Sunday, August 31, 2008

Secrets to Success

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

Colin Powell

What a great reminder!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New York LEAH discount

I got this little blurb via email - always fun to find a way to save a few dollars!!!

NYS Loving Education At Home is pleased to announce discounts on homeschool curricula and supplies available to LEAH members through the GPA SmartStore, an online store carrying a wide selection of homeschooling items. LEAH members receive an additional 3% discount from already low, discounted prices (the LEAH price is listed as the State Association price - it will be applied after you register and/or login).

A small fraction of each sale is returned to LEAH to help support the organization. Please consider using the GPA SmartStore to satisfy your homeschooling needs and help support LEAH. Go to and click on the GPA SmartStore to check out this great new benefit to LEAH members.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Free Six Flags Tickets!!

Not too long ago we got to go to Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George for FREE :) because of Six Flag's Read to Succeed Program. Gotta say - loved it! I just checked the website, and registration is now open at the above link for the 2008-09 school year. If you have children in K-6 check it out. If you're part of a homeschool group, order for the group, or part of a school, let your teachers know. Registration wraps up in early October, and they tend to run out of kits soon!! Happy reading and playing!

Locked out of Little League

I was reading a news story about this little guy today - a nine year old with a 40 MPH pitch. His name is Jericho Scott, and he's being banned from pitching in his little league team in Conneticut because he's too good!!!

As I read the articles a bit further, I do understand the concerns about safety and the other kids being a bit overwhelmed, but still, what kind of message are we sending when we say that you can't play because you are excelling too much?

Any ideas on this one?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Global Perspective

I enjoy getting other people's perspectives, especially when they might be different then mine. I enjoy reading books by people who have lived very different lives than mine, even people who I totally disagree with, just to see what and how they're thinking. I like to hear what people from different cultures and people groups think about the same topic. I was thrilled when the blog Foreign Perspectives chose to talk about homeschooling, and this blog online! I'm interested to hear how homeschooling is faring, in all of its forms, around the world. So anyway, thanks for mentioning me over here! I wish you well over there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Money money money

One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can cover things that might not be covered in school, or change the amount of focus that a subject is given as the need presents. One area that I'd like to spend some time learning on is money. It's so easy to let money issues out of control, and I wish that I had a better plan up front when I was younger!!


I found a neat tool to use to give myself a "check-up" financially right now on, and I found out that I scored a B on my financial health. Not too awful bad, but I hope that someday my kids will score As. I realize that I am really behind on our savings, for school and for retirement, and it's hard at this point to set aside much, as my husband is really the only one working full time (for pay anyway :)).

I do plan to visit this site with my kids as part of our money training. It will give us a starting point for talking about debt consolidation, debt relief, and debt help . I hope that they are able to learn their lessons well, from my and other's mistakes.....

Sponsored by

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mission Accomplished, partly

Okay, so some planning work got done last night, but I still have a long way to go. So far there are about ten entries in my little teacher's planner. The girls would like the look of it, but I think the school superintendent might raise his eyebrows a bit. Tonight's the county fair, so it won't happen tonight... There's always tomorrow, right??!?!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tonight's work

Okay, this is it!! My kitchen table is covered with all of my materials and curriculum for the coming year, my calendar/planner is unwrapped, the pens and white out are ready.... I am going to finally get cracking on the details of what's what for this year. I have NEVER waited this long!!! So, hold me accountable, and we'll see what I have to say tomorrow. Off I go!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


One of the fun, but scary things, in homeschooling is that your kids are with you practically ALL of the time. They learn so much, good and bad, from watching you. Now I've got two girls, one approaching adolescence, and they are learning how to interact with boys by watching others, especially me, interact with those of the opposite sex.

When I was a young adult, I think I formed many of my ideas about guys from television and movies. Lines like "You had me at hello" were my idea of how we were supposed to interact. Maybe some people can pull that kind of stuff off in real life, but me, well, I'm better off avoiding the lines and just being me, and just being friendly.

For more widgets please visit

There is a fun opportunity at to play the Extreme Style by VO5's Ultimate Flirting Championship to and just have some fun with it. Can we put flirting education in the curriculum for this year? That may be a stretch, but you know, I'm sure we'll talk about it!

