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Monday, August 31, 2009

Revising and Proofreading: The Writing Process

You can find the first two steps in my archives. Steps three, and four kind of go together, so I am putting them in the same post. They are revising, and proofreading. In step two you did your rough draft. It was probably slightly messy, maybe disorganized in thought, with spelling, and punctuation errors. So now comes the time to revise your work, into your final product. To revise correct any disorganized thoughts, or themes, spelling, punctuation, and other errors. Once you have completed revising your work, you can proofread it, or better yet have someone else proofread it for you. Others can very often notice something maybe you missed. For school purposes, I teach my son to proofread sample writings, as well as his own, before turning them in. This helps him to notice mistakes, in areas he has already learned. Below is short video on proofreading for kids, but can be applied to anyone who wants to improve their writing skills.

Here are a few pointers to remember:

Do my sentences make sense, and are they in a logical order?
Is info missing, do I need to elaborate, or explain more?
Have I checked my spelling, punctuation, and grammar?
Have I used the right verb tenses.

Follow these simple rules, and you will have your writing skills down to a science.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Language Learning for Homeschoolers: Free Spanish Resources

Language Learning for Homeschoolers: Free Spanish Resources

This post will be the first in a series of learning foreign languages in a homeschool environment. I'm going to start with Spanish, then German, then French. If there are more languages that people are interested in, contact Melissa and she'll pass those requests on to me.

Spanish is probably the easiest language to teach in a homeschool environment, simply because so many things nowadays are available in Spanish at little to no extra effort. Many kids' shows such as Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and Maya and Miguel incorporate Spanish words and phrases. Most DVDs have a Spanish language option as well. If you're teaching Spanish, you can also contact your local library to see if the library system has books in Spanish, or the bilingual books that have both English and Spanish. You can also check Meetup'>http://www.meetup.com">Meetup to see if there are language conversation groups near you. Other sources may also offer conversation groups, such as nearby colleges or cultural centers (in our area, Barnes & Noble also hosts conversation groups).

Here are some online resources that provide lessons, mini-lessons, or ways to practice:
Vocabulix'>http://www.vocabulix.com/">Vocabulix - mini-lessons for vocabulary and verb work; also offers a store for more resources
Spanish'>http://www.spanishromance.com/spanish-language/">Spanish Romance - topic-based lessons such as phrases, alphabet, and more
Study'>http://www.studyspanish.com/freesite.htm">Study Spanish - a mini-curriculum that incorporates grammar and vocabulary; also a paid option for more practice
BBC'>http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/">BBC Spanish - put out by the BBC and includes a great course designed to give travelers the basics, but also includes many other resources
Lingolex'>http://www.lingolex.com/spanish.htm">Lingolex - huge list of free resources
Speak'>http://spanish.speak7.com/">Speak 7 Spanish - grammar-based lessons
LiveMocha'>http://www.livemocha.com/">LiveMocha - incorporates the ability to connect with native speakers as well as lessons

Here are some great ways to practice listening to the language as well:
Streaming'>http://streamingradioguide.com/">Streaming Radio Guide - scroll down to find the Spanish language stations
Broadcast'>http://broadcast-live.com/espanoles.html">Broadcast Live - list of Spanish radio stations at Broadcast Live
Univision'>http://www.univision.com/content/channel.jhtml?chid=19641">Univision - Univision's video list (site in Spanish)
Online'>http://www.onlineradiotv.com/watch-tv-online/live-tv-streams/spanish-language-tv-online/">Online Radio TV - list of radio and TV stations from around the world that stream online


Bekah
motherhood-moment.blogspot.com

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Recipes For Anne, Picky Eaters

My blogging buddy Anne, over at Small Town Mommy is looking for some interesting recipes, for dinner with friends. She also was talking about getting her fussy girls, to eat different foods. She has the attitude eat it, or starve. I must say I do too, well sort of, maybe not so much. When my kids were real little, I kind of made our meals to rotate around what they would eat. Why would I do that? Because one I found they do not sleep well, if they are hungry, and two they get sick faster, and longer, if they do not eat. So I kind of catered to their likes, and dislikes. Now that they are older, not so much catering. I do try to make things they like, I mean my husband gets to eat what he likes, and so do I, so I try to be flexible for all of us. This is not always easy, especially when it comes to those pesky vegetables. My kids drank V8 Splash, twice a day, for what seemed like forever. They simply would not eat vegetables. They still got all they needed, and made dinner so much easier. I also would put regular v8 juice in tomato sauce, tomato soup, just a little bit in regular juice, and they never even knew they were getting their veggies, neither did my husband, who is also not a huge veggie eater. You can put it in any kind of sauce, just a little, and no one will be the wiser. Giving them raw veggies, rather than cooked, is also popular. They like to dip it in ranch dressing, which you can use low fat sour cream to make, and they are getting their veggies. My son likes fresh green beans, more than canned, or frozen, so I try to get those when I can. I also find if I let them help plan, and make the meal, they get interested in what they are eating. Now obviously this is limited at their ages, but if they get some input, that is a big deal to them. The last thing I do to bribe them to eat healthy, is offer some kind of a snack for after the meal. For my kids it is a popsicle, or cookie, something they like. If they clean their plate, or most of it, they get the snack, if not they don't simple. It is amazing what a little popsicle can do LOL.

These are the two recipes I chose for Anne, to check out for her dinner guests.

Walnut Crusted Chicken Cutlets:

1/2 c bread crumbs
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
salt and pepper
1/2 c walnuts toasted and cooled
1/4 c fresh parsley leaves
1 lg egg white
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets

Preheat oven to 450, place rack in 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 jelly roll pan, spray pan, and rack with cooking spray. On large dinner plate combine bread crumbs, red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. In food processor with knife blade attached, blend walnuts, and parsley until nuts are finely chopped, then toss with the bread crumb mixture. In pie plate, whisk egg white, and dijon until mixed well. One at a time dip the chicken on each side into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture coating well. Press firmly so the mixture adheres. Arrange chicken on rack in jelly roll pan, lightly coat with cooking spray. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until topping golden brown, and chicken is no longer pink.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad:

1 lb strawberries hulled and sliced
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 container baby spinach
3/4 c walnuts toasted, and coarsely chopped

In blender puree 3/4 c strawberries, with lime juice, honey, oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer dressing to large serving bowl. To bowl, with dressing, add spinach, and remaining strawberries. Toss to coat, sprinkle with walnuts to serve.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Football, 4H, Playgroups, and Puppies

How is that for a title? LOL, it has been a super busy 24 hrs. I didn't even get to do a blog post yesterday, and barely got my drops done. Thank goodness the puppy had me up at 4 AM so I could get a head start. Doesn't she look peaceful, and happy. The pillow, and blanket are my daughter's dolls. They had her sleeping on it the other day.

