Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blast from the Past

Homeschool Village Blast From The Past

Today The Homeschool Village's Thursday link up theme is Blast From the Past! We're sharing school photos and memories from our favorite teacher. The Village asks:

Who made a positive impression on you? Who's words have stuck with you all through the years? Have you carried over any of their traits into you own homeschool?
My favorite teacher was Senora Garcimonde.  She taught Spanish 4, 5, and 6 at South Plantation High School.  She had high expectations and I flourished with her.  I was the only non-native student in the class of only 6-8 students.  All the other students were from a latino background.  We were not allowed to use any English in her class; even the speeches we gave, were all in Spanish.  I came out of that class completely bilingual.
She also made it a lot of fun.  Since the school was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, we had many opportunities to interact with the Spanish population in Miami.  We went to plays, operas, and movies completely in Spanish and enjoyed many lunches out with her.  The best memory... going into Miami for the Cinco de Maya festival!

I still have her recipe for Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken)! 
My high school graduation photo...

Wow... my hair was really short then!

Happy homeschooling today!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Water's Cohesion

Let's start with the definition of cohesion.  Cohesion is "the phenomenon that occurs when individual molecules are so strongly attracted to each other that they tend to stay together, even when exposed to tension."  Per Apologia's Exploring Creation with Physical Science, "water molecules are attracted to one another by hydrogen bonds as well as the electrical charges that are the result of polarity.  Because they are attracted to one another, they do not like to be pulled apart.

To visually see this, we performed two (2) experiments. 

1)  Supplies needed: small metal paper clips, bowl of water, small piece of toilet paper, and dish soap. 

 First, we filled a bowl with water.  Then, we cut a piece a toilet paper about 2 inches longer and wider than our small metal paper clip.  Set the paper clip on the paper and place it gently on the surface of the water.  After the paper drops to the bottom, the paper clip should be floating.

The cohesion of the water molecules allows the water strider to "walk" on water!  Since the water molecules want to stay close together, it forms a 'skin' on the water, called surface tension.

Now, let's see what happens when you break the hydrogen bonds.  Add 1-2 drops of liquid dish soap to the bowl of water.  What happens?  The bonds are broken and the paper clip drops to the bottom of the bowl.

2)  Supplies needed: a clean penny, water dropper, and water.

This is a simple experiment but also shows how strong the bonds in water molecules are.  Rinse the penny in water and place on a flat surface.  Fill a small glass with water and fill the eye dropper with water.  Now, drop the water onto the penny one drop at a time.  Count how many drops your penny can hold.  We were able to get to 33-40 drops before the water spilled over the side.

If you look closely, you can see the 'bubble' over the penny.  How many drops does your penny hold?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homekeeper's Journal ~ September 23, 2010


In the Bible there are two words that are used in the New Testament which talk about Patience.

There is, of course, patience.  And then there is Long-suffering.  We don’t like that word much because our very nature seems to be repulsed by it… Long-suffering.

Suffering … Long.

Suffering a lonnnnnnng time.

But it isn’t just any kind of suffering Long-suffering is talking about.  Patience is what we seek when we have a trying situation to go through.  Long-Suffering is what we need when we are dealing with people.

Long-suffering means that we have patience with people.

God expects that we will have difficult people in our lives and He knows that it will sometimes be painful.  So He calls us to suffer a long time with people, be patient with them, while He is working out His plan in our lives and in their lives.

How can we refuse to be Long-suffering with others when we know how long God has suffered with our own foolishness?

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is all about Long-suffering ….

God has worked in my life regarding patience and long-suffering in these ways ………… by allowing me to "suffer" through some bad life choices; thus, allowing me the sweetness of His answer to my prayer.

The hardest part of showing long-suffering is …………. not allowing my flesh to take control of the situation or loving the person through their season of long-suffering.  (Keeping my mouth shut.)

The most rewarding part of showing long-suffering is ……….. living the gospel of loving others through it; rejoicing with them when it is over!

The one kind situation that I have the most trouble showing long-suffering in is ……… when the long-suffering was brought on by poor choices and the person isn't "doing" anything to 'right the wrong.'

I see how kindness goes hand in hand with long-suffering because ………. it shows God's love to those around you.

I want others to show long-suffering to me when ……… I'm indecisive or working through a bout of mild depression.

