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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,




simplehomeschoolIn my last post in this series that introduces homeschooling, I discussed the most popular approaches that parents take to home education. Today, I want to explain what education looks like in our home, and why.

I use an eclectic method that is a loose combination of Charlotte Mason, the Moore Formula. and the Core Knowledge series.

Hold on. What is the Core Knowledge series, you ask? You have probably seen or heard of the books: What Your Kindergartener Needs To Know, What Your First-Grader Needs To Know, etc. That’s the Core Knowledge series.

Ah, yes, Now the light bulb goes on. I’ll get back to Core Knowledge in a moment.

How we structure our day

The more intense academic activities take place before lunch, and consist of reading, writing/spelling, and math. We spend between two and three hours on those subjects, typically fifteen to thirty minute stretches with fifteen-minute breaks in between.

Sometime after lunch, we read science or social studies related material. As a family, we do art together twice a week around one in the afternoon while classical music plays in the background. Otherwise Benjamin draws, colors, paints, or does crafts as he is so inspired.

A couple of times a week, I have Benjamin listen to popular folk and children’s songs via YouTube (like his daddy, he’s not much for singing, so I don’t force it), and once in a while watch a video about the orchestra with him so that he will eventually learn the names and sounds of the various instruments.

For about forty-five minutes every afternoon, as a treat for behaving earlier in the day, my son will watch an educational DVD, such as a couple of episodes of “Popular Mechanics for Kids”, a National Geographic nature DVD, or one of the Rock ‘N Learn science DVD’s.

The materials I use

For reading: Poetry, ability-appropriate books from the library, lists of rhyming words that we create.

For science and social studies: Library books, The Story Of The World series by Susan Bauer, the Rock ‘N Learn DVD’s mentioned above, and the Core Knowledge series (which I also get from the library). As a homeschooler, you might consider The Core Knowledge series which you borrow from the library a free curriculum. It contains all the basic information in all of the subject areas, including fine arts, for all the elementary grade levels. At the end of each section, it also has a list of other recommended instructional materials.

In fact, I began using it because of its information on art and music. Even though I enjoy singing and can play the keyboard and guitar at beginner levels, I haven’t figured out how to teach my son about the different kinds of music and the great composers, as well as the various elements of music. I did not want to shell out money for a boxed curriculum, especially for a child for whom music is not an innate talent.

And I wanted to introduce my son to the great artists without having to find a place for a huge (not to mention expensive) art coffee table book in my home. The Core Knowledge books provides that information, as well as information about how art is created.

A word about math

If there is one subject worth buying a pre-fab curriculum for, it is math. Although the Core Knowledge books contain the math concepts for each grade level, as well as solid explanations and examples, they are provided in isolated contexts and do not provide nearly enough practice for a student to become proficient in them (the editor of the books admits as much).

However, most of the math curriculums available are based on paper-and-pencil, drill-and-kill worksheets. Even Math-U-See, which I originally started with because I’d heard it was manipulative-based, quickly moves children into the abstract and becomes boring and tedious.

Of course, none of these curriculums come cheap.

Enter Story Math™. I am writing Story Math™ for two reasons: #1) I don’t like any of the other choices out there that I’ve seen. They are all lacking one thing or another that I consider important to help a children understand and keep an ongoing interest in the things of math; and #2) I wanted to provide other homeschooling parents an affordable, fun alternative to teaching their children math.

To stay updated on my homeschooling publications, please click the envelope icon in the above right sidebar. You will not get on a mailing list, but you will receive all my blog posts in your inbox as they are published. And via this blog, I will be announcing my publications for each Story Math™ level as they become available at Amazon.com.

The four basic elements of a low-stress homeschool

First, keep the formal academics to no more than three hours per day. Your child may need more if they are in high school and prepping to enter medical school or something like that, but most children will learn everything they need in under four hours per day. This allows plenty of time for children to pursue their own interests and develop their talents.

Second, use the library as well as freebies on Kindle (many works of classic literature are available there for free) for the bulk of your reading, science, social studies, and fine arts curriculum. Even if you live in a state that requires you to meet certain objectives every year, you can do that for most subjects by visiting the library on a regular basis.

