Sunday, March 30, 2008

Using the internet to homeschool

Here are some of the websites/programs we are using right now on a regular basis.

Calvary Chapel Children's Curriculum- We are using this to read through the Bible. It includes daily Bible reading, review questions, a coloring picture, and review games. Right now, I just read the Bible selection to them and and we talk about it. Sometimes I print a coloring picture for them to color while I am reading. We are almost through the Old Testament and have really enjoyed the selections. We will be starting the New Testament soon.


Dance Mat Typing

This is online typing lessons for kids. All my school age kids love doing it and are doing well.

Master World Geography in Just 7 Months


This is an ebook that you download and follow a systematic plan to learn world geography by continents. Each month you study a continent. The first week you take a test/play a game to determine your baseline of your current knowledge for that continent.
Week 2 you choose 2 or 3 additional games to learn the geography of that area.

Week 3 you print a map of the continent and the student fills them in from memory.

Week 4 the student tests their knowledge by playing against other players.

More detailed instructions and all the links are included in the ebook.

Levi and I are doing it and we are starting our third continent. Of course, he loves the fact that he is ding better than I am. This program is exactly what I was looking for and I was thrilled to find it.


Web Rangers

This is really just for fun. Each kid signs in and becomes a junior National Park Ranger. Then they can choose from a variety a tasks to complete and receive badges. This includes American history, nature, geography, and anything that you might learn at a national park. The kids enjoy it and I like seeing proof that they are learning history and science in our homeschool studies.


These are 16 online art lessons. They are fabulous, interactive animated movies and activities. It includes art history, appreciation, and methods. It cost 27.98 for a one year license.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Our favorite podcasts

Here are some of the itunes podcasts that we have used more than once.
This is a 6 year old boy reading popular children's picture books. He reads so well and I love hearing Olivia quoting stories with the same expression. We also have checked out quite a few of the books that he reads and that is even more fun.

Focus on the Family on
Every week you can download that weeks episodes of the Focus on the Family radio show. I love listening to these while I am doing dishes or driving. They only keep one week's shows up at a time so I check back often.

Coffee Break Spanish
These lessons are aimed at the beginner and last for 15 minutes. I have listened to the first four and so far I like them.

Karen andKids

Karen and a group of kids talk about Bible stories and Bible verses. This includes fun songs and Bible stories.
Olivia and Mandi like to listen to it to go to bed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

T. J. Turns One!!

My baby brother's son, T.J., just turned one! Oh, how precious it was to see T. J. last month. It was all I could do not to scoop that baby up and squeeze him. It just seems like yesterday that I toted his dad Anthony around on my hip.

I was 11 when Anthony was born and boy was I thrilled. My mom had had a baby when I was 9 and she couldn't have given me a greater gift. And now it would almost be like having our own daycare. What fun! And I did love taking care of those boys. Any task that Mom would let me do, I did it. Many nights I was the one who patted their backs to get them to sleep. I read them bedtime stories, gave them baths, changed diapers, (of course) helped potty train them, played with them, taught them their colors.

And you know what, I felt privileged to be able to do it. Somehow, I think I realized that all those little things, being a part of their daily lives was something special. It was valuable. I was their big sister who was there for them. I was so proud of them because they were mine.

I learned so much from them. One thing is that kids are a lot of work, but they are so worth it. I remember thinking, I don't want them to grow up. And consoling myself by saying that one day I would have kids of my own.

Now I think sometimes," Remember the pure joy you had from something as simple as picking out an outfit for your baby brother to wear, packing the diaper bag, or rocking him to sleep. Allow your self to feel the same joy with your own kids. I know it is different being the mom, but wow, you are living your dream! Embrace it!"

So, when I see little T. J., I see my baby brother Anthony and I turn into that 12 year old girl, who was on top of the world, just taking care of "her" baby. And I realize that I am still that little girl.

A Shiny Sink

I started flying with the Fly Lady last week. I have done it before, but really hadn't since I had Olivia. The first task is to keep your sink shiny. I have kept it that way for one week now. It feels so good. It is amazing how attitude has affected my house keeping. The Fly Lady does such a wonderful job of encouraging. I almost can't wait to see what my next task will be.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Go Fish- Snazzy

This is our family's current favorite music. It is Christian kids music that won't drive parents bonkers. Olivia and Mandi like Superhero and run around the room with blankets flying from their backs. I like the Mom song. There is a video of it on youtube. Stories incorporates familiar Bible stories. Gotta Move is about sharing your faith and it really makes you want to dance. Bible Book Bop sings all the books of the Bible. Hit the Drum, Get Your Jammies on, The Itsy Bitsy Spider are just for fun and they are great fun. American Kid, Snazzy, Saved, and Love Like This round out a wonderful cd with talented musicians, clear lyrics, strong beats, and an unfaltering Biblical message.

