Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - Digital Edition

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a wonderful Christian home school magazine packed with relevant information. Each issue has been a source of encouragement and an asset to our overall home school experience.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Digital Edition, is a quarterly magazine that you download onto your computer. Downloading is done simply and the program to read the magazine is built right in. You can read it on or offline.

The digital magazine is an exact copy, full color version, of the print magazine. It is easy to maneuver around the magazine with title bar features that include arrows to turn pages one at a time, table of contents, a search feature and clickable links to see all the web sites mentioned in the magazine. You can easily increase the font by clicking on the center of the page or going to the setting feature. Every idea was thought of to make reading it on the computer a positive experience.

This magazine is click and go friendly with clickable links in ads and in the articles to go directly to the company or recommended web sites. You can click on article titles on the front cover or on the table of contents page to go directly to any article as well.

You are welcome to print out articles to share with a friend or to read off the computer if you so choose.

Subscribing to the digital magazine also includes an email subscription to Teacher’s Toolbox. Each monthly issue has homeschool helps centered around a specific topic. They also include a free download of a useful homeschool product on the subject. Downloads in the past have included lap books and unit studies. Making the price of the digital magazine more then pay for it self in a couple of months.

Overall, I have enjoyed the digital edition's ease of use and encouraging homeschool information. I see this magazine more of a great big digest of homeschool helps. Many popular (and not so popular) veteran homeschool families flood the pages with their wisdom. All stages (and ages) of homeschool families will benefit with the information in the magazine.

For a free sample issue to try out for yourself click here.

For more information or to subscribe click here.

The Schoolhouse Planner

The Schoolhouse Planner is the most complete planner I have found. There are so many useful pages through out. I love the fact that it is in e-book format so it makes it so easy to print any page on demand. No need to worry about having access to a copy machine or a trip to Kinkos. The forms are also typeable so I can type what I want on the forms and print it. An added feature I haven’t seen in other e-book formats is the ability to save the information directly on the form and come back to them again later.

There is just about any thing a homeschool household would need. In fact, I believe any household would benefit from this planner. There are so many types of planning pages that this short list won’t give it justice. In addition to yearly calendars and monthly calendars through June 2009, some examples of planning pages are: appliance and electronic inventory, pet care, garden planning, budgeting, menu planning, chores, bible reading plan, as well as the typical homeschool planning pages, like progress reports and curriculum planners.

For each month in the calendar pages there is an article of encouragement, homeschool idea, or other household suggestions, a couple of family friendly recipes, a theme for the month with charts (like great composers, states and capitols, presidents) and clickable links to more resources that fit that months theme. I especially like this because it organizes our school year around a monthly theme that we can study together in addition to everyone’s independent studies.

Also included are copies of many important US documents like The Deceleration of Independence and The US Constitution. There are even charts for use in the kitchen. So do you see how this can be useful in ANY household?

Overall I think this is the best planner out there. Much time and preparation went into making sure that everything a homeschool household would need is in here. This isn’t just a bunch of pages to print off, there is a description with a brief explanation for every planner page. Whether you are a seasoned pro at organizing your homeschool or your homeschool needs a major overhaul, the tools given here may be just what you need to help get your homeschool on the right track.

To see a free preview of the planner or to purchase it click here.

Best Tips For Conquering Clutter

I am hardly qualified to contribute to this meme. However, I thought I would share a few things that I have done and then direct you to the "experts":

1- This year I have purchase a sweater size Rubbermaid type container and have put each child's school things in them. I will include a pencil bag with everyday essentials in it as well for them to keep their pencils, scissors, glue, etc.

2-We keep a book case in he dining room which holds essential reference books: dictionary, concordance, bibles, etc.

3-We have implemented an evening pick up where everyone is assigned a room and they will check the floors and "hot zones" (couch, unused surfaces, etc.) for clutter and will quickly take of it.

4-We have had a big problem with lost socks and finding socks laying around the house. I have given my 3 youngest boys (6,7,8 years) a laundry bag just to put their socks into. This has actually worked very well and we rarely find any socks laying around anymore (and we have less mismatched socks!)

