Ahhhh...A Day Of Rest...

Winter blahs got you down? 
Surprise the kids today on Valentines Day!!
Shut those school books,
Let that laundry pile grow higher,
Grab some pillows and blankets,
Head to the living room and camp out for the day!
Some days you just need to chill out and this is one of those!
Enjoy those little ones while they are still yet little,
Play games with your junior high kids,
Hang with your teenagers...
Let them all have cookies and hot cocoa for lunch,
If you have the fixin's create some fun treats like the guy below.

Homeschool Mom, you are doing great! Create memories that last a lifetime with your kids and 
crack the school books open tomorrow...

p.s. It's Valentines Day, grab a nice hot shower before hubby comes home and have the kids do a quick 15 minute pick up of the living room before dad gets home.

Homeschool Rooms & Homeschool Spaces

I love to look at other home educator’s schoolrooms to get ideas for our school space.
This one is from Ikea and very COOL! You can see more pictures on Confessions of a homeschooler blog at  http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2011/08/our-schoolroom-on-ikea.html#comment-32408

Look how neat and orderly this is. WOW!!

Now, I will post a picture of our humble little home school area,
we use workboxes.

The Adoptive Mom Homeschooling An Only Child's version of the Workboxes, decorated using my Circut machine (love that thing!) and the Locker Talk cartridge. My Circut is my must have homeschool tool.

Using stacking drawers/bins from Hobby Lobby bought using my 40% off coupon of course!

Above is my built-in workbox from our home remodel. This space was two large windows in our dining room. Our contractor thought I was crazy when I ask him to do this, until he saw how many books we had! lol. Once he finished it and I had all the books and the drawers up there, he was pretty impressed by my idea.

This is our DREAM schoolroom! hahaha.. Yes, it is a dream, especially since our homeschooling days are numbered, might be something for a Veteran Homeschool Mom to enjoy.

I could not leave out my favorite home education sign that hangs in my dining room, the homeschool room. It’s from my friend and fellow homeschooling mom Sue. She gave it to me for Christmas a few years back, as she knows I love snowmen and I like to keep them up year round. I just love this! lol.

Moreover, yes, for those of you that don't homeschool or are new to the concept, we do take snow days off here and there. However, most often the subject matter or the conversations are just too exciting to stop for a snow day. Nevertheless, if the public school kids are outside playing or if they come knock on our front door, we do head outside for some playtime.

Homeschool Graduation Day...It's Here Already...

This is right where we are, hard to believe that we are done homeschooling. I came across Lee Binz website Lee Binz: TheHomeScholar back around the 7th grade when I was looking into homeschooling high school and thinking it was NOT POSSIBLE!!! Lee has some great ideas and tips and her Webinars are totally incredible and so full of great information that even the Homeschooled Young Man could be caught listening in to them!

Once I catch my breath, maybe life will slow down a bit, it's been a wild ride and busy time with college visits, applications, essays and fun stuff like that! We enjoyed our last homeschool convention and were so blessed to spend that time learning from college guidance counselor talks that were given. It was also a melancholy time of reflecting on the years gone by and a sad, but inexpensive time of shopping the vendor hall. It was sad to look at all the new curriculum's out there, yet have no need to buy anything. Of course I bought myself some goodies...lol.

We are embarking on some exciting uncharted territory for us with some interesting twists and turns along the way. But as the Homeschooled Young Man always tells me "God's got this." or "The Lord always takes care of us, don't worry." Got to love that little guy (well a big guy now!), who is now taller than me. And it's become obvious...lol.

Just turned 16 years old and graduating high school...WOW!

Graduation Day was a wonderful experience. One of our graduation requirements was that a speech had to be presented, no perimeters given, just a speech. I was totally not expecting what our son said during the speech, he left me speechless which is pretty hard to do! The Homeschooled Young Man spoke of many things, including the sacrifice that his Mom and Dad made to live on one income, to sacrifice the years of earning potential that I had, he mentioned some of the shenanigans that he pulled as a homeschooled student and recounted some of this favorite times. All the while his Momma shook and quaked with tears streaming. His first grade teacher was in the audience (now a homeschool Mom of 3 boys) had lost it right about the time that I did, she understood exactly what our son was saying from his heart.

