Monthly Archives: September 2008

Reminder–free coffee at Starbucks!

Just got back from dropping dh at work. On the way there, we stopped by our local Starbucks outlet. When the drive-thru speaker chirped at me, I asked about the teachers’ special, and was told about the 12 oz coffee. We ordered two of them, got out our homeschool co-op ID cards, and drove up to the second window. (I was prepared to pay, just in case, but I didn’t have to!)

Yes, Starbucks *is* giving a free 12 oz. coffee to teachers today, including homeschoolers.

So there’s a jumpstart for your morning.

Happy Monday!

TOS Homeschool Crew!

Great news! I got an email yesterday announcing that I’ve been selected for the new Focus Group sponsored by The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

However, I’m interrupted by an insistent dog, as well as children looking for breakfast, so I’ll have to tell you more later!

Edited: Dog has been let out, breakfast is cooking, let me see if I can figure out how to post the logo here before I sign off and start our day.

TOS Homeschool Crew

I haven’t forgotten!

I am typing in the rest of the instructions for Student Assignment Planning, but it’s taking some time! However, check back on Monday when I hope to have it all finished.

(Just so long as nothing else unexpected happens. Have you ever had one of those weeks?)

Fun review/facts drill game!

I was just glancing through a few blogs when I ran across this fun game by a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool mom. (not that the game is CM-inspired, but the mom!)

The game is based on “Cash Cab” on the Discovery Channel, a show I’ve never seen, but am assured is fun.

Here’s a detailed description of how to adapt the concept for homeschool fun (and learning!).

Have fun!

Just checking in…

…wouldn’t want you to think I forgot!

It’s been an interesting week. Youngest came down with a nasty fever-sore throat early in the week, and I came down with it Monday night, as I mentioned. Tuesday-Wednesday were bad, Thursday was shaping up to be a day when we’d finally add math for *everybody* (not just youngest) when…

…you guessed it. Life happened.

There was a little mishap during our lunch break, and off we went to the local Urgent Care. Around dinnertime we got home, complete with one of those nine-saving things. (A stitch in time, etc.). But the child who had the mishap is fine, it could have been much, much worse (as in losing an eye, instead of having a stitch in the eyelid), and we are thankful for our many blessings.

Today is “Not Back to School” day at the local amusement park, with discounted ride bracelets for homeschoolers. The girls elected to spend some of their county fair premiums for ride bracelets. So I guess we’re not back to school, at least for today.

More on planning soon! I’ve got a dynamite student assignment sheet to share with you, courtesy of Jennifer van Atta. (Jennifer? You out there?) Jennifer was a member of our homeschool group, but her family moved away years ago and I lost track of her. I am still using her ideas for assignment planning, however. They’ve stood the test of time!

(If you happen to know Jennifer, could you let her know I was asking about her?)

The Old Schoolhouse goes digital!

One of my biggest clutter problems is paper clutter. Our home is graced with stacks of paper clutter: Articles, forms, and worksheets printed from the Internet make up a large part, but homeschooling magazines are *huge* contributors. It’s so hard to get rid of these… I’ll start to pile old magazines into a paper bag, to share at a homeschool event, only to find myself sitting down and reading an article, or setting the magazine aside because I wanted to try this unit study or that recipe.

Aargh! No wonder I have homeschoolish heaps!

(trumpet fanfare, and an echo of “Here I come to save the day!” — Mighty Mouse fans, anyone?)

Enter The Old Schoolhouse to the rescue!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is now available in digital form, with all the color, content, and convenience of the paper edition — without the clutter!

Picture this…

The new issue arrives in your email box.

Well, no, not exactly. That would be an enormous email. I mean, if you’ve held an issue of The Old Schoolhouse in your hand, you know how thick it is, all those glossy colored pages, heavy with promise.

What you get in your email box is the gateway to the new issue. The email contains a list of highlights so that you can go immediately to an article that catches your attention. In addition, there’s a master link taking you to the entire online version of the magazine: Start reading at once, or bookmark the link for later reading, or download the magazine for offline reading.

Dynamic, interactive reading

Did I say “download the magazine”? What I meant to say is that you download a dynamic, interactive version of the magazine, where any page is just a click away. The issue opens in your browser. The first page of the magazine is a “getting started” page which explains how to get the most out of your magazine. A navigation menu appears at the top of every screen, allowing you to move around with ease. Choices include:

Arrows: These allow you to move to the first and last pages instantly, or to page forward and backward just as you’d page through the magazine, turning over a page at a time.

Contents: Brings up a popup window with the Table of Contents. Just scroll down the list to highlight your choice, click, and you’re there!

Pages: If you’re highly visual, you’ll appreciate this feature, which gives you thumbnail pictures of every page in the magazine, clear enough to read headlines and see the graphics and layout of each page. It’s as if every page is laid out and you’re taking an aerial view. Again, click on the page you want, and you are instantly there.

