Monday, January 28, 2008


I guess, since we are homeschoolers, and I did start this blog to help encourage other homeschoolers, that I could do a little blogging about what we're actually doing regarding school.

Well, we are having a good time. We are very laid back, but still get everything in I feel we need to cover. I do want to work on all of us getting to bed and up in the mornings at a more set time, but we'll get there. Gotta start with myself first before I can start on the kids. If mom has no discipline it's kind of hard to instill discipline in the kiddos, huh?

Anyway, here's how our days usually look:

-Bible story/discussion (20 minutes)
-Math (30 minutes)
-Let the three younger ones go play off some energy while Baby Girl does Spelling and English. (30 minutes)
-Boys come back and do English together and then each of them read to me out of their Abeka readers (we just happened to be blessed with a lot of these books and I thought they would be a good way for the boys to improve their reading a little each day). Baby Girl does her writing while the boys are reading. (20 minutes)
-Princess does her reading lesson with me. (5-10 minutes)
-On Mondays and Wednesdays we do History. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do Science. (20-30 minutes)
-Last, but CERTAINLY not least, I do Five in a Row with Reece Cup and Princess while Baby Girl and Handsome work on Beyond Five in a Row. (30-60 minutes, depending on what each set of kids are doing that day).

We've done some copywork for handwriting practice, but I haven't found just the right thing yet. I'm thinking the three little stooges would love Draw, Write, Now so we may look into that.

In total our days can usually be finished within 3-4 hours for book work. Library days, park days, playing board games or visiting with family or other homeschoolers... that's all extra.

This works out really well for us. It's only taken me 6 years to get just the right pattern down! So to those newbies out there, don't get discouraged. Just keep working until you find what works best for you and your family.

I'll try over the next couple of weeks and take one thing at a time that we use and give you my thoughts, opinions, and experience with them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

At Least He's Honest

Our precious little Reece Cup wanted to wear a suit to church this morning. My my my, did he look handsome! He was SO proud of himself. He said, "Mom, I'm going to pay attention in church today!" I told him that was a wonderful idea.

And pay attention he did. He sang, clapped his hands, followed along in the song book, opened the Bible and followed along with the verses our pastor read, asked for prayer for his great-grandma who's in a nursing home, put his quarter in the offering plate, and looked so cute doing it all.

About two-thirds of the way through the service he leaned over to whisper in my ear, "Mom, I really, really want to pay attention but oh, I reeeeaaally want to play with brother". I couldn't help but chuckle. He's just so darn cute. I told him that he had done a wonderful job and that I thought it was ok if he quietly played next to me in the pew with his brother for the last few minutes of church.

That's why his nickname is Reece Cup. His middle name is Reece and he is one of those kids are just soooo YUMMY I could just eat them up! He has the sweetest little personality and the most tender heart and he has truly brought much joy to our family.

I'm Just About Convinced...

...that taking the time to figure this whole Grocery Game and CVS shopping thing just might be worth it! The stories I hear about the deals others are getting are WONDERFUL!

Here's a great site to get motivated to start being good stewards of what God gives us.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Need A Laugh Today? Listen To This!

If you need a good pick-me-up then you've got to listen to this cell phone message left by a man to his buddy as he's witnessing the aftermath of a car accident involving four elderly women!

Don't worry, no one was injured. Well, on second thought...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Remembering the Blizzard of '93

We woke up this morning to a nice surprise... it was snowing! Big ole' fat beautiful flakes coming down and covering the road and van and a lot of the ground. The kids were so excited and two even braved the freezing tempuatures to go out and play.

But, like every snow we've gotten in the past 10 years or so, it didn't stay. It came, it was beautiful, and then it was gone within hours. It is currently 14 degrees outside, windy, and BITINGLY cold. But no snow. Sigh...

Sweetie and I have told the kids that they don't know what a REAL snow is like! They would just go NUTS with a good 10"-12" of snow!

And that got us to talking about the Blizzard of '93. Anyone else remember that? I sure do! It was March and I was 17-years-old and getting ready to graduate high school in a couple months. Like the good granddaughter I was, I had gone to visit my grandma in her 'old people apartment' after I left my after-school job at K-Mart. Little did I know what a terrible time (for me anyway) it was for a visit with Gram. The snow started falling so hard and so fast that even after a short visit there was no way I was getting home.

The snow fell and fell and fell. As beautiful as falling snow is, this was just beyond crazy. Every time I looked out the window it seemed there was another couple of inches and it was still coming down. For three days it snowed and snowed and snowed. The cars in the parking lot were almost unrecognizable. The drifts came all the way up their sides. The main road outside Gram's apartment building was gone, blending in perfectly smooth with the field on either side of it. No one came up the road, and no one went down. I...was...stuck. In total, the Storm of the Century dropped 22 inches of snow on our area.

