Category Archives: Homeschool

My posts about making the best of your entire homeschool experience, with honest tips and advice to help you plan, organize your homeschool whether you are a new homeschool mom, or at the end of your homeschool journey.

Classroom Makeover!

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately because I’ve been really busy with a surprise that my hubby brought home, a new desk!  A big executive desk that was given to him for free!  Ain’t God grand?  I think so!

So what was the first thing I needed to do?  Make it mine and since it wasn’t my hubby’s desk from childhood or an antique that someone gave me, I had no problems or guilt about wanting to paint it.  My hubby wasn’t so sure though.

Here it is!  It’s so big and it was really nice, but it had some rough spots.  So I sanded the finish off to take off the shine so the primer and paint would adhere.

Next I gave it 3 coats of Behr paint and primer in Decorator White.  Once it was all covered, I sanded it down in a few places to reveal the dark wood underneath.  I was going for a shabby chic look but I only did a little because I didn’t want it to look too old. Then I coated it in 2 coats of varnish.  I may do a 3rd coat later, but for now I’m really happy with the results.

Next I moved it into it’s new home right by the window of our classroom.  I love it! There’s so much room on top to work and spread out and I love the worn look after I got the desk personalized.  I still need to redo the lamp to match and I need to paint the trim on the white board to match the corkboard.  That’s next on the list! 

I went to Hobby Lobby and got the urn and the candle this morning for next to nothing, on sale baby!  The vase I had and the flowers I also had from an old arrangement. Emily wants to paint the pencil holder she made when she was little, but I like it just the way it is.

Here you can see a close up of the drawers and the handles.  It’s kinda hard to tell in the picture, but the handles were that gold-brass color.  I actually painted the round parts red and the curves in the handles red.  When it dried it looked really pretty.  Then I gave them a quick varnish.

Here’s the finished desk and yes as you can see I’m on my Facebook page!  I can’t wait to blog and write and do school from here!  And what does hubby think of my finished product?  He really likes it and I can’t believe how it turned out!

 

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East Coast Homeschool Basketball Championship 2013 Fun!

If you ever get the chance to go and watch the East Coast Homeschool Basketball Championships, I highly recommend it!  We had a blast, but we do every year.  From watching both of our varsity teams, to goofing off at the hotel to eating out together, there is nothing like it.   It is the “school sports” experience we wanted our kids to have.  Here’s just a few of the several hundred pictures that we took.  This doesn’t even come close to all the pics the kids took on their IPods, IPads and phones!

My son Spencer #20 doing a great job and being tough!Liberty 2013

Me helping a friend’s mom with her daughter’s number. Please pay no attention to my hair.  We had a 10pm game the night before and had to be up early.  I was exhausted and it was a ponytail kinda day.  But you should have seen her a couple of days later, when the girls made the championship game.  I must find a picture of her!  She had a red curly wig, makeup, crazy red and black clothes.  She brought the spirit!Liberty 2 2013

This is homeschool sports at its best!  After the championship game, both teams huddled together for prayer.  What a way to close out the week and to show that yes, winning is amazing, but it’s the friendships and our walk that’s the most important.  After all God is the reason we can play so tough!Liberty 1 2013

I love snapping pictures of coaches talking to their teams.  The intensity on their faces and the players.  I got this one of our guys right before the game started.  They are hanging on his every word.Liberty 3 2013

The girls and their trophy!  They played so amazing and we are so proud of them.  They got to play in the Vines Center!  The Dome!  They fought hard and played with heart and placed 2nd.  Congratulations!Liberty 4 2013

The guys and their big trophy.  Wonder why they aren’t so happy?  It was a really tough game and they fought hard, but it just didn’t go their way.  It was a hard loss.  But they did get to play in the Vines Center under the dome and that was awesome! Congratulations!Liberty 5 2013

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Fans, siblings and friends! We laughed, we shouted, we argued a little with the ref’s, we ate, we stayed up way too late, but it was all worth it!  I love homeschooling and homeschool sports.

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Is Homeschooling in the U.S. in Jeopardy?

