Friday, August 28, 2015

Just in case you missed this! I have my entire classroom area on video

OK, so if you haven't heard -I am a YouTuber now.  I have several uploaded videos and most are all on my classroom area. Take a look see!  And be sure to subscribe. I hope to continue using this format to showcase what we have (for homeschooling) about our home, how we use the stuff, and other homseschool/life/couponing/grocery haul type of videos.

I have direct video links on this post over on my main blog!  Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hi Everyone! IF you don't follow my main blog-you are missing out on some great new posts

I have been YouTubing it and I have about 9 videos posted so far. I have almost completed the classroom tour. Just two more to go.

So to just save time-please click here to go to my channel. Be sure to subscribe too! I will continue to add when I can. I have lots of ideas, it's just been a busy summer, so it's taking me longer than I had hoped.

Anyhoo-thought I would post that update. I hope your summer is going great!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nature Study Tote Box

Not sure if you visited my Homeschooling on a Wing and a Prayer blog lately, but I have a detailed post highlighting all the things we keep in our Nature Study Tote (portable one for taking out into the field for study) with links too.  Be sure to check that out.

The tote could be put into the workbox (if deep enough to hold it) with a notebook page on a particular area to study, some field guides and a little note with the projected time of your little excursion.  Or one could simply put a cute card in the box with details of your outdoor study, a snack/water and so forth.  Since the weather is so much more inviting, it's time to embrace the nature study activities as often as possible. Having that tote to go is a great way to be ready in an instant.

**I try to cross post as often as I can because I know folks don't always remember I have two active I wanted to mention the post over there.  I have lots and lots of things I cover but do not repost here.  Wanted to give you a reminder of that-HTH.

Planning and Purchasing next year's curriculum/materials-how I do it

So it's that time of year again, when we moms dive into websites, catalogs, stroll vendors at conventions [if you attend] and poke through various blogs to find all sorts of neat goodies we could purchase for our cherubs.  Usually this is a fun activity-especially if you need a break from the every day schooling to dream upon what you want to do next year.  I do that and actually enjoy it.  Crazy but true.  I love the thrill of the hunt and the planning of new things to study.  Others tho, may not.  I am not sure which category you fall under but if you need some 'how does that old gal do it?' kinda advice-continue on dear blogger pal.

If you have just started homeschooling or you can't seem to get a handle on it-maybe something here will help you out. For those out there that are can do this with mind-boggling precision, then perhaps this is not the article for you.

Now,  I know that some folks are all super organized with everything done all computery like-but  I do not go that route. Too old fashioned I suppose.  I like the ole pen and paper approach. Only after I have that done, I will go ahead and click the goodies onto the 'wish list'  for both Rainbow Resource Center and Amazon.  Mind you-that doesn't mean I will actually purchase it all there or even buy everything noted on it. I do that so it gives me a good visual of what I need to be on the look out for (of course, I can add to it as well) so that I will be ready to order when our pocket book is willing and able.  Plus, having it finalized (in loose terms) I have a list I can cherry pick from when I am out at local garage/library book sales, local shops and such.  I will also scan the resale online sites before paying full price on most things.  Not workbooks tho-I almost always buy those new unless there is a sparkly, spanking new one with the set.  I also make my book list (at least for the first semester) so that I can cruise the library website to see what I can find that way to help save money, then note what I cannot get and just order those books. 

One thing I have learned over the years (mainly it's our funds for purchasing which have played a major role) is that you do not need to get everything new!  Seriously-unless you have a lot of kids coming up behind where you know for sure the program will work [for all] then a new item purchase would warrant forking over the larger sums of cashola. Less spency things are not necessarily in this category-I am talking the big bucks stuff. Of course the exception to that would be if it were a new program that just came out on the market.  But you get my drift.  I have also swapped books/materials with good pals from time to time to help save too.  But beware.  You should be sure they are responsible and loving toward your stuff (same goes for you) so that it isn't returned damaged or worse-destroyed or not at all.  Know who you trade with. 

Here (finally) is my super simple but effective for me way of doing this.  

Step 1:  Write out some simple educational/personal growth goals you have for each child [and/or for the fam as a whole] for that coming year. Nothing deep or too wordy but just simply what you want to see accomplished. This is your first paper.  This is what you can pull out as the year progresses and see how you are doing. You can always add/delete to it, but by having this you can easily see if the fam is hitting those noted milestones. Remain flexible.  Life happens. I did not know we'd experience the death of my brother this year, so a lot of what I had hoped to cover, simply was not.  And that is OK.  I just carried a few things over to the new year's list. Actually, I was able to add a few things that we didn't think we'd cover too.  So it evened out. *No pic here.  I feel this is a very personal thing and don't feel the need to share-I believe you get the point by the above advice.  This is meant for our family and is something that should remain private-I suggest the same for yours. 

Step 2: Take paper-fold into three sections with paper's long side horizontal-write out list. This one can be modified or just scribbled over as you double check and clarify. This is the messy, preliminary list that will be pitched once I am all done spending/creating and organizing this stuff. It's after all that when I make one final (nicely printed) list of the subjects and main curricula/materials needed (sans the have/order list) to refer to throughout the year.

