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Monday, March 31, 2008

Almost There!

We finalized the April Edition of Growing in Grace today and it will be published for tomorrow. We're so excited! There's so much in the works for the girls at GGM and we are just so ecstatic at all the growth in this wonderful ministry for girls! SO keep an eye out tomorrow for all the fun!

The HomeSpun Life

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I won a free book for my daughters!

Wowee I won!!! Check this out from the TOShomeschoolbloggerCompanyPorch:

Wow! The response to this contest was amazing! A huge thank you to Salem Ridge Press for sponsoring this contest! Let's review what they have offered.

Salem Ridge Press is a publishing company, established in November, 2005, dedicated to bringing back quality children’s books of the 1800’s and early 1900’s for a new generation of readers. We strive to republish books that are well-written, interesting and wholesome, and we hope that you enjoy these books as much as we have!

In the Fall of 2007, we released the first seven books in our Emma Leslie Church History Series. From the time of Paul to the time of William the Conqueror, from the forests of Britain to the deserts of Arabia, from the arena in Rome to the First Council of Nicea, these dramatic stories make excellent history supplements and great reading!

There are to be 50 winners! Get your glasses and get ready to scrutinize this list to see if you are one of those winners. Each winner will be notifid by e-mail that they have won so please reply to that e-mail as quickly as possible. If your name is on the list and you don't receive an e-mail, check your SPAM box. If I do not hear back from a winner within one week of this post I will choose another winner. If you don't have a blog then I use the first part of your e-mail address to identify you with.

Here we go!

1. ElCloud 26. servingthekingofkings
2. donnak4 27. ksteele7454
3. LoriLynn 28. wrongwaywendy
4. eval 29. animama
5. ra4folk 30. rondideboer
6. hanessa1 31. dannjen
7. murfandmurfette 32. minivanmamma
8. England11 33. doberdu
9. ourhomelearning 34. treesaw1
10. writingcanvas 35. wendlylh

11. 5coopers 36. volmerfamily
12. grodi11 37. Ksudoc92
13. sonshine4u 38. gentlebenswife
14. pjckim 39. giantthaw
15. BevG 40. obrien62
16. TheNotebookingCorner 41. farminmarbles
17. daplazic1 42. 1writermom
18. kseppala 43. mafbk
19. inchargemom 44. orangenkitty
20. sisterlisa 45. jmlatham96
21. teboschool 46. homeforschool
22. Notvmom2004 47. Ruth
23. martinmoose 48. tbjcowling
24. jsgay97 49. mcoconnor
25. school4jesus 50. Susan

WHEW! Look at that list will ya! I do hope you will enjoy reading your book. Be sure to come back here and let us know what you think!

Tia Linschied
Senior Editor of HSB


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Self Motivated

Another busy month, now coming to a close and a new month to begin. Spring is officially here and Moni spent all afternoon taking pictures of our neighborhood's flowers. She'll be sharing them on her blog very soon. As I was working on some graphics today, Moni was working on photography, which of course you know is Art class. :O) She'll be uploading her work to her BetterPhoto album and entering her work in their monthly contest during April. Moni and I also created a private Homeschool Photography group right at so if you're interested in learning some photography tips with us let me know! GGM has allowed our writers to enter the photo contest, however they are not eligible to win the grand prize of the BetterPholio. And speaking of the contest, GGM will be sharing a few of the Editor's Choice Awards in April's issue this week! So keep your eyes open for those!

I'm so excited for Jess, who has been working all week on putting GGM's April issue into PDF format with a program that is very new to her. She has spent HOURS on it and has learned so much just by practicing. May's issue will be even better than this one, we always learn as we go don't we?

I had an opportunity to talk to my friend last night again about homeschooling. I have shared her story with a few of my bloggy friends and asked for prayer for her family. I explained to her that Jess has been working on this and she asked me, "Does this count as computers and Grammar for her?" and of course I excitedly replied, "OH yes!" She was so excited to hear that.

What a wonderful way for a child to learn how to do something, just get yourself involved in doing it! They are both such self-motivated learners!


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Attn: Mothers and Daughters!

Growing in Grace Magazine wants to honor Christian mothers and daughters in May for Mother's Day! We'll be planning a special article just for this occasion and here's what we would like to do:

-Send us your best photo of mother with daughter(s).

-Girls: Tell us what makes YOUR mom so special.

-Photos may be of you doing something together, participating in a favorite hobby, or just a still pose. Your choice.

We'll choose one winning article to be featured in May's issue, but all participants photos will be featured in honor of your moms.

