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Thursday, May 30, 2013

I completely forgot...

I completely forgot that we did a garage sale. Now, if you know me in real life then you know this is big. I hate hosting garage sales. But, we needed to raise some money for our vacation and we had plenty of stuff to get rid of so...

Garage Sale.

The girls were amazing and helped constantly to get it ready. We got up at 6am on the Thursday and Friday of the sale and sat in our garage all morning. It was a lot of fun. Kind of . Until I had to take the kids to dentist appointments Thursday afternoon.

That was not fun.

We were there for forever.

The highlight of that was Bug. She was excellent and very entertaining. She danced around the waiting room and tried to get the fish to do tricks! When all the girls were done with check-ups Bug asked very excitedly if it was her turn. Her eyes were sparkling and she was doing her little happy dance. They couldn't say no to her! They took her back and 'performed' a check-up on her and gave her her own little bag of stuff. It was too precious.

Friday's garage sale lasted a bit longer as we were trying to get the money. It's all about money! heehee not really but kind of. We held out until around 1:30 when i called it a day.

We made enough to pay for our Dixie Stampede Tickets! The girls are supremely excited that we were able to pay for this part of vacation and that they helped. That was my only prayer for our sale was that we could raise enough money for the kids to help with the tickets. They wanted to contribute and did in a big way!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Terrible Friend

I really am a terrible friend.

I was supposed to go to a friend's house yesterday for a visit and coffee. And I forgot. It completely flew out of my mind like it wasn't even there.

Steven was home on Monday for Memorial Day and it threw my entire week off. I spent Monday thinking it was Sunday and so on and so on.

So this morning I figured out that it wasn't Tuesday but Wednesday and it went downhill from there!

Ugh, I hate it when I miss opportunities to escape the zoo and visit with adults! ;-)


p.s. to my friend...we WILL get together and soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why do I wait?

I always sit on my couch and wait to post things. I think I will do it later and that I am choosing the better thing to spend time with my family. Which is true. But...

Then I have more than a week of posting to catch up on and I can never remember what we have done once it is over. I can't even remember what I had for breakfast most days by lunchtime!

I do know why I do it. I just don't like admitting it. I am a procrastinator with poor time management skills. That's a deadly combination isn't it?

I don't always have that problem, mind you. It is selective when it appears. I can be very organized and on top of things ticking them off my list I have so carefully prepared. I can zoom projects through to completion early and have it looking spectacular.

I just don't always.

I tend toward my natural inclination of laziness and procrastination too often for my own good.

It drives me crazy.

But, I haven't changed it yet so it must not drive me too batty.

*big dramatic sigh*

It's time to go make another list to get ready for TPA Convention...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Not so Normal Formal

The day is here. She is going off, looking too beautiful and I am standing here with tears in my eyes. Not tears of sadness really, but tears of extreme happiness and love. She is such a wonderful young woman and Steven and I are blessed to have her as our daughter.

I am sure she will have a fantastic time tonight and I can't wait to hear all about it. But for now here are pics of the girl.

My one regret of the night? Not having any pics taken of her and I together. :( But that's okay bc she has her daddy and there will be other formals.

Next year it will be Sarah and Bethany going! Yeah, let's not think about that one right now.


Saturday, May 25, 2013


We spent almost the entire day with family. It was fantastic. Steven's youngest brother, his wife, and their three adorable daughters came and spent the day with us. We visited, the kids played, we ate, and we encouraged one another.

It was awesome.


Love our family!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Getting Ready

This post is for me. I need to prepare myself for Bethany's first formal on Sunday Night. She has the dress and we just need to find the shoes, jewelry, and jacket.

I am kind of putting it off. Why? Because she looked way to beautiful in that stinkin' dress and it made me realize that in three short years she will be an adult. I could cry just thinking about it.

Good and Bad tears. She will be a fantastic adult I have no doubt because she is a fantastic teen but she won't be here every day. Yes, I know that is good and I will be glad to have one less body around sometimes but I will miss her.

