Friday, August 29, 2008

Try-It Tuesday (a little late) - Lesson Planning Software

I did finish the lesson planning with Edu-Track. Well, things are never REALLY finished, but I did accomplish my goal. AND I did it by Wednesday.

Maybe you noticed I didn't post a Try-It Tuesday this week, but you can TRY lesson planning with software too if you'd like.

You can get Edu-Track demo software for $5. I actually thought I'd use the Palm feature of this program, which is different from any other I'd seen, but it costs $20 more than I already paid, so I don't think I will. My Palm is really old (m105) and I don't plan to replace it since they aren't still upgrading Palm software.

If I were you, though, I'd try Homeschool Tracker Basic's free download. If you like it, you can buy the upgrade to Homeschool Tracker plus. Wish I'd done that.

I'm sure there are other software options, but these are the two I know about. Why don't you try one? Especially if you have a need for record-keeping, one of these may work well for you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Michele awarded me The “I Love Your Blog” Blog Award and the "Arte Y Pico" Blog Award.

Thanks, Mich! You're a peach!!! I love your blog too!!!

Scroll down to check out the blogs I've chosen to pass on the awards to!

The rules for the I Love Your Blog award are:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Include the award on your blog.
3. Pass it on to 7 worthy bloggers with links to their blogs on yours.
4. Notify your recipients.

1. Penny at Diosa Domestica de la Locura - always a fresh perspective
2. Romancing the Blog - romance writers share their thoughts on writing romance, reading in general and life
3. Peter at Film Chat - I find a LOT of movie news here and lots to think about too.
4. Sarah at Teach a Fish - I love seeing how Sarah homeschools and parents!
5. Jennifer at Black Pearl Academy - Jennifer is honest about her homeschooling challenges and successes. Plus she's one of my best friends! :-) (I'm also looking forward to Bella's Bookshelf once she gets that underway!)
6. Jimmie at One Child Policy Homeschool - Jimmie found me through the Simple Woman Daybook, if I recall correctly. She homeschools in China and writes a very interesting blog!
7. Maybe this is cheating, but I'd like to list all of my sisters' blogs here too. Since I have 4 sisters and I read all of their entries, those are definitely blogs I love! However putting all 4 on this list separately would have filled it up fast. So, here are the links - LOVE YOU ALL!

Christy - Christy's Corner

Janet - Camp Run-A-Muck

Debbie - Ruorah

Denise - Bryant Family Blog

It seems to be a blog that celebrates and recognizes

creative contributions to the blogging community.


1. Select five (5) other recipients for this award. You may select them for creativity, design, content or contributions to the blogging community & they can be in any language.
2. Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
3. Show the award and include the name and link to his/her blog of whomever presented you with this award.
4. Link to the
Arte y Pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award.
5. Post these rules

1. Linda at My Own Little Soapbox. Linda takes blogging to the next level of clarity and relevant commentary.

2. Sonya at Intentional Parents - Encouraging parents to train up children according to the GOAL.

3. Becky at Hillbillies in a Barn - Watching Becky and her family build their house from the ground up, and watching them camp out as they do it!

4. The Hillbilly Housewife blog - lots of great ideas for meal planning, saving money, and other great tips to make your home run more smoothly and be tastier! Also check out the Angel Food Ministries menus and recipes on the main site!

5. The NaNoWriMo blog - inspiring stories to amuse and encourage writers and readers - Each blog entry lately is by a guest blogger who writes about how National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has changed his or her life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Edu-Track Updated - Moving Along

I've decided to make the best of my software - learn to work with its quirks and strengths. I did invest a bit of money in it and just purchased the lesson plans as well, which saved me a TON of work.

So, this is how far I've gotten with lesson planning.

Entered lessons through December (or further) for the following:
Baker Bible Study Guide for All Ages - Volume 4
Character Building for Families – Volume 2
Math U See – Algebra 1 (David)
Math U See – Gamma/Delta (Emily)
Math U See – Gamma (James)
Math U See - Alpha (Suzy)
Phonics - Explode the Code 5&6 (James)
Phonics - Explode the Code 3&4 (Suzy)
Easy Grammar Plus (David and Emily)
Spelling Power (David and Emily)
Penmanship (all kids)
Composition IEW (SWI-B) (David and Emily)
Journal Writing (all kids)
Letter Writing (all kids)
Apologia Physical Science (David)
Apologia Zoology 1 (Emily, James, Suzy)
Mystery of History Volume 2 (all kids)

Still have to create plans and/or type them in:
Sonlight Bible (David)
Silent Reading for all
Instructive Reading for all
Read-alouds for all (I may not choose these ahead)
Sonlight 100 (David)
Art - Creativity Express (all kids)
Music Appreciation Still deciding on curriculum
Physical Education
Vocab Study - English From the Roots Up/Rummy Roots

It's remarkably easy to create a repeating event, such as having the child write a letter every Thursday, and include that in the lesson plans. Since often I just have the child do "the next two pages" or something equally as general, that works well in those instances.

