Sunday, January 31, 2010

Children's Literature Festival

University of Central Missouri
is sponsoring its 42nd Annual Children's Literature Festival in Warrensburg on the campus.

March 14-16

$15 for adults
$7 for students

There will be 41 famous book authors and illustrators speaking to children
in grades 4-10 during the six sessions on Monday or Tuesday (every hour from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a noon break for lunch).

Registrants may select which authors they wish to meet by marking their registration form before March 5th. Seating is limited. Books are available by pre-order, and are on sale during the day. More information at the website:

Owl Prowl

Last night the girls and I spent the night at "Owl Prowl". Owl Prowl is a Girl Scout event that is held once a year. It is a non sleeping event, from around 6pm to 6am. All night the girls get to go from booth to booth and play games, eat, swim, do crafts and more. The twins participated while Emily was a helper. This year the theme was a western one, so crafts and games involved around the west. In one of the photos the twins are riding stick horses through an obstical course. It was fun, but we were sure tired today!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The last of the questions....

This should finish out the last of the questions we were sent, unless someone sends in more.

What is your statement of faith?
What are your reasons for homeschooling?
Does your family support you?
How do you encourage your kids to study when they do not want to?
What kind of discipline do you use?

Our statement of faith is simple. We believe that Jesus is the son of God, and he died on the cross for our sins. On the 3rd day he arose. We believe in baptism by immersion, once one is old enough to accept Christ.
We have several reasons for homeschooling. First, prior to quitting my well paying job, marrying and moving here, my girls were enrolled in a private Christian School (Johnson County Christian Academy) in Centerview MO. They grew up with certain ideals, language and behaviors that were present in the Christian School that I just was not seeing in the public school district (I have subbed in many different school districts over the years, and there is a difference). Our first year here, they attended another Christian School, but for me to continue to be a stay at home mom, they either had to attend public school or be homeschooled, due to the tuition costs.

I wanted my children to be able to pray in school, study the Bible (eternal life is forever, this one is just for a short 75-100 years), and have a smaller classroom size. I wanted them to be able to say the pledges every morning (there are districts I have subbed in where we are NOT allowed to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag). I wanted them to learn creation from Genesis, not Darwin.

I did not want them to be exposed to the dirty language in the halls, improper dress, peers offering them cigarettes and alcohol at school. I have witnessed school fights involving knives over a difference in race and religion. I have seen a girl knocked down because she had on the wrong color shirt and tennis shoes from Walmart instead of name brand. This is not the environment I want my chidren in from 7:40 to 8:15 five days a week.
Yes, my family supports me. My husband does work full time, but he works with the girls, teaching them mechanics, driving lessons, working with them and their horses, and some of the math, and of course, being on the fire department and being an EMT, some health and fire safety, and from his working in a chemical plant, he also works with them some on their sciences.

My parents also support us as well. As mentioned earlier, my father is a retired teacher (and preacher) and is well versed in math, electronics, electricity and the sciences, having taught them for several years in both the public school and college setting. He sometimes helps them with the science or math, and is always giving us books or items for the classroom. I also have some cousins who homeschool or have homeschooled that provide ideas and moral support.
How do I encourage my children to study when they don't want to??....

Sometimes we just take a break and come back to it.
Sometimes we take a different angle of approach or back down to make it simpler, if they have lost interest because it is too hard.
Sometimes we just skip it, and come back to it later.
Once in awhile we have to get the principal (my husband!!) involved!!
The thing about homeschooling is that we have the freedom to work these issues out.
I have one daughter who learns best by watching the concept--she is bored if she hears it or reads it, but fascinated if she watches it on video. So, when possible I hit the library for certain subjects.
They all like to watch their grades. Homeschooling gives us the advantage that if they get a bad grade they can do extra work to make up for it. That often motivates them to be able to watch their grade creep back up to where they want it. We also sometimes "bribe" them with small treats--"if we get this done by 3 we will fix ice cream".
As for discipline, we use grounding, taking away items such as TV or movies, doing extra school work or extra chores. We have been known to use a paddle once in awhile too....
Tonight the girls are off for an all night non sleeping Girl Scout event, "Owl Prowl". They will be swimming, working on badges, movies, eating, doing crafts and more until morning.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Science Fair Results

For the third year, tonight the girls entered projects in the Homeschool Science Fair in St Joseph MO. The fair is open for all homeschool students, preschool through senior. Since we have been attending the fairs have been at the St. James Catholic Church. As before there was a roomful of exhibits showing a lot of talent. Projects ranged from ph levels, to electricity projects, honey bees, and more.