Have you heard about the German family that came to the U.S. seeking asylum from their government so they could homeschool?  If you haven’t or even if you have then you better pay attention.  It doesn’t even matter if you support homeschooling or not.  There is an agenda within our own government that we better wake up and pay attention to.

The issue is bigger than this one family that had to make the heart breaking decision to leave their country, their friends, their jobs, their families, everything to come here.  It’s bigger than the fact that homeschooling is banned in Germany.  It is the reason it is banned and it’s the reason that our government wants to deport this family back to Germany where they will be sent to prison and have their children stripped away from them and deemed unfit parents by their own government and for us to possibly find homeschooling banned here.

To get a fuller understanding, please click here and read what the attorney from HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc.) says about the case and its importance to all of us.  Did you read it?  Good!  That saves me a lot of explaining!  The problem is our current government believes they have the right to determine what our rights, liberties and freedoms are.  They could potentially ban homeschooling here too.  This is unprecedented in the U.S.

For those of you that have just started homeschooling in the past few years, then you don’t have the experience of what we went through when we first started homeschooling. Even thought it is legal in NC., I remember being taught at homeschool meetings to not take our kids out in public during school hours, being asked why our kids aren’t in school when we did dare go out, being taught what to do when DSS showed up on your doorstep.  Yes those were the days!  But that doesn’t compare to what the ones a few years before me when through.  You guys have been blessed!

But let’s look a little more in the past. Have we forgotten what Germany did during WW2 to their kids?  What does their stance say about them today?  They no longer want people in their country to have a religious upbringing?  They know what is best for the children and not the parents.  Are they going back to another version of their WW2 state?  God I hope not!

But what about us? The nanny state is ever-increasing and ever-encroaching.  And now it has its aims set on homeschooling.  If this family gets deported, this could lead to huge ramifications on our rights here.  The government is trying to say that homeschooling isn’t a right and they can take it away.  Look at the other rights we are losing right now.  They already think they can tell us how to eat, what size drink to purchase, pushing more and more vaccinations, health care, gun rights, etc.  What will this say about Christianity in the U.S.?  We are losing more of our religious rights every year.  Are you ready to stand up and tell our government, that we know what is best for ourselves and our children?  That we don’t want to lose our rights?  Are you willing to make the phone calls, emails, etc. to get the message across to them? Or will you sit silently by and mumble complaints when you can’t homeschool your kids or your grandchildren are taken from their parents because they dared to do what God was leading them to do? 

I know I may have taken this to the extreme, but it is a possibility if we don’t take a stand now.

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Is it Anti-Christian to Cheer at Sports?

That is the burning question right now.  I love watching my kids play sports!  I have loved coaching sports and dance and working with kids.  I’ve been doing it for over 16 years.  But things are changing, not really with me, but around me. What was once passionate and fun is now dull and bordering on boring.  I still love the sports.  I still love watching my kids play them.  I still have a desire to coach, but that has now been severely tempered and in all reality, I may never coach again thanks to a very personal beating that my girls and I took this year.  But that’s a whole other story.

What I’m talking about is rooting for your team or child at a sporting event.  Team spirit!  Cheering loudly and passionately.  Wearing team colors.  Hanging banners and having spirit nights.  Not where you are screaming at your kid and telling them everything they did wrong, but loudly cheering, “Go team!, Go (insert child’s name).  And I’m not talking little kids here, but high school!  Is it wrong for homeschool teams to be cheered by their fans?  Now I’m not talking teams that are like recreation ball, but ones that are competitive school ball.  Although I don’t see a problem cheering loudly for either one! 

I see it everywhere.  The teams we played against used to be so passionate and so were we. It was so much fun!  Everyone cheered their hearts out.  Jumping up and cheering when the basket went in.  Everyone holding their breath and letting out a collective yell at the buzzer beater.  Stomping on the bleachers.  The teams actually asking the fans to get louder when we got quiet.  It was fun!  Win or lose the games were fun and both teams were still friends at the end of the game!  And now you could hear crickets chirp. There’s barely a golf clap when we win or when a good shot is made.

