Frugal Homeschooling Options

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We have been homeschooling for 10 years now. It’s pretty amazing when I think about it. That’s a long time! But then I realize I have 14 more years to go before my youngest is done and I start to get a little overwhelmed. The time will go by fast though! Ten years has already flown by.

With more and more families choosing homeschool over public school (for obvious reasons which I won’t get into here), the number of curriculum options has increased as well, and some of them are even free! It really is possible to provide an excellent education for your children with limited financial resources.

Continue reading “Frugal Homeschooling Options”

Do the Next Thing

This post was originally published in August of 2008, but it is still definitely true today. I thought it pretty much sums up how I feel most days, and I hope it is an encouragement to you as well!

I am busy. Busier now than I’ve probably ever been in my life. Staying busy is good. But there comes a point when I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. The other day, however, I came across a poem that was posted on a woman’s blog whose husband died of cancer just three months ago. He was not that much older than me and not only left behind his wife but three young children. The poem that she posted was written by a woman named Elisabeth Elliott whose husband was a missionary. She was eventually widowed twice. After the death of her first husband, she wrote a poem called, “Do the Next Thing.” I know my trials are relatively small compared to hers, but I found her thoughts helpful for my situation, too. When I get overwhelmed in the mornings, thinking about all that I have to get done for the day: do the next thing. When the laundry is piling up, the fridge is bare, and I have four hours of work ahead of me: do the next thing. When I get worried about tomorrow, wondering in my unbelief if God will provide for us: do the next thing. When my children are fighting, our car breaks down, and the amount in the bank doesn’t look like it can possibly carry us through the month: do the next thing. God gives his people grace as they need it. He will keep me going, putting one foot in front of the other, doing the next thing whatever that may be. All of my worry, fear, unbelief, even my tears won’t make the busyness go away. “Do the next thing.” As Christ himself said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I will leave you with Elisabeth Elliott’s words to think about.

“Do the Next Thing”

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Strong in his faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as he beckons thee,
Do the next thing.

*Apparently, this poem was not written by Elisabeth Elliott but was quoted by her (maybe in a book?) at some point. Regardless, it’s good!

In Which the Author Discusses Curriculum in the Summertime Because She’s a Glutton for Punishment

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If you are anything like me, you really don’t even want to think about school until at least the end of the month (but truthfully if you are a homeschool mom, it’s probably on your mind all year long, right?) I was talking to a fellow homeschooling mom the other day and we both agreed that the summer goes by much, much faster as an adult than as a kid. Seriously, how is it possible that school will be starting in a little over a month?! I will have two 9th graders and one in kindergarten. This will be the first time I have ever homeschooled two grades before. But at least kindergarten will be easy so it shouldn’t be too bad, right? Right…

Last year for 8th grade, we used a site called Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool (not an affiliate link). It is a completely FREE curriculum and she has courses on there from pre-K through 12th grade. Did I mention it’s free? Because yeah, it’s free! Lee Giles, the woman who designed the whole thing, has no intention of ever charging for this curriculum either (though if you do use it a bit, you might consider a donation – she has a link where you can do that). We used her Year 4 History course plus Spanish 1 and English 8 on her sister site, Easy Peasy All-in-One High School (also not an affiliate link). Both kids really loved the Spanish course. We occasionally find a broken link, and she asks that people let her know if that happens.  Overall, it was much more in depth than I thought it would be so be prepared for your kiddos to be quite busy. My kids both enthusiastically want to take the Spanish 2 course for 9th grade. But free homeschool curriculum? Yes please!

Another site we made much use of was schoolhouseteachers.com. And let me just tell you guys, THEY ROCK. For $12.95 per month, you can have access to over 200 courses ranging from pre-K through 12th grade. My two older children particularly liked the Career Exploration course! Their customer service is excellent as well. All my questions have been answered very promptly.

So what will we do next year? That’s a great question, one that I have been thinking about probably since the beginning of the year (or earlier – I have a tendency to obsess over these things). We’re going to use Easy Peasy again and take Foundations, Bible, PE/Health, and Spanish 2. The Foundations class incorporates things like time management, study skills, speech, etc. It looks really interesting.

For English, we’re going to use Schoolhouse Teachers again and take the Writing and Classics Based Writing courses plus Daily Grammar. For the literature component, Glencoe has some free (hollah!) study guides you can use so we’re probably going to go through 4 novels.

Science will be Studies in World History through Master Books. This looks like a really excellent course and I would ideally like to get through volumes 1 and 2. We’ll see how that goes.

Oh, and I’m going to be teaching home ec with my kids and with some friends! That will be a separate post coming up so stay tuned for more info. I’m pumped about it!

