Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where to go from here.....

As I stated previously, Friday is it... the last day... the finish of our third year of homeschool. While I've purchased some items all ready, the question still begs to be answered... where will we go from here?!!! And the answer... I just don't know... yet!

I have thought about enrolling Michael into a Classical Conversations group here... however, I'm just now sure that this is "him". I fear that it might just be more than he can deal with.

I have tried to get information on the local homeschool co-op... twice. I've called, and I've emailed... and so far, no one is talking! I understand that this next year is to be focused on drama and the "arts". Not sure that this would a good fit him either. He is about as outgoing as a turtle stuck in its shell!!!

I feel that it would benefit him to be in a group activity, to be around other children, to be taught by someone other than me. Yet, I'm not sure that he would do more than totally shut down.

Decisions, decisions, decisions! I've been doing some reading on all the different types of homeschooling that are out there. Pretty sure that we fit directly into what is called the "eclectic style". I pick and choose what I think will fit him and his style of learning. I also throw in unit study and lapbook work. With that said, I'm not sure that this style works well with Classical Conversations... and I don't want to confuse the issue now that we are starting to get somewhere!!!

So, if you're a homeschool family, what has been your take on Classical Conversations? Do you have a child who is pretty "backwards" when it comes to being around people they just don't know, and if so, how did they do in a group situation?  I really like to hear how others may have handled a situation similar to this!

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Countdown is ON!

And exciting week here in the Neal household... it is our last week of school! Yippee!!! And Michael is EXCITED!

We've had a pretty good 3rd homeschool year. Half way through the year, I totally changed up his math. Switching from Horizon to Singapore Math has made a huge difference. He seems to be doing much better with their approach. His reading has taken off! He has gone from easy readers to chapter books this year... and he really is beginning to enjoy reading! He began writing stories at the end of this year, and is doing pretty good with that as well.

It hasn't all been roses... he still struggles with some concepts... money is a biggie. He also has a hard time with word problems in math. There are still areas where he is behind, but I've seen great strides. That has been awesome to see.

A major portion of his excitement to have school over stems from the fact that we'll be going on vacation soon. He really enjoys going to the beach... he loves the pool, and where we are going we'll have both. He thinks that will be pretty sweet. Not sure how he'll manage without his "grandkids" being there, or his Carly... but I hope that he'll still have fun with his "old fogey parents"!!!!

I've already purchased a good portion of our schoolwork for next year. I've got a few options that I'm looking at.  A Classical Conversations group meets in the area. There is also a homeschool coop that meets as well. Not sure which would be good for him... or if either will work. Still checking into both. He is pretty shy, and has NO desire to be part of a group... so we'll see!  I'll sit down and begin planning next year in earnest after our vacation is over...

What I'm absolutely sure of is that Homeschool has made a difference for Michael, and I'm so thankful that we are able to do this for him. His is growing is so many different aspects of his life, and I feel that being able to work one-on-one with him has been a huge blessing.

While I'm looking forward to taking a break, I'm also looking forward to what next year will bring....

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reading is FUN....

Michael has recently taken off where reading in concerned! I am SO thankful that he is enjoying it. I come from a long line of readers... it is just something that has always happened around me, and I had hopes that he would come to enjoy it, many boys don't!

Last week I introduced him to chapter books that he could read alone. We've been reading the Little House books together (actually, I read, he listens!), but I wanted him to begin a series that he could read on his own.  I found the Ready Freddy series at the library. That was PERFECT as my nephew and his wife recently had a new baby and named him Freddy. Something that he could relate to. So he is currently reading book one in the series... Tooth Trouble, and he is really enjoying it.

I had to laugh, he told me that it was a funny story, and it had bad words in it... I knew immediately what that bad word was... stupid. A word that we have always told him he can't say, along with the word fat, and a few other words that just aren't nice!!! It is great that those are the only "bad words" that he knows!!!!

