Monday, June 30, 2014


I have always used copy work in my homeschool, some years more than others.  I plan on having Sam do a good bit of copy work during the upcoming school year.  However, I need some ideas for how to actually create it.  I have the sources of what I want him to copy:  Bible verses we are learning, some poems, passages from books he is reading, etc., but what I don't have is how to create the pages for him to copy.

I have created copy work in the past two different ways.

  1. I wrote down the passages on lined paper.  This takes quite a bit of time, and I can't do weeks at a time because my hand gets tired and my handwriting gets less neat.
  2. StartWrite.  I had this program on our old windows computers.  But now we have all Macs, and I am not sure that I want to buy the newest version of StartWrite.  I don't remember it being all that user-friendly.  Which is why I ended up handwriting most of my copy work.
Do any of you have any ideas for me?  I have OpenOffice on my laptop and Pages on our desktop computer.  I am looking for a way to generate copy work using either of those programs.  I simply want to type the passage at the top of the page and then have correctly spaced lines for him to copy underneath.

I'll handwrite it if I have to, but I really would prefer to type it!  And I want to prepare several weeks' worth of copy work at one time if possible.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Beginning My School Year Planning

Finally.  I am beginning to plan for the 2014-2015 school year.  It will take me a while to get all of my books and supplies ordered and then to plan everything all out.  I like to do as much as possible during our summer break, so when school actually begins, I can just follow the plan.  Not spend every Sunday night getting things ready for the upcoming week.

How do I begin?

  • Clean out the children's work buckets.  That is what I call whatever they keep their school books and various supplies in.  Last year it was crates.  I emptied them completely out about a month ago.  Filed important papers, threw away a lot of trash, and only put back in the crates the books they would need for the upcoming school year.
  • Create a shopping list.  I wrote each child's name on a piece of paper and underneath listed every subject he would study next year.  Then I created another list where I wrote down every item that I had to buy as I listed each child's subjects.  Clear as mud?
  • For example:  On Sam's list, the first item was Horizons Math, Grade 3, Student Workbooks 1&2.  So on my ongoing "to buy" list, I wrote down Horizons Math, Grade 3, WB 1&2.
  • I did this for all four of my home schooled students.  I ended up with 16 items that I need to buy (for all 4 children), not including my Sonlight purchases.  I'll work on that list next.  
  • I was able to find everything that I needed at I plan to double check my list tonight and then place my order!
  • I do find that I am ordering less each year, because I use as many non-consumable products as possible.  I have one more Instructor's Guide to buy from Sonlight (Core E, because previously I used Core D/E combo, and for Leah and Sam I am using separate Cores for D and E), and then I will be done buying IGs from Sonlight.  I now have all IGs from Pre3/4 all the way through Core W (which I have instead of separate Cores G and H).  Plus Core 100.  
Back to planning and shopping.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm Done

With the kids' help, I finished my deep cleaning checklist before lunch this morning.  I must admit that I lost steam by the time we got to the kids' bedrooms and bathrooms, but they helped me and we got it done.

I may never clean again.  (Until next week.)

I celebrated my clean house with a lunch date with Jimmy.  A late anniversary date.  We went to KOK (Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen) in downtown Tupelo.  KOK serves fresh cooked food using locally sourced ingredients.  The menu featured entrees named for famous Mississippians.  I had the Brittany Spears Romaine Wrap, and Jimmy had the 80's Oprah Salad.  Both were delicious!  For dessert we went to Starbucks.  Yum.

Then we ran some errands (because when you have been married for 23 years, and you are in town without five children in tow---even though they are all big and can walk on their on and all---running errands on a date is actually fun).   Here is the exciting line-up:
Harbor Freight (I sat in the car for this one and made my grocery list.)
Home Depot

The boys are going to their monthly knife club meeting tonight and I plan to start working on my school stuff.  The girls and I will also probably play dominoes or rummy cube after supper.

Summer fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Still Cleaning

Today is my third full day of cleaning.  I have been alternating about one hour of work with 30 minutes of diversion.  Today's diversion has been Pinterest.  I'm looking for fun back to school ideas.  August 4th will be here before I know it.  I still haven't even made a list of what I need for next school year much less ordered anything yet.  I'll get to it in a few days----after I get my house all clean.

Jimmy and Clay made me the best home improvement!  They worked all day yesterday cutting, hauling, and installing installing paneling and shelves inside our "secret room".  It's an unfinished area of our house where we keep plastic storage boxes of the children's toys and things and all of the baby and toddler toys that I want to keep (like the play kitchen, workbench, doll cribs, Little People, etc.)  Two walls were studs and exposed insulation, and that is what they covered, floor to ceiling.  It is fabulous!



