Monday, December 17, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Oh, my, has the Webkinz craze hit our house! My first description of these cute little animals is "Beanie Babies on crack" and I bet the Beanie Baby folks are hating life right now that they didn't think to add the computer component to their little guys. I mean really, are the Webkinz anything new besides the fact that they provide online access to children to play interactively with their Webkinz and even their friends' Webkinz? They are just stuffed animals, just like the Beanie Babies. It is AMAZING what people will think of just to get people to buy more stuff!
If you don't know what Webkinz are, they are stuffed animals that come with a special tag. When you get home, you use the code from your tag to register online, where your Webkinz gets a room, and where you can earn money to buy clothes, furniture, and other goodies. They are virtual goodies, and they are bought with "Kinz Cash." You can invite your friends' Webkinz over to your room, and even meet kids you don't know and play with them online. It is actually a really great learning experience for kids, and while I hate that it initially encourages consumerism, it really teaches them the value of things when they spend or save their Kinz Cash. It is also a way for kids to show their generosity. My son earns money and then sends gifts (virtually) to his friends or sisters. It's so sweet!
Here comes the mom in me.... I didn't just go out and buy my kids stuffed animals. They earned them. We developed a point system, and they got so many points for doing certain things. We were dealing with first time obedience, so every time they did something the first time I asked, they got a point. They also got points for feeding the dog, cleaning up, helping with dinner, and keeping their rooms clean. Once they earned 25 points, they could buy a Webkinz. They each received their first Webkinz "free" as a gift from their dad at the zoo. They also both received one as a gift. The final three were earned. They are not allowed to get more than 5, and they knew this going into it. Which is fine for them, because they got turned on to Build-a-Bear and now they want accessories for their animals! Yikes!
Anyway, if you haven't looked past the craziness of Webkinz, check it out as a learning tool for children. My daughter just turned 5 and is able to work with the website fairly well even though she is just in the beginning stages of reading. The website is http://www.webkinz.com/ and they make GREAT Christmas gifts. You can't buy them at the website, but you can see more about the process. You can buy them locally, on eBay, or Google "Webkinz" and I'm sure you will find some online stores! Here is our Webkinz family:
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Friday night my kids and I went to our friends' Christmas program which was in Wichita- an hour away from our home. It was very nice, as it always is, and I remember thinking how exceptionally long the pastor's message was at the end. If you had never heard how to pray and receive Christ, you definitely would remember when he was done! I really wanted to leave, as we still had to drive home. But God said, "Stay."
Tuesday, Thomas read from his phonics Bible the story of Adam and Eve. We discussed the implications of what they had done, what it meant for us today, and I was able to tie it to the things the pastor said Friday night. I did not want to push, so I simply said, "one day when you're ready, you will pray the sinner's prayer and ask Jesus into your heart."
That night, Thomas kept coming out of his bed for one reason or another. Finally, close to midnight, he came to my bedroom in tears. I asked what was wrong, to which he replied, "I'm ready! I'm afraid, Mommy. I want to go to heaven!"
Because Anna was sick and lying next to me asleep in the bed, we went back to his bedroom and sat under his space rocket bunk bed. The string of Christmas tree lights gave the perfect lighting to this very special moment. We talked, and then prayed. Thomas asked Jesus into his heart!
I am so excited about this decision, and want to tell everyone. He has always had such a special little heart, and I know that God is going to use him in a mighty way! If you would like to share your little one's story, please feel free to comment. I love hearing good news!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I know you are perfect. I know you would never do the things I have done. But just for fun, let's propose that we all make mistakes, we all have baggage, and every once and a while, that baggage rears it's ugly head. Have you ever yelled at your kids? Ever thrown anything? Do they see you procrastinating? Do you have a bad habit like smoking? Do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks? Are you depressed? Do you eat junk food all day? Do you see where I'm going?
