Brave movie: My last homeschool field trip with Leah

Merida with bow and arrow, Brave movie

“If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?” – Merida, Brave movie

Yesterday I was wracking my brain, trying to think of something FUN that Leah and I could do for a field trip for her last homeschool day before she graduates tonight. I had googled Missouri, Kansas, homeschool field trips, events, you name it. We’ve been to so many places in Kansas City NUMEROUS times, such as the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, the Kansas City Zoo, Science City, Union Station, Powell Gardens, etc.

What could we do that was different and which would make Leah smile big and have a sweet good memory of our last day homeschooling? I wanted to end homeschooling on a great note. Then the idea came to me: go to the animated Brave movie and then eat lunch out afterward!

It was God-inspired.

Excellent movie! I highly recommend it. And Leah really liked it. The story is of a girl with flowing red hair on the thresh of womanhood named Merida, who is a Scottish princess and an aspiring, skilled archer. She protests against the expectations of royalty’s tradition (marrying a suitable lord after a sports competition for her hand),

Merida makes a reckless, foolish choice to try to change her mother the queen (who has been training and preparing her for years to be a “proper” princess and for marriage), and her rash decision results in chaos and near destruction of the kingdom.

I loved red-haired, high-spirited Merida, her big black horse, the beautiful scenery in Scotland, the Scottish music, the spiritual symbollism of archery (prayer, intercession, prophecy), the humor, and the realistic story of a relationship between a girl and her mother. The movie is about the importance of family and of a young woman creating her own destiny, which I felt was an appropriate theme for Leah’s graduation tonight.

Leah is a lot like Merida – strong-willed, independent, passionate. I laughed at the frown on Merida’s face when her mother would say things like, “A lady does not place her weapon on the table” and “Princesses don’t bite into their apples.” Despite my attempts at “training” Leah, she often insists on her way about doing things, choosing a new path.

When the queen helped Merida to dress for the special occasion of the suitors’ games, Merida felt restricted in her tight dress and headdress and she gasped, “I can’t breathe!”  “You look perfect!” the queen said. Seeing her daughter’s discomfort and misery in the dress, she admonished as she left the room, ‘Just remember to smile.”

Tears sprang to my eyes several times during the movie as I recognized Leah and myself in the daughter and the mother characters, as Merida ran her black horse (reminding me of Leah’s horseback riding and horse show winner days), and as she used her gift – her bow and arrow against an enraged black bear (the ancient prince Mor’du).

As I watched Leah smiling at times through the movie, I prayed a prayer of thanks to God for leading us to this movie to close out her homeschool years. I also felt it was prophetic for her life – the bow and arrows, the horse, the blazing of her own trail.

Ride like the wind, Leah. Touch the sky. And remember to smile.

Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led. – Brave movie (Pixar)

Video of Touch the Sky (Julie Fowlis)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ducks, The Hunger Games, & Mediterranean Food

baby ducks

Recently I resigned from a work-at-home position as a Blog Editor (editing articles, posting blogs on a WordPress site) and personal assistant, that I had been doing for 9 months, to focus more on Leah’s homeschooling. This is her last year of homeschooling; she will graduate later this summer. I want us to go on fun field trips and short road trips to make sweet good memories this last year.

So this past Friday, Ray, Leah and I had a whole day of fun together. 🙂

I want a duck!

First, we went to the Tractor Supply store to look at the baby ducks and chicks. Our daughter Heather had been there first with her kids and told me about them. I LOVE ducks and have always wanted one as a pet.

Ray teases me that I just want to be Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of the wonderful book Cross Creek, who had ducks on her farm.

Maybe that’s part of it (she was a successful writer, even winning the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Yearling, so emulating her is a good thing), but I also just like ducks. They are SO cute! I love to watch them swim, walk, and hear them quack.

Here are Ray and Leah looking at the baby chicks. Leah and I both thought that the ducks were cuter.

Leah and Ray looking at baby chicks

Ray looked at my smiling, animated face as I took pictures and asked, “Beth, do you want a duck?” They were only $4.99 and if I had said yes, he would have bought me one ~ even several. We live in a rental house and our landlord won’t allow us to have pets, so I had to say no.

“Where would we keep it anyway?” I asked. “We could keep it in the tub right now, but eventually it’s going to get big and outgrow the tub. It would need a pond or a lake to be happy.”

Yet it was tempting…one day I hope to have some ducks!

Next we went to Meadowmere Park in Grandview, MO, that has almost 53 acres and includes an “Enchanted Forest” theme play land for children.

The park was nothing specatcular, but it had a nice walking trail which leads to Longview Lake. The area was scenic and peaceful with tall oak trees, cherry blossom trees, and a winding river.

Ray and Leah walked ahead of me as I snapped pictures. I loved this picture of them walking together on the trail:

Leah and Ray on walking trail

And may the odds be ever in your favor! The Hunger Games

We then drove to Town Center Theatre in Leawood, Kansas, to watch The Hunger Games movie. The Hunger Games is a  young adult novel written by Suzanne Collins, published in September 2008. It is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in  a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where the countries of North American once existed. (Resource: Wikipedia)

The Capitol, which is a highly advanced metropolis, holds absolute power over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl, ages 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol, are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive. (Resource: Wikipedia)

Ray has read all three of the books in the Trilogy (the other books being Catching Fire and Mockingjay), but Leah and I had not. He couldn’t wait to see the movie. I surprised him by buying tickets online, and then when Heather was at our house telling him she was going to see it, he said, “Yeah, I really want to see it!”

