Do you ever need have “one of those days” when you feel like throwing in the towel with your homeschooling?

Do you ever feel like you are the only one with a child who is just not “getting it”?

Fret No More!!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is here to save the day!
Have you ever heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? It is a treasure trove of great reading, especially for (but not exclusively for) the homeschool family.

It always seems to arrive at just the right time for me. The topics covered include everything from just starting out homeschooling to graduating your children and getting them into college. There  is encouragement along the way from veteran homeschoolers. There are tips for making lessons easier and more understandable. There are even articles for and about students.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. (I bet they’d let non-homeschoolers subscribe too!) Receive a one-year print subscription for just $7.95. If you already have a subscription, just add this one on to the end of your current one! A one-year plus current issue subscription for $12.95. A one-year subscription start with the winter issue. The one-year plus current issue starts with the fall issue.  

Only 5000 of these special subscriptions are available from August 31 through midnight on September 15. Once the 5000 are gone, they’re gone! Hurry and click HERE to grab this crazy price today!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I will receive a copy of the Expo To Go in exchange for sharing this information with you.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Title: Peterson Directed Handwriting
Author/Publisher: Peterson Directed Handwriting
Target Ages: those just learning handwriting and for adult remediation
Format: Download from Peterson Directed Handwriting
Price: available to review on-line, but a printable version can be purchased for $19.95

This is a program to teach children to form their letters correctly. The program integrates large and small motor skills to form the letters. By seeing the letter, forming them in large motions using the whole arm, and then with just the fingers, the student will learn to write the words. Tips for collecting and tracking fluency are also included.

While using the program, students and teachers are encouraged to give words to the letter strokes as they are making. For example, to make an uppercase letter “A”, students say and write the strokes “slant left”, “slant right”, and “slide.” These same strokes are used throughout the alphabet with letters of similar strokes. As the words are being said, the student times their stroke to start and stop with the words.

Review copies can be found through this page. This is a complete document for your review. You will not be able to print and use these, but you can buy a license to print them.

The Queen’s Overall Assessment:
The unit is directed towards multiple ages. Since the prince is 7 and the princess is 4, I base my assessment on those ages.

I found the program to be a little difficult to follow. By using just the downloads that we were given for review, I was confused. The word cues and printed pages only told where to start the first stroke of the letter. For example, for the lower case letter “e”, we did the “hook around” command, but didn’t know whether to “slide” left or “slide” right. There were no guidelines on which letter to do first. Most handwriting programs that I have seen say to start with the stick letters as opposed to curved letters. Since this was mostly review and practice for the prince, we just went A to Z.

pdh2 The prince did not want to participate in this assignment. He didn’t want to learn a new way of doing the something that he already knew. He found fun in the process along the way. The program indicates to draw the letter in the air with your arm. Then, you are to use your elbow. We added a little more practice by using other body parts. Air writing the alphabet with your backside does look kind of silly!

The princess, on the other hand, is just learning to make a lot of her letters. So, when she participated, she enjoyed the assignments. She found a lot of pride in making some letters that she hadn’t made before. Watching the prince air write with his backside was pretty entertaining! She said she wants to learn to write with the words I tell her.

If this had been the program that we used with the prince from the beginning, I think it would have gone over better. In my assessment, I think it is fine as a beginner program, but not for review. Some old dogs just don’t want to learn new tricks.

Be sure to check out other reviews of this product at The Homeschool Crew Blog. 

Disclaimer: This was a review of my experience with the product described. I tried to give a complete and honest assessment. In order to review the product, I received a free download version with no additional compensation. This in no way influenced my review of the product. The opinions expressed are my own and were not affected or reviewed by anyone prior to publishing.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Monday, August 30, 2010

I thought I would let ya’ll in on our homeschooling by sharing about our week. We had a really good week and got a lot done.

We started the princess on My Father’s World Kindergarten. She has already been working with us on handwriting, doing simple addition, and chiming in on discussions. So, we started the formal lessons. We’ll see how much she stays interested to see how to proceed. Mostly, she will be learning about letters and numbers and be included in the “heavy” stuff with the prince.


We continued our memory verse from last week: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 We talked about what the verse means and how we can share God’s light.

On Wednesday, my father-in-law stopped by to drop some things off. I told him that we were gathering our recyclables to put by the road for pick-up. He joked (I think) that we could come get his too. So, when we took ours to the road, we went over to his house and carried his out too. We shared God’s light by helping elderly people.
IMG_5353On Friday, we made a sun out of waxed paper and crayon shavings. This was a project for Bible as well as Science.


