Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Expo to Go Tickets are on Sale NOW!

Lately, I have had quite a number of homeschool moms come to me and ask me questions. Questions about how to homeschool, how I personally homeschool my kids, how you keep from getting burned out, how to handle homeschooling naysayers, and way more things than you can even imagine. It's really very amazing to me that anyone would actually want MY opinion in the first place. I am always amazed at the fact that Almighty God chooses to use me, mere dust of the earth, to accomplish His purposes.

So anyway, just yesterday I had a friend ask me how to handle a child who has decided they just simply don't like school anymore and refuse to do it. Her daughter is a sweet, sweet girl, but has just decided that she is bored and just doesn't want to cooperate with her poor mama anymore in doing school. So what is a homeschool mama to do? My advice to her - change what you're doing. If you are teaching your child in a particular way, say by using textbooks or DVD's or whatever, and they HATE it, it isn't working and you should look at trying something else. I sent her straight to some of my favorite sites to check out all the FUN school resources available. She was thrilled to find so many different unit studies that would make her school with her daughter more fun, and hopefully cause her daughter to learn to LOVE learning.

I just love when I am able to help a fellow homeschooler! I thoroughly enjoy being able to listen to a friend's problem with homeschooling and be able to offer some advice to get them back on track. I LOVE knowing that I have helped someone change their mind about quitting homeschooling because it's just "too much."

Now imagine with me for a minute, if you will, having an incredible array of people sitting and talking with you about numerous homeschooling and family issues and offering you help and support and advice. Imagine having someone right in your living room speaking to you about some really hard things that you need answers to. Imagine having an expert give you just the advice you need to get you over the "hump" in your homeschooling season. Impossible? I think not.

I hope that, by now, most of you have heard about the Homeschooling With Heart Schoolhouse Expo. For any of you who missed me talking about it, the Schoolhouse Expo is an online LIVE homeschooling conference that gives you TONS of great homeschooling helps, resources, encouragement, and just plain fun! It is scheduled for May 16-20, and during that time, you will hear a great line-up of speakers talking on all sorts of topics. They will come right into your home, via Internet, and talk with you about a variety of topics to help you. You don't want to miss this event!

But what if you have to miss it? What if you are out of town that week? What if you already know that you won't be free during the day to listen to the conference live? Well you are in luck! If, for some reason, you aren't able to listen to the live conference, you still are able to purchase an Expo To Go ticket for only $19.99 and will receive an mp3 recording of each and every speaker who will be at the conference! YAY! And pre-orders are being taken RIGHT NOW!

The mp3 recordings won't be available until a few weeks after the conference, but you can go ahead and pre-order to make sure you don't forget. You DON'T want to forget! So head on over and purchase your Expo To Go ticket. Be sure to check out all the great freebies you will get with your mp3 recordings, and be sure to take a look at all the great speakers you will hear!

Now, for only a few dollars more, you can purchase the LIVE Schoolhouse Expo ticket, and, when you do, you will automatically get the mp3 downloads with it! So if you are at all able to attend the LIVE event, it will be worth the few extra dollars!

One thing I LOVE about having the downloads is that you can go back and listen to them over and over again. There are times when we homeschooling moms just really need some encouragement. And if you have someone to listen to and encourage you and give you advice, and right at your fingertips, that can make a world of difference!

I LOVE spending time encouraging other homeschool mamas. I just can't tell you how much I enjoy that! This conference is going to be nothing but encouragement for you. And I just can't tell you enough how much you need to have a ticket for this event.  This is not just about trying to sell a ticket here. This is something that is REALLY TRULY going to help you out in your homeschooling journey. And don't we all need a little help sometimes?!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Expedition Ireland

Oh what fun these last two weeks have been. Once again, I have turned to one of the MANY Download-N-Go units by Amanda Bennett to add some fun and excitement to our learning adventures! The kids and I have been whisked away to a faraway land, one we have always dreamed of visiting in person. We have been on an expedition to the great country of Ireland! And oh what an adventure it has been!

Expedition Ireland was our newest Download-N-Go unit to jump into, and I think it is one you and your family (kids, dad, EVERYBODY) will really enjoy! I started off by looking through the entire unit and printing off the activities I wanted to do with the kids. Here are some of the great activities you will find in Expedition Ireland.

Since Download-N-Go units are full of great information for EVERY age group, I didn't want to print the pre-school activities with everything else. Little Sister wasn't joining us this time on this adventure, so I printed only the things I wanted the older 2 to have. I love being able to pick and choose with these units, because it saves me a lot on ink and paper! Anyway... After I printed our fun activities, I put together their lapbooks and we got started.

Here was our line-up of daily activities, but this doesn't even begin to tell just how much information we actually covered!

Day 1: Where on Earth Is Ireland?
Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Ireland
Day 3: A Bit of History
Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Ireland
Day 5: Fun and Games in Ireland

On the first day, after we had watched all the really cool videos and completed all the fun printable activities, I pulled out the supplies, and the kids were ready to get their hands MESSY! It was time to try our hands at making Irish Soda Bread! And oh my, that was FUN!

