Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Homeschooling Through the Alphabet: O is for Options

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is all the options we have open and available to us.

We are not constrained by public school schedules, standards, and grade dictated subject matter so we are free to choose:

  • what we want to learn about
  • how we'd like to learn about it
  • when we want to learn about it
  • what materials we'll use
  • where we'd like to go 

On any given day we can wake up and choose to bypass traditional schoolwork for an exciting field trip, a fun day off, or a day full of hands on projects.  Like this Monday when the sun was shining and we decided it looked like the perfect day to head to the beach!

We have the option of teaching whatever subject our children are interested in-- at any age.  So when my 4th grader wanted to immerse himself in the periodic table of elements last year I didn't have to tell him to wait until he was in high school.  We found books and games and materials on the elements and just dove right in until he decided he'd had enough and then we moved onto the next subject.

We have to option to switch workbooks in the middle of a school year if we no longer like what we're using.  Tuesday we switched Evan's cursive book for another one that encouraged a lot more tracing, since he's really struggling with writing in cursive.

We have the option of adding in new subjects as interests arise; these past two months we've added a baking course to our week at the insistence of my middle son.

Aside from lessons we also have the option to go on vacation whenever we'd like!  We are not slaves to anyone else's schedule but our own.  We get to visit parks, museums, and places like Disney World when attendance is at an all time low; often at discounted prices too!

The day we visited IT at Jordan's Furniture there were about 5 other people in the building with us! 
We have the option of meeting up with family or friends any day and time we want to and take frequent advantage of this.  At least once a week we meet up with family and friends for a fun day of socializing.

Playing capture the flag 
We have the option of schooling year round, taking breaks and time off as we see fit.  In our school-- birthday's are holidays and no one has to do any work when one of us is celebrating a birthday!

I love that we have so many options available to us and we are free to learn in a way that suits our family so well.

 Others in the series:

Homeschooling Through the Alphabet:

A is for Awe
E is for Expectations
F is for Fun
G is for Games
H is for Heart
I is for Independent 
J is for Journey 
K is for Kitchen 
L is for Longevity 
M is for Moments 
N is for Nature

Linking Up With:

A Net In Time Schooling

Coffee and Conversation button

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Love to Learn Blog Hop- Last Week of April

How is this already the last week in April?  I can not believe how fast these weeks are flying by.  We have been trying to get outside and enjoy spring as much as possible.

Love to Learn blog hop | link up | linky | blogging | homeschooling | education | kids activities | kids craft ideas

Welcome to the Love to Learn Blog Hop

A collection of educational activities to instill a life long love of learning in our children.

Enjoy learning through play, nature, crafts, and many other educational activities.

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Your hosts will pin our favorite posts to our Pinterest boards! I encourage you to do the same!


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We work hard to share all your fantastic content! Click on our badges, or scroll down to the social media link up and follow on your favorite channels.

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Linking Up With:

JENerally Informed

Brag About It Link Party #17-17

Coffee and Conversation button

Monday, April 24, 2017

Smart Financial Planning for College

Today we are joined by guest blogger Drew Cloud and talking about smart financial planning and college.  I hope you enjoy! 

Why Families Should Use SDRSI Before Decision Day

As the constantly increasing cost of earning a college degree outpaces the rise of early career wages, many families should dedicate extra time to choose the most affordable school for their high school graduate to make sure they can afford the student loan payments. One of the tools they can use before decision day is the Student Debt Repayment Success Indicator (SDRSI) as they select the best college.

What is SDRSI?

The Student Debt Repayment Success Indicator (SDRSI) uses the median salary of new graduates, the average debt per graduate, and a college’s default rate within the first three years of graduation to compute the likelihood that future college graduates will be able to successfully repay their student loans after graduation. A higher SDRSI score means a higher probability that if your child attends that college, they are more likely to afford the monthly student loan payment than going to a school with a lower SDRSI score.

Here is how to calculate the SDRSI score for a particular school.

  1. Divide the Early Career Pay (Median salary of alumni 0-5 years from graduation) by the average Debt per Borrower of each college graduate.
  2. Multiply that number by one minus the school’s default rate.

This number is the SDRSI score.