God shows long-suffering to me in these ways ……….. always loving me and bringing me closer to Him by whom he places in my life.

Ephesians 4:1b-2 says ….. "I (Paul) urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." 

This week I will begin to ask God to ……….. give me long-suffering patience and humility while still parenting teenagers and the words to bring them to a more intimate relationship with Him. 

Lord, show me how to love my teens through this season in their lives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Plastic Rock... can it be!

Science experiments… Yippee!  Plastic rock flows like a thick liquid and then solidifies when you squeeze it or subject it to an abrupt force.  Put 1 cup cornstarch in a pan and add 2/3 cup water; stir until evenly mixed.  Next add ½ cup more cornstarch.  As you mix it, it should solidify.  Leave it alone, it should liquefy again.  Put some in your hand… squeeze – solid, cup your hand – liquid. 

The above experiment is from the Physical Science book (ed. 2) p. 136-137.

More on this experiment in a few weeks.....

The Falling Away --- A book review

The Falling Away by T.L. Hines

The Falling Away draws us into the life of Dylan Runs Ahead, a member of Montana's Crow Indian tribe, after returning home from serving in Iraq disarming IED's.  He is running, as his name suggests, but not ahead.  He is running away - from his family, his people, his past... and himself.  As Dylan searches for a reason to continue living, he is befriended by others who are trying to persuade him to their chosen path for him.  Will he follow this true calling, or will the evil one draw him into the depths of depravity.

From the first chapter, I was drawn into the story of Dylan Runs Ahead.  What was he going to do?  Where was he going?  Would he get help with his addiction?  Why did he feel responsible?

When the author introduces the other main characters, I had trouble following who they were and the part they had in the story.  As I read, the chapters switched back and forth, sometimes to different characters, but also in time and space - past and present. I also kept trying to find the Christian theme.  Near the end of the book, both the Christian theme and the main characters parts became clearer. 

I give this book a rating of 3 out of 5.  I enjoyed the story, but it was not always clear as to the time, place, etc.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Chemical Composition of Water

Separating water into Hydrogen and Oxygen gas
Exploring Creation with Physical Science
Experiment 4.1    Apologia

Our experiment today used a 9-volt battery, salt water made with Epson salt, a glass, 2 test tubes, and safety glasses.  By using the battery, we were breaking the water molecule down to hydrogen gas and oxygen gas.

First, we made the salt water and submerged the battery for ten minutes, terminals up, to remove the trapped air from the battery.

Next, we used a large mixing bowl to make more of the salt solution.  We then filled the test tubes completely with the solution.  After carefully moving the filled test tubes to the glass with the battery, we simultaneously placed them upside down over the battery's terminals.  We made sure we had no air in the tubes by keeping the tips immersed in the salt water.

Once the test tubes were collecting the Oxygen and Hydrogen, we monitored the experiment to see how much of each gas was produced.

We learned that the negative terminal battery produced hydrogen gas while the positive terminal collected Oxygen. (Hydrogen is on the left!)  There was twice as much Hydrogen as Oxygen. With our simple experiment, we were able to "see" the chemical formula for water - H(2)O.

Each experiment requires a written laboratory report.  Michael is working on his for this lab!

I Love Science!

Add a link to your blog highlighting your science adventures.  A link back here is nice but not required.  If you don't have a blog, leave a comment.  I am looking forward to hearing about your experiments -- the ones that worked and the ones that.. oh, didn't!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Our Chaotic Week

This week was most definitely a week of endurance - from helping with one of two Open Houses for my husband's real estate business on Sunday, to being out yesterday from 7:15 am - 3:30 pm.  We did enjoy one celebratory lunch on Thursday; wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This week the 6-week ACT Prep course began for Matthew and Melissa.  It meets on Mondays (1:25 - 3:25 pm) and Tuesday/Thursday afternoons (1:40 - 2:55 pm).  Add in their 8 AM Chemistry class on Thursday morning and you get a glimpse of our week.

We had the privilege of watching Melissa play in three soccer games, none of which were at the home field.  The team lost the first two, but WON last night against Tellico Plains.  Hooray!  She is normally a defender, but was substituted in as an offender and had the chance to score two goals.  (Oh, so close!)

