Backyard Water Fun



Due to unseasonally warm weather, the swimming area at our local lake closed. 

To say our boys were bummed when we walked toward the water is an UNDERstatement!

My husband said, "I have an idea! My sister and I did this when we were little... Go buy some huge garbage bags."

I baulked. I gave him the look.  


Yet he insisted... "Trust Me," he said. 
         So I did. 
            Voila! A memory was born.

                 Recipe For 'Fun In a Garbage Bag'


Materials:

  • hot kids
  • large garbage bags
  • a hose
  • a flat place


Directions:
Have hot kids stand or sit on the inside seam of the bag.

Have "volunteer"  Spray them fill the bags with water from the hose.

Observe the fun. 



Confession:
I was absolutely sure the kids would hate this activity.
I was absolutely positive they would not participate.
I was absolutely, positively, completely wrong!

Lessons learned:

  • Trust husband.
  • Don't take life so seriously that I neglect the overly simple.
  • Divide "I'm too cool to try" kids from the "Sounds awesome!" kids. This varies in each home. Our 22, 17, and 13 year olds said, "No way." Our 11 and 9 year old reluctantly tried and loved it.


Warning:
The water was from our well. We stopped when the boys truly began to shiver in the 95 degree yard.

This activity would have been better in the shade. 

ALL water activities should be supervised. Use discretion with younger children. Good luck getting your older kids to try!!


3rd-5th Grade Math and Reading Summer Review Math Fun: Summer Multiplication Practice Summer Boredom Buster Chart and Coupons*free*


I'm Preparing to Teach High School Next Year

            High School Scares Me.
                         There I said it.

Our older two boys both graduated high school by attending charter schools or the local community college. That was easier for me. They went to school and then I was available to coach them through syllabus organization and scheduling, editing papers, and life skill teaching.

This year, I feel like I am on my own. (I'm really not, but it feels like it)

We have our third son entering high school (and very quickly after are his two younger brothers). With a few years we will have three kids in high school! Yes. Pray for me.

So I am spending the summer praying, studying and planning.

One of the things I know I will need to teach this year is MLA formatting.

MLA formatting is a scripted way to set up a writing assignment so that all the students' papers look the same. This makes life easier for the student, teacher, and anyone else who has to read stacks of papers.

The challenge is that I have never taught MLA formatting. So how do I prepare?

  • Study.
  • Study.
  • Ask my latest graduate a few questions.
  • Write an essay assignment and complete it myself.
  • Create a study packet with a power point.
I know. I went over board. But then, not really. 
I have three more kids to navigate through high school and beyond and I know from experience that most professors prefer the MLA format.
I also developed some exercises to teach about plagiarism and paraphrasing. 

I wanted to share the packet with you. If you are looking to teach writing, or to coach your kids in their writing, then I believe this may be of value to you.


I'm Giving My Readers a chance to grab a free copy as well. (Up to 3 Readers)
Comment below, then send me an email here. Put "MLA FREEBIE" in the subject line.
First three readers to comment and email will receive a free copy.

What scares you about teaching high school? I cannot be the only one...

Preparing to Teach High School


I'm Preparing to Teach High School Next Year

            High School Scares Me.
                         There I said it.

Our older two boys both graduated high school by attending charter schools or the local community college. That was easier for me. They went to school and then I was available to coach them through syllabus organization and scheduling, editing papers, and life skill teaching.

This year, I feel like I am on my own. (I'm really not, but it feels like it)

We have our third son entering high school (and very quickly after are his two younger brothers). With a few years we will have three kids in high school! Yes. Pray for me.

So I am spending the summer praying, studying and planning.

One of the things I know I will need to teach this year is MLA formatting.

MLA formatting is a scripted way to set up a writing assignment so that all the students papers look the same. This makes life easier for the student, teacher, and anyone else who has to read stacks of papers.

The challenge is that I have never taught MLA formatting. So how do I prepare?

