Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Beautiful Spidey

We have a visitor off of our screened in porch.  There's something magestic and beautiful about this creepy crawly - well...  as long as he's outside! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review - How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids

How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. for Your Kids
Author: Rachael Carman

This is my first review for the TOS Homeschool Crew this year.  I was happy to be selected to review this particular book because it came at an opportune time - right when we are getting ready to start our homeschool year.  Having a heart for my kids is one reason I homeschool, but there are certainly times when I lose sight of that.

Rachael Carman is a mom who backed into homeschooling kicking and scratching all the way.  Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but she readily admits she saw her kids starting public school as a time for the freedom to do what she wanted to do.  When public school wasn't working, she, with many reservations, undertook the task of homeschooling her first child.  Now with seven children, she has learned valuable lessons about the role of motherhood as God intended it and the many blessings that come from homeschooling all of them. 

Rachael's title is actually an acrostic:

H - Have a heart for the things of God

E - Enrich your marriage

A - Accept your kids

R - Release them to God

T - Teach them the truth

Having a heart for the things of God means revealing your love for God and His creation in your daily walk.  By acknowledging the majesty of creation, immersing ourselves in the Word, and trying to live life according to God's commands, we not only shine the light of Christ for others to see, but, more importantly, we shine that light for our children to see.  Easier said than done some times, but having a heart a heart for God makes us want to strive toward that goal.

Enriching our marriages is a key I know I lost sight of for a while.  Sometimes we get so involved in our children we forget the marriage that made it all possible.  Loving our spouse and nurturing our marriage are integral to raising our children with a healthy understanding of relationships.  As Raechel tells us, "It is from our marriages that they learn grace." 

Accepting our kids - what a concept.  Maybe Billy isn't meant to be a doctor, or Joey a football star, or Sally an Olympic gymnast.  Raechel states that "When we attempt to rewire our children, we are rejecting them."  Wow!  Powerful stuff.  Sometimes we push thinking we are doing what is best when we are actually undermining God's wonderful plan for our children.  She finishes by saying, "God loves you.  These words will teach your children that there is a God, He created them, and He has definite plans for them."

Releasing them to God is a tough one for many of us.  We want to hold on tight.  I know I do.  But, these aren't OUR children - they are God's children.  I say that and part of me wants to disagree.  We love them SO much, they must be ours.  But - God loves them so much more.  "Release them to God.  They are His, and He will take great care of them."

Teach them God's truth.  Raechel spoke to my heart when she said, "We give them understanding of the one true and living God.  This is the foundation upon which all other knowledge is built.  If we focus on anything else, then we doom our children to lives of emptiness and hopelessness."  By educating our children in the Word, exposing them to fellow Christians, giving them opportunities to worship and praying with and for them, we are giving them the greatest gift of all - knowledge of God and His son Jesus.  There are days or weeks when I find myself remiss in this area, I'm so glad for the encouragement and reminder.

Yes, I really liked this book.  It uplifted me, convicted me, cautioned me and encouraged me to give my all this homeschooling year.  I want to raise my boys as God would have them raised so that they can serve Him according to His purpose.

To see other reviews by the TOS Homeschool Crew click here.

***  I received this book free as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Slim Down Sunday Meme - Week 7

Heartfelt HomeschoolingWhether you want to lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds or 100 pounds – it always helps to have support from those around you.

Goal – lose 20 pounds   
Pounds Lost (Week 6) – Down .5 pounds - 15 total...

How it Went This Week:
This week has been good.  I realized I'm not eating enough protein and I think that might have something to do with my weight loss slowing down.  I'm also not eating enough calories - I think.  There are days when I'm only getting around 800.  I know - in a lot of ways that's a good thing, but I don't want my body to kick into starvation mode and really halt my progress.  I'm going to target 1000 every day this next week.

Do you count calories?  How many do you eat?  How active are you?

What’s my Plan for next Week:

As you see above, my plan is 1000 calories and more protein.  I'm going to keep focusing on walking in addition to TKD.  We're getting into full swing with homeschooling and my fatigue is really kicking in, so protein should help that as well.  Napping every day just isn't an option... 

