What Does THIS School Supply List Say About OUR Homeschoolin’?

This is the way we roll!  Dog poop pencil sharpeners?  Bat pen with the Batman signal light.  Zombie poppers.  You gotta have something that controls that “squirrel” ADD/ADHD-like mind wandering..


In our house… “Is that a sarcasm card?” is tossed about quite a lot!  NOW NO ONE HAS BEEN WATCHING TBBT under the age of 44…



Hmm… would this be for me or the kids… hmmm..


I am thinking this is a total necessity!  1.  My son won’t be afraid of shots any longer.  2.  Annotation skills… getting ready for college.  Right?  Justify it for me…


Learning Resources Zoomy Handheld Digital MicroscopeWho doesn’t need a microscope that links to your computer?  Onion slices?  Hair samples?  Your sister’s tongue?  Or … well I will leave the rest to your imagination.


  Snappers!  Come on… let off steam.  Take a break… all you need is a rock… oh, oh… geology!  Yep… that sells it!


Lest you think that we don’t actually use pens and pencils … paper.  All the sterotypical 1970’s school supplies… just modern style.  Seriously?  YEP.. seriously.


I tend to lean to the honest mom side of things… not brutally honest.. or “honest to goodness” that says your dress makes you look fat.  No one wants a mom like that.  No one wants a friend like that.  I am the friend that will say as you exit the dressing room in an ill-fitting bikini, “Well.  That’s a good color.  What other styles do they have in it?”  Just sayin’!  Done.  Justified.  Actually, I will use these in all clubs, co-ops, at girlfriend coffees, and “invite” my kids to do the same in their groups ;)… gotta keep it light.


  And I did say, “coffee,” n’est pas?  Shhh… do not speak now.  Just look and contemplate.  You know it’s true.  Positive parenting … yep .. it starts with owning your feelings and honesty about your “now.”


  We do a lot of “sloppy copies” or “weeding the garden” … homeschool and teacher speak for … um.. editing.  Let’s do ALL that we can to avoid calling things by their name.  Seriously?  Yep.   Seriously!


Sharp~End Dog Pencil SharpenerThis I will allow you to define your own need for… it’s all the same in the end.  Actually my most girly girl picked this.  I will analyze and report back later.


  or (so as not to be gender-biased… or whatever I’m supposed to say these days)


  And because I like to spend YOUR money and live vicariously through your purchases.. and that they extended the age to meet my kids usage…. Because I’m trying to keep it “educationamal” as JJ says.  Spielgaben.  Don’t look at the price.  Just look at ALL of the drawers, organization, colorful manipulatives, connection to visuals… ahhh!  This is the direct result of 1970’s catholic “in the box” square desk schooling.  See what happens Sister Roberta?

I am an Amazon affiliate but every opinion expressed is mine alone.  I don’t affiliate with any of the vendors above, but again, opinions expressed are my own and honest.


What is on your “can’t afford but covet” list?








The Book That Creates Havoc in Your Heart & Makes You Clear?

Do you ever read a book that is crushingly, heart-wrenchingly, can’t stop but can’t go on. The books moves in and shapes you. Changes you? I thought this book would be about a Parisian bookseller with troubles, but used his gifts to help others via books. And then I read his (her) thoughts about books not being able to mend the “evil.” WOW! I have to read more, but I can’t stop. It’s like this is my “Dorian Grey.” Not for kids! I hope it speaks to you. This woman wrote it during a period of mourning, mending, she is much like the main character. I have to share. It haunted me all day. Do you have a book like that? I have found nothing but trash lately. Murder and affairs spied via drunken train rider. I hope this fixes you in some way you need and may not even recognize.


Today I received a blog post from HeatherSanders.com – see http://heathersanders.com/2015/07/27/too-confused-to-get-it-right/ … It touched me.  After little sleep, reading this book, all that is going on (Beanboozled excluded) in our lives, cancer… It was like the perfect collision – blog and book.  I’ve told you all that I’m too confused to even get our homeschooling list straight with so much on my heart.  Regardless of your branch of Christian faith, if this blog and book don’t kick you in the gut – in a good way – kinda like labor after 9 months of 70 lb pregnancy in the hot Virginia summer – ahhh… he’s here… nothing will.


