March 31, 2007

Just Reminding You about the Homeschool Blog Awards...

The list of nominees as of this morning are up on the Homeschool Blog Awards site. There have been a handful of extras come in since then that are not updated yet... give me time and I'll get them updated. Please check the list and see if your nominations are all there and everything is in order. The more eyes that see the list, the better. Already we have caught a couple of mis-matched blogs.


Yes, I am screaming (or, rather... talking too loud - as my husband likes to point out often). The nominations end at midnight on Friday, and the voting begins on Monday the 9th.

What's going on with Sprittibee this Saturday? I'm busy doing school with the kids (Saturday is our Tuesday this week... or "Day 2" as we have begun to call it). I'm also getting my 2005-6 spreadsheet typed up so I can FINALLY update my Homeschool Series. Yes, really. No, nothing is wrong with me. I'm just finally getting off my hiney to get it done. Be back when I have something ready to post. In the mean-time, feel free to check out my previous years of homeschool records by clicking the Homeschool Series link.

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The Rest of the Nature Hike Photos...

cool waters

prickly plants and seedlings

boy's prize

knobby roots

white dogwood

divine modern art

dinosaur in hiding

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March 30, 2007

Arkansas Spring Nature Hike Photos

creek kids

Sorry for the silence. I've been listening to the sounds of laughing children, babbling brooks, chirping birds, humming bees, and leaves rustling underfoot. We spent our pseudo-weekend hiking with friends and goofing off at home. My legs are tired and I have a big mess to clean up tomorrow later today in the apartment. [It is after midnight and I should be in bed!] I think we are going to dye eggs, cook, and paint today... and read a lot in our library books.

Currently we are reading:

"The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald
"Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan
"The Magicians Nephew" by C.S. Lewis
"The 21 Balloons" by William Pene duBois

spring leaves

We use KONOS and are currently doing a unit study on Trust. I have to admit, though... although I have never done much research about 'Unschooling'; sometimes I think I am so eclectic that I border on it. It isn't necessarily that I have a child-led homeschool. I don't. I do encourage them to find interests they like, though. I just tend to get lost in the moment with them.

little waterfall

I can catch a lizard, wander in the woods, play in the mud, knead dough with my hands, paint and draw - and nothing else on the list gets checked off. I think that everyone needs to have a balance of fun outlet and serious study. I don't know if that is an unschooling philosophy, a classical philosophy... or what? [I'd love to hear your thoughts on this if you are versed in homeschool philosophies, by the way... do comment!]

cleft of the rock

I am quite sure that tomorrow, our schedule will be tossed for a much more flexible and enjoyable day. Blame it on spring. Maybe it was the forest air on our nature walk?

tiniest wildflowers

Have a look at some of the sights we saw today in honor of spring. I'll have another set of photos from our walk for you tomorrow. I can update you on today's homeschool day then as well.

ancient head

Enjoy your Friday. [Our Friday is our Monday this week.]

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March 27, 2007

Rainbow Days and Pots of Gold


Rainbows have always been a favorite of mine (who could escape them growing up in the 80's?). They are such a great help with learning order. It is amazing how much order there is in our universe... even in light! However, my lack of skill in managing to draw and color the rainbow above correctly should be overlooked. I somehow managed to place yellow before orange and thus have been the laughing stock of our homeschool since yesterday. The tender tweenish years are upon us: the kids are realizing that mom really does make mistakes and really doesn't know everything. It makes for some interesting playful banter (and even the ocasional willful challenge now and then). I'm getting used to a new season in motherhood. My kids are both coming into their own personalities. They are as unique as the rainbow's colors themselves.

"It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important." ~ Søren Aaby Kierkegaard
I promised that I would share with you my "Rainbow Days" schedule. This is our newest edition to the many things we have tried to keep on task. With a husband working evenings and getting weekdays off as his weekends; homeschooling has been a challenge. If not for homeschooling, however, our kids would not have seen much of Daddy for the past 18 months. We have the liberty to stay up and wait for him to get home. We have the freedom to sleep in and cuddle, have blueberry-lemon scones at nine, and to start school after lunch when Daddy leaves for work. Would I suggest it for every homeschooler? No. Am I thankful for the experience and the wisdom it has taught me? Yes. Will I be glad when Kev starts working a day job again and we can get back on a "normal" 9-5 again? Emphatic YES! So, with those things in mind, you have to take my schedule as I do... with a grain of salt.