I tried the Kellogg's Special K Cracker Chips - ummm....  Cardboard.  You can eat 30 of them for 110 calories, but they don't taste that great.  May have to try a flavored one instead of Sea salt.  I did discover Klondike 100 calories ice cream bars.  Ummm... YUM!  So, they are my indulgence.

I hope all are safe from the hurricane and having a great week! 

How's your week going?

Friday, August 26, 2011

I should have been a Homeschooler!

I wish I could have been homeschooled.  It wasn’t even on the radar twenty years ago when I was going through the public system. 

I see my kids learning in ways that wouldn’t have been possible “back in the day.”  I know as a student I hated going to school – it was SO boring.  I didn’t need to sit in a lecture for an hour to be able to go home, read the book and do the work.  I am the antithesis of an auditory learner.   As a motivated student, my goal was always to get it done and get an A.  Grades were a driving factor, but I still loved learning.  I’m glad for that.  Many in the schools today don’t seem to understand the A is supposed to reflect knowledge, not points in a grade book.

As a student, I would have valued:

1.  Working at my own pace
2.  Being able to really pursue my interests and delve deeper
3.  Learning using a hand’s on approach (I’m kinesthetic)
4.  Having co-ops and other activities to go to where I could engage like-minded people
5.  Not dealing with cliques and bullies
6.  Opportunities to take college level work ahead of time
7.  Being home
This may not be the same list my kids would give for why they like being homeschooled, and I’m sure they’d have a negatives list too.  I just feel so blessed to be able to offer them this opportunity as I see that a young April would have really thrived.

Were you homeschooled?  Did you like it?  Would you have enjoyed being homeschooled?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day One of Homeschool Kicks Off Successfully!

First day of school, and we're all in.  Hubby was wonderful and made the boys breakfast - bacon, eggs, biscuits, grits.  He really started their day off right!  They were both excited to jump in.  I'm so glad to have the first day almost under our belts in such a smooth fashion. 

Here's my oldest homeschooled boy working hard.  He's taken on managing his own progress this year.

 Here's youngest exploring the IPad trying to decide what his science projects will be for this year.

Here's Daisy doing her best to...  well...  do what she does...

What a blessing to be educating at home!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Slim Down Sunday Meme - Week 6

Heartfelt HomeschoolingWhether you want to lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds or 100 pounds – it always helps to have support from those around you.

Goal – lose 20 pounds   
Pounds Lost (Week 4) – Down .5 pounds - 13.5 total...

How it Went This Week:
This week has had it's up's and down's - no, not on the scale, just in life. 

The scale barely moved, but it is THAT week of the month.  So, again, I'll be patient.  But let me tell you - it'd better MOVE this week!

I discovered that I do want to eat to compensate for hurt feelings.  I don't think I realized this about myself.  There was an event this week that really hurt my feelings and I totally wanted to go out to eat somewhere and really overindulge.  I was surprised to have that reaction.  I was proud of myself for staying the course and not overeating, but the next day we all went out for pizza.  Yep, I had some.  Sigh.

Five miles didn't happen.  I got in about 3.5 miles though, so I was close.  I'm eating less than my 1200 calorie goal typically, so barring my pizza indiscretion the weight should be moving.

What’s my Plan for nexty Week:

We start school this week.  It'll be an adjustment week for all of us, so I'm not going to make any grandiose plans.

I do want to go to TKD twice this week.  We didn't last week.  My older son broke his foot.  He and his brother and I go to TKD.  It's hard to go without him.  He loves TKD so I feel bad being there and learning when he's not.  Silly, I know, but what can I say?  Must look past that and keep moving forward as we love TKD too.  He'll be back in action in a month.

How's your week going?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

High School can be Overwhelming!

We’re starting homeschooling high school on Monday.  I’m nervous, my son is nervous – we’re a bundle of nerves.  We just sat down with his planner to determine what week one looks like – Yikes! 

It really isn’t so so much, but when you transition from the lazy days of summer to the rigor of a full load, it’s a bit, well, overwhelming.