It's also easy to copy the assignments from one child to another, and just do a group-change of the grade level, so that the subjects I do all together can be included this way.

Once the lessons are in, I can run several kinds of assignment sheets or checklists and print them out. I will also be inputting the scores for math and other subjects to keep track of grades, at least for David.

I'm going to MAKE MYSELF enjoy learning to use this program. It's GOING. TO. WORK.

::::forces smile::::

No, really, it's getting better.

Grass is Greener

Right now I'm wondering why in the world I bought Edu-Track. Oh yes, I remember - the nice lady at the conference with her handy binder of printed information.

I don't like the interface of the program - it's clunky. Yes, it apparently can do a lot, but I can't figure out how to make it work! I usually have no difficulties with new software, but some software is more intuitive than others. This is not very intuitive.

I know, yesterday I was all geeked. Today, I've hit a wall. Maybe by tomorrow, I'll have figured it out and made a lot of progress. Hope so! Cuz right now, I'm looking at Homeschool Tracker and wondering why I didn't get that instead.

The grass is always greener.

I'm taking a break for lunch and the water park with a friend! Then I'll try again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Edu-Track Lesson Plans

Well, Edu-Track is making my planning easier already. I knew when I bought it that there were lesson plans online for purchase but I'd forgotten that handy fact until today.

I was able to purchase 6 sets of lesson plans for under $11 - all for curriculum I definitely will be using.

I imported them into the Edu-Track program and pasted them into the proper student's lessons. Voila! Easy lesson planning done for six subjects.

I am still learning how Edu-Track works, but I'm getting the hang of it!

1 xInstitute for Excellence in Writing - Group B Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$1.99
1 xMystery of History - Volume 2 Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$1.99
1 xEasy Grammar Plus Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$1.99
1 xApologia Zoology 1 Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$0.99
1 xMath-U-See Algebra 1 (Honors) Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$1.99
1 xApologia Physical Science (Style 1) Version File Download: (*.lxp) Edu-Track Lesson Export$1.99

Sub-Total: $10.94
Free Shipping: $0.00
Total: $10.94

Simple Woman Daybook - August 25

Simple Woman Daybook
FOR TODAY... August 25, 2008

Outside My Window... leaves fluttering in a light breeze, an orange wagon abandoned on the yard, also a skateboard and a bicycle, the recycling bin at the side of the road waiting to be brought back to the house after pickup

I am thinking... that dental insurance isn't very useful - it disappears too fast.

(CHANGE ADDED! The Simple Woman added an extra entry here below entitled "From the learning rooms..." for those of us who homeschool and wish to share a bit. So if you wish, you may add this to your daybook)

From the learning rooms... Edu-track software and piles of curriculum and school supplies

I am thankful for... good health!

From the kitchen... leftovers from the church picnic yesterday - pulled chicken, sandwich buns, veggies, potatoes, watermelon

I am wearing... My NaNoWriMo t-shirt, jeans, white socks, white "indoor" shoes, hair messy in a clip, no makeup. (NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month)

I am creating... lesson plans! lesson plans! lesson plans!

I am going... to the grocery store, the library, and the bank today.

I am reading... Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Finding God in Lord of the Rings by Kurt Bruner, I Saw The Angel in the Marble by Chris and Ellyn Davis

I am hoping... to get a semester's worth of lesson plans done this week, also hoping that we can go camping again before it gets cold

I am hearing... David making gun noises, Suzy insisting that Bob tie her shoes

Around the house... laundry is almost done, bedrooms are probably in need of attention.

One of my favorite things.... school supplies!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Working on lesson plans, getting together with friends, last night of VBS, taking David for an orthodontic evaluation, maybe a dental appointment, one last visit to the water park

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

My daughters sleeping on our bedroom floor after we evacuated a bat from their bedroom.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Planning Week and Edu-Track

Monday begins the week I've set aside for getting my lesson plans done. I try to do them ahead for at least a whole semester, since I tend to try to wing it if the plans are not done. I'll check in each day to post my progress.

