Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun Get Together

Last Friday was my turn to host our local homeschoolers for our bi-weekly get together. Because I thought it was National Wildlife Week I decided to plan some activities based on that theme.

I wrote about National Wildlife Week on the Newfoundland and Labrador Homeschool Nations Blog that I am co-ordinator for at the moment after I had heard about it on another homeschoolers blog. I really liked the "Tell Your Wildlife Watch Story" that I found on the National Wildlife Federation website while researching for that post. We have a local homeschool family that is very into watching nature and I knew they would like that idea and I thought others might too.

The day before our get together I went searching the internet for other ideas and possible materials that I could work into the get together and I discovered something that threw me right off for a little while. I don't know why I didn't discover this information when I was doing the research for my post about National Wildlife Week, but for whatever reason I didn't come across that information then but I did come across it that day.

Through this website I discovered that Canada actually celebrates National Wildlife Week the week that April 10 falls on, in honor of Jack Miner's birthday "to create a perpetual memorial to honour him for his pioneer work in wildlife conservation". There's lots of interesting information about Jack Miner on that site - like the fact that the outdoors was his classroom because he was not suited for school and only attended 3 months, and the fact that he included scripture verses on the bands that he put on the birds he banded.

Then I found this site all about National Wildlife Week in Canada and how the theme for this year's National Wildlife Week was "Pollinators – from flowers to food to our future". I tried printing off the Pollinator Puzzle cards from the learning center part of the site but my printer was out of ink.

I decided to go ahead and still use National Wildlife Week as the theme for our get together and to share some of what I had learned. DD and I brainstormed about possible ways to do this, and I'm pleased to say we came up with a plan that worked out really well.

When the homeschoolers arrived we all sat around and chatted for a while before I told them how I thought this was National Wildlife week and I found a neat site where they could report nature findings. We all took turns sharing our recent experiences in spotting different animals in the outdoors. There were some great stories - like the one about the mom that was playing tug of war with a weasel in their cupboard recently!

After that I told them about my mistake in thinking it was National Wildlife Week and I shared with them some of what I had learned about Jack Miner and Canada's National Wildlife Week. I had also printed of Jack Miner's Testimony from the homepage of the site for them to take home.

Then came the fun part! The night before DD and I had brainstormed a list of creatures that are common to our province. We had cut this list into strips of individual creatures and put them in a hat. We had each homeschooler pick out one, which they were to keep totally to themselves and not tell anyone else what they had. Then we gave each of them a clump of white homemade playdoh, which we had made the night before, to make their creatures. We also supplied them with markers to use to color their creatures once they were made. What fun we had! Some even decided to pick a second creature to make while they were waiting for others to finish their first ones. They did a great job and of course they ended up chatting while working and everyone pretty well knew what everyone was making before they were finished. One of the mom's took pictures of the creations which I will post when I get them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I need your help

The next edition of the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival is supposed to be posted May 5th and so far I only have one submission. I would love for you to help me get the word out about the carnival so that hopefully I will get more submissions. Also, I've made some changes to the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival Blog and added a couple of polls to the side bar. I'd love it if you would take the time to check this out, participate in the polls, and leave a comment letting me know what you think of the changes, and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks. Hopefully I'll soon be able to stop begging people to help me out with this thing. :) I'm really looking forward to getting back to using my blog to post about my life instead.

Thanks for your help.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hope in bad times

Our family received some sad news this week. FIL's tumor is back already and the doctor says there's nothing they can do. They say that time is short for him.

It's at times like this that I am especially thankful for my faith in God. I was reminded of that again this week as I read the Death is Not a Threat post at the Desiring God blog. Philippians 1:21 says that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain". When a life is dedicated to God dying is not a threat, it is a promotion. Sure it still hurts when you get news such as we did this week, but you have an ultimate hope and peace that lessens the sting inspite of the sorrow.

We are still praying for healing for FIL, that he would get to live whatever days he has left in praise and honor to God, but, because he has let us know that he has made his peace with God, we have a peace that when his days are finally over we will see him again in eternity.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Canadian Home Educators Carnival now has it's own blog

I decided to make a blog especially for the Carnival of Canadian Home Educators. From now on the Carnival calls for submissions and different editions will be posted at the Canadian Home Educators Carnival.

