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Monday, October 24, 2011

Learning Phun

I used to love Mad Libs as a kid! Me and my sister would , on rare occasion, obtain a pad of the fill in the blank stories and would set feverishly about filling them all in, cackling with one another over the silliness that ensued. We never really gave a thought to the fact that we were learning while doing so....hmmmm.
Anyway, found this site with Crazy Tales on it and the kids each filled out one, we printed them and read them together, then I had the kids look up words they didn't know the meaning of and then they drew pictures of their stories. Lillie Anna's story was about a knight named Stephanie who saves the kingdom from a mushy dragon while riding her trusty bluebird, Bob.
Jack's story was of a super hero called Milk Carton Baby who fights crime with a filing cabinet until his nemesis Mushy Toenail steals his golden filing cabinet. Chloe's was about a princess from Mars who rides a fish to Sweden and fought in the Civil was....the most interesting.
They were learning and didn't even suspect it! The best learning is done in a sneaky fashion...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Geometry Can Be Phun...and Yummy

In typical Tyler fashion....he came by to destroy all our hard work! The kids were all yelling at him to "STOP LITTLE BUBBY!"

Victory is SWEET....

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Don't Get Much Cheaper than Free....

This time of year, homeschoolers are busy doing one thing (or have been busy)...planning. And nothing makes you feel quite so organized as a good printable planner. There are tons out there too, but I've yet to find one I really like or one that was affordable yet good quality...until today! How's FREE sound to you right now?
Homeschool Freebie posted this link a couple days ago, but the freebie is availiable through the month of August, so hop on over and check out this planner. (By the way, if you haven't signed up for the freebie of the day, check it out.) So pretty, and well organized and provides you a ton of options to customize. If you can't print or don't want to, make sure you right click all her files and save them so you can go through them later. Have fun!

New Beginnings Curriculum Planner

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I know...I know...I'm smothering you with articles...but I find articles very encouraging and helpful...and it's my blog and I'll post if I want to there. Seriously though, I hope you find this one encouraging all you moms of multiple children out there... whenever an article touches me or helps me I like to share it.

Good Things Come In Squishy Packages by Passionate Homemaker

A Must Read....

I came across this excellent article today off the Learning in Freedom site....this is one of those secular articles that is well researched and documented and sings the praises of the homeschooling movement. It was super interesting to read an article like this proclaiming what I already know but that , without articles like this one, are merely my opinion and nothing more...this article lends validity to what I'm trying to do with my children. Read it when you have time to let it sink's lengthy and it's got alot to digest.

An A for Homeschooling by Brian C. Anderson

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homeschool with a Purpose (aka Read These When You're Worried You May Make Your Kids Stupid.)

Every once in awhile, I get a little overwhelmed with all the things I got goin' on. Especially when insecurities about school crop up. And when I'm feeling a little down in the dumps, I am always glad to have blog sites I can go to to read some encouraging words. And Large Family Mothering is one of those sites. She amazes and inspires me and she's humble to boot. I can take what she says with confidence cause she's been there. So, I'm showing some linky love for her! Check out these articles...

Don't Forget Your Purpose

Know the Why's of What You're Doing

Have a blessed day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our Week in Pictures

Tyler LOVES the Cozy I am very glad I didn't get rid of allows him to be out on the porch with us and I don't worry about him squeezing through the rails.

It was so nice outside this week...we had a painting free for all on the porch which ended with me having to bleach and wash the porch off where the paint leaked. These are salt paintings. You draw your picture with school glue and instead of glitter, you shake salt over it, shake off the excess and let it dry. Then take water and a drop or two of food coloring and drop a bit onto the salt and it spreads through the design. Very cool to watch....

It is Lillie's style to make her art as wet and messy as possible...but the colors on this blended so pretty! Dad, I figured you'd appreciate this...LOL. Speaking of Dad...Jackson said he wanted to make a living making art...I told him to come talk to you!

