Sunday, August 31, 2008

I have a camera!

My parents gave me a camera for my anniversary, which isn't until this coming Friday but Mom couldn't wait to give it to me. I'm so excited! I have been going crazy without a camera, but it just wasn't in the budget to replace the one I lost. I've been warned that I am to guard this one with my life. :)

We were at my parents cabin today so I had to try out my new camera. Here's a picture I took today of my parents with my children.

Lots of Fun Freebies!

Homeschool Freebie of the Day is having an End of Summer Bash. Hurry over and check it out! All kinds of excitement right until Monday sometime. One fun thing is the Treasure Hunt Time where you have to search through their past posts for the chance to download a previous freebie again, just in case you missed it the first time. Check it out!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs: Agendas

The Homeschool Memoirs theme for this past week is "Homeschool Agendas". We were asked to share our 2008-09 School Plan. I've been avoiding doing this one because, to be perfectly honest, we're still working on our plan, and we probably will be for quite some time. In the past I have started the school year with plans all laid out for the whole year and then been terribly frustrated when they haven't unfolded as I planned, so I have become much more relaxed - maybe too relaxed.

The past few weeks I have been trying to make a conscious effort to jot down possibilities for the coming year. I only have one formal student this year - DD#1, who is almost 16 and if she were in school would be going into grade 11. For the past couple of years I have been encouraging her to become more involved in the planning process because it is her education and I think it is important that she own it. I am here to mentor her and help in any way I can but it's no good for me to come up with all kinds of plans without her input. We've done that in the past and it just doesn't work. We've been discussing this off and on this month and we will be getting much more serious about it in the coming week. We have a general plan of sort that we will be using to guide us to make a more concrete plan.

My plan is that we will be sitting down this coming week and writing out some goals for the year, looking at what subjects we need to cover, what subjects we want to cover, what texts and resources are available and appealing, and discussing how to reach our goals. I'd like us to break down the big goals into monthly and weekly goals and have regular meetings at the beginning of each week to plan for the coming week and at the end of each week to evaluate how we did and what needs to happen next.

We take advantage of a whole lot of resources but we are not slaves to any of them. We have Saxon Math, but we also use lots of online sites. We have an Apologia Science, but we also use online sites and the library. The library has always been our main source for language arts, and it will continue to be so, along with many online sites and old texts that I have on hand.

DD has a great interest in music and has taken voice lessons and taught herself to play guitar and is working on piano and violin. She will continue with this and I'm also hoping to interest her in some music history.

History is not something we've done much with but it's something I hope to do more of this year. I'm hoping to integrate it into the other subjects as much as possible.

Current events have also aways played an important part in our schooling. Watching the news and reading the paper and discussing the happenings are a given. We often use these as jumps of points for further study.

So, as you can see, I have a lot of ideas, but no definite plans in place yet. We will take it one day at a time.

A verse that is important to me in this area is "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #1 - All About You

It kind of feels like the first day of school at the Homeschool Memoirs meme and we're being encouraged to introduce ourselves, as the first theme is "All About You". Here goes...

Hi! My name is Jacqueline, not Jackie, but you're welcome to call me Jac if you must shorten it. :) I was named after my Aunt Jackie and it was always emphasized that she was Jackie and I was Jacqueline. I always introduce myself as Jacqueline and I still cringe when anyone calls me Jackie. When I became a teenager some of my friends started calling me Jac and I didn't mind that so much. My DH and my sister call me Jac often. One time it caused some trouble for Sis as a boyfriend got kind of upset about hearing her talk so much about Jac. ;)

DH and I will be celebrating our 21st anniversary in a few days time. Well, I should say our anniversary is coming up again but it will probably pass by yet again without too much celebration. DH is just not one for remembering or celebrating special days. Romance is not one of his strengths. He's a good guy, though, and a hard worker. He holds down a full time job and does lots, and lots of volunteer work. He's been going through a pretty tough time lately as his dad as been fighting cancer so I will be much more understanding this year than I have been in the past. ;)

When DH and I married I was a teacher in the public school system and I loved my job, however, when the little ones came along I couldn't imagine leaving them with someone else to go back to it. DH and I talked about that before we married and I told him that I thought my place was with my children until they went to school, than I'd go back to teaching again. So that was the plan, until I discovered homeschooling.

Way back in February I wrote a post called Our Homeschool History (Part 1) but I never did get around to writing part 2. :) Maybe some day. Anyway, at that post you can read about our beginning homeschooling. We started homeschooling when DS#1 was 8, DS#2 was almost 7, and DD#1 was almost 4. They are now 20, almost 19, and almost 16, and we have a new Little One that is almost 3 (she was a big surprise :)). The oldest two have finished their home education and are working in the field of construction at the present time. DD#1 is my only formal student this year, though I'm sure Little One will join us as much as she can doing her own little thing. She thinks she's as old as the rest of them. ;0)

Whenever I'm asked why I homeschool I say it's because I love to teach, I love to learn, and I love spending time with my kids. It hasn't always been easy but I can't imagine life any other way.