All of a sudden over the past two years, we have started being told it’s not Christ-like to cheer.  Parents are now being pulled aside or given dirty looks when they cheer.  It’s being told to our kids and team spirit is about non-existent.  Hardly anyone cheers anymore, whether it’s a simple “Go team!” or “Make good passes!”  Why is that?  What has happened?  Aren’t Christians allowed to be passionate about their lives and enjoy things?  Doesn’t God want us to enjoy things?  Is this another form of Christians bullying other Christians?  Or has the world just made us too afraid of everything?  What does this say to the parents that are new Christians, new homeschoolers, or the non-Christian parent?  Does it say that Christians or homeschoolers aren’t allowed to have fun? I really want to know. 

I know what it’s saying to the parents that are not returning to our sports because of this.  They are leaving because it’s not any fun and they wanted their kids to have the experience of a school team.  A huge part of a teenager’s life is the experience.  The experience of having something to root for, to cheer for.  Being part of something bigger than themselves and friendships.  Learning how to deal with success and failure.  I also know what it meant to a parent that spoke to me about it.  It said to them that we are judgmental (meaning judging the parents and kids that cheered) and not accepting at all of people that don’t fit with us (meaning the ones that won’t cheer) and that hurt.  Even though they weren’t talking about me personally (because I cheer), it hurt.  I hurt for them and their kids.  Are we turning them away?  Are we turning our kids away from enjoying things like sports?  What message are we sending them about Christianity?  I would love some thoughts.

This may actually turn into a series. I have a lot to say and a lot of thoughts on the matter too many for one post!  Wanna hear something funny? As I wrap up this post, I decided to turn on Pandora and what song do you think started playing?  “We Will Rock You” by Queen!  How appropriate!  I just had to laugh!

Spice Up Your Reading for Halloween

Is your kid or teen already bored with reading and literature?  Why not do something fun and spine tingling just in time for Halloween?  There are some really great literature books that are sure to fit into your reading list for the year and it will chase away the boredom.

  • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
  • “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
  • “The Tell Tale Heart” or “The Raven” or just about anything by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”
  • “Macbeth” or “Hamlet” by Shakespeare
  • Ghost stories from your state
  • “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Harry Potter or Twilight

Not crazy about really scary books?  Try mysteries!

  • “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Nancy Drew
  • The Hardy Boys

I think you get the picture!  There are tons of books to choose from that will either keep you on the edge of your seat or terrified to turn the page.  Most of what I listed here are for middle school thru high school.  A lot of these have study guides that you can use along with them from Progeny Press or Total Language Plus.  You could probably even find some free ones online with a little research.  They would be a great addition to any high schoolers reading list.  Colleges are not only looking to see if they read classics but if their reading list is varied and current.

There is no need for everything you read to be a read-the-book-and–do-the-worksheet kind of lesson.  Be creative!  Study a little bit of the history of the author and how their life affected their style of writing.  Why did things during that time period scare people?  What was going on during the author’s life historically?  What was the world like when the author was writing? 

You could follow up finishing the book with a scary movie night complete with popcorn. Maybe a bonfire with friends, a corn maze, or a ride in the woods on trailer. Have fun with it! If you’re really brave got to a haunted trail!  Time to shake up lit class and have some fun!

 

Homeschool Socialization

Just a little funny for you today to kick off the school year.Smile  Just wait until the kids hit middle school and high school and then try to keep up with their socialization:  Work, co-ops, sports, youth group, dual enrollment classes, back and forth with friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, missions trips, and the list goes on!  I still laugh when people ask me about homeschool and socialization.  Then after I go over the opportunities for homeschoolers and what my kids are involved in, the next question is usually, “When do you have time to do school?”  I just smile!

Distractions

So here I am and it’s Labor Day and I’m going to be really honest with you.  I’m not ready for school to start tomorrow.  I was going through a bit of anxiety, depression (?) and burnout over the summer and I put off working on school.  I needed a break.

