20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

The Pit of Despair ~ Tamed

Earlier in the month of August I posted a little teaser post to a guest post I had over at the Homeschool Village.

And if you are under the illusion that I have it all together, you really need to go read the post. Seriously.

I gave you all a peek into what I dubbed the Pit of Despair. It seriously got to the point that I was avoiding it because I knew that dealing with it was going to take a LOT of time and work…and that just overwhelmed me. I’m not kidding when I say I would just run and dump things in the room…and quickly shut the door so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

Here’s a look at the ‘before’. The floor literally had stuff all over it, I couldn’t open the closet door that was in the room and you can’t really tell…but there’s a table in there somewhere. See how lovely??

homeschool mess

organizing nightmare

After much labor, moving and moaning, here’s a look at the re-organized room. This is just a small room in our basement that can’t be a bedroom {no windows}, but has ended up being my craft room {because I haven’t scrapbooked in literally 3 years….} and the room where all of our homeschool extra stuff gets stored.

Look at that…there’s actually room to walk and move now. And even scrapbook ~ should I ever have the time.


There is a method to the organizing, even though you really can’t tell from the picture. The shelf to the left has a lot of our games, learning toys, puzzles and simple reading books for the boys.


The center bookshelf has future curriculum {top shelf}, extra books for this year {2nd shelf}, history read-alouds for this year {center shelf}, extra notebooks and file folders {4th shelf} and then whatever I couldn’t figure out a spot for on the bottom. :) The shelf to the left has a lot of our games, learning toys, puzzles and simple reading books for the boys.

The small shelf on the left has all of our extra teaching supplies: our organized schoolwork for the upcoming year, my lovely laminator, extra school supplies and anything we’ll need for our science study this year.

Having it done has helped me out immensely. I at least know where to find things now and can breathe a little easier having at least one room in my house cleaned up. :) Don’t put it past me to lock the door to the room so that the kids can’t mess it up.

I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Mission Accomplished…

Earlier today I posted that I hadn’t fit in my goal for July ~ roller-skating with the kids.

BUT today is July 31st, so I squeaked this in just under the wire…


You can read more about our time in my post Roller-Skating ~ Geriatric Style at No Ordinary Moments.

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Meeting Blog Friends

Last week I had the chance to meet Heidi from Reviews & Reflections when she was driving through my area. Heidi heads up the Homeschool Crew, the review group that I was a part of for the last two years.

Her daughter Ashley was along for the trip and took a picture of the two of us before we had to say goodbye {and Ashley is just as sweet as her mom}.


So good to finally meet her in real life ~ and put a personality, smile and more to the emails that go back and forth between us. :) Now we just need to figure out a time to get together again so I can meet all of her crew too!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Joining HSLDA


One of the main things that I wanted to do at our homeschool convention this year was learn more about HSLDA ~ the Home School Legal Defense Association. In years past I’ve just walked past their booth, not wanting to make a decision without my husband there…but forgetting once I got home to delve any further into it.

What is HSLDA?

Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.

The Mission of HSLDA

To preserve and advance the fundamental, God-given, constitutional right of parents and others legally responsible for their children to direct their education. In so doing, we rely on two fundamental freedoms—parental rights and religious freedom. We advocate for these freedoms in the courtrooms, before government officials, and in the public arena. Additionally, we assist other educational organizations in similar activities, where possible and appropriate.

In a nutshell…they are advocates for you and me and a year-long membership is under $100.

Rick was able to attend convention with me this year and sat in on several sessions with Michael Farris, one of the co-founders of HSLDA. After the first session on parental rights ~ well, we plopped right down in a chair at their booth and became members.

If you haven’t looked into joining HSLDA ~ just hop over to their website and do a little browsing. Might not be something you would be interested in, but I wanted to pass the information along to you all in case it is!

Coinstar ~ Turning Change into Amazon Purchases!

I know that I could turn counting change into a wonderful math activity for the kids, but after all is done and counted…I still have the change to deal with. And when I have bucketloads of change, taking it to a bank teller just seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Enter the lovely Coinstar machine.

We have several machines in our area that we can use to count our change. Usually there is a fee associated with the change-over {around 9%}, but our machines offer a lovely feature ~ FREE coin counting if you opt for an e-voucher toward several online companies..one of them Amazon.

Since Amazon is pretty much my favorite place to shop online, I’m loving this feature. I had a sandwich-sized baggie of change and it amounted to a little bit over $33. That’s a lovely chunk of change that I can put towards an ever-growing cart of books and such that seem to be accumulating in my cart by the week.

Just wanted to pass along a little tip to you all in case you have a pile of growing change….and a soft spot for Amazon like me!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Thankful and Rambling

This year was the first year that Rick attended convention with me and during lunch together one day he said nine of the sweetest words to me.

“I am so glad you are homeschooling our kids.”

Really, I about started crying. I am so thankful for his support and encouragement, but having him sit in on workshops and get a deeper insight meant so much to me.

I’m really not sure that I can put it adequately into words, but that simple sentence encouraged me beyond measure.

And made me thankful that I have the opportunity to homeschool our kids.

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button