Welcome Back…. You do strictly homeschool, right?! Uh… Uh…

This summer has been a whirlwind. We have been here there and everywhere trying to make as much out of the summer as we could. While summer isn’t over, we do have to start getting back to our regular schedule.

I’ve met alot of people this summer and had alot of conversations about homeschooling and what that means. Since so many people concern themselves with labels I thought I would clear up how we run our school at home.

I have a Master’s Degree in Post Secondary Education and spent alot of time writing and auditing curriculum. This included developing mixed media classes where a portion of the classes were online and on ground. As I took my conversations from this summer and compared it to what we do in our own home I had an aha moment. While obviously our children are still in primary school; in our home we do what could be considered a mixed media learning environment. We are enrolled full time at K12 and like the structure, curriculum and support of the teachers and staff. However, I also choose to supplement with my own lessons – generated from a variety of resources. I would say that we teach our kids mixed media via virtual and home school. (Whew! There! I said it! Now we have a label too…..)

What I find interesting is that people are so quick to label the type of education without taking the time to understand the format of it; and how it applies to what the child truly needs. Our kids need opportunities to explore subjects more (for example last year we started a virtual Science lesson about the layers of the oceans and what animals are in them; then we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about all those creepy critters on the very very very very bottom of the ocean. How did they get there? How do they see? What do they eat? Do they get cold down there? How can they make that blue light glow?) On and on the questions went, we kept looking up information. This is called understanding a child’s curiosity to learn; and NOT ignoring it. The love of learning is like a fire which must be stoked; and never squelched because of a label or particular predetermined view you have of a delivery style/type of education. Questions are the fire; the fuel is the way you respond.

Please don’t let the label of the educational delivery style deter the way you teach your children, please allow the children’s curiosity and love for learning to drive the path of the education. Ask yourself this, if you were at my home and we were doing a K12/Virtual lesson on triple digit addition – would you not allow your child to participate because it isn’t pure homeschooling? If the answer is Yes, wow – guess what all kids have to learn triple digit addition, does it matter if it comes from K12 or pure homeschooling? If the answer is NO, bravo your an open minded educator.

Be open and understand that every child learns differently, it’s all hard work but if mixed media works – don’t judge others, support others – everyone’s is on a path to educate their children and help them become strong, smart, free thinking, open, well-educated and successful adults. (And success doesn’t always mean marrying a billionaire, having a Stanford education, developing the next successful IPO and wearing a perfect Prada suit to work. For some it means virtual/homeschooling, climbing Mt. Everest and calling home for money because you’re trying to decide if you want to be a fashionista or a famous rock star).

Hope everyone has an amazing school year!! 🙂

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Oak Meadow Curriculum Giveaway

Remember the awesome iPad Giveaway DenSchool had a couple weeks ago? What an amazing organization and now they are partnering with others to giveaway something to help prepare your curriculum for next year!

We have teamed up with DenSchool and Teaching with Cents to bring you this great giveaway from Oak Meadow! Enter today on the Giveaway Tools form below.

One lucky reader will receive a Complete Curriculum Package (of their choice) from Oak Meadow. Imagine that, everything you need for homeschooling your child next year – for FREE!

Complete Curriculum Package Review

Oak Meadow has specialized in homeschooling curriculum for 35 years! They are committed to providing creative, innovative, and child-centered educational materials that can be utilized towards every family’s needs and routine.

We believe that true intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their heads, but their hands and hearts as well. Our curriculum includes assignments that ask children to read, write, and think, and also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things, encouraging balanced and healthy development.

Oak Meadow

Have you begun planning your next homeschooling year and not sure where to start? Stop by DenSchool to read reviews for some of your favorite curriculum packages! There, you will learn all about Oak Meadow and what this great giveaway has to offer you!

Visit DenSchool’s Oak Meadow Reviews

DenSchool has reviewed curriculum packages for Grades 3, 4, and 6 – with an 8th grade review coming in August!

