Tuesday, December 31, 2013

WWHWD? (What would a holy woman do?)

According to the Bible Dictionary, holiness refers to one's 'moral character'.

Doctrine and Covenants 46:33 reads, "And ye must practice avirtue and holiness before me continually."

I was given this book as a Christmas gift from my Mother-in-Law. What an amazing book! The author challenges six friends to do something and this book is an account of those six friends and what happened as they worked on this challenge. Here is the letter she sent them,
In thinking about how to learn about holiness, I'm wondering if for three days you would be willing to, just once each day, purposely choose one of your daily activities and try to "be holy" while doing it, or do it as a holy woman would do it. For example, how would a holy woman start her day? What would be on her "to do" list? How would a holy woman approach a difficult assignment or a new overwhelming project? How would she read to a child, or exercise? How would she talk with a friend, or shop, or play, or pray, or do laundry?
How would a holy woman handle a conflict or avoid a conflict? What would she read, or say, or listen to, or watch, or wear? What would she do in really difficult situations? If someone said something to her that was confusing, or hurtful, or demoralizing, how would a holy woman respond? What would she do? If she were betrayed, or misunderstood, or falsely accused, what would a holy woman do?
How would a holy woman respond to her own success or failure? How would she respond to the successes and failures of others? how would a holy woman use her time and energy and money? How would she prepare to partake of the sacrament each Sunday?
How would a holy married woman welcome her husband home? Or how would she help him to welcome her home so they both felt loved, adored, wanted, and needed? How would a holy single young woman date, or use her time when not dating?
Would you be willing to try that? Choose one thing a day for three days -- a different thing each day or the same thing -- you can't do this wrong.
These women were aged 26-65 years old and some had kids, some didn't, some grandparents, some new moms... etc. It was really neat to read the things these women did. Then, I was super excited to discover that The Red Headed Hostess loved this book as well and came up with a great idea.

She is going to use this as her New Year's Resolution. So, I figured I will too. :) She made a pdf that says, "What Would a Holy Woman Do?" All I have to do is print them out, cut them out, and then put them all over my house to remind me. I have already done that and am super excited to get started. :) I love that each day I can just pick out one thing to do. If I just make a list of all the things I want to improve, well, that list would end up being quite daunting. Doing it this way seems like a more attainable goal. Woot!! :) It also encompasses every aspect of my life - spiritual, temporal, and physical. So, hopefully this will be a goal that I am able to keep. :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Here are some of the Christmas events we've done to get into the Christmas spirit! :)

The ward (church) Christmas party!! Collin, Ryanne, and their cousin got to sit with Santa. :)

Every year we go see the lights at the local gardens. LOVE IT!! They give out cookies with cocoa or apple cider too. It's all free.

We made lots of Christmas cookies....

The kids drew names with the cousins on my side of the family. They each bought a gift, wrapped it, and gave it to a cousin.

Remember those Christmas cookies earlier? Well, they were made for the cubscouts. We decorated cookies and then delivered them and sang carols to the fire department and EMS office. While we were there they took us on a tour of the facility and the trucks and everything too. So cool!

Of course we had to decorate cookies at home too. :)

We always do some sort of homemade gift from the family to my sister's family. This year I made little owls to give my nieces and nephew.

My mother in law gave us wooden trees to use in our Christmas celebrations. So, I painted them and put the lights in the holes. Christmas morning the kids colored their ornaments while waiting for me to get breakfast ready. Then, as they taped the ornaments to the tree we talked about things they already have that they are grateful for and how blessed we are before we open any gifts. 

To improve fine motor skills, Collin has been learning to crochet. This is the single crochet stitch. He made a bracelet. :) Next... half double crochet stitch. :)

Christmas Eve was family day. We went to my sister's first and did a gift exchange and played there. Then we went to Paul's grandparents' home where all of their family was. So many people and lots of food! :)

Christmas morning!! We start every Christmas morning with Monkey bread (or pull-apart bundt cake) and fresh fruit. Yummmmm....