In case you couldn't read my tiny faux-cursive print up there, I've copied a text version of my 'Rainbow Schedule' here:

Sprittibee's Rainbow Days Schedule
  • 8am - Chores

  • 9am - Prayer Journals, Prayer, Bible, Bible Drill, Memory Verse, Devotional

  • 10am - 3 Days a week: Math/ 1 Day: Art/ 1 Day: Science Experiment

  • 11am - 2 Days a week: Penmanship & Vocabulary/ 2 Days a week: Grammar & Draw-Write-Now!/ 1 Day: Spelling

  • 12noon - Lunch, Afternoon chores

  • 1pm - 2 Days a week: Latin & Typing/ 2 Days a week: Italian & Educational Computer Game/ 1 Day a week: Craft (related to unit)

  • 2pm - KONOS activities (Unit Study)

  • 3pm - 2 Days a week: Science or History Reader/ 2 Days a week: Geography & Journal/ 1 Day a week: Current Events & Maps

  • 4pm - 1 Day a week: Pen pals & Correspondence/ 1 Day a week: Timeline Characters (related to unit)/ 1 Day a week: Report or Book Report (related to unit)/ 5 days a week: Reading (related to unit)

  • 5pm - PE or Makeup Work or Evening Chores

  • 6pm - Home Ec (cooking with mom) or Dinner Chores

  • 7pm to 10pm - FREE TIME (includes free reading time or pc games)

  • 11pm - Family Read Aloud & Prayers, 11:30 Bedtime

While I have hours on this chart, it is not often that everything is done exactly to the letter. Yesterday, for instance, we started school after lunch. That put our free time in the morning and our schooling ended near 9pm (not to mention, there were some subjects we couldn't cover and will make up on a "weekend day" when Daddy is home). Flexibility is the name of the game in our life right now.
"When God puts a tear in your eye, it's because he wants to put a rainbow in your heart." ~ Unknown
Life in apartments (after ten years in three different houses) has been quite a humbling and challenging experience. We have learned to try and forget about the rest of our furniture that has been in storage for 18 months. We have learned to try and forget about the closets and extra bedrooms we used to have and the U shaped kitchen with enough counter space for a horse to lie down on. We suffer through make do with the blessings we are given today. We try and seize each opportunity to thrive in the moment. Sometimes we fail (miserably). OK - a lot of times we fail (and have a really bad attitude). However, we have found that even in the midst of setback, disappointment, failures, sadness, and sacrifice... we are so BLESSED.

It helps to keep it all in perspective.

2 Corinthians 4:17 ~ For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
POTS OF GOLDToday is not just a rainbow day for our homeschool. It is a glimmer of hope - shining at the tail end of the past 18 months. My husband finally got word this morning from upper management that he was being considered as a candidate for a promotion. They have promised him this for over a year. Not only might he get a better job, but he might get a DAY job - and it might be in TEXAS. [I asked God for three things this morning... for Kev to get his management opportunity, for us to have a Rainbow Day and for rain to wash all that yellow pollen away. Two out of three so far is not bad! It is raining as I type.]

With the joy of future schedule improvements, pay raises, possibilities of having our move paid for, happy reunions with family and old friends... there is sorrow as well. Like all things in life; when change comes, it isn't always easy. Arkansas has really grown on me after living here for 18 months. If we do have to move, I will miss it here. I will miss the places and the faces... the beauty of the seasons and scenery... and of course THE WEATHER. I love Texas, but the spring and summer up here is a welcome RELIEF from the heat! So as our family hangs on tight to the handle-bars, riding this new roller-coaster of emotion (wondering what will be over that next lift in the track) we would appreciate your prayers to help calm our hearts and help us transition well.
Romans 8:28 ~ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Right now, everything is pretty much up in the air (there's no guarantee that a management job, a raise, or a transfer is coming or when); but I'm sure that God has it under control. We are eagerly awaiting His provision and praising Him for this happy news today (even if it is only a first step among many). One of these days I keep hoping I'll wake up and see my pot of gold at the end of this rainbow - in many more ways than one. Until that time comes, I'm just going to keep trying to bloom where I'm planted. I'm going to keep being thankful that God keeps His promises - even when they are kept in His own time.

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March 26, 2007

2, 4, 6, 8 - Who do we appreciate???

copyrighted imageReady, set, GO! Voting begins at the Homeschool Blog Awards today! Actually, it is already underway. The Homeschool Blog Awards team is taking nominations through April 7th. Voting begins April 13th (Friday the 13th, that is!).

