Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Slow, Steady, Icy, Cold

In our regular life this week…

As it was a COLD week, we stayed in the house unless it was absolutely necessary to leave it! I usually love winter. But this year I am just over it. It's probably because heating our house is a challenge. I looked ahead to the 10 day forecast and see more frigid temps and precipitation. Yuck. AND it has already started to ice … so it's possible all of our weekend plans will be cancelled.

With the cold weather, we got caught up on some shows we had DVR'd, and I did some reading. Collin came for a mid-week visit. Otherwise, it was a quiet week. Except ….

when I heard the dogs outside barking yesterday (nothing new) and went out to shush them, I heard one who sounded in distress. They had gotten into my gardening area and Buck had gotten his head stuck between the chain link fence and the gate. He was trying to pull his head out and crying. The other dogs were frantic and attacking me while I tried to get him out. The gate is padlocked and we do not have the key. We never use that gate. Buck kept fighting me by bracing his feet against the fence and ground so I couldn't move his head out to free him. It was STRESSFUL! But I finally pulled his feet up and held them tight and then pushed his head down until it was almost to the ground where he had room to pull it out. It was scary for me, him, and his brothers and sister.

In our homeschool this week…

We stayed snuggled up with blankets and pushed ahead on our schoolwork, accomplishing everything in our planner. It was a slow, steady week. We have now accomplished 15 of our first 20 days of school (we have to complete a total of 60) before we get to head to sunny Florida for Spring Break. On the 20th day we have a fun day planned!

Bible - We concentrated on Psalm 23 and Proverbs 3 and 15. We learned that God is our shepherd and when we follow Him, He blesses us and protects us. We have to trust Him no matter where He leads us. That was a good reminder for me.

This also got me thinking how I would like my kids to memorize a verse from Proverbs every week for a year to total 52 memorized verses from Proverbs, the book of wisdom and knowledge. Anybody have a list of the best Proverbs for kids?

Grammar - It was Review week in Logic of English.

Handwriting - We completed another 5 lessons in Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success.

Spelling - It was also a Review week in Soaring with Spelling.

Math - We completed Lesson 21 of Math U See and started multiple digit multiplication. The kids like doing this, and I have also seen a major improvement in their independence on word problems. Math is going well.

Writing - We worked on stories with problems and solutions. This was a good unit that everybody seemed to enjoy!

Reading - We are reading Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary. I am glad we are into her books now. They are fun to read.

Literature - We read Chapters 6 and 7 of Paddle to the Sea and learned about the Uses of Trees and Parts of a Sawmill.

Geography - We studied about Minnesota and Missouri this week and did more fun activities. Check back tomorrow for Study America Saturday where I tell you all about what we did.

Science - We completed another module in Science4Us.

Physical Education - We did our usual bowling, basketball, and lots of Just Dance 2014 with the whole family over the weekend.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We are serious hermits around here. We are iced in tonight. And tomorrow we will be at our various sporting activities, unless they are cancelled due to the weather. And Sunday we will go to church. It's just up the street … surely we can sled there. Otherwise, we are snuggled up at home trying to keep warm.

A favorite thing this week was…

being chosen to promote Purex Mountain Breeze laundry detergent with a giveaway on my blog of coupons for free bottles. By being chosen to participate in the promotion, I will be awarded a year's supply of Purex laundry detergent! What a blessing in these tough economic times!

What's in the kitchen this week ...

My Dinner Dilemma had me change up our dinner choices for during the week. It was a successful week and a dinner schedule I am planning to continue.

For lunch on Thursday I made some homemade pepperoni pizza pinwheels. They were so easy! I just unrolled Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust, spread on some pizza sauce, sprinkled on grated parmesan cheese and some shredded cheddar cheese, added pepperonis, rolled it all back up and cut into small pinwheels. Baked at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. The kids LOVED them!

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. 

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney (finished), George Brown, Class Clown: World's Worst Wedgie by Nancy Krulik (finished) and George Brown, Class Clown: Trouble Magnet by Nancy Krulik (Good, quality literature, I know … but they are both reading a lot these days and enjoying it, so that makes me happy. I want voracious readers, no matter what they are reading!)

Brynne: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney (finished) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney.

Read Aloud: Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary.

Things we're working on…

An Olympics party for our 20th day Fun Day. We made Olympic Ring invitations for the kids to send to their friends.