So what will you be doing next year? Do you have it all mapped out or do you wait until a little closer to when school actually starts? I’d love to hear if any of you have tried the curriculums in this post. We can share and obsess together! 🙂

Frumpy? No more!

So, I was thinking last night on the way to church about my appearance and apologized to David that I looked frumpy (just got out of the shower, no time to blow dry my hair, so I put it up into a quick ponytail – oh, and it was below zero and I went out with wet hair, lovely). And that got me to thinking that it really has been quite awhile since I actually put a lot of time into my appearance. I remember when we were dating, I spent quite a bit of time getting ready for the day with blow-drying my hair, curling it, wearing make up, etc. It seems that since we’ve been married, specifically since I had the kids, more specifically since I had my last, that I’ve just not put that much effort into looking my best. It’s easy to get into that habit though, especially when you have a crying baby needing to nurse and another crying baby with a dirty diaper. However, um, my children are now 8 and 9 and if my 8-year-old is still nursing, then well, that would probably make the national headlines. So what’s my excuse now? I guess I just formed a bad habit. It’s just easier to shower and pull my hair back into a ponytail than to spend the time to actually fix it up. So, this morning, I decided to do something different. I put on some make up and wanted to fix my hair nice and pretty. I ran into a slight problem though. I really didn’t (don’t) know how to do very many hairstyles. So, I spent a bit of time on the internet looking up some things that would be feasible for me to do. And success! I actually found something and was able to do it! Yay!

I also thought about my clothes and am really ready for a makeover in my closet as well, but right now with a 6-month pregnant belly, that’s just going to have to wait. 🙂

After doing some more thinking, I have decided to make it a priority each morning to spend some time and make myself look as nice as I can, not because I want to attract attention from strangers, but because I want to attract my husband’s attention. I think that’s important, even 11 years later.

So, I am attempting to rid myself of frumpiness. Frumpy no more!  (of course, after the baby comes, I think I may have to take some ex-frumpiness leave and resort to my former frumpy self because I’m sure I won’t care if my hair is curled after getting up every two hours at night).

You Do the Math…

Yesterday, the kids were playing a math game with just basic arithmetic problems. The first one my son got was 9 + 8. Thinking I would definitely have to help, I asked if he could try to figure it out. Hardly two seconds later, he said, “17.” I was really surprised that he got that right because we haven’t gotten to that part of math yet. A little while later at lunch, I said, “How did you know that 9 + 8 was 17?” And then he said, “Because, Mama, 8 + 8 is 16!,” in the type of voice that just said, “Duh, Mom!” It was pretty cute. Thinking my boy was a prodigy, he then proceeded to say, “And 9 + 9 is 19!” Ahem. At least he was close!

The Great Dinner Challenge

Okay, here goes nothing! As I mentioned in a recent post, I have been inspired by Stephanie in her decision to fix meals out of the crockpot for a whole year. While I don’t think I’m prepared to go that far, David and I have decided that we will not be going out to eat at all until he is done with school on September 29th (at which time we are going to par-tay! Oh yeah!). That will be 76 days from now. When I say “at all,” I mean unless something weird comes up or we end up going out of town to visit family, etc. I won’t be using my crockpot exclusively but probably for most meals. I love my crockpot! So, are ya with me?

Tonight’s meal was chicken noodle soup (with zucchini!) made in the crockpot with cinnamon raisin bread made in my bread machine. I’m for ease in case you can’t tell. Tomorrow’s menu will be ham with potatoes and broccoli. We usually like to have green beans with our ham but I forgot my list and remembered everything but the green beans, so we’re gonna make do with broccoli.

On a slightly different subject, I have come across some information about a really great blender called Vita-Mix. It seems so cool! You can even grind wheat into flour! And it’s a blender! The drawback? Um, it’s like $500+. Definitely not something I’ll be getting anytime soon. David’s school requires a down payment of our firstborn, so I think we might wait on the Vita-Mix!

It’s a little after 10 and I need to put some folded clothes away and make sure the kitchen is in order before bed. I hate waking up to a messy kitchen! G’nite!

Of Laundry and Motherhood

I have tried to think of some sort of interesting title to my first blog entry on here. It has proven to be a more difficult task than I thought, maybe because I’m not that creative or witty. I really don’t know who all is going to be reading this (except you, David) but maybe I will find something interesting to write about in the future. For now, I have some laundry to fold and some straightening up to do.

I read a funny quote once that said, “Behind every successful mother is a pile of dirty laundry.” I don’t know that I’m necessarily a successful mother, but I will tell you I always have a pile of dirty laundry.