Comparing the SDRSI of Two Colleges

As an example let’s assume your child wants to attend school in Virginia by comparing the two colleges in Virginia with the highest and lowest SDRSI scores for that state.

The University of Mary Washington has the highest SDRSI score for Virginia colleges and universities with a score of 2.51 and is ranked 44th in the nation.

Bridgewater College has an SDRSI of 1.00 and is ranked 710th in the nation.

The primary reason the University of Mary Washington has a much higher score is because it has a higher early career salary, a notably lower average debt balance, and a lower default rate.

While attending a school with a higher SDRSI doesn’t guarantee a high starting salary or on-time student loan payments, it can help you and other families get a better idea if a college degree can be more lucrative than a degree from another college.

Colleges Might Not Disclose Default Statistics

It’s easy for most families to primarily focus on the degree options, proximity, or special programs that a particular college offers. That means it is easy to overlook the default statistics as a college might not be so quick to publicize a high default rate or student loan balance in promotional material that high school student looks at unless they have really good alumni placement or debt repayment statistics.

Another reason families should use the SDRSI is because it can be hard to estimate the total cost of college while their student is still in high school.

They might not be sure the exact amount of financial aid from grants and scholarships they will receive each year, if the student will need 5 years to graduate instead of 4 years, or the rate of future tuition increases.

Why the SDRSI is Good

The SDRSI helps assign a grade for each school when it comes to student loan repayment of its recent graduates to help high school families make an informed decision to help prepare their child to receive a degree at the lowest possible price and earn the highest starting salary possible. Success alone isn’t determined by a single score, but, it makes planning for the future easier.

Drew Cloud started The Student Loan Report after he graduated from college. While he pays off his student loans, working his life away, Drew took a liking to journalistic writing which led him to funneling all his energy into the website, turning it into a news outlet for the student loan industry.

Linking Up With:  The Homeschool Nook

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Baby Boy Scrapbooking Page Layouts

This is the first time I ever had someone else ask me to make a baby scrapbook for them to give as a gift!

I often make scrapbooks to give as baby gifts at baby showers and was so flattered when I was asked by a family member if they could pay me to make one for them to give to a friend and the baby boy they would be having.

I enjoy scrapbooking and there is something about making up blank pages that I find so freeing.

Linking Up With:


Across The Blvd

My Pinterventures

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Best Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes.... EVER!

Alec made the most amazing chocolate peanut butter cupcakes this past weekend.

We started with this basic chocolate cupcake recipe found on Annie's Eats.  Using her ingredients and directions he mixed up a nice thick batch of batter.  However since Alec decided to omit the peanut butter filling our batch made 18 cupcakes.

Chocolate cupcake:
1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

In a medium bowl he combined flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a small bowl he combined sour cream, milk and extract.  In the bowl of our stand mixer he combined the sugar and butter over medium speed until well mixed and then added in the two eggs.  He slowly added some of the flour mixture then the sour cream mixture and ended with the flour mixture.

Using his large scoop he filled the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and baked the cupcakes at 350 for 18 minutes.  At this point he gave away 1/2 the cupcakes he had baked.

The next morning Alec mixed up his own filling.  He wanted a nice fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting but since we mixed it a bit thick we decided to use it inside the cupcake as a filling and it worked out perfectly!


1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
3 tsp. vanilla extract

We put the filling in a Ziploc bag and snipped the corner off.  Using our cupcake corer we cut the center out of the cupcake and filled them with our peanut filling.  We then cut the tops off of the pieces we had cored out of the cupcake and placed them back on top of our filling sealing it inside the chocolate cupcake.

Since he only had 9 cupcakes to fill we had plenty of filling left and knowing that we wanted fluffier buttercream frosting we put all the filling back into the bowl and added another cap full of vanilla extract and milk (about 1 tsp. and 1 Tbsp. respectively).  If we were making enough filling and frosting for the full 18 cupcakes we would have doubled our filling recipe and still just added more liquid slowly until we had the desired consistency.

Filling recipe above
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

He piped the frosting on and then topped the cupcakes with chopped Reece's peanut butter cups.

They were just perfect! The cake was fluffy and the filling was light airy with just the right hint of peanut butter. They ended up being the hit of the party!

Linking Up With: Simple Saturdays


Amanda’s Books and More


Across The Blvd

My Pinterventures

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