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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day! You're AMAZING!

To all the homeschooling mothers out there, let me just take a moment to say how amazing you are. You're doing something incredible for your kids, way above and beyond what society expects from you. You're taking on a job most parents willingly turn over to others, because you believe it's what is best for your children.

Whether you are homeschooling to accommodate your child's academic needs, to keep them away from bullies, to give them a chance to spend more time with their family, to protect their health or for any of a million other good reasons, you deserve a little recognition and appreciation.

Sure, the rewards of homeschooling are great! Yes, you are enjoying the gifts of time and closeness with your children you might otherwise miss. But you are also accepting so much additional work and responsibility. And chances are, most days you do it all with grace and a sense of humor, and most of all, love.

Keep up the great work, homeschool moms. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gardening with your kids

This week, my kids and I spent some time in the garden, planting seeds, pulling weeds and chasing our puppy out of the flower beds. Kids like to help out in the garden, especially when helping means getting dirty and working with grown-up tools, and gardening together can be a terrific learning experience.

Of course, sometimes it is easier to just do the job yourself and tell your children to go play and stay out of the way, but you may be missing a great opportunity. The garden is a perfect place to involve kids. There are so many lessons to be learned, and so many ways children can help out in the garden and make your job easier. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My first book is finished!

Well, I have been working extra hard this month to finish up my book before the OCHEC homeschool convention in Tulsa. I am so excited to say, it's complete and has been published!

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read my book for free. If not, it's just $3.99 for the e-book, which is available right now, or $5.99 for the paperback, which will be available shortly from CreateSpace and also on Amazon.

You don't have to have a Kindle to read the e-book. A free app is available on Amazon so you can read it on all sorts of computers and mobile devices.

I would love for you to check out my first book. Please visit my store and share the link with all of your homeschooling friends, especially those who suffer from planner anxiety like I do. I hope that by writing about my own journey to homeschooling success, I can help others to embrace their own skills and limitations, to become more flexible and to enjoy educating their kids at home as much as I have these past several years.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Because He lives

Happy Easter, everyone!

I grew up on old time gospel music, and one of my favorite songs is "Because He Lives." You might be familiar with the song, but if not, here is the chorus...

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

More than once, I have sung this song through tears, laying whatever burdens I was carrying at the time at the feet of the cross. It's particularly meaningful to me at Easter, because I believe Jesus does indeed live, and I believe He does hold the future, and no matter what trials or difficulties we may be facing today, He is in control.

Sometimes it's hard to carry on without fear, especially when life throws big hurdles in our way. I've been there. I guess maybe we all have in one way or another.

One of the families I care most about in the world spent their Easter this year in the hospital with their 3-year-old little boy, who is just a few months into his battle with leukemia. I would like to ask all who read this, please say a prayer for Sean and his family, or read his story and send them your positive thoughts. You can also consider donating blood in Sean's name, which will not only help the local recipient of your blood, but will also help offset the costs of Sean's treatment.

Thank you so much.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Catch me at the convention!

I'm so excited, and more than a little bit nervous, to announce that I will be speaking at a homeschool convention this year! That's right, the Unplanned Homeschooler will be presenting a workshop at the OCHEC convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 24.

My workshop, entitled, "Planning for the Unplanned Homeschooler," will be all about how to embrace your own personality, accept whatever organizational difficulties you may have and work with your strengths to become a totally successful homeschooler.

I would love to see as many of my readers as possible at the OCHEC convention, not only because it would be great to see friendly faces in the crowd, but because it's always a fantastic place to learn about homeschooling, hear encouraging speakers and see some of the latest curriculum and products on the market.

But I know many of you are too far away to make it to Tulsa, so I just encourage you to look for an awesome homeschool convention near you, and please keep me in your prayers, that I would be able to help some of the disorganized, unplanned homeschoolers who are winging their way toward success in Oklahoma this year!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How I helped my reluctant writer with Rory's Story Cubes

As a homeschooler, I am always searching for things that will help my kids get excited about learning. A few years ago, I stumbled upon an awesome tool to help my son become a better writer. My son is a reluctant writer. He has no trouble telling fantastic stories all day long, but when he has a pencil in hand his mind gets stuck. Using Rory’s Story Cubes, my son was able to break through his writer’s block and come up with a fictional tale that won him second prize at a regional writing contest.

What are Rory’s Story Cubes?

Rory’s Story Cubes are dice with pictures of odd things printed on the faces. There are nine cubes, each one with six unique faces. Some of the pictures include an alien head, flames, directional arrows, a foot, and an airplane.

You roll the dice, a few or all of them, and then make up a story based on what pictures pop up. You can play alone or with a group, and the possibilities are endless.

How does this game help reluctant writers?

Sometimes all a child needs is a good idea. Children have wild imaginations, and these dice are just vague enough that they can take a story in almost any direction. Once your kid picks one or two of the dice as a starting point, it is easy to follow the rest and make up an interesting tale.

Is this a game or a learning tool?

Rory’s Story Cubes are a game, but there is no winner or loser. There are no points to be tallied or prizes to be won. The whole point of the game is to just let imaginations run free and have fun. Players can take turn making up whole stories, or take turns telling parts of a story using a new die for each twist in the plot.

Best of all, you can now expand the learning and fun with additional packs that weren't available when we first found the game, such as the Actions pack, the Voyages pack and even an Enchanted pack for lovers of fairy tales.

Who can use this tool? 

The dice are a choking hazard, so small children should not use them unaccompanied by an adult. Other than that, anyone can use Rory’s Story Cubes to play or to learn. The cubes are all covered in pictures, so even a preschooler can look at them and make up a story. The whole game can fit in your pocket, so it can really go anywhere. Our whole family enjoys playing the game, and the kids like using it to write stories.  It’s a great game for all ages.

(This post contains affiliate links to the products described.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When your husband is not on board with homeschooling

Lately I have been seeing so many posts online from distraught moms whose husbands either don't want them to start homeschooling or want them to put their kids back in public school. They are begging for encouragement and advice on how to move their husbands' hearts.

This has to be one of the hardest situations to find yourself in as a wife and mother. You're torn between wanting to stand united with your husband in one of the most important parenting decisions you can make, and needing to address your child's physical, emotional and academic needs. Frankly, there aren't any easy answers. But there are some important factors to consider.