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Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Have a HEART Study- Chapter 3

How To Have a HEART for Your Kids

I've joined an online group to go through the book "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids' by Rachael Carman. You can click on the banner above to take you to the blog that is hosting this. You can join at anytime..

This week's goal was to read through Chapter 3, and journal about what you gleaned from the text. This week's topic is A: Accept Your Children.

Some things I gleaned in the text this week are as follows.

The author says 'Consider the proliferation of daycare centers in our neighborhoods. The message is clear: By and large, as a society, we value our careers and our stuff more than our kids. Relationships are relegated to weeknights and weekends. The lion's share of our time is devoted to our true priorities, our true treasures-jobs, homes, cars, clothes, PCs, iPhones. Stuff.'

Wow! In our culture this is the truth. It's so sad to see this all around. I never wanted to put my children in daycares. I know that they're times when you need daycares. I did when my daughter was little because I was a single mom. But we now are using it so we can pursue bigger and better things and at the expense of our children's lives and future. Everywhere we turn you see people on their cell phones, driving expensive cars and needing to make money. My husband and I live on one income, we are not rich, and we are not poor, and we live within our means. That means if we don't have the money to get something, we don't get it.

Another quote that stood out to me was 'My mom had accepted me as a child, strong will and all. She did not try and change who I was. Instead she set out to properly direct this part of my design to be used for God's glory.'

I can't relate with this quote from my childhood but this is what I want to give to my kids. Acceptance of who they are without trying to mold and change them into something I want them to be. Something they are not. I know over the years, especially when they aren't following the rules it's hard to not try to change their behaviors. I really need to work on praying over what God's desire is for my children. The way they act now may be for God's purpose. Of course, this doesn't mean I am not supposed to discipline them. God tells us to train them in the way they should go. The way GOD wants them to go and not me. That's what I need to focus on.

She goes on talking about 'Wired for His Use'- God's use! She states there are two kinds of children. The microwave and the crockpot. 'Microwave kids are in constant motion and easily distracted. They are able to do many things but lack consistent focus. When they do focus, it's a red hot laser focus, which can inflict harm if misdirected yet can produce wondrous results if handled carefully by a trained professional.'

'Like a Timex watch that 'takes a licking and keeps on ticking,' crock pot kids sometimes need to be told to go outside and take a break. Otherwise, they will keep their noses to the grindstone and work all day and all night, rarely coming up for air.'

I have to understand what kind of child I have. I feel like I am trying to flip them and have them act the opposite of what they were designed by God to do. I love what she says here 'They were created to bring glory to God. Instead of resisting their bents-their original wiring-I needed to honor the way God had wired them.'

As we learn the purpose for our children's lives through God we need to teach them who they are in Christ. Help them identify what God has called them to do. Preparing them to glorify God.

I love how she speaks on timing. How our children were sent at the right time, even in the right birth order. All for God's glory and planning. It's important to keep sharing with them how important and perfect it is for them to be born when they did. Instead of telling them they are the baby or making a point to say you are the oldest, mention to them that where they are is just right. She says 'It is not your job to tear down your children. You are to build them up.' That's exactly what I want to do for them.

'We must seek God first when it comes to molding our children, or we will make the mistake of molding them into our image instead of His.'

I really am working on this. I need to pray daily so I can have his guidance on where my children should go. I notice the behavior my children are acting out may be because of me.

She points out on page 109 'Is the character flaw you see in your child an imitation of our own sinfulness? Is it a simple case of 'monkey see, monkey do?'

Ouch.. that hurts, because a lot of times it's true. The things I see my children doing that need discipline or correction is because they watched me do it. So not only do I need to train my children in the way that God wants them to go, but I also need to train myself in the way God wants me to go.

We also need to accept our children for who God wants them to be but that doesn't mean permissiveness. She says in her book that it doesn't mean that they can get whatever they want and then take a hands off approach to training them. She says that 'acceptance means seeking His will and purpose for each child He places in your care.' They are gifts and blessings from God.

This was a great chapter to read. I sometimes forget that I need to accept my children in some of the things they do because it was in God's plan for them. It also woke me up to realize that some of my children's behavior may be caused by them watching and mimmicking me. So not only am I training my children but I am training myself to be a better wife, mother and follower of Christ..

Friday, January 27, 2012

3 in 30 January Weekly Update

3in30 Challenge

I posted at the beginning of the month that I am taking the 3 in 30 challenge. You can learn more about it by clicking on the button above.

Can't believe another week has already come and gone since my last post on my 3 in 30 Challenge..

How are my goals going?....

1. Be more diligent with my time- this was the one I thought I would have the hardest time with in all honesty. But I am really happy to see that I am using my time more wisely. I have limited my amount on the computer each day which is huge for me so this is a great step in managing my time. Also, I am now spending more time with my boys. I am around them all day, everyday but I never really think to spend 'time' with them. I guess I've taken for granted the fact they are here with me all day. I am reading to my youngest every night for the past two weeks. We are now in a routine and he looks forward to us cuddling on his bed each night to read a chapter in a book we got from the library. I am also spending more time with my oldest son. This week I've been teaching him things at the gym and he's really enjoying the one on one time we are spending together there. Baby steps.. I'm liking it so far!

2. Save more money- I mentioned this has been a struggle this past week. I didn't get to save the amount I was hoping for but I did get to tuck some away. It's better than nothing. We are also looking to shrink our debt. It's hard because we really only have our home as debt. Our cars are all paid for and our bills are basic needs. We don't have cell phones, or electronic trinkets except our laptops and my MP3 player I use for my workouts at the gym. We don't have credit card debt so I am trying to find ways to shrink how much we spend so we can save more. My main focus this coming weekend is to save more at the grocery store. I may have to really watch ads and try to find online coupons. It's just hard because we don't eat processed foods. Fresh foods are literally more expensive and that's where our money is going.

