Happy Holidays!

I hope that everyone is having a great holiday season now that the season has officially begun with Thanksgiving last week!

I'm having a great but exhausted time. I had my second baby a little before Thanksgiving - what a blessing! No homeschooling for the rest of the year, adjusting to the new addition. Big brother is excited and has no jealousy issues at all. :)

Have a great holiday season! I'll "see" you all in the new year!

Free Homeschool Magazine Download

Click below! Enjoy! :)

2010 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

Mommy Wars

I personally find it really sad that moms so often pit themselves against one another. We really should be working together to motivate and encourage one another. We have a difficult and sometimes thankless job and the support can really go a long way!

It is such a waste of time and energy to get involved with these mommy wars. What good really comes from engaging in these battles? Inevitably someone's feelings are going to get hurt, and truly how often does someone change their position as a result? 

I began to discover this when I first got married and became a stepmom. There was the instant division between "real" moms and stepmoms ("fake" moms?) and there is a lot of animosity there for some people.

There are a lot of stereotypes of stepmoms, some of them stemming way back hundreds of years ago when tales such as Cinderella and Hensel and Gretel were changed to say "stepmother" instead of "mother" as was in the original stories.

There are stereotypes based on misunderstands and underlying fears. Many stepmoms attend school events of their stepchildren and are stunned to find themselves shunned from the "mommy club".

It appears that many moms are insecure about stepmoms so they are instantly fearful when one appears on the scene. Are they afraid that they will be replaced by a stepmom? Are they afraid the children's natural mother will snub them if they are nice to the stepmom? I really don't know because though I am a mom I am not threatened by stepmoms that I meet.

It wasn't until I had my son that I discovered the REAL mommy wars going on. It's no wonder some moms are so threatened by stepmoms when they are so threatened by other moms.

The battles engaged in on the mommy war battle front seem to be never ending and they start so early too.

I've heard some moms claim that you're not "really" a parent until you have more than one child. What exactly does that make a "parent" of one child? A fake parent? Right up there with stepparents. Those imposters with only one child, they only think they are parents.

I have no doubts that adding children to the scene changes the dynamic of the entire family as well as the parent/child relationships. (I will find this out very soon for myself.) But even though it may be more complicated, it may be more difficult, it may well be far more wonderful - I would never dare to say that someone who has a child is not REALLY a parent.

Then there are many other battle fronts, all you have to do is go to a mommy forum site and you will find these battles raging.

- Natural birth vs drugs vs cesarean
- Formula vs breastfeeding
- Binky vs thumb vs nothing
- Working moms vs stay at home moms vs work at home moms
- Co sleeping vs crib sleeping
- Vaccinating vs non vaccinating vs selective vaccinating
- Discipline methods
- Organic foods vs non organic
- Daycare vs no daycare
- Preschool vs play
- TV vs no tv vs limited tv vs educational tv vs preschool programming
- Public school vs private school vs home school
- Many, many more...

Who are the real winners? Who are the real losers? Who is the best mom? Who is the worst mom? Who is right? Who is wrong?

Or a better question...who cares???

None of these battles are life or death issues. They are issues of opinion and each mom is given the right to look at all sides and choose what is best for her children and family.

We would all be a lot better off if we could simply support one another, agree to disagree on certain issues, and help one another out.

Just think what our kids could learn if they had that kind of example to look up to!

Being insecure and fighting to the death an opinion doesn't teach the values to our kids that we really want to impart to them. (Maybe those are values that some want to give to their kids. I find that sad personally.)

What do you think?

If a Child...

What a great poem this is!

• If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn
• If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight
• If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy
• If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty
• If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient
• If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident
• If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate
• If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice
• If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith
• If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself
• If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

They Grow Up So Fast

I look at my little mister, growing up so fast.

He looks like such a boy now, not the little baby that he used to be.

I'm so proud of him, I love him and adore him.

I want to be the best mom that I can be for him and to give him the best that I can.

I want to make the best of all of these years that I have him.

I hope to raise and guide him with as much love and care as possible.

Not to miss any opportunities.

Or miss any great moments.

I want to give him the very best and raise him to be his very best.

I have so many hopes and dreams for him, yet I want him to have his own hopes and dreams to follow.

This morning I saw an incredibly moving and sweet video about growing up. It was very touching, it will move your heart.

Do watch it, you will be glad that you did...


The Bullying Experience

I'm so saddened to hear of school bullying related suicides so often!

Just today I read this article where four kids committed suicide due to bullying in one town!

In the last month I've heard of others, it seems to be weekly.

There is clearly a real problem going on.

Even though I am homeschooling I am very passionate about doing something about this. 

