Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dads Are a Big Part of Homeschooling Too!

I am very blessed to have a husband who not only supports my being at home with the children, but really wants me to home school. Even though he isn't at home during the day, he still is a very important part of our home school. There are many things that Art can do that I am not so skilled at. Fixing cars, repairs, yard work are just to name a few. The children love to be with daddy and follow him around to see what he is doing. They are learning from him all of the time. This fall Alex helped to build a tree stand and Chelsea and Alex also helped to, well there's no delicate way to say it, gut the deer. The kids are also learning how to do repairs (they can use a screwdriver better than I can) They love to ride on the tractor and drive the garbage down to the road (yes drive, the road is 1/4 mile from the house) Art also has a passion for fixing up vehicles. Right now he is restoring a 1951 Buick and building a chopper motorcycle, and you guessed it the kids are helping him with his projects. They can't wait until they are older and can build Hot Rods of their own.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: My Favorite Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

I love Chicken Spaghetti, but my kids do not like Rotel. So, I adapted this recipe to make a milder Chicken Spaghetti.

2 C cooked spaghetti
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
6-10 oz cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced tomatoes with mild chilies

Cook spaghetti as directed on box, drain then combine with other ingredients except cheese and spread in a 13x9 casserole dish. Sprinkle grated cheese over top and bake in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes. Or if you want to make early in the day to have dinner ready cook in a crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Homemade Playdough

Today we decided to make homemade playdough. Here is the recipe out of the book I can Make a Rainbow by Marjorie Frank.

In a mixing bowl mix:

2 cups flour

2 cups salt

1/2 cup (or more) hot water (we had to use 1 cup)

1 tablespoon powered alum

Add a teaspoon of cooking oil and some food coloring if you want clored dough.

To let them harden let them dry for several days, or put them in 350oven for 3 hours.

You can keep leftover dough in the refrigerator in a platic bag.

The kids had great fun with this. Pretty soon we were sculpting snowmen, snakes, snowducks, a pod droid (star wars), snakes, pizza, all of the characters from Peep, etc...

I can Make a Rainbow has a lot of neat crafts and projects for kids from preschool through elementary. It is a really neat book.

What to read?

How do you know what are good books that your children should be reading? There is so much out there right now, and especially for Chelsea, I do not have time to read everything she wants to read ahead of time. Aside from what you know right away is objectionable content, there are other things to consider in choosing reading material for your children. Good character is a big one. I know when Chelsea was reading a certain popular series of books she developed a horrible attitude. Guess what? She developed the same attitude that the little girl in the books had. We want our children to be reading good quality literature. There is a book list that is from The Classical Christian Education Support Loop that lists 1000 good books from ages 1-6. Go to www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000-primary.html Even throughout this list you should use your own discernment. You know your child better than anyone and know what level they are ready to read. This list also puts RA next to some of the books showing that they would make a good read aloud.

Anyone that is interested in reading more about classical education should go to this website: www.classical-homeschooling.org/index.html

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How To make a Marionette

Today I made a puppet called a marionette. It was really easy and fun. All I did was take a sheet of cardboard, drew the head, arms, body, and legs. All the body parts had to be separate in order for the marionette to move. When I had the marionette all cut out, I painted it, then I punched holes in it to help it move, then I tied it together, then I took two more pieces of cardboard, punched more holes in them, and tied string to them and the other ends of the string I tied to the marionette.

For a basic puppet theater just get a big box cut a hole in the side and the top, and glue paper bags to the inside to hold your puppets when your not putting on a show, decorate it, and you've got a puppet theater, and some fine puppets to go with it.
by Chelsea

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are your parental rights being threatened?

Can the right of the government ever supercede the parent? Check out this website parentalrights.org Janet, at Lifestyle of Learning has a good post you should read. http://lifestyleoflearning.blogspot.com/2008/01/your-parental-rights-are-threatened-by.html

How Do You Homeschool 5 Kids?

So many people ask me that question. I don't think it matters if you have one child or seventeen. We are pretty laid back about homeschooling and spend about 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day on school four days a week (we take every Friday off.)

What do we do? Every morning at 9:00 we start with Bible. Everyone sits on the floor together even the baby while I read. Then we do a read aloud for the younger ones, they pick it out, and then Nick (6) practices reading out loud to me. Then on Mondays we do a family project, Tuesdays I give Chelsea a clarinet lesson, Wednesdays we do some maps and geography, and Thursdays they pick an activity. We have lunch at 11:00, then they go outside (weather permitting.) After 12 Nick does his handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears ) and Math (Math-u-see) Chelsea does her Handwriting (Cursive C), math (Math-u-see) and History (Sunlight Core 4) and I do her read aloud. 1:00-2:00 is productive free time (babies are napping) At 2:00 they get to play 30 min of PlayStation, then play outside until dinner.
Preschool is pretty simple. Alex (4) and Anthony (2) listen to me read aloud and participate in family activities, but other than that they don't have any "work." We sing our ABC's and other songs, count things throughout the day (like forks when setting the table) and work on colors and shapes as we see them in real life. I do not do workbooks, or writing assignments for preschool, we prefer real life learning. Mostly for all of the kids I read a lot!! I think that is the secret. Read , read , and read some more and everything else comes together.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

My favorite pizza recipe:
1C warm water
1 pkg dry yeast or 2 tsp
1 tsp. sugar
3 C. flour (white or wheat)
2 T oil
1 tsp salt

I use my Bread Machine's dough setting adding liquids first, then dry ingredients, with yeast last. It takes 1 1/2 hours and the dough is perfect. Or you can mix yeast, sugar, and water. Let it rest 5 min then add other ingredients. Knead the dough adding more flour as needed until it is not sticky. Place covered in a bowl for 5 min-2 hours depending on how you like your dough. The longer it rises the more bread like it will become. Punch down the dough and shape it into a pizza crust. Top any way you wish and bake at 450 for 15 min.