As for football, Yay it is starting soon. Tonight I have my fantasy football draft. This year my husband used Fleaflicker, and a keeper league. That means we get to keep two players from our roster from the previous year. I kept Peyton Manning, and Michael Turner. I am excited this year, because I already got a good head start. I have only been to the playoffs once, and never been in the Superbowl. My husband is very good at it, and makes the playoffs every year, and has won the Superbowl three times, man he stinks. Yes, I am a Bills fan, and yes I am aware they suck, so you don't have to remind me LOL. Wish me luck, I intend to win this year, I say that every year. I am not the only girl this year, a friend of ours joined too, Yay for girl power.

Yesterday, we went to our playgroup at Ms Kristy's house, thank you Ms Kristy if you read this. The kids had a ball, and it was especially fun because they let their kids ride bikes in the house. My kids were not sure what to think, but it didn't take them long to hop on a bike, and get riding. We are discussing starting 4H as a group. It is over an hour away, one way, but it is only once a month. The thing I really like is that any work they do, can go towards scholarship points. I like that a lot. The first meeting is next Thursday, and if my husband can let me keep the car, we will give it a try.

I promise tomorrow, I will get back to business, and post step 3 of the writing process.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Biscuit












So remember about four days ago, when I posted about the puppy fiasco? Well yesterday my homeschool evaluator dropped me an email, stating the mom dog was being disrupted, and they were sending her back to the owner. She said the puppies were officially weened, and we could come pick up our puppy. OK, so here we go again. This is Biscuit, is she not precious. She is 7 weeks old, and has a nice personality. Our other dog Krypto has taken to her well, though he is a bit curious of what that thing might be. She is part lab, and dad is a mix of lab, and something. The kids gave here a carebear to sleep with, and a nice soft blanket. She did well through the night, only waking up once, to go out and tinkle. Like any other baby, she eats, drinks, plays, goes to the bathroom, and then back to sleep. It is important to get her on a pattern of eating, sleeping, and potty training. No accidents yet, Yay. Sleep will not be my best friend, for a month, or two, but she does sleep about four hours in between, so that was nice. If you don't know who Biscuit is, it is a popular childrens book series, that my daughter loves. DJ got to pick Krypto's name, and Caitlin this one. In case you don't know who Krypto is, he is Supermans dog, and my son loves super heros. We got through the first night with no complications, so that is always a plus.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Spongebob Character Are You?


Well it is Monday, and most people hate Monday, so I thought we would do another fun, silly quiz. This one is what Spongebob character are you? As you can see I am Sandy Cheeks, the squirrel. Sandy is intelligent, and sensible. If you do not watch Spongebob I highly recommend it. It is very funny. I tried to find my all time favorite episode, where Spongebob, and Patrick stole a balloon, but I couldn't. I found another of my favorites though, called Sailor Mouth. Check it out below, it is is fast forward mode for some reason, so you have to pay attention. You can take the quiz here, to see what character you are.

Tomorrow I promise I will get back to more mature, and adult like posts LOL.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Step 2 Of The Wrting Process: Drafting

We already did prewriting, which basically was gathering your thoughts, and getting ideas for a good writing topic. Now we go to step 2, which is drafting. Drafting will give you an idea, of what your finished product will look like. You will need your notes, and any information you gathered during prewriting. Begin writing, and keep your mind, and your pen free to write whatever, keeping your intended audience in mind. Write down everything about your topic, even if it seems to be too much. You will revise it later, and you will be happier with more info, than less. Don't worry about spelling, and punctution, right yet, that can all be fixed later. This is your rough draft, and it is rough for a reason LOL. Since all great writings must have a beginning, middle, and end, keep in mind how you want your piece to end. A beginning is easy, but you may want to ask friends, or family which is more interesting. Explore your mind, and try to think of different ways to say the same thing.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Saturday Chicken Recipe

This is such an easy, and yummy recipe. Anyone who knows me, nothing beats a good, easy recipe. This is pretzel crusted chicken. I made it two different ways. One with the ham, and cheese, and one without. My kids didn't think they would like the ham variety, my husband however loved it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup honey mustard
8 thin slices deli ham
1 tbsp butter melted
8 thin slices swiss cheese
1/2 cup crushed pretzels

Cut a horizontal slit in one side of each chicken breast half to within 1/2 in. of the opposite side. Spread honey mustard inside each pocket, stuff with ham, and cheese slices. Place in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with pretzels, I rolled them in it so they were covered. Bake uncovered at 350 for 40-45 min or until juice runs clear.

This awesome recipe came from my Taste of Home magazine. We added the cheese to it, their recipe did not have it. We also cooked ours in the toaster oven, to keep the heat in the house down. Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Homeschool Evaluation, A Puppy, And A Beta Fish

This is actually pretty funny. Yesterday was DJ's homeschool evaluation. It was hot, humid, and pouring rain when we left our home. By the time we came home it was stifling hot, and we had a fat, fluffy chocolate lab in the car with us. Wait a minute, we went for an evaluation, and came home with a puppy? Yep that is right. The evaluator had nine puppies, she needed to find homes for. I said no, no puppies. Well of course as soon as we looked at them, I wanted the chocolate one. So we took her home, gave her a bath, fed her some food, and she was playing, and getting used to our other dog. The phone rings, and my evaluator says the puppy has to come back, it was already promised to someone else. At least we were not attached to it yet. So I am thinking to myself, that is OK I felt so uprepared for a new puppy anyways. My kids, were upset, but back we take the puppy. They picked a blonde, blue eyed, with pink nose little girl puppy that we will pick up Labor Day weekend. Her name will be Biscuit, after some of Caitlin's favorite story books. I will be much better prepared by then, and it should go nice, and smooth. So how did we end up with fish? She felt bad for having us bring the puppy back, so he gave DJ a red beta fish, which he proudly named Ruby. So at the end of the day, we ended up with a great evaluation, a puppy, and a beta fish LOL. I am so glad we only do this once a year! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

OMG Watch Out For Bill, and The Evaluation is Due

I never met a Bill I liked LOL. Seriously though, yesterday Hurricane Bill, was upgraded to a cat 4, back down to a 3, but still a major hurricane. While this monster is not headed for Florida, the East coast needs to be paying attention, very closely. If anyone remembers Hurricane Charlie, and Katrina, then you know that the slightest change in weather patterns, can completely change the direction of this thing. Places like NY, Massachusetts, and Maine are not used to hurricanes, especially this size. Please, please, please keep your eyes to the skies. Joe Bastardi meterologist, and hurricane expert, was just on the news stating that you still need to be on alert, as the path is in no way set in complete stone, as they never are.