Bullying is one reason that I chose this route for my children. I have been out of public school for fifteen years but I remember clearly the bullying that I experienced starting in the 5th grade.

I also went to one of the more affluent public school districts in my state at the time where kids of divorce were the exception.

I remember how it made me feel...

When I experienced bullying, I felt:
  • Powerless
  • Helpless
  • Two inches tall
  • Completely alone
  • Worthless
  • Unloved
  • Unlovable
  • Abused
  • Ridiculed
  • Broken
  • Humiliated
  • More...
It was a horrible way for me to feel as a child as a 5th and 6th grader. I didn't even have the vocabulary to express the above words that I just used. I just felt them and didn't feel like I could tell anyone about it. I was too humiliated to even admit any of this, and I was the victim.

How many kids today are living the same life at school?

Bullying is abuse by peers. Pure and simple. It is not a rite of passage, it is not a "normal" stage of childhood to endure, it is not there to toughen kids up!! It is abuse! It has nothing to do with socialization at all.

Children should not have to feel that way when they go to school. Children should feel safe, they should be there to learn.

If it was normal, would it drive kids to suicide at alarming rates??? NO!!

Something needs to be done. Sooner than later. Our nation's kids deserve much better.

(Image Credit)

Getting Boys to Read

Today I stumbled upon a great article from The Wall Street Journal called How to Raise Boys That Read.

It is written by Thomas Spence who is the president of Spence Publishing Company in Dallas. He has six sons and has plenty of experience with boys and reading. He discusses the rapid decline over the last twenty years of the education of boys in this country particularly in the area of literacy.

The literacy rates of girls has been going up and has strongly surpassed that of the nation's boys. He makes a very interesting comparison. Not too long ago the elite schools and universities were often reserved mostly for males whereas now most boys are deemed unfit for the classroom.

What a difference that is!!

The agreement among the professionals is that the reason behind the big drop in literacy for boys is that boys do not read enough. They simply are not getting enough practice and are not building up the skills that they need to succeed.

Some professionals believe that boys simply become bored with typical literature and that is why they do not read. So to combat this there has been a recent movement to meet the boys where they are and produce books about bodily functions and all things gross. Some professionals even have "gross-out parties" just to get them reading.

The emphasis is not on what is being read but that something is being read at all.

There are many book publishers and authors who are more than happy to provide the gross books for young boys to read. The Captain Underpants and The Butt Books series are best sellers for boys.

But the author argues that education ought to be what it once was, not only giving facts but also teaching the "formation of manners and taste". A great point! I can only imagine what reading The Butt Books is teaching young boys in their school libraries.

He also points out that if you simply keep meeting boys where they are, rather than challenging them to grow and try new things, the boys will not go very far. They certainly won't be encouraged to grow into men who will make good fathers, husbands and professionals. He believes that we are raising a generation of barbarians.

His experience with his six sons is that grossology is not needed to keep a boy's interest in a book. He also discusses that he hasn't ever needed to bribe his sons with video games to get them to read as so many parents are admitting to doing these days.

Which leads to his point that the decline in boy's reading and literacy has gone down since the video games and other forms of electronic entertainment. He suggests that the competition between electronics and academics has more to do with the decline of boys literacy than the potty humor. He even has a scientific study to back up this idea, that the boys in the study who spent more time playing video games than reading had a dramatic decline in academic performance.

His suggestion is to remove the competition of the video games and watch the boys begin to read again.

I personally couldn't agree more, remember my recent post about taking a day to be free of the TV? I've been cutting back on his TV watching and it's been amazing to watch his imagination soar. He has been drawing better and playing with much more gusto. It's been wonderful to watch!

He's not at the point of reading just yet - but he already knows what most of the sounds are for the letters! He picked it up really fast! He also loves having stories read to him which is a strong foundation to reading later on so I will continue to read to him and find more times throughout the day to read. I want to far surpass the recommended 20 minutes a day.

Oh and I can't leave out the last two sentences in the article: "I offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?"

What are your thoughts??

Pre-K going great so far!

Our Pre-K curriculum has been going well! We got off to a late start though. I was going to start the week of Labor Day but there was so much going on that I decided to start the following week.

The beauty of home education! Flexibility! Being able to make it work around our needs and not the other way around. I love it!

Though just because we aren't doing the curriculum doesn't mean that learning isn't taking place!

Since so much of our Pre-K learning is hands-on there has been a lot going on without circle time, flash cards, tracing, planned out discussions, etc.

Since Little Mister is so excited about the ABC's and numbers he points them out all the time: on traffic signs, business signs, toys, clothes, books, anything.

He also loves to play board games and I encourage learning games which he does love. This reinforces counting and other math skills such as order, sizing, etc.