We have pizza every Friday. To go out for pizza costs about $30 for us. When I make our pizza, I get 4 personal pan size pizzas for the kids and one medium pizza for Art and I. The cost is about $3. I make the dough, but the sauce and cheese, and use whatever toppings I have left over from cooking during the week. For example: the day after Thanksgiving I made a Turkey Supreme Pizza using green and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and of course Turkey.

My Homeschooling Adventure

Monday Morning Project

Last week we did an ABC book for Alex to help him learn his letters. He loved it so much the kids decided we should do a number book this week. We used the Usborne Book, I Can Count instead of painting (we are out of finger paints) we drew the pictures and colored them in.

1) Gather supplies: I Can Count, construction paper, crayons, stapler

2) Drew pictures and numbers on each page

3) Stapled the pages together

It took about 30 min (Chelsea took longer her drawing is a little more detailed) The cost was next to nothing using up supplies that I had on hand. It doesn't matter what kind of project you do, we just have fun starting off the week doing something all together. By the way, Christian is not in the picture, he was playing under the table.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Love to Read!

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Almost every hour of the day my nose is in a book. If I get a new book it is read within the hour. Every Friday we go to the library to get new books. By Saturday afternoon every single book is read. Books are my friends, because if I'm reading one I become part of the story, and it's like I'm really there. I have read so many books I can't count them, but here are a few I've read; Caddie Woodlawn, a Christmas Carol, Horsefeathers. And many ,many others. I have about 200 books on the shelves of my room and about 300 more down stairs. I love books so much that I would sleep with them if I could.

by Chelsea

Why Homeschool?

Even today very few people really understand homeschooling. I get asked all of the time why I home school. I have many different reasons (which I will talk about in future posts,) but I came across this parable which sums up one of the reasons:Individualized Learning.

Animal School
Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had 4 subjects-running, climbing, flying, and swimming-and all of the animals took all 4.
The duck was good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming, but average is OK and nobody worried much about it-except the duck.
The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write "cheating is wrong" five hundred times. This kept him from soaring which he loved, but schoolwork comes first.
The bear flunked because he was lazy, especially in winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.
The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school where he lived.
The zebra played hooky a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.
The kangaroo started out at the top of the running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.
The fish quit school because he was bored. To him all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that. They had never been a fish.
The squirrel got A's in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore that he began getting C's and D's in running.
The bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. He said the bees wings wee too small for flying and they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

This original parable was written in the 1940's by George H. Reavis who was an assistant Superintendent of Schools. Variations of the parable have surfaced, but the message has stayed the same.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Beware of Scam Artists

I have been thinking lately about being a good steward. Instead of working hard on finding ways to increase our income, I have been looking for ways to better manage what we already have. I have made many changes in our expenses of the last several months, and am continuing to look for ways I can still further reduce our spending and pay off our credit card debt. Then it happened. My husband logged into our online bank account (which we check every day and you should too) to discover someone had hacked into our bank account and spent approximately $300 dollars. I am very glad it wasn't more, and also that we have taken care of all the paperwork at the bank and we will get our money back by next week. I just wanted to warn you that you can't be too cautious. Check your bank account every day, do not respond to email banking alerts(call your bank instead), and the newest scam do not leave your card visible when you are in line at the store,post office etc... Apparently people are using camera phones and taking pictures of the cards.

Have a happy Friday!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

5 Painless Ways We Saved Money This Year

1) I lowered our thermostat 3 degrees
2)I started once a month cooking which means less trips to Walmart (if you are not there, you can't buy anything)
3)I started making bread, rolls, pancakes, waffles etc.. from scratch
4)Friday night movie is Netflix and a home-made pizza, instead of going to the movies and eating out
5)We stay home more

I still am working on other ways to continue to reduce our grocery budget, and the amount we pay out in utilities.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tasty Tuesday My Favorite Pancake Recipe


2 eggs
2 1/2 c milk
1tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c flour
2 tsp sugar
4 tsp melted butter
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat together until smooth. Spoon onto greased hot griddle. Flip over when bubbles appear.

Note: Make a double batch and freeze them. They taste just as good reheated.


Monday, January 14, 2008

My Homeschooling Adventure

I began my home-schooling adventure in 2005 when Chelsea was beginning 3rd grade. Home-schooling is definitely an adventure, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is also a challenge: finding affordable curriculum, managing your time, budgeting, teaching, and all of this on top of normal housewife activities. We have five children: Chelsea 10, Nicholas 6, Alexander 4, Anthony 2, and Christian 9 months. We start every day with our Bible Stories and on Mondays we do a family project, something everyone can do. Alex has been showing some interest in learning his letters, so today we began making an alphabet book for him. This is something everyone could participate in (even Christian, watching from his high chair)

This is what we did:

1) gather supplies (paper, markers, crayons, stapler)

2) draw a capital letter on each page and three pictures that start with that letter

3) staple the book together

4) read the book

This was a fun project that even Chelsea enjoyed making and literally cost next to nothing because we made it with supplies that we already have. Some of the best projects you can do are the ones that are the simplest.