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Yesterday I had a reader of this blog ask me a very good question.  She is looking for free homeschooling resources as she is just starting out on the homeschooling journey.  Unfortunately, I am not an expert in this area, but I want to do what I can to help her.  I am going to offer a few suggestions here, and if anyone has additional suggestions, please leave them as comments to this entry.  I know this lady would really appreciate it.

Whenever I have a question on any topic, one of my first steps is to google it. So that is my first recommendation.  Try typing “free homeschool, ” “free homeschool resources,”  “free homeschool printables,”  etc. into an internet search engine.  I just briefly tried this myself earlier today, and it brought up many websites that would be worth looking into.

Now I will post one disclaimer here.  One site that comes up in such a Google search is for K-12 Free Homeschool.  We tried that as a supplement for Kara last year, and we do not recommend it.  It is basically a site that links to other educational sites.  Although they say they are free, they took a “Christmas donation” out of our checking account without our approval. They did give us a refund when we asked for it.  So, even though this is a “free” resource, I do not personally recommend it.

That does bring up another option that should not be confused with it, however.  The K 12 Online Curriculum is a completely different program that is offered by several states as on online option to public schooling.  From what I know of it, I think it is probably a good, but secular, curriculum.  In our state, there is a virtual public school that uses this curriculum, and because it is a “public” school that is supported through tax money, it is tuition-free for the families that choose to use it.  In many cases, not only the curriculum, but even the computers are provided for little or no cost.  There is a list of states that have such schools by clicking here.   Now I must say that this is a secular option, and I think that one of the whole purposes of homeschooling is to teach our Christian values.  So, if I were using this curriculum for financial reasons, I would supplement it with Bible curriculum, and would watch out for issues like evolution and worldview.  I know many families use this K12 curriculum and are quite happy with it.

Another source of free homeschooling information that I have used is Yahoo groups.  There are several of these where parents post things that they have used and enjoyed.  I am a member of a few of these, and they are worth joining for ideas.  Here are some that I use.  Clicking on the titles will take you to the page where you can request membership:  Christian Preschool Printables, Click Schooling, Lilliput Station, and Sites for Learning.  To get the most out of these groups, read the messages, but also look in the files and links sections for more ideas.  Again, I am sure that if you type “free homeschool” or “free homeschool resources” into the Yahoo group search engine, it would bring up many, many more of these groups.

I also started a link page for my own kids that has some good sites as well.  It is at http://guest.portaportal.com/colbylobrien .  The categories “Preschool Sites” and “Elementary Sites” are not exclusive.  By that, there are good things for older kids in the preschool links, and there are probably good things for younger kids in the elementary sites.  I divided them up that way for my own kids.  So, go through those and see if there is anything helpful.

I hope these suggestions are helpful.  Really the best place to start is with an internet search engine.  Please, if anyone has anything to add to this list of ideas, please leave a comment.

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My Sister-in-Law, Amber, nominated my blog for an “I Love Your Blog Award.”  Thanks, Amber!  That is really nice!

Now, as a recipient of this great award, I am supposed to nominate 7 of my favorite blogs to also receive it.  Wow–I read a lot of blogs, so narrowing it down to 7 is kind of hard!  So, I looked through my bookmarks and picked out the ones that I visit most often and really enjoy.  Here they are (in no particular order):

Scraps ‘N Snaps is my Sister-In-Law Amber’s blog.  I enjoy reading it and keeping up with my wonderful nephew, Levi!  It’s kind of strange–we both live in the same town, but it seems like we keep up with each other’s news through our blogs!  Anyway, Amber is a sweetie, and her blog is very nice.

Finishing Our Family From China is my friend Shelley’s blog.  I met this wonderful family when we travelled to China to adopt Kara.  They were part of our travel group and adopted their beautiful daughter Claire from the same province.  They were very supportive friends when we needed them, and I love them dearly.  They are now in the process of adopting a little boy from China, and I can’t wait to see him in their arms!  Their daughter also has a blog called Ready or Not, Here He Comes!  It will be neat to read her blog as they adopt her little brother!

Shirley’s Adventure to Grace Elyse is another favorite!  Terrye and I have been internet buddies for quite awhile, and I enjoy seeing her wonderful pictures of her daughter who is adopted from China.  Terrye is also a Grandma of some precious kids, so it’s neat to see them playing with their Aunt Grace.  Just a note about this blog:  be ready for some smiles!  Little Grace has the cutest expressions, and Terrye knows how to use those expressions to put together cute stories about her antics!

Journey to Therese is a wonderful blog of a growing family.  I began reading this blog quite some time ago when Adele’s husband travelled to China to adopt their daughter, Therese.  Since then, they have had another biological baby, and are expecting again!  They are really a beautiful family.  I enjoy seeing pictures of Therese.  She is one of the beautiful girls that we considered when we were applying for special needs kids, and it is so wonderful to be able to see her grow up in a loving home. 

Beautiful Feet on the Mountains is a wonderful blog written by a lady whose family lives in China.  They have a lovely daughter, and I just really enjoy reading this blog.  I have never had any contact with the author–maybe I should.  Anyway, she has beautiful pictures of China in her blog, and it makes me miss that great country so much!  She also has funny entries about the strange English names that some of the Chinese people choose.

Living with a Child and Adopting a Second Child is my friend Heather’s blog.  I met her over the internet, and I feel like I really know her.  She and her husband have a wonderful little boy adopted from China, and they are in the process of adopting a beautiful girl from China.  I can’t wait for them to bring this sweet girl home–she is just lovely!

Mighty Oak Country School is a newly-discovered treasure for me!  I met the author, Violin Mom, through the Homeschool Memoirs Meme.  This family has two adopted children whom they homeschool.  They are very involved with Suzuki violin lessons, and their kids play their violins beautifully!  When I first started reading this blog, I could hardly believe how much this Mom and I have in common.  We are becoming quick internet friends.