Hubby will be going to MI for two weeks starting Monday and with that brings more travel money home. That will all be put into savings. I am happy about that. Plus income tax season is fast approaching. We'll have some from that to tuck away. I am also looking into changing internet/phone/cable companies to save money. It will drop our cost by half and put a good chunk into our savings each month.. I'll be looking into that this coming week.

3. Do a Bible Study- On my second week reading Ephesians with my online group. It's going good. Loving the application bible. It makes reading and understanding so nice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 in 30 January Weekly Update

3in30 Challenge

I posted at the beginning of the month that I am taking the 3 in 30 challenge. You can learn more about it by clicking on the button above.

1. Be more diligent with my time- I'm doing quite well with this challenge this month. I feel like I am putting my energy towards other things than the computer. Last week I spent some one on one time with the boys which spurred the desire to do more like that. So each night I am reading a book with my youngest son. We cuddle on his bed and read 'Mr. Fantastic Fox' together. It's awesome..

2. Save more money- I thought this was going to be easier to do but it seems the more I think about it the harder it's getting. Started out great at the beginning of the month which is awesome. Was able to save a little this week but grocery prices for actual 'good' food is going up and it's costing me more to get food for the family. We won't eat fake, processed food. I hope to be able to get more tucked away this next week. I am not giving up. I might not be able to do it every payday but I will keep trying..

3. Do a Bible Study- I started my Ephesians study last Monday. I ended up purchasing a Life Application Bible to help me understand what I'm reading so I can do the SOAP method. I'm liking this so far.

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details- Part 4 Poetry & Bible


For the month of January I am contributing to a Virtual Curriculum Fair.. Each week is based off a certain subject. This week's subject that I'll be discussing is Bible & Poetry. My sole purpose is to post about how I use the Heart of Dakota curriculum with my 10 year old. We are currently using the Preparing His Heart for His Glory set.

If you'd like to read about Part 1- Language Arts -- Part 2 Science -- Part 3 History that I posted previously you can click on the link on the words I also touched base on the basics of this curriculum as well.

Heart of Dakota Poetry and Bible Study

To complete my in depth review of this curriculum program I would like to talk about the last two subjects of Poetry and Bible Study.. I first off want to say that Bible is integrated throughout the curriculum. It's in the history, science, and independent reading. I have already discussed this portion of the bible study through the last two parts this month and now want to include the actual 'Bible Study' section of the curriculum.


I will break this up by Day. On Day One you are introduced to the new scripture that will be studied for the entire week. This curriculum guide is studying the Psalms this year. After you've read the scripture out loud to the child there is questions to discuss together. I love how it's narrated for you to just read directly to the child from the guide. You can also use the CD to help your child memorize the scripture. I opted out on this part for this year because the songs on the CD to help memorize were in the King James Version and we don't use that version.


On Day 2 you will read the scripture again. They have hand movements you can do and again, we chose not to do that. My son finds them not helpful so we skip that part of the program. We do go over the questions to help deepen the meaning of the scripture being studied. To finish off this day's bible study, we pray together.


On Day 3 your child will be having quiet time reflecting on the scripture of the week. They have a list of things they will do during this time. My son doesn't read well independently so we do this part together so he can have my help when needed.


On Day 4 it's time for them to write out the scripture of the week. They discuss making a common place book. We use lined paper and place it in a big binder that holds all his work.

Sample of his bible study written out


Poetry has been hard to keep up on. As we get behind in the history or science sometimes I let this subject slip. My son isn't that fond of the poetry part of the curriculum but I like using it as a tool to help him in his reading since the poems aren't very long and easy to read aloud.


On Day 1 you are introduced to a poem. This year's poet of study is Robert Louis Stevenson. I have my child read the poem out loud after I've read it once. Then we discuss the questions together.


On Day 2 I have him read the poem again outloud. Here is where it's time to write. Each Day 2 weeks are little different but all have a common goal. To get them to write. This particular example has them comparing night and day and then writing a paragraph.


Day 3 he'll read it again outloud and then discuss the questions together.


On Day 4 we read it one more time then I have my son draw pictures on a copy of the poem that describes the poem.

Sample of a poem with his drawings included..

Well, here is some information about the bible study and poetry sections of this curriculum. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.. Would love to help you out with whatever I can..

Check out the other homeschool bloggers that have participated in this week's curriculum fair by clicking on the links below.. Let them know you stopped by, by leaving a comment..

Memory Making by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Learning Art at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

History, up close by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life

Fitting in the Arts When Homeschooling by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

The Art of Exploration by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Appreciating the Arts by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

Beauty in Homeschooling? by Cindy @ For One Another

The Art of Art by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Learning and Art Library by Angie @ Petra School

Seeking Beauty: The Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

How to Fit "The Arts" in School by Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Curriculum Snag

This year has been the best year for me with our homeschooling. I've been schooling my boys since 2004 so this is our 8th year. It took that long to finally figure it out.. It was tough since there is just soooo much to curriculum to choose from, websites to visit, advice from every homeschool mother you know, or don't know and it tends to get overwhelming.

Last January I took a few months to research what I wanted to do for 2011-2012 school year and found Heart of Dakota for my youngest which we LOVE by the way.. With my oldest he is a middle schooler and I decided not to take the Heart of Dakota route to prepare him for High School. My daughter used Notgrass American History last year in her 10th grade year and I loved it. I found out there was a junior high American History curriculum so I purchased it for my son.