We started off with our flour, salt, baking powder, milk (I use almond milk), and, of course, our baking soda. We had our science lesson for the day, and learned that the soda takes the place of yeast and causes the bread to rise. But since it rises quicker than yeast, the bread is done more quickly. Also, since the soda doesn't give off gas like yeast, soda bread doesn't have holes in it like yeast bread, and it it much more dense. 

I let Little Man mix his from start to finish.

And Britches mixed hers from start to finish.

After mixing their dough, we added enough flour for them to knead it well. Then, they rolled it into a ball and dropped it on my baking stone. Each of them took my sharp knife and scored it in an "X" pattern on the top. 

And after it cooked for awhile, we pulled them out, cut some slices, slathered butter on them, and tried it out. It is a lot packier than my normal yeast bread, and it more resembled a big biscuit in texture and flavor. The kids loved it and thought they turned out very well. They were very proud of themselves.! We got the recipe from one of the links in the DNG unit!

On another day, we talked about one of the places in Ireland that is the leading Crystal maker in the world. So in that spirit, we decided to grow crystals. Yeah, I know growing crystals is not the same as Crystal! But it was still a fun science experiment. And in truth, we are still watching them grow and waiting on them to finish. I had no idea it would take this long! 

We decided to make sugar crystals, because you can eat those! So we started out by making a thick syrup and pouring it into the jars. We added craft sticks to give the crystals something to attach to as they grew. 

Within just a few hours you could see it getting thick and some of it forming crystals on the top.

We started these about a week ago. As you can see, crystals certainly are forming, but we have quite a ways to go before we actually get a sugar crystal stick! But the kids are enjoying checking out the jars each day to observe the different changes that have taken place. 

There were so many amazing things we learned during this unit study. We all absolutely fell in love with Ireland and want to take about a month-long vacation to the Emerald Isle someday. Only problem is, it's going to cost a small fortune to actually get there. So if you are like us and would love to go visit but just don't have the money or time to take a trip like that, grab yourself a copy of this great Download-N-Go unit and go there via the Internet and some great books! You will not be sorry!

You certainly don't have to take my word for it, though. Be sure to check out what other homeschoolers think of Expedition Ireland in the blog tour! And if you don't feel like visiting Ireland, no worries! Amanda Bennett has so many other unit studies to choose from, there is bound to be one that suits your need.

If you would like to hear more from Amanda Bennett, you will not want to miss the MidSouth Homeschool Convention in Memphis! Check out all the details on how you can win a FREE FAMILY REGISTRATION!! The contest will end at 4:00pm EST on February 19, 2011, so be sure to head on over there and enter.

~I was given a free copy of Expedition Ireland in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


WOOHOO! I found out this morning that my friend, Wendy, bestowed upon me the Stylish Blogger Award! That is SO COOL, seeing as how I rarely ever am rewarded for ANYTHING!

I met Wendy a few weeks ago when I was asked to be on the Schoolhouse EXPO Squad. She is the one that sends me all the info I need to share the great events and deals with you! After I signed up to be on the EXPO Squad, I went to check out Wendy's blog, and I found out she's my neighbor in the great state of Mississippi! That was pretty cool! So thank you, Wendy, for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award! I am THRILLED to get it!

The rules to follow for those receiving the Stylish Blogger Award are:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers (if you don't know that many, that's OK).
  4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.
So here are 7 things about me that you may or may not know. Considering the fact that I blab my mouth all over the place all the time, my guess is that most of this won't be new to most of you! HA!

1. Homeschooling is my passion! In addition to homeschooling my own kids, I have a great passion for encouraging and teaching other homeschool moms as they try to figure out what works best for their kids.
2. I LOVE to travel, and I am a gypsy at heart. Aside from the fact that I have never flown IN MY LIFE, I really want to go visit places like Ireland, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the ancient Inca and Mayan ruins, the rainforest, the North and South Pole to see the lights, and many, many places in America. I wish I was completely filthy rich, so my husband didn't have to work and we could just travel and see the world together - all 6 of us. Talk about a field trip!
3. My garden is my life. Without the rich soil to dig my hands into, I would absolutely go insane.
4. Even though I gave up coffee last January, I still have moments when I REALLY would love a Starbucks! Yes, the cravings of addictions last a LONG time.
5. Two of my children are named after cheeses - one American and one French. But that was my husband's idea! Crazy man!
6. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have a work from home job that actually PAID MONEY and that I really was passionate about. Still trying to work that one out. I love writing articles, but not all of them are for pay, and not all are accepted. I do a lot of volunteer work and promotional things in exchange for "stuff," but I want MONEY!! (Need money to travel more!)
7. My husband is my best friend - even on days I think I might ring his neck! We met and dated for about a month, and then I quit seeing him for an entire year. Wanted nothing to do with him. Then, out of the blue, I decided to call him, we went out, dated for another 3 months, and then got engaged. Talk about a stink we stirred up with our families! This past December, we have been married for 13 years, and we have 4 great kiddos to boot. So I think, all in all, we've done pretty well. I can't imaging going through this life with anyone else. He's a hard worker, a great husband, and a wonderful daddy. And he's trying REALLY HARD to learn to be a "glass half full" kinda guy, which just thrills me to no end! Love him!!

So there you have 7 things about me that maybe you knew and maybe you didn't.

And now, for the great blogs I'm passing the award on to. ~Drum roll, please~

My good friend, Kayla, at Bristle Ridge Academy ,
My "gypsy at heart" sister in Christ, Chelita, at Shady Bayou Academy ,
My prayer partner, Jessie, at Musings of a Homeschool Mom,
A new blogger and homeschool mama friend, Michelle, at Millermommieof3 ,
My friend, Kim, who is new to homeschooling and to blogging and is at The Wickham Family Blog,
My friend from the Download-N-Go Review Team, Michelle, at Patriots of the Republic Academy
And my sweet co-op lunch partner, Linda, over at The Corcoran Family Blog!

I so hope you all will take a little time and head over to their blogs to check out all they have going on! Some are new to blogging and some are "old hands," but either way, you will enjoy reading what they have to say.

Thanks again, Wendy, for giving me the award! (I'll be signing autographs after the show...)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Have a Young Entrepreneur on Your Hands?

Nearly ever week, I have one or both of my older kids coming to me with their newest business ideas. Can you relate? They have been thinking about how they can earn some money, and they want to tell me all about how they plan to do just that. I LOVE listening to their ideas, and I never - repeat, NEVER - discourage anything they want to do. Hey, if my kids actually plan to WORK for their money, I want always to encourage that spirit.

For a long time, I really just thought my kids were out of the ordinary and just plain great. Well, they are both of those things. But after talking to many other homeschool moms, I have found that this seems to be the norm with homeschool kids. Most of them have some idea of how they plan to start their own business. I LOVE IT!

But why do you think that is? Well, there are several reasons that contribute to an entrepreneur spirit. The first reason is simply a matter of time. Homeschooled children, as a whole, seem to have more free time to think and plan and create. Since you aren't dealing with the time constraints of an 8:00 to 3:00 public school day with homework to finish each night, most homeschoolers are finished with all their work by noon and have the rest of the afternoon to be creative. No, that doesn't mean my kids have all that time just to themselves. They still have chores and little sisters to play with. But they do have large chunks in the day that aren't scheduled or planned for them, and they are free to dream and create 'til their little hearts are content. And boy do homeschoolers dream BIG!

Another reason for this spirit of entrepreneurship is due to the fact that they have the time and attention and the backing from their parents. Since we moms are with our children all day, and daddy is home spending time with the kids in the evenings, they are able to ask questions of us, and we can, together, go find the answers. So when Britches told me she wanted to start an online craft selling business, she and I stopped what we were doing, and went to find out some details of how to make that happen. (No, she doesn't have an online craft business, yet, because when she realized how much time would be involved in actually making her products to sell, she changed her mind - for now anyway!) Also, with older teens, mom can actually incorporate some of the business learning into the teens school work. Thus, you are killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.

And one other reason is because homeschool children are often watching a parent run a business from home. Everybody always asks me how we live on one income, and let me tell you, it's HARD. The same is true for many homeschool families, so often, either mom or dad, or perhaps both, start a business from home to help supplement the income. So these kids are always watching mom and dad work and run this business, and it begins to shape their way of thinking. They start thinking of ways they, too, can start their own business and make money, just like mom or dad.

If you have a young one, particularly a teenager, who wants to be an entrepreneur, you are in luck! Gena Suarez (owner and publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine) has written a fabulous article about her two sons and the amazing businesses that each of them started. One started a lawn care business that grew into something even bigger. And her other son started a computer apps business, and has some really big projects going on right now. Go check out her article, Teens in Business: Beyond the Lemonade Stand, and read all about their stories. Believe me, you will be greatly encouraged and will want to help your kids even more with their own businesses!

Another thing you will be excited to know about is that, during the Schoolhouse EXPO, there will be a Teen Track, which will present ways to help your teen in starting their own business. (It will help mom out, too, if you are thinking of starting up a home business!) So you are definitely going to want to have your teens sit in on that session with you. It is meant for them to hear!

The Schoolhouse EXPO will be held May 16 through May 20, 2011. That is awhile away, but you really want to get your ticket now during the early bird special. The cost is nearly HALF of what it will be! Until February 9, you can purchase your ticket for $19.50, but after that date, the price will go up to $39.00. So by purchasing early, you will save $20.00! Check out their web site to buy your ticket, and to see all the great prizes, bonuses, and freebies that come along with your ticket!

You say you won't be able to attend the EXPO, or can't sit through ALL of the sessions? Not to worry! When you buy your ticket, you will have access to ALL the sessions which will be available by mp3 downloads a few weeks after the EXPO. So you really have nothing to lose! And personally, I like the idea of having the sessions on a downloadable file, because, if I don't catch everything the first time around (can we say baby crying and needing attention?), I can go back and listen again.

So be sure to go read Gena's article to be inspired, and then rush over to buy your ticket to the Schoolhouse EXPO. You'll be so glad you did! And if you purchase your ticket through the link on my sidebar, you'll be helping me out as well!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess