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con·tent'ed·ness n.the state of being contented with your situation in life.
"...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content..." ~ Philippians 4:11
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." ~ 1 Timothy 6:6
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Bible in 90 Days - Round 4!
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Category Archives: Homeschooling
Last September our family boldly embarked on and successfully survived a 30-Day TV and Gaming Fast (it was great, by the way, you should all try it). This September we are embarking on a <gasp!> one-year activity fast. It all started toward the end of Spring 2011, when our family had reached new heights in terms of activity burnout. All the extracurricular activities our family members were involved with not only depleted our respective energy levels but also, and probably more important, destroyed our evening and weekend family time together. Practically every night of the week, as well as every weekend day, our family was split up in different directions as we attended to various sports practices, clinics, & games, public speaking classes, Aikido lessons, church, and sporadic meetings, as required. We were physically and mentally exhausted from running around and became more and more disconnected as a family. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “The Family That Stays Together, Stays Together” principle and our family clearly wasn’t living up to it. So one rare, available night last spring during dinner, I suggested to the family that we conduct a one-year experiment beginning in September of this year: for one year, … Continue reading
I asked my Sweetie, whilst he was watching TV, if he would manually sharpen 36 TRI-conderoga pencils (they come with their own hand sharpener because they are too fat to fit in a traditional electric pencil sharpener). Having done this task once before and remembering how much his hands cramped from it, this is what he came up with. My genius man.
There’s a saying about homeschooling: “The hardest part of homeschooling is staying home”. It’s true! Especially when you’re plugged into a local homeschool support group as big as ours. We belong to Living Water Home Educators (www.lwhe.org) which currently has 175 member families with well over 300 kids. Between the co-ops & classes, sports, field trips, clubs, parties, gatherings, competitions and fellowship opportunities, add to that some non-homeschool related activities from church and other extra-curricular activities, and then pile on some library visits and various doctor appointments, we find ourselves hard-pressed to find any time for schooling at home! That statement assumes that we sign up for ALL of it which, of course, is an impossibility as much as we’d like to be able to do it all. I discovered early on that it was waaaaaaay to easy to sign up for things as they became known. I use my computer for just about everything including keeping my calendar so I would check my online calendar (I use Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar feature which also syncs with my iPhone nicely) and if there was an opening that day I’d sign us up for it! That was all well and good until … Continue reading
I have always owned hundreds of books…never wishing to part with a single one. Not even an old college textbook. Now that I have children, my book inventory has exponentially exploded to THOUSANDS of books. It’s a disease, I think. More so when you’re a home educator. It had gotten to the point where I would be browsing books in a store or yard sale and couldn’t remember if a particular title was already a part of our home inventory. It got bad…really bad. I found myself buying books I had already purchased before! I needed a system to help me list and organize all my books. At first I considered building my own database from scratch but then I somehow got clued into www.LibraryThing.com. It’s a FREE online database that allows you to create and organize an inventory of all your books. All you need to do is enter in the book’s unique ISBN (International Standard Book Number…that 10 or 13 digit number over the bar code on the back of the book) and…Voila!…it’s part of your online library with a photo of the book cover, pre-assigned categories, publisher, publication date and a whole bunch of assorted goodies. Doing … Continue reading
“MOM!!! I finished the entire book!!!” exclaimed our 8-year-old son as he bounded down the stairs at 9:30pm…a full hour after it should have been “lights out”. He was waving his chapter book in his hand as evidence. At first I wasn’t sure if I should reprimand him for not being asleep or congratulate him on the completion of his first chapter book. Quickly, my common sense took over and I hugged the excited boy and congratulated him on his accomplishment. This may not seem like a big deal to most people but our son is a struggling reader, as is his older half-brother and father. I, on the other hand, learned to love to read at an early age and had a voracious appetite for reading throughout both childhood and adulthood. To learn that the reason our son was a struggling reader was a result of being dyslexic just broke my heart. I had awful visions of him preferring to hang by his fingernails rather than read a book, just as my husband and step-son do today, because it was such an unpleasant activity. To deprive himself of all the wonderful journeys that books could take him on was incomprehensible … Continue reading
