Thursday, May 2, 2013

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books - NOTEBOOKING and FREE BOOKS

FREE Andrew Lang & Fairy Books Printables 

Grab the free note booking pages for Andrew Lang's Fairy Books Here!

You can also download all of Andrew's Fairy books from Amazon for free. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

For You They Signed - Looking ahead

I'm always looking ahead. My oldest two are finishing their freshman year and we have loved almost everything we have done. This time of year however, I start looking at my bookshelves, checking out the curriculum magazines that magically appear on my doorstep and looking forward to what I want to do next year with the kids.

Today is Monday. Mondays are usually not a great day to just sit around and pour over books. Usually there is washing to be done, chores to be caught up on, music lessons to run to and normally I'm delivering my Avon orders. But today, it's snowy, my husband is home not feeling well. I'm not feeling well. We have a sick chicken, yes chicken, and well I simply thought I'd take a look at whats on my shelf and sit and read awhile.

It's been several hours and I am now surrounded by Abeka 10th grade geography, Bob Jones geography, British literature, American Literature, 5th grade spelling, Vocab and Spelling, Writing and Grammar and well a host of other things. Yes, all from just thinking I might take a peek on my shelf and grab a book to read.

I  have this love hate relationship with living books vs boxed curriculum. I love a good book. I love the conciseness and non parental involvement of boxed curriculum. I hate trying to fit my living books into a perfectly organized curriculum by subject, date and relevance and I hate not having the full story in a textbook. Every year I go through the same problems. Geography is a great example of using a text book. It's organized and I know they are going to learn just enough. Literature is a poor example of a text book. While it's good for organized learning, reading half-stories is boring and I think does not feed a desire to read good literature. It takes the best parts of a book and leaves it at just that. You kind of miss the connection you get with the author and the characters when you don't read a book cover to cover . Don't get me wrong, textbooks are a good tool. I just don't feel like it's going to be what we want. Yet I believe I own every literature text book every made.

So, I've gotten way off my topic of what I wanted to talk about, but since this is a blog you get to read along with my spastic thought pattern.

Amongst my looking at books today I came across a little gem that I bought at the used curriculum fair last year. Marilyn Boyer's For You They Signed, The Spiritual Heritage of Those Who Shaped Our Nation. I picked it up last year because I had remembered hearing great things about the book and well, if a book has made any impression on me that I remember it while in the throws of  the pure joy of a book sale I must purchase it. I hugged my book, loved it a little held it close and when we got home gazed at it longingly as I put it on my shelf to be rediscovered today. Yes, a year later I pulled it out to peak inside the cover. I was even so excited I handed it off to my husband only to be greeted with "Oh yea, I read that last year when you bought it" (LET DOWN)

Before you faint, let me just remind you that I had already picked out what my kids were going to be doing for this year before I bought the book.

I curled up on the couch, surrounded by these loads of textbooks and started reading. It was the first time ever.....(I can not believe I'm admitting this) that I have read the Declaration of Independence. My immediate thought after the first few paragraphs was I have got to post this on Facebook. People need to read this. I popped over to facebook on my phone, yes I was still in the middle of reading, and started to post only to stop myself and shy away from telling everyone in the world that I had never read this founding document that our entire country rests upon. Um, yeah, no. Instead I'm sitting here telling you and I'm going to go post this on Facebooks so......yeah, throws a big knot into my thought process. Seriously if you have not read this document you really need to get your eyes on a copy now. Especially today!

I spent the next two hours devouring this book. I have to say it has been a sincere pleasure to read the stories of our founding fathers. Marilyn has outdone herself with the history and research that reside in-between the covers of this book. This is not a TEXTBOOK, it is a beautiful story interwoven with the lives of those who took a stand for our freedom when it was not the popular thing to do

I know I will not do it justice to explain how this book is laid out. I will however give you the link to their site. They have a sample chapter you can download and of course they have spent way more time concisely telling you about this book. No rabbit trails like my blog. :)

For You They Signed - Marilyn Boyer

Needless to say, my children will be reading this next year. It really is quite an amazing book. I consider it a must absolutely own book.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What About Socialization?

Ah yes, the all time most asked question from New Homeschool Moms and home education doubters. Why is this? Are we really worried about socialization? Do we even know what socialization means? Is it possible you mean socializing? Is there a difference?

