Category Archives: Homeschoooling

Martha’s vs Homeschool Mom’s Way

Now that Christmas is over and I am dealing with the trauma of everything not being all pulled together and neat. I needed a little pick me up! I found this over at Ann Zeise’s humor page. Thanks Ann!

Martha’s vs Homeschool Mom’s Way

Martha’s way #1: Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete’s sake; you are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway.

Martha’s way #2: Use a meat baster to “squeeze” your pancake batter onto the hot griddle and you’ll get perfectly shaped pancakes every time.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Buy the precooked kind you nuke in the microwave for 30 seconds. The hard part is getting them out of the plastic bag.

Martha’s way #3: To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix and keep it in the pantry for up to a year.

Martha’s way #4: To prevent eggshells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Who cares if they crack, aren’t you going to take the shells off anyway?

Martha’s way #5: To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Sleep with the lemons in between the mattress and box springs.

Martha’s way #6: To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Eat at Chili’s every night and avoid cooking.

Martha’s way #7: Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won’t be any stains.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Feed your garbage disposal and there won’t be any leftovers.

Martha’s way #8: When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Go to the bakery. They’ll even decorate it for you.

Martha’s way #9: If you accidentally over salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant “fix me up”

Homeschool Mom’s Way: If you over salt a dish while you are cooking, that’s too damn bad. My motto: I made it and you will eat it and I don’t care how bad it tastes.

Martha’s way #10: Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Celery? Never heard of the stuff.

Martha’s way #11: Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust and so I don’t do it.

Martha’s way #12: Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Brown sugar is supposed to be “soft”?

Martha’s way #13: When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn’s natural sweetness.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: The only kind of corn I buy comes in a can.

Martha’s way #14: To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Eat, cook, or use the egg anyway. If you feel bad later, you will know it wasn’t fresh.

Martha’s way #15: Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Martha, dear, the only reason this works is because you can’t rub a lime on your forehead without getting lime juice in your eye, and then the problem isn’t the headache anymore, it is because you are now blind.

Martha’s way #16: Don’t throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Leftover wine?

Martha’s way #17: If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Go ask the very cute neighbor to do it.

Martha’s way #18: Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Mashed potatoes will now be replacing the anti-bacterial soap in the handy dispenser next to my sink.

Martha’s way #19: Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer.

§ Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.

§ Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets.

§ Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

§ Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

Homeschool Mom’s Way: Put your jewelry, vases, and thermos in the toilet. Add some Alka-Seltzer and you have solved a whole bunch of problems at once.

Nerds, High School, and Socialization

Apparently when you search “facts about nerds” on Google we come up 2nd. The first site returned is fascinating article by Paul Graham on “Why Nerds are Unpopular”. It brought up many great points that spoke to my own popularity issues in high school and also to many reasons as to why I homeschool. While I am quoting many pieces, I recommend you read the article in its entirety.

One of his great points is that nerds don’t want to be popular enough to be popular.

But in fact I didn’t, not enough. There was something else I wanted more: to be smart. Not simply to do well in school, though that counted for something, but to design beautiful rockets, or to write well, or to understand how to program computers. In general, to make great things.

At the time I never tried to separate my wants and weigh them against one another. If I had, I would have seen that being smart was more important. If someone had offered me the chance to be the most popular kid in school, but only at the price of being of average intelligence (humor me here), I wouldn’t have taken it.

The main reason nerds are unpopular is that they have other things to think about. Their attention is drawn to books or the natural world, not fashions and parties. They’re like someone trying to play soccer while balancing a glass of water on his head. Other players who can focus their whole attention on the game beat them effortlessly, and wonder why they seem so incapable.

He also speaks as to how real life compares to high school.

Why is the real world more hospitable to nerds? It might seem that the answer is simply that it’s populated by adults, who are too mature to pick on one another. But I don’t think this is true. Adults in prison certainly pick on one another. And so, apparently, do society wives; in some parts of Manhattan, life for women sounds like a continuation of high school, with all the same petty intrigues.

I think the important thing about the real world is not that it’s populated by adults, but that it’s very large, and the things you do have real effects. That’s what school, prison, and ladies-who-lunch all lack. The inhabitants of all those worlds are trapped in little bubbles where nothing they do can have more than a local effect. Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery. They have no function for their form to follow.