I guess I would have probably loved it had I been home in my bed with my TV and my stuff. But here I was, stuck for days in an apartment building for the elderly with my dear grandma, whom I loved and now miss dearly, with no food (except old people food that no 17-year-old would dare put into their mouths) and nothing to do except watch Wheel of Fortune with Gram. Well, that is until she would dose off and start snoring in her chair.

Try as I might, clicking my heels together just wasn't working.

I guess after three days my parents must have gotten tired of my constant calling and complaining because eventually my brother-in-law came to my rescue and took me home. Ahhh... there was never a sweeter feeling. There truly is NO place like home. Ah, but what I wouldn't give to have three days to spend with Gram now.

Here's some interesting information I read today on the 'Storm of the Century'...

"The Storm of the Century, also known as the ’93 Superstorm, No-Name Hurricane, the White Hurricane, or the (Great) Blizzard of 1993, was a large cyclonic storm that occurred on March 12–March 15, 1993, on the East Coast of North America. It is unique for its intensity, massive size and wide-reaching effect. At its height the storm stretched from Canada to Central America, but its main impact was on the Eastern United States and Cuba. Areas as far south as central Alabama and Georgia received 4 to 6 inches of snow and areas such as Birmingham, Alabama, received up to 12 inches with isolated reports of 16 inches. Even the Florida Panhandle reported up to 2 inches, with hurricane-force wind gusts and record low barometric pressures. Between Florida and Cuba, hurricane-force winds produced extreme storm surges in the Gulf of Mexico, which along with scattered tornadoes killed dozens of people."

Read the rest of this fascinating story about the Blizzard of '93 here.

It's My Blog and I'll Brag If I Want To

It's so important for our children to hear us brag on them to others. Too often, I'm afraid, what they hear is us moms commiserating with each other over how hard, or tiring, or frustrating parenthood is. What must that do to their little hearts?

Instead, I challenge you to stop and think about what your little ones are hearing you say regarding being a mommy and make it a point to let them hear you praise them and talk about the good things being a parent brings. We ALL love to be bragged on and praised by others, no matter how old we are. It just makes our hearts smile, so let's do that for our little ones.

I have a quote that I just love. It says, ""Education commences at the mother's knee, and every word spoken within hearsay of little children tends toward the formation of character". -Hosea Ballou

What a powerful statement!

Now, for my brag...

Tuesday night Sweetie and I stayed up much later than we should, say... 2:00 am! So naturally we weren't up at the crack of dawn the next morning. 9:15 was the best we could do. When we got up the house was quiet and I thought, "Oh good. The kids are still asleep and don't know what a lazy daisy I am this morning". Ha!

Upon walking past Baby Girl's bedroom door I had to stop and come back. There sat all four kiddos... dressed, teeth brushed, beds made, and they were all working on their math! Holy moly! Can you say PROUD! We were speechless, and so proud!

Now, if we could just teach them to make breakfast and serve it to us in bed we'd be all set!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Under Construction

Please excuse the mess as I adjust to having a three-column blog. If you'd like to learn how to do this (if your a Blogger blogger), go here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God

I am just beginning to read this book and I am very excited about it. I'll give you my thoughts on it along the way...

In the 1970s, the pro-feminist bestseller Stepford Wives turned the traditional housewife into a mindless, husband-pleasing, yes-woman who was literally heartless—because, come to find out, she was actually a robot. The message was clear: a woman who faithfully serves her family, loves pleasing her husband, and joyfully takes care of her home (from home) is not a “real person,” but a contrived fantasy of her overbearing and selfish husband.

Instead of treasuring women and properly utilizing their gifts, our culture has attempted to discard the beauty and uniqueness of biblical womanhood and create an emotionally androgynous power-woman whose worth is measured only by the degree of her ambition, the shape of her body, and her money-making potential.

It’s time to lay aside the stereotypes and glamorized myths and discover the rare jewel of godly womanhood —to rediscover what it means to be a passionate housewife “desperate” for God alone!

Click here to read the entire preface

Finding Fellowship

Fellowshipping with other Christians or other homeschool families in our home has been somewhat lacking for quite some time now. When we were parents to only one wee one we often invited friends from church or other family members over. Now that we are a family of six in a 1200 sq. ft. home we use the excuse that we don't have the room for company.

I say BOLOGNA! (Thank goodness for whoever came up with that Oscar Mayer song or I would never know how to spell bologna... or Mayer for that matter! LOL!). Anyway, we were spontaneous this week and invited over another homeschool family for pizza last night and we just had the BEST time! I met this family for the first time about a year ago and we hit it off right away.

