Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teach Them Diligently Convention

It's been almost two weeks since the convention....and I'm still reeling from some of the information.
I'll admit.  I was desperate. Stressed out. Burned out. Without a clue as to how I'd manage this next school year.  This past year was awful. Horrible. No good. And very bad.
We never got into a groove. So many distractions (mostly from the toddler). It was hard and uncomfortable and miserable.
And we didn't get near enough accomplished (which is why we're STILL working on a few things...).
I needed some refreshment, encouragement, and mostly...ideas for making this thing work! My goal was to hopefully gain some wisdom in schooling with a toddler. That's really all I wanted. The rest would just be one big ole bonus.  I attended all of the *boy* related sessions that I could. Then all of large family and preschooler sessions. And in the midst of all the excitement, I allowed God to lead me to a few sessions that I never even considered....and was blessed immensely.
A few of my favorite speakers who I had planned to hear.
  •  the Youngs from Raising Real Men. Those two work so well together and are so engaging. I have two sisters. No brothers. Mostly female cousins. I'll admit....boys sometimes scare and stupefy me. I'm always asking the hubs, "is that normal for a boy?" To which he always replies, "yes."  I saw a lot of my boys in the Young's conversations about their own boys. Whew....maybe they are normal. ;) 
  • Amy Roberts from Raising Arrows. She gave some awesome advice on how to handle large family homeschooling. Her session was practical (which was exactly what I needed) and encouraging.
  • Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace. This is the session that gave me some confidence and rekindled the excitement of homeschooling for me. I may or may not have shed some tears in her session! So funny though....the ideas she gave were not foreign to me. Back when Drake was the toddler, we used several. And it worked! And it was fun! I had forgotten so much of what it was like having a toddler and just felt so overwhelmed with it all. This session was the greatest blessing and I can't wait to share how her ideas work in our home. Kendra really motivated me to get back on the right track.
  • Carol Barnier from Sizzle Bop. Oh my gosh. Well, if anything, you can't sit in one of her sessions without laughing.  She was amazing as well. Some awesome tools for mom of an ADHD child.
And then the surprises. I didn't plan on attending these sessions but SO glad I did!
  • Megan Scheibner from Character Health.  Sitting in her session was like resting on a hammock in the breeze. So gentle and soft. I didn't realize I needed someone to speak to me in that way. I'm a boy mama...we're generally loud and crazy in our home. Megan's tone and demeanor was like a soothing balm to my soul.  Her words, ideas, and encouragement were bonus...and well worth the time spent. I learned so much from her and left the session wanting to hear more....so I bought her books. All of them. Ha!
  • Dennis Gundersen from Grace and Truth Books. I'll admit...it didn't start off well and I was wondering if I should just take a *bathroom break* to get out of there. Then I really started listening and found some gems. Awesome stuff, really.
  • Jon Dunagan from Harvest Ministry. I didn't take any notes in his session. I was too busy just sitting back, relaxing, and listening to him talk. He's funny and engaging. Just really boosted my confidence.
  • Zan Tyler from Apologia. Another soft-spoken lady who eased my soul....about high school. In the middle of my what-do-I-do-with-the-toddler panic, I didn't have one thought about what high school session would be available. I just happened to finish my shopping right before this session and thought "oh, a session on high school? Eh, why not?" Oh my stars. Awesome. Encouraging. Helpful. And now I'm excited about high school!!
And...oh the conversations on the car ride to and from Dallas, in the hotel room, over meals. So thankful for my friends. From silly to serious, all of it touched my heart. That girl time was even more encouraging and uplifting than the whole convention. Special time spent walking the isles of curriculum displays and sharing our hearts. These are my people. And I love them.
So much good stuff!  And I needed all of it!! Three days totally changed the outlook I had all year long about homeschooling.  So thankful!

Most of the speakers are authors, and I highly recommend their books. I picked up many of them at the convention. Also worth mentioning here is Debra Bell's Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling book. Fabulous!

Convention also helped me change a lot of our curriculum. I have a couple things left on my list to purchase, and, hopefully later this week, I'll be able to start planning the year. I can't wait to share what we are doing differently in the coming school year! 

Hope everyone is having a great summer!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My FAVORITE planner!

