Monthly Archives: August 2008

Links posted!

I spent some time this evening posting links to various helpful sites.

You’ll find links for making a cleaning schedule, menu planning, and lots of free homeschool forms, just for starters.

There is such a wealth of information on the web that this small list barely scratches the surface.

Why not comment with your favorite link or two?

Planning: keeping the home fires burning

Let’s think about the kinds of things we need to plan.

What needs to go on in the background? Meals, laundry, keeping the dust bunnies at bay?
(I admit I’m usually pretty good at getting food on the table and having clean clothes, but those dust bunnies… I am a reforming clutterer. *sigh* “Reforming” means “getting better,” doesn’t it?)


There’s a lot of help available for the domestically challenged. Just do a search on “meal planning” or “cleaning schedule” or even “laundry”.

For starters, you might try:

(Disclaimer: These sites have been in my bookmarks for a while. I clicked on them to make sure they still exist. I didn’t *see* anything offensive when I looked through them, but my online time is limited and I don’t have time to click on every single page or link. Also, different people find different things offensive. /disclaimer)

Warning: Stone of Stumbling Ahead

Here now seems a good place for a warning: It can be very satisfying for those of us who struggle with organization, to *read* about organizing and planning… so satisfying, in fact, that we never seldom get around to actual organizing and planning. Don’t fall into the trap!

Starting Out

Start simply and build from there. For example, with meal planning, can you write down seven different dinner meals that your family enjoys? (Fourteen would be even better. I find myself re-doing this when I’ve gotten out of the habit of planning meals ahead of time, and notice I’m serving spaghetti for the second time in less than a week.) Just write the dinner meals down and tape the list to the inside door of your cupboard.

Um. It helps if you have the ingredients on hand! (If you don’t, do this the day before your shopping day and add the necessary ingredients to your shopping list! Did you know that having a plan and shopping from a list can save you money?)

For those with character flaws (like mine)

I am a rebel at heart, I’m sorry to confess. I put a menu plan together and put it on a calendar, and I come to the day that I assigned “tacos” and think, “I *don’t* want to make tacos!”

I do better if I write down seven meals for the week in list form, and then I choose from the list, cook it, and cross it off the list.

However, now that we’re getting back into a formal fall schedule, I’m going to have to change my ways and go with a calendar plan. This way my assistant cook can know ahead of time what’s cooking, and I can plan a regular crockpot meal on co-op day. I’ll have to stifle my rebellious ways. It’s probably a good thing for my character.

(A real help in this struggle has been a menu planner I got at this summer’s curriculum extravaganza. It allows you to post your menus for two weeks, but they’re attached with velcro and you can move them around!!! See

This has been a lengthy post, and mostly about meal planning! Here it is, Labor Day weekend, and you haven’t got your school plans done!

Getting started, Take 2

…take a deep breath. Breathe out slowly. Another deep breath. Good.

If your house is in chaos, how well do you think you’ll manage academics?

If you’re disorganized, take this weekend to set a few systems in order. Food. Clothes. A basic cleaning plan.

Oh, and go to the library and get the stacks of non-fiction easy readers I mentioned earlier, and a good read-aloud book to read together next week while you’re getting your academics lined up. We’ll be talking about that soon, as the Lord allows!

(If you’re antsy about your children’s education and need a plan just for the peace of mind, a couple of sites that have booklists, links to free e-books, and schedules you can use are and

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Schoolhouse Planner winner!

The winner of the Schoolhouse Planner e-book is…

(drum-roll, please)


So, Virginia, I will be providing your email address to The Old Schoolhouse, and they should send you a link for the download. Let me know if you have any questions.

I’m sorry I couldn’t give one to everyone who commented! However, watch for another contest next week!

Contest ends tomorrow!

Hoorah, I’m back online!

Just a reminder that the drawing for the e-book Schoolhouse Planner will be tomorrow (Friday), August 29th. Last chance to enter!

Leave a comment here: (click on link)
Schoolhouse Planner Giveaway Deadline

If you leave an anonymous comment, please at least sign your name so when I post the winner you can give me your contact information!