Everything we say and do affects our children, and not always for the better. I have been a mom for 6 years and 7 months, and I JUST learned what that really means. It means that I have a lot of changing to do, and that I am extremely fortunate to have the very best tools available to me to help me change my negative behaviors.
Before I introduce the tools, I want to share how all of this came to me. First, I recognized that I have many faults that I'm just not happy with. Second, I wondered how to fix them. On some level, I thought, "I am the way I am because God made me that way." But that was a cop out. Third, I prayed about them. Once God saw that I was ready to hear what I needed to hear, He provided a solution. One day I went to the computer and received an email that changed my life.
This email came at the RIGHT time, after I had already recognized my faults, wanted to fix them, and prayed about them. Had any of these things not happened, I don't think I would have been ready for the information that came my way. Isn't it funny how these things happen?
The email was from Mike Brescia, with Think Right Now! International. I had never heard of Mike, nor had I ever searched out self-help or personal development products. I don't know why I never did, because I certainly needed them! His line of products are designed to help you with anything and everything you could possibly struggle with. To learn more about the products, click on the link above.
The reason I wanted to talk about this in my blog is because we are THE biggest influence on our children. Period. As my children get older I see myself in them, the good and the bad. And it's not too late to work on the bad before it gets out of hand. My main priority as they grow and mature is to keep them close and have a good relationship with them so that they can talk to me about absolutely anything. My personality flaws were not going to work toward that end, so it is MY responsibility to fix that. I am also mentioning it here because so far the products I've used have been HIGHLY effective. As busy moms, these tools are absolutely the BEST on the market. You simply play the CD's in the background and go about your day. They are not lecture or how-to audios, they simply improve your thought patterns as they relate to the issue you want to improve. All you do is listen!
I hope and pray that someone comes across this post who is ready to learn this information. Is it you? No matter where you are in your journey, remember that your kids deserve the very best mom or dad that you can possibly be. And never forget that you are passing down to them everything that they witness. Can you say that it's all good?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Before I send you to learn more, I wanted to ask you a question. Have you taught your children about the value of quality, and why it is important that we support US manufacturers as much as possible? My children are 5 (birthday last week!) and 6, and they are already getting that education by being home with me. I'll never forget the conversation we had at Taco Bell when my son said that the next time we went to Taco Bell he was going to get a kid's meal because he liked the toy. (As if we don't have 500 similar toys floating around our house already!) We get kids' meals at McDonalds, because it just makes sense, but I *despise* the toys that come with them!! Anyway, I explained that we would NOT be getting the meal just for the toy because there were poor children in China that were working their fingers to the bones for that little toy that is going to end up in the trash, taking up landfill space! It went something like that, so I'm thinking it was probably "that time of the month!" Anyway, you get the idea. We really need to think about our shopping experiences and what we are teaching our children through them.
Long story short, Soft Star Shoes are made in the US and last forever. That is a good sign. I would rather put my money into products like theirs, and honestly, I realize that if everyone were like me, our economy would plummet. So would China's! :o)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Humboldt penguins have a black and white underside, with a black band along the chest. Their body is plumper in the middle because of a fat layer that protects them from the cold. These penguins weigh between 9-11 pounds with a body length of 26 inches. Like all birds, penguins have feathers, but their feathers are modified to help them “fly” through the water. These outer feathers also act like a diver’s wetsuit and keep the cold oceanic water away from the soft, fluffy down feathers that keep their body warm. Strong, stiff flippers help them swim up to 7.5 Kph (5 mph).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
As an eBay Consultant, one question I get from a lot of people is, "How do I even start on eBay?"
