August 31, 2006

Explaining my Absence and Prayer Requests

I apologize for disappearing for two days, but I do have quite a few excuses... some good, some bad... and a prayer request or two. Tuesday afternoon, I found out that my good friend Christi's boyfriend had shot himself in front of her (in the head) and he was on life support. He died, and I have not been able to get a hold of her since she initially told me what happened. I pray that you would please keep her and her kids in your prayers. I can not imagine going through something like she is experiencing. She lives in another state and I am unable to go see her, so I have been experiencing a lot of heartache and guilt in not being able to be there for her.

All week I have been attending classes in the evening at my church along with homeschooling. The classes have been wonderful. The last one was last night, so now my evenings should be freed up and I'll again have a little time for blogging. I was gone all day yesterday on field trips and play-time for the children also... so today, with Daddy home for the next two days from work, we are doing a light schedule and enjoying time together as a family.

I finally got Kaden's IOWA test scores as well... and will discuss that in another post.

For today, I ask that you please remember Christi, and my friend Kelly's husband, Chuck, in your prayers. Chuck is having surgery at 3pm to have a cyst removed from his wrist. As this is delicate and it will affect his ability to work, I ask that you pray for them as well.

Tomorrow, I'll return you to our regular program! God bless and THANK YOU for praying!

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August 29, 2006

Meme for Homeschool Moms

I was tagged a while back by Rebecca at "What Did You Do in School Today?" and she has graciously given me a while to get around to answering her questions. Being a lot more pressed for time during the school year, I am not against a good meme now and then! This one is particularly fun, because it has to do with homeschooling... which if you haven't noticed by now, is one of my favorite things to talk about!

Homeschool Meme

It is so hard to keep it to ONE book! But here's my recent favorite: "Educating the WholeHearted Child - A Handbook for Christian Home Education" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

KONOS, KONOS Email List, Library, Internet... the list could go on forever...

Usborne (Internet Linked) Encyclopedia of World History (first whole 1/4 of book is very imaginative evolution... which I feel has NO place in a history book)

Not really a resource, but FIELD TRIPS!

We are adding some A Beka curriculum, the last few Explode the Code books, "Our 24 Family Ways" Family Devotional by the Clarksons, Latin workbooks, new Draw, Write Now! workbooks... etc...

Math U See, Piano Lessons, Choir Lessons, and Foreign Language Software/Curriculum... oh... and all the things/books in my WISH LIST at Amazon (linked also in my bottom right sidebar)

I think all of the ones I really need are available. I just wish I had a pile of cash to spend on them all!

Wish List/Things to Buy: The Vision Forum, Encouragement: The Old Schoolhouse/Teach

Free Crossword Puzzle Maker

1. Amy because she's way cooler than me (...and has more kids, and her husband is REALLY a rocket scientist!).
2. Heather because I've never seen her blog before (looks neat) and she shares my first name.
3. LindaFay because she always has good advice and she lives in Turkey, so she has a unique perspective!
4. Patricia Ann because she's a homeschool pro.
5. Laura because she's a swanky web designer.
6. Beth because she can change her blog template more times in a few months than I change my dryer's lint-catch-thingy.
7. Rhonda because she's my real-life buddy.
8. Erin because she's extremely creative.
9. Cindy because she's way funnier than me.
10. Barbara because she's got some kind of freaky psychedelic purple bear background on her blog and she's willing to ditch her homeschool methods and try new things - she's got GUTS!

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August 28, 2006

Helping Kids Understand Time and Responsibility

A while back (before last year's school year ended) when we had a lot to do and places to go, I decided to use the white-board (dry erase) in the kids room to explain to them how the day would play out. I drew a chart with the times of the day - every 30 minutes - and wrote next to the proper times what main events we had to do. They wanted to play with their friends for as long as possible (where we were going after school), and I wanted them to get their school work and chores done before we left. The chart showed them what time Daddy would get home and when dinner would be served as well. It showed them when I had to start cooking (and what time we would have to leave their friend's house to get home for me to cook).

Seeing the day on the dry-erase board, they understood how many thirty minute increments there were between 'NOW' at 8:30AM and 'THEN' at 5PM (when we had to leave their friend's house to get home).

I also made them an assignment list and wrote their chores on the board so they would see what was expected of them. As they did the chores, they crossed them off. As they completed school work, we highlighted it on my lesson planner.

Each thirty minutes, we crossed the time off of their dry-erase chart. Doing this told them at a glance how much time they still had left with their friends if we left right then!