Looking forward to talking more about planning tomorrow. For now, g’night! Sleep tight!

(and as our youngest says, “Don’t let the bad bugs bite!”)

Book list

Some books we enjoyed reading aloud at the beginning of our homeschool journey:
(I am typing in haste, so please forgive misspellings)

The “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Ginger Pye by Elanor Estes
Pollyanna (I forget the author’s name, but the book is *way* better than the movie!)
The Little Princess
James Herriot’s books
The “Little Britches” series by Ralph Moody
The Wheel on the School by Meindert de Jong
101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
Charlotte’s Web
Black Beauty (my mom started reading this to me when I was 3!)

For your younger ones:
The story of Ping
Make Way for Ducklings
James Herriot’s stories made into picture books, such as “Bonnie’s Big Day”
Anything by A.A. Milne, both his “Winnie the Pooh” stories and his books of poetry.

Everybody, even the public-schooled neighbor kids who stopped by to share our blanket and listen, when we read aloud on summer days, loved books by Burgess, like his Animal Book, Bird Book, and “Old Mother West Wind” series. If you’re a Christian, you can also talk about the difference between the character “Mother Nature” and the Creator, while you’re reading.

Hope that gets you started!

(If you have some favorite books to share, please comment and I will unmoderate the comments when I get back online.)

Pause to consider

Timing sometimes creeps up and bites us on the ankles, making us jump and flail and not accomplish as much as we might with a cool head.

Look at me, for example. I started this “planning” workshop late, and being without Internet the next few days will push it later, and I worry that maybe someone’s waiting for that “gem” that will get the homeschool year off to a good start. (Ah, ego.)

Ok, are you ready? Here are a couple of gems for you. The first is a link, that at the time I post, is still working. It’s good reading, and great food for thought.

Here’s another thought for you. If you’ve pulled one or more children out of school because they weren’t doing well, and you’re in a panic thinking you have to recreate a school day and all those subjects lined up in a row like little tin soldiers on a shelf, think again.

Why would you want to re-create the system that failed your children in the first place?

Don’t be in a hurry to start academics this year. Find some good books to read aloud. If the weather’s nice, pack a picnic and take a blanket and find some grassy, shady place to sit and read together. Take some paper (sketchbooks would be better, if you have them already or can afford to buy them) and pencils and go in the back yard or to a park and everyone (you, too!) find something to draw: a bug, a tuft of grass, a tree, a flower.

Read aloud from good books and get outside every day (Get field guides from the library to identify trees or caterpillars or animals or birds). Play games together. Get the house in order. Go to the library and get a lot of the nonfiction easy readers in subjects that interest your children. (Sports? Insects? Reptiles? Horses? Dogs? Cats?)

I was going to say “slowly add in academics” but reading good books together and doing nature observation *is* academic!

While you’re doing this, you can be reading up on home education, various methods, advice from other homeschoolers. There are a lot of how-to books out there, and a lot of websites that will tell you about homeschooling.

Since I’m going to be “gone” until Friday, let me add this last suggestion.

If you’ve been planning all along, and have a class schedule set up for your studies, you can make it a lot less stressful for yourself and your children if you start small and add to it. What I mean is, we start with our most important subject (Bible and hymn singing) and that’s all we do “school-wise” the first day or two. Then we add math, so all we’re doing the rest of the first week of school, formally, is Bible and math. Then we add another subject, building over the course of a couple of weeks to our full schedule.

I will hope to see you on Friday, if not before!

Schoolhouse Planner giveaway deadline!


I am reminded that I am not going to be able to access the Internet this week until Friday. Therefore I’m extending the time to sign up for the drawing until Friday, August 29th, and will post the winner’s name on Saturday.

To be in the drawing for the free Schoolhouse Planner e-book, a $39 value, be sure to leave a comment to this very post, or at the link below, by Friday!
Schoolhouse Planner Giveaway!

(p.s. I don’t know how to contact you if you comment anonymously!)

Haven’t heard about the Schoolhouse Planner?

See a description here:
Schoolhouse Planner Review

The winner will be announced on this blog on Saturday, August 30th!