I bought the Edu-Track software at the convention in May in hopes of keeping better records. I feel the need to do better at this since David is in 8th grade this year. I want to get in the practice before he actually hits "high school".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Try-It Tuesday: Traditions

Do you have traditions in your home? Traditions are part of what makes your family unique and what gives your kids a family identity.

On the first day of school, our kids look forward to having ice cream sundaes for lunch! Other First Day traditions include a treasure hunt (with clues) to find their new school supplies, taking photos, and no actual schoolwork. lol

We have holiday traditions - baking a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve and then taking it outside for him to "blow out" the candles, dying eggs for Easter, a homeschool party on Valentine's Day. Getting together with family the Saturday before Christmas is an important way we celebrate together.

Summer brings more traditions. Visiting the local fair happens for us usually every OTHER year - traditions don't have to be yearly. Beach Day with our friends happens several times throughout the summer. A family reunion picnic is something else we make time for every year.

Camping with families from our homeschool group for several days each summer is another tradition. Three summers have included this and this week will be the fourth installment of this relaxed, fun-filled week at a nearby state park.

Some traditions I've tried to instill and failed - one would be having a "special person" plate and getting that out for people on their special days. For some families, this rocks! For ours, not so much.

What's important is building memories with your kids. Forming meaningful traditions means that you are being an intentional parent. What kinds of things are you doing to make memories with your family?

Creating Family Traditions - gives some specific suggestions
Scrapjazz - Creating Family Traditions - idea of using a planner to keep track of family traditions
Creating Lasting Traditions - ideas specifically for mealtimes
100 Ways to Celebrate Your Family - printable 1 sheet .pdf with, yes, 100 ideas to do with your family

Monday, August 18, 2008

Simple Woman Daybook - August 18

Simple Woman Daybook
... August 18, 2008 (I am writing this ahead, during the weekend.)

Outside My Window... It's dark. Our neighbors just drove into their driveway. Lights are on in some of the houses on the street.

I am thinking...
I need to print out the packing list for camping so that we can fill up the camper tomorrow afternoon.

I am thankful for...
my friend who had a bunch of us over today to watch movies and have the kids play together!

From the kitchen...
groceries to take camping and a pile of utensils, paper plates, and more!

I am wearing...
Jeans, a navy t-shirt that says Soccer MOM and has a soccer ball on it, white socks, white tennis shoes, my hair down and curled (and darker than it was last week!)

I am creating...
a new novel, set in the 1940's. This will be a novel with a Christian perspective and a romance element.

I am going...
CAMPING all week at a state park nearby.

I am reading... Darcy's Story: Pride and Prejudice from a Whole New Perspective by Janet Aylmer. I have a stack of books to take camping from which to choose this week.

I am hoping...
we have a great time with our homeschooling friends this week

I am hearing...
my husband praying with our daughter (bedtime), my younger son coming downstairs, my younger daughter whining

Around the house...
Clothes to pack for camping

One of my favorite things...
playing cards with my friends during camping week!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Spending the whole week camping with our homeschool friends. Coming home one night to do soccer referee training with my oldest son.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
We are going to make these "grown-up S'mores" at camping this week. Don't they look delish?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Try-It Tuesday: Habit & Character Training Cards

"I am, I can, I ought, I will" -- Charlotte Mason

"Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny." --Erasmus.

If your kids are anything like mine, they occasionally need a little character training. Just from time to time. (like from 7am til 9pm, lol)

Here is a tool that may work for you: Free Character / Habit Training Cards

You can download a .pdf on that webpage that includes a template for customizable training cards. The page also includes tips and ideas for using the template with your family.

This is a very Charlotte Mason-kind of thing to do, as she advocates habit training.

Give it a try. Come back and tell me how it worked. Maybe I'll have tried it myself by then!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Simple Woman Daybook - August 11

Simple Woman Daybook
... August 11, 2008

Outside My Window... it's dark.

I am thinking...
that I'd like to watch a movie instead of sitting at the computer.

I am thankful for...
my homeschool group!

From the kitchen...
a huge pile of cucumbers, some microwave popcorn, and sloppy joes - enough to freeze some to take camping

I am wearing...
jeans, a red t-shirt that says "America" and has stars on it, white socks. Hair in a barrette and not curled.

I am creating...
still that confounded query letter!

I am going...
NOWHERE tomorrow. Well, maybe to the waterpark, but that's only a mile away.

I am reading... NOTHING right now! Eeek! I am between books and I didn't have a chance to read today! Well, I did read two magazines - Time and Family Fun.

