Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Musings

LIttle Thomas loves Alvin and the Chipmunks (the movie). He especially loves the song "Funkytown" that the chipmunks sing outside the window. He "asks" to hear it (he grunts "Uh, Uh") and point to the TV and loves to dance to it. I usually let him watch it in his crib before he takes a nap. So yesterday when I was getting him dressed for church, Tyler walked through the living room and went upstairs singing the "wah-ah-ah-ah-ah" to the beginning, and Thomas, naked, starts dancing and running upstairs thinking Tyler was putting on the movie for him. It was the funniest thing! He also says "Geeen Geeen" for the "Gotta get that green" song at the beginning. He's a mess!

Monday Musings

Conversations with a five year old:

Brooke (to her Dad): "I love you even when I'm naughty at you."

Brooke's conversation with me:
Brooke: I guess it will be good if we die because then we'll get to be with God in heaven.
Me: Yes, that will be good.
Brooke: Will we get to eat there?
Me: Yes, God is preparing a big feast for us.
Brooke: Will he give us presents?
Me: Yes, lots of presents.
Bethany: I know what I can give God! I can give God love.
Brooke: I can give God love, and a gift card!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daufuskie Island

We went along with my husband to Daufuskie Island for the summer regional meeting for Edward Jones. We had an AWESOME time! We left on Thursday to drive down, it took about three hours. You have to catch the ferry over from Hilton Head Island, and the ferry ride lasts an hour. Well, we did not crash in with the sharks, nor did we have to wear our "life coats". Whew!

We finally got to the resort Thursday around two and checked in. We weren't sure what to expect because we didn't have any room information or anything, and when we got our room we were totally shocked. They had upgraded us to one of their new villas. It was amazing! There was a king sized bedroom with a huge bathroom and jacuzzi tub/seperate shower, another bedroom with 2 full beds, a fully stocked kitchen with washer/dryer and living room with large flat screen Tv and pull out sofa bed.

My dream bathroom.........

This is the view from the porch.

The Main resort house where we ate some of our meals.

We had a couple of meetings to go to the first night, and the kids went to the children's program. We had a nice catered dinner and afterwards the kids couldn't wait to get into the ocean.

A casualty.

Friday morning there was another meeting, we had a nice catered breakfast all three days and David wasn't done until noon, so we just hung out at the villa and enjoyed the beautiful golf course view from the screened in porch.

Friday afternoon we went down to the beach at low tide and found some nice shells, and stepped on quite a few Horse shoe crabs. Ouch! So, we went to swim in the pool instead. We had a nice Italian themed dinner that evening.
Saturday, David was in meetings til noon, so the kids and I went down to the beach again at high tide this time. That afternoon we decided to go do a little exploring in the golf carts we were provided. After we left the villa, it started to pour down rain. Our friend, who had gone exploring earlier, took us down some dirt trails. We were totally off roading and mudslinging in our little golf carts in the middle of the woods in the pouring rain. It was totally just like a scene right out of Jurassic Park, even down to the arrows on the posts to point the way. (It was the trails to the spa.) My older son was even in the back of the cart like the guy with the broken leg. It was hilarious. Our cart ran out of battery, so we had to call a shuttle to take us back. We had a blast.
That evening the kids had a pizza party and David and I went to the awards dinner. We had a nice surf and turf meal and David got a total of four awards. We have a really neat (and fun) bunch of folks in our region.
Sunday afternoon we had to get back on the ferry at 1:15, so the kids and I did some more golf cart exploring while David stayed behind with Thomas who was napping. We went back down the dirt trails, much less Jurassic-like when it wasn't raining. We stopped at another small beach to find some more shells. And I just loved this purple house. There were quite a few multi-million dollar homes, belonging to obviously the rich and famous. It would have been neat to find out exactly who.

"Jurassic Lane"

Hurry! Run!

On the return ferry....

On the ride home......

Some beachy treasures...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

History Resources

I cover history for our homeschool about the same way as science, except instead of topics, we cover time periods. I decided thatI would break our studies down into a five year rotation (like science). The five time periods are: Explorers through 1700's American History, 1800's American History, 1900's American History, Creation through Ancients, Middle Ages/Renaissance to Explorers. Now, I do cover a bit of world events when we are covering american history, and I chose American history first since we start our rotation in the third grade and I think American History is easier to understand at that age since we live here and can see the history around us. I also wanted to make sure we were grounded in Bible truth before delving to deeply in ancient gods and such.