REMEMBER that these awards are for 2006! Blogs that started in 2007 (no matter how GREAT they are) can NOT be nominated. Save your favorite newest 2007 blogs for December's 2007 Homeschool Blog Awards.

I have posted a few other tiny little rules over on the nominations page. If you want to be 'teleported' directly there, you can click the lovely graphic below:

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March 25, 2007

Why I Don't Vaccinate and the Texas HPV Controversy

I am so saddened that the medical community is trying to force people to get vaccines. All vaccines should be voluntary. I happen to know someone who got polio from a vaccine (personally)... and have heard of kids in playgroup circles that went in for vaccines in routine doctor check-ups and within hours or days, were autistic. This isn't science fiction, folks. These were (key word: were) happy, healthy, normal kids that were turned into silent, non-social introverts by mercury-based vaccines.

I gave my kids vaccines when they were younger, yes... but after research, I felt that I would rather play it safe and just try to eat healthy, exercize, wash our hands and pray. You can lower your chances for illness more by healthy prevention than you can with drugs and vaccines. God gave you an immune system and is still in control today. Sure, we get the off-and-on sinus allergy attacks when pollen is thick enough to cut with a knife in the air outside (like today). We don't, however, go to the doctor more than once a year on average. I haven't been for myself because of an illness in over two or three years. My kids each went to the doctor once last year. For my daughter, it was for eczema - not illness. We even try to avoid medicine if we can manage to suffer through the snotty noses and sore throats that happen once or twice a year with seasonal allergies. After all, you aren't feeling bad because of a lack of pharmaceuticals in your blood-stream. I don't take flu shots, either. The last time I took one, I got the flu. It was the last time I had the flu. I figured if one of the only times I got the flu was when I took the shot... I wanted NOTHING to do with the shot.

The media every year is quick to sensationalize flu season. Each year it seems that there is a shortage of shots - causing mass panic to erupt and hordes of fear-controlled masses to bang down the doors at every local clinic in town. What most people don't think about is WHO the PANIC benefits: the drug companies, plain and simple. What in the world would they do with all those batches of vaccine if no one bought them? It is in their best interest for the flu to continue to ravage the world. Us sick makes them rich.

Another vaccine has recently begun to make headlines in Texas and elsewhere; the HPV Vaccine. Below is information about the HPV Virus and some reasons why there is such a controversy regarding the governor making it mandatory for 11 year old girls to get treated before they are allowed in Texas schools.

From the HSLDA Website (italics and bolding are all my additions):

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of viruses that have about 100 different strains or types. Over 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted. While most HPV infections are dealt with by the body’s immune system and no symptoms occur, there are several types that can cause cervical cancer or genital warts. For more information about HPV see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s online information.

Those who are most likely to get HPV are those who have sex at an early age, have many sex partners, or have a sex partner who has had many partners.

However, the only FDA approved HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is not a cure for HPV or cervical cancer. Instead the vaccine seeks to prevent the four specific types of HPV (6, 11, 16, and 18) which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. There is currently no cure for these sexually transmitted viruses. Even the FDA and the CDE admit the only “cure” is abstinence before marriage and a monogamous relationship during marriage.

There have been no long-term studies of the HPV vaccine. Children in the 9-year-old age group have been monitored for only 18 months and there have been no studies on the carcinogenic risk or the general toxicity of the vaccine itself. From July 2006 to the end of 2006, there were 385 unique reports of adverse events filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following the receipt of the vaccine. Visit the National Vaccine Information Center for a full review of these reports.

I am a homeschool mom, so my daughter won't have to take this shot to be educated in my home. However, I feel really sorry for the other kids who are going to be harassed into getting vaccinated soon if nothing is done to help get this mandate vetoed. Texas parents are up in arms about the vaccinations for an array of different reasons (medical, ethical, privacy and parental rights are a few). Just click over and take a look at these informational posts by Keel the Pot, Home Where They Belong, and Mama Says.

Here are just two of the cases in which adverse reactions to the vaccine were reported. They are unspeakably scary to read. Imagine if this were your child!

From the National Vaccine Information Center:

Case record - 267171 - (13 y/o) - INfluenza vaccine and Human Papilloma VIrus vaccines given November 10 about 11:45 AM. Patient woke up with numbness on right side of face on November 11. Presented to Emergency Room on November 12 with Bells Palsy of right side of face. Unable to move right side of face. Unable to close right eye. Previously healthy, no symptoms on day of vaccine administration. Symptoms: Paralysis, facial paralysis, paresthesia.