Please contact us and we'll send you a permission form to complete for using your photo.

All mothers with daughters 18 or younger may apply. Three/four generation photos are also accepted.

**If you are a vendor and would like to donate prize(s) for our winner, please contact us.

This is a wonderful way to show your mom and the whole world how much your mother means to you. Please pass this news onto your friends and invite others to join us. Come by to get the graphics and share this with all your friends! Click this flower below:



Opening Day!

Today is the BIG day! Timmy starts T-ball this morning! I can't WAIT to show the pics! My son looks so handsome in his uniform. You know how it is with a man in uniform. ;O) My little guy is just so cute! Although he would rather I not put it that way in front of people. So, I told him he looks like a professional athlete. He liked that better. :O)


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Clean Tub

While we were spring cleaning the other day I decided to try a more natural approach to cleaning my bathtub. I brought in the baking soda and white vinegar and wiped down the inside of the tub with this easy solution. No scrubbing was needed and the ring disappeared! No, it doesn't smell quite as nice as fresh clean rain, but you could always add in some lemon juice for fragrance. :O)

Jocelyn has a few ideas on how to use Salt, vinegar, and lemons as well/ Be sure to swing on over to Growing in Grace where she posted her Making the Home articles!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Recapping This Educational Year

For a while now I have been captivated with the history of the 'school' and have been discussing this with my husband. Today, I found this site with the history of the public school system and was intrigued with what I read. Many books from early America taught only to grade eight. You can come by and see if you could pass the 8th grade exit exam of 1895.

We are coming to the end of our 'school' year and something I have noticed about the books I purchase for my 7th grader and 10th grader is that some of their books taught the SAME material. Their history books for example, have the same table of contents and in the same order. In previous years, Jess, had confessed to me that when she was in school they never got passed the third unit. This means she has learned the SAME material each year. I was far too naive and should have looked further into what she was learning. I took for granted that since she had straight A's that it meant she was really learning. I'm not meaning to be critical about the school they were in, not at all. She had a few wonderful teachers that taught her quite well. (More about this later.)

Moni has been studying pre-Algebra and something I have noticed in her book is that the majority of the book taught various techniques of using decimals, percentages, and fractions. She's bored. Needless to say I am skipping some of the 'busy' work in her math book and will create a placement exam for her to complete this year's math studies.

Another interesting thing I am finding out is that their grammar books are the same. English and grammar is just the same each year. Also, since we use a Christian English book, much of the examples and exercises involve History as well as Bible. I like that, except that there is so much 'busy' work in those as well. I rather enjoy having my children read classical literature to stimulate their brain in stead of 'busy work'. Next year we will make further adjustments in their studies to create an environment of academic desire that will promote their ability to research and educate themselves. If I allow my children to continue to do 'busy work' how will they ever figure out how to accomplish other tasks as an adult? I want my children to be able to figure out how to complete a task on their own.

Schools don't always offer classes that are necessary as an adult. Most schools offer Shop as an elective, yet it is such a vital part of life. Not every family can afford to take their car to a mechanic. Most schools offer Home EC as an elective, yet girls should KNOW how to create a shopping list, prepare nutritional meals, and be hospitable to guests. I also feel that Wood Shop is vital for students in order to make needed updates to their own homes. Yet, schools make classes mandatory, such as four years of English, which is the same year after year. In my opinion, English for four years should include classic literature studies, and a lot of writing. I'm not just talking about writing reports, I'm talking about writing creatively such as for the newspaper or writing short stories. Oh boy I could say more about reports.

Ok so I will.

When I hear parents of schooled children talk about reports I cringe. They are required to write about things that have been written about time after time, by millions of people, over the years. How can any report about Martin Luther King Jr. be any different from any other paper about him? The facts are still the facts. There is nothing to be added about his life! Yet teachers will claim the child has copied another person's work.

Okay. I must ask.

How would they know? The facts are all the same. How can you write about his childhood and speech any differently than anyone else has? Many times my daughter would want to add how she felt about the person she was writing about and that was refused. The teacher didn't want to know what she thought, only what the facts are. How does that help shape my daughter into a successful human being?

I feel it's so important to allow children to come to conclusions on their own. I feel it's important to learn history, but not to re-write it year after year. My oldest daughter writes wonderful children's stories and I have admonished her to compile her stories into a book and have it published. If anyone asks her if she, as a homeschooled student, got good grades in English, she can say that she published a book. So how's that?!?! (Yes, I'm being a bit sarcastic.)

