Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Sarah Books by Jim Baumgardner

As part of the TOS Crew we reviewed Sarah's Wish! I fell in love with Sarah Smith and the wonderful cast of characters that surround her! And the author Jim Baumgardner now holds a special place in my heart as well! Check out this little 30 second video to learn more! N matter if you have son's or daughters, these books are amazing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Will Survive- Homeschool Version

Just a bit of fun for us homeschool moms!!!! We all Survive!!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Will Rise

Wonderful song, sung to the Lord by godly young men!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


My prayer is that this will touch your heart as it has mine!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Free Falling: The Post With No Name

My friend Miss Moe, just shared this awesome post on her blog!!

We both are raising children with struggles....

I really appreciated this post!

Have an awesome day Moe.... You too Blue jay!

Free Falling: The Post With No Name

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Enjoying Vacation

Our homeschool group scheduled several days of field trips in San Diego. This is not the first time our group has done that. However, this has been the first year that our family has taken part. We came down a couple days before
and are staying a few days after.

We visited our Pastor's brothers church, who is also a Pastor. That is the picture you see posted here in the corner. That was fun! We had heard his brother preach at our church, so it was neat to come visit him at his church.

Later that day we got together with some friends we hadn't seen in years! Had dinner and played games! It was great to visit our friend, and get to know his wife and children!

And then onto our busy week! Our first day we only had one scheduled field trip. That was to the ICR Creation Museum. What an awesome trip!

We were taken on a docent led tour of the museum! This was amazing! It is a small museum, however, when you are on a guided tour, we stopped in each room, and the docent expanded on what we were seeing and asked questions to spark conversation, as well as, answering our questions along the way! The best part of this trip was that is was based on God's Word! You can never go wrong when you are leaning on His Word! The photo you see here, is of the kids 'cuddling with cuddles' the snake.

After we finished up with the Creation Museum and finished up our lunch! We headed over to the Aerospace Museum. Not the main museum that is located in Balboa Park,but one in El Cajon,
it is free and a bit of a bone yard and work shop. When walked up, it was a bit hard to see what was there.. well, we could clearly see there were planes, but what were they? Where did they come from? And then coming from a door inside the workshop, came Ken, volunteer with the museum. He offered to show us all the 'cool stuff'! And that he did! For the next hour and a half he took us from plane to plane and gave us the history of the planes! It was amazing! SInce my dad worked for Lockheed my whole life, I think I am a bit partial to aerospace! Here is a picture of us in front of a Harrier Jet.. WAY COOL!

That evening we thought we would explore the world outisde our hotel room... our hotel is neslted inside a quaint little area known as Little Italy, in downtown San Diego. We were able to snap this while on our little walk.. and this helped us decide what we will be doing tomorrow.. riding the light rail way!

That was the end of two jam packed days of our vacation.. and there is moe to come!!
Yesterday we had a great day planned! We started at the San Diego Museum of Art, located in the historic Balboa Park. I really enjoyed this trip! We again had a docent led tour. She did a great job engaging all the students.. even the parents (adult students)! I could have continued walking around the museum with her all day! But alas... our next stop was highly anticipated!

And that is our trip to Midway. The USS Midway Naval Carrier Museum. All I have to say is Awesome! It was really neat. There was not one single area that was disapointing! One really neat thing, is that there are veterans throughout who share with you not only their knowledge of the Midway, but also their personal service stroies!
On the flight deck, we were able to tour all the planes, and some we were able to board! It was really neat! We also toured the admiral and captains quarters... One of the really neat tours was the island tour. Which was tours of the bridge, tower and the navigation room. We were amazed by all
the ladders we had to climb and descend to get to the different areas of the carrier. It was also really eye opening to see how the enlisted men had to live on the carrier. Knowing they were out to sea for months at a time. It helped my children to appreciate what they have, when they saw the small sleeping racks, and the limited space for their belongings. All in all, it was a truly amazing trip!

Lest I forget... on the USS Midway, they have a special place for naughty children... or parents......

We are looking forward to what tomorrow will hold! In case I have neglected to mention.. I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the 4th Be With You!!

Today is Star Wars Day!!!

Check out my friend Amy's blog about it!

Our family had a good time making a job jab movie!!!

Have fun!!!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 Schoolhouse Planner

I wanted to clue you into to one other promotion that The Old Schoolhouse magazine is offering. That is on their 2010 Schoolhouse Planner.
I have used the planner for the last 2 years, and it has been such a blessing! Each year they tweak it and add new forms and new info, so you are not purchasing the same thing over and over. The popular forms are still there from year to year! The planner is chock full of not only planner pages, but homeschool resources, household helps along with those forms.
I have used mine so much this year. I actually printed out 3 different copies of the calendar! And have used it for all of my planning needs this year.
Check out the special they are having right now!

Home and school organization made easy! The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is available and ready to help you plan your best homeschool year ever. With over 120 forms and 600 pages for home and school, everyone in the family can stay organized. You can even use the pages to make personalized organizers for each child. Plus, they've included recipes and helpful articles from homeschool experts.

If you order before midnight on April 30, you will receive a free gift--E-Book: The 2009 Planner Useful Excerpts--packed full of articles and recipes.

There are so many features, and this link has all of the information and the link to a 40+ page sample! Get organized now and receive the bonus E-Book!

Free Tote of Goodies from TOS

I have been a long time fan of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I have been an on going subscriber since 2005! When my TOS magazine arrives in my mailbox, it is almost like Christmas!
The magazine is filled with stories of what other homeschoolers are doing, how to stories, unit studies, and product information. And what is best about it, is that it is an unashamedly Christian magazine! You will find articles that will help you on your Christian walk, as well as, helping you along your homeschool journey.
Another awesome thing about the magazine, is they really are in the 'business' of helping homeschoolers. And their current promotion reflects that! If you subscribe right now, at regular price, you will receive a tote full of goodies!! Read about it below!!!

