Summer continues!

Around here the summer really goes from about the beginning of August through September. It really is too bad that most of the kids around here are already back to school while the beautiful summer weather continues. It feels like it just got here!

Yesterday when I asked my oldest if he'd like to wait to start school until the weather stops being so nice he was really excited and said an enthusiastic YES!

I love this part of homeschooling. We don't have to follow some arbitrary schedule. We can go with what works for us.

That's not to say that we've been avoiding all types of learning all summer because that's not the case. We just haven't done much in the way of formal learning. We've been singing songs, playing games, reading, doing some occasional flash cards, watching some educational stuff (and quite a bit of non educational). That doesn't even touch on the learning as we go or general life skills.

I'm sure that it will be nice to be on a schedule this time next month but for now while the weather is still beautiful it's nice to be able to still be on summer break!

In a couple of weeks I'll figure out goals and a plan of action. Then I'll definitely be blogging a lot more!

Image by Shayan (USA)

Following my Dream!

Image by Patty Maher

One of my lifelong dreams has been to publish a novel. To publish many novels actually.

When I was young I started reading as many books as I could get my hands on. It didn't matter how many books I was reading I never needed a bookmark. I could be reading seven different books and know what page I left off at on each one.

I loved reading and it seemed to be natural to start writing too. When I was about nine years old I started writing my first novel.I was definitely not a publishable work by any means! But it was a chapter story and I still have it somewhere.

Between that day and my senior year in college I continued to write chapter stories. Mostly for myself though when I did share them with others they expressed a genuine interest. In college I would email chapters to some friends and they would end up begging for the next chapter as soon they'd finished the one I had sent them.

Writing was not only fun but it was a great outlet. If I was feeling angry or disappointed I could write my feelings out in the form of a story.

Once I had graduated from college I gave up on my dream. I hadn't studied writing and I didn't particularly enjoy my English classes. I felt that creative writing courses stifled my creativity.

Life became busy and I partly forgot and partly didn't know if publishing a novel was in my future.

Recently I've rediscovered my dream and I have been busy writing my novel that I am going to publish!

I've been busy and I've been very happy! It is exciting to be pursuing my dream and also doing something that I love!

I've even been enjoying the time that I've been spending researching what it takes to publish a novel.I've decided on self publishing because there are sooo many options and you can't beat the pay. I've discovered that even if you do get accepted by a publisher they take at least 80% of the profits and you still have to do all of the marketing for the book! Insane!

I am excited about Amazon's KDP Select program where you allow them to have exclusive rights to your digital books (not physical books) for 90 days. There is a lot of opportunity for big time exposure because they are by far the largest book seller on the planet.

I will be posting more about my upcoming novel so stay tuned!

Oh...and I'll get back to posting about homeschooling topics after the summer as well. We will be starting kindergarten in the Fall with my oldest so homeschooling is going to be a bigger priority than it has been up to this point.

PS: My 5 year old sees a light saber in the picture above. I'm wondering if anyone else sees it! :)

Learning to Read Success!

Enough of the giveaway posts, it's time for a post on homeschooling. It's actually long overdue!

We've been working on the Pre-K learning in more of an unschooling way. We've just been teaching as we go, answering questions as they come up. Reading books, coloring, playing games, puzzles, playing a LOT of legos, some Brain Quest cards, having him read the BOB Books to me, etc.

He gets so excited being able to read to me! The BOB Books are great! He wasn't ready for them earlier in the school year but now he is and he loves them! He also loves the Brain Quest cards and is ready to move up to the next level. He rarely misses any question!


We also found a workbook that he enjoys called Kindergarten  FUNdamentals. although right now he's not nearly as interested in the workbooks as was earlier in the year. I'm not pushing it because I know that it will come around again.

That's where we are...and enjoying the rare sunny days when they show up!

Interviews, a new habit, and some co-sleeping humor!

In my life this week...
I've been interviewing some top bloggers on my other blog. Check them out, there are great ideas and advice!
Interview with Brankica Underwood 
Interview with Steven Aitchision

I also shared about a blogger opportunity to participate in a giveaway that is at $450. That is a lot of exposure!

In our homeschool this week…
We've been more focused than we were last month. 

