January 31, 2007

The 50-Year Failure of Conservatism

WorldNet Daily has an excellent article up (title above) about the failure of conservatives to see and stop the leftward slant of our nation. The main points of the article have a lot to do with media and education... so I thought I would share it with you all. While I don't really label myself as a Republican (certainly a conservative), I have voted for Republicans my whole life. I am very saddened by the state of our government today, however... and feel that the next time I cast a vote; it will be for someone outside both of our mainline parties. It no longer feels good to vote. Especially when one side is about killing babies and the other side is about genetically altering our food supply. Sorry for talking politics in here - that usually isn't my style (don't have time or desire for debate)... but after reading this article, I figured I would share a little tiny glimpse of my views in case you were wondering.

I believe that Christian homeschoolers are trying to succeed with the next generation where our parents failed. Here's a quote from the article - but don't stop here, go read the entire thing at the link below the title of this post:

"While Republicans were busy padding the coffers of GOP political action committees, the left spent 40 years infiltrating schools, beefing up publishing outlets and stripping God even from our houses of worship. They consolidated gains, established state and local agents through second and third parties and edged out smaller competitors. The National Education Association instituted mandatory memberships on three levels; left-leaning media powerhouses like the New York Times bought hundreds of once-independent publishing outlets. The Big Three networks snapped up cable channels. Religious oversight bodies like the liberal Episcopal Church USA gave local denominations their marching orders. And so, by default, closet Marxists won the war of sound bites among burgeoning waves of barely educated voters without the verbal and logic skills to defend critical principles of the republic.

Unsurprisingly, we are no longer a populace that rationally grapples with philosophical dilemmas. A common store of values no longer serves as a backdrop for earnest discussion. Instead, we're mired in catchphrases, oversimplifications and personality contests – in large part thanks to an education system awash in sports, rewritten history, lax discipline and faddish methodologies.

Conservatives failed to secure our schools and media from well-organized, leftist provocateurs from the 1950s on, and now it's payback time.

Had we rejected educational psychobabble; had we revamped teacher training in the universities based on what researchers actually know about learning; had we crafted real diagnostics for entering schoolchildren, American schooling today would be the best in the world instead of fourth from the bottom."

It is as plain as day that the entire problem stems from our national falling away from faith in Christ. Without God, we can do nothing short of destroying ourselves. Looks like that is what many of us are up to from the state of our nation.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 30, 2007

* - * Busy, Busy as a Bee... * - *

I'm sorry to make you wait so long in here, but I have been quite distracted on the homefront lately. I am really working hard to get a ton of things done right now. Here's a minimized glimpse of what I've got in the works:

1. Planning a trip to Texas next week that includes friends, family and doctor appointments

2. Getting caught up on a huge stack of grading and recording that has fallen by the wayside

3. Nearly half way done reading "The Mislabeled Child" so I can do my book report (sorry it is taking so long!)

4. Helping my husband with a report for his college class that he is taking.

5. Getting the oil changed in my vehicle soon...

6. Bills, checkbook, paperwork, and deskwork that has to be done before Saturday

7. Selling some used curriculum

8. Getting the 2005-6 stuff entered into a spreadsheet for later blog use

9. Packing for our trip and working out a budget

10. Paying off some debt with our tax refund

11. Preparing an art lesson for Wednesday (Morgan gets to use her new wooden art easel and nice paints finally... and we all get to share them!)

12. Trying to finish off our huge stack of library books so we can return them before we leave town

I set up a great new schedule and list/box system that the kids and I have been using now for two weeks and it is really helping them to stay on track. With so many things on my plate, blogging has had to take a back seat. I apologize and appreciate those of you who check in on me despite my blog neglect. As soon as I get these projects completed, I'll be back in here to start my 2005-6 Homeschool Series posts.

Hope you are having a wonderful week... and that by tomorrow, I'll be able to squeeze some blogging time back in to my schedule!

Love in Him,

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 28, 2007

Two Thumbs Up for 'Miss Potter'


I drove out of state yesterday to go see a sneak preview of the new movie (already showing in the UK) based upon Beatrix Potter's life, "Miss Potter". It was not something I normally would do... but I am so glad I did it! The movie was one of the best I have seen in a long time! The only reason I believe that they made it PG is for one cuss word which was during the scene where Miss Potter was purchasing farm land at an estate auction. I am not sure my kids even noticed/heard this... but I do know that we plan to purchase this movie as soon as it hits the DVD sales rack. It is a classy and meaningful movie about one of the most wonderful children's authors and illustrators of all time. I highly recommend it... and I am a very strict judge of movies. My kids both loved the movie, too. My daughter spent the afternoon today painting and drawing after being inspired by the whimsical artwork and minor animation in the film.
If you want to see it this weekend during the previews, hurry and get a ticket because they are fast disappearing. I saw the movie in Memphis, and it was only showing there one time, one night! I couldn't see it anywhere in Arkansas!