Heather, who knew I’d bought the tickets, smiled at me and I looked at Ray, grinning, and said, ‘You are!”  He then raised an eyebrow and asked, “I am? What do you mean?” Then I told him I’d purchased three tickets for him, me and Leah for Friday afternoon ~ which made him happy. 🙂

The movie is awesome, but does have some scenes of violence (children being killed), which should be considered for younger children or preteens or teens who are sensitive to violent scenes. Ray and Leah both asked me why I wanted to see this movie, since I don’t normally watch anything violent.

Why I loved The Hunger Games movie

The reason why I wanted to see it is because I believe it is symbollic of warriors ~ which we are as believers in Christ. (I wrote a book on women and spiritual warfare which you can buy here.) The main character Katniss, or Kat as she is nicknamed, is skilled with a bow and an arrow, from being forced to hunt for food in the forest for herself and her family to be able to eat.

In Medieval times, when bows and arrows were necessary for warfare, the training required by an archer to use bows and arrows was extremely time consuming. It was necessary for them to become expert marksmen. In Kat’s case, she would need and use these excellent skills to be able to survive. Kat also showed great courage, volunteering as tribute, to replace her younger sister Primrose, who was chosen for the annual Hunger Games.

I felt that Kat represented what God has called me to do – to have courage and to war on my knees in prayer, and to teach my children and grandchildren to do the same. I want prayer to be my legacy.

Oh, the food!

We all loved the movie. Afterward, we went to Mr. Gyros restaurant, where we ate delicious Mediterranean food: chicken kabobs, tzatkiki sauce, pita bread and hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and baklava – a heavenly dessert.

Chicken kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, tzatkiki sauce
















It was delicious and the perfect way to end our day! What a fun, relaxing time.

What do you and your family do for fun? Please share in the comments section below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Making room for FUN in your homeschool: Resources

This year has been so busy that I haven’t posted much here, and I apologize. Too busy. I’ve had to slow down and pull back, praying and asking God what to do.

I just resigned this week from a position as blog editor that I’ve had since June of last year, editing articles and blogs and posting them on a WordPress website, because my schedule is too full and I wanted to spend more time with Leah in the next several months before she graduates from our homeschool.

I don’t want to live with the regret that I was “too busy” during Leah’s last year of homeschooling! For too many years, I was just too busy and I’ve had to repent to God for that.

Now I’m planning fun field trips and short road trips with Leah to make good, sweet memories this final year. The thought of her graduation brings tears to my eyes. I want to encourage and exhort you again to make sure that you are spending sufficient time with your child. Live a life of no regrets.

One website I recommend to you which focuses on interest-led learning, and includes great ideas for field trips and traveling, is my friend Christina Pilkington. While our homeschool method hasn’t been “unschooling” like hers, I believe Christina has some wonderful, creative ideas to implement in your homeschool.

Another homeschooling mom I love and who is one of my dearest friends is Kimberly Ehlers. Kimberly’s website is not about homeschooling per se, but she does share some tips if you homeschool and your child has serious or chronic illness. Kim also encourages you to have that close relationship with your child, putting God and family above anything else. (While there, be sure to check out Kimberly’s wonderful products! You will love them!)

You will also love my friend Susan Evan’s blog about hands-on learning in your homeschool.

Be sure to make room for FUN in your homeschool day.

Are you new here? Be sure to sign up for my mailing list and receive a FREE copy of my ebook on our homeschool journey, The Call of Wisdom: Teaching Your Children at Home.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Our field trip to Kemper Contemporary Art Museum

This week has been fun with a couple of field trips with Leah to the Arabia Steamboat Museum and the Kemper Contemporary Art Museum, both located in Kansas City.

The Arabia was a steamboat which hit an oak tree snag in the Missouri River on September 5, 1856, and sank into the mud. Years later, it was rediscovered by a team of researchers and thousands of items were recovered intact and are now displayed in the museum. The colored glass bottles were the most beautiful items, and I loved the ink wells and writing pens!

At the Kemper Museum, we saw several exhibits which made you wonder: “Why do they call this art?”

For example, I told Leah, who is an incredible artist (all mother’s prejudice aside), that she could EASILY paint this and make loads of money like the artist who painted this one probably did.

A red dot – can you BELIEVE it?

There was also this one, a painting of a man’s head, a butterfly, and a chicken inside of an aquarium filled with water.

I teased Leah that she could also try cutting out colored construction paper shapes and throwing them on a wall, like in this exhibit below. It is called Young Girl Dreaming. I took a pic of it to remind Leah to always keep dreaming – God wants to make her dreams – and yours! – come true!

Leah could also attempt something a little more challenging, such as painting a foreign language and numbers all over the body of a woman, like this one below. Interesting.

The woman’s feet were also intriguing. It looked as if they were covered in mud and blood:

Another painting which was incredible was this oil painting of a woman, which looked more like a photograph. I was amazed at the details to the woman’s mouth, teeth, nose, eyes, eyebrows, ears, and fingers. She looks as if she is made of water. I have the utmost respect for an artist with this kind of talent.

This oil painting of an African American man looked SO real, especially his eyes. A little disconcerting, it felt like he was staring straight at you. Notice the details of his hair, facial features, the clouds in the sky behind him.

Leah’s favorite was of a tree with intense blue colors. The picture doesn’t do it justice – the blue color was SO vibrant. It was beautiful, heavenly.

Of course, my favorite was of a writer. The picture also has my favorite type of dog in it, a white husky, and in the forefront you can see pottery – a blue and white ceramic vase.

Notice how intently the woman is writing, despite everything around her! Love it!

Here Leah is staring at an art exhibit across the room. I think it was the picture of the dog (she loves animals).

