bummer!

I just spent the last hour and a half writing a new post and was adding pictures….somehow in the during the photo editing process I lost a huge portion on text…… I will now have to make notes about it and finish it on another day….I worked so hard….

Our new interactive notebook system…

I have decided to kick our floppy binders to the curb this year, or at least to the bookshelf to be used for other things. In place of what I now consider our “homeschool blunder” I have decided to use notebooks (composition notebooks so the pages don’t get weak and fall out) and simple folders for loose work until it makes its’ way into the filing box. I am getting these all ready for the new year and hope that this will be a fun and easy addition to our homeschooling routine.

My goals for this new concept are to help Bug learn more by taking notes to help along side her homework, get rid of bulk, and develop fun note taking skills. This new concept (to me) is called interactive notebooks. It is basically taking the idea of lapbooking and mashing it up in the same notebook as homework in an organized way.

From what I have seen there are a few key elements to making this notebook flow and work as it should.

  • Table of Content Pages for keeping track of where certain topics are in the notebook. With the information for the note taking pages I will have Bug highlight them so she can quickly see which pages to refer back to for a quick reminder. The information that I have chosen to include here is the date, content, and notebook page number. I used the lines already marked on the pages instead of creating new sections. Frankly there is no point in making new sections unless you are adding more information.DSCN4330
  • Numbered Pages these go hand-in-hand with the Table of Contents so you can find what you are looking for quickly… We as adults know how this works but it may be a new concept for the kiddos. I saw a tip to number the pages in the top right corner because it is easier to see while flipping pages. I have gone through with a bright pen to number the pages so it is set apart from any information written on the page. I have done this for Bug so pages aren’t missed. If she was older and more organized/focused I would have her do this step herself.
  • Note Pages will be for when I am in teacher mode on the white board giving her specific information on the topic. This may include slim glue in foldouts, drawn diagrams, labels, vocab/definitions, and practice problems. Making it all colorful and fun with colored pencils.
  • Bookmarking System I have chosen to glue a ribbon in the back cover of the notebook that pulls over to mark the page last worked on. You can add a bit of personal flare for your kiddo. I have seen other options like cutting corners of the finished pages to flip easily to the next, but I feel this is extra work for me knowing that Bug likes to write to the edge of the page and may cut too large a piece off…It would be me doing this extra step. I will not be using this method at least for now.

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I have seen some extra elements that could be useful. I may implement these at some point if necessary.

  • Tabs Using tabs to mark important pages may be a good idea, but then again they may just get in the way. So for now highlighting the notes pages in the Table of Contents will suffice.
  • Pockets to hold thin items for that subject. I may do this for her math notebook to keep a cardstock  ruler, clock, numberline, etc.
  • Glossary Just to keep an alphabetical record of that subject’s vocabulary. Not for the definition unless you really wanted to use that much space at the end of the notebook. I think of it more as an index of the vocabulary words: only using the word and notebook page number for quick reference. The example I saw was to section out enough pages at the back of the notebook into four equal parts and label them in ABC order to put that letter’s word in the box.
  • Fold Outs: Bits of information that can be folded out from the covers. I have incorporated one fold out for her math notebook (see picture…This is a quick reference numberline.)

I have color coordinated a folder to go along with the subject notebooks. If there is any loose worksheet that can obviously not be used as a Notes page add in then it will be a homework page in the folder. I plan to give a daily grade for the notes and a separate grade for the homework. In my assignment/grading binder I have created a section to indicate if something is is the notebook or if it can be found in the folder. (N/F on the grading page) This way I know where to look when grading. IF you are interested in my grading sheets, I created them with Open Office software. I used the grid making tools and shaped it out from there and did a light color difference to separate the entries. The sections I have included are:

  • Average % for semester (grade)
  • Semester choice boxes with dates (circle and go)
  • Date of assignment
  • N/F (Notebook or Folder location)
  • Subject
  • Grade Level
  • School year
  • Assignment details (middle section lines)
  • Portion Correct (example: 18/20)
  • % Score (Single assignment grade)
  • Total Page Points (adding up all of the % scores to get the average for all semester pages later)

DSCN4334This is only set up for one child. I did not need a book with 50 lines for students so I created my own grade book. I have pages set up in a binder divided by subject. I can print as many of these as I need throughout the year.

