I have moved to a new blog: Nikki's Thoughts On


Posting on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

October 30, 2015

Lazy, Sleepy Day -- It's okay!

One thing I have learned over the years it's OKAY to have a lazy, sleepy day, week, month, etc.  It's okay not to do much. It's okay if all you did was math all day. It's okay if just watch a movie. It's okay if you.....

Really it is; one "slow and lazy day" is even more learning then what can be done in a public school setting. HONEST!! There is nothing wrong with having a sleeping, lazy, day or week.  As a homeschooler I set the pace, I set the schedule, I set the routines, etc. There is NO such thing as "behind"!!  There is no such thing as "catching up"!! If you want to sleep the day away with the dogs then do it.  Well granted you don't want everyday to be that -- because then you are going to be dealing with heart issues and sloth -- but if your week is slow that's okay, if your month is distracted because of the holidays or a new baby,  that's okay. If not much was done because illness that's okay!

Just pick up where you left off and go with it. You are NOT behind. You do NOT have catching up to do. Honest!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

Have you had a slow lazy day, week, month before? Do you feel like your behind? Leave me a comment!

October 29, 2015

Earning Money with Swagbucks and Ibotta

There are many apps and things available to earn money.  I personally have been using Swagbucks for about 2 years now and Ibotta for about 2 days.

With swagbucks you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. In the nearly 2 years I have used Swagbucks I have earned $65 worth of gift cards. I know that doesn't seem a lot, but I honestly don't use Swagbucks to it's full potential. The points I have earned have been primary via just regular everyday internet searching.  Looking something up gives me points. Not every search, but as I search through out the  the day I may get a pop up that said congratulations you have earned so many swagpoints.  This only works through swagbucks search bar or by making swagbucks your default search engine. I have made it my default search engine.

With swagbucks you can also earn point via surveys, watching videos, playing games, buying things online. Somethings I buy and get on and realized -- dang. I should have bought that online through swagbucks and would have gotten points.  Recently, that happened when I bought ink for my printer. If I would have remembered I could buy it via online and used the swagbucks portal I would have gotten points. I do sometimes print coupons via the swagbucks portal and when I do that I get the money off the item I'm buying just like any other online coupon you print, but I also get swagpoints added to my Swagbucks account. If I used it to it's fullest potential I would have earned more points and thus more gift cards.

Another app that that I recently have started using is Ibotta. Ibotta gives you rebates, cash, for items you buy at the store. If there is a rebate for it you have to claim it, scan the barcode, and take a picture of the receipt to verify you bought the item.  In the 2 days I have had the app I have earned $1 back in rebates -- and with a $10 min needed for payout it won't be long until I have an actual payout. With Ibotta you can either choose you payout to be in your Paypal account or in the form of gift cards for things like starbucks, amazon, or more.

Oh and what I have I been buying the last 2 days since using the app? Well I was out of bread, apples, and a few other things.  Got 40 cents back for those items -- at the local grocery store.   My son informed me last night he needed to bring cookies to school this morning, so I went to the store, bought cookies, looked on the Ibotta app -- rebate for cookies. got 20 cents back -- grand total now 60 cents.  My daughter didn't like what we had for lunch on hand, so I told her I would run her to dollar tree for a soup.  While there I realized I didn't have any dinner so I decided to buy some pasta and pasta sauce. looked on the Ibotta app, rebates for those items. So I got another 40 cents back -- grand total now $1.00.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

October 23, 2015

Hackers: A huge downer to your day

Hackers A huge downer to your day 
Yeah that's right hackers! They can really mess up your day.

Yesterday, I woke up late. Well not that there is really such a thing as "late" when you homeschool, but my son isn't being homeschool right now (I wish that was different). I had to get him to the school yesterday morning for art club.

So I woke up realized it was 815 the same time he is due at the school. I asked him why he didn't get me up -- not that it is truly his job, but generally speaking when he's due somewhere he's sure I or hubby are ready to go. He hates being late (as do I).