The dog picture is just a photograph of a labrador in a dark room. It looks like he’s balancing a blue object on his nose, but it’s just the perspective. This one was called “Parallelogram.” I wonder how much this one brought in for the artist? :O

Really, I am so intrigued by art, because the best I can do drawing is stick figures. I often send long letters to my sister Maria in Georgia, with cartoons of stick figures. (We are both easily entertained.) I’m also fascinated by photography, especially black and white pictures like this one below, of a woman in a hat and coat on the street by a jalopy:

This black and white picture below was also well-done, with a picture of the spray of water in slow motion, hiding the woman’s face. This piece was entitled, “Spit.”

One of the places on my bucket list to visit is New York. A friend of mine who lived in New York laughed when I told her I wanted to go to New York just to see the tall skyscrapers, shop, and buy a hot dog and big pretzel from one of those street vendor carts. Just sayin’! (I also have a HUGE, ridiculous desire to ride a street car in San Francisco!) Here is a beautiful pic of the streets of New York, the city lit up at night in the rain.

For those who desire more color, here’s something very PINK for you:

You can see a man and some cows in this pink picture. The man is on the lower, left-hand side right by the blue water and the cows are in the upper, right-hand corner.

Maybe you are more into birds. This exhibit by Petah Coyne, which is Untitled, uses taxidermy peacocks and taxidermy pheasants. The black “balls” you see on the floor are made of ropes. Other ingredients were: black sand from pig iron casting, Acrylex 234, black paint, cement, chicken wire fencing, wood, gravel, sisal, staging rope, cotton rope, insulated foam sealant, pipe, epoxy, threaded rod, wire, screws, jaw-to-jaw swivels. Sounds like a lot of work for an exhibit!

Our daughter Eden has her own cupcake business, so I thought she’d enjoy this cute, creative painting:

I took this picture below for my mother-in-law, Judy, who loves Elvis.

After we finished touring the museum, we went into the cafe where there was an exhibit of a horse, made from driftwood or tree branches…unique!

One thing I loved about this museum was the word paintings on the walls with creative slogans. This one was my favorite, and the one I want to leave you with today.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

When things are hectic homeschooling this year – Selah. Take a pause.

Some homeschoolers “school” all year round, some parents closely follow the public school’s schedule and take a break during the summer months, and other homeschoolers take a break every few months – whenever they want.

We usually begin our homeschool in August or September, and then take breaks during holidays or whenever we’d like as a family. If we feel like going on a field trip somewhere fun, like Savanahland or Union Station in Kansas City like Leah and I did earlier this year, we do!

We will start homeschooling again next week – this time for her senior year of high school! Thinking about that really freaks me out! How did she get this age so fast?

School supplies

Tonight we bought school supplies. There is something about buying school supplies that still excites ME…the promise of a brand new beginning and a learning adventure!

I love the brightly-colored, polka-dot binders, the smell of new crayons, no. 2 pencils freshly sharpened, new black Sharpie pens that write so crisply across a clean, white page, and especially new books to read! I’m not so sure that Leah shares my excitement about school supplies; she was more interested tonight in buying a new purse, wallet, or sunglasses.

Today I received a homeschooling ezine and one of the articles it contained was so amusing,The Homeschooler’s Back to School List. You can read it by clicking here.

In this article, I especially loved these ideas: the bags of chocolate M & M’s just for mom on those days when using M & M’s as motivators don’t work, a copy of the latest homeschool convention on audio including the workshop, Getting It All Accomplished and Keeping Your Sanity, and the spa gift certificates for mom for those hectic days when mom is ready to pull out her hair and scream, “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!”

Yes, we do have those long, you’re-getting-on-my-last nerve days as homeschool moms. Days when we say to our husband or sister,”Ok, tell me again, why exactly am I doing this? I could be at Starbucks with a friend!” or “Have I completely ruined my child’s life by homeschooling her (him)?”

But dear friend, it passes so quickly…oh, so quickly! Be sure to slow down this year. Take a pause – Selah, which is an expression in the Bible that occurs 71 times in the Psalms and 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. Its meaning and purpose was obscure, but it might have been a musical notation signifying the end of a phrase, or meant a dramatic pause.

When things are becoming hectic or overwhelming this year, think Selah. Slow down. Breathe. Remember this too shall pass – in the blink of an eye. Savor the moment, yes even those moments when your child is balking at math problems or at having to write an essay, or YOU as the teacher are balking at the math.

Hold the moments so close in your heart, because this moment won’t pass your way again. Your child will grow up and you’ll face an empty nest; homeschooling will come to an end one day. Enjoy your child this year; have lots of fun!

Family Pic of our 3 beautiful daughters and 2 of our grandkids

From left to right: our middle daughter Eden (now living on her own – her son Jacob isn’t in this pic), Kyle’s and our oldest daughter Heather’s girls Annabelle & Violet, our oldest daughter Heather (married, on her own, with the 2 girls), and our youngest daughter Leah, who’s still living at home, homeschooling her senior year this year.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Slow down and enjoy your children and homeschooling!

Leah and her stuffed wolf from the zoo

It’s back to school time for most public and private school children, and many homeschoolers as well.

Last year we took off some extra days for holidays and other events, so Leah’s homeschooling went through some of this summer. Right now she is still on “summer break.”

We will start her homeschooling about the second week of September – her senior year this September 2011. Senior. I can hardly believe it. Where did all those years go?

Blink of an eye doesn’t even describe it. When I now walk through Walmart, CVS, and other stores that sell those brightly colored school supplies, I feel sadness. Leah is our youngest child, and we have always homeschooled her. I can’t imagine NOT homeschooling!

We began homeschooling our oldest daughter Heather when she was in 10th grade and she graduated from our homeschool in 2000, then went on to Youth With A  Mission (YWAM), graduating from missionary training after going on two international missions trips.  She then met and married her husband Kyle and had two beautiful little girls (Annabelle and Violet), and is now a full-time teacher at a preschool.