Let's look at some definitions and then I'm going to open it up to Veteran Mom's to post what they mentor new homeschool mom's with. I believe having many opinions on this topic is just tools a new mom can use.

Let's look first at the word Socialization.

Socialization - from wikipedia
Socialization (or socialisation) is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society. Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’.[1][2]
Socialization describes a process which may lead to desirable, or 'moral', outcomes in the opinion of said society. Individual views on certain issues, such as race or economics, are influenced by the view of the society at large and become a "normal," and acceptable outlook or value to have within a society. Many socio-political theories postulate that socialization provides only a partial explanation for human beliefs and behaviors, maintaining that agents are not 'blank slates' predetermined by their environment.

Interestingly it seems to have nothing to do with how many friends you have or if you have friends or if you can interact with another human. Mom, this is what YOU want to instill in your children. You do not want friends or teachers or the government telling you or your children how to view the social issues of our society. We as Christians want to filter everything through the Bible. 

Read on....

Socializing - socializing  present participle of so·cial·ize (Verb)
  1. Mix socially with others.
  2. Make (someone) behave in a way that is acceptable to their society: "newcomers are socialized into our ways"
  3. To take part in social activities.
Oh? A verb?. Last time I looked verbs are actions. Does it require work? Yes, you will need to make effort and opportunities for your children to make friends. But that is not the end all to the question. Thankfully it's not that hard. Church will offer plenty of opportunities to meet families. Homeschool groups and co-ops are another good way to meet families that have children. Taking advantage of park days, classes or just hanging at the library are all going to offer socializing opportunities. Honestly, if you have more then one child, a grandparent, a family member or even your neighbor you're going to be hard pressed not to interact with someone at some point. (socializing)

I want you to come away with two things. The knowledge between the two different word forms of socialization. Most of the time when you are asked "Well, what about socialization?" they mean are your kids going to have any friends. Rarely do you run into someone who wants to know how you are going to teach your child to view their world.
I also want you to feel confident that just because you homeschool you will not ruin your child socially. Truth be told when you look back in a few years you will laugh as you try to figure out how you are going to find time to "do school" in between all your socializing commitments.

Breathe, Mom who is new to homeschooling! You've already conquered one of the biggest battles in homeschooling. Answering the world when they ask "What about Socialization?"

Let's open this up to veteran homeschool mom's now. Tell me, how do you answer the above question?

Notgrass History

We are so close to finishing our first year with Notgrass History. This year my freshman have been completing the World History program.
What I love:
It is NOT teacher intensive (this could be why my dislikes are dislikes)
It integrates Bible
Includes intensive questioning that make the kids think and apply
Great Literature
Grammar points
Includes writing ideas to incorporate it with the History
Friday's or the 5th day is Bible Study and intensive
Includes living documents for study
Is written in a way that is interesting!

Since this is an honest opinion and I've not been asked to give my opinion for any compensation I'd like to cover what I am not liking about this program for my children.

What I do not like:
While the literature is great, it's very heavy reading for a freshman
There is not a lot of  "literature discussion"
While writing is included, I didn't feel there was a great writing support for the parent or child. (It's kind of an on your own thing)

Not much to not like, right?

I suppose if you had the time and you put forth the effort you would find my dislikes are not really anything more then personal to our homeschool.

All in all I love the curriculum. My kids are loving the curriculum. The content and quality far outweigh my not so excitedness (is that a word?) of the literature portion.

I do highly recommend this company and their products. It's a small homeschool business compared to the big wigs and I love supporting them. They are real and available. I love it!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Have you Checked out my Avon Site?

Right above here you will see my "Buy Avon From Me" page. Yes, this is a shameless plug.

I love Avon products, BUT I'm not that fond of pushy sales people at my door. HONESTLY I've not had any pushy sales ladies and the one Avon lady I had years ago I LOVED! Such a sweet grandmotherly lady who took in my kids and I as if we were her own and treated me like a super star.(I was a very young homeschooling mom at that time with 6 year old twins and a highly active crazy loud 2 year old)

Because of this experience I wanted to become an Avon Rep. My goal is to service my homeschool community. Hopefully I'm known enough around here that they will feel comfortable being honest with me and letting me know if they would like to have an Avon service or not.