Absolutely love it.. I just recently went to their website to see if they were going to offer an 8th grade curriculum so I could just continue my son on with Notgrass through High School without interuption. Well, access denied!!! They won't have this new curriculum available for 2-3 years. So what to do, what to do? I had everything all planned out. I loved everything I was using so NOW I have to THINK!!! What!!! Notgrass wasn't just a history curriculum. It housed, writing, literature, geography, and history. It was much more than one subject..

With this not available for next year I literally have to find a curriculum to make up for the lack of this one. A literature curriculum, a history curriculum, a writing curriculum and a geography curriculum...ugh! So much for smooth sailing and simple homeschool planning.. ick!

So I've been wracking my brain on what to do. How indepth do I want to go. I even considered putting him in the last Heart of Dakota book but I already have his spelling/vocabulary curriculum and his grammar curriculum that we've been using this year and love so I already purchased the 8th grade sets for next year.

I also purchased his science for the next three years. Apologia General Science is what he's doing this year and I have his Physical Science all ready for him for next year. If I choose H.O.D for him, a lot of the components are already spoken for..

So that leaves me with Plan B? What is plan B? I haven't a real clue yet. I have been thinking of maybe Mystery of History or Diana Warings Ancient Civilizations curriculum.. I used M.O.H last year with my youngest son and I love how it's put together so I am familiar with that and I know he could work on this independently. Not sure about the Diana Waring curriculum.. I want his curriculum to be mainly independent so that limits my choices. I do know that he needs to study more ancient history since his focus over the years has been pretty recent history.. 1400's to current. I would like him to learn more bible history so these two curriculums came to mind.

I wish I could get my hands on both so I could look at them side by side to compare them. The downside of only being able to buy curriculum online!

For literature, I've decided to allow him to tag along with his brother's reading study. He will be using Draw into the Heart of Reading which is a component of Heart of Dakota and this curriculum goes through 8th grade. So this will streamline this subject and have them work on it together on their own levels. So one down for sure.. YEH!

I may also have him use the Write With the Best alongside DS10 next year as well as he works through this through H.O.D curriculum. I think putting them together for a couple subjects would be ok. I then can work with my oldest on his writing which he is struggling a bit on.. So maybe two down!! The jury is still out on this one! I am also looking into Writing Strands as an option too. I may also add Fix It . . . Write by, Nan Jay Barchowsky. He really needs some help in his penmanship..

If I choose either history curriculum, geography is included in it so I won't need to search for something else.. Which is really nice.. Music to my ears! I know it's only January and some of you may be going what's the issue? I just really like to have everything set in stone by February and be able to get what I need over the next few months before May so when school is out, it's OUT until August! I loved how I had all the books, curriculum and accessories purchased by mid May and it was all put together so I could truly enjoy the Summer without having to think about the next school year. It was such a wonderful feeling!

Plus I really like to spread my curriculum purchases out over a few months without breaking the bank. I then can look for deals and not feel rushed and then end up having to buy it full price.. ick! Well, my brain is turning and ideas are flowing so that's a good sign.. It's now time to get my ideas cemented and purchases started!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Heart of Dakota-The Fine Details-Part 3 History


For the month of January I am contributing to a Virtual Curriculum Fair.. Each week is based off a certain subject. This week's subject is History/Social Studies. My sole purpose is to post about how I use the Heart of Dakota curriculum with my 10 year old. We are currently using the Preparing His Heart for His Glory set.

If you'd like to read about Part 1- Language Arts and Part 2- Science that I posted previously you can go HERE and HERE to read up on them. I also touched base on the basics of this curriculum as well.

Heart of Dakota History
Using the H.O.D curriculum you will see that alot of the daily lessons are focused off that days history lesson. Here is a break down of the history portion of this curriculum.

Reading About History-
The first section that will build a foundation for that day's history lesson is 'Reading About History'. Read a chapter in a history living book that corresponds with the time period that's being studied. After the day's reading you will ask questions to your child that will help him/her in comprehension, application, and analysis. This is done all orally.

Day 2 of 'Reading About History' they include a chapter to read like the previous day but then add in some scripture that pertains to the reading to study. There are several questions to read outloud to your child that pertains to the scripture and your child answers orally.

Day 3 of 'Reading About History' you read the chapter together and then your child spends a few minutes orally narrating what he/she has read or heard read using the Narration Tips that are included in the study.

Day 4 of 'Reading About History' you read another chapter together and this time you will ask your child a series of questions pertaining to the story and he/she will then write down their answers in a 3-5 sentence summary.



On Day 1 your child will work on 'Research' You will have a subject or item that was in the day's reading that your child will then look up either in an encyclopedia or online to help in him/her's understanding. Research is done once a week on Day 1.


History Project-
On Day 1 you will be given a topic or an item that you will be putting together or creating This project usually takes the entire week to work on, a little each day and by Day 4 you will have a completed project to showcase. This is typically made with materials you already have at your home such as paper, aluminum foil, pencils, straws etc.. This section is done everyday of the study.


Independant History Study-

This section is supposed to be done by your student independently, hence the title of this section. Most of the work I can have my child do by himself but since he's not a strong reader when it's time to read something we do that together. The writing portion of this he can handle on his own. This section can either be a time to read a chapter in a book that relates to the time period, scripture, or work in the book 'Draw and Write through History'. This section is done everyday of the study.

