another the way we do? "  ~Mr. Rogers

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Windy Days

What do you get when you have two kids, some Wal Mart bags, some yarn, and some righteous wind blowing outside?

A windsock! A fully functioning wind sock. How fun.

Misperceptions of Homeschoolers

I have a joke with my husband that nothing stops a conversation quicker than being asked, "So...what do YOU do for a living?" and replying with "I stay at home and homeschool my kids."  Usually the person asking the question responds with "OOoooh..." and has nothing else to say.  Which tickles me to no end.  I can only imagine what is going through their mind as they process that information!

This past weekend I was asked by a good friend of mine if I would talk to her about homeschooling.  She was interested in possibly homeschooling her girls.  So I got my mental notes ready.  I was prepared to tell her about where to shop for the best priced curriculum, how to join the homeschool group in this area, etc.  So I almost had to laugh when her first question was:

"What about PE? How do you know they are getting the number of hours required by the state?"

That question spoke more to me about her perception of what homeschooling was like than any thing. No-we don't 'veg-out' in front of a TV all day between classes.  We don't even WATCH TV as much as we did when they were in public school!  So my answer was something like this:

"When the weather is nice, my kids enjoy a bike ride or walk before school, they take 'recess' breaks to jump on the trampoline, we take nature walks for science classes, we have a park day once a week to meet and play with other homeschool kids, they have a PE class in co-op one day a week, they are involved in sports, and they aren't too exhausted at the end of the day to actually go play with the kids in the I think they are getting a good amount of exercise."

Her second question tickled me even more :

"But I don't belong to a church. I know when I went to school, all the homeschooled kids were really religious."

My answer:

"You don't have to be religious! As long as you aren't sacrificing goats at the full moon I think you are good." 


So-no....we aren't all religious fanatics either.  But if you are, that's okay too!

This got me thinking about all of the memorable questions asked of me as a homeschooler.  These are a few:

Q:"How will they ever learn how to function in the real world?"
A:"Considering we LIVE out in the real world and they aren't stuck in a room with 30 other kids of the same age, all day, every day I think they have a realistic expectation of what life outside of 'school' entails."

Q:" How do you stand being with your kids all day? I could never do it!"
A:" Some days I can't stand it either.  But ninety percent of the time we truly enjoy each others company.  I think it's because we have a stronger family bond now.  We have a deeper understanding of each other. But some days the wine flows a little earlier than it should. (ha ha)"

Q:" What makes you qualified to teach your kids?"
A:" What makes a complete stranger qualified to teach MY kids? They don't know their quirks, their weaknesses, their strengths, their motivations. I taught these kids to walk and talk for Pete's sake! I think we have nouns under control.

Q:"How will your kids ever be exposed to children of other races and cultures?"
A:" Considering we live in a neighborhood and not in the wilderness, my kids have a variety of neighborhood children to play with.  All colors, ethnicity, etc. And any trip to the grocery store, post office, or field trip will put you in contact with all kinds of different people."

In a nutshell...NO we don't all wear denim jumpers, NO we don't lay around and watch TV, YES they actually play with other kids and YES we are preparing for life in the real world.

Any questions?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Easter Story Cookies

These are more of a merengue type of cookie, but they are really good....and it teaches the Easter story to children.  Make some with your kids the night before Easter!


1c. whole pecans
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 c. sugar
ziploc baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place pecans in ziploc baggie and let children beat them with a wooden spoon  to break them in to pieces.  Explain that when Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (Read John 19:1-3)

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp in to mixing bowl.  Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:28-30)

Add egg whites to the vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11)

Sprinkle a little salt into each childs hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest in to the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers and the bitterness of our sin. (Read Luke 23:27)

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing!  Add 1c. sugar.  Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us to belong to Him!  (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.  Explain the color white represents our purity when our sins have been cleansed by Jesus.  (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)

Fold in the broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Explain that the mounds represent the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. (Read Matthew 27:57-60)

Put cookie sheet in oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.  Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.  (Read Matthew 27:65-66)

GO TO BED!  Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were sad to leave Him in the tomb.

On Easter morning open the oven and give everyone a cookie.  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  Explain that Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb empty on that first Easter morning! (Read matthew 28:1-9)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Mondays

I admit-this week's menus are a little 'uninspired'. But here they are!

Suppers (because 'dinner' is 'lunch' here in the South! )
Taco Salad with Chips and Salsa

Cheeseburgers and French fries

Grilled steak, salad and Grilled Veggie Packets (squash, potatoes, onions and bell peppers)

15 Bean and Ham Soup

Chicken Quesadilla Pie

Grilled Chicken Tenders, Green Beans, Orzo Pilaf

Dinners (or 'Lunches')
Sack Lunches today as we will be 'car schooling' today....