I can teach my children facts about History, but facts alone don't 'teach'. I enjoy discussing History with my children. After reading a portion of history I ask them how they would have felt if they had lived during those times. How does what they learn compare to the world today? What can you learn from this portion of history? We select a variety of words from our literature readings and discuss their meanings and how you might use that word in another sentence. So much more interesting than memorizing vocabulary words they may never use.

I may be able to continue this, however I'd like to say a few good things about some of the teachers my oldest daughter had while growing up. First of all, I'd like to say that her third grade Sunday School teacher was the best Sunday School teacher she has ever had. I can't say enough about this woman, really I can't. She made all the difference in my daughter liking the Bible stories and understanding what God was teaching her.

Next is her kindergarten teacher, who placed an incredible amount of importance on her handwriting. She taught Jess that she should learn to write her letters well. Not just legibly, but WELL! She used the Victory Drill book for learning to read and we bought one after the year was over. We still use it today.

Now I'd like to say something about her fourth grade teacher. She spoke kindly to her students and taught them so well by her example. She was one of the best teachers I have ever known in my entire life. I really believe her calling is to be a teacher, yet she doesn't teach today.
Her last child is about to leave the home and go to college, a fine young man! She used concepts to teach and inspire the children. I learned so much from her myself!

Once Jess got to sixth grade she struggled immensely with Math. I became her tutor and we used my husband's office for many weeks for our night study time. Jess was able to bring up her grade from a C to an A in about a month's time. When she got to junior high she did quite well with her 'grades' and her math teacher is a very talented teacher. Jess was also blessed to have an excellent English teacher during her eighth and ninth grades!

By this time Moni began struggling in school. We even changed private schools and hired a tutor to work along side myself as I tutored her the other nights. Gina began struggling as well, in Kindergarten, and I also became her tutor. The school required her to be held back, because she wasn't grasping the material and had a difficult time learning her phonics. An entire year later we found out she had a speech difficulty due to her jaw having abnormalities. Thank the Lord for the doctor who pointed this out to us. After a few months of speech therapy she was doing quite well.

During these frustrating years, I believe God was teaching me how to teach my children. I'm thankful for the teachers my children had during their time in school and for God revealing to me what He wanted for us to decide for our children's further education. He has taught me through His Word and by what He allowed to take place in my life, that He wants me to teach my children. There are things He wants me to teach them that aren't offered or focused on in school. Being home gives us more time to be able to insure that they will learn those things that we feel God is showing us is important to Him and for their futures.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Our Monday

We began today with some spring cleaning. We started out with laundry, then moved into the kitchen. We needed to clean out under the kitchen sink and while we were under the dark space we found that there must have been a leak in our pipes, for there in a box I had kept some tall thin vases was moldy water. YUCK! Upon further inspection we found that the pipes were dry as a bone.

We called for a friend to come take a look and he found the sink was not suitably installed nor was it sealed. (We moved into this home and it was rather run down to begin with) His recommendation, to my enjoyment, was to rebuild that half of the kitchen. Which would include a whole new counter top, brand new sink and faucet, as well as new cabinets and drawers. (big huge smile here) You may think that this would set us back financially however we rent. (big cheesy grin) And since we rent from the ministry we work for, they will provide for this. YEAH!

After we finished cleaning under the sink, we entered the children's bedrooms. I went through Gina's and Timmy's dressers and closets and pulled out clothes they no longer wear to donate to the local women and children's home. We then had the girls vacuum their rooms and steam clean their carpets. Our home is lookin' good!

I took a break to check on some homeschool sites for articles and found a great link at the Design Your Homeschool website. Maybe you already know about this, but I sure didn't. That Merriam-Webster Dictionary has a site that is phenomenal for kids! A few things I'd like to highlight for you is their Spelling Bee online game. You'll be able to read and hear the phonetic portion of a word and it's up to you to spell the word. Also, their Rootonym game was a lot of fun, be sure to have a dictionary handy to help you out.

I hope you and your children will enjoy the site as much as we did. (You may be prompted to download the latest flash player from Java, which I did and the time it takes is so worth it! About 5 minutes total)


Friday, March 21, 2008

Stumbled Upon While Homeschooling

Every so often I sit down at my desk and Stumble Upon some different fun sites on the WWW.
I like that I can enter 'homeschool', 'education', or 'Christianity' and get only those kinds of sites.

Here are just a few places I 'Stumbled Upon' while Homeschooling today.

I found it fun to see samples of what different age levels write at Write Source. Sure gave me encouragement that my children are on the right path. ;O) They give you examples of what most kids that age will write. Lots of great tips too.