Somedays your child will do some copywork by writing scripture passages in his Common Place Book (which is described in the curriculum). They also get the opportunity to read aloud a storybook that pertains to the time period that they are studying. Somedays after their reading they will orally narrate what they've read or what you read together.


I'm including the storytime section in with the history because the books that are offered for this subject are history books. Fiction books that go along with the time period studied. I do know that you can also take this storytime slot and ommit the historical reading books and put your own books in its place. The lesson plan only gives you the chapters for their suggested history books but you can take a genre a month and read it in it's place. I may do that next year as these stories this year were actually difficult to read and understand. Lot's of big words that went over my son's head and I could tell he just wasn't getting it. We'll see how the remainder of the year pans out for the history books to see if we will switch to the genre option. This section is done everyday of the study.

I spoke about this section during Part 1-Language Arts a couple weeks ago but I felt it's worth mentioning again here because the vocabulary words that they are using come directly from the 'Reading About History' story for that day. There are 5 words to choose from and they want your child to take 3 of them, write them down with their definitions and place them into an index card file box. This teaches them how to use the dictionary as well as alphabetizing their cards as they get them. This has really helped my son with this. Vocabulary is done once a week.


Once a week your child will get a geography lesson that pertains to the day's reading. Most of these activities use a globe and the storybook that you are currently reading. You do a small study on geography and then some review from previous geography lessons to keep it fresh in your child's mind. Geography is done once a week.


On Day 4 your child will build a timeline. Each week he/she will have 1-3 cards to write on about special events or people studied that week. They write the name/title on top of the card/ date and draw a picture to represent it. I have my son taping them one right after each other to save on space. It just accordian folds into a ziplock bag. They have other options in the book on how to make your timeline. This was just space saving for us.

Well, here is some information about the history portion of this curriculum. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.. Would love to help you out with whatever I can.. Come back next week for more information about Heart of Dakota and how we are using it.. Until then....

Check out the other homeschool bloggers that have participated in this week's curriculum fair by clicking on the links below.. Let them know you stopped by, by leaving a comment..
Science and Worldview by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Nature Study as Science by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3- Social Studies and more Science by Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Family

Curriculum Fair–Exploring Our World by Angie @ Petra School

Paths of Exploration by Jen @ Forever, For Always

Learning Geography at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Mapping Out Our Social Studies by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

The Fascinating Wrld Around Us by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

More Heart of Dakota Praises by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Our History by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

Playful US Geography for First Grade by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Exploring Our World Through History & Science by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Two History Must-haves by Letha @ justpitchingmytent

Learning About The World Around Us by Laura O from AK

Social Studies and Science - What do we do? by Joelle @ Homechooling for His Glory

History Chronologically and with Living Books by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Why History? by MissMOE @ Homeschooling While Living the Life of Easier

Exploring Our World by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

Saturday, January 14, 2012

3 in 30 January Weekly Update

3in30 Challenge

Remember that PROGRESS, not PERFECTION, is the definition of SUCCESS!!

Other motivational quotes:



I posted at the beginning of the month that I am taking the 3 in 30 challenge. You can learn more about it by clicking on the button above.

1. Be more diligent with my time- I felt like I was wasting time each day by not doing things that were more productive. I am really progressing in this. I think this goal has been the most productive of all of them so far. Each day before I do something that I know are time wasters, like the computer.. I think of things I could possibly be doing instead. I find that I have alot more productive things to do. I am involved in a 31 Days to Clean challenge this month and I have been using my wasted time to clean and organize my house like I never thought possible and it's so uplifting. Not only is my house getting deep cleaned but I feel better doing it. Seeing the results is a very positive thing.

I mentioned last week that I wanted to take my boys separately to spend one on one time with them. I took my oldest on a run. He wanted to ride his rollerblades and I ran alongside him as we chatted along the trail. I really enjoyed it and he really enjoyed it too.

My youngest son didn't really want to 'do' anything with me. He just wanted to be 'heard'. I spent an hour just letting him tell me everything that was on his mind. He's a talker and this was his outlet.. With this simple thing, he's really drawn closer to me. He gives me more hugs and tells me he loves me more now. I just love that.

2. Save more money- this past week was not good since we had to purchase new glasses for my hubby. That's ok since I was able to save 4 times the amount I set out to do each week the previous week so I'm off to a great start. My goal is to save $50 a week. It's looking good for this coming week.

3. Do a Bible Study- My Ephesians study starts Monday. I have everything I need to get started. Nothing as of yet to say about this particular goal but I am looking forward to getting started.

Well here is what's happening with my goals so far this month. I am happy with my progress and look forward to what's ahead this month...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Heart of Dakota-The Fine Details-Part 2 Science

For the month of January I am contributing to a Virtual Curriculum Fair.. Each week is based off a certain subject. This week's subject is Science. My sole purpose is to post about how I use the Heart of Dakota curriculum with my 10 year old. We are currently using the Preparing His Heart for His Glory set.

If you'd like to read about Part 1- Language Arts that I posted last week you can go HERE to read up on it. I also touched base on the basics of this curriculum as well.

Heart of Dakota Science

I have to be honest. This was one of the subjects in this curriculum that grabbed my attention. My son learns best when he's working hands on and this is very hands on, plus very simple to use. There is real no prep time before you start. Open the book and get going. At the beginning of the year I made sure I had the books needed and when I opened up the lesson book and saw what book was needed I already had it available.

What my son loves about this curriculum is that it's consistent. He knows what's coming on Day 1, Day 2 etc. It helps him have structure and accountability.

Sample of Day 1 for Week 17

On Day 1 we read part of the assigned book, then they have him do copywork of a scripture that pertains to that days reading. Beneath the verse he will write things that helps him review what he read that day. This format is pretty consistent so far these past 16 weeks we've been working through it.