This year, Elizabeth did a project on rabbits, and came in 3rd for her age division. Emily's project was on ph levels, and Rebecca's was on DNA. They each took an honorable mention.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

more about us!!

Another reader wants to know what church we attend, and do we belong to a homeschool group or any other groups and clubs.

We are active members at Clay County Christian Church in Liberty MO. We are an independent non-denominational church. We believe in Jesus resurrection from the dead, and that adult baptism by immersion is necessary for salvation.

We are members of the New Life Homeschool Fellowship in Kearney MO. It is a Christian homeschool coop, and it is wonderful!!!! We have been there for almost 3 years. Our coop has weekly classes on Fridays for fall and spring terms. Each term we have an open house and program. Each year the coop students offer a yearbook class and produce a yearbook. The coop also offers a high school graduation for seniors.

Our coop offers either 3 or 4 class periods each term. Numerous classes are offered for the kids to pick from. A few of the classes offered in the past have included, weather watchers, scrapbooking, yearbook, band, choir, sign language, french, Spanish, photography, spelling, baton, PE, cup stacking, drivers ed, sewing, knitting, American Girls, cake decorating, art, water color, ACT prep, snack shop (where they learn to order inventory, price and make change) and probably a hundred more. We had close to 400 students the last couple of semesters. Parents are the teachers and teacher aides.

We also belong to 4H, youth group and Girl Scouts. We have also been involved in choir, JBQ and Bible Bowl. Emily is also a fire cadet at our local fire department. We also volunteer several times a year at a local crisis center/clothing closet/food pantry organization. My girls are involved in horseback riding and working at various businesses for "internships". Currently 2 of them are working some for my cousins vet clinic in Grain Valley, although the cold weather has slowed that down.

During the summer months, we attend church camp at Flaming Spirit Christian Service Camp, Mission Lake Christian Camp and science camp at William Jewell College. The girls are also involved in winter retreats at camp, and in a week Emily will be attending a 4H weekend camp promoting leadership.

We also attend classes at the public library. They have classes once a week in Kearney for homeschoolers, and twice a week in Liberty.

Often we attend other special events, some which I post on here as well, such as concerts and plays. Tomorrow evening the girls are entering items in a homeschool science fair in St Joseph.

Often times people think homeschoolers are isolated. Not us!!!

Supplement your Music with the Liberty Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, February 13, 2010, 7:30 p.m., the Liberty Symphony Orchestra will have their Winter Concert at the Liberty Community Center.

You can receive a gift voucher for a family pack of four (4) complimentary tickets to the concert by listening to Aaron Copland's "Our Town" (featured in the concert) and drawing/painting a picture. Go to the LSO website, and click on "LSO Kids". Follow the link to "Listen to Music".

This is open to all students kindergarten through high school. Deadline is February 5.

Check out the website for more info. This is a great deal -- ticket are $18/adult and $5/student.

Writing workshop for those in the St Joseph area

Short Stories
Ages 15 and up
Wednesdays, February 3 through March 10
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Cost: $65.00
You will get help with a story you have already written or with one that is
a work in progress. Analyzing published and unpublished stories will help
you see the elements of fiction writing and judge what makes a story work!
Learn how to bring your story from idea to finished piece!

We are pleased to have Megan Thompson, Instructor of English at Missouri
Western State University teach this class! The talented Ms. Thompson holds a
M.F.A. from West Virginia University and a B.A. from Muskingum College.

Pre-registration required by Thursday, January 28th. Please call 271-4106
or 271-4100 for enrollment information.

