Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Preparing Your Homeschooler For College

I have a post today at The Homeschool Classroom entitled, Preparing Your Homeschooler For College.  You can click here to read this post.

Since writing this post, I have thought of one more item that I would like to mention.

Using an alarm clock.
In our home I either wake up my children when I want them to be up, or more commonly, I just let them sleep until they wake up naturally.  This is not a problem for my early risers, Clay and Julie.  Nor does it seem to be much of a problem for Sam who is usually up at a reasonable time as well.  But my other girls, Leah and Olivia, have always been night owls and later than normal sleepers.  I just work with it.  Our home school schedule has Clay doing algebra with me at 8:00, but does not have Leah or Sam beginning school until 9:00 (our morning Bible time).

However, I do see the need for my high school aged children to begin using an alarm clock and being held accountable for being up and ready to begin school at a certain time.  Like I said, this is not an issue for my current high schoolers, but I predict that my younger two will be learning to set their alarm clocks in a few years.

Just one more way to prepare them to get to class on time when they are in college.

Of course, I could just call or text them every morning to make sure they are up!  (Like I am doing with my current college student!)  :)

Click here to read the other ways I am preparing my remaining students for college.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since I have basically taken a hiatus from blogging this month, I realized that I have not blogged about October:  Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I looked at my posts from last year, and I have copied and pasted two of them.  These are the most important ones, in my opinion.

Also, Julie, Megan, Leanna, and I have been working this month on making drain bags and comfort pillows for mastectomy patients.  When we finally finish this project (we are making 72 of each item!), I will share some pictures and also instructions in case you want to make some too.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

 Some of the risk factors are things you can do absolutely nothing about, like your age and the whether you are a woman or not.  But many of the others are things that can be changed if need be. 

I am going to list them without comment, but if you would like to read in detail about these risk factors, visit this link at

  • being a woman
  • age
  • family history
  • genetics
  • personal history of breast cancer
  • radiation to chest or face before age 30
  • certain breast changes
  • race/ethnicity
  • being overweight
  • pregnancy history
  • breastfeeding history
  • menstrual history
  • using hormone replacement therapy
  • drinking alcohol
  • having dense breasts
  • lack of exercise
  • smoking
There is also a list of emerging risk factors, and you can click on the same link and scroll down to read the complete listing.  The emerging risk factor that interests me the most is eating unhealthy food.  I encourage each of you to read the article about eating unhealthy food.  

Since my diagnosis of breast cancer, I have made changes in the eating habits of both myself and and my family.  Especially since my daughters now have the unavoidable risk factor of family history, I want to do all I can to lower their risks in every other area.  What I feed my family in my home is one thing that I can control.  We have shifted to a mostly plant-based diet.  That means that with a few exceptions (like at other people's homes, sometimes in restaurants, and about once a week or so in our own home), we are eating very little animal products.  Very little meat and eggs and no dairy.   Also, I am still working hard to reduce processed foods from our diets.  

Please spend a few minutes to review the risk factors of breast cancer, and then see if there are any changes you need to make to protect yourself.

Screening For Breast Cancer

There are variations in the recommendations for the age to begin getting a mammogram as well as the frequency that the mammogram should be repeated.  You can ask your personal physician for his recommendation for you.  However, don't do like I did.  Don't put it off for two years when your doctor tells you that it is time to get a baseline mammogram. 
Here is a link about Mammogram Recommendation.  Also here is a link that includes lots of information about all kinds of breast cancer screening.

If you are 40 or older.  Do it.  Schedule your mammogram.  :)  If you are younger than 40, and if you have a higher than average risk of breast cancer, talk to your physician about his recommendation for your screening.

Ok....if you are still reading.....please be proactive with your health!  Know your body and be aware of any changes.  Early detection of breast cancer is important.

While I am thankful and celebrating my good health, I have also had a sense of sadness this month.  Two friends of mine have friends that passed away recently from breast cancer, and I also have a friend (a sweet member of my church) who has breast cancer.  She was diagnosed about the same time as me, but her path has been much, much different, and much more difficult.  She is technically in remission right now, but she has been through so much.  I think of her and pray for her and her health daily.  

