Saturday, April 1, 2017

Weekend Edition~Time for Planning!

This is the time of year that I start planning my planner for the next year. Last year, I put it off because of so many family obligations that were unplanned that sprung up. As a result, I rushed in June to make this years, and many misplacements, and even blank and backwards pages were put in! haha

So this year, I am starting early like I have done in years past.

This early in the year, I start by making a basic running list of what I want included in the planner. Later I will try to figure out the exact lay out and execution or where I place those pages in the planner.

So first this year, I have decided on a few small changes I would like however in both, and what I do like and want to keep with both aspects.

Cover art-not sure yet.

Inside cover I want to keep to this planner belongs to page.

I want to keep the attendance chart as the first page in the planner. I also want the homeschool planning schedule on the back of the attendance chart!

Right after the attendance, First put in the Curricula resource page, I think I want to put in a art like encouragement page on the back of the resource page. And a list of for homeschool play groups, and field trips, maybe also for reading books, and put those in for each 20 day segment.

Planning pages-love what I have.

Fruitage of the Spirit chart.

Bible Reading Schedule-both for Lela and the littles.

Pen Pals pages.

Give a hoot-password pages.

Library Resource pages.

Reading Log pages.

Book Resource list-design new.

A parent check list for field trips, would be awesome.

Field Trip Reference Chart, Field Trip Tracking Guide, enough field trip pages for 40 trips.

Field Service Tracking-may design my own.

Inside back cover-multiplication chart.

Outside back cover-choose art! - Maybe kids photos!

This is my basic plan for now... I will see how it comes together when I am done.

I also want to stress, I highly highly suggest reading Tina's homeschool planner suggestions. Really reading it. She has some of the very best suggestions that have made my planner much more user friendly and fun to use! Especially the spiral binding-I tried to save money the first year and use a 3 ring binder, and hated it... You can't bend back the cover, so it always has to be completely spread out, and it's heavier and harder to carry around, and just not as nice. I LOVE the really nicely, thick laminated front and back covers! LOVE! And having enough room to actually write in the planner!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Special Edition~To Russia with Love

We wrote and sent out letters on Friday to Russia. Such a good feeling to be able to help our brothers, even in such a small way. Lela wrote her own letter and did very well. I didn't take photos though, I forgot! So kicking myself about that. But, one line I remember she wrote that I loved, she came up with it all on her own, "We are a humble society.". I thought that was brilliant. So proud of her. We will keep praying that Jehovah will intercede for our brothers, and give them strength to endure what ever comes.

We also had a wonderful assembly on Saturday, and met up with wonderful friends. Don't forget, that is a entire day of instruction, reading, history, social interaction and so much more! So of course you can count that towards "school" hours and days! We learn so much at our assemblies and conventions, not to mention the spiritual strengthening and life long relationships with others who are also serving Jehovah. Seriously, could not be getting a better education.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekend Edition~What about a diploma?

This is probably one of those most asked questions. How does my child get a diploma, or do they have to get a GED to legally graduate?

Good news! When the laws made it legal for parents to home educate, by default if they are trusting the parent to educate their child/ren, they have to give them the trust/right to know and decide when that education is complete! So you do not need to have a GED.

Parent issued diplomas are legal in all of the states of the USA. If you were to reach some wall of some one not willing to accept your diploma, you can contact HSLDA lawyers and this can be fought, since it's federal law now for parent issued diplomas to be accepted just as legally as school issued diplomas.

HSLDA has a wonderful list of answers to almost all high school diploma questions.

HSLDA Diploma answers!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weekend Edition~Homeschool Haul


This is most my haul this year from my local homeschool convention.

Basically a run down. Some things are new, some things are used, also a few things are not shown that I ordered from Rainbow Resource because it wasn't at their booth. And during the homeschool convention there is always free shipping. So I ordered Climbing to Good English for both Belle and Lela.

What I was able to buy directly from the Rainbow Resource booth was all three children's Pentime books, for hand writing, for next year. And two new Mad Libs books. One with some original mad libs classics, and one with Peanuts! We LOVE Peanuts so couldn't pass that up!

I was able to buy Belle one new learning through sounds workbook, and one used learning through sounds workbook. They are a 2 workbook set. Saved me about 1 dollar to buy the used one. They are pretty inexpensive to begin with though. (only 2 dollars and some change).

I was able to get two Pathways readers used. One for first grade, and I think one was for 6th grade. That saved about 2 to 3 dollars per a reader.

I bought one Rod and Staff math workbook for Lela used-again it is already inexpensive new, but it still saved me a little over a dollar. Then I bought both Lela and Belle's Rod and Staff workbooks for next year new. Which Rod and Staff was having a 10 percent off sale during the convention. (they usually do in the spring time).

