Friday, February 26, 2010

Uhm, isn't it supposed to be spring or close to it?

I am tired. Of whining, mostly my own. Tired of evaluations for the boys - over and over again - duplicates. Tired of being scared to eat something. Tired of seeing the nice people at the ER. Heck, they may be missing me as I haven't been there in almost two weeks now. Tired of it being cold.

But I am happy too. Happy that the sun is out today. Happy that Zondervan sent me a 'Busy Woman's Bible' to look over in exchange for a review. Happy to be participating in the churchwide 'Treasures of a Transformed Life' Lenten study. Happy I got to go to the Homeschool Refresher by HOTM online. Happy to have my HOTM article done before the deadline - for once. Glad to have found 'The President's Daughter' series at the library by Ellen Emerson White. Yes, technically its young adult fic but its good fiction.

It started with me looking for a book she'd written years and years ago called 'Friends For Life'. I really liked that book and its main character - Susan. (Susan happens to be the name of my best childhood friend. Her darling father passed on this week and my heart is breaking for her. He was a very fine man.) Google led me to a blog that said Susan (the character, not my friend) was back in Ellen Emerson White's latest book 'Long May She Reign'. The library had it. All 7oo plus pages of it. I love a good thick book.

I also liked Meg as much as I liked the returning Susan. White creates real characters - they whine, they get mad, they say ugly words sometimes but they are tough and strong people that are interesting to read about. Today I got the remaining books in the series from the library and can't wait to settle in a read them.

I'm also investigating using some Charlotte Mason in our school from now on.

As for the stuff I'm tired of... I have to keep remembering - 'This too shall pass....'

Pass soon. I'm ready for Spring!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Glad to be still here...

I had a stomach bug around Thanksgiving. I thought I had recovered quite nicely - despite having to go to ER due to dehydration. Not so fast.

Apparently this upset my GI so bad I have progressed from IBS to just plain mad BS. I have made three trips to the ER in the past five days and four total since the first of the year. I had an allergic reaction to one med and think I may be developing an allergy to yet another.

Which means I was not able to fully enjoy the first snowfall we've had around here in ages. Two of the three boys did enjoy it - playing in the snow here before going to a friend's house for a birthday party where they made huge snowmen in a field nearby.

This is the nicest kind of snow - it fell Friday night - big puffy flakes and most of the overnight and into the early morning. We lost power for about five hours but it was the middle of the night so we didn't really notice much. The roads cleared quickly and by late Sat afternoon it still looked nice but was on its way out. Today it will get warm enough to finish it off and since we won't go below freezing tonight everything will be fine in the morning.

Our new stuff came from Rainbow Resource. I think I'm in love with Shurley English and we all love the Apologia Elementary series. We're just waiting on Anatomy to be published and we'll have the whole series. Cole will start Apologia General Science. All American History looks like I'll have to tweak it some but I like it.

I think I may need to order Shurley English 3 for youngest. We'll see.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I did it again....


I am a complete planner junkie. I love Donna but that doesn't stop me from trying every single homeschool planner on the market. Today I wound up buying the The Ultimate Homeschooling Mom's Planner.

My husband will sigh and try yet again to work his Excel magic and make the planner of my dreams. Until then I will probably still keep looking at planners.

Yet another hoop to jump through on the way to the boy's CAP slots, I found out as their teacher/administrator I have to write up how their disabilities affect their schoolwork. At first I nearly fainted but talking with the caseworker made me realize that no one can quite articulate how much their academics are affect by their autism and co-morbid conditions but me. They have the 'as close to perfect as it gets for sensory issues' classroom and a 1/3 teacher/student ratio. So that sort of eliminates the other things that make a regular classroom hard for a special kid. I have one form done already and was quite impressed with it. (not my writing but actual good questions on a government form!)

School is rather hit and miss at the moment. We are doing something every day but due to Mommy doing the paperwork shuffle times three it is not our usual routine. Yesterday the IEW course I ordered came and I can't wait to use it. Tomorrow I am expecting my Rainbow Resource order and am a little embarrassed to admit to checking the UPS site constantly to get updates.

I am very tired of the cold weather and thought the wind would blow us into the ocean yesterday. Yes, I know we live fifteen minutes from the beach but the wind was awful. It finally died down but its cold and I don't like cold. I live in the south cause its warm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Molly's Money Saving Digest -Jan 2010

This is a product I was given to review to 'try out' for The Old Schoolhouse's' Review Crew. I had already purchased this product myself as I am organizationally challenged and we are a one income family always looking for ways to cut costs.

Molly's Money Saving Digest for January 2010 is available at 'The Old Schoolhouse' store in ebook form for only $4.95.

January's theme is 'Evaluate, Prioritize and Organize'. The e-book is broken down into fourteen different sections, starting with a note from Molly and ending with a helpful directory of links.