Today is the day, DJ's homeschool evaluation is due. I am not at all nervous, like last year, because I know what to expect, and I know the evaluator now. Last year she fussed about the way he held his pencil. Well he still holds it the same way, so I anticipate some fussing again. I still can not figure out why she focused on that so much. As long as it doesn't hurt his hand, or his writing abilities. Oh well, I guess she had to fuss at something. Last year, though I kept everything, and made the portfolio, I did not realize I was supposed to keep a log of daily activities as well. So she told me to be sure and do it this year, which I did. Yay so it should be good!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Give Me A Break!

I very rarely ever do two posts in one day, but I just can not stand it. I was just watching a program, where they were discussing whether Jesus would think there should be a public option for health care reform. The guest was a nun, and said basically yes she believed Jesus would think the public option was the correct Christian thing to do. So the host says, oh come on anyone without health care most definitely can get health care by walking into any emergency room in the country. Bull S*** Bull S***

If you have never experienced the indecency of not having health care, then you should have no opinion on the matter period. I would like to know how many of these people who are opposing the health care reform, really just want egg on Obama's face, are just plain cruel, or are completely ignorant. It is awful to have no health insurance, to wonder how you will cover an illness or accident. It is awful to be afraid to let your kids play sports, or climb the monkey bars, because they might break something. Let me tell you what it really means to be uninsured in this country.

1- You go to the ER because you have no insurance, and you know technically they can not refuse you . Technically that may be true but they will make you wait for hours, and hours on end. They call it triage, and it is great, especially if you are the ER, and you hope they just get tired of waiting, and leave. I have personally seen ER's do this to people, who come in for non emergency care. The very first thing they do is ask you for your insurance. If you are uninsured, and can not pay, you will wait forever. If they deem that you do have a job, and can pay, some will request a minimum 250 dollars to just be seen, and that will not include the bill you will get for any treatment they give you. Did you know that the uninsured get charged 2-3 times as much as those who have insurance. It is a nice little racket that goes on. Then if you don't pay they will take you to court, get a judgement against you, ruin your credit, and clean out your bank accounts, and any other assets you may be fortunate to have. That is if you are the working poor, who can not afford insurance. Tell me how can someone who makes 7 dollars an hour afford 400-500 dollars a month for health insurance. I didn't even mention that for profit hospitals can refuse to treat you, unless it is an emergency. They can say if you don't pay, you have to go somewhere else. This is shameful, plain, and simple. So please lets not make the claim that all Americans have access to health care, because it is a flat out lie.

2- So you got to be seen in the ER, if you are uninsured they will do the very bare minimum of testing, if any. They might give you a prescription, and tell you to follow up with your primary care doctor, if you even have one. If you have no money to buy the medicine you will not be able to fill the prescription, to fix the problem you went for in the first place. I guarantee 95% of the time, you will never get a real solution to fix your problem that you visited the ER for. It is a vicious cycle, with no help to anyone at all.

3- So then lets get to the many clinics all over the place. Again the very majority of these are for profit, and the not for profits, are usually under staffed, and care is questionable. I guess it is OK if you are poor, that getting subpar care is better than no care. Again this is the rich trying to keep the poor in their place. That is absolutely what I think. They don't want to go to their pristine doctors, and sit in the same office with those poor people, who can not afford to be here, and I am paying for them. Why don't they just say what they really mean?

The wealthiest country in the world, kind, caring, charitable, giving, religious, yet as a country as a whole we can not even decide that making sure everyone has affordable health care should be a goal to obtain. I think it is shameful, sad, elitist, and even disgraceful.

Are all you Democrats, really gonna let the Republicans throw egg in Obama's face? This is all this is to them, a way to make Obama fail, to retake control. I didn't even vote for Obama, but I agree so much with everyone having affordable, good health insurance.

Step One Prewriting

Check out the cool video below, that helps explain prewriting, especially for those who are more visual learners. Both my kids learn via different methods, so I have to be creative in the ways I teach them.

So what exactly is prewriting? Basically it is all the things you think about, in any given day. Using all your senses, to expand your thoughts. Would the thought make a good writing topic? If yes, start to explore the idea a little bit more. Read about it, ask questions, observe, and listen.

There are several ways you can organize your thoughts: story maps, graphs, tables which is similar to a graph, diagram, outline, word cluster, list, or just jotting down your thoughts randomly. The last one is my personal favorite. I do better with things are a little less formal, and time consuming.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Through the Eyes of DJ

The next week, or so, I will be giving info, and tips for getting your 4th grader to enjoy writing. As some of you know, I have let my son DJ start his own blog, Through the Eyes of DJ. He asked me if he could have one, and at first I said no. He insisted it would be a good way for him to learn about writing. After I thought about it for a while, I could see some benefits to it. I told him he could have one, if he agreed to make it centered around his schooling. He has to do two writing assignments, designated by me, a week. The other days he can write about things he wants to. His goals for the fourth grade are to stay on topic, expand the topic idea, use end punctuation, and his best spelling. He learned very quickly that the system will tell him when something is spelled wrong, and look up the correct spelling. Towards the end of fourth grade, I will be introducing paragraphing, and basic outlining to his writing. Commas, and quotation marks, will come sometime during the year. Some of you have already visited his blog, followed, and even left him some comments. You will see me critique his writing, once the school year begins. I am not an expert writer, so if any of you can add constructive criticism to his writings, please feel free to do so. He does not not know typing rules yet, so you will notice the spacing errors, just bare with that, it will come in due time. He doesn't get a letter grade, for writing, he gets either needs improvement, satisfactory, or excellent.