You can have a free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag. The above link will show you a picture, and give you all the details on how to get yours. You'll also receive some free E-Book resources worth over $70 when you subscribe--shipping is FREE to the U.S. Plus, you'll receive the Spring issue free! Hurry, there are a limited number of bags--when they're gone, they're gone!

The FREE tote is made of poly-canvas with snap closures and shoulder-length handles. It's perfect for the library, a field trip outing, support group meeting, or homeschool convention! Its versatile design makes it the perfect bag to just throw over your shoulder and go!

Click here to get the details!

I hope that those of you who have yet to subscribe will take advantage of this awesome offer!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is Your Identity?

What is your Identity?
I was speaking with a group of mom’s the other day. And we were talking about our children growing up and what we were going to do once they were up and out of the house. What would we do? For me, it brought me to the place of , “Wow.. I have been homeschooling for a long time, what will I do after that? What will that look like?’ I have been Jennifer, homeschooling mom of 5…. What will my ‘new role’ be?
For a lot of us, our identity for the last many years has been wrapped up in our children’s lives. Of course, all parents feel that way, however, as homeschool parents that takes on a whole new meaning.
Because quite literally we have been an integral part of just about every aspect of our children’s growth. Spiritual, academic, and social. SO when our job is done, what will we do?
This brings me back to my original question.. what is your identity? What is my identity?
Are you indentifying more with being a mom, a wife, homeschooler, a certain kind of homeschooler, or a member of a particular church or perhaps being a member of one group or another. In the end, none of those things matter. What matters is our relationship with Christ. Can our identity be summed up as a Christ follower?
When we focus on our relationship with Christ, all other areas of our life fall right into place.
As we move toward Christ, building our relationship with Him. Answers to all of our everyday decisions and worries will become clear. Including, what will be next for me?
For I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me. Phil 4:13
As homeschooling moms we often worry and fear about providing enough , are we doing enough, have we met all of their needs, have we checked all of the boxes, kept the right records and so on. While those are all important, after all, we have committed to homeschool our children and we do need to do it well. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 it says Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. So we should do our best. However, that is not our main role , our main role is to point them to the cross, point them Jesus Christ. And He will guide them and meet their every need. And far exceed anything that we can do in our own power. We as parents in the process, may be blessed and used as a tool in God’s hands, in our children’s lives, if we will just submit, trust and lean on Him.
There is only one thing in life that never changes, always stays the same, and that is Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. So, no matter what stage of life you are in, you can trust that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ketogenic Diet-Curing Epilepsy With Food

Recently, I posted about working to heal myself of my health issues by changing my diet. You can read about that here. This is not a new concept for our family. In fact we have been doing this for years.

We have 5 children. They range in ages from 10 - 17. My oldest son has had epilepsy since he was 4 months old. Actualy diagnosis at 6 months. For the 1st 4 years we were n the medication track. We did not know there was any other option. The neurologists that we had, did not tell us of any other options,except, that when one medication became ineffective, we would need to change it or increase the dosage. And on and on it went.

That is until Feb of 1997. In that Feb, I was watching a show called 'Home and Family'. They had a family, the Abrahams family. And their son Charlie had seizures. I was astonished. I had never heard anyone discuss epilepsy before. Not outside our doctor's office. Charlie's Dad, Jim, is a movie producer. You would know him from the Airplane movies. Anyhow, when Charlie's seizures were not stopping, Jim went on a mission to help his son. And he discovered the ketogenic diet, something that has been used at John's Hoplins since the 20's. And to their amazement, the diet stopped the seizures. After medication and brain surgery could not!

Jim went on to make a 'Made for TV' movie called, First Do no Harm, starring Meryl Streep. That was why he was on that television program that day, promoting this movie. It chronicled the life of a mother trying to help her son, who finds the ketogenic diet. Of note, the movie was made for TV, for the purpose of getting the valuable information into as many hands as possible. And it worked!!!

A few days later we watched 'First Do No Harm' and were ready to jump on a plane to John's Hopkin's much like the mother portrayed in the movie. Our local ABC affiliate in Los Angeles did a profile on the 11 o'clock news about the diet, and a family that had been using it for their daughter. They also spoke with her neurologist. That night, we looked in our insurance book, and lo and behold he was listed! We called him the next day and started the process of getting our son on the diet.

Just prior to starting the diet. Our son had a series of seizures or perhaps several large seizures, throughout the night, that we did not know were happening. And in the morning I found him still seizing in and out, and unable to move on side of his body. We took him to the hospital. He had what was called a Status Epilepticus seizure ( or series of seizures) and suffered what is called Todd's paralysis following the seizures. In crisis, we had called our old neuro, and she placed him in the hospital for 3 days. Her answer, poly therapy. Dual drugs and a high dose of the current one. WE never filled those prescriptions. That was because...

The following monday, our son was admitted into a different hospital to start the ketogenic diet. Within in just a few days, his seizures were gone. And we were able to wean him off all medication. It was astonishing! Lights were turning on for him that we had never seen before! It was simply amazing to watch.

Later that year.. I had 2 more of my children begin to have seizures. And for them, instead of having to travel down the medication road, we were able to put them straight on the diet. With huge success!!! 2 years after our oldest started the diet, we had our last child. And to my horror, she began to have seizures. However, the ground work was laid. We put her on the diet, and again we had great success!

My young three children that had to go on the diet, were each able to only stay on the diet for a period of 1-3 years. They each returned to a 'regular' diet. And epilepsy has become just a speed bump in their road of life!

My oldest son however was not as fortunate. He was on the diet for 7 years. And it was always effective, as long as he complied. However, as he got older, he was choosing not to comply. And we had no choice but to remove him from the diet ( he actually did that himself, by not following it) and put him on medication. Today is still much better than it was when we started. He was having 30 seizures a day when he started the ketogenic diet, and for several years we were having them 1 every couple weeks.. stretched out to every 4 weeks. Right now we have not seen a seizure for 6 months. We went one year last year. He is still plaugued with grand mal seizures. So when they come, they are fierce. However, his life is much better today, because of the ketogenic diet.