It is amazing how well and fast they worked when they:

It made me think... aren't we all like that? Sometimes we expect those little playful minds to grasp big grown up concepts like time and responsibility without ever really sitting down and TEACHING them the concrete realities of it all. They just needed a little visual object lesson, a little experience (and even a few natural consequences to suffer through), and some motivation or reward to work for! Kids are no different from their parents!

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August 26, 2006

My Love of Art: A Few Favorite Paintings

I've always been an art freak. I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I wanted to be an artist from the time I knew that there was something you should "be" when you grow up. The great thing about art is that you don't have to be famous to enjoy making or viewing it. It does help if you have the money for art SUPPLIES, however! I have not painted since I was in public school... which is a sad, sad shame. That is one of my goals in homeschooling is to share my talent and love for art with my children. As soon as we get another home with a school room - and a few dollars for supplies... I am going to paint something other than "paint by numbers" with them!

Surrounding yourself with beauty is something that will lift your spirits. God made us to admire his creation and put an innate sense of love for beauty in us. Go ahead, frame some of your children's artwork and hang it in their bedrooms (I plan to do this with my kid's art contest drawings they did in 2004... but am saving them for our next house)! Do a few crafts. Hang a few curtains. Paint that white wall you've been staring at. Add some beauty to your world.
I read a post at Trivium Persuit Online not long ago (which inspired this one) in which the author wrote about their favorite paintings. I decided to look up a few of my own... to see them again and share them with the children. Here were a few that came to mind:


van Gogh's Starry Night over the Rhone


van Gogh’s The CafĂ© Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night


"Red Poppy, 1927" Poster Print by Georgia O`Keeffe


Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”


DAVID Jacques Louis (1748-1825) - “The First Consul crossing the Alps at the Grand-Saint-Bernard pass” (Painting of Napoleon on his White Horse)


Angel with Lute by Rosso Fiorentino

I also love Jeffe Cherry Huldah... a Dallas, Texas born painter who's work was very popular in the 1950's.

I have a copy of one of her paintings in my house that my mother passed down to me. Here is a sample of her work, although this is not my particular favorite:


The Sailboat Pond - Jeffe Cherry Huldah

Here's a copy of a painting I really liked when I was a child. I painted this one, but the original (which looks just like it) was done by Robert Yarber in 1984. I painted this in 1986 or 7 when I was in Junior High School. I took a photo of it tonight, and the glare from the flash is not all that great. Maybe I'll remember to take it outside some time and get a better photo without a flash. Better yet - maybe someday I'll be able to afford a scanner and get it done right!


Falling in Love - Robert Yarber

Here's a favorite painting from my husband's uncle also. He has such amazing talent. Some of my very favorite paintings are done by amateur artists (although I don't think you could really call any of them amateur - they are just as talented as the "great artists", they are just un-discovered!):


Alice in the Sunflowers - by Uncle Joe

What are a few of your favorite paintings? Won't you share them with us!? A link would be appreciated so the kids and I can view them!

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August 25, 2006

Win 25$ at TOS Homeschool Store!

I was the stand-in blogger for Gena of The Old Schoolhouse today and she let me set up a contest over there. You can win 25$ of free homeschool product money to use on her TOS Homeschool Store if you take a photo of your homeschool lunch and post about it. Be sure to check the link under the title of this post for all of the rules for the contest. You'll need to post the photo, blog about it, and then post the URL for your post HERE and HERE in the comments sections for both posts! So far there's only ONE response! Where is everyone?!

I also posted about a Public School teacher that has been removed from the classroom for burning flags...

Here's my lunch from the other day when I was planning lessons before school started.... 2 Tacos (the other one was already eaten!), a quesadilla (two are for the kids), a glass of ice water, and a southern-fried mashed-potato patty (have to get rid of those leftovers somehow)! Now that should get your creative juices flowing. Just be careful when you click over and look at everyone else's posts. The first mamasita on the list gave us a view of some "see-food"! Pretty funny if you ask me! Here's prayers her young'un is on the road to recovery soon!

Hurry and get your photos blogged! You have until Monday night at 6pm!

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How to Use a Graphic or Photo in Your Blog Post

I'm sure there's other, better advice out there on how to do this... but I have had so many people ask me, I thought I would give it a stab here on Sprittibee to help out my fellow bloggers. This may not be on the topic of homeschool, but lately I have been too busy to stay on topic anyway. Here below are my simple instructions on how to post photos in your Blogger or HSB Blog (These instructions will work with most any blogging platform, because I am giving you the basic HTML code to post photos rather than the click-and-point instructions for your weblog hosting service):


If you have a Blogger Blog and are completely web-illiterate, you can still upload photos that can ONLY be used on your blog by following Blogger's easy upload instructions. However, to make your photos more versatile and enable you to use them anywhere (other blogs, eBay, homepages, etc.) it is better to use an image hosting service that allows hotlinking. Uploading photos from your computer's hard drive and posting them on your blog is not hard. It can be done with just a few simple clicks. The hardest part is making sure your photo is the right size for your blog. You don't want to post a HUGE photograph that will cause your blog template to be shuffled around on the page (or send your sidebar to the bottom where no-one can see it).

