Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Good-Night Game

My kids never go to bed at night without hearing me tell them that I love them.  Unless they are spending the night somewhere, in which case they probably forget who the heck I am.  Lately we have turned it into a game, ala "I love you more than...." and we try to out-do each other with how much we love each other.

In the past few weeks I have learned that I am loved:

"....more than a hundred million little birds!"  (from my bird watching little girl)

"....more than two-thousand John Cena's!"  ( from my wrestling fanatic son)

"....more than a million puppies!"

" far as Pluto and back!"

"....more than a million fuzzy blankets!"

"....more than everything and EVERYTHING infinity!"

That sort of thing is nice to know.  It sticks around in your heart and you get to pull it out at times when you really need it.

All I can tell them is....I love you that much and more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fun Math Stuff...yes, I said FUN!

I have to say, I love the notebooking thing.  We have used notebooking in our history and science in the past and it really adds another dimension to our studies. 

Yesterday I was perusing one of my favorite blogs,  (Jimmie's Collage) and she had some wonderful ideas for math enrichment.  And truth be known, anything that makes math appealing in this house is so worth it. 

She introduced me to the idea of notebooking for math.  I know, I am sure everyone else has caught on to this idea but me, but it was like someone smacked me in the forehead.  GREAT IDEA!  So I went on Amazon and ordered this:

I believe that learning about the great mathematicians in history is a wonderful enrichment idea.  Jimmie also has a Squidoo lens all about math notebooking ideas  (  )-go check it out!

We will also be using these sources for our Fun Fridays...meaning, Fridays will be reserved for our hands on, out of the box, exciting stuff....

"Hardhatting in a Geo World" by  AIMS Education Foundation, which integrates math, physics and engineering, and

"Family Math" by Jean Kerr Stenmark, which has lots of fun, hands on math activities which are also at times heavy on the logic.   Both books are avaliable on Amazon.  And of course, our work from these books will go into our math notebooks as well.

For those of you with math whiz kids, I totally envy you.  Maybe some of my plans for math this year will at least make it more appealing and enjoyable than it has been in the past!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum: Language Arts

In school, I was the kid who was off the charts in English, grammar, reading, spelling ....and off in the deep end without a paddle in math.   I have always loved Language Arts, and I guess that's why this area was the most difficult to choose a curriculum for. But, after much searching and gnashing of teeth, I decided on a few different things this year.  Here are some of our choices for Language Arts:

I waffled over grammar more than any other subject this year.  I wanted Easy Grammar but, well, for me it is just really d-d-d-r-r-r-y-y-y.  And I happen to love Evan Moor's products.  So we will try this program and see how it goes!

 We loved Sequential Spelling last year!  It's like taking a spelling test every day, with no writing down thousands of spelling words over and over and studying them everyday.  (If you want to know more about their approach, please visit their website!) This program was designed for children with dyslexia and/or ADHD.  I was a tad skeptical at first because it was NOTHING like I remembered from school...however, my third grade daughter scored in the 7th grade level for spelling in her ITBS test, so it must be doing something right! (For the record, my son scored on grade level, and he is horrible at spelling, bless his heart.)

Another shot in the dark with this one.  This is a writing program that I have heard wonderful things about.  I am hoping we will love it too.

For reading, our history program requires lots of historical fiction and biographies as part of its program, so I will not have a separate assigned reading list.  Any other reading will be for pleasure! (I will discuss it sometime in the future.)

Monday, June 27, 2011


I have a friend who was asking me about Internet service yesterday.  We compared companies and comments.  I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of having a phone that is 'just' a phone.  No Internetz on my phone.  She replied "Oh yeah.  You guys are cocooning over there, aren't you?"

Cocooning? I was curious.  I had heard the term before, but never really thought I was a cocooner.

I Googled "cocooning trend" and read up on it.

Basically, it is a trend where people are choosing to stay home more instead of going out-to movies, to dinner, etc.  That folks are more inclined to rent movies and have get-togethers at home rather than have expensive movie nights and parties. There was mention that Cocooners would be obese and under-socialized.


