Category Archives: Homeschooling Support Group

A New Kid, Birthdays, and Year End Events

It’s been a few months since I’ve actually written a post about our family and our homeschool.  Normally, that would mean that all is just mundane and not blog or photo worthy.  However, that’s not what my blog absence has been about,  I haven’t been able to find the time to share about all that’s been going on.  Today, I’ll try to fill you in some.

First, let me introduce you to MJ!  She’s our family’s new job.  Actually, she is a homeschool girl who is with us four days a week for tutoring while her grandmother works.  These photo are of her and Z at the last homeschool fieldtrip of the school year, Stewardship Day at Shawnee National Forest.

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We have a new chalkboard wall mural that goes along with our Lewis and Clark, Oregon Trail, and Westward Journey studies.


We’ve been working on improvements to our key hole garden.  The stone looks wonderful and made the best Mother’s Day present!  The flowers are quite nice, too.

10352584_636762289738960_4574333442912914450_n 1920199_636762126405643_399865237555379097_nThis next photo is E and B with SALT, (our homeschool support groups drama co-op) at the final performance of the year.  And, it’s sad that this was E’s very last performance with them.  Now that she’s graduating, she’ll not be in the troop.  Being involved with creative ministries and drama certainly has been one of her favorite activities of her homeschooling career.


And, here’s a few of the pics from the spring formal.

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Both of my youngest boys had birthdays!  Z turned 9 and J turned 11.

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These next photos are of Silver Lining (homeschool color guard) at their spring show, “Storms of Life”.  Though, this was E’s last performance with them, she is planning to stay involved with the group as an assistant coach.

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1625591_628980850517214_1221519875084586621_nAnd Silver Lining’s honor and awards banquet


There’s just one more event to add to this year’s homeschooling year, graduation and achievement night.  The plans are set and all will be ready for the big night, this coming up Friday.   I’ll be sure to share those photos then.

betty jo





Back to School Shopping

Today I have blessed.  Currclick has gone out of their way to encourage homeschooling families by offering an awesome sale.

I subscribe to Currclicks  e-mail listing and use many of their free offers and sometimes even spend a dollar or two.  But, this sale is more than that.  This sale is more like them saying, “We support homeschooling, we care about you and want to help you out.”

I am having fun looking for notebooking, copywork, and lapbooking materials for our US History unit studies we’ll be starting in the fall.  I’m not spending much more than time and stocking up my files.

For those of us who pull our resources from different media, and are on limited budgets, this sale is perfect.

The great deals end July 29.  Here’s the link!


Happy Back to School Shopping!

betty jo

To Homeschool or Not


“To homeschool or not to homeschool” that is the question that many parents are asking themselves.  Most homeschool groups, private and public schools start in August, so now is the best time to be making that decision if your children are school age.

My first piece of advice is not to “cave in” to pushy advocates on either side of the education debate.  You MUST do what is right and best for your family.  And only you can determine that. Period.

With that being said, I’m definitely a home educating advocate (for many different reasons).   I’ve been homeschooling for a while (about to start our 16th year).  I’m  part of the leadership team for our local  homeschooling support group.  I’m an admin for Homeschooling Around the World and Schoolin’ Swag You would be welcome at either or both groups.

For months I’ve been hearing daily of families who are considering home education (for many different reasons) and have some questions or are seeking a little advice.  If this is the case for you, then I recommend you just ask a homeschooler about it.  Homeschoolers love to talk about homeschooling (both the good and the not so good).  In fact it’s our favorite conversation.

If you have made the decision to home educate, of course I have some advice for you on how to start this adventure (oh yeah, it will be an adventure).  Here is my top 5 list explaining what I think should be done first.

1  Pray for wisdom and patience.

2.  Understand your state laws:   or

3.  Check out a local homeschool support group or co-op.  If you’re not aware of one, this link may help you find one

4.  Figure out your teaching method and your children’s learning styles.  This link has a free assesment for both you and your children  if you are unsure.  Hover the mouse over “Homeshool” on the header.  From there click “Resource Center” and “Currently Homeschooling”. There you will have the choice of “Learning Style” or “Teaching Method” assessments.

5.  Remember that you want your child to love homeschooling so plan some fun and interesting learning activities and plan for unexpected learning opportunities.

For links to my posts containing advice on home education click here

Please know that I welcome your questions and comments.  Like I mentioned above,  homeschoolers love to talk about homeschooling.

betty jo

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I did not just “fall off the turnip truck”, and I have “been around the block a few times”, meaning that I’m not naive, inexperienced, or immature.