Case report - 269328 - (13 y/o) - Information has been received from a physician concerning a 13 year old female who on 22-Nov-2006 was vaccinated with HPV rL1 6 11 16 18 VLP vaccine (yeast). A few days later she had cold symptoms and was prescribed azithromycin (ZITHROMAX). A few days after that the patient developed hives and was prescribed amoxicillin. A few days later the patient was hospitalized and diagnosed on 01-Dec-2006 with Guillian-Barre Syndrome. The patient sought unspecified medical attention. At the time of the report, it was [reported truncated] Symptoms: Guillain-Barre Syndrome, urticaria (hives)

From the NINDS site:

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barré (ghee-yan bah-ray) syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. In many instances, the weakness and abnormal sensations spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until the muscles cannot be used at all and the patient is almost totally paralyzed. In these cases, the disorder is life-threatening and is considered a medical emergency. The patient is often put on a respirator to assist with breathing. Most patients, however, recover from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, although some continue to have some degree of weakness. Guillain-Barré syndrome is rare. Usually Guillain-Barré occurs a few days or weeks after the patient has had symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection. Occasionally, surgery or vaccinations will trigger the syndrome. The disorder can develop over the course of hours or days, or it may take up to 3 to 4 weeks. No one yet knows why Guillain-Barré strikes some people and not others or what sets the disease in motion. What scientists do know is that the body's immune system begins to attack the body itself, causing what is known as an autoimmune disease. Guillain-Barré is called a syndrome rather than a disease because it is not clear that a specific disease-causing agent is involved. Reflexes such as knee jerks are usually lost. Because the signals traveling along the nerve are slower, a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test can give a doctor clues to aid the diagnosis. The cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the spinal cord and brain contains more protein than usual, so a physician may decide to perform a spinal tap.

Take NOTE: Between July and December (just six months), they already had nearly 400 adverse reactions to the HPV Vaccine on record. Those aren't just reactions. Those are little girls - little girls whose lives are being toyed with.

More from the National Vaccine Information Center:

"If only 1 to 4 percent of all adverse events associated with GARDASIL vaccination are being reported to VAERS, there could have been up to 38,000 health problems after GARDASIL vaccination in 2006 which were never reported," said Fisher. "How many girls are really having short-term health problems associated with getting this vaccine that could turn into long-term neurological or immune system disorders? And how many will go on to develop fertility problems, cancer or damage to their genes, all of which Merck admits in its product insert that it has not studied at all? We just don't know enough to be mandating GARDASIL for anyone, much less vulnerable 11 to 12 year old girls entering puberty."

I think the safest route would be to teach kids abstinence and not shoot them up with vaccines that could give them nasty side-effects. Of course, this is what works for our family. I don't want my daughter to end up with Guillain-Barré or facial paralysis (or worse) just because I was afraid that one day she might catch something else. I certainly don't want to give her pills or vaccines that speak clearly to the fact that I don't TRUST that she can remain sex-free until she gets married, either. I'll pass on the HPV Vaccine - no thanks! If it becomes mandatory in public schools for 11 year old girls to get this vaccine... I think you'll see the homeschool ranks and private school attendees swell to an all-time high next school year. And they should!

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March 24, 2007

Saturday Brain Dump...

Sorry for this random brain-drooling... I don't feel like much else but getting my thoughts out today. I'm taking it easy in the blogosphere today. Maybe I'll actually put forth a little effort in here later this week if I can get my 2005-6 Homeschool Series ready in my spare time tomorrow. Don't hold your breath, though!

We're doing school today. In fact, we have to take advantage of every day that we can to do school because we never know when Daddy's next day off will be (and it usually comes in the middle of our planned week); so Saturday is our make-up day. We never do school Sundays, so that makes our weeks shorter than most other homeschoolers (4 days, rather than 5). I'm working on getting into an earlier schedule and getting my enthusiasm back. It seems that Spring and the distractions it brings tend to make us want to do anything but focus on school. I would like to be done with school by the end of June, but that is really pushing it if we have to move again. Who knows where we will be this time next year?!