Here is my chicken scratch list-made quickly. 
I went back to it later and noted a few changes 
as you can see with the pink pen. Again, it isn't
super detailed. I don't even have the artists/musicians listed yet.

First up: list each subject and main curriculum choice
and various other little additions. 
Do this off the top of your head and don't worry until you get to the have/buy sides.  Just list away. Sometimes when you over think it-you forget or miss stuff that the 'flow as you go' method catches. You can go back over after to find gaps or make corrections.
Middle-list what you already have.  
Third-what you need to buy in each category.
Once completed-go thru your stuff!  I found I had listed a workbook I actually purchased last year that we hadn't used yet.  I would have re-purchased it-not cool. Actually-I saw I had a couple repeats on it!  Yikes! So double check every nook and cranny first before finalizing 
the wish list on your favorite sites.
  Seriously, that is it!  Nothing too complicated. Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts. 

*When I had more than one student I would simply jot down each child's name at the top of the page and list what was needed for that year.  Then I converged all the 'to buy stuff' onto one big order list.

Step 3:  Once you feel you have the things you want to purchase noted, head to your favorite sites and start your wish list.  I didn't say 'buy list' because sometimes you can find them cheaper somewhere else or you may decide you don't want that item after all.  For example: I am still on the fence at this point for our Bible studies. I don't need to decide right yet-so I listed two curriculum choices that could work.  I have a noted list so I won't forget and I can pick one of those when I go to order or go with something completely different.  It just gives me a visual and frankly, it's a reminder that I need to spend more time figuring out that subject. 
**I use Rainbow Resource Center mainly because they seem to have the largest selection and I can make and print a wish list quite easily.  Then I hit Amazon.  But there are plenty of other merchants that offer this as well-so the choice is yours. 
For some reason the RR list didn't delete the CD I had crossed off, so I did it after.  I also noted a few things to refer to later.  I also listed the Amazon and other companies here too.  I can go onto Amazon and see in my saved Wish List items in more detail and move them to my cart later.

Possible Step 4: If you plan on attending a convention then have your list ready to go. BUT for all that is good and gracious-save yourself the "UGH! I could have bought that for $$$$ less!" scenario. List the things you want to look at and or buy at the convention but only after you spent some time online/catalog researching to compare prices.  WRITE the lowest price you found next to the name of the source selling it with some sort of key like A for Amazon, or SL for Sonlight or RR for Rainbow Resource, so you can refer back to it later when you finish your shopping. AND for extra good measure, walk the circuit a couple times and 'window shop' jotting down prices as you stroll about because you may find things cheaper at other vendors or by ordering online later. Most vendors usually have convention sale prices/deals so watch for those as well. That way you know who has the best price for whatever it is you are looking for.  DON'T panic if you come back and it's gone. They usually give you the sale price on an order you can place right then and there which will be shipped to you. That way you don't come home having overspent.  Also beware of the 'bug eye' convention syndrome.  You DO NOT need every cool and dazzling thing out there.  Write down the name/brand/price and who is selling it. Get catalogs.  Think about it! Then after the fuzzy haze of convention wears off you can make a more informed purchase.  I have some books that are pretty much door stops now because I was careless (at first) and didn't follow that plan of attack.  Money gone for something that was an ill fit for us, that we never even used. 

Possible Step 5: Now for giggles-I make another paper where I denote anything I need to make/put together for the coming year and that just simply helps me during the summer break.  I will pick and choose my point of interest and work on it as time allows.  Again-nothing elaborate or too detailed.  I don't need to drown myself in the nitty gritty but just give my ole brain a quick reference from the 'do it woman' list. 
After I took the picture I wrote down the names of the artists and musicians. That way I can be on the look out for activities and materials to work on specific to them.

And there you go.  That is how I figured out a simple and easy way to plow through the planning of curricula and materials we'd need for our schooling.  I tried the super organized, super detailed way and all it accomplished was to kill the thrill of planning.  So I came up with this easy-peasy way that seems to be working. Hope you can glean a nugget of goodness to help you with your planning/shopping too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Geology/Archaeology: Dino Dig activity in the Workbox

Just a quick peek at a fun workbox we had today.  I found these little kits at the Dollar Tree (there was the dino and one with an Egyptian Sarcophagus) and bought them because I figured they would fit nicely into our geology and archaeology lessons.  I added a few of the tools he'd need [into the box] to bust up the cast as well.  Then whilst I read from his science lesson, he diligently chipped away at the mold to find the wee little dino.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour 2015 Part 3:2 and 3:3 -finally done!

Well folks-after many, many retakes, stalls/stops and a kitty cat that just couldn't stop trying to be the star, I have uploaded the last two sections of the 3rd part of our tour.



and in case you missed the first one:

I have two other posts noting the geography wall and the basic pan around intro video too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour Part 3:1

OK right now I have the first part of the 3rd installment loaded.  This covers the area with the information center, nature study box and a few other things.  I had to split the video because it was too long.  I hope to get the second part loaded soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Video Tour of our Classroom Part 1 and 2

I have been a bit MIA of late and I apologize for that.  Right now I am going to continue blogging on occasion and see where it takes me.  Part of my goal is to try to reclaim my fellow bloggie pals who came by frequently by adding in some new dynamics [meaning room tours/closer look videos] to help spice things up.