I collect material and plan just the same as I do with science in my Science Resources post. Say if I am planning out my1800's year, I will print an 1800's timeline off of the internet, then pick and choose what topics I want to cover. Then I gather all my material and write it up. The first few weeks of my 1800's curriculum looks like this:

Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) 1

biog. Jefferson "A Picture Bookof Thomas Jefferson" by James Giblin (virtual tour/day in the life)
write a biography
rubbing of a Jefferson nickel

Johnny Appleseed (1801) 1

Biog. Appleseed "Johnny Appleseed: A Tall Tale" by Steven Kellogg
JE Gibbons "The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree" by Gail Gibbons
Johnny Appleseed puppet printout
Discuss why apples? nutritious, easy to grow, versatile; examine different apple varieties and products from apples. Examine center seed "star".
Draw an apple tree in each of the four seasons and a short biog. at bottom of page.

Louisiana Purchase/ Lewis and Clark (1804-1806) 2

Complete History book pg. 126-131
978 Bow "The Back of Beyond: A Story About Lewis and Clark" (long book-read only certain parts)
biog. Sacagawea "Sacagawea: Her True Story" by Joyce Milton (virtual journey) (view coins and printouts)
-Divide a paper into six sections and write one important fact from the purchase and expidition into each

The numbers next to the titles are how many weeks I plan to cover that section. Especially for accountability, I'm saying that I have planned 1 week's worth of work to be completed in that section. I've also included the call numbers for the books I'm using so I that when the time comes I can just request them and go pick them up at the library. Now, of course you don't have to cover the same topics, nor do the same sequence of events or chronologically. You can follow this method and choose what topics you prefer. When I wrote up this curriculum, we were doing more of a "notebooking" style of work.

When you want to purchase History materials here are some good companies:
Rainbow Resource (They sell everything homeschool!)

Knowledge Quest (very good for geography also)

Hold That Thought

Home 4 School Gear

Homeschool in the Woods

Here are some websites that have good resources: (free lessons cd)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Homeschooling Basics

I'm always asked about homeschooling. So many people are interested. A few years back I wrote a paper called "Homeschool Basics" to give out if someone needed information. Now, I am including all of this information on my blog. I will also be posting some information for each subject, how we do homeschool, and some links that I've collected that have been very helpful. I've answered a few common questions here. Of course, this will vary a bit depending on what your state's laws are. If your state doesn't have any laws-awesome! But, if you must test your children, then make sure you are following the information they will need to know for the tests. If you don't have to test, or accountability, you are free to decide what I want to cover and when I want to cover it.

Check out HSLDA to find out the homeschool laws for your state.

**Materials to use besides prepared curriculum...........

There is a wealth of information out there that is not in the form of a textbook. Here are some ways that I have found material for use in my homeschool.

-The Library. There are numerous resources there from literature to history to biographies to math to science experiment books. The "book list" books mentioned later are a great tool. Many of the books listed in these books can be found in the library. Spend some time just browsing the shelves in the children’s section and jotting down books that look interesting to you. I have taken a spiral notebook and listed books with authors and call numbers, and a simple review, so that I can refer to these books later when planning my school year. (I do this for all of the books I’ve come across whether or not they are in the library.) Your personal list will accumulate over time and will be a very handy reference tool.

-Friends. Ask if you can borrow a resource that they are not using at the moment.

-The Internet. You can find almost anything on the internet. Generally if you need information on say birds, for instance, you can type "birds" into your search engine and get tons of links. We came a cross a great link for Paul Revere that has virtual and printable activities, plus Revolutionary War songs you can listen to online. One of my favorite ways to find materials is to type "free educational materials" or "free stuff for teachers or educators" into the search engine. You’ll be lead to tons of links for materials at no cost. Some of these are government agencies that have information just waiting for parents and educators to take advantage of. Some are links to sites that are filled with worksheets, or activity pages. I’ve gotten everything from NASA posters to lessons on George Washington to an entire Sesame Street safety unit from FEMA. Just pick out the things that look interesting to you. It will take some time to search the sites, but I feel it is well worth it.

