Monday, December 31, 2012

Living in Virginia

It makes no sense really. I'm not from here. My husband isn't from here. None of our family live here. What in the WORLD are we doing living in the middle of nowhere Virginia?
A series of interesting events have led us to raise our family in the southern hills of good old VA, but that's another story for another time. Today I'd like to share with you briefly the 
        Top 5 Reasons WHY we LOVE VIRGINIA!!!

5- Cheap Land with Low Property Taxes
Need I say more? We purchased our home and land for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in other states. And the taxes are seriously next to nothing!
4- NO SCHOOL TAXES
Never thought I would say this but, I love the Virginia Lottery! Not because I gamble, I don't, but because it funds public school education in Virginia. That's right, I pay nothing. Which is not the case in many other states. I don't send my children to public school so I think it is wonderful to live in a state where homeschooling families aren't forced to fund public education.
3- Home birth Friendly: 
Each state has it's only laws regarding home births. Fortunately, it is legal in Virginia to have a proper home birth with a legally certified experienced midwife. Again, the red tape is much thicker in other states concerning home births!
2- Homeschool Friendly: 
The first question I get asked by others when they find out I'm homeschooling is, "Do you have to report to the public schools and use their curriculum." And my answer is yes, and no. There are two ways to homeschool in Virginia and I love it. One- you can choose to send a "Letter of Intent" Form, each year to your school district. They keep up with you as a homeschooling family on a yearly basis and you report back to them with standardized test scores at the end of each school year. Or TWO, you can take the "Religious Exemption" path. You send one letter in when your child is school aged and the public school system has no more dealings with you, concerning that child, ever, again. For parents who do not think it is the government's job to educate their children and choose to responsibly educate at home, this is a huge plus. 
1- An AMAZING Church: 
There are amazing churches everywhere. In Virginia, America and worldwide. The important thing is, we found, as a family where we believe we are called to serve at this time in our lives, and we are so thankful to be a part of the vision of our local church!



December Homeschooling Highlights


TOP THREE HOMESCHOOLING HIGHLIGHTS
DECEMBER


3- Sabbath Meal
After learning about the days of creation, the My Father's World Curriculum suggests that you do a traditional Jewish Sabbath meal when talking about the "Day of Rest." We experienced the bread, grape juice and the blessings, it was a great family bonding event.
2- Paper Mache Volcano
Loved this experiment. It was quite a process but the kids loved it. Day One we made a volcano using a milk jug and covered it with paper mache. The next day, the kids painted it. Once that dried, they added rocks and acorns for houses and lakes. Then finally we got out the baking soda and vinegar and let her rip!
1- Meteor Shower
That's right, it was the middle of the night and sure enough, we woke our older two up and drug them out to the couch to watch out the window. We saw a few in only a few minutes but we couldn't pass up this awesome opportunity, sooooo, we found our military issued sleeping bags, set them up on the back porch and stayed there, in the cold, for over an hour. We saw over 50 shooting stars and made some pretty neat memories that night!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Homeschool Space


Here's a snapshot of our homeschool space. Pictured here is my desk, easel, and old-school screen that yes, I actually have been using with a projector for math! The small desk is for my toddler, and not pictured are two desks for my older two. I like having the space to go and "do school." But I'll be honest with you, much of the reading is done upstairs on the couch and projects at the kitchen table. Since my oldest is only 5, there is just something about having the "structure" that helps me keep my sanity with these little ones. Sure we do nature walks and tons of hands-on activities, but having the desks helps them stay in control and the structure not only helps them but me as well!
 
THRIFT SCHOOLING IN ACTION

~ 80's Style Overhead Projector: PURCHASED in a "lot" at a School board Auction

~ Bulletin Board: FREE an old privacy screen, upcylced

~ Plastic Desk and Chair: FREE Yard sale leftovers

~ Two Wooden Desks: $5 each at Goodwill 

~ Abeka Cursive Flashcards: Under $5 on EBAY 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PhotobucketI've recently received a subscription to Schoolhouseteachers.com and am loving it! With the increased use of technology in the classroom and in homeschooling, many websites dedicated to providing parents and teachers with teaching materials and curriculum have come to the surface. I still consider myself a homeschooling newbie, testing out the waters with my methods and sometimes am overwhelmed with the variety of options! I wasn't sure what would make The Old Schoolhouse's curriculum, Schoolhouseteachers.com stand out from the rest, but let me tell you, it does! It has qualities unique to what I've seen so far and I am excited to be able to add this to my curriculum.

