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I've decided to set a goal that each month I review at least one, if not more, items or resources I have used related to homeschooling.  And for this month, I am meeting that goal today!

When I recently moved my blog to wordpress.org, part of the reason was to enable myself to use affiliates to offset the cost of blogging and see if, someday, I could once again add to our family's finances.  I've started small..... Amazon affiliates and.....  hmm???  I really wasn't sure who or what else to start with.  So I looked around my desk area.  I want to be sure that I ONLY EVER advertise or becomes affiliates with products/people I truly believe in and have used.  Right beside me lays open my daily (homeschool) planner as well as my new blog planner - both of which have been published by HEDUA.

HEDUA is the Home Educating Family Association and puts out a variety of materials for the homeschool family including the Well Planned Day Planner, magazines for the family and teen, software and more.  In addition to the Well Planned Day Planner, I've recently been using  My Blog Planner - the most recent addition to their collection of planners offered.

I like my Well Planned Day Planner because not only does it provide me my basic monthly lay out sheets for planning, space for notes, budget sheet, etc.,  it is specifically geared for Christian homeschooling in that there is space to create a daily school schedule for up to four students, forms for student and teacher schedules, field trips, attendance, other varieties of forms,  weekly catechism questions, and intermittent articles on homeschooling to peruse throughout the year.

The second source I wish to tell you about today is the wide selection of books and related items offered by The Busy Mom!

I first heard about Heidi St. John at the CHAP Homeschool conference.  I listened to this sweet woman talk about marriage and homeschooling and bought her book, The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance.  It's a simple, easy read filled with good information to help keep the romance alive in any marriage, but of course, speaks directly to homeschoolers.  Remember, the materials we buy for homeschooling does not always have to be just for the kids! You can buy this book and other materials here: (or drop by to follow Heidi's blog - always full of great tips!)

Treat yourself to a Busy Mom resource today!

I'll be sure to add more resources as the months go along....  if you haven't already read past posts, you may find these resource 'reviews' helpful:

The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists

Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons -  I've written several posts on this.  I've not written up a complete review as I haven't finished using it yet - but I believe this is an excellent source for teaching reading!  Here's part two and the last update I wrote.

Donnayoung.org -  This is a great website that I wrote about back in March.

I hope these resources will ease your homeschooling days!

What's YOUR favorite homeschool resource? 

 

 

Nothing came UNGLUED in Vegas.

I somehow, once aboard a plane that took me 2349 miles away from home,  became the girl I used to be.  Relaxed, carefree, spontaneous, fun and, most of all, NOT WORRIED and NOT UNGLUED.

Where did she come from?  It was like peeling off layers of heavy wool, weight-bearing, fur covered, winter clothing and standing in a light cotton strapless sundress -  actually I peeled off the sweatshirt at the car, the sweater in the plane and I was left in capris and a flowing sleeveless blouse.....but you get the point.

I wasn't bearing the weight of stress on my shoulders.  I was able to LET GO.

My husband and I held hands, smiled, laughed and enjoyed our time together tremendously.  We were spontaneous and  daring - trying things we normally

My husband fulfilled a dream of mine - seeing Donny and Marie Osmond perform LIVE!!  Their show has actually been voted as #1 in Vegas for 3 years.  I've wanted to see them since age 7 - I attribute watching their show on TV at that age as instilling the love I music in me that I have today.  The picture in enter of my new t-shirt is the same picture that was on one I had around age 9 - the one my mom somehow turned green in the washer!  I wonder if I'll be brave enough to wash this one ;)
My husband fulfilled a dream of mine - seeing Donny and Marie Osmond perform LIVE!! Their show has actually been voted as #1 in Vegas for 3 years. I've wanted to see them since age 7 - I attribute watching their show on TV at that age as instilling the love for music in me that I have today. The picture in the center of my new t-shirt is the same picture that was on one I had around age 9 - the one my mom somehow turned green in the washer! I wonder if I'll be brave enough to wash this one 😉

wouldn't - Extraordinarily expensive meals that had our taste buds dancing, oysters (not necessary to repeat that one), the High Roller ( world's tallest ferris wheel - a certain feat for me with my fear of heights), several shows, and a glass of wine with a little lunchtime gambling IN the swimming pool - just to name some of the highlights!  We just focused on each other and HAD FUN!

It's certainly time our marriage needed.  I have forgotten what it felt like to be THAT GIRL - it makes me reminiscent of a talk given by Heidi St. John at the CHAP convention earlier this year. She spoke often during her talk and in one of her books about That Girl... you know, the girl you were when you fell in love- before the responsibilities of work and marriage and CHILDREN!

Oh, don't get me wrong - I LOVE my children!  But I know full well part of what happened as I boarded that plane is that somehow - knowing I was going over 2,000 miles away helped me shed 'Mommy Mode' - something I am very rarely able to do.  I shed "Mommy" and 'stress mode'!

I am so envious sometimes of my husband - who seems able to do this whenever he wants to.  He's able to sit down in front of a football game and turn off ALL sensibility to the world around him.  He can, at a moments notice, decide to go spend the day hunting, watching sports, or some other leisurely activity and not seem to know that work is piling up and that he may be needed elsewhere!  ***PLEASE NOTE - I'm NOT KNOCKING my husband here - I'm saying I WISH I COULD DO IT TOO!!!!!!

But it's like we women have this knob that gets turned to 'mommy mode' and It Gets Stuck!!

But Can I really avoid that mode?

I already felt it early Wednesday morning.... the day before we got on the plane to come back home.  It was that familiar panic when waking in the morning....  knowing that this was the 'last day' of total relaxation - just doing for me - for US .  It was that tension of remembering all that we'd have to do the next day and preparing for facing reality that life can't be a Vegas trip every day.  I needed to remind myself we still had a day to just ENJOY and that life didn't have to go back to full mode stress just because the trip was going to end.

What Can It Be?

I think this trip has proven that That Girl is still alive and breathing!  In fact, she's kicking to get out of  that mode more often.  But - OBVIOUSLY - I can't board a plane for Vegas every week - so what can I do to balance Mommy Mode with That Girl??

That's a question I don't have an answer for immediately - and I don't think there is a clear-cut answer (though boarding a plane is tempting... it's unrealistic).

However, I do have some ideas that may help me (and you) get started:

First and foremost - I need to remember to put God and my marriage first.  Yes - my marriage has to come before the kids.  That's a hard one for us moms.  But reality is, our strong marriages make our kids strong.  It makes us better Moms (and Dads).

Secondly, I need me time.  I need to NOT feel selfish about spending some time doing things that are important to me (reading and writing).  I don't mean it should consume me and prevent me from doing my motherly duties and providing my children with love and attention.  But if I give myself love and attention, I'll be better able to give of myself to others - and feel like me (you know, That Girl) - instead of 'just a servant' - which, without the 'me time' and the time with God and my husband, is easy to feel .

Third, I'm continuing my quest for ways to reduce stress and stay Unglued. It won't be an easy change - and it won't happen overnight.  But that's okay - because I think I'm finally accepting that gradual change leading to imperfect progress IS OKAY.  And I can forgive myself for those little (sometimes Big) setbacks.  It won't be easy.  But I can do it.

Who's With Me?

 

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going to the CHAP conference all alone - how I actually did NOT like being there alone - and the things I purchased for next year's homeschool year.  I mentioned that I would post about the speakers I heard at a later date so I figured it's about time I keep true to that!

Every year CHAP has a number of wonderful speakers.  Now that I am more sure of the curriculum I like to use I don't have to spend as much time shopping and now have more time to sit, relax and listen to the knowledge, wisdom and great ideas of these inspirational homeschoolers share their own experiences. There were several speakers I heard in person this year: Blogger and author Heidi St. John, Travis Zimmerman, Andrew Pudewa and Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason.  All of these speakers were amazing!!!

Heidi was the first speaker that I heard.  Heidi is also known as The Busy Mom over at

The Busy Homeschool Mom (Heidi St. John)

Heidistjohn.com.  The link will take you to her author page but you can also find her bog through the link as well (She's also on Facebook as The Busy Mom). Heidi spoke on romance during homeschooling in addition to the distracted mom and other topics.  I think her talk on romance/marriage was the best.  She emphasized that we must put our marriage as first priority only after God and yes, BEFORE the kids.  So many of us forget to do that.  I bought her book and finished it in less than two days.  It's full of good information - nothing necessarily mind-blowing - but a really well-organized gathering of information that while is mostly common sense, reminds us of essentials married couples often forget.

Travis Zimmerman of Speak My Word Ministries also spoke on marriage and homeschooling.  It blew my mind away how devoted and highly he spoke of his wife.  Every man and woman should be able to talk about their spouse that way and it makes me want to make more of an effort in my marriage to get us back on track and speaking words of encouragement and praise of one another as much as we did early on in our relationship.

The best book, in my opinion, on habit training. I like the companion books that go with this as well thus far!

Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason spoke on habit training and the Charlotte Mason method. Sonja is the person speaking in the videos that I mentioned in my "Catching Up" post a few weeks ago. It was great to see her in person.  Sonja really made habit training come alive for me as something of high importance and made the concept much clearer on how to go about the training and which ones were of highest significance.

I also enjoyed listening to Andrew Pudewa from IEW speak on language arts.  Andrew shared some of his own experiences with his son who was not a 'reader'. He totally convinced me that when I allow my son to do some of his reading through the use of Audio Books or  read aloud with me, this is most definitely a GOOD thing!

In addition to the speakers I saw in person, I also bought several of the talks on CD.  Well, okay, a LOT of them.  We do this every year.  I tell myself I'm only buying a few and I walk out with over 20.  Yes, seriously - over 20.  But I really do listen to them.  Sometimes more than once.  Of course now, after 8 years of attendance, I have a really big stack of CHAP conference CDs that I have no idea what to do with!

I'm still listening to the ones I bought this year.  The one that I have been most impressed with is Carol Barnier. Carol spoke on "A Prodigal Speaks Out".  She had some amazing insight to children who doubt their faith or simply are the 'rebellious' type. She has published a book on this very topic.  Carol spoke on quite a number of other homeschool topics including learning styles.  I don't believe I am done listening to them all just yet!

If you live in Pennsylvania and haven't been to a CHAP conference yet, I would strongly recommend it. What I have commented on here about the conference and speakers is just a tip of the iceberg!  I know there are some people from the surrounding states that come as well.  The number of hands on resources through speakers and vendors is absolutely amazing and worth the money to support the CHAP mission.