Our middle daughter Eden is also grown and on her own, and she has an adorable little boy, Jacob. Heather and Eden  have “flown the nest,”  and it won’t be long until Leah does, too.  The thought that, after this year, I will never again buy school supplies makes my heart ache.

Yes, it’s our goal as parents to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and ready them for adulthood, so they will be able to leave. We don’t want 30 and 40 year old children living at home, still depending on dad and mom!  Of course, Leah is only 16 years old, so it’s not like she’s moving out of our house tomorrow.

But the years have been too short and she will leave soon enough…then no more Bible reading, copywork, reading Anne of Green Gables and Tom Sawyer. No more messy finger painting or learning ABC’s by drawing the letters in rice or flour since Leah was a hands-on learner (those were the days of fun!).

No more field trips to the zoo, the art museum, or – the worse in our kids’ minds, history museums, where we would often hear them whine, ‘This is boring!” and “Can we go get something to eat? I’m hungry and thirsty!”

Did I ever stop long enough to just praise God for this privilege of home education and to enjoy our children’s presence? Or was I too busy “doing school at home,” telling them to “finish your math problems,” and on some days assigning them to read out of dull textbooks when I was tired or stressed out and should have been implementing instead Charlotte Mason‘s life-producing style of learning?

In the office closet, I have plastic tubs of sample book after sample book of their school work through the years. Is this all I have left now  of their homeschooling – albums with copywork, math sheets, painted horses and flowers?

Didn’t I realize one day I would not be able to do this ever again, that it would come to an end one day? Did I truly appreciate being able to homeschool?

Homeschooling hasn’t been perfect. It’s had many challenges. There were days I would feel exhausted, frustrated, inadequate, and just wanted to quit and send our kids to Christian school. But there were also other days – those making a memory days.

Days where we would admire together a rainbow in the sky, a red male cardinal in the tree outside our kitchen window, a bunny rabbit hopping on the lawn, the first sign of a spring flower or the first winter snowflake.

Days when we would make home-made hot chocolate or chocolate chip cookies, and curl up on the couch to watch a funny movie or read a good book aloud. The time when we went on a nature walk at Powell Garden and came home with a  praying mantis for the kids to keep as their new pet.

The time when Leah began reading smoothly after I had been working with her on phonics from Teach Your Children to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

The days when we would decide to just take off in the car, go shopping, and stop for lunch and an ice cream cone just because we could. We felt sorry for the kids at school who couldn’t do this!

Days when we would discover a nugget of gold in God’s word, and the kids would ask me, their “teacher,” questions – learning about their God and their Maker in a way they probably never would have been able to, had they not been homeschooled.

Days when we would read a good book together and laugh at the characters together, or hear the beauty of Mozart on a CD. The time Heather and I read Elisabeth Elliott’s book Through Gates Of Splendor about her husband Jim’s and his friends being speared to death when they were trying to minister Christ’s love to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, and us both bawling hard…and yet through that book, God spoke to Heather’s heart to be a missionary.

The years have been lightning fast and I can’t get them back ever again to do anything different, to appreciate our kids being kids and just enjoying their beautiful faces, their smiles, their play….even if that play meant mud on the carpet or fingerprints on the wall.

Today as I reflect back over the years, despite the challenges and frustrating moments, I am so thankful for being able to homeschool. This year, as we set out to complete Leah’s final senior year, I pray that I will remember the years are so fast and to just slow down and enjoy being and learning with her.

To smile and laugh together, to bake delicious goodies, to admire the beauty of a sunset and the moon and stars that display God’s glory, to go to the zoo and enjoy God’s magnificent creations, to enjoy science experiments and nature walks, to read and learn from good living books.

My prayer: “Lord God, remind me on those days this year when I am “too busy” working on the computer for my home business to really pay close attention to what my child is saying or even to her school lessons, when I would be quick to sigh and feel frustrated over something trivial, when I would think this day will never be over….because it will all too soon and I’ll never have these wonderful days again. “

This too shall pass. Remember your children  – and homeschooling – are precious gifts from God. Thank and praise Him today.

***Did you enjoy this post? You can read more about our homeschool experience in my free ebook, The Call Of Wisdom: Teaching Our Children At Home. Just sign up for my ezine with your name and email address at the top of the page on the right hand side to immediately download it.

You will also receive occasional, short ezines from me with encouraging homeschool tips, articles, audios and more! (Be sure to add my email address to your contacts list, so it won’t go into your spam folder.)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Standardized test to see where your child places, grade-wise

Homeschooling parents sometimes want to know where their child would place grade-wise to either satisfy their own curiousity (or to ease concerns or anxieties of relatives/in-laws!). One of the best ways to do this is through standardized testing.

Two years ago, a homeschooling mom told me about an online website, the Family Learning Organization, which provides encouragement, advice, and standardized testing called the California Achievement Test (CAT).

While the CAT is not the same as the SAT or ACT, it does give you an idea of how your child scores compared to other students in his or her age/grade group. The cost is low, the parent can administrate it at home, and the results are mailed quickly to you. The Family Learning Organization does not divulge test scores, child information, or mailing lists.

Remember to keep in mind if you choose to use standardized tests, that they are simply tools to help you assess how your child is doing. You as the parent are the one who knows your child best, and how he or she is really doing academically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

What are your thoughts on standardized test? Has your child taken the CAT, SAT, or ACT? Please leave your comments below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Have fun with hands-on projects, like a volcano kit

Our school year tends to follow the public school system’s schedule, but we take off longer for some holidays and usually wind up schooling during some of the summer. We’re wrapping up this school year, will take off the month of August, and start again in early September.

Last week we went on a field trip to the Kansas City Zoo, where we saw the new polar bear exhibit. He was pacing back and forth frantically, wanting out of that confined area!  All I could think as I looked at him was that he wasn’t pure white and fluffy like the cute pictures showed (he was dirty), he wanted out of there, and he had to be so HOT!  It has been in the 90’s lately in Kansas City– PLEASE!