Contest Information:
*This great giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 18+.
*Giveaway ends on July 24th at 11:59 p.m.
*DenSchool Contributors, immediate family members, and group giveaway bloggers are not eligible to enter DenSchool giveaways.

IPad Giveaway from DenSchool

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“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

….and you could learn anywhere with a

brand new IPad Mini from DenSchool!

 

DenSchool makes online schooling easy breezy with FREE lesson plans, Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP) and tons of resources to make learning fun, creative and easy to manage.

Record keeping  & Lesson Planning · Online Courses

DenSchool provides free tools, record keeping, lesson planning, downloadable courses and live classes for homeschooling families. Record keeping can be concerning, but you can take control with fast and easy to use online tools which will help with your state’s record keeping requirement.

Summer Classes Start June 17th – (Early Bird Discount!)

This summer DenSchool will be offering self-paced, teacher supported classes. Some of the classes are Accounting, Algebra, Art, Beginner Guitar, Social Studies, English, Science, Journalism, World History….the list goes on and on. Remember these are not just for High School learners. Normally these classes are $59.00, but if you order by June 10th the cost is only $29.00; that’s more than a 50% savings!  These classes offer flexibility; with a 9 week format and learners are free to complete the class at their own pace taking more or less time. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all the courses.

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Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP)

CLIP classes are free and there are some fun ones to choose from….Remember National Doughnut Day on June 7th? Oh boy we did in this house!  While we enjoyed the doughnuts, it would have been more fun to have a lesson. From Summer Solstice to 4th of July there are lots to choose from.

 

 

So what are you waiting for?

 

Oh the places you’ll go with an IPad Mini and

4 DenSchool Online Classes from DenSchool.com!

Ready to win? Enter here!

 

Note: This is a sponsored post by DenSchool. Please see a full disclosure on giveaways.

 

 

Blog Hop Fun!

Happy Thursday!! Today is blog hopping day, so fun! This is my first invitation to the hop and I feel so honored that Katherine from Katherines Corner asked me to join. I can’t wait to meet new people and gain new inspiration for writing. 🙂

I couldn’t decide what my favorite thing was; I thought about cooking, kids, family, friends and all the things I love so much. Then I thought I would post about my travels which has became Zen…. being a Mommy. I am honored to have the privilege to not only write about our personal journeys through our blog, but also learn more about other families as well by writing for Ooh Belly. 🙂   So, I don’t do giveaways, but what I do is write about crazy cooking experiments, fun home school field trips and funny Monday Listicles – and Motherhood is truly my Thursday Favorite thing. 🙂

So hopping is easy-peasy! The rules are below (yes there are just a few!). Enjoy and have fun!!

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Its Time For Thursday Favorite Things! Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things and share it with old and new followers. You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Please share the hop with your readers and let Katherine know if you would like to co-host with her.

Remember to leave her a comment if you are a new follower so she can follow you back

Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Here are the rules, yes there are rules. But just a few: Please DO NOT link and run…visit a few of the wonderful blogs that are sharing at the hop.

  • Follow Katherines Corner preferably through Email it’s on her right sidebar (or facebook,  twitter, bloglovin,  etc. they are on her sidebar too) And My Blog too
  • Visit as many blogs in the list as you can, please      leave a comment so they know you stopped by!
  • Share the button or a linklback on      your post. Grab the hop button code from Katherines button page It’s always nice to have the hop button      on your post. It IS NOT mandatory; but a Link back to      Katherines Corner is always appreciated
  • No adult content blogs or links directly to your shops      please
  • Yes you can link giveaways ( they are everyone’s favorite thing) Add your giveaways to the Win It Page at Katherines Corner too!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

ENOUGH!! Mixed Messages from Female Leaders

I was watching a couple of 60 minutes articles the other day, one was of Twitter creator, Jack Dorsey. On one hand I was thinking – how forward thinking of Mr. Dorsey to not have an office making himself available. Also, how ironic, it took for him to create his company to understand the importance of communicating with his family – even if it’s only 140 characters. As a male leader he seem to have a firm grip on his business and personal direction.