Quick Links:
Show Times and Locations
Movie Trailer
Interview with Renee Zellweger

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 26, 2007

Field Trip Foto Friday: The Park


What homeschool year would be complete without ample trips to the park? Recess and PE are an important part of healthy living - even for older kids (and adults). Remember to schedule some fun into your curriculum. We all need fresh air and sunshine as much as possible. Sometimes we get into a book-worm rut and forget to do the outside stuff as much as we should (it doesn't help that we are living in an apartment and don't have a yard right now). I think we'll get outside and have some fun today... and make it a Field Trip FUN Friday.

This concludes our 2004-5 Homeschool Field Trips unless I am able to get a few photos from other friends. I may come back and re-visit this year later on. In the mean time, I'll be gearing up to start our next set in the Homeschool Series... 2005-6 (Second and Third Grade). Check in with me next week when I begin those posts!

If you are interested in seeing previous posts from my Field Trip Foto Friday series, please check the Homeschool Series link above and then you can click the field trip links for each school year (so far, we have three years of field trips posted and a fourth coming up next week!).

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 25, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Vacation


I wish.

P.S. This is a photo of Maui. My father-in-law gave me this copy when he got back from there this past June. Lucky dog.

P.S.S. Oh, and by the way... Morgan let me upload her Valentine graphic to my CafePress shop. I finally have something under my "Gear" tab! If only I could afford to buy it!

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 24, 2007

What's Cookin' and a Quiz

I took this quiz a looooong time ago (Jan 2006!) and it was buried in my "drafts". I figure I'll share it with you today so I can spend the rest of the day getting school done! Yesterday we ROCK-'N-ROLLED and got almost everything on our list crossed off. Even the chore charts were checked off by the time Daddy got home. The kids were soooo proud of themselves. Daddy gave them each a dollar when he got home as allowance for getting their studies and chores completed and I took them out to eat last night.

We started a new schedule and tracking method for school at home and it has been really doing well! I'm planning to share about it later this week. Hopefully I will also be adding another year of records to my homeschool series this week as well. I am working on creating a spreadsheet and getting the information ready to post today in-between assignments with the kiddos. Plus, I am reading an excellent book by the Eides (Founders of the Eide Neurolearning Clinic) and am excited to bring you a book review by next week some time. If you just can't wait and want to read it yourself, you can find it at Amazon here: "The Mislabeled Child".
Those are the three things I have on the back-burners right now... and hopefully I can get them cooked up and ready for you to read soon.

Speaking of cooking... be sure to check over at my Gathering Manna blog for some of the recent health advice and recipes that I've been posting. I tend to neglect that blog a bit, but I've been fairly decent at getting a few things a week posted for the past month over there. You can also search for past recipes by ingredient or key-word via the Blogger box up in the top left, or the Technorati box in the bottom right.

OH... and be sure to visit the Carnival of Homeschooling this week as there were over 40 homeschool blogs participating in this week's line-up.

As for the quiz below... It won't make much sense if you haven't seen "Sense and Sensibility". There is more than one movie version of this classic book, in case you enjoy family-friendly films as much as we do around here. I have always thought of myself as Marianne Dashwood in this story. I guess Jesus really does change people. I was most certainly more like her as a young girl, and even into my teens. I often act much like her even now... but with it, there is a bit of the responsible and sensible that only God could have imparted.

How about you - do you love Sense & Sensibility? What character were you?

You scored as Elinor Dashwood. You're Elinor Dashwood, the "sense" of Sense & Sensibility! You tend to hide your emotions, but you feel deeply. You also feel obligated to carry the burden of keeping everyone in your family under control.

Elinor Dashwood


Catherine Morland


Emma Woodhouse


Elizabeth Bennet


Marianne Dashwood


Anne Elliot


Fanny Price


Which Jane Austen heroine are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 23, 2007

Attack of the Scary Carpet Cleaning Monster


It has been a while since I shared a Minga post. Today the carpet cleaner man came to give us a free cleaning since we've been in our apartment for longer than a year. The carpet in this place is reason 8,645,332,926 why I hate living here at this place [but who's counting, eh?!]. It was already five plus years old, and I think the previous bachelor tenant had a dog. To say that this cleaning NEEDED TO HAPPEN is a vast understatement. I feel so much better looking at the floors in here today - the whole place looks cleaner (not quite as dingy as normal, anyway)... and Mommy is a happy camper. Everyone benefits when Mommy is happy.

Minga, however, is still shedding profusely on top of a bookshelf. I don't think she appreciates the fact that our carpet isn't quite as polka-dotted with nasty stains now. While the carpet man was here, she bolted off of the bookshelf and we thought she got outside. We ran around calling for her (she's never been outside). Turns out she ended up under the bed instead. [Hey - at least we got in PE for today!] We were relieved to find her inside. We banished her to the bathroom until the man with the creepy, loud suction hose was clear of the building. I went in there to check on her and couldn't find her. I scanned the room looking for motion or a cat shape... nothing. Then, in the corner of my eye, I saw something shiny... it was her eye peeking out from behind the dirty clothes pile at the foot of my washing machine.