Molly's Minute gives you an idea of what you will find in the digest. This month, the next section - called 'Begin With the Basics' featured pie making. In addition to being organziationally challenged I am scratch cooking challenged as well. I did appreciate the layout, the recipes and the pictures and the insert on how to turn cooking into a math lesson. If I get brave I may actually try and make my own pie crust someday.

The next section gives you a brief rundown of what items are typically marked down this time of year as well as special dates in the month.
It was the next section that drew my interest to this product. Organization. It is my biggest thorn. I get easily overwhelmed at the thought of it but my boys and my husband really prefer it and when I get organized I do as well. Molly shares forms that help me a great deal - monthly bills, budget with tracking money spent per week, daily to do list and a clothing inventory list.

The rest of the book contains inexpensive ideas for decorating, recipes and menus for the month including a shopping list, a kid's corner on saving and how to make a cute piggy bank from a recycled soda bottle, the main article on 'Evaluate, Prioritize and Organize', a personal story from one of the digest writers on how her family benefited from her organization and prioritization skills and a mail bag with tips from readers.
At the end is a list of links sorted by topic.

I did glean helpful hints from this digest. I do subscribe to Molly's blog. There were parts that did not interest me but I may go back to at some point and time. The product did help me figure out how to start evaluating, prioritizing and organizing and that was why I purchased it. I will probably buy more of Molly's digests in the future as I like the layout and the articles are easy to read.

Disclaimer: I was given this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

Review: TOS-Help Me Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling my High Schooler!

As part of a 'try out' or audition for next years 'The Old Schoolhouse' Review Crew I was given two of their products to review. The first of these, 'Help Me Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!' could not have come at a better time.

My oldest just turned thirteen and technically he should be in the seventh grade and in the fall the eighth grade. He has autism, dyslexia and a healthy dose of ADHD. His primary mode of learning is auditory. I was quite nervous about providing the High School education he needs. The local public schools are not an option for him and no local private school is within our means.

This e-book was a God send for me. It is available through The Old Schoolhouse's web store in e-book form for the low price of $12.45.

'Help Me Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler'

The book begins with a forward from Amanda Bennett of Unit Studies fame and then is broken down into thirteen different stories of homeschooling and their experience homeschooling High School.

The first article, 'The Tale of Two Sisters' by Regenia Spoerndle, really hit home with me. We also started out in the public school system and I gradually wound up spending more time at school than I do now teaching my three boys. This helped to remind me that there is no option at this time but to home school through High School. God has always known that I understand best through closed doors. As the mother of three 'special boys' I also struggle with wondering if I am indeed doing what is best for them.

Another article 'The Greatest Gift' by Danielle Olander is written by someone who was home schooled and is now homeschooling her children. I always enjoy articles by someone who has 'been there, done that' and I like to hear the perspective of the home school student as well.

I have really enjoyed the different ways each of these thirteen articles speaks about homeschooling through High School. There are reminders through out that we also need to make sure our kids are capable of basic life skills and also that every child is not college material and this is perfectly fine. I like the emphasis on directing each child as an individual and this thread runs through out these articles. Also there is a reminder that God does not always call those that are equipped, He equips the called.

The Epilogue contains a speech written and read by home school grad, Jonothan Wuehler titled 'How Homeschooling Has Benefited My Life.' He touches on four ways homeschooling helped prepare him for the adult world. There is also a Recommended Resource list, websites and favorite Bible verses.

This is a product I will refer to time and time again for encouragement. I enjoyed this product very much and would have purchased it eventually.

The only drawback would be if someone has trouble reading on the computer. I prefer the convenience and easy storage of ebooks as well at the ability to manually adjust the font size in Adobe reader.

I highly recommend this encouraging resource.

Disclaimer: I was given this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My poor neglected blog...

Here it is Feb and I have yet to post. Shame on me.

In my defense I have a birthday boy in January, December was a mad rush and at the end of January I got word that two of my three boys finally had a wavier we've been waiting on for many years. Last week I got word that my third child also had a spot. I was in a whirlwind (and still am) of paperwork filing and other stuff.

But it's almost over and it will all be worth it in the end.

Last week we got our tax refund and I went into my yearly 'what to purchase to use for curriculum' panic attack. Finally after going through about TEN scenarios my husband looked it over and told me to order it already. He trusts my judgement but when I can't make up my mind he will help me.

So it looks like Shurley English for the older two, Apologia General Science for the oldest, All American History Vol I, IEW (I literally cannot wait to start this), Apologia Elementary Botany and Zoo 2 and 3 and the Anatomy book when it comes out for the younger two. We're sticking with Math U See and SOS for all of the youngest's subjects.

In a way I can't wait to get started. It will be box day soon and I plan on posting lots of pictures.