If I see he is doing well, I will start to let him post his own Science projects, that he has done. I will see how it goes. You can watch his progress, and see him grow. I actually am so proud of him for thinking of it, and think others should try it with their homeschooled, and public school children. If you use blogspot it is free, and the possibilities are endless for them to write about.

Now lets talk about the steps in the writing process. The five steps are prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing. To me a lot of these are very similar in their process, and goal, but I will go over them starting tomorrow with step one prewriting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Math, Math, and More Math

A few people love math, but most really dislike it, and some even have a hard time with it. My children are no different. For my son DJ, we do at least three math papers every day. We cover new, harder material, and then review of material we have already learned. I find this works best to keep the information fresh, and in his mind. Last year we started division, and I was nervous, as to how to teach it. I found this nifty video below, if you need some ideas on how to teach division. For me, we started with flash cards first. We did the flash cards every day, for two months, before we even tried doing it on paper. I think that really helped because he already had the concept down. For this upcoming year, the hardest part of our math curriculum has been finding lessons on Roman Numerals. After doing a lot of searching I found a few, they will be listed below. I wanted to share with everyone, if you look to the left hand column of my blog, that I am collecting 100 dollars to give to the local food pantry, for needy families at Thanksgiving. Not only will you be entered to win the lovely ring pictured, but you will get your blog link posted on the Kindness Hall of Fame, for six months after the contest ends. Now if you do your math, you will see that is an awesome deal, for only a 5 dollar donation. I have collected 8 dollars so far from my good blogging friends Betchai, and Rochelle, you can see their site links at the top of this blog. That means I need 92 dollars more to meet my goal of 100 dollars. Ha see math is not so hard LOL. Come on and join, you won't be sorry. Here are some of my favorite sites for free math worksheets. I use these to supplement our work book, or for when we complete the workbook. They are great, and free.

http://www.tlsbooks.com/fourthgradeworksheets.htm
http://www.kidzone.ws/grade4.htm
http://www.worksheetlibrary.com/gradelevel/grade4/math/
http://www.lessonsnips.com/lesson/romannumeral

The last link Lesson Snips, is the newest one I found, while looking for Roman Numeral lessons. It is an awesome site. If you need lesson plans, check it out, you will not be disappointed.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Keep Your Eyes To The Sky!

Yesterday afternoon a tropical low formed, near South Florida. Today it is off the coast of Tampa, and trying to get stronger. There are tropical storm warnings up for the panhandle of Florida. It is August, and the tropics are heating up. Of course they are public schools start tomorrow, DJ's evaluation is Thursday, and it could prove to be an interesting week. There is Ana, and Bill, both TS's spinning in the Atlantic, that should start to near Florida, by this weekend.

This brings me to the point of hurricane preparedness. We are always basically prepared, because that is what I do LOL. My biggest dilemma this year, will be our pets. My dog gets very scared, and squirelly, and getting him into a car is always a trick. Should we have to evacuate it will be a wrestling match. Then we have these two kitties, who were basically abandoned, and we have been caring for them. The original two, we found a home for, then appeared this other one out of the blue. It was obvious to me it was just dropped off, because it acted like a house cat, not a stray. It was very clean, friendly, and sociable. So it has adopted us, and the one remaining kitty, and they have become good friends, to my kids, and each other. I could not imagine leaving them behind. They count on us for love, and food, and they stay on our covered porch which keeps them safe from the elements. I am going to get a hold of my mom today, one to make sure she is watching the updates, and two to see if she possibly has a pet carrier I can borrow, or a small cage. I am imagining it would be very difficult to get these two to cooperate enough to get in the carrier, then into the car. They are still small enough for me to deal with, without getting too scratched, or bitten. Since they trust me, I am hoping it won't be too bad. Of course I would never put my children, or myself in danger, but if I plan enough in advance, I hope it will go smoothly, and I will not have to leave them behind. Of course the best option, is that we don't ever have to evacuate, though I may still have to put them in the carrier, and bring them to safer shelter, such as inside the garage, for their own safety. If you do not have an emergency plan, now is the time to get one! This video will help, and don't forget about your pets.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Easy Easy Crostini Recipe

This is such a simple, and healthy recipe. A lot of people use these as appetizers. I have never understood that whole appetizer concept. Why would you want to fill up with appetizers, and then not be able to eat the entree? At any rate, we eat these as part of the meal. You get your veggies, milk, carbs, and grains, all in one extremely simple recipe. We especially like this with steak, but it is great with chicken, and pork as well, served along side.

You will need:

24 slices of French bread appx. 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil we use extra virgin because it is actually healthier
1/2 tsp garlic powder, we use garlic salt because it just gives a little bit more flavor
6 slices part skin mozzarella cheese, or you can use shredded mozarella cheese it works just as good
1 1/2 cups chopped, and seeded tomatoes

Place bread slices on ungreased baking sheets. Combine oil, garlic powder, and brush over the bread. Cut each slice of cheese into four pieces. We use shredded, and just mix it in, it is just easier. Top each slice of bread with tomatoes, and a piece of cheese. Broil 3-4 min, or until the cheese is melted. One thing we have found that is actually helpful, is to toast the French bread first, then add the toppings, and broil for the cheese to melt. Other wise it is sort of soggy in the middle from the oil, and tomatoes, but still delicious no matter which way you do it. If you are going to a party, and need to bring something this is awesome. You could even broil it there, since it only takes just a couple of minutes.