If you have stumbled onto this site, and you have never heard of the ketogenic diet. I am not going to explain it for you here. Others have done it so well that I will send you onto them.

First, please vist our doctor's website, you will find a wealth of information there.

Also, I would like you to take the time to watch these two videos. They are from Dateline. They say 2004, they actually aired in 2003. They chronicle the jounrey of the movie producer and his son, and tells you about the diet. You will also see a tiny snipet about our family. ( should mention they say in the video 'all 4 of our children' have epilespy. Actually 4 of our 5 children have had epilepsy.

Here is part one.

And here is part two.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TOS Crew: Super Star Speech

As a homeschool group leader, I am often asked about homeschooling children with Special Needs. I was thrilled when I heard that I was selected to review Super Star Speech, by Deborah Lott M.Ed Speech Language Pathology.

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of Super Star Speech, Speech Therapy made Simple.

This manual is designed to help those children with mild articulation errors in their speech. It is not designed to correct physical problems that may cause speech issues.

As a mom with children who have had professional speech therapy, I can tell you that they would always show the most improvement when we the family, would work with them everyday, in between their speech therapy sessions.
This program builds on that principle. Deborah Lott saw the same results in her practice.

What I really liked is that they had an articulation test within the manual, as well as, the instructions on how to administer the test. And how to score the test.

The manual also includes blank lesson plan forms, blank games and flash cards. They do not have pre-made lesson plans, as each child will need a tailored plan to meet their specific needs. However, you will have at your fingertips, words lists and instructions on how to teach each sound. This is invaluable. Often times, parents will know where their child needs help, but does not know how to help them. This manual will help them do that.

What is great about this program, is that Deborah Lott, is a homeschooling mother, and Speech and Language pathologist. She understands what homeschoolers need.

If you have a child who is struggling with articulation errors, or other speech issues, please visit Super Star Speech and see what they have to offer.

Super Star Speech is available in Spiral Bound for $18.95 and Ring Bound for $22.95. You can also purchase an E-book version for up to 40% off.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about Super Star Speech!

TOS Crew: Alphabet Beats

The TOS Crew ship is docking at our next port! We are visiting with Alphabet Beats. As a crew mate for the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free copy of Alphabet Beats lower case to use with my family, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Because of our families history of special learning needs, I am quite familiar with the idea, of marrying movement, or song, and hands on activities and visual learning in order to help facilitate learning. And most important retention.

So what exactly is Alphabet Beats? Well, it is a DVD handwriting program.
It is geared for kids ages 2-8, however, I tried this out with 2 of my children. My extremely special needs child and my 10 year old. Both of them could write, however they both needed help with formation, and they both tend to tend to write only using capitals.

We sat down and watched the DVD as instructed. I watched along side them. It really is indeed geared for the younger set. When you are watching it, there is lots of reinforcement of letter sounds and letter recognition. The presentation of these letter sounds is not at all 'sing song'. It is very straight forward and distinct. While the Alphabet Beats videos are not designed for special needs kids, the way the program is designed will be very beneficial for your special needs student.

So what is so special about Alphabet Beats. Well, it's all in the song! Well not just the song. In the Alphabet Betas videos they use;

1) Visual: Most children are visual learners and tend to retain more when taught visually

2) Auditory/Rhythm: Children like rhymes and rhythm-it's a great way to learn. Most children learn their ABC's for the first time by singing the ABC song! We always incorporate catchy songs and chants in our videos that children will remember and which will help guide them through motor planning the desired action later.

3) Repetition: Children enjoy and learn through repetition! How many times have you read the same book to them at bedtime?
I can tell you that the little jingles they have come up with really did help with my kids. Both. They sing it to them selves if the forget. Or if I correct their formation, they go back and will use the song to help them along with the correction. Also, you can watch the 'TV Teacher' write the letter correctly as she is singing the jingle. Great reinforcement, as well as, using audio and visual learning styles! I can tell you that I have seen a marked improvement in both of my children's handwriting since they have started using Alphabet Beats.

If you have a little one just beginning to start handwriting, then this would be an awesome tool to have in your arsenal.

There are 2 DVD's in the Alphabet Beats Family, one for Uppercase and one for Lowercase. Each one is available for $35. What I thought was handy, was the fact that they have workbooks to go with it. 2 workbooks for each level, a beginning and advanced. The beginning books run for $4.49 and the advanced is available for $4.99. You can purchase these items by visiting their website.

My fellow crew mates have posted their thoughts about Alphabet Beats on the crew blog. Sail on over and check out what they have to say!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Technology... what a day!!

Darling daughter, child #4 is graduating from the 8th grade this year. As her and I at down on the floor to go through photos to add to her photo montage, she came across an envelope filled with negatives. Her comment was " What in the world are these?" Oh my word, that made me laugh so hard. I had recently watch a tv program where they howed a flah bulb, you know the old cube style that went on top of your camera.. and the 20 somethings that were persent, had no idea what it was!!

And on the other id eof the spectrum.. I have learned how to create the said photo montage. When my older kdis graduated 2 years ago, and even when my 3rd son graduated last year, I did not know how to do that.

It is so invigorating to know that you have the ability to create something like that. At the last two graduations, we needed teenagers to create these presentations! It has been so much fun to work on this project! And it has been a fun walk down memory lane!

My babies are all growing up!

I really think I should have started gardening years ago. I have heard it said for years that it is relaxing, and so rewarding... yeah, yeah, yeah is a bit of what I thought.

Well I must tell you, I am totally addicted!!! Now, at this very moment, there are only 2 items in my garden that I can use, dill and Romaine Lettuce. However, this week two things happened that was terribly exciting!!