This is one "stuff-on-my-cat" pose that was entirely NOT staged. She actually went behind our toilet and shimmied her way up into this pile of clothes. She blends right in, don't you think? Cat camo! We are calling her 'scaredy cat' now. Poor thing. It may take a while for her to settle back into a normal routine. My husband can't resist a practical joke. He laughed so hard when he saw her in the corner under this pile of clothes that every time he sees her in the house now, he does his best 'high-powered-carpet-steamer' impression and watches her puff out like a troll doll (and streak like lightning for the nearest hiding spot). What a chicken I have for a cat! I feel sorry for her being in such a family as mine... we tend to enjoy a prank (especially those at her expense).

*disclaimer: no animals were harmed during the making of this post.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 22, 2007

Modern Math - Too Far Out of the Box

Anita shared this comic on her blog earlier. This cartoon made me think of today's poor elementary kids learning Math at public schools.


Seems that now days, the way you and I learned multiplication and division is too old fashioned to teach. Don't believe me? Check out this quick and well-delivered video for some alarming new Math trends that American public schools are adopting. I feel that while some of these new methods are entertaining and enjoyable to teach, they should NOT replace standard nationally-used algorithms.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 21, 2007

American Immigration ~ Lessons for All


In the eyes of a Christian, we all are "strangers" on this earth. Even the "Native" Americans migrated here to this country at some point in history. My view is that God put ALL of us here on this earth in our appointed times (see Acts 17:24-28, some of my favorite verses in the Bible). All of us - no matter where we are born - are immigrants.
1 Peter 1:17 ~ Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

I received an excellent video link via email this week that got me thinking about our country's rich cultural fabric. The man on the You Tube video makes interesting points about the future of our country if immigration continues at the current rate. This video is more for the adult or high-school aged child and would spark a very interesting essay challenge, in my opinion. The man who is giving this immigration lecture has some great points and wonderful charts and object lessons.

While we are all immigrants, we still should follow the law of the land. I believe that a country (any country) should first protect and help its own natural-born citizens before extending aid to the many whom deserve and need it. I also believe that if you live in a country and work there, you should contribute to tax and the welfare of your state/country before you request a free ride. Compassion is as common as diversity in America... and we have a hard time saying no to people in need. This may just be our downfall if we don't make some changes. Sometimes bad things happen because we are too trusting. Protecting our borders and requiring legal processes for citizenship is a smart way to handle immigration. Giving away free healthcare, education, and welfare to illegals is not. I know legal immigrants (many) who work and contribute to our country legally that do not get such benefits... and I believe everyone should be treated FAIRLY, not one class or race above or below another. I really do believe that Jesus loves the little children of the world - 'red, yellow, black and white'!
To find out what it takes to become a US Citizen: check out the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. They offer civics instruction and other helpful links for those who desire to become a US Citizen.

Want to know what the White House is up to with Immigration reform? Check their online page for "Comprehensive Immigration Reform".

For the adult reader, there are many more interesting Immigration articles if you are the curious type. I think this site may be put together by someone in California, but I'm not sure. Surely they do have a huge illegal immigrant population there.

For the junior high and elementary teacher who wants to teach about countries where immigrants to this nation are coming from; the Scholastic Website has a great Asian Immigration link and a cool Immigration home page. There's also the outstanding link by the Library of Congress; an Immigration lesson plan that has photos, vocabulary, and other resources.

America truly is the "Melting Pot" of the world. I recently discovered that the "Native" American blood in my veins is not Cherokee, but Creek. My husband has Cherokee blood (and more of it than I do Creek, most likely). My kids also have a mixture of Czech, English, Russian, German, Polish, and who knows what other nationalities.

If you want to research where your family roots come from, check out this genealogy website for links that may help in your quest. Cyndi's List is another great genealogy link. Your children might enjoy helping you make a family tree as a homeschool project. Family history is very interesting stuff.

God bless all of us ~ no matter where we are on His planet Earth!

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 19, 2007

Field Trip Foto Friday: Sweet Berry Farm Corn Maze

Welcome to Sprittibee's Field Trip Foto Friday series. You can visit my previous field trips for this particular year here: First & Second Grade Field Trips. I think this is one of the last in this set, and hopefully we'll be moving on soon to 2005-6! Be looking for additions to our homeschool series.


You would have a hard time topping this wonderful field trip when it comes to outdoor fun and exercise! The aerial image of the Texas-sized, Texas-shaped corn maze is pretty "a-maze-ing" stuff, if you ask me! There are little card punches along the way as you wind down the leafy rows of corn. One card punch after another, you can mark your cards with obscure Texas cities and try to find each before you wear the rubber off the bottom of your sneakers! Make sure to bring sunscreen, water, and a sun visor or hat if you go when it is hot outside. The farm also has many other wonderful items for sale, berries to pick, and such. Check out their website at the link under my post title for more information.

