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 Homeschool Journal 2

From one homeschooling mom to another-we can do it!
In 2009, let's be healthy, wealthy and wise.

                                                                                      Julie D

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Homeschool Journal 2
Semester 2

Welcome to our Homeschool Journal 2 page.

This page is a continuation of our homeschool journal page for the school year 2008-2009

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What then,      

will this child be?" For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. 

Luke 1:66

I hope that by documenting our progress in this Homeschool Journal format, I will be able to share with you our progress, failures, achievements, challenges and insights into what is involved in homeschooling.

We began this school year on August 3, 2008. Please check back often. This  homeschool journal 2 begins with the February 3, 2009 post.

Occasionally, I will recommend a site or have a link to something that I believe is worthwhile for you to check out. To help you find those links, I am making a master list here just below the current weeks journal which will contain the site link and a description of what the site offers.

BD-Oldest Son
JD-Middle child Son

Grape Hyacinths


Homeschool Journal 2: Day 167-180 - Monday May 18-June 5, 2009

Officially, as of the end of today we have finished our school year. Unofficially, we aren't finished and the children will continue with the subjects they haven't completed or haven't done to my satisfaction.

Over these last few days, school has been pretty much the same schedule as normal, with all of them focusing on subjects they know they must complete.

We did take a couple of field trips, which I thought were great. LD and I rode a train to Milwaukee and back. It was interesting.

When we returned, all of us attending a bread making class. Now, I know how to make bread from scratch but I was amazed by the instructor who demonstrated how to make white bread, pita pockets, tortillas, pizzas and bisquits. JD has since made a couple of batches of the pizzas and I am ready to give bisquits a try.

I'm starting a new blog -written under Nature Nanny or NN which will feature articles about plants, animals and outdoor adventures etc. If interested you can check it out at  or you can follow me on twitter  at

Next week, JD starts driver's ed. at the local high school and the following week BD, JD and I will be going on a mission trip. It should be a couple of interesting weeks.

I will continue to give updates to this journal periodically through the summer. Surely, we will do something educational over the next couple of months.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 163-167 - Monday May 5-9, 2009

For those of you following this journal who do not know-Southern Illinois/Missouri was hit by what is being called an inland hurricane on Friday May 9th. Since then we have been without power and have been dealing with the complications of the storm. I am writing this update on May 13th and we still are without power. School update we did school last Tues- Friday and a little bit this week. BD college classes were canceled and finals were deemed optional pending posting of final grades. BD and I traveled to a nearby town to let him take the PSCH final before we knew this development. His final art project, I am having him complete -though he may never get to turn it in.
We are gearing up for another possible storm and watching developments.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 162 - Monday May 4, 2009

Recently, I have begun exploring the world of Facebook. It is a fascinating irony because it is simple and complex at the same time-simple to use but wide-reaching with applications and email capabilities. Oh, it is fun, too. LD wants her own page and in time she will get one. BD created a page but is very reserved with it.

BD is working hard on completing his college courses...and is a bit stressed but after today it will be better. His extra credit assignments and posts are due today. Once those are completed all he has to do is finish his art assignments/final and take one more Psychology exam. 

JD and LD are focusing on finishing all of their school subjects. JD today drew some amazing pictures during his art time. I think he has set aside the origami and has gone onto drawing.

Perhaps he will let me post his picures to the creative kids section.

I still had to remind LD to do Math. Why oh why does she even try to avoid it? Summer may end up being very short if she doesn't start focusing.  The countdown begins- 18 more school days to go!

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 161 - Friday, April 28, 2009

I am looking forward to the college semester being over.  One more week...I'm not sure where BD will end up on the grade scales but in one more week it will be over at least until next fall.

Considering how much this semester has been disrupted because of BD and the dual credit classes I am seriously considering only enrolling him in one class per semester next year.

Currently, he is registered for 2 classes. After this semester is over, I will sit down with BD and discuss the problems we had and see how he feels about it.

JD is looking forward to Driver's Ed.- just a little too much.  

This weekend the boys and I have a mission trip meeting and LD is moving up to the big kid's Youth Group. It's all good.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 160 - Thursday, April 27, 2009

Ah, Thursdays-the all we have to do today is school, day. Much more relaxed about timing of subjects and getting things done. Better for everyone.

Just saw a hummingbird! Hopefully, we can set up the feeder soon and then try to capture some hummingbird pictures for the kid's website.

Though it has been raining quite a bit lately, the kids have been putting more effort into taking pictures for their site. Somehow the site building got off track but I am hopeful that it will be a fun summer project without the pressures of other subjects.  