Self Love Mirrored

“A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.” Naomi Wolf

There are so many lovely people in this world who do not love themselves. Why!? They were not taught how to love themselves. Between the media and even loved one’s ideas of what a person “should be” it teaches our children along with ourselves as adults not to love what/who we are.

I have a beautiful growing young daughter who mostly has me to look up to. For a while I was very focused on what I weighed and was quite vocal about it. My daughter was there with me to witness it all. I would weigh myeslf, so she wanted to. Innocent enough because she wanted to see how much she had grown, but then she wanted to do it all the time. She wanted to see the number on the scale go up and up…. We tried to tell her that she is not a number on a scale and that she just needed to eat well and stay active to be the healthiest version of herself. I was trying to make conscious food choices by keeping a food journal. Yes, it helped me lose a bit of weight but at what cost to my precious daughter.

My daughter loved to dance and was not conscious of body image, just as a seven year old should be, but that changed quickly with only one self directed comment about dancing with a bit of extra weight around the middle in front of Bug from a loved one. I tried to neutralized these acidic words as they were spoken, but in that instant they had swiftly taken root into her developing mind about her own body.  You see we had gone to a fair with belly dancers. We danced with these lovely ladies and enjoyed being free of judgement of others. We had met and adored not one but many women who had embraced their passion to dance. Their first goals were to be free. If a more fit body came from the dancing it was a bonus. My loved one saw pictures and only reflected her self conscious image onto them. Saying that “if they were going to dance like that they should cover their middle. That it wasn’t flattering and that no one wants to see that…….” Well, I could not stand by and let this injustice happen. For my daughter’s sake and for the lovely ladies we met embracing life. I let my loved one know in front of my daughter that no matter their shape they had a right to do what they loved. That they did not have the negative body image so we should not force it upon them. That they were beautiful and sweet and should not be begrudged for living! This shut my loved one down, but did little to heal the wound festering in my sweet baby’s mind. I saw the effects of this exchange within the weeks to come. My daughter spent way too much time in the bathroom with the scale and mirror. She stopped dancing and smiling. She would hold her mid section more often and not wear clothing that she loved because more of her shape could be seen in the slightly tighter child appropriate fit, and even watch what she ate on a dangerous level.

My little girl is at a stage that most children hit. That stage where they go from baby to tween. At this age more weight is put on so that height and preparation for puberty can be gained. I lovingly instructed her on this many times over. Made sure that my self image was projecting love for her to see. I made sure to dance with her and take long walks to talk.

I had always been tiny from the neck down with chubby cheeks. I had been taught through my mother’s body image and the way she had been treated to judge myself harshly. I grew up thinking that I was the fat kid because my cousin my age was so much smaller than me. I heard comments about my size from family members when I hit puberty and gained curves, what I then considered as weight and unacceptable. I wore my brother’s hand-me-down clothes so that I would not have to shop for my real size. Giving this all a bit more perspective… I was 5’4″ tall and would have worn a size 8-10, but what I wore was my brother’s cast offs he was 6’3″ at that time and slender. So rolled up jeans and extra large polo cut shirts were my thing that year. I changed a lot over the years and so did my style. I became the “chubby” head cheerleader or so I thought. I carried my body image to college and instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost around 25 pounds because of anorexia.  I got complemented on my weight lose, even though I had none to lose because I was all muscle. I got weak and sick. My skin looked gray and I could not open glass and metal doors for myself. I didn’t have the strength anymore. All I wanted to do was sleep. I looked in the mirror and only saw what I wanted to see. I got on the scales and was pleased only to see the numbers drop. Eating once a day was good enough for me with snacks to curb my hunger pangs. This all continued until I took a good long look at my situation….I had to change! I went that day and got vitamins. I started that day eating full meals. My clothing size never changed because I wasn’t thick to begin with as I had lost weight my clothes hung on my hips instead of around my waist. I slowly began to become healthier, but old habits are hard to break. I did finally meet the love of my life and he saw what I was going through. He would remind me to eat and cook healthy meals for me. Granted we only saw each other once a week until we were married. Then he could keep a closer eye on me to help me recover.

I had to learn to love my body! No more skipping meals to lose, no more eating until I felt ill, treats are treats not meals!!!!!! I learned to dress the body that I have and to put on makeup that was flattering and not hide my face (thanks to “What Not to Wear” on TLC). Yes, I have gone up and down in weight! I had a baby!!!! My body changed and so do my clothes, but loving me is what isn’t changing anymore! I have to let my daughter see this!

I had another conversation with my daughter recently. She is almost nine now. I told her that I make an effort to show her that I am comfortable with the way my body is. Yes, healthier would be nice just to feel my best, but I do not live by the scale and she should not focus on it either. I told her about growing and changing and loving myself so that she can see that positive self image and gain from it. I want her to love herself! I want her to love her quirkiness, and geekiness, and cratiness. I want her to love the body she has because it is hers and owning it! I want her to understand that she is good enough the way she is. That what shows beauty is not only on the outside but found more deeply within. To love herself and to love others. To grow in confidence and peace. I want her to see herself as I see her….amazing and capable!

Justifying a school backpack for my homeschooler

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I have battled with my daughter for years about her getting a “for school” backpack. We homeschool and it just seemed a waste of money. We haven’t been part of a co-op and the group we are in doesn’t require us to bring tons of supplies. This year I am doing my best to simplify as much as I can by getting rid of binders and bulky items for more streamlined items. I honestly had no plan to get Bug a backpack this year either, but I talked myself into getting it on a whim for these reasons:

• All of her notebooks and folders could be kept there in one place.

• The bag is really cool and something that Bug could use for a long time.

• The bags I have seen like this are expensive and this one was only $10.

• It is Marvel comic book themed and would be great for comic convention days.

• There were only 2 in this design and they would be gone in a flash! (A lady heard me say this and immediately grabbed the other.)

• This is one way to get my daughter excited about the new school year after our break.

• It  matches the pencils she has been begging for.

• Seeing the pure giddy joy on my sweet girls face.

Seriously how could I not get the bag when the pros out weigh the cons. The cons really aren’t “cons” anyway….

Things competing for space in my brain…(RANT)

I do want to write…. I have made a draft and deleted it… I have too many things in my mind competing for space. Between grading (not just saying complete or incomplete, actually giving a % grade), keeping up with this house, ending a school year, planning the next school year, trying to stay positive about a family health issue, going through legal documents for registrations that aren’t ours (ancient ones), way too many necessary big ticket purchases(because crap happens and things break), check book to balance, budget to plan, meal plan and shopping for 2 weeks, forgetting stuff, a sewing project to finish this week (and also start), taxes to pay, vehicle registration to acquire, cable box to return ASAP…….. AHHHHHHH! Brain overload!!!!

Ok, I think my rant is over….. so yep, there is a whole lot going on in this normally calm brain.  Did I mention that we forgot our housedog outside in the dark for about 6 hours….He’s ok at least it wasn’t in mid day with the sun beating down. We felt really bad.

Favorites

I see all of the Vlogs about monthly favorites or seasonal favorites. I am in no way bragging, I just want to share some things that have brought some joy to my life.

I have been yet again trying to push myself to try new things and I have found some new favorites and of course my old favorites…..At least one of these will be from way back in high school. That’s been a few years! As of this May I graduated 15 years ago!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!

Foundation Makeup: For many years now I have used COVERGIRL cgsmoothers BB Cream tinted moisturizer+sunscreen. Every so often I get frustrated because everywhere I go it is out of stock. The reason for this is that they have gradually been changing the formula to have a higher SPF (15 to 21), and I tend to run out during the inventory change. I have used only one other brand and did not like it at all. It smelled like summer sunscreen,  that you’d wear to the beach, on your face all day long.I do not like the heavy scents. I would like to try other BB Creams to find one that has more coverage on blemish days, but I have pretty good skin so I don’t worry too much. It would just be nice to have.

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Lipstick: Ok I have never felt confident wearing lipstick. Honestly, I thought I looked like a poser/clown/fake/trying-too-hard/mess! I just didn’t have the charisma to carry that look. I was shy and mostly wanted to hide. So bright lips were not a look I would go for to blend into the crowd or whatever. I only wanted lightly tinted lipgloss. Now, I have two shades and a lipgloss! GO ME!!!! Not to mention I would like to try other shades. I have lipslick smoochies by COVERGIRL in #255 Sweet Tweet (it seems to have 3 names but I will just put the one), Maybelline New York colors 410 Blissful Berry and 920 Nude Lust. I do wear them each separately or I do combos. Blissful Berry stains my lips really well so even if it wears off quite a bit my lips still have color. I am not into reapplying all the time.

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Eye makeup and Bronzer: Still trying new things!!!!!! I have finally found a bronzer that doesn’t look like mud on my face!!! COVERGIRL copper radiance 102. It finally happened and I am now contouring my face! LOL!!! At myself! I have no sisters so I am learning how to do this stuff from good old Youtube!!!!!! I also have been loving a new eye shadow pallet from COVERGIRL country woods. It has a nice bronze shimmer that works well with the other colors on fancier days or browns for a more natural look. It is a change from my normal plum colors that are supposed to bring out my green eyes.

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Eyeliner: Again this is one of those things that I was not comfortable with wearing or applying. I had no clue what to get or how to use it. Just for reference, the only eyeliner that I ever saw applied up close was my mom’s back in the day, that had to be sharpened and then melted a bit with a lighter to make it go on. (She may still do this!) Um yeah……. Soooooo, after many years of trying various brands I finally found one that I love! What made me actually start wearing eyeliner was the fact that I have crazy eye allergies and dry eyes. I tend to rub my eyes a lot and pick at my eyelashes because it feels as if they are poking me in the eye. With the lack of sections of eyelashes I needed some way to give my eye definition to look like I had lashes behind my glasses. You can’t put mascara on lashes you physically do not have. So here it is! Maybelline New York Unstoppable eyeliner in the color onyx! If I don’t rub too much it stays all day!!!!! It does not come with a blending sponge so I I get cheap little sponge eye shadow applicators to blend with. It seems a bit of a hassle because I lose them in the bottom of my bag. That being said, I have to replace them out of the multi pack that is super cheap. It cuts down on the eye infections though, which is a good thing!!!!! Because, now I have eye lashes and can actually wear mascara.

DSCN4289Eye Care: A few other things that have helped on my journey to regrow lovely lashes are these two products. One helps to keep my eyes and lash hair follicles hydrated. I did not know that this product existed or that I seriously needed it until I came across it and now will always have it! It is Restore PM Nighttime Lubricant Eye Ointment  Equate store brand. I use it during the day if my eyes are really dry or at night if my eyes feel dry and itchy. When I first used it I freaked a bit because it is a gel and it makes your vision fuzzy until you work it thin over your eyeball. I also work it onto my eyelashes to moisten those hair follicles. I can not stress enough how much this helps!!!!! The second is lash and brow building serum from Mary Kay. I had tried Remmel London eye lash serum and it didn’t have a good applicator, it stung pretty bad, and it took forever to work the slightest bit. The Mary Kay on the other hand  has a soft applicator, doesn’t sting as bad, and works much faster. I used it straight for 1 1/2 weeks and had new growth from bare eyelids. The other was going on 2 1/2 weeks with new growth on bare eyelids (still shorter than the Mary Kay results). Using these as needed and with the change of eyeliner sponges my eyes and lashes are quite healthy!

DSCN4306Perfume: I have two perfumes that I have really been enjoying! I usually switch scents for spring/summer and fall/winter, but have not since my mom bought me these perfumes. Actually they were Mother’s Day gifts last year and this year. One is called “Yes, Yes” that is a knock off version of Paris Hilton’s “Can, Can” (which I found inexpensively and will get when this bottle runs out). The best that I can describe the scent is a sweet cotton candy/vanilla/musk. I am not doing it justice at all. Paris Hilton’s “Can Can” has cassis, clementine flower, wild orchid, nectarine, musk, orange blossom, woods, and amber. I assume this has similar ingredients. The other is an AVON scent called “Ultra Sexy Pink” (with the pink bow) described by AVON as “A provocative fruity floral scent with flirty raspberry and fresh blushing peony mingled with sheer, sexy musk.” I really like them both, but my husband says that he likes the scent of “Yes,Yes” better.