Third, have a set, yet flexible, schedule. Children need to know when they will be doing what – and really, so do you! At the same time, allow for the inevitable days when either you or your children feel like doing nothing, or for incorporating weekly or monthly playdates with fellow homeschoolers.

Finally, have fun! Play math games to learn the facts. Buy board games and puzzles to teach geography. Teach your child to read using Dr. Seuss books and Jack Prelutsky’s silly poetry. Dance to music. And so on.

In my next post on this topic, I will be diving more into the subject that is more intimidating than any other: teaching reading. Stay tuned (remember to click the envelope icon above to subscribe to this blog).


An Exciting Delivery

I am getting ready to do the supper dishes when I hear the familiar noise of a truck coming up our little dirt road. Is it – could it be – ?

“I think it’s UPS!” I exclaim, opening the door to verify my guess by spotting the unmistakable multiple rows of headlights pulling into our driveway.

Yes, it is, and B follows me as I walk out to meet our UPS guy. Crazy thing is, I don’t realize what we have received until I have told Mr. UPS to “have a good one” and walked several steps back toward our house.

Then it hits me. I realize.

And I get excited.

If it’s not so dark, I’m pretty sure I would see J rolling his eyes. Like, “There goes her perimenopausal brain again, not even remembering the Big Item she has so eagerly awaited lo these past eight or nine days.”

Okay, so J doesn’t exactly think in such formal terms. Actually, being dyslexic, he thinks in pictures, not words. So I couldn’t tell you what all might be going through his head at that moment.

But I digress.

Our special delivery is an Epson scanner! One of the low-priced ones – while researching, J told me that it would be sufficient for what I want to use it for –  but it feels like a Big Ticket Item to me, regardless. Why?

Publishing. It’s going to open a whole new world to me. I can now create my own puzzles, games, and various creatively-designed and drawn pages and scan them into the computer. I don’t have to cause myself eye strain trying to create computer-perfect graphics, nor do I have to beg J to be my graphic designer, in order to create practice and activity pages for Story Math™.

Not only that, I now have the ability to create a variety of other homeschooling materials. See, I’m a teacher. I have to teach. And homeschooling my one child is not enough. Lately, I’ve developed a yearning to reach out to more children, to more homeschooling families. I want to make life a little easier for them, make learning a little more fun. And I’ve got some ideas beyond Story Math.

And, yeah, I’d like to earn some money in the process.

So. We have a scanner. Let the fun begin!


Four Things I Should Never Do On Day 19

Day 19? What is day 19, you ask? Day 19 of a juice fast? Day 19 of a thirty-day home organization challenge? What the heck do I mean, “day 19”?

(TMI coming up – you might be sorry! You have been warned!)

I’m talking about day 19 of my cycle. No, not a super-extended laundry cycle (we don’t have running water, remember?). Day 19 of my reproductive cycle.

Except for the two fluke months when, for some unfathomable reason, I experienced no moodiness or depression at all despite the fact that I had my period as usual; and except for last month, when I actually started my period on day 19 (!), I am almost always at my hormonal worst on this day of my cycle.

Translation: I am a raging bitch for several hours. And it seems to be getting longer the older I get.

Do not ask me why.

If you’re thinking this post has been inspired by a recent Day 19, pat yourself on the back and give yourself a trip to Maui. You are correct. And after going through that horrendous day, I have realized that there are three things I must completely avoid doing on that day of my cycle.

#1: Homeschool.

Here’s a sample of the dialogue I had with B: “Oh my God I can’t believe you’re still doing that!” (After he made a mistake.)

His response: Giggle, giggle, “I’m sorry. I can’t help it. My brain is sleepy.”

See, it’s not so much that I’m in a sour mood. It’s that B picks up on my negative vibes, which makes him silly and wild and out of control. Which puts me in an even worse mood. Which inevitably leads to screaming and saying things I don’t mean.

My interaction with B on Day 19 should be limited to, “No, I don’t want to, and don’t ask me again.”

#2: Write.

I screw it up, then get frustrated with myself for wasting so much time on something I’m just going to delete.

#3: Try to work through conflict.

This I have learned more from past experience, than from the other day. If I call a customer service rep of a particular company about a problems we’re having, I am going to say something offensive, and/or be highly offended by what the CSP tells me. And then probably get bitchy.

