Homeschool Graduation

May 30, 2008 at 9:59 am (Uncategorized)

My dear friend Faye’s oldest son graduates from High School today! I am so proud of BOTH of them! If you have never read my post about my mentor and friend Faye I would encourage you to do so.  Faye is an amazing homeschool mom!  If you have not read my post about her then you do not know that she is a blind.  Honestly it feels weird to even write those words, because Faye being blind is such a non-issue.  She is AMAZING!  She makes life and homeschooling look so easy that my 2 oldest kids didn’t even "figure out" that she was blind until they were both about 6!  (My 4 year old still doesn’t notice.)  Honestly it is not something I think about very often either.  She certainly has never paused for a moment to feel sorry for herself,  and she expects no less of her friends.

Now a few words about her son...(You know the one who is actually graduating! LOL)  The first time I met this young man he was 7 years old.  His 5 year old brother was in my AWANA group and I was highly impressed with both of the boys.  He is a young man who values education.  He is a talented musician. He is respectful to adults and other kids.  He loves his family and he loves the Lord. He is also smart as a whip and just plain fun to be around!  He has already been accepted into his Mother’s Alma Mater with nearly a full scholarship!  (If you can’t see my face beaming with pride then look again!)  He is going to go far in life and keep his feet on the ground at the same time.  I just know it!  It is hard for me to believe that the little head I use to see in my rear-view mirror bowed over a Gameboy is now heading off to College!  What cherished memories Faye and I have of driving our 3 boys all over the place on homeschool field trips!

So congratulations to my friend and her son!  They both know they mean the world to me!

To the rest of the homeschool Mom’s reading this keep Faye in mind next time the road you are on seems tough.  Imagine how easy it would have been for Faye to say "I can’t do that!"  Imagine how many people told her along the way she was not qualified to teach her own children.  Imagine the extra mile she has had to go to do things that you and I can do with ease.  Imagine, and be encouraged!  You CAN do this!  If God has called you to homeschool your kids he WILL equip you with the tools, support system and "stick-to-itivness" to carry on!  And one day your child will be walking across a stage into the future you will know that you have done your best to get him ready for the road ahead.  Because honestly…That is what this whole homeschool journey is all about!


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Laundry Help!

May 29, 2008 at 9:56 am (Uncategorized)

Hey Mom, how would you like some help with the laundry? Trigger Memory Systems has come up with another great Clean N’ Flip and this one will get your kids doing Laundry!  YAY!!!!


This cute, sturdy, spiral bound, 8.5" X 5.5" flipchart  walks children  through the process of doing laundry by breaking it down into step-by-step instructions.  Complete a step and flip the page. The fun simple pictures make it easy!


*  Makes laundry FUN!
*  Complete a task & flip the page
*  Boosts self-esteem and organizational skills

My 7 year old daughter has been asking me to teach her how to do the laundry.  She is going to love learning with this!

You will find this product by clicking HERE then click PRODUCTS on the left hand sidebar and scroll down to the Clean N’ Flip Products. 


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Blue Tape

May 28, 2008 at 10:11 am (Uncategorized)

My four year old LOVES to tape things!  I recently discovered that if I give him the blue low tack painters tape he can play with tape completely on his own.  Regular tape is too tricky for him to get off the spool.  If he does get it off then it just sticks to itself. Which aggravates him to no end. The blue tape however is easy for him to pull apart even if it does stick to itself.  Of course it is a little more expensive than regular tape.  But, he has so much FUN with it  I think it is well worth the few extra cents!

It all started with him covering sticks and pieces of paper with the tape.
This would keep him busy for hours.

Then he started using the tape to make his letters on paper.
His sister really likes to do this with him.

Now, he has moved on to making himself costumes! 

He is pretty proud of his work!

It didn’t take him long to figure out there were some design flaws with his mask! LOL

Oh, the other advantage to this kind of tape is that it easily removes from furniture, floors, clothing, skin, hair, the dog, etc…

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My 2 Cents On SUBWAY

May 27, 2008 at 12:45 pm (Uncategorized)

Question:  Does SUBWAY have the right exclude homeschool kids from its current writing contest?