So Mom, Dad, big brother, and little sister came over for the first time and it was like we've been friends for years. Everyone was so comfortable with each other, we talked and laughed, they loved our homemade pizza and actually ate as much as they could hold (just like us!), and NO MESSES were made by all the kiddos! Can you believe that?

Sometimes men are not as sociable with other homeschool dads as us moms are with other moms, but I believe it is just as important. Just as we need the support and encouragement sometimes, I think it's good for our husbands to see that there are other dads just like them out there, working hard to provide for their families so their wives can stay home to teach and train their children. It's so nice to spend time with like-minded parents and share stories and laughs and pizza! And let's not forget the brownies! Mmmm... it was a GREAT night. One we can't wait to do again!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

S*x And Sixth-Graders... An Appalling New Pairing

By Kris DiGiovanni / The Tampa Tribune

Published: January 3, 2008

The one thing I was not prepared for when I began teaching sixth grade was the s*x.

These children are just 12 and 13, but s*x appears to be the central focus of their lives.

They boast about their alleged exploits on the bathroom walls, using the crudest possible language. They talk constantly about how "hot" they are, how s*xy, how good-looking. They hug and kiss in the halls - girls on girls, and girls on boys - as if being parted for 50 minutes is an unbearable deprivation.

In the classroom, they make coarse gestures and lounge in suggestive poses.

Outside and on field trips, they drape their arms across each other and huddle close - usually several girls around one boy who is deemed to be more "experienced."

Most claim to have girlfriends or boyfriends they "go out" with, although at 12, none of them drive, so I don't know where exactly "out" would be. The talk in the halls is all about who is going to "break up" with whom at lunch, and who is going to punch someone for messing with "his" girl.

They throw s*xual words around with confidence, although apparently they don't know as much about their meaning as one might assume. When I told them the word "f*ggot" was a bundle of sticks, they scoffed, but dutifully looked it up and amazedly admitted I was right.

They have been known to burst into laughter at accidentally discovering the word "s*ck" in the dictionary. After one boy wanted to know what a condor was, I learned to be cautious about dictionaries. He discovered a nearby word that was so much more interesting, and to him, hilarious.

The girls wear the lowest cut, most revealing clothes they can get away with, often covering a skimpy top with a zippered shirt. They have perfected an innocent, eye-batting blush of phony embarrassment as a response to any teacher who directs them to "zip it up."

And the moment they are out the door and into the hall, the zipper gets yanked back to brazenly indecent latitude. Of course they don't wear these clothes at home, so the parents are usually unaware. They bring them to school in their backpacks, or borrow from a friend and change in the restroom.

Parents, if you ever wonder why your daughter has to lug so many books around, take a look in her backpack and prepare to be surprised.

When I was in the sixth grade, only one or two girls wore br*s. Now, thanks to all those growth hormones in our food supply, our 12-year-olds are well into puberty and have bodies that would make any aspiring young siren or stud-muffin proud.

Unfortunately, the pseudo-adult bodies they inhabit and the raging hormones they are feeling did not arrive with additional brain cells. These kids still have only a 12-year-old ability to understand their feelings and make decisions. At night they still hug ragged stuffed animals, but lie in rooms adorned with posters of scantily clad women and buff young men.

With one foot in childhood and one in adulthood, these children are truly without a comfortable place to be. They are scared. They are confused. If ever they needed a parent, it is now.

Parents, do not be deceived by outward appearances and claims of knowledge. Hug your kid, even if you have to hog tie him to do it. Talk to your kid. Start with simple things like what happened at school. Have "the talk" again, and again, and again, if you have to. Most of all, be a parent, not a pal. It's different for them than it was for you. It really is.

Kris DiGiovanni is a teacher in Tampa.

Thanks to Mariah at the Five in a Row message boards for bringing this article to our attention.

No Child Left Behind... The Basketball Version

Thanks to Annie over at the Five in a Row message boards for posting this very funny, yet very true look at the reality of No Child Left Behind. Enjoy...

For all educators in and out of the education system:

1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship.
If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship their basketballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same basketball skills at the same time, even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in basketball, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY BASKETBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL!

3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in basketball, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like basketball!

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games. This will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad basketball players.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Guess What Santa Left This Year?

So I'm a little late in getting this posted here, but hey, better late than never, right?

While the kids would have loved to receive a Wii for Christmas, they knew mom and dad had tried and tried to find them one with no luck. Their only hope was Santa.

After all the gifts had been opened, Handsome and Princess began playing with Handsome's new Dart Tag and Princess shot a dart right into the Christmas tree. As I was going to retrieve the dart, I found one more gift hidden behind the tree.

Here is video of the kids opening that gift. (It gets a bit jumpy at the end, don't know what happened there).