This weekend we tried a hands-on project for science using the Smithsonian Giant Volcano Kit, available on sale at Amazon. We’ve never made one before, so it was fun.

We first had to make the plaster mold, and let it dry for 24 hours. (Their idea of giant and mine are two different things!) Leah then enjoyed painting the volcano mold. We set the volcano outside on a little table covered with an old sheet and newspapers. The project was really messy, so you want to be sure to protect the area where you’ll be doing the experiment with sheets and/or newspapers if you do it inside your house.

I was disappointed that the tablets that came with the kit and the club soda didn’t work at first. Luckily, Ray was off work this weekend and he added vinegar and baking soda to the mix, which did the trick. Since the instructions had warned us in capital letters, STAND BACK, I was expecting almost an explosion – that’s why you hear me telling Leah in the video, “Leah, get back!” 

So I was surprised at how “small” the eruption was. However, the vinegar and the baking soda did make it finally work, so I was happy about that and Leah enjoyed it.

Notice in the video how I kept telling Ray to “do it again,” lol. I thought it was cool.

Be sure to add fun, hands-on projects to your homeschool for science, art, and other subjects , especially if you have visual/hands-on learners like Leah is.

Video – volcano kit

The baking soda and vinegar did the trick from Beth Jones on Vimeo.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Driver’s Ed in Your Homeschooling

Leah in town practicing parking on a hill

One of the subjects we as homeschooling parents GET to teach 🙂  is Driver’s Ed. If you’re a math-phobe  like me or the Periodic Table Of Elements makes your eyes glaze over like mine, then teaching your child how to drive SHOULD be fun, right? Well, I wouldn’t exactly use that word, but let’s just say it’s interesting…and if I survive this, I’ll be ok.

Our youngest daughter Leah is 16 and has her learner’s permit. A cold Missouri winter that brought lots of snow and ice (February 2011 dumping 18 inches of snow) was a definite deterrent to Leah getting behind the wheel of a car enough so that she’d be ready for her driver’s license test. There was no way I was going to allow her to try to handle snow and ice when she was just learning to drive!

Now the snow has melted and our concern weather-wise is tornaodes. In between the days when it’s raining a lot, and I’m praying against tornadoes, Leah and I are conquering the road. Conquer is a good word for it. She gets her wallet with her learner’s permit and hands me her Safe Driving: A Guide to Teaching The New Driver, ARRIVE ALIVE booklet.

I have news for you. The teen driver or the parent does NOT have that happy, cheesey grin on their faces like they show in this handbook!  The booklet has little boxes for me to check off of Leah’s accomplishments. You know, things like:

Didn’t take corners today at 35 m.p.h.

Didn’t smash into the car on her  right as she was pulling into the parking space.

Didn’t run over the jogger in pink.

Didn’t wait until she was at the stop sign to stop.

Didn’t slow down and look guilty as she passed the cop sitting on the side of the road pointing the radar at us.

I am kidding, of course (sorta). Leah is actually doing very well driving…but it’s not her favorite thing.  Unlike our oldest daughter Heather who couldn’t wait to escape with her friends learn to drive,Leah is a reluctant driver. It’s not that she thinks she would crash into someone else; “it’s the other idiots driving,” she says.

Heather was quite different. I think she would have learned to drive at 3 years old. In fact, she did have a little toy Volkswagen that she scooted around on at that age. I think she was studying for her learner’s permit three years before her 15th birthday.

When she got her learner’s permit, Heather was constantly wanting to practice driving, so she could get her required driving  hours in and could take the driver’s test the minute the DMV’s office opened on her 16th birthday.

When she passed it and got her license, Heather suddenly became the greatest servant in the world: “Want me to go get you a coke at the store, mom?” “Dad, do you need anything at the grocery store?” Any excuse to drive would do. I had the feeling that as soon as she went around the corner of our street, she floored the gas pedal and was  shouting, “WHOO-HOO!” with the windows rolled down and her hair flying in the wind. (To this day, Heather still has a lead foot on the accelerator.)

But back to Leah. She’s making good progress. She now points very teacher-like to my seatbelt as soon as we get into the car. (I don’t put it on purposely to see what she’ll do.)  She holds the steering wheel fairly steady on the road, and when she’s accelerating, it no longer feels like a NASA rocket taking off.

Driver’s Ed is a little difficult to “grade.” You either get it or you don’t. If you hit something, you can’t take the test over! I do try to stay calm, but initially my nails left a permanent indention on the dashboard as I screeched, “DON’T HIT THE BRIDGE!”  We’ve now advanced to a place where her driving makes me only slightly nervous.

You can count Driver’s Ed in your child’s homeschool curriculum. This is one of the most important things your child will ever learn! Don’t let him or her be like my grandmother, who never learned to drive and had to depend on others her entire life to go where she needed. Yes, driving is a privilege, but it gives your teen the independence and the freedom he or she needs to make a smoother transition into responsible adulthood.