So, in closing, be aware this month and always!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Running in the Johnson Family

Hello Internet!

I am still alive.  The only things I do at my computer these days are:

  • pay bills
  • sort through and delete emails
  • proofread Olivia's English Comp 2 papers (I am so glad I am not taking that class!)
  • look up my own recipes
  • log my miles on Daily Mile
Our whole family has been running a lot lately.  Julie and Clay are running with our homeschool cross country team, the Spartans.  Julie set a personal record (PR) in the 5K this fall.  19:45.  She was ecstatic, and we are all so happy for her and her hard work!  Clay has consistently run his 5Ks in under 20:00 or 21:00 all season, and Leah set a PR as well!  Sam has run a 1 mile fun run on occasion, and he sometimes run at Spartan practice.

Jimmy is slowly overcoming his battle with severe plantar fasciitis, and has built up his mileage over the last month.  Jimmy and I are both training for the St. Jude Marathon on December 7.  I am doing most of my long runs with Leanna (this will be her first marathon!), but sometimes Jimmy, Heather, Lynn, and Esther join us for some or all of the miles.  This week we did 43 miles!  In four days!  And I am exhausted!

Early, early this morning Jimmy, Julie, Clay, and I traveled to Florence, AL, for the UCP Half Marathon and 5K.  Jimmy ran the Half (with a 6 mile warm up in order to get his long run in for the week), and Julie and Clay ran the 5K.  Leah and Sam stayed behind with their cousins.  I watched and cheered everyone on. (I was done with my miles for the week).  IT WAS SO COLD!  32 degrees when we arrived!  But all three of them ran well, and we had fun--our little family of four.  We enjoyed lunch with Jimmy's first cousin and some his family before coming back home.

Olivia has been doing well with her college XC team too!  A couple of weeks ago at the FSU meet, she set a 5K PR of 21:28.  Happiness abounded!  Olivia has really had a good running season!  She ran a 5K with her team this morning, and ran her second best time ever.  I am so proud of her, and I wish we could see her race.  Hopefully, next year we can make it one of her meets.  Since Julie and Clay run here, and Jimmy has to work some weekends, we just have been unable to travel so far to see Olivia in her meets.  

Recent running fun for the children has included crazy hair and sock day and shaving cream fun day at their Spartan practices.  We have only a couple more weeks of Spartan practice, and their season is over.  Both Julie and Clay are running the St. Jude Half Marathon, and then they will rest a bit after that.

My miles next week are 45.  With a long run of 20.  I hope to get the miles in in 4 days---it's better mentally that way.  

A few running pictures....

 Spartan Team Photo

 Julie--shaving cream fun

 Clay--shaving cream fun

 Martha, Olivia, and Catherine
Olivia was home for Fall Break.

 Olivia and Julie with some Spartan girl--Catherine, Hannah, and Leslie, at a 5K last weekend.

 Crazy hair and sock day.
Clay and Leah had green spray in their hair.

 Clay and Julie this morning before the race.

 Jimmy, with his friends, Michael and H.F. before the race this morning.

Clay and Julie after the race.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More On Copying Scripture

I have had a few people ask me questions about my Scripture copying.  It's nothing fancy!  I took a few pictures of my journal, and hopefully these pictures will explain what I am doing.

This is the left hand side of the journal.  After copying an entire chapter (and this usually takes more than one day), I create an outline of the chapter.  I am using a Bible that I call a "clean copy".  It has no  previous markings or underlinings by me, but I am marking and underlining as I read.  Also, it has no "headings"--those paragraph or chapter summary statements that are sometimes inserted in certain Bibles.  The Bible that I am using for copying Scripture is a New King James version that I bought from Lifeway a while back.

This is the right hand side page of the journal.  On this side, I do the actual copying.  I copy about one page per day.  That is one page in my journal, not one page in my Bible.