Add in a morning worship and a church fellowship dinner on Sunday, Boy Scouts and theater practice on Tuesday evening, and youth group on Wednesday.  Can I tell you we are exhausted?

The highlight of our week happened on Tuesday morning.  Matthew, after many years of cultivating a close friendship with the orthodontist, had his braces removed.  I'm not sure who was more excited, him or me!  His smile is amazing.  Check out the pictures below...  (I couldn't find a good 'before' pic!)

We celebrated with a celebratory lunch at Steak-n-Shake on Thursday.  Two done and one more to go!

Today, I am sitting in Panera Bread in Dalton awaiting van repairs.  Why is it that when vehicles, homes, etc. get older, the cost to repair them increases?  The part alone to fix the anti-lock braking system/traction costs over $500.  Do you think they will throw in the labor for free?

Hopefully our family will get a time of relaxation over the weekend before next week begins!

This post is linked with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cook's Academy Home School Rules

1. Always to your best; do not rush through your work.

2. Complete all work in a timely manner.

3. Incomplete work will be returned for completion.

4. If you don't understand the work, ask for help from Mom or a sibling. Do not continue until you understand the concept, etc.

5. Be ready to start on time each morning. (We have outside classes which on some days shortens our school days.)

6. Encourage and help the others.

What rules to you have to keep peace at your school?

See also School Time Discipline.

School-time Discipline

Why does the word 'discipline' shoot fear in the hearts of our kids?  Let's start with the Biblical definition. 

(Greek paideia, 2 Tim. 3.16) instruction;
in classic Greek paideia means education. (1) 
Per my Life Application Study Bible condordance,
discipline means to 'punish, guide, and instruct.'

I don't believe in punishment, just for punishment sake.  All correction needs to be with the goal to deal with the heart issues of the child.  I believe we, as Christian parents, need to provide both instruction and education to our kids.  In this way, they will know, per the Bible, how to live a life glorifying God.

This discipline reaches over into our school time.  When our kids were younger, I felt like I was constantly "training" one them.  We also learned that immediate correction had longer lasting results because the discipline was directly linked to the infraction.

How did we accomplish this?  First, I would remove the child from the classroom setting into their bedroom.  This gave us privacy from the rest of the family.  Next, I would ask the child why (s)he was being disciplined.  If (s)he couldn't tell me, we would review the behavior and why it is inappropriate.  At this point, if they truly didn't know the right and wrong of the particular problem, their punishment was strickly a verbal warning.  If the child could tell me what (s)he did and why it was wrong, then that child would receive the the full punishment.  In both senarios, the child needed to back to the offended party, admit the wrong, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.  I believe the hardest part of the discipline process was the admitting the 'wrong' publicly.  (I'm sorry I for ____________, will you forgive me?)  

I learned the hard way not to use schoolwork as punishment.  This was one sure-fire way to extinguish any desire to learn.  The student may also lose privileges such as ipods, hand-held gaming systems and wii, or extracurricular activities.  These seemed to work temporarily.

Not all interruptions are heart issues.  Sometimes they are just a hint that we need to take a break.  Learning to tell the difference helped make our school time more pleasant for all!

Here are some verses which we have leaned on during our kid's growing up years:

Proverbs 13:24b (NIV)  "He who loves him (his son) is careful to discipline him."

Proverbs 22.6  "Train a child in the way he should go, ane when he is old he will not depart from it."

Ephesians 6.4  "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

And some verses for us and the kids:

1 Timothy 4.7-8  "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

2 Timothy 3.16-17  " All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

(1) taken from

To see our home-school rules click here.

This post is linked to The Home School Village.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Home School Dad

I would presume most home schools are primarily run by mom.  Our's is no different.  Yet, I couldn't home school our 3 kids without his support.

My husband’s main involvement is praying for our school, the students, and the teacher. Many days I try to run ahead of God and do school on my own.  Usually, these are the days that we have problems.  Knowing Rod is also covering our school in prayer is so comforting.

He also is an insightful advisor and counselor.  When I begin to question if a problem is me, the curriculum, or the students, he is able to step back and see the whole picture. He is then able to find a solution without emotions and tears.

