All green, nature, and sustainability posts have been moved to Loving Nature's Garden

Sunday, August 31, 2008

* I Admire You Because...

This article can be found at Loving Nature's Garden.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blog Roundup #1

I've found so many great blogs in the last week that I just can't keep up with writing articles that touch on each topic so that I can showcase them. I have so many tabs open on Firefox that I'll likely have to reboot soon. It's time to have a clear-up and share what I've found. In the order I found them, here goes:

Well, that got rid of a few tabs I had open! I hope you found something worth browsing in that list. Let me know what you think :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are Homeschoolers Environmentally Responsible?

Why are we spoiling this lovely planet? What are you doing to improve your environmental footprint? If we're not doing enough yet, why not?

It's been a LONG time since I attended elementary school, yet I remember clearly the first time I was told that we are spoiling our planet, that their was worry over the legacy being given to my generation, and that oil would not last forever. At age 12 it was really inconceivable to me that we would act this way. What are we going to do when everything we had that was lovely is spoiled? What is your small part in improving the way we live? Are homeschoolers as a group more environmentally responsible and aware? Are we doing enough yet, and if not why not?

Often-times it seems like I have more questions than answers. I know that I'd like to have zero environmental impact, yet that's not the reality. I don't like using gasoline, yet I drive a vehicle. I don't like the environmental cost of electricity, yet I live in a air-conditioned home. I believe in Organic farming, yet lots of non-Organic food passes my lips. I like to live simply, yet I live surrounded by things I could do without. I've often felt like a hypocrite. Why don't I do more?

I recently read a book that talked about change. If I could remember the title, I'd give it here. Do let me know if you recognize it! It said something like this - when the cost of not making a change exceeds the cost of making a change we will act. Maybe it's a no-brainer, but that explains a lot! This book was not just talking about the $$ cost either. Change is hard, most of us don't do it willingly.

OK, back to the question. Are homeschoolers environmentally responsible? Are they generally more environmentally responsible? Do we save gas by not driving the kids to school, but use it up visiting our friends instead? Do we grow our own vegetables instead of doing recess, or just shop at the store like everyone else? Do we spend time doing lessons that require learning about the environment and get busy doing science fair projects that develop environmentally conscious ideas? Do we wear Organic clothing, build our own homes, hang our laundry to dry, and purchase locally? Or are we as a group pretty much like everyone else?

What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Love to Read and I Love My Usborne Business

Can you imagine a day without books? A day without reading? If you're a bookworm like me you may wonder how you'd get through. Of course, now I have the internet - I could spend hours reading on here - but somehow that can't replace the magic of a good book. Don't get me wrong, if you don't love books that much, I still like you. My husband rarely reads anything other than manuals, forums and internet news, but I still think he's a great guy! Naturally when I was looking for a business to make my own, books were the first thing I thought of. The Usborne books business is the one I chose.

I LOVE my book business. There are many reasons. I get to read a big pile of children's books and it's part of my job! I get many, many discounted books, which is much better than paying full price; my children have a wonderful Usborne home library full of fantastic books that I paid very little for. I can pay myself for sharing these wonderful, engaging, colorful, and interactive books with others. I am my own boss and I choose my own hours and how much I earn. I get to give away books - I love giving things to people. I enjoy the thrill of hearing that a child learned to read or count because of Usborne books. I am promoting literacy in my community and beyond. My colleagues are other moms who love books - some of them are now among my best friends. And of course, I do actually have the option to work for the little or big extras or essentials, like homeschooling items, trips, activities for my kids, or to buy groceries.

Here's a quote from my son, who has clearly joined the ranks of bookworms, "Life without books is dirt."

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoy a good book today. Let me know what books your kids love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ten Reasons Parents Send Their Kids to School

Here are ten reasons that I think parents send their kids to school:
  1. Both parents are working and there's no-one home to homeschool.
  2. Parents want to be adults again and they can't wait for their kids to go off to school - they've not mastered the art of errands with kids in tow.
  3. Kids need something more to do and parents think that it's school.
  4. They don't know how to homeschool and don't think it's an option.
  5. Kids need friends and parents think school is the best place to get them.
  6. They think you need endless patience to homeschool.
  7. School and teachers are thought to be the experts and will do a better job than they could.
  8. Kids will do things for teachers that they would not do for their parents - they want someone else involved in disciplining their kids.
  9. Everyone else is doing it.
  10. It's a right of passage? They did it themselves so their kids must do it too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Art of Weblogging - do you measure up?

What is good weblog writing and are you doing it? Aimlessly wandering the web and commenting about it is not going to hack it! If you need to ask yourself this question don't worry - there's plenty of good advice out there to help us succeed as weblog writers.

Here are some of the most common suggestions:
  • Write good titles - B L Ochman gives some examples
  • Keep your posts around 250 words - included in Darren Rowse' top ten tips
  • Voice your opinion - be honest
  • Omit unnecessary words - keep sentences short and to the point
  • Provide good, informative, links - Seth Godin says, "Write like a Blogger"
  • You don't have to be all serious - a little humor makes people want to come back
  • People like lists (gotta learn from what you read)!
If that's not enough tips yet, what's wrong with you? Do you want to be famous for your blog writing, rank high on google, write like a professional, or know all the technical stuff? Writing a blog is surely an adventure, a learning experience, and something that can result in personal growth. All you have to do is keep reading and keep blogging.

