Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Are You Thrifty?

      We are a thrifty family.  We try to cut cost where we can. I have been called cheap, but I take that as a complement. It's important to save money where we can.  

     When we were new to homeschooling, we use to spend a bundle of money on books to homeschool our children, but sadly most of those books would just sit on the shelves.  We would find a few that worked for our kids, but the rest would sit collecting dust.  I think I bought so much stuff in order to impress family that was not really supportive of our homeschooling.  Things had to change.  We wanted to be more thrifty in this area.  The more we can save the more we are able to give. 

     I want to share with you the ways we save money on our homeschooling curriculum and supplies.  Why spend more than you have to?  It is possible to give your child a great education without breaking the bank! 

     Our favorite place to shop for homeschool books is our local thrift stores. Many times families use textbooks for a year or two, or find out the textbooks they bought were not suitable for their family, so they donate them to thrift stores.  They are usually in good condition and most are hardback.  If you can pick up ones that are fairly new, you may be able to purchase workbooks and test/quiz booklets online for a low price.  The textbooks are usually what cost the most.  If you are teaching the elementary grades, the teacher’s manuals are not always needed, but as you get up into the high school grades, you may want to be sure that you can get the teacher’s manual for the textbook you are looking into buying.  I have found that when families discard their curriculum, most of the time they get rid of it all, so it is easy to find the textbooks and teacher’s manuals right there.  

      We have also built a home library by shopping for books at thrift stores.  Having a little library at home saves on trips to the library. I get so excited when I find books that are not only educational but fun for the kids to read.  Be sure to look through the books you want to purchase and check them for lost or ripped out pages or marks that make the books hard to read.  Many times parents will discard almost brand new books.  What was one man's trash may become another man's treasure 😉

      Our next place to shop is yard sales.  Every summer, l look forward to seeing those bright, beautiful signs.  I know when I see these sale signs, I am going to save money!  A few years ago, you couldn’t have gotten my husband to stop at a garage sale, now I find him looking for them more than I do.  The best ones to look for, when searching for homeschool books and resources, are ones of retired school teachers, or homeschooling families where their children have outgrown materials or graduated.  Many are listed in your local newspapers.  They are usually anxious to get rid of all the goodies they have used over the years, and are priced fairly.  You can find workbooks, art materials, posters, fun educational games, and much more.   

     Our next stop is flea markets. In our area, we have a few flea markets that we are able to check out every couple of weeks.  The flea markets are not as cheap as your local garage sales, but the fact they are in buildings and open a certain time each week, is nice.  You know exactly where to go and what times to be there.  Many vendors are reasonable and willing to work with their prices, especially if you are interested in buying quite a few things.  One year we were able to buy like new text books for our high school students.  The vendor even had the teacher’s manuals and testing supplies to go along with the books.  I was willing to pay a little more money to be able to buy everything right there, but I still saved a bundle.  

     Another way to save a few bucks is to wait for local stores to have back to school sales.  I rarely buy school supplies after schools begin classes in August.   The prices are more than doubled once schools are in session.  In July, most stores begin their back to school shopping sales and that is the best time to purchase things like crayons, scissors, glue, paper, folders, and spiral notebooks.  I always get my list of supplies early on, so I can get the best deals. I try to buy enough to last the entire school year.   

     Another great resource for your homeschool needs is online sites.  My kids love their e-books. We use many online sites to download free or cheap books for them to read. There are also many websites that offer free printables that are great for supplementing your curriculum.  The key to using online worksheets is to find a good printer that has cheap ink.  Another trick to printing from the internet is using draft print or some printers call it quick print.  It saves tons of money on ink.  Be sure that you follow the guidelines for each site and only print materials that are meant to be used for printing.  

 As a veteran homeschooler of 19 years, I have found that you don’t need a lot of things in order to teach your children.  You just need time, patience and some creativity.  They need your focus and attention more than they need the latest and greatest educational book or computer software.  You are the key to giving your child a well-rounded education.  Have fun as you teach and allow God to lead you.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Importance of Art and Music

     When I was a young mom, I didn't realize the importance of allowing a child to be creative.  I was always concerned with how my home looked.  I wanted the kids to be neat and tidy.  Then I grew up, and my eyes were opened to the significance of art and music in the lives of my children.

