Friday, September 26, 2008

"Record-Keeping, the Essentials!"

Record keeping has never been my strong area - I must admit. A book I like that has been helpful to me is "Relaxed Record-keeping" by Mary Hood. She has kind of shaped my record keeping model.

Basically I just keep a daily planner and take notes on that - a list of what is done. Field trips and other activities are kept in one place on the family calender. I do not keep track of grades - if we even take test - except for in high school.

I believe strongly that a child is learning all the time from the time they get out of bed until the going to bed at night. Keeping a record of significant events is all I have time to write.

New York state requires quarterly reports which also I find helpful in making a permanent record of what we have covered. (See, I am trying to make that burden positive.) I look through my day planner and make lists of what we covered. If we used a text or work book for a subject, I will list topics covered from the table of contents for that subject. For a grades I write in "Satisfactory" or "Needs Improvement." In high school, I do figure out the grades from what we have covered each quarter.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Comics & High School Financial Planning Information

Here are some free resources having to do with money and finances.

Federal Reserve Publications Catalog

Here is a web site where you can get free comic books about the Federal Reserve System. This Includes comic books on inflation, savings, how banks work, and the story of money, among others. Good info for what is going on right now. You can go to:
Federal Reserve Publications Catalog -

Completely free - no shipping.

Also Available is a free financial planning coarse for high schoolers. You can receive the student book free by requesting a sample kit.

The Information Kit is packaged in a folder and includes a full Student Guide, sample pages of the Instructor's Manual, brochure, bookmark, and other information.

This is done by private organizations. Also free - no shipping.

You can view this material on line too at: and go to downloads
(This site offers a FREE on line high school financial planning class utilizing the above student guide.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Now I take this to mean things, not people. If I had to list those my favorites of coarse would be 1- My Lord and Savior, Jesus. 2- My husband 3- My children 4 - My friends and extended family. But I am going to get selfish and list the a few of my favorite things....

(In no particular order...)

Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donut

Chinese buffets

Quality time with my husband (that is my love language:-)

Long car rides with my daughter and with my good friend Michele to doctor appointments.

Reading a magazine or book (after the bible)


Writing / Posting on my blog

Pretending to make "lapbooks" with my friend Stacy

Shopping - the laid back, jut looking, in no rush, no one is waiting for me to make dinner shopping.

Used Christian Book Stores

Library sales




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trampoline Video

My cousin's son, who lives in Greece, is very active in trampoline gymnastics (he has a personal coach.) He was chosen to attend a statewide camp in Greece where he lives. My understanding is that this is his final test routine from the camp. He is on the road to attending the Olympics when he is old enough.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Extra Activites - Helping or Hindering?

"What is your weekly extra-curricular routine? Do your kids take music lessons? Sports? Are they involved in church activities? How much time does this leave for family time? Are you over-scheduled or relaxed in your outside programs? Share with us your thoughts on this!"

We are, as stated elsewhere, very relaxed. I have no intention of recreating school at home. I also don't feel I have to offer my children every opportunity out there.

I take the approach that if they are interested in something they will pursue it on their own. This gives them the motivation to do it. My son wanted to learn the piano/keyboard, so he taught himself. I supplied the books and he did it all. Will he play at Carnegie Hall? Probably not. But he can play a tune on the piano for enjoyment and I believe he achieved the goal he wanted for himself.

My son has taught himself many things over the years. We bought an art curriculum and he taught him self to draw. Other times we had to take him to a class and still other times he just read every book out there to learn how to do it. He taught himself how to tan a hide and has done it for several people over the years.

My daughter is doing this with crocheting. She is getting a little help from Grandma, but is mostly pursuing it on her own. She has taken music lessons in the past, but with some of her disabilities she found it difficult to pursue. She is also teaching herself how to cook right now and we get to eat her experiments.

We have done sports in the past but my children found that most people are just too competitive to have fun. In fact some people they found to be mean (do anything to win.) So we quickly gave up on that. We are not sports people anyway. We do like other non competitive type activities such as hiking and other sportsman type activities. Our church during the summer months has very relaxed baseball games at the school ball field (anyone is welcome) a couple times a month.

I have a child who has a chronic illness and has frequent medical appointments so that takes up a lot of our time, so we don't give much time to extra curricular activities. Other things to consider is that we live in a rural area, so we have to travel to go most anywhere and with high gas prices that is a consideration. We did go to several places over the summer (a "diamond" mine, a children's museum, county fair, zoo, etc.) so we did do a bulk of activities this summer.

All that being said, I do feel somewhat overwelmed sometimes with all the things we do. My daughter illness acted up over the summer and we had almost one doctor's appointment a week. The problem being, most doctors are an hour away. One we went to last week was 3 hours away (one way!!) So that spends a lot of our gas allowance on trips and kills a lot of our extra time. So as the Lord leads he will open doors to do more things, but for now, this is where he has us.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weblink Wednesday 9/10/08

One of my favorite sites that we visit on a regular basis is

From the website:
"To connect mathematics, science, technology and engineering to the real world of careers and achievement, so that students can envision a context and purpose for what they are learning allowing them to envision their own successful futures."

This website features short, usually less then 5 minute videos, of different careers and how they integrate science and math into that field. An example of a video they have is how to build a custom guitar or how to feed animals in zoos. There is a lot of math that goes into both areas, which we hardly think about when visiting a zoo or looking at those beautiful guitars a musician is playing.

We really have enjoyed these! They are constantly updated and adding new videos, so sign up for their mailing list!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something New...

The year the new product we are using is:

Institute for Excellence in Writing

"Excellence in Writing gives you tools to help you teach not just WHAT to write, but HOW to write-in a way that is organized and stylish-GUARANTEED!"

One the most important skills I want my children to be able to do after reading is to write well. I didn't feel like we are accomplishing it by what we were doing. I heard so many excellent reviews of this program I researched it. I visited their booth at our homeschool convention so I also looked the materials over there. Then the 100% anytime guarantee sold me on it.

I have just watched to first video, so I can't say much about it other then Andrew P. was interesting and explained things well. I did teach my daughter the first lesson and she understood it easily. It has been a couple of months since we did this so I can't remember to many details anymore . We will start over in October.

If this of interest to you, you can go to the website and join their yahoo group where you can learn a lot about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Weblink Wednesday

Weblink Wednesday with SoCalVal.

Great Homeschool Web Site Recommendation:

Design YOUR Homeschooling Approach To suit YOUR family!

Here is an excellent site to start your year off with! Know why you are homeschooling. Determine what approach fits you best. Write down your goals. Choose curriculum. Return that joy and excitement to homescholing. This site will take you step by step to determine all these things and more.