Monday, April 30, 2007

4 Weeks Left!

We have 4 weeks left of our school year!!! YEE-HAH!!! At this point, I am trying to keep to myself that no one wants a break more than I do!! Seriously, at this point in the year I am staring wistfully out the window too!!! Our last day is May 25th! Not that the learning stops, but the hard drive through the books slows right down to an easy pace.

I have purchased 99% of the books for next year and they are neatly on the shelves. I am going to be praying hard still, though, about our pace for next year. I don't want to be a dump truck backing all that up and dumping it in their brains. I know that just doesn't work. It is hard to know the balance. I want my children well educated and I don't want to waste the money on the books. I find my greatest challenge in homeschooling is self doubt. Did we do enough? Did I force too much? Are they overwhelmed? Are they challenged? Am I too easy? Am I too strict? Should we be more interest driven? Oh it goes on and on. The only cure for self doubt is prayer and time in the Word.

The Bible says if we cry to the Lord for wisdom, He will provide it. So this summer, as I plot out the next year, I will be crying out! I pray the Lord will direct my steps, lead through my husband, direct the steps of my children. I pray this is a race we will win!

I remind myself too, that I want to see my children in Heaven and spend eternity with them. If that goal is achieved, the rest is gravy! For what WOULD it profit them if they gained the whole world (and its knowledge) and lost their very souls. So what if they can parse and decline in Biblical Greek if they know not the One who revealed Himself in that Holy Word. Priorities, Karen, priorities.

Monday Menus

I haven't thought about my menus the last couple of weeks. I have been "shooting from the hip." "Gee, what's in the frig? Okay, let's have that!!" Well, now I need to get serious about saving money so that we go to my sister's wedding in Florida which is in July. So this week, we will be eating something cheap and lighter every other day.
Steak, baked potatoes, corn, spinach.
Waffles, turkey bacon.
Broiled Chicken, rice, green beans.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup.
Homemade Pizza, Salad.
Baked Ham, Home Fries, Broccoli, Corn.
Lunch at a friends house and I will put a chicken in the crock pot for when we get home. We will have it over rice with the gravy and green beans on the side.
For breakfasts we have cereal, bagels, oatmeal, granola bars, fruit. I made a banana bread and have more bananas in the freezer so perhaps I will make another one later in the week.
For lunches we will have spaghetti soup, noodles and turkey bacon, pb and j, mac and cheese, leftovers.
Next week I hope to have the grill out and cleaned up and ready to go!! I love spring!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thankful Thursday

This morning at T2CHK I shared that I was thankful for that spring has finally arrived in Maine. It is wonderful to have the sunshine, feel some warmth, see the flowers poking out, and to open the windows.
Here are some other even more wonderful things I am thankful for:
"Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him." Ps. 32:10
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jn. 3:16
"Command those who are rich in the present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Tim. 6:17
"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" Gen. 2:18
"He settles the barren woman in her home as the happy mother of children. Praise the Lord" Ps. 113:9
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, fo rthe old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Rev. 21:4-5
AMEN! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quilt Swap and Other Random Thoughts.

At T2CHK, we are doing a Quilt Swap! I am so excited! This year we will do 9 patch squares like the one above except they will be floral prints. This week I hope to get the material. Many of the ladies have already started sewing...YIKES! So I really need to get moving. When I get my material I will post pics, if for no other reason then to keep me accountable. I tend to be a "Last Minute Louise!"
My days are so busy. Baseball season has started and dance season hasn't ended and when you add that to finishing school, music lessons, planning next year's schooling, well there just isn't much time left over!
This week I met with a friend who helped me plot out Tyler's High School years, at least the basics. This helped me so much. I will soon post my gleanings from that meeting. She (Jenni) spent over 3 hours with me pouring over information and my plans. How nice is that?!
I don't really think many outside the homeschool community understand how much networking is involved in homeschooling. Some seem to think we are all just "winging it" on our own. I get the craziest questions about homeschooling. Some think the gov't sends me curriculum or even crazier, that the gov't PAYS for the curriculum I choose. HA! People like to ask about how I compensate for the social "lack" of homeschooling. People wonder how I have the knowledge to teach every class and every grade level.
They would be surprised to see me conferring with people on the internet, attending workshops, attend homeschool meetings, calling curriculum authors for advice and utilizing all the other vast resources at my disposal. They don't realize that when I am stuck on a Math problem I can call my rep at "Mathusee" and she walks me through it. Or that I call various companies asking for advice concerning their curriculum. Just a couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with "The Institute for Excellence in Writing" and they helped me plan Tyler's High School Writing Course plan. Yes there is lots of help out there! I don't know it all, I am just willing to keep asking the questions! As for being home all the time, oh how I wish that were true! HAHA!!! Really the struggle is to STAY home long enough to get the work done. There are just so many opportunities.
Busy days, for sure. But worth it...for sure and certain!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Important Lesson We Wish Not to Teach