Check it out at

Have fun! Love God!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Olivia's birth continued 3

My doctor switched places with the nurse and told me that the cord had prolapsed, the baby's heart rate was down and they had to get the baby out now.

I don't remember what was said, but I knew very quickly that the anesthesiologist could not get there fast enough. I knew what that meant. I would feel the knife.

I didn't feel many contractions after that, but I was uncomfortable with the doctor's hand pushing on the baby's head trying to keep pressure off the cord. I began saying, "Jesus" over and over again into the oxygen mask.

After just a few minutes, the doctor said, "We just have to do it. Randi Sue, you are going to have to be brave."

I thought, " I will be brave. I will do what has to be done. I choose to trust my God to be in control."

The next thing I knew, someone was pushing me into the operating room. Now I could not hear the baby's heart beat because the monitor was off of me. I wondered if her heart was even beating.

After I moved to the operating table, the doctor was no longer able to keep pressure off of the cord. She was standing on my right side, preparing to operate. A nurse was standing on my left side, and after she put in the i. v. , she held my hand. She must have been there to calm me, but her hand was trembling.

I was trying my best to follow directions, stay calm, prepare myself emotionally for a dead or brain damaged baby. I finally had great peace when I believed that God was going to take care of me and the whole situation. I knew that I could trust Him with my life. At some point, I said out loud. "It is going to be all right no matter what." I meant, "Dead baby, live baby, or brain damaged baby, my God will take care of me and give me the grace I need to get me through this."

I felt an overwhelming sense that the God of the Universe, the Maker of Creation was in control of my life ad would take care of me.

I remember the first cut feeling mild, because of the lido cane. One of the cuts, the nurse asked my kids names. I answered through the pain. The next cut she asked how old they were. Again, I concentrated on answering the question instead of the pain. Finally, on one cut, I screamed and I think I moaned the rest of the time.

I felt the baby being pulled out, but did not hear her cry. I didn't know whether she was alive or dead. I heard the team of nurses say, "Breathe baby, breathe." Their calm sounding voice confused me. At last, I heard someone say that her oxygen level was good. Then I saw someone carry a pink baby with lots of dark hair out of the room.

I complained as the doctor removed the placenta, and the doctor said she had to get the placenta out, but she would wait to do the rest. The last thing I remember was her standing there waiting.

I woke up about an hour later to my doctor standing over me, crying and saying, "It's your faith It's your faith."

Later, I asked her what she meant by that. She said that she did not know how I could have stayed so still and calm. I told her that I was trusting God and she said that she could tell.

Olivia wasn't breathing when she was born. Her apgar was 3. The nurses hand pumped her oxygen for some time until she was put on a breathing machine. About 6 hours after she was born, she was transported to a hospital with a NICU. She spent 4 days in NICU and then 7 days in the special care nursery. She came home a perfectly healthy baby, breast fed and all. To God be the glory for my miracle!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Olivia's birth continued 2

The day before my due date, I woke up with signs of early labor. I spent the day relaxing, drinking lots of water, walking, and timing contractions. They were progressing slowly, and by about 7p. m., my doula, or childbirth partner, convinced me that it was time go to the hospital.

After getting checked in to the hospital, I was 4 c. and my water was just trickling out. I was just getting settled into the labor room when my water gushed out. I felt like something thumped inside of me and would in a few minutes find out what it was. The water had some staining, so the nurse put a fetal monitor on my belly.

After a few minutes, the contractions became more intense and the nurse decided to see if I had dialated any more. I don't remember the exact word she said, but I will never forget the intensity in her voice. She told me it was very important for me to lay on my side and that she had to push the cord back inside me.

From then on, everything was like an organized whirlwind. My doctor, who just happened to to be standing outside my door, came in. I heard the nurse say, "Doctor, get your gloves on NOW!"

That thump that I felt when my water broke, must have been the umbilical cord slipping down below the baby's head into the birth canal and this was not good.

More to come

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who are you glad to see?

After Olivia was born, she spent 11 days in a hospital 40 minutes away from home. So I spent many hours in that large hospital, catching every minute I could be with her. After a few days, I began to have an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, a very unfamiliar feeling for me. I wondered what was going on? Every morning, as I walked through the hall, I was surrounded by people, yet I felt so alone. As I rode the elevator, as I checked in to the special care nursery, and as I made my way to Olivia, I felt alone. The nurse on duty would fill me in on Olivia's night, I still felt alone.

Finally, I realized, no one in that hospital even knew my name. No one was glad to see me! Oh how I longed for that connection with people who were glad to see me. It brought tears to my eyes to think that there are people who feel that way every day of their life. Right then and there, I determined to make sure people knew that I was glad to see them. It was encouraging to realize the value in a warm welcome and that if I can do nothing more than be glad to see someone, I have done a great thing.