Welcome! Thank you for being here! The free book you receive for subscribing to our newsletter THE HOPE CHEST introduces two series: The Dogwood Hometown Series and The Galveston Island Series. The next book to be released is from the Dogwood Hometown Series, scheduled for June 2020 with THE BRIDGE. July will bring us to Galveston Island Series with ISLAND BLUES. Watch these pages, as we will be posting updates, such as blurbs and excerpts in the coming days.
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Thanks again for being here! I’ll see you next time in Tales From The Front Porch Swing.
Hey, y’all! Welcome back to my porch for a visit. Grab you some sweet tea and pull up a chair. Today I want to talk a bit about our younguns. I know most of you are pulling your hair out right now. Hey, no judgment, here. I’m a Mama and a Mi-Mi. I know all about how they can get on your nerves and we get on theirs, too. With a few tweaks and tips, you can have a successful homeschool program for your children during this time and also manage your own work.
I have a Degree in Education and have homeschooled for thirty-six years. Yes, I know I sound country. I am. I’m also highly educated. But, education is only a small part of it. I’ve known some pretty resourceful and genius Mamas in my life who only had a high school diploma. The truth is kids learn more from our example than they do from textbooks. They learn by watching and then doing. They watch everything. So, invite them into the kitchen, which is the heart of the home, to help prepare dinner. Let them help with the laundry, mowing the lawn, and other household chores. No, this isn’t child labor. This is teaching them how to survive on their own. One day, they will need these valuable skills. We, the parents are their first teachers and whether they attend public, private, or school at home, we will always be their teachers.
They also need at least fifteen minutes each day of reading. They can read on their own, or within the family group. One resource I’ve used is text to speech on my grandson’s Kindle and phone. He has to read at least fifteen minutes each day. If he has trouble with the words, he can turn on the text to speech, as long as he reads, I’m good. While we are preparing supper, we talk. I ask him what he read and have him tell me about it.
We have two short sessions each day. In the morning session, we have Language Arts and Math. During the afternoon sessions, we focus on Science and History. Science could be from our textbook or have him watch Animal Planet. History could watch the History Channel, or we do an actual lesson. It really doesn’t take that much time. I am going to list a couple of curriculums I have used, and out of all the curricula I’ve tried through the years, these two are my favorites. I am not affiliated with either of these. I don’t make any money if you order from them. I am supplying the information to help.
Time4Learning is a wonderful resource. It is all online and only $19.95 per month and $14.95 for each additional child. They have Pre-K through 12. All lessons are given via video online. The child logs into their classroom and follows the lesson plan already prepared based on the free diagnostic testing they provide. Another thing they do is document your child’s progress on each lesson and exam. So, when your children go back to school, you can print out their transcripts to send with them. There is an activity center for their playtime, but they’re only allowed to enter it after they’ve done a specific amount of work. It is a full curriculum teaching all subjects. It is also helpful for children with special needs. Many perform better digitally than they do with paper and pencil. This is the perfect alternative for those who have to work remotely. While your kids are learning, you can be working.
The Good and The Beautiful I love this curriculum! I saved the best for last. There are many resources out there and I won’t try to tell you that this is the be-all-end-all, as every child learns differently. But, this one is unlike any other I’ve seen.
It is a Christian based curriculum at a minimal cost. That said, I have seen many negative reviews from people who won’t use it because the lady who started this curriculum is LDS/Mormon. She IS, the curriculum IS NOT. She has many educators on staff, who she diligently screens. The first requirement before they can work for The Good and The Beautiful is they must be Christian. They must believe in Jesus Christ. TG&TB staff are all denominations. She also has people to vet the curriculums to make sure there are no doctrines taught other than the basic “God is good” and He created a beautiful world for us to live in and enjoy. I come from a family of all denominations, so I have seen for myself this is true. She simply wants children to learn and to provide an easy and economical way for parents to teach their children at home.
We use this curriculum. Pre-K through Level 5 is FREE if you want to download and print at home. Or, you can order the curriculum. It is advanced, so be sure to do the diagnostic tests to see which curriculum to order or download. They have Pre-K through 8 and Highschool Levels. We use their Language Arts, Math, Science, Reading, and History Game. It is open and go. Not a lot of time to prepare, at all. Lessons are super quick and good discussion times. The Math curriculum comes with a kit. All you need to supply are pencils and crayons. We also use a magnetic dry erase board. It saves paper.
Out of all the Homeschool Curricula I’ve used in the past 36 years, TG&TB and Time4Learning are by far my favorites. I hope this info is helpful to you during these trying times. Hey, we’re all in this together. This tragedy will end. When we can do nothing else, we can always choose to be kind. Be safe, stay healthy, and know you are loved.
