Thursday, October 30, 2008

The following was in an email I received from my mother in law, Debby. Please watch this video and continue to pray for our precious freedom. We have a few days left before election and a huge portion of our country is leaning heavily toward a man with an undisclosed past. What will our future hold if he is elected? That is the billion (or TRILLION) dollar question.

God bless you, God bless our troops, and God bless America! McCain/Palin 2008!!! This will give you chill bumps as well as some teary eyes. This is one of the most beautiful renditions of this great song you will ever hear and it was performed by both elementary and high school student chorus'. These kids are fabulous! GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lesson Plans...

Originally, I had done quite a bit of blog-stalking on other Homeschool sites. There's this one "Super Mom" who posts all of her plans and lessons for the rest of us who need a little inspiration. I had thought I, too, would use this blog to keep track of all of our Lesson Plans and share them for my family in case they were interested in our progress. However, these are just getting to be too time consuming to post each week, so I've decided to just summarize what our plans are instead of posting detailed plans for each week. If anyone gets interested in what we're doing, I'm certainly not opposed to emailing them. But for now, especially since we going with a boxed set, I don't think there's anything particularly special about my curriculum or lesson plans that would inspire anyone else to the point where they would need me to post them. :)

That being said, we have a lot of plans for this week. We are taking a hint from Jenny on her Little Acorns Treehouse blog, who did some really cool Halloween Tie-Dye t-shirts with her kids. I think she got the directions from Family Fun Magazine. Currently, we are in the rinse cycle of our tie-dye process, so tonight we may be able to decorate the shirts. I just used some old white undershirts of Trey's, even for the girls. That way, all I had to spend was the money for the Rit Dye, and I think I'll also go purchase some black fabric paint. So all in all, I think this will be a very cheap, but cute project. (Albeit a little messy).

We also decorated the tiny baking pumpkins this weekend, thanks to ACE Hardware Store! Last week, Trey had to do some measurement exercises for Math, and we needed a yardstick. We didn't have one, so I drove to Ace (the nicest people and cleanest store in town!) They had a display up outside with all their pumpkins half-off, so I told the kids to pick out some little ones that were only 50 cents each. Addie was still in school, so I picked one out for her, and let Trey and Lindsay choose their own. We went inside the store, and looked around a bit. I love clean hardware stores. Everyone was so helpful, and even stopped to speak to the kids (which I always appreciate). We found our yardstick and headed for the register. The yardstick was 64 cents with tax, but the computer didn't recognize the pumpkins (of which we had 3 - so that would have been about $1.50 with tax). So he told me we could just have the pumpkins. And of course, I didn't have any cash (or change), so all I brought with me was my checkbook into the store. I told them I would have to put it all back and come back with some change because I couldn't reasonably write a check for 64 cents. So he let me have it all for free!! I asked him if he was sure, and he said he I was ECSTATIC! I will forever give my business to ACE Hardware Store over Home Depot and Lowe's now.

I'm so excited!!!

I can hardly contain myself! Lindsay is finally showing signs of being potty trained this century!!! She'll be 3 in a couple of weeks, and up until now, has been totally defiant against anything having to do with the potty. That is until I tried this new method by Lora Jenson, a stay at home mom (and potty training expert). It's called the 3 Day Potty Training method. It cost me $24.99 to download the ebook from the website, but I have to say, that was the best investment I've ever made! I would recommend it to anyone struggling with potty fact, I would recommend it to anyone who is about to start. Why go through all the other junk first, if you can get them trained in a matter of days?

I am a very skeptical person by nature...I used to not be that way, but working in law enforcement will do that to you. And with our new budget restrictions due to my new homeschool mom/teacher status, I was very tempted not to purchase it. But then after another hour of getting screamed at by Lindsay just for suggesting the word "potty", my mind was changed. So I clicked the "Order Now" button, and 6 hours later, my little stubborn toddler was coming to tell me she had to go potty. I couldn't believe it. It was really half a day yesterday by the time I ordered it and read it, so today is really our first full day, and she's been totally accident free!

Is this the same child who would sit on the potty and scream bloody murder (no really...I had to shut the windows for fear that the neighbors would call the police), and pull her own hair and scratch herself out in a fit of outright rage?? She now loves the potty and even stayed dry all night last night! I would kiss Lora Jenson if I could!!!

Here's a link to her website if anyone's intersted:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One nation under God...

For those of you who know me, you know I try not to get too political. I have always kept my opinions to myself. But I have recently come to the conclusion that too many people are keeping their mouths shut out of fear of being found "politically incorrect." Folks, we are on the verge of a crisis here, and it has nothing to do with Barack Obama's skin color. I am so tired of people assuming that I am a racist because I wouldn't be caught dead voting for him. Anyone who knows me, knows that's absurd. I do not even entertain the thought with worrying about that. The fact is simple: I do not trust the man's past, his present, or his future. There are too many unanswered questions, and it seems that lately, if you ask a question to the man, you'll be ripped to shreds by the national liberal media. What happened? When did it become such a crime against humanity for a normal person to ask a question and expect an answer from a presidential candidate? Never mind the answer he received!! Good grief!!! I can't even go there or my blood will start boiling!