SO, I thought it would be fun to do a homeschool room video tour first (insert grimace-fun?  I do about a zillion takes before I can get one I have to be OK with-so I film like for three hours to get a measly 5 min. video!  LOL So please-be kind-I am trying here.  A videographer I am not)...anyhoo-I tried to do this last summer and it just got too busy and crazy to finish it.  I am back at it and so here you go...part 1 and 2.

Start with the basic overview then go to the second one for a closer look at our geography center. Since I have all these things detailed in posts on my two blogs, I chose to not go in depth about them.
Be sure to look on my Homeschooling on a Wing and a Prayer Blog for posts regarding the things I talk about because they are not all on this one. I'm working on the workbox video now, but of course right in the middle of filming it stopped because there was no more room (had to delete all those out takes) I am recharging my phone and will try to get that up soon tho.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts on Blogging-Part One

Here is a straight from my heart post. This is not a boo-hoo poor me thing, but a truly honest take on what has been stirring within me for a long time. I sense I am not alone.  I bet many bloggers out there feel exactly like I have/do/will. When do you call it quits? What's the point anyway?  I mean, really. 

Seriously. There are those shiny blogs out there that you know are very popular and they do offer oodles of ideas and resources.  Thank God for them.  I have gone there many a time to get new inspiration or ideas to help me carry on. But what about my blogs?  If I go by traffic (I am betting many hits are just spam) then I would have to say I am definitely not in that category.  The real kicker here is that I am not even sure I want to be.  It's work.  They must continually maintain and keep on top of it to be that successful. Do I even want that responsibility?  What about the posts I pen?  Are they just junk to the reader?  Useless? Are they even remotely helpful? 

Honestly-I can't answer that.  

I truly decided I was done blogging. It's true.  Done. I lost the love of it and I didn't see any reason to continue.  Hence the lack of postings over the last year or so.  It has been on my mind (letting it go) for a long time now. I felt like I put a lot of effort into what I was writing/creating and had very little response/traffic to justify the time involved.  Why write when no one is even reading it? So I did very little to maintain it and just let it sit there as it begged me to put it out of it's misery.  

I mean, did anyone really care?  Was I helping fellow moms/homeschoolers or was I just taking time away better spent with my family?  Frankly, it was the latter not the former of that question that hit me like a big pizza pie in the eye.  I was blogging for not.  Now, I know people have lives, so cruising the internet for this or that isn't always possible.  But I also know many gals do have successful blogs that truly are a help-that get readership and have loyal fans.  They exist and thrive. They are blessings.  

I didn't (and still am unclear here) feel mine were much help. And that is the cold hard truth that has literally kept me awake at times-pondering...

Do I just let it go?  

I have prayed about it.  I have even shed a tear or two about it. 
I have let it sit so as not to make any rash decisions. 

Then I had a talk with myself.

I have been a mom now for almost 27 years, have cared for children since before I was 13, I have an Early Childhood Development degree, have worked at a Montessori school, had home day cares, taught Sunday School, researched the snot out of different homeschool methods, curriculum and so forth, wrote reviews on curriculum for four years, helped with homeschool groups, ran a homeschool co-op for a time, plus I have done home preschool through high school graduation with my children for over 25 years. Surely I have some insight, some useful nugget of hope or help that can inspire or encourage someone out there.  I know I have, I have comments attesting to it.  But is that enough?

Our lives are different now from whence I started blogging. Three of our children have graduated. Two have earned college degrees, moved out and gone on to be successfully employed adults. So yes,  to all those doubters, they are able to live -no thrive- in the real world.  One is currently working (while still living at home to save for future expenses) and will be attending college down the road. The baby of the family is our lone student. The dynamics are different. Homeschooling one vs four is a big change.  It's definitely a "horse of a different color" from our humble beginnings. Do I have anything new, update and hip to offer?  Or is it all the same regurgitated stuff penned on a different day?  Is there enough in me to want to continue? Want to keep coming up with different ideas or projects? 

For five people to read in five minutes? I don't know-I truly don't. And here I am-standing in some vast wasteland of doubt with discouragement bombs raining down with hurricane force. Do I truly want to make that [dedicated, intense and committed] walk across this land to save my blogs or grab a shovel and bury it quickly.  Very, very quickly and move on along down the road?

Right now, I have decided to wait it out. I will continue to pray to see what comes about. I guess, all five of you out there who may read this-you too will have to wait too to see what becomes of this. The 'to save or not to save my blogging career' will not be made lightly-but it's become abundantly clear I need to get off the fence and go in one direction.    

Continent Box: Asia link

Another continent (Asia) post is up on my main blog:  Homeschooling on a Wing and a Prayer.  You can read about the goodies we have in our box and I have also included some links to other resources for you.  Again-putting a "Continent Box" card in the workbox with a timer is a great way to implement the two.