For now, I will enjoy the sweetness she brings and I will ignore that stupid formal coming up! ;-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last Days

Tonight Naomi had her last day of gymnastics for the year. We are making her take the summer off. Yes, making her. She would do it every day, all day long if we let her. But we won't. She needs a life and we, as a family, need a life.
So, it was her last class until August.
She was a little sad going in but soon found her happy place flipping around and winning the handstand contest! She had a great time and loved every second of it.
And I loved watching her. I don't get to watch her every week bc Steven takes her so he can work on BSF lessons so it is a treat to go and see the joy on her face as she does what she loves.
I'm a little sad too that she has to take a break from classes but I guarantee you she won't be taking a break at home!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Home School Grades-Mosaic Reviews

Homeschooling is tough.  It is great and I love it but it is tough sometimes.  Some of those tough times center around grades and record keeping.

One of the reasons that it is a problem for me is that I'm bad at keeping grades and records.  I haven't really worried about it until Bethany was in 8th grade getting ready for high school but by then I was floundering.  I tried a few options and didn't like any of them.

I tried a paper record book.  Okay, okay, I have tried them before and failed miserably.  I thought it would make me more official if I used one of the kinds of grade books my teachers had in school.  Epic fail.  They weren't a good fit for our homeschooling but I felt guilty about not using them.  So I kept trying to find a record book.

I tried a few other planner/record/grade books through the years and finally just gave up.  I did find a few computer programs that would track grades, records, and lesson plans but they were so complicated I needed to read a 200 page manual just to enter lessons.  not gonna happen.  There were a few others that were less complicated but still more complicated than I cared to deal with.

I really had given up until I got this review.  Brenda, one of our leaders, had been raving about this program for several days and when I looked it up I was hooked.  I watched the videos and pretty much begged to get the review!  Thankfully I did get the review and I have been doing the happy dance ever since.

My Home School Grades is a fantastic program for tracking grades, transcripts, lessons, and extra curricular activities.  It is easy to use and the Customer Service is superb.

Let's get down to it, shall we?

Founded in 2012, My Home School Grades was born out of the need to gather in one place all the information about your family’s home school experience and to help manage and then export that content in a relevant, user friendly way.

My Home School Grades is the product of a home school dad (John Echols) and a home school graduate (Jordan Shute). Though separated in age by more than two decades, their combined passion for the home school community and what it represents for the future brought them together to form a partnership and create My Home School Grades.

These guys are great.  We were able to talk with them on a conference call and they are friendly and very willing to help if you need it.  I have emailed multiple times and they have responded within a day with the help I needed.  They really do have a passion to serve their customers.

Now on to what you really want to know!

My Home School Grades is intuitive and very easy to use.  Once you sign up (you can get a FREE 14 day trial btw) you are ready to begin.  It's that simple.  You sign in and start putting in the information.

After you log in you will see on the left-hand side of the screen a button that says Add Student.  Click on it and you will see the the screen below.  Simply fill it out, select a picture, and click Create Student.  Once you have entered your Student you are ready to enter their Classes.  I have only a few so far for one student and almost all for the other I'm tracking.  It has been a breeze putting the classes and grades into My Home School Grades.

This is the screen you will see to enter a Class:

You can see the options of Class Title, Credits, School Year(awesome if you have back records to enter!), Semester, Subject, Grade Level, AP/Honors Class, Pass/Fail, Lesson Plan, Single Grade, and Dual Enrollment.  That's a lot of options, right?  I thought so too.  Some of them I didn't even think of until I saw them here.  I love the Pass/Fail option for some of the classes we have at our homeschool group that don't assign grades.  The other absolutely amazingly fantastic feature is that you can enter numbers like 98, just the letter grade or the fraction like 18/20 and it will be accepted in the program!  Let me tell you, that is very helpful to this harried mom of 5 homeschooling kiddos.

Once you have filled in all of those options it is time to Choose a Publisher.  Yes, that's right.  They already have some of the curriculum providers in their program!  What does that mean?  Well, for our Math U See levels all I had to do was choose them from the Publisher list and the lessons were already filled in.  Holy cow that is cool!  They are getting more all the time too.  If you don't see yours, just ask and they will see if the publisher will allow it.
Sweet, huh?