There you have it:  my list of the newest recipients of the “I Love Your Blog” Awards.  Please check them out.  These are all wonderful people that I know that you will enjoy getting to know!

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Lotsofkids.com


 

I just found a great internet site for families with lots of kids!  It’s at http://www.lotsofkids.com/ , and I have added it to the Favorite Sites section of the sidebar. There’s a lot of neat information on it including household maintenance tips, recipes, crafts, etc.  I’ve already printed off some recipes to try!  I’m going to spend more time on this site!

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 Below is a post that was copied with permission from its author’s blog.  

Halloween, or Reformation Day? October 23, 2007

I personally don’t celebrate Halloween. Since Jesus came to give us life and light (guidance) in this world, I can no longer in good conscience participate in a holiday that celebrates death and darkness (and every evil thing conceivable). Here in Detroit folks call it “Devil’s night”, despite the fact that the night belongs to (and exists because of) God. So on October 31, I encourage people to celebrate something better – I call it “Reformation Day.” On Oct 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses – a list of abusive practices in the Catholic church that needed reforming in order to bring the church into alignment with the teachings of Jesus. On that day, a darkness that had hovered over the world since before the middle ages began to lift, as error was exposed by the truth of scripture. So October 31 should not be a celebration of darkness. It should be a celebration of what the light of Jesus’ truth can accomplish to bring mankind out of spiritual darkness. September 11 2001 showed us clearly that it matters what a person believes; on this day, terrorists who believed they were doing the right thing caused thousands of deaths. No longer can we casually argue that it’s ok to embrace wickedness and darkness, pretending there will be no negative consequences for doing so. No longer can we argue that the evil of Halloween is acceptable if we sugar-coat the evil with a little fun and candy. No longer can we ignore the detriment to society caused by the “do what thou wilt” philosophy of satan. Sure, it feels good to do what you want. But look at the resulting state of a world filled with people who are all doing whatever they want. Would we allow a man to rape our mothers if he first gave us free tickets to the local amusement park? Certainly not. Then why do we ignore Halloween’s obvious themes of witchcraft, death, evil spirits, and everything satanic just because someone threw in a few tootsie rolls for the kids? Few in our culture distinguish between good and bad anymore. When I was 5 yrs old, I attended kindergarten at a Presbyterian church. I can still remember the teacher dressing up for Halloween as a witch with tall pointy black hat. I suppose her version of the Bible must have suffered misprints in those scriptures that condemn the practice of witchcraft. Today, over 30 years later, the Presbyterian church has much greater problems than the acceptance of witchcraft, and have moved even beyond the acceptance of homosexual “ministers”. Now they debate same-sex marriage, and the Presbyterian church cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman. What’s next? Will they debate marriage between humans and farm animals?

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone yielded to the light of God and followed God’s ways, and accepted the historical fact that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die and to be raised back to life? He was not raised to life like a Halloween horror movie full of zombies and half-decomposed bodies walking around. Jesus was resurrected in power and honor. If everyone followed God’s ways, nobody would have ever heard of AIDS. There would be no rape. No violence. No war in Iraq. Twin towers would still be standing. No road rage, or self-centered drivers cutting you off. No lead in children’s toys. No infidelity. No internet porn. People would find fulfillment in heterosexual marriage, negating the temptation to decide to engage in homosexual or lesbian “sex”. Folks would look out for one another, instead of living for 35 years only two houses away from neighbors they never talk to. God’s ways are right. They are life and light, and I will celebrate and embrace them instead of Halloween. And I will continue what Martin Luther started 490 years ago – a fight for the truth. Because what we believe really does matter.

Happy Reformation Day!

This original post can be viewed at http://onthuhlist.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/halloween-or-reformation-day/ Instructions for carving the Jesus pumpkin is on the same author’s site at http://onthuhlist.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/carve-your-own-jesus-defeats-death-pumpkin/

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I said in my post about our Camp Fire USA party that I would post the recipe for the yummy pumpkin cookies that we made.  I made a Smilebox of the recipe, and if you play it, it can be printed on your computer!  (Cool, huh?!)

I also have added the links for some of the websites that gave us ideas for our party on my Portaportal.  The link is http://guest.portaportal.com/colbylobrien .  The sites are listed in the section labelled “Scouting/Camp Fire USA Links” under “2007 Fall Party Links.”  Most of the games that we played are printables off of those sites. 

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 My kids absolutely LOVE the Jonathan Park radio drama series.  It is a Christian adventure series that incorporates a lot of neat science information.  The website is http://www.jonathanpark.com .We own the whole series, and can’t wait for the next installment to be released.  The kids listen to it every night before bed, and have almost memorized most of the episodes!

 The latest fad among the kids is making up their own Jonathan Park stories and acting them out.  Sometimes this gets pretty crazy, but overall, it’s pretty funny to watch!  (I mean, really, how many times in a row can they forget to change the radio frequency so Myles Morgan can’t intercept their messages!)  Sometimes I even hear them put in the little commercial that the radio series does in the middle of the episodes! 

Anyway, we put together a Smilebox slideshow of their story, and I am also going to post a video clip of them explaining what they are doing.

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This is the last assignment for The Blogger Friend School that I need to catch up on before the new assignment is posted on Wednesday! I must say that this one has been the one that I have enjoyed the most so far! This assignment is to use my Blog’s name to create signs. The link that makes these neat signs is at http://www.imagechef.com . At the end of the assignment, I will share another verse that has been special to me this week.

I have had so much fun with this sign-making, that John has called it “The Prairie Family Chronicles Fad!” I am going to post a Smilebox slideshow of some of the neat signs that we made.

My verse for today is I Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

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