Category Archives: Education

Simplifying in 2011

One of my New Year’s plans is to simplify things.  This is a tough one for me, because I have so many interests and I love diversification… but I have decided that one of my simplifications will be moving this blog over to Blogspot, as I have a few others over there as well.  Having everything together in one place will be easier on me, I hope, and I hope that it won’t be too much trouble for you, either.  🙂

In the meantime, I may post a few more things here, and this site will remain up for some time, but please check us out at Making Our Dream Life Happen over at the new site.  There are some exciting changes coming up this year for us, so I hope to see you there!

As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so please check us out, and I hope to see you there!!!

I’m also going to post a quick list of blogs that I have.  Some of these are new, and some have been around but quiet for a while.  I have plans to keep these blogs going, and a plan for regular updates on them.  Please feel free to check them out as well, and drop me a quick line, letting me know that you found me.  🙂

My photography blog.

My photography website.

Inked in the South.

As I said, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back by within a couple of weeks, so feel free to leave me a comment here, but I’ll be checking the new blog daily.  🙂

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Filed under Education, Free Stuff I find, My Writing, Our Businesses, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life, Trips, Uncategorized

What we’ve been up to

OK, so basketball and NaNoWriMo (for me) has had us pretty silent for a few weeks.

I’ve already tooted my own horn everywhere else, so I’ve got to do it here.  I WON NaNoWriMo this year!!!  To understand what a major accomplishment I am, see my post titled Finally Someone Understands Me.  🙂  Then check out the graph below.  I hit two plateaus, but managed to push through them, which is the big accomplishment part.  I’m still working on finishing the book (still have a chapter to go), then I’ll have a major round of editing to do on it, and it’ll be ready for first readers.  This is the first novel I’ve (nearly) finished, so it’s very exciting for me.

Then, Chris has been playing basketball.  We average 3 games per week, so that keeps us pretty busy.  They’ve been doing GREAT, and have a 7-2 record so far.  Coach just enrolled them for the state tournament in February in Frisco, and we’re all really excited about that, too.  They have a ton of games between now and then, though, so we’re keeping focused on December games.

The twins are still working on copy books, their letters, numbers, reasoning (i.e., which pictures are smallest, which are largest, etc.).

Chris has hit a small snag with his schoolwork.  Our computer has a file that’s corrupted, so he’s not able to do math, science & bible at the moment.  So we’re concentrating on English, Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, and History, and we’ll have to get it fixed so he can get caught up on the three he’s missing.

We’re all doing a unit study on Alaska, which includes reading aloud from a book about Alaska (reading, grammar), watching videos of the Alaska Highway being built, the Alaska Pipeline being built (both History), and tomorrow, I’m going to pick up a video about the Aurora Borealis (Science).  We also have geography cards that the boys look at and look up where we’re reading about as we read our books.  I’ve included a travel guide for Chris, so he can look up the city we’re reading about, and see what all there is to see in Alaska in that area.  We look up the weather patterns in Alaska, highs and lows, talk about earthquakes, snowfall, etc. for Science.  We map and try to figure out distances from one place to another for Math, and look up information online.  This has been one of our first full unit studies, the first I’ve put together on my own, so it’s been fun to try to figure out how to include all subjects based around a unit.

In other news, Chris (14) is going through that phase where he would rather hang out with adults than children, which is very typical of this age.  But he still is seriously lacking in manners and etiquette.  A lot of this was realized at Thanksgiving, so I’m looking for a good secular book on manners and etiquette for boys.  We’ve come a long way on his table manners, and he no longer tries to talk to people about how much money they make or have (grin), and mostly about not talking about religion and politics to anyone he encounters, but I’m still missing some of the basics, such as:  a) not interrupting.  When he walks into a room, he pays no attention as to who else is talking, but just starts;  b) not bugging adults to play with him.  He loves basketball.  This is great, but he pesters adults to play with him when there’s a bunch of people here;  c) sensing someone’s mood.  He has no idea when it’s alright to joke and when it’s best if he doesn’t.  His dad and I will be having an intense discussion about something that’s upsetting to us for one reason or another, and he feels it’s perfectly okay and appropriate to pipe in with a joke.  There are others, but these are the most frequent.  I have tried giving him examples, and I continue to try to correct him when it happens, but sometimes I’m not sure how to explain it to him.  So I’m putting this out there, wondering if you’ve heard of anything that would help with this.  🙂