I am a proud Newfoundlander and a proud Canadian. I've lived on the island portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador all my life, except for the 3 years I attended college in Ontario. I love connecting with homeschoolers, especially fellow Newfoundland or fellow Canadian homeschoolers. That's why I started the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival.

Well, I think that's enough about me for now. There's lots more I could tell you but I'll leave more for another time. I've struggled big time in writing this and I need to just finish it and post it so that I can get on to the next assignment. By the way, I am a terrible procrastinator and often leave things til the last minute so you may find that I'm often one of the last to post in the meme. My motto is better late than never. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking for Ideas on what to Blog About?

I've come across a couple of great sources of inspiration for homeschooling bloggers, especially Christian homeschool bloggers.

Blogger Friend School is a new website for an idea that's actually been around for a couple of years. They are actually having a Back to School Giveaway to celebrate their third year together. The Blogger Friend School of 2008-2009 starts September 2 and goes to June 9, 2009, but you can actually join in any time. Every Tuesday assignments will be posted. The site states "Our homework assignments will be BIBLE BASED with the purpose of uplifting one another and strengthening our faith." On the class description page you can read about the chance to be named Head of the Class and to receive perfect attendance awards. Sounds like a lot of fun! I'm hoping to participate when I can throughout the year.

Homeschool Memoirs 2008-2009 is a part of The Homeschool Blog Awards. On the Homeschool Memoirs 2008-2009 page it says that the purpose is to help you keep a "memoir" of your homeschool year and also for homeschoolers to get to know one another. Each Wednesday they will be posting a theme. The first theme was posted August 20th and was "All About You" and at the time that I wrote this there had already been over 140 people sign the Mr. Linky for the theme. I'm going to try to remember to do that one in the next couple of days.

So, there you have it. If you're looking for ideas as to what to blog about you can check out the assignments at Blogger Friend School each Tuesday and the themes at Homeschool Memoirs each Wednesday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

More information on request for information

I received an email requesting more information about my request for input that I posted here. I thought it would be a good idea to answer those questions here because other people may have the same questions.

Who is the research for?
The research is for an article for a Canadian Homeschooling magazine.

Where will the info/results be posted/shared?
The information will be used in the article in the magazine.

It was a request from one of the readers to have an article comparing homeschooling regulations and funding in the different provinces.

Are there others working on this?
I am gathering the information and, with help from an editor, will be putting the information together for the article.

Are the info providers anonymous or listed?
I would not mention any names in the article without prior approval from the people involved. That's always been my policy with the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival that I run and with any work that I have done on articles for the Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, and it will always be my policy with anything that I do at any time for any reason. Any time I use someone's name, and/or any information they provide, I send them what I have written about them, or using their information, and receive their approval of what I have written.

I hope that answers some questions you might have. If you have any other questions feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homeschooling in Canada?

I have been asked to do some research for an article on homeschooling regulations, re. funding, reporting, etc., in the provinces. I thought it would be good to get some information from people with first hand knowledge and experience about such things.

I would love to hear from you as to what your experience has been in whatever provinces you have homeschooled in. You can email me about it and/or write a blog post about it and let me know where to find it by leaving a comment here. I'd be delighted with either form of communication.

You can pass this information on to anyone that you think might be interested in helping provide information.

Hope to hear from you soon!

EDIT: I answered questions about this request in this post here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Love these ideas!

The Charlotte Mason Carnival hosted a Back to School Planning Bash. I love this idea! Lots of great links to check out there. Learned about this from our very own Canadian homeschooler Mamma Squirrel.

The Homeschool Blog Awards is hosting a Homeschool Memoirs 2008-2009 Meme. Another great idea! I learned about this from another of our own Canadian homeschoolers - Michelle.

Hmmmm....I wonder could I do something with these ideas for the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Essential Ingredients to Homeschool Success

Just read a post by Terri at Knowledge Quest where she shares 5 Essential Ingredients to Homeschooling Success. Go read her post because it is great and she says much more than I'm going to highlight here.

After reading her post I decided to list the ingredients and share how I feel we're doing in each one:

1. "the desire to foster a closer relationship with each of your children and your kids with one another."

This has always been very, very important to me, and in spite of how important it has been, it hasn't been commpletely successful. We're going to have to discuss this one as a family and come up with some plans

2. "a teachable spirit on the part of the parent"

I have always loved to learn, but I have to admit that I'm not always teachable. Sometimes I'm too stubborn to admit that I need to learn something. I'm going to have to work on that one.

3. "creating a home environment that is conducive to learning"

Our home environment is pretty conducive to learning but there's definite room for improvement in that respect. I need to work on getting things in order to make it more conducive to learning. Part of that is that I need to be more organized and get rid of some clutter.

4. "2 hours of your time to devote to your children’s studies"

Need to work on this one too. I tend to get lost in the computer and I need to tame that monster. I've actually been working on that and doing better.

5. "a library card"

The library has always been very, very important in our schooling and we made regular visits - until last year. Need to get back on track with that one.

Having a Purpose and Specific Goals

Every since I read Jeannie Fulbright's post Homeschooling with Purpose some time last week I have been putting lots and lots of conscious thought into developing a purpose and goals for this coming year, and into getting it in writing. The gist of Jeannie's article was that you need to have specific prayed through goals for your children and then trust God because He had plans for those children before they were born and He intends to see them to fruition.

There seems to be two counter ideas there - planning goals and trusting God - but they are not really counter ideas and it is important to do both, and to do both together, not separately.

In the past I have planned and not really trusted, and I've also trusted and not really planned. Neither works on it's own and this time around I'm taking it slow but I'm also being purposeful. I'm spending much time jotting down my thoughts and praying over them and I'm gradually working towards developing a plan. I've talked to DD#1, who is my only official homeschooler this year, about what I am doing and have asked for her to join me in the praying and the planning. I've been planning on talking to DH about it but haven't done that yet. Finding time to talk to him is so hard but I have to make it a priority in the next day or so.

A long time ago and friend of mine told me how important it was to develop a philosophy of education for your homeschool and to have it written down. I think I'm finally getting around to doing that and it feels good.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Guiding, not pushing

Once again I am inspired by Ann's words at Holy Experience. Today she reflects on the coming school year and is inspired by words she over hears her mother speak to her children while showing them how to use a sewing machine, and it reminds her of a scripture that says the same thing. Gently guide, don't push. She gives us practical examples from her day. I hope I remember that that is How to Parent: Just Guide Gently.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Napier's Bones - Multiplying with Wood

Ever heard of Napier's bones before? I didn't, until I read Farm School's lastest post just now. This site gives a really good explanation of what they are and how they work, while this site tells you how to make your own neat set out of wood.

Lamenting vs grumbling

I am often moved by the posts at Holy Experience, and such was the case with today's post, Even when He doesn't: Learn to Lament. I have admired Ann's writing for a while now, and now I also admire their commitment to hold fast to their faith, even when it is difficult.

This statement stood out to me today "Lord, remind me today to voice my lament not as disgruntled frustration, but as longing, the language of the heart." I am so guilty of grumbling, and grumbling, and grumbling....and I excuse it by saying that God wants me to be honest with Him, and I may as well be because He knows my heart anyway. I need to learn to lament - to be honest, but not be grumbling. There's a difference. It's a difference of attitude, and of true faith. It's hard though. But I know through experience that it makes a difference. Why do I keep forgetting it? Thank you for the reminder again today, Ann. I needed it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fun Science Learning Downloadables

Thanks to Dawn's post which provided me with the link, I just spent a good chunk of time at Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop. Be sure to check out the Free Products to Download on the left hand side. It provides you with links to all kinds of fun hands on activities.

A squatty potty!

Thanks to Molytail, I had didn't miss One Child Policy's post about The Squatty Potty.
I had actually heard about the squatty potty recently from a friend who has a brother on a teaching stint in Asia somewhere, so when I read the blog post this morning it wasn't a totally foreign concept to me, and after reading the post I can definitely see advantages to these types of toilets.

Nothing bugs me more than going into a public washroom, or any washroom, and seeing the toilet seat covered with pee. What really bugs me about it is that it probably happened because the person didn't want to sit on a seat supposedly covered with someone else's invisible germs but yet has no problem leaving full evidence of germs all over the seat for someone else to either sit in or have to wipe up. Gross! The squatty toilet would elminate that problem.

I have a cousin that recently did a teaching stint in China. I can't wait to ask her about these.

Anyway, this is a very different post from me but I just had to share it with the ones I love. The next toilet that goes in my place may just be a squatty potty. :)

Friday, August 01, 2008


Lifestyle Homeschool has a couple of excellent posts today on routines. Establishing Daily Routines talks about what a routine is and why it is important. Writing a Daily Routine outlines som very practical steps and tips to writing a routine. This is something I have done in the past and it was very, very helpful. I need to go back to it again and I just love the simple steps she's given to doing it. Looks like there's more coming to this series too so keep an eye out for it.