Monday, August 31, 2009

Various delightful blog posts

The Homeschool Classroom talks about a nifty organizational idea that she picked up from Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight

I may or may not have to experiment with that. I'm a little overwhelmed at my lack of organization.

As usual.

Cristina at Home Spun Juggling has a marvelous post that not only showcases her daughter's incredible knitting talent, but also has some wise words about *stuff*.

Her post led to much musing. I found this wonderful article at The Digerati Life that is a little fantasy of mine.

Actually, the fantasy is to sell everything, purchase an RV, and travel all over the place for the rest of my life. As Bert's a homebody, don't think it's going to happen - but one can dream, can't one? =)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homeschooling in August

Although we started preschool the day Ben went back to school, we've been kind of hit and miss with it this month. I anticipate that once I start work we'll be forced onto a schedule and will preschool daily.

Andrew and I preschooled a total of 7 days this month.

We read "Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science", A Treasury of Mother Goose Rhymes, "Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book", little golden books' "Poky Little Puppy", "Cars and Trucks", and "Birds".

We read Science Activities and did experiments to see what floated and what didn't.

We read "How the Whale got his throat and "The Elehpant's Child" from Just So Stories. I like "The Elephant's Child". I read it with gusto. Andrew couldn't cared less. Didn't capture his imagination at all. I can't understand it!!! How can you not fall in love with "The Elephant's Child"? Maybe we'll leave that book until he's a bit older. =D

We did several pages in Counting with Numbers

We completed several lessons in Language Arts for Little Ones I love that book. I'm so glad I shelled out the cash for it instead of going with what we already had. Silly to spend $25 when you already have a language arts book - but I'm so so grateful I was silly. =) It's fabulous.

We read in the First Book of Nature and went on a nature walk.

Wherein we found a fuzzy mushroom

and I got eaten alive by bugs. And Andrew didn't. He did, however, fall in love with nature walks and wants to go on them all the time and I go (quietly, to myself), "GACK! Bug bites!"

We read in "Things People Do".

We went swimming and played at the park.

We made a fruit salad and egg boats from "Kinder Krunchies"...twice. And I didn't pay $100 for my copy, I found it at a garage sale or homeschool sale or something for a dollar or two.

Andrew loved these boats.

He sang "Roary the Racing Car" theme song before he popped it in his mouth.


We read in Animals Animals.

We listened to music from Harry Potter after reading My First Classical Music Book - a book I cannot recommend too highly, btw. And I didn't pay $13. I paid $7 for it at the Curriculum fair. I thought it was a steal at the time, and after only one lesson I'm convinced of it.

Andrew fell in love with Mind Benders and we did about 12 more pages than I had scheduled.

We made snowflakes.

We read several pages in "Book of Mormon Stories" and "Bible Pictures to color"

Andrew learned to identify Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, California, Utah, Alaska, Florida and Minnesota. He also learned their capitals. He was eating crackers and announced "This one looks like Florida!"

We completed a lesson over several days from "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons".

I bought a Kumon book of cutting and Andrew cut two pages.

We sang tons of primary songs, and Andrew accompanied us on the piano.

We went to the Lane Motor Museum on a field trip. It was AWESOME!!! They have the kookiest cars - and we all love kooky cars. You can tell how excited Andrew was here... =D

They had a great play area for the children:

Bert and I fell in love with the 1945 Mochet Velocar. It's a human-powered car with an engine that holds 1/3 gallon. =D I believe it may possibly be Bert's next his excess amounts of spare time of course... =D

Yes, that's the FLOOR you see beneath those pedals. Remind you of anything? Yabba dabba doo, anyone? =D
I can't believe we accomplished so much in just seven days! =)


At the Court of Honour last night, Ben got his Star rank. GO BEN!!! =)

Hopefully he'll complete Life before the end of the school year, and can work on Eagle during the summer. If all goes well, he'll have his Eagle by next Christmas. Here's hoping. =)

Emily celebrated her 19th birthday in Utah on Friday - her first without her family. By the sound of things she had a fabulous time. =) =) Happy Birthday, sweetpea!