This is one corny Texas field trip you don't want to miss! Take home a bottle of wonderful honey when you head home, too. We loved Sweet Berry Farm!

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 18, 2007

MUST READ: Essay About Socialization on Dr. Phil Site

This was being passed around via email on a list I was on recently. I thought it was great. Sorry for all the non-personal posts lately, but I'm trying to clean out my "To Blog" folder and get some more important things done: Homeschool, Taxes, Housekeeping, Cooking, Fellowship with friends, Paperwork, Sale of used curriculum (cleaning out our bookshelves), Grading, and Everything else! I apologize if you are feeling neglected. I'll try and post another Field Trip Foto Friday tomorrow.

Happy Thursday all, and hug your kids tight today!

Cool comment on Dr. Phil's website after his tacky homeschool program:

Socialization. The word makes my skin crawl. As homeschoolers, we are often accosted by people who assume that since we're homeschooling, our kids won't be "socialized." The word has become such a catch phrase that it has entirely lost any meaning.

The first time I heard the word, I was attending a Catholic day school as a First Grader. Having been a "reader" for almost 2 years, I found the phonics and reading lessons to be incredibly boring. Luckily the girl behind me felt the same way, and when we were done with our silly little worksheets, we would chat back and forth.

I've never known two 6 yr. olds who could maintain a quiet conversation, so naturally a ruler-carrying nun interrupted us with a few strong raps on our desk. We were both asked to stay in at recess, and sit quietly in our desks for the entire 25 minutes, because "We are not here to socialize, young ladies."

Those words were repeated over and over throughout my education, by just about every teacher I've ever had. If we're not there to socialize, then why were we there? I learned to read at home. If I finished my work early (which I always did,) could I have gone home? If I were already familiar with the subject matter, would I have been excused from class that day? If schools weren't made for socializing, then why on earth would anyone assume that homeschoolers were missing out?

As a society full of people whose childhoods were spent waiting anxiously for recess time, and trying desperately to "socialize" with the kids in class; it is often difficult for people to have an image of a child whose social life is NOT based on school buddies. Do you ever remember sitting in class, and wanting desperately to speak to your friend? It's kind of hard to concentrate on the lessons when you're bouncing around trying not to talk. Have you ever had a teacher who rearranged the seats every now and then, to prevent talking, splitting up friends and "talking corners"? Were you ever caught passing notes in class?

Now- flash forward to "real life." Imagine the following scenes:

Your Employer is auditing the Inter-Office Email system and comes across a personal note between you and a coworker. You are required to stand at the podium in the next sales meeting to read it aloud to your coworkers.

The Police knock on your door, and announce that because you and your neighbor have gotten so close, they're separating you. You must move your home and your belongings to the other side of town, and you may only meet at public places on weekends.

You're sitting at a booth waiting for a coworker to arrive for a scheduled lunch date. Suddenly a member of upper management sits down across from you and demands your credit cards. When your friend arrives, you just order water and claim you're not hungry, since he stole your lunch money.

You're applying for a job and in an unconventional hiring practice; you are made to line up with other applicants, and wait patiently while representatives from two competing companies take their pick from the lineup.

You're taking your parents out for an anniversary dinner. After you find a table, a waiter tells you that seniors have a separate dining room, lest they "corrupt" the younger members of society.

You go to the grocery store only to find that since you are 32 years old you must shop at the store for 32 year olds. Its 8 miles away and they don't sell meat because the manager is a vegetarian, but your birthday is coming up and soon you'll be able to shop at the store for 33 yr. olds.

You'd like to learn about Aviation History. You go to the library and check out a book on the subject only to be given a list of "other subjects" that you must read about before you are permitted to check out the aviation book.

You're having a hard time finding what you need in the local department store. The saleslady explains that each item is arranged alphabetically in the store, so instead of having a section for shoes, you will find the men's shoes in between the maternity clothes and the mirrors.

Your Cable Company announces that anyone wishing to watch the Super Bowl this year must log on a certain number of hours watching the Discovery Channel before they can be permitted to watch the game.

You apply for a job only to be told that this job is for 29 year olds. Since you're 32, you'll have to stay with your level.

In a group project, your boss decides to pair you up with the person you don't "click" with. His hope is that you'll get learn to get along with each other, regardless of how the project turns out.

These absurd examples were created to point out how absolutely ridiculous the idea of "socializing" in schools is. Many people had a friend who they stayed friends with all through grammar school- WHY? Because their names were alphabetically similar, and they always ended up in line with each other. As an adult, have you ever made friends with someone simply because your names were similar? How long would such a friendship last and how meaningful would it be, providing you had nothing else in common?