I am also working on shaving dollars off our electric bill. With only having electric heaters to use this winter, our electric bill has been $400 for each of the past two months. That is way over our utilities budget and it is hitting hard. We are going to have to be more diligent about conserving energy whenever we can, and that will include doing more layering of our clothes and covering up in blankets when we are sitting around.

I’m grateful for …

my new bed! Rick received a small bonus from work for Christmas and he used it to buy me a new bed and mattress. For the past year and a half I have been sleeping on a full size mattress that came from my Grandma's house that I slept on when I was a little girl. It was the old, REALLY heavy thin mattress with one of the exposed springs box spring. It has to be over 60 years old. I can't really even imagine how old it really is. I had a feather mattress and two different foam mattresses on top of it just to make it bearable. I survived, but it sure is nice to have this new set! And it's a Queen instead of a Full. Thank you, honey!!!

My progress on reading through the Bible in 2014 …

I read Genesis 30-50 this week, completing Genesis. I am also reading Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst as part of my morning devotion time. I found some discussion questions online to go along with the book that I have been answering in my journal. It's another good one by this author.

Things you might have missed at Journey to Excellence this week ...

I presented a couple of opportunities for you to win some FREE Purex laundry detergent in the Get a Clean Start with Purex and Bright Washes and Bright Wishes promotions. Although the giveaway for the free coupons has expired, you can still enter the Clean Start sweepstakes and help out a wonderful cause through the Make-A-Wish Foundation with your Purex purchases in February.

I also shared my Dinner Dilemma and how I am proposing to solve it.

How do we handle an "icky" day? You can read about it on my recent post.

Money saved this week …

I did put $100 cash in my jar, out of my grocery budget, for my Weekly Savings plan. I had depleted it down to $0 for groceries this past month, so I am starting again. We are on Weeks 48 and 47 so I needed to add $95. I threw in an extra $5 for good measure. I am not optimistic it will stay there, but I will try my best.

I was successful in saving $55 out of my gas budget to go toward our trip to Florida in April.

And I added $1.90 to my change jar.

I exercised ...

I didn't exercise this week, except for some Just Dance 2014 with the kids. My back has been bothering me and, honestly, it's been so cold in the mornings I just can't get out of my warm bed and into workout clothes. I am ready for some spring temps so I can get out and walk.

What's coming up this week ...

Rick is not coming home this weekend as he has a volleyball tournament to attend for his 13 year old daughter, Amanda. So, it's just me and the kids this weekend. Brynne has a basketball game out of town tomorrow and then we will make up our bowling league games in the afternoon. After church on Sunday we will be vegging and resting. I have an emotional week coming up as the trial on my child support case is scheduled for Friday.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Linking up at the following ...

And the winners are ….

The three winners of the coupon for a FREE 75 oz. bottle of Purex Mountain Breeze laundry detergent are …

Dawn Stokes Keenan-Banks, Wanda McHenry, and Amy Jorgensen!

I have e-mailed each of you so that we can exchange mailing information.

Thanks so much to everyone for entering and, especially, to my new followers! I have another giveaway coming up on Monday, so check back!!

And remember that in the month of February, the Purex brand will be making donations for every bottle of Purex laundry detergent and fabric softener purchased. You can read all about it by going to

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Survive an Icky Day

What do you do when everybody wakes up with minor ailments and just feels icky (it's that time of year)? You declare it a Couch School Day!

We stayed in our pjs and robes all day, bundled up in blankets, and did school on the couch (and in the comfy chair).

We started our day watching a claymation movie called "The Adventures of Mark Twain" on Netflix since we were studying Missouri today.

That led to a discussion about Halley's Comet, so we watched some videos on Youtube. Pretty cool.

After doing our Missouri notebooking page and watching "The States" on dvd, we grabbed all of our regular worksheets and got to work (math, spelling, cursive handwriting, and grammar). We finished up a module in science on the computer and wrote some problem/solution paragraphs.

Finally, we snuggled up and read out of Henry and Beezus and then read out of our own books.

We sipped hot tea and rested and by the end of the day we were all feeling a bit better. We put in a full day of schoolwork, we just relaxed while doing it.

Homeschooling Rocks!

(And can I just say how thankful I am to not be sending my kiddos into the cesspool of sickness at the public school? There is a wicked stomach flu going around, lots of nasty coughs, sinus infections, and the like. We have been limited to just some scratchy throats and minor headaches that extra rest and hot tea fix in a flash.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dinner Dilemma

Dinner. It has become a struggle. Our lifestyle is so completely different than it was a couple of years ago. Back then I fixed dinner every night of the week and on the weekends we ate easier meals. I always felt that it was important to have a good meal waiting for Rick when he got home from a long day of work.