He’ll be taking six courses this year:
  • Honors Biology
  • Honors English I
  • Spanish I
  • Computer Applications/ 3D Programming
  • Geometry
  • Honors American History
We’ve talked and talked about how it all matters from Day One if you want to have your successful path laid out for college.  He knows that, I know that.  I fear failure.

Not for him, for me.  I am so afraid to fail him.  Don’t push too hard, push hard enough, give him all the opportunity available, let him spread his wings, keep him focused, let him grow. 
Dear God – please, please lead and give me the wisdom to follow! 
One more day, then it’s on… 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - There be Fungus Amoung Us!

After lots of humidity and heavy rains, we've gotten some beautiful fungus's growing out and about. Whether you like mushrooms or not, you gotta admit they are beautiful.  God's creativity and artistry never ceases to take my breath away.  Even in the small things like mushrooms!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review - Amish Values for Your Family

Amish Values for Your Family
What We Can Learn from the Simple Life

Suzanne Woods Fisher
I have always been fascinated by the Amish.  They aren’t afraid to live out their faith while eschewing the conventions of the modern world.  They seem to me to be somewhat unblemished.  Their values are based on their simple life and not on what the media feeds them. There’s something about an agrarian society that focuses on faith and family that really appeals to me.  That doesn’t mean I’m ready to “go Amish”, but it does mean that I know I have a lot to learn from them.

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s book does an excellent job of bringing the life of the Amish to the reader in small digestible bits.  There are four sections with several chapters that last only a few pages each.  It’s the content of those small chapters that really resonates with the reader.  Each chapter opens with an Amish saying or proverb, and then shares a little  window into the values of the Amish and allows us to see how they can be applied in our own lives.  The chapter is followed with a “Getting from Here to There" to help us apply the lesson to our daily lives.  At the conclusion are short clips shared by the Amish community through their local paper. 

When thinking about what I took away from this book, the first thing that comes to mind is the title of the first chapter “Children are Loved but not Adored.”  How many times do we find ourselves adoring our children to a fault?  Through adoration they never learn their weaknesses, they are never allowed to stumble, and they find it difficult to be self-sufficient later in life.  I believe I see my own folly in this one as I have tended to adore my children making them less equip than they need to be for the adult world. 
Throughout the book, the focus is on family and the bond they have.  However, this bond does not exceed their faith, it comes through it.  We all need to spend more time with our spouses and our children – working, playing, worshiping.  It’s easy to let those moments get displaced by work, busyness, distraction, media.  I know I’m guilty.  I took away a deeper need to focus on the value of family rather than the value of things.  So what if we earn a lot of money and have a lot of things if our family suffers for it?  A friend the other day asked (on Facebook) how we define success.  Money wasn’t what popped into mind, it was a healthy, well adjusted family. 

Suzanne created a work that truly gives us a glimpse into the window of the lives of the Amish.  I count this book a blessing.  One day, I hope to visit the Amish communities and see their lives first hand, but until then I appreciate this opportunity to evaluate my life against the simple life and reevaluate what is important.  
I encourage all seeking to simplify life to check out Amish Values for Your Family.  In addition, Suzanne is running an exciting giveaway to coincide with the publishing of this book.  Take a look...
Enter 8/15 - 8/31!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)
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Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

***  I was given this book free from LitFuse for my honest review.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Blog #2 - Suzanne Woods Fischer - Five MORE Things I’ve Learned from the Amish

Five More Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Live humbly. This is the basis of the Amish life. They don’t waste, they reuse and recycle, they live simply and without luxury, they provide for each other’s needs. Daily life is embroidered with gratitude for all God has given them. Two prayers bookend every meal—a meal begins with thanks to God for the nourishing food, and ends with gratitude for what was received. 

Amish proverb: “The blessing of sharing outweighs the blessing of having.”

The Lesson: Choose simplicity over clutter. Economy over luxury. And give thanks!

A task takes as long as it takes. It seems like such a paradox—the Amish are busy, yet unhurried. They have a deliberateness in their actions—one job isn’t more important than the other. And they don’t have televisions or computers or radios or telephones—which gives them more time to cook, fish at the lake, enjoy a good book, and spend with their children and grandchildren. They have time to slow down a bit—to smell the roses along their path.

Amish proverb: “Every day that dawns brings something to do that can never be done as well again.”