Then there's Edheads, an interactive educational site for kids, kinda reminds me of Brain Pop, only this one can become graphic in the surgery scenes. :P But for science minded kids, it would be great! (Preview first to be sure)

One of my favorite time eras is Medieval and I found a lot of resources at All About Medieval Times.

At ABCTeach I found free printables for Sudoku puzzles, which I have found that Moni LOVES these and it's such good practice for her brain using numbers.

I even got to 'meet' a new blogger after my own heart named Monica. Be sure to drop by and say hello. I saw that Monica and I had two things in common right away! Can you guess what that was?


HOTM Meme: Wish I Would've Known

At HOTM today they asked this question:
What Do You Wish You Had Known Your First Year of Homeschooling?

Well that is cute because I have just completed my first year of homeschooling! So what do I wish I would have known this last year? I think the biggest thing would be that no matter how organized I try to be, I will never have my dining room table back to normal again. Well, maybe when we move, because we'll have a school room to keep all our books in.

I also wish I would have known that I didn't really need any geography, history, or science books. This is because I can just go to the library and study on our own and in much more fun ways than using textbooks!

Head on over and see what the other moms had to say!


Christian News: Fire Proof Your Marriage

From the creators of Facing the Giants, is a new film 'Fireproof' starring Kirk Cameron. Be sure to come by and see the trailer and read all the news about this life altering film to promote saving marriages in the world today!

You can come post your encouraging words on their blog!

Please do help promote this film on your blogs and help spread the word!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesdays visit 5MinutesForMom.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's a Lifestyle of Learning

The other day a friend of mine asked if we were going to be having Easter Break this week in our homeschool. I like that she asked me about this in front of my daughter, Jess.
When I looked at this woman and said, "No, we don't take breaks from learning, it's a lifestyle of learning." She looked perplexed.

I went on to explain that my children don't sit in a desk 7 hours a day and that since they get their work done so quickly there's no need for breaks. My children love to learn and will even pick up a book or do research on the net, even on Saturdays and Sundays, not because I assign it, but because they LIKE to learn.

My daughter nodded her head at everything I said and I have a feeling we left this woman intrigued about homeschooling. We love her dearly and have been close to her family for about 13 years, but when we brought our children home, it caused a big stir among our church. One other friend of mine said that she has noticed a BIG change in my family, especially Moni, and said that we seem SO relaxed and HAPPY now. Then just last night, another woman mentioned to me that she has seen an incredible change in Jess.

We were in a group discussing parenting and I said that when I brought my children home I HAD to take a 'step up' as a mom. Having them home gives me more 'practice' in being a mom and it has made me a better mother. I wonder how many women who don't have their kids at home say that they;

"can't stand to be around their kids",
"Their kids drive them up a wall", and
"Are glad to send them to school each day to give HER a break"

I can't tell you how many times I have heard these comments from people AND I used to say the VERY SAME THINGS before bringing them home. You won't catch me saying that now. I love having them home with me! I decided to not attend a women's conference a week ago just so I could spend the time with my children. Instead of going on the retreat I took my kids on a field trip to a gold mining community and we had a great time! It is said, about the women's retreat, that it gives moms a 'break', to 'get away', and to 'be refreshed'. I can understand those statements, as my husband takes me on a date EVERY week, but I don't like to be gone very long.

We love to live our 'Lifestyle' of learning together as a family. Every moment is a teaching opportunity! It's a Lifestyle of Learning.


There's A Party!

Miss Jocelyn, Miss Amanda, Lady Rachel, and their mom Jacque are having some giveaways! They're celebrating their 2 year anniversary of blogging with a chance to win several prizes! I'd like to invite all of you to come by and sign up for your chance to win!

Here's what they're giving away:
Door Prizes:

All four of us will be giving away a TOS Magazine subscription along with some other prizes.

Heart of Wisdom $15 Gift Certificate
Homeschool Boutique $15 Gift Certificate
The Wash Basin $10 Gift Certificate
Homestead Originals $10 - a vintage soap dish and your choice of a Homestead Originals soap scent. Here are the scents:

  1. Lavender Soap
  2. Mama’s Little Sweet Pea Soap
  3. Rosemary Mint Soap
  4. Country Clothesline Soap
  5. Country Gentleman
  6. Farm Fresh Oatmeal Soap
  7. Homestead Kitchen Soap

Joyous Home I am reviewing this mag, and I am very pleased with the spectrum of home, homeschooling, family and girlhood/womanhood it represents. Take a look; I know you will love it too!

