Monday, November 29, 2010

Combining work and homeschooling is easier than you think

Do you work and want to homeschool your children but don't know how to do both? Here is a great article at with some helpful tips on how to work AND homeschool your children at the same time.

Over the years we managed to work out that problem for ourselves by first deciding I would stay home with the children while my sweet hubby worked outside the home. From there I managed to establish several home-based businesses to make more income and to teach our children how to create home-based businesses of their own. We did everything from flea markets to publishing but our main source for the most reliable home-based income turned out to be eBay! These days my hubby still  commutes 100 miles a day round trip to his job but my commute consists of a walk down the hall to the eBay room and out to the mail box to ship what we sell.

The benefits to working from home while homeschooling your children are endless. Now that our children are older I treasure the time spent with them while they were growing up. I fondly remember the teamwork effort we all put in to survive and thrive. Our children are now both happily employed and have never been on unemployment assistance. Neither have my husband or I even during all these years of working. We taught our children there is a difference between having an income and having a job. There has always been a way to make an income for our family and our homeschooling no matter how large or small. You just need to get creative and be willing to work at it.

Learn to manage your priorities NOT your time. You cannot manage time but you do have control over your goals and priorities. Become financially literate as well. Talk to other homeschooling families to get some ideas for home-based businesses and find out how they solved the problem of combining work and homeschooling. I know a single mom who worked three jobs and still homeschooled her son. By the time he turned 18 he had nearly 30 college credits and was accepted into the U.S. Army without a high school diploma, high school transcripts or SAT scores. If she can do it so can you!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

An economic collapse can be a good thing

When I was growing up my family lived on a farm. We had cows, horses, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, geese, rabbits, cats, dogs and other critters we'd raised or dragged home from who knows where. Mom planted a garden each year that took up nearly an acre. There was always plenty of fresh milk for drinking and making butter with. I remember helping pluck lots of chickens and scrape a few hogs at the time too. We didn't have much money but there was always plenty to eat, piles of hand-me-down clothes to wear and we made our own fun.

Each day now we are constantly bombarded with bad economic news and I've learned not to trust anything the media or the president tells me about recovery, recession, depression, booms and busts. I choose not to participate. I choose to take charge of my life and that of my family's health, safety and well being. Sure it may take some know how and cash to accomplish this but I'm not about to sit around waiting for FEMA to arrive if life goes haywire.

You need to start with a plan. Make a cup of tea, sit down with pen and paper, take a deep breath and begin to plan. The basics you need to survive are water, food, shelter and security. Make lists and set goals. One of my goals is to regain some of the skills I learned while living on the family farm. I remember helping my mom make butter 40 years ago so the other day I decided to relearn how it's done. I could recall the ingredients but wasn't sure about the process so I ventured to where I usually go for assistance...Youtube! I'm a big fan of Youtube and love the rawness of those homemade videos with squealing babies in the background, unpredictable animals and the amateurish quality of those performing for the camera. The 10 minute windows into the lives of those wanting to share their knowledge (or stupidity) are a hoot!

Several videos later I decided the best appliance in our kitchen for making butter was my hubby's Kitchen Aid mixer. Mind you my hubby bought this appliance when our first born was very young (she's now 24) and up until now I had never used it myself. I've made two batches of creamy butter in the past week and know that should the grid collapse I can make this staple using many other methods that don't require electricity. Now all I need to do is make nice with a local farmer so I'll have a ready supply of cream.

My second attempt at making homemade butter...not bad!

Another skill I wanted to relearn was the fine art of bread making. Again, the Kitchen Aid proved its value in the kitchen. You need to understand something here. Years ago I gave up cooking. My hubby found cooking to be an enjoyable past time so gradually he took over the kitchen. It was a welcome relief to me and my children thoroughly enjoyed helping dad in the kitchen. I didn't mind shopping for the food or growing it and I was happy enough to clean up after but the cooking part was not a pleasant experience for me. In college my survival tools consisted of a can opener and a lunch card.