ABSOLUTELY!!!    This is America and they are a privately held company.  If they want to hold a contest just for people who are left handed they could certainly do that.  However, I am amazed at the amount of homeschoolers I have heard from who think we should just be passive about this!  I mean we are not talking about some kind of contest that is being advertised to only kids who go to institutional  schools!  They have this offer in every store across America.  And as most of you know homeschool families are out in the real world every day with our homeschooled kids.  So YES, SUBWAY has the right to exclude my kids.  But, that does not mean I as a homeschool parent do not have the same right to express my opinion about what they are doing.

Personally I find it ironic that a company who is running a creativity contest can’t be creative enough to find a way to include homeschoolers in their contest.  It is kind of like the time I got a call from the liberal unschooling  group in our community in California inviting our homeschool group to participate in a  "tolerance rally" BUT, they only wanted the invitation extended to the people in our group that didn’t use a curriculum!  Sounds like intolerance to me!  LOL

I wonder if a lot of people who are being passive about this are being tricked into thinking that homeschooling is so much a part of our society that it is not at risk falling out of vogue any time soon?  Maybe I feel different about this because we have been doing this long enough that I remember the common first response to telling people we homeschooled was being asked  "Is that legal?"   I am willing to be outraged.  I know that if it were not for the homeschool parents of the 1980’s who took a stand for all homeschoolers then those of us that started in the 1990’s would have had a much harder path to follow.  To me it is worth expressing my opinion to SUBWAY and Scholastics just so the word is out there that homeschoolers are not a passive group of lemmings that are just going to sit around and take whatever treatment they are given.  Are we so grateful for our "right" to homeschool we are not going to complain about anything?

I really don’t care if you contact SUBWAY or Scholastics at all about this. However, if you remain passive on this then when the time comes that the Libraries close during the day (Hey, they are spending a lot of money on staff and we all know the only ones there during the day are the homeschool kids anyway.) then don’t complain.  When we are not welcome at plays and programs put on at local colleges and community centers because our weird groups with babies and an excessive amount of Mom’s are difficult to seat and don’t fit the public school model they are set up for, don’t complain!  (I actually had a employee at a local event we went to tell me this last year.  He said “Homeschoolers just cause trouble here.  We aren’t set up for such weird groups.   Homeschoolers want to bring all the Mom’s and babies in and it is a pain for us.”  I thought it was very weird he had this attitude since the event was held in a large community center.  He just didn’t like seeing outside the box thinking!)

So, feel free not to contact anyone about this.  I am actually more upset with Scholastics about this than I am SUBWAY.  Personally I have spent a whole lot more money with Scholastics than SUBWAY.  I am surprised that they would be a part of excluding homeschoolers.  We are a big market for them!  They have their fliers at every homeschool meeting I have ever been to!  They want us at their warehouse sales.  And while I am grateful that they market to us, I think we need to remember we are a market!  We DO have a voice.  We don’t have to passively sit around and just be pleased as punch that we are being included.  We can speak up in a united voice when we feel we are not being treated fairly.

My 2 cents…  I hope I have given people some things to think about.

CLICK HERE to read my first post about SUBWAY.

HERE is an interesting article on what is happening. 

BTW, here is the response I got from HSLDA.  I had emailed then and asked if they had heard about the contest.

HSLDA is very disappointed to hear of Subway’s exclusion of homeschoolers in their contest. For this reason, we are in the process of drafting a letter to Subway expressing our disapproval and requesting that they change their contest’s policy to include homeschoolers. We believe that Subway will be changing their policy soon since not only has a homeschool family already been featured on Fox News upset about Subway’s contest, but many homeschoolers have on their own accord already contacted Subway in outrage of being excluded.

Sincerely,

Vanessa N. Ridley
Legal Assistant

HERE is the link to the letter HSLDA sent SUBWAY.  If you want to keep updated on this issue you can check back on the HSLDA website in coming days.

 

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SUBWAY Get's Fresh with Homeschoolers!