I am hoping...
David has a great time at the amusement park tomorrow with the youth group. He's nervous because he doesn't really like rides!

I am hearing...
the ceiling fan spinning quietly, the clock ticking and clunking, a car going by outside, my husband puttering in the kitchen.

Around the house...
some items that the boys had in their room that didn't belong there and now I need to get them into their correct places.

One of my favorite things...
ROLLERCOASTERS! I am jealous that David gets to go and I don't!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
A lot less than last week - teach VBS (sub) Wed night, visit a friend on Friday, soccer coach training on Sat. Lots of stuff around the house to accomplish.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Our 'new' camper!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Upcoming Co-op Classes

Today is co-op registration for our homeschool co-op. This is our 5th year participating and the first time I am not in charge. Here are the classes my children plan on taking.

Our co-op will go through the entire year with one "semester" of 14 meetings, rather than the past method of two "semesters" of 8 meetings each. This means we will just choose classes in the fall instead of again in January.

David, age 13
1 - help somewhere (toddler class?)
2 - Cards Anyone (learning card games)
3 - Chill Out (hanging out with other teens)
4 - Lego Robotics Sensor Maze
5 - Election Connection/Current Events

Emily, age 11
1 - Stretch and Devotion
2 - Cooking Time
3 - Choir
4 - Drama
5 - Written & Illustrated By (I am teaching this)

James, age 8
1 - Amazing Rainforest
2 - PE ages 6-9
3 - Odyssey of the Mind
4 - Road to Freedom (History)
5 - Creatures Creatures 2 (Animal study)

Suzanne, age 6
1 - Amazing Rainforest
2 - PE ages 6-9
3 - Glass Slipper (I am teaching this - multicultural Cinderella stories)
4 - History Alive
5 - 10 Commandments and Me

So, there you have it! Are your kids in a co-op?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Try-It Tuesday: Different is Good!

During a conversation with a friend the other day, we commiserated about how many Christians tend to look for friends who are exactly like them.

"I used to be like that," I told her. "But pretty soon, I realized that even the people who I thought were exactly like me - WEREN'T! And then my world got pretty small."

In the past ten years since I made that realization, I've tried to broaden my horizons. My friends sometimes read different things than I do, use different curriculum than I do, have more or less money than me, find different things important than I do, let their kids do different things than I allow mine to do, and even practice their religions differently than I do.

Did you notice the repetition in that paragraph? The word "different" plays a key role. I have found it freeing and enlightening to be friends with people who are different from me. I know I have a long way to go in this, but I've come a long way too.

How about you? Do you hang out with people who are just like you - at least on the outside? Or are your friends a diverse group?

How about trying something different? Make friends with someone this week who isn't "just like you". Maybe you'll learn something! Maybe you can be a blessing! Maybe you can even shine the love of Jesus into someone's life, perhaps even for the first time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Simple Woman Daybook - August 4

FOR TODAY... August 4, 2008
Outside My Window... A streetlight illuminates a tree across the deserted street corner. I hear the humming and chirping of night insects as well as the barking of faraway dogs. The house directly across is completely dark, but the kitty-corner house has a light on in the kitchen.

I am thinking...
I need to be more careful with my commitments - think before you commit, Lisa!

I am thankful for...
my friend Darlene who lent me Breaking Dawn!

From the kitchen...
a 2 gallon thermos with the remains of ice water - we took it to the park tonight.

I am wearing...
khaki shorts, a chocolate brown t-shirt, my hair scrunched curly and in a high ponytail, bare feet.

I am creating...
a query letter to send out to publishing agents to promote my novel. Know any good agents?

I am going...
to the fair tomorrow, if the weather co-operates!

I am reading... Eclipse and then Breaking Dawn! (Both by Stephenie Meyer - these are the 3rd and 4th installments in the amazingly popular Twilight series.)

I am hoping...
to find an affordable camper this week.

I am hearing...
my husband zipping or unzipping a suitcase, the fan in the window, the night insects humming, my fingers tapping the keyboard - some loud and some soft, the clock ticking. No noise from upstairs - hopefully all are asleep!

Around the house...
Stuff to put away from our weekend away, Lots of books to read, a couple paperbackswap packages to open when I find scissors.

One of my favorite things...
Sitting on the beach reading, like I did on Saturday at Lake Michigan.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Beach Day, helping a couple friends with computer questions, writing my query letter, working on the homeschool camping week schedule, Co-op registration, helping with VBS, reading reading reading, and my Jane Austen Book Club!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

My son and my nephew sharing a family tradition - watermelon at the picnic!