Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post on Colorful Bloggers Network

Good Morning!
I'm excited to announce that I'm today's guest blogger on the Colorful Bloggers Network.
My topic is how to manage your homeschooling schedule.
I'd love to have to hop on over and take a read.
Please comment there to let me know you stopped by.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year :: Step 6 Finding Support

One of the most important steps in homeschooling, once you get goal setting out of the way and settle into a homeschooling method, is finding support from others.

I believe too many of us think that we can brave the new world of homeschooling on our own. Whether or not you have the support of your family and friends, you cannot under estimate the need to be connected to other homeschooling families. (Now if you have family and friends who also homeschooling, count yourself among the blessed!!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Sharing Monday

Show Way
by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Hudson Talbott

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not so much because of the story itself, although it is well written and engaging,  but because the author has shared her own story.  She has been able to trace her ancestors back six (6) generations! For those of us who are here in America as a result of slavery, tracing our heritage is a challenge—to put it lightly.

This story shows the importance of those beautiful quilts that were made as a "Show Way" to those who would try to escape to freedom (some made it, some didn't).

I highly recommend this book and plan to add it to our personal library.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year :: Step 5 Planning

I know this is something I've written about before. The more I learn, from doing and by listening to the experiences of others, I see just how important it is. I also see that not too many of us homeschooling families value it and thus don't give enough time to it. Especially those of us who have been doing it awhile. If teaching is your thing (whether by training or by gifting) it's easy to trust your ability to 'wing-it' or 'go with the flow.' I know this is something I lean on strongly. However, there are subjects and topics that my children are interested in that I don't really know enough to do a lesson justice. As they grow and discover more things, this is actually happening a lot sooner than I had originally thought—and this is where planning come in.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review ::

We are finally back from vacation and I'm doing my best to get back into the swing of things.  It was so nice to be away and offline for awhile.  What's amazing is just how much I have to 'catch-up' on.

I'll start with the review of that I was asked to do a month ago.  Here's the first post about it which gives the statements about the site along with a brief right up about it. 

Please note that there are affiliate links in this post.

Here are the pros of this site that I found for my family:

I really liked that it was fairly easy to set up assignments.  It did take me a moment to figure out just where things were located, but the 'help' video provided on the site was extremely helpful (short & to the point, which is a plus)!

Pretty girl, my eldest, was the first one to start on an assignment.  I liked that the Spelling test 'talks' to her.  I was wondering just how this might work and was pleasantly surprised.

I also like that I control the list of words.  We have been using Spelling Power and this site works wonderfully with what I am already doing.  With Spelling Power students take a spelling test daily and only study words they don't already know.  With, we have a lot more variety in activities that help to reinforce the learning of new words (word searches, fill in the blanks, hang-man).

I really loved the added part of Vocabuarly development.  Spelling is only one part of learning words.  Knowing the meanings of words is also important to me as a homeschooling parent.

We added the app to our iPad & iPods so that each of the children could do a few activities with in their lists simotaneously, thus cutting our time for this subject/activity in 3rds.  I liked that!

I liked that on the report it shows how long it took for the student to complete each activity.  It also shows which words were missed--helping me know which words to reinforce.

There is also a pre- and post-test that can be assigned.

Here are some things I didn't like:

Once an assignment has been made it cannot be changed.  The only thing that can be editated are the students who are to complete it/them.

The App doesn't do the same things as the main site.  I sort of expected it but viewing the 'help' video about how to use it made it appear that it would.  Many of the activities are unable to play/work using the App.  This was a BIG disappointment for all of us.  In addition, the assignments can be completed on the app, however it does not record that they have been completed as part of an assignment (of course, there may be a step I missed but after a month, I have not been able to figure that out).

I've noted that Flash is required to use most of the activities on the iPad/iPod and at this point Flash is unavailable for Mac devices.  This is not's fault but it limited the amount of activities we could utilize and I was disappointed about that.

Despite the cons, I still really enjoyed the site and my children did as well.  It took us a bit longer to get through activities since we had to spread our time using the main PC, but we were able to try out all of the activities that were appropriate for my children in that time frame.

I believe I tested out the premium options for this site so am not sure what the basic membership would cover.  If you'd like more information about this site and the options you have follow this think to to learn more.

Overall, I give this site a 'good' rating.  It's interactive and you control the spelling lists and activities your child must study/complete.  I like it most because it compliments what I'm already using and gives additional 'fun' activities for learning words.