First, earlier this week, I made a sandwich for lunch, which included lettuce from my garden! And second, tonight, we had a tossed salad with dinner. And all the lettuce came from my garden! What a blessing!

I am looking forward to all of my seedlings growing and maturing. But for now, I am enjoying watching them poke through the ground!

Do you have a garden? What are the favorite things about your garden?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GIVEAWAY!!! Professional Pink Flat Iron!!

My daughter has very curly hair. However, she loves to wear her hair straight. So being the good mother that I am, I purchased a flat iron for her. Little did I know that the kind found in the drugstore was not going to be strong enough for her hair! Not until I took her to my friend, who is a hair dresser, did I learn that she needs one of those fancy expensive flat irons that cost way more money than I could ever afford!

Today, I learned that my dear friend from the TOS Homeschool Crew, Mrs. White, is hosting a giveaway for a Professional Pink Flat Iron. I must tell you, my daughter is praying that we win! Otherwise she has no hope of getting this any time soon!

Would you like to enter to try to win this for your family? All you need to do is visit The Legacy of the Home and enter for yourself!

Monday, April 5, 2010

From the Heart of a Father

This month, for our monthly newsletter that goes out to our local homeschool group. My husband was a blessing and decided to write an article for it. Not only that, it is his desire to continue to write on a semi regular basis for the newsletter.

Now, this blessing me beyond measure, because, normally, I have to come up with all the content. So this lifts a burden off of my shoulders! However, in this new feature he has focused on helping other homeschool dads. His desire is that many dad's will benefit, as well as participate in sharing their success stories or even their struggles.

I thought I would share with you, what he wrote to the group! Thanks Honey for all your help and support!


This is the first installment of our new feature,targeting the
home school dad.This column has been created to assist dads with the challenges, as well as, increase our knowledge. Guys, there is no way that I’m an authority on home schooling but I thank the Lord for the opportunity to share my trials and circumstances.

I’m a proud father of five. We have home schooled our children for the last ten
years and it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience for our
children and for us. In the past few years I have made tremendous strides
in having a better understanding of the dynamics of our home school.
This includes understanding what my wife is going through, as well
as,how my children are doing academically. It took several
years to learn how to accomplish that.

First you need to ask yourself this question, ‘Why are we home schooling our
children?’ There are a multitude of reasons why we take on this endeavor.
Once you determine your reason or motivation. It will help you when you
come to a difficult time. That’s right you will become
frustrated and discourage at times and people will also
think that you are crazy for not following the traditional classroom
setting. The benefits outweigh the trials; it is great to
know your child’s strong and weaker points. It is wonderful to to modify your children’s curriculum for need or special interests.
The most rewarding thing is no one knows your children better
that you do. The parent teacher conferences are also fun;
we normally go out and have a nice dinner.

Note: Gentlemen always be available to discuss matters with your
wife. I know we are normally in the secondary position. What
we need to remember, is that our wives have been home
all day dealing with the personalities of our children. She
needs a break, some quiet time maybe even some adult communication.
So before Sportcenter take some time to review the day’s events.
This will allows your wife to feel that she is not alone fighting
the battle teaching our children. Remember: We must remain strong
in Christ, strong husbands, strong fathers, and men that walk with
the light.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? the LORD is the
strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid?
Christian Home Educators of the Antelope Valley

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.
~3 John 4~

And , ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
~Ephesians 6:4~

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TOS Homeschool Crew: Galaxy of Education

Our next stop on our TOS Homeschool Crew Voyage is with the fine people at Galaxy of Education. As Crew Mates we were given free access to their Math Galaxy Programs and E-books in exchange for our honest opinions.

If you have followed my voyage for any amount of time, you know that math is not my favorite subject. So anytime I stumble across a program or tool that will help me teach my children math skills, this intrigues me. Will it indeed be a program that will help us?

First, let's look at what they have available. There are several Java-based programs covering the topics of;

~Math Galaxy Whole Numbers Fun
~Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun
~Math Galaxy Fractions Fun
~Math Galaxy Decimals, Proportions and Percents Fun
~Math Galaxy Pre-Algebra Fun
~Math Galaxy Algebra Fun

There is also something available called The Riddler Worksheet Generator. It is available in the following titles;

~Whole Numbers
~Decimal Proportions Percents

Math Galaxy also offers several E-books they call Riddles Books. The are av

~Fraction Riddles E-book
~Algebra Riddles E-book
~Whole Numbers Riddles E-book
~Decimal Riddles E-book

I have seen pros and cons with these programs. The PROS: my son enjoyed using them! That is half the battle right there, isn't it? He would sit down and work about 45 minutes on his math. Secondly, it really was helping him The way the program works is when you click into a subject, say... 'Area' off the screen, that is up at the top in the corner,yYou are then taken to a screen that gives you a couple of options. One of those options is 'review'. When you click on that area, it is a tutorial. Your child will click through a series of screens learning the skill he will be using in that section. Once he completes that he can move onto the doing the practice problems. You can choose to have them do 'step by step' or 'final answer only'. We always chose 'step by step'. These programs have helped to move him along quicker than he was working through his math previously. That is a plus!

Now, what are the con's? First, your child needs to be a reader! If you have a struggling reader, then this program is not going to be a good fit. They have to read through the tutorials and problems. We have several dyslexics in my home, so this was an issue for some of my children. The second would be that, when the child does his work he earns robots, that allow him to play some games that are included with the program. Which is a great incentive. However, you must be aware that the robots do not carry over for future use. So you need to work that reward time, into the time you have allowed them to use Math Galaxy. And the final con, is that it is not a tool that you can use, and see really how your children are doing. There are no reports offered to show they have mastered a skill, or even what kinds of problems they have been doing. Having this feature would really enhance this product.

However, even with the cons that I listed, I really did like this program. We learned how to work the program to best serve our family and it really has been a blessing.

You can order any of the Java Based Programs and the Riddlers Worksheet Generators for $29.95 each. The E-books are available for $14.95. You can order all of these products by visiting Math Galaxy.