Kinda like caramel and sea salt go so well together which seems so wrong.  Heather had a guest blogger and I just want to say, Thank you for kicking me awake today.  Our Lord knew that I needed to read your sage words as I read this book and live these experiences right now.  In the end, I think we always get it right, ’cause Heaven ain’t here.  Saint Peter’s standing at the gate.  We need to stop looking for it.  Stop bashing our heads on a cement wall.  It won’t move.  It is what it is.  Cement.  And, I guess we just need to remember that we are infinity loved, understood, and broken – God created us.  He knows the “now” and the “years from now.”  That’s the rest and peace we seek in faith.  In love.  In each other.  In our kids.  In our passions.  In God.  In books.  In salted caramel candy ;).  In our books.  In ourselves.  Too confused to get it “right,” but secure in God’s ability to set my brokenness aside and just love me as sinful and sorrowful as I am.   (Affiliate link)

Run to your library, get this book… order it… listen to it…. ingest it.  And then go back to the post at Heather’s.  I the faith so as to move mountains, as my grandmother always said, that you will stop feeling so confused and fall back into Our Lord’s loving and most sacred hands and heart.  Ironically, he’s just standing there waiting for us to do just that.



BAM! Family Game Night is BEAN BOOZLED!

  Oh!  My!  Good Lord!  On the one hand I want to list the pros:  fun, laughing, didn’t eat any candy or sweets, umm… bonded with my children.  Hubby declined.  Cons:  too many to list 😉  Icky, icky, icky.  The best part – see the youtube video – was having my LB say, “Oh it tastes like chemicals!”  Not that “Ick… I’m eating dog food.”  It tastes like chemicals.  Really?  Oh – and I am on the fence about giving this as a kid birthday party gift.  And PPS.  We have two more boxes of jelly beans to play with … or give as GIFTS to friends.  Just saying.  My grandmother would say, “You’d better WATCH OUT!”

I have not previewed this video, so excuse all jittery craziness.  We are far from experts.  😉


It was fun, though.  Uggh.  I just belched barf or skunk.  Not sure which.  That will tell you something.



How to Toss it in the Air During Trauma and Homeschool on the Road

“On the road, again.”  “Throw it in the bag!”  OK, I will say that Willie and hip hop don’t jive, but regardless – both are so true for us right now.  My mom has lymphoma.  My mom has lymphoma.  The person who holds 41 years of my history is very sick.  How do I support her?  Why is she so calm?  Thank you, Lord for wrapping her in your love and calm.  Me, too 😉  Please?  OK.  B would tell me to drink a jigger of liquor.  Excuse the rhyme.  So, all the posts showing the pretty stacks of ordered and organized curriculum for next year.  My BFF’s completed order lists.  I haven’t even decided on it all.  I am math and writing heavy.  I can’t make a decision.  I can’t stay awake.

  Sarah Mackenzie!!! I need a HUG!  I can’t think clearly.  WHERE IS MY REST AND PEACE?  And no, I have yet to order the book, “Teaching from Rest.”  Have to wait for cash.  And frankly, unless I can ingest it via some other way than reading… it ain’t getting into my head right now.

  If you love me… this is what you should be sending me!  Just saying!  I forgot my 15th anniversary.  I forgot birthdays.  Yep.  A wreck.

So, back to HOMESCHOOLING:  I have begun to let go of my envy.  Yep.  Confessional Sunday.  I have begun to let go of our past “normal.”  My kids past “normal.”  My family’s past “normal.”  I have a stack of papers with my plans.  Again, math and writing heavy.  Does any child need 3 writing programs?  No.  3 math programs?  No.  The frontal lobe knows that.  The remainder of my brain remains in flux.  Think ping pong ball or atom bouncing all over the place.