-Free Stuff. Besides getting stuff from the internet, I have been given "leftovers" many times by friends. The stuff they’ve had sitting around for years, stuff they didn’t use, stuff that may not seem useful. I have taken 15 year old textbooks and (don’t cringe) cut them up and made posters from them. Is anyone really ever going to read a 15 year old textbook again? No, but my children love looking at the posters I have made from them. You may come across other things at little or no cost- magazines, recipes, crafts, poetry, or art prints from catalogs.

-Book fairs, flea markets, yard sales, discount tables, and book sales. After you learn your personal style of homeschooling, you will learn what to keep an eye out for. You can come across some real finds at these places.

-The Book Store or Catalogs. There will be some materials that you will want to purchase. For instance, my two older children enjoyed learning to read using "Bob Books", so I decided to invest in all five boxed sets. Also, you will want to purchase some "tools for yourself" in addition to some good books, games and other materials you find invaluable to your homeschool.

**What about having my child tested?

Legally, it depends on which accountability there is for your state. If your state doesn't require accountability then you can decide whether or not you would like to test. Typically you can order an Iowa Basics Skills test, or something similar and administer yourself, or maybe with your homeschool group. In this case the results are solely for your information and benefit.

**How will I know that my child is learning everything he needs to know?

Don’t worry. You will have some gaps in homeschool. You cannot cover everything about every subject, but neither does public school. But, again, you get to decide what areas are important to you. If you still need piece of mind, try these resources.

-the scope and sequence from the school board. You can call your local school district and usually they will send you a copy of their scope and sequence for a particular grade.

-What Every First Grader Needs To Know" by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. (An overall account of what children should cover in a particular grade level. Books go from K-6th grade

World Book (also gives scope and sequence)

**How do I keep records?

How you keep records will depend on what your accountability requires if you have one. Otherwise, if you use prepared curriculum just keep the used workbooks and make sure you write the date on the page. If you don’t use a prepared curriculum, you can just use a simple spiral notebook and jot down what was accomplished on what day. If you have a time/days accountability you may want to jot down the amount of time spent on a subject as well. This will be proof of days, hours and subjects covered. For instance, if you spend 30 minutes making a recipe from a typical pilgrim meal, and your child measured out all the ingredients, then just jot that down in your spiral notebook, with a notation "math, history (30m)". Do this for all educational activities that your child does, whether watching a spider spin a web or reading a book together. This notebook will be the record book. Or, if you prefer writing down your plans beforehand, just jot down the time that was spent on the subject afterward. You could also jot down how your child is doing every so often in a particular subject in order to make writing your progress reports a little easier. An idea for the child’s portfolio would be to set aside one piece of work each week to put in a special folder just for that particular year’s portfolio. Your accountability group will tell you exactly what you need to send them for their records.

**How long should I take to homeschool?

Unless you have an accountability that has a time of day requirement, that is totally up to you.

**How do I choose curriculum?

This again will depend on your accountability. If you don't have restrictions on subjects, then you are free to choose what you want to cover. A good idea is to go to a Christian book store or regular book store and browse through what they have. Ask friends what they use, if they like it and why. Check out my homeschool methods post to get an idea of the direction you may want to take. Also, you may want to try writing your own with my personal guide from Courtneylane Home Learning Tools!

Science Resources

For science, a few years back, I listed all the broad topics that I could think of that pertained to science. For instance, I included, habitats, human body, solar system, weather and earth science, etc. I had enough to cover two topics per year for a total of five years. I have it on a five year rotation, so the younger kids and older kids can be on the same topic each year. You can choose whatever interests you, or what you think is important to cover. You could cover whatever and how many topics in a year you prefer. I just choose to do two per year and not cover the material again until maybe 8th grade or high school (I start the rotation in 3rd grade and then independent projects in the upper grades). Keep in mind though, that you may not be as flexible depending on your states laws.

Here is a good article from Jeannie Fulbright that talks about why this "one topic immersion" approach is good for teaching science.

After I decided on which topics to cover- next year we will be covering habitats and human body- then I sit down and see all the material that I already have. I generally get a lot of e-newsletters, have websites that I check regularly, pick things up at yardsales and the Scholastic warehouse sales, etc. I keep an eye out for things that I know we'd use and then when the time comes to plan, I generally have a pretty good selection of materials. I also jot down library books that I come across as well. I have never purchased a science curriculum. There is nothing wrong with buying one, it's just that I would always look at them and think, "I could put this together myself and save the money." So, here we are.