To resize images, I use FastStone Image Viewer. It is a free program that allows you to view, manipulate, remove red-eye, and resize or crop images (and much more). I LOVE IT. I did a post about it earlier this year. I'll do a tutorial on that some other time, but for now... I am assuming you have a photo that is small enough to fit in your blog!

Choose the photo you want. Using a photo from the web is OK if you have permission from the owner and give them credit. There are many places that allow royalty free use of stock photos for bloggers. To use an online photo, you simply have to right click and save it to your documents on your computer (I save mine in "My Pictures")... and then upload BACK TO the web in your image hosting account. That seems like an added step since it is already on the web to begin with, but if you copy the picture's location URL and post it, you are stealing bandwidth from the original photo poster... and that is not good web etiquette.

I started out using Geocities to host my photos, but if you have a lot of people viewing your blog, Geocities will limit how many times your photo is allowed to be seen in an hour. This really started to be a problem for me once my blog started getting over 100 hits a day. Someone kindly suggested that I use PhotoBucket. Maybe it was Sheri... I can't remember (Whoever it was - THANKS!). Getting a PhotoBucket Account is quick and FREE. It is a image hosting site that will also allow you to upload short video clips and other media. It automatically tags your images with a URL address (hotlink) which makes your job so much easier when you are ready to write the simple HTML code to place the image in your post. If you don't want to use PhotoBucket, you can also use Flickr. Here's a simple tutorial on how to use Flickr Photos in your post.

Once you have a hotlink/URL for the photo, you can log in to your blog and open your post in which you want the photo included. It is best to view your post in "HTML VIEW" (Blogger allows this). Here's what the tab looks like:

If you've never used this view of your post before, it might seem intimidating, but don't be shy. It is easy once you try it a few times! The code for pasting an image in a post using HTML is VERY EASY.

Here it is:

THAT'S IT! Now if you view your post in "Compose" or "Preview" mode (Blogger) you will see the image. If you really want to get fancy and wish to format the image to be in the CENTER or RIGHT or LEFT, you simply put these tags AROUND the one above:

There you go. Now you are "image-HTML" savvy!

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August 24, 2006

Thursday Challenge: Plants


With school in session, I'm a little busy. I hope you won't mind me taking Thursdays to join the Thursday Challenge and give myself a little blog rest. As soon as I'm able to get 2004-5 typed up in my school spreadsheet, I'll start adding it to my homeschool series and begin Field Trip Foto Friday again! Tomorrow I'm guest host on Gena's blog (TOSPUBLISHER) while she's away all day. I'll probably post something quick and easy here that links to there!

Daddy is home today, too. Daddies have a way of throwing a wrench in your school plans when they are home, don't they? This one wanted pancakes AFTER he went jogging and worked out at the gym... so we ate a LATE breakfast at 10am... and the day has yet to start. I'll probably take today off... which is pretty sad since it's only day THREE of this year! We got a TON of stuff done yesterday, though. It was really fun.

By the way, the photo above is from Brazos Bend State Park. I did a Field Trip Foto Friday Entry on it already. That was one of the last times I used my 35 millimeter camera. I've decided I am going to go back to film after all these years with digital. I have started loosing data on CDs. That scares me. I also have less than a handful of photos over the past three or four years to show for the thousands of digital photos I have taken. Just like that commercial said..."Where are the pictures?" And just WHAT would happen if lightning fried my hard-drives on this computer? I might need to be locked up in the funny farm after loosing four years worth of photos... that's what!

Quick Links:
...the last
Thursday Challenge I participated in...

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August 23, 2006

Carnival of Homeschool Swamp Thing!

by stuffy... (image from DC Vertigo comicbook)

Watch out for the monsters in the murk... the carnival is up at Patricia Ann's Pollywog Creek Porch! Check out all those skeeter-bit posts with homeschool goo dripping off of them!

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Seven Five Habits of Highly Effective Homeschoolers

I was tagged over at Trinity Prep School a while back and am just now getting around to answering the meme. I enjoyed the answers they gave, so you'll have to click over and read her links. I'll keep it short because we have got to get the ball rolling today and get school done... too much to do, too little time!

The Seven Five Habits of Highly Effective
New School Years

(Just for fun, mine is organized with
the "KONOS five D's!")