The kids are coloring their ornaments (see tree picture previously mentioned) to go on the wooden trees. Did I mention there were two of them? So, they each had their own tree to decorate. Then, they had to eat their breakfast before they could start on gifts. 
 And then.... the kids got to start on gifts but we had to start with the big one first. :)

In addition to the trampoline, the kids got a few other things from US. Ryanne got a CD, CD case, a pair of earrings, a new leotard for dance, and some candy. Collin got a new suit, 6 hardback books in the 39 Clues series, a pack of Pokemon cards, a dinosaur book, and some candy. :)

Collin and I spent a lot of time playing Battleship. He got this from his grandparents last night and LOVED the game even though I did win. ;)

Our Christmas Day feast. I am low key. I get all the food ready and people just munch on it throughout the day. There is leftover monkey bread and fruit from breakfast, cheese dip for chips/crackers/veggies/or whatever, leftover cheeseball from last night, popcorn, veggie tray, pumpkin pie, pecan pie (not pictured), plate of cookies/fudge/peppermint bark/and other goodies, crockpot chili, and rolls. :)
My mom will probably come over later and perhaps other grandparents... we'll see.... but right now, it's just us. :) I love Christmas!!! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

School Room

Here is how the school room is organized. I was asked a few times about it so... here it is....

This is the Writing Process

We have definitions and things I have written all over the walls for quick references. These are things like key terms in math word problems, noun and verb definitions and examples, different types of fiction....etc.

This is Collin's work space. He has his weekly schedule, some pictures he likes and then some papers of things he's currently working on hanging up.

This is Ryanne's work area --- sight words, weekly schedule, pictures, and some things she's working on.

This is our calendar/weather board. It is on a tri-fold board so we can fold it up and stick it behind something when not in use b/c we live in a small home.

This is our schedule board. It changes daily. I love this thing because the time is a face clock so the kids get to practice telling time while looking at the schedule. Two birds... ;)

This is our project table but I use it as my work area too. I sit on a bean bag b/c my body has gotten too old to sit on the floor for 6-8 hrs/day. haha!

We have a basket of books that sits between them. These are books of all reading levels. The sign on the front tells them the 3 ways to read a book. 1. read the pictures. 2. Read the Words. 3 Retell the story. Ryanne normally reads the pictures but Collin has to read the words. They both retell stories. When there is a break where one has finished what they were working on but I'm still working with the other student then they grab a book. Or... under the project table are little activities/games they can work with too. 

Each of the kids has a folder like this. On one side is "to do" and the other side is "done". All the worksheets that need to be completed for the day go on the "to do" side and once they are completed they go on the "done" side. This is just an easy way for the kids to see how much more they have.

This is Ryanne's weekly schedule again. I am showing you how it's highlighted. When she completes an assignment she highlights it. They are allowed to go ahead if they want to but they must have everything highlighted by the end of Friday. If they finish before lunch time on Friday then they get to do music and art Friday afternoon. I teach both of them piano, Collin voice, and then any type of art/craft project is fun.

This is under the project table. There are math manipulatives, project boxes and art supplies under there.

These are our friends Vicky Verb, Nicky Noun, and Peggy Pronoun. We each colored one of them but we made them together. The kids really like these guys. I got this idea from my sister. ;) She has an Addy Adjective as well but she has an older daughter who has gotten to those. Neither of my kids have gotten that far yet.
Anyways, so that's most of the classroom. There is a rolling cart with art supplies and a bookshelf with all the text books on it. I also have the piano in there which comes in useful sometimes. ;)It's really only in there b/c it won't fit in any other room but I like it there. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Day at School with the Smiths

So, when people hear I home educate, they automatically jump to the conclusion that we play all day. Then I explain it's virtual school so it's public school online. That's when they suddenly think that I plop my children in front of a computer all day. So, I decided to take pictures of everything we did today so people could see how our school day actually goes. Tuesdays are the best day to record everything because the kids have no live classes or anything. Tomorrow, they both have a 1 hr math class in a virtual classroom with a live teacher. Collin has his virtual speech therapy with webcams and microphones and Collin has his monthly conference with his teacher so she can see how he's doing in school and make sure he is retaining the information. She also helps him with anything he may be struggling with and give me tips on how to help.  They also have a 1 hr reading class on Thursdays and Collin has another 30 minute virtual speech therapy session. So... let's get on with today.

