Friday, January 29, 2010

Maxwell Family Conference, San Diego, California

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a one night conference with the Maxwell Family from Titus 2 Ministires. Steve and Teri Maxwell are the creators of The Managers of Their Homes.

Teri Maxwell also wrote a book that has blessed my life and the lives of my children greatly, Homeschool With a Meek and Quiet Spirit.

I was blessed by the evening I was able to share with them. They both were insightful and transparent. I believe that if you were able attend this free conference, that not only would walk away feeling better equipped to continue to home educate your children, your children will respond to the difference they see in you.

Below, you will find information regarding their San Diego Area conference!

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschool Family Conference

Do you feel like you are running on a treadmill? Do you want to have sweet relationships with your children as they are growing up and not experience the heartache of rebellion and immorality? Do your children have greater purpose in life than just to have fun? Do you need some mid-year encouragement? The Steve and Teri Maxwell family will be giving a homeschool family conference in North San Diego County with sessions for parents, young people, and children.
The conference will be in North San Diego County (Zion Lutheran Church, 1405 E Fallbrook Street, Fallbrook, CA 92028), February 12th (7-9:30 p.m.) and 13th (9 a.m –3:30 p.m.).
There is no cost for the conferences, but love offering boxes will be on the book tables to help with the Maxwells’ traveling expenses. Pre-registration is requested. For more information on the conference, please visit, and click Conferences on the side bar, or contact Sarah Maxwell ( or 913-909-9776).

Be challenged and find ways that God can set your family on a journey of spiritual unity, purpose, and direction.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Math Score

As a member of this year's TOS Homeschool Crew, I must admit, we have had quite a few math programs to review. Now, for many of you, who read my reviews, you know that math is not my favorite subject. So when I heard we were going to review Mathscore, I was a little nervous. I had never heard of it. So I had no idea what it would entail. Would it involve alot of teacher involvement (eegads!!) Or would this be user friendly... by user friendly I mean teacher friendly!

I am pleased to tell you that it was indeed user friendly. MathScore is a subscription based service. This is not entertainment! This is pure mathematics. Designed to support from  2nd grade through Algebra 1.
Here is a little bit about MathScore;

  • "Randomly generates math problems that automatically adapt difficulty based on performance. This patent-pending technology keeps students engaged because the math problems adapt to be neither too easy nor too frustrating.

  • Instant feedback with step-by-step solution explanations. Students often learn from our explanations and short lessons. In addition, parents and teachers alike don't have to do any paperwork.

  • Focused on learning, not playing: MathScore students aren't distracted by jumping monkeys and dancing pigs that have no educational value. At the same time, MathScore's system of time limits and a rating system create a "I have to beat this level mentality" that keeps students engaged.

  • Fill-in-the-blank, not multiple choice: Success on MathScore cannot possibly happen by clever guesswork, allowing you to trust our system when we say your child is proficient.

  • Color-coded analysis tools help you understand student progress at glance.

  • Analysis tools tell you exactly how much time was spent actually working, not merely sitting in front of the computer.

  • Absolutely no installation required: Not only is MathScore Internet-based, it doesn't even require a browser plug-in! You can use MathScore from any computer, not just the computer you used to sign up."

I have to tell you, my son thoroughly enjoyed the beat the clock dynamic of this program. He did not want to stop working with MathScore.

Because math is not my favorite subject, and because I have had students with special needs, I have often feared that the children are lacking in the area of math.

With MathScore, I feel like I will be able to quickly get them exactly where they need to be.  While this is not a complete curriculum, and they will still be using their math books, MathScore will help them practice and master the math skills they are learning.

My plan, is to continue to use MathScore and come back here and blog about our progress every 4-6 weeks or so.

I started the kids out at a level lower than they are in their books, as I wanted them to get accustomed to the program and how it works. Which they have done. So now, we will see how well they will be able to progress in their math studies.

They will be spending 20-30 minutes daily on Math Score. Won't you join me, as we see where this journey leads us?

If this sounds like something that would benefit your family, then please visit MathScore to learn more about this program.

You will find that the pricing is fairly affordable. I do like the fact that they recognize the need for a price break for subsequent children! 
The prices are as follows;
First child: $14.95/month
Second child: $5/month
Each addition: $3.95/month
There are some other unique lump sum pricing options, as well as, the ability to suspend services for a period of time for vacations without penalty. Please visit their site for more info.

Please visit the crew blog to see what my crew mates are saying about MathScore!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Really? We are talking about Socialization....again???