Please take a moment to cruise on over to the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say about these products.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to Keep Your Homeschool Fires Burning

As homeschoolers we can easily hit homeschool burnout. And many times, this is the times of year that we do that. Are our children learning enough? How do you handle this problem or that. Whether you have a child that is gifted, or has special needs, or perhaps you just don't know how to teach math, or Algebra.. Where can you find help on all of these fronts, as well as, never forgetting that our focus should be on Jesus Christ?

I have often said that you should surround yourself with homeschooling books and literature. However, there is a magazine publication, that you find everything from devotionals, how to's, product reviews and unit studies and more. And that is The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

I have been a subscriber of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine(TOS) since 2005. It has been my favorite homeschool publication, since that time. I have subscribed to many publications over the years, and TOS is by far is my favorite.

I have saved all of my issues of TOS since 2005, and I have referred to them over and over. That is because this magazine is not simply a magazine you thumb through while sipping an iced tea. It is like getting a homeschool conference in a magazine.

Not only is it topical as it comes in, it is a reference worthy of the shelf space you will use to store it on!

If you can only afford to invest in one homeschool resource, I truly feel that your homeschool will benefit the most from a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

A bit of fine print.. I have served on the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewing homeschool products since the summer of 2008. No one has asked me to write this editorial, nor am I being compensated for what is contained herein. This is simply my effort to share what I feel is the best homeschool resource currently available!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Juicing My Way to Health!!!

Well, I have been battling with my health for some time. First was the IBS. You can see my post about it here.

I finally got my system in check, and I was feeling better but still horrible. When I went to the doctor, I discovered that I was severely anemic. I have always run a little anemic, at least since I had kids. So I was not at all surprised. And it is something that seems to run in my family.

Now, when I tell you I was anemic, I mean severely anemic.. I was a 5.0 and normal is between 12 and 16.

In the hopes of getting healthier at a faster rate than what the doctor estimated, which was months. I called a friend who is very wise in the area of health.

She gave me a lot of great tips. And I am going to share a few of them with you here. This is no way shape or form if intended to be medical advice. This is simply what I did for my own body. And since every individual body is uniquely and wonderfully made by our creator, you should consult your health professional before implementing anything listed here.

The doctor had told me to add an iron supplement. So, I wanted to make sure that I added a high quality supplement. So I started using Floradix. I actually had 3 people recommend it to me. From California to London, England I had friends recommending the same product. That is quite an endorsement. It is available many places online, though I picked up a bottle at my local Vitamin Shoppe. Next she suggested that I take a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, twice a day. It is key that it is blackstrap molasses and not the regular molasses in the baking isle. I also picked this up at Vitamin Shoppe.
I also added B-12. I know that it helps with the iron absorption, so I also added that.

She also recommended juicing. This was pretty much impossible since I did not have a juicer. So the next best thing was to make green smoothies.
So every day I made myself a smoothie of spinach, the juice of one lemon, agave nectar, and banana. I just covered it with water and added about a cup of ice and blended.

I did this until my next doctor's appointment. My blood had gone up to 8.6. While, that is still anemic. He had thought I would go up about 1 point a month, and in 6 weeks I jumped 3.6 points.

Now back to the juicing... my friend had recommended that I drink beet, carrot, celery juice. We have a local place that would juice these for you fresh. However, the cost was about $4 a cup. I could not afford to do this on a daily basis, plus it was on the other side of town, so not terribly convenient.

Thankfully, my mom heard my desperation, and bought me a juicer for my birthday. And I have been using it just about everyday since. It has already paid for itself it you look at what it would have cost me to to purchase juices each and everyday.

So, if you see the picture below, that is what basically goes into my juice each morning..

What you see here are; 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 beet, 3 carrots, 1 clove garlic, 1 apple, 2 oranges, 2 handfuls of spinach and one bunch of cilantro. I usually use parsley instead of cilantro, I just did not have any.
This juice is high in Vit. C and Iron, which is what I need. I have felt awesome since starting this. I have added the clove of garlic to ward off illness during the cold and flu season.

My goal was to have my children drink one glass a day. They have not been real thrilled with that. So we are easing our way to that. I have been mostly doing carrots apples and oranges for them.

Below is a photo of a mug of juice. The above photo made this glass, plus another 1/2 a glass.

On mornings I get too busy and don't have enough time to juice, I have noticed a big difference in how I feel. I can maintain my energy level while drinking the juice. The color has returned to my face! And one of the most amazing things is, that when I drink the juice, I do not have cravings. You know how you go through the day and crave sweets, or salts, etc... however when I drink the juice, I don't have those cravings and I also don't get that, I am starving feeling!

I think that proves that as Americans our diets are nutrient poor, which makes us eat more. If we could just eat more nutrient dense foods, we would eat less!

This is what our new year has looked like! We are doing our best to change the way we eat. Omitting processed foods as much as we can. And adding high quality home-made foods in it's place!

Here's to your health!

Today is Purple Day!!!!

As a mother of 4 children that have had to battle epilepsy and one who still battles with it today, I have never been ashamed to discuss it and the effects it has on a person and a family. However, I am keenly aware of hte stigma that is often attached to epilepsy.

Please take a moment to read my friends post on Purple Day and how it got started. It all began in the heart of a bright young lady named Cassidy!

Purple Day has not only helped raise awareness in her native Nova Scotia, they are also raising funds! Purple Day is empowering epilepsy patients and their familes world wide. Will you join us??

Thanks to the internet Purple Day is spreading.. let's help to make it worldwide. Are you wearing purple today? How can you help people understand more about epilepsy today?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This year we are planting our first garden. I have been so very thankful for my teen aged boys! Then have given of their time and their energy and strength! Our soil is full of roots, they got out the pick axe and broke up that soil for me!

I have been battling my health. I have iron deficiency anemia, and have begun to juice. My prayer is for an abundant harvest that will at least supplement my juicing purchases!!

