Beginning to End

January 30, 2009 at 9:11 am (Uncategorized)


Our cat that died last weekend got me thinking about something.  There are not a lot of things in life that we get to experience from beginning to end.  This cat was born to one of our other cats.  He is the first pet I have ever had that I was there when he was born all the way through when he died.  I shared his whole life with him.  This doesn’t happen a lot in life.  Our parents have already lived a good part of their lives when we come along.  With our siblings this might come close to happening, but there is a good chance we will be young enough when they come along that we won’t remember the early years.  Friends come and go through our lives.  Our spouses are grown when we meet them.  Even our kids we hope will outlive us.  So it’s not every day we get to see the whole process of life from beginning to end.

This is true with most other things too, when we start a job, join a church, a homeschool group, etc.  it usually has a life before and after us. We are taking membership classes at church and this weekend was the one of the history of the church we are joining.  I really enjoyed finding out how this church came to be and how God has gotten it where it is.  But, I will never be a part of that early history.

Homeschooling on the other hand is something we can do from beginning to end!  I know it seems like the school years stretch on forever when we are in the midst of them.  But, the truth is we get a mere 13 years to educate our children from Kindergarten through High School.  I can tell you those years just FLY by!  The one interesting thing I have noticed in myself now that I have one in high school and 2 just starting out is that I realize now how fast it is all going to pass!  With my oldest when he was in preschool or second grade I never thought about how quickly the high school days would be upon is.  But, now with a high schooler in the house I realize every day that this journey is passing all too quickly!  I need to enjoy every minute of it and use the time wisely.

One of the neat things I have always loved about homeschooling is that my kids don’t have to change teachers every year.  (Or ever!  LOL)  Imagine how much time is lost each year getting to know a new teacher.  If you have the same teacher all your school years then that teacher already knows your strengths, weaknesses and history!  The teacher can customize your education to your needs.  You also don’t have some years that are better than others because of personality issues or teaching styles.  You can get use to each other right up front and then you know what you are dealing with for the rest of your school career.  I subscribed to Luke Holzmann’s blog recently and have really been enjoying it. (Hi Luke!) Luke is the grown son of  John and Sarita Holzmann the founders of Sonlight curriculum.  One of the things I enjoy about his writing is how much he mentions the impact that his mom has had on his life.  It is very obvious that she is still "in his head" so to speak.  What a privilege it is to be a homeschool mom and have the time, not only daily but through the years to make this kind of impact from beginning to end!

So those are my thoughts today.  It’s amazing how much thinking the loss of a pet can generate.  If you think about it everything in this life is temporary!  We never know how long we are going to have a job, a house, a friend, a pet, a spouse or even a child.  The one thing I am learning is that it all passes way too quickly!  So I will leave you with the words that keep coming through my mind…Celebrate the temporary!  For that is what this life is.  How privileged we are that we can use some of that time raising our kids and teaching them along the way.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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It Is Finally Done! No REALLY This Time! LOL

January 29, 2009 at 9:23 am (Uncategorized)

I know this is at least my 3rd post about our schoolroom, but this time it is REALLY unpacked and DONE!  YAY!!!!!

<<Insert me doing the happy dance!!!>>

Yeah, I know we have been in this house 9 months and that is a very long time to get a room unpacked and completely together.  But, I am just going to celebrate that I finally did it and not dwell on all the months it took!  LOL

So here is the deal.  One of the big things I needed to do was hem the curtains.  This might not sound like such a big deal unless you remember that we have one wall of storage covered in 18 panels.  Then there are the 2 panels on the windows.  So I had 20 curtains to hem!  (If you know how much I like to hem things you are probably surprised this got done as soon as it did!  My husband has pants that have waited longer than that to be hemmed!  LOL)

Ta-da!
Okay, I know the orange ones are still touching the ground a little bit.  I need to have my husband put in a center bracket to support them since the wire they are on sags a bit in the middle.  (Boy, can I relate!  LOL) So when I say "done" I mean everything I can do is done.  LOL  I never run out of projects for my hubby!

Look there is no longer an elephant of boxes in the middle of the room!

It seems like the house is 50% bigger just having this room completely functional!

Look we are actually using the schoolroom for school!  YAY!!!

The littles and I used the fabric we cut off the window curtains to make pillows for the sofa.
This turned in to a home ec. and a finance project.  We had been looking for pillows for the sofa for a few months and the kids couldn’t believe how expensive they all were! We only found one we liked but it was nearly $40.00.  No way! These were made with the scraps off the bottom of the curtains, scraps I had left over for the backing and the stuffing was from the old schoolroom pillows.  So they were FREE!  That made a BIG impression!  Plus these match exactly!

Here are the littles stuffing the big pillow.
That kept them busy for awhile!