This has got to be my least favorite homeschool question!  I think we are asked that question many times, because people are so unsure about homeschooling and 'socialization' is the buzz word. So if they start with that question, hopefully it will lead to more in depth questions and answers.

If the question is coming from a real perspective homeschool parent, I don't mind taking the time to answer. However, when the question comes from curious on lookers, it is one of those questions I would rather not waste my time on.  

When I am asked this question by someone who knows my family, my children in particular, I usually direct them to the children with an answer like, ' You know my children, to they seem unable to socialize with their peers?' For others who do not know us I will go in depth a bit more..

Our children like most homeschooled children are involved in many activities.  We are active in our church, we attend 3 times a week, which does not include any extra activities, like youth group, etc. They have served in ministries at church such as VBS, nursery, bus ministry, and children's choir.

Over the years they have participated in various classes with other children. Jujitsi, piano (one on one, with twice yearly recitals), PE, Horseback riding, just to name a few.


Our homeschool group, also has monthly gatherings for the kids to get to know each other better, and field trips, and parties, etc... My children have not lacked for good long lasting friendships!

One of the benefits of homeschooling, in regards to socialization, is that not only do you have the ability to really get to know  the children that your kids are getting to know, but you are also able to get to know the family as well. So you are able to help nurture an appropriate relationship, or nip one in the beginning if need be.



Also, as homeschoolers, they are not pigeon holed into only interacting with their age group. They are comfortable interacting with small children and adults, and all the ages in between!


I hope you have also enjoyed some of the photos throughout the post... of my children, living out socialization, instead of figuring out how to add it into their day! Do they look like they are un-socialized???

The TOS Homeschool Crew Fan page on Facebook has started a new Weekly Blog Cruise series.  This weeks question was on socialization. Visit the fan page to see what others have to say on this topic!!!


As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew last year, I was given the opportunity to review Kinderbach, and once again this year we have been given the opportunity to review Kinderbach.

You can read my original review here.

This year there have been a few additions to the Kinderbach program that I would like to spotlight. Since the last time I reviewed Kinderbach, they have added activity books that go along with each level of lessons. Each book is from 47-60 pages long.

It is a great way to have your little one have some hands on activity to reinforce what he learned while watching a playing the piano.

The current pricing for Kindrebach is as follows;

 You can purchase a one year membership for $95.88, which works out to $7.99 a month. Or you can purchase the membership  monthly for $19.95 per month. If you are unsure, you can purchase a one day pass for $5.95 to see if it is a good fit for your family.

In addition they have various package deals, where you can purchase the lessons on DVD. Check out to see the current prices of those packages!

Please visit the Crew Blog to see what my Crew Mates think about this product!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keyboarding for the Christian School

As part of The TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a free copy of Keyboarding for the Christian School for both the elementary level (K-5) and well as for the upper grades (6 and up), in exchange for my honest review.

I have several children who are interested in bettering their typing skills, so this was something that we were looking forward to receiving.

These typing books are available in e-book format. This allows for an affordable price, as well as no shipping costs. It also gives you the flexibility of printing off the whole book, which is what I did, or print off a page at a time as your child needs it.

What were our impressions, you ask?  Upon first glance, this program is reminiscent of my junior high school typing class. It is your standard typing program, especially when it comes to teaching finger placement, and memorization of the letters and muscle memory for the fingers. A plus to this program is that it uses bible passages as the practice texts.

The upper level goes more in depth than basic typing skills. The author, Leanne Beitel also teaches the students how to write personal letters, business letters, reports, bibliographies, envelopes among many other topics. Your student would walk away from this course with a strong foundation in written communication.

I was never a fan of my typing class. I found it very dry. My children did not find the curriculum, exciting, however, they did find that it did exactly has it set out to do! They each were able to improve their typing skills!  I would like to add, that we will be continuing to use this program until we complete it!

You can learn more about these products and the other products available by Leanna Beitel at Christian Keyboarding.

Currently she is running a special, you can purchase both e-books for $22.
Their regular price is Elementary- $12.95 and Upper Level $15.95.

Please check out the crew blog to see what my crew mates have to say!

The Goings On at Creative Learners!

I had made a decision to post e very day, or close to it. Well, that just has not happened.

I am sure I am not the only one who has a habit of making grand plans... but at times ( more often than I would care to admit) I lack follow through!

This week we had a great Mom's Night Out with our local homeschool group. We discussed Home Educating your Special Needs Child. It was a great time of fellowship and exchange of ideas! Not to mention, the delicious chocolate fountain our host provided!

In addition to that I have been battling tooth pain since November. Waiting for our new insurance to kick in. We finally have the insurance and I was able to get in. The verdict??? 3 wisdom teeth need to be pulled. They pulled 2 yesterday... and the last one will be pulled in a couple of weeks after I heal.

I am now thankful for the healing pain that I have. Though, it does slow me down a bit. Not quite as productive as I would like to be!

However, the high point of my week, is happening tonight. The Maxwell Family, from, the creators of The Mangers of their Home are speaking locally. So, tonight, along with a few other homeschool mom's we are headed down to LA to see them.

It ought to be adventure. Southern California is having one of our largest rain storms in recent years. We even had snow yesterday!

I am looking forward to a night of great fellowship and a time of learning. I look forward to coming back and sharing with you all, some of what I have gleaned from this mini conference!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, January 15, 2010

What is That??????

In some families they have a magazine rack in their bathroom. That is not something that we have ever had. However, we have had a very interesting thing happening here lately!!!

Have you ever heard of Sculpey clay?  It is a polymer clay that does not harden until it is baked. Used in all kinds crafts. We have a whole bunch of this stuff around our house. And my girls have just had some out and working with it while a friend was here.

A new found affection has been discovered for Sculpey clay!

It began to happen a few days ago. Every time I go into the restroom I find  a different shape of sculpey clay sitting on the counter!

Who is doing this? All the kids? Just one? Who knows!

Below you will find some of the creations I have found......


I wonder what I will discover next?????

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Juicing My Way to Health

Well, I have been battling with my health for some time. First was the IBS. You can see my post about it here.

I finally got my system in check, and I was feeling better but still horrible. When I went to the doctor, I discovered that I was severely anemic. I have always run a little anemic, at least since I had kids.
So I was not at all surprised. And it is something that seems to run in my family.

Now, when I tell you I was anemic, I mean severely anemic.. I was a 5.0 and normal is between 12 and 16.

In the hopes of getting healthier at a faster rate than what the doctor estimated, which was months. I called a friend who is very wise in the area of health.

She gave me a lot of great tips. And I am going to share a few of them with you here. This is no way shape or form if intended to be medical advice. This is simply what I did for my own body. And since every individual body is uniquely and wonderfully made by our creator, you should consult your health professional before implementing anything listed here.

The doctor had told me to add an iron supplement. So, I wanted to make sure that I added a high quality supplement. So I started using Floradix. I actually had 3 people recommend it to me. From California to London, England I had friends recommending the same product. That is quite an endorsement. 
It is available many places online, though I picked up a bottle at my local Vitamin Shoppe. Next she suggested that I take a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, twice a day. It is key that it is blackstrap molasses and not the regular molasses in the baking isle. I also picked this up at Vitamin Shoppe.
I also added B-12. I know that it helps with the iron absorption, so I also added that. 

She also  recommended juicing. This was pretty much impossible since I did not have a juicer. So the next best thing was to make green smoothies.
So every day I made myself a smoothie of spinach, the juice of one lemon, agave nectar, and banana. I just covered it with water and added about a cup of ice and blended.

I did this until my next doctor's appointment. My blood had gone up to 8.6. While, that is still anemic. He had thought I would go up about 1 point a month, and in 6 weeks I jumped 3.6 points.

Now back to the juicing... my friend had recommended that I drink beet, carrot, celery juice. We have a local place that would juice these for you fresh. However, the cost was about $4 a cup. I could not afford to do this on a daily basis, plus it was on the other side of town, so not terribly convenient.

Thankfully, my mom heard my desperation, and bought me a juicer for my birthday. And I have been using it just about everyday since. It has already paid for itself it you look at what it would have cost me to to purchase juices each and everyday.

So, if you see the picture below, that is what basically goes into my juice each morning..

What you see here are; 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 beet, 3 carrots, 1 clove garlic, 1 apple, 2 oranges, 2 handfuls of spinach and one bunch of cilantro.  I usually use parsley instead of cilantro, I just did not have any.
This juice is high in Vit. C and Iron, which is what I need. I have felt awesome since starting this.  I have added the clove of garlic to ward off illness during the cold and flu season.

My goal was to have my children drink one glass a day. They have not been real thrilled with that. So we are easing our way to that.  
I have been mostly doing carrots apples and oranges for them.

Below is a photo of a mug of juice. The above photo made this glass, plus another 1/2 a glass.

On mornings I get too busy and don't have enough time to juice, I have noticed a big difference in how I feel. I can maintain my energy level while drinking the juice. The color has returned to my face!  And one of the most amazing things is, that when I drink the juice, I do not have cravings. You know how you go through the day and crave sweets, or salts, etc... however when I drink the juice, I don't have those cravings and I also don't get that, I am starving feeling!

I think that proves that as Americans our diets are nutrient poor, which makes us eat more. If we could just eat more nutrient dense foods, we would eat less!

This is what our new year has looked like! We are doing our best to change the way we eat. Omitting processed foods as much as we can. And adding high quality home-made foods in it's place!
Here's to your health! 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jean Welles Worship Guitar

As part of the The Homeschool Crew I was given a complimentary Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class Volume One DVD in order to give my honest opinion.

I was excited to see that I had been chosen to participate in this review. I have a son who has wanted to learn how to play the guitar for quite some time now. He is currently taking piano lessons, and there was no possible way for us to afford both. So when I saw this I was thrilled!

We pulled out a guitar that we have had for about 20 years, replaced the strings, and were all set to set out on the journey of learning how to play the guitar.

When I saw that there were seven lessons on the DVD, I thought, "wow, this probably isn't gong to take very long.".. Oh my word, was I wrong.

On this DVD, you will learn the parts of the guitar, how to tune the guitar, how to hold the guitar, how to read chord charts, as well as the strumming patterns for  8 songs.

My son is the one really using this program, however, I have also fiddled with it as I wanted to have some first hand experience with it, in order to write this review.

We are moving a little slower through it than I had thought. Which is fine. You can move at your own pace with this program. So that is a benefit. For me, I feel like I am tone deaf. Now, I don't know that I actually am. However, I have been struggling with knowing whether or not I am actually doing it correctly. As, I can't seem to tell if the tones match. She says that will improve with practice.  I would highly recommend that you purchase a tuning instrument. We have yet to do that, so that may be part of our problem. We are tuning the guitar to itself, but not quite sure if we got it spot on!

There was only one downside that my son saw, it is this... he is accustom to having his piano teacher right there, helping make corrections. So, he misses that. He would really much rather have someone in the same room, to help him, rather than leaving it up to himself to see if he is doing what she says correctly.

My nephew, has never wanted to take lessons. He did not want to learn with anyone, I think this program would be perfect for him, or a child like him. It would allow the student room to make mistakes and room to grow, without having to take lessons from someone.

In time, once we are able to purchase the tuning instrument, and the more time my son spends with this program, I believe he will pick up all that she is teaching.  When using the DVD along with the accompanying book, everything you need to learn the guitar is included.

Jean Welles does a very nice job and explaining what you are doing and how to do it. She slows down the pace to really help people like me! Who have zero music experience.

I really like the fact that she brings it all back to the Lord. Throughout the book that accompanies the DVD there are scripture verses. That point you in the direction of the Lord!

When you visit her site you will find a 5 minute free demo video explaining the Worship Guitar Class, including excerpts from the videos.  You will also be able to sign up for a newsletter and have them send you a free e-book of guitar playing tips and chord chart.

So how much will this cost you? Level One is $29.95, this is for the DVD and Book. Or you can purchase all 4 levels plus the full size book for $119.80.
They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Please visit to see all that they have available for you.

And please visit the crew blog to see what my crew-mates think about this product!

Have a truly blessed day!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Homeschool Harmony

Why did you start homeschooling? Was it because you had a bad experience at the local school district? Were you called to it, even before you had children?

Regardless of the reason why you started homeschooling. It seems that most of us have these pictures of the perfect homeschool family. Living in perfect 'homeschool harmony'! 

You know what I am talking about homeschool harmony. The thoughts of being gathered around the fireplace reading to our obedient and attentive children. Children who are so happy to be in our presence that they never argue! They are eager to help out at every turn. Not to mention if they had any learning problems or behavior issues in a previous educational setting, they would promptly be fixed by homeschooling. Right??

Homeschooling is supposed to be THE answer to everything...

Now enter reality! The house is a mess! The laundry has grown into what I affectionately call 'Mount Never-rest'! Dishes are piling in the sink! There are school books and school supplies strewn around the house. And what is this?? The children are actually fighting, with each other??  They are not only not getting along with their counter parts, they are not cooperating with the schedule you had so carefully prepared!

Oh my word! Now that is a bleak picture.

In all honesty, homeschooling is a bit of both of those pictures. We do have those days, that it feels that every single thing that could go wrong, DOES!!!
And then we have those days that things are so blissfully serene, we sigh, and think, "This is why we homeschool".

I think the key is two things, remember to lean on the Lord. For we cannot do anything in our own power. I have heard a saying over the years... "God does not call the equipped, he equips the called!"