Here’s some tips to help with Driver’s Ed with your teen:

  • Pray before driving (sometimes you’re praying fervently AS they drive!). I pray for God’s protection over me and my loved ones every morning by habit, but I also pray out loud when Leah and I get into the car. This teaches your teen about the important habit of prayer when you’ll no longer be driving with them when they have their license – and they will need to pray for themselves.
  • Have a specific destination in mind.  This will avoid having to tell your teen driver to make a sudden right turn! You can turn driver’s ed into fun excursions as your teen gains experience driving – a picnic at the park, fun shopping at Kohl’s, a  petting zoo.
  • Be (stay) positive and encouraging. You don’t want your teen to dislike driving from constant criticism and become unmotivated to get his license, living with you until he or she is 40 or beyond. The Bible says for fathers not to exasperate their children, so they won’t lose heart. Tell them what they did well. Give a couple of pointers for the most important areas where they need to work on –  such as always looking over their shoulder before moving into another lane.
  • Don’t throw a sheep to the wolves. Make sure your teen driver gets lots of practice somewhere safe first before driving on real roads. You don’t want your child traumatized by road rage on the highway because they were driving too slow for the driver behind them. You’ve probably forgotten how scary it feels for other cars to come toward you or be behind you.  It’s not easy to learn to drive and it is frightening at first. Help your teen to relax by practicing first. We live in a small town, so Leah isn’t in heavy traffic at this point. When she gains more experience, we’ll tackle heavy traffic in other cities and higher speeds on the highway.
  • Remember this too shall pass.  The years go so fast.  He or she is growing up, and soon will leave the nest -and how empty it will feel then. Savor these precious days with your teen for you’ll never get them back. Enjoy this time with your teen, sudden stops and all!

PS:  My husband WILL teach Leah to parallel park, though! 🙂

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Copycats curriculum

It’s getting toward the end of the school year, but some homeschooling parents are thinking about next year’s curriculum. One very reasonably priced copywork curriculum is Copycats at

Copycat Books are economical copywork e-books with models in both manuscript and cursive, in traditional, modern, and italic handwriting styles, with Biblical and academic themes.

I was impressed to see the Psalms and Proverbs used for their copywork books, as well as Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Middle Ages. You can view a sample page of each title, as well as lots of FREE Printable worksheets, on their website, Their copywork pages have a cute, black cat at the top of the page, are visually appealing, and are professionally done.

Everything you need is included with the lessons. The books, being developed by a homeschooling mom for busy parents, are available in downloadable Adobe PDF ebooks.

Copywork is a proven, effective method for children to practice handwriting, as well as to improve spelling, grammar, and vocabulary skills. It also reinforces the Bible and other important subjects. Charlotte Mason advocated copywork. Ruth Beechik and parents following the Classical approach to education also endorse its use.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

UHSE 2011 Schedule for this week

This is the Ultimate Homeschool Expo week with Felice Gerwitz and guests. Felice has an incredible lineup of speakers. Here is the schedule for the rest of this week.

May 3 at 1pm (Central Time) Debbie Strayer: Reviving Your Teaching and Your Students. Homeschooling can seem like an overwhelming and exhausting task, with one of the first casualties being creativity and the joy of learning. Come hear practical ways to encourage your children and enhance their learning at the same time. These ideas are useful with any curriculum or approach, so come hear how to bring greater enjoyment and success to your homeschooling.

May 3 at 3pm (Central Time) Rick Andreassen-Ministering to a Child’s Heart. Coach Rick “Mr. Rick” Andreassen has inspired families with his blend of heartfelt passion and his love of the Scriptures. Rick ministers to the hearts of school aged children everywhere in this inspiring, Scripture filled talk. He charges kids to keep up the good work, be proud to be homeschooled and keep your eyes on the goal, as only Coach Rick can do! Rick has written a professional physical education program that presently is serving homeschool families.

May 4 at 10am (Central Time) Carol Topp: What Your Child Can Learn From Starting a Business. Does your child have a desire to earn money or share their talents in the marketplace? Encourage them to start a micro business. By running a micro business, your child will develop skills in business, time management, speaking, writing and grow and mature in confidence all while making some money of their own!

May 4 at 1pm (Central Time) Kim Kautzer: College Prep: Is Writing on Track? Is writing one of those subjects you keep starting and stopping? Does your child drag his feet, fail to finish assignments, or complain night and day? Or are you the one who has trouble following through with lesson planning or editing? For high schoolers, there’s more to planning for college than simply getting accepted, and becoming a good writer is at the top of the list! Learn how you can equip your kids by encouraging strong writing skills and good study habits that will serve them well in college.

May 4 at 3pm (Central Time) Cathy Duffy: Learning Styles: Choosing Curriculum to Fit Each Child. Having problems with uncooperative learners? Do you feel like your curriculum is as much hindrance as help? What about all those publishers who claim to have the best curriculum? How can we sort through all of this to figure out what will really be best for each of our children? Understanding learning styles helps us overcome many of the problems we encounter in home education. In this session we will first identify our own learning styles and those of our children. Then we will discuss methods of teaching to our children’s strengths and overcoming weaknesses using examples from various math programs.

May 5 at 10 am (Central Time) Cyndi Kinney: Using the Psychology of Color in Education. Cyndi is the author of over 100+ lapbook products in every subject area that utilizes this ground breaking method. No other lapbook products use this and Cyndi has found in many hands-on demonstrations with parents that this method truly works!
This is Part One of her two-part session on using color to increase your child’s ability to remember and retain information.

May 5 at 1pm (Central Time) Dr. “Doc” Thomas Sharp: Truth in Science: Biblical View of Dinosaurs. The dinosaur spin has been promoted in cultural centers, schools and worldwide. It is primarily an attack on children ages 3-12, and one reason the Bible does not make sense to them. The intrusion of humanism and secular relativism without proper apologetics causes children to struggle with the dinosaur story and how it fits into the Bible. Teens often leave the church and parents wonder why. Doc will share the 5 major questions he is asked repeatedly about dinosaurs world wide, he will answer these as well as questions from the audience.

May 5 at 3pm (Central Time) Regina Hicks: Incorporating a Thomas Jefferson and Classical Approach to Your Educational Adventure. Co-founder of Thomas Jefferson Academy of Excellence and founder of Classical Home Educator Scholastic Society, Regina will be sharing how home educators can implement foundational principals that are necessary in providing a successful educational experience for your homeschooling adventure. The majority of homeschooling families realize that home education is teaching outside the government-educational box of instruction. However, with a variety of teaching modalities/techniques available to the home educator, understanding both approaches is often misunderstood and/or overlooked. Hearing about the core principals and approaches to both will not only give parents a different approach to their child’s scholastic adventure but also provide opportunities for innovative learning experiences.