Not to mention, we live on a very tight budget! And I cannot afford to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, even though I know they are better for you. However, if I grow my own fruits and vegetables, I can ensure how they are grown!

We are growing the bulk of our garden from seeds. However, my friend who inspired me to start my garden shared some of her plants from her garden with me. What you see here is the most recent edition. These are our strawberry plants. We have planted additional strawberry seeds as well!

When purchasing our seeds, I ordered heirloom seeds, I did not want anything bio-engineered seeds. I split them with a few of my friends, that way I could have a larger variety of fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost. There are pros and cons to doing this. If you find you really love something, you will probably need to order more seeds. However, I figured this would be a great way to experiment with many different things, to learn what thrived in our area.

Here is a photo of a dill plant that my friend gave me. She actually gave me enough dill plants to make 2 rows of dill plants. These are thriving and doing well! I have already been blessed by these plants. I made a dill dip just the other day, that we have been enjoying on our baked potatoes!

Anyhow, I have about half of my garden planted. We will be wrapping up our seed sowing!

Here is a picture of our garden while we were working on it this afternoon. It is not beautiful yet... Three of the beds are planted for the most part. The one that is closest, still needs the beans to be planted, we will soak those tomorrow morning and get those in the ground.

The one just behind that is the dill and romaine lettuce, as well as, onions, a few varieties. In the bed to the left of that has been planted with beets, celery, spinach and carrots.

To the right of that one, will be more lettuce and a variety of herbs. Back up in the front, next to that corner plot will have peas, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers.
And next to that will be my melons!

Along the outside of our fence.. which has been put there to keep our dog out of the garden. This will provide some shelter from our hot dessert sun and it will be aesthetically pleasing!

I am praying for God's hand to touch our garden and to bless it with an abundant harvest!!

Check back, for pictures as the garden matures!

I would love to hear from you! What is in your garden? What tips and tricks do you have that helps your garden thrive?

Monday, March 22, 2010

TOS Crew: Graphics ToolBox Projects

Recently, I reviewed Graphics Toolbox as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. You can read that review here.

However, on that blog, I was not able to upload the two projects that I was able to complete while working on the review. Here in this post are the two projects that I completed.

As you can see they are pictures of two of my children playing the piano. They both recently performed in a Fine Arts Competition. I thought it would be great fun to see what they looked like in front of a crowd of adoring fans! I used several different features to achieve this. The irregular frame to cut them out of the original photo and ribbons, to just name a few...

They are not as clean as I would like them to be. As I continue to work with Graphics Toolbox I know that I will be able to master this program!

I am looking forward to spending more time with Graphics ToolBox over the summer when my work load is less. I plan on using what I learn to improve my blogs and my monthly homeschool newsletter!

Please check out Graphics Toolbox for yourself.

**Note** As mentioned in original review, I received a free copy of Graphics Toolbox in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baking Bread

One of the things that we are doing to help with the budget crunch is bake bread!!
It is so much more cost effective to bake bread for my family of 7, than it is to purchase bread!

I had first started baking bread when I found I was using her 'family bread' recipe. I really did enjoy the process from start to finish! I loved the fact that when I was done I would have 3 loaves of bread.

However, I found that I did not always have the time to commit to the whole processof baking bread. So, we purchased a bread machine. We have used the macine on and off over the years. However, we have used it so much, that it has already paid for itself. When we are using it, I crank out at least one loaf of bread a day.

However, we are currently on a tighter budget than we have ever been our entire married life. While there were times we made less, we had fewer children at that time.

So today when it comes to the bread machine, we are using it, almost non stop. We are making pizza dough! My teenagers LOVE this, and they do nto feel deprived AT ALL!! We are making bread as mentioned, one to two loaves a day.

For Thanksgiving I tried the dinner rolls recipe, and they were fab!!!! So, I have been making those as well. My friend clued me in, that I can make the dough, and form the rolls, and before they rise, place them n the freezer. Once they are frozen you can then put them in freezer bags. Say you would like the rolls for Sunday dinner. You can pull them out before church, lay a towel over them. While you are gone, they will thaw and rise, and when you get home all you will have to do is pop them in the oven! Great time saving trick!!

We have also tried the sweet rolls, which are much like sticky buns, we make corn bread and even home made jelly!

Even if you do not have a bread machine, check out hillbilly housewife, she will teach you how to make bread! And your family will enjoy your labors! Both at meal times and in your pocket book!!!

What's Happening Around Our House!!

I had made a decision to post every day, or close to it. Well, that just has not happened.

I am sure I am not the only one who has a habit of making grand plans... but at times ( more often than I would care to admit) I lack follow through!

This week we had a great Mom's Night Out with our local homeschool group. We discussed Home Educating your Special Needs Child. It was a great time of fellowship and exchange of ideas! Not to mention, the delicious chocolate fountain our host provided!

In addition to that I have been battling tooth pain since November. Waiting for our new insurance to kick in. We finally have the insurance and I was able to get in. The verdict??? 3 wisdom teeth need to be pulled. They pulled 2 yesterday... and the last one will be pulled in a couple of weeks after I heal.

I am now thankful for the healing pain that I have. Though, it does slow me down a bit. Not quite as productive as I would like to be!

However, the high point of my week, is happening tonight. The Maxwell Family, from, the creators of The Mangers of their Home are speaking locally. So, tonight, along with a few other homeschool mom's we are headed down to LA to see them.

It ought to be adventure. Southern California is having one of our largest rain storms in recent years. We even had snow yesterday!

I am looking forward to a night of great fellowship and a time of learning. I look forward to coming back and sharing with you all, some of what I have gleaned from this mini conference!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Multi-Sensory Teaching

Back in October, I had the privilege of attending a mini homeschool conference. We had the benefit of hearing Marion Soderholm speak. Marion is a Learning Disabilities Specialist and a homeschool mom. She has
graduated her son and daughter to college and beyond. You can visit her website at . Even if you have children that are “typical” learners, you will benefit from Marion’s experience. Marion spoke about Multisensory Teaching/ Learning.