Sample of Day 1 work


Day 2 they read again more of the assigned book. Usually no more than 2-4 pages. This day is scheduled for oral narration. Since this is a Charlotte Mason approach it is used frequently throughout the curriculum. In science it's on Day 2. This is wonderful because I can see what he's learning without him having to write down everything he does. He loves that too. Over the past 16 weeks, he's really improved on the amount of narration he gives me now. We were new to narration this year and he wouldn't speak much at the beginning. He's really improved on this over these weeks.


On Day 3 of the curriculum it's time to answer some questions. After reading the days assigned pages, he will answer at least 5 questions that pertain to that days reading to help with comprehension. Alongside the oral narration, this is working out great!


Day 4 is the last day of the curriculum for the week and it's reserved for experiments. Just like all the other days, there is reading to do first which helps them get a grasp of the experiment to come. A great overview! The curriculum comes with a copy called Science Lab. Perfect to make copies for these experiments each week. So far this year I haven't had any trouble finding the supplies needed to do all of the projects. I think only once did I have to go to the store to buy something for it. Otherwise all of the items I already had on hand.

The Science Experiment's are broken into four parts.. The QUESTION.. What are they trying to teach them. They they GUESS. What do you think the answer is to the question. Then they do the procedure according to the directions. They then copy that down onto the Science Lab form under PROCEDURE. Then they write down the CONCLUSION on the bottom of the form after they have completed the exeriment.


Sample of the Science Lab Form

Well, here is some information about the science portion of this curriculum. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.. Would love to help you out with whatever I can.. Come back next week for more information about Heart of Dakota and how we are using it.. Until then....

Check out the other homeschool bloggers that have participated in this week's curriculum fair by clicking on the links below.. Let them know you stopped by, by leaving a comment..

1st, 2nd, 6th Grade Math in Our Homeschool: How We Got HERE @Homeschool Heart & Mind

Math Lapbooks---Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 2 Angie Wright @ Petra School

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week Two: Discover Patterns, Mathematics, Logic and Some Science by Leah @ The Courtney Six Homeschool

Our Choices For Math by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

A Magnificent Math Manipulative by Letha Paulk @ justpitchingmytent

Our Math Choices - Virtual Curriculum Fair by Tristan @ Our Busy Homeschool

Math Literature?!?! by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Learning Math at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Math Using Hamburger Paper by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Math Facts or Fun? Why Not Both! by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Learning Math Block by Block by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

Plugging Along with Math by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

What's Working and What's Not: Math Edition by Leann @ Montessori Tidbits

Math Anyone? by Cindy @ For One Another

Ahh, Math. by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Flying Without a Parachute: Math with no Curriculum by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Math in Our Homeschool by Christine T @ Our Homeschool Reviews

The Science of Math by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

"Mom, did we do math today?" by Chrissy at Learning is an Adventure

Math, Math, and More Math by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Saturday, January 7, 2012

3 in 30 January Weekly Update

3in30 Challenge

I posted at the beginning of the month that I am taking the 3 in 30 challenge. You can learn more about it by clicking on the button above.

I love this because it's exactly what it says above. Making goals a reality, three at a time. I wanted to post an update on how my goals are going so far.

1. Be more diligent with my time- my first goal was to be more diligent with my time. I felt like I was wasting time each day by not doing things that were more productive. This week I spent less time on the computer and more time working on the house, spending time with the boys with their schooling and really enjoying more one on one time with my husband talking and enjoying each others company.

This coming week I'd like to work more on taking each of my boys separately aside to spend one on one time with them outside of their schooling. Something they are interested in.

2. Save more money- I am really proud of myself this week. In my head I set a goal of saving $50 a week. Something small that I really felt I could accomplish. But I went above and beyond this and was able to save $200. This is huge. I was really aware of where I was going each day and what I REALLY needed to purchase and because of that I was able to keep this much $ in my pocket.

This coming week will not be as great as this one because we had an expense of new glasses for hubby that had to be purchased but I still would like to stick with my original goal of $50 and I feel I can reach that goal.

3. Do a Bible Study- I am happy that I will be journaling through Ephesians this month with an online group. It starts on January 16th. I look forward to reading the entire book slowly and dissecting everything so I can better understand the scripture using the S.O.A.P method.

Well here is what's happening with my goals so far this month. I am happy with my progress and look forward to what's ahead this month...

Sassy Water


What is this, you say? This is Sassy Water.. I have never heard of this until yesterday when my great friend mentioned it on her Facebook page. She's been using it for awhile and loved it.. I had to try it myself because I haven't been getting the necessary amounts of water each day since it is cold out!

So what is Sassy Water? It's a medium cucumber, one lemon, 8-10 mint leaves. Put in 2L of water, let sit overnight in fridge and drink.. Delicious!

I was skeptical at first because I'm not a cucumber fan. But this though is awesome. I have had one days worth and already have tomorrow's batch getting ready in the fridge. For the first time this winter, I had no issues in drinking the amount of water I need for a day.

Plus not only are you getting your daily water, you are getting the benefits out of the lemon, mint and cucumber.. Lemons are great for detoxing and cucumbers are helpful for gassy stomach and the mint is also good for your digestive system.. Perfect to help you in your weightloss goals too.. Double bonus....

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baking A Cake

A friend of mine asked if I could help her by baking a cake for her military cake walk that they are hosting this Saturday. I was really happy to help her out. I love making cakes and even better when I don't have to eat it.. (smiles) I made a double layer spice cake w/ cream cheese frosting and added some crushed candy canes to the top. She mentioned that the event was their belated holiday party so I thought appropriate to add the candy canes..