May 27, 2008 at 10:05 am (Uncategorized)

Over the weekend I got several emails about SUBWAY sandwich shops current Every Sandwich Tells a Story contest for kids.  It all sounds like a lot of fun until you read the eligibility.

 
‘ELIGIBILITY. Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.’ (Click to see actual website)  http://www.subwayfreshbuzz.com/kids/disclaimer.html


Huh?  That doesn’t sound right?  I suspect part of the reason they are excluding homeschoolers is that the BIG prize is $5000.00 in athletic equipment for your child’s school.  Maybe they don’t realize that this could be donated to a homeschool group, church or community center that homeschoolers frequent. 

At any rate this company is obviously are not being supportive of the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices homeschool families make to educate their own children.  So if you are like me and you would like to let SUBWAY know that you think what they are doing is wrong here is their contact information.

SUBWAY COMPLAINT AND COMMENT LINE

1-800-888-4848

AND

You can send an e-mail from this link:  http://www.subway.com/Applications/CustService/frmCustomerService.aspx

AND

 Contact Corporate Headquarters:  

Subway Enterprises-Corporate Office

4800 Jefferson St NE

Albuquerque, NM 87109

(505) 881-0969

You also might want to let Scholastics know how you feel about this.  They are one of the sponsors for this program.  Here is their contact link for Scholastics.

http://scholastic.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/scholastic.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

Let’s see if we all join together if we can make a difference with this!  I think an apology and getting homeschoolers added to the eligibility for this contest would make a difference!

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Grandma Clean

May 23, 2008 at 10:57 am (Uncategorized)


My Mom, Sister and Niece are coming to see us this weekend!  YAY!!!!

A few years ago I came across this cartoon that my kids LOVE.  The Dad is telling the kids that they have to clean the house.  The kids want to know how clean.  They ask if it has to be "Operating Room clean."  he shakes his head and says grimly  "No, it needs to be Grandma clean!"  The kids all look faint and run off screaming!  LOL  So ever since whenever my Mom is coming we try and get the house "Grandma clean". 

Since we are still up to our necks with boxes I have already warned Grandma that the house is a wreck and she is just going to have to deal with it.  (My sister even suggested I pile boxes on their beds each morning and then they can’t go to bed until those boxes are unpacked!  I LIKE that idea! )

Yesterday I told the kids we had to clean up.  They looked around with doubtful looks on their faces.  There is no chance of getting the house "Grandma clean" in less than 48 hours!  Then cautiously they asked "Does it have to be Grandma clean?"  I thought for a minute,  looked around and replied "I think this time we may have to settle for Truck Stop bathroom clean!"  ROFL!!! 

The kids LOVED that response!

Sorry Mom! 


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Dolphins in the Desert

May 22, 2008 at 9:29 am (Uncategorized)

I figure since we have moved many, many miles from our last location it is now alright to reveal where we have been living for the last 4 years.

So sit down and get ready!

Yep, Las Vegas Baby!  Now, I am sure you are probably wondering how a conservative Christian homeschool family ever ended up in Las Vegas!  Well, I will tell you it was NOT my idea! I went there kicking and screaming!  Everything in my mind, body and soul told me NOT to go to Las Vegas.  However, my husband had a different view.  His job wanted to transfer him and it seemed like a good career opportunity at the time. I had always told him I would follow his job anywhere since it allowed me to stay home, but I didn’t mean LAS VEGAS!!!  However, no matter how much I heard no, he heard yes and eventually I did the only thing I could.  I submitted to my husband.  So with our 9 year old, 2 year old and 3 week old we headed off to Sin City.  I was sure my children would be ruined for life!

To say I was terrified was an understatement.  I had been to Las Vegas a few time.  (My husband and I were married there 15 years earlier.) and although there were a few fun things to do is was certainly not a place I wanted to expose my children to!  However, I had to trust God and my husband. 