I guess Andrew's enjoying homeschool as he was asking to do it this morning. =) He really likes the cooking, and so we made some more egg boats.

I've been meaning to do weekly homeschool updates like Heather at Camian Academy but unfortunately I'm not that organized. I'll hopefully post one in an hour or so, if I manage to get the photos off the camera. =Þ

Things I learned at church today

Things I learned at church today:

1. Respect each other
2. Be thoughtful and kind
3. Respect, and expect great things from the youth
4. Look for God's hand in your life and write it down every day
5. Life is hard. Step up in love.
6. No matter how insignificant you feel, your life has purpose and meaning
7. You are blessed. Give even when you don't feel like it.
8. Do not hurt others or put them down. Lift them.
9. Be the first to provide service to others.
10. Do your genealogy. Your ancestors wait with patience and longing.

6. No matter how insignificant you feel, your life has purpose and meaning.

Sunday Scripture

John 13:34

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Tim Hawkins

Sometimes, he's not so funny. However, here are two absolute gems. I just about fell over laughing at the first one.

And here he is, saying wonderfully true things about our beloved government:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dr. Horrible!

We Looooove Dr. Horrible!

There are one or two problems with this show:

1. If you're outside the US you can't see it. I have no idea why.
2. Blasphemy. And language.
3. You'll have to mute practically everything Captain Hammer says. He's rude. He's selfish. he's evil. He's more horrible than Dr. Horrible. We don't like Captain Hammer. He's BLECH.
4. Do not watch this with children around. I mean it. There's a sad scene that's rather intense.
5. Do not listen to the soundtrack with your children around. Otherwise you'll be walking through Kroger and will hear your four year old happily sing "It's a brand new day, la la la la, all the birds are singing that you're gonna die." And at that point you'll feel like the worst mother on earth.

Other than that, this show is AWESOME! And we love it!

Well. Ben and I love it. Bert and Emily hate it. But what do they know?

Dr. Horrible!!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Homeschooling Andrew

Andrew just came up to me in his shirt and underpants (WHY can I NEVER keep trousers on my boys??) and a numberline, and spontaneously counted to 100 using the numberline as a guide.

I guess I can check maths off the homeschool schedule today. Tick. Done. =)

Then he counted in tens from 10-100. Then he counted in fives - he got kind of confused at that one. When I tried to help him by pointing to the numbers he said

"AHHH! Get your fingers off!"

Not very polite, but I commend him for his stick-to-it-ive-ness. =D He's very much an "I can do it by myself" kind of young man.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Manly Man Cave

Bert sent this to me - it's fabulous. =)

Enjoy. =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The LoL on my desktop

Some of you may know that I have another blog over at It's my weight loss blog.

Due to the birthday extravaganza of the week, and due to Aunt Flo visiting, I did not lose anything this week. In fact, I gained. One pound. I was bummed - but not too bummed as I recognized that although I did eat a cupcake and way too much sushi, I didn't eat a filet mignon with mashed potatoes and extra gravy and an entire cheesecake.

Then just now I came across this LoL:

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Hahahaahahahahaaa!!!! =D How awesome is that? It's just how I feel. =D

Top 12 reasons to ditch homeschooling

Higher Education has a great post, Top 12 reasons to ditch homeschooling.

Enjoy. =)

1.) You can blame your child's behavior and bad habits on his peers: they're not his siblings.

2.) You can blame his teacher when your child is "behind:" you're not the teacher.

3.) You would not have to grade papers or keep track of important educational documents or create a transcript.

4.) You would suddenly find yourself having more in common with the people you meet.

5.) You would be relieved of the responsibility to choose the best curriculum for your child.

6.) You could focus on your own personal hobbies or begin to work outside the home.

7.) You would substantially increase the likelihood of having a clean home if no one was in it all day.

8.) You could just complain about your child's environment, teacher, peers, and curriculum instead of being personally responsible for changing or repairing it.

9.) Your public school tax dollars would finally be at work for your family.

10.) You could stop having to justify or prove that your educational choices could be at least as productive as the public alternative.

11.) You could read books that don't use the word "education," "Charlotte Mason," "Trivium," or "self-discipline" in them.

12.) You never again have to answer the question "What about socialization?"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to me! 40 today! =) =)

I got some faaaaaaabulous flowers from my sister

which was really really really naughty of her because many years ago we instituted a "no birthday gifts" rule. But despite the fact that she needs her bottom spanking for breaking the rule, aren't they lovely? =)

My other sister called all the way from Cyprus. This Cyprus:

And this Cyprus:

Yeah. She lives there. Pretty nifty, eh? =)

My visiting teacher brought me one of those fancy schmancy big cupcakes from Gigi's Cupcakes.

Look at it! Isn't it awesome? I'm going to eat it. It will blow my WW points out of the water, and I care about that a bit - but not enough to not eat it. I licked some frosting. It was gooooood.

Official Pressie opening is later tonight when Bert gets home from work. =)

(Ok, time to channel the shark from "Finding Nemo"):

I'm havin' FISH tonight!

Actually, it'll be sushi. Woooooo Hooooo! =)

Later note:
I just ate 1/4 of that cupcake. My gosh it was good! I've now got the biggest sugar buzz I can remember ever having. =Þ That's what you get for eating so much sugar when you haven't had any for ages. =D

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Excellent Homeschool Post

If you go to Mt. Pleasant Classical Academy there is an EXCELLENT post on homeschooling, umbrella schools etc. It's wonderfully empowering to someone who's just had a painful kick in the confidence regarding homeschooling.


Will everyone please please pray for little Noah?

I look at our healthy 4-year old, and think of Kate holding her baby, who pleads "Mommy, help me! Mommy I scared!" and I start bawling all over again. How does she cope? May God bless her and her family. May God bless Noah.

I'll be praying. Bert and I are going to the Temple tomorrow, and I'll be praying for him there. I'll put his name in at the Temple. I'll be fasting for him.

Will you please, pray for this sweet, hurting little boy?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The LoL on my desktop

ron paul
see more Political Pictures

Homeschooling Works

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

Ian Slatter
Director of Media Relations

August 10, 2009

Each year, the homeschool movement graduates at least 100,000 students. Due to the fact that both the United States government and homeschool advocates agree that homeschooling has been growing at around 7% per annum for the past decade, it is not surprising that homeschooling is gaining increased attention. Consequently, many people have been asking questions about homeschooling, usually with a focus on either the academic or social abilities of homeschool graduates.

As an organization advocating on behalf of homeschoolers, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) long ago committed itself to demonstrating that homeschooling should be viewed as a mainstream educational alternative.

We strongly believe that homeschooling is a thriving education movement capable of producing millions of academically and socially able students who will have a tremendously positive effect on society.

Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler.

The last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner. Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests.

This research and several other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers have helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.

There is one problem, however. Rudner’s research was conducted over a decade ago. Without another look at the level of academic achievement among homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that research on homeschool achievement is outdated and no longer relevant.

Recognizing this problem, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 2007–08 academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others.

Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known tests—California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007–08 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.
The Results

Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender, parents’ education level, and family income had little bearing on the results of homeschooled students.

National Average Percentile Scores

Homeschool - 89
Public School - 50

Homeschool - 84
Public School - 50


Homeschool - 84
Public School - 50

Homeschool - 86
Public School - 50

Social Studies:
Homeschool l- 84
Public School - 50

Homeschool - 88
Public School - 50

Homeschool - 86
Public School - 50

Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.

Boys—87th percentile
Girls—88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.

