Monday, April 28, 2014

Mom's Education Matters - Notes from the Great Homeschool Convention

On Saturday I went to a panel about Classical Education by Andrew Kern, Martin Cothran, Christopher Perrin and Carol Reynolds. It was one of those things where you feel smarter just breathing the same air.

Some of it went over my head, but that just gives me something to aspire to reach. The rest of it I was feverishly scribbling notes.

Here are a few of those notes (be thankful you're not trying to decipher my handwriting. I took the notes and yet I'm struggling to read them). These are not necessarily direct quotes, but how I copied down what I was hearing:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Weekend Links - April 26, 2014

I'm just back from a wonderful weekend (Thursday night, Friday, Saturday) at the Great Homeschool Convention here in my hometown. One new friend I was talking to called it a "homeschool revival" and that sums it up pretty well.

Maybe I'll share more about it later, but for now, let's get to the links:

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Friendship / Relationships
  • How to Keep Her Secrets by Lori McDaniel for Flourish. Helpful advice for ministry wives. 
  • Scrappy Friends by Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy. Like I said on Twitter (in a more abbreviated way): I'm loyal to my friends for life, come what may, but it takes a bit to get to the "we are really friends now" stage.
Homeschooling / Education
Made Me Laugh: Honest Toddler Dinner Translator. Please don't ask how many times my children had one of these meals this week.

What caught your eye this week?
This post is linked here:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Online Resources for Teaching Math


Math can be a dry subject. For those of us who don't necessarily enjoy Math for its own sake, we need all the help we can get in keeping the review from getting tedious. Here are few of the online resources I've used over the years:

Online Games for Review or Fun
  • Fun 4 the Brain. Even our 3 year old enjoys this site. Many different games for addition through division. 
  • Think Fun. This company has produced some of our favorite logic board games but they have a few games available to play online for free.
  • Starfall. Primarily a phonics and reading site (one of our favorite sites ever!) but they also have a few free math games. There are more math resources for subscribers, but I'm not one so I can't testify to their quality.
  • Math Practice. You can choose the operation and the numbers from 0 to 12. It's timed but a child may prefer this to writing out the answers on a time sheet.
Printable Worksheets and Flashcards
Help with Algebra
  • Algebra Worksheet Generator from Math . com with an option to create an answer sheet with it.
  • Mathway Math Problem Solver. Will solve your Algebra equation (also solves many other types of problems up to and including Calculus and Statistics . You might not want to show the kids this site!
Other Resources
  • Free Online Graph / Grid Paper. You never know when you might need some. (For our handwriting challenged children, we have them use graph paper to keep their numbers and columns neat while solving equations.)
  • Don't forget Donna Young. Her site is amazing and it includes many Math resources as well.
  • Homeschool Math has worksheets, lessons, curriculum planners, videos and links to games.
  • Living Math! is a great site with lists for books that teach math concepts naturally, among other things. Lots of inspiration here!
What are your favorite resources for teaching or enriching Math?
    You can also see my Pinterest board where I collect Math ideas here:
    Follow Karen (Candid Diversions)'s board For Learning - Math on Pinterest.

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Weekend Links - April 19, 2014

    The windows are open, the house is {mostly} clean, and tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday. Life is good.

    And these links are too:

    Spiritual / Inner Life
    Marriage / Parenting
    Friendship / Relationships
    Tough Things
    • Going for Blood by Ed Welch at  CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation). No, we probably don't want to think about it and yes, you probably know someone who struggles (or struggled in the past) with this.
    • The Porn-Free Family Plan by Tim Challies. This post contains an extensive resource list, and many of the comments are helpful as well. Once again, if you're thinking, I don't know anyone who struggles with this: you're wrong. And if you think, my kids are good kids, it won't happen to them: wrong again. This is a battle and we have to treat it as such. Battles are not won by ignoring them.
    Caught My Eye
    Finally, I've recently had to switch to a partial feed of my blog (those of you who are subscribers have probably already noticed and those of you who just read here at the main page don't need to worry about this change). I very much dislike partial feeds. They annoy me. I've been vocal about it in the past, even to the point of unfollowing some blogs I used to read.