People often use the bully as an example of why it's so important to let kids "socialize" at school. If that's so important, then the bully needs to go to JAIL after a few months, because self-respecting society simply doesn't put up with that, nor should my 6 yr. old. Sure, there are crappy people in the world, but the world does a much better job of taking care of these things. A bullying brat in the first grade will still be a bullying brat in the 6th grade. He will still be picking on the same kids year after year after year, unless he moves to a new town. How long would the average adult put up with a bully? Personally, as an adult, I have only come across one grown up bully. I choose not to be around this miserable woman. So do many other people. THAT is real life. If she were a coworker, I would find a different job. If she worked at a business I patronized- not only would I refrain from doing business with that company, I would write a letter to the bully, her manager, the owner and the main office. A kid in a classroom has no way to emotionally protect themselves against such a person. I would never expect my kids to put up with bad treatment from a bully in the name of "toughening them up." For what? So they can be submissive wimps when they grow up too? So they can "ignore" their miserable bosses and abusive spouses? In real life, if an employer discovered that an employee was harassing the other staff members, that employee could be fired pending the 90 day evaluation) or relocated. In real life, if you are so dreadfully harassed by a coworker you can seek legal recourse independently. In a classroom, the teacher and other children are often powerless.

The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store.

As Homeschoolers, the world is our classroom. We interact with people of all ages, sexes and backgrounds. We talk to and learn from everyone who strikes our interest. We use good manners in our home and I'm always pleased when others comment on the manners my children have picked up. I believe good manners to be an important social skill.

Respecting common areas is also of value to us. We often carry a grocery bag with us on walks, in case we find trash that needs to be discarded. When we're waiting at a bus stop, if there is trash on the ground, we make a point to carry it onto the bus and discard of it properly. Once, while waiting at a bus stop- we saw a grown man drop his popsicle wrapper on the ground. He was 2 feet from a trash can- My daughter looked up at me with eyes as big as saucers. I told her (out loud) "It must have blown out of his hand from that little wind, because no-one would throw trash on the ground on purpose. I'm sure when he's done with his popsicle, he will pick it up and throw it away correctly- otherwise, we can take care of it so we don't have an ugly world." He did pick it up, rather sheepishly. I can't imagine expecting my children to have a respect for the cleanliness of common areas in an environment where bathroom walls are covered in graffiti and trees are scratched with symbols of "love" of all things.

Another social skill we strive to teach our children is that all people are created equal. I can't imagine doing that in an environment where physically disadvantaged children are segregated into a "special" classroom. Or even children who speak a different language at home. Those children are segregated and forced to learn English, while never acknowledging the unique culture they were raised in, and not enabling the other students to learn FROM them. Learning, in school, comes from the books and teachers. "We will learn Spanish from a BOOK, not from a Spanish-speaking student; and not until 7th grade."

I have never felt it would be beneficial to stick my 6-yr. old in a room full of other 6-yr. olds. I believe God created a world full of people of all ages and sexes to insure that the younger ones and older ones learn from each other. A few years ago, we were living thousands of miles from any older family members, so I brought my kids (then 5 and 2) to an assisted living facility, so they could interact with the elderly. Staff members told us that many of the older people would wake up every day and ask if we would be visiting soon. We always went on Wednesdays. My daughters learned some old show tunes while one of the men played piano, and the others would sing along. If I didn't have to chase my 2-yr. old around, I would have had plenty of women ready to share the art of crocheting with me (something I've always wanted to learn.) If a friend was too sick to come out of their room during our visit, we would often spend a few minutes in their room. I always let them give the kids whatever cookies they had baked for them, and I ended up cleaning a few of the apartments while we visited, simply because I would have done the same for my own Grandmother. Every room had pictures from my kids posted on their refrigerators. We called this "Visiting the Grandmas and Grandpas" and my daughters both (almost 2 years later) have fond memories of our visits. I'm sure that if we were still visiting there, my unborn child would have a thousand handmade blankets and booties to keep him warm all winter.

I don't remember any such experiences in my entire school life, although I do remember being a bit afraid of old people if they were too wrinkly or weak looking. I never really knew anyone over 60. I never sped down the hall on someone's wheelchair lap, squealing as we popped wheelies and screeched around corners. I never got to hear stories about what life was like before indoor plumbing and electricity, from the point of view of a woman with Alzheimer’s, who might believe she was still 5 years old, talking with my daughter as if she were a friend. I never got to help a 90 yr. old woman keep her arm steady while she painted a picture. And I never watched a room full of "grandma's" waiting for me by the window, because we were 15 minutes late.

On a recent visit to an Art Gallery, we noticed a man walking back and forth, carrying framed artwork from his old pickup truck. I asked my 6 yr. old if she thought he might be the artist. We both agreed that was a possibility, and after a little pep-talk to overcome her stage fright, she approached him and asked. He was the artist, and he was bringing in his work to be evaluated by the curator. We all sat down and he explained some of his techniques and listened to her opinions about which piece she liked best. He told about how he enjoyed art when he was 6 and would "sell" pictures to family and friends. He recounted how he felt while creating a few of the pieces, and how each one has special meaning to him. He even let her know how nervous he was to show them to the curator and how he hoped she found them as interesting as we did. As he was called into the office, a group of thirty-four 3rd graders filed past, ever so quietly, while their teacher explained each piece on the walls. The children were so quiet and well behaved. They didn't seem to mind moving on from one picture to the next (The problem with homeschoolers is they tend to linger on things they enjoy). They didn't seem to have any questions or comments (Maybe they'll discuss that later in class). And they never got a chance to meet the gentleman in the pickup truck.