Blocks, play dough, building and digging in the dirt, watching daddy building a special project in the yard, potato heads, playing with puppets, dress up, reading stories, etc. all teach many important lessons - the way that we are meant to learn. Naturally, having fun, hands-on.

If you are looking for more ideas about what young children learn through play, check this out: What I Learn Through Play

Our Pre-K Curriculum

As I mentioned in my last post I have been very busy with a lot of things over the last week or so.

Preparing our Pre-K curriculum has been one thing that I've been working on actively.

I am excited about our curriculum for this year - as I was about our preschool curriculum last year!

I enjoy creating something that provides direction, plenty of learning opportunities, and flexibility. I am all about hands-on learning, exploring and discovering through play. I use flashcards, tracing, worksheets and similar products at a minimum. They are useful tools that teach certain skills but I don't rely on them too heavily.

Because I run a home preschool the curriculum that I am using for my son is also the same curriculum that I am using for the preschool as well.

I designed the curriculum for my son but I will alter as needed for the preschool kids. Most of them are right about his age so thankfully they will mostly all be on the same page which will be fun - and convenient for me!

This is a very hands-on curriculum. We are going to use a wide variety of activities to encourage reading skills as well as other important skill for this age.

Singing songs, listening to stories, flashcards for letter sounds, number flashcards, calendar to discuss days of the week, numbers and weather. We have an open discussion time for each child to discuss what is on their mind.

We dramatize stories, nursery rhymes, bible stories, community jobs, animal life, family roles, and much more through acting them out and also with the use of puppets and finger puppets.

We use many different types of artistic materials to create, sometimes the activities are teacher directed and other times the children are given materials to create and explore with independently.

We are going to use an early phonics curriculum to promote beginning reading skills. We also use worksheets, tracing, creatives, puzzles, and much more. The more hands-on it is the more fun the kids have learning! The children also listen to stories which is a very important part of learning to read. We also have cards for matching and putting words together. We use discovery by finding numbers around the room on posters, in books, etc.

Tracing, sorting, building, puzzles, blocks. We have a wide range of activities to promote early math skills including games, puzzles, legos, building blocks, tinker toys, lincoln logs, counting tokens, etc. We also use discovery to find numbers around the room.

Science, exercise and learning games are also very important components to our learning to read curriculum. We have very basic science experiments and activities for the children to learn basic concepts of science. We get outside regularly and get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. We have many board games which promote early learning.

(Image Credit)

Busy, busy, busy!

iscI haven't posted in over a week because I have been very busy with a lot of things!
  • Organizing and Decluttering the House - making progress, I don't know if this will ever be something that I "check off" as done and complete!
  • Preparing the Curriculum and Schedule for the School Year
  • Updating my Website for my Home Preschool (I had some kids "graduate" so I need to fill those spots!)
  • Attempting to Organize my Entire Life! I have so much to do, so many goals, so many things that I am excited about that it can be hard to prioritize and make enough time for everything. Not a bad thing, a good challenge to have!
  • Making small efforts to prepare for this baby that will be here in a couple of short months! I don't feel like there is a lot to be done, but there are definitely things that need to be done, with more coming up all the time. Such as needing that 3 hour glucose test and possibly a change in thyroid levels.

A Day Without TV

Yesterday I made the decision that we would go one whole day without TV.

You see the TV watching in our house has gotten out of control - as evidenced by the behavior of the little mister.

How did it get so out of control?

I'm a home educating mom, many people would automatically think that we don't even have a TV.

Others would think that I would at least be good at limiting what my child watches. That much is a lot closer to the truth, I'm a stickler for the preschool channels and educational DVDs.

What happened, then?

I've got one word for you: Pregnancy.

Actually another: Fatigue.

Ok, a couple more: Complete Exhuastion.

The first trimester was insane as far as the fatigue this time around. I was so tired, so sleepy I could barely get anything done. I was sleeping on the couch every chance that I got. I seriously lacked energy.

I was really glad to no be throwing up every day this time around. The fatigue was definitely a welcome change. Not that I didn't have fatigue last time, but it was not to this extreme.

So along came long hours of TV watching for my son. I justified it because I knew that it wouldn't last forever and that I didn't have the energy to keep up with him.

Then came the second trimester and the TV was a nice little comfort that everyone was used to so I didn't fight it too much and I didn't realize just how often the TV was on in our home.

He got used to watching it as soon as he woke up in the mornings. He got used to watching it until breakfast time. He got used to watching it before lunch while I made lunch. He got used to watching it after nap. He got used to watching it before, during and after dinner. Not to mention before bedtime.



Then came the summer time and my teenage stepdaughter was with us for the summer and she was watching shows that I definitely did not want my preschooler watching: iCarly, Spongebob, etc.

