Sunday, June 28, 2009

We are home and so glad to be here with our own stuff I guess surrounding us. There really is no place like Home!

We enjoyed the River Museum as I said before but was not able to put a link in until we got home again. See the link below:

Our boys are happy to be amongst their own cars again too. I am looking forward to doing some outings with my MOPS group, seeing friends over the 4th July Holiday, and trying to figure out a schedule for the rest of the summer as well as the school schedule for the fall. I have a few Unit Studies to put together to keep my ever active toddler and future 2nd grader interested in any kind of book work or learning. If it does not involve football then he is usually not interested.

I was also saddened this morning to find out another little infant of 6 months old had passed away from a congenital heart defect. Between all the cancer issues and childhood illnesses I think the Lord must be coming soon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacation Blues or Heat Woes!

Just dropping by in here to let you know we are awol from home and somewhere in Wisconsin where the heat wave is massive. We think it is actually cooler at home. This part of the country only has temps like this for 3-4 days in August but it sure came early.

Yesterday we travelled to Dubuque, Iowa where there is a Maritime museum which details the history of the Mississippi river. It is an awesome Childrens hands on museum with lots of interactive exhibits and fish to see if aquarium that come right down to the floor. Our toddler thoroughly enjoyed that. Outside is a huge old boat that used to be used to carry cargo up and down the Mississippi river. These boats, barges and paddlesteamers usually only last up to 5 years because of all the intense movement they had to do on the river. We watched a short movie on the history of the boat industry on the Mississippi river including why they built locks to insure the rivers do not flood intensively any longer. Of course we all know this still happens from time to time. If you are ever in this area of the country it is well worth checking out.

We do look forward to going home and having our own bed to sleep in and the children their own stuff to play with. Talk to you later this week.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner Review

Wow! This was my first response on opening up this extremely comprehensive Planner. In my first few minutes of flipping through the pages I was amazed by the amount of detail and the excellent practical information provided throughout the pages.

When the time came to reading it through thoroughly I paid greater attention to the individual subjects outlined in the “Table of Contents.” I realized this could take me a while to read and perhaps this could not have arrived at a better time for our family. Our family has been in a chaotic state with a combination of hospital visits, doctors appointments, and the birth of a baby during these last two years, followed by the death of our five year old son in October 2008. We definitely require some restructuring and planning once again.

On reading slowly through the Planner there were many subjects covered that I have not begun to teach my son yet. One example is by Steve Demme of who wrote “Ten Keys to Success Learning Math in the Decimal System.” This article and the links to products and other math websites are all listed together.

Another favorite subject to read up on was from Molly Green at Molly shared on Fire Safety and what to do before this situation may happen to make the aftermath slightly easier. Having had personal experience after losing a home and belongings to a tornado some years ago this was a gentle reminder of documenting our home’s inventory and important papers once again and keeping the lists and video/photo records in another safe place. This information will especially help those out who live in areas prone to flooding and/or tornado areas.

Other items of interest to me were “American Government Basics” by Amanda Bennett where she outlines the details of how Federal, State and Local Governments are set up. Here is a link to her website where you can find the American Government Unit Study ( ). “Learning to Spot the Planets” by Jay Ryan; Bible reference tables for the Miracles and Parables of Jesus; “Lap Books: A Creative Road to Retention” (we use Lap books in just about every subject). My son picks up his completed Lap Books weeks later and re-reads them over and over again, thus cementing the information once again.

After the calendar and article pages are all the homeschool forms that a Homeschool family could wish for. There are definitely some that I would never even think of, or that I would need perhaps. They cover everything from curriculum planning, courses of study, unit study, book reports for both elementary and higher education, to grading, report cards, progress reports, chore schedules for parents and children. I can honestly say there was nothing in this Planner that I do not like or need now or in the future years.

This Planner is a ‘bible’ or ‘dictionary’ in my opinion of homeschooling information. I suggest you visit The Old Schoolhouse Magazine website at and take a look at some sample pages of the Planner. There are additional modules that can be added for a cost of $7.95 per month for additional unit studies. The 2009 Homeschool Planner is selling for $39.00 at the following link

If you are not totally sure after reading this review there are many other reviews for this product on the website or at
I truly think that for the amount of information that is obtained in this e-book it is well worth the price. The Forms included can be reused during another year with a different calendar perhaps. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this Planner and endeavor to make the best use of as much information from it as possible. Enjoy it too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Health and Homeschool tips

I have been subscribed to a very useful and fun website for some years now. It is called Homeschool Freebie of the Day. It is the Erskine family who live in Tennessee who have put together numerous audio and e-book freebies that have been formatted into PDF for online use and downloading. Every week subscribers to their site receive 1-2 free audio stories or PDF books to download. It has been a phenomenal resource for our family. We download the audio stories and save them to disc then play them on our long trips with my MP3 player that has an adaptor to work in our van. I encourage you even you are not a homeschool family to utilize this resource. There are sometimes even cartoon books on the site and even children's books your children can read to themselves. Most of the stories are from the older times when we were little and not some of the twaddle that is printed today for our children to read. Their website to subscribe is

My second website I read often is I also receive a weekly email from this site as they are mostly about alternate ways to fight illness and disease. The website is full of good information and relative to today.

Personally I am going to be more involved with my local MOPS group here in my neighborhood and am going to be giving back to Moms this year instead of just being a recipient, which I have been for the last 3 years during my son's battle with cancer.

It is one year today since we set off for Chicago in a limousine to board an Amtrak train to the Grand Canyon. Boy we would never have imagined that he would be gone from the earth just a few months later. We miss our beloved Brendon so very much every single day and some days every single hour. Here is a favorite photo of ours taken on the train to the Canyon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Its a Learning Process - Life

I will be updating periodically, but am still learning what HTML is and how to put different links and things on this blog. Anyone want to come teach me? I will give you freshly made tea and maybe cookies or raw chocolate during your visit!

I have signed up and been chosen to be a member of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. This is a group of readers of Old Schoolhouse magazine or emails who are selected through a long process to review products from Home schooling companies. It is going to be challenging using different curriculum things that I may like or Daniel may/may not like. We are looking forward to a better school year than last year. We had so many interruptions during the year that we possibly did not do enough days. However the lessons in life that Daniel learned were amazing and certainly not one every child learns. I will be using my blog to post links and entries about the things we review.

I did thoroughly enjoy the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2009 that was organized by Cindy Rushton in Alabama. I learned so much through it and will continue to as I was able to purchase a ticket. There are samples of some of the audio files at the following link:

The place on the web to purchase a ticket is here

I am still listening to last years audios and they have taught me so much and I am now re-learning ideas from last year for our school, as well as new things I heard on this years Expo. Those who are thinking of homeschooling or currently do so would be wise to invest in this - it is way cheaper than actually attending a convention and all the audios can go on your IPod or downloaded to your computer and put on CD too.

We are still learning to live without Brendon, yet know he is with us in so many ways. I meet other Moms on the internet weekly who are losing their children to pediatric cancers or fighting the battle of cancer now. Life will never be the same without Brendon.

Have a great weekend and hug your little and big ones more often. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today is the beginning of the rest of your life

Choose now this day life and life abundantly. I just wanted to share with my friends and family and friends of your family how we can live well, healthy and be happy in spite of life's valleys. his is the beginning of the recovery for our family from the loss of our beloved 5 year old son Brendon. He passed away from brain cancer in October 2008 after a 2 year battle.

We miss him dearly and want to help others on their journey to better health. I also want to be able to share our homeschool experiences and threads of our lives.