Rod spends a lot of time with the kids.  He just had a fun-filled weekend in Gainesville, FL, at the University of Florida.  They participated in the college tour and took in the first Gator football game of the year.  He has been our daughter's varsity's team assistant basketball coach, plays Frisbee golf with the boys, Cub Scout and now, Boy Scout leader, etc.  He tries to give me some free time (sans kids) in the evenings so I can catch up with paperwork or just enjoy some quiet time.

Once, in a great while, I need to call him in as the PRINCIPAL to deal with academic shortcomings or attitude problems.  Why do the kids seem to respond faster to him than me?

How is your husband involved in your school?

Praise and Prayer all rolled up into one

Yearly physicals...  yuck.  Sometimes I am much worse than my kids.  Maybe you are like me.  You procrastinate going to the doctor for the full physical for numerous reasons.  Mine were: "I don't have insurance and the bill would be astronomical, I don't have the time, or... I'm perfectly fine as long as I don't know what may be wrong with me!"

Over 10 months ago I purchased a 'Complete Physical' for $30 during a silent auction.  The physical would normally have cost $250.  I can tell you that I lost the sheet and that is why I waited too long, but that wouldn't be exactly true.  The sheet stayed in my in-box with the home school work, so, at least every couple of weeks, I saw it (and buried it again).

Well, I finally had my very overdue physical last Friday.  Here is the breakdown---

     1.  Physical went fine, nothing found.
     2.  EKG was good.
     3.  Not diabetic (FBS was normal)
     4.  Nice doctor and office staff
     5.  All blood work, etc came back normal except...

  Prayer Requests
     1.  Triglycerides were off the chart
          (Normal: 11-150, Me: 698)
     2.  Cholesterol was at the high for normal
          (Normal: 175-200, Me: 199)
     3.  LDL (BAD)  High/Above normal
          (Normal: 0-129, Me: 172)
     4.  HDL (Good) was too low
          (Normal 40-131, Me: 27)

The doctor called in some medication to deal with the high triglycerides.  As of yet, I have not picked it up.  (No, I'm not procratinating on this.) 

After researching online last night, it seems my diet and lack of exercise is a contributing factor.  A diet high in sugar is a major factor.  I love my sweet decaf iced tea and flavored hot coffees.  Also, since I'm a tad overweight, this is also making the problem worse.  I understand the lack of exercise isn't helping.  I really think blogging and facebooking should be considered an Olympic sport.  Really, we put in a lot of 'practice' and time on them!

I'm awaiting a call from the doctor this afternoon before picking  up the medication.  I would like to know if it is too late to try to bring down the triglycerides naturally (diet changes and increase exercise) without the medication.  I don't want to put my health at anymore risk, but would rather NOT be on medications.

Please keep me in your prayers as these decisions are made.  I especially covet your prayers in the DIET modification and WEIGHT loss area.  Per the doctor, if I lose 20-25 pounds, I lose all health risks due to weight.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homekeeper's Journal ~ September 8, 2010

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is all about Nesting …….

Let’s define our terms ….

Nest - a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home.

Nesting - to build or have a nest

In my neck of the woods its getting cooler and Autumn isn’t far away. Its time to start nesting and get my home cozy and comfortable for the cooler days ahead. I want to create a retreat from the world, a resting place, home.

Get your thinking caps on and lets talk about how we can arrange, order, decorate and change our homes so that they are a warm wonderful retreat for our families this Autumn and Winter.

My kitchen would be more inviting if …………. it were 3 times bigger!  I have a shotgun kitchen and a small one at that.  The only bonus is that the dining room is right next to the kitchen and you can visit "long distance" with friends, family, etc.

My best tip for making a home seem more welcoming ….. is by trying to keep the chaos down to a minimum.  Since you enter through the living room, I try to keep it and dining room picked up daily.

To give the feeling of warmth in my home I often ….. lay lap blankets on the sofas.  I love to put out the blankets made for us by our friends.  Then, I can share the history behind them.

In the cooler months, it is essential for me to ….. stay warm!  Seriously, the cooler months lend themselves to curling up with a good book.

Some favorite Autumn/Winter recipes are ….. stews (especially veal!), chili, and homemade spaghetti sauce.

A Quick Tip for making your house more inviting …… be more focused on your guests and not your home.  I missed out on having friends over because I was too concerned with the house and its state of disarray.  Now, I apologize for the chaos, and enjoy having their friendship and fellowship!
(from CHK)

This post is linked to Christian Home Keepers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How we began this wild and wonderful thing called home schooling...

home schooling ~ how we began this wild and wonderful way of life! 