When the things you do have real effects, it’s no longer enough just to be pleasing. It starts to be important to get the right answers, and that’s where nerds show to advantage. Bill Gates will of course come to mind. Though notoriously lacking in social skills, he gets the right answers, at least as measured in revenue.

So once again all this just points out the obvious, if high school isn’t real life why is it so important to make your kids learn how to fit in? I feel it harms the kids more than anything, so I homeschool to combat it all and raise functioning adults.

Homeschooling Carnival: I am Thankful Edition

Welcome everyone to this week’s Homeschooling Carnival. In honor of the nearing Thanksgiving holiday I have decided I should go over some of the many nerdy things I am thankful for. We have many delightful entries into this week’s carnival so let us jump right in!

I am thankful for Veterans. Without them we wouldn’t have any of the freedoms that we enjoy today. The Diary of 1 gives us a great Veterans History Project. Everyday Me has a great project for homeschool kids in writing Medal of Honor winners. They give us directions on how to go about that with True Heroes.

I am thankful that NerdDad and I made the decision to homeschool. We have many reasons (tune in later in the blog for more on that) for homeschooling and how it ties into our overall life priorities. The Joyful Journey shares some of hers in Why Not School?? Key Words is Sharing My Answer to One Adoption Question where they share their educational philosophy. Homeschool 2.0 reviews 2 Million Minutes and talks about how it relates to their own philosophy. All Info About Homeschooling talks about their choices in Living Intentionally. Large Family Mothering gives us a brief description of our philosophy, after 19 years of homeschooling and 14 children, and encouragement to seek the truly important things instead of the expected in The Plans of Mice and Mothering.

I am thankful for the over all freedoms that homeschooling gives me. Life Without School compares a Thanksgiving school free lunch to the freedoms of homeschooling in The Free Lunch. Homeschooling also inherently gives us the freedom to not agree. Notes From A Homeschool Mom voices her opinion in Why I Won’t Be HSLDA’s Pansy.

I am thankful that I can exert a little control over when and how my kids are exposed to things and how I want to handle them. That is the case with Sometimes I’m Actually Coherent On the Seriousness of Children’s Literature. The Educational Life’s post So I Made Her Cry on Purpose is in similar vein.

I am thankful that family traditions are just as important to teach as “school” traditions. I feel that this takes the place of rallies, assemblies, parent/teacher conferences. etc. Reese’s View of the World gives us a beautiful pancake tradition with A Tradition is Made. Then Chrysalis tells us to Let Grandparent Shine During the Holidays. She gives us 3 ways that they can serve as family storytellers.

I am thankful that I can take a break from our current studies to delve into a subject. Little Fun; Little Learning give us Thanksgiving unit ideas in Fun-Filled Friday. More4Kids Education also has Thanksgiving Projects for Homeschoolers. About Homeschooling gives even more Thanksgiving Activities and Studies. Our Homeschooling Expedition gives us a delightful Christmas unit in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I am thankful that where I am weak others are strong. The reality is that I don’t have to know or enjoy everything that I want me kids to learn. I just need to find the resources to help me equip my children. That was the case for Annette at Homeschooling Journey in the area of music. She found a Music Curriculum For Music Haters. Now I hated handwriting so I am taking the help from Little Blue School who offers Handwriting Help. Life on the Road also discusses handwriting in The Importance of Handwriting.

I am thankful for math. I just love math, it makes the world go round. It is logical. So of course I enjoy Let’s Play Math’s How to Read a Fraction. Day by Day Homschooling gives us Great Math Resource – Math Mojo! Wild About Math! tells us How to Get Past “Stupid” Math Mistakes.

I am thankful for reading and literature. It brings life, entertainment, understanding, insight and knowledge. Life Nurturing Education reflects on their study of Pilgrim’s Progress in Finding Life in Dry Lessons. Reading also help develop character. SuperAngel discussed her character development as facilitated by a poem in Desiring A Mind To Work.

I am thankful that homeschooling enables me to teach the real world to my kids as a subject all its own. Frugal Fanny voyages into the subject of money management with What You Learned from Your Allowance and Why Kids Still Need Allowance Today. Kathy at the Homeschool Buzz reviews The Lemonade Wars. It teaches the basics of the very important subject of capitalism. To balance that I believe in teaching your kids about service to others. Lunablog gives us a idea on that with Here’s a family project that can really make a difference in someone’s life.