I have always believed that reading should be fun... because reading is VERY important. If you can read, and understand what you read, then you can do anything. More than that... you can go anywhere. Reading can take you places you will never go to in "real life". It can take you to far away lands. It can take you to the moon and back. It can take you on adventures that will carry your imagination for days!

Right now, I love nothing more than to sit back and watch him read. I love watching him when something strikes him as funny and I see a smile, or hear a giggle. I love when he stops to tell me about the funny thing that has happened to Freddy. I love knowing that he is well on his way to many adventures that will carry him into adulthood.

I still have a few of my favorite childhood books, and he has read them all now. They are kept on a bookshelf with my "big books", and he loves to take them out to re-read them. I'm excited that he is learning to share my love for reading. A good story goes a long way!!! Best of all, yesterday he told me that when he grows up, he wants to make sure he keeps some of his favorite books so that when he has a son or a daughter, he can share them. Now that truly warmed my heart!!! I truly believe that for Michael, reading has become more than school work... it has become FUN!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Busy Weekend!

What a weekend!!! VERY busy!!!

Saturday was the Pekin-Eastern Alumni Banquet. It was a very nice evening. Left Madison at 8:30 AM and arrived back home at 10:45 PM... that made for a VERY long day. But in between setting up the banquet and the actual event, I had the opportunity to visit with my parents, and that is always nice!

For me, one of the best things about this years banquet is that my middle daughter was a member of the 10 year class. She and a few of her friends came, and it was awesome to see them all there together.

Yesterday, I was pooped.... and I could feel a fibro flare starting up... AND we were expecting Rachel and family for the day... so we didn't go to church. And yes, we missed it, and it didn't feel like Sunday!

We had hoped to take them downtown and give them the Madison Main Street Tour. There are just so many neat buildings and shops here. However, it seriously POURED down rain for the longest time. Around 4:30 the sun finally came out, and a check of the radar indicated that we were in a dry slot, so we did go down and walk the river front. It is so beautiful down there, and peaceful. The kids even walked with Mickey and Robert down to the boat ramp and checked out the ducks that were swimming there.

They ran and played and had a great time. And it is always good to get to spend time with one of the girls and their family. We are truly blessed!

Today, we're back at school. Michael only has 14 more school days left, and as we have finished most of his books, we're just doing some unit studies, math and writing. Oh, and reading... there is always reading. In fact, we'll be heading to the library this afternoon to get some books on butterflies, our next unit study!

As for the flare I felt coming on yesterday... it is visiting full force today. But I am thankful... thankful that I KNOW it is fibro, it could be something worse... thankful the flare will NOT last forever (while I have pain all the time, these "bad days" come and go) and thankful that I can look forward to "good days" ahead. I have managed to go without the usual fibro meds (thankful again for a high pain tolerance!!!) and hope to be able to continue to do so! A silver lining exists for EVERYTHING if you just look for it!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!


Friday, April 26, 2013

What's in a Name!!!!

So, what is in a name.... EVERYTHING! I'd recently gone back to blogging and thought I'd go for something a little different... "On the Porch"....  but then what happens??? Patsy Clairmont announces that she is going to be doing a little something called "On the Porch with Patsy".... yeah. So what is a girl to do?? Go back to the original Blog - Neal at the Cross... and remember why I started to blog in the first place!!!

So here I am... back home, where it all started. I will admit it has been kind of fun to go back and see some of the pictures that I've posted. Some of the stories. Most of which seem like a lifetime ago...but really aren't.

This has definitely been a busy week. Saturday is the Pekin-Eastern Alumni Banquet, and I'm the treasurer for the committee that puts it all on. I graduated from Eastern High school a LONG time ago... 1977! That is 36 years ago!!! Isn't that crazy?! Last year, my class gathered for our 35th reunion...

... yes 35 years... and we had a BLAST! It was wonderful to get to see so many friends. This was about 1/3 of our class... and I think that is great!  But I digress....