Suzanne Wells is an eBay Power Seller, author of "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide to Successful eBay Selling," eBay Consultant, and mom of 2 in Atlanta, GA. You can visit her website at http://www.ebaysellingcoach.com/ for free eBay selling resources and tips, such as podcasts and eBooks, and discussion forum.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The book that I am using to teach my son and daughter about time and money is The Complete Book of Time & Money. The book is geared for grades K-3, and you can use it to teach the concepts, enrich school learning, improve concepts often misunderstood, and to "catch up" an older student who may have missed it the first time. I began using this book when my son was 5 for Kindergarten. He is still going through it, and my daughter has started her book at age 4 (almost 5). In addition to other math work, I usually give them one page about time and one page about money. The book starts out very basic, and gets harder gradually. My son has been able to grasp the concepts well, but I can tell that if we don't use the books for a few days or a week, he will start to have trouble with some concepts. For that reason, this book is a great book to do over the summer. It amazes me that parents think nothing about children taking off an entire summer. That is why so many math books start out with review for the first 3 chapters or so- because they know that most students have forgotten the concepts. Teaching time and money reinforces other math concepts, such as adding and subtracting, counting by fives, and fractions.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Last year, my daughter Anna was Dorothy, and my son Thomas was an astronaut. We happened to already have these costumes, so no money came out of our pockets just for the sake of the holiday. They still play in these costumes, so we definitely got our money's worth! Thomas won the costume contest and got $5! That did not go over well with Anna, who wanted to win, too. But she was definitely the most beautiful Dorothy there. She was the "after" Dorothy- remember when they give her and the others a makeover in the movie? The year before that, they were Thing 1 and Thing 2 from the Cat in the Hat. We don't have pictures of that, but they were cute.
This year, my son chose to be a policeman between that, a doctor, and a pilot. We found a great place to shop for Halloween costumes in a new store that literally JUST opened up. I think you will LOVE this place:
When I shop for costumes, I don't like buying the cheap polyester ones that don't make it past the evening. To be honest, I usually shop after Halloween and buy costumes on clearance. And if they wear one for the next Halloween, great! And if not, they still play in them. Once our costume arrives, we will take pictures and share. Or you can click the banner above and see their wonderful selection of costumes. If your son is like mine and wants to be a policeman, definitely check it out! You will be supporting a work at home mom, which I always try to do.
I'm hoping that my daughter will want to be Pippi Longstocking. We need to go to the library and find a book or movie so that she can see who she is. Or maybe she will think about being "Annie." She also has a cute "Heidi" dress that she got for her birthday last year. It's not a real Heidi dress, but a dirndl that my mom got from Germany on eBay. Anna loves it! If I had complete control over my children :o) I would get my son some Lederhosen and dress them as Hansel and Gretel. Yes, I would be the witch! But, they do have their own minds, so I will settle for a police officer...and the five costumes Anna flips back and forth on between now and Halloween!
My son asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. I said, "Your mom." He looked at me funny, as if saying, "really?" He is old enough to wonder why they are dressing up, but Mommy is not. Gosh, I don't know WHAT I would be. All I know is that every year is a mystery as to how the weather will turn out, and it's really a pain trying to figure out costumes that won't kill them in 70 degree weather or freeze them out in 30 degree weather. So if I can get that much figured out, I will be content going as "Mom," carrying the flashlight, and making sure the candy is sorted at the end of the night. Oh, and don't get me started on the candy...YIKES!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Perhaps just considering that freaks you out. Maybe you are a planner. I would like to be, but the fact is, I'm just not. So many mornings I wake up with this question. And you know what? It always works out for the best!
The next day, I took that same information and put it into a chart. This is a great learning tool for visual learners who like to see information they have gathered in an organized manner. I was also able to phrase the terms I used with age appropriate words even though some of the resources were for older learners. We went over the chart. We also included my daughter, who is 4. (My son is 6). That morning I had seen our pattern blocks still sitting out, so I got the idea to create our own fish out of the blocks, and we could make up a story about them. The kids had so much fun!
Here is my six year-old's story and fish:
The Little Fish Gets Eaten
One day there was a HUGE shark. His name was Sharky. He had a little friend named Zoie. He and Zoie went hunting for fish. They didn’t catch any. So Sharky was so hungry that he ate Zoie. Then, he met another friend who was also a shark. Those two were best friends forever.