This recipe came from Taste of Home 5 ingredient recipes. Taste of Home is one of my favorite cooking magazines. It is kind of pricey, so I only buy it a few times a year, but it is definitely worth it. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

FBI Raids Taylor Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Giant

I really need to start watching the local news channels. Taylor Bean and Whitaker, a mortgage giant, and major lender of FHA mortgages was closed down on August 5th, and raided by the FBI. Seems there may have been some fraud, on their part. So why do I care? Because my mortgage is with this company. How did I find out? I went to their website to pay the mortgage, like I do every month, and very quickly saw the problem, we were unable to even make a payment. My husband sent an email, as were the instructions, and we waited. Well several days later, and we still did not get a response. I did not want to pay late, but people on forums were saying to be careful, the new owner Bank of America may say they never got your payment, to just wait until Bank of America sent you a welcome letter. I really did not think that was a good option either, so we did some searching. I found one article on the 12th stating that TBW were ordered to stop foreclosing on homes. How can they even be foreclosing when their business was ordered to stop operations on the 4th. Now that does not directly effect us, because we always pay the mortgage before anything else, but it still sounds not nice. My husband said he was going to call HUD, to see if they knew anything. After 45 min on hold, he finally got to speak to someone. Obviously they have been flooded with calls, because all my husband had to say was mortgage with TBW, and they immediately told him to send his payment, with TBW account number to:

Bank of America
Payment processing
PO Box 10334
Van Nuys, CA 91410-0334

If you need to call HUD, their number is 888-297-8685

Whew what a relief, we got the payment right out in the mail, and I am relieved to have gotten an answer without waiting too long. If you have a mortgage with Taylor Bean and Whitaker, be on the alert. On a even sadder note, all of the employees have been let go, that is over 1,000 in Ocala alone. A sad day for a already distressed job market.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Understanding What You Read!

http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf


I have not done a post on the Health Care bill, in a while. I was listening, and waiting to see what happens. I must ask how many people, that are spouting off such angry, and vicious language have actually read the bill? I am very curious to know that, because the things they are saying, I have not found in the bill. The link above, is the complete House of Representative bill. Last night I read 60 pages of it, and I was shocked at what it really says, and the awful rumors being spread by the media. I will give my thoughts below. I am in no way saying you should agree with my point of view, but I am asking you to read the bill, and make an informed decision, rather than a decision based on someone elses opinion, of whom may, or may not have even read the thing.

The very first thing you notice is the name of the bill, ‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’’. Making health insurance affordable, and fair for everyone. What could be wrong with that?

So lets start with the very first rumor that started some time ago. You will not lose your current health care plan, if you like it, and want to keep it. There are some that is saying this is not true, and you will be forced into the public option. According to what I read this is not true. There is a Grandfather Clause in the bill that allows you to keep your current plan. A Grandfather Clause is used in lots of bills. What it means is if you already have something, you can keep it, and you do not have to be included in the new rules. These are used in real estate, education, just to name a few. It does appear that the bill also has a provision so your employer can not drop the health insurance, forcing you into the public option. So that first myth appears to be untrue completely.

What I did notice is that the bill requires Health Insurance providers to follow a whole host of rules, to be sure you are actually getting what you pay for. As a matter of fact there is a clause, that states if you do not use your health insurance you will get a refund from the Health Insurer for what you were overcharged. They can not raise your insurance by 10 percent every year either, kick you out when you become sick, deny you insurance for a pre existing condition, or refuse treatment.

They are going to open up the lines of competition, so no one company has a monopoly. There will be a data base where you can pick, and choose a plan with more than two options, that best suits the needs of you, and your family. The public option, according the bill, is to serve several purposes. To keep the health insurance companies honest, because there will be true competition. To supplement you, if your insurance is not that great, and you need a little more coverage. To provide basic health care coverage, to those who have none. I found this section especially interesting. There has been so much screaming, and yelling about the public option. It covers the most basic of health care coverage, and preventative care. It does not cover non essentials at all. So you see if you already have health insurance, but maybe your plan, is not the greatest, the public option can help you to supplement where you may need it.

Changes to medicare. I think medicare needs to be changed, but I have not seen yet where this is addressed in the bill. Obama, and AARP have said that the current bill does not appear to have any untoward negative effects towards seniors who use medicare. It supposedly will take out Medicare Advantage, which costs billions, and only makes the health insurance companies wealthy.

Now to the most ridiculous thing I have heard yet, euthanasia. In case you do not know what euthanasia is, it is putting someone to sleep that is deemed to serve no purpose anymore. This is absurd. Number one, even if it was in the bill, no doctor, nurse, or hospital would go along with such a thing, and no bill could make them. They have a set of ethical standards they must follow, and I dare to say they would flat out refuse to participate in such practices. This is just outright lies, and scare tactics. With that said, there is talk that a part of the bill be addressed to end of life care. It has been said that they would like to add a clause that states basically that by age 65 you start to think about end of life care. This does not mean, nor imply that it will be put in, or that it is any way in reference to pulling the plug on you. I do not think that it is absurd, or crazy to think people nearing 65 should start to think about their elder years. How will you handle the end of your life? Not only does being unprepared put stress on loved ones, but on medical institutions as well. There are legal procedures you can take, to be sure the end of your life is handled in a manner you wish it to be. Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, are just a couple of the ways you can be sure it will be handled how you want. I do not know of one medical institution that would not agree with that.

Now to the point about rationed care, and refusal of treatment for those deemed unsuitable. Did you know that there are doctors that perform procedures on patients that have no hope of the procedure, or treatment working? A doctor admitted it on Stuart Varney's show the other day, so I am not just saying it. If a treatment, or procedure, will do absolutely no good whatsoever, and is just a way to make money, than the patient should not get it, period. Now with that said, you as the patient need to be informed, so you can make good sound decision. Should a 75 year old, with very limited quality of life get a heart transplant over a 23 year old? That is the question. Should someone who is an alcoholic, and ruined their liver, get a transplant over a car accident victim? These are all very difficult, and ethical questions, that I do not think any bill could cover. The doctors, nurses, ethics boards of hospitals, these are the people who make these decisions, not the government. I do not see this changing, despite all the nonsense you hear.

Please read the bill. I know I will be continuing my reading tonight. It is actually very interesting. Then write your Representative, and give a good, educated response as to how you feel about the health care bill.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Get Your Kids Drawing!