Martha Greer, Director
Center for Community Arts
Missouri Western State University
Downtown University Center
515 N. 6th St.
St. Joseph, MO 64501

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Questions, set 2

#4 I have heard homeschooling parents say certain things "count" for learning. How do you know what counts? Is there a state list you have to follow?
This is slightly related to the previous question on my last post. Basically my feeling is if they learned something, it counts. I'll give you an example. We went into the bank right after we started homeschooling to get something out of my safety deposit box. The teller asked me if we homeschooled, since it was a school morning. I told her yes and so she (without my prompting) gave my kids a tour of the bank, showed them how the drive thru worked, the vault and explained how money is transferred from one bank to another, gave them information about loans, interest rates, cd's and some comic books about the American trade system and how it has evolved. She spent a good 45 minutes with them. When we got home, I put that down as 30 minutes of social studies and 15 minutes of math. They learned from it, so it "counted". When we visited the St Louis Arch, we gave credit for history and social studies.

When we read, I may opt to count it towards reading time, or depending on the subject of the book I may count it for history. The girls recently read some books about the underground railroad. I counted part of it for history and part of it towards reading.

When they cook, I count it as home-ec usually. But, if they are halving, doubling or tripling a recipe, I may give them some time for math. (By the way, making pizza's or pies and cutting them is a great way to learn fractions, and you get to eat it!!)

Several TV programs we count--such as things on the history channel, science channel or the program "how its made". A few times I have counted things from a cooking show if the girls copy the recipe and than later make it.

In MO, there is no "state list", other than the 1000 hours per school year, with 600 being in the 5 core subjects as mentioned in the last entry.

By the way, each family can define their own school year. Our school year is July 1 through June 30. We school 365 days a year. Some days, we may only do our reading and Bible. By schooling 365 it comes out to schooling 3 hours a day, which works for our farming lifestyle. However, we generally spend closer to 3.5 or 4 hours a day. On a cold or rainy day we may do an all day project.

I also "count" activities that they do for Girl Scouts, 4H, Bible Bowl and youth group. Some examples here would be bowling, skating, swimming (count as PE), sewing projects for 4H and Girl Scout badges (home ec). Emily is a fire cadet and much of what she has learned we count in science.


#5. I often see homeschoolers, mostly girls, dress differently, such as more dresses, one piece swimwear, shorts to the knees. Are most of you from a certain religion or something?

Well, its called modesty. Which is something you don't see a lot of anymore. I'll climb on my soap box for this one.....(old saying if your young and confused here). I find it disgusting and actually in some cases rather immoral to see a young girl running around in shorts so short her bottom is not even completely covered, low cut shirts and swim suits that show more than what they cover. Our appearance is an advertisement of our self. Our outer appearance is reflective of what is in the inside. Girls, women barely dressed and in heavy make up--what do you think they are advertising?? What do you think others are thinking of them when they see that?? I know, "everyone" is dressing like that....we aren't "everyone". "Everyone" may live next door or in town, but she doesn't live in this house, and neither does "everyone's mother". "Everyone" isn't our leader.

The standard in our home is stomachs covered, (which is a battle when you have girls with long torsos, and clothing makers don't sew well for those..), no low cut necklines, no makeup till 14 and then it is light only, shorts, dresses and shirts must meet the finger tip rule. We don't wear tight clothing or clothing that advertises tobacco or alcohol.

Years ago I worked in and for a time directed a pregnancy crisis center. I saw it over and over and over. Females who did not keep themselves covered in a modest manner made up the majority of our clients. I am not saying that it always comes to that, I am saying it is a HUGE factor. Males are stimulated by sight. Men are always attracted to a lady, physically, before they are connected to her emotionally. In fact, they don't even want to pursue the possibility of an emotional relationship, if the physical attraction isn't there. Females on the other hand are stimulated by touch. Now, if there is a lack of clothing, well, you are setting the scene for something that should not be happening. If a girl (or boy) is still young enough they are being schooled, then she/he should not be in this situation. Don't be advertising something that isn't or should be for sale. That belongs to your future mate, why rob them of it? See for a good article.

Sometimes I do have to laugh at some of the outfits I see. When it was 20 below zero with snow on the ground, I saw a gal with a 6 inch gap between her tank top and her jeans, with no socks and spiked heels on in the grocery store. She was in the checkout line in front of me. You guessed it, she was whining it was cold. She was after attention, and yes she was getting it, however most likely not they type she wanted, as most people were laughing behind her back. She said something to a girl she was with who promptly told her to put on more clothes!