I re-did our schedule today and made a little rainbow-color chart for the kids. I put it on our fridge. They like the chart and are really trying to help me stay on it so they can claim the FREE time in the afternoons. When we start to get off on a tangent, I just remind them "Your free time is quickly disappearing..." and they start to scurry around like little mice to get back on track. Why didn't I think of the "Rainbow Chart" sooner? Like five years ago?! Today the kids prayed that we could have a "Rainbow Day" and get our whole list checked off. How cute. I'd love to have a feeling of accomplishment after such a long time off from school. Seems we were having quite a few bad days before Spring Break because we were so unable to get our minds focused on the work at hand. The kids were drawing on their Math sheets and taking four times as long to do everything. They were writing things like "9 days until Spring Break!!!!!!" on the edges of their papers; as if I needed a reminder! The mind is a hard beast to tame when it starts to daydream and wander! Hopefully, I can get a graphic made of my schedule to put in here for you to see... but if that doesn't happen, I might type it out if anyone is interested.

To change the subject.... I am thrilled with the final product that my Swank buddies came up with for the Homeschool Blog Awards. I wrote down a few of my favorite blogs today from the endless blogrolls on my sidebar. I have too many favorites for even 21 categories. I will be one of the first on Monday to start nominating blogs! There are two bloggers that I will be nominating from last year (remember - these are the 2006 awards!) that are currently NOT blogging anymore. I wanted to give them the credit they deserve anyway. They blessed me so much and I have really missed them. Curious to know who they are? I'll tell you... SpunkyHomeschool and Dandelion Seeds. I hope they both win a prize... and maybe someday come back to blog again.

I had better get back to my first duty: homeschooling. Daddy just helped the kids with their math sheets and is in the shower. I'm going to finish making our lunch that I began last night: home-made Asian fried rice and Sesame Chicken Fingers. I also made a really great recipe last night from a current magazine I bought (Red Cabbage-Pear Slaw and BBQ Chicken with a side of Twice-Baked Potatoes). I'll probably put that recipe up on Gathering Manna some time this week. I have really been neglecting my foodie blog. My apologies to those of you who actually go there and read it... all two of you.

I pray you and yours all have a wonderful Saturday (as most of you are off having fun with your families today). Enjoy your weekend!!!

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March 23, 2007

BIG NEWS: Texas Homeschool Update & New Homeschool Blog Award Site is Up!

I've been a busy bee this morning. I've already helped with the final draft of the new Homeschool Blog Awards Website and I've called all of the Texas House Public Education Committee Members! I wanted to share these two important tips with you today before I get back to homeschooling:

1. Stop over at the Homeschool Blog Awards site and "ooooh" and "aaahhh" over the lovely design and functional forms of our new community service blog! It is just fabulous. Laura and Heather have some amazing web-design skills, don't they?! I also have it linked in my sidebar for easy access.

NOMINATIONS START NEXT MONDAY! You can stop in to nominate your favorite homeschool bloggers as early as 12:01AM on March 26th! We will take nominations until April 7th at midnight.

2. IF YOU LIVE IN TEXAS: Please check out HSLDA's alerts. There are two active items going on in the Texas Legislature that need your attention. Here they are:

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

An important bill, H.B. 1844, has been introduced by representative Charlie Howard. This bill requires public school districts to publish the dates of testing for the PSAT to homeschoolers and allow homeschoolers to take AP tests.

We have had reports from our members in the past that they have been denied access to these tests. This bill will remedy the situation. H.B. 1844 will likely be considered by the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. Your calls are needed now to ensure the committee will pass this bill.


Please call as many members of the House Public Education Committee as possible, and give them this message:

"Please vote in favor of H.B. 1844, introduced by Rep. Howard. This bill will end the discrimination against homeschool students seeking to take college entrance exams and PSAT and AP testing."

Rep. Rob Eissler -- 512-463-0797 (Chairman)
Rep. Bill Zedler --512-463-0374 (Vice Chairman)
Rep. Dan Branch -- 512-463-0367
Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. -- 512-463-0510
Rep. Scott Hochberg -- 512-463-0491
Rep. Anna Mowery -- 512-463-0608
Rep. Dora Olivo -- 512-463-0494
Rep. Diane Patrick -- 512-463-0624
Rep. Dianne White Delisi -- 512-463-0630

The other issue is the governor-mandated HPV (sexually transmitted disease) vaccine. This is bad news, folks. Please call your senators and ask them to pass H.B. 1098 to protect our freedoms and privacy in Texas! Here's more information - be sure to read the alert at HSLDA's Texas page.

Last month we told you about Governor Perry’s executive order which would require the vaccination of 11-year-old girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease.

In response to this executive order, HB 1098 was introduced. HB 1098 would rescind the executive order which mandates the HPV vaccine.

Good news! H.B. 1098 passed the House! The bill passed 119-21, which exceeds the two-thirds majority requirement to override a veto. The bill is now in the Senate. We need your calls to ensure passage of the vote by a two-thirds majority in order to override the possible gubernatorial veto.