     When we let our kids get messy and fully involved in an art project, they grow in many ways.  They realize that they can create so many things.  The possibilities are endless.  It gives our children a way of expressing themselves.  There is no wrong way or right way of doing things. 

      I've heard a few parents claim that their child is just not artistic. I have to say that it doesn't matter if they can draw a masterpiece or paint a perfect picture.  It is the experience of letting them be creative that helps them develop in many different ways.  

      When we allow our children to be creative in art class, it will spark their creativity in other areas of their lives.   They will be able to come up with new ways of handling situations that come up. They will be able to make plans that work for each circumstance. Being creative cultivates wise thinking and helps them to be able to carry out God's will for their lives.  

      We have always loved music in our home, but until recently I didn't understand that it can inspire my children to learn. I've noticed that when we play classical music quietly in the background as we study, it helps my kiddos focus more on their work.  It helps stimulate their brains.  It cultivates an atmosphere for learning.  

      Taking music lessons is important as well. It helps our children develop coordination and fine motor skills.  Music lessons will also encourage the character qualities of patience and perseverance . They will learn that it takes time to master an instrument.  They must work hard and practice daily.  We need to cheer them on even in the early stages where it can get frustrating.  

     I am working on being more and more creative in our homeschool.  We are allowing our creativity to spill over to other classes.  It's not limited to just art and music now.  It inspires us to discover new ways of obtaining knowledge. We find fun new ideas of studying the ordinary and it makes it extraordinary! My kids are retaining facts and test taking is a breeze. 

    One way we are taking our creativity to other subjects is by doing lapbooks and notebooking pages.  It has helped tremendously with our history and science classes.  They are no longer just reading "boring" facts.  It has taken our learning to a whole new level. It's fun for them.  They are able to see these subjects in a new light.  I love watching them learn in these fun new ways. It is not a chore anymore.  It is an enjoyable experience. 

    How do you get creative in your homeschool?  I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Free Background Calendars for March

Today we have some free background calendars for you to use on your computer monitors, laptops, or tablets.   I hope you enjoy them!

Just right click on any image you want, and choose "save image as..." 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece

     Our family was so happy when we were given HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece to review.  We absolutely love hands on learning and this new study from Home School in the Woods kept us intrigued through each lesson.

     I have always had a hard time teaching history and making it exciting.  When I received this study, it was like a burden was lifted from me.  This study had adventure through hands on activities, projects, audio tours, a file folder game and so much more!!!  I have never had my children come up to me and want to do history class before. They couldn't wait to see what was coming up next. 

     The Home School in the Woods company not only has a study of Ancient Greece.  They also have Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation. I have also heard that in 2018, they will add Ancient Rome! Right now our family is deciding on the next study we may be doing in the future.  When you find a good fit for your homeschool, you want to keep going with it.  

     I like that everything was laid out for me to follow.  I did add a few things here and there, but the Guide Book Text, Travel Itineraries, and scheduled projects kept me on track.  We used a few of the additional resources as well to enhance our learning experience.   

     From the beginning of the study, we knew we were going to have fun with this.  Right off the bat, we made a passport and briefcase.  It sparked a thirst for learning more and more.

    This study of Ancient Greece included 25 lessons plans or what they called "stops".   I think my kids would have gone through the entire study in a week if I had let them.  Each lesson was unique and had special little projects. It kept us focused on what we were suppose to learn for the day.

    I liked the fact that you can make this study fit your homeschool needs and ages of your children. To keep our other subjects in line with the study of Ancient Greece,  I added a few little writing projects for our older child, while our nine year old was busy drawing pictures of what she learned.  It is a great learning tool and inspired many great conversations. 

 Our favorite project was when we made the Clepsydra.  It was a time telling device of Ancient Greece.  I love that the instructions were laid out in such a way that I could easily hand off the project to my kiddos and allow them to do it while I supervised. 

     The only negative thing I can say about this study is that I went through a lot of ink in our printer and our paper stash is drained.... but I have to say after seeing the faces of my kids enjoying every minute of this project and hearing them tell their daddy what they learned every night, it was worth every drop of ink involved and every page of paper.    

    If you would like to learn more about these amazing studies for yourself, they have a Facebook page : Home School in the Woods, a Twitter account : HSintheWoods and to read more great reviews of this product you can go to The Homeschool Review Crew site.

     I would encourage you to check out these resources for your family.  If you like to have fun, do projects together, and learn about history in a extraordinary way, these studies may be for you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Let's Stay Focused

     Do you have problems keeping your kids focused on the task at hand?   There are days in our home where I feel like my kiddos are not paying attention or taking the initiative to accomplish what they know they are suppose to be doing.  It can be frustrating for a parent, but there are a few things we can do to help our children learn to be more focused.

     I have found that making lists and talking about what we expect of our children helps in this area.  We sit down every couple of months to remind them of their duties, and to talk about how things are going.  If we have issues come up before our little talks, we address them immediately and adjust things accordingly. Sometimes we find that they are not being inattentive, but instead are having issues that we didn't foresee when we gave them their assignments.  That is why it is so important to talk with our children instead of assuming right away that they are losing focus and concentration.  

     When we do see them losing focus due to distractions or because they are being disobedient, we must take a different approach.  We must remove the distractions or discipline them for their lack of obedience.  They have to know there will be consequences for their choices.  If they know what they are suppose to be doing, but choose not to do it, that is defiance.  It must be resolved.  This is where we may have to take away privileges, or give them extra chores to help them to understand that you reap what you sow.  If they choose to do what is right they will reap good benefits like tech time tokens, or a special dessert, but if they choose to what is wrong, they will reap negative consequences.  

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. ~Galatians 6:7

     Here is a list of wonderful ways to help keep our kids focused:

  •  Sit down with a list of expectations for each child.
  •  Limit distractions when they are suppose to be working
  •  Tell them they will be rewarded for making good choices. We use a Tech Time Chart.  They receive time to use their electronics if they choose to do what is expected of them.

  •  Praise them for staying on track.  Many children thrive on words of affirmation.
  • Make sure they are getting plenty of rest during the night and lots of exercise during the day.  Some children lose concentration if they are sleepy or feeling fidgety.
  •  Be sure they are not given tasks that they are unable to accomplish.  Remember each child is different.  What one did at a certain age, may not fit another child of the same age. 
  •  Don't give up on your child!  Keep working with them. 
  •  Control your frustration when they do lose focus.   Remember they are a work in progress.  Give grace when you can.
     I would love to know how you keep your children focused.  Please leave me a comment 😊

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why We Said Goodbye to Cable Television

     For years we did without cable television.  We didn't miss it at all.  In 2014, we decided to get hooked up and honestly, it was not a good thing.  We were spending a too much money on it and were only able to watch a few channels. 

     I remember wondering for months why we allowed ourselves to be talked into getting cable tv, then I remembered it was because our local cable company offered us a deal.  If we packaged our internet services with cable and phone services we would get a huge discount.  The only thing about this was that once the first year of this agreement was up, our bill would double and we would be reluctant to deal with them about turning off the cable and phone services.  They make it so easy to upgrade but you have to jump through many hoops to get rid of services.  They make you talk to many service representatives who work hard on trying to talk you out of downgrading.  

    On Thursday of last week, we decided to take the plunge.  No matter how many people we had to talk to, or how many times they put us on hold {hoping we would just hang up and forget it} we were determined to get rid of these services we no longer wanted or needed.  It was not an easy task, but we got it done!