$34,999 or less—85th percentile
$35,000–$49,999—86th percentile
$50,000–$69,999—86th percentile
$70,000 or more—89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the 83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.

Neither parent has a college degree—83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree—86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree—90th percentile

Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.

Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)—87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)—88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.

Spent $600 or more on the student—89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student—86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the results.

Low state regulation—87th percentile
Medium state regulation—88th percentile
High state regulation—87th percentile

HSLDA defines the extent of government regulation this way:

States with low regulation: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact or State requires parental notification only.

States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress.

State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials).

The question HSLDA regularly puts before state legislatures is, “If government regulation does not improve the results of homeschoolers why is it necessary?”

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in academic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

As mentioned earlier, the achievement gaps that are well-documented in public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers. While it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion, it does appear from all the existing research that homeschooling equalizes every student upwards. Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public schools claim are their goals—to narrow achievement gaps and to educate each child to a high level.

Of course, an education movement which consistently shows that children can be educated to a standard significantly above the average public school student at a fraction of the cost—the average spent by participants in the Progress Report was about $500 per child per year as opposed to the public school average of nearly $10,000 per child per year—will inevitably draw attention from the K-12 public education industry.
Answering the Critics

This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the Rudner study was that it only drew students from one large testing service. Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15 independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the Progress Report.

While it is true that not every homeschooler in America was part of this study, it is also true that the Progress Report provides clear evidence of the success of homeschool programs.

The reason is that all social science studies are based on samples. The goal is to make the sample as representative as possible because then more confident conclusions can be drawn about the larger population. Those conclusions are then validated when other studies find the same or similar results.

Critics tend to focus on this narrow point and maintain that they will not be satisfied until every homeschooler is submitted to a test. This is not a reasonable request because not all homeschoolers take standardized achievement tests. In fact, while the majority of homeschool parents do indeed test their children simply to track their progress and also to provide them with the experience of test-taking, it is far from a comprehensive and universal practice among homeschoolers.

The best researchers can do is provide a sample of homeschooling families and compare the results of their children to those of public school students, in order to give the most accurate picture of how homeschoolers in general are faring academically.

The concern that the only families who chose to participate are the most successful homeschoolers can be alleviated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents did not know their children's test results before agreeing to participate in the study.

HSLDA believes that this study along with the several that have been done in the past are clear evidence that homeschoolers are succeeding academically.
Final Thought

Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide their children with the best education available.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homeschool sale

There is a sale on homeschool shirts going on here.

Here are a couple of nifty designs that might make you giggle.

Here's one especially for my parents. =) Though I have to say, I don't think they *ever* went through skepticism - they were always wonderfully supportive. And they most certainly have bragging rights. =)

Monday, August 10, 2009


Some homeschooling quotes you may find interesting:

LDS homeschooling in CA

Famous Homeschoolers:

Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Wyeth, John Adams, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, Albert Einstein, Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Robert Frost, C.S. Lewis, Christopher Paolini, Beatrix Potter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Charlotte Mason, Booker T. Washington, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Blackwell, Florence Nightingale, Earnest Shackleton….and last, but most certainly not least, Brigham Young, who said:

“I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it”


“I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can.

He also called a man who wanted to start a public school in Utah, “A miserable apostate.”

Not one to mince words was he? =D

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ben's Game

Ben made a game! =)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Did some calculations on the new job. A full 40% of what I earn will go to taxes.



Andrew threw up about every hour from about 7am to 2pm. Then he was fine, and by 7pm he was eating hot dogs. I just don't know how he does it.

Took Ben into orientation at high school and got his schedule. My middle child is in high school. Incredible.

Looks like I've got a job. Hopefully that works out ok. I start in September.

Emily comes home next Saturday (not this one, the one after).

I think I may, at tomorrow's weigh-in, have reached my 10% goal in weight watchers. Wish me luck. =)

It's all go in the Brooks household.