Notice the embellishments? Yep, she's all girl.
Anyway, we had a fun time with it. It was a good break from the normal day to day lessons that we do. And none of it was planned, so that makes it even better. I have learned that God plans everything, even the little "coincidences" of stories and lessons that are about the same subject or time period that are easily tied together. Really, you can't plan this stuff!
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
- safety concerns,
- curriculum preferences (a religious curriculum over a secular one),
- inferior educators in the public schools,
- unnatural socialization in schools,
- concerns of indoctrination of our children in schools, and
- simply recognizing that a parent is the best teacher for his/her child.
When I went to our "Kindergarten Round-up" last year to learn more about the public school, some really good questions began flooding through my brain. What if Thomas got hungry in the middle of the day? What if he wanted a drink? Would he have to drink nasty water from the water fountain? Would he be given candy every day as a reward? Does the room have carpet? How can a carpeted room with 20 5-6 year olds be healthy? Will they use safe cleaners? Do they spray the school with pesticides?
I recognize that most parents would not even think about these things. But to parents like me, they all matter. Why would I provide the healthiest home possible, and then send my child to school all day? A school where they are sure to use chlorox, toxic floor cleaners, and pesticides in the classroom. Think I'm crazy? I just received a newsletter from Dr. Mercola with a link to an article stating that 80 percent of schools are applying pesticides. I live in a small town, where they spray the ball park for mosquitoes, and when a lice outbreak occurs, they "treat the room" (whatever that means) without so much as a letter to parents. People in our town still smoke like chimneys, so you can see that we wouldn't get much sympathy if we said anything!
So to my list of "reasons for homeschooling" I now add, "providing a healthy learning environment." We will learn in our purified air, drink distilled water, clean with non-toxic cleaners, and eat healthy food when we're hungry!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Head lice are small insects that live off of human blood. Head lice do not fly or hop, but they are accomplished travelers, crawling all over the universe looking for hospitable heads on which to live. Head lice can easily be gotten from church, mission trips, outreach opportunities, spending time with friends, and at any activity that children attend. Even if you home church and home school, your children can get lice! If you don’t know what to do when it happens, it can be a long and costly battle until you finally see the end of it.
Like most parents, I always hoped my children would not get head lice. I had no plan except that I knew I would never use chemical lice shampoos on my children. These products are pesticides that are unsafe for use, particularly for pregnant women and children under two. Being a mother of six, I have spent quite a few years either pregnant or with babies and toddlers…or both! Due to the fact that head lice bite the scalp to live, when we use pesticide products on our children we are introducing these chemicals directly into their bloodstream via the open sores on their head. That combined with the fact that our skin absorbs everything we put on it was enough to let me know I had to find a safe alternative.
A few years ago I discovered head lice on my children. I was horrified! My youngest little boys got their heads shaved immediately since they had quite an infestation and I knew that they would have a hard time sitting still for multiple rounds of combing out nits.
For the older children I first tried home remedies such as olive oil and vinegar. We found both options messy, illogical, and ineffective. I realized that the bottom line was that all the live lice and eggs have to come out of the hair. A fairly simple goal! An online contact told me about a battery-powered lice comb called the Robi Comb, so I bought one and went to work.
The Robi Comb actually electrocutes lice as you comb through the hair and they get stuck in it’s teeth. We were amazed at the amount of lice we found, and how tiny and nearly transparent some of them were. Newly hatched lice are almost impossible to see, so we were very glad our Robi Comb could catch them. We followed up with a metal egg comb to get out all the eggs, and just repeated this process again and again until we were confident that all the lice were gone.
Once we were through with the Great head Lice Battle of 2004 I did some thinking and some research. I knew that I never wanted my children to get lice again, and I wondered if there was anything safe that I could use to help prevent it. Sure enough, I found that the wonderful world of herbs offers many choices for this purpose. I started tinkering around with a formulation until I finally had a product that smelled great, didn’t irritate the skin, wasn’t oily, and worked well. My husband and I eventually got started selling our Supermom’s No-Lice Hair and Body Spray in 2005 and we have been so glad to help other families find a way to prevent and eliminate head lice safely and effectively.