Living here in Missouri I have kept up that schedule for the kids, but also added cooking full meals on the weekends because Rick is here and I want him to have home-cooked meals when he is here.

The problem is that Dawson works a couple of nights a week from 5-7 p.m. and, oftentimes, eats dinner at work. Brynne has basketball practice a couple of nights a week from 5-7 p.m. so she eats something before she goes to practice because she isn't hungry enough for dinner and once we get home we just eat something easy because of lack of time. And Kyndal doesn't get home from school until 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. I could fix dinner super early, but we really aren't ready to eat our meal at 4:30 in the afternoon, and if we do then we are starving before bedtime. A big full dinner at night has almost seemed a waste as of late. I plan and work to fix a meal and end up being about the only one to eat any of it.

The weekends have now taken on a new life as Rick is here, Collin is typically here with Kyndal, and Taylar comes and goes in the evenings. We are all here and everybody is hungry!

So, I am switching things up. I had the kids help me make a list of their favorite easy meals, ones that don't require a lot of preparation. We came up with 16 meals that I plan to purchase ingredients for each month and keep for us to eat during the week. We will rotate these meals (probably based on mood) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. We eat potluck at church on Wednesday nights. Even if I am not here for some reason, the older kids can easily put the majority of these meals together. The best thing about these meals is that all the kids like them and they are quick to fix. No muss, no fuss.

  • Easy chicken parmesan
  • Homemade mini pizzas
  • Cheeseburger macaroni
  • Spaghetti and french bread
  • Burgers and hot dogs
  • Chicken stir fry
  • Salisbury steak and macaroni and cheese
  • Lasagna and french bread
  • Soup and grilled cheese
  • Pancakes and bacon
  • Pigs in a blanket and fruit
  • Chicken quesadillas and chipotle rice
  • Breaded chicken sandwiches and fries
  • Sub sandwiches and chips
  • Taco salad
  • Biscuits and gravy
Then on the weekends, I will make those bigger meals that everybody likes to eat, especially Rick. I am hoping this simplifies things and makes everybody happy come dinner time!

I'll let you know how this works out!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Purex ~ Make-A-Wish GIVEAWAY

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family.

Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 226,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,000 in 2013 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at to learn more.

To honor the millions of children whose clothes they help keep bright and clean every year, the Purex brand is teaming up with Make-A-Wish to bring bright wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Purex brand will pay 5 cents per bottle to Make-A-Wish for the first 4 million bottles of 75 oz+ liquid detergent sold in the month of February and will increase the payment to 10 cents per bottle above 4 million sold, with a guaranteed donation of $200,000 - $300,000. They will also be making donations per bottle of fabric softener purchased. You can read about their effort to help this great cause at

I have shared how our family exclusively uses Purex laundry detergent, and has for years. I even made a big purchase of some when they were on sale this past weekend.

If you love Purex laundry detergent, too, or if you have never tried it and want to, here is your chance to win a coupon for a FREE bottle of Purex Mountain Breeze laundry detergent (my favorite fragrance)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
** Disclaimer: Purex Laundry Detergent provided me with Purex coupons in exchange for sharing the Purex Make-A-Wish Campaign. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Study America Saturday ~ Indiana and Michigan

We had another great couple of days in the Midwest with our Road Trip USA unit study. We visited Indiana and Michigan.


As always, we started out our studies by going through the materials in Road Trip USA and coloring our notebooking page. Then we went on to watch the segment about Indiana from "The States" dvd.

We focused our lessons on the Wright Brothers and the state flower of the peony.

The kids watched an Animated Hero Classics video on the Wright Brothers and then the bonus material from Flights of Courage titled "The Wright Brothers' First Flight".

We used the book Super Simple Paper Airplanes by Nick Robinson to make a couple of planes.

Finally, we made some coffee filter peonies.


Again for Michigan we read our Road Trip USA materials, colored our notebooking page, watched the Michigan segment of "The States", and read Michigan Facts and Symbols.

The kids were very taken with Michigan and have added that to their list of places they want to visit. We learned about peninsulas and looked at pictures of the Mackinac Strait and bridge. We previously learned about suspension bridges, so did some review on them.

Next up was Motown music. We watched some old videos of "Stop in the Name of Love" by The Supremes, "My Girl" by The Temptations, and "One More Chance" by the Jackson 5. They were really impressed with Michael Jackson as a young boy!