The only saving grace is that I have two kiddos using Nancy Larsen 3 this year.  Toss the box and binders in the car.  Laptop at Grandmas.  Done.  Check.  And at this moment, having one area of our homeschool next year tied down and portable is a straw of gold.  We have our binders made.  We have our box organized and our additional “fun” living books ordered.


Click to see the Science 3 Table of Contents.  WOW!  Visit http://www.nancylarsonstore.com/Science-3-Complete-Program_p_12.html for more information!  Worth every penny!  It comes with a list of living books to go with the curriculum!  Bada bing … done.  (I am an Nancy Larson Affiliate, but my reviews of this fabulous program are 100% my own).

Do you have a friend who grounds you?  My BFF called and said, “Pick one thing.  Do the minimum.  Order little to nothing.  Compare yourself to nothing.  Save ‘yourself” for your mom.”  I guess in the end, if I order it.  Great.  If I get a picture of a neat stack online.  Great.  If I don’t.  Great.  As I look at the heap of curriculum  “planner” pages at the end of my chair, fine.

Think:  download Well, it is NOT exactly this bad, but it’s long and colorful.

The day is over.  Hubby is asleep watching something banal.  On a good note:  JJ received a lovely note from Hilary Lewis today @ Rocking Teacher Materials.  She sent my boy a copy of her Minecraft writing package!  53 pages!  Free!  “AWWWHHHH! say, JJ.  We are off to print it at Staples at… err… 5:30 AM.  See my post on the Minecraft Modding book!



Tomorrow we are going to play, go shopping for fun school stuff and cute flip flops.  Then we are going to text some pictures to my mom.

Thank you Hilary!  Thank you Sarah – I will read the book but it is the balm I’m going to need in a few weeks.  I’m waiting for it like ice cream.  And thank you my BFF who grounds me and always tells me that I’m skinny and OK.  Sometimes don’t we need someone to tell us that?   It’s “enough!”





Don’t PLAY Vacuous Video Games … MAKE and BREAK the CODE with Learn to Mod.com!


Well, like most modern families, my kids… errherrhem… and husband …. are into the “screen.”  My husband can actually play a game on his phone while watching the news.  I just want a blanket and a book.  As homeschoolers, I have strict limits on the “tube.”  NO TV Monday to Friday at all.  If studying Hiroshima and WWII, as my eldest was last week, we can watch the free Discovery Streaming of the bombing of Hiromshima.  Otherwise.. nada.  Friday nights we do watch a classic for Family Movie Night, though.  We watched the musical of “Oliver!” this week.  It’s like Broadway in my house.  And I noticed that the kids are secretly playing a game about the musical.  They had a GREAT deal to say about the differences between the book, BBC adaptation, and the musical.  LB:  “It was just not very realistic for the Industrial Revolution London. Dickens is making a statement!”  Me:  “Yes, yes.  I know,  but I love “Fiddler on the Roof,” and surely some liberties were taken with the Russian programs in that musical!”  “We don’t expect the Minions or any of the Marvel superheroes to keep 100% to their historical script.  And how old are you, again?”  LB:  “13 1/2.”  Me:  “Yep.  The head is starting to spin (see past post).”

SO:  I was asked to review (read, “Yippeee!  They like me… they really like me!) a new mod book connected with a well-known mod program.

Hubby came in last night:  “What did you order from Amazon?”  Ummm… “Nothing.”  Lookie here!  It’s a free book to review!  Let’s just say, he wasn’t so righteous after that!  Humph!


Learn to Mod is a very-well know program that teaches kids to mod using block and Java BOTH.  They learn to code, but not just copy code… they learn to figure out how the game was actually coded and work backwards!  WOW!  Also, they are not PLAYING Minecraft!  They are building and coding Minecraft!  WOW!  Just Google TJ.Ed or TedEx re: the 20 million surplus jobs by 2020 in the US versus the millions of graduates coming out of expensive schools and moving home unable to obtain jobs as teachers… nurses.