  • Study.
  • Study.
  • Ask my latest graduate a few questions.
  • Write an essay assignment and complete it myself.
  • Create a study packet with a power point.
I know. I went over board. But then, not really. 
I have three more kids to navigate through high school and beyond and I know from experience that most professors prefer the MLA format.
I also developed some exercises to teach about plagiarism and paraphrasing. 

I wanted to share the packet with you. If you are looking to teach writing, or to coach your kids in their writing, then I believe this may be of value to you.


I'm Giving My Readers a chance to grab a free copy as well. (Up to 3 Readers)
Comment below, then send me an email here. Put "MLA FREEBIE" in the subject line.
First three readers to comment and email will receive a free copy.

What scares you about teaching high school? I cannot be the only one...

Preparing to Teach High School


I'm Preparing to Teach High School Next Year

            High School Scares Me.
                         There I said it.

Our older two boys both graduated high school by attending charter schools or the local community college. That was easier for me. They went to school and then I was available to coach them through syllabus organization and scheduling, editing papers, and life skill teaching.

This year, I feel like I am on my own. (I'm really not, but it feels like it)

We have our third son entering high school (and very quickly after are his two younger brothers). With a few years we will have three kids in high school! Yes. Pray for me.

So I am spending the summer praying, studying and planning.

One of the things I know I will need to teach this year is MLA formatting.

MLA formatting is a scripted way to set up a writing assignment so that all the students' papers look the same. This makes life easier for the student, teacher, and anyone else who has to read stacks of papers.

The challenge is that I have never taught MLA formatting. So how do I prepare?

  • Study.
  • Study.
  • Ask my latest graduate a few questions.
  • Write an essay assignment and complete it myself.
  • Create a study packet with a power point.
I know. I went over board. But then, not really. 
I have three more kids to navigate through high school and beyond and I know from experience that most professors prefer the MLA format.
I also developed some exercises to teach about plagiarism and paraphrasing. 

I wanted to share the packet with you. If you are looking to teach writing, or to coach your kids in their writing, then I believe this may be of value to you.


I'm Giving My Readers a chance to grab a free copy as well. (Up to 3 Readers)
Comment below, then send me an email here. Put "MLA FREEBIE" in the subject line.
First three readers to comment and email will receive a free copy.

What scares you about teaching high school? I cannot be the only one...

Preparing Kids for Blood Work and Needles


How to prepare your child for a blood draw?

We need to train our kids for real life, while not scaring the pants off them.

I had such an opportunity today. My youngest son needed to have blood drawn and I decided to prep him before we got there. He was all set and ready to go. Brave face, brave smile, ready to face danger head on. Then his kind brothers piped in.

As we pulled into the parking lot one of the brothers says, "Hey, maybe they will use a chainsaw with blood sucking needles all around the blade!"

Before I could reign them back in the older wiser brothers had filled the munchkins head with a few wonderfully horrible images to ponder as he silently walked toward the lab.

Are you kidding me?

After I rebuked the brothers sharply, using my best mean mommy face. We went inside.

I am thrilled to report, the seven year old did great!
He followed instructions perfectly and didn't shed a tear or even utter the word "ouch".
Half way through the many viles of blood he says, "I can't even feel it mom." Victory!

How to prep your children for medical tests that would make a grown man cry. 