We started to learn about consonant blends.  These were a little tricky to get a grip on. We did our two days of practice and our two days of quizzes. There just wasn’t a good grasp. So, we took a third quiz on Friday. As we read back through the list before “turning in” our paper, we looked for letters out of order, extra letters, and letters what were turned the wrong way. The prince was checking the word “drop” and proudly (also jokingly) announced that “the ‘O’ is not turned the wrong way.” Gotta love him.


We finished up our handwriting review. Come back on Monday for the Queen’s review of the product we used. We started real grammar lessons.  I found some of the dictation hard to teach because his spelling is not up to some of the words in the dictation lesson. I see it as a challenge for both of us and will work itself out.


The Pilgrims were the main focus of our History of the U.S. studies. This went right along with our read-aloud since week 3 – Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims. We finished the read-aloud on Thursday, but the prince and princess just wanted to start it over again. We made an oiled paper window to see what it would have been like for the Pilgrims since they didn’t have glass. We also planted corn and beans like Squanto taught the Pilgrims to … sort of.

I don’t think Squanto’s fish were quite like these…IMG_5348
This corn planting led to (pop)corn eating while watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving … in August … why save it for only once a year? The Queen needed the quiet time to regain her sanity today. 

When we were showing God’s light by helping the elderly, we saw some magazines that would be of help in our studies. He told us to take all we wanted. We were also allowed to take the non-recyclable item too … a dreamcatcher from the Native Americans of the Great Plains. This gave us a chance to talk about legends. 


We started learning America, lyrics by Samuel Smith in 1832. Did you know he wrote all four verses in only 30 minutes?


We have been talking about our universe. This week, we learned about the sun, Proxima Centauri, Betelgeuse (beetle juice), and constellations like the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor.

The prince has been complaining about his back hurting lately. After not finding a reason for it, we decided that perhaps he should start seeing our wonderful chiropractor. This also gave us a chance to talk about how all our muscles are attached to our skeleton (and how chiropractors don’t like you saying “crack” when talking about their work.)


We are doing a lot of review. Last Spring, when I tried to give the prince a placement exam, he wouldn’t cooperate. So, I started him at a level below where he really should be. It is a good review though and he is speeding through a lot of it.

This morning, I had the opportunity for some quiet time outside before everyone else woke up. I should have taken my camera! I heard and then saw (what I call) a ringtail hawk on a fence post about half-way up the driveway. I tried to get my cell-phone camera out, but the bird flew away. I also found four pumpkins that looked ready for fall. They are, however, on plants that are dying. So, they may not be real hardy for keeping. I think they just turned orange because the plant is dead and the pumpkins haven’t reached full maturity.

This has been a really fun week. I’m linking to I’m Lovin’ It, Friday Farm Girls, Weekly Wrap Up, Feature Yourself Friday, and Weekly Wrap-Up.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Friday, August 27, 2010


The prince made up his own term for picking from the garden.

I'm linking to Wordless Wednesday, A Beautiful Mess, and Five Minutes for Mom.

The grass is green. It’s good to be


date Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Have you ever wanted to go to a homeschool convention, but that was the ONLY weekend of the year that you could not attend. Maybe you didn’t have the funds to buy the big ticket, hotel room, babysitter, and incidentals? Have I got a deal for you.
It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes … in your home!! That’s right, you can go in your pajamas and the kids can tear the house apart while you attend!

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.
You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. They’ve also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years. Take a look at the Speaker webpage and you’ll see that these topics are great for public school families too!

Is it hard to concentrate on the speakers while the kids are destroying the world around you? Fear not -- MP3 copies of each session come with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special pre-conference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event,  then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This weekend only, pay just $14.95!

Remember, you have to register by midnight August 22 to get the special pricing!

here to get more information and register today.

I'm linking to Works for Me Wednesday.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I will receive a copy of the Expo To Go in exchange for sharing this information with you.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not Back to School Blog Hop


When the prince is asked where he goes to school. He gets some strange expressions when he says, “upstairs.” It’s the truth! Well, it was the truth last year. This summer, we switched our entire upstairs with part of our downstairs. Now, our schoolroom is in the prince and princess’ old bedroom. I thought I’d give you a peek.  


The paint was still in good enough repair that I just decided to leave it and just move in. I strategically placed the furniture to cover the knick in the wall where a John Deere tractor lost it’s brakes and crashed. One spot on the border shows where a red marker developed a mind of its own and make a streak. Pay no attention to the bed sheet on the window. The blind was not in good repair! I did a quick-fix to keep the early morning sun (and heat!) out.


desk This is where most of the action happens! The desk is an antique that Prince Charming received from his aunt when he went to college. The prince loves it. The big door has cubbie holes that hold most of his books. His map is handy, as is a reading chart to remind him what sounds letters and groups of letters make. He has a lot of surface area to spread things out.


lildesk The small desk is for the princess to do school work. The prince had a slightly larger version of this last year. It really didn’t work for him. The desk area was just small enough to write and the slope was too much for pencils to stay put.


playarea The princess has a play area to keep her busy when she isn’t doing school work. So far, she has made me “fish head to eat” three four times today.