I attended the Teach Them Diligently convention last week....and it was AHHH-mazing!!  I'm working on that post but I had to share my excitement.

The fam and I went to Mardel last summer. I was looking for Explode the Code workbooks and a couple other things. Mardel is my all time FAVE store. I can easily browse for a couple hours in there. 

So while browsing, I found the 2013-2014 A Simple Plan planner. Fell in LOVE. And I was in need of a new planner. Also....it was on sale.  BONUS!

Grabbed it. Took it home. And started planning my year. LOVED my planner all year long and waited patiently for the new 2014-2015 planner to come out.

Then I missed the sale at Mardel.

I had determined I would just have to pay full price for it, even though I can't stand to pay full price for anything! (It's only $19.99...which is a GREAT deal anyway!)

I found out Mardel was going to be at the TTD convention so I impatiently waited...hoping maybe it would be on sale again.

IT WAS!! YAY!! Isn't it pretty?!

While I'm sharing my excitement over my new planner, I thought I'd also share something I do a little differently with it.  Last year I started out by writing all the subjects down the side like the suggestion. I quickly realized that with four school-age kids and so many different subjects, it wouldn't all fit. 

I experimented a little and came up with this solution.  I list their names down the side as well as a *Together* spot (things the middles do together like history and science). Each child then has six spots for their subjects. I still have to combine a couple of things like Language Arts for Nathan but I have plenty of room to fill in all of their subjects.

I love that there is just enough room for all five boys and a *Together*!! 

Here is an example of how I list the subjects. Now I can just put the lesson or page numbers on each day across the week. 

I LOVE these pockets on the inside front and back covers! Sturdy enough to hold my comp notebook with all my notes for the year!

If you want to check out the planner and see inside pages, go HERE!!

Can't wait to share my TTD experience!!  Have an AWESOME week!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hi y'all!

It's been a loooong while since I've posted! Over a half year.  YIKES!!

Things didn't go so well for us this past school year. We're still working on things that should have been finished late April/early May! To say I've been overwhelmed is an understatement.

I burned plum out somewhere around Christmas and never recovered. It wasn't one big thing in particular but a collection of many small things...that ran over me like a colony of ants attacking an unfinished apple on a picnic blanket.

I  never recovered but I kept plugging away, not trying to play catch up...just trying to not fall farther and farther behind. Fun stuff was neglected. The kindergartener's schoolwork was neglected. The laundry and housework were neglected. *sigh*

Around January or February, I jokingly told the ladies in our women's bible study group that I would be happy if we just finished this school year the day before next school year. *sigh* Oh how close that joke is to becoming truth...

On top of that, I've stayed on the injured list in one form or another pretty much since the week after I finished my first half marathon. Very little running (which is my stress release).

We did have some fun moments! I promise! It wasn't all dark and dreary. We had plenty of bright and shiny moments.  Co-op classes, games, sports, play dates, field trips.

Christmas parties!!


His first year!
Kindergarten Graduation!!!

New Driver!!!
a LOT of baseball! Three teams this year!!!

And a lot of other fun stuff. The school year wasn't a total bummer.


I'm looking forward to a much more productive and fun 2014-15 school year.....if we can ever get out of this one! Ha!

I am super excited about the encouragement and support I will surely get this week as I join a few of my homeschool mama friends on a trip to the Dallas Teach Them Diligently convention.  YAY!!!! 
Can't wait to sit and listen to speakers like Hal and Melanie Young from Raising Real Men, Brooke from MOB Society, Amy Robers from Raising Arrows, and so many more!

Three days of just soaking up some love and encouragement and inspiration....with some of my fave mamas. My heart needs this SO much!! Even my boys are excited for me. :)

I hope to come back fired up, ready to knock out the remainder of this school year, and start planning next school year.

And I hope to keep up a little more with this blog!  I like the accountability it brings....who knows who all reads this. Eeek! I need to bring my A game and actually accomplish something, lest all two of you think I'm a major slacker. I like having weekly notes of what we've done. It's encouraging to look back and see how far we've come in our school year...and nice to revisit fun memories.  And I feel more creative. When I blog, I tend to read others' blogs and find inspiration.

We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging habit.

.....I'm kind of a major slacker though. ;)

Happy Summer!!!