May 6 at 10am (Central Time) Maggie Hogan: Highly Effective Habits of Happy Homeschool Moms. When is the last time you woke up and thought, “Wow! I love homeschooling and we are learning so much, growing spiritually, and even having some fun?” Umm . . . been awhile? Well, join Maggie for a very real workshop on 7 ways to streamline your life and improve your homeschooling while (for the most part) enjoying the process! This entertaining workshop is stuffed full with practical tips you can truly use.

May 6 at 1pm (Central Time) Denise Mira: 7 Keys To Unlocking the Leader Within Your Child. The home schooling lifestyle is ideal for tapping into the greatness residing within your child. As home educators, let’s not settle for just raising good, Christian kids. Let’s aim to raise high-capacity leaders God can use to have an impact in our world!

May 6 at 3pm (Central Time) Brian D. Ray, Ph.D. If Homeschooling Is So Good Why Don’t Educators Promote It? President and Founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) will present this session as our grand finale to the ULTIMATE Homeschool EXPO 2011!!

All of these sessions are free if you come live, and you can win great doorprizes! You can listen on your computer here or call in on the number provided on that page. This is just a sampling of all the great sessions in the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, which includes more than 100 audios. I was one of the speakers in the UHSE 2011, so you will get to hear my session, too, on praying for our children.

I don’t attend  many homeschool conferences, but this is one event I do, and you will LOVE it. I have listened to my expo audios again and again from the last two years. The entire set for over 100 audios, plus all the free gifts, is only $24.95 and the price increases soon. I would appreciate it if you’d use my affiliate link if you buy a ticket. To get your ticket, just click on this link.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

It’s that time again! UHSE 2011 is here!

Join US for the largest Virtual Homeschool Conference

One of my favorite events throughout the year is the Ultimate Home School Expo. This year’s theme is “Making A Difference One child At A Time.” The live preview chats are every Thursday, counting down to the expo week May 2-6.

Felice Gerwitz has an amazing line-up of speakers, and there will be 100 audio sessions, plus bonuses. If you can’t make the live sessions, they will be recorded. I have never attended a conference that offers so much: articles, bonus gifts, ebooks, and special coupon offers from speakers and sponsors. This year there will be a special song played, written just for homeschool moms.

The entire set is only $24.95, and the price will increase soon to $39.95. You can also get a special two-ticket price with a friend for $36.95. You will be blown away by all you get in this membership set!

This morning I recorded my preview chat with Felice at 11 a.m. CST, A Mother’s Prayers: How Our Prayers Make A Difference In Our Children’s Lives. I would love for you to hear it, and let me know what you think! Being a homeschooling parent, or even a Christian, is no guarantee that our children will be saved, will love and obey God, or fulfill their destiny. But our prayers make a difference! We need to pray over every detail of their lives.

To purchase your ticket TODAY, click on this link.**

**This is an affiliate link.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

My first teleseminar this Thursday at 11 am CST – Your Purpose

Did you miss my webinar events in 2010? Well, I am excited to share that this coming Thursday, March 31, at 11 a.m. CST, I am having my very first teleseminar, The Power Of Your Purpose.

Beth Jones

We as Christian believers have a great purpose and destiny from God to fulfill, and so do our children. But we also have an enemy, Satan, who wants to destroy that purpose. At this teleseminar, you will learn your primary and specific, unique purpose, why Satan fights you so hard, and practical steps for living out your purpose victoriously through faith in Christ.

The teleseminar is free and there will be a replay available for 48 hours afterward. You can sign up for the teleseminar by clicking on this link.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Tonight’s supermoon

Supermoon, March 19

Today and tonight the Earth’s moon is closest to the earth than it has been in 18 years – 221,565 miles away, the closest to Earth since March 1993. Scientists estimated that the “supermoon” would appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter at its peak, which was earlier today.

I went outside to take a short video clip of it with My Flip camera. It is pretty tonight. My husband Ray and our daughter Leah saw it, too. Leah didn’t think it looked much different from other nights, but she said maybe it looks different in other places. There have been some great shots captured of it already in other states like the one in this post by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Here is the video clip of the moon tonight in Missouri.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Knitting: What hobbies do your kids enjoy?

Chocolate cupcakes

Yea, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been here and I do apologize! One of my goals for 2011 is more consistent blogging at all my sites. 🙂  I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!

I had a good one.  Our daughter Leah and I made chocolate cupcakes – yum! Don’t they look cute the way I decorated them?  I found a sheer, red tablecloth, red heart-shaped, plastic plates, and red, heart napkins at Walmart for just a few dollars.

I got fresh flowers as a gift from my dh, worked on a presentation for Cindy Rushton’s Talk-A-Latte retreat (I’ll be speaking THIS Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and would LOVE to see you there!), and then I went to zumba (aerobics – our oldest daughter Heather slave-drives teaches it. Just kidding. She’s actually a wonderful instructor! We just started class again, so I am adjusting again (muscles a little sore!).

Do your kids have fun hobbies? I think Leah may have a new one (me, too!)  This week Heather came over to teach us how to knit. I know, it should be the other way around with me teaching them!

