We Are Works In Progress (Our Creativity Center/Main Homeschool Room)

Welcome to our Homeschool Room for the 8th grade. This room serves as a general Creativity Center. Home Office. Scrapbook Room. Blogging Station. You name it and it probably happens here. All kinds of good stuff happens in this room. FYI, it never stays this neat. I mean really, creativity is a messy process. But, I am aiming to organize our paperwork from child to adult this year so here’s hoping! We are also preparing to paint this room this month and am looking forward to seeing the color transformation. I will post a follow up when it is finished. Here are a few pics of where we are starting. We spend a lot of time reading together on the Living Room Couch as well. We are not rigid, but it is nice to have a place for everything and everything in a place. Trust me, it is the returning everything to the one place we are working on! Meanwhile consider these to be “Before” Pictures. We are works in progress, as is our Homeschooling Journey! Well, we start school this coming week (September 2-6) and look forward to seeing God’s good and perfect will unfold as we walk by faith in Him. One day at a time. 

This is the left side of the closet where most of the formal curriculum is stored (at this time- see us in a month or two). 
I can be a little obsessive with pens, and pencils.
Actually all writing utensils.
At least my Hubby and Daughter say so. Hmf. 

Still organizing and decluttering the craft supplies.  

Teacher’s Desk, Blog Writing Spot and of course Student Computer Lab.
Although my Girl does have her own laptop and we do love the Library. 

This World Map is actually going on the wall once we have painted. 
But glad we have room on the desk as well.

Here are a few of the Post Paint Wall Accessories.  

Happy September and Happy New School Year! 
Linking with iHomeschool  for the School Room Week-a few weeks late, but better late than never.

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The Toy Trilogy by Emily Jenkins (Joyful Adventures in Children’s Books)

Recently while visiting the library, I noticed a book standing upright on a shelf as I passed by the children’s section. As a lover of books, including children’s books, I picked it up and looked through it, deciding to take it home. Having just recently read the Velveteen Rabbit with my 12 year old girl one afternoon (for the umpteenth time but not in a very long while), I thought perhaps we might enjoy reading this together. I knew it would be either a hit or an “epic” miss. To my delight and both our joy, we have been reading through with tears of laughter and utter enjoyment what is called the Toy Trilogy by Emily Jenkins.

Although this story and series is for the age range of 7-10, it is one of those magical and timeless stories that can be enjoyed by everyone and will be a treasured classic to be re-read again and again.
My daughter already made me re-read certain parts that were especially amusing!

The characters are memorable and distinct in their personalities. The adventures and experiences they have are entertaining and hilarious. These three best loved toys of a young girl share many misadventures and a few messy moments along the way as they live their daily lives. Rich in laugh out loud outbursts, flashbacks to elementary days and childhood memories lessons, I just can’t say enough good stuff about these books except- Just read them. Recommended, in my opinion for children of ALL ages. Mother and Daughter give them a four thumbs up, and 5 stars for on the couch read aloud time!

Black and white pencil drawings accompany these adorable toy adventures by award winning illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky.

Below are the links to each of these books through Random House Kids where you can see the books for yourself with a handy gadget like the one below! Also if you click on the gadget below it will open in a larger screen so you can take a peek!

Toys Go Out
Toy Dance Party
Toys Come Home

http://insight.randomhouse.com/widget/viewer.jsnew InsightBookReader(‘preview’, ‘9780385736619’, ‘Toys%20Go%20Out’, ‘JENKINS%2C%20EMILY’, ‘0’, ‘/books/detail/87063-toys-go-out’);
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Mass Hope Home-School Convention Highlights and Multitudes 2013

Nothing holds back the sista-hood! We are His girls! 
I had planned on attending the Mass Hope Home-School conference ahead of time. I bought the tickets and anticipated going, but other than knowing it would be my first BIG Home – School conference I did nothing to prepare. These days are lived teetering at the edge of a cliff. I walk along this current path, veering straight into joy on some days and other days I wonder if jumping off the edge is a valid option. I listened to those who gave me tips and warned me in advance not to be overwhelmed by the volume of vendors. I anticipated blessings because I was repeatedly told I would be blessed and encouraged if I attended. I asked some sweet sisters to be sure and pray for me at the last minute when I had a rough couple of days. I prayed, and waited like a second string player sitting on the bench awaiting for a turn to play, not really quite sure what to expect once actually in the game.

The day arrived and I was off to the DCU Center in Worcester Massachusetts with my dear friend Natasha, her son and my daughter. We arrived at the hotel, and descended upon that conference center Friday later than planned, yet perfectly on time. You know it’s all grace, friends.

How shall I describe it to you? 
Let me see, wall to wall books, books and more books. Needless to say, I was in my very, very happy place. I spent hours perusing the curriculum at the various vendors. I quizzed the reps and volunteers with a myriad of questions, sometimes returning after another question came to my mind. Yeah, I am that person.

I was impressed with a number of the curriculum choices and not overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to check out a few specific vendors based on my own prior experience and exploring. These were Sonlight and My Fathers World.  I had gone to the local Home School conference a month earlier and knew I wanted to check into Classical Conversations, based on a lengthy conversation with a couple of  moms who communicated their satisfaction with the program and patiently answered my multitudes of questions. Although I knew there would be good speakers and topics, a table full of books is tough competition, especially once they are within my reach.