I bought Lela a used Rod and Staff geography book. Saved me about 3 to 4 dollars cause it had a little irregularity in the cover.

I bought RJ a boy reading book new from Rod and Staff, looked pretty good in my flip through. It was inexpensive enough if it's not for us, I can probably trade it for something else later.

I also bought the Pablo Yoder books I have been wanting for a year! I bought two different ones. I still want to get one more of his next year. So happy to of bought, The Works of His Hands, and My Father's World this year though. And the children are adoring them. We will be using his books for science. Seriously though, they want to keep reading and reading and reading his books, they keep begging just one more, just one more mommy!

The Rod and Staff booth, also wanted to cut down on some of the things they bring to the convention so had a close out on those green reading books and workbooks you see in the photo. They were about 1/4 of their regular price. But, finally a book that seemed to have easy enough wording for Belle to get right now. I've been having a hard time finding one with enough easy words for her to read, yet have a story line, and not just be meaningless. So we are hoping that will be helpful.

So far, Belle is loving doing her new math workbooks, and the Learning Through Sounds workbooks are really really helping her. I am usually not much for workbooks, but these are inexpensive, non common core, and seem to help Belle make some progress with reading. Of course they both LOVE Pentime, and now RJ has been begging to do Pentime too!

I really enjoyed the Excellence In Writing workshop, where they had us go through a sample lesson our children would do in the program. I really think that is on next years wish list!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Edition~AAHH Almost here!


It's almost convention time, Homeschool Convention that is!

Mine starts this Thursday night...

Thankfully I already made a master list of all the homeschool things I have, and don't need to buy! (that way I don't accidentally buy it again! lol haha) And making a list of the essentials I need to either get a good look at in person or buy.

Homeschool conventions only last a few days, and are loaded with workshops and vendors! So many that it can get overwhelming, exciting, exhausting! And you plain old forget what you already have, what you had wanted to look at, and what you had planned on getting!

So I suggest at least a month ahead of time (so it's not having to be all rushed) going through all your homeschool curricula and supplies, re-evaluating what your goals and needs are for each child. With ALL the shiny new stuff and the smooth talkers you can really end up spending way more then you had budgeted, and either not like or not even use half the stuff you spent too much money on. So having a list of what you already own, and a clear current view of what you are planning written down can really narrow down things for you ahead of time, before the overwhelment and smooth talkers get a hold of you! It doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to the vendors, ask questions and learn about new things and new methods, but having some notes written down to remind you of your goals, can help you pick through what may work better for your child/ren and family, instead of being pie eyed for ALL the stuff you see and hear about!

I can't tell you how many things sound at the time awesome! But, when I review my goals and plans... I can either see I already have that thoroughly covered by something we have at home already, or what I had planned on using and buying really will work probably better. And yes, sometimes I DO find something new I didn't know about and for sure want to get and we do use it.

For instance last year, I seen a science book by Rod and Staff, that looked amazing! Tons of real photos of animals and plant life, nature from all over the world. However, it was not in my budget last year. Later on Costco had something similar.. and was about 1/3 of the price.. I bought it, and we began to use it and then HATED it, as it was common core, and sooo much evolution it was hard to filter the false from the truth. It wasn't just a little.. it was just saturated with such falsehoods it was just more frustrating then enjoyable. So believe me, the Rod and Staff book is for sure being KEPT in the budget this year! It will not be anything like that Costco book, and honestly the Rod and Staff book had better photos too!

Last month I made the list of what I had, and the last few weeks been doing the research of what other things I want to add to our stock pile! lol But, I will still go in there with open mind, to learning more and even seeing if there is anything else that may be a good fit... but I know that my written goals, and plans will help keep me centered and from getting all "squirrel!!!" once I get there! lol

Feel free, to add any of your own tips, and tricks that you do to prepare for your homeschool conventions too!

If you attend yours, I hope you have a fun, entertaining and educational time, getting your refill of homeschool motivation for the year! I know I will!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend Edition~Minersville School District v. Gobitis


My local homeschool conference is coming this week!!! Thursday thru Saturday, March 9-11th 2017. I am already getting excited!

Last year, I mentioned how the HSLDA keynote address was on Jehovah's Witnesses contribution to educational freedoms in the United States of America.
Special Edition~Day One 2016 Homeschool Convention

Since then, I have come to realize that many people are not familiar with the case that the keynote address was discussing Minersville School District Vs. Gobitis.

I personally grew up knowing a sister who was kicked out of school at the time, along with her siblings. Her and her mother would often speak to me about that time, and what happened with and to them personally from it.

I decided since my local homeschool conference is upon us, I would come back to address this case, and share information about this case directly. As even though this happened in the 1940's it has direct effect on us now as witnesses, and just as citizens, as well as our near future til we are in the new system. These experiences can give us strength to remain faithful even when opposition is fierce. Much like our Watchtower study was about today. We can not force any one to accept the message of the Good News of God's Kingdom, but we can control ourselves to remain faithful and continue to do good!

This is a link to her story from directly.
Lillian Gobitis's Story

While I hate, linking to anything on Youtube I do not know any other way to share this video interview of Lillian with Phil Donahue.
Interview Video

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Weekend Edition~Homeschool Convention Tips

A few things I have gleaned from my personal experience at homeschool conventions.

1) Long before you go, make a list of what you think you want to look at and research curricula/educational game/book wise. There will be a LOT there. Having a list will help you not be overwhelmed and forget once you are there. There will be a LOT of vendors, as well as Rainbow Resource has a huge booth... seeing it all in person verses a catalog makes a huge difference, and you don't want to miss something you really wanted to see, but forgot because you got so engrossed in one or two other booths and totally forgot something you had been interested in for months and waiting to see in person!

2) Along with 1, don't forget to make a list of positively what you want to buy. There's a few things every year, I know I will be buying at the conference. And every time I get in that vendor hall you can bet, I forget a few things, if I didn't have my list!

3) Have a budget and stay in it! To support staying in your budget. Do not buy anything til you have looked at every thing on your list of what you wanted, and every thing on your list of wanting to look at. Once you have looked at it all, and priced it all. Re-evaluate what you want to buy. You may even wait til the second day to purchase. Even if they run out of stock at the actual convention, they often will give free shipping and you can order it and ship it to your house for free! So don't feel pressured to buy it the first day. Also if you find something new you want to buy because of a workshop you attended, you for sure will want to sleep on it. You could be all fired up because of the mob/group excitement during the actual workshop, but after you sleep on it, and re-evaluate if this would really be used in your home, or work with your family, or even your homeschool style, it's just not a good fit. You don't want to spend money on something that is not right for you. So think carefully first!

4) Along with the last tip... there will most likely be many things you want to buy but is either outside of your budget, or it's not really needed for this year. For instance, last year, I seen a science book I really really want for my children, and I also seen a game I really really want for my children. But, I really was at the limit of my budget, and both the science book and game were not age appropriate yet for my children. So I noted them in my notebook and took pictures of them with my phone. And they will go on this years list of things to buy!

5) If this is your first year to attend you may want to see if there is discounts for first time attendees. Sometimes it's even free!

6) Also way in advance, as soon as you know the dates of your conference. If you have children with in ages that can not, or would not enjoy sitting through lectures all day. And youc an be away from them for a day (not nursing or needing you). Plan and schedule some one else to take care of them during the day, during the convention. If they have to attend with you. Maybe ask a friend, or fellow homeschool mama with a teenager who wouldn't mind... to come with you and help you with the children.

You will not get much out of the workshops if you are constantly having to attend to children going potty, needing water, chattering etc. And it can get really frustrating and self defeating. I am all for taking children every where with me. But, I also know at my children's ages, it's more advantageous for all concerned (me getting things out of the convention, and them not feeling tortured by being still and quiet all day!) for us to schedule a local friend of mines teen to care for them at their house for the day. While her and I attend the convention together. Her home is close enough, we can go to her home at lunch and check on every one. But, really her teen and my children are responsible enough, it's not really needed. But, is a nice advantage.

7) Go the night before to the introduction workshop. They often give tips of who will be there, as well as often have seasoned been there, done that mom's with experience that will help motivate you and encourage you that it will be ok!

8) If you can get a schedule of the workshops the night before at the introduction workshop. Look through it, and pick and choose which workshops would best fit you and your families needs. Make a list of first choices, but also make a back up of second choices for each of your first choices. Sometimes, workshops are cancelled, or rescheduled, or over crowded. Or for various reasons you may not be able to attend your first choice, and often only have seconds to choose a different workshop and get in before it starts too. Of course most will let you come and go freely, but if you want to get the complete workshop you want to get there as early in the session as possible. So having a back up already planned, will make this much smoother and faster to just run down the hallway to the next choice.

9) Bring a note book for taking notes during these workshops. And pens/pencils. You will be learning many many things about how children actually learn and by the end of the day could be jumbled if you didn't take notes. And you will want to note which speaker said what. It may be a speaker you want to seek out for the future, because they were that good! And want to seek their books, or other things from them. And on the other hand, it may be some one you disagree with so much you want to make sure you avoid and don't make the mistake of purchasing from them, something that won't work for you or your family.