PRICE
I was pleasently surprised that the cost of membership is only
 $5.95 monthly. Your first month only costs $1! 
FULL YEAR MEMBERSHIP  
  $49 
(org $64.26)


RESOURCES
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You are provided with UNLIMITED access to over 25 subjects ranging from Pre-K to High School. What I love about the program is that you are not simply provided with a simple PDF download. You actually get the sense that you are a part of a class. For some classes the lessons are posted weekly. Other classes provide you with teaching videos and others not only provide you with their personally written worksheets and lessons, but provide links and resources throughout the web for further study. Other resources include lapbooks, writing prompts, and unit studies.


DAILIES
I've enjoyed using the grammar worksheets for my child in the lower elementary level. Since it is the Christmas season, I love how they incorporated the story of the Birth of Jesus with learning about nouns. I've used it as a supplement to our current curriculum but there are plenty of materials this could easily be used as a full curriculum.
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Some of the subjects found in the dailies section include:

~ Spelling Lists 
~ Writing
~ Copywork
~ This Day in History
~ Math
~ Games
~ Astronomy
 and more!!!

EXTRAS
~ The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
~ Access to video/audio recordings of Schoolhouse Expos
~ Schoolhouse Planners
~ Monthly Bonus E-Books

This curriculum is actually a division of  The Old Schoolhouse which is a FREE monthly digital magazine featuring popular homeschool authors such as Brian Ray, Jessica Hulcy and Diana Waring.

Recommendation
I would highly recommend this curriculum as a great choice for my Thrifty Mom readers. The price can't be beat for the quality of the product received. 

To read more reviews of this program from the Crew
Click Below!!
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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
~

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Share the Bounty by Benita Long Review


Share the Bounty: Finding God's Grace Through the Spirit of Hospitality by Benita Long is a cookbook from the creators of Come to the Table. This is the first cookbook that I have reviewed on the blog and was looking forward to seeing how the author would incorporate the concept of hospitality in a cookbook. The Bible references to the concept of hospitality many times. 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers... Hebrews 13:2
Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled... Titus 1:8
An overseer must be above reproach, hospitable, able to teach...1 Timothy 3:2

What a neat concept of a book, I thought to myself, a book chock full of tasty recipes packed with Biblical references to hospitality. Well, when I first received the book I must say I was impressed with the photos and the recipes! Also, it is a hardcover and quite large, around 8"x10" I would say. A perfect size to add to your collection or a wonderful gift. The recipes are inviting.  "Fireside Soup" is one that I tried immediately and loved! A good hearty soup with sausage, beans, and the works. I would definitely feed this to guests!

Other recipes that looked enticing include:

~ Strawberry Rhubarb Bread
~ Shrimp and Yellow Rice Salad
~ Sunday Rib Roast
~ Basil Chicken Salad

What I was not so fond of with this cookbook were the quotations found throughout. Sure the Bible was quoted and so were church history leaders such as Martin Luther. I also did enjoy the quotes from people like Helen Keller and Mother Theresa, but then there were some odd quotes from secular musicians. Yoko Ono? Led Zeppelin! And others. I am not the type of person that believes you need to become like the world to win the world. Jesus is who He is and that in itself is powerful enough. 

Dial Holiday Foaming Hand Wash


Anyone else have their Christmas shopping done yet? I seriously can't believe that mine is done already and there are still two weeks before the big day! I usually am a last minute shopper, hitting up the stores the week before. I guess this year I was determined to chip away slowly at it throughout the year, so it wouldn't sneak up at me. Surprisingly enough I was the same way with Thanksgiving. I was bold enough to hold it at my house this year, and even though we only had one other family join us, there is still planning and preparation involved. I was sure to focus on menu planning and stocking up on what I needed so I wouldn't be running to the store everyday the week of thanksgiving. Yet, what I did forget, were the cute little holiday accessories. You know what I mean. The cute thanksgiving plates, the napkins etc. Well, the day before Thanksgiving arrives and so did a package at my door! In it were two full sized bottles of Dial Foaming Hand Soap

For the Christmas season, Dial has a holiday line out with four cheerful designs! Choose from a santa, snowman, candy cane and Christmas tree scene. Our family personally does not celebrate santa, nor do we set up a tree. So if I had  choice, I probably would have picked the other two designs but soap is soap and I love how it foams! It comes out white and red, almost like a candy cane and smells wonderful! This would most certainly cheer up any guests that were coming over for the holidays and doubles as a cute decoration in your bathroom or kitchen as well! 




Saturday, December 1, 2012

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