"It was a simple I forgot that it was this morning, mom." So I quickly checked with him if he wanted to still be apart of art club. Yep, he does; he simply forgot. Do you still want me to take you even though you will be late this morning? Yep, I do.  As I grab my keys and head out the door -- my daughter announces we are out of cereal bars can you grab some? I tell her no, I'm not really dress for public. I just need to get him to the school and back home. I will go later.

On the way to the school I had a change of heart over the cereal bars. My daughter has been having dizzy spells and episodes of vision lost. We have seen some specialist and have come to the conclusion that the issue is she doesn't eat breakfast. She simply is not the breakfast eating type -- so cereal bars  have been working. It gets something in her and we haven't had issues with vision or dizziness. So, because I realized it would be better for her I decided I would do a quick stop at dollar tree. -- not what I normally do for cereal bars, but I knew they had them, the store is small, and it would be a quick in and out -- which is what I wanted seeing I wasn't truly dress for public.

I get to dollar tree, grab some cereal bars, go to to check out. card denied. What? Try again. card denied. I get on my phone check my bank account. I have money. Try again please.  Card denied.

So, here I am a hot mess -- not really dressed for public -- my card is not working. So what do I do? I call the bank. Bank "We need to come down". Okay.

I get there. They take me into the office. My card was flagged as hot.  There was transactions that the bank thought were not me. So we needed to verify some transactions. Did you spend xxxx at target? No, I did not.  Did you attempt to use the card here? Yes. that was me. Did you do this one?  I'm not sure. Maybe it was me? Where is that again? No. that's not me.

Okay, well we know that some of the transactions are fraud so we need to issue you a new card. You can either wait 7 days for the new card, or you can spend $8 for a new card today and it will be active and usable within the hour.  -- I will spend the $8 please. I need/want a card today. I do not want to go a week without one.  Okay Mrs. W just a few more questions, sign here, and you will be on your way.

This is the THIRD time this has happen to us. We quit using cards online because of the first 2 hacks. So this time we know, because this card is NEVER used online, it was hacked by someone local. We do not know who or where? Any time you go to the store, gas station, fast food, etc you run the risk of being hacked.  -- UGH it's so frustrating.

I already woke up late yesterday morning and what should have been a 20 min. thing taking the boy to school and running to dollar tree ending up being 3 hour ordeal and my whole morning was shot! Luckily, my daughter, who is still being homeschooled, can do her work independently mostly -- but still this was NOT how I wanted to spend my morning.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

So how did your day go? Did it go as planned? What do you do when things don't go as planned? Ever work up late? Leave a comment!

October 22, 2015

Announcment: He is a Life Scout Now

scouting is something that we love 

It seems that scouting has been going on longer in this household then the last 4 years.

4 years ago we joined cub scouts. He did NOT do much with the cub scouts other then go to den meeting because they all were bridging over to the TROOP in a few months from our joining.

We joined Oct 2011 and in Feb 2012 he bridged over to the troop.

Many camping trips, merit badges, and Order of the Arrow have all passed and he is officially a Life Scout!

The only rank left to earn is EAGLE SCOUT!!! He has to earn that BEFORE his 18th birthday.

In order to earn Eagle Scout he has to do an Eagle project and finishing up some Eagle required merit badges. Thankfully he has about 3.5 years until his 18th birthday to finish these things, but our goal is his 17th birthday because he would like the opportunity to earn Eagle Palms. You get Eagle Palms for earning more merit badges after you have become an Eagle Scout.

I'm happy that he has gotten this far and wants to continue his scouting journey even though it hasn't always been easy on us. It takes a lot of time and commitment to earn some of these merit badges not to mention all the camping trips. Sometimes we have had to turn down events and other activities because of a scouting event.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

Are you involved in scouting? Why? Why Not? If you are in scouting how much time until your son becomes a Life Scout? Is he already a Life Scout? Did he become an Eagle scout? What did you do for an Eagle project? What will you do? 