1. Do--To Capture Attention:
Start your day with the Lord. Write in a prayer journal to see how God is answering prayers and moving in your life. Memorize scripture verses and read the Bible with your kids. The day goes so much better when you start it right!

2. Discover--to Foster Thinking:
Have fun. KONOS and unit study methods are the way we do this best. Remember to laugh, sing and play while you learn. Studies show that laughing and being happy actually increases learning and memory retention! Hands-on learning stimulates the brain! Let your kids discover new ways to meet objectives and find out information. Ask interesting questions that help them make their own connections with the material that will increase their understanding and spark their enjoyment of learning.

3. Dramatize--to Visualize:
Plan ahead and follow through. Take time out the month before, the week before, and the night before to go over your goals, review the curriculum, and gather up library books and supplies. An ounce of planning may just be the prevention of homeschool mom burn-out and bad days at home! Reward the kids for getting their school work done. Don't overload your days and schedule in plenty of free time and physical activity each week to keep the wiggles at bay!

4. Dialogue--to Internalize:
Limit activities outside the home. Keep your play-dates, co-op meets, library days, sports, clubs, and errands limited to one day to minimize distractions and increase your ability to accomplish academic goals. Also limit your distractions at home so that you are able to keep the kids on task. Only answer the phone if you are expecting a phone-call that is school-related. Keep the kids on a routine that will promote efficiency with your schedule.

5. Drill--to Crystallize:
Provide good books - As many original and unabridged books as you can supply! Read to your kids. Read around your kids. Let them see how much you enjoy reading so they will model it. Keep a home library and keep your library card maxed out with check-outs. Require reading every day. Read family chapter books in the evenings. Give rewards for reading books. Let the kids write book reports and dramatize stories in books. Let them listen to books on tape or see Reading Rainbow re-runs where other people read books aloud. Literature is a window to learning!

If you would like to add your name to the growing list of participants in this meme, please visit the link under the title of this post!

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August 22, 2006

Mug Shots and Memories from our First Day of School




I thought I would give you all a sample lesson plan for a day of KONOS. We had a great day today... although it isn't over yet (we are starting school at 12 PM after lunch because Daddy is working the 1:30-10:30 PM shift for a few weeks). We still have a couple of KONOS activities to finish before doing our family read-aloud tonight... but most of this is all checked off! HURRAH! I'm thrilled with our first day. If ONLY I had taken Kevin's PDA to tape-record the conversations we had on the drive to the library today. The kids were making up stories to go with the classical music I was playing for them. I laughed out loud at some of the stuff they came up with and was mad at myself for not writing it down... but alas, sometimes you just can't stop life and take notes!
(KONOS Attentiveness: Ears/Sound/Music)

  • Family Devotional (Clay Clarkson's "Our 24 Family Ways") p. 8, Day 1

  • Prayer

  • Prayer Journals

  • Bible Drill (Kaden had nearly 2 minutes, Morgan 1.5 minutes on finding their respective verses)

  • Magazine collage for middle of journal to separate last year from this year (Art)

  • Take school photos/upload and print school photos/paste in Journals

  • Measure kids - write height, age, and three goals for school year in Journals

  • Math - A Beka (2 pages each, one regular and one speed drill/test)

  • Library Trip (check out 28 books, read while mom does research/gathers books)

  • Listen to Classical Music in Car (part of KONOS) - make up stories to fit music

  • Name instruments in music

  • Define Attentiveness and discuss the units we'll cover this semester

  • Discuss why Attentiveness is important and how it relates to topics we're going to cover

  • Go over unit objectives and goals & discuss

  • Write and look up definitions to Vocabulary words:
    • attention

    • distraction

    • notice

    • observe/observant

    • ignore

    • watchful

    • alert

    • scrutinize

    • courteous

    • aware

    • unaware

    • examine

  • KONOS activity p. 2c
    • Dramatize parents calling name and children responding. Let one child be parent and the other be child. Pretend location is different each time (i.e.: mall, yard, house, grocery store, airport, etc.). When parent calls, child must stop and listen. Evaluate each other's attentiveness.

  • KONOS activity p. 2d
    • Practice eye contact and encourage children to look at you while you speak - look at them as they speak also.

  • KONOS activity p. 2e
    • Discuss how Christ was attentive to His Father and His Father's Ways. Let kids brainstorm as they go through life of Christ and find examples of how He never took His eyes off of God.

  • KONOS activity p. 2f
    • Define concentrate with dictionary. There are several meanings. Taste something concentrated. Write a paragraph comparing concentrated food to concentrating on a task. How are they alike and different?

  • KONOS activity p. 2g
    • Discuss what jobs might require concentration? (babysitting, tightrope walking, air traffic controller, detective, guard, sentinel, surgeon, hunter, accountant...)