But it's extremely hard to keep a preschooler away from these shows when big sister and dad are sitting on the couch watching them and laughing.


Though when I had the energy I would get him outside instead of watching TV.

When I was pregnant with him I prayed that he would love the outdoors more than the indoors and that was an answered prayer! He loves to get out and run, jump, build things, chase the dog, etc.

So back to yesterday's No TV Day.

It started out with a lot of protests. Little mister was NOT happy about having a day of no TV. He wanted this show and that show. He seemed to think that asking multiple times in a row would change the answer. (Hmmm, wonder where he got that from??? Daddy??)

But despite the early protests he ended up having a fun day and played with a lot of toys that have been ignored for a long time. Not only that but he was having fun and playing more intensely than ever before. A lot more imagination and verbal skills involved. He even stopped protesting.

His behavior and attitudes changed DRAMATICALLY with just one day too!

Wow, I can see my sweet little boy coming back!


I think that once we start up school again next month we will be having a LOT more of these No TV Days.

At least until I have a newborn and fatigue again...

Photo Credit

PS: As I've been saying all week... I just moved this blog over here to blogspot this week and I could really use some followers. Hint, hint! :)


If you home educate and you haven't run into someone questioning you on the socialization issue you must have just started yesterday! ;)

If you are interested in some great articles on the topic of socialization, I put together some very good ones here.

You will really enjoy these and maybe even learn a thing or two! Or at least learn some good responses to the constant questions from strangers, friends and relatives who have typical misunderstandings about home education.

I also read a great comeback today that I am definitely going to use someday when the question arises.

Someone in a group said that someone told her that her kids would do terrible in college if they didn't learn how to sit at desk by going to public school. Her response was this: If it takes you 6 hours a day for 12 years to teach your child to sit at a desk then you have much BIGGER problems!

How true is that??

Follow Fridays

I am joining some Friday Follow memes. :) It looks like a great way to discover new blogs and make some new friends! Feel free to join too, I'm sure they'd love to have you join!

Also, as I have been mentioning this week - I just moved my blog earlier this week and I would love to have new followers so please feel free to join my blog and follow!

Only-The-Curious badge My Wee View

Friday Favorite Links

Here are some of my favorite links for the week:
Free ebook: Blogging Basics

Lunch Revolution Blog Party

Hydrogenated Oils - The Silent Killer

FREEBIES: Leonardo & Egypt Lapbooks

Free Printables: Sight Words Level 1

Friday Favorites

Lunch Revolution

Join the Lunch Revolution Blog Party!! (See the button at the bottom of this post.)

I truly believe that school lunches need to have a revolution! I very much support the efforts of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, the blog Fed Up with Lunch, and also Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet.

I wrote a post not too long ago about those three in more detail, you can see it here.

Even though I am a home educator I know that most children in our nation attend public schools and I believe that every one of them deserves to eat healthy food at school.

The kids spend so much time at school and eat many meals at school, especially those of low income who also receive breakfast before school. It is appalling what is allowed to be served to these children, and unbelievable that pizza is even an option for breakfast.

It truly is an outrage that people who are trying to make a positive difference in school foods run into so much opposition from the schools and from the USDA food program.

Yes children should be offered choices - but they should be offered healthy choices!

Schools should be willing to make funding sacrifices for the sake of the children. It is well known that schools allow vending machines full of candy, pop, and flavored milk for the sole purpose of bringing in money for the schools. That is why schools fight tooth and nail to keep those vending machines in.

Money is more important than the health of the children.

Not only the health of the children but also the education. With all of those sugars that are offered to the kids that really affects the way that they are able to focus on schoolwork and learning.

Imagine a bunch of children jacked up on sugar from those vending machines trying to sit down and focus on learning the material that they are supposed to be learning. No wonder so many schools recommend putting kids on ADHD medication, kids hyped up on sugar will look like ADHD kids to those who are trying to teach them.

Many studies show how altering the diet can greatly help children with behavioral issues. If the schools would focus on feeding children healthy foods they would also see a lot of other issues resolve themselves.

Wouldn't it be great to have a lot of kids un-labeled and off medications? It truly would make a huge difference for the kids!!

Getting healthy foods in schools would be great on so many levels:

1. Driving down the alarming rise in childhood obesity
2. Once kids get over the sugar and fat addictions (which those foods truly do cause addictions) they will actually enjoy eating healthy foods!
3. Lowering the rising rate of diabetes in children
4. Lowering the rate of behavioral problems
5. Lowering the rate of children being medicated
6. Raising the standards of education as children will be able to focus better in school
7. Driving down the prices of healthy foods if more people are eating and demanding them
8. Many more, feel free to comment and add yours!