My house is abuzz with coding.  The history of codes and ciphers.  How musical compositions are code.  Coding and decoding using Navajo in WWII.  My grandparents as coders during WWII.  Uh oh!  Will the M5 or CIA get me for that?  It was in England?  Who knew that all of THAT was connected to computer coding?  OK.  Perhaps I am a Marshmallow head lately.

Regardless, here are my first thoughts and the TRUE clincher… my kids (7 to 13 1/2) created code behind a game.  They created their own game rather than playing one vacuously staring at the screen of a XBOX.  They created CODE to run the game.  At no point did my kids GO NEAR an XBOX to play the game today.  In fact, the more successful kids were the one’s who had NEVER played it.  They coded along with tutorials.  The decoded looking at the game platform and deducing HOW what happens was coded!  WOW!  Forward and backward logical thought.  

  (Click here for an Amazon affiliate link)
Last initial thoughts:  The book is small and not a “dummies” book at all.  It is highly colorful and my 8 year old was reading it and following along between book and computer all day.  With a green highlighter!  More engaged than he is during math!  It says a great deal about child-directed learning, I will tell you!
They simply created the game themselves and learned how it worked.  Kind of like taking apart the toaster in the 1980’s.
Your kids do that kind of thing, too, right?  It was really cool!

Pitter Patter, Pitter Patter!

Oh, how I’d love to share that two new little feet were coming, but sadly that is not Our Lord’s plan this month.  BUT – second best … Captain Underpants… or as my kids call him, “Captain Undiepants,” is on his way back to bookshelves!  WOOHOOO!  We have stayed occupied with “The 13 Story Treehouse” series (Shout-out to Bits of Memory), but nothing truly fills the void like Dav Pilkey.  Pre-order now!  It will sell like hotcakes.   Affiliate link.


These are the first eleven books.  OKAY.  The spelling is incorrect, the grammar is incorrect.  Yadda, yadda.  Bottom line.  They are meant to write as kids.  Incorrectly.  Secondly, I love the connection with the Pilkey school horror stories.  I remember the 1970’s mean school teacher who berated me for flipping the “i and e” after losing synaptic fluidity by having to memorize her rules.  No songs, Man.  We didn’t sing in school in the 70’s.  I had to sit in the bathroom… and she forgot me… and when I coughed later during read-aloud she brought me out, rocked me and cried.  Perhaps she was afraid of CPS.  Unlikely, the teachers were always right in the 70’s.  Hmm… I digress.  Perhaps I need to ponder this whole Pilkey / 70’s school horrors thing later?  Whatev’! .. that’s what the boys would say in this book series.

SO, nuts to school rules… nuts to being like everyone else…. nuts to conforming to a box-sized ideal… nuts to anti-creativity… and nuts to no comics made by kids being writing!  If your kids don’t get lost in this series for a week and then move on to Ricky Ricotta, Ook and Gluk, and Super Diaper Baby… well…

I’ll be BEAN BOOZLED!  I think my son learned to read at 4 fluently thanks to Dragon!

  So, we stop by Dav’s website all of the time.  Full of fun pics, games, and info.  AND it’s coming, it’s coming, it’s really coming!  That is from some silly Christmas movie, but that sums up the squeals and excitement from 13 down… OK, from 44 down.  😉  WOOHOOO!


PS.  And if the spelling, etc. bothers you.  Have them keep a pad to write the words correctly as they read.  That is a great free spelling program… and connected to something their interested in without rules to block creative thought.  AND have them illustrate the spellings…

PPS.  You MIGHT need to order several.  The Flip-O-Rama’s will tear your books up in minutes.  Trust me.  I taught many a little boy to read and “hooked” him on books with Captain Underpants.  They might have acted silly, but I think it was worth it.  That was when we had time to D.E.A.R. and free read in brick and mortar schools.  Just saying.