Here is the office section of the schoolroom.  The books still need to be organized.  But at least they are unpacked and accessible.  FINALLY! Someday I will get motivated to organize them….

My little man hanging out at the schoolroom computer.  His favorite place in the house.

So there you have it!  After only 9 months we have a fully functional schoolroom!  I hope we don’t move for a very, very long time!

Oh, and before anyone asks…The answer to how many bookcases do we have in the schoolroom is…11!  No wonder it took me so long to get this all done. hehehe

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Hermit Crabs

January 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm (Uncategorized)

My 2 littles saved up their money and got hermit crabs over the weekend.  It was interesting timing because one of our cats died during the night Friday.  We are not sure what happened.  He was outside before we went to bed and when he came in he was hunched down and walking funny.  The next morning he was dead.  I wouldn’t have probably gotten the hermit crabs the same day we lost out cat, but since we were already planning on getting them that day we went ahead.  I do think it was helpful for the kids to have something to cheer them up.  They were all very sad about losing the cat. 

The kids are enjoying the hermit crabs.  They of course are not as fast paced and cuddly as a cat, but they are interesting none the less.  My 8 year old also got a book on the care and feeding of the hermit crabs.  So she is learning all about them and becoming the family authority on them.  One thing I like is that they are scavengers.  So we can feed them about anything.  They really seem to like olive bread!  If we put a piece in with them one of them will crawl on top of it and eat it.  Otherwise they hide out in their house most of the time.  We take the house out of the aquarium a couple times a day so we can watch them.  My daughters is very shy.  He will come out of his shell, but if he sees one of us he jumps back in.  As long as we are viewing him from behind he’s okay with us. LOL

Here is the outside of the shells.
My daughter chose one painted as Tigger and my son chose one painted as Batman.

Here you can see their claws all folded up inside the shells.
Unfortunately they wouldn’t pose for a picture out of their shell. :^) My sons is the bigger of the 2.  He is HUGE when he comes out of his shell.

Here is my daughter  checking out her hermit crab.

And her brother showing off his.

I think these are going to be a good lesson in patience for the kids.  They really like them, but they can’t play with them like they can the cats and the dog.  I keep reminding them that these are more like fish.  You just have to watch and enjoy them, but they can’t really cuddly with you!  LOL

Now we are going to have to do a study on Hermit Crabs.  Here are a couple good free resources I found online:

A House For Hermit Crab Free Unit Study and Lapbook

A House For Hermit Crab  By Eric Carle Lesson Plans

All About Hermit Crabs pdf

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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5 Year Old Logic

January 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm (Uncategorized)

A conversation between my 5 and 14 year old…

5 year old:  Hey, do you know what is bigger than God?

14 year old:  There is nothing bigger than God!

5 year old:  You’re wrong!  God’s house is bigger than God!

Sigh…  Yep, the boy has a unique way of looking at things!  I am glad that he does not just blindly accept everything we say. I think it is important for kids to think about things and make decisions for themselves. But, I am also a little bit fearful that he is the one that is going to give us a run for our money!  LOL  When he was born I was almost 40 and I thought surely God will have mercy on us and let this one be an easy one.  Wrong! 

I have to admit he has a pretty interesting thought process though!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Loooooooong Weekend

January 22, 2009 at 10:05 am (Uncategorized)

Whew!  It is Thursday and I am just recovering from last weekend!  We managed to turn a 3 day weekend into a 5 day weekend!  LOL  Wow, am I ever tired… Friday we were busy getting ready for the weekend.  Saturday my oldest son and I had an Awana Leaders Conference.  Sunday was as busy as always with Church and Awana.  This week was PJ night at Awana, the kids thought it was a blast to leave the house in their PJ’s!  Then Monday and Tuesday we went away with our friends to a local family resort to celebrate their sons birthday.  It was FUN! 

Here are a few pictures of the kids enjoying our long weekend.

Ready to leave for PJ night at Awana.

So cute and comfy!

Birthday party fun!  The party was a magician theme.  The kids looked so cute in their mustaches!  (Especially my daughter!) LOL

He looks even more like his daddy with facial hair!  LOL

Ice cream break!

I am pleased to report that all these pictures were taken with my new cell phone!  They are not quite as clear as my regular camera, but they are better than nothing, which is what I would have had since I forgot to pack my regular camera!  LOL 

My mom says I always have a funny story whenever we go somewhere to here is the one from this weekend…

After we got back from our long weekend I couldn’t find my toothbrush.  My husband had already left for work so I sent him a text message so see if he knew where it was.  He called me a couple minutes later and as soon as I answered I said "Do you know where my toothbrush is?"  He did and found it and brushed my teeth.  Later in the afternoon I get a text, from a number I didn’t recognize that said "Sorry, I don’t know where your toothbrush is?  :^)"  LOL  My kids couldn’t stop laughing at me.  After searching through the numbers on my phone I realized that I had sent it to a homeschool friend of mine!  I texted her back and told her I was sure glad I wasn’t missing something embarassing like my underware!  LOL  Yep, there is never a dull moment at our house!  Oh, and I have no idea how I sent the 2nd text.  My husband did get the one I sent.  I guess there must be a way to send 2 people the same text.  Of course if I WANTED to do it I could never figure it out! 