The true blessing was that the Homeschooled Young Man spoke all of this from the heart, with no notes (which drives Homeschool Momma crazy because you must write notes for a speech in a rough draft form and then write the final draft notes on lined index cards!!!). There were not many dry eyes in the room, most of whom knew us from the very beginning before he was even born. They had wondered how this whole homeschooling thing worked and now they were enjoying the fruit of our efforts and the wisdom that the Lord had imparted upon us early on to homeschool.
Wow, what an exciting day, Homeschooled Young Man's birthfamily was with us for the day to celebrate (along with some of their friends), sadly without his birthmother who was killed by a drunk driver over Thanksgiving break in 2006 as she was driving home from grad school. But her memory is still with us and alive. For without her, we would not be parents. God is good, all the time, in the good and in the bad, God is good all the time.

Of course we have to have a graduation cake with our homeschool theme verse Matthew 4:19 "And He Saith unto them...follow me and I will make your fishers of men. And the favorite school subject...Chemistry!

Enjoy these new times and find the blessings while grabbing those last few fleeting hugs along the way.


Amazing Craft Room Transformation and a Huge Weight Lifted!

Life can really get in the way of our hobbies and relaxing down time! In the midst of a crazy whole house remodel, being a 24/7/365 caregiver to my sweet Mother before her passing and being a  homeschooling Mom can really create havoc. After my Mother passed away we had 48 hours to clear out her apartment before the end of the month came, so pretty much we just boxed up everything and brought it into my craft room/blogging office. 

 We just kept piling (boxed & unboxed stuff) in more and more of my Mother's belongings into the craft room/blogging office. And even more and more got shoved in there, the furniture went into a storage unit. We had taken moving boxes and just emptied drawers, kitchen cabinets, nightstands, closets etc. With no time to waste we got it all done (rent of $2,500 was due in 48 hours!). I am not sure that I would exactly call it "done" because now the hard part comes, sorting, purging, bill paying, donating, cleaning, crying, aching, sorrow...yes, all those things came about and allowed for healing. 

I was thankful that the homeschool young man spent some time with me over Christmas break digging through things and sorting piles (Keep, Not Sure, Donate, Giveaway, Send to Siblings, Trash, Give to Mom's Friends). I guess the more honest thing was the homeschool young man was my emotional support dog (hahaha, as I lovingly referred to him). He was my pack mule, hauling 30 gallon black trash bags out to the garbage, putting the 30 gallon white trash bags full of keep stuff to another room, hauling the XL moving boxes from U-Haul (BTW those are AWESOME an only cost around .30¢ each!) full of donation items out to a waiting truck and most importantly hugging Mom (me) when I found something that was special to my Mom and I would start crying. Below is a picture of my Mom with her favorite stuffed animal and buddy CHEEZE HEAD.

We got rid of the Donate, Giveaway, Send to Siblings, Give to Mom's Friends, and Trash in short time. It was the tedious sorting that became an exhausting process: what to keep, what else to purge, how long to keep important documents etc. Fast forward to life happening, my dear father-in-law became ill on again and off again and he passed away several months after my Mother did. So again began the process of Keep, Not Sure, Donate, Giveaway, Send to Siblings, Trash, Give to Dad's Friends. My mess in the craft room/blogging office sort of got put on hold for emotional reasons and life happening. 

With this death there was a farm and farm house that we had spent every Christmas of our dating/married life (all but one in which we went to my parents home in Texas that year with our newly adopted baby), we spent every Easter and every Thanksgiving in that house, my husband and all his siblings grew up there, all the grand kids and great-grand kids played there. Here is a photo of the homeschooled young man with his dear Grandpa teaching him about gardening. (sorry it's an old faded picture from a wall calendar that I made for all the grandparents many moons ago).

We enjoyed the beautiful views of the property from the swing, hubby and I spent hours of our dating years and early years of marriage in the machine shed working on Dune Buggy's. There was all that to clean out too, a huge farm machine shed, two car garage and a full basement, not to mention the 5 bedroom house. The siblings all worked together so well to get things under control, purged and sorted. The Lord blessed with the home and property selling very quickly, fast enough to shock everyone in a down housing market!

