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Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Homeschool Curriculum

I am often asked about what we use and how we use it.  Many parents that I've talked to have tried to piece together curriculum but it has not worked out well for them.  They're wondering the advantages and disadvantages of using what we do - A Beka.  I do need to note, my son is in pre-k so we have not yet have experience with a boy using this.  However, many, many families out there have used this successfully with boys.  I will also say that I do think any curriculum can be made more exciting if need be.

Here the edited question and edited response I gave just today to a parent who is asking about the curriculum.

Question from parent:
"I know you have used Abeka in the past are you using it with your son? If so how does he like it? We did Lifepacs this year and I was not thrilled 100% with their Language Arts so we supplement with Explode the Code which has helped ________ a lot. So I was thinking of switching to Abeka next year for both kids I like that they offer all subjects for K5 (where lifepacs is just math and LA) and the 2nd Grade seems to be pretty equivalent to Explode the Code books so I think it will be an easy transition for ________. I know a lot of people like to hunt and pick from different area or publishers but I think for me it seems easier to just stick with one for the most part. Any insight into Abeka would be great."

My Response:

"We have used A Beka for 6 years now and love it still! Jon is right here so I'll ask him how he likes his school books :)

Me - "Jon, how do you like your school books"
Jon - "Good."
Me - "Are they fun?"
Jon - "Of course!"

Yes he loves his school books. I often find him doing extra pages. I agree with you on it being much easier to have a curriculum that's all laid out and ready to go. That's one of the reasons we use A Beka. We also think their academics are very strong. Here's some things we do.

  • We do not use A Beka's lesson plans. We do our own thing. 

  • We add in living books, movies, activities, etc...

As far as how I feel about the curriculum itself:

Phonics - I think the phonetics is the best I've used. They are very strong in reading!

Spelling - their spelling is also amazing! We also add in a pre-test in the beginning of the week to see what my daughter already knows and what she doesn't. Then we just focus more on what she doesn't know. It also has fun activities to do with the words. I have my daughter write out the spelling words in a sentence or make a story about it as well.

Language - Just like with their phonics and spelling, their language is very strong as well.  There was one change I would like to see made to the 5th grade curriculum which I mentioned to them.  Otherwise, it's very thorough and helpful.  I am even learning more through their teaching style.

Math - very, very strong! I love how they introduce one thing one year, then the next build on it. It's very thorough.  We add in manipulatives when we can.

History - I love how they teach history through a biblical perspective. The history can be a bit dry. This is where we add in things like LIberty's Kids, living books, lapbooks, movies, ethnic foods, etc...

Science - again, great! It does the same as math by introducing something, then building on it as they get older. It also has fun experiments to do with the lessons. I skipped then when Allysha was younger but wish I hadn't. My thinking was "how will this help her, it's so elementary". DUH! She was in elementary. rofl! I'm going to make sure to do them with the boys.

Health - very good! I made the mistake of thinking I'd teach health on my own. When she was in 4th grade I thought it was ridiculous that her science book was not teaching basic anatomy. Then realized, the health book had gone through it. So...we're also now making sure to do health along with the science next year. 

As far as jr. high and high school, i looked up what public schools require from their students. A Beka's curriculum follows along with and exceeds what the public schools do. That's another reason why I love their curriculum. I don't have to think about making sure they are learning what they need to be according to the state. I also would like to make sure my children are getting at least an equivalent of public school (and better). I feel A Beka covers that for us.   

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My New Exercise - Rebounding/Lymphasizing!

Above picture taken from

Anyone with fatigue problems are told to make sure to get in some good but low impact exercise.  While we know this to be true, sometimes with fatigue issues you can make your fatigue problem much worse by exercising.  While studying up on the lymphatic system and what it does for the body, I decided I would start to try lymphasizing (rebounding).  I have not done regular exercise in about 2 years since my health took a not so fun turn.  That said, before then I LOVED to do Tae Boe.  While not totally consistent, I loved the workout.  However, at this point in my life, that's not an option.  Here I will share with you some information on rebounding as well as what I personally do.

Changes I've already seen in the past couple weeks:
1. More endurance during the day.
2. More stamina during my workout.

The below video is what I used in the beginning and now model my workout after.  I couldn't understand him but I did very closely watch how he was having everyone workout.  I am now still doing everything in the same order, I just lengthen out the running.   On that note, I have never been able to run or jog long at all (like a couple minutes) before I had to stop.  That's the way it's always been for me.  So far doing this I can do at least 10 minutes.  While for some people that's a very short time span, for me it's huge!  And I've seen these changes in the past 2 weeks!

Make sure to watch the second video as well.  I've also seen where if you don't have the energy to even bounce, you can sit on the trampoline and have someone bounce it up and down for you.  This still helps get the lymphatic system working better.

Another thing you can do is called Skin Brushing.  I have 1-2 times per week where it just doesn't work for me work out.  Before I get into the shower, I do Skin Brushing.  Below it's described really well.

Here is an article by NASA on the effects of rebounding.

Here is an article on how Chronic Fatigue sufferers benefit from rebounding.

Last but not least is an article that lists 33 reasons why this is helpful for the body.

Above Picture taken from

So in closing I'd also like to mention that this kind of exercise gives you more bang for your effort.  I am currently working out about 15-18 minutes per day.  While I forsee that hopefully going up to a max of 1/2 hour, this has been the best on my joints and muscles compared to any other form of exercise.  I have seen it said that anyone can do this type of exercise - old, young, overweight, children, etc... If you're looking for an easier and effective workout, I totally recommend this!  I  set it up in front of the tv and before I know it I'm finished. THis is very helpful for my children as well.