I am thankful that I get to see all growth my kids make. It makes my heart happy that I get the time and exposure to see when my kids are in transitions both academically and socially and not just the results. Domestic Entropy says that there’s a transition that happens between preschool-age thinking and school-age thinking, and her daughter is right in the middle of it in Kids Grow Up and Change.

I am thankful that I have a modicum of control over the copious amounts of crafts my kids do. Not that I don’t love every art piece but I can decide what kind of crafts they do that might actually fit in around the house. Also, I can ship off all the crafts to loved one as gifts instead of having to keep them around the house (insert evil giggle here;). That is why I love Mental Mosaic’s Easy Gift Idea: Make Your Own Refrigerator Magnets. It is something that everyone can find a place for and they are cheap to mail!

I am thankful for the chance to help my children develop their minds through logic, starting very young. gives us some tools to Teach young children how to think by the way we talk to our kids, one word at a time.

I extremely thankful that I am blessed to teach my children to start learning as young as birth and not just waiting for kindergarten (not that most non-homeschoolers do, it is just a learning blessing). Lionden Learning gives us tips to stimulate infant brain development with Let’s Get Moving. Talk About Speech has a good piece on Early Speech Development.

I am thankful for the ability to personalize education to my children. If I find they learn a different way or need extra work in an area, I am free to change course. A Ten O’Clock Scholar offers us Helping the Older Child Learn to Read. Speaking of reading, The Thinking Mother gives a review of Schooled. It centers around a homeschooled child and is for kids.

I am thankful for church and community support. I personally am blessed by having many people in my life, and especially in my church, that support my homeschooling even if they don’t homeschool themselves. Small World knows about this kind of support. In Something Nice Happened Yesterday we find out about a church that volunteered to allow her support group use of their facilities. I am also grateful that homeschoolers come together and both celebrate our victories and support us when we need help. Boy+Academy has given us 45 Days: A Review to share how teacher and student have both grown. Barbara Frank gives us the gentle reminder that Parental Pressure Can Mean Failure. Janine at Why Homeschooling alerts us to the NEA Resolutions and what they really mean.

I am thankful for technology and the ability to use it to further my kids’ education. Also I just enjoy the hunt for educational materials. Frugal Panda gives us 17 Ways to Get Free Books. That includes both traditional books and the easy to store e-books. Then Jimmy over at OEDb: Online Education Database gives us 101 Web 2.0 Teaching Tools. I am in love with Principled Discovery’s Saturday School: Make Your Own Simple Circuit. We will make these for all the things we need quizzing on.

I am thankful that the more that people learn about kids and education, the more vindicated I am to everyone else about homeschooling. Ragamuffin Studies give us a little more proof in The Red Herring: Social Skills and Schools Today.

I am thankful that I am giving my kids an education that will get them into college (if they choose to go). Bright Kids at Home gives us record keeping tips in Homeschooling Teens-High School Record Keeping. Percieval Blakeney Academy tells us Don’t Do This regarding 10 mistakes that are common in applying for college.

I am thankful that homeschooling frees me up to do things when I want. That includes enabling me to use field trips to its fullest ability. Alasandra shares A Gem of a Field Trip. I don’t have to do school on anyone else’s schedule. I can’t let them sleep more and now I am justified by No Fighting, No Biting! with Kids Need Sleep. We can take an afternoon to do a cool activity like the Map and Compass Exercises at Melissa’s Idea Garden. Welcome to My Brain shares the fun and delight her homeschool got by doing a float for a parade when she asks an important question. Doesn’t everyone have one of these in their yard? I also get to enjoy the season with my kids. Just like My Domestic Church in The Loveliness of Fall Sports.

Life homeschooling can be very crazy and sometimes stressful. That is why I am so thankful for humor. I have been blessed (or did I just choose wisely?;) with a husband with a great sense of humor and that makes my life so much better. Having a sense of humor sometimes means laughing at yourself and sometimes laughing at others. Po Moyemu—In My Opinion gives us a great chuckle with Funny School T-Shirt. Then onto the hilarity at Consent of the Governed with A Wish List from Homeschoolers To Non-Homeschoolers. The list was so nice it was submitted more completely over at Grizzly Mama. But as I said sometimes we have to laugh at ourselves. That is the case for HomeSpun Juggling with A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bricks. I also love sweet childlike humor. Seeking Rest in the Ancient Paths give us kids answers to Why Did God Make Mothers?