  • KONOS activity p. 2h
    • Play "Concentration" or a memory game. Demonstrate how important it is to watch carefully.

  • KONOS activity p. 2i
    • Play "Picture Memory". Hold up a detailed photo/picture and remove from sight. Have kids try and remember objects and details of photo. Do this with a tray of objects. Have kids remember what was on tray.

  • KONOS activity p. 2j
    • Play "Hide the Penny" with upside down cups. See if children can remember which cup penny is under by concentrating on cups.

  • KONOS activity p. 4t
    • Play "I went to the store" - listen to objects mentioned and repeat them with another object added with the same first letter. (example: I went to the store and bought butter and beans... I went to the store and bought beans and bananas...) For older kids use first TWO letters. For extra difficulty divide by quantities of two (example: I went to the store and bought 67 butters and 33 1/2 buffalos...) - allow pencil and paper on the harder one!

  • KONOS activity p. 4u
    • Play "Grandmother's Trunk". A similar game is to add a word next in the alphabet. For example: "In grandmother's trunk I found an anteater." then "In grandmother's trunk I found a balloon" - keep going until there is a mistake.

  • Library Books (just two chosen for today:
    • Helen Keller and the Big Storm - Patricia Lakin

    • Helen Keller Courage in the Dark - Johanna Hurwitz

  • Family Read Aloud:
    • The Library of the Five Senses & the Sixth Sense: Hearing - Sue Hurwitz (one-nighter)

Today was a light day, so we didn't do everything we normally would. I didn't have one of the suggested books ("A Child's Book of Character Building"), so I'll have to borrow that from a friend who has it later this week. We also don't have a lengthy family read-aloud book yet... although a few have been suggested to me. I'm going to check some out at the library after I research it. For now, I'm picking longer library books to read with the kids. Today we were doing the Monday schedule since yesterday was a day off. There were a few things that were left off of our normal routine today (due to books not arriving yet - A Beka... and due to me going EASY for the first week):

I toggle my subjects by day, so each day has a few different items. Things that weren't on the list today, but are on other days include:

  • Typing (Mavis Beacon)

  • Visualize World Geography

  • Sing

  • Phonics Workbook

  • PE

  • Co-op (we actually start that on the 29th) or Field Trip

  • Write Pen-Pal

  • Phonics Through Poetry

  • Craft

  • Spanish (? - or Italian... still haven't decided ?) - may not start this until mid-September...

  • Home Economics (cooking/etc.)

  • Cursive Practice/Handwriting - Draw, Write Now! & A Beka

  • Latin workbook

  • History Reader/Quizzes

  • Science Reader/Quizzes

  • Educational Computer Games

  • Maps/Quizzes - A Beka

  • Tests on vocabulary, KONOS, memory verses on Fridays

This post is turning in to a book... and I have cookies to bake as a reward for all the hard work the kids put forth today. The kids are playing with their "Talking Toucan" and listening to themselves on tape. Too funny! Also wonderful is that this happens to be one of the hundreds of KONOS activities for this unit and they did it without any prompting on my part!

Hope you had/will have a great first day of school this year, too!

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August 21, 2006

Back to School Party!


I'm still recovering from a fun day with co-op friends. The children had water-balloon races and fights, ate hotdogs and baked beans, played indoor games, and ate cookies. We stayed over and visited with a few friends and didn't end up going home until evening. The kids will sleep well tonight!

We're about to say our prayers and get tucked in to start our day tomorrow at 6:30am! FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! So, as you can see, I will have to be excused from blogging until I have a chance to see how tomorrow goes. Here's praying that 2006-7 is a blessed school year ... from our little homeschool to you/yours!

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August 20, 2006

Long, long ago and far away...


"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is a small portion of what used to be my grandfather's land. He used to own hundreds of acres in Texas. It was given to him by his settler relatives... his grandfather before him... long, long ago. He used to tell us stories of riding in to town ("over yonder") on his granddaddy's wagon to trade sweet potato and other things at the market. He passed away a few years ago and although my mother still lives on a small portion of his farm, the land has now been mostly sold and split up. My mother is more attached to it (what's left of it) than I am, because she is there to see the morning sun rise over those pastures each day. It is a lovely sight, I have to admit. I have fond memories of spending weekends there having fun outdoors with my cousins as a kid. Chasing barn cats, riding cows, finding hide-outs in the ravines, walking with horses, catching frogs and lightning bugs...

...But I am trusting God that I will have more of a home where I am going than I could ever have here. Home towns, family farms, and favorite belongings pale in comparison to God's promises and love. He's worth the wait.

God is bigger than Texas.

Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) -

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

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August 19, 2006

A-Z of Why I Homeschool

Gena of The Old Schoolhouse has some rockin' contests over at her site. The competition is fierce. I was excited that I won 2nd runner up the other day in one (and got a free e-book). Here were my answers to her three questions (not necissarily in any particular order):

1. Why do you homeschool?
A. Because I'm crazy.
B. Because I love my kids.
C. Because I love Jesus and the public school doesn't.
D. Because public schools teach evolution as a fact.
E. Because public schools provide "socialization".
F. Because private schools are not much better than public schools (I used to be a private school registrar).
G. Because Jesus home-schooled his disciples.
H. Because we like to take a LOT of field trips.
I. Because I get to blog about it.
J. Because the time I have with my kids is short enough as it is... and I had them to raise them (not let someone else do it).
K. Because I get to pick my kid's friends, but not their friend's boogars.
M. Because I get to learn along with my kids! Life-long student, YEAH!
N. Because it is fun.
O. Because I make a better lunch than the cafeteria.
P. Because homeschool allows us to set our own schedule and take family vacations around Dad's work schedule.
Q. Because I get to teach towards my kid's talents.
R. Because I like the homeschool magazines we read. :) (OK, so that was brown-nosing a little... but a girl has to try!)
S. Because of the AWESOME HOMESCHOOL CONVENTIONS in Arlington, TX (and Six Flags Homeschool Day - roller coasters ROCK!!!)
T. Because we move a lot (husband's job), and it would be torture for the kids to have to be pulled in and out of schools.
U. Because we feel the Lord calling us to lead our kids (and don't like where the public schools are leading kids).
V. Because there ain't gun-toting skinheads or drug pushers in my home.
W. Because learning doesn't always have to be done at a desk.
X. Because ADD doesn't have to be medicated if you are homeschooling - ADD kids are gifted and wonderful! Just like ADD Moms (Like me!)!
Y. Because Jesus was homeschooled.
Z. Because my kids are worth it.

2. Will you homeschool your children through graduation?
I plan on it, although I'm quite sure I don't have enough strength on my own. Good thing that God equips the called, not calls the equipped.

Why/why not?
Honestly, have you seen what some of the liberal colleges are turning out these days? Just the other day some guy wrote a comment on my blog about how he was homeschooled by MISSIONARIES (Christian parents who work in overseas missions) and lost his faith when he started taking classes in a community college. I'm not so sure we shouldn't even consider homeschooling them for college. Hey - Abraham Lincoln did it for himself, why not?

3. If you had a friend considering homeschooling, and you could only give them ONE good reason to start, what would that be?
Because they couldn't do a worse job than public schools are already doing... and besides that, God will see them through it if He brought them to it.

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August 18, 2006

Back to School Interview with Sprittibee: Schedules, etc.

There's only days until school starts and I have to start getting on a more rigid schedule. My mind is going 100 miles per hour right now gearing up for next week. After buying some curriculum and a teacher's lesson planner and record book yesterday, I sat down to my email last night and answered some co-op friends' questions regarding my plans for this school year. We have a few co-op moms who are new to homeschooling in our group... so they wanted everyone to list what they do for curriculum, schedules, TV, etc. I am a list maker... and my brain works much better when forced to WRITE things down. I am very visual with words - preferring to read them rather than just listen to them. I can write directions to someone's house and internalize them so that I don't even need to bring the paper along with me! Making a list out each week and a daily school lesson plan out on paper keeps my brain in gear. I have a ton of things I wanted to post in here today, but in case any of you are starting school up next week, too... I thought I would post what I wrote last night for co-op.

So, here's a homeschool "interview with Sprittibee". The bolded questions were from a co-op group member. Answers are mine. Enjoy!


I am wondering - how do you start your day?

Best answer - With God bright and early before the kids are up (prayer journal/coffee/seeing hubby off/reading bible & devo/getting ready before breakfast for kids). Worst answer - crawling out of bed late, starting school late and feeling like a looser.

Last year, I varied between the two extremes depending on the day of week. Granted, it was a hard year with all our upsets (moving out of state, etc) and Daddy's schedule did not help (erratic days off, working odd hours and late nights). This year, I am going to make a concerted effort to stay close to the BEST answer all year (no matter what Daddy's work hours or days are). I feel that if I could be on time for all those years at WORK, don't I owe that to God when I'm doing HIS work in educating my kids? That's my motivation this year. I think if I'm trying to teach character traits it is most important that I MODEL THEM. Responsibility, Obedience, Attentiveness, Honor, Stewardship, Orderliness.... I mean, isn't that the point of KONOS? Isn't that our purpose?! So, I'm giving myself a big slap on the hand and this year, we're striving to really change our bad habits.