Unknown to me...Jack had tied Ty's car to a chair to "keep him safe"...
This week's Bible was about Elijah (Lillie Picked)'s the kids drawings.


(She said it was Elijah and Baby Jesus and a bunny or something)
Jack's: Elijah and the bullock and some short person....

Lillie's Jezebel and Ahab

Tyler spent most of Tuesday morning trying to figure out how to sit in his toy basket....

Victory at last...and a lap around the living room.A Snail the kids captured and, with all their creativity named "Snaily"...I boggles the mind where they came up with such a name.If you would like to try the art project we did...go here...

For a good recipe for fingerpaints (and a way to use those pesky baby food jars), go here.

Have a blessed Weekend!

Friday Fun Day: Working at the Carwash.

My kids have an incredible knack for turning the most innocent of activities into criminal activity. Who'd have thunk that a bucket of soapy water and rags and the clear, explicit instructions to "ONLY WASH THE VEHICLES...NOT ONE ANOTHER" would have turned into a shameful water fight. But they were having fun and weren't destroying anything so...ah, whatever. Who am I to stand in the way of good clean fun.... I think his shirt expresses Tyler's sentiments EXACTLY during the whole ordeal!

Tyler trying desparately to appear invisible...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I find myself unhappy alot. Sometimes I feel a little "unblessed". And I think, "God wants me to be happy." And he does, he loves us like a father loves his children and a good father wants to see his children happy. And then I think, "Well, if God wants me happy, and I'm not happy, then God needs to change the circumstances that are making me unhappy." Don't be shocked...if you'd be honest, you like to help God run the show every once in awhile to. I liken our bossiness of the Almighty to a man and wife in the car (probably on the way to church). The man runs up a little close on a stopped car and the wife makes mention in a not so polite way that he needs to keep his eyes on the road. The man turns and snaps at his wife "I don't need a side seat driver." We've all been in that situation, on both sides of the car. Doesn't it make you mad when your husband or wife tells you how to drive? Well, I'm going to say that I think it rather aggravates God as well, except he doesn't handle it like we do.
But, oh yeah, back to happiness. A friend and I were discussing this the other day and we agreed that we have formed in our minds what God's kind of happiness looks like. We can see the perfect home (inside and out), the perfect marriage, the perfect kids, the perfect church, the all-important perfect bank account in our minds and we think that that's God's best for us. And if our homes, marriages, churches, kids and financial portfolio don't fit into that mold we've created, then we think we can't possible be happy. That God skipped over us in the blessing department. What we don't realize is that God's idea of happiness is COMPLETELY different from ours. What we think a blessed person looks like isn't at all what God sees a blessed person to be. In fact, happiness (as we tend to see it) is a fleeing emotion that comes and goes. Have you actually ever studied out who God says should be happy? Ever searched the scriptures for the "circumstances" that facilitate true happiness. I'm telling the world's standards they don't make sense. In fact, some of them seem pretty unappealing even to a Christian.
Read the Beautitudes in Jesus Sermon on the Mount sometime, and you'll see what I mean by that.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they that mourn,blessed are the peace makers? Read them all and you'll find yourself re-examining your view of blessed-ness and lining it up more with God's.
You know what that one magical ingredient that fosters a Godly "happiness" is? It's God...just God....plain and simple. We have put ourselves into bondage thinking that we "deserve" the things that WE think will make us happy. We don't even know what's going to happen in the next minute of our can we possibly say we know what's best for us? In truth, we don't deserve anything...not even salvation, and certainly not the love that brought it about. In a time where the world in general is self-serving and only out to get what is "rightfully there's", this is a foreign concept. God made the world and he made us, his hand is over and in it all, he doesn't owe us anything...but he gives us every good thing (even if those things don't seem "good" in our eyes).
If it takes a perfect marriage with a perfect husband who cooks breakfast on Sundays AND puts his dirty clothes in the hamper for you to be happy...truth is, you never will be happy. If you can't be happy with anything less than obedient sweet children, an on-fire all the time church, and a healthy checking account...then , you won't ever be happy...never have peace, never have joy. The truth is that our world is imperfect and so are the people in it. Including you and I, by the way.
But God does want us to experience happiness, even in the darkest the times you feel like quitting, when you feel like everyone and everything is fighting against you, when the bill collectors are calling and you recieve the final final notice on a light bill and don't have a clue where the money is going to come from.
And you know, all it takes is a shift in focus? Get your focus back on God...back to Jesus and what he did for you. If in all his pain and suffering he could find peace enough to endure what he did, then how much more can we find peace seeing as how we have him living inside us...with us all the time to help us. He had no help...he had to endure it all alone, so we wouldn't have to go through anything alone.... When circumstances have got you down and you pray and pray and it seems like you can't hear GOd, you don't know what to do, you can't see anyway out except a change in those circumstances , remember that GOd is not a genie in a bottle we can rub anytime we want and get our way. There are times I have asked God for things and found out later I am very thankful he didn't let me have my way.
Am I saying we should just throw up our hands and let our lives run amuck, stop working on our marriages and stop discipling our children and working in our churches and quit paying our bills? No...a little common sense would tell us that's ridiculous. What I'm saying is that if God doesn't see fit to change your circumstances (for whatever reason...He knows best) you can have joy and peace if you focus on the one who never changes and never fails...who CAN'T break a promise.
I'm learning this more and more lately, it seems. So I'll leave you with this song which I absolutely love...Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Ridiculously Long List of Go To Links....