The Lesson: Reduce the time where attention is focused on electronics (computer! Cell phone! Television!) and strive to be more emotionally present when with others.

Success and Size are not related. The Amish have rapidly adopted to the demands of the modern business world. Their self-owned businesses are remarkably successful, but not at the cost of everything else. They view money as a tool, not the goal.

Amish proverb: “Love, peace, and happiness in the home is of infinitely more value than honor, fame and wealth.”

The Lesson: Never let ambition destroy life’s better goals.

They teach us not to seek vengeance but to forgive. The Amish take the Lord’s Prayer seriously—if they are asking God to forgive them their sins, they must be willing to forgive others who have sinned against them. Being a forgiving person is an everyday intention.

Amish proverb: “It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.”

The Lesson: No doubt you’re familiar with the Nickel Mines tragedy. If the Amish can forgive the killer of their children, can’t we forgive a friend for not inviting us to a party? Or a driver who cuts us off? Make forgiveness your default button. A habit. An everyday intention.

God has a plan. To the Amish, everything passes through the hands of God. Everything. Joys and sorrows, both. God is sovereign over all—from weather to illness to births to who’s in the White House. They yield to God’s perfect will, trust Him for what they don’t understand, and thank Him for what they do.

Amish proverb: “God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depth can hold my small affairs. His hand, which guides the universe, can carry all my cares.”

The Lesson: Trusting God isn’t passive—it takes a lot of work! But what peace and joy are available to us when we put our faith in the Almighty God. Everything, ultimately, works out for good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world.  When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slim Down Sunday Meme - Week 5

Heartfelt HomeschoolingWhether you want to lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds or 100 pounds – it always helps to have support from those around you.

Goal – lose 20 pounds   
Pounds Lost (Week 4) – Down 1 pound - 13 total...

How it Went This Week:
In keeping with my crazy weeks theme, my husband hit a deer and my son broke his foot.  Lots of running around getting things fixed, but not much focus on weightloss technique.

I have to say I'm OK with the one pound even though I've been really good food wise this week.  My body tends to lose a little, lose a little, and then drop (lather, rinse, repeat).

Unfortunately, all my designs around exercise, water, doctor, etc. haven't been followed. 
Still no energy, but that's nothing new. 

I can actually see my body changing a bit, and that is exciting!  How about you?  Do you look in the mirror and see where your body is starting to shed weight?  One thing I notice is my arms and legs slimming a bit.  That's also the first area I notice when I gain weight.  It's nice to have a little visual verification.

What’s my Plan for this Week:
I have a lot to accomplish this week getting ready for starting school on the 22nd, so I'm not going to start making promises I won't keep.

However, that being said, the weather is cooling a bit, and I AM going to get into the habit of that one mile walk each night.  Mark my words ladies!  At least five miles will be walked by next Sunday!!! 

I have fallen in love with tomatoes!  Did you know a regular tomato is only thirty or so calories!  Yum!  I dice up an entire tomato, add a handful of baby carrots, a splash of fat free balsamic viniagrette and have a feast.  Yum! 

Also - Vlasic whole pickles claims on the jar that they are calorie free.  I find that hard to believe, but if they are really low in calorie, they definitely help with my salt cravings without going to crackers and starting that whole carb consumption that makes me ravenous.  So, those are my snacks/meals for this week.

Finally, I'm really enjoying YoCrunch 100 Calorie packs in cheescake flavor.  Vanilla yogurt with graham sprinkles.  A safe indulgence.

How about you?  What are those foods that you enjoy that help you stay on track without feeling like you are being deprived?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Blog - Suzanne Woods Fischer - Five Things I’ve Learned from the Amish

I'm blessed to review Suzanne's new book next week.  Until then, I thought I'd share a guest post by Suzanne about the unique and wonderful lessons we can learn from the Amish.

Five Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Being Amish is not a lifestyle. Life among the Amish has to do with faith. Faith can’t be squeezed to an hour or two on Sunday morning; it infuses their entire life like a teabag in hot water. What they do and how they do it is rooted in the spiritual question: What is pleasing to God?