Sponsored by Extreme Style by VO5

Monday, August 11, 2008

Teacher's planning book

I am such a geek!! I was at Staples yesterday getting my crazy sales goodies, and I got a new teacher's planner. There's something so cool about the nice clean planner at the beginning of the year. It's wide open, waiting to see what's going to get scribbled all over its pages. For now, until I start whiting out and rearranging, I look very very organized. I need to enjoy it while it lasts!! :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Free and Low Cost Homeschooling

Unless otherwise noted, all of these resources are free. If you find that any of these sites have become paid sites, please let me know so I can remove them from the list. Thank you. :o)
In the process of becoming a seasoned homeschool mom I've found many free or low cost ways to educate our children. I've acquired quite the list and today feel the need to pass it along to my blog friends. :-)
I hope this helps someone trying to pinch a penny. :-)
FREE PLACEMENT TESTS: We use placement tests to find learning gaps at the beginningof each school year. Depending on the tests we use, we can easily take AT LEAST a week to do all of the testing. No matter what grade our child is in they begin with the lowest grade level and work their way up until they no longer know what's going on.
AOP LANGUAGE AND MATH PLACEMENT TESTS: **You do have to fill out the online form to have the kids take the test online. They also offer the test for sale to put on your computer so it can be used over and over each year without logging in each year.
FREE ALGEBRA! site of lessons, resources, and calculators to aid in the learning/teaching of algebra
AlgebraLAB...this site focuses on building the connections between science and basic algebra by including lessons, activities, practice pages, study guides, career overviews, and much more
Ask Dr. archive of math questions, searchable and arranged by grade level; you can also submit your own questions
Calculators On-line...over 5000 types of online calculators to use
If you go to and spend $19.99 - $39.99 you will findeverything you need to teach children for an entire year...Grades K - 12th.
They have the daily review skills packets that you can print off andhave the kids complete daily or weekly.(I'd recommend 1 packet every 3 days. They are pretty challenging sometimes.Internet use will be useful for research.) This is good for K thru 12th grade also.
Math skillsLanguage artsVocabulary/spelling skillsScience open-ended question and reviewWritingSocial studies questionsReading ComprehensionWeekly math word problems
All of this and you can even tweek it too.Here is the link for the Daily skills.
Or go here to pick and chose what you want to teach them.
Here is the link to the costs.

All of the above has been copied, with permission, from "The Mom With Brownies" at .

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The grass is greener on this side!!

We homeschoolers can get a little grumpy about reporting and the other hoops we have to jump through, but yikes!!! In other countries it is unreal!! Following is an article published by HSLDA:

A homeschooling family in Southern Germany spent six hours in a grueling German Family Court session this week with the hopes of regaining custody of their six homeschooled children, who have been held in state custody since January. After the long and confusing session, the Gorbers regained custody of their 3-year-old son. The judge, meanwhile, retained custody of five other Gorber children now being kept in foster care and youth homes pending a court-ordered psychological evaluation of the parents. The court did allow increased visitation for some of the children up from one hour every two weeks that had been permitted since the children were seized in a surprise raid by the youth welfare office (“Jugendamt”) and police.

In January of 2008, Jugendamt and police officials surrounded the German home of the family while Mr. Gorber visited his wife at a local hospital where she had been admitted due to complications from her pregnancy with her ninth child. The oldest son, age 21, and a daughter, age 20, were not taken by the authorities, but all the other children were removed despite their repeated protests.

The siblings reported that the 7-year-old was gripped around the waist by a youth home music teacher, dragged kicking and screaming across the courtyard and thrown into a van. The terrified 3-year-old clung to his 20-year-old sister so tightly that even the police and Jugendamt could not separate them. Both had to be taken to the youth home, where at last the little fellow’s strength gave out and he could be taken into custody.

The children then received psychological exams which all reported that they were normal and well-functioning. Although these evaluations attested to appropriate parenting, the judge indicated that he was unwilling to allow the other children, all of school age, to return home because he did not believe the father’s assurances that he would enroll the children in school.