Do your kids love to draw? Mine do, they love it. With so many public schools doing away with art, or really offering very little art, in what little bit they do, your kids could be missing out on a wonderful skill. It really is not expensive either. I will be sharing some free ways for your child to learn to draw. My kids like to watch the free learn to draw videos on youtube. It helps them to actually see the way the artist holds the pencil, or places the paper, and the speed at which they draw. One of the videos they have not tried yet, is below. It is to draw Sonic the Hedgehog. If you read this blog often, you have seen several of these videos, and even some of the artwork they have done from them. Through some searching I have found some more websites, that offer free drawing lessons, be sure to check them out. The earlier you start your kids appreciating art, the longer they will learn to be creative, and use their imaginations. In kindegarten your child may be asked to draw a book report. What that means is your child is read a story, and then they draw a picture to explain the story. A very clever way of getting your kids to learn reading comprehension. Using arts, and crafts, is a great way for your young learner to master cutting, pasting, following directions, etc.

http://www.hitentertainment.com/artattack/menu_artattacks.html

http://artyfactory.com/sitebody/gallery1.htm
http://www.kidsturncentral.com/index.htm
http://www.first-school.ws/activities/crafts/animals/birds/turkeymaple.htm
http://www.alifetimeofcolor.com/main.taf?p=1
http://www.dltk-kids.com/


If I find more I will add them to the list, but these are an awesome start. This year, fourth grade, is the very first year I purchased an art book. I have been using the free resources, up until now.





Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Loyal Friend and Visitor Award!

I must admit I do not always participate in these blogger awards. However my blogging friend Rochelle, at Femme Power, was kind enough to honor me with the Loyal Friend and Visitor Award. So, I could not pass up the opportunity to share it with others. This award is a little bit more laid back, than most of the blogger awards given out. Here are the rules:

1. Copy the Loyal Award badge.
2. Pass it to who you think is/are deserving.
3. Leave a message to them
4. Pass as many as you want.
5. Message back the one who sent you this award.

Not too hard right, and what a lovely badge it is. Now comes the hard part for me, passing it on. There are so many loyal visitors to my blog, and those I consider loyal blogging friends. Some bloggers don't like to go outside their niche, to make posts about awards. So I am handling like this: If you are a regular visitor to this blog, and you would love to share this award, and pass it on to your readers, please contact me, and I will most definitely pass it on to you. Thank you Rochelle, I am greatly honored.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Unique Homeschooled Family

So many people homeschool, for many different reasons, and in different ways. The possibilities are endless. Well meet my first guest blogger, Tonya. Tonya, and her husband homeschool their children, while traveling the country. How cool is that? Tonya has put together a post with the topic of pros, and cons of homeschooling on the road. Read it below, and please check out her site.

Homeschooling on the Road; the Pro’s and Con’s

Initially when I was asked to write about the Pro’s and Con’s of homeschooling my three children while traveling full-time in our RV, there was only one negative aspect that readily entered my mind. So, I posed the question to my husband: In your opinion, what do you think are the Pro’s and Con’s of homeschooling on the road?

Unanimously, our answer was space or to be more exact, the lack of. But as I really began to think about it, for a homeschooling mom that has accumulated quite a collection of books and curriculum over the past 11 years- the fact that there are storage restraints, is a blessing in disguise. It has certainly forced me to consider what’s truly important. And honestly, we didn’t read or use all the books that filled our shelves at home, so why would that change once we hit the road?

So, it appears that the one con that quickly came to mind might not be much of a hindrance after all.

And though we no longer live near family or friends, with today’s technology, keeping in touch via email, instant messaging, texting and cell phones has certainly kept the communication lines open. We’ve also been blessed to make new lasting friendships on the road.

So, it seems that the potential problems are actually blessings. But what about the true benefits? Our family is certainly much closer than we were before we began full-timing. Living in less than 350 sq. ft. of space, you either learn to show grace and mercy to one another, or you’ll kill each other. Since we’re still alive, I’d say we’ve learned to be a bit kinder and merciful.

In addition to improved character, we have experienced firsthand the diversity of the people and places that have made America great. Not only have we read about history, we’ve also walked where our forefathers once tread. We’ve pondered the mystery of the Lost Colony, flew gliders where the Wright Brother’s made their first successful flight. We’ve stood on the tranquil grounds that were once the bloodiest battlefields of the Civil War and were awestruck as we first glimpsed the Statue of Liberty.

As a homeschooling mom that is sometimes too aware of her shortcomings, I’ve learned that my children will learn with or without curriculum. The real lessons they’ve learned while living on the road will stick with them much longer than that chapter from the textbook.

©2009 Tonya Prater/Live the Adventure. All rights reserved.

Tonya and her husband, have homeschooled their three children for over ten years. Along the journey they have been amazed by the opportunities that the Lord has presented and the freedom that homeschooling has given them, allowing them to travel full-time, learning as they go! They have homeschooled their children using a variety of traditional and non-traditional materials, curriculum and methods. Tonya enjoys encouraging other homeschooling parents, and is available as a speaker on a variety of topics that include Choosing Curriculum, Portfolio Assessments, Overcoming Burnout and Homeschooling on the Road. She can be contacted at thetravelingpraters@gmail.com. You can keep up with the Prater’s at their blog: www.homeschoolblogger.com/livetheadventure2008.




Thank you to Tonya, for putting together such an awesome post.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pop Beads For Learning

I have not seen these beads, probably since I was a young girl. We were in Walmart one day, in the craft section, and my daughter saw these. She wanted them, and at first I said no, because they just didn't seem necessary at the time. However, she reminded me she still had some birthday money left, clever isn't she, and that she wanted to buy them. So, I gave in, and home these beads came. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, these ones came from Amazon, but there are all different shapes, including stars, bears, hearts, dolphins, etc and little rings so you can make rings. I must admit once she got this home, and began playing with it, I could see all kinds of educational oppurtunities. If you have a preschooler, or kindergarten aged child, learning sequencing these are wonderful. You start the sequence, and they have to follow the pattern. They are awesome for color recognition, shapes, counting, adding, subtracting, sorting, following directions, and so much more. Plus it is a fun way to teach, that your child will be interested in. It has been well proven, that younger children learn best through play type activities. This definitely suits that purpose. Amazon has these for 19.99, I think we paid 14.99 at Walmart. They are well worth the price, in my opinion.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40