I've been keeping a daily list of what I want to accomplish for that day and for the most part I have been getting it all done. Not that I expect a lot at this stage of the game but it's good to get things done and see progress!
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Have goals and keep a daily list. If you aren't aiming for something you definitely won't accomplish what you want!
I am inspired by…
My new meditation habit which is bringing a LOT of really positive changes to my life. Particularly in regards to my stress levels and mental alertness.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Apparently nowhere, my five year old complained that we haven't gone anywhere this week! One more reason for me to keep working on new ways to bring an income other than my daycare which keeps us stuck at home so much during the week. At least the kids have others to play with but it does bring about some cabin fever!
My favorite thing this week was…
Spending time with my kids! What's new? :) We had a great time the other night just hanging out and having fun together. Times like that are the best!
A photo to share…

Blokube: A Blogger's Community

Blokube is an online community created especially for bloggers. It has many great benefits to offer bloggers because no matter what your niche is you have the opportunity to share your content with other bloggers and engage with the other bloggers too.

When you submit your post to the community the other members (other bloggers) have the opportunity to read your post and vote on it. They can comment on your post itself or on the link to your post in the Blokube community. The more votes that your post gets the more recognition it is likely to receive because those with high votes are published on the main page.

You can also add their button to your posts to receive more votes so that people can vote on your posts right from your posts!

On the flip side you will have the opportunity to view other bloggers posts and comment on their posts too. There are a lot of opportunities for backlinks there. You receive a backlink from the submitted content that you post and when you comment on other blogs - if they are DoFollow blogs or are using the commentluv plugin.

But blog post promotion and backlinks with other bloggers is only part of what Blokube has to offer!

You definitely don't want to miss out on all of the engagement with other bloggers that Blokube has to offer! You can connect with the other bloggers by using their groups network and live chat features. These features give you an even bigger experience with other bloggers.

For the Problogging Success's Blogging Tips 101 Contest: My post is A Letter To The Nervous Blogger Want-To-Be - please support it with comments, shares, tweets, etc.! Thank you!

Snowed In!!

In our homeschool this week…
We have been snowed in so it's been a very unusual week! We don't often get a lot of snow and we really got dumped on!
It was great to get out in it with the kids, to watch the youngest experience snow for the first time. He really was not impressed at all - which I found to be hilarious! I tried and tried to get just one picture of him smiling in the snow but he wouldn't have anything to do with that. The pictures were all still adorable (of course!) but it's just so funny how he refused to smile.
My oldest (5yo) had an absolute blast - of course! All pictures of him were full of huge happy smiles. He and dad built a very impressive fort which drew attention from all of the neighborhood boys.
The kids  and I haven't left the street in well over a week! I was sick prior to the snowfall so it's actually closer to two weeks since we've gone anywhere. Talk about living up to a homeschool myth!! :)
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Don't worry about what others think. Seriously, it's not worth the time or energy. You are doing this because it's right for your family and not because you think others are doing something wrong. It's about giving our family what our family needs.
I am inspired by…
The love that I see my two boys have for each other. It not only melts my heart but it really does inspire me!
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Hah - just the snow!
My favorite thing this week was…
Watching my little one make the transition from mostly crawling to being a full time walker! 
Although trying to keep up with him is another story. I am reminded why baby gates are called baby gates!
I’m cooking…
A lot of very basic stuff since we were badly due for a shopping trip before the snow suddenly hit. 
I’m grateful for…
The snow finally melting! Feeling better (mostly) and extra time with my kids (since I run a home daycare and had three full days of no daycare kids).
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
(First picture of my boys on this blog! We're not ones to post pictures of our kids online to the public.)