    So, why the change? This post explains why: Are You An Amazon Associate? Are You Violating This Term of Service? from Amy Lynn Andrews.

    So many blogs I read are actually violating this agreement. It seems unlikely that Amazon will take action against all of them. It's a dumb rule. Why then, did I make the change?

    Because I agreed to the Terms of Service when I signed up, even if I didn't understand them at first. I'd like Amazon to change this, but until they do I'll abide by them. If you're a blogger, help spread the word. 

    Well, that's all I have for this week. What caught your eye?
    This post is linked here:

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Throwback Thursday: 6 Simple Tips for Traveling with Kids

    Throwback Thursday is a weekly series where I resurrect an old post.

    This week: 6 Simple Tips for Traveling with Kids from August 10, 2007.

    What I like about it: the tips are still practical and it's fun to read about when Tigger was almost, but not quite, potty trained (fun now, not then) and Sweet Pea was the baby we had to stop and nurse.

    What I'd Change Now: definitely add a picture or two. (I've added a quick graphic now, just because.) And I wouldn't change the font. I used to do that a lot. Guess I hadn't settled into my default font yet.

    How about you? Got a post older than a year old that you'd like to bring back? Please share in the comments!

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Weekend Links - April 12, 2014

    It's a beautiful day here - the sun is shining, the air is warming and we...

    have to clean out the garage.

    Well, that's the way it is. God has given us a new house and lots of stuff and we have to tackle some of that stuff. (Even if we'd rather be at the zoo.)

    How's your Saturday shaping up?

    Here are my links for this week:

    Spiritual / Inner Life
    Marriage / Parenting
    Homeschooling / Education
    In The News / Current Events
    Just for Fun
    What caught your eye this week?
    This post will be linked here:

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Throwback Thursday - The House Where I Grew Up

    Throwback Thursday is a chance to resurrect some of those old blog posts. If you have an old post you'd like to mention, please share in the comments along with
    1. Why you like it
    2. What you'd change now
    The post I'm sharing this week is from July 20, 2007. I wrote it for a link up hosted at Owlhaven. We were supposed to write about our childhood homes.

    Here's my post: The House Where I Grew Up
    http://www.candiddiversions.com/2007/07/house-i-grew-up-in.html
    Why I like it: it makes me feel nostalgic. It's been a long time since I've seen that house.  My memories of that house are less about what it looked like and more about how I felt there and the memories made.

    What I'd change now: I'd share pictures and I'd probably try to be more concise. I must have been feeling fairly wordy that day.

    So, do you have a post over a year old that we should read?
    What do you like about it and what would you change?

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    A Desire for the House of the Lord

    Growing up as a PK (pastor's kid), I spent a lot of time at church: Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Tuesday night neighborhood outreach. Choir practice. VBS. Mission Conference (my favorite). Visitation. Ladies' meetings. Lock-ins. Bible study. Bible Institute classes. Banquets. Work days. Just because.

    You name it, I was there.

    The funny thing about it is not how often we were there but the fact that I liked being there. Not only for services, but just in the building. I knew every inch of the church building where I grew up (even the places I was probably not supposed to go). I preferred practicing the piano there: it sounded better. I liked to curl up with one of the old books in the library.

    Fast-forward. Now I'm an adult. My husband is a preacher. We are STILL at a church building multiple times a week (though not the same one where I grew up). I STILL can't imagine missing a service. When I have to stay home with a sick kid (as I did last Wednesday), my entire week feels wrong.

    Unfortunately, some of that is just habit. I rarely leave a service thinking, "I wish we could live here." (Yes, I occasionally wished that as a child.)

    Worse than that, I rarely leave wishing, "I hope Heaven is kind of like that."