Search: This is really sweet. Enter a search term in the box. Decide whether you want the program to match the term exactly, or find related terms (for example, “organization” might bring up references to organizing). This is so much faster than paging through a physical magazine, trying to remember where you read about something. The program will generate a list of pages containing your search term(s). You can even use wildcards (? for any letter substitute, * to substitute for a number of letters)!

Links: This brings up a list of links for the current page view, or a list of all the links in the issue, ordered by page, if you check the “show all pages” box.

However (and this is really an incredible convenience), when you are reading a specific page, and there’s a website link on that page, you can click on the link and be taken to that website in the blink of an eye. Click on an email address, and a blank email comes up, ready for the writing!

Settings: Personalize your reading. Look at one page at a time, or a two-page spread. Clicking on a page while going through the magazine will bring you into “magnified mode,” zooming in on the page to make it more readable. You can use the scrollbar to scroll down, or click-and-drag your mouse to move around the page. Another simple click zooms you out again. The Settings feature allows you to decide how much magnification you want when you zoom, and how quickly you want to turn pages.

Let me reiterate that this magazine looks exactly like its print version… same bright colors, same informative articles, same resources — but in a great new format that won’t clutter up your living space!

Save Money, Time and Space!

(I’ve always wanted to be able to say that in a radio announcer’s voice!)

The Old Schoolhouse digital version is eco-friendly (no trees will give their lives to bring you the current issue), helps lighten your mail carrier’s load, and saves you money, too! Subscribing to the digital version saves you more than 30% of the cost of the printed magazine!

Easy to use, convenient, and clutter-free: Check out The Old Schoolhouse digital version today!

p.s. Free giveaway!
I’m giving away a free subscription to the digital version of The Old Schoolhouse. Just comment on this post by September 30th for a chance to win! If you include an announcement of this contest on your blog or website, and leave me a link, I’ll enter your name twice! (To comment, just click on the number of comments at the bottom of this post. Give a name or make up a nickname — but be sure to enter your email address so I can contact you if you win! I don’t collect emails or use them for any other purpose, and your email address will not be available to anyone else who visits this blog. Thanks!)

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Best laid plans…

It was a cliche around our house. My mom was a planner. She was such a planner that she had a Plan A, and a backup plan (Plan B), and a backup to the backup (Plan C), etc. I remember one evening when I heard her say to nobody in particular, “Well, we got as far as Plan F, but we made it through…”

Of course, she didn’t really have a sheaf of written plans. She did most of this in her head, quickly figuring out what she was going to do if a monkey wrench was tossed into her spokes, reformulating her mental map of her course for the day as many times as unforeseen events required. (There are a lot of unforeseen events when you’re a mom, have you noticed? No matter how carefully you plan, too.)

I asked her once what the rest of the saying was. For years, all I’d heard Mom or Dad say was the first part of it. Best laid plans…

Mom looked at me blankly for a moment, as if she’d nearly forgotten it herself, and then smiled and answered, “…gang oft aglee!”

Evidently it’s a Scottish cliche. Since I didn’t speak the dialect, she translated for me. “…go oft awry.”

All this to say, I had my plans laid, but I’ve had to go to Plan B.

You’ve got to admit, life is never boring.

Do you ever have your ducks all lined up in a row, only to wake up the next morning and find someone’s moved them?

I started coming down with a cold yesterday, all the while hoping that it was just allergies. But nope! I woke up this morning with a fever and sore throat and general aches.

It’s the first day of school. Three of us had appointments at the chiropractor this morning. Our Keepers at Home/Contenders club is meeting this afternoon for a BBQ and instruction in decoupage and lawn mower maintenance.

It’s okay, though. I’ve reshuffled the deck and taken out the cards that won’t work. (Rescheduled chiropractor for later in the week, called to say we won’t be able to come to Keepers meeting.)

The girls are disappointed over the meeting, of course, but one is sick with the same cold I have, so we probably would have ended up staying home anyhow. They’ve thrown themselves into cheerfully making breakfast and tidying up, and then we’re going to have our Bible reading and hymn singing. (Hymn croaking? Um. Let’s call it hymn-listening, on the part of the two sickies.)

Since we were going to ease into academics this week, it doesn’t hurt our plans too much. We were already planning to do Bible and hymn singing today, along with some homekeeping projects. (Dejunking the younger girls’ bedroom, for one.) Youngest asked plaintively if we could *please* do some math today, too. How could I be so hard-hearted as to refuse? So I’ll do some math with youngest, too, though math was not on my schedule until tomorrow.

If I’d planned to jump from summer vacation into a full-blown “school day” I’d be feeling quite the failure at the moment. Of course, teachers in institutional schools catch bad colds, too, and I imagine there’s at least one of them, somewhere in the world, who had to stay home from school today.

Hey. I’m staying home, too, and feeling like something the cat would have dragged in, if we had a cat. But we’re chugging along according to Plan B, and everything’s going to be okay.

More on planning soon, I hope.