20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

Homeschool Village Blog Fair

I’ll admit that I wasn’t planning on participating at first…but here it is almost 11pm and I’m scrambling to put a post together and share a little bit with you.

Stef at Layton Family Joy will be attending the Relevant Conference along with me in October…so I had to join in and get to know her and some of the other ladies participating too!

Today we were asked to share our plans for June and also three other homeschool blogs we love…

June…is a pretty laid back month. Mainly because we’ve wrapped up the bulk of our school year and I am in major planning mode for the upcoming year. Our homeschool convention is next week, so I’m busy making lists, rechecking stuff and then just having FUN with the kids right now….’cause Mommy has problems focusing when convention is on the line.

We’re reading ~ a LOT. I’m sharing a little more tomorrow about our reading plans for the summer, but it’s been a lot of fun lately around here in that department!

Blogs I want to share…hmmm….

I have to share my lovely ol’ roommate for the Relevant Conference. She is one of my best friends and I am so thankful she is a part of my life! Carisa blogs at 1+1+1=1 and has a wealth of knowledge to share with us all!

1+1+1=1

 

Cindy from Along the Way is one of my friends {in real life} and she is truly the sweetest thing! During the school year she is my ‘coffee buddy’ on Friday mornings and she does some FUN stuff with her kids ~ and shares it all on her blog!


 

And last {but not least} ~ Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Over the last year I’ve gotten to know her so much better and love her to death…even though she has a snake. But you’ll just have to ask her about that.

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

That’s it for now…the clock is about to strike 11pm, so I’m in just under the wire. Don’t forget to visit Stef at Layton Family Joy and visit some of the other ladies that linked up sharing their favorite blogs! ;)

Getting the Best Price on Amazon

I have to tell you ~ Amazon is one of my favorite places to shop. The convenience of being able to order items and have them delivered quickly {and generally with free shipping} is something that touches a VERY special place in my heart.

The one where I don’t have to haul all four of my kids around town looking for the best price on something. :)

Anyway, I wanted to let you all in on a few tips for finding some great deals on Amazon.

1. Don’t be afraid to buy an item used. It may not always come with the free shipping {generally, s/h on the used books is $3.99 per item, but it can still add up to some HUGE savings. Take the book Meet Our New Student From Mexico {a great series by the way} as an example:

imageThis book retails new for $29.95 and is offered USED for $3.99. After s/h that is a $22.00 savings ~ not just pocket change! We’ve found some amazing books using the used feature that Amazon offers and ones that we generally wouldn’t purchase otherwise. Incidentally, I snapped up this book and all it was missing was the dust jacket ~ something that would get ripped in no less than 10 seconds flat in our house…ask me how I know.

2. Look at the different prices for various formats. Many of the books that you search for are offered in hardcover, paperback and/or library binding.

image The book below {Little Walrus Warning} ranges in price brand new from $4.95 {hardcover} all the way to to $16.95 based on the format of the book. For this book, the paperback version was actually MORE than the hardcover edition. There is also a used version for $1.19 {$5.18 after s/h}, but the new hardcover is an even better price and has free shipping.

Those are just a few quick ways to help save a little bit when browsing the many resources Amazon has. Hope that helps you out some! Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me!

Outside Our Window

For the last two weeks, this has been the view right outside our dining room window.

robin nest 

The momma bird gets a little skittish when we come outside {our van is right near the tree} ~ and really, with Zachary around, who can blame her?

Last night I was able to sneak over to the nest when she was off getting some food for herself and hold my camera up over the nest and get a little peek inside…

robin eggs

I do believe this mom of four is a little partial to this momma robin! :) We’ve pulled out our robin lapbooks from last year and are taking a little refresher course this spring. Hopefully we’ll be seeing some little beaks in the next week!

Want to Know Something??

When Rick came home from work one day, he asked the kids what they had learned in school. The response?

“Nothing. We didn’t really do anything.” Which was met with agreement from all the kids.

In all honesty, I wanted to hide under the table, because we had done pretty close to nothing academically recordable that day. That made me feel about 2 inches tall and like I was about the worst mother, parent, teacher, etc… around.

There are days where we get so much ‘learning stuff’ done {and I am amazed on those days}. Other days can seem to drag by and it can be like pulling teeth to do ANYTHING. Sometimes it depends on the preparation I’ve put into our day…other times ~ well, who knows what exactly happens.