Anyone who knows anything about me will tell you that I have a knack for finding things on the internet. In fact, my close friends sometimes make fun of me because they can tell me they need something and they say I find it in a flash. I guess it's my super power (LOL) and I'm cool with that. However, I have a problem. When I find something, I put it in my favorites and then forget I found I am going to keep a running list of my favorite sites here. Now, on my sidebar I have a ton of links for you on everything from crafts to cooking to homeschooling. But in this post I'd like to list my GO TO's...those sites I shoot off to first thing when I need something for school. I hope you find it useful.


(These have a little bit of everything from lesson plans to subject specific materials and printables.)

Homeschool A to Z (A MUST READ)

The Homeschool Mom (A MUST READ)



(Just Found this one the other day and my kids LOVE it)

(A Pay Site, but has alot of FREE stories and things)

This is it for now...surely it's plenty to look at! I'll add more as I come across them. I love to share links with other homeschoolers because sometimes you just don't want to hunt something up...and when I find something that is helpful to me, I figure it's bound to be helpful to someone else.

This Is How We Do It: Spelling

Spelling is something I've always had a knack for and I'm very thankful that it appears Lillie also has a knack for it and likes it. And though I think that it's important to make those subjects your kids DON"T like is equally important to stoke the fires of the subjects they LIKE to do. So, in the spirit of making schoolwork's how we keep spelling interesting.

First off, I felt like I needed a solid base from which to start. I didn't want to buy an expensive curriculum and I knew I wanted something that not only embraced the learning style I love so dear, but that also could be used over and over and over again. So that is why I'm plugging Kathryn Stouts Natural Speller. It's affordable (I got mine on used for less than $5).

It has grade appropriate word lists that are grouped by sound patterns and sight patterns (which is how I visualizing the shape of the word. If I can write it down, I can spell it.) which is a real plus with visual learners.

*Short Lessons
*Plenty of activities to reinforce the words being learned and also tying in dictionary, grammar and handwriting skills.
*Super flexible..take it at your child's pace.

Okay, in short ...I like it and give it two thumbs up and if I had more than two thumbs I'd stick them up as well.'s how I work spelling. It's a daily thing. On Monday, I choose 10 words from the list that she doesn't already know (when we started out, most of the words on the first list were too easy for her.) Then we pre-test. The words she misses, she writes 5 times each. I was giving the test verbally and may still do that from time to time, but was SO EXCITED to find this website that I can type in the words and it generates an online test with a lovely lady who calls out the words and uses them in a sentence for me. SPELLING CITY is very cool, Lillie likes the format and it's FREE. Ahhh, free...I just love that word!

In addition, Lillie goes through her picture dictionary and picks a word for the day. She copies the definition and draws a picture of the word if she can and we put it in her spelling notebook.
Now, Tuesday through Thursday, she does what I call spelling challenges. The Natural Speller has alot of grade appropriate activities and then I add some I make up myself. I write them on slips of paper and she draws one out. The activities include finding the words in the dictionary, busting the words into syllables, crosswords, word searches, word scrambles, all sorts of things.

BY THE are two sites where you can make your own puzzles to print...the uses for these are unlimited and it's FREE.
Discovery Education Puzzle maker
Armored Penguin Word Scrambler

On Friday we test again. All written work is put in a folder in the filing cabinet. I have found if I have a separate routine for each subject I do alot better and it keeps me from flying off into all different directions.
Okay, so there it is...nothing fancy and nothing expensive. Which just goes to show with a little tad of gumption and high speed internet, it is possible to homeschool on less than a shoestring.

So don't sweat it if you find yourself low on funding...the internet has a wealth of information and support and free stuff to help you through the lean times. Your child's education doesn't hinge on if your globe talks to them or how big your school area is or anything like that. Your child's education hinges on you, the parent, investing your time and your excitement into what can be one of the most rewarding times in pressure or anything. LOL

Have a blessed day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday Fun Day

This concoction is great fun! When you mix it and pour it into the pan, it LOOKS like water, but then you touch it and it's a solid...scoop it up in your hands (as a solid) and it turns back to liquid
,dripping off your fingers. Add food coloring and it ups the fun level. The kids squealed and screeched everytime they touched it and, well, I think you can see from the pictures that this Friday Fun Day Activity was a big hit. Easy to clean up too, except the food coloring stains their hands...but nothing a little diluted bleach mixed in with some hand soap and a healthy dose of scrubbing won't cure. Small price to pay for a little fun time with the kids.Here's the link to the goop recipe if you too want to have some fun today!

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Great Bible Resources I Love...

Since I've been saved , I've been very interested in the science of the Bible, specifically what scientific evidence for Biblical Creation that can be proven aside from taking the Bible at it's word, which is easy for me, but not so easy for someone who doesn't really believe the Bible.

When Jack was so obsessed with Dinosaurs, I was leary of letting him watch anything that didn't have a biblical worldview of creation and found that there was nothing really out there. Not many books on his level either and I didn't know enough to counteract the questions he was asking. I mean "Momma said so." works in some things, but not in these sorts of things. I wanted to be able to give him adequate answers. I also wanted to be able to give others adequate answers should the need arise. So, here are a few of my favorite Bible resources, mostly about creation, but the Building on the Rock series is really good for devotional times. They are collections of real life stories from history that show the absolute control and soverignty of God and how he cares for us when we don't even realize it. The Bible Learn Series are older and might be hard to find. Your library might have them, mine has some. I was fortunate to find a bunch at a used bookstore.
Answers For Kids by Ken Ham
Did Adam Have a BellyButton? by Ken Ham

Did Eve Have An Extra Rib? by Ken Ham
The Great Dinosaur Mystery by Ken Ham
The Building on the Rock Series by Joel Beeke

Bible Learn Series
Jonathan Park Audio Stories

This is How We Do It: Bible

This will be the first installment in the series This Is How We Do It. And I hope it will help someone out there. There are times I've been talking to other homeschoolers and they'll ask how I use notebooking or how we do a certain subject, so this series will answer those questions.


*We basically use our King James Bible and Catherine Voss' Story Bible for Reading.