On the other hand I was watching Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, thinking – how confusing. She would say she leaves at 5:30 pm and she had to become comfortable with that. She would say family and picking the right partnership is an integral part in personal success, but then she would turn to say she thought women were doing themselves a disservice by not being aggressive enough in business. Then in the same interview she was having a conversation about the outside interpretation of mentorship between male and female peers on a business trip. W-h-a-t?! I’m confused, so are you comfortable with your position as a leader and a role model for women and young girls – or are you not? Why are you seeking external approval?

While I think both these people are inspiring in their personal success, I learned a valuable lesson about why we, as women, can’t seem to deliver a clear message about leadership to the current generation of daughters.  The major lesson: Male role models do not discuss or seek approval for, in any fashion, their personal lives. Women role models still seem to feel they need to “make it ok” to have a personal life.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Women, in a future where we have a real opportunity to make a difference, take a cue from men – it’s o.k. to have a personal life – you don’t have to have permission to be successful –  you don’t need to discuss it. It’s still as if women are apologizing for living a full life and in turn choosing to run their own companies. Really? In an age where marijuana is legalized, marrying the partner of your choice is finally coming around and the gender neutral language bill is up for consideration? We’ve come so far as a society – why do women still have to seek acceptance and drag us back into the biblical age?

I think we’ve moved past Corinthians and we don’t have to remain silent any longer, or seek our husbands permission. No, ladies, you’ve gone past that and now you’re seeking the world’s permission. Just by verbalizing that’s it’s OK to leave at 5:30pm you’re seeking permission from the world for you to not feel guilty about having a life. I don’t see male leaders doing that, do you?

Here’s another thing lady leaders, while we may not all be able to afford a staff to help take care of the illness of kids or the carpool lane – guess what? The leaders of a business already know this, and they make the necessary allowances for it without giving it a second thought. Men are problem solvers – if you have a sick kid, you go home take care of the sick kid, work from home and come back when the kid is better. This is how a male thinks – if you think he thinks anything other than problem vs. solution then you fail to understand the successful male. Take a cue, if your working in a place that makes you feel as though you have to apologize for a sick kid, while your working from home making up that time – then your on the wrong path – look for a new one.

Women leaders, if you need it – maybe this will make it better: STOP apologizing – it’s O.K. to have a personal life AND be ĂĽber successful. Just please, for the betterment of women and daughters everywhere, STOP explaining and apologizing for it. If you need a little help take a cue from Nike and don’t second guess or overthink –  “Just Do It.”

Enough roaring and then apologizing for having a life. Enough shaking your fists in the air in support of women’s lib and then apologizing for leaving at 5:30. Enough saying you deserve better pay, but having to have a partner tell you to renegotiate your contract. Enough ruffling feathers to be successful and apologizing on the way up. Enough.

Young girls everywhere are watching you. They will do as you do, they will lead as you lead, they will follow as you follow. If you want them to lead, then be a leader and understand:

You.Are.Enough.

**********

I just shook my head after digesting all this information. I understand better the difference of men and women leaders. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with women who I look up to and trust their opinions about the message society has been passing out to women, mothers and daughters lately. It’s to say the least confusing if you were only to look at it superficially and not understand your own personal values.

As a parent and a woman raising daughters I have always towed the line of equal treatment for all people regardless of anything that makes them different from you – no matter what you always treat others with love and kindness, the way you would want to be treated. Always behave like a lady and say what you want – don’t speak softly and put yourself second – always speak up, without aggression, to protect yourself and others. State what you want, but don’t be rude. Be truthful and live in a way that you feel good about – so that when you look back on your life you know you’ve lived it in peace, equality and love; and the success you gained wasn’t because you apologized for it, it was because you deserved it.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha

Secret Happiness

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I was cracking up last week reading everybody’s Oh No You Didn’t Valentine’s Day Gifts.  Some of them were so funny or foreign to me; I couldn’t believe people would actually give them as gifts, but it happens!