This is another left hand side page (a different page than the outline page).  Normally each chapter of takes me 2-3 pages of my journal to copy.  I use the first facing left hand page to do the outline.  I use the remaining facing left hand pages to take notes or right down my thoughts.

Here is a picture of the journal--both pages in view.
Left hand side:  outline
Right hand side:  the chapter, copied.

Ok.  Did that clear it all up?
If you have more questions, please leave me a comment.  I will be happy to answer them!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Latest

  • Bible Study:  Some of you have asked for more details regarding my copying Scripture.  I took pictures of my journal, and I will share soon.  Also, I have begun listening to the Bible on CD in my car.  We have had these CDs for years, and I have never listened to them.  I really like them!  However, we are missing disc 8, so I am reading Leviticus 25-Numbers 10 before I can listen to the next CD.
  • Running:  Last week's long run of 18 was so much better than the previous week's long run.  I drank a full cup of coffee, and I ate a little packet of that fruit in a pouch stuff--you know, they make baby food in these pouches--but this is not baby food, but just pureed fruit in a pouch.  I found it in the refrigerated organic section of Kroger.  Anyway, eating two of those plus drinking plenty of Gatorade and water resulted in a much better run.  Plus I ran with Heather for 13.5 miles of it, and we had a good visit.
  • Homeschool:  We are just moving right along.  Doing school still takes me all day, and if we have any unplanned interruptions, I don't get everything done.  We are off tomorrow and Friday, and that will give us time to catch our breath.
  • Olivia:  She came home for the weekend about 10 days ago, and she is coming home again today for Fall Break!  Yay!  We are all so excited!  She warned me that she has to bring home all of her books and do lots of studying/paper writing, but that's ok!  We are just so, so happy to have her here with us!  She set a PR in a 5K cross country race that she ran last week.  Her best time since she was 13!  She was so excited, and we all were too!
  • In the Kitchen:  I stuck to my "serve the same meals over and over" routine for two weeks.  And then I wanted a change, so this week I have been serving all new recipes.  Most have been "not so good".  I am sure that my family is tiring of my culinary experiments, but really they are such good sports and eat whatever I prepare......and then get a bowl of oatmeal or cereal for dessert!  Ha!
  • Preparing for Christmas:  Yes.  It's time.  I have done very little.  But, I plan to begin sharing a couple of tips/ideas a week.  This week's tip:  If you have been gathering gifts throughout the year, and they are not in one location, put them there.  I have a huge plastic bin with a lid that is my gift box.  Whenever I buy a present, I put it inside that box.  Now is the time to take inventory of your gift box.  You may surprise yourself with the items you have picked up this year.  
  • Sewing:  I have bought all of the fabric and most of the other supplies for sewing small pillows and drainage bags for mastectomy patients.  I have two different places that I will donate these sets.  My goal is to have them ready to deliver by the end of October, since it's the pink month and all.  
I think that about sums everything up.  Life is crazy hectic around here.  Most days I feel like I am barely keeping my nose above the water.  (Like most of you feel too, I am sure!).
Here is the verse I repeat in my head on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Hymn For Today

"For you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings."
Malachi 4:2

Healing In Its Wings

O, Father, I do sin, and my heart breaks deep within.
For you have sought me, yet I turn away from all Your loving care.
So often do I fail, yet You reach out again,
Lifting my burden that is more than I can ever bear.

Through Your beloved Son, there is grace so undeserved,
How can I ever sin against the One who makes my heart to sing.
Create a heart so clean that like You I may be,
As Light of Morning rises up with healing in its wings.

My broken contrite heart is so worthless in thy sight.
But You restore it, give it peace and joy to love and follow You.
Oh, may I ever strive to live pure in Your sight,
Filled with Your goodness, free to glorify and honor Your.

Glenda Barnhart Schales

Thursday, October 3, 2013

17 Miles

This morning I ran 17 miles with Jimmy and Leanna (who ran almost 8 with us).  It was a really bad run.  I felt terrible from about mile 8 on.  I did not have negative splits.  The only bright spots were the running company! I think I know five reasons why  it was such a yucky run.