Thursday, January 5, 2012

All About Running

I'm really happy with my progress in running. I've mentioned before that I started last December 2010 but had an injury that stopped me from running for about 3 months. End of March until mid June. I've been improving on time and distance and can now run more than 3 days a week without feeling pain in my ankle.

Back in October I did a 3.5 mile race called What Women Want Fun Run.. You can read about my post HERE. I wanted to know how far I've come since then so I chose to run 3.5 miles today to see what my time was. Back in October at the race my time was 49:59. Today I ran 3.85 miles so a little more than the race and did it in 38:10.. This is quite the improvement.

I am also working on interval running. Back in October I was only running about 4.8 mph. Now I can easily run 5.5 mph and more depending on the day... (smiles)... With my interval running I start out at 5.5 mph on the treadmill, I run regular for 2/10th of a mile, then 1/10th of a mile I speed it up to 6.2 mph. Then go back to 5.5 mph. I do this for a mile. Somedays it feels great to really stretch your legs on the 6.2 mph like I did today. A couple days ago that was very hard. I guess I'm starting to get used to it. I just needed to change up my running so I am always improving and never staying stagnant.

Not sure when I'll be able to run a marathon but I'd like to do that someday.. Right now my goal is to run a 10K.. I'm working towards that now. I have been able to run 4 miles which is a huge improvement over a short period of time. My next race in March will be a 4 mile race so that's what I'm training for.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Thousand Gifts 400-429

Multiple Blessings, One Blessing @ a Time

400. watching the boys open their gifts on Christmas
401. excitement in the boys faces when you opened the gifts they got for you
402. my youngest turning 10
403. Cub Scout Christmas Party
404. having a great friend come over to celebrate New Year's
405. watching the kids play with sparklers
406. playing games until 2am
407. reading How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your Kids with a group of wonderful ladies
408. The Runner's Devotional
409. Runner's World Magazine
410. 60 degree weather in January in Montana
411. being able to run outside without snow in January
412. Peppermint Mocha's (Skinny, decaf)
413. Christian Music to listen to
414. having my son choose Christian music over any other to listen to
415. hearing my youngest read independantly
416. 15 week of schooling and still loving the curriculum choices
417. having the $ for a gym membership
418. losing 25 lbs
419. reading Ephesians with other bible believers
420. 3 in 30 Challenge
421. 31 Days to Clean Challenge
422. taking the Christmas decorations down to get back into our routine
423. starting school back up without much issue
424. seeing my hubby's buck antlers' displayed on our wall
425. being able to eat venison since November & still have plenty
426. 3 working vehicles
427. PaperBackSwap
428. Facebook so I can keep in touch w/ family and friends
429. being able to take a breath to remember all my blessings

25 Pound Milestone

I know I just posted a few days ago about my weightloss but really excited that I hit my 25 lbs lost milestone today. I've said goodbye to the 170's, the 160's and today I said good bye and good riddence to the 150's...

I had fun taking some pictures today to celebrate this milestone that I've been anticipating for several months.. or should I say over a year.. I really started this weightloss journey back in mid 2010 when I joined Curves. Well I did get a little toned but the weight didn't come off. I then joined Gold's Gym back in December 2010 and after several months of being diligent and committed to going three times a week I started seeing the weight come off in September 2011.

I haven't posted before how much I weighed at the start of all of this, mainly because I was embarrassed for getting to that weight, but I got to 174. (This was the weight I ended up at with my last two pregnancies, but did lose). I slowly ballooned to that weight back in 2009. Kept it steady there for a year and I hated being in my own skin. Mid 2010 is when I said I needed a change.

I am now 149. My original goal was to get to 140. I am keeping that goal but I think I'll keep going once I hit that goal (hopefully by the end of this month). I am only 5' 3". By my size and build I should be between 115-125. Well, I am no spring chicken anymore. I'm 37 with three children under my belt or should I say on my thighs..

But after getting where I am, enjoying the road to this place, I may just keep going to see if I can get back to my high school weight of 120. I know it's going to be hard but I'm up for the challenge! 120 will open many doors for me with my running. Being lighter will help me run longer, and faster. My goal is to run a marathon.. I'm working towards that. Probably won't happen in 2012 but for sure soon.

Here is some pictures I took today to commemorate this wonderful milestone.. 140's and 25 pounds gone! I'm in a solid size 10 and some pants are an 8 so I am real happy with the results so far.. I'll even throw in a before picture so you can really see how far I've come in this journey...

Here I am at my heaviest 174lbs taken Feb 14, 2010..



These three above were taken today at 149lbs

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Word 2012- Balance


Instead of making a list of resolutions for the New Year, I plan to focus on one word in 2012 and that's "Balance". Throughout this year I want to keep in mind the importance of this word. Last year I focused on the word Simplify.. I was overwhelmed with too much committments, struggled with choosing curriculum, and too much clutter in the house to name a few.. I feel I did a good job at simplifying my life in 2011. Eliminating all the baggage of overcommittment and now this year it's all about balancing everything that I've simplified.

Balance in:

*Outside Committments
*Extra Curricular Activities
*Time Management
*Items in the house
*Home Life
*My relationship w/ God

This word means a lot to me. I truly feel it's a perfect fit for what I would like to accomplish this year. I feel it's important to balance with what's above. To put these into realistic proportions which will in turn balance everything out. I look forward to seeing how God uses this word in my life for 2012.