Moving on into the next phase of my craft room/blogging office clean up, it was daunting to dig through and sort everything. I would start sorting for a few hours and feel like I had made ZERO progress and just made more of a mess of things. I would stop for a few days/weeks and then start again, only to do a few hours, again more of a mess and feeling as though nothing was getting accomplished. Construction dust was all over from our recent remodeling project. It was just a mess and it was mixed in with all my blogging work piles and craft supplies. Something had to be done!

I truly felt that this was just a lost cause. While surfing the Internet the next day I came across a local professional organizing company. This was not just Jane Doe who likes to organize, this was the real deal!!! These people deal with true hoarding situations, situational clutter, bug infested properties,  death clean-outs, real estate staging, they help busy Mom's and kids with tons of toy clutter, and just general home and office organizing. I kept their number for a month or so, thinking, I can do this myself, why pay someone; that is so silly and frivolous to do!

Well, I finally made the call and hired the company for 5 hours, the Lord blessed my efforts of giving in to asking for help and I got 2 organizers for the price of 1. They were training a new gal and she came as a free apprentice. What a blessing! They were so down to earth and non-judgmental. We laughed and had a really good time! It was like having my girlfriends over for a decluttering party. 

You would not believe what we got done in that amount of time. It was scary though, they had a totally different game plan and approach than I was using in my past attempts at getting this mess under control. We started by emptying out the ENTIRE ROOM into my dining room!! So, you could not walk in my dining room, I kept thinking hubby is going to come home for dinner and freak out because the other room had exploded out into the dining room! 

Deep breath here, we then wiped down all the surfaces in the room, walls, windows, floors, baseboards etc. Then decided what furniture would go back in, wiped it all down, placed it back in the room. Then we went item by item and decided if it was TRASH, KEEP, DONATE, NOT SURE. They brought these huge black construction size trash bags and they even had cute shopping bags with handles for the donate items. We also utilized one of my all time favorite things; the curb side FREE pile (everything disappeared within 30 minutes of being drug out of the house!)

See how the room is really shaping up? I'm tellin' ya, call a professional, don't be embarrassed, do it NOW!!! CALL NOW OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY! CALL NOW! 
I have a clean, empty, uncluttered surface to craft on, to scrapbook on, to do whatever I want on!
Really, you must look past the Bob The Builder blue & yellow paint, the homeschooled young man used this room when he was a little boy and hubby has yet to get around to painting this...LOL. So I just go with it! 

We incorporated a bunch of my late Mother's craft bins and craft items in along with my scrapbooking items. Plus, I had a ton of stuff leftover from teaching crafting classes and that all fit into these bins and the organizers labeled all my bins. They gave me ideas on how to store things more effectively. They hauled out all the trash bags for me and they hauled away all the donation items too! I was just left with this....

All my goodies had a home, the remaining items that I decided to keep from my Mother's stuff were put into a tote for me to go through when I was ready at a later date. The organizers found a lamp I was not using and they set it up, with an outlet strip (that was found in a drawer) for easy access to plug in my crafting toys, they organized all the bins, drawers and cabinets. They put together a display tower that I had in storage and got everything set up and ready for use! I did not need to buy anything, we just repurposed things that we came across around my house and/or in my Mom's stash.

All my cardstock, scrapbooking papers, rubber stamps, inks and ink pads, embossing folders, ribbon, glue, scissors and all that stuff was all organized into these bins (from my Mom and my stash). THEN THEY LABELED IT ALL!!!!!

In less than 5 hours....that is right, we were not even finished with the 5 hours yet! I know, totally unbelievable. So, they asked me if there was anything else that I wanted organized since we still had time left. I was just numb, I could not believe that we had done all this work already, after I had tried and tried to do it myself and just would give up after a few hours.

Onward we moved to some cabinets in my dining room and they straightened up our homeschool supplies, books, my junk cabinet (the one with hammers, screwdrivers, light bulbs, etc), then moved to the living room (which had been filled with boxes of my Mom's stuff and my craft stuff that I had started sorting and failed at). Now that the living room was uncluttered and the former items that were in the boxes were now beautifully organized into the above photos, the organizers then staged my living room furniture and rehung my drapes so they looked nice and fancy with crisp folds (like in a magazine!)