Someone who attended the six-hour hearing described the scene as “bedlam in the courtroom, without any attempt by the judge to impose discipline. The parties kept interrupting each other and everyone spoke at once.” Some of the children have reported that their court-appointed attorneys said they will fight to keep them in foster care despite the children’s firmly stated desire to return home to their parents.

Many in Europe are critical of Germany’s Jugendamt. Germany has Europe’s highest incidence of removing children from their homes. A recent article in Germany's Zeitung newspaper showed figures indicating that the removal of children from their homes was up 12.5% this year in Germany while the number of abused children remained the same.

Opponents have accused the child welfare system in Germany of corruption driven by exorbitant payments by the government to children’s homes and foster care providers. This “youth welfare industry” is financed by a 21 billion euro budget. The local operating youth welfare committees include privately owned and for-profit children’s care institutions who participate with legal sanction on the committees with two-fifths of the total vote. No other child welfare system in the world is known to allow this type of intermingling between government and commercial enterprises. Such an intermingling would appear to create a serious conflict of interest.

This is of particular concern to homeschooling families in Germany in light of court decisions and a recent change to the federal youth welfare law that was signed by German President Roland Koch on July 5 of this year. The law, BGB 1666, establishes the standard by which family courts are to determine whether custody of parents can be taken away. The law was changed to make it easier for children to be removed by the Jugendamt when the children are “endangered.” But endangerment is not defined in the law. The highest German courts have ruled that homeschooling is not tolerated because it creates “parallel societies” and is an abuse of parent’s rights. Administrative agencies and courts have stated that the failure to send children to school is by definition “endangerment.”

Until last year, homeschooling families had mostly been harassed with exorbitant fines. This year however, Rosemarie and Juergen Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany were sentenced to three months each in prison for homeschooling. In a previous family court case involving the Dudeks, the judge declined to take away the parental rights of the parents. It was thought that the Dudeks cared for and educated their children too well to justify penal removal of the children under the legal clause “misuse of parental authority.” During the Dudek’s criminal trial the judge ordered a 900 euro fine against the family for not sending their children to school. Not satisfied with this “lenient” sentence, local State Prosecutor Herwig Mueller told Mr. Dudek “you won’t have to worry about paying the fine, because I’m going to send you to jail.” His appeal of the fine resulted in the latest prison sentence for Mr. And Mrs. Dudek.

More homeschooling families have fled Germany as a result of this persecution, as it now appears that family court judges and the Jugendamt are ready and willing to take children away from their parents simply because they are being homeschooled. Nevertheless, “We are greatly encouraged by the thoughts and prayers of American homeschoolers,” said Mr. Dudek in a recent phone conversation with HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly. “It gives us hope to know that there are people who have the freedom to educate their own children at home. We so appreciate the letters and notes of encouragement. These letters help us maintain our focus and in seeking God’s will for our family.”

These cases are drawing attention within Germany and across Europe.

Kathy Sinnott, a European parliament member from Ireland, criticized Germany’s treatment of homeschooling and the way the Jugendamt treat non-German families residing in Germany. In a recent press release, Sinnot said “…Germany’s approach to home schooling compromises this [European law on mobility] and forces families to choose between a job and the best interests of the children. The need for family-friendly employment policies must be recognized throughout the EU. We need to have flexibility in the education of children temporarily resident because of work. There is also an issue around the attitude to non-German families in the German children’s courts. I hope the dialogue between the Commission and the German State will resolve this discriminatory situation.”

A member of the SPD party in Bavaria, Germany also stated in a recent radio interview that that “Imprisonment or fines in this matter are absolutely excessive in my opinion, because homeschooling can provide very high-quality outcomes. This topic is definitely one which we must work through politically. There can be no black-white declarations, but we must discuss this without ideological blinders on.” Although encouraging, it will take more than one or two members of state legislatures to effect the needed change.

Donnelly, during a recent trip to Germany to encourage homeschoolers and to work for change, met with the Gorber family as well as with policy and lawmakers at the European Union and in the German State of Baden Wurttemberg.