2 ebooks:
Making Whole Grain Crackers: A Holiday Helper
The Summer Wreath ~ Ribbon Embroidery

Bundled In Prayer
2 winners will get their choice of a poncho, shawl, or apron

Good and Evil Comic-book Bible by No Greater Joy
Greenleaf Press: Famous Men of Rome history book
I Spy: Extreme Challenge book

Plus a book or two from The Funny Guy, I mean, The Family Guy, I mean, The Family Man

If you don't know them very well may I encourage you to take some time to read their blogs. This is a tremendous family and they have been SUCH a blessing to me personally and to my daughters.


Monday, March 17, 2008

FREE Bible Giveaway!

Lady Mj is giving away a free KJV New Testament Bible at Growing in Grace this month. Be sure to check it out!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

It Was Time To Go!

Saturday afternoon, my son had t-ball practice scheduled with his team mates. It was sunny, however we could see dark storm clouds not too far from home. There was an eerie stillness in the air and the heat of the sun beat down upon our faces. Before we arrived at the field I had discussed with my husband the possibility of a funnel cloud in those same clouds, yet the sunshine led my husband to believe we would fine.

We were at the field for about 5 minutes, the boys were practicing their drills while I was visiting with the parents. We were talking about those clouds and how ominous they looked hovering over the foothills. You could see where the clouds were releasing their fury in the distance, yet we were still in the glory of the sunshine.

One of the dads mentioned that IF it was going to rain on us, we would most likely have little time to get all those boys, their equipment, and all their siblings into the cars without getting drenched!

Within seconds of this conversation a strong wind whipped into us causing several children to begin crying frantically! My husband, the avid sportsman that he is continued to practice with the children, yet you could see their thoughts in their eyes. "How much longer will Coach Scott make us practice in this weather before sending us home?"

I called out to my husband and told him to turn around and look at the sky, and right as he turned another fierce gust of wind ripped into us as my husband shouted, "Time to go home!" Without hesitation, the children all ran as quickly as possible to his side as he gave them a few words of encouragement and praise for their unity to their team mates in enduring those 5, but seemingly longer, moments.

The parents were so kind about allowing their children to continue practicing although the coaches wife was doing all she could to convince her husband that it was time to go home. We have such a great team and their families are just awesome! We sent the children home with plans to resume practice on Tuesday. My husband then had to cancel his own ball game that was to take place just after t-ball.

We rushed home to check the weather channel when we saw dark green and orange on the doppler. We looked out our windows and had just a few seconds of intermittent drops and rushing winds. Those creepy clouds never did bless us with the much needed rain, but it made for a great science lesson for my children.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Charlie and Lola

Can I just say that as I sat with Gina this morning and enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons, cuddled under a warm blanket, I just LOVE 'Charlie and Lola' (And I say that with my best British accent!)

Their website has some FUN little games to play and free desktops too! I'm going to enjoy their site with my daughter Gina now. I hope you enjoy it too!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Foot Baths and Homesteading

My husband has been going to the gym faithfully for a couple of months now and the children and I always seem to have things come up that need to be done thus we end up missing going to the gym. So I decided last night that we would just go in the morning to be sure we don't miss anymore. I won't be going as early as DeeDee does, for what she calls 'dark-thirty' is NOT my ideal thought on working out with my children in tow. SO we'll settle for 10 am. ;O)

Now after I read what Jess had to contribute today at Growing in Grace, I think I'll want to sit in the sauna instead of working out. (Only we all know my husband will ask how many calories I burned today, so THAT won't be an option for me)

When we get home we need to work on Jess' dress. My husband is taking her and Moni on a special date tomorrow night and Jess wants to make a wrap to go over her dress. Miss Jocelyn wrote an article about sewing and my girls are excited now to be able to work on this project with me today. Sewing seems to be one of those endangered crafts among young girls today and I want to be sure I teach my girls as much as I possibly can about it. Now, I'm not as talented as Brielle is, but I can manage well enough. She certainly has inspired my girls to WANT to learn which is a good thing.


Wordless Wednesday

Now you see it...

Now you don't!

Future site of a new home!

Come see other Wordless Wednesdays at 5 MinutesForMom


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Tonight I made homemade chili and prepared and baked cornbread from Krusteaz, but I had run out of milk. All I had from the dairy case was Fat Free Half and Half. So in went a cup of that and I am SO glad that I was out of milk! (And yes I make bread from a box, you don't want my hand made bread!) So this is the same mix I buy every time we want cornbread, but I'll tell ya what! Using that FF 1/2 and 1/2 was the best substitute I ever used in a mix. Boy was it ever moist and flavorful! We didn't even add honey or butter! To top that off, my family that usually LOVES my chili, wanted ONLY the cornbread for dinner. :P


Yes, I Do Have an Opinion!