And then, just like that, it was time for us to say our goodbyes, we hugged and they left. With all the trash gone, no need for me to worry about dragging the donations somewhere; they were gone too. All that I was left with were a few cute bags with handles that were going to friends (homeschool blessings I passed on to some friends) and a small box containing gifts that needed wrapped for Christmas.

Praise the Lord! It was sure hard to make that call for help, that first step is always a killer one! However, my family is so blessed and so am I.

I left to get myself the best gluten free pizza in town and waited for my husband to arrive home. I got a text right away saying "Great job!" The homeschooled young man came home and told me that the house looked really great! So I would say it was a win-win situation and well worth the money!

Below I have included a few links (I received nothing in return for posting these links) for you to get the help you need. My clutter was deemed as "Situational Clutter" due to the deaths and home remodel that contributed to my clutter.

National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Find My Organizer

This has been so freeing and such a burden has been lifted. God is a God of order and not of clutter and disfunction. I'm less tired now when I am at home, I don't dread my craft room/blogging office anymore. Lift your burden and don't be afraid, call a professional (cleaning ladies and maid services are not trained in handling clutter) and get it done!


Homeschooling Saves Tax Dollars

A mom in your neighborhood is preparing lessons to teach her children. In the minute it takes you to read this, moms all over the USA are using their "freedoms" and investing their own money in their child's literacy, prosperity, and future. This mom does this because she knows government run schools are not working anymore. She is saving millions in tax dollars by homeschooling her child.

Pray for a homeschool mom, love on a homeschool mom, and appreciate a homeschool mom!

I love this sign!!

Hear ye, Hear ye: 20 Questions & The Homeschool Planning Meeting.

Summer has flown by and we are almost ready for a brand new school year. Tomorrow will be our annual Homeschool Planning Meeting. We are entering senior year and I have some pretty cool stuff planned out. The Homeschooled Young Man has some thinking to do, we ask that he bring his ideas to the table in writing. Things that I have on the agenda...

1. What will be our core courses?

2. What will we use for those core courses?

3. What extras will we add in to round it all out?

4. What will be done as full year courses and what will be done as semester courses?

5. Field trip ideas?

6. Will we attend homeschool convention this year?

7. What life/social skills will we work on this year?

8. What volunteering will we be involved in?

9. What medical training/skills/shadowing will he be involved in?

10. Will he be a part of TeenPact.org again this year?

11. What classes outside the home will he take?

12. What are some things that he would like to learn?

13. What sort of employment will he take part in?

14. What 4-H projects will mesh with our schooling this year?

15. What scholarships will he be applying for?

16. Will there be standardized testing this year? SAT? ACT? ASVAB?

17. What colleges will we visit?

18. What materials do we have on hand that we can use instead of buying more stuff.

19. What church related activities will we take part in?

20. What worked and did not work last school year?

I am sure that more will come up as we chat around the kitchen table. However, this is what homeschooling is all about. Yes, some homeschoolers have a set of state standards that they must abide by, but there is so much more to homeschooling that those standards. We as homeschoolers can focus on so much more right alongside schoolwork. So many more rich life changing experiences that we can afford our children.


Will It Be The Big Yellow Bus or Homeschooling??

A while back, I was with the Homeschooled Young Man at a Civil War Re-Enactment that he was acting in and my cell phone rang. It was one of my doctors calling me with a report. Of course, it was VERY loud on my end with all excitement that goes on with a re-enactment. The doctor asked me where I was and I explained we had taken the day off from school to participate in the re-enactment. Doctor looks out his office window and he can see the general area that we are in and he says "Wow, your son gets to do the coolest things!"

As parents, we can all offer up cool opportunities for our children to experience, but it's so much easier to just put them on that big yellow bus and let someone else handle it all.

Are you considering home education for your child this coming school year? It is not too late, even if you have already registered them for the big yellow school bus. You can do it!! Let me know how I can help you.