October 20, 2015

This is stupid. Can I bring him home now?

I just want him home! 
It's been no secret that I did not want to send my son to public school this year. It was done because my husband and I no longer agreed on what was the best course for our son in terms of his education.

From day one I have had issues.
  1. Not being allowed to go to orientation (students only)
  2. Loosing his paperwork -- (physical forms I submitted and having to get them again from the doctors office)
  3. History teacher handing out the books and telling them to put them in their lockers and do NOT take them out. -- I also have had other issues with how the history class is being taught
  4. Biology class having the kids go meatless for several days -- because eating meat wastes water and we need to "reduce" our water usage.
  5. The school not knowing he was on a school field trip and causing me to think (and notifying police) that my son was missing  -- I will take credit for forgetting this myself and not having it on our calendar -- but when I did the right thing and called the school they should have been able to tell me "Mrs. W. your son went on this field trip", or asked "Mrs. W, is it possible your son is on this after school field trip?" -- instead the school called the police on my behave to report him missing.  (This is part of the reason we decided to go with tracfone -- more on that in a future post)
  6. Common Core Curriculum in general plus the data mining that goes with it.  Yes the data mining is very real. I, just from the last 9 weeks, have evidence of that.
Our latest issue is that the school, well I guess it's really Illinois laws, is NOT being happy with our son's vax records. Actually, not being happy with the DATE he received his first varicella (chicken pox) vax. Apparently, Illinois immunization rules for schools states that the first dose of the varicella (chicken pox) vax needs to be on or after your child's first birthday.  My son received the vax 48 hours before his first birthday.  So now I have to get the doctor's office, and they are not being helpful, to write a letter saying my son is adequately immunized. If I fail to get this letter from the doctor within the month my son will no longer be allowed to go to school.

Part of me kind of wants to just be like fine and not go through all these hoops again. I like my doctor, but the staff seems to fall short. When the school lost the physical paperwork it took forever to get the doctor's office to get me what I needed and them faxing the doctor that did the physical because they were not in the office the day I went in, because that doctor needed to resign the new copies, etc.  What should have been a 5 minute thing took 2 days to straighten out.

This time around what should be a 5 minute thing has already taken 2 days and I still can't get the paper work I need from the doctors office.

I'm not pro or anti vax. Yes, my kids have had most of the recommended vax but I fully support parental right to choose. I personally don't care if you vax or don't vax your kids.  I do know whatever vax my kids received as babies, toddlers, and 48 hours before their first birthday have outlived it's course and no longer effective. So it should not matter what the date of his varicella vax was. It should not matter if it was ON his 1st birthday, 48 hours AFTER his 1st birthday, or, in our case, 48 hours BEFORE his 1st. Birthday. -- whatever benefits the vax had is long gone and that would hold true for whatever the date of this vax.

And while I'm not pro or anti vax I am fighting this some. I do not want to give my son another dose of the varicella vax just because his first dose was 48  hours before his 1st birthday.  Yesterday, my doctor wasn't in, so the PA was trying to tell me my son needed to be vax again. I said No, I just need a letter saying he has been adequately vax. They called back again and I said he need to be vax. I asked them can he get a titer test if the doctor won't make the letter and depending on the titer test go from there.  A titer test would show if he's got the antibodies and from there they can write a letter ... I figured the issue was they didn't want to just write a letter saying he was adequately vax.

My doctor was suppose to call me today, but instead they sent my son's shot records to the school --bang head -- It's not a question of having the shot records. The school has the records they just don't like the date of the first vax so I'm having to contact the doctor's office again and explain to them again what it is I want.  Sigh! I hate. This is stupid. Can I bring him home now?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

October 16, 2015

Wait, we are sick? How to handle sick days

homeschool routines
Homeschool Sick Days 

Yes, Virginia homeschoolers get sick just like anyone else.

