Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas giveaway from Homeschool Mosaics

The team of homeschooling writers at Homeschool Mosaics would like to wish you a very merry Christmas today. We're giving away our two newest e-books, Sanity Savers and Holiday Blessings, full of ideas and practical tips for combating homeschool (and holiday) burnout. Here's the scoop, from the Homeschool Mosaics webpage:

It’s December!  So, we’ve decided to do things a bit differently for this month’s Giveaway Day!
Instead of teaming up with a  vendor friend to bring you ONE prize, we wanted to give a prize – from us – to each one of our readers! 

So, this month, there’s no Rafflecopter entry widget – and every single one of you can receive the prize(s)!  Yes, plural!

TODAY ONLY you can head over to Amazon and grab BOTH of our books for FREE!  Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still take advantage of this offer – Amazon has free apps that you can download so you can access Kindle books on your computer, tablet, or smart phone!

Find the download links and lots of helpful homeschool-related articles here.

There's so much I want to say...

Part of the problem of trying to keep a blog (at least for me) is just getting to the keyboard. We have five people sharing one computer at our house at the moment -- that's a lot of competition.

Of course, this situation helps me in my resolution that actually conflicts somewhat with the wish to regularly update my blog. I've cut way back on my computer time since September. I'm getting more done in other areas of my life, but my blog has suffered.

I often think of something to say, write long, thoughtful blog posts in my head, contemplations of real life as I'm going about my business, but then I get to the keyboard and it's all gone. Poof. Vanished into the ether.

And then there's reality. I mean, blogs and homekeeping hints and homeschooling seem so trivial against the backdrop of the terrible events this week. The mall shooting was at a mall I used to visit on occasion. Haven't been there in years, but people I know were there; friends of ours were in the food court at the time the shooting started.

Then in the same week, tragedy in an elementary school. I don't have to say any more about that. You're probably up-to-here with the news reports, and no real answers. At least I am.

Last night we went to a Christmas program at a local church. They've been putting it on for 25 years, a gift to the community, with three choirs, handbells, and an orchestra. It was beautifully done, polished, colorful, and joy-filled -- though there were traces of tears. I wiped away a tear when the children's choir came out with its mix of mischief and sweet song. One of the soloists in the adult choir choked up during his song, but made it through almost to the end. Somehow, leaving off the last few words of the song about the coming of the Christ Child, "When Love Was Born," and having the orchestra finish out the phrase that everyone in the audience was thinking (having heard the refrain throughout the song), was even more poignant and meaningful.

You know, tragedy can make the everyday feel futile, and yet... The everyday tasks, the being faithful in little things, seeking the Lord, praising Him in all circumstances, that is what this life is all about. I'm afraid the bustle of life has caught up with me, and there is a lively conversation now going on just a few feet from me, and the dog is nudging my elbow, and so I can't put down all the lovely ponderings that were going on in my head a little earlier. So all I can recommend is that you meditate on this idea. I'll try to post more, later.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Timeline series

Just finished writing the second in a series on using a timeline to help put historical events and people in context in your history studies. It will appear later this month at Homeschool Mosaics -- I'll post the link when it's available.

In the meantime, the first article can be found here and talks about getting started with using a timeline, and how to make it more interesting and relevant for your students.

You can find a list of my HM articles at this link, including several reading lists, books that we've enjoyed over the past two decades (!) of homeschooling.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This is the day that the LORD hath made! do know what comes after, don't you?

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

It doesn't matter if you got less sleep than you needed last night. It doesn't matter if you (or someone else in the house) is sick -- either temporarily or chronically -- and having a hard time dealing with it. It doesn't matter if someone just dropped a pitcher of orange juice all over the freshly mopped floor.

Okay, that last bit is not something that happened in our house this morning, but it has happened in the past. More than once.

It doesn't even matter if everything is going right, you got up before the alarm sounded, even, and the baby didn't keep you up all night for the first time ever, and breakfast was all ready, in the crockpot and since the table got set last night before bed and the kids know -- and do -- exactly what they need to do between getting out of bed and breakfast, there's really almost no work needed to get from there to here...

No matter what...

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

(Yes, it's easy to rejoice when everything goes right. But it's just as easy to forget about the Lord and His benefits, and cruise along thinking how you've got everything together. Been there. Done that.)

 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phil. 4:4)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Long hiatus...

It has been a long time since I've checked in here. You see, I was spending too much time on the computer and not enough time on things that needed doing in "real life." With the approach of the new school year, I knew that something was going to have to give.

Now I know as home educators, we don't have to stick to society's school calendar. We can start our academic year in August or September like everyone else, or we can start in January with the calendar year, or we can just sort of keep on going, year-round, starting new material as we finish the old. However, our outside classes and activities (choir, debate club, speech class, art class, etc.) run on the September - May/June academic schedule, and so we tend to do the same.

Anyhow, as I was saying, I needed to spend much less time online. I cut back on online commitments. I limited my email and web-browsing time. I set aside time for the girls to use the computer for their academics. (They also spend too much time online, and I'm not talking research or academic pursuits, but that's something we're still trying to work on, and if we ever do manage to straighten it out to my satisfaction, I'll let you know.)

The computer situation at our house has also dictated less computer time for me, as one by one our rebuilt bargain-priced laptops meant for academic use (listening to lectures and doing writing assignments) have deteriorated and died, leaving us all competing for computer time on the remaining computer. (How do people manage, on a homeschool family budget, the cost of student computers, anyhow? The cheap rebuilt route has not worked really well for us. We're not going to sign up with a government school-at-home program just in order to get laptops for the girls. I'm open to other suggestions...)

It's been occasionally rough. My email box has burgeoned to unbelievable proportions. I've missed reading emails that I needed to read, if only to be informed of events going on at church or connected to our extracurricular activities. I have not blogged since August. I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month -- where you aim to write a book in 30 days' time) with the girls' encouragement, put in one day of writing, and then my own laptop and the last remaining student laptop got very sick at the same time, meaning that the five of us were now sharing one semi-working desktop computer. As you probably have figured out, that book didn't get written. Yet. (As my mom used to say, "If it's important, it'll come back to you." We'll see. It just wasn't a priority right now.)

I have a phone that can browse the web, which has been handy for web-based research when out and about (doing Language Arts with Youngest in a coffee shop, for example, and needing to look up a grammar rule), and browsing blogs while waiting for the girls at classes or appointments, so it hasn't been a complete break from the internet. I've found encouragement and helpful how-tos on blogs, recipes for gluten-free foods or homemade cleaning products or just plain food for thought. I can read email on my phone, although for some reason I can't send email, so answering emails can still be a problem (depending on when I can get on the desktop at home, and also if I remember that I needed to answer something).

Anyhow, I'm going to try again, if only a little something every day. It's a way of connecting, for one thing, joining an ongoing conversation, as well as organizing information (Now where did I put that recipe...?). I'm just a bit wiser than I was (at least I hope so) when I was blogging earlier. I use a timer these days, for one thing.

Thanks for listening.