Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The "other" blog

I started fresh with a new blog, this one, this year. I do still have my other blog there for reference if you are interested in any of it. You can find it there.

I just thought it important to start fresh, like we were doing. Probably more of a mental thing than a reality, but whatever. Makes me feel better, so I did it.

Now, an update on us. We are getting back on track. I am feeling so much better after my surgery, and I am finally at the point of being pleased with having the procedure. I think it was the smartest move I have made in a long time as I feel years younger, even with the pain remaining.

Time For Learning

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"The" Magazine

I cannot tell you how excited I get when this magazine comes in the mail. It is like a gift every-time one shows up, full of all the wonderful tid-bits of knowledge, advice, laughter, and fun that one magazine can contain!

Well, today was *that* day! It is finally here!!! I am far too excited when it arrives to just sit down and start reading. Noooooooo, I have to flip through scanning it, picking out bits and pieces that interest me but never dwelling. I cannot contain my enthusiasm long enough to read it in order. So, I take time scanning and flipping, smiling and anticipating all the things I am going to get out of this issue. Then, I go back and I savor each page. Not always in order, but always in entirety before a few days have past. But, it does not end there. I never give an issue away, though I have leant them out so other's can benefit from an article that has made me think of them. I keep every issue. I believe that every homeschooling family should have a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse. It has proven invaluable to our family in our homeschool journey.

Just today it arrived, and already I had a need "met". I had been looking for a devotional or unit study to take my children through the beginning of December all the way to Christmas. I wanted something to tie in the reasons we do some of what we do to the REAL reason for the season. Right there on page 65 it was..."Christmas is all about Jesus", a 24 day devotional explaining how things like snowflakes and candles can help a family focus on Jesus. I ordered it straight away (further review to come after we use it). Their website is if you'd also like to look into it.

Now, to my plug...if you are a homeschooling parent, you need to subscribe to TOS magazine. If you know a homeschooling parent who does not, it would make an excellent gift. If you plan to homeschool but your children are not there yet (or maybe not even HERE yet), I still suggest subscribing. I wish I owned every issue ever!!! LOL Maybe I will make that a goal?

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is certainly a smart purchase and an excellent resource. I will spend time at a later date talking about their wonderful on-line conferences and so on.

To subscribe, just click here

Back in the Saddle

Time to get back in the saddle. I had to take time off in order to have surgery. I thought we would only miss a little bit of schoolwork, but we ended up missing a LOT. However, I have learned so much in the interim that it may have helped our homeschooling journey more than hurt it. I have learned that when not faced with a structured school day, my children still seek out plenty of opportunities to grow and learn. For the first time, I have seen the benefit of "unschooling". I have watched them pursue so many varied things that they have learned from. Another thing that astounded me was my daughter writing a 5 page book report on a Biography she checked out from the library. I did not assign it, she just did it. Tucker, the child who I have to fight to get to write, has taken to writing letters. Troy I sometimes have to almost sit on to get to listen to me read a book, but lately he'll bring me a stack just to read to him.

I have been stressing science, art, and music curriculum and feeling I am somehow short changing my kids by not having something in stone. However, I have learned in the last few weeks that they really do delve deeply into subjects when they are pursuing their own loves, and they learn a LOT on their own. So, I think I shall try to do a lot more delight centered learning.

So, this week they are each reading biographies. They are writing a lot. Math? They have been doing shopping for me and I actually let them watch me pay bills and help balance our account. I also allowed them to budget some things out and go buy them. They were amazed to see how fast our paycheck went to the most basic of things, and exactly how much it costs to live and support a family. I thought it was sweet that they felt guilty taking their allowances after they saw what it takes to keep our family afloat.

They have also gotten better at chores. There are many things I have been reluctant to do in teaching my children about housework. I don't know why, but I have. I just *know* that when they do the work, it will not be good enough and I'll have to re-do it or want it redone. However, since I am on restriction post surgery, it has forced me to change this.

At first, I was just resigned that the house would not be cleaned "right" until I got better. But, yesterday morning I SNAPPED! I cannot do it, and by golly my 12 & 14 year old are old enough to clean and clean RIGHT. So, yesterday I had them clean and re-clean all morning. They only got a pass to another area when their current area is right. I also had them keep track in a note book of everything they do, that way they can "reference" it later if they "forget" how to do it right. Since they have not been doing their chores right, and have not been helping me much while I have been down, they will not get their last two weeks allowance until this work is done. I sit here writing you proud to say the house is almost in spic & span condition, except my room and bathroom. I will pay them extra to do it as I think our own areas are ALWAYS our own responsibility.

Laundry is another area where I have remained vigilant, and have not shared. I am VERY picky about my laundry. How it is sorted, what temperatures are used, what cycle, the softener, detergent...all of it, including how it is folded/hung. Of course, laundry is WAY behind. So much so that Katie insisted on doing some on her own. She has paid attention (I have allowed them to "help", but with me there directing never on their own) and she did it exactly as I would have. I am very proud. Even more so, I realize, I don't have to take so much on even when well. The kids are capable of doing housework, and doing it correctly.

So, even though we have not been formally schooling, we certainly have had a lot of learning going on around here. I am grateful for this time of growth in our family. I think it well help us all to do better in the future.

The picture at the top is a picture of Tucker's soufflés he made the other day from scratch. They rose nicely and turned out perfect. They were hot chocolate soufflés, using a Hershey's cookbook recipe. BRAVO Tucker...he is well on his way to his goal of being a chef.