Category Archives: Uncategorized

IncuTherm Plus Review

Guess what!

A new batch of fluff balls has arrived.

quail chicks

Now, you are probably wondering why I’m hatching out quail in the dead of winter. This is why. I was asked to review a product for Incubator Warehouse. They sent me an IncuTherm and an IncuTherm Plus to try.

My first reaction? They work great.

This product is one of the best buys you can get to improve your hatch rate. It not only helped me to regulate the humidity in the incubator, but my quail hatched a day early. I have always had trouble with reading hygrometers with a dial. Dials are hard to read and take time to change with fluctuations in the humidity. With the IncuTherm and IncuTherm Plus, I can tell what the humidity is inside the incubator instantly.

The IncuTherm is an instrument that measures the humidity and temperature in your incubator.

incutherm

The IncuTherm Plus has a probe that goes through the vent hole of the incubator.

incutherm plus

I like the IncuTherm Plus better because it is easier to read and does not fog up with high humidity levels.

So, I strongly suggest buying this product. I had 10 out of 19 eggs hatch. That’s a 50% hatch rate. To purchase your own IncuTherm product, visit the Incubator Warehouse website today.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments,

JKA–The Chicken Boy

(I didn’t want to say anything, but then thought you would want to know my son, aka The Chicken Boy, wrote this post. When Incubator Warehouse approached me about reviewing a product, I thought he would be the best candidate for the job. And why not get a homeschool writing assignment out of the deal, right? Furthermore, Incubator Warehouse provided us with these products to review in exchange for this post. We have given our honest opinion in their usage and quality. Blessings, Carol)

Housekeeping Details

I know, I have been AWOL around here, lately.

BUT I wrote a book. And it’s done! And it is being released on Monday! Don’t you just love the cover?

homestead cooking with carol

Maybe you already heard that. Maybe you ventured to open one of the emails I’ve been bombarding my readers with this week. I hope it’s not too much. I’m just excited as all get out.

Please hop over to Everything Home with Carol on Monday for the release and drop by the Everything Home with Carol Facebook page between 8-10 pm EST on Monday for our Facebook party on homestead cooking. I covet your input.

Speaking of input…

I’ve already mentioned that I’m planning on combining this blog with the Everything Home with Carol blog soon. (It’s gotten postponed because I’ve been so busy with my book.) So if you get emails from that blog, don’t get alarmed and please, don’t mark them as spam. I’ve combined my email lists so that I don’t miss anyone.

So, here’s what I want the input on. What kind of questions do you have about homeschooling on the homestead? Really. I want this space to be useful for you, not just another message to clutter up your inbox. I want to be of value. So let me have it. You can leave your questions in the comments, email me, ask them on the Facebook page. Whatever. Just ASK. 🙂 And then I will gear my posts to what you want to know.

Speaking of posts…

Here’s what I have coming up. The chicken boy has been busy. We have a batch of newly hatched quail in our living room right now. I know, folks don’t normally hatch chicks in the dead of winter. But he was reviewing a product and will be writing a post about it for you. So stay tuned about that.

quail chick

And the chicken boy’s little brother has not been sitting idly by. In fact, he’s been quite the entrepreneur himself. And I want to share his efforts with you.

Also, my regular column “Homeschooling on the Homestead” in From Scratch Magazine is due out February 1st. So if you don’t subscribe (it’s free) do so now.

Guess that about covers the housekeeping for now.

Blessings to ya,

Black Friday/Cyber Monday E-Book Sale

Lessons from the Homestead ebooksGet My Lessons from the Homestead E-books at a Greatly Discounted Price

Friday, November 29 through Monday at midnight, December 2

Here’s how it works:

Want just one or two of the Lessons from the Homestead series? Then it’s Buy One/Get One FREE. Simply go to the tab above for the e-book you wish to purchase and click the Buy Now button. Once you log into your PayPal account, click on the Add button next to “Note to Seller.” When the text box opens, type me a note letting me know which e-book you would like for free. When I get your payment for the first book, I will email you your free one.