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, please feel free to join my blog (on the right) as I've just moved my blog and that's why I'm low on followers.

Also here are a couple of healthy recipes to give a try!

Black Bean and Guacamole Salad
12 whole tortilla chips
4 cups broken tortilla chips
3 cups chopped lettuce
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups guacamole
1 tablespoon lime juice
chili powder or paprika

Arrange whole tortilla chips on outside edge of a large plate, point out. Spread broken chips on rest of plate. Layer lettuce, black beans, and guac over top. Drizzle on sour cream. Sprinkle with paprika or chili powder.

Vegetarian Crockpot Enchiladas

1-3/4 lbs. canned crushed tomatoes in tomato purée
14 ounces chunky style prepared salsa
6 ounces tomato paste
2 lbs. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb. corn kernels, thawed if frozen
1/4 lb. canned diced mild green chilies, drained
1-1/2 Tbs. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
5 corn tortillas
2 ounces olive slices, drained

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour about 1 cup of mixture into the bottom of an electric slow cooker on low heat. Spread evenly and top with 1-1/2 tortillas, cutting to fit pot. Spread 1/3 of remaining tomato mixture over top. Repeat layering process, ending with tomato mixture. Spread top evenly. Sprinkle with olives. Cover and cook about 5 hours. Serve hot. This recipe serves 5 people.

Top 10 Reasons That I Homeschool

I originally wrote up a top 10 list about a year ago but I wanted to update it to reflect our changing needs, desires, values, etc.

My list will continue to change over time, but here is the current top ten reasons in no particular order. I wrote this out before we were expecting number two so clearly this will need to be updated to reflect both of my children when the second arrives!

1. I love planning, being flexible, and being responsible for his curriculum based on his learning styles and needs.

2. Less "classroom" time, homeschoolers tend to cover more educational material in a shorter period of time than schools because of the one on one ratio and being able to focus on the child. No being held back or falling behind because of the 30 other children in the school classroom.

3. I love that I can protect his innocence better, I have seen what kids his age are exposed to and I don't like a lot of it. So many people think that little kids swearing and talking about sex is CUTE. Yes, that talk comes out of kindergartners - and younger!

4. I don't have to worry about the very real threat of bullies. I was a girl and I had a hard enough time with them because of my size (being so small) I know it would be harder for boys who are small.

There are a lot more opportunities for fun learning through plenty of field trips and other hands-on learning projects. These types of learning events tend to stick better than classic book and instruction learning because that is how we as people learn naturally, though experience and the five senses.

6. More time together, and more quality time at that. No rushed mornings trying to get to school on time, no rushed afternoons trying to squeeze everything in after school and around a bunch of sports.

7. Moral teachings: I am glad to be the one to teach him morals and values, which includes tolerance, kindness, and fairness. I don't want some stranger and certainly not the state teaching morals to my child!

8. Fun socialization: homeschooling groups, sports, clubs, etc.
This is especially important since most schools are cutting back on Physical Education, Music and Art programs due to funding issues. 

Not trying to socialize when he should be learning, and not learning socialization through bullying and fashion wars. Spending time with people of all ages and learning how to socialize with many more age groups than just his own.

9. No "back to school rush" - no shopping like mad to get a new wardrobe in a week, no getting all the supplies on the class list at one time, etc. Buy as necessary, when everyone else is in school and the stores are not packed.

10. No state standardized tests!! I've seen what my stepdaughter has gone through, getting stress headaches and more. She says the school nurse says they are always swamped that time of year. 

Why all the stress? The schools and teachers get more pay if the kids score higher. Also the schools spend up to SIX MONTHS a year studying JUST to pass that test. Complete craziness. My boy will be studying to learn, not spit out information to benefit the school. It will be for his benefit - as it should be. My son is not a dollar sign.

Praise the Lord!

If you are new here from the Praise the Lord meme then I welcome you! I have just moved my blog here to this location a couple of days ago so if you'd like to follow me I would really appreciate it! In many ways I'm starting completely over. To learn more about me see the tabs above!

I'm very excited to join this meme! This is something that I personally need in my life, more praising the Lord. Sure, I recognize the really big things that he provides. That is easy enough.

But what I really do need is to get back to having the eyes that I did when I was younger, as a teen and young adult. I would wake up and the first words out my mouth would be, "Good Morning, God!" and I would be grateful for the day ahead that I'd been given.

I also used to see God in everything, everywhere.

I'm in my early 30s with a job, family, and other commitments. For years now I have looked back in amazement at the way that I used to look at life and at God. Pretty much just wishing that I could go back there.