Calming down a bit, I would like for anyone who's reading this to please take a look at this You Tube video. It was sent to me by a good friend who happens to share my beliefs that this year's election is about many more issues than the economy and foreign policy. The very core values that support our nation could be at stake. Without these values, our country will inevitably crumble. Please join me in prayer for our great nation under God!

During the next couple of weeks, I will also be praying for both Presidential and both Vice Presidential candidates - as both sides need our Lord's guidance in their decision making.

Now please excuse me while I go put more McCain/Palin signs in the yard!!! LOL...had to go there!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lesson Plans - Week 2 : October 13 - 17

Addie was out of school Monday for Columbus Day, and since Trey and I took a week off before we began, he doesn't have any of the 1 day holidays like this off. So Addie took this opportunity to learn a little about what Trey does in a typical day of homeschool. We planned a lot of extra crafts and activities for Columbus Day, so she had a lot of fun as well!

Columbus Day Activities:
Learn about the voyage of Christopher Columbus.
Make Columbus hats and paper bag puppets. (October 2008 - Teacher's Friend Publications)
Read 1492 Poem. I wrote the poem out on poster board with the rhyming words omitted. The children (even Lindsay) had index cards with all the different omitted rhyming words on each one. The child with the correct rhyming word got to come up and place the card on the board in the place of the blank. Then we read it again all together. This was a good activity for all the different grade levels.

Language Arts:
Read The Story of Pedro, and discuss.
Work on cursive handwriting: letters b,f,h,k,l
Handwriting Checklist

Review multi-numeral addition / subtraction facts: (a+b-x+y=z)
Place values / Number sequencing.
Numbers game using index cards labeled 0 - 9. Place all 10 cards face down on table. Turn over two cards at a time. Determine the highest number that can be made using the two digits. Repeat this step until 10 numbers are formed using 2 digits each. Place each number in order from lowest to highest. Reverse the numbers (ex. 53 turns into 35). And rearrange them again in order from lowest to highest.

History & Geography:
Continue Kansas Unit Study: Study about Soddies and Dugouts, Life as a Pioneer. Discuss how Lebanon, Kansas is the geographical center of the United States. Internet research project: research corn production.

Your Body Digests Food. Discuss how the digestion process works.
Experiment: 1 large glass (half - full of water); 1 smaller glass; 1 paper towel cut to 8" x 4", folded in a funnel shape with no hole; 1 tablespoon salt; 1 tablespoon cocoa. Mix salt in large glass of water until completely dissolved. Stir in cocoa powder until liquid is brown. Slowly pour into funnel in small glass. Remove the paper towel and taste the mixture. Discuss how it tastes like salt and not cocoa, and why. Discuss how our digestive system works similarly as a filter for the food we take into our bodies.

belt, cost, bend, ill, shell, knee, knock, knot, hum, caps. Bonus: dugout, sod.

Bible Memory Verse: John 3:16
Columbus Day activities on Monday.

In the Kitchen with Mom: Recipe from Cheerios Cookbook : Roly Poly Peanut Butter Balls

Library Day - Friday

Lessons for Mom...

Week 2 of Homeschooling went very well. Although I have learned some valuable lessons already, that I'm sure other home school moms will nod their heads emphatically about as they read them.

1. Always be sure to read through the curriculum BEFORE purchasing it to insure that your child is compatible with it's style and format. We got a late start and therefore didn't have time to familiarize ourselves with all of our options. Trey received an 80% on 3 different quizzes on Thursday, not because he doesn't know the answers, but because the style of the quizzes are so different than what he needs. (Example: My son has ADD and gets distracted by all the colorful illustrations. He finds them "too busy" for the page and gets distracted by them. What I have done to alleviate this is to re-type the same questions in the same order onto plain white paper. I asked him to re-take the test and he got a 100%!!)

2. Just because something says "Grade 3," it doesn't necessarily mean it is academically challenging enough for even a typical 3rd Grader. If you want your child to stay up to speed with what public schools are teaching, you will want to hand pick your curriculum to follow or at least compare to what they are learning. Example: My second grader is bringing home more challenging things than the material my 3rd grader is reviewing. I say "reviewing," because all of the material he has seen so far, he already mastered in either the 1st or 2nd grades. (Example: all he is doing so far in math is addition and subtraction. I originally thought they were just starting off with a review of previous lessons. WRONG! That's the main subject matter for the next several months.) I will have to supplement just to keep him from getting complacent.