After I pick my topics, let say I've chosen to cover habitats and for one of them I want to do a Bee unit. I break it down into sections and decide how long I want to take to cover each section. I would find library books for each, any worksheets/projects/experiments that I've collected and see how much I have, If I felt like I didn't have enough, then I would search my websites that I put on this post, or type whatever it is into the search engine. After I've gathered a suitable amount of material then I put it all together. This was our Bee unit from this past year. You can see the lapbooks under "Lapbooks" on the sidebar with links to most of the worksheets we used. This took us about 6 weeks.

**Insect Bee Unit
595.799 Mic "The Life and Times of the Honeybee" by Charles Micucci
JE Thompson "Gran’s Bees" by Mary Thompson
CD 782.42 Hap "Happy Bees" Songs for Happy Kids
Videos 595.799 Bee "Bees" (Bug City)
595.799 Mag "The Magic School Bus in a Beehive"
-Read Bee overview
-Label bee parts, head and leg sheets (cut out for lapbook) what does a bee see?
-Honey bee stages (cut out stages and stage time chart for lapbook)
-Egg, pupae and larvae sheets (cut out for lapbooks-use as "closeup" view of bee life stages sheet)
-Use worksheet to make one page books of each queen, worker and drone for lapbook
-stinger experiment and identification sheet, sketch and label stinger for lapbook
-Read Honey Bee Society
-Sayings from Unit study-"Busy as a bee" Are bees busy? What are they busy doing? Read Colossians 3:23. Bees are busy working hard. Do we work hard at even the smallest task? Even when no one else is looking? Does God want us to give our best effort in everything we do? "What's the buzz" Buss is a popular term used in the business world. You hear marketing types speaking of generating buzz for their products. What does this mean. What sound does a bee make? What sound do people make when everyone is talking all a once. This is what businesses want. They want everyone to talk about their product.(copy sayings and meanings for lapbook)
-Dancing bees and maze
-Bees home, diagram and beekeepers (cut out for lapbook)
-Trace some hexagons onto yellow constr. paper to include on lapbook
-Read pollination and map of highest pollination states
-Read "Honey" and "The History of Honey"
-Talk about the health benefits of honey; brainstorm all the ways honey can be used. What type of products that we buy have honey in them. Brainstorm all the things that the wax is used for (candles, lipstick, crayons, shoe polish, floor polish) Copy list for lapbook.
-Make beeswax candles
-Different types of honey around the country
-Honey Krispies Recipe (copy for lapbook)
-Honey in Scripture: Why is ther so much "honey" in scripture? Whats so good about a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:8; Judges 14:8; 1 Samuel 14:26; Psalm 19:10; Psalm 119:103; Proverbs 25:16; Isaiah 7:15; Ezekiel 3:3; Matthew 3:4; Revelation 10:9 (copy scripture for lapbook)
-Density experiment
-Math Sheets
-Africanized honey bee info sheet and map
-Africanized honey bee diary
-Read Parables from Nature pg. 5 "The Law of Authority and Obedience"
-Beego Game
**Assemble Bee Lapbook

The younger kids did all the diagrams, and age appropriate things. Since I don't start the rotation til third grade, the younger kids are involved if they want to be, but don't do the full lessons that I've prepared until they fall in line on the rotation.

When you need to purchase science materials, here are some good companies:
Rainbow Resource (sells everything you could ever need for homeschooling!)
Tobin's Lab (trademarked the "Lapbook")
Home Science Tools (has a great e-newsletter)
Amperand Press (Nature games)
Arbor Day Foundation (10 free trees with your membership, and good tree information)
Wild Goose Science
Delta Education

Here are some websites that I have found science material:
Kid's Gardening
Dole 5 a day
Steve Spangler Science
Cotton's Journey
Science With Me
Nueroscience for Kids
Anwers in Genesis
Minerals Lessons
Weather Classroom
Healthy Choices
How Stuff Works
Sea World
National Geographic
FAA (airplane printouts and info)
Discovery School
4th Day Alliance