I ran across a great article at (Crosswalk) today. In view of a tough week for our country including but not limited to the shooting at Virginia Tech, the shooting at NASA, and the crashing of a Blue Devil Jet I think it is timely. It is called, "Learning Through Loss" by Dena Wood.

Here is the link: .

It is hard to teach our child and help them through loss. It is hard to see my children hurting. I tend to want to gloss it over and not deal with it. But, outside of teaching them the gospel of faith in Jesus Christ, it is one of the most important lessons we NEED to teach them. I hope this article encourages you as much as it did me.


Rachel: "Mom, what is a 'minor'?"

Mom: "It is a person under 18 years old."

Rachel: "Does that mean you and daddy are 'majors?'"

LOL! Things that make you say hmmmmm....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Knitting Patterns

I find knitting very relaxing. I am definitely a beginner though. I hope to keep learning; perhaps someday I can take some classes. That would be such fun. Did you know there are loads and loads of free patterns from Lion Brand? Their website is: . I signed up to get their newsletters via email and each month they advertise free patterns. I am knitting a scarf right now. I was attracted to it because I has four different patterns within the same scarf. It's fun to keep changing what you are doing. There is variety but it is still pretty easy, beginner stuff. Here is the pattern: .
Below is an image of the scarf from Lion Brand. When I am done, I will post a pic of mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Well, if You Can't Beat 'Em...Join 'Em!

Yep, you guessed it, it's snowin'. It's the third major storm this month!'s to global warming (*wink* *smile*)
Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.
Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.
Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
Art by Don Conger

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Weekend Happenings

I am letting the flowers I put here make up for the flowers I don't see outside! LOL! Tomorrow we are due another snow storm! This is our 3rd snow storm since Spring came! I am really hoping it turns to rain, which it might. I am suppose to meet with a friend on Monday morning for coffee. She is going to help me plan my son's Homeschool High School years. I really don't want to miss this, but God knows best and we can always reschedule.

Anyway, I hope everyone reading here is having a good weekend. This is what our weekend looks like:


9 a.m. ~ Christian's soccer game (indoor field).
10:30 a.m. ~ Rachel's dance rehearsal.

Then the rest of the day was spent at home resting, relaxing and doing all those little things you don't get to do all week. I am in the midst of photocopying school papers for the week and also need to make sure my lesson plans are done. I hope to do some knitting too. I have this neat little pattern for a scarf. You do various patterns for 4 inches each and just keep switching. It is fun. Unfortunately I did the first 6 inches wrong so after much thought I decided to rip it out and start over. I could just continue but its kind of bugging me!!


9:30 a.m. ~ Sunday School
11:00 a.m. ~ Church

After church we are visiting friends. The boys and the men are doing a woodworking project and the girls and women are doing a sewing project. It's lots of fun! First we have lunch together, then we separate for our projects, then get back together and share our successes and visit. Tomorrow's projects will be in preparation of Mother's Day and Father's Day. I expect we won't be gone too long since we would like to be back before the snow starts. So, it will be an early night so we can be rested for another busy week!

Have a great weekend, all!

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Ps. 143:10

(Web graphics courtesy or

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Terrific Tuesday

Today we focused heavily on schoolwork. The kids were all struggling with various subjects so I decided I needed to give it all my attention. I tried to spend the entire morning working with them and not doing anything else. I think it helped but I was surprised that we still didn't get Science in for the youngers before 1:30 pm when Tyler had to leave for baseball and I still needed to listen to Christian read as well. But I am thankful that the kids are really understanding that we will work to get it all done within the week. Christian and I took care of the reading after supper and we will do double the Science tomorrow to make up for today. But that's okay it's fun stuff!