It's amazing what some people think. Oh you homeschool -- therefore you you shouldn't get sick.

I may homeschool, but I'm not necessarily home all day, every day. My kids are not necessarily home all day, every day. We do venture out into the world, going to parks, gardens, museums, zoos, gyms, etc.

We are really just normal people that do normal things and sometimes get sick just like anyone else.

When sickness hits the home it always leaves the questions, for many homeschoolers, especially newbies: Now what? How do we handle this? What about school work? Do we double up and play catch up? Do we just skip it not worry about it? What if not all the kids are sick? What if you are sick and the kids are fine? What do you do?

Well I tell you what I do. If any of us are sick we simply do not do school work that day. It doesn't matter if it's me, just one of the kids, both kids, etc. If anyone is sick we simply don't do school, book work, for the day. I also do NOT do catch up. If we miss day or two or a week or more it's okay!! No big deal we just pick up were we left off. No worries, No stress.  There is no need to play "catch up". You are in charge of your days, routines, schedule. -- there is NO need to play catch up. There is nothing to "catch up" to. I know this is mind blowing especially for the newbies seeing they, and I was one, are worried about keeping up with the public schools.

LISTEN, You do not have to keep up with the public schools. You can school on any day or time of day that works best for your family. You can homeschool on any number of days that work best for your family. Many homeschoolers I know homeschool ALL year round.  It's about developing routines that work for you and when something breaks up that routine and cause a bit of a monkey wrench, just going with the flow, until you can back to your more normal routines.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

How do you handle your sick days? Love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

October 15, 2015

Kitchen Table Is the Science Lab Table

science at home
Oh, that kitchen table and all its wonderful uses
Just like most homeschoolers time to time we do some science labs or experiments,

Sometimes they go really well and we have a great time doing them.

Some of our PASS science activities have been.

  1. Planting Socks
  2. Mealworms
  3. Learning parts of a flower.
  4. Trying different types of milk
  5. Making bio-plastic at home
  6. Extracting DNA from our cheeks
and more recently making Oobleck.

However NOT all science activities go well and the one this week just proves that point.

The activity is suppose to be making rust on the piece of steel wool. We set it up according the the directions in our science book, Science 7 for Young Catholics.  It's just not working. The instruction state to take some steel wool and make it stick to bottom of the jar with some clay or playdough, turn the jar upside down and place in a pan with some water. After a few days the water level in the jar should go up and the steel wool should have some rust on it. After nearly a week there has been no change.

I'm not sure what I did wrong. Maybe I don't have the right type of steel wool? Maybe I'm not giving it enough time -- but after a week I would like my kitchen table back. It's no fun eating dinner with the science project in the middle of the table.  At least this one isn't as messy or gross as some science projects can get.  Any insight on why it's not working? Are you doing any science experiments? If not actively doing one what was one of your favorite ones in the pass?  I did a quick periscope on how our current science experiment is failing. You can "katch" it here on my katch me page.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

Want to link it up?  Share your science experiments here:

October 12, 2015

Affordable Homeschooling

free homeschooling
Affordable Homeshooling and keeping it CCS-FREE
One thing homeschoolers love are FREE resources. However, with CCS (Common Core Standards) free might not be the best thing.  I haven't talked much about CCS, or at least not here on my blog, but I am a strong Anti-CCS supporter.  I believe CCS is meant to "dumb down America". I believe the public school system is broken and that no child should be in the system.

I believe that homeschoolers should fight to keep homeschool curriculum CCS-FREE and do their best to use CCS-FREE resources.

Thankfully we have resources like The Homeschool Resource Roadmap to help guide us and inform us of the CCS status of nearly 2,800 curriculum and resources options. I should disclose at this time that I have no financial gain from Homeschool Resource Roadmap, but I am an admin of  Christian Homeschool Oasis (CHO) , the facebook group, that was born in conjunction with Homeschool Resource Roadmap.