Second would be to remember you are not alone. All of us share those bad days... and those good days. Homeschooling is not perfect! Because we humans are involved, we all make mistakes. But when you are lovingly and prayerfully raising your children for the Lord, what could be better? Take one day at a time, relying on the Lord and building those relationships! He will bless you for your faithfulness!

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day of School for 2010

We are officially back from our Christmas Break. We had planned on doing more school during break than we actually did. I ended up babysitting a couple of kids for about half of the time, so school was put on hold.

Today we started school off with a bang! We gathered in the living room, woth our breakfast for family devotions, as well as, for read alouds.

We started with prayer and bible reading. Moved onto 'This Day in Baptist History',  Autobiography on Hudson Taylor, and reading from Ten P's in a Pod.

Next for 4 of the children was spelling. We did an assignment from Sequential Spelling, while my fifth child worked on Quarter Mile Math Drills.

After we finished with that, I introduced something to the kids, to try to help them learn to battle their forgetfulness. I can tell you that for me, what has been a life saver are lists. When something big is coming, the only thing that keeps me going is checking things off my list.

So we have implemented that for the kids. Right now, I am telling them what goes on the list. They write out their own personal list. The hope is that they will develop the habit of making a list for themselves.

We are still using the laminated cards on rings that I made. We are jsut using them in conjunction.

So right now, I have one reading, one playing piano, one working on math. One has gone back to bed ( battling a cold, she was able to do some of her work already and will do more when she gets up!) One is working on guitar.

They will continue in this fashion, until their list is complete. Rotating for piano and computer time.

I am hoping they will feel accomplished at the end of the day. Right now my ADHD is feeling a little overwhelmed, feeling the list is SOOO LONG.. however I am hoping to teach him to tackle one thing at a time, and not to get overwhelmed by it all!

How is your day going? Have you implemented anything new? I find with homeschooling children with special needs. We must be flexible. Willing to change when it is not working for our special learners!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Health, Wellnes and Living Abundantly

As I sit here, on the second day of 2010, I am contemplating moving forward for our family. What does that mean? A little back story might help a bit. 

I have been battling anemia for several months now. It is on the up swing, but is taking alot of effort. I am taking my vitamins, 2 tablespoons of black strap molasses a daay, taking my iron supplement, in the form of Floradix, and up until my birthday last month, I as making green smoothies about once a week. The smoothies consisted of spinach, banana, lemon juice, water, agave nectar and water. I added ice for crunch, but some do it without the ice.

I had been told for some time that juicing would be the way to go. However, I did not have a juicer. Enter my mother on my bierthday. Praise the Lord, she bought me a juicer, and now their no turning back. I have been juicing about a half a beet a day with carrots, and celery and then I alternate things like garlic, parsley, spinach, apples, oranges, etc..

Just prior to getting the juicer, we started a compost. Made our own bin, and had been adding our fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds, egg shells, and paper and yard clippings. Now with the juicer, we are adding so much more to the composter on a regular basis.. daily..

Last summer, I had wanted to start a garden. For several reasons; I wanted high quality foods, and I needed it to be cheap! My husband lost his job in December of 08 and while he is currently working we are only making a small fraction of what he was making before. And I had felt we were only make enough before.  So, our hopes was that we would have a successful garden.

We did very well starting out, I started all my seeds in the little cups, etc.. and between children knocking them over and the dog eating the buds off the watermelon plant once we planted, they did not survive. However, since then I have done more research, spoke with friends in my area, and have learned a few things.

The first is, my wonderful husband is going to build me a fence so the dog cannot get into my garden!!!!  Also, in our area we can plant straight in the ground.. and forget about the pesty little seed cups! We live in the desert of So. California.

So this morning, as I ponder how to keep my health up, and our dwindling finances from disappearing. I set my eyes on my favorite seed website.. and compiled my wish list. I have now sent out word to my local friends to see who would like to split seed packets to help cut down on cost.

I read a great article on the facebook fanpage of Finders Keepers Educational Supply about using your cardboard from all of that online shopping that you are now doing... you can use it as a weed barrier and mulch. You can read about it here.

 My next step is that I will design my garden.  I know the placement in my yard. Next dh will build up my fence, and then I will start laying out the foot paths and designed the beds.

I am nowpraying about free an inexpensive soil. There is a local tree place that has free mulch if you can haul it away, so we will do that. I am praying that between our compost, and things I can find for free I won't need to do too much for my soil. We live in an area with very sandy, but hard soil. And it is very difficult soil to plant in, unless you supplement.

I would love to hear how all of you are tackling food bills, eating healthy and gardening.. We are all on this journey together!!!

See you in the garden!