This also goes for guys. I still haven't figured out the thing about wearing your pants 8 inches below your underwear. Why would you want anyone to look at your underwear. Hello, its called UNDERwear because it is to be worn UNDER your clothes...

Would you wear that outfit to go have dinner with Jesus?? If not, then you better not wear it. First Timothy 2:9, states, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel." First Corinthians 7:31, "And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."

As for the religion part of the question, many of us, but not all, do homeschool for religious reasons. So, that may be why you are associating the modest dress with homeschooling. In some areas church's sponsor homeschool groups and the church also has a dress code for when their facility is being used.


6 Are homeschoolers allowed to watch TV?

Yes, at least in our house, but with limits. First, we limit the amount of time Some days it is never even turned on, such as days when my husband is at work, or sleeping if he is working nights. Other days, it is on probably more than it should be. Second, we also limit WHAT we watch. We don't watch just anything. The girls for the most part are limited to G movies, although there are some they have watched, such as "The Diary of Anne Frank" that are not G.

Some families don't have TV, and others only have TV just for videos--just as any other family. TV is not governed anywhere by a "homeschool rule".


7 What materials are required to have on hand to homeschool

Well, "required" would probably be patience, a place to learn undisturbed by TV, books, library card, dictionary, paper and pencils. It's more like what do you need for what you are teaching and what aged child. I can give you a list of what we have in our classroom for 2 in the 6th grade and one in the 8th grade.

First, understand I did not run out and buy it all at once. I sort of started "collecting" items when we decided to homeschool, which was a year before we actually started. Also, many things I already had or obtained from garage sales, ebay, free cycle, craigslist, friends and family. In fact, I paid for very very little of it.

We have over 1500 books on various subjects from preschool through college level, including text books, fiction, non fiction, and over all sorts of subjects. Many came from library sales at a nickle each. We have 3 double library style bookcases full, in additio to one more in the classroom, plus bookcases in each girls bedroom.

We have microscopes for each child, a globe, maps, posters galore--many obtained free for the asking off of various websites, computer, printer & scanner, pens, pencils, art supplies including paints, beads, jewerly making items, glues, construction paper, clay, paper, crayons, colored pencils and markers.

We have clocks, CD player, TV & dvd, vhs player, rulers, calculators, notecards, dissecting kits, beakers, bunson burner, test tubes, prepared slides (which I got dirt cheap off of ebay--like $5 for 100 slides), videos (again many free found online), flags, play money and real money from other countries, compass, tape--for some reason we use lots and lots of tape.

We have tons of posters I obtained free. Some are medical posters obtained just by asking a drug rep I ran into in a doctors office parking lot. Some came from the extension office (they show the various types of meats and the cuts and horse and cow breeds, and one on genes), free posters on trees and such from the conservation office.

Many of our 3 ring notebooks we got free from (drum roll please....) dumpster diving. Many businesses through them out--ask around and you can probably obtain a source. We also have many file folders that came for free from an insurance company that went "paperless"

Copy paper I buy by the case from office depot when they are on sale and have the rebate--about once every 2 months they run this special. Since I sub teach I also have a star teacher card and get a % back as well.

Ink cartridges I refill at Walgreen when they have their $5 refill specials, and when they are old and tired I take them to Office Depot for a $3 credit.

We have various flip charts, and 5 large file cabinets full of lesson plans I have collected. I confess, when I sub, if I see something good as far as a worksheet or plan, I do copy it.

We have info on all 50 states, which I got for free by signing up for the travel package for that state. Usually a map is included, with information as to the industry, land, ag, recreation and more. Enough to do a unit study for the state.

We have a collection of old phone books--they are great to teach alphabetizing and also to use when painting to protect the table.

We have a weather station outside. We are weather spotters, so for reporting rainfalls on line, we were given free a rain gauge and thermometer as well as weather posters and books. I spent $19 on ebay buying a windsock for it. Off of freecycle we received a free weather station for indoors--it contains a weather radio and electronic barometer.

We also keep our sewing machines in our classroom, as we sew and the classroom table is a great sewing surface.

Once I announced we were going to homeschool, I had people give me and offer me all sorts of stuff. Most we were able to use, what we couldn't we passed on to others. This is how we got our globe and one set of encyclopedias.

Some items were given as gifts--such as Emily's sewing machine--that was her birthday present one year. (She was tired of sharing mine).

Also, if you go to trade shows, and don't mind advertising, you can stock up on items such as pens, pencils, rulers, notepads, calenders and more.


#8 What do I need to do to start homeschooling? I have been watching blogs, websites and such and am leaning that direction.

Then you are already off to a good start for getting ideas.

First, check your state laws.

Then, what aged child are you teaching? You can get your books or you can go bookless and use the library for your resources. Determine what you are teaching then what you need.

For example, if you are teaching telling time, you need a clock. If you are teaching counting, you probably have a younger child and need items to count that they won't choke on. If you are teaching counting money, then either use real money or get pretend at the $1 store.

If you are teaching colors, gather items of various colors, the ABC's--make some flash cards and cut out pictures of items starting with that letter.

Go to a teacher supply store (without money!!!) and just wander and get ideas and make a list. Then, after you think it over and check out ebay, purchase what you think you will actually use. Check for used first. Call libraries and schools to see when they offer their used book or surplus sales. Also check your state (including state colleges) surplus sales for items such as microscopes or computers.


9 Is homeschooling more expensive than public schooling? What are your costs??

No, at least not for us--it is much, much cheaper.

I would probably spend $1000 per year on school supplies, tennis shoes, school clothes or school uniforms, books, backpacks and such for 3 girls to attend public school. Even more in the private setting (which is what we came out)

This year, since I bought Emilys alpha omega lifepacs, I spent around $250. That is $250 total for all 3 girls. Part of what I bought came new from ebay, and the rest I bought new at the Christian bookstore. This is the most I have spent since we began homeschooling. I will probably spend more before the school year is out, but not a whole lot.

Some families pay for online learning and others buy computer programs. Those routes are more expensive.

Basically you can homeschool and spend whatever your budget is--there is no set amount.

To track their grades, I use the free version of homeschool tracker, found online. I downloaded it and was done with it.

This answers the first 9 quetions. The next time I blog I will answer the ones that were added on during comments.

The farm is on the mend, & some questions answered

It has been busy around here lately, as usual. Friday, the girls and I left and headed to Horton KS to Mission Lake Christian Camp for a weekend retreat for grades 6-8. (Emily is in 8th, and the twins are in 6th). I was a dorm mom, assistant family leader and camp nurse. Our theme was the "Who's", "Who's your Daddy", "Who's your Leader"..... It was a good weekend, good group of kids, good food, and good fun. It was cold, but not too cold. We went into town on Saturday for a couple games of bowling (you don't even want to know my score!), and despite some chill had a short campfire on Saturday night.

As the girls and I were preparing to leave for camp, the clothes dryer quit (it was already on the list to be replaced, just wanted it to last till the weather would be more comfortable to use the clothesline outside), the dishwasher started leaking again, the furnace on the main level of the house went out, we had a stillborn calf, and my suburban quit.

But, we arrived back from camp to find the suburban has now been diagnosed, a brand new calf was born (the last one we will have, I think), and parts for the furnace were ordered. My husband received a couple of gift cards from work that will be applied to a new dryer, along with some gift cards I earned doing surveys and such from . I plan to get a high efficiency dishwasher and dryer to replace the current ones with. Last spring I got a high efficiency front loader Bosch, and cut our rural water bill down to less than a third of what it had been. So, if I can bring down the water bill further and lower the electric bill that will be a plus.

This Friday, the girls will be entering projects in St. Joseph at the Homeschoolers Science Fair. This will be our third year to attend. Each year I am amazed at the various projects that are entered and the knowledge of the kids.

Now, I will start to answer some of the questions I have been sent. It will take several days to get through the list, but keep sending them in!

#1. How do you and your girls do your chores and what are they?
Each girl is responsible for keeping a clean room (often an issue!!) and their bed made, and their bathroom clean. They rotate the other chores a week at a time.
Those chores are:

feeding rabbits, chickens & ducks, cats & dogs, throwing corn to the pigs
watering pigs year round, and cows & horses when the ponds are frozen over
daily counting of the stock
**gathering eggs
**sweeping the kitchen after every meal
**baking & cooking (one of their favorites--they can lick the bowl and pick their own menu)
**dusting, vacuuming
**their own laundry
taking out trash & picking up the trash in the yard
helping in the garden during the spring, summer and fall
bring up firewood from the barn

**These count towards their home-ec time

There are also other things they help with. Such as changing a tire or working on an engine. JD handles things of that nature and is very good about explaining the how's and why's. We count that as votech-life skills time.

Being on a farm, all 3 girls have learned to drive, however Emily is the most accomplished driver--better than many adults. She can drive all the vehicles and the big tractor. The girls drive some when counting cows (cows tend to hide in the back 40 when it is counting time) and when bringing up firewood from the barn.

So, our chores are probably a little different than "city" kids. I do feel it is important for kids to learn responsibility. I also feel they need to learn to cook, sew and keep house while they are young and still living at home. I went to college with some who couldn't even boil water without calling home to ask their mom how. Once I had a roommate who threw away a shirt because a button came off, and she had no idea how to sew it back on--said the shirt was ruined. I vowed then my kids wouldn't be like that!!


#2 How do homeschool families afford to homeschool?
Most homeschooling families either have a work at home parent who does the schooling (works best with older kids, not preschoolers or younger elementary ones) or one parent works part time away from home, or have a stay at home parent.

In order to do this, we make some sacrifices, depending on the families income. Most homeschooling families have the same saving ways, and exchange money saving ideas with one another: One thing we gave up was big vacations. We now do more day trips instead.

We buy more things at thrift and consignment stores, especially kids clothing which is quickly outgrown. We shop in bulk (some families split bulk purchases to take advantage of the bulk pricing--such as flour, wheat, sugar, oatmeal in 50 or 100 lb quantities). In our area we have an Aldi grocery store, where I shop heavily. I spend around $200 to $250 every 2 months there and usually get 3 grocery carts full. Items I buy there are usually by the case, such as mushrooms, fruits and veggies. Our store also has good produce.

We garden, can and freeze our own food. We grow our own pork and beef, and have 2 ponds stocked with fish. We have an orchard with fruit trees, grapes and blue berries. Our orchard is still in the growing stage--it takes 2-4 years for trees and vines to produce. We are in our fifth year of growing, and add a couple vines and trees each year. We have been known to pick wild berries and walnuts.

We have chickens and ducks for our eggs. Some families have goats for milk and cheese. We don't have goats--yet--I am wanting a couple however to help me with the mowing and cleaning out of the fence rows.

I also use coupons, and take advantage of the specials that CVS and Walgreen have. Often combining coupons and their sales, rebates, I get for free our shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, Kleenex, lotions and rechargeable batteries. (At CVS, Walgreen, Dollar Tree, Dollar General you can use both the store coupon and the manufacturers coupon on the same item, for double the savings. Many people don't realize that). I also use frequent shopping cards.

We save by washing our own cars, changing our oil during he early bird $12 specials (can't change it ourselves and buy a filter for that price). We mow our own lawns, cut our own firewood and do as much of our own maintenance as we can. Most homeschooling families also sew, as does ours.

We cook and bake from scratch and don't eat out. For day trips, we take our own sack lunches and drinks.

Many homeschool families do not have TV, cable or dish. That alone is a savings of at least $50 a month. We take advantage of all the free videos and programs from the public library.

We keep the thermostat set lower during the winter, and use the clothes line during the summer.

Homeschooling families also network with other families to trade books and skills. We have a few families we barter or work with for butchering, cutting wood and mechanical work. When possible we try to do business with a homeschooling family or church family.

We shop around for insurance rates and are not name brand loyal. We are not afraid of generics.

Also, in many homes you may find that the mom may do some part time child care, or sub teach one day a week (as is my case).

All these things may seem like just pennies saved, but when you add them up, it amounts to a fairly large savings.


#3. How do you decide what materials to use? Does the state pick them out?No, the state does not pick them out--at least not in Missouri.

I have picked out our materials based on what we already have, what my dad has given me (he is a retired teacher, preacher and a book collector. One of his favorite activities is going to library and school book sales!!)and advice from other homeschooling families.

Right now we are using Alpha Omega's lifepac for Emily for math, history/geography/social studies, language and science.