With the recent hoopla over the court ruling last week regarding homeschooling, I have read numerous articles by some intelligent homeschool bloggers, as well as news media coverage. It amazes me how ignorant some media can be about the laws in our state.

Our town's local paper reported that independent homeschoolers, who have filed as a private school under their own roof, which IS legal by the way, could be questioned. Furthermore, other articles I have read indicate that these uncredentialed parents could no longer be able to teach their OWN children. So I have a question to ask about that. If that becomes a law, then what about all the uncredentialed Christian schools, whose uncredentialed teachers, teach a whole class of students who aren't even their own?

Another thought that crossed my mind is that it has been reported that there are between 166,000 and 200,000 homeschooled children in the state of California alone. So just where do the public schools think they would put all these children? The schools already complain about not having enough teachers, classrooms, or resources available to accommodate the children they have now, let alone this many new additions. They also report as having various problems with getting kids to pass their state testing and they want us to allow them to educate our children? I thinknot!

Not only that, but they would need to hire new office personnel and school counselors as well. Another thought that has been on the minds of the media is that these children would be considered truant. So how many truant officers will they have to hire to get these kids into their public school system? Will every courthouse in California be inundated with hundreds of thousands of homeschool parents being brought before the judges? It seems they have enough to worry about with cases of child abuse, child endangerment, and drug trafficking.

I try to think about this as logically as I can. We have 'public schools' and we also have 'public libraries', will they next make it a law that we HAVE to use THEIR libraries too? What about their parks? Parks are public access, yet will they also spend countless dollars trying to take us to court if we decide we'd rather play in our own backyards?

The next thing that comes to my mind is that the public schools already dislike the Christian groups trying to enforce their freedom of religion in the public schools, just imagine what they'd have on their hands if the homeschooled families were forced to attend their schools. I know not all homeschooled children are from religious families, but there's enough that would definitely take a stand about the immorality being allowed in the schools. Which by the way, is one of the reasons many families choose to homeschool.

I'm quite sure there will be someone who thinks I'm being picky, but again I try to think logically. Our Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement a few days back and a new resolution to this matter is in the works!

It just doesn't make sense for the state to try and force homeschooled children into the public school system. Not by any stretch of the imagination.


Monday, March 10, 2008

It's a Slumber Party!

My friends at 5MinutesForMom are having a
blog party and you're all invited! My name is Sisterlisa and I have 4 children. Three of them are girls! My two oldest girls write with me at Growing in Grace Magazine. I'll tell you more about that later. For now I want to PARTY!

I always enjoy creating invitations for parties and found these really cute invitations especially designed for sleep overs at BirthdayExpress! I have purchased birthday packages from them numerous times over the years and have been so happy with what I ordered.

I love their complete party packages that come with everything you need. Here is what we'll be using for our sleepover:

Now it's time to get our pj's on!!! I found these really cute pj's at PajamaGram and also found matching Oebee's slippers at ShoeBuy that my daughter Moni simply loves.

Now I do hope you remembered to bring your pillow. I found this cute pink pillow case at AmericanKidsBedding. Because after all, what's a slumber party without a good pillow fight? ;O)Now who would like to have a cupcake? My daughter, Jess, has a favorite cupcake so that's what we made for this party. Her favorite is Confetti Cupcakes! We found these at HeySugarCupcakes: She calls them The Blonde Cupcakes. How cute!
Now what would a good slumber party be without a good chick flick? Here is one of my favorites: 'Pride and Prejudice'.

Now I have to tell you that while I was at the blog party I ran into a few friends of mine! MamaArcher, Sprittibee, and DevilDogsWife! I also got to meet several hundred other ladies! Some of them are giving away free gifts to their party guests so be sure to check out the list of guests and have fun meeting other women. Come to think of it I have a free gift too! I'm offering this fun little blog header (for Blogger) graphic for free to one lucky blogger. Simply leave a reply and let me know you'd like a chance to win it. (I will customize the size to what you desire)

If you are like me you probably love a good magazine to flip through. Sometimes magazine subscriptions can be a luxury that you can't afford so here are a couple of free online magazines that I think you'll enjoy! This one is a magazine for girls, both for mothers and daughters! It's called Growing in Grace Magazine.