Yes, it is true, I am 40 years old today. I don't really celebrate much. Tomorrow, my mom will come over, and we will barbecue. We have spent a lot of time with friends this summer, and my sister was here in May, so it has been an active summer for us. Today I get to move furniture, yay, who doesn't want to do that? It really does need to get done, and then we will swim, after we are all hot, and sweaty. I mostly like to just relax, when it is my birthday. I have been on a month long hiatus, from my nursing job. Some of it was vacation, one week I had a severe migraine, and the other one they had Swine Flu at the prison where my husband works, so he had to cover. I actually only work every Friday, but when you count in the time you have to sleep to work 11-7 shift, it is more like you are working Friday, and Saturday. I used to actually do both Friday, and Saturday, and if any of you remember at Christmas time I had a big fight with the DON, and got cut to one day a week. That has actually turned into a blessing for us. Though it did put a major pinch in our finances, it got me to look harder for online work, and reevaluate my personal feelings about my nursing career. For almost four years, we were very limited on what we could do, due to me working every single weekend. At any rate, I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately, it seems to be a normal process when you start to get older. Yesterday, I returned to the doctor's office for my blood work results. As you may know I have been suffering from migraines, for some time, but noticed them to be changing, and more severe. My blood work was completely normal, with just a very sl elevated cholesterol. Of course they immediately want to push drugs on you, which I refused. I said I would do the diet changes first, and exercise, to see if I can get it down on my own. I do not think she was real happy, but since she has never spent more than five minutes with me, for the eighty bucks she gets from the insurance company, I guess I don't care. I asked her to check in my ear, as that seems to be the originating point of the facial pain. She looked, but not enough to say so. I am seriously considering going to the ENT myself. Insurance refused my MRI, seems I have not suffered long enough to warrant it. I have tried avoiding MSG, not easy trust me, caffeine, and cured meats to see if that will keep them under control. I have only had one migraine in three weeks, and they were coming every two, so I guess there could be some progress there. I may have to look for another provider, if I continue to feel like this one just is always in a rush, and never really listens. I really do dislike that.




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Friday, August 7, 2009

Turning The Tables

Today is a little bit of a different post for me. I consider myself to be a very tolerant homeschooled parent. I get all kinds of people who ask all kinds of questions, but lately it has been a rush of questions. I generally find their curiosity, to be just that, but some people are rude, and disrespectful. It is funny to me, I can meet someone new, and get along just great, until they find out I homeschool my children. Then they withdraw like you have Leprosy or something. Mostly I find this behavior amusing, and I let it fly right by. I had a young girl, from Sweden, come to my home the other day. She was actually selling a product. She was an exchange student, and I found her to be very inquisitive, and friendly. Her country does not allow homeschooling, so she was very curious indeed. However, I also get people who are curious, but also almost hostile, or rude. It seems they think we are better than them, or something. At any rate, I have been asked why I decided to homeschool, and I will answer some of the other burning questions I have gotten of late.

Why did I decide to homeschool? When I decided I was finally ready to have children, I really wanted to homeschool. My husband was against it, so I gave public school a try. For a lot of reasons I was unhappy with it. When we moved to a new town, and found out they had to be to the bus stop by a quarter to seven, and not get home until almost 4, that was the final factor.

Is homeschooling hard? It can be, if you let it. There are premade curriculums that make it much easier. I spend a great deal of time, searching, and researching so I can pick and choose my curriculum. That is one of the pleasures of homeschooling, you decide what your child learns.

How can you spend all that time with your kids? Hmm, umm are you kidding me? I can not believe someone even had the nerve to ask that one. I love being with my children. I enjoy watching them grow, and learn. Even when they are driving me crazy, and trying to kill each other, I find them entertaining, and amazing.

Don't you want your kids to grow up normal like public school kids? Umm okay another question, that is based on ignorance more than anything. First of all what qualifies as normal? Why is my child any less normal, than a public school child? That is ludicrous. My children are well behaved, polite, kind, caring, and get along well with others. They do not judge other children by their clothes, skin color, gender, or by how much money they do, or do not have. They do not have the bias of public school, that other children are negatively influenced by.

Don't you want them to have friends? Nope, I want them to cling to me like white on rice, and never leave home. Please people, maybe think before you ask something that dumb. Of course, I want them to have friends, and they do have friends. We have neighborhood kids, just like every neighborhood in the world. We have a playgroup for both homeschooled, and public school children. They go to church, they go to the park, the museum, lots of places where they make friends, and meet new people. However, even if my children were in public school, they would not have the freedoms a lot of public school children have. They would not go wherever they want, whenever they want. They will not play certain video games, or watch certain shows. They would not spend every waking minute with friends, family is far more important, in my opinion.

How will they learn things about life? Again, a question, that is based on preconceived notions. What do children learn from their friends? Sex, drugs, how to be mean to each other, what clothes are important to wear, what gadgets they must have to be cool, or fit in. These things are all things I could care less if my child knows about, least of all from another child. It is my responsibility to teach them about sex, drugs, etc when they are ready to know about such things.

Don't you want them to have a good education? I will not even go there.

You must be rich, because you don't work. No, we are not rich at all, and most homeschoolers live on a very tight budget. Deciding to homeschool your child, is a decision that takes commitment, and some sacrifice. You have to give up some things, and go without some things you want, it is all worth it in the end. By the way I still have to pay school taxes, despite the school not being helpful at all, and considerably unfriendly.



So now it is my turn, to turn the table on all you that send your child to public school. You see, I too am a curious person, and I have some questions too.

Why do you choose to send your child to public school? Why do you want them to go off for 8 hrs a day, to a complete stranger, to learn something you have no control over? You want my real opinion? I think all children under the grade of fifth grade should be homeschooled, then if you decide to send them to public school good. So now I am asking you to explain yourself. Since there is no objection to questioning the parenting skills, of those of us who choose to homeschool, I am questioning your parenting skills for choosing not to. If you are uncomfortable with this, or do not like being put on the spot, neither do those of us whom choose to educate our own children.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My New Mission You Can Win Free Jewelry

I am on a mission, to raise at least 100 dollars to donate to the local food pantry. With people losing their jobs, and the holidays right around the corner, I think it would be generous to do so. Last year we gave food, but for Christmas we gave a lot of gifts we bought for the needy. This year, for Thanksgiving, in honor of my husband's favorite holiday, we are hoping people will donate five dollars to our cause. Now if you can not, please know that I understand completely. You can not donate more than five dollars, the Paypal button will not allow it. I will document, and keep all names, and email addresses. All who donate five dollars, will be entered into a drawing to win the Pink Zircon ring pictured on the left hand column of this blog. This ring is sterling silver, with rhodium plating so it does not tarnish, with a 5mm Trillion Pink Zircon, surrounded by CZ's, it is a size 6. You could easily cross someone off your Christmas list with this prize. The setting alone cost me 40 dollars, and that does not include the gemstone, and labor involved to set it. Also if you drop me a comment, or email me with your paypal ID, and a link to your blog, or website, all who donate will get a link on my Hall of Fame. If you love my idea, please feel free to share it with others. That is not a requirement. The only requirement is that you donate 5 dollars using the Paypal button, to the left, and you live in the US, Phillipines, Australia, Canada, or Great Britian, all others will be rendered null, and void. The program starts right now, and runs until November 1st at 8PM, Eastern time. I will show receipts of donation proof, at the time the money is given to the food pantry.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Florida Homeschool Laws and Letter of Intent