My purpose in creating the carnival was to unite Canadian home educating bloggers, not to increase traffic to my blog, and I just thought it would be better for the carnival to have it's own blog space. I also created an email account just for the carnival. It just seemed like a better idea than using my own personal email. From now on any email about the Carnival can be sent to .

I have posted a call for submissions to the Third carnival of Canadian Home Educators here. The deadline for submissions is May 2nd.

Please help spread the news about the new site and also about the new call.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Menus Moved to New Blog

I've decided to post my menu plan posts and recipes at a blog I had orginally started for my family to share recipes on. As nobody else seemed interested in it, I have now taken it over. :) If you're interested you can check out my menu plan for this week here.

Second Carnival of Canadian Home Educators

Thank you to those of you that took the time to submit a post to this edition of the Carnival of Canadian Home Educators. We have one return participant and three new participants.

Jackie's been around the block in education and she talks about a "life long love for learning" and Why Homeschooling is a Wise Educational Alternative. Her blog is a new venture. Be sure to visit and encourage her.

In her post Osmosis School, Audrey shows how her son is exhibiting that love for learning as he asks for an opportunity to "suck up" his schooling while he is having a sick day.

Dawn confesses to a problem that I think most of us experience when it comes to planning - going overboard, and then having nothing come of it. She's decided to combine some Restraint and Scheduling

On her family's nature blog, Jessica, a homeschooling preteen, shares some great pictures of a squirrel that visited their yard recently. I love the idea of a family nature blog where everyone has a turn to post.

Carla asks us to Look at these two as she catches a rare moment of peace and togetherness between two or her crew that are usually at odds with one another.

And there you have the second edition of the Carnival of Canadian Home Educators. While the submissions are few, they give you a small glimpse into the varied lives of homeschooling families across Canada. That's what I was hoping to accomplish with this Carnival - a chance to see similarities and differences in home educating families across our country.

It looks like the Carnival of Canadian Home Educators is going to be as hard a sell as the Dominion of Canada. :) Though I searched my sp*m folder diligently I didn't find any extra submissions this time around. I'm not ready to give up yet though, even if I am a little discouraged.

I'd love your thoughts on this venture, and any suggestions you might have on how to improve it. You can leave a comment below or you can email .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DD's poem

Earlier this week I mentioned to DD that this is National Poetry Month and I'd like her to do something special for it - write a poem, read some poems, etc. She told me she wanted to write a poem. She disappeared into her room and came out shortly afterwards to present me with her poem. Here it is:

There is one thing I hate more than onions - it's math!
I'd rather go a month without a bath
Than do five questions of horrid math

I'd read a book with thus, shalt, hath,
If I could get away from awful math
With its multiplication, division, subtraction, addition
I'd rather do the most dangerous 007 mission!

But I guess in the end it can be a good thing
Even if right now it causes me brain sting.

Carnival of Canadian Home Educators

Quick reminder that the deadline for submissions for the second Carnival of Home Educators is tomorrow. I only have one submission yet!! Come on, Canadian Home educators. I know lots of you have written great posts since the last Carnival. Send in your submissions! Pass the word!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Challenging and Inspiring Posts

I had saved these posts to possibly blog about, or to at least share, as I found them challenging and inspiring.

Christian Women Online's "Teach Us to Pray" devotional from a while back struck a chord with me, as did the more recent "Feathers Plucked for a Nest" devotional.

Kysha particiapted in an "In Other Words Meme" that started with this quote: "We must assess our thoughts and beliefs and reckon whether they are moving us closer to conformity to Christ or farther away from it."~ by John Ortberg Her post is worth reading. I'm thinking the "In Other Words Meme" is also looking pretty interesting.

I really liked the two simple, but not always easy things that Willa suggested in her post Keeping Intentionality - an evening reflection of and a morning list of things to do. I've been trying to incorporate those into my days and they do help. She also pointed to a couple of posts by Elizabeth at In the Heart of my Home that made me go "Ouch". I could identify with the messy friend she talked about in Why Bother. She has great suggestions in On Being Intentional. I need to work on that.

The Two Shall Become One "Our Calling" posts are hitting close to home, too. I was especially struck by part two and the fact that being my husband's helper and loving my children are tied together. I've always thought I tried my best to love my children, but I haven't always tried my best to be my husband's helper, so I have failed to love my children as I should. Need to work on that too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let's try this again...