Thanks so much from Only A Breath for designing my 2012 word header. If you'd like to discover your Word for 2012, go to the link HERE and learn more about it..

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details Part 1- Language Arts


For the month of January I am contributing to a Virtual Curriculum Fair.. Each week is based off a certain subject. This week's subject is Language Arts. My sole purpose is to post about how I use the Heart of Dakota curriculum with my 10 year old. We are currently using the Preparing His Heart for His Glory set.

You can go to Homeschool Heart and Mind blog to learn more about how to participate and/or to read this week's curriculum posts.. So far as of this posting there is over 20 homeschool families adding curriculum reviews on the category of Language Arts..

If you've been wondering about curriculum to use for the Fall but haven't decided because you can't find enough information on it? Not enough pictures or details on the publisher's website.. That's what this curriculum fair is all about. To learn more about curriculum that other homeschooler's are currently using and loving. I know it's hard to make a decision on curriculum when you can't thumb through it yourself. Homeschool Heart and Mind thought this fair would help us learn more in depth before purchasing this coming year..


We started using Heart of Dakota this August 2011. I fell in love with the Charlotte Mason approach to how it works. I have been homeschooling since 2004, which puts me in my 8th year and after this time, I've done many things including putting together my own curriculum. After all of the work I've put into schooling, I am really happy to finally find a curriculum that is already put together where I don't have to do much thinking beyond opening the book and starting the day.

I will be breaking up my posts to go along with the subject the fair is talking about so it will help you understand in more depth how Heart of Dakota works, how we are using it and what is working and not working for us and why..

Please come back each week to learn more about Heart of Dakota (HOD)- Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG) if you are interested in using this curriculum or Heart of Dakota in general.. This particular curriculum is intended for 8-10 yr olds. I chose this one this year because my son isn't a solid independant reader when we started this and this allowed me the opportunity to be with him more, but also give him independant work that he can accomplish on his own. At the beginning of the school year he was 9. He just turned 10 a couple weeks ago. This year's curriculum doesn't have as much independant reading which is very helpful for my son this year.

Before I share about the Language Arts part of the program let me quickly describe how Heart of Dakota (HOD) works so you can get a general overview before I dig deeper into it.

HOD is a Charlotte Mason approach to learning. Each subject is designed to take a smaller portion of time than most other curriculum subjects. Allowing your child to learn but in smaller chunks and less pressure to learn large amounts at a time. This year's program Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG) is centered around history. Most of the projects, reading, timeline and studies are based off that days history lesson. It also includes Bible Study, Science, Poetry, Research, Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Storytime. A complete year's curriculum in one.

All of the lessons are build into the curriculum with the exception of the grammar, reading and math subjects. If you choose to use the suggested programs it is layed out for you what lesson to use each day. I would like to mention that we've decided to use a different curriculum than what is suggested by HOD for Language Arts. It suggests that the Grammar curriculum should be Rod and Staff. They have two options to choose from depending on the level your child is at. One is 'Beginning Wisely' and the other is 'Building with Diligence'. I already had a grammar curriculum set for my son before purchasing this curriculum and decided to use this. It didn't hinder his lessons at all through the HOD curriculum so it works for us.

I won't be discussing the Rod and Staff curriculum but what we've chosen to use that still goes with the Charlotte Mason approach. All other Language Arts aspects of the curriculum we use including Vocabulary lessons, and dictation which I will go more in depth here shortly.

Before I go into our grammar curriculum let me explain some lessons in the HOD curriculum we use to help you understand how it works. Each day's lesson is written out for you. Some days you will be doing a grammar lesson, some days a dictation lesson. Once a week you will be doing a vocabulary study which corresponds with that day's history lesson. Your child will use a dictionary to look up the chosen words and write them down in their notebooks or binder. The dictation study is one of my son's favorite's. Instead of vigorous spelling tests this approach allows him to learn to spell through reading sentences. Words appropriate for his age.

As you can see in the above picture, each lesson is numbered. Your child will not move onto the next lesson number until he/she mastered all the words in the passage. There's words below the passages to help the child learn new words and help them with the words in the sentence. Words that rhyme with the highlighted words.

At the beginning of each lesson you will give your child the words written directly off the paper. Allow him/her a chance to look over, read and understand what is written. Then you will give him/her a dictation lesson by saying one sentence at a time. He/she will then say the sentence out loud to you before attempting to write it down. You do this with each sentence until complete.

You then allow him/her to check her work, circling words that are mispelled. You will then have her/him practice these sentences during the week until all words are mastered. You then move onto the next lesson.

This curriculum includes Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 words. Levels 2 and 3 have 102 lessons, and Level 4 has 103 lessons. You work at your own pace. Start at the beginning and have them work through it at their pace. You don't have to complete all levels in one year. It's just there for those children that are more advanced or can work quickly through each lesson.

Alright.. I would like to now discuss the Grammar curriculum that we've chosen to use this year alongside our HOD lessons. Writing Tales Level One by Amy Hastings Olsen.

Writing Tales follows a classical approach to teaching writing based on the 12 ancient levels of instruction from the Greeks called the Progymnasmata. This concept shows the student how to learn to write by copying well written models first. They will also learn the mechanics of the English language by studying and analyzing those same models.

Writing Tales Level 1 is divided into 30 lessons, each one five days long. 15 fables, fairy tales and legends are studied and rewritten. In odd numbered lessons the story is introduced, copywork is done, vocabulary is studied, the grammar lesson is taught and the rough draft written.