     So, why did we want to turn off our cable?  Well here is our list of reasons: 

  •  It was expensive {more than $100 per month}
  •  We didn't watch 95% of the channels we had
  •  The commercials during the shows we did watch were disconcerting.  We didn't appreciate the immodesty, foul language, and overall demeanor.
  • We enjoy watching old shows and movies that are not typically aired today.  
  •  There are free ways to get the weather, news, and upcoming events.
  •  We need to spend more time doing things other than staring at a television screen.
     When we are watching TV, playing games, surfing the internet, and living our daily lives we must remember that God wants us to be pleasing Him.  My favorite verse to remind me of this is: 

     So, what will our family do instead of watching cable tv?
  • We will talk more.
  • We will play board games together.
  • We will have family movie nights and purpose to watch things that are uplifting.
  • We will have more time to read.
  • We will be more productive and creative.
     As a family we can get use to vegging out in front of our televisions, computers, and devices.  We forget to talk to one another because we are busy talking to friends through texting, messaging, social media or phone conversations.  We don't have time to have fun with each other because we are too involved with the outside world.  Our lives become focused on anything but our families.  It ends in families not really knowing one another and being distant from each other.  

     I am not saying that all families should do away with cable tv, internet, computers, and devices, I am saying we need to be careful about how we use these things.  We need to have balance!  In our home we have chosen to keep our internet services, but we will limit usage and will have rules about surfing the net.

    Here are our reasons for keeping internet:
  • We use it for online school classes and to download worksheets for use in our homeschool
  • We use it to stream shows and movies that are decent and uplifting.
  • I use it for blogging and emailing.
  • Our kids play online games that are educational and appropriate for their age and meet our household standards.
  • We use it to download music and books.
  • We use it to pay household bills.
  • We use it to make online purchases that save our family money.
   We are careful to use filters that keep our internet from going to sites that are inappropriate.  I will be doing a great post about that in the near future.  

    How do you balance out the use of electronic equipment in your home?  I would love to hear from you!   


Friday, February 10, 2017

What's Happening Here...

     Can you believe it is February already?  The days are going by so quickly.  We are about two-thirds through our school year and we have been busy little beavers.  I just wanted to share a few things we have been doing since coming back from our Christmas break.  

     Mid January, we started our unit study of Ancient Greece.  The kids have been loving every moment of this study.  I can't wait to share my review with you in a week or so.  If your kids love projects, crafts, and learning adventures, this study is for you.

     Joshua finished up his science curriculum right before we took our Christmas break, so we had to come up with a new science curriculum for him.  We decided on using the Earth Science program from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.   He is enjoying the class. It is an online class, but we have worksheets and quizzes to print out for him to do.  He is thriving and through 4 sections already. 

     Hope loves doing unit studies for her Science curriculum.  Right before Christmas we finished up her study of jungle animals, so we were able to start a study of ocean life when we returned from break.  We use many different resources while doing these unit studies.  Her favorite books are from Usborne.  They are full of so much information.  We also use our Kid Answers sections from our Answers in Genesis magazines that fit the study.  They give us wonderful information from a Biblical perspective.  

     Ryan started a few online classes after our break as well.  Our SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership has been a blessing in so many ways.  He is taking a speech class and geography class on this site and is obtaining knowledge that will help him as he finishes up his education here at home.  I honestly can't believe this young man will be graduating next year. He doesn't like to get his picture taken a lot, so I will share the pics I can get of him. 😉 He is a great big brother and our comic relief when we need a good laugh. 

     Hope and I have both been working on our Bible journals.  We have loved studying God's Word and being creative with our journal pages. Our art skills are improving each day.  It's also a fun activity to do together.  We have plenty of time to talk, giggle and enjoy each other's company.  

    So far this year, we have been very productive and we are learning many new things.  I can't wait to see what we take on next. 

    I hope you enjoyed a look into our Daley homeschool life.  😊



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let's Talk Meekness!

     Today I would like to talk about the character quality of meekness.  Many confuse someone who is meek as someone who is weak, but this is not true.  The definition of meekness is mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated.   This does not mean a meek person is not strong.  They just choose to react to situations in a calm manner.  They are not easily angered. 

     Meekness is a character quality that must be developed.  It is an act of humility.  When we surrender our lives to Christ, He can teach us to be meek.