Since Caitlin will be starting kindergarten, I have to send a letter of intent for her. In the state of Florida, your child does not have to star officially schooling until they are six years old, by February 1st. Caitlin is 5, and will not be six until May 2010, so technically that means she does not need to be enrolled in any school, in Florida, until February of 2011. Why would that matter to a homeschooler? Well if you send your letter of intent, before your child meets the guidelines, then you have to keep a portfolio, and have the child evaluated at the end of the year. If you choose not to send a letter of intent, then you can still do schooling, but will not have to keep records, or do an evaluation. I have opted to send a letter of intent, and just start doing it. It is easier for me, then to not to. A letter of intent is specific and should meet the following requirements. The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. Section 1002.41(1)(a)

Just for review purposes, for anyone who might visit from Florida, and are interested in homeschooling their child. Here is the Florida state law, in regards to homeschooling.

1) A "home education program" is defined in s. 1002.01. The parent is not required to hold a valid regular Florida teaching certificate. (a) The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. A written notice of termination of the home education program shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days after said termination. (b) The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of the following: 1. A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used. 2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio. (c) The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student's demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent's office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following: 1. A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level; 2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher; 3. The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district; 4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or 5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent. (2) The district school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a home education program. If the student does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been achieved. The parent shall have 1 year from the date of receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the 1-year probationary period, the student shall be reevaluated as specified in paragraph (1)(c). Continuation in a home education program shall be contingent upon the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with her or his ability at the end of the probationary period. (3) A home education program shall be excluded from meeting the requirements of a school day. (4) Home education students may participate in interscholastic extracurricular student activities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.15. (5) Home education students may participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1009.53-1009.539. (6) Home education students may participate in dual enrollment programs in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1007.27(4) and 1007.271(10). (7) Home education students are eligible for admission to community colleges in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.263. (8) Home education students are eligible for admission to state universities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.261. (9) Home education program students may receive testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers, in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.03.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Homeschool Evaluation, Porfolios

In the state of Florida, you must submit a yearly evaluation to the school in your county. There are 3 different methods you can choose from. Ours is coming due at the end of this month, so I thought I would share the ways in which you can do your evaluation.

1- Take the standardized test, given by the school district, for your childs grade.

2- Have a certified teacher, of your choice, evaluate your child. They can either do this in person or over the phone. They need to review your portfolio, and have a discussion with your child. Sometimes, especially in rural areas, it is hard to find a local evaluator. You could call your school district, to see if they know of any evaluators, they arent very helfpful though. You could join some support groups, and find out whom they used. Here are a list of Florida Homeschool Evaluators http://www.southcountyhomeschoolers.org/SCHS/HTH/Evaluators.HTML

3- The third choice is to have your child evaluated by a psychologist.

Whichever method you choose, you do have to submit a yearly evaluation. Your school year will run from the date you gave your letter of intent, until the end of your school year. I did not realize this myself, so our school year actually started at the end of Sept, even though he went to public school in August. We use the evaluation method, with a certified teacher, and a portfolio. In Florida a portfolio should include:
1. A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used.

2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student."

You can achieve this many ways. I keep a log, which I write down what we do each day, and I also have this blog, which is public, and I do not have to worry about misplacing LOL. For my portfolio, I put in all tests, we test every week, plus any art work, Spanish, or other crafts done. Some people make fancy portfolios, mine is just in a binder, with each class marked. You do not need to put every piece of paper, in a portfolio, just a sampling. However, you must keep all papers, and materials used, for at least two years, in case the county wants to investigate. I guess this blog qualifies as my fancy portfolio. An evaluation can cost about 50-65 dollars, depending on the teacher doing it. My evaluator charges 55 dollars, and her fees did not go up this year. If you live in Gilchrist, Levy, Dixie, or any of the surrounding areas, and you can not find an evaluator let me know, and I will give you her name, and number.

Monday, August 3, 2009

4th Grade Reading List

Back to business for a few days. I finally decided on DJ's reading list for the fourth grade. Tomorrow, I will be posting on yearly evaluations, and portfolios. Then Wednesday will be letter of intent, and Florida laws. Then maybe back to some fun stuff. This post is for record keeping purposes, and anyone who would like some ideas on reading lists. DJ is an andvanced reader, and some of these may not fit all fourth grade readers.

Suggested Reading List for DJ 4th Grade 2009-2010 School Year:

Seeds of A Nation- Florida by Elizabeth Weis Vollstadt
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles by A Conan Doyle
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge
Marco Polo by Manuel Komroff
The Young Winston Churchill by John Marsh
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Black Beauty

I reserve the right to add, delete, or modify the list as needed, as long as I keep written record of all reading material.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What Would I Be?



Okay so it is August 2nd, and time for the challenge. If you would like to take part, and win 200 Entrecard credits, yes I increased it, then on your blog write what you would come back as, if you had a choice. Comment here, so I know you participated, and I know who to give credits to.

So what would I come back as, if I had a choice? There are so many people I admire, and think are amazing people, but for me I would want to come back as me. I like me, and I am comfortable with me, so I pick me LOL.

I must say though a beautiful tree, would suit me too. Why, because they are majestic, live a very long time, and just amazing to me. I love trees. I love to watch them change, learn about them, and they tell such a history story.

If I had to pick an animal, the only choice would be a dolphin, or other fish. The major reason for this is because I would not have to lick myself to be clean. Yuck the thought of that just grosses me out. Dolphins, are majestic, gentle, intelligent, and sociable. That would be the best choice for me, according to me.

One of my readers picked a bouncing ball. You can see her response in the comments section, of the previous post.

Now come on, get busy, earn an easy 200 Entrecard credits, and have some fun!~

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Custom Ornamental Gates

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