Okay, so once you have your Student and Classes entered here is what you will see.

This is the list of classes with grades (no, i don't have them all completed) and when they took place and if they were a full year or a semester.  On this page you can see the GPA, Credits, and the Activity Button.
This page is a quick view of what is going on.

If you want a Transcript just click on the Transcript button on the left hand side and you will see this.

On the second page you can list their activities.

You can also choose to put the student's SSN and Graduation date on the transcript.

Then all you have to do is print and you have your Transcript.

My Home School Grades is so easy to use yet has everything you need.  Well, not quite everything I want.  I want a Reading List section and they said they are working on it!  I am just completely thrilled with MHSG and have been telling everyone about it.  Seriously, I am.  I just love this program.  I am so excited to have this for they younger kids.  My older two are already in high school so I'm a little behind with their records but with MHSG I can catch up in a snap.

If you want to know more head over to their website and check out the How To Videos.  They are very explanatory and worth your time.  If you want just a quick overview head over to This Page and read all about it.  You can also check out their Blog to find out more and read great articles.

Wanna know how much this is gonna cost ya?  That just might be the best part!  My Home School Grades is only $49.99 for a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP.  I'm not kidding here.  That is really all it costs for all the great options I have talked about.

Here it is directly from John Echols: "Now, home school families pay one price, one time, for complete access to My Home School Grades. All future updates and enhancements will be included at no charge."

Woohoo!  isn't that fantastic?  I think so.  I think you will really like My Home School Grades so go check them out.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A New Experience

Our family shared a new experience tonight.  It's not one any of us has ever experienced and we were nervous.  We would know some of the people that would be there but not all.  And that made some of us nervous.

One of my daughters, I won't say which one, begged me not to go.  She wanted to stay home alone.  I wouldn't let her.

Yeah, I am the mean mom that won't give in to her children's demands and wishes.  Like Tim Hawkins says, "I took second place for meanest mom in the world last year.  This year I am going for first!"


So, what was this new experience you ask?  It was a barn dance.  Yup, a bone fide barn dance.

One of the girls on Bethany's soccer team invited us.  Her family hosts them several times through out the year and invited us this time.  I was super excited to go.  I might have been the only one besides Bethany but that's okay.  Sometimes we just have to push to get what we want.  ;-)

It was a pretty long day and by the time the dance rolled around certain family members were getting a little cranky.  No, it wasn't me.  I won't name names.  let's just say it was not pretty here.

We set out to go to dinner for Sarah's 8th grade graduation dinner but took off too early because we arrived at the barn dance 30 minutes early!  Yup, you read that right.  30 minutes early.  There was moaning and gnashing of teeth in the back of the van.  Complaints were issued about us 'always' being early and why can't we 'ever' be 'on time'?

Don't get me started on their use of absolutes.

We ended up sitting on the side of the road watching motocross for about 20 minutes.  It was mesmerizing to watch them jump and land like popcorn.  Steven and I loved it.  We actually tried to go into the park to watch but it cost $10 for adults and $5 per kid.   Not gonna happen.  Well, not that day anyway.  We are talking about going back some time this summer.

On to the dance.

We showed up right behind some friend from the team and slowly pulled into a parking spot.  We made our way to the barn a little apprehensively.  The barn was a real barn with stalls just like I remember in my uncle's barn.  The loft, however, was nothing like his.  This loft was huge and beautiful.  There wasn't anything up there-just a large open space.

They put up lights around the edges of the loft and set up a table for the music and snacks.  A big fan and two open bay windows kept the air flowing.  But once we started dancing everyone was sweating up a storm.

We danced from around 6:30 til 9:45 when we left but it was still going on.  We danced to popular songs, did the Chicken Dance, the Cotton-Eyed Joe, Just Dance songs and choreography, and many more.  The kids all had a great time hanging out with their friends and being goofy.  It was a great evening and I hope we can do it again.

We can mark Go To a Barn Dance off of our summer to do list!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


School is out...kind of.