I see homeschoolers, in general, recommend things like Starfall, Khan, Spelling City, and others. These things are recommended because they are free, but they, in my opinion, are not the best options because of their CCS connections.

There are other resources that are CCS-FREE and good for the pocket book too. It just requires maybe looking a little bit deeper on the net, being okay with not being an exact copy of the CCS connected resource and sometimes being a little bit more involved and a little bit more planning on your part.

On today's periscope I talked about some of these things and as promise here are the links I mentioned:

What is CCS?

See Truth In American Education for more information.
Also this Youtube Video by NoTo CommonCore is helpful in answering the question: What is CCS?

Is the Curriculum/Site/Resource I want connected to CCS?

As I mention above The Homeschool Resource Roadmap is a good resource to find out if the curriculum/resource you are looking at has CCS connections. It is a database that is being added to and updated regularly that list the CCS status of nearly 2,800 items. Out of the the nearly 2,800 items listed about 60% of it is CCS-FREE (known as Independent on the Roadmap).
The Roadmap list things based on 4 categories
  • Independent
  • Correlated
  • Coincidentally Connected
  • Explicitly Aligned
Check out the roadmap. Nearly the whole site is free to access. The subject area where it takes the same info from the Common Core pages but list the resources based on subjects does require a ONE time fee.  Currently that fee is $4.99.  The Homeschool Resource Roadmap owner is thinking of raising the subscription in the next few months, but if you buy now you don't have to worry about that. Your subscription is a one time fee so if you you buy now at the $4.99 price you don't have to worry about the price going up -- seeing you already have access. 
Why have a subscription to the subject area if I can access the common core page for free? Well the simple answer is the the common core page requires you to know the name of the product you are looking for.  With the subject area you don't need to know the name of the product you just have to know the subject you want.. If I'm looking for math options then I would look under the math section.

Okay so I have decided I want to keep my homeschool curriculum CCS-FREE now what? 

Now you use the Roadmap to find CCS-FREE materials, but I will give you some pointers to start with. 
Instead of Starfall maybe Mighty Book or Kiz Phonics or Sight and Sound Reading or Progressive Phonics. Instead of Spelling City/Vocab maybe Spelling Help Online or AAA Spell. Instead of Khan (math) maybe XtraMath or AAA Math or CIMT.

Missed my live periscope? "Katch" the replay on katch.me or watch the embedded video below.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.

October 5, 2015

My homeschooling is NOT a reflection of you

periscope broadcast
My homeschooling is NOT a reflection of you
So I did it! I took the plunge and did my very first periscope. I will admit it's not very good. I was nervous, thoughts I had planned out in my head didn't come out of my mouth.

It's it funny how you can have a whole conversation in your head and when it's time to speak you loose it.

Things to do different next time:

  • make a list of power points I want to talk about. Actually write it down!
  • have more a prep time. I decided last night I was really going to do this thing and picked this morning as the date. What I should have done was give myself more time to focus in on what I wanted to discuss.
In the grand scheme of things it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't what I planned on in my head.  I was going to focus on how my homeschooling is not a reflection on you and I was going to address what to do with those awkward moments when you tell someone you homeschool and they give you a litany of reasons they don't homeschool. Or how your homeschooling can be different from other homeschoolers and they or you shouldn't feel bad for not homeschooling the same way even if using the same materials.

I wanted to point that you shouldn't feel bad for choosing to homeschool that even when you are 8 years into it, like me, you are still going to be faced with people that will give you a litany of reasons why they can't homeschool, or all of the sudden get defensive. It's okay they do that. You don't have to take it personal. Just know that what I'm doing with my children is not a reflection of you and your parenting, your choices, and your lifestyle.

That is where I wanted to go that is where I wanted to talk about, but I spent more time rambling about why my son is in public school this year and myself then anything else. The result really of not being fully prepared for today.

See for yourself! You can "katch" the replay on my katch me page or you can see it below. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...