Hey, y’all! I want to talk a bit about Happiness. I know we are in the midst of some terrible times. All around the world we are faced with something powerful – an enemy. This enemy is making people sick and taking a lot of lives. Yes, that is frightening! Our schools are closed. What do we do with our kids? We are told to shelter in place. What about our jobs? People are running out of food and other essential products they use in their day-to-day lives. It is easy to let fear get the best of us when we keep hearing all these stories of people dying. In the face of all this, I choose happiness.
What? Yes, I choose happiness. How do you do that when all of this is going on? It isn’t always easy. I’ll tell you that. But, when I feel myself getting sucked into that vacuum of fear, I turn the switch OFF. I say, “Not today, Satan.” I refuse to be ruled by fear or anything that tries to rob me of my joy. I refuse. I don’t have time for it. Period. I intend to live every moment of my life, happy. If an obstacle gets in my way, I work on a plan to eliminate the barrier or navigate around. I may even laugh at it. My family tells me that I will laugh at anything. It’s true. I do. Hey, I’d much rather laugh than cry. Once my tear ducts are activated, they won’t turn off – sometimes for days. Nope. Not even going there!
I have many ways to stay busy. I am going through my usual routine during these times. I work from home, so that is a bit different from what many are going through. Some of you may like being able to work remotely from home during these times. For those who don’t. Let me offer you a few tips.
Set up a distraction-free work area and let your family know, this is your work area, and you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.
Let your family know you will work from a set time until ________. And keep that promise. Set timers if you must. They’re going through a lot, too.
If you have kids who are home with you, set them up with some educational resources to keep them busy. Time4Learning is an excellent resource I have used in my homeschooling practice. We love it. It is a full curriculum offering diagnostic testing to tell you where your child is in their curriculum. It is online video tutorials with teachers who walk your child through his/her lessons. Games are also part of their instruction. It is Kindergarten through 12th grade and perfect for children with special needs. It is easy to set up with minimal cost at $19.95 per month for the first child and $14.95 each additional child.
Enjoy your break times with your family. It helps keep your mind off work for a few minutes, and when you get back to your work area, you’re ready to get your job done with a fresh perspective. Make a rule not to eat at your desk. It clutters up your work environment, and you need those break times away from your office. It’s also fun to have ice cream with the kids, or a cup of coffee with your Mister or Mrs. to break up the day.
When the workday is done, close up shop. Clean your desk, turn off the computer, and you’re set for the next day. Now, you can cook supper, and have family time without having to commute.
Some people follow the “dress for success rule.” When you go to your work area, wear what you feel most comfortable working in. Some days I dress for work. Others, I wear my pajamas. It’s up to you. If you can be productive in pajamas, go for it!
It is not the end of the world yet. It will be over soon, and we will get through it. Make the most of this time with your family. I know you’re worried about bills, especially those who have lost their jobs. Do what you can. List your most basic essentials, the things you can’t live without, and just pay what you can. Talk to people. Many resources are being put in place to help people whose lives are being affected by Covid19.
If you have an excess of food or other essentials, share with elderly neighbors and shut-ins. They will appreciate it. Prepare a care package and set it on their porch, ring the doorbell, and leave. If you have their number, give them a call and let them know it’s on the porch.
Happiness is a choice. We can’t say, “I’ll be happy when __________.” That day will never come. You must choose to be happy no matter what. Did you get your coffee today? Yay! Be happy. Did you wake up? Yes! Be happy. Your kids are well? Be happy. Find your HAPPY and share some of that happiness with others. Then, when this is all over, we’re gonna celebrate! We will celebrate the lives of those who didn’t make it and share their stories about how they brought happiness into their loved one’s lives. We will celebrate each other.
Leave a comment sharing how you find your HAPPY. Each week I will answer one question. ASK ME ANYTHING. I will choose one question and answer it the following week.
Be blessed, be happy, and know you are dearly loved. Thank you for coming to read my thoughts today.
Hey, y’all! Come on up here on the porch, grab a glass of sweet tea, and I’ll share a little story with ya. Yes, It’s a true story and won me an award for All-Time Best a number of years ago for a contest to write my most embarrassing moment. Yep, I nailed it with this one and went on to win another contest with it.
Many years ago, during one of my mother’s battles with Cancer, I was at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with her and my two children. It was an extremely windy day and while I was helping her back into the van, her wig blew off!
She grabbed her little bald head with both hands, screaming, “Kill it!”
I choked back a laugh while I stuffed her into the van and plopped my strappy heeled sandals into her lap, telling my twelve-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, “Catch Mama’s wig!”
We took off running after that wig, as it tossed to and fro, dancing proudly like a Texas tumbleweed across the lot. I hollered at my son, “Head it off at the pass!”
“I’m trying to, Mom! It’s a speedy little bugger!”
My son was a speedy little bugger himself, from football and martial arts, but that dang wig did not wish to be caught. The entire time we were chasing that thing, my daughter continued to run behind me.
I finally turned towards her and barked, “Would you go get your GrandMama’s wig and stop chasin’ me?”
I didn’t understand at that moment, why she gave me such a bewildered look. About that time, a gust of wind blew my skirt clear up over my head, revealing my brand new pink Victoria Secrets. Ya know the ones with the string? So yeah, there was a full moon shining in the broad daylight!
I gave my best Marilyn pose and smiled, waving to the rapidly increasing crowd, who had come outside to watch all the excitement. My son ran up, wig in hand, grabbed my arm, snatching me rather unceremoniously towards the van.
We left and he never said another word until we came to the 1960 exit in Humble, “Mom, let’s go to the mall.”
I didn’t understand why he wanted to go to the mall that day, but it was lunchtime, so I turned into the mall. We often enjoyed the food court, where we would all ride the carousel after we ate.
I was surprised when he didn’t stop at the food court, but we continued to follow him straight into Victoria’s Secret. He went straight to a bin, scooping up two hands full of granny panties (yeah, they have ’em) and laid them on the counter. He waited patiently for me to sort through them to find which ones would fit and then I paid for them.
My poor, adolescent son was quite surprised to see his Mama, who taught Sunday School every week, wearin’ a pair of thongs! God loves him, and so do I. No, I don’t wear granny panties, but I’ve never worn a thong since!
I hope ya’ll enjoyed my little fashion faux pas. My now-grown children and I often laugh about that story.
Here’s a picture of my little Mackenzie on her First Birthday. She loves some Banana Pudding. She’s a hoot. She knows when I’m making it. She will smell those bananas, and sit right between my feet while I stir the custard. She makes me laugh.
Thanks for comin’ to visit. I look forward to the next time. Be blessed, y’all! XOX
Hey, y’all! Welcome to my little home on the web. I thought for my first post, I’d share a little about me. Although, as I write this we are all being mindful of social distancing at home. I have several Autoimmune disorders and must practice caution during normal times. These times are far from normal.
What I’d love to be doing at the moment, is driving to Galveston Island for a week or two. I will, as soon as this Covid19 mess is sorted. For now, I have plenty to keep me busy, such as preparing some content for you to read. When I’m not working, I am reading, while listening to ambient sounds of the ocean. That is as close as I can come to the beach for now. It is more important to keep everyone safe. Below is a picture of our last trip to Galveston in 2019.
I enjoy crocheting blankets for my family and friends. The most I made in one year, was thirty-two. Yes, that is a lot of crocheting and they were all twin-size or larger blankets. I follow some patterns and also create my own one-of-a-kind patterns.
I love to cook! Yes, I am a true Southern Woman. I like homecooked meals, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, shoot! If it’s fried, I like it. I also love to cook gourmet meals. I am nearly a vegetarian-pescatarian. I do eat meat on occasion, but not often. I eat a lot of Mediterranean foods, Asian, and Tex-Mex. These are the foods I cook most often for my family. I do believe in balance, though. So, I still cook their favorite Southern foods a few times a month. I don’t believe in strictly adhering to a particular diet. Instead, we follow the “anything in moderation” rule. Below are some photos of me teaching my grandson how to roll out dumplings and a banana pudding pie from few years ago. Recipes passed down to me from my Grams, and hers before.
The men in my family can cook as well as women. Grams always wanted to be sure to teach her boys the same as her girls. Grams didn’t follow with the whole Patriarchial ideology most men of the South do with the “man’s role and women’s role” nonsense. She considered cooking basic survival. She began teaching me to cook when I was four years old on her wood-burning stove in her living room. By the time I was six, she was teaching me on an open fire outside. Then, I graduated to the kitchen. I have baked cakes outside as well as I have inside an oven. She taught the girls to chop wood, build fences, and animal husbandry. Grams expected the women she raised to be strong enough of build and character to provide for ourselves and maintain our homes. Mama and I continued that tradition. Both these ladies are gone, leaving me the Matriarch of the family.
That’s all I have for you today. I will see you next time at Tales From The Front Porch Swing. Be blessed, y’all! xox