DSCN4285Vitamins: I have never been one to take vitamins on a regular basis except for when I was pregnant, because I had to. I hate the smell and the size of those horrid tasting things. I needed to start taking vitamins again and actually found some that I look forward to taking every morning. Seriously I feel as if I am eating candy!!!! They are the Walgreens store brand MultiVitamins Gummies for Women. They are fruit flavored gummies!!!!! I will so buy these again!!!! They were about $7 for a bottle of 70 gummies. Taking 2 per day. The first ones I could taste a bit of mineral, but after that they just taste like fruit gummies. This is a good thing!!!! I can now take vitamins without torturing myself.

DSCN4303Jewelry: I have several in this category because I dress very casual and jewelry gives my outfits a pulled together look. I’ve got to have the accessories! I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, but those special pieces make me feel like I actually put effort into my look. I have been wearing my gold/bronze/white combo lately and I love it!!!! I got the necklace when my daughter was little and I did not realize how fragile it was. It used to have 3 lengths of beads, but now it only has 2. I bent down to check on Bug and when I raised up it caught on the cabinet door pull and flung beads everywhere. ( I made a new necklace out of the pieces). The bracelet is painted enamel white with gold metal. It opens sideways so I don’t have to shove my giant hand through it! And the earrings are gold hoops to match.

DSCN4295Another set of jewelry that I have been loving is this green aventurine set. It was made by an artisan in Arkansas, named Mivhael Shanklin of New Stone Age jewelry. (email: Mivhaek1@yahoo.com)This was one of my anniversary gifts from my husband. It has many types of stones throughout its design but is mostly green aventurine.

The website http://www.crystalvaults.com says this about aventurine: ”

Green Aventurine is known as the “Stone of Opportunity,” thought to be the luckiest of all crystals, especially in manifesting prosperity and wealth, or for increasing favor in competitions or games of chance. Its winning energy makes it a great ally for boosting one’s chances in any situation – a first date, tax audit, even landing a promotion. One needs only to be near it to derive its benefits. [Simmons, 55][Eason, 285][Mella, 74]

This beautiful stone, however, is not merely an attractor of luck, but one that aligns conditions so “opportunity” is inevitable. Green Aventurine releases old patterns, habits and disappointments so new growth can take place. It brings optimism and a zest for life, allowing one to move forward with confidence and to embrace change. It enhances one’s creativity and motivation, and encourages perseverance in maneuvering life’s obstacles. It also reinforces one’s decisiveness and amplifies leadership qualities, injecting a sense of humor and openness to the ideas of others. [Ahsian, 56][Simmons, 55][Melody, 136][Hall, 73-74]

Well, this works out perfectly for my New Year’s resolution to try new things!!!!!

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Also in jewelry is my amber ring! It was a gift from my husband as well and I wear it every day!!!!  The ring is made of silver and has an antique looking setting. We got it at a spring festival about 5 years ago. I do not remember the artisan that made this beautiful piece, but it is now part of me and I doubt that I will ever stop wearing it.

DSCN4305Still in jewelry is a necklace that has been near me since I was 2 years old. My mother bought it from AVON around Mother’s Day for herself from us kids. I vaguely remember her wearing it, but I do remember when she was going to put it in the yard sale. I threw a tantrum!!!!! I was around 15 years old and this was not happening. She asked if I would actually wear it…….I have it on in a school picture that year and have worn it since. I am now 33 years old and have no intention of it ever leaving me. Until I pass it down in my old age. I wear it at least once a week. It is silver and resembles a cameo. It has a rose in the center and a bow on the top. On the back it says “I love you mother”.

DSCN4292Hat: Also an anniversary gift from my love was a totally spectacular fedora! It is made by Bailey of Hollywood. It is 100% Polypropylene, so it should do just fine in the rain!!!!! I love this hat!!!! It goes with my casual style very well and it would look good with a sundress if I want to do so.