Amish proverb: “Letting go of earthly possessions enables us to take hold of heavenly treasures.”

The Lesson: To pray about my day’s activities and offer them to God, first, for His purposes. And then trusting interruptions (seeing a friend in the grocery store, for example) or de-railings (those days when everything goes wrong!) to be God-managed.  

Cherish your family. A family that works together, grows together. Amish families spend a lot of time together and try to keep their work close to home. Children are valued as gifts from God, wanted and enjoyed. They’re included in all of Amish life—from barn raisings to three-hour church services. An Amish bishop once said, "We don't prepare our children for the future, we prepare our children for eternity."

Amish proverb: “Tomorrow’s world will be shaped by what we teach our children today.”

The Lesson: Involving children in chores and activities may not be the most convenient or efficient way to accomplish a task, but the benefits are long lasting. Look for ways to get everybody involved—cook together, sweep out the garage together, set the table together. And have fun while you’re doing it!

Draw a land in the sand. The Amish want to be good stewards of God’s resources—time, money, material goods. They know that convenience comes with a cost. They don’t want to be dependent on outside sources (such as electricity or gas!). Convenience means loss of something valuable. For example, fast food means less nutrition. More stuff means more maintenance. They’re willing to say no.

Amish proverb: “Things that steal our time are usually the easiest to do.”

The Lesson: Technology has its limits. And technology isn’t all good. Evaluate purchases more thoughtfully. Think of where a purchase or an added expense will lead your family. More time together or less? More stress or less? Reframe your view of time and money and goods as God’s resources.

Watch Your Words. The Amish continually stress the importance of filtering their speech.

Amish proverb: “Words break no bones, but they can break hearts” and “Mincing your words makes it easier if you have to eat them later.”

The Lesson: Say less. Prayer more.  

Nothing replaces face-to-face visits. Back in the day when telephones emerged on the scene, the Amish bishops made a deliberate decision to keep the telephone out of the house. They didn’t want to interrupt family life. But they drop everything for a face-to-face visit.

Amish proverb: “Use friendship as a drawing account, but don’t forget to make a deposit.”

The Lesson: Nurture relationships by investing face-to-face time in them. No technology can substitute for the real thing.

Honor the Sabbath. An Amish person would never think of working on a Sunday. But it’s more than that—they truly cherish their Sabbath. They spend time on Saturday to make Sunday a smooth and easy day.

Amish proverb: “Many things I have tried to grasp and have lost. That which I have placed in God’s hands I still have.”

The Lesson: Strive to make Sunday a different day than other days. A day of rest is important on so many levels—time to worship, time to reflect, time to re-energize. A re-charge your battery day.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world.  When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Marley's New Digs

Marley is our bearded dragon.  Friends just gave us a much bigger aquarium for her to call home.  Ain't she a beauty?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Curriculum for this Year - 9th and 7th Grade

A fellow crewmate is doing a blog hop about curriculum choices this year.  While I’m not sure everyone cares what we are using, I do know that it has taken hours and hours of scouring choices and looking at books and pricing options and considering my boys learning styles and figuring out what our co-ops are doing, and, and, and… to get to the point where we made our choices.  So, for me, it’s a bit cathartic to put it in writing.

I homeschool my two youngest boys.  My oldest is starting high school and my youngest is going into 7th grade. 

9th Grader (14 this Sept.):

This year he will take three courses through our co-op.  We meet one day a week and then do the learning at home.  I like a co-op because they are accountable to someone besides me, because these ladies have expertise in areas I am weaker in, and because it keeps the idea of a classroom setting in his mind for college.

The three co-op courses are:

Biology (and lab)  – we are using Apologia Biology.  I am going to incorporate additional work to make it an honors course.  This is really two classes at the co-op because the lab is separate.

American History – the text is United States History by BJU.  We will also use REA CLEP for History 1 and 2 and The History of US DVD and text.  This will be an honors course and he’ll take two CLEP tests this year.

Computer Applications I – this is a semester course I will be teaching at the co-op.  We are using Microsoft Office 2007 Simplified along with a plethora of information and activities I have downloaded.

3D Visual Programming – also a semester course I will teach using Alice by Canegie Melon.  Alice is a free download with many tutorials that teaches the fundamentals of programming in a visual platform.