If I try to resolve a conflict between my husband and me, I only make it worse. I have to just grit my teeth and bear it until the next day. Or, better, the next week and a half when the Certain Time Of The Month has assuredly and most certainly passed.

#4: Get out of bed.

I just should plain old not get out of bed on Day 19. We would all be a lot happier for it. But it’s not really an option. If I try to lie in bed longer than fifteen minutes after I’m awake, my legs get restless. Then I start to think about all the things I want to get done that day. And how fat I’m going to get if I just lie there all day.

But I’m sure J and B wouldn’t mind if I would just stay in bed all day on Day 19.

I wish I didn’t have to deal with Day 19. And for all you “silver lining around every cloud” folks, it does not necessarily make me more grateful for the days that are not Day 19. But I have to admit, I’m grateful that the day only comes around once every few weeks.


So, How Goes My Kid’s Dyslexia?

In this post, I revealed that our son is dyslexic.

First of all, let me publicly denounce that label (again) because the prefix “dys-“ connotes a malfunction. “Dyslexia” basically means “a screw-up of the part of the brain that enables one to read and write (or otherwise interpret symbols).” Having read Ron Davis’ book on the topic, I now realize that the way dyslexics perceive the world is a totally awesome thing, and leads to artists, inventors, and leaders. It just messes things up when they try to read (and for some, to do math).

That reminds me…

So, the Davis Reorientation Program. I followed it to the letter. B struggled with it the whole way. Result? He continues to flip the same letters, continues to forget words he had known the past several times he read them, continues to remember phonics rules.

I’m not saying the program won’t work for your dyslexic child. It just didn’t work for mine.

So, I decided I was going to plough ahead teaching him to read with The Reading Lesson. Even though it hadn’t been working for him before.

(What’s the definition of insanity, people?)

But see, the thing is, I’d paid $18 for the thing so I couldn’t just let it go to waste!

(Insane. Insane. Insane.)

Time for Plan B

The other morning, I almost threw B out the window (don’t worry, we only have windows at ground level at the front of the house). We ended up having a yelling/whining match that resulted in both of us parting ways with steam coming out of our ears. And in B’s case, there may have been a tear coming out an eye, as well.

After I calmed down, I realized two things:

  1. My main problem wasn’t frustration with B’s reading frustrations. My main problem was that my estrogen had decided to flood my body and upset my brain chemistry. (Yeah, I could’ve just written, “I had P.M.S.”, but that’s so cliché, don’t you think?)
  2. B has never followed any of the rules in any of the books. (Especially the baby books about how many hours he was supposed to sleep in a twenty-four hour period.) So why should I expect him to follow the rules for learning how to read? Or Ron Davis’ rules about how to correct dyslexia?

I decided we were going to continue using The Reading Lesson, but do echo-reading with it instead of making B try to sound out everything himself.

Maybe we’ll do that eventually. But then, my thinking took a different path…

Plan C?

Long story short: I became acquainted with Sarah Brown through a memoir that she did a free promo on. Through that book, I learned that one of her (many) daughters is dyslexic, and that Sarah has written a bunch of books for people with dyslexia based on how she taught her daughter to finally read. The books consist mainly of pattern/logic puzzles that naturally help dyslexics to begin to perceive the direction of certain letters correctly, as well as to learn to read specific words.

I visited Sarah’s website, dyslexiagames.com. I looked at the cost of the books. Uh, no. $26.95 for thirty pages?

(A quick note, here. I had already purchased three of her (non-dyslexia) homeschooling books for a total of about $60. All of those books are much longer than thirty pages, and Sarah creates lovely artwork and fun and interesting puzzles. But I’m the type who just can’t shell out for a book that costs nearly a dollar per page. Back to my rabbit hole story…)

I looked at the sample pages she has up on her website, and then decided to visit her blog. I read some posts. In one of them, she wrote that DYSLEXICS DO NOT LEARN TO READ USING PHONICS.

(Insanity, insanity.)

How do they learn? Art, puzzles, logic, games.

I returned to the home page of her website. And looked at the sample pages again. I thought, I can do that. I can create patterns with letters. I can create word puzzles.

So that’s what I’m going to do. That, and modify Davis’ Trigger Word activity. I am going to go through Fry’s list of the 1,000 most commonly used words, three per day, and have B make them with clay, define them, and create pictures in his mind for them.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


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