Speaking of summer and upcoming events. This summer JD will be taking driver's ed. This is a little scarier-since he is so excited about it.
Also, we have the mission trip and JD is going to NYLT for scouts. I was looking at the schedule last night and with those events along with a few other significant events our schedule is filling up. I just don't get how this happens. lol  

Oh-this is day 160 -so technically, but not really, we only have 20 school days left. Yippeee! Maybe I'll tell them or maybe I won't. lol

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 159 - Wednesday, April 27, 2009

I am really liking this ...we pray, look at the day's plans/schedule..they work, I work. Picked up the Hobo box today and taught religion class-definitely can tell that spring is in the air.

Hobo box? A friend of ours came up with this idea to pass a box between a group of friends...put in things you want to get rid of and take out things you want. Though there have been a couple of things to consider-like timing and schedules this is a lot of fun and a great way to recycle odds and ends.

Guinea update: She is still sitting on the eggs and is leaving them less and less....does anyone know, if she is sitting on the group nest-do the other hens lay eggs somewhere else or maybe stop laying eggs? Will have to try to estimate keet arrival date.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 158 - Tuesday, April 27, 2009

Keeping it short today-I am continuing to have the children create and write down daily goals. 1 of the 3 children uses this to his advantage. The other two-still to some degree think they don't need to do this...this I suppose will be another one of those maintaining a positive and persistant focus will eventually produce results type of thing. I hope.

BD turned in his final assignment for his college Psch. course-now he can work on the extra credit and get ready for the final exam. Disappointing as it is-he will probably end up with a "B" in that class. The only reason this is disappointing is because the only reason he is getting a "B" instead of an "A" is due to technical issues...oh well...I need to let this go. A "B" is still a decent grade.

Starting to wind down the Scout events...went with the troop to see Monsters vs. Aliens...let's not talk "take away" again-even though pretty good take away on this movie :)

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 157 - Monday, April 27, 2009

Last night I attended a presentation at church about the Sacred Earth and then I stayed to watch a movie with the Youth Group. The movie was 7 Pounds with Will Smith. It was an odd mix. I feel a need to comment here about the value and importance of "Take away" in relation to presentations, movies, news and media in general and more specifically in what we are teaching our children.

I apologize in advance-this may be a longer than usual post but I feel it is important.

Ok, here goes...

What I am referring to by "Take away" is what does the recipient get or what is the intended purpose of the presentation.

In an educational setting this is pretty straight forward...I hope. We want the students to learn the facts, learn to communicate and to use that knowlegde to become a beneficial part of society at large and communities in general. So we gear our lessons to that end. The very minimum or basic take away always being the facts.

More specifically, this is something that our children who are learning to write or to make presentations need to be aware of...when they are writing or think they are finished writing something -they should ask what did they want the "take away" to be and did that get conveyed in what they wrote or prepared?

We also need to be aware of the take away element from movies our children watch, tv shows, books they read etc., presentations they hear...not so much to censor them but to initiate conversations based on differing points of views, facts vs. truths, perceived and implied truths. It is important to let them see these things even though our first inclination may be to shelter them from those views. (Ok...I am talking about views and I am not recommending or condoning letting children watch outright inappropriate for age level material-I am talking about what they are watching-their level and talking to them at their level of understanding)

Our children need to be aware of world views and personal views-if we want our children to be leaders they need to at least try to understand the underlying concepts which are being presented to them. I guess I could have said this just by simply stating that it is important to talk to your children about the take away from movies and check how they are interpreting what is being said and/or implied and how they can use that in their lives or not.

Example: The movie-while in theory contained the elements of what makes a movie "good" -plot, suspense to a degree, relatable characters (I wanted to say believable but in this particular movie -I don't believe or want to believe these characters), most of the danglers were addressed in the end...come back to the beginning kind of thing (though they did miss at least one) etc. The point is, the elements of a "good movie or story" were there, the money was behind the production-good actors etc.

Unfortunately, I have a big problem with the take away. It is directly contrary to my faith, my experiences, my beliefs and it just made me angry.

Side thoughts:

Also, it is a bit disconcerting, based on the few movies I have seen, that the trend, in the take aways, has been somewhat fatalistic and/or demeaning to the value of life.

If you are looking for a movie with a good take away-though some of the elements of a good story/movie are missing and the acting isn't great and it is certainly slanted, I would recommend "Fireproof".  I must say for a limited budget movie-the take away made it worth it to watch. 


In fairness, I have to consider that alternative endings or reality to 7 Pounds, would not have retained the good story element -at least by the world's standards. However, any take away that ultimately devalues life-any life-I feel when presented to my children is something that warrants immediate discussion.  I did have a discussion, although very short, with the boys on our drive home.