All the girls are doing daily Bible readings for Bible following the schedule on the website It takes you through the entire Bible in a years time. Depending on what we are reading in the Bible, I may opt to count it as history for a day.

I create their assignments for home-ec, spelling (which is an issue for one of my girls--used to be a problem area for two of them, but now we are down to just one!!) and reading. All my girls love to read, and I require one hour of reading a day. We also do reading comprehension several times a day. A great free website for reading comprehension is Here, kids can take a test over the books they have read and earn points they can trade in for prizes. This is open for both public/private schoolers or home schoolers.

Next year, the twins will be switched to lifepac from Alpha Omega as well. But for now, their texts include Saxon for math, Alpha Omega lifepac for history, Abekka for language, health and science. The twins is different because their books I was able to purchase from a Christian School that was closing. We just started the history lifepac.

Some families use online programs instead of books. Some families are more hands on, some use computer programs. We use a little of everything. When you homeschool, you have the freedom to adapt to the students learning process. Some students learn by watching, or hearing, and others by reading. In a traditional classroom with close to 30 students, a teaching usually doesn't have the freedom or time to be able to change learning styles for each student.

The state of Missouri does mandate that we have 1000 hours of schooling per year, with 600 being in core classes (math, reading, social studies, language and science). 400 hours of those 600 hours must be in your regular homeschool location--not at/or on field trips or at a friends house. However, that "regular homeschool location" does not have to be at your home. Some parents may homeschool at their place of business, or the grandparents may be the teacher at their home.
**Please note, each state has different laws regarding homeschooling and education.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snows melting and homeschooling in the new year

Yesterday it was in the 50's as it is again today. The plus is that the snow is melting!! The downside is it is creating a huge muddy mess. Rebecca was sad that the snow was melting, and she made a small snowman which now lives in one of our deep freezers. She wanted something to remember the snow by.

With the onset of the new year, we have added a more structured daily Bible reading into our homeschool schedule. We plan to read the Bible through in a year. We are on day 14, currently in Genesis, reading chapters 41 and 42. On the average it is about 2 chapters a day, some longer, some shorter. The girls actually enjoy it. If you have ever read through the old testament, it is basically reading old history, including interesting battles (some on the gory side), genealogy and stories. Our readings prompt a lot of discussions, including one a few days ago that the girls were glad that men no longer had multiple wives.

I have also started the twins (6th grade) on new history. We had finished out our old history program and are now using Alpha Omega's Lifepac. Their sister in 8th grade uses the 8th grade Lifepac and we have been impressed with it.

We are starting to get seed and nursery catalogs in the mail. It has been nice to sit and read those by a fire while the snow falls, and dream of spring. I plan to do the garden entirely different this year I am going to increase the size, but not the crop. Last year I had tiller issues. I am also on the average gone off and on during the summer as church dorm mom. So, this year the rows are going to be further apart. Providing there are no tiller issues, I will till between them. If the tiller presents a problem, I can mow between the rows.

I had a reader email me some questions that I plan to address one at a time, I've been working on my answers for her. If anyone has any to add to the list, feel free!

#1 How do you and your kids do your chores and what are they?
#2 How do homeschooling families afford to have a parent homeschool?
#3 How do you decide what materials to use--does the state pick them out?
#4 I have heard homeschooling parents say certain things "count" for learning. How do you know what counts? Is there a state list you have to follow?
#5 I often see homeschoolers, mostly girls, dress differently, such as more dresses, one piece swimwear, shorts to the knees. Are most of you from a certain religion or something?
#6 Are homeschoolers allowed to watch TV?
#7 What materials are required to have on hand to homeschool?
#8 What do I need to do to start homeschooling? I have been watching blogs, websites and such and am leaning that direction.
#9 Is homeschooling more expensive than public schooling? What are your costs??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

150 years of Pony Express @ St Joseph MO

You can share the experience of the Pony Express Trail
and join in the first educational event celebrating the
150th anniversary of the Pony Express

Family Day
Saturday January 16
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pony Express Museum, 914 Penn Street, St. Joseph

During Family Day, children will have a special opportunity to step back in
time with our Run Wild experience. This is a hands-on workshop being
offered free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of United Missouri Bank.
Run Wild will give kids a taste of what it was like when the Pony Express
Riders travelled across the Wild West. In the Community Room, Run Wild
participants can choose a horse (a stick horse, of course!) and travel
across all the states between Missouri and California. Along the trail,
they will encounter the ferry boat, wild animals, Native Americans, and
other pioneer features. Special re-enactors and educators have collaborated
to develop this new educational event featuring crafts, games, and prizes
especially for our 150th Family Day.