UPDATE 10/24/2008: Bill A3123 was withdrawn from the Education Assembly Committee until further notice!!! I’m upset, enraged, perplexed, and alarmed at the latest attack on NJ home educators by certain government officials who have recently proposed a NJ Homeschool Bailout Plan (otherwise known as the very egregious NJ Bill A3123). This plan proposes to take NJ homeschool regulation from it’s present day of virtual freedom to one of virtually NO freedoms at a significant cost to tax payers, home educators and the homeschooled children. Unlike our country’s recent mortgage bailout plan, this plan is proposing to “fix” problems in a program that is NOT BROKEN. These authorities are apparently of the belief that our government has done such an OUTSTANDING job in regulating and the public school system with their No Child Left Behind Joke (er, Act), that they now are capable of acting as governing authority over how parents choose to educate their children at home. Homeschool parents have already decided that their child will absolutely, positively NOT be left behind emotionally, physically, spiritually, morally, socially, or academically which is WHY they made the choice to homeschool to begin with. As my good friend pointed out the other day, regardless of whether you choose to … Continue reading
Our homeschool support group had their September kickoff meeting last night which was prefaced by a Newbie Workshop. The ladies on the Newbie Team were asked to introduce themselves and follow up with a “word of wisdom” for the newbies in the audience. Their golden nuggets were all great (from “stay teachable” to “keep it simple”). I started to think of what my “word of wisdom” would be (had I been asked) being a newbie myself as I am only starting my 3rd year of homeschooling. The answer immediately popped into my mind. Probably the most important thing I had learned during my second year of homeschooling was how NOT to keep up with the homeschool “Joneses”. Being a part of a large homeschool support group (113 families and growing), the support, the encouragement, the wealth of information shared, and the social opportunities available have far exceeded any expectations I may have had. It has been an incredibly enriching experience for me and my kids. However, I quickly learned that there is a double edge to that sword. In the process of establishing relationships and gleaning information, I had a tendency to pull out the invisible benchmark to measure our … Continue reading
As the end of the traditional school year is coming to an end for most families, it won’t be for ours since I am in pursuit of the Meanest Mom Award and have decided that we WILL be homeschooling throughout the summer months. Nevertheless, I found myself reflecting on the past 9 months of our homeschool. However, rather than reflecting on what my DS had learned this year, I was more interested in what I had learned! After all, I’m the “Old Dog” that supposedly can’t be taught new tricks, right? Well, I’ve gotta tell you, this old dog learned PLENTY. Too much to write all about it in one post so I’ll break it down into pieces. This post will deal strictly with how I learned to GRANT PERMISSIONS. Not just to others but to myself. I never realized how liberating it is to grant permission! I mean, being on the receiving side of a permission (i.e. being the GRANTEE) is always pleasant and gratifying! Just think about the toothy grins and elated squeals of delight of your children when you give them permission to snack on some cookies…or (gasp!) to drink a can of soda! Never did I … Continue reading
“Mom…I just love homeschool!” <sound of car brakes screeching to a halt>. These were the words my 7-year-old DS suddenly blurted out this past Wednesday afternoon, while in the midst of playing a home made math board game to reinforce his math facts. “You WHAT?” I replied, not completely sure that the waxectomy one of my homeschool friends so kindly performed on my clogged ear a few weeks ago actually cleared out ALL of the wax. “I love homeschool!” he repeated with a huge, dimpled grin. “You DO????” I asked, quite incredulously. “Yeah…and when I have kids I want them to homeschool, too!”, he added. Ah! <joyful scream> Music to my homeschool ears! Why in the world he decided to make those feelings known to me at this point in his life, at that moment of the day, is a mystery to me. I mean…HE’S SEVEN YEARS OLD! He HAS no other point of reference except this life which he lives! He has no idea what it’s like NOT to be homeschooled, to get on the bus everyday, to spend all day away from his family. And to be honest, it has not been the most pleasant around here this past … Continue reading
It’s not hard to recognize a homeschool mom out in the public. As if the harried, panic-stricken look across the woman’s face as she’s trying to corral a herd of children either into or out of her vehicle isn’t enough to recognize her as a homeschool mom, she’s guaranteed to be identified as the one bogged down with a TON of bags! These unsung pack mules are otherwise known as the Homeschool Bag Ladies. They’re not just equipped with the standard fare of mom’s bags such as hand bags, diaper bags, snack bags, library book bags or shopping bags, either. Oh, no-no-no. In addition to these standard fare bags, these moms shlep a multitude of other bags making it undeniably easy to identify her as a Homeschool Bag Lady. These bags filled to capacity include, but are certainly not limited to (and not in any particular order): Curriculum, books, magazines, tapes, CDs & DVDs borrowed from someone else to sample. Curriculum, books, magazines, tapes, CDs & DVDS to loan to someone else to sample. Assorted toys, games and craft items to occupy younger children while the older ones are engaged in a separate organized activity or event closeby. Indeed, some of us even carry duffle bags on wheels for this one! Assorted knitting, scrapbooking … Continue reading