We normally get up at 7am. We eat...
 Then I shower and dress. Sometimes the kids get dressed. ;)
Calendar. Don't laugh. It's homemade, OK. haha! It includes days of school, weather, and yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We sing our days of the week song and talk about the tens place and ones place in our number of school days section.

Then, someone leads us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Today was Ryanne's turn. :)

We look at the calendar to see what we have going on. No online classes or anything today. Our "extra" class is science. Media means educational computer games (Jumpstart, PBS Kids, Readings Eggs...etc)

This is my spot. I have realized I am too old to sit on the hard floor so I sit on one of the small beanbags. LOL! It's softer on the bum.

Collin is doing vocabulary on the computer (of course, he seems to be slightly distracted in this shot) and Ryanne and I are working on phonics.

Collin is doing literature while Ryanne is working on her phonics worksheet.

This is the computer portion of phonics. It takes about 5-10 minutes.

Collin is working on Reading Eggs (paid for by the school so we take advantage of it).

Ryanne and I are working on literature while Collin is doing Reading Eggs on the computer.

What is kindergarten without a little bit of coloring? She is working on language skills. This also had a small portion on the computer. It was her vocabulary words and only took about 10 minutes.

Snack break! I love doing the snack in this thing b/c there are always leftovers so it just stays in the school room and if they get munch they just sit at the bar (school room is the dining room) and eat the food. The dark strips are home made deer jerky just in case you are wondering. My BIL hunts and gave us some of his deer meat and then Paul made the jerky. Yum Yum!!

They get a 30 minute snack break (10-10:30am at this point) and I used this opportunity to work on some Christmas presents I'm making. Some of these people look at this blog so you just get a shot of the crochet hook.

After snack time we go straight to math.

Then it's media time. Ryanne is doing Reading Eggs here but she was having trouble figuring out what she was supposed to do so Collin was helping her.

Lunch!!! They get an hour here! 

I eat and then I work on some of my chores like dishes, laundry, or bathroom.

At 1pm it's back to work. We do our Daily 5 right after lunch. The kids are working on writing here. Collin was writing about his favorite dinosaur and Ryanne was making a gift list.

Word Work!! Ryanne was working on her sight words and Collin was practicing his spelling words. They both had a board and magnetic letters.

Read to self time! They do this for 20 minutes/day and every week they get 100 minutes they get a bead on a necklace. After 10 beads we have an ice cream party or a pizza party if it's too cold for ice cream. ;)

Then we all take turns reading to each other. Ryanne reads to us with pictures. She looks at the pictures and makes her own story based on what the pictures tell her. Collin reads a picture book to us. Then, I read a chapter book to them for 20 minutes. We are reading this book right now. We are a little backwards and started with the second book and have now gone back to the first one. This book actually belongs to my niece who was kind enough to let us borrow it. :) We're almost finished! You'll get it back soon! :)

Finally, science.

Not bad. We finished before 3:30. We normally finish between 3 and 3:30pm. So, see, we do a full day, just like your kids. :)

Snack and play time! The kids ate and are now outside playing. YAY!!!
Now, I get to finish chores, cook dinner (hope it stays warm until we can eat it) take Collin to TaeKwonDo, take Ryanne to dance, (hopefully Paul picks up Collin from TKD) and then head home. Eat, get kids ready for bed and then I have a couple of hours worth of my own school work to do. I love that I get to do this with my kids everyday though. I think it's super fun!