One day shortly after we had moved I was in my "making the best of it" mode. I took the kids to the Mirage Casino to go see the dolphins and other exotic animals they have there.  The exhibit is really nice, but of course you have to walk through the whole Casino to get through it.  After we had been there watching the dolphins awhile my then 9 year old son said to me "You know Mom, we are just like these dolphins in the desert.  As Christians we don’t really feel we belong here, but we just have to make the best of it, trust God and try to adjust."  WOW!  From the mouths of babes!  From that point on I always considered us "dolphins in the desert."  We may not feel we belonged there, but we could survive and God would provide what we needed to get us through a challenging time.

And provide He did!  I cannot say that my heart turned around and I got a good attitude about living in Las Vegas right then and there.  Trust me I continued to argue with both my husband and God about what we were doing there.  But, God did provide the most amazing people to love and support us.  It never occurred to me back then that someday when we did leave I would actually MISS people from Las Vegas!  I never imagined the amazing Christians I would meet there that would teach me so much.  I never dreamed the lessons He was going to teach me or the changes He would make in me along the way.  Much of the journey was NOT pretty.  I am not necessarily proud of my attitude or actions along the way.  But, I did learn more in those 4 uncomfortable years that I ever could of if He had left me in my comfortable place where I yearned to stay.

In the end I am glad He loved me enough to take me down a REALLY tough path. Our pastor in California use to say "God loves you just the way you are, as a matter of fact he loves you too much to leave you there!"  I am glad for the pain and sorrow.  I learned to trust and love both God and my husband in a whole new way.  I now know for sure that both of them did it for my own good.  They were doing what needed to be done, even when I didn’t want them to.

As for all the harm I thought would come to my kids?  They have pretty much come out of Las Vegas unharmed.  I have had to explain a few things to my oldest that I would have preferred not to. (But, in this day and age it is probably a blessing he learned these things from Mom and Dad!)  He did not turn into the hard core sinner I thought he would!  LOL  The Little’s are pretty much unaware of the Sin part of Sin City.  They associate Las Vegas with home, friends, church and buffets!  LOL  (If anyone asks my now 7 year old if she liked Las Vegas she says "I LOVED the buffets!" LOL)

So what did I learn in my four years in the desert?  (I like to think I am in good company with being sent to the desert by God!)

  1. I learned that no matter where you go God is there.  I know as a Christian of nearly 30 years I should have already known that!  The truth is that I would have said I knew it, but now I really do know it deep in my heart
  2. I learned that sometimes God does His best work when we are at our lowest point.  – Honestly, I could not have learned the things I did had we not have moved away from California.  I was so comfortable there.  I loved my life and even though it revolved around church, it wasn’t always about God.  I really thought I had it much more together than I did and I didn’t even realize how much he still had to teach me!
  3. I learned that I can get mad at God and He will still love me.  I mean really mad.  There were times I was amazed He did not send a lightening bolt for me!  I learned that people in the Bible argued with God. (Moses and Lot both come to mind.)
  4. I learned that I need to be less judgemental and accept and love people. Even if I don’t approve of someone actions they are just as much a child of God as I am.  Sometimes I don’t even think there is that much more sin in Las Vegas than in any little town.  I just think that when you live in a place that proudly calls itself “Sin City” is is more socially acceptable to be open about your sin.  I have seen such brokenness in the lives of so many people in Las Vegas.  It is really heart breaking.  I really did learn to see beyond the brokenness and love people in a different way during the time we spent in Las Vegas.  Not only is sin more acceptable, there is also a LOT more temptations!  Staying pure in Las Vegas is not an easy task.
  5. I learned that God will protect my children even better than I can! – Wow, the fact that my kids came out pretty much unscathed from our 4 years in Las Vegas I can only attribute to Him!  We learned pretty quickly to stay away from the Strip.  (Although you can’t live there and avoid it completely.)  So many times I was amazed as I would see some sign on a taxi or billboard that horrified me and I would look back at my kids in the car and they were minding their own business blissfully unaware of what was happening outside the car windows. If that is not divine intervention I don’t know what is!
  6. I learned that God will get his point across!  Even if it means your husband’s time in the desert is over, God will keep you in the desert another year to figure out what you are suppose to learn!  – After my husband left to start his new job I knew this is what God was up to!  (The humor of my husband wanting to go there and me being stuck there was NOT lost on me!  LOL) I knew as the saying goes that “God isn’t finished with me yet!”  So while the kids and I stayed behind waiting for the house to sell I adjusted my attitude!  I began to pray that God would not let us leave until I had learned whatever it was He had sent me there to learn! (YIKES)  I began to dive into Bible study and church.  I applied myself like I never had before!  And yes, I did learn what He wanted me to in that last year.  I wish I could say is was something earth shattering, well it was for me!  But, all I can say is this list is what He need me to really get into my heart.  I have no idea where God is going to take me from here.  But, I do know I am a better person for the 4 years I spent in Las Vegas.  I love the Lord even more and I love others more too!  That is a lesson worth learning!