Another thing I liked about Avon this time is that I can do my work online. I'm an online shopper. I love Amazon. I buy silly things like laundry soap and dishwashing soap from them even. I mean two day free shipping AND it's coming to my door. I love it!

Avon does the same thing. Okay, not free two day shipping, but free shipping with a small $30.00 order and many times I know of a free shipping code for holidays or other occasions I can share.

Avon at your door, no pushy sales person, no reason to get out of your jammies (yes as a homeschooling mom there are times I'm in my jammies all day) to get your beauty products.

Speaking of which....I just have to share. A few weeks ago I had declared pajama day in our house. It's not often that we even have a day that we are not going somewhere, but this particular day was free of appointments, co-ops, music lessons, you name it. I lounged in my jammies all day. Imagine my horror when a knock came at my door. I send one of the kids to investigate praying it's UPS. No, it's our regular mail man. This of course means I need to sign for something.

He is not the nicest mail man we have had, and maybe it's our very long driveway and impossible gate he has to come through but his humor is usually not there with me. Of course, I'm trying to figure out what he is going to think about my jammies, and if I can find a good excuse for wearing them. Well, I didn't I just tried to laugh it off, with no smile from him.

My teenage daughter answers the door and he asks for her mother. Knowing I'm in my pajamas she stammers a bit and is speechless. He repeats, "It's not hard to get your mom is it?" She calls for me, remember I'm trying to figure out how to instantly be changed out of these jammies, but nothing worked. I hear him say "Now that wasn't hard was it?" UGH!

So, it's been a few weeks and I wasn't feeling great so I went ahead and declared pajama day again. You know what's coming don't you? Yup, he had to come to the door again. I didn't even bother. He probably thinks I live in my plaid jammies. Oh well.......I'm homeschooling for a reason right. :)

Back to my and I might be a lot alike. I prefer to talk to people via email, I prefer to visit online. I think I'm very much a people person and I love to chat and smile and drink coffee. I co-lead a very large co-op in our community and have the homeschool resource library just outside my house. I'm pretty versatile. Plus I'm not here to make tons of money. Some would be nice, I'd really like to find my niche in helping my husband out while staying home, but I also just like having something worth while to do. My girls are getting older and I'm trying to set a better example for them then was set for me. I'm a keeper of my home, a instructor of my children  and a help meet to my husband.

So, now that you know a bit more about me and why I chose to sale Avon, I hope if you are considering trying their products you will want to shop at my store, knowing that if you dislike anything for any reason I will do everything to make you happy with your purchase or as Avon says, I'll make sure you get your refund.

Thanks for letting me put in my shameless plug. to rally the troops for a little more school on one of our NON-pajama days! Mr. Mailman, your welcome to come by today if you like.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What we are doing for our Freshman Year

It's hard to believe as I type this that I have two freshman. It means we are only a few years away from completing this journey with them. Does learning ever end? It hasn't for me. I'm constantly repeating school. Thanks to homeschooling I think I've finally figured out that 1+1=2, in theory, unless you change what the number 1 stands for in that case it throws my whole theory out. Oh well! Maybe by the time Rebecca is a Senior I'll get it. :)

So, I promised yesterday I would write what we are doing for Highschool this year. It's evolved quite a bit since finding Easy Peasy Homeschool. Did I mention how much I LOVED all her links and direction. I've never met this woman, but if I do I will hug her! This has revolutionized our year.

So stay with me, I'm going to go by subject, tell you what we have done so far and what we are doing now. In a few cases its simple, in a few it's a little over the top to follow.

We will start easy!

Math - Math U See (I love the old versions)
Kahn Academy for explanations, videos and practice when needed.

History - We LOVE Notgrass World History! In all honestly I've not looked anywhere else for history for these kiddos. Not to say I wasn't looking before I found this but it's just perfect for my kids!

So, now it's going to get a little tricky

Literature - World Literature
We are using Notgrass World History which also comes with a literature program. It is great literature BUT, we haven't found a huge discussion on the literature. I felt they needed a bit more. After all we have been following Adam Andrews Teaching the Classics up until now. WHICH I LOVE!! Nothing will replace him, however with my 5th grader still needing a lot of my attention literature just wasn't going how I wanted.