3. When you buy a "Boxed Set" of curriculum, you are assuming that your child is at the same level in all subjects. I didn't account for the different strengths and weaknesses of my son. (Example: Trey's Reading Comprehension is very high, and his Reading Speed is very slow. So I have to try to find short stories {so he can be finished in a reasonable amount of time}, with a strong content level {so he can stay challenged}. I find that he enjoys magazine articles and newspapers, as opposed to lengthy books. He still likes the lengthy ones, but I find that he enjoys it more if I read it to him, or if he reads only a chapter at a time. )

4. I seriously underestimated the amount of time and preparation that goes into being a Homeschool Teacher. This is not to say that I'm not up to the challenge. I had done my homework and knew that it was going to take a lot of work. I didn't jump off the deep in without knowing what I was getting myself into. That being said, it's STILL a lot more work than I thought! If you read every book out there about homeschooling, and you think you have a good idea of the time and preparation it takes...take that number and multiply it by 3. I realize that by the time one gets a routine down, that number might go back down to the original estimate. Gosh I hope so!!! LOL.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 1 Lesson Plans - October 6 - 10

Language Arts -

Introduction of Alpha Omega Curriculum

Practice cursive handwriting: under curve letters - i, t, u, w, e, r, s

Building sentences using word blocks.

Math -

Review all addition / subtraction facts

History / Geography -

Kansas Unit Study - (Alpha Omega Curriculum)

Read A Summer Vacation, and The Six Parts of Kansas

Internet Research Project: Look up Kansas State Facts

Art -

Dinosaur Project (Kansas Tie - In)
Color / Cut / Paste Dinosaurs & Names, Facts

Make Kansas State Flag

Spelling -


Bonus: Kansas

Science -

Our Body Breathes Air - Alpha Omega

Discuss how air enters our body and goes to our lungs.

Discuss how our bodies inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

Make model of lungs using plastic cup, balloons, straws, clay, tape.

Discuss how many breaths we take while sitting still as opposed to

Discuss why our bodies seem out of breath after exercising.


Library Day - Friday

Composition Work - Interesting Facts about Kansas

Cooking in the Kitchen with Mom - Make dessert using recipe / measuring.

Homeschooling Week 1

We started our first full week of homeschooling this past week, and I have to say that everything went smoothly. We took a good week off...Trey needed a little break from everything, and I needed an opportunity to get my house back in order. 5 years of working full time took it's toll on my ability to keep the laundry monster at bay.

Starting this past Monday, we began our home school experience. I was so proud of Trey...he really did well. Of course, by Thursday, he had begun to test the limits between Mom and Teacher. But he really was exceptionally behaved. He received all high A's on his quizzes, and he was so proud. We are still in the planning process of our classroom, so he is working out of the living room for now. I made a make-shift bulletin board from a large framed print that I had, and I posted his work up above the piano for the whole family to see. Of course, I didn't leave Addie out...she has a math quiz hanging up there on which she made a 103%.

We are currently using the Alpha Omega Complete Curriculum set. Overall, I am pleased with it, but it does seem to be a little beneath his level. He was in an Advanced Placement school for Math and Engineering before we began homeschooling (Addison is still enrolled there)...and some of the things in the 3rd Grade Alpha Omega Curriculum is what he learned in Kindergarten. So, I'm having to do a lot of extra planning to make sure I supplement the boxed set adequately enough for his level of learning. Other than that, I like the fact that I can give a brief review of the previous days lesson and introduce new material at the beginning of each subject, and then he can work pretty much independently for the rest of the lesson. With Lindsay being not quite 3 years old, she's still having a difficult time letting me spend a lot of one on one time with Trey without interrupting.

I'd love to hear advice from anyone who is homeschooling an elementary level student, and also has a toddler running around. And I will try to post our lesson plans from this past week, as well as those for the upcoming week.

Home school is definitely a challenge, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. As I've said in recent posts, I used to work for the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department - actually, I still kind of work there. They asked me to stay on part time until they can find someone to replace me. I was kind of apprehensive because I knew how hard it was going to be for me to leave anyway...I really loved my job. I'm one of those cold-turkey types. When there comes a time for me to move on from something that I love, I am the type of person who needs to completely sever all ties, or else I wind up having regrets. I definitely didn't want to have regrets, but I couldn't tell them no. I grew up in a police family, so it was no surprise to me that I would come to think of them as an extension of my own family.

I only work for a few hours a week when I can...just to help them keep up with things until they find someone. But my first day back last week was a real eye-opener. Here I was feeling very apprehensive because I didn't want to regret leaving. But guess what...I didn't. The whole time I was there, I knew that I shouldn't have been. I felt so out of place...not because they had changed, but because I have. IN A WEEK! I knew that even though the department needed help, they didn't necessarily need ME. But my family does. EPIPHANY!!! It was one of those "Aha!" moments (as Oprah puts it).

While I will continue to fulfil my commitment to TAPD until they no longer need my service, I will never again question whether my decision to quit was a sound one. I know now that what I did was what was best for my son. That's all that matters...