Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Goodbye 1st Grade - What Mommy Learned

I wish I could tell you that we were done with school and ready to kick summer into full swing - sadly that is not the case. I have been the target of a "con" - you may have fallen victim to it in your homeschool from time to time as well - it sounds something like this "Mommy - can I do these sheets later?" spoken so sweetly with that blue eyed freckle face pleading for all it's worth. There are times when resistance is futile - so we have a little more to do before we put 1st grade to rest. Wonder Boy may have won this round - but I have learned much this year and he better come at me with more than sparkling eyes and toothless grins next year - this Mommy Teacher isn't budging an inch next year. If it's on my lesson plan for the day it is getting done by golly !! Ok - I don't completely believe myself either - tee hee - BUT- I will not let it slip as far. I mean look what I'm up against - these are powerful little puppies!! So with just a little bit of work to finish I am so looking forward to summer vacation - we are going to do some F-U-N stuff at our house this year!! We are going to clean out closets, paint rooms and re-organize our school set up - Wonder Boy is a very blessed child - what a shame there are no siblings to share in the joy!! I really do have big plans to get organized for the year ahead so that we are ready for even greater successes in 2nd Grade. At long last I have my curriculum decisions firmly in place and am ready to go forward - all I have to do is get organized. Oh and work on my book - yes I am working on a book - how's that for accountability posting it on my blog? Stay tuned on that one....once all the painting is done, files are filed, lesson plans prepared and pencils organized and sharpened, oh and I finish my book, I plan to have some quality Mom & Wonder Boy time.

We are currently "living like no one else so later we can live like no one else" so our summer fun is going to consist of lots of creativity and good ole fashioned frugal fun. Wonder Boy loves crafts and artsy pursuits that we don't always have time for - we shall paint and sing and play this summer, we shall laugh and dance in the rain (in fact today my neighbors if they happened to be looking probably confirmed their suspicions about the weird homeschool family when Wonder Boy & I were out in the front yard as a rather nasty storm was moving in circling our beloved birch tree like 2 carefree airplanes - complete with sound effects) and on the rainy days when we choose to stay dry - there is the Free Family Film Festival - does it get any better than that???

Now - I personally would not recommend every movie in the summer line up - but there are a few that I hope hit on rainy days. Take a look and mark the site - just in case you get your closets get finished early likemine are going to !!

Here's wishing you and yours a summer filled with fun, laughter, memories and just the right amount of accomplishment.

In Him,


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We Are Trying Something New....What About You?

Let’s Try Notebooking
By Cindy Rushton

Notebooking … ahhh, just the thought makes me hyper! If I could ask every homeschooling family to do just one thing, it would be to just give notebooking a try. This is the one technique that pulls everything together—studies, research, real life, personal interests—everything! It reaches even the most reluctant writer! It makes homeschooling fun and easy! Who wouldn’t want to try that?

Not just that! Everything that normally clutters up the busy homeschool home can be tucked away into a notebook! All of those precious narrations can be safely protected in notebooks. All of those daily copywork lessons can find their home in notebooks on each of the topics that your children love so much. Even those awesome handouts that you have piled up from field trips can find the perfect home in your notebooks! Homeschooling is recorded. An heirloom is built!

Want to Give It a Try?

Getting started is as easy as ABC. Let me take you through the easy steps:

1. Gather your supplies. Your supplies can be as simple as a three-ring binder per child, plastic sheet protectors, and a pencil per child. You can make this as simple or as crafty as you like! Over the years, notebooking has worked so wonderfully in our home that we are constantly on the lookout for different and fun supplies during our daily notebooking time. By doing so, our daily lessons are as fun as a scrapbooking party—every day! If you have no idea where to begin, see our shopping list on www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com for quick ideas on supplies that work great!