I missed Menu Plan Monday last week because I was so busy the first part of the week. I really enjoyed participating the week before, however, so I've decided to try it again this week. Following Stephanie's example, I'm also going to give a little review of the meals we had the last two weeks.

Two weeks ago I posted my menu plans for the week. While I really want to try the Taco Salad Bowl I didn't get to because I sent DH shopping. :) He bought kits and the shells were too small. Also, he bought Fajita kits instead of taco kits so I didn't have the spices to make the tacos! I wasn't impressed, as I had started cooking the meat for the tacos while he was at the store. Sooo...I went searching on the internet for a recipe for Taco spice and I found one! I made just plain tacos rather than the salad bowl. They didn't turn out too bad. The Lazy Chicken Enchiladas and the Meaty Chili are always a big hit in our house. The Pulled Chicken Sandwiches were a big hit! So easy to make. It ended up being a great week meal wise.

The first part of last week was crazy because we were out of town so we ate out. Wednesday, however, I cooked a big turkey dinner - roasted turkey and dressing, potatoes, carrot, turnip, cabbage, onion pudding, peas pudding, all smothered in gravy. Yummy! Thursday I used left over turkey and gravy to make clubhouse sandwiches with poutine on the side. Once again, yummy! Friday I once again used left over turkey and gravy and made hot turkey sandwiches with fries. Umm, ummm, good! Saturday we had chicken nachos and wings. Yesterday I cooked a big cooked dinner again, much like Wednesday, but we had chicken and livers with it instead of turkey.

This week rather than give a day by day plan I've decided to just make a list of things I am thinking about having sometime in the week.

- Lasagna, from a recipe for Company's Coming Lunches.
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast - found this one a week or so ago at Weighing in on Life
- corn casserole
- Chicken and rice
- Burgers and fries

Looks like Weighing in on Life has some yummy sounding stuff posted again today.

Found a couple of sites to check out for recipes. Thanks to Mama Squirrel for pointing me to A year of Crock Potting and telling me about the Carnival of Recipes Southwestern Edition.

The Organizing Junkie has started a list of recipe sites where you can enter in your ingredients and they'll tell you possible dishes you can make with them.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Recent findings in cyberworld

April is Poetry month. At Farm School I found out about SemiColon, a blog that is featuring a poem and a poetry activity a day for the month. Love the poem, I had a Reading Mother, that was posted by hiddenart recently. Adapting the idea of a Poem in my Pocket, this lady is emphasizing the Biblical poetry book and posting "A psalm in my Pocket".

Here are a couple of Carnivals that I've been meaning to check out - Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and Carnival of Homeschooling #119.

Jacci's taking a slightly new direction with her blog and will be posting more about CM in the preschool years. She recently did a series of posts on Charlotte Mason style copywork that is really worth checking out. Her latest post pointed to this post by Lindafay "dictation and Copywrok are not one and the same". Great post!

At Dewey's Treehouse I found out about the New Look at Ambleside. Great job!

Dana informed us that the April issue of Heart of the Matter is up.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Music Festival time!

It's been a crazy few of days at our house. DD participated in a Musical Festival in a community an hour away from us, so that meant we were out of the house and out of town for most of the days, though we didn't stay overnight.

This was DD's first year participating and I am so proud of her! She did great!

Her very first performance was Monday morning at 11, at least it was scheduled for 11 but I think it was a little closer to 11:30 before they actually started the session. She was very, very nervous, and it showed, but she did a great job. The adjudicator told her she did a great job and she didn't understand her being nervous because she sure didn't need to be. She mentioned how DD looked especially nervous when the music changed to a higher key and the adjudicator was nervous for her because she thought that the key must be too high for her and then she was shocked when DD hit the key changes perfectly! Then came the time for the marks and awards. There were only five people in the class and everyone but DD got an award. There were only first, second and third awards but there was a tie for third. DD was devastated! All the words of praise were forgotten. I think even the adjudicator was shocked that she had awarded two third place awards, meaning there was only one person that didn't get anything. I think she even felt bad. I tried to console DD by reminding her of the encouraging words and pointing out that the first place person's score was 85.5 and her score was 83.5 so there really wasn't that much difference, but there was no consoling her. She said she was finished with singing and begged me to take her home.