**Note, I do not yet endorse any particular trampoline**

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mothers - Raising Knights of Valor and Maidens of Noble Character

In this world, there are no absolutes.  We cannot control our health, our financial status, our friends/family, etc... The one thing we can be sure of is God; and the one thing we can do for Him is raise children for Him and His Kingdom!  Raising up Knights of Valor and Maidens of Noble Character!

Valor - heroism: the qualities of a hero or heroine; exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger (especially in battle); "he showed great heroism in battle"; "he received a medal for valor"

Character - “the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances.”

Nothing can take the place of a mom who is raising her children and a husband who is supporting them.  We only have a few short years in this life with our children - and those can never be given back.  Don't ever discredit the impact you can make on your family and in others lives.  We aren't just raising children till they are 18 so they can leave our home; we're raising future generations for Christ!

**While I do not support mormonism, this movie is fantastic!**

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Board Games and Homeschooling

We have found that if we can add fun into our homeschool, the kids learn much faster.  I was at Goodwill yesterday and found this game; Sunken Treasure Adventure.  Jon and I played it for the first time this morning and had a fabulous time!  The best thing is that he was learning while having fun!  Below is a list of games we have played that have been very helpful not only for schooling, but good, quality family time.  Some are for younger kids and some are for higher elementary/middle schoolers.

Sunken Treasure Adventure board game - phonetics
Candy Land - counting, colors
Go Fish by Playchest Games - memory
Wild Craft - my daughter loves this game! - plants and their healing benefits.
Battleship - strategy
Almighty Heroes Adventure - bible
Checkers - the jumbo version - strategy.
Yahtzee - strategy/chance

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starting Our Garden

My big helper!

Using a seeder to make littles holes for the seeds.

Some of our plants on the mini greenhouse shelves.

Bottom of the "planter" labeled so I know what's in each one.  I write down what seeds they are and when they should germinate by.  

I recently ordered seeds through Seed Savers Exchange.   They have been my favorite company to purchase seeds along side with Mountain Rose Herbs.  The quality is always great!  Today I planted my tomato and pepper seeds.  I have provided a list of what I used today, how many plants it will yield should they all survive and what I paid.   I still have to plant my bean seeds but they have not yet come in the mail.  However, the price below will reflect the beans.

2 boxes Jiffy Refill Pellet's = $5.30
1 Jiffy Professional Greenhouse kit (w/36 pellets) = $4.24
1 package each of Ancho Peppers, Jalapeno Pepeprs, Tomato Plants and Bean Plants = $11.66
3 (3-pack) packages 10-inch round planter saucers from the Dollar Tree = $3.18
Grand Total for Supplies = $24.38
Yield - 78 Organic Heirloom Plants!

You can do this cheaper if you have really good soil, save your seeds from previous years or do not purchase heirloom/organic.  Where we live, we have to amend our soil quite often and have our own compost bins to use in our garden.  I also used to try to start seeds with potting mix or garden soil to get off cheaper.  I have found the above pellets or a seed starting mix to really be very superior to the germination quality of the seeds I plant.  While in the horticulture program in school, we always used a high quality seed germination medium.  So...if you've had problems in the past sprouting seeds, it just may very well be the medium your using (or not using).

A Few Tips:
1. Make sure to use warm water when first planting your seeds.
2. Keep the seed medium moist but not sopping wet till the seeds germinate.
3. Pay close attention to the depth each seed needs to be planted.  This is very important.  If you plant pepper seeds at 1 inch depth when they only need 1/4 inch, they may not sprout.
4. Water from the bottom.
5. Peppers like warm air underneath them.  I put my mini greenhouse on top of my register.
6. Keep the seeds covered till they have their first true leaf (after the first two little leaf looking things that sprout).
7. Make sure plants are in a good sunny location free of cold drafts.
8. Depending on where you have your planted seeds place, you may have to rotate the plants daily after they are established.
9. Don't forget to gently harden off your plants before you plant them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amanda and Allysha Health Updates

Hey all,

Just thought we'd update you on what's going on.

Amanda - I got results from my ultrasound back this morning.  They were not sure about the nodule on my thyroid so they are going to have a biopsy of my thyroid scheduled soon.  It's then that we figure out what "it" is.

Allysha - as I type, Allysha is in Ann Arbor with her daddy.  They have the pre-op and the MRI appointment today.  Monday I will be taking her in to the same place for the actual hip muscle biopsy.

**Update - long story short, Lyshie's biopsy is now on April 6th.

God has been so good and gracious!  We're very blessed to know a God who loves us and will never leave or forsake us!  At this time, we'd appreciate your prayers.  We know that having prayer surrounding our family is more important than anything else in this world.

Thank you and we'll update as soon as we find something out.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alternative Cancer Treatments

Being faced with possibly having cancerous cysts on my thyroid...this has caused me to look up a few things.  I remember a very long time ago I had read something where a specific alternative practitioner thought that cancer was brought on by bad, stagnant blood.  This got me thinking about lymphaszing and taking my chlorophyl again.  Of course that alone would not be a treatment.  Below is information I have found and I hope it's helpful for others that are dealing with cancer or precancerous problems.  If you or someone you know has used these methods, please let me know.  I have no personal experience with these.  Just hoping this can help someone along the way.

Thermotherapy- a method used to heat cancer cells killing them in this way.

Traditional Herbal Blood Tonic - This is a tonic used to purify the blood and thus eliminating cancer.

Oxygen, Ozone and Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment - said to heal cancer naturally.

The guy below is pretty boring but this (to me) is interesting information.

Romans 8:38-39

38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.