I think I can finish my list of deep cleaning tomorrow.
Then it's on to school planning, organizing, and ordering.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Send A Card

Yesterday I spent over five hours deep cleaning my bathroom and bedroom.  What I mean by deep cleaning is wiping down/washing the baseboards, doors, cabinets, shelves, light fixtures, windows, door and window facings, and ceiling fans.  I also scrubbed my shower.  I cleaned out, vacuumed, and reorganized every drawer and shelf.  What a job!  In between one hour work sessions I fixed and served lunch, wrote my blog post about RYC, and began cutting out a dress to sew for Leah.

In one corner of my bedroom, on a bottom shelf, was a medium sized basket full of cards, letters, and notes that were given to me when I underwent my diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent surgeries, over two years ago.  I have not gone through that basket since that time--simply because I have put that part of my life behind me, and I never seem ready to "go through that basket". Yesterday, I emptied out the basket, scanning each card, note, or letter……part of me wanted to just sit down and reread them all slowly, but the practical part of me won out--knowing that if I started that, I would probably lose steam on my cleaning project!  So I scanned them as I packed them in a plastic storage box along with some special items and cards given to me by my husband and children.

I was reminded of how good people can be.  As I briefly looked at each card, I found that some of the cards were from people I have never met (friends of friends), and some of them I have no remembrance of receiving (brain fog from pain medicine).  It did my heart good to be reminded of the outpouring of love, support, and encouragement so many people gave me during a time when I really, really needed it.  It was bittersweet to find cards of get well wishes from two special people who have since passed on from this life--my grandmother and an elderly man from our congregation.

Sending a card or writing a short note of encouragement and promise of prayer means so much to a person who is undergoing trials.  I am sure that most people, like me, keep these special cards and draw encouragement and support every time they get the cards out and reread them--like I did yesterday. Not only will they be lifted up when they receive the card, but they also will be motivated to share the blessing that they received by encouraging someone else.

So today I want to encourage you.  Send a card.  Write a short letter.  Mail it to someone that you know is suffering from a sickness, or enduring a lengthy illness, or recovering from a surgery, or awaiting test results, or is having a difficult time with a spouse or children, or has an important decision to make…..if you can think of anyone who needs your encouragement, send a card.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rustic Youth Camp

Rustic Youth Camp (RYC)
I tell people that RYC is like Vacation Bible School on steroids!  The days are full--beginning at 8:00 AM and ending somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 PM.  Here is an overview of each camp day.
  • General Assembly--where all campers (150 of them, ages 3-18) and counselors and staff (about 70-80 adults) gather in the multi-purpose building (un-air conditioned--hence the name Rustic Youth Camp, well, actually that is just one of the many reasons that the camp is rustic) to sing hymns, a patriotic song or two, listen to short Bible talk, hear pertinent camp announcements, and sing silly songs and play silly (and sometimes messy) games.
  • Bible Classes--the campers are grouped by age and grade.  I taught the 3rd grade class.  Originally I signed up to teach the 3rd/4th grade class, but since the group was so big, the 3rd and 4th grades were separated.  I had Leah placed in my class even though she is a finishing 4th grader--she wanted me to teach her.  Leanna's son and Lynn's daughter were also in my class.  We had 13 students and 3 teachers.  We were responsible for our class from after assembly until pick-up time in the late afternoon.  The Bible classes always have a theme for the week, and each class studies the same theme and lessons, but of course the younger classes make the appropriate adaptations.  This year's theme was The Cross.  
  • Crafts--Younger campers do crafts in their classroom, and older campers rotate through various craft stations on the campground.  Our class also had a secular theme, Rainbows, and so a lot of our crafts centered around that theme.
  • Food--Two snacks and lunch are served each day in the air conditioned dining hall. 
  • Playground Time--RYC has two playgrounds for the campers to enjoy.
  • Sports--Each afternoon at 3:00, the classes participate in their assigned sport for the day.  The campers are divided in to two teams, Red and Blue (before we arrive), and score is kept all week.  Our class played ring toss, water ballon target throwing, volleyball, and kickball.  Other sports for older campers include softball, disc golf, ultimate frisbee, archery, trap shooting, plus others I am sure that I am forgetting.  Also, there are ping pong, archery, disc golf and trap shooting tournaments going on all week as well.  And, on Friday afternoon, all of the classes participate in a kind of Field Day.  The classes rotate through a variety of events, and the scores for red and blue teams are added to the week's scores.  Events include tug-of-war, hula hoop relays, sack races, and many others.
  • Raft Building Competition--This was a new event for this year.  In the past, the 7th-12th graders go on a field trip on Thursdays.  This year, instead, the three classes (7-8th, 9th, and 10-12th) were each assigned the following project:  build a raft, that will float with at least one person on board, using only materials found around the campground.  No supplies could be purchased.  Thursday at 5:00, the three teams with their rafts put them in the lake and raced a short distance to the boathouse.  I think much fun was had by all the builders, and the crowd really got into it!
  • Bunkhouse--I don't know much about what happens after 5:00, because Lynn and I take our younger children to Mrs. Beulah's house for the night.  Campers must be 13 years old to stay in the bunkhouse.  This year Julie, Clay, and Lynn's oldest two boys stayed in the bunkhouses.  I know that they are served supper and breakfast,  have free time, and have at least one Bible study each night plus an early morning singing session (while waiting for the day campers to arrive.)
  • Friday Night Program--all parents, grandparents, friends, and other family members of campers are invited to the Friday Night Program.  The campers and guests enjoy a BBQ and hotdog dinner followed by the skits and awards.  Each class prepares a short skit or song to present Friday night.  The camp directors award various awards and recognition including a service award, camp favorites, and individual sports awards.  
RYC is run by individual Christians, men and women who donate their time, money, and lots of hard work to create a week of memorable fellowship and fun for young people.  The camp has been in existence for over 30 years, and it has grown to be extremely popular in our area.  Registration used to be by mail, but this year the camp instituted online registration.  Once the registration link went live, first camp (the one we attended) was full and registration was closed in twenty seconds!  Second camp took a little bit longer…..45 minutes!  