What have you learned from blogging?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When Homeschool Starts There's No Time for Fun

Just kidding - there's always time for fun here! Sometimes people get curious and ask me how I homeschool. They're not usually that interested in the details of the materials we use - maybe it's more of a rhetorical question. The ones who do want to know what materials I'm using are other homeschoolers. Since our official homeschool hours for this year start tomorrow, here's a list of the stuff we're using. Sounds kind of eclectic and school at home. By philosophy I'm child-led. Go figure!
  • Foreign language - Rosetta Stone supplemented with reading and writing exercises
  • Social Studies - free online high school textbook on American Government (we also plan to cover the election process) supplemented with TV and additional research and reading
  • Science - CyberEd online - high school biology for my daughter and middle school physical science for my son - purchased through homeschool buyers co-op
  • Math - Teaching Textbooks Algebra for my daughter and a British textbook for my son
  • Reading and Writing for my daughter - reading choices from the Blue Valley schools curriculum, Writing Strands and additional materials for writing with possibly an online tutored class in the second semester
  • Reading for my son - free choice
  • Writing for my son - no official writing, more language arts - we are using software from The Critical Thinking Company which covers things like word roots, punctuation, grammar, and quizzes that are similar to what you'd see in standardized tests
You'll notice an emphasis on computer based learning. That's what has been working best here.

What are you using, why, and did your children help you to pick it out?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sudden Intuition Leads to Homeschooling

Every now and then I get a sudden, wild, notion that I should make a significant change in my life. It happens like this: I read something or hear something somewhere, "thud" something happens and suddenly I know I have to make this change. For me, homeschooling was one of those changes.

With a "thud" decision the only thing necessary is figuring out how to go about doing it. I like this. I'm not an impulsive and a quick decision maker; I'm more often frozen into procrastination. Every one of those "thuds" has brought good things to my family.

What is intuition though and when should we use it?
Is intuition what experts rely on, or something impulsive that we use in place of more sensible, rational thought?

Have you made a good decision based on your intuition? How did you make the big decisions in your life?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Homeschooling Blogs

Wandering the blogosphere can apparently consume endless hours of time, believe me, not all enjoyable if you're trying to find that gold nugget. In an attempt to save you the same experience I'm listing here some homeschooling blogs that I enjoyed reading yesterday. Take them or leave them, but if you like some of these we have something in common. Pretty please come back and visit.

Disclaimer: I did not read every post these bloggers have written. Who has time for that? Oh yes, and everything I learned yesterday about blogging I learned from my daughter.

Who's the one being homeschooled here? What have you learned from your children?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Weblog Wandering

,Most mornings I enjoy the luxury of starting my day with the idea that life is one big adventure and good things are going to happen. If I want to stay in this mood I generally avoid going into the kitchen where I might happen to glimpse all the stuff that's just waiting to spoil my fun. Being in front of a computer screen is like wearing blinkers - I only have to look at good stuff!

What could be more fun than a little web wandering? I'm not sure where I'm going, but I'm ready to start. Here are some interesting, crazy, weird, informative, engaging, marvelous, or unusual blogs I came across this morning. Check out what this lady knitted - it has to be seen to be believed. Makes me proud to be a woman. How did she do that? What a zest for life some people have, maybe living in a sunny place helps. I love this blogger's photo - I'm ready to pack for a trip to the ocean now! My family might have something to say about that since it's several days drive; I'll just wander the web instead. Mmmm... cheese - I think I'll have Irish cheese on toast for breakfast. My gosh, I'd no idea how many people blog these days, this could be a journey and I might not get back home in time for homeschooling. Homeschooling? Let's check that out! Oops, I got distracted and ended up back at the beach; it must be this summer weather that's giving me a longing for cool water, waves, and hot sand. What about a trip to Japan? Noooo, must get back to homeschooling. Everyone's up and I'm out of time. What about the Homeschool Blog Awards? There must be some good stuff in there. I'll have to check it out later.

Where do you like to wander on the web? What are your favorite weblogs?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love to Go A-Wandering!

"I love to go a-wandering, along the mountain track, and as I go, I love to sing, my knapsack on my back..." I could be the original Happy Wanderer, at least that seems to be how I go through life; caring less about the destination than about the journey.

When I sit down and think about it, that's how my journey across the galaxy as a homeschooler began. These days I'm less of a hitchhiker and more of a web wanderer and chaffeur for my kids, but I still want to be Maria in The Sound of Music - running across the peaks of the alps through meadows of flowers feeling the wind in my hair and hearing the sounds of nature. I may have my eye on the next mountain top, but there is always time to stop and peer at any rock or flower, even if I need glasses to do so these days, to detour and visit a cool, fresh, mountain stream, or to slow down and help someone else on the trail that is homeschooling and life.

What is your favorite scouting/campfire song? Where do you like to wander?
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