Now the other presentation, I'll try to be quick, contained a lot of current science beliefs. What I try to convey to my children, in relation to science and history primarily is that
 1. Science is built on theories and develops in one direction or another based on those theories.
 2. Science doesn't and can not by its nature contain the whole truth.
3. Faith and science are compatible
4. History is also built on stories, perceptions, and current views, looking back to learn  
5.Often facts are intermingled with perceptions, truths mixed in stories etc.
6. Both history and science are important for progress and survival

The most important take away from the presentation-even though I do have differing views of what was being presented as facts/theories etc. was much more positive and it is something I feel is important to discuss with my children-perhaps not as urgently as the movie discussion-but indeed something to discuss. The take away was about connections and interconnections with each other and with the Earth, our responsibilities -regardless of points of contentions,and in some ways about our journey to oneness with God.  Also, discussed was a concept of expanding world views. This is something I will personally meditate on and go from there.

The thing is...take what you make it. Some who watched that movie-walked away I am sure, thinking no more than...that was a good movie but closer examination and questions always bring to light the true and intended "take away". I encourage you to look for the bigger take away and to discuss these things with your children. 

On a side note, but relevant I suppose, I have made a commitment to go on the upcoming mission trip with the boys. I am looking forward to this trip. 

I hope you found some valuable "take away" from this post as it is indeed quite long. :)


Homeschool Journal 2: Day 156 - Friday, April 24, 2009

Well Momma guinea has made it through another night on her own. What is interesting though and I think this happens at night that every so often, she will squawk out an alarm and all of the other guineas come running to her aid.  They are there for each other.

What an interesting lesson we are being shown by our strange and loud birds.
To see the basic drive which serves to protect and foster the community.

In school, they have continued to set their goals for the day in writing. Still the problem exists of them wanting to slip back into that bad habit of not showing that they've done the work. This is so frustrating. Yes, I admit I am partly to blame-but in my own defense, I do know they are working-perhaps not as focused as they need to be but they are learning and growing in mind and body and faith.

Homeschool Moms, please note, that as I am writing this I find myself doubting, worrying about their progress, wondering if I've done advice is "Don't go there. Take each day and encourage your children to do their best. Keep going forward. There will be days of doubting, worrying, stress and on those days know also that there will be days of great progress, days of improvements, days of I get it now! Remember each day builds off of another."   There is so much more I could say about this but for now this is enough. :)


Update 1:
We have Guinea hen eggs. We finally found them. Momma guinea is sitting on them, we may actually once again have keets to raise. Better hold off on setting up a second aquaponics system.

Update 2:
We have a working aquaponics system! One of the pea plants that we grew from a seed has a pea pod on it! Finally,it is working. Not perfectly yet but at least we are seeing produce developing.  (April 16, 2009) I will update the aquaponics page soon.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 155 - Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, I was so looking forward to not having to run anywhere today. I just wanted to focus on school and updating this site. Almost happened. I made a quick trip to JC to sign up JD for Driver's Ed class at the local high school and to pick up the Dual credit form for BD for next fall. I didn't have to bring the kids along so they stayed home and worked on various assignments.

Today, I did find myself lecturing them on time guess this is more out of my perceived ideas between where we are and where we should be. I have instructed them to start setting daily goals. We shall see how that goes.

Giving more serious thought to the Communicators Club. Also, spent a good portion of this morning focusing on organizing my responsibilities for the next couple of months.

 Have a couple of action plans and I am working on a concept of 100 hours of focused work to see results. I like having plans and I like following well devised and workable plans. This is why I suppose FlyLady works for me when I follow I look around at the floors and suddenly realize I better look up the FLady right away. lol

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 154 - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is earth day and really truly the first day we are trying to get back into the swing of school. I don't believe we did a great job of that today but everyone did work hard on what they did do and what they were asked to do. The evening was spent by the boys with the Youth Group doing a service project for Earth day and LD and I went with our religion class to see the movie "Earth". Of course, it was a good movie but I was suprised that it was so much of the DVD Planet Earth. I didn't realize that was what is was supposed to be-the good news is that Disney is supposed to plant a tree for each person attending the movie on opening day. I do like that, a lot.

TUESDAY: school holiday (I know -hard to believe we are taking another day off! lol )

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 153 - Monday, April 20, 2009

We're back! We had a really long break. We took off Holy Week and the following week. We had company and while I am technically not counting the week for school we did do P.E. by going to the track and BD also still had his college classes. In fact, today he had to take the next exam. He made a high A.  Hopefully, we won't see any more zeroes out of him for technical errors.