A few sites I have enjoyed reading on this topic are:

Excellent support for those needing to get rid of chaos and welcome peace and order.

Year Long "Spring" Cleaning Schedule:
(contains archives for the new one below) or

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Article Recommendation and Blog Update

I just added a (Never Complete) list of homeschool helps to the side bar. If nothing else it will remind me a places to look for homeschool helps.

Also, I wanted to draw attention to a post written on Apples of Gold Ministries blog today about how to help during the loss of a child. I think it is a good reference for all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What We Are Using This Year! Part 2

Join Us at the HSBA!

I posted what we are using this year here:

So I won't repeat my info. What I left out, which I think is a great curriculum, is Drivers Ed in a Box. My 17 year old is using it to learn to drive. This is the first "class" my husband is officially teaching my son. So it does provide some great bonding time for them!

Ephesians 5:15-17 (New International Version)
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

I believe our time with our children are precious. We need to make wise use of our time, because who knows, ultimately how much time we will have with them. The time we do have also goes so fast.

We are relaxed homeschoolers and have in the past not used curriculum, especially when my two oldest (now 17 and 15) were younger. But I have "caved" do to pressure from my states regulations and "peer" homeschool pressure. However the curriculum I choose I want it to fufill the regulations without tying us down. I have found that Rod and Staff social studies and science to fit that need because you can do one lesson a week (in one day) and have more free time for other things.

We hope to spend some time doing bible and poem memorization, copy work, reading Story of the World 1 and other read alouds, and completing lap books on subjects we choose.

Have a great new school year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Homeschool Family

This is my favorite more recent homeschool video. So I had to include it here!
(I loved The Homeschool Mom's videos - no longer available.)

These are not all their children. They used another homeschool family to blend with theirs and give that large homeschool family effect.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Will Survive - Homeschool Version

Great video with inspiration!
This video disappeared and I had to search and re-find it, so hopefully it won't move again or be discontinued.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What We Are Using This Year!

We are an eclectic bunch and with 5 children they are all doing something different.

Here is an overview:

6 y/o is working through Rod and Staff Preschool Workbooks (He will be sitting in on his brothers reading lessons, but he is immature and I don't think he gets the idea of reading yet.)

7 y/o is trying to work through Spell to Write and Read. Our 8 year old used this the last two years and is a strong reader. My 7/0 does not get it and struggles with it, so I have to see what we decide to do with him. We also love Christian Light Math. This is great if you have not looked at it before. It is totally new series using a spiral type learning. Not too much busy work. Math drills and everything needed to teach the program comes in the light unit. They also have an excellent reading program.

8 y/o For him we are trying Alpha Omega math and language arts. I hope we like it. I read many reviews and people either love or hate it. He is going to be doing some copy work to supplement A&O. He is also doing Rod and Staff Social Studies and Science. I chose these because they only require one lesson a week (done in one day.) so that he would have lots of time to do independent and family lead projects.

15 y/o She is going to try Saxon Algebra 1/2. She has done Christian Light math the last 4 years however we are trying to save money and we already have Saxon (which my oldest did all the way through and always scores extremely well on standardized testing.) She is also doing Alpha Omega Language Arts. We will see how it goes for her. She has a vision impairment so we will see if that works. She is also doing Apologia General Science, Body by Design for health (I believe by Masters Publishers?) and Rod and Staff Social Studies. We plan on purchasing a lap book to accompany the Apologia science just for fun.

17 y/o Is done as far as the school district is concerned but has a few more subjects left to complete before he officially graduates. He is working on Christian Light English and Social Studies, Abeka Consumer Math, Auto Fundamentals (Christian Light has great electives such as home maintenance, computers, accounting, carpentry, etc.) Apologia Chemistry and eventually he will do Bob Jones Appreciating music.

I also purchased this year Institute for Excellence in Writing program to do with the two oldest. They are not writers and I really hope this works. I can't go wrong with their unconditional anytime return policy.

I have several lap books I would like to work on with the children through out the school year too. I haven't really done one yet, but I own a few. I have purchase some of the supplies so I really just have to do it. One thing we started last school year was poem memory / recitation. I will alternate with bible verse memory.