Erica Johns is owner of Supermom’s No-Lice Advice, a business that is dedicated to helping families prevent and eliminate head lice safely and effectively. Erica is working toward becoming a Certified Natural Health Professional and also offers many more products to help families live healthier through Supermom’s Health and Wellness. Erica and her husband Dave have been married since 1991 and are the happy parents of 6 children.
Friday, August 3, 2007
But the second day into it, I got a call from my friend, a fellow homeschooler. "Is everything okay?" she wondered. Not knowing what she meant, my mind began racing. But she quickly filled me in. The day before, Thomas, my six year old, had gotten upset during story time. He did not want to participate in the group activity. He is GREAT at sitting quietly and listening, but when it comes to him participating in an activity that is not on "his schedule" or for which he does not know the outcome, he panics. He wants to know what, when, where, why, and how, before he agrees to take part in the "unknown" and of course, most people either won't understand this, or won't take the time to explain.
This is when I really started thinking about the way people view homeschooled children. Other parents would look at my child and immediately think, "oh, see what homeschooling does to children? He can't handle x, y, OR z!" I know that this happens. I've seen forums and blogs discussing just this thing and people talk about how "dysfunctional" many homeschoolers are, especially when they go off to college and can't "relate." Do they ever think that children were this way BEFORE homeschooling?
No, they usually want to find a reason to be comfortable with the school system. It's the easier way, the less time consuming way, and the way of the mainstream. It's easy to make a case out of one experience a person has had: "Well, when I was in college there was a homeschooled girl that quit after one quarter simply because she couldn't fit in..." First of all, I wouldn't want to "fit in" with most college activities, and secondly, it's ONE person! Basing your opinion on one person is ludicrous, and - the easy way out.
My daughter was in pre-school for a short time, and I remember asking her if she'd like to, "stay home with Mommy and Thomas?" She jumped at the chance! I already knew that a little girl had pushed her down on the playground (which the teacher didn't see, and therefore she felt there was no justice, making it even harder to get over) but she seemed willing and eager to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Months later, she told me, "I didn't want to go to school with those babies!" Sure enough, her pre-school friends seemed "behind" socially and intellectually but I never imagined she would pick up on this. She was ready to play with others, and they were still stuck in themselves. Imagine the torture this was for her! She is now four, and while I have held back on teaching her, is on a 5-6 year level socially, conceptually, and even in motor skills. Because her birthday is in November, she would have to wait another year for kindergarten if she went to public school. Can you imagine?!
My children have participated in dance, scouts, soccer, choir, church, homeschool groups, and other activities. They are not thrust into a classroom with same-age kids all day long with only one moderator to make sure everything is okay. While my son is very analytical about EVERYTHING, everyday his comfort level improves to where he is actually almost social! My daughter will talk to everyone who looks her way. If you want to make a case against socialization of homeschoolers, you don't want to look at my family! Because you simply will not be able to draw any conclusions, just like you can't draw conclusions on that "one girl in college..."
Monday, July 30, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Sensible Addition assumes that the child already has an understanding of addition and what it means to add two numbers together. It does provide suggestions for teaching the addition concept, only to let parents know what their child should have learned in school. While most homeschooling parents understand learning the concept vs. memorizing facts, many parents who depend on teachers to teach the concepts may not realize that their child is having trouble memorizing facts for concepts that don't make sense to them. This is where math starts to go "down hill" for many children, who continue to struggle as more math concepts are built on shaky ground.
With Sensible Addition, any parent can sit down with a few manipulatives, find out how much their child understands about adding numbers, and move forward with practice, and finally with memorizing addition facts. You can learn more about teaching addition facts and what Sensible Addition is (and isn't), and buy a kit for your child today!