This week is fun too. Yesterday, 2/17 was Random Act of Kindness Day (#RAOK). This week’s Listicles kind of follows that same theme: 10 tiny (or secret) things that bring you joy. It took me awhile to narrow my list down, as I realized – selfishly – there are quite a few small things that bring me joy!

1.) E n K’s uninhibited, gut busting laughter; E is so serious all the time that when she laughs a big belly laugh it is so heart warming.

2.) K’s singing – even though she does it every second of the day, and sometimes I pray for quiet – it brings me joy to know that she is so uninhibited in her love of music.

3.) When the perfect song comes on the radio, singing in my car (while hopefully no one is watching because I can’t carry a tune!).

4.) Waking up to warmth and sunshine.

5.) All the laundry being done, and the house being cleaned.

6.) My hubs making the bed for no random reason.

7.) Cards, letters or phone calls just because.

8.) Doing a #RAOK

9.) Shopping for gifts for other people. I love giving gifts – Christmas is THE best holiday EVER – for selfish reasons I get joy out of watching people open presents I’ve given them 🙂

10.) Cooking or baking something delicious brings me great joy and peace. I think because I refuse to follow a recipe I’m always surprised when it actually works out (most of the time!).

“If you surrender completely to the moment as they pass, you live more richly those moments.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

What brings you joy?

Second Chance Ranch & Rescue

We took the opportunity, on the recommendation of a friend, to take a home school class out at Second Chance Ranch & Rescue in Rainier, WA. It was truly a treat to take the girls out there, they had a great time!

As soon as we got there we were greeted by teacher/trainer Amy. The girls were both very excited, as they carried around their bike helmets their eyes got bigger and bigger with all 50+ beautiful horses they had on the property. However, after walking around, Emma generated a certain bond with a particular horse. This kindred soul was called Greatful – a retired race horse, 18 hands in size, strikingly gentle and handsome, from a local racetrack in Auburn. Katie took the time to get down to E’s level and talk to her about how it was ok to cry and be scared but that at one time Greatful was afraid of people as well – just like she was afraid of him. E trusted Katie enough to let her teach her how to feed Greatful a carrot, and once E accomplished that she bonded with Greatful, and Katie, with ease. Even after looking at all the other horses she didn’t want to be with anyone else but Greatful. E’s spent the rest of the aftenroon writing about Greatful in her journal, as well as telling her story at dinner time.

K, a little braver, wasn’t quite as afraid to feed the horses, until she had two carrots in her hand and walked by five horses in stalls to get to a white horse she desperately wanted to feed. As she was walking by, all the horses tipped their heads out of the stalls and because she is so tiny she was face to face with all of them. As a parent, looking at it, it was a tad funny because the horses all new and wanted what she had in her hand. However, in her little mind all she knew was when she zigged a horse came down to greet her, and when she zagged a horse said hello! Amy came right over and explained to K that the horses wanted the carrots and they thought she was going to give them. She took K over to the white horse and fed it. On the way back around the barn, the horses were still checking her out, but this time she thought it was pretty hilarious and went and got more carrots to feed her new friends.

K had one more hurdle to overcome in riding. She was so excited, but when she got ready, standing next to Greatful she panicked. The more she panicked, the worse her Sensory overload became. It became so much that she was rocking back and forth in my arms and shaking. Amy and Mommy to the rescue. I lifted K up and took her over to Greatful and had her put her hands on the blanket under his saddle. Amy stepped in and softly spoke to Kayla explaining the Greatful was also afraid at one time, but to try touching different parts of his saddle and shoulders. As soon she was at the same height as Greatful and touching him and the saddle she started to calm down. I told her she wouldn’t get another chance to ride because I was afraid she might go through this again. Amy walked around to one side and I lifted K up and as soon as she was on the saddle, her entire self just relaxed and a huge shine came over her face. I went to go walk with her and she said “No, MaMa, you can stay – I got this.”