Easy Peasy to the rescue! We followed her link to GA Virtual School for 9th grade Grammar and Literature.
It's been a win win for us.
And to find SAS Currciulum Pathways (which is FREE to sign up for) and see all the resources we have to fill just doesn't get any better.

Just to be clear we are still reading the literature from Notgrass World History AND completing this online course with GA Virtual.

Now, on to one of the trickiest of subjects for us.

Science - We are doing Biology this year.

We started the year with Biology 101 and LOVED LOVED it! My freshman devoured it, literally. We were done with it quite fast. We were following the accredited version of this course and instead of using library books as they suggest we were using Apologia Biology and The world of Biology by John Tiner. We still finished early. Like I said, they devoured it. I have no doubt it's due to the Biology 101 course. They are still telling everyone how much they loved it.

 So, I'm trying to figure out how to make this course keep stretching. After all they are suppose to have a full 180 hours in order to count as a credit. Sigh.... comes Easy Peasy again! I have told you lately how much I love them?
I've checked out a few of her Biology recommendations and I'm so excited.
First we have Biology 101 from the Education Portal
Next we have Biology from GA Virtual
Finally we have SAS Curriculum Pathways

Can you believe all there is on Biology for FREE! Interactive educational whoop de doooo!

Thank you Easy Peasy for showing us the way!

Now my kids do some intense Bible Study with Notgrass History AND Awana AND Bible Study. Not to mention our fantastic co-op class on God's Heart for the Nations.

They are also completing an Art History Course at co-op with  Meet the Masters!

Just so you don't think I'm not doing enough with them.....hahahha.....they were also just accepted into our local Youth Orchestra.

Did I mention we are trying to fit in Institute  for Excellence in Writing? Looks like it might be a co-op class soon so I'm slacking in that area!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Loving Easy Peasy Homeschool!!

If you haven't checked out Easy Peasy Homeschool you should!

I have two freshman in high school this year and a 5th grader. I can't tell you how this has revolutionized our schooling. It's a fantastic FREE website that points you to all sorts of amazing websites on the internet. Each of these so far in our journey have been quality free learning sites. I can pick and choose as I go along. It's all in my control and yet the quality is hard to be beat.

Disclaimer: if you use some of the science sources that are free, please realize you should view them first. There is a bit of evolution in them. In my opinion my kids are well grounded in creationism and it's okay for them to see what others believe and question it. I encourage my older ones to question!

Here is what my 5th grader is doing and I should say LOVING!

Math Facts - Easy Peasy
Math - Math U See for workbook

Science Videos and fun stuff - Easy Peasy
Science Workbook - Abeka

Health - Abeka Workbook

Reading - Easy Peasy
Writing - Easy Peasy

Grammar - Schoolhouse Teachers Daily Grammar

Thinking Skills - Easy Peasy

Year 1 Easy Peasy

We are also use her History as supplemental since we are doing History in Co-op.

As you can see, this is a very full curriculum for my 5th grader and she loves following the days lessons along with fun links. I love it too! Can you tell yet?

Tomorrow I'll tell you what my Freshman are doing this year. Stay tuned

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Working from Home AND Home Educating

Well, I'm starting a new adventure. I wanted to find a little something I could do from home, with my daughters, in my ever shortening free time that MIGHT bring in a little extra money.

I searched high and low. I watched way too many promo videos. I researched, filled out surveys, and filled out more surveys. Guess they don't need white women aged 35. Oh well.

I wanted to find something that I could stand behind and that other homeschool moms might like. I'm not in it to get rich. I would like to see a small amount of profit someday, but I'm pretty laid back. I'm not the pushy type.

I decided to go with Avon. Yup, we all need more makeup in our life. Ok....I do. I rarely wear it anymore. I need good quality hair products that don't cost a fortune and it's nice to shop from home. Plus, even if I don't sell a dime except to myself I get a nice discount from already great prices. Sounds easy huh?

You can do it too! Or you can drop by my website and place an order. Doesn't matter where you are, as long as you live in the U.S. the order will ship to you. You will be helping out another homeschool family and getting products I promise will have a 100% guarantee.

So, there is my plug! Now go visit my new site and tell me what you think.

Susan Kroeker
Avon Independent Sales Representative