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Shoes: I recently found an inexpensive pair of shoes for summer. They actually have soles that feel like I have something under my feet. My feet are really picky so these were an awesome find!!!!  They are the Faded Glory brand from Wal-Mart for about $12. They are slip-ons made of denim like material. I can wash them when they get gross, but they shrunk a little even though I dried them mostly in the sun before popping them into the dryer. They have stretched back out with wear though. I hope I don’t wear them out before summer is over.

DSCN4301Book: I am currently reading a book that I had seen raves about on book reviews. It is from the juvenile section of the library, but don’t let that fool you it is 587 pages. It is dealing with some pretty deep subjects and I am entranced by it. I am about half way through and love it. It is called “Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

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I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my favorites. If you have any comments please leave them for me! Especially any BB Creams that I should try. Sorry my nails look all yucky in the pictures. I’ve been washing dishes and haven’t redone my nails. <The nail polish is another of my favorites but I will try to do a separate blog about this new brand I like while I have my nails done all nice and fresh.

Simple Homeschool Planner

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An in depth look at my “simple” planner for homeschool.

(I know this will not work for everyone. This is a small simple planner that I use for one student.)

My goal this year is to simplify. I tried to go big this year and create a whole classroom. It did not go well!

The first pages I want to show you are the months.

DSCN4281I am sorry the picture isn’t very clear. I tried multiple times…. Anyway, in this planner there are 12 customizable calendars. I write in all the dates, the month, the year, and important days (in pencil!!!!!). The side is blank for notes. I have chosen this year to indicate repeated or special activities with stickers. I had many of the same type of stickers so I could mark those repeats easily.

  • For example:
  • A party day marked with a star or explosion sticker.
  •  field trips have a backpack
  • checking homework has a check mark
  • important information has a pushpin
  • birthdays have a smiley face or something representing the person being celebrated
  • themed days with a sticker to match
  • here I have books and scissors to indicate our Story Art class, but have since changed them all to crayons

The next is a page of “Notes”.

  • DSCN4280The first Notes page I used for:
  • a list of the subjects to be covered,
  • what books I am using,list of what I need to buy (notebooks, folders,file box, hanging file folders,books, etc.), and
  • a WISH LIST of things I would like to get.

Again all written in pencil because plans change! I probably would have used a few pages for this instead of just one, but in this planner this is the only “Notes” page in the front section.

Next are the weekly 2 page layouts.

DSCN4243Weekly 2 page layout. Here is where I write the assignments. There is not a lot of room so I abbreviate the subject, add the book and page #, and topic. I try to fit this all on one line because we do 4 subjects per day. I also put an indication of what week we are on up in the top right corner of the page.

Example of one day’s assignments:

______________________________________________________________________________________________

29 Monday

Sp: 3CC p.236 Contractions, print flash cards (spelling)

R.S: 4CC p.44-45 Sequence (Reading Skills)

M: Skill Builders p.43, Mixed #’s (Math)

Sci: Spectrum p.10-11, Scientific toolbox (Science)

Read: (Book Title, Ch2)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

I use these abbreviations all the time so my daughter knows what they are. We both use this book. Me for planning and her for finding her assignments. She is very responsible and knows not to write in the book.

On to more “Notes” pages.

I have another set of “Notes” pages that I have finally put to good use. Last year I did not use my planner to its’ full potential and I fully intend to this next year.

Themes for my “Notes’ pages:

  • Extra Curricular Subjects and Activities (Anything that isn’t necessarily book work, that isn’t done on a weekly basis, and is still a learning experience. Art, Music, Foreign Language, Sign Language, Crafts, Sewing, Scheduled Physical Activities)
  • Special Books to look into for future assignments.
  • Lists of stories and page numbers in readers for the year.
  • Extended length reading materials: Long books, Audio Books,etc (still a work in progress)
  • Math Units to cover for the year
  • Geography Units to cover for the year
  • History Units to cover for the year
  • Field Trip Information (scheduled trips with groups, trips we want to take as a family)
  • And other subjects that I have yet to plan out…

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Finally Address pages.

The last pages that I want to share are pretty important! The address pages! I didn’t think too much about them this year using my current planner (the pictures are my set up for the next school year). I did fill out one full page of the address section with contact information for our

  • homeschool group leader
  • Department of Education Homeschool office
  • website address for forms that I need to fill out for the school year
  • Superintendent’s office for our school district
  • my child’s Pediatrician contact info
  • local library
  • I may add contact info/addresses for field trip locations

I think that about sums it up! I am very excited to use this planner to its’ full potential this year. It is nice and neat. I plan to keep it that way. I hope you enjoyed this!!!! Happy homeschooling!!!!