We are technically done with the year but since we go year round and the older girls aren't done with their assignments we will keep going.  It is a much lighter schedule, mind you, but we are going to finish.

Now, I'm not one to make them complete every page in every book...anymore...but there are some things that have to be completed.  My Freshman has to complete her studies to get the credits and my 8th grader has to complete Science and Math to graduate 8th grade.  Those are non-negotiables. You can't advance into high school w/o completing your 8th grade work.

Yes, it's just my opinion but it is common sense isn't it?


We are taking school slowly now and focusing on the few subjects they need to work on.   The goal is to have them done by vacation but that might not happen.  It's a good thing we have until June 30th to complete the year!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ring the Bell WINNER!

Yes, I finally drew a winner for the Ring the Bell DVD.  I didn't forget but life got crazy busy with soccer, end of year stuff, and so on and so forth!


Here is the WINNER of the DVD...

DEBBIE!!  You are the winner.  Yay!  I will send you an email.

Awards and such

Being part of The Wichita Warriors has been a neat experience.  There have been friendships formed, skills learned, and memories made.  We have loved it.

Yes, I know I've said that before but it bears repeating.  ;-)

Monday night The Warriors had their award ceremonies for the entire year.  The emails said for the students to wear nice dresses and/or dress pants, etc.  I didn't realize it was as big of deal as it ended up being.

Bethany wore the dress she wore when she sang in the wedding in March and looked beautiful.  I, on the other hand wore capris and a t-shirt.  I had to go to a planning meeting for our homeschool group as soon as she was done at the ceremony.  I felt a little under-dressed!

But that's okay.  I was there to see Bethany honored for her participation in soccer.  It was nice to see the different teams up there and their coaches talking about them.  Our friend, Z, received and honorary mention for All League or All Tournament-I can't remember which! lol

Our girls soccer team took stage and the coach said, "You are looking at Northwest High Tournament Champions!"  Woohoo!  That was pretty cool and the girls were so proud.

I left right after the girls soccer team was done and zoomed over to the planning meeting.  The meeting was under way when I got there.  I missed dinner but was in time for dessert!

The planning meeting was successful and we planned next years classes for our group.  I will be teaching Ancient civilizations for High School and a Science class for 2nd and 3rd grades-I think!  ;-)  The classes are going to be great, again, and the planning meeting went smoothly and quickly.  It doesn't always, let me tell you!

The night was a long one but it was successful.  I love it when that happens.

Waterproof Bible-the Bible you just have to have-Review

We have all been in this situation: We are going somewhere and we really want to take our Bible but there is a chance it will get wet so we leave it at home. Or we are sitting doing our Bible Study or devotions and our little ones come in fast for a hug causing us to spill our beloved coffee all over our precious Word. Then there are the children that leave their Bibles on the kitchen counters or dining room tables with cups full of liquid tipping precariously toward their Bibles. One bump and the cups pour out all over the Bibles.

Each one of those times the Bibles get wet and are quite possibly ruined. If they aren't ruined then the pages will never be the same. They are crinkled and brittle causing you to have to be even more careful when you turn the pages. It's just not a great place to be. The material they use to make the pages in our Bibles is very fragile. While that may not be a problem for some, for this mom of 5, it is. Our 8yo isn't as careful as she should be with her Bible and the 11 yo puts hers down in wet spots all the time! The 13 and 15 yos leave theirs in bags to get mushed and beat up.

It's a problem people!

But fear not! Mosaic Reviews was fortunate to review The Waterproof Bible and let me tell you, we loved it! This Bible really is waterproof! And coffee proof and the list goes on.

The Waterproof Bible from Bardin&Marsee is a fantastic addition to your Bible shelf. It comes in KJV, NKJV, NSV, NLT, AND NIV (2011 edition). There is a complete Bible as well as just a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. There are multiple covers to choose from and you can even personalize them! They have covers, pens, highlighters, and more on their website.