Also, today we had the last day class for this school year. It was a show and tell or demonstration day. It is amazing to see how diverse our group is in interests and in what general activities each pursues. I was a bit disappointed in having to miss some of the demonstrations but I did see LD demonstrate her skills in origami.

I am considering developing a Communicatiors Club. Putting out feelers and trying to decide what exactly I am thinking about doing...remember it has to fit into FAITH, FAMILY or FRIENDS in order to keep aligned with my priorities. I might be able to do that. :)

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 152 - Friday, April 3, 2009

One more week until Spring Break for us. This was a typical Friday with school in the morning and a trip to the college in the afternoon followed by a trip to the library. 

With one exception, JD and LD and I went to a park where they practiced taking photographs for their website.  I also managed to download a couple more Astromony lectures from itunes for JD and BD. This is a part of JD's science for this year. BD just wants to watch them because they are interesting. 

Unfortunately, we didn't finish everything today, and JD and LD have agreed to work on school work on Saturday. BD will be studying for his upcoming exam and needs to get a little farther along so that he can enjoy our break as much as possible.

I've misplaced my calendar-starting to feel like I am forgetting to do something...but I haven't received any strange calls or emails asking what happened to I guess I'm still ok. I will find it tomorrow.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 151 - Thursday, April 2, 2009

Finally, we have been able to update the kid's website. I think we have come up with a way to keep them working on the site. I gave them a challenge. You can see the results at
Southern Illinois Outside.

BD has almost finished, or so he says, a major Art assignment. I hope so because since he received that "0"  in order to keep his A in Pschcology he is going to have to get higher grades on everything else in that class and he has a test coming up soon.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 150 - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wow, day 150 already. Over lunch time the delivery truck arrived. They brought LD a new bunk bed and me an armoire. This surely will help us declutter a bit more or at least get a bit more organized.

BD worked on all of his subjects, but after yesterday's disappointing grade, he has been trying to get the next Psychology assignment done and in. Hard lesson but I think he learned from it.

JD, I must say after I gave him an F grade for Tuesday's efforts has also been more diligent in getting his assignments done.

Since JD finished his Algebra I book, instead of going on to Algebra II, I wanted to make sure he understood everything sufficiently. So we have been sitting down together and started from the beginning of the book we are doing one or two problems and discussing the concepts. He seems to enjoy this.

I also have started doing this with LD. She is working on her Pre-Algebra book.

Suprisingly, no one did any April Fool's jokes today....hmmm

Oh well hope you had a Happy April Fool's Day!

Spring Flowers

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 149 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hard lesson to learn...BD didn't follow the teacher's instructions and failed an assignment-even though he completed it and did everything for the assignment.  The teacher warned them not to wait until the last day to submit the assignment in case there were problems. He was gone over the weekend and had most of it done but he couldn't send an attachment as requested-so he sent it via an email. The teacher gave him "0" points.

For the other two-we focused on history,art,writing and science and making a lapbook for the newsletter on the 13 colonies. This evening they will continue to work on their rooms with a focus on getting rid of stuff if possible.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 148 - Monday, March 30, 2009

Today we spent most of the afternoon on our bedrooms. We are getting some new furniture and moving others around. This was a 1/2 day school but since we had a previous half day of school that I didn't count, I will count this day. (Combined)

The morning was spent on regular subjects and focusing.

BD worked on finishing his Psch. assignment along with his other subjects and went to his art class at the college.

I began putting together the newsletter with final touches to be completed tomorrow.

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Homeschool Journal 2: Day 147 - Friday, March 27, 2009

Everyone had to be ready to go to day. It was another day very similar to Weds. with Art class and online ed. movies and writing and school work...but instead of religion class the boys left to go to Diocesan Youth Conference. JD has been looking forward to it for a long time. I'm sure it will be a wonderful experience for him.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 146 - Thursday, March 26, 2009

The days we don't head into town, we spend trying to make sure we cover all the bases educationally speaking. Fortunately, even if we are behind on these days we can easily catch up and maintain in everything else. This was our day today.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 145 - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It was a long day today. We spent the morning doing school work. Then left at noon to go to the  college. BD -art class, JD and LD educational videos on the computer. Then we went on to the library followed by confessions. After that, we ate a quick supper and met dad.
The guys went shopping for shoes and LD and I went to religion class.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 144 - Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Days like today illustrate the beauty of homeschooling-simplicity. Now, I am not saying homeschooling is simple. No, what I am referring to is how we start our day, get things done and still enjoy the day. How we can laugh out loud and not be hushed, step outside and breathe in fresh air when we need to do so and how we don't have to raise our hands to go to the bathroom.

Yes, I dearly treasure our homeschool mornings, especially the ones where I don't have to rush out the door to get somewhere with 3 children in tow.
I treasure the morning hugs and the open doors/windows. I treasure the aha moments and the I get it now.