My too-late response is this:

What did people do before the Internet and social media?  They actually spent time with their families.  They used the phone to call and talk to people.  They were NOT obese because they cooked home cooked meals.  (Research has proven that the more people eat out, the more they weigh.)  And really-what's wrong with saving money on movies and dinners out?  More cash for us to do something REALLY fun!  And of course, there's the old 'nut' about homeschoolers being 'cocooned' at home.  I can honestly say this summer we have been so dang busy my head is spinning from all of the activities we have taken part in! 

Maybe we ARE cocooners.  But remember this....

What comes from cocoons?  Something beautiful...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum, Part Deux

Logic is something I want to focus on this year.  My plan is to have 'regular math' four days a week and on the fifth day have some sort of hands on math as well as logic problems.  Here are some of our resources:

For me, education is more about teaching 'how' to think.  If you can teach children to think logically and critically...they will spend the rest of their lives educating themselves.

How about you?  Do you teach logic/critical thinking skills?  What resources do you use?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Book Club

Every mom I know tries to round up activities to do with the kids during the summer months.  The group of fabulous homeschool moms that I have the pleasure of knowing have come up with a wonderful idea- a book club for the kids!

One day a week we meet.  Prior to the meeting we have to read the assigned chapters.  For our group, the first book we chose was Swiss Family Robinson.  (We decided on the classics because we feel all children should be exposed to great literature...but any good book would do!)

Yesterday was our first meeting after reading the first four chapters.  After discussing the characters and the plot, we used a map to chart the path that the Robinsons would have taken from Switzerland to New Guinea.  We discussed what would be important for survival on a deserted island.  The children were taught how to lash three poles together with a particular knot (sorry-I can't remember what it was called!).  They then built a shelter, cracked open a coconut and tasted the milk and the meat of the coconut.

What fun!  And it is making reading exciting for my "I'd rather not read" son. 

Go out and get some friends together for your own Summer book club! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some of Our Curriculum for 2011-2012

Here are a few things we will be using this coming school year.

 We're studying Latin this year. Because we can.

 I love the method of teaching vocabulary through Greek and Latin roots.  I can still hear my 9th grade English teacher droning out vocabulary words, always tagging on "...and this comes from the Latin/Greek word  _____  which means  ______..."  I believe it truly helps you to understand the meaning of the word.

Okay-this text may be a little in depth for my youngest, but I will modify lessons for her.  I love Apologia.  If any of you have a great science curriculum, please share!  We love science in this house.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Benefit of Homeschooling

I read this quote on "Why Homeschool"'s blog:

Dr. Gary Knowles, the University of Michigan, studied home educated adults.
"None were unemployed and none were on welfare, 94% said home education prepared them to be independent persons, 79% said it helped them interact with individuals from different levels of society, and they strongly supported the home education method."

That alone should be worth it in the end.  I was surprised about the unemployment fact.  Pleasantly surprised!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Nope. Not Christmas...Summer!  And as much as I love summer for the hot weather, picnics, swimming, fireworks, et al, this is more about a homeschool mom's summer.

I placed a large order from my favorite curriculum source.  It will be here either today or tomorrow.


We have so many new and hopefully exciting things on tap for next year!  I will keep you all posted on curriculum reviews as we settle into the new stuff.

I have been making my lists of supplies for next year.  Rearranging the classroom.  Cleaning out the old to make room for the new.  It all makes my heart sing. 

How about you all?  When your curriculum is on its way, do you get anxious with anticipation?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Asian Noodles with Veggies and Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Chili Dogs and Tater Tots

Hawaiian Meatballs and Rice with Pineapple

Ham, Cheddar and Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Fried Fish, Hush Puppies and Fresh Corn On The Cob

Baked Ziti

Monday, June 13, 2011

10 Things to Never Say to a Stay At Home Mom

1. When the kids are older, do you think you'll get a real job?

2. How June Cleaver of you!

3. Oh, so you don't work?

4. Since you have extra time on your hands, could you whip up a few dozen brownies for the bake sale tomorrow?

5. All day with your kids? I can't even imagine.

6. I'm jealous. I wish my husband were rich so I wouldn't have to work either.

7. What do you do all day, anyway?

8. I'm sure you're not the only one who's ever wasted money on a college degree.

9. That explains why your son is so clingy!

10. Weird. I assumed your house would be superclean.

Courtesy of Candy Kirby of

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Priceless Father's Day Gift

If you are like me (broke) you really try to adopt creative ideas into gift giving.  A few years ago, when my kids were younger, their Father's Day gift to my husband was a questionaire that I created the questions for and I recorded their exact answers.  It was such a hit!  Some of the questions were:

What was daddy  like as a little boy?