  • You need to stay calm. You need to breath. They need to look at you and see a parent that knows that this is for their good.
  • Tell them often that they can trust you and that you will never let them be surprised by a needle or painful procedure without advance warning- except in the case of an emergency.
  • Role play doctor scenarios. Please do this at least once a year. Gather "supplies" while at doctors offices. They are usually glad to help.
  • Let them know exactly what will happen. Do not down play a shot or surgery. Kids can handle the truth, especially if they get it delivered to them in a non-threatening moment.
  • Give them coping skills. Remember Lamaze breathing? It works for shots and minor owies. Breathing does wonders. Holding and squeezing a hand works. Teach them to breath as they cry. Use the next scraped knee episode to practice.
  • Explain long before they are strapped into a chair that struggling and having a fit will increase their pain and suffering. Show them. Hold your arm out and breath and relax. Have them feel your arm. Now strain and tense up and have them feel the difference. Stress and fear cause us to tense up... Each them to breathe.
  • Let them know it's ok to cry, just to breathe and trust you.
  • Take them with you when you need blood work done and put on a brave face.
I recently went to a lab for my own blood work up and there was a 3 year old named Gabriel having a full on panic attack. It was obvious that he had been there before and had not been warned or prepared in advance- he met the lab tech with  horror. Poor thing:(

While I know that prepping our children does not always guarantee eventless medical procedure, it really does help.

Talk to your kids.
Role play in advance. 

*I've been there.
One of my boys has had 10+ surgeries, been under anesthesia over 20 times, and countless shots and needle pricks.
3 of my boys have needed IV's at one point or another.
I am the one who always held them down. But my husband is the one who insisted on prepping them in advance... It's made a day and night difference.

What have you done to prep your kids for shots, bloodwork, and surgery?

More Helps:
6 simple ways to prepare child for blood draw









Father's Day Craft

Father's Day is a few days away...
I am so blessed by my husband! 




  • He helps cast a vision for our homeschooling.



  • He keeps me focused on the Lord.



  • He reminds me that character trumps curriculum. Every. Single. Time.



  • He reminds me to focus on life skills and "an attitude of learning" rather than any particular topic.



  • He helps me regulate my own schedule so I do not spin myself into the ground.



  • He trusts me to choose curriculum and teaching topics that align with our family while educating our boys.



  • Here are two Father's Day Crafts for you!

     


    More:
    Father's Day Ideas
    Father's Day Crafts for Toddlers













    Thinking About Homeschooling?



    I have been working on this for a while now, trying to condense 16 years of homeschooling experience into an easy to read handbook for homeschoolers. Phew.

    Only $10.00 (Full Retail $48.00)

    Here is what you will find:
    Included:
    • What makes a successful homeschooler?
    • Survival Plan
    • How to Homeschool: Setting goals
    • Establish Goals Worksheets
    • Identifying Children's Strengths and Weaknesses
    • Over 16 years of teaching/homeschooling wisdom
    • Identifying educational benchmarks
    • C hosing curriculum
    • Planning school year worksheets
    • A Year at a Glance Worksheets
    • Unit Study Worksheets
    • My Favorite Resources
    • Staying organized


    Here's where the Bonus value makes this too good to be true.
    I have included over 150 pages of learning activities: A $28.00 value!


    Life Skills:
    Fine Motor Skills Galore
    I Know My Phone Number
    Text Wars: A Game about the Dangers of Texting and Driving


    Math:
    Fact Fun Sheets
    Order of Operations Task Cards


    Language:
    Idioms! Idioms! Idioms!


    Fun:
    Movie Response Sheets


    Bible Based:
    15 Advent Activities
    Soap:Bible Study

    So why the low price of only $10?
    As a homeschooler, I never had a large homeschooling budget. I have always taught on a shoestring budget, creating what I need along the way. I wanted to be able to share so much value with you that you would feel like you found buried treasure.

    I am so blessed to be able to work from home as I school our boys.
    None of this would be possible without the love and support of my husband and five of our children!



    Give Yourself a Raise!

    Mums Cash Stock PhotosAll right mama. You and I need a break every once and a while. Actually, we need a break everyday, we just usually do not get to take one. 
     I have a few amazing deals to share with you that hopefully help you get that break!


    Buy Starbucks Coffee Gift Card
    Raise.com is a new website that helps busy moms like you and me buy gift cards at a discounted price. Just click on the Starbucks cards and see what I mean.


    People like you and me go to Raise.com to sell their unused gift cards. That means moms like you and I can save a few dollars buy purchasing their preloaded gift card at a reduced price!!!