Something For Spelling

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Something new that we have tried for spelling!

At the beginning of the year I did not incorporate spelling as often as I should have and of course Bug’s spelling suffered because of it.. I am guessing that is because we didn’t have a good working system to go with our curriculum. Well, now we do and it is working quite well. Bug has only missed one word on her spelling tests several weeks in a row. We are getting good practice in so I thought I would share our new system.

It all started with our curriculum which has 10 lessons per unit and a unit review.

With each lesson there is a 16 word word-list and 3 activity pages including: vocabulary usage, proofreading, and either language connection or dictionary skills.

For a five day school week we do spelling work each day.

  1.  On an index card for each word I have her print the word clearly within highlighted lines, and practice spelling them before bed. (Store the index cards in the small accordion style folder. Which holds 2 sets of cards per slot.)
  2. Do the vocabulary workbook page, and practice spelling the words before bed.
  3. Write the words on the index cards again, this time in cursive. Do the proofreading workbook page. Practice spelling the words before bed.
  4. Do the Language Connection /Dictionary Skills page in the workbook, and practice spelling the words before bed.
  5. Spelling Test over the 16 words and self check once finished with the test. Rewriting any misspelled words correctly beside the missed word.

When the 10 lessons in the unit are finished there will be 10 sets of flashcards for this unit only in the accordion folder all ready to practice for the Unit Spelling Test. There are two review workbook lessons and then I will choose a few words from each list to test over.DSCN4266DSCN4268

I do check her spelling, printed writing, and cursive writing and add in clarifications as needed. (As seen here in red ink.)

When this Unit is finished we will file these cards away and start fresh with our accordion folder with the next unit. I did have my child pick out the style of the folder she liked best so she would be happy to use it.

I know that everyone used different curriculum and this exact system may not work for everyone. I like to see other parents/teachers ideas and try to alter them to make them work for me.

Quick information about the accordion file folder:  I purchased it at the Dollar Tree. It has 5 slots with label tabs and stickers. It is made of plastic with a button/cord closure.

Stove Top Pizza!!!!!! WHAT?!

Featured imageOk, so how is this possible?! This mini pizza was made on the stove top in a pan with a lid. Here’s how!!!!!

We found these flatbreads in the deli/bakery department of our local Wal-Mart and it shows on the package that they are also used to make pizza. I had a few odd ingredients to work with, but it was just a snack so no big deal!

Ingredients: flatbread, cheese (we used an Italian mixture), blackforest ham lunch meat, cherry/grape tomatoes, butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning

DSCN4208  DSCN4209

DSCN4211    I used a small pan with a lid on the stove top. I used a medium/high to toast the bottom of the flat bread and then turned the heat down for the slower cooking portion.

   DSCN4210

I let the pan get warm med/high heat and slightly toasted one side of the flatbread. Flipped it over hot side up and turned to med/low heat. I rubbed the top with a thin layer of butter, it melts right off the stick of butter onto the bread. Then I sprinkled it with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I topped the flatbread with cheese, sliced lunch meat, thin sliced tomatoes, and cheese again. I covered it with a lid and gave it enough time for the bottom to toast and the top to heat through and melt together.  I served it on a plate then sliced it into pieces. Even with the odd ingredients it was quite yummy, but you can add whatever toppings you like. It is a very quick snack. A big hit with my daughter who came up with most of the idea. I just decided to cook it on the stove top so it wouldn’t heat the house with the oven. My husband wanted some a few days later after we told him how good they were and they worked well in the oven too. Sadly my store has been sold out of the flatbreads since I made it last….. The package only $1.88 for several breads.

This was a great cooking lesson for my 8 year old. Homeschool homeEc!!!!! She has since made these on her own with little supervision.

Sharing My Personal Homeschool Knowledge

I have been homeschooling my daughter for six years now! Starting our 7th! (PreK-5th next school year)  I thought you all might be interested in a few things I have learned along the way.