One last thing…During the years we were in Las Vegas whenever we would travel people would always ask  me "What is the weirdest thing about living in Las Vegas?"  I would always reply "The weirdest thing about living in Las Vegas is that people who live there don’t realize it is weird to live in Las Vegas!"  LOL

If you would like to read more about what God is doing in Las Vegas I would highly recommend the book Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas.  It was written by a Las Vegas pastor and it is awesome!

If you are interested in learning about an amazing ministry that is coming to Las Vegas check out The Vegas Project!



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New Desks

May 21, 2008 at 10:37 am (Uncategorized)

I think it is a sure sign you are a homeschooler when you get excited over a new desk!  LOL  When we first looked at this house I knew I wanted my husband to build me a desk in the kitchen.  What didn’t occur to me until we moved in is that the Little’s would want one right next to Mom’s!  (I don’t know why I didn’t think of it since I am know as "The Kid Magnet!"  LOL)

Here they are at the new desk Dad built for us!
As you can see theirs in just like mine except lower.  One thing I have found is it is hard to find a table and chairs for kids passed the age of about 3.  There are plenty of them for toddlers, but once they outgrow that size they are hard to find.  I had to hunt for these adorable little red chairs! 

Don’t they look happy?
My kids spend so much time cutting, coloring, writing, drawing and doing playdough they really need their own space for it.  In the old house they were always having to put everything away so we could use the dining room table. They are pretty happy to have their very own desk space now!

My older son also got his own new desk!
He had a similar one before we moved, but it was all metal and it was always shocking him.  Sometimes it would even make his computer freeze up and he’d have to re-boot.  That can’t be good!  LOL

Here is his new weird chair!
Yep, it is made out of bungie cords! It is actually pretty comfy.  Although it feels weird to sit in until you get use to it.  He saw it when we went looking for chairs for the Little’s and I just decided he should have it.  He was so surprised!  We almost always buy things used so this was a big treat for him.

It is nice that all 5 of us have our own desks here.
I am expecting some serious learning to happen now! (I love this picture. He was making me a thank you note for taking him to the park! He is such a sweetie!)

Of course I am sure there will be plenty of this happening too!  LOL

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Our Little Robot

May 20, 2008 at 10:45 am (Uncategorized)

My 4 year old has been asking for a "Robot Suit" for weeks.  Last weekend while I was out running errands he and Dad made one!

TA-DA!!!!
You and I might see a vacuum cleaner box painted red, but to him it is all robot!  The fact that he got to make it with Dad only makes it 100 times more special!  I am the crafty one in the family, so I was quite impressed that he and Dad could come up with this without me!  I have a zillion ideas about adding dryer vent arms and a panel of nuts, juice lids and fuses as buttons.  But, I think I will keep quiet for now.  He couldn’t love it anymore!

His sister had no interest in it until the camera came out!  LOL
Here she is posing while her little brother "pushes her buttons".  Trust me, she is usually the one pushing her brothers buttons!  LOL

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NASA

May 19, 2008 at 9:58 am (Uncategorized)

Another fun thing we did while we were in Houston was go to….