  1. I normally drink a full 16 oz. cup of coffee mixed with about 2 inches of chocolate soy milk.  This morning, I drank only about 1/3 of the cup.
  2. I did not drink much Gatorade at mile 3, and I did not eat my GU until mile 10.  That was way too late.  Not enough coffee + very little Gatorade, and taking GU too late = crashing.
  3. I have not completed all of my training miles the last two weeks.  One week I visited Olivia and did not finish my last 9 miles, and last week, I was sick.  
  4. I missed my long run last week.  It has been two weeks and one day since my last long run (16).  That's too long between long runs!
  5. Today marked 4 days of running in a row.  I normally don't run more than 3 days in a row.  I also normally rest the day before and after a long run.  
So, live and learn.
And respect the training plan.
And don't be hard on yourself when you fail.

There is always next week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

School Books

Yesterday both Leah and Sam started new Cores in Sonlight.  We did not finish their Cores last year (Sam-Core A, and Leah-Core C), so we began this school year by finishing up those Cores.

Now, Leah is in Core D, and Sam is in Core B.  Fun!  It is always exciting to begin a new Core.  New books to put in our basket in the den, and new pages to insert in my master Sonlight Binder.  Beginning new Cores yesterday and continuing on Day 2 today, has brought a little bit of excitement to our school days.

Core B is year one of two of world history.  Core D is year one of two of American history.  With Sam being my 5th child, some of the books we will read in Core B, I will be reading aloud for the 5th time!  But not all of the Core B books, because when my first three children were elementary aged, I used KONOS unit studies instead of Sonlight.  However, many of the books we read for KONOS are also Sonlight books, so I frequently encounter books that I have read aloud 2-4 times already!

For most of the books, that's ok--I have read aloud so many books that I forget the details of each of them.  But every now and then a book is scheduled that I don't think I can read aloud one more time.  So, thankfully, I have discovered  I can download the book on my iPhone, and then play it over the speakers in my car.  How great is that?  We listen to many audio books while we are going around town.  You would be surprised at how many minutes you spend in your car and how quickly you can listen to a long book.

Currently our read alouds (not counting the history/geography readings) are:
Homer Price
Walk the World's Rim
Pedro's Journal

Some fantastic ones that are scheduled for these Cores include:
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
The Year of Miss Agnes
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Understood Betsy
Mountain Born
Johnny Tremain
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Moccasin Trail (I think that 's in Core D--if not, we will read it anyway!)

And I still plan to squeeze in another reading of The Phantom Tollbooth.

We are still reading The Secret Garden at bedtime, but we have only 5 more chapters to finish.  The first read aloud book in Core B is Charlotte's Web, but we listened to that on audio last month.  Yesterday we just finished Adam of the Road on audio.  I love that book, but it is one that I could not bear to read aloud again!  I think I have already read it out loud twice, and I will still need to read it to both Leah and Sam. Well, not read it out loud myself--I can use Audible. com again!

Yes.  I spend many hours each day reading aloud to my children.  Yes.  Even my high-school students will join in and listen when they can.  And yes.  Reading aloud to my children is my favorite part of homeschooling.

When Olivia was packing for college, she asked if she could take some our "school books" to college with her.  Of course I said yes, and then I added except for the ones that I will reading aloud this year.  She said thank you!  She chose several books that were her favorites, and then she chose a few more because she said she had such fond memories of my reading them aloud to her.  That made me smile.  (and tear up).  And then I told her that she could take any book she wanted, and that if she wanted one that I needed for school this year--take it anyway!  I would order an additional copy!

History and great stories both have come alive by the many hours that I have spent reading aloud to my children.  The most important reading I do each day with my them is our Bible reading, and the history, poetry, and stories included in God's Word are more real to all of us because of the time we have spent reading and discussing the Bible together.

Reading aloud = happy homeschooling to me!