BUT, if you want the Lessons from the Homestead 5-E-book Set, it is on sale for $10.95. That’s $4 less than the normal price, and half of what it would cost to buy them individually. To snag this special offer, go here. At the bottom of the page, put “holidayspecialvol1” (without the quotation marks) in the Discount Code box and click on Buy Now. The discount will be applied.

Don’t forget, this offer expires at midnight on Monday!

Blessings for a peaceful Thanksgiving and Christmas season with loved ones,

Homeschool Co-ops 101 Review and Giveaway

homeschool co-ops 101

Essential co-op tools, tips, and options for today’s homeschool families.

Thinking about joining or starting a homeschool co-op? Not sure if a co-op is a good fit? Homeschool Co-ops 101 weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for today’s homeschool family.

  • Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.
  • Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and
  • Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. This section also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic.
  • Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.

Karen Lange has gathered insight from years of co-oping and now shares her own and others’ experiences in this valuable and encouraging handbook.

Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available at:

~~~Amazon~~~

~~~Barnes and Noble~~~

~~~Kobo~~~

karen langeAbout the Author

Karen Lange, her husband, and three children were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her experience includes serving as a local homeschool support group coordinator and consultant for a state homeschool network in New Jersey. Karen’s children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for homeschooled teens.

You can connect with Karen at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

homeschool co-ops 101

 

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The Giveaway

Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced December 5, 2013. Good luck!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Karen Lange. The author provided me with a free copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

New E-Book Bundle: Kids in the Kitchen

Bundle #40: Kids in the Kitchen

Get your kids in the kitchen with this great collection of cookbooks for kids. With easy-to-follow recipes, guidelines and schedules for teaching kitchen skills, and encouragement that your investment will pay off, this bundle will help you discover the fun of cooking with kids while teaching them important skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

This week only, get all five of these ebooks for more than 85% off:

Cooking 101 for Kids by Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Teaching your kids to cook will help them save money as adults and provide a foundation of healthy eating habits. In Cooking 101 for Kids, Lynn covers the basics of measurements, tools, common ingredients, and how to follow a recipe before delving into recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, side dishes, desserts and treats. With practical tips and insight into the “why” of it all, this ebook will help you teach your children to be confident and capable in the kitchen.

Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen from GNOWFGLINS
Discover the philosophy that “everyone eats, everyone cooks” so you can teach joyful, willing, and good workers in the kitchen — for today and the future. GNOWFGLINS’ Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen offers fun and simple lessons and helpful, you-can-start-implementing-today strategies. Kitchen time is easy, fun, and rewarding when everyone pitches in, and this content-packed ebook includes all 19 lessons from the Real Food Kids ecourse, printable worksheets, schedules for teaching various skills, ideas for involving even the youngest children and tons of nutritious recipes!

Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness by Liz Latham
Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness offers 12 cupcake ideas, one for each month of the year. These are perfect for sharing with friends and family, a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids, and a fun and festive way to celebrate the special days throughout the year. Each one is sure to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen by Charra Shopp
In Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen, Chara encourages and teaches you when, how and why to bring your kids into the kitchen. You’ll learn the benefits of having your kids in the kitchen, real food kitchen skills such as soaking, sprouting, culturing and more, and the step-by-step process for teaching these skills. Whether you are a gourmet cook or just learning yourself, you’ll find practical ideas and suggestions for how to get your kids cooking, culturing, cleaning and celebrating their time in the kitchen!

Teaching Your Kids to Cook by Laura Coppinger