After I've gotten all of my material together and broken it down into units, I type it up and put all the material together in a three ring binder with dividers for the different units. I use the pocket in the front of the binder to hold all worksheets that I've printed out ahead of time and keep all master copies in the binder. This is my binder, but you could make one up for each child if you prefer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Homeschooling Methods

**The basic homeschooling methods and some references for each...........

Traditional prepared curriculum: 

There are packages available for every subject in every grade. Generally everything is already laid out for you in a textbook/workbook format. Usually you have to do very minimal preparing and organizing. You could purchase different subjects from different companies. Some questions to ask yourself when considering a prepared curriculum are: Do I want to take more of a "classrooom" approach? Will I stick to the lessons that have been prepared for me? Will my child stay interested with textbooks and little variety? (literature based studies for younger kids)

Some reputable companies are:
Christian Liberty Press
Alpha Omega
Saxon Math (math, reading)
Math U See
Teaching Textbooks
Sonlight (literature based, generally no textbooks)
"Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual" by Cathy Duffy (This is a list and description of curriculum for you to review before purchasing anything.

The Classical Method:

This method uses three parts, know as the Trivium, with each part starting at a particular age. First, is the Grammer stage covering elementary ages with focus on memorization, language arts, Latin and math. Next, is the Dialectic Stage with focuses on drawing conclusions and supporting them with facts. Finally, at about age 15, is the Rhetoric stage in which students learn to use written and spoken language eloquently and profusely. Some questions to ask yourself when considering this method are: Are my child and I ready for a very rigorous program? Will I be able to learn with my child to teach them things that I have never studied? Do I want to stick with classical literature and ideas?
"The Well Trained Mind" by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer (This is a great resource; it gives you a "how-to" and which books to use.)
Trivium Pursuit
Classical Conversation (a co-op community)

Unit Studies: 

Unit studies can be purchased or you can just put one together on your own. For example, if you wanted to do a study on the Pilgrims, you could read a historical novel about the voyage or settlement (reading), have your child write a journal entry pretending to be a voyager on the Mayflower (writing), trace and map the route they took (geography), find recipe of a typical pilgrim meal and have your children help in measuring the recipe (math), make a drawing and labeling of typical pilgrim dress (art) and do research into the environment where the pilgrims landed and what types of animals, trees, etc. could be found there (science). You can tailor the studies to any grade level. Some questions to ask when considering this option are: Am I creative? Do I have time to do all the required planning and research? Am I motivated to do all of the planning and research?

Five in a Row
"Unit Studies Made Easy" by Valerie Bendt (This is a how-to create your own unit study.)
Learn and Do Unit Studies
Highland Heritage Homeschool
Homeschool in the Woods (Amy Pak)

Charlotte Mason/ "Living Books": 

Charlotte Mason believed children learned best through good books, real life situations, nature study, art, and to be allowed plenty of time to play, reflect and create. Some questions to ask when considering this option are: Do my children and I love to read? Am I okay with very little prepared curriculum? Can I compensate for the higher levels of science that nature study may not cover?

"A Charlotte Mason Education" by Catherine Levison
"More A Charlotte Mason Education" by Catherine Levison
"The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden (nature study)
Beautiful Feet Books
Karen Andreola
"Inspiring Our Children Toward Greatness Using Great Literature" by Cindy Rushton
"Nature Study......the Easy Way" by Cindy Rushton (In addition to a great booklist, there are tons of great ideas for nature study.) free curriculum close to original Charlotte Mason

**Books that contain lists of books (lots of "living books")
"Honey For A Child’s Heart" by Gladys Hunt
"Let the Authors Speak: A Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting" by Carolyn Hatcher (

Unschooling or Relaxed Schooling: 

This approach allows children to follow their interests with guidance from the parents. It allows children to learn from the real world and provides them with tools to learn. Some questions to ask when considering this method are: Am I okay with very little structure? Will my children take initiative to learn? Will we let other things get in the way of learning? Will I be disciplined to keep track of actual learning done for accountability records?