This week's review

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
A lot of excitement for the new year! So many great things are going on. You can read about it here. I also share about the new habit that I'm building that is already inspiring me and motivating me to do greater things and get more accomplished each day! It's giving  me more energy and helping me feel significantly less stress in situations that normally stress me out. I couldn't have chosen a better habit to build to start my new year off right.
In our homeschool this week…
Can we say "laid back"?? A lot of learning is happening but it's all completely spur of the moment and nothing planned. At all. I blame it on last week's holiday craziness. We need to take it easy and recover!
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Meet the needs over following a strict schedule. If you want a strict schedule that is disinterested in what the kids need and what the kids are interested in...send them to school! That's one reason that I didn't become a teacher even though I grew up dreaming of being a teacher. The system just doesn't allow for the creativity and natural love for learning that kids have. (Stepping off my soapbox...)
I am inspired by…
Fresh new starts! Again see the post that I linked to above! Even the picture in that post has the word "inspiration" on it!
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We went to a rockin' New Year's party put on by a families group from church. We danced the night away and not a single child fell asleep before the new year. Both my kids had a blast dancing, dancing, dancing! The baby was passed around and danced in people's arms but he was thrilled, you should've seen that face!
Things I’m working on…
My new habit!
I’m reading…
A lot!
I’m cooking…
With a little bit of milk since the baby is now able to tolerate it in foods. I'm not going to go crazy but it IS nice not needing to avoid it like the plague!
I’m grateful for…
My kids
I’m praying for…
-Both of my grandmas who are recovering from various health issues.
-Our friends who had a tree wipe out part of their home.
A quote to share…
"2011 was just a dress rehearsal but 2012 is the real deal!" -Eric Worre

This is the real deal!

I know that it's merely the fourth day of the year but so far it's going great! I have to agree with Eric Worre when he said recently that "2011 was just a dress rehearsal but 2012 is the real deal!" That truly sums up how I deeply feel about this year!

There are many reasons that I feel so excited and optimistic about this year!

For starters I've begun the year building a new habit. Not only that but I'm hosting a Habit Building Challenge on my other blog and others are joining me in building their own habits to start the year off right! It's not too late to join if you want to - it only takes about 28 days to build a new habit so you can jump right in today!

These are the topics so far:
What is it going to take? - A look at what you need to do to make sure you are preparing yourself for success in building the new habit!

The Compound Effect - A very inspirational post about how each day of building the habit is essential even if it feels completely insignificant!

Study Success - I share some books and other reads that will inspire you to achieve the success that you want!

Have a Can-Do Attitude - Another inspirational post, this time about having the right attitude and how you can get that attitude if you aren't there yet!

Are you curious what habit I am building? You'll have to read one of the posts above! ;)  I mention it specifically in the first one, I can't remember if I mention it specifically in the others or not. One thing that I will tell you that this habit is already inspiring me and motivating me to do greater things and get more accomplished each day! It's giving  me more energy and helping me feel significantly less stress in situations that normally stress me out. I couldn't have chosen a better habit to build to start my new year off right.

Other reasons that make this year great...
  • My 5 year old is especially excited about learning! He got some great tools for learning for Christmas and he loves using them. He got some workbooks that he loves, in fact one morning I woke up and he was already up before me and he was busily working on one of the workbooks! I was so glad to see him so excited about learning. He already finished that one and is making good progress through another! He's also been playing learning games, educational toys, making arts and crafts, continuing to learn more and more numbers - he's determined to learn how to count to 100. He now loves search and find books like Where's Waldo? 
  • My 1 year old is learning skills too! He's getting closer and closer to walking, he's using more words, he clearly understands a lot that is spoken to him. He's very social and loves meeting new people. He loves to get involved with what big brother is doing and he's showing signs of a love for learning too! Very exciting! Home educating these two boys is going to be such a joy - though believe me I know it will have it's challenges of course! That's what keeps things interesting!
  • My home preschool is going strong. With this being my main source of income currently that is very good news! (On a side note, I was featured in the Savvy Mompreneur!)
  • The other 2 businesses that my husband and I working on are picking up momentum. This is also good news because ideally those two businesses will be our main sources of income soon and we have goals for the income to far exceed our current income. To have the full home education experience that I aim for requires me to not be at home 11+ hours a day during the week, which the home preschool requires. I've written elsewhere about what I want to do with the "home" education starting in a couple of years: field trips, homeschool groups, sports, etc.
There is a lot going on and obviously a lot for us to be excited about! There are also some challenging situations as well, both of my grandmas are experiencing difficult health issues. That's the way that life goes, giving you both good and challenging. I am optimistic that both of my grandmas will recover, I wish that I could do more and feel bad that I can't. Though prayer is powerful and I need to remind myself more often of the power of encouragement through a phone call.

I wish you all the very best for this new year!