Teaching Your Kids to Cook is written for parents who want to help their children learn their way around the kitchen. Filled with instructions, tips, activities, printables and over 45 simple, kid friendly recipes, this ebook offers many opportunities to make messes together and get chocolate in your hair. All of the recipes Laura’s included are made from wholesome, easy-to-attain ingredients, making this the perfect introduction to cooking for families with young children.

The Blogging bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/7. Get yours today!

Making Lemonade from Headlice

educating in adversityIf any of your children attend school, or if their friends attend school, chances are your family has experienced head lice. Even homeschoolers can get them from the neighbor kids. 🙂 Great topic for a blog post, isn’t it? Well, yucky as they are, head lice are remarkably easy to get rid of, but their presence also provides a Teachable Moment for your family.

  1. My children always ask me, as we go through our lice regime, “Why did God create head lice?” Wow! What a great opportunity to go back over the book of Genesis and review the story of Creation. I get to remind my children that the Lord didn’t make any of the creatures of the earth to annoy us, poison us or eat us, but that all those inconveniences are due to the sin of Adam and Eve. Sometimes, we get on to other topics, such as how Adam named the animals, or that God promised us a Savior who would redeem us from our sins, if not from head lice.
  2. While we are in the throes of a lice invasion, I get to spend a lot of extra time with each child. Strange as it may sound, this is an opportunity for me to give some extra attention to those children who may be less affectionate than the others.
  3. It’s great character-building – I get to develop and display some really important virtues, such as perseverance, humility, and forgiveness – because those lice had to come from somewhere, didn’t they? We often pick them up from our very best friends.
  4. I usually mumble something about lice having some part to play in the eco-system, and we should do some research, but I haven’t ever gotten around to this. When they’re gone, it’s a matter of out of sight, out of mind. I’m sure you, dear reader, are more diligent in this than I am.

Now for the treatment: it’s not difficult or expensive, it’s totally natural and only harms your head lice…and I don’t think they’re an endangered species J

Requirements:

  • Plastic spray-bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Hair-dryer (optional, but gets the quickest results)

Method: Half-fill the spray-bottle with white vinegar and top up with water. Then place a towel around the infected child’s shoulders and spray their hair liberally. Now, take the hair-dryer and dry the child’s hair. The heat combined with the vinegar will loosen the ‘glue’ that holds the louse eggs to the hair. You should get rid of most of the eggs this way. The vinegar also kills most of the live lice on contact; just be sure to thoroughly wet the hair to its roots. Other children in the family, who have no sign of the lice, will benefit from a light spray of vinegar, as a deterrent.

This regime needs to be repeated daily for three to four days; after this, check every few days, in case some of the eggs were missed. Repeat if necessary.

So, that’s it for my advice about making lemonade from head lice.

kathysig

 

 

Kathy lives in Australia, and is a mother to fourteen children, including one step-daughter and a set of twins. She has been home-educating for twenty years. When she became a single mother, she decided to seek her fortune in the blogosphere, and now, with some help from her children, runs three blogs and two online businesses. Please visit her Etsy store A Beautiful Home.

Sometimes it ain’t easy–but it’s worth it!

This moment July 2013There are those days when homeschooling feels incredibly more difficult than sending my child to public school. Often, well-meaning neighbors, friends, and even family question our reasons for homeschooling. “Isn’t he missing out?” they ask. My reply comes across with a tone of slight defiance, “Missing out on what? School food, bullying, fifteen hours a week on the bus or a standardized education system developed to ignore creativity and individuality?” He’s not missing much.

It’s true, he might be missing daily interaction with peers, but let’s be honest. Not all of that interaction is positive. “But wait,” you’re thinking “the world isn’t perfect, and our children need to learn how to get along with others!” Yes, I agree. But I also think that learning to get along with others can be facilitated at the grocery store, the playground, church, vacation bible school and most of all in the home.

It would, indeed, be easier to send him off at 6:20 am when the bus swings around and picks him up and then drops him in the late afternoon around 4:20 pm. That’s a long day for a young child. What is that teaching them? How much actual instruction time is my child gleaning from this day?

Eight years ago it never crossed my mind that I might be teaching my child math, language, science, art and real-life skills from my dining room table. It seemed perfectly normal that I should send my child to school. Everyone else is doing it, right?

Consider this quote:

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.― H.L. Mencken

Wait, what is this? Is this saying that public education exists only to make “drones” out of our children? I’m not sure. I know it might be difficult, but I encourage each of us to respectfully question all we have been taught.

It might seem counterproductive to question long-held beliefs – as it might seem rebellious or defiant – but if we approach this questioning with authentic curiosity and genuine care we might create thinkers in our children as opposed to followers. Of course, some might argue that not all are leaders: that is true. But I do strongly believe it is our duty to install in to our children the ability to make decisions on their own eventually and in order to do that they must be able to weigh the pros and cons.

Homeschooling gives us the freedom to research different curricula, styles and levels of academic study. It also gives us the enormous responsibility of instilling so much more than academics in our children.

Where are you at in your homeschooling journey?

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Tree House Masters

paperbackbookstandingWe do not have TV in our home and I hesitate to give anyone a reason to want one. But this month I found myself traveling with my husband for business and being confined to a hotel room much of the time. And to my surprise, I discovered Tree House Masters with Pete Nelson on the Animal Planet station.

Remember Lessons from the Tree House? You know, that e-book that I wrote full of lessons your kids can learn by building a tree house? Well, while writing that book I interviewed THE tree house master and author of the book New Tree Houses of the World, Mr. Pete Nelson.

So, if you purchased Lessons from the Tree House, and enjoyed the quotes from Mr. Nelson, you will love this show. Actually, if you didn’t purchase this book (which you most definitely should) you will love this show. And you don’t even have to have TV to watch it. Go to the Tree House Masters website and you can watch complete episodes online.

Then, once you watch a few episodes and get inspired to try building your own tree house, come back here and get Lessons from the Tree House for your kids.

Blessings,

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on one and buy something, I make a few pennies to support this blog. 😉

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Educating in Adversity: How to keep it together when everything’s falling apart

educating in adversity

Hi everyone – first, I’d like to thank Carol for allowing me to post on her blog; it really is a pleasure to be here. I thought I’d share with you today my top ten tips for staying sane during a family crisis. I hope you’ll find these ideas helpful for your particular situation….

  1. Accept your limitations – you won’t be able to get through the amount of schoolwork you’re used to, or do it as consistently. Just keep in mind the big picture of why you’re homeschooling.
  2. Spend some time praying about your situation, because it’s possible that the Lord wants you to stop home educating, at least for now. Not likely, but possible. 😉
  3. As a Christian and a parent, you always want to set a good example; but, if you display lack of kindness, forgiveness or hope at this crucial time, your children may never learn it.
  4. Please remember that, depending on your situation, your children may be traumatized in some way by what’s going on around them. Have faith that God will heal your family, but also understand that this may not happen straight away, and it’s up to you to lighten their load where you can. If this means extra candy, television, trips to the library, hugs (lots of hugs!), then don’t feel guilty. Only you know how far to go with this.
  5. However, you must also maintain discipline in your home. Your children, especially older ones, may be in a state of rebellion against you or God, unable to accept what’s going on around them. You must use your authority over your children, and you must punish bad behavior. They can’t be allowed to learn that it’s acceptable to find excuses to sin.
  6. Whatever crisis has struck your family will give you less time for prayer. But, we can’t survive without prayer, can we? Make every moment with the Lord count. You’ll find your faith grow stronger as you realize you have to take Him at His word.
  7. Keep your everyday finances and paperwork in order. It adds so much extra stress to our lives when we lose track of bills, miss deadlines, or even overdraw accounts. Just take a few minutes each day to check your register, go through your bills and give some thought to your budget. This is especially important if you’re experiencing a substantial drop in income.
  8. You may also have to open new bank accounts, change direct debits, deal with insurance companies or lawyers, arrange child support or welfare payments, even move house. Although you’re tired, these things need to take priority.
  9. Keep on giving; your prayers, your time, your money; it only need be a little –  to those less fortunate than yourself. There will always be others whose lives are even more unsettled or uncertain than your own.