"The Relaxed Homeschool" and various other books by Mary Hood

"Delight Driven Learning" by Walking by the Way

It is very helpful to do a bit of research into each method. The books on Charlotte Mason and unschooling are good to read even if you do not adhere to the entire philosophy. Most of us probably do not fall perfectly into one method, but pick and choose what we feel is best out of each method and incorporate that into our school. (This is referred to as "eclectic".) For example, some may like the Charlotte Mason way of schooling, but prefer to use a prepared curriculum for math, and unschooling for science. Keep an open mind. Math in the primary grades can be taught by counting money, recipes, and telling time on your kitchen clock. There are lots of opportunities out there waiting for a learning experience to take place.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Or, actually I should say "Done Painting", Yah! It's amazing how much a coat of paint can do. I painted all the kitchen cabinets and drawers and the trim in the kitchen. It looks so much better and fresher and cleaner. I would not, however, say that I enjoy painting. I started my painting venture about five years ago when I painted our upstairs and then the living room and hallway. Two years ago I painted the master bedroom and the other bedroom downstairs that we use as a computer/school/library/everything that doesn't fit anywhere else room. Then, last year, I painted the upstairs again. (Seven children are mighty hard on a house.) Then today I did the kitchen. I kept the grape leaf wallpaper that was there when we bought the house. Anyway, I have learned a thing or two about painting over the years. So in honor of Wendy's "list" post, here is a list of some painting tips.

1. Primer is your friend. Get to know it, introduce it to your friends, take it out to lunch.

2. Stick with water based paint. Did you know that you can't mix oil based paint with water? You don't want to even know what that looks like.

3. Paint wipes off really well with a wet rag, if you accidentally get it on something you shouldn't have- unless it has dried.

4. Baby wipes work well if you accidentally drip on carpet.

5. You will always buy either too much or not enough. There is a law of physics that prevents you from buying just the right amount.

6. It is definately worth the extra few bucks to buy a good paintbrush.

7. The paint will never look on your wall, exactly like it does on the swatch. Always get your color samples and test it out in a few different areas of the room before buying three gallons just on the hunch you think it will look okay.

8. When in doubt, go ahead and tape off the trim, and take off the light/electric covers. It WILL make things easier.

9. You can put your brushes and trays in the refrigerator if you need to take a break. Put them in ziplocs or plastic bags and they won't dry out this way.

10. White paint that has been sitting on the shelf for a year actually turns gray. Never fear, just take your paint stirrer and stir it until it turns white again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tasty Thursday

Bagel Spread

1/2 package cream cheese
2 T. orange marmelade

Stir these two together and serve on toasted bagels.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

South Carolina Homeschool Law

This site has a listing of homeschooling laws for every state:

Here are the laws specifically for the state of South Carolina:

The state of South Carolina requires your child to attend Kindergarten, whether public, private or homeschool, if he turns 5 by September 1st of that school year. However, you can choose for your child not to attend Kindergarten (public, private or homeschool) by signing a waiver with the school district. This waiver will excuse your child from Kindergarten if he does not turn 6 by September 1st of that school year. (This waiver releases the school district from any liabilities in case your child has any "educational deficiencies" from not attending Kindergarten.) If you sign the waiver, you do not have to register with a homeschool option listed below for the child’s Kindergarten year. You can call the elementary school your child would have attended and find out if you need to sign the form there or at the district office.
If you are withdrawing your child from school, you need to join your accountability first, then take this membership to your child’s school and explain to them that you are withdrawing your child. If you have joined your accountability group then you are legal to start homeschooling.

The State of South Carolina requires you to join one of these three options for accountability so that South Carolina has proof that you are maintaining the state’s requirements for homeschooling:
1) The School District: Call your local district for information and an application. There is no cost to join through the school district, but keep in mind that the school district has the right to approve or deny your ability to homeschool. If you have been denied permission to begin or continue homeschooling by a district board of trustees, the decision may be appealed within 10 days to the State Board of Education. Any appeal from the decision of the State Board of Education must be taken within 30 days to the family court.

2) South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) The cost is several hundred dollars depending on the number of children you have enrolled. They offer counseling, help in curriculum selection, etc.

3) A "Third Option" Group: These groups require minimal information to keep in their files. Yearly fees depend on the group you choose. They can be as little as $35 for a lifetime membership or $50 per family per year. The group you choose will give you specific instructions on the types of information that they need to keep in their records. For a listing of Third Option groups in South Carolina visit

The legal requirements for joining a Third Option group are:

the parent must have either a high school diploma or a GED
your school year must have at least 180 days
your curriculum must include reading, writing, math, science, and social studies: grades 7-12 must also have composition and literature
educational records maintained by the parent must include 1) a plan book or other record of subjects taught and activities; 2) a portfolio of the child’s work; and 3) a semi-annual progress report.