It's a Christian publication full of articles to inspire and encourage young ladies to live a Christ honoring virtuous life. They're even having a giveaway, in their March Issue, as well. To one of their readers, they are giving away a New Testament King James Bible.

Another free online publication I like to read is The Heart of The Matter. It's written for homeschooling moms, by homeschooling moms.

HOTM Magazine

I hope you've had fun at my little corner of the blog party. Be sure to swing back to 5MinutesForMom and meet some of the other guests.

*I was not under any obligation to post about any of these products, just wanted to have a bit of fun at the party.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gov. of California Takes a Stand for Homeschoolers!

Today from the San Francisco Chronicle:

(3-07) 13:37 PST SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced a state appeals court ruling that severely restricts homeschooling and promised Friday to change the law if necessary to guarantee that parents are able to educate their children at home.

"Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children," Schwarzenegger said in response to the ruling, which said children educated at home must be taught by a credentialed teacher.

"Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children's education," Schwarzenegger said. "This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don't protect parents' rights then, as elected officials, we will."

State Education Secretary David Long, a Schwarzenegger appointee, said that meant the governor supported allowing parents without teaching credentials to educate their children.

"The governor sees this as a fundamental right of parental choice," he said.

In the meantime, attorneys with Long's agency are poring over the decision to determine what to tell local school districts, the agencies responsible for pursuing truants, said Jack O'Connell, the state's superintendent of public instruction.

An estimated 166,000 children are homeschooled in California. Some are enrolled in independent study programs through school districts, charter schools or private schools. Others are taught at home or in programs that have no oversight by a public education agency or private school.

The ruling that prompted Schwarzenegger's anger was issued Feb. 28 by the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, but went unpublicized until this week. The court said all children ages 6 to 18 must attend public or private school full time until they graduate from high school or must be tutored by a credentialed teacher.

State law is silent

There is no provision in the California Education Code or elsewhere in state law that addresses the issue of homeschooling. Homeschool advocates want to keep it that way, despite the governor's support for a new law to help them.

They believe current code supports their practices and that new laws would include regulations and possibly restrictions on homeschooling.

"We just want to leave it alone because it's good the way it is," said Loren Mavromati, who homeschools her two children and volunteers with the California Homeschool Network, an advocacy organization made up mostly of homeschooling parents. "The law as it stands is working well in California."

It's unclear how much support the governor would have in the Legislature for allowing parents without credentials to teach their children.

Two members of the state Senate Education Committee, Sen. Jack Scott, D-Altadena (Los Angeles County), the panel's chairman, and Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, declined to comment Friday on the issue or the court ruling.

One complicating factor is that California's compulsory-education law is widely interpreted to mean the state is obliged to make sure every child is educated.

"As a society, we recognize that a well-educated citizenry is our goal," Long said. The purpose of compulsory education is "to help ensure that," he said.

Father happy for the help

The case that led to the court ruling stemmed from a child welfare dispute involving the children of Phillip and Mary Long of Lynwood (Los Angeles County). The couple's eight children have been homeschooled by Mary Long, who holds no teaching credential. The children were also enrolled in a private school through an independent study program, which included quarterly home visits by officials of the school.

Although the case did not involve the question of the children's truancy, the court decision broadly addressed the legality of homeschooling in California.

Homeschool advocates and the Longs have said they will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Phillip Long, who is not related to the education secretary, said Friday that Schwarzenegger's support for his family's case was good news.

"The parent-child relationship existed long before any government and makes it the responsibility of the parent to educate the child," he said. That responsibility includes protecting one's children from "things hazardous to the child, emotionally as well as physically," he said.

Long, 54, said he specifically objected to his children being taught in school about evolution and homosexuality.

"I want to keep and protect them until I feel they're mature enough to deal with these issues," he said. "I believe the creator wants us to protect our children from things we believe are hazardous to their character."

Lawmakers avoided issue

A credentialed tutor for his children is out of the question, he said.

"A credentialed teacher ain't gonna come and educate my child for free," Long said. "I pay property taxes every year so that children can have an education in the public school system, including my children, but I choose to take on the expense and added pressure and time to educate my children on our own."

This is not the first time the state has grappled with the homeschooling issue. In 2002, then-state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin said homeschooling was illegal and that she would enforce the law.

Eastin then asked the Legislature to take up the issue. It declined.

Six months later, O'Connell took over as state schools chief and opted for a hands-off approach, directing homeschooling families to the forms required to create a private school and telling local districts that truancy was their issue.

For five years, homeschooling remained politically dormant.

In that time, the practice has become increasingly mainstream, with homeschooled children getting into the country's best colleges and participating in the National Spelling Bee.