Being able to homeschool is an awesome blessing and even though I am not the world's best teacher-I still believe that homeschooling is the right educational option for us.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 143 - Monday, March 23, 2009

It's good to be back writing this journal. For me it is about accountability and writing.

The morning today just seemed to fly by....kind of like the last two weeks.
At around 11 we started getting ready to leave and by noon we were on our way to the college. After dropping off BD (oldest) for his art class we drove around and took pictures for the kids site. We covered one town pretty well and hopefully tomorrow we can get some of the pictures up.

BD then took his Psychology test-he got a high B...I'm a little disappointed with that...not because it isn't good enough but because of three other things. One, I know he can do better, two, he didn't use the study techniques that work for him this time and three, he had an extra week to study for this exam.

Then we met my husband for a quick supper and JD (middle son) and husband headed to a scout meeting while the rest of us make a quick stop at the library before coming home.

The dogs, goat, and the guineas were glad to see us. They aren't too happy when we leave.

It was close to 70 degrees outside today and the flowers are blooming and  it looks a lot like spring is here. Even though I really like winter, the spring time here is beautiful and I am glad to see it arrive.

LD has found that she likes timed drills for Math and it appears it is just what she needs, math that is fast, challenging yet develops skills.

Homeschool Journal 2: Days 132-142 - Friday, 3/6-3/20/2009

OH my it seems like I have been gone a long time and looking at the dates, I see I have been...but I'm back and I will give you a fill in of what has been happening around here.

Really exciting, my husband bought me a new laptop for a combination Christmas/Anniversary present. I absolutely love it but I have been spending a lot of time setting it up and downloading programs and installing things etc. I am loving it!

We also have been dabbling with different internet providers. Unfortunately, we are still on dial-up and it looks like we will continue to be on dial-up for a while longer.

Another exciting development has been in our aquaponics setup...we finally have a system that appears to be working. The peas are healthy and growing. YEAH! Husband also built a new stand for the system and finished a picnic table (last year's Mother's Day gift).

Though I can't say what it is, my daughter has hit a milestone and we also were able to order her junior bridesmaid dress. She will look so beautiful in it at the wedding. Ah, the joys of raising a tween girl.

I suppose I should mention we did do school also and because I have been distracted by internet options, a new laptop, aquaponics, spring weather, a decluttering obsession and other things I decided this was a good time to start working on their educational responsibilities. Meaning, they know what they need to do and they were to do it and report to me. worked for the oldest two...not so good with daughter. She does have a few more years to go and of course, she also has been struggling with dealing with distractions this year anyway. So it is back to making a list for her and keeping her on task and focused.

Unfortunately, we lost another guinea and we are down to 5.
The good bird news is that the chicken has started laying eggs again. LD found a stash of 4 eggs!

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 131 - Thursday, March 5, 2009

Today we lost a guinea hen...don't know why but we just found it in the coop.
I spent some time today working on the website-perhaps that is why the kids all seemed to work on school a little long today-even with the checklist.
The beautiful weather and the animals didn't help either.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 130 - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One thing I think is important for any homeschooler is the idea of not being locked into a particular way of teaching something...or a particular curriculum.

I like to try things with my religion class -adapting to the class and their particular learning styles- today we played Fruits of the Spirit basketball.
(NOTE:Two weeks later they still remembered the fruits of the spirit when I tested them. Definitely a hands-on type of group.)

Still have girl scout cookies!? lol

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 129 - Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cookies, cookies, cookies everywhere-this is the worst part of cookie sales -having to deliver them. This year my normally outgoing child is working on her phone skills-she is calling people to let them know their cookies are here. She is finding it a bit difficult but is doing it anyway. Good for her!
making phone calls

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 128 - Monday, March 2, 2009

BD had an exam today-he got an A. I am so proud of him. He prepared and studied for this exam. One comment he made about learning recently pleasantly suprised me. He said learning any subject is easy. He is starting to get it about the attitude and the techniques and about taking courses etc. It is nice to know they listen sometimes.

JD had an allergy appointment today, good news, he is responding very well to the medicine. Not so good-he still needs the meds and his inhaler.

Still need LD to focus better on her math and will need to address this topic with her and try to come up with something that works for her.

Snow Day

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 127 - Friday, February 27, 2009

Phone and internet are down and won't be back up until Sunday at the earliest. Because of this the Homeschool Seeker Issue will be late. I hope this is not a problem for anyone but if it is feel free to let me know. I do apologize.