But no one taught me how to sew or do any crafts as I was growing up. My mother worked fulltime, so she didn’t have time to sew with working and taking care of four kids!  My grandmother Moore made quilts, a lost art today. I did ask her to teach me to quilt, but somehow it never happened before she died several years ago.  When Heather learned knitting from a friend at a Superbowl party last week, she was very excited and wanted to show us how. Now we’re hooked!  🙂

It’s really easy to do with the knifty knitter. Leah has already finished knitting her blue scarf, including the fringes (tassles)!  I told her that it’s knitting, not a race!  I am still working on my dark purple one, but hope to have it done within the next couple of days – in between everything else on the to-do list!  Leah wants to make a multi-colored scarf next (the artist in her!), and to try knitting hats, too.  Here are pictures of her scarf:

Leah's blue scarf

Leah's scarf with fringes (tassles)

What hobbies do your kids enjoy? Don’t forget, as you’re working on projects like these, you can use them as credits in your children’s homeschooling.  You can use a title of “Home Economics,” “Living Skills,” or “Arts and Crafts” but these are great for elective credits!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Special holiday recipe book with your Homeschool Expo ticket

Beth Jones

Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for my speaking session this week at UHSE 2010 with publisher/author/speaker Felice Gerwitz! It was such a blessing and an honor talking with Felice and speaking for her! You know how sometimes you don’t feel very anointed doing something – but God shows up despite yourself? That’s how I felt this week, but God in His grace helped me and the feedback from the attendees and from Felice was positive and encouraging!

At my session I gave away 3 copies of my ebook on prayer, Walking With God, as a doorprize to those who attended the live event, and other goodies for the mommy grab bag. You too can get the goodies for the mommy grab bag when you purchase a ticket for the entire event.

The faith-filled teaching sessions and bonuses from the over-35 speakers in this expo are incredible. PLUS, you will receive a holiday recipe and tradition book collected from all the speakers as a special gift.

To learn more about the homeschool expo, just click here.

Today I also would like to share with you a special recipe for the holidays on a cold night, that is from my friend Debbie. It is NOT low-fat, but it IS soooo delicious! Enjoy!

Debbie’s Delicious Iced Cappuncino

1 pot double strength coffee

1/2 gallon Blue Bunny expresso and cream ice cream

1 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup

Make coffee. Add ingredients. Pour into pretty coffee mugs, and indulge in with your best friends!

woman enjoying coffee
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Join me at 9 a.m. today for UHSE 2010

Beth Jones

Today I will be speaking at the Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010.

I would love to have all of you there joining Felice Gerwitz and me for support and prayer! My session starts at 9 a.m. central time (10 a.m. ET), and the show is for approximately one hour (that includes the intro and the Q & A afterward). My speaking topic is Filled and Focused. When mom is focused on Christ during the holiday season, her whole family will be!

You can listen to the live session today for free! But if you want copies of the audio sessions, plus the bonuses and mommy grab bag, you will need to buy a ticket. If you don’t have a ticket already, just click here. The teaching sessions are so anointed and the bonuses are incredible! I attend this online event every year, and am always so blessed.

For my session today,  you can listen at TalkShoe here or listen on the TalkShoe player below. Hope to “see” you in the chat room!  It is going to be fun!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

This week’s schedule for UHSE 2010

Need encouragement to center on Christ these coming holidays? Here is the schedule this week for the Ultimate Home School Expo 2010.

October 19, 2010 at 1:00-2:00 ET on Blog Talk Radio
Andrew Pudewa of Institute of Excellence in Writing joins Felice Gerwitz in an interview on the Effects of Music on Life

October 18, 2010 at 2:30-3:30 ET on Blog Talk Radio

Andrew Pudewa of Institute of Excellence in Writing shares his presentation: “About Boys”
Join us online at

Tuesday Evening on Talk Shoe Radio
Vikki Goedmaker: “A Different Holiday Season” at 7:00 pm EST
Lee Binz: “Colleges and Christmas Presents” at 9:00 pm EST
Talk Shoe Radio:

Thursday on Talk Shoe Radio
Lorrie Flem: “Activities: Thanksgiving is an Action and Being Verb” at 10:00 am EST

Lori Lane: “Handel’s Messiah: A Unit Study Approach at Noon am EST
Catherine Jamie: “Down to Earth Holiday Ideas” at 2:00 pm EST

Becky Develle: Protecting Precious Preschoolers from Educational and Holiday Predicaments at 4:00 pm EST

Talk Shoe Radio:
Door prizes have been donated and the winners will receive all types of wonderful products. Please join us live to win.

And, if you purchase your ticket to the event, you will receive a special gift: A Memory Book containing a recipe(s), and/or holiday tradition or memory from our speakers! This is included in a beautiful keepsake gift for all of you!

Can’t make the live events? Don’t worry. They are all being recorded for you! You can get the whole set for the low price of $19.97. Get your tickets today!

You can have the entire set including the membership site: free holiday eBooks, handouts, projects, planning guide, recipe book, grab bag, sponsors promos, discount coupons, and so much more. This includes all of the audios of the live sessions and the Memory Book of Recipes and Special ideas to make your holiday blessed!

I will be speaking at the UHSE 2010 on November 4 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, and would love to see you there!

For more details or to purchase your ticket, go here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fall UHSE 2010 here!

Felice Gerwitz

Do you need the friendship and support of other homeschooling parents?  Are there homeschool topics you need to learn more about?  Is your soul thirsty for the Word of God?  Do you desire to keep Jesus Christ as the main focus of this holiday season? 

Well, then, I have some good news for you!  The fall Ultimate Home School Expo 2010 (UHSE) is here!

Join Felice Gerwitz and a line-up of anointed speakers for this fall’s expo.

 Over 45 seminars that will inspire you to keep Christ as the focus of this holiday season. Tips, recipes, holiday traditions and so much more from homeschool industry leaders. You will be encouraged and inspired in your homeschooling.

I will be speaking on November 4, 2010, at 10 a.m. ET, and would love to see you there!

To learn more, click on the graphic below.

Keep Christ In Your Holiday Celebrations

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather