Friday, August 31, 2007

Book winner!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment this past week. The winner of A Sister's Secret is Rebecca of Making Memories 1999. Congratulations!

I will have another book to give away next week... so stop by again!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lesson Plans

My goal for today is to finish getting a school schedule mapped out for the next few weeks. We actually started school "part time" (2-3 days a week) about the middle of July, but we need to get back into the regular school routine starting next week. That's when the public schools around here start, too, so the kids are geared up for it.

Starting high school means more record-keeping for this relaxed-homeschooling mom. I want to keep track of what we study as we go along so I can present my daughter with an official-looking transcript, along with her diploma, 4 years from now. (Yikes! Only 4 years? I'm running out of time!) I am using the free Homeschool Tracker software to make lesson plans and keep a record of what we study and read. It is somewhat time consuming to get it all set up, but I think I'm going to like it once we get going.

I wasn't sure if we would participate in very many outside activities this year, but two opportunities have come along that we are going to try, at least. First is a 4-day-a-week after-school babysitting job for my daughter. She is excited about her first regular "job" but we have cautioned her that she will need to keep up with her other responsibilities if she is going to have time to "work". We hope this will be just the goal incentive she needs to motivate her to stay on task.

The other weekly activity that we have agreed to is a "home-ec class co-op" with two other families. The moms will take turns teaching the young ladies various home skills -- cooking, sewing, hospitality, etc. A lot of that the girls pick up just in our day-to-day lives, especially the cooking and hospitality... but I don't seem to ever find the time to sit down and teach sewing and things like that, so I think a scheduled time will be helpful.

And now... I think I've procrastinated long enough!! Time to shut down the web browser and open up the Homeschool Tracker and finish getting stuff set up for Tuesday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

North Idaho Fair

I guess it's time for my usual week-end report. We have had so much fun this summer... with a variety of family outings almost every weekend. Keeps us hopping, but we are creating great memories with our kids... so that makes it worth it!

This past weekend we went to the North Idaho Fair. We are not involved in 4-H but we have lots of friends who are, so it's fun to see their exhibits. Other years we have entered various things in the open class exhibits, but we didn't this year, due mainly to the busy-ness mentioned above... I mean, after all, there is only so much one family has time to do!

We got to the fairgrounds soon after they opened on Saturday morning, not realizing that the buildings didn't open until an hour later. Oh, well... that was a perfect opportunity for my husband to leisurely check out all the outdoor vendors such as the tractor dealer (NO, we are not farmers, nor do we own property, so have no earthly use for a tractor!!), the ATV dealer (hey! only $49 a month!), the snow-mobile dealer, the Dodge dealer (we could win a brand-new mega-cab pick-up!), and the vintage farm implement exhibits. Dontcha know the girls and I were just so thrilled?

Finally the buildings open so we enjoyed looking at other exhibits: the commercial buildings, the home arts building, and all the animal barns. By the time we did all that and ate lunch it was time to go stake out our seats in the grand stand for the rodeo. I actually enjoy watching the rodeo. It never much appealed to me, but my family talked me into watching it at the fair a couple years ago, and much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it!

We headed home after that, but our teen daughter went back yesterday afternoon to help with a puppet ministry. Typically we don't participate in "secular" activities on Sundays, but since this was a ministry effort we felt it would be okay. She reported that they did several skits over a 3-hour period and the response was very good, so I think the whole team was encouraged with that. They've been working hard with the puppets for the last couple months.

I didn't take my camera, so no pictures this time.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blogging...

I really enjoy having a blog. I like to post fun things that I think would be of general interest to those who know me... and to those who don't know me, but have similar interests. I do find things to post about on a regular basis, but I'm not sure how interesting they are. Ultimately, my goal would be to take the time to write more of my own thoughts... but I don't seem to do that very often.

So I've been thinking about what I enjoy in other people's blogs. Some people just journal about their daily lives. If I know them personally, I find that interesting. I even read a few blogs like that of people I don't know just because they can tell a good story and make me laugh! On my blog, I do tell a little bit about my family's activities, but not a lot of the day-to-day stuff... mostly for privacy reasons. I consider posting to the internet akin to publishing in every newspaper in the world. No, everybody in the world is not going to read it... but they could! That's kinda scary. So I don't use my blog as a "Dear Diary".

Some blogs I read are inspirational and encouraging. I'd like to write more of those kinds of articles... and maybe I will... eventually.

Other blogs I read are interest-focused... these include blogs about home-decorating, books, home-schooling, home-making. I think this is more what my blog tends to be, with a little of "all-of-the-above" mixed in! (If you get the impression that I'm a home-body, you would be right! Or is there such a thing as a home-body who loves to travel? I love to go on trips, but when we're "home" I like to stay home... I don't enjoy a lot of outside-the-house activities and running around.)

What kinds of blogs do you read? Why do you read mine? My nephew, Jon, encouraged his blog readers to come out of "lurkdom" just once, to let him know they were there... so I'm going to do the same. And there's an added perk for you! Everyone who comments within the next week will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of an Amish novel, A Sister's Secret (see post below).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Priest Lake

We had planned to go camping up to Priest Lake this past weekend, and then do some Geocaching around the lake on Saturday. We had the trailer all loaded and ready to pull out when my husband got home from work on Friday afternoon. As we drove down the street he commented that it seemed to be leaning funny, so he pulled into a parking lot to check it out. Turns out a spring was broken by one of the wheels. I'm not really up on the "architecture" and structure of travel-trailers so I can't really explain exactly what was broken, but apparently it is a major thing. So that cancelled our camping plans for the weekend. We took the trailer to the RV shop and unloaded the things we needed out of it. (It is still under warranty and the man thought he had the part or could get it within a day or two. That was good news!)

We decided we could still drive up to the lake on Saturday for Geocaching. We got started in this hobby back in 2002, but hadn't done it in a year or more. It is always so much fun... especially around here because the scenery is so beautiful, particularly when you get off the beaten path. We weren't disappointed this time... but we were reminded how out-of-shape we are... and how out-of-practice we are at finding caches! We looked for 4 but only located 2. (And, boy, was I sore the next day.) Fun stuff!

Priest Lake
Click picture for more pics...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We're not in the Bible Belt...

We attended a lovely outdoor wedding this past Friday night. A lady my husband works with was getting married and invited our family to the wedding. The setting was gorgeous, and the decorations were just beautiful. I wish I had taken my camera. It was a "woodland" theme. The arch was made of rough branches overlaid with boughs of native greenery trimmed with streamers in earth tones and wildflowers. The bridesmaids' gowns were simple flowing gowns of dark brown... (I know, I had never seen dark brown bridesmaids' dresses before either, but they suited this wedding) ...the men wore khaki pants and dark sage green shirts, and the little flower girls had dark brown dresses with gauzy green fairy wings on their backs! So cute!

The whole wedding had an Irish theme to it, with flute music, a "handfasting" ceremony, and the "Old Irish Blessing". I don't know the bride well, and the groom not-at-all, but I assume this was something that was meaningful to them. It was very unique and interesting.

What was very sad to me, though, was there was not a single verse of scripture read, nor a prayer said (unless you count the "Old Irish Blessing"). I just didn't know what to think of that. Apparently those things are not important to the couple. Is this common these days? Or is it just the part of the country we live in?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Camping in the mountains

Camping
We had a very relaxing weekend camping close to home this time. It was a Forest Service campground, so no hookups, but we didn't mind. The kids even decided to put up their tent and sleep in it. The only down side was that there is a Stage 2 burn ban on right now, which means that we couldn't have a campfire. We really missed that.

This is probably our favorite FS campground, at least, of those we've stayed in... as it is right on the river... and the river is very shallow and crystal clear, so the kids can play in the water to their hearts' content! They loved it.

The highlight of the weekend was having a moose cow and her calf walk right past our picnic table as we were grilling supper last night. I dashed into the camper to get the camera, but by the time I got back out they were too far in the brush for me to get a good shot. My husband ran to head them off on the road, but even then he only got a quick shot of the calf before they were gone. (Moose can be dangerous, especially a cow with a baby, so we didn't want to be too aggressive about chasing them.) Moose sightings are very exciting to us. I think we had lived here 3 or 4 years before we ever saw one, and even now that we've been in the area 9+ years I can only count on one hand the number of times we've seen one.

Click picture to see more pics...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Home School Open House

While I was out blog-hopping I ran into another fun "carnival" I decided to participate in. It's the Homeschool Open House 2007 hosted by Tiany at "Less of Me~More of Him". She asked that we post a little bit about our homeschooling experience, and then glean from each other as we visit each other's blogs. Sounds like a great idea to me!

We have just started our 10th year homeschooling. It is hard to believe it has been that long already! It started off as an experiment, and at first I adopted the philosophy of it being a year-to-year thing, to be re-decided every summer. After the first year, I couldn't imagine doing anything else for the second year, and so it has grown on me. By now, learning is a life-style in our family, not just something we do during school hours... so we will be "staying the course" as the saying goes. We are 2 weeks into our first year of high school, so it's a whole new ball game... but oh-so-much-fun (most days)!

We have been using Sonlight curriculum from the very beginning, and are still very happy with it. I especially love all the great books, but also appreciate the international focus, and the strong emphasis they place on raising kids to love learning. In 2000 I became a Sonlight Curriculum Consultant to represent Sonlight at my state homeschool convention. I still do this every spring and summer at various conventions in my general area. (I attended 6 this year!) It is a lot of work, but I really enjoy getting to meet other homeschoolers and sharing about how Sonlight works for us and how it might work for other families.

Our homeschool set-up changes from year-to-year based on where we are living, what we are studying, what the kids' needs are, etc. This year, my high school daughter has set up a study corner in the living room. I'm trying to talk her into moving it into her bedroom, so we'll see how that goes. My younger daughter likes to sit on her bed or the floor in her room or *my* bed. Where we live now there is a big open room upstairs that functions as the master bedroom/office/library. The walls are lined with bookshelves, and they are all full! I love to read and learn, and count it a privilege to be able to share that passion with my children.

Visit my Homeschool Resources page for more of my best tips, and if you use Sonlight, you will find my Links for Supplementing Sonlight page helpful. Thanks for stopping by! Have a great year!