At home he will be doing:

Spanish I – we have Auralog’s Tell Me More Spanish levels 1-5 Homeschool Edition.

Honors English I – I will use Excellence in Literature: Intro to Literature with the honors option, Easy Grammar Plus to keep up with grammar and we’ll supplement vocabulary as needed.

Geometry – Teaching Textbooks is our choice here.  Both my boys really like the format and instruction.  It worked well with Algebra I for him so we’re sticking with it.

7th Grader (12):

My younger son also attends the same co-op and will be participating in another as well.
At the first co-op, he will take:
Middle School Art – this class will focus on drawing and paint.
General Science – We stick with Apologia for science. I have bought him the audio to go with the text as he’s more auditory.
Computer Applications I and 3D Visual Programming – same class as my oldest except for a modification for the middle school students.
World Geography – the instructor is compiling her own materials

Co-op #2

Critical Thinking – will use Critical Thinking materials

Writing – (this is every other week) He will have a teacher the first semester focusing on the five paragraph essay; I will teach the course second semester and focus on genres of essay writing.

Science Lab – (every other week) Taught by a highly qualified scientist who will have parent led labs with her assistance. He will create two projects over the course of the year.  The labs are similar in content to what he will be learning in General Science.  A good supplement.

At home:
Literature – we are doing Battle of the Books this year, so he will read 27 total books (3 per month – we did nine over the summer.)  I have a study guide for one book a month so we can address that one in more depth.  I will also have him doing Easy Grammar Plus. 

Pre-Algebra – Teaching Textbooks all the way!
German I - we have Auralog’s Tell Me More German levels 1-5 Homeschool Edition.

Whew – that’s one big year ahead of us and that’s not even counting the extra-curriculars…  I can’t wait to get past the anticipation and finally get rolling!  Two more weeks!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Homeschool Transcript - A Wonderful Transcript Generator!

My Homeschool Transcript

Cost:  $29 for lifetime subscription
           Free basic one time transcript

While this is a review, it is unsolicited.  I was blessed to be part of the beta program for My Homeschool Transcripts and give input on what I thought would be needed for my children’s transcripts.  It was great to work with the developer as he took all suggestions seriously and really strove to implement those that appealed to the wider audience.

Having a strong transcript, as a homeschooler, is important for those students wanting to go on to college.  Unlike in a public or private school, the developer of the transcript, typically mom and dad, has to really elaborate on what was accomplished in order to catch the college’s admissions counselor’s eye.

When I first knew I was homeschooling high school, I invested in another popular program that I now believe is very limited in what it can accomplish on a transcript.  Now that I’ve had time with My Homeschool Transcript, I wish I could get my money back!  This program is so much more thorough and dynamic.

I love the flexibility of what I can add or change in the program.  Some examples of what you can do include the following:
·         Create classes/subjects and as many student files as you need

·         Provide details about the class/subject including a description and comments (this is where I keep a running account of what texts we use)

·         Determine what is expected for graduation and visually see what your student needs to accomplish

·         Designate courses as Honors or Dual Enrollment and have them calculated properly

·         Determine how to calculate your grades

·         Develop a by grade or by subject transcript printable as a PDF

·         Record extra-curricular activites and test scores
All of this is for a one-time fee of $29!  A lot cheaper than what I spent before.  To see a more extensive feature set list, click here.

I feel that the process for creating transcripts is very straight forward.  I’ve started my son’s including the classes he will be taking this year, a bibliography for each course, and his extra-curricular activities.  This way I’m ahead of the game and can supplement or remove anything that changes as we go along.  He has already needed one transcript to join the National Honor Society.  I guess you just never know when you’ll need one.

Another aspect I have been very impressed with is customer service, I have sent the occasional email with a question and always get a fast and friendly response.  I don’t know about you, but I really value strong customer service.

I really felt compelled to post this as I just finished using it and wanted to be able to share a great program with my fellow homeschoolers.

There is an option to generate a free transcript if you want to check it out or are in need of a transcript, stat.  Obviously, I highly recommend this program for generating professional transcripts colleges will take notice of.