I didn’t want to think about it.  I didn’t want to work on it.  I didn’t want to really hear about it either.  I’ve been homeschooling for 14 years and needed a vacation from it. I guess with my first graduating and my youngest now going into 9th grade,  and my middle one becoming a junior it was a little overwhelming.  Plus I had a birthday party, a huge graduation party and a baby shower to plan.  They were all so much fun and I love planning parties!

Then just when I was ready to start working on school again……DISTRACTIONS!  What were those pesky time suckers?  A never-ending summer cold that kept putting me in the bed.  Cityville (I used it for fun and for a little bit of an escape at times.)  Teen drama.  Then came the biggest time and brain sucker of all….volleyball.  Wait… there’s not supposed to be crying and frustration in volleyball!

I won’t and can’t go into all the drama that has circled volleyball at the start of this season.  But suffice it to say that just because you homeschool, and your children play on an amazing homeschool team, doesn’t mean that you escape drama.  Oh, no it is everywhere.  At times I felt as though I had a walk on roll on Dance Moms!  Just without the name calling and cussing.  But I spent way too many days frustrated to the point of not being to focus on anything else.  I had too many days of trying to figure things out.  Too many days of dealing with an extremely upset daughter.  Too many days of not knowing whether we were coming or going.  But now it is all settled, I hope or at least for the moment. As far as I’m concerned it is over and now I can refocus.

Becca and I are coaching the JV team that my youngest Emily is on.  We are having a blast!  I love my team and my parents.  They are the best and no drama!  But getting there was a huge time sucker full of anger, confusion and tears. I’m so grateful for our director!   And here I am, finally getting our team underway and I’m so proud of them with our first game tomorrow and I still haven’t finished closing out last year’s school.  Don’t ask me about this year yet! 

I’m trying to get there as quick as I can!  I just had a mini panic attack this morning, but a bowl of mac and cheese and a quick prayer has made it all better.  I will have to adopt Scarlett’s motto (maybe just for today) “I can’t think about all that right now.  After all, tomorrow is another day.”  Today I will keep the distractions at a minimum and get done what I can get done and start over tomorrow.  I will take peace and claim it!

New Curriculum in the Works!

It’s been awhile, but I’m going to get my cooking curriculum finished.  I worked through a lot of it last year with my oldest, Becca, but now I want to use it with my other kids and I just need to kick myself and get it finished.

I have an idea and would like some opinions.  If I understand my publisher, CurrClick, I can send out my curriculum in increments.  In other words, you pay the whole curriculum price and instead of getting the whole thing at one time they send it to you once a week or however it’s set up.  I was thinking about doing that with the cooking curriculum and with another one I about to write for my youngest, Emily.  What do you think?

What curriculum am I going to write for Emily you may ask?  A curriculum all about make-up!  She is crazy about it and gets it honestly from me.  She’s watched and helped me for years at church doing make-up and special effects make-up.  So, she wants a course built just for that.  Am I crazy or what?

Need to Focus!

Finding Nemo (video game)

Finding Nemo (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ever have those times when you just can’t focus?  I’ve been there the past couple of weeks.  It’s aweful and I can’t stand it.  But I just can’t seem to come out of the fog completely.  I need to focus on getting ready for school.  I need to focus on some projects around my house.  But I can’t seem to wrap my head around much.

Part of it is that I’ve been sick for a few weeks with the never ending summer cold.  My girls and I keep passing it back and forth, but it seems like it’s at the end now.  Achoo!  Maybe not.  I’ve also been stressed to the max over some things that I really don’t want to stress about, but it seemed I had no other choice.  I’m a mother first, and if it affects my child, I stress.

Then there are some things that I can’t mention yet, that every time I think it’s over and I can’t possibly hear anything new about this certain situation, something new pops up.  With it brings frustration, disappointment, and an uncertainty about what to do.

Most days I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep praying, just keep praying.”  Some things are starting to fall back into place.  Slowly. I’m not in a huge hurry, which is really big for me because I’m known to be a little impatient.  I just want the rest of it to fall into place. I need to be able to focus again.

So what do you do when you can’t focus?