Proverbs 10:26 - As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him.
Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...

Do you "switch" from being just Mom to being Teacher, like a separate personality?
Not really - But I do think that setting "classroom" rules and set school times are helpful. I read some wonderful advice about setting rules and consequences and this year we are letting the kids punish themselves. We're going to make a chart (they are helping) with our family rules, our school rules, and all the consequences for breaking each rule. We're going to hang it up and make a sticker chart for them that corresponds with it. When they break a rule, I am simply going to refer them to the chart to go find out what their punishment is. They will mark their own behavior charts for when they get punishments and when the punishment is complete, they can put a check by it. Days where they do not break rules will be sticker days. If they get an entire week's worth of sticker days, we'll come up with some kind of reward or tie that in to allowance somehow. The rules will include STAYING ON TASK and COMPLETING ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME and FINISHING ALL ASSIGNED SCHOOL WORK FOR THE DAY.

Do you have an official school room or area?YES/NO - Before, when we lived in a BIG FAT house, we had an extra room (formal dining that we converted to a school room) for school. Those days are long gone and we are in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment right now. We have to use every room it seems for multiple purposes. The kids even have to share a bedroom. Our bedroom is also the office/computer room (they do typing and computer games, look up things on the computer for papers or vocabulary, and sometimes sit on my king-size bed and spread out to do assignments or read). The breakfast/dining room (which is really part of our living area as well) doubles as a "library" (two book cases), craft room (corner piled with supplies and school stuff), and school room (they do Math at the table and sometimes Language and writing at their "desks" - which is really my table). This is not ideal, but it has to do for now. I suggest having ALL YOUR BOOKS in one room and ALL YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES in one area - even if you have to keep them all in an enclosed armiore in the dining room. Someone on one of my KONOS email lists suggested color coding your kid's supplies so you automatically know who left what out! I'm not THAT organized... YET... but it sounds great!

Do you decorate it up like a classroom at all?
YES/NO - I did used to decorate my school room with posters and things we made, book cases, a globe, maps, a white-board (dry erase), and other things. In our little apartment, I keep the maps over our bed and my computer desk in the bedroom now, the white board in the children's bedroom over their beds, and I put calendars and schedules/rules wherever we can find a spot for the moment. Again, it is not an ideal set-up by any means.

Do you use any separate Bible study for your kids/family?
Yes - We have done many different things in the past. The kids obviously go to Sunday School, Wednesday Night Class, and Kaden has done Leadership classes at church this year. But in our homeschool environment we do prayer journals daily (I don't take these up and let the kids write whatever they want - and sometimes they glue stuff in them and draw in them), Bible reading (through the Bible, and hopefully this year we will be more consistent and at least get all the way through the OT), Bible memory (usually KONOS related) - one verse per week, practice writing all the books of the Bible weekly (to help memorize and spell), singing Bible books (NT song), Praise and Worship songs (sometimes Bible related), reading Bible stories (usually related to KONOS), reading devotionals daily or every other day (I go through many different books - last year we did Prayer of Jabez for Kids, and parts of my devotionals that I shared with the kids). Kids can understand deep spiritual truths! This year we're reading through DC Talk's book "Jesus Freaks" as our devotionals. We also do daily Bible drills where I let the kids search for the KONOS Bible verses or their memory verse and I time them. I write their times down each day. This prepares them to find verses on their own at church. I was so impressed this past week when Kaden was able to quickly find his verse in his leadership training in front of the preacher and his peers so he could read on the pulpit for his class!!! All those drills paid off this year!!! What are we going to do different for this topic (the most important topic) THIS YEAR? We are finally going to start an actual BIBLE STUDY CURRICULUM. I have links to some on my blog in other posts. I am also planning to buy "PICTURE THIS" as soon as I can afford it so we can do the Old Testament this year (manual only - about 60$).

Do you allow TV watching? How much?

NO. We don't get cable and don't get regular TV channels without a lot of hard work maneuvering the rabbit ears around. We only watch movies we rent from Netflix. Most of those are related to our units during the school year. I usually rent 2 kids movies and 1 grown-up movie for Kev and I at a time (3 out at once). Then we mail them back and get a new set mailed to us. This works, but is slower than driving down to Blockbuster. We try and do cards or computer games on nights when the movies are in transit. In fact, the kids have played WAY TOO much computer games since we've moved into this apartment. Their daddy loves to play computer games with them. He and the kids have been mind-melded by Lego Star Wars and Lord of the Rings PC Game. I'm surrounded, and am not quite sure what to do about it. During school, however, we really crack down on the "screen time". This year's goals are to have a SET BEDTIME (10:00PM for kids) and LIMITED PC TIME. Last year I did a star chart for earning screen time, but by the end of the year, we fizzled out. Maybe I'll revive the star chart system this year. I'll be thinking about that this weekend as I get my final planning done.