The Four Ways to Teach/ The Four Main Types of Learners

I. SHOW the concept to your student. Visual, they must SEE it!
II. EXPLAIN the concept to your student.
Auditory, they must HEAR it!!
III. DO a project, etc. with your student.
Motor, they must DO it!!
IV. ASK your student to explain back to you what
you just taught. Verbal, they must SAY it!!

As Marion spoke she reminded us to “pay attention to what God’s saying to you”. This is good advice. It is so easy to be driven to distraction with all that is going on around us. T.V., internet, radio, sports, classes, chores, telephones, school, shopping….

Are we taking the time to really listen to what the Lord is saying to us? What is your purpose? What is your plan? As you are working with your student, what does that child need? What kind of learner are they? Are you teaching to their need, or to your preference? Are you looking at how the Lord designed them? How he uniquely wired their brain?

Marion often quotes, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an
expected end.” This reminds us that each one of God’s children has a purpose.

Listening to Marion speak, reminding me of something that I learned while I was using KONOS with my children. I remembered a quote that Jessica Hulcy shared with us, “God put the wiggle in the children. Don’t you dare try to take it out” Henrietta Spears. (1890-1963) Jessica Hulcy shared with us over and over what she called the 5 “D’s” of Learning. And it goes hand in
hand with what Marion was talking to us about.

I. DO- to captivate attention
II. Discover-to foster thinking
III. Dramatize- to visualize
IV. Dialogue- to internalize
V. Drill-to crystallize

While some of those are the same as Marion, what I am hoping you walk away with, is that there are many times we need to think outside the box. I have found with my children, if we can be active while learning, it helps to bring our subject matter to life. You can do art type projects to go with your subjects. Or take a field trip to a location where they can see something first hand. How about literally eating a feast the way someone they are studying in history would eat? Large timelines and maps also help with points of reference.Watching videos about your subject is another way to make it come to life. While learning about hand dominance, how about going through the day using the non dominant hand. Or while learning certain parts of speech, try having a conversation without using that part of speech. Mad Libs is another fun way to learn parts of speech. Have fun with your children while they embrace all that God’s Creation has to offer them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To School at Home or Not School at Home, That is the Question!

To School at Home or Not School at Home, That is the Question!

You might be thinking that I am talking about, whether or not we should homeschool. If you are reading this, you are probably already a homeschooler! ☺ What I am talking about is how we are going to home school.

When I first started writing this article, it had nothing to do this. I was discussing a totally different topic, however, as I worked through it, what the Lord pressed upon my heart, was, what is it we are really doing here? Are we striving to mimic schools? If so, wouldn’t we be sending our children to the local school? But, we are not. We have taken on this task, for a reason. Why? Why have you chosen to home educate your child/ren?

I think that is where we need to start! If we are not sure of the why, then there is no way we can follow through with the how! I believe the very first thing you should do, is spend some time with the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you guide your homeschool. In I Corinthians 10:31 it says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” If we should be bringing Him glory in all that we do, then He should be in the planning process! And He should be a part of every single day!

If Jesus Christ is not the cornerstone of your homeschool, and you are simply homeschooling for financial reasons, or academic reasons, or any of the other laundry list of reasons a family has, as times in your life change, you will not have a firm foundation, to rest upon.

In this economy, many of us are homeschooling on an extremely tight budget. I know that we are. This reminds me of the principal of tithing. On paper it just does not seem possible. However, when we are faithful to give the Lord what already belongs to Him, God always makes a way. Homeschooling is the same.

If God is in your homeschool, if we are willing to let Him lead the education we are providing to our children, dare I say, His children, He will enable you to succeed.

If Jesus Christ is the center of your homeschool, then every other decision you make will be based on Him, and on your biblical world view. Once that is set, you can look at what your goals for your child/ren are.

Look down the road, what are you hoping to see? Whatever your answer may be, chart a course to that destination. And remember that it will not always be easy. You will hit detours and bumps in the road. While you may have mapped a course to a specific goal, be mindful that our eyes should always be upon Jesus Christ and He will direct our path. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”.

So when life’s detours come your way, don’t become defeated, know that the Lord is re-charting that course for you. Many of the course corrections that come in our home, are ones that fall into the character building category. I would like to tell you, that it is always my children, that need to have their character built. However, that is simply not true. Homeschooling has not only allowed me to help cultivate godly character in my children, but also in me.

When I signed on to homeschool, I had no idea, what I was getting into. It is the hardest and the best thing I have ever done. It challenges me in ways, I ncould not have imagined. Our children are watching us, in all that we do. In every situation. How we handle ourselves when we are not at our best! And when nobody is watching. They watch how we speak to our spouse, and they feel how we speak to them. Are we being faithful in our own bible reading and prayer life, as we teach them to be. Are we working diligently at the tasks on our list, as we ask them to work on theirs? They listen to see if we praise the Lord for everything, not just the good things.

I don’t say all of these things, to stress or worry you. I say them, to remind you that in our own power, we simply cannot succeed. However, with the power of our Lord living in us, we can accomplish much! I John 4:4 says “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” We are not alone in our endeavor to “Train up a child in the way he should go..” We have the Lord to lean on, and the Lord has provided us with friends! Proverbs 27:17 says, “ Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Let’s help each other along this journey. Help each other to stay faithful to the Lord, and stay the course that has been set before us.

I pray that the Lord will bless your families and your homeschools for many years to come!