Fish Sticks, Fresh Fruit, Vegetable of choice

Chicken Strips, Chips, Fruit

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta with Garlic Butter

Soup and Sandwiches

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coupons= Happy Frugal Woman

I have a few friends who are avid couponers.  They have it down to a science.  And for years I thought-what's the point?  I never see coupons for things I normally buy anyway, and when I do I usually find the store brand is cheaper.

Apparently I was naive.

*I* thought if you tried to use more than one coupon for the same thing the grocery store police would slap my wrists at the register.  I didn't know you could go online to the specific stores you shop at and download digital coupons on to your stores loyalty card.  *And* use a paper coupon with the digital ones.

Yesterday I got online and downloaded some digitial coupons.  I clipped some paper coupons.  I perused the weekly ad online to find if any of those items were on sale.  And off we went.

Here are my great deals:

Charmin 12 Double Rolls: Regular price-$ 8.25.  I paid-$.99.  Woot!

Bounty paper towel, 8 rolls: Regular price-$9.00.  I paid-$2.99.

Crest toothpaste- Regular price-$2.75.  I paid-$.50. Woot!

Downy softner, 64 loads- Didn't catch the regular price, but the sale price was $4.99.  I paid-$2.99

I confess-I went through the self check out because I was embarrassed to be using both digital and paper coupons on the same items.  I was afraid I would be called out at the register....but I wasn't!

Coupons make a frugal momma verrrry happy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

House Rules

I love the Duggar family. Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit-they got the organization and character training down.  I think I just love the dynamic of  large families.  Maybe it stems from my undying wish as a kid to become part of the Brady Bunch. Actually, when I was 6 years old we lived next door to a family who was just like the Brady Bunch...well, as far as the kids and their ages.  There were 3 boys and 3 girls and they were the same ages as the Brady kids.  Except they were like the Brady's Gone Wild.  They were raised by a single mom who worked all the time and the kids had WAY too much time without adult supervision.  Fire crackers lit in the house, a tree house which, after the two highschool aged kids had been in it for a while, smelled of "wacky tobaccy" smoke and was littered with Dorito bags and Little Debbie wrappers (you get my drift?  Hey-this was 1976 after all...).  But I loved to go over there.  I loved the noise, the chaos, the impromptu games of kick ball and red rover...but I digress...

Okay, so I love to watch the  Duggars.  It is fascinating to me that there is so much respect and obedience among a house with so many different personalities.  I only have two kids and some days I wish I had a hamster ball to stuff each of them into so they will QUIT AGGRIVATING EACH OTHER.  So I went to the Duggar website and came across their house rules. I printed them out and they are posted on our classroom wall.  Here they are:

  1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
  2. Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.
  3. Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.
  4. Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.
  5. Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.
  6. Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.
  7. Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)
  8. Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.
  9. Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.
  10. Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.
  11. Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.
  12. Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).
  13. Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)
  14. Never raise a hand to hit.
  15. Never raise a foot to kick.
  16. Never raise an object to throw.
  17. Never raise a voice to yell.
  18. Never raise an eye to scowl.
  19. Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!
  20. Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.
  21. Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)
  22. Amendment J.O.Y. -
           Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To Pay? Or Not To Pay?

I'm struggling with a pretty minor issue right pay or not to pay actual cash for chores done around the house. 

Part of me thinks that chores are just part of life and you shouldn't expect to be paid for doing what needs to be done.  Because one pays me every time I make *my* bed, now do they? :)  I don't want my children to expect a reward from completing a job other than the satisfaction of a job well done.

The other part of me thinks that paying cash for chores is a great idea.  How else can children learn to manage money if they are never given any to manage?  And yes-I could just give them a weekly allowance...but I don't feel right just *giving* them money without them having earned it in some way.  I once tried a system of paying them a dime for each expected chore the did and a quarter for each chore that went above and beyond my expectations...but I soon learned that was a lot of 'keeping track' and frankly I am too busy (lazy) to keep up with all that nonsense.

So-which is of more importance?  Good work ethic or learning to save your money?  How can you even choose between the two?  And can someone present a happy medium for me?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Curriculum Choices for 2011-2012

Because this is the time of year when homeschool mommas everywhere start thinking all things curriculum (or shipping the kids off to public school!) I have been evaluating my curriculum choices for next year.

Language Arts:  Easy Grammar, Wordly Wise (vocabulary), Sequential Spelling, Writing Strands

Math:  Saxon 5/4 for daughter and Saxon 7/6 for son

History:  Story of the World Volume 3-Early Modern Times

Science:  Apologia Physical Science plus smaller units on topics of interest

Latin:  Latina Prima (I think that's the name of it)

Art/ Music:  Monthly studies of various artists and composers, in addition to music classes

Logic:  Mind Benders, Red Herring Mysteries

But I need a good Bible Study program. Any suggestions?