We watched a Youtube video about Studio A at the Motown Hitsville USA museum.

This led to a discussion of the phonograph which was invented by Thomas Edison. We watched a video on the invention of the phonograph which led to lessons on sound waves. We played music on glasses with filled with different levels of water and then made a telephone with plastic cups and string.

Purex ~ LAST Day for a Great Deal

Today is the last day to snag some cheap Purex laundry detergent at Dollar General. Through today, each 75 oz. bottle of Purex laundry detergent is $3.25 (that's a savings of $2.25 per bottle). If you have a $5 off $25 coupon to use today, you can grab 8 bottles for $21 plus tax. That is a great deal! I got mine last Saturday.

Now that I am a Purex Insider, I have the opportunity to pass along some even more great deals, promotions and some coupons for FREE laundry detergent! Check out my post on how you can win a free wardrobe and a year's supply of Purex laundry detergent.

And come back on Monday when I open up a Giveway for FREE detergent!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Up and Down

In our regular life this week…

More up and down weather this week. It was 60 on Sunday and about 20 on Monday. Then Tuesday was about 40, as well as Wednesday. Then on Thursday it was 15. This weekend it will be back up in the mid 50's on one day and then about 15 the next. Geez!!

In our homeschool this week…

Although we had some up days and down days because of not feeling good one day, we still managed to accomplish all of our work. We just had "Couch School" on Wednesday. The rest of the week was fun and a lot was learned!

Bible - We learned all about the first Temple .. it's size, purpose, what it was used for, etc.

Grammar - We learned about common and proper nouns, possessive noun adjectives, and titles of respect.

Handwriting - We completed another 5 lessons in Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success.

Spelling - Our words this week use the suffix -ly. Both kids did great, and only one word was missed on the final test … patiently.

Math - We completed Lesson 20 and practiced multiplying by 8. We have now learned all of the multiplication facts. Only 10 more weeks of multiplication and then we are moving onto division with Math U See Delta.

Writing - We started writing humorous pieces. We worked on a paragraph together on the whiteboard about a time when Brynne played a joke on her friend. Then the kids completed a comic strip from their Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself books. Finally, they spent some time working on comic strips of their own.

Reading - We finished Ribsy by Beverly Clearly. On Wednesday, when we were not feeling well, we watched the movie Ramona and Beezus that we had dvr'd from The Disney Channel some time ago. That is such a great movie … we all cried in a couple of places. The kids want me to get Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary for our next read aloud.

Literature - We only had time for one chapter of Paddle to the Sea this week, and we learned all about forestry careers by watching a C.L.E.M. video and having a discussion.

Geography - We studied about Indiana and Michigan this week and did some fun activities. Check back tomorrow for Study America Saturday where I tell you all about what we did. Here is a sneak peak.

We learned a little about Grenada and Leon in Nicaragua as those are the two places where my brother, sister-in-law and niece have been visiting the past two weeks. We watched some videos on Youtube with tours of both Grenada and Leon as we did our activities.

We made banana chocolate chip muffins as bananas is the second leading crop of Nicaragua. This activity was a good one as we ended up with a yummy snack!

The leading crop in Nicaragua is coffee, so we also did a coffee painting. This project didn't turn out so good. We followed the instructions at, but ours must didn't work too good. The kids thought it was a dud.

Science - We are reviewing a great product called Science4Us right now. The kids completed a full module this week. It's a fantastic program and my review will be coming in a few weeks. We also focused some lessons on sound waves as part of one of our state studies (those details tomorrow).

Physical Education - This week involved more bike riding, on the warmer days, Brynne had two basketball practices and a game, they bowled for 3 1/2 hours last Saturday, and we did some Just Dance 2014.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Last Saturday Eli and Brynne had a birthday party to attend at the bowling alley. That day Brynne played an hour of basketball and they both bowled for a total of 3 1/2 hours between their regular league and the party! We were wiped out that evening. Sunday included lots of napping. This past week we have stayed pretty close to home except for our normal activities.

A favorite thing this week was…

Watching Brynne cry at the end of the book she was reading. I love it that she really feels the stories she reads. I am hoping at least one of my kids inherits my love of reading. Getting lost in a good story is just such a joy!

What's in the kitchen this week ...