So that is probably more then I thought I would write. We have fun homeschooling and although I have lots of list of books we really are relaxed about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Ten Mistakes of Homeschoolers

I listened to this tape a couple of years ago and wanted to make copies for all my friends. Now Bold Christian Living has the transcript on their website so you can read it yourself:

Thanks to Values Driven Family for filling me in on it:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs 2008-09 Aug. 20, 2008

Here is my first assignment: This week, we want to hear about YOU. The author behind the words. The Momma behind all the homeschooling kiddos. Just write up something about you, your family, and your home. How long you’ve been homeschooling and why you decided to homeschool. It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy at all, but we’d love to hear it! You might include a family photo too!

Well here it goes. I have resisted starting another blog, but wanted to do one for homeschooling. So this will give me a good starting point ... having an assignment to do.

My name is Annmarie. I am a mom to 5 "always been" homeschooled children. We decided to homeschool when my oldest was 3.5 years old. I was working full time as a RN from 3pm to 11pm and was thinking if he went to school I would never see him again. I had just became a Christian and subscribed to a Christian parenting magazine. They sent me one of those deck of business cards with one from Christian Liberty Academy in it. I received a packet from them which change my life forever. While I never ordered their curriculum the information spurred me on for more.

In 1998 I came home full time to teach my then two children (4 & 6 years old). I had always wanted more but at the time that was all God had given me up until then. Little did I know that God would then bless us with 3 more children in the years that followed.

Many homeschool conventions later, we are still homeschooling our 6, 7, 8 year old boys, 15 year old daughter and 17 year old son. We are an eclectic bunch and very relaxed homeschoolers. My oldest is in his final year of homeschooling. An apprentiship opportunity has come up for him so it may take him two years (or more) to finish his "required" subjects.

Things are a little different for us as we have a child with a life threatening form of Lupus. She does have many doctors appointments to attend. This month she will go to 5 appointments. Next month we have to go see a specialist for a second opinion 3+ hours away. She then has a follow up with her regular Reumatologist a couple of weeks later. She does go to several different types of doctors because her Lupus effects her neurologic system and has damaged many different systems of her body. One bright thing is this fall Make a Wish is granting her wish. But it is a surprise still, so I can't give it away right now.

Here is a photo of us taken a couple of weeks ago by our Fresh Air Child:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Filling out IHIPs

Every year at this time I have to put together my IHIP. I am often at a loss for what to write down for those less formal subjects like art, music, physical education, and health. (OK, not everyone thinks like me, but stick with me a minute.) I don't want to buy a curriculum for music because frankly I haven't seen a good inexpensive one that a non-music person can understand. Health and physical education are so simple you don't need a curriculum in the early years. But what to put down for those non-educators types like me, who don't know "educationalease"?

I have a kindergartner (6 year old) so I have to figure what to write for these subjects. Now all you Internet junkies out there already knew this so you can stop reading but for the rest of us... I did a Internet search for 1st grade music skills and music worksheets. I found tons of info and simple guidelines so I have a some idea what to write. Then I found other topics and simple lesson plans to teach the guidelines. Many states have this information online for parents and teachers. So if you are at a loss for what to write, google it and see what you come up with

Remember you don't write anymore then you have to get your point across on
your IHIP!

Here are some physical Ed guidelines for 1st grade:
Participate daily in short periods of physical activity that require
exertion (e.g., one to three* minutes of walking, jogging, jump roping).
Perform fundamental locomotor (e.g., skip, gallop, run) and non-locomotor
(twist, stretch, balance) skills with mature form.
Develop manipulative skills (e.g., cut, glue, throw, catch, kick, strike).
Create and perform unique dance movements and sequences that strengthen
skills while demonstrating personal and spatial awareness.

Health guidelines:
Practice appropriate personal hygiene (e.g., bathe, wash hands, clean
Describe the benefits of eating a variety of nutritious foods.
Describe the benefits of physical activity.
Describe substances that are helpful and harmful to the body.
Practice basic safety and identify hazards.

Most of these things we do daily anyway. Just a more professional way to write it down! I looked over these and got some ideas to write my own guidelines.