A few notables were A Beka, which I had dismissed somewhat but since my daughter seems to like it – I may be considering implementing it. What appealed to my daughter I think was that it looked like enough work to her. She is quite traditional in her expectation of Home- School and feels secure with specific assignments and structure which A Beka clearly models. I did like the cohesiveness, yet I am not sure if it might be too rigid? I stumbled upon a Language Arts curriculum that completely intrigued me, called Total Language Plus. It utilizes classic literature with a focus on critical thinking and communication skills. Both my daughter and I were very interested in this program and probably will try it (at the least) regardless of what else we choose.

I checked out a couple of other sets of complete/semi-complete curriculum: BJU Press, Freedom Project Education, Tapestry of Grace. Each of those I mention had points or elements I really appreciated.

As I searched for the ever elusive perfect curriculum, God had graciously appointed a meeting to offer guidance, wisdom and perspective. I passed by the Summit Group Testing Preparation booth without much interest but somehow the lovely lady there caught my eye and before I knew it we were discussing everything from her homeschooling empty nest to my own one chick nest with all of it’s challenges! The company she represents does both online tutoring as well as in home and in school test preparation for SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ACT tests and more. Linda, as I would come to know her was a wealth of information, grace and truth. Plus she gave me chocolate. Now you know that was a truly divine appointment!

I attended the keynote speaker Bill Jack’s excellent presentation Saturday morning and loved it. Bill leads Worldview Academy a kind of leadership camp for youth. His take on “Whatever” and our worldview was eye opening and inspiring. I will never be able to watch Gilligan’s Island without thinking of the 7 Deadly Sins. Thanks for that, Mr. Jack! Not that I um, er…watch that show. Ahem.
Also singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the sit com’s theme song with an amazing correlating lesson was powerful. You had to be there. Or you can get that CD on the Mass Hope web site at some point if you really want to know. 

I also attended Christopher Perrin’s talk on Revolutionary Logic. This was a little rough since it was the last session on Saturday afternoon but I have to admit once he started speaking Latin he had my attention. Fortunately he did not do the whole talk in that language but his comfortable use of it and his wit sealed the deal. He had me at Logos

There were many more workshops but as I said, I was quite the book table tramp.
I had two of the complimentary bags from Sonlight. Yup, I am that person, too. Thanks, guys!

I treated myself to the book The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer  – who I actually am getting to be quite enamored with…she is pretty amazing to me. I am becoming quite a fan.

#436. Safe travel with a beautiful friend and fellowship on the road!
#437. smiling faces on two beautiful children, who are growing up so fast
#438. A hubby who works hard, and deserves a little bit of recliner time, occasionally
#439. Three beautiful gifts of friendship: Natasha, Lauree and Tina. Thank you, Lord for each precious one.
#440. Prayer and workout time in the morning.
#441. free coffee
#442. Meeting Home School parents in the Jacuzzi and talking about Home- Schooling…fellowship and shared wisdom, right there in the foamy, bubbly water!
#443. Singing How Great Thou Art Saturday Morning
#444. Coming home to a Sunday Morning Sermon which was faithfully served up by my very excellent Pastor
#445. Waking up to a crock pot meal made by hubs to come home from church to.

Question for You Home Schooling Friends:

What are your Home- Schooling Preferences?
Do you prefer mixing and matching your own or a complete (more or less) curriculum? 
Let me know what you think.
Don’t be shy…please pipe up!

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A Call Out to My Home-schooling Mamas on Monday (Help!)

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This will be the briefest Monday post ever.

Here’s why:

Last week will go down in my personal history as the most radical U-Turn I have ever made. 
My husband and I decided we needed to Home School my daughter.
This story is too long and complicated to get into here.
Suffice it to say, this is our decision and her desire.
We did Home School for one year – Kindergarten. I loved it and used My Father’s World curriculum. But 7th grade is a whole different BEAST. This mom is a little ….
shh, lean in, will you?

We like to put our communication in writing in this family.
This was Katherine’s signed document. She asked me to tell her my objections and concerns, after which, she carefully addressed in writing each one as well as a commitment to uphold the appropriate expectation. We will be doing a Parents version this week. 

This caused me to panic at first since I really had a lot of plans, including getting into this neglected room and working on a few writing and craft projects. 
Apparently panic helps me to get organized. 
By Monday we could find the floor!
Yay, me!

So this week I am asking you to give me your best Home School advice, tip and/or favorite helpful link
If you never have Home- Schooled before, just say a quick prayer for my girl and me as we attempt our second week. And send your friends who Home-School right over here to HELP me!

Although this was an abrupt decision, God blessed us with many wonderful gifts this week.

377. Curriculum freely given for Math, Science, English/Lit, Grammar.
378. A gifted membership to our local Home School Group
379. The ability to jump right in and start working 
380. Our History choice available at a local library, including: book, teachers book and activity guide
381. Lots of library time 
382. A freezing beach walk with friends
383. Starbucks on Sunday after church just because
384. Solid support from new friends and old
385. the way God allows new friendships to be birthed in times of need
386. Realization that some people will not understand or support our decision
387. Peace knowing it’s none of the business of #386 what we do, anyway.
388. God’s faithfulness

*Check out my books on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5995235-dawn

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