Further study is done with grammar lessons, with additional stories to read and analyze. A final draft is written with creative touches added. Grammar is included in the 30 weeks of study. The students will learn basic rules including capital letters, punctuation, quotes, and all eight parts of speech. Your child will recieve handwriting, vocabulary, dictionary skills and spelling.

Your child will concentrate on one fable for two weeks. First week you will be introduced to the story. The story gives the child the help in completing that units grammar lesson. For example I have samples of Lesson 3 as follows.

I feel the best part of this curriculum is the rough draft and final drafts that your child needs to complete in each unit. The first week the final lesson of that week is writing a rough draft. This is a retelling of the story in their own words but they are not able to change anything about how the story takes place.

In the final draft at the end of that unit they get to retell the story by changing things while keeping the same storyline. For example, they can change the character's. This particular story is about mice. He/she can make them any animal they would like. Give them names etc. My son absolutely loves this part of the unit. He gets to be creative in his writing.

Each unit has extra activities to help enforce the concept they are trying to learn. For example above is helping my son learn about nouns. He played a game with me on naming nouns associated with each category.. person, place etc.

Here is another example of extra activities provided for additional learning. Here above my son had to retell the story by creating a little storyboard.

Some of the lessons your child will cut out strips of the story they read and put them in the order of how it happened. I love this because it shows me he's comprehending what he's reading.

About the Teacher's Guide
I really feel the teacher's guide is easy to read and understand. Just like the HOD curriculum, you can literally pick it up and just start. There is a few things that you may need ahead of time but it says before you need it to allow time to obtain it if you don't have it already (library book).


The great part about this curriculum is that it has lesson plans for both individual and co-op classes. It's set up for five days a week but we've altered it to fit our HOD curriculum since HOD is four days a week. We just do an extra lesson at the beginning of each week. Level 1 is geared towards 3rd and 4th grade students. They also have a Level 2 which we plan to use as well for next year since it works so well with what we are using.. On most days we can have each lesson completed within 20 minutes.

Well, here is our Language Arts curriculum we are using and loving! I hope you received enough information about this curriculum to help you understand it better. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.. Would love to help you out with whatever I can.. Come back next week for more information about Heart of Dakota and how we are using it.. Until then....

Check out the other homeschool bloggers that have participated in this week's curriculum fair by clicking on the links below.. Let them know you stopped by, by leaving a comment..

Reading on Time by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family
Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy
Reading and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World
Language Arts that Work for Us by Melissa @ Grace Christian School
Learning Language at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Language Arts by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool Reviews
The Learning of Language by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings
Reading and Spelling: Modifying the Magic by Pam @ Pam and Everyday Snapshots
An In Depth Look at All About Spelling by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Let's Talk About Words by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not a complete sentence!) by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Virtual Curriculum Fair---Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Angie @ Petra School
Whole Language vs. Phonics by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic
It's All About the Art of Language by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning
Watching Movies for Language Arts Class by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest
Only 5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?) by LP @ justpitchingmytent
Playing with Words by Chrissy @ Learning is an Adventure
Language Art at Our House by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Virtual Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog
Playing with Words, the Language Arts by Cindy @ For One Another

Monday, January 2, 2012

Running for 2012

I've been running for a year now. I started back in late December 2010. It was a VERY slow start though as my mind was more ready to run than my physical body was. I ended up injuring my tendon in one leg in January and then the other in March. I was down for about two months after that to heal..

I then had to start running slowly once I no longer felt pain in my tendons because I didn't want to injure it again. It was painful! Around late Summer have I really been able to run more regularly. At least 3 days a week and some weeks more than that. I love running. I now can run 4 miles w/out much issue..

I am trying to run outside as much as I can and stay off the treadmill when possible. The weather has been awesome here in Montana this Winter.. Warm weather in the 40's, 50's and maybe tomorrow a 60 degree day.. I am taking advantage of this because I am sure snow will be in the future and I will be back in the gym running..

Running outside is helping me condition for some races I would like to participate in this year. The first one is coming up in March. The St Patrick's Day race. I did this in 2010.. My very first ever race. I ran the 2 mile race part, but this year I want to race the 4 mile one. The second race is the Ice Breaker. I would like to run the 5 mile for that but we will see.. This is in April.

I've decided to log in my miles for this year to see how many I can run. I haven't set a goal yet but I like to.. I'll have to calculate what I'd like to run but for now I am calculating it on a ticker in the sidebar of this blog. So far I've ran 7.75 miles this year.. Yesterday was 4.5 miles and today was 3.25 miles.. I think I'm off to a great 2012 running year..

3 in 30 Challenge for January

3in30 Challenge

I've been seeing this on other blogs over the past few months and I really think I should participate. I think this would be wonderful to set 3 goals a month to help me become a better person, mother, and wife.. So for January here is my 3 goals I'd like to accomplish or work on..

1. Be more diligent with my time- I really feel like I am wasting time each day. I need to prioritize and set up a time for certain things each day and stick to it. I don't do well with a tight schedule but I can easily set up one for the bigger things that I know should be done daily.. school, meals, chores..

2. Save more money- I feel like I could save more money & stop spending it. So I'd like to take this month to really try to save more than I have in the past. To be more aware of times I go to the store.. Limit my trips will help and to stay away from sites or shows that may entice me to spend money... ( I want to note that we are debt free except our home mortgage. I just would like to save more money than spend it)

3. Do a Bible Study- I really want to get into the Word. I am happy that I read the entire Bible from July-Oct this past year but I really want to do bible studies. The ones specifically for books of the Bible. I'd like to complete one this month.

This is my 3 goals I'd like to work on this month.. We'll see how it works out in the weeks to come.. Click on the button above if you'd like to join in....