We’ve all heard that ‘God helps those who help themselves’. This is so true; He will always help us, and he does that alongside us, as we take steps to care for our household. Please, just keep on taking the first step, whether that be regarding your legal obligations, housework, school lessons or any outside work you have. Then the Lord will ‘step up’ and help you in ways you never expected.

Did I leave anything out? What other strategies have helped you in a crisis? Leave a comment and we can support each other. 😉

kathysig

 

Kathy lives in Australia, and is a mother to fourteen children, including one step-daughter and a set of twins. She has been home-educating for twenty years. When she became a single mother, she decided to seek her fortune in the blogosphere, and now, with some help from her children, runs three blogs and two online businesses. Please visit her Etsy store A Beautiful Home.

Another Homeschooling Blogger–Paolo

In a previous post, we met three kids that blog and learn from the experience. Well I met another one. Paolo linked one of her posts to the Self-Sufficient HomeAcre Hop on my other blog Everything Home with Carol. When I read Paolo’s post, I was astonished at her knowledge and ability to communicate it in an understandable fashion.

paolashorseblogfinalbanner (640x254)

Paolo is 13 years old and has been homeschooled since the 3rd grade. She started her blog, Paola’s Horse Blog, in 2009. She’s been blogging as long as I have, folks. I’m just so impressed that she has stuck with it. I guess we can add perseverance up there with the list of things she has learned from her blogging career. (I mean besides writing, grammar, setting up a blog/website, etc.)

LFH: Paola, thank you so much for joining us today on Lessons from the Homestead. As you know, I was delighted with your Horse Blog and really wanted to share with my readers what kids can learning from the blogging experience. So let me begin by asking you, why did you start your blog?

paolaprofilePaola: I started my blog when I first got interested in horses. My mom started a blog not long before and suggested that I post my horse-related schoolwork on the internet as a project. From there, my interest in blogging and writing only grew.

LFH: Do you blog to make money? Do you have advertisements or affiliates on there? If not, would you like to learn how to do that?

Paola: For the most part, I blog because I not only have a passion for learning, but also for sharing what I know with others. I haven’t really considered blogging to make money so I don’t have advertisements or affiliates, but I would love to learn how to do that.

LFH: How do you think your homeschooling has helped your blogging?

Paola: In the first place, I think homeschooling is actually the reason I started a blog. I don’t think my mom would have encouraged me to begin blogging if I had gone to public school. As a homeschooler I have plenty of time to do extra, school-related activities on my own (and love it). I was brought up to love learning, was taught at a young age to learn on my own, and, like most homeschoolers, I know how to study and do school work independently without having my parents constantly reminding me to do it. I think that being an independent worker and doing school-related activities on my own is the most important contributor. These days, in a world when most young people care more about impressing others than learning, you hardly ever see girls my age just pick up a book and read on their own, let alone willingly study and write a research paper that doesn’t count toward their grade. All in all, homeschooling has taught me to work on my own and has given me a different mindset than most public-schoolers.

LFH: Did you set up your blog by yourself or did someone help you?

Paola: My mom was constantly coaching me through the my early days of blogging. She helped with everything, including the design and actually learning how to use all the blogging tools. It’s thanks to her that I finally got my blog kick-started.

LFH: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Paola:  I’m a hard-worker when it comes to things that I really want. Right now I am saving for a horse and later I plan to to compete in shows, so I have been doing all I can to make money.

LFH: Thanks again for joining us, Sweetie. I wish you all the best.

Are you thinking about having your child start a blog this school year? It doesn’t have to be public. You can set it so that search engines cannot find it and only those with the link can view it. You can also set it to be password protected, if that’s an issue.

If you are thinking about it, but don’t know enough to teach them, I highly recommend the Blogging Your Passion University classes. Bob and Jonathan from BYPU know what they are talking about. And Jonathan used to be a high school teacher so he knows how to break things down into easy-to-understand, digestible bites. If you know nothing, start with their Blogging 101 class. If you have a little bit of experience, start with 201.

Now if your kids already have blogs, please leave the links in the comments for us all to read and enjoy.

Blessings,