    How cool is that?

    I love a good deal, don't you?

    This is one of those pages that we need to bookmark and check often. Some of the cards will save you a a dollar or two, but there are many, many out there that can save you $15 or more!

    As a stay at home mom, that makes me smile!

      Are you ready to Give Yourself a Raise?
    Just click on the gift card picture at get shopping.
    Colorful gift card Stock Photography
    Be sure to come back here and let us know what kind of deals you found!




    Look at all the categories of gift cards:

    Arts and Crafts:       (are you scheduling any art activities?)
    Automotive:             (I need new windshield wipers!)
    Baby and Kids:        (Can I just hear a YES!)
    Beauty:                    (This is a chance to treat yourself!)
    Books and Magazines:         (think homeschool supplies!)
    Computer and Software:     (We are looking at new computers for our boys)
    Department Stores:      (It's Spring. We all need a few spring summer items)
    Education:                 (Yes! Homeschool stuff for less!!)
    Electronics:             (I do not need any more electronics, but if I did...)
    Entertainment:        (Take your husband out on a date!)
    Finance and Business:    (Find what you need for less)
    Flowers and Gifts:          (Make sure your spouse knows about Raise!)
    Food and Beverage:       (We all need to eat)
    Health and Wellness:
    Home and Garden:    (It is Spring!!)
    Jewelry and Watches:   (I do not want a new watch, but the boys need one)
    Men's Apparel:        (Hubby needs new work clothes)
    Office Supplies:       (Do you have enough paper, pencils, and school supplies?)
    Pets:                     (Yes, even out dog gets a discount)
    Relationship Services:     (Read your Bible! Just sayin')
    Restaurants:        (Do I hear a second date?)
    Shoes:                  ('nough said)
    Sports and Outdoors:     (shin guards, shorts, balls, gloves...)
    Toys:                     (We all have kids)
    Travel:                  (I would love a get away)
    Weekend Savings:
    Women's Apparel:   (Yes, and double yes!)



    Wow! I see 25 categories minimum that I personally need to shop in over the next month. Shopping for gift cards could save me between $25 and $700+!!

    Gifts from Heaven: Gifts and Letters from the Past

    About 10 years ago, great grandma came to visit for about a month. It was a delightful time!
    We baked, read stories, made tape recordings, and homeschooled the kids together.

    While she was there it dawned on me that this precious woman would not be there a few years down the road. She was already about 90 years old and was not in perfect health.


    Gifts from Heaven

    I encouraged her to do something amazing: To make each of her grandchildren a wedding gift and to pick out a card and to write them each a personal letter that they would receive at their wedding.

    Well, grandma has been in eternity for a 
    few years now. 
    I am so blessed that she did not get offended at my suggestion, but rather took the task to heart.

    Sitting in my home, nestled away in a safe place are five handmade wedding gifts and cards; one for each of our sons. 
    ...I call them gifts from heaven.

    Someday each of the boys will receive one of these precious, priceless, handmade gifts...
    I am blessed beyond words.

    A Fun and Future Writing Assignment 
    Because anything can be turned into a homeschooling lesson

    I recently began having the boys write themselves letters to the future as well.

    How fun will it be to receive advice from their 10, 14, 18 or 23 year olds selves?
    Ok, some of the letters are hilarious, but they are all precious.


    I would encourage you to capture pricelessness today:

    • Do you have an aging parent or grandparent? Encourage them to invest some time into the future by hand making a gift, handwriting a card, or setting something aside for the kids. They will never regret setting aside something special, and the kids will be blessed!

    • Have your kids write to their future selves. Then, put a reminder in your calendar to prompt you to gift it to them at a future date (21st birthday, wedding, etc.). Be sure to place these priceless things in a safe place!
    As homeschoolers, we have the ability to focus on the most important things in life. Embrace that gift today!


    More from me:
    Dad's Role in Homeschooling
    Successful Homeschooling: What if...