What is daddy really good at?

What is daddy not very good at?

What is daddy's favorite food? Least favorite?

What is something daddy says a lot? (I admit-this one could potentially be a zinger!)

What is your favorite thing about daddy?

If you could buy daddy anything in the world, what would it be?

What is something you would like to do with daddy one day?

I will say that the younger your kids are, the funnier the answers are.  The key is to record their exact response! No editing.  And, of course you can adjust the questions to your particular family and lifestyle.

This is truly a gift from the heart..and around here, those are priceless.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So Liberating!

I have spent most of the first 40 years of my life stressing out about how I look, especially how I look at the pool in a bathing suit.

As a kid I was very skinny and bony.  My friends were all filling out in middle school.  I got a training bra just so when I was changing for gym class I wouldn't be the only one without one.  My brother's favorite nickname for me was Miss American Flatlands if that tells you anything.  Hanging out at the pool was embarrassing because I was built pretty much like the diving board.

Then BOOM.  The Booby Fairy visited me in high school and overnight I had more than enough to put in the bra. Which made me VERY self consicous.  Suddenly boys noticed.  I didn't like it.  Hanging out at the pool was embarrassing because now I resembled the floats.  And was the subject of a lot of attention.

My twenties were fraught with trying on bathing suits in the cold glare of the neon lights of dressing rooms.  I truly believe those mirrors are from some kind of fun house.  My thighs don't usually look this fluffy...or DO they?  Now I was picking myself apart...This jiggles.  That dimples.  These bounce.  Those won't stay put.  Hanging out at the pool was uncomfortable because when I wasn't worried about laying out in the most flattering position I was also worried about getting a perfect tan.  Sporting the perfect hair-do. Oh, the pressure.

I went to the pool today.  I got to wear a modest one piece suit with a little skirty bottom.  (read: comfortable)  I didn't worry about getting a perfect tan.  I played in the water without worrying if my suit would slip and reveal anything.  I didn't care if my thighs dimpled or buns jiggled.  I did however observe a group of young ladies perfectly prepped for the pool.  Carefully straightened hair.  Teeny bikinis that required numerous readjustments.  Careful applications of suntan oil and timed 'roll-overs'.  Sucking in their stomachs as they glided to the pool.  None of them were smiling much. 

But I was.  I was thankful to be in a time of life where I truly don't care what others thought about my weight, or appearance.  I was comfortable in my suit and in my skin.  I had fun with my kids and laughed all afternoon. 

I kinda like this middle-age thing.  It's so liberating!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer School

I had grand plans that we would school through out the summer...get ahead.  Be scholarly and dedicated to our educational pursuits.

HAhahahaHAHAhaa! That's not happening.

I am exhausted.  The kids are flat out DONE.  I may have them do a little math everyday but my goodness-we need the break!

How about you all? Are you planning on doing school during the summer?  Or is a summer break calling your name?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

10 Things I Learned About Myself Memorial Day Weekend

1.  How much I enjoy spending time away from technology.  The lake house we stayed in had no tv, no radio, no phone and I kept my cell phone in the car.  Heaven!

2.  I had to make myself sit still and read a book on the shaded porch.  I have a hard time sitting still these days.

3.  My kids have reached the age where I can let them loose on the dock with out me being right there on top of them.  Again...Heaven!

4.  I have hook baiting skills.  Only with worms though.

5.  I can clean catfish with out throwing up.

6.  I am better at cleaning catfish than my husband.  Although I will give him that chore any time.

7.  Even though we can't see the bottom of the lake, caught all kinds of critters and suspected snakes to be lurking near by, when you get hot enough, jumping in the lake is wonderful.

8.  Walking up and down a steep hill to the lake is a great workout for your buns.

9.  Nothing tastes better than eating watermelon while watching fireflies buzz around.

10.  I truly enjoy spending time with my family, away from it all.  I can't wait to get back there again!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011