Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Classical Conversations Supplements

When I need a break from my kids I have found some CC supplements on the internet...if you need a break too here is a list.

 Magic School bus gets eaten (Cycle 2 Week 2 Types of consumers and parts of the food chain)

Magic School bus wet all over (Cycle 2 week 4   The natural cycles)

Magic School bus gets planted. (Cycle 2 week 4- The natural cycles)

Magic School bus all dried up (Cycle 2 week 5- Animals adapting to environmental change)


Pronouns Schoolhouse Rock








Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why I homeschool my kids :)

My whole life I think I have been a minimalist.  I like having a small house because that means there is a minimal amount of square footage to clean.  I like spending a minimal amount of money for every item I buy.  I like to do the minimum amount of work to complete any project.  So you may ask, why do you homeschool?  Isn't it a lot of work? 
I have prayed about what to do with my children's education since their birth, I never imagined I would be one of those home schooling jumper-wearing "hippies".  But while I was praying I felt like God spoke to me, this is not one occasion where I want you to take the easy minimal route, I want you to home school these children.  
Now that I've been homeschooling for about 6 months, I have to say, that I think it is easy in a lot of ways.  On most days, we get up, no need to rush off anywhere, I get to have my coffee, have a conversation with the kids, it's very relaxing.   Many days we start off by reading books for a while before we start "school".  
I hear tales from my sweet friends, who are rushing off to school, rushing back to school to wait in long car lines to pick up their children, rushing to do homework, rushing to feed the kids supper, rushing off to sports or cub-scouts,  rushing to get their kids into bed and starting all over the next day... and then I think to myself,  maybe, home-schooling is actually the right choice for a minimalist!  :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/4"
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese
6 Cups of Spaghetti sauce, divided ( I like homemade)
1 (16 ounce) Package of mozzarella cheese shredded 
1/2 Cup of parmesan cheese (you need a total of 1 cup of the parmesan cheese)

  1. Sweat the 1/4" slices by sprinkling with sea salt and letting sit for 30 min.
  2. Rinse, pat dry with paper towel get good and dry
  3. Dip slices into beaten eggs then dip in a mixture of 3 Cup breadcrumbs and 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  4.  Place on baking sheet coated with Extra Virgin Olive Oil then bake for 7 minutes at 450 degrees, flip and bake an additional 5-7 minutes depending on how crisp you like it.
  5.  In a 9X13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese.  Sprinkle Basil on top.
  6.   Bake in preheated oven now turned down to 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Notebook...not the movie or the book

Jeanne came up with this idea and I love it!
Step a notebook or find one that you already have that still has some blank pages.

Step two...on the inside of the front cover, write down phone numbers of anyone whose number you need to know frequently but haven't, school, pediatrician, get the point.

Step three...on the first blank page divide the page into four segments...upper right things I need to buy, upper left...things I need to do....

If someone recommends a book, gives you directions, a confirmation number, a website, any information you may need at a later date,  write it in this notebook.  

Instead of having little pieces of paper lying all around the house keep your notebook on the counter or by the phone....

You can use a page a day or a week

I am finding that I get a lot more done with this method, it's easy, cheap and efficient.  


This is a great way to train your child without guilt or screaming.  I got this idea from a friend and it has really helped at our house.  Ethan must get 9 of the 10 categories "X"ed to get the reward.  Right now the reward is getting to play a little Wii at the end of the day.  
So far, he didn't get to play one night since we've instated this chart.  That night there was lots of crying and gnashing of teeth, but now we don't fight about getting school work done, he know the consequences and doesn't like them.  

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trouble with Math

Whether your kids go to public school, private or are home-schooled, this website is a gem.  Sometimes our children have a hard time understanding math when we explain it or even their teacher at school.  So the next time you are stumped go to Khan's Academy.

This man made youtube videos from basic addition to calculus. 
Here is the link

The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Despite being the work of one man, Salman Khan, this 1600+ video library is the most-used educational video resource as measured by YouTube video views per day and unique users per month. We are complementing this ever-growing library with user-paced exercises--developed as an open source project--allowing the Khan Academy to become the free classroom for the World.