But wishing doesn't make things happen. Action makes things happen...along with the grace of God of course. Most things in life are a joint venture between God and us. We have faith and take action and God responds. It's all over the Bible!

Now I will take the next 31 days to put forth action! I will have it on my mind to find things to praise the Lord about. One month of an action can really put a person to the test but it can also cause amazing growth and surprises!

I hope you will join me...

Extravagant Grace


I have created a button for my blog! :)

If you'd like to link to my blog here is the code for the button:
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For the LOVE of Reading!

My four year old is expressing a strong interest in reading which is really exciting! I love reading and I'm glad that he is headed down that path too!

We have done several things that seems to have encouraged his love for reading.
  • Reading books to him since he was an infant
  • Using colorful flash cards to teach him the letters since he could talk
  • Pointing out letters and numbers in real life
  • Watching fun shows that teach letters and reading skills in a way that kids love, my son especially loves PBS's Super Why! show and the LeapFrog DVDs:

Now that he is really expressing an interest in reading and spelling - he points out letters and numbers all the time and asks how everything is spelled - I am excited to help him to the next level. Little does he know that when we start up the homeschool year next month he will begin with the beginning level of a couple of the phonics programs.

We now have the first boxed set of the BOB Books and we will also start with the first set of Hooked on Phonics. Since he is still so young my plan is to take it slowly and of course my main goal is for him to stay excited about reading. If a year from now he still can't read a word I'm not going to worry about it, we'll move on to find something else that will help him learn to read. What will concern me is if he has lost his enthusiasm for learning.

I'm excited to see where this will go!

By the way, if you are interested in other learning to read options check out my links for Preschool to Kindergarten Resources.

To the Top Tuesdays

Welcome to my blog!

To-the-TOP Tuesday

This is perfect timing because I just moved the blog over last night and I really need new followers!

School lunches, another reason to homeschool!

I was reading a discussion thread on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution forums, and I am absoutely disgusted by what the teachers are explaining are the completely unhealthy foods served at schools all over the country!

Onemore reason to be grateful for homeschooling! Even at the preschool level. One person posted that her preschooler eats really bad at preschool. It's sad, it's disgusting, it's outrageous what these kids are eating on a regular basis!

Read through all of the posts, it's very eye opening. http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=60548&p=1

While you're at it, sign his petition! Something really needs to be done, and he's planning on taking the results of his petition to Obama! Show Obama that healthy foods are important to the country and that they need to bemore available and cheaper than processed junk foods! http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/petition

If you're looking for a great resource on how to eat healthier I really recommend a wonderful book that I just read called The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. (It's not really about a diet, but a way of life eating healthier.) She writes it in a fun and easy to read manner, if you read it with your older kids they will probably really enjoy it. It's very educational and fun at the same time! Also be sure to check out her blog, The Kind Life.

Another resource is a blog by a teacher called Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project.

Also there is a project by two moms who are trying to change the face of public school food through their own movement and MOVIE. Check it out at their site, Two Angry Moms.

Public school students get swine flu shot without parental permission!

I posted this last year and it's one compelling reason, among all the others, to be grateful for homeschooling.




It's outrageous that this could even happen! The claims are that it was accidental, and even if it was there should have been some real safeguards to make sure that this didn't happen!!

When I go to the hospital (granted I go to a highly rated hospital) any time that I go in for anything no matter how small it is they always ask me for my name and date of birth. It can get annoying at times, especially when I was dealing with surgery and/or cancer and was going to multiple offices a day. But clearly there is good cause!

Here is a youtube clip also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6leltGdvqBI

Staying Healthy

I posted this last year prior to the scare of the upcoming H1N1 swine flu pandemic. This is how my son and I stayed healthy throughout the flu season, without any flu shots!

It's now the cold and flu season already!! Plus there is the added worry of the H1N1 (swine) flu. We are taking it very seriously and so far have not gotten sick even though we have been exposed to quite a few people with the flu!! How have we done it, you ask? Let me share...

Juice Plus
My son and I take Juice Plus and it's very effective at keeping our immune systems up. Before we started taking it, he was in the pediatrician's office practically weekly with croup, flu, etc. during the winter. Now that he's been taking it (over a year) he's only been to the doctor for two things: well child checks and stitches! 

He's had a couple minor colds but I give him extra Juice Plus and he never gets full-on sick, he fights it off before actually getting sick. The same goes for me. Also if we are exposed to anyone who is sick we take extra and don't get sick. My husband had the flu for almost two weeks, we were with my husband nearly 24/7 and my son and I stayed healthy (my husband doesn't take Juice Plus).

I'm thinking about becoming a distributor because I always end up selling it when I tell people how healthy it has kept us, so if anyone is interested comment so that I can answer questions for you. (Children age 4-18 can take it free when a parent is taking it.)

