May is Mother's Day Giveaway

Welcome to the last Mother’s Day giveaway and congratulations to Emily, the winner of Encouraging Thoughts for Women.

Drum roll please! I saved the best for last, the Devotional for Women written by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson.  B & H Publishing provided a courtesy copy to me for my honest review.

The Devotional for Women

This devotional looks like a pocket bible so you can take it anywhere, keep it your handbag, in the car, or tucked beside the bed. There is a place to write your “personal reflection” at the end of each devotion.  There is also a reading plan in the back that aligns with the order of the devotions.  However, the daily devos are not dated so you can read it any in order you wish.   This is a good devotional for anyone who does not necessary enjoy devotionals.  It will make a great addition to your library. Enter to win by leaving a comment on my blog or Facebook and/or re-tweeting.

Many Blessing!

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_He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done._

A day of rest.

No blogging.
No Facebook.
No Twitter.
No email.
No Pinterest.

Just…
Peace.
Quiet.
Family.
Naps.

Unplugged Sunday.

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May is Mother's Day Giveaway

Congratulations to Ashley of CreatingPreciousMoments.blogspot.com for winning Peace for a Woman’s Soul, the first of three devotionals I am giving away in May in honor of Mother’s Day!

Devotional two is Encouraging Thoughts for Women, A Devotional Journal .

This devotional journal is lovely and topic driven. There are devotions for anger, blessings, children, giving, God’s provision, guidance and prayer.  Each devotion is short and has space to write your prayers and insights.   Enter to win this devotional by commenting on this post, commenting on Facebook or retweeting.

Thanks to all you entered the first giveaway.  Please share on your social media!

Good Luck.

 

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May is Mother's Day Giveaway

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m giving away THREE devotionals during the month of May, one each week for three weeks starting today.  Here we go!

Devotional One:

Peace for a Woman’s Soul
Finding Rest for Your Spirit

This devotional was written by Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Luci Swindoll, Thelma Wells, Barbara Johnson and Sheila Walsh and others.

Enter to win by leaving a comment, retweet, or “Like” on Facebook.

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Waiting

I spend a lot of time waiting.  Waiting in lines.  Waiting to pick up KJ from school. Waiting in the doctor’s office.  All this waiting can add up to more than a hour of time a day!  With this new found time, there are 8 things you can do while you wait.

Communicate:
Waiting can be an opportune time to pray.  It is a time that is generally quiet and uninterrupted.  Praying can re-set your mood, re-fuel your spirit, and re-connect with the Lord.

Check Social Media:
This is the most obvious and the one we all do naturally.  Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs are a great way to stay connected to everyone in your circle whether personal or professional.

Conversations:
Waiting in your car is a great time to return missed calls or make appointments assuming there are no kids with you or loud external distractions.

Comprehend:
For  me,  waiting is an idea time to read a book.  I generally keep something   to read in my car, my handbag, or my Android.  If you do not enjoy reading,  listen to an audio book.

Create:
Why not be creative. Start a family journal. Knit. Plan your garden or decorating project.

Calendar:
Another wise way to use “wait time” is to update your calendar by preparing for the day, the week or even the month.  I like to have a framework of what to expect at least daily and when I have those tasks complete, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Clean:
I store shopping bags in my car for a quick clean up while I am waiting for KJ to get out of school.  It amazes me how much stuff we accumulate in a short time.  I once found a fossilized french fry marinated in spilled chocolate milk encrusted with a mixture of road salt and baseball dirt.  Yuck! Since then I have tried to take any trash out more often and do a quick clean up. I also keep baby wipes in the car to clean up spills, and to wipe down the dash (as well as any other disasters  that may happen).

Culinary and Couponing:
This is a good time to plan menus, make shopping list, clip, download and organize coupons.

Team Moms’ Bonus:
During my down time, I can plan for the next game/event, attend to administrative duties, answer emails, and update the teams’ Facebook Page.

How do you spend your wait time?

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I’m always on the hunt for good christian books for kids, especially those with good messages.  One such book is Blotch: A Tale of Forgiveness and Grace by Andy Addis.

This is a story about a little boy named Blotch who realized he was not perfect because of the blotches on his skin.  He very much wanted to know why he had these blotches and how to get rid of them.  He set out on an adventure in search of answers.  A long the way, he met other people with these blotches and asked many questions, but no one could explain the stains on their skin.  Disappointed, he diligently continued on his journey traveling from village to village searching for answers until he met a man…

Blotch: A Tale of Forgiveness and Grace

Blotch is a good way to introduce children to the gospel.   It not only explains sin in a kid-friendly manner, but also provides parents with a chapter-by-chapter discussion.  I recommend this book as a way to share the gospel with kids.  Because it is simply written and illustrated even kids of an early age can understand it.

______

(Disclosure:  B & H Publishing provide a copy of this book for my honest review.)

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I didn’t know what to expect, but there it was.  It intrigued me.  It was different.  I flipped through it.  Examined it.  Read it.  Interesting.

Finally, a devotional for women by women, speaking to the heart of women.  It is not a devotional laced with personal stories, but is beautifully sown together by passages of the Bible.

From Genesis to Revelation, The Devotional for Women, walks you through the Bible from the beginning to the end.  At the end of each devotion is a guided prayer and a place to write your “personal reflection”.  There is also a “Daily Bible Reading Plan” in the back that corresponds with the devotions.

The Devotional for Women

Honestly, I am not a big fan of devotions, but this one is different.  It speaks to the heart of every day women who want more from a devotion.

__________

(Disclosure:  B & H Publishing provided a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.)

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As most know, we homeschooled KJ for two years. It was a time of blessing as I watched him thrive and grow.  My time was short, but I gave him a strong foundation for what happened next… I had to return to the workforce, not by my choice or my family’s choice -the economy.  We were fortunate  to find a solid classical christian school whose curriculum is almost identical to what we were using. The transition was fairly easy. KJ made new friends. He was doing well academically. All seemed fine until midway into the school year something changed. This is my story why I want to return to homeschooling.

The Change:

Sometime following Christmas Break, my sweet son went from the I-can’t-wait-to-get-school kid to the crying-don’t-make-me-go kid.  I was confused.  I didn’t understand.  After all he and his new bestie were very close and had made plans to become brothers.

At first, I thought KJ just needed time to readjust to his routine.  But it continued almost daily, and grew worse and eventually it all came to the day (or night).  He was sobbing.  I was teary-eyed.  I snuggled him and asked him to tell me what was wrong, because I couldn’t help if I didn’t know what was on his heart… KJ began pouring out his six year old heart to me.

I learned two things that night, first, he was stressed because wasn’t doing as well as he wanted to.  The truth is he is an A/B student on a harder grading scale than the average school. Secondly, he wanted to return to homeshooling.  That night I promised him that as soon as we can we will homeschool again.  Three years later, he has not forgotten my promise and reminds me periodically that it is his heart’s desire to homeschool.  I have not forgotten my promise to him.

THE BEST CHOICE:

KJ’s school is good.  It is grounded in the Word of God. He is growing academically and he has good friends.  But,  he is 100% boy. He is active.  He is curious.  He is easily distracted.  Sitting in a classroom for hours at a time with little free time and limited recess it not good for him.  KJ needs to be able to move about, stand up, sit down, lay down, jump, and sing.  It stimulates his brain and burns off energy!

He needs to be able to move at his own pace.  Move faster through subjects that are easy for him, take longer on subjects that are more challenging, and spend more time on subjects that he is interested in.  In any structured classroom this may not be possible, because everyone has to keep the same pace.  If some kids are behind they have to catch up – which may cause frustration.  If some kids are ahead, they have to wait for others- which usually causes boredom.  Either of these combinations can cause disruptions in the classroom that must be addressed by the teacher thereby taking time away from teaching.

THE FLEXIBILITY:

The flexibility of homeschooling is a huge plus. There is flexibility in what to teach, how to teach, and when to teach.  If we want to jump on one foot while singing the Timeline song we can!  If we want to go outside for science to explore the insects and plants we are studying, we can. We can even have a field trip to the zoo or aquarium.

We can homeschool in the car by listening to memory work, reciting facts, and yes, your child can read in the car instead of playing a video game or watching a movie.  We can homeschool when out of town.  If I need to go to help my parents, it’s not an issue.  I just pack up the wheely cart with the school work and go!

These are just a few reasons I believe homeschooling is the best choice for us.  But for now, KJ will attend his private school until I can return home.  There are many points of view regarding education overall. The only opinion that matters is yours . The only choice that matters is what works best for your family.  Whatever your choice of education, it should be a family decision that has been discussed and prayed over.

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How to Choose curriculum for your homeschool

Now that you’ve read my posts how to survive your first (or 21st) homeschool convention.  We’re ready to learn how to choose curriculum.

As you can imagine, there are many curricula to choose from including classical, traditional, teacher lead, and online academies.   Curriculum is available from  preschool to  high school and college with varying prices to fit any budget.  There are a few points to consider when choosing:

STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS

Determine what you are looking for by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • What is the age of my  child? This is a simple question, but a necessary one. The age of your child will help determine the general grade level he/she is educationally.
  • What is my child’s ability?  What does your child know? Maybe he is more advanced in some subjects and struggles in others.  That’s one of the good things about homeschooling, you can adjust the curriculum to meet individual needs.  If you want to get a better idea of his knowledge, there are placement tests you can use.
  • Does my child have a learning disability or special need? The curriculum for children with learning disabilities and special needs have come a long way in the past several years.  Companies are now publishing curriculum specifically designed for these children. There is also a lot of free resources and encourage  online as well.
  • How does my child learn?  Knowing how your child learns is as important as knowing their ability.  If you are not teaching in their individual learning style, simple tasks can be confusing and in the end cause frustration.  There are seven styles of learning, but three are the most common; hands-on (kinesthetic), visual (see it) and auditory (hear it).  Sometimes there was will be a combination. For example, KJ is a musical and kinesthetic learner.   I have found that if I put the more challenging things to music/rhythm along with hand motions, he gets it!

STEP 2: EDUCATION STYLE/FORUM

Just as there are different learning styles, there are different education styles or forums:

  • Traditional Education: For most of us when we hear this term we think of public school with classes being taught that we as parents have no control over.  I use this term in the sense of teacher-led classes.  The parent as the teacher with the freedom to choose the subjects your child will learn, but with a more industrial age (modern) curriculum.
  • Classical Education: This style of education is also teacher-led and not only includes reading, writing, arithmetic, and science, but Latin, Greek and ancient history usually starting with “In the beginning” (Genesis 1).  This is our preferred choice because it is Biblically based which is very important to us.  Learning Latin and Greek improves language skills. Science is based on the word of God not the “big bang theory”, and history starts at the beginning of the world.  Think about it.  Most of the history taught in public schools begin with the founding of the new world.  There was no history until God created the world!
  • Online/CD:  There are many good options for online or CD driven programs.  More and more private schools are now offering classes online and you can often choose the subjects  you want your child to take online. This is especially nice if you are not comfortable teaching Latin or calculus.

STEP 3:  ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS

Decide what subjects you will teach in addition to the standard reading, writing, math, and science.  Will you add a language?  If so, will it be an ancient language (i.e. Latin, Greek, Hebrew) or will it be a modern language (i.e. Spanish, French or German)?  Will you add art history or music?

It is important not to over extend your child’s or your time.  Don’t try to cram too many subjects into one day or school year, this will only cause burnout and frustration for everyone.  Remember that one reason to choose to homeschool is to allow your child to grow and learn at their own pace.


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Survive 1st Homeschool Part 2

In Part 2 of the How To Survive Your First Homeschool Convention, I will share more tips to keep you organized and provide information you may not know about the convention.

LOGISTICS

Whether you have pre-registered or not, the first step is to check in at the registration desk.  There you will be given a packet containing a schedule of workshops and vendors, wristbands, an audio order form, and other items that may interest you.

Take time to look through the packet especially the schedule and tentatively plan your day by highlighting the workshops you’re interested in then write them down in the 2016 Homeschool Companion Guide I designed to keep you organized.  Do the same for any vendors you’re looking for or want to know more about.  There is also a section in the Guide for vendors that can be organized by child or subject and a place to tally the costs to help keep you on budget.

In your registration packet you will receive a wristband for each family member registered. These wristbands allow entrance into the workshops and exhibit hall.  You will only receive one wristband per person for the entire convention. It is important not to lose them.  I always put my wristband on just snug enough not to fall off and loose enough that I can slip it off my arm at night. I also put the wristband in my handbag for safe keeping.

ORGANIZE

If you print my Guide, three-hole punch it, and place it in a three-ring binder.  You can either keep it intact as is or use dividers to organize it into workshops, vendors, and wishlists.  The homeschool schedule can also have a place in the binder for easy access.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

Save Money: If you plan to attend an out of town homeschool convention, register early for discounts.  You can also volunteer a few hours to receive free or reduced admission price for you and/or your family.

Discounts:  Look through the homeschool schedule for discounts and specials for curriculum.

Logistics: Reserve your hotel as soon as possible especially if you want to stay close to the convention center. Some hotels partner with the homeschool convention and offer special rates.

Missed a Workshop: Was there a workshop you really wanted to attend, but forgot the time, or just couldn’t make it?  No worries, just order the audio version and pick it up at the conference.

Extras:  Some events, including special guest speakers, programs, children conferences, and audio recordings are not included in the price of admission and will cost extra.

Homeschool conventions are large, but with a little know-how and planning you should not be overwhelmed like I was at my first convention. Remember to go here to receive my Free 2016 Homeschool Convention Companion Guide.


You May Also Enjoy:

How to Survive Your First Homeschool Convention Part 1
Homeschool Convention Season
Homeschooling and the Working Mom

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