We have got to where our biggest meals happen on the weekends. During the week, the kids are in and out and if I do fix dinner it seems I end up being the only one who eats. So, I am thinking of having "lunch" meals at night, most nights, and then cooking on the weekends when we are all here. Last weekend we had Fried Fish, Potatoes, and Corn Bread one night; Enchiladas, Chipotle Rice, and Chips and Salsa another; and Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs and French Fries another. And Kyndal made this yummy dessert. Honestly, it's WAS to die for (it's gone now) …

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. 

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney.

Brynne: The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes by Marlane Kennedy (finished) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney.

Read Aloud: Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (finished)

Things we're working on…

Tallying up 20 days of school so that we can have a Fun Day! We have to complete 60 days of school before we take our trip to my parents' house in Florida with my friend Jodi and her kids for our Spring break. So, on the 20th, 40th and 60th days of school, we are going to do something fun! We have tallied 10 days, so far. Our first Fun Day is going to be an Olympics party with some of their friends. We'll spend the whole day making snacks and getting together games and activities.

I’m grateful for …

how hard my husband works for his family. Just this week he has worked from 7:30 in the morning until 11:00 p.m. or midnight so that he is free to spend his weekends with us. He works in Oklahoma all week and then drives 4 hours on Friday to be with us in Missouri all weekend. Then on Sunday night he drives back. Right now Brynne is playing basketball games on the weekends and Eli and Brynne have bowling league. Rick's other daughter, Amanda, is a competitive volleyball player so she is in her winter league right now. So Rick is either driving here to watch Brynne play basketball or to Arkansas or Southern Missouri to watch Amanda in volleyball tournaments. I know that he is exhausted. And I love him for doing whatever it takes to be there for his family.

My progress on reading through the Bible in 2014 …

I read Genesis 8-29 this week. I have had a little trouble coming up with a good Bible reading time, but I will get into a good schedule. I am trying to make it the last thing I do at night before I got to bed. I have also been reading out of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst (my second time to read it). Did you read my post this week on it? The book has spoken to me further on that topic since then.

Things you might have missed at Journey to Excellence this week ...

This week was the Schoolhouse Review Crew's Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop. I participated all five days by sharing my ABC's (and D's and E's) of our Homeschooling Success.

I have struggled with a sin issue in my life this week and have spent a lot of time in study and prayer. I shared a little about that in How Will I Respond?

Money saved this week …

Savings … yeah right. I am trying, oh I am trying. But, I have a family to take care of and right now it's proving to just be impossible to save any money out of my grocery and household budget. In fact, I only have enough left to buy another gallon of milk next week. But, we do have exactly what we need, when we need it, and I am ever so grateful for that.

I am going to be able to save $55 out of my gas budget this month, though. That goes into a special fund for our trip to Florida in April. I need to save enough money out of our gas budget until then to pay for our share of the gas for the trip. Activities and food will already by accounted for out of our regular budgets. We will just be doing activities and buying groceries in a different state, but not spending any more money than we usually spend.

I did add $4.52 to my change jar. Every little bit adds up.

I exercised ...

every day except for Wednesday and Thursday when my back was hurting. I either rode my bike, did TaeBo, Just Dance 2014, or Rockin' Body. I don't do a lot, but something is certainly better than nothing. And it gets me up and moving for the day, which is good.

What's coming up this week ...

More of the same … I do like this time of year when we do just the same ol', same ol' all the time. But tonight Dawson's best friend Tonio is coming with Rick for a weekend visit, and tonight Dawson and Taylar have their Courtwarming dance. Collin and Kyndal will be hanging around with us.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Excellent advice from my main man.

Linking up at the following ...

The ABC's (and D's and E's) of Our Homeschool Success ~ "E"xpect "E"xcellence {Homeschool Essentials Blog Hop}

What a great week this has been focusing on the things in our homeschool that make us successful. I have enjoyed reading the blogs of some of my fellow Crew Members to hear what things make their days go more smoothly. I hope that you have enjoyed this Blog Hop.

This last essential is one that I have realized was the motivation for why we started homeschooling in the first place. It is also what prompted the title of this blog.

In February of 2010, we made the decision that we should begin our homeschooling journey. It all started with Dawson (our now 17 year old high school junior). Kyndal was able to navigate the waters of public school without any problems. Dawson, however, struggled with the strain and stress of perfection and being lost in the big crowd. As we were struggling, as well, we followed his lead (actually, his begging) and brought him home for school for two years so that he could pursue Excellence instead of perfection.

I encourage you to travel back with me to my very first blog post at Journey to Excellence on February 26, 2010, when I wrote about The Reason for the Journey.