With the internet down, we stayed at the college and the library a bit longer in order to get some internet things completed. Oldest son had an assignment due and a test coming up-rechecked and confirmed dates for those. Will have to make plans to go into town on Saturday so that son can send in his assignment. Will see about the is through Monday.

To my dismay, we haven't been able to do much on the other website. Next week, I will have to make sure they stay on task. Where is that list?

Have a great weekend!

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 126 - Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursdays are like breathing days. We don't have to go anywhere most Thursdays and we can just concentrate on school and house things and the animals.

I am happy to report my newest aquaponics trial is well under way and the peas are growing. Within the next couple of weeks I hope to see this experiment succeed, finally.

We keep learning from the mistakes and trying again. I look forward to the day when I can show you pictures of healthy, green peas grown from this experiment. I still hope.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 125 - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today is Ash Wednesday. I know I may be in the minority but I love the season of Lent. To me, the season offers so much for my spiritual and personal development and adds a richness to my faith that it becomes a great joy.

An example: Today on our way to the Ash Wednesday service, we were running a little late but by the time we reached the edge of town we still had 8 minutes to get to church. I thought...we're going to make it! Then up ahead, I noticed a train had stopped on the tracks in the middle of the road. By the grace of God, I kept my was ok...we would still make it. Finally, after several minutes of assuring the kids we wouldn't be late...the train finally passed. Just two stop lights and a stop sign to go.

Of course, I barely made it through the first stop light only to have to come to an abrupt halt as someone was blocking traffic trying to make a turn. Horns were blaring around me...hopefully not at me though. My son was getting rather anxious and voicing his opinion that maybe we should go to another service.  

The next light was red. Then after it turned green the car in front just sat there ...literally. When I got to the turn the light had changed to red again.

The options filtered through my mind, I hate being late but..would God hold this against me if I show up a couple of minutes late?  It was as if a bunch of obstacles were being put in my way to try to sway me from going to church or to give in to frustration or anger. Instead of doing those things I persisted on my way to church. We made it. Not too late.

Afterwards, we had to laugh about it because from the church to our next location was totally clear lights and clear roads.

This experience made me think about how I decide what is the right way to respond to a situation...especially stressful situations. In the past, I've not done so well.

I keep telling the children we have choices in how we respond. They aren't always easy choices to make but we do have choices. I hope that in the more stressful school days ahead that I as their teacher/mom will show by example how to make choices that will bring positive results in stressful situations.

Today I am counting as the 2nd 1/2 day of school. The children did most of their work before we left for church but after that it was pretty easy stuff.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 124 - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today I learned something. I like when I can say that. What I learned was that I really do love homeschooling and I have a particular interest in learning styles, learning smart and developing an educational program that will help all children work to the best of their abilities.

Now don't get me wrong, I already knew I had an interest in those areas but until today I didn't realize how much I like sharing with others what I know about learning styles and strategies.

While helping sort boxes and boxes of girl scout cookies I found myself-actually had to make myself stop-talking about learning styles and how to help someone who is a visual learner teach their child who is not a visual learner.

So what new reason do I have for my renewed love for homeschooling. Well as I said, today I had to help with cookies, which meant I had to leave my children on their own to do their school work...they are old enough...what is great is that I trusted them to do their work and they did it. Now, they may not have done it as completely as I would have wanted them to do it but they did do school while I was gone. And while others were worrying about getting over to their child's school to pick them up, I was enjoying a soda and delivering some cookies.

Today, our phone was out again. Apparently somewhere done the road the phone box had a mouse problem. I am hopeful it has been taken care of and in general would like to thank all those who work in the field-for the phone company or the electric company or fire department etc. These men and women are awesome. So THANK YOU!

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 123 - Monday, February 23, 2009

Big problem today, our phone service is out..which also means no internet...which also means the psychology assignment that is due today is going to take some creative scheduling to get it turned in.

The plan was to have my son drive over to the college, go to his art class and then turn in his assignment. I was going to go with him because I wanted to download a really neat program called Sketchup. But with the phone out I wasn't sure when the repair man was going to show up...fortunately he showed up but by that time the phone had come back on.

Unfortunately, with someone coming to the house, my paranoid obsessive cleaning momster came out and we spent time just picking up a few things....actually, it all started because I couldn't find a portable phone in the storage room to check the phone line...(as it turned out it wasn't even in the storage room). Anyway, son didn't get his assignment done, but I was able to go with him. After his art class, he worked on his assignment and we both played a little with Sketchup. It is really cool.

OK...that playing with Sketchup created a bit of a problem again. When we left the phone was working again so when he had most of the problems worked out I suggested we go home and on the way home he could talk out the rest and then type it in. Well, when we got home I went to check my email and within a few minutes the internet and the phone went out again.