Other than that, hubby and I are both still looking for jobs.  We haven’t decided how we’re going to handle schooling once we get them, but I guess we’ll decide when/if we get to a point where we are both working, or both have the opportunity to work.  Construction is still really really tight around here, so my options are looking better than his right now.  Maybe he’ll be a homeschooling dad for a while, while I work.  We’ve always been a pretty non-traditional family, so that’s a definite option.  I keep telling myself that no matter what, it’s all steps towards our dream life.  In the meantime, even families with big dreams need to eat!  🙂

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Filed under Education, My Writing, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life

FUNDRAISING request Basketball VCA

Chris (13) is playing basketball for a local homeschooling group this year with Victoria Cobra Athletics.  We are doing fundraising for his entrance fee ($275) and uniforms (unknown amount as yet).  He has raised nearly $100, and still needs $175 plus his uniform.  The fundraisers are due this Thursday (November 11th).  We are learning that it is much more expensive to participate in extra-curricular activities in a homeschooling situation, but are thankful that we have the option.  In the meantime, we have to ask for your support.  🙂

The fundraisers include:

Donation: will receive a frame-able certificate announcing your support of Victoria Cobra Athletics.  Donations are appreciated in the amount of $20 or more.

Chick-fil-A 2011 Cow Calendar: $6 each, includes $30 worth of Chick-fil-A coupons.  ($3 of each purchase will support Chris in his fundraising efforts) **Please be sure to let us know how many you wish to order, as well as a physical address to mail the calendar(s) to.  As a thank you, we will be covering all shipping and handling of each order.

Chick-fil-A Cheesecakes:  $20 ($5 of each purchase will support Chris in his fundraising efforts.)  Pre-cut into 20 slices, creamy vanilla cheesecake.  **For this one, you’ll need to be local to Victoria, TX… within an hour at the most.  Be sure to include your name, phone number and email address, as well as a physical address so that we can map the delivery location.


If you’re interested in helping support Chris in his fundraising efforts, please see our Fundraising Page, and donate via our PayPal button.  Please be sure to include your mailing address on your donation, as we’ll need it to send to your order and a thank you note!  And thank you, in advance, for anyone willing to help support Chris!  We will be posting game results and photos!

Alternately, you can send a check to our home address (email me at kimberlyearley ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com, for our address and put “Donation to VAC” in the subject line).  Please make sure that the check will arrive by Wednesday (i.e., it will need to be sent Priority Mail or through any overnight service), and make checks payable to Victoria Cobra Athletics.  Should you need a Tax ID number, we will be happy to provide that for you upon request.

As we understand that times are really tough for everyone, if you are unable to donate but would like to help in some way, could you take a moment to share this post with your friends?  A quick link on Twitter or Facebook could really make a difference!  If there are any excess funds, they will still be donated to Victoria Cobra Athletics, for another child on the team to use.  There are several that have fallen short this year.

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Filed under Education, Parenting

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010

OK, I don’t normally take pics of me and upload them without heavy touch-up (LOL), but I forgot to have hubby take one of the kids without me.  So here I am, with Kyle (Luigi), Chris (Scream), and Kody (Hiccup/Viking).

Since we live in the country, we took a drive into town to do some trick-or-treating.  I have to say I LOVE Halloween.  Always have, probably always will.

I honestly think this is the first Halloween that my Luigi didn’t scream his head off at least once at jasome frightening costume, so that was a definite plus!  🙂  Seriously, though, it was a great night.  We had a lot of fun, have enough candy to rot their teeth for a year (LOL), and now, they are all laying down watching a movie.

OK, this may be my last post for a while.  I’ve been trying to update everyone.  I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and will be in way over my head, trying to write a 50K word + novel in November.  Between homeschooling, birthdays, Thanksgiving, job hunting, and all that good stuff, you may not see me around much.  🙂  So have a great month!!!