The Waterproof Bible uses a different kind of material for their pages, binding, and cover. The pages are thicker than a regular Bible and don't feel as flimsy. They are durable. They really are. I used to work in a Christian book store selling Bibles and I love the feeling of a brand new straight out of the box Bible when the pages are crisp and the edges stick together slightly. We would open them up, placing them on the counter, and gently pull the pages apart. If you weren't careful enough the pages would rip before anyone was able to use them. The pages were oh so fragile and sometimes even the oils from our fingers would mark the pages. There were some of the more expensive Bibles I wouldn't even touch for fear of ripping the pages!

I have to honestly say that I didn't believe it when this Bible claimed to be waterproof. I really didn't. I mean, how could it be? And even if it was a little water resistant it wouldn't stand up to being dropped in a puddle of water or having coffee spilled on it. That just wasn't possible. Was it?

Is it?

Yes, it is! The Waterproof Bible is really waterproof! I know I've already said that but I just can't help it. I am astounded that it didn't get ruined with the tests we put it through. The first being the scenario with the coffee I mentioned above. My 3yo decided to love on me while I had my coffee cup sitting on the coffee table right next to my Waterproof Bible when she bumped me, the table, and the coffee cup, spilling it all over the Bible. I have to admit that I wasn't the happiest momma at that moment because I didn't really believe the Bible would hold up to the coffee.

But, it did. The coffee was all over the pages and I was able to just wipe it off without any stains or the pages bubbling or rippling. There was no evidence of any liquid having been spilled at all. It was epic! Life changing even. If I didn't have to worry about spilling anything on the Bible then I could take it anywhere!

ANYWHERE People! The swimming pool, backpacking (not that I do that but I could now if I wanted to), on the lake, the coffee shop, soccer games, and the list just goes on and on. There is no end to the places you can take this Bible. It will go ANYWHERE. Did I already say that?

Watch these two videos we made.  Have a little grace on us-they aren't very good but the kids had fun demonstrating the Waterproof Bible!

The Waterproof Bible from Bardin&Marsee is available on their website where you can see the options they offer and the extras they have as well. You can use dry highlighters with this Bible and there will be NO bleed through. Let me say that again. There will be NO BLEED THROUGH on the pages if you use the dry highlighters. That is big, people. You can also use ball point pens and pencils without bleed through or smearing. If you're like me then you take notes and underline in your Bible all over the place. Bleed through can be a real problem with regular Bibles. ( don't use roller ball, gel pens, or Sharpies because the are liquid and won't absorb onto the Waterproof Bible's material.)

I really encourage you to head over to their Our Story page and find out more about Bobby and Anna and the Bardin&Marsee company. While you are there check out their Community page and the Customize page to find out how many different options there are for your Waterproof Bible.

If you want to purchase your own Bible they range in price from $24.95 for the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs to $44.95 for the whole Bible.  You can also purchase pens, highlighters, covers, journals, and more on This page.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ooka Island Review-Mosaic Review

I don't normally like my 3 yo playing on the computer or watching too much t.v. so when I was picked for this review I have to be honest, I wasn't that happy.  Yeah, not a very good attitude for a reviewer but I'm just being real here.

So...I received the USB stick in the mail and immediately plugging it in to my laptop.  Thankfully it was super easy to load up with almost no help from me!  Which is a good thing because I am not known for my technical prowess.

Ooka Island loaded up and within minutes I was playing.  Yes, I mean me.  I wanted to see what it was all about before turning the 3yo loose on it.

I have to say that the graphics were good, the music catchy, and it was very visually appealing.  I could tell my 3yo was going to love it.  ;-)

I went ahead and played some games to get a feel for it and see what games there were so I could help direct her to games she could play.  I have to say that one game actually made me queasy!  I don't do roller coasters and get sick to my stomach at the movies with quick movement so the game in the mine was more than I could take.  The kids loved it however.

Here is a little about Ooka Island:

Ooka Island Inc. is an educational company committed to using science-based reading methods and technology to increase literacy skills for children. Our goal is to teach children to read fluently and well through reading instruction that is fun and compelling.