I know that from time to time I will be in a disagreement  with others.  I am aware that conflicts happen within families, churches, neighborhoods, and groups.  I find myself currently involved in yet another conflict that the outcome will affect others.  This time the differences in opinions have left me shocked, angry and hurt.

It has been a week since the disagreement and I am still devoting too much of my time and energy dwelling on it.  Dwelling on the disagreement, not the solution.  My family knows about this situation that I’m having a difficult time with.  My kids are watching me and my reactions.  I realize that lately I have not been “practicing what I preach” or “walking the walk”.  I’m showing my kids what not to do instead of showing the right thing to do.

As of this very moment I am prayerfully changing my attitude.  The Holy Spirit is reminding me of the Scriptures I should be applying.  First there is this one,

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

I desire to be a blessed child of God.  I will allow peace to take over my attitude so that the hurt and anger will no longer have a place.

Next, the Word reminds me of more principles to apply,

1 Corinthians 13:5  It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Ouch!  I’m guilty of not acting in love.   I have dishonored those I’ve disagreed with.  I’ve thought badly of them.  I’ve spoken some of those dishonorable thoughts out loud.  I have been rather self-seeking, self righteous, and closed minded.  I was easily, very easily,  angered.  I know why, too.  It’s because of the records of wrongs I keep against them.  It’s true, I keep a mental list of everything, both little and big, that has ever offended me.  This list is not helping with finding solutions.  It is keeping my focus off of the matters at hand ,therefore keeping us from resolving the issue.  I’m laying my list down and will try not to pick it up again.

Proverbs 19:11  A person’s wisdom yields patience;  it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

I’ll be getting over my hurt ego now and letting go of the anger.  I’ll be moving forward toward a resolution with both wisdom and patience.  This new and improved attitude is not just for my own benefit, but for the group of people this disagreement affects.  I also want my kids to see me doing what is right, setting a good example for them to follow.  They will always be involved in conflicts, too.  It’s just part of life.

God isn’t done with us any of us yet.  He guides and equips us through conflict.  He forgives us.  He encourages us with hope.  He reminds us of who we are and sometimes rewinds us to start over with the right attitudes.

betty jo

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Our Homeschooling Week Ending June 7

The highlight from our week was Graduation/Achievement Night.  My daughter and I were on the decorating committee for our homeschooling support group’s year end celebration.

983644_461016090647025_1253429068_n  grad 15

We had an expected head count of 120 guests for the reception.  We planned for more, which was a good thing because we had close to 200 guests attend!

SALT (homeschool creative ministries) and Silver Lining (homeschool color guard) performed for the night’s entertainment.

grad 8  grad 16

As part of this celebration, families set up display tables featuring awards, photos and projects from the year.  This was our homeschool’s display.

971711_461016027313698_1140299628_nAlso, as part of the celebration, parents present their kids with awards for something well done during the year.  These are the ones my husband presented to our kids.

He gave our homeschool a history award for our unit studies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

970432_468957796519411_2101113680_nE17 received  Honor Roll and Supergirl awards.

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B15 was awarded for “Scriptural Character Studies and Application”.   J10 earned the “All Around Improvement” award.

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Z7 was given the “Independent Study” award.  I wasn’t left out of the awards.  My family gave me one too, “Computer Achievement”.

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Saturday morning we awoke to a flash flood!  Our front yard looked like this.

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Our back yard was worse.

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The water poured into our cellar and flooded our garage.  Thank goodness we had access to a pump.  It took nearly 6 hours to get the water out from under our house.

944286_468262039922320_1872947432_nWe were quite concerned about our garden when we saw it. Our pepper plants were partially uprooted and leaning over. The box floating away in this photo was our homeschool’s weather station.  I’m still not sure where it ended up.  We found some of our yard things in the empty lot on the next street over, but not the weather station.

972020_532695726788562_1251817401_nBy Sunday afternoon, all looked fine.  The yard barely even had a puddle left in it.

970153_468262373255620_998148550_n The garden recovered from the down pour.  We even have some baby tomatoes and peppers growing now.

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Monday and Tuesday we put summer school on hold to dry out some of our things we had stored in the garage.  Our Christmas books got the worst damage, but most will be alright.  We feel blessed not to have had more ruined.


June 5 was the anniversary of the first hot air balloon flight (1783).  Last year as part of our summer school calendar studies Z,  J, and I decided to learn everything we could about hot air balloons.  Last year’s lapbook made a good review for us this year.