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin 

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Mystery Touch Box

January 15, 2009 at 9:43 am (Uncategorized)

Here is a fun idea that I am incorporating into my weekly ABC Preschool Class.  I took a shoebox and cut a hole in the bottom.  Then on the outside I cover the hole with felt.  Now each week for class I can put a mystery item in the box that starts with the letter of the week.  Last week for the letter J I had 3 items for the kids to touch in the box:  a small doll jacket, a stuffed jellyfish and jingle bells. (I put them in one at a time.) The only one they figured out were the jingle bells.  But the really enjoyed taking turns coming up and feeling each item.   After all the kids touched the items and tried to guess what it was I opened the box and showed them.  They loved it!

This is a fun new addition to our class!  Hmmm, I wonder what I can put in for the letter K…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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American Girl Club – Samantha – Week 10

January 14, 2009 at 10:35 am (Uncategorized)

Last night was the 10th and final night of our American Girl Club for Samantha!  We will be having a tea party next week and then the following week we are starting a new 6 week session studying Kaya.

For our final week we made sugar cookies and paper dolls.  You will find free printables for the paper dolls HERE.  (We did the "young girl doll" at the bottom of the page.)  These were both things that Samantha and her friends did in the final book, so it was a fun way to wrap up our study!

Thanks to all of you who have let me know that you are following along and doing your own American Girl Club! (If I am adding it up right in my head there are 8 other clubs that are following along with my blog and studying Samantha now!  YAY!!!)  I am very excited to know others are doing this too!  I am hoping to get organized and compile all the info into a E-Book.  We’ll see if I ever get that done!  LOL  In the meantime here are all my posts about Samantha!

Here is the first post I did about our American Girl Club
The following are all posts on our American Girl Club for Samantha:
Here is the my post about weeks 1 & 2
Here is my post about week 3
Here is my post about week 4
Here is my post about week 5
Here is my post about week 6
Here is my post about weeks 7 & 8
Here is my post about week 9

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Teacher's Discount Cards

January 12, 2009 at 11:25 pm (Uncategorized)

I mentioned I get a teacher’s discount at JoAnn’s in my Chia Pet post and several people have emailed asking about teacher’s discounts.  So…

Here are the places I have teacher discount cards:

JoAnn’s
Border’s
Barnes & Nobles
Book Warehouse
Office Max
Office Depot

Most of these require that you have a teacher ID card, but fear not!  You can print one here for free:

http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/homeschool-id/

There may be other local places that also offer a teacher’s discount.  I have a card to a used bookstores in our area.  In California I had one to a teacher supply store.  So the moral of the story is ASK!  I always ask if they have an educators discount.  Then I ask if that extends to homeschoolers.  Almost everywhere that has a discount will include homeschoolers if you have a teacher’s ID card.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Natural Learning – Example

January 12, 2009 at 10:33 am (Uncategorized)

I am always talking about how kids are natural learners and if you give them the time and a rich learning environment they will naturally learn the things they need to know.  A lot of times people will as me for an example of this and I now have a great new one!

Over the weekend we were in the car and my daughter (7) said out of the blue "Mom, I know your cell phone number!"  And then she rattled it off area code and all!  I said "Cool, did daddy teach you that?"  She replied "No. it’s on the dogs collar and I memorized it from there."  WOW, how awesome is that?  Not once did she ever mention that she wanted to know my cell phone number!  It has never been a issue for her to learn it because she is always with me, so I never taught it to her.  (I have thought a few times that she should know it in case she ever got lost, but I had never actually gotten around to teaching it to her.) Low and behold she found a way to learn it anyway! 

I am telling you kids are little learning sponges!

LOL

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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A New Pet!

January 9, 2009 at 9:18 am (Uncategorized)

That’s right 1 dog and 2 cats were not enough! 

We now have…..

A Chia Pet!  LOL

I am pretty sure this is going to turn out to be my favorite of the 4 legged creatures around here!  It is very low maintenance compared to the other 3.  The kids are very excited.  They have wanted one for a very long time.  I had avoided getting one because of the $20.00 price tag.  But, I found this one in an after Christmas bin for 50% off.  Then I had an additional 20 percent off since it was at JoAnn’s and I get a teacher’s discount there.  So for $8.00 I decided it would be a fun project for the kids.


"Ch-ch-ch-chia!"


Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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