Maybe growing up on the farm turned me off to cooking because when we cooked then it was for 20 people, including 10 children, parents, hired hands and stragglers. It was like cooking for an army. When my son was 4 years old he caught me one evening preparing to boil a pan of water to make pasta. As he climbed onto the kitchen stool to watch he innocently chimed, "Mom, you know how to cook?" Yesterday while standing there making the butter my astonished now 19 year old son inquired, "What are you doing in the kitchen?" Still not sure if it was a serious question or he was revealing his rather dry wit.

I not only wanted to make the bread but I wanted to be able to grind the flour for it as well so the hunt was on for a grain mill. Reviewing grain mills online was a little disheartening because most of the better ones sold in the range of $200.00 to $400.00! I knew there had to be a less expensive and simpler way so I went back to my roots once again. I remembered my mom having an old hand crank meat grinder. It was similar to some of the newfangled grain mills online so I decided to do some more research on these old grinders. It was time to visit the antique shops because if you're looking for gadgets that were made to last a life time these are the places to go.

Lo and behold, I found a grinder at an antique mall that had a round blade I didn't recognize. No holes for the meat to pass through so it must be for milling. I was right. After lots of experimenting I was able to mill oats, wheat berries, dry beans and even popcorn! This sweet little mill will also grind up cacao nibs, something none of our electric appliances can do thoroughly. The best part of this discovery is that the antique meat grinder/mill only cost me $20.00!

Antique Keen Kutter meat grinder-food chopper-grain mill.

Some left over rolled oats in the hopper after milling for bread.

There is nothing like making your own butter or bread and feeling the satisfaction it brings knowing you can do these things. It is also gratifying knowing the fruits of your labor and love are much healthier for you and the finished products are thoroughly enjoyed by family members. It's been about 20 years since I last made a loaf of bread but the knack is still there and I was quick to remember many of the basic steps that make the difference between a good loaf of bread and a great loaf of bread. These were great ones!

Homemade wheat and oat bread hot from the oven.

Another of the staples you'll need on your food list is beans. Lots and lots and lots of beans in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Dry beans are best because they'll store longer. You can grow your own and dry them too for eating or next year's planting providing they're heirloom seeds and not hybrid. I wanted to see if I could make a decent pot of bean soup without it tasting like mushy cardboard. This time I cheated a little and used some packaged seasoning but I managed to concoct what I call a depression-hobo soup with 15 different kinds of beans, some limp carrots and wilted celery I found lurking around in the back of the fridge, chicken stock, dried basil, a dollop of my homemade butter, along with some canned turkey and Spam Lite I sent through the antique meat grinder. Actually, it was all very edible. Even my son's friend complimented the soup but a strapping 6 foot tall 19 year old guy may not be a fussy eater to begin with. However, I'll take the compliments where I can get them especially when it is directed at my cooking.

My version of depression-hobo soup...good eatin' if I say so myself.

So you see an economic collapse can be a good thing. It forces you to reach deep into your roots and brings long forgotten skills back to the surface where they just might save your life. I'm relearning and polishing those old skills and plan to learn some new ones as well. A great way to prepare for an economic setback is to research how great-grandma and great-grandpa lived and survived. Where did they get their food? What tools did they use? What skills did they have? Can you learn them too? Of course you can. Being prepared takes away much of the apprehension and fear of uncertainty. It will bring you some much needed peace of mind knowing you can do these things and you have the right tools to do them with. Without that apprehension and fear you'll be better able to help your family, friends and neighbors get through a rough spell too.

These tough economic times are a great opportunity to teach your homeschooled children about what they need to do to be self-reliant, self-motivated and skillful at surviving. Go and learn to bake bread, or learn to fish, or start a wood stove, or stitch a cut, or gather rain water, or raise some chickens, or grow a garden, or do whatever you think you may need to so you won't be waiting for the likes of FEMA or someone else to rescue you. Your life may depend on it.