I am glad my children are missing out on public school 'socialization'.
Amen to all of that! Well said. Bravo. Homeschool is cool.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 17, 2007

Top Ten Things I Wish I Had Known About Homeschooling

I got this via email back in 2002, and saved it all this time. I think it is really cute, and really TRUE... so I figured I would share it with you:

These are the top ten things I wish I'd known about homeschooling. Of course, people did tell me these things, I just didn't believe them.

1. Homeschooling is addictive. Once you start, it's difficult to stop.
You don't have to take my word for it. Go ahead. Try it. I dare you.

2. Most learning goals will be reached even if parents teach nothing. If the resources are available, kids will learn whether anyone meant them to or not. Nobody will believe this.

3. Parents should buy resources they need. Kids ask things that aren't in their books and, wouldn't you know it, you can't tell them to ask their teacher.

4. Parents need a support group. On-line. In person. Anything.
Especially if they live in some isolated location where nobody else homeschools. Living on the fringe is only exciting for awhile. Then it gets lonely.

5. Don't expect a typical homeschooling day to be anything like the next typical homeschooling day. And don't bother asking anyone what a typical homeschooling day looks like either. You're likely to get a blank stare or a panicked expression.

6. If you say 'funding', DUCK. There's no way you'll understand this Unless you're a homeschooler and have heard a funding conversation. Look, if you're curious about this, just wander into a homeschooling convention, raise your hand, and ask where you can apply for funding... Remember to duck!

7. Some homeschoolers use a lot of packaged curriculum. Some use less. We're paranoid about admitting that we use any of it to those unschoolers who have mastered item number 2 on this list. They claim they don't need any. Still, a lot of us must buy the packaged stuff since so many companies exist to sell it. So, go ahead and buy it if it works.

8. Most teachers and principals will not be pleased when you tell them you homeschool. Naïve? Well, the principal at one school threw open the doors to the supply room and encouraged me to help myself to whatever we could use. The reception at our next location was somewhat cooler.

9. Homeschooling is easier than it sounds.

10. Homeschooling is harder than it sounds.

Those last two statements don't contradict each other. They only seem to.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 16, 2007

Instant Pop Art


Click the title of this post to go and turn yourself into a pop-art icon. I stayed up way too late last night creating tons of these with photos of our family and friends. I am going to use them on Valentines cards; if I can afford the ink, that is. Did you know you can buy a new printer for the price of a full set of ink cartridges these days?
How art-deco is that?!! Groovy, baby.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 15, 2007

*Create Your Own* FREE Blank Calendar

I get a lot of hits from people looking for free calendars. I have given out many links to printable calendar templates over the year and a half that I've been blogging. I am a calendar and list junkie. That makes it all the more ironic that I never really began using MS Outlook's task and calendar functions. Recently I have decided to give it a try.

If you have a copy of MS Office, you can easily set up your Outlook mail program to keep track of email contact's birthdays (if you enter their birthday in the contact area, it will automatically update your calendar with it). You can use Outlook to keep track of addresses for contacts, tasks you need to get done (complete with reminders and the option of making them reoccurring), all of your important appointments, schedule items (homeschool schedule?!), and even a journal!

I recently discovered that you can print your own day planner pages from Outlook as well. You can print them WITH your information or you can print a blank calendar - it is all up to you!

Here are the instructions I discovered online for printing a blank calendar:

You can quickly print a blank calendar in Outlook using the steps below:

Within Outlook, click the File menu, point to New, and click Folder.
Type in a name for the folder.
Click Calendar Items from the Folder contains list.
Click Calendar under Select where to place the folder.
Click OK.
Highlight your new folder from the Folder list.
From the File menu, click Print.
Under the Print Style, select the type of calendar you want to print.
Select the start and end date under the Print range.
Click OK.

To print your marked calendar (already has scheduled tasks and appointments), you would simply do the following:

Click your Calendar menu within Outlook in the left sidebar
Click File, and Print.
A box will pop up allowing you to choose the style of your calendar and it will allow you to pick what dates to print, how many copies you want to print, how you want the pages collated, and more.
If you select the Page Setup button on this box, you can further choose the layout, the times you want on your day, if you want 1 or 2 pages per day/week/month, the font and shading, etc.
You can also preview the page if you click Print Preview in this view.
It allows you to select a header and footer as well - and you can include your tasks and notes by just clicking a button.