“This poor, simple family is being crushed by unbearable pressure from the German state’s police power, primarily because they are homeschoolers,” Donnelly said. “This father of nine, a woodworker, told me how difficult this is and the incredible strain it’s placing on his children, his wife and himself. As longtime homeschoolers, they have irritated the local youth authorities who needed only the pretext of the hospitalization of the mother and other exaggerated claims to seize the children.” Donnelly noted that “while there are some policy makers in some of the states who are willing to take on this important issue of human rights, most couldn’t be bothered. It is going to take increased public awareness and international pressure to confront German Society with this outrageous behavior. Unfortunately it looks like more parents will have to go to jail and more children taken into state custody before German public policy makers wake up and do something. It’s very disturbing that Germany can get away with this kind of behavior with such little public comment by other Western governments.”

HSLDA is committed to working with national and international ministries and associations to support German homeschoolers in their fight to be free from persecution. The right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental human right, and HSLDA is grateful for the support of its members to defend this freedom here in the United States and abroad.

If you would like to send a note of encouragement to the Gorber Family write to them at:

Family Gorber
88662 Ɯberlingen

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summertime Learning

This is the first summer that we haven't had any formal learning planned since we started this homeschool adventure. Other years we've picked one "extra", like music appreciation, and plugged through that in the summer. This year my one kiddo is finishing up some leftover workbook stuff on her own, but that's it. I feel like a negligent homeschooler. We have no big field trips to reenactments or museums planned. We're just playing. Well, and I'm working a lot on the computer. But that's good, right? Everyone's brain needs a break sometimes!! And you know what? I think I might implode if I tried to add one more thing to my plate right now, so play kiddos, play!! Hopefully by the time September rolls around I'll be more organized :). I can hope!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teachable moments with the Jonas Brothers

My daughters and I attended our first big concert together last night - The Jonas Brothers. I wasn't super excited to be the mommy chaperone, but it ended up being a really nice time. We went with another mom and kids, the girls had a blast, and we had some really good conversation on the way home, late late at night. We talked about how hard it must be to stay humble when you've got the lifestyle that these boys do. We talked about how it's very cool that all three boys wear purity rings and have made committments to behave themselves. We talked about what they might be doing for church the next day. Just neat little snippets of thinking that were a little different from the "You're so hot!" stuff that was screamed out behind us at the concert. No doubt my girls think these guys are very cute and all, but it was neat to hear that they realize that they are also just regular kids, with some of the same struggles as them.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The bird family

We've spent a lot of time watching this little bird family who decided to nest in our carport. As the chicks get bigger, and more demanding of food, momma is having to be more brave about coming near us. I caught her today just after she picked up a nice juicy worm to deliver it back to the nest. Pretty neat to see so up close :).

Friday, August 1, 2008


Yikes! Somehow it's August 1st and I have not bought my curriculum for the fall yet!! I did have some already, and I use lots of stuff from the library, but there are a few books that I know that I do need, and I've never waited this late to get them!!! Ok, maybe this needs to get moved to the top of the to do list. Well, I suppose clean laundry and dishes, and maybe helping my daughter clean out her stinky gerbil cage can go before that for now, but otherwise, right at the top!!!

IT Training opportunity

One of the things that I love about homeschooling is that you can tailor the teaching, the style, the curriculum, to the student. You can try different ways of learning until you find a good fit. If a student learns better one way versus another, why not use the one that fits best? It can make such a difference!!

It's just great to have so many different learning options available today. You can take traditional classroom studies, independent studies, correspondence studies, or online studies. I get excited to see this for little ones as well as far adult learners. I love that there are so many opportunities to pursue learning for those who were once considered "non-traditional" students, or anyone over the age of 20. There are so many learning opportunities that fit into working adults' lives, and that can enhance those working lives.

A field that continues to grow in not only material to learn, but also in job prospects after learning that material, is IT, or information technology. Cisco certification is a great program to really get into this field. Cisco offers many different certifications, at varying levels, taking varying amounts of time to complete the programs. You really can fine tune which program you take to match your specific skills, desires, and available time. Training resources, from instructor-led courses to remote access labs and e-learning solutions, are also available.

Right now I am concentrating on homeschooling my children, but who knows where the future may lead for me academically, or vocationally. I may take my very limited knowledge of computers and such and transform it into a valuable working certification. We'll have to wait and see....

Sponsored by Cisco