On the cleaning front, I did well to put a load of laundry in! If Robin and the kids had not done the dishes they would still be sittin' in the sink! Oh I need fresh energy or maybe springy weather. I am struggling with cleaning this week!! Lord help me to have a willing heart and desire to dig in and clean, clean, clean!!

Tomorrow's a new day and a busy one at that. Piano lessons in the morning, baseball for Tyler, a homeschool group meeting, and dance classes for Rachel. Phew! In between all that, a full day of school and...maybe more cleaning??

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Copywork and Dictation

In my first years of homeschooling, I thought that Copywork was what a student did until they were advanced enough to handle Dictation. Dictation was the goal. However I have since changed my mind.

I now see Copywork and Dictation as two separate and equally important disciplines. You see, in Dication the student translates what he hears into words, grammar, and punctuation on the page. In Copywork the student translates what he sees into words, grammar and punctuation.

This was a new realization that came to me from having a child that really struggles with copying correctly. He would try his hardest and just be genuinely heartbroken when I showed him his errors. He was truly sure he had copied correctly. This same child, though he has no problems with his eyesight, also struggles in spelling. After much study I suspected disgraphia.

In the interest of making a long story short, I now see equal importance between Copywork and Dictation. My children are now required to do both. We have one day per week when Dictation and Copywork is required. Every other week that day includes Dictation and every other week that day includes Copywork.

I also choose different types of literature. Though my curriculum always chooses selections from the child's reader, I see importance in choosing selections from their Bible, their Literature, their Science books, their History books, etc. My reason for this is simple: the vocabulary and grammar usage from style to style and discipline to discipline is unique. I think it helps them to become familiar with the varying vocabulary and grammar usage of each discipline. I think Copywork and Dictation in foreign languages is also useful. If the child is studying in Latin give them a Latin selection as part of their Latin study, the same for Spanish or French or Greek, etc.

Copywork and Dictation are both useful disciplines. But I think it is important not to get stuck in a rut with it. Give it depth and variety.
(Graphic courtesty of

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Here is what we saw when we woke up this morning:

Nothin' says "Easter" like a good snow storm!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why Do I Have to Learn this Stuff?

Has your child ever asked you this question? Aw mom, am I really going to use this someday? I appreciated Steve Demme's (Author of Mathusee) short and sweet and oh so true explanation concerning why we teach Math. You can read it here:


Your Clean and Godly Home

Every year at the T2CHK Message board ( : see link on the right), Sylvia helps us all through our spring cleaning by offering a schedule and cleaning hints. We started today and started in the kitchen. This year I have my children helping and it is making such a big difference in my ability to "get it all done!"
Today we divided up the normal daily chores and added cleaning the outside of the kitchen cupboards. The kids did the cleaning and I decluttered the inside of the cabinets in preparation of wiping them out tomorrow. It feels good especially since Maine weather this week doesn't feel like spring. But spring cleaning helps me to know it is spring and by the time the weather warms up I will be ready to turn my attention to outside of the house!!
"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." Prov. 15:13

Menus on Marvelous Monday

Here are our menus for this week's suppers:

Monday: Baked Haddock, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Green Beans

Tuesday: Yankee Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Spinach

Wednesday: Steak, Rice, Corn, Broccoli

Thursday: Baked Ham, Baked Potatoes, Rhutabegas, Corn

Friday: Lasagna, Bread, Salad

Saturday: Tacos

Sunday: Roasted Lamb, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, and some yummy dessert like maybe "make your own sundaes."

Lunches include: homemade pizza, sandwiches, mac and cheese, cheese ravioli with tomato sauce, buttered noodles and turkey bacon, and leftovers.

Breakfasts include: eggs and toast, cereal, granola bars, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, streusal breakfast cake, english muffins.

Snacks include: oranges, apples, pretzels, stovetop popped popcorn, hoodsie cups.

"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Prov. 31:15