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!