You could consider joining the Home School Legal Defense Association, HSLDA. This is not required by South Carolina law. For $115 a year they will represent you, at no extra cost, should you face any legal situations with homeschooling. Use the link at the top of this post or call 1-504-338-5600.

**What is a Support Group? A support group is different from a Third Option group. Third Option groups handle only accountability paperwork, and maybe some counseling or resource rooms. A support group consists of families working together on a cooperative basis to provide field trips, meetings, clubs, etc. to those who are members of their group. Support groups are not legal Third Option groups, and usually do not offer any handling of accountability paperwork. However, you may find that some groups offer both. To find a support group in your area visit

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We've dabbled in notebooking over the years and I am planning to do more of that this year in addition to the lapbooks. What's the difference between the two, you say? Then check out this link:

Lapbooking is more small, shaped booklets and such affixed onto a file folder, and notebooks are more dictation, small reports, maps, copywork and such put in a three ring binder. Although, you can include all of those things in either one, or make a lap/notebook combo, which we may do this year. You can also use plastic page protectors for your notebook pages.
Here are some more links for notebooking information. Several of these sites sell notebooking pages and sets, but like the lapbooks, I felt like it was easy to put them together myself. Also, the links I posted in "Lapbooking Links" are good sources for material for notebooks as well. The last link on here has a nice list of things you could include in your notebooks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Musings

We'll be going to the beach next week for my husband's summer regional meeting for his job. We need to take a ferry over to the resort. This will be a big deal since most of my children have never been on a boat. Brooke, 5, asked me if we will crash in with the sharks. Then she asked me if we will need to wear "life coats". It should definately be an adventure!

Here are some pics of Thomas. Doesn't every baby need some spaghetti face photos?

This is the typical "Thomas look".

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We have really enjoyed lapbooking this year. I had really only discovered it about a year and a half ago and while planning out my homeschool year last summer, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of these into our studies. Even the younger kids wanted to do their own lapbooks and so I'm planning more to be done this next year as well. I came across some very helpful websites that give free templates, ideas and even pictures of examples. You can buy premade ones if you want, but I found so much on the internet for free, I just decided to put them all together on my own. I got lots of material off of the following links (and also the links on their sites). If I needed more on a particular subject I would go to several sites that I frequent for worksheets or type what I was looking for into the search engine.

These sites have lots of info. on how to get started. No need for me to retype. They've said it well enough!

Here are some general sites that I always go back to for worksheets and printables. This site requires a membership, but it offers a 7 day free trial. Go into "Directory"

If you would prefer to purchase ones already put together, these are the places to get them: Don't forget to sign up for their weekly freebies. They are pretty great!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tasty Thursday

Chicken Stir Fry

1 pkg. chicken breast (1-2 pounds)
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. soy sauce (can use low sodium)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 T. cooking oil, divided
2 c. broccoli florets (or any other in season vegetable-green beans, asparagus, whatever)
1 small onion diced
1 c. water
1 tsp. chicken flavored bullion cubes

Cut chicken into bite size chunks and place in a ziploc. Add the cornstarch and shake to coat. Next, add the soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Shake to coat and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet add 2 T. oil and saute the chicken until no longer pink. Remove from the pan and add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the vegetables and onion and cook 4-5 minutes or til crisp tender. Add water and bullion and return the chicken to the pan. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened. You could also put on the lid for a minute if you like the vegetables cooked more tender.

Serve over rice. (I love brown rice, but the fam. likes white.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Musings

Thomas has suddenly gotten possessive. Yesterday at church, Tristan picked up a board book. Thomas snatched it out of his hand and said, "MINE!" Today, as I was folding laundry, Thomas grabbed a sock out of the pile and yelled, "MINE!" He only says about ten words. He just had to add that to his vocabulary.

We were reading Sinbad out of the Arabian Nights for school a few months back. Everytime Sinbad would end up in dire straights (again) he'd say something like, "I should have listened to myself when I said I shouldn't go on this voyage......" The kids said he was probably smacking himself in the head saying, "Stupid, stupid, stupid........." (Funny. I find myself doing the same thing sometimes!)
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