Have a great Friday! See you here tomorrow!

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March 22, 2007

Quote of the Day

Sorry for the post overload, people. Two posts in one day is usually not my style (or speed).

“When we started homeschooling, I felt as if I tucked a child under each arm and jumped off a cliff. Imagine my surprise to discover we had wings!” -Maura Seger

Top that! I love that quote!

Happy homeschooling!

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* Spreading the Word about the Belated 2006 Homeschool Blog Awards *

What's so cool about the Belated 2006 Homeschool Blog Awards? The blog awards were great in 2005, but this time they promise to be even better. The HSBAwards Team have made some adjustments to categories, added NEW categories we didn't have in 2005, are offering some awesome prizes for the winners, and we are setting up a new site to house the fun. While my wonderful web-savvy designer buddies are cooking up the blog design for the NEW Homeschool Blog Awards site, please feel free to SNAG this image and post about the awards on your own blogs. We would love to have as many homeschoolers as possible KNOW about the awards so they can participate and have a chance to win. Please consider spreading the word!

To make your post more interesting, Heather and Laura of Swank WebStyle have created three lovely buttons (one for promotion of the awards, one for nominees to display in their sidebars, and one for WINNERS!!!). I'm displaying the promotional graphic here in this post. If you would like to use it when you "spread the word", please right click the graphic and save it to your documents. Then, you can upload it into Blogger or use your graphics hosting site to post it on your own blogs. Please refrain from bandwidth hijacking (using just the URL for the photo in your HTML code). This is not ethical and will put strain on the Homeschool Blog Awards website (because we are using the Photobucket site where it is stored for website graphics). If you still don't understand what I'm talking about... it probably doesn't apply to you! If you need help saving and posting the graphic, feel free to look me up in my "CONTACT" link and I'll try and email you back as quickly as I can. For more information regarding this topic, you can check out the comments on my last HSBAwards post.

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my half-day off with the kiddos (who have both just finished taking their IOWA Skills Test for the school-year). Have a super Thursday!

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March 21, 2007

Homeschool Blog Awards Categories and Updates

* updates below in dark red

The domain for the new HSBA site has been purchased! Heather and Laura of Sand, Sea and School are working on the details of the site design and plan to unveil the website soon. We will probably include a blog as well (so you can check that site for updates also). Not sure just yet. Not sure about exactly when nominations will begin, either... but we are making strides and getting sponsors interested in presents for winners! Would you like to offer something to the winners? Let me know soon!

I had some time after standardized testing today to sit down and type up my ideas for the new Homeschool Blog Awards categories. Here is my list (below). Let me know what you think and I'll make adjustments before we set things in stone for nominations. Laura, Heather - care to give us a little update of your own in the comments section or link to your own posts about this project here? Shoot me an email. I searched for your phone numbers and they have somehow escaped my email box.


1. Best Homeschool Mom Blog
Everyone is the best homeschool mom for their own children. With thousands of homeschool bloggers out there, please know that there will only be one winner online – but EACH OF US are winners in our own homes. If there’s a blogging mom out there that has been a particularly good example to you and you want to let her know… consider her for this nomination! [Her blog does not have to be exclusively about motherhood or homeschooling.]

2. Best Homeschool Dad Blog
We love to hear what dad has to say. Especially if he includes homeschool posts off and on. [Blog doesn’t have to be exclusively about homeschooling.]

3. Best Blog Design
Here’s your chance to nominate your favorite blog design and give your favorite blogger a pat on the back for her talent (or give her web designer some credit!).

4. Best Artistic Content Blog
This blogger has an eye-catching and interesting variety of graphics and photos in posts and in the general design that you enjoy. We want to thank those of you who post pictures and graphics that inspire us!

5. Best Crafts, Plans & Projects Blog
Do you turn to the blogosphere for a steady supply of great craft ideas, lesson plans or projects that you can do with your homeschoolers? Why not share your favorite blogs that provide them with all of us and give that person some recognition?

6. Best Family or Group Blog
Nominate your favorite Homeschool Family blog or your favorite group blog that is either run by Homeschoolers or discusses homeschool issues. [Blog doesn’t have to be exclusively about homeschooling.]

7. Best Encourager
It is time to say thanks to those bloggers out there who lift you up out of the homeschool “blahs” and help you get back on track. The winner of this category doesn’t have to be perfect or always in a good mood… just someone who makes you feel as if someone else cares and has a positive attitude overall.

8. 'Live-What-You-Believe' Homeschool Blog
A large percentage of homeschoolers are Christians, but this doesn’t have to mean Christianity only. Other religions or even strictly secular homeschool blogs can be nominated here. The person just has to do a good job marrying their faith (or lack of it) with their posts on homeschooling... uplifting others to walk in faith (or lack of it) and blessing others who adhere to that faith (or lack of it). I for one am thankful that we live in a land that is FREE to worship (or not) any way we see fit… and to homeschool our kids accordingly.

9. Best Unschooling or Eclectic Homeschooling Blog
This blogger should have a great variety of ideas and encouragement for those who homeschool to the beat of their own drum.

10. Best Geographical Blog
In 2005, we had separate categories for International and Canada. I felt that was a bit unfair. This time, we are including a category for ANY geographical place that you find interesting. If you are interested in a blog in Russia, Romania, Canada, Turkey, New Zealand, Texas or Washington D.C. – and your favorite blogger from that area talks a bit about that place in-between homeschool posts, PLEASE let us know! Be sure to let us know when you nominate the Best Geographical Blog that you TELL us WHERE the place is!

11. Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog
We don’t want a strictly political blog that is run by a homeschooler unless quite a few posts have relevant information pertaining to homeschooling. News clips that affect our freedoms as homeschoolers and how homeschooling is portrayed in the media are ideal. We love to hear what other homeschool teachers are thinking and reading and their views on things that affect us all. [This blog does not have to be exclusively about homeschooling, current events, or politics… just a blog that often shares opinions on matters that you enjoy learning from.]

12. Best Homemaking or Recipes Blog
This blog should have content regarding homemaking, housekeeping, tips, ideas for making your life easier, information about raising multiple kids, or recipes that you enjoy trying. [This person should be a homeschooler but the blog doesn’t have to be exclusively about homeschooling, homemaking or recipes.]

13. Best Teen Blog
Let’s encourage those young bloggers to speak up and be a good example for their peers. I have seen so many wonderful teen blogs out there that deserve recognition. Let us know what some of your favorites are! [This blog does not have to be exclusively about homeschooling, but homeschooling should be mentioned often or it should be obvious from the template that the teen is a homeschooler.]

14. Funniest Homeschool Blog
We all need a laugh in-between laundry, lesson plans and loosing our cool. It is nice to get your smile back so you can share it with your students (who can only take “so much gloom” as Ma Walton said so eloquently on Little House on the Prairie). Nominate your favorite crack-pot or crack-up homeschool blog here.

15. Best Cyber-Buddy Blogger
A blogger that you haven’t met, but you think you would enjoy meeting and hanging out with. She/he is a person that you would love to co-op with or live next door to. Who knows, maybe one day we will get together somewhere at one of these bloggy meetings I hear about. I’m so jealous!

16. Best Curriculum or Business Blog
Let us know your favorite homeschool business or curriculum blogs so we can read them, too!

17. Best Variety
This blogger is one that could fit in any of these categories … but they just can’t be pinned down in ONE. This type of blogger is the ADD hyper-focused type… always moving on from one thing to the next… and always keeping you interested in coming back for more!

18. Best Thrifty Homeschooler
Most of us are homeschooling on a shoe-string. Nominate your favorite money-saving blogger so you can share her tips with the blogosphere and bless a bunch of homeschool children in the process! [Blog doesn't have to be exclusively about frugality.]

Ever feel like a looser after reading someone else’s lesson plans, seeing their field trip photos, listening to them talk about what they got done today, or seeing pictures of their children’s accomplishments? You were probably feeling the effects of visiting a SUPER-HOMESCHOOLER’s blog. These are the A-list homeschool parents that just BLOW YOU AWAY with their enthusiasm. We all have our good days, but this blogger has us all beat.

*new* 20. Best Nitty-Gritty Homeschool Blog
Since we included a category for the Super-Homeschooler... I figured we would add one in for the homeschooler who is brutally honest and open about her mistakes and failures. These are the moms that make you feel better and let you know that it is OK that we aren't perfect. What would we do without them???

21. Best NEW Homeschool Blog
It is hard making a name for yourself in the blogosphere. A lot of times, you feel as if you are writing and no one is out there. If you have stumbled upon a great new blogger who has a lot of potential and you want to share them with the rest of us… please consider nominating them for this category!