    What's the problem? Well, yes, there are things our church could do better. There are some spiritual battles that have knocked down our church and we did not simply bounce back. There's a bad economy and the winter was long and an old church building requires constant upkeep and there are always things that could be improved.

    But those aren't the real problem. The problem is...me. I am the problem.

    I focus on the negative. I forget the joy of my salvation. I grow weary in well doing. I get discouraged by the illusion that the wicked are prospering. I begin to think that the Truth is not enough.

    Maybe you struggle with this too. When you see the sentence, "My church would be better if__________," you have no trouble filling in the blank. If the music were just... If only the preacher would... If we didn't have so many services... If we were only together more often... If the Sunday School curriculum were... If we could just have small groups... If we had this instead...

    Some "divine discontent" is a good thing. We should always be striving to improve in our Christian walk. The status quo isn't good enough in Christian life. We can love better. We can obey quicker. We can strive for excellence in our programs and services. We can fix our eyes on Jesus instead of the world or even another church.

    But the number one way to work on the inadequacies - real or perceived - of my church is: letting the Holy Spirit work on me. That's what will enable me to walk out of a Sunday night service thinking, "You know what would be good? If Heaven is something like this."

    Check out Psalm 27 to see the above verses in context. The entire thing is incredibly encouraging.

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Weekend Links - April 5, 2014

    Many things going on this weekend so let's get to the links without further ado:

    Spiritual / Inner Life
    Friendship / Relationships
    • How to Be Friends with an Introvert by Jamie at See Jamie Blog. These may not apply to every introvert in your life, of course, but I completely agreed with #4, #7, #8, #9, & #10. 
    Marriage / Parenting
    Homeschooling / Education
    • Can You Effectively Homeschool? by Phyllis L. Smith Asinyanbi. There's really only one circumstance where I advise people not to homeschool, but the writer makes some good observations here.
    Internet / Social Media
    Everything Else
    Here at Candid Diversions, I shared The Joy of Opening Day, My books list from March, the iBoy at 11 Months, and a new feature: Throwback Thursday (Blog Posts From Days Gone By).

    What caught your eye this week?
    This post will be linked here:

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Throwback Thursday: Blog Posts from Days Gone By

    Lately I've seen a lot of picture on Facebook under the heading "Throwback Thursday". I haven't done one yet - although I have plenty of old pictures on my computer - but it got me thinking about other forgotten things.

    Specifically, blog posts. I've been cleaning up some old posts, making graphics for a few, and just enjoying reading about my life in the early days of this blog. Sweet Pea was the baby, Tigger was the Toddler Terror, and Polly was the girl wonder who was taking her sweet time on learning to read.

    I had forgotten most of the events and moments I blogged about way back in 2007. (Yes, I have been blogging that long.)

    So, what if we used Thursdays to remind ourselves and our readers about some forgotten posts?

    Here's one from May 16, 2007 that I was glad to re-read: Works for Me Wednesday - A New Attitude.

    What I like about it: it's still applicable.

    What I'd change now: I'd probably have a picture to go with it. (So I made a quick graphic for it, just in case.)

    What about you? Do you have a post that's over a year old for us to revisit? 
    What do you like about it and what would you change?

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    The iBoy at 11 Months

    This is the picture I shared with my facebook friends yesterday. I honestly almost forgot to take a picture, until one of the girls reminded me.

    I think I am in denial. How can my baby be almost an entire year old?
    This boy is such a joy. He's the most good-natured, easy going child I've ever seen. I suppose that could be because most things go his way, but that's not all there is to it.
    This past month has been warm enough, on occasion, for iBoy to experience the outside. He's not sure what to make of it, mostly because we won't let him crawl around on the ground and put anything in his mouth. So his experiences have been confined to someone's arms, the wagon, or his stroller.

    I am not ready for this babyhood to be over. I may, in fact, look something like this, just thinking about it:
    Meanwhile, there's a birthday party to plan and I still have a baby willing to cuddle in with mom so I won't lament for too long.

    No one can be sad for too long with this guy around.