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We are hoping for the upcoming weekend and next week to be uneventful and peaceful.  And maybe we’ll start a new art project for our chalkboard wall.  We erased the last mural and now our kitchen/school room looks very plain.  I’m thinking we need something summery and fun, maybe a summer camp scene?


Here’s the links to related posts:

Year End Celebration

Homeschool creative ministries

Homeschool color guard

Homeschool Gardening

Our one day study on Hot Air Balloons

Our chalkboard wall murals

betty jo

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Year End Celebration

Every May, our homescholling support group celebrates the end of another year of homeschooling.   This celebration includes a graduation ceremony for those leaving kindergarten, eighth grade, and twelfth grade.  This year our group had twelve graduates, two kindergarten, four 8th grade, four high school, and for the first time in our group’s history, a mom and son graduating homeschool college.


There were senior and college graduate speeches. One senior sang and was accompanied by his dad on guitar and younger sister on piano.  Our Creative Ministries troop, SALT, performed during the program.

7856_468306246584566_128793297_n    969074_468305716584619_1940202865_n    305635_468305619917962_776680969_n   grad 13

984178_468305553251302_390946033_n     401829_468305509917973_1456509954_n    grad 12    397373_468305473251310_308247869_n     grad 10    grad 11     480641_468306206584570_479662989_n    grad 8

This family in the next photo is so special.  Our families have known each other for years.  They have been most active and helpful with our groups activities for since they began their homescooling journey.  And we have gotten together many time outside of the support group.  They invite my B15 to go to events with them.  They come to special church events with us.931295_461015720647062_2101380154_n Seven years ago, this boy was in a 5th grade special education class in a public elementary school.  He was taking several behavioral medications.  The school evaluated him at a 1st grade level.  Therapists had told her that he probably would not be able to learn to read, write, perform math, or be a self sufficient adult someday.  She took her son’s education into her own hands.  She took him off the medications.  She taught him to read, write, do math, drive a car, get a job, and manage his own finances!  It’s been a difficult for them to get to this point.  They have not had family support.  The mom is currently battling cancer for the second time.   He takes care of her.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience by the time they finished their presentation.

Families without graduates still participate in the ceremony by presenting their children with awards for something they have achieved during the year.  My husband presented awards to our kids.  He gave our homeschool a history award for our studies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

970432_468957796519411_2101113680_nZ7 was given the “Independent Study” award.

969_468958056519385_1967017819_nJ10 earned the “All Around Improvement” award.

9975_468957896519401_1165882513_nB15 was awarded for “Scriptural Character Studies and Application”.

933992_468957963186061_389716619_nE17 received an “Honor Roll” award and the “Super Girl” award for academics and extra curricular activities.

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I wasn’t left out of the awards.  My family gave me one too, “Computer Achievement”.426667_468958089852715_341048365_n

Families also set up display tables featuring awards, photos  and projects from the year.  This was our homeschool’s display.

971711_461016027313698_1140299628_nE17 and I had been on the decorating committee.  We had an expected head count of 120 guests for the reception.  We planned for more, which was a good thing because we had close to 200 guests attend!

983644_461016090647025_1253429068_n  grad 17

Several of our group’s members brought potluck style finger foods and drinks which made for a delicious, four table long buffet.  We had a bakery cake made for dessert.

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Silver Lining, the homeschool color guard, was the entertainment during the reception.

grad 16Graduation/Acheivement Night is always my favorite homeschooling event of the year.  I’m so proud of all the families in our homeschooling support group and love to hear about their accomplishments and see what they’ve been up to throughout the school year.

For more about our homeschool creative ministries click here

For more about our homeschool color guard click here

Here’s the link to free custom awards printables

betty jo

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By Your Side

familt pic 2This mommas heart has been heavy.  My first born, A21 is leaving the nest.  Not for a job or different college, but for love.   A love that is not here in Kentucky, but in Michigan.   I knew this day would eventually come, but that doesn’t help my emotions any.  This is not some surprise news, they have been planning this for months.  I have imagined the worst possible outcomes.  I’ve cried rivers. I have thrown fits.  This was not in my plan for my son!

I have very close friends in our homeschooling support group.  As I whined and complained about my A quitting his job (it’s a cruddy job) and not signing up for the fall semester at college, one of the moms looked right at me and said I just simply had to trust God with my son now.   I replied, “I trust God, just not my son!”