Admission to the Museum for Family Day is half price on January 16th and
visitors of all ages can view the exciting renovations which are nearly
completed at the Pony Express Stables and Museum on Penn Street. The Run
Wild event is an extra presentation, offered free by the courtesy of United
Missouri Bank. Families who want to participate in Run Wild without going
to the Museum should also enter through the main entrance and tell guest
services that you are only attending the Run Wild event. A special stamp
will allow you to proceed to the Community Room.
The Pony Express Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through
Saturday, and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m. M. Karl Goetz and the
Goetz Pony Express Foundation, along with aid and support from the Chamber
of Commerce, the citizens of St. Joseph, and the St. Joseph Museum, Inc.
helped to save this historic structure. After stabilization and renovation
of the remaining portion, new exhibits were installed and the stables opened
to the public. Today the museum continues to stand as a tribute to the
legend and legacy of the Pony Express and its enduring era.
For further information about its programs and 150th anniversary events
please call us during business hours at (816) 279-5059 or visit the museum
website at

Cindy Daffron
Director of Development
Pony Express National Museum
914 Penn Street

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More snow this morning.....

We got even more snow this morning!! I think it is getting old, but it is pretty. It is causing some hardships here on the farm--such as getting hay and wood. Our chickens are refusing to lay, but one duck is giving me an egg each week. I believe they are striking for warmer weather. They refuse to leave their coop where they have a heat lamp on.

Yesterday we had another homeschool family from church over and the men worked together getting hay and wood, while us gals stayed here at the house (in the warmth) and made some potato soup and grilled cheese. The kids played games on the Wii. We had a lot of fun. There are still some public schools closed for tomorrow, although the county is starting to get the gravel roads in the rural area cleaned off now.

If you are in the St Joseph MO area, here are some upcoming classes for you.

Don't miss out on these upcoming Center for Community Arts classes for kids!
Pre-Registration Required, Call 271-4106

Beginning Wheel Throwing for Kids
Ages 8 and up
This class is for kids who want to learn how to make pottery using the
pottery wheel.
Must have experience in hand building.
Focus will be on centering and pulling pieces while creating bowls, cups and
Students will glaze their own pieces and they will be kiln fired
A lot of good, messy, fun!
Tuesdays, January 12 - March 2
6:00 - 7:30
Tuition: $75.00

MudPuppies Pottery
Ages 6 - 12
New students will learn the basic skills of hand building.
Returning students are welcome and will work on advanced skills.
Students will glaze their own pieces and they will be kiln fired.
Mondays, January 25 - March 22
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Tuition: $75.00

Mud Dobbers
Ages 4-6
This class is designed for children and a grown up to enjoy making clay
masterpieces together.
Students and adults will glaze their own pieces and they will be kiln fired.
Mondays, January 25 - March 8
6:00 - 6:45

Ages 6 - 15
This modern Japanese art involves both physical and mental discipline for
self defense and self control.
It is taught in a noncompetitive environment and will help build your
child's self confidence!
Parents are allowed to participate with their child's permission!
Wednesdays, January 13 - April 28
6:30 - 7:30
Tuition: $75.00

Martha Greer, Director
Center for Community Arts
Missouri Western State University
Downtown University Center
515 N. 6th St.
St. Joseph, MO 64501

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Great school sale for homeschoolers

The following is from an email I received:

Dear Friends,

Outreach Christian Education after 30 years of school service has closed. We have curriculum by Bob Jones, Abeka, and ACE. We have dissection kits and many miscellaneous items. We will have an open school sale on Friday, January 22nd from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The location of the school is 2900 N.E. Cates, Avondale, MO. 64117 (a small community outside of North Kansas City.)

For more information you may call 816.455.5575 and ask for Kathy.