This is where having a backup plan comes in handy. My husband came home to get the boys to go to instead of going straight to scouts they stopped at the library-eldest son sent in his assignment and then they went to scouts.

Now this is not the way I envisioned a typical homeschool day would be...but in a way it is. There are always little quirks, problems or situations that you have to deal with as they happen and you have to keep those in balance with the educational aspects for the day. That balance or getting to that balance is probably the key to whether or not homeschooling is successful for you. Keep the balance and the priorities in sight and in the end it works out.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 122 - Friday, February 20, 2009

Well I tried to test my theory this week about the checklist and it's effectiveness for the two younger ones...and today they almost demanded a list. (Actually, they just asked where it was and wanted it back.)

This week certainly was not as productive as it could have been...therefore next week it is back to the list method. Included in the list will be the new read and question method of studying material. Though I have lost my enthusiasm for SOS I still use it for the basic concepts and to make sure I cover all the bases. Also, eldest child is still using the SOS cd's and will continue doing so until he completes them. After that we will go a different route.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 121 - Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good golly, it is Thursday already! It is good to not have to go anywhere today but my motivation isn't high. Motivation aside, the kids still keep working.

 Really testing the read and question method with the younger two children...this is an adaptation of the math/timer method. I have skittles/starbursts and free play time for motivators. I just want them to you may know if you've been reading along, this has been a major struggle with my daughter this year and has always been a challenge for the boys.

 It appears I will have to continue to adapt the day to what works best for each of them. My guess is a combination of the list and the read/questions/free time method will be what will work best for the younger ones. The oldest, with his college dual credit classes, will continue with his current patterns of studying.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 120 - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Full day of school, trip to the college and then onto the library and PSR class. While at the college, the younger two children were supposed to be working on their website but they discovered google maps and were zooming in on satellite images from all over the world. It really was interesting and technically it is a good geography lesson so I let the other assignment go when they were only able to partially complete it. That along with the fact that after we left the college we were going non stop until we got back home.

Middle son did work a little on his Eagle scout requirements with his Dad. This has been good for them -to set a time to work together on this on a particular evening. Otherwise, I believe they wouldn't be much farther along than they were at the beginning of the year.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 119 - Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The new study method for oldest is paying off. He aced his Psychology exam. YES! Trying to teach the other two children the study concept to further enhance their learning and retention. 

Homeschool Journal 2: Monday, February 16, 2009

School Holiday-President's Day- The boys went to a lock in and stayed up all night with our Youth Group. They had a great time but are very tired. Oldest however, has a test tomorrow so he spent some time studying for that exam.

I spent the day researching dome homes...just in case they do under mine and destroy our home. Trying to keep a positive mental attitude because the alternative is not good.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 118 - Friday, February 13, 2009

Going out to supper with my husband for Valentine's Day tonight..we want to try and beat the crowds...not sure it will work, but tomorrow we won't be able to go out because the boys will be helping at a Trivia Night with our youth group.

The boys are looking forward to helping out and then to a lock-in on the next night with the Youth group. Our Youth Group is a such a great group and a blessing.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 117 - Thursday, February 12, 2009

I have raised a houseful of chocolate lovers. It amazes me what my children can accomplish with the proper motivation and for chocolate.

I have noticed that my oldest, who is a capable and good reader, has been taking forever to read his Physcology chapters... so I asked him about it. He said he was distracted. Now, I was a bit surprised by this because to read his lesson he has been going to his room to get away from the big distractions. I do appreciate his honesty.

So today, we addressed this problem and came up with a working solution. Again, it was a simple focused study times with mini rewards upon completion, the use of forming questions and bigger rewards at the end of the subject.  It took less time to do the lesson and he is retaining the information better.

On a different front, I have come to the conclusion that SOS is not for us. We will continue to follow the basic structure but with different material sources. SOS, while christian based, insists upon implying things that are based on beliefs instead of proven facts. Now, I am not denying their beliefs or challenging them but some of them I just do not accept as a full and complete answer. An example would be the text portion of SOS stating things like the salt domes were created by the Noah flood  or that the structure of atoms is held together by God.
I neither agree or disagree with these statements but they are trying too hard to force the children to accept ideas about God that are based on their belief system.  There are things I like about SOS-automatic grading, built in tests, reviews and studying but with our new method of studying the children will get more facts without someone else's beliefs implied as truths.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 116 - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Didn't make a list today for each of them, the two younger ones picked up yesterday's list and are working off of that. The oldest is absorbed in trying to work on his two college classes.