In the end, you are able to print a highly customized day planner page with your tasks, birthdays, holidays and appointments already written out for you. How cool is that?!?!?

Now if I could get my copy to print the active tasks instead of those already crossed off... it would be perfect. I'm still working on that bug, and downloaded the free Windows Office 2007 Calendar Assistant... so I'll come back in and give you a preview of my calendar page once I get it ironed out!

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 14, 2007

Sprittibee Answers Some Comments - Part 2 (Dinosaur Art)

If you caught the last part (Part 1), this next paragraph will be a review for you (you have my permission to skip it and move on to the next one):

As a blogger, I sometimes get quite a rainbow of different people's opinions after I click "post". Not everyone shares the same views in life, so I would expect that there will be many who might not agree with everything I say in here. On occasion, I get a rare comment that leaves me scratching my head. I saved two of these comments in particular to post about on a later date... and since I'm out of good blog material at the moment, I thought I would give you a chuckle by letting you read one of them (below).

The last comment was about religious and spiritual matters. This one is about teaching... or rather, the detrimental effects of arts and crafts on children. I warned you that it was rather odd, didn't I? Anyway... I'll let the comment speak for itself, and for your enjoyment, I'll share my response that I made in my comments section back then... and included in my comment was a comment from my buddy Cindy (who is a seriously funny gal) that she emailed me. The original post and a photo of the craft that upset this reader can be found at the link in this sentence or under the title of this post. Be sure to stop over so you can see it - it's lovely!


Commence head-scratching on 3, 2, 1...

Comment #2:
"I just have to say that I think this is a great diorama that can be used for visual display. It appears that quite a lot of time and effort was put into it. I am currently an education major myself, and, within the year, plan on teaching children from grades one through six.

While I think this could be a fun object for students to look at, it (at least to me) is an activity that will come to hinder a child’s performance in and out of school.

For adults, this activity may seem enjoyable: something to clear the head and release the stress and tension of the daily grind. But think about how it would be for a child to construct this. When considering that a child’s motor skills aren’t really even fully developed until their early adult years, this task would unquestioningly frustrate a child to the boiling point..

Also, it should be noted that there is no creative aspect to this activity. The child is merely coloring inside the lines; cutting out patterns presented before them; and gluing them into a shoe box. Where’s the imagination? Where’s the critical thinking? Where’s the exploration? What exactly are they learning?

Now, I should point out that I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful. After three years of schooling as an education major, I just have to say that this activity is developmentally inappropriate for any child, especially one at the kindergarten level (as assumed in the subtitle KinderCrafts).

Again, please don’t take this message the wrong way. But looking from a developmental standpoint, this activity is extremely inappropriate, and detrimental to a child’s well being."

I think I should give you a moment to shut your mouth and stop staring at your screen in disbelief (or stop laughing; whichever you are doing). Yes, that comment just takes the wind out of you, doesn't it? It is almost stranger than fiction. These are today's education majors, people... and we thought the public school system was already in trouble!

After I collected myself and realized that this person must have been serious, here was my response (my buddy Cindy's emailed comments are enclosed within this blockquote as well):

"Christopher... your comment was just too funny. At first, I thought maybe you were joking, but now I think you may have been serious. I sent your comment to my friend who came over with her two boys to do this project with me at my house and here was her response:

"Heather, my kids are still in therapy. Whenever they have nightmares, the first thing out of their mouths is "It's those dioramas you made us do two years ago!! I'm still frustrated to the point of boiling!"

Pulease. This guy is too funny. If he can't see the imagination and creativity in purple-glittered volcanoes and Crayola dinosaurs, then he's living in his own la-la-land.

Note that he's only a 3rd year education student. It's his duty to point out the flaws in his fellow human-beings. Presumably he's without children of his own. He won't know anything about the real world until he actually gets out and about in it."

Without sounding rude, I would like to say that I'm not sure where you got your information on the facts about children and motor skills... but it has been my observation in life (as a child previously and now watching my own children) that they are capable of doing a lot more than we think they are. I watched other people draw as a child and became able to draw at a VERY early age. I was drawing very well on the back of church attendance cards when I was practically still in diapers.

My children enjoyed the project in this post because of these fun things about it:
1. They got to see their friends (two other little boys came over to do this with them)

2. They got to take time away from regular schoolwork to do an art project (I think kids need stress release also)

3. They got to paint the back of the box blue (sky) - I don't know if you know this yet, but kids love paint. They don't care WHAT you let them paint, they love it! My kids also helped me paint my kitchen walls (another job for adults).