Other Measures
Aside from that, taking regular vitamins helps. We still take those on top of the Juice Plus. We also wash our hands a lot, mine get so dry but I just use lotion. We also use Dove Sensitive soap which helps with frequent washings. 

I went to a training on the H1N1 and that is the biggest help to prevent it - that and never touching your face - and also santizing common surfaces daily (phones, door knobs, etc.) We also carry hand sanitizer with us and use it when we are out and about. Just think of all the germs on door handles, shopping carts, and anything else that you touch out in public!

Olive Leaf Extract
If you do get a flu you can take Olive Leaf Extract, it is a natuaral anti-viral and it will fight off the flu and cold whereas antibiotics obviously do no good. Olive Leaf extract can be found in powdered capsules or in the liquid form. The liquid is more expensive but a much higher quality, if you are sick then I certainly recommend the liquid so that you can feel better and heal more quickly!

More school for kids?


My personal opinion is that entire public school system needs a complete and total overhaul. Longer days are not the answer, especially with the kids running from one extra-curricular to the next after school. Though it is good that Obama is looking at how to improve education (I'm not one who is generally excited about his ideas, so that's saying a lot!) I also think it's good that he's looking at the ways other countries school their children, because our schools are seriously lacking compared to many other countries and we could stand to learn from the ones who are doing it right.

Now if they wanted to offer optional study groups, tutoring, or something along those lines after school to keep kids out of trouble and help them with homework or projects that would be a good idea. But who is going to fund this when the schools are cutting back on more and more due to lack of funding? Though funding doesn't mean that schools will be ran effeciently and in the best interest of the students. (See Stupid in America for some good examples of that.)

Year round school would be an improvement in my opinion. The typical three month summer isn't practical mostly because of how much information that kids lose during that time. Most teachers that I have talked to say that it takes the entire first month of school just to review the previous year because the kids have forgotten so much. If the kids have a couple weeks here and couple weeks there throughout the entire calendar year they will retain much more and will not need to waste a month on reviews. Of course that is nothing compared to the six months wasted studying for the state standardized tests around here...I'm not even going to go there right now.

Changes do need to be made in the public schools, that is one reason that we are homeschooling. I'm glad that the president is willing to look at other options. Although I think that the problems lie much deeper than any one change could ever fix. There are so many aspects of the public school system as well as our society as a whole which need to be changed before the school system will see any changes. There are many flaws in both that you can't just throw some change - literal and not - at the schools and expect to see a radical change.

What needs to be changed? I'm glad that you asked! For one the family unit needs to become the core unit of our country once again. Mom and Dad need to be parents and children need to be children. Just walk into any store and you will see that more often than not that just isn't the case. The children are ruling over the parents, and the parents have lost all hope of having any real authority over their children so they give in or possibly bribe or threaten their kids. Teachers also need to be allowed to be authority figures once again, how often do you hear a parent telling their child to listen to their teacher? The more common scenario is that of the parent always siding with their child and not even listening to what the teacher has to say. Many parents will place the blame on teachers when the children are not doing well in school. When kids grow up not respecting authority there is chaos in society as we often see today. If any of what I am saying resonates with you, you should check out Dr. John Rosemond and read his weekly column and his books.

There are many more changes which need to be made. I cannot possibly try to list all of them right now in a single blog post! I have already listed a couple of flaws in society now I will list some in the schools themselves. One problem is that children are seen as a dollar sign and not as someone the system should be working for. The children are supposed to profit the system. How incredibly wrong and backward is that?? The teachers are not allowed to have creative freedom in their curriculum, they must teach to the test. Why teach to the test? Because the higher scores mean more money for the schools and the teachers. Teachers spend up to six months per year teaching the children to pass the test. What kind of crazy goal is that? The children should be taught the academics which will serve them (the student, not the school system) in their academic growth. They should be learning what they need to know which will be built upon each year through college if they choose to go. That is how the system should work - for the children, not the children for the system.

There is much more to say on the topic but this is where I must stop for now.

Coupons, Freebies, etc.

Times are tough all around and I have found some great resources that I want to share!! We are all looking for ways to save money in this economy. You should be able to find some stuff that you like in this list! Let me know if I've missed anything!!

Coupons and Rebates
E-bates - free rebates from online shopping!!

Shortcut$ - printable coupons

Organic Valley Coupons- you can reuse these coupons, but only print once per month

Current Codes - Get those checkout codes that you don't have!