I am most thankful for the blessing of having my family and being entrusted with loving and teaching these little, soon to be big people. Our Family Village tells us that apparently the government thinks that is can do a better job in Yikes!. Of course having everyone around all the time emotions can run high. Personal Development gives us some ways to deal in How To Calm Down. As if to assure us that those little ones will grow into a wonderful maturity Jocelyn Dixon offers us Being Thankful Because I Am Homeschooled.

I am also thankful for all of you and the blogosphere. It gives me an opportunity to meet many more people whom I share viewpoints and can learn from. That is the point of great carnivals like this so keep submitting you articles for upcoming carnivals and make sure you join in the fun.

Now that you have come to the end of my carnival I have a couple of requests. First, comment here and tell me what you are thankful for. Second, go read all these great articles and let the authors know what you think. The only thing better for a blogger than writing a great post is getting great feedback! Have a great Thanksgiving!

WFMW: Tivo the Timesaver

So I was trying to think of a great time saver in my life and I would have to say that it is my Tivo. You can list all of your desired programs regardless of when they are on. You just program it and let it go. You can set a season pass so it gets Heroes every week. Those movies that are on in the middle of the night, Tivo’s theres. Wishlist all Jane Austen movies, Tivos there. I even get Cable in the Classroom at 3 am. Then you can watch them commercial free when ever you have time. You can also hold onto them for as long as you have space on your hard drive.

Traveling and taking your laptop? Great, just install a Tivo desktop (free) and up load programs onto your computer. I took it to the hospital when I had my c-section and caught up on shows that were on summer hiatus.

I also love the fact that you can rate channels and shows for kids. Then when it sits 4 hours (or you turn it on) it kicks into KidZone and just lists the approved things. We have it set on preschool so only the preschool level shows are automatically on. Then we have added select cooking shows (NerdBug wants to be a chef). So if you want to send the kids in to watch something while you shower you don’t have to worry (at least not about the tv). I also have Wiggles, DoodleBops and JoJo’s Circus at my disposal. The Nerdling only watches while I cook dinner.

Then the newest thing is that there are select PodCasts so I can watch CrankyGeeks while I am cooking. Also, you can run it over your wireless network so it can play all my music stored on all my computers. The endless CD changer.

I love my Tivo because it works for me. And no, this wasn’t a paid post though if you are Tivo and you want to hook me up……

Frugal Homeschooler:Pumpkins (and JackoLanterns)

I will preface this Frugal Homeschooler with the statement that I am not a real Halloween person. Everything here is more pumpkin aimed but a little Halloween may sneak in through carving;).

First, here is a bunch of Pumpkin worksheets that I found on another blogger site. It is owned by Newsword. It even includes optional answer keys. There are everything from matting, crosswords, word searches, etc. I will be using a couple of these for my first grader this year but there are plenty to choose from for older kids.

The there is a great Hands on Activity page that was produced by Chicago Academy of Sciences. They have some great little activities but the one I like the best is their main activity on the life cycle of a pumpkin. It even includes the worksheet with the images to cut out.

Southwest Educational development Lab has a great observational project that will help with kids understanding the scientific process, not to mention pumpkins. It has a page you can print out for recording data(and to go in their science binders) along with explanations of the steps.

Diane Flynn Keith over at Universal Preschool (and who also does the Clickschooling Yahoo group where I get so many of my free finds) has a great article, Pumpkin Fun!, that links to many good educational resources also. So if you didn’t find what you are looking for over here go check her out.

So that wraps up this week’s Frugal Homeschooler. Go have a great Halloween. Stay safe and don’t eat to much candy. Look, explore, use and if you have any great resources please share with me. As always remember homeschooling doesn’t have to be hard or expensive!

It’s Time

*Updated: I am posting this at the top as a reminder for anyone looking for the Affidavit link. Please scroll down for our normally scheduled program;)

For all of you who file as a Private School with the State of California the affidavit is up. I have heard that you can only file online starting with this year. This is good from now until September of 2008. They are all due by 10/15/2007. I also have been told to not expect any response from the state so if no one emails or writes I guess that is to be expected.