Now in our 4th year of homeschooling, I still believe that taking Dawson out of school was the best thing for him. He did decide to go back to high school last year, after being home for two years. It was the right decision for him to go back. He was ready. He learned a lot while being home, and I do not just mean academics. He learned about his importance and worth and how his way is okay. Homeschooling him was not only the best thing for him from an educational standpoint, but it probably saved him from some real trouble.

Excellence is still something we believe in and Expect from our younger two children, now that they are homeschooled students. (We believe in it and expect it from our graduate pursuing her technical career in cosmetology and Dawson as a public high school junior, as well.) Eli has some neurological delays that have given him some bumps in the road, but we still expect him to strive for excellence each day, despite any difficulties he might face. I think our expectation of him reaching for his excellent potential, and not using his delays as an excuse, has actually been what has facilitated his growth beyond what he thinks he can accomplish.

Excellence is a pursuit we expect from our kids! We know that they will never reach perfection this side of Heaven. Accepting that has eased up our fears of not measuring up to what others think we should be doing.

We do not push grades! Perfection … 100% … is not our attainable goal! I have to fight Eli to keep him from worrying about a perfect paper. He looks for those numbers on his papers. We spend a lot of time discussing the learning process and how we are learning even when we make mistakes. In fact, we are probably learning more when we are making mistakes. I think after being out of public school for a year and a half, he is finally starting to "get it", although it is still a struggle.

What do our expectations look like?
  • No grumbling
  • No complaining
  • No defeatist attitude
  • No fits
We sit when it's time to sit and we play when we are done. I give fair breaks to reward for hard work. But when it's time to do work, it's time to buckle down and do it. No "wiggle room" there.

We get dressed (most days), brush our teeth and fix our hair. Sloppy dress equals a sloppy mind. Sharp dress equals a sharp mind.

I would say that I am a strict educator in many ways. But, I do spend a lot of time planning activities that cater to my children's strengths and help build up their weaknesses. They are then expected to give it all they have got so they can fully reap the benefits of this educational opportunity they have.

Perfection? No.

Excellence? Totally expected.

Did you miss the A, B, C and D of our homeschooling success?

"A" Plan
"B"oard .. white board
"D"rawing Sticks

Even though the Blog Hop is technically over this afternoon, the links to other 88 Crew Members posting in the Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop will remain. I hope that you will take some time to visit some of my friends: Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Julie @ Nurturing Learning, Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures, DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor, Lori @ At Home: where life happens, Adriana @ Homeschool Ways, Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool, Meg @ Adventures with Jude, Sarah @ Delivering Grace.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The ABC's (and D's and E's) of Our Homeschool Success ~ "D"rawing Sticks {Homeschool Essentials Blog Hop}

We are already on Day 4 of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop. I hope that you have picked up some good tips for essentials that might make your homeschooling experience a little more pleasant. In reading some of the other participants' posts, I know I have!

Our essential item today is a big one for us! Last year we would start at the top of our planner page and work our way down. But Eli doesn't like spelling or any kind of writing, so I noticed that he started to stress about about them when we were doing subjects that he did like. And then I noticed Brynne start saying, "Oh no! Math is coming up!" We couldn't even concentrate on the subject we were on for the anticipation of less-desired subjects that were next on our list.

So we stared "D"rawing Sticks.

I just took a simple mason jar and attached a little ribbon around it. I used large craft sticks and wrote each of our subjects on them. We start each morning with our Bible lesson. Then on Mondays and Wednesdays Brynne gets to draw the first stick to see which subject we are doing next. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Eli gets to draw first. Since our Fridays are little different, I usually write down our lessons on small slips of paper and the kids play "rock, paper, scissors" to see who gets to draw first.

After the first stick is drawn and that subject completed, the other child draws the next stick, and so on, until our day is complete. I am not going to lie and say that I don't still hear things like, "Shoot, I chose Math!" or "Please don't be Spelling, please don't be Spelling …", but at least while we are working our on current subject there is less stressing, because …

What are the A's, B's and C's of our homeschooling success?

"A" Plan
"B"oard .. white board

You should also take some time to see what the other 88 Crew Members posting in the Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop find as being necessary in their schooling. I especially encourage you to visit some of my friends: Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Julie @ Nurturing Learning, Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures, DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor, Lori @ At Home: where life happens, Adriana @ Homeschool Ways, Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool, Meg @ Adventures with Jude, Sarah @ Delivering Grace.