Her next performance was scheduled for 1:30 that same day. We didn't get out of her first performance until after 12. There wasn't much time. She was in tears and begging me to take her home and I just couldn't do it. I knew in my heart that she needed to make that next performance, but I honestly didn't know how she was going to pull herself together and do it. I knew she could do it but she needed to want to do it and she didn't want to. Anyway, I proceeded to the next venue with her still begging me to take her home. We parked and I told her she needed to do this. She got out of the van, slammed the door and went in to sing - and she did amazing! She wasn't nervous this time because she was too mad at me. :) Once again the adjudicator sang her praises. She didn't get a place but there were 8 people in this group so she wasn't the only one that didn't get placed, and she felt good about her performance. I was so proud of her! I gladly took her home for a night's rest before her next performance.

There were 10 people in the group for her next performance the next day. She was scheduled to be one of the first performers but there were some changes made and she ended up being in the middle somewhere. I'm glad she was because she got to see some of the others struggle and keep going. A couple of them had to start over. Finally it was her turn and she hit every note dead on! Man, was I proud of her! Honestly, she was the only one of the group that hit every note dead on and didn't stumble over the words. She received second place award in the class and I know she would have received first place if she had been a little more animated. It was a broadway/movie class and the others dressed the parts and really acted out their songs, but DD just stood there and sung her heart out. She had no idea before hand that people actually acted out their songs.

Inspite of a terribly beginning, DD's first experience with a music festival was a good one, and she's even talking about what she might like to do "if" she does it again.

Last night we took in the family concert that was a part of the festival. What a fun night! It was so neat to watch so many different families do so many different acts. We really enjoyed it.

So, that's where I've been the last few days. They've been busy, but great days.

Monday, April 07, 2008

First Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers!

Welcome to the first Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers. Though we are off to a very meager beginning, it is a dream of mine that this Carnival will grow quickly over time. I know there are many, many Canadian Home Educating Bloggers out there and I'm hoping they will come together much faster than the 82 years it took for everyone to come together to form the nation of Canada. :)

Just like the confederation of Canada started off with representation from 4 provinces, so the Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers is starting off with representation from 4 provinces, but the represented provinces are a little more spread out in the Carnival than they were in the confederation. Also, though Newfoundland was the last province to join confederation, it is a representative of Newfoundland ( me :0) )that was the instigator of the Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers.

As my submission to this carnival I point you to a very short post of mine from a while back, where I shared a link to a post that resonated in my heart as I reflected on the fact that Motherhood is My Chosen Career.

Michelle, in Nova Scotia, was the first one to respond to my request for submissions. She shares some devotional thoughts about the important jobs of mothers and how our most important job is to work on having a right relationship with God so that we can help our children have a right relationship with God.

Julie in Saskatchewan, encourages us not to be fooled by bow ties as she shares how she discovered another side of Pierre Berton as she read his book The Secret World of Og with her children. I love the comment she made about his children knowing that side of him and it got me thinking about whether my children see a side of me that nobody else does.

Though not a homeschooling parent, Sarah, now residing in Alberta, has devoted much time to helping homeschooling students and parents, so for that reason I agreed to accept her submission to the carnival. She has put together some wonderful information for homeschoolers applying to university. Be prepared to spend much time on her site.

And there we have the first edition of the Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers. Spread the word and help us grow. Hopefully next time we will have more representations from other provinces and also more representations from the provinces already represented.

I will host the next Carnival in two weeks time so that will give everyone lots of time to submit a post. It can be a new post or an old one, doesn't matter. It can be short or long.

If you need inspiration on what to post, check out the lyrics of My Way, a song written by Canadian Paul Anka. State your case. Tell about your full life. Tell about your travels. Share your regrets. Tell about your planned, charted course, your careful steps. Tell about the times you bit off more than you could chew. Share about when you loved, laughed and cried. Tell about home educating your way.

The deadline for submissions will be April 18 and the next edition will be posted April 21. Send submission to jacqueline hillier AT gmail DOT com, but leave out the spaces and use the proper symbols for the capitalized words.

Edited at 11:45

Before closing my email program for the night I noticed that the sp*m folder was getting pretty full so I decided to delete it. Then I remembered that the last time I went to delete it I discovered that there was a message from my sister in there, so I decided I should check the messages before deleting them. Boy am I glad I did! There were 4 more submissions for the Carnival in there! Here they are:

Linda, in Newfoundland, tells about her son unschooling himself cartooning and shares some of his cartoons.

Penelope, in Nova Scotia, has a great post to remind us about the frustrations that are often experienced when we try to learn something new, and how important it is remember that in teaching our children and to teach them how to deal with frustrations.