Before we go any further you have to know that I am a BIG ole’ geek when it comes to the Space program.  Being a child of the 60’s the whole going to the Moon thing was a HUGE part of my childhood.  I was spellbound by it!  I remember being 4 years old and seeing Neil Armstrong make that "giant leap for mankind" onto the surface of the moon.  News from the Moon was constantly on TV and in the newspaper.  It was an amazing to be grow up and imagine what the future could hold. 

Then there was the whole I Dream of Jeannie show!  LOL  My sister and I watched every episode at least a zillion times!  LOL  I loved that show.  I loved how glamorous the life of an Astronaut seemed.  I loved seeing the outside shots of  NASA and the rockets going up.  It was all so different than the life of a little girl growing up in Kansas!

So going to NASA is a thrill for me!  By far my favorite thing was getting to go to Mission Control!  I mean I grew up watching men being sent to the moon from that room!  WOW!!!  (This is actually the second time we have been to NASA Houston.  But, the first time we went my 2nd child was 6 weeks old and honestly I don’t remember much from that trip!  LOL  We happened to be in Texas for a wedding and I HAD to go!  In retrospect I got A LOT more out of it this time! )

Here are my excited children on the Tram ready to leave the Visitor Center and go on the tour of NASA!
Can you  tell they share my enthusiasum?  :^)

Here is the entrance to the stairs for Mission Control.  (I know right now you are all thinking…This is going to be a looooooooooooooooooooong post!  LOL)
The reason I am posting this is to reminisce about all the stairs we had to climb to get to Mission Control!  LOL  I wish I could remember exactly how many there were, but I think that Mission Control is on the 8th floor.  I can’t imagine any building being build in this day and age where you had to WALK to the 8th floor!  When I worked at ABC I worked on the 3rd floor and they had the stairs locked because it was too much of a liability to have people climbing stairs!  LOL  I wonder if that could be one of the reasons people where so much thinner in the 60’s?  (DUH!!!)

Now for Mission Control….drum roll please…
I am telling you it was like time traveling into the past!  They don’t use this Mission Control anymore.  They built a new one a few years ago.  (I am guessing they have an elevator to get to it!  LOL)  But, this is the one used through the 1990’s!  One of the cool things we got to do in this room was listen to the people on the International Space Station talking to Mission Control in  Houston live!  COOL!!!

Here is my oldest in front of a historic picture of the men in Mission Control celebrating when the first men landed on the moon.

We saw this on the way over to Mission Control. 
They said they use liquid nitrogen to test everything that goes into space to see how it will react to the freezing temperatures.

Here are the kids at the Astronaut Training Site.

All of the things in this room are life size modules that the Astronauts train in.

The kids LOVED this!

Here are the space suits they train in.

This is a full size trainer of the Space Shuttle minus it’s wings so it will fit in the room.

We were lucky to see this one!
This is the new Mars Rover they are developing to send to Mars in the future.  The tour guide said this was one of the 1st times he had seen it out on the lawn for testing and we were luck to get to see it.  Very cool!

This was something we didn’t get to see the 1st time we went.  They took us to a HUGE Building that houses a full size rocket including all it’s engines.  It was HUGE!!!
I never thought about these being so HUGE when I have seen them being launched on TV!  It was mind boggling.

Here are the engines on the back that launch it.

Here is the info on the engines above.
WOW!

This is back at the visitor center. They have a awesome space themed kids climbing structure.  My 4 year old  had a blast here!

Then we checked out the hands on exhibits. In this one my kids were in the role of Mission Control.

The kid Mission Control talks to the kids in this space craft and they do experiments together over the computers. 

Here is may daughter in the space craft  working with another kid in Mission Control.

Here my 13 year old is learning about what things weigh on other planets.

More hands on learning!  Can you tell he LOVED it!

Here he is learning how they dock in space with other space crafts.
There was a little light on the chair and you had to maneuver yourself to shine the light into a small hole to achieve a successful docking.

While we were there my kids took their turn holding up the Moon!  LOL

And this is me!  As close to being an Astronaut as I will ever get!  I like the suit, it is quite slimming! LOL

There are about 100 other pictures I could post from our day at NASA, but I think you get the idea…It was a GOOD day!


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