4. They got to rip up construction paper and watch me cut some. They got to cut their dinosaurs out, and they got to wad up paper to use as rocks. My kids were in First and Second grade during this project. It was near the end of the school year. They still like cutting, wadding up paper, and tearing it. How is that beyond their motor skills? Where in the world did you get your information that a child's motor skills are not fully developed until their early adult years? Have you seen the painting that I did at the age of 11 on my Favorite Paintings post (see this link for my copy of Robert Yarber's "Falling in Love")? How do you explain Mozart and all the other child prodigies? You should let a child do and explore things and not limit them by what YOU think they can accomplish. The Native Indians used to teach their children how to ride horses without saddles by the age of 6! Young girls tanned the skins of deer along side their mothers. Pioneer children helped with back-breaking chores on the farm. Children will excel when you respect them as people and allow them to create their own expectations for success. With limited supervision, they are able to do almost anything. My friend's son who is only 8 can cook you a plate of eggs all by himself.

5. They got to color dinosaurs. This is actually a learning experience as well. They were learning what different dinosaurs look like (as I'm sure I didn't know how to draw them all). They got to be creative and color them whatever colors they liked. Kaden made his triceratops rainbow-colored. In case you didn't know this, many kids ENJOY coloring books. My daughter is STILL coloring in some of her free time of her own free will. She's 7. Sometimes I will even color with her! Coloring may not be the most creative thing you can do, but it is enjoyable and a mindless stress reliever.

6. They got to create a river/pond and bank with sand and ModPodge. This part of the activity was very fun. I helped them to design their water and they got to dust the glue with sand and ModPodge over their blue water to make it become glossy and shiny like real water. The kids really like to look at that part of the diorama. It is hard to see in the picture, I realize. We had sand in the garage in a bucket that they used, and they went upstairs to their rooms and got a few playground rocks they had collected and added some of them as well. To a 6 and 8 year old, this would seem creative, I'm sure!
7. They got to make puffy clouds and add glitter to their purple volcano. Glitter is always fun for a kid. I don't care what your "professors" have taught you. Girls especially love glitter. My son is a volcano nut, so this was his favorite part of the diorama as well.

8. The kids had something PRETTY that they COMPLETED together and with ME and FRIENDS that they could LOOK AT to REMEMBER how much FUN THEY HAD. They are quite attached to them. They would NOT let me throw them out. They are in storage right now because they made me pack them so they could see them again when we finally bought another house.

I look forward to getting them out again and letting them put them on their dressers.

Crafts are really not such a bad thing... you should get married and have a few kids of your own... and then do some with them!"
Thanks for the comments - Keep them coming. Some weeks, a kind word is all that keeps this blog in business.

God bless each of you... and have a great week!

Encouraging Previous Post:
Little Dinosaur

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 12, 2007

Field Trip Foto Friday: Crowe's Nest Farm

Homeschooling field trips are my favorite way to teach and my children's favorite way to learn. I'm glad you stopped in to join me here at my blog where I keep a record in photos of all the fun field trips we have taken over the years. If you are just stopping in, you might enjoy browsing all our previous field trips. You can start by visiting the links at the bottom of this post.

We have done frightfully few field trips this year compared to most years, but we hope to make that up as the weather gets warmer going forward. Today's Field Trip Foto Friday is a review of a wonderful trip we took with our co-op in the 2004-5 school year. I believe we did this trip in winter or early spring of 2005. I got stuck in the mud that day turning my vehicle around and some nice local guy happened to have a rope to pull me back on to the road. I just love rural Texas - friendlier people are hard to find!


We got to see not only farm animals that day, but many exotic animals as well. Crowe's Nest Farm is an animal sanctuary as well as a lively educational farm. It isn't every day that city kids get to watch a cow be milked and learn how the milk we drink is processed before it gets to the grocery shelves. One of my favorite animals that we saw were the beautiful wandering peacocks - we loved hearing their haunting calls.

Here are some other things they got to do and see:

  • Feed a donkey

  • Look at the snakes, spiders and amphibians in cages

  • See a baby calf

  • Ride on a hay ride pulled by a bright green tractor

  • See an ostrich and its egg

  • Pet and see lots of animals (llama, prairie dog - or was that a gopher?, pony, pig, chickens, goats, squirrel, lemur, etc.)

  • Walk through the pet graveyard and see statues dedicated to the pets that have gone on before their owners.

fairyMy favorite part of the trip was the "Fairie Wood". We strolled through the farm's imaginative Fairie Wood area (Fairie is the Old English spelling of the word Fairy) where they had faces on the trees, tiny fairy-sized mushroom houses, colorful hanging butterflies, sparkling garden eye-catchers, and other interesting things hidden amidst the oaks. The children really enjoyed this area as well. The photo below is one of their smiling trees. We took pictures of the children next to them.


We had a great time - it was a super field trip. I wish we had have gone on a sunny day, though. I think the spring or summer would have been ideal... yet it was nice to have the place all to ourselves!

Quick Links:Sprittibee's Homeschool Series
2004-5 Field Trip List (First and Second Grade)

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Some posts on this blog contain affiliate links or sponsored links. I receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through an affiliate link. Sponsored links are paid for by a company who wishes to improve their Google ranking, but I always check to make sure these are reputable sites and never allow any links that are questionable to be placed.

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 Sprittibee.com 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.


blog design:

blog archives