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Sugar Hill sunrise November 19, 2010

Red sky in the morning...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Skip Your Parent-Teacher Conference, Go to Jail?

Skip Your Parent-Teacher Conference, Go to Jail?

"I love parent-teacher conferences; I get to talk about one of my favorite subjects in the world — my kids — with someone who gets to spend more time with them during the day than I do."

This is a very sad commentary on American families. I'm not surprised this mom would even admit to such a thing.

Even worse...CONVICTED??? For what? Being a parent???

"Moms and pops convicted of parent-teacher truancy would get one last chance to make things right before swapping business suits for prisoner garb. If, after being convicted, they schedule and attend a conference, the sentence would disappear — kind of like this proposal is likely to do."


Homeschooling – The Costs

Homeschooling – The Costs

Again, homeschooling only need cost as much or as little as you're willing to spend. The reality for many families is that homeschooling is simply an extension of day to day living. Most families already have a house full of books, learning materials and comfortable furniture. There is no need to purchase 'school' materials or furniture.

It is mentioned that some homeschooling families have a mom with a college degree but she has given up the opportunity to make money outside the home. When a family actually calculates what the cost of working outside the home is most will find the added income, after taxes and expenses, is minimal or at a break even point. You can't put a price on the value of a mom staying home with her children for the first 18 years of their lives. Being a mom (and a stay-at-home mom) is already a full time job that needs our complete attention.

The key approach to homeschooling is to RELAX. Sometimes the best learning tools are the simplest objects around the house and not the latest plastic gizmo or electronic gadget. Some of your child's best teachers will be grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, sister and brother. Save your money for more important things like that special family trip to Disney or a good used van for free field trips around your neighborhood with family and friends. Life is actually simple. Try to keep it that way.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Astra Taylor on the Unschooled Life

Homeschool Power...this is just plain cute

Some of the best years of my life were spent just hanging out with my children when they were very young. I still enjoy spending time with them and love watching them make new discoveries as young adults. Watching this video brings back memories of our own homeschool days. Thank you Bahiyyih for sharing your homeschool with us.

What About BOB?

What About BOB?

This is so cute. I love drawings by children. My children were drawing pictures constantly when they were young. We used many of those drawings in the booklets and newsletters we published. They were so proud of their sketches and it was a great experience for them to see their work in print.

Scholarship essay writing workshop and National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo - St. Louis Homeschooling |

Scholarship essay writing workshop and National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo - St. Louis Homeschooling |

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leave it to a Marine to set the record many of you know this?

Amazing. Simply amazing. Brought tears to my eyes. God bless you sir!

Notice it takes a few seconds for the crowd to finally realize what they are listening to...the national they begin to stand up and place their hands over their hearts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What is happening in Delaware sounds much like Vermont...and every other state in the Union!

We the People of the First State from Friends of Christine O'Donnell on Vimeo.

If Peter Shumlin gets elected as governor here in Vermont I'm turning in my tax number to the next Secretary of State. I absolutely refuse to collect any more money for the state of Vermont. I'll do my business out of state. If my nephew, Jason Gibbs, is elected the next Secretary of State here in Vermont he will have his hands full just keeping 2 steps ahead of a corrupt administration until Vermont finally goes belly up, even then the Democrats will blame that on the Republicans. The Republicans will reciprocate. No one will be happy here until there is no more money in retirement accounts, the treasury, or the economy and we're all living in the next depression. My husband now has to work 3 months out of each year just to pay property taxes on our 1 acre homestead, our 1 acre rental where we subsidize our 83 year old mom's living (and that of her 91 year old husband), and on a small commercial building that doesn't even have septic or water. We simply cannot continue this way. My wonderful husband has to work 1 week out of every month EVERY year just to pay the other remaining taxes we must pay. Why should we bother to continue doing this? It's killing him (literally) and we've had enough of politics for this lifetime!