One size won't fit all

Crafting legislation to address homeschooling could prove challenging, given the differences in educational styles and programs within each home.

Many homeschooling parents register as a private school with the state - a status that does not require credentialed teachers - and then enroll their children in their school. Across the state, there are 18,352 students attending private schools with five or fewer students, state education officials said.

Charter and private schools accommodate homeschoolers with varying levels of supervision. Some homeschool families follow a curriculum, and others don't.

An unknown number of homeschoolers practice "unschooling," which essentially allows children to learn by living and doing what they are interested in doing.

For now, Schwarzenegger is prepared to wait and see if the courts will resolve this case, spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart said.

"He believes parents should have the right and flexibility to homeschool their children," she said.

If court appeals fail, legislation would be an option, Lockhart said. But she added that "what that legislation looks like at this point is premature."


Friday, March 7, 2008

Have Fun With Sentence Structure

DK Silly Rhymes:,,9780751313703,00.html

This DK game is a language building game that promotes reading and sentence structure using rhyming word puzzle pieces. Each piece is colored coded with a specific color border on each piece.
Children will learn sentence structure as you guide them with using the red puzzle pieces which are nouns, the blue pieces are adjectives, the pink pieces are prepositions, the yellow pieces are articles, the punctuation marks are purple, and the green pieces are verbs.
In this game the level of education is described by me as easy. My daughter used to refuse to attempt writing sentences due to her frustration in writing, until we found this game. Now she can continue to learn her sentence structure until she is more confident in her handwriting. She begins with a simple sentence such as;

The pet talked about the bug.

She then adds adjectives;

The funny pet talked about a small bug.

She then can play a game in which she finds the puzzle pieces that rhyme. Such as rug, jug, mug, and bug.

This game has been the easiest and most fun way for her to learn her sentence structure and English grammar.

For those on a limited budget, you can simply create a similar game with your own materials.

Materials needed:

White Cardstock

Construction paper of various colors.

Glue stick

Black ink pen and red ink pen.

Old magazines or pictures printed from your computer. (or you can draw them.)

Find pictures of simple nouns such as cat, bat, mat, rat. Find nouns that rhyme and cut them out. You'll need to determine what size you want to make the pieces and make them all the same size.

Glue the pictures on the white cardstock and write the word of that picture, but write the rhyming letters in red ink such as at, et, ot, en, etc.

Once you have these pictures glued to the white cardstock then you can cut the pieces.

You'll want each category to be a different shape but all of the same category the same shape. So for instance all prepositions must be the same shape, yet all the articles must begin with a shape that matches the prepositions.

After you have the pieces cut then you can glue them to their coordinating construction paper color and cut in the same shape, only leave the construction paper cut larger to create a colored border.

You can create more advanced sentences by creating more grammar pieces. You can get ideas for those at Scholastic's Parent's Page:
You can purchase DK's educational books and games at Barnes and Noble Bookstores and as a home educator you can use your teacher discount of 20% off all your educational purchases. Please see the local manager of your B and N bookstore for details about applying for your teacher discount. At my local branch I just needed to provide a letterhead, designed on my computer, and a copy of my state filed affidavit.
**This article was written without obligation to DK or Barnes and Noble. Just an honest review from a mom and daughter who enjoyed the purchase they invested in for educational purchases.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Interest Led

The other day I was working on some articles at my computer and I heard beautiful piano music playing. I thought that maybe the girls had set their new keyboard to demo mode until I heard a note off key. Everynow and then it would happen again, but not too often. I figured Jess must be playing, then I saw Jess in the living room. My eyes wide, I asked, "Who is playing the piano?" I was astonished when Jess told me that it was Moni! Moni has never taken a formal piano lesson in her life!

I asked Jess about Moni's capabilities with the piano and she said,
"oh yes mom, she does quite well." *GASP* I quietly tip toed over to the door to sneak a peek through the crck and lo and behold it WAS Moni and she WAS playing the piano! I was so proud! My heart welled up with joy and tears came into my eyes. As she completed her peice I opened the door and applauded her performance. That night I was sure to have her daddy listen in and he even his eyes were full of tears of joy.

Who woulda thought that bringing my children home where they belong would enhance her desire to play the piano? What a joy! As they complete their main subjects we then allow them to pursue their interests for as long as they so desire. What we're finding is that they are desiring to spend a few hours an evening practicing the piano and they're also practicing singing together.

We're now going to plan a recital for them! Even Gina has expressed an interest and she is taking 'lessons' from Jess on her own little keyboard.


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