The Battle of the CAR SEAT!!

The Battle of the car seat.  This lesson took me a long time to learn and I'm not sure I've mastered it, I get another chance and child to work on this one.  I've tried screaming, spanking, sheer force and it really didn't work at getting the kids into their car seats willingly.  Until my sister told me this nugget of wisdom.

  • Keep little treats in the car such as a little box of raisins or orange tic-tacs and after the child gets in the car seat, they get a treat.  My kids get in the car now and are excited to jump into there seats and wait for their treat!

Youtube for teaching your kids

First let me start with a youtube all of the video before you show them to your kids.  There are people out there who are putting inappropriate material in the middle of the videos.

But let's not throw out the baby with the can be a great teaching tool, you just need to do some prescreening first.

We started reading little biographies that we found in the library.  My oldest child is 5 so they aren't large books only about 20 sentences long.  

After reading these books we would sit down and watch a short video on the historical figure and we'd find these videos on youtube.

For example, we studied about Benjamin Franklin, then went to youtube and found some cartoon clips from liberty kids.  
It made his life come alive for my kids.

When teaching math I have found some skip counting songs they really help teach multiplication.  
Here is a link to skip counting by 4's
4  8  12  16  20  24  28  32

There are many ways to make learning more interesting, this is just one we like.

My Favorite Things :)

Seeds Family Worship
This is a collection of music that is straight from scripture.  It states that it's for kids, but I have to tell you I LOVE these CDs.  My kids and I rock to these songs as we head down the highway and we have a lot of scripture memorized from listening to these songs.  We own the entire Seeds Family Worship collection.  You can listen to a sample of the music on amazon.
Seeds of Courage
Seeds of Faith
Seeds of Encouragement

Considering Refinancing?

We refinanced our house back in December.  I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal.  I had heard that it was a real hassle, but went thru with it anyway.  Here is what I learned.

I had heard that if you can get a rate of 1% lower or more, than your current rate that it would be worth it to refinance.

In order to qualify to refinance, we needed to have at least 20% of the principle balance paid off of the current appraised value (please note, not 20% of what we paid for the house).

The appraiser came out and "inspected" our home and then told us it was worth the same amount as the house that had just sold across the street.  Basically, he didn't look at anything except to figure out an appraisal .  (So if your wondering if you have paid off 20% of your home appraised value, I suggest going to and finding a similar house in your neighborhood that has sold recently and how much it sold for).

After having our home appraised,  I've learned that you need to discuss upgrades with the appraiser. ( i.e. we have granite counters, we have a pool, a hot tub, a pool heater, a new get my drift). You want your home to get appraised as high as possible especially if your not sure you have paid down your mortgage 20%.

When discussing different rates with the mortgage broker, decide how long you are willing to stay in the home.  We didn't want to commit to staying in this house very long so we didn't choose the lowest rate because the closing cost would be higher.  We choose a rate that would only require us to stay in this home for 4 months after the refinance to cover closing costs.

We went from a 30 year fixed at 6% to a 15 year fixed at 4.75%, our payments every month went up $7.  In other words, we took 9 years off the length of our loan (because we lived here for 6 years) at the cost of $7 more a month.

We used a company called Quicken Loans.  We had a really great experience with them, everything was done online and then they sent a notary to our home and we signed all the papers at our house.  We switched from a 30 year fixed to a 15 year fixed loan.  They did require us to pay $500 to lock in a rate.  So you don't want to call them until you have figured out what percentage of your principle balance you have paid off.

Crown ministries has a bunch of great calculators to help you figure out all this mortgage stuff.
Here is the Link

Teaching Syllables

Teaching children how to break apart words into syllables is necessary in teaching them how to write.  I watched dozens of youtube videos and I thought this one was the easiest to explain to my son.  

The video is made by a group of kindergarten teachers.

After I watched this video I sat down and did the same demonstration explaining syllables to Ethan.

I also found a website that he can practice counting syllables. (this game doesn't work with Safari, but it does work with Firefox)
Here is the link.