Here are some photo highlights of our wonderful week.  Keep in mind that I was Leah's teacher, and that is why I have more pictures of her than of my other children.

 3rd grade class

 Avery and Leah doing a sharpie tie dye project.

 The whole class, hard at work.

 Sam, enjoying his lunch.

 Waiting in the lunch line

 Clay with two friends

 Leah and Avery on the playground

 Leah, painting a rainbow vase

 Practicing the song for Friday night

Sam on the playground

 Leah and Avery in matching outfits and hairstyles

Me and Mrs. Vicki--Camp Leader Extraordinaire
and organizer and announcer of all things FUN!

 Avery, Leah, and Jared at Mrs. Beulah's house

 Our gracious host, Mrs. Beulah
My children enjoy staying each night with Mrs. Beulah as much as they like camp!  She has a huge pool with a diving board and slide.  Lynn and I let the pool be there bath, every night except for two while we were there!

 Morning Announcements

Morning Bible Lesson

Julie, playing a sport (not sure which one)

 Me, Julie, Lynn, and Stacee,
just hanging out on the playground.

Seeing old friends--Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Dottie

 Our class leading a silly song in one morning's assembly.

 Clay's class's raft
They finished in 2nd place.

 Our class having fun with water balloons one afternoon.

 Sam and Julie

Julie's Class's Raft
They won!

 My class with our three teachers, Mrs. Beverly, Mrs. Sharon, and Mrs. Roan.

During a Bible lesson

 The cute, cute backdrop that Sam's teachers made for their skit.

 Sam's class, ready to take a bow.

 Leah's class, singing their song.

 "I Can Sing a Rainbow"

 Cute skit shirt
The back says, "Do you love RYC?"

 A scene from Clay's skit

 A scene from Julie's skit

 Julie's class

 My car…..all packed up and ready to head home.

One last family picture before we left.
We are SO HOT AND SWEATY in this picture!
We are missing Jimmy (who had to work) and Olivia (who served as a junior counselor at another camp this week).

 The raft race

 The winners, approaching the finish line

 My class, again.
That trailer in the background was our classroom.  We were really fortunate to be able to use that trailer….it was air-conditioned.  Most of the classes for 1st grade and up, and all of the crafts, are held outdoors under pavilions or on the porches of log cabins.

 Clay and Parker

 Clay, doing a relay on Friday afternoon.

 Leah in the sack race

 Taking a rest during sports

 Asa, Sam, and Samuel, waiting their turns for a relay.

 I'm helping out my team in the hula hoop relay.

One last picture of the tired, hot, dirty, sweaty Mamas.

RYC is an exhausting week, but it is full of fun, fellowship, friendship, and memory-making.  Both the campers and the adults build lasting friendships, and we all grow in our Bible knowledge and our service to our Lord.  I always learn so much from the ladies that I teach with, and I am eager to put into practice those new ideas.