The Ooka Island Adventure is an adaptive learn-to-read technology for Pre-K to 2nd Grade. The combination of the innovative features below make it a powerful tool to accelerate the reading development of emergent readers as they move along the path to fluent reading.
  • Created by the founder of the US DOE’s top-rated program for reading comprehension, theEye / Ear Reading Method revolves around the five following fundamentals of reading: phonemic awareness, phonetics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
  • An adaptive learning algorithm called READirect that ensures skill mastery in reading for each student.
  • Comprehensive assessment and real-time progress reports provided online in the Ooka Lighthouse and organized into actionable data for multiple end-users.
  • An assessment tool called the Ooka Compass for students who already have a reading base to start them at the most appropriate level on the Book Path
  • A built-in E-Reader called the Popcorn Library packed with 85 carefully leveled and sequenced Ooka Island e-Books.
  • In a complete and rigorous program for beginning readers, approximately 80 hours of proven reading curriculum is presented to our youngest learners in a virtual world format with aheroic storyline and mission.

Take a tour of Ooka Island.

Interested?  I thought so!  Ooka Island is a download or USB stick to load it onto your computer.  It is not a website and it has no ads or pop-ups to worry about.  You don't have to worry about your kids clicking on a pop-up and seeing something they shouldn't or visiting questionable websites. Ooka Island is self-contained and that is wonderful to me.

 Along with the fun games of Ooka Island come printable activity pages and books to help reinforce what your child is learning.  These are really great to keep the learning going while they are sitting right there with the older kids during school.  The littles can do their school at the same time as the bigger kids.  That's a bonus to this homeschool momma!

Ooka Island is a great way to teach your young ones the basics of reading while sitting right beside you.  Or you can have the older kids work with the younger ones like I did.  My 11yo and 8yo were thrilled when I asked them to sit with the 3yo.  In fact, it ended up being the two older ones taking over when the 3yo had to take a nap!

When the 3yo sat down to play Ooka Island she wasn't sure what to do and the interactive game helped guide her and help her figure it out.  It is intuitive and keeps them moving at their pace.  If you want to check their progress you can head over to Ooka Lighthouse and find out.

There is a lot of great information on Ooka Island's website.  I highly recommend heading over there and checking it all out.  Don't miss the FAQ page, Why Ooka page, and their Contact page.

Want to buy Ooka Island for your home?  The Homeschool Edition is $19.95 a month or $149.95 a year for a Family with Four homeschooling kids.  For an Individual Plan with one homeschool kid it would be $12.95 a month and $124.95 a year.   There is also School Edition pricing as well as a Home Edition.

Ooka Island is for children ages 3-7 but my 8yo and 11yo had fun playing it too!

Head on over and check out Ooka Island for yourself.  We will be using it to help our 3yo learn to read while you do!

Can't Wait Willow! Review and GIVEAWAY!

Want another adorable book to read to your children? Who isn't looking for a great book to enjoy with your children, right? Well, Can't Wait Willow is just the book you're looking for then.

 About Shine Bright Kids:
The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The principles that will be explored include: using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.

About the Author:  (Recognize the last name Ziglar?!?)
Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series.

 About the Illustrator: Thanks to her first grade teacher, who recognized her superior skills in drawing a robin, Luanne Marten has been drawing, painting and sketching ever since.  She is a great experimenter and has a fresh, whimsical approach to bring her characters to life.

"Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can't say "no" to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can't turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she run out of time, but money, and she won't be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she's been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say "no" to goo things to end up with something great!"

This book is seriously adorable. The illustrations by Luanne Marten are sweet and draw you in to the story. I couldn't get my 3yo to stop looking at it and then she had to take it to her Grandma's with her to read all weekend! She loves this book. I love this book. I love the simple yet needed message of delayed gratification that our children (and adults) need to learn. It is presented in a very real way that kids can easily understand. My 3yo was walking around saying, "Willow, say No!" This is a book we will visit often and I will have my older kids read it to the younger ones!

If you want to see more of this adorable book, head over to these websites and check it out. Before you go, watch the trailer while you're at it!

Visit the author's website to get great resources to support the book, including a printable poster with 'Ways to Shine Bright,' as well as reward chart you can use at home with your children.