Quick Links:
More about the Belated Homeschool Blog Awards (read the last post)

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March 20, 2007

Spring Leaves for Wordless Wednesday... and Thursday Challenge


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Schedule Stress and Spring Homeschool Carnival

Spring. The mid-point of my school year. I usually do school from September through June (last year through the end of July because of moving in October '05)... so this is one of the homeschool moments when I get the panic-attacks blahs.

Here's my schedule (neatly drawn on and scanned for your viewing pleasure):


Looks like a re-vamp is in order. As usual. These next three days "off" during standardized testing are going to be my re-organization time before I begin the 'smackdown' here at Sprittibee's Homeschool. It is time to get the schedule done. You can label it "spring cleaning" - I suppose.

Not only will I have time for re-organizing my schedule... but I'll also have some time to get caught up grading, recording, and READING those great books I've promised to review. It couldn't hurt to browse through a few magazines as well. Maybe, if I can get out of here in the next twenty minutes... I can swing through Buckees and sip down a Starbucks Decaf Hazelnut Coffee Frap while I sit for half a day while the kids test.

In the mean time... while you are waiting for me to come out of my self-induced hibernation... be sure to check out the Homeschool Carnival. This week it is over at Dana's place. She's a smart cookie.

For a laugh, you could also check out my friend FiddleDeeDee's post about her son drinking hand soap (or was it lotion?).

Have a super Tuesday, all!

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March 18, 2007

Is This a Homeschool Blog or WHAT?!!?


That is how I feel right now.

My fingers smell like hot dogs (a sure sign that I am using up leftover camping food). Hey... at least we ate a salad with the dogs and chips.

My house is finally clean. My paperwork has been sorted. The laundry is in progress (and I'll finish it tomorrow after I go get some more detergent). The kids have been invaluable today in helping clean the house and get things done. What great helpers they are.

Now it is time for the hard work:

  • checkbook

  • bills

  • homeschool planning

  • grading and recording the last two weeks

  • updating my day-planner after a week off

  • getting the kids to their standardized tests this week

...and getting my groove back.

I'd like to say that I'm a homeschool blogger... but lately, I've been off in la-la land. Sorry! Sometimes life is just a wee bit overwhelming. Comes atcha fast, don't it?

Anyway... I just wanted to say to you bloggy buddies out there... the lurking readers, faithful subscribers, web surfing googlers, and those unfortunate souls that are lured in here by some obscure link that has nothing to do with my blog... THANKS for putting up with me and my quirky, meandering ways.

Some day I really will get 2005-6 and 2006-7 posted in my homeschool series. Really. No, really!

Until then... say a prayer for my brain to kick into gear and for my ability to make some progress before our lives are turned upside down with another move! I really want to finish this school year out with the feeling that we 'Rock-'n-Rolled'.

So far we are a tad behind, but hopefully will be gaining soon. I have quite a bit of kindling to gather up for the fire that needs to be burning under my 'bo-tine' because this Konos chick is making me feel like I'm farther behind than I imagined.

Now excuse me while I go get some Windex and a rag to clean off my keyboard... I'm sure hotdogs are not supposed to be left on your computer equipment...

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March 17, 2007

Boo Hoo... Break is Over.

I've been busy whining about Spring Break's end here in Arkansas. The leaves were budding, the flowers were blooming, and the sun was shining today... but our buddies had to leave for Texas and the apartment is so oddly silent now. If we didn't have standardized tests this week, I might have opted to follow them down the freeway; all the way back! Dratted homeschool schedule! I guess that means we are back to business as usual this Monday.

It looks as if a time-bomb has gone off in my bedroom. I have a headache from the long nap I took when we got back from lunch with our friends. It will take me the rest of the weekend to dig out of the laundry piles and paperwork that I neglected all week. So, while I get busy cleaning house and getting deskwork done... here are a few parting photos from our super-fun week off with friends:

Kev and I on Petit Jean Mountain

two girls and a cypress tree

What do kids do on vacation? Catch worms.

the average Arkansas plate...

goofing off in downtown Little Rock

River Market lovebirds

best Mexican food North of Texas so far

big sister, little sister

'water-and-mud boy'



If only Spring Break didn't have to end.

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The links in my "Sweet Linkage" section are either sponsored links or personal links that I find interesting (including the links to the blogs that both of my teen children run).

I occasionally run ads on my blog in exchange for money or traded advertising, or receive products in exchange for a review or giveaway posts. I also participate in campaigns by brands that offer to pay me to write about their products after using them. Any post that is sponsored will be noted as such. All opinions expressed on are my own, and any review, give-away, sponsored post, graphic ad, or product that I mention or link to are ones that I believe are reputable and worthy companies.


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