Dawn, also in Nova Scotia, tells about how the lovely weather had her picking up butterfly nets for her children and how it reminds her of how she often picks up stuff with intentions that never get followed through. I think we can all relate to that.

Mama Squirrel, in Ontario, shares a funny from her squirrelings.

Thank-you each and everyone that participated in the first Carnival of Canadian Home Educators. I hope you will all join in again in the next one, and help spread the news.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Speaking of Writing Opportunities....'s one...

Sponsored by Art Bookbindery

In Ann's Christian Women Online Honors Mothers post I found out about the "Her Life Reflected" Writing Contest put on by Christian Women Online Magazine. This is an online magazine who's purpose is "to unite women of faith, regardless of our differing ages, our roles as women, or the signs that mark our church doors." Getting ready for the Mother's Day edition of the magazine they, along with Art Bookbindery, are putting off this writing contest. The winner will receive a a great prize package that includes a book, a mug, a CD, a DVD, etc. To enter you must submit an essay of less than 1000 words telling "how your mother, or a mother that you know has reflected the heart of our Heavenly Father in her life". The contest is open to women age 18 and up who reside in Canada or the United States. The deadline for submission April 21st. All entries must be made through their online submission form, which is at the bottom of the page about the contest.

and here's another one...

I discovered this one in the Homeschool Share's Annual Blast post at One Child Homeschool . Homeschool Share is an "on-line cooperative effort of several homeschooling moms to provide free but quality literature-based unit studies and resources". They are having a "curriculum drive in the form of a contest", the Back to School Blast. They are inviting people to create and submit literature-based unit studies that they will make available to the public through their site for the next school year. They will start accepting submissions Thursday, May 1, and the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, July 1. Their guidelines for submissions should be read before starting to plan the unit and can be found here. They already have a number of unit studies on the site that you can check out.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where did the week go?? Forget that, where did last month go?!?

I really meant to participate in Dana's Home Education Week activities this week but I never did get around to it. I have enjoyed reading Dana's posts, and some others that are on my blog reader, but I want to find the time to read more. She sure had a lot of people participate. If you're interested in checking it out click on the link to Dana's original post above. She has made the daily topics into links to her post for each day and at the bottom of her post is the Mr. Linkies with links to all the participants. I'm hoping to find the time to read more of them, and I still haven't given up hope of maybe posting on a couple of them myself.

Speaking of not giving up. I had signed up for Nancy's Book in a Month Club for last month, but life was too crazy and I had to give up on it. That doesn't mean, however, that I've stopped thinking about it. I have lots of ideas in my head. I really learned a lot from following Nancy's posts all month, too. I am hoping to actually do this some month.

I did have an accomplishment or two the past month. I was put on the blogroll at Let's Play Math! I thought that was pretty exciting. I just love her website! I've been working with her getting some of her posts published in Homeschooling Horizons Magazine. That's another thing I've been doing, and enjoying this month, working on the magazine. Love it! I've also enjoyed working as the co-ordinator for the Newfoundland and Labrador blog at The Old Schoolhouse's Homeschool Nations network.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Recent Findings

In this post Anne gives a great review of Beowulf, "the oldest Epic in the English Languages", that makes me almost want to read it. I've read much about it before but nothing has tempted me to it like this review. Anne quotes Doug Phillip as describing it as "one of the ten most important works of Christian literature in history." This got me wondering what the other 9 are but I couldn't find a list. If anyone can point me to one I sure would appreciate it.

A couple of things at Lifestyle Homeschool caught my eye this week. Here is a great article on Reading Journals. I have tried many times over the years to get my kids to keep reading journals, and even to keep one myself. We would succeed for a while but then it would fall by the wayside. I wish it was something I had been more diligent about. In "Tweaking Homechool Methods for Highschool Students" and "Scope and Sequence The Discipleship Way" she shares how she gradually moves her children into taking more responsibilities for their learning. I loved these two quotes from these pages:
"If we don’t have a heart to heart relationship with our children by this stage this needs to be our priority - no school work comes close to the importance of our relationship with our children and their inner heart."
"By the time the children are getting towards their teens the discipline that previously was seen as “boundaries” set and monitored by the parents begins to become the young adults responsibility. Setting goals, monitoring progress, asking for help etc becomes their responsibility (and depends on their self discipline)"