Do you require kids to do chores?

EMPHATIC YES! They do chores daily. Every day of the week (less on Sunday):

Here's their list:
1. Clean room
2. Make bed
3. Get dressed
4. Put on socks and shoes
5. Brush teeth
6. Eat breakfast
7. Clean up table and kitchen after breakfast
8. Do schoolwork
9. Eat lunch
10. Clean up table and kitchen after lunch
11. Clean up floor under table and sweep bathroom to make sure no cat litter on floor 12. Feed cat if bowl is empty
13. Help with laundry
14. Clean up school stuff/tidy house before Daddy comes home
15. Help cook or set table (depends on Mom's choice)
16. Clean up table and kitchen after dinner
17. Tidy house before bed
18. Take showers, put on pajamas, set out tomorrow's clothes
19. Clean up toys/room before bed
20. Bedtime prayers/Family Read-Aloud

Do they get allowance?
YES/NO - This past year, no. We had no money left to give them... and everything is tight right now. I would like to do this, however. We had money jars for them a couple of years ago. We had them decorate money jars with stickers. They had three jars each - SAVE, TITHE, and SPEND. They had to put 10% in each TITHE and SAVE, and they could put the rest in their spending bank. This was a great method and they remembered to take their change to church on Sunday! Too bad we've really slipped away from that this year for them. I'd like to do it again.

About my Homeschool Schedule...

It talks a lot about scheduling in the KONOS Compass. I HIGHLY suggest the book. It is as important as the Volumes in my eyes. In the Compass, they have a blank time-block schedule that you can use to copy and write in to work with and pencil in things and move them around as you begin your year so you can see what works best for you. If you actually set the things you need to get done every day down to paper (including time for chores, eating and hygiene), it will surprise you by how little time there is in a day! Last year, I did my schedule on paper and saw that I really needed to get up at 6:30AM with Kev so I would have time to get everything in, cook, and give the kids time to play in the evening a little before bed. I seem to never be able to get it all done, though (such is life as a homeschool mother). I'm not sure there has ever been a day when we've accomplished EVERYTHING on my lesson plan list. I tend to over-plan, though (my lists are extra-long)... and just move it to the next day if it doesn't get done. I am working on planning less (simplifying) and being more realistic this year. :) It is a good feeling to cross things off since I'm a list person, so giving myself a more practical list is bound to boost my moral.

My Homeschool Curriculums this year...
  • KONOS of course.

  • Bible (stuff I mentioned above)

  • Reading - Library Books (KONOS related), Family Read Aloud, Bible Reading

  • Educational Computer Games/Typing

  • PE (walk, bikes, swim, gym with mom & dad)

  • Foreign Language - Latin Workbooks, Italian or Spanish (not sure... will buy soon)

  • Writing/English - practice cursive, creative writing (KONOS related), language/reports (through KONOS Compass & free worksheets online), Draw, Write Now! (for handwriting), poetry reading and writing (KONOS related), Journals (daily), rewriting misspelled words each week, KONOS vocabulary (& vocabulary activities/worksheets), Pen pals & correspondence with family/friends, copy work

  • History - KONOS, Reading A Beka textbook & doing tests/questions, library books, field trips

  • Science - KONOS, Reading A Beka textbook & doing questions/tests, Reading A Beka health book & tests/questions, field trips

  • Lifeskills - Home economics through chores/cooking (Family Fun kid recipes and help with dinner/etc.), service projects

  • Art - Bible art program ('Picture This'), Draw, Write Now! (also handwriting above), Crafts (usually KONOS related, many from, Drawing in prayer journals, looking at paintings online

  • Geography - Visualize World Geography, KONOS, Library books, Maps, A Beka History Map book & tests/quizzes

I can't ever get all of that done in one day, but I'm still working out how the day/week's schedule will go. I know one thing... KONOS will go first after chores and Bible. Math will go last (because I have a son who has a hard time getting worksheets done without lolly-gagging and it's not fair to his sister if we don't get to do the fun part of school because her brother takes too long). I'll also probably alternate subjects with heavy loads on separate days to keep the kids from burning out with too much seatwork. Just trying to get all of that done in one day is enough to make my teeth rattle. I'm working on a reasonable requirement list and schedule and hope to have it ironed out with goals and time-frames by the end of the weekend.


Care to link this post to your scheduling posts for 2006-7? I'd love for you to post a link to your schedules/curriculum discussions in my comments section. Have at it!

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