2. Make your supplies accessible. Set aside a place for your material and a place for your children to work. There is something wonderful about having a place fore everything and everything reliably in its place. The work in the beginning is well worth the time during the school year. We have a shelf that contains books that I find along the way with great copywork that I would like for my children to add to their notebooks on those “no ideas are flowing” days. Just having everything there, ready to go, is such a blessing on those busy mornings. Plus, I have learned over the years that this is the best way to really utilize the resources that I have on my shelves.

Just file away any pages or pictures in either manila envelopes or file folders. If the children know where they are, they are more than likely to use them on their own. Also, you will want to use anything else that you have in your home. I keep our paints, papers (plain and colored cardstock and 20 lb. paper; writing paper, etc.), glues, templates, cutting utensils, rulers, markers, pens, pencils, etc. on a shelf and in plastic bins by our dining table (where we do our daily lessons). They are in their spot and that spot is close by. If we want to encourage our young writers, we must give them free access to the best materials.

3. Turn your children loose! Yep! This is all that is left! Inevitably, when I teach workshops on notebooking, I can almost see the brains of mothers clicking away with one tough reality—“If only I had more time to do this!” Oh, beloved! Notebooking is not another thing for you to do! The hard part is learning what this is all about and how to get everything together so we can turn our children loose!

When we began notebooking, I copied a Bible verse a day as a model for my son to copy. As he copied his verse, he would place his page for the day in a plastic sheet protector and add it to his notebook. The next day, his page for that day would slide in behind that page. The next day, he would add another page in another page protector. We built the entire notebook; not specific divisions or subjects. We chose not to divide by subjects because we wanted a nice full “product” built over time. As we added to the notebook each day, I could see the delight building in my young writers. they would sit and just flip through the pages. They loved seeing success. They loved seeing the notebook build up.

As time went on, my son began to find and copy poems that he liked, songs from the church hymnal or from his history lessons. He began a collection of art prints. He added maps that highlighted journeys. At the end of the first year, we had a bulging notebook and a young writer who had gone from reluctant to really excited! The notebook quickly became “his own” notebook. At the end of the year, we divided our notebooks (there was no room to add anything else) into obvious divisions. We had a Bible notebook, a history notebook, a poetry notebook, and another copybook. All of these have continued and several have divided into other notebooks through the years (he now has four history notebooks—Great Men and Women of the Civil War, Battles of the Civil War, Military Notebook, and World History Timeline Notebook! And that is just history!). As your children dig into their interests, they may have other notebooks that develop. Let them go! You will learn more about your children as they learn more about topics and writing!

So, What Do You Think?
Want to give it a try? If I could ask every homeschooling family to do just one thing, it would be to just give notebooking a try. So, think about it. Pray about it. Then, get those supplies. Set aside a spot for your supplies. Then, turn those budding young writers loose!


About Cindy Rushton…

Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE for the next weeks as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (April 28-May 3, 2008--BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Get your ticket NOW and receive her awesome A Quick Start for Notebooking Mini-Set FREE today! Check out all of the details here:


I have been so blessed by Cindy Rushton and her ministry that I have decided to partner with her as part of her affiliate program. Cindy has made some of her teachings available to her affiliates to share with our readers -this one about noetbooking is just a small sample of what she has to offer - Wonder Boy has recently started his first notebook and is having a blast - he spent an afternoon in a tree in the field behind us sketching so he could put the drawings in his new notebook - how cool is that!!
Notebooking is just one of the many many things that you can learn more about and glean from some incredible godly homeschool moms at the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2008. I can highly recommend the $40 price of a ticket to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2008 - I personally have listened to several of the teachings and workshops and with dozens more to go have already gotten my money's worth and then some!! There are tons of goodies and freebies that are included in the ticket price (which if I am remebering correctly will go up to $99.95 in the not too distant future) - you will be feasting on these things for months to come!! I have been so filled and refreshed already and I still have tons of goodies to enjoy ;-) Take a look at what this unique opportunity offers by following the links in this post......hope to see you there!!

In His Love & Service,


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