Coupon Cabin - printable coupons and coupon codes

My Savings
- free samples and printable coupons

Boodle - printable coupons and recipes

Box Top Coupons - printable coupons (must join, free)

Cool Savings - printable coupons (must join, free)

Custom Coupons - printable coupons

P&G Coupons - samples and coupons

Coupon Surfer - free printable coupons

- free coupons

Valpak - free printable local coupons

My Coupon - free coupons and codes

Naughty Codes - many, many codes!

Keycode - free codes

Retail Me Not - free coupon codes

Slick Deals - get great deals on higher priced items, not grocery savings

Entertanment Book - purchase the famous entertainment coupon book

Other helpful money saving sites
Swap a Gift

Frugal Living

Freebies for Teens - even stuff for you!

Mommy Auctions - like ebay but smaller and better deals!

Price Grabber - grab these great deals before they get away!

Dollar Stretcher

Budgeting Tips

Budgeting 101

Ebay - bid on great coupons!

Free Kids Stuff

Free Freebies (my kind of redundancy!)

First Week

This was our first week, almost a year ago:
Our very first week of homeschooling was a great success! My son is newly three and we are working on a pre-reading curriculum using mostly The Letter of the Week and Prekinders, but also many others for printouts. You can check out the Preschool-K tab on the top of this page if you are interested in some of the sites that I've used.

The themes for this week were:

  • A, a
  • 1
  • Square
  • Red
  • Farm
Most of our time was spent focusing on the farm because it is so much fun and there is so much to learn about the farm! We have toy farm animals to play with, they are perfect for learning the names of the animals and what sounds they make as well as how the farmer takes care of them. We also have puzzles with farm animals and we've been coloring farm pictures. We even made up a game that he adores. He pretends to be a farmer who is sleeping and then I pretend to be a rooster to wake up the farmer.

With the letter Aa, the number 1, the color red, and squares we have been doing a variety of activities. We have played detectives, looking around for the number 1, letter A, red and squares. Sqaures can be found all over, we have found them on a CD case, on posters, books, blocks and more! The letter Aa and number 1 can be found in books, on posters, games, puzzles, and much more. We sing songs, talk about the day of the week and the weather outside, we read stories, talk about our themes, and do some basic flashcards

This is our daily calendar, we learn what day of the week it is and discuss the weather in the morning and the afternoon. You can see that the weather has been keeping us on our toes!

The following are some of the projects and worksheets that we have done for the week:

These are some of the toys and books that we used to learn about the farm and our other themes for the week:

This is the farm set that we played with a LOT throughout the week!

Some of the songs that we have been singing:

The Animals on the Farm
The cows on the farm go moo moo moo
moo moo moo, moo moo moo
The cows on the farm go moo moo moo
All through the day
(Pigs, Ducks, Chickens, etc.)

Old McDonald's Farm
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
The ABC Song

10 Reasons Why I Homeschool

(This list was originally written at least a year and a half ago)

I'm just starting with my preschooler so I'm sure my list will change over time, but here goes for now in no particular order:

1. I love planning, being flexible, and being responsible for his curriculum based on his learning styles and needs.

2. I love that he won't be the smallest AND youngest in his class. (He's in the 5th percentile for height/weight - thanks to my genes - and with an August birthday.)

3. I love that I can protect his innocense better keeping him home, I have seen what kids his age are exposed to and I don't like a lot of it. So many people think that little kids swearing and talking about sex is CUTE. Yes, that talk comes out of kindergarteners - and younger!

4. Relating to the above two, I don't have to worry about the very real threat of bullies. I was a girl and I had a hard enough time with it because of my size (being so small) I know it would be worse for a boy.

5. He doesn't need to be held back academically by other kids goofing off in class, nor does he have to be overlooked when he's struggling with a topic.

6. More time together, and more quality time at that. No rushed mornings trying to get to school on time, no rushed afternoons trying to squeeze everything in after school and around a million sports.

7. Moral teachings: I am glad to be the one to teach him morals and values, which includes tolerance, kindness, and fairness. I don't want some stranger and certainly not the state teaching morals to my child!

8. Fun socialization: homeschooling group activities, field trips, sports, etc. Not trying to socialize when he should be learning, and not learning socialization through bullying and fashion wars.

9. No "back to school rush" - no shopping like mad to get a new wardrobe in one month, no getting all the supplies on the class list at one time, etc. Buy as necessary, when everyone else is in school and the stores are not packed.

10. No state standardized tests!! I've seen what my stepdaughter goes through, she gets stress headaches and more. She says the school nurse says they are always swamped that time of year. Why all the stress? The schools and teachers get more pay if the kids score higher. Also the schools spend up to SIX MONTHS a year studying JUST to pass that test. Complete craziness. My boy will be studying to learn, not spit out information to benefit the school. It will be for his benefit - as it should be. My son is not a dollar sign.