For days, no weeks, that conversation has haunted me.  That other mom was right.  I wasn’t trusting God with this situation.

adam blogI don’t know the plans HE has for my son.  I know A belongs to God and has a personal relationship with Christ Jesus.  I know the WORD is in his head and his heart.  And, if he makes a mistake or two, the Lord will use it for his good.  He will grow from it.  And,  if this move is God’s plan, then it won’t be long before I have a daughter-in-law and a very happy son!

58485_461286963942018_1219730728_nThe girl is beautiful and sweet.  She loves him.  I truly cannot blame him for wanting to be with her.  His moving so many miles away may even be Biblical if the courtship goes right.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Genesis 2:24)

It’s time for this momma to let him go.  His dad and I have educated him.  We have taught him the best that we could .  We believe that he knows what to do to be a man.  We have shared our faith and A made it his own years ago.  He is smart and talented.  He works hard and loves much.

I am assured that my A isn’t going away totally on his own, but he is taking his Best Friend with him.  He will stay by his side,  He will teach him.  He will spark A’s memory of what he has learned from being a child of God.

I have this same Best Friend who will stay by my side too.  He’ll comfort me, dry these tears, and remind me that He’s got this under control.  He sees the big picture, not I.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

Dear reader, pray with me to get my emotions under control and actually start trusting the One with the plan.  He will lead and guide my child.  God does not require my interference, opinion, or my controlling nature with what He has in store for my first born.

betty jo

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Night of the Living Teens

E-17 wants to call it “Prom”.  So we call it “Prom”.  Some of the other parents in our homeschooling support group do not like all of the negatives associated with the word “Prom” and prefer to call it “Teen Night”.  So we call it “Teen Night”.  Some prefer to call it “Prom Alternative”.  So we call it “Prom Alternative”, too.   I’m thinking “Night of the Living Teens” works for me.  We are just blessed to have such a special night that the title of it doesn’t really matter.

We started the evening early at one of our local parks for photos.

247707_455336994548268_1059328985_n 484813_455337197881581_950848485_n 935647_462526740495850_702326292_n 970860_462526847162506_799993366_nThen dinner out and after that to He Brews coffee shop for costume trunk, ice cream, Wii, and dancing.

E17 and Batman.                                              374345_4432889555189_1540265411_nThe Cupid Shuffle!
(That’s me in the yellow.)


Some worn out girls at midnight!

419606_455337387881562_596139955_nThis momma is worn out too but happy!

For another post about our special night click here

betty jo

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Girls and Flowers

flowers 1  E17 had a few of her friends over to our house last night.  What fun!

Tonight is our homeschooling support group’s prom (alternative) and the girls NEED corsages.  A variety of fresh flowers, greenery, wire, tape, sequins, rhinestones, glitter, feathers, ribbon,  and hot glue mixed with some craftiness and laughter, and presto – beautiful corsages for their big night!

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This is E’s corsage.

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Of course they didn’t forget about the guys.  The girls made boutonnieres for them out of the leftovers.

Here’s another post about our homeschool support group’s special night for the teens

betty jo

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Stewardship Day

The Dixon Springs Agriculture Center, in Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest, teams up with with environmental and conservation experts every year for a week of educational programs for school children.  They have been hosting this event for over twenty years, and I think our homeschooling support group has been attending for about that long, too.

We had an excellent turnout of  both young children and teens for our day of Stewardship Week even though it was quite cool and cloudy.

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Our first class of the day was The Three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle).

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Our second class was Wildlife Management.  We learned about the area habitats and the animals who live there.  Also, our teacher explained illegal poaching and trapping.  He passed around the pelts of animals that he had found in traps.

ag ctr 4Even though this was rather sad, it gave the kids a chance to touch, feel, and study several of the forest’s residents.

ag ctr 3Our third class was Wetlands Birds and thankfully it was under a tent because it had started to rain.

ag ctr 2Instead of having our picnic lunch outside, the rain continued so we ate in our cars.  After lunch, the kids went to the Activity Center.  Here they stocked up on coloring pages, stickers, and worksheets to do later.  They also made necklaces.

ag ctr 6The rain decided to stick around as did the cool temperatures, forcing cancellation of the rest of the Stewardship Day classes.  We were disappointed, but also ready for some dry, warm clothes.

Maybe the rain will stop sometime over the weekend so we can plant the Red Oak saplings we brought home as souvenirs.

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Next year we will try this field trip again, and hopefully the sunshine will try to show up too.

betty jo

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