I was really blown away by not only those situations with my kids, but the time the staff took with all the kids. Amy taught the kids about grooming the horse and gave them each a chance. She explained about the farrier and horses nails. She talked about saddles, what they eat and exercise. The kids had a ton of questions and she patiently answered all of them. After riding they were treated to a show by another horse from Germany called Konjak (I thought it was Konji, but the twins have promptly corrected me!). He did addition problems, played hide and seek, gave hugs and kisses and poses for pictures. What a great group!

Amy, the trainer, and Katie, the owner, were amazing with all the kids. They both have a lot of education and experience with kids and animals. They both took the time to help the girls over their fears and created a sense of confidence. The classes are more than reasonably priced, as well as the riding lessons. While we only took a beginning class, we will be heading back to take a few more classes.

Please go out and visit, or contact Amy or Katie for the next class. They also offer riding lessons at a very reasonable rate. By visiting them, not only are you supporting local business, but your supporting a cause near and dear to our heart, animal rescue. We promise, you won’t regret it!
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A Handful of Fun: Why Sensory Play is Important for Preschoolers

I honestly could not say enough about this topic. It is so crucial that kids get as much oppurtunity for development as humanly possible. We tell K all the time, touch everything feel and see everything you can as it adds to her experience and lessens her fear of being overstimulated from not understanding something. Such a wonderful article.

From the author: (Please, please, feel free to print and share this article with parents and teachers! Simply cite the source as Amanda Morgan, http://www.notjustcute.com.)

 

The Sensory Spectrum

Sensory play is an integral part of being a toddler. But it’s also an integral part of being a sensory kid. While many people look at toddler play as just playing, we in the sensory community understand it’s an important way for our kids to learn how to approach and manage the world around them

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2012 Self-Reflections

This was quite a year of self-discovery and major changes for me personally. I found writing again, which has been an amazing support in my willingness to be more open with others. I haven’t always allowed people into my world, in order to protect my family and myself from the judgement of others. I struggled with who I was this year and how I fit into this family. As a woman, I am a strong and bull-headed individual, but what is my role in our family unit? I struggled a bit with letting go of some old demons, and allowing people to not affect me as an individual. 37 years with myself, 16 in a marriage and 7 with kids – will sometimes make you pause and say – HEY! Self-check – how are you doing at this life thing?

However, the greatest lesson I learned this year was to, as Oprah would say, “Do Me” – and let everyone else do whatever it is they do, because they really don’t matter. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to accept that people change in marriage, in friendship, in family, in all relationships. We are all equal, and boiled down to the core we are all flawed humans, just trying to bumper car through life. Change, which I have never been a fan of, is a good thing not a bad thing. It allows us to evolve and move forward with discovering who we are and how we fit into this world and our own life. It’s for the good, the bad and sometimes for the indifferent.

I personally had a great year trying to cross things off my Bucket list. I spent a ton of time with my SIL doing Seattle Touristy stuff, which amazingly makes me appreciate where I live more and what it has to offer. My husband and I took the kids to Mt. Rainier and Woodland Park Zoo, two things I’d been wanting to do for years and they all loved it. And while I have never been a fan of the weather here, I’ve grown to love WA more this year than ever before; for all the amazing things it has to offer. I can’t wait to tackle a few more trips on my WA Bucket List, and look forward to sharing them with everyone. We really should appreciate where we live.

My greatest lesson this year is this: I am who I am, and I will do as I do. I am driven, unapologetically protective, sensitive, caring, love travel, love adventure, love my family with my whole self and want more than anything to be a contributing and successful member of my family and society. Helping to educate our children and being their mother is my greatest joy, getting my family to participate in sharing my wild harebrained adventures is my Zen.

This year I didn’t set resolutions, I only had one path in mind: Be a better person as a whole. Be a person who has greater inner peace, compassion and understanding. Be a person who strives to see change where others can not. My mantra this year is “Do Small Things with Great Love” because that, in it’s simplicity – really defines who I have been and who I am as a person.

Hope you have an amazing 2013, Thanks for reading and hanging with me and my crazy family this year. Looking forward to the next year and all it has to bring.

Namaste.