I have heard it said, “God does not call the enabled, He enables the called”.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Myth of 'Me' Time

At our homeschool groups Mom’s Night Out this month, I had shared about something I had listened to a few weeks ago. I had downloaded a seminar from Values Driven Family . On my download it did not give me a title, so I just listened blindly. As it turns out he was discussing the myth of “me

And he was discussing moms in particular. Society tells us that we need to have alone time, that we need to get away from our kids and our family in order to feel fulfilled and regenerated. Many of us have bought in to that mindset. He shared that from a father’s point of view that that can be very
discouraging. They are out in the world all day, all week long, and they are fighting their way to get BACK home, and so many mom’s want to ‘check out’ as soon as dad arrives.

However, what I learned, I should say what I was reminded of, is that it is not ‘me’ time that we so desperately need. What we need is “He” time. Alone time with our Lord and Savior. Oh that is so true.

As homeshool mom’s we have quite a lot on our plates. And we naturally begin to feel the stress of doing our best to ensure that our children grow up loving the Lord, serving Him in whatever capacity He sees fit, to do the best they can at academics. Not to mention maintaining the house, keeping food on the table… and sometimes just keeping it in the cupboard (can you say teenagers?). Making time for our husband, then add on our outside duties that we may have at church, or at the local little league. When you add all
of these things, it is no wonder so many feel as though the need to run and escape into “me” time.

If we are to accomplish all the things listed, and sometimes more, we need to do it with God’s help, with His power. What is that saying, “Your walk talks louder than your talk talks!” When we talk about growing our children spiritually, we need to do that every single day. It cannot be accomplished sitting in a church pew on Sundays and then living our daily life without any any thought of our Lord. We need to live out our Christianity every single day of our life. And as we do that, our children will see us living out our relationship. And through that process, we will be empowered to do that which we have been called to do. Phil 4:13, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. When we feel like we need to retreat into our own personal bubble, that is when we need to find alone time with the Lord.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

First Day of School of 2010

We are officially back from our Christmas Break. We had planned on doing more school during break than we actually did. I ended up babysitting a couple of kids for about half of the time, so school was put on hold.

Today we started school off with a bang! We gathered in the living room, woth our breakfast for family devotions, as well as, for read alouds.

We started with prayer and bible reading. Moved onto 'This Day in Baptist History', Autobiography on Hudson Taylor, and reading from Ten P's in a Pod.

Next for 4 of the children was spelling. We did an assignment from Sequential Spelling, while my fifth child worked on Quarter Mile Math Drills.

After we finished with that, I introduced something to the kids, to try to help them learn to battle their forgetfulness. I can tell you that for me, what has been a life saver are lists. When something big is coming, the only thing that keeps me going is checking things off my list.

So we have implemented that for the kids. Right now, I am telling them what goes on the list. They write out their own personal list. The hope is that they will develop the habit of making a list for themselves.

We are still using the laminated cards on rings that I made. We are jsut using them in conjunction.

So right now, I have one reading, one playing piano, one working on math. One has gone back to bed ( battling a cold, she was able to do some of her work already and will do more when she gets up!) One is working on guitar.

They will continue in this fashion, until their list is complete. Rotating for piano and computer time.

I am hoping they will feel accomplished at the end of the day. Right now my ADHD is feeling a little overwhelmed, feeling the list is SOOO LONG.. however I am hoping to teach him to tackle one thing at a time, and not to get overwhelmed by it all!

How is your day going? Have you implemented anything new? I find with homeschooling children with special needs. We must be flexible. Willing to change when it is not working for our special learners!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Health, Wealth and Wellness

As I sit here, on the second day of 2010, I am contemplating moving forward for our family. What does that mean? A little back story might help a bit.

I have been battling anemia for several months now. It is on the up swing, but is taking alot of effort. I am taking my vitamins, 2 tablespoons of black strap molasses a daay, taking my iron supplement, in the form of Floradix, and up until my birthday last month, I as making green smoothies about once a week. The smoothies consisted of spinach, banana, lemon juice, water, agave nectar and water. I added ice for crunch, but some do it without the ice.

I had been told for some time that juicing would be the way to go. However, I did not have a juicer. Enter my mother on my bierthday. Praise the Lord, she bought me a juicer, and now their no turning back. I have been juicing about a half a beet a day with carrots, and celery and then I alternate things like garlic, parsley, spinach, apples, oranges, etc..

Just prior to getting the juicer, we started a compost. Made our own bin, and had been adding our fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells, and paper and yard clippings. Now with the juicer, we are adding so much more to the composter on a regular basis.. daily..

Last summer, I had wanted to start a garden. For several reasons; I wanted high quality foods, and I needed it to be cheap! My husband lost his job in December of 08 and while he is currently working we are only making a small fraction of what he was making before. And I had felt we were only make enough before. So, our hopes was that we would have a successful garden.

We did very well starting out, I started all my seeds in the little cups, etc.. and between children knocking them over and the dog eating the buds off the watermelon plant once we planted, they did not survive. However, since then I have done more research, spoke with friends in my area, and have learned a few things.

The first is, my wonderful husband is going to build me a fence so the dog cannot get into my garden!!!! Also, in our area we can plant straight in the ground.. and forget about the pesty little seed cups! We live in the desert of So. California.

So this morning, as I ponder how to keep my health up, and our dwindling finances from disappearing. I set my eyes on my favorite seed website.. and compiled my wish list. I have now sent out word to my local friends to see who would like to split seed packets to help cut down on cost.

I read a great article on the facebook fanpage of Finders Keepers Educational Supply about using your cardboard from all of that online shopping that you are now doing... you can use it as a weed barrier and mulch. You can read about it here.

My next step is that I will design my garden. I know the placement in my yard. Next dh will build up my fence, and then I will start laying out the foot paths and designed the beds.

I am nowpraying about free an inexpensive soil. There is a local tree place that has free mulch if you can haul it away, so we will do that. I am praying that between our compost, and things I can find for free I won't need to do too much for my soil. We live in an area with very sandy, but hard soil. And it is very difficult soil to plant in, unless you supplement.

I would love to hear how all of you are tackling food bills, eating healthy and gardening.. We are all on this journey together!!!

See you in the garden!