We are a home schooling family, but we did not set out to educate our children. Homeschooling was never even a blip on our radar screen but God, in His sovereignty, was setting the stage for us to bring our kids home.

When our twins were completing K-5 at a local public school in Alabama, my husband felt God's leading to provide a Christian education. At the time, our church hosted a Christian school. We completed the applications on the last day for early registration for church members. The children were accepted and began first grade at the Christian school. After 7 months into first grade, my husband accepted a promotion to Chattanooga, TN. During our visits and house hunting, we located a Christian school and then found a home in close proximity. The twins completed first and second grade at the school, and our youngest completed K-4 and K-5.

The following school year, 2002-2003, we were led to consider home schooling. Neither one of our sons was accepted for who they were. Our older son had autistic tendencies which kept the other kids from interacting with him. Our younger son had a speech delay and wasn't thriving in the school atmosphere. The teachers weren't able to give them the time needed for them to flourish in their acdemics or their social interactions. During this time, God had placed us in a church for 1 ½ years with a large number of home schooling families. We had already formed solid relationships with them and had learned the good, the bad, and the fun of home educating.

After a focused time of prayer and many discussions, we decided to home school our children. Our youngest came home in September with the twins following in early October 2002.

We are currently on our 9th year of home schooling. It seems the time has just flown by. I look at my 3 teenagers and wonder where it went. Weren't we just cutting and pasting, spending time at the local aquarium, and enjoying picnics at one of the parks?

I have loved spending this time with them--- working along side of them with difficult concepts, and then watching the light bulb go on! Wow, what an amazing time we have had! My twins are currently in their Junior year of high school and looking at college testing and college visits this year. My youngest son is a Freshman and is slowly acclimating to the level of work required for high school.

This has been an amazing ride. I thank God daily for His provisions and leading us to home school.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homekeeper's Journal ~ September 1, 2010

Homekeeper’s Journal ~ Children 

If you have children or grandchildren, or even nieces and nephews, you know what a joy they are. God tells us that children are a blessing from Him.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Ps 127:3-5

In what ways are children a blessing to us?

They are enjoyable and entertaining! They are just as cute as they can be and a lot of fun to watch as they grown, learn and explore the world.

They are a great help to us in learning to be like Jesus. We learn self-sacrifice, patience, long-suffering, joy, love, self-control and discipline by raising a child or even by being in the life of a child and we learn what it is so be trusted and depended on completely. That’s a huge responsibility.

They are of the greatest help to us with our work. Children should be given jobs in the home to learn that they are an essential part of a family. Children can be such good help to us as we do the things we must do every day for the family.

The enlarge our impact on the world for the glory of God! I think that is partially what it means in Psalms 127 where is says ….”They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” Our influence goes beyond our children, through their lives and into the world.

This week the Homekeeper’s Journal is all about our children!

I can directly influence these children ….. my 3 teenagers, my son and daughter-in-law, my grandson, my "extra" daughter, and my teenagers' friends.

Some specific ways that I see my influence in my children are …. Positively --- not scared to speak their mind or call others on their "stories" and their sense of humor and demeanor.  Negatively --- sarcastic tongue and judgemental attitude (not too proud of these). 

The biggest area needing improvement in how I see my children is … that they are becoming wonderful young people who don't need my input in every area of their lives.  I need to back off.....  : (

My greatest joy in my children is … knowing they are in the family of God by nothing more than God's grace and mercy in their lives.  We are still praying for my youngest son to accept Christ!  Please pray with us!

The best thing I ever did for my children was … bringing them home from the Christian school to home school them.  They could then learn on their own academic timetables; they could jump ahead or slow down if they needed more time on a specific subject.

One thing I want to be sure to impart to my children is …. that we are all here to serve others.  Jesus himself modeled the servant attitude when he washed the feet of all the disciples, even Judas.  Also, we all have others who are watching us to see if our speech, behavior, etc is in line with our Christian faith.  Are we walking our talk?

This needs great prayer and thought regarding my children ….. how to direct them in their upcoming college decisions without taking over. 

This post is linked to Christian Home Keepers.
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