Hope this helps you if you've been interested in checking out

Happy Learning!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year :: Step 4 Curriculum

It can be one of the harder decisions, once you've decided that you're moving forward with homeschooling. Should you purchase a box curriculum or should you try and put one together on your own?

First, let me say that with so many homeschooling families there is a wealth of information that you can gather from books and searches online. Starting from scratch is actually not something you have to do anymore for there are families doing just what you want to do who have already started down the road in creating the resources or at least cataloging them where you can find them with some ease.

So I guess the choice may be between piecing things together to match your family's needs, interests, and goals or finding a full boxed curriculum that has already done this.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year :: Step 3 Learning Styles

If you're just joining the How to Plan Series click here to read the previous steps.

So where do learning styles fit into homeschooling? Depending upon which homeschooling method you're looking into for your family, you may be preparing or purchasing curriculum to use with your children. Knowing the ways in which your child/ren process and understand new things can be beneficial in finding appropriate resources and building lessons.

Over the years there have been divisions on just how many there are and what exactly they are. As an educator by training, I've seen them change names as well. You can do your own search on this topic but the two most recent ones I've done I found two lists. One with four learning styles: spatial-visual, kinetic, language-oriented and logical; the other with seven: linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, bodily, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to Plan Your Homeschool Year :: Step 2 Homeschooling Philosophies

So you've decided to move forward with your hopes to homeschool your child/children. You've taken the time to write out your goals, your ideas of how you'd like to your family to be. (If you haven't complete this first step, click here to read more.)

Now, take out those goals to look at. Knowing the direction that your family is looking to grow will help make finding methods and styles that work for you.

Homeschooling is as much a lifestyle choice as it is an education alternative. Your beliefs about child development, learning theory and life in general will influence the homeschool philosophy you embrace. Many parents begin homeschooling with a particular style and shift to other methods as they gain experience.

What fits? You know your child/children best and if you don't, you soon will. Every child and family is different. As you've found out in exploring your family's goals. Explore all the options. Talk to other homeschooling families, read books, search the internet, and choose to do what fits your family. As time goes by your style may change...enjoy the ride. And remember—there is no one right answer.

The following is a list of many of the popular approaches to homeschooling. This is not an exhaustive list. For anyone who has been in the homeschooling community, you probably already know how quickly new ideas and styles take shape and are created. I have taken some of the text from and those are marked as such. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Sharing Monday

Good Morning!!

We found this book at the library last week and have been reading a story every day.  We haven't yet finished all the stories but will be doing that within a day or so.

This week's book share is The Jump at the Sun Treasury :: An African American Picture Book Collection and includes seven complete books within in it.

They are:
These Hands by Hope Lynne Price, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Can I Pray with My Eyes Open? by Susan Taylor Brown, illustrated by Garin Baker

Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays by Peter Mandel, illustrated by Don Tate

A Big, Spooky House by Donna Washington, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

Granddaddy's Street Songs by Monalisa DeGross, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustarted by Brian Pinkney

Celebration! by Jane Resh Thomas, illustarted by Raul Colon

This collections has something for all the readers in your home.  It begins with a picture book and moves on to stories about history and life happens many of us can related to.  I liked that this series brought us new stories, as we'd only read These Hands before.  I really liked Can I Pray with My Eyes Open? and the children liked the call and response in Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays.  The Boy enjoyed the surprise ending of A Big, Spooky House and both the girls like learning more about Alvin Ailey in this story about him.

What collections of stories do you enjoy?  We'd love to hear! Comment below.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Sharing Monday

We're sharing a book that has been in our personal library for a good while.  The kids have been asking me questions about why we're called 'Black.'  Sweetie-Pie always asks this questions and follows it up with, "because we're not, we're brown."  It's been challenging to give her information that satisfies her questioning.  When reading this book and looking through the photos, I was able to show her that being 'Black' or identifying as 'Black' doesn't actually mean we're that color.

The book is entitled Shades of Black :: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney, Photographs by Myles C. Pinkney.  The words are easy to read and understand with great photographs of children of various shades, eye colors, hair textures.  It's a great way to start talking to your children, whether their of African descent or not, about the variety of people in the world and how each of us brings such uniqueness to the greater community.

We think this is a book you'd enjoy as well.

What are you reading this Monday?  Care to share with us?  Leave a comment below with a link to your post or add the title and author directly.  It's always nice to find new books.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 2, 2013


We are on vacation.
Some how I thought I'd take time to blog....but, alas, I'm enjoying being in the moment.
Will be back soon, with pictures and updates on life, in general, and homeschooling.


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