      Jesus used the word meek to describe himself in the book of Matthew.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. ~ Matthew 11:29

     As we humble ourselves before God, He is able to do a good work in us and through us.  When we yield our rights to Him, He is able to give us peace.  We want to become more Christ like on a daily basis don't we?  That is why we must understand this important character quality and allow God to help us cultivate a humble spirit.

     Do you have a problem with reacting in anger?  That is the key to knowing you are having issues with meekness.  If we have not fully relinquished ourselves to God,  it will be very difficult to become meek.  Anger is an obstacle that we have to get over in order to yield to God's way of doing things.  He wants us to act in a way that pleasing to Him and not gratifying our flesh.  You will know that you are becoming more meek the day you can walk away from your anger and not have the last word.  Being meek means having control of your emotions and the only way to do that is to let God lead you in all you do and say.  You must pursue God and let Him change you.  You can not do this on your own, but you can do it with Christ's help.  

      I have not yet obtained this character quality.  I am a work in progress.  All I know is that I want to keep progressing in my walk with Christ and that means I have got be willing to be uncomfortable at times.  I will have to die to my flesh and let it scream out every time it doesn't get its way.  I have to stop letting my emotions control me.  I must abandon my selfish thoughts in exchange for a gentle spirit.  I do not want to react to situations in an ungodly manner.  I want God to guide me every minute of every day. 

     So how do I become this person with a humble heart?  I have to do my part by reading my Bible, praying, singing praise to my Savior and saying no when temptations arise.  It is not an easy pursuit, but it will be worth it.  

      When the world sees God's children acting with humility instead of pride and selfish ambition, they will want to know why we are different.  This will open doors to share the Gospel with them.  God can use us when we empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us.   Are you ready to make a difference?  

       This character quality is one we need to teach our children.  They will learn it best by watching our example.  It is important for us to model the behavior we want them to grasp and display in their lives.  Don't live by the old saying "Do as I say, not as I do". Practice what you preach!  

        I will be praying for you.  Please pray for me! 



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Do You Have Something to Prove?

     In October of 2016, I received an advance copy of a book that has changed my life.  The book is Nothing To Prove by Jennie Allen.  I can not explain to you how amazing this book is. Jennie is open, honest and raw with her emotions and feelings.  She holds nothing back.  Her words are a breath of fresh air to those reading them.  This book lets you know you are not alone in this world. 

      A few years ago I read the book Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen.  I didn't think she could touch my soul again with another book, but Nothing to Prove, proved me wrong.  I went through many boxes of tissues reading through this book.  I did a lot of soul searching as I read each chapter.  God worked in me with each page I turned.  He wanted to speak to me through the words on the pages.  I just had to be open to hearing what He wanted to teach me.  


     After I read the quote above, tears began to flow.  The first of many.  I needed to hear these words.  I had always felt like I was not enough, and that was true.  I am not enough, but Jesus is.  I needed to release all the pressures to prove myself all the time.  I must let go of the people pleasing mentality.  All I can do is surrender my life to Him and allow Him to do a good work in me and through me. I may never be enough in the sight of men, but He is more than enough.  I have nothing to prove!



     As you read through the few quotes I have posted, do you see how powerful it is to let go of our desires to please man and lay down our lives for God to use as He sees fit.  We don't need the glory or fame.  We only need to live lives that point others to Christ.  We don't want to live for the temporary things of this world.  We want to live with eternity in mind at all times. 

     This book is done in two parts.  The first talks about how we keep striving only to feel like we will never be enough.  The second part teaches us of God's Streams of Enoughness.  During the second part you will be taking a deeper look into quite a few chapters of John.  Jennie has an incredible way of walking us through some amazing events in the book of John.  My kids wanted me to read each one aloud to them every night for a week.  It was a time of growth for our family as we would discuss each chapter after reading them.   By the end of the book you know right where you need to go to live a life of fulfillment and that place is the feet of Jesus.  

     I can't encourage you enough to get this book and to read it.  I have read through it twice and will be reading it again soon.  There is so much to learn and digest.  It is worth your time and money. Please consider buying it and allowing God to speak to you in a special way.  I will be praying for all those who read it!