It is bleak and raining today and I don't want to pack up and go to the college with the oldest. So he drove over there by himself. Though he isn't keen on the idea of going alone, he needs to do this, if only to build up his driving confidence.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 116 - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Planning go to the Pink Panther 2 movie tonight with our youth group. This seems to be a strong motivator for the younger 2 children. Oldest was motivated until he started feeling like he was not keeping up with the pace then he started to get discouraged and chaed his mind about going to the movie. As it turns out, he did finish most everything and was able to go to the movie. The movie was enjoyable but I didn't feel it was as funny as the first and they borrowed a few too many ideas from the first movie instead of creating fresh comedic moments.

We are still using the list technique -younger 2 enjoy it and use it well, oldest is struggling to keep up with his work. There has to be a balance, while he is doing well with his college classes I am concerned about his high school classes and the progress. 

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 115 - Monday, February 9, 2009

Today we had Day Class for the month. This class covered information on the Romans. It was enjoyable and active class. Oldest worked the whole time on his Physcology assignment, due by midnight.

After lunch we went over to the college for Art class. While waiting for class to finish, we visited with a friend and discussed aquaculture, aquaponics, marine biology and finding and following passion for careers. It is good for my children to hear these conversations as they reinforce many times over what I tell them.

After a quick trip home and supper then it was time for Scouts. Oldest opted to stay home and continue to work on and improve his assignment. At Girl Scouts we worked on earning a sewing badge. Daughter may choose to work on her sewing skills as her daily skill.

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 114 - Friday, February 6, 2009

I like Fridays, but I'm a bit concerned about something we received in the mail, a receipt for a registered letter from a local mine. Will know more tomorrow what it is about.

Middle son and daughter began working on transcribing the interview from yesterday. Good for them to practice their listening and typing skills and they don't seem to mind doing it.

Have to say, I love the list technique. I don't need to nag them so much to stay on task or tell them what to do next or how...they just do it, tell me/show me they have done the work and go on.

Tonight we get to go to the library's spaghetti fundraiser. Yummy! I look forward to this event because we get to support the library and also we get a chance to visit with friends. 

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 113 - Thursday, February 5, 2009

Today, we will be heading back to Crab Orchard to interview the librarian, take more pictures and hopefully get the page on Crab Orchard up onto their site. Yesterday, we looked at creating a social network and if it would be possible to interface it with their site. The idea being a network for each community within a bigger community.

For this site, I am considering a different type of networking program-one that focuses more on educational networking. If this is something you would like to see...send me a note through the wish list. Let me know also if there are particular things you would be interested in having within that community; for example, free courses, chat rooms, book exchanges or homeschool blogs.  I'd really love to hear from you!

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 112- Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This is day 2 of the list experience. I am loving it even more. They show me when they are done with their work. They know what is expected of them and they do it. I have added a few things in that they like to do and that need to be done and it is working great.

Oh, since I wasn't going to be home when they would be finishing up their lists, I needed to let my husband know about the list...but I forgot. The cool thing is they knew what was on the list and did it anyway.

The only problem is that for my list, since most of what I do I enjoy and I don't have that free time incentive, I am not getting everything on my list done. I'll work on it though. :) It is starting to keep me on track with some of those tedious things like laundry, supper, cleaning etc. lol

Homeschool Journal 2: Day 111- Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Could it be so simple? Sometimes as I go along I forget to use the simple things that make things in general easier. You know some of putting things away when you're done with them or bookmarking a page you like or answering an email right away. That kind of thing, is what I am referring to today. I knew this simple technique which could make my day go smoother but never really applied it effectively until today.

If you find it tough to get everything done, try this. Every morning before you start your day or every night before you go to sleep make a list of what you want to accomplish on the next day. As you do the things on the list...cross them off.

It is such a simple concept and my tendancy is to bypass it,
reasoning that everyone knows what they need to do. The problem is that things don't always get done because we go here and there and then the poor children don't seem to know what to do or how to prioritize what they know they need to do.

Today, I spelled it out for them on a list for each of them. I clarified exactly what I expected to be done.

For several years, we have had 7-9 screen time...meaning this is their time to play. That worked somewhat to limit their exposure to the screens (computer, gameboy,wii etc.) but if we had to go somewhere they felt deprived. So I added as an incentive that when they finished the list they had free time meaning they could do what they wanted. There are still limits on the screen time-which they know but now they feel if they work hard they can squeeze in some playtime.

This provides just the right amount of structure and some freedom of choice in how they get to do things thereby they are learning to prioritize.

One last note on this: I also included that the list is not absolute. This means if I come across something they know they should do...such as put their towels in the hamper and they haven't done it...I'm going to write it on the list. I love it-no more reminding. If it is on the list, it must be done before they can play.

Thanks for following our homeschool journal 2.

May God's peace be with you as you embark upon your homeschool journey.

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