The publisher site is:
Pictures of you and your family enjoying Can't-Wait Willow! are encouraged on Facebook and Twitter! :)  

Can't-Wait Willow! from Ideals Children's Books from Ideals Books on Vimeo.

Now, if you just have to have a book and don't want to rush out and buy one because I am GIVING ONE AWAY, enter your comment below and wait a week. I will draw a winner on May 18th.
Just leave a comment telling me your favorite childhood book and your email and you're good to go!

"Disclosure of Material Connecttion: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How NOT to Pick Curriculum

This time of year we homeschool mom's start looking at next year's school books.  We scour catalogues, peruse websites, and stalk friends' facebook pages and blogs in search of new curricula.  We question, make lists, circle books, and talk our husbands' ears off before making a decision.

But, how do you make that decision?  There are all kinds of articles talking about How to Choose the Right curriculum but about an article about How NOT to Choose Curriculum?

We all know there are things we do that we shouldn't when we are choosing and buying new curricula that we shouldn't do.

So here's my list.

How NOT to Pick Curriculum for Your Kids:

1.  Do NOT make impulse buys at Convention.  Yes, we all know that the spiels they give in workshops are designed to hook you and convince you that their product is the best ever and will solve all your problems and make your children little Einsteins.  They will make you feel all warm and fuzzy and guide you to their booth with a form filled out waiting for you.  You will leave with a bag filled with their product and have no idea how to use it.

2.  Do NOT buy curriculum sight unseen based on third-party opinions that don't know you or your children.  We all know that our curriculum is the best ever and want everyone else to use it because it would work perfectly for them too.  Of course we all know everything about every curriculum out there, right?

3.  Do NOT buy used curriculum without looking through it thoroughly first.  Enough said.

4.  Do NOT buy curriculum just because your friend uses it.  Your friend will sell you on the high points but may forget about the downfalls.  ;-)

5.  Do NOT buy curriculum based on price alone.  Just because it is cheap doesn't mean it will be better and vice versa.  Just because it is the most expensive product out there doesn't mean it will work for your family. Price point is not evidence of a good product.

6.  Do NOT buy curriculum when you are tired.  Okay, we are homeschooling moms and we are always tired but you know what I mean.  Don't buy new books when you are at the end of your rope and can't see straight.  If you can't read the name of the curriculum you are looking at you are too tired to buy it!

7.  Do Not buy curriculum when you have cranky kids in tow.  Again, when isn't that going to happen?  But, if you have never seen, touched, or read through the curriculum do you really want to buy something with screaming or fighting kids touching you and pulling at your clothes?  Can you really focus on something new when your child is practically standing on top of you, touching your arm every 1.4 seconds saying, "Mom" over and over again?

8.  Do NOT buy curriculum when you are hungry.  Doesn't this advice go for everything?  I mean, really, how can you concentrate when your stomach is rumbling and you are weak with hunger?  Right?  Fighting off the effects of hunger clouds the mind and causes you to make impulse buys like in #1.

9.  Do NOT buy curriculum you aren't willing to ask questions about.  We've all been there where we think the people in the booth are the smartest people we have ever met and we are intimidated by them so we become mute.  We stand there smiling and nodding with a dazed look in our eyes and never speak a word. We just silently hand them our money and walk away wondering how that just happened.

10.  Do NOT buy curriculum if you already own something you love for that subject just because it's new and better than anything else ever.  New doesn't mean better.  Just because it is sitting there so pretty, shiny, and smelling like new school books doesn't mean you need to buy it.

There are so many more but those are just the ones I could think of at the moment!

Of course, I am not against Conventions and I am not against new curriculum.  I'm a reviewer for goodness sake!  But, I have fallen into the shiny new books that promise to do everything I need it to trap before (and probably will again!) and wanted to pass on what little wisdom I have.  Spiced with a little humor of course.

Take all this with tongue in cheek and a fair amount of salt.  ;-)  Leave a comment and tell me your Do NOT rules to help us all stay away from the buyers remorse guilt.