Yesterday I let our kids sit and play with their Leapsters. For a VERY long time. At first I felt horribly guilty for it, but then something triggered in me and I realized something about myself.

I’m the one putting undue pressure on myself. Pressure to perform a certain way. Pressure to get all the little things checked off MY list ~ we will learn ‘this’, ‘this’, and ‘this‘…which can suck all the joy and fun out of learning for both me and the kids. Pressure to PROVE that we did so much on each day, put ‘x’ amount of time in, and made a set amount of progress. Making it fit into my nice little mental boxes {and planner boxes} and making sure that our school year is following along with the plans that I made over 5 months ago.

Today I sat down and just looked at all that we’ve accomplished over the last few months and realized ~ it’s OK!! I need to relax, back off and quit worrying about some things…and just have FUN with our kids. That is truly when our learning takes off. Schedules and such do have their place at times, but one of the reasons we are homeschooling is so that we can spend time together and make learning a fun experience for everyone.

Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that!

Photobucket

For Real ~ Really!!

Years ago, when people first began ‘meeting’ over the internet, I was a tad bit cynical about the relationships that developed. Ok ~ maybe more then a tad. Last year I met Mary from Not Before 7, and last week I was BLESSED beyond measure to meet two more wonderful ladies IN REAL LIFE!!

{you can insert some squeals of excitement here}

image

Carisa from 1+1+1=1 and Totally Tots I had far too much fun {and got together more than one day}. We hung out at her house, spent some time working on behind the scenes things for the Totally Tots site, wandered the aisles of several fun stores ~ but just enjoyed the time we had together and getting to know each other on a different level. I even got to play along with Krash for some Tot School fun, cuddle with the cute Lil’ Ladybug and have PacMan show me a thing or too on some itouch games. And seriously? I think her husband, Frank, was more than a little relieved to see that I’m a real, living person ~ and normal…well, mostly. :)

image

Wednesday we traveled to meet up with Jill from Forever n Ever n Always and spent most of the day with her and 8 of her kiddos! It was gorgeous day, so we were able to spend some time outside and just play together. And all those kids? These are all unedited pics ~ they are all THAT stinkin’ cute! And sweet. And amazingly wonderful!

IMG_1740 IMG_1757

IMG_1764 IMG_1770

IMG_1773 IMG_1794

IMG_1795 IMG_1798

IMG_1800 IMG_1801

These two ladies have challenged me on so many different levels over the last few months and God has blessed me exceedingly, abundantly ~ more than I ever imagined with their friendships! TRULY! I am honored to call them friends ~ and know that we’ve just scratched the surface of our friendship.

If you want to see some more pictures, you can also visit these posts:

Photobucket

I {used to} Oppose Homeschooling

Want to know something interesting about me? Not so many years ago I was completely opposed to homeschooling.

{Did that grab your attention??}

My mom homeschooled my two brothers and wanted to homeschool me, but I refused. Call me the stubborn oldest child. The obstinate senior who wasn’t about to be yanked from the school I’d known for years just to sit at home.

Besides. I’d seen homeschoolers. They were weird. VERY weird ~ and I wasn’t about to become one of them. Homeschooling was still pretty new at that point and the examples I had of homeschooling were a far cry from the vision of how I pictured myself socially and academically.

My irritation only grew as the years progressed. I mocked. I scoffed. In debate class in college I gave wonderful tirade vehemently against homeschooling, point by crushing point. My debate teacher later approached me and thanked me for the great information, because he and his wife were considering homeschooling.

{It’s here that I insert my formal apology to both my professor and his wife – please forgive me!}

When exactly did my opinion change? I don’t know if I can put my finger on a specific moment in time. I think I would say it was more of a gradual change. I worked in our local school system, knew the ins and outs of it and was prepared to continue teaching once our kids were old enough to go back to school.

Then I had one little girl…and another. A little boy…and another. Life started changing faster than I knew was even possible.

The year Laurianna was ready to go to school there were a number of different reasons that pushed us in the direction to homeschool, the main one being I just KNEW that was what I {we} was supposed to do. Even though I was scared to death, I figured I really couldn’t do much to mess up kindergarten, right?

Now, here I am four years later…grateful for the amazing opportunity that I have with my children, but sometimes wondering how exactly I got to this point. Especially in light of my firm opposition to homeschooling and the promise that I would never put my kids through ‘that’.

God has such a great sense of humor, doesn’t He?

Photobucket