*Memory Verses

*Lillie is working her way chapter by chapter through the Bible and I print each selection from the BLue Letter Bible site and choose the KJV translation. That way she doesn't have to try and squint at the tiny print in our Bibles and we can highlight trouble words and make notes.

*We also have started a Bible Notebook.

How I Teach Memory Verses

Jack and Chloe pretty much learn by repetition, but since Lillie has started reading , I do a couple fun things aside from daily repetition of the verse and copying the verse.

I write each word of the verse on a Post It Note and scatter them on the wall, then Lillie comes and re-arranges them in the order they go. She really likes doing this and even wrote her verse on Post IT's herself yesterday ...guess mine weren't good enough.

The second thing we've tried and it's really effective and not boring at all is something I call Bible Verse Wipeout. I write the verse on the dry erase board, then Lillie reads it, then I erase one random word from the verse and she has to fill it in the next time she reads it...we continue on until only one word is left standing.

A Note on Notebooking

Since my kids love to draw, I thought I'd incorporate that into our Bible study as well.

For Lillie, I type up the bible stories using my Catherine Voss Story Bible and leave spaces here and there to draw the story. Lillie did Creation the other day and did very well and I really like this activity because not only does it reinforce the story but allows me to see how she sees the story in her mind. I can also see how neat this will be for her when shes older.

I usually print off coloring pages for Chloe and a blank notebooking page like this one from First School for Jack which has a space to draw and an area to write a short sentence. He can write a verse or a sentence from the story and illustrate a part of the story.

What I like about Notebooking is it is simpler than lapbooking and the outcome is the same, not to mention it can be adapted for any age group.

All Fun and Games?

The Bible ought not be boring, especially to kids. I believe you ought to respect the word and handle it properly, but I think our tendency as adults is to be too serious in our pursuit of Bible knowledge. When we adopt such a rigid approach, we ourselves tend to give off the idea that the Bible is this boring , unexciting book that we HAVE to read. THis is the wrong attitude for us and squelches the excitement of the scriptures for our kids. So I say make it object lessons, Bible Science Experiments, Get a Good Story Bible (I think you know the one I like), but don't neglect reading directly from the Bible. We don't want our kids to think there is any absolute substitute for God's Holy Word. And invest in or buy board games and Bible trivia games. Many games are adaptable to Bible. In my Sunday School Class we play Bible Jeopardy and they really like it. We also play a game called Who Am I? in which one child comes up and turns her back to the others. I show the crowd a card with a name and the chosen person has to guess what person they are by the clues the class gives. It's a great way to judge as a group how much the kids know.

So, this is how we do Bible in our Home, but I would add that Bible shouldn't be something we do for 30 minutes during school, we shouldn't see it as "just another subject to cover"...we should be living the Bible and the truths in it in front of our children every day. This is where I fail the most...trying to shove God into a scheduled out time slot and expecting a blessing in return. Yeah, not happening.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lotso Linkage...

Berenstein Bears Curriculum for a Year
This is really a nice resource and FREE if you're looking for a character developing curriculum for young children. I really like the usage of classic books from back in the day (at least in my day)that have very good messages. Check this one out for sure!

Free File Folder Games for all kinds of subjects and topics! I love file folder games, by the way , and so do my kids

Certainly going to use these with Lillie's Natural Spelling Program.

I really would like to get this book to add to my growing collection of "grown folk" books.

Friday Fun-Day...Flyin' High

So , to give the kiddos and myself a bit of a break from school work, Fridays will be kinda a free day. Short review of what we've covered the past week and then a special fun project or activity for that day.
This Friday, we read this book....

And to go along with the book we made paper airplanes. And by WE , I mean, me of course because they couldn't get the folds . Here's the plane we made...anything more complicated than this one and my one endangered brain cell would be offically extinct.

Here are some pictures of the festivities. The kids had a blast and I came close to losing an eye several times.