See the string across the top of the area? That’s our time line. There are many discussions on “How do you do your timeline?”


timeline Here is what we are trying this year. It is just a piece of cording. I think this piece is from a tent that you can make in the living room. Then, I bought some small clothespins from the craft store.  I stretched the cord and attached it to the wall with thumbtacks. The dates are stuck to the wall with poster tack. That way, when I see that we only have  one or two events in a time period, I can move them closer together to make more room for later events.


bookcase This bookshelf holds all the other items that we will need for the rest of the year and some toys for the princess. It’s a shelf that belonged to Prince Charming’s grandmother. I’m sure it has seen it’s better days, but with a coat of paint and an anchor to the wall, it serves a great purpose for us.


This area has really worked great for us. We’ve been back at school for three weeks and are loving our space and set-up.


Jump on over to Heart of the Matter Online to see what other homeschool rooms look like. I’m also linking to Feature Yourself Friday, Follow Me Friday, and I’m Lovin’ It.


The grass is green. It’s good to be


date Friday, August 13, 2010


Sometimes, you just have to block out all the distractions to get any work done around here.

Disclaimer: This was entirely the princess’ idea. I had no involvement other than to take the picture. No child or box was harmed in the making of this photo.

I'm linking to Wordless Wednesday, A Beautiful Mess, and Five Minutes for Mom.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Last week, I was super excited to receive my first blog awards. Heather at The Blessings Pour Out thought enough of my blog to award these to me. Can you imagine? Me. Little ‘ole me.

I was so honored. (I think Prince Charming would have been more excited if money were involved.) I have only been blogging for a few months and to receive any kind of award is wonderful. Thanks Heather.

Here are the rules for the awards presentation:
1. Thank the one who gave it to you and link to their blog.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Choose seven others to bless with the award and let them know they've won an award.

I’m passing this award on to blogs that I like. Check them out!

Now, the seven things about me. This was so hard to do. You’ll probably be bored to tears. So, just skip to the signature, if you want. I won’t hold it against you.

1. I was a fourth generation dairy farmer before becoming The Cow Queen.

2. I was a 4-H’er for 10 years … for my club, my community, my country, and my world … I even went to Switzerland on a youth exchange trip.

3. I got stung on the ankle by a wasp last week. It swelled pretty big, and I had to wear flip flops for about 4 days … even to church.

4. The wasp sting got me out of  … well, it got me out of nothing. I was still doing the canning, but I did get some really sweet foot rubs from the princess.

5. I have a degree in Dairy Science and Ag Communications, and I still can’t converse with cows.

6. My 40th Birthday is next month. Do you remember when you thought 30 was “old”? How is that thought process now?

7. I’m allergic to eating … It makes my rear-end swell.

Ta-Da. That’s it.  Don’t forget to check out Heather’s blog.  She gave me the awards. Take a look at the seven new friends I listed above.

I’m linking to I’m Lovin’ It, Feature Yourself Friday, and Follow Me Friday.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Friday, August 6, 2010


I'm linking to Wordless Wednesday, A Beautiful Mess, and Five Minutes for Mom.

The grass is green. It’s good to be


date Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The palace has been a busy place for the last couple of weeks. In addition to our regular everyday chaos, we had the garden flourishing, the canning, overnight guests and the start of school. All of the busyness has meant the blog has been put on the back burner. However, I wanted to share this recipe with you. I wasn't sure how it was going to end and wasn't even sure how it was going to go together. So, I didn't get any pictures, but I did get some great help.

The prince and I took some yellow squash (are you sick of reading my squash recipes yet?), tomatoes, and onions. For our tomatoes, I cut them into about eighths. Then, I cut the onions into about the same size chunks. I cut the squash in half lengthwise and the prince sliced them from there. He did a great job and nobody got hurt! I just eye-balled what looked like a good combination of amounts. We mixed a packet of Italian dressing mix. We put almost all of it in with the vegetables. We put the lid on the casserole dish and microwaved it until the squash was tender.

It was delicious! Prince Charming said it was his favorite squash recipe, so far. He even requested it again when we had the overnight guests.

I’m linking to Mouthwatering Mondays.

The grass is green. It’s good to be

date Monday, August 2, 2010