The Alumni not only give away hundreds of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors, but it honors those who have been out of school for 50, 25, and 10 years. This year is middle daughters 10 year class reunion! Only a few of her classmates have decided to come to the banquet, but I am excited to see them! Just a few more of the 25 year class will attend than the 10 year class. And the 50 year class has a little over half of their graduate attending.

This has made me wonder, when my class gets to its 50th year out of school... how many will come to the banquet? How many will even come to a reunion? There was a time when people graduated from a school, they didn't move very far away. They got jobs, married, had kids, and did it all where they were born an raised. That is just no longer the case!

As honored classes searched out addresses so that I could send invitation letters to the banquet, many had a hard time getting current addresses. And the 10 year class just had a hard time finding classmates, period! People had moved. They'd married (or divorced!). They were living out of state. And some were living out of the country. I sometimes find this a hard concept to understand... but this is coming from a girl who lives 52 of her 54 years on earth in the same town.... until this year!

We have become a society on the move, and I wonder if that is really a "good thing"! It has me wondering... where are your roots? Where do you call home?  And if you've moved... and you think of home... is it where you live, or where you grew up? To me, Pekin will probably always be "home".... even if it isn't where I live....

And that brings me back to my original question... "What's in a name?" The answer for me... family history... and at the Alumni banquet tomorrow, there will be three generations of our family present! Four generations have graduated from the Pekin-Eastern schools... I think that is pretty impressive!!!! No matter how far away you may travel from home... never forget your roots... your history... it is part of who you are!

Have a Blessed Day!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Money Secrets of the Amish - A Review

Money Secrets of the Amish
Finding True Abundance in

Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

Who could reset getting a book with a title like that? Well, not me, that's who! You see, we live in an area where the Amish have settled. While our area isn't as rich with Amish as the area where the author, Lorilee Craker, did her interviews, we have many just the same!

I have often wondered how the Amish community has faired with the economy in the downward spiral it has taken (ah, another topic all together!), and this book answered my question beautifully. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I literally finished it in just a couple of days. I also spent a good portion of our trip to Florida for vacation explaining all the principals that the Amish have used to my husband and daugther! And yes, I LOVE the UWMW principal - Use it up, Wear it out, Make do or Do without! Interested in learning more??

From money saving tips, to their simple lifestyles, there is so much that one can learn about the Amish and their ways in this book. Not only can one learn about the Amish, but there are just so many things that you can walk away with that could make a huge difference in the lifestyle of an "Englisher"! Right down to enhancing your families lifestyle!

If you, like the rest of us, are looking for ways to cut costs, and live a much simpler lifestyle, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. It is well worth the read! I promise!

Have a Blessed Day!


I received this book free from Book for writing this interview.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love Food and Live Well - a Review

When I asked to review the book Love food & Live Well, I wasn't sure what I would find. How can one LOVE food and still LIVE well at the same time? Let's face it, isn't it loving food that gets most of us into trouble? Isn't that why we gravitate towards books on the subject of food and dieting?

What I found as I read this book is that it isn't necessarily the LOVE of food that is the issue. It is our dissatisfaction with ourselves that causes us problems. When we begin to hide behind the food... that is when the trouble begins! You are unhappy with out you look... so you eat to dull the pain. You are unhappy in your work/home/family (you fill in the blank!) you find solace in food. And the issue with that? That is NOT what God created food to be! It was NOT given to us as a replacement for what we think we need/must have. It WAS given to us to do a very simple task - nourish our body - period!!

In her book Love Food & Live Well, Chantel Hobbs purposes a simple 80 / 20 rule. 80 % of the time you should eat food that will deliver the maximum fuel your body needs. The other 20% of the time you can splurge on the foods that you love! She is quick to add that this rule alone will NOT work for you, you MUST incorporate exercise into your life as well.

I found this book to be very insightful, and I found her continual reference to scripture, and to God's plan for our lives, to be very encouraging.

Have a Blessed Day!

I was given this book, by WalteBrook Multnomah in exchange for this review

Have a Blessed Day!