PreK, make it fun don’t be too structured or a perfectionist. You will stress you and your child out. This will kill your child’s love of learning. If you are at this point change it quickly!!!!!!

Reading aloud to your child is so important! Why!? Bonding time with your child, language and vocabulary development, follow along for spelling and sight words, imagination explosion. My daughter reads very well, but still longs for our nightly reading time together. Yes, our books are much longer now and take around a month to finish reading roughly one chapter a night. We both enjoy the stories and miss our time together if we can not read at night on occasion.

Reevaluate to make sure you and your child are in a good, functional, learning environment. Change as needed. I start changing things up every spring so that we can test out the new idea at the end of the year in preparation for the next year to run a bit smoother. Not to mention your child’s needs change as they grow and learn.

Buy used curriculum where you can. I like Amazon and Goodwill.

Make your own answer sheets for grading your child’s work if you don’t have answer guides. (Recent face palm moment!)

Upbeat music without words during homework. Nothing to sing along to as a distraction and it won’t put your kid to sleep. We like Lindsey Stirling! Look her up on Pandora or Spotify and you’ll get a great station to listen to.

Customizable planners are really nice!!!!!!! (I did see more of the planners that I showed in my last blog at Walmart today $4.98)

Write in pencil in your planners!!!!!! Plans change! You need more time on a subject, you miss assignments for fun days or sadly sick days. If you use pen or highlighter as I have been known to do, your planner becomes a mess quickly.

If your child is stressed doing one subject let them take a break from it and come back to it later. Swap it with an assignment of their choice.

If your child doesn’t get it (whatever the idea, topic, assignment, etc) try teaching it in another way. Use colorful markers to draw it on the white board, associate it with something silly or something that they can connect with, move with it, sing with it, give it a beat. Recently my daughter needed to spell the word eyes on her homework. So I made a “Y” shape with my pointer and middle fingers and pointed them at my eyes. You see the round shape of an eye looks similar to the lower case “e” follow the “Y” of your fingers to the other round “e” shape. So this gives a physical reference to the actual spelling of eye(s). Also, I was talking to my husband about the spelling of desert. I used to get is confused with dessert until I did a little mind  picture association. We would all love to have two desserts (2 S’s in dessert).

Use those teachable moments when you are out and about. We’ve nearly all heard the saying not forget to “stop and smell the roses”….well, don’t forget to stop and take in/share knowledge with your child. It doesn’t have to be a “let’s write a report about this later” kind of deal, just a let me show you this really cool thing that just so happens to be taking place right before us. Be present with your child and what is around you.

Don’t forget to take off your teacher cap and put on your caring compassionate parent cap from time to time. As my daughter says “I don’t need you to be my teacher right now. I just need you to be my mom.” She needs that comfort and reassurance that the love of a parent can give.

Don’t be on your kid all the time about everything. You are together all the time and you both will get SICK of the micro managing.

Try to be more positive than negative. Give praise more often than criticism. Your child will work better, harder, and with more focus if they know their efforts will be rewarded and appreciated.

Encourage their dreams and help them gain the tools to accomplish them. My daughter wants to be a game designer/Youtuber. We are guiding her in developing those skills and are looking into the equipment she will eventually need.

If you are actually grading your child’s work set a day or more aside each week to grade the work. Don’t let it pile up! I am converting her work to percentage grades this year to see how it will work for next year ( to actually start from the beginning of the year next time). Right now I am trying not to drown in a years worth of only one child’s school work to grade. I have made it probably 75% through…..sigh.

Plan ahead at least one day! If you don’t know what to expect then your child won’t either. It is a recipe for STRESS!!!! AKA a Disaster!!!!!

Your child’s attitude is a mirror of your own……..This sounds silly, right!? Once I realized this it was a GAME CHANGER!!!!! If you are focused, confident, and on top of your game, they will find that groove too. If you are a stressed mess, then they are too!!!

Don’t forget to take breaks! It’s not just for your child to unwind; you as the parent/teacher need down time too.

I hope this will help you on your journey of homeschooling or to becoming a homeschooling family. I wish you all the best of luck! If you have any questions feel free to comment and I will try my very best to give you a helpful answer.

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