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Filed under Education, My Writing, Parenting

Notes from TWTM for K

I’m re-reading TWTM with an emphasis for the K’s.  These are just my notes, not anywhere near comprehensive for all of what is laid out in the book.  As a side note, I really need to get my own copy of this book.  If you have one for sale, please let me know. 😀

Nice to know that during our read-aloud time, I’m already doing what they suggest, and choosing words for them to sound out (“sticking on a word”).  If it’s what I call a “weird word” (because it makes the boys laugh), then I explain the rule and move on.  They’re already picking up on many of the rules due to that.

Books on tape.  Not children’s versions, but “densely written” adult versions.  Children will learn to grasp language from the sounds of the words, even if they don’t fully understand the content.  I love this quote, “Books on tape stock a child’s mind with teh sounds of thousands of words.  When children start sounding out words later on, they’ll progress much more quickly if they recognize the words.”  For my purposes, I’ll combine this with my reluctant classic reader, and choose the classics that he needs to be working on.

For teaching beginning reading, they’ve suggested Phonics Pathways. Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling.  I’m afraid we’re already past this, but I might have to check into it to be sure.  If you’re not, that’s what’s recommended, and the link is within.

So, all in all, it’s a pretty good day!  Always nice to know that I’m doing what needs to be done (or more).

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Filed under Education, Parenting

It’s official – homeschooling mom-teacher of three

our homeschoolers

After MUCH debate, and several conversations with each child and each other, Hubby and I made a monumental decision this weekend.  We are homeschooling all three children now.

I’m terrified and excited.  I know it will be good for us, both as a family and individually.  This is one step closer to our dream life.  I always wanted to be a teacher, and now I’ll be teaching my children, each in the way that they learn best.  I’ve done the research, I’ve paid careful attention.  I can do this!  We can do this!!

But I have concerns, too.  What if I can’t do as good of a job with the littles?  What if I find I don’t have the patience?  The fortitude?  The whatever-it-takes to get it done?  What if we really need me to go back to work?  I’m finding there’s a lot more nerves there than I thought there would be.  A lot more questions than answers.  But I’m also confident that it’s the right choice.  With Hubby working out of town, the responsibilities to get the kiddos where they each need to be falls on me.  I’ve already taught Kyle how to read, and Kody is well on his way.  Kyle will continue to have more doctor’s appointments than most kiddos his age, due to his allergies.  And with Daddy being out of town, it’s tougher to stick to a school schedule.  Taking all of those things into consideration, we decided that the uncertainty is worth the plunge.

If I am low on patience, then I’ll schedule more mommy-time when I can get it.  I’ll spend more time visiting family, and getting out and about to museums, the zoo, and other activities that will keep the littles occupied and still be learning activities.  I’ll also be better able to participate in some of the homeschool days activities.  If we get desperate for a second income, then I’ll find something on the night shift.  (I prefer that anyways).  I’ll still continue with my freelancing, and my other businesses to create income when and how I can that way (Avon, anyone? Barefoot Books? There’s another one in the works, but until it’s a done deal, I won’t advertise it.)  I’ve learned a lot about blogging in the last few months, and will be putting some of what I’ve learned to use there, too.  I have a book and a couple of short stories in the works.  We’ll be working together as a family to submit those and learn about the publishing process (rejection letters can be learned from, too).  We will adopt even more frugal attitudes and involve the whole family in those activities (I made laundry soap a couple of weeks ago.  We were lacking the buckets to put it in, but I’ll be trying again soon… I’m also looking to take some “refresher course” on sewing… with my mom if she’ll do it (LOL) or a course from someone local… if you know anyone in/near Victoria, please drop me a line in the comments).

Tomorrow I’ll officially withdraw the littles from school and send off our letter to the administration.  I’ll have their curriculum completed by then, a la The Well Trained Mind.

Eeeeeeeeeekkkkkk!!!!  What have I gotten myself into????  LOL!!!  {Breathe, Kim… it’s going to be okay!}

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Filed under Education, Our Businesses, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life

Grab my button!

Making Our Dream Life Happen

I’m so excited that I learned how to make a blog button this morning!!!  I love learning something new!  I’ll try adding it to the sidebar, but since WordPress.com doesn’t much like the buttons I try to attach (LOL), it may or may not work, so I wanted to do it in a